Tuesday, November 30, 2010


A couple things from Joseph Smith

1. Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it (History of the Church, 3:389)

2. This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted--by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed (History of the Church, 5:135)

Revelation is the insight from God that directs us through our daily affairs. It is inspiring to know that in His reign of the cosmos he cares enough for the individual to guide them through their practical and specific challenges.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Secondhand Lions

Part of Uncle Hub's speech about what every boy needs to know to be a man.

"Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love... true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in."

I believe our belief (faith) makes the world around us. So believe the good things, doubt the bad. It leads to a much richer life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rectitude is a perpetual victory, celebrated not by cries of joy, but by serenity, which is joy fixed or habitual. ("Character," Essays: Second Series [1844])

I found this to be a very accurate description, that described how I have felt for some time. Habitual joy comes from the serenity of a life well lived where the cares of the world do not interfere with the feelings of joy and peace. Moreover, rectitude, creates the confidence to stand before God and beside God with confidence that with Him as a companion, anything can be overcome.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pray to solve technical challenges

Today I was listening to an interview between Sheri Dew and Elder Richard G. Scott. Elder Scott is a leader of our church as a member of the Quorum of 12 Apostles. At an earlier time he was also a nuclear engineer and had a key role on the staff of Admiral Rickover. In the interview he was asked about some of his lessons learned and he said, "Prayer is an important part of solving technical problems".

I work in a very challenging technical field and despite the field having been around for 40+ years in some form or another, we are advancing the state of the art. Prayer has been a rock for me throughout the years and will continue to be so. Without question, prayer can guide us through the most difficult technical challenges.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I love Maile

Today at breakfast, Maile was saying the prayer, in the middle Leila screeched and Maile said "Please bless us to not scream in the middle of the prayer"

Later, for whatever reason we were talking about fireworks and she thoughtfully suggested we ask the owner of the house if we can light fireworks here. Upon hearing that there is a state law, she said "Maybe we can light fireworks when we live in a barn"

Where does she come up with this!? To be fair, Anna talks to her and Arden about living on a farm, which means nothing to the kids, but farms have barns so that must be where we will live!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sun Tzu's Art of war

From Sun Tzu's Art of War http://www.chinapage.com/sunzi-e.html

Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:

  1. He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
  2. He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
  3. He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.
  4. He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
  5. He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.

It applies to so many aspects of life. If you want to convince anyone of anything, this is really the way to do it. If you are not prepared, your dead in the water. If politics come into play, good luck. If you don't know how to use your assets (strong and weak), you can't succeed.

As a whole team is more and more on the same page, they can get more done more effectively because they share a vision and the harmony is a key to success.

interesting that this was so well understood so many years ago, but it takes time to transcend the ages.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

T.S. Elliott "Choruses from The Rock"

Inspired to read this poem from a general conference talk by Elder Bednar.


Some parts that strike a chord with me

"The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of The Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

I recognize the value of study, knowledge, information, data. Without a plan of where you want it to take you it takes you everywhere and nowhere, as if driven by the wind. The depth is lost when we give it not the time. Facts, information, data, are nothing without thought. "Why is the information there" "what can be done with it" "How can I use it, rather than store it" and "How does it help me know God"

"The world turns and the world changes,
But one thing does not change.
In all of my years, one thing does not change,
However you disguise it, this thing does not change:
The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil."

Well that basically summarizes the test of this earth. The more my eyes are opened, the more I realize that EVERYTHING is about the battle of Good vs. Evil. Wars, duh. Poverty, duh. Politics - A little more hidden. Entertainment - hidden again. Food - there again. Sports, recreation, quiet, peace, anarchy, activity, slumber. - all can be summarized as Good or Evil. Even the best of things can be bad without the proper moderation.

Recently, I've become more aware about the need to plan your life through the jillions of traps of Evil. If you do not plan, you cannot overcome, planning is Good, not planning is the alternative.

Wake up! There is much good that needs done, not just thought about!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Time and Money

Before we started this company I heard lots of advice. Most prominent was that we would never have enough time or money. True enough, we live it. But that got me thinking, does anyone ever think, yep, I've got enough time and I've got enough money? Seems to always be something more we want to add to our day.

If simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, must we abandon the drive to do more in a day? Maybe abandon is the wrong word. Balance seems more appropriate. If a day is balanced, you got the essentials done, had some down time, some rest time, etc.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Isaiah 65

I read this verse today in Isaiah 65:22

"They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat..."

I've been talking to the kids quite a bit about what I view as the American way, and this is a good part of it. We do not build so another can live there, or cook so another can eat, or sow so another can harvest. We make the world a better place so we can live in a better place.

Today Maile and I made cookies, I asked Arden if he wanted to help, but he was doing stuff outside. When he came in, he asked for cookies. I said he had to wait. He said but Maile is eating some and it isn't fair. I quickly corrected that nonsense. "No," I said, "What is not fair, is Maile working to make cookies and you expecting to eat them." Then we had a nice discussion about sharing and how that was supposed to be good. Well yes, but for people that do stuff; that help and work in whatever way they can, then we can share with a clear conscience. And I am all for charity, you wanna give, give. I will not judge that.

Arden's a good kid and I told him he could have a couple snitches of the cookie dough. Then I told him Maile received another reward for helping; she got to snitch all the while making the dough, she probably had 10 times the snitches Arden got because she was helping. I told him that is what is fair, that is the American way, you work harder then others, you should get more than others. Not fair is someone working less and complaining about the one who worked more and got more.

The Count of Monte Cristo

I just finished reading the Count of Monte Cristo. Good book. I don't believe the core premise is correct, but nonetheless, it was enjoyable. Here are some quotes I found particularly interesting

"He recalled the prayers that his mother had taught him and discovered a significance in them that he had not previously understood: to a happy man, a prayer is a monotonous composition, void of meaning, until the day when suffering deciphers the sublime language through which the poor victim addresses God."

The scriptures also talk about this, that when we are prosperous, we do not believe we need God, so our prayers have no soul, no heart. It isn't until we are suffering in our own perceived pain that we cry with intent. It does not have to be that way. We can cry to God in the happiest of times, because the quest is not limited to requesting help from God, but to know God, as we do a friend. Relationships are often build in the best of times and strengthened in the worst of times.

"But man, man whom God made in His image, man to whom God gave this first, this sole, this supreme law, that he should love his neighbor, man to whom God gave a voice to express his thoughts - what is man's first cry when he learns that his neighbor is saved? A curse. All honor to man, the masterpiece of nature, the lord of creation.

He burst out laughing, but such a terrible laugh that one realized he must have suffered horribly to be able to laugh in such a way"

This caused me to pause and consider my innermost, unexpressed thoughts towards my fellow man, do I genuinely rejoice in their success, or do I hide a silent curse

Monte Cristo said: "you know that all human inventions progress from the complex to the simple and that perfection is always simplicity."

I fully believe this. Perfection is simplicity.

Villefort in response more to his own thoughts than to Mme Danglars' words: "'So it is true that every one of our actions leaves some trace on our past, either dark or bright. So it is true that every step we take is more like a reptile's progress across the sand, leaving a track behind it. And often, alas, the track is the mark of our tears!'"

Tears yes, but from where did they come? Joy or remorse? A wicked man will see the track of remorse throughout his life, how it all tied to his fall, a good man will probably see the joys and happiness throughout his life, how it all tied to his salvation

"'Those who are born with a silver spoon,' Emmanuel said, 'those who have never needed anything, do not understand what happiness is, any more than those who do not know the blessing of a clear sky and who have never entrusted their lives to four planks tossing on a ragging sea.'"

There is some truth here, that many take what we have for granted. But this is my primary disagreement with one of the assertions of the book, that suffereing is required to feel the highest happiness. It may be a beneficial comparison for an individuals reflection, but a life of suffering does not generally improve ones happiness later.

The entire turmoil with Maximillian and Valentine drove me crazy; when he thinks she is dead and the Count wants him to be in the uttermost despair before he reveals her to him.

Happiness and the quality of it is based on a growth in love and service, not sadness and loneliness. If I want to improve my happiness at home, I do not need to experience deprivation and loneliness to build it, I enjoy the people I'm with, love them, and serve them and that is how happiness grows.

The book caused me to ponder what things would be like for children raised after the coming of Christ. Or those who lived during the city of Enoch. Were they never happy because they knew less sin, war, hunger, disease? Seriously? Satan's plan, completely. There is a need for opposition to allow us to choose. But there is not a need for opposites to make us stronger. The opposites are merely the result of our choice with the opposing forces. We choose God or Satan, we receive happiness or sadness based on that choice. Depth of loss does not ensure we will achieve the equal level of happiness. They are on different scales. Sadness vs. happiness depends on the choice of who we follow, what we believe, and how we live. The most destitute can be the happiest of all. The wealthiest can be the saddest of all.

Simplicity and sophistication

"Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication" - Leonardo Da Vinci.

Even the phrasing of this sentence is clear. In the world of technology and ever changing capabilities, time is lost learning the new. Too many options and choices, not enough relevant comparisons. I wish I could just put in my requirements and have something sort to the best one.

Robotics is a difficult field. When it is done right, people will say, "Well yeah, this is how it always should have been"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Life is like a marathon

Had a recent lesson in church that compared life to a marathon and how we each hurt and feel pain and need help along the way. That help so often comes from those we don't even know and may wonder, why in the world they are helping me. But they do. The question is, do we? Do we help those around just because they need a hand, even though we may never see them again. Do we lift rather than criticize, do we include rather than exclude. I have a lot to improve.

As part of the lesson, they showed this video, it is amazing. Love what she says 7:26-7:33 "running a marathon, just like life baby, you only get out of it what you put into it...you'll never forget it." Made me think about the hereafter, you'll never forget what you did with your time here.