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!

A Month of Milestones – May 16, 2019

This time of life has been termed by leaders of the church as a decade of decision, with so many of the choices we make now having an outsized influence on our later destiny. This last month has felt like a month of milestones.

First, a shout out to Matt. He texted me yesterday encouraging me to write again, and that was a push I needed, to finally sit down and finish typing.

I suppose the first order of news is that I have graduated. Officially. Yes, it was a wee bit close. I did work hard this last semester finishing everything up. I had two concerns. One, for physical science 100, you can take the entire class or can rely completely on the final exam. I chose the latter route, and was challenged despite putting in hours of studying. I just needed a 60 to walk out and be done. I scored a 58 and when I saw that, I was crushed. However, turns out they curved the class 10 points, so I ended with a D+. By far my lowest grade in college, but I’ll take that without any complaints.

The second was my thesis, which if I scored sufficiently high would allow me to skip taking English 150. I pulled another all-nighter, my second in college finishing it up. I wrote until 6:30 am when I dashed off to take a history final, which was scheduled for 7, and when I completed that ran to the library for another 90 minutes and then quite literally sprinted to the advisors room to hand it in before the 10 am deadline. And my grade let me skip the basic english class.

So, after three years and six completed semesters, I’m done! I have loved my time at college, and believe that I’ve learned what I needed to during my time here, and am ready to keep moving forward. I appreciated my dad, Breyer and the Bach’s coming out to celebrate with me. We went to Toucano’s one night, and feasted on Brazilian BBQ. They witnessed convocation, with Elder Kearon and Arthur Brooks, as well commencement. When I walked across the stage, everything felt real; I am a college graduate!

Only a few days after graduation, I talked with Amanda about ending our relationship. She thought it best to take a week to think things through, and I agreed. I’ve realized lately that I do have a proclivity  to make quick decisions, and while I don’t think they are rash or impulsive, some could use more time to fully flesh out and gain a greater grasp of the complexities.

A STEEP mountain we hiked in Springville – before attending Amanda’s MTC work party

I talked with lots of people throughout the week, working through my feelings out loud and trying to do what was right. There was fasting and temple visits and above all else, a prayer that I would do what is right. Looking back more objectively, I can say that I know it was without question the right choice, but it was not easy. It could’ve worked, but I don’t think it should’ve. Even now, I can’t describe the exact reason why. And that made it hard because it was difficult to explain to Amanda. Thoughts are hard to put into words, and feelings even harder. Basically, I gave us a shot, but couldn’t see us together in the future. Once I realized that, I had to end our relationship. I entered dating prepared to be hurt, but never imagined having to hurt someone else. That was the worst. Nevertheless, I am thankful for the five weeks that we were together and for everything that happened. It was a great time, and I think I really grew and learned a lot. I met her mom, and do admire her family, and she was able to meet everyone who came to my graduation. Having been fairly serious, I’ve been able to take a step back now without any pressure and dig deep, thinking about expectations vs. reality and work on figuring out what love really means.

I love my Dad.

 

The week between first broaching the subject and then our return to talk was not fun at all. One of the worst weeks I can remember. I had just moved, moving closer, only one street away from Amanda, and also leaving the Crestwood, where I was comfortable and settled, surrounded by friends. I had gone from trying to juggle school, a church calling, a relationship, to having nothing. And time for anything. After a few rough days were I mostly lounged, and just in general lacked much discipline and didn’t act with much purpose, I got my act together and started trying to take advantage of my free time. I’ve complained a lot about school and have been frustrated by feeling that I often didn’t learn anything, or especially didn’t learn anything that I could not have taught myself. These few days made me realize that one benefit of school is the structure; you are paying in part for the class schedule, with its hopefully rigorous learning outline. So, I created one for myself, and went back to following the missionary schedule of sleeping at 10:30 and waking up at 6:30, with hours of instruction. Another reason I decided to forgo my last year is because the amount of classes you can take online for, both for free and others for a comparative pittance. Lifelong learning is one aim of a BYU education and I intend to follow that.

I’ve also been actively looking for a job. There have been about 30 applications and 4 interviews. This has been much harder than I imagined, and a wake-up call. I have another promising interview tomorrow, and from now on, am planning on mentioning my start-up experience. Before, I have been skeptical to bring it up, as I though it might appear that I am too independent and less corporate focused. I did have two other interviews arranged through a temp company and both offered me the job, one doing accounting, the other working on the phone handling customer service for an insurance company. However, they paid $15-16 an hour, and wanted at least a 6-month commitment. I can’t imagine it will take me that long to find something significantly better. I graduated college, and think I should get a better job now, not something that is roughly the same, with only the hours increasing. At times it is extremely frustrating feeling stuck and seeing others working. At others, I remember that last May I was golfing in Texas and try to just be patient, continue to search, and make sure I fill my time with meaningful activities.

I hiked the Y with Breyer. It was so fun! She talked the whole way up, and it was hard, but she was determined, and we made it to the top. She called the lights in the valley, polka dots.

 

Last week I logged 30 hours as a receptionist at an electric company in American Fork. This was a temporary gig as they had fired someone unexpectedly and  needed help staying afloat in the office. Their phone barely rang and I helped the company catch up with some of their accounting tasks. It was good to earn some money, and I found the financials of the company, with 3 owners, and some 100 electricians in the field fascinating. They charge a flat $65 per hour per electrician, but on average only pay their workers $30 an hour. Its also crazy because when I was working at Canopy, we were so happy to reach $7 million in ARR, and considered this a milestone, but this electric company had brought in $19 million in 2018. Obviously Canopy could scale much more than this electric company, but the electric company is still so much more profitable. Most of their projects are for schools and hospitals, but they did the electric for the Oklahoma City Temple renovation recently, and I enjoyed knowing that however small my role was, I helped, reconciling their accounts and helping to finish the paperwork off for that project. The temple will be rededicated and opened again this Sunday.

Its also been a great blessing to have some work with Uncle Ben and Mission Lawn Care LLC. I appreciate the money, and love doing some physical work and feeling worn out by the end.

More on this in a future letter – I was a groomsman for Kimball’s wedding

Historically when I have been tempted, or more accurately, give in to temptation to procrastinate, I’ve turned to chess. As a quick pat on my own shoulder, I am proud that my ranking has fluctuated between 1700-1750 since December, reaching a high of 1765 in April, the highest I’ve ever been. In an effort not to waste time, I committed to cutting chess out during finals. So I turned to Duolingo as the  mind still needs an outlet. One of my summer goals was to learn German,  so I got a bit of a jumpstart on that goal, and have diligently studied and practiced every day for a month now. Ich bin Hunter. Hunter Schenewark. Of course, feeling good about the progress I’ve made, I tried reading the Book of Mormon and knew almost no words, so there is a lot, lot, lot of work to be done before I’m ready to head to die berge Deutschlands.

Another goal that I am much less enthusiastic about is a half-marathon coming up. If you know me, you know I hate running just to run. If there is a ball involved that changes things, but to pound the pavement, I particularly derive no pleasure. Except for the feeling of accomplishment. So, with a friend I’ve signed up for a half-marathon in August just across the border into Wyoming. I’ve begun running, and am going to keep at it.

Two days before everyone converged for graduation, I went to part of Kimball’s bachelor party at TopGolf. We were there for 90 minutes, and it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, on the way back, my tire went flat. I hobbled off the interstate, as an exit was near, but it was already 10 pm, and the tire would need to be replaced, so we (Lawson and I) left the van and I rode back with Kimball.  The timing was fortuitous, however, as Dad and Bro. Bach helped run me around town. Bro. Bach bought a new tire, and we were able to talk about marriage and other important things as we worked to put it in. It took two jacks, as the car was on an incline, but its good as new again.

Ok, almost done. I know this is a long post.

Since school ended, one of my favorite activities has been to attend the Provo Great Books Club. I’ve wanted to attend for a while, but have been too busy. We meet every Wednesday at the founder’s house, that of Karl Scott. He teaches the Great Books and works at the Constitution Center at UVU. He is also an Anglican, and its cool learning some of what he believes and he definitely provides variety to the group. There is usually 5-6 other people who attend. Most of the people are professors, either at BYU or UVU. We’ve worked through Aristotle’s Politics and are going through part of Plutarch’s Lives. 

Pres. Young had invited me to lunch a while back, and that happened May 3rd. We went to Costa Vida, and he bought me lunch and we talked. And talked. It was a really good time, and I appreciate his willingness to always meet with me.

The next day, he texted me unexpectedly and said that his company was unable to use his corporate soccer pass for the Real Salt Lake Game, and asked if I would like the four tickets. Having just returned from mowing with Uncle Ben, and not having anyone to go with, I initially declined, but then thought better and twenty minutes later messaged back and accepted. I called a couple guy friends and we had a blast. The game was fantastic, the atmosphere was exciting, and the tickets came with unlimited food. We ate our body weight in burgers and ice cream. Real Salt Lake lost 2-1, but we definitely won.

After RSL goal. The fans behind that smoke kept drums banging the whole time.

I’m still waiting for a calling, but my ward so far seems really good. I hosted a Come Follow Me discussion group Tuesday. Five people showed up, and we went over Matthew 19-20, and ate cinnamon rolls.

I also went on date on Sunday with Brielle from my ward. She is from New Hampshire, attending BYU, and served a mission in St. Louis. We went singing at Jamestown Assisted Living Center and then returned to my house where Robert W. and his girlfriend Hayley joined us for rhubarb pie and ice cream. 10/10. Brielle came over for the discussion group on Tuesday, but alas, when I asked for a second date,  she told me today that she has been going on dates with someone else for a while, and that they are going to start going exclusive. So I moved quick, but not quick enough.

Finally, golf. I’ve been playing once a week, limited not by time, but trying to spend conservatively. Its been lots of fun. I sold my sound system and some other items through facebook marketplace, and I’ve been using this as my spending money.

Champions birdie the last hole. It really is about working hard and finishing well, overcoming any obstacles on the way to reach the end goal. Here is a quote that I like: Carl Jung said, “No tree can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.”  While I can’t complain about anything, and haven’t really had any hardships, I am grateful for the experiences that stretch me even a little bit.  I really am grateful for everything that has and is happening. Not everything occurs in the time that I want it to, but I do trust in God’s plan, and his timing. And I pray that His will be done.

“Here we go again!”

Our conversation ranges from “everything and nothing and all that’s in between.” Amanda’s words, and I couldn’t say it better myself.

Attending a BYU Women’s Chorus choir concert with other people from her ward. This was Jean Appleonie’s last time conducting before retiring, and she chose as her last number, an energetic medley from “Mamma Mia,” which was the perfect way to go out.

In any case, tonight will be our 36th time together, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

School is wrapping up and finals are looming, but we’ve both found the time for each other. Saturday, we were going to a game night, but turns out it was the wrong apartment and we awkwardly ran into a bachelorette party or something like it. Making a quick escape, we went to my apartment, painted some watercolors and listened to Simon and Garfunkel on the record player.

Friday was a really fun date night as well. Amanda was babysitting and had  cleared my presence with the parents so I joined her the last half-hour of that assignment, watching 3- month old Rose. Then we went to the Easter conference and listened to the historian Richard Lyman Bushman and Emeritus general authority Bruce C. Hafen bear their testimonies on our Savior Jesus Christ and and his atonement. Definitely got me in the easter spirit. We followed that by going out to dinner. Thinking chinese, we went to Panda Express to find out it was inexplicably closed for the evening. Going to downtown, the local chinese place had shuttered its doors at 8:30, and so in our conundrum, we were rescued by a kind old woman, Mrs. Wright who invited us to follow her to Joe Vera’s, where she promised the best mexican food in Provo. Leaving Mrs. Wright to wait for her husband to arrive, we found a booth, and both ordered a carne asado burrito. After meandering a bit to find our parked car, we went to her apartment and watched Sherlock Holmes defeat Lord Blackwood.

Last bit I’ll share of dating has to do with conference. We watched all four sessions together, attending in person two of them thanks to Uncle Rich. It was a great experience. And I confess, we quickly figured out, that as Amanda is left-handed and I’m right-handed, with her on the left, and me on the right, we could hold hands and still take notes. (;

Sunday morning

In the Conference Center for the Saturday Afternoon session, I was anxiously awaiting the new area authorities to be called, having thought Uncle Rich would be called. The names are called in alphabetical order, and after a “hess” and a “Holmes” when they said Richard S. Hawkins, I figured he had been called, as there was no reason to return to the Ha-‘s. Hutchins it was.

Monday I got a call from Uncle Ben asking if I’d like to help him with a landscaping project. I jumped at that, needing to get out and do some physical work. I missed the last class of the day, but it was worth it. We went to Sandy and Uncle Ben pruned a bunch of trees, and I moved 3,700 pounds of rock from the trailer into the yard. The shoveling wasn’t bad, but the grass was soaked and it didn’t matter how much weight I put in the wheelbarrow, it was tough to keep moving on the grass. Uncle Ben was the BEST lawn care person I’ve ever seen. Not many people mix a couple college degrees, great customer service, with deep professional knowledge and yet carry themselves humbly but Uncle Ben did this and more. It was a fantastic time. And after I felt great – completely worn out, but like something had been accomplished.

Last week the high council member, Bro. Holmes brought me a 7-iron he had purchased. I lost mine before the mission and have played with one ever since. We’ve played once together, and this was very nice of him. On Wednesday I went with Michael and two of his friends to Sleepy Ridge to play  again. This was the worst weather in a month, with snow swirling, hail falling, and the wind whipping up to gusts of 25 mph. I didn’t honestly know if we’d make it, but we finished 9 holes. It was a challenge, and oh so much fun.

Yesterday at 1:50, I finished my last college class. Now, I’ll only be negotiating finals and I’m done. Crazy to realize how soon my collegiate career is wrapping up. I applied to about 10 jobs around here, and as time lessens, have widened the search aware that starting a dream job in May is becoming increasingly unlikely and it is more important to just have something soon.

Sunday I was released from my calling, ending my tenure as EQP. I’ve loved this calling, and the opportunities and challenges that have arisen due to it. I felt the mantle leave on Sunday, and will never forget this time. The Crestwood has become a holy place to me, because of the experiences here. My contract ends at the end of the month, and I’ll be off to somewhere new. (TBD).

The outgoing presidency, Nathan Folkman, me, and Porter Wright. I’ll never forget these two good brethren.

 

Saturday I attended the temple with my mission pal Lawson, and we went through a Portuguese session, which happens once a month. It was really cool, and definitely something I’ll do again.

 

I don’t quote Nietzsche often, but here it is:

He whose life has a why can bear almost any how.

At this moment there is so much uncertainty in my life. At times that can make me a little anxious. But I know the why, and I know that there is purpose. And above all else, I believe in Paul’s statement to the Romans, (8:28) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”

I do love my Heavenly Father and my Savior, and thus it is ever onward.

 

Marching On

Amanda and I are dating. You could say it’s been a good week!

Sunday night I had dinner with her, her roommates, and the members of her ward who minister to them. Dinner was delicious; chicken pot pie, rolls, and cheesecake for dessert.

After that, I picked up Abby and Michael and we headed to Kayla’s for a game night. She had prepared lots of food, and it was great to see Stevie, Kevin and Kaleb again.

Wednesday, after my classes ended at 2 pm, I met up with Amanda and we got ice cream at the creamery and then played people watching bingo. This was the first time for both of us. We filled out bingo sheets with characteristics like someone with pink hair, someone pushing a stroller, someone carrying a guitar, etc. and then tried to find people matching the description. She won.

Thursday I caught up on some reading and then went to a game night at the invitation of Jordan Pearson. He was in my ward last year, and we ran into each other on campus a few weeks ago and decided to get together. We played a few rounds of telestrations, and catchphrase, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Friday was a night to remember. I went bowling at BYU with Amanda. Lawson, his date Libby; Kimball and his fiance Aubrey joined us. We all goofed around the first game trying new techniques and attempting to spin the ball like Kimball. The second game everyone tried their best. Except for me. Amanda challenged me to bowl through my legs, so I took her up on the challenge, and what was intended to be a one-frame joke lasted the whole game. Incredibly I nailed two strikes, and finished with a 113.

Saturday morning I cooked for an EQ/RS combined activity. Which means a ward activity. I cooked fried dough and had help prepare a fruit bowl. The activity had changed from a yoga session to a murder mystery breakfast, which I was less than thrilled about, but it exceeded my expectations.

After completing some mundane tasks, I went over to Amanda’s and helped deep-clean her new car. It was an unexpected gift from her aunt and uncle, and had not been cleaned in three years. After nearly two hours on that, I headed off to finish some homework and eat dinner. And we decided to go to the Fishkiss Spa that opened one year ago in Provo. Neither of us like the idea of fish touching us, but that made it more interesting. The wait time was close to an hour, so we had time to walk around downtown a little bit. We visited Pioneer book and perused their offerings. She spotted a little poster of the President’s and challenged me to name them all in order. Of course no.’s 11-14 wreaked havoc on me, but overall I did well. After a good while looking around, we headed back to the spa. They cleaned our feet, and then we went to the tanks and plopped our feet in. It was the weirdest sensation at first! The fish nibbled and nibbled on the dead skin. The employees say that it feels like putting your feet in something carbonated, but I have to disagree and say that it feels exactly like little fish nibbling on your feet. Nevertheless, after the first few minutes, it was actually a tad relaxing.  

Tuesday I had again attended with Amanda the weekly devotional. This one was by Elder Randall Bennett of the 70. He spoke about following the prophets and how that will lead us to success. Here are the six prophetic invitations that Elder Bennett again invited us to complete:

1. An individual must ask Heavenly Father how He feels about him or her and what their mission is on earth, and then follow those impressions with exactness.
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2. Learn ‘all you can’ about Jesus Christ and follow Him.
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3. Spend more time where the Spirit is present.
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4. Learn how to hear and follow the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.
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5. Prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day.
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6. Serve your ancestors and others in the temple.

I know that by following God’s prophet on the earth, we will not be led astray. Through the fulfillment of these six challenges, we will draw closer to our Savior, and have the chance to change not just the world, but to be born again, and be changed ourselves.

“Now you may not come from perfect circumstances either but  I promise that if you will act with faith in your heavenly father and his plan and in Jesus Christ and his Atonement and follow God’s prophets, I promise that you will be given power to do whatever the Lord needs you to do, and to become whatever he needs you to become, despite  your circumstances.” Elder Bennett

 

A Connecticut Puritan in Happy Valley

I went to the temple on Friday just to go, with no specific question or need on my mind. However, as I walked out, it was obvious to me that I needed to end Victory Pizza for the time being, focus on graduation, and look for a job. I headed to the golf course to putt around a little, and made some phone calls. Spring has arrived, and Friday was my first day this year in shorts. Brian, in Boise, had some good leads, and sent me the info for Clearwater Analytics. I texted the guy, named JP, and we set up a phone interview for Saturday. The call went good, and he sold me on the company. I don’t know yet what will happen, but that shot into the running, and I should know pretty quick if I got the job. Besides looking at Idaho, I’ve also thrown some feelers out into Texas and Massachusetts. I’m not so set on staying in Utah past April anymore.

Its easy to think of the United States always as one country, instead of recognizing the wide disparity between states. Here’s one stat that made me think. The average person in Mississippi lives just as long as the average person in Bangladesh. And the average person in West Virginia lives just a little less than the average person in Libya.

My history capstone rough draft was due on Thursday. I wrote five pages on Tuesday in just over an hour, thought it was going way easier than expected, and put it on the back-burner again. Wednesday, I worked for another hour, and on Thursday I worked on it all day, finishing it before 5 pm, and turning in 20 pages. I remembered people like my mission president, President Young, who did not have the opportunity to graduate college, but would have loved to. Remembering those who would love to have the experience of college helped me continue and work hard, but I have to admit that at this point, I don’t appreciate it intrinsically, and am glad to be so close to the end.

Amanda invited me to the devotional on Tuesday and we listened to Elder Carlos Godoy of the 70. I put off any other dates because of my paper, but on Friday we had planned to go ice-skating. Then, as this was our day of spring-break, she went hiking that morning and slipped on a waterfall and broke her hand. Knowing that a fall ice-skating could cause a lot more damage, I brought some pizza and we watched BYU’s baseball team beat Gonzaga. We joked that she had taken “spring break” too literally. Alas, beware the ides of March. Saturday we went and played tennis, and despite being one-handed, Amanda played really well. Those were two of my favorite dates ever, and provided good opportunities to get to know each other. After playing tennis for an hour, her hand started hurting, and we just sat on the court in the sunshine and talked for another hour. Having played golf with Kimball in the morning, I ended up slightly sunburned which is a noteworthy accomplishment in March. Tonight, I’m going over to her place for dinner.

On Tuesday, when I decided to leave my paper for later, I ended up again at the golf course. As a single player, I ended up joining Adam for nine holes. There are times when I want to play alone, and others like on Tuesday where company is nice, and thus my invite to Adam. He was traveling from Minnesota to Arizona. His family was going on vacation there, and he was recently let-go from work, and was driving their bikes and other equipment down, having wanted to see this part of the country. He had driven from Jackson Hole that morning and was planning to continue on for a few more hours later at night. Adam works in insurance on the back-end and his company had massive, but expected layoffs. However, it came with a year’s worth of severance due to his past 28 years at the company, and he’ll start in April at a new one. This was his first time in Utah and we enjoyed talking about everything from life insurance premiums to Amy Klobuchar’s bid for president.

Tuesday I also went to a much needed therapy session with Tanmarie and Nora. It helps to have loved ones to talk and counsel with about concerns. I left uplifted, and especially loved spending some time with Nora and her unbridled enthusiasm for the small things.

Saturday night, after tennis, I returned home and cut my hair. Then I ate dinner, made some homemade ice cream, and read in my robe still feeling soaked in sunshine. Makes you wonder, can life get better?

“Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.” 2 Nephi 2:25.