Friday, July 25, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Chance Encounter

On my way to Salt Lake City for the Days of '47 celebration, I had an opportunity to make a new friend. A lovely lady named Isla Long sat in the window seat of my row on the plane. In her early 80's (so she tells me), Isla is a very talkative person and I absolutely enjoyed conversing with her. She told me she was heading back home after visiting with family for nearly 3 months. I thought it was great that she was traveling at her age and making a point to share experiences with her family. She seemed extremely active and I remember thinking that I only hope I will be as active as her if I am lucky to reach her age.

She was so cute as she shared stories about her life, her children, her recently passed husband, her mother, and an old flame from 65 years ago. She'd pull out photos from her backpack and even pulled out a great newspaper article about her Mom from May 22, 1985. As I learned more about this charming woman, I wondered how many of her grandkids knew all of these stories. I wondered how many of them had taken the time to sit down and listen to this dear lady and live vicariously through her. Obviously, it made me think about the service we provide through (C'mon, what do you expect?)

Isla is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but of course, that didn't matter to me. I just wanted her to know about our service and recommend that she use to catalog events in her life. The truth be told, I don't really care how she tells her stories, I just hope she does record them so her grandchildren will have a chance to share the life of this wonderful person.

Isla shared stories of World War II and her family that served in the military. She shared proud moments about her children and even shared personal moments. I don't want to get too specific about what Isla shared. After all, I think some of the moments and memories she shared with me were personal and I would never violate her trust or privacy. But her smile and excitement really endeared me to her and made me think hard about my life and the loved ones that I am so lucky to still associate with every day.

Meeting Isla was a wonderful way to kick off my trip to SLC and really got me thinking about personal history. I realize that I am much more mindful than most people since we're in the business of helping people record their lives. But I hope those of you who have someone like Isla in your life will take a moment to listen, share, and hopefully capture all of those moments that are worth recording.

Thank you, Isla, for sharing such wonderful stories with me and helping me remember to get with my grandmother to get all of her wonderful stories recorded. I hope you had a relaxing weekend and have fun at your Grandson's wedding!

Monday, July 21, 2008

We are all Pioneers

Pioneer Day is coming up this week and is lucky enough to be a very small part of the festivities taking place in Salt Lake City. As a convert to the LDS Church, I'm often reminded of how amazing the LDS Church is every time I visit Salt Lake City. If you've never made the trip to SLC, I recommend taking the time to visit either during General Conference or during the Pioneer Day celebrations. Now in all honesty I've never been to the Pioneer Day events, but our Membership Coordinator, Jan Dover, tells me that it is one of the great events taking place in Utah and she wishes she could be there. I truly respect her opinion, so I feel very fortunate to be going to the Days of '47 celebrations.

Our Art Director, Steve Reed, recently created the brochures for the Mormon Handcart Pageant taking place July 23-26. In the brochure, he made a statement that really resonated with me. He said, "We are all pioneers..." It really got me thinking about the work that each of us is doing each time we choose to record our lives or spiritual moments in our personal journals. And for me, being a convert to the LDS Church, the moments I record and the pictures I can paint with my words will serve as a starting point in the LDS Church for my posterity.

So, as I go to the Days of '47 celebration, I know I will be mindful of my place in my family's history. I can only hope that many of you will take this same opportunity to make a difference in the lives of your loved ones. Oh yeah, make sure you have a great time and enjoy the festivities with your friends and family. After all, creating the memories that you record is the most fun of all! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Josh Hamilton, an amazing human being

For those of you that know me personally, my guess is if someone asked you to describe me, one of the things you'd say about me is that I LOVE sports. And, you'd be right. :)

It has been a little while since I made a post and I can honestly say that I've thought about writing and never got around to it (wow, that sounds like journaling doesn't it?). Anyway, last evening (July 14, 2008) a young, flawed man really made me smile. This man's name is Josh Hamilton and he is a baseball player in the Major Leagues and his current team is the Texas Rangers.

For those of you that don't know the story about Josh Hamilton, simply do a Google search and I'm sure you'll find something about the man before you will about the player. And if you really want to read something about Josh Hamilton, take a moment to read the article below written by Peter Gammons.

Anyway, what I saw last night was a man who has been through hell and back. Personally, I've never had to deal with anything like what Josh has been through and I hope I never do. He has overcome drug addiction to pick up his life and inspire millions. As he stood in the batter's box at Yankee Stadium and pounded a record 28 home runs in 1 round of the home run derby, I couldn't help but marvel at what he was doing. Sure, the home runs were impressive, but I was more impressed with how we was handling himself. There Josh stood with the entire baseball world watching and he showed them just how great he could be. To me, that's one of the greatest accomplishments he could have considering how many people gave up on him. But what made me smile was seeing this real-life example that Heavenly Father is watching over us and listening to our prayers. Sometimes we simply need to have faith and be patient.

Now, I promised I wouldn't get preachy on this blog and I certainly don't think it is my job. We have far greater men in the LDS Church for that. But I felt compelled to share this story and make you aware of Josh Hamilton. I hope you will take a moment to read about him.

Some people will say his addiction was his own fault and I would say that I agree with you. But I admire a person that makes a mistake and stands up for it and does something about it. So often we can never forgive ourselves for the mistakes that we make and we continue to spiral further down. I can tell you that it is easy to judge and easy to assume, but Josh Hamilton is helping me see just how great all people can be.