Black Thursday

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Time for people to start singing those particular words, time for the holiday season to kick off.

As I have anticipated a special Thanksgiving this year, with my parents coming to visit from out of town, and my father meeting my son for the first time, I’ve noticed a new trend in the television commercials that doesn’t sit right.

Stores are opening for “Black Friday” on Thursday night. Early Thursday night. Even though these companies are advertising deals and savings, that’s not what crossed my mind.

I think of all the employees that have to leave their families dinner table early to get to work. I think of the crazy shoppers who think that getting a deal is more important than spending time with their families.


Don’t let a company’s greed for your business take you away from what matters most.

This Thanksgiving I’m most grateful for family. As previously stated, this will be a Thanksgiving where special memories are made. Door busters and deals will not be in the picture.

You Can Always Call Home

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything. Whenever I have questions about literally anything, I call home and talk to my mom and dad. My entire life they have offered advice about what they would do in my situation, and I’ve always found it helpful. I wouldn’t be who I am today without my parents.

No matter what, we can always call home. Prayer is an option that is always available. It doesn’t matter what religion you belong to. God is the same. He is our Father, your Father. He loves you and wants to be a part of your life. You can ask Him for anything. He will help you.


No matter how far away we are, communication is always possible in today’s technological world. I can call my wife, my parents, anyone, from thousands of miles away. Just the same, there are no limitations when it comes to communing with God.

Having a Father in Heaven who is all knowing is a resource that blesses my life every day. I am who I am because of God. I was created in His image. He influences my life because I pray to him. There is no greater feeling than seeing Him work in my life, and knowing that He has heard my prayers.


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Understanding God’s Perspective

Every once in a while, life throws you an experience to give you a small glimpse into the perspective that God has as our Father.

I recently had such an experience. My son was crying. He was clearly tired, and fighting sleep. As a father, I could see his need for sleep, and wanted to do what I could to help him.

As I held him in my arms and rocked and bounced him, he eventually gave in to sleep.

From a parent’s perspective, we can see and understand the needs of our children. Based on the experiences of our lives, we know what is best for them in their current situation and how to best help them.

God has the same experiences with us. He sees us struggle, takes us in His arms, and comforts us until our needs are met enough to carry on.

Having a child is life-changing. That’s definitely stating the obvious. I have felt feelings of joy and love far greater than I could have ever dreamed of. I can only imagine the feelings of love God feels for all of His children.

Next time you are facing tougher times, remember God is closer than ever. He wants you to succeed. He wants you to feel at peace. He wants you to feel His love. Never give up on God.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:31

“…for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” -Doctrine and Covenants 84:88

Living In A Tent

What are you willing to sacrifice to follow God?

One of the most important lessons I have learned so far is that sacrifice brings blessings. When we make sacrifices to follow God, He not only recognizes it, but rewards us generously.

There is a verse in the second chapter of the Book of Mormon that, until recently, didn’t make any sense to me. I had no idea why it was even recorded. Most every member of the Church knows this verse, and there are many jokes that are made in reference to it. But thanks to Al Fox and her beautiful teachings, my eyes are opened.

“And my father dwelt in a tent.” – 1 Nephi 2:15 (Book of Mormon)

The author did not record this historical fact just because. There is deeper meaning to be understood. In order to understand this seven letter sentence, you must start with background and context.

Though not much information is recorded about Lehi’s life, mainly due to the lost manuscript during the time in which the Book of Mormon was being translated, a great characteristic of Lehi can be deduced within the first chapters of Book of Mormon.

He was a prophet of God.

He lived in Jerusalem for most of his life. See 1 Nephi 1:4 (Book of Mormon)

He owned property. See 1 Nephi 1:7 (Book of Mormon)

He possessed items of wealth/good fortune. See 1 Nephi 2:4 (Book of Mormon)

“And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.

“And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him.

“And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.” -1 Nephi 2:2-4, (Book of Mormon) emphasis added.

This man left all of his earthly possessions behind him excepting the bare minimum. Nothing else mattered. He had been given a personal commandment from God to take his family and get them out of town, and he obeyed.

He went from living in what was probably a high class home to a tent.


The Book of Mormon record very often describes the murmuring of those who don’t get their way. However, it is noteworthy that there is no record of Lehi complaining about this commandment to leave. In fact, after the first three days of travel, Lehi built an altar and gave thanks to God. (See 1 Nephi 2:7)

The effects of Lehi’s sacrifice are still being felt today. Anyone who reads the Book of Mormon and studies the Church can come to understand the special blessings associated with this man’s sacrifice.

Are you willing to make sacrifices for God? Do you know and love God enough to drop everything, leave everything, all based on a knowledge that only you have?

When we follow God, when we live His commandments, He blesses us more than we could ever possibly imagine. There is no doubt that Lehi’s tent has been upgraded to a Heavenly mansion.

As I have gained more appreciation for what I initially thought was a meaningless verse of scripture, I am committed to finding more ways to sacrifice my life for God’s work, because nothing else is more important.

Taking on a New Role

Last night my life changed. Forever.

My wife and I welcomed our first child, a son, into the world last night. It was an experience that is beyond the reach of words. Until he was born, all I could feel was anxiety, excitement, and anticipation. Today I feel happy, love, and of course, exhaustion.


Today my mindset is different, however. This little boy is my son. My son. I always knew that, but now the fact has hit me, and started to sink in.

I am no longer just a husband. I have a new role, and new responsibilities.

As a father, it is up to me to make sure this little guy knows the important things in life. Obviously that means the essentials – sports, good music, and all other things man-related. But, my responsibilities go much deeper.

He needs to come to know and understand who he is.

This new addition to our family is not just my son. He is a son of God. The God of heaven and earth has given my wife and I the responsibility of raising one of His own. That’s a big deal. As he grows up, he needs to learn about his identity and potential. Not just potential in life, but in the life to come as well. This little miracle deserves everything I have to offer him as a father.

How I look forward to watching him grow, and teaching him all I can. Ultimately, he will make his own choices, but that’s the beautiful part of life. We are free.

There is no feeling like this, not that I have ever felt in my life. Being a father is a special experience, and I couldn’t trade it for anything.