Life’s purpose

Yesterday’s series of events painted a vivid mural of life’s varied episodes. It began with the transient warmth of social media affirmations, small flickers of recognition that momentarily touch our spirits. Then came an unexpected accolade from Delta, a corporate nod that infused a hint of personal triumph into an ordinary day.

Yet, amidst these occurrences, two instances stood out with profound clarity, casting a deeper shadow over the day’s more superficial joys. Kelvin’s stealthy purchase of my book emerged as an unspoken but powerful validation of my work, a silent nod of faith and support. But it was Lindie’s candid outpouring of heartfelt sentiments that truly marked the day with significance. Her words were not just heard; they were felt, carrying the weight of authenticity and raw emotion. They were a catalyst, not only affirming my purpose but altering my perception of achievement.

As I awoke this morning, these memories were the first to greet me, presenting a hierarchy of life’s offerings. In the quiet introspection of dawn, it became evident that while life decorates itself with many small joys, its richest textures are woven through the threads of our relationships. Lindie’s courageous expression of her feelings served as a profound reminder of this truth. Her sincerity and the immediacy of her response were life-affirming, a testament to the power of genuine connection.

Her wisdom and bravery in sharing such a personal revelation not only honored me with a sense of purpose but also underscored the transformative power of open-hearted dialogue. Lindie’s words did not just contribute to the mosaic of my experiences; they reshaped it, giving me a certainty that transcends the ordinary and propels one towards greatness.

This moment with Lindie has crystallized into a beacon of inspiration, urging us to embrace the vulnerability of sharing our truth. In her example lies a profound lesson: that our spoken feelings can ignite the kind of change within another that ripples outwards, engendering faith and courage in others to do the same. We should all be so bold, so daring in our honesty, for it is this caliber of exchange that forges our legacies and etches our existence into the hearts of those we touch. Let us then move forward with the wisdom that our most sincere expressions are the ones that hold the power to transform lives.

Jaren

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After my return from Australia

As I revisited the Australian soil, a land that once nurtured my youthful dreams, I was met with an overwhelming continuity of past and present. The land, eternally sculpted by time, bore witness to nature’s quiet revolution—a symphony of light and shadow that had played its course in my absence. The greenery, once budding and humble, stood before me as majestic edifices, monuments to life’s unceasing vigor and renewal. In their stature, I saw the mirror of our human journey, adorned with the layers of experience that each passing year bestows upon us.

The Sydney skyline, a crescendo of human ambition, pierced the celestial boundaries, not as mere constructs of concrete and steel, but as embodiments of our collective yearnings, striving skyward, mirrored by the eucalyptus boughs yearning for the embrace of the sun.

Amidst the outback’s serenity, where time whispers its ancient tales, I felt the rhythm of the earth—steady, unvaried, and tranquil. The city’s pulse, with its vibrant cadence, juxtaposed against the outback’s timeless breath, mirrored the duality within me. The reflection that met my gaze was not of the youth who once trod these lands, but of a man, etched with the seasons of time, yet alight with an undiminished fervor of spirit.

Our forebears, comparable to the venerable terrains of this vast continent, have imparted more than lore; they have entrusted us with a spirit indomitable, a legacy that meanders through the annals of time, nudging us toward destiny’s embrace. It is in this lineage we discern our calling, our stitch in the vast weave of life.

Our existence’s worth is measured not in moments of stillness, but in our deeds—ventures made with faith, strides taken despite fear, guided by the compass of our hearts. These hearts, though shrouded in mortality, pulsate with an ageless cadence, resonant with the enduring plateaus that, though weathered, defy time’s relentless tide.

In the solitude of introspection, when the universe seems to harmonize with an ancestral chant, we are reminded of our essence beyond the ephemeral. We are the physical manifestations of an enduring spirit, one that will eclipse the longevity of the constellations. This realization beckons us to engage with intention, to live with undeniable resolve, and to cherish with a fervor that outshines the resplendent Australian sun.

Returning to the embrace of home, these revelations have infused my being, taking root within my soul, and shaping my reflections and aspirations. These insights, once mere seeds of thought, now blossomed into conviction, sculpted by the spiritual resonance that my journey home has rekindled. This pilgrimage has not only reacquainted me with the values that guide my voyage through life but has also shed light on the celestial pattern that interlaces our shared human experience.

In the sanctuaries of my contemplation, I realize our role as the bearers of a legacy that transcends the bounds of time. We are not transient shadows upon the stage of life; we are the custodians of an eternal flame, nourished by our encounters and steadfast beliefs. This awareness empowers us to live deliberately, to love profoundly, and to embrace our odyssey with a passion that parallels the immutable spirit that binds us to every corner of creation, especially the deeply revered Australian terrain.

With a hopeful heart, I tender these reflections, not as direct teachings but as gentle ripples in the vast ocean of discourse. May they subtly touch those who encounter them, stirring thoughts and actions as naturally as the wind shapes the landscape, quietly inspiring a kindred spirit of faith and unity in our collective sojourn.

Jaren

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Echoes of Kindness: Silent Heroes Among Us

In a world often overwhelmed with challenges and strife, it is the small acts of kindness that echo the loudest, reverberating in the hearts of those touched by grace and compassion. I recently came across a tale that is a touching testament to this, one of an unassuming hero reaching out to a stranger in a moment of need.

A woman found herself gathering coins on the hood of her car, the count determining how much fuel she could afford to keep moving forward. With a heavy heart, she walked in to pre-pay, a sum garnered from the jingles in her pockets. Unbeknownst to her, a stranger from the opposing pump witnessed her plight and acted. Stepping forward with kindness as his guide, he inserted his credit card, filled her tank to the brim, and without a word, drove away.

When the woman returned, a surge of relief, a touch of divine intervention greeted her – a full tank, a gesture brimming with hope, and a renewed faith in humanity. Tears welled up as she glanced towards the heavens, a silent prayer of gratitude escaping her lips before she crumbled into the seat of her car, enveloped by the kind of joy that only pure, unexpected kindness can bestow.

As I heard this narrative, I was reminded of a profound principle shared with me – we are all one conversation away from helping, from changing a life, from being a beacon of hope in someone’s day. It evoked a realization that while we may not always have the financial resources, we all have a golden treasury of compassion, of empathy, and a willingness to understand and lift others.

Let us be reminded today that the act of giving extends beyond the monetary; it resides in the warm smile we share, in attentive listening, in a word of encouragement. It is the simple yet profound gesture that says, “I see you, I recognize your humanity, and I am here for you.”

As we step into our day, may we carry with us a heart attentive to the needs of others, ready to uplift with a spirit of kindness that knows no bounds. Let us all be a beacon of hope, a testimony to the immense good that resides in our world.

Today, I stand grateful for the existence of goodness, the silent heroes amongst us, and the opportunity that each one of us has to be a source of joy and light in someone’s life. Let us not take for granted the powerful change that a simple act can initiate.

Join me in sharing this message, in encouraging a ripple effect of kindness, and fostering a community where everyone can find a helping hand when they need it most.

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Finding Your Ruby Moment: Embracing the Divine in Everyday Blessings

Friends and loved ones, today I was reminded of the pure, unfiltered joy that life generously offers us in the simplest of moments. The reminder came from the radiant smile of my cherished granddaughter, Ruby, captured through a driver’s side mirror as she delighted in the feel of the wind flowing through her hair. A picture of pure, unadulterated happiness, a moment of being completely present, embracing the pure bliss that life is gifting her in that fleeting instance.

Life often sweeps us into a whirlwind of responsibilities and ambitions, and sometimes we forget to embrace the little pockets of joy that are sprinkled throughout our days. The laughter of a child, the warmth of the sun on our faces, the cool breeze rustling through the leaves – all these are reminders of the blessings that surround us each day.

Let us not overlook these gifts, but instead, let us treasure them, for they are the true riches life offers. The simple yet profound moments where we let go and allow ourselves to just be, to immerse ourselves fully in the joy and wonder of the present. It is in these moments where we feel the divine whisper of hope, the silent affirmation that joy, wonder, and love are always within our reach, woven into the simple fabrics of our day-to-day life.

As we navigate the pathways of life, may we always strive to find our ‘Ruby moments’ – those precious instances of spontaneous joy, where we let go of the burdens and simply revel in the beauty that surrounds us. These moments are not just moments; they are glimpses of heaven, reflections of the divine in our earthly journey.

So, here’s my invitation to each one of you: take a pause, breathe in deeply, and allow yourself to absorb the beauty, the joy, the hope infused in each moment. For in doing so, we don’t just exist; we live, we love, and we cherish the wondrous journey that is life. 

Sending out waves of love, hope, and encouragement to each one of you to find your own ‘Ruby moment’ today and always. 💖

Jaren

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Community Ties and Celebrating Milestones: Nurturing Relationships in Our Busy Lives

In the beautiful setting of Charleston, Utah, a backdrop to many of life’s precious moments, my family recently gathered to celebrate my daughter Lindie’s wedding, a stone’s throw from the awe-inspiring Mount Timpanogos.

As many of you know, alongside family events, we’ve been engrossed in the worthwhile endeavor of remodeling our association’s offices. It was during this time, working hand in hand with a committed group of volunteers, that I stumbled upon a story of dedication that warmed my heart.

One of our members, currently vacationing in Star Valley, Idaho, took time out of her vacation to drive down for Lindie’s reception and then return, demonstrating a remarkable commitment to nurturing relationships and being present in important moments.

This story, to me, stands as a shining example of the depth of relationships that we foster in our community. It is a reminder to all of us to not underestimate the joy and fulfillment that comes from prioritizing relationships, and being there for one another, even amidst personal commitments.

I look forward to personally expressing my gratitude to this individual, once I obtain her consent to share her kindness more broadly. Meanwhile, I hope her story serves as a beautiful reminder for each one of us. It tells us that with a little effort and goodwill, we can prioritize joy and happiness, fostering a community based on mutual respect and unwavering support.

Let us take inspiration from this act of kindness and remember to foster relationships that are grounded in love, support, and mutual respect. Because at the end of the day, it is the relationships we build and maintain that truly enrich our lives, bringing joy and a deeper sense of community to all we do.

Jaren

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Championing the Positive: A Call to Recognize and Celebrate Harmony in Our Community

In my daily life, as I interact with a wide array of individuals in our community, I find a considerable gap between the reality I observe and the narratives frequently depicted in the media. This isn’t limited to the extreme portrayals; even the moderate depictions seem a bit removed from the grounded reality that many of us live daily, where kindness and goodness are more common than not.

Not long ago, I reached out to 16,000 people via a text message initiative. The responses I received were quite revealing. While a single person replied with unwarranted negativity, there were hundreds who responded with positivity and encouragement. Yet, it was somewhat easy to find myself fixating on that one negative response, allowing it to overshadow the multitude of positive feedback.

This instance mirrors a larger tendency in our society where we, perhaps inadvertently, focus more on the negative, giving it more weight than the countless positive interactions that happen every day.

Today, I invite us all to shift our perspective consciously, to focus on the wealth of positive relationships and the majority who radiate good intentions. It’s crucial to realize that the events causing strife or bringing about conflict in our society are not only rare but are also not representative of the regular, harmonious interactions that take place daily.

By celebrating the positive and nurturing relationships that promote harmony, we offer a more genuine and hopeful depiction of our community, encouraging a society where the good vastly outweighs the bad. Let us learn to champion the majority who foster understanding, kindness, and mutual respect, steering our culture towards positivity and unity.

Jaren

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Under Star-Kissed Skies: Celebrating Lindie and Bridger’s Vibrant Union of Love and Adventure

Yesterday, the dreams Lindie harbored all her life were not just realized but immensely surpassed as she and Bridger became one, enveloped in a celebration more vibrant and heartfelt than she could have ever envisioned.

Under the guiding hand of Kim and with a spirited team of selfless friends and family rallying together, a tapestry rich with love and personal touches came to life. It was a genuine testimony to the warm bonds Lindie has built through the years, spanning generations of friendships that converged to share this joyous day.

With a toast that echoed far deeper than words, Sallie spoke of the profound connections that bind us, touching every heart and affirming the deep-seated bonds we often feel but cannot see.

The ceremony reached a poignant note as Grandpa Oakley imparted wisdom distilled from years of experience. Bridger, speaking with a maturity beyond his years, reflected that their vows were not just promises but a privilege, a perspective that brought depth to their commitment. Underneath a star-kissed sky, they exchanged heartfelt vows, setting forth on a joyful journey together.

The night reached its zenith with a lakeshore send-off that saw the blissful couple riding waves, echoing the adventurous spirit they hold. It was a symbolic start to their journey ahead, witnessed by a sky dotted with twinkling stars and the glowing faces of loved ones.

To everyone who infused this celebration with love and sincere efforts, thank you. Here’s to Lindie and Bridger, and to a future brimming with love, joy, and boundless adventures together. 

Jaren

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A New Beginning Under Infinite Stars: Anticipating Lindie and Bridger’s Journey of Love and Discovery

It feels like just yesterday Lindie was our little girl, full of grand dreams and pure love. Now, she is about to start an exhilarating new chapter with Bridger, a man who shares her kind heart and strong spirit.

Looking back, we always hoped that our home would be a place filled with faith, love, and endless possibilities. It warms our hearts to see that dream realized as we watch Lindie and Bridger stand together, ready to nurture those same values as they build a life together.

Dear Lindie and Bridger, as you step into this beautiful new beginning, we encourage you to dream without limits, grounded in mutual respect and a deep understanding for each other. Be one another’s haven, partner in every adventure, and a source of constant love and support.

To our dear friends and loved ones reading this, we invite you to join us in showering Lindie and Bridger with blessings as infinite as the stars and wishes that come from the deepest corners of our hearts.

As we await the beautiful day dawning tomorrow, we are filled with joy and anticipation, eager to witness all the tender gazes exchanged and the cherished memories that they will begin crafting in their journey together. Like the timeless words of Karen Carpenter, they’ve “only just begun” to live, walking this exciting road hand in hand, step by step, dreaming, learning, and sharing their lives, with so much life ahead to spend together, filled with moments of happiness and joy.

Jaren

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Embracing the Beauty of Now: Profound Lessons with My Granddaughters at the Swiss Days Celebration

Amidst the animated atmosphere of Swiss Days, I found myself sitting with my two granddaughters, eagerly awaiting the performance of the Utah One Voice Children’s Choir. Their popularity had soared on YouTube, and we expected an enjoyable performance. As the melodies flowed, we were engaged, yet it was clear the youthful energy of my granddaughters was ever-present, their spirits teetering between enthusiasm and impatience.

But then, a familiar tune began, and the atmosphere shifted. It was Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.” There’s an indescribable emotion that envelops you when you hear young souls sing about the fragility and profundity of life. As they sang, “He said ‘I was in my early 40’s with a lot of life before me…,'” I felt a profound connection to the message.

Glancing at my granddaughters, I wondered: How were they receiving these words? The narrative of the song, detailing a man’s realization of life’s fleeting nature upon a grave diagnosis, urged us to embrace every moment. The adventures he embarked on were not just thrilling activities, but were emblematic of a desire to experience life more profoundly, to connect more deeply with others, to forgive, and to love more generously.

I was struck with the immediacy of the message. Here I was, with two of the most precious individuals in my life, listening to a poignant reminder to truly live. Would they understand the depth of the lyrics now, or would its profundity dawn upon them later in life?

Life has a tendency to make us lose sight of its beauty amid its routine. This song, in that moment, became a gentle yet powerful reminder to live with purpose and passion. It wasn’t just about grand adventures but about the smaller moments, the smiles shared, the hands held, and the love given and received.

That day, nestled between my two granddaughters, I felt an overwhelming gratitude for the present moment. The song echoed the sentiment: to “live like you were dying” is not a call to recklessness but to richness; to cherish, appreciate, and immerse oneself in the beauty of the now.

I hope that as my granddaughters grow, they remember this day, the song, and its message. To embrace life with an open heart, to find depth in every moment, and to love with all they have. To live as if each day is a precious gift, because indeed, it is.

Jaren

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Blowin’ in the Wind Revisited: The Search for Unity in Today’s Fragmented World

When Bob Dylan’s evocative tones first graced the airwaves with “Blowin’ in the Wind,” it struck a chord in the hearts of millions. It was an era where collective battles raged for universal principles: peace, freedom, and civility. Dylan’s anthem became the soundtrack of a generation bound together in a quest for shared values that transcended borders and races.

Fast forward to today, and the wind seems to have shifted its direction. The grand narrative of unity and commonality that characterized the ’60s has fragmented into a mosaic of individual voices. The modern progressive movement, once heralded as the torchbearer of universal values, is increasingly seen by many as veering towards personal agendas. Foundational principles like the rule of law, which once held a sacrosanct place in societal discourse, are sometimes overshadowed by the fervor of personal convictions.

The chorus of “Blowin’ in the Wind” asked poignant questions about man’s quest for a better world. Today, however, the question might be: “How many individual voices can sing before we lose the melody of unity?” The challenge facing our generation is navigating the fine balance between championing individual rights and preserving the collective values that hold society together.

While Dylan’s era was about converging on shared dreams, today’s world seems to be more about diverging paths. But let us not forget: those who carried the banner then are hailed as heroes today. The call now is for new heroes to rise. Will you become tomorrow’s hero? It may not require moving mountains or forging new paths, but simply having the courage to stand against the wind.

Jaren

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