Thursday, November 28, 2013

Next step

Me putting into practice, "You Can Do it Now" In therapy working with the PT students, Brandy and Matt, I am being dicected, it is more my kenomatics, which is the rythem of walking, and my TBI than my physical anatomy.
On the Spiritual front, I am experiencing the same type of refinement, I found this quote from Bruce C. Haven, "If you have problems in your life, don't assume there is something wrong with you. Struggling with those problems is at the very core of life's purpose. As we draw closer to God, He will show us our weaknesses and through them make us wiser, stronger. If you are seeing more of your weaknes, that just might mean you are moving closer to God and not further away." I hope that this is the case as I  continue to struggle.
I am Thankful for being at this next step and for all those loved ones who have helped me get here. From The Gospel of Second Chances there is this thought, "The first step in the direction of perfection is exercising the faith to recognize that we are not there yet." check, I have many more steps to go and it feels CHAMPION to be on the right path, heading in the right direction.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"You Can Do it Now"

In my ward they are having the sacrament speakers talk on their favorite talk in October's General Conference. This was one of mine.President Uchdoft's Priesthood address this last General Conference: "Falling is seen as something we all do in life. When I was young, falling and getting up seemed to be one and the same motion. Over the years, however, I have come to the unsettling conclusion that the laws of physics have changed—and not to my advantage.

Not long ago I was skiing with my 12-year-old grandson. We were enjoying our time together when I hit an icy spot and ended up making a glorious crash landing on a steep slope.

I tried every trick to stand up, but I couldn’t—I had fallen, and I couldn’t get up.

I felt fine physically, but my ego was a bit bruised. So I made sure that my helmet and goggles were in place, since I much preferred that other skiers not recognize me. I could imagine myself sitting there helplessly as they skied by elegantly, shouting a cheery, “Hello, Brother Uchtdorf!”

I began to wonder what it would take to rescue me. That was when my grandson came to my side. I told him what had happened, but he didn’t seem very interested in my explanations of why I couldn’t get up. He looked me in the eyes, reached out, took my hand, and in a firm tone said, “Opa, you can do it now!”

Instantly, I stood.

I am still shaking my head over this. What had seemed impossible only a moment before immediately became a reality because a 12-year-old boy reached out to me and said, “You can do it now!” To me, it was an infusion of confidence, enthusiasm, and strength.

Brethren, there may be times in our lives when rising up and continuing on may seem beyond our own ability. That day on a snow-covered slope, I learned something. Even when we think we cannot rise up, there is still hope. And sometimes we just need someone to look us in the eyes, take our hand, and say, “You can do it now!”

The Delusion of Toughness
We may think that women are more likely than men to have feelings of inadequacy and disappointment—that these feelings affect them more than us. I’m not sure that this is true. Men experience feelings of guilt, depression, and failure. We might pretend these feelings don’t bother us, but they do. We can feel so burdened by our failures and shortcomings that we begin to think we will never be able to succeed. We might even assume that because we have fallen before, falling is our destiny. As one writer put it, “We beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”1

I have watched men filled with potential and grace disengage from the challenging work of building the kingdom of God because they had failed a time or two. These were men of promise who could have been exceptional priesthood holders and servants of God. But because they stumbled and became discouraged, they withdrew from their priesthood commitments and pursued other but less worthy endeavors.

And thus, they go on, living only a shadow of the life they could have led, never rising to the potential that is their birthright. As the poet lamented, these are among those unfortunate souls who “die with [most of] their music [still] in them.”2

No one likes to fail. And we particularly don’t like it when others—especially those we love—see us fail. We all want to be respected and esteemed. We want to be champions. But we mortals do not become champions without effort and discipline or without making mistakes.

Brethren, our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward.

Godly Sorrow
We know this mortal life is a test. But because our Heavenly Father loves us with a perfect love, He shows us where to find the answers. He has given us the map that allows us to navigate the uncertain terrain and unexpected trials that each of us encounters. The words of the prophets are part of this map.

When we stray—when we fall or depart from the way of our Heavenly Father—the words of the prophets tell us how to rise up and get back on track.

Of all the principles taught by prophets over the centuries, one that has been emphasized over and over again is the hopeful and heartwarming message that mankind can repent, change course, and get back on the true path of discipleship.

That does not mean that we should be comfortable with our weaknesses, mistakes, or sins. But there is an important difference between the sorrow for sin that leads to repentance and the sorrow that leads to despair.

The Apostle Paul taught that “godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation … but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”3 Godly sorrow inspires change and hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Worldly sorrow pulls us down, extinguishes hope, and persuades us to give in to further temptation.

Godly sorrow leads to conversion4 and a change of heart.5 It causes us to hate sin and love goodness.6 It encourages us to stand up and walk in the light of Christ’s love. True repentance is about transformation, not torture or torment. Yes, heartfelt regret and true remorse for disobedience are often painful and very important steps in the sacred process of repentance. But when guilt leads to self-loathing or prevents us from rising up again, it is impeding rather than promoting our repentance.

Brethren, there is a better way. Let us rise up and become men of God. We have a champion, a Savior, who walked through the valley of the shadow of death on our behalf. He gave Himself as a ransom for our sins. No one has ever had greater love than this—Jesus Christ, the Lamb without blemish, willingly laid Himself on the altar of sacrifice and paid the price for our sins to “the uttermost farthing.”7 He took upon Himself our suffering. He took our burdens, our guilt upon His shoulders. My dear friends, when we decide to come to Him, when we take upon ourselves His name and boldly walk in the path of discipleship, then through the Atonement we are promised not only happiness and “peace in this world” but also “eternal life in the world to come.”8

When we make mistakes, when we sin and fall, let us think of what it means to truly repent. It means turning our heart and will to God and giving up sin. True heartfelt repentance brings with it the heavenly assurance that “we can do it now.”

Who Are You?
One of the adversary’s methods to prevent us from progressing is to confuse us about who we really are and what we really desire.

We want to spend time with our children, but we also want to engage in our favorite manly hobbies. We want to lose weight, but we also want to enjoy the foods we crave. We want to become Christlike, but we also want to give the guy who cuts us off in traffic a piece of our mind.

Satan’s purpose is to tempt us to exchange the priceless pearls of true happiness and eternal values for a fake plastic trinket that is merely an illusion and counterfeit of happiness and joy.

Another method the adversary uses to discourage us from rising up is to make us see the commandments as things that have been forced upon us. I suppose it is human nature to resist anything that does not appear to be our own idea in the first place.

If we see healthy eating and exercise as something only our doctor expects of us, we will likely fail. If we see these choices as who we are and who we want to become, we have a greater chance of staying the course and succeeding.

If we see home teaching as only the stake president’s goal, we may place a lower value on doing it. If we see it as our goal—something we desire to do in order to become more Christlike and minister to others—we will not only fulfill our commitment but also accomplish it in a way that blesses the families we visit and our own as well.

Often enough, we are the ones who are being helped up by friends or family. But if we look around with observant eyes and the motive of a caring heart, we will recognize the opportunities the Lord places in front of us to help others rise up and move toward their true potential. The scriptures suggest, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”9

It is a great source of spiritual power to live lives of integrity and righteousness and to keep our eyes on where we want to be in the eternities. Even if we can see this divine destination only with the eye of faith, it will help us to stay the course.

When our attention is mainly focused on our daily successes or failures, we may lose our way, wander, and fall. Keeping our sights on higher goals will help us become better sons and brothers, kinder fathers, and more loving husbands.

Even those who set their hearts upon divine goals may still occasionally stumble, but they will not be defeated. They trust and rely upon the promises of God. They will rise up again with a bright hope in a righteous God and the inspiring vision of a great future. They know they can do it now.

Every person, young and old, has had his own personal experience with falling. Falling is what we mortals do. But as long as we are willing to rise up again and continue on the path toward the spiritual goals God has given us, we can learn something from failure and become better and happier as a result.

My dear brethren, my dear friends, there will be times when you think you cannot continue on. Trust the Savior and His love. With faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the power and hope of the restored gospel, you will be able to walk tall and continue on.

Brethren, we love you. We pray for you. I wish you could hear President Monson pray for you. Whether you are a young father, an elderly priesthood bearer, or a newly ordained deacon, we are mindful of you. The Lord is mindful of you!

We acknowledge that your path will at times be difficult. But I give you this promise in the name of the Lord: rise up and follow in the footsteps of our Redeemer and Savior, and one day you will look back and be filled with eternal gratitude that you chose to trust the Atonement and its power to lift you up and give you strength.

My dear friends and brethren, no matter how many times you have slipped or fallen, rise up! Your destiny is a glorious one! Stand tall and walk in the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! You are stronger than you realize. You are more capable than you can imagine. You can do it now! Of this I testify in the sacred name of our Master and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, amen." my comentary to come, but for now, amen.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

i . . . .

  1.  have noticed that my life has been to focused on me, a recovering narcassist.
  2. am a fool (NOT- hopefully:)
  3.  am a child of God
  4. like lists
  5. am a tease
  6. am an insightful sinner
  7. am a son, brother, friend, husband, uncle and father
  8. finally got my act together and voted, so now i can have an opinion
  9.  am a work in progress, and am grateful for all of those people believe in me and check on me, my Pa text me a quote of the day by Brad Wilcox, "Heaven is not a prize for the perfect, but the future home of all who are willing to be perfected."
  10. want to be 'willing.' Something about the Spirit V.S. the flesh.
  11. am a  "CHAMPION" as defined by President Uchtdorf in the past October 2013 LDS General Conference.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Of wanting everyday to be CHAMPION, everyday is not, nor should I expect life to provide that, something about variety being the spice of life. I have been fretting over this post because I want to be positive.In that light, my Pa gave me a quote from Gordon B. Hinckley found in the November 1989 Ensign issue, "Please don't nag yourself with thoughts of failure. Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept of your effort."
The comments in my wards Sunday school class lead to a neighbor stating that it would be nice if we were 'real' here at church, she laughed as she confessed that some days she stays in her pjs all day. A friend of mine and Lexy's from high school as come over to be with me because with her first she was on bedrest for a few months. when asked how she likes her ward, she replied that it was nice because people are 'real'  there.In the J Golden Kimball book I am reading he is quoted as saying, "be yourself, but be your best self" In replying that I am CHAMPION, I do not want to come across as a fake, or someone masquerading perfection. I am trying to become what I sometimes pretend to be. Screwtape warns his nephew about us humans, "They often become what they pretend to be."

Friday, November 22, 2013

Math problem, the cost of Joy

In The God Who Weeps, I read, "If vulnerability and pain are the price of love, then joy is it's reward."
Here is how I compute this:

Courage + the pain of vulnerability"= LOVE. . . .= JOY
I have started to read another book that will show up on my referenced list, Some Miracles Take Time by Art Berg. Art writes about his rehabilitation after a car accident. I have thought while reading this that I do not have to write a book because Art has written his. I am grateful for others who have been through similar experiences and their courage to be vulnerable and share about their experiences. I have much to continue to learn and am excited to do it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Retun with Honor; Mission Memoires #5

I was transferred from the resort town on the northern boarder of my mission to the southern end in a city called La Serena to be with Elder Tello, from Logan,Utah, and reopen up an area, Elder Tello kept reminding me that this was a goldmine of an area because no missionaries had been there for a few years. He was right, I loved serving in this area and found great success. We were able to teach and baptize our "mamita's" boyfriend Carlos, who knew of the church, but never had shown any interest. I remember teaching Wifredo, a known gangster, and his whole family.When my mother came and picked me up from Chile at the end of my mission, I was sure that we visited this town with amazing converts. I was in la Serena when my mission president was released at the end of his three year calling and President Call was called to serve over us.It was also when the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened. I remember walking the streets of this town and members calling us over in the street to tell us what had happened through their tears.
Elder Tello taught me how to look for the positive and work hard with what you have been given. Again, doing so brought much joy and continues to o so.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Masterpiece in the making

Was the title of Music and the Spoken Word a few weeks ago. I love this thought that my life is my masterpiece. I am able to make whatever I choose out of it. Thankfully to a Savior, I am reminded  from modern day apostles and Prophets, that my life is His masterpiece if I allow Him to be my Savior.In Some Miracles Take Time, Art Berg talks about not knowing all the answers to the question, Why? He writes, "I have come to realize that somewhere there are more good answers than there are questions.' He continues, "We must all come to realize that beyond our personal understanding there is still darkness and unanswered questions He then finish the chapter with, "Someday, we'll know more."and the following poem:
"Not 'til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unfold the pattern,
And explain the reason why. 
The dark threads were as needful
In the skillful weaver's hand,
As the threads of Gold and Silver
In the pattern that He planned."
(author unknown)
 I believe that my masterpiece is in the works and am grateful for this belief to help carry me through this process. My Pa text me this from Brad Wilcox, "Heaven is not a prize for the perfect, but the future home of all who are willing to be perfected."

Friday, November 15, 2013


There is a 'happy medium,''Moderation in all things,'fine line between boredom, chaos, and feeling overwhelmed.The idea is to feel productive and have a sense of fulfillment in life. I took a stress management class at the University of Utah for my BS (hehe)degree in Psychology and learned that we spend only 20% of our time doing what gives us the most, the trick is in life, to figure out what is important and spend our allotted time doing it.What is important to me maybe different than what you feel is for you.That's not the life lesson that I am highlighting here, Just the importance of time management.
As I relearn how to walk and use the left side of my body, I find that my sense of balance is off-something to do with left side neglect and naming my left arm and leg, they even have nicknames now at Neuroworx for them; george is georgy-porgy, and bob is robert, thanks to a fellow psych undergrad PT student, Amy. I love that I am a part of this Neuroworx family. They are amazing at serving me to help restore balance in my life, not just physical, but so many parallels that run into my spiritual well-being as well as social and emotional. I think about the line from one of the Tom Hanks classics, A Leauge of Their Own, "There's no crying in baseball,"and change it to no crying at therapy.
My new experience at therapy at Neuroworx has been with a new student, Lex says that I am given the students because I am so nice and talkative, I like to think that it is because I am CHAMPION & a challenge all rolled into one, but that is just my narcissism, anyway the new student that I am working with is Matt, not to be confused with Big Man Matt, who is also a therapist there at Neuroworx, or with my twin brother Matthew, but he is equally as inspiring as they are.Student Matt was in a wheelchair for a year of his life, when at age 21 he experienced some congenital problem that caused a spinal cord injury. He was a successful businessman in Florida and decided to become a physical therapist. He now has taken me on as his project and said to me yesterday,"we have some bad habits of yours to break, I am sure that they served you well, when you first started to relearn to walk, but we are beyond that now." I am frustrated and excited to continue to work with him. When I told this story to my twin brother and Lex, they both agreed that they like him already and that he is absolutely right.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Is the name of the game for me in my life therapy. My Pa text me, "It's the purpose of life Curtis to learn self-control over ourselves. How can we be like the Savior when we are tossed to and fro by every wind of any kind?"
President James E, Faust said in the priesthood session in the April 200 general conference,"Every human soul, especially priesthood holders, has the challenge of controlling his or her thoughts, appetites, speech, temper, and desires." I did not get that TBI people are exempt. I am included in the ,"all souls," even when I find myself short fused with my kids. He goes on to say,"Self-mastery is a challenge for every individual. Only we can control our appetites and passions. Self-mastery cannot be bought by money or fame. It is the ultimate test of our character. It requires climbing out of the deep valleys of our lives and scaling our own Mount Everests." I mentioned in my ward when Sister Roach asked me to talk about adversity that people see me in a wheelchair and think that this physical adversity is my mount Everest, it is a hard trial, but it holds nothing to my actual spiritual Everest to climb. It does give me precious and valuable insights to continue to climb.
He continues,"In its simplest terms, self-mastery is doing those things we should do and not doing those things we should not do. It requires strength, willpower, and honesty. As the traffic on the communications highway becomes a parking lot, we must depend more and more on our own personal moral filters to separate the good from the bad." I think about doing the KUED RTL Workshops that I did for several years and our first workshop was always 'Media Literacy," how to make smart media choices for your kids. I know that media is a powerful tool that is used for good and bad. It is up to each one of us to decide how it is used, and,President Faust takes that one step further, "I now turn to mastery of our own private thoughts. In this realm, conscience is the only referee that can blow the whistle when we get out of control. If not bridled, our thoughts can run wild. Our minds are a part of us that really require discipline and control. I believe reading the scriptures is the best washing machine for unclean or uncontrolled thoughts. For those who are eligible and worthy, the sanctity of the holy temple can lift our thoughts above the earthy." I love the power of the scripures in my life to combat the mental cleaning that I am in constant need of. I am excited to go back to the temple and continue to receive the fortification from the covenants made there.
Near the end he states,"I now speak of the absolute necessity of controlling all physical appetites. These might in one sense be called the “thorn in the flesh.” Harry Emerson Fosdick provides an important context for self-control: “Self-denial … is not the negative, forbidding thing that often we shake our heads about. In one sense there is no such thing as self-denial, for what we call such is the necessary price we pay for things on which our hearts are set.” On my mission, my first Mission President, President Wagnar taught me of the need for self denial.I love the positive light that President Faust emphasized here. Before reading 'Invictus,' a favorite poem of mine that I cannot help feel proud to have memorized and playing in the background of my mind constantly.
To end his talk he leaves me excuseless and says,"As priesthood holders, we should not look for excuses when we lose our self-control. Even though our circumstances may be challenging, we can all strive for self-mastery. Great blessings of personal satisfaction come from doing so. Self-mastery is related to spirituality, which is the central quest of mortality. As President David O. McKay once said: “Spirituality is the consciousness of victory over self, and of communion with the Infinite. Spirituality impels one to conquer difficulties and acquire more and more strength. To feel one’s faculties unfolding and truth expanding the soul is one of life’s sublimest experiences(April,2000)."
I draw so many parallels from my physical and mental self-mastery quest to reconnect with the left side of my body, yes it is as weird for me to type this as it is for you to read it, welcome to my life right now, and relearn to walk to enable me to climb my spiritual Everest. For this I can say I am grateful for this therapy of self-mastery tailored to my personal needs.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bliss & Life

My sister-in-law has this quote on her fridge from President Gordon B. Hinkley,"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around yelling that he's been robbed, the fact is that most putts don't drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, Most jobs are more often than dull than otherwise. Life is like an old-time rail journey. . . . delays, sidetracks, smoke dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride." Thank you Aunty Em for having this reminder in your home and then texting it to me to share here.
I think of my grandma Morgan. who turned 80 last month and am grateful for the beautiful vistas I have shared with her and my family. I have decided that any thrilling bursts of speed that require a helmet are now going to be experienced by me only by proxy through my kids.