Monday, December 12, 2011

I am thankful

Since this is a time of year when we are reminded of our many blessings, I thought I would take a stab at listing the ABCs of the things I am thankful for.  This list will include mostly the people in my life.
A:  Abby - Thank you for your example of righteousness and your willingness to try new things.
     Andrea - Thank you for making Joe happy and for your great sense of humor.
     Addie - Thank you for your keen sense of curiosity.
     Afton -Thank you for joining in in all the family fun and for being a sweet princess.
B:  Ben - Thank you for your example of persistence and for sharing your creativity with us.
      Brynn - Thank you for your smile and for your desire to choose the right.
      Brigg - Thank you for your sensitive spirit and the reminder of my little Hannah when I look in your eyes.
C:  Caleb - Thank you for being such a good friend to all and for your excellent example to them.
      CJ - Thank you for your emails and for you willingness to help with Xander and Mia and Zoey
D:  Dodge -  Thank you for loving your mom and for your happy disposition.
E:  Elizabeth - Besty, I already had 3 B names so I went with Elizabeth for you.  Thank you for your adventurous spirit and I am grateful that you survived that crash long ago.
     Ellie - Thank you for your sweet serenades in the morning.
F:  Football - Go Cougars!
G:  Golf - I don't play much, but I am thankful when I can get together with my sons and sons in law for a best-ball scramble.
 H:  Hannah - Thank you for your ability to organize and be on top of things.
I:  India - Thank you for your warm smile.
J:  Joe - Thank you for being my fix-it consultant.  As long as I can remember, you have been helping me with my projects.  I am grateful that you survived that crash long ago.
     Jess - Jess Dog!  You are the man.  Next time you visit, let's pull out another tooth.  Thank you for your help with my projects.  You are a lot like your dad.
     Jared - Thank you for your fun spirit.  I love hanging out with you.
K:  Kathy - Thank you for your constant companionship, for believing in me, for helping me be better.  You are the love of my life.
     Kendall - Good job on that MBA!  Thanks for making Hannah happy and thanks for those sweet boys.
     Kameron - Thank you for always being ready and able to help me with so many things.  Thanks for loving Abby and treating her so well.
    Kaitlyn - I am grateful that you are so talented and smart.
L:  Luke - I am grateful for your unique personality.  Thank you for being obedient.
     Lea - I have heard recordings of your giggling.  I'm thankful that you are happy.
M:  Mia - I'm thankful that you have a vivid imagination.
      Mira - I'm thankful for your happy face and smiling eyes.
N:  Nathan - I'm thankful that you are such a fun little boy who likes to throw things.
O:  Olivia (Livy) - I used Olivia instead of Livy because I needed a good O word and you certainly are good.  I'm grateful that you are so talented and fearless.
P:  Parents - I am thankful for parents who have helped me all of my life.  Thanks for the support.
     Porter - I love your name.  I'm thankful that you love life so much.
Q:  Quiet - I'm thankful for quiet.  We are watching Luke and Brigg and they are in bed and it is quiet.
R:  Russell: I'm thankful that you are such a good husband and father.  And I love you even though you always cheat so Betsy can win at family games.  Thanks for your example of family service.
    Reid - I'm thankful that you are such a fun person.  When you get that look in your eye I know something mischievous is about to happen.
S:  Sarah - Thank you for staying in close contact.  Even though you live far away, you remain in our lives via the phone or internet.
    Scott - Thanks for providing for Sarah and the kids.  Thanks for being a fun person.  Thanks for your example of service.
    Sam - I am thankful that you are such a good big brother and such a good conversationalist.
T:   Toyota - I couldn't think of a better T word.  We have had one or more Toyotas since 1986.  They are good cars.
U:  Ukulele - I am grateful that Caleb can play a ukulele and that Joe can make one.
V:   Valerie - Thanks for your positive attitude, your great skill at taking pictures, and your excellence in mothering.
W:  Waffles - Nothing like an Eggo Waffle for breakfast.
X:   Xander - Hey X-man!  I'm thankful that you are a good brother and are so helpful.
Y:   Yogurt - Pretty lame.  I can't think of any other Y word.  I do like Yoplait Yogurt.
Z:   Zoey - I'm thankful for your funny dances.  You go girl!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Live the Word of Wisdom

The Word of Wisdom that teaches us to avoid coffee, tea, tobacco, and alcohol comes with a promise that if we live this commandment we will "run and not be weary, and walk and not faint."  This has been one commandment that I have been able to keep.  I have never smoked a cigarette or tasted coffee.  I did taste tea once at a Japanese cultural event in school.  I have never tasted wine or hard liquor.  I do admit that one time when I was really young (maybe about 7 years old) my friend got me to taste beer.  I took one small sip and couldn't stand it.  I have never taken any kind of illegal drug.  Though some people say my life is really restricted because I don't  use any of those things, it is really just the opposite.  I am totally free of any addictions to these substances and so am totally free to make decisions about what I take into my body.

When I was in high school I ran on the track team.  I was a hurdler.  This run involved having to "jump" over 10 hurdles during the race to the finish line.  I was pretty fast and gradually got better times as I mastered the technique of getting over hurdles.  I worked very hard during practice after school each day.  But I wasn't the fastest hurdler on the team.  There was another boy who always beat me.  To make things worse, he was a boy who was lazy during practice and who was known to get drunk on Friday nights.  It didn't seem fair to me that I, who lived the Word of Wisdom and worked hard, would always lose to a guy who was lazy and a partier.  But I eventually came to understand that the promise that I would 'run and not faint' was not a promise that I would always win races.  Sometimes the blessings of living the commandments don't come right away.  Sometimes the blessings come gradually over years.  The blessing of living the Word of Wisdom has been a lifetime of confidence that the Spirit can be with me because of my obedience.  It has been a lifetime of knowing that I am in control of my body.  It is well worth it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dont tell a lie

I have run out of ideas for my blog!  Rod Brown, the Dean of our College and my boss, gave me the idea to buy a book from the bookstore called 300 Questions to Ask Your Parents.  So I bought it on Friday.  It has all sorts of ideas for what I could blog about.  Today I want to tell a story about a time when I got got lying.  One Christmas, I got a new sweater from my grandparents.  I remember it as being orange with a brown V down the front.  One day at school (I think I was in 6th grade) I took it off during recess while I played tether-ball.  Tether-ball is a game that involves hitting a ball that is connected to a pole by a rope.  Two people play.  One tries to wind the ball all the way around the pole in one direction.  The other tries to wind it in the opposite direction.  The one who gets the ball wound all the way wins.  Anyway, I guess I forgot about the sweater and left it on the playground when the bell rang at the end of recess.  I'm not sure when I realized it was gone.  Probably at the end of the school day.  I remember going back out on the playground to look for it.  It was nowhere to be found.  I also went to the lost-and-found.  Not there.  When I got home my mom asked me where the sweater was.  I didn't want to get in trouble for losing it so I said I had left it at school.  That was a lie.  I should have told the truth right then.  Instead, I had to live an unhappy life worrying about what I was going to do.  For the next week, I continued to check the lost-and-found.  Nothing.  I once saw a kid wearing a sweater just like the one I lost and wondered if he had taken it.  Meanwhile, my folks asked about the sweater everyday, and everyday I continued to tell them that I had just forgotten it.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I guess I hoped that I would eventually find the thing.  I didn't feel very good about myself and regretted lying to my parents.  Finally, my parents gave me an ultimatum and said I had to bring the sweater home or else.  Well, I didn't have the sweater so I had to finally confess that it was lost.  As I recall, there was a flag football game coming up at the school that I wanted to play in.  My punishment for lying about the sweater was that I had to miss the game.  The funny thing is, I didn't get punished for losing the sweater.  I got punished for lying.  I learned that it would have been so much better to just tell the truth from the very beginning.  I learned that it is not good to live a lie.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Migraine Headaches

I was 13 years old when I had my first migraine headache.  It happened while I was walking home from football practice one afternoon.  I noticed something strange about my field of vision.  There were  bright squiggly lines wherever I looked and I couldn't see everything that I was supposed to.  It lasted for about 30 minutes and really scared me.  I have since learned that that period of visual disturbance is called an aura.  My migraines always start with an aura that lasts for 30 minutes.  Since that first time, I have had migraines about six times per year.  Sometimes more often, sometimes less often.  I had one when I was learning Korean in Hawaii on my mission, but didn't have another one for my whole mission.  Almost two years with no migraine. When I got home from my mission they started up again.

Migraine headaches are hereditary, so some of you my get them.  My dad and brother both get them.  Hannah gets them, and Abby has had a few.  I think Kathy gets them once in a while too.  For me, they start with a small area of squiggly lines in my visual field on one side (sometimes the right side and sometimes the left side).  This gets bigger and moves across my field of vision until it disappears after a half an hour.  Sometimes this is followed by numbness in my fingers (on the same side as the visual problem) that spreads up my hand to my arm and sometimes to my face.  Sometimes I have a short period when it is difficult to get the right words out of my mouth when I want to speak.  Then for the next day or so I have a dull headache (for me the headache isn't that bad).  Though it sounds kind of scary, it isn't that bad.  In between headaches I am totally normal (well, as normal as I can be), and I am only bothered for that short period when I have the aura (Kathy calls it an "eye thing').  I went to a neurologist once and he told me I had "let down" migraines.  That is, they happen after a period of stress when I am winding down.  Because of this, the visual aura has rarely made it so I couldn't do something important at work.

I wanted to let you know about this in case it starts happening to you.  If it does you should tell your parents and they will know what to do to help you.  You don't need to hide it or worry about it. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I can see clearly

I had to get glasses when I was in sixth grade.  Before that, I guess I couldn't see very well for awhile.  I remember that I had to squint my eyes in order to see.  I can remember a family trip to a drive-in movie.  A drive-in movie is where you drive your car into the movie lot and stay in it and watch through the windshield.  We had to park so far away from the screen that I couldn't see very well.  I remember how tired my face got from all of the squinting.  It was my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Clough, who called me up to her desk one day and asked me if I was having trouble seeing.  I guess she could tell that I was having trouble seeing the blackboard at the front of the room.  She sent me to the school nurse who gave me a vision test and determined that I was probably near sighted.  Near sighted means not being able to see things clearly that are far away.  My parents took me to an eye doctor and I got a full vision test.  Sure enough, I was near sighted.  The doctor determined the correct prescription for my glasses and we ordered a pair. 

It was at this vision appointment that I also found out that I am red-green colorblind.  The nurse gave me a series of pages to look at that had a lot of dots of different colors.  Sometimes I could see that the dots formed certain numbers, and sometimes I couldn't see any pattern within the dots.  Being red-green colorblind means that when certain shades of green and red are side by side, I can't tell them apart.  It is something that is inherited and only affects boys.  Those of you who are sons of any of my daughters (Jared, Porter, Reid, Sam, Luke, Brig, Dodge (and any boys that Abby has)) have a chance that you are colorblind like me. Don't worry, its not that bad.  Those of you who are sons of my sons (Xander, Jess) probably won't be colorblind.

Anyway, I remember when I finally got my glasses how clear everything became.  I guess I had just gotten used to not seeing things very well.  It is definitely better to see clearly.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Summer Jobs - Bread Delivery

The summer before I started my Ph.D. program at the University of California, my dad got me a job delivering Wonder Bread in the Bay Area.  Dad worked for Wonder Bread for his whole career and was able to pull some strings to get me this sweet job.  My particular job was to drive the vacation routes for all of the Salesmen in the Redwood City, CA depot.  The people who deliver the bread are called salesmen because they work with the grocery store managers to try to get as much Wonder Bread in the stores as possible.  During the summer, the salesmen schedule their vacations one after another.  My job was to learn all of the routes and then fill in while they were gone.  I would drive one route for two or three weeks and then switch to a new one while the next driver was on vacation.  I think I ended up doing about eight different routes.  Here is what a Wonder Bread delivery truck looks like:
The logo on the side says "Hostess Cake" because Wonder Bread also made Hostess Cake products, but I never delivered any Twinkies or cupcakes, only bread and buns.
Each morning began with loading the truck with the different types of bread that would be needed that day.  Then we would leave the depot and drive to the first grocery store on the route.  Once at the store, we loaded the right number of loaves onto a hand truck and rolled them into the bread aisle.  Depending on the day of the week, we would begin by taking any unsold bread from the shelves, and then replace this with new fresh bread.  A loaf of bread only stayed on the shelf for three days at most.  We wanted the bread to always be fresh.  On Fridays we would also deliver lots of hamburger and hotdog buns for the weekend.  After completing the delivery to the first store, we would then drive to the next store on the route and repeat the process.  This continued all day until all of the stores receive their new fresh bread.
Driving the vacation routes was a little challenging because I would just barely get to know a route well and then have to switch to a new one.  Because the salesmen were part of the Teamster's Union, I was able to get all of the benefits of the Teamsters including dental coverage for Kathy and I.  I remember we both had some expensive dental work done that summer.  The pay was also very good and we were able to save up for the coming school year.  It was also cool to drive one of those neat Wonder Bread trucks.  I am grateful to my dad for helping us get this job.  Though it was interesting and challenging, I wouldn't want to do this all the time for a living.