The approach of fall – hints of change

The first leaves of fall on my driveway.

The first leaves of fall on my driveway.

Wednesday morning, I was walking out to my car to go to the gym, when suddenly I was stopped dead in my tracks.  There were leaves on the ground.  There were no leaves on the ground Tuesday night, when I went to bed, I was sure of it.  But this morning, they were all over my car, and scattered over my driveway and lawn.

I had the shocking realization that summer was dying and fall was creeping around the corner.

I don’t know what it was about that moment that struck me so, but for a short time, I was mesmerized.  I got in my car, pulled into the street, and just sat there, staring at those leaves, feeling that unmistakable feeling that always accompanies change.  It’s a feeling somewhere between unease and excitement.

At that moment I realized, how refreshing it was, the ability to experience change.

Whether it’s the simplicity of the inevitable change of the season, or the unavoidable turn’s life brings our way, or the far more substantial capacity for us to elicit change within ourselves.

Change is beautiful, it brings variety, it sharpens the senses, increases awareness, builds character, creates memories, and more than anything, the changes we are empowered to make within ourselves carries the distinct flavor of divinity.  The power to enact change.  The power to influence, ourselves or others.

 This week, I have felt grateful for change.  As challenging as it sometimes is, may we embrace it and leverage it to propel us to even greater heights.


Inspirational Quotes

I’m always looking for inspiration, and I’m always inspired by looking. 

So, I’ve decided to start a post where we can collect inspirational quotes.   I try hard to use my blog to inspire and motivate others.  But the beauty of social media, such as blogging, is that it’s a two-way street.  This post is your opportunity to inspire me, and others who read it.

It’s an open forum, post whatever quotes you’d like, spiritual, motivational, whatever.  They can be yours, or they can be another’s (if so, please post who said it, if known).  Obvious rules will apply…

Let’s have fun.

What do you care?

I’ve moved this post to, my new blog dedicated to motivating and inspiring people to realize their potential and achieve their dreams.

It’s about engineering your present to change your future.  A place where like-minded people can come and share their successes and encourage each other.

You can now find the post here:

The Blind Painter

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You’re number 288! Please, be personal.

The other day I was in Cutlers, a small sandwich shop here in Utah (they’ve got an amazing turkey and avocado sandwich, by the way, and crazy-good sugar cookies).   

It was early evening and they were about to close.  I walked in and placed an order for a dozen sugar cookies (no, not all for me… although I could have eaten them all).

The gentleman at the counter took my order and my cash, gave me my change, and declared with an I’m-bored-out-of-my-mind voice “You’re number 288”. 

 “No, I’m Rusty” I thought.  But then he handed me a little sheet of paper on which was scrawled the number 288, as if he’d read my mind and wanted to prove me wrong.

I looked around me.  There was one other person in the shop, and she’d already gotten her order.

I laughed out loud, which earned me a quizzical expression from my little helper, and to which I replied “Never mind… thank you.”

Clearly, he didn’t understand the importance of being personal. 

But it made me wonder at my own interactions with people, how often I must take on that same robotic approach.  How often do I forget that the person I’m talking to is a person?  That they’ve got a life, and right now it might not be going so well.

We all have areas in our lives that, due to repetition, cause us to be a bit too calloused in our interactions with people.

How would you feel if you drove up to the McDonalds window and the gal (instead of just reaching out for your money), looked at you in the eye, smiled, and said “Nice to see you, thanks for coming to McDonalds”, or “have a great evening, and enjoy your meal.”

Interacting with people can (and should) be one of the most regularly enriching aspects of our lives.  Sometimes they’ve got a bit of spare energy, or humor, or wisdom that you can glean from.  Sometimes it’s the other way around.  But whatever it is, as you become more aware of the person to whom you’re talking, you’ll find that good things happen.

If we all tried to be just a bit more personal in our dealings with others, we’d find the world would be a better place.


P.S.  Email, as well as other mediums of digital communications tends to exacerbate this problem even more.  If your interactions with others are primarily digital, you’ll need to be extra vigilant, because you lack those visual cues that would otherwise guide your interaction.

God grant me wisdom

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Don’t abandon your children

Today Nebraska lawmakers voted (43-5) to change the state safe-haven law.  All 50 states have these safe-haven laws, allowing parents to leave infants at a hospital anonymously without fear of prosecution.  They were passed in an effort to prevent unwanted babies from being abandoned in less safe locations.

But when Nebraska set up their law, they failed to provide an age limit.  The result is that people have been driving even from out of state, just to drop of their children.  They’ve come from Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and even Florida.

Since September, when the law took effect, they’ve already had thirty five children dropped off, all but six of them older than 10.  Today the Senate held an emergency session to change the law.

But is there a problem with the law, or is there a problem with society?

Full disclosure, having myself been abandoned by my father when I was about 2 and by my mother when I was 11, I have strong feelings on the matter that may cloud my vision.

But to me this whole scenario has exposed a terrible flaw in society, and this is just the tip of the iceburg (granted, one of the more atrocious illustrations of this flaw).  To me it speaks to the dramatic deterioration of the family.  

As a society have we come to so disregard the family?  Unwanted and out of wedlock pregnancies abound because of this disregard.  And as a society how do we rate this.  It’s strange to me that anyone can have a child and we have laws allowing them to abandon them at will at a hospital, but I have to have a license to catch a fish.  There’s something innately wrong with that.

Are there scenarios where it may be in everyone’s best interest for a child to live somewhere else?  Perhaps (far be it from me to judge each scenario), but it should be done with extreme trepidation, care, prayerful consideration, inspired guidance, and using appropriate channels (for there are worthy parents out there who are willing and anxious to care for these children).  But what kind of solution is it to simply walk away from the problem.  Especially when that walking away is from your very children, who love you, and look to you for support.

What kind of culture does that create? What kind of message and habit does that perpetuate? 

Families are ordained of God.  It’s central to His plan for the eternal destiny of His children.  Families are the mortar of society, and anything that would weaken those bonds (including the dereliction of duty by parents) threatens not only society but our own exaltation.

The protection and preservation of the family is not only crucial to those who have their own families, but to every individual, for families form the fabric of eternity, and our eternal destinies are interwoven in that fabric, regardless how isolated we may feel or try to become.  The hearts of the children MUST turn to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers MUST turn to their children.  There is immeasurable and ill-understood power in these relationships both on this side of the veil and beyond.

This same eternal and divine power that binds us together as relatives, is the very power that will strengthen you, support you, and give even the most weary parents the emotional and spiritual sustenance they need to overcome even the most daunting of life’s many challenges.

So if you are one who is struggling against such challenges, and considering such a dramatic course of action, let me speak to you clearly.  There is no challenge beyond which the Lord has power to help you overcome.  Do not turn away from your family.  Instead, turn to them, and experience the infinite power that is available to those who endeavor to strengthen those family bonds, instead of breaking them.  Turn inward, not outward, and you’ll find strength and support from the Lord in ways that you may have never imagined.

Families are eternal.  Let them not be so easily broken by such temporary strains, no matter how difficult they may seem at the time.


If you haven’t already, just read “The Family:  A proclamation to the World” and let your soul reflect upon the words of a latter-day prophet.



P.S.  News on the issue can be found here, and here.

God’s hidden plan for you

Around 1620, separatists from England had arrived in America seeking religious freedom.  Landing at New Plymouth, they set up what would become known as the Plymouth Colony.  This colony would be crucial in establishment of a nation free to worship God as they saw fit.

But it almost didn’t happen.

On the journey, many of the pilgrims had become ill, and 47% of them had died.  They were desperate to find a place ashore on which they could settle.  But every attempt found them repelled by the natives.  At long last, they came to Plymouth Rock.

Coming ashore they found an established, but empty village (called Patuxet) that had been built by the Native American Wampanoag.  The village had been abandoned three years earlier because of a plague (likely smallpox) that had killed every one of its residence.  So sweeping and severe was the plague that the colonists discovered unburied skeletons in some of the abandoned dwellings.

But that plague, which had killed so many of the Wampanoag, was crucial for the ultimate success of Plymouth Colony.

Because the local natives were in such a weakened state, the colonists weren’t met with the same opposition that they had faced on earlier landings.   In fact, the plague had nearly decimated the Wampanoag, depopulating whole villages.  To make matters worse, it hadn’t touched their longtime enemies, the Narragansett alliance to the west, which left the Wampanoag in a precarious situation.

 Realizing their vulnerability, Massasoit, Sachem, and leader of the Wampanoag, knew his only hope for survival would be to form an alliance with the Pilgrims.  For this purpose, on March 22, 1621 Massasoit, Samoset, and Tisquantum, broke long-standing policy, and came to negotiate with the colonists.

Those negotiations would make way for the survival of the Plymouth Colony (which were nearly decimated themselves, with only 47 survivors at one point), providing them with vital food, and knowledge that was crucial for them to know how to grow crop on this strange new land.

But none of that would have been possible if that plague would not have first swept the area, setting the stage for new colonization.  Colonization that would lead to the establishment of a new nation, a nation of religious freedom, where the word of God could be established, and his people could be free to worship.

But to Massasoit and his people, that plague was a catastrophe.  Likely there were many who must have questioned their God, doubt-ridden and angry because they could not see the larger plan.  But a lager plan there was.  A plan known only to an omniscient Father, and made possible by a plague.

Often it is that our lives are swept with such plagues.  Plagues of misfortune, plagues of trials, plagues of temptation, plagues of weakness, plagues of loss, plagues of discouragement, plagues of doubt, and sometimes, plagues of disaster.

How tempting it is, for us to question our Father, while we suffer under these plagues… while the reality of our pain is so real. 

But could it not be that the suffering we feel now, is preparing the way for a far richer future we can enjoy tomorrow?  A tree must be pruned, for it to be healthy.  A field must be plowed, before it can be planted.  And sometimes, we must be broken, before we can be built up.

God’s vision for us is greater than our own.  And the meager, mortal attempts we have made to shape our lives must sometimes be undone, before the true beauty of the vision our Father has for us can be realized.

May you trust in God through your adversity.  May you know that He loves you with a depth and intensity that you are incapable of understanding.  May you know that His plan for you is sometimes hidden, but that if you will trust in Him, and keep your faith, and endure to the end, you will find yourself in His presence, and you will know that it was all worth it.  For He lives, and He loves you, for you are His child.

(Ongofu –

Straining toward achievement

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Holding on for dear life

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What I learned from 9-11

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Inspiring words for those who need them

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