Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Credit where credit is due....

All right. So it has been over 2 months since I left a post on my blog. I thought it was time to give some credit where it is due.

Most of you know that I am a pretty conservative Republican, with my views being heavily influenced by my deep religious beliefs and some personal Libertarian view points. I think it would be reasonable to say that a person with strong Mormon beliefs who votes Republican and has some Libertarian leanings is not very likely to give good marks to President Obama. But I feel that in order to be honest, I need to say that in at least one area I am very pleased with some recent actions of the President.

As you all know, recently the ship Maersk Alabama was assaulted by pirates in the Indian Ocean. The under-armed crew fought back and disabled the functionality of the ship before surrendering to the pirates. The captain of the ship, Richard Phillips, offered to go with the pirates to their ship to free his crew. The pirates took the captain as hostage and went to their ship, freeing the Captain's crew to receive the aid they needed.

The pirates made a dash for land but were intercepted before they were able to reach land by US Navy Ships. As negotiations for the safe release of Captain Phillips continued on, President "Obama said yes to a Pentagon request for standing authority to use appropriate force to save the life of the captain". (source). (Of course, nobody outside the appropriate people knew this authority had been given at the time).

As negotiations faltered, the local military authority felt that the captain's life was in jeopardy and approved 3 simultaneous shots which killed 3 of the 4 pirates. (I believe the 3 killed pirates were pointing their weapons at the captain, and the 4th was on the phone doing the negotiations).

Bravo the the bravery of the ship's captain who willingly made himself a hostage, and put himself in harms way, to provide for the safety of others.

Bravo for the skill of the Navy Seals who complied with their orders and were thus able to help return an American home safely. I believe some news reports said the the seas were choppy and getting worse, but the marksmen did their job flawlessly.

Bravo for the guts of the local military authority who made the call to rescue the captain.

And a GIANT BRAVO for President Obama and his willingness to give standing authority to the military to save the life of the captain.

I do not believe in President Obama's economic policies. I do not believe that President Obama has the experience necessary to lead this country to safety in these trying times (either economically or against the terrorist threat we have been under for the last decade). But today I have much more confidence in a President who was willing to give his military commanders standing authority in a grave situation to save the life the that ship's captain. The potential "political" fallout would have been very severe for President Obama if the rescue had failed and the captain had lost his life. But, in my opinion the President evaluated the situation at hand and made the correct call, the "right" call, the "just" call. This gives me more hope for the future.

Don't expect me to agree with everything President Obama proposes. Do expect me to give him credit as he makes the tough decisions in a way that I can support.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hawaii Photo Album

By far the most feed back I have received has been from the photos from Hawaii we posted. I have uploaded all of the photos from Sue's camera to a site that you can review. All you have to do is click on this link and you can see all 75 photos from this year's trip.

There are additional flower photos from Sue, some additional whale watching photos, and some more photos of the trip to Haleakala as well as other interesting (at least to me) shots.

I hope you have as much fun looking at the photos as we had taking them!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Change. (And I'm not talking about nickels and dimes).

I am, I think, at a point of significant change in my life. So, today being Sunday, I have spent some time thinking about "change" and the significance it has.

First: a warning. This will be a pretty weird post by me. Feel free to skip it. If you decide to disregard this warning and read it, you will end up with a view into my thoughts and musings, and that can be pretty scary!

I do some pretty weird things when I am considering some of my feelings. Sometimes I like to Google the subject and while doing this tonight I came up with a couple of interesting (to me) observations.

The first is a Wikipedia entry about Greek philosopher named Heraclitus. I think that everyone is acquainted with the saying that "There is nothing as constant as change". I guess that Heraclitus is the person credited with originally coming up with that saying. According to Wikipedia he actually said "Nothing endures but change", but it has also been translated as "There is nothing permanent except change" or "The only constant is change".

The second is a quote by an unknown person. I looked and looked for the author but was never able to find who originally said it. There were lots of websites that made reference to the quote, but when it was attributed, it was always "Author Unknown". The quote is: "If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies". I thought that was pretty profound.

There are several things that have caused me to think about change today. Jason may or may not be looking to change his employment in the next month or so. Dan & Janelle and their family will be leaving us in about 2 months to live for 4 months in Gary, Indiana as he tries his hand at selling security systems. Matt & Kathie and their family are considering (as I understand it, no decision has been made YET) going with Dan & Janelle. And today I was released as the membership clerk in the YSA Ward that I have served in for the last 3.5 years.

The last change I mentioned has probably made me look at hardest at the changes occurring in my life. I served for about 1.5 years as the financial clerk to Bishop Woolley. I then served almost 9 years as a clerk in the Stake, first as financial clerk and then as Stake Computer Specialist. I had a year away from clerking, serving as the 2nd assistant in the Ward High Priest Group leadership, and then I received the call that I was released from today. So I can say that for pretty much 14 of the last 15 years I have been serving as a clerk.

I don't anticipate serving soon again in a clerking capacity (of course, nobody knows Heavenly Father's plans for them). I do want to serve where the Lord wants me to serve, but the last 3 months were pretty hard for me. I feel like I did not finish the race at a full sprint, but that I barely stumbled across the finish line. I was burnt out from being a clerk. I am embarrassed to say that. I feel like I did not "magnify" the calling for the last 3 months. I've known Bishop Arnell for probably 18 years and I felt that I let him down, too.

I am excited about the new Bishop. It is my best friend, Tom. He struggled a bit as the Spirit whispered to him that he would receive this call, but was able to put his trust in the Lord and is now looking forward to serving in this capacity.

So, as this is a season of change for me, maybe I can turn this into a positive and serve valiantly. If I had my choice, I would like to teach a youth Sunday School class, so that I could attend High Priest group meeting during priesthood time. But I will serve where Bishop Rascon and his counselors feel impressed to call me to serve.

Maybe I can also do some work on getting into better shape, losing some weight, and being a better grandpa, father, husband and person.

And maybe, just maybe, when you read this blog a year from now, you will see the change that started today was the beginning of my metamorphosis!