Manifesteth

Often as I survey the environment around me, I wonder about many of the charismatic gifts.  It is a fascinating world we live in.  Many churches teach that they were done away.  Others teach us that they must ever be upon us and always manifest as a true sign to the believers.  In the world of Mormonism, there is certainly a middle ground.  One I am always watching and listening for.
“But the Son of righteousness shall appear unto them…And that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith.” (2 Nephi 26:9, 13).
There are those within the church who make the comment that if we have not seen the Savior, than we have obtained nor lived up to all that our religion has to offer.  However, does that really mean we have to see him physically and in person?  I certainly believe it is a possibility, but something that doesn’t seem common place.  To me it seems something much more sublime.  Dreams, Visions, and all the other gifts must be manifest by the Spirit.  Accordingly we are told, that if the Holy Ghost burns the witness into our heart, it is better than if we had physical verification of the Savior.
Rather than separating all the parts of this verse apart, like many others, why don’t we look and see that perhaps the working of mighty miracles, signs, and wonders may be methods of his appearing unto us?  After all, if we can feed the hungry and clothe the naked and it is as if we did it unto him, why could not the same being done to us be a witness of him in our entropy world?  What is even more, what if we were in tune enough the spirit witnessed to us the person was acting in the Savior’s place?
How else would we learn to see the countenance of the Savior in others?  How else would we learn to see the countenance of the Savior in us and if we are a saved being?
I certainly believe in the visions and dreams which give us greater insight into the Savior’s life.  The example of Orson F. Whitney or Melvin J Ballard are great examples of what is possible in that realm.  One of the latest testimonies of the same I have read came from David B. Haight.  It seems to me that after we have learned to recognize the voice of the Spirit manifesting the miracles and signs around us, then we may be granted a greater vision and view of the beyond.
One thing I am sure of, the boasting I sometimes hear is surely not what the individuals are relating.  I remember the tale of a sister who worked in the Washington D.C. Temple.  Apparently she helped close down the temple some evenings.  She then commented in her testimony of that the Savior lives and that he goes to his own.  She then repeated over and over about four times, “I know He lives.”  While it surely may be the case she knows and it seems she was trying to indicate, after all Lorenzo Snow’s experience was similar.  However, the Spirit was not present, and to paraphrase a Joseph Smith comment about those who do not prophesy according to the Spirit, “and there shall be many inquiries after them.”
However, if we have learned to recognize the Spirit through the signs and miracles around us, I know such blessings are available.  But would we ever really know for sure if anyone else knows?  Does it really matter?  If we haven’t learned to walk that path, and to recognize those miracles and signs among us, does it really matter whether or not another member really knows?
“The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.  Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?  Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.” (D&C 88:44-46)  If we have viewed the creation of God by the Spirit, we have seen God.  Why do we need to see more.  This was Marion G. Romney’s testimony given to us again just last General Conference by Elder Hales.
“But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.” (Mormon 9:11)
Lastly, the questions I have posed are answered so clearly by Moroni himself.  He who appeared and was another witness of the spirituality of Joseph.  He surely would not have seen anything if he had not seen the miracles and signs of God all around him.  We know he wondered at the heavens in all their beauty and order.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?  For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens.  And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased?  Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.” (Moroni 7:27-29).
Just because Christ doesn’t walk among us doesn’t mean miracles have ceased.  Just because he dwelleth eternally in the heavens does not mean the mercies do not still descend upon those with faith.  Interestingly, the first example of the miracles that Moroni gives is that of an angel ministering unto us.  Perhaps we are to busy looking beyond the mark and are missing the signs, miracles, and angels all about us.  Indeed, the angels we are called to receive, but also to which we are also called to minister.

The proud always fall

Life continues to come upon me at breakneck pace.  I don’t mind, I am really enjoying it.  There are a number of things I do feel like I am neglecting which are more important.  This trend is not one I could keep up indefinitely.  Portland, Pasco, Spokane all in one week.  Last week it was Pasco, Wenatchee, Moscow, Boise, and more.  This coming week will be all over Northern Utah.  I took the weekend off some to get back into some family history, paid and unpaid.  A chance to do some missionary work (I gave away three copies of the Book of Mormon and had 3 less-actives out to church).  A funeral, visiting with a couple of widows, and time with two babies, and eating that partridge from the pear tree.
Having just written that last paragraph, I remember the time I was accused of telling those sorts of details to make myself look significant.  I often wonder about that when I have mentioned where I have been or what I am doing.  I have for as long as I can remember deliberately never ‘dropping names’.  I honestly think my not doing so has afforded me opportunity to meet more notable than I would have ever had the chance if I had sought them out.  Billionaries, politicians, actors, and who knows.  The best are those who have no name or station, but wisdom to share.  But what about telling of my adventures and travels.  Hmmm, if I do not mention the places I have traveled or the things I have done what would be left for conversation?  Thoughts?  The more I read it seems the less original thoughts there are in our day.  Are we really just to discuss history?  Then again, would we have history if nobody ever recorded where they had been or who they had met?
It seems to me the real problem is when we tell of laurels from ages past.  When we live in a surreal environment where the past keeps being relived with little relevance to the present.  Then I find I am in the presence of insufferable know-it-alls who are doing little in the present field of theater.  On the other end of the coin, there are others who seem to dwell in the present making decisions with little relation to significant points of the past.  With the disconnect we have some terrible side effects on our hands.
“And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come: And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.” (D&C 98:24-25)
What do we share with others?  Do we live in a state of hermitage or do we share our experiences with places, people, and thoughts?  It seems we should be living our lives as an open book.  Talking, sharing, conversing, and listening to others.  To truly be learning and walking forward through life.  It really is the spirit that is most important, not necessarily what is shared.
Anyhow, it is not a clear relation, but this was in relation to the scriptures I read this morning.
“And I will punish the world for evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay down the haughtiness of the terrible.  I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.  Therefore, I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of Hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.  And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up; and they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into this own land.  Every one that is proud shall be thrust through; yea, and every one that is joined to the wicked shall fall by the sword.” (2 Nephi 23:11-15).
Doing things for our own purpose is pride and arrogancy.  In deed, it is Priestcraft, which interesting the upcoming chapters of 2 Nephi dissect and expound upon.  The proud will have nothing to do than to turn to his own people and flee back to their own land.  Even then, they shall be thrust through, taken down by other wicked individuals.  The truth will not only set you free, it will save you from death and hell and that endless wo.

Aeroplane squalls

I thought I would take an opportunity to voice a complaint.  I know it isn’t normally in my nature to complain, usually I try to give the benefit of the doubt or to press forward with the ‘can do’ attitude.  But since nobody else seems too concerned about it, I will air my concerns out where a few may agree.
What ever happened to service?  What happened to the customer, the consumer holding a special place for businesses?  It seems somewhere the status quo, business as usual, and possibly profits have taken over.
Two weeks ago I took a pickup in to have it serviced.  They told me it would be ready on Wednesday.  I returned on Wednesday to have them tell me that more work had to be done and I needed to authorize the work.  What happened to calling me to ask to authorize?  What happened to calling me to let me know the pickup would not be done?  I let it slide and authorized them to do the work.  They then told me it would be done on Friday.  I made it clear to them the truck had to be done first thing on Monday morning because I was supposed to drive it to Pasco, Washington for work.  Not only did I need to drive the truck, it would be left there so taking another vehicle was not an option.  Well, Friday arrived and I called in to make sure it was done, and I was assured the job was completed.  I drove in on Friday to pick it up and it wasn’t even out of the back of the shop yet, let alone completed!  Once again, I let my irritation slide, the changing of my plans, and the trip in to pick up the truck.  Remembering, this requires another person’s help to get a ride in to pick up the truck.  Monday rolls around and the truck is still not completed!  Nobody once again notified me, nobody told me anything.  Finally, Wednesday I pick up the truck, pay the bill, and head home.  My boss moved my trip to Pasco for the Monday after.
I then left my personal vehicle for a service.  The story goes on from there.  When I left my personal vehicle I made it very clear I would be in Pasco, Washington for the week and I would need to be notified if they had any problems or questions.  They said there would be no problem for my coming back the following week.  Well, today, I arrived to find my truck had been looked at but nothing had been done!  I was about ready to start swearing at the man!  He told me I had to authorize the work before it could be done because some gasket needed replaced.  I showed him right on the paper where it said I would be out of town and that I would need to be called.  I asked why I was not called.  He said he did not know.  I told him I had been dropped off and was taking my pickup with me.  I was not a pleased customer!  I drove out of the parking lot vowing I would never again do business of any type with Goode Motor in Burley or Rupert, Idaho.  They have forever lost my business.
In conversation afterward I found out my Dad has had the same problem.  He even notified the manager, Garth Williams of the issue.  I guess he took in his truck to be serviced and they started asking him a bunch of stupid questions.  The guy got huffy with him when Dad told him to go out and get the information from the truck.  After two episodes of this, Dad said he would never do business again with Goode Motor.  So all those who read, here are two customers who are highly unhappy with the business, especially with their service department.  They even gave Dad a coupon for service when he bought the truck and they would not honor the certificate later.  How is that for forging loyal customers.
That episode pretty much tainted the rest of my day for me.  Tonight I sat in the airport for my flight from Salt Lake City to Portland, Oregon.  Our flight was supposed to take off at 7:05 PM.  No, the flight was delayed.  Two hours later I finally board the plane.  Just to press the button on their customer service I went to the Southwest Airlines Ticket Counter and complained.  I told them there should be some reimbursement for my ordeal and they were putting me late.  I lied and said I was going to miss my business engagement.  They offered me their sympathies and basically wished me well.  I told them there was not point of going now and wanted a refund.  This request was denied with a document giving me a phone number to call my complaint.  You would think that customer service would be able to take care of a problem in the airport without my having to make a phone call to listen to some fake woman directing me.  What happened to honoring your word?  What happened to pleasing the customer?
Lastly, I completed McCullough’s 1776 this evening in my hours wait to board my delayed flight.  The discontent I noticed of poor service in the Ford dealership and in Southwest Airlines only turned into more rancor as I thought of what it was we fought for in the Revolutionary War.  We separated ourselves from Britain and fought a war for abuses less than what we currently face with our present government.  What is even more frustrating is the fact that we as Americans let business and government so dictate our lives.  Hey look, they are even going to give me $1,500 of my own money back and then want me to go spend it!  Well, geez, thanks for giving my own money back and then tell me what to do with it!

Inlande Futures

I have been pretty slow to mention anything on here about the recent change of venue for employment.
My newest employment is with Inlande Environmental Resources, Inc. based out of Pasco, Washington.
As most of you know, I was laid off from Bank of America on 31 December 2007.  They were divulging themselves of the entire Wholesale division.  I was one of the fortunate few.  I applied for a number of positions within the bank but I later found out HR and a Hiring Manager had messed up.  They thought I was a closer instead of an assistant underwriter.  I was not seriously considered for the jobs I applied for.  I fought it some, but there are only so many positions and they were already filled.  Once again, Bank of America screwed something up.  I won’t even go into how they messed up my pay and severance package.  They withheld the equivalent of 32 hours of pay for some hiccough they had on their end.  I think I am glad to be done with them.
In the meantime of applying for different jobs, my Dad gave me a lead for Inlande.  I thought it couldn’t hurt to apply.  In the end, I ended up getting that job for 1/3 more salary, plus commission.  So I could not refuse it.  No other jobs offered employment in Richmond.  It was one of the only options open to me.
Part of the problem applying for a job in Richmond was the fact Amanda graduates in May.  With that, I would effectively quit my job to move west.  Who is going to hire somebody for 4 months?  I could not be dishonest when they asked how long I intended to stay with the company.  Add to that, the fact Amanda and I have already booked our tickets to Europe for 6 months from 4 June to 16 July.  Who wants to hire me then?  As soon as we arrived at the town I would be attending law school, I would then have to find employment for a month or two until school started.  The whole situation was not favorable.
Along came Inlande Environmental.  We made a trip for the interview.  It was more of a visit to the family.  I was interested in the job but it was so far away.  When would they want me to start and how long would Amanda and I have to live apart?
When I found out it was 1/3 more salary, plus commission it was more interesting.  It would be a change of industry from mortgage/finance to infrastructure/public utility.  That industry will not go away as long as humans need to consume water and remove their waste.  I was forthright about our 6 week vacation for the summer, the good chance of my getting in to law school, and attending law school in the fall.  They still thought I was worth the risk.
It looked fascinating to me to have a job that got me back into some chemistry.  That was an area I have been interested in for a long time.  (I took a chemistry book on my mission!  I never got around to studying or reading it though.)  Plus with the recent changes in the mortgage and finance industries I wanted to get out of such a shifting environment.  Add to the fact my new job would not keep me confined in an office and I was definitely hooked.
The major difficulty was in the distance.  Amanda would have to remain in Richmond while I moved to Idaho.  The position is for a Regional Sales Manager for Utah and Southern Idaho.
Amanda has a number of rotations coming up in which she would be gone for several days at a time.  In addition, she wanted to start studying for her boards a couple hours every night.  With my being gone, she could study for long hours without the need to be concerned about me.  I also would not be the constant distraction I am for her.
After the offer, we determined it was not an offer we could pass up.  Nothing else came as close to looking as good.  Richmond is expensive and we could not afford a drop in pay.  I really didn’t want to spend a month job hunting because the loss of income would really cut our options for our trip to Europe for the summer.  Employment had to continue for us.
This put one of us closer to scope out places to live when we decide where we will be moving for the fall.  It helps me get out some more of the traveling bug that constantly haunts me.  The requirement to travel and a company vehicle with fuel had me jumping with excitement.  This job will have me traveling all over the entire state of Utah, Southern Idaho, and Western Wyoming.  Not to mention the occasional trip to Washington.  I certainly have a few places to stop as I am traveling through.
Amanda can focus solely on school and I can really do the heavily traveling required to lay some foundations.  Even if I decide against law school or am not accepted, I will have done the initial legwork so I won’t be required to travel as much when Amanda joins me.
It will not be an easy task.  I have no worries that Amanda and I will make it through it.  We will get to see each other about once a month until that time.  Anything we may lose in 4 months apart I certainly am sure we will make up in 1 1/2 months of traveling through Europe.
Most people look at me like we are crazy.  Like I have left my wife and this will be the end of it all.  For some reason I feel more pity on the people who feel that way.  I am not concerned for my marriage like they seem to indicate they would be for theirs.  Sure, I don’t want to be away from my wife.  However, we both recognize this as our best option and felt that heaven was directing us this way.  We can talk daily.  We can e-mail.  All is not lost.  Our engagement we spent equivalent time apart and were able to overcome that obstacle.
I now find myself in Idaho.  What does the future hold?  I am not entirely sure.  A couple of law schools have declined me already.  There are a few more to hear from.  We shall wait and see.  At any rate, Amanda and I will be reunited this summer and pressing forward for whatever life presents then.  This job could be one with definite long range potential.  More doors are opening than are closing with this time apart.

Philadelphia

I have just added nearly 70 more pictures to the newest album.  It is the 2008 album and has been appropriately named.  As we continue through the year, I will do like I did with the Virginia Living album and put the most recent photos at the front.
The pictures all come from our most recent trip to Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.  There are photographs from the U.S. Capitol, Washington Cathedral, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, Carpenter’s Hall, and other sites in Philadelphia.  Amanda and I drove up Thursday evening to Kensington, Maryland and stayed with my Uncle Donald and Aunt Lolane Andra.  We worked in the Washington D.C. Temple Friday morning and then went to visit the Capitol and Cathedral.  Saturday morning we arose early and drove to Philadelphia by way of Delaware and New Jersey.  Philadelphia for the most part was a beautiful day.  It was a bit brisk at moments but they were not long lasting.
We were fortunate to not have any long lines for us to wait.  We entered most of the buildings very quickly and in some instances had the building almost to ourselves.
It was a great little get away weekend.  This coming weekend we are headed off to Williamsburg.  What will be in store for us there?

Washington Duncan’s

Finally, a brick wall fell down.  As some of you may remember, earlier this year I got a lead through the papers of Howard Ross regarding Beulah Ross.  He had a letter from Donna Beachell Perry in 1972 or so with an address for Beulah.  She said she wrote to her.  That finally gave me a location to pinpoint Beulah.  I then called every Duncan in the phone book within 20 miles of Zillah.  I don’t remember who I did finally get that gave me the phone number for Carol Stone in Sunnyside.  I phone her, got her e-mail, wrote to her and got one forward that had nothing to do with anything.  I have tried e-mailing several more times with no success of a response.
So I took matters into my own hands.  I wrote the Washington Secretary of State.  I actually went through his office with the Ask a Librarian program and sent off a request for any information in the archives for William Duncan or Beulah Duncan’s information.  Well, a month later, I received a pdf file with the obituaries and death notice for William and Beulah.  Her obituary gives some great leads into where to search next for some more possible clues about her family.
I already had her marriage to William in 1922.  But could never find more evidence of them in the Burley, Idaho area.  Now I think my next hunt will be to find their lives in Bend.  I looked up the records for Zillah City Cemetery and much of it is online.  However, they don’t give much more than dates for birth and death.
Anyhow, here are the records for William and Beulah.  Now I can hope I can be so fortunate to find something else on any of her siblings.

Beulah E Duncan Marshall
Valley Hills Funeral Home
Toppenish – Beulah E Marshall, 93, of Toppenish passed away on Tuesday, March 5, 2002.
She was born March 6, 1908 in Grundy, West Virginia to Robert and Minnie (Hambrick) Ross. She spent her early years in Utah and Idaho. From 1923-1931 she lived in Bend, Oregon and 1931-1942 she lived in Ellensburg. Beulah has lived in the Yakima Valley, Buena area, since 1942.
Beulah worked at Cal Pak seed pea operation from 1943 to 1955. She also worked as a fruit sorter and for 11 years at the Mother Goose Cafe in Zillah. She liked to work in her yard and keep it looking neat. She loved music and dancing and encouraged her sons to play music like their Dad.
Beulah is survived by a son, Jack Duncan of Mabton; 24 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; husbands, William J Duncan and Kenneth Marshall; three sons, Robert L Duncan, Harold E Duncan, and Ernest J Duncan, one brother and three sisters.
Funeral services will be held at Zillah Chapel of Valley Hills Funeral Home on Friday, March 8, 2002 at 10:00 a.m. Concluding services will follow at the Zillah City Cemetery.
Valley Hills Funeral Home in Zillah is in charge of arrangements.

William J Duncan
Colonial Funeral Home
Zillah – William J Duncan, 75, of 1109 Maple Way, died Monday in Sunnyside General Hospital, Sunnyside.
Born at Clinton, Ark., he had lived in the Zillah area since 1942.
Survivors include his wife, Beulah; three sons, Ernest and Robert, both of Sunnyside, and Jackie of Toppenish; three brothers, Tolly Duncan of Toppenish, Felix Duncan of Buena and Donald Duncan of Penndale, Penn.; one sister, Myrtle Marshall of Lexington, Ore.; 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Another son, Harold, died in 1973.
Duncan – Funeral services for William J Duncan, 75, or 1109 Maple Way, who passed away Monday, July 11 in Sunnyside General Hospital, will be held on Wednesday, Jul 13, at 2 p.m. in the COLONIAL FUNERAL HOME CHAPEL., Toppenish. The Rev. Stanley White will officiate. Burial will be at the Zillah Cemetery. Mr. Duncan was born in Clinton, Arkansas on September 26, 1901. He had lived in the Zillah area since 1942, moving there from Ellensburg. He and his wife, Beulah, were married on Sept. 20, 1922 in Burley, Idaho. Besides his wife, he is survived by three sons, Ernest J Duncan and Robert L Duncan, both of Sunnyside and Jackie A Duncan of Toppenish. He was predeceased by one son, Harold in 1973; three brothers, Tolly Duncan of Toppenish, Felix Cantrel Duncan of Buena and Donald Duncan of Penndale, Penn, one sister, Myrtle Marshall of Lexington, Ore: 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

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.