Tag Archives: Dowden

Our Love Story

Well, it has certainly been some time since I’ve taken the opportunity to write at all. In fact, ever since I met Megan I haven’t been so good at writing – I guess it’s just that we’ve been so busy and always had other things to do.

People have been asking for nearly a year now, and Cheesecake Factory finally made the incentive for me to write our love story down and submit it in their contest. Some of this has been covered, and some hasn’t, so I’m just going to try and get it all here in one spot for good!

Megan and I really met when Kenny invited her over to my house for movie night. I had some friends coming over to watch Twilight when it first came out on DVD. I should back up to say that we had kind of met a few weeks earlier at church, when we actually sat next to each other, but didn’t even so much as say a word to each other. The following week we spoke briefly at the Dowden’s, but the ice wasn’t really broken until the night she was here at the house. We started talking and I played her Brad Paisley’s new song, “Then.” I remember that Kenny and I were playing with iTunes DJ and she had started requesting a number of Brad Paisley songs, so I had to see if she had heard his latest. She instantly liked it. One of the other girls that was here, Ashley, was going to be having her birthday Tuesday and we were going to be going to Disneyland. I invited Megan to join us for dinner at Cheesecake Factory before.

When Tuesday came we met up at Cheesecake and then to my surprise she decided to join us afterward at Disneyland. We stayed up way too late that night and spent most of the evening talking. We started texting on our way home that night and the volume only went up from there. I was spending that week at the San Diego Temple for our semi-annual offering in righteousness where we spend most of the day there. So, I was up early the next morning and she was up early for work and we started talking each morning and each night on my way home from the temple. (It’s an hour long drive.) That Saturday I couldn’t decide if i was going to go to the temple or if I was going to call my week done and do something different. One way or another we ended up going to Disneyland – and of course going to Cheesecake Anaheim (with Teal as our waitress).

As what seemed to be par for our relationship, we were out way too late, especially considering the lack of sleep we’d had all week. Megan was going to spend the night at a mutual friend’s house – Sally & Bill (who incidentally had basically schemed this whole relationship) – but we didn’t get there till 2:15 Sunday morning! Unfortunately, they had left the house locked up so we had to try to break in instead of waking them up. After about a half hour of trying all sorts of things and talking about not wanting to wake people up, we finally called her mom who called to wake up Sally. That sure gave us interesting stories to be told the next day at church as I was currently serving in branch council with Bill.

After church on Sunday, she came back to my house where we sat and talked the evening away. We went to branch prayer came back to my house and threatened to have a pillow fight. At some point the evening ended and I decided to give her a night off on Monday. I guess I was worried that she would figure out that too much of me was a bad thing and I would scare her off. That Tuesday we were texting at work and she had eaten something spicy and thought she was going to die, or something to that effect. I asked her what she wanted to do for her last night here on earth – i.e. her last wish – and she couldn’t really come up with something. While I would have chosen Cheesecake, maybe we had just had too much, and she had mentioned this other restaurant Ancho’s previously. I suggested we try Ancho’s and then go go-carting, something else she had mentioned previously. Well, while we were planning all this Kenny showed up at my house, so he came along for the evening as well.

We had a great time and again were out too late. We were already planning on going to Disneyland the following day, April 1st. I actually had a friend who suggested the outing, so I started inviting people, including Megan. She told me that she had the day off from work. Well, long story short, it ended up just being the two of us at Disneyland that day. Since it was April fools day, I decided to tell facebook that she and I were married – and also to see how she would take it. I told her that facebook was being weird and that she needed to check it before we left. I don’t know what she thought – other than I was crazy – but she decided we could be married for the day and confirmed the relationship. We later started making up crazy stories that we were having our Disney fairy tale wedding that day and so forth. The one thing I regret doing was not buying her some kind of ring from Disneyland and putting it on her finger that day. We both were getting phone calls asking about what was going on. I don’t remember all that happened that day, but it was the day that I knew. It was also the second consecutive day that we would always see each other from there on out.

The following day we had no plans to be together, but at the last minute she came down for institute, a scripture study class we have at church. That was the day that I knew my feelings weren’t completely off base and she must have felt something back. We already had plans that Friday night to watch a movie, so she came down. That weekend was our church’s general conference where we watch various sessions on television, so she stayed in Murrieta so we could watch conference together. She invited me to dinner with her family on that Saturday, so we went there and I went to priesthood session with her father. We stayed and played games where I got to meet the whole family. Talk about intimidating: They were asking me all the questions!

Sunday we were back watching conference and we had plans to take Monday off. I was still worried about scaring her away. Well, another Cheesecake fanatic fan of mine called me up and said, “let’s go to Cheesecake,” the four magic words to which I immediately reply, “Let’s go!” I, of course, called up Megan and informed her that she was not going to be getting the night off after all. We haven’t had a night off since that Tuesday, thankfully, to date.

Back when I was trying to fulfill her last wish the previous week, she had mentioned something she doesn’t even remember. Brad Paisley’s Then was playing in the car and she said something to the effect of how she’d love to hear him sing it live. At the time, Brad was going to be playing at Stagecoach festival and I was thinking that would be a great place to propose. I guess my timeline wasn’t fast enough though and I got the hint that week to speed things up. We looked at some rings so I got an idea of what she wanted and decided Friday to call Zales and tell them to get the ring ready. I had that ring burning a hole in my pocket Friday night, all day Saturday when we went to Sea World and then Sunday morning. I had planned an Easter egg hunt for Megan Sunday and told her about it earlier.

We went to her parents for church Easter Sunday morning, and then had brunch at their house with the whole family. We rushed back to Murrieta to go to the singles ward here and I told her that I needed to swing by the house to get my stuff together. She wanted just to stay in the car, but I told her that I needed a few minutes and it would be a good time for her to do her Easter egg hunt. I had made most of the eggs fairly easy to find, and they all had a slip of paper in them. Most of them were lyrics to our song, Then. When she put them in the right order, it spelled out the location of the remaining egg. It spelled out pancake. So, she looked in the fridge and didn’t find an egg. Then she looked in the pantry and still no egg. She was starting to give up when she realized the pancake griddle was on the counter, not it’s normal spot. She looked all around it and didn’t find anything. I asked if she knew it had a drawer at which point she started pulling it out. By the time she had the egg opened, I was down on one knee behind her. I asked her to be my wife as she pulled the ring out of the egg.

Needless to say, we were way late for church. And there wasn’t anything that I needed from the house, other than for that ring to be on her finger and not burning a hole in my pocket! She totally wasn’t expecting it because I had led her to believe it was coming in a few more weeks and she knew I wouldn’t pop the question until I had asked her dad. What she didn’t know was that I had been trying to work up the courage to ask him – and find the time to do so – all morning long! I lingered and stalled at their house that morning trying to get him alone. It wasn’t done the way I planned it, but it worked out just fine. (I was planning to ask him the following week at the Redlands Temple.)

So, we really met March 21st and were engaged April 12th. There were a few more trips to Cheescake Factory over the coming months (I had the help of Discover Card in figuring out our timeline of dining at the Cheesecake Factory.) It was pretty much non-stop tlll the wedding. Megan went looking for dresses the next weekend while I was at a sealing, then I went to the Redlands temple with her parents, where I was planning on asking for her hand in marriage. We took a trip to Arizona to visit my grandma (and get a box she had been holding for me). During the trip we went horseback riding at the OK Corral. Then we were taking engagement pictures in Laguna Beach – followed, of course, by the original Cheesecake Factory that I had wanted to go to for a LONG time in Redondo Beach.

The next weekend we were shopping for cakes and then we were off to Pennsylvania and West Virginia for a week where we visited the Cheesecake Factory in Pittsburgh and Brad Paisley’s hometown of Glen Dale, WV. May 30th we were back in Redondo Beach at the Cheesecake Factory after going to the Point Fermin Lighthouse to scatter my mom’s ashes, something else I had been meaning to do for a long time. Her bridal shower was the following weekend, followed by her endowment. On the last free weekend she took her bridal portraits and we were busy with other things.

We were married June 26th in the Los Angeles Temple. Unfortunately, there was no Cheesecake involved, but we did stop at Chic-fil-a for a snack on our way home. Our reception was the following day and on our way to our honeymoon, you can bet our first stop – and our first real out to dinner meal was at the Cheesecake Factory Pasadena.

We had a lovely honeymoon in Santa Barbara at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort. We spent a few days there exploring before going further north, but called it and came home early. (We were probably running low on Cheesecake after all that wedding cake.)

There’s lots to say from there, but I think I’m going to quit while I’m ahead today.

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)

Goodbye Christmas

I’m up late tonight kind of waiting for the bedspread to finish in the dryer. I guess I knew I shouldn’t have put it in, but I decided to do it anyway. Larilyn came over and took down the Christmas decorations tonight, thanks out to her for her kindness to help old Scrooge out. I know we were a few weeks behind in taking it down, but the tree was actually looking pretty good until just this week when I stopped watering it. It looks really empty now where it used to be and I feel like I need to find something to fill the void.

I went to the temple this morning for Craig’s endowment. It was fun to go with some people and meet other down there. I guess it just goes to show that we need to get together more often for trips to the temple. I actually think I had a harder time getting up this morning at 7 than I do Tuesday mornings at 4. I was so exhausted after all the walking yesterday and then being out late that it took it’s toll on me. When we got home from the temple I had to just sit and relax for a while. I spent some time over at the Dowden’s this afternoon as I had to go and fetch my phone back and we sat talking for a while.

Things went well at NAMM Thursday and Friday. Friday we got there kind of late and ended up paring in the Disneyland structure and walking. That seemed like a good plan since we got to save $12, but it was a bit of a walk. That probably wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if we didn’t continue walking and standing around once we got into the convention. And then after the show we went to Disneyland till they kicked us out at 10. That made for a long couple of days.

I decided to lug the camera around the show floor on Friday so I could snap some pictures. I was hoping to find some good products and maybe get some pictures I could use for something at work. Since we walked directly to Disneyland, I ended up having it there too which is something I’ve never done before. It actually worked alright carrying it on the rides, although it certainly meant that I was holding on to it for dear life. I did get to snap some pictures in the park though and on some of the rides. I was courteous enough to not use the flash unlike many of the other people with cameras.

Oh, we got to go see Teal (think Cheesecake) on Thursday night. That was great and has been long overdue. We were thinking about going back Friday, but she was a breaker so it wasn’t clear if we could see her or not. She excused us from coming Friday night, but I made a promise to come back soon.

I don’t think I have any major findings or revelations for today, so I’m going to call it quits and get to bed finally!

Anticipation

I really want to know about the house. I don’t think I can wait till Friday! I hope the bank gets their act in gear and lets me know either way soon. Of course I would like for it to be an affirmative we’ve accepted your offer so we can get this show going, yet even if I’m not going to get it I’d like to know so that we can move on to the next one.

Things went pretty well today. Zach and I decided not to meet up this morning and work on home teaching, so I had some extra time at home to get things organized which was nice. PEC and the block went well, really nothing to report.

I left the Dowden’s after dinner to go hang out with Kim and then we went to branch prayer. We missed the thought and prayer, but got to hang out with people, including the new branch shepherds from the Los Alamos ward, the Diffley’s.

I’m not sure what to do with myself tomorrow. We’ve got the activity at the Mattson’s in the afternoon. I was thinking about going to the temple in the morning. We are going Friday, so I’m not sure if I need to go Monday or just make sure that I am there on Friday and that way save on some gas. I’m trying to figure out what to do for Tara’s birthday on Wednesday. I’m thinking maybe about baking cookies and FedExing them to her. I guess that could keep me out of trouble in the morning and give me something to take to the Mattson’s.

If anyone reading this would like to join in the festivities tomorrow, please let me know. We’ll be playing in the pond with the zip line and slide and will have volleyball and ping pong as well as other misc activities. It is always a great time up there.

P.S. Happy Birthday Christa!

Good Week

So, I haven’t written in almost a week. I got back into the trap of telling myself that nothing interesting happened during the day, so there was nothing to bore everyone with writing instead of finding something good to write about. In any event, the past week went well. Business was fairly good, nothing major, but we had a good number of smaller orders and were able to clear some stock out of inventory which is like cash in the bank practically. I noticed that I was pretty antsy most of the week, which I attribute to not getting enough exercise lately. I’ve just been having problems sitting still and focusing, especially later in the day.

I was planning on going for a ride Saturday evening. Just as I was getting ready to go I got a phone call that someone didn’t show at GT. We’re not sure where the communication broke down, but I drove down there to get a wedding going. They probably could have done it without me, but I didn’t want us to be the reason to holdup a wedding.

We had a good discussion tonight at the Dowden’s. I can’t remember anything concretely enough to write it down, but there is some interesting pondering I need to do.

Head Start

I was called as First Counselor in the Elder’s Quorum Presidency today. I’m a little scared of the amount of work that this calling is going to involve, but I am anxious to find out how I can better serve. (And yes, I now have four (4) callings!) We had some good classes today, and a good thanks to Stephanie during her class. I’m really going to be sad to see her go. I was thinking today about when Brother Dowden and I were talking about going out to Missouri to see her and take her to dinner a few months ago. The crazy part is that I think that is something we might actually do! I was thinking if that would be something appropriate to do with Tara as well. I haven’t been to Florida in years, maybe I can find a business excuse to go there and take her and her companion out for lunch on their prep day.

I skipped branch prayer tonight as I was feeling really tired and wanted to get a jump start on getting ready for bed. I really didn’t want to be up till 11, so i thought by getting home an hour early I could get to bed around 10, which is looking good. I’ve actually gotten quite a bit done tonight, including getting things online for the next week. I guess I’m ahead of schedule since I haven’t written to Tara yet, so maybe it will be 11 before I get into bed.

I had a meeting this morning with Michael and Kelsey. We talked and they encouraged me to be a better member missionary. I really do need to step up to the plate since I probably have more non-member friends than most and see who I can refer to the missionaries. Any volunteers?

Well, the writing is done and it isn’t even 10:30 yet, so there is hope. I’m going to bed, peace out ya’ all.

Hoppy Easter

Today was interesting and quite different than the norm. I was up early for a Sunday and wasn’t exactly sure what to do with all my excess time. I normally plan on getting up with just enough time to finish whatever reading I need to do and to get ready for church. With my latest resolve to get up and get going in the mornings though I ended up with almost two hours in which I had nothing I “needed” to do. It was great. I ended up reading and having some time to get caught up with some other things. I even managed to have lunch, something that I can’t remember doing for some time now.

Church was good. We learned to watch our sarcasm, be true and to keep moving forward as the job isn’t done until our Heavenly Father says it is. The fat lady singing doesn’t mean anything in this show. Alyssa and Stephanie sang a great song as well. I can’t believe we’re going to loose both of them in the next month!

I ended up coming home after church for Easter dinner. It was weird, but seemed like the thing to do nonetheless. It was good to be home for it though since we so rarely seem to actually have dinner together. I tried checking into the Murrieta net from home, but I couldn’t hear anyone come back. Maybe they heard me, but who knows. We’re working on moving the net to the repeater which should make it easier for everyone to get on board. After trying the radio and watching Matthew loose his new boomerang in a tree, I decided it was time to head up to the Dowden’s since I said I would be there. I probably wouldn’t have gone if I hadn’t of told Sister and Brother Dowden that I would be there and then Lauren.

I hung out for branch prayer, took a few pictures and then took off to get home at a reasonable time. It never ceases to amaze me how long it takes to really get ready for bed sometimes. I was home at 9:15 and yet I won’t be in bed much before 11, if at all. And all I’ve done was made a few comments on facebook, some text messaging and writing to Tara. I guess instead of talking about not making it to bed, I should stop talking and get there, so I’m going to go put the finishing touches on my letter and get myself to bed so I’m ready for the fun week ahead.

Sunday

Today was pretty good, but I don’t know what necessarily to report. I totally think I walked by Scott Thompson at the stake center today, but by the time I realized it he was no where to be found, probably back in Sacrament meeting. President Mattson wasn’t there today which was really weird, especially in branch council meeting. It was great hearing from Brother Bloom as our high counselor. Things went well at the Dowden’s, although i was only there for a little bit with the radio net and then an Easter musical tonight.

We played Bingo tonight with facts about President Monson. It was kind of cool to get to learn things about him. I found it funny that we “adults” were having such a hard time with the game when it was made for primary kids. Well, I guess there is lots to do this week, so I’d better start off with a good night’s sleep.

A Good Sunday

Today was pretty good and was probably just what I needed. I got a good amount of sleep based on what time I went to sleep and yet had a reasonable amount of time to get ready this morning. I was able to finish the reading for gospel doctrine and then got through most of the priesthood lesson at the stake center before sacrament meeting started. It seemed like all the messages today contained something that I needed to hear. I’m sure they always have something that I need to be working on, but today it seemed exceptionally focused on me, or at least I was able to focus all the talks and discussions on something that I needed to learn or work on.

Truth be told, the last few weeks or months something has seen off. I don’t know if it has necessarily been bad, but it probably hasn’t been great. I’ve been doing all the basics, reading, pondering, praying, etc. daily, but it just seems that something has been missing. I was thinking the other day that this month I will have been in the branch for a year. it had pretty much been a forward or upward movement for most of the time, but lately I’m not sure which way i’ve been moving. I’m hoping that today was the start of the new upward trek. I think part of the problem is that I haven’t been giving the branch my all lately and I have been focusing elsewhere. I think work had been getting some extra focus. After taxes are done this week, I think things can return to normal. We are almost done with many other changes there, so we should be able to start pushing forward there soon too.

It was kind of quiet at the Dowden’s earlier in the afternoon, but it picked up around dinner time. People must have just known when to show up as the food was coming out of the oven. I had a good chat on the radio/net tonight. They are working on setting up a new track of classes and exams so anyone who is interested in getting their ham license, stay tuned. I had a good time talking and playing with some I typically don’t get to spent much time with.

I mentioned to Christina and Brooke tonight at branch prayer that I wasn’t sure if I was going to go to Keith Urban on Thursday. For some reason or another, I’m just not thrilled about going. Maybe it is just because the seats aren’t so good or because there have been too many other things going on. I mentioned that I might sell them and Brooke didn’t like that idea – unless I was selling them to her. Lauren has already expressed interest in going as well (along with Matchbox Twenty – interest noted Lauren), so i guess I’ll just play it by ear as we get closer to Thursday.

I’m thinking it may be about time to start looking into the house situation again. I’m feeling like I need to move to Murrieta one way or the other – either buying or renting. Buying seems like the way to go, but I’m just not sure if I want to buy a house before I’m married and really start putting down roots. Oh the decisions of life.

I think I’m going to work on getting to bed at a reasonable time tonight as I feel that tomorrow is going to be a heck of a day in the office. I’ve got a board meeting to get ready for and I really want to get started on actually doing the taxes now that I’ve almost got all the data ready. I’m going to write back to Tara though before I go to sleep so i don’t get into any more trouble.

Continue Moving Forward

Another day, another dollar. Oh wait. i guess you have to go to work for that. Let’s try that again. There was no work today because it was Sunday! I enjoyed laying in bed this morning, getting rest and pondering. Then I got up and had plenty of time to get ready for the day and do some reading. I also started adding things to the online branch calendar for the month.

Church went well. President Smith spoke to us during Sunday school and Elders Quorum. The main topic seemed to be to keep moving forward. Beyond that we need to make sure we are not being distracted from our focus, but all went well. Break the Fast was good – we did breakfast foods which are my favorite! We followed it up with some soup at the Dowden’s Things were fairly quiet there, so I started writing a letter to Tara, but I didn’t get far before people caught on that I was hiding in the corner.

I’ve been thinking of lots of things that I need to get working on this week. I hope the office is as busy at it was last week, but I also hope that I have time to focus on getting things done that I need to do so we can continue moving forward. I was kind of also hoping to find a day to take off and run away to Disneyland, but with how busy we’ve been I don’t know if it is going to happen. Well, I think I’m going to finish my letter and get to bed.

Have I Done Any Good Today?

OK, I need to make this quick since I’ve been blogging already for an hour. I found some great links, comments and thoughts from reading some other sites tonight. I’m so far behind on my blog reading, but I am hoping to work on catching up this week.

Today was good. I got to sleep in to make up for Friday night, got prepared for Church and then had a great time there. We had talks on personal revelation, conversion and peace. Lauren reminded me of the question of “Have I done any good today?” which also further made me think about the suggestion for us to write where we have seen the hand of the Lord in our daily lives. I don’t think I’ve been doing very well in either of those suggestions. There are lots of good things I did today, but I can’t think of anything that stands out. I didn’t help an old lady cross the road, but I tried to be a good example to others, to be a good friend, to help others out, etc. The hand of the Lord is in everything. There wasn’t a close call on the freeway He saved me from, but there could have been something that He kept me far away from that I didn’t even realize. Of course I was blessed and nurtured in so many ways. How am I supposed to focus on one?

It was kind of quiet at the Dowden’s tonight which was rather nice for a change. I was finally able to give Kelsey and Jillian their pictures from Christmas, but I still need to finish some others.

We talked in Sunday School about the murmuring of Nephi’s brothers when they were in the wilderness. Nephi’s bow (& arrow) breaks and they immediately start complaining against him. When he is commanded to build a ship they laugh at him. Nephi doesn’t even ask where the tools are, but instead asks where he can find the ore to make the tools he will need for the ship. His brothers just don’t seem to ever catch on, time and time again they need to be reminded that Nephi is doing the work of the Lord and they are failing in every test. I don’t think I’m at either extreme here, but I’m pretty sure we can all do some work to complain less and be ready to help more.

With that being said, I really need to get to sleep.

MSN Direct Woes

I decided to sleep in this morning. I actually woke up before six, but it was about 7:30 before I was able to get myself out of bed! I had a productive day at the office and got my work email down to 6 messages! My to do list is still growing, but many of them I am waiting on time or other people to be able to check off.

Institute tonight was good. When we first started the class I thought our pace was a little slow and we were getting a little too detailed, but I am really enjoying the pace and the detail now. Things I never know or never realized are becoming so much clearer to me. Sister Dowden does a great job leading the discussions.

Larilyn, Maegan and I went out to BJ’s after Institute because Maegan was starving and neither of them had been there before. We’re checking things off her list of things to do almost as fast as we’re adding them!

I finally got this MSN Direct service working on my Nuvi 680. It took two phones calls to them this morning and a reset of the cord/antenna. It could have been the reset that did it or it could have been the switch between markets that did it as well. (We changed it from Riverside to San Diego.) I then quickly learned that while you have access to all markets, you really only get one market’s data at a time. For example, if you’re at home in Fallbrook (San Diego market) and are planning a drive to somewhere in Los Angeles, it won’t know anything about the LA market until after you have travelled into it. I’ve also discovered that the service is really not that great. I have full coverage in my house, but next to nothing in my car around town. Apparently I got enough coverage somewhere along the line to get some traffic information for LA because when I got home tonight I found that I had freeway speeds for LA, the problem is I don’t know how old they were! It sounds like they really need to find a way to integrate both the FM Traffic and the MSN Direct service simultaneously into the device. Most people would probably even pay for twice the annual fees if they knew they could actually get data that would help them while driving.

Well, enough of a rant there, I’m off to bed! Tomorrow… WICKED!

New Light of Day

What a day. The new First Presidency was announced this morning. I watched the press conference at work and was pleased with the call of Elder Uchtdorf and am interested to see where this will take us. The press conference was good and kept me thinking for a while. For the record, the rain was gone and it was a beautiful day here in Southern California.

We hung a bunch of pictures in my office today so it finally looks like we have moved in. I have a few frames left to fill, but will need to go through some more pictures to get more variety. I got through a lot of email today because it was fairly quiet and can actually see all that is left on one screen!

Stacy taught a good lesson tonight at FHE on compassion. I could come up with some great things to write, but I need to get to sleep.

I went to the Dowden’s after FHE to take Diana the chocolate doughnut holes I forgot to bring yesterday. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stay for just a few minutes, and it was 10 o’clock before I left.

I think I need to be in the office in the morning, so I had better get myself to bed. I’m ready for the new light.

The Rain Brings New Life

It never fails. I can get home at a reasonable time with full intent on getting to bed by 10 and it ends up being nearly 11 before I even start writing! I got lost reading some things about the press conference tomorrow and setting up a group on facebook promoting it. We will find out who the new president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be. Tradition would hold that it will be Elder Thomas S. Monson, the longest serving member of the Quorum of the Twelve (currently Fourteen), however it could be any worthy male. In theory we all should each get a confirmation of his call because we will need to sustain him at the next conference.

I’m honestly more anxious to see who his counselors will be. I read an interesting article from the Salt Lake Tribune which talked about each of the men he was likely to choose from and there are so many good choices of counselors I don’t know how anyone can choose one. I think it is too early for David A. Bednar to be called, but he would be amazing in the position I imagine. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland could probably do wonders as well. There are many others very capable of serving in that capacity as well.

I woke up to rain this morning. I absolutely love waking up to the rain. It is just so refreshing and always makes me think of having the opportunity to wash away whatever things we need swept away and giving us the opportunity to start anew – and clean. It’s interesting the timing of the rain lately. We had rain last Sunday, the day of President Hinckley’s passing and then again today, the day before the Quorum of the Twelve announces the new President of the Church. I tend to think of it more as washing the earth and anointing it for a new prophet. Of course we don’t need to wash away any of the wonderful things that Hinckley has done for us, but maybe it is more of a call to repentance for those who are in need. Having never been in the church under another prophet, this will certainly be the beginning of a new era for me.

President Hinckley brought the Church into the 21st century. He took control of the media and kept the Church in the spotlight, favorably. He wasn’t afraid to go out there and talk with news reporters, something I’m terrified of doing. He made the designs for the newer smaller temples and presumably had a large part in the way the current temples operate. He oversaw the construction of nearly 80 temples during his call. Roughly one third of the members of the Church today were baptized while he was President. I’m one of those and that is just an amazing figure to fathom.

In our branch council meeting this morning we had some rare extra time and discussed one word summaries of President Hinckley and then if these traits were skills or attitudes. After listing many things like charitable, loving, compassionate, temples, duty and clear sighted we went through and found that most of them were attitudes or combinations of attitudes and skills. Most of the traits we listed were not purely skills. What that means to me is that we have a huge amount of control over our lives, simply by changing out attitudes to the situations we are put in. I clearly need to exercise some attitudes to learn some skills to help make the world a better place. President Hinckley was a humorous man, but he never had fun at another’s expense. Sometimes he may have taken the expense on one of his own jokes, but I don’t think they were ever ill hearted. He was admired by so many not of our faith that he must have mastered charity, a Christ-like love, at an early age.

On to other subjects, I ate way too much this evening. I probably should have stopped at break the fast, but I went over to the Dowden’s and had more food, then more and then dessert. I forgot the doughnut holes at home this morning, so I’ll have to take them to Diana later in the week.

Stephanie taught an amazing lesson today for Sunday School. I learned way more than normal and hadn’t realized things even after reading the material three times that she pointed out to us! I guess it just shows you can’t do it alone.

In priesthood – in short – we talked about how to ensure that we always have the Spirit with us. Obviously we need to be mindful of things that would push it away like procrastination or not keeping our priorities straight. Brother Rider compared it to maintaining a level of physical fitness. It just isn’t possible to maintain an achieved level without some exact level of work each week. It may be as little as twenty minutes twice a week, but without it you will fall back. You will have the knowledge of the better fitness level, but won’t physically be able to attain it without more than the level required to maintain – and will have to do “make up” work. We need to keep our priorities straight and not stay up so late that we are late in the morning and constantly put off nourishing ourselves with the Scriptures or other good sources of knowledge.

Kristin posted a link to a site that is encouraging reading the Book of Mormon in 97 days in honor of President Hinckley’s 97 years of life with us. I’m thinking about taking the challenge, but want to make sure I can commit to keeping it before I do officially.

Well, speaking of not staying up to late, and 30 minutes and .10″ of rain later, I think it’s about time to sign off and get some sleep.

President Hinckley’s Funeral

I was not ready to get out of bed this morning, but knew that I needed to get going if I wanted to be there for President Hinckley’s funeral. I ended up going to the Dowden’s and watching it there. The service itself was very touching and so were many of the other tributes they ran to him. One elder gave a list of what he remembers from each president of the Church and wondered what we would remember Hinckley for because he did so many things. Sister Dowden suggested that he may be remembered for consecration and always remembering the poor. Temples were certainly a big push of his. Rexburg was set to be dedicated today and would have been number 125. When he took the office there was under fifty, I believe. I want even more to go to the Rexburg temple now. I may have to make a trip out there soon after it is dedicated.

One reporter compared the succession in the Church with the upcoming US Presidential election. She remarked at how calm and easy the process in the Church is compared with the craziness surrounding the election. In the church no one runs for a position, they are called by God. Someone else gave a few reasons to support our belief that the prophet is divinely called. Typically the prophet is the longest serving member of the Quorum of the Twelve (Fourteen currently). No one has any control over this other than God because He can control when authorities take office and when they are called to the veil. He can keep an authority in office until the time is right for the next longest serving to take his place or give the inspiration to the Quorum to call another individual.

I always have to wonder at a funeral what will I be remembered for. I can’t imagine having any fraction of the people that attended his funeral even care of my passing and can’t imagine what good I would possibly be remembered for. What is my contribution to society going to be? I don’t need to earn a Presidential Metal of Freedom. Lee Ann Womack sings “if I will love then I will find, that I have touched another life, and that’s something, something worth leaving behind.” I guess everything comes full circle back to love. Love sums up President Hinckley quite well in one word. Maybe charity (Christ-like love) would fit him even better and we all know how much that can make the world a better place.

After hanging out at the Dowden’s for a while, I decided to head to the temple. I had other things I could have been doing today, but I thought that would be a good way to honor President Hinckley and get out and do something he would have approved of rather than sitting around and listening to people talk about him all day. Larilyn joined me. There was a good number of people there again tonight. I had a good time sitting and pondering.

Somedays you want to solve the worlds problems, but you can’t even solve what is right in front of you.

I’ve been thinking a lot about home teaching the past week. … I am determined to do better …

I’m also determined to get some sleep and stop rambling.