Exceptional Service!

Our staff has never been impressed with the speed sandwiches are delivered by Jimmy Johns! It’s not necessarily their fault; they clearly have a niche on food delivered fast. Fact is we have enjoyed a level of service that far surpasses the hustle of this quick order food provider.

Enter Mike Henry, retired Marine who works with Les Olsen Company. Mike moved to Utah so that he and his wife Lisa could raise their children in a better family environment than they were experiencing. While they have fallen in love with Utah, we too are quite fond of Mike. From the first day he walked in our office we knew we were in for a treat (yes-Lisa is an amazing baker but not what I am referencing here). His kind, loving spirit is contagious. From the minute he comes to the time he goes to his next appointment our office fills with joy. We almost hope for equipment breakdowns so that we can see Mike!

It is as if Mike is aware of our need before we are. I swear there are times he walks through our door before we hang up the phone. Too, he never pushes us to order more than we need and is quick to point out ways our equipment will save us money. Birthdays and holidays are always made special through his kindness.

Perhaps his extraordinary service comes from the military background where he proudly acknowledges “Honor, Courage, Commitment,” or his deep devotion to family and faith. Certainly, these characteristics are part of his work ethic, yet we realize it comes first from his heart. He cares and loves without exception, and he functions at a very high level creating an opportunity for all who are privileged to know him.

 

Merry Christmas Mike, God bless you!

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A shot heard around the world

Do we stroll through life wondering if we are making a difference? Are there times we make a significant contribution completely unaware! We just returned from Boston walking the “Freedom Trail” taking time to learn about our American history. I want to share a story I learned about a young man who I think may have never known the significance of his involvement. His name was Edward Garrick.

At thirteen years of age, Edward worked as an apprentice for a wig maker. Not what we may think of today, but the hairdressings that were typical of those seen on our Founding Fathers. At this time,  Edwards town had been taken siege by British troops with nearly one in five residents being a soldier for the King of England. Many colonists were growing tired of and frustrated with the insurgency.

It was a cold winterlike evening on March 5, 1770. A blanket of snow covered the ground with ice exposed here and there offering little stability for navigating the streets. Edwards boss had created a wig for British Captain who by coincidence was walking with friends and crossed Edwards path in front of the Customs House on King’s Street. As they passed, Edward confidently said, “There goes the fellow that won’t pay my master for dressing his hair.” Hugh White, a Private standing as Sentry in the doorway, overheard Edwards comment and defended his Captain as he walked off without reaction. Edward quickly delivered another insult which sent the guard into a rage. In the heat of the moment, he swang his arms and hit Edward with the butt of his musket, dropping him to the ground. Edward shook off the pain getting up off the ground and ran home bleeding from his forehead. From home, he had no idea of where this interaction would lead.

Perhaps under different circumstances, this would have been nothing history would have ever reported. But with the tension that existed in the community, it caught the attention of bystanders. These local colonists defended the thirteen-year-old throwing snowballs at the guard. It was the custom of the time that if the church bell rang while no service was scheduled, it likely meant there was a fire. Someone began ringing the bell which brought more people into the streets wanting to help unaware of the incident. Hugh White’s superior came with other guards and stood at the doorstep as more gathered in the street. History differs on what happened next with some suggesting the leader sought to calm the outrage as others feel he ordered engagement. Regardless, the Soldiers eventually shot their guns into the gathering of colonist instigating the Boston Massacre.

Who would guess this blameless comment from a thirteen-year-old boy would become the rallying cry of the Revolutionary War for the Colonist? Did Edward ever know “the foundation of American independence was laid” the night these shots rang out in Boston! His actions were a result of his courage to stand for his belief. For answering the call of his heart at a time others may have passed.

As we catch ourselves wondering if our life’s journey is meaningful, understand this is human. Let me assure you that you have value and your contribution will be magnified through your willingness to act on the impulses from your heart. Granted—we may never know—but that’s okay.

Jaren

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Pawns in a political game

Our experiment with democracy has been a beacon to the world. Certainly, we have had times of great trial as we settle into an ever-improving environment where individual freedoms allow for personal growth and community development. Still, the world’s population is happier, healthier, and more self-sufficient as crime falls and wars become less frequent. All because our example of self-reliance and personal accountability help humanity achieve dreams filling hearts with hope.

These truths may not resonate with those tied to stories of the day in our twenty-four-hour news cycle. As our media fights for eyeballs and clicks, they latch onto anything that will grab our attention. Each side of the political spectrum is guilty of forfeiting common journalistic procedure allowing for unfortunate, misguided bias. A bias thought to fill our perceived personal preferences. Oh, if they only knew how we long for the truth as they pit us against each other for their selfish aims.

Think for a minute about how many of us are similar; even in our differences. I argue fewer than one percent of our population is out demonizing as the press attempts to make us feel differently. Their greatest days are those where they can dig up schisms and fights perhaps even internally created to achieve ratings. They feed on us believing we are enemies to thought counter to our own. Time is spent fighting one another instead of fighting for what matters. As we do this, the progress of our past shrinks into the background.

It is in healthy civil discussions of difference we have gained our greatest rewards. The promoted narcissism of trivial variances of opinion keep us from doing important work. The work of realizing things have gotten better and can continue to do so.

We need to be aggressive; we must be aggressive, but aggressive in doing what is right, what is best for all. Fighting inequality together, fighting inefficiency together, fighting abuse together, fighting manipulation together. Working together has proven our collective efforts open doors of opportunity. These joint labors form a citizenry that is yet to lose on the world stage. History has shown us that when America puts her best foot forward; anything is possible.

Jaren

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Why do I support Greg Johnson for House seat 46?

Because Greg will effectively represent us and our current representative is underserving our area.

On Greg

Over the last decade in which I have had the opportunity to get to know Greg, I have found him to be a remarkable person. To begin, he is a dedicated father sacrificing for the growth and development of his four children. He is a devoted husband to Jill who give of themselves unselfishly. Greg is a man of faith advocating for all walks of life and is ready to assist anyone who crosses his path in need. For those who have met him personally, you understand that he carries a charismatic personality infecting people with hope and happiness. I know his skills along with a deep conviction of integrity will build strong relationships as he serves our community.

His default is toward conservative principles having learned from parents who believed in self-sufficiency. Life has proven to Greg that government serves us best by giving a hand up rather a handout. That governing doesn’t mean getting in our way but allowing the free market to operate effectively. He knows that through civility, we learn from differing views so that compromises reach an end goal of mutual benefit. Greg’s life work has shown ways in which bridges are built by finding commonality. When elected, I bet that he will quickly rise to leadership roles enabling our area representation which you will see from my perspective as sorely been missing.

About our current legislator

Serving the public is hard at best. We owe Marie a sincere thank you for dedicating her time. We characterize her as “a nice person.” Unfortunately, nothing more nothing less.

Within the boundaries of our district, we have remarkable leaders who could do so much for our area. Greg is a perfect example as shown above! Having a nice person has gone on far too long. We need a legislator who does more than fill a seat. Recognize in addition to her lack of leadership skills, a member of the minority party doesn’t participate in critical caucus meetings where important legislation begins. Additionally, Marie’s committee assignments fall into meaningless roles providing no serious voice for our area.

A greater argument than discussing her credibility would be engaging in a healthy discussion on her perspective in advocacy. Her default vote falls critically short of our needs. Perhaps better stated, is counter to the majority of our areas ideals. Many argue our area is moderate leaving open the door for someone of her “perceived” voting interests. I suggest Independent may be the best description for our voting block. Have you ever asked yourself why she doesn’t put her party on campaign materials? My belief is many feel she has similar interests not paying attention to details.

Her record, which is readily available online may offer some insight. From a thirty thousand foot view, let’s look at a couple of things that push well beyond Independent voting tolerances. First, we care for our children, those unborn and through young adulthood. Planned Parenthood has given Marie a one hundred percent rating. Her votes have included a stand against legislation that would have prohibited abortions based on a diagnosis of Down Syndrome (HB 205). I wonder if she has ever visited with special needs children or their parents? Whom of these persons would she have felt were worthy of being aborted! She was absent when HB 461 came to the house floor which sought a 72 hour waiting period to get an abortion and voted against HB 171 that requires abortion clinics to be licensed. Waiting periods improve the unborn child’s chance of survival. Her standing with Planned Parenthood is troubling to both Pro-life and moderate Pro-Choice voters.

Law enforcement rated her an F, and Immigration Reform an F.Marie voted against legislation that placed stiffer penalties on human trafficking (HB 136), against extra protection for police (HB 20), and a clearer identification for undocumented immigrants (HB 70).

The UEA has given her a one hundred percent rating. We won’t say this is bad unless we take into account Marie doesn’t favor school choice with Parents for Choice offering her a paltry thirty percent grading. If you believe free market principles could benefit our schools, then she isn’t your candidate having voted against SB 73 which eliminated requirements on schools from having to terminate more recently hired persons over tenured teachers. Is that intuitive to an organization who wants to keep the best employees?

If the second amendment of the United States means anything to you; don’t vote for Marie. On guns, she enjoys a seven (yes that is a single digit) percent rating. An example here is she voted against legislation that would have extended clear understanding on the use of a firearm for self-defense (HB 259). If healthcare affordability has meaning for you, note she voted against a Senate bill that allowed for the crossover of state lines (SB 298). What’s wrong with extending the waiting period for a divorce Marie? Statistically, hearts change which is good isn’t it? She voted against HB 316 that extended filing for ninety days and didn’t eliminate the provision for extraordinary circumstances. These limited provisions are designed for when a timely divorce would eliminate harmful situations for either party.

I hope that you will join me in supporting Greg Johnson, candidate District 46 for the talent he will bring to our state legislature and his ability to fill a need that has been missing for at least ten years.

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Protected: If you hang your hat on one thing; be careful

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Protected: People disliked the traveling salesman

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34 years together and counting

34 years ago, the girl of my dreams and I committed to each other in vows of matrimony. At that time I felt I was the luckiest man alive. Now, 34 years later with four fabulous children and five grandchildren, I realize in 1984 I really had no idea. Over these years we have been battle tested and seen the glory of our world, yet I stand here today and offer I had no idea the beauty and wonder of this woman. She is my rock and the reason I strive to better myself every day. She spreads love and compassion as she serves our family and friends. Kim—you are the love of my life! May we continue to enjoy life’s experiences together for the years to come.

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The Secret of Civility

More so than ever before our society is placing people in boxes; boxes of us versus them! Our influence comes twenty four hours a day from technology that is bombarding us as it carefully places our interests into pigeon holed entertainment. The way we see the world becomes more extreme as we bathe innocently in data designed to attract us. Seemingly like minded people fuel the energy gained by finding and sharing support material. Some information comes from imprudently designed falsehoods portrayed by companies/people who don’t even exist.

These boxes we separate others into can be the go-getters vs people who are struggling, people we trust vs those we avoid, groups unknown vs neighbors and friends, cowboys vs individuals who haven’t seen a horse, people who hold religious faith vs some who avoid organization. The current political environment seems to have added to the growing division. Our boxes become more extreme as political factions occur whether it is party affiliation or cause of individual preferences in debates on global warming or as seen today in discussions of gun control after the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas.  These boxes can be personal with issues based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

We blind ourselves to life as we label individuals or groups believing they are foolish for having their beliefs. After successfully placing people into boxes, we remove their humanity striping ourselves of ability to understand or enjoy an empathetic heart. We no longer believe “these people” could add anything of value to intelligent conversation. As we seek to find ways to either validate our belief or rebut their opinion; we build up fortresses around the boxes we have placed them in. Incivility grows and we gather into groups to fight against the thoughtless actions of those we now sense we are against. The greatest box becomes us vs them. What may have been seen as unkind, uncaring or selfish actions on our part become needed defenses protecting us from the enemy!

What would our world be like if we could see through clear eyes and open hearts to the things that tie us together as human beings; rather concentrate on differences? What if we sought out those things we have in common; or at least could see people as human or caring?

Fact is some found in these separate boxes are members of our family. My Aunt—who I consider a saint—would become my mortal enemy if I held no understanding of our commonalities. Our differences are stark: conservative/liberal, Agnostic/God fearing. If we didn’t share a deep conviction of love that comes through understanding hearts, our placement in boxes could suggest the value of our relationship would never exist, and we would never advance in learning from each other’s experiences. If we engaged in physical or verbal assaults blindly supporting our perspective; we well would be astonished to run into each other on the battle front representing opposite sides.

What if we placed all the boxes existing in today’s discussions into a large stadium with direction from a moderator engaged to find our commonalities. The announcement would come across the sound system, all who love the outdoors step over to the north ten yard line. Some from nearly every box would leave their group and move toward this location. There would be no separation of race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, religion or political opinion.

As you read this, did you think to yourself there are people in some boxes who don’t love the outdoors? If so, let’s keep breaking down the walls. Remember back to a time when foes became friends. In Utah we united as a citizenry when Salt Lake held the 2002 Winter Olympics, America united behind individual athletes. Barriers are missing in these times, it isn’t always sports; we break down walls to help in times of need. Think of a time you remember a small or large group unite in a time commonalities were prominent.

Still have doubt? Now the announcer says all who love dancing step to the 15 yard line, those who are broken-hearted to the twenty yard line, lonely twenty five yard line, madly in love thirty yard line. Are the barriers breaking down now? All who have saved a life thirty five yard line, been saved stand in the end zone. Those who have lost a loved one to the sideline, step parents to the goal post, those who are afraid to the center, and those who are addicts/family of addicts join those who have saved a life!  In each of these areas we will see that what had been thought mortal enemies are standing together talking about commonalities in all shapes, sizes and color. No longer are we us vs them. We are the human race filled with kindness, empathy and dreams. We all want to make the world a better place with new and ever changing achievements.

Our world could be a beautiful place if only we could see that there are more things that bring us together then we think!

Jaren

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Once upon a time

More so than ever before our society is placing people in boxes; boxes of us versus them! Our influence comes twenty four hours a day from technology that is bombarding us as it carefully places our interests into pigeon holed entertainment. The way we see the world becomes more extreme as we bathe innocently in data designed to attract us. Seemingly likeminded people fuel the energy gained by finding and sharing support material. Some information comes from imprudently designed falsehoods portrayed by companies/people who don’t even exist.

These boxes we separate others into can be the go-getters vs people who are struggling, people we trust vs those we avoid, groups unknown vs neighbors and friends, cowboys vs individuals who haven’t seen a horse, people who hold religious faith vs some who avoid organization. The current political environment seems to have added to the growing division. Our boxes become more extreme as political factions occur whether it is party affiliation or cause of individual preferences in debates on global warming or as seen today in discussions of gun control after the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas.  These boxes can be personal with issues based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

We blind ourselves to life as we label individuals or groups believing they are foolish for having their beliefs. After successfully placing people into boxes, we remove their humanity striping ourselves of ability to understand or enjoy an empathetic heart. We no longer believe “these people” could add anything of value to intelligent conversation. As we seek to find ways to either validate our belief or rebut their opinion; we build up fortresses around the boxes we have placed them in. Incivility grows and we gather into groups to fight against the thoughtless actions of those we now sense we are against. The greatest box becomes us vs them. What may have been seen as unkind, uncaring or selfish actions on our part become needed defenses protecting us from the enemy!

What would our world be like if we could see through clear eyes and open hearts to the things that tie us together as human beings; rather concentrate on differences? What if we sought out those things we have in common; or at least could see people as human or caring?

Fact is some found in these separate boxes are members of our family. My Aunt whom I consider a saint would become my mortal enemy if I held no understanding of our commonalities. Our differences are stark: conservative/liberal, Agnostic/God fearing. If we didn’t share a deep conviction of love that comes through understanding hearts, our placement in boxes could suggest the value of our relationship would never exist, and we would never advance in learning from each other’s experiences. If we engaged in physical or verbal assaults blindly supporting our perspective; we well would be astonished to run into each other on the battle front representing opposite sides.

What if we placed all the boxes existing in today’s discussions into a large stadium with direction from a moderator engaged to find our commonalities. The announcement would come across the sound system, all who love the outdoors step over to the north ten yard line. Some from nearly every box would leave their group and move toward this location. There would be no separation of race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, religion or political opinion.

As you read this, did you think to yourself there are people in some boxes who don’t love the outdoors? If so, let’s keep breaking down the walls. Remember back to a time when foes became friends. In Utah we united as a citizenry when Salt Lake held the 2002 Winter Olympics, America united behind individual athletes. Barriers are missing in these times, it isn’t always sports; we break down walls to help in times of need. Think of a time you remember a small or large group unite in a time commonalities were prominent.

Still have doubt? Now the announcer says all who love dancing step to the 15 yard line, those who are broken-hearted to the twenty yard line, lonely twenty five yard line, madly in love thirty yard line. Are the barriers breaking down now? All who have saved a life thirty five yard line, been saved stand in the end zone. Those who have lost a loved one to the sideline, step parents to the goal post, those who are afraid to the center, and those who are addicts/family of addicts join those who have saved a life!  In each of these areas we will see that what had been thought mortal enemies are standing together talking about commonalities in all shapes, sizes and color. No longer are we us vs them. We are the human race filled with kindness, empathy and dreams. We all want to make the world a better place with new and ever changing achievements.

Our world could be a beautiful place if only we could see that there are more things that bring us together then we think!

Jaren

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Our manipulated world

Suicide is on the rise and professionals say we can do something about it. Many times hope is all that is needed by those affected. This can be as simple as words from a stranger asking “are you okay?” A commonality among potential victims is that they make a pact with themselves that if one person reaches out, even a stranger; they will tell them—everything—and ask for help.

We know their despondent feelings aren’t unique as every single person in our society has felt (is feeling) despair. This emotion has occurred throughout the history of mankind. But ask yourself if you think we are living in a time of heightened depression today? My argument is that there is cause to believe we are.

In 1860, Mathew Brady used the body of John C Calhoun with a headshot of Abraham Lincoln to create the portrait used on the five dollar bill. This may have been necessary or even innocent but indicates a process that today that is ever changing. In 2004, John Kerry was falsely accused of being present with Jane Fonda in an antiwar rally with a manipulated photo. On the cover of Newsweek in 2005, Maratha Stewart’s face was placed on the body of a slimmer woman to portray that she lost weight in prison. The editor stated, “The piece that we commissioned was intended to show Martha as she would be, not necessarily as she is.”

The most prolific uses are companies editing glamour shots to improve skin complexion, hair, body shape or other features. The process of photo enhancement is used in and out of commercial applications. On the commercial side, ninety percent of our society wishes for less editing so we could see people as they are, or in other words with our individualized imperfections. As technology continues to allow greater access across multiple devises, the affect is lowering self-esteem. This is evidenced by a survey where eighty percent of women interviewed had feelings of insecurity after witnessing photos “made perfect.” We have become accustom to a practice that was once thought to be an abuse of technology.

Altered life has stepped well beyond photos into nearly every aspect of our lives. Think with me for a minute about where the make-believe has taken us. Log on to any device and see airbrushed vacations, jobs, food, and relationships. Our endless glass screens often fill our days with more data than our personal interactions. They are altering what are seen as becoming greener and greener pastures of perceived dramatic differences between us. This practice isn’t reserved for only the fun side of life but it occurs in modifying our problems as well. These life capsules are filled with significantly more drama than reality. Think what “fake news” does by modifying bits of truth into full blown outrage. We absorb this drama every day innocently unaware what it is doing to us internally. Our society—who once feared the ramifications of manipulating photos—now has entire lives transformed through an influenced reality.

Coincidently our suicide rate is of epidemic proportions. The impact is hitting our youth particularly hard as suicide is the leading cause of death in our youth ages 10 to 17. One young man who had attempted suicide stated, “ For me, it started with low self-esteem thoughts, like, I’m not doing well, I’m not enjoying this…you look for other options that allow you to do that, and suicide was one of them.” For every person who dies, there are six times as many who have attempted and are receiving treatment? In nearly every case nothing more than a sense of hope would have prevented the act.

As our medium of exchange becomes more prevalent and the impact more severe, my wish is that we are able to stem the tide and give ourselves a reality check. Technology is designed to entertain. It is only thought to be entertaining when it is exaggerating life to an extreme. Many times this manipulation can be innocent by those who only want to be popular. What we are seeing are minor motion pictures of an augmented reality. By understanding this, we are allowed to see that we really do have it as good as others. Our pastures are really pretty and green. Life is good when you think it is—not so good if you don’t think.

Don’t get lost in the magic of worlds behind the glass. Our greatest moments are the full enjoyment of life’s up and downs. Without either, life would truly be depressing.

Jaren

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