The Taggart Family -- Life, Family and Friends

My Photo
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

This blog is a record of events in the life of Joseph Taggart and his family since his spinal cord injury while body surfing in Guatemala in January 2006.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tragedy or Destiny? 1/21/07

It is really interesting reviewing the blog from one year ago. What a wild ride that was! it is clear that the Lord has blessed our family and especially Joseph. Years ago we read a BYU Devotional talk by President Spencer W. Kimball called "Tragedy or Destiny?" this week selections were used in the lessons for Priesthood Meeting and Relief Society. Joseph spent a couple of hours discussing philosophy and theology with his dad this week (a result of his Philosophy class he is taking at the U.). What a joy it is to have a theology that answers the great questions of life and it's purpose. We think of our blessings and the miracle of the last year's progress as we read the words of President Kimball:

"If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the pre-mortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective.

Is there not wisdom in his giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls? Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?

If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith.

If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil— all would do good but not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, only satanic controls. . . .

If we say that early death is a calamity, disaster, or tragedy, would it not be saying that mortality is preferable to earlier entrance into the spirit world and to eventual salvation and exaltation? If mortality be the perfect state, then death would be a frustration, but the gospel teaches us there is no tragedy in death, but only in sin. . . .

I am positive in my mind that the Lord has planned our destiny. Sometime we'll understand fully, and when we see back from the vantage point of the future, we shall be satisfied with many of the happenings of this life that are so difficult for us to comprehend.

We sometimes think we would like to know what lies ahead, but sober thought brings us back to accepting life a day at a time and magnifying and glorifying that day. . . .

We knew before we were born that we were coming to the earth for bodies and experience and that we would have joys and sorrows, ease and pain, comforts and hardships, health and sickness, successes and disappointments, and we knew also that after a period of life we would die. We accepted all these eventualities with a glad heart, eager to accept both the favorable and unfavorable. We eagerly accepted the chance to come earthward even though it might be for only a day or a year. Perhaps we were not so much concerned whether we should die of disease, of accident, or of senility. We were willing to take life as it came and as we might organize and control it, and this without murmur, complaint, or unreasonable demands.

In the face of apparent tragedy we must put our trust in God, knowing that despite our limited view his purposes will not fail. With all its troubles life offers us the tremendous privilege to grow in knowledge and wisdom, faith and works, preparing to return and share God's glory."

For all the challenges for Joseph and the Taggart family during this last year we feel the Spirit whispering peace, and are grateful for the "tremendous privilege to grow in knowledge and wisdom, faith and works".

Monday, January 15, 2007

Se Deus é por nós. . . 1/15/07

As you enter Joseph's room you are met with a 1 meter wide sign which reads: "Se Deus é por nós, quem será contra nós?" Portuguese for Romans 8:31 (If God be for us, who can be against us?). As Joseph moves into his new university classes and continues in physical therapy he does so with confidence and enthusiasm. Why? one might ask. He understands who his partner is and knows the battle is lopsided when you are the right side. We appreciate his determination and enthusiasm and think of the end of that chapter in Romans:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

One Year Ago - Remembering Promises 1/5/07

One year ago on Wednesday the 5th of January Joseph injured his neck. This weeks blog entry is in Joseph's own words, when he spoke at the Hunter East Stake Youth Conference in June (see blog entry "Speaking, Linking and Sinking with 'Good Cheer' -- 6/25/06).

"We went down to the beach. On the West coast of Guatemala it is quite marshy, it reminded me of the everglades a little bit. You have to take a swamp boat about an hour from the mainland over to this little island where there is a decent beach. The surf there was AWESOME, about seven foot waves, and that’s fun. The tide was coming up and the waves were big and strong. We didn’t have any boards so we were just kind of body boarding (you swim with the waves and let them bring you to shore). You’re powerless in the waves and they toss you around, a good little thrill.

We had only been there about 15 minutes and I hopped on this one wave and was riding it in when it felt like the wave just picked me up and chucked me. I went head first into a sandbar. At that point I broke my neck. My head came down to the right and I broke my C-4/C-5 joint. Immediately while I was still under water, I lost all motion in my legs, my trunk, and my arms below the shoulders. All I could really do is wiggle my neck around and my shoulders a little bit and that was it. I was being tossed around for about 10 minutes under water. I was kind of beached up and pulled back down. I didn’t really feel that my life was in danger, because I’d be beached for a second then it would pull me back down, kick me back up then pull me back down. When I’d end up face down I could turn my head a little bit to get some air before the next wave. I was just waiting for my friends to realize I wasn’t screwing around. I don’t blame them. I was a goof-ball, I would have waited 15 or 20 minutes before I came to check to see if I was okay.

It is interesting what goes through your mind at that point. When I was 18 I received my patriarchal blessing . . . I’d been given a promise that no matter what, during my life, I would be physically capable of doing whatever was necessary that the Lord required of me (I’m paraphrasing a little bit). As soon as I hit my head, all of that rushed back to me. I remembered that promise. Those promises are real. Whether they come through our patriarchal blessings, the scriptures or our priesthood leaders, those promises are real. It was interesting because I wasn’t panicking, I wasn’t freaking out. There was this instant spiritual knowledge: “Okay, so this is how it is going to be.” I had even commented to my father, back when I got my blessing: “Wow, this sounds like I’m going to be in a wheelchair or something”. It’s just the way it sounded to me. Now it was just instant knowledge, “Oh, this is how it’s going to be. . . at least I have a cool story to go behind it, I didn’t trip on a rock in my front yard or something. . .
It’s amazing how the Lord can give us promises, and if we are worthy-- we’ll be just fine. That’s what I wanted to express to you, as long as we are worthy, and we keep our end of the bargain, everything is going to be okay."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Birthday and a New Year -1/2/07

Welcome 2007! We celebrated Joseph's 25th Birthday on Saturday and welcomed in the New Year on Monday. Joseph enjoyed parties with friends and we've had visits from many. The photo is of the Bath-Taylor family from Bristol England, over visiting family for the holiday.
As we were reflecting on the New Year it brought to mind an article we wrote for the missionaries about resolutions and goals. we've adapted it below:

Resolutions to Reality

The New Year is a famous time for making “resolutions”. According to the dictionary a resolution is something you’ve reached a firm decision about. Many people avoid the guilt of failed resolutions by not making any. Most of the people that do make New Year resolution lists reflect mere wishes, dreams, aspirations, or hopes. For many, this wish list often lasts less time than it takes to lose the paper the list is written on. The items on the list are soon forgotten and life moves quickly on. Sometimes our goals fall into somewhat the same category as New Year Resolutions, we may avoid them altogether, thus easing our conscience about failing to reach them. Or, if we do make goals, they reflect our wishes, dreams, aspirations, or hopes but are quickly forgotten and/or do not become a reality. What is the process of turning the righteous desires of our hearts (our resolutions) into reality, into actual results?

It involves Spiritual Creation before Physical Creation and it involves accountability (to “return and report”). Let us quickly summarize:

Establish Goals

This reflects the first stage of Spiritual Creation, what do you desire? Wishes, dreams, aspirations, and hopes are a good starting point, but are only that. As you visualize, quantify and describe the desired outcome you begin the process of making them a reality. Goals are a reflection of your righteous desires and are critically important as a first step. Many failed attempts at success stop with this step, like New Year “Resolutions”.

Make Commitments

Here is the real resolution step. You commit to what you will do. While your goals reflect the desired outcomes, your commitments reflect an unchanging decision to act. Unless your desires (goals) can all be achieved through the exercise of your individual agency they may not all be achieved. That is fine. However the commitments you make must all be within your sphere of control and choice. We must all learn to make and keep our commitments.

Establish a Plan

The plan states your goals, incorporates your commitments and is the action document of your success. It is your blueprint, your strategy. It answers the questions Who, What, When, Where, and How. (Who will do the work?, What work is to be done?, When is it to be done by?, Where is it to be done?, and How is it to be accomplished?)

The Plan incorporates the desires/goals and commitments of the local unit of the Church. This correlation of effort is required if we are to enjoy the full blessings of the Lord. The greatest success will occur when our plan and the plan of the local unit is the same. Remember to use the commitment pattern and invite others to do their part. Then follow up. This concludes the “Spiritual Creation” phase of the work.

Go and Do the Work

Do what you have committed and planned to do. Use the Spirit, go forth with faith, work with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.

Return and Report

Accept accountability. Seek feedback. Share your commitments and plan with others and allow them to help follow up on commitments. You will be strengthened and they will be blessed. Let them help evaluate the plan. Show them you know how to make and keep commitments (those elements that are strictly under your choice and accountability). Help them by following up.


Sometimes it hardest to take your own advice. But we're going to work on it! Happy New Year!

Locations of visitors to this page