May’s flowers

I know, I know.  It has been too long and I must do better.  Sometimes life seems like it is not worth recording, but at other times, it seems I never have time to record what I want to.  My journals obviously take precedent, but I can do better at keeping up the blog.
Just finished a weekend at Flaming Gorge with the Hemsley Family.  I had a very enjoyable experience.  I feel bad because I went with a bit of exhaustion and fatigue.  I slept and napped enough to overcome it, but at the loss to my in-laws.  I did take considerable time to read on in Rough Stone Rolling and found myself quite inspired by some of it.  Again, I think Bushman’s generalizations are far off the mark at times, but I do enjoy the historical facts and timeline.  I read the parts dealing quite a bit with the Kirtland years and was captivated.  Anyhow, fishing went well.  We got there at 2:30 AM on the first night which I was sure would kill me.  We slept in, went fly fishing, had breakfast, went back, was rained out, and came back to camp.  It was a really slow day.  However, it was great for napping and resting.  Fly fishing just did not go well though.  It was pretty dead.  Don’t know if it is my technique or what, but others around me were doing poorly as well.  However, the next day was great.  We did some fishing at the dam regular style.  I caught 6 fish in the time of the morning.  We kept two of them, both Bass.  That evening we went out again, and I caught another 6 fish.  Kept two more, both Bass.  For a side note, I ate a filet from one of my Bass last night, I enjoyed it.  However, a bit haunted by the thoughts of catching the live fish, then the memory of it being gutted, then the filet process, and now I was eating it.    I will comment about our rafting trip on the way down the Green on Saturday afternoon.  I was in the non-wild boat for making the trip.  However, the wild boat turned out to be pretty weak, and we ended up taking nearly all the rapids straight on.  It was a rush, and I very much enjoyed it.  One of the final little rapids, we went right over the rock and landed in the hole behind it.  We churned in the hole, taking on water, and spinning.  I ended up breaking my oar trying to get out of the hole.  Others claimed it could turned out to have been a dangerous situation.  I felt no fear for my life though.  I think it was just a panic they felt.  I thought it was a blast and was totally in control.  We went over, Bryan nailed me pretty hard as the boat bent, I about was knocked out then.  But I was able to pull back in, and worked at getting out.  It was hilarious the different responses people have.  The river was not very deep, and despite having waders (spelling ??) on, I did not think we were in any danger.  The other boat helped us get all of our floating objects that were flooded from our boat.  It was a great laugh.  I was dying to try it again.  Can’t wait to do the Snake or the Colorado.  Dad told me the time he went down the Colorado back in the 50’s.  Oh man, what a blast it must have been.  Spent some good time chatting with Bryan driving.  Man, he had quite a few concerns about my marrying Amanda.  I am glad they took everything in stride.  Over the weekend, I saw loads of characteristics in Bryan that Amanda possesses.  Interesting how much we get from our parents.
Last night we made the preparations for our trip to Richmond.  I contacted individuals for places to stay across the country.  I am really looking forward to it.  Our first night we will stay in Denver.  The second night we will stay in Independence, Missouri.  The next night and Sunday we will spend in Branson, Missouri.  The next night we will stay somewhere probably in Kentucky.  Don’t know where yet.  Then the next night we will stay in Lexington, Virginia.  The last day will be the ride into Richmond, unpacking, and returning our rented vehicle.  I am looking forward to it.  We will visit my family in Missouri on the Saturday, along with Liberty and Independence for church sites, and I would like to visit the Truman Library again.  We will have to see.  I visited with the Institute Director in Richmond, Virginia.  He gave me some good leads on people to contact and places to stay.  One of which I feel really good about I visited with today.  It is known there as Little Provo.  Despite my dislike for Provo, having other LDS people around, along with most of them at the dental school will be good.  Especially since Amanda can catch rides with them, and hopefully even be in classes with some of them.  The cost is a bit more than I would prefer, however, the other parts might make it worth it.  Especially if we have other people coming to visit.
Life continues well here in Provo.  I am enjoying life.  I have not any complaints.  We are still in the Primary, so we don’t deal with the rest of the ward.  It is a great blessing.  The Sunday before last we stayed with Amanda’s parents (Mother’s Day).  We got to take her grandparents back to Payson, and I enjoyed that visit.  We also had a little get together with Jill’s family.  It was good.  I enjoyed the time and stay.  I sprayed that same weekend and stopped in to see my Uncle and Aunt Ellis and Geri Jonas in Smithfield.  They are doing well.  Three of their four children’s families were all represented.  It was good to sit and visit with them all.  Life is good.  I spray again for Larry this weekend.  I am looking forward to it.  Larry let me borrow an album and a basket of pictures, of which I scanned over an hundred photos.  All on the Andra line.
Anyhow, I think I am going to close.  I have to go pick up Amanda here in a bit from work.  I continue to study for the LSAT in June.  I have spent considerable time praying about the issue and feel totally calm about it.  I feel no more panic or concern.  I will do what I can and take the test.  The outcome is whatever happens.  How can I expect to be something I am not.  I know very plainly that God will put me where he wants me, even if that might not be where I would like.  But I know Richmond is definitely the next step to pursue.  I do not know what what the future holds, even if law school is an option, but only time will tell.  Things are being prepared and laid out.  We will just have to wait and see.  We are living right and doing what we are supposed to.
Hope all is well.  Please feel free to drop me a line.  I love to hear from people.

Oh the nothingness

Here I write once again.  Sometimes life seems so full of everything, and other times as if this broad expanse of nothingness.  The variety of individuals I have the privilege of being with is amazing.  Their view, their outlook, the goals, their aspirations, their weaknesses all seem to vary so much.  The variety and style prompts me to proclaim how wonderful and amazing they are.  The intelligence that is so encompassing held by just a dozen people is staggering.  Yet, sometimes I wonder if they know one iota of anything concerning themselves and eternity.  People seem to be so good, wonderful, and helpful and in the same breath so greedy, selfish, and conceited.  What an education far beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
Sometimes I wonder about the words of C.S. Lewis about when one recognizes themselves, that becomes the basis of pride.  Yet, one star is greater than another, one is always greater than another.  Perhaps we can recognize our own individuality but should be highly cautious about setting ourselves up over other people.  That is what the world is teaching.  You are special, it doesn’t matter what anyone is or does, you are better than they are.  That is false.  We are special, we are individuals, but we are a part of the fabric and an essential player.  We cannot be independent of all others.  No man is an island.  To think we are to be our own man, independent of the God who created us, and the fellow citizens of the earth only creates a bunch of insufferable show offs.  It breeds relativism and more conflict in the world.
While I have no doubt of the place of America in the role of the world, I find it scary that we subscribe to the belief I just mentioned.  I remember in England when an American could not understand one with the local dialect, they met it characteristically with talking a little louder and asking a question a little slower.  It wasn’t them who had the problem, it ws the individual speaking!  We expect the world to revolve around us and pay us all the respect we believe is our due.  We claim the rest of the world has pride and arrogance, even ignorance; when I must admit I think we are the one guilty of the charge.  Is it any wonder the French have problems with us?  In their history individuals given power rather than a government has produced “The Terror”.  Why wouldn’t we expect them to react the way they did when we gave more over arching powers to the executive?  When the power of waging war and of going into battle was given in their country, it led to a man seeking to rule Europe.  Add that to their condition of their neighbors who have taken them over because of what they deemed as right.  Of course France is not supportive of our going into another country to further ideals of democracy.  We can see why they don’t like capital punishment, the guillotine is a national symbol still to them.  That is something they will forever buck at.  What is more, we hover and watch them and give them the cold shoulder.  Not as a brother in the world should do, but as a lesser creature.  Someone who is to not be associated with on the playground.  We act the bully, and then when they bristle or don’t fall in line, we scorn and mock them.  Try and turn our friends against them to persuade them to be with us.  Looking back, that bully did hold their power for time.  What ever happened to the bully.  I hope we became more mature, that we all become equal, but it isn’t true.  I know of three who bullied me in elementary and junior school, and sadly they find themselves on the lower of the totem pole in life today.  I do not know if this would be true generally or across the board, but it is in my life.  Sadly, I expect the same thing will happen eventually to us as a nation.
Then I look at other nations who are different.  Others with different goals and perspectives.  We eye them with caution and expect they must have questionable motives.  The uncertainty always creates fear doesn’t it?  “I have often thought to myself, what is to be done?”  Education is our only hope.  Just like Thomas Jefferson I find myself thinking that our only hope would be education and the constant expansion of our understanding.  It must be understood, retained, and constantly built upon.  Just like Joseph Smith taught of the need for increasing light and knowledge, Thomas Jefferson admonished, and Allan Bloom admonishes we must find and constantly be analyzing.  We find our beliefs, seek out further light, compare it to what we have, and throw away what doesn’t work.  Leave it behind, keeping a faithful record of where we have been.  Sadly, such a case does not seem to be on the books today.  Like I mentioned the case of relativism seems to be taking hold with all its disastrous underpinnings.  James Madison made it clear that without the moral compasses and moorings that come from religious principles, the looking out one for another, democracy would drift and fall.  Without morality democracy will pass as all the others have before our time.
Odd isn’t it.  We are so smart, yet we never counsel with history.  Is it any wonder we are so seriously admonished to remember.  Rather than condemning, let us seek.  Rather than finding our lines and demanding nobody to cross over, why don’t we step over them ourselves and act as more faithful pilgrims and wanderers?  The glory of God is intelligence isn’t it?  When slapped, turn your cheek and move on.  Service to your enemies and comfort to those who are weak.  Revenge is never the order of the day.
It all starts with the individual.  From there the example is powerful.  There is great hope in the world.  There is great possibility of potential.  Why are we focused on fear?  Why not look to the future?  Fear only cripples.
Inside the world, in my own personal life, there is much to look forward to.  I find in myself a growth and a bright outlook.  It all comes in the name of Amanda Hemsley for me.  Burton K Wheeler and Jared Diamond have been my meat recently.  Not to mention the studies of Iranian business deals and American history that have been my research.  There has been a constant barrage of information which have helped to temper me and my zeal.  Somehow though, the introduction of another who is to be considered as yourself changes things drastically.  My vision has expanded not only of the world from her eyes but the view from my own.  It tempers the excitement of youth even more, but gives more drive for the future.  Somehow the clutch of individualism is disengaged and one finds themselves propelled faster and further along the road of life.  I am not even married yet!  The walk continues, but it is taking on new vistas.  I leave the Rocky Mountains with dizzying height and glamor to the more humble and open expanse of the plains.  It is not that there is less to see, nor is there less to experience.  It is just different.  The ecosystem is just as open, but a new road.  The anticipation is great.  Where will it take us?  How far will it take us?  Shall we circle the earth or walk slowly to Blair, Nebraska?  Either one, I am content.
She is most beautiful, captivating, and sublime.  I have not potential to describe the connection in those eyes and how far the warmth of her body seems to penetrate.  This world is definitely beyond the physical.  We don’t even know all the aspects of the physical, but already many doors are open for emotional and spiritual travel.
I found one of her hairs today.  It glistened and somehow represented something so far away.  It was only a memento that was obviously manifesting of her presence.  Yet she is so far away.  This part is not even living, but yet it speaks of her.  How many hairs in the world do I see, yet lose their true significance.  I have eyes but do not see.
Life is more than just me.  I focus on myself so much, everything revolves around my life, because that is me.  It is unavoidable.  But the greatest joys come in the life of others.  Burton K Wheeler’s experiences are now a part of my own.  His personality has become a part of mine.  While the stories and the times may melt, I have been changed and can clearly link it to him.  The same with Cecil D Andrus’ life.  On and on and on.  Oh if I could implore more people to record their lives and write their stories!  What I would not give to read the same of my ancestors.  My grandmother’s journal was a portal into another’s life.  However, that life is an extension of me.  While Brother Wheeler is far more removed, he is still a part of the country I now life, and that is part of me as well.  I was so sure to go out and define the world and change it according to my view.  I am coming to find out that the world has created much of what I am.  It has changed me.  It used to be such a negative view.  I always knew what needed to change and what I was to do.  Now it is the opposite.  What can I learn from it to apply in life.  I seek more and more.  Dismissing those which are of lesser quality and holding to those which are more true.
Is it any wonder we are exhorted to seek out knowledge.  It is the only thing that will save us.  Especially that knowledge which is most important.
Amanda came to visit over last weekend.  All my time with her is something to be cherished.  We learn so much from each other.  I learn so much from her.  She amazes me.  She is so pure and wonderful.  She makes me wish I was better, glad I receive her love, and yet honoured.  I love her and hope we will forever build upon that.  We are both just humble enough to learn from each other and to walk the path together.  As we grow, how much more sweeter can it possibly become?
Oh the nothingness of man.  God rules the nations and the earth inasmuch as we let him.  He oversees all and knows all things.  May we learn of him rather than to pontificate to the world what they should know.  There is so much to learn.  May I always be learning and seeking?  Rather than the one giving instruction.  Reminds me of Socrates always asking the questions rather than giving the answers.  Good night.

Interesting Days

It is strange how coincidence seems to play into our lives. Even I, a low staffer, an Idahoan, who is of very little importance in the realm of all men who have walked upon the earth have the privilege of meeting such amazing men. There are giants around us and we very seldom realize it. Most of those will never be  recognized or accredited for what they do. However, today I wish to pay tribute to the common man (men and women, you know what I mean…man is not without the woman, and woman not without the man). There are souls around us who affect us so deeply that they forever change our course. Most of them are the every day run of the mill who humbly go about doing their duty. Many men do what they can to get by, others in service to others oblivious and often doing more damage, but then there are those who know what they need to do and do it well. Those who seek to do what they do well, live their lives to the best of their capability who influence the most.This week I met a man by the name of Mehmet Ali Talat. He paid a visit to Senator Smith. He is the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It definitely is not every day that we meet the President of a small country. What is more, one that is a bit more questionable in the eyes of many nations. Besides that, he is a very powerful man. He came with his entourage and sat in the office for a while (the Senator was meeting with the President of Starbucks…how ironic) and then left to visit with the Senator in his office. I do not know the culture, I do not know the man, but he seemed very deliberate and almost unhappy. The whole group seemed almost dire in many ways. While I can boast that I met the man who leads another nation, he left little or no influence upon me.

The same day, I met a man named Bob Livingston. A representative from Louisiana that served in the house for over 20 years. If I remember right, he was even Speaker of the House of the United States for a short time. A powerful man in the United States who served for a third of most people’s lives. (While there are hundreds of people in the U.S. government and I have come to learn it is just another job, it still holds a mystique) He sat with me for a few moments and was so concerned about his blackberry he couldn’t even visit for a whole five minutes. Another man who influenced millions of lives, but in lasting tribute will have little more than name recognition to go with his face in my life. Do we recognize the influence we could have on people, but due to our own concerns and selfishness do not take the opportunity to reach out more often.

If you would not know it, I was giving a tour this week and while explaining the Capitol Ceiling (which is always accompanied with my looking around while explaining rather than peering up a dozen noses) and I recognized a man sitting on one of the benches on the outer parameter. I excused myself from my tour group for a moment to go say hello to the Governor of Idaho, my beloved home state. I walked over, shook the hand of Dirk Kempthorne, and introduced myself. He looked pensive and contemplative. I somewhat regret having visiting with him as he seemed almost melancholy, but I was thrilled with the opportunity. Here was a man who took a few moments to say hello and learn a little about me. He did not brush me off and seemed somewhat interested. This man, while definitely with his own thoughts, took a few moments out to focus on the one. He will have a much more lasting influence than the President of a small nation or Speaker of the House. Nevertheless, many don’t like the Governor, but he seemed much more willing to care about other people than the first two.

In that tour group that I excused myself from was a former Senator of the State of Oregon. Neil and Mary Bryant were a different breed though. They were engaging, willing to share of themselves and learn of others, and even reached out to meet others. They and their friends Neal and Linda Huston were fun to take on the tour as they were so willing to get along and be a part of society. They are good individuals who loved to learn. He tried to stump me on historical facts of the United States of the Pacific Northwest (which my knowledge is not very good, I just got lucky that I knew his answers). They were by far the best people I met that day. While not as impressive in stature of the world, they left an impression that will be much more lasting.

With all that said, I want to recognize some of those who have affected my life the most. Colleen Jonas. Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ. Milo Ross. Sandra Jonas. Amanda Hemsley. Brad Hales. Kathy Duncan. Ted Tateoka. Kevin Orton. Nicole Whitesides. Laurel Hepworth. Marie Lundgreen. Kathryn England. Anna Badger. Chris Horsley. Megan Duncan. Dustin McClellan. James Cazier. Tom Kunzler. Altan Hardcastle. Warren Crane. Gene Hansen. Lorn Duff. I am sure there are more, many more. Thank God for good souls who reach out and connect with people. Who care more for others than they do for themselves. May God forever bless those who have affected my life and may I return the favor to all I come in contact with.

The low down on Miss AH

Well, the details about Amanda. Since everybody keeps asking. Here we go.

She is a beautful, red head at about 5’6″. She grew up in Kaysville, Utah about 20 minutes north of Salt Lake. She has two parents (duh) Bryan and Jill, and three siblings Derek (16), Scott (12), and Alyssa (6). She is a biology major at Utah State, but after we marry will finish her last semester at BYU. She plans on attending Virginia Commonwealth University and become an Dental Hygienist.

We met at Utah State as we both lived in the same ward. The first month of the school year the Elder’s taught the same apartments they had from the summer. I home taught her apartment the first month and met her then. I don’t remember anything in particular about the incident, other than she struck me as the usual freshman, but cute. There was something that intrigued me, but I never thought twice about it. I would say hello to her at Ward Prayer but otherwise never saw or visited with her.

It was not until the end of January that we had a snow storm that dumped snow on us. We received about a foot and a half overnight. Well, being the dutiful Elder assigned to keep some of the sidewalks cleared, I was out shoveling snow. It was a chore to keep my sidewalks clean. Finally when it slowed down some, I thought, well what is the point of shoveling walks if they have to walk through it to the church. So I started shoveling a walk all the way to the church doors. I had crossed the parking lot and was headed by some trees when I was nailed in the side of the head with a snowball. Looking around, a girl who I could not recognize with her hood and everything was looking very innocent. I walked over to her and told her we needed to chat. Putting my arm around her, I picked her up and did a full body plant with her in the snow and then proceeded to white wash her. (I could full body slam her in a foot and half of snow, so I did) She laughed, I laughed, I helped her up (I now knew who it was), and then went back to shoveling. Only seconds later, I was hit by another snow ball in the side of the head. I turned around and was more shocked by the audacity of the girl, (J Golden Kimball comes to mind, “You damn sons of perdition, have you no respect for the Priesthood!) and thought well, here comes another white washing. Again, she did not attempt to run and I proceeded to dump her again and white wash her. However, when I planted her, she put her elbow down, and I heard it hit the pavement. It visibly hurt her, so I felt really bad. I helped her up, felt really bad, and walked her home. I promised I would make it up to her somehow.

A few weeks later, I finally got up the nerve, and a hole in my schedule to take her out. A married friend (James) of mine was given a turkey at Christmas. His wife (Catherine), hates turkey, so he told me to bring a date to dinner, a hungry one. After being turned down twice, Amanda accepted. I did not tell her we were having dinner with a married couple until on the way there, that way she could not back out. We had dinner and played games afterward and my friend insisted on telling stories of me the whole time. After the date, she seemed to enjoy herself, I was impressed with her demeanor, and decided I wanted to take her out again. A week later I was invited by a family in Richmond to come to dinner and bring a date. I did, another awkward date, but she handled it well. I have been taking her out ever since. She keeps letting me!

She really impressed me with an understanding of astronomy. It was also very impressive how she studied biology and could retain it. She was learning it, not just studying it to pass a test. She is one very smart cookie! That kept my attention and she has taught me many things. A very thoughtful girl, deliberate, and interesting. She has a quiet confidence which is very attractive. That is not to mention that she is really cute too. She loves me, and everything has lined up perfectly. Sometimes I think it is too perfect how everything has turned out.

Anyhow, that is the story from my side of the paradigm. Any other questions, feel free to let me know.