Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fixing a toilet is a privilege!

The other day, I was visiting my mother-in-law Lois Nielsen and noticed her toilet didn't stop running after I flushed it.  After a little investigative work, I realized she just needed a new handle.  Fixing anything for her is never a burden, she is one of the kindest, most deserving people I've ever met.  She loves my kids for who they are, makes them feel valued and makes us quilts that keep us warm and remind us how important we are to her. Mom as I call her, always feels like she is troubling me when I fix something, but the reality is, I need the feeling of service in order to feel better about myself.  In fact, whenever I serve someone else, I almost always feel better about myself and to do it for someone I love and care about, makes it even better.

When the savior admonished his disciple in John 19: 26-27 as he worried about his mother and wanting to assure she was in good care, really set the example. I think about that often, when you think of the widows and others who would fall in the same category, not the least of which is our own parents, particularly our mothers.  I have a pretty good feeling that the Lord will hold us accountable on how we care for those special women in our lives.

It was my own mother, who helped me develop the skill sets to learn how to do repairs.  It wasn't that my mother knew how to do it, but she was willing to invest resources in me learning.  Frequently growing up, she would take me to the hardware store to get the necessary tools.  She was always having Frank Dahn, the plumber show me how to do things and my step-uncle, MC Laird, frequently would take me and show me how things were fixed.  As a fatherless boy growing up, my mother made sure I received the necessary training.  She was intent on my home not being subject to a home with a skill-less father or husband.  I've used those talents hundreds of times in the service of others, and each time, I do, I think of my mom and thank my Heavenly Father that she cared enough to have me care.

We have a fundamental need to serve. I do much on my own and in the community, but I also get the opportunity in my Church.  As a Home Teacher in the Mormon Church, I get called on frequently to help in service of others.  It's not a huge burden, but I know it's helpful when I'm asked.  On occasion, I also require help and am grateful the Church gives us both the opportunity to serve.  After all, it's a core element of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the end, we all have that desire to be needed.  Thanks to both my Moms for giving me the chance to serve!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My White Shirt Inventory is Growing!

Just in case you wondered what my shirt
size would be!

I've always had a supply of white shirts, but over my years in the city council service, I mixed them up with a variety of colored shirts.  However in my four months of service as Stake President of the Rose Park Stake in the LDS Church, my need to wear white shirts has increased!  If you take the ones that head to the dry cleaners, and have some to wear during that week, I've had to add about eight shirts to my wardrobe.  It's not that one is required to wear a white shirt, but it looks better and more neutral in its appearance.  It also makes matching ties a little easier!  The last four months have been challenging to say the least, but I have been blessed with two great counselors in Paul Fullmer and Brent Hyde.  Paul is an insurance adjuster for Met Life and Brent is a manger for LDS Church Security.  Both are two individuals who love the Lord, and serve faithfully.  None of us are paid, and when you look at a schedule that includes most of the day Sunday, a couple nights a week and frequent correspondence through most days, this is not a passive assignment.  However I've never felt the spirit more, have a greater insight of what Heavenly Father wants for the members of Rose Park Stake and amazed at the genuine goodness of so many people.  If this were just me, I would have been done in month two, but one doesn't do it alone and I can testify God's hand in the work that is done.

Not every moment is simple or without some heartbreak.  However when you watch someone decide to make a change in their life, see it begin to improve and feel of their desire to be a better person, there is no better experience in my life.  I've been blessed over the years to have some great experiences.  In fact, from my public service alone, I have five volumes of large scrapbooks outlining that service.  It will forever be a significant part of my life.  However it is pale in comparison to the work I now experience.  To stand in a congregation of a couple hundred people and feel a peaceful impression on the message I'm suppose to share with them, is such a humbling and touching experience that it has brought frequent tears to my eyes.

I enjoy my work at Salt Lake County and it is very challenging and demanding.  It's a great balance from my life coming from elected office to continue in some realm of public service.  However I truly enjoy serving in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to whomever I can associate with, either in words or example.  I'm far from perfect.  In fact, the list of needed improvement with me seems to grow each day.  I need to get in better shape, write more often in a journal, pray more each day, but nevertheless the Lord doesn't expect us to be perfect, just a broken heart that strives to be better.

I would be remiss to not mention how grateful I've been for my family.  Cathy and the girls have been there for me so often, and I cherish them. At the end of the day, they are all that matters.  So, if you see me wearing a few more white shirts, just know that I'm keeping busy, hopefully doing some good.