Tuesday, October 20, 2015


It's been five years since Patricia and I held Emily in our arms and sang to her as she passed from mortality into paradise.

I don't mourn losing Emily, because we didn't lose her.

I mourn that she suffered.

I used to mourn that my children experienced such a heart-breaking event.   Looking back, though, I don't mourn that any more.  But I mourn it again for other children any time they lose a sibling, or a parent.

I mourn that I do not remember as much as I want to about Emily.  Up until about age 35 or so, I considered my memory on of my strengths.  For the last  5-8 years, however,  my memory has been simply terrible.  I cannot remember things and/or experiences from week to week or month to month. Somethings I remember very well; but there are many times I simply have to trust Patricia, or a co-worker, etc. that what they are saying did, in fact, happen.  I do not know what sets apart the experiences I remember from those that I don't remember well.  Take Emily, for example.  I struggle to remember many specific moments from her life, but I remember things in general.  Knowing that my memory was poor, I did write down some memories just after she died; but unfortunately, I can't recall a whole lot from the bullet points that I wrote down.  It's not just with Emily, though; I cannot remember many specific experiences with any of my children.  I should learn from this that I need to write more frequently.

I don't think Emily is waiting to see us again.  I tend to believe in a wrinkle in time.

But, we are waiting to see her again.

Lord Jesus, Come!


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Back on the wagon

I had been good since February.  Avoided it like the plague almost.
And I recognized the benefits and knew that I was enjoying a happier, peacefull-er life without it.
Then, without thinking too much about it, I fell off the wagon.
Sometime last week.
And one sip wasn't enough; I began to take bigger sips, maybe even a gulp or two.
So, before I completely succomb to it's snare once again, I come to my blog to publicly (technically it's public--nevermind that I have maybe three readers) commit to sobriety once again.

Darn politics.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pratchett amazes me (again).

I ran out of Pratchett's YA/children's fiction so I decided to try my second adult discworld novel.  I chose to read Truth, and I'm glad I did.  Took me about two chapters to get situated (his novels begin at full speed), but it's been a great read so far.  So many quotables (my word) and spots where I laugh out loud.  I am reading it on Overdrive on an iPad, which I love except that I cannot mark the parts I like.  I've been too lazy to copy and paste--but I really need to go back and do that.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

I am Grateful for:

  • my wife, because she is patient and understanding with me;
  • my wife, because she is fun to be with and brings me joy in our companionship;
  • my wife, because she is a wonderful mother to our children;
  • my child, who sets an example of faithfulness in taking the initiative to serve others;
  • another child, who sets an example of faithfulness by constantly striving in righteous habits;
  • another child, who is teachable and is trying hard to do and be better;
  • two other children, who are kind and thoughtful of others;
  • my daughter, Emily, who brings me joy whenever I think of her, and who is an example of faith, friendship, and joy amidst suffering;
  • another child, who loves me and works hard to be a great sibling;
  • my neighbors, who strive to live their beliefs and serve others;
  • my wife's family;
  • my parents;
  • my siblings;
  • ancient prophets who have given us the scriptures;
  • modern day prophets, who give us guidance, testimony, and witness of the Savior;
  • great co-workers, whose dedicated service to their jobs inspire me to give an honest, hard day's work';
  • the many temporal things I have thanks to the kindness of God, family, and friends--I know I don't merit the things I have any more than the next person, and I cherish them as gifts and stewardships;
  • the Earth and its many beauties;
  • a great job, where I can serve others, and that helps me provide for me family while still giving me time for them;
  • neighbors, teachers, and adults that serve my children at school, church, and other places;
  • my health;
  • and many other blessings.
I feel humble as I consider how blessed I am.  And this helps me move away from selfishness and pride.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Thoughts

A life-sized copy of this print is currently on display on the stage at Oakcrest Girl's Camp.
It is a great visual for this year's theme: Take His Hand. 
I enjoyed the worship services at church today.  I am grateful for neighbors with whom I worship, who serve my family in many ways: teaching my children primary classes, giving of their time to teach and hang out with my teenagers, providing music on Sundays, giving talks that inspire me, and simply greeting me with a smile whenever I seen them.

I had a couple of thoughts from the talks I heard today.  One brother spoke about testimonies, and he conveyed the idea that our very lives are our testimonies.  I had heard this before, but it struck me again in a different way.  If I made a list of my daily activities, and turned those activities into belief statements (a testimony), what might my testimony look like?  Sadly, some days it might be something like this:
I know that sleeping in is true, and I testify of the power of letting your wife make you and the rest the of family breakfast.  I also know the computer is true, especially the books of KSL Classifieds, Facebook, and BigFishTackle.com.  I love the little black box in front of my bed with all my heart, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Food Network lives.  I am so blessed to have my fishing license so I can go fishing often. . . 
It's not that bad, really; but I can see much room for improvement in my efforts to live a consecrated life.  I can use more moderation in my pleasure-seeking activities and look for more ways to serve others, particularly those in my own home.

I had the opportunity to share some thoughts from the pulpit today; and I chose to focus on my visit to Oakcreast girls' camp this past week.  Among a number of items, I shared how much I love listening to Young Women sing camp songs (and hymns and such).  I have never listened to young women sing without feeling the spirit.  I especially love the song: "Walk Tall, You're a Daughter of God" -- it's hard to listen to this song without tears, and I always feel a great yearning for the young women of the Church--that they are protected, that they are treated well, that they make good decisions, that they can be strong in the face of temptation and evil.

I am so blessed to have a mother who "walked tall".  And I am also immeasurably blessed to have a wife who "walks tall", knowing that she is a daughter of God, that she is part of His great plan.  I could not be more blessed.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Zero Population is the answer my friend"

Remember that weird song from Saturday's Warrior?  I didn't really comprehend the meaning behind that song when I first saw (live on stage) and fell in love with that musical*.  Now, about 31 years later, I can see the opposition to families in the world, and I see the place that song had in the musical. 

I gave a talk a couple of months ago on the family.  In my sitting-in-the-stands-realizing-I-need-to-cut-over-half-my-talk editing time, this was one experience I cut out and didn't share over the pulpit:
I’ve had experiences where people have belittled me for having a big family.  During my work for my graduate degree, I was once sitting in a classroom conversing with two other members of my cohort as we worked together on a project.  In the small talk that began our conversation, I mentioned that my wife and I had five children.  One of my classmates looked at me, with disdain in his voice, and accused me: “Dude, take it easy, man!  We are already overcrowded on this earth!”  
In that moment, I didn’t say anything. I probably just nervously chuckled.  But I’ve often thought of what I could have said. Sometimes the responses I think of are not very nice.  If I saw him again one day, and if I yielded to the Spirit, seeking a proper response to his accusation, I might say something like this: 
Hello Friend!  Guess what, my wife and I have seven children now!  And let me tell you why we have seven children.  First of all, I feel greatly blessed to have children.  While I know that my children are a blessing from my Heavenly Father, I understand that I did not do anything to earn or deserve this blessing of parenthood any more than anyone else.  I understand that some people have a greater or lesser number of children; and sadly, some who wish to have children do not have any. My life circumstance is such that my wife and I have seven children and I am grateful for this. I love my children very much, and I embrace the duty and honor that my wife and I share to raise them to be good citizens, and faithful sons and daughters of God.  You see, this world is a horrible place; and the best thing I can do to improve mankind has nothing to do with voting at a ballot box, or recycling, or feeding the homeless.  The best way I can serve mankind is by being a worthy husband and father, providing for my family, and teaching my children correct principles.  I am grateful that I had a father who understood this.  
Yes, I have a big family. I'm happy and grateful for this.

It's not a perfect response, I know.  That's okay.

I wish I did not so often forget my primary responsibility of raising my family.   All too often, I burden myself with pride, or with selfishness, or envy, and I get distracted from what really matters: my wife and children.

*I understand that this musical is more about Mormon culture than Latter-Day Saint doctrine.  This post isn't about defending the musical.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

To love is to inspire

It dawned on me the other day that I could find content for posts from my talks I've given on Sundays over the years.  For the longest time, I used to prepare for my talks by creating a long list of bullet points.  Four or five years back, however, I decided to begin to write out my talks.  I learned that I like this way better, as it forces me to gather my thoughts and prepare in a more focused manner. There have been many things I have left out of my talks, thanks to the fact that I've written the talks down and proofread them (sometimes with Patricia).  Some ideas sound much better in my head then when read out loud.  In this way, writing things down has saved me (and the congregation) more than a couple of times. 

Allow me to share a couple paragraphs from a talk I prepared for last Sunday.  The topic I chose was "How can I inspire others to obey the commandments?"  In preparing for the talk, I thought of all the people in my life that have inspired me to be a better person.  Though I didn't share about George Durrant from the pulpit (time permitted me to only share about 1/4 of what I prepared), I wanted to tell you about him here.
One of my favorite people in the world is Brother George Durrant.  I had read a couple of his books as a young man, and then as a freshman at BYU I enrolled in his Family History class.  
Aside from being the best storyteller ever, and an inspirational teacher of the scriptures, I’ve never met a man who worked so hard at being a friend to everyone he met. On the second day of class, he had brought a camcorder to class, and he recorded each student as we stood up, said our name, and where we were from.  
Over the next couple of nights, he watched these videos at home, and within two weeks, he had memorized all of our names.  When he would call on us in class, he would do so by name.  There were about 80 people in that class, and I don’t think it was the only class he taught that semester.   
Outside of the amazing class periods, I treasure two special experiences with Brother Durrant. One happened at a BYU football game later that semester.  I was walking in the stands with a date, making our way to our seats, and we crossed paths with Brother Durrant.  As he shook my hand, he said: Brother Kammerman, from Simi Valley, California!  I introduced him to my date, we said talked for a bit then made our way to our seats.  
The following semester, I was in charge of planning a fireside for our student ward.  I immediately thought of asking Brother Durrant as a possible speaker.  After class one day, I asked to speak with him.  He obliged and asked that I walk with him to another building as we talked.  I explained my assignment, and asked him if he would speak. He had a prior commitment and couldn’t speak for that fireside.  We chatted a bit more until we came to where we needed to split up.  Brother Durrant looked me in the eye and said: Brother Kammerman, I love you!  
I cannot explain why, exactly; but Brother Durrant inspired me to be a better person.  He made me feel important.  And I'm confident that hundreds of people could share similar stories of how he touched their lives.  Feeling loved is perhaps the greatest motivator toward obeying the commandments (striving for excellence, self-actualization, etc.).

Do I love those that I want to motivate?  Do I act in a way that those people know and feel that I love them?