Posts Tagged 'work'

RE: To Every Soldier Out There


Image via Wikipedia

A friend of mine recently posted a giant “Thank You” to the military members on her blog. I may not advertise it much (for a variety of reasons), but I’ve hinted at it before. I am a member of the US armed services. Here are my thoughts on my friend’s post.

Thankfully, the military isn’t all blood and guts and war. It is strange the way they try to prepare us for it should we encounter it, but the vast majority of our service in the military consists of performing our monotonous jobs in the same way that most people do every day.

It’s definitely a unique job, but a lot of the time that’s all it is – just a job.

It’s so weird hearing people call it anything else. I doubt I’ll ever see it the way you do, or the way most people on the outside do. Not that your way of seeing it is in any way inaccurate, it just doesn’t feel like what I do.

I’ll probably deploy this year. Not sure what that’ll mean since some deployments still only send people to Africa or other relatively peaceful areas. I could come under fire. I’ve prepared for it, I’m trained for it, and I’ve accepted it as part of the package. But ultimately the military is just a job with benefits that I needed for my family. Yes, my service represents another body filling a role in the United States armed forces, which grants our country the military power to protect its citizens. But I didn’t join for that purpose, so that’s not what it means to me.

But when I’m out there getting shot at, I already know what I’ll be thinking. I’ll be thinking about my family first, then I’ll be thinking about all of my friends, and their safety, and how my decision to support the military ultimately means that they will be protected.

I don’t agree with everything our military is employed to accomplish, I don’t agree with all of the political nonsense that directs my deployments and the battles I could be in. But if I thought for a minute that it would be somehow beneficial if everyone stopped supporting the military because of what our leaders do with it, well that’d just be crazy talk.

We need to support our military. We need people to enlist. We need people to support those who serve. Because if we don’t support them while they’re fighting a war we don’t agree with, then we won’t have their support when they’re fighting a war we do agree with.

I don’t see myself as a hero, but I do see every armed serviceman in the United States as a hero. They are as much my heroes as they are yours. These men and women need all of our support. If we have problems with where they are being utilized, then it’s likely that they do too, and they don’t need our criticism. They need our support. They need our love, and they need us to speak up to the right people.

If you really want to make life better for our servicemen, support leaders who will employ them well. Be vocal about the politics without being critical of the military members. It drives me crazy how many Americans think that taking their anger out on men and women in uniform is going to do them any good. They don’t want our protection? Great. Let’s see how they’d like it if the military up and disappeared on them. I’m sure things would be dandy until some country that hates America (name one that doesn’t – go ahead) realized we have no military. That’d be a great day to be an American, huh?

Five Lessons

English: Illustration from Lessons in Geography.

Image via Wikipedia

There are five lessons that I must pass on to my family. Primarily, it is my hope to mold my life until I can be a good example of these five principles for my wife and children. As I approach a personal mastery of each lesson I will be better equipped to help those who look up to me in their efforts.

Each lesson contains specific benefits to our spiritual, mental and physical health.

The Power of Words

Words have a powerful impact in every part of our personal lives and the lives of those around us. They can change attitudes, control actions and influence others. The benefits of verbal self-mastery are unquestionable.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Speak only the truth. Ask the questions you want the answers to. Choose your words carefully before you open your mouth. Do not blurt things out. Negative speech of all kinds should be avoided. An entire lesson can be taught with a simple, well-planned and well-placed question.

By controlling our tongues we become masters of our minds, bodies and spirits. We can be a great support for those around us and we can be powerful teachers. Our speech should be uplifting, enlightening and wise.

The Importance of Honest, Hard Work

Working hard, doing work the right way and learning to do it with a good attitude are essential in life. Work is an eternal principle.

It has been shown that doing work the hard way is excellent exercise for our brains. Learning to be efficient is different from taking shortcuts. You should work as hard as required. Be honest about your work. Proper planning and care can ensure success with any task, regardless of how hard or big it may seem at first.

If you do not understand the goal your work could be in vain. Ensure that you communicate clearly and ask questions until you fully understand your task before you begin working.

Any change, large or small, that you make around you should make the world a better place. If it does not make the world a better place, fix your change so it never happened. If you can’t fix it, try to make it better and get help if you need it.

Putting Away Childish Things

It is important to enjoy each stage of life to the best of your ability. Childhood is a great time to have fun and focus on the few responsibilities you may have.

Maturity doesn’t happen by accident. As we pass from one stage of life into another we must seek out ways that we can grow. By reviewing past stages of life and identifying behaviors and possessions that are childish we can work to put those things behind us.

True friendships mature with us and get better with age. Other relationships can stunt our growth and work against our efforts to become more mature. Do not work to prolong a relationship with someone who is a hazard to your physical, spiritual or mental health.

The Benefits of Simplicity

Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

We must learn to distinguish between needs and wants, and we must balance our lives. It is necessary to have some entertainment and comfort in life, but these things must be enjoyed in moderation. Too many physical belongings, regardless of their purpose, can distract from what is truly important.

Get your priorities straight and shed any physical possessions you may have that do not truly enhance your life. My father taught me to ask three questions before buying anything: “Do I need it? Do I need it now? Can I live without it?” Asking these questions prior to acquiring anything can help us avoid amassing clutter in our lives.

Cleanliness, order and simplicity give clarity, peace and focus that cannot be experienced amidst clutter and chaos. Our brains cannot generate order in a messy environment and the spirit of God cannot abide a disregard for cleanliness.

The Blessings of the Gospel

Never cease seeking out truth. Many differing ideas exist surrounding our existence and our brains are hardwired to seek meaning behind life.

It could all be for nothing in the end, but when the end of our life does come, which would be worse? Living trying to obey God only to die and cease to exist, or living as though there is no God only to die and come face to face with Him?

If for this reason alone, never stop trying to live the Gospel and seeking spiritual health. You will find that there are numerous benefits to living a life centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Should you one day choose to follow another faith, I will still love you. However, I encourage you to trust in my faith for a while and see if you can gain a personal conviction of its truth as I have. My personal testimony of my spiritual beliefs is something I treasure above all else in life.


Edited on January 16th, 2012 to include a line about changes we make in the world. Also included some minor paragraph edits.

Three is a BIG Number

When you’re stressed, tired or just four months old, three can seem like an awfully large number.  We had three events today, all of them sizable, and all of them enjoyable (when taken one at a time, per day).

First, a movie!  I love movies, and I especially love Pixar movies.  Today we saw what may soon be known as my favorite movie – WALL*E.  I generally consider movies either one of my favorites because I don’t want to actually say one good movie was better than another good movie.  In this case, though, you’ve got some great animation, wonderful characters, good story, fun laughs, stunning visuals and strong emotional elements.  Before this movie I loved Stardust, A Knight’s Tale, The Incredibles, and a few others – each as one of my favorites.  Now, though, I may begin saying that WALL*E is my favorite movie (until I find something better).

After the movie my five-year-old had to go to the bathroom and I was left holding Sophie in the lobby.  There was a huge, cardboard model of WALL*E, so I had the baby pose for some pictures in front.  Click on the smaller images to see larger ones:

Next, a birthday party for two little girls each turning one in the same month.  Silly?  Yes.  Excuse for adults to get together and drink?  Also.  We left at the first signs of tipsiness from one of the hostesses.  Not because she was getting drunk, but because we have a four-month-old and we had other things to do.

Before I leave the subject of that little party, I have to mention that it is so funny to watch the four-month-old baby when she gets her little fist wrapped around a Twizzler and starts to suck on it.  She absolutely loved the Twizzlers and the chips (don’t worry, I only let her suck until they got too soft but before they broke apart).  She also enjoyed sucking on ice and baby carrots.  Oh, and Laffy-Taffy.  She enjoyed the Laffy-Taffy for almost fifteen minutes.

Finally we headed over to the home of our friends (D’n’A) and ate dinner.  After dinner we played some games among screaming babies.  It was a good time despite my utter exhaustion and high stress levels.  I get stressed for reasons most people would scoff at, and the stress often gets worse if I begin worrying about whether my stress and social awkwardness are making others uncomfortable with me.  Fortunately for our friends D’n’A, I don’t stress much at their house because I don’t worry about whether they are uncomfortable with me or not.

At last we ended up at home with a very tired baby girl who had too much to do in one day.  I played a few minutes of a Wii game while my wife fed the baby, then I started typing this (which turned into a much longer project than I thought).  I think I hear the baby making some noise now, so I’m off to work.  Soon I’ll begin writing for the sake of writing again.  For now I’ve been using this mainly for family updates.  Before long I’ll get back to work!

Looking for ideas…

Well, either you are or I am. 😉 I’m in this strange little cloud right now where all I can safely think about is my future. Never fear, I’m still focusing on maintaining a healthy presence in… the present, but my mind wanders often, and its favorite spot to visit lately has been the future. I think about the technology of the future, mostly, but occasionally my mind ponders ways I might be able to capitalize on my talents and earn a living doing something other than working for someone who owns my soul (on paper).

Ultimately, I am aware of many of my talents, but unable to figure out how to make money with most of them. Obviously, if I could become a writer of any kind (fiction, nonfiction, magazine articles, whatever) I could get paid for it. However, of my other talents, how can I make money? I often know what technologies will be important in the near and distant future, beyond just recognizing what is popular. Microsoft’s Mesh was no surprise to me, nor is virtualization, or the movement for online/offline access for web applications (Google Gears, Adobe AIR, etc.). The moves large companies make concerning social networking and other social/technological decisions are simply expected developments toward the future I already know is coming. How in the world does one capitalize on this type of foreknowledge?

If anyone has any suggestions, please share. Otherwise, expect me to figure something out just a little too late and miss the boat. I shall consult with a few other close friends and family members to see what they have to say. If I could put my talents and knowledge to work making money for me, I wouldn’t need to slave under the oppression of bureaucracy any longer…

That’ll be great. Until then, I’d better get to sleep so I can get up in time to avoid arriving late to work.

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