Heads up!


It is just two words. But the impact is immediate and possibly life-changing or even life-saving. Yes. Just two words but packed with power. When someone is about to step off a sidewalk and inadvertently put themselves in the pathway of an oncoming car, these two simple words “Heads up” may actually save his life. Well, you may say that scenario doesn’t happen very often, to which I would agree.


But the same two words can avoid other common undesirable events as well that lead to pain, sorrow, or worse. Maybe it prevents you from banging your head on the cupboard or running into someone or just being unprepared for situations that are sure to arise now or on some future day.


There are a couple short phrases we use when our loved ones are going separate ways. These have in a way become terms of endearment for my family.


First, as we bid farewell, we say “I love you.” Many families do that. But my sweetheart has instigated taking it to a new level. Whenever we part ways, like when mom is going to the grocery store, or the kids are heading toward the bus on their way to school, we repeat those special words. Think about it. We then can go into the world and face the imminent dangers there with the encouraging thought that we are loved and someone is cheering for us back home. I often rely on that thought.

And heaven forbid that something happens to one of our loved-ones so that these words are in fact our final expressions, then we communicated what we really feel and what is most important. Hopefully, those words linger in their thoughts. Rhetorically speaking, I never want to regret the fact that I didn’t tell those that I love how I feel about them.

I have seen the next generation adopt and use this principle as well. They are setting a great example, and I am happy to willingly follow their lead.


Second, as the children go out into the world or to some activity, I will often say “Have fun. Be safe.” Now they may just be running off to mutual or headed out for an evening with their friends, but the point is that we want them to be involved in upright, worthwhile activities that will bring them joy and keep them safe from harm. Sure, we know they are going to be faced with decisions between right and wrong.


Temptations and negative thoughts are prolific outside of our embrace, but hopefully, our love and influence will go with them, so they can make good decisions that bring them joy and happiness. That’s what we want for our children and others who matter to us. We wish for them the best feelings of hope, confidence, and happiness.

So that is what we remind them each time we have the opportunity and tell them in this small way that we love them and want joy and gladness for their reward.


I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and lived there when I was very young. I remember watching the stars and constellations from our front yard back in those days. Others who knew much more about those things pointed out the big dipper and the North Star. Even then, the stars we could distinguish were relatively few and far between, because the city lights made them difficult to see.


I remember well when my father would take us boys to fathers-and-sons outings on occasion. From the perspective of the mountains, the stars were numerous and brilliant. “Okay. So that’s what they mean when they’re talking about the Milky Way.” Then I had the unique opportunity later to grow up during my teenage years on the farm in Castle Valley, Utah just outside Moab. Castle Valley is 25 miles up the winding Colorado River.


This little valley is surrounded by solid rock cliffs and the clear air is crisp and unblemished.  The Milky Way was visible every night there and particularly so on a moonless night. The valley was full of surprising and beautiful phenomena—like coyotes yipping as the dusk arrived and fireflies appearing with nightfall—but nothing was quite as remarkable as the spectacle of stars in the sky. They were incalculable in number. Brilliant, spectacular, awesome, inspiring were the words we used to describe this marvel.


Each star for me has come to be a reminder of the love and concern of a kindhearted, loving Father in Heaven who is mindful of my life and activities. He sends these little lights—innumerable little reminders—to jog my memory of him waiting there for me and for you, wanting us to return safely to his presence.


These remarkable little stars become for my terms of endearment from our heavenly family and remind me that Someone is cheering for us back home.


It is amazing to think of a carefree period of life called childhood. I don’t know if children and parents nowadays get to feel that elation.


Mormon men

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Evil masquerades as good; sin is accepted and even applauded. Peace and harmony have been replaced with fear and discord in many instances. Carefree is starting to sound like a misnomer … I think.


Examples today are prolific:  Joy vs suicide and freedom vs addictions or wealth vs poverty and the uproar all around us in politics. These landscapes are difficult to navigate or even understand fully.


Fortunately, there is also much good, and we don’t have to travel down the pathways alone.  Joy to the world, the Lord has come. We can anticipate our homecoming and know that we are never alone.


The countless blessing afforded us in life are like the milky way of stars and too plentiful to enumerate. We are literally in a rainstorm of blessings. Even during difficult times, we are not alone.


So get ready for the rain .. it is pouring.


Just a heads up.


About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.

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