In the first e-mails, I am more building off of common ground. He pretty much told me his whole desire is to be a billionaire by the time he is 40. He gave me as the reason for doing so is that he could have independence and security. Building off of that theme, I gave the following paragraph. I completely agree with your statements that that is not our whole purpose. I hope I defined that more clearly in some of the other e-mails that came later, if not in the same one.
“I do not laugh at your hope of retiring early. I believe it is a noble thing to have prepared so you can spend your live doing something more productive than the pursuit of money. I completely agree with you on this point. I hope to be financially independent so I can turn my focus onto other things, more important things. I see nothing wrong with this desire. I am sorry if other people find it foolish.”
I certainly think you should do your job with full faithfulness and not just with the end to get money. You should enjoy your job and find its meaning and opportunity for you. I completely agree that it is more than just supporting the family.
“There are a couple of thoughts I will throw at you. I am not to elude that you are caught in these thought patterns, but a caution in case you may have forgotten. You referenced financial freedom and security. I am not personally aware of any promises in the gospel that we will be given security or a large degree of freedom. Agency, yes; the ability to act, definitely; but beware of the thought process that at some point you will have reached a point to where you are excluded from pain, sorrow, or suffering. “
You quoted D&C 70 in relation to this comment. The Lord there promises us blessings and great blessings. But I do not read that these promises are necessarily for temporal blessings and temporal security. Remember, this is one of the reasons why the Saints were so terribly upset in Kirtland and in Jackson. The Kirtland anti-Banking Society was established and many people fully thought the Lord was going to make them rich. After all, they were in the process of gathering and of building Zion (literally) and that led to their downfall. In Jackson the Saints were sure that they would be protected temporally because of some of these commandments. Well, we know what happened there as well.
To me, when the Lord promises comfort, security, blessings, and freedom, these are all first and foremost spiritually and in the conscious. I do believe they lead to the physical. That is one of the messages I get from the New Testament is that Saints will be able to call anyplace, even the pits of hell, home and make it a Zion. Wherever the Saints are, there cannot be hell. Remember the Lectures of Faith, those who have a certain knowledge can take spoiling of the goods and even the taking of their lives with joy and a certain knowledge that they have a future and know their place in eternity. If I remember right, I don’t have the book yet, but the quote of idolatry by President Kimball includes the comforts of family, cars, and houses.
I guess is what I am saying, Saints were had in Kirtland and Missouri even though they were in hell. They had comfort and freedom and independence and security despite what they were going through physically. Many counted it a blessing to come across the plains, even the quote from the old man in the Martin Handcart Company, that it was the place they came to know God and would not trade it for anything.
It seems to me a twist of the scriptures to believe we are promised physical security and freedom.
Your quotes from the Book of Mormon go along with what I have already talked about. Free forever, certainly is more than this mortal probation (2 Ne 2:26). The Lord promised the Israelites freedom in Egypt, but they still had to sit there for 400 years. (I wonder how many lost their faith because they were not given their freedom in their lifetimes?) Out of darkness into the light, out of captivity to freedom (2 Ne 3:5) seems to be speaking the same. Under no other head are you made free (Mosiah 5:8) I view death and a resurrection as a freedom from the fallen world too. Moroni’s inspiration to be freed from bondage (Alma 43:48) is still very much on the Lord’s timetable. Wandering in the wilderness for 40 years is certainly freedom considered under what they had left with Pharaoh, but still it was very taxing, and they had no real comforts or even security. They had serpents and all sorts else to worry about. Hearing the Lord and following him will make us free (D&C 38:22) is very true, but what about all those Saints who wasted away with the same promise in eastern Germany and Soviet provinces. Hundreds never saw freedom in their life according to what you are arguing here, but certainly did in the spiritual way. Even Brigham Young has quotes where the strangling of the US government was diminishing the Saints freedoms. His views were of the freedom of polygamy, and (don’t know if I would argue for it) we still don’t have the complete freedom of our religion in this country.
As for the quote about the Constitution and our liberty to make us free. That is one of the big things Joseph Smith taught. Our constitution gave us the freedom of thought, to act as we please (despite its tightening under Brigham) and freedom of conscience. You know this.
If we are righteous, the promise is that we shall have our needs met. Even that our cup will run over and with tithing that we cannot receive them all. But that certainly never applied to riches as far as I have ever seen. My bank account certainly could receive more and I could too. So it doesn’t have to do with money. But in spiritual blessings, from which the physical manifests itself, I certainly believe we can be therewith content with what the Lord has allotted us. Even if that is a prison cell in the freezing of winter in 1837 called Liberty. Isn’t that what the Lord told Joseph and later. Receive ALL things with thankfulness and you shall be made glorious (again, not necessarily physically).
“I know you are not saving up money to become rich. It is your desire to be able to be more free to do things which are of more worth with your time to your family and for others. I certainly think that is a worthwhile pursuit. Just be careful not to be driven too much by money rather than your worthwhile pursuits. “
This was another building off the common ground concept. Start at common ground, build off of it, and then you can help them see where you vary and then they are left with the choice. Isn’t this much of the Socratic method. But you have to start somewhere to where they can agree with you.
This was one of the main reasons why he wanted to gain riches. I do think it is a noble thing for you to be able to do more with your family and time for the benefit of others. I admit, no matter how much I like my job, I have to do it a certain amount and detract away from time that could be used with family, teaching, or even in service. Honestly, you can love your job and want to spend all your time there, but in the end, whether you love your job or not is not going to get you into heavens quadrants. Your family, your service and stewardship will count much more.
There are a score of great blessings that do come from work. I don’t doubt that. But I am sure you could learn many of those same ethics and work from other meaningful service too. Our jobs are a required part of life. Someone has to clean the sewers, someone has to move the trash, someone has to do crime scene investigating, someone has to be the mortician. I certainly hope those people don’t hate their jobs. I do believe, in the vein above, that you have to have that inside conviction, freedom, and security and the outside will change. Hell will in fact become heaven. If you hate your job, first you should probably change your heart and mind, then look again at the job and consider if a change needs to be made.
I completely agree with the Luke 3:14, 1 Tim 6:8, Heb 13:5 (what would that say if I didn’t agree?) that one should be content with wages, have godliness and contentment, and to avoid covetousness. I am sorry if I led you to believe I supported these things.
Anyhow, I hope as you read later of the forwards, that I corrected or explained my position more fully.
This is a great little study for both of us. We must be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves. We must think these things through, even we must plan financially but far too many people let it consume their lives. I really liked your line, “…I can see how it will take over if you are not careful. But now I know, I need to be wise, but not worry, be prepared, but not obsessed!”
Thanks again, I enjoy our little banters.
12 at the time. I guess he liked to golf once and a while at the course down in the canyon. (Sad, I don’t even remember the name of it. (Perhaps I am getting older….)
Who else died this year? I read a few of Milton Friedman’s books. I still sing to myself the music of Malcolm Arnold, especially River Kwai. I remember joking about what it must be like to be Robert C Baker, but now I would feel bad joking of chicken nuggets. Buck Owens who I saw in Branson passed away. We can’t forget political leaders like President Ford, Senator Stafford, or Congressman Sonny Montgomery. Ed Bradley who I liked to watch. 60 Minutes just won’t be the same anymore without Bradley and Wallace. Who were some not so notable, or infamous, Mr. Lay, Jeff Lundgren, Saddam. It has been a year for deaths! Oh, I about forgot Steve Irwin. It seemed every little kid in England talked of Steve.
A couple of family members have passed away. Ebertha Lutz of my Van Leeuwen line. Dean Sharp just passed away last week. His funeral is on Thursday up in Pasco, Washington. That doesn’t leave many of the Sharp family around either. I know Grandpa is struggling with his death. Dad, Jan, and Grandpa are going up to the funeral. I hope when my time comes, it will go as well. He wasn’t feeling well, and went to the hospital. His oxygen was low, so they put him on oxygen and he wanted to go home. He was resting and Lois heard him make a noise and saw his oxygen was off. She went over and he was gone. Quick, painless, and comfortable.
I only visited with Dean two weeks ago. I called him to ask him some family history questions about his parents and recollections of Mary Ann Stoker, aka Lillian Musgrave. He told me characteristics of his parents, Edward Sharp and Lillie East. He always had a cool little laugh when he finished speaking. Don’t know if it was a nervous laugh, something he picked up, but it always made me feel relaxed. He never
knew his grandmother, I had to get that information elsewhere. Good bye Dean.
I received an e-mail from a Terry McHugh in South Carolina. He was searching information on the Stoker line. I filled him on information I
had, and gleaned quite a bit from him. It was good to focus some more on the Stoker line. I still have yet to figure out why my Mary Ann
Stoker (married Sharp) went by Lily (Lillian) Musgrave for a spell.
I called Grandpa and he shared a few memories with me. He said she was fairly tall, I am not sure what that means. Grandpa is not necessarily tall. He used to walk past her house every day on the way to school. He would stop in on his way home when she was alive. It is the same house my Aunt Caroline lives in now.
She would have him put the hooks in the holes for her shoe laces. She also had him pull the strings on her girdle for her. He used to ask why
she needed the thing; after all she was so skinny. She would just sigh and ask him to pull them just a little tighter. It sounded like it was sweet memories. She had a horn for hearing. She went deafer over the years. Grandpa would ask why she needed that horn and she would say it was because he wasn’t speaking loud enough. It was interesting that June Streeter had memories of Lily, but didn’t know who she was. It wasn’t until a few months back talking with her daughter that I cleared that up in her mind.
Life changed considerably for Amanda and me this year. I again made a move across the country. One thing is for sure, get married and the
physical baggage multiplies! You would think that my trunk full of possessions would only double. Some reason or another, women are not
confined to a Spartan life. But add a marriage to it, and the making of a home, and things grow exponentially. There are ways I would like to
go more Spartan, but Amanda won’t have any of that. Probably a good thing.
Dad had his operation and seems to be back to normal. Indeed, he is better than he has been for the last five years. I am glad he has made
such a recovery, even improvement. Jan had her operation on her back. For some reason I cannot recall if that was earlier this year or not.
Yes, I think it was, pretty sure it was. She is doing much better. Her progress has not been as quick as Dad’s but she is doing better.
Overall it has been a good year. Even the few dreams I have had have all been good. There is one that repeated some over the year. Have yet no idea what it could possibly mean. I am back living at Kasota Road. But I have to go to the dentist. I go, and it is Garrison Keillor who
is the dentist. We end up chatting about a few things. By the time the appointment is done, he has split a tooth in half, and pulled it. Having removed a tooth, I am concerned and discuss my issues with him. He takes and makes me a new tooth and screws it back into the top of my mouth. I am shocked that I can notice no difference from the old to the new tooth. I am impressed there is no swelling and no pain. He doesn’t even use pain killers. It is his reasoning that makes things work so well despite my little idiosyncrasies. Perhaps it is just that I need
to reason and talk through more things in life. I almost laugh in the mornings when I realize I am dreaming of going to the dentist, spending
the conversation with Keillor, and then arise to find life is great. Perhaps it is just a happy dream. Don’t know why I find it so ironic that the dentist and Keillor make me happy, but I won’t complain. (Now people will think I am more off my rocker than ever!)
Well, I think I will sign off. I look forward to what 2007 has to bring. I am sure it will have many surprises and interesting things to mention. It will be the first year in a long time that I am planning, for the most part, of staying in the same state. Since graduation I have hopped between states every year.
There is not a whole lot to report on at the present. We enjoyed a Thanksgiving here in blessed Virginia.
Amanda and I drove to Massanutten, a resort up in the hills. We went up to spend Thanksgiving with Amanda’s Uncle and Aunt. It turned out to be an interesting day. I enjoyed the drive up to the area. Gordonsville was the highlight of the day, the town having a personality completely its own. A rare thing it seems these days.
Massanutten wasn’t anything to boast about. They do have a very large indoor water park. Other than that, it was just a bunch of condos in the middle of the mountains. Don’t get me wrong, the mountains were beautiful. How much more beautiful without the “hello, here I am” presence of the resort?
Amanda and I have determined we will never go out to enjoy our Thanksgiving meal again. It seems to undermine what the day is about. Who would have ever thought it was Thanksgiving. Where was any resemblance of Thanksgiving, other than a commercial version of the foods associated with the date?
We went back and pretty much watched the TV for the rest of the day. Driving home, we were relieved to leave the situation which seemed lacking so much.
Hopefully, I can pay some homage to the day here even though the day did not provide much.
This week, I discovered I am the posterity of individuals who lived at Jamestown. Yes, next years celebration of 400 years in America, honored even by the Queen, is directly relevant to me. Not just through this nation, but through my ancestors who lived there. The Clark (or Clarke) family, the Summers, Lumpkin, and Thompson groups I am all related to. There is a possibility my Clark’s even come from the famous John Clark, who was the Master’s Mate on the Mayflower. He had been to Jamestown before, imprisoned in Spain, made the trip of the Mayflower, and eventually made his way back to live in Jamestown. He died not too much afterwards. I am also a descendent of the Graham Clan who settled parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. They extended into Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio as well. I am an American very deep in some roots. One of those Grahams was a personal friend of George Washington, and convinced him to help endow a new school he had founded. Yep, a Graham founded Washington and Lee. My history includes three future presidents, universities, and other numerous recorded aids to society.
My roots expand the ocean many times. My roots run to Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England. My ancestors were in the court of rulers; my ancestors even ruled parts of the Roman Empire. My ancestors come from Sweden, Norway, and the largest number from Germany. I have family who can be traced into Russia, Australia, and a score of other nations. The foundations I have been given are broad and inclusive. I am so very fortunate. Each of us have a history which began long before we were born.
Those blessings extend beyond my family. This nation, which has its hopes in liberty and freedom are one of the greatest blessings to me. I am very fortunate. It may be a weakness in many ways, but is a great boon in many more ways. I pray for the principles upon which it is founded to continue to go to the whole earth. I pray that those principles would be grasped by other nations and be implemented into their states. I pray our nation might return to the principles of truth and freedom for which it is founded.
I remember the lives of those who were given for this freedom I enjoy and others do not. Two of my Great Grandfather’s were gassed in WWI and both lived to tell the tale. Both met painful and difficult deaths due to it. One grandfather has purple hearts to show for his wounds and success in WWII. The other grandfather tried to enroll, but due to health issues was not allowed to be a part.
I pray for the soldiers of freedom everywhere. I care not what nation they represent, as long as they are there for liberty, freedom, and truth. I pray God will bless those who represent those hopes and ideals. That those who do not represent those ideals, or those they represent, will be thwarted in their designs.
It is with gratitude I offer my thanks to He who makes death not a fear. I thank and give adoration to the Savior of all mankind, even Christ that we might all live again. That despite wickedness and fear, we have nothing to fear but sin. I express my deepest thanks for the restoration of His church back on the earth and the miracles which abound about us. The gathering of lost nations, the restoration of Israel, the building up of the kingdom in preparation for the king whose right it is to rule. My deepest sympathies are with the restoration and furthering of eternal purposes upon the earth. My greatest joys and delight come from this impressive, yet almost unrecognizable effort happening in our midst.
I am pleased to have been born at this time of such great blessing. It is with a certain hope I see the future, despite all which is prophesied to come upon us. So much pain that the Saints will barely escape with their lives. We have seen little or nothing of what is to come. Nations will rise up against nations and desolation shall abound on all the earth. Those of the order of God have not need to fear though. This I am grateful for. For the Priesthood which shall protect those within the covert from the storm, for the Resurrection that those who will be lost; both for their own sins and for a more full judgment upon the wicked.
Most close to home I thank for those who are dearest to me. I am thankful for those who so deeply touch the deepest parts of my soul. Many who are now separated from me by death, but that too shall not be for long. My dearest wife, and all her splendor for which I am a blessed soul. My parents who fought and struggled so hard for my upbringing and their abiding love for me.
There is a whole multitude of souls I could reference for their influence in my life. The more I learn and contemplate, the more I realize how intricately every soul is linked to one another. Even years later we remember the influence of another. There are influences from childhood, influences from events far away, and even influence from beyond the grave.
My heart is full. I am thankful for all things.
you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people including the person who sent it to you.1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:50 AM
2. Diamonds or pearls? A saphire catches my eye the most
3. What was the last movie that you saw at the theatre? Saw the Joseph Smith movie in Liberty, Missouri on the 1st of July.
4. What is your favorite TV show? Home Improvement
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Banana
6. What is your middle name? Norwood Jonas (yes, two names)
7. What is your favorite color? White
8. What food do you dislike? Who dislikes food? Without it I would die!
9. What is your favorite CD? Right now, Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto!
10. What car do you drive? 1998 Toyota Camry
11. What is your favorite Sandwich ? Club
12. What characteristic do you despise? Ignorance
13. Favorite item(s) of clothing? The ones I wear
14 If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be? Heaven
15. What color is your bathroom? Cream
16. Favorite brand of clothing? Don’t have one
17. Where would you retire to? Malad, Idaho
18. What was your most memorable birthday? 2003
19. Favorite sport to watch? Soccer
20. Furthest place you are sending this? The Moon
21. Whom do you least expect to send this back? ?
22. Person you expect to send it back first? ?
23. Favorite saying? A lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.
24. Are you a morning person or a night person? daytime
25. What is your shoe size? 10.5
26. Pets? Nope
27. What did you want to be when you were little? Farmer
28. How are you today? Restless
29. What is your favorite candy? Oreos
30. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Saturday
31. What is your favorite food? Yes
32. Favorite Past-time? Traveling
Now another chapter of sorts is beginning, or at least a sub title. Today Amanda officially starts at Virginia Commonwealth University in the dental hygiene program. It was strange to drop her off at her ride’s home, and come home alone, to realize she is now a student again. Oddly enough, Matthew and Sarah Harris are one of the individuals who Nathan Wayment’s e-mail passed through in its line before us for which we were able to secure this huge home to live in.
Another chapter opened on Friday when I went in to take the Virginia Health Insurance Licensing Exam. I had spent a whole week in class preparing to take the test, and there I was, taking it. I really don’t know what I expected, that it wouldn’t come? It did, and I squashed it! So, now I have certification to be licensed for health insurance in Virginia. Now, I head off to Raleigh, North Carolina for two weeks of training so that Combined Insurance of America can appoint me. Then after appointment, I will receive my actual license from the state. Then I will be bonified and legitimate to be selling insurance in this state. Carrying on in a company of which my Grandmother invested 30 years of her life. Too bad I could not take her residuals!
Life marches on, it continues to amaze me, and go forward. One day it seems that I have enjoyed and endured all I wanted in life, and then another magnificent vista opens before me. Endured not because of pain and torment, but because it just seems my bosom could not contain anything more. My, our, blessings are beyond comprehension. At some points in life, I feel my heart has swelled as wide as eternity and could not possibly take any more. Pain just isn’t an option any more. It is so low, so mean, so vulgar, and something only to distract our mind from the real view. The past weeks I have recognized blessings which have come to me which have been in the pipeline for generations. I recognized blessings that come to me from my Great Great Grandmother Christiana Wilhelmina Knauke Andra. I also stumbled upon one that has passed to me from Regina Friederike Nuffer Scheibel Wanner. Just this week I had one fall in my lap that came from Herbert and Marthan Christiansen Coley. Who would ever have thought that the faith of these individuals would reap and bestow blessings on those who they only could imagine.
Well, time to be doing something more. All is according to plan, as far as I can see.
Another day of traveling. Today we left from Branson, Missouri and crossed Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and have come to rest in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. Here we will be spending the evening for our few hours tomorrow drive to Lexington, Virginia. There we will spend the rest of our day with Evan and Amber
Fetters and enjoy the fireworks at Washington and Lee University. Should be an exciting day.
This morning we took our time getting ready. I called and invited Liarra Bartlett to come and visit for a while. She came and we visited for about a half hour. It was sure great to see her again.
We visited with Becky Hughes for a spell and then popped by Ryan and Carina Hughes’ home. There we got a tour of the home since I had not seen it since helping to fix it up. We also ate bran muffins which Amanda got the recipe for. It was good to visit with Cheryl Linton as well.
We headed out towards Virginia. We saw downtown St. Louis including the Arch. The rolling hills of southern Illinois, Indiana, and northern Kentucky were all beautiful. It was a long drive today but we are glad to be getting closer to our destination.