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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Living in the Moment

My brother-in-law Chris recently blogged about an intriguing idea. In his essay he explored the idea that having a finite period of time in this mortal existence impacts how we live and what we focus on. He suggests that the impermanence of life affects how we perceive things and informs our choices and our actions.

Why does the fragility of this impermanent mortal existence make life more special? Chris talks about how real flowers have more value than fake flowers since there is a temporary quality to them that demands to be enjoyed in this moment since their beauty will soon fade. Similarly, a gorgeous sunset or a beautiful rainbow are short-lived, and would not be nearly as special if they were always there. The fact that these displays of nature last for just a few fleeting moments adds to their charm.

When my dad was told he had six months to live, I often thought about what I would do given a similar prognosis. It certainly would depend on my health (my dad was seriously ill during his final months), but I think I’d focus on deepening relationships and creating shared experiences together. The fact that we knew our time together was so limited made those final months extra special.

Of course, I believe in the eternal nature of the soul. My faith teaches that progression is eternal and that family relationships can continue beyond the grave. I believe that someday after I die, my body will be resurrected to a perfect and immortal state. That belief provides me with comfort and peace, and gives my life much more meaning and purpose. I believe the purpose of life is to gain experience, intelligence and relationships. Those are the things we’ll take with us when we go. But I don’t like to live my life and make choices based solely on expectations of future glory. I follow Christian teachings because I believe them to be the blueprint of happiness and peace in THIS life.

(Side note: sometimes when I do the dishes or help Robin put away the groceries or lug 40-pound bags of salt down the stairs to the water softener, I ask myself, “Will I be doing these mundane tasks for eternity?” I certainly hope not. To be honest, the thought of living forever has always made me a bit queasy, mostly because of my aversion to repetition. Even if we are doing amazing things each day as exalted beings, wouldn’t it get old after a while? I don’t like to think about it too long because my finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite. Even my daughter Brianna told me once that thinking about living forever makes her “tummy feel kind of weird.”)

Anyway, my point is that my belief in eternal life does impact my choices, but having a finite period of time to do things in this life also affects my actions. The fact that my children are growing up and that their childhood is fleeting makes me want to spend more time with them. It makes me want to cherish the present moment. When we know something will NOT last forever (rainbow, sunset, freshly cut flowers, time with a terminally ill parent, our children’s childhood), it becomes that much more precious to us.

I am not suggesting that we “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” I am suggesting that while we look forward to eternal life with excitement and great anticipation, we should never forget to have joy in the journey — TODAY. Remember that scene from “Dead Poets’ Society” where Robin Williams’ character tells the boys “Seize the day, boys, make your lives extraordinary.”

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ppqb0t_B0KY]

Carpe Diem!

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2009 in Spirituality

 

Can I PLEASE have a new iPhone?

Apple has done it again — they have created something that I REALLY want. I have been coveting an iPhone since June 2007 when it was first released. Back then it cost $499 for the 4 GB version and $599 for the 8 GB version. Today, the faster 3G 8 GB version costs $99. Yes, that’s only $99 bucks. They recently slashed the price and I am sorely tempted to buy one!

intro-iphone-everything-20090608[1]

They also are about to introduce an even cooler version — the iPhone 3G S, which costs $199 for the 16 GB version and $299 for the 32 GB version of the amazing phone. What a deal! And look at all the cool new features:

  • Video camera with editing capabilities
  • A 3-megapixel digital camera
  • Voice memo recording
  • Internet tethering (hook it up to your laptop for internet access)
  • Compass and GPS
  • Voice control (tell your iPhone what you want to do and wallah!)
  • A ton of really cool apps that you can download (many for free)
  • Great internet service, email, texting
  • A really cool phone with great contact management
  • Oh yeah, it’s also an iPod, so you can listen to all your music, buy music directly from iTunes, as well as watch videos from YouTube or movies that you have purchased or converted from DVD.

Today while helping out on a school field trip, I was carrying around my iPod, a cell phone and a digital camera and I thought: “I could have these all in one…” Needless to say, I REALLY want one. I love the technology. I love the features. I love being connected. So why don’t I just go out and buy one already!? Here’s why:

1. Price. The initial price of $99 is really good. But the true cost is more like $2,500. About $100 per month for AT&T service on a 24-month contract. And although my company would reimburse much of that cost, $100 per month for a phone is just too much. I’m too cheap.

2. Being connected. Do I really need to be connected everywhere at every moment? Should I be blogging, emailing, texting, twittering or Facebooking while I drive, eat lunch or take my kids to the park. No, probably not. I spend too much time on the internet as it is.

3. I already have a laptop and with wireless broadband throughout my house. While the keyboard on the iPhone is nice, it’s so much faster to get work done on a REAL keyboard. Short Facebook status updates are okay, but blogging, email and writing documents on that tiny keyboard is still quite slow — although it’s faster than tapping out text messages on my cell!

4. I already own an iPod Touch, which is like an iPhone without the phone or camera. It’s a great device and can connect to my home wireless network so I can check email and Facebook without having to fire up my desktop computer or laptop. I recently downloaded some software updates that allowed me to put “apps” on my iPod Touch, so I can now read the scriptures, download and listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos right on that little device. The touch screen is awesome — it’s the best iPod I’ve ever owned.

I believe that someday I will have an iPhone or something like it. But that day has not yet arrived, even though I wish were here!

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2009 in Technology

 

Amusing Kiddie Quotes

Here are a few amusing quotes from my four children:

Parley, 10-year-old son.
“Dad, I think God must be right-handed.” (We had just been reading the scriptures together as a family and we had read about how the righteous would be on the right hand of God and how the sheep (righteous) were on the right and the goats (wicked) were on the left.)

Brianna, almost 8-year-old daughter.
“Dad, whenever I think about living forever, I get this kind of sick feeling in my tummy. I think I’ll get bored after a while. Do you think that once we make it to the Celestial Kingdom, we’ll be able to visit Disneyworld and Hawaii whenever we want?” (This conversation was initiated by Brianna, not me, while we were driving alone together in the car.)

“Mom, I really want to go to bed because my left eye is feeling kind of sleepy. But my right eye is still kind of awake.”

Lily, 5-year-old daughter.
Lily: “Dad, I want to buy a treat at the store.”
Dad:  “Lily, we can’t because we don’t have any money.”
Lily: “That’s okay, we can just use the credit card!”

James, 20-month old son.
Pointing to an elephant, he exclaimed excitedly: “Gog!” (his word for dog).

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2009 in Family