Rededication, overcoming entropy in your personal life

I love New Years Day and the turn of the new year, largely because it’s a time where we all take the opportunity to reevaluate our lives, assess where we’ve been, and plan where we’re going.  It’s a phenomenal event, pivotal, and magnificent.  I hope you all take the time to do it.

As for my assessing ’08 I found that I’d been so greatly blessed.  I had a splendid year, nearly incomparable in fact.  Even in spite of such tough times.  The brief time I’ve taken to reflect has surely manifested the Lords hand in my life, for truly, I’m unworthy of such blessing, and certainly incapable of creating such a great year autonomously.

The realization of that reflection caused me to rededicate my life in many respects (illustration of my post “Gratitude, the key to righteous desire“).  One of those areas of rededication is with my blog.  I felt strongly (as I mention here), that this was an endeavor the Lord wanted me to undertake.  He’s blessed me with the talents to do it, and it’s my duty to use those talents appropriately, leaving room for the Spirit to magnify my efforts so that they’ll be of enduring value.

But the whole process of reflection upon the past with the perspective of today tends to call out the starkest instances of entropy experienced in our lives (which I explain here).  Those areas where we’ve let slip the most.  Those are the areas we need to proactively rededicate ourselves to. 

Life is not casual.  Life is engaging, and requires us to be engaged with it.  Spend too much time as a bystander, and you find your life is filled with more regret, than accomplishment and opportunity.

I love New Years Day and the turn of the new year, largely because it’s a time where we all take the opportunity to reevaluate our lives, assess where we’ve been, and plan where we’re going.  It’s a phenomenal event, pivotal, and magnificent.  I hope you all take the time to do it.

As for my assessing ’08 I found that I’d been so greatly blessed.  I had a splendid year, nearly incomparable in fact.  Even in spite of such tough times.  The brief time I’ve taken to reflect has surely manifested the Lords hand in my life, for truly, I’m unworthy of such blessing, and certainly incapable of creating such a great year autonomously.

The realization of that reflection caused me to rededicate my life in many respects (illustration of my post “Gratitude, the key to righteous desire“).  One of those areas of rededication is with my blog.  I felt strongly (as I mention here), that this was an endeavor the Lord wanted me to undertake.  He’s blessed me with the talents to do it, and it’s my duty to use those talents appropriately, leaving room for the Spirit to magnify my efforts so that they’ll be of enduring value.

But the whole process of reflection upon the past with the perspective of today tends to call out the starkest instances of entropy experienced in our lives (which I explain here).  Those areas where we’ve let slip the most.  Those are the areas we need to proactively rededicate ourselves to. 

Life is not casual.  Life is engaging, and requires us to be engaged with it.  Spend too much time as a bystander, and you find your life is filled with more regret, than accomplishment and opportunity.

“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness”. 

Doctrine and Covenants 58:27

 

Rusty

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On a personal note

I finally went in and got my nose fixed today – deviated septum.  Back when I was about 10, living in Montana, I was playing king of the, well, ice hill, at school when some kid shoved me face first into a mound of ice and really did a number on my nose.

This was before I got adopted, and if I remember correctly while my biological mother was away on a singing gig, so I didn’t ever get it fixed. 

But I went in and got a sleep study done last week to figure out why I’m always so tired.  I figured it was my friends Jim, Ringer, or the Pondering Pastor always pushing my brain, but instead found out I have sleep apnea.  Here’s a picture of that night – hilarious.  They hook you up like this and then say “go to sleep”.  I say “yeah right”.  They say “like we haven’t heard that before” and give you that look like “just shut up and do it, okay?”  LOL.

 

So my doctor told me it was time to fix my nose, which brought me to this point… (the before shot where I’m still smiling):

So now I’m home resting, updating my iPhone, pondering the recent blog comments, and realizing why I put this off for so long.

The good news, is that I have some forced “off-time”, which will let me catch up on some of these comments!

Rusty

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Ongofu on Twitter!

For those of you who don’t know what twitter is – it’s a micro-blogging platform.  Whereas with a blog you post fewer, but longer articles, on Twitter you post a lot more frequent (and vastly smaller) ideas, thoughts, and ramblings throughout the day.  Each “post” in twitter is called a “tweet”.  Cute eh?

In any event, just like you can subscribe to blog updates, you can “follow” someone on twitter.  They even have tools where you can get TXT updates sent to your mobile phone (only recommended if you pay for unlimited TXT messaging).

In any event, while there are lots of “older” twitter users, Twitter really has a vast youth crowd, so this really helps me expand my reach out to a younger audience.  If you’ve followed me very long, you’ll know that I’m constantly looking for ways to expand my reach and touch more lives.

But more importantly, because with a blog I feel that more than two posts a day is simply too much (please let me know if you disagree), I end up NOT talking about so many things.  I only end up picking those few items I really feel necessary to explore more fully.  But Twitter enables me to share thoughts on all those smaller, less “robust”, but often just as meaningful things throughout the day.

In any event, if you’re interested in following me on twitter – simply click here:  http://twitter.com/rustysblog.

Of course, you can also subscribe to an RSS feed to read all tweets in your favorite RSS reader.

What’s more, I’ve built a page (here) where we can discuss any particular tweet you would like to comment on.  Simply type the tweet into your comment followed by any remarks you’d like to add.  That way we know which tweet you’re talking about.

Either way, this’ll be fun.

Rusty

Ongofu in China – blogging in Chinese!

Several years ago I had the opportunity to serve two years as a full-time LDS (Mormon) missionary in Sydney Australia, speaking Mandarin Chinese.  It was the most amazing experience of my life.

During that time I developed a great love and appreciation for the Chinese people and their language., and I’ve always wished I could somehow go to China and teach the gospel.  Unfortunately, at this time, missionaries are not permitted into mainland China.  They can go to Hong Kong, but that’s it. 

Then over the last two weeks two important things happened.  The first, was that I decided to do a blog post about my inspiring friend Lin Hao (who we saw in the opening ceremony of the Olympics, leading the Chinese team – read his story here).  Shortly thereafter, my friend Linda (his godmother), and Lin Hao himself somehow found my blog, and offered their own comments.  I was, first and foremost, humbled that they’d even bother stopping buy, and secondly, amazed at the ability for a single blog post to reach all the way across the world, to readers all the way in the heart of mainland China.

I realized that the dream I’ve had teaching the gospel to the Chinese people in mainland China was within my grasp.  Not in the future, but today, right now.

But there is a problem.  While there are many in China that do speak English, I really would need to do posts in Chinese.  But because my mission was in Australia, while I learned to speak relatively well, I wasn’t fully immersed in Chinese writing, and never learned how to read and write (there are over 10,000 characters to memorize just to read the paper).

But watching Michael Phelps this last week, and doing my posts about his example of setting and achieving goals, made me realize that if it is within my grasp, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long, I should simply do it.  I should make the effort to learn to write Chinese, so that I can make my dream come true and begin teaching the gospel in China.

As I mentioned in my post here about the COP model, I have the competency (need more though), I have the passion, and there’s definitely a demand.  As I covered in my post here, Christianity is now exploding in China, so at such a critical time in the country’s history, as the government is just beginning to open up more and more to this potential, why should I sit on the sidelines and watch it all happen? 

What’s more, teaching the gospel to those who have not grown up in Christianity, means that their minds are not held hostage by the comforts and confinements of tradition, and they don’t reject concepts and teachings just because they’re new.  To them, it’s all new, so they judge principles and doctrine on their own individual merit and worth.

In short, now is the time to teach the beautiful doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to those in mainland china, in their native tongue, through the internet.

As such, and by way of holding myself accountable, I’ve decided to set the goal that by February of next year I’m going to start the Chinese arm of this blog.  That gives me 6 months to brush up on communicating and thinking in Chinese, and to figure out how to read and write.  I’ll need all the assistance from the Lord that I can get, for my brain is getting a bit decrepit in my old age.  But I’ll put my faith and trust in him, convinced that as I throw myself at the work of the Lord, he’ll magnify my effort, sanctify my work, and make it all possible.

“If ye have desires to serve god, ye are called to the work” (D&C 4:3), and “…the tender mercies of the lord are unto all those whom he hath chosen…” (1 Nephi 1:20).  For the work of God shall roll forth, as a stone cut without hands, until it fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:31-45, D&C 65:2).

In answer to my own question – what role shall you play?  I’ll be a missionary.

Rusty

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Celebrating 50,000 page views

Speaking of setting goals, in January of this year, inspired by a call by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, wherein he encouraged Mormons to take a more active role in building a voice online, I had set a goal to build a blog.

My first post was on Thursday, January 31st (Simple acts of kindness and caring).  It was short and simple, and not very original, but it was a start.

193 days later I have created 152 posts and 5 pages.

My first full month (February), my blog averaged 75 page views a day.  By the third month online, that average climbed from 75 all the way up to more than 350 page views a day. 

This month, the average is 508, and on Friday, we reached 50,000 total page views… and then blew right on by as Saturday we had almost 1,000, and Sunday we had almost 1,200 (1,190 to be exact).

What’s more, there have now been 987 comments.

That’s fantastic.  So, in celebration of reaching 50,000 page views, I wanted to pause and say thank you.  Thank you for helping to make it all possible.  Thank you for your interaction.  Thank you for the many marvelous discussions we have had.  Most of all, thank you for being interested in the gospel.

These numbers represent an ever-increasing consumption of religious views and discussions online, and I’m happy to play a part in that endeavor.  Most of all, I’m grateful for the opportunity, the medium, the time, and the ability to host and promote discussions centered around the gospel of Jesus Christ, and an effort to encourage people to live just a little better, and experience just a little more.

Now, that said, this is still just the start.  If we reached 50,000 page views in just over 6 months, I want to shoot for a total of 150,000 in the next 6.  You can help (find out how).  At the bottom of the blog there’s a little counter that tells you the current number.  I hope you’re here to watch with me as the exposure of these Christ-centered discussions continues to climb.  I hope you play a part.  And for the part you play, thank you.

Rusty

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Recent Comments, Active Posts

To help facilitate those who try to keep up on the most active discussions going and posts throughout my blog, I’ve now included on the left side (under Recent Posts) two new sections.

  1. Recent Comments – This will show you the most recent comments on any post throughout the blog, and should help you keep up with conversations by showing you where they’re happening.
  2. Active Posts – This will show you which posts are receiveing the highest current activity, both posts and traffic.

Additionally, because there are so many posts now, I’ll be making further refinements to navigation and organization of posts, hopefully to make it easier for you to find things. 

If you have suggestions, comments, or ideas on how to better organize things, please comment here.

And thank you for reading!

Rusty

What’s in the Book of Mormon?

If you’re a frequent visitor to my Blog, you’ll know I like to create series of posts.  Most of them are ongoing.  For instance, I’ve got a series on Faith “Faith Fitness“, and a series on the Mormon articles of faith, and others.

In this series, I’m going to cover principles and teachings found in the Book of Mormon. 

Whether you’re Mormon or not, the principles taught in this book are compelling and eternal – even if you don’t consider it a divine work (which I do).  What’s more, they provide a powerful second witness to the Bible, and help us gain further understanding of the teachings of the gospel of Christ.

To be clear, if you’re wondering what is taught in the Book of Mormon, this is not meant to be a substitute for simply picking one up (they’re free), but rather to be simple inspirational insights and commentary into its contents.

This post will serve as an index to all posts in the series, the first of which I intend to provide shortly. To make sure and not miss an issue, feel free to subscribe using one of the links below.

I hope you’ll join me for the journey.

Rusty

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