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.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Church Leadership Training:


If you missed the leadership conference on missionary work, I heartily recommend it to you.  The work is moving forth, and this conference answers for me some of the questions I have been having with regards to what will the Church do with all the new missionaries?  I found a few answers.
We attended as a family, Miranda who attends the single's ward, Caleb, who is joining the missionary force in August, Sheri and I and Tony.  For fear Tony may not last a couple hours in the meeting, I started with him in the lobby, and the Spanish speaking room.  For a while I had this room to myself with Tony, and I was pleased I could understand what was being said.
Caleb's mission president was also at the meeting, as he is a new mission president, who has been at the MTC for training and will be in Iowa shortly.
Elder Jeffrey Holland conducted.
Elder L Tom Perry was the first speaker, and provided insight to what the new missionaries will be doing.  This includes opening up the churches, where the missionaries will spend time each day serving via the internet.  Also members will be called upon to take a more active roll.  He said, "By virtue of our membership in His Church each of us is called and commissioned to invite others to come unto Christ, whether they be active members, new members, inactive members or non-members."
He was followed by Elder Neil Andersen who presented several stories of success in the area of ward and stake councils doing the work of inviting others to Christ.  He mentions this link:
Elder Russell Nelson presented the duties of the ward mission leader using an example from Oklahoma.
It concludes with Elder Boyd Packer talking about teaching, and using the spirit to teach.
It then concludes with a testimony from President Monson.  He told the story of the Saint Thomas Branch in Canada.  There was a Branch President with a vision, which influenced this good area for good.  "I testify that when we act in faith the Lord will show us how to strengthen His Church in the ward and branches in which we live.  He will be with us; will become and active partner in our missionary labors."

Caleb's Call Acceptance Letter

Movie Night: ****Cahill: U.S. Marshall

This is a John Wayne, and almost all of his movies, including this one, are classics.  This is a Western, which focuses on father-son relationships, and the problems you can have if you put yourself in the victim role.  Turns out the Marshall's (John Wayne) son's are involved in  bank robbery.  Other men are convicted of the robbery, and sentenced to hang.  That is a very interesting premise.  What will the boys do?  This situation is worse as they are in with some very bad men who will kill them if things go wrong; and likely will kill them if things go right.  Marshall Cahill is on their trail, and needs to resolve things before innocent men (at least innocent in this instance) get hanged.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Health As I See It: Energy Boosting Food when You're Tired

From the EAP newsletter at work, “EAP Sentry” article "Tired: Try These Energy-Boosting Foods" and my reaction:
 Food I will actually try:
Dark Leafy Greens: A little spinach or Swiss chard in a salad is always nice. I also like the bitter taste of dandelion leaves. The list also suggests topping your sandwich with leafy greens. That is an idea.
Nuts: I love nuts and eat them regularly. However I could be even more regular. I keep walnuts in my desk at work, but only eat them for a snack if I am really hungry.
Oatmeal: This is something I do not eat enough of. The suggestion is to add cinnamon or blueberries. I am more an apples, brown sugar and raspberries kind of a person.

Food I don’t think I will try
Red Peppers: Plain Peppers are not my thing. I do not like this as part of the salad plate. However I like peppers in an omelet, or on a steak sandwich, or in fajitas or stir-fry.

Health As I See It: Don’t Get Stuck on Blaming

Some ideas I gleaned from an article in the “EAP Sentry,” the Santa Clara County EAP newsletter
Don’t Get Stuck on Blaming
Blame keeps us from addressing issues, and improving ourselves.   All of us have been wronged at sometime in our life.  However “Repeated focus on how we have been wronged keeps us stuck in resentment and inaction.” 
In my case, I could focus on how I have been wronged genetically, with the short and stocky gene.  However, short and stocky would be fine, but I am on the short and fat side, or the obese side.  Which leads me to say, how screwed up the obesity chart is, but again that would not be focusing on anything I can do anything about. 
Some of the suggestions this article presents which I like are:
Forgiveness: If we can find ways to forgive others, we can move forward.  Forgiveness ultimately involves compassion and understanding.  This includes forgiving others as well as ourselves for being stuck.
Become Stronger: Become stronger physically, emotionally and socially through exercise, medication, religious or spiritual practice, engrossing hobbies, volunteer work and counseling.
Support network: Cultivate a support network of caring friends and family. 
Responsibility: Take responsibility for our own actions without blaming others.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Movie Night: *^The Marine

The only reason I could see to watch this movie is if you liked to see big explosions.  Well that is maybe reason enough because you can't do this yourself.  John Cena WWE Wrestler stars as the ex Marine who is trying to rescue his wife from some really bad people.  There are some really big explosions, but none big enough to kill our Marine.

Monday, June 24, 2013

LDS Movie Review: *****A Search for Truth


This movie is very inspirational. It is the story of the conversion of Wilford Woodruff to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A family friend, Robert Mason, starts him on a search for the true church of God.  The vision Mr. Mason had is very interesting.  He sees the restoration, but does not partake.
Wilford identified four things he should find in the true church, organization, correct doctrine, ordinances and authority.  He finds these things.  He writes Father Mason to let him know.  However Father Mason passes away before the Elders each him.  The vicarious work was done for him.  I highly recommend this movie.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tony's Kindergarten Certificate

Tony's graduation

Caleb Band and Choir Awards

These are Caleb's awards for Band and Choir.  He received an "activities letter" in choir.
He also received a section leader certificate and for the second year in a row, the Kellani Arnold Award for the second year.  This award honors the choir member who is the most helpful and picks the other choir members up with his attitude.

In Jazz Band he received his Jazz patch with a trumpet pin.  He also received an "Outstanding Musician" award.
Thank You Mr. Talcott and Mr. Hammarstrom.

LDS Movie Review: *****The Guilty BYU 1978

This is on the old church video cassette 27.  I love some of these old movies.  This one has a very poignant theme.  It shows a fast and testimony meeting.  A woman, supposedly recently on her own, comes to the meeting.  She had moved to the city to take a job.  She stands to speak.  She is pregnant.  She stands up and says he is sorry, and confesses her guilt.  However, many other people in the congregation also stand.  The admit, if anyone is writing on the wall those who are guilty, they should also be there.  The bishop who maybe could have been more diligent, the friend, the neighbor who travels to the city, but never stopped by to check on her, and finally her father, who talks about his reaction to his daughter's pregnancy of being one hoping she would not come home, and worried about how her actions were effected "Your mother and I."  He has gained insight and now sees things more from his daughter's perspective, and asks the question, "How has my reaction effected my daughter?"
This movie reminded me of the incident of the savior, and the woman taken in adultery.  Jesus says, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."  All of the accusers then fade away, as we all have guilt in our time.
This movie never received a lot of play.  However its message is classic.  We are all struggling to make it through, and we need to stand up for each other to make the journey easier.  We all fall short, and that is where our savior comes in.
This movie stars Gordon Jump.

Mormon Movie Review: ****^Legacy (to hst)

This move tells the Mormon story.  It is based on historical happenings, but is told through the eyes of a fictional family, the Williams.  This is the story of Eliza Williams, who is presented as a contemporary of Joseph Smith.  She embraces the gospel as a young girl of 13, is present at the Missouri persecutions, Independence and Haun's Mill.  She receives a blessing from Joseph Smith's hand in Commerce (later to become Nauvoo.)  She participates in the construction of the Nauvoo Temple.  Her boyfriend, husband is a stone cutter recently arrived from England.  She is part of the trek across Iowa and Winter Quarters.  Her husband, David Walker is part of the Mormon Battalion.  She takes the part of Mary Fielding Smith and blessing her ox.
This movie gets me every time when Eliza's father falls in the mud crossing Iowa.  The Tabernacle Choir is singing "Come Come Ye Saints" and that part makes me cry every time. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Father's Day

In the excitement about stake conference, Caleb visiting the temple and Jeremy's wedding, I forgot to write about my father's day.  The ward gave us all cards and a chocolate bar the week before because of conference. 
We didn't have a cake for father's day, but Charity and Anthony came over and Charity made the wedding cake.  Anthony and Tony really enjoy each other.  Natalia was also here for father's day, having come for the wedding and Caleb's endowments.  I had a fine day.  I father's dayed it all day sitting on the couch and being lazy.  Well I wasn't totally lazy, there was lots to do for the wedding.  Mark called on the phone, and all my other kids were here. 
Tony, had asked me what was my favorite cookie.  He made a surprise batch of peanut butter cookies with Miranda.  It was a special surprise, and I enjoyed them.  Being the father of eight beautiful children has always brought me special joy and pride.

Movie Night: ****^Hitchcock

Hitchcock is a 2011 movie starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife Alma Reville.  It also features Scarlett Johansson as the actress Janet Leigh.  I watched it through Netflix DVD.
I found this movie very entertaining.  It is about the making of Psycho.  I was fascinating with the making of a film, and even more fascinated with Hitchcock and his wife, coming together to make a triumph.  They took a great risk with this movie, as Hitchcock could not find financial backing, and had to back the movie himself.  There were so many nuances to the making of the film that at times it seemed the project was going to fall apart. There was dealing with the studio, dealing with the censors, and dealing with personal pressure at home because of they mortgaged their home to make the film.
Overlapping this is the relationship between Hitchcock and his wife Alma.  Hitchcock determines she is having an affair, and this effects his work on the movie.  However when he collapses from exhaustion, Alma comes up to keep them going and to keep production from falling too far behind, or to keep the cost overruns from being too great. Alma was not having a physical affair, but perhaps one of loyalty as she was helping a friend write a book.
In the end, this movie was Hitchcock’s greatest success, even surpassing “North by Northwest.”  I am putting this movie in my motivational movies.  It shows what can be accomplished with determination and resolve.   

Friday, June 21, 2013

Movie Night: ***^The Recruit

The Recruit
This is a 2003 movie starring Al Pacino as Walter Burke, a CIA trainer, and pits him against Colin Farrell, James Douglas Clayton a recruit.  Burke recruits Clayton by telling him he knew his father and implying that he was a CIA agent at one time.  The training has many rough parts, including Clayton being kidnapped and tortured.  As a result of this, he drops out.  However he formed a relationship with a young woman, Layla Moore (Bridget Moynahan).  Burke recruits Clayton in a lower level job, and indicates to him that this woman is in fact a foreign mole.  She is stealing information out of the CIA and wants someone wither rust to work as an independent  spy, and figure out her contacts. 
This movie has some tense scenes.  Everything is not as is seems, which leads to an interesting finish.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mark's Fiance's Father Passed Away Last Week


Jeremy's Wedding, Wedding Dance and Reception/Picnic

Jeremy married Kayla Burns June 18 at Yosemite.  Uncle Mark performed the ceremony.

 Tony was excited about being the ring bearer.  Caleb was the best man.

Yosemite wouldn't let them have reception in the park, so we went to Oakhurst for the picnic reception. 

The afternoon concluded with cake and couple's dance.  Charity made the cake.
couple dance
bride/father dance, groom/mother
more dancing
eating the cake

Monday, June 17, 2013

Wedding Prepartions: Jeremy and Kayla

Jeremy and Kayla are getting married at Yosemite June 18, Tuesday.  Charity made the cake for them yesterday.

TV Review: Classic Doctor Who: The Three Doctors (to mmvoe)

This is a 1972 opening series of the tenth season of Doctor Who, and is the first in which a prior Doctor comes back.  It features the first three Doctors, who are brought together by the Time Lords as the home world of the Time Lords is under attack, and their energy is being sapped into a black hole. Because of this attack, the Time Lords go against their own rules, and put the three Doctors together to attack the threat.  The Doctors are played by John Pertwee (third and current to movie Doctor) Patrick Troughton (second) and first William Hartnell (First).  The first Doctor is not able to materialize, due to insufficient energy, but appears on a view screen.  He is often the most level headed, and is sent to calm the other two down.  As the first two get together, they become engaged in a rivalry, which hinders their effectiveness.  The stream in the black whole is sent to find a Time Lord.  The Doctors eventually discern that they need to follow the stream, and so they do so.  There the find an old Time Lord Omega, who helped establish the Time Lord realm to begin with, but all thought he had sacrificed himself in an explosion.  His "will" has allowed him to exist where nothing should exist, in a black whole which is made of antimatter.  However as his "will" is what allows him to exist, he cannot leave.  He has brought the Time Lord to force them to use their will so he can leave.  However he has gone made, and actually the particles have destroyed his body, so he is an empty suit of armor.  Omega has accidentally brought many friends and others from Earth to the black whole, in his attempts to find a Time Lord.  He agrees to send them back, if the two Doctor Who's stay.  They agree.  However the use Omega's insanity and anger against him, and are realized, and restored to their natural spot, when Omega is set free through death.  The black hole becomes a star.
I found this entertaining.  The soldiers of the world created have interesting weapons, but they seem to always miss.   Their appearance is somewhat grotesque.  They energy being which is sending everyone to the black hole is a interesting special effect. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Thoughts on Stake Conference

Stake conference resulted in the reorganization of our stake presidency.  I attended the temple session, which was very well attended. President Crockett spoke of his observations of the temple, and it reminding of our role as children of our Heavenly Father.  He compared our relationship of parents to our children to that of Heavenly Father and mother to us, and how there are many similarities, and the temple teaches us of these. 
Saturday was the adult session.  It started with President Crockett giving a farewell address.
This was followed by the wives of all the members of the stake presidency also giving testimonies.  During this, a brother in the audience had a grand mal seizure.  Several members of the stake with medical experience intervened.  We waited for a time while music played. and the ambulance came. 
After this brother Nathan McGuire spoke.  He is a member of our ward.  I thought he was a member, but I thought wrong.  He was baptized a couple months ago.  His testimony and story were very moving.  Many people had the sniffles, including Sheri and myself.
We also had two Seventies talk.  Elder Sabin who is an area seventy and and Elder Haleck who is in the Second Quorum of Seventy.
Elder Sabin shared stories from his life, addressing four life questions, statements, "What if it is true?" "She said yes?"  "I'm a father." and "No one really dies."  From this he talked of seeking your own personal testimony, that marriage is more than just going to the alter, but takes work, parenting also takes positive effort.  It is not all being liked by our children, but being able to guide and counsel.  It does not end when they leave the home, and finally, facing life after the death of a loved one.  A couple of his children had lung disease, and he shared going through the process of death, knowing that death is not death, but moving onto a different realm.  He shared and experience his grandfather related of when he came home from his mission.  Grandfather said, "This is like when my mother died."  He explained that he had seen people from beyond the veil waiting for his mother's passing, and greeting her, just as they were greeting the returned missionary.
Interestingly Elder Haleck shared a similar experience.  He was apprehensive of his son serving a mission in an inner city environment (Cleveland).  When he was set apart the Stake President said, "You will have a special guardian from beyond the veil."  When he returned home, his son related how they often went through very bad neighborhoods, but it seemed no one even saw them.  He explained he felt the influence of his grandmother protecting him.  "You know grandmother would never let anything bad happen to me."
Sunday we were presented with a new Stake Presidency.  President Crockett again bore his testimony, as did President Smith.  Also President Norman and President Brown and finally President Maxfield.
The rest of the meeting was presented again by Elder Sabin who talked about fathers.  His own father, after being a missionary in Washington, served in the Navy during WWII.  He was promised if he remained true he would be uninjured.  One time he had a sense to get out of his bunk.  He jumped up, and got behind a smoke stack when a bomb struck where he had been, sending shrapnel all over.  Through his example, he influenced a couple ship mates to be baptized. 
Elder Haleck invited those who had been to the temple, but were not currently holding recommends, to correct this situation, and take advantage of the keys restored by Elijah.  He also talked about missionary work, and helping the missionaries with inviting.  He said missionaries do not go out alone.  They go out with the influence of their parents and their home wards.  He suggested that as we would like people to help our missionaries, we should be helping those who are serving in our wards.
I pray for our missionaries, and I am now seeing the great promises of working in the kingdom for the last time.  The Lord has blessed our efforts, but as the Bishop pointed out this is the result of a long season of working hard and preparing for the harvest, which we are now seeing.
Choir sang for the session Sunday, "The Lord is my Shepherd" and "Come Let us Anew."  For the Saturday adult session a soloist sang 

Uncle Mark (My Kid's Uncle) Set Apart as Second Counselor in Stake Presidency

Thanksgiving Picture
My brother-in-law Mark Norman was ordained to our stake presidency today.  We were invited (all the family) to attend the ordinations, which is something new for me.  We started with an introduction of the families of the presidency.  President Maxfield has younger children, while President Brown only has one child remaining at home, but has two on missions.  When Mark was ordained, I was invited to be part of the circle.  I thought a couple of things.  President Crockett was voice, and I felt it was an honor to be in the circle with him, and with our new stake president, President Maxfield.  The other thing I thought was Mark probably missed his brother, Gary, not being there.  Gary passed away just a couple months ago. 
President Crockett voiced a very nice prayer. Elder Haleck set apart the new stake president, and Elder Sabin set apart Elder Brown.
After, Caleb asked me how it felt to be in the circle with two seventies.  I must admit I was so awed at the thought of being in the circle with Presidents Crockett and Maxfield, that I didn't even remember to notice.
I know President Maxfield in his capacity as being in the stake presidency.  He has worked with Caleb on projects, and has said very nice things about Caleb, and Caleb speaks highly of President Maxfield.  I had not previously met President Brown, but have met his son Devin, who is a missionary in Estonia.  Devin always represented his father well.
As for Mark, even though he is younger than I, I have always looked up to him and received advise from him.  Sheri remembered a story from when one of our children was struggling grades, and felt put down by us as parents.  Mark's advice was that maybe the relationship was more important than the grades.  It was Mark that suggested we move to Central Valley, after we were frustrated with not being able to buy in Cupertino.  We had been looking in Utah-Idaho-Wyoming. 
Another Mark trait is his humor.  He has told some of the funniest stories.  Mostly just observations of life, but he can be very funny.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Caleb's Trip to the Temple

Caleb, and his friend Matt Elliott went through the temple yesterday.  Scott Dye also went through the session.  We saw so many friends I am sure I will miss some, but wanted to make a list all the same.   Family Sheri, I, Charity and Anthony and Natalia.  From Stevens Creek Ward: Stan and Kathy Dye, Janet Cyphers,  Bishop Sheldon and Nancy Orton, Bishop Ted Dorff, Brian and Susan McGhie (live in Utah now), Sterling Davis (was at the temple doing a wedding).  From Northland Ward, Richard Bair (Young Men president and wife had baby four days ago), Jim Carter (Young Men's) and Debra Carr (Sunday school).  We also saw Brother Hugh Brown (temple worker and Manteca Stake Sunday school presidency).  Jens Karren from our old stake was getting married at the same time.  We saw Amelia Karren McGuire who did dance with the kids, and President Hodgman.
We also ended our day with Stake Temple Day.  It was crowded.  The room was entirely full, and the Monte Vista (Spanish) Ward went to a separate room.  Bishop and his wife were there, Brother Rice and his wife, Sister Papworth and Brother Hokanson.
I am sure I missed some, so if you know of more let me know. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

TV Review: ****It's an Adventure Charlie Brown

This is a delightful little bit available through Instant Netflix. It doesn't have any real plot, but shows numerous humorous short stories.  Reminds me of when we were younger, my friends and I would get a Peanuts book and read it together on the stair landing at South Cache Junior High School.  This reminds me of those times, and it is very fun.  Charlie Brown coaches a younger team, he is elected president at summer camp, Lucy tries to get rid of Linus' blanket, but Snoopy keeps bringing it back.  There are numerous other funny bits.  It made me smile.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Elder Haleck Conference Speaker

Elder Haleck is speaking in our stake conference.  He has been a member of the Second Quorum of Seventy for over two years.  He talked in April 2012 conference about vision.
 His theme was people without vision perish.  The vision we should have is to see ourselves as the Lord sees us.
Our stake presidency will also be reorganized.  This Sunday at 10 a.m. Northland Building.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Charity's Baby Shower, and more

I asked, and it appears this is a women's gathering to honor Charity and her first pregnancy.  This Saturday she is going to be honored at a baby shower.  Natalia will be her tomorrow to participate.
Natalia is also coming for two more family happenings: Caleb is going through the temple Friday; and Jeremy and Kayla are getting married on June 18.  A busy elongated weekend.  I understand Mark will be here for the wedding.  I really want to get him to sing a couple songs, perhaps Iraqi Sun Rise, which he wrote while in Iraq.  I hope we can coax him. 

Twenty Years and Counting

It is actually almost 21 years that I have been working with Santa Clara County, but I received by 20-year reward of a pen set.  Also a letter from Jeff Smith, County Executive.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Caleb's New Mission President

Caleb's New Mission President is a retired professor at the University of South Carolina.  He was a geography professor.  He has written a couple of books: Remote Sensing of the Environment: An Earth Resource Perspective, and Introductory Image Processing.  These books deal with taking data from remote sensing, and applying that to make conclusions about the environment.  The second book is used as a text-book in upper level geography classes.  He is identified as a South Carolina Distinguished Professor.  He was honored by Geocarta International for contributions in the field of remote sensing.  He has mentored numerous Phd and Masters students over the years.   He has achieved success in his academic endeavors.  He will now be mentoring young men and women, including my son.  There are at least four other members of our stake who will be in his mission when Brother Jensen begins his service this month, including Sister Barker from our ward.

Life In Manteca 68: Northland Ward

Tony found fruit on our back yard tree.  We decided they were cherries, then someone said plums from a plumless tree.  I have decided hey are cherry-plums.
This week, Friday after work was barbecue at the Normans to celebrate Natalie who goes away to school in three weeks.
Family news: Kayla, Jeremy and Skylar have moved back to California, half-time with us and half in Cupertino with Kayla's family.  They are getting married June 18.
Yesterday, Saturday, Caleb and I sang for the funeral of Sister Margot England.  At two Sheri and I attended the baptism of Brother Kyle Keller, and then at six we had the ward chili cook-off.  There were hot chili's and medium chili's and mild chili's and chili's labeled medium that were really hot.  I went through many glasses of water, but it was all good.  Corn bread is an added touch.  Tony played a game, of course there were several others, but this is Tony.