Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book Review: Shaman's Crossing

Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb.

I tried to like it. Really I did. I wanted to enjoy it, immerse myself into the world.

Instead, every page felt like a chore, every paragraph took great effort to work through.

Robin Hobb captivated me with her Farseer Trilogy. Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin’s Quest--I loved them. I liked the characters, I felt as if I knew the world, had walked the streets, smelled the smells, heard the sounds.

The world of the Soldier Son Trilogy felt completely alien. It felt false to me.

It’s not that she cannot write; she can, and does it well. It was the alien nature of the world and the pacing. I could not see where she was going with the characters. I did not like the characters and I certainly was not vested in them.

I did not care about them one whit.

Jerky.

That’s the feeling for which I’ve been searching: jerky. It felt jerky. Not disjointed--well, maybe a bit--but just plain jerky. Like a 15-year-old boy trying to drive a car with a racing clutch. The story jerked and halted in fits and starts until I just could not take it any longer.

I finally rescued my bookmark from the middle of the book and the book went back on the “library book” shelves in the front room. If I run out of reading material before it is due back to the library, who knows? I may pick it up again and plow through to the end. I may even find something entirely surprising and enjoyable in the process.

But saying that I ran out of reading material? That’s like saying the Rocky Mountains ran out of rocks.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ll try Ms. Hobb again. I can’t wait to start the Tawny Man Trilogy. Plus, the Farseer Trilogy has made it onto the “I liked it when I read it from the public library so I’m willing to spend money on buying the book and adding it to my own shelves” list.

Maybe I'll try again in a year or so to pick up Shaman's Crossing again. Maybe I just read myself out of the mood.

Maybe.

But it'll be a while.

Read More......

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Constructive Thoughts: Liberty

I must warn you up front: as those of you who know me well understand, this is a topic near and dear to me. This will likely be a long post--and will probably take up two posts. Buckle up.

Liberty: "Since the beginning of the world, many have talked, written, suffered, cried, and died for liberty. Artists paint it, sculptors sculpt it, philosophers describe it, dictators and tyrants suppress it, and prophets teach it." (Charles Didier, "Liberty," New Era, Jul. 1986 at 4.) But what is liberty?

The 1828 edition of Webster's Dictionary defines liberty as: "Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty, when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty, when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty, when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions." We could add to that definition, saying the soul is at liberty by obedience to the law of Christ, and "One who enjoys such liberty is, in the words of Jesus, ‘free indeed.' He is possessed of perfect liberty." (Marion G. Romney, "The Perfect Law of Liberty," Ensign, Nov. 1981 at 43 (quoting John 8:36).)

In the Book of Second Nephi in the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Lehi and his family have arrived in a new land, a promised land, which modern revelation teaches us is the Americas. As the book begins, Nephi has taught the colonists, and exhorted them, using the words of the Prophet Isaiah, which scriptures they have brought with them in their records. Lehi, their patriarch and living prophet, speaks to the group regarding their behavior, the land, and the promises God has made to them. Lehi is nearing the end of his days and takes this opportunity to teach and counsel his family. He tells them that "we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord." (2 Nephi 1:5)

Aside: That passage has always reminded me of the words of the poet Emma Lazurus: "Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . . ."

Father Lehi adds further emphasis to this point, saying: "Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord." (2 Nephi 1:6) Truly a promised land; there must surely be a requirement, a stewardship, imposed upon inhabitants of a promised land.

True in this case: the requirement which must be met to prosper in this promised land is a message of great importance. Lehi restates the requirement five times in this chapter alone. It is a message of great importance not only to Lehi's family, but also a message of great importance to our day concerning our righteousness and our prosperity in the land. What is this requirement? Let's take a look at several verses in 2 Nephi:

10 But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.
Then go back a few verses to verse 7:
7 Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.
. . . .
9 Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.
Then jumping ahead to verse 20: "And he hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence." And finally to verse 31:

31 Wherefore, because thou hast been faithful thy seed shall be blessed with his seed, that they dwell in prosperity long upon the face of this land; and nothing, save it shall be iniquity among them, shall harm or disturb their prosperity upon the face of this land forever.
Careful study of these Book of Mormon verses reveal many other Book of Mormon references to this covenant with those in this promised land. This concept appears to be one of those prophetic utterances that was preserved in the hearts and writings of the people from generation to generation. The Psalmist, for example, said it this way: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD." (Psalms 33:12.)

Modern revelation tells us that "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." (D&C 130:20-21) In other words, where we have received a promise from God, all we need is to obey His commandments concerning that promise in order to receive a fulfillment of that promise.

What was required of Lehi's family? To keep the commandments.

What was the promised reward? They shall be blessed upon the land, never be brought unto captivity, they would prosper in the land, etc.

And all that was required was to keep His commandments. Put another way, only iniquity would destroy their prosperity.

In yet other words, iniquity destroys liberty.

How important is this idea, that libery, prosperity, and observance of the Lord's commandments are all interrelated? Consider the following quotations: (all emphases in the originals).
    • "Of all the . . . habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. . . . Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. . . . it is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. . . . Who . . . can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?" --George Washington

    • "Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt." --Samuel Adams

    • "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." --John Adams

    • "I agree to this Constitution . . . and I believe, further, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other." --Benjamin Franklin

    • "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters." --Benjamin Franklin

    • "Statesmen . . . may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure, than they have it now, they may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty." --John Adams
These are just a few quotes of many; the Founding Fathers understood this requirement. Massachusetts Governor and 2008 Presidential candidate Mitt Romney put the thought to voice in this way: "Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."

All of these thoughts share the same idea: "Freedom is not an absolute concept, but is a kind of balance between two extremes. One extreme is the lawlessness and disorder of anarchy, which is the total absence or suspension of government the other extreme is the absence of liberty resulting from complete control of the people by the government. This balance, called freedom, can exist only as long as the people involved, by their own inward motivation, act righteously enough for it to continue." (Jerome Horowitz, The Elders of Israel and the Constitution at 27 (2d ed. 1970) (emphasis added).)

Of course, freedom is not the only promise from God found in these passages. There is another promise, a more dire promise. In verse 10 we are told that those that dwindle in unbelief and reject the true Messiah shall have the judgments of God rest upon him. Look again at the "areas of dwindling" listed in that verse. Those who dwindle lose their belief in the following: the creation by God of the earth and all men; the scriptural record of the 'great and marvelous works of the Lord'; the possibility and ability to do things by faith; the Commandments; the infinite goodness of the Lord; and finally, the Messiah.

Has this nation dwindled since the days of our ancestors?

In how many of these beliefs is America still solid?

Think about that; I'll be back with more soon.

Read More......

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bicycles and Benzes

For about a week now, I've been riding my bicycle to work. Saves on $4/gallon gasoline and gives me a little much-needed exercise.

Consider for a moment that I haven't been on a bicycle in nearly two years.

But you can just wheel the bike out of the garage, pump up the tires, and pick up right where you left off, right?

Right?!?

Yeah. Sure.

It makes for what I am sure is a comedic image to passers-by.

Dress clothes, big goofy helmet, metal pant-leg clips, dress shoes.

Don't forget the tie flapping in the breeze.

Consistent, repeated riding puts you in tune with the rhythm of traffic. You keep in tune with your bike's idiosyncracies. It also lets you hone those little skills that you forget over time.

Little things like forgetting that while riding parallel to the curb and approaching a commercial driveway to swoop up onto the sidewalk, you can't just drift over the little lip at the end of the driveway.

Especially not while at a full-out sprinting pace.

Do you know what happens? Even with a thick, knobby mountain bike tire?

If the lip is just a tad too high, that wheel ain't goin' over. Not if you attempt a "drift"; at a greater than ten degree angle, perhaps.

Do you know what happens?

The tire decides it likes to stay on the gutter side of the driveway while all the other parts of the bicycle--including the rider--simply decide that they prefer to keep accelerating onto the sidewalk side of the driveway.

There's a reason they teach you to jump off a bicycle rather than ride it to the ground. Fortunately, I remembered and jumped. Rather, my muscles remembered and jumped for me.

Ouch.

Now my muscles are punishing me.

I will not even start to discuss the lobotomy that apparently occurs when an individual purchases a Mercedes Benz. I was almost taken out by a brand-new Mercedes sport-utility vehicle of some ilk just five minutes after the curb incident.

The guy was speeding out of an office parking lot.

He was looking to the right. Watching the traffic on the right.

He was turning right.

Do you see the problem here? Why are you watching the traffic in a lane of traffic in which you do not plan on driving?

He never even looked left. Never looked at the oncoming traffic, into which he was going to be merging.

Never even saw me.

At least, not until I had stood the bike on its front wheel trying to stop before he hit me.

All I got in return was an open mouth and a blank stare. No mouthed apology. Not even a friendly wave.

An open mouth and a blank stare.

It happened again about four minutes later with a completely different Mercedes, completely different driver. At least this time his wife yelled at him before he got to me.

The thing's a hood ornament, people. It ain't crosshairs.

Read More......

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Constructive Thoughts: Who's Side?

Picture yourself in a large room, like a typical chapel, with three columns of pews, numerous rows. As I said, a typical chapel to be found in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint ward building.

Picture yourself in this room, sitting about three rows from the front, center aisle, in the very center of the pew. This seat represents the “middle of the road,” spiritually-speaking. The area to your right represents all the good things that can be done in life. The area on your left represents the wrong things that can be done in life. The further to the right and left we go in the room, the better--or worse--those choices become.

Without turning your head, from where you are sitting, it would be difficult to see someone sitting on your immediate right and your immediate left. That difficulty becomes greater--approaching and possibly attaining impossibility as you reach the far ends of the side aisles--still on the third row--on either side of you.

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presented a similar object lesson at a speech given at Brigham Young University some years ago. He gave the listeners the following explanation:

“In the middle, it is difficult to discern what is right and what is wrong. This middle area is where Satan works with righteous people, the twilight zone where you cannot clearly discern between what is good and what is bad. It is easy to become confused here. Live well within the wonderful area of good the Lord has defined, and you won’t have any problems with temptation. If you are not sure whether something is appropriate to look at, to listen to, to think about, or to do, then avoid it. You could be headed for one of Satan’s traps.” (Richard G. Scott, “Do What is Right,” Ensign, June 1997 at 51, 53-54.)

In other words, when we stand in the middle of the road, we can sometimes discern the immediate right and wrong. As the choices extend further out, however, it is sometimes difficult to discern the chain of choices before us. We may instinctively know what the ultimate result of our choices would be, but it is difficult sometimes to actually see them. Those on either side of us, however, can often see exactly what lays before us and may be able to see--better than we can, anyway--where our choices are leading us.

Those on either side of us can also influence our actions and affect the outcome of our decisions. They can affect for good or for ill.

There is a war going on, a very ancient war. The battlefields have grown and expanded. Wilford Woodruff, fourth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught: “Opposition to God and His Christ, opposition to light and truth has existed since the beginning to the present day. This is the warfare that commenced in heaven, that has existed through all time, and that will continue until the winding up scene, until He reigns whose right it is to reign, when He shall come in clouds of glory to reward every man according to the deeds done in the body.” (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff at 220.)

How is this battle fought? President Gordon B. Hinckley stated that the adversaries “have used every stratagem in that conflict. They’ve indulged in lying and deceit. They’ve employed money and wealth. They’ve tricked the minds of men. They’ve murdered and destroyed and engaged in every kind of evil practice to thwart the work of Christ.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “An Unending Conflict, A Victory Assured,” Ensign, June 2007 at 4.)

Can an individual remain neutral in this fight? No. In this eternal fight, every person is involved and affected. There can be no neutral ground. There is no spiritual Switzerland.

There are several reasons for this, which include: when a crucial task must be performed, neutrality by an able-bodied person is an aid and advantage to the enemy; neutrality renders comfort and assistance to the enemy; neutrality helps the enemy because they need not fight against the neutral; and neutrality also creates a lack of help that could have been given our side had the individual chosen a side. As Joshua instructed the Israelites, “choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15) and as Moses said to the multitude when he returned from the mount with the Commandments, “Who is on the LORD's side? let him come unto me.” (Exodus 32:26)

How do we get out of the middle of the road, then? One relatively-simple way is to read the Word of God. President Benson was a great proponent of the Book of Mormon, and the power that book holds. He said,

“It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Jan. 1992, 2.)

To paraphrase a political leader of our day, paraphrasing his secular words and applying them to the spiritual: the Lord works in plainness, in truth, and in goodness, we face an enemy that uses deception and cunning to destroy souls and then rejoice about it, they gloat. They bring only misery and spiritual death to the world, threatening every nation and civilization itself, striking from the shadows. We must be determined to fight this evil, and fight until we are rid of it.

Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Now is the time to show.
We ask it fearlessly:
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
We wage no common war,
Cope with no common foe.
The enemy’s awake;
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

We serve the living God,
And want his foes to know
That, if but few, we’re great;
Who's on the Lord's side? Who?
We’re going on to win;
No fear must blanch the brow.
The Lord of Hosts is ours;
Who's on the Lord's side? Who?

. . . .

The pow’rs of earth and hell
In rage direct the blow
That’s aimed to crush the work;
Who's on the Lord's side? Who?
Truth, life, and liberty,
Freedom from death and woe,
Are stakes we’re fighting for;
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?


(Hymns, "Who’s on the Lord’s Side?," no. 260
Text: Hannah Last Cornaby, 1822––1905
Music: Henry H. Russell, 1818––1900, alt.)

One last point to remember: where Satan coerces and tricks, the Lord freely, openly invites all to come unto Him.

Everyone.

Read More......

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Problems

I was all prepared to have my Sunday blog entry uploaded tonight. However, as I began to write it, I noticed that several of my recent posts were missing and some had some odd links.

In short, I have had to recreate and rebuild the entries since the 20th of May.

I hope I found them all. I feel bad, however. In making the fixes, I lost the one comment I have received since starting the blog. A reader named "Nitesh" was kind enough to leave positive feedback about my "National Humility" blog. I cannot even tell you from whence Nitesh was reading; I had two visitors at the same time from two different places. At any rate, thanks for the kind words, Nitesh--I hope you come back soon, as you promised!

So... While you're awaiting the newest Constructive Thoughts, please feel free to browse down through the next few entries: there may be something there you have not seen before.

Sorry for the inconvenience. And sorry for the oddities. I am still not sure what caused it.

Let me know if you see anything else odd.

Besides my opinions, my personality, and my writing, that is!

Read More......

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Prayers for the Senator

There are plenty of bad things I could say about Massachusetts Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy. I've been thinking about this for several weeks now.

I am not going to go there, however.

I have heard over the past few weeks talk-show hosts and talk-show listeners of various ilk, persuasion, and political leanings make constant reference to these things, and some have even made fun of the man.

But I refuse to follow in their footsteps.

Because of the brain tumor.

I am not--as others have--going to bring up any of the bad legislation, rumored questionable antics, or alleged scandalous personal issues the man has spawned over the years.

I am going to give him a pass on all that for a while.

Because of the brain tumor.

I have lost two uncles to cancer.

Another one has not much longer to live.
I have rarely agreed with anything Senator Kennedy has ever said, save for some of his positions on the so-called Bankruptcy Reform Act back in 2005.

But I am going to give him a pass this time.

Because of the brain tumor.

He is a human being, after all. The man has a family; a family who loves him. And I know a little bit about what his family is going through and what they must be thinking. What realizations they are having and eventualities they are coming to accept.

I have seen the pain, the physical ravages that this disease causes in the victim. I have seen the pain, the emotional ravages, the psychological storms, the spiritual questions that this disease causes in the victim's family.

The Honorable Edward Kennedy has, by all accounts, received a death sentence.

And that weighs a bit more heavily than partisan politics and disagreeable policies.

I do not know the man and he and his family will probably never know how I feel.

But all the same, I wish to send him and his family God's blessings and comfort. I hope for all the best for him. I truly wish him all the best and hope he has a speedy recovery. I'm going to include him in my prayers.

I hope his family has him around--to love and appreciate--just as long as they possibly can.

Because I know how they feel.

Read More......

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Constructive Thoughts: Fatherhood

Greetings....Due to a migraine the past two days, I'm a little late with this post.

I have this group of buddies from High School and College. We still get together once or twice a month for a game night--our version of Poker night, I suppose. No poker is played, but we may play some board games, various card games, or some Role-Playing Games. Whatever strikes our fancy, in other words. Each of us leaves our wives and family at home and congregate for six hours or so of manly fun.

It started me thinking; the first thing that came to my mind were the teachings of two modern-day prophets: "No other success in life can compensate for failure in the home" (David O. McKay (1964)) and "The greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home." (Harold B. Lee (1973)). That in turn made me go even deeper. Are my priorities in order? Do I give my best time to those who mean the most to me? Does my family get steak and ice cream? Or do they get the left-overs: reheated hot dogs and warm soda? (And I'm talking the beef/chicken/pork wieners, not the all-beef kind).

So, I jumped on the internet and started doing a little research. The first thing that popped up was a discourse printed in 1973, recently re-printed in a 2002 issue of the Ensign magazine. The article was entitled, appropriately enough: Father, Consider Your Ways.

Let's just say that after reading this article, there were a lot more concerns on my mind than simply steak versus "mystery meat" wieners. There's a lot in there and I'd highly recommend any of my male readers to gird their loins and take a gander. In the interest of time, I'm only going to touch upon a couple of the article's points.

First, a father is a teacher, we're told.

LW and I home-school the Horde. We yearn after wide open spaces--maybe even some woods--on and in which the Horde can play, explore, and learn. What we have now is nice and large, but still: not to worry about neighbors, neighborhoods, strangers, et cetera? What would that be worth?

OK. I digressed. Suffice it to say, we home-school the Horde.

Realize, when I say WE home-school, I mean that my LW home-schools and I...ummm..., well, I'm the Principal who more-often-than-not stumbles over a history or art notebook on my way to my favorite chair. I admit that to my shame, actually.

And after reading the article? I admit that NOW with even more shame. New and improved guilt.

Teaching, this article reminds me, "is accomplished by precept and example. You cannot be one thing and effectively teach another."

Wow.

Now, I have not done anything REALLY bad. Most of the Ten Commandments are reasonably out-of-range and safe. But still, I can remember both times I ever heard my mother or father use a four-letter word. And by both, I mean once each. I mean, I can remember CLEARLY. Where I was, the circumstances surrounding them. Not sure of my ages, but I can remember just about everything else. They just never used the words, although I'm sure I gave them cause once in a while.

Me? Hmmm.... Not so much.

Don't get me wrong; I don't use the worst of the worst. I'm not even in the same class as the father from the movie A Christmas Story. But if I slice my thumb open with a carving knife or wrack my shin on the piano bench, the family usually knows about it in loud and certain terms.

I can gain some aid and support from the article as well as the guilt, though: "Your children may or may not choose to follow you, but the example you give is the greatest light you hold before your children, and you are accountable for that light." While that is a daunting statement, it also provides a crutch--remembering the examples I have set and the example I MUST set and for which I'm accountable--that gives me an impetus to do better.

Second, a father is responsible for the welfare of his family, we're told.

Specifically,

"It is God's plan that you work for what you get. Your occupation should be honorable and should provide sufficiently to meet the needs of your family. Are your duties and labors undertaken with a joyful and thankful spirit? Do your wife and children feel secure because you feel good about your occupation?"

I'm in trouble here as well. While I believe my occupation is honorable (although some would beg to differ [insert your own lawyer joke here] ) and while our needs are met (barely), I cannot truthfully say that I undertake anything in my professional life with a joyful and thankful spirit. I certainly don't feel good about my occupation; rather, I do not necessarily feel good about my current employment situation. While my LW understands how I feel, I do my best to hide it from the Horde. They certainly do not need that worry in their life.

You see, I grew up in a family that was living on the razor's edge and I never knew it until I was married. I was taught that a Big Mac was two sandwiches and should be eaten that way. My mother froze Arby's sandwiches that she bought in bulk when they went on sale. My parents did odd jobs throughout my childhood to supplement the household income and I never thought twice about it. I never knew that we did not have money, until--as I said--I was married. I still am not convinced I know just how poorly off we were.

And that, I think, is how it should be. That is how I try to raise the Horde.

But the "happiness in my labors" factor? Not so much. As most of you know, I am not extremely happy in my current situation. Most of that is because of inner-office politics. However, I will admit a portion of that unhappiness comes from a personal negative attitude.

Even worse, I am afraid that the Horde--or at least, the older members--are all too aware of my unhappiness. That's not a very good example. And I don't know--honestly--how secure they feel. I'm afraid to ask them, frankly.

What can be done? Well, obviously the complaining about the job while I am around the Horde--that has to stop. The "joyful and thankful spirit" that I have to cultivate? I'll have to take a second look--or third, fourth, and fifth look--at my attitude and try and do better. Maybe looking for a change in atmosphere would not be a bad thing.

What I know is that I'm going to have to change.

"Father, you are accountable to the Lord for what you have and what you are. In the future you will surely stand before Him. What will be your report concerning your family? Will you be able to report that your home was a place of love, a bit of heaven? . . . Will you be able to report that you created an environment in your home to build faith in a living God, to encourage learning, to teach order, obedience, and sacrifice? . . . The day will come when you will stand before the Lord and report your stewardship as a father on earth. Father, consider your ways. What will be your report?"

A lot to think about. What do I need to change?

Does my monthly game night have to go? Do I sufficiently balance that time with time given to my family? Something to consider....

Family definitely comes before anything at the office, a fact that my boss does not appreciate and only barely tolerates.

Does my family come before the internet? before blogging? before television? before books? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

"It takes hard work and planning to rear your children in righteousness and have unity with your wife, to build a constant feeling of love and harmony in the home."

What do I need to change?

What will be my report?

Read More......