Wednesday, December 29, 2010

STUBBORN OR CONFUSED? Resisting the change of seasons

Photo taken the trees in our neighborhood on December 15, 2010

For the first time since we have lived in our home, our leaves did not fall as usual during the autumn season. Instead we are in winter and we still have most of the leaves on our trees. Either the leaves this year where stubborn and wanted to hold on, or they have been confused with the unpredictable weather we have experienced all across the country. 

I will write more shortly.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Signs in the Heavens: Winter Solstice and Lunar Eclipse Overlap

I will write more shortly.

Above Photo taken on October 21, 2010 from my driveway.
 An example of a lunar eclipse that happen in 2004 (courtesy of

This year's winter solstice will coincide with a full lunar eclipse in a union that hasn't been seen in.The last time the two celestial events happened at the same time was in AD 1554, (just under five centuries years ago)
The sun and the moon are at their darkest at this point in time during the winter solisitice. The eclipse will start just after midnight Eastern Time on Tuesday December 21, 2010, with the main event starting at 1:30 a.m. ET and lasting until 5:30 a.m., when the moon reappears.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

From a Humble Birth to Elaborate Shows

Photo taken on May 15, 2010 in a cave outside the city of Bethelem. 

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes,
and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
Luke 2: 7

We know the Christmas story very well. Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem and were turned away from the village inn by the innkeeper. Every since I was little, I have always pictured the baby Jesus in a barn like structure as he was laid in a manger (a stone feeding trough for animals). However, a very early tradition says the site of the nativity was a cave near Bethlehem.  A cave could serve a household well by providing shelter for the animals or a place of refuge. The above picture was taken in one such cave in Bethlehem.

As a sidenote: the below picture was taken at this years Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert with David Archuleta. We have come along way since the humble birth of our Savior.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ascending the Mountain

Photo taken after the first snow storm in November of 2010 .

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
2 Nephi 24:14 

I will write more shortly

Monday, November 29, 2010

Man's Best Friend

Happy Birthday Patch.
This is our dog, Patch. He turned 1 year old yesterday. No longer a puppy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Peace I give unto you

Photo taken of a mourning dove in our front yard on April 11, 2010

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth,
give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14: 27

Been awhile since I posted anything.. Just wanted to post this picture... with a little information.The dove is a universal symbol of peace and innocence. In ancient Greek myth it was a bird of Athene which represented the renewal of life. In the Bible it was a dove released from the Ark by Noah which returned with an olive branch to show that the flood was over. Ever since, the dove has symbolised deliverance and God's forgiveness. I thought this was interesting, according to legend the devil and witches can turn themselves into any bird shape except the dove.

Monday, November 8, 2010

ARISE AND SHINE for thy light is come.

Photo taken on morning of the Fall Equinox on September 22, 2010
A             ARISE,
B                   shine;
C                       for thy light is come,
D                           and the glory of
                                the Lord is risen upon thee. for behold
F                                      the darkness shall cover the earth,
F                                      and gross darkness the people:
                                but the Lord shall arise upon thee, 
                          and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
C                      And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and the kings to the
B                 brightness of thy
A            RISING     

Isaiah 60: 1-3

I will write more shortly

Healing of the Dead Sea

Photo taken from on top of Masada over looking the Dead Sea in May 2010.

"These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert,
and go into the sea which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed."
Ezekiel 47: 10
This is a continuation of the last post about the water flowing from the temple. This is an amazing promise that comes from the Lord. To think that the desert which is east of Jerusalem shall be "healed". Trees, life, fish.. everything.... shall live again. It seems almost impossible for those who have been in this completely desolate and lifeless part of Israel.

We read:
  • behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other
  • every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live:
  • and there shall be a very great multitude of fish,
  • because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed;
  • and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Water flowing from the Temple

Photo taken on October 27, 2010 of the Salt Lake Temple

"He brought me again unto the door of the house;
and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward.
and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house,
at the south side of the altar"
Ezekiel 47: 1

In the above verses in Ezekiel, we read about the waters that issue out from the House of the Lord which will come and heal the Dead Sea. We learn specifically from where the water will come forth.  It states, the waters came down from under the right side of the "house" at the south side of the altar. In John 19: 34, we read about Christ  being wounded by the spear on the cross (on His right side)... and there flowed from His side both blood and water. Symbolically the Temple is representing the Lord Himself and that from Him, all will be healed by both His blood and this healing water than comes forth from Him... than comes forth from the temple.

Furthermore, In Ezekiel 47: 3-5,  we read about Lord bringing Ezekiel to the water. First he leds Ezekiel to the water, then he brings him through the water. Each time the water gets deeper than the time before.

And he brought me through the waters;
....the waters were to the ankles.
Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters;
 .....the waters were to the knees.
Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through;
.....the waters were to the loins.
Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over:
.....for the waters were risen, waters to swim in.

In the book, House of Glory, the above verses is liken to us today if we go to the temple often. The more you go, the deeper and more understanding you will receive... until finally you are totally immersed in it, as waters to swim in.

The East Door of the Temple: A chiastic center point

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What are we seeking after?

Photo taken of the symmetry (chaistic structure) of the McCune Mansion in Salt Lake on September 30, 2010

Seek ye me, and ye shall live
,,,,,,,,But seek not Bethel,
,,,,,,,,,,,,,nor enter into Gilgal,
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and pass not to Beersheba:
,,,,,,,,,,,,,for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity,
,,,,,,,and Bethel shall come to nought.
Seek the Lord, and ye shall live;


The above scripture is found in Amos 5: 4-6.(not surprising…it also happens to be a chiasm... also that is why I posted the photo) The beginning and end of the verses (bookends) is a plea to seek the Lord, and if we do so.. we shall live. The middle verses tell us what NOT to seek, enter in or pass by… and specifically names 3 cities: Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba. I did some research on these cities and found what they all had in common. All three were important to the Lord and sacred. So why then would the Lord tell us not to seek, enter or pass by these cities? While these location where sacred places with righteous inhabitants, unfortunately over time, all three turned to the ways of the world and the people became idolatrous. Here are just a couple of bullet points about each city.

Bethel: (means: the House of God)
Abraham built an altar here and is still considered one of the most sacred spots in Israel.
Jacob had his dream here and called it the gate of Heaven and the House of God.
However, shortly after the time of Solomon who built the temple, Jeroboam, who was a mighty man of valor, turns to idolatry and worships false gods and this city became a place of calf worship.

Gilgal: (means: the circle of stones)
A sacred city in the time of Saul also a place visited by Elijah and Elisha.
12 stones from the Jordan River were set up here as a monument to the parting of the Jordan River and by the Power of God, the Israelites entered into the Promised Land.
Later, the children of Israel lose truth and the knowledge of God and this place became the scene of idolatrous worship.

Beersheba: (means: the well of the oath)
The home of Abraham.
God revealed Himself to Isaac and Jacob here.
Contained much rich pasture land.
However just like the other two mentioned cities, this city also turned to idolatry.

We are to SEEK the LORD… so that we will LIVE.

To Seek the Lord means:
to go in search of the Lord.
to look for the Lord.
to inquire of the Lord.
to ask for the Lord.
to endeavor to find or gain by any means the Lord.

And Ye shall LIVE:
To abide, to dwell, to have settled residence in.
To continue, to be permanent and not perish.
To be inwardly quickened, nourished by divine influence.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Fountain of Living Water

Photo taken below Doughnut Falls up Big Cottonwood Canyon on July 31, 2010.
For my people have committed two evils;
they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters
and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Jeremiah 2: 13

Fountain: The source or springhead of waters. (also the word "well" is also used). Metaphorically, God is called the fountain of living waters. Springs or fountains are called living, when they never cease, but are always sending forth their waters. All spiritual graces (revelation, inspiration) communicated by the Spirit are also compared to a fountain.

I will write more shortly.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Outer Appearance

"And it came to pass that when Laman saw me he was exceedingly frightened,
and also Lemuel and Sam. And they fled from before my presence;
for they supposed it was Laban."
I Nephi 4:28
Yesterday I took my daughters trick or treating. While a witch and a princess wearing wacky socks/shoes are not all that unusual, my other daughter dressed up as a lamp on a dresser. Her costume caused many people to either take her picture or give her extra candy for the originality. In my previous post that I wrote on the origins of Halloween, I mentioned that people wore costumes to scare off the bad spirits. In looking at my daughter's unusual costume... I can't think of anything better to ward off evil spirits than being a "light". Light expels or casts out all darkness. True light shines from within.. it however is seen outwardly in the way we treat others and follow our Savior.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Death: The Separation of the Spirit from the Physical Body

Photo taken at the Park City Cemetery on July 28, 2010

"And he will take upon him death,
that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people."

Alma 7:12

In this above photo we see a grave site, marked with a tombstone with vital information about a person.. their full name, the date of their birth and death. There is a fence surrounding the grave.. however, there is also a gate that is opened. The gate is symbolic of Christ. Only through Him can we exit out from the "fence" of death and walk through that gate ...back to life or resurrection.

On a lighter note:

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Halloween a day early... (since we want to keep the Sabbath Day holy :). Interesting since Halloween is actually a shortened version of "All Hallows' Even," the eve of All Hallows' Day. "Hallow" is an Old English word for "holy person," and All Hallow's Day is simply another name for All Saint's Day. It is a day that was suppose to commemorate all the saints, which starts at sundown on October 31. This year the fact that this holiday and the Sabbath day coinciding on the same day is interesting to me.

The origin of the holiday is typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain which celebrates the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half", and is sometimes regarded as the Celtic New Year. The ancient Celts beleived that the border between this world and the otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honored and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Spiritual Temple: Living Water mirroring a Physical Structure

Photo taken as the sun was setting on October 27, 2010
"...and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord."
Joel 3: 18
So this photo is symbolic for me. I see two temples. You can see the physical structure of the temple in the background..but in the foreground I see a symbolic "spiritual" temple.. while others might just see a fountain . (however, similiar to a temple, not necessarily the Salt Lake Temple.. more like the Jordan River Temple.) Earthly structures built by man will eventually be destroyed.. just like our bodies will eventually die. What continues on is the Spirit, or actually more correct.. the intelligence which has no beginning or no end. Living water is referred to revelation.. The communication of truth to men by God Himself or in other words.. light and truth.. or adding to our intelligence.
We tend to worship and/or revere things that we create with our hands, even institutions or even others in authority and don't seek out for ourselves the living waters, higher intelligence that comes from above to us directly.

Ursa Major, the Big Dipper, on Salt Lake Temple

Photo taken of the west side of the Salt Lake Temple on October 27, 2010

"Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion,
and turneth the shadow of death into the morning ,
and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea,
and poureth them out upon the face of the earth:
The Lord is his name."

Amos 5:8

Ursa Major (Larger Bear"), also known as the Great Bear, is a constellation visible throughout the year in most of the northern hemisphere. It is widely recognized as the Big Dipper or Plough, which is a useful pointer toward north, and which has mythological significance in numerous world cultures.

One of the few star groups mentioned in the Bible (see above scripture), Ursa Major was also pictured as a bear by the jewish peoples.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Stars in the Heavens: The Big Dipper

Photo taken of the Big Dipper at dawn above Mount Olympus on October 21, 2010

"And it is given unto thee to know the set time
of all the stars that are set to give light,
until thou come near unto the throne of God. "
Abraham 3: 10

Just a couple of interesting things about the big dipper. It appears on the outside of the LDS temple. I am hoping to take a picture of this and post it later this week. Also there is a relationship between the big and small dipper. The small dipper is always inverted of the big dipper. It is as if the big dipper is pouring into the little dipper and/or vice versa. It is the the giving and receiving principles. In order to receive you must give. It is also from the big dipper that you can find the North Star which is also the end of the handle of the little dipper or polaris. The lip of the Big dipper points almost directly to the polaris. It is exactly the 5 lengths of that space of the two stars that make the lip and point to the direction.

Here are the notes for the song Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. There is a reason why we like the song and it resonates within us. It is chiastic:

C-C-G-G-A-A-G, F-F-E-E-D-D-C,
C-C-G-G-A-A-G, F-F-E-E-D-D-C

Monday, October 25, 2010

Animal Symbolism

Photo taken on October 22nd near our family cabin up Big Cottonwood Canyon.

The Moose:

· The moose is an ancient power symbol seen during Late fall/early winter before the Time of Approaching Shadows.
· This animal is viewed as a special sacred gift.
· It is a dual/contradictory animal…Awkward… yet graceful.
· Known for its invisibility; (Large/Powerful in size.. yet is able to camouflage itself)
(like the powerful magician who appears as a poor shepherd, woodcutter, or peasant)
· It has great depth perception and is known for its speed and grace negotiated through rough environment than often “trip’s up” others.
· The male moose is connected with glory/ with its crown of antlers.
· The moose itself represents the primal feminine energy.. and seen often in water (lakes and marshes).. a place of rebirth
· The female moose/ cow is very protective of their young.. it has one of the strong maternal instincts.. and no animal who knows better would attempt to get between her and her offspring.
· A moose has the ability to dive and be completely submerged in water … The moose will do this for food…representing the ability to go back into the depth of water and draw new life and nourishment. ( from life …to death and then back to life. )
· Also attributed to the moose is the ability to move from the outer world to the inner world
· Knows how to use the thin thread/veil that separates life and death to ones advantage.
· Known for the keen sense of smell.. and discernment. … represented by the large nose feature of the moose
· The Moose also represents the harvesting season, peaking in October.. a power season when a new cycle is about to begin. Mating season has already occurred.
· The moose also represents an invitation to learn to explore new depths of awareness and sensitivities within yourself and in your environment.
· Also very significant is the fact that the Baby Moose (calf) is born with her eyes open. The light has never left the baby.. but still needs to be able to trust the light.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Holding on to PURE JOY

Photo taken of my daughter Brooke down at Lake Powell in July of 2009.

I will write more shortly.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CONTRAST: Yin and Yang. Light and Dark. Good and Evil. Half Full or Half Empty

Just took this photo five minutes ago at 7:30 PM on October 14, 2010
Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, or tranquil; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity and nighttime

Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, or aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.

I will write more shortly.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ascension: Lessons from a Helium Balloon

Last of the pictures from last Saturday's fishing trip.. taken on October 9, 2010
"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High."
2 Nephi 24: 14
Ascend: To move upwards, to proceed from an inferior to a superior degree.
Helium gas is lighter than the oxygen (air), and when a balloon is filled with the helium.. the balloon with rise and ascend. Using the balloon as a metaphor for us.. what can we fill ourselves that will help us rise and ascent higher from this fallen world in which we live?. Is it possible to rise above this "sin-sick world" (a term used by Spencer W. Kimball). If so, how?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stretching our wings

Photo taken on our fishing trip in Midway, UT on October 9, 2010

"Ah, Lord, God! behold, thou hast make the heaven and the earth
by thy great power and stretched out arm,
and there is nothing too hard for thee."
Jeremiah 32: 17
The word "Stretch" defined: to draw out to greater length.
I have had the impression lately that is is important for us to all be stretched spiritually. Many of us are already being stretched in all other areas of our life (financially, pressures, time),...but probably not with things in a spirtual nature... which is probably the most important type of stretching. The physical/financial/worldly stretching sometimes hinder our spiritual stretching. We have been taught and conditioned to rely on our leaders and look to them for revelation.. not stretch ourselves..."our wings".... and fly higher like the stretched wings of birds. Many of us don't even attempt to fly at all.
Commentary of the photo:
In glancing at the might quickly see only 5 geese... wait.. oh, 6 geese. But, on closer examination.. there are actually 7 geese. Look hard and you will see. I particularly like the goose in the middle on the left side. His wings are high, stretched, and soaring.. and his neck seems to be pushing forward with all his might. Canadian Geese are known for being loyal to their mate. They always return back to the same place to raise their offspring in the spring. Now is the season for them to fly south for the winter, as a protection from the coming storms and the cold of winter.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Personal Revelation: A Line of Communication

Photo taken over Heber Valley on Saturday October 9, 2010."This personal line of communication with our Heavenly Father
through His Holy Spirit is the source of our testimony of truth,
of our knowledge, and of our personal guidance from a loving Heavenly Father.
It is an essential feature of His marvelous gospel plan,
which allows each one of His children to receive a personal witness of its truth."
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, October 2010 Conference.
I took my daughter fishing on Saturday. Driving up to the lake, my daughter looked out the window and said, "Look Dad, it looks like Jesus is coming down". I pulled over and luckily had my camera with me and took this picture.
Communication is defined as the act of imparting, conferring, or delivering, from one to another knowledge, opinions or facts. The best form of communication is face to face, but we also use other forms like the writing, phones calls ... and now days "texting" each other. All with the goal to "communicate" with each other.
Back in the day a fun experiment was to take two cans connected with a string. One person would speak into the can, the other would hold the can to their ear. The vibrations send along the string would transmit the voice. In order for this too work, the string needed to be a direct line, completely straight and tight... If there were knots or other interferences with the string, the message could not be understood.
In this photo... Dark clouds cover the entire sky. The sun is not visible except in one place. One can see the direct beam of light descending down from heaven. One must be perfectly aligned with heaven in order to be able to see the sun directly over head.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mercy versus Justice: Parable of the Bed

Photograph taken this morning of my oldest daughters bed after
her younger sisters made it for her.
"What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice?
I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God."
Alma 42: 25
It has been a busy week for me...with very little time to post anything. However, I needed to quickly share an teaching experience that happened this morning. At the beginning of the school year, we created a rule in our family that the girls needed to make their beds prior to leaving for school. If their bed was not made.. then they would receive a strike. If they got three strikes.. then dad would come to school, get them out of class and bring them back home to make their bed. The rule has been set, and everyone knew the consequences. Many of my daughters friends also know about our family rule.. and look forward to the day when the third strike happens and witness my daughter getting pulled out of class..(by then, maybe the whole school will know what is happening when a dad comes looking for one of his daughters.)
My oldest daugther has had 2 strikes against her for a couple of weeks now. This morning.. she recieved the third strike. Her Bed was not made. Justice needed to be served. However.. not wanting the unthinkable to happen to their sister.. my two younger daughters made their older sister's bed ...fulfulling the demands of Justice. They played the role of a Savior , balanced the scales with Mercy. My oldest daugther is now indebted to her younger sisters without having to pay the penalty of Dad embarrassing her at school.
In a simple ordinary experience of making a bed, the atonement is taught to my daughters. Grateful for our Savior's life of mercy for me that justice was fulfilled and all He asked of me is to repent and follow Him.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

General Conference Weekend

Photos of the LDS Conference Center inside and out taken on October 1, 2010
Behold, we have built sanctuaries,
and we do assemble ourselves together to worship
We do believe that God will save all men.
Alma 21:6
You will notice in both of these photographs that not a single person is visible.. however starting tomorrow this place will be packed and swarming with people. Humans are social creatures.. we like to gather. Assembly Halls or Conference Centers are sometimes referred to as sanctuaries. A sanctuary is defined as a house consecrated to the worship of God, a place where divine service is performed. This weekend is the LDS Worldwide General Conference. This building will be filled to capacity.. with over 21,000 people. Amazing.
Just a sidenote...a recently took a tour of the Conference Center, the host/tour guide called the building the 8th wonder of the world. He also mentioned that is was paid for by private donations and revenue/profits from the church's owned businesses before it was finished . For some reason...I was under the impression that tithing money was used. Despite the possibility that the Saints/members didn't contribute/sacrificed to have this built.. It truly is a beautiful and fine sanctuary. In reading the Book of Mormon again recently..I have always wondered if Nephi is only referring to the Catholic church or others denominations when talking about sanctuaries that will be built up in the last days. We have a tendency to think that Nephi is never referring to us when he is giving warnings. If so, we would be wise to not be boastful of the structures we build.. and always be mindful and more concerned about feeding the poor, and helping the homeless. With all of the billions of dollars we have used in renovating and building up downtown Salt Lake around the temple, I hope we are also helping to build the "kingdom" by helping those who are less fortunate.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: The 3 Patriarchs

Guest Photographer: Neil Christenson (my dad)
He took this picture with his Iphone on his recent trip to Zions National Park.
"That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
hath appeared unto thee."
Exodus 4:5

My dad just recently returned home from a trip to Zion's National Park. He showed me the pictures he took and I asked him if I could post this photo. We live in a beautiful state. Zion is an amazing place. A Methodist minister, Frederick Fisher, who was exploring Zion in 1916 named these 3 peaks, the Three Patriarches: Abraham (6990'), Isaac (6825') and Jacob (6831'). Many of the other landmarks in Zion's have spiritual/gospel/Biblical names as well like Angels' Landing, Cathedral Mountain, West Temple, Altar of Sacrifice, Great White Throne of God, the Organ, and Mount Moroni.

We know that Abraham, the first Patriarch is the father of many nations. His name was changed from Abram.. to Abraham. (meaning father of a multitude). , Isaac was his son to be sacrificed. Isaac had 2 sons and the blessings where passed onto Jacob (later named Israel) who had 12 sons.. better known as the 12 tribes of Israel.

I find it interesting to compare these 3 Patriarchs.... with the Father, the Sacrificed Son, and the Holy Ghost. Just like in the photo of the 3 distinct peaks. they are distinct, separate, yet they are unified, connected and one in purpose.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Always following the Sun/Son: The Sunflower

Photo taken on my Fall Equinox hike on September 23, 2010.
"unless a man shall endure to the end,
in following the example of the Son of the living God,
he cannot be saved.
2 Nephi 31: 16
This photo was taken on the same hike that I climbed on the Fall Equinox. In an earlier post, I talked about this hike and how all the flowers had died, and almost everything was dried up and dying.. with the exception of the SUNFLOWER. It has endured. From the picture you can see that the sunflower is somewhat tattered, the petals are not perfect, and it appears alone in a hillside of dried weeds.
The sunflower is known for the unique characteristic of always facing the sun. From sunrise to sunset the "face" of the flower follows the movement of the sun in the sky. We could learn a powerful lesson from this enduring, sun follower, sunflower.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Water Droplets

Photo of water droplets on our shower glass door on September 28, 2010

..Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." Helaman 5: 12

Water has always been fascinating to watch. Waterfalls, streams, the ocean... even waterdroplets falling down on a window pane or shower door. Gravity is constantly pulling water down. If you watch on a window pane, as the water droplet gets bigger, the weight will eventually cause it to stream/fall down a path of least resistance. Once the droplet falls.. it usually will collide and combine with other droplets... causing the fall to be faster.

In gospel terms using the above scripture, Satan desires for us all to be dragged down to the gulf of endless misery. How then can we avoid falling when the pull of the world seems to be stronger than we have strength? I have never seen water defy gravity and flow upstream. However, only by changing it's nature can water ascend instead of descend.. it is through vaporization. By increasing the temperature, water will become a gas and will rise. It is no wonder that we are taught to build our foundation on Christ, our Redeemer and become a new creature in Him.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sealing Power: The Process of being Preserved

Photos taken yesterday after canning peaches on September 26, 2010
Many of us are familiar with Elder David Bednar's conference talk on the "pickles". It is worth a second read. It is entitled "Ye Must Be Born Again". He talked about 5 steps: Preparing, Cleansing, Immersing, Saturating and then Sealing. Here is the link:,5232,23-1-690-8,00.html
I wanted to briefly share a couple of more insights on the process of becoming purified/preserved and then "sealed" that I learned from canning peaches.
The process to preserving the peach begins long before the very last step of "canning". For example: A seed was planted, a tree grew and through consistent nourishment, light from the sun, living water and fertile ground, the tree was ready to bear fruit....Then over the spring to fall growing cycle... a peach grew and ripened. Unfortunately, due to the storms, winds, and bird/ insects... many of the peaches fell to the ground, bruised, rotten and unusable. Thus, a process of selection was necessary to bring the right peaches to the canning process... a division had occured and not all of the peaches which had the potential to be preserved... can or will be sealed.
Continuing on, the chosen peach is washed, immersed in hot boiling water in order for the outer layer to be removed exposing the inner. The peach then looks like a "new creature". The peach is then cut in half (symbolic of a covenant meaning to "to cut"). In this cutting process, areas of the peach that were bruised, or blemished were cut away by gentle the hands of "the Master". This was a "messy" and more difficult part. The peaches are then placed in a purified/santitized vessel and then a preserving liquid mixture is then pour over them. (similar to an annointing). A lid is then placed on top of the bottle in preparation for it to be sealed so no air or other contaminating element can enter. The vessels are then placed warm water not yet boiling to make sure the bottle does not crack. Water is then brought to a boil and which changes from a liquid to a "gas".. when it begins to steam. Purification and Refining leads to the vessel being sealed.

"Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." Helaman 3:35

Friday, September 24, 2010

Spring Equinox vs Fall Equinox

This year I felt impressed to take a hike during my lunch break on both the spring equinox and on the fall equinox. Same hike, but 6 months apart. I really didn't want to hike with camera, but knew that it was important to document what I saw. I learned recently if you want to learn more about our Father in Heaven.. just step outside your front door and become as little child... open, humble, teachable, meek and submissive. All things testify of Him.. we just need to develop the eyes to see Him. Here is a few observations that I have learned about the cycles of life and which part of the cycle we are in right now in the history of the world.
See the collection of photos below:
What I saw on the spring equinox: Everything was green and growing. Many bees pollinating the flowers. I saw butterflies that had begun as a new creature from being a caterpillar. I saw birds. I saw beautiful wildflowers like the sego lily and indian paintbrush flower.
What I saw a couple of days ago on the fall equinox: Almost everything was dried up, all the beautiful flowers that I saw in the spring were gone, Instead of bees.. I saw flies. I saw thousands of crickets eating what was left of anything that was still alive. I saw a couple "dragonlike" reptile toads. I saw dead snake skin.
Hiking up this same path in the fall was not as beautiful as in the spring. I actually had a sick feeling of decay and death. Things were either dead or in the process of dying. This is the natural cycle of things.
A season of birth folllowed by a season of growing, then a season of decay and then ultimately the final season of death before a life begins again. One eternal round. We are now in the harvest season as the earth and living things begin to fall and decay.
Fall Equinox
photos taken on a hike above the SL Valley onSeptember 23rd

Spring Equinox

photos taken on the same hike on the Spring Equinox on March 19th, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clouds of Glory

Photo taken on the beginning day of Fall, September 22, 2010

I took this picture the same day on the Fall Equinox. (See earlier post). I love watching clouds. My daughters and I like to lay on our backs and watch the clouds and point out animals or other objects that the clouds remind us of. In this above photo...rising above the dark color of the clouds below is the light and majesty of the clouds shining with the sun. It is the silver lining.. in the storms of life. The hope of a better day to come.

While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them, and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my Beloved Son: hear him. Luke 9:34-35

As ye have asked of me concerning the signs of my coming, in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds of heaven. D&C 45: 44

Moon setting as the Sun is rising Simultaneously

Photos of the moon "setting" as the sun is "rising"
on September 23, 2010 looking west over Oquirrah Mountains

Moon about to set in the west before the sun rises in the east

That you many be equal in the bonds of heavenly things,
yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavely things.
For if ye are not equal in earthly things
ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things.
Doctrine and Covenants 78: 5-6
Today is a day of balance in the heavens, it is the Fall Equinox. As I have mentioned in an earlier post today is when the skies above, the light and dark, the day and night are "equal". I have tried to document this through photographs of the importance of this day. This morning I woke up not knowing that I would be impressed to take more photos of the moon. I think my family is starting to think I am crazy.. or possibly some kind of "werewolf" since I am always looking at the moon. :)
Despite my unusual behavior, I was once again taught this morning of things that that I couldn't quite see before and my understanding was opened.
As I took the picture of the moon "setting" over the mountain..I noticed that the sun simultaneously was "rising". You can see the sun starting to shine on the tops of the Oquirrah mountains in the top picture. It is complete Balance. Moon light fades as sun light brightens... at the exact time. So, enjoy this day of balance. We live in a world completely out of balance. In fact everything is reversed. Good is now evil.. and evil is now called good. After today. darkness starts to take over in the skies and the balances scales of light and dark are unequal.
It is important to note that as we approach the Winter Soltice of this year... the darkest day of the year.. that is will also coincide with a Total Lunar Eclipse on December 21, 2010... meaning we will not have any moonlight as well. So, For a moment in time..we will experience little to no light from the sun or moon on the darkest day of the year. It is during these total lunar eclipse that the moon appears red.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Sunrise on the Beginning of Fall

Photos taken this morning at sunrise on September 22, 2010.

"Then shall thy light break forth as the morning,
and thine health shall spring forth speedily;
and thy righteousness shall go before thee,
the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward."
Isaiah 58:8

This was an amazing morning. The signs in the heavens this past couple of days have been beautiful. Light breaking forth out of Darkness of the night. Words can't describe the feelings that I felt I as experienced this sunrise. The best two words would be Eternal Hope and Redeeming Love.