April 20th-May 3rd: Velar comigo!

Week One: Monday morning, I let my boss know that I was officially going to quit. That left me with a week and a half to wrap everything up.

Funny how things work out though. Unemployment is sky-high, and it worried me to be quitting during a time like this. It was a blessing, and like seeing a metaphorical rainbow, to have a finance firm reach out to me and invite me to talk. I’m sure the position pays less, it is part-time, would start towards the end of the summer, and helped reassure me that things will work out alright. In other words, a great position during law school. Of course, (no pun intended), it also helped me to go golfing Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, a realtor I am friends with, cancelled our tee time in the morning, said he couldn’t make it, and told me I was welcome to instead bring some friends and use his corporate pass myself. So I called Tanner and Kimball, and we played in the afternoon at Sleepy Ridge. The pass is usually only good for 9, but it was getting dark, so I asked the course management if we could stay out a little longer, and they gave the thumbs up, only asking that we have the carts in by 8 pm. So we turned those in, and walked another five holes. It was a lot of fun.

I bombed this drive, going for the green, but it was just a tad right, and ended with a splash.

We finished playing around 8:30 pm, and it was a quick turn around as I had an 8:42 tee time Tuesday morning with cousin-in-law Mike. He brought two of his friends, and we had another good round. The pest control company he works for has a corporate pass, so I was blessed with two free rounds. That’s tough to beat!

Tuesday night we had our Come Follow Me zoom lesson.

Wednesday, I officially accepted UCONN’s offer and paid my seat deposit to become part of their Class of 2023.

We’ve begun having our Wednesday night book club meetings at my backyard around the fireplace. I’ve secured firewood from a few sources, aka ward friends, and its been enjoyable reading and discussing shakespeare while the fire crackles and with perfect spring weather. Also, Utah = no mosquitoes, so outside is quite nice.

Yard Sale – On Saturday the 26th, I went to pick up a putter I bought online via facebook in Cedar Hills. It was located about two blocks from my Bishop’s house, so I brought a banana cream pie and delivered that to him. On my way to his house, I noticed that many of the houses had piles of stuff outside on driveways and were apparently being given away for free. i have no idea if this is an annual event organized in the neighborhood or what, but I ended up going by probably 25 of the 40 that I saw. I was there in the afternoon, so perhaps the best objects were already taken, or perhaps given that it was free, people were getting rid of what they (and most people) would classify as junk. Regardless, I picked up a few books for myself and a few for Nora. And a giant desk, in great shape. It’s huge, and I was unsure if it would fit in my van. I recruited a neighborhood person to help me lift it to my van and we managed to put the biggest piece inside, and while I pondered over what to do, just about ready to relegate myself to leaving with only 1/2 of of the desk, the donor came out, bringing a philips screwdriver and helped to disassemble and load up. I much appreciated his help and generosity, and look forward to using the desk for years to come.

Scrabble – After our Sunday dinner, Porter and I mixed our normal games up, and after a few rounds of chess, brought out the scrabble board and played a great game. I was cruising before he put down a 90+ point scrabble. That looked to be decicive until I drew great letters and played my own scrabble that put me back in front and helped to close out the match. We each averaged well over 25 points per turn and it was a great game.

Other Developments this week: -I want to do a white water rafting trip this summer (after LSAT test). I am looking at the Rogue River in Oregon or the Salmon River in Idaho. Any tips/suggestions are welcome.

And, I’m planning a return to online dating in the near future via the LDS app Mutual. It’s tough to meet people with nothing happening due to Covid-19.

Week 2 (April 27th-May 3rd) was much of the same. I had Come Follow Me, and book club, and the workouts that I’ve been doing with David Kaiser are continuing. He bought exercise bands, and we supplement those with milk jugs filled with water and cement blocks to lift, etc. We are trying to stay in shape. I’ve also been running up and down lots of stairs and can feel a difference in my legs.

Thursday was my last day of work. It felt surreal, its been an important 10 months in my life. Tuesday, I was interviewed by the CEO during our company meeting, and we talked about how we all need to find the area we can make a difference, what our superpower is, and double down on developing that skill. These 10 months have been quite amiable, yet it can be tough as when both sides know the end is coming, there is less reason to work and get along. Little disagreements that in the past would have quickly been brushed over now become sticking points. I have had that happen with roommates at the end of a semester too, and it is hard to power through some of these challenges and try to leave with all still good. Most companies still pay a commission check the month after, but ListReports said that this would be my last paycheck April 30th. That was unexpected and not what I thought was right, so I did bring that up, and had it increased $150, so we could all shake hands (virtually of course) and have both sides leave with good memories.

My first day off was not filled with studying. I haven’t had a day off since Christmas vacay, so I enjoyed reading and gardening most all of the day. We also started a little walk ‘n talk with book club. We meet up at a local park and walk around talking about Dante’s Inferno. Its quite nice – both the book and the sun.

Sunday, Porter invited me to join him at the house of a Brazilian family. They recently moved here from Campinas, and were members in Porter’s last area. Another Brazilian family joined us too, and incredibly they are from the stake in which I spent half my mission, that of Campos dos Goytacazes. They were due to return by now, but have had their flight delayed by one month. We reminisced about many mutual friends and the work in the stake. It brought back many memories, and while quite unhealthy, our meal of fried pastries, “Coxinhas” and cake and ice cream hit the spot. It was also a challenge to try and keep up with the 3-4 conversations that were going on constantly. Really, really good practice for me. We stayed for almost five hours, and as Porter and I went to leave, we were struggling to talk in English again.

Here I am with Irma Maria das Neves Rangel. One of my favorite areas was Quissama, a small town of 15-20,000 and remarkably Maria had  her husband were assigned by the stake to help the small branch there. We talked and talked of this small town, unknown to the world, but which has blessed innumerably both of our lives.

Admittedly, I don’t take very good food photos. But, there was definitely a lot of oil involved!

We left to return to my house and watch the YSA Devotional with Elder (of the 70) and Sis. Gay speaking, and made it back in time for it to start at 6 pm. The food did a number on us though, and within minutes, we were both out, missing the vast majority of the devotional. It was a great nap.

I did listen to a recording of the devotional and LOVED IT! Elder Gay told some stories that hit a nerve with me. His main theme was “Covenants over Convenience.” He talked of one time meeting with a general authority, who asked him how it would be for him to serve as a mission president. Elder Gay was working in investments and had cofounded a company for this (read: he closed a $1.1 billion fund in 2009),  and told the general authority that in a couple years it would be ok, but it wasn’t a good time then, as he was about to really make it big and then could help a lot more people. Elder Gay was still serving in the church and trying to serve, just not ready for a 3 year full-time mission. The GA replied that the Lord was trying to save his life. It’s never convenient to serve the Lord, but we must put our covenants before convenience. Elder Gay related how those three years as a mission president altered his life’s trajectory forever.

The scripture in Matthew 26:40 has long been meaningful to me. Christ is in the garden of Gethsemane suffering for all of our sins, and it says,

“And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?”

I’ve often wondered, how could Peter not stay awake? This week I had an insight that left me realizing I’m much more like Peter than I would care to admit in this regard. We have long been commanded to study our scriptures, and I’ve made the goal to do so for one hour each day. And it is hard. Occasionally I feel myself being lulled to sleep after a few verses but much more often than this though, I find myself rationalizing that I can sleep a little bit longer in the mornings and do a quicker study.

Elder Richard G. Scott testified,

“Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!”

Amen! I implore everyone to make study of the scriptures a priority in your life. Start with a few verses a day and you will notice the difference in how you think, and how you act. If you feel yourself feeling sleepy at night before you study, or want to hit snooze on the alarm clock, listen to the echo of Christ’s words that will come to you too. “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” 

I know, as I have seen the blessings in my life, that if we make scripture study a priority, we will be able to accomplish more in the time remaining in the day than we could have in the whole day without study. We will have more energy, clarity of thought, and the Holy Spirit to lead us.


One thought on “April 20th-May 3rd: Velar comigo!”

  1. Hi Hunter,

    Enjoyed your letter as usual. You said you haven’t had a vacation since Christmas. Don’t forget, you were home the beginning of April during the start of all of this social distancing. Anyway, that’s not important.

    Glad you are enjoying your golfing games. You do enjoy that, I know.

    How interesting that you will be attending UCONN for law school. And, you were born in Connecticut, too. A friend of mine here is a graduate of UCONN as well, and one of his grandsons graduated almost two years ago from there. You will be in New England again–Yay!!

    Uncle Rich and I tried to connect with Zoom yesterday for Mother’s Day, but I don’t have a microphone or camera, so although I could see him, he couldn’t see me. We ended up talking on the phone which was also very nice.

    He was also looking for some recipes, so I sent him my stuffed pepper recipe as well as a penne pasta with sausages and diced tomatoes with garlic, basil, and olive oil. He is psyched to try these. I guess all of the kids are going to cook a meal for the family which is really great. These are things that have happened with the stay-at-home restrictions during this coronavirus.

    Me–I’m lonely and tired of eating alone with no one to talk to. It’s boring. I am getting things done around there but that is tiring as well. ; Yesterday one of the ladies gave me a bunch of apples–granny smiths and delicious. I made an apple cake with them, and it was good. I kept one piece and then shared the rest with 14 people. They all love it, I know. I still have three granny’s left, so I might make a pie with it. I also made applesauce and have two small containers in the freezer. Instead of using sugar, I used packets of Stevia which is healthier and it still tastes great with cinnamon added.

    So nice to hear from you. Take care and know that you are loved a ton.

    Love, Aunt Shirley

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