Category Archives: Spiritual Nourishment

The spirit of home teaching

Ha! You probably thought I was never going to post about a non-technical topic again. Surprise! David and I went home teaching the other day. When he turns 12 and is ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood, he’ll probably be assigned as my regular home teaching companion, and I can’t wait! That’s why I took him with me.

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A story about integrity

I first got this story from my pal Mark Lauer, KA8BXB. I thought it was worth repeating, because these two stories say a lot about the value of integrity and example. They’ve definitely made me more aware of how what I do, and don’t do, will affect my sons as they grow to manhood.

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Test post

Is this thing on?


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Where the Mormons Are

Here’s a cool set of maps that breaks down the population of the US by religious affiliation. Ever wonder where Mormons live? Now you know. (Hint: not near Muslims, for the most part.)

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Just in case: pandemic info resources

Today’s Al’s Morning Meeting had a very useful set of links to government info on pandemic preparedness. Ohio’s state planning page is at (substitute your own state name for “ohio” in the link); more to the point, preparation for individual families has its own page.

What are we doing to prepare? Well, there’s a basic scripture that we follow (imagine that… a family of Mormons following a scripture…). Doctrine and Covenants 38:30 says it very simply: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” Read in context, that promise was made by the Lord to the early saints, who were facing a great deal of uncertainty, and not a little hostility, in New York state. The Lord’s guidance was simple: prepare yourselves spiritually and temporally to move to Ohio, and– if you’re prepared– you’ll have nothing to worry about. Accordingly, we’ve been following the Church’s long-standing counsel to have supplies of food, water, and basic needs on hand. President Hinckley gave a great talk on this topic in the October 2005 general conference; if you’re at all interested in knowing why Mormons believe that food storage is so important, read it and you’ll see.

We have plenty of ammunition, too


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My new calling

I’ve been the first counselor in our ward’s Elder’s Quorum presidency for a little over two years now. On Christmas Day, I got a present of sorts: I was called as a Primary teacher. That means that every Sunday, I teach a class of 8 and 9-year-olds: Michael, Max, Kaitlyn, Adam, Heather, and Ethan. Since I have three boys, this isn’t as daunting as it might seem; I’m already pretty familiar with how kids that age tend to act: they ask lots of questions and they go off on tangents all the time, but they also can surprise you with what they soak up from classes and lessons.

My first class this Sunday went well, though it was a little odd to be in the Primary room with all of the other Primary classes instead of the more familiar environment of my priesthood quorum. Because I’m an adult convert, I don’t know most of the Primary songs, which is definitely going to take some effort to correct. Fortunately, several other new teachers were called at the same time as I was, so I’m not the only one who has to try to adapt. I’m looking forward to this new challenge, and I’m reminded of this article explaining that your spiritual growth isn’t necessarily driven by the calling you hold. I think I’ll do just fine as a teacher.

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This year’s corporate holiday gifts

In 2003, I blogged about why 3sharp chose to make donations to SmileTrain in lieu of giving our key customers some kind of food gift or tchotcke. This year, the same reasoning applies, in spades– instead of a transient goodie of some kind, we chose to make donations in our customers’ names to the New Orleans chapter of Habitat for Humanity. I haven’t figured out what I want to do for my own customers, but I think something similar is probably the best way to both thank them for their support and to do something worthwhile.

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14 years!

Today, Arlene and I have been married for fourteen years. That simultaneously seems like a long time and practically no time at all. During those years, we’ve moved (five times), changed jobs (at least five times), and taken temporary possession of three wonderful sons. More importantly, in 1998 we were sealed together in the Atlanta Temple, so that our marriage can be eternal (so, maybe this is really our 7th anniversary– nah). What a blessing– and comfort– to know that we can always be together! I’m so thankful to have such a wonderful woman as my wife, and I look forward to many more years with her by my side.


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Last week, I got a call from my friend Scott. He teaches our adult Sunday School class, and his wife was scheduled to have a baby on Friday; he wanted to know if I could teach class for him. “Sure,” I said, and I dutifully prepared lesson 28 from this year’s manual. It was a fascinating lesson on God’s purposes in allowing adversity– something that the early Saints certainly learned a lot about as they moved from Ohio westward to the Salt Lake Valley. Anyway, when we got to church this morning, there was a strong stench of polyurethane from the newly refinished floor in the “cultural hall” (which most of the world would call the gym). Arlene was asked to pinch-hit and teach a lesson on temple marriage to the 16-to-18-year-olds; the original teacher was out sick, and the substitute was feeling ill too. Then we found out that the three kids who were supposed to give talks in Primary weren’t there, so our boys were on tap. Arlene spent much of the first hour cramming with her lesson manual while I tried to alternate between listening to the speaker (we had three excellent talks today) and quelling rebellion in the ranks. We got a last-minute reprieve, though; the fumes were so bad that Brother Czarny cancelled our meetings once Sacrament Meeting was over, so none of the five of us had to teach or talk today. Woo hoo! (I’m sure there will be paybacks next week, though!)

Thought for the day: we’re asked to be willing to serve the Lord. That doesn’t mean that we’ll have to, only that we should be willing to.

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Tribes of New York: Missionaries

This is cool: a multimedia feature on the NY Times website featuring four or five LDS missionaries now serving in New York City. Unsurprisingly, all of them seemed to love serving in NYC; I’d guess that if there were any small-town Utah boys who hated it that they weren’t invited.

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Kids in sacrament meeting

Excerpted from a long discussion of kids’ behavior in church, and why we believe it’s important to keep kids in sacrament meeting instead of corraling them in a separate nursery. I couldn’t have said it better myself:

I think it is helpful to share methods that have helped with children in church, but it is also helpful for parents to know that it’s normal for kids to struggle with spending more than an hour sitting quietly in a meeting that they don’t understand and even adults can find boring at times and also normal for their parents to struggle with what that does to their ability to enjoy a peaceful and spiritual sacrament meeting. You notice that when Jesus was having all the children come unto him, he was not in sacrament meeting, or even in chapel, and he still had to use the word suffer.

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Interfaith Nativity Festival

I’m really excited about this! Y’all are all invited to the first annual Interfaith Nativity Festival, a collection of more than 300 nativity scenes from around the world. The collection is set up for browsing, so you can walk around and examine them close up. There’s a live nativity, too, as well as choral performance from several local church choirs. Admission is free. Some details:

  • All nativities come from members of the community throughout northwest Ohio
  • A children’s activity room will be provided
  • Local choirs will be performing
  • Light refreshments will be served (including some truly outstanding cookies baked by my son’s Sunday school teacher)

The Festival is happening December 4th (9am-9pm) and 5th (2pm-6pm); the live nativity is Saturday the 4th from 5pm- 8pm. Choral performances are scheduled for:

  • 11am Saturday: the children’s choir from First Presbyterian Church of Maumee
  • 2pm Saturday: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints adult choir
  • 4pm Saturday: the Bell Choir from Zoar Lutheran Church
  • 5:45pm Sunday: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bowling Green State University Choir

I want to emphasize that this is not a missionary program. In fact, our world-famous missionaries won’t even be there. It’s a multi-church, interfaith way for us to share some beautiful reminders of the real reason behind this holiday season. All are welcome.

At about 7pm on Sunday, national radio personality Glenn Beck will be speaking, too. He’s in town for his “Real American Christmas Tour“, but he won’t be doing his usual political material; instead, he’s going to talk about his faith in Jesus Christ. This event is open to anyone, but unlike the Nativity Festival, you should expect to see the missionaries there. As if the preceding weren’t enough, at 8pm, we’ll be showing the annual Christmas devotional broadcast from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

All of this goodness is taking place at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building on 795 in Perrysburg– 3/4mi west of I-75. (If you have questions or want more information, email me or call 419-874-5636).


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I’m proud of my dad

I missed something important at this past Friday’s Rotary luncheon: a chance to tell my dad how proud I am of him. He has been instrumental in helping the Perrysburg Christians United food bank get a new building. He was instrumental in persuading his employer, Rudolph Libbe, to sponsor the construction efforts as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. This is a big deal, since PCU has been wanting a building for, oh, ten years or so. As much as I give him propos for his role in getting this done, I am more proud of him for the quiet and sustained nature of his generosity. He is not flashy or showy about the good works that he gets done: he just gets his hands dirty and does ’em. He is always quick to volunteer his time and talents to worthy causes, and he’s diligent about encouraging others to support worthy and charitable causes. By doing so, he’s making Perrysburg a better place, setting a terrific example of selflessness and service for his fellow Rotarians and– more importantly– for my young sons. Thanks, Dad.

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My day at work yesterday

Yesterday, I volunteered to work a shift at our local church grain elevator. Yes, that’s right; the LDS church actually owns about 25 grain elevators in various places. The grain stored there is an important part of our humanitarian assistance / welfare program , which even our detractors admit does a lot of good. Anyway, the elevator here is actually in Latty, Ohio, about 80 miles away. It’s out in the middle of nowhere. My friend Chris and I drove out, signed in, and started working. I had hoped to get to pressure-wash their diesel switch engine, but the super diesel-powered high-temperature pressure washer was missing a fitting, so instead we went down in the conveyor area and started stripping paint off the various pipes, enclosures, and other stuff. While we were there, a total of about 20 grain trucks came to deliver; at an average 800 bushels apiece, that’s 16,000 bushels, or about 1.3% of the elevator’s total capacity. We could hear the grain shushing by on the conveyors as we worked. A couple of other folks from our ward were doing other work, including clearing brush and cutting grass.
Why is all this necessary? There’s one full-time employee at the elevator, and all of the rest of the work (e.g. most of the maintenance) is done by volunteers. I think that’s pretty neat, and it definitely made for a nice change of pace from my regular job. As a bonus, even small acts of service are worthwhile.

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Ken Jennings keeps rolling

Wow. 16 consecutive wins, $512,959. Awesome! Ken’s success is having a trickle-down effect, too: since Sunday, I’ve been getting about three times as many readers as usual. Since I (temporarily) have lots more readers, a quick plug: Spirit of America and SmileTrain are worthy charities if you’re in a giving mood.
Update: w00t! Ken now has 18 wins and $601,760 in the bank. I’m finally home, so I’ll be watching tonight.

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