Sunday, August 26, 2012

#74: Coriantumr and Shiz as a Primary scripture.

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Hands down, teaching the 11-year old Primary kids is my favorite calling in the Church. I think 11-year olds are the perfect age because they still love to learn and participate, they typically don't have cell phones (which means they aren't tempted to text or play Temple Run during class), they frequently have good insights into the scriptures, and they are often down-right hilarious. 

The other day I was thinking back to my own time as an 11-year old in Primary, and I remembered something that still makes me laugh. In Primary, each week a different child is asked to share a scripture at the end of the group Primary meeting. Usually, the child chooses an uplifting verse like "Ye are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14) or "I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded" (1 Nephi 3:7). But SOMETIMES, the child has a unique sense of humor and things don't go quite as planned. One such Sunday, it was my best friend's (Aaron Ludwig) turn to share a scripture. I vividly remember the shock on the faces of the Primary Presidency when Aaron shared the following scripture:

"Wherefore, he did pursue them, and on the morrow he did overtake them; and they fought again with the sword. And it came to pass that when they had all fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz, behold Shiz had fainted with the loss of blood. And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz. And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell and after that he had struggled for breath, he died" (Ether 15:29 - 31).

Amen, Aaron. Amen.
Coriantumr happens.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

#73: Bear Lake 2012.

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What a great weekend! I took work off Thursday and Friday so that Diane and I could go up to my favorite place on earth: Bear Lake at the Utah-Idaho border. 

As a kid growing up, the company that my mom worked for owned a condo at Bear Lake's "Ideal Beach Resort" on the south side of the lake, and we spent a week there every single summer until I left on my mission. I have so many good memories of Bear Lake, in particular spending my birthdays there as a kid. When I was in high school, my parents even allowed me to invite a bunch of my friends ("The Brain Trust") to come up with us.

One thing I now know, but which I didn't know at the time, was that each summer when I was up at Bear Lake, Diane lived right across the lake in Dingle, Idaho the entire time (yes, Dingle is a real place). Man, if I only would have known, I would have swum across the lake to meet her (and that's saying something, since I'm a terrible swimmer). The fact that Diane spent her teenage years living at Bear Lake makes it even more of a special place for us.

This weekend we had an absolute blast. Diane's older brother Ben, his wife Sarah, and their four kids also came up with us. If you are interested, here are a bunch of pictures of our trip. I can't wait to go again next year!
Ben's youngest daughter tries to blow out the Olympic torch.
We rented a boat. I'm pretty sure this is illegal.
Tubing on the back of the boat. I only fell off twice!
Great view....of the lake.
Ben's youngest daughter swinging with me.
"Do again! Do again!!!"
Potential boyfriend?
We noticed a family preparing for the Hunger Games.
Adorable coneheads.
Sarah's sister, Mickey, spent the day with us on Saturday.
The kids loved watching her sing.
We saw this little guy lose his pants on the mini-golf course.
He didn't get a hole-in-one either. Rough day on the course, Tiger.
After Ben beat me in our morning mini-golf game, I demanded a rematch.
Fortunately, I squeaked out a victory.
I'll be practicing for next year, Ben. You'd better watch your back.
You know those public service announcements for kids in Africa?
Well....
At dinner on Friday night, we noticed Santa Claus trying to hide on his phone in the corner.
Fortunately, Santa was a great sport and let the kids take a picture with him.
However, they were pretty curious why he wasn't wearing his suit.
We reminded them that even Santa needs to take a break every now and then.
Not to be outdone, on Saturday night at dinner
we ran into local news host, Brooke Walker, of KSL.
And no, I did NOT take a picture of Brooke,
because, well, that would have been creepy. 
A typical summer sacrament meeting in the Garden City ward.
And no, this was NOT stake conference.
A great view of Logan canyon on my way home.
Reminder: don't take pictures while you are driving.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

#72: The Marvelous Missy Franklin.

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I love the Olympics. I love the spectacle, the competition, the patriotism, and even the commentary (yes, I actually do think Bob Costas is great, despite all the complaints people are making about NBC). However, my favorite part of the Olympics is the inspiring stories of the athletes. This week has had no shortage of inspirational stories: Michael Phelps' all-time record of 19 medals, Jordyn Weiber showing the resolve to come back and win team gymnastics gold after missing out on the individual finals, and British diver Tom Daley competing with composure despite the recent death of his father, among many others. My favorite Olympic story so far is that of 17-year old USA swimmer Missy Franklin.
Missy Franklin winning her first Olympic gold medal.
Picture from PopWatch.
Everything about Missy Franklin makes me feel good inside. I admire her contagious smile and endless enthusiasm, her pure joy when she wins (two golds and counting!), and her grace and maturity when she loses. Her good example makes me want to work harder to achieve my goals and never set limits on my potential.

However, even greater than her abilities as a swimmer, Missy is just a great person. When she started to achieve great success as a teenager, Missy didn't move to California or Florida to become a part of a great swim program. No, she stayed in her home state of Colorado because she was happy there and didn't want to leave her friends or long-time coach. When she started to receive national attention, Missy didn't accept every sponsor that came her way; no, instead she refused them so that she could continue to compete on her Catholic high school swim team in Aurora, Colorado (site of last week's tragic movie theater shooting). When you watch Missy, you can tell how much she loves God, loves her parents, loves her friends, loves her sport, and loves her country. I, for one, can't wait to see what her future holds. Good luck, Missy!