Friday, July 30, 2010

Discerning the Signs of the Times

Taken on July 11, 2010 somewhere between St. George and Cedar City, UT
"The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him
that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say,
It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day:
for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites,
ye can discern the face of the sky;
but can ye not discern the signs of the times."
Matthew 16: 1-3

This photo was taken out of the car window going 75 miles an hour by my wife on our way back from California. She is amazing. (I couldn't pull over to take it, since I had already reached our quoto for stopping and pulling over.)

I have always remembered the old saying: Red at night, Sailors Delight. Red in the morning, Sailors Warning. Christ spoke about this weather adage in the New Testament.

In the above scripture, The Lord is chastising the religious leaders for not being able to discern the "signs of the times" (which I read as meaning: they could not see Christ for who He really is) even though these leaders could see other "signs" like discerning the face of the sky. Why could they not see Christ? Why could they not discern the signs of the times, the prophesies that were in their scriptures? The scriptures that the Pharisees and Saducees read/studied/taught were full of these "signs of the times" pointing to Christ foretelling of His birth, mission, and sacrifice. (Obviously, like us, they didn't read or understand the words of Isaiah like they should have. )

Christ does acknowledge that these learned religious men understood some "signs" or precepts of men like determining what the weather might be like the next day from the color red in the sky. However, they couldn't see the most important sign... those signs that pointed to the coming of Christ. Are we any different?

Are we seeing "signs" today that we should be discerning? How about the lastest oil spill in the Gulf? Could that be one of the things that John spoke about in Revelations? Maybe instead of looking at the color red in the sky, we can see a "sign" or prophesy in the color red in our ocean. (FYI: I did not take the below is a photo. It is oil that has reached the marshlands of Louisiana.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Let your light so shine

This is a photo of my daughter lighting her sparkler from a candle my wife is holding.
Taken on July 24, 2010
"If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark,
the whole shall be full of light,
as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light."
Luke 11: 36

It was fun experimenting with taking pictures last week of my daughter's "at home" fireworks display. The photos have been great to use on this blog to illustrate some profound scriptures. The above verses in the New Testament is taken from the same chapter in Luke that Jesus teachs the disciples how to pray to the Father. The verse begins with IF... If thy whole body therefore be full of light... having no part dark. Wow.. is this possible? We live in such a corrupt, dark world, it seems almost impossible to not be effected by the darkeness that surrounds us. However.. where there is light, no darkness can be present. The goal for us is to have our WHOLE body full of light.... so we can dispel the evil and the darkness from around us. If we emulate light... I can't help but think others around us will feel/sense/see .. and ignite a spark of light within them as well.. just like the lighting of this sparkler from the candle.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Receiving Personal Revelation: Like a spiritual IV

For behold, thus saith the Lord God:
I will give unto the children of men line upon line,
precept upon precept, here a little and there a little,
and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts,
.... for they shall learn wisdom,
for unto him that receiveth I will give more."
2 Nephi 28:30

My wife had surgery yesterday.This surgery was harder than most since it involved not just my wife, but the loss of her past 3 month pregnancy. We have been comforted and blessed and have felt everyone's love and support during this difficult loss. Thank you for all of your prayers.

I took this picture of my wife's IV yesterday before her surgery. "IV" stands for Intravenous therapy (it also is the Roman number for 4. ) Doctors use IVs on/in their patients in order to inject liquid substances directly into the veins. It is the fastest way to deliver fluids and medications throughout the body.

An IV is usually the first thing that a patient recieves and is also the last thing that is taken off in post-op. It is one of the ways to keep the patient alive. It is constant.

Similar to the IV that helps sustain life in the physical body (especially during times of affliction)... Do we need a Spiritial IV in our life?. Are we even hooked up? If you look at the photo.. the bag of fluid could be compared to All Truth, All Knowledge.. All light that eminates from our Father in Heaven. We, as mortals are only able to absorb so much... thus the smaller container which uses the "drip system"... (line upon line. precept upon precept). If we take in this "light"... we will receive more. Much of what I see today is that most people are connected to other things. Their IV's are not hooked in to the spiritual, but the temporal (mostly through electronic gadgets).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

One Eternal Round

"Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round,
the same today as yesterday, and forever."
Doctrine and Covenants 35: 1

Instead of going to the public firework display downtown on Saturday for the 24th of July, my daughters preferred to stay home and light sparklers and dance around on our front lawn. This photo is of my oldest daughter, Jessica drawing circles with her "magic wand" sparker. (I think she was feeling a little left out since I haven't posted a picture of her yet on my blog... BTW, This photo effect of capturing her drawing an unbroken circle with a sparkler took a couple of attempts.)

What I hoped to convey in this photo is the visual image of what a One Eternal Round looks like. You can not see where my daughter began.. nor where she ended in drawing this "fiery" circle. Similar to the fact that God is Eternal.. without a beginning or an end. We also know that the Lord does not and can not walk in crooked paths.. nor does he vary from that which he hath said... His course is ONE ETERNAL ROUND.

This concept always been difficult for my puny mind to comprehend, however, I know it to be true. His ways are not our ways. Our mortal minds seem to do better understanding a linear timeline with a beginning and an end. I receive comfort in remembering there really is no end especially at times when we experience an "end" or loss in our life. On the way to work this morning, I turned on the radio. The song that was being played was the Beatles classic... ob-la-di, ob-la-da... LIFE GOES ON. .. Yes, Life does go on. A tender mercy from the Lord.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our Hearts

This is Sarah, age youngest daughter. She would be a good match for the Energizer Bunny. We were all excited about the prospects of having an addition to our family in 6 months... especially Sarah. We have had fun wondering if the baby would be a boy or a girl ......As mentioned in my post "the waves of our life".. a routine ultrasound showed that our baby's heart is no longer beating. We are all dealing with the loss in our own ways..With Sarah's childlike faith, she innocently said to my wife yesterday that maybe the baby's heart will start beating again.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a certification class in CPR. We learned the procedure necessary to get someone's heart to start beating again. Here are a couple of thoughts that have come to me from the recent events in our life. We know that in the last days, men's hearts will fail them. (D&C 45) and that the love for others shall wax cold. Symbollically.. our hearts will stop beating the way they were meant to.
In order to restore life to a heart that has failed.. one must perform CPR which consists of breathing air into the lungs and chest compressions. These chest compression are strong, intense pressure which are firm (pushing straight down 2 inches)... Many times you will hear the ribs crack under this pressure. Painful.. but necessary. If that doesn't work than ultimately electronic shocks are given called "defibrillation."
What is in store for our future? Will we need to experience some events in our life to get our hearts beating again, and flowing with love for our fellow man. "Chest compresssions" could come in the form of loss, tributation, challenges.. all meant to soften our hearts and humble us to have the most important quality that our Savior looks for...a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Somewhere over the Rainbow

"If a man have faith he must needs have hope;
for without faith there cannot be any hope."
Moroni 7: 42


As I was looking through my photos yesterday, I came across an older photo that I took back in 2004 when we were hiking Diamond Head on Oahu. I thought I would post this as the culmination of the series of events and pictures of this past week. The Ocean, waves, Lights/Lighthouse along the shore, colors etc are all brought together in this one image. Yes, the storms of life will always be present... but there will always be a glimmer of hope... evidence that we see in the rainbow.

The waves in our life

The above picture was taken from one my favorite beaches… Corona del Mar (or Crown of the Ocean). A similar view of this beach is painted as one of the murals inside the Newport Temple. The ocean is one of my favorite places on earth because of the beauty and the peace. I view the ocean with it’s waves to be very symbolic of things that happen in our lives. The waves have the power to give and to take. Seashell and other creations are left/given on the beach for us to admire and gather.. The waves also can take away anything left on the shores and pull it back into the depths of the seas.

Much like the ocean, my wife and I have experienced this giving and then taking away in our lives these past 3 months. As many of you know, we announced that we are expecting our 4th child. However, yesterday, on our routine, scheduled appointment, the ultrasound showed that our baby no longer has a heartbeat and has stopped growing. Normally the body would have miscarried the baby, but in my wife’s case.. she still feels all the symptoms of strong, healthy pregnancy which makes this a little more difficult. She is scheduled next week for the surgery. We both feel at peace and have received answers from our Heavenly Father to our questions. Although painful and difficult with any loss… we move forward striving to align our will, with His.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Complimentary Colors

Photo taken of clouds just before the hot summer night sunset on July 18, 2010.
"And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels;
and he that watches not for me shall be cut off."
Doctrine and Covenants 45: 44

I have really enjoyed looking up at the sky lately. I don't think we look heavenward as much as we should. Seems like we are too distracted and looking at our cellphones, computer screens, and televisions. Suggestion: Nothing is better than lying on the grass on a hot summer's evening and watching the colors on the clouds as the sun goes down. The brillant blue and the golden orange in the sky are actually complimentary colors (for those who are familiar with the color wheel; Complimentary colors are pairs of colors that are "opposite" hues ). Van Gogh predominantly used these two colors, blue and orange, in many of his paintings including his famous self portrait.

The use of complimentary colors is aesthtically pleasing because when placed next to each other, the complements make each other appear brighter. A lesson can be learned with the husband and wife relationship. Are those marital relationships "brighter" when they compliment each other?

Interesting to note: If you stare at one of the single complimentary colors for a sustained period of time (for example: blue), then look at a white surface, an "afterimage" of the complimentary color will appear (in this case: orange)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dividing the Light from the Dark

I took this picture tonight from my front yard on July 18, 2010
"And the Gods organized the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day,
and the lesser light to rule the night."
Abraham 4:16

This photo shows a little more detail of the moon than the last photo I posted. I am learning how to focus and use my camera better. Interesting to note that when we know how to focus better, the more we can see. This is not only true with a camera, but with our lives.

From a distance we don't see, or can't see all the hidden details... or especially when we don't focus. To take this picture, I needed to zoom in, focus and hold still in order to capture the image. Good advice in our lives for us to use in how we parent our children .. to studying the scriptures.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Our World and the Moon

I took this photo last night outside my daughter's bedroom window.
It's a world of laughter, a world of tears,
Its a world of hopes, It's a world of fear,
there's so much that we share
that its time we're aware,its a small world after all.
There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone. Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide. It's a small small world
Lyrics to the Disney song 'Its a small world"

Most of us are familiar with this song. Our world is a world of Laughter, Tears, Hopes, and Fears with one moon, one sun. Last night, I happened to look out my daughter's bedroom window and caught a view of the moon before it disappeared behind the trees. (Granted, it is not one of my best photos, since it is kind of blurry.)
I always knew this, but it occured to me that it is the earth that is casting the shadow on the moon. It is our world that is blocking the sun from the moon recieving it's full light potential. How often do we have things in our life that cast shadows on us causing us to not receive the full light from above. Or worse, do we cast shadows on others by our actions that hamper or block out the light for others to recieve?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Waves: The Rise and Fall

Photo taken of waves from a lookout point over Crystal Cove Bay in
Newport, California on May July10, 2010
"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.
For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."
James 1:6

I am fascinated with the ocean. I love to walk on the beach with bare feet. I enjoy the sound of the waves and the smell and taste of the salt in the air. There is nothing more beautiful then a sunset over the ocean. The ocean has the ability to stimulate and fill all 5 of our senses....our sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.

The one sure thing about waves is the pattern or cycle: the building up, the rise and then the ultimate break, crash and fall. The wind and current causes the water to rise near the shore until the height of the wave along with gravity causes the wave to "break" or crash. Can the wave be a metaphor for our lives?... I am sure many of us have heard about the "pride" cycle. Humility and Repentance, Righteousness and Prosperity, Pride and Wickedness, Destruction and Suffering. The wave, like countries, institutions, and people, rises in majesty only to come crashing down. Most people live as if the "waves in their life" will stay constant.. as if the rise will continue on forever... Is it possible to avoid the crash? or is this part of our learning and experiencing all things here in mortality?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brightly Beams: Part 2

Photo taken of the sunset at Newport Pier, CA on July 10, 2010
"Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy"
Hymn No. 335 verse 3
Trim your feeble lamp, my brother, some poor sailor tempest tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, in the darkness may be lost.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Trying now to make the harbor, some poor sailor may be lost.
The last verse of this song is asking each of us to be a "lighthouse" to those who might be lost at sea. Even though this photo that I took on the Newport Pier is not really a lighthouse, I think it illustrates an important concept. I framed the sun to appear as a light within a lookout point on the pier. The reality is ...there is only one true light... the light that illuminates all things, and that comes from Christ. We can not be a "light" ourselves without having the light of Christ within us. We might think we have light.. but is it artificial light?.. or does it shine from our testimony of Christ?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Brightly beams: Part 1

Photo taken off the freeway near St. George, Utah on July 12, 2010
"Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy"
Hymn No. 335
Brightly beams our Father's Mercy from His Lighthouse evermore
But to us he gives the keeping of the lights along the shore
Let the lower lights be burning: send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting struggling seaman you may rescue, you may save.
My oldest daughter gave the Family Night Lesson yesterday and had us sing this Hymn as the opening song. I wasn't very familiar with this song, but her lesson from The New Era had a story about being a "light" or a bright beam to others, and suggested to read/sing the words to this song. The song suggests that we are to be a "lower light" for others, however, for us to be a "light", we need to be constantly looking to the "brighter .. or upper light" that comes from our Father in Heaven. Driving home from our trip this past week, we drove through a summer rainstorm. As the storm passed the sun broke through just before it set in the evening sky. Despite the not wanting to stop on the freeway to take a picture... the sun rays/beams where too beautiful to not capture these brightly beams from above.

Discovering your family

Photo taken at Crystal Cove Beach near Newport, California on July 9, 2010
"And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.
And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also.."
I Nephi 8: 12

I am truly a blessed man. We just returned from a wonderful trip to the West Coast. I don't think there is anything better than getting away from all the distractions of life and work and spend time with your wife and children. Cell phones (even though I don't have one), Work Schedules, Appointments, Committments etc were ALL silenced to the sound of waves, seagulls, and walking on the sand.