Thanks be given

There is not a whole lot to report on at the present.  We enjoyed a Thanksgiving here in blessed Virginia.

Amanda and I drove to Massanutten, a resort up in the hills.  We went up to spend Thanksgiving with Amanda’s Uncle and Aunt.  It turned out to be an interesting day.  I enjoyed the drive up to the area.  Gordonsville was the highlight of the day, the town having a personality completely its own.  A rare thing it seems these days.

Massanutten wasn’t anything to boast about.  They do have a very large indoor water park.  Other than that, it was just a bunch of condos in the middle of the mountains.  Don’t get me wrong, the mountains were beautiful.  How much more beautiful without the “hello, here I am” presence of the resort? 

Amanda and I have determined we will never go out to enjoy our Thanksgiving meal again.  It seems to undermine what the day is about.  Who would have ever thought it was Thanksgiving.  Where was any resemblance of Thanksgiving, other than a commercial version of the foods associated with the date? 

We went back and pretty much watched the TV for the rest of the day.  Driving home, we were relieved to leave the situation which seemed lacking so much.

Hopefully, I can pay some homage to the day here even though the day did not provide much.

This week, I discovered I am the posterity of individuals who lived at Jamestown.  Yes, next years celebration of 400 years in America, honored even by the Queen, is directly relevant to me.  Not just through this nation, but through my ancestors who lived there.  The Clark (or Clarke) family, the Summers, Lumpkin, and Thompson groups I am all related to.  There is a possibility my Clark’s even come from the famous John Clark, who was the Master’s Mate on the Mayflower.  He had been to Jamestown before, imprisoned in Spain, made the trip of the Mayflower, and eventually made his way back to live in Jamestown.  He died not too much afterwards.  I am also a descendent of the Graham Clan who settled parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.  They extended into Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio as well.  I am an American very deep in some roots.  One of those Grahams was a personal friend of George Washington, and convinced him to help endow a new school he had founded.  Yep, a Graham founded Washington and Lee.  My history includes three future presidents, universities, and other numerous recorded aids to society.

My roots expand the ocean many times.  My roots run to Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England.  My ancestors were in the court of rulers; my ancestors even ruled parts of the Roman Empire.  My ancestors come from Sweden, Norway, and the largest number from Germany.  I have family who can be traced into Russia, Australia, and a score of other nations.  The foundations I have been given are broad and inclusive.  I am so very fortunate.  Each of us have a history which began long before we were born.

Those blessings extend beyond my family.  This nation, which has its hopes in liberty and freedom are one of the greatest blessings to me.  I am very fortunate.  It may be a weakness in many ways, but is a great boon in many more ways.  I pray for the principles upon which it is founded to continue to go to the whole earth.  I pray that those principles would be grasped by other nations and be implemented into their states.  I pray our nation might return to the principles of truth and freedom for which it is founded.

I remember the lives of those who were given for this freedom I enjoy and others do not.  Two of my Great Grandfather’s were gassed in WWI and both lived to tell the tale.  Both met painful and difficult deaths due to it.  One grandfather has purple hearts to show for his wounds and success in WWII.  The other grandfather tried to enroll, but due to health issues was not allowed to be a part.

I pray for the soldiers of freedom everywhere.  I care not what nation they represent, as long as they are there for liberty, freedom, and truth.  I pray God will bless those who represent those hopes and ideals.  That those who do not represent those ideals, or those they represent, will be thwarted in their designs.

It is with gratitude I offer my thanks to He who makes death not a fear.  I thank and give adoration to the Savior of all mankind, even Christ that we might all live again.  That despite wickedness and fear, we have nothing to fear but sin.  I express my deepest thanks for the restoration of His church back on the earth and the miracles which abound about us.  The gathering of lost nations, the restoration of Israel, the building up of the kingdom in preparation for the king whose right it is to rule.  My deepest sympathies are with the restoration and furthering of eternal purposes upon the earth.  My greatest joys and delight come from this impressive, yet almost unrecognizable effort happening in our midst.

I am pleased to have been born at this time of such great blessing.  It is with a certain hope I see the future, despite all which is prophesied to come upon us.  So much pain that the Saints will barely escape with their lives.  We have seen little or nothing of what is to come.  Nations will rise up against nations and desolation shall abound on all the earth.  Those of the order of God have not need to fear though.  This I am grateful for.  For the Priesthood which shall protect those within the covert from the storm, for the Resurrection that those who will be lost; both for their own sins and for a more full judgment upon the wicked.

Most close to home I thank for those who are dearest to me.  I am thankful for those who so deeply touch the deepest parts of my soul.  Many who are now separated from me by death, but that too shall not be for long.  My dearest wife, and all her splendor for which I am a blessed soul.  My parents who fought and struggled so hard for my upbringing and their abiding love for me. 

There is a whole multitude of souls I could reference for their influence in my life.  The more I learn and contemplate, the more I realize how intricately every soul is linked to one another.  Even years later we remember the influence of another.  There are influences from childhood, influences from events far away, and even influence from beyond the grave.

My heart is full.  I am thankful for all things. 

Getting to know you….

Welcome to the Sept. 2006 edition of getting to know your friends. Copy this and paste it onto a new email & change all the answers so they apply to
you.  Then send this to a whole bunch of people including the person who sent it to you.1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:50 AM
2. Diamonds or pearls? A saphire catches my eye the most
3. What was the last movie that you saw at the theatre? Saw the Joseph Smith movie in Liberty, Missouri on the 1st of July.
4. What is your favorite TV show? Home Improvement
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Banana
6. What is your middle name? Norwood Jonas (yes, two names)
7. What is your favorite color? White
8. What food do you dislike? Who dislikes food? Without it I would die!
9. What is your favorite CD? Right now, Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto!
10. What car do you drive? 1998 Toyota Camry
11. What is your favorite Sandwich ? Club
12. What characteristic do you despise? Ignorance
13. Favorite item(s) of clothing? The ones I wear
14 If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be? Heaven
15. What color is your bathroom? Cream
16. Favorite brand of clothing? Don’t have one
17. Where would you retire to? Malad, Idaho
18. What was your most memorable birthday? 2003
19. Favorite sport to watch? Soccer
20. Furthest place you are sending this? The Moon
21. Whom do you least expect to send this back? ?
22. Person you expect to send it back first? ?
23. Favorite saying? A lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.
24. Are you a morning person or a night person? daytime
25. What is your shoe size? 10.5
26. Pets? Nope
27. What did you want to be when you were little? Farmer
28. How are you today? Restless
29. What is your favorite candy? Oreos
30. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Saturday
31. What is your favorite food? Yes
32. Favorite Past-time? Traveling

Bonified Stately

Another week has passed and things constantly change and go. Sometimes I have to laugh at how quickly the world seems to change. One moment one thing is happening, the next moment all new circumstances have arisen.One month ago, Amanda and I were not in Virginia yet. In fact, we were driving through Kansas and would be arriving in Missouri. A week before that, we were comfortably situated in our little apartment in Provo, Utah. Had not even started packing yet. One year ago, I was unmarried, living and working my life away in Boise, Idaho. I had a wonderful job during the week working for The Gallatin Group, and on the weekends I sprayed lawns in Malad, Idaho. Seven months ago and eleven days, I was married in Logan, Utah. Put me at seven and half months ago, I was working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Now another chapter of sorts is beginning, or at least a sub title. Today Amanda officially starts at Virginia Commonwealth University in the dental hygiene program. It was strange to drop her off at her ride’s home, and come home alone, to realize she is now a student again. Oddly enough, Matthew and Sarah Harris are one of the individuals who Nathan Wayment’s e-mail passed through in its line before us for which we were able to secure this huge home to live in.

Another chapter opened on Friday when I went in to take the Virginia Health Insurance Licensing Exam. I had spent a whole week in class preparing to take the test, and there I was, taking it. I really don’t know what I expected, that it wouldn’t come? It did, and I squashed it! So, now I have certification to be licensed for health insurance in Virginia. Now, I head off to Raleigh, North Carolina for two weeks of training so that Combined Insurance of America can appoint me. Then after appointment, I will receive my actual license from the state. Then I will be bonified and legitimate to be selling insurance in this state. Carrying on in a company of which my Grandmother invested 30 years of her life. Too bad I could not take her residuals!

Life marches on, it continues to amaze me, and go forward. One day it seems that I have enjoyed and endured all I wanted in life, and then another magnificent vista opens before me. Endured not because of pain and torment, but because it just seems my bosom could not contain anything more. My, our, blessings are beyond comprehension. At some points in life, I feel my heart has swelled as wide as eternity and could not possibly take any more. Pain just isn’t an option any more. It is so low, so mean, so vulgar, and something only to distract our mind from the real view. The past weeks I have recognized blessings which have come to me which have been in the pipeline for generations. I recognized blessings that come to me from my Great Great Grandmother Christiana Wilhelmina Knauke Andra. I also stumbled upon one that has passed to me from Regina Friederike Nuffer Scheibel Wanner. Just this week I had one fall in my lap that came from Herbert and Marthan Christiansen Coley. Who would ever have thought that the faith of these individuals would reap and bestow blessings on those who they only could imagine.

Well, time to be doing something more. All is according to plan, as far as I can see.

 

Arrival in Virginia

We have safely arrived at our home in Glen Allen (Richmond) Virginia.  We have now unloaded the car and are in the process of putting things away.  Here in a while we will venture out to find food, tp (how rude to not leave any!), and find our way around some.  It will surely be an adventure as we have no idea where anything is. 
Today we left from Lexington, Virginia and drove here.
Last night we spent the evening with Evan and Amber Fetters.  They are friends of mine from USU.  They were the ones I visited last year in Baltimore, and we both keep crossing the country.
They took us on a little tour of Lexington.  I have to admit, it is such a beautiful town.  It has its character and maintains it.  I have to admit, I am leaning towards Washington and Lee University just as much as University of Virginia.  I loved it there.
We drove from Mt. Sterling, Kentucky yesterday.  West Virginia was beautiful.  We liked the gold domed capitol building.  Nothing too exciting other than that we jumped off of I-64 to skip the turnpike.  Since we are thrifty we decided we don’t like toll roads.  We took US-60 through some pretty serious back country.  It was very beautiful and added a few hours onto our trip.
The day before we drove for over 11 hours.  We drove from Branson through St. Louis, Illinois, Indiana, and northern Kentucky.  It was beautiful.
Anyhow, time to get back to work.  We have a house to organize.

Moving to Virginia Day #5

Another day of traveling.  Today we left from Branson, Missouri and crossed Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and have come to rest in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky.  Here we will be spending the evening for our few hours tomorrow drive to Lexington, Virginia.  There we will spend the rest of our day with Evan and Amber
Fetters and enjoy the fireworks at Washington and Lee University.  Should be an exciting day.

This morning we took our time getting ready.  I called and invited Liarra Bartlett to come and visit for a while.  She came and we visited for about a half hour.  It was sure great to see her again.

We visited with Becky Hughes for a spell and then popped by Ryan and Carina Hughes’ home.  There we got a tour of the home since I had not seen it since helping to fix it up.  We also ate bran muffins which Amanda got the recipe for.  It was good to visit with Cheryl Linton as well.

We headed out towards Virginia.  We saw downtown St. Louis including the Arch.  The rolling hills of southern Illinois, Indiana, and northern Kentucky were all beautiful.  It was a long drive today but we are glad to be getting closer to our destination.

Traveling to Virginia Day #4

The Sabbath has now passed.  So I thought I would share a little update before we get going on the road today.
We ended up staying for sure with Andy and Becky Hughes.  They have been more than kind to us.  Keeping us up, visiting with us, and providing some wonderful food.  Breakfast of waffles and such, with dinner of homemade lasagna.  All very good.

Went to church in the Branson 2nd Ward.  It was good to see so many old friends.  We ran into Gary & Kathy Freeman, Sheila Dutton, Marty & Cindy Hughes, Ryan & Carina Hughes, Gary & Lena Hughes, Adam & Vikki Hughes, Merrill Osmond, Jason & Mara Hughes, Steve Arvig, Doug Lowe, and many others.  It was great to be back in town.  The opening hymn was absolutely powerful.  All the hymns were sang in faith.  What a refresher.  The closing hymn was America the Beautiful, and most of the families have performed this show before so it came out in 6 part harmony in Sacrament Meeting.  It is amazing how music changing the power of a meeting.  It was Testimony Meeting, which was good, despite the usual missionary field-interesting ones.  All of church was great, especially to see so many old friends.

After church we came home and dressed more comfortably and chatted for a while.  We were scheduled for dinner with the Lowe family.  We went over and had a wonderful dinner.  The missionaries were there, one of which Amanda graduated from school with.  Anna Badger, Lee and Korinne Hamblin, and Kayli also had a friend.  Dinner was patriotic and tasteful.  I ate way too much.

After visiting with the family, Kami Lowe, and Anna Badger we headed to visit with Terry McCombs.  We ended up being there for several hours discussing physics, resonance, the build of the vocal instrument, and Zion.  It sure was good to visit with him again.

We returned to Andy and Becky’s, visited for a few hours, and then crashed for the night.

Today we head off to Lexington, Kentucky.  Hopefully all goes well.

Traveling to Virginia Day #3

Yep, another day on the travel route ending in Virginia.
This morning we arose at the home of Joseph and Alyson Shepperd, but we were alone.  Now if you want to know kindness, they gave up their bed and slept on cushions on the living room floor for us.  If that is not sacrifice for your brother I do not know what is.  That is true religion! 
When we awoke, they had already left for work.  We were tired enough that we slept in until about 9:30.  We arose and got ready for the day and finally headed out a little after 10:00.
We made our way to Liberty, Missouri which was near.  We paid a visit to the Liberty Jail and went through the visitors center there.  It was a good tour and then we watched the new Joseph Smith movie.  It was very, very good.  I was really moved by it.  What it especially powerful is parts of the film that are depicted, we were actually on site.  It was moving to realize you were
only feet away from where the actual events occurred. 
After Liberty we headed off to the temple site at Independence, Missouri.  I have to admit, I like attending the spot, but I have never cared much for the visitor centers there.  The Community of Christ visitor centers are hollow, and it seems like the LDS one’s cover only superficially, or skirt around what is really there.  While I have great respect for the site, I just feel that nothing
is really worthy of the site that is currently present.  Perhaps someday.  I surely hope so.
We took Noland road out, hopped back on I-70 and headed south to Branson.  We stopped, ate, picked up some fuel, shopped for souvenirs and headed the rest of the way.  For some reason or another I felt really tense and really wanted to get to our destination, especially where it was so close. 
Passing near Collins, Missouri I started watching out for the road to get to my cousin’s home.  I knew it was in Humansville (actually Arnica) and should visit.  Well, I took M, when I should have taken N, and ended up 20 miles off the mark.  For nearly 3 hours we searched before we finally found my families home.  When I did find a signal to call, I phoned Bryan, Amanda’s Dad, to ask for direction.  He told us we were supposed to be going off of N rather than M, so we backtracked and headed off that direction.  But before he could have mentioned AA to me, if he would have, we lost our signal.  So we wandered for a long time before we figured out we also needed AA.  When I finally found what was familiar, then we got lost in the maze of roads on their property!  Ugh.  By the time we were there, the sun was getting closer to setting so now I was antsy to get going so we could get out of the country before having to wander all night.   Nonetheless, Tammy was taking her family to Stockton for fireworks so we were able to follow her out. 
We ended up showing at Branson a several hours late.  Jason and Mara Hughes still had the chili on for us and we enjoyed a meal with them.  We ate and visited until about midnight thirty.  We then headed off to Andy and Becky Hughes house to stay the night.  We stayed up and visited with them until 2:00 AM about everything from birth control the Liken the Scripture movies and people we know in them.  Funny where people you know end up.
Anyhow, it is time to crash for the day.  Tomorrow (now today) is our day of rest.