Stress and the News

“I do not take a single newspaper nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.”                         – Thomas Jefferson

For many, including myself, the search for happiness is elusive.  Of late I have been drawn to identify influences in my “retirement” life that adversely affect my state of happiness and I’m wondering if others lives are disrupted by my disruptors.  Take a look.

1.  I come home from whatever it is my wife and I are doing and turn on fox news.  It doesn’t take long for me to start saying things to the television that I wouldn’t repeat here.  I also review periodically the “mainstream” media as a way to find “balance” in the news. Again my blood pressure starts to rise when I see the spin, spin, spin.  solution #1 Follow Thomas Jefferson’s advice.

2.  I have a see food diet.  I see food – I eat it.  I look at myself in a suit and I think, I don’t look too bad, then I look at myself in the mirror when I step out of the shower and I think, you have no discipline. Solution #2:  Stop the late night snacks.

3.  I worry about the future.  Will we ever be rid of our dysfunctional government? Will my investments be safe?  Will my children and grandchildren be obedient and happy?  Solution #3:  Play more golf.  Go fishing more often.  Act on things I can control and stop thinking about things I cannot control.  Hike more often.  Read positive messages every day.

Never Quit

Quote

“I realized early on that success was tied to not giving up.  Most people in this business gave up and went on to other things.  If you simple didn’t give up, you would outlast the people who came on the bus with you.”                                                                                                 – Harrison Ford

I am amazed that the seemingly pervasive philosophy spreading throughout this great nation and even the world is one of quitting.  If George Washington had quit would we be paying taxes to the Queen?  If Winston Churchill had quit would the worlds population be blond haired and blue eyed and would we be speaking German or Russian?  If  Christopher Columbus had quit would America be the greatest nation in the world?

Quitting is easy.

It’s easy to roll over and go back to sleep when the alarm goes off.

It’s easy to relinquish control of the day (or night) to the television.

It’s easier to run away from a hard marriage than it is to find ways to make it work.

It’s easier to settle for the meager subsistence the government can provide than it is to make and follow dreams.

It’s easier to let the story you want to write languish in your mind than it is to sit down and make it live.

It’s easier to chug a super size coke and put away a triple decker fat burger than it is to wash down a healthy salad with a cup of water.

It’s easier to say “I really don’t look that bad” than it is to spend forty five minutes on the tread mill.

Harrison Ford could have avoided the disappointment that comes from rejection and walked away from his dream of appearing on the silver screen.  He didn’t.  He didn’t quit. He convinced someone, sometime, that he had it, consequently he became one of the most popular and highly sought after actors.

Quitting is easy but the rewards of persistence are euphoric!!

Ordain Women’s Misguided Quest

Kate Kelly, a life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints saw her campaign as a member of the church to receive the Priesthood of God came to an abrupt halt Monday when a Bishop’s Disciplinary Council excommunicated her from the church. Ms Kelly, a human rights attorney, made a name for herself on a national scale through the activities of Ordain Women, the organization of which she is the founder.

I will say, Ms. Kelly demonstrated uncommon courage in maintaining so vocally that the Lord’s revelation to give His priesthood to males is discriminatory but her excommunication should come as no surprise.  To adhere to doctrines or beliefs contrary to established revelation is the right of any member of the church.  To promote and teach those doctrines in defiance to guidance from church authority is one step toward apostasy.  What organization, from religious to social, from business to education would stand by without acting on a member who blatantly undermines the organization and its policies.  In business those people are fired.  In churches they are excommunicated.

1.  To believe that divine revelation should be a “participatory process” is to believe that man knows better than God what is best for his children.  Using social trends to guide policy for religion is to create a church made in the image of man, not God.  There is no question in my mind that the prophet has sought guidance from the Lord in responding to the demands from OW.  His silence is the answer.

2.   Suggesting that Mormon feminists will follow the prophet when he says the Lord has spoken and women will be ordained to the Priesthood decries the fact that the prophets HAVE spoken, beginning with Joseph Smith, whom Ms. Kelly appears to revere.

3.  The depth of Ms. Kelly’s stated love for the church is measured by actions that we may never know and have no business knowing i.e. Is she a full tithe payer?  Did she wear the garment? How often did she go to the temple?  Did she accept and fulfill church callings? Was she a faithful visiting teacher?  Her serving a full time mission, marrying in the temple and graduating from BYU is proof that she was well grounded and rooted in the church and her service is to be commended. This is a woman who has so much to offer, so much to give in compassionate service; one who would be expected to be a Young Woman’s President or Relief Society President, who would sit in council with the Bishop of her ward and draw those around her closer to the Savior.  There are innumerable ways women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have their worth validated.

4.  The role of the prophets from Adam to Moses, from Jeremiah to Jesus Christ and from Joseph Smith to Thomas S. Monson is to represent the Lord to the people, not the reverse.  Kate Kelly’s Bishop, her Stake President and her Prophet represent the Lord to the people they do not represent the people to the Lord.

5.  I truly hope that Kate Kelly, this woman of courage finds happiness and will feel the love of the Savior in her struggle.

6.  I say give all women the priesthood then I can go fishing!!

 

 

Victory or Defeat

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win great triumphs, even checkered by failure  than to join the ranks of those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”                                                       – Teddy Roosevelt

My father was a sheep rancher who lived in the day when his home on the range was a “motor home”  propelled by an unusual team.  The quarter horse, Snip, was dependable and trustworthy.  The other half of the team was a big eared mule who was a master at working within self-imposed limits on his personal achievement.  The round-top, canvas covered wagon was father’s home.  A second small, compact wagon (commissary) contained extra supplies including hay and grain for the team, water, etc. and was connected to the back of the wagon with a small chain.  When it was time to move the team pulled them both.

Although indolent, father gave the mule credit for being smart but the animal used his intelligence to cultivate his laziness.

Whenever the camp was moved and the road became steep the mule would cease to pull.  Somehow Blackie knew the load could be lightened if father unhooked the commissary.  The frustrating ritual was for father to unhook the commissary, move the wagon beyond the “obstacle,” come back and get the commissary, hook it to the wagon again and move on.  This pattern persisted until one day father tricked the mule.  When the mule stopped as the train approached a steep incline in the road, father set the brake, wrapped the reins around the handle and stepped down from the wagon.  He walked to the back of the wagon, rattled the chain that connected the commissary and then climbed back into his seat.  He released the brake and slapped the reins on the backs of the animals and up the hill they went.  The mule never knew what hit him.

Father’s message to his family came not through preaching but through his example.  Within the true story of the mule lay a message that inspired me to move beyond the natural instinct to settle for mediocrity.

Happiness comes when, at the end of the day, we can say we reached a little higher, ran a little faster, smiled a little brighter and helped someone else along the way and that we did it by rising above the desire to please self. Perhaps we just need someone to, on occasion, rattle our chain.