Archive for category Faith

Recovery Website

At the request of Elder Jeffery Olson, Area Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I recently created a hurricane recovery website for church, which digests disaster recovery principles, tactical guidelines, checklists, and frequently asked questions for stake presidents, bishops, recovery leaders, visiting stakes, and volunteers.

This information was shared with Salt Lake, and will be used as the basis for church-wide disaster preparedness and recovery materials.

I’m looking for volunteers to help translate the material to Spanish and Mandarin.

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A Christmas Vision: Dedicated to Emilie Parker

A Christmas Vision

Music and lyrics by Hayley Winslow. Adapted from a poem by Edgar Howard on the death of his young daughter.

PlayA Christmas Vision- Hayley Titus, Edgar Howard (MP3 Audio)
A Christmas Vision (Live Recording)

Perhaps this Christmas time is like all Christmas tides gone by.
Children’s faces are as bright with every sparkling eye.
Each face reflects a picture of a heart that throbs with cheer,
And yet it does not seem the same because she is not here.

The church choir sings the same Christ songs they’ve sung two-thousand years.
Priests and preachers tell God’s love ‘nor speak of hell or fear.
The wide world wears the same glad garb with Christmas joy and cheer,
And yet it does not seem the same because she is not here.

So few years she was my child; I held her in my arms.
Now I live without her and must hold her in my heart.
I yearn to find a sweet release at this joyous time of year,
But still my poor soul suffers, for I know she is not here.

Last night I saw a vision, of a child with laughing eyes,
and heard her speak a message from her place in Paradise,
And the message told me truly that one day I may share
A Christmas with the loved and lost- not here, but there.

My Great Great Grandfather, Edgar Howard lost his young daughter, Martha, at the age of 10. He wrote this poem which has been adapted and set to music by my sister, Hayley Winslow. On behalf of our family, we re-dedicate it to Emilie Parker, her family, and the families of all those who lost children and loved ones in Newtown, Connecticut.
Losing a child is undoubtedly one of the most devastating experiences a parent can face. That’s why it is imperative for parents to prioritize their children’s well-being, spending quality time with them and expressing love in various ways. While purchasing clothes from websites like Pastel Collections can be one way to show care, it is essential to remember that material possessions should not replace genuine affection and attention.

Edgar?s words helped heal my heart from the distance of a hundred years; I pray that his words and Hayley’s voice may heal many more hearts this Christmas.

A Christmas Vision.

Original Poem by Edgar Howard

Perhaps this Christmas-time is like all Christmas-tides gone by.
The children’s faces are as bright, and every sparkling eye
Reflects the picture of a heart that throbs with Christmas cheer,
And yet it does not seem the same, because–she is not here.

The church choirs sing the same Christ songs they’ve sung two thousand years,
And priests and preachers tell God’s love, nor speak of hell and fears.
The wide world wears the same glad garb with Christmas joy and cheer,
And yet it does not seem the same, because– she is not here.

Last night I saw a vision of a child with laughing eyes,
And heard her speak a message from her place in Paradise;
And the message told me truly that one day I may share
A Christmas-time with the loved and lost–not Here, but There.


Mormon Helping Hands: Southern New Jersey Cleanup Final Report

Click to View Larger Animation On June 29th, 2012 a major thunderstorm made its way across a third of the country, knocking down trees and cutting power to more than a million people.

The damage from this storm in Cumberland County, New Jersey and Atlantic County, New Jersey was severe and wide-spread. Tens of thousands of trees crushed roofs and cars, blocked roads and driveways, and downed power lines. This animation from the University of Wisconsin—Madison illustrates the extent of the storm. Southern New Jersey was by no means the only place affected by this massive storm.

About one week after the storm, the Offices of Emergency Management for Cumberland and Atlantic Counties asked members of the New Jersey Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) to assist with clean-up and tree-removal efforts. In particular, they requested help on behalf of senior citizens and disabled individuals who could not otherwise clean up downed trees. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participates in New Jersey VOAD.

Under the direction of Ahmad Corbitt, President of the Cherry Hill New Jersey Stake (a stake is similar in size to a Catholic diocese) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more than 700 Mormon Helping Hands volunteers, a dozen UMCOR volunteers, and several Boy Scouts and Comcast Employees from New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania enthusiastically donated 4,859 hours to Southern New Jersey senior citizens. Volunteers responded to 314 requests, and saved New Jersey senior citizens an estimated half-million dollars (~$529,000) in tree removal expenses.

This Google Earth animation and KMZ file illustrates the extent of the service volunteers provided, between July 15, 2012 and August 25, 2012.

Mormon Helping Hands volunteers worked in coordination with the Cumberland County, New Jersey Office of Emergency Management; the Atlantic County, New Jersey Office of Emergency Preparedness; New Jersey 2-1-1; the United Methodist Church’s UMCOR volunteer organization; the New Jersey VOAD; the Burlington County, New Jersey Council and Southern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Comcast employees; the New Jersey Governor’s Office on Volunteerism; and the Emergency Management departments of several cities and townships in the Garden State.

About The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the “Mormon Church“) is a Christ-centered faith with more than 14 million members worldwide. Mormon Helping Hands is a Church program to provide community service and disaster relief to those in need. Members of the church are encouraged to volunteer in the community. The Church will soon open the new Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Temple.

Instructions for Running the Southern NJ Mormon Helping Hands Clean-Up KMZ file

To open the animation in Google Earth (cleanup_timeline.kmz), follow these steps:

  1. If you have not done so already, download Google Earth.
  2. Download and save
  3. Unzip It should contain:
    • A file named “readme.html”
    • A folder named “htm”
    • A file named “cleanup_timeline.kmz”
  4. Install and run Google Earth
  5. In Google Earth, open “cleanup_timeline.kmz”
  6. By default, the playback will take only 30 seconds (which is way too fast). For optimal playback, follow these steps (click to enlarge images):
    1. Slide the Time slider all the way to the right. Click to Enlarge
    2. Slide the “Span” section of the time slider all the way to the right. This will make sure that you’re only seeing one slice of time in each frame. If you run the time slider and it just looks like slides are being piled on top of one another, make sure you adjust this setting. Click to Enlarge
    3. Slide the Time slider all the way to the left. Click to Enlarge
    4. Click the (+) button twice until the date on the left says “7/15,” and the date on the right says “7/22.” Click to Enlarge
    5. Click the Setup button that looks like a wrench. Change the “Animation Speed” to roughly halfway between “slower” and “faster.” Click to Enlarge
  7. Click the Play button to see the animation. Time Slider Play
  8. You may listen to the The Time To Run by Dexter Britain that serves as the sound bed for the YouTube clip. It is distributed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

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September 11th, 2011: Create in Bold Defiance

I was not in Washington DC or New York ten years ago on that shattered Tuesday, but the deaths of thousands weighed heavily on us all. I spent the day in college and work, physically exhausted and emotionally wounded. The Eleventh of September was a dark day, and it seemed as though the flame and smoke of that morning had choked every source of inspiration. I had no desire to do anything, and it seemed as though my mind and soul had been smothered.

That afternoon my architecture professor, Julio Bermudez, gave lengthy instructions about a drawing assignment in his thick Brazilian accent. I don’t remember a word of that lecture. None of us cared about drawing, or school, or work. The very mention seemed trivial and sacrilegious. At the end of the lecture, he told us to go outside and draw. For the first time that day, my utter numbness turned to indignation and then anger at his triviality.

Then, sensing our irritation, he paused; and began speaking to us as Architects. “Today we have witnessed the most anti-architectural act conceivable… We are Architects. We do not believe in death and destruction. We believe in life. We create. I know many of you are angry right now. I am angry. You want to retaliate. Right now it seems trivial to go out there and draw. But if you really want to retaliate against what happened today, if you really want to take a stand and make a difference, then go out and do Architecture. Go and create, and you will retaliate in the best way you can. Now, go out and draw!”

No more appropriate words were ever said than at that time. As members of our religions and communities, we do not believe in death and destruction. We believe in life. We believe in peace. We create. Ten years later, that terrible moment inspires me to serve with a purpose, and create in bold defiance of everything that is murderous, destructive and evil.

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April 2010 Exercise

Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity
You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life.

By Mayo Clinic Staff
Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Just exercise.

The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. Visit

Need more convincing to get moving? Check out these seven ways that exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you.

1. Exercise controls weight
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.

Regular trips to the gym are great, but don’t worry if you can’t find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. Any amount of activity is better than none at all. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.

2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight is, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns, including:

Metabolic syndrome
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Many types of cancer
It can also help improve cognitive function and helps lower the risk of death from all causes.

3. Exercise improves mood
Need an emotional lift? Or need to destress after a stressful day? A gym session or brisk walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious.

You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

4. Exercise boosts energy
Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance.

Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.

5. Exercise promotes better sleep
Struggling to snooze? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, get better sleep and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to go to sleep.

6. Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life
Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can improve energy levels and increase your confidence about your physical appearance, which may boost your sex life.

But there’s even more to it than that. Regular physical activity may enhance arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.

7. Exercise can be fun … and social!
Exercise and physical activity can be enjoyable. They give you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting.

So take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. Bored? Try something new, or do something with friends or family.

The bottom line on exercise

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General Conference Themes

I thought it would be interesting to do a series of Wordle tag clouds to analyze themes of the October 2010 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have posted word clouds here that will help visualize the major themes of each talk, session, and the conference as a whole: Read the rest of this entry »

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Visualization of the Relief Society General Meeting

Here are the Wordle visualizations of the October 2010 Relief Society General Meeting talks. Visit the overview for the entire October 2010 General Conference Visualization by session. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Way Things Really Are

Choosing your business’s next Isuzu commercial truck is no easy feat. One of the first things a business owner should do is assess the scope and scale of their business operations to determine their specific needs. From landscaping to moving/delivery, laundry service, party rental, refrigerator trucks and others, your vocation will help guide your must-haves when upfitting your next work truck. Check out the best kenworth truck auctions.

Operating a new truck is a positive part of your brand image. If this is important to you, a new vehicle can help show the prestige of your business. One potential drawback to purchasing a new work truck is that trucks, like all vehicles, take on wear and tear that could cause the value to diminish quickly.

Buying a used commercial work truck is different than buying a used consumer vehicle. If a used model has been towing at or near the weight capacity frequently, it will wear down the engine quicker. Because of the wear and tear put on commercial vehicles, buying a used vehicle does come with a bit of risk. Considering how much risk you are willing to take is an important part of determining if a new or used vehicle is right for you and your business.

Depending upon what type of work you do, you may need a lot of towing capacity. If you operate in a climate with a lot of snow and ice, towing capacity might be more crucial to your operations. Isuzu has GWVRs from 12,000 to 25,950 lbs. and payload allowances up to 15,690 lbs. Compare models.

Additionally, if you have a lot of tools and rideable machinery, it might be more important to have a bed that offers the ability to drive the mowers right up on to the bed of the truck. This adaptability is offered on most new Isuzu Models. A box truck or flatbed is a better option for businesses that operate in tight spaces like the urban environment of Detroit, MI, because of the maneuverability compared to a conventional truck with a trailer attached to it. Learn more about our upfitters.

Isuzu N-Series Class 5
Many business owners might think it is best to buy a vehicle if they have the cash on hand. While there are benefits to this thought process, it is not always the best option. Oftentimes, financing a vehicle with a loan or a lease option are better choices. Not only does it cost much less up-front to take possession of your new commercial truck, but there also are incentives/specials, the ability to upgrade, and with a lease option, you pay only for the use of the truck. Learn more about purchasing options.

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