Quail Creek Ward

I know some of you were interested in the first impressions from the first time we attended our ward here in Oklahoma City.  Here are a couple.

Testimony Meeting was interesting.  Mostly, they were the typical ‘thankimony’ but they were good heartfelt ones.  There was plenty of empty time where we all sat there pondering the life of Abraham Lincoln, or Jefferson Davis depending on which side you fall.  The main theme of the testimony, if there was one, was family history.  Which struck me as a bit unusual from my experience.  Amanda and I were happy to note that our most recent callings were both filled today with new members in this ward.  Meaning, we probably won’t have to worry about those callings again, at least for a good while to come.

Sunday School was most interesting.  Having spent far too long as a Stake Sunday School President, I am very analytical of what goes on in the teaching of a ward.  Here were just a few quick observations.  I tried to review the lesson at least generally so I knew what would be discussed.  The teacher took the liberty of introducing the lesson and then went off about a talk in which talked quite a bit about the atonement.  He did the big no no of straying from the outline of the lesson, thereby discouraging those who prepared, and in a sense making himself totally in control of the lesson.

Next, if we look beyond his high esteem of himself, he spent most of the time on a talk given by President Bednar in 2001.  While it is a good, genuine talk, even published by BYU; it does not fall under the heading of a church publication.  Only official church publications are to be used in Sunday School.  Here we have a talk printed from BYU speeches of the year, and by a man who is not a general authority of the church (at the time).  He should have just pulled out the old Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce R McConkie, it falls under the same category.  I know there is much good doctrine in there, but also a few unofficial doctrines.  It still isn’t published by the church, and therefore out of the question for use in Sunday School.

Even better, the talk has a couple of points which have been clarified by General Authorities before and since.  Not at all that President Bednar was wrong, but a main reference of his talk comes from President David O McKay.  The quote he uses has been clarified by other General Authorities, namely Dallin H Oaks.  If the church had put this talk into correlation and official publications, I am sure it would have included some of these other clarifications.  For example, the quote by President McKay goes something like we make bad men good, and good men better.  In 1998 as a missionary we were very seriously taught from a talk by Elder Oaks that we are not here to make bad men good, or even good men better, we are here to make men Gods.  If you just want to make bad men good, and good men better, go to another church.  Don’t waste our time.  However, we have the Priesthood and the ordinances which make manifest godliness.  Anyhow, this point isn’t so much important as the first two, it really is getting down to semantics and intent of the talks.  Nevertheless, I was pretty upset to have prepared for a lesson that was never given.  The teacher went off on some talk he had impress him once at complete disregard for correlation or standard procedure of the church.  Most of the lesson was no less true, but it make a talking head of the teacher and removed the nourishing of one another.

Priesthood went very well.  People were very friendly and I feel very welcome into the quorums.  I look forward to getting to know more and serving therein.  We have a member of the Stake Presidency in the ward, as well as a Patriarch.  The CES Institute Director for the area is also in the ward and he committed me to Institute, of which I was happy to oblige.  Most interestingly, we then went to a combined High Priest and Elder Quorum lesson on of all things, Family History.  From what I gather from the lesson, this ward is pretty active when it comes to family history.  The temple and family history center appear to be very active.  I am glad to hear these things and look forward to being one of the humble herd following along.

As the church often works, we found out today of a dental hygienist in the ward.  Amanda visited with her for a while and it has really given us some hope for the prospects of her employment in the area.  Moreover, this good lady has a brother in law who will be in my law school class!  Meaning, I know now I am not the only LDS student in my class.  I probably have a study buddy now!  We have been fasting today that Amanda’s prospects and employment opportunities will be open, forthcoming, and available.  That door swung open to a degree today.  Hopefully this path will work out for our long term benefit while we are here.

I started up on the family history for the man I do the work for professionally yesterday.  It will be good to have a little income to help us out while we wait for employment and licensing for Amanda.  Things will go well in the Quail Creek Ward from all outlooks.  As long as we don’t end up having a run in with with Gospel Doctrine Teacher like in the Provo 1st Ward!

Moving in

We are in the process of moving into our new little abode in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma State, United States of America.  We got the master bedroom mostly squared away, the living room, received our dryer and refrigerator today, and watered half the lawn.  Tomorrow we have the termite inspector coming to check things out.  I am going to climb under the house with him to take a look.  Not sure if I am excited about that.  Plus I can see the new joist work the contractors did for us to buy the home.  I am worried they were not honest since there is one spot in the floor of the home that sags quite a bit.

This is a good, solid little home.  The past occupants/fixer-uppers were not very well trained in the layout or work on a home.  It is quite obvious where they moved light switches, many are not very good moves.  If they were going to go through so much trouble to rewire some of the home, you would think they would put in 2-way switches or put in a new breaker box for the home.  The current one must date to the 60’s.  I found out the home has two ceilings.  The old lathe and plaster ceiling has another ceiling about 4-5 inches below it, at least in most rooms of the house.  I guess they grew tired of putting in the new ceilings and skipped the kitchen.  There is very little insulation in the attic space and it will need to be increased.  The poor air conditioner runs all day, so I am wondering what the inside of the walls look like.

Our poor lawn is almost dead.  Forget the garden existed, nothing but rotting shells of what was once edible plants.  At least the lawn did not grow much while we were not living here.  The chopped down tree in the front yard has plenty of runners to mow though.

We have moved everything from our storage unit except two book shelves, one heavy enough to require 3 men to move, and a 4 drawer filing cabinet.  I will be glad to let the storage unit out of our control some time next week.  Sadly, while carrying a tele down the stairs at the dock, I slipped and found myself sitting at the bottom of the stairs.  At least the tele was safe!  But I have some pretty nice bruises on my rear bumper and the bottom of my shoulder blades.  My right elbow took a pretty good hammering, but I already had a bruise there from my water bottle on the hike.  Amanda just laughed at me.  Good thing we have some entertainment around here.

The breeze-way between the garage and house is so big we fit all our storage in there.  Who knows what we will do with it when we get everything put away.  Perhaps we could put up a painting studio, a dance studio, or something.  Heating and air conditioning I am afraid is pretty poor in there, not to mention the insulation.  We will have to see.  Not enough money, or time, for all the projects I will probably have over the next 3 years.  We have some serious water rot of timbers on the roof.  The home has very few or no gutters, which is ultimately the problem.  But to put gutters on will require replacement of much of the wood on the eaves.  I haven’t a clue how to do that.  Guess I will have to read a DIY book.

So much to do, so little time to do it in, so little money to do it with!

Oklahoma City looks mighty pretty…

The line from the Nat King Cole song came to mind for a title for the entry of our arrival in Oklahoma City.  (I know, that was a bad sentence.  But it is late enough I don’t care.)  If any of you out there are planning to motor west, take our way, take the highway that’s the best!  It just so happens we live about 3 blocks from the old Route 66!  I have driven portions of it nearly every stretch except in Illinois.  I hovered closely to it and drove most of it in Missouri, even some of the unused sections.  There is another reason to come visit.

We have arrived at our home in Oklahoma City.  After a two day drive, nearly all day for both days.  I am exhausted and my tailbone was threatening to leave me if I did not get up.  We drove from Paul, Idaho to Arriba, Colorado last night.  We would have gone further, but a pretty bad storm stranded us.  This morning checking out of the hotel I felt like I had found my way back to the 1960’s.

Today we drove through Kansas and half of Oklahoma.  It is very beautiful in Oklahoma.  Kansas is beautiful as well, but the trees here help break up what could become monotony.  The home is quaint.  We did a pretty thorough walk through of the home.  In the next three years we will have to go through and redo most of the rooms in the home.  The previous couple had flipped the home, but had obviously done their own work.  It isn’t bad work, it just would not have passed my own muster.  However, we won’t be doing it because the quality of workmanship is below what I would do myself, but because there will be some easy improvements to increase the resale value of the home plenty more.  An air duct extending to another room of the house adds on a number of livable square feet.  Just the fact another room is heated and air conditioned will increase the value of the home.

There are numerous cracks, and evidence of rot or bug infestations, which with proper plastering and paint will be as good as new.  There is much potential.  We cannot complain, we have our own home for under 95K.

Tomorrow we plan on going after our furniture.  Hopefully Amanda will live through the day.