A Man and his Minivan: June 30th, 2019

Talking with my family, I mentioned how this week (June 23-30) has been great, and I don’t think I’ve done a single crazy thing. Of course, I was second guessed, and I admit I did quit my job, smoke 15 racks of ribs, and see the first part fulfilled of a dream I had 4 years ago, but common, nothing really crazy.

Monday for FHE we divided into groups and took part in a scavenger hunt. It was a lot of fun, and our group did well. While most tasks were more tame, one was to kiss a stranger. That was a solid no-go for me, but a few members of my group asked a couple passerby but were rejected each time. One group did succeed in accomplishing that, and it turned out to be the difference between first and second. (We got third.) Regardless, laughs were had all around.

one of the easier challenges – have the group make a pyramid

Tuesdays are reliably the busiest days of the week for me. This time, I had my Presidency meeting after work, then my Come Follow Me group (and Maranda kindly brought cookies for everyone) and then a date with Hannah Carter. She was introduced to me by Cindy Neider and her husband. My roommate Carson helped and we had a double date. We played spikeball and tried slack lining before going to our place for some ice cream, then calling it a night. It was a fun time, and I enjoyed doing something different for our activity, but I don’t foresee any more dates.

Wednesday was book club and the argumentative couple skyped in but didn’t show up personally and we actually discussed the Gulag Archipelago. Because of this commitment, I missed the first debate of the 2020 Presidential Election.

I turned it on for night two on Thursday, and gave up my plans for the evening of going to the gym and visiting a friend as I quickly realized this was must watch tv. I couldn’t leave the couch the entire two hours, and can hardly wait for the next round at the end of July. The candidates were ridiculous, the answers scary and yet so far fetched it would have been hilarious if the stakes weren’t so large.

Earlier on Thursday I had my final interview with ListReports, skyping in to talk to Ajay, the CEO. That went well, and Friday morning June 28th, I received an offer to work for them, starting either the 1st or 15th of July, my choice. With a significantly higher salary. I went in to their office during my lunch, and accepted. That necessitated a discussion with my manager at BambooHR. I did not foresee myself leaving after only three weeks of working there, and felt somewhat bad because of the time and effort they had already invested in me. However, the disparity was too great, and the opportunities for advancement at ListReports much better. My immediate manager took it quite well, was understanding and supportive. I offered to stay until a replacement could be found, but thankfully she said it was probably better just to end everything now. Her manager, and the person over the floor was not happy, and didn’t talk to me before I left, only expressing his feelings in a message later that day. Oh well. Not the way I wanted to go out. Besides that hiccup, the rest was fine. It is an HR company, and they are efficient. 25 minutes after first saying “I’ve accepted another offer,” I had turned in my electronic equipement, had an exit interview, and was escorted out the door, ending a short episode in my career. But don’t worry, I don’t have commitment issues.

In all seriousness, I was a little worried, as I knew I could have this redo but would need to stay at ListReports a minimum of 6 months. Its more of a start-up, and I don’t know that much about it yet, so the risks are far greater, but it feels right. I was out the door at Bamboo just after 2pm, leaving me with a couple extra hours that were taken up with onboarding with ListReports. I start on Monday, July 1st. As an aside, its perfect timing as it’s the exact start of the second half of the year, the first of a month, and makes budgeting, planning, etc. so much easier.

Saturday was our much-hyped Elders Quorum BBQ. Inception to event was only 10 days and it turned out incredible! We combined with the Elders Quorum of the 97th ward, as we are meeting with them for sacrament during the summer. I barely helped at all, and the event was fantastic. One of my counselors knows the family that sold US Synthetic (the dad of the family invented artificial diamonds) for a few billion dollars. They let us use one of their family houses in the area, and the landscaping was amazing, we had volleyball, and basketball, and slacklines, and spikeball games all going on. It was a great success.

As for the dream, well, I won’t put that on here. It happened four years ago, and to see the first part of it fulfilled brought it all back into my memory. Stay tuned.

June 23rd, 2019: the Manti Miracle (and Pageant)

Monday our FHE activity was going to a park to watch the new Spiderman movie. I wasn’t interested or willing to commit that much time, so instead went for the spiritual thought, and called it good. Actually, most of the people who showed up weren’t interested in the movie, so we ended talking for a while. I then remembered that I needed to turn in some library books, and made the short hike to BYU. I’ve continued checking out books the last two months but recently the due date has all been the same, June 17th.  Sure enough, my access to the library is gone. Sad day.

Tuesday I had my EQP meeting. We are making real progress, and my counselors continue to do a great job. This coming Saturday will be our first activity, and we’ll be having smoked ribs. After that, my Come Follow Me study group came over. This week was a small turnout, but  it was perfect, and perfectly timed. At about 7:15, our downstairs neighbors called, and said they needed to go to the hospital, and asked if I could watch their kids until a relative could make it over to babysit. I don’t know if I would have made it alone. Thankfully, the group consisted of two ladies who LOVE kids (or appeared to) and they calmed the crying 6-month old, and helped the other two children, ages 3+5, behave adequately until the babysitter arrived.

Wednesday is book club day. I’ve turned down a lot of activities to continue to meet with them, and my group of friends is quickly learning that I’m committed. It’s always a highlight of my week and I leave having learned lots. This week we started the Gulag Archipelago. I began reading this while eating dinner and felt sick. What the prisoners had to go through was truly horrible. I knew this, but the author, Solzhenitsyn is so descriptive and bares all. The core of the book group is fantastic and we each bring nuanced insights that add to our understanding of the works, but are generally all in line. However, there are two Commies who come occasionally and they made sure to attend this week. It was tense. They didn’t want to discuss the book, only ridicule it and defend communism. And Stalin. Turns out they are full-fledged Stalinists. They avowed that our prison system is worse than the Soviets and were ridiculous in many assertions. I almost left early, but thankfully tempers cooled and the last 20 minutes (of two hours) good discussion flowed.

Last week, having finished our Plutarch only a short time before, one member, Nicol, made a recipe from Cato Sr., which is sort of like an ancient type of cheesecake. It was interesting, not bad at all, and sweetened entirely by honey, with lots of poppyseeds on top.

On Thursday I had originally planned to go watch the Toy Story 4 premier with Kayla. However, she was called into work, and I didn’t want to go that much, and headed over to institute. That was cancelled because of finals at BYU for the Spring semester this week so with time on my hands I was able to visit Jacob W., one of my counselors. We had a special experience, as he asked for a blessing, and the Spirit was so strong. I left knowing that the Lord is always mindful of our situation and earnest desires. Kayla called letting me know she was off work, so I was able to go see her for the first time in a few weeks. I brought some flowers from my yard, and she filled me in with the exciting things going on in her life, namely the recent development of a boyfriend.

Friday started off disastrously. I made it all the way to work at 7 am, before realizing I had left my computer at home. So back it was. I didn’t clock in until 7:50, which although annoying would not be that big of a deal, except I had planned to leave a little early and head to Manti with some friends for the pageant there. So lunch was cut short, and I made it out of work okay, able to leave to head to Manti. This weekend was the last of the Manti Pageant, after a 62 year run.

Waiting for the show to get started. There was 15,000 chairs on the other side of the fence set up, and they were all full at this time, a few hours before the start.

I drove the faithful van, and was joined by Carson, Dan Raleigh, Emily Kwok, Sandra Shurtleff. We made the drive in a little over an hour, and were amazed by the amount of people in the town. Normally it’s a small town, with a population of only 3,500. They’ve since released the figures for attendance, and turns out we went to the biggest night, as Friday had over 30,000 watching the show. We arrived well in advance, found a stellar parking spot that the homeowner only charged $5 for, and visited various food trucks before going back to our seats and enjoying the performance. The pageant felt more like a spectacle and wasn’t my favorite (or anything close to it) but you could tell the cast worked hard to put it on, and we all enjoyed our time there. The plot portrayed part of church history mingling facts with fictitious characters, but seemed overly dramatic. Our group booked it out at its heartwarming conclusion, and we beat traffic and made it home without a problem. It was one of the best activities I’ve participated in, and I’ll fondly remember this trip. Sandra was riding shotgun, and we had some good conversations, including speaking lots of Portuguese to the chagrin of the others. I also pulled my classic trick on the way back, and turned on my classical music. I’m used to listening to it while driving, and don’t get sleepy, but it made the rest close their eyelids. We returned a little after midnight.

Pic from the performance. It is hard to see the actors on the hillside.

Manti is notorious for bad signal, and no one had service almost the entire night. The one exception was when my phone rang, surprising me. Turns out it was the Bishop and there was an urgent situation with a new member of the ward who had just moved in. Neither of us had met him and it was a true miracle that I had service at the time, and we were able to quickly put together a plan to help.

And one more picture of the Manti temple, because it was such a fabulous night. And this is where my grandparents were sealed over 60 years ago.

Saturday, after so much chaos and work the previous weekends with the farmers market, I loved relaxing, watching the Red Sox play a game, and reading after.

One book that I just finished and highly recommend is Heidi Swinton’s bio of Pres. Monson. Uncle Aaron included in one of his letters a few years ago the phrase that people are the spice of life. Its true. Reading about Pres. Monson, I was amazed and inspired by his countless acts of service, and his constant desire to love and help others. As Matthew 20:26-27 says, “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant,” Pres. Monson so emulated. This was a great man!

Serving others we feel God’s love for his children.  Service does “exalt the poor, and humble the rich.”

The Pies that try men’s Souls

Saturday June 8th was my first foray into the farmer’s market. Thursday I found out that the Provo Farmer’s Market was full, so I started looking at other opportunities. The winner was the Daybreak Market in South Jordan, about 30 miles north of where I’m living. On Friday I heard back that I could go that very Saturday. That is when the chaos started. I had one day, closer to 12 hours to get everything ready. I needed to figure out my stand and what pies I’d be bringing. I elected to keep it simple and went with Key Lime Pie and Chocolate Cream. I bought all those ingredients, having to visit 4 stores. Not the start I wanted. It was already evening, and Uncle Ben came through clutch, letting me pick up two coolers and two tables to use for my display. I had to go to Salt Lake to pick up pie covers, and finally at 9:00 I was ready to start cooking. Except the kitchen I am renting messed up and couldn’t get me a key as the person over that was on vacation until Monday. So it was in my kitchen. Have you ever squeezed a key lime? They are small and much harder to squeeze. So I bought a well-made machine to help with that. And got to work on 150 limes. That took WAY longer than I imagined, and would not have been able to do it without the machine. In my haste, my hand slipped and while trying to cut a lime in half before putting it in the machine, I cut my index finger deep. Blood just started pouring out. But there was no stopping, I was committed to showing up. Although I had bought the materials, I had to scrap the chocolate pie idea, and go only with key lime. I made 15 crusts quickly. Their time in the oven took a while, but I could still keep 4 in at once, and it wasn’t too bad. And I mixed the filling ingredients four pies at a time. That said, 15 pies don’t fit in our fridge. I called a friend and ran some over to his place, and he kindly stored them for the night. I needed to print some of my permits I had received online so I literally ran to the BYU library, the only place to print open at 11 pm, and printed those off. But forgot to print my makeshift signs. I finished the pies, but couldn’t find half of the lids, that I had bought earlier that night. They had completely disappeared!! Finally, I gave up on finding the lids, and at 2 am, with a long list of things to do before the fair, I collapsed into bed. This was not going as I imagined.

As you can tell, I was frazzled, struggling much more than I ever imagined trying to get everything ready. So I forgot to set an alarm. For like the first time ever. I needed to be up at 6 am. Miraculously, I woke up at 6:45, after only 4.5 hours of sleep. I jumped up, said my morning prayer, and got to work. I needed to make the whipped cream topping, pick up the pies at my friends house, print out signs, get my handwashing station ready (necessary to legally serve samples), buy ice, pack the coolers, and leave my house at 7:10.

Did. Not. Happen. I somehow made it to the fair at 8:45, later than everyone else, but still before it officially opened. I throw my canopy tent up, set up the tables, and got ready to sell. Because the lids were missing, my makeshift attempt to transport did not go well, especially given my faster than normal driving speeds on my way there; the pies had shifted and fallen in the cooler. About half were not sellable.

The normal manager was out of town, and her replacement was not happy about my situation. She mentioned some rules I had no idea about, that the manager who I had talked to yesterday did not mention. She said I could not use cinderblocks to hold my canopy tent legs down, and I needed some sort of siding to legally serve food from the canopy. And a myriad of smaller issues. I said if I got a refund, I’d go home and make sure I was ready next time. She rejected that, and said she just hoped the Utah Food Safety Dept. wouldn’t be there.

I almost had to laugh. EVERYTHING went wrong. I didn’t even have a single sign. At my mother’s suggestion, I had prepared a vase of flowers to brighten up my table. They looked beautiful! And, they were knocked off to the ground by an old lady accidentally as she tried a sample. The square vase shattered, and the display was ruined.

I picked these from our front yard bushes.

I passed out nearly 100 samples. And sold three pies, for $10 each. But I made it to 1 pm, which was the time that the market closed. I just wanted to go home. Some of the other booths made over $1,000.

I closed shop, exhausted, with a giant mess on my hands still. The few pies that were still edible, I brought to my mission president, a friend who helped me get a job at BambooHR, and left two with Uncle Ben and family.

This is what President Young sent me later:

“Elder Schenewark,

What a delightful surprise yesterday! Key Lime pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts.

I have had key lime pie in Key Lime, Florida and at the Dodo Restaurant here in Salt Lake City. Your Key lime pie ranks right up with the best. And it is sooooo creamy.

We love you and are so thankful for you!”

I was so thankful for this kind message and encouragement after such a trying day.

____________________________________________________________________________________

I saved the last pie for a triple date, on Sunday the 9th. Robert came with Hailey, and Hailey set me up with her roommate, Elisa. Robert’s roommate and his girlfriend joined us as well. Per tradition, we sang at the nursing home then returned to my place for the key lime pie. Everyone loved it. And I have to say, I’ve got the recipe down. It is delicious!

Monday the 10th, I started work at BambooHR. I was impressed by the product and how far the company has come, now over 450 employees, and no debt. They’ve managed their money well. Which is the right way to manage a company. But it is not the best for the employees. I felt underpaid, but was happy to have the job. I knew it was on the lower end of the market, but did not understand the commission structure until I arrived. And that made it worse. The other huge negative was my coworkers. There was almost no ambition. No one had dreams, but they were happy with where they were. I’ll leave it at that for now. The actual job was easy, and the environment very inviting. Everyone was very friendly and helpful.

After a week of full-time work, I had arrived at week 2 of the market, Saturday June 15th. This time I was in my commercial kitchen. But I still wasn’t well-prepared. I quickly made a large sign, bought some mini-pie tins in SLC, which was feedback I received the week before, and got to work. This time, also per some customer requests, I made apple pies. It took forever. Being the first time using the kitchen, I didn’t know beforehand that I needed to bring a lighter to light the oven. I thought about going to get one and returning, but it was already so late. So I stuck them in the convection ovens. This was a good idea, and they came out looking delicious! I made 3 full ones and 5 mini-ones. The price was higher, $15 for a full sized, and $4 for a mini. Even if I sold out, I’d still be losing money after travel, kitchen costs, booth costs, and ingredients. But I went.

Honestly, it went better. The crowd turnout was a lot smaller, and the rain that started drove the rest of the people off. Still, I almost sold out. And one person who bought a key lime pie came back and said that she used it for a dinner group, and it was declared the best pie they’ve ever had. And another person came by and said since trying the sample, all her son talked about was wanting to eat one of my key lime pies.

 

Nevertheless, I was exhausted. I had lost money. I had stayed up until two for a second straight week on Friday night, and I was discouraged. And I had a full-time job now.

Daybreak farmer’s market, right as the rain started.

 

So I bid adieu to Daybreak Farmer’s Market. Also known as, My Waterloo. I’d like to try in the Provo Farmer’s Market, and am angling for a spot starting August. Until then, I shall enjoy my Fridays and Saturdays. After enduring these two weeks, here is a song i wrote, from the heart, to be sung to the tune of “Home on the Range.”

“Oh give me a home, where the alliums grow,

and where everyone breathes garlic air.

Where the shallots are strong, all lined in a row

And the land yields cloves fat and fair.

Home, home on the farm….”

Here is one last occurrence from the week that was, to end on a higher note, no pun intended. On Thursday I attended an opera BYU put on, “The Elixir of Love” by Donizetti. It was fantastic! I have become a fan of opera, and love the emotions that were elicited. You had to still use your imagination and thing, and engage with the play and connect the dots. it was so different and so much more enjoyable than a movie. The theater was nearly empty, but one person that was there (completely unexpectedly) was my former roommate Jeremiah. I had not seen him since his departure from the Crestwood in January. I met his girlfriend and it was nice to catch up a little.

Here is one of my favorite scriptures, and one I’m basing a painting off of: (Doctrine +Covenants 43:34-35)

Hearken ye to these words. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds. Be sober. Keep all my commandments. Even so. Amen.

Amen! Forget pie, and opera and whatever else. I rejoice because Christ lives! He is the Savior of the world. As we reflect on the eternal things of eternal worth, keeping the commandments will become easier and we will return to live with our Heavenly Father.

 

June 2nd, 2019

On May 18th, I received a call from the Stake Secretary asking me to meet the Stake President, President Curtis, the next day. He interviewed me, and then extended the call to serve as Elder’s Quorum President. I’ve enjoyed my month off, but am so, so happy to have this opportunity again. I love the chance to serve. I met with the Bishop, Bishop Miner, for an hour, and we talked about ward goals and upcoming plans. While it is the same calling, it is a completely different feel from the Crestwood. First, I had already lived at the Crestwood for one year, and knew most people. I’ve been here for one month, and am still trying to even learn the name of everyone. Crestwood had lots of less-actives and the population was fairly old for a YSA ward, averaging perhaps 26. This ward has great attendance, and I am within the average age, as the vast majority are between 22-25. Calling counselors was easy; the Spirit had impressed upon me quite clearly who should be called, and I’m really excited to see what the next few months bring. The Bishop did say that there was a high likelihood that I wouldn’t serve too long – the stake tries to call people who haven’t had this calling before to give them the experience, but he said that as soon as he met me, he felt impressed that I was the person they’ve been looking for to fill this calling. Last Sunday my counselors and I were sustained, so its off to work, no wasting a minute.

“Each of us has an equal chance of getting food borne illness. However, some people are at greater risk.” This is a quote from my food manager’s class, intended to last for 8 hours. Unfortunately, the rest of the class wasn’t that much better. It amazes me that one must only achieve a 70% on the test to earn a food manager’s permit. And the questions are so simple. Like, “Can you eat hamburger after leaving it out for 5 hours?” That’s not verbatim, but its close. The 60 question quiz was over in under 20 minutes, and I passed. I just finished the paperwork yesterday for the last of the requirements, and am now officially renting a commercial kitchen.
Given the chance that this is my one summer in Utah, I’ve been ambitiously exploring the great outdoors here. For Memorial Day, my friend Jonathan, cousin Kayla, and I went and hiked Squaw Peak.
It was was harder than I expected. the trail was muddy from all the rain, and everybody was slipping around and sinking up to their shins in mud at places. But we made it.
The summit was initially enshrouded in dense fog, but after a few minutes cleared up a bit, showcasing the valley and Utah Lake below. On the return down, Kayla slipped once and her feet went way up in the air and she landed hard on her back. It was undoubtedly painful, but she was a trooper and we finished, well-worn out.
Beat, I figured it was time for a movie and so my roommate Carson and I watched La La Land. What a movie. I highly recommend.
On Saturday I went with Jonathan south to Springville and we kayaked through some marshes eventually reaching Utah Lake. It was a 3.5 mile round trip, and quite enjoyable. It was perhaps the most isolated I’ve ever been in Utah, with no one else in sight or hearing, and felt like a trip to a foreign land.
I’ve accepted a job with BambooHR. It should be a good position, and hopefully it provides some challenges and opportunities. I’ll start next Monday. (June 10).
Tuesday after my come follow me group met, we held a pie night, and celebrated my roommate, Tyler’s, birthday.
The other roommate, Carson, organized it, as he really just wanted to invite a girl he was interested in over. I made key lime pie, and a chocolate cream, and a banana cream pie. They were all gone, and it was a really good time, with about 12-14 people total. A friend Jacob attended, and then he invited us to go to a bonfire. Normally I decline things like that, but this time went, and he introduced me to some of his friends. And we set up a triple date with some of them for Thursday.
That was a lot of fun! I went with Emma, a pysch major from Logan, Utah. The six of us played sand volleyball and were planning to do some chalk art when the heavens opened, and we decided to hightail it. We returned to my house for some ice cream, and played the game hyper-thetical for a bit, before the conversation turned to scary stories. Which definitely had me feeling some goosebumps. It was a really fun night.
Friday was a day to remember. Like normal, we had book club on Wednesday. But, this week was different as the organizer, Carl Scott, held a “Locke Walk” on Friday. We are reading Rousseau’s First and Second Discourse, and for those interested, he put together a small packet that contained John Locke’s idea of a natural man, which will be important in helping us understand Rousseau’s ideas. We (four of us) walked along a trail near Bridal Veil Falls, that followed the Provo River, and talked about our takeaways.

Bridal Veil Falls

I went as long as I could, about 45 minutes, then sprinted back to my car and headed for the Cedar Hills Golf Course to play 9 holes with Mark. It started raining as we teed off, (an absolutely gorgeous tee shot, down to the fairway 200 feet below, my drive went 380, just to the right of the green,) and by the second hole was a downpour. Everyone else cleared off the course, but we decided to park our cart (I wasn’t happy about getting one, but it was worth every penny due to the rain) facing the rain, and wait it out. It took 15 or so minutes, and we talked deep about life and challenges that it throws at us. And then the rain softened, and we played on, finishing in again perfect weather and having the course to ourselves.

from the first tee box

 

I LOVE this quote from Sis. Nelson, speaking about the prophet. She said:

“At 94 years of age, my husband is becoming more and more of his true self every day,” she said. “Why wouldn’t he be? He is doing exactly what he was foreordained to do.”

Know thyself. Thus spake the philosophers of old, and thus must we do. As we discover who we are and what we are meant to do, I know that we will realize we are truly sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father, and our individual destinies, whatever unique path that might take, our more glorious and wonderful than we can ever imagine. I love this scripture, found in Acts 2:28. This is Peter talking,

Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

The gospel brings joy. Christ brings joy, and makes our lives full.

May Flowers – May 26th, 2019

Last Friday I went to a mosque with Chris. I met Chris from book club, and while originally from Venezuala, he has lived in the US for about 30 years. He’s LDS, and teaches Islamic philosophy at UVU, speaks Arabic, and knows everything it seems about that religion. He invited anyone to join him, and I was happy to take him up on the offer, as I’ve long wanted to visit a mosque. There is one near my house, but the members meet in a small house, and Chris prefers visiting the one by Salt Lake, that is much more established. It was an interesting experience. We entered, and took off our shoes, and then sat in chairs placed along the back wall for visitors, or those with health problems who can’t kneel. The mosque is open daily for prayers, but Friday is the mandatory weekly reunion. It started at 1:30, and I was amazed as close to 800 people eventually filed in.
The men stay on the ground floor, and after performing their personal prayer, kneel on the carpet. The women and children go to the second floor. The Imam read and preached in Arabic, before translating into English, as many of the people don’t speak arabic. To finish, he led everyone in prayer. There is no music in the worship service, but arabic is so melodic and beautiful to hear, it does sound like music. We were warmly received. Chris has a lot of contacts, and brought us to speak to the Imam after. The Imam grew up in Saudi Arabia, before moving to Alabama in the early 1990’s. He was a force to be reckoned with, extremely smart, engaging and charismatic. He reminded me a lot of Sallah, the Arab friend of Indiana Jones. He answered all our questions, and was quite kind especially since it is currently Ramadan, and he is fasting, and undoubtedly thirsty from having just finished a sermon.

Saturday I took my concealed carry class. Someone from old ward knows some instructors, and set up a discounted lesson price. The class was incredibly easy, and there was even one lady there who has never shot a gun before. It is crazy how easy it is to get a permit, but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing, and no one should want to have to use your gun anyway. You are allowed to open carry without a permit already, so if you really wanted to, you could already walk around packing. The instructors did go over a few basic gun fundamentals, but the majority of the class centered around the current laws in Utah concerning guns and concealed carry guns. For $30, we got our certificate,  a photo and fingerprints taken. Now I just need to send my application in.
The job search continues. Earlier in the week, I couldn’t help but think that either, 1. I was doing something horribly wrong in the interview process, or 2. I wasn’t destined to have a job at this time. I dug deep looking for errors in my approach, and while I came up with some ways to improve,  there was nothing glaring, and I definitely feel qualified. I know I lean too much on destiny sometimes, and can’t use this as a crutch. Nevertheless, I reasoned, if I wasn’t going to get a job, it must be because it was time to start a company. I’ve wanted to bring something to the Farmer’s Market in Provo  to sell, and began there brainstorming ideas. Some seemed possible, or something that might work with a little luck. And then I thought PIES! I’ve put a lot of time into this idea the last few days, and am excited to see what will happen. The best part, which makes this possible, is a commercial kitchen in Provo that entrepreneurs can rent out. Its cheap, and because the pricing is staggered based on income the last year, it only costs $5 an hour for me to rent. I made a cranberry pie, and a pumpkin pie to practice this week. Both turned out great. I’m doing everything legally this time, and hopefully my permits will all be in order for the first week of the Farmer’s Market on Saturday. I did apply for a job in Vermont, as it was listed on a job site, and was a “one-click apply” with my resume being uploaded to the site already. I had two interviews, and Friday they called to offer me the job. I don’t think I’ll take it, but my desire to go back east felt more real than it has for a long-time. Graduation opens so many doors. I think I still need to stay here for a little bit longer and am hoping to still find something. I have a final interview on Tuesday with BambooHR, a tech company based in Lindon. In the meantime, I am glad to have received a calling, and for the opportunity to serve that it presents.
Saturday I was planning to go to some hot springs in Spanish Fork with Kayla. Unfortunately, she was called into work early, so I went with Jonathan, a friend from my old ward, instead. Its a 2.5 mile hike to them, and the hike was perfect. We followed a picturesque stream the entire team, one that has definitely benefited from the unusually rainy month. We went at 1 pm, and I’m glad we did then, as I did not know beforehand that later in the night the spot turns into a favorite for nudists. Thankfully, we encountered none, although the springs were much more crowded than I ever imagined.
We had to wait for a bit, but secured a nice spot to lounge in. Coming out of the source, the water was unbearably hot. Further down, the temperature mellowed out, and we enjoyed a very relaxing time in our hot springs. I left feeling refreshed, and it was nice as there was only the faintest of sulphur smells. As you can see in the following picture, the river was moving nicely because of all the recent rain, and the contrast between the freezing river to the settled hot springs only inches away was quite remarkable.
I went on one date last week, sticking to a good thing, and going to Jamestown Assisted Living again to sing, then returning to my place for apple pie and ice cream. I went with Maddie, who is also in my ward. She majored in spanish translation, and is getting her masters in Education Policy. She served a mission in Argentina. We had a good time, and my friends who joined us, Robert and Hayley, were a blast to be with again.
On Friday I had an interview scheduled with a company from Vermont at 7:30 a.m. and neglected to set an alarm. Luckily, I woke up just a few minutes later, and saw I had a missed call. In my pajamas, I called back, and talked with Liza, the manager there. Of course, she was curious as to why my voicemail went to a “Victory Pizza.” I think it went fabulously well.
I taught Elders Quorum today, and throughout the week spent more time than usual in preparing. I read and reread and pondered Elder McKay’s talk, “The Immediate Goodness of God.” However, today I had stupor of thought all morning and knew I needed to change lessons, not knowing to what. As I was making bread I listened to Elder McKay’s talk, and when it was over, autoplay went to Elder Rasband’s, “Build a Fortress of Spirituality and Protection.” I knew this was the one I needed to teach. Last week, my roommates and I got together and dedicated our home as a place where the Holy Spirit can reside, and this is a topic I think is really important. I know that our homes really can be a fortress of spirituality and protection, and truly a place of refuge from the world. Elder Rasband said, “As we live with devotion born of faith in Jesus Christ, we will feel the peaceful presence of the Holy Ghost, who guides us to truth, inspires us to live worthy of the Lord’s blessings, and bears witness that God lives and loves us. All this within the fortress of our own homes.” In my life, I consider the temple, church, and my Crestwood apartment as holy places because of the experiences that happened there, and the Spirit that was felt. As we sacrifice, love, serve, testify of Christ, and kneel in prayer, our homes will become holy, helping our lives be holy.

I’m back!

This was a painful journey to get my website back. I won’t bore you with the details, but know that there was lots of questioning of IT logic on my part. Definitely not my thing. Regardless, its up, and no changes are needed for the next 18 months. Hallelujah.

I’ve continued to write the nearly two months the site has been down. I’ll post those weeks, making sure to label the dates, so you know when these events took place (or roundabout at least). That’s my subtle warning that there will be a lot of posts these next few days!

Glad to be writing here again, and looking forward to sharing lots of new adventures!