PMA

PMA

It was an acronym used a lot in the 70s.  PMA – Positive Mental Attitude.

So, I was watching one of my favorite TV shows – NCIS Los Angeles.  I get a kick out of the characters — Deeks, Hetty, Sam, Callen… they are quirky, but you also end up liking them.

The last episode I watched there was a lot of reference to some evaluation.  I think they called it HL-7, or something like that.  One of the characters commented to another about the other’s “talent for manipulation.”

My ears perked up as I silently said, ‘What?  Talent?’

Do the police go around thanking thieves for the talent to steal?  Cheat?  Lie?

Since when is manipulation a ‘talent’?

Of course, as the show progressed, you could see the statement as a revelation as to the character who made the statement.  In other words, someone who thinks manipulation is a talent is demonstrating they have low morals themselves.

“A skilled emotional manipulator gets you to put your sense of self-worth and emotional well-being into his hands. Once you make that grave mistake, he methodically and continually chips away at your identity and self-esteem until there’s little left.” (reference)

What do you call someone who is a skilled (i.e. well rehearsed, not talented) manipulator?

A psychopath.

You can imagine my surprise when this character in the TV show referred to manipulation as a talent.

What does this have to do with PMA?

You notice the definition I quoted describes a manipulator as being someone who chips away at your identity and self-esteem until there is little left.  Maintaining a positive mental attitude is what it takes to overcome the effects of a psychopath.  It’s a power and control thing.  The manipulator seeks to take control away from you by destroying your self-esteem.  Your PMA is needed to keep that from happening.

As I watched the episode unravel, the psychopath was face to face with Hetty.  Hetty asks her, “What do you think the HL stands for?”

The lady starts to say, “The inventor’s initials, Henry…”, but Hetty interrupts and says, “Henrietta…” and discloses she is the inventor of this testing system.  She then tells the psychopath she’s done as she places her under arrest.

It got me thinking.  How often do we come across master manipulators, psychopaths, if you will, who are out to get what they want at whatever expense or pain it causes us.    I’ve seen salesmen use manipulative tactics before.  I remember one telling me, “Oh, I guess you don’t care about your children,” when I told him I wasn’t going to buy life insurance from him.  In his case, it didn’t work because he obviously didn’t read me very well.  I showed him where the door was located.

I think of our family friend, Michele Davis, who earlier this year lost her life to a psychopath.  This is an extreme case.  I realize, not all psychopaths are killers, but all psychopaths are abusive.  I bring this up because anyone in a relationship like that, needs to get out.  While you can walk way from the salesman who is trying to use manipulation to get you to buy, you need to run away from someone who is manipulating you and making you think it is love.

PMA.  Keep up that Positive Mental Attitude.  If someone is trying to make you think you are less than you actually are, remind yourself, you are a child of God and of infinite worth.

We Are Still Here

We Are Still Here

We are still here in spite of some doomsayers.  I appreciate the announcement that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued about why they stress preparedness… and it had nothing to do with 9/27/2015.  I had a chance to look at some of the news stories from the weekend today, as well as all of the moon photos people posted on social media over the last couple of days.  (Whew!  I think if I see one more blood-moon photo I’m going to vomit.)

One such doomsday supporter has decided to set away from the public eye (understandably so).  I just think of the scriptures that tell us no man knows the hour.  I find it odd that so many Christians would buy in to someone “predicting” such events when the scriptures are very clear on the subject.  I admit, the scriptures tell us to watch for the signs, but I think we need to be careful how we react to the signs.

It’s been a day of doing paper work (uhg).  Now, I enjoy writing, but I hate dealing with red-tape.  Needless to say, I got through all my red-tape dealings for the day just in time for a relaxing evening at the temple.

The temple has been closed for two weeks for its semi-annual cleaning.  I’ve missed it.  I hungered to get inside and bask in that feeling of safety and peace.  The feeling is indescribable.  Imagine, if you would, the security gate at the airport.  Now, image that metal scanner as having some high-tech ability to remove all your worries and cares when you pass through it.  Well, that’s kind of what I feel when I enter the temple.

Speaking of which, there was a cute story in Meridian Magazine about temples contributing to the leading cause of death in Utah.  (You can read the story by clicking here.)  And, to the author’s comments, I’ll add that while sitting quietly in the Oakland temple about nine years ago, I memorized the entire 36th chapter of Alma.  It was kind of a self-challenge that if I ever became a temple ordinance worker, I’d have to be able to remember a LOT.  Well, I did it and it was a boost to my confidence that I could memorize the temple ordinances.

I’ve already mentioned the feeling of peace and safety.  Years ago, I recall going to the Oakland Temple and I had so much on my mind.  I walked in the entrance, showed my recommend, and as I passed the recommend desk and started heading down the hall, it was as though I knew everything was going to be okay.  (Again, going back to my analogy about the metal detector.)  It wasn’t gradual, it was an immediate feeling.

To quote Janice Kapp Perry:

I love to see the temple.
I’m going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I’ll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.

I love to see the temple.
I’ll go inside someday.
I’ll cov’nant with my Father;
I’ll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I’ve learned this truth:
A fam’ly is forever.

My first love of the temple came when my family moved to Fair Oaks, California, and we drove to see the Oakland Temple one weekend.  At that time, there were only 9 temples in the world.  I thought, of those nine, the Oakland Temple was the most beautiful.

A few years later, when I was 12, I remember going with all of the young men and young women from our ward to do proxy baptisms.  I think we each did 35 names that day.  It was an all-day affair.  But what I remember most of all, is the feeling I had when we entered the temple.  At 12 years old, I didn’t have a lot of cares and worries, but I remember the feeling of peace.

copyright 2015 db walton
Provo City Center Temple

Today, there are close to 175 temples operating, under construction, or announced.  Many people in the world live within a couple of hours of a House of the Lord (another name for a temple).  These sacred edifices are attended by worthy Latter-day Saints.  (By worthy, attendees must go through two interviews (two witnesses) and attest to there having kept certain commandments (namely moral cleanliness, abstaining from illegal drugs and not abusing other drugs, abstaining from family/spousal abuse, being honest in their business dealings, just to name a few) and obtain a written document signed by themselves and the two interviewers.  We call it a “temple recommend”.)

Temples are not our “meeting houses” where we hold church on Sunday.  Like Solomon’s Temple of old, it is a place where sacred ordinances take place.  Now, Jesus’ atoning sacrifice put an end to the killing of an unblemished lamb.  No, there are no blood sacrifices that take place in the temple.  Instead, the temple is where we receive instruction.  We come with a broken heart and contrite spirit, and we covenant with God to keep his commandments.  In return, specific blessings are promised to us.  And, it is no surprise to me that those 90-year olds talked about in that Meridian Magazine story have made it to 90.

It was also nice to enter the temple and be greeted by friends.  One of our summer (soon to be going home) missionaries came up to me, shook my hand, and said, “I am so glad to see you.”  His smile warmed my heart and I though how we only met a few months ago, and we only see each other at the temple, but I can call this man friend.  Later I learned that his grandson had been seriously injured.  As I took notice of him and his wife during the evening I learned that their presence in the temple was bringing them them same sort of peace I feel when I’m there too.

I love the spirit that resides in the temple.  I look forward to my next visit.

Scrap It

Scrap It

Why not scrap it?

Instead of putting it in the trash can, take it to ALPCO as scrap.  At least, that’s what we did with our old florescent fixtures.  My son-in-law took down my old florescent light fixtures and took them to ALPCO and for 4 fixtures got $2.  Okay, you’re not going to get a lot for tham, but it is better than paying the trash company to haul it off.

I got a kick out of my grandson who asked why I wanted to get rid of them.  He finds thinks they look cool.  I’ve never liked florescent lighting.  LED lighting is the way to go these days.

Before asking him to take them down I researched and found LED tubes that retrofit florescent fixtures.  One word:  EXPENSIVE.  So, I’ve got rid of them in my studio.  We have a few in the basement, and as finances permit, and as they burn out, we’ll replace them too.

We’re coming in to the autumn season.  Those looking to visit to see the autumn colors, we might have some openings coming in mid-October.  This time of year is such a beautiful time of year to visit Western New York.  Here’s a picture from the past to show you what you’re in for….

Autumn Colors
Autumn Colors

My recommendation is to plan ahead.  By that, I mean start planning your 2016 trip.  For my Latter-day Saint friends, I’d recommend starting in Sharon, Vermont, right after General Conference, and then driving to Palmyra.  Take your time so you can get out and take pictures.  Then, spend a week here in Palmyra as you visit the church history sites around here.

And, yes, we are taking reservations for 2016 Hill Cumorah Pageant.

Hark Hark Hark

Hark Hark Hark

Hark Hark Hark ’tis children’s music.  Children’s music oh, how sweet.  Yes, today was our Primary program at church.

It is one of my favorite Sundays of the year.  These children, ages up to 11, get in front of the entire congregation and sing songs and give short little talks.  It is the singing that I love.

During one of their songs, two little girls appeared to be in contest as to which one could sing louder.  Mouth open wide, the words came out loudly.  Smiles appeared on everyone’s faces as you know she was loving every moment of it.

I sat next to a guy in Priesthood Meeting who turned to me and asked about my being a Walton.  He said his daughter lives in Idaho Falls and told him she is a friend of a guy named Walton on Facebook.

I suggested we look on Facebook and see.  Sure enough, his daughter and I are Facebook Friends.  In an effort to understand how we became friends on Facebook, I asked, “Is your daughter into photography?”

“Big time,” he replied.

Well, there’s the connection.  And, it goes to show what a small world it is.

Speaking of Priesthood…

I love my Band of Brothers.  These men, many old enough to be my father, are the cream of the crop.  When I was laid up many of them stepped in to help me.  One loaned me his chair that helps you go from reclined to standing with the push of a button.  Not only did he loan it to me, he got it some of the guys to help him deliver it and set it up in my bedroom.

This is not all, a friend recently had a second brain tumor removed.  This is the second one in just a few years.  These guys have got together, and within a few days have scheduled daily rides to and from chemo-therapy for this man.  We’re talking 3-hours a day, 5 days a week for the next several weeks.  It took about 2 days for all of those ride commitments.

Next Saturday, we will all get together for a chili dinner.  After that dinner, we will join millions of other men, across the world, for our semi-annual conference.  While the conference will be broadcast on BYUTV and the Internet, I enjoy being there with these men who live in our area and watching it together.

Here’s a sample of why I love being around these men.  (click here)

 

 

Showing Appreciation

Showing Appreciation

I will admit.  I have a hard time with complements — giving them, that is.  I do, however, like showing appreciation in ways that I can.

Yesterday I wrote how someone said, “I appreciate you”, and how it made my day.  I’m still feeling uplifted by those three words.  I wrote back to the person who said it and let them know of my gratitude for what they said.

I think we often get caught up in trying to get our own way, we forget that we are all people.  Manipulation is such a cruel way of trying to get what we want while forgetting about the emotional and psychological impact on the people we are manipulating.  It’s probably why I’m not a very good salesman — I don’t like to manipulate people.

On the other had, I like the scripture that says, “Forget yourself in the service of others.”  This is hard to do sometimes because we get worried about our own needs, which reminds me of the scripture that talks about how God watches over the little sparrows and provides for their needs.

A while back, I saw a video  where people were being asked what the Golden Rule was.  It amazed me how many didn’t know.  It’s quite simple, and instead of quoting Matthew 7:12, I’ll put it in my own words…

Treat others in a manner if the tables were turned, you would want them to treat you.

Show a little appreciation, serve others, and treat others in a way that would make you feel good if things were reversed.  Nah, it’s nothing I came up with.  I’m just reminding myself of what Jesus taught us to do.

I Appreciate You

I Appreciate You

Go ahead, make ones day.  I’ve just got to share how someone today really made my day.  They said, “I appreciate you.”

I belong to a trade guild, Professional Photographers of America, and we have a private message board where we can go and talk to other working professionals about our craft.  While I was flat-on-my-back, it was what I did instead of watching TV (boring and disgusting).

So, the other day, someone asked for some constructive criticism on their work.  Now, both giving and taking constructive criticism is difficult.  As the giver, you have to be careful not to tear the other person down, and as the taker, you have to be willing to take some criticism as to why your work might not be up to standards.

I had some time so I provided some constructive criticism on this person’s photography.  What she wrote in response to my comments was precious and it made my day.  So, here is my tip on how to make someone’s day.

If someone provides you with some advice, or helps you with a problem, instead of saying, “I appreciate your help”, or “I appreciate your advice.”  Say this instead…

Thank you for your advice (or help).  I appreciate you.

Doesn’t that have impact!

Now, I can’t take credit for this, because this is what was done to me.  I was thanked for my constructive criticism and her closing line was, “I appreciate you.”

Wow!

I never would have realized how powerful a simple transposition of wording could be.  It taught me a lesson.  The way I felt when I read, “I appreciate you”, made me feel warm inside.  Much more than the words, “I appreciate your help.”  I felt valued as a person.

So, that’s my goal from now on.  When someone does something for me, of course I will thank them, but I will also let them know how I value them as a person.

I’ll end this entry today by saying to all of my friends and family, “I appreciate YOU!”

Pulled a Muscle

Pulled a Muscle

The other day when I had to dodge a car in the parking lot of Wegman’s, I think I pulled a muscle.  I was reminded last night.

I remember back in high school, Freshman year, having to do all those sit-ups for the Presidential Fitness Award.  As a result, I pulled something in my abdomen and spent the next week being quite tender around my belt line.

Well, you get older and you pull one of those abdominal muscles and you’re reminded you’re not as young as you used to be.  I think of all the muscles in the body to pull, lower back is probably the worse, and stomach muscles pull a close seconds.  I won’t be doing any sit-ups any time soon.

Speaking of sit-ups, I have a couple of friends who own health clubs.  I get the social aspect of health clubs.  What I don’t get is walking on a treadmill for 15, 20 or 30 minutes or longer when you can just go walk outside.  (Mark and Colin, no offense meant.  I just can’t stand staring at a stationary scene.)  While I understand it can be a great bad-weather alternative, it bores me to tears.

When I went to update my blog today, it kept timing out.  I called my hosting service and the guy said things were working and they have had no failures.  I did a trace route and found where the packets were getting dropped.  It turned out it was Time Warner that was having the issue.

I called Time Warner and the young lady was helpful, but started having me do things that were totally counter-intuitive.  With my extensive networking background, I stopped her, gave her one of their IP addresses, and explained, “That is where your problem is.”

As things would have it, I was cut off.  Now, thanks to my friend Aaron, I no longer blame such incidents as malice, but instead, gross incompetence. Heinlein’s Razor says, “You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.”  Okay, I realize that is harsh, but either she intentionally cut off the call, or she did something stupid resulting in the call being dropped.  Either way, I figure it would have to effect more than just me and it would just be a matter of time before Time Warner fixed their switch in Chicago.

After work we went to the Canal Connection Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours.  It was held at Reliant Credit Union.  It was supposed to be speed networking, but because of a low turn out, we let everyone have the floor for a few minutes to describe their business.  From a chamber point of view, I’m sorry more didn’t show up.  However, from a business owner point of view, I’m glad there was a small crowd because we each were able to explain our business.  We had Anytime Fitness there, Reliant Credit Union, Macedon Auto, Macedon Family Chiropractic, Meme’s Gift Baskets, GL Campbell Plumbing, Elizabethe representing the Beckwith Mansion and me representing photography by db walton llc.

Elizabethe commented she liked that event because of the seating.  (We held it in the center of their waiting area where they had comfortable overstuffed seats.)  I liked that too.

Scammers

Scammers

I got a call a while back from someone (scammers) claiming to be with the IRS saying I owe back taxes.  While, I know this is untrue, I did my best to collect information to report them.

Today, a friend told me he got a call like that too.  What he did was ingenious. He arranged to meet the person at a nearby coffee house.    He also played along with the game and told the he’d bring cash so his wife wouldn’t find out he owed back taxes.

The scammer called him the next day and commented that he didn’t show up for his appointment.  He informed him that he knows, but now he has a photograph of the guy so he can report him to the IRS. I get so many calls claiming to….

  • lower my interest rate on my credit cards (like I care since I pay them off monthly)
  • loan me money
  • hire me for a huge family reunion (while that sounds legitimate, there are red-flags all over)
  • improve my web site SEO
  • and more

The do-not-call registry is a joke.  I go there every quarter to make sure my phone number at home and my cell numbers are listed as do-not-call, but these guys ignore that stuff. I always ask questions they should know the answer to to catch them in their lies.

For example, if they claim to be from the IRS, I’ll ask them for the last four digits of my social security number.  If they claim to be calling about my web site SEO, I’ll ask, “Which web site are you talking about?”  And, for the family reunion one, I always ask, ‘What is the address of the venue?’  (You’d me amazed at how often I’ll get told, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”

Somewhere in the house I have a check for several thousand dollars that I just filed away because the bank address put it in the middle of a state park, and the router number on the MICR and printed at the top didn’t match, and neither matched the bank’s name printed on the front.  (It’s easy to look up routing numbers, and all three pieces of data should match.)

And, speaking of routing numbers, that would be the last thing I’d give to some random caller.  In fact, I one had my internet company call me to tell me they had not received payment.  The offered to take payment over the phone via a routing number from a check.

Now, keep in mind, they called me so I really didn’t know for sure if they were for real.  I told them I would call back and provide payment information that way.  It turns out they were legitimate, but why risk it.

Early Walk

Early Walk

I took an early walk with the New York Rochester Missionaries this morning.  We went from the Smith Home to Hill Cumorah in commemoration of the anniversary of Joseph’s trips to Hill Cumorah.

copyright 2015 db walton
Hill Cumorah and NYRM Missionaries

It was on September 22nd that Joseph Smith first visited the hill.  There he was met by Moroni, a resurrected being, who gave him instructions regarding the stone box Joseph had just unearthed.  He was instructed to return annually on this date until such time that he could obtain the plates.  (Read the rest here (click here).

After returning every year for four years, Moroni again met Joseph at the hill and delivered in to Joseph Smith’s hands the gold plates, the breast plate and other artifacts with a charge that he was to do all in his power to protect the plates from falling in to the wrong hands.  Soon, he commenced translating the plates.  The result of that translation is the Book of Mormon.

It was a fun walk, but some of the missionaries thought it was a race and ran.  Aye, yi, yi.  I simply walked at my pace.

After my Tuesday meeting, I headed to Harbor Freight Tools and picked up another “light saber”.  They are on sale and I have a coupon.

While I was down that way, I stopped at the Turkish store, the Indian store, and two Asian markets.  We’re stocked for the winter.  Food storage taste much better if you have all the right seasonings.

Studio LED Lights

Studio LED Lights

The other day, Spencer helped me rewire and install new studio LED lights in my studio.  He did the ladder work, and I did the minutia sitting at the table.

Today, I walked out there, and turned them on just to bask in the light.  I’m very pleased with out they turned out.  It is all made from parts bought in the electrical department a Lowe’s.  Each light strip has 4 sockets with pull-chains and a 3-prong outlet.  I can actually get the wiring OFF the floor in the studio and suspend the power cords from the ceiling.

copyright 2015 db walton
House Lighting in the Studio

(Please note:  While my studio fully endorses BayPhoto (the bags in the picture), we do not endorse or recommend SmugMug.)

Haha… in the photo you can see the soon-to-be-replaced florescent fixture.

My grandson came out in the studio and I showed him what his dad and I accomplished.  He looked at the old lights and said, “But, Grandpa, those old lights are cool.”

“Fine, you can have them… if your parents say it is okay,”  I said in response.

The new lights are brighter and make the place look so much better.  Plus, the old ones hung down so much I was always hitting them and that worried me I would break one of those 48″ florescent tubes.

While the 2nd fixture is up, it still needs to be wired in to the sockets.  In the mean time, the next time Spencer gets some time we’ll at least pull the old fixture down.  And, in spite of my offer, I think they are going to end up at ALPCO Recycling.