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.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Light the World day 24 2017: Pray Always

—3 Nephi 18:15
I had a prayer all morning that my talk in church would go well.  I was also asking for leadership to say what God would have me say.  I jumped over a section, and the bishop mentioned the section I skipped in fifth Sunday joint meeting.  It must have been that it was the Bishop's subject to cover, "In as much as ye have done it to the least of these, ye have done it unto me."  It is marvelous how things work out.  
Via Facebook there are many people to be praying for, people who have had recent surgery.  I pray for them as well.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas with the Mormon tabernacle Coir and Rolando Villazon 2016

I have not been able to find the entire performance, but here is the first feature song presented by Rolando Villazon and the choir.  This concert included We Three Kings with mechanical animals, elephant, camel, etc marching to the stage.  Concert also featured Angela Brower, and the highlight of the night was she and Villazon and the choir singing some Christmas favorites including Silver Bells and White Christmas.  Villazon recited the story of the Little Match Girl and Luke 2.

Light The World day 23 2017: Visit Those In Prison

—Matthew 25:36
The short film with this day shows a prisoner receiving a photo album from home.  Sometimes any little something can make some one's day.  However, those in a penitentiary are not the only ones in prison.  there are those in prison to drug or illness; things that take away choice.  Jeffrey R. Holland reminded us to show compassion to all God's children.  I work with people with mental illness.  A big issue facing persons with mental illness is that of Stigma.  Sometimes a person will not get needed and available help because of stigma.  

Scouting for Food 2017

Cub Scouts doing good in the world.  Every year they have a day for gathering food, which becomes part of the food bank supply in Manteca.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Light the World 22: 2017: Try to Be Like Jesus

—3 Nephi 27:21
Day 22 focuses on the Savior, and learning form his example.  The children's LighttheWorld suggests thinking of three ways you can be like Jesus.  I have thought of blessing others, not judging others, and being patient with others.  
Today we have Jesse and Nicolette with us.  They are friends of Tony's from when we lived in Cupertino.  They now live in San Jose.  Sheri went out to pick them up.  We try to be a good example when they are out, because their family are not members of the church.  
My favorite teaching of Jesus is that if we have Faith, and garnish our thoughts with virtue, then our confidence will wax strong in the presence of God, and the power of the priesthood will fall upon us as the dews from heaven.  

Christmas 2017

Christmas was different this year.  I am not sure I liked it.  Christmas Eve was slow and quiet.  There were only four of us at home.  Instead of acting out the nativity, or driving and seeing lights, we watching a couple of Christmas moves, and then went to bed.  I put the stockings out. 

Christmas morning started early as usual.  Sheri got up even earlier to get Christmas dinner in the Crock pot.  We opened Christmas Presents at about 6:30.  I think everyone got what they wanted.

After we had the traditional Christmas breakfast.  This is hash browns, eggs, bacon, sausage; and the highlight cinnamon rolls.  The kids and grandkids came over for breakfast.  We then returned to the gift unwrapping for sibling gifts and the families that weren't here earlier.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Booklet: A Christmas Dress for Ellen: Thomas S. Monson

This is a story from President Monson, the master story teller.  It is adapted form the First Presidency Christmas Devotional 1997.  Christmas stories always choke me up, and this is no exception.  It is because people as so willing to sacrifice for the benefit of others.  This is about a family living in Canada, who had no prospects for Christmas, or for even having Christmas Breakfast let alone presents.  She had sent a letter to her sister living in Idaho with a list of their needs, at the request of the sister.  The citizens of Malad, Idaho sacrificed to meet those needs.  However no package had arrived in Canada.  father had been to town, and stayed until noon checking the railway and the post office.  However, sacrifice was not over.  The packages arrived late Christmas Eve at the post office.  The postman, George Schow, was going to leave the delivery until after Christmas.  However, after prayer, he felt he had to go, even with the snow, and the distance.  His own horses were worn out, so he borrowed horse and sleigh, and took his older son with him.  They would not arrive until after 3:30 a.m.  Mother is still awake, worrying about her children.  It was five before they started the trip back to town, to arrive around noon.  The wore the husband's clothes after warming theirselves by the fire.  Their own clothing was wet and cold.  This gave mother just a few hours to set everything out for Christmas.  When the children woke they smelled bacon cooking for breakfast.  Ellen was last to wake, as she know they would have no Christmas.  However, she found a red Christmas dress.
That is what Christmas is about.

Manteca Pumpkin Festival

I was home alone this year for Pumpkin Festival.  It usual coincides with General Conference, but didn't this year.  I snapped a few pictures.  There were lots of crafts.  Jeremy had a booth, advertising his real estate firm.  He made a gold course.  There was also a robot trash can giving away items to children.  The City of Manteca gave me a lunch box and a faucet thing.  If you bought a pumpkin in the United States this past year, unless it was locally grown, it probably came from the Manteca area. 

Light the World 21 2017: Feed the Hungry

—Matthew 25:35
Our family is always involved in feeding the hungry through fast offerings.  This year we increased our donation for December.  I also participated in a musical concert where canned  goods were collected for the St. Pauls food bank.  
On Christmas Day I had the opportunity to administer spiritually to a sister in our ward who lost her husband a year ago.  This too was a special opportunity.
This reminds me of a story told about my father's family.  They went through some tough years.  At one point their cupboard was bare, and Grandmother Wardle didn't know what to fee her family.  At that time a knock came on their back door.  They discovered someone had left a 100 pound bag of flour.  God does provide.  
Just before Thanksgiving I participated with Tony in the Scouting for Food drive.  They collected considerable food for the local food banks.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Nativity: Luke II (1986)

This is a simple view of the birth of the Savior from Luke, but also includes some of Matthew.   I especially like the street noises, animal noises etc.  There was life going on while Mary delivered Jesus. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Light the World Day 20 2017: Love People Not Things

"A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."

—Luke 12:15
The children's goal for day 20 is to list three blessing that aren't things.  I am blessed with family.  Wife, children and grandchildren.  I spent the day with them; and talked to those who are not close.  They are great blessings.  I also had the opportunity to use the priesthood today.  That is also a blessing.  
Suggestions from Mormon.org includes giving up distractions that get in the way of your service of Jesus Christ.  I have given up Pokemon for the day to be with family.  
Here are a couple scriptures which touch on this theme:
Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 
D&C 88:67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.
D&C 4:5 And faithhopecharity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
An eye single to God's glory is vital.  Distractions get in the way of our view of the Lord.

The Piano Guys: Angels We Have Heard on High (Christmas w/ 32 fingers and 8 thumbs)

This is a unique version with four men playing or using the piano to create their music.  The piano is used in a way which I have never seen before.  This is from The Piano Guys. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

La Canción de María - Luz del Cielo (Breath of Heaven, Spanish) Seli fro...

Simply beautiful Spanish version of Breath of Heaven.  This is song by Elenyi with Wayne burton.  The call the Lord Light of Heaven instead of Breath of Heaven. The visuals include many scenes from the Bible videos of Mary and Jesus' birth.

Stake Choir Performance

Last week the Manteca Stake Choir performed with the St. Paul's Methodist Choir.  We presented twice, Thursday at St. Paul's and Sunday a the stake center.  St. Paul's has a hand bell choir. 
Me in my choir seat

Sister Christensen had also put together a string ensemble.  The evening was great.  It included a couple of solos from the Messiah, a violin duet in addition to the choirs.  There were also Christmas messages from the Stake President and from the pastor of the Methodist Church.  President Maxfield talked about Nephi's vision, and why the birth of Jesus represented the love of God.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son." 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

President Uchtdorf: Seeking Christ at Christmas Time

In this message Preident Uchtdorf hits home.  We seek Christ.  President Uchtdorf describes others who sought Christmas at his birth.  The shepherds, were not seeking Jesus, but when the heard of his coming their hears were touched, and the went to see.  The wise men represents those who are intellectual, and seek Jesus through their knowledge.  Though academic study pointed them towards the Lord, but their faith was no only academic, for when the signs appeared, the traveled to worship Jesus.  Those who met Jesus at the temple, Simeon and Anna had sought Jesus spiritually, and when he was presented at the temple, though a babe the recognized him and worshipped him.  Lastly, there are those in the new world, who believed the words of Samuel the Lamanite, and looked for the signs of his birth.  Despite persecution and threat of death, they held firm to their testimonies.  We seek Jesus and especially at this time of year.  We seek Him with our hearts and souls, so we may worship Him.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Light the World Day 19 2017: Rejoice

—Matthew 5:12

The film presented shows Aaron Jepson, a young man with autism, who hated his life, but now realizes he has a purpose, and is loved.  

My struggle is accepting myself.  The suggestions for this day include: making a care package for someone who could use some joy, count your blessings, and reach out to someone who has blessed your life, and celebrate the accomplishments of someone else, make their day special.  At Christmas time I gave out chocolates to spread joy.  Particularly Ghiradelli's.  I love their Christmas bark.  I delivered chocolates last Saturday and Sunday.  I will deliver more chocolates this Saturday.  Hopefully we can spread a little joy.

Vocal Point: I Stand All Amazed

This short film, musical video shows the life of the Savior from his birth through his resurrection.  It uses many scenes from the Bible Videos.  Oh it is wonderful.  The Savior is my God.  He has made life worth living, for I have been racked by sins and wrong deeds.  Only through the Savior am I made whole.  As Mr. Krueger said, through Him I can hold my head high.  May we remember the true meaning of Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Light the World Day 18 2017: Forgive

Forgive men their trespasses.  Matthew 6:14

This short video shows the son coming home, and being welcomed by his father.  Reminds me of a story in the Bible. 

Some of the suggestions include, writing the positive traits of someone that gets on your nerves, then try to imagine how god sees him or her.  The people who most get on my nerves are those that are excessively loud on the train.  This is not loud, but very very loud.  They sit in the same places, and I avoid the area, but sometimes there not not seats elsewhere.  Positive traits include, they are lively, they share of themselves, they enjoy each other's company, they know how to have fun.
We are all children of God, so God loves them as much as us quiet people.  I end up in their car, because I carry the phone, and don't think it  good idea to answer the phone in the quiet car.  

The Carols We Love: Away in a Manger

The Carols We Love by Daniel Partner, Barbour, Uhrichsville, OH, 2002.
This is one of my favorite carols.  There are so many versions.  Here I sing combining several different versions.  This carol is credited to Martin Luther, but this book explains more likely written by J.R. Murray as was published in his Dainty Songs for Little Lads and Lasses in 1887.  He entitled it Luther's Cradle Hymn. 
This song simply tells the Christmas story, but then adds a prayer at the end.  I is beautifully done.  We are singing a version this Sunday in church, 9 a.m.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Piano Guys and Craig Aven: The Sweetest Gift

If you’re missing someone this Christmas this song’s dedicated to you - ...

Jon Schmidt dedicates to those missing someone this Christmas.  I am missing my oldest sister, who passed away two years ago New Years Eve.  She was the life of our family, and kept things going.  There is still a void that hasn't been filled.  We visited the Buff clan for Christmas a few years ago.  tony made a snow man, Camberly met her great-grandmother who was staying with them at the time.  Sara, like my mother, had a way to make things right.

Lyrics: I’m not going to lie. Christmas really hurts this time Cause you’re not here to celebrate with me. Tears fill my eyes. And memories flood my mind, As I place your ornament upon our tree. Although this year I have a broken heart, It gives me hope and joy as I remember where you are. Chorus: You’re with the Son of God. You’re with the Prince of Peace. You’re with the one we’re celebrating And that thought amazes me. Sometimes I still break down, Grieving that we’re apart, But the sweetest gift is knowing where you are. You’re with the Son of God. Got your picture in a frame And a stocking with your name. Oh God knows it’s been hard letting go. And I can’t bring you back, But I’ll see you again. And oh, that thought is healing to my soul. I’ll miss making angels with you in the snow. I guess instead you will be singing with them All around God’s throne.

Chorus And I know the Christmas season Was your favorite time of year. You loved to help us decorate our tree. But now that you’re with Jesus, I can’t imagine how you feel Cause He’s the one who bled and died Upon the tree for you and me. Chorus

Monday, December 18, 2017

Light the World Day 17 2017: Meet together

—3 Nephi 18:22

I meet every Sunday with the members of the church.  I also attend choir rehearsal after church.  This week we also had a choir concert.  It was fun to mingle with others after the concert and mingle.  We have good friends in the Banks', our son's in-laws, as well as Mark and Dianna, my sister, and others we know from choir or other activities.  Ron Pepperman, who was our home teacher for over ten years was also there.  
Lastly, we are inviting people over to the house for singing next week.  I printed and distributed invitations.  This is always a fun time.  We also invited the missionaries.  We invited all the neighbors, but many I just left the invitation on the doorstep as no one answered.  I was able to get a good portion of my home teaching accomplished.  The missionaries were over.  We invited them for our sing-a-long.  They showed us the #LIGHTTHEWORLD video and challenged us to be involved.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Light the World Day 16 2017: Clothe the naked

"[I was] naked, and ye clothed me."

My great-great grandfather came with the Martin handcart company.  While on the trek he was shoeless.  I don't know if he started this way, but he may have.  It could also be that the journey took its toll on his shoes.  He was one of those who left bloody footprints.  I said an internal prayer that he might find some shoes.  One day, along the trail he did just that, found some shoes that had been discarded.  they weren't a perfect fit, but Grandfather was thankful for them all the same.
When the rescuers sent supplies, this included clothing, and shoes.  It must have been that someone received a new pair of shoes, and left the old pair behind, which became grandfather's shoes.  There were also petticoats, and other items of clothing in a wagon that had been sent to the rescuers.  In the cold weather, they pioneers were thankful, and needing of anything they could find.  
I have been moved by the simple story of Heber J. Grant when he was a boy.  His mother had sewn him a new coat; but he didn't have it long.  This short film shoes the story without words.
May we find ways to clothe the naked this Christmas.  

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Light the World Day 15 2017: Show Mercy

Blessed are the Merciful.

Today the goal has been to be more merciful and kind.  About 20 years ago there were a couple of Christmases where Sheri and I were really struggling.  It is expensive to live in the Bay area, and we were just scraping by.  One year, a member of our ward, who worked for Walgreens, delivered a whole bunch of toys just before Christmas.  The other year was even more impressive, as $100 bills began showing up in our mail.  Those bills saved our Christmas.  It wasn't like one or two, but at least ten.  I have been blessed by the mercy of others, and hope to pass that forward.
I am afraid however I didn't pass kindness forward on the 15th.  A bus was late, making me miss the train, and I called the bus people to let them know of my displeasure.  Of course I knew I would miss the train if everything didn't work perfect, because I had to take books back to the library.  I made it home OK on the later train.  My attitude could have been better.  So showing mercy, being kind, is something I am still working on.

Light the World Day 14 2017: Where is Your Heart

—Matthew 6:21
For me, this is about time.  I stayed home, so as to have some time with grand babies.  They are fun to be with, and spending time with them helped me get to know them better. I spent most of my time with Asher, who is just walking.  He has a cute little personality and it is fun watching him do new things almost daily.  I fed him a couple of times, and he really enjoys food.  I also set aside time today to take my son to see Star Wars.  He really wants to see it, and it will be fun to spend some time with him.  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Light the World Day 13 2017: Be Kind to Others

—Matthew 7:12
As anyone can tell, I am a day behind.  Things get that way at Christmas, but its OK because I will catch up. 
One way I serve during Christmas is by participating in choirs.  Tonight the Northland Stake Choir sang with the St. Paul's Methodist Unified Choir.  Tonight we were at the Methodist Church.  I had fun.  We sang five numbers.  Then there were also solos and the Methodist Church Bell Choir.  We return to sing again this Sunday. 

This past Friday I and the kids sang at the ward party for the interlude
Christmas Eve I will be conducting the Ward choir.  Finally the day before Christmas Eve we will be hosting a family wing-a-long for family and friends.  I love sharing through music.

San Jose City College: Meditation Stones

There is a little creek bed at San Jose City College.  I often go there for a lunch-time walk.  One day it was lined with stacks of stones.  I assume someone was having fun, or using the stacks for meditation.  Tony loves to see these stacks of stone.  We even saw one in the wilderness at Calaveras Big Trees this summer.