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.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Music Review: Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day Concert 2013

The first part of this concert was a bit forgettable, but then it got good.  Or better said, it wasn't very pioneerish.  I was waiting for the pioneer day songs, but I must admit it got good before the pioneer songs.  This concert had two special guests, both BYU graduates, Lindsey Stirling, violinist and dancer, and Nathan Pacheco, pop and opera singer.  The choir sang a couple songs from different musicals, and a couple songs from "Secret Garden."  "Hold On" was very well done, and familiar from the kids experiences:
When you see the storm is coming
See the lightning part the skies
It's too late to run
There's terror in your eyes
What you do then is remembered
This old thing you heard me say
"It's the storm, not you
That's bound to blow away"
Hold on
Hold on to someone standing by
Hold on
Don't even ask how long or why?
Child, hold on to what you know is true
Hold on till you get through
Child, oh child
Hold on

  Pacheco sings Don't Cry, a song he helped write:

Don't cry, don't cry though hope seems gone! 
Don't cry, this battle still can be won! 
And all these tears
That blind and cloud your days
Will fall to the ground.
Your heavy fears will fade away.
Hold on, until the journey's end
Hold on, this broken heart too will end.
Reach out, I'll come and take your hand
One day, your darkest seas will lead to promise land.

Hold on, let it pass you by
Hold on, don't quit
You've got the angels by your side.
Your heart is strong enough
To see this battle won, 
Your faith will make the morning come.

Don't cry, I'll see this journey through! 
Don't cry, I'll cross the storms to find you! 
And carry you home, 
To never go away
To rest from the storm
And find the joy that passes healing to the bay

Hold on, let it pass you by
Hold on, don't quit
You've got the angels by your side.
Your heart is strong enough
To see this battle won, 
Your faith will make the morning come
Your faith will bring the rising sun.
Stirling is this young woman bouncing around the stage as she plays violin.  She played one song as tribute to her grandfather as tribute to him. 
Pacheco pleasures us with an operatic number from Giacomo Puccini's Turondot.  The music is familiar from the Feature Films Rigoletto.  He explained it is about a forlorn lover who loves the princess, but the princess does not return his love and has sentenced him to death.  This deservedly received stand ovation.  Nesssum Dorma (English translation):

Nobody shall sleep!...
Nobody shall sleep!
Even you, o Princess,
in your cold room,
watch the stars,
that tremble with love and with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me,
my name no one shall know...
On your mouth I will tell it when the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!...
(No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.)
Vanish, o night!
Set, stars! Set, stars!
At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!

This was followed by an organ orchestral number from Tocatta Symphonie Concertante for Organ; Joseph Jongen.  I usually crinch at the organ pieces, but this was different, and also received standing ovation. 
This was followed by the choir singing  a coup of the Mack Wilberg arrangments "Come Come Ye Saints" and "They, The Builders of a Nation."  Stirling then played and danced a familiar umber to Mormons "Scotland, The Brave Simple Gifts" which had the tune of "Hail to the Prophet."  The concert concluded with another Mack Wilberg arrangement, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."  It is a perfect song for an ending:
O to grace how great a debtor 
daily I'm constrained to be! 
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, 
bind my wandering heart to thee. 
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
prone to leave the God I love; 
here's my heart, O take and seal it, 
seal it for thy courts above. 
I highly recommend this concert.  I think you will find it a pleasurable experience. 

Manteca Weekend Plans: Chili Cook-off and Music Concert

The Chili Cook-off is always fun.  I love to get a bowl with three or four different chilis, and try to keep them separate so I can taste them all.  Corn bread and desserts top off the meal. If you want to be there you are invited.
Sister Christensen, stake musical director is putting together the music concert.  I know she will be on flute playing in a four-part music ensemble.  Stake choir is singing "Good Night Dear Heart, inspired by an inscription on the tombstone of Mark Twain's daughter and put to music by Dan Forrest.  It is also going to be a fun evening.  If you look good music, this is going to be enjoyable.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Water Conservation: Email at Work

More Water Conservation Tips
The little rain we’ve seen has not really helped with the serious drought California is having. Governor Brown has declared a drought emergency and all Californians are being asked to reduce their water use. Here are some things you can do to help.
·         Turn off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth.
·         Take shorter showers. If you must take a bath, don’t fill it as high as you normally would.
·         Full loads only for your dishwasher and washing machines!
·         If you wash dishes by hand, do not leave the water running.
·         Do not leave the water running for long when you are cooking or cleaning.
Help save water, and thank you in advance for making a difference.

Tony's Bey Blade Project

Tony had a project to time his Bey Blades.  He pointed out to me this is a test of stamina only and doesn't mean a particular Bey Blade would win a dual.  He spelled the words himself, but had someone else write down the times for him.  He worked very hard.  Not bad for a first grader.
Blue Snake is the winner.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jesus Heals a Possessed Man

This short presentation is almost scary, but it shows the divine power of Jesus, that even the servants of Satan obey Him.  The miracles Jesus performs are a testimony of his divine mission.

Health As I See It: Taking Care of My Health

State of Welllness: Wellness Works winter 2014
This county provided pamphlet starts with a review of the health of county workers.  It is not very flattering, but good to know I am not alone.  55 percent of the county in general, and 56 percent of county worker are either overweight or obese.  I must admit I would like to get down to just being overweight.  51 percent of county workers have high blood pressure or are borderline, 44 percent are stressed or very stressed.  I have to say with regards to stress, it is stressful doing more with less, which seems to be the trend.
So some answers:
Eat right.  They suggest enjoying your good by eating more slowly, and eating less.  Prepare portions visually by using smaller plates, have of plate should be fruits and vegetables; leafy colored vegetables over starchy ones (my favorite is potatoes which didn’t make the list).  Make half your grains whole grains—watch the bread and the rice.  Eat less processed food, ingredients list should be short and sweet, avoid sugary drinks and make sure to include dairy.
Get physical activity:
“Exercise is absolutely essential to a healthy lifestyle.  Try to get in at least 150 minutes moderate physical activity each week; more if weight loss is the goal.”
Smart goals
These are goals that are attainable and time bound.  They are specific identifying actions to reach the goal; measurable, how much how long etc.; attainable, outcome is within reach; relevant, start small and make sure you have skills, resources to achieve goal; and time-bound, have an end date.
March into May, the county is sponsoring an exercise program which they do every year, to get people more active and to measure their activity. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Life in Manteca 87: The Almonds are in Bloom

It is that time of year again when Spring has officially begun as witnessed by the almond blossoms.  These pictures I took across from the Stake Center after church. Ripon held the ALmond Blossom Festival this weekend.

Beautiful.  We are due for a big rain this week, so the weather may turn out well for the almond crop.  Many local people depend on a good crop.  The other tree mixed in locally is walnuts, but mostly farther east.

Life in Manteca 86: Piano Concert and Crystal Apple Awards

We also went and watched a bunch of Asian people and Anna and Heather play piano.  I really liked Heather's Blues peace, but most of the music was-- I bet I can put you to sleep music.  It was held at a Presbyterian church in Livermore.  There were 32 presenting, including three cello solos.  Some of the pieces went on and on, and I was nodding off.  However both Anna and Heather did very well.  I guess the 32 were picked from about 600 piano students.  They had to pass their course of study, level four and higher.  To pass you had to take a theory test, and then also play a piece perfectly for the judges.  Anna passed level four, and Heather level six.  The highest level was ten.  Heather played a song about the snow, and Heather a blues number which I really enjoyed.


The Crystal Apple awards were good.  The students of our stake honored ten teachers from eight schools.  The students would read why they had selected the teachers, and then the awards were presented.  There were also three short talks, Mark talked, a student and the President Maxfield.  Very good.  The best part was the youth choir.  I love to hear youth sing.  They sang "As Zion's Youth in Latter Days", "Come Unto Christ", and "Army of Helaman and Daughters of Zion" medley".  It was a very good evening. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Member Missionary Work 9: Ure Missionary Farewell and Homecoming; and Other MIssionary Ideas

We bounced over the hill to Cupertino for church in our old ward.  Caroline Ure was presenting her homecoming speech, and Adam Ure his farewell.  They are brother and sister, and they shared a week home together.  Both talked on the theme of missionary work, and both quoted preach my gospel, first page: Your Purpose: Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
Caroline focused on the atonement as part of the duties of a missionary; inviting others to take of the atonement of Jesus Christ.  (Preach my Gospel p 1)  It gives you something to think about, to keep the gospel simple.  People must be invited to come to Christ.
It was also good to see people we know, and also see how the ward has changed.  Charity, Anthony and Camberly Rose were there.  It is fun to see Camberly and Tony interact.  She loves to smile at him.  We didn't stay long after the meetin, I still needed to teach my class.
The Sunday school class theme was the covenant of Abraham.  I was surprised to learn that this covenant applies to us as much as Abraham.  We are promised in this life, a land, a large posterity, the Gospel and the priesthood.  Eternally we are promised Celestial life, eternal marriage and posterity, and exaltation and eternal life.  However our responsibilities are to Help all God's children receive the gospel, and obey the commandments.  We need to invite all to the feast of the gospel.
The final place where I was taught about missionary work was priesthood.  The theme was a talk by M. Russel Ballard: "Put Your Trust in the Lord."  He quoted a letter he had received "Dear Elder Ballard, 30 minutes after the worldwide broadcast on hastening the work of salvation, we held our family missionary council. We were thrilled to find that our teenage grandchildren wanted to be included. We’re happy to report that since our council meeting, we have expanded our family teaching pool by 200 percent.
“We have had grandchildren bring friends to church, have enjoyed sacrament meetings with some of our less-active friends, and have had some of our new contacts commit to take the missionary discussions. One of our less-active sisters has not only returned to church but has brought new investigators with her.
“No one has turned down the invitation to take the missionary discussions. What an exciting time to be a member of this Church" (personal letter, Aug. 15, 2013).  Our ward mission leader indicated we have been challenged to have a similar family meeting, and to establish a family missionary plan.  This is my next step, that and to get the book by Clayton Christensen on being a member missionary.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

God So Loved the World

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus brings peace to the world, may we accept his peace, which is peace of the heart, even though we live in tribulation.  This is another excellent church Bible video.  

Clyde Eugene Buff Junior: Funeral

Buffy, Clyde and Sara's oldest son an my mother's oldest grandchild passed away January 31, 2014.  He had a sudden heart attack.  His funeral was February 8.  It was a very somber occasion.  All of us siblings were there, but Dianna and Mark left early to catch a plane. 

The ceremony was very nice.  Dillon and Geneve sang "Please Remember Me."  "Please Remember Me"

When all our tears have reached the sea
Part of you will live in me
Way down deep inside my heart
The days keep coming without fail
A new wind is gonna find your sail
That's where your journey starts

You'll find better love
Strong as it ever was
Deep as the river runs
Warm as the morning sun
Please remember me

Just like the waves down by the shore
We're gonna keep on coming back for more
'Cause we don't ever wanna stop
Out in this brave new world you seek
Oh the valleys and the peaks
And I can see you on the top

Remember me when you're out walkin'
When the snow falls high outside your door
Late at night when you're not sleepin'
And moonlight falls across your floor
When I can't hurt you anymore

Garrett sang "Go Rest High On the Mountain"
"Go Rest High On That Mountain"

I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren't afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, you work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and Son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered round your grave to grieve
I wish I could see the angels faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing

There was a video tribute made using the song "Forever Young."
Forever young, I wanna be forever young
Do you really want to live forever?
Forever and ever

However, this funeral was profound, and the grief and pain was profound.  Reminded me of the song from Les Miserables, 
There's a grief that can't be spoken.
There's a pain goes on and on.
Empty chairs at empty tables
Now my friends are dead and gone.
Parting and grieving is so hard.  I hope everyone can get through it.
There were other people there of course. 
Dillon, Rachelle, Mom


Brianna, Kayla, Garrett, Bryce


Dianna, Mark, Brandt

Brianna, Geneve

Kelly, Connie

Charlie, Diane, Travis

Clyde and Krista talked at the funeral.  Their bishop also talked, about his struggle with alcohol.  Buffy had his own problems, and seven years sobriety.  Many people took time to say how Buffy had benefited them.  Buffy was active in AA and sober riders.  

Tony's School Art Projects, First Grade

Just a couple of Tony's art.  He has an attention for detail, and is also very good at colors.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review: Skill With People

This is an interesting booklet which I have from my Amway days.  It talks about how to be good a selling, but the principles can apply to many other situations.  It is written by Les Giblin.  He points out that people would rather talk about themselves than about anything else.  The focus of interactions should be on what the other person has to say.  It talks about the need to praise, but it must be sincere and it should focus on the act and not the person.  In like fashion criticsm should be made in privacy, should start with a compliment, should be impersonal (focus on the act not the person), should supply the answer (the right way to do it), ask for cooperation, criticize each offense only once, and finish on a friendly note.  In dealing with people a grateful attitude is also essential.  Mean it when you say thank you, and say it clearly and distinctly, thank people by name, and look them in the eye when you thank them.  This little pamphlet is a good thing to consult frequently to keep you brain in the right place in working with others.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Family Outing to Knight's Ferry

Presidents Day we took advantage of the day off, and took a day trip to Knight's Ferry.  This is an interesting area historically because when the gold rush started, William Knight set up a ferry in the area to help people cross the Stanislaus River on their way to the Sierras and the gold fields.  The ferry later gave way to the covered bridge, which serviced the area until 1981 when it was deemed unsafe for vehicular crossings.  There are now two alternate bridges in the area, one in town and another on the

120 104 highway.  We saw the bridge, (330 feet) climbed rocks, climbed trees (Tony) and took a short walk.  We visited the visitor center which is mostly a nature center.  There is also an old mill next to the bridge.  We went into the oldest continuously running general store in America (since 1852) and went into a creamery with the building just as old for ice cream.  We drove up the hill, and there was a camel and a zebra at someone's farm. 

Happy Birthday Miranda 2014 (+playlist)

We had cake for Miranda's birthday on Sunday.  Charity and Anthony and Camberly came by to sing, and we skyped with Natalia and Ty.  Mark called her later.  Charity made the cake, and Sheri served turkey dinner.  I had to rush early to make it to choir practice as we have a music concert in a couple weeks.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

President Monson is a Witness to the Book of Mormon


It is good to collect testimonies from the prophets because they build our faith when the adversary throws his darts at us.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tony's After Birthday Party With Friends to the Bowling Alley

The kids had Monday and Tuesday off from school after Tony's birthday.  Tony took one day to have a few friends go with him bowling.  Sheri took them as I was at work.

Maryn, Sam, Joshua, Tony

Tony loves these mustaches, but gets disappointed when they run out of stick