New Beginnings

Choosing a favorite season is hard. I love them all, and for different reasons. One reason I love winter – besides the snow, and its cleansing effect, and the nostalgia for warm hearths, and lazy days inside – is because of the promise of spring. Even in the darkest part of winter, one always knows that sooner rather than later, spring will gloriously begin. It is a time of new beginnings.

For MLK day, I celebrated by having Kayla and one of my friends, Maddie, over for lunch. My loaf of bread tricked me, and while I won’t say we suffered, I can’t say we delighted in our grilled cheese sandwiches. But the salad was good.

Tuesday I accompanied Bishop, and my counselors went with the other members of the bishopric as we continued our visits. I love making them and talking and more, listening, to my apartment neighbors.

Wednesday evening Michaela, Greg, and Kayla came over for dinner. A few months ago, (as recorded) I had steak with tamarind sauce and blue cheese dressing. I recreated that for us, and it turned out AMAZING! I’ll definitely be making this again. Given that I essentially crashed their wedding a few months ago, it was nice to actually become better acquainted with Greg and Michaela. They are delightful, and were extremely gracious. I’m impressed with their desire to make the world a  better place.

I had signed up for a creative writing class, and while I unfortunately had to drop that in order to graduate in April, a love of creative writing was rekindled, and I’ve read more novels this month than almost all of last year already.

Thursday I went and saw Senator Jeff Flake. He was visiting campus and gave a few speeches. I only attended the one for the College Republicans. After a brief outline of his career, he opened it up for Q+A. I was thoroughly impressed by both the Senator and his wife. I trust them. Perhaps the most interesting question dealt with the Kavanaugh hearing (asked by a somewhat bitter Dem for the record), and Senator Flake spoke quite openly about his thoughts throughout the ordeal and how he has never suffered such abuse from both parties before. I don’t think either he or his family will miss much about D.C. Above all else, he seemed genuine in his words, and in his love for the USA.

Friday was our opening social for this semester, held at 7 Peaks Ice Arena. Some members of the ward heard I was starting a pizza company, and decided to give me a shot, ordering five pizzas from me, and five from Domino’s. My boxes had arrived that day, and after a final practice run at 6 with Kimball, we were ready to go. Kimball had other commitments that night, and the other helper, Lawson, was in San Diego, so I was going solo. In 45 minutes, I made everything, the dough, cooked the meat, etc. and finished all five pizzas. And they turned out WAY better than I imagined. I put them in boxes and hustled out the door. I am proud to say, that not only did they look better than Domino’s pizza, the consensus was they tasted better, and my five were finished well before Domino’s. With just a little prep time, I feel confident in producing 12 pizzas an hour, in our conventional oven (my poor roommates!!!). Ah, yes, the life of a pizza man. I do enjoy it. Check out our Facebook and Instagram page. Victory Pizza. (After my mission). My goal was simply to validate the idea spending the least amount of money possible, and I feel good about what happened, and will be moving forward with this. Plus I still have over 100 pizza boxes I don’t want to keep forever.

Saturday I had planned on selling more, but that did not happen as our EQ activity went much longer than expected. But it was worth it. We went out near Utah Lake in Springville and shot guns. Lots of them. Mostly shotgun, 9 mm, and 22’s, but Derik brought his 45-70. The weather was beautiful, the ammo plentious, and a good time was had by all. That said, never, EVER again will I plan or participate in a shooting activity. Too risky in today’s society. Thankfully everyone who came this time was well versed in guns and stable.

 

The Tronson’s (Bro. Tronson is 2nd counselor) bid farewell to their son, who left to serve in the Philipines a few months ago. He unexpectedly had to return for a surgery, and decided to leave his suits. And Sis. Tronson kindly gifted them to me. I will pass one on to someone who needs it more, but I did keep one, and it fits perfect, and has been a blessing. Its a color I’ve always loved – light blue.

Tuesday’s Devotional at the Marriott Center was given by Elder Corbridge, of the 70. Here is the URL to it. Please, please watch it. He succinctly and powerfully reminds what knowledge is most important in this life, and how to overcome doubts and find answers to questions.

“Stand For Ever”

On my mission I quoted innumerable times, Galatians 5:22. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.”

However, as I was reading from Doctrine and Covenants 11:13, I was struck:

Verily, verily I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill our soul with joy.

The Spirit is all about bringing joy – real, lasting, honest to goodness, JOY. This life is about happiness, and thus this life is about receiving the Spirit, and learning how to keep and live with its influence constantly.

 

 

The Wondrous Gift of Mortality

Last semester lasted the full 10 rounds, split decision, but I’ve won. That was a tough one though – my last night before break was no night at all, as I pulled an all-nighter finishing a couple of projects, and then taking three finals in the morning. Nevertheless, knowing that I was heading home to see family and relax for a couple weeks, saw me through more easily than I foresaw.

My time at BYU is drawing to a close. In fact, this will be my last semester. After talking with mom last night, (Jan. 12) I thought about graduation, and decided that this was the right thing to do. Its funny that if you had asked me 6 months ago, I was leaning towards graduating April 2020, then it slowly shifted to December 2019, then perhaps August 2019, and now its April. Repeat: I’ll graduate in April. I have not felt rushed at all, and as this is only my 6th semester, wasn’t worried about taking another year, but my opinion as to what I need to do has changed. I’ve had a great run, and absolutely loved my time here, but now I need to move on. I think my education has reached the level I hoped and I’d be spinning my wheels more than anything else, if I stayed. And having made that decision, my remaining time in Provo, not knowing what the future might hold, feels extra important to me.

I ate out for the first time this year. Over the break, two of my roommates moved out, so we planned a meet-up on Saturday January 5th. Derik is getting married, and I know he’d be leaving over the break, having sold his contract, but Jeremiah’s exit was a surprise. He decided to move north, to American Fork, to be closer to his work. We hit up Kneaders, and took advantage of their $6 unlimited french toast. This week (Jan. 8-14) I’ve tried a few new foods. I made fudge for the first time, as well as croutons, and then returned for a sophomore iteration, changing the recipes slightly. In addition, I’ve enjoyed some acai, and have vowed to never buy salad dressing again, making homemade poppy seed, caeser (two thumbs down first try) and balsamic. Someone better stop me before I buy a sewing machine. Or spinning wheel.

Not much to report on with dates. I went out on Friday with Macey. Originally we had planned to go bowling but after my friends had to bail, and unwilling to contemplate trying to get to know someone while we would inevitably be on our feet taking our turns bowling, we went to the classic Soap Factory. Thankfully, the bill came out lower than every other time I’ve went, and we had a good time there. I suppose also of interest is my redownloading the mutual app. Not much to report there yet, but it should set up a couple dates in the near future.

The first few Sundays of the year have been AMAZING. While I was ecstatic for two hour church, I didn’t foresee a noticeable change in church , just one hour less of attendance. However, Sundays feel completely different. Sacrament meetings have been fantastic, with fast Sunday especially remarkable as perhaps 20 members got up, bore their testimonies, with no grandstanding, irrelevant story telling, etc., only pure testimony. And the second hour has been just as good, with lots of participation, from a vibrant audience, as even I am not checking my watch every five minutes, but feel engaged with the lesson. For the first time in my life, church feels short, and leaves me wanting more.

Saturday was another ISI conference. This one was held at BYU, and we welcomed students from UVU, Utah State, U of U, and BYU-Idaho. The theme focused on  religious belief and secular learning, and while worthwhile, i confess, I am tiring of conferences. And I am already on the books for a few more. No more applying though.

I am currently unemployed. I left Canopy, left Northwestern Mutual, did actially put some hours in with event staff, but given I’ve worked five hours for them in two months, can’t really count that as a job. I even turned over the majority of responsibility to another student with the MaeserLaser. Uh-oh. What could I possible be cooking up? Not much. I’m almost consigned to getting a real job after graduation, for at least the rest of 2019 (almost). I’ve made my return to chess club, in preparation for one more shot at the intercollegiate tourney. In two weeks, I’m 8-1. And think the level of competition has gone down significantly. My love of painting continues to grow. And I spent hours yesterday with Tanmarie tickling Nora, eating dinner, and playing games. Finally, for the lunar eclipse, we clambered onto their roof, I brought my telescope and we contemplated the wonders of the infinite. As Immanuel Kant said,

Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me, and the moral law within me.

I suppose the one project that I have devoted some considerable time to is the formation of a pizza company. Its called Victory Pizza, as some mission friends are helping me do it, and just so our motto could be, “Conquer Your Hunger.” Pans are in, boxes on there way, recipe finalized (or nearly) and our first day to sell is this Saturday. During one recipe test, I made a guacamole like paste, and used that instead of a tomato based sauce. The avocado one was amazing, and we’ll be expanding on that concept if our normal pizza sells. 

Reading Moroni 1:4, “Wherefore, I write a dew more thing, contrary to that which I had supposed; for I had supposed not to have written any more; but i write a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren..”

This hit home for me – and reinforced the idea that I can do more. The Book of Moroni is one of my favorite books of scripture, and we have it because Moroni went above and beyond what he expected to do. When we go above and beyond what we think or expect, our efforts will likewise bless the lives of many, even if we are not present to witness those effects.