Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011: YEAR IN REVIEW


2011 has been quite a year for our family. This is the 13th year that I have put together a family video which I give as a gift to my wife. I posted it up on youtube since it was an easy way to share with other family members to see. Here is the link.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS

photo taken on December 22nd , 2011(Winter Solstice)
May your day be filled with the Light of Christ.

Friday, December 23, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOSEPH SMITH

photo taken last night on the Winter Solstice of the Christmas light on Temple Square.
Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only,
for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.
 Doctrine and Covenants 135: 3

Today is Joseph Smith's Birthday. Interesting that his birth is on the Winter Solstice marking the beginning when more light starts to break forth after the day of most darkness. We would do well if we studied more in the "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" and "The Words of Joseph Smith."  

Winter Solstice Sunset

photo taken on top of Ensign Peak as the sun was setting just before 5:00 PM on 12/22/11

 A  BEAUTIFUL CLEAR BLUE SKY DAY!
Yesterday was the shortest day of the year... longest night as well. The sun rose about 8:00 AM and set about 5:00 PM.. only 9 hours of sunlight compared to 15 hours without sun. Starting today, we now begin to get about one more minute of sunlight until the Summer Solstice.  

The Salt Lake Valley usually has along of pollution and smog during the winter from the inversion making it difficult to see the blue sky and the sun. Fortunately a storm passed through clearing out all of the bad air.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

WINTER SOLSTICE: Darkest Day of the Year

photo taken of snow/ice on the side of a road taken on the day of the lunar eclipse

I will write more shortly

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Miracle of Lights

photo taken on a "movie set" of the doors leading to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in October 2011

Above is a photo taken of a reconstructed "Jerusalem" movie set. It is being used to create short videos depicting areas of the Temple and other sacred locations at the time of Christ.

I posted this photo because today is important day for over 13 million people in the world or roughly 0.2% of the total world population. The Jews.   I find it interesting that it is about the same number of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  

Today is Hanukkah. or also known as "Miracle of Lights" or "Festival Of Lights" (It actually began last night at sundown when the first candle of the memorah is lit._  

Many do not know what Hanukkah is.. including me. So I did a little research.

The word "Hanukkah," which means dedication, refers to the rededication of the Holy Temple, (the same temple that existed at the time of Christ)  at which time the menorah was lit. According to the ancient story, when the Jews re-dedicated the Holy Temple, there was very little oil remaining to light the Temple menorah (or candelabra) -- as the bulk of the lamp oil had been polluted. But the oil that was only enough for one day, miraculously lasted eight days. This is considered to be the origin of the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah.

It is somewhat ironic that Hanukah is the most widely known Jewish holiday, despite the fact that it is a minor holiday. Hanukkah is not described in scripture, and it does not have the religious significance of Passover, Sukkot, Shavuot, Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur. Still, the celebration of Hanukkah, the history behind its traditions, and the symbolism of the miracle of the oil lasting seven days longer.. a miracle.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

PEACE IN THE CHAOS

photo taken of a billboard at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon

"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

While Christmas time should be a time of peace... it usually is the busiest time of year for me. I don't think I am alone when I say that instead of peace and calm.. I feel overwhelmed. This billboard has an important message.. despite the chaos all around us.. may we all find peace.

I read this quote today that I really liked that I wanted to share:

We need to realize that spiritual enlightenment is not something which you are going to achieve or accomplish. You are not going to attain earn or acquire spiritual blessings. You will receive them -if you receive them at all- by being open to Gods gifts. He gives freely. But unless we are quiet enough, open enough, and prayerful enough to be apart, to be alone, to be in solemn, careful and ponderous thought, we will never receive what is freely given to all.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

MOON OVER SALT LAKE CITY

photo taken this morning at 7:00 AM of the lunar eclipse



"But, behold, I say unto you that before this great day shall come the sun shall be darkened,
and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven,
and there shall be greater signs in heaven above and in the earth beneath;
Doctrine and Covenants 29:14

Friday, December 9, 2011

POSTERITY AND OUR WORDS

photo of WWI memorial site at Memory Grove that I went to on Veterans Day.

"There is no permanency to men's lives, nor to the work of men's hands. there are only two things which will endure with any permanency: posterity and our words. Words endure: buildings, even temples, do not. The closer the words are to the will of God, the more likely they are to endure. Revelations are the most enduring of all. But all expressions of faith and hope endure long beyond words of opposition, faithlessness, and anger.

Get yourself in harmony with God, call upon Him and record His voice to you and you will leave something eternal behind for your posterity. the record of your own testimony, and your posterity, will alone endure. It is one of the reasons for the inspired instruction from our leaders to "keep a journal" of our lives.

"Get a notebook, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." Spencer W Kimball

excerpts from Nephi's Isaiah.

photo of the above memorial with one of the names Royal Christenson

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

THE LIVING VINE

 photo taken near Memory Grove on December 5, 2011
Note: the middle leaf  is shaped like a heart with 5 main veins from the center stem.
Christ uses the example of a living "vine" or branch or description of His Father as a husbandman to suggest you should have a living connection to God. A living connection implies you are in contact with Him. You hear from and listen to Him. He is a part of you and an active part of your life and growth.

How each of us received contact with God, how we hear His voice, and what gifts we possess are unique. There is no single, universal way for one to "hear His voice and know that He is". And so it is a mistake to ignore your own unique talent for "hearing" your Father in Heaven. He did not send you here powerless to hear Him. But it will require you to develop the capacity. Relying merely upon your "feeling" or "emotions" alone is insufficient; you must learn to hear His voice.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

UNIQUE COMMUNICATION

photo taken while laying on my back looking at the "heaven's above"
"And they shall see signs and wonders,
for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above,
and in the earth beneath."
Doctrine and Covenants 45:40

"We are unique, and Gods' ways of speaking to each of us is as unique as each of us. We do ourselves a great disservice when we attempt to fit ourselves into a singular, sterotypical persona seeking only a singular way for God to talk with and to us. We make ourselves into something we aren't, in search to find what cannot be found that way. If we demand only the extraordinary before we will recognize His voice, we run the risk of looking in the wrong way for Him. His voice is there. He speaks to all of us. But we can miss it if we are not attuned to listen.

You may never be able to hear God speak to you in the way in which others hear Him. If you determine He must speak to you in a specific way, and not in any other way, you can go a lifetime without ever having a conversation with Him. He longs to speak with each of us. Within each o fus there is something uniquely attuned to Him. How He reaches out to you may be as singular and unique as you are and you can be assured He is reaching out. In fact, God is rather noisy, if you will allow Him to be.

We were never intended to live without a direct connection to Him. Instead, we should hear His voice, and n time discover He is our "friend."

quotes taken from the book... "Nephi's Isaiah"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

ONENESS... not SAMENESS

photo taken of Silver Lake on October 9, 2011 near Brighton Ski Resort.
"I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world,
even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God,
even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one."
Doctrine & Covenants 35:2

We need to forget conforming to an imaginery pattern, and allow the unique gifts each of us have been given to mature. Becoming "one" does not require us to become "the same". there is a great difference between the "oneness" God asks us to acquire, on the one hand, and uniformity on the other.

Find out what God want YOU to be. Be that. It is "one of a kind". It will make you free.

Friday, December 2, 2011

CONFIRMATION OF EXISTING FAITH


"And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground."

The sign was not to produce faith, but was to confirm already existing faith. He used the morning dew, and a sheepskin to confirm God's will for him.  Perfectly ordinary objects (sheepskin, ground, morning dew) get arranged in a way which allows Gideon to confirm the accuracy of his understanding of God's communication with him. This is not "emotion" or a "feeling". It is drawing God's communication into the physical world and seeing Him speaking there.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

ORDINARY CONTAINS THE EXTRAORDINARY

photo taken from my office window yesterday of the sun trying to break through the clouds.

You must see the extraordinary in the ordinary before the truly extraordinary opens up to you. You must have faith before you are shown signs.
"But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe."
D&C 63:9