The anonymous gift

It is heartwarming to receive a gift, whether expected or not. In our minds, we sense that the giver has taken the time to seek out something we might enjoy. Yet, there is a better feeling, one that touches the depths of our soul; the act of giving.

Think with me about the joy you feel when you see someone you have acknowledged through kindness by giving of yourself! These feelings are long-lasting and deeply satisfying. In our hearts, we find a joy that has at its core the ability to shift our orientation. The positivity lifts our spirits allowing for an even greater opportunity to give.

We have been through a lot this year. Covid-19 has made the last eleven months feel like the longest year we have lived, and we have a month left! December is a month typically filled with celebrations that emphasize joy.

In this unusual year, the best we can give would be the gift of joy. We can do this on a large scale. If each one of us took it upon ourselves to provide an anonymous gift, it would spread like wildfire through our communities.

Here’s how it works. If I give you a gift, you know I have given and express gratitude toward me. Yet, if you are to receive an anonymous gift—you have no idea who gave it—so your appreciation extends to everyone who could have possibly given. Your heart turns toward others in a way that brings joy to all as they are seen as someone who perhaps could have given. Your light fills the world with joy.

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My letter to the President

President Trump,

It isn’t lost on me that you enjoyed a prosperous life surrounded by a supportive family. I also recognize that many in your position fade into retirement, relishing in their God-given achievements. For these reasons, I want to thank you personally for choosing the selfless path of public service. Perhaps more important is what your uncanny strength in sticking to principle has given our country, particularly in the face of those with opposing views who relentlessly sought to destroy you.

Thank you, we and future generations will realize the protections granted by your judicial appointments to District, Federal Appellate, and the Supreme Court. These women and men will interpret our Constitution as divinely written rather than set unique patterns for what modern liberals want the law to say. These experienced professionals will maintain our religious freedom and ensure our liberties.

Thank you, we and future generations will maintain our freedom from radical extremism whose mission is to destroy our country. Your support and enhancement of our military gave those who sacrifice(d) for our country the satisfaction of knowing we honor them. These women and men now enjoy updated equipment, better pay, and the care they deserve. Your efforts have defeated ISIS, persuaded European nations to pay more to NATO, strengthened allies, limited nuclear bomb proliferation, and reformed Veteran affairs.

Thank you, we and future generations will appreciate peace as you walked away from endless wars. You stood with Israel and negotiated peace in the Middle East. History will prove your actions to be herculean in that no other leader held the fortitude to stand alone as you did, knowing with confidence peace could be secured.

Thank you, we and future generations will live in greater prosperity, security, and happiness because you implemented best practices from the business community. Your efforts lowered tax burdens,  removed excessive regulations, and negotiated new trade agreements. Politicians haven’t been able to understand what is natural to you. These economic changes affect ordinary people’s everyday lives, not just the wealthy. We are better today than before you took office in 2016. We saw firsthand your determination brought jobs back to America and lowered unemployment to historical levels, including African-American and Hispanic workers.

Thank you, we and future generations will live knowing your time turned the corner to protect unborn babies. You were the first President to attend the pro-life March for Life in Washington DC personally. Not only will lives be saved, but healthcare workers can decline participation in procedures based on conscience or religious conviction.

Thank you, we and future generations will realize an education best suited for personal needs. You helped by placing leaders in positions that gave support for expanding programs to develop options for parents looking for alternatives to traditional public schools.

Thank you, we and future generations will see that we can find humane solutions to undocumented workers when our country borders are protected. The first step no other leader could accomplish. As a country, we can more effectively protect those who are escaping genuine threats and admit people who will most likely contribute positively to our society. These principles were lost for nefarious purposes and will once again help build a great nation.

Thank you, we and future generations will no longer be subject to reliance on foreign countries for energy. It isn’t only about the pump price; while that is nice, it means our dependence won’t threaten our national security. Pipelines were approved, and mining was granted following strict environmental protections. You wisely removed us from accords written by feel good radical environmentalists that would have increased cost with no statistical benefit to the environment. These measures saved jobs and significantly impacted the poor as they pay more as a percentage of income for fueling needs.

Thank you, we and future generations will enjoy property rights that allow farmers to grow their crops, ranchers to raise their livestock, and landowners to develop their land by abandoning the “waterways of the US.” The federal government had seized control of water on private land. These women and men have proven to preserve the land and maintain healthy waterways. It is the only way they could continue their operations as they have done for generations. They default naturally to protection. You were aware of this and implemented rules easily followed without the costs of hiring professionals to understand regulations and monitoring.

Thank you, we and future generations will lower the costs of construction projects. On average, it took four and a half years and as much as six years to navigate environmental impact studies. These studies could be used to outlast development rather than make it environmentally sound. Your guidelines will save costs by streamlining the process. These actions will be a huge help in building America, which will include failing infrastructures.

Thank you, we and future generations will laugh with you that you were criticized for colluding with Russia or China. You stood up to them stealing intellectual properties, participating in espionage, and violating international copyright laws. You increased our Naval presence in the South China Sea and asked European nations to increase their defense against potential Russian invasion. Not the actions of someone beholden to or favorite of a foreign government.

Thank you, we and future generations will study how you could respond to a world crisis in protecting us against a novel virus. It was believed that nearly 2,500,000 lives would be lost in our country alone. To date, only a fraction have been lost because you restricted travel, mobilized our military to construct hospitals, persuaded industry to build ventilators, fast-tracked trials for a vaccine, and quickly passed relief packages. You shattered an FDA approval record with #OperationWrapSpeed! The previous record from research to approval was four years; we will have a vaccine within a year with your help. Unfortunately, the Democrats wanted to make the coronavirus a political issue. Those of us who don’t hate you understand what miracles you performed for the world’s individuals and families.

I could go on. Let me finish by saying I am not alone in these feelings. While I don’t see myself as deplorable, redneck, ugly folk, or a chump, nor do I see the Doctors, Attorneys, Engineers, Nurses, Miners, Farmers, Military, and everyday citizens who think as I do. We love you. Words that aren’t typically uttered to a politician. Yet, they are deserved because you sacrificed much for us. Know in your heart that we are grateful you choose to serve and stand by you as you continue to fight for our country.

May God continued to bless you.

Jaren

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Where do we turn?

Our lives are filled to capacity with nearly every waking moment occupied with interpersonal relationships, work, service, and, hopefully, regular physical activity. To stay well-versed in political happenings around us, we need to rely on information sources dedicated to gathering the essence of philosophies who relay the story without bias. We can then make judgments based on our viewpoints.

Not long ago, I remember being a regular observer of Meet the Press. I grew up watching Tim Russert. I can’t say I ever got the feeling he was leading me toward a political view. While I wasn’t as active politically then, I felt he kept me in touch with national political news. I could weave in my own experience with what he shared. When David Gregory became host, I felt a change in portraying bias causing me to watch less frequently. I couldn’t watch ten minutes of Chuck Todd and haven’t observed since he is the host. No matter what or where I hear or read, I ignore it if his opinion is shared. I know he can’t be objective at all.

I sought out other venues, which, to my dismay, was difficult. I like listening to diverse opinions as I gain perspective. Our society is made better when we hear differing views finding areas of common ground. Anderson Cooper was one who I felt was able to bring a unique angle. He is a gay man, comes from the Vanderbilt fortune, suffered the loss of a brother, and had a fact-checker career. I enjoyed many of his 60 Minute series. I knew he held some bias but wanted to hear his perspective. Then, in what he described as “regret,” he went off on hate speech I’ve never heard on broadcast television. I will never respect him, nor will I believe a story he reports on again.

If Brian Williams had to step down for his actions in embarrassment, or Matt Lauer, why is Cooper not being removed from journalism?

The trend is troubling to me! Our country is made better when people can take information and come to their conclusion. I am talking about one media source. What about biased filtering by search engines, social platforms, influencers, and education.

I don’t have the time to spend filtering through what is objective or spun for political gain. I don’t want to be led; I want to sort through unbiased information and come to my conclusion. If that were easier in the past, where do we turn today? A free country relies on the voice of the people.

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We will prevail over time

As I look to the future, fearing our President may be defeated, I am comforted knowing his supporters are optimistic by nature. We will move on with fans rooted in goodness, knowing that hard times bring experience. We will find ways to pursue happiness. We don’t turn to endless protests but seek the silver lining in every opportunity. We understand our values will prove out over time. Patience will be our virtue as it has been over the centuries of progression we have realized as a free people.

Our President was inspired and divinely granted an opportunity to fill our courts with conservative justices. These men and women will be effective in upholding the law rather than expanding the social will of small groups who hope to destroy our country.

Socialism and other extreme ideologies will not have an audience in the Senate. The experienced, conservative leadership was reelected and enjoys an excellent broad base representing a diverse group of citizens across the country.

The moderate Democrats have realized we aren’t the people the media has portrayed. Congress will be evenly split, with many democrats admitting they can’t survive by promoting ideals of the far-left vocal minority.

Respect for the media may never recover. Americans are tired of misinformation. They will retreat from the bias and find new resources to gather information.

Trump will be unrestricted. For those who believe our President didn’t hold back, wait until he opens fire on those parts of government we have never seen. He alone, through his Twitter account, will continue to advocate for transparency in our county.

If we have felt Biden doesn’t have the strength to lead, wait until his party, in their civil war, fights for their version of the future democrat party. Harris isn’t respected; she isn’t even liked in her party. She couldn’t gain traction as an inter-party candidate. She will weigh down on the administration as she panders to or promotes activists.

Fortunately, I see a lot of good that will come from this election. We may concentrate on the President; it hurts! We loved him. We knew the good he was doing and what was left undone. And it isn’t over.

The silver lining I see is bright and filled with opportunity. Keep the faith, hold onto hope, and know our covenant land will prevail.

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Jaren Davis- Candidate Utah House

As I seek public office, my sense of community deepens in meeting with the residents of District 46. I have knocked on countless doors and made late-night calls. In every circumstance, I have gained a greater appreciation of our community. Collectively, we are diverse and unique in many ways, yet share similar hopes and ideals.

I sense that our greatest desire is to live peacefully in the safety of our homes and neighborhoods. We care about our environment wanting clean air, water, and wish to protect our critical lands. No matter our age, we want each child to receive a quality education. We love the outdoors, seeking ways to ensure adequate parks and recreation so individuals and families can build memories as we maintain active lifestyles. Employment is important, wanting diversity in opportunity so that job satisfaction is achievable and our children can find meaningful work. We understand the necessity for government taxing but expect the burden to be limited to essential services providing for needs the open market can’t achieve alone.

I share these ideals, having benefited from living in Utah nearly my entire life where these qualities have existed. Through experiencing the joys of being a grandparent, my sense of duty is magnified, and I carry a burning desire to lend my experience in service so that we can pass our Utah traditions on to the next generations.

It is a critical time in our history; we need strong, experienced, and capable leaders who can match their life experiences with their constituents’ desires. I support our police, firefighters and hold faith in our justice system.  I advocate for equality, knowing we learn from our past. That we aren’t perfect, but our founders believed we could form a more perfect Union. I have found solutions to difficult problems; we need to clean our air, but never learn how those running may help. For example, I will advocate for less reliance on vehicle traffic—improving PM 2.5 particulate disruption, which is the cause of heart and lung disease and frustrates those who have difficulty breathing. I have preserved over 60,000 acres of critical land and am just beginning. By building a healthy economy, we are better able to fund education and provide the individual needs for satisfactory employment. Having run various business ventures, I know the value of limited government and how a healthy economy creates opportunity. I served eight years leading the state parks board and understand how we can maintain our enjoyment of our great outdoors while protecting the delicacy of nature.

My support is vast and diverse. I sincerely appreciate those individuals and groups who are out actively working on my behalf. Should I be blessed with my community’s confidence, I will serve with my heart by listening to and advocating for our needs. It is our time to enjoy the benefits of a representative who mirrors our ideals and can advocate effectively. I ask for your vote.

Campaign website: https://votejaren.com/

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Team of rivals

Two myths are circulating that well, maybe the reason for much of the anxiety we feel today. One- that to love someone is to agree with them, or two- that if you disagree, you fear or hate them! Both are irrational and noise created in hope for division.

We see this in action when people take to the streets or issue bold onesided editorials through social media. Watch the next protest to observe how this fairytale plays out. Each viewpoint is locked into their agenda with statements and signs indicating a position. Anyone on the other side is the enemy, called names, and unable to understand or comprehend. Neither side cares what the message is from afar; they merely want to object to the people across from them.

In social media, a political post isn’t placed to begin a collaborative dialog; it is sent as a war cry with the same ambitions. When a diverging opinion is given, they too are the enemy, called names, and unable to understand or comprehend.

I recently read that Susan Rice, a strong consideration as the Vice Presidential candidate on the democrat ticket, has a President Trump-supporting, son John David Rice-Cameron. He may be the most vocal conservative leader on the Stanford campus. He is determined to “Make Stanford Great Again.”  Imagine with me that they well could be found standing on opposite sides of a protest or post.

Yet, while they disagree on most of their political views, they love and respect each other. There isn’t the name-calling, they don’t see each other as an enemy, nor do they believe the other is unable to understand or comprehend. Through their discussions, they know without question, their common bond is a love of our country and that America is the greatest nation in the world. Love and respect aren’t determined through their common views.

When we look at history, we see our successes have come from a diversity of opinions: the greater the variety of view, the more robust the outcome. One size doesn’t fit all. Respectful disagreements foster win-win solutions. No wonder President Lincoln is so revered, he put together a team of rivals.

We need to learn from our rich history and begin to take steps that will allow us to continue making strides once taken, ensuring a better world for everyone.

Jaren

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Learning, feeling, helping

We are going through difficult times today, that is complicated by the restlessness of the pandemic. We can either sit back and wonder or make an effort to understand others’ feelings. I recently enjoyed a Saturday morning on the back porch of a college friend who communicated with me stories I want to share. It was in this simple engagement that I learned the why behind many of the civil protests we are witnessing today.

Imagine your early childhood years in school, sitting with classmates in a comfortable environment, or “in the world” as you know it. One day, your whole life turns upside down, where you are required to relocate to an entirely new school in and area you aren’t familiar with at all. Your new school is across town, in a wealthy neighborhood with children who don’t look like you. You didn’t move but were bused with fellow students to and from the school every day. This is the new normal you will realize throughout the rest of your schooling.

At first, the adjustment was hard as no one asked for the change, moving large groups from one school to another was a directive from community and school leaders who felt integration would end race-based segregation. Children are resilient and able to adapt. They learned about each other’s interests, talents, and personalities becoming friends. In a short time, the lines of difference seemed to fade with students inviting the new arrivals over to play and participate in extracurricular activities.

Now imagine going with these new friends after school to a country club, it is an entirely new experience for you, and with eyes wide open, you are introduced to a new lifestyle never realized before. Just are you are beginning to enjoy yourself, you are told you can’t swim in the pool or eat the same food as your new classmates. In shock, and wondering why you default to the realization that you are in an unwelcoming environment. It isn’t the fault of the friends as they too are dismayed, but the adults who are participating in actions unfamiliar to the children.

If these circumstances catch you off guard, aren’t something you have ever felt, or even suggest a history you haven’t been close to; understand there is more.

Now imagine your family wanting to buy a home in a neighborhood you love to learn you can’t. Your family’s ability to purchase isn’t based on the creditworthiness, income ratios, or job history, but a deed restriction. The limitation is based on the fact the deed to the property limits occupancy by race. Your family isn’t the socially acceptable race and, therefore, unable to purchase the home of your dreams!

I guess that you are in shock as I was as I sat with my friend, who lived through these experiences personally. My friend is Shawn Newell. He is a man of integrity and tremendous wisdom. The insight he gained from his life experiences is one we need today.

Shawn stands as an example of compassion carrying a message of hope. His childhood taught him the value of breaking down barriers. He sees through differences and welcomes diversity. Fortunately, Shawn went onto play football at the University of Utah, then onto play professionally for the Chicago Bears. With his larger than life stature, you may think he would use his physical presence; no. You won’t find him carrying a bull horn, or on the front lines of protests. He fights the battle with relationships one on one or by serving in positions of influence, which include the Utah State Board of Regents, EDCU, and NAACP.

Often messages like Shawns, when shared personally, come across differently then if shared by those who aren’t seen as having an agenda. I solicit those of us who can, to join arms and advocate for understanding, and continued improvement toward equality. I sit on a national committee where our ambitions are to support fair housing. Homeownership is a wealth creator for families that extends generationally. I commit my resources to help where I can. Please, join me in allowing opportunities for all, no matter their station in life.

Bless you, Shawn, your story touched my heart!

Jaren

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A sense of purpose

We have a bright future.

We are living in times of prosperity that have never been seen before in our world history. Innovation is beating world hunger, eliminating poverty, and increasing longevity. Many of us live in societies that are strong economically, politically, culturally, and socially. These fortunes have existed for the entirety of life for many living today. Who wouldn’t agree this is an excellent time to be alive! Yet, in the richness of life, we, too, have developed a sense of entitlement that could erase the momentum history has given us.

It is human nature that when we are bored, lack something significant to champion, or lose a sense of purpose, we misplace interest and begin to fight among ourselves. Often disagreeing over little things, petty things that are made up subconsciously in exchange for something more significant.

One doesn’t have to look far to see the chaos our prosperity has created. We want to triumph, to say, “we did this.” Yet today’s younger groups can’t say that. The Greatest Generation had World War II, England had World War I. We are tribal at our roots; we don’t need war but a catalyst that unites us as a team. Think how cheering on an Olympic athlete or having a championship team in your community brings together groups who typically wouldn’t find common ground.

My great grandmother, Irene Simmons, was born in 1889. At that time, homes were lit by candlelight, and heated by the fireplace. Air conditioning was not even thought of yet. During her life, she saw electricity introduced into everyday use, roadways, and highways built where only trails existed, and unimagined air travel carrying us anywhere in the world. Did anyone in her early life ever think a man would walk on the moon? If you had suggested to anyone in the late eighteen hundreds what she would see in her life, people would think you were crazy!

The future of humanity and the life of the planet is at stake. Civilizations throughout history have perished where there is a lack of imagination. We need dreamers! Their ambitions must be big enough to challenge our entrepreneurial spirit while simultaneously utilizing the power of our economies. We are at a fork in the road; one path will lead to destruction or the other that allows us to stop arguing with one another and champion meaningful things.

For us to succeed—bucking the trend—we must look at the big picture. This requires that we understand history knowing we aren’t perfect, and fantasize over the unknown. On the desks of engineers, scientists, and business is the technology that can solve world hunger, provide clean water, eliminate toxic pollution, and utilize the abundant energies of the future. Let us challenge the paradigms of the past, realizing the dramatic difference made by those who have gone before us.

My great grandmother’s life may seem quick in retrospect, yet it will come even faster in the future. It is on us to ensure that those who are born today will have their grandchildren reflect on the positive changes we made. I know as you read this, your mind has already gone to places where you can help. We need you! Rise up, be the one who is thought to be crazy. Create a ruckus, innovate, produce, and use the talents you have been given. Together, we will lift the human condition now and into a yet unknown safe, and bright future for all.

Jaren

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Makes me cry with pride! Great talent sharing love of country

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You are not alone

A majority of Americans identify as being unhappy today. Eight of ten feel our country is out of control. There aren’t many statistics in life that have reached that high of majority, primarily when it is negative.  Let it settle in that those polled are our neighbors, our friends, and our family.

It may be we come up with excuses as to why. Justifications such as the fact we have suffered from a pandemic with fears of loss, uncertainty, and grief. Or that the shutdown led to an economic crisis with lost jobs, confinement in homes, isolated shortages of products, children pulled from school, and adults unable to go to work. Yet, I think it may be more profound than that!

As life appeared to be improving, we watched a man gunned down in Georgia while jogging, a man asphyxiated by a person in uniform carrying a badge. Then we witnessed a man with a seemingly simple DUI arrest conclude with a shot ending his life. These three men were black. Protests both civil and otherwise arose. The unrest brought to the forefront perceived and real inequities in our justice system. These incidents may have highlighted what has been going on for some time in our country. But, I think it may be more profound than that too!

We used to turn to educational and social institutions, government, media, and leaders for guidance. It was there we gained the hope and clarity we needed as a nation. These institutions no longer seem like a place of unity. An example may be the media. It used to be a place to turn to for some semblance of accuracy in tempering emotion. The freedom the press enjoyed was designed to keep us informed or act as a referee, someone who we may not have always liked but respected. Not so much anymore. However, I think it may be more profound than that as well!

My belief is the unhappiness we feel is due to a modern-day polarization that is occurring with current technologies. We are in an endless tug-of-war with two extremes pulling as hard as they can toward their side. It is constant tension, relentless angst, and continuous agitation. Adding the above factors, no wonder at times the pain is unbearable and people are moved to actions often foreign to our normal lives!

Yet, as a nation, we are far from polarized! The evidence is all around us. We voted for Obama then Trump, we have a Republican Senate and Democrat House. We are split fifty-fifty with only a slight variation to the right or left at any given time.

For our nation to heal, for individuals to find happiness again, we need to meet in the middle.  We can get to the center in two ways, how we are doing it now, with both sides relentlessly pulling, or we can throw down the imaginary rope and walk to the center seeking areas of unity, and consensus. Finding common ground doesn’t suggest forfeiting values, it merely highlights our similarities. It sets aside the fringe elements the media endlessly promotes giving us hope in humanity.

It is up to us to stop the tug-of-war filled with fear for the future that will certainly divide us. It won’t be the institutions that will lead us; there is too much money to be made in conflict. Anger and fear are profitable; unity is not. It is we the people. People of good conscience if we are to emerge from this season of unrest. America is the greatest experiment in world history; we have proven that when we are united, we succeed in filling the earth with goodness and opportunity.

My question to you is whether or not it is worth it? I can tell you it is for me, and I am willing to try. To continue with the learning, growing, and improving, knowing each new day is a chance at making the world a better place. It will make us happy again; we can control our destiny. Bless us to each walk to our common ground, building strength in our diversity and do so enthusiastically while filled with humility.

Jaren

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