Tag Archives: Travel

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.

Getting Close

So it has been well over a month since I’ve even taken a few minutes to journal. That is the one thing that I would go back and change over the past few months. I wish I had taken the time to write much more. Apparently my Twitter integration on my website has been down for about that long, so those blogs haven’t even been posting!

Things are going good. Megan and I are getting married in 8 days and 14 hours. I really can’t wait for it all to be over and for us to be married, sealed together for time and all eternity. I probably could have done without all this hoopla, but I’m fairly certain that if we can make it through all this mess we won’t have much of a problem with life.

I’ve been really busy at work. I haven’t been able to catch up since we got back from West Virginia/Pennsylvania. I’m trying to hold my emails to 630-something and I still have about 300 that I haven’t even read. I’m really trying to do my best to get caught up before I leave for the honeymoon as I don’t want any of that being in the back of my mind while we are relaxing.

Speaking of the travels, we had a great time and loved all that time together. I still can’t believe she wasn’t sick of my by the end of the week.

I finished reading the book Sister Dowden recommended, Beloved Bridegroom. I found that it was more of a temple prep book than a marriage prep book as it was more focused on the marriage of Christ to His church, us. I did really enjoy it and there were some great comparisons to the marriage that Megan and I will be entering into next week. I found many of the old traditions very interesting to learn about.

I’ve started reading this new book, First Comes Love, which President Clegg gave us. It has some good advice in there, but I haven’t really come across anything new. Sometimes it is just good to hear the same thing again. I know I can be a slow learner.

I’m so lost as to what to do for our honeymoon. I wanted it to be a surprise to Megan, but then I decided to let her in on the basics of the plans to make sure it was what she wanted to do. Of course, she says whatever I plan will be fine. The plan is to drive up the coast and stay at a few different places. I was thinking on my drive home tonight though that maybe we shouldn’t spend two nights at three places and instead we should spend three nights at two places or something like that. I don’t know how often we’re going to want to be changing locations. Maybe I should just pick a central spot and we can be done with it too.

Megan received her endowments this past Saturday.

Megan made President Smith cry when he learned that we both had been true to the law of chastity. He said that so few people at our age, even members of the church, have been able to save themselves for their marriage. I can’t imagine it any other way.

We haven’t been doing very good with out question book and probably aren’t going to get through all the questions before we get married unless we really get our act together and start getting through them.

I’m not really looking forward to this weekend or many of the pieces of next week. While it will culminate in a great event, I’m going to go my first Saturday without seeing Megan for most of the day. She has bridal portraits and so will be getting hair and makeup done before she takes them in the early afternoon and then has lunch planned with her mom and Sally. It will probably be late afternoon or early evening before I even get to see her. I know I have lots to do around the house, I’m just sad. The other thing is that I probably won’t get to see her at all next Wednesday and Thursday. She’s going to have a bachelorette party on Wednesday night and then Thursday will be busy with getting things done for the wedding. I understand I’m supposed to pick her up on the way to the temple on Friday morning, but can you seriously imagine me going from Tuesday night to Friday morning without so much as seeing her?

This could be too much for me… I’m going to cry myself to sleep now.

The Game is Over

Wow. It seems like it is so hard to find the time to write, even just to sleep with all that has been going on lately. What I really feel bad about though is that this is the time when I really need to be writing about all that has been going on. This is the biggest and best time of my life to this point and yet I’m not doing a good job of recording it. I haven’t even been tweeting much because I’ve just been so fully engrossed in Megan that I don’t want any distractions.

Things have really been going great. It pains me to be away from her, and the same is true of her for me. We’ve just been so busy with wedding plans and trying to have some fun on the side. We went two weekends ago to Arizona to get that box from my grandma and had a great time. I took her horseback riding Saturday morning which was just great and we had an awesome time just hanging out with each other and not having to be without the other. This past weekend we took our engagement pictures which turned out great and then went to Cheesecake Factory in Redondo Beach before meeting up with some family members of hers. We then met Ashley and Kenny at Disneyland.

We’ve been working on registering for wedding gifts and have now done that at Crate & Barrel, Target and Macy’s. They are all still works in progress, but at least we are getting somewhere. We just went to Victoria Garden’s to register at Crate & Barrel last night and went to the Cheesecake Factory there. That’s two new Cheesecake’s in like five days. And we went to Rancho Mirage on our way to Arizona! What is there not to love about a girl that takes me to new Cheesecake Factory’s?

President Clegg told us when we met with him a few weeks ago “the game is over” and I’ve been pondering that for some time now. It really is. There are no what-ifs for me. It’s a done deal and I’m ready to be sealed to Megan for time and all eternity in 49 days! I’m so glad that we moved the wedding up and I can’t possibly even begin to imagine how crazy and tired each of us would be if this had dragged out any longer.

Hello 2009

Ready or not, here it is. The year 2009 is upon us. I’m not so sure I was ready and I’m not so sure it is off to the best of starts.

Let’s count the stupidity so far this year. I stayed up too late bringing in the new year on the computer and listening to my neighbor’s party till 2 in the morning when I finally went to sleep. I then got up too early and went to Disneyland with all the other crazies. To finish the first day, we rode splash mountain at 8 o’clock at night when it was 53 degrees. Let’s just say it was a cold ride home and ended the night for me with a splash. At least I got a free shower out of the deal. I then got up and went to work the next day. The girls said they wanted to work. The girls weren’t there. It was just me.

I got a great idea to go see the Rose Parade floats on display. Too bad they were only open 9-5 on Friday and Saturday. As I was working (the only one mind you) on Friday, that didn’t work out so well. As since I had to work a wedding today, there wasn’t enough time to go this morning. P.S. I learned that it wasn’t necessary for me to have worked this weeding, so I’m a little confused about that one.

I haven’t been reading my scriptures enough or anything along those lines lately, so I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t make that a resolution for this year. Maybe I should…. I have been enjoying reading the newspaper very much lately though. I had missed it and am so glad that I subscribed. I really am turning into my father in so many ways. I even found myself saving Tuesday’s paper when I didn’t have a chance to read it. If anyone ever sees large stacks of newspapers in my house that are waiting to be read, please throw them away for me.

Oh, yeah, so back to the wedding that I didn’t have to work today. If I hadn’t been scheduled for that, I probably would be hanging out in Idaho having fun this weekend. That also would have meant I wouldn’t have been at work yesterday. So, pretty much, it’s all the girls fault. Yep, I’m going to blame it all on them!

I’m kind of looking forward to getting to work now that all these holidays are over. I feel so lost with all these random days off and no consecutive days in the office. I think we are making progress on some fronts and I am hoping to have a very good year.

Well, before it gets to be tomorrow, I’m going to call it a night. Best wishes to all for 2009!

Maui Sneak Preview

So I’m a few days behind. I had thought that my trip to Maui was going to be filled with boredom and lots of relaxing time. As you can see, I haven’t even had the time to write, or maybe more correctly, I’ve been too tired to write. I’ve learned that there is no point in taking books or movies on trips with me as I never end up reading or watching them. I finally read a chapter of one book while we boarded the airplane on the way back, but that’s the book that I always have in my laptop bag anyway! The other three books I brought and none of the movies even got looked at.

I learned how to surf on Monday. That was interesting, but painful. I was able to get up a few times, but got tired of it pretty quick. You certainly use a lot of muscles that I haven’t worked in a long time surfing and that just became too much for me. I thoroughly enjoyed just sitting on the board watching the waves go by and taking in the scenery though.

At some point I explored the pool and found that the water in it was not very warm, so I quickly decided there were better ways to spend my time.

I spent most of my time it seems just exploring the island and taking pictures. I could have easily spent a few more days on Maui and would have loved to have gone to the other islands as well. I guess I have a list of things to do for the next time. I need to give more details about things, but here are two final thoughts to leave you with tonight. First, I ate at entirely new restaurants the entire time I was there except for the morning I couldn’t find anything other than McDonald’s for breakfast. I even tried new things which is even more adventurous for me.

And finally, the road to Hana was amazing. It was so breathtaking and beautiful. The road would narrow constantly and just be one lane – as in not enough room for two cars to pass each other. That kept things interesting, but it was so worth the few hours. It was totally like a rainforest down there. The humidity was so high that water was condensing on the sides of the air conditioning vents in the car. I had to keep the windows down because the a/c couldn’t dehumidify the air enough for me to see where I was going. It was hard to get shots along the way because there weren’t many places to pull off the road. There were a bunch I wanted to get on the way back, but at one point the tire pressure sensor in the van started complaining and I didn’t want to get stranded hours from civilization, especially with the hunger mounting and my departure flight quickly approaching.

Maui Day 1 Pics

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!

Kuihelani Hwy, Maui Fire Pics

On my way back to the resort from church this afternoon I came across this fire on the side of the road that had clearly just started as there was no one on the scene. I called it in and then later pulled off to take some other pictures. When I looked back I saw that it had grown substantially and decided to go back and check it out. Here are some pictures:

Flying Solo

Tomorrow I leave for Hawaii. I will be traveling alone, even though I found lots of interested people today. I thought I had publicized a month ago that I was looking for people to join me, but I guess I didn’t do a good enough job. In any event, maybe I will be able to enjoy some alone time and get some things done I haven’t been able to do for a while. I’m not sure what all I’m going to do out there though activity wise. I want to travel to the temple, but I’m figuring it would probably end up costing me $300 by the time I do it. I will probably go see Scott & Desoree one of the days, and that is going to probably cost about the same. Maybe if I spent the night with them I could catch a plane to the other island the next day and make a round trip of it. Of course, it would be a little strange to be in a $300/night resort/hotel and not go back to the room to sleep!

#YESon8 Victory

It appears that we have emerged victoriously! It was only by a narrow margin though and there are still votes to be counted, but with 100% of precincts reporting and we have a 52.5%, I think we are safe to say we won! I think they still have to count the absentee ballots which I guess could take up to a month.

I totally slept through my alarm this morning and was a little late to work, but it felt so good. We had a 53′ FedEx National LTL truck deliver a 2′ x 2′ x 2′ box to us today. The packing slip says it was sent on a pallet. It gets even better. Inside the box was a 3″ x 3″ x 10″ box without even any packing material! I think they could have sent it US Mail! I have pictures for the fun of it. I’ll have to post them later.

I enjoyed a quiet evening at home tonight. I bought Melissa’s plane ticket, watched some TV and talked on the phone. I really was pretty much just lazy tonight. I was able to talk Melissa into coming with me to Maui. I don’t think she has realized yet that this means she is stuck with me for the bulk of the week. I wonder when she will figure that out! The flight I’m on jumped to $1800 today, it is absurd. I booked her on a flight that was $570 by the time I got it booked, but was $360 or so earlier this afternoon. I guess I still haven’t learned that it pays to book flights early.

I discovered that my website is #4 for yeson8 and #5 for proposition 8 text. I’m sure I’m in the top results for other searches as well. The daily visitors on my site have about doubled over the past month. I’m sure it will die down here again soon.

I’m sure there was something else I wanted to write about tonight, but I need to get some sleep and stop writing. Good night to all and thank you for your support!

May Our Efforts Have Been Enough

Well, it is going to be too close to call tonight. As of 10:25 p.m. we’re looking at 29% of precincts reporting with 52.3% supporting a YES vote on Proposition 8 to protect marriage. I truly hope that our efforts will have been enough. I pray that the difference will be made up for us. I think we made our best efforts on this and I hope we emerge victorious in the morning and the coming days.

The fight has gotten really nasty in the last day. The home invasion video was so absurd. I called most of the Los Angeles and San Diego television stations on my way to the temple at 5 o’clock this morning and left messages for the advertising directors imploring them not to air the video. Since I wasn’t watching TV most of the day, I couldn’t tell you if they played them or not.

I had a good time at the temple this morning and was happy I was there and not somewhere else stressing about this proposition. I got to go through a session and then officiated for one. It was kind of nerve-wracking to officiate, but I heard I was a winner. Of course I have some things to work on, but I’m sure I can get it down shortly. I’m really bummed to be missing my shift next week. Sadly, I’m not looking forward to this vacation, but I’m sure after a few days I’ll be able to enjoy myself. It’s been a while since I’ve had some real time to myself I guess. I even looked at flights again tonight and they are too expensive now to consider bringing someone along. Actually, I guess that is just my flight. There are some other ones with a stop in Honolulu that could work I guess and maybe even some from SAN. I need to figure out that game-plan tomorrow. This may be your last chance, so speak now or forever hold your peace!

I also need to get to sleep. Didn’t I say i was going to get some sleep once this prop 8 thing was over? Well, I guess it isn’t over quite yet, so I haven’t broken any promises.

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.