Sunday, June 29, 2008

The not so little ones...

I just got home from a stinkin' awesome trip. It started with a road trip with my parents, Jen and Jordan up to Seattle to attend Justin's wedding. Seeing as my bloggin' buddies have done an ample job of reporting on the happenings in Seattle, I will refrain from expounding too much. However, I would like to add that with all the fun that was being had in Seattle, the highlight of the weekend had to be the Temple wedding. To see Justin and Jessica, two people who I love, take the first steps towards an eternal family was a sweet experience, to say the least. I wish them the best of luck!

After Seattle, my parents and I drove north of the border to visit my mom's brother and his family in Vancouver. I was excited for the visit to Vancouver for the promise of good Chinese food that little Hong Kong offers, the good golf, but more so the opportunity to visit with family that I had not seen in nearly 6 years. In fact, the last time I had seen the family the kids, Natalie and Aaron, were just 9 and 12 years old. For some reason I was still expecting to see two little ones that I could throw around. That idea was dashed soon after we got to their house and I saw Aaron come down the stairs. All remnants of that idea were destroyed when we saw Natalie awhile later. She met us at the dike, proceeded to jump out of the car, ran up, and bent over to give my mom a hug. She only bent over a quarter of an inch, but still...

Vancouver is a neat city, with a number of cool touristy spots. However, the highlight of the trip had to be Natalie and Aaron. They basically gave us a 4 day long talent show, and I am pretty sure that was just the tip of the iceberg. Aaron gave us a glimpse of his hip-hop and R&B dance moves, showed us how to ace cumulative tests without studying, and owned everyone on the Wii. Natalie did a terrific job of humbling me, by playing just a couple of songs from her vast piano repertoire. And as ironic as it is for a Chinese girl to do traditional Irish dancing, she sent wood chips flying on her home made dance floor in the garage. In addition to that, she played some Chinese harp thingy, kicked my butt in badminton, and played the violin. Whatever they feed those kids up there, I need to find me a stock supply of that when I start my own family.

We were set to leave on Thursday morning, and as Wednesday night rolled around, I could not help but to think the Lo's had just given to us the entire week. Regina and Freddy, fought with my parents over every bill, and I think with my parents' not having any Canadian cash on them, won the majority of the battles. Aaron and Natalie gave us performance after performance, and were even willing to share their rooms with us. Thankfully, late Wednesday night, after all the parents were asleep, Natalie and Aaron snuck over to my room to chit-chat. Over the course of our conversation I was grateful for the chance to give a little back, as I was able to share my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After seeing how much those kids have accomplished, it was probably the only thing I had to offer them, but if there was only one thing which I could share, it would be that.

During the long drive home, I reflected upon the experience and recognized that as small and simple as my testimony was, the Spirit was present. I kept thinking how I could have explained more, or answered more questions, but I was reminded that it is through small and simple things that great things come to pass. Seeing as those two are no strangers to great things, I can only imagine what's in store.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Overcoming the Shanks

Tonight I was reminded the beauty of hitting golf balls in the evening. After a full day of running errands, the sun was still up, so I ran over to Cascades to hit a bucket of balls. I have been struggling with my golf game quite a bit lately, so in addition to the relaxing effect of hitting balls, I was hoping to get my game moving in the right direction. I stretched and hit the first few balls decently. I then proceeded to shank a couple of 8-irons. For those of you who do not know what it means to shank an 8-iron, feel free to check out this video.

Shanks, unlike its depiction in Tin Cup, is a lot less of a psychological problem as it is a slight movement of the head forward on the downswing. When your head moves forward, the club does as well, and instead of catching the ball on the clubface, you catch it on the hosel, and the result is quite despicable. Anyways, after shanking a couple, it became quite obvious that I was not keeping my head still. So for the next couple of shots, my swing thought was to see the ground after the ball had been struck. Simple enough, right? With that swing thought I was started buttering the ball. I do not think I have hit one shot all year as well as I hit some of the balls tonight.

When I got back in my car, I was pretty frustrated. This whole golf season, I have struggled to put together a decent round. I worked on my swing plane, adjusted my set-up, checked my shaft positions, and yet consistent ball-striking continued to elude me. All I had to do was focus on one simple thought that could be heard anywhere someone is learning to play golf: “keep your head down.” In fact, even people who just start golf give that advice to others who can not seem to make solid contact. And here I am, someone who shot 70 a couple times just last season, thinking that I am somehow above focusing on the most basic principle of good ball-striking. Funny thing is that one numerous occasions this year I have recognized head movement during my swing. Instead of focusing on redeveloping a good habit of keeping my head still, I just tried a quick fix that would always work for a shot or two, just long enough for me to think that I resolved the problem, and mis-attribute my next bad shot to something else.

Seems like in life Satan is pretty good at getting us to avoid the basics, and look beyond the mark. Instead of just focusing on faith in Jesus Christ and repentance, Satan gets us to be more concerned with irrelevant, and often times unanswerable questions. In the process, we miss the mark, stumble, and wonder how that can be when we are trying so hard. When we are finally able to see, we recognize the simplicity of the answer; and at least for me, the feeling is one of frustration at all the lost time when the solution was so simple. But seeing as life is a learning process, as long as we learn our lesson, it is not lost time, but valuable experience.