Rapid Fire- June 17th, 2018

Tomorrow I leave for Seattle. I am not packed, and have a bunch of things to take care of before then. So, rapid fire it is today.

-Dad, Cooper, Sawyer, Miller all went on a scout trip. They went to the Guadeloupe Mountains and to Carlsbad. The big news was Cooper having emergency surgery to remove his appendix. He’s doing well now, and they returned on Thursday night. He was funny with an appendix, and funnier without one. Go figure.

-I stayed with Mom and Breyer. First time in my life I’ve been outnumbered. Monday and Tuesday I spent 11 hours stacking and splitting wood. 7 cords. I enjoyed the work, and the solitary endeavor it was; however, allergies have been waging a horrendous battle since. I don’t recall ever having them as bad as now. The work was done for the Barton’s. I enjoyed becoming acquainted with Mr. Barton. Every other word he speaks is “man” and is very easy-going and friendly.

-On Friday, I took Sawyer and Miller to Tyler to see our cousins. The ride took 3.5 hours because of traffic, and despite no AC, we bonded and enjoyed every second. Many memories made. Once there, no time was wasted, and it was a fantastic trip. I hate to record it, but Aunt Janel thoroughly whooped me in Ping-pong. The first few games were massacres, after which I lost twice in overtime, and finally, mercifully, pulled out a win in the last. We played lots of board games as well, and Saturday morning I went with Anna and Aunt Janel to pick blueberries. Together we picked just under 15 pounds. Evan is planning a trip to Utah, which I am excited for.

-Today in church, I went for the grand slam. Blessing the sacrament, talking in sacrament, teaching elders quorum, and playing the organ (for priesthood). I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to serve here and have loved being part of this ward. I’ll miss it.

-Finally, a quick thought from the stripling warriors. I’ve focused so much on the outcome and their spiritual preparation and being taught by their mothers, that only recently while reading did I notice a very profound verse, in Alma 56:39-40.

It says that while being pursued, they turned neither to the right or left. They were completely dedicated and focused. I know personally, it is easy to become distracted, to lose sight of the end goal, to feel like we do not have enough time to accomplish everything, or to not give 100% 100% of the time. However, the Stripling Warriors did, and it is because of that intense effort that miracles resulted. Don’t stray to the left or right, but concentrate on that which is most important and in seemingly impossible times, all will be well, and the Lord will work miracles in your life as well.

Holy Mackerel! June 10, 2018

This week has been a little fishy.

As mentioned, Sawyer’s prize fish ended up in the trashcan. Monday morning the stink was noticeable and we couldn’t but laugh as trash is picked up on Friday. By Tuesday, no one was laughing, as anyone within a nuclear blast radius of our house could smell the fish. Needless to say, despite Dad dumping five pounds of baking soda in the trashcan, we were all thankful (and empathetic) to see the garbage workers come and pick it up.

Last week, on our way to the YMCA, I noticed a hiring sign at Farmer’s Insurance. Monday morning I ran over there, and after being intercepted by the receptionist, I dropped my resume off with her. One hour later, I was surprised by a phone call from the head honcho there who wanted to interview me ASAP. That made me hopeful, and I returned with heady dreams and ambitions. Lets be honest, their commercials are funny, and that’s half the prestige of working for someone else. Unfortunately, el jefe had only seen the first item on my CV (working for GPS Capital Markets) and was way excited to meet me. After finding out I wasn’t graduated, and would be leaving town shortly, not so much. Thus, I left unemployed once more. I’m getting comfortable with these interviews and nailing them. Going in, I knew the history of the company, and all the pertinent statistics. He was impressed, but there is no way to waive the accreditation and certifications necessary to sell insurance, and that is what they were hiring for.

Back to the fish saga. Breyer played a game on repeatedly this week. As soon as anyone would walk outside, she would astutely run to the door and lock it, and laugh hysterically at our plight as we were stuck outside with the decomposing fish. Eventually, her mercy always let us back in.

We finally finished planting the garden, and brought the Aiello’s rototiller over. When we got there, he was busy picking up wild plum seeds that had been digested by a fox. Apparently, for the seeds to grow, they must be passed by an animal. Cool stuff, but I’ll pass on the handshake. We’re pretty good friends though.

I have ended my letter reading. What is most interesting is to see how my relatives faced their early twenties. I made it to 1997, and ended with Uncle Ben dating Aunt Joy, and Uncle Aaron marrying Aunt Rachael. However, one of the most interesting stories was reading about Reed and Rob Nixon’s accident that left them paralyzed. It was incredible to see in depth the outpouring of the  church and community as large. To read about Pres. Hinckley’s blessing and see how they were prayed for the world over. Earlier in the week, I played Monopoly with Miller and Breyer. They didn’t know this, but our game (a baseball themed version) was gifted to Tanner and I by Reed some 10-12 years ago. I missed his funeral as I was in Brazil, and I distinctly regret having scheduled a time to visit him in 2015 before leaving and then being unable to make it work. I am truly thankful to have known him, to have associated with him, and to have seen his optimism and faith in the midst of some incredible trials. Above all else, I’ll remember his purposefulness. While being a quadriplegic, he  didn’t let that stop him. He earned a college degree, worked, and simply lived. Despite his countless problems, he served. He cared. He loved. May we all be more like Reed Nixon.

 

6/3/2018 Summer Vows

I’m close to taking my vows of poverty. The job hunt continues-ish. At this point, I’m essentially cutting my losses, and preparing for July-August and the Fall. I’m almost done with my financial analysis for next school year, and right now, with a little bit of luck, and a lot of hard work, I’ll buy a car and stay even for the year. However, if a ring comes into play, it could get a little dicey. Nevertheless, I’m still praying it gets dicey.

Memorial Day Monday, we had FHE, visited a flag of fields and watched “Taking Chance” a perfect, and touching movie for the day.

Tuesday I picked up some cash by helping Connor move to Ft. Worth. And doing some yard work on Friday.

(Long golf story next, for those who wish to skip this sublime round, proceed to the next paragraph.)

Pres. Nelson called out the golfers in his devotional, but my membership ended and the clubs are in the garage, so no pleading guilty here! For the record, on my last round on Thursday, I desperately wanted to shoot under par. It started inconspicuously to say the least, for after hitting the first green, I proceeded to 3-putt. Bogey start was not what I wanted. The second hole, some onlookers watched me crash my drive, 320 up a hill, and then chip the remaining 20 yards, and make a 7 foot putt. Back in it! Mostly pars followed, with  birdies (reaching the green in two) on both par 5’s, and one bogey on a par 4. I turned in 35, -1. However, it took me 80 minutes, and it was now 8 pm. The group in front wasn’t letting me pass, so I played number 10, (another bogey dang it!) then jumped to play numbers 14-17. I added another birdie to move back to -1, before going to play the tough  11+12 holes. Getting up and down on both, I moved to 18, (historically the easiest hole on the course for me, a straight 460 yard par-5) needing only a par to achieve my goal. By now, it was way dark, and hard to see. I briefly considered playing 8-iron, 8-iron, wedge to the green, to secure my goal, but thought no way! I’m not ending my golf season with a wimpy layup! I smashed my driver again, avoiding the dangerous out of bounds on the right side, and leaving me only 150 yards . Choked down and hit my clutch shot, a baby draw, with my pitching wedge, and knew I hit it to perfection, but couldn’t see at all where it landed. So, I walked up to the green, and lo and behold my ball was 18 feet behind the flag, right in the middle of the green. Whatever happens, don’t leave it short, so I struck the putt, playing more off memory than sight, and boom! the ball broke three inches to the left, hit the cup, popped up and popped in for an eagle! It was the best possible way to end my summer playing, and I signed for a 69.

Of course, the more memorable and important event of Thursday happened earlier, as I left with Mom at 4:35 am to head to Dallas. I dropped her off at work, and headed to the Dallas Temple. Two weeks ago, I had also attended, doing two endowment sessions and a bunch of initiatories. It was an incredibly important day in my life, and I returned hoping for more of the same. And did not leave disappointed. From there, it was lunch on the grounds, and then going downtown to be an uber driver. That failed, with the phone dying, so to be productive while waiting for Mom to finish her work, I visited Wells Fargo and Chase Bank, opening up an account at Chase. Gotta diversify, right?

Friday we continued our near daily YMCA adventures, had dinner with the missionaries, saw Sawyer hook himself and head to the hospital, before settling in to watch the “Be One” 40 anniversary celebration of the Priesthood announcement. SO to my pal Andre Johnson. Pres. Oaks did a great job (as always) clarifying potentially sticky issues.

Today, Miller woke up with a headache, so we left him, and Sis. Page took us to church. Breyer liked the idea, and started saying she was sick, but to her chagrin, I called her bluff, and she ended up at Elder’s Quorum with me. I was also set up apart in my new calling, as EQ teacher. I’m looking forward to it. I’m enjoying getting to know and love my fellow ward members. As they say about me, if you’re over 70, we’ll probably be friends. And Granbury is perfect for that. Bro. Sullivan was called to be another teacher, and I met his wife, who is from the Azores Island. Her cousin is an LDS district judge in Boston.

After our Fast Sunday officially ended, I made some bbq chicken pizza and while it was in the oven, we facetimed Tanmarie and Nora.

We held a spontaneous floss-off (culturing me) and Annemarie and Miller were declared the unanimous winners.

Random thought that came to me (after being invited to play a a card game tonight): Card games- the social media of the dark ages.

We watched the Nelson’s devotional tonight, and wow, they always blow me away. In case you missed it, here are the invitations extended by the Prophet.

1-Do a 7-day Social Media Fast

2-Weekly time commitment to the Lord

3-Keep on the Covenant Path (Complete a thorough life assessment)

4-Pray daily for all to receive the blessings of the Lord

5-Stand out. Be different. Be a light.

Follow the Prophet, accept this challenge, and join the Lord’s Battalion!

This entire week, I’ve been thinking about what is most important and eternal, and two answers – family, and building up the Kingdom of God- repeatedly strike me.  Don’t waste time, and help build that which shall never  fall again.