Thursday, November 13, 2008


I'm grateful for the atonement. I'm grateful for joy. I'm grateful that I can choose joy. I choose joy by choosing to live in harmony with the plan of happiness. I don't have to choose this. This is the magic part. It's magic because when I choose joy my joy is greater BECAUSE I choose it. I LOVE that!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Brazil for Christmas

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To most people it will seem that I just got back from Brazil.

I did not get close to enough of it when I was there in October. I have had a concern about what to do for Christmas. I have not considered Brazil because Delta® doesn't fly to Recifé until December 21st. I thought for certain that I would not be able to afford a Skymiles® seat on Delta's maiden voyage to Recifé. I looked it up last week, and I COULD afford it. I booked the tickets and I will be with the girl I love for Christmas!

I am so excited!

A Hero

My divorce was a horrible thing. It was worse than a death. I can describe it as a horrible death that happened over and over and over again. Sometimes we experienced the same death over and over again in the same day.

Many days I suffered these deaths all on my own. I have never felt more forgotten by my Heavenly Father. I had never felt more alone.

It was sad and the whole thing had sucked donkeys! (This phrase was borrowed from early 90's SNL skit.)

Kat and I both made many mistakes. Many couples make the same mistakes. At the worst of the times in my marriage I would look around and think to myself.  'Whew... We are better off than most people.'

When I found out that my marriage was over it was a shock. I was very surprised. I never thought it would happen to me. It made me angry.

Kathleen did not want to work on our marriage and that made me sad. She did start to develop a vision of our future that took me a long time to buy into but ultimately I started to see that vision also.

Kat had this idea that she and I could keep our friendship for the kids' sake. Her vision was that for the kids we could remain divorced and still respect and help each other.

My divorce was the easiest and cheapest ones that I have ever heard of. We didn't use lawyers and we carefully drew up our own papers keeping each others needs and feeling at the forefront. There was still fear from both of us that the other may want to treat us unfairly. Ultimately we made things very fair for both.

Every once in awhile egos will get hurt and those harsh feelings got uncovered. Now these pains are quickly eliminated. That ego (that little me) is quickly reminded that it is not in charge that it does not control us, and our true spirits take over to heal and point us in the right direction again.

Finally I feel comfortable that I am going to be okay. I have found a girl to date that is wonderful. As much as I love Cynthia I also have this knowledge that I will be fine with or without her. This makes it so that there is not a pressure to be someone that I am not. This knowledge allows me to be genuine. My future marriage will be much better for this.

I see that I am a much better person since my divorce. Things that I have learned rarely get learned by people. I had enormous motivation to learn these things and learn them quickly. I would not have learned these things as clearly as I did without Kathleen's patient feedback.

It hasn't been easy for either of us to make these changes in our lives. We have had to take a hard close look at our insecurities and shortcomings and had to figure out how to make these things strengths.

Kat and I have become a team again where it comes to our kids. We are patient with each other and we support each other in discipline and goals.

Thanks to Kathleen's vision we have maintained our friendship. We have both moved on and left pettiness and egos behind. If she hadn't had this vision and shared this vision with me it would have been easy to just keep our relationship to a contractual level. It would have been very difficult for our kids. It would have been easy to be vindictive and petty. 

Kathleen has been a hero in our divorce. She hasn't always made the choices I agreed with, but she gave me a vision for a future that put our children first and made it so that we could both be happy and enjoy our lives.

My future doesn't include Kathleen as the most important person in my life. I am excited for that role to be filled by another. I will be forever grateful to Kathleen for being so cooperative in our divorce. I am also grateful to her for showing me a vision where our we can put our children first and make things as good as possible for them.

Thanks Kat!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I am not certain that I am spelling this correctly at all. I am spelling it the way I heard it. I am new to Portuguese someday perhaps I will know. Maybe Clay or Cynthia will help me out here. I will correct it when I find out how to REALLY spell it.Paralelepipedo is the cobblestone that make up many of the streets in Brazil. This word is very fun to say. Try to say it with me:

pah - dah - leh - leh - pee - PEH - doo

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It is much more fun to say than it is to walk on. I found myself tripping very often. It was not just me either. I saw many Brazilians trip on the cobblestone everyday, just as I was doing. I started to think it was funny.

The cobblestone was nice to look at. It really added an extra level of atmosphere. Recifé was unique to the cities that I have seen all over the world. Recifé would not have been Recifé without the palm trees, the coconut milk stands, the colorful buildings, the people sitting outside their homes at night talking and laughing, and yes... Recifé would not have been Recifé without the cobblestone streets... the paralelepipedo.

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I have been thinking of all of the ways that I could blog my trip to Brazil. My heart has been filled with a richness for the past few months as time led up to my trip. I felt I was already in love before I left.

Certainly I have found love in Brazil... it was beyond all of my dreams of what love could be. No one wants to read about this though.

I have been finding peace in my life for awhile now. I have been CHOOSING happiness. I could be happy going alone but I have longed for a relationship with a woman that I could love, adore, and cherish. Life without someone to share it with lacks richness... Life without a companion lacks color.

I believe that I am in the type of relationship now that I have always longed for. One where I am comfortable to be me. One where my companion will be comfortable to be her, one where we are both genuine. This is magic.

But I thought people would enjoy reading about paralelepipedo more than anything else. So that is what I wrote about.

The View from My Office

The view from my office

My position has been moved out of state. I was given the option to move with my position or not move and not keep my position.

Today I told my manager that I will move. I was thinking about this when I looked out my window and once again realized that I have enjoyed a FANTASTILICIOUS view for the past 7 years. I will really miss this view. I have been lucky to work from this vantage point.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Sometimes when we FEEL our prayers are not answered we feel like PROFESSOR CHAOS... The truth is... Our prayers are always answered.

Later in this episode Professor Chaos (Buttars) tries to flood the world by turning on the hose outside their house. He is a little frustrated when after waiting all day with the hose on he only manages to create a mud-puddle. Very cute!

Prayers Not Answered

For the last two years it seems that many of my prayers went unanswered. It seemed to me like I had a righteous desire. The things that I prayed about didn't seem to happen the way I expected them to happen.

I didn't know what I was doing wrong. Why weren't my prayers being answered? Last night I was reading talks from the last general conference and I ran into a talk by David A. Bednar that gave me some insight as to what may be going on.  The following is an excerpt that I found some strength in:

Discerning and accepting the will of God in our lives are fundamental elements of asking in faith in meaningful prayer. However, simply saying the words “Thy will be done” is not enough. Each of us needs God’s help in surrendering our will to Him.

“Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other”. Humble, earnest, and persistent prayer enables us to recognize and align ourselves with the will of our Heavenly Father. And in this the Savior provided the perfect example as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. . . . And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly” (Luke 22:42, 44).

The object of our prayers should not be to present a wish list or a series of requests but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is eager to bestow, according to His will and timing. Every sincere prayer is heard and answered by our Heavenly Father, but the answers we receive may not be what we expect or come to us when we want or in the way we anticipate.

Prayer is a privilege and the soul’s sincere desire. We can move beyond routine and “checklist” prayers and engage in meaningful prayer as we appropriately ask in faith and act, as we patiently persevere through the trial of our faith, and as we humbly acknowledge and accept “not my will, but Thine, be done.”

Instead of worrying about how my prayers are answered or not I need to figure out how to put my desires in alignment with what Heavenly Father wants for me. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Family Vacations

Mt. Rushmore 2008

One of my favorite things to do with my kids is to go on vacation. It almost does not matter where we go. We are going to have fun. We always bring home fantastic memories.

The photo to the left is my kids in Hot Springs, South Dakota. This trip was Kohl's idea for his birthday present this summer. He said: "I want to go to Mt. Rushmore for my Birthday."

On July 3rd,Thursday night after work, we left our home near Salt Lake City and drove all night.

We had ample room in our van for everyone's stuff, and everyone to have a seat. We brought food treats, and books on CD to listen to on the long journey. The books I brought to listen to I felt were ones that would grab our attention and keep our minds occupied to pass the time. Two of these books were ones that we all enjoyed.

Sierra and Kohler did fall asleep for awhile. Dylan managed to stay up with me most of the night. I always had at least one kid up with me.

At 5AM it was Sierra that rode by my side. That last hour of the journey Sierra's excitement was palpable. We were driving the back way through Custer State Park and we saw a herd of antelope. This was the first time that Sierra had ever seen antelope and it really was exciting.

When we drove around one corner suddenly off in the distance you could see it. Our goal was in-sight. To see Mt. Rushmore at sunrise was a treat.

Mt. Rushmore 2008

With Dylan and Kohler still asleep Sierra and I left the car to explore. It was a cold morning. Walking around was invigorating. My mind was loopy from the long drive and being awake all night. Walking to the edge of the trees and viewing Mt. Rushmore on the other side of the valley was enough to clear my mind.

Mt. Rushmore 2008

We drove up to the gate of the park an hour before the park opened so we drove a little further and parked. We ate some breakfast and had some time to take a few photos. Kohler and Sierra had a blast pretending that they were in the 2nd National Treasure movie.

Finally we were in the park and we could see the mountain in it's full glory.

Mt. Rushmore 2008We toured every inch of the park. Kohler was still certain that we could get to the parts of the mountain that he had seen in the National Treasure movie. He was dedicated to finding a path that would lead us to the top of the mountain. He was not satisfied that the back of the mountain was off limits until we found a fully uniformed park ranger and asked him.

Later that day we drove to our hotel. We took a nap and ate dinner. That night we played games outside until the sun went down and the Independence Day fireworks began.

We were tired. It took some energy from all of us NOT to be grouchy... We had shared some magical moments together and ultimately we grew closer.

Mt. Rushmore 2008

The following day we drove to the other side of Custer State Park until we found a herd of bison. Kohl was NOT excited to be driving through the State Park to see bison. He didn't care about bison. He wanted to go swimming. We we finally saw the heard of bison he quickly changed his mind. They herd was nearly three hundred meters away. Even that far away these animals were impressive. They were massive. We were in their home and they WERE wild.

Mt. Rushmore 2008

Kohler did finally get to go swimming. There was a hot-spring pool in the town we were staying at. The pool was gianormous and was constantly flowing with fresh warm spring water. There were waterslides and other things that occupied our time for 5 hours. After half a day swimming we were very worn out. and it was easy to talk the kids into going back to the hotel to watch a movie.

We spend the next day driving home. It was a tremendous weekend. Recently I was talking to the kids about going back to Washington for Thanksgiving. They asked if we would fly or drive. When I said that we would probably drive they became very excited. For some reason the road-trip is part of the adventure with these kids. I am so glad.

Maybe we will drive to South America someday!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Big City Small Town Lifestyle

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These two scenes take place only a a few minutes a part and only a few blocks apart. This is GuangZhou. It is one of the oldest cities in China. Many people in the west still know this city by the name that westerners gave it hundreds of years ago Canton.

I am amazed that such a quiet and serene scene could take place a mere few blocks from one of the busiest markets in the world. I love China for many reasons. One of the reasons that I love it is for it's urban landscape. It amazes me that in one moment you can go from a busy bustling noisy city center to a quiet serene domestic setting. This happens all over in many of the large cities in China. Just one block from that first photo is the scene where this third photo was taken. If you didn't know it; these next photo would almost seem rural.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Grew Up 5 Miles from this Spot

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I grew up only 5 miles from this spot but 2 weeks ago on a trip back to visit my parents was the first time that I was able to see something like this. Before I left Washington 7 years ago, a buddy and I would go to Boulevard Park in Bellingham for lunch and watch whales. We would often see them in August and September there in Bellingham Bay. Even then I couldn't imagine seeing one with Mt. Baker in the background. It was truly a remarkable moment. One that I will treasure always.

Washington Whatcom Falls Visit 2008

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They posted a sign this year at Whatcom Falls that stated that it was against the law to swim there. They said that there would be a $1000 fine. I was disappointed. It didn't stop me from jumping in. But I did not enjoy it as much as I would have otherwise. It is still a gorgeous spot. When it is nearly 100 degrees outside who could resist jumping in.

When you hit that water for the first time and feel that rush of ice-water engulf your body. You pop-up and you can hardly catch your breath. You then look up at the cliff where you had so recently stood. It is a rush of exhilaration that runs through your body. It is the shortest moment that has a long lasting memory. This memory is connected through your life as a thread that ties that shortest moment to all the years in your past when you have enjoyed that very thing in that very place and had those very same feelings and emotion.

Whatcom Falls has a richness that can't be found too many other places on God's green Earth. It has a richness of sight, smells, and emotion. It is even combined with a richness of friends and family because a visit to Whatcom Falls is often accompanied by a picnic.

I don't know that a sign could ever keep me from jumping. There is too much life to be enjoyed in this spot.

Stinky Tofu


I went to Taiwan on my mission. After two months in the mission training center in Provo I left to Taiwan with 19 other missionaries. We were greeted warmly and then sent out on a scavenger hunt to put our newly learned Chinese to the test.

One of the 20 items we were sent out to find and bring back was Chou-Dou-Fu. The exact translation of this is Stinky Bean Curd. I was the first one back with all twenty of my items. I picked up the Stinky Bean Curd last. It wasn't hard to find. I only had to follow the smell of the dairy farm. Quite literally this unique street food smells like cow crap. I had them load it up with the hot sauce, and I hurried back to the mission office in Taipei. This was my first hot meal in Taiwan, and though it smelled horrible. It turned out to be a great way to eat hot-sauce. Fried to a crisp on the outside and tender and chewy on the inside. It gave the chili paste hot-sauce just the right texture.

In Taiwan old men would ride their 3 wheeled bikes through the neighborhoods yelling at the top of their lungs "CHOOOOOOU-DOOOOOOOU-FUUUUUU" and we would run downstairs and buy some. It became a favorite street-food of mine from Taiwan.

Since returning from Taiwan I have not seen it or tasted it or smelled it. For the first couple of years I would pass the dairy farm and smell that similar smell and my mouth would water.

Two weeks ago I was in GuangZhou, China. I walked outside one of my favorite wholesale jewelry markets and I smelled that smell. It was the first time in almost 20 years that I smelled that smell. I couldn't help it. I had to have a serving. It smelled as bad but tasted as good as I remembered. It was a pleasure that I had forgotten. It is so much fun for me to visit China. It feels like going home.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Turning Points

DSC_4732b, originally uploaded by Ernest Pratt.

This is Kohl. Kohl is my youngest son. He is the most enigmatic child I know. I took Kohl, and his sister on a road trip to San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico immediately after my ex-wife and I announced our divorce. It was refreshing to be on the road with my children. It helped me to realize that I could be an influence in my children’s lives forever.
This trip gave me great perspective. On the way home we stopped at a McDonalds in Hermosillo. I think the kids got sick playing in the play place. The next day they both got sick all over my car. They got sick all over my car many times. Before my divorce this would have upset me. I would have felt put-out. This time though… it was an opportunity to show them how much I loved them. We made an unplanned stop at a hotel in Flagstaff, where we could clean-up and I could just take care of my precious children.
Helping my children was no longer something that ‘I had to do’. This became something that ‘I got to do’. This road trip became a huge turning point in my life. It represents a point in my life where I grew-up a little. Man! I wish I had learned these things 16 years earlier when I thought I was ready to get married.

Kohl was mesmerized by the beach and the sea. We were usually the only ones on the beach. We spent all day there every day for a week. It never grew old. With sunsets like this, and temperatures that allowed us to play in the water into the evening. It was a paradise with my children. This moment represents life altering epiphanies for me. It gives me the courage to move on and do it right this time.

San Carlos Road Trip

San Carlos Road Trip, originally uploaded by Access Granted.

I have been to Mexico many times. I have been there for business to places like Mexico City, Monterrey and Torreon. I have been to border towns Nogales, Tiajuana, and Juarez.

I love Mexico. I always wante to share it with my kids. I wanted to go to a place with out tourists and I wanted the freedom to drive. I wanted to be on my own schedule. I didn't want the typical Mexican vacation with cowds of drunk Norte Americanos and kitschy souveniers.

I had always wanted to drive my own car and take my children for a foreign experience.
San Carlos Sonora was the perfect place. It took 17 hours to drive from Salt Lake. This was really not too bad. It takes just as long to drive to the place where I grew up in Northwest Washington. The trip down was gorgeous great weather. Not too hot. Beautiful views of State and National Parks. Great Sunrises and Sunsets.

San Carlos was amazing. I think it may have been off season, because there were absoulutely no crowds. It was still warm enough for swimming in the sea and in the out door pool.

I have many adventures for work. I travel all over the world. This was my oppurtunity to give my two little kids a taste of that same adventure. Parts of it were hard. That increased the adventure was all. To instil in them the sense that we could plan and then accomplish something that not many people get to do is an invaluable gift that I can pass on.

I plan to do this again. It will leave an indelible impression on these two little kids.


I have been inspired by a friend tonight. Learning about her plans and pursuits to follow her passions has made me think about my passions and the point in my life when I stopped pursuing them.
I really wanted to be an Anthropologist . After my mission I really focused on just that. I took classes at the university, and with my background my professors fell in love with me right away. 

In the first few months of my mission I lived in a large area on the Pacific side of Taiwan. There were many villages where Taiwan aboriginal people lived. These were the Taroko, and Amoko tribes.  I was fascinated with these groups. I had no idea they existed before I landed in Taiwan. They had a language far different from Chinese. I found them very interesting. They were extremely friendly, and open. They were very physical people that almost tackled you when they greeted you.  The older generation were exceptionally friendly. They had tattooed faces. They loved to tell stories. We befriended this lady that swore she was over 100 years old. Everyone called her Auntie 100.  She would walk miles a day to the mountains to pick fruit of which she would eagerly share with us. Whenever she saw us she would almost tackle us with a big warm hug. It was common for her to slap the backs of our necks.  

This is me chewing on a betelnut palm fruit straight from the tree. Betelnut chewing is common in South Asia. It provides an alkaloid high.
I was so fascinated with their language I diagramed the grammar and started keeping a dictionary. By the time I left the area my Taroko was as good as my Chinese.

After I got back, I was called to be the ward mission leader. Right after that, our ward absorbed the Lummi Indian branch. (This was a branch that my Grandma had started in the 1960s.) It was my job to track down all of the branch members and find out where they were and let them know where and when we meet. Also I found out what we could do for them etc...

Many of the people were older and knew my grandma. These folks seemed to enjoy talking to me and I spent as much time as I could out there. When I realized these people still spoke Lummi, I was enthralled and I learned as much grammar and vocabulary as I could. I wrote it all down in those marbled Mead notebooks. This was all before Windows 3.11 was
sold so keeping it on computer didn't occur to me. I shared these notes with the Anthropology dept. at Western Washington
University. It wasn't long before I was in the Honors Anthropology program.

The next year I got married. I was young, and though I knew what my passion was, I also wanted to do the right thing. My ex-father-in-law found out what I was studying and he came unglued. He couldn't see how my family could survive on an academic's income.

Because of my naivety I succumbed and changed my degree to something I wasn't so interested in but would make more money.

At the time I worked at a Software company, and soon realized a career that most college grads couldn't get into. I was making more money than my already college graduated friends from High School, and to get ahead I had to learn things that I couldn't at college. So I quit college and focused on my software career.

I have worked for two companies since my mission. A company in Washington that sold Business Software and a company here in UT that sells Educational Software.

The good news is my dream has kind of come true. No, I'm not a professor who gets to study little known cultures. But... I work for a company who sells language learning software all over the world. I'm their International Technology Engineer. I get to travel around every once in awhile and experience some pretty cool things.

I am going to pursue my passions. It was a mistake to do anything else.



One of my favorite places in Beijing was a place just across the street from TianAnMen Square. This place was a maze of winding narrow streets. Cars could not navigate streets so narrow. Motorcycles even had a hard time getting past pedestrians during most times of the day.

There were little shops near the entrance where you could have silk clothes made. You could buy souvenirs. Further in there were old homes and restaurants. Everywhere you walk you could the older crowd speaking in their Peking Hua, a dialect of Chinese with a thick tongued accent.

I have had fantastic meals in this market. Restaurants were not proper restaurants, they were just homes open up to the public. To walk down these streets was to step back in time. Most of the buildings were more than two hundred years old. To walk into one of these restaurants put you in another world. You would have an old man snoring in the corner wearing his 'mao suite' on his table would be a pile of spit out bones, by his side would be an equally slumbering dog. There would be a group of men at a table getting drunk playing a drinking game, voices getting louder with every chug. There would not be menus every dish would need to be discussed by the girl taking the order.

To me this was always the 'classic BeiJing' the 'classic China'. This was where in the middle of international class modern city, you could take a short walk and experience the beauty and feel of times past.

Last year on a trip to China with my oldest son. This was one of the places I just knew would be a highlight. I wanted to show him this 'classic China'. I wanted to step back in time with him to this place that time forgot. 

Gate to the Old City 

Of course I had talked this place up. I told Dylan all about it. When we got there... we were three months too late. The whole area had been bull-dozed but for the gate at the entrance.  This was a real let down. I understand the need to modernize. I understand the need for progress. When large historic areas are removed... you can not help but have feelings about it.

Romantic Love

I wrote this months ago... My thoughts my have changed a little bit on this subject: Please read with a grain of salt.

This year has been tumultuous for my life. There have been many experiences around this idea of Romantic Love that has drawn my attention and my thoughts. I have put a lot of energy into figuring out what Romantic Love is to me. I am feeling deep love for another person right now. I am trying to figure out what makes up those feelings.

A person does not fall in love with another through altruism. Romantic Love is a selfish emotion. Selfish in this case is not a negative trait. Selfishness can be a virtue.

You fall in love with a person because you regard them as a value to you.

You can't fall in love with a person by saying... "You mean nothing to me. I don't care if you live or die, but you need me so I am in love with you." That isn't love. No one that is conscious of who they are, where they are going and what they want would desire this kind of love.

Romantic Love is the choice of another person as a great value. What you fall in love with is the same values you treasure embodied in another person. These values can be beauty, intelligence, actions etc...

You fall in love with a person because they contribute to your personal happiness. I say this very carefully. Someone who determines their happiness based on what another person does or does not do is destined for misery. I believe that happiness is a choice, but people find that they enjoy some things more than others. People find that they have affinity for some things more than others. If you find that another person contributes to those things that you enjoy or have affinity for, then they contribute to your happiness. The key is not to expect these contributions from another person. Un-met expectations kill Romantic Love.

If you try to base your life exclusively on your relation to another person. It doesn't matter how wonderful or however much in love, it will end up to be a relationship of dependence.

Each person should be free to choose their own creative goal or purpose. If they are like two individual people traveling on the same journey and happen to find that they are traveling on the same journey together then love is a fantastic supplement to their individual creativity.

Romantic Love is that selfish emotion. It is that choice to be on that journey with another. When felt for the first time or in new ways this causes excitement. This excitement is a fun and magical thing.

Whatcom Falls - Bellingham, WA

falls Whatcom Falls Park is this spectacularly wooded city park not far from downtown. Through the middle of the park runs Whatcom Creek which runs from Lake Whatcom to Bellingham bay through a series of beautiful mossy waterfalls. The word Whatcom comes from the Lummi phrase meaning "Noisy Waters".

As winter snows melt and the sun begins to once again warm the earth my heart always drifts to thoughts of Whatcom Falls. To me Whatcom Falls represents the best part of summer.

mossy_tree The forest here has a primordial quality. The trees are dense, especially along the creek. The rays of the sun do not touch much of the ground. It is thoroughly filtered by the trees. The sides of the trails are covered by bushes weighed down by bright sweet tart huckleberries. The first water fall is merely 100 feet from the parking lot. It really is beautiful. You can see where the creek has cut itself into the stone. All around the falls are vine maple trees and a thick layer of moss and ferns.

A minute walk from the parking lot is a little slice of heaven. There is a waterfall that empties into a wide pool with cliffs on either side. There are ledges up to 50 feet tall to jump or dive from. It is a fantabulous place to spend a hot summer afternoon. After a day of working in the sun, I would look forward to going to the falls with friends to cool off. We also had a blast trying to show each other up, to see who the bravest was. On the top of the biggest cliff you could climb a tree and jump from a limb into the frigid waters below. You could also dive into where the waterfall hits the water. The walls of the cliff here are more narrow. It only gives you a 10 foot diameter hole to dive into. Nothing beats falling into the froth where water hits water. After touching the bottom of the pool the force of the waterfall spits you out into the wider pool.


One day after school many from our senior class left to go jump the cliffs. Me and several other guys decided to jump off of the cliff at the same time. I was on the far end. I guess it was the shallow end. When I hit my feet sunk deep into the gravel at the bottom of the pool. My hair didn't get wet though. I had jumped into an are that only had a few feet of water. It was enough to slow me down... but not enough for my head to go under.

I enjoy taking my kids here now. There are few places on earth like this. You have unsurpassed beauty and spectacular recreation.

A summer day spent at Whatcom Falls was a day well spent.

Life is Now

summerpalacesunsetcrop01 The more you are focused on 'time' past and future the more you miss the now (the present).

The eternal present is the space in which your whole life unfolds.

Life is now.

Eckhart Tolle - The Power of Now

Peace Comes When I Accept What I Can Not Change

Nearly 12 years ago my wife and I discovered through an ultrasound that the daughter we were expecting had a problem with a valve in her heart. The valve did not close all the way and it made it so that her blood didn't pump effectively. She was fine as long as she was inside her mother, but we knew that soon after she was born we would have to take some sort of action to save her life.

We didn't know what we were going to have to do to save our daughter. We didn't know how severe our daughter's problem was. There was no way to know until after she was born.

There were priesthood blessings. I gave my wife Kathleen more than one blessing. I blessed our daughter Cheyenne through Kathleen. Every time I gave a blessing I knew that everything was going to be okay but I could not ever say the words that I wanted to say in the blessing. I had wanted to say that the doctors would recognize what needed to be done. I wanted to say that the doctors would be directed by God's hand and be able to fix the problem with Cheyenne's heart and that she will live and grow and have a long and happy life. I couldn't add that to the blessings. I wanted to. I was told not to. The only thing I could say was that it would be okay... I could say that Heavenly Father knows and loves Kathleen, I could say that Heavenly Father knows and loves Cheyenne and has important things for her to do. I listened closely to other blessings that were given to Kathleen by her dad. Similar things were said. Never was said the words that I wanted to hear.

As the delivery day got closer the apprehension got worse. We did not know what was going to happen and that was the worst thing. The not knowing was devastating to our morale.

When Cheyenne was born the apprehension was not over, it got worse. The first thing was that the doctors had to determine what the options were for a treatment plan. We were given three options. We could have them operate and try to fix the valve.  We could keep Cheyenne at the hospital and let her die. We could take Cheyenne home and let her die. We had no idea how long it would take for her to die, but it was almost
a guarantee that she would die if we did nothing. If we had her operated on, that was
probably the only way she could have a chance. Knowing these options did not bring peace.

We decided to have Cheyenne operated on. Deciding this did not bring us peace. We still did not know what the outcome of the operation would be.

We gave Cheyenne a priesthood blessing... Again I was not allowed to say that she would heal. I was able to say that everything would be okay. I was able to say that Heavenly Father knows the desires of our hearts and he did know what would be for our benefit. I was able to say that the best thing for us would happen. This did not bring us peace.

We had to wait for Cheyenne to be healthy enough for the operation. In the Pediatric ICU she had been losing strength. She finally rallied and she strengthened and she would be operated on the next morning. That night in prayer, I poured my heart out to Heavenly Father. The answer came to me to accept the inevitable. I prayed that if Cheyenne was here on Earth only to get a body, that she would be taken soon so that she would not have to continue living here in pain.  This prayer was my outward expression of accepting what was to be. It was my acceptance of the situation right then and my inability to change it.


This brought peace.


I was at peace throughout Cheyenne's operation the next morning. I was at peace when the came and told us that she had died on the operating table. I was at peace throughout the funeral.

The only time I did not feel at peace after I had decided to accept the inevitable was when I realized that my wife was not at peace with what had happened with Cheyenne. I think that she was able to understand it intellectually. But she refused to accept that it was the best thing for Cheyenne and our family. She was not at peace, and I let myself hurt for this.

This last year has been very tumultuous. My marriage fell apart. My wife divorced me. I dated and let myself fall in love a couple of times. These relationships were great and loved being in them but they were not long-lasting and I am sad that these relationships did not last.

It took me a long time to accept my divorce, and that my ex-wife would prefer to date another man than focus on fixing what was wrong with our relationship. It was difficult for me to accept the loss of the new relationships that I had since my divorce. The more I accept these losses though and accept my situation as it stands right now the more at peace I feel. This allows me to focus on my life now and it gets me out of the unhealthy concerns of 'what broke' in the past.

My acceptance of me, my acceptance of my situation right now brings me peace.

Monday, August 18, 2008