Basmati and Bellagio: September 16-22, 2019

Holy moley. Sorry, (almost) no pictures folks, use your imagination. I’ve thought that things would slow down, and I could catch up a bit. Nopers. Nice try. Life is moving quick here.

I decided to increase my budget by $100 monthly. Currently, all in, fixed and variable expenses, I’m spending $900 monthly (excluding tithing and taxes); What does $100 mean? Basmati rice. No more sticky varieties. Can’t believe what a difference it makes. Additionally, impulse spends are all the rage. I spent $20 to buy Bellagio-branded pillows. My old standbys had been flattened to just over an inch after years of wear, so these are proving wonderful and well-worth the money.

Monday we had our FHE ward opening social down at a park. For the first time in years, I threw around a football, and man, I was hucking it. Fast and accurate. It was a lot of fun. My roommate Tyler has been participating in the ward a lot more, and it’s been fun to have him join me at these events. We both went in with personal objectives of talking with two certain young ladies, and both failed pretty bad. Oh well. The night was still enjoyable.

Tuesday I woke up with a screaming sore throat and all the signs of a wicked cold virus. (Some ward members and nearly all my work colleagues had been out, as it was a pretty vicious virus, and came when the temp dropped 15 degrees). I still worked, taking lunch to livestream Pres. Nelson speak to BYU and YSA’s across the world. The 5 truths he spoke of:

  1. We are sons and daughters of God.
  2. Truth is truth,
  3. God loves every one of us with a perfect love.
  4. The Lord Jesus Christ, whose church this is, appoints prophets and apostles to communicate his love and teach his laws.
  5. You may know for yourself what is true and what is not.

#4 was quite significant, as Pres. Nelson explained in greater depth of why the policy concerning the baptism of minors whose parents are LGBTQ. I know many people who have struggled with the changes both in 2015 and 2019, and as Pres. Nelson spoke received a further witness that he is called of God, to lead his church at this time.

At 5pm, I attended the now-weekly Tuesday evening company-wide meeting. Con: it lasted a full hour. Pro: they catered BBQ for us, and I ate some delicious brisket. I was, however, an hour late to day 2 of my LSAT prep, catching the 7-9 pm part.

Wednesday the throat felt a lot better, but either the cold had moved onto my sinuses or allergies hit. Playing the mind game with myself, i called it allergies and felt a tad better about the situation. I took off from work 1/2 an hour early and met up with Rick Holmes. He was the high councilor in my last ward. We played 9 at Fox Hollow. I played fantastic the first 4 holes, awful #’s 5-6, before pulling it back together the last 3. We had a great time, even though Bro. Holmes edged me by one.

From there, tires squealing, I made it back just in time to start the EQ Presidency meeting. We had a great time, being joined by our High Councilor Bro. Sutton (from New Zealand) discussing mainly ministering. We went long and I missed book club, no regrets though.

Thursday was the worst-feeling day. I did use some peppermint essential oil and that incredibly helped me a lot. (Disclaimer: I’d probably give genuine snake-oil a try too). This time, I spaced and forgot what time my LSAT class started, and after taking a 20 minute nap realized that I was already late, again missing the first hour.

Friday I left work at 2 and spent the final few hours logged in from home. My body needed the rest, and I was grateful to be able to relax and rejuvenate. This made a huge difference, and helped me turn the corner. By 6:30, I was up and off to see Neil Gorsuch, of the US Supreme Court speak at BYU. Tanner saved me a great seat and I used all my finely-tuned crowd-beating skills to quickly enter, showing the requisite ticket and id, and talking myself into the lineless “reserved seating” door. The event was a blast; not so much for what he said, as for what it made me want to do. Bonus was hearing President Oaks (of the 1st Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and President Worthen (president of BYU). Also attending: Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Steve Young, Jonathan Johnson, and Senators Orrin Hatch, and Mike Lee. Tanner bought a copy of Gorsuch’s book, “A Republic, if you can keep it” and had the Justice sign it “Welcome to the profession Hunter, Neil Gorsuch.” Very kind of my brother.

Saturday I went and looked at the invitation to Abbey’s wedding, wondering what the address was for her luncheon. To my surprise, a small card previously unopened fell out, and I realized I was in fact invited to their sealing. So I got ready and rode with Tanmarie up to that. Grampy performed the ordinance wonderfully, offering great counsel. Dealing less with marriage and pertaining to all of us there, he shared his acronym, One Simple Goal, Choose Christ, which has already blessed my life, and influenced my thinking. Pictures have to be at least a little painful, and after the few required ones that i was a part of, I skedaddled with Uncle Aaron over to the luncheon location. Time dragged, but Uncle Aaron kept us all entertained and I’ve had the song “truly Scrumptious” running through my head since he played it there a few times. The ring ceremony was cool. and Michael’s dad did a great job overseeing that. Abbey and Michael read each other some personal vows too, before exchanging rings. Lunch was delicious, and surprisingly hearty. Then, we all suffered indigestion. Aunt Jenny and Uncle Roger both spoke briefly, and I was touched, and loved their words. Michael’s parents did a great job as well. Stevie, the bridesmaid was brief and eloquently talked about Abbey and their friendship. Then Michael’s best man spoke. I’ve been golfing with him once before and thus wasn’t surprised with the speech. And it was a speech, going on for 7ish minutes. And roughly 10 Uncle Aaron facepalms in that time frame, with all of us wondering what the heck was going on, and if it was possible to turn the mic off. We survived though, and shortly after we took off.

After taking care of some housekeeping and mundane tasks, the special night that Tyler and I had planned was upon us. He made homemade rootbeer, and I supplied homemade vanilla ice cream, and we had invited 7-8 other people over to join us around a fire. He was interested in Maddie from the ward and had her over, but apparently the allure of fire was too much, and 25-30 people ended up stopping by our backyard, wondering what was going on, and inviting themselves over to see. Alas. The night went anything but what I had thought and hoped for, leaving me rather disheartened by the turn of events and inability to get to know someone in particular. Oy vey.

I did enjoy having Porter over, and at 10:30, the 20 people still there were successfully corralled by Tyler over to a neighbor’s house where there were mocktails being sold and a 1920’s themed night happening, remembering F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday. Porter and I enjoyed the dying embers and talked for 45 minutes.

Admittedly, I tossed and turned a bit, going to bed at almost 1, and waking up in time to get ready for today’s 7:30 a.m. stake leadership training. That lasted until 9:30, and then we had stake conference from 10-12. Elder Jaggi, an area authority presided. He is only 46, and he and his wife were amazing! Great energy, and strong testimonies. I wrote down about 10 invitations they extended, and will have my hands full trying to achieve what they challenged. Here are two lines that made a great impact.

-Comparison is the thief of joy.

-God will always comfort you, but you won’t always be comfortable.

And truly that is so! Our Savior is always here for us, and God is only a whisper away. As Alma 7:11-13 says, “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.”

And that is the testimony which is in me. Recently I’ve been reading Bruce R. McConkie’s book, “The Promised Messiah,” at lunch. Every time I read about our Savior, I can feel the Spirit. I know that Christ lives. I know of his divinity. Of the reality of his atonement, and ennobling grace. And I know of his love. 2 Nephi 1:15 (One of my all-time favorite verses):

But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.


Now just to finish the week off here: -One other takeaway from conference concerned dating. Inspired and emboldened, I nevertheless questioned whether i should go ask someone out right then. I gave the question the old scripture test, flipping to a random page, which this time happened to be D+C 58:26-29:

For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is acompelled in all things, the same is a bslothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

27 Verily I say, men should be aanxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

28 For the power is in them, wherein they are aagents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their breward.

29 But he that adoeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with bdoubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is cdamned.

Okey dokey, I gathered my gumption and at the conclusion of conference went and asked Caroline on a date for Friday, to which she sweetly said yes.

After leaving, I picked up Porter and Cooper, and we went to Uncle Ben’s for one last hurrah before Mimi and Grampy headed back to Boston. We had lunch, swapped tales, ate lots of pie, and scrabbled together. What a day.