“Strength does …

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The only thing keeping us from accomplishing whatever we want in life, is ourselves. I had a mentor once who always called hard things “supposed obstacles”. They are obstacles that we think can keep us from achieving our goals. But the truth is: if we want it badly enough, and are willing to work hard for it, we can accomplish it

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The Path of Life

 There is a trail that leads from my home to a beautiful river gorge. There are sections of the path that are flat and sandy with seemingly inconsequential stones strewn about. Others are steep with a variety of stone along the way. Some ways up the incline are easier than others, but no matter the route one still arrives at the top. Some pebbles are easily crushed under the heel, others are stepping stones and stumbling blocks depending on how you tread. If you are aware you arrive safely at the destination and all of the pebbles and boulders along the way no matter their size served to help you reach the end. 
 
So it is with life. Some experiences are seemingly inconsequential. Some parts of life move smoothly. Some require a little more effort as we ascend the proverbial hills. Sometimes we have trials or boulders in the path of life. The rock can serve as a stepping stone to help us move along the way or a stumbling block depending on how we tread. But in the end, when we have reached our destination we can look back on the path and realize that each part of life, each experience, each trial, served to help us arrive.  

The Christmas Mouse

Spent all morning Christmas Eve Day looking for a copy of this online, and couldn’t find it. So, on the off-chance that there is someone else in the world looking for this poem: here it is.

The Christmas Mouse
Original author unknown, as told by Daniel Fenton Pendleton

Once when it was Christmas,
a silly little mouse tried to stay awake to see Santa in his house.
He tried to sit up tall in bed and piled his pillows high,
And watch the stars like Christmas lights strung across the sky.
He listened for the sound of bells, and thought he heard them near,
And that he heard them go away and cried, “Oh dear! Oh dear!”
“Santa’s gone right past my house and didn’t even stop.”
He thought his little heart would break.
He spilled two tears. . . plip. . . plop.
He woke up in the morning and his heart was filled with glee.
There were Christmas toys galore under the Christmas tree.
He danced around his little tree and drummed his little drum.
“Oh Joy!” he cried, “How can it be?”
“Santa Claus did come.”
“Did he know I was awake . . . hear my eyelids blink?”
“Did he hear my whiskers twitch?”
“Did he laugh and wink?”
“Did he go clear around the world and come back to my house
after I was sound asleep?”
“For me? A little mouse?”

The Character of Captain Von Trapp

America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. . . right? That’s what we profess: freedom. The United States of America was founded upon ideals and principles unlike any other government. It was meant to be free from the oppression of wicked kings, and brutality of tyrants. Yes, the American government would be one by the people, and for the people. Beginning at the community level and working up to the national level, each citizen has the right, nay, the responsibility to cast their vote according to their beliefs, and values, for whom they think will lead them best. What happens when the will of the people according to their ballots is denied them by the very government organized and supported for their protection? Say for example, Utah Constitutional Amendment 3. It was passed by 66% in 2004, and defined marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman. The issue was put forward to the people, which is their right. Now, however, Robert J. Shelby, whose current role is that of Federal Judge, seems to think it is his right to overturn the will of the people. From where does he assume this right? The 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, ratified in 1791, states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” How many thousands have fought for, even died under the banner of the United States? Fighting for the Constitution, for the rights and freedoms it guarantees? Overruling the voice of the people is not something that my America would do. It seems that the Federal government forgets that it is there to serve the people, not the other way around. If the people were to serve the Federal government, we would not be a Democratic-Republic which we so proudly proclaim to be, in fact we would be no better than the many forms a despotic regime may take, be it a monocracy, oligarchy, etc.

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Bigot?
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Hateful?

Changing gears a bit. I cannot speak with regards to the recently aired version of The Sound of Music, as all I caught were a few minutes of off-key singing in the Emergency Room one night. However it seems the consensus was generally negative of the performance, so in an attempt to redeem themselves, the original 1965 version starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer was on tv last night. Consider the character of Captain Von Trapp. Do the words: bigot, hateful, idiotic, fallacious, etc. come to mind? They don’t to mine. Why would they? After all, though his world crumbles around him, the country he loves is overtaken by enemy forces, he never compromises his core beliefs. He is always a stark antagonist of the Nazi party, and does not fear to show it. This in contrast to some characters who feel they must bend to the new societal pressures even if they do not necessarily agree with those beliefs, Max, for example. Others still quickly embrace the new order presumably with hopes that it will increase their political, social, or economical status in the community. Nevertheless, Captain Von Trapp does not waiver. We need not bend to the whim of societal changes around us, and disagreeing with current trends does not in and of itself constitute bigotry. Last I checked, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution guaranteed each the freedom of speech. Consider Mahatma Ghandi. Was he a bigot? Yet it is he who said, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” It is possible to disagree with other’s opinions and not hate the person. It seems however that only those opposed to homosexual marriage are called hateful for expressing their opinion on the matter whilst those advocating it are not called hateful bigots for their opinion against supporters of traditional marriage. According to some people’s definition of bigotry, all humans are then bigots as we all disagree with something. Yet half of us bigots are condemned and the other half applauded. What a glaring double standard.

Today, I applaud you, Captain Dan Cathy of Chick-Fil-A for your support of traditional marriage. I applaud you, Duck Commander Phil Robertson for your courage to stick to your core beliefs regardless of their popularity with society. I applaud all of those who stand up for what they believe, even in the face of adversity.

To those who stand idly-by, regardless of their beliefs, thinking such societal changes will have no effect on you: Get up, and join the fight! It was consistently said by the enemy in the Sound of Music, “Nothing has changed in Austria.” Captain Von Trapp saw past their words. His once private telegrams had been perused and pilfered, and choices once voluntary became coerced. You cannot stand with one leg on either side of the fence for very long. Eventually you will be made to decide where you stand, or you will fall. We may not see such consequences come so quickly or readily, but they will come. Those against us may say hurtful things, they may attempt physical, social, mental, emotional, even spiritual attacks. But no one will ever regret doing what is right. No one ever hurt their conscience by living according to their beliefs.