I love editors. There, I said it.


Editors make everything look superior. Editors take typical copy and make it outstanding. Editors have great things to say about every story. In a sense, they make everything better.


hands on a computer keyboardTrue, sometimes they have to make tough decisions, but editors still spend their time and efforts improving often what is already good and making a real difference. Now you may be saying that you don’t really have any experience with the publishing industry, but editors appear in every walk of life.


These “editors” are the ones that take a given situation and improve it. They take their pen and make the world a better place by rewriting the challenging times of life. Maybe it is having a sense of humor to lighten the mood at the moment of another’s unease or showing patience in the midst of busy people trying to get somewhere quickly. Editors take an opportunity to improve difficult situations. You see them every day. I witnessed an example recently—not just one, but dozens.


How would you like to spend your Saturday morning? You probably have a list of things you would like to get done, goals to accomplish, or perhaps a fun activity with friends or family.


Early one Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago, I saw a group of people braving the cold so they could go to a facility where they could donate blood. That’s right. A blood drive where you wait in line, read and acknowledge forms, fill out some more forms, wait for the nurse, then finally stick the arm only to wait some more. Toward the end of the ordeal, participants did get a drink and a cookie to replenish their fluids, prevent wooziness, and replace iron.


I made sure to thank them before each left the building. Every one of them deserved it because of course there is a great need. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, and there is no other source of this life-saving donation. Their stories are touching.


As one who has used his share of this important resource, I have a special place in my heart for those that donate. The selfless service they render often goes unnoticed and unheralded; but I have heard recently that ARUP calls each donor the day after his or her blood is used.


When I first heard this, tears sprang to my eyes, and it hit me right here (taps chest).


In my mind’s eye, I am hearing a cell phone ring and a conversation that goes something like this: “Good morning. We just wanted to call and thank you for your recent blood donation. Yesterday, your blood was used at one of our hospitals to help a mother and her first baby in a difficult predicament. We thank you for helping to save a life.”


Going back to that morning, there was a fellow who shook the hands of everyone in line as he left and with a smile said, “The leeches are the best part.” Smiles sprang to the faces of those waiting to donate. It lightened the mood and lifted our spirits. For a moment, things were even better than he found this place, because he was there—an editor in action.


When I was a boy, I remember on occasion my father going and donating blood. I didn’t understand then why he did this or the significance of this gesture. I don’t wonder anymore.


Every hardship, every vice, every challenge or addiction or failure is temporary and will be overcome as we align ourselves with Jesus Christ as part of His perfect plan. Our confidence grows, our worries are eliminated, and our fear turns to faith, because we know that He will not forsake us. As long as we are on His side, our victory is assured. That’s the hope we have in Jesus Christ!


Through a particularly difficult time in our lives, my family appeared to some to take a step backward. However, it turned out to be one of our greatest blessings. Overcoming the challenges that came with country living still blesses my life today. Who would have thought? We experienced the joy of both the redeeming and enabling power of Jesus Christ in our lives. The gospel has the power to heal the body, the mind, and the spirit. And in the midst of our Castle Valley experience, we learned that lesson intimately firsthand.


My father would often tell me as we enjoyed the bounty the Lord had provided for us that we ate better than kings, and we did. All the wonderful Jersey milk, yogurt, buttermilk, cheese, and fresh butter. There were delicious farm-fresh eggs, natural home-grown vegetables we could eat—lettuce, peas, corn, tomatoes, spinach, Swiss chard, zucchini, cucumbers, pickles—and abundant fruits like apples, peaches, plums, pears, strawberries, and melons, to name a few.


The farm provided the best of the best. And those were just the things that we grew. We also savored freshly baked bread and rolls, pies, cookies, cakes, farm-raised beef, pork, and lamb. Perhaps the appreciation and satisfaction of really enjoying these things came because they were the fruits of our very own labors.



To read more articles by Walter Penning, click here.

The homestead didn’t come together all at once. We spent countless hours, summer after summer, preparing the soil, planting the ground, and weeding and watering until at last, the abundance we hoped and dreamed about was realized. The values and lessons learned there have proven to be blessings throughout the many years following. And I believe the same is true for each of my siblings.


Our experience in Castle Valley was truly a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity—a life lesson that has application in many situations—not just farm life. And perhaps that is the single greatest blessing coming from Castle Valley: by the grace of God, our dreams can and will be realized.


Happily ever after and once upon a time are not idle phrases; they are only the beginning for those that serve and follow Jesus Christ. These terms are reserved for the Editor of our immortality and eternal life.


Your best story starts today as you align yourself with Christ. In Him, you will find peace.



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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