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Friday, July 4, 2014

First post: Independence Day: Its' meaing and significance

Several people have  spoken to me about starting a blog, so I finally decided to do it. As this blog's title implies, I will be regularly "sounding off" about life: its' joys, sorrows, matters of interest to me, etc. This blog will cover a variety of topics, and will be a better way for me to keep track of my life. I've tried over the years to keep a regular journal, and it hasn't worked out very well for me, especially lately. But I am great at surfing the web, so it's my hope that this blog will keep me motivated to post regular updates about my life and kind of serve as a journal that everyone interested can read to keep up with my life.

It is very fitting that my blog should be started on Independence Day. Why? Because this day is significant to me for several reasons. Having dealt with the preliminaries, I will now post a word or two about what Independence Day means to me.

The first reason Independence Day is significant to me is because of the freedoms I enjoy. I love living in a land that promotes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I treasure the freedom to worship the way I choose. I love living in a land where the gospel was restored in this last dispensation, never again to be taken from the earth. I am a firm believer in respecting the opinions of others, even if and when I disagree with them. I live by a motto in my life: "We can disagree without being disagreeable." Disagreements can and will come as a natural and regular part of life. What is unnatural is to take these disagreements as a personal affront to  one's values and beliefs. It is possible to not see eye to eye with someone but to still be respectful of them and their views. Civility in public and private discourse will always yield the best results, more so than any other option.

The second reason Independence Day is significant to me is because of those who have gone before, whether their fight for freedom has been more visible and  prominent or private and sanctimonious. I particularly remember those I know who have fought for the freedoms I enjoy. These include but are not limited to my brother-in-law, Lyle Hickman, my paternal uncle, Gary Stokes, my paternal grandfather, Dean Stokes, my good friend Matt Price, our Founding Fathers, and so many more I don't have room to name.

Also no less significant are those who have died for the causes they embraced. I am thinking particularly of Joseph Smith and all the other martyrs  of any religious cause and any others who have lost their lives in pursuit of freedom, religious or otherwise. And most importantly, my Savior, Jesus Christ, who died that I might live forever and be made pure and clean and have eternal life, His greatest gift to me. I owe Him a greater debt than I can ever repay.

Finally, and definitely most importantly, this day is significant to me and ever will be because of what happened to me on this day four years ago. On that day, and every Independence Day since, I have taken my sweet Amy to the grounds of the Mount Timpanogos Temple. There on a quiet bench on the temple grounds in 2010, I proposed marriage to her, and she accepted without hesitation, full well knowing the sacrifices she would willingly make to keep us going. I have made it a tradition to take her to the temple grounds every Independence Day since and re-propose to her. In this way, I renew my commitment to making our marriage work whatever the cost. I have embraced this tradition as a way to celebrate our love and relationship anew every year, and it will be a tradition I carry on forever.

As a final note to this post, my thanks to my sweet Amy for her help in making this blog more artistically pleasing. Her sense of what works and what doesn't will be a great blessing and asset to the success of this blog. Love you, sweetheart, now and forever!

Well, that does it for this blog post. Until I find something else to "sound off" about, I wish all my readers every happiness and success they desire and express my hope that the Lord will bless and prosper you all until my next post. Best wishes, dear readers, for a wonderful Independence Day!