Monday, December 29, 2014

Light therapy

I have complained to my Neuro/rehab doctor, Dr. Speed for as long as I can remember about my loss of energy and depression, step one is recognition, check. When I met with him in August he recommended that I get a light box and give it a try, my parents had changed the light bulbs above their kitchen island and thought it had helped them and my brother in-law had seen them used in the office when they were back in Chicago. I  got one and use it in the mornings when I get dressed and am excited to say that It works for me. I like to leave it on as I study my scriptures and fill my lamp spiritually for the day. I know that our Savior Jesus Christ is the light that will help us find our way. I love Him and am grateful for this physical reminder of my dependence on Him.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Some Miracles Take Time"

By Art E. Berg was given to me by my good friend Ellis Christensen and recommended to me by my other good friend and former Bishop Nathan Hanson. I savored this book for about a month and a half, thinking the whole time that my story had been told by Art. I got really excited to learn of his CHAMPION moments, as well as his "Goliaths"or in my terminology Everests  to overcome. He is one of my CHAMPION heroes, you never have to look far to find one. I was eager to contact him, so much so that I tried calling the number listed on the inside of his book cover several times to the current holder of the number's annoyance and wrote him a letter to the address listed there as well.Yesterday, I wised up a bit, something about this TBI make me in need of some extra time, I finally Googled him to find out that he passed away in 2002. Sad for me and his friends and family, but not for him. What did we do before Google? Lesson learned, I hope, before getting all excited to one day shake some one's hand to tell them. "thank you," do your homework to make sure that they are still around.
I have a thing with time, to explain I will go back to sixth grade, I was 11 years old and in Mrs. Renz's class at Horizon elementary. We did a getting to know yow worksheet to get us all flying together in a "V" formation for our year long learning adventure, like swans. her, mrs. Renz's, imagery not mine, but I loved it and my time in her class. One of the questions was fill in the blank: "I am most afraid of . . ."   I remember explaining my answer of "time" because I never had enough of it when you wanted more, but there was too much of it when you were waiting for something. Prone to/addicted to worry here, unfortunately it can be passed on, my sweet Abby worries about everything and anything.
A few highlights, from the introduction Art quotes Elder Boyd K. Packer, "Some people think a miracle is only a miracle if it happens instantaneously, but miracles can grow slowly and patience and faith can compel things to happen that otherwise never would have come to pass." and Spencer W. Kimball stated, "there are infinitely more miracles today than in any age past." That is followed by this poem by Grace Troy:"
I know not why His hand is laid In chastening on my life,
 Nor why it is my little world Is filled so full of strife;
I know not why when faith looks up And seeks for rest from pain,
That o'er my sky fresh clouds arise And drench my path with rain.
 I know not why my prayer so long By Him has been denied; Nor why, while other's ships sail on, Mine should in port abide.
But I do know that God is love, That He my burden shares, And though I may not understand I know for me He cares. I know the heights for which I long Are often reached through pain, I know the sheaves must needs be threshed To yield the golden grain. 'Tis that I thus may learn to love And know as I am known, I will not care how rough the road That leads me to my home."
That is just the beginning.I found myself relating to this book in ways that I never imagined possible.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Put the "Learning" back into the curve.

I get into funks, like everyone else. My most recent funk has been a bit of a stalling out, I feel some-what stuck, the thought keeps running through my head that I am finally getting caught up, or getting a handle on things and then I notice that I failed to look all the way to my left and there are a million other things that I need to be doing, such is life.
I am excited for any progress at all. I chatted with my Neuro-doctor about how the closer I get in my recovery to pre-TBI Curtis activity, the more I am prone to make the comparison. He told me that I was not being fair with myself to make the comparison.
So, welcome to my new, post TBI life:
a "wheelchair-free" home, volunteering at Abby and Max's school every Tuesday mornings until lunch time. Thank you Nanna, Lexy's mom for taking Coleman so that I can do this. I love being in the classroom to be involved in my kiddos' education.
taking Coleman to preschool with my sister Amers three times a week. She likes me, I'm not sure what's wrong with her, but I'm glad that she does. We still treat ourselves to a slurpee a week.
I love to read in my down time. I still love being on a book exchange with my Grandma Baugh. I always have Lex reading something for school, it's a CHAMPION challenge to try and keep up with her.
Life is all about curves, it isn't a matter of "if," but of "When"

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My CHAMPION Inspiration
I know this guy and love him. Thank you Dale Hull for being who you are, you're CHAMPION in my book. I am amazed at your ability to take a negative event in your life and make it into something not only positive for yourself, but to reach out and to help so many others do the same thing.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


I found this app evernote about a year ago, or so. It helps me to keep track of all the things that I want to write about here.  Here is my list of hysterical thing that have happend:

I'm still making some great progress at Neuroworx every Thursday with Mikey. I was working with him on kneeling and supporting myself in a 'quad' position with my hands and arms on the ground as Lance was also helping to give support for me to engage my left side, when Lance said. "That is all you Curtis,. . . ALMOST!" Thanks Lance, don't sugar coat things for me, I can take it. I remember trying the same exercise when I first started at Neuroworx and I wasn't anywhere close to" ALMOST." Another on of my mantras is, "slow and steady wins the race."(Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows)

One of my finer parenting moments: I am sitting on the couch at my in-laws with Coleman when he gets in a fight with one of his cousins and puts him in a headlock. To get Coleman off his cousin, I get Coleman in a headlock. Thankfully Aunty Em saw that I had just lost it and came over to talk to Coleman.
I have been going to institute class with my mom and dad on Thursday nights, yes, Thursdays are full days for me, with Neuroworx in the morning and institute class at night. Last week we were talking about how the Old Testiment prophet, Ezekiel was commanded to not only testify, but to act out the prophecies that the Lord gave to him. Pa and I were giggling in class together as we read about his plight, I hope that it is alright to say that you were giggling with me my Pa.Men still giggle, right?
Mikey at Neuroworx dressed up as Batman nwearing an aextra large 'onesy' for his Halloween costume, When he was asked what he was for Halloween he replied, "I ate him(Batman) and stole his clothes."
In view of my last post, "Too Chill" I've been reminiscing about my medication hiccups, I worked with Matt Carter, a new hire at Neuroworx, a few weeks ago, he noticed that my tone was worse than normal. He asked if I took anything to help with it. I explained to him that I was originally on a medication that had the rare side effect of urinary retention AND urgency. It was hell for me. Lex called my Dr. and got the nurse on call for superscription refills, who told her that those were really rare side effects and I shouldn't just stop taking it. Lex told him that I was an adult who had a choice to refuse treatment. I am on another muscle relaxant that I take once a night and haven't had any adverse reactions or side effects yet. Again, a trial and error thing.
I took up meditation right before the accident, in hide-sight, this was yet another tender mercy. I checked out a book from the library that lead me through a nature-walk to get my mind calm, it used numbers with a visualizations, like, " One . . .fun" they rhyme, so I even I can remember them.  I remember in the hospital using this, nonstop. Once when I had to do a body-scan and drink this radioactive dye for the test, I got to "three. . .tree" and thought of Max climbing a tree, which made me think like my Maxwell and rhyme "pee" with three and tree and then I couldn't do the test because I had to stop drinking and pee.
Speaking of Max, my kiddos get on movie kicks, I try to regulate and sneak in a PBS educational program as often as possible, such as 'Magic School Bus.' A few weeks ago they got stuck watching Disney's "Hercules" over and over again. We got it at the library on DVD, we had it on VHS, but are still not sure where all of our things are, ahh the joys of moving, anywho my point is that my kids have seen it before, but it has been a few years, it was fun to see them experience it differently, Maxwell especially thought it was funny, with fits of laughter at anything remotely funny.
 I love living in Murray. I miss our neighbors in West Jordan yes, but living close to my sister Amy is better than I ever could have imagined. She helps take Coleman to preschool three times a week, since her oldest, Jaylee, is in the same class.I get to go with her to drop them off, which takes us conveniently by a 7-11. Amy has two addictions, that I know of, cheesedogs and slurpees. We try to be good and only treat ourselves to slurpees on Mondays. Who doesn't need a pick me up on Mondays? But if one of us isn't feeling well, we are both, sympathetically, pulled into helping the other person out by treating them to a slurpee. How can you say no to a slurpee? You cannot have a bad day with one. We also enjoy texting one another, just as long as neither of us are driving while we are texting. I like to refer to our texting back and for as a " texathon." It usually includes a series of texts trying to one up the other person in funniness. CHAMPION times.
I get sympathy where ever I go, I constantly remind myself that to people who don't know me, I am that person you see and wonder what happend to them and are immediately grateful for everything you do have. My most recent outting was last night at Murray High School's Sound of Music production, but it happens even at home. Lex was standing by the fridge and I went to put something in it and was caught off balance without my cane. I looked over at Lex and she was leaning with me in the direction that I needed to go to get myself back in balance.
Our Kids have picked up on being home with Mr. Mom, becoming pranksters, just like their dad. One morning I got up and went to get dressed in our spare room, where I have taken over the closet and found a Hippo sticker placed on my sock bin to scare me. My kids know that I am afraid of Hippos because one pooped on me when I was a kid at the zoo.They all came in giggling and asking me if they had scared me.
I love reading with my kiddos.I learned through my work at KUED that the number one thing you can do to help your kids read is read yourself. Yet another excuse to be reading my life away in five books right now.  I feel like I missed part of the process in teaching Abby to read and am excited to be here to help coach Max. Our favorites are:Awesome Man,  Super Heroes, I Love My Hat,& Memoirs of a Gold Fish. But don't take my word for it, check them out at your local library and see for yourself, thanks again for my work at KUED, a local PBS station and Lavar on Reading Rainbow
We went a few months ago to the Ogden City Temple Open House with my side of the family We stopped at  Cick-Fil-A to grab some lunch and Amy, in her Sunday best sat down next to her youngest, Emery, after getting them all their food, only to find that she sat down on the sauce packetthat Emery had moved from the table to the bench.It is only funny because it happened to you Amers and you could laugh about it
Our new home has a wood burning fireplace and chimney. At the beginning of Fall, a bird flew down it and came out in our living room one Saturday morning. Lex got attacked by the confused 'Santa Claus 'bird.She tried to get it out our front door with a broom, but it wouldn't go near her. I finally had her stand in the hall way with the broom, so that it wouldn't get trapped in one of our rooms, and left the front door open.Abby came running upstairs crying because Mom was screaming. Fun times at the Baugh home.
We went and saw RIO2 at the end of summer this year and fell in love with the Gabby character because she reminds us of Abby and all of her theatrics. We still love watching it and repeating lines that she says, Wait for me.  . . Don't leave me!"
I am sarcastic, that already been a blog post. At Neuroworx, working with Mikey  to tells me that I am tight, to which I replied, "tell me something that I don't know."Justin, another therapist friend of mine hears me say this and replies, "Some turtles breath through their butts!" Note to self be careful what you ask for. Who knew?!
I mentioned that in moving we've misplaced somethings, but we have also found things that we have always had, but forgot about them. One of these thing are our movies.Max, Coleman, & Abby were watching Nemo  and talking about what they liked about it. It was funny to hear them talk and ask if they really had beeneaten by a  whale, they understood that the whale wasn't eating them, but that Dorey and Martin were just trapped in its mouth. Maxwell was adimate that the crabs were crabs and not spiders, I think he was trying to convince himself more than the rest of us.
I mentioned my sister Amy's two addictions, that I know of. She, the lucky sister who not only lives close to me, but right next door to our mom and dad. So when my parents need help, guess who gets to be their number one go to person, that's right my lucky Amers She gets to not only help me with Coleman and getting him to preschool, but also is the fall back if there is a conflict with my Pa taking me to therapy. On one such occation, I tried to make it more worth her time by paying for a cheesedog on our way home. We got one for .Jaylee too and as she was eating her cheesedog, she broke down because of the bread around the cheese, and it was hot. Amers lovingly bit the top off to let it cool down. I would've just eaten my kids, if there was any complaint from them.
I told Coleman about going to therapy with Grandpa on Thursday when it was a Wednesday thinking that he would be excited, he looked at me and said, "no I want to go to school."Oh well, for getting excited to be with my Pa. Sorry Grandpa, but school won this time.
ColeAmers came to pick up Coleman for preschool one day and brought a Minnie Mouse carseat for him to sit on. Coleman just sat on the lawn, he wouldn't get in the car. When Amy opend the door to let him in she had tried to angle the seat so that he wouldn't notice it, but Jaylee announced to him that "he was lucky to get to sit in the Minnie Mouse seat today!"Nice try my Amers. She tried to tell him that it was no big deal, "No one would even see him on it." Coleman didn't care who saw him, he knew he was sitting on it.
We are starting a new tradition of watching the Priesthood session at Pa's house and eating buffalo burgers before. The MTC missionaries singing and Kevy felt sorry for them,saying, "they don't know what they're in for!" Matthew responded that Kevy will be a good mission president someday, telling the his missionaries, "This sucks, but it gets better, if you can do this you can do anything."

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Too chill

That is what my chill pill makes me. I started taking a medication that my neuro-doctor recommended  because I mentioned that I had noticed a change in my ability to I get in control of my frustrations. I've been the calm and collected one in our parenting with our kiddos and I found myself post-TBI with a shortened fuse, so to speak. I would fly into a rage, but on the meds, the pendulum was swung to the other side. I found myself in an avoidance state of mind and being, instead of engaging in life.
Thanks to my Lex who calls me out on this behavior and lovingly problem shoots with me. I have learned, by life experience to take it every other day, but am currently off of it all together. Somethings in life you just learn by trial and error.
So I am off it now. Here we go, I am no longer heavily medicated for your safety. I do remember a time when I would wake up to pain and immediately take pain meds to be able to catch my breath. I am glad to be alive and progressing, even if that makes it hit or miss posting on here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

10 Mins of fame

I was asked by the creator of exit by texts to share my experience on KSL's Spanish program.Here is the link:

Monday, September 29, 2014

His Grace is Sufficient

My Pa gave me a copy of this talk and I wanted to share it here. When I read it I asked myself why I hadn't heard of this before Here is the link that I pulled this off of:

Brad Wilcox was serving as a member of the Sunday School General Board of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as a BYU associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education in the David O. McKay School of Education when this devotional address was given on 12 July 2011.
I am grateful to be here with my wife, Debi, and my two youngest children—who are currently attending BYU—and several other family members who have come to be with us.

It is an honor to be invited to speak to you today. Several years ago I received an invitation to speak at Women’s Conference. When I told my wife, she asked, “What have they asked you to speak on?”

I was so excited that I got my words mixed up and said, “They want me to speak about changing strengths into weaknesses.”

She thought for a minute and said, “Well, they’ve got the right man for the job!”

She’s correct about that. I could give a whale of a talk on that subject, but I think today I had better go back to the original topic and speak about changing weaknesses into strengths and about how the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient (see Ether 12:27, D&C 17:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9)—sufficient to cover us, sufficient to transform us, and sufficient to help us as long as that transformation process takes.

Christ’s Grace Is Sufficient to Cover Us

A BYU student once came to me and asked if we could talk. I said, “Of course. How can I help you?”

She said, “I just don’t get grace.”

I responded, “What is it that you don’t understand?”

She said, “I know I need to do my best and then Jesus does the rest, but I can’t even do my best.”

She then went on to tell me all the things she should be doing because she’s a Mormon that she wasn’t doing.

She continued, “I know that I have to do my part and then Jesus makes up the difference and fills the gap that stands between my part and perfection. But who fills the gap that stands between where I am now and my part?”

She then went on to tell me all the things that she shouldn’t be doing because she’s a Mormon, but she was doing them anyway.

Finally I said, “Jesus doesn’t make up the difference. Jesus makes all the difference. Grace is not about filling gaps. It is about filling us.”

Seeing that she was still confused, I took a piece of paper and drew two dots—one at the top representing God and one at the bottom representing us. I then said, “Go ahead. Draw the line. How much is our part? How much is Christ’s part?”

She went right to the center of the page and began to draw a line. Then, considering what we had been speaking about, she went to the bottom of the page and drew a line just above the bottom dot.

I said, “Wrong.”

She said, “I knew it was higher. I should have just drawn it, because I knew it.”

I said, “No. The truth is, there is no line. Jesus filled the whole space. He paid our debt in full. He didn’t pay it all except for a few coins. He paid it all. It is finished.”

She said, “Right! Like I don’t have to do anything?”

“Oh no,” I said, “you have plenty to do, but it is not to fill that gap. We will all be resurrected. We will all go back to God’s presence. What is left to be determined by our obedience is what kind of body we plan on being resurrected with and how comfortable we plan to be in God’s presence and how long we plan to stay there.”

Christ asks us to show faith in Him, repent, make and keep covenants, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. By complying, we are not paying the demands of justice—not even the smallest part. Instead, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus Christ did by using it to live a life like His. Justice requires immediate perfection or a punishment when we fall short. Because Jesus took that punishment, He can offer us the chance for ultimate perfection (see Matthew 5:48, 3 Nephi 12:48) and help us reach that goal. He can forgive what justice never could, and He can turn to us now with His own set of requirements (see 2 Nephi 2:7; 3 Nephi 9:20).

“So what’s the difference?” the girl asked. “Whether our efforts are required by justice or by Jesus, they are still required.”

“True,” I said, “but they are required for a different purpose. Fulfilling Christ’s requirements is like paying a mortgage instead of rent or like making deposits in a savings account instead of paying off debt. You still have to hand it over every month, but it is for a totally different reason.”

Christ’s Grace Is Sufficient to Transform Us

Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. How many know what I am talking about? Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.

If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing (“Gosh, Mom, why do I need to practice? None of the other kids have to practice! I’m just going to be a professional baseball player anyway!”), perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with mom’s eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane.

In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19), “Keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask (“Gosh! None of the other Christians have to pay tithing! None of the other Christians have to go on missions, serve in callings, and do temple work!”), maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ’s eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen has written, “The great Mediator asks for our repentance not because we must ‘repay’ him in exchange for his paying our debt to justice, but because repentance initiates a developmental process that, with the Savior’s help, leads us along the path to a saintly character” (The Broken Heart [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989], 149; emphasis in original).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks has said, referring to President Spencer W. Kimball’s explanation, “The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change” (The Lord’s Way [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1991], 223; emphasis in original). Let’s put that in terms of our analogy: The child must practice the piano, but this practice has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change.

I have born-again Christian friends who say to me, “You Mormons are trying to earn your way to heaven.”

I say, “No, we are not earning heaven. We are learning heaven. We are preparing for it (see D&C 78:7). We are practicing for it.”

They ask me, “Have you been saved by grace?”

I answer, “Yes. Absolutely, totally, completely, thankfully—yes!”

Then I ask them a question that perhaps they have not fully considered: “Have you been changed by grace?” They are so excited about being saved that maybe they are not thinking enough about what comes next. They are so happy the debt is paid that they may not have considered why the debt existed in the first place. Latter-day Saints know not only what Jesus has saved us from but also what He has saved us for. As my friend Brett Sanders puts it, “A life impacted by grace eventually begins to look like Christ’s life.” As my friend Omar Canals puts it, “While many Christians view Christ’s suffering as only a huge favor He did for us, Latter-day Saints also recognize it as a huge investment He made in us.” As Moroni puts it, grace isn’t just about being saved. It is also about becoming like the Savior (see Moroni 7:48).

The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly (see John 10:10). The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed (see Romans 8). Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God (see Alma 40:26), but, brothers and sisters, no unchanged thing will even want to.

I know a young man who just got out of prison—again. Each time two roads diverge in a yellow wood, he takes the wrong one—every time. When he was a teenager dealing with every bad habit a teenage boy can have, I said to his father, “We need to get him to EFY.” I have worked with that program since 1985. I know the good it can do.

His dad said, “I can’t afford that.”

I said, “I can’t afford it either, but you put some in, and I’ll put some in, and then we’ll go to my mom, because she is a real softy.”

We finally got the kid to EFY, but how long do you think he lasted? Not even a day. By the end of the first day he called his mother and said, “Get me out of here!” Heaven will not be heaven for those who have not chosen to be heavenly.

In the past I had a picture in my mind of what the final judgment would be like, and it went something like this: Jesus standing there with a clipboard and Brad standing on the other side of the room nervously looking at Jesus.

Jesus checks His clipboard and says, “Oh, shoot, Brad. You missed it by two points.”

Brad begs Jesus, “Please, check the essay question one more time! There have to be two points you can squeeze out of that essay.” That’s how I always saw it.

But the older I get, and the more I understand this wonderful plan of redemption, the more I realize that in the final judgment it will not be the unrepentant sinner begging Jesus, “Let me stay.” No, he will probably be saying, “Get me out of here!” Knowing Christ’s character, I believe that if anyone is going to be begging on that occasion, it would probably be Jesus begging the unrepentant sinner, “Please, choose to stay. Please, use my Atonement—not just to be cleansed but to be changed so that you want to stay.”

The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change. Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God. Rather, they are trying to abandon God and become comfortable with sin. If Jesus did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change. We would be left forever with only willpower, with no access to His power. If Jesus did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of those changes over time. They would forever be surface and cosmetic rather than sinking inside us and becoming part of us—part of who we are. Put simply, if Jesus didn’t require practice, then we would never become pianists.

Christ’s Grace Is Sufficient to Help Us

“But Brother Wilcox, don’t you realize how hard it is to practice? I’m just not very good at the piano. I hit a lot of wrong notes. It takes me forever to get it right.” Now wait. Isn’t that all part of the learning process? When a young pianist hits a wrong note, we don’t say he is not worthy to keep practicing. We don’t expect him to be flawless. We just expect him to keep trying. Perfection may be his ultimate goal, but for now we can be content with progress in the right direction. Why is this perspective so easy to see in the context of learning piano but so hard to see in the context of learning heaven?

Too many are giving up on the Church because they are tired of constantly feeling like they are falling short. They have tried in the past, but they always feel like they are just not good enough. They don’t understand grace.

There are young women who know they are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves them, and they love Him. Then they graduate from high school, and the values they memorized are put to the test. They slip up. They let things go too far, and suddenly they think it is all over. These young women don’t understand grace.

There are young men who grow up their whole lives singing, “I hope they call me on a mission,” and then they do actually grow a foot or two and flake out completely. They get their Eagles, graduate from high school, and go away to college. Then suddenly these young men find out how easy it is to not be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, or reverent. They mess up. They say, “I’ll never do it again,” and then they do it. They say, “I’ll never do it again,” and then they do it. They say, “This is stupid. I will never do it again.” And then they do it. The guilt is almost unbearable. They don’t dare talk to a bishop. Instead, they hide. They say, “I can’t do this Mormon thing. I’ve tried, and the expectations are just way too high.” So they quit. These young men don’t understand grace.

I know returned missionaries who come home and slip back into bad habits they thought were over. They break promises made before God, angels, and witnesses, and they are convinced there is no hope for them now. They say, “Well, I’ve blown it. There is no use in even trying any more.” Seriously? These young people have spent entire missions teaching people about Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and now they think there is no hope for them? These returned missionaries don’t understand grace.

I know young married couples who find out after the sealing ceremony is over that marriage requires adjustments. The pressures of life mount, and stress starts taking its toll financially, spiritually, and even sexually. Mistakes are made. Walls go up. And pretty soon these husbands and wives are talking with divorce lawyers rather than talking with each other. These couples don’t understand grace.

In all of these cases there should never be just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. When we understand grace, we understand that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). When we understand grace, we can, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13).

One young man wrote me the following e-mail: “I know God has all power, and I know He will help me if I’m worthy, but I’m just never worthy enough to ask for His help. I want Christ’s grace, but I always find myself stuck in the same self-defeating and impossible position: no work, no grace.”

I wrote him back and testified with all my heart that Christ is not waiting at the finish line once we have done “all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). He is with us every step of the way.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen has written, “The Savior’s gift of grace to us is not necessarily limited in time to ‘after’ all we can do. We may receive his grace before, during and after the time when we expend our own efforts” (The Broken Heart [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989], 155). So grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel. Grace is not achieved somewhere down the road. It is received right here and right now. It is not a finishing touch; it is the Finisher’s touch (see Hebrews 12:2).

In twelve days we celebrate Pioneer Day. The first company of Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Their journey was difficult and challenging; still, they sang:

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
[“Come, Come, Ye Saints,” Hymns, 2002, no. 30]

“Grace shall be as your day”—what an interesting phrase. We have all sung it hundreds of times, but have we stopped to consider what it means? “Grace shall be as your day”: grace shall be like a day. As dark as night may become, we can always count on the sun coming up. As dark as our trials, sins, and mistakes may appear, we can always have confidence in the grace of Jesus Christ. Do we earn a sunrise? No. Do we have to be worthy of a chance to begin again? No. We just have to accept these blessings and take advantage of them. As sure as each brand-new day, grace—the enabling power of Jesus Christ—is constant. Faithful pioneers knew they were not alone. The task ahead of them was never as great as the power behind them.


The grace of Christ is sufficient—sufficient to cover our debt, sufficient to transform us, and sufficient to help us as long as that transformation process takes. The Book of Mormon teaches us to rely solely on “the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8). As we do, we do not discover—as some Christians believe—that Christ requires nothing of us. Rather, we discover the reason He requires so much and the strength to do all He asks (see Philippians 4:13). Grace is not the absence of God’s high expectations. Grace is the presence of God’s power (see Luke 1:37).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said the following:

Now may I speak . . . to those buffeted by false insecurity, who, though laboring devotedly in the Kingdom, have recurring feelings of falling forever short. . . .

. . . This feeling of inadequacy is . . . normal. There is no way the Church can honestly describe where we must yet go and what we must yet do without creating a sense of immense distance. . . .

. . . This is a gospel of grand expectations, but God’s grace is sufficient for each of us. [CR, October 1976, 14, 16; “Notwithstanding My Weakness,” Ensign, November 1976, 12, 14]

With Elder Maxwell, I testify that God’s grace is sufficient. Jesus’ grace is sufficient. It is enough. It is all we need. Oh, young people, don’t quit. Keep trying. Don’t look for escapes and excuses. Look for the Lord and His perfect strength. Don’t search for someone to blame. Search for someone to help you. Seek Christ, and, as you do, I promise you will feel the enabling power we call His amazing grace. I leave this testimony and all of my love—for I do love you. As God is my witness, I love the youth of this church. I believe in you. I’m pulling for you. And I’m not the only one. Parents are pulling for you, leaders are pulling for you, and prophets are pulling for you. And Jesus is pulling with you. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

© Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Please take a look and share your thoughts with me.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Under Construction

We are doing some renovations in our new home. Lex wanted to be an architect when she was growing up and can see rooms with potential and more importantly the steps to get them there. So we took the walls surrounding our stairs to half walls all the way around, It looks great, but is taking a bit longer than expected,
I have to keep reminding myself that I am a work in progress with my rehab. I watched part of PBS' documentary on FDR and liked something he said during one of his speeches during World War II, "We will have some loses before the victory."
The life lesson for me is that as I progress, There are more than two options of perfection or just giving up. In this months Ensign there is an article titled "Savor Every Moment In Life" where the author talks about her personal experience of not getting married when she thought she was going to. She recalls hearing a BYU devotional from Elder Jefferey R. Holland and his wife, who said, to not “march to an arbitrary drummer who seems to be beating a frenzied cadence to the passing years”1 and to trust in the timing of the Lord.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is this me or the TBI?

Four years and counting I am still asking Lex this at least once a week. Welcome to the new normal, Curtis. It is mostly a lighthearted joke about something that I am constantly doing that annoys her. Like telling her that I am exhausted from worrying about worrying, which is just me and not the TBI.
In my reading of 'The Compound Effect,' It talks about the need of taking responsibility for 100% of any relstionship that you're in and not the often thought 50/50 response. I am waking up to the fact that I need to do this with myself and give my all instead of just writing myself off as just because of the TBI caused neglect. . . 

Saturday, September 13, 2014


    • ne·glect
      verb: neglect; 3rd person present: neglects; past tense: neglected; past participle: neglected; gerund or present participle: neglecting
      1. 1.
        fail to care for properly.
        "the old churchyard has been sadly neglected"
        synonyms:fail to look after, leave alone, abandon, desert; More
        "she neglected the children"
        uncared for, abandoned;
        mistreated, maltreated;
        "neglected animals"
        "a neglected cottage"
        antonyms:cherish, look after
        • not pay proper attention to; disregard.
          "you neglect our advice at your peril"
          synonyms:pay no attention to, let slide, not attend to, be remiss about, be lax about, leave undone, shirk More
          "he's neglecting his work"
          disregard, ignore, pay no attention to, take no notice of, pay no heed to, overlook;
          "don't neglect our advice"
          disregarded, forgotten, overlooked, ignored, unrecognized, unnoticed, unsung, underestimated, undervalued, unappreciated
          "a neglected masterpiece of prose"
          antonyms:concentrate on, heed
        • fail to do something.
          "he neglected to write to her"
          synonyms:fail, omit, forget
          "I neglected to inform her"
      noun: neglect
      the state or fact of being uncared for.
      "animals dying through disease or neglect"
      synonyms:disrepair, dilapidation, deterioration, shabbiness, disuse, abandonment;
      "the place had an air of neglect
      -(Google search, Sept. 2014)
      I am fascinated with the idea of phantom-limb pain, that I remember learning about in Psychology classes, but I hadn't heard of neglect until I was diagnosed with it.I have left side neglect, where I do not recognize the left side of my body.See previous posts on "George" and "Bob." My PTs at Neuroworx assure me that they are well studied on the area, I present much like a stroke victim and they keep pushing me in the area too.

      In my physical progress  with having my new home be a "wheelchair free zone." I have noticed that the next step is to continue to address my left side neglect. I am now strong enough to do so, whereas before, I did not have the mental connection or stamina to build the physical strength to confront this. One step at a time here. I am increasingly aware of my mind's compensating to help me feel balanced and the more aware I am the more I am convinced that the best way to overcome this, is to stop compensating and deal with the reality that I need to stop "sleepwalking" around and mindfully do everything. My new Bishop here in Murray is visiting with me twice a week to make sure that I have the support that I need. I love Bishop Watkins. He gave me a book, 'The Compound Effect,' which explain this need that we all have to consciously make all of our decisions. It is a self-help business book, but has parallels to my recovery.With this and an online training program at that my Pa found and got me a subscription to, I continue to make strides to overcome this.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Quacking up

I hurt myself on my left side and am not sure how it happened. I first noticed that my left knee was sore a few weeks ago after therapy at Neuroworx, not surprising as I work out under my Dr. Pa Baugh's watchful eye, as if Neuroworx's theme of "Pushing for more"wasn't enough. I also work with my good friend Mikey, who has all of my compensating techniques figured out, calling me out on them whenever I dare to attempt them.
So, I was sore and not surprised, but the soreness was not going away. Then Mikey noticed at another visit that my knee and ankle brace was broken, mystery solved, I had been not only walking around compensating for a broken big toe, but was also in need of a brace tune up. Two weeks later, at the first available time that my prosthetic/orthodontic specialists could get me in I was walking pain free.
I wonder how long I would have gone before I noticed the real cause of my pain. I am grateful for people in my life who watch out for me. It makes me also wonder how long I would go before I self-admitted myself into a nursing care facility.
I worry that I am not only responsible for myself but my kids as well.Yikes! It is a good thing that they are CHAMPION kiddos.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to School Quack

Abigail and Maxwell started back at school. They are going to my old elementary school. Horizon Elementary, which has left me home alone with the Colemister. He'll start preschool on Sept. 3rd with his cousin Jaylee, going three times a week.That will give me the chance to go and volunteer at Horizon in Abby and Max's classrooms and in the dual immersion Spanish program.
Abby was nervous to leave her friends, but makes friends as soon as she knows someones name. Max was nervous to go to school all day, but has been a trooper. Both are exhausted, especially Abby because of her Dear Edwina show that started last week too. I have her :1. wash her hands
2. get a snack.3.  take a nap when she gets home from school. so to be ready to get to her show by 7 and isn't back for bed until 9:30 ish.

Friday, August 22, 2014


We had a Baugh family reunion this summer that was just down the street, at one of the pavilions on the Jordan River parkway, My Pa helped me to get myself and the two boys there, Abby and Lex were at Abby's rehearsal for her second musical that she is in this summer. I think she has caught the acting bug.It was a CHAMPION time for all and my cousin's daughter Miranda Seminario deiced to do face-painting. I couldn't resist to wait in line to get a pink and purpul butterfly with the word "DORK" written across my forehead, she made me promise to tell her parents that I had requested the word. She improvised when I told her that this was to make Abby even more jealous that she wasn't able to come, and added a big pink bow on the other side, to balance out the butterfly heavy one side of the job. By the way, Abby was heart broken that she missed it, but helped me clean up the next morning. Since she has had so much experience getting stage make up off. She is growing up way to fast.
At our first Uncle Mike & Aunt Sue-Sue's pool outing for the season, Coleman tried on every pair of goggles he could find and then got out of the pool only to pee on the cement before making it upstairs to the bathroom.I am wondering how many of my laughing/funny posts begin with something about my Coleito, I am sure they all contain at least one thing about him. while we were moving he found the Grinch movie and kept asking to watch "Crinch,"It took me a few days to figure that one out, but I still cannot correct him.It makes me giggle.
Coleman has picked up on catch phrases, such as, "Come On!" " Bada-Bing, Bada-Boom!"
My first thought, the morning after we had moved in with the Shaffers was a line from the movie Condorman;"I may never move again!"
Abby had a dance/music recital for a class that she does with her Aunt Lisa Noyes. She had practiced her song,'Happiness' fom, You'er a Good Man Charlie Brown for a few months and was super excited. When it was her turn the microphone that they had didn't have good batteries in in, so she sat there smiling while her music played and the tech crew ran around finding a new mic. I was so proud of her when they finally got one and handed it to her, she was composed enough to sing her heart out. I was so nervous that she would not be able to do it and get to scared and run of the stage at any moment, but she didin't, my little girl is growing up and the anxiety is pushing me to the edge!What am I going to do when she starts dating? Breath Curtis. that's not for another 8 years.
It is a running joke in my wife's family that her father is bald, one of her sister's friends-are you still with me? told her that," Your dad is handsome for a bald man." I almost stuck my foot in my mouth when I had the thought to tell him that we soon would be out of his hair.
Abby and her second cousin are two pea's in a pod, while at Sunday dinner they, Miranda and Abby were directing all of the cousins in their dress ups on the tramp. Miranda said, "Greetings to all the princesses, knights, and for the first time we have allowed ninjas."
Max, the ninja, taught himself to do a from flip on the tramp, while we were downstairs in our new home I asked him if Abby saw him do it. He excitedly told her that he could show her right there! I tried to stop him, but it was too late and he landed on his back in his attempt.
Unpacking thing in our new home is a new adventure, trying to find all the things that we know we have, somewhere. I have told my family members that it's like Christmas in July with a new home and getting all of the things that have been sitting in boxes for a month.
Lex watches me going up the stairs and tells me,"Should have had a V8 today."

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's all about Mind Control

Me controlling mine that is and not anybody elses'.
The first thing that comes to mind when I mention "mind control, is a villain "Mr. Big" on PBS' Wordgirl, yes all I need to know I learned from PBS kids shows.
I already mentioned that for summer reading Lex has been given, 'As a Man Thinketh' as well as Victor Frankl 's 'Man's Search for Meaning', just to name a few, and my good friend Ryan Castro gave me a copy of 'Thoughts for a hundred days' by Richard L. Evens, both of which have caused me some serious introspection time.
I am leaning that for me, self control is this mind control. If I can start there. I won't have problems. It all starts with a thought.On Candeo, I've learned the FRC approach to deal with unwanted thought patterns. FRC stands for, Face it, Replace it and Connect.Face it means you acknowledge the thought and where it could go, if you let it. It is not allowing myself to get caught in an avoidance cycle of withdrawing and seeking to escape everyday life problems, but to really deal with reality courageously. Second is to Replace the unwanted thought with something more powerful. Stay with me here, it is like in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azcaban when he tries yo learn how to do the spell to ward off the dementors and professor Lupus tells H to think of something more powerful than his first game of quidich. My thought has been my family and being a husband and father. A powerful thing happened to me just this past weekend that got me thinking of this. We went to Lex's and my brother-in-law's place and it wasn't somewhere we had been before, they are staying in his father's condo while their home is being built. Any who, I was walking to the car that was parked across the street and got scared to the point I was planning the best way to fall down, the way to get the least hurt and out of the blue Lex came to me, on my left side and offered me her hand. I was relieved and didn't go down, but made it back to the car across unknown terrain, because of Lex's help. I know that I can do anything with this amazing woman by my side. I love her and am grateful for her love and support.With this new emotionally charged, rescue memory. I am excited to continue to go forward. I logged onto today and came across Ty's story on I was touched by his story and how relate-able it is to my own physical progress to "just take the next step."I know as Ty states, that I am loved too.
The last step in FRC is connect. I am limited in my ability to connect with others, as I am not able to jump in a car and drive myself anywhere, but my cell phone is always with me and I love to write letters to those who impress me. I treasure the letters of encouragement  that family and friends have given to me.I watched a BYU devotional that was on today that talked about the scripture in Mosiah 4:27 and the need we have to use wisdom, as well as being diligent. I feel that this counsel applies to me with FRC.

Monday, August 4, 2014

#Meekness Monday

In Sunday School we talked about how Moses was the meekest man, It got me thinking about the definition of meek. I was surprised to find that it was so difficult for me to come up with a definition to a word that I commonly hear in the scriptures, talk about one of the mysteries of the kingdom. I started texting my brother Matt and my Pa for their insight and help.We came up with humbly acknowledgement of the true Sourse of strength, our Savior Jesus Christ. My Pa found this talk by Elder Maxwell:
 When I first read it, I thought, well now I know for sure that I will never make it, but that didn't stop me from reading it again and again, telling my Pa that I will never be bored again because of this talk and the wealth of potential progress it helps to outline.I wanted to get your thought on this talk please help me define Meekness

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Curtis' continual conundrums

conundrum according to wikipedia ( June, 2015): ":A logical postulation that evades resolution, an intricate and difficult problem."AKA dead-ends, "struggles"

Unfortunately my list is long:
All or nothing thinking: extreme polarization of problemsolving reasoning, or the lack thereof
((As an example, look at my following common conundrums)
"Don't Forget" written on the inside of my wedding ring. This reminds me of a talk I heard at EFY that made connections from the LION KING and the Gospel, Simba being us and Mufasa our Heavenly Father, Pumba the Relief Society Pres. Rafiki the Holy Ghost, and the idea of us needing to remember who we really are, as it has to do with our search for meaning in this life.
Isolation: thinking that I am the only one who has ever felt this way or has to deal with my specific problems. Alone
Avoidance: not wanting to really deal with life and escaping in this cycle.
Self-pity:"Woe is me" party
"Compensating curt" is what some of my therapists at Neuroworx call me because I gave a Knack of getting things done, the right or wrong way,  I still get it done.
Futility of my endless search for a panacea
Habitual exhaustion, a side effect of getting older + a TBI
Uneasy disatisfaction with myself, i am not yet a reovered perfectionist.  I've got a long way to go. A work in progress. Wanting patience,  but right now
hindsight's learning curve for example I think I proof read before ii post here, only to reread them here in embarassment, in hope to not have exposed my haste to my vunerability and need to connect with others, but on the other side my self-preservation and CHAMPION facade
living life in reverse, post-accident
"I'm a grenade" taken from 'A Fault in our Stars" the feeling that I will eventually and inevitably let others & myself down.
My tendency of painting myself into a corner, in my attempt to see both sides of a problem.
TMI: I over share as a DW, writing diva but feel that words are inadequate
boredom: that's when I get into trouble
exhibition & TMI: wanting everyone to learn from my experience, but refusing to learn  and become what I need to. I keep telling Lex that I didn't choose to come back, just to make the same mistakes again and yet I still struggle. I want to be a CHAMPION,  but there are days I feel more like a chunpion.

update:Summer reading, Shrek the musical, & moving fun

Lexy doesn't get the summer off, but instead gets to spend it prepping for the next school year by reading books like, 'Man's search for meaning' and 'As aMan Thinketh' as well as 'Peter Pan,' just to name three. As if moving wasn't enough fun, she and Abby are also in Murray City's production of SHREK the musical with rehearsals almost every week night and all day Saturdays. their performance will be :July 31, Aug 1-2. I am trying to stay cool, our A/C keeps our home at about 82 but won't go any cooler and am making our new place a "wheelchair-free"space by only walking while at home! I am exhausted, but CHAMPION, I even took the one step down into our living room  without the use of a person or a wall, it was only with the coaxing and then cheering from Lex.
I feel that things are coming together, we are slowly, but surely transitioning out of"the" living out of boxes and where does this go?" stage of moving.I still check my email and do online blogging here at my in-laws, because our computer is MIA as a casualty of moving. It is exciting to have a place that I know will be ours for the rest of our life. It is feeling more and more like home. It is a very nostalgic feeling.
I have been bombarded with the message in my life's therapy that things will work out. I love having a sure foundation of a caring, loving family, that are so close now. We miss our old neighborhood, but having family close and with knowing and experiencing the truth that good people are everywhere. One day at a time . . .

Sunday, July 13, 2014


I was going to make a post with the title, Underwhelmed, but, it is not my intent to come across as uppity or superior in anyway to anyone else. I find that I if I am not challenged or get bored,as well as unable to relate with others, I find/make trouble. I've been joking with my Pa and twin brother that we should take the MCAT just to see what we would get. They look at me as if I was as crazy as I really am.Maybe I'll take the LSAT with my brother-in-law, or teach my kids Spanish, while attempting to keep them alive as well, challenging enough.
Lex and I were able to visit with our new home teachers,Jake Chalmers and Mike Roach, both teachers by profession. They were eager to get to know us better and asked about how my progress as well as my overall diagnosis/potential is. I was happy to tell them about Neuroworx and the amazing hope that I continue to find there, adding that if I could survive the winters with the 'cabin fever' that I get, I just might make it. 
I recently went to a guys get together at Matt's home and enjoyed the company of good high school friends. We played Lord of the Rings RISK, and I am happy to report that we are all still friends.
I have been focusing on getting through some of the 6 books that I was reading, in the 'God Who Weeps,"Holiness is found in how we treat others, not in how we contemplate the cosmos." the authors continue on, emphasizing the need for relationships,"As our experiences in marriages, families, and friendships teach us, it takes relationships to provide the friction that wears down our rough edges and sanctify us. And then, and only then, those relationships become the environment in which those virtues are best enjoyed."
In moving back to the ward that I grew up in, it feels like I'm coming home. It is touching to have ward members and neighbors come up to me with the biggest grin on their faces, telling me that they're excited to have us.
I, as Coleman put it so sasinctly, "You're just a slow dad." That I am, but I'm happy to be here, especially knowing how close I was to dyeing,  I cannot believe that it has been 5 years on August 1st. Anywho, I finally googled "living with a TBI" and came across this website,  here I learn that I am not as alone as I thought I was. I appologize that I went into a isolation funk, it happens to everyone, but as I teach my kiddos, "if everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?" Maxwell's come back to picking his nose is, "all boys do it." So, in my effort to not be a hypocrate, I'm admitting my fault and becoming vulnerable,  in my new read of The Gifts Of Imperfection, the author writes that sharing our imperfections really endear us to eachother. Since we all struggle with something, the common thtead in humanity is our striving to overcome them.I'm glad that I am in CHAMPION company.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"Let it go" to "Everything is Awesome"

-from Frozen and the LEGO movie, yes I'm branching out from PBS Kids territory. I wake up singing Svien and Christoph's duet and love it when I get my kids to join in and even correct me. I still need a bunch of help with Olof's song too.I keep blaming the fact that Abby's life is a musical on Lex, maybe I should rethink that.
Lex has to remind me on a daily basis to calm down about something, to just, "Let it go."
On a LEGO movie note, I woke up the day after we had moved into our home and couldn't find where I had packed my jeans and did not want to wear PJs all day and so I found myself saying, "Honey, where are my Pants?" I got a chuckle out of Max and Coleman. It was worth it.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Face it

I started a new book, Tuesdays with Morrie, and besides being surprised that I haven't heard of this book before now am equally surprised at how much I am enjoying it and all the life lessons that it parallels in my own life. I am not dying and grateful for that fact. I did choose to come back to this life, a fact that I remind myself continually as I face life's daily challenges. Morrie talks about the need to fully immerse yourself in your feelings so that you can own them and then detach yourself if that is what you choose to do. Confusing? Let's review, You feel something, like fear. You do not want to be afraid, so your instinct is to fight it or avoid it, but Morrie's approach is to feel it completely so that you first know what it is, being self-aware in Candeo/psych terms. and then you are able to 'replace it' - another Candeo term, or as Morrie calls it detach yourself and choose something else.
I face the fact that there are consequences to my TBI;
  • My reality is not real, confusing again- I get that a lot- I cannot see everything and have a prism sticker on my glasses to help me not run into walls, something I struggle with although they have already been patched once by Lex and her parents.I want to be able to drive again, so to make lex's life easier, but feel mad that I am not there yet, because of this vision cut and not compensating enough, as well as still getting sick to my stomach to even think of the possibility
  • I am off balance, my center of gravity is over my right side as my brain does not recognize my left side. This makes life safer to be in a wheelchair. I long to be free of this restraint, but am also afraid of the comfort that the safety of not falling offers to me. Morrie would call this a "tension of opposites.".Life is full of them.
  • I want to fulfill the role of provider and am mad that I am not in that role right now in my life.I get anxious and am afraid of losing my sense of masculinity, never mind that Lex owns and uses all our power tools at home and at work. Not saying that she isn't feminine.She is just a problem solver and power tools help you solve more problems.

Friday, July 4, 2014

I NEED to change.

I don't want to, but that's part of life."This is for you Curtis, he is speaking directly to you."" I was texted by my Bishop during the Priesthood session of LDS General Conference this past April during Elder Halstrom's talk titled "What Manner of Men." When he stated,"Several decades ago I was serving as a bishop. Over an extended period I met with a man in our ward who was many years my senior. This brother had a troubled relationship with his wife and was estranged from their children. He struggled to keep employment, had no close friends, and found interaction with ward members so difficult he finally was unwilling to serve in the Church. During one intense discussion about the challenges in his life, he leaned toward me—as his conclusion to our numerous talks—and said, “Bishop, I have a bad temper, and that’s just the way I am!”
That statement stunned me that night and has haunted me ever since. Once this man decided—once any of us conclude—“That’s just the way I am,” we give up our ability to change. We might as well raise the white flag, put down our weapons, concede the battle, and just surrender—any prospect of winning is lost. While some of us may think that does not describe us, perhaps every one of us demonstrates by at least one or two bad habits, “That’s just the way I am.”
Well, we meet in this priesthood meeting because who we are is not who we can become. We meet here tonight in the name of Jesus Christ. We meet with the confidence that His Atonement gives every one of us—no matter our weaknesses, our frailties, our addictions—the ability to change. We meet with the hope that our future, no matter our history, can be better.
When we participate in this meeting with the “real intent” to change (Moroni 10:4), the Spirit has full access to our hearts and minds. As the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “And it shall come to pass, that inasmuch as they … exercise faith in me”—remember, faith is a principle of power and of action—“I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together” (D&C 44:2). That means tonight!" I am grateful for a Bishop that loves me as a friend and continues to aide me to reach my potential.I will miss him.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Poor young rich boy . . . "

-'Ragtime' I asked my twin brother, if I was alone in thinking that I was just a spoiled rich kid, he confirmed that he had felt that way, "Only all the time." I wonder what the use is of demeaning myself all the time? Life is hard enough without me trying to beat myself up, a funny mental picture, of me laying on the ground trying to do just that, provides some much needed comic relief. especially with this self-pity post that I've been sitting on and revising for over 6 months now.

This is an intimacy post or as I have learned first from Dr. Jeff Robinson and the from Candeo is more accurately written as "in to me see."If I want to be intimate with others, they need to know who I am.
I am the prodigal son, finally and continually "Coming to myself" and making my way back. I know that true repentance is not found in only the steps, but in the turning towards our Heavenly Father. Having a change of heart, takes "changing it one fiber at a time," another life lesson from my Pa.I also heard a friend in my ward Ryan VanOrden say that, "repentance is really just homesickness for our Heavenly Home." I like that and think that I often give repentance a bad rep, when in reality it is the only way that we are able to progress.
"Where much is given, much is required.(D&C 82:3)" I best get my act together and get giving.
The pink elephant in the room is that I was excommunicated and now am on the road back. Rebaptized a few years ago and working on full restoration of blessings. Not that anyone needed to know, but my life continues to teach me that it is not about what you have, but what you give. In the words of Jack Rushton in his book, It's great to be Alive, "Life is for giving."
I was able to sit and chat with my grandma Baugh the other day, she made it seem like I was doing her a favor by listening to her stories, but it was her doing me the favor in taking the time to share and teach me. She spoke of what a wonderful wife I have and how she was impressed by Lexy's blog writing around the time of the accident because of how she was able to gratefully accept help from others. She told me a story that was shared in her ward of a boy that was born crippled, both mentally as well as physically that wanted to play baseball, his parents signed him up and he played, never hitting a ball or running to a base. It was the championship game and his team was down one, with a runner on second when he got up to bat. The coach of the other team went out to the pitchers mound to tell his pitcher that this was a done deal, an easy out. The boy pitcher took a long look at the ball, and another. He tossed it underhanded as this boy at bat swung, but did not hit the ball.The pitcher got the ball again and studied it longer this time before he tossed it again, this time the boy hit the ball only a few inches from where he stood. The catcher picked up the baseball and studied it as well before throwing it well out of the first baseman's reach.
Tieing this back to the title, With our visit with Kirin, we touched on parenting our kids and the fine line between giving them the best opportunities that we are able to and not getting them trapped into feelings of entitlement, something about raising parents. It's annoying when people quote themself, eh?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2 thing you need to survive

according to a therapy session my sister in law Emily had with her son Austin.
#1.Positive Attitude, she talked about how the therapist said that a ratio of 1 to 1, negative to positive  daily comments in a marriage will lead it to end. Our school-aged kids are getting 18 to 1 on average!
I mentioned this to my Pa during one of our Thursday Therapy sessions and he added that if one were to get enough of these two things, you could not only survive, but thrive. I concur.

Return with Honor: Mission Memoirs#9

I am not doing a CHAMPION job of keeping track, but I wanted to tell of my meeting one of my best friends at the end of my mission, Elder Christopherson was in my zone and he and his companion lived with me and Elder Torriani. For some reason this man loved me and could read my anxieties that I had about life. I opened up to him and he did so to me in return. I found out that someone could know you and all your insecurities and still love you and befriend you. Thanks Chris for your love and example of what it means to be a CHAMPION  friend.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Oasis time with Kirin

Kirin is a friend of Lexy's and mine from high school. She was in Lexy's girl group of friends who were "cupcake princesses" and she would get me to become a "life-size" Curtis by snapping her fingers and I would go down to my knees next to her.
She was in town and has kids the same age as ours. It was great to let them play while Lex and I caught up with her. She is amazing and we are blessed to have her as our friend. I love to see the world through her eyes as faithful Muslim mom.
Where to start on conversation? Let's start with the idea of oasis. Kirin was only planning to stay for an hour or so, but got lost talking with us since the kids were playing so well together. When she realized that it was dinner time she apologize over and over again, as I tried to explain to her that we were as lost in the oasis of having catch up time with her as she was.Since the kiddos were entertaining themselves, this was a lot easier to do.
We chatted about a myrid of things, including how funny it was that Lexy's high school students didn't know how to address an envelope and the fine line we have as parents to give our kids the best, yet not to do everything for them so as to not set them up for unrealistic expectations about life.To how great it was for her to be living back east with this southern states feeling of hospitality and yet in a place where there are many others of her faith, she laughed when she made light of getting together with other Muslim moms who had picked up a southern drawl.

Monday, June 30, 2014

unabridged Our Search For Truth Talk

Brothers and Sisters,
It is so CHAMPION to be able to stand before you and address you in this way, as brothers and sisters, you: our ward family, have become our family, taking care of us as such with everything that has happened with the automobile accident on August 1st 2010. I love you and wanted to thank you for your love, service and examples to me and my family.
to introduce us,Lex and I met in junior high school and started dating when I turned 16. We decided to go to Ricks college together and then I left to Antofagasta, Chile for my mission. We got married on  Oct.16th  2003. Abby, our oldest, whose life is a musical, is turning 8 in July. Maxwell, our everything is awesome LEGOer, is 6, and Coleman, the life of the party, is already outsmarting his stay at home Mr. Mom dad, me,he is three and a half.
I have CHAMPION examples in my life of people who love to learn and live the truth, first my parents, my father, who I lovingly refer to as Pa, the shortened version of his favorite title of Grandpa, who is my resource and source for anything and everything, even now with google.  I remember as a kid growing up believing that he knew everything and if he didn’t his hypothesis was said with so much confidence, that he made himself believe what he was saying,
and my mom, who always made family scripture study  top priority with six kids.Lex who loves learning so much that she teaches high school. My father in law who is a convert to the church, he started to come to church with a friend when he was a kid and hasn’t stopped coming.My mother in law who has a library that makes me get almost as excited as a kid at Christmas, one of the many benefits of living with them now.
 I have always had a love of learning and in part chose nursing to study and as a profession because of the potential to always be in school learning, nerdy, I know. I have attempted to follow the admonition (found in Nephi’s example in 1nephi 19:23 to liken  the scriptures to myself and have used this as a format for my talk, picking parts of the chapter that stood out to me and relating them to my life. I invite you to do the same as you are listening to my likening of this chapter to my life.This invitation idea comes from a BYU devotional that annoyingly came on during PBS Kids programming.I wish that I could take credit for it with all of my missionary training I love that is still ingrained in me, but since I cannot, please use this invite at your own risk.

In preparing to speak on the tenth chapter of Teaching of the Presidents of the Church,  Joseph  Feilding Smith, titled, Our search for Truth, I have reflected on my own search for truth and meaning with the accident, or “bump” as my kids like to call it . It has left me with a 20% permanent peripheral vision cut on my left side and the incredible, CHAMPION and challenging opportunity to relearn to walk and use the left side of my body. This makes me wonder how we all are "disabled" in one degree or another in our search for truth,when compared to our perfectly abled Heavenly Father or how we are not able to see everything that Our Father in Heaven is able to see from end to beginning, let alone beginning to end,and therefore we need to be reliant upon our Loving Heavenly Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ who have and see a perfect plan for each one of us to get back to them.I know of their love and perfect plan. I am a living testament and standing witness that miracles happen by faith, prayer and fasting, with the righteous use of the priesthood power that was restored through Joseph Smith. I know that he was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet today. I am grateful for the way that I know theses things, which is by personal revelation, through the Holy Ghost, made available to all of us, as we live  worthily of His companionship and  serve one another, I Know that we will be able to live together as families forever.
I was impressed right from the beginning of this chapter, by the story  about Joseph Feilding Smith’s first experience with reading the Book of Mormon,” When Joseph Fielding Smith was eight years old, his father gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and asked him to read it. “I received this Nephite record with thanksgiving,” he later recalled, “and applied myself to the task which had been assigned to me.” His love for the book motivated him to get his chores done quickly and sometimes even leave baseball games early so he could find quiet places to read. In less than two years after receiving the gift from his father, he read the book twice. “
He read it first when he was only 8 and was “thankful” to get the task to read the book. He read it not only once, but twice, his love for the book motivated him to continue reading and searching out  more truth, even leaving one of the funnest  things that an 8 year old boy loves to do and that he found a quiet place to read.How we need quiet places in our world today, and not just quiet from all the auditory noise, but also from all the competing distractions that we even carry always with us, no I am not referring to our children who cannot walk yet but our smart phones.  When I worked for KUED channel 7, I was a coordinator and lead presenter over an outreach program that did monthly bilingual workshops for parents with children in title 1 schools and headstarts in the valley. Our first presentation was always media literacy, that helped teach the use of media as a tool, to help educate.The thing with media is that it teaches whenever it is on, only we can filter the content.Sister Linda S. Reeves, in this past April general conference said,quote, The greatest filter in the world … is the personal internal filter that comes from a deep and abiding testimony unquote.I know that as we search for truth with the use of this filter the Spirit will give us the same thirst for truth  that President Joseph Fielding Smith had.
President Smith maintained this thirst for gospel knowledge throughout his life. As he learned the truths of the gospel, he shared them and, when necessary, defended them. Three years after he was ordained an Apostle, he received a priesthood blessing that included the following counsel: “You have been blessed with ability to comprehend, to analyze, and defend the principles of truth above many of your fellows, and the time will come when the accumulative evidence that you have gathered will stand as a wall of defense against those who are seeking and will seek to destroy the evidence of the divinity of the mission of the Prophet Joseph; and in this defense you will never be confounded,
What an amazing promise, but He first needed to  learn the truths of the Gospel, then shared and defended them. It reminds me of Lehi’s vision of the tree of life and how when he had tasted of the fruit, he wanted to share it with others and how some who were pressing forward holding fast to the iron rod fell away because of those who mocked them from the great and spacious building, some even fell away after partaking of the fruit and were ashamed.None of us are immune to this mocking from the world, but we have been promised His peace. I have felt this peace in my struggle to go against the grain. In my struggle I came across this talk by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, titled Meek and Lowly, in it he says,” “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29) carries an accompanying and compensating promise from Jesus—“and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” This is a very special form of rest. It surely includes the rest resulting from the shedding of certain needless burdens: fatiguing insincerity, exhausting hypocrisy, and the strength-sapping quest for recognition, praise, and power. Those of us who fall short, in one way or another, often do so because we carry such unnecessary and heavy baggage. Being thus overloaded, we sometimes stumble and then feel sorry for ourselves.” I am seeking this rest, from my own stumbling and feeling sorry for myself
With being meek and lowly in mind,I love the recognition that President Joseph Fielding Smith received, President Heber J. Grant once called him the “best posted man on the scriptures” among all the General Authorities.4 Not that we should seek to know more than others in order to be told by them that we do, but I love that a prophet would be esteemed by a predecessor so highly for his acting on his thirst for truth. not to boast, but to relate this to my life,Lex wrote to me,last valentines that one of the things that she loved about me was my search  for truth.I am grateful that she chooses to emphasize that and not all the mistakes that I've made in my search, or how long it takes me, to get anything right.

Going back to the idea of using a filter to help us in this era of information and  enlightenment and sometimes even overload. Since the accident, I have an even greater appreciation for our brains ability to filter, as I do not have this ability now, I cannot multitask or even follow a conversation when there are multiple ones going on in the same room. the chapter continues,
it is more important, a thousand times over, to have a knowledge of God and his laws, so that we can do the things which bring salvation, than it is to have all the worldly knowledge that can be obtained.  How blessed we are to live in such a time when we have such a wealth of opportunities, in the words of Elder Ridd from the last priesthood session of general conference, he  said quote,” young men, you have probably heard before that you are a “chosen generation,” meaning that God chose and prepared you to come to earth at this time for a great purpose. I know this to be true. But this evening I would like to address you as the “choice generation” because never before in history have individuals been blessed with so many choices.” unquote
The manual continues, ancient prophets, who saw our times, have spoken, not particularly for the benefit of the people of their day, but for the benefit of the people living in the days of which these prophecies speak. Not all truth is of the same value or importance. The most important knowledge in the world is gospel knowledge. It is a knowledge of God and his laws, of those things that men must do to work out their salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord
We sometimes hear the complaint, “I haven’t time.” But we all have time to read and study which is our solemn duty. Can we not arrange to find at least fifteen minutes in each day to devote to systematic reading and reflection? This would be but a trifling amount of time, I am reminded of a sacrament talk that my twin brother Matthew heard in his ward from a neighbor who admitted, “If I have time to watch ‘Cake Wars, I have time to study the scriptures, we all have time and too many excuses.”

We may all know the truth; we are not helpless. The Lord has made it possible for every man to know by the observance of [His] laws, and through the guidance of His Holy Spirit, who is sent purposely to teach us when we comply with the law, so that we may know that truth which makes us free Lex gives me tough love by first reassuring me that she is there, to help steady me if I begin to fall, and then she allows me to do everything that I am able to do by myself. faith and works in action.
Continuing in the chapter on our search for truth, now, we will not get all that in this life.Speaking of the perfect light and knowledge that Our Heavenly Father has obtained. It is impossible for a man to reach that goal in the few years of mortal existence. But what we learn here, that which is eternal, that which is inspired by the Spirit of truth, will continue with us beyond the grave and then we shall go on, if still continuing in God, to receive light and truth until eventually we shall come to that perfect day. This echos one of my favorite talks that was given by Elder Oaks and is titled ‘The Challenge to Become’. I am an all or nothing thinker, a common ailment of a recovering perfectionist. One of my Pa’s favorite sayings what we call a ,“dadism,” in my family is,  “49 to 50,one step at a time Curtis, you need to worry about going  just on to the next step and not going from 0 to 100.” His own version of how to eat an elephant, one bite at a time. We will get there as we are facing the right direction
Everyone should learn something new every day. You all have inquiring minds and are seeking truth in many fields. I sincerely hope your greatest search is in the realm of spiritual things, because it is there that we are able to gain salvation and make the progress that leads to eternal life in our Father’s kingdom. In my mother in laws library, I've been reading one of John Bytheway’s books, Isaiah for Airheads, in it he reminds us that in our search for truth,quote, “Our Heavenly Father’s required reading list is shorter than OPRAH’s!” unquote, I was blessed with CHAMPION seminary teachers, one of them asked us why more of his students, because of their gospel knowledge, why they  didn't answer that they were champion to the question how they were doing.I was challenged and read the old testament first, not that I understood any of it as a freshman, and studied all the standard works with their help. I know for myself that they are true.I like to think of the scriptures as letters from our heavenly home, back in the day when I served my mission, we wrote letters because we didn't have email yet. Those letters from my home kept me going and were and are treasured by me.Treasuring up his word is far more than merely reading it. To treasure it one must not only read and study, but seek in humility and obedience to do the commandments given, and gain the inspiration which the Holy Spirit will impart. That we all will do so is my hope.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Spanish lessons

I find it fascinating, the way we are able to relate to each other, again the reason I have a BS degree in  Psychology. I attribute my love of words to my wife Alexie, who has a secondary teaching BS degree in English and theater.
I have already mentioned that one of the times that I woke up, after the accident and in the hospital, I told everyone, "me duele" to which Lex panicked for a moment reminding me that I couldn't reset in Spanish-mode like Buzz Light year does in Toy Story III, because she doesn't speak Spanish.There is no worry there, I am astounded that even in my mind's traumatized state. , I was able to draw upon a language I have never felt a master of, but that I knew/know is able to express somethings with more depth than English does.
"No tengo la culpa" and "se fue" are funny examples of the language not giving ownership to the person speaking. they translate to, It is not my fault, but literally I do not have the guilt and it went for something that is dropped. I love that when someone sneezes, you say, "salud" which means health. the -ito/a ending goes on anything you want to make small or loved son, "hijo" becomes "hijito," daughter, "hija becomes, "hijita." You're welcome is said, "de nada" which translates directly to, "of nothing."
I have excitment, "tengo animo" for the potential to have my kids in the Spanish immersion program at the elementaryschool that I went to. "Buena onda,"  "mortal", two ways of saying awesome. for those of you who want to tap into the Spanish language learning opportunity, here's the PBS plug for 'Oh Noah' which comes on at the end of 'Cyberchase' and DTVchannel 7.3 which is PBS in Spanish called Veme.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"Shake Well. . .

separation is natural."-Naked juice bottle. I couldn't help but think of Mosiah 3:19 and how " the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man." I know, one of the numerous moments in a my day, that I look for something that is at first mundane, but is able to teach me something.
As for the shake well part, I have started to review the last General Conference addresses and think that one of the common threads that I am finding that is being taught to me is that even as I try my best to do what I should that does not grant me immunity from life's challenges. "Challenges will come to you, but as you trust in God, they will strengthen your faith.(Elder Neil L. Anderson, Spiritual Wirlwinds, April 2014)"
We were able to go and hear my brother and sister in-law speak in their ward about the importance of obedience, Emily used her life experience, when she was a nanny in New York and was driving in a rainstorm with a good friend following behind her to their branch President's home. Her friend told her when they arrived that, "she was glad that I left my turn blinker on, so that I knew which car to follow, even in the dark storm." She spoke on how she obviously hadn't left her blinker on  on purpose, but with the sound of the storm, couldn't hear that it was still on. She compared the left on blinker to the Commandments, as we follow them we will make it safely back to our Heavenly home.In The Teachings of The Presidents of the Church, Harold B. Lee Chapter 9 we read in reference to the words of our modern day Prophet,"it may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the Lord Himself, with patience and faith,the promise is that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.”
I am grateful in a world that seems so shaken up and in the dark at times to know that a light has been left on fo all of us. I know that because He loves us, our Father in Heaven still speaks to His modern day Prophets, so that we can find our way back to Him.