Friday, November 7, 2008

Separation of Church and State

The 1st Amendment of the United States of America reads:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

This reads that government should not be able to have an influence on religion. Religious groups have every right to be involved in political process. This does not mean political candidates, but it means political stances on morality issues. When a church that is opposed to gambling, abortion, gay-rights, etc. Then that church has a right to try and influence its members to defend morality.

I have recently heard people complain, saying "If a religious group wants to get involved in governement then they should lose their tax exept status." Our country's religions should not be bullied when they are only trying to influence their members to do what they think is morally right. It is government that should stay out of religion, not religion that should stay out of government.

Our country was founded with freedom of religion. I stand by the 11th article of faith that says

"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Joy in My Kids

Daily Morning Snuggle Time

Still learning to drink from a hose

What a great Big Brother

She is getting really good at ripping books apart

That Toad Tickles

It sure is fun being a Father.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rant of the Day

I love this country and what it stands for. I tell my kids how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads, food on the tables, a bed to sleep in, and most of all freedom. We have so much freedom. We have the freedom to be whatever we want. I believe that this country gives us the opportunities to be whomever we want. We are here in this life to live, learn, and grow. We just have to put forth the effort to learn and grow.

There are so many Americans that have forgotten the effort side of growth. Can this be partly to blame for the current economic crisis in America? Many of the borrowers were more motivated by the big house with the big payment, than the smaller house well within their means. Many Americans don't want to put the time in to save for that big house. Average American credit card debt is $8,000. Doesn't that seem crazy? Is it because Americans are struggling and they are using their credit card to live? Or more likely, Is it because they just not do without the latest gadget, style, or accessory that comes on the market? What ever happened to saving for the nice things in life? If you want a new car, save. If you want a Wii, save. Americans have become a "got to have it now" society. This is what has created so much debt. Kids get out of college and want to live how their parents lived. Cable/Sat TV is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. 62% of people that live in poverty pay for cable/Sat tv. Where are American's priorities? Why can't American's be gracious for what we have? Instead of being gracious it seems that Americans just want more. Where is the sense of responsibility? Why is it someone elses fault when something is purchased, but can't be afforded?

I hope that I can teach my kids to appreciate what they have. I hope that they know that "stuff" will not bring them happiness. I hope that I can teach them proper goals to strive for, and when they have those goals,....I hope that my children will have the opportunity to struggle for those goals. That way, when that goal is reached it will be appreciated more. I hope that I can teach them to fail with honor. Failure is an important part of learning. When we fail we learn. If we pick ourselves up when we fail and try again, then we gain invaluable experience. Life is not supposed to be easy. Life is supposed to be filled with trials. We have a Heavenly Father that can guide us through any of our trials. I hope most of all to teach them to rely on him. His guidance will always bring us peace and comfort.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Where Can I Serve

I have been thinking a lot about service lately, and what I can do more in my life to serve. Sometimes when we think of service, we think of something big and bold that we can do that can very obviously help someone. Sometimes opportunities like this might arise in life, but for the most part service is something different.

I think I learned how to put this in words a couple of Sundays ago. We had a youth speaker that spoke on service. He had been having the same thoughts. He wanted to serve, but wasn't sure how. Then he had some words come into his mind. They said to him "Service is a state of mind."

If you think about that it says a lot. Our mind needs to always be ready to serve. We constantly have opportunities to serve. Most might not think of them.

Our families give us constant opportunities. I can definitly be less selfish at home. I could go more. Whether it is dishes, picking up, or reading to my kids. Not to say that I don't do these, but I could be more willing to...especially the dishes. There are many things at home I could do better. I could be better outside of home too. Sometimes I could be more willing to volunteer my time. There are always opportunities, but sometimes life just gets in the way. It wouldn't get in the way if I made it more of a priority.

And as our attitudes that we develope become more Christ like, then we will naturally better see the needs of our fellow man. We will be more apt to listen to that still small voice and heed it's suggestions.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

WoW - Prophetic Words of D&C 89

I have been doing some thinking about the "Word of Wisdom". Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants is commonly refered to (in LDS circles) as the "Word of Wisdom". This is why most LDS members choose to not smoke or drink.

First a little background. This is a revelation given to Joseph Smith in 1833. Early on in the LDS Church, some of the members would use tobacco products in meetings. This led Joseph into thought about it and eventually took it to the Lord. D&C is the revelation that was given to Joseph.

Just reading this section and thinking about it one should realize this was from God. This was given in 1833... God wants us to take care of ourselves. His plan is the great plan of happiness. He knows that if we are healthy then we will be happier. D&C 89 tells us how to eat. It also warns us against the use of Tobacco and Alcohol products. This is more what I wanted to talk about.

Jesus Christ drank wine. It is clear in the scriptures that he did. So why would he recommend against it in our day?

D&C 89:4

4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation

I think that our Heavenly Father saw our day. He saw where alcohol use would go. He saw the alcohol corporations that we have today. These corporations do not care about anything except making money. He saw the pressure we would face to consume alcohol. He also saw the lives that would be destroyed.

Here are just a couple of alcohol related statistics:(
- Drunk drivers are responsible for 50% of highway fatalities.
- Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of America's murders, suicides and accidental deaths.
- More than three fourths of female victims of nonfatal, domestic violence reported that their assailant had been drinking or using drugs.
- Underage drinking costs Americans nearly $53 billion annually. If this cost were shared equally by each congressional district, the amount would total more than $120 million per district.
- Individuals in stable marriages have the lowest incidence of lifetime prevalence of alcoholism ( 8.9%) as opposed to co-habiting adults who have never been married (29.2%).
- Approximately 14 million people in the United States are addicted to alcohol or abuse alcohol.
- 500,000 Americans who are dependent on alcohol are between the ages of 9 and 12.

I am thankful that I have never had a problem with alcohol abuse. I have met many people who have a hard time enjoying life without alcohol to enhance the experience. The freedom of alcohol use in time can become chains. I appreciate the freedom that I have in the choice of not using alcohol. The Lord always gives good council.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chubb Trail

Well, I hit the trail on my mountain bike. Since our recent move to Eureka, MO I have been checking out the bike trails. We are close to a Route 66 park and we have a bike path that cuts through our new subdivision and right out the park. This is a great perk of living here. I have been hooking up the trailer on my bike and toting the kids around. I throw some books, toys and snacks into the trailer and I can get a good 10-12 mile ride in. Plus we would stop by a park so they can play.

I was doing this for a couple of weeks and checking out all of the different paths when I found one that went right up the entrance of the Chubb Trail. For those of you that don't know the Chubb Trail is probably the most difficult mountain biking trail that this area has to offer. What makes it hard is all of the roots and rocks that cover the path. If you are a novice rider, like myself, as soon as you get you momentum going on a climb, you hit a root and it stops you in your tracks. I used to ride this trail quite a bit and really enjoyed it. Of course that was probably 3 years and 30 pounds ago.

So I hit the trail. It was a beaultiful morning. The dew had made the ground pretty wet and the rocks pretty slippery. It was pretty frustrating. I used to be able to just get up the momentum and power over obsticles. That wasn't happening this time. Also about half way through the trail my back tire slipped on a boulder and I went down pretty hard. My hand was numb for about 1/2 an hour from hitting it so hard. I also was slightly bleeding from my leg and arm. It was a lot tougher than I remember. Overall I really enjoyed the ride. It got my heart racing and my lungs burning. When I would get going it was invigorating. Going up and down the rolling hills felt great. It made me miss it alot. Hopefully I will be able to hit the trails a lot more in the near future.

1st Post

I have been looking at others blogs for a while and thinking of starting my own, well this is my first attempt at this. I guess I will start with a little bit about myself.

I was born in Indianapolis, IN, raised in Texas (El Paso, Midland, Houston), and have now lived in the St.Louis, MO area since 1993. So I pretty much feel like a St. Louis Native. I have been here 15 years now. Go Cards...

I currently work for BJC HealthCare in their IS department. I support the network of 2 of the hospitals in their healthcare system.

I am married to a wonderful woman. We have been married for 5 1/2 years now. She is a great wife and companion. We have 3 sweetheart little kids. Their ages are 4,2, and 10 mo. The oldest 2 are boys and the youngest is a girl. They bring us a lot of joy.

Religion is a large part of our lives. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, or Mormons as the media terms us. This church is the best way that I know to help me grow as a person and us as a family. It helps us grow closer to God and closer to each other.

I am sure that I will get into many of theses subjects more as this blog goes on. For now I will end this post.