MTC anniversary

The 28th was the 10 year anniversary of when I was supposed to enter the MTC.  Time has certainly flown!  Who would ever have thought then I would be in law school 10 years later.  I wonder how many people even thought I would attend law school.  Who knows what they thought I was going to end up doing.  I was glad to be able to go on a mission.  The first eggnog of the season found its way into our refrigerator.  Boy does it bring back memories of may Christmas’ from long ago.  I know, we haven’t even hit Thanksgiving yet.  I guess the eggnog is just early.  I had a happy tummy for a day or two, regardless of the season.

One of my school buddies is looking at the home next door.  Wouldn’t that be great to have neighbors who I went to school with?  We could work on our homes together, we could have parties.  I could ride to school with Andrew and Amanda could sleep in for another hour.  She would be happy about that.  We will have to wait and see.  Since they probably cannot get into the home by themselves, we are taking about signing with them.  The great thing is the house is owned by a trust.  Both of the parents have died and the family really just wants to sell it, even for about 2/3rds of its value.  So we worked it out that in signing with them, they would share a portion of what they make on the house when they sell it in a couple of years.  All the more incentive for me to help when they are fixing it up!

Last night was the last of my classes.  I did not mind it was on Halloween.  I never cared much for the holiday.  Besides, what better way to remember the dead on Halloween than teaching a class on family history and new FamilySearch?  There was wonderful attendance all 4 classes.  I am relieved it is completed.  On that note, the temple work continues forward at a wonderful pace.  I received over 75 completed cards in the mail this week.

It has been a quick, but dragging week.  I have felt somewhat oppressed in soul.  Nothing I can attribute it to other than just weariness and exhaustion.  A good number nights of sleep have helped me recover.  However, I fear I will not completely recover from Contracts.  I really like Torts and Civil Procedure.  I could do with more understanding in Contracts and perhaps I would enjoy it more.  I started outlining it today.  We got about 1.5 chapters completed.  I got a headache by that point so we called it for the day.  I am not sure if it was Contracts or the salty pretzels.

We watched The Kite Runner last night.  I really enjoy shows like that where I get to see some insight into other cultures.  I enjoyed it.  The insight into Afghanistan and Pakistan were very interesting.  I would really like to learn that language and travel those nations.  A whole world to learn.

I finished Deuteronomy this week.  I enjoyed it.  The end reminds me much of a General Conference talk.

Here are a couple more of updates on stories about the family.  Here are some more stories I received about the family from two individuals.  Most of them are about my Grandparents, but I also included the one about an experience with the church.  I am so completely disappointed in those who did this.  This is not at all what the church teaches.

“[Colleen] loved dancing.  She taught me how to be a better follower.  [My husband] put an extra step in his 2 step, I would stumble every time.  When I watched her and [my husband] dance, it was always smooth.  She taught me how to relax and follow his lead.  I am sure that she had much pride watching you grow into a man.  Dancing with all the “old ladies.”  Can you imagine how special and young they felt to be dancing with you.  That is a very special thing you gave to them.”

“Once we moved to [a small town in Idaho], [my son] was old enough and began his religious education at our small mission church in town.  I was very involved with “taking care of my church.”  It was during this time that I met and interacted with “practicing” mormons.  People were not afraid to tell me that I was wrong.  Of course, everyone knew [my husband] was LDS.  The church rolls tracked every one and missionaries, relief society, and elders would stop by before I could finish unpacking.  I had some disagreeable things said to me.  Especially about how awful I was to cheat my son of a greater life.  I felt I was treated meanly by many.  At cub scout functions, no one wanted to sit near us.  Sometimes, we were even told the wrong times for things so we would be very late.  Every one would stop and stare, whisper.  I felt so bad.

“Our ward president’s wife had no difficulty telling me I was an awful mother, but that “scouting” could be for everyone.  Blah, blah, blah…  In order to survive I asked for permission to attend Seminary.  Which I attended at Soda Springs High School.  I had my mother find me out of print books in San Francisco.  I began to read everything I could.  Pro and Con.  I was asked to not return to seminary, it was because I asked too many questions.  I was disruptive to the education of the young people I was told. My father’s youngest sister converted to Mormonism.  She lives in Clearfield, I think.  I don’t have much contact due to the way she treats my father.  She and I had a relationship back then.  She is still very active in the church and assisted in my education.  She wanted me to convert.”

“Colleen had said something about being disappointed in the “church” in Preston.  That Grandma and Grandpa Andra had given land to the “church.”  That the trade-off (my word) was that they would be “taken care of” by the church.  Some one else will have to fill in these blanks.  Something to do with the church wanting the rest of their property.  She spoke harshly at this time and used the term “church” in general.  Not a specific Ward.  Sandy was very upset about the Temple marriage to Evan because she did not like him and the “celestial kingdom.”  Her family would never be together again.  She would yell at Grandma about this, they both yelled.  I really do not remember anyone in the family attending church at all.  [My husband] always welcomed the missionaries, he would have conversations at length.

It was not really a topic of discussion between Colleen and I.  She never openly criticized me or anyone regarding religion.  She did express regrets about her children and Norwood. I don’t remember her expressing regrets about herself.  I felt sometimes that lack of religion in the household was used as an excuse for the way things were.  An excuse for the choices made.  It seemed to always be in a negative reference.  I did find it interesting the times that the “church’ was brought up.  When a person did not want to assume responsibility for a choice made.  It was blamed on the “church.”

“I know that Norwood was always pretty mean to Colleen.  He scared me a lot, but I was pretty little.  I did hear my parents talking about how he did hurt your grandmother and they were not impressed.  I will talk to [my sister] and ask if she remembered more than me.  He was awful when he had been drinking, I did see that myself when we stayed at Colleen’s for a week.”

“[Doug and Linda's wedding reception] took place in the basement of the library in Richmond.  [Colleen] had made all the arraignments.  She did the decorations.  I remember the spiral staircase with the gifts displayed.  It was very nice.  I had met most of the family that was there at Norwood’s funeral.  [Doug] wore the Tux that his folks had bought him in High School.  I remember how handsome he looked.  We stayed at Sandy’s.  I think she was living on Main St in Logan. I just don’t remember the fine details.  For a Jonas gathering, you might say it was uneventful.”

“The initial call from the police came to [Colleen's, about your mother's wreck].  Colleen was not there.  I asked about you, the police said there was no baby.  I had seen you with her prior to her drinking.  Sandy was not above leaving you in the car when she would drink.  So the police began the search.  By the time [we] arrived at the wreck, they had found the dog, I think he was under the jeep.  It was dark, I remember the field, the tumbleweeds.  The shadows cast.  The jeep upside down.  Sandy was at the ER.  The baby carrier that she used had been found, but no Paul. I remember hearing someone say, if you were out there, you were dead.  The smell of the blackberry brandy all over the carrier, the inside of the jeep. (I am crying right now.  This is hurting my stomach a little.) Okay…  I remember [your Uncle Doug] yelling, “I’m going to kill her.”  Typical of the family, he rambled about every single thing she had done wrong in the past.  Making himself madder and madder. I was freezing, terrified, my stomach hurt so bad.  One of the deputies radioed and we were told that Colleen was at home and that you were with her.  [Doug] was so angry by the time we got to you.  He fought with his mom about Sandy.  All I could do was hold you and cry.  Grandma was concerned about Sandy and Doug did not want her to go to the hospital.  Colleen had been spared the emotion that Doug and I had just gone thru.  I think Colleen had run into Sandy and had taken you so she would not leave you in the car while she drank.  Probably because it was cold.  I am curious about Doug’s memory of this.  Your mom would probably not remember, she was drunk.  I don’t remember anyone but the police and Doug and I looking for you.  I believe we looked for a little over an hour before the call.  Thing is, you were never missing.  No one else really lived the terror, so this would not be a story connected with the rollover.  There would/should be in the police report, we did search for you.”

What Temple Work Means to Me by Rosa (Nelson) Jonas Andersen

(I have maintained punctuation and spelling)

I was asked to talk a few minutes on what temple work means to me.  This I shall do to the best of my ability.  First I shall talk about the book called ADDED UPON.  No doubt most of you have read this book.  If you haven’t it would be well worth your time to do so.  We all know we existed spiritually before we came to this earth.  Two people, a man and a women, were chosen to come to this earth to fulfill a mission here and take up a body.

They came, the woman was born in Denmark.  The man was born on a farm in America.  The woman, named Ensign emegrated to America.  When she got here she got work on a farm doing house work.  One afternoon while working, a man came to the door and asked if he might have something to eat.  While he was eatin they began to chat, she found out that his name was Rupert and that he was looking for work, that he prefered doing farm work.  Later when the farmer came into the house Ensign told him about Rupert.  Rupert was immediately hired as the farmer needed help badly.  The young couple became friendly, fell in love and after a summer of courtship they were married in the temple.  Rupert had some land of his own, left to him by his father.  They made a home on this land and raised a nice family.  During the winter Rupert did work in the mines in order to get extra money.  They lived happily together for some time.  Finally one winter day Rupert was killed in the mines leaving Ensign alone on this earth to finish raising her family.  The children grew up one by one.  They married leaving Ensign alone, after a few years called home.

Rupert was there to met Ensign, they knew each other, they could remember before they came down to earth, how at that time they wondered if they would be to gether on this earth.  They had been, they smiled at each other and were content.

This story causes me to think of my parents life, being like unto it.  My mothers parents emigrated from Sweeden.  Mother was one of the first baby girls born in Logan Utah.  When she was nine years of age her mother died.  Later grandfather remarried, marrying a woman with a large family.  After a time mother was forced to earn her own living wherever she could get work.

She found employment in Pocatello Idaho.  There she worked at a boarding house waiting on tables.  Here she met Joseph S Jonas, like Rupert and Ensign one summer of courtship and they were married.  Father being a Rail Road man they moved from one place to another.  They too raised a family of seven children, four girls and three boys.  Along about the spring of 1910 we were living at Thorp Kittitas Co. Washington.

One night after a terrible storm a flood came causing much damage.  Trapping many people in their homes.  Being R. R. man father was called upon to help rescue these people, and through the wet and exposure he suffered in helping these people he became very sick and was in the hospital for six months, with rhumitisum and pneumonia.  He was so sick he had to be turned on sheets.  He was a staunch catholic and did not believe in mormonism.

While father was in the hospital mother took us little ones and went to visit her brother August Nelson who lived in Salt Lake City.  Through the worey for father and we little ones mother became very nervous, her heart became affected and she became very ill.  One night she passed away from a heart attack, if it had been now days I do believe she could of been helped, by the wonderful medicines we now have to work with.  But we children didn’t know what to do.  We were left alone in the care of her older brother with no mother, and father so desperately sick.

We feared father was too sick to receive bad news and were afraid a shock like this would prove fatal to him.  So we told him nothing about mothers death.  After the funeral I went to visit my father at the hospital who was still in Washington.  Father a catholic and mother a L. D. S.

At heart like Rupert and Ensign they were meant for each other, for mother’s spirit did not loose any time singling her mate out.  For when I entered the room father said “well she is gone isn’t she?”  I said what do you mean?”  Father said “your mother she came to my bed side at 15 min. to ten on the night of Dec. 23, I know all about it.  This is proof to me that they were meant for each other.  So I am having my mother sealed to my father for all time and eternity, as my father since that time has pass away to be with my mother.  I know they met in the hereafter recognised each other, and will be happy when I get their temple work done.

It was while we children were staying at mothers br4others home in Salt Lake City that we were babtized into the mormong church.  The Lord works in a natural way, he braught us back to where mother left off as a girl.  There most of us lived untill we were fully grown, married in the temple and went on missions.  But father would not accept.

My baby brother Joseph when he grew older went back to his father and tried to convert him to the mormon religion, but to no avail.

Years went by and father became ill again.  I sent for him to come to my home.  He lay desperatly ill for days.  The night before hr died he was so very ill, he called me to come saying “Rose offer a word of prayer for me” I knew then the hard shell about father had soffened, as even that much to his mormon daughter was a great deal for dad.  I prayed for him, but he passed away the next night.

I am thankful to my heavenly father there is a plan whereby we children who were left, were able to have these two people united in eternal marriage with their children sealed to them.  I feel with in my self they are happy and satisfied.  May I ever be worthey of entering into their presence when it is my turn to answer Gods call, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Mom’s letter to Grandpa

Here is a letter we have my mother wrote to her father.  It is very tender and sweet.  In fact, it is heartbreaking.  This shows the soft side of Mom so many do not get to see anymore.  Honestly, this is the Mom I miss.

June 14, 1984

Dear Dad,

Remember when I was 3 yrs old and got my finger cut off.  I can still picture how scared and afraid you were.  I think it hurt you worse than it did me.  Then to hear all the guilt in your voice when you said “How many times have I told you to stay away from the lawn mower”?  How you kept saying “I should have shut it off.”  I know when I lost it again 5 yrs later you were having flashbacks.  But it wasn’t your fault I just wanted to see the blade go around.  I guess I just got started in life on the wrong foot.

Do you remember the pictures that mom took of me cutting your toe nails.  I used to cut your toe nails and calluses off all the time.  You never got mad at me when I’d get too deep.  I was still cutting them even after we moved up to Idaho.

I used to love it when you and I went hunting and fishing.  I still have to grin when I think of the time when that fish slapped my face.  Or when we were up Ox Killer and you had got your deer.  I was watching you gut it.  I picked up this thing and was looking at it.  When I asked what it was and you told me they were its BBD’s.  I got so embarrassed.  You grinned and laughed.  You know I don’t ever remember you laughing out loud.  You always laughed on the inside.  I wish I knew why you did this.

I loved it when Uncle Spence used to call me Little Nor.  It made me feel so proud.  I loved you so much and looked up to you as my idol.  You were the perfect Dad and I wanted to be just like you.  You know I’m more like you than you ever knew.  All the times when you wouldn’t fix my car but made me fix it myself with you looking over my shoulder made sure I did it right.  I thank you for it.

It seemed every time I got hurt you would chew me out.  When I was in that wreck and got my face ripped up you told me I should have been home where I belonged.  When I got my hand hurt there wasn’t much you said but I knew you blamed yourself.  I knew you better than you think or thought.  Your face told the story.  I know why you never would come and see me in the hospital too.  It hurt you so much to see me in pain.  You just couldn’t handle it.  Mom told me that was one weakness you had.  That’s OK, I understand or understood.  I still loved you anyway.

I’m sorry when I moved back to Utah that I didn’t keep in touch with you as much as I should of.  I wished someone would have told me that you and mom separated a little sooner.  It used to kill me when I would come up and talk to you at work.  You totally blew me away the 1st time.  I had never seen you cry before.  We cried on each other’s shoulders.  I would always feel so sad because you always felt so sad.  You know Dad if I would of come up that weekend and seen you maybe you would still be alive today.  I’ve often wondered about that.

When you were killed I wouldn’t and couldn’t believe it until I seen for myself.  Once I walked into Payne’s I knew but I prayed.  I stood over you for hours staring, touching, holding and feeling you.  I wanted to open your eyes.  When I was holding your hand I wanted you to squeeze mine.  When I kissed you I wanted for you to kiss me back.  But you never did.  After a long period of time I started to hallucinate.  I seen you move.  But each time I seen you move I would reach down and touch your hand and it was cold and hard.  I knew that I was just seeing things.  Only in my mind you were moving.  I still didn’t want to believe you were dead.  At the viewing in Webb’s I knew you were trying to talk to me because your mouth had started opening.  I waited and waited hoping you would say something.  But you never did.  At your funeral I gave up, lost hope.  I knew you wasn’t going to get up that’s why I couldn’t stand by your coffin with the family.  I couldn’t except you as being dead.  I still can’t but I know you are.  I was scared when Mom, Doug and Jackie were saying Good-Bye for the last time.  They were in such a big hurry to close the coffin that I didn’t get a chance to get over and say Good-Bye.  But then I think to, that maybe I didn’t want to say Good-Bye either.  It haunts me now because I feel so bad that I didn’t.  Sometimes I wish I had of so that you would let me go.  I will always love you Dad.  I will never ever forget you.

Dad when I met Milo he reminded me of you in so many ways.  Jackie and Mom think so too.  So don’t ever think that you aren’t on my mind.  I named my little boy after you and his dad.  Doesn’t that tell you something.  I’d give anything if you could be here to play with Paul and Sissy.  I know they would love you so very much.  I know you would be proud of them too.  I know you’d like Milo, too.  The two of you would of got along fine.  I sure wish you could of met him.  Milo would have loved you.

Well Dad, I guess I’ve told you everything I had to tell you.  Everything I can think of right now anyway.  I just want to tell you again that I love you and always will.  I won’t ever forget you.  I just wish you were still alive.

Love Always, Sandy

Lillian Coley’s Journals

I am happy to now make available the journals of Lillian Coley Jonas.  I know I have mentioned them earlier, but this blog site did not have the capacity to link a file at that time.  They were too big to place the entire journal’s text online.
Lillian Coley Jonas was born in Lewiston, Utah in 1898 and died in Layton, Utah in 1987.  She married Joseph Nelson Jonas in Logan, Utah in 1916.

Lillians 1961 Journal

Lillians 1962 Journal

Lillians 1963 Journal

Colleen Mary Andra’s Journal

This is the work of several hours of typing.  An hour here, an hour there, adding to a cumulative of about 10 hours over the past year.  I am happy to report, I have finally completed this task.
I never knew my Grandmother kept a journal until my Sister mentioned it to me in 2003.  I was finally able to snag it from my Aunt Jackie on the promise I would return it.  To uphold that promise and to ensure it is not lost with it going back into her hands (you would have to know the situation to understand) I have typed the entire thing up.  The same like I did with my Great Grandmother’s (Lillian Coley Jonas 1898-1987) journals.
To preserve these journals for posterity, I will place them all up here (Lillians’ will be up shortly).
This journal starts in mid 1944 and ends fall 1946.  It is her high school years and covers several noteworthy dates.  She records V-E and V-J day.  She comments about the passing and birthday of siblings.  While her entries are typically short, they do flesh out years I knew nothing of previously.  There are many sites mentioned which do not appear to be still present and even in asking older people, they do not know them either.  White City is the main location nobody seems to remember.  I assume the saw mill is the Temple Saw Mill site up Logan Canyon.  Logana was a swimming hole in Logan.  Another issue is that many people are mentioned by their first name only, and even then many by nickname.  I do not assume Dutch, Chick, and other names are actual names.  Hence my difficulty.  I fear only those closest to the situation would know who these people really where, and most of those closest don’t remember or are no longer available for asking.
There are also cultural things which have changed.  Going to a movie or swimming on Sunday is now taboo in LDS culture where they were much more common place then.  The separated meeting schedule is apparent with Sunday School and night church (Sacrament) being defined as separate meetings.  Most of us would not even make mention to the fact that we listened to the radio where it was made special mention of in this journal.  The putting up of the hair is another phrase which is not heard anymore.  Other phrases in the journal have a completely different connotation in today’s world and hopefully they will not be understood in that light.
Colleen Mary Andra was born 27 May 1928 in Preston, Franklin, Idaho.  As the journal shows, the main location of most events is Preston, Idaho.  She married Wilburn Norwood Jonas 27 Sep 1946 in Elko, Elko, Nevada as is obvious in the journal.  I have written more about them at this link:  Jonas-Andra Wedding.
There are interesting things to note of the Jonas family as well.  The marriage of Evan and Lona, the death of Irwin Jonas, and more are to be found.  The journal definitely focuses on the Andra side in its short entries.  Norwood would die tragically in 1975.  Colleen would remarry twice more before she would pass away suddenly in 1999 from an operation.
I hope for those who read this and can add anything more, I would appreciate hearing from you.  Defining more of these people and places involved would be great help and very appreciated.  Please feel free to download a copy (by clicking on the link below) for your reading pleasure.  I beg of you for your input and recollections!

Colleen’s Journal 1944-1946

Jorgensen and Christensen

Robert Mathis shared with me this copy of a short history written by Amanda Emilie Jorgensen.  It is a history of her parents, my fourth Great Grandparents.  It also has a reference to Hanna’s parents.  This was written around 1933.
History of my Parents

My father Olaves Jorgensen was born in Drammen Norway 19 November 1830.

When he was twelve years old he started working in a saw mill for Mr Kjer.

My mother Hannah Mathea Christensen was born in Drammen Norway fourteen November 1831. She was a dressmaker when she was old enough to work. They were married fourth november 1855 in Drammen Norway. Two girls were born there. Constanse and Olga. Then Mr. Kjer transferred Father to Fredrikstad Norway to another saw mill and he worked there until he came to America in 1896.

Mother was very religious and always went to some kind of church but never felt satisfied. She lived in an apartment house and was talking to a lady named Mrs. Ask that lived across the hall. Religion was mentioned and mother said she wanted to find a religion that baptised people like Jesus was baptised.

Mrs. Ask asked her if she had ever heard about the Mormon people and mother said no. Mrs. Ask said to be ready Sunday afternoon and she would take her to hear the Mormon Elders.

As soon as mother heard the Elders preach she knew it was the true church. The Priest and other people tried to tell her it was wrong but she wouldn’t listen. The Elders had to take her to the ocean to be baptised after dark as they would be arrested and put in jaail if they were seen baptising people.

Mother was a very faithful member and the missionaries were always welcome in their home. She was President of the Relief Society for years.

Father wanted to join but didn’t dare to because he knew he would lose his job. Father was baptised just before he and mother came to Utah.

They went directly to Richmond Utah in Cache Valley to be near their daughter Othelia. They were here four years and had never had the opportunity to go to the temple when mother died in November, 1900. Father and Othelia and Constanse came to Logan and did the work for mother and she was sealed to Father. Father died in November 1904 and they were both buried in Richmond Utah.

Mother told me that the pastor of the Luteran Church said her parents Christen Hansen and Marie Evensen were the most beautiful couple he had ever married while he was a pastor.

More of the same; Life

Time keeps ticking by too quickly sometimes.  I have so much to write but not as much time as I would like to do it in.  Such is the limitations in the probationary game.  There are plenty of achievements to report though in the past week or two.
This evening I spoke with Gerald Neuffer in Columbia, Missouri.  In a most random turn of events, I noticed that a Jenna Neuffer became friends with my friend, Kami Lowe on Facebook.  With a name as rare as Neuffer, I knew all odds were in my favor of having a near shared ancestry.  I sent Miss Neuffer a message and asked for her Grandfather’s name and phone number.  Which she supplied.  Come to find out, I even had Gerald already in my family history.  I just had his first name Myron (Gerald is his middle name but he goes by it.  Probably due to remove confusion with his father’s name being Myron).  He knew the Andra’s well and said he remembered Millie, who was just younger than him.  Funny how small a world it is.  He went to get his PhD and never left Columbia after moving there in 1947.  We conversed for a little while he dug for information verifying I was not this total stranger calling for his family history for some other sinister reason.  He sounds like a good guy.  He asked if I was doing genealogy.  I confirmed I was and that I was the family historian.  He then happily related he was basically that for the Neuffer/Nuffer family.  I was definitely glad to hear that.  What is the chances of the Andra historian running into the Nuffer historian in Columbia Missouri?  Very far removed from Preston, Idaho!
I received a phone call from Jacqui yesterday about the Phibbs/Ross/Beachell family.  I tried returning her call and spoke with her mother for a few minutes.  I am glad she finally returned my message.  I only left it in May!  That was before we moved!
In other news, there was an e-mail that found its way to me from Robert in Fresno, California.  A most interesting question.  He asked if I knew of any of the siblings of my Constance Jorgensen.  I always felt Constance most likely had siblings but was never able to find any.  Between her parents marriage and Constance’s birth, there is twelve years.  I was sure there were other siblings.  Olavus and Hanna Mathea Jorgensen immigrated with Constance and settled in Richmond, Utah.  Constance married Ole Christiansen and gave birth to my Great Great Grandmother Martha Christiansen who is the mother of my Lillian Coley.  Constance died in Portland, Oregon while visiting and was buried there.  In the whole episode, I knew some day I would have to do some research in Norway to find the rest of this family.  Well, Robert e-mailed me asking me if his grandmother, Amanda Jorgensen Swensen could be a child of Olavus and Hanna.  He produced a copy of a hand written copy pedigree she had produced in 1935.  Sure enough, everything lined up.  Well, Amanda was born another 12 years after my Constance (24 after the marriage of the parents).  She immigrated to Utah a good 10 years after her parents and sibling came over and settled in Logan, Utah.  By the time she arrived her parents were both deceased and her sister had married.  It seems that she never knew she was only 15 miles from her parent’s graves and her sister.  The exciting news is that Amanda gave us the names of her siblings, none of which made it to America to her knowledge.  We added the 5 siblings.  Don’t know their ages, but definitely gives some more to go from.  That will give us much more to go from when the time for the Norway research begins.
I am happy to report I completed the New Testament this evening.  I am one day late.  If I had read the one chapter a day, I would have finished yesterday.  Last weekend put me just off enough that I did not catch up in time.  I completed the Book of Mormon on schedule this year on August 27th.  Now I can go through some General Conference talks and some other reading for the year.  Next year is the Doctrine and Covenants which you can almost read three times in a year.  I think I will just do it twice though.
The ward continues to blossom when it comes to family history.  It seems like people are doing their homework, research, and compiling regularly.  I have e-mails at least once or twice a week for help on something.  That is an indication something is going on.  That is definitely something which is a good thing.
Online the family history work continues to reveal new and interesting things.  I received an e-mail from a Homer Mason.  He was inquiring concerning the Jonas family in Washington State.  Come to find out, Anna Jonas is his Grandmother.  Anna was the daughter of William Jonas who was the brother to my Joseph Jonas; father to my great grandfather Joseph Nelson Jonas.  He knows very little so it has been fun introducing him to the family.  I have especially enjoyed his research on a line of the family I have not been able to crack.  It has proved not to be an easy line for him, but with his living in Yakima, he is much closer and capable of doing the work than I can.  I really hope I am accepted to the University of Idaho for Law School.  Then I could work on the Jonas, Ross, and Sharp lines in Washington State.
Stepping back to the Andra family.  This past weekend Amanda and I took a trip to Washington DC for our monthly temple visit.  But a new aspect as emerged.  My Great Uncle and Aunt, Donald and Lolane Andra, are now serving a mission in the temple.  We went up Friday night and stayed with Amanda’s Uncle and Aunt in Springfield.  Saturday we picked up Don and Lolane and made our way to Mt. Vernon.  They thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  It was the 18th Century Fair so there were masses of people.  Don and Lolane are good and quick on their feet.  Despite being in their 60’s they move well.  Don reminds me so much of my Great Grandpa.  I get a kick out of both of them.  We were limited on time as they had to be to the temple to work later in the afternoon.  We did probably the fastest walking tour of Mt. Vernon I can imagine.  We zoomed all over the grounds, through the fair, and then back up to their apartment to change and attend the temple.
On a side note, as I went into the endowment room, I noticed the officiator’s name was John Whatcott.  I looked at him and asked if he was from Kanosh.  He looked a bit surprised at me and said he grew up there.  I told him of the Whatcott’s I knew.  After the session he asked me to remain in the celestial room so we could visit.  We had a great visit.  Come to find out he knows Don and Lolane from St. George.  Small world.  Don knew which session we were on and waited for us to leave the celestial room.  He walked us down to the next floor and we parted again.  I met Don’s Home Teaching companion, Elder Toronto, while picking up Amanda’s Aunt’s glasses from the temple lost and found.  Funny how interlinked the world is, at least in the church.
I have not made mention of it yet, but I am going from contractor status to full associate status at Bank of America.  Meaning, I will be an employee of Bank of America and not an at will person filling a seat.  Many companies now do the contractor business as they can then hire on employees after they have shown their worth.  I must have done well enough for them to offer me employment starting October 1.  I am excited.  Business has been picking up.  I don’t know if it is from the crunch in the market or what.  Bank of America definitely stands on higher ground than those feeling the squeeze or sinking under the housing market.  One thing is for sure, with this rate cut, we are expecting the next month to be hectic.
My birthday came and went just like every other day or the year.  I am back to being congratulated for it being my unbirthday.  I received all sorts of e-mails (which will take me a good week to respond to them all), many messages on Facebook, and a couple of cards and gifts.  Amanda and I enjoyed a nice big meal at Chili’s for dinner.  We joked about it being our triannual beef night.  It is birthdays or anniversary that I get to eat a steak.  Monday was a 12 oz Ribeye.  Mmmm, so good.  That is of course not mentioning the Idaho potatos.  Amanda got me a shirt, a jump drive, and something else which slips me at the moment.  I also received a journal, a few checks, and some other random memorabilia.  I honestly don’t feel any different now than I think I did when I was 19.  Except the fact my knee was reconstructed in 2004 and doesn’t give me the issues it did at 19.  So I guess I feel better than at 19.  I have filled out in stature, even added a little padding in the middle,  and perhaps a little wiser.  Life is good.
My blessings continue to flow despite my inept nature.  I continue to be given the little peaceable things of the kingdom from time to time.  They make the living and endurance all worth it.  Line upon line right?  Sometimes I wish it was more page upon page, but alas, I am not the one running the show.  Church goes well.  I feel spiritually well.  Not the muscular behemoth I would like to be spiritually, but I feel strong enough to do what needs to be done and any forseeable adventure.

Prairie Home Companion

Well, I just put out a whole philosophical e-mail and thought I would take a moment to do an actual update on life.
I am sitting here listening to Prairie Home Companion enjoying a few good laughts.  Earlier I listened to Die Frau Ohne Schatten (The woman without a shadow) by Richard Strauss.  It was fascinating to listen to.  Made me want to learn my German.  Funny how music can take us other places.
I have just finished my second week at Bank of America.  Things are going very well.  I am learning many more things about mortgages and all the documentations that attend.  The lessons mostly center around learning the DOS-based system they use for processing all these loans.  I have to admit it is a very detailed system that handles thousands of people working on it at all times with large amounts of information.  Impressive as that it, they tell us it has only gone down once in the last 10 years!  They have replaced one or two systems with Windows applications and they crash regularly so they are not in any rush to be replacing the old DOS-based system.  Therefore, I have to learn the codes and names to navigate the system to check and update information.  They teach us how to check the documents and how to put it into the system.  We were done covering the documents within the first week.  I have found out the position I will be in is basically an assistant underwriter.  It has a whole host of names, but currently it is Home Servicing Specialist (HSS).
Last Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference.  I think it was the most powerful Stake Conference I have ever been to.  I have been to some very good ones.  Two were in the Logan Tabernacle (one for the Logan University 4th Stake the other for the Logan University 5th Stake), another in the Springfield Missouri South Stake Center, and the last I can think of was a Stake Conference for the Chester Stake in Wrexham, Wales.  The most impressive part in Missouri was the music and the unity I felt within the congregation.  The Chester Stake was powerful for the fact of some amazing talks given, one particularly by our mission president.  The one for the 5th Stake at USU was that it was basically turned into a stake testimony meeting.  That in and of itself changed the tenor of the meeting but all were invited by name by the Stake Presidency.  The last one for the 4th Stake, I can think of two conferences in particular.  One had Elder Burton, the Presiding Bishop and the other was all the Presidency’s remarks.  President Cherrington usually gave a great talk at all conferences.  So this conference is in good company.  It wasn’t the first conference I have been to with an apostle, but this one had an apostle acted as we expect them to.  Elder Holland gave some powerful comments.
In Priesthood he taught us about Satan binding our tongues, the difference between lips and hearts, and the difference between forms of power and the real thing.  He basically told us we are doing too many things without our hearts and without conviction.  Time to step up to act in the name of the priesthood like we are expected to do.  In Saturday evening, we were taught how we live in a broken world.  Whether you like it or not, things are not perfect.  He taught us about the Atonement and how all broken things will be restored to their proper order at the right time.  Then he pounded out the importance of not whining, not complaining, and going forward in our lives with faith.  He was very direct in those who complain or say something is wrong in life.  He said nobody has the right to complain or wallow in the misery when the Savior took care of them for us.  Time to walk in faith, get up, and be about doing good.  The Sunday session proved to be just as good.  He spoke about his personal experiences of President Hinckley and his prophetic calling.  It was fascinating to learn more about the personal life of a prophet.  He spoke to us about the importance of the gospel and the role of the church.  Again, the topic had to do with looking beyond ourselves and seeing the big picture.  He ended with the importance and the role of the Holy Ghost.  How as latter day saints we live below our privileges and don’t claim the rights that are ours.  We do not appreciate what has been given to us and need to wake up.
Even though I have heard similar talks, the basic point is the power by which he spoke, namely the Spirit of God.  It literally took the message directly to my heart.  I noticed at a couple of points how my bosom literally trembled at what it was he was speaking.  I recognize the power which he conveyed.
In other news, we have been looking for a second car.  With Amanda needing to travel long distances for school this fall, it isn’t going to work to have one car.  So we are looking for a nice little car under $5,000.  So far it has been a miserable failure.  There are very few cars that are below that limit and what we are finding feel like questionable deals.  We went to look at a little Audi A4 for $4,700 and he sold the car at noon.  So we took a little Passat for a drive that he said he would sell to us for $4,000.  It only has 103,000 miles on it.  We took it for a test drive and something about the transmission raised all sorts of red flags for me.  We will have to see if something else pops up.  I may be too picky.  I don’t want a car that smells of smoke or animals.  I would like one which runs well.  I would like one that isn’t completely ugly, like a stationwagon.  Most people take such bad care of cars.  Many have rips in the seats, big marks in the doors or dash, and more.  I keep waiting for someone to give us one so we don’t have to take on a little more debt, but that probably won’t happen soon.  We will have to keep you updated.
Well, I believe that is enough of an update for now.