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.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Homeless, so We're Living with the Shaffers

I love my in laws. For anyone to welcome our madness and to put their home/schedules not to mention having their furniture arranged in an airport fashion with couches back to back, because of storing our stuff, but making functional use of it while we are awaiting our flight to our new home destination. Papa, Shafe, is always going and cleaning. Check out the rims on our van this week for proof.He loves to joke around with his grandkids, just to see them smile and laugh with them. Nanna, who likes to sleep in, let's my kids come and crawl into her bed at 7:30 in the morning to watch cartoons with her, quality time with Nanna. She loves to read and I could get lost in her library, losing myself in her borrowed books.She is always making references to their service at the jail and has prompted the question/answer of:
 how is a prison like a temple?  
They're both places of hope and redemption, places of service and learning. I never thought that a prison could be considered a "Holy" place, but in hearing about their mission there and the stories of their branch President comparing the angel that visited Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah to the angels who wore badges and carry guns who came to get theses sisters and take them to jail, as well as the stories of the sisters who find hope in the Gospel message of repentance and forgiveness.
I have learned to focus on what I can do while I am living here, always getting a "thank you" when I do the dishes, although I never am as effective as Shafe when it comes to loading the dishwasher to  ultimate full capacity and still get all the dishes clean.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Means funny in Spanish
Coleman got tired of sitting in church, wanted to play with a toy, and when he discovered that he forgot to bring one, decided to leave and go get one.When he got home, the doors were locked and Lex found him crying on the doorstep, "No one will let me in!They don't like me!"
I fear that I am more socially inept than ever. I cannot, nor do I wish to use my TBI as an excuse.The last time my older brother was in town he and his wife were asking me about how I was doing and they noticed the prism sticker on my glasses. In explaining to them I mentioned why the sticker was only on my left lens, not on both; my left eye makes up for the vision cut in the right, but I do not have a third eye to make it up for it in my left eye. Neal said, "Well that is dumb! why don't you grow another one?" I countered with, Why don't you grow some hair?! His wife laughed, so I thought I was safe.
While having Sunday dinner with the Baugh side of the family, my Uncle Mike told me that he thought of me while he was at the gym earlier in the week, when he put on something with the CHAMPION logo.
Abby is my cuddle bug and loves to come and crawl in bed with me, it stalls her from having to go to bed and gives her a bit longer to stretch and fully/properly wake up. I treasure these one-one moments with her. I get to tease her about any cute boys, or her latest Daughter of a DORK, she's my DD for short, moment(s). One morning her told me about her imaginary friend, Sophrina, who has long blond hair, is very good at math and has a list of favorite colors, surprisingly similar to hers.
At the first of the season, Jaylee's B-day swim party at Uncle Mike's, Matt and my Pa commented on how daredevish Maxwell has become, with him asking Matt to throw and flip him in the pool. I, of course took credit for the change, reminding them that I was home with him now and therefore he is under my continual careful care to do such things.
I come inside from a roll around the block to find Abby "brooming up" cereal spilled on the floor.

Maxwell fell asleep with me and woke himself up laughing by "fluffing," the word we use instead of "fart."
Max is figuring his world out, always asking questions like, "Dad, why do roadrunners not have brains? What is 23+52?
Matt and Jen gave me a tshirt with the word BAZINGA(inside joke for The Big Bang watchers) on the front and a yellow cap velcroed on the back. I especially like to wear it to therapy, where Mikey my therapist likes to come and hold the cape out while I walk around and any familyoutting, yesterday I accidentally tucked the cape into my pants after using the bathroom. While I was working up at KUED after my accident I would call Matt, who works across the golf/Frisbee golf course to come help make sure that I got my pants all the way over my left hip before leaving the bathroom, which was one of Lexy's concerns for me going back to work. One more wardrobe malfunction was that I put my t shirt that has DORK in bold red letters on the front on backwards while getting out of  Uncle Mike's pool, if only I could have claimed to have done it on purpose.
I am reading 'It is good to be alive.' by Jason Rushton. I had the upportunity of hearing him speak when he came and visited the rehab floor of the University of Utah while I was there. I love his sense of humor, on the inside of the bookcover is the expert from his book, "I always wanted to be the best at something and though that I could be the bestquadraplegic,but then Christopher Reeve broke his neck and I was competing with Superman!
On fathers day I was talking to my three kids and telling them that they are the best fathers day presents because they made me a father. Max piped up and said, "Abby and I made you a fatrher, Coleman made you a clown dad!" I am fine with that observation and am very much relieved that he didn't say a tyrant, which is what I feel that I have become at times as Mr. Mom.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dead ends

There are no such thing as 'quick fixes'  or free passes' to life's problems. One example, with regards to relearning to walk I have had the opportunity, twice,  to attend an in-service by a company that provides a device that helps to stimulate muscles use through electric jolts, It brings new meaning to  shock therapy -the opening scene from Ghost Busters flashes in my mind. At both meeting/trial runs, the provider assured me that the device would be "very helpful for my recovery, but that there would still be a considerable amount of work on my end." In the end, I consulted with my Physical Therapists and came to the conclusion that for now this was not something to invest in. Not, because it was going to require some effort, but because the amount of electric charge it took to break up my klonis and muscle tension was not worth it, let alone the cost of the device.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I am prone to become this in my anticipation for the upcoming, next lesson to learn.Life is repeatedly teaching me to take a "What lack I yet?"approach, that Elder Worthin spoke on a few years ago, to the never ending lessons that present themselves to me.
I know that a "Change of heart" comes for me one cardiac muscle fiber at a time (see Alma 5:46)
I was astounded at my little brother's profoundness when I chatted with him about this uneasy feeling. my Kevy told me that Napoleon always would burn his ships, so that his army would know that there was no retreat option. Love you my Kevy. So, retreat isn't an option. Keep stumbling forward.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Moving explanation

We sold our house! It was listed for only 3 days. Lex and I are torn because we do not want to move, we love our neighbors and our home. We are dong it out of necessity, we only have one driver in the family & we need the kid’s school to be within walking distance.
One would think that selling it so soon would make it easier, but alas, I am a worrier. I made the comment to Lex that it was good to meet the family that bought our home, because they are going to get such a great neighborhood. She rolled her eyes and asked me, “Is that what you need to tell yourself in order to be alright with moving?” My answer is yes.
For FHE we went to Artic Circle to get some ice cream and wear out the kids, a double bonus, and happened to see one of our neighbors, Margaret Hall, there. She asked, as everyone who has seen this foreign looking lawn ornament that is on our lawn about us moving.Both Lex and I feel a need to let them know that it is out of a necessity-things that are not in our control that are the reasons behind our move. She was very polite and told us that she just hates moving, but wished us well.
So now the hunt is on while we are at Lexy's parents place until we find what we need. . . 
Have I mentioned one of my favorite quotes "the problem with praying for patience is that we want it right now!" 
Good things come to those who wait, I only say that now because my wait is over. I am excited to report that we have found a home! 735W. Morning Dew Dr.We are so excited to be close to family. Lex is already planning projects. Prayers are answered. We went over to check things out and our to be next door neighbor Kerm Mckay came over with tears in his eyes to give me a hug, he was so excited.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Confessions of an aspiring CHAMPION

I am more of a Pharisee  than a true CHAMPION, but I am a work in progress. I had a chat with Lex, the person who sees me on a daily basis, and at my best and worst. She mentioned that I know what to say, my strength and my weakness at times.
In the word’s of Shrek in SHREK the musical, “I guessed I’d be the hero . . . ”
In taking a deep breath and calming myself down, I reread how President Uchdorf  used the term," 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(You Can Do it Now, Oct. 2013)."I feel better about facing the right direction.