Pocketknives, Oatmeal, and other Goals.

Click Here to Share on Facebook

    There are two types of men in this world.... Those who carry pocketknives, and those who don't.  I would generally classify myself as a pocketknife type of guy, except for one thing... I never had one with me (I know that doesn't make a whole lot of sense). One day I was at a junk yard with my brother-in-law. I saw a really cool dome light that I wanted to take out of an old car, except I wasn't actually planning on salvaging anything, so I didn't bring any tools with me. Out comes my brother-in-law's pocketknife. Wow! That was so handy! Why don't I have one of those? Well... I do, I have several, but I just wasn't in the habit of always taking them with me. I decided right then and there that I wanted to change. I wanted to form a new good habit. I wanted to be a "Pocketknife Guy".

I went home and looked at my collection of pocketknives. I love my "Old Timer", but really just for whittling. My Swiss Army Knife was just a bit too bulky. I inherited some cool hunting knives from my grandpa, but they were probably a bit too intimidating for public places, and all my other "Boy Scout" knives just weren't really what I was looking for. So, I bought a new one.

Leatherman Crater c33Tx

I have tried to be a "Pocketknife Guy" in the past, but it never really stuck. This time I did something different. First. I started with just what I needed. My knife is simple, yet highly functional. Blade, Flathead, and Phillips Screwdriver (There is also a pocket clip on the back). Second, I created a space for it. I added a new little bowl next to my "change cup" on my little side table in my bedroom to keep "pocket stuff" in when I undress at night. Third, I told everybody my plan. I bragged about my new pocketknife everywhere I went and explained that I am now a "Pocketknife Man".

The results were astounding. It worked! I really changed! I can now honestly say I am a pocketknife man. I find myself using it AT LEAST everyday and I really don't understand what I did before whenever I needed a blade or a screwdriver. How inconvenient my life must have been before!

Now, after I became an ideal pocketknife carrying gentleman, I realized that I was still far from being the perfect old fashioned Manly-Man. One area of my life that definitely needed some improvement was my diet. I have always been able to live off of nothing but junk food.  I have never noticed any "sugar-highs" or crashes later on, but I am getting a little older, and I don't know how long I could keep that up. (plus I noticed for some reason my pants are starting to shrink) I decided that I needed a good go-to breakfast food that was quick and easy that wasn't cereal (I could pretty much just live off of cereal too). Oatmeal. I didn't do oatmeal. It's not that I hated the stuff, it's just... I didn't understand why anybody would eat it on purpose. I would even try it every couple of years just to remind myself that I didn't like it. But now, I decided to try it again. No, I decide to change. I didn't just want to try it. I wanted to like it. I wanted to be the type of man that would start his day off with a big steaming bowl of stick-to-the-ribs oatmeal. So I did. My first bowl wasn't very good. I tried a few different methods to make it. Milk. Milk is the key. Why use water when you could use milk! I experimented, and found the right flavor, but I knew that I needed it easier to make or I probably wouldn't keep it up. I came up with a microwave version that is quick and easy and tastes like breakfast candy. I have a special cup that has a little line on it, so I know just how much milk to add. You know what, I love the stuff. I didn't before, but I do now. I changed.

So one day, just after I started eating oatmeal on a regular basis, and feeling good about being a pocketknife carrying super stud, I noticed my teenage daughter was about to go for a run around the track. We live right across the street from the Preston High School track, so it would be very convenient to go run around and get a little bit of exercise if you were into that sort of thing, which I wasn't. That day, I decided to join her, I thought it would be a good way to spend a little time with my angel... a little bonding time... except for one problem. I couldn't keep up.

I was barely around the track one time when I had to stop, panting and wheezing. My daughter had to go on without me, and I hobbled home, beaten by a quarter mile run. What happened to me? I've never been the best at sports, I've never enjoyed running, but I've never been this out of shape! I decided that I needed to do something. I needed to change. So I did.
The view of the track out my front window.

By now, because of my recent endeavors in creating good habits, I had noticed a pattern of success. First, I would tell other people my intentions. I informed my wife that I would run ONE MILE EVERYDAY  FOR ONE MONTH. (One mile might not seem like much for some, but for me at the time, it was a pretty lofty goal.) Next,  I needed the proper tools. Music. I made a special playlist of good running songs that would be too embarrassing to name here. It was starting to get a bit chilly in the mornings, so I got myself a headband to cover my ears and I noticed that my headphones stayed in without me continually needing to readjust them to keep them from falling out when I run. I quickly realized that my slip on loafer shoes were not going to last long. I went to the store and did something I hardly ever did. I bought myself some new shoes. Good running shoes. (That little purchase kicked off a string of new shoes so that my son now thinks I buy a new pair every week. No, I was just making up for a decade of refusing to buy myself shoes.) One of the most important things I did to create my new running habit is both the easiest and the hardest thing to do. I changed my mindset. I decided that I would be a runner, and I decided that I would like it.  I would leave the house just as my children were leaving to school. I would run just one mile a day. The first day, I finished my goal. I was winded, but I did it. The second day was much easier. Before long, a mile became easy to do without getting tired. Although I soon realized that I could easily run farther than I had originally planned, I kept my goal to run just one mile a day because of one surprising benefit. I was so anxious to get to work! Running in the morning woke me up and made me want to start my day. It made me FEEL good. I became much more productive while working.

My one month goal time period was over just about the time that snow covered the track. I quit running. Do I feel bad about it? No. Not at all.  I accomplished my goal of running one mile a day for one month, and now I can make a new goal. I am choosing to wait until warmer (not below freezing) weather to continue my running habit, but in the meantime, I know I am a runner. I know I can do it and I know I like it. Why? Because I decided to, that's why.

I am now learning to change in many more ways to become the ultimate charming hunk that my wife deserves. There are parts about myself that I don't like, but I realize that I can change those things. By simply deciding to make the change, then allow myself the proper tools to do it, I can be however I want to be. The past doesn't hold me back, only my mindset does.  I mentioned before that changing your mindset can be either the hardest or easiest part of changing yourself, but I never mentioned the secret to success. Ready? The Atonement of Jesus Christ. How can that make me be a "Pocketknife Guy", or how can the Atonement make me like oatmeal, or running? How does that make any sense? I don't know, but it does. The enabling power of the Atonement is a very real and very powerful thing.
“I frankly do not think many of us ‘get it’ concerning [the] enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement, and I wonder if we mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities.” - Elder David A. Bednar

We don't have to do it alone. When we are wanting to make a good change in our life, we can have help. We can have a lot of help! He will help us change our mindset! He will help us lose our old unwanted desires. He will help us accomplish our goals! I can testify to this! I know this to be true! Please read more of Elder Bender's talk titled "In the Strength of the Lord" >HERE<

I encourage you to try it out. Change your mindset. Make a decision to change. Give yourself the proper tools. Tell your loved ones your plans... and then tell the Lord. Ask Him to help you through the power of the Atonement. It works!


  1. Excellent Brent. Thank you for the inspiration! Just don't be the pocketknife guy when you go to the airport...my husband has given them several before flying because as pocketknife guy...you forget! 😜

  2. Brent I am sooooooo impressed with your work. May Jehovah-Messiah bless you for Eternity for your endeavors to bring forth the Jesus Christ pics we've all longed for!!! LOVE
    Dr. O. Drew Larson, Poet
    PS: My Poetry Website, which you may use as needed is as follows:
    I used to live in Preston, Id. I'm in Lakewood, CO 80232 @ 1835 S. Teller 720-226-8789
    Good Luck in your Future. ODL


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


Living with God - Before We Were Born

16 paintings of Christ to lift your spirit.