A Place to Call Home

August 13, 2009

Well it finally happened. My daughter and I closed on our new home this week. We got a new realtor who helped us with twice daily emails to show us every house that came on the market that fit our exact specifications. With the see it fast service he provided, we were able to find our perfect home and make an offer just a few days after it hit the market.

If you are looking for a home in Utah contact Nathan T. Olpin www.FindUTHomes.com  801-506-3166 or email Nathan@NathanOlpin.com You’ll be glad you did. He helped us do in a few weeks what we were not able to do in seven months. His superb customer service, custom MLS searches and immediate responses to our requests to view properties was beyond extraordinary.  Thanks Nathan!

Now on to the move – then the projects…  Hum… What color for the Venetian Plaster??? Yes!  We will have a library with room for thousands of books and a conference table. A cozy chair to read in by the fire place… yep, got that too:) What, a dojo and climbing gym in the 30′ x 40′ fully insulated RV garage? You’d better believe it! And the yard… what can I say? Half acre with mature trees including cherry, apple, walnut, maples and pine. A garden, actually several gardens.

DARE TO DREAM! We did and occasionally dreams do come true:)

P.S. – I will try to be better at posting after we get settled in to our new home.

Thanksgiving & Thankfulness

November 30, 2008

For too long, greedy corporations, power hungry individuals and brazen crowds have petitioned, tantrumed, bribed and threaten corrupt and cowardly politicians to destroy the Constitutional liberties of a refined moral society to promote their own selfish agendas. So, I have found something that I am really grateful for this Thanksgiving. I’m not very happy about the change that is coming, but I am certainly grateful for that which is leaving.

Why Rachel Maddow is ‘thankful’ Bush administration is ending

What is it about the Bush administration that makes people so thankful it’s ending?

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow put together a list of Bush officials that have been indicted or resigned abruptly in order to recall “just how bad the bad old times have been.”

Former assistant to the President Felipe Sixto was charged with stealing from a Cuba-related nonprofit organization. Edgar Johnson, who worked for the Department of the Interior, was charged with taking bribes. Julia McDonald, deputy assistant secretary at the Department of the Interior, resigned after an investigation found she gave government documents to lobbyists.

The number two person at the department of the interior, Steven Griles, was sentenced to 10 months as a part of the Jack Abramoff Scandal. Abramoff was also responsible for taking down Roger Stillwell from the Office of Insular Affairs, Robert Coughlin, who was chief of the criminal division at the Justice Department, and David Safavian, who was chief of staff in the General Services Administration.

Lester Crawford, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, who resigned and pled guilty to holding stock in companies that he was regulating. Claude Allen was the assistant to the president for domestic policy. He resigned for a scheme of defrauding Target stores.

Brian Doyle was deputy press secretary for Homeland Security. He went to prison for child porn. Frank Figueroa also worked for Homeland Security as head of Operation Predator and got in trouble for exposing himself to a girl in a mall.

John Korsmo, chairman of the Federal Housing Board, was convicted of lying about inviting banks that he was supposed to be regulating to a fundraiser for a Congressional candidate. His wife — deputy chief of staff at the Labor Department — also lost her job in the scandal.

Head of the ATF, Charles Truscott, resigned for ordering employees to help his child with a school project.

Ken Tomlinson was chairman for public broadcasting and resigned after he was exposed for running a horse racing operation out of his office.

The executive director of the CIA, Dusty Foggo, pleaded guilty in the Duke Cunningham bribery scandal.

Janet Rehnquist, who is daughter of the late Supreme Court Justice, resigned from her position as Inspector General after it was learned she delayed an audit of Florida’s pension fund at the request of Jeb Bush.

Deputy assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks David Smith, resigned after killing a buffalo and accepting the corpse as a gift.

Philip Cooney was chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality and resigned when it was discovered that he revised scientific reports on global warming. A press aide at NASA, George Deutsch, resigned for keeping the governments’ top scientist from talking about climate change.

The administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Thomas Scully, resigned after pressuring employees to say the medicare drug bill would costs less than it really would. Sean Tunnis, also of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, faked documentation about his medical education.

Bernie Kerik was going to be head of Homeland Security before he was indicted. Scooter Libby, the vice presidents chief of staff, was convicted on four felony counts of lying in the CIA leak case. And finally, Alberto Gonzales, who resigned from his position as Attorney General after being accused of lying to Congress about the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys.

Beijing Olympic Winners and Losers

August 19, 2008

By Janet Walgren
Like most folks, my eyes have been glued to the television set ever since the Olympics began. Having been a national caliber athlete myself, it amazes me when someone who gets a silver or bronze medal is talked about as if they were a loser. It is laughable in a sad sort of way.

Although I won or placed in every tournament I ever competed in and mostly took first place, I never felt like a loser when I took second. Heck, when it comes to the Olympics, an athlete is a winner to even get to the opening ceremonies as a competitor.

Another thing that I have found amusing is the astonishment that the reporters express when they describe friendships amongst athletes who are competitors back home. Well this is another ‘NEWS FLASH,’ competition ends and long standing friendships continue after the game or the match. Heck, I loved the tournament parties and the weekend stays at the tournament host’s house.

It has been my experience that rivalry is the stuff that news is made of, not the stuff that athletes are imbued with when the day is done. In all my years of experience, I was never aware of any animosity between athletes off the mat.

I wish I could be a mouse in an athlete’s pocket in the Olympic Village and watch as all the new friendships that are being forged while the world’s best athletes celebrate together.

Anyway, I hope that you are enjoying the games as much as I am.

I’ll get back to regular posting after the Olympics.

Beijing Olympics

August 10, 2008

By Janet Walgren
My eyes will be glued to the Olympics for the next several days. Here is the link to the official Beijing Olympic website. I think my favorite thing about the opening ceremony was everything. The scope was incredible, the precision and execution amazing, the artistry exquisite, the numbers of ordinary people involved – very, very heart warming to say the least. I appreciate the cooperation, discipline, vision and countless hours that it took to put on such a performance. Wow!

My favorite style – the beautiful red dresses worn by the Chinese women leading each country’s athletes into the stadium. The dresses were elegant, refined, stunning and modest. (I hope that the pattern and fabric will be made available to the world. Perhaps they will sell them online:))

My favorite part of the opening ceremony was the lighting of the torch. It was amazing. I think it is and will remain my all time favorite Olympic torch ever.

My favorite image – the tall basketball player holding the nine year old boy who knew his duty.

I hope that each of you will take a little time out from blogging and your other everyday activities to celebrate with the world during the Olympics.


Judo, my favorite sport

July 1, 2008

By Janet Walgren
I’ve been compiling some histories, both personal and family, during my down time. Perhaps you would be interested in learning a little about, and seeing, my favorite sport which is Judo.

Yep, that’s me throwing Jim Harrison in a women’s self-defense demonstration

I did lots of demonstrations in front of thousands of people for about ten years. Most of the self-defense routines consisted of karate and jujitsu techniques followed by a judo throw.

I broke my first board in front of thousands of people during a demonstration.  Jim sprung it on me; it was a surprise. I had never tried to break a board before. I was so nervous that I missed the boards he was holding on the first try and caught him hard with a back kick in the chest. Man did he ever deserve it. Thankfully, I broke the board on my second try or he would have broken my … when we got back to the dojo.

You don’t really hear much about Judo because judo doesn’t pay big profits like the other martial arts.  Jim Harrison promoted my karate tournament wins like crazy because it was good for business.

I was in in TV commercials,  newspaper articles, Karate Magazines, home shows, tournament half-time shows, and even featured at the 1968 World Fair because my karate accomplishments were good for everybody’s business.

In 1975 author, Bob Wall, listed me in the very first Who’s Who in the Martial Arts. Well known karate greats like Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee were also listed in that same edition.

When I was going through some of the newspaper clippings last Sunday, I found an interesting clipping detailing the tournament standings for a karate tournament. Check out the name of the winners. Chuck Norris was the lightweight finalist in the men’s black belt division.

Here is a photo of my winning back kick. I won every match with this powerful kick. Note the bend that is still in my leg. By the time my leg was straight, my opponent was out of the ring on her back side.

So why do I prefer judo to karate when I was so good at karate? Well for starters, Judo doesn’t involve knives.

For years when Jim was developing his knife defenses, he would appear suddenly and hand me a big wicked looking knife and say, “Come at me hard with a thrust!” Or, “Try to stab me with an overhand or lunge at me holding the knife like so.”

I knew if I didn’t come full force, I would get beaten up as he demonstrated what he wanted me to do. And, if I did come at him full force, I was still in for a bruising.

When people read his magazine articles about knife defenses, they said wow! They never stopped to ask, “How did he figure that out?” but I could have told them.

I like judo because it is relaxing. It is cool to throw someone and know that you really did it. It is also relaxing to be thrown. It is kind of like a nice relaxing full body massage.

Judo is a sport that requires self-discipline.

It is a great sport for young kids because they have to develop self-discipline to be able to use it. In order to learn the throws, you have to cooperate with your partner. Judo teaches cooperation.

Judo translates “the gentle way” because you use your opponents strength and momentum to throw them, and it is a life sport that doesn’t take a huge toll on your body.

My favorite judo player was a man named Paul. He was an old, tall, skinny, Ichabod Crane type of fellow who would come to our dojo to work out about twice a week.

Paul would just stand there, hardly moving a muscle as the young bucks attacked him furiously. Then there would be a slight move of his hand and a quick sweep of his foot and the young muscle head he had partnered with found himself on the mat. Paul would help the guy to his feet, but that would only last for a second before he found himself on the mat again.

The young guys had a hard workout but Paul seldom broke a sweat. I don’t think I ever saw anyone throw Paul. He was simply marvelous.

Check out this link on youtube to see a quick demonstration of the classic judo throws. This is a great credit card commercial:

I did a lot of women’s self-defense demonstrations in the 60’s and 70’s to promote the martial arts and women’s participation in them. Judo wasn’t introduced into the Olympics until 1964 and women didn’t participate until 1988 as a demonstration sport. The first women’s Olympic Judo medals were awarded in 1992. I guess that makes me a woman pioneer in women’s judo. Those who trained me were Jim Harrison, Jim Lindell, guest resident sensei Kim Jong Woo and guest sensei Dr. Park Sung Jae.

Cents and Sensibility

March 19, 2008

By Janet Walgren
An old Marine Corp Commandant once said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that hurts you, it’s what you know for sure that ain’t so.” Well, I half agree and half disagree with his statement especially when it comes to money. What you don’t know about money can hurt you, and what you know about money that just ain’t so only makes matters worse. When politicians and the FED talk about money, their cents don’t add up to sensibility.

Imagine not knowing how to tread water. If you fell into a swimming pool without a life vest, you would probably drown. If you did know how to tread water, and you fell into a swimming pool, your chances for survival would improve significantly…agreed? Well it depends on whether the swimming pool was in your back yard or on the deck of the Titanic. Knowing how to tread water (or even being an Olympic swimmer) wouldn’t help you survive if you were in a pool on a sinking ship.

Knowing how to earn money, even very large amounts of money, will not make you rich if your money boat leaks. You have to stop the leaks. Our [America’s] money boat is taking on water. The bottom of our boat is riddled with holes. If we don’t immediately demand fiscal responsibility and good money management practices from our government, our collective and individual  money boats are going to sink just like the Titanic! 

The government can change laws, print money, raise taxes and sell bonds. They can issue guarantees backed by a powerful printing press and reduced interest rates on your savings, but all these measures just add more holes in the bottom of our financial boat. We need to stop treading water in the pool on the deck of a sinking ship. We need to begin the hard work of patching the holes in the bottom of our money boat before the hole takes on Titanic proportions. We need to demand fiscal responsibility from our politicians. We need to demand sensibility with our collective cents.

The Price of Knowledge

February 27, 2008

By Janet Walgren
There is a certain responsibility and accountability that comes with knowledge. William Wilberforce (1759-1833), a British statesman and member of Parliament who toiled out his days fighting to abolish the slave trade said, “Having heard all of this, you may choose to look the other way… but you can never say again that you did not know.”

In the D&C, Section 123: 13-17, the Prophet Joseph Smith instructed the saints on their duty in relation to the persecution that had been heaped upon them:

Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven –

These should then be attended to with great earnestness.

 Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.

You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.

Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

The Mormons were suffering severe persecution at the time of this proclamation. The prophet Joseph Smith was imprisoned in the Liberty, Missouri jail. The jailers had given him human flesh from a slave for a meal (that he didn’t eat) and were boasting of raping the Mormon women. The Mormons had been driven from state to state and Governor Boggs, of the state of Missouri, issued an extermination order against the Mormons. (The political power of a voting block that was against slavery was considered a threat to swing states and others, especially those in the clergy of other churches, didn’t like Joseph Smith’s claim of having a vision where he saw God the father of our spirits and Jesus Christ, his son.)

Today physical slavery still exists in many parts of the world including the United States. Works of darkness and evil still prevail around the globe. Governments are bribed and corrupted. Voters are lied to. Consumers are defrauded. Financial slavery has reached pandemic proportions with no government that dares to check the power of the global financial elite. There is a war of evil against all that is good among men. A secret combination here and silence there enables the enemy of righteousness to conduct this clandestine war which results in carnage and havoc among all the nations of the earth.

So, what do you know? Knowledge is never free. 

Organize Yourself

February 24, 2008

By Janet Walgren
In the cannon of scripture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there is a book called The Doctrine and Covenants, commonly referred to as the D&C. It is a book explaining the history and government of the church. The book also gives guidelines on how to live in order to maximize your successes in various aspects of life. In one section, it gives a sequence to use in establishing a home and family:

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God:  D&C 88: 118-119

 Lately I have watched the lives of several acquaintances, neighbors and friends unfold and I have come to recognize that a multitude of problems could have been prevented if the individuals had followed not only the counsel above, but also the sequence.

An unlearned, undisciplined or disorganized person be it a spouse, leader, friend or what ever is a very hard act to follow.

Parking your bad habits

February 14, 2008

By Janet Walgren
I had a friend who loved donuts so much that she ate dozens every day. Then one day her doctor warned her that if she didn’t stop eating donuts she would soon die of a heart attack. My friend was devastated. Why hadn’t someone warned her sooner about the harmful effects that donuts have on the body? She vowed to make a change in her diet and promised her doctor that she would give up donuts completely. She was going on the wagon!

On the way home from her doctors my friend passed her favorite donut shop. Just the thought of chocolate donuts made her salivate. She reasoned that it wouldn’t hurt her to have a farewell donut this one last time, but just to make sure it was OK, she thought she would ask for a sign. “I will drive through the parking lot,” she thought to herself, “If there is a parking spot directly in front of the donut shop, it will be a sign that it is OK to have just one more donut.” Well sure enough, on her seventh trip around the parking lot there was a spot directly in front of the donut shop and before she knew it, she heard herself saying, “I’ll have a dozen of the chocolate donuts and…”

This may seem a little bit funny if donuts are not your problem, but we all have our favorite sins and transgressions.  How many trips around the parking lot does it take you to justify your harmful habits and inapropriate behaviors? Do you have habits that you need to overcome or areas in your life that could use improvement? This is my year to do better! How about you?

The Transition Child

February 10, 2008

By Janet Walgren
In a lecture at BYU, historian author, David McCullough stated:

One of the hardest, and I think the most important, realities of history to convey to students or readers of books or viewers of television documentaries is that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened. Any great past event could have gone off in any number of different directions for any number of different reasons….Very often we are taught history as if it were predetermined, and if that way of teaching begins early enough and is sustained through our education, we begin to think that it had to have happened as it did. We think that there had to have been a Revolutionary War, that there had to have been a Declaration of Independence, that there had to have been a Constitution, but never was that so. In history, chance [divine providence] plays a part again and again. Character counts over and over. Personality is often the determining factor in why things turn out the way they do.

 BYU Magazine, Winter 2006.

I fully agree and some what disagree with his thesis. History didn’t have to happen that way. I absolutely believe that. One of the greatest gifts that God gave to each of his children is agency. Agency allows for choice; we are free to choose our destiny and consequently the destiny of nations. History is a matter of choice. However, choice is bigger than this world, and history began before we arrived at this stop on our eternal journey. History is eternal in nature and God, being the omniscient being that he is, perfectly understood the nature of each of his children before he sent them on their journey to mortality. God understood how we would use our agency and so, before the world began; he prepared contingency plans to correct the course of individuals, families and nations.

It is a common belief that when God wants something to happen, a baby is born. I call these special babies “Transition Children.” There are many famous transition people that the world commonly accepts to have been foreordained to alter the course of history. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Joseph are just a few that are mentioned in the Bible. Then there were the wonderful men and women of the reformation whose blood paved the way for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gandhi altered the history of India, and the signers of the Declaration of Independence altered the course of The United States of America. All were brave transition people to whom we owe a debt of gratitude and service.

Why is it that a concept that is so commonly accepted when applied to religion or to history is not very well accepted when applied to individuals or the family? Why is it that learned men of science, psychologists, and doctors of psychiatry tell us that labeling is bad and yet every word that proceeds out of their mouths label individuals, project behaviors, and predict outcomes that stifle the productive righteous use of agency in the people they purport to help?

Think about the messages that you have heard; “Children in broken homes”… go ahead; you can finish the sentence – “are much more likely to become drug addicts, alcoholics, immoral and predestine to divorce than children in a ‘normal’ family.” In other words, divorce produces defective goods. I am not so sure that I agree with that thesis. I believe that the behaviors that caused the divorce cause the damage. I believe that the negative behaviors that are attributed to divorce would still manifest if the marriage had remained in tact and the causal behaviors that contributed to the divorce remained unchecked.

Frequently women allow their children to be abused because of their own dependency needs. These women claim to be co-victims of the abuser. I say nay. You are not co-victims with your children; you are co-abusers with your husbands! Your family is broken and if you can’t check the abusive behavior in your marriage, then you need to fix your broken family by getting a divorce. 

Ultimately, healing from abuse in the Lord’s way involves leaving behind false and destructive family beliefs, traditions, loyalties, or even ties when they serve to disregard the sanctity of life… when one has the power mentally and physically to protect one’s self or other vulnerable people (children, elderly, handicapped), one has the right and the responsibility to do so, even if it means the disruption of family relationships.

Strengthening Our Families, pg 273. 

I once heard of a young woman who asked her counselor why some little girls come into families that love and treasure them while other little girls come into families where they are terribly abused. This inspired counselor told her that she had come into a family that had destroyed the human spirit and the virtue of man for generations. He told her that she had volunteered to come to that family as a transition child and that from her would spring a nation, a posterity of righteous individuals who would honor God and love and nurture their children. She had volunteered to endure abuse to change the course of history.

Why it is so hard for children of divorce to accept that “that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened?” Why is the good behavior of children in single parent families labeled an anomaly, deviant and overcompensating? Who are the teachers that teach us that history is predetermined?  “If that way of teaching begins early enough and is sustained through our education, we begin to think that it had to have happened as it did.” We know that, In history, chance [divine providence] plays a part again and again. Character counts over and over. Personality is often the determining factor in why things turn out the way they do. BYU Magazine, Winter 2006. Why not apply the transition child theory to individuals and families as well?

In honor of a prophet

February 4, 2008

By Janet Walgren
A week ago Sunday, prophet Gordon B. Hinckley died at the age of 97. He was the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the last 13 years and served in the church leadership for over 40 years. He was full of love for all people and lived an exemplary life. He testified of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon and asked us to read and pray about it. In honor of Prophet Hinckley, I will be joining with over 22,240 other people in reading The Book of Mormon in 97 days. If you would like to join us go to http://www.hinckleychallenge.com/ and sign up. This will require reading about 6 pages per day. Below is a graph to chart my progress.

Treasures of India

January 27, 2008

By Janet Walgren
A few weeks ago Archana posted some pictures of India’s countryside on her blog. I commented and asked her to post more about India. She did and dedicated the blog post to me:

Tribal Art of India
January 25, 2008 by Archana

A couple of weeks back I had written a post on my visit to the Countryside. I received the following comment from Janet Walgren:

“In America we only see the travel posters with snake charmers or news clips of crowded buses and poverty stricken slums full of starving people. I am certain that I have never seen a photo that would entice me to travel to your country until now. You showed me a face of India that I have never seen before … I do hope that you will post more photos to show the world the beauty that surrounds you.” I was really moved by her comment. It also made me realize, that not only abroad but even in India many people are unaware of the treasures that lie hidden in their own country. I dedicate this post to Janet Walgren.My cousin sister is an artist and has great interest in tribal art forms of India. These pictures are from her collection. Most of these art forms are associated with religious rituals and boast of an unbroken tradition of many hundreds and in some case 1000s of years.

I was touched by the art and especially intrigued by the four prints of “The Tree of Life” I encourage you to check out Archana’s post and hope that you find it as interesting as I did.

If we now shun the fight

January 19, 2008

By Janet Walgren
Recently I discovered the movie Amazing Grace. I didn’t know the story before. The movie was excellent and it had a profound impact on my thoughts. The movie tells a true story about the fight to end the British slave trade. It didn’t glorify the debauchery in graphic cinematic detail, it used words which ultimately proved much more powerful in conveying the awful realities of the trade. I was sickened at the inhumanity of man back then, but then I wondered if we aren’t just as guilty in our own unique modern way. The movie left me with many thoughts to ponder, thoughts about the inequities and injustices of today’s world, thoughts about great men and our own standing in eternity. I feel a need for deep introspection and careful evaluation of my own worthiness. How is my life stacking up compared with my possibilities and capabilities?

I have oft heard people exclaim how they would like to meet a great author, artist, statesman, or religious figure in the next life.  I wonder, how could I ever think to stand in the presence of such amazing men and women when my own life, my own endeavors are so pathetic, so trivial, so meaningless. Would not a crowd of adoring fans such as I be like a swarm of gnats to be swept from the face of greatness? Perhaps if we want to stand in the presence of greatness, our trial, our work is to shun our lives of ease and ease the burdens of the oppressed, the downtrodden, those who lack faith. Every person that has ever walked this earth was sent here to make a difference. I ask myself, what difference have I made? Are you making a difference?

Embracing Change

January 11, 2008

By Janet Walgren
The Blue Man Group has a fun music video about our planet Earth. It goes like this:

Your attention please. Thank you for choosing Earth as your planetary vehicle. We hope you enjoy the many wonderful features of this planet as you’re hurdled through the cosmos. Please note; however, that in the event of continued inaction in the face of global warming your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device. Also, please take a moment to locate this planet’s emergency exits. As you can see, there are none.

The words remind us that change and a need for action are an essential part of living life. From the very moment that we are conceived to the moment we die, change is happening within us and all around us. Indeed, without change, there is no life. Whether it is the breaths we take that feed oxygen to our bodies while removing wasteful gases, or the atmospheric changes resulting from a volcanic eruption, whether it is the clear spring water cleansing and nourishing all that surrounds it, or a sulfuric hot spring full of thermophilic bacteria with all its diverse usefulness, all elements combine to make the changes that are essential to sustain life on planet Earth.  

Being that change is essential to life, why is it human nature to resist change? I know that it isn’t human nature to resist all change. Who in their right mind would resist breathing? Why? Because we understand the necessity of the function to sustain life. But, did you know that volcanoes are also essential to sustain life? They are! Who would resist a clear stream of pure water? Why? Again we understand the necessity of pure water to sustain life. Did you know that sulfuric hot spring full of thermophilic bacteria are also essential to sustain life? My point here is that it is only human nature to resist those changes that are not understood or are unknown. Once known and understood, our resistance, for the most part, changes to acceptance of that which is for our benefit. 

What is true about change in sustaining life is also true about change sustaining our livelihoods, and again, it must be acknowledged that it is human nature to resist unknown changes. Obviously, we don’t resist a promotion, an increase in business, or a raise. But, when change is all around us and we are comfortable with the status quo, we resist changes involving the unknown that take us out of our comfort zones. Rarely is it possible to see the light at the end of the tunnel when change is essential to our livelihoods, that is why it is called the unknown. So it becomes human nature to sit and wait for the light to come out of the tunnel and all too often the light is a freight train that catches us completely unawares and mows us down. What is it about our natures that causes this phenomena? There is a fun little book, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson that explores this question.

In the book, there are four characters living in a maze.  Two are mice named Sniff and Scurry. Sniff sniffs out change early and Scurry takes action immediately. The other two characters are little people named Hem and Haw. Hem fears change and denies it. Haw eventually learns to adapt to change when he learns that changing leads to something better. All are enjoying the abundant life at Cheese Station C and welcome the status quo. Then, one morning, things change. They wake up to find there is no more cheese. As the story progresses, you will come to recognize that there is a little Sniff and Scurry, Hem and Haw in all of us. And, you will learn the lesson, “It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situation.”

Isn’t that powerful? Are you in a cheeseless situation? What would it take to get you out searching the maze? Is more courage what you need? Perhaps you need more confidence, information, education or training. Is an evaluation of your inner resources in order?

A friend of mine developed this form to help people facilitate successful changes in their lives. I share it with his permission. First write your own personal Mission Statement then set some goals and fill out a project sheet for each category:


What is your why?

GOALS to accomplish by the end of 2008

1. (health)
2. (Spiritual)
3. (Emotional)
4. (Financial)

Project Sheet (fill out one for each category) Health, Spiritual, Emotional and Financial

Mission Statement: 

Step 1:  Goal Statement
Step 2:  Why?
Step 3:  Analyze Current Position
Step 4:  Identify Risks Real and Imaginary
Step 5:  Identify Obstacles
Step 6:  Identify Investments and Sacrifices in Time and Money
Step 7:  Identify Additional Knowledge you will Need
Step 8:  Identify People you will Need to Help You
Step  9:  Plan of Accomplishing Mission
15 days
30 days
45 days
60 days
75 days
90 days
Step 10:  Deadline
Step  11:  What will my Reward be 

Remember, “It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situation.” I hope that you will learn to understand and embrace change, that you will “Move with the cheese and enjoy it” as you work to reach your goals,.

Broken horses and broken hearts

January 8, 2008

By Janet Walgren
Whenever people gather and begin to discuss topics that they feel passionate about, each thinking that they totally understand the topic, each coming from diverse educational, cultural and spiritual backgrounds, each having experiences in different paradigms, the resulting conversation oft times becomes lively, engaging and even amusing. I call these conversations taleidoscope conversations because each person is viewing the same concept or object through the reflection in their own unique taleidoscope’s mirrors. I love these conversations; a person with a careful ear and a willing heart can learn a lot in the listening. One can even learn to know and understand the “Word” or view the world in totally different and very interesting ways.

I recently heard a man talking about about horses. Now I’m not an equestrian. Actually I know relatively little about horses. I know that they are animals possessing four legs and and that you pet the head end and stay away from the tail end. I know that they eat oats and that you don’t need a key to start them. I know that you use spurs instead of a gas pedal to make them go and that they can be quite useful at times especially when you run out of gas or road.

Anyway, being a curious sort of person, when I heard the man talking about horses, my interest was aroused. First he was talking about wild horses. I love wild horses. I have seen movies of wild horses running across the desert being chased by cowboys… the horses were magnificent. What did he say? Wild horses are dangerous? Well they didn’t look dangerous in the movies. Next he started talking about horses born in captivity that haven’t been trained. He said that they are self-willed and not good for anything useful.  Then he explained a little about the process of breaking a horse. Breaking a horse??? My imagination takes a side trip… Doesn’t Webster’s Dictionary definine the word “break or broken” as:

  1. violently separated into parts: shattered
  2. damaged or altered by breaking: as having undergone or been subjected to fracture 
  3. land surfaces: being irregular, interrupted, or full of obstacles
  4. violated by transgression <a ~promise> 
  5. discontinuous, interrupted… made weak or infirm
  6. subdued completely : crushed <~spirit>
  7. bankrupt
  8. reduced in rank 
  9. cut off: disconnected

Coming back to reality I realize that by now the horse is broken. Oh no! I missed the process…  

 When a horse is newly trained but somewhat unpredictable, the horse is referred to as “green broke.” A green broke horse will either become submissive and  fully broke with practice, or it will learn that if it resists being bridled and causes enough trouble for its rider, its rider will eventually go away.

What was that he said about a bridle? My mind wandered again…

Webster’s Dictionary has two sets of definitions for the word “bridle.” The first definition deals with an object:

  1. the headgear with which a horse is governed and which carries a bit and reins.
  2. a strip of metal joining two parts of a machine esp. for restraining motion…

The second definition is concerning action or doing:

  1. to put a bridle on
  2. to restrain, check or control with or as if with a bridle
  3. to get or keep under restraint <you must learn to bridle your tongue>
  4. to show hostility or resentment (as to an affront to ones pride or dignity) by drawing back the head and chin…

I can picture reins and a bit fastened to a bridle. Back to his story… He is now talking about a fully broke horse, one that is submissive and has learned to become one with its rider. This time I’m paying attention…

A fully broke horse will gallop, trot or cantor at its rider’s command. It will turn to the right or the left with only the slightest movement of the reigns. It can be taught highly advanced skills by its trainer, somewhat like becoming a highly skilled athlete even an Olympian. Such a horse is very useful as it submits to its rider who has neither bridle, bit or reins. And interestingly enough both horse and rider have a lot of fun performing together. Very interesting, but now it is time to go to Sunday School Class…

The teacher poses a question. “What does it mean to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit? What does it mean to bridle our tongues?”

Could it be that the Lord wants us to be like the fully broke horse, spirited, useful, capable, strong, but with a heart willing to submit to God, a heart that is “fully broke,” a heart willing to allow God to place a bridle on us so that we become one with the Lord?

The Twin Gifts of Memory and Imagination

January 3, 2008

By Janet Walgren 
Another year has come and gone with all its promise and potential fading into the memories of the past. They are warm and happy memories for the most part. Today is my birthday and I am pleased to announce that I made it to 61! Today a new year greets me. It is full of promise and potential to create dreams to fill my imagination. That is the magic of life; memories are for the past and imagination is for the future. This past year I have gained a new found understanding and appreciation for these twin gifts of memory and imagination.

Not too long ago, Ben wrote about memories. He used phrases like:

“Getting distracted by wistful and nostalgic memories of…”
“I was skimming through… when memories of… started washing through me.”
“With delight I recalled the feel of…”
“It’s the excitement of…”

Then he concluded:

But then I had to wonder, was it really like that? When I was actually in… did I feel that way? I don’t think I did. Sure, there were brief moments of exhilaration scattered here and there, but for the most part… it just felt normal. Not at all the magical experience I’d expected… I think that’s generally how things go. I’m not saying that joy lives solely in the past, or that disillusionment is the order of the day. But the passage of time gives memory a texture and a flavor that simply wasn’t there when the events themselves happened. Nostalgia sugarcoats the past with a bittersweet icing.

My memories have taken on a rose-colored tint. Now, not all memories are nostalgic, of course, but it’s surprising how many are. I look back with fond affection… I’m sure that the feelings I’m ladling out weren’t actually there when I was living it, so they’re not historically accurate, but they are nice. ~Ben Crowder

Two days ago was the beginning of a new year. Today starts the beginning of a new year for me. I love new beginnings, each day a blank slate full of promise waiting for us to fill as we allow our imaginations to soar to new heights.

I love the fact that everyone is endowed with the gift of imagination. Our imagination allows us to be vulnerable while we experience situations vicariously then invent the version of the person that we want to become before we act on our thoughts. We know that vicarious and imagined experiences can have a very real emotional and physical effect on us. Therefore, our imagination will, in part, determine our successes or our failures. I am beginning to understand that our imagination is a far more pertinent and useful tool than I had ever suspected. Could it be that our imaginations are vital to our becoming perfected? It is our imagination that allows us to hope, to dream, to become and to strive to reach our goals. Imagination provides us with the ability to be enlightened, empathetic and charitable. It is food for our feelings.

As I have thought about memories and imagination, I find myself filled with wonder. Could it be that these wonderful twin gifts that God has endowed us with are the gifts that were used by Jesus Christ to accomplish the atonement? We know that through some inexplicable process he experienced all of our pain and suffered for our sins.

For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit… and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink… Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men. ~Doctrine & Covenants 19: 16-19.

Could it be that Christ’s Godly attributes of a perfect memory and a perfect imagination were integral parts of the atonement? Could it be that our own memories and imaginations are vital to our becoming perfected? We know that we are going to be judged for our thoughts which include our memories and the things that we imagine. Therefore, our thoughts, our memories, our imaginations will in part determine our eternal reward or punishment.

Before this year, I had never thought about memory and imagination this way and I have a new found sense of gratitude for these wonderful twin gifts. I am starting to understand that they are two of the tender mercies of the Lord. 

In this new year I pray that your memories of years gone by may be sugarcoated enough to heal any broken hearts and your imagination will be strong enough to provide a compass for an exciting future that will lead you safely home to God.

I wish each of you the very best in 2008. Happy New Year!

Year End Review/Life In Review

January 1, 2008

By Janet Walgren

Year End Review~
2007 was an excellent year. One of the best that I have had in a very long time. I was able to accomplish several of my goals and see my youngest daughter do the same.  

Financially – my daughter and I were able to greet the new year debt free with the exception of student loans. We were both able to greet the new year with a very nice amount of savings in our individual bank accounts. We both have good jobs that we like and all of our possessions are paid for.

Physically – we are in better health than we were a year ago. For several years now I have needed an operation to restore the sight in my left eye. I now have the funds and the medical insurance to provide for the operation. My doctor appointment to start the process is on the 4th so I am very excited. We have started a new exercise regime and altered our diet and lifestyle so we are excited for the prospects that this new year will bring.

Spiritually – we are happy with our lives and feel very content. There are seasons in life and 2007 was a season of harvest, a season of wonderful blessings. God was very good to us last year. We know that God loves, blesses and chastens all of his children. We know that all seasons have an end. As we enter this new year we are grateful for the past seasons of our lives and look forward with faith to what ever God sees fit to bestow on our heads for our profit and learning.

Life In Review ~
Tonight my daughter and I went on a ride to view the Christmas lights for the last time this season. As we were driving we were talking about our lives and our accomplishments. My daughter graduated from college this year. She got the job that she really wanted. She loves her job and the company that she works for. My job has been going very well and recently I have been given new opportunities that will be fun and challenging.

I have six wonderful children and eleven awesome grandchildren that I am totally in love with. I am pleased with my family and the progress that they are making in developing their potential. We love and respect each other. We are friends.

As we were driving and talking, we passed the J. Ruben Clark Law School on BYU’s campus. (I wanted to go to law school when I was in college but my health and my eyesight prevented further education at the time I graduated.) Next, we passed the Provo, Utah temple. As we drove past the law school and then the temple, I had an interesting thought come to mind. Although I am happy and satisfied with my life, I wondered how my life was measuring up compared to my potential. Would God be satisfied with my life? I wondered, will I be satisfied with my life when God shows me what my true potential was, or will I be disappointed? I vowed to do better in 2008.

How is your life stacking up?

America’s path to captivity

December 12, 2007

By Janet Walgren
I received an email a couple weeks ago about an exchange student from a third world country who asked his college professor, “Do you know how to catch a wild boar?”

Now that is a question that conjures up all sorts of interesting images in ones mind. First, you have a large hairy animal with hoofs and tusks… the student went on to answer his own question…

“It’s really very simple. All you have to do is find where the boars are and put out some food. Once the boars are used to eating the food instead of foraging, you simply put up one side of a fence near the food. After the boars are used to the fence they will go back to eating the food. Next, you put up another side of the fence and repeat the process until you have built a coral with a gate. Then, all you have to do is close the gate and you will have captured an entire herd of wild boar simply by closing the gate.”

 Imagine that a herd of wild boar could be captured by simply closing a gate while they were enjoying a free lunch. Is that what you imagined? Think about the next generation that is born in captivity. They wouldn’t even know how to forage. And, the next generation wouldn’t even know that there was food on the other side of the fence.

Isn’t that what has happened to Americans today? Our ancestors who built America were farmers and entrepreneurs. They worked hard for a living as did their children. It was a family venture to survive. The next generation worked for the entrepreneurs. It involved less hard work and personal risk than entrepreneuring. Their children grew up to work for large corporations and retired with gold watches.

Today with outsourcing, downsizing, big box retailers and fast food giants providing the jobs there is little left for the worker to feast on in the corals of mega-business. Americans are working less than 40 hours a week for $6.00 to $8.00 dollars per hour and feel lucky to have their jobs. Others are being shot at in Iraq because they they had no other job options and couldn’t afford an education. They didn’t know how to find food in the coral much less on the other side of the fence. Few Americans know how to forage and the numbers who do are dwindling. We are loosing our ability to survive.

We are a nation that is deeply in debt and fast loosing our freedom. We have sold ourselves into slavery because of our debt, our greed, our laziness and our poverty of mind and spirit. All that is left to gain our captivity is to shut the gate of the coral. If this doesn’t scare you, it ought to.

Return to Reason and Vote Intelligently

November 1, 2007

By Janet Walgren
My uncle was a sniper during WWII and the Korean war. He never intended to be one; he was just too good of a shot. He was in almost every major battle in the South Pacific and was an assassin trapped behind enemy lines in Korea after he took out a North Korean General.  His life was pretty intense. For R&R he loved to start a fight then sit on a roof or in a protected corner and watch the brawl; it calmed his nerves. HE WOULD HAVE MADE A GREAT POLITICIAN.

It is election season again. I am 60 years old so I have seen a lot of elections in my life and they are all the same. Only the names of the fighters have changed to protect the anonymous puppeteers. You would think that after several hundred years of practice, Americans would finally get it, but we don’t. During election campaigns, we willingly brawl with each other as candidate after candidate starts fight after fight while their puppeteers sit in a protected corner of the universe stealing our liberty, our freedoms, our government and our country. Why are we sleeping? Why can’t we wake up to the truth? What is the Constitutional job description for the office? Is the candidate experienced and capable of doing THE JOB described?

Politics is a divide and conquer game for those who pull the puppet’s strings. That is the real reason that so many contentious issues that are (or at least should be) reserved to the states become hot bed issues in national elections. I think that every voter should have to pass a simple test on the U.S. Constitution before they can register to vote. Seem as how we can’t do that, we should at least find out if the candidates could pass a test on the Constitution.

What do marriage, education and medical issues have to do with the jobs of the U.S. President or Congress? If I went to work and talked all day about marbles, I would get fired. The company that I work for isn’t in the marble business. Issues regarding marriage, education and medicine (abortion) belong to the states. Why should they even be discussed in a campaign for a national office? I would prefer to hear candidates talk about solutions to problems that have or could arise within the scope of their own job descriptions.

Since when can The Judicial Branch tell the local police that they can’t enforce a constitutional law because it will hurt business? Since when can a the Executive Branch decide to rob us of Habeas Corpus? Since when can The Judicial Branch decide to expand the law of eminent domain to allow private corporations to rob us of our land? Where is the oversight, the checks and balances guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution? Judges don’t make laws. They enforce them! Presidents don’t make laws. They administer them! Presidents don’t declare wars! Or at least they shouldn’t. That is the job of Congress. I think that there are too many federal officials in all three branches of our government who are declaring war…war on the U.S. Constitution, war on states rights, war on the legal citizens of the United States of America, war on the entire world. Why? To what end? 

Perhaps it is time that the states that make up America become UNITED and take a stand against the whores in Washington D.C. Our capitol has become the biggest brothel in the world. I hope that every voter will take time to read the U.S. Constitution and really study it. Then, I hope that reason will return and that we, THE CITIZENS of the United States of America, the only ones who own a vote, will unite to vote ALL the whores out of office.

Happiness is a choice

October 2, 2007

By Janet Walgren
I once heard of a man who, when asked how he was, would always answer, “If I were any better, I would be twins.” Then he had a very serious accident that would have killed most men. He fell from a very high tower while working. When he was in the emergency room, he realized that he needed to do something to save his life because the medical staff was acting like they were operating on a dead man. So, when the nurse barked out the question, “Are you allergic to anything?” He answered, “Yes, GRAVITY!” Everyone burst out laughing.  Then he told them that he was going to live and that they should start acting like it.

Have you ever considered how important choice is to your well being? I learned this about two years after my ex-husband disappeared with my sons. One evening I received a phone call that sounded like my little boys. They said, “Mommy, mommy, come find us. We are at the shopping center. Please come find us.” I tried to find out what shopping center, but to no avail, and then there was loud laughter as someone hung up the phone.

The call left me emotionally exhausted. I was a basket case, but then something happened. A voice in my head said, “Janet, he has hurt you as much as he can possibly hurt you unless you give him permission to hurt you more.” It was then that I realized that my sadness had no effect on my ex-husband or my sons. They didn’t know that I was crying at night. They were living their own lives; only my life was being ruined by my grief.

Since that time I have had several occasions to counsel others who were grieving due to a loss, a tragedy, or some kind of abuse. I listen… Then I ask them, “Do you want to be happy?” You see, you can’t always control what happens to you in life and you can’t change history. What you can do is change your attitude and choose to be happy. Happiness really is a choice.