The Circle of Life – August 19th, 2018

“Nothing quells ambition like biscuits and gravy. As I type this barely awake lying in bed. At 6:45. Ah yes, biscuits and gravy.” That was the extent of my letter two weeks ago. For the record, that was my first time making biscuits and they turned out absolutely delicious.

Now to attempt to retrace the last three weeks in a succinct manner:


I applied to three places. And I’ve been hired on at all three. I’ll be working football games again in the fall, but this time as a supervisor. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

I applied, at the kind bequest of Tanner, to Canopy tax. Turns out there was a bunch of people who also applied, and while I did try to do my part (killing the in-person interview) I am grateful for Tanner’s work and example. He is widely known and highly looked upon, making everything so much easier for me there. So far the work has been good. I’m putting in 40 hours a week until school starts when I’ll cut it down to 20. I’m a fan of the product, software for tax practitioners, have loved learning about the field and have been highly impressed with the CEO, Kurt Avarell, and his vision and goodness.

Plus there is a putting green inside, and free lunch and breakfast. The food has been a lot better than I expected, and has since drastically curbed my cooking.

That said, I do struggle at times. Its hard to respect your boss when he shows up habitually in joggers and skinny jeans. (not the CEO). And the fact that while I do appreciate the tax software, I’m still a Luddite working for a tech company. And when one co-worker remarked that “I don’t even know how to write on paper anymore” I felt almost nauseous. And finally, I admit that since day one, I’ve been hearing good ol’ Tennessee Ernie Ford singing “I sold my soul to the company store” in my head.

My last job is my favorite. I was hired on at Northwestern Mutual. I thank all those who helped me by letting me conduct some interviews and get a feel for talking with clients about financial issues. After onboarding last Thursday, I was told I needed to pass the Utah Life and Health Insurance exam to become licensed. NM pays for the test, test prep, and fingerprinting which comes to over $200. Important to know, NM doesn’t officially contract and pay you until you are licensed, so I decided to forgo the 5 week study course, and signed up to take the test in a week. On Monday, I started to look at the material and realized this would be a LOT harder than I thought. For those three days, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I studied longer and harder than I ever have in my life, putting in 3-4 hours a day after work. On Thursday, after becoming lost, I miraculously made it to the testing center with two minutes to spare, went in and passed. Lots of tender mercies all around. So I am now officially licensed as a Life and Health Insurance agent. And can collect the $100 a week NM pays for a one hour training every Monday. Oh yeah. Plus, I learned a lot and have been fascinated by the field. I’ve long felt that insurance companies are like secret combinations and have wreaked havoc upon society, and its been very informative to learn more, and while I still hold to that, I will except life insurance from the other insidious forms of insurance. I’m a believer. (Given the right circumstances)


Lydia and I went out again last Wednesday. It was a delightful time at an escape room, themed “Ticket to Ride” and afterwords ice cream at Roll-with-It creamery. The escape room was way easier than I imagined, and I was a little disappointed as it seemed to be more “guess and check” and random puzzles instead of having a logical sequence and being related to the actual train ride story we were involved with.

After dropping her off at her house, Lydia let me know, kindly, that she wasn’t interested in continuing our dates. Thus, an episode has ended. Nevertheless, I am very grateful for what has transpired, especially for what I’ve learned. And I believe I’m a better person because of that. One scripture that has really struck me recently is D+C 78:19.

“And he who receiveth all things with thankfullness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea more.”

And so, that night, while it was hard  as it was not my will, I was able to kneel and thank my Father in Heaven for being single and for the growth opportunities. Which made me feel good. As did passing a week playing golf, looking through rolls upon rolls of nickels, and watching Red Sox games.

But now, I shall again venture into the harsh wilderness, seeking the Promised Land. On Wednesday I’ll be going out with Avery Harker, and have been set up with Avery Campbell and Brooke Ferrin.


The Elders Quorum has kept me sane; there is always lots of work to do. Friday was move-in day for the new residents, and I went with the RSP, Kara Ladle to every apt. in our ward meeting new people and seeing if they needed any help. Today in church it was wonderful to see a high attendance and feel the new energy. Great things are happening here. I taught EQ today and we had a very candid discussion as a quorum about what we would like to see in this upcoming year. Carson Buttars was called as our secretary today. Also, I again played the organ, and have been complimented on how much my playing has improved in the last 8 months. Its good to see the improvement, even though there is still a LONG way to go. One day i’ll be able to actually count the beats right.


The Tuesday before last, I went with Derik, and we climbed Mount Timpanagos. It was sort of spur of the moment, and turned out to be much harder than I anticipated. Which made it that much more satisfying. We ascended in just under four hours, making really good time, and enjoying the beautiful scenery. We loved the wildflowers, saw snow, and watched mountain gates five feet from us eat.

For the final ascent though, I started cramping really bad on my thighs and slowed us down. We enjoyed half an hour on the peak meeting the other climbers (including one guy who climbed it for the 989 time that day!) and partaking of a packed lunch.

The descent was TORTUROUS. The sun was beating, we were tired, and it took way longer than I thought. I expected to descend in 90 minutes, but it was a laborious 3.5 hours before we made it to our car. That said, it felt really good to push myself and do something hard.

Friday was the sealing and reception for Stephen Welch.  It was wonderful to see him and his family after 4+ years.

Saturday August 11th, I rounded out a foursome and enjoyed one of the most memorable golf outings of my life. My friend Brian Crane was visiting from Idaho and he invited me to go with his mission pal Kyle Rushton. They also invited their mission president and former counselor in the Young Men’s General Presidency, Michael Neider. Needless to say, that was my first time golfing with a former general authority. We had a blast, with lots of laughs, and good stories. He recounted meetings with prophets and speaking at General Conference. I also played my best golf of the summer and just torching drive after drive and making every putt. We played Crater Springs in Midway, and were nestled in the mountains and Pres. Neider took us to lunch at the “Back 40” in Heber, and left with a promise to set me up with some amazing young women. A day I’ll never forget.

I visited the dentist, and per usual talked with the person doing the cleaning. Who all to quickly volunteered that she is usually at the desk and was just helping because they were a little shorthanded. Before she began, she offered to give me laughing gas, to which I laughed thinking it was a joke. It wasn’t. With m confidence at new lows, I declined, and confirmed that this was just a cleaning. I made it out, and don’t have any cavities. And didn’t swallow any screwdrivers. Hearing about Mom’s ordeal has scared me  further and made me question (further) the competency of some practicing dentists and their assistants. For three years now, I have not had a single nightmare that didn’t center around teeth.

On Friday, I learned of the death of another classmate, Michael Jalin. We’ve now had three die, one being murdered over drugs, and two dying in vehicular crashes. Each time I am reminded that life doesn’t end at the grave and that we are so much more than a name on an engraved tombstone. Michael attended seminary a few times, and I was glad for the chance to know him. I’m so thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ which allows relationships to be eternal, and  provides meaning to our lives.

One thought on “The Circle of Life – August 19th, 2018”

  1. Hi Hunter,

    I enjoyed your newsy letter and congrats on your three jobs. You will be busy for sure, and congrats on passing the insurance exam.

    I was a little sad that the girl you went out with didn’t want to go out with you anymore. Her loss. I wouldn’t dwell over this. There are other nice girls out there and when the right one comes along, you will know it and so will she. Just let it happen–it will in due time. I want you to have the right woman in your life, and I know that you do as well.

    Yes, your Mom’s experience at the dentist was horrific. I have never heard of anything like that happening. I’ve had lots of dental work done over the years, and especially since 2006 when I lost my front teeth in a fall. I went through bone grafting and implants which entailed three temporary bridges before the final one. I never had a bad experience with any of the procedures. Last year, I had to go through a re-do root canal because the one I had had was incomplete. I ended up with an infection, so my dentist sent me to an endodontist who had to remove the post and drill through the root to the area that was infected. This took over a month to complete. He was awesome, and I would recommend him totally to anyone who needed a root canal. He is professional, gentle, and a kind young man. I’ve been very fortunate with my dentists and consider myself very lucky. My own dentist wouldn’t tackle something like that, and she is great as well. My heart went out to your Mom because she was so upset and was running a fever. She ended up with an IV antibiotic and antibiotics to take home–I think she should have stayed overnight to be monitored, have the IV antibiotics in the hospital before she was discharged. Insurance companies toss you out too soon. Of course, the dentist should be responsible for all of your Mom’s expenses.

    My garden has given me lots and lots of veggies this summer, and I am sure you have seen my pictures on Facebook. I’m still picking tomatoes, squash and beans. I froze more green beans yesterday and I made gazpacho soup on Saturday. I still have lots of tomatoes, but I think the garden is pretty much coming to an end. I’m not sorry–it’s been wonderful. I planted sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, and they are awesome. They are so nice and sweet and I have had an abundance of those. I have two plants which have taken up one part of the double raised bed. I will plant the same ones next year as well. I think they are almost finished.

    I used most of the green tomatoes from the heirloom tomato plant, as they are large and work well. I still have peppers coming. Nothing like a fresh pepper from the garden–no comparison with the store bought peppers. The skins are thicker than the home grown–love my peppers.

    I’m off to my knitting group, but just wanted to drop a line and tell you how much I enjoy your letters. I know you will do well in whatever you plan to achieve, and I know your parents are very proud of you and the rest of your siblings. They are great people, and I love them dearly.

    Take care, have fun, give my love to Tanner and family and keep some for yourself.

    Love, Aunt Shirley

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