Maybe it’s because my time serving as a missionary is winding down and I have been thinking about activities I miss, or maybe it is because it is just plain fun. Either way I have been thinking about the beautiful Sand Dunes of South Eastern California. To some, the dunes might look more like a barren waste land, but not to me. First off, to anyone who has never been to the Imperial Sand Dunes nestled in the corner of south-eastern California just outside Arizona and just off of the Mexican Border (in fact many of the dunes run over and into Mexico) I would recommend going. They are the best. It is one of my favorite hobbies. I’m not sure how long ago my family started going to the dunes. My dad and his family and friends went way back in the day, the days of three-wheelers and Volkswagen Buggies. I remember when we (me and my siblings) started though. It was pretty new to us, we had recently built a new sand rail and wanted to give it a try. Well lets just say from that first trip till now it has been a family hobby and things have progressed and enlarged.
For those who may not be too familiar with the Sand Dunes people go there to ride just about any kind of motorized vehicle. Quads and dirt bikes are probably the most popular. But there are a lot of sand rails, side-by-sides (Ranger, Razors, Rhinos etc), souped up golf carts, Tricked out jeeps, and any thing else that can go “vroom”. Sometimes it can get pretty busy, especially on big weekends like Thanksgiving and New Years. There are advantages and disadvantages to it being busy verse not busy. Now it has been over two years since I have been to the dunes since I started my service as a full-time missionary for the church. I miss it at times, more so in the winter, but it is worth it to give that up for two years. The other day I had an idea of relating The Sand Dunes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Brilliant! I have decided to break it up into multiple posts because that way I won’t overrun anyone and I can keep it concise. So stay tuned, some posts will soon follow!
Click Here to Check out My other Sand Dune Blog Posts!
The other day I had the opportunity to go on team-ups in Dillon, Mt with Elder Landbeck. That Tuesday afternoon we had the opportunity to visit an elderly couple. I wont guess their age for I am a horrible guess at such. But while we were there visiting we started talking about religion and the role of it. It wont be fair for me to talk about all we talked about with this elderly gentlemen for privacy sake, but suffice it to say he did not believe in organized religion. “But” he said, “I am no Atheist”. He went on to say a quote that really jumped out at me, and one that I wont soon forget. He said, “I don’t care who you are, there is no such thing as an atheist in a Fox Hole. Trust me”.
Now that got me thinking. He didn’t really say anything else about it and I didn’t ask. We just moved on to another subject. An Atheist is “A person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings” (Dictionary.com). Now I believe him, I really do. I think that it is no coincidence that when people are put in a horrible situation their first instinct is to call on their Father, their Father in Heaven. God. Now why is that? How is it that someone who never claims to believe in God or to ever call upon him do so in a Fox Hole? I think a scripture in The New Testament says it best, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16). Our spirits have an instinct that is above natural tendencies. When things boil right down to it we know who we are. Maybe it takes being put in a fox-hole in the middle of World War II with bombs going off all around us to help us realize it. Maybe it is a loss of a loved one. Maybe it is a feeling of loneliness or remorse. Whatever it is we know that we are the sons and daughters of God. And when we find ourselves in trying times we have a spiritual instinct on whom to call, our Father who art in Heaven. That is why I believe there are no atheists in a foxhole. Take heart, whatever your “Fox Hole” in life might be, our Father in Heaven is always willing to listen and to help. Call on Him, Pray to Him, I know that He hears every prayer.
Not sure what this is about.....My dad probably seeking revenge on some pesky gofer
So it is Father’s Day already! Wow. Seems like it was just Mother’s Day! Well when I started to think about my father, and how I might dedicate a blog to him, my mind ran blank. I don’t even know if my dad knows what a blog is. One might say that my dad is not the most technologically friendly guy. He usually just spats off math problems in his head while I reach for my cell phone with its convenient calculator. But when I really started to give it some thought, I tried to think of one word that could best describe my dad; and the answer came quick and clear. “Work“.
My dad and brothers up to something
Allow me to explain. I grew up on a farm in south-east Gilbert, Arizona (which was at one point Chandler, or some other city). My dad grew up on a farm in Mesa, Arizona. And, if I’m not mistaken, his dad grew up on a farm as well. On a farm, work is a key ingredient. I’m sure that there are a lot of other professions out there that work hard as well, but in my book, farming takes the cake.
I remember growing up working. Now I wont lie to anyone, I did not enjoy spending my summer (the few precious months of no school and home work) waking up at 4:30AM to go bail hay in the early morning. Sometimes, I
didn’t even enjoy going out in the middle of the afternoon in 120 degree weather to go spray weeds. Occasionally, I didn’t like staying up all night irrigating and getting bit by mosquitoes. But my dad always had us kids do these things. Himself, of course, always setting the best example. I would bet my dad against any one on a work contest. Sure, he might be getting old and rickety….. but I would still put my money on him. He is also great at getting the job done right. I don’t think I could count on both hands the amount of times he has had me and my brothers re-do a job because it wasn’t done right. Take pride in your work. Spending hours spraying weeds paid off; our farm was always much cleaner than other farms, though my mom may disagree :).
Looking back I sure am happy that my dad was a slave driver(he wasn’t really though)! I wouldn’t trade my experience growing up on a farm for anything! I
learned so many skills and attributes there. Even though I did complain (I’m sure a lot more than I should’ve), I am eternally grateful for that experience now. My dad has taught me the principle of work better than anyone I know. Even though I still have some room to grow. When I think of a hard worker I will always think of my dad. So with that, Happy Father’s Day Dad! 😉
Well the other day I took a nice little stumble. Yep, the dang classic sidewalk crack jumped up and grabbed my foot once again. Luckily this time I only suffered from slight embarrassment and I did not fall on my face. I have tripped quite a few times in my life. When I was young, when I was home, when I have been on my mission. Almost every time I have tripped or fumbled it was because I was not watching where I was going. A hidden step, a crack in the side walk, or perhaps a quick foot from a prankster. Of course I wont even start on the wonderful icy roads and sidewalks found in Montana during the winter months that have claimed victory over me more then a couple three times.
I reflect back to a time when I was first learning how to snowboard. Me and my friends went up to the mountain and decided to take the longest lift all the way to the top of the mountain. To make a long story short, me and another one of my friends weren’t really weren’t paying attention to where we were going. We ended up taking the wrong turn and found ourselves on a pretty slippery slope that was very narrow and above our experience. Luckily we didn’t take any huge falls and we made it down just fine. It made me think of a quote, or a proverb if you will: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so watch your step”.
Often times we do not take enough thought about where we are placing our next step. Do we think about where that one step can lead us? Sometimes we don’t watch and we immediately trip and fall. Sometimes we don’t watch our step and it leads us onto a path that we really don’t want to be on. I am so thankful for our Savior Jesus Christ who makes it all possible for us to get back up. If we do trip and fall, get back up! The path that me and my friend went on in the end gave us experience and made us better because we eventually were able to get back on the correct path. But let us remember to watch our step. It can lead us to a place where we want to go, or it can lead us to a place where we don’t. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so watch your step!