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, March 31, 2014

Member Missionary Work: Notes from Caleb

I don't know where this is from, Caleb sent it home.
I guess I better leave you with a spiritual thought before I go.  I love chapter 6 of PMG (Preach My Gospel) a ton!  It's my favorite.  And I've found that the reason for that is that Chapter 6 is the missionary purpose literally directed towards yourself.  On pg 123 in the "Remember This" box it says, "Changing to become Christlike requires faith, repenting, keeping covenants, receiving an increased measure of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end!"  I think that's so great.  It's the missionary purpose and this time we get to invite ourselves to do something; and that is being more Christlike.  I challenge you all to study that section.  It will literally change you into a new person; a new creature in Christ.  And you will feel happier than you ever have as you diligently strive to develop attributes of Christ.

Old Testament: Joseph of Egypt

The last two weeks for Sunday School we have examined the Life of Joseph.  Here is a man who had much trial, but that trial lead to great blessings for his family.  He was despised of his brothers, and they intended to kill him, but instead sold him into slavery.  In Egypt God prospered him, but because he did not give in to temptation from Potiphar's wife, he was sent to prison.  There again he prospered.  He interpreted the dream of the baker and the butler.  The butler, who was restored to his position, forgot to mention Joseph to others so he might be rescued from prison.  He anguished two long years more, until Pharoah had a dream.  Joseph was called upon to interpret, and as a result became the second only to Pharoah in all the land.  Also, because of the dream they planned, and were prepared for the coming years of famine.  Egypt prospered, as did Joseph.  When his family came to buy corn, he was in a position to save his family.
His life exemplifies the poem "The Weaver". 

My life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.  [He knows what they should be]

Oftimes He weaveth sorrow,
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I, the underside.

Not till the loom in silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

- Author Unknown

The enclosed films deal mostly with sexual fidelity.  These are the films linked through the lesson manual online. 
These Things are an Abomination: deals with the question of why to remain pure sexually

Within Bounds comparing skiing to sexual purity

"Come What May, and Love It" Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Joseph in Egypt" President Benson

"I Will Not Fail Thee Nor Forsake Thee" President Monson

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Documentary Review: From the Ground Up (9/11)

This documentary moved me to tears on several occassions.  It is so hard to get a grip around 9/11.  Why would anyone want to do such a thing to fellow human beings.  This film moves past that.  This documentary was produced ten years after the tragedy of 9/11.  It tells the stories of several widows whose fire fighter husbands died when the towers fell.  This movie is very compelling.   Each of these women had to find strength within to go on with life.  There are stories of several women who set up foundations, one to support orphaned children, another to run group homes for autistic children and yet another to support a community library.  There was a woman who traveled to Rwanda to help women infected with malaria; but while there she met widows of the Rwandan violence, and gained insight as to how they dealt with their loss.  The women involved have been to support groups with other survivors.  They all had their own story of strength.
The most moving scene was the marathon at the end.  over 2700 people died in 9/11; of them 343 were firemen.  The Stephen Siller foundation sponsors an annual run.  The entry fee supports the foundation.  The foundation uses the money for scholarships and other needs of children.  The run is now a very big deal.  It started with 2000 participates, but now has over 100,000 and 1000 volunteers.  They recreate Stephen's run.  Stephen was headed home when he realized something was wrong.  He turned his car around, but couldn't get though the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.  So he took his equipment (60 pounds), and ran through the tunnel.  As part of the day, the have placards for each of the deceased firemen which the participants run past.  The are help by firemen, with other firemen holding flags.  It is really great.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Health as I See It: Mental Health Stigma

Mental Health Stigma can be costly.  It often prevents people who could really benefit from treatment, from actually getting the treatment they need because they are worried what others might say.  This can lead to hospitalization, untreated mental health symptoms which can be very uncomfortable, more costly treatments, and sometimes even death. May we be considerate of others, and show respect for all people.
This flyer is from Maryland Mental Hygiene Association

First Ever Women's Meeting Tonight of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tonight all women age eight and older are invited to participate in a general women's meeting.  Traditionally the Relief Society will meet one year, and the Young Women's the next. 
General Conference is next week end.  The times mentioned are the times started in Manteca Stake which is Pacific Time.  The meeting tonight is being shown on tape delay.

The History of Mormonism (+playlist)

This is my history.  The Church of Jesus Christ was lost, and has been restored in these days.  The authority of the priesthood has been restored.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God.  This history is a true history as presented.  Of this I testify because the Holy Ghost has witnessed to me this is true.  Billy Wardle

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Health As I See It: Staying Motivated to Exercise

My exercise pattern has really been erratic lately.  I do know the more I exercise the better able I am to control my weight, and I need to lose; and the more consistent are my sugar numbers.
This article gives some pointers, do something new, don't call it exercise, join an outdoor club or group like hiking, biking, trail running, climbing, etc., get involved in a team sport, get a buddy and have dates a couple times a week.   The most important part is his last statement, if you have problems staying motivated "Then ask yourself this, "Which do I hate more — exercising or being uncomfortable in my own body?” I think you know the answer to that?"
I could lose 50 pounds

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Caleb's Story: Problems with Laundry

Caleb wrote home with a very interesting story.  It had to do with his laundry.  He said, "I didn't realize that a washing machine had a load limit.  I thought if you could get the lid closed you then you were good."  He then explained that the spin cycle didn't get his clothes almost dry like usual, even after two tries.  He put the wet  clothes into the dryer, even two dryers, and the still didn't get dry.  He had to take home clothes that were still mostly wet, even having to wear some wet.  These are the pictures he sent.
My clothes drying when I overloaded the washing machine; bummer.

My socks drying as well.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What Mormons Believe (+playlist)

I believe in God the Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.  I believe in the scriptures.  I believe in serving others.  I believe in the restoration of the gospel.

Health As I See It: Schizophrenia: Drug Free Options?

Are there drug free treatments for schizophrenia, or drug free options.  Dr. Ed Zimney says no.
He compares schizophrenia to insulin dependent diabetes, which can be very scary if someone neglects to take insulin, and so would it be scary if someone stops taking medications for schizophrenia.  The reason is that without medications, there is the likelihood that relapse will occur, if not in a week, it will in a month or two.  With each relapse, the base line functioning goes down, and Dr. Zimney points out that brain cells can be killed, which will never come back.
Medications, even with their side effects, is the only treatment for schizophrenia which has been shown to be effective.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Church at a Glance (Mormons)

The Church of Jesus Christ  has been restored to Earth.  What a great blessing to know that God has a prophet.  The Bible teaches, by their works you shall know them.  This is a brief introduction to those works.  If this video touches you as it does me, please refer to for more information.


A Few More Pictures from Caleb's Last Area, Manchester with Elder MacDonald

 The captions are Calebs
Elder MacDonald's gorgeous face
Elder MacDonald surprised me
Julio Weber's baptism.  He reminds me so much of Tony.
I stole Elder MHCD's camera and took some selfies
This is a random picture.  I took it at zone training meeting in Cedar Falls.
Once again MacDonald surprised me
I was ready this time
...and this time
Lots of snow
The view from our desks in the Christiansin's basement in Manny

Life in Manteca 92; Camberly Visit and Restaurant Review

I was home sick one day last week, and Charity came to do hair and to sew with Sheri and Miranda.  They each made an outfit for Camberly Rose.  Upon me it fell to watch Camberly several times. 
This weekend Sheri, Tony and Miranda all went to the church for a movie night for Primary.  I was left on my own, and Sheri told to get something to eat.  I was in the mood for a patty melt, and as I rode up Yosemite I noticed Shooters Grill.  I figured a grill would have a patty melt and I was right.  I also ordered a bowl of chili.  The chili was very good, but I discovered something hard in it.  I concluded it was a noodle.  I love patty melt sandwiches with the taste of the rye and grilled onions and hamburger patty.  I may not have been in the mood being alone, but I couldn't taste much.  I saved half for breakfast, and the next day the sandwich tasted much better to me.  Then the flavors mixed perfectly, and although the toast was softer, it was delicious.  The had several choices instead of fries, tater tots and carrots and celery were no additional charge

To the Top: Mount Diablo

We took the family for an outing to someplace we had never been, to the top of Mt. Diablo.  We did not hike up, or bike, but drove to the lower parking lot and then walked the last quarter mile or so to the top.  We had a picnic, and went on top of the observation deck, and did a short hike, and had a good ride avoiding bicyclists.  Joshua, Tony;s friend went with us; also Charity, Anthony and Camberly.  Mount Diablo is behind Dublin but is in the same range that overlooks San Joaquin Valley.  We can always see it on the horizon from our house if we look West.

toward the bay


North peak


Friday, March 21, 2014

Member Misionary 11: Of April McMurtrey's 81 Ideas for Missionary Work I Pick 28.

April McMurtrey in her blog: Something to Shout About offered 81 missionary opportunity ideas.  Here are the ones I am picking.  If you want to see them all go here:http://www.somethingtoshoutabout.org/baskin-robbins-step-aside/
The underlined is April's idea and then my reaction.  I have picked 28 of April's ideas to start with.

  • Bear your testimony to your family.  This is a goal for next FHE.  We are studying Preach My Gospel.
  • Read the book, “The Power of Everyday Missionaries”, by Clay Christensen.  I made Miranda download it on my I-Pad so I didn't have to wait for it to be shipped to me.  The missionaries have talked to us about Mormon Lingo game, and I want to study it just a bit more before I venture.
  • Pray for new areas to be opened up for missionary work.  We can all pray, and don't forget to pray for missionary opportunities as per the missionaries as well.
  • If the phone rings during Family Home Evening – invite them over! I can do that.
  • Add your “I’m a Mormon” profile to the many listed at Mormon.orgI have one there, but it needs a better picture.
  • Post Mormon Messages, your testimony, or other inspirational thoughts on Facebook.  An ongoing process.
  •  Discuss your Sunday worship experiences with your friends and coworkers, then invite them to “Come and see!”   I think this is part of the Mormon Lingo game.
  • Keep a Book of Mormon, Ensign or other church material where others may see it and inquire.  Too easy but important to do.  This is part of the Mormon Lingo idea.
  • Consistently add new people to your “real” friends list. Let them see how the gospel can bless families.  Friends are good.
  • Prayerfully study ‘Preach My Gospel’ and the scriptures. (You are a missionary too!)  As mentioned, our FHE study; but we also do something from the Friend for Tony
  • Place baptism invitations in with your 8-year old’s birthday party invitations.  Something to think about for Tony next year.
  • Invite others to join your ward choir, basketball team, or other activities.  OK, I can handle this one.
  • Invite others to join you in service projects.  And this one.  Helping Hands coming up.
  • Pray and read the scriptures as a family – even (especially) when their friends are there.  Don't usually have people over, but a good idea.  We are together for dinner which would be a good time for a scripture.
  • Use “church words” in your everyday conversations. (Make it a point to let everyone who knows you – know you are a Mormon.)  Ah, Mormon Lingo Game
  • Lovingly seek out those on your visiting or home teaching routes who need you.  That word lovingly I need to review in my attitude.
  • Share the new “Introduction to Mormons” videos now on lds.org, on your social media networks or privately.  Good idea.
  • Invite the missionaries over for dinner, then ask them who they are teaching and how you can help. Give them referrals when they ask.  An extension is to pray for who they are teaching.
  • Make a prayer list with the missionaries.
  • Give the DVD, “Lamb of God” to friends and neighbors for Easter.  It is coming next month.
  • Be a good neighbor.
  • When someone asks, “Are you a Mormon?” Reply with another question, “Yes! Why do you ask?”  An opening to invite people to come and see.
  • Develop a family mission plan.  Something Sheri and I have talked about.
  • Fast for missionary experiences and then actively seek them out.   I have been praying, not fasting.
  • Recommend good blogs, written by lds members, to your friends.  That is what I am doing.
  • Invite people to hear your children speak or sing in sacrament meeting.  I like the kids to do things, so I can invite.
  • Invite people to your child’s baby blessing or baptism.  I think we covered this one above, sort of.
  • Get to know the recent converts in your ward. Become their friends.  I can do better.

Member Missionary 10: Caleb's Neat Planner

 Caleb makes himself neat motivational planners to assist him in his missionary efforts.  I think motivational reminders can also help us as member missionaries.  I am convinced that it is not a lack of testimony or desire that keeps us from doing member missionary work; but fear.  Knowing what we are doing well help us overcome fear.  Planners and reminders can give missionary work a greater priority in our lives.

Behavioral Health Santa Clara County

What this means is a ton of changes coming down the pipeline for mental health and drug and alcohol services as we integrate into behavioral health
Approval of the Behavioral Health Integration Plan
View the Plan Online
Leadership of the Behavioral Health Department
Approval of the Behavioral Health Integration Plan
On January 28th the Board of Supervisors approved the Behavioral Health Integration Plan. This is the culminination of a year of planning and discussion by various stakeholders including staff, contract providers, labor union representatives, executive management, consultants, county agencies, and others as listed in the plan. This approval allows us to move into the implementation phase and to begin the process of engaging all of you in this important change.
View the Plan Online
The Integration Plan for a New Department of Behavioral Health Services is available on the website and answers some of your questions such as:
What is integration?
Why are we integrating?
What are the core themes of integration?
What functions will be integrated and how?
Subsequent e-newsletters will provide additional Questions and Answers, and more detail about the process and timing of integrating MHD and DADS into one Behavioral Health Department to better serve our county's residents.
Leadership of the Behavioral Health Department
More information about the appointment of leadership for the new Department of Behavioral Health Services will be coming in March from Rene Santiago, Deputy County Executive and Executive Director of the Health and Hospital System.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Caleb's New Companion

A picture of Des Moines
 Caleb is now in Des Moines.  He sent a few pictures.  It must feel weird going from a rural area to urban.  The captions are his.
Another picture of Des Moines

A really weird picture of our disgusting couch.  Kind of cool though.
Caleb's new companion is Elder Flint. 
He looks great

 Elder Flint walking into the library
Elder Flint stole my camera
Elder Flint is a giant

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mormon Movie Review: Rich Studios: Abraham and Isaac: Animated Stories from the Bible

We have many of the Rich Movies, and this is my first review.  This movie presents the story of Abraham and his being commanded to sacrifice Isaac.  One of my complaints is they sometimes add to the bible story, which they do here in telling the story of Hagar and Ishmael, and their being cast out of Abraham's household.  The Bible says Sarah saw Ishmael mocking Isaac, and asked Abraham to send them away, and the Lord told Abraham to listen to Sarah and send them away.
Genesis 21:  ¶And Sarah saw the son of aHagar the Egyptian, which she had bborn unto Abraham, cmocking.
 10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, aCast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be bheir with my son, even with Isaac.
 11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his ason.
 12 ¶And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in aIsaac shall thy bseed be called.
The movie adds scenes of both Hagar and Ishmael putting Isaac's life in danger.
Except for this indiscretion, the story is very much to the Bible.   Abraham receives commandment to sacrifice Isaac, which he does, but then the Lord stops him as he is following through with the commandment.  
This presentation does add some emotion to the Bible account.  We see Abraham make sure Isaac says a proper goodbye to his mother, and we also see Abraham's love for Isaac.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Documentary Review: Ameica's Choir

This is a documentary by Lee Groberg and narrated by Walter Cronkite.  Many people world wide have been touched by the Tabernacle Choir, which was said by Ronald Reagan to be America's Choir.  Many performers and artists talk about performing with the choir, and express that the enjoyable thing is the choir sings without ego, and with heart.  They put emotion into what they sing, which carries to other performers and the audience.  They now regularly perform with the Tabernacle Orchestra, and are truly an icon of American culture. 
This film also traces the 150 year history of the choir; w
here they have performed over the years, their first broadcast, the history of the organ, and of the orchestra.  This presentation is just lovely

Tony's Introduction to Tennis

Took Tony to try out the tennis courts in Manteca.  There is a large municipal tennis are by the gold course on Union just North of Yosemite.  The facilities are very nice, and they only specify that they are for tennis only.  Tony and I had a good time.  Sometimes Tony made some incredible hits. I think he had a good time.  Then a semi professional type player set up on the court next to ours with a serving machine.  He hit the ball back very well and Tony was very impressed.  He wanted a box of balls and a machine like that. 

As we were leaving Tony wanted a turn at a rock creek bed.  He enjoyed that as much as the tennis. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Naming of John the Baptist

The most interesting thing about this story is the prophesying of Zechariah after he confims that the name of his son should be John.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Video Presantation: Andy Andrews: The Seven Decisions

Andy Andrews is one funny man.  He is also a very good motivational speaker.  He started out as a comedian, but has now written motivational books as well as become a motivational speaker.  I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation on the seven decisions.  These decisions are:
The Buck Stops Here:  Until we take responsibility for where we are, we have no power to make our situation better.
I Will Seek Wisdom: We must take responsibility for filling our minds with information that will improve ourselves, and in like way be careful of letting negative thoughts into our brains.
I am a Person of Action: Andrews told the stories of people who made decisions.  I love the story of Joshua Chamberlain, whose command to charge changed the battle of Gettysburg, and very possible the outcome of the Civil War.
I Have a Decided Heart:  Analysis is to lead to a decision.  Decision leads to action, and we should be committed to the decisions we make.
Today, I Will Choose to be Happy: The biggest key to happiness is to be grateful.  I will have a grateful heart, and thereby be happy.
I Will Great this Day with a Forgiving Spirit: It is important to forgive others as quickly as possible; even if they don't deserve it; even if they don't ask.  I will also forgive myself.
I Will Persist Without Exception.  The without exception is key.  It is possible to persist, and then quit.  However if the persistence is without exception, then success will eventually come.
Andy Andrews gave the third rule last: I Am a Person of Action.  He did this on purpose, saying t is the most important.  He talked of the butterfly effect or law of sensitive dependency on initial condition.  In this theory, a small action can snowball until it has a tremendous effect.  Andrews illustrated this by talking of Chamberlain, and also George Washington Carver,  He showed how decision we make now can have tremendous results.
The Butterfly Effect

I watched the bonus material.  Part was a question and answer session.  Someone asked, what is the most important lesson you want to teach your sons.  With out hesitation he answered, "That I love their mother."  He was so sincere, and so quick, I felt guilty I may not have responded so quickly, and that maybe I have not taught my children this lesson.  Some day I need to give up pride and selfishness, and make sure my kids get this message.