Black as a cat, blue in the face, red-handed—idioms are a combination of words that create a meaning that is different from the inference of the individual words themselves. English expressions can be confusing because they sometimes seem to be illogical.


Let me use an example.


People even use white noise simulators to help them sleep! via Snooz

Maybe you are familiar with the term ‘white noise’—maybe not. The whole concept is fascinating if you stop and think about it.


When I look for an instance of “white noise” in my own life, what comes to mind is taking a nap as a child. My sleeping quarters was near our laundry room, so I would frequently hear the cadence of the washer or the hum of the dryer, and that sound would lull me to sleep when I would lie down for a nap.


Funny enough, that noise would actually help me fall asleep better. But this was not unique. Many are comforted by the sounds around them: a gurgling stream, crickets chirping at night, or the lullaby of a favorite song can all do this really effectively. Wouldn’t it be great if you could enjoy this benefit all the time?


We can. For me, that is where this article gets really interesting, because it deals with something I have failed to recognize largely throughout my entire life. Maybe you have, too. There are lots of reasons why. I will provide one.


In this amazing world of change and technological breakthroughs, it is easy to take these blessings for granted. Email, the Internet, television, cell phones…the list goes on and on. I know a person who gets so many emails, their inbox is constantly full of new, unread messages. That’s not a bad thing, but there is a cost. If an important email comes through, it is buried in the dozens of immaterial, unimportant messages that clog the inbox.


hands on a computer keyboardDoes that ever happen to you? I believe we all fall victim to that in one way or another—all of us. After a vacation ortime away from the office, there are loads of unanswered emails to which we must peruse and reply. But when the inbox is jammed with so many irrelevant and unrelated messages, it is hard to focus on those that really matter.


In terms of email messages, if everything is highlighted as important, then nothing is important. This principle applies to other things as well. Let me use a couple more examples.


Many people mark their scriptures. When the words of the prophets help us feel comfort or understand concepts better, it is not uncommon to mark these verses in red. They touch us significantly, so we mark them to make them easier to find and help the passages stand out. But if we use our red pencil to mark every passage in red, then nothing stands out. Every verse is lost in a sea of red.


One more example follows—and it is the reason for this article.


It is not uncommon at my house to see one of my children sitting in front of the television with ear buds on, a cell phone in one hand, and an iPad in the other with the notebook computer on their lap. Okay, maybe that is a bit extreme… but not really.Though these technologies are wonderful and give us never-before available opportunities like they do now, sometimes we overstimulate ourselves to the point of exhaustion. For instance, I have grandchildren that are proficiently accessing and using games on a cellphone before they can even speak. So what’s the big deal?


Nothing is wrong, really—unless these diversions jam the signals that are really important in our lives. We are all faced with similar situations. Whether it is the radio turned on in the car, conversations at the office, melodies playing in the department store, or cell phones and telephones ringing to grab our attention, there is a chance that these diversions are lessening our ability to hear the Spirit and follow its promptings. But it doesn’t have to be this way, does it?


Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have all been endowed with the gift of the Holy Ghost. This blessing is often referred to as the still small voice.


The True to the Faith manual refers to the Gift of the Holy Ghost this way:


“After you were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders laid their hands on your head and, in a sacred priesthood ordinance, confirmed you a member of the Church. As part of this ordinance called confirmation, you were given the gift of the Holy Ghost…


“Full enjoyment of the gift of the Holy Ghost includes receiving revelation and comfort, serving and blessing others through spiritual gifts, and being sanctified from sin and made fit for exaltation in the celestial kingdom.” (See more at


I once read a quotation that goes something like this: “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”


The gift and blessing of the ability to read includes enormous advantages and opportunities. Yet when left unused, a person loses all the value the ability has to offer.


To read more articles by Walter Penning, please click here.

This concept is also true for the gift of the Holy Ghost.


Are you struggling? Do the solutions you seek keep eluding you? Many feel these sentiments and are frustrated looking for answers. But don’t let the white noise distract you. The gift of the Holy Ghost is the answer. We can access and use this gift every day, and it can make all the difference.




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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