“Once upon a time. . .”  Isn’t that how all the great stories begin?  Then, what follows is a saga of trial and error, hardship and friendship, obstacles to overcome and evil to vanquish.  This is interspersed with moments of intense sorrow and moments of immense joy.  Yet, through it all, there is purpose.  There is a goal to attain, a victory to achieve, a quest to accomplish.

So it is with life—it is a journey that also begins with “once upon a time”.  Obviously, we are somewhere in the middle of our tale and don’t know what the future holds.  Nor do we know exactly how our story will end.  We do know, however, that life has already taken a few unexpected plot twists.  There have been forks in the road we were not anticipating.  There have been some decisions with unintended consequences and some with predictable results we wish we could go back and change.  In short, it has not all been “happily ever after”.

Which brings me to the point.  Why have I written these poems and commentaries in the first place?  And, why share them?  Let me answer.

I noticed as a young boy how easy it was to remember things when they were put to rhyme.  You know, tales of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.  As I grew, I found additional poems with more significant and lasting messages and memorized several.  I was intrigued at how specific lines would come to mind at just the right moment.  One day I had a thought: perhaps I could write my own rhymes to powerful truths and concepts I was learning.  This would be a wonderful way to summarize and internalize these nuggets of insight and inspiration.  And, if previous experience held true, these lyrical lines could also come to mind at critical moments.

Over the years, this process of writing, rhyming, summarizing, thinking, pondering, adding to, revising, and writing again has brought added insight and growth.  Then, I had another thought: why not share these with others?  Could there be something here that would be of benefit to someone else?  Hence, we are where we are—both you and I.

Let me also say that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (some say LDS, Latter-day Saint, Mormon).  I see the world through these beliefs.  However, the poems written here are, by and large, Christian-based.  They share concepts to which all followers of Christ can relate.  True, many of the commentaries contain references to my specific denomination, but, in any case, I would invite the wise reader to look passed any variance of views to the happy vistas of common understanding.  After all, doctrinal disagreements need not make us disagreeable.

Additionally, I fully acknowledge that most of the impressions and ideas discussed are not new nor original.  I give full credit to those from which they originate.  My effort has been simply to put them into a format that may be easier to remember.  If there are faults or follies, those I claim as my own.  I also reserve the right to change my opinions as future growth and learning further refine my understanding.  And, really, would we want it any other way?  Stopped waters soon grow stagnate and stale—so, too, does the head and heart.

Then, let us end where we began “once upon a time,” or, in our case, once upon a rhyme.  Once upon a rhyme we came together—not in a moment of fairytale or fantasy—but in a moment of friendship as we strive to discover what it means to truly and really and ultimately live “happily ever after”.