Wednesday, August 27, 2008


By Richard Realf

Here: gathered from all places and all time,
The waifs of wisdom and of folly meet.
High thoughts that awe and lilting words that chime.
Like Sabbath bells heard in far valleys sweetly;
Quaint fancies, musical with dainty rhyme
Like the soft patter of infant’s feet;
And laughter radiant as summer skies,
And giant hopes looking out from human eyes.
With thrilling hymns that make the quick tears start.
And here, in garlands of strange fantasy
To catch the careless passer’s casual look,
And show, within the limits of a book,
Unto him his life’s own large epitome.

I started copying these quotes, poems and stories when I was 13 years old. I can’t remember now if it was this poem, or a lesson somewhere (which I have since heard on several occasions) that said "A good speaker is always on the look out for good material. Begin early in life, and collect every story, poem, quote, article, or thought you see, read, or hear that makes you think or touches your soul." I remembered getting Dad’s old Missionary I. P.* Book off the shelf from time to time to find a poem for a Primary talk, and there were LOTS of good things in it. So, I decided when I was 13 that I wanted to start my own IP book by copying everything in Dad’s IP Book.

I spent one whole summer carefully copying one or two pages a day on an old manual typewriter - - - which probably didn’t hurt my typewriting skills, either! But the project bogged down largely after that, and I didn’t make much progress with it over the next 10 years.

25 years ago this month, Dad died, and I managed to talk my brother into letting me have the IP Book "just until I can finish copying it onto computer. Then I’ll give it back, you can keep the original, and I'll make a CD for all of Dad's descendants." And I really *MEANT* to get it done soon . . . And I *did* work on it sporadically from time to time, making intermittent headway.

And then, Sherm was called to the High Council in his Stake, and I told myself, "I have REALLY got to get on the ball and get that book back to him." So, I made a SERIOUS PUSH to get it done, and I *think* he’s only been on the High Council for 3 years . . .

So, when Mom had to undergo some major surgery, and I was the only one who could spent 4-6 weeks with her nursing her through the rehab and therapy, I decided it was the PERFECT opportunity to get some of these long-term goals FINALLY accomplished.

During Mom’s first surgery, I took a tape recorder and a PILE of cassettes, and a book of questions, and got nearly 15 hours of recorded interviews with her, talking about her childhood, memories of her parents and grandparents and siblings, her courting years, me and my brother as babies - - - stuff I’d never known before. I guess my NEXT major project can be typing all of THAT up . . . !

During Mom’s second surgery, I took the last half of Dad’s IP Book, and I sat there, day after day, copying and typing, and sometimes categorizing while Mom watched one news report after another. And by the time I came home just before Christmas, I was close enough to finished that it only took a few more days to complete the task.

I shipped the Original IP Book, with Dad's handwritten notes (which was what he was really interested in having), off to Sherm with my blessings and thanks, and in February began the NEXT task: organizing the contents so they would be usable.

That has kept me occupied for the last 6 months, mostly on Sundays. This last Sunday, when I went to polish off the last 25 pages, I discovered, to my shock and horror, that the file had become corrupted -- I had lost 9 pages of material, and I had no idea whatsoever what was on it. But, God blessed me to be able to find one of the documents I had typed in St. George in my recycle bin that appears to have 90% of what was lost on it, and I found the other half of one corrupted poem online, so if I am missing anything, it isn’t much.

This afternoon,40 years after I copied my first quote from it . . . .
25 years after Dad died and I took possession of it . . .
5 years after I said "THIS is the year I FINISH IT . . ."
I truly completed copying Dad’s I. P. Book.

Now all that remains is to have Derrin turn it into a searchable book-on-CD so that our posterity can actually get some USE out of, so all my work doesn't just sit on a shelf.

(He says that’s EASY to do . . .)

* I. P. = Instant Preparation. The idea being, if you keep this book with you, you are ready at a moment's notice to stand up and give a talk on any subject at any time, complete with humorous stories, poignant poems, and scriptural references.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

The older Hyrum gets, the more he looks JUST LIKE HIS FATHER!!!!

See if you don't agree!!
Doesn't look like the apple fell very far from THAT tree!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Comin' Home

We had a wonderful experience last week. We took our annual "Anniversary Honeymoon" Trip. But, this time was special in a number of ways.

We've now been married for 31 years, and while we are not usually able to take time off ON our anniversary, we have always been able to find a few days sometime within a few weeks on either side of our wedding day to "escape" from the demands of life and go away together to some designated "vacation getaway." I heartily recommend it as a time to find each other again through all the clutter of life, and rediscover your love for your spouse.

One of our favorite get-aways has come to be the Hilton Torrey Pines in La Jolla. So, when Derrin was asked to speak at a breakfast meeting there last week, we were *delighted* to accept. And as we drove down, we reviewed all the wonderful things we enjoy doing while we are in the San Diego area. There is never enough time to do half of them!

But, I have been suffering from some serious migraines again, and didn't feel up to a lot. So, our first day we chose to take it easy and just wander around our all-time favorite site: Sea Port Village -- a beautiful, romantic little treasure right on the ocean with over 50 marvelous little shops and a very inviting park.

When we were first married, Derrin and I started collecting music boxes on our annual anniversary trips. But, we kind of got out of the habit, first because we stopped being able to find something we really liked when we went on the trip, and then later, because it became more and more difficult to find a song we didn't already have. So, we haven't done an "anniversary music box" in AGES! even though we ALWAYS go into the music box stores (force of habit . ..)

But, this year, the music box store was the first store we visited, and there were these INCREDIBLE music box clocks!!! They had the most BEAUTIFUL sound, played 12 popular or 3 Christmas songs (you choose which) at the top of the hour, and the face of the clock splits, opens up and dances around, and there are hot air balloons underneath it that spin, and there's a CASTLE at the bottom of the clock! But, it's smart, so if it's night, it shuts up so it won't disturb you! It is SOOOOO COOOOL!! You guessed it - - - we got one in honor of our 30 years of married bliss!

We had all kinds of plans for our next day, but ultimately decided that what we would enjoy the most was staying at the beautiful hotel, enjoying it's amenities, taking a walk along the world-class golf course, and playing games together - - - in short, just spending time together - - - something that has been in rather short supply over the last year! It was the most wonderful, restful day I think I've ever had!

The next (and last) day we had scheduled a visit to the exquisite San Diego Temple, and it is really this which has prompted this blog entry.

As we came up the path to the front door of the temple, there was no one else there. No one going in; no one coming out. But while we were still 30' away (much too far away to trigger an electric eye), the doors opened in greeting, as if the temple itself was eager to see us and couldn't *wait* for us to come in! I felt SOOO welcome!

I admit, I've had a love-affair with this particular temple ever since we were driving to San Diego for some other business event, and saw it there by the freeway, not knowing what it was. It was so breathtaking, we simply *had* to get off the freeway and wander around until we found it so we could learn what it was . . . . And then, to find out it was OUR temple!!! WHAT a thrill.

As we handed in our recommends to gain entrance to the main body of the temple, I felt such gratitude that, with all my faults and weaknesses, I can still be counted worthy to enter His House. And as we rounded the corner and began to ascend the stairs, a feeling of "home" came over me that I find difficult to describe. This place was my home. It is where I belong.

Now, I must do what I can to get my own home to more closely resemble that one . . . .

Friday, August 8, 2008

Political Musings

I'll be perfectly honest with you here: this election terrifries me.

I mean, I've been increasingly worried about every election since Nixon faced McGovern in 1972. The stakes get higher and the issues hotter with every passing decade. And now, here we are, having somehow survived into the 21st Century, and everywhere I look, I see madness. Men marrying men; women murdering their unborn children; parents who just can't *wait* to dump their little ones into state-run institutions so they can pursue dreams of wealth; and now school books that, by LAW, are forbidden to MENTION "father," "mother," and "family;" birth certificates required to list "parent 1" and "parent 2" - - - it's a genealogists' nightmare!!!

Pres. Reagan quoted an anonymous source in two separate speeches, which have since been merged into the following quote: "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.'

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith;

2. From spiritual faith to great courage;

3. From great courage to liberty;

4. From liberty to abundance;

5. From abundance to complacency;

6. From complacency to apathy;

7. From apathy to dependence on government;

8. From dependence on government back into bondage."

Depending on whether you count the beginning our OUR Republic as 1776, when we officially signed the Declaration of Independence, or 1787, when the Constitution was finally drafted and approved, we crossed that 200-year line while I was in college or when my children were young. I can't see that we've made any progress in holding the line since then . . . except perhaps during the Reagan years, when, for a brief time, we could be proud to be Americans again.

And now we are embroiled in another election, and this time it seems our whole way of life is at stake. . . perhaps our very survival as a nation and a civilization. And I am terrified.

I am not a political person. I am not married to a particular party. . . although I *do* tend to vote for candidates from one party, it is because I feel they best represent my views and will do the best job of representing me on the State or Federal level.

An email has been making the rounds lately in response to Barak Obama's recent visit to Iraq, talking about how he brushed off the soldiers and only "made nice" when there was media present. I also received an email from a former Marine, commenting: "McCain did the same thing in Iraq (protected visits, etc). Obama did speak with soldiers in Iraq. These political types have tight schedules. I wouldn't make too much of this. I think the issues facing our country are far too important to let something like this make our decision for us. For once, we have a real choice!"

This has weighed on my mind, and this evening I sent him the following email:

I think it is a serious mistake to vote for someone - - - anyone! - - - based solely on their campaign rhetoric. Both parties will say and do *anything* to get elected. And what we hear them say in sound bites more accurately represents what their campaign managers feel the public wants to hear than it does the core beliefs of the candidates. To know what kind of person we are voting for, what kind of choice we are making, it is FAR more important to look at the man, his history, his stated public opinions when the cameras *weren't* on him, than to make a big hullabaloo over who he did or did not shake hands with on a big publicity-stunt tour.

And, frankly, Sir, *that* is where this election really scares me. I don't care for either one of the major candidates. So, I'm not here to ask you to vote for either man. My only hope in writing to you is that, before you cast your vote, you will look at who the candidates are when they are alone at night, after the cameras have turned off for the day --- who they pray to - - - what their experience demonstrates their character to be - - - and consider who you want sitting in the oval office WHEN, not if, the terrorists make their next successful strike on mainland USA."

I did not include anything else, because I know I'm not going to persuade anyone of anything. But, here is what I am most concerned about re Barak Obama: Read what he has to say about and for himself:

From Audacity of Hope: 'I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.'

From Dreams of My Father: ; 'It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.'

I don't care that the man is half black. Heck, I'd vote for Alan Keyes in a heartbeat!! Race is unimportant to me; who the man is loyal to is what is important to me; who his heroes are are important; what he stands for and his vision of America is what is important.
I also find these arguements persuasive:

Obama's 143 Days of Senate Experience
Posted by Cheri JacobusMay 5, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Just how much Senate experience does Barack Obama have in terms of actual work days? Not much.
From the time Barack Obama was sworn in as a United State Senator, to the time he announced he was forming a Presidential exploratory committee, he logged 143 days of experience in the Senate. That's how many days the Senate was actually in session and working.
After 143 days of work experience, Obama believed he was ready to be Commander In Chief, Leader of the Free World, and fill the shoes of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK and Ronald Reagan.
143 days -- I keep leftovers in my refrigerator longer than that.
In contrast, John McCain's 26 years in Congress, 22 years of military service including 1,966 days in captivity as a POW in Hanoi now seem more impressive than ever. At 71, John McCain may just be hitting his stride.

Now, I know a man should not be judged by his wife. But, I think you can tell a lot *about* a man by the kind of woman he keeps company with; the kind of woman who stands beside and inspires him. And, while the First Lady has no official power, there is no question any more about her power and influence. When we choose a President, we also choose a First Lady, and we would be wise to consider our options there carefully, as well.

But, I think I have probably pontificated long enough. You can look up the achievements of these two women for yourself and decide who you would rather have beside the most powerful man on earth when you stand in the voting box this November.
Who most nearly represents your views, hopes, and dreams for this country?