The Most Important Things...

The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them--words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to where your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.

~Stephen King~

Hanging On By a Thread

A few years back - a dozen years or so ago - Sheri, Rebecca and I did a little exercise for a few months where we were to look around and try to find something great as we went about our daily activities of work, school, chores, etc. - then we were to report to each other each evening on the thing(s) we were able to spot. It was a little unnatural at first and it seemed to require some concentrated effort on our part but we quickly got into a groove and it was fun. We even wrote those great things we were able to see down on paper and displayed them on the fridge. Good exercise because I think it created a good habit, with me at least.

It reminded me that we see that for which we're looking. It's a form of sensory acuity - like when you buy a new car and then all of a sudden you see the exact make and model and color of your new car all over the place. We are just wired that way, to see that on which we are focused and to filter out most of the rest of what goes on around us.

I try to be positive, to see the good things around me, to see something good even in bad situations, to have gratitude for the things I have and not worry about the small stuff, and to be the kind of person with whom people would want to associate or maybe even just hang out. Isn't this what God wants us to do? Isn’t this the kind of person to which I should aspire? I truly believe this is exactly who He would like His children to be.

Be Fearless

Robin Williams died earlier today.

I do not now have, nor have I ever had in the past to the best of my knowledge and recollection, a negative view of the world in general. I am not typically one of those "gloom and doom" type of people. I like to see things not so much through rose colored glasses, ignoring and refusing to see any ugliness at all, but rather focusing on what is good, decent, virtuous, lovely, of good report, praiseworthy... etc. Not particularly easy to do all the time, but I do try.

So what's my point? While it already took some effort to view our world as bright and shiny amid the other news of the day, this sad ending to a comedic genius' life just makes the world (for me anyway) a little more dreary and bleak which only means that I will no doubt have to put a little more effort into my world view - at least for a while.

So while I was looking for some sense of understanding, looking for something to help me through my own personal grief, looking for anything to ease my own personal pain, I came across the following. And while it doesn't address directly, or even indirectly, the death of Mr. Williams, it struck a nerve with me and I thought it was worth sharing.

I did not write what follows:

Happy Birthday to Me

For my birthday this year, I thought I would try something a little different than what I’ve done in recent years. It started out as one of those “I wonder what would happen if…” things that started about 6 months before said birthday, and as time rolled on and my birthday got closer and closer it became in my mind more of a social experiment that would have a profound impact on how I view this particular slice of the world we live in.

Before I get into it, I think I should offer a disclaimer. I am not bitter. I am not angry. I did not do this to set anyone up. I was just wondering what would happen if I removed my birthday information from Facebook. The results weren’t that surprising to me at all.

As I was studying this a little deeper, I stumbled upon some interesting statistics about what we now know as social media. For example, in October of 2012, USA today reported that Facebook had hit the one billion user mark. That’s ONE.BILLION.USERS. That would put Facebook in 3rd place among the world’s most populous countries, if Facebook were in fact a country.

Another one is that more members join LinkedIn per day than the entire enrollment of all the IVY League Schools. And every minute, 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. And if Wikipedia were made into a book it would be 2.25 million pages long.

"Because We’ve Always Done it That Way"

I have never understood that as an answer when attempting to find better ways to do things. I hope I never do understand it. While there’s something to be said for the axiom “If it ain't broke, don’t fix it”, I have always considered a person who resorts to the argument “because we've always done it that way” to be closed-minded, obstinate, and inflexible. It is nothing less than inexcusable to me when this is used as the first line of defense and the person using it expects this to end all discussion on the matter.

I offer up the following as an example to demonstrate why I feel this way.

Fire Pit Therapy - Redux

Right now I'm sitting outside next to what once was a raging fire with lots of good people around. One by one they have all gone to their homes and even Ben and Brande have gone inside and to bed. Now, at 2:45 in the AM, I am alone with the fire and I feel at peace and in harmony with the pops and crackles that accompany the sounds of crickets, and an occasional flock of geese flying overhead.

We had a fire last weekend also but it was a different fire with a different feel... more like a marshmallow and hot dog fire that one was. Tonight's fire was more of a storytelling fire and while it began as a celebratory fire, it became clear to me as the evening turned into morning that this would be a fire that I would keep company long after my friends retired.

3 x 5 Card

I recall a recent talk by President Thomas S. Monson in which he said, and I may be paraphrasing here, to never postpone a prompting by the Spirit. He cited several occasions when he felt an impression to do a certain thing and immediately acted on that feeling, only to discover that he had arrived just in the nick of time to make a huge difference. I have also heard of ignored promptings or postponed action that resulted in arriving only moments too late. While these are meant to be very general examples, the message is clear, at least to me… never postpone a prompting.

That being said, it is my hope and prayer that those who choose to read further will understand that this is the result of such a prompting… and I am fairly confident that what I am about to say may very well go unsaid if I were to choose not to act right now.

The Fourth

In the middle of next week, on Wednesday to be exact, will be July 4th, Independence Day, and so I have a few things running through my head that I would like to share.

The 4th, in years past, going all the way back to my childhood has been celebrated in different ways, but like most Americans, we always managed to find a way to shoot of some fireworks. My dad would make sure I had some of the old Black Cat fire-crackers, as did the fathers of my friends, and we were certainly inventive when it came to different ways to blow stuff up. I would draw the line at frogs, lizards and other living things, but my sister’s various dolls, including Barbie herself, were fair game.

Paul Edens

In an attempt to keep everyone informed, and with permission from the Edens family to keep everyone informed, I have decided to use this forum to post the news and subsequent updates. I am not all that great at texting, autocorrect makes me say things that I didn't want to say... and this way, I can direct people (by a much simpler text) to this page instead of texting all the information as needed.

 Many of you who received the link to this page via the facebook private message already know of this news about Paul. It is my hope that those in Richmond who have better access to news and updates concerning his condition will post those updates in the "Comments" section of this post. This, for now, is the best way I can think of to keep everyone posted.

I would like to respect the need for some privacy at this difficult time, so I'm not sure of the wisdom in posting all news on facebook for the world to see at this time.

Also, the family has given permission to ask everyone who knows and loves Paul to spread the word as it would certainly be appropriate to ask for prayers for our good friend and his family. I will attempt to be diligent in sending out updates via facebook private messages that will direct you to this page.


John has been and always will be my friend.

My friend John is one of the best people who has walked this Earth. John was the first person who befriended me at church back in 1976. He took me under his wing and taught me the responsibilities of the Aaronic Priesthood and the ins and outs of preparing the sacrament. He made sure I went to and then felt welcomed at church activities. He was one of the popular guys but always made time for me. I was a very shy kid when I was in high school, but John’s friendship and attention I think brought me out of myself constructed cocoon and helped me to understand the difference between acquaintances and true friends. He was a year older and a grade higher than me, but he was a very good friend to me.

Happy Birthday, Texas... From Bum Phillips

Four years ago, I wrote some thoughts on being from Texas. But if I am to be truly honest, as much as I enjoy telling people that I'm from Texas, I would much rather tell folks that I am IN Texas.

Soon though... I'll be back home soon.

In the meantime, please enjoy some Happy Birthday wishes to the great state of Texas from Bum Phllips.