Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More Purpose And Meaning In Life

In a recent post, I mentioned in comments that my marriage had brought more purpose and meaning to my life. Téa asked in comments if I would elaborate more on what I meant by this.

Both my wife and I were older when we were married. Each of us were in our mid-thirties. It was a first marriage for both of us. We each had completed our education, and were working full-time. We were supporting ourselves, and were living in our own apartments at the time we met. Both of us had served missions for the church as well. I went to British Columbia, Canada, while she went to Detroit, Michigan.

Each of us had experienced spiritual challenges in our lives, and had eventually overcome those challenges. It seemed that we each needed to go through a refining process before we were ready to meet each other. It wasn't until we both had learned to more fully trust in the Lord, and submit ourselves to His will, that we were fully prepared to meet each other.

Being older, we also came to know what it meant to be a single person in a church and culture that emphasizes marriage and family. There were many times of discomfort, as friends and relatives would inquire as to why we hadn't married yet. My standard response became, "Because no one has asked me yet!" I think church leaders, at least on the General Authority level, are much more sensitive to this now than the way it was 20 years ago -- and that's a good thing.

I remember, as I was single, that I didn't quite feel whole. That there was a part of me that was missing. I had a longing emptiness inside that I couldn't fill on my own. As I met, fell in love with, and married my wife, I found the empty portion of my heart filled with my love for her , and her love for me. Finally I felt whole. I had always wanted to have someone I could love, and share my heart with, and shower my love upon, and finally she came into my life.

As we dated, I received may promptings of the Spirit. Many times I heard the still, small, voice tell me that this woman would be the love of my life. That she would love me, sustain me, bring me children and be an eternal companion to me.

Finally, at my grandfather's urging, we attended the temple together. I don't know if I have ever had a more powerful manifestation of the Spirit than on that day. We had completed our session in the temple, and were sitting together in the Celestial Room. I held her close to me, and at the same time, I was praying in my heart if this was the right person for me to marry. I received a powerful manifestation of the Spirit that seemed to come to me in waves. All of the promptings that I had received before were re-emphasized, accompanied with the fire of the Holy Ghost. From that moment on, I knew that this is the person I would marry. I later learned that my then wife-to-be was having a similar experience.

We practically floated out of the temple. We didn't want to go home right away. We didn't want the feelings we were experiencing to end. I remember walking around the temple, hand-in-hand, just looking at the flowers and landscaping, and continuing to drink in the feelings of the moment that we were experiencing together.

Four months later from that experience, we were married for time and all eternity. Our life together had begun. After our courtship and marriage, we discovered that there was more to Love than we had ever before considered. Suddenly a whole new dimension of love had opened up to us. Later, as children came, additional dimensions of love were revealed to us as well. I'm sure that as our lives progress (both on earth, and eternally), that we will learn of yet more hidden facets of love which will come into view.

Now there was more meaning in life. Now we had the power to obey some of the first commandments ever given to mankind. Now we could be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth. Now we could raise souls up unto the Lord. Now we could help build his kingdom, by building our new little family. Now we could experience the love of a parent, and gain insight as to how our Heavenly Father must feel about us. We would experience heartache and troubles along the way too. But so too, does our Heavenly Father grieve over his children. All these things bring us experience and wisdom, and help us to grow and become more like our Father in Heaven.

Before meeting and marrying one another, we mostly just tried to make it through each day. We tried to do good, and tried not to do any harm. But mostly, our lives were focused on ourselves.

After marriage, we now had purposes other than taking care of ourselves for which we were responsible. Now I had the responsibility to not only just support myself, but my wife and family as well. Doing a good job at work wasn't just to gain accolades, or advancement. Doing a good job at work was now consecrated work, with the purpose of fulfilling my sacred responsibility to provide for my family. So too for my wife. As the children came, they became her sacred responsibility to teach and nurture. Eventually she would leave the work force to be a full-time mother. Her time too, was consecrated for the building up of our family, and in turn, for the building up of the Kingdom of God. Each of our efforts at home, at work, and in our callings took on a deeper meaning.

Now we were partners with God, in bringing about His work and His Glory -- To bring to pass the Immortality and Eternal Life of man. By entering into the covenants of Eternal Marriage, bringing souls into this world, and raising them in righteousness -- we would be doing our part to assist Heavenly Father in His Work -- To bring to pass the Immortality, and Eternal Life of our family.

Monday, February 27, 2006

So Long, Barney

As you may have heard, actor Don Knotts, (aka Barney Fife) passed away this past weekend at the age of 81. I can think of only a few other actors who have brought me as much joy and laughter over the years. I have many happy memories watching the Andy Griffith show. In fact we still watch it when we can. It pops up often on TV Land, and on some of our local channels as well.

I never really liked "Three's Company". Don Knotts did fine in his Mr. Furley role, but I never could stand the premise of the show itself. For me, it was just too dumb to watch.

I did however like several of the movies that he made over the years. I enjoyed The Incredible Mr. Limpet, The Reluctant Astronaught, and The Shakiest Gun In The West. I also laughed a lot when he teamed up with Tim Conway, in movies like The Apple Dumpling Gang, and The Private Eyes.

Most memorable for me was the Barney Fife role. The interplay between Andy Griffith and Don Knotts was quite amazing. Going into the series, Andy Griffith was known as a comedian. However, when Don Knotts was cast in the role of Barney Fife, Andy quickly realized the great comedic talent and physical comedy of Don Knotts should be featured. Andy knew that the show would be better if he played the straight-man to Barney's antics. It was a formula that really worked, and has endured well for more than 45 years. The Andy Griffith Show has probably never been off the air since it first went on the air in 1960.

So long Barney. Thanks for the hours of good clean fun and laughter. Let's hope someone remembers to leave a bullet in your shirt pocket. :)

Friday, February 24, 2006

7 Songs

I got tagged yesterday by Sarebear at Pi-Bolar. This meme wants you to list 7 songs that you are into right at the moment.

The rules:

List 7 songs you're into right now. No matter the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, they must be songs you're really enjoying right now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs.

The rules want you to tag 7 other people, but I don't really want to do that. If you decide to make your own list, post it on your own blog. Then leave a comment telling me that you participated, and I'll go over to your blog to take a look at your list.

Here's my list:

1. Black Cow, by Steely Dan. Just listened to it this afternoon. I love most of Steely Dan's music (their earlier stuff in the 70's and 80's). I like the mixture of rock and jazz in their music. To me their music never wears thin. It holds up just as well today, as it did 25 years ago.

2. Suite Judy Blue Eyes, By Crosby, Stills, and Nash. I love the close harmonies of CSN(Y). There are many others of their songs that I could have picked. I don't always agree with their politics and ideology, but I like the sound of their music.

3. Heart of Gold, by Neil Young. I remember hearing this song when I was in Jr. High. I thought of my one-day future wife, and how I would hope that she would have a heart of gold. (She does!)

4. Adagio for Strings. (Composer, Samuel Barber.) I like the Jenny Oaks Baker version. I love the way this song builds to a climax, then gently lets you back down again.

5. Hymn, Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy (Hymn No 335. This song has always had a great impact on me. I first sang it in an octet at church in my BYU Student Ward. Later, on my mission in British Columbia, I sang it again with a group of missionaries.

Finally, I got to sing it again with a couple of weeks ago with another octet in the Saturday evening session of Stake Conference. We sang it A Cappella, and we could tell that it got through to the audience.

It's also the closest thing to Barbershop music you will find in the hymnbook.

6. Bach's Double Violin Concerto. The harmonies and counter melodies in this piece are nothing short of divine. Makes for great Sunday Music.

7. George F. Handel. Practically anything by Handel is great for me. Thanks to Noelie, I learned that yesterday was the 321st anniversary of his birth. The Messiah is his most well-known work, but there is also his Water Music. I also have come to enjoy his Concerti Grossi, and his 12 Concerti Grosso opus 6. I always find Handel to be uplifting, especially the Messiah.

Music is one of great blessings of my life. I appreciated the opportunity to take a few moments to reflect on some of the music that is important to me. I could cite many more references, if time and space permitted.

Thanks, Sarebear.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

May The Best Bug Win!

I have been struggling with various health issues during the last few weeks. Wouldn't you know it, just when I was starting to feel better from my pneumonia/influenza; I started to have trouble with my bowels. I would get sudden take-your-breath-away, bend-you-over, pain. It’s been going on for about a week now. I instinctively have been eating only very lightly because of this problem, and I hadn't been eating that much before with my pneumonia either. I've lost 10-15 pounds during the last month -- the hard way. (Don't worry, I've still got plenty of padding to spare!)

Today, I finally went to the Doc, about this problem. (I'm seeing him way too often lately). I was diagnosed with Colitis, or inflammation of the Colon. Its nasty stuff really. The Doc proffered the theory that the antibiotics I took for the pneumonia (shot in the hiney, plus a 10-day course) had the side effect of killing the good bacteria in my GI tract, which were then replaced by bad bacteria, which are giving me trouble now.

Now I am on a clear liquid diet for the next three days. The Doc also recommend that I take an acidophilus supplement (actually the supplement has a combination of about 8 different friendly bacteria) which should help my system return to normal operations and defeat the evil, bad bacteria.

Well, I just had my dinner -- a nice tall glass of cranberry-pomegranate juice, diluted with a little water, and topped off with some ice chips. Mmm Mmm Good! Tomorrow, I think I'll have a cup of Red Zinger herbal tea for breakfast!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

On Thin Ice

I saw this earlier today, and thought it was kind of cute. It is called The Simpsonmaker. (Actually, I don't watch The Simpsons. My wife can't stand the sarcasm and backbiting. So I haven't seen an episode of The Simpsons since 1991. -- I probably only watched it once or twice before then. The series started in 1989.)

The Simsonmaker lets you morph the cartoon character into various looks, to approximate the person you want to represent. You can choose from different body types, hairstyles and colors (sorry, no turbins available for the headgear) and the scene in which the character appears. In this case, the cartoon is as close as I could get to what I look like, through the filter of Simpsonesque caricature. Then you can add your own caption. The tool doesn't produce HTML code to cut and paste the image onto your blog, so you will have to create a screen capture image, if you want to post it. Anyhow, have some fun with it!

Really, as soon as I get feeling better, and the weather gets a little nicer outside, I want to start a walking program. I hope to be able to take these walks together with my honey. Not only will we be getting some much needed exercise, but we can have some quiet time together away from the kids. The kids now are old enough that we can leave the house for 1/2 hour or so while we go for a walk.

Evenings will be the best time for us to walk, after dinner -- while the kids are doing the dishes (I love that part.) Too bad daylight savings time doesn't start early this year. In 2007, Daylight Savings Time will start on the 2nd Sunday of March, instead of the 1st Sunday of April as it now is.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

DNA and the Book Of Mormon

Today there was a page one article in the Los Angeles Times which attempts to cast doubts on the veracity of the Book of Mormon, based on DNA studies of Native Americans and Polynesians. You can read the Times article which is titled: Bedrock Of A Faith Is Jolted. (Registration required to access the article. You can also read the article here - no registration required.) The article comes across as a "Gotcha" piece. Like we've really got you Mormons between a rock and a hard place now! The author does try to present the church's point of view, and gets quotes from those who defend the church, along with the critics. However the tenor of the article as a whole is that these DNA studies should cause a real crisis of faith among LDS faithful.

The article cites DNA studies that claim Native Americans, from North, South, and Central America are descendents of Asiatic peoples -- consistent with the traditional Alaska land-bridge theory of migration. Some find this troubling, expecting to find some DNA evidence that would link Native Americans to those of Jewish ancestry which would be supportive of the Book of Mormon narrative. Unfortunately, there are those who have left The Church over such studies. And as usual, some of the harshest critics of the church are from apostates. Some apostates have even gone so far as to call upon the church to "apologize" to Native American peoples, and Polynesians for having "lied" to them about their true heritage.

In response to the article, The Church has posted the following on its website:
The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is exactly what it claims to be -- a record of God's dealings with peoples of ancient America and a second witness of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The strongest witness of the Book of Mormon is to be obtained by living the Christ-centered principles contained in its pages and by praying about its truthfulness.

Recent attacks on the veracity of the Book of Mormon based on DNA evidence are ill considered. Nothing in the Book of Mormon precludes migration into the Americas by peoples of Asiatic origin. The scientific issues relating to DNA, however, are numerous and complex. Those interested in a more detailed analysis of those issues are referred to the resources below.
You can read The Church's response, along with links to several papers that defend the Church's position with regard to DNA studies and the Book of Mormon here.

There is an LDS Blogger, Jeff Lindsay, PhD, who frequently discusses historical and physical evidences of the Book of Mormon. His Blog is called Mormanity, in which you will find some interesting reading. He also has a more formal website called LDS FAQ, which answers questions about the LDS Church. If you look at the link above to the Official Church website, you will notice that one of the articles referenced for further information on DNA and the Book of Mormon is by Brother Lindsay. The paper is rather long, but you can read the short summary of the paper here. You can also access the full-length paper from this link as well.

As for me, my testimony of the Book of Mormon is not based on physical evidences, or scientific studies. The Book of Mormon is a spiritual document, and to be understood, it must be understood by spiritual means. I have read the Book of Mormon several times. I have earnestly prayed to know of its truthfulness, and I have received my own witness, many times over, that it is the Word of God. Building the foundation of your testimony of the Book of Mormon by spiritual means is like building upon the Rock of Revelation.

Those who build their testimonies by intellectual means, by physical evidences, or upon scientific studies are building the foundation of their beliefs upon the sand. The next big archeological finding, or scientific study that seems to be in conflict with the Book of Mormon will cause the sands to shift upon which they have built their "intellectual testimony".

In this life, there will always be questions that will have to go unanswered for now. The supposed conflicts between DNA evidence, and the story of the Book of Mormon will one-day be answered. Maybe not in this life, but ultimately the answers will come. It is similar to other questions we have about science and religion, such as: the creation, the dinosaurs, evolution, and geologic time vs. biblical time. We know that one-day, after the Second Coming, all the books will be opened, and everything about the earth and its inhabitants will be revealed from the creation on through to the end of the earth.

Our belief in the Book of Mormon is meant to be a matter of faith. ". . .For ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." (Ether 12:6) From time to time our faith might be tried and tested. That's part of what we agreed to when entering mortality. The Book of Mormon was never intended to be a history book. It was never intended to be a mere archeological relic. That's one reason why we don't have the Gold Plates displayed in a museum today.

The Book of Mormon has always been intended first and foremost to be a witness of the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It carries with it the fullness of His Gospel. It is intended to persuade all men to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and invites them to come and follow him. No scientific study will ever change the true purpose and meaning of the Book of Mormon. In the due time of the Lord, any seeming conflicts will be resolved, and those who have been deceitful and made false allegations will be revealed for who and what they are as well.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Confessions of A Bloggar

OK People. I have a confession to make. I frequently use a third-party editor for my blog. It is called W.Bloggar. My confession is not that I use this blogging tool. Rather, my confession is to you, my fellow bloggers, for not having mentioned it before. (*hangs head in shame*)

I just spent the better part of 2 hours working on my last post using the standard Blogger ™ editor . I usually try to take great care to get things just right. After I complete writing a post, but before publishing it, I usually copy and paste it over to Word. I prefer the spell checker in word, and also I then have a backup copy should anything go awry while posting to Blogger. (I've been burned too many times to not have a backup copy before publishing.)

Anyhow, I spent the last couple of hours doing my last post, when I see this funky message down just beneath the Blogger text editor. It said something like "Connection to Blogger has been lost, saving or publishing may fail." Then it gives you a link to test the connection to see if it is up yet. I clicked on the test link, and the same message cam back again! Now what do you do?

So I went overboard with backups. I had my copy in word. I copied and pasted the post into my Gmail email account (which also is an HTML editor) and emailed it to myself. Then I opened up W.Bloggar. I copied and pasted the post into W.Bloggar, clicked on the Save and Publish button, and voila! It was posted to Blogger! I didn't have to wait for blogger to come back up, and I didn't lose my post either.

W.Bloggar has saved my bacon a number of times! From the W.Bloggar FAQ page, here are a few excerpts to describe W.Bloggar:
The w.bloggar is an application that acts as an interface between the user and one or more blog(s); in other words, it is a Post and Template editor, with several features and resources that the browser based blog editors do not offer. Because w.bloggar runs over the Windows GUI, it allows the user to edit posts without being connected to the Internet. Posts can be saved locally; and anytime the user wants to publish a new text, one click on the w.bloggar icon in the system tray brings up the editor, and one more click will post it to the weblog.
W.bloggar lets you compose your post off-line. You don't have to be connected to the internet. You can save your post on your own computer, so even if your connection to Blogger (or whatever blogging platform you use) fails, you still haven't lost your post into the ether!

You can also edit your template very easily in W.bloggar. Even if I didn't use it for creating and publishing posts, I would have it just for the ease with which you can edit the template of your blog. In the regular Blogger application, you have to wend your way through a number of screens and tabs to get the template. Then you edit it. Then you save it. The you have to republish your whole blog to have the changes take effect.

With w.bloggar, you click on the template icon, and your template appears in the editing screen. You make your changes, and click on "Post and Publish", and its done!

W.Bloggar also has a feature to attach photos to your post as well. It works OK, but the photo has to be already on the Internet in order to link to it. You cannot upload a photo from your hard drive into w.bloggar (because its just an editor, it doesn't have anyplace to upload and store the photo to on the internet). You may want to publish the text of your post first, and then go back into the regular blogger editor (when its working, that is!) to add the photos.

You can download w.bloggar here, if you are interested in giving it a try. It is freeware. That is you can download and use a fully functioning copy of the software free of charge. If, after using it, you decide that it is worth something to you, you can make a donation to the developers -- but only if you voluntarily wish to donate. (Hmmm . . . I haven't made a donation yet, and the software really is of value to me, so I will probably make a small donation soon.) I have also added a W.Bloggar button on my sidebar. If you click on it, you will be taken to the W.Bloggar home page.

Anyhow, I know that others have been frustrated with the unreliability of the Blogger editor. I have heard the cries and howls of torment, as Blogger has eaten posts that have been so lovingly crafted together. After my experience tonight, I could no longer hold my silence, and let others suffer needlessly. I should have spoken up sooner. I hope you'll forgive me.

A Little More Marriage Humor

With everyone being a little sick, tired, or sick and tired, I thought I'd share some images about the differences between men and women that I came across awhile back.

Women Are Complex Creatures

You see, we men are simple creatures, really. All we really require are the basic necessities of life. Many a poor boy has made the mistake of assuming that women, like himself, are simple creatures also. This is a serious error in judgment, on his part.

Women, are complex, and delicate creatures. It may take many years, or even a lifetime, to learn what all a woman needs. Some men never learn it at all (or don't care to learn). You will never know, without a lot of trial and error, just which button to push or what knob to turn. Once in a while you will get lucky, and get it right. I recommend that men seek for divine guidance in this matter -- its way more than we simple creatures can figure out on our own!

Dispute Resolution

Before marriage, men are used to a pretty much free an unencumbered life. They are used to having things their own way most of the time. They have control of their money and their time (whether or not they were using them wisely, is another question all together).

However, after marriage, there are certain realities that quickly come into view. For the most part men's lives are no longer their own.

As the chart above illustrates, they quickly find that their leverage in negotiating disputes also lessens in proportion to the degree of commitment for which they have invested in the relationship. As he makes the total commitment of marriage, he also hands over all of his negotiating power.

The one thing that he has learned, simple creature that he is, is this: "IF MAMA AIN'T HAPPY, AIN'T NO ONE HAPPY". And its corollary: Let mama win the arguments so that she, and hence everyone else, can be happy too! (I'm just kidding about this, of course! Really. *fingers crossed*)

[All attempts at humor aside, there is actually a serious side to the issue of winning arguments. It comes in the form of being unselfish in a relationship. Winning arguments isn't necessarily a good thing. Often times it is a sign of selfishness, and of not caring for the needs of your spouse. If we are trying to think of the needs of others, before our own, many potential arguments will simply melt away. Sure there are issues that we could raise, or make a big ruckus over, but to what point? What will be gained in the end? Maybe we can assuage our own pride, but that will only last for a few fleeting moments. After that, then where are you? Have you won the argument at the cost of weakening the relationship? Was it really worth it after all? Just something to think about.

Of course I am talking about arguments that are of a more trivial nature here - where the outcome really doesn't matter that much in the long run, except if you are keeping score about who wins the most arguments.

There are times when issues can be far more serious, and require that you take a stand on principles. You have to use your best judgment to determine whether winning a duspute is merely a matter of pride, or if its truly a principle for which a stand must be taken. ]

Shopping Habits

This diagram is, of course, a complete stereotype. My wife hates to go shopping. I have to practically drag her to a clothing store. I don't much like shopping myself either. In fact, I buy most of my clothes over the Internet nowadays. Sometimes I even go shopping for her, of all things. Now there's dedication for you!

Well, if you've been a little sick, or tired, or both, I hope this has given you reason to smile, and maybe a little something to think about too. I hope you all have a great day!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Health Update

Its been 10 days now since I first went to the Dr. for the illness that I've been experiencing. I had hoped to be back on my feet 100% by now, but that's just not been the case.

I have now completed a 10-day course of antibiotics. Normally, if I have a bacterial infection, the antibiotics will take a noticeable effect within the first two or three days of taking the medication. Well, after 10 days, I am coughing a little less, but I still have no energy to speak of, and I still am short of breath after climbing stairs, or walking very far.

Sleep is a little better, but I can't sleep all night in the same place. Usually part of the night in the recliner, and part in bed. I find that I still need to get more sleep than usual. Even with the extra rest, I still feel like I'm slogging through molasses in January.

After visiting with the Dr. yesterday, we are leaning toward thinking this might be viral rather than bacterial, because the antibiotics haven't been that effective. It might be a case of bonafied influenza. I'm told that it may still take another 2-3 weeks until I get my normal energy and strength back. We also decided to hold off taking one of my regular medications (Methotrexate) for a couple of weeks. Methotrexate is an immuno-suppressant, and as a side-effect can impact lung function as well.

It hasn't been a lot of fun, for me, my family, or my work. Fortunately, I have my own private RN (My Wife) to take care of me. She has been such a great help to me throughout this ordeal, and tries to keep me from overdoing things.

I don't think I've been this sick for about 15 years, just before we first met. I think I had influenza then too. I was down in bed for a week that time.

All this has taught me to value my health more. I want to do a better job in the future of taking care of my body and be as healthy as possible.

I also have received some insights about the nature of respiratory illnesses as well, regardless of whether this was pneumonia, or influenza. With how much this has taxed my system, and knocked the wind out of my sails, I can better understand how these kinds of illnesses are really nothing to trifle with. I can see how the very young, or very old, or the infirm could actually die from these kinds of illnesses.

I also had a priesthood blessing 10 days ago too. I believe that it has been a great help in all of this. Especially when it comes to dealing with the pain of my strained abdominal muscles. I have been able to get at least some rest. Before the blessing, I couldn't sleep at all. As I recall the words of the blessing, I remember being told that I would get better, but that I would need to have patience before I would have a full recovery. The words of the blessing are coming true. I'm grateful for this blessing, and for my home teachers who have blessed and helped us.

For now, I need to do the best I can to get proper nutrition and rest. I have to pace myself so that I don't overdo things. Finally, as the blessing stated, I need to have patience.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I Have A Testimony of Visiting Teaching!

Portrait Taken in May 1988

Fifteen years ago, my wife, Dawn Ann, had just been recently assigned to be the Visiting Teacher of my Sister, Jeannette. They were living in a singles ward in Millcreek, Utah at the time.

Dawn Ann and Jeannette hit it off well. They became fast friends with each other. Their friendship was more than just the obligatory Visiting Teaching acquaintance. Jeannette had placed some family portraits on top of her bookcase, which was near the front door of her apartment.

The photo above is what she saw. I am seated on the far left side of the picture.

Dawn Ann and Jeannette proceeded to have a conversation about all the kids in my family. From the photo, Jeannette described each of her brothers to Dawn Ann. Jeannette even put in a good word for me, telling Dawn Ann that we had a lot in common, and that we might get along well with each other. Dawn Ann, I'm sure, was struck by this handsome photo of myself *blush*, which seemed to make an impression on her.

A few weeks went by, and some fellow, still known to this day only as Batchelor #1, had asked Dawn Ann out for a date. The plan was to go to dinner at the Wagon Master restaurant, which is a pioneer themed restaurant. She was quite excited, and had been getting herself all primed and ready for her big date. The night before the big date was to happen, Batchelor #1calls to cancel the date. Something about having to wash his hair, or some other lame excuse.

Dawn Ann was not pleased, to say the least. In fact, she was in nail-spitting mode!

A couple of days later, Dawn Ann was visiting Jeannette for her visiting teaching appointment. Jeannette knew about the big date, and asked Dawn Ann how things went. Well, lets just say that the old saying, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!" would fit perfectly here. Dawn Ann gave Jeannette an earful detailing just what she thought of Batchelor #1!

After her rant, Dawn Ann caught her breath long enough to tell Jeannette: "I ought to just call your brother myself!" Then she exclaimed: "WELL, I'M GOING TO WAGONMASTER WITH SOMEONE!" as she pounded her fist. Then she asked Jeannette for my phone number.

Jeannette paused for a moment, not wanting to disappoint her friend, but also not wanting to offend her brother, she thought about what her response should be. Then Jeannette realized that she would be attending a family dinner later that night (In honor of our two brothers' birthdays). She could ask me then, if it would be OK to give Dawn Ann my phone number. This happened on March 16th, 1991.

Later that day, I was at our family gathering. I remember I was in the living room, near the piano at mom's house. Jeannette approached me, while no one else was in the room. She told me that there was this girl she knew from her singles ward, who wanted to give me a phone call. She asked if I would mind if if she were to give Dawn Ann my phone number.

I thought for a moment, and told Jeannette that it would be fine to give Dawn Ann my phone number. But then the thought struck me, "Better yet, how about if I just come over to your Sacrament Meeting tomorrow! I could meet her there!" Jeannette seemed to think that was a good idea, so she told me the time that their meetings began, and I began to plan for the big meet-up.

Well, the deal was that Jeannette was supposed to call Dawn Ann later that night about whether or not it would be OK for Dawn Ann to call me. For whatever reason, she didn't. The next morning Dawn Ann tried to call Jeannette to get the news, but there was no answer. Jeannette had probably already left for church.

The singles ward had the schedule where Relief Society/Priesthood meeting was the first meeting of the 3-hour bloc, with Sacrament meeting being the last meeting of the day. Jeannette and Dawn Ann sat down together in Relief Society class. Dawn Ann leaned over to ask Jeannette about the phone number. Jeannette turns to her and said, "Well, you can have the phone number -- But you should know that he is coming to our Sacrament meeting today to meet you!

WHAT!!! Argggghhhhh!! Well, this was clearly a good news-bad news situation. The good news was that she would get my phone number! The bad news was that she didn't have a chance to get herself all gussied up for our first meeting. Now, instead of feeling like she was prowling on the offensive, the situation was quickly reversed, and now she was backpedaling and trying to figure out what to do next.

Meanwhile, I was having none of this stress. I got up, and dressed, combed my then more-abundant hair, with mustache in tow, and cruised on over to the chapel. At this point, I knew nothing about Dawn Ann. Jeannette had pretty much told Dawn Ann my entire life-history to that point, so I was at quite a disadvantage.

I decided to take more of an ambivalent attitude coming into the situation. Although I thought it was nice that someone wanted to meet me, I wasn't ready to invest much emotional capital in this venture at this early stage. I figured it can't hurt to go meet someone new. If it turns into something, great! If not, I haven't lost anything either. It was St. Patrick's day, 1991 though. Who knows? Maybe this will be my lucky day?

I arrived at the chapel 5-10 minutes before the meeting began. I looked around the chapel, and discovered Jeannette sitting in the middle of the back row. I went over and sat down next to my sister. We greeted each other, but within a few moments, Dawn Ann appeared. She had staked out seats in the center section of the chapel.

I'll never forget the first words she spoke to me, "David B." (she called me by my full name). She then extended her hand to me, and I arose from my seat. She took my hand and began walking me down the aisle to her seats. I remember looking back at my sister, Jeannette, with a sheepish "Lamb going to the slaughter" look on my face. Apparently Dawn Ann wasn't going to share me with anyone, even my sister!

We got settled into our seats, and introduced ourselves to one another. Before the meeting even started, we had exchanged phone numbers and made plans to go out the following Friday to -- The Wagon Master, of course!. (All I can say is that Batchelor #1 really missed out -- and I'm so glad he did!)

Well, one thing lead to another. We were engaged the following July, and Married the following October in the Salt Lake Temple. We have had many wonderful experiences together in the 15 years that have followed. We have two beautiful children. We have a life together filled with harmony and happiness. There is no place I would rather be, than in the arms of my sweetheart. I'm so grateful that I have her to be by my side for all eternity.

Jeannette and Dawn Ann in Summer of 1991

I am also grateful to the Visiting Teaching Program of the church. Had not my wife been a diligent visiting teacher, perhaps my wife and I would have never met. Had my sister not welcomed her visiting teacher into her home, and became friends with Dawn Ann, my family may not exist as it is today. That is why I have a testimony of visiting teaching. Meeting and marrying my wife has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.

As it turned out, that St. Patrick's Day of 1991 was my lucky day after all!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Rubes In Randolph?

I recently came across this post over at Mormon Mommy Wars. As it turns out, Heather O. had noticed a piece in Tuesday's edition of the Washington Post about Randolph, Utah -- which is near and dear to my heart. I read the article, and decided to post my own reaction here:

This week, in the Tuesday Edition of the Washington Post, a story about the politics of our family's hometown, Randolph, Utah appeared on the front page of the newspaper. It was in connection with the President's State of the Union Address, which would be delivered later that evening. The article was titled: Utah Town Has Question About President: 'What's Not to Like?' Kind of an Alfred E Newman "What Me Worry?" type headline, in my opinion. It gets worse from there.

The reporter seemed to smugly take pride in the fact that president's overall approval ratings nationwide had fallen to 42% before the State of the Union Speech. However, what to make of these odd Red-State creatures? How could they possibly still support the president? Looking at the election results of 2004, President Bush received 71.5% of the vote - the highest in the nation. In Utah, the President's approval rating is still at 61%, even with all the hammering and yammering the President has endured that last few months from the media and his political opponents. Looking more closely at the Utah 2004 precinct returns, it was found that Tiny Randolph, Utah, population 480, had given George W. Bush an whopping 95.6% of the vote. So, the Washington Post decided to infiltrate the Reddest town in the Reddest state of America.

The article quotes a Weber State University Professor about the nature of Utah's political philosophy:
"The mind-set of Utah" is how Frank Guliuzza III, chairman of the political science department at Weber State University in Ogden, explains the percentages. Not only is Utah the nation's most Republican state, "there's a sense of loyalty and patriotism that kind of overcomes the tendency toward cynicism that is evident in the rest of the country right now," he says.
Boy now, there's an indictment! Imagine having a sense of loyalty and patriotism! What will these red-staters come up with next?

Then the reporter, David Finkel, makes this sneering observation about the people of Randolph:
"In Randolph, though -- where Bush received 95.6 percent of the vote and support for him continues to be nearly unanimous -- the mind-set is even more specific to a place that seems less a part of the modern United States than insulated from it."
Finkel rubs his eyes in disbelief! Why the residents of Randolph really aren't like Americans at all! They're not just isolated -- they're from a different planet! Now that we have established that the people of Randolph don't really count, because they are aliens from outer space after all -- their thoughts and ideas don't count either (except at the ballot box, Mr. Finkel!).

The reporter then gives us a litany of reasons why the rubes in Randolph just can't comprehend what is really going on in the world:
"There have been no funerals here from Bush's war on terrorism. There are no unemployment lines, no homeless people sleeping in doorways, no sick people being turned away from a hospital because of a lack of insurance, no crime to speak of . . . "
Well, having been a resident of Randolph myself, let me take a look at a few of these "accusations."
  • No Funerals here from Bush's war on terrorism.
Well lets see. There is one person currently serving in Iraq from town, and there have been three or four who have served there previously. With 150,000 troops in Iraq, and about 1000 casualties per year, that means that the average soldier has just a little over ½ of 1% chance of being killed. Statistically, each of these 5 young people have had about a 99.4% chance of coming home unscathed. The fact that no one has been killed in Iraq from Randolph isn't really much of a mystery, now is it?

  • No Unemployment Lines
A large part of the community works on their own farms and ranches. Others work in neighboring towns at power plants, the oil industry, mining, and other commercial jobs. Unemployment is relatively low. Even those who may seek unemployment benefits will find that they won't need to stand in a line. Of the 480 people in town, about 179 of them (according to census records) are in the labor force. If there were a 5% unemployment rate in town, then there would be about 9 people who might want to apply for benefits. What are the chances that all 9 of them would show up at the courthouse, at the same time to apply for benefits? Hence - no unemployment lines. Is the fact that they have no unemployment lines in Randolph a stinging indictment of ignorance upon its residents?

  • No homeless people sleeping in doorways
This one almost makes me laugh! No self-respecting homeless persons would ever try sleeping out in a doorway in Randolph. The winter temperatures in Randolph are known to reach 40° below zero! If someone needs help in Randolph, the people there will take them in, and give them a hand. No one in town would let someone freeze to death in -40° weather! And all this, shockingly, without a government program!

  • No sick people being turned away from a hospital because of a lack of insurance
Well, If the people of Randolph even had a Doctor in town, let alone a hospital this might be possible. However, Mr. Finkel, the nearest hospital is 32 miles away -- across the state line in Wyoming!

  • No Crime to Speak of
Oh, there's a big problem for you. You simply haven't lived until you have been a veteran of a crime infested neighborhood. Does the fact that these people respect one another, and respect each other's property make them out to be uniformed, unsophisticated rubes? Aren't they living their lives -- law abiding, and with respect for themselves, their neighbors, and their country -- the way we should all be living? Wouldn't American society be stronger, better, and more united if we all lived that way?

The reporter then hangs out the local cafe, Gator's Drive-in, to interview customers as they come in.

As customers come to order their fast-food items, the reporter asks their opinion on various political issues, hoping that they will "Blame Bush" for their troubles.

A 53-year old woman, Debra McKinnon stops by the drive-in to pick up her order. Finkel quizzes her about health care issues. Debra reports that she nearly dropped dead 9 months ago from heart failure. She now has to take 12 pills a day which cost her several hundred dollars a month. Does she blame President Bush for her health care woes? No. This is what Debra McKinnon said:
"It's a problem from the drug companies to the lawyers to the doctors to Congress, and it's not because Bush isn't a caring man. I think he's a very caring man. I think he's a decent, God-fearing person, and I hope we are, too."
Drat! Finkel strikes out on that one!

Blair Hurd, the high school shop teacher comes in. The reporter tries to get him to express his outrage at President Bush's program to monitor terrorist communications that originate outside of our country. The reporter likes to call it "Domestic Spying". Mr. Hurd gives his answer:
"This whole thing with domestic spying? I think there's a little bit of it that needs to go on. I do! And if he" -- meaning Bush -- "is listening to my calls? I'm not doing anything wrong. Why would I care? He'd be bored to death is what I think."
Hmmm. . . Strike Two!

Next comes 77 year-old Lois McClean, the mother-in-law of the owner of Gator's drive-in. The topic of health care comes up again.
Lois works part time at the drive-in to help supplement her income . . . "because Social Security isn't quite enough to finance her modest life. "I think he's doing a good job," she says, her voice hoarse from having a tube pushed down her throat. That happened when she went to the dentist to have a tooth pulled and she suddenly stopped breathing, and then passed out. She woke up in the hospital emergency room, where, once she was stable, the dentist finished yanking out the tooth."

"Adapt to your circumstances, she says. That's what the dentist did, that's what Bush has done, and that's what she tries to do, too. "I myself have to make my life better," she says."
Nooooooooooo! Not actual praise for the President! Nooooooooooo! Not someone who actually believes in personal responsibility, and trying to make her own life better! Why imagine if everyone thought to be self-reliant. What would the government do then! Oh, the horrors! The article continues:
"Bush's believers: One after another, in they come to say "It's not Bush's fault" and "He's trying to protect us," and on this goes until early evening, when what must be the entire population of Randolph gathers at the high school to cheer on the basketball teams."
Strike Three! -- You're Outta Here!

Finally, Finkel has heard enough, he picks up his marbles, and goes home! Despite his best efforts, he couldn't get even one customer at Gator's to blame their troubles on President Bush. He climbs into his rental car, pops in a CD, and shakes his head in astonished disbelief.

Now if only he can find his way back to his home planet!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Little Techie Marriage Humor

After seeing a humorous story on training husbands, at The Sisters Bourne Identity, I wanted to link to a cute story in their comments that I had found a while back. I was trying to refer Noelie to the site that I found it on. The link worked fine this morning, but now it is broken. This story is cute enough, that I thought I would like to post it on my own blog, so that it wouldn't get lost again. I would love to give credit to the author, but the author is unknown. Now it falls into the category of Internet Urban Legends.

This is a little bit techie in nature, so if you work with computers and software it will make perfect sense. However, (and I'm talking to you s'mee! :) The funny parts will still come through even though there is a little bit of that Charlie Brown adult talk here!) Even if you are not a technical person, there is enough good clean fun here that you will get the drift anyway.

(Author Unknown)

Dear Tech Support:

Last year I upgraded from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0. I soon noticed that the new program began to running a new procedure called Expectant Child Processing that took up a lot of space and valuable resources.

In addition, Wife 1.0 installed spyware into all other programs and now monitors all other system activity, such as Poker Night 10.3, and Bowling 2.5.

Football 5.0, Hunting and Fishing 7.5, and Racing 3.6 no longer run, crashing the system whenever selected.

I can't seem to keep Wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to run my favorite applications.

I'm thinking about going back to Girlfriend 7.0, but the uninstall doesn't work on Wife 1.0.

Please help!


A Troubled User.


Dear Troubled User:

This is a very common problem that men complain about. Many people upgrade from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0, thinking that it is just a Utilities and Entertainment program. Wife 1.0 is an OPERATING SYSTEM and is designed by its Creator to run EVERYTHING!!!

It is also impossible to delete Wife 1.0 and to return to Girlfriend 7.0. It is impossible to uninstall, or purge the program files from the system once installed. You cannot go back to Girlfriend 7.0 because Wife 1.0 is designed not to allow this.

Look in your Wife 1.0 manual under Warnings-Alimony/Child Support." I recommend that you keep Wife 1.0 and work on improving the situation.

I suggest installing the background application "Yes Dear" to alleviate software augmentation.

Having Wife 1.0 installed myself, I might also suggest you read the entire section regarding General Partnerships Faults (GPFs). You must assume ALL responsiblity for faults and problems that might occur, REGARDLESS of their cause. The best course of action will be to enter the command C:\Apologize. In any case, avoid excessive use of the "esc" (escape) key, because ultimately you will have to give the APOLOGIZE command before the operating system will return to normal. The system will run smoothly as long as you take the blame for all the GPFs.

Wife 1.0 is a great program, but it tends to be very high maintenance.

Wife1.0 comes with several support programs, such as Clean and Sweep 3.0, Cook It 1.5 and Do Bills 4.2. However, be very careful how you use these programs. Improper use will cause the system to launch the program Nag Nag 9.5. Once this happens, the only way to improve the performance of Wife 1.0 is to purchase additional software. I recommend Flowers 2.1 and Diamonds 5.0 and Chocolates 8.0!


DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Secretary With Short Skirt 3.3. This application is not supported by Wife 1.0 and will cause irreversible damage to the operating system.

Good luck,

Tech Support

(Author Unknown)

Dear Tech Support:

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a slowdown in the performance of the flower 3.2 and jewelry6.1 applications that had operated flawlessly under the Boyfriend 5.0 system.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.9, and installed undesirable programs such as NFL 7.4, NBA 3.2 and NHL 4.1.
Conversation 8.0 also no longer runs, diaper changing 5.2 will not work, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system.

I've tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.
What can I do?



Dear Desperate,

This is a very common problem women complain about, but it is mostly due to a primary misconception. Many people upgrade from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 with no idea that Boyfriend 5.0 is merely an ENTERTAINMENT package. However, Husband 1.0 is an OPERATING SYSTEM and was designed by its creator to run as few applications as possible. Further, you cannot purge Husband 1.0 and return to Boyfriend 5.0, because Husband 1.0 is not designed to do this. Hidden operating files within your system would cause Boyfriend 5.0 to emulate Husband 1.0, so nothing is gained. It is impossible to uninstall, delete, or purge the program files from the system, once installed. Any new program files can only be installed once per year, as Husband 1.0 has severely limited memory. Error messages are common, and a normal part of Husband 1.0.

In desperation to play some of their "old time" favorite applications, or to get new applications to work, some women have tried to install Boyfriend 6.0, or Husband 2.0. However, these women end up with more problems than encountered with Husband 1.0. Look in your manual under "Warnings: Divorce/Child Support." You will notice that this program runs very poorly, and comes bundled with HeartBreak 1.3. I recommend you keep Husband 1.0, and just learn the quirks of this strange and illogical system.

Having Husband 1.0 installed myself, I might also suggest you read the entire section regarding General Partnership Faults [GPF’s]. This is a wonderful feature of Husband 1.0, secretly installed by the parent company as an integral part of the operating system. Husband 1.0 must assume ALL responsibility for ALL faults and problems, regardless of root cause. To activate this great feature enter the command "C:\ I THOUGHT YOU LOVED ME". Sometimes Tears 6.2 must be run simultaneously while entering the command. Husband 1.0 should then run the applications Apologize 12.3 and Flowers/Chocolates 7.8.


Avoid excessive use of this feature. Overuse can create additional and more serious GPF’s, and ultimately YOU may have to give a C:\ I APOLOGIZE command before the system will return to normal operations. Overuse can also cause Husband 1.0 to default to GrumpySilence 2.5, or worse yet, to Beer 6.0. Beer 6.0 is a very bad program that causes Husband 1.0 to create FatBelly files, which result in SnoringLoudly wave files that are very hard to delete. Save yourself some trouble by following this tech tip!

Just remember! The system will run smoothly, and take the blame for all GPFs, but because of this fine feature it can only intermittently run all the applications Boyfriend 5.0 ran. Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly.

Consider buying additional software to improve performance. I personally recommend HotFood 3.0, Lingerie 5.3 and Patience 10.1. Used in conjunction, these utilities can really help keep Husband 1.0 running smoothly. After several years of use, Husband 1.0 will become familiar and you will find many valuable embedded features such as FixBrokenThings 2.1, Snuggling 4.2 and BestFriend 7.6.

A final word of caution! Do NOT, under any circumstances, install MotherInLaw 1.0. This is not a supported application, and will cause selective shutdown of the operating system. Husband 1.0 will run only Fishing 9.4 and Hunting 5.2 until MotherInLaw 1.0 is uninstalled.

I hope these notes have helped. Thank you for choosing to install Husband 1.0 and we here at Tech Support wish you the best of luck in coming years. We trust you will learn to fully enjoy this product!

Tech Support