The Fam

The Fam
Family Photos Fall 2015

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Windfall and transmissions

Yesterday was a good day.  It started out as a GREAT day.  Work went well and I made some headway on a couple of tough accounts.  I received an unexpected windfall of money and was happily adding it to our savings account.  We had dinner at my sister's with my Dad, the missionaries and my brother.  We were on our way home and all of a sudden my engined started to rev way to high and we were not moving forward.  I pulled over and put the Suburban into park and really ground the gears. We were still 10 miles from home, it was late and I had the whole family with me.  I asked Harmon to say a prayer to help us get home.  He did, I put the truck in gear it ground a little bit but moved forward.  We had to drop to lower gears a couple of time and when we were finally on our road about 1/4 of a mile from home the transmission just gave up.  The engine was running fine we just had it rebuilt last week.  All 5 kids and I got out and started to push the truck home.  It was mostly level with a slight grade so pushing was easy.  A time or two we were all running trying to keep up with it. Harmon's prayer was answered and we were able to safely get it home.  The windfall I received is almost exactly what I need to get the transmission fixed.  So much for getting ahead. 

Windfalls happen, cars break down, these are parts of life.  Depending on when they happen totally affects the way we react.  I found out about the money yesterday morning.  The transmission died last night and I was totally calm about the truck breaking down.  I was totally bummed now I would have to spend the money.  But I was not worried about how to pay for it.  In fact I had not taken the opportunity to tell Rhonda about the money until after the truck.  I wonder what would have happened if this course of events happened in reverse.  If the truck broke down last night I would have been totally stressed.  The money came today or tomorrow I would have been grateful and relieved.  I am trying to figure out exactly what lesson I am supposed to learn from this. 

I know Heavenly Father is aware of our needs, I am in awe that my families needs were addressed before we even knew we had a need.  Very cool.  Now I need to find someplace to replace a transmission.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Music and Project TED

I love music.  I think I have to attribute that to the home that I grew up in.  There was always some form of music being played, sung or created.  When I get up in the morning and don't have to go work the first stop after the bathroom is at our computer where I-tunes is turned on and not usually turned off until its time for bed.  I am the type of person that has to have background noise to think.  If I am under a deadline at work and need to focus, I close my office door turn up my ipod and bury my nose in work.  When I was in school I would study at the coffee table in front of the TV and in coffee shops because I needed the hustle and bustle around me to focus.   

When I got older and someone helped me connect the dots and identify feelings of the spirit, music took on a whole new role.  It was amazed how some music could bring the spirit into my life more quickly and powerfully than any devotional and how other types could remove it faster than an all out screaming match with one of my siblings.  My play list is extremely eclectic list.  It will literally go from The Mormon Tabernacle Choir to anything by Pink (she is my current favorite) with flashbacks to Erasure, Match Box 20 and Micheal McCleans greatest hits.  I am very open to music and willing to listen to almost anything once. 

My wife showed me this video a few months ago.  It is about 15 minutes long but completely worth taking the time.  You will be enriched and better for watching it.  It is about an internet chior from Project TED you can check out their website for more details.  But it is one of those cool ideas that has grown to be something truly amazing.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to give a sacrement meeting talk

It happens to all of us we get a phone call on Friday night from whatever Bishopric Counselor is conducting that month and they beg us to speak in Church the next Sunday.  They have no guilt in doing this because they know we wait until Saturday night after our kids go to bed before we even begin to think about writing a talk.  Here are a few guidelines and items that would be good to follow.  It will make your talk better, it will keep the congregation comfortable and avoid those pesky interviews about teaching false doctrine. 

1. If you are from Hawaii, you are entitled to force the congregation to scream "Aloha" at you. You preface it by saying, "I am from Hawaii, and over there, we greet each other by saying [this is the part where you yell really loud] 'ALOHA!'" And then everyone will yell it back at you, partly because you told them to, but mostly because they think it's kind of cool that they get to yell in church.  If you are from someplace other than Hawaii, you are NOT allowed to make the congregation yell whatever it is you would yell to each other back home. For example, you may NOT say: "I'm from south-central L.A., and back there we greet each other by saying 'Yo, yo, homey, whassup?'"

2. I know that the Bishopric member who called you and waited until the last moment, but that is no reason to blame him for your lack of preparation.  Don't make and excuse.  " I only found out two days ago I had to speak so bare with me if this is terrible"  You can do this if you are an accomplished public speaker and know it will be an awesome talk and you are simply looking for praise at the end of the meeting.  It all depends on what your motivators are.

3.  If he gave you plenty of time you could also start your talk by telling the story of how you got asked to speak.  I mean because none of the rest of us know how it works.  "When Brother So-and-So asked me to give this talk...." This is an official church policy. Every talk must begin with an amusing little story about how Brother So-and-So called you on the phone, and you thought, "Uh-oh -- I know what HE wants!" The congregation will be ever-so-delighted to hear of your nervousness, for they, too, have perhaps received ominous phone calls from that pesky Brother So-and-So.

4.  As much as your life has been fulfilled because they made 6 star wars movies.  And Yoda sits on the Jedi High Council and you are also on the Stake High Council (by the way not the same thing and no you are not a Jedi...or ninja) the Force and the Priesthood are not the same thing.  First of all they have light sabers we have little bottles of oil.  Comparing the two in sacrament meeting although very common and in some circles accepted (sorry Kyle) it is still not doctrinal.  Lets keep our  star wars references to a minimum my patawon learner. 

5. Remember the true purpose of giving a talk: to make people laugh.  We share a building with another ward.  We were in priesthood in the overflow next to the Chapel.  You know the ones with the really effective air wall to stop the sound from coming through.  And I don't know what speaker in Sacrament was talking about -- I couldn't make out his exact words -- but he was very animated, and had a great delivery, and he was absolutely KILLING the crowd. He was knockin' 'em dead. And it wasn't just one joke. It was one line after another, each laugh building on the last. Evidently, the fellow's brain told him he was at open-mike night at Chuckles Comedy Club and he had to work his act ("Listen folks, I wanna tell you -- you ever try that repentance thing? What's the deal with that?")

6. Remember that each sacrament meeting talk must have at least one quote from, or reference to, the book "Believing Christ" by Stephen E. Robinson. It is merely an oversight that 1) the book is not scripture yet, and 2) Brother Robinson is not a general authority yet. Quote from it, refer to it, base your whole talk around it. Even if there's no time to read any scriptures, make sure you get in some good "Believing Christ" quotes. One can never hear the Parable of the Bicycle too many times, after all, and I'm sure Brother Robinson is just THRILLED that his book has supplanted the use of scriptures in sacrament meeting talks. Doctrine who needs that this is way more fun and easy to understand.

7. Starting your talk with "I was asked to speak on _____ today"  The Bible dictionary defines ______ as."  Ok it gets your topic out there and frankly kills a minute or two of your 15 minutes assignment.  But really?  I know you have seen it done dozens hundreds of times.  I saw two people given the same topic in the same meeting and they both started their talks that way.  Just in case you were asleep the first time.  I would prefer to resort to point #1 and have the congregation yelling 'Yo, yo, homey, whassup!  That starting with this bad and overused beginning.

8. When quoting general authorities, refrain from mentioning which specific general authority it was, or in which general conference he said it. Merely say, "One of the general authorities -- I think it was one of the apostles -- said...." That whole "apostle" thing makes the quote sound more credible, and will cause the congregation not to realize that you are actually paraphrasing something that someone read out of a book at a zone conference once or from Believing Christ, and that you have no idea who originally said it, let alone whether it was an apostle, or even a member of the church.

9. Mumble, and never lift your head up from your notes.  That always makes for a good time.

10. If you have a personal experience that demonstrates the principle you are discussing, and which caused you to develop greater faith in that principle, and which may inspire others to greater heights of personal righteousness, refrain from sharing it. (For guidance on what kind of stories you SHOULD share, refer back to No. 5.) You don't want to sound like a know it all do you.

Much of this post was taken from an essay written by Eric D Snider that I received and added my own two bits too. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Accidents happen, but its the thought that counts!

Ok normally this would be for memory Monday but I was reminded of this event this morning and thought it would be a great post.  Oh the names have not been changed to protect anyone and to the best of my knowledge this is the first time in 22 years this has been made public.
When I was 17 I was hot to trot for a girl in the Basin City Ward named Elizabeth Nuttle.  I was a dork and had no clue how to pursue this especially since I was only there for the summer.  One Saturday night my cousin Shad and 2-3 friends and I went to a stake dance in the tri-cities.  It was a great time but Elizabeth and her brother Andrew did not go to the dance.  So what was a disappointed young man to do to express his affection? There is really only one answer to that question…toilet paper her house of course.  Shad was driving his parents van and he killed the headlights and engine and we coasted into her driveway.  We all jumped out and soon flowing streams of double quilted cotton softness were waving through the trees.  We made our way back to the van reveling in our coolness and I noticed something by the car tire.  It was a dead cat.  We had accidently ran over Elizabeth’s cat in her driveway.  Oops.  What would you do in this situation?  It was not a leap for her to figure out who toilet papered her yard.  We quickly reviewed our options, cleaning up the toilet paper was not an option, coming clean and admitting wrong doing did not make the list either and neither was leaving a dead cat in the driveway.  So in our brilliant teenage boy minds we decided to pick up the cat and put it in the middle of the busy street that ran in front of her house.  That way it would look like an accident…which it was.  Just the location of the actual homicide took place somewhere else. 
So just to be clear in case Elizabeth or any of the Nuttle family ever find this post.  Shad was driving (and actually killed the cat), It was Nate, Danny or James who picked up the cat and tossed it into the street, Ryan found the cat and was in love with the girl just wanting to save her from any possible pain. 

You know even after 22 years I am not sure I would do anything different if it were to happen to me again today.  If you ever read this Elizabeth, sorry about your cat.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Forks Washington, I saw no Vampires

This last Sunday was a very fun...however really long day.  I received a speaking assignment to go visit another ward in our stake.  For those Twilight fans out there it was the Forks Ward.  Oh and the town looks nothing like the movie.  Anyway it was a solid 2 hour drive from my house and I did not want to go alone so I asked my daughter Regann to go with me.  I mean what 14 year old girls would not want to go to Forks and spend 9 hours doing church stuff.  In the process of me arranging to speak Regann was also extended and invitation to speak.  She happily accepted and we headed off to the land of no sun and lots of rain (that part is true). 

It was quite a special time for me.  Sitting on the stand with my daughter who was a bit nervous.  I found out while we were sitting there her motivation for coming with me were to visit her friends from girls camp, not to spend the day with her Dad, way to burst my bubble.  The Sacrament meeting had two youth speakers a congregational hymn and then I had the remaining 30 minutes.  It is meetings like that, that give the High Councilmen a bad name.  It all worked out well. 

There were two or three things that really stood out to me.  First of all it always surprises me that every ward I ever attend run exactly the same.  There are a few very minor differences but for the most part I know exactly what to expect.  Every ward has its own flavor and spirit.  The Forks ward is a small ward.  There were less than a 100 people in sacrament.  But there was a very positive but unique spirit in that building.  These are good people who have to work hard.  Their building is 52 miles from the next wards boundary's. It would take the better part of 1 hour to drive to the outside ward boundaries in all directions from the chapel.  They have a huge geographic area to cover with winding mountain and coastal roads.  This makes attending stake, and multi-ward activities really difficult.  It left and impression that there was no middle of the road when it came to activity. 

Here is a photo I took of Regann on our way out of town so she could show she had been to Forks.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Good Idea / Bad Idea

Good idea: Doing preventative maintenance on your car
Bad Idea: accidently breaking a part that cost more than if you left things alone...oops

Good Idea: Having a yard sale
Bad Idea: Setting up the night before hand and not taking into account I can't even give this crap away.

Good Idea: weeding an overgrown area in your yard
Bad Idea: Exposing 100 sqaure feet of 5 inche deep sand, it has now become a sand box with water volcanos and Lego 4x4's in a place where it should not be. At least the weeds wont have a chance to grow back.

Good Idea: Planting a garden
Bad idea: Renting out your house before harvest...I hope they enjoy it.

Good Idea: Selling furniture before a move so you dont have to much to take with you
Bad Idea: Selling your couches a month before you actually move so you have nothing to sit on.

Good Idea:  Selling your kitchen chairs when you move
Bad Idea: Yup same thing again, no chairs except for some lawn furniture in the kitchen, all we need is a singing fish and we will be total redneck.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Scout Camp now and in years past

July seemed to be the month of camping.  I took the older boys on their annual high adventure trip last last for the last time.  With my calling changes by the end of September I will have no active positions in Scouting any more.  I will be an active parent and now that I am on the high council with church I will be focusing on the Young Single Adults and Helamans Camp.  I have to say that these high adventure trips have really become the highlight of my summer.  We have had some amazing experiences and done things I never would have other wise.  In the past 6 years i have been able to do the following with our Port Townsend Washington Unit:

  • Canoe the Columbia Reach 3 times
  • Bike the San Juan Islands
  • White Water raft the Deschute River
  • Go to the National Lava beds Monument in Norther California
  • Visit the Sol Duc Hot Springs
  • Camp Parsons Scout Camp as an advisor twice
  • Sand Board on the Oregon Coast
  • Attend 2 Rodeos
  • Hike Multinoma Falls
  • Attend a hand cart trek
  • Canoe Lake Ozette
  • Visit 3 differant Potatoe processing plants (the boys complained this year we did not get to go to a factory.)
  • Drive tractors
  • Kayak in the San Juan Islands
  • Attend the National Scout Jamboree
  • Hiked more miles in Olympic National Park than I care to admit
  • Visit Goldendale Observatory
  • Go Skeet shooting several times
  • Have the police show up at 4 different times
  • Try to catch fish...I did fianlly catch 2 a couple of years ago
  • Jet Boat the Rogue River
  • And a bunch of other stuff that I am forgetting
I campare this to the 3 times I went to week long summer camp as a kid each time not only a different ward but different State (Idaho, Oregon and Washington).  We went to Camp Bradley in McCall Idaho once.  That was an interesting experience.  Lots of hot springs, smelly sulfur beds, leaches in the lake and rain, rain, rain.  Probley the reason I only went once.  We then moved to Oregon and we rafted the Dechutes River.  This trip was the insparation for the trip we took last year.

We sailed the San Juan Islands for a week.  I am not sure if it was an official high adventure or it just turned out to be the Priest Quorum and the Bishop.  Bishop Kennedy in Bremerton took Brian Kennedy, Scott Anderson and I up to the Island for a week.  I remember really cold water, tasty crab and learning to play BS.

Each trip had its high points and they were a great reference point in my life. Mayson attended scout camp that is only about 30 minutes from our house.  In fact last night I took him back so he could get two partial merit badges signed off.  Harmon came with us and it was a real treat walking through that camp with 2 of my sons.  Mayson showing us everywhere he did stuff and explaining how the camp operated.  Harmon seemed jazzed to attend.  It is really a great program that I look forward to being a part of again in the future.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Grandpa boffer sword fitting with the kids...he ran away

My brother Adam is in town right now visiting.  He rebuilt the engine on my truck and has been loads of fun in the evenings when I get home from work.  We had a BBQ last night with the grandparents, Adam and as it turned out the missionaries.  After dinner the missionaries and I had a meeting so we grabbed some chairs and went out on the lawn.  It was a beautiful night and we need to enjoy those clear days when we have them.  We are in the process of moving and are having a huge yard sale this weekend.  In preparation for that we are piling stuff up in our yard.  The kids found their boffer swords and started to play.  Nothing like a battle going on during a church meeting.  Its like sacrament on the far end of the bench away from where mom and dad are sitting.  Grandpa got in on the action.  I forgot my phone takes video until they were almost done.  Picture them going at it like this for a little while that was until grandpa got tired turned tail and ran.

The boys didn't seem to upset grandpa left they just turned on each other.  Oh and just for the record, no one in Western Washington waters their lawn in the summer.  It goes brown for about 2 months then in September when it starts to rain again it turns green again. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Check it out FREE MUSIC!!!!

I love acapella music.  Vocal Point, Eclipse, Take 6 and a multitude of others are truly amazing.  I was only blessed with a kean abilaty two spel, nothing as cool as what these guys can do.  A friend of mine played me this recording of Eclipse singing the Coca Cola theme song in a variety of styles and I loved it.  Keep in mind as you listen to it there are no instuments it is just voices.  My other favorite song of theirs is called Maria.  You can also get an additon 18 free downloads off of their website.

Check this out.  Two posts in one day and you get free music.  I am trying to make up for my three weeks of slothfulness.

The car broke down...please let it be a cheap fix!

About a year ago my Suburban started to run really rough.  We could not figure out what was wrong with it so we took it to the mechanic.  $350.00 later we found out that there was a small leak and antifreeze was getting into the 6th cylinder and fouling the spark plug.  He switched out the spark plug and it ran great again.  I told this to my mechanic brother Adam and he said lets change the head gaskets and rebuild the engine so it does not do that anymore.  I was totally happy changing the spark plug every 6 months.  He has been very persistent in this quest so this last week we had time and he came up with his daughter while his wife was at girls camp.  He got to my place and recruited my son Mayson as an assistant and proceeded to tear down the engine in my driveway.  He brought every tool under the sun with him generators, air compressors, and boxes and boxes of specialty tools designed to take out 1 bolt in a specific spot on a specific engine.  Oil stains, plastic bags and lots of little parts began to pile up in the drive way. 
I am not a complete novice when it comes to mechanical work.  The one thing I know really well is I don’t like doing it.  Nothing quite like cracking your knuckles on a wrench under the hood of a car on your only day off, that makes the weekend really sweet.  Doing basic maintenance like the plugs, filters and fluids is easy (I still hate doing it).  I can even change starters, alternators, fuel pumps, breaks, water pumps and some vacuum parts, pretty much the stuff that bolts to the outside of an engine.  I have never torn into the engine its self.  When that is needed it is time to buy a new car.  However this no man’s land in my paradigm is a place Adam is quite comfortable (he is a helicopter mechanic in his day job). Things were going great he would have even been done earlier than expected if weren’t for a crack in the intake manifold.  For those of you less auto savvy this is a really bad thing.  Now we he gets to take the engine  apart again and either find a welder to repair the crack or somehow find a new part today so he can go home before his wife gets done with girls camp. 
Don’t worry Adam I am behind you all the way!  I am sure you will get it done, this being the only vehicle we have that can haul my entire family.  Nothing quite like making 2 trips to church to get everyone there.  I did take a few pictures of their adventures.

Here is my Brother Adam with what used to be my Suburban engine.  But now to the untrained is a dirty mess. 

This is Mayson and putting new seals on a the valves.  After being showed how to do it he changed out both heads.

There should be more parts there.  This is not a great photo but if you look you can see the exposed pistons.  Not my idea of a good time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Good fences make good neighbors unless they drive through it

 Have you ever had one of those days!  I am not talking about a day where your kids get up clean their room, get dressed , brush their teeth without being reminded, look around the house and see what needs done and gets started on it.  No I am talking about the other kind of day the one we don’t just dream about but actually have to live through.  Where there is no portion of your life that is not affected in some adverse and not so fun sort of a way.
We have a lot going on in our live right now…a bit more than what I would call normal.  Several heavy duty items that alone would be enough to drive anyone crazy.  Rhonda and I were talking in the kitchen last night and I commented how with all the extra stress in our lives right now how little things tend to set us off much more than they should.  Let me explain.  You take any normal drinking glass and it is an example of how much stress you can take in your life. At any given time in our life it is probably 25-40% full.  Just normal day to day stuff.  The dog ate someone’s homework, you need milk for cereal, the garden needs weeded, Mom he’s touching me etc, etc, etc.  That leaves a lot of room for stuff to happen.  Someone gets hurt, car breaks down, crazy home teaching family, mother in law comes to visit and you see the glass start to fill.  Then as your glass starts to reach capacity little things like kids asking what are we having for dinner or can I go to my friends house and you have to give me a ride.  Tend to illicit a larger than appropriate response. 
We have been told we will not be tested more than we are able to handle.  Does anyone know how much they can truly handle?  Is there a conversion chart someplace where we can check and see what our upward stress limit would be?  I think about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Everyone knows how to make one.  If I asked my 6 year old son to make a sandwich he could.  He would leave a path of destruction 6 feet wide across the kitchen as he did it but he would get the sandwich made.  If I were to make it there would be a few crumbs on the counter and a dirty knife and spoon when all was finished.  The funny thing is that it is not the task that has changed.  It is the person’s ability to deal with the task that has changed.  And the not so fun part about that is that growing experiences are what increase out capacity and the real bummer is the most growing experiences are not fun.  They are not fun to be in, to think about, to work on, or until years later and you are completely through with them even fun to talk about.  Right now I really appreciate the Alma who when given great trials (Mosiah 24:15) did not have the burdens taken away.  The Lord strengthened his back that he would be able to bare the burdens with ease. 
The other thought is that we are all different and what one person considers a great trial does not even seem to faze someone else.  Which oddly enough by not acknowledging and understanding the stress someone else is in will cause their glass to spill over, end up in an argument and increase your stress level.  Does it ever end?  Now don’t read to much into this and assume I am ready to take a long walk off a short pier or Rhonda and I are fighting (neither is the case, but a good brisk swim might be fun).  I really just needed to vent and this seemed to be a better way to do it that picking up the phone and yelling at the people I really want to yell at.  I wonder if I could still keep my temple recommend if I made Voodoo dolls of people who bugged me?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fun things at the fair, cotton candy, popcorn, mechanical bulls etc...

It is amazing how fast this whole blog thing can get away from you.  I took some time off from work for a family vacation, scout trip and a camping trip with my kids and before you know it 3 weeks have past and I have not even looked at my blog.  Well that is all going to change.  It's Monday and I have 3 weeks of stuff to write about. 

This past weekend was the Jefferson County Fair.  It is a great small town country fair.  There are no midway rides it it is really about the community.  My kids are all in 4H showing everything from rabbits, rockets, cooking, sewing and soon alpaca's.  The best part is that they are old enough we can let them out in pairs to explore and not have to worry to much about them.  Or so I thought.  I was sitting in the small animal barn visiting with some other parents and Regann comes running in Dad come quick Mayson is going to ride a mechanical bull.  I thought this should be fun to watch and short lived.  So I got there in time to see not only Mayson but Payton and Harmon as well all ride a mechanical bull.  And because of my super cool new Android phone that not only plays angry birds but also has a built in camcorder that can post automatically to youtube, you can enjoy the show as well.  How cool is that?

Payton was really the croud pleaser.  Waving the hat around was a very nice touch.