No Second Chances

“Do you want to play pool? Just you and me.”

“Sure”, replied Luca, trying to play it cool.

Two of her siblings usually tag along when we play, but not today. I wanted to listen to Luca tell me about orchestra and history and student council without distractions.

Of course there’s no guarantee she’ll share any details with me because she’s 13 years-old, and I’m her father who wears a hoodie just to embarass her.

I’ve heard from parents who regret how they raised their first child. They focus on the mistakes, wishing for a second chance to make things right. But nobody gets a second chance, and sharing this sentiment only telegraphs to your child that you don’t like how your son or daughter turned out as an adult.

I’ve made mistakes with Luca, but it’s foolish for that to be my focus when I look across the table and into the eyes of a kind, bright, and joyful teenage girl. That I happened to find a pool hall that serves fry sauce doesn’t hurt either.

As we finished the first game, I think about how my thoughts on fatherhood have changed over the years. I no longer think of our five children as “mine” or “ours”. They are not my possessions to control. For a few short years of their lives, I’m their teacher and provider of basic needs, along with their mother.

More than anything I want them to feel loved and accepted for whom they are. I don’t expect them to follow my path. If I’ve done my job, my children will think critically, blaze their own paths, and live a life of few regrets.

Luca took advantage of my mistakes and won game two.

Which means I’m wearing my hoodie when taking her to school tomorrow.

May the Search Set You Free

Our garage door was acting up today. I know very little about them, but I know how to Google for answers. This lead me to a YouTube video of a man discussing a few popular problems, including how to recalibrate the door sensors. I followed his instructions, and had the door working within 10 minutes.

When I blew a main fuse on our Honda Odyssey, a Google search took me to forum where a Honda owner described the same problem I was having. A mechanic responded on the forum, and mentioned which two fuses to inspect. I had checked one fuse but neglected to check the other. Sure enough, the second fuse was dead. A $4 fuse later, the van was running.

This is the magic of the internet. I don’t have to be a mechanic or electrician to make basic repairs. Knowledge is power, especially when it’s a search away.

When I began researching the early history of the LDS church, I was stunned at the amount of information available to anyone with the curiosity to search and to learn from it. A lot of this information did not sync with what I had been taught by church leaders.

For example, I was aware that Brigham Young practiced polygamy. But I had no idea that the prophet Joseph Smith practiced polygamy and polyandry. Those are details I wish I had known earlier.

This information is available to anyone. It’s not hidden in a mountain cave or behind a firewall. You can choose to disgard it, but you can no longer say it’s impossible to know.

Just as I no longer have to immediately call a mechanic, I no longer have to take the word of ecclesiastical leaders when it comes to church history. Today, I get to determine when I’m ready for the truth rather than allow someone else to determine that for me.

Google is to the LDS church as the Gutenberg printing press and Martin Luther were to Catholicism.

May the truth set you free.

How to Free Up Space on Your iPhone

If you own an iPhone you might have noticed that your Other category is taking up more storage than before. I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer, although it seems like the Other category grows as you upgrade from one model of iPhone to another.

My spouse and I own 16 GB iPhone 5s, and we’ve recently been looking to free up more space to store music. Normally, I’d remove apps to free up space, but I found an easy way to free up some space, depending how much storage Other is taking up.

Here are the steps I followed:

1. Plug your iPhone into your Mac or PC.

2. Perform a Backup and select the Encrypt iPhone backup option so you don’t have to enter all your passwords after the restore.

3. Perform a Restore Backup. iTunes will ask for your encryption password. Make sure you select the most recent backup if you have more than one.

I had 1.67 GB of free space before the backup and restore.

Before

After the restore, I had 3 GB. So I freed up just over 1.3 GB.

After

I find it odd that my apps also shrunk, but everything is working well. 

I tried the same thing Kim’s iPhone 5, but I went to Settings/General/Reset on her iPhone and selected the Erase All Content and Settings option after I performed a backup, but before I performed a restore.

She had 3.37 GB of free space before I performed a restore.

KimBefore

After the restore, she had nearly 6 GB. I freed up 2.57 GB.

KimAfter

Other and Apps shrunk quite a bit on her iPhone as well and Other nearly disappeared.

So if your iPhone is getting low on storage, you might want to give a backup and restore a try. 

**I first read about this method of saving space at It’s a Very Nice Web Site by John Moltz.

Clarity of Faith

There’s been a video going around on Facebook recently that shows some beagles being released outside to run around a grassy yard. The dogs had been used for animal testing since birth, and had spent their lives in cages. Their joy was unmistakable as they ran around the yard, stopping only briefly to share their excitement with a fellow dog pals.

I can relate to those beagles and the freedoms they now enjoy

For over 40 years, I’ve allowed someone else to tell me what is and isn’t permissible, down to my thoughts, actions, and words. Then there’s a number of inside baseball rules I was expected to follow that included selecting the appropriate color (white) of church shirt. Before long you have a group of people who begin to behave and sound the same.

This level of control works for many. There’s safety in rules and structure. Keep these rules and you can expect these blessings. And if the blessing don’t come, it’s because you didn’t have enough faith.

Instead of looking to others for how I should act I’m using my own mind, and it’s working out surprisingly well. I’m not afraid to try new things, and explore subjects I was told for decades to avoid. I feel like those beagles whose world has expanded from a tiny cage to a large field of lush green grass, ready to be explored.

Some people call what I’m going through a faith crisis. But I’d call it a clarity of faith. The more I research, the more I realize how much I was living someone else’s life. It’s never too late to begin living your own life.

There’s no going back in the cage.