Saturday, September 11, 2010

A New Direction

Sometimes in our lives we travel along roads that are all too unfamiliar to us. Then, when we get to the proverbial fork in the road, must make a decision about which way to go.

I feel that I have been traveling towards a fork in the road, and all I have seen is the ability to turn either right or left. But, what if I decided to create my own road. Where would it lead? Would I be happy with the results? How would I even know?

Although it is not a requirement of my doctoral program I thought I might want to take a few moments to reflect on my journey. The root of Organizational Leadership is founded on principles of self-leadership and mastery. I am not a perfect person, nor do I think I can ever become such. But I can decide to be better. This power to change does not come from fancy over-priced text books, self-help classes, or intriguing emotionally charged movies. Rather the power to change comes from Christ. It is through Him that all things are possible.

I don't know how I will make the journey. There are so many unanswered questions - where will the money come from to pay tuition, books, and travel; or how will my family survive a seemingly absent parent figure (not to mention Becky's own educational journey). All I know is that I have faith. Faith that we will survive - no, not survive. We will flourish, grow, and become who our Father in Heaven wants us to be. As long as we push forward unceasingly with a perfect brightness of hope.

I do have hope. Hope for a better future. Hope that all things are possible. And trust that the journey will be well worth the price.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just When You Think...

I know. Shocker. I am actually writing a blog post. Not sure why I am writing this...but I am.

It is amazing how sometimes you think life is going pretty well, and then Wham-O! Life kicks you pretty hard from the back side. I am really struggling with keeping my head up amidst the latest challenges. I know it is Satan that is getting to me, and I need to get out of this rut. But man...sometimes it is just hard.

There are so many things I want to get out, but all that does is drudge up the negative. So instead I will try to focus on the blessings I have.

A good friend of mine gave an amazing devotional today at work. It was about the Spirit of God and the blessings we can receive by having that Spirit in our lives. My goal this week is to see what I can do to have more of His spirit in my daily life. I need to find ways to not let life's tribulations get the best of me.

So, with that in mind I am off to go see if my broken down car is still on the side of the road. Then hopefully get it running again.

Monday, December 29, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude

President Monson, in the April 1992 General Conference spoke on gratitude of mothers, fathers, teachers, friends, country, and Savior in his talk "An Attitude of Gratitude".

He wrote of teachers as such: The teacher not only shapes the expectations and ambitions of pupils; the teacher also influences their attitudes toward their future and themselves. If the teacher loves the students and has high expectations of them, their self-confidence will grow, their capabilities will develop, and their future will be assured.

If life is the greatest teacher, I would say I have received an amazing lesson. But lessons are only effective if the learner is engaged and willing to learn. Thankfully, I have been an eager learner with regards to my health and possible cancer. Often I received a message of hope of good tidings from friends and even strangers.

Many have even mentioned that they can not believe that we are doing so well regardless of what stormy weather seems to be pounding upon us. I think my secret is two fold: good attitude and gratitude.

When I asked Becky to marry me, I promised I would make her laugh at least once every day. Although I have not been perfect at my goal, I would say that there have only been a few days in our married life that I have not accomplished it (most of those were days that I was out of town.) Finding humor in life has been key for me.

But it was not until recently that I truly found how powerful gratitude can be. I heard recently in a talk that we should try to offer a prayer that is filled with gratitude and does not ask for anything. That attitude has permeated my being and I feel truly grateful for so many of life's little quirks. Sorrows look sweeter, grief is easier to bear, and life is not so easily taken for granted.

If all that I receive from my cancer scare is deeper joy and understanding I will be eternally grateful. I would think my greatest blessing at this time is that I can see blessings a little easier. It is in that way that Christ has taken my burdens and made them light. May I be a profitable servant who lives with an attitude of gratitude.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cumulous Nimbus

I knew that I would have good days and bad days. I was not ready for a rough day to happen today. The frustration of insurance, the worry of money, the realization that my actions (even if not meant) are affecting others, the fitful sleep, the sour orange, have all gotten me a little down today.

I had a horrible time sleeping last night. Waking up more times than I care to count, thinking about my insurance. Worried that they are not paying for everything. It really is a silly thing to get to me, but I guess I have let it get to me today.

So, in the effort to keep my chin up I brought some wonderful, sweet oranges to work. Thinking it was a better choice than the fudge someone brought, I carefully peeled it so as not to get it on my white dress shirt. Smelling the fragrant aroma my mouth was watering. Slowly I took my first expectant bite....ouch. It bit back. The orange was so sour I couldn't even finish the first bite. Since that was a complete bomb I went to wash my hands. As I was drying off, I noticed that my tie was now wet. Guess I washed more than my hands. Ugh...

It sure is funny how there are days that we "carry our own weather." It seems that when I am down that the storms of life billow up a little taller.

In an effort to stay out of my own rain...I ended up eating a piece of fudge. Of course it wasn't what I really wanted, but it was better than a sour orange. For the rest of the day...not sure. Guess I will have to see what I can do to change my weather station.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Journey of Life

Life has been an interesting ride lately. In fact, I am not even sure what to write. Guess I will start with something simple - gratitude.

The gratitude that I have is for the amount of prayers that have been flooding my way. I have never requested anyone to pray for me, but I have definitely felt the wonderful affects. The power of the priesthood and the blessings I have received have truly sustained me in a difficult time.

I am sure there will be many difficult days and months ahead, but I feel the loving peace of Christ each and everyday. One part of my blessing reminded me to see how a caring Father in Heaven is ever mindful of us. He continues to bless us, even when we may not feel worthy to receive it.

Becky asked me the other day if I felt prepared to meet our Heavenly Father face to face. I do not think that anyone truly feels ready - I see so much that I need to improve upon. And yet, compared to yesterday, last month, or last year, I am much more ready today. I think that is how life helps us learn. If we were born ever ready to return to heaven there would be no need for this mortal life. So, in that aspect I see that I am not ready to return home. But I am more prepared today than in the past. And my goal and constant prayer is that I will be more ready tomorrow than I am today.

This isn't meant to be the "Mark is dieing" entry, just a subtle reminder to myself that I have so much to live for. Even today, as I am facing the reality that the doctors think I have cancer, I am upbeat. I am grateful. I am happy. And most of all I am loved.

My hope is that I can live a life dedicated to Christ. That I may be able to give back what I have so aptly taken - the prayer and love of others. This life is truly a journey. One, that if lived each day with the understanding that we are the sons and daughters of a Heavenly King, will bring us back to His presence.

I really enjoy fast and testimony meetings. The kids are so simple in their understanding of life. Without fail few of the young children will stand and declare their love for their family. I too stand with those sweet children announcing my love for my family. They are what sustains me in life. They are the Journey of Life we take together.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fast Cars and Freedom

One of the problems with my trip is that it is full of business meetings. It seems I have very little time to "enjoy" the country. That only happened on the first day here when we went to Alexander Platz and the Brandenburg Gate. Wonderful places of history.

It was truly amazing to stand where the Berlin wall was. The emotions running through my veins were a mixture of sadness and gratitude. The sadness was from realizing that I was standing where brave souls died for the dreams and hopes of a better life. As I reflected on that almost sacred ground, the gratitude I felt for not only my own individual freedoms, but that I was amongst Berliners from East and West and they could travel and commune as freely as I did.

Some of the pictures I uploaded to Facebook were images while we stood on that wonderful ground.

Yesterday we drove 4 hours to Gutersloh for an afternoon of meetings. The Autobahn was amazing. To travel at 100 mph and be passed like we were standing still was boggling to the mind. The feeling of traveling at that speed is very different that traveling in the United States. Here in Germany the roads are so well taken care of and flat that the speed was never an issue. The drivers were so amazingly courteous as well. They would very easily move for a faster moving vehicle and gave appropriate space to other vehicles. Such an antithesis from driving in the states. We traveled 8 hours and never once saw an accident. In Utah I can't seem to drive 8 minutes on the freeway without seeing one. I must admit that one of my greatest childhood dreams was to drive the Autobahn. This Saturday will be my opportunity while we travel from Berlin to Frankfurt.

Hopefully that portion of the trip will allow for a little more downtime. We are going to try to find a few castles to visit along the way. If we do I will be sure to take plenty of pictures.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Best Friend

It must be fall!!! It seems that every fall I listen to more and more country music, then as the weather gets warmer, I listen to rock. Well, today is cold and windy - so country it is. One of my favorite artist is Tim McGraw. Many of his songs seem to speak to me. Today on the way to work I cranked a song of his - "My Best Friend." It is a great song about a man and his best friend, his wife. The words resonant with me very deeply.
You're more than a lover
There could never be another
To make me feel the way you do
Oh we just get closer
I fall in love all over
Every time I look at you
I don't know where I'd be
Without you here with me
Life with you makes perfect sense
You're my best friend
You're my best friend, oh yeah
This is how I feel about my Becky. She really is my best friend. It is hard to imagine that she has been in more than half of my life. Just last week we celebrated Rachael's 17th birthday. It seems like yesterday when Becky and I were 17 and going to homecoming. Since then life has been a blur, with the only undeviating clarity in my life is my love for Becky.

No, today is not an anniversary. Nor is it a birthday. It is just another day that I celebrate My Best Friend. She gives me strength, gives me meaning. Becky - I love you!!!