What's In This Blog

I created this blog for my journal. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this blog I keep many of the things I come across as a member of the church. I also share my experiences on the ACE Train and getting to work, my experiences in Manteca where we have lived for three years, and other things I think are noticeable.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Caleb Easter Sunday Talk

This is Caleb's talk from yesterday.  It is very good.  It had me crying.

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters,

Introduce your self

What does Easter mean to me? As a child I can remember the excitement Easter morning brought to my care free life. I often knew what was planned for the day ahead because I bothered my mom so much about what our activities were going to be. Most years it consisted of waking up to baskets filled of candy and toys the Easter bunny had brought. I would run up to the baskets and find which one I thought was mine, which really just turned out to be the one I wanted most since I was the youngest. Aside from the toys and the candy, Easter is and was and always will be a day to spend with my family. We love Easter Egg Hunts. Consequently we always found ourselves in some trouble since our family would use real eggs that we had dyed the night before as a family activity. We would often get worried as the end of the hunt came near because we couldn’t find the egg my brothers decided to hide the hardest, and somehow they would hide the egg so hard that even they forgot where it was. This left us hunting for eggs for days. My brothers probably planned it just to start some family chaos.
    As we become older we soon realize the true meaning of what Easter morning really is. I often think about the symbolism if Easter. Is it merely a coincidence that the season Christ was resurrected in was spring, a season of new life and hope, when natures animals are born and flowers blossom? Is it merely a coincidence that we celebrate Easter on a Sunday, a day that we are meant to remember Christ as we partake of the sacrament and renew our sacred covenants which could have only been made because of what Jesus Christ himself has done for us? Brothers and sisters the symbolism of Easter is not a coincidence. It is meant as a day of communion with the Lord and a day of remembrance for what Christ did for us on the Earth.

    The resurrection of Jesus Christ was a turn of events that showed us the resurrection was real. It shows us that one day we will live again, and we will have no imperfections. We will be glorified and we will be able to live here on earth with those we love and those we have lost. We wont suffer from disease, from hunger, thirst, pain, and from self conscious ideas about what people think of our appearance. We will be perfected. Easter morning is the day Christ arose from the tomb, he defied everything man knew to be normal and showed his true power by defeating the one thing no man had conquered. death.

    In conference Richard G. Scott tells a story from his personal life:

One night our little son Richard, who had a heart problem, awoke crying. The two of us heard it. Normally my wife always got up to take care of a crying baby, but this time I said, “I’ll take care of him.”
Because of his problem, when he began to cry, his little heart would pound very rapidly. He would throw up and soil the bed clothing. That night I held him very close to try to calm his racing heart and stop his crying as I changed his clothes and put on new bedsheets. I held him until he went to sleep. I didn’t know then that just a few months later he would pass away. I will always remember holding him in my arms in the middle of that night.
I remember well the day he passed away. As Jeanene and I drove from the hospital, we pulled over to the side of the road. I held her in my arms. Each of us cried some, but we realized that we would have him beyond the veil because of the covenants we had made in the temple. That made his loss somewhat easier to accept.
    This story shows us directly the blessings that can be attained from being able to enter into the temple and make covenants with our heavenly Father. Because of their faith, they will be able to be with again and finish raising there beloved son Richard. I too look forward to the day when I will be able to be with my family agin and be able to meet my big brother Billy Boy.My Mom’s first child was a stillborn.  As newlyweds my parents were excited to have their very first child but after one of my mom’s appointments she was informed of news that would change my parents life forever. She was referred to a different hospital where they could more fully examine the child and confirm his death. Quoting a blog my dad wrote called “Lessons I Learned From My children: Billy Boy, A Time to grieve    he says:
From this experience, I learned there is a time to grieve. The grieving process was not just a one-day thing, but took place over several weeks, even months. How do you grieve for a baby you never cuddled and held? It wasn’t hard. The baby was real to us, and we had made plans to make him part of our lives. Sheri’s grieving was intense, because she had felt every kick and movement while the baby was inside her body. I had felt kicks, but only when Sheri shared them with me.

We went to spend a week with Sheri’s family for bereavement. It was a comfortable week for me. Not so much so for Sheri. They had given her what would be an inflatable tube for her to sit on to aid in her heeling process. We spent most of our time in the living room while Sheri tried her best to get comfortable.

We returned to Duckwater after at week of grieving leave. I worked for the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, and while we were gone an elderly tribal member had passed away. I am not sure why, but where this gentleman had been a member of the Church, it fell upon me to talk at his funeral. Preparing that talk, and remembering the eternal nature of life and family, helped me along my grieving process. The funeral was attended by the entire reservation of almost 200 people. I had received delivery of two large turkeys from BYU Community Outreach, which I brought back with me for a tribal dinner for the Holidays. We used these for a tribal feast to honor our newly departed elder. I felt I was handling everything OK.

Sheri did not grieve for some time. In fact she really didn’t grieve until a couple years later. My niece had a stillborn baby boy, Skyler, for whom they had a funeral. Sheri finally was able to grieve at that funeral, and let out her feelings about Billy Boy. In the mean time we had a new baby girl.

It’s funny about grieving. It is not a one-time process and then you’re done with it. Grief is less intense over time, but it is something that comes back. I wrote in my journal about having a bitter day a month after losing Billy Boy. Bitterness is evil and to be avoided. It can blacken your soul. I avoided bitterness by leaving things to the Lord and accepting that all will work together for our good. (See D&C 122:7) There is peace in that thought, and peace replaces bitterness.

A couple years later I wrote in my journal:"When Billy Boy died I remember asking myself inside for a long time, 'Why? Why? Why?' The question went away, but I’m not sure if I ever really answered it for myself. I do know when Tali was born and I saw how beautiful she is, the hurt seemed to fade—although for a time it was more piercing as I realized what we had missed. God, I know, has blessed me greatly, but it was after the tribulations and trials that allowed him to pour our more abundant blessings and make Tali so beautiful."

I am grateful for Billy Boy, and his short time in our lives. I still look forward to the day when I will be able to parent him and hold him in my arms. In the meantime, I feel his presence, and his loving concern for Sheri and I, and our family.
It’s wonderful to know that because of what Christ did on Earth we will be able to live with our family again. I truly look forward to the day when I will be able to meet my big brother.
We all have hardships. Some harder than others. We all have trials. Some more trying than others. Consequently because of these trials, we all make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. But through the atonement we can become clean again and take back upon us the name of Jesus Christ our Savior.
 Brothers and Sisters I encourage you to remember Easter as a time of remembrance for all the blessings we receive. Have you ever had those days when you start thinking about all the power God has or one of those beautiful times when you sat beneath the stars and just gazed into the galaxy and thought about how small you really are but remembered that God loves you and knew you personally. Remember the days when you just cant wrap your head around things? Brothers and Sisters I want to challenge you to make today one of those days. Make today an Easter to remember by setting aside time to just think. Although the activities are important, its more important that we remember Christ IN our activities.


Our Easter celebration started a couple weeks before Easter, as Natalia wanted to dye eggs while she was out.  Charity and Anthony were out as well.  This was the day we had our Easter dinner, spiraled ham with all the trimmings.  Alyssa was here for dinner, but not for the egg dying, which took place after choir practice.  Tony loved the dying.

Easter Saturday we had visitors, Vern and Karen Wardle.  We then went to my sister's for barbecue, egg dying again, and egg hunt.  We had a god time, and sat around chatting, until Tony let us know he was tired and needed to got to bed.  Tony came home with a big bucket of candy.

Sunday was a more mellow day.  Sheri woke up sick (I guess she had been sick during the night) and didn't go to church.  Caleb and I went early to rehearse with the choir.  During the meeting we sand, "I Stand All Amazed" and "This is the Christ."  Caleb talked.  He told the story of Billy Boy, which made me cry.  I had big tears rolling down my face, and didn't even bother to wipe them off. 

With Sheri being sick, dinner was corn dogs.  I love corn dogs with the dipping sauce I make so that is OK.  We also had leftover potato salad.

Caleb and I kept up a tradition, and drove over the hills for the Easter fireside.  I should have remembered traffic would be bad going into town on Easter Sunday.  We got there late, but the fireside was great.  We heard Zion choir sing twice.  Caleb was really impressed with the choir he use to sing with before we moved.  We also heard other performers. We listened to the Easter message by President Jackson of the San Jose Mission.  It was packed.  It is now a stake wide fireside which helps with attendance.  We also had the chance to see many old friends.  Alyssa went with us so we showed her Caleb's old school and our old house.

Oh, I almost forgot.  We did an Easter basket for Tony.  Everyone else is too old; but there was plenty of candy around..  I got him a plastic bat and ball, as well as a soccer ball.  He made me pitch to him much of the afternoon.

PS  Although Miranda and Natalia were here for the egg dying two weeks before Easter, I missed not having them here Easter weekend.  This is the first time Miranda has not been with us Easter weekend.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

***^The Scarlett Letter: Book Review (to mmboe)

I should have read this classic novel long ago, but never did.  I knew it was about someone having to wear an "A" as a result of adultery.  However I wasn't familiar with the background, nor the actual story.  This is a true romance.  You know things just aren't going to work out in the en, and they don't.  However, in the priest making his confession, there is a twist to the ending which I was not expecting. 

One of the worries though out the book, is for the daughter, and fortunately this turns out well in the end.  The main character, never does find happiness with a man, but  she lives her life as best she can under the circumstances, and does find repentance.  I .would recommend this book for someone studying American literature.  It is a true American classic

Another weekend in Manteca: Restaurant Review: **^La Playa

This weekend is also Easter weekend, and the first time Caleb and I have sung with the Northland Ward choir.  However for the weekend first.  Sheri and I visited another restaurant for our Friday date" Taqueria La Playa.  This restaurant had menu in Spanish for a more traditional flavor.  This restaurant was recommended to us as someone's favorite Mexican restaurant in Manteca (and there are many of them) and as such I must say I was disappointed.  First for the positive.  The decor was very nice.  They had scenes of the beach painted on the walls.  The bathroom was identified with pictures of merpeople, mermaid for the women's and merman for the men's.  Tony insisted I open the door to the bathroom as he wanted to see the mermen inside. 

The restaurant and bamboo type tables and chairs.  Sheri liked them.  I was less than enthused as I had taken in my coat and they weren't good for draping the coat over the top.  There was no coat hanger. 

I was disappointed with the food as well.  I had enchiladas and a taco.  I guess, I discovered after, there speciality is burritos.  Their carnitas and carne asada seemed to be made earlier in the day, and then added as needed.  The meat had dried out.  

However on Saturday, Vern and Karen Wardle came to visit.  They were out for for a wedding reception.  Charity and Anthony were here for Easter as well.

I discovered a faster route from our house to Food 4 Less and the Target.  I don't have to take the freeway anymore to get there.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

***Mimi's: Restaurant Review

We visited Mimi's restaurant last week after Tyler Morgan's wedding reception.  Mimi's is one of Sheri's special restaurants.  She particularly likes their French  onion soup.  I think we all had a good time.  The specialty breads they bring for an appetizer are fun; sweet breads, banana and  zuchini, as well as regular bread, all in fresh baked mini loaves.

Sheri and Charity had the French onions soup.  I had clam chowder.  I also tried the sliders, the barbecued pork ones.  They were delicious.  They had pickles and onions on them, which added a very good flavor to the barbecue pork.  Charity also had the soup, Ty and Anthony tried breakfast sandwiches, and Caleb had a chicken pot pie and enjoyed it.

Our only disappointment was on Tony's part.  He sees their children's menu, with a picture of brownie, ice cream and chocolate topping and has to have that .  This happened the last time we were there as well, and he really enjoyed it.  However this time they were out of brownies.  He contented himself with ice cream and chocolate topping, and an order of French fries.

Tony was very tired, so I took him to the car, and both he and I fell asleep.  I don't know how much longer the others stayed in the restaurant talking and having a good time--but it was some time before they came out to the car.  It was a fun day, and Mimi's is a fun place to eat.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Charity and Lunch

Since we moved to Manteca, I have tried to get with Charity every week.  I think we have had lunch together every week but one.  She lives and goes to school within a couple blocks of where I work.

Close to the hospital where I work there are mostly fast food restaurants.  We have tried Taco Bell, Subway and Wendy's twice.  Today I think it was the best however.

I had taken ham and beans, left overs.  Sheri had out done herself and they were very good.  I walked to Charity's house (she has had the week off) and used her microwave to heat them.  She didn't try hem, but I left the extras for Anthony.  We did eat celery and carrot sticks together, dipped in peanut butter.  That is good tasting, and also good for you.  My only regret with lunches, is we both only have a half hour.  It goes very quickly.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Steve Young PSA Helping Hands

 Check out the helping hands promo from Steve Young, and also share Natalia's experience with Steve Young.


ACE Train #3

I continue to look for animals as I'm riding the train.  Lately the turkeys have been on the golf course.  There was a whole group of them today.  Yesterday there were two chasing each other running in a circle.  Unhappily, last week, when I was driving home with Sheri we saw a wild turkey on the side of the road dead.  I imagine the car that hit that turkey had a surprise.  Those turkeys are big.

I have been seeing deer at the end of Niles Canyon.  I caught an animal out of the corner of my eye, and thought it looked like a mountain lion.  However right after I saw a deer.  The first must have been a deer.

The prettiest animal I have seen was a big white bird.  I was actually above the bird in the train as it flew past next to the ground.  I decided it was a stork because it looked like the bird in Disney movies.  Sheri says it was probably a White Heron.

The flowers are pretty.  I see a lot of yellow ones for Tony, who likes them.   there are also pretty purple ones, and California Poppy just before the Pleasanton Station.  I would like to take more pictures, but the train goes too fast.

I am most enjoying traveling over Station Island and through Drawbridge.  There are no longer tours to the island, and traveling there you are subject to a ticket.  However the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge takes a van close to the island.  They also have a photo tour at their center.

Movie Night, *^The Land of the Lost

I watched this movie the other day on one of the movie channels.  I missed the first, and thought it was probably the dumbest movie I had ever seen.  Today I am watching it with Caleb and Alyssa.  It is still a stupid movie.  The concept is stupid, and the acting is canned.  It really is poor.  Will Farrell is not his best.

However I asked Alyssa and Caleb what they thought of the movie, and the thought it was funny.  Am I too old to have seen the humor.  It looked like they were trying to copy Napoleon Dynamite at one point, but I did not find it funny.  However I did like the big boiled lobster.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Life in Manteca #3

Saturday was a slow day for me.  Sheri was off to San Jose for a Relief Society conference in our old stake, and I was home keeping track of Tony.  We mostly did nothing in the morning, except Tony watching cartoons.  I picked up Caleb at 12 from dance rehearsal (dance festival in June) and then spent some time with he and Tony.  We first tried ****"La Costa."  Caleb had not had breakfast and it was already past lunch time.  Sheri and I had tried to go there, but it was cash only.

This is a restaurant where you order at the window.  They have indoor sitting, but we chose outdoors.  Caleb had a bean and cheese burrito, I had a carne asada taco.  It was very nice, double corn tortillas, and brimming with meat and salsa.  Tony also ordered a taco, but then didn't want it as he was chewing gum from the 25 cent machine.  My two tacos (I ate Tony's) were divine.  Caleb said the burrito was delicious as well.  He couldn't eat it all.  We had root beer, which helped to calm down some of the heat from the salsa.  We had a nice experience, and by the quality and price of the food, this place is great.  The environment was lacking, not much seating inside, and the bathroom was around back and required a key.  I will be back.

From there we went to Wilson Park, and checked out the Tidewater Trail.  The park is under construction, and will be very nice when it is done.  The Tidewater Trail Trail does not follow any body of water, but follows the Tidewater Rail tracks.  We only walked a block before Tony said his legs were tired.  It will be fun to walk more of the trail. However this trail does not hold the same excitement as the Saratoga Creek Trail in Cupertino.  It is fun to have a creek or river by a trail as there are more animals, and a place to throw rocks. 

We ran Caleb home, and then Tony and I went to see the **Green Hornet.  Tony and I had seen the previews for the Green Lantern on the internet.  We had made plans to see this movie before realizing it wasn't the same one.  It was too something for Tony's age.  He was bored for parts of the movie, but the action scenes did attract his attention.  I found the relationship between the Hornet and his side kick to be boring, especially the long drawn out fight.  It didn't make sense to me.  So I would rate this movie a miss it.

My entry wouldn't be complete without talking about my trip to ***Food 4 Less.  With the economy the way it is, any savings is welcome.  I remembered this store in San Jose (which has changed to something else now) as being a good place to buy groceries.  I found other items at a better deal than even the dollar store or the outlets.  I think this is a great place to shop in between visits to Costco. I plan on visiting more often.  There prices are much better than Safeway (except for milk.)  In this economy, and with gas going up every week, you have to do something.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My day in San Jose.

I ended up in Downtown San Jose for a training Friday, and wanted to share the places I visited.  This is my old stomping ground, 18 years ago, when I worked with Virginia Street Project and we were movws to Down Town Mental Health.

I got off the train at 7:40 and walked to Santa Clara Street where I took a picture of the "Arena."  I know they call it something different now but I like the "Arena."  I then took the 522 express, which travels up and down Santa Clara street,  for downtown.  I got off on 20th street, and walked to the **** "The Chaparral" super market.  This is one of my favorite markets, because it is where you can get Dulce de Batata.  I don't know anyone else who has dulce.  It is great with cheese.  They have other Argentine products, alfajores and mate, but I stick with the dulce.  I also picked up a couple of orejas, a Mexican pastry that I really love.
The Argentine food is in the second row.  The store is located at Santa Clara and 21st.  The store has Mexican pastries, which would be better with chocolate milk, but they only have coffee.  They also have a taqueria, produce, and groceries with a Latin flavor.

I attended the training in the service center.  This is where I worked for six months way back when.  Virginia Street Project had its own entrance and lobby.  This place had both sad and happy memories.  It was while we were located there that our supervisor, Nikke Chrisman succumbed to cancer.  We were then folded into Down Town mental Health and became a part of their program.  Also while there I I got a pink slip.  It was one of those periods of budget crunch and down sizing.  The pink slip was rescinded.  Then a couple days latter I was transferred to Access, and from there became a Callcenter worker where I still work.

Lunch time I visited the *** "Mi Tierra" Taqueria and Carneceria.  It is at 24th and Santa Clara.  The burritos are great there.  The burrito I had was carne asada.  It had a special sauce with a beautiful flavor.  The flavor stayed with most of the afternoon.  I also tried the radishes at the sauce bar, as well as the pico de gallo.  The food was great, but the environment has something to be desired.  I few tables in a corner of the store.  The store prices seemed expensive.  I bought a bottle of water to go with the burrito, and it was almost as expensive as the burrito.

I visited the library after.  I had to kill some time, because it didn't open on Friday until 1 p.m.  Everybody builds fancy libraries, and then cuts back on the hours for budget problems.  This is an old Dale Carnegie library, which is now just a front for the new library.

After the training, I took the bus to the San Jose State, San Jose City Martin Luther King Library.  I visited special collections to read a book.  The library closed at 6, I guess another cost saving measure. I did see a PIcasso book on display and another painting I liked.   It is funny that San Jose State honors the two angry black men from the 1968 Olympics.  I can remember when they tried to embarrass our country.  I am grateful our country's racial attitudes have changed, but I don't think these two men promoted any change, change came despite of them.
Coming out of the rally there was a peace rally.  There are those who would like Ghadafy to kill all his citizens.  Just like there are those who think Saddam's sons should still be grinding people up feet first.
However they mentioned the Tea Party rally, so I headed over there, and shook Bryan Sussman's hand. 

A couple more items of note.  I saw another Picasso, on a restaurant.  I took a picture of the Great America Building, at one time the only tall building in San Jose, but now dwarfed, I got a shot of Saint Josephs, and the art museum next door.  I also got a shot of where Charity performed in a few musicals with San Jose Children's Theater.  And what visit to San Jose would be complete without a picture of Quetzalcoatl.  Although many people refer to this art as something else.  One last thing.  I sw a plan fo the new baseball stadium, just a couple blocks from the arena.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tony's pictures of Stevens Creek Primary

Primary friends and John Fishbein ( bishopric)
Tony took a camera with him the last primary day in Stevens Creek Ward, before we moved.


Kathy Dye Primary president

Evelyn Roberts, Steve Hessel

Mommy and Tony and I love you (spider man webs)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stevens Creek Ward Choir

This is the choir I was conducting in the Stevens Creek Ward before moving.  This was a rehearsal Sunday.  Many talented singerS and musicians in the choir