Every family has problems and challenges. But successful families try to work together toward solutions instead of resorting to criticism and contention. They pray for each other, discuss, and give encouragement. Ezra Taft Benson

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quotes To Live By

The children were asked by an art teacher they are working with, to bring their favorite quotes today as they will make frames for them. As we were discussing them this morning in family devotional, the didn't have to think long about which to use. Without hesitation the older two chose the quote and poem below. I thought I'd post them here as they are important to the children. The last one I added because it is one of my favorites. Now, if we could only live by them more...

“I have been asked what I mean by “word of honor.” I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls—walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground—there is a possibility that in some way or another I might be able to escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No, never! I’d die first.” Karl G. Maeser

A Little Brother Follows Me

A careful boy I want to be;
a little brother follows me.
I do not dare to go astray
for fear he’ll go the self-same way

I cannot once escape his eyes;
whate’er he see me do, he tries.
Like me he says he’s going to be-
that little brother following me.

He thinks that I am good and fine;
believes in every word of mine.
The bad in me he must not see-
that little brother following me.

I must remember as I go
through summer’s sun and winter’s snow
I’m building for the years to be
that little brother following me.

-Author Unknown

"This is the greatest wealth we possess -- to know how to direct our labors rightly, spending every hour advantageously for the benefit of our wives and children and neighbors."

"Time Should Be Spent Wisely -- What have we? Our time. Spend it as you will. Time is given to you; and when this is spent to the best possible advantage for promoting truth upon the earth, it is placed to our account, and blessed are you; but when we spend our time in idleness and folly it will be placed against us. We have to give an account of the days we spend in folly." Brigham Young

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I have been thinking a lot on the dangers facing families today. It seems as if the attack on the family is increasing in ferocity, increasing our urgency to do more to save them. I recently re-read the talk Elder Gene R. Cook sent me titled, "The Eternal Nature of The Family." He gave the talk to Institute and Seminary Teachers in the Salt Lake Valley East and West Areas on June 12, 2001. I think I have mentioned the talk on here before, but it is still the most powerful talk I have read on the family.

A few excerpts:

What is it that we really desire? What is the bottom line of all of this? I think the following words were given by revelation and I would teach them all over the Church: “Successive generations of faithful families sealed in the House of the Lord.” That is the outcome. We are not only after your family being sealed, but successive generations of your faithful family sealed in the House of the Lord. What beautiful words. What inspired doctrine.


The question was asked, “Why is the home so influential?” One of the Twelve answered this question in an inspired way, suggesting four things that make the home a unique environment for teaching.

1. Parents are the only ones who can really fit the armor of faith individually to each of their children. It is a unique fit, isn’t it? You can generally talk about the armor, but you cannot specifically fit it to the child the way a dad and a mom can fit it.

2. No one can love like those from home. As much as you love the young people, it is not anywhere near how much Dad and Mom love them. If they can experience that love for marriage through their dad loving their mom and their mom loving their dad—if they can see their affection, their absolute delight in being married—they will desire to have what their parents have.

3. No one can see a temple marriage in action anywhere better than in the home. No one can set that example for your children better than you and your wife, brethren and sisters.

4. Home is a unique place to teach. There are magical moments that occur there. Young people are not taught when you are ready to teach, are they? It is when they are ready. In a class, you can sit them all in a line and give them the “what for,” but whether they listen or not is another matter. A good dad takes that walk around the block with a young son who stops to say, “Dad, that time we were fixing the bike together and you stopped and bore your testimony to me....” That is a magical moment. A mother is with a daughter, preparing a cake for dinner, when the daughter takes a moment to say, “Mom, I really love you.” Those are magical moments never to be forgotten. Those are the moments that are unique to home and not to be found anywhere else.


What a marvelous blessing a loving family is.

Friday, September 16, 2011

SpongeBob Is Bad For Kids' Brains

On my way home from work yesterday, a story on NPR caught my ear. Scientific (as scientific as a limited sample can be) proof, that SpongeBob and other fast-paced television is not good for our children.

The researchers said that the cartoon's fast-based scenes may make it more difficult for young children to pay attention and think. The article states a test was given to children after watching SpongeBob, coloring, or a slower paced PBS show. Those who watched SpongeBob performed significantly poorer than children in the other two groups.

We have thought for years that this type of entertainment overstimulates and dulls their minds. As a result we do not watch any television in our home. We also miss the commercials, which are often worse than the show itself.
We do allow the occasional family movie, but even this is critically selected from a short list of older films we know they will enjoy, mainly because we knew and enjoyed them at the same age. The added benefit is obvious lack of anti-family messages seen in programs today. And as Julie Beck said, anti-family is anti-Christ.

Here is the link to the NPR article if you are interested:


Monday, August 22, 2011

New Family Photos

I performed the wedding ceremony for my cousin Josh and his bride Shannon on Friday at the Manor House. The wedding was outdoors in a beautiful garden. After the ceremony, I took advantage of the setting and snapped these photos of our family. I think they turned out well.

Anna and me (obviously I didn't take this one. I set-up the shot and had my brother take it.)

My beautiful bride.

My wonderful family.

All of the grandchildren on my side.

My brother Kevin and his girls.

My sister Rachel and her husband, Alan Capone, and their two.

My brother Matt and his wife, Brandy, and their daughter.

My parents, Fred and Joyce.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bagpipes & the Memorial Day Parade

Wesley has taken up the bagpipe, and joined a pipe and drum band, mainly because of the influence of the pipe and drum band in Nauvoo. Though he is very much a beginner, and still on the chanter, the band allowed him to march in the parade with some of the pipes stopped.

The kids were all there to cheer on Dad, and got a big kick out of seeing him wear a kilt.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Memories of Christmas Accidents & Miracles

When we had our accident traveling out west for Christmas in December of 2004, I vowed I would never again drive cross-country in the winter. However, like many times when we say we won't do it, we are made to eat our words. With Heber's wedding in Salt Lake City just before Christmas, and the Ray family reunion in Mesa just after Christmas, we found ourselves once again preparing for a winter trip. We have made this trip many, many times during the spring or summer; at least annually, but occasionaly semi-annually. So it's not the trip itself that worried me. It was the potential bad weather.

As we were driving on 191 from Rock Springs, WY to Vernal, UT and neared the very spot where it occured, we began to see snow covering the rode. Like a bad nightmare, flashbacks of the accident came flooding back and I had to pull-over to allow Anna Marie to drive the rest of the way. Bethany, who was an infant at the time and doesn't remember the experience, but contributed her thoughts as we discussed it. She said, "Dad, it doesn't matter if we are all killed. We'll just live again." What faith in the Savior, atonement and resurrection. I wish I were more like her.

Well, I dug out this email I remember sending to Andy Hobbs to let him know what had happened. It is dated December 23, 2004. Over the years I had forgotten several of the miracles that had occured and am grateful I have this written history recorded just after the event.

Here it is without editing:

At 1:30 AM Tuesday night, we were traveling across the mountains from Wyoming to Utah. As we came around a bend, we found a semi jack-knifed in the road. We were aimed for a head-on collision. In the snow storm, I had no control of the van, but managed to veer to the right far enough to only clip the front of the truck.

The impact was great enough to spin us around and off the side of the mountain. We traveled another 200' before coming to a stop, just shy of going thru a fence and falling into a ravine. Had we gone 5’ further, we would have dropped into the ravine.

We spent the night that way, on the side of the mountain. Thankfully the heater remained on, so we didn't freeze in the -10 Wyoming weather. Towards morning, I woke and realized we were still there, the semi had been towed off (they didn't know we fell down the mountain, he thought it was a hit and run) and we were alone on a road very infrequently traveled. The thought came to me, "you hold the Priesthood, use it!" So I spoke with Heavenly Father and called for assistance to arrive within 10 minutes. Only two minutes later, I saw lights coming down the mountain so I jumped out of the van and scrambled up the side of the mountain. I stopped the car whose lights I saw, which turned out to be a police man. He didn't know we were down there, and would not have seen us. From the tracks on the road in the snow, not a single person had passed all night. He had a large semi-tow truck drop a cable down the side, and wince the van back up the side. We finally left the van around 7 a.m. We had been there for 6 hours, and the gas gauge never changed. Had we run out of gas, we would have frozen. The temperature never raised above zero.

We are unable to drive it. There was a lot of damage. We are all safe, not even a scratch on anyone. How grateful I am that my family was protected and guarded.

After having been up most of the night, I slept from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. this morning. I got up and attended the temple to perform initiatories and then an endowment session. I thanked Father in Heaven for keeping us safe. There could have easily been fatal results from an accident like this. We saw so many miracles occur during this experience. The Lord just kept blessing us. Tears of gratitude flowed freely while I was in the Celestial room this morning. The Lord is so merciful.

The insurance is looking into repairing the van. Not sure if it will be done before next Thursday when we planned on returning.