Monday, June 19, 2017

Shingle Oil - Great option for Fences!

Painted a few weeks ago, shingle oil brought out the natural colors
Of all the things I didn't plan to write about in my blog, was the use of shingle oil for fences if you want to maintain a natural color.  A number of years ago, our neighbors approached us about sharing the cost of a fence, but they wanted to go with a cedar board, rather than some other material.  My concern at the time was care and painting of it, but they have been some of the best neighbors ever and we did need a new fence.  They initially painted their side with Linseed Oil, which we did too, and it looked nice, but really only lasted a couple of years.  I probably delayed putting another coat, about two years too late, and water stains had taken it's toll.

A few years ago, I was in Home Depot to get some other things, and decided I should buy a 5 gallon container of Linseed Oil to coat the fence.  As I was asking the clerk where to find it, a professional painter was nearby and overheard the conversation.  He approached me and indicated he had purchased two 5 gallon containers of shingle oil for a client, and then they had changed their mind.  He then told me that if I wanted to come by his house (which was nearby) that he would just give them to me.  I asked, "Shingle Oil, what's that and can it be used for fences?"  He said, he couldn't see why not, it would just be a natural straw-like color and it preserves a wooden roof, so he couldn't see why it wouldn't do a fence.  I thought to myself, I could always try a far corner and if it didn't work, I wasn't really out anything, so what did I have to loose, so I went and picked them up.  Linseed oil is around $75 for a five gallon container, so it had the potential of saving me a small amount of cash!
A couple more years went by and I had delayed doing anything until this spring, when I pulled the first bucket out, and decided to give it a try.  I was actually impressed with how well it applied with my sprayer, didn't seem to be as messy as linseed oil and as I read about it, the information indicated you could go as much as 10 years between applications.  Also the information indicated that fences were one of the applicable uses.  As I was doing my fence, the same neighbors who had originally proposed the fence, were talking with me about how their side needed to be done.  They had just had a baby girl so I indicated that I would be happy to put the same stuff on for them.  They mentioned that when they did the Linseed Oil, it took nearly two 5 gallon containers for them, so I went about trying to find somewhere locally who sold it.  I had one of the free 5 gallon containers left, but needed to buy one more.  I tried the hardware stores, paint stores and even roofing companies, but no one carried it and even sounded puzzled when I asked about it.  There was an online option out of California, but I had scheduled Friday afternoon off to do the job and hated to leave it half complete.  I decided to do a search on Chevron product distributors and came across a company on California Avenue here in Salt Lake City, Kellerstrass Oil Company.  The guy that answered the phone was super nice about it, didn't have the 5 gallon containers at this store right now, but had a truck coming down from Ogden and would have it by afternoon for me.  It turns out he threw a couple more containers on the truck, just in case I ran out and needed more!  Their price was pretty comparable to the online price, or about $94 with tax for the 5 gallons.

Since my neighbors offered to cover the cost of the new container, I started with it, and nearly did the whole job with it, but had to open up my free container to finish the job.  With my daughter Sarah's help, we finished it in about 4 hours and rendered a little service.  If you have one of those wood cedar fences and are keeping the natural look, you should consider Shingle Oil as an option.  By the way, just save yourself some time, and just go to Kellerstrass to get it!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

#PrinceofPeace - Finding peace through compassion


It is difficult to watch this video without reminding ourselves of similar circumstances within our lives where either our own children, or those who are close to us have suffered something similar that reminds us how tender life can be.  I think we each try and take that challenge and do something with it to bless the lives of others.  It never fully takes that pain away, but it does help us channel it in a way that can bless the lives of others.  As the Savior has said, when we lose our lives in service to others, we really find ourselves.

My older brother Milton, who passed away
in 1965
In July of 196 when my older brother, age 11, was in a his final days here on earth, suffering from aplastic anemia or a form of what is now Leukemia, was in his hospital bed and could not speak because his tongue was swollen.  He wrote a note to my mother, who was three months pregnant with me.  Because of the circumstances, they had not told Milton about the pregnancy and my birth date would not be for another six months.  Milton wrote a note to my mother and asked, "Who is that child sitting in your lap?"  My mother initially dismissed it to his sickness, to which he later wrote, "you don't believe me, do you?"  Mom later realized that what Milton probably saw was me, who was not yet born, and to whom he wouldn't see in this life.  Nevertheless, it reminds us that families are eternal and the blessings of being a family come both in this life and the life to come.

While we are blessed in this life by the compassion of others, we are also blessed with peace on this Easter Sunday with the knowledge that we will be resurrected and can be with each other for eternity.  While I do not know the day I will see my older brother, I do also know that he lives and I will be with him one day, along with my family, my wife Cathy and our children.  I am grateful for the peace this brings in my own life.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

#PrinceofPeace - Finding Peace through God's Word


I would be the first to admit that I'm not as avid of a reader of the scriptures as I would like to be, but every time I do read from it, I'm strengthened.  It does mean that I do need to read it more and be more consistent.  We have four basic scriptures in the Mormon faith, the Bible - Old and New Testament, the Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.  Each are separate accounts of how God has loves everyone of his people, giving them guidance through a prophet of God and encouragement through life's trials as well as admonishment or warnings of things to come.  If one is learning about the Church, I would definitely start with the Book of Mormon, which is the keystone of our religion and testifies of Jesus Christ.  There is a promise in it that if you do read it, pray, you can receive for yourself a testimony to it's truth.  I have done that and many others have done it as well.  While written many years ago, it really testifies of today.

One such scripture in the Book of Mormon is from chapter 34 in Alma, it reads:

32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.

37 And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ;


At first blush it may seem like you have no choice and you are doomed, but just the opposite.  If you do your best in this life, access the atonement of Jesus Christ in your life and prepare to meet God, then the actions you take, only benefit you in the life to come.  It doesn't help you much if your thought is doing something at the last minute and hope you get buy.  Really God knows your heart and while we might pretend we are something we are not to change the impression of others, we simply can't hide it from God and it will be evident.  Why put it off.  Why not enjoy the full blessings of this life, in living our best to be with God.  He doesn't expect us to be perfect and I am certainly not.  I love the peace that comes through God's word.

Friday, April 7, 2017

#PrinceofPeace - Peace coming through faith



It's pretty difficult to not shed a tear when you watch this video.  I think we all have struggled at times with a circumstance either in our lives or with others that we love, that despite their faith, the trial seems so unfair.  Recently, a couple who are good friends, after many years of waiting were expecting a beautiful baby girl and all seemed to be on track.  However circumstances changed, the baby was delivered way too early and only lived for a short time.  We ask ourselves in circumstances like this, why must they suffer so much, when in some case babies come and aren't cared for yet live a life of struggle and sadly abuse.  With the agency that God has given us, also comes the bitter-sweet moments of our faith, which help us endure the outcomes.  Some are very joyful outcomes and others of great heartbreak.

Even in those most difficult of circumstances, we feel our Savior's love and in fact does bring us peace.  It isn't that the pain has gone away, but we realize a much deeper love than a sheer moment in this life sometimes brings.  Sadly tragedy does come to each of us, and sometimes in the most unexpected way.  While there are no guarantees on how our lives turn out, and it would be easy to let fear keep us from moving forward or trying anything new, we also do not grow without the exercise of faith.  With that faith, however, we also gain more joy and peace.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

#PrinceofPeace The true answer for the questions that bring us lasting happiness


It has always been challenging in life to watch others who desperately are looking for answers to happiness or solutions to life and look everywhere else but towards the Savior, Jesus Christ.   It's not that their efforts aren't genuine nor their efforts substantial, I even have to remind myself when frustrated with a circumstance that I am looking in the wrong direction for an answer.  I've even watched some very good people who live one aspect of their life in one way and apparently their beliefs in a different way.  The true answer is that they should really be the same.  I definitely know I'm not perfect, nor has there not been moments in my life where others might say the same.  It is for that reason alone that I'm grateful for the Savior's atonement that provides me an avenue to improve.

As we approach the Easter Season, I am reminded the greatest gift he could give us all is a knowledge that he wants us to be able to return to our Heavenly Father, to be with him and to be forgiven of our sins if we just repent and come unto him.  There is much good in the world, much of it silent in nature and done with kind gestures even from strangers to strangers.  The world is in need of more kind gestures, a spirit of peace and one in which we follow the Savior's path.  While not recognized in his earthly life the way others might expect, the Savior taught us true selfless service and with such a genuine way that his example will always be our pathway home.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

#LIGHTtheWORLD Day 25 - Devoted followers of Christ



It's Christmas Day, I'm up a little earlier than the family, in my recliner next to the fireplace and the Tree lights displaying the beauty of the season.  Perfect setting for my final blog on the #LIGHTtheWORLD series.  While it's taken some extra effort to pen 25 different entries, a few of you have been gracious to read it. As I've mentioned in a few blogs, I serve as Stake President in the Salt Lake Rose Park Stake.  It's a wonderful place to live, and while we have our challenges, we have some very faithful members who follow with great faith.  As I drove around last night to view some of the homes participating in the #LightRosePark effort with luminaries and the challenges with more than .3 inches of rain on Christmas Eve in Utah!  It reminded me of a story from my father, Robert Magleby Christensen's autobiography that I would like to share:

At the time of the beginning of the welfare program in the Church, the general authorities asked each stake to develop an agricultural production project to produce a food commodity. The stakes were asked to use some imagination, so that they wouldn’t all produce the same commodity. One of the leaders in Sevier Stake was an agriculture teacher, and he came up with the idea of planting Jewish Artichokes. The seed was secured, and the farmers were asked to plant an acre each. The faithful people, of course, responded to the request. At the end of the summer, they discovered that no one liked artichokes and there was no market for them. And so the artichokes remained in the ground. They continued to grow like weeds each year along with other crops planted in the same soil.

It was about two years later that I went to work to thin sugar beets for my bishop, Wallace Sorenson, and he started me out in the artichoke patch. All day I chopped out artichokes with my hoe. In the evening, when the bishop came to take me home, I said, “Bishop, why did you ever plant those worthless artichokes?” His reply was, “Robert, that’s the best crop I ever planted. Whenever I look at the artichokes, it reminds me that I did the thing the presiding brethren asked me to do. As you ride up and down the lanes of the valley, wherever you see an artichoke patch, you know there’s a faithful member of the church.” This taught me a lesson I have tried to benefit from throughout my life..

While participation was definitely not a test of faith, many recognized the value, reached out to neighbors to invite their participation and despite the rain, set them out and while some got washed out, the light was apparent. Many posted pictures of their homes in a Facebook Group for our youth, with their stories or comments and I was particularly touched by a comment from Joe Davis, who serves as 2nd Counselor in the Rose Park 2nd Ward and is just one of the finest people I know.  With Joe's permission, he writes:

Even a little rain does not dampen our spirits. Long ago the Lord asked his people to place lamb's blood on their door posts to show their faith in him and have the destroying Angel pass by. Tonight i show a symbol of my faith in him and celebrate the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ into the world. I have a testimony of his divinity, his sacrifice for us, and most importantly his love for us. May the season bless your lives and bring charity to your hearts. God bless all on this holiest of nights.
Merry Christmas - Joe Davis

While I hadn't thought of it in that context, it reminded me of the all the devoted followers of Christ that I live among and how they Light the World right here in Rose Park.  I am grateful to be among them.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

#LIGHTtheWORLD Day 24 - Caring for Others


This evening I called my dear friend Alice Telford.  I called to thank her for my birthday card.  It was a little on the edge, but funny and it definitely reflected our relationship.  I use to have the office next door to Alice at Zions Bank when I worked there.  Alice rode her bicycle long into her 80's and was known for her health and zeal.  While she could have retired, Alice chose to work to stay engaged and served mankind in a number of ways.  She and I would kid each other about politics, and she often brought in copies of the Salt Lake Tribune and said, "I know you don't read it, but I'm watching these articles for you and will bring to your attention things that matter."  She is so genuine and direct, I just loved my conversations with her and she has become a friend of our family.  A few years ago, she was driving when someone hit her car in an intersection at a high speed.  A healthy woman was nearly lost and she has fought back to get her health back.  While I've visited her on occasion, she continues to look out for me. Alice has had a number of articles written about her including one in the Salt Lake Tribune another one about her son John who died in the Vietnam War and one written by Lee Benson in the Deseret News.  Alice and I talked about a number of things and concluded by wishing each other Merry Christmas.

While Alice doesn't lack for friends, I'm always surprised how anxious she is to hear from me.  I think in reality we all have moments in our life, where we want to hear from others.  Showing that concern and interest in others is always a good thing. We are after all, the hands of the Savior in helping mankind.   While we may not always share the same faith, or same level of belief in that faith, we can still care for one another.