Saturday, December 28, 2013

Did You Hear The Bells this Christmas?

Nativity-SceneMy wife and I were the speakers in last Sunday’s Christmas program that included choral and congregational songs plus a little narration. We were asked to prepare seven minute talks on the subject of Christmas. Although we prepared our remarks independently they complemented each other as if we had collaborated on them. Each of our talks referenced hymns that “coincidentally” were sung before we spoke (we had no prior knowledge of rest of the program). Suzanne’s hymn was “God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son” and mine was “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” The program opened with a short introductory narration which surprisingly included quotes from the scriptures that my wife included in her talk. Someone attending would have thought that each part of the program was orchestrated in advance, and I suppose it was, but not by the bishop or the music director.

The following is the text of my remarks (or at least a close approximation):

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Favorite Life Quotes

Below you’ll find some of my favorite “life” quotes. I have another post that contains my favorite political quotes.

“If you want to go fast, go alone, If you want to go far, go together” —African Proverb


James Allen (1864-1912)
James_Allen“Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.”—James Allen, As a Man Thinketh, 1902

Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”James Allen, As a Man Thinketh, 1902


"Never give up. However deep the wounds of your soul, whatever their source, wherever or whenever they happened, and for how short or long they persist, you are not meant to perish spiritually. You are meant to survive spiritually and blossom in your faith and trust in God. ... The Savior is our good Samaritan sent to heal the brokenhearted. He comes to us when others pass us by. With compassion He places His healing balm on our wounds and binds them up. He carries us. He cares for us."—Niel Anderson, General Conference Address, October 7, 2018.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

City Council Meeting Dec 3, 2013

At the council meeting a number of items were discussed and approved or continued:

Approved:

  1. An ordinance mandating a process for planning an executing road projects. City staff must provide council with a road plan for the next fiscal year by April 1st of each year, a 5 year plan is required which is to be updated each year and posted online no later than 45 days after the beginning of each fiscal year. There are changes the will need to be made to the ordinance (as pointed out by Tom Butler and which I don't think anyone disagrees with) because it is too proscriptive. But, it is a great start. Thanks Brian for getting the ball rolling. Vote was 3 to 2.
  2. A new 6 year contract with the Transfer Station (trash). Although it appears to be in our best interest but I'm surprised it was approved (3 to 2) without legal review or the clause "approved subject to legal review". I would have voted to continue the item to next council to provide adequate time for council to review the contract and for legal review. Note, the council received a copy of the contract the day previous. Vote was 3 to 2
  3. It was agreed that the city would participate in the Cedar Hills recreational program. Cedar Hills does not charge non-residents extra fees to participate in their programs but would like utilize Highland fields to allow the program to expand and support Highland and Alpine residents. Cedar Hills will manage the programs and Highland will get funding to help mitigate the increased wear and tear on fields. The proposed payment will be $2.00 for every Highland resident who participates in any program where Highland fields are used. This may be revised by city managers. Highland staff will also need to develop a field use policy. Currently no policy exists – it is simply first come first serve. Vote was 5 to 0.

Continued Items:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Communication Is Essential

communicationAfter attending council meetings for the last two years my personal view is that the biggest issue facing the city is lack of communication. I have believe those serving are doing their best and have good intentions. And while I may not appreciate the style of some members and don't agree with their votes I appreciate their willingness to serve.

Before I dive into specific examples of where I think the city could to better, l’d like to share a story from a book I recently read on change entitled “Switch: How to change things when change is is hard”, by Chip and Dan Heath. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Lesson’s I’ve Learned about Fatherhood by Pat White

I am dedicating this post to my step-father Jerry Iverson who passed away June 7th, a little over a week before Father’s Day, and who’s funeral was held today. His life was the embodiment of many of the principles outlined below, especially the central theme of unconditional love. He loved his darling daughter, step-children, and grand-children without condition. He spent time with them, he cared for them, worried about them and loved them. I never heard a negative word pass his lips about anyone, including those he knew so very well. I will miss him but I’m sure my mother is delighted to be reunited with him after a short absence. They absolutely adored each other. Jerry, I am so appreciative of everything you did for mom and our family. You are one of the good ones. I am honored and blessed to have known you. God speed and Aloha.

Jerry Iverson Funeral

On Father’s Day, June 16th 2013, I heard one of the best talks on fatherhood and parenting in general at church. I asked the speaker and friend, Pat White if I could get a copy and share it with my blog readers. He graciously said yes. Please note, some of the references included are from LDS scriptures that you may not be familiar with but they teach universal principles.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Persistence Wins: The Battle for Spion Kop

What do Mahatma Gandhi, Arthur Conan Doyle, Winston Churchill, Baden Powell (founder of the Boy Scouts), and Rudyard Kipling have in common? They were all participants in the 2nd Boer War which pitted the British Empire and the Cape Colony against the Boers of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. This was a brutal war, one in which the Boers initially held the upper hand but which later devolved into a guerilla war that the heavily outnumbered Boers eventually lost. A battle early in the war provides an example of how persistence (faith amidst adversity) can overcome incredible odds.

Map of Spion Kop and surrounding hills. Points A & B are on Spion Kop, from the book, "My Reminiscences of the Anglo-Boer War" by General Ben Viljoen, pubished in 1902

Spion Kop was the highest hill on a ridgeline that separated a British force of over 20,000 troops from 5,500 British troops held under siege in the town. In order to rescue the troops at Ladysmith the British plan was to seize Spion Kop, use it to shell the Boer on the other side, and open a path to the town of Ladysmith.

The British going up to attack the Boers.jpg16,000 troops along with artillery were sent to the vicinity of the hill as part of the plan to take the hill and rescue the force at Ladysmith. After several days of maneuvering and feints the British sent 1,700 men to take the hill. They started marching shortly after dark and reached the crest of the hill during the darkest hours that precede the dawn. They surprised the Boers and overwhelmed them. By the end of the day those Boers that were not killed melted away into the darkness.

With only 10 wounded the British plan had gone unexpectedly well. Rather than explore the rest of the hilltop in the darkness they elected to dig at what they thought was at the high point of the hill. There was a heavy mist which limited visibility until 8:00 am by which time about 300 yards of shallow trenches had been dug.

Commandant-General Louis Botha.Meanwhile most of the Boers abandoned the hill and ran to the camp below. General Botha, who was in charge of the Boer troops in the area, immediately understood the danger of the British holding the hill. He tried to rally about 1,000 citizen-soldiers (burghers) to retake the hill in spite of the bleak outlook. He had faith that they could win if they but tried. 400 burghers made the attempt and were able to get back to the top of the hill before the mists cleared, although their losses were heavy. They knew the hill well and were able to take positions opposite the British trench line on higher parts of the hill top. As a consequence when the mists lifted they were able to shoot down at the British and inflict terrible casualties.

Spion Kop, the hill the Boers re-climbed twice.During the course of the day most of the British officers were killed including the general who was in charge (over 250 soldiers and officers were killed and many more wounded). Although the British on the hill outnumbered the Boers by more 10 to 1 they could not make any progress. Late in the evening the senior officer called for a retreat. He and his troops were exhausted and discouraged. As he made his way down the hill he encountered 2,000 reinforcements on their way to help but could not be dissuaded from retreating. He and his troops were utterly spent.

Spion Kop - the British retreatWhat the British did not know was that as darkness fell, the Boers, certain that they could not hold their positions for another day, abandoned the hill. General Botha was able to persuade a few to return with the promise that, “if they would persist the British would give up.” They returned before dawn and in the morning the hill belonged to a handful of Boers rather than the 1,000’s of British soldiers who were earlier on the hill.

We are all discouraged at times and reluctant to embrace a challenge when the odds are formidable. But we really never know what will happen if we try. History is replete with great examples that can replenish the well of hope and lift our hearts. The Revolutionary War, Mahatma Gandhi's struggle to free India, Winston Churchill's stand against Hitler ... .


calvin-coolidge-1872-1933-granger"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." —President Calvin Coolidge

I can see in my minds eye individuals taking up challenges and repeating the call by General Botha to retake the hill and persist even when logic tells them to do the opposite. Mothers and fathers who struggle to raise children in a difficult world. Engaged parents who fight to improve our education system. The common man struggling to find his voice in restoring our Constitutional Republic. Small business leaders facing an uncertain future who daily take leaps of faith. All hearing the call to retake the hill; each fighting an internal battle over self to take up the cause in spite of apparent overwhelming odds.

The Battle for Spion Kop for me is yet one more story highlighting the value of faith and persistence.

Note, the information on The Battle of Spion Kop came primarily from the book “The Boer War” by Thomas Pakenham. It is a fascinating read and offers a lot of interesting insights into the history of this conflict.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Utah Compact, One Mann’s Analysis

The Utah CompactIn March of this year the Utah County Republican Central Committee considered replacing the text in its platform regarding immigration with the Utah Compact. Prior to this I had not taken the time to do a critical view of Compact. The Central Committee rejected the change bit did adopt a compromise measure. This measure needed to be ratified at the county organizing convention but was rejected today. Given that the original immigration plank remains I suspect the issue of adopting The Compact or similar language will be raised again. Below is the Compact followed by my analysis of it related to adopting it as part of a party platform.

FEDERAL SOLUTIONS Immigration is a federal policy issue between the U.S. government and other countries—not Utah and other countries. We urge Utah’s congressional delegation, and others, to lead efforts to strengthen federal laws and protect our national borders. We urge state leaders to adopt reasonable policies addressing immigrants in Utah.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why Rush to Make Fundamental Changes in Utah’s Political System?

Utah: 2012 Best State for BusinessUtah leads the nation in volunteerism  and charitable giving by significant margins [1]. Forbes awarded Utah the best state for business in 2012 for the third straight year [2] and the best state in the nation for debt management in 2009 [3]; The Pew Center in a 2008 report which graded the states indicated that they consider Utah to be the best managed state in the nation [4]; in January of 2011 The Milken Institute gave Utah the highest rating in the nation for Technology and Dynamism [5].

With all of these accolades one would think those looking at our state’s political system would be looking for what is right and working. Not the case for a Utah group who label themselves the “Count My Vote Executive Committee” (CMV). They are threatening the state’s political parties, stating that, they will run a petition to enact a law that makes significant changes to each party’s nominating process if the parties do not conform to their demands (click here to see their latest memo to the parties).

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Redwood Trees Illustrate How Teams Can Reach Great Heights

If you want to go fast, go alone
If you want to go far, go together.
– African proverb –

At work I manage a team responsible for global alliances and partners for our business unit. A while ago we had a discussion centered on the following.

RedwoodsRedwood trees can grow over 350 ft. tall, have a diameter of 20 plus ft., have a life span in excess of 2,000 years; yet they have no taproot, their average root diameter is about an inch, and their root system spreads out about 50 to 80 feet at a maximum depth of 6 to 12 feet. How is it possible that they grow so high and live so long? Are there any correlations to work and life?

Here are some of the comments made by members of the group:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Royal Road to Happiness by William George Jordan

Tibet-roadThere has been so much of sorrow and trials for many in the previous year that I think William George Jordan’s words from his essay entitled “The Royal Road to Happiness” are a fitting way to help us look forward to the new year with a positive attitude. His thoughts on happiness are like a seven course meal. They should not be consumed in a haste but savored; one paragraph and sometimes one sentence at a time.

Note, this essay is from Jordan’s book The Majesty of Calmness. Links to downloadable versions of this book and his others can be found in my post Books by William George Jordan.