Saturday night I headed out with my lovely wife on a date. We had some Italian food then saw Thor. That's the second time for me.

Sunday was the typical. I slept in, watched like three episodes of Shark Tank with my wife. We are fascinated with that program. It speaks to me. I also can't stand people who won't give a straight answer, and no powers of self-examination.

Makes me wonder if I'm that way, but don't realize it. I guess that's why I have my darling wife-- to help me see the situation as it really is.

If I could have a power it would be the ability to evaluate things properly-- to see the real value of things, people, talents and resources.

Seven years ago I looked out over the valley and made the mistake of asking God for wealth. Well, not money per se but a slice of the resources. I wanted to able a steward; an administrator. And guess what? That's when my lessons began. The best way to learn how to manage resources is to be poor, to struggle. I wasn't ready seven years ago. I couldn't receive something good because I wouldn't have handled it very well. I still don't think I'm there, or if I even want to be there. On the one hand I realized that material resources represent risk and stress. If you don't own anything then no one can take it away. But that's a terrible way to think. More resources means that I can do more things. I can be more useful to the community.

The best thing I can do for someone is to develop them as a professional, and to some extent as a person so they are ready to receive something good. I don't know how to describe it well. There is a preparation period that has to happen in order to handle a blessing.

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

I don't give my kids ice cream for breakfast. It's bad for them. Likewise, I often wonder if what I ask from God is really in my best interest. I wish I could understand better what to ask for.

The Mormons have a saying: Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. While that may be true, it's my experience that (in addition to that) "Asking brings forth the blessings of heaven." But be careful what you ask for! Don't think I'm knocking the idea of personal sacrifice. After all, I gave up video games for my business, for example. Not a very good example, maybe, but it was something.

Training is a gift. Preparation is a gift. Lessons from God are a gift. These three things come usually in the form of hardship. Often in the form of other humans.

Back to sacrifice. Throughout history people have gone absolutely nuts about sacrifice. The Aztecs for example. I guess the end of that road is to start sacrificing children, which is an unthinkable horrific-ness. Or jump bodily into a cenote. The idea that you have to give something up to get something can end very badly. That's what is so great about Jesus Christ-- a last and final sacrifice. Like God saying "will you people quit it already!" Now there's a new deal (the new testament, new covenant): ask and ye shall receive. But there's a caveat on that. A sports car won't drop out of the sky. Only something that is truly good for you. No ice cream for breakfast.

The sacrifice required now is a "broken heart and a contrite spirit". To me, this means to get to a point where I realize that I have nothing. No bartering with God. No deals. Only ready to receive something great, something fantastic beyond reckoning. Like giving a child some M&Ms "No, put out both hands. No, wider!" And just say thank you.

In the next life the walls come down and unlimited possibilities open up. Some souls, with self-assigned guilt, will create awful places like hell-worlds and then start to work themselves over in horrific fashion. This will be in reaction to self-revelation. Others will create communities based on their mutual desires, paradises to be enjoyed from the heart as they grow closer and closer to the galactic core. That's the tragic danger of letting people get what they want, what they really want. The whole galaxy, and layers upon layers in that galaxy will all be ours, unlimited space and unlimited potential. That's a risky brew.

This is why lessons of how to manage resources coupled with lessons on how to treat other people are so important. To learn sympathy. That's been my great lesson of earth life: that I truly am helpless before my earthly/personal faults. I'm not so high and mighty any more. I see my fellow humans more sympathetically. There are still some few people that I don't want to be around, so I'm not sure what to think of that. But for the most part I'm more curious than condescending these days. I think God is amused and pleased by his children. Maybe I'm reading that off my own children. I smile at their mistakes and try and help them learn to do better; to carry themselves with competence and confidence.

Watching the movie Thor I thought, is Asgard real? (Now I'm out there, right?) I mean it is really on a computer server somewhere. It's a real sequence of computer code. But I experienced it. I saw it on a screen. Somebody made it up. That was something at least-- to see it. What if it were possible to actually insert a consciousness into programmed world that was entirely realistic. Yes, I saw The Matrix. What if the whole universe is like that? What if the soul is just a projectable organism that goes into a world that God "creates" through means of (what appears to be) a physical body?

Well, that was quite a ramble. Just some thoughts. I'm not saying I have some special insight. Maybe I'm actually a little slow on the uptake!

An ingrate is someone who has something good or gets something good but does not appreciate it. Doesn't realize it. Doesn't say thank you. Maybe even complains. I'm working on being less of an ingrate.

Is worrying a form of faithlessness? By wringing my hands all the time am I being ungrateful? Unable to enjoy good things because I'm always worried about this or that.

Right now I couldn't be happier. I love my kids. I can't get enough of my wife. My house is cold, my shower is hot. I'm eating fresh-grilled burgers in the Utah spring.

Often when I've asked God for something I get a struggle. I get blessed twice. Once with the adventure of achieving whatever it is, and another time with the actual thing.

If you chop your own firewood it will warm you twice.

PS- when I write these sorts of blog posts I'm always a bit embarrassed. I don't think they are written well and I think I may come off as moralizing. That's certainly not my intent. I just barf out whatever is on my mind. I realize I can't be right all the time.



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