Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas



Dear Friends and Family,

I’ve never done a Christmas Letter and I’m not going to start now but this year has had so much change in it I thought I’d at least write a few thoughts down to share.  We are all happy and healthy and enjoying life in Las Vegas.  As you all now the biggest change our family experienced this year was our move to Las Vegas.  It truly has been a blessing to us to be here.  Right from the start when the job entered the horizon we feel like we have been led to where we are today.  Right from our initial hesitation to leave Idaho to our first Christmas in Las Vegas.  We miss our Idaho friends and family but are making new friends that bless our lives every day. 

Rory:  12 years old.  Rory has had a great year.  She does well in school and is our little social butterfly.  She loves pink and My Little Pony.  She is taking dance classes at school and is making new friends.  She went to girls camp two days after arriving in Vegas without previously meeting anyone and fit right in.  She continues to love to draw and has branched out into designing clothes. 

Matthew:  17 years old.  Matt has arguably had the biggest change this year.  Moving to a new city and a new school in your senior year can be tough but he is handling it like a trouper.  Matt has been doing well in school in and enjoys it.  Because of the move the school put him in classes designed to help him pass the Nevada proficiency tests.  He passed them all on his first try so they are moving him to some more fun and challenging classes at the break.  Matt spent the summer serving on Cedar Badge Staff and as the Archery Director at Island Park Scout Camp.  He passed his Eagle Board of Review just a few weeks ago.  He is looking to start his missionary application early next year to leave hopefully sometime in the summer. 

Molly:  20 years old.  Molly has been taking online classes through BYU-Idaho.  She completed the Pathways program a few years ago so she takes classes online now but does not attend a group.  She worked at the Deseret Industries in Idaho Falls and a few weeks ago was able to reenter the program here in Las Vegas.  She will be able to do that for a little while and they will help her find a job.   She still loves to read, draw and has picked up cross stitching this year.  She started attending a Singles Ward when she got to Vegas and has really enjoyed it. 

Jana:  Jana finished out her time at Taylors Crossing Charter School.  It was very hard for her to leave.  She had a good thing going and her students and parents loved her.  She found a job at Doral Academy within a few weeks of finding out we were moving to Las Vegas.  She is now teaching fourth grade.  She keeps very busy with school but as always really seems to reach her kids.  She really enjoys being part of team again with three other fourth grade teachers.  Jana was called to be the Second Counselor in our Relief Society Presidency and enjoys working with sisters in our new ward. 

Brian:  After a most definite impression that change was needed Brian uprooted the entire family to move to Las Vegas.  He started working as the Director of Support Service for the Las Vegas Area Council in May.  He still gets to oversee camps and the office support staff.  He has found the job challenging but loves working here and being a part of the LVAC team.  Brian finally got to go to Camp School this year, something he’s been trying to do for four years.  He also enjoyed some time in Southern California for a week for Top Hands.  He took his first swim in the Ocean but wished his family had been there.  Brian was called as our Ward Young Men President last week and is looking forward to working with the youth.

We have all had a very eventful year.  Things didn’t go as we planned when we started the year but we are in a place that makes us all very happy.  This move has brought us blessings we never would have realized had we stayed in Idaho.  The change has acted as a refiner’s fire and made us all stronger.  We have had to learn to rely on our Savior Jesus Christ even more.  We know that he is active in our lives and is aware of us and our needs.  We have seen this in our lives this year.  Things have definitely not been easy and still have some loose ends were trying to tie up (anyone want to buy a house in Iona), but everything has been worth it.  We are truly blessed. 

We are wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  We hope that you too, feel the love of our Savior.  If any of you are traveling through Vegas give us a call, we’d love to see ya. 

Love,
The Porters. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Meet The Mormons

We went and saw "Meet The Mormons" tonight as a family.  It was a great film and I would recommend it to anyone. 

I wanted to write a blog about this because it really did speak to me.  I actually went into the movie with somewhat of a chip on my shoulder.  I wanted to see the movie but kind felt like I was obligated to go see it especially this weekend.  As any member of the church knows there has been a huge push for everyone to go see this movie this weekend.  I understand what they were trying to accomplish but that didn't help my attitude about it. 

I have been hearing things about the movie for a while.  Thought it was interesting that the Church would go this route.  I started seeing reviews this week and they were all talking about how you really wouldn't learn anything new about the Mormons from this movie.  I kind of was buying into it.  One review I read said you'd learn more by going and talking to an actual Mormon. 

I actually had my Facebook status planned out for after the movie.  It was going to say.  "Just saw Meet the Mormons.  While the stories were inspiring and uplifting, if you really want to know more about the Mormons come talk to me." 

I was wrong.

"Meet the Mormons" showed our most basic beliefs in real life.  It was heart warming.  it inspired me.  While there may be other things we believe the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was there.  "The Bishop" was doing his best to serve others.  He was serving people as our Savior would.  "The Fighter" chose her family over fame and fortune. "The Candybomber" listened to a prompting and touched the lives of many impacting the course of history.  "The Coach" used his faith to overcome personal weaknesses and become a better person.  "The Humanitarian" was blessed beyond measure and chose to give back to others, recognizing from where all blessings flow.  "The Mom" had an incredible experience showing here the love God has for each of his children.  An experience that changed the course of her and her son's life.  At the heart of all of these stories was a real and abiding faith in our Savior Jesus Christ.

This is what I believe.  I know that God lives.  I know that he knows me and my hopes, and my weakenesses.  I know that he provided a Savior for me and everyone.  That Savior is Jesus Christ.  He knows and loves me.  Through his Atonement I can over come my weaknesses and my hopes can be realized.  As my faith in him grows my ability to reach my full capacity grows as well.  I can show my faith in him by serving my family and others around me.  I can recognize his hand in my life and express my gratitude for the blessings he has bestowed upon me and my family.  While I know these things are for me, I also know that these same things are true for all of us.  I am grateful for opportunities to share this message with others.  You too can find peace and hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

So go see "Meet the Mormons".  It is a great movie and if nothing else you will see some incredible inspiring stories.  But I hope and pray most of all that through the stories presented you will feel the spirit of God and come to know that he loves you and has a plan for you.  If you have questions call me.  I'd love to talk to you about it.  I am a Mormon because I have come to know these principles and would love to share them with you. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day #1

Well we survived day #1.  It actually wasn't too bad.  I caught a bit of ribbing from some coworkers but other than that it was good.  I took the tactic of deleting most of my ability to check in on Facebook.  I deleted all the apps from my devices so I wouldn't be tempted or just drop into habit and tap the app.  I deleted the bookmarks from my desktop at work so I wouldn't just automatically go to it.  It was a productive day and I feel good about what I was able to accomplish.

We had a great family home evening tonight.  I gave the lesson based on Elder David A Bednar's talk from a CES Fireside from 2009.  You can listen to the talk here.  A few years ago they made a Youth Mormon Message out of it.



I saw this video when it first came out and thought it was good.  I saw it again last week and thought it was good but after Sunday it hit me like a ton of bricks.  You see this video is about me and my family.  Its almost like they had cameras in our home.  We had an excellent talk about the need to put our electronics in their places an interact with each other more.  Our phones, internet, TV, Netflix,, etc, etc. have been getting in the way of being more productive in our lives. 

Elder Bednar asked the question:  Does the time you spend using various technologies and media enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, love, and to serve in meaningful ways?

It saddens me to say that much of my use restricts my capacity.  It has been preventing me from being fully productive at work.  It keeps me from being the father that I know I should be.  It has kept me from serving the way that I should.  I have found myself making attempts to serve over Facebook where it is easy to tell me know.  That's not good enough.  I need to stop hiding behind the gadget and get out there and fulfill my responsibilities.  Technology has the great ability to increase our capacity to live, love, and serve if we will let it but we must not ever forget that it has it place and sometimes you should just shut it down. 

I've learned so much in only one day.  I've accomplished so much in one day because I chose to follow the counsel we received yesterday.  What a blessing!!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Great Facebook "Fast" of 2014

Today was Ward Conference and it was great.  The spirit was strong and I learned a lot.  They are splitting our Stake next Sunday so part of today was hearing the members of our Stake Presidency who will be in the new Stake bearing their testimonies.  They are great men and wise priesthood leaders.  I hope to be like them someday having their same conviction and spirit. 

Bishop Bodily gave a great talk.  He talked about forming personal relationships and spent much of his talk warning the congregation about the dangers of cell phones, electronics, and social media.  He didn't bash them but was commenting on how they can take the place of the personal relationships we all need.  At the end of his talk he challenged us give up something that would fall into the category of stealing us away from these more personal relationships.  He also challenged us to spend more time on spiritual activities with ourselves and our families. 

I have just one thing to say to that:

Challenge Accepted!!!!

This will not be easy for a Facebook addict but I will do my best.  This is what I am giving up.

1.  Facebook:  I spend way to much time on Facebook.  I am constantly checking it always looking to see if someone likes a post or picture.  It makes me happy to see that little red dot.  I feel that same way when I talk to my wife and kids but I find myself being too distracted by it. 

2.  Some Games:  I play a lot of games.  I wast a lot of time on games.  I sat for two hours yesterday pushing a button on a Sims game just to get some coins.  And yesterday wasn't the first time I had done so.  I deleted the app this afternoon.   The games I'm giving up are those that require me to check in every couple of hours.  I think Candy Crush fits in that definition.  This may mean my 100 day run of playing Temple Run may come to an end.

3.  Television:  We talked about it as a family tonight and agreed that we will be giving up TV for the week.  We dropped our satelite subscription over a year ago but we still watch a ton of TV.  The kids have all discovered Netflix and YouTube.  I have discovered Hulu Plus and several sites that broadcast all the shows I want to watch.  The only difference now is that I don't pay nearly as much money for it as I used too. 

These are the things I will put in its place.

1.  Family Home Evening:  We are going to have a Family Home Evening tomorrow.  The first one in a long time.  We made our plan tonight and we are going to follow through. 

2.  Family Prayer:  We have regular family prayer on a consistent basis but I can't say that we do it everyday. 

3.  Board Games:  We are going to sit as a family and play games.  Games where we have to interact with each other face to face not just on a screen. 

4. Personal Study:  I will use the time I would have wasted watching TV studying the gospel and working to strengthen my testimony.  I will encourage my family to do the same.

5. Writing:  I will write more.  I recently recieved some great counsel to write out my thoughts and feelings.  While most of it is not appropriate for a blog I intend to spend time writing things out.  I may write on the blog about the "Fast". 

The talk that inspired all of this was very timely.  I have found myself spending way to much time being distracted by the electronics in my life.  I go on a date with my wife and we spend more time looking at our phones than we do talking to each other.  The first thing I do in the morning is check Facebook.  The last thing I do before going to bed is check Facebook.  And who knows how many times during the day I check it.  I have been thinking about this for a while so I am grateful for wise priesthood leaders who are inspired to challenge us to stretch. 

This week will not be easy but we will be blessed because of our participation.  Not just because we are being obedient but because hopefully we will rediscover the relationships we have with each other.  The electronic wall will come down and we will have to interact with each other.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'll keep you posted. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sportsmanship

I started seeing this video on Sunday morning.

 What these fans did was inexcusable.  Its stuff like this that makes me happy that this game will be taking a few years off.  It'll give us all a chance to cool off and get a little more focused on the game of football instead of all the other crap.

Please do not take the next remarks as excusing these fans actions, but after seeing this video and listening to all the comments associated with it makes me a little crazy.  The bottom line is people are just stupid and get stupider when emotions are so high.  Where we were sitting we heard Utah fans say Jamal Williams should stay down when he was hurt.  Max Hall mad a bunch of stupid comments a few years ago after the game and everyone keeps throwing that in peoples faces.  I'm not saying that two wrongs make a right but all these people were the same people three years ago excusing the Utah fans actions.  After every one of these games we are treated to videos of stupid people being stupid and forgetting who they are on both sides, red or blue.  Grow up people it is just a game and lets remember that.

I was actually proud of my family on Saturday.  They called out the idiots who said Jamal should stay down.  But that was the worst of it.  There was a very loud and vocal (yet respectful) fan sitting right behind us.  I got tired of listening to him but we all just watched the game.  I'm sure he was just as annoyed by us but when there was interaction it was respectful and all in fun.  Thats the way it should be.   You can enjoy a rivalry without putting others down.

I know that I can be pretty petty when it comes to Utah.  But there fans are people too and we should always remember that.

I also saw someone point out this talk by Elder Jeffery R Holland.  I think it should be mandatory watching before entering the stadium for any Utah/BYU game.




In this talk Elder Holland tells the a similar story about a basketball player.  After the story he says this:

First, let’s finish the basketball incident. The day after that game, when there was some public reckoning and a call to repentance over the incident, one young man said, in effect: “Listen. We are talking about basketball here, not Sunday School. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. We pay good money to see these games. We can act the way we want. We check our religion at the door.”
“We check our religion at the door”? Lesson number one for the establishment of Zion in the 21st century: You never “check your religion at the door.” Not ever.
My young friends, that kind of discipleship cannot be—it is not discipleship at all. As the prophet Alma has taught the young women of the Church to declare every week in their Young Women theme, we are “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in,” not just some of the time, in a few places, or when our team has a big lead.
“Check your religion at the door”! I was furious.
What a good lesson we would all do well to remember.

P.S.  I still think the picture Dan posted on Facebook Saturday morning was hilarious. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Leadership Requires Honesty


And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.  Alma 27:27


President Hinckley writes:  Leadership-of the family, an organization, or even the nation-erodes and eventually falls apart without honesty and integrity.  Honesty is the keystone that holds any organization together. 

What a powerful statement.  Honesty should be a the center of all that we do.  And its not just not telling a lie.  Its all the little things.  Am I working the hours I'm supposed to be.  Do I give my employerer my full attention.  Do I hide things from my family.  So many little things I could mention. 

This struck me pretty hard.  While I don't consider myself a dishonest person at all I wonder if too often I cover up my faults and wear masks that hide whats really going on.  Its along the lines of my last post about murmuring.  I have been blessed beyond measure but do I live up to the those blessings.  I spend too much time being critical of others yet don't discuss it with them directly.  I spend too much time talking in hushed whispers with others and that is dishonest as well.  If I'm not worried about then why do I have to whisper.  Truth is much of it is about my insecurities.  And if I'm honest with myself I'd start there first.

I have had to face the dishonesty in my life over the last few years.  It has been a long and hard process but in honesty comes great blessings.  Stop hiding behind the walls and facades you have built up.  Being truly honest with others brings so much power into ones lifes.  It helps us put off the chains that bind us down and access the greatest blessings our Heavenly Father has in store for us.  But we can't pretend because in the end he knows and there isn't any thing we can hide.  But we shouldn't be honest just because we are afraid.  We should do it because it brings great blessings into our lives and by doing so the Atonement of Jesus Christ is much more active in our lives. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stop Murmuring.

I started reading The Book of Mormon for the challenge our Bishop gave us today. I look forward to receiving the blessings that have been promised as I read the Book of Mormon. Need to figure out how to ,obviate my family to do the same. We read our scriptures together several times a week but I'd like to work on this challenge as a family. That means spending a lot more time reading. I know we will be blessed as we work on this. It's a matter of Faith. 

I started today in 1 Nephi. As I was reading about Nephi and his brothers returning to Jerusalem to retrieve the Plates of Brass. We read about the older brothers frustrations getting the better of them. They begin to beat Nephi and Sam. As they do an Angel appears to them telling them to stop. Telling them that Nephi has been chosen as a ruler over them and that they should return for the plates and The Lord will prepare a way for them. They saw an Angel. What more could they have asked for but what was their response they murmured. They immediately began to question The Lord. 

I wonder how often I act like this. I haven't seen an angel. I have seen miracles and have been blessed beyond measure. I have been given so much yet i still "murmur". Especially lately. I know I am on the correct path for me. I know The Lord has a plan for me. I see evidence of it everyday. But still I whine and complain about things which I have no control.  My actions show that I don't trust the plan The Lord has for me. 

I need to work on this. I need to be more like Nephi with his "I will go and do" attitude. Trust the plan. Trust that my Heavenly Father Ioves me and is keenly aware of my needs, my hopes, my dreams, and my desires.  I need to trust in that and stop worrying about what I can't control and do those things I can do. One of those things I'd to stop complaining.