Thursday, February 27, 2014

"...let's not go to Camelot. It's a silly place."

Blue and Gold Knights of the Round Table cakes.
The Primary Presidency had the toughest job,
making up names for cake awards.
My Cub Scout received his Wolf badge and two arrow points at tonight's Knights of the Round Table Blue and Gold Celebration.

The night before, his older brother received his Life badge, and the new Scoutmaster introduced him to a lifetime of paperwork, handing him a Trail to Eagle packet immediately after congratulating him on the achievement.

It's like they're bookends or something.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Owl Post: The Burnt Biscuit

Something to think about, when I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work.

On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad.

I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school.

I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing... never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits.

And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides – a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!"

As I've grown older, I've thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else.

But what I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults - and choosing to celebrate each other's differences - is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for you today... that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God.

Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket - keep it in your own."

So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

 "Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point."

Prepared. | For Life.™

Friday, February 21, 2014

Leadership Opportunities

"...serve actively in your unit for a period of six months in one or more ... positions of responsibility."

One of the most underutilized leadership positions (at least, I'm assuming, in LDS Scout organizations) is that of Den Chief. Chalk it up to our Mormon tendency to compartmentalize everything (YM never, ever interact with Primary boys, etc.). This is an older Scout who interacts with and teaches Cub Scouts, assisting the Cubmaster as needed.

Imagine the effect on Primary-age boys if they're mentored by a Young Man who is fulfilling his Duty to God, actively participating in Scouting (including advancement), who proudly and properly wears his uniform, and is overall just a good example and friend; imagine the effect on a Young Man as he strives to live up to the ideals of Scouting, teach correct principles and provide a good example for the next group of Scouts/AP "trainees".

(see, US Scouting Service Project)

Prepared. | For Life.™

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Owl Post: Wormy Sermon

Four worms and a lesson to be learned!!!!

For those of you who missed church on Sunday, here is a recap!

A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon.

Four worms were placed into four separate jars.

The first worm was put into a container of alcohol.
The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke.
The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup.
The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results: The first worm in alcohol- Dead; The second worm in cigarette smoke - Dead; Third worm in chocolate syrup - Dead; Fourth worm in good clean soil - Alive.

So the Minister asked the congregation - What did you learn from this demonstration?

Maxine was sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said, 'As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!'

That pretty much ended the service.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lasting effects

So, I'm sitting in Ward Council the other day, and the Stake Presidency is there because it's ward conference day. There was some good discussion, good questions asked. Several times though, someone answered a question or made a comment preceded by "back when I was a Scout" or something similar. These are late 40s-to-50s men who haven't seen their uniforms in decades. It leaves a lasting impression. No one says "I remember when I was in Young Mens...", it's always "When I was a Scout," or "I remember one time at Scout Camp..."

Walking into the office this morning, I heard a similar thing while ascending the stairs -  one of the greybeards mentioned his time at Scout camp, and working there during the summer.

Memories matter. Make 'em good ones.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Owl Post: I'm Ugly

One day, a young man and a young girl fell in love.

But the guy came from a poor family. The girl’s parents weren’t too happy.

So the young man decided not only to court the girl but to court her parents as well. In time, the parents saw that he was a good man and was worthy of their daughter’s hand.

But there was another problem: The man was a soldier. Soon, war broke out and he was being sent overseas for a year. The week before he left, the man knelt on his knee and asked his lady love, “Will you marry me?” She wiped a tear, said yes, and they were engaged. They agreed that when he got back in one year, they would get married.

But tragedy struck. A few days after he left, the girl had a major vehicular accident. It was a head-on collision.

When she woke up in the hospital, she saw her father and mother crying. Immediately, she knew there was something wrong.

She later found out that she suffered brain injury. The part of her brain that controlled her face muscles was damaged. Her once lovely face was now disfigured. She cried as she saw herself in the mirror. “Yesterday, I was beautiful. Today, I’m a monster.” Her body was also covered with so many ugly wounds.

Right there and then, she decided to release her fiancĂ© from their promise. She knew he wouldn’t want her anymore. She would forget about him and never see him again.

For one year, the soldier wrote many letters—but she wouldn’t answer. He phoned her many times but she wouldn’t return her calls.

But after one year, the mother walked into her room and announced, “He’s back from the war.”

The girl shouted, “No! Please don’t tell him about me. Don’t tell him I’m here!” The mother said, “He’s getting married,” and handed her a wedding invitation.

The girl’s heart sank. She knew she still loved him—but she had to forget him now. With great sadness, she opened the wedding invitation.

And then she saw her name on it! Confused, she asked, “What is this?”

That was when the young man entered her room with a bouquet of flowers. He knelt beside her and asked, “Will you marry me?”

The girl covered her face with her hands and said, “I’m ugly!”

The man said, “Without your permission, your mother sent me your photos. When I saw your photos, I realized that nothing has changed. You’re still the person I fell in love. You’re still as beautiful as ever.

Because I love you!”

Prepared. | For Life.™

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Another Question

This one is for stake presidents and bishops: if SLC came out next week and said, "you have the option concerning Scouting in your units," would you keep it?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What would he pick?

Here's a thought exercise to assess the quality of your program: would a random boy walking in off the street want to be part of your Troop based on what he saw at a random troop meeting?

If the answer is yes, congratulations, your Aaronic Priesthood Scouts are probably excited to be there, too.

If not, the boys who are there are probably only there because it's another unavoidable church meeting, and they're there by assignment.

(Sorry there's so much there there.)

I asked this question of my son, and he answered in the negative.  Which led to a discussion of what he, as the SPL with an expiring tenure, could do to change the answer to a yes. I hope he remembers.

Prepared | For Life™

Owl Post: The Unlucky Man

Once there was a man who lived in a beautiful log cabin. He seemed to have everything but was never happy. The man believed it was because he was unlucky (but in fact it was because he was bored.)

One day he had enough and he went to a very old and wise woman to find out why he was not lucky. The old and wise woman thought about it and told him he must visit God and ask him that question. "Where do I find God?" The man asked.

"Travel to the West until you reach the end of the world and there you will find God," said the Old woman. So the man set off to find God and ask why he was not lucky. He walked for a day, he walked for a week, he walked for a month and he even walked for a year until he came to a clearing which was surrounded by wolves. On one side were these strong and vicious-looking wolves. On the other was a small scrawny wolf. The man decided to walk towards the scrawny wolf. As he passed the wolf asked, "Where are you going?"

"I am going to visit God and ask him why I have no luck," answered the Man.

"Interesting. If you find him can you please ask why I am not as strong and as vicious as my brothers," asked the Wolf.

"Of course;" The man answered and he walked off. He walked for a day, he walked for a week, he walked for a month, he walked for a year until he got to a beautiful forest. The trees were vast and stretched far up into the sky but in a small clearing was a short leafless tree with wimpy branches. As the man walked by the tree called out, "Excuse me where are you going?"

"I am going to visit God and ask him why I have no luck."

"Fascinating; if you find God can you ask him why I am not as tall and strong as my brothers," the tree asked.

"Of course," answered the man and he walked off. He walked for a day, he walked for a week, he walked for a month, and he walked for a year until he came to a small blue house. Surrounding this house was a beautiful garden filled with vibrant colors and bright flowers. From inside the house came the most beautiful woman the man had ever seen. On seeing the man, the woman invited him in for dinner and to spend the night. The man agreed and enjoyed a wonderful feast cooked to perfection by the woman. As they ate, the man told his story and at the end the woman asked, "That is a lovely story. If you find God can you ask him why I am so lonely?"

"Of course I can," answered the man. Then he went to bed. The next day he set off and walked to the West. He walked for a day, he walked for a week, he walked for a month, he walked for a year until finally he reached the end of the world. There, sitting on cloud, fishing, was God.

The man called out, "Excuse me. But God, can you tell me why I have no luck."

God looked up and said, "You have all the luck you need. It is all around you, you just don't notice it. Be more observant and you will find your luck."

This made sense to the man and he began to ask the other questions he had promised but God just raised his hand, "there is no need to ask the questions. I already know what they are for I know everything." God whispered the answers into the man's ear. The man thanked God and began to walk home. He arrived first at the beautiful woman's house and knocked on the door. The woman was overjoyed to see him and asked him for her answer. "God told me why you are so lonely. You must get married."

"Of course, it makes sense. Will you marry me?" The woman asked the man.

"I am sorry I cannot for I must find my luck. But the first nice man I see, I will send back to you," answered the man. With that he continued home until he reached the beautiful forest. The small tree saw him and asked for his answer. "The reason you are small and have no leaves is because buried beneath your roots is a chest full of gold. It is blocking you from receiving nutrients."

"Of course, that makes sense. Please, some workmen left shovels over there. If you dig up the chest, you can keep the gold inside," said the tree.

"I am sorry; I cannot, for I must find my luck. But the first strong man I see, I shall send back," replied the man and with that he continued on his way home. He reached the clearing of the wolves and the small scrawny wolf asked him for his answer. "The reason you are small and scrawny is because you do not eat enough. You must eat the first big stupid animal you see."

And the wolf did.

How is your Luck? It’s all around you! You just have to open your eyes!

Prepared. | For Life.™

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Stay warm at this year's Klondike derby

There are some great tips here. Missing though, is the one about hitting the head before bed. You'll definitely stay warmer if you don't have to get up in the middle of the night to commune with nature.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Monday, February 3, 2014

Goblin Valley Scouter Mischief Update

The two former Scout leaders who knocked over a hoodoo in Goblin Valley State Park have been formally charged with third-degree felonies, punishable by up to 5 years and $5,000. Leave No Trace matters. I still maintain that the greatest damage was to the Scouts (or was this "just a priesthood outing?"), who witnessed those who should have known better, and who occupied a position of trust and responsibility (rationale notwithstanding) deface a public park with glee.

Prepared. | For Life.™