November 18-24: Oh say can you see

This is it. The day to take the LSAT has arrived. Tomorrow at 12:30 pm, I’ll start the 4 hour exam, which will largely determine WHERE I spend the next three years, and HOW I spend the next three years (fingers crossed for some scholarship money). I have to confess that my heart is already beating quicker, and my mind is racing. Yet, how many times have you seen an LSAT score on a tombstone? It simply doesn’t define anything truly important. So while I hope to do my best, and score well, I know that all will turn out well regardless.

How often do we stress over completely unnecessary things?  This was a key takeaway in the middle of this week for me. On Sunday, I volunteered to bake a ham for the friendsgiving happening on Wednesday. Monday, I was given 3, when I had anticipated one. The worry of if all three would fit into the oven, if I would have to leave work early to get them started, etc. was on my mind. Tuesday night, mentally re-arranging my schedule already, I pulled a ham out of the fridge to check the cooking instructions. I turned it around twice not seeing any instructions for anything but the glaze. Right before I googled it, I saw the label, pre-cooked. Of course. How in the world had I forgotten!?!

This week, in elders quorum we went over the conference talk, Deceive me not 

by Elder Stevenson. In it, he talks about recognizing truth and how important it is to not be deceived by the messages that Satan presents. I’m amazed at how influential some of the world’s teaching can be, after you hear it again and again, and are preached these false doctrines from every tv channel, news website, and popular song. The key takeaway for me from Elder Stevenson’s talk was that we are looking beyond the mark, and will stumble if we do not put God first in our lives. As has been said,

if you have not chosen to place the Kingdom of God first, it will not matter what you have chosen instead.

LSAT, school, work, golf, money – I know that none of these can be put first. And if God is first, then all else will work out okay. Even more glorious than I can imagine.

Wednesday was the Friendsgiving. We had a great turnout, about 100 people, and plenty of good food. We met in a nearby chapel, and I ended up playing basketball both before and after.

When I got home, I watched most of the democratic debate.

Thursday was the last day of my lsat class, and I left that (early) to go to institute. It was the right call, and I loved the lesson we had on D+C 29. It’s taught by an older couple, the Lambert’s who shared some of their life experience, and helped the scriptures come to life.

Friday I went on a double date. Eliza and I met Dillon and his date to go to the Bell Concert  at the Tabernacle on Temple Square. Traffic was bad both ways, but we were able to still get seats showing up 20 minutes late. And the entire date lasted almost 5 hours, which is too long in my opinion, especially without any kind of nourishment, but Eliza was a good sport, and helped make the whole night very enjoyable. She also curiously wanted to talk about politics a lot, which isn’t something I have done on a first date in my memory (we were of one mind concerning immigration, but differed radically in nearly everything else). She’s studying neuroscience and economics at BYU and returned from her mission in the Philippines in March.

 

I had a friend, Glenn, invite me to the Utah Symphony with some of his friends Saturday night. Then, at around 4, Glenn bailed but said the ticket was mine still, and I could bring someone for his. There wasn’t much time to prepare, so I asked Nicklas, my danish friend, if he wanted to go, and he jumped at the idea. We left at 6, and met the other people in Glenn’s group at Abranavel Hall in Salt Lake City. The repertoire included Mozart’s 20th Piano Concerto, which was a dream. I had never heard it before, and loved it. It also included Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which I’ve listened to online before, and disliked it even more in person. I’m glad to have had the experience, and very appreciative of Anastasia who shared the tickets. She is from Ukraine, and honestly I was surprised how many people at the symphony were speaking Russian. I had no idea there were so many people sharing that heritage in Utah. I was impressed with how crisp and clean the music sounded even compared to the BYU orchestra, which I thought was fantastic. The venue was also 10/10. 

I’ve been impressed with Porter’s barber skills and Saturday he gave me a great haircut at his apartment. 

After church, we all met at Tanner’s house to celebrate Nora’s and Joanna’s birthdays. I can’t believe Nora is two! She didn’t quite understand the concept of her birthday, but dived right into her cake! It was a lot of fun, and as Cooper was giving the prayer at his ward prayer we exited at 6:50, right as everyone was about to play a riotous group game, I was not eager to join. In my mind, the timing was exquisite.

 

 

November 11-17: Doubt Not, Fear Not

This week started off somber. Monday, after our quick weekly meeting, my ListReports co-workers and I headed up to the Ronald McDonald House to serve lunch there. It’s something that I truly love to do. No matter how big your problems seem at the time, they all disappear during your time there. You are serving selflessly, not worried about yourself. We were tearing up a bit even before cutting up the onions for the chili. I wish we had more chances to meet and talk with those patients there, but one could only imagine what they were going through. Kids wondering if they would see their next birthday, and parents wondering Why. We served a potato bar and chili, along with lots of desserts. I hope we made their day just a little bit easier, and I left with renewed focus, being reminded how precious life is, and the influence one person can have on so many others.

Monday was also Veteran’s Day. How I am thankful for their sacrifices! Millions have served, hundreds upon hundreds of thousands have died serving the United States of America. For “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Again, one marvels at the efforts they have made to protect our country, and shape the world into a better place abroad. Looking back historically, it is easy to criticize the politics and question the motives and the efficacy. For that matter, it is easy now. Yet, one cannot question the valor and the service of the everyday soldier who put their life in harms way and followed orders, marching behind the banner of the United States. They are the ones who know, “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” I think especially of my grandpa and my great-uncle David.

On a lighter note, that night for home evening, our group played “superfight” a cool new game to  which I was introduced. Two decks, one of nouns, the other of “superpowers” are drawn randomly and the participants have to describe why their superhero is good and could win a battle. For instance, the first card I had was “fainting goat.” Others included Bigfoot, a boy scout, and a leprechaun. Their abilities ranged from having a fighter jet, a sadness ray, and a pogo stick. Regardless, you have to think creatively.

Wednesday was a rollercoaster. C——-, one of the quorum members, has been watching his dad battle cancer. Things have been going downhill and Wednesday, his father suffered another stroke. There was bleeding in the brain, and the doctors said that nothing more could be done. The question of death was not anymore if, but when, with the fateful alert that it could be hours, days, or perhaps a few weeks. How can you help in a situation like this? It’s a question thats been burning on my mind. I have no definite answers, but we’re trying to do what we can.

That night, one of my roommate’s had his girlfriend over. Background: They’ve been dating for about a month. Living in BYU approved housing, the curfew is midnight. At first, I complimented him on keeping curfew (having had struggles with other roommates, I was trying to encourage the good behavior.) Later, I was up past midnight and she was still over so I walked out and they got the message it was time to go. I texted him the next day letting him know how important it was to me that they keep curfew. There was probably two good weeks, and then on Monday she was over past midnight, and again I walked out, sending the silent message it was time to go. Now, on Wednesday, I lay in my bed at 12:15 unable to sleep, wondering what to do. There was a really heavy, dark spirit and I finally got up and went and talked to both of them, with them lying on the couch, saying in no uncertain terms that this was unacceptable and needed to change right now, while still expressing support for them, and saying until 11:59 she is welcome here. It’s never pleasant being the messenger, but the rule is something I do feel strongly about. It’s now Sunday, and to put it mildly, our relationship has deteriorated significantly. This wasn’t the outcome I anticipated or wanted. It’s another situation where I don’t know what the best thing to do is. How do you help without compromising? I know love is the answer, but nothing has worked so far.

My car woes continue. I left work Friday and had almost made it home, getting ready to pull off on my exit when a plastic container from a few cars in front fell off. The cars all around swerved and braked, and the container slammed into my front right side. I didn’t think twice (a car going 70 was no match for it,) and as no other cars (including whoever had dropped it) had pulled over, I continued home. When home, I went to inspect, and the contained knocked completely out the fog light and split the front bumper. Oy vey. I am thankful to be safe. And I am definitely hoping for a week of no car troubles.

Saturday was packed, with the standard 3 1/2 hour lsat practice test, followed by lunch, some errands, the City Center temple, and then a brazilian meal at Ethan’s house. He served in Sao Paulo and made a classic rice, beans, chicken, salad, and limeade meal. It was delicious and we went the whole time without speaking a word of english. Then, I walked with William G. and we went and listened to Teryl Givens speak on apologetics and discipleship. He talked a lot about how the atonement had much more to do with healing in early christianity before its meaning was somewhat obscured. I know that the Savior is the Master Healer. I quickly stopped by Tanmarie’s and left feeling much better with my law school application, a borrowed crockpot and an unexpected haul of hand-me-downs. Including the leather jacket I’ve long pined for. Made my day.

To celebrate a great day, I watched two episodes of “Shark Tank” and ate some ice cream. One of the companies was a farm company in Missouri and I unexpectedly found myself tearing up. I lie not. The farm was so beautiful. And it calls me still.

Church today was wonderful. There was ward council, then I completed my ecclesiastical endorsement before doing 4 ministering interviews.  It all felt productive and meaningful, which is a fantastic feeling. The work moves forward.

After church, the gang all came over: Tanmarie, Nora, Porter, his friend Jake, Cooper, and William G. Dinner was a pot roast, salad, rolls, and key lime pie. We had the usual good time catching up on everyone’s week and sharing what we’ve learned in our gospel study recently, but Nora stole the show. She was a hoot, putting pepper shakers in random cabinets, dancing, snuggling with Cooper and even feeding me some her cheerios one by one.

At 8, we had 30(!) people convene at my place for ward prayer, and then a contingency that stayed to watch the newest Book of Mormon video, about the separation of the Nephites and Lamanites. This was my favorite one yet. I asked someone out after ward prayer, but alas, she had plans to go out of town, so i’m still looking for a date for this coming Friday.

Sunday School covered Hebrews today. One of the scriptures that we talked about was Hebrews 2:14-18 and how that helps give us hope. I especially liked verse 18:

For in that he [Christ] himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

On my mission I gained new insight into the the word “succor.” Its not one that we use often anymore. In Portuguese, the word is “socorrer” and as those familiar with a latin language can see, the root is correr, or to run. Socorrer literally means, to run to the aid of. When I see succor, that image of running to the aid of another is what I see in my mind.

When we are beset by difficulties, and especially by temptation, we can cry out for help, and Christ will run to us. He is eager and ready to help. He will heal our woundedness and cure our brokenness. He is the Savior. He is our Savior, and He is the way, the truth and the life.

 

 

Nov. 4-10: A Season for Everything

A week of firsts. Eating my first persimmon. First time buying a massage. Going on my first date in 43 days. First time moisturizing my feet. Of course, that one involved inadvertently spilling a 16 oz bottle of balsamic salad dressing that I had just about finished making, when I went to grab some spices, and knocked a can of soup down, which hit the dressing, which soaked my feet. Pros: The rosemary and garlic hadn’t been added. Cons: That leaves me vulnerable to vampires. And the honey was in it, and I definitely was worried about leaving my feet uncovered, thinking a rat would go for my toes in the middle of the night. A week of firsts, but some things never change.

Tuesday was the much-ballyhooed service auction that the service committee in the ward organized. Members signed up to donate some act of service (I think the end result was a list of about 35 items) and then we bid canned goods to purchase the items. I donated a banana cream pie that Bishop Miner won. I also enthusiastically brought 38 cans, ready to be a “high roller.” I had a great time, trying to purposefully push prices higher, and being completely at ease, appreciating the spirit of the event. Bonus was winning a few treats including a massage from Chariton. The activity was a blast, and the spirit of service was definitely felt. The food is going to a local food bank, and the ward has already become closer as we are serving each other more.

After a quick meeting on Wednesday, our presidency split-up to visit all the elders without temple recommends. Previously, only about 30-40% of people we tried to visit would be home. We witnessed a miracle, as every single person Dillon and I went to was home and free for a quick visit, and the two Jacob’s were able to contact every single one they were going to as well. Something that I’ve been constantly repeating is the idea that the difference between a friend and a minister (as the new ministering program makes it easy to focus SOLELY on friendship) is that a minister, while still being a friend, will INVITE that person to come closer to Christ. We were bold in our invitations this night, and finished feeling satisfied and at peace with what transpired. We were accompanied in our efforts by unseen hands as we talked about the importance of genealogical and temple work.

We started Hegel’s “Philosophy of World History” this week in book club. He has some interesting ideas, and while I find myself agreeing with more than I anticipated, it’s easy to see how his thoughts have led to many of the problems in the world today, his philosophy justifying and promoting these problems. Based on his writing, one assumes he would oppose many of the developments today, but he didn’t see the natural end of his philosophy being carried out and logically furthered. It is important to be on the straight and narrow, and not off by just a degree or two, as over time those two degrees leads to huge misses and dangerous effects.

Friday night was Tanner’s surprise 27th birthday. We met at Matt and Joanna’s place at 7:30, a group of 20 adults struggling to maintain silence for 15 minutes until he came up. Annemarie kept the night’s events a surprise from him, and he walked upstairs from their basement apartment expecting to go on a date, with his coat on and keys in hand. And he infamously said, after knocking on the door before entering the Pace’s house, “We’re coming up, I’m naked!” Of course, this was just a joke, but it has now been importantly recorded for posterity. I stayed for a few fun games and then took Porter and Cooper home.

Saturday, per custom, I took the LSAT from 9-12:30. The real test is now in two weeks.

After, I went and picked up Melissa for our date at 1:30. We went to Wal-Mart and met Robert and Hailey for our Iron Chef date challenge. Melissa and I reached into the bag holding the options, and picked out “Entree” and “Italian.” The idea being, we had $10 to purchase food to then make an italian entree. Robert and Hailey got “dessert” and “hispanic.” Shortly after coming back from mission, Melissa discovered that she is now gluten intolerant, but we found some gluten-free noodles and made chicken alfredo, with some veggies on the side. It was good. But nothing special. Robert and Hailey whooped us. They made churros (also using gluten-free flour) and then made a cream cheese sauce and added frozen raspberries. The combo was insane, and we all wanted more and more. The date was a lot of fun, and even though it lasted longer than anticipated, from 1:30-4, we all enjoyed it.

I then was able to go to the City Center temple. BYU football was playing Liberty University at Lavell Edwards Stadium right then, so  it was unusually quiet, and the perfect place to be.

Sunday morning while Caroline and I were meeting with the Bishop, the power abruptly went out. We were left in the darkness, and suprisingly iron curtains lowered and cordoned off the main staircase. We had to go around the whole building to find another stairwell and make our exit. Not knowing what in the world was going on, our first thought was that this was an active shooter situation. Thankfully, it was nothing. A main line had been hit, so the entire part of campus we were on and part of the neighboring street lost power. That was at 9:30, and so the stake cancelled everyone’s EQ and RS classes, leaving only Sacrament meeting. It was still a spiritual feast, and both speakers, Sandra S. and Lauren M., bore powerful witness of God’s plan for each and every one of us.

The power returned right before we started sacrament meeting at 1:15, and after we were able to have our munch and mingle. It was then off to the annual Stake Priesthood meeting. The EQ presidencies in the stake met with the stake president from 4-5 in a counsel, and then the general session was 5-6:15. Pres. Curtis was the only speaker, and he made it a more informal discussion of some recent points from Pres. Oaks GA leadership session before conference in April. The main takeaway for me was the necessity we have to defend truth, and to love God first, and our neighbor second. It is easy nowadays to switch these two great commandments and instead honor and fear man more than God.

I read this in a compilation of Harold B. Lee’s teachings this week:

“Your test of greatness, whether you be youth or whether you be adult, is not be measured by the question about your wealth, how much you are worth financially speaking, or how much knowledge you have gained in the world, or what great talents you have, but your measure of greatness or just mediocrity, or less than that, may be measured by your answer to one simple question, “What do you like?” Do you like pornographic pictures rather than pictures of great art? Do you like to go to vulgar shows rather than The Sound of Music? Do you love the sensuous music rather than to hear great symphonies or the work of the masters? You answer to yourselves and then see what your youth like and you will have the answer to their souls, for music indeed is the language of the soul, whether it be uplifting or otherwise. It is the index to where we are today.”

I’ve understood the influence music has on me personally for some time, but never comprehended the extent to which it matters until reading this. Moroni 7:12: “All things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually. But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. Wherefore , take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.”

I know that as we seek after all things, especially musical pieces that are “virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy,” we will have the Holy Spirit in our lives and will be filled with more peace and have virtuous thoughts, allowing us to stand with confidence before the throne of God.

 

 

Break Every Yoke: Oct 28-Nov. 3

After a few weeks of really good Mondays, this one did not start the week off right. On my way home from work, someone rear-ended me on the freeway. I wasn’t terribly happy, and it was an avoidable accident to be sure. I’m guessing he was a bit distracted or something. We pulled over and checked it out, and there were only a few scratches on the bumper. We traded info, took a couple pictures, and promised to communicate if anything would need to be filed. I shook hands with Mr. Bradley Christensen, and hopped in to finish the drive home. And then had to work on cleaning the oven and fridge for cleaning checks. Our house normally stays pretty spic and span, but if there is a weak spot, its the oven, and fridge. (And bathtub). It took some time, but we ended up passing with flying colors the next day. FHE was cupcake decorating.

On Friday (completing what has been a two-week trio of car stories), leaving work, I was second in line to turn left at an intersection, hopping onto a thoroughfare. The turn signal turned green and the car in front of me went ahead before being torpedoed and t-boned by a car going about 60 mph. It seemed like something out of a movie, just vicious and violent. The other driver must have been completely out of it, as he blew through the red light, but didn’t even try slowing down. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and the car that was t-boned had no passenger in the back, or it could have been much, much worse.

Wednesday after EQ meeting, I went to book club for the first time in a few weeks. As always, it was enjoyable. The three others who are consistently there, Karl, John, and Nicole, have become good friends. This week we finished Kant and have Hegel and Nietzsche left to finish the year and our philosophy section. The new year will start a turn on Shakespeare.

Facebook post from Dr. Scott night of: “A little fire, a little strudel, a little Kant. What’s not to love?”

Thursday was Halloween. While it continues to be my least favorite holiday, if I deigned to describe the day as such, a recent tradition has made it much more enjoyable. Halloween 2015, while serving in Tempe, our Yuma zone traveled to San Diego and visited the temple there. That was an unforgettable day, and I attend the temple every Halloween that I can. I left work early, and went to the Provo City Center temple for a session. Wonderful.

My LSAT class also didn’t meet that night, so it felt like I had much more time than usual. On Saturday, when I took my practice exam, I figured out what I’ve been doing wrong on the logical reasoning sections. Or rather, how to fix it. I’ve been overthinking the questions trying to get 2-3 more right. Which led to me missing double and triple that the last few weeks. So, I’ve gone back to sticking with my first choice, and working faster and sure enough, I’m back to missing 2-3. Which puts me in a good spot. Don’t fix what isn’t broken I suppose.

Four quick notes: 1. My homemade deodorant (coconut oil, cornstarch, baking soda, and essential oils) is fantastic! Much better than any store bought I’ve ever used. It smells great, doesn’t stain, and works!

2. I wrote a couple articles for the MaeserLaser, one on abortion, and the other on the democratic debate held recently. I’ll post as soon as they are published.

3. Uncle Ben+Aunt Joy and fam had the Hutchins clan over for dinner tonight. It was great! They also introduced us to Slapzies, a way fun group game.

4. Today, singleness hit hard. Most days I’m really good, and even when I’m not, eternal perspective and hope in general makes everything so much easier to deal with. “Thine adversity and thine affliction shall be but for a small moment.” I want to include that because I don’t want to sound like I’m looking for pity, I’m not (at least currently 🙂 ) but I think its important to record the tough times as well. I am thankful for trials as my own “thorn in the flesh” makes empathizing with others much easier. Empathy doesn’t come as naturally to me as I’d hope, and this lesson in trust and patience is definitely helping with that.

Finally, on Tuesday, Uncle Rich’s letter talked about Elder Gay teaching that “the number one goal of every EQP in the church should be to increase the number of temple worthy MPH.” That line pierced me, and since then I’ve thought and thought about the incredible blessings of the temple and what those priesthood holders are missing out on, and what the church is missing out, lacking those priesthood holders..

After all that car trouble the last two weeks, one last car reference, this time an analogy. MPH=miles per hour. MPH=melchizedek priesthood holders.

Some time ago, Elder Stevenson talked about the HOV lane, which is designed to get us to our destination safer and faster. For us, that means Humility, Obedience, Virtue. Those qualities will keep us safe and help guide us to eternal life.

Now, the Kingdom of God moves as the priesthood moves. I’ve seen it here, and I saw it in Brazil. The sisters will be faithful, they will fulfill their callings, pay tithing, and sacrifice to attend the temple. However, if the priesthood raises the bar, it is like a tide that lifts all boats. As the priesthood goes, so goes the church. As the MPH (melchezidek priesthood holders) goes up, the church will grow faster (MPH, miles per hour), fulfilling the prophecy in Daniel and filling the earth.

Here is what Pres. Harold B. Lee said in 1972: “We are discovering that the only way to get home teaching over, or to get family home evening going, or attendance at sacrament meeting, or to have more temple marriages, or temple attendance, is to make sure that the holder of the priesthood in the home magnifies his priesthood; and until he can realize the importance of the priesthood of God, which gives him the power of Almighty God to act through him, that home is not going to be secure.”

That’s going to be our focus now. I’ve talked with Bishop, we have our list of those to focus our ministering on, and we will wear their doormats out.

I testify that the temple is the House of the Lord, and “in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.” The temple provides the means whereby families can be eternal. Pres. Nelson recently promised that as we keep a commitment to attend the temple regularly, we will experience the miracles that we need in our lives. That is a true promise from a true prophet of God. And preparing to attend the temple and attending will help prepare us for the Savior’s Second Coming. Let us be a temple going people.

 

 

Oct 21-27: Freedom and Fun

Tanner bought a World Series tv pass, and I’ve enjoyed catching snippets here and there. My money is on the Astros, but my heart is with the Nationals. (Update: Nationals won!)

For home evening on Monday, our group gathered and for the activity we told scary/funny halloween stories. I enjoyed listening, and while all the stories were good, there was also one Bigfoot account, so it was a perfect night.

Wednesday was a busy day. First, I left work to have lunch with Judge McCleve at Thai House cuisine. Its located in downtown/historic American Fork and was in an old house. Excepting Panda Express, I generally don’t lean towards asian entrees. However, this ended up being quite good, and priced extremely reasonably. I had some spring rolls, sweet and sour with chicken and some soup. We talked about what law school was like, how it has blessed her life, and what my future plans are. At the end, she also procured some further references that I could talk to. It was very kind of her to meet me and offer to help.

That night was our ward activity at Cornbelly’s, which is part of Thanksgiving Point and includes a giant corn maze and other fall activities. It started at 6:30, and was only 1/2 mile from my work, so I elected to stay late rather than going home only to drive straight back. Alas, when I went to head over at 6:30, my car was completely dead. I hadn’t left anything on (I was pretty sure,) so I did what I always do. Called my mom. We talked through a couple options, and then I rang the Bach’s. He was sure =, from my descroption, it was the battery. Some kind strangers from a neighboring company used their F-150 and gave me a jump, starting ti right away. From there, I had a decision to go home, or head to the still ongoing ward activity. I was struck with paralysis for a moment, completely unsure of what was the right decision. Ultimately, I headed towards Provo, reasoning it was essential to get the problem fixed. I stopped by AutoZone and tested the battery, but they said the reading came back with no problems. Crossing my fingers, and hoping I had actually left something on earlier, I went home. The post Cornbelly’s pizza party was still going on, and I attended, before heading to the gym. The car started at once to go there, and so I thought no problem after all. The next morning, Thursday, with some trepidation, I turned the car over, and nothing. My roommate gave me another jump, tested the alternator, which checked out ok, and let me borrow his cables for the day. I tried starting it repeatedly throughout the day, and it started a few times without issue. And then, at 5 when I went to leave, it was dad again. Another jump, and I decided to go to Wal-Mart and buy a battery. The wallet $66 lighter, I left, and found my car needing another jump. So it was on to Autozone again, where they tested the battery again, confirmed it was dead, and jumped my car so I could go home to change the battery. Impressively, the dead battery appears to have been the original, meaning it made it for 15 years. I attended my LSAT class, and at 10ish went to battle. Holy moly. I’ve changed one other battery, and it took all of 10 minutes. This took 80 minutes, with me dousing all the corroded parts in baking soda and finally putting it back together again. Concurrently, a party was happening a block away, blasting loud, inappropriate music. Outside in the freezing wind, I had had enough, and ended up calling in to report the disturbance and had the police go over to shut the noise off. What. a. long. day.

Nevertheless, the battery is in, the car is back to purring again, and I am much more thankful every time I get behind the wheel.

Friday I left work a little early and headed to Sleepy Ridge at the invitation of Kevin, and played 8 holes on his pass. I birdied the last hole, and took off to go see Tad Callister speak at BYU as part of the Sperry Symposium. His speech was entitled, “What is the Purpose of Suffering?”, attempting to answer why it happens, what is its purpose, and how we can best face it, among other pertinent questions. I arrived right at the start, and was fortunate to have my friend William saving me a seat in front. My biggest takeaway was the idea that the cure for all suffering is an ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE.

After, we headed back to my place as William has been wanting to learn to make pizza for some time.

Logan Page arrived unexpectedly, and I invited David Kaiser over. We all enjoyed pizza and varied conversation. Lately, I’ve really appreciated hearing people’s favorite scripture or something they’ve learned recently from the scriptures, and asked all of them to share.

Finally, this happened. The culmination of much headache, worry, and weight. Now to be no more. I don’t think it was coincidence that Friday and Saturday were some of the best sleeps I can remember. Because they were government loans, there was a 6 month grace period before the interest kicked in. I made it with minutes to spare. No interest for you, Mr. Debt Collector. (Alas, I found out after that for the payment to be processed same day, it needs to be submitted by 8 pm CDT. So there was $1.70 in interest.)

Saturday was a blast. The LSAT practice took up the morning, and then I picked up Kimball and we headed into the canyon and went to Midway to play Soldier Hollow Golf Course. Mark met us there, and I can honestly say it was one of the most fun rounds I’ve ever been a part of. What a blast! Mark hasn’t come within 10 strokes of me before, and while I didn’t play poorly, he played inspired, and edged me out at the last.