And the Desert is Singing – 10/21/2018 to 11/25/2018

I don’t do fake news, just old news. Alas, for a month I’ve struggled to write this. But I expect the next two weeks to be even busier, so this is my last chance. A quick chiasmus:

I went on a few dates to Jamestown Assisted Living.

I went to BYU’s Philharmonic Orchestra. (La Mer 2/10) Accompanied by a genuine Debussy fan, Robert Wagner.

The MaeserLaser continues to stagnate, with only one issue published. Our last meeting was held at 5 am to accommodate the Board members’ schedules.

Cousins Sarah and Naomi visited for dinner and then Spanish Fork Festival of Lights.

My family history classes are requiring way more time than I ever anticipated (or have spent on a class before.)

I’ve been able to accomplish everything I’ve needed to.

While a struggle, the Lord has blessed me in my labors.

Christmas season has arrived – and because Christ lives, we shall too!

I’ve never felt alone, and have been blessed with countless opportunities to serve.

I love family history, and have appreciated every piece of information I’ve found.

I visited the Mount Timpanogos temple with Sarah. Beautiful! We loved the purple accents.

Amidst the madness, I’ve picked up painting. Just do it! Jumping in, I’ve discovered a part of me that’s lain dormant far too long.

I attended BYU’s wind symphony.

Pres. Neider came through, and set me up with Callie – we went to a BYU women’s volleyball game, then met up with some friends for hot chocolate and banana muffins. (why not?)

Other highlights:

The apartment complex sponsored a cheese and chocolate tasting. I showed up to the sparsely attended event shortly before the end, and thus walked home with various blocks of hard cheeses. My favorite!

Forget home teaching! Ministering activities have included making german pancakes and hiking Squaw Peak admiring the turning leaves.

I went golfing at Fox Hollow in American Fork for the first time. The course was immaculate, and very mature looking, belonging to the area and not imposing itself onto nature like so many other courses. We were surrounded by trees and felt separated from the town that was in reality very close by.

New favorite hobby? Painting is a close second, but really I love reciting agricultural facts. Average yield of potatoes per acre? Anything under 20,000 pounds is horrible! I could go on for hours..

Other educational attainments would include reading Aquinas, continuing Shakespeare, and through a combination of skype sessions with my Dad, and youtube videos, learning how to skin trout and catfish. I’ll pass from now on with catfish, but a friend, John Groves, loves fishing and hates fish, and has brought me lots of fresh trout lately. Which I am thankful for, and even more so after having cleaned them myself. It is amazing what consciously thinking about the origins of your food, both plant and animal based does to you.

 

Besides the aforementioned date with Callie, I’ve taken more responsibility and have actually been asking for dates, instead of waiting to be set up. I went with my former co-worker, Mark Soelberg, his wife Hailey, and my date Susan to the Orchestra at Temple Square Fall Concert and we listened to their concert. I chose a good time to wear my homemade tie, as Susan loves to sew clothes as well. In attendance was Elder Uchtdorf and his wife. Coincidentally, that week while walking on campus, everybody was saying “Hi!” “Good morning!” etc. and given the degree of enthusiasm and percentage of participation was confused – until I turned around and saw Elder Uchtdorf walking ten feet behind me. Turns out he was going to listen to the Russian ambassador to the US speak.

The most recent date was with McKinney – that was last Friday, Nov. 16th. We visited the classic Soap Factory. McKinney is a first-year law student from Maryland, having majored in American Studies and having served a mission to Belgium/ the Netherlands. And it appears a second date will happen.

Our Bishopric was released and while we miss them and appreciate their faithful service, it has been great having the new one. They’ve brought a renewed energy and enthusiasm.

The outgoing bishopric – we’ve enjoyed many memories together, and I’ll forever remember my association with this fine group of gentlemen. Bro. Ken Kuhni, Bishop Rogelio Gonzalez, Bro. Allen Creer

 

Regrettably, I did not vote. That will haunt me for the rest of my life. While I also didn’t vote in 2016 (or 2017), I have determined to not miss another opportunity. On election day, I ended up watching the news for some 6 hours (or more than the last three years combined) and have been bitten by the political bug again. As a side note, having not listened to the news, I was surprised how blatantly partisan the news has become, with NBC commentators being so blunt and open about their views, even going to the point of saying, “We’re ahead in this district.” or “We feel confident enough to declare that we’ll win this seat.” Clearly aligning themselves with the Democrats.

Listening to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and his wife speak to the LDS Stewardship Society about caring for the environment. I’m not a fan of many of his views, but enjoyed hearing about his farm, admire the way he appears to balance civic and family responsibilities, and will never forget meeting when at a dinner I attended a few years ago, his band played, rocking in style, including the cover, “All these things I’ve done” by the Killers.

Besides the concerts mentioned, I also went to the BYU Symphony Orchestra. I hadn’t planned to, but when I saw their program, I ran out of my house, bringing my homework with me, and made it just in time. The program included a full five songs on my Music Bucketlist. And it did not disappoint! Wow! That was some concert, and I left floating through the clouds. I loved clapping with the Radetzy March more than I imagined, and puhleaaaase. Wagner? Any day. He is my undeniable favorite composer. Plus the Emperor Waltz. What goodness and beauty.

Thanksgiving was spent with Uncle Ben and Aunt Joy. They were very gracious in allowing two of my friends who had no place to go come along. We enjoyed a feast, and settled in to watch Mission Impossible III. I brought scalloped potatoes, rolls, squash and zucchini, chocolate cream pie, banana cream pie, and a strawberry/rhubarb pie.

And for Black Friday, (first time participating) I bought $6.40 after tax bedsheets from Macy’s.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library. I was transported to Maine there, and spent hours poring over records, completely amazed by stories recorded by my ancestors. Due to the hour, it shall remain until another day, but I’ll just say there were kidnappings by Indians, near starvation, and above all else, an overwhelming reliance on God.

As a final note, I’ve been golfing twice with Abby’s boyfriend, Michael. He has a corporate pass to Sleepy Ridge, and golfing for free has been wonderful, and its been cool to get to know him.

This is an oft-quoted scripture, but my testimony continues to grow that truly “yea, [the word] had had a more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else..” I know that the scriptures change us, and bring the power of God into our lives. Whatever we want to change in our lives, the scriptures are the catalyst for change. Read them!