Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving, totally a great time to be thankful.

Thanksgiving is here. Besides my monstrous desire for all things that involve food, which Thanksgiving happily provides, I too have so many other things that I love that involve the Thanksgiving holiday. American football is playing on pretty much every sport station imaginable, everyone in my family is able to get together and enjoy each other’s company, People tend to be happier and ready to get involved to help others on this holiday, maybe it is because we are more thoughtful as we think what we are thankful for, or maybe because Christmas is just around the corner.
Mmmm, Turkey!

Thanksgiving gives the signal that I can start to openly expressing that Christmas is just a few weeks away, that holiday music is now socially acceptable to listen to, rather than sitting in my closet at 2am listening to Frank Sinatra’s Jingle Bells hoping no one catches me and declares me weird, and Christmas decorations go up. . . I don’t know if I like Thanksgiving more because of the holiday itself or that it is the gateway to Christmas.

But let’s fully admit it, I really like Thanksgiving because of all the food, food is so good!
This time of the year really helps me to focus on what I am grateful for as well, there is so much in my life that I could express my absolute gratitude for, there is so much in my life that I am blessed with, so in honor of Thanksgiving! I want to say what I am thankful for, I am going to spew the very first thing that comes to my head, so basically you get to somewhat see how I think . . . don’t try to figure it out, you’ll just hurt yourself.

Things to be Thanksgivingful for:

Great food.
Happy, loving, caring, special and totally awesome family.
Computer screens that open the gateway to the world!
My education at Brigham Young University.
Hard things to challenge me and make me better.
Nice, outgoing people who will fulfill my desire to just meet new people.
Women . . . period!
Youtube to help me understand obscure principles from classes.
Work, I love to work and keep me busy.
Nostalgic 80’s/90’s cartoon shows and their corresponding theme songs.
Smart people who help me get through my classes.
Disney films.
Classic rock, especially 80’s.
Social dancing, like country dancing.
Jason for being a great example serving his mission.
My mission.
Everything Brazilian in existence of the world.
Food . . . I really like food.
Outstanding friends, and new friends that I make constantly.
My country.
Portuguese and other languages that prove too difficult to really learn but make one feel smart anyways.
My parents for raising this little monster here.
Physical activity.
Fantastic movies that allow one to leave their real way existence for a time.
Books that really suck one out of their world, ignoring all other concerns.
Temple worship, it is just so peaceful and fantastic there.
Friends and family who have a real world perspective.
The study of history … historology?
Merciful TAs whom grade your papers and projects.
Cows, they provide me with milk.
Outstanding senior citizens who have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to others, then quickly fall asleep while telling you the true meaning of existence.
Doug from “Up!”
Intelligent conversation.
People with the ability to be serious, but also the ability to goof-off at the right times.

There is my short list of things to be thankful for. People, there is so much. Every day is a new day
with so many great things happening in our lives to be thankful for, there is little reason to let the negative things in our lives surpass the positive when in reality the positive outweigh the negative almost without measurement.

This Thanksgiving, look deep to see what you are thankful for, there is something there, and some of those things you are thankful for might surprise you. Take my challenge, look for them, write them down, and realize how so many great things exist in the world and in your life.

But of course, the best thing in the world is food.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Core Values

I have been thinking, a lot about this subject recently, core values that is. Friends have been blogging about it, I just had a fantastic lecture from the Marriott School of Management Executive of the Year Donald Soderquist, former CEO of Wal-mart talking about values, and reminders of my mission president bringing up these topics as well.

Values are essential to everything. They make you who you are, they define you! Mr. Soderquist told us how values may decay over time if they are not discussed, and implemented many times a year, but it is extremely important that we renew them always.

My mission president first introduced me to core values on a special night when several of us missionaries were invited to his house for dinner. He told us a story of how he was younger, he had made a list of several core values that he determined were going to guide his life. His whole life to that point he was telling the story had been prepared around those values and they helped him, like a light house, to keep him on the proper path. Like any good missionary does after such an inspirational story, I looked deep to find what I wanted my core values to be. I want to share them with all of you as well. Partially to give people an idea how it is done, and also to evaluate how I am doing in comparison to the type of man I want to be. I encourage everyone to make their own core values, and live by them. These values can be anything! But they have to come from inside you and truly be yours, because they are going to be different from person to person. They don't have to define who you are now, but they should define the kind of person you want to be. If there is something you value that you don't match up to, but deep in your heart, you know you must become better at practicing that value, then by all means, do what it takes to live that value, you will be better for it. Ladies and gentlemen, my core values!

Integrity - I want to be that person who always tells the truth and does what is right. I am a man of my word. I will always do more then what is expected of me. My integrity is above groups of people, pride, desires, or people - I will not lower my integrity just to appease others. I will always defend what is right in a respectful manner, showing love in times of reprehension - in other words, I will be a "defender of the truth." I will be a man of humility: I will accept when I am wrong, I will consider suggestions, and I will use these in order to better myself. When people see me, I want them to say "He is a man of integrity!"

Family - Before any situation of any nature, my family comes first! I will be a best friend to my wife, children, parents, siblings, etc. My home will be built on the foundation of the sacred temple and the sealing covenant. My home will be a place of refuge from the world and a clean and organized place where the Spirit may reside. At all times I will honor my Priesthood as the Patriarch of the family - I will lead the family with selflessness, sensitivity, kindness, love, charity, and respect. The mother of my children - my wife - and I will teach gospel standards in family home evening, family prayer, daily family scripture study, occasional family testimony meetings, and daily family meals which occur at least once a day. I will sacrifice in order to provide for my family. I will always work to better the relationships with my wife, children, parents, siblings, etc to have a connection of love and harmony.

Work - People will look at me and say "He is a worker!" I will follow all the attributes of integrity as listed above. I will be loyal to my superiors and those whom I will direct. I will focus at the task at hand. I will do what is asked, expected, and I will go beyond the mark to accomplish my tasks. I will do my part to be an admired leader who inspires others to do their very best. I will be extremely professional and I will always have an appearance that looks the part (a good first impression goes along way)! I will "network" to develop new work relationships based on trust, service, and respect. I will always have a business card on hand to trade with others in order to network.

Kingdom of God - I will always remember that one who seeks the kingdom of God before other things; will have all thing put in to their proper place. I will go to church every Sunday. I will obey all the commandments with exactness. I will be an example to others of gospel living. I will magnify my calling in every way possible. I will have a 100% home teaching rate. I will pay my tithing first thing after receiving money and I will always remember the blessings associated with it. I will go to the Holy Temple at least once a month with my wife. I will be an example of member missionary work; I will work with the missionaries, I will comfort new and inactive members. I will always bare my testimony. I will have a "how can I help?" attitude with all people. I will follow the words of the prophets and the apostles. Scripture study will be an essential everyday activity.

Health - I will live the Word of Wisdom to the T. I will make and follow my own exercise and nutrition plans. The entire family will be involved in healthy activities. I will do routine checkups at the doctors/dentist/etc. I will follow the rule "early to bed, early to rise." I will avoid questionable, alternative health options.

Education - I will always take new classes in academic subjects to learn new things. I will go as far as is permitted in my education at a university with the goal of a graduate degree. I will read many books on a variety of subjects in order to learn new ideas, new methods, etc. I will always emphasize the importance of education to my children, family, friends, associates, etc, in order to help the better themselves.

Financial Freedom - I will always pay my tithing first thing after receiving my money. I will never go into debt. I will work to earn enough money to be free of distractions but not to show the world "I'm rich!" The purpose of money is to help me and my family enjoy life; money is not life's purpose! I will donate heavily in to charity once my family's needs have first been met.

Those are my seven core values. I am doing all I can to live by them. It does not matter how you form your core values, just do it and live by them! To develop mine, I did a lot of pray, scripture study, soul searching, asking other people questions, etc. Hence why mine is a bit more focused on religious aspects than some other people might do in their core values. But it does not have to be so spiritual or religious focused like mine is. just look deep in side yourself and write down those things that make you who you are and what you want to become. These values can change over time too. I noticed while copying my written document on values, that there are things I now need to change in it. This is a living, evolving document, remember that and it will be easy to change when you have one of those life changing moments.

Values are important guys, they define who we are! We need to sit down and figure them out so they are defined. Just a hint, write them down and put them somewhere safe and accessible for constant renewing of them by looking over them and deciding if you are actually living up to your own standards!