Monday, March 31, 2008

Childhood fears

Today in my PANCE review class on psychiatric disorders the lecturer mentioned his fear of clowns. I admitted to a classmate that one of my earliest fears as a kid was Mr. Slim Goodbody. For those of you who were children of the 80's and watched PBS, you probably remember him. My classmate said he loved Mr. Goodbody and even went as far to emulate him by drawing "veins" and "arteries" on himself with markers. Although his messages on health and hygiene were good, I found his 'fro and the spandex to be a little creepy. Around that same time, my young mind confused him with Richard Simmons as being the same person, and hence my fear of 'fro-sporting, spandex-clad men continued throughout my childhood. Okay, into my adolescence too... Alright, alright...into my young adulthood as well. Now don't get me wrong, I'm one who is an advocate for all things hippy-dippy (health promotion disease prevention). It is an important part of my profession. But do we really need spandex clad, flamboyant, creepy people to be the main representatives?

One of the other fears of my childhood was the villain from the "Care Bears" movie. With an evil face inside an old book, that surely encourages literacy and a love of books for those who are just beginning to read. Fortunately, I had "Reading Rainbow" to counteract that effect.

Do I still have a fear of Richard Simmons? Well, I have gone through a long desensitization process over the years. However, I will admit that if I am locked in a room with Richard Simmons posters plastered to the wall for even a small amount of time, you might find me curled up in a fetal position and rocking back and forth with a catatonic stare.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Analogy #2

Here goes another analogy of the spiritual kind...

As I said in a previous post, I went hiking in Kings Canyon National Park a couple weeks ago. I was hiking to a point called Panorama Point (which is the third picture in my previous blog). The whole trail was covered in snow, but fortunately there were still tracks from previous hikers and maybe even a wild animal or two. There were also these orange circle posted on an occasional tree to indicate that I was still on the trail. So, after some time I passed by a half-buried restroom and arrived at a scenic point. I took some pictures, settled on a boulder to eat some food, unintentionally littered (I wasn't willing to risk my life for my dropped wrapper and water bottle), and took a few pictures. I really wasn't sure if that was the end of the trail or not. Shortly after that point, I kept following the tracks until they abruptly stopped. Just like that. Only untouched snow ahead. What happened to the tracks? Were the previous hikers abducted by aliens or eaten by a flying bear? I had just passed an orange circle but I couldn't see any more beyond it. I figured that maybe that was the end of the trail and decided to back-track it from there.

I had a few insights during that hike. Isn't it interesting how nature opens one's mind like that? I started thinking of the spiritual "journeys" we take and the different religions on the earth today. Those tracks and orange circle signify the spiritual guidance that our Heavenly Father gives us. I was particularly thinking about the prophets that God has called since ancient times to be His representative and have His will communicated to His children on Earth. Since ancient times, God has called these men to be His messengers, teach eternal truths, record their teachings in scriptures for current and future generations, denounce false views and sin, prepare people for the coming (first and second) of Jesus Christ, and receive divine revelations and direction for our benefit. Some of these prophets in times past have included Adam, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, and John the Baptist. People have the choice to either listen to the prophets and be blessed or to reject the teachings of the prophets and, as a result, distance themselves from God. One of Jesus Christ's purposes during his life was to establish His Church. His Church was built on a foundation of His teachings and eternal truths that had been taught by the previous prophets. He called Peter and other apostles to lead His Church and they were given the power and authority to act in His name and receive guidance for the Church. Unfortunately, Peter and the apostles were not well received. The prophet and apostles were killed or banished, and as a result the power and authority to act in God's name was taken from the earth, and the foundation of Christ's Church crumbled. This is where the snow tracks stopped. Where was the guidance? This is where many consider the heavens to have closed and God would not speak to His children any more. Through the hundreds of years that followed, inspiration still enlightened the hearts and minds of good men and women. The world was preparing for another prophet once again. (If you want to know what happened after that and when a new prophet was called, let me know).

Many people today think that the idea of a prophet today is outrageous. But why would it be? Is God, our Heavenly Father, only concerned with His children in ancient Israel? In the world we live in today, with so many things being labeled as "truth" and the other problems that we face, wouldn't there be an even greater need for divine direction and a solid foundation of truth? Isn't God the same yesterday, today, and forever? One of the unquestionable things in my life is that there is a prophet today. His name is Thomas S. Monson. He was sustained earlier this year as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and also as a prophet, seer, and revelator. A couple months ago, I listened to his first address as a prophet and I had a confirmation, a feeling of confidence and certainty, that he is a true prophet. I have heard him speak may times before and I look forward to listening to him more. I know that as I follow his counsel and teachings, I can face the uncertainties of life -- the snow-covered paths -- with confidence and that I will always have a source for spiritual strength, insight, and truth. This upcoming weekend, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormons) has a semiannual conference with messages from the prophet, apostles, and other leaders of the Church, that is broadcasted throughout the world. It's messages are not only for members of the church, but for everyone. I want to invite my friends and family, Mormons or not, to take the opportunity to listen to a prophet's voice. Everything that will be said could possibly improve your life. If you want more information, go to or you can drop by my place and watch it with me. This is a spiritual feast that I look forward to every year.
The trail has been laid before us and it is up to us to stay on it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

5th post = 5 things that made me smile this week

To commemorate my 5th post, I'm including 5 things that made me smile this week. I did smile more than 5 times, by the way... Feel free to leave a comment with 5 things that made YOU smile this week. Here we go, yo!

1. A *very special* Easter package from my sis, I love you Becky!!
2. Waterballoon volleyball
3. Strawberries at Liborio for $0.99/lb.
4. The beautiful yellow wildflowers on the hills around Covina that I see as I drive on the 10 fwy.
5. Cute kids that I saw at work, especially this toddler that kept waving and saying "Hi" to me. Who could resist smiling at that??
5.1 Receiving comments on my blog!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A VERY random thought

Okay, I just had a random "light-bulb" moment about 5 minutes ago. As I was getting my last drink of water before bed, the words of the theme song to the 80's sitcom "Mr. Belvedere" popped into my head for no apparent reason. It has been years since I last heard that song. But what surprised me was that I finally understood the first line - "The STREAKS on THE china - never mattered before... who cares... When you dropkick your jacket as you come through the door, no one glares..." For YEARS I never understood the first line, I thought it was talking about the STREETS down in China, like Beijing. It all makes sense now!! Wow!

I just thought I would share that. Am I just weird or do other people have random moments like that also?? Anyone care to share one?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"You're so a tree..."

During this past week (spring break) I decided to embark on a little road trip. One of my main objectives was to drive through some small towns that had loan-repayment sites and ask myself, "Could I really live here?" Hoping that one of the small towns along the I-99 might somehow "speak" to me, I loaded up my car with a tent, a sleeping bag, and the excuse to do a little camping and hiking. And so I drove and drove. I didn't stop in too many of the towns, but my general impressions of the towns between Bakersfield and Fresno were that 1. it's really flat. I would miss my mountains, and 2. there's a lot more haze and smog than I expected. Where's my blue sky? There were some interesting points. Selma is the raisin capital of the world, and Kingsburg does have an interesting Swedish theme to it. I was able to see the Fresno temple, the 7th California temple I've seen. There was also a miniature golf place that was practically in the middle of nowhere. One town that caught my attention, and unfortunately doesn't have a medical site, was Lemon Cove, population 193. It's past Visalia and on the way to Sequoia National Park. It's surrounded by these beautiful grassy hills with blooming wildflowers and these large boulders that are just waiting to be climbed upon. Oh well...

I decided to try something new and camped overnight in Sequoia National Park. Not only was it new, but there was also the fact that I probably wouldn't be able to get a campsite in Yosemite this time of year without a reservation. I wasn't the only one there, but I did get to have a trail in King's Canyon National Park all to myself. Probably because it was covered in snow. But a little snow hiking didn't hold me back, although some snowshoes or some cross country skis would have been nice. I also got to see General Sherman, the 2200 year old largest tree in the world. How cool is that?!? I did over 10 miles of hiking on Thursday and I think I'll still be feeling the effects of it for the next few days.

I still don't know if I would want to live in the cities I drove through, but I do know I would like to live somewhere where I can use a kayak, and some snowshoes...and has blue sky... and more important - no crazy freeway commuting!! Okay, the kayak is optional, but would be nice. So, I'm sure any loyal readers to my blog will hear more about my decisions of where to work and live for the next 2 or 3 years. These darn life-changing decisions... More to come on that later. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 21, 2008

An analogy

Here I go with a deep thought...
A few weeks ago I felt that I had spent way too much time inside for the past couple months and decided to go on a mid-day hike. I hiked down to a creek in Cucamonga Canyon to let my feet and water bottle cool down and enjoy the peacefulness of my surroundings. For much of my hike I could hear the crescendoing turbulance of the creek as I got closer to it. I realized something as I was jumping around from boulder to boulder in the creek. When I casually listen to the creek, even from a short distance, all I hear is the turbulent noise, like static on a television (back in the day before the satellite dish). But if I listened to the water flow over an individual rock, it had its own sound or pitch. It was actually kind of calming, like one of those aesthetic fountains. The rock next to it had a different pitch in its sound, being higher or lower. A few rocks could create a chorus of dissonance or maybe even a harmonious chord. Nature had created its own choir. Each rock is different, each with its own sound.

And here is one of my analogies to this experience. Water is often metaphorically used to symbolize life. Rocks in our life are usually what stirs things up, changes our direction, impacts our flow, gives beauty, and sometimes causes us to get wet, embarrassed, and uncomfortable when we stumble upon one that is more slippery than we thought. Some of these rocks include school, work, family, church responsibilities, and social relationships. When we are stressed, we often hear only the dissonance or turbulence of life. Everything seems loud, overwhelming, and uncomfortable. We wish that life could flow smoother. This is when we overlook the simple harmonies that are present. The dissonance will resolve into a beautiful and harmonious chord eventually, but it does make things a little more interesting and colorful for the moment. We need to appreciate each rock and the contribution of its individual tone to the symphony of our lives.

That's enough serious thinking for now... "Rock" on!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Warning: The blogs you are about to read may contain content that may be graphic, funny, motivating, disappointing, thought-provoking, disturbing, inspirational, incredible, enlightening, or boring. Content is intended for human consumption only. You may find your inner voyeur temporarily satisfied but soon craving for more. You are not compelled to leave a comment, but it would be likened to a warm fuzzy to me and perhaps put a smile on my face. Maybe even result in a little dance. You have embarked into my world now. Viewer discretion is advised.