Tag Archives: Church

Easter Egg Hunt for a Princess Cut Engagement Ring

Are you ready for the crazy news of the day? How about of the month or even the year? Chances are, unless you follow me on twitter or facebook, you’re wrong! Megan and I are officially engaged now. It seems like this has been such a long time coming, but it’s barely been two weeks!

I’ve had her thinking that it was going to happen in about two weeks. Our song is Then by Brad Paisley. The song talks about taking her back to the place I first met her, but for that it’s a little questionable. I thought maybe the song would be a good place, but I’m not sure if I would want to do it in the middle of a bunch of people or if I could be successful at all with getting us up on stage to really embarrass her.

In any event, I decided it was time to get things going and make this official. I was getting tired of the questions that I couldn’t really answer because nothing had been done officially. So as she was getting ready this morning, I stashed some easter eggs around the house for her to find later. Each one had some candy in it, but most importantly had a slip of paper. Most of the slips were exerpts from the lyrics of Then and the remainder were things that I personally wrote. I left most of the eggs out where they were fairly visible, but hid the magic one #12. The notes with lyrics on them also had a corresponding letter which when laid out accordingly produced a hint to find number twelve. The hint was pancake, which caused Megan to look in the fridge and in the pantry. She then saw the griddle on the counter, which isn’t where it is normally stored and started feeling around it. As I reminded her of the storage/warming drawer and she started to open it, I started to hit one knee. By the time she had figured it out I was there could do much more than shed happy tears. I think she was speechless at first, but gave me an excited yes answer!

She says that she had no clue it was coming until she saw the ring in the egg. I think the look on her face confirmed that as she looked like she was so surprised – I wish I had pictures!

This new addition to her finger gave us all lots to talk about at church today. This was the opposite of how things went this morning when we went to church in Riverside. I could see many of the sisters glancing or trying to glance at her finger, but finding it naked didn’t really know how to address me. I figured I couldn’t let her go through another church service without something there. I used the excuse that we needed to come back to the house before our church to get my stuff which I forgot here, oops! When she tried to stay in the car, I told her I had some work to do and she should come in. Then I told her to get started with the egg hunt as above.

Church went well and then we came home to post some pictures and then went to have dinner with my parents. That went pretty well and then we went off to branch prayer at the Prosser’s. Now I’m falling asleep at the keys, so I’m going to have to finish this up later!

Crazy Sundays

Today was pretty crazy, even for me. I’m glad we didn’t end up having an emergency drill like was planned. I never heard what happened, but we never got the order to do search and rescue, so I didn’t worry too much about it. I cancelled our EQP meeting this morning as David is out of town and I didn’t think there was much Chad and I needed to discuss. We just need to be making sure that home teaching is being done and that we are doing better and better with the program.

Branch council was almost empty this morning. It was very awkward, but yet we still managed to go to the wire talking about things. Fast and testimony meeting was kind of strange today. There were some long pauses which gave much time for reflection. Oddly I didn’t feel the desire to get up and bear my testimony even though I had been thinking about it earlier in the day. Even though announcements went forever, we still had plenty of time in our priesthood breakout meetings. I never can tell how successful the committees are, but I feel that we are on the right track. It feels as if we are discussing the same things every month, but I guess sometimes that is what needs to be done. We came up with a few ideas in our Proclaim the Gospel committee which I will talk with AJ and hopefully put into action. We all agreed to the goal of inviting one person to church on the 15th. Any volunteers?

Sister Dowden and I were able to get a lot of information online for my family history. It looks like I’ll have some new names to get started with when we go to do baptisms at the LA Temple on the 14th. I managed to miss missionary correlation, but that allowed me to get to my offering in righteousness correlation meeting on time. While I was there I ended up picking up another baptistry assignment for the branch. It’s two days after we go to the LA Temple, but hopefully we can still get a good group together. I’m really looking forward to going to LA as I’ve never been inside that temple. I plan on going up early to do an endowment session as well, even though that hasn’t been planned yet.

After my final meeting I came home to get on the ham radio net. We had so many checkins I couldn’t even check myself in for about ten minutes! What a great problem to have! From there I grabbed some dinner (leftover spaghetti from break the fast) and started to watch the Fireside. Zeb, Dan, Jessica and Lauren ended up coming over. The Alta Murrieta missionaries showed up just as we were starting too, so I spent some time talking with them and showing them around the house. I’ll have to watch the fireside again as I came into it about half way through. I didn’t make it to prayer tonight, which honestly was kind of in the plans when I saw how much work needed to be done tonight. I just finished doing branch things with the calendar and creating events on Facebook and so forth.

Now I think it’s time to get to bed while the night is still young. Hopefully I can get a good night’s sleep and get rested for the crazy week I have is in store at the office. Our elders are coming over for dinner tomorrow. Would you like to join us?

Waitin’ On A Woman

Today wasn’t my typical Saturday. I guess in many ways though it was about what it should be. I didn’t spend the entire day cleaning, although I sure could have. I forced myself out of bed this morning to help with building cleanup since I missed the last three weeks of it and Cynthia has been trying to guilt me into going. Of course, she wasn’t there this morning cause she was at work, but I went nonetheless. It was actually the quickest building cleanup I’ve ever done. We were done about 8:45 and I don’t recall ever being out of there before 9:30 before.

That gave me enough time to come home and take a shower before going into work to meet a customer who was returning some gear. I was very pleased to get over 41 mpg driving to the office. I have to wonder if Toyota did in fact do something to the Camry as it seems to have been getting much better gas mileage lately than it typically would.

I came home and went through the mail. It was just about perfect timing as there were a few things that I needed to take care of in there. I didn’t get very far with cleaning up my desk, but at least it isn’t getting any worse. I had an interesting encounter regarding spaghetti today. i was asked to bring some for break the fast tomorrow. The sheet said to bring it cooked, but I asked if there was really a reason to cook it ahead of time with it then needing to be reheated. I was told it was ok for me to bring the spaghetti uncooked, but to make sure the sauce was cooked. That really threw me off. Am I supposed to take the sauce out of the jar, heat it up and then put it in some container to take it to church where it can sit in my car from 11 till 4 and then need to be reheated? I won’t even mention the health concerns, or that it would need to go in the fridge. I also had to explain that me bringing spaghetti doesn’t necessarily involve me bringing a sauce for it. I guess we are just all on different pages with our pasta. I think I’ll just be bringing a package of spaghetti and a jar of sauce and we’ll let the girls figure it out from there. Maybe I’m just in an argumentative mood lately.

After I finished eating lunch, I went to Pat & Oscar’s with Lauren (Kristin) and had some breadsticks. We had a good time talking and we confirmed that Shelby is in fact not engaged, some guy just made a fake wedding announcement for the fun of it I guess. She didn’t even know about it, so it was a good thing that we called her. After that I came home and hung the pictures on the walls that they’ve been sitting in front of for nearly a week. I had a heck of a time in the living room. I kept hitting things that didn’t seem like studs, so I was scared to keep driving the nail in. I repositioned everything three times on the wall before deciding to go with it for now.

I then read through a lot of the newspapers that have been piling up. I still have more to go through, but I made a good valiant effort at getting through them. I think I’m going to recycle my Soduku stack too as I get two new ones everyday, I probably don’t need to keep all the old ones since we haven’t had a shortage problem for a while now. I watched Meet Dave tonight. I thought it was pretty funny and had a good story line.

Still no news … It really bites that something that feels so right hurts so much.

I’m really not ready for tomorrow, or next week for that matter. I think there is too much unfinished business from this past week to move on. I also know that tomorrow is going to end up being so hectic and long that I’m just not looking forward to it. I think I may have to go back to that stand about taking a break. I think it would be that much harder to to now with the recent events as no one would believe me that they aren’t related. I’ve had the desire for a break since long before I had the desire to breakup a friendship or two. Regardless, i think it’s a mute point as I’m sure I just need to endure, although I could do with a few less things on my plate. Maybe I need to delegate off the coordination with the missionaries to one of my counselors.

He Said Son, Since 1952, I’ve Been

Sometimes the road up the mountain has some switch-backs in it and you end up back tracking in the process of making it to the top. The pursuit of happiness isn’t always happy.

I said some not so nice things tonight via text and twitter, but I am going to stand by them. I’ll probably get in more trouble for revealing some facts tonight that I would normally keep boxed up as well. Hopefully I’ll stand by that decision in the morning as well. I was uninvited to Disneyland tonight due to events from earlier this week. It was clear that Larilyn didn’t want to be anywhere near me and so I guess the event tonight became girls only. To be quite honest, I don’t agree with it, but I would have been ok with it if that had been the way I was told it. Instead, I was told flat out that I was uninvited. Eventually I was told it became a girls night out. The funniest part of the whole thing was that I was so tired tonight I wasn’t planning on going to begin with! I wasn’t trying to avoid anyone; I just knew when I fell asleep at the computer driving an hour to Disneyland wasn’t going to be in my best interest or that of those others on the road.

I’ve been trying to tell Maegan all week. For whatever reason she has been avoiding me, so I left her a voicemail tonight. It only took three attempts to try and get some of what I wanted to say into a 3 minute voicemail (or whatever her time limit is). It really needed to be at least a fifteen minute conversation and I hate that it wasn’t done in person or at least in realtime. On the bright side, it is off my plate now and I can stop worrying about what I’m going to say and instead just continue to wait. Maybe I will have ended up ruining three friendships tonight, but I’m going to be selfish tonight and be ok with that.

I know very well from past experience that bottling up my feelings and not sharing them doesn’t help the situation, so I’m going to try and be more open and make sure my intentions are understood by all as early on as possible. Maegan may still come back to set me straight and tell me to leave her alone, but at least I will know for sure at that point and I will be able to move forward instead of running in circles around this mess.

The rest of the day was pretty crazy. I was back out in the field today, again back at UCSD for a good portion of the day and Batch and I took care of a few other things on the way back. We had a late lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings, without Megan who is having way too much fun over in England right now I’m sure.

I met with a senior missionary from the Riverside California Mission this evening. It sounds like the Alta Murrieta Ward missionaries will be moving in most likely next Monday. I have a few reservations, but I think it will be good and I’m prepared to make a few sacrifices if necessary for a while to give them an appropriate place to live. If nothing else it should really help me be missionary minded and hopefully keep me out of trouble cause I don’t need any more of that right now.

And I think with that I have caused enough trouble for one night and I’m going to call it quits and head to bed. I’m going to try to make it to building cleanup tomorrow since I haven’t been there all month. I’ve selectively neglected it long enough, even if Cynthia won’t be there to guilt me into coming tomorrow.

Sittin’ on a Bench at West Town Mall

Wow, two nights in a row. What must be wrong? Today was quite interesting. I guess in many ways it was a typical Sunday, but it was different in many ways. First off, all I wanted to do was sleep this morning and I really didn’t want to get up and get going for church. I pulled myself out of bed about 8:30 to make breakfast, prepare a lesson and have time to get ready with all the other stuff. I still barely made it to my first meeting at 11.

The Diffley’s spoke today a lot on education and preparing for the future. The typical talks about saving money, getting a good education, etc. I do keep wondering if I should go back to school, but I don’t know why I would do such a thing. It isn’t going to help me advance in my current job, but maybe I could learn something that would help me or maybe I just do it for the sake of doing it. Then reality hits me and I have to ask when in the world would I make time for school amongst the other things I’m already doing? Something would have to give and I’d have to start practicing a lot more selective neglect.

The Diffley’s spoke tonight at branch prayer about relationships. It wasn’t the typical marriage talk, but they kind of continued from some things they had mentioned this afternoon. Whenever possible marry someone within your race and your religion. It makes things easier down the road, especially when children come into the picture. I’d like to think I can handle that, but sometimes I wonder at 27 if that is going to happen. I may have the house and the car for the family, but there is no family in what I can see. They shared the experience of their first date. Sister Diffley said it was the best first date she’d ever had. Paul was the perfect gentleman. They had a nice dinner in Balboa and then she said something about a place in Westwood that had an ice cream with something on top and he said let’s go! I thought that sounded so totally like me. Drive to Arizona for dinner? OK. Vegas for dessert? No problem.

They said you need to communicate well. There will be give and takes. You need some common interests and similarities. I agreed with everything they said. I was happy I went as I was considering not going so I could write to Tara and get to bed at a reasonable time. I still did write to Tara, and I’m not getting to bed when I should, especially considering my sleep deficit I already have from this past weekend. This probably isn’t going to help my resolve to get up early and get back in the habit of reading in the mornings.

This was the second Sunday in a row that I didn’t go to the Dowden’s. This time it was their fault! Sister Dowden wasn’t feeling well so she cancelled dinner. I couldn’t eat anyway, so I guess it didn’t matter. I was so starving when I came home from church, but nothing sounded good. I ate a bit of Maegan’s leftovers from Oscar’s, but they just weren’t cutting it. I guess I’m going to be trying a new diet of not eating much. I love food so much that it really gets to me when I don’t feel like eating.

I gave a lesson in elders quorum today on Elder Wirthlin’s talk “Come What May, and Love It.” When I first read it yesterday it wasn’t really speaking to me, but this morning I was getting all sorts of good things out of it and President Monson’s talk “Finding Joy in the Journey.” I didn’t have much time, so we only covered the first one briefly in elders quorum today, but I got the benefit of studying both of them! It is quite possible that my favorite story from conference was the one Elder Wirthlin shared of his daughter and the blind date that turned out to be there to pick up one of the other daughters for baby-sitting. He suggest we learn to laugh at things and not get stressed over the trivial things. I can think of many times when I’ve laughed things off. I love it when people are in such a hurry to get to the next red light! He also counsels that we should seek for the eternal instead of getting caught up in the moment. The parking spot doesn’t matter in the big picture. I’m a big believer in that good things come from adversity and our trials, which was his third point: the principle of compensation. Finally he suggests we “put our trust in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.” Sometimes this is the hardest one, but the hardest things also come with the richest rewards.

I also really enjoyed President Monson’s talk on fining joy in the journey. It reminds me of the song Simple Miracles performed by Emerson Drive:

It’s a dream that never dies
It’s the wonder in your eyes
it’s the magic in your touch
Every star and every wish
I wake each day and live
A life that’s filled with simple miracles

We really need to spend more time stopped and smelling the roses, enjoying a butterfly in flight and all the other simple miracles that surround us everyday.

I guess I might as well get used to it;
She’ll take her time ’cause I don’t mind
Waitin’ on a woman
(slightly modified from Brad Paisley’s Waitin’ on a Woman)

LDS.org – Whom Shall I Marry?

I was searching for this quote:

When the time for decision arrives,
the time for preparation is past.

and came across this article:

LDS.org – New Era Article – Whom Shall I Marry?.

I thought it was good reading and wanted to share it, obviously. I love the story where he uses the above quote, about needing to decide to do something and it being too late to be prepared. I guess it is true that we can’t put off the day of preparation, or the day of repentance for that matter.

I also like this line from Come, Come, Ye Saints: “Fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake.” I’m not sure I had ever pondered it in the context to give you courage, but I’m sure that’s why it was written. I bet a lot of life could be made better with some fresh courage.

Boring

I don’t know that I really have much to report. I went up to President Mattson’s yesterday and wired up the subwoofers in his home theater. Then I came home and cleaned. I know, I lead such an exciting life. To finish off the night Michelle and Melissa came over and we watched Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It was alright; I’m just glad we finally watched it.

The girls kept me up way too late last night and I therefore slept in this morning. Church went well, but I caught myself being a bit short with people more than once. I don’t know if this is Christmas depression or what, but it isn’t good. I think I’ve always been able to hold in my anti-Christmasness in for the most part, but it is just spilling everywhere this year.

I’ve also been so tired almost all the time lately and have pretty much been anti-social, so there must be something larger going on. Too bad I’m not smart enough to recognize what it is. Maybe my boring life is just feeding on itself.

Two Weeks?

I tried take two on the blueberry muffins this morning. I cooked them at a lower temperature and checked on them every few minutes. The bottoms were still a bit overdone and the tops weren’t toasty yet, so I need to work on calibrating this oven definitely.

Church went well. David and I got some home teaching assignments fixed, so I feel like we are making progress there slowly but surely. Austin had a great talk today on testimonies. He shared some great stories to illustrate points from his mission. I really need to start taking notes or something because I can never seem to remember many of the details – or maybe I’m just too tired by this time of night.

Sister Dowden made some great french fries tonight. I’m sure the seasoning helped, but she did a great job frying nonetheless.

President Clegg touched on this during his instruction today (5th Sunday) and it was also the topic for branch prayer tonight. We talked about appropriate things to do on the Sabbath. The short answer is still whatever brings you closer to the Lord. This is one of those things that you must take in stages. I think a good answer to the question of if something should be acceptable to do on Sunday is it depends on what you would do with that time instead of the activity. If turning off the TV means you’re going to spend more time with friends and family, then yes. If the TV is keeping you from getting into bigger trouble then go for it. I keep thinking that I want to develop more missionary or activation type things to do on Sunday to better use my time, but seem to always fall short of implementation.

Carla made me go and get my camera at branch prayer tonight and then it seemed to be the night for people to talk about cameras. President Clegg is apparently looking to buy into the good stuff and Noelle seemed interested as well. PC also told the Skagg’s that I’m getting married in two weeks. This is news to me and I’m somewhat interested in who the unlucky lady is. He was talking about one of his nephews getting married last week, then a niece this next week and then he said Scott was getting married the following week. I figured he was referring to some other Scott, but learned quickly that he wasn’t. I guess we’ll see how this arranged marriage thing works.

Stardust

I feel like such a bum, but I know I accomplished a lot today so I will overlook the fact that I never took a shower. I got up this morning and got right to cleaning the stake center and then came home and continued here. I vacuumed a good portion of the house, scrubbed the kitchen floor until the Swiffer Sweeper broke, experimented with table clothes, did some laundry, hung some pictures, rearranged some things and so forth. I feel like it was a big day and I am exhausted from it.

Frank moved out today. I’m really sad to see him go which is kind of strange because he was never here that much. I just feel like I’m going to be missing out things. Maybe I’ll end up seeing more of him now that he doesn’t live here, who knows. I guess this means I have an open room again (not that I didn’t technically to begin with). I also have to figure out what is going on with Geoff as he was supposed to be leaving soon too. It could be nice to have the house to myself again.

I watched Stardust tonight. I wasn’t too sure what was going to come of the movie, but it held my interest and I started to really get into it about half way through. The movie has the typical story line where a boy goes to get something for the woman he thinks he loves and then realizes he loves someone else. I hope I’m not ruining anything for anyone here, this should be common knowledge in these movies. In this instance he goes out to catch a shooting star. I did like the ending of the movie although I must admit i was confused at first.

Oh, I also got some calls done for home teaching. I’m meeting with David in the morning and I hope we can work on getting this bus back on the road. There were lots of things I learned tonight. Sometimes I wonder why it takes so long to figure things out and why people don’t move their records when they move!

On Edge

Today was interesting. I made blueberry muffins this morning for PEC, but they came out burned. I need to put a thermometer in this oven as I think it is cooking too hot or something. Everything seems to come out in way less time than has been required in the past. They were still OK, but they smelled way better than they tasted.

Things went fairly well at church today, but it just seemed like a day for things to go wrong or at least for people to be on the edge. It seemed that we got into it about having a meeting. We were just trying to purpose an alternate meeting date and venue, but people started to take things personally. I guess I’ll go try this meeting this week and see what it is all about and maybe I can talk some sense into people that we should be having all of our necessary meetings on Sunday and not waste time driving around and meeting during the week. If we have too many meetings, let’s eliminate them, not hold them on different days. I can’t understand why anyone would propose taking the missionaries away from their prime time of meeting with investigators or members to talk about how we are going to do the work. Let’s just get out there and do it!

I had dinner with the missionaries and the Lee’s tonight. The Lee’s made some amazing steak, probably the best non restaurant steak I’ve ever had. I’m looking forward to the left overs tomorrow or later in the week. I think I may have to finish off Maegan’s leftovers in the fridge first, before they go bad. This is going to be a short week at the office with only going in two days.

I was talking with the Lee’s today about various things and we got to my dilemma that I need to get married before I turn thirty so I can continue to work in the temple. It seems like so long from now, but also seems so soon. It’s only three years away. Brother Lee said that when he was being released from his mission he was essentially told that they expected him to be married within six months. As crazy as I think that is, I almost understand it. I guess things have changed a lot since then, but yet we still have these written or unwritten rules about ages we need to be married by. Maybe that would also help with my Christmas spirit which I can tell is already getting tried.

The One and Only

It was good to be back at church this week. I really missed being home last week. Many people told me I was at least a few shades darker. I guess that isn’t hard when you can serve as a white card. I don’t see it, but I’m sure I am. I did spend a lot of time out in the sun and didn’t wear much sunscreen.

We debunked myths regarding the atonement today. I really liked the style of the talk. It was so nice to have a homemade dinner at the Dowden’s tonight. I seriously need to come up with a plan for this week so I don’t have to go out to eat. Problem is there is nothing in my house to eat. I need some new food ideas for things that don’t cost me more than a meal at a nice restaurant. Maybe I just need someone to eat dinner with! I haven’t been over to the Rodriguez’s for a while, maybe its time I drop in there.

No one showed up for the CES Fireside tonight, which was fine with me. I just always want to make sure that people have the option. I’m sure most people who wanted to watch it watched it the night it aired or sometime in the past few weeks. But I guess you never know who could have been out there. I still have it if someone wants to come watch it. This is the only reason I have TV and a DVR in my house, so that I can watch these things on the BYU channel. I’m sure my roommates would love it if I canceled every channel but KBYU!

I spent some time talking with Sister Draper, one of Tara’s companions who has been released. That was kind of fun and got me thinking more about the one and only Tara of course. I guess she has really been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe some part of me knows that she is going through some harder times on her mission and wants to be there for her. Maybe it was just the Bosch trip which I’ve been dreading for a year since I knew she couldn’t come. Or I guess it could have been all the people that asked me about my wife on the trip!

Well, I think I’m going to toss in early tonight. I’m thinking about trying to get into the office early tomorrow to install some software updates before everyone else gets in, or at least to get some work done. I’m also thinking it will help me get ready for getting up early on Tuesday to be at the temple which I have missed dearly.

Maui – Church

I must admit that I was too exhausted and lazy last night to write, so this will have to do. I spent most of the day traveling. It was about six by the time I got checked into the hotel and time for the first activity before I was even settled. P.S. I was starving! It took about an hour to get our luggage from the flight and then we had to wait for the bus and so forth, it was ridiculous! Next time I’ll ship my luggage and rent a car so I can skip some of the waiting.

The flight was actually pretty good. I scored an empty seat next to me which is second best to having a friend there. I really wish Tara had been in that empty seat. it was a long flight. I got to watch both Journey to the Center of the Earth and Wall-E. I also tried to do some soduku on the flight, but wasn’t having much luck. I hope it was because I was being distracted with the movie, but it may have been that my brain just wasn’t working.

I rented a car this morning to go to church. I first had to get my massage appointment rescheduled, but Carla was nice enough to handle that for me as always. She took my appointment and is getting me a new one later in the week. I was totally worried about lds.org having the wrong information in the meetinghouse locator, but I decided to go with it. I drove past the local meetinghouse which started at 9 to the one on the south side of the Island which was supposed to have the YSA meeting there at 10. Well, there was another ward finishing up fast and testimony meeting there when I got there. Another couple asked me if I knew what was going on. A local member told me the next ward started at 1. The sister missionaries found out for me that the YSA meets at the stake center (back by the airport) and that the next ward was a Tongan ward. I decided to try out the stake center. I got there just after a ward had started and just missed sacrament. I stayed through their testimony meeting and Sunday school when I found out that the YSA ward did meet there at 10 and was going on simultaneously. I then stayed for another sacrament meeting so I could take the sacrament.

In that final meeting, I met another couple from Northern California who is vacationing in Hawaii. They told me their GPS had directed them wrong and they finally found the stake center two blocks from their hotel or ship (I’m not quite sure). I realized that clearly the adversary didn’t want me to take the sacrament today. It all started with the spa, then Enterprise didn’t have cars, i showed up at the wrong building (at the right time), and then just missed it when I showed up at the other building. I knew I needed to stay and take it. I was going to just take the sacrament and leave after, but I felt that I needed to stay for my third fast and testimony meeting today. I almost got up to bear my testimony even, but people seemed to be rushing the stand, so I didn’t go.

I think this was one of the most powerful meetings I’ve ever been in. It was definitely worth it and I was so grateful to have been there and to have finally been able to take the sacrament. How wonderful it is that we can travel to the corners of the earth and yet come Home every Sunday in worship. I did really feel at home in that stake center of our Lord’s Church today. There was something special and I don’t mean the people saying aloha. The congregation would say aloha back to anyone who said it from the pulpit. That was strange! We don’t do that anywhere else that I know of. Normally it is only a one way communication.

After church I saw a fire just after it got started on the side of the highway. I called it in and then started taking pictures after I realized it was growing. I got quite a few and some good ones I feel. I came back to the resort and posted the pictures and was reminded again that I need to backup and cleanup iPhoto.

We had our welcome dinner tonight. I got to see Jim & Susan and meet their son. I had dinner with them and I think we are going to hang out again throughout the week. I haven’t seen the couple from SLC that we had last year. Unfortunately I can’t remember their names to check the guest list. I guess we’ll just have to see if I can find them. Where’s Tara when I need her?

The Luau was pretty cool. The Samoan fire knife dance was amazing. I don’t know how that guy was able to do what he did, but I’m sure he doesn’t have any hair left on his body. There is probably/definitely more to say, but I’m so tired, I need to get to sleep!

Powerful Sunday

I can’t remember the last time that I had so much time in the morning before church. We set our clocks back an hour today, so I got an extra hour of sleep kind of and then didn’t have any meetings before church. I spent some time working on church things and also was blessed to be able to spend some time just pondering. I felt impressed to review my patriarcharcal blessing this morning and spent some time reminiscing the trip to Punta Cana last year with Tara. I remember how excited I was and how we totally had the time of our lives there. I leave for Maui this week and I am not looking forward to it. I can’t believe that I’m going to go to Hawaii for my first time all alone. I’m sure I will still be able to enjoy myself somewhat, but there is just no way of it comparing to the week that Tara and I had last year.

I’ve found myself really missing Tara this week actually. I’ve been pondering on her a lot. I think Cynthia reminds me a lot of her. They have a similar physical appearance and share many great qualities. I’ve also been feeling guilty about not writing her since before general conference. I did send her the postcard not from Minneapolis, but that doesn’t count much. I was planning on sending her a gift a few weeks ago and haven’t done that yet either, so I’m getting myself down and frustrated with that. Hopefully I can call this week and schedule something for Friday morning. I did write to her this morning which was great. I need to do that more for myself than I think I do for her. There is just something about writing a letter – or even a card – that I can’t seem to capture any other way.

I hadn’t looked at those pictures from the DR for some time now and am so happy that I took the time to make the book. I really need to do that more often. It also made me think of all the great pictures of friends that I need to print and hang.

I cried today when Andrea spoke during fast and testimony meeting and am doing it again now. She said that she had lost friendships over this prop 8 thing, but that she had learned so much and her love for the Lord had grown because of it, at least in my paraphrased version. What a fight this has been. I still can’t get over that 9% of our population is causing so much turmoil for the other 91%. A heavy price has been paid for this – our freedoms – just as it has been done so many times before. Was the war in Heaven something like this? I don’t think I’ve lost any friends over this matter, but that just makes me think that I have been too coward to act. I’ve been too afraid to really stand up for what is needed and need to learn from her. She also shared that her two best friends were her mom and dad and that touched me so much.

I had been thinking this weekend about sharing my testimony. Much like Andrea, I had kind of secretly been wanting to be called up in the last few weeks when people have been called to the stand. I had been thinking about what to say and trying to come up with something to share that could help someone else. I’d even rehearsed things in my head, but when I got to church it was all gone and while I felt that I could get up, I didn’t feel the need to. Maybe I’ll have the opportunity soon. This week really has been very spiritual for me. I feel like I was on the right track a lot of the time and I learned so much. Maybe it was the lack of sleep that brought me closer to my Heavenly Father, maybe it is the election drawing near, I don’t know. What I do know, now especially more than I did before, is that Proposition 8 needs to be passed or this fight is only going to get worse. What I don’t know is what the agenda is from the other side. I discovered last night that all the married rights they say they are getting from being married versus a civil union don’t transfer to other states and aren’t acknowledged by the federal government. They won’t say that they want to teach this in school and many people say that they don’t want anything about marriage taught in schools. So what is their agenda? I don’t know. I know that we can’t let 9% of America take away the rights of the remaining 91%. I know that temple marriage is ordained of God. Families can be sealed there together forever, not just for their mortal time on this earth. If prop 8 fails, this right to marry in God’s temple could be challenged. I know that the gospel is true, that Jesus Christ did atone for our sins, that he does live and reign today. His church is run by His prophet on the earth today, Thomas S. Monson. President Monson is supported by his counselors in the first presidency and the twelve apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. These men have spoken as the mouthpiece of the Lord that we need to do all we can to make sure this measure passes. We may not know what is to come if it doesn’t, but I can assure you that they are aware of the dark and dreary place that we will be in if we continue down the slippery slope we are already falling down.

I really wanted to watch the CES fireside tonight. I was ready for the spiritual uplifting from it and was ready to learn even though I knew we were supposed to cancel all activities until after the election. I was fine with watching it by myself and then doing a public performance later. Clearly, my thinking was wrong because for whatever reason I was called in to the Dowden’s for tech support before even leaving the stake center today. They were having problems with their wireless and I was stuck there the entire time supporting people in making calls and getting computers running to do so. I’m sure now that is where I needed to be today; I just had to conform my will to that of the Father’s.

I just turned off about an hour ago in branch prayer. Megan even asked me if I was about to fall asleep and I had to say yes. I am so exhausted. This fight is starting to take it’s toll on me in the final hours and I need to stay strong. I’m anxious to see what this week will bring and looking forward to hopefully being victorious on Tuesday. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

Returned from MN, Damaged Goods, Blockus

I’ve just been so exhausted lately I haven’t had a chance to write. Thursday went well with class and so forth. I tried the Twin Cities Grill Thursday night. It was really good and well worth the wait. I’ll definitely going back there. It wasn’t cheap, but it was good. I had a delicious steak for a little less than one would pay at Ruth’s Chris. I managed to miss the first few minutes of CSI back at the hotel and then kept getting interrupted during it. I also watched whatever weird show was on after CSI and then just about fell asleep on the couch.

Friday morning went well as we tried to wrap things up with the class. I passed the written exam and now just need to complete my project. I made it to my flight ontime and it was another full one. I was kind of hoping it would be oversold and they would be looking for people to bump, but of course it never happens when I could actually take a later flight. I sat next to a woman who was coming in on vacation for a week with her daughter and we talked for a while. I eventually decided to try and get some work done, but it was just too hard with the laptop. I then started watching Amazing Grace, but only got about 30 minutes into it before I was asked to cease and desist for landing.

LA Traffic actually wasn’t that bad coming back home as it only took me about two hours once I got to my car. It did take me an hour to get from the gate to my car which is a joke. Nonetheless, I’m sure in this case it was better to take the direct flight than having a layover somewhere else along the line.

It turned out that something was wrong with the recording of the Price is Right, so we didn’t get to see Krystal. One of her other friends apparently has it recorded and is going to transfer it to DVD for her though. I was really looking forward to getting home to see it, and was quite bummed that we couldn’t watch it.

I woke up super early Saturday morning and couldn’t sleep. After playing on the computer for an hour or so I decided to go back to sleep. When I got up the second time I enjoyed a bowl of Crispix and then watched a few things off the DVR before I got started with cleaning the house. I was thinking about going to the temple to makeup for Tuesday, but realized I just had too much to do. I did make it down for the baptisms though. We were way short on people, so I’m glad I went and am very thankful for the help we had from others last night as well.

After the temple, the group that wanted to come straight home decided they wanted to stop at In-N-Out to grab something quickly. I mentioned that if we were going to do that, we should go to Fuddruckers and I got everyone on board. That probably happened because when we got there two people ordered something other than a hamburger which they clearly couldn’t have gotten at In-N-Out! It was apparently homecoming for Mira Mesa or some other area schools and they thought we were there for Homecoming since we were somewhat dressed up. Brother Clark asked me if I was class of ’08 and I just laughed and said yep! I just want to know what the two of us guys were doing wit the three girls.

My counselors finally got called and set apart today. It will be huge having their help and I’m hoping we can figure out who our secretary is supposed to be and then we can really get this home teaching thing whipped into shape. It sounds like we aren’t going to be swapping the hours, so we will be stuck without the guys from mission prep. It sure would be nice to have them, but I guess we will just deal with another challenge.

President and Sister Clegg spoke today. Other than President going way over, it was good. He spoke about sexual morality, coming clean using the atonement and damaged goods. He relayed a story that hit me about a missionary who was planning on marrying his girlfriend after he returned. Shortly after he left she got into some trouble. After she left the other guy and went through the repentance process with her bishop she was pronounced clean again. This elder though didn’t see it so clearly. He had saved himself for her and he thought she was damaged goods. President Kimball (?) told him that he just didn’t get it. She has been made clean through the atonement, her sins have been forgiven. Yet, this elder struggled with that as I expect many do.

I went over to the Dowden’s tonight to post Mandi’s video of us trying to swallow cinnamon. Maegan also challenged me to a game of Blockus. I had never played before and didn’t do so well. I tried to get Cynthia to help me, but Maegan kept coming up with reasons she couldn’t. Eventually, Maegan gave up and everyone worked to finish off my pieces as best we could.

Ahead of Schedule

Ahead of Schedule

We had the concluding session of stake conference this morning. I got there about 45 minutes early and the chapel was already full. I knew I should have kept sleeping this morning! I can’t think of anything major that I learned from conference today, but I was thinking about the testimonies that people kept bearing. I totally kept thinking last night I was going to get called up, so maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about it so much lately. I probably don’t give mine often enough, which is also probably why it isn’t very eloquent. I did enjoy conference even if I was a bit squirmy in the hard seats. I think I’m going to bring my own recliner next time!

I high tailed it out of there to get things finished up for the trip. I really didn’t like having the business trip on my mind during conference or really having to deal with it today, but sometimes things have to be done. I think I learned some patience though and that things will work out on the Lord’s timeline, mine isn’t important. It did seem like I kept hitting things talking about keeping the Sabbath day holy and such and I felt like I was really letting the Lord down today. There are probably bigger things I should be worrying about, but I guess it’s a start.

In any event, I had a good drive to LAX and made it there with plenty of time to go. I had thoughts about calling people about home teaching, but I didn’t feel the airport was a good place to be doing it so after a few calls I stopped. I also remembered I needed to send out the branch weekly email which sidetracked me too. The flight ended up being overbooked and they were looking for people to bump. I guess since we had a full flight, we were able to get going early and there was practically no wait for takeoff at LAX. We ended up arriving almost half an hour early which is great since it’s after midnight here now. I sat next to a doctor and we talked for a good portion of the flight. We talked about prop 8 and what is already happening. We really agreed on a lot of things which was pretty cool.

The hotel here has improved since last time. I guess the remodel did them good. They’ve got new suites with 32″ LCDs, granite countertops in the bathrooms, a good size work area and more. I’m impressed. Let’s just hope breakfast has improved as well. If not, I’ll be hitting up the IHOP again. Well, I should get to sleep as I need to be up in less than 6 hours, I think. Maybe I should find the itinerary again and double check.