Monday, December 27, 2010

The Fire of the Covenant

When we first moved into this area we became part of the Rising Sun Branch.  It had been a branch for 20+ years.  At that time I was a branch missionary and I spent a lot of time with brother Kubesh sharing the gospel with non members and doing our best to reactivate non and less active members.

Fast forward 3 years and I've now been the Elder's Quorum President for just over a year and we are now the Bay View Ward.  We've had over 2 dozen baptisms, some of which are still active and some of which who are not.  Some who are zealously engaged in the work and some who joined for self serving purposes.  I am not here to judge, I would just like to share some of the successes that I've observed.

Leonard Evans:  3 years ago a convert of almost 30 years, receptive to visits but came to church once in a blue moon and really didn't grasp the truthfulness of what he had been a part of for all these years.  In recent months, due to diligent home teachers, missionaries, and most of all the spirit, he has been at church consistently each and every week.  He has received the Aaronic Priesthood, his Patriarchal blessing, and is just weeks away from becoming an Elder.  He is also a faithful home teacher.

The Sponenburg Family:  3 years ago we weren't sure if they were here or not.  They too were receptive to missionary visits but not seriously committed to the gospel.  In recent months, a non member daughter (Kayla) was baptized and confirmed, and yesterday called and sustained as a Primary worker.  Josh, the glue of the family has received the Aaronic Priesthood and is working toward the Melchizedek.  Yesterday he administered the Sacrament for the first time and is always engaged in the lessons by sharing his simple yet powerful testimony.  Lisa, mother of the family, anxiously engaged in seeing to her families eternal salvation, expressed that in all the time she's been a member she's never held a calling which she would like very much to do.  Brian, father of the family, has given up coffee and is working hard to give up alcohol so he too can receive the Priesthood and the blessings that come with it.  Samantha daughter and friend has lost herself in the Book of Mormon and gains a stronger testimony of it's power and truthfulness each day.

There are others that have found their way back and are becoming stalwart members of our newly formed ward.  The two examples I've sited have given me great joy, as the scriptures declare, because I've been involved with and witness to these glorious transformations.  I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is had in it's fullness within our church.  This is his church, restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I know our Father in Heaven Lives, I know that Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer Lives.  I know the Book of Mormon is true and that we do indeed get closer to God by abiding by it's precepts.

I am so happy and grateful to be a part of the Lord's work in these the last days!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Very Own Noel

I just got off the phone with my dear sister J'Lene.  J'Lene NOEL Olson (recently Harris).  We only spoke for a few minutes but I'm having a hard time choking back the tears even now.  Oh I'm not sad per se but I was just 14 months old when I got that Christmas package in my life.  I was dropped off to stay with the Bishop because mom was having contractions.  I don't think they planned on having a Christmas baby but they did so when they came home from the hospital I had a sister for Christmas :o)

I've known J'Lene all her life, 38 wonderful years of my 39.  She's been a tremendous sister and friend for all of it.  We shared everything growing up including my first car at college.  She did my laundry and I bought her groceries, I think I got the better end of the deal.

She's always been there and I guess that my tears are partly because I'm all the way out here on the east coast and she's still in Utah.  Married now, for which I am overjoyed for her.  All my extended family is out west but of course I have a wonderful wife and beautiful children that are my family now.

I don't know I guess I just wanted to pay tribute to my sister for a minute.  All her love and generosity over the years.  A best friend growing up.  Someone I could always rely on.  She was always so good with all of our kids and I'm so glad that she has 5 now as part of her marriage to Jonathan.

We have so many memories captured in pictures because J'Lene was ever so faithful in taking literally thousands of them.

I remember her always kinda getting short changed on the birthday thing but it's cool that she shares the day we celebrate the Savior's birth.  We never made too big of a deal out of our birthdays growing up  but they were OUR days and she had to share it and she was always a good sport about it.

We'd get a kick out of the songs that included NOEL in them and would say they were singing about here.  I even remember one song that started off "jingling,....jingling...." and we would pretend they were saying J'Lene...J'Lene... because it really sounded just like it.  On an old record player no less.  Wow have we come a long way since she and I were kids.

I will always have a special place in my hear for my very own Noel, as with all of my siblings.  Today is yours though sister.  I love you.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Return With Honor

Today is the anniversary of my return home from my mission.  I remember it was a cold rainy day in Salt Lake and we went to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights.  It was the first time I had seen them.  I remember sleeping on the floor in the hotel room that Mom & Dad had gotten.  I just used Dad's sleeping bag and I felt right at home.  I remember Laurie came to visit me she gave me a massage that felt so great after two years in the mission field.

On the drive home the following evening I was listening to a tape that some friends in Japan had made for me when I left and I overheard the tape the family was listening to and it caught my attention.  This was my introduction to The Tennis Shoes Adventure Series.  They were listening to the second book.  Gadianton's & The Silver Sword. 

Of course I soon took the opportunity to listen to both the first and the second book.  I listened to them every time I would make the drive back and forth from school at Rock Spring Western Wyoming College.  I listened to them so many times in fact that I wore them out.

The 11th book in the Series just came out and I am planning to listen to it over the holidays.  A lot of significant things have happened on December 11th but my return home is the one I always remember first.  Hard to believe it's been 18 years.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Been a month to the day that I last posted.  Just thought I should pay tribute to our Veterans and say thank you for all your service.  I come from a long line of Veterans and I'm amazed I never served but I suppose I contribute in other ways.

My very first Veteran's Day out east I actually went to DC for the first time.  My old roommate Jason was touring me around and commenting on all the people in uniform and wondering what they were protesting.  Ummm not protesting but rather commemorating Veteran's Day.  It was my first of many trips to the mall in particular the Vietnam Memorial on this day.  I took an etching of Alma Stump's name from the wall.

                                                                   God Bless America!

Monday, October 11, 2010

No place I'd rather be

It's my birthday today and I am at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children.  I'm here for Carter and a long awaited assessment that we've fought tooth and nail to get (Liz did most of it but I helped her where I could).  It's about family and love and it's really just another day.  So I'm 39.  I'm really only one day older than I was yesterday so it's not like we age a whole year over night :o)

Anyway I'm glad to be here with Carter.  I'm glad he's getting the services he needs.  I'm glad that we will be able to get a clearer picture of how he learns and how we can help him in his learning.  I think of the Father's Day I spent in Primary Children's Hospital with him.  He had the ROTA Virus and and a temperature that hit 104.  It was a scary to be at the hospital and still be faced with that crisis.  The virus/fever was of course the reason we were there but even in that environment I felt powerless to help him.  Of course I probably knew then as I know now that the power of the priesthood is a very real thing and with sufficient faith and the will of the Lord all things are possible.  I was glad when that was all over. 

Carter has been through a lot in his life of almost 10 years.  It is hard to believe that he is that old.  So much has happened in his lifetime.  I would say that despite the challenges it's been a great time, and that is why I'm I can't think of any place I'd rather be than with my son to support him.

Monday, October 4, 2010

So Grateful

My beautiful wife was involved in a car accident earlier today and I am so very grateful to my Heavenly Father that she is ok.  I can replace the car but I could never replace my dear sweet wife.


I wore my jacket for the first time since this spring when things got warm enough to go without.  I found $26 in the pocket, been there since the last time I wore it I guess.  I like surprises like this one.  I'm surprised my wife still loves me some days too.  I hope she still loves me.  I'm about as far from perfect as they come but I hope I get some points for striving.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wonder No More

My wife's Blog states that she doesn't know how I'm doing because we're THAT busy.  I know it's been a month since I've posted an entry so I can understand why she doesn't know.  We're so busy that we keep in touch with the wonders of modern technology.  We share our google calendars so we both know where the other is at any given day or time.  We can coordinate trips to AI duPont, dentists visits, early out from school day, cub scouts, dance, her class schedule, my Elder's Quorum Meetings, oh and honey I added our date tomorrow night to the calendar.

Work has been busy busy.  I wrapped up one high profile project just to jump head long into the next one.  I was out of commission for two days last week and fortunately it wasn't my appendix.

Church callings are always calling and I'm getting better at delegating what I can but not everything I should yet :o)

I too am deeply grateful for the amazing doctors and services available to us here on the East Coast.  I don't suppose I miss my family any less that Liz does BUT I've been living away from home since I was 17 and I've lived overseas twice for very extended periods of time.  I don't miss them any less I've just had more experience in coping with it.

I'm blessed to know that I have a loving Heavenly Father who wants me to be happy in the very same way I want my own children to be.  I have a son who is "Little Daryl" as so many of my family affectionately call him, he likes it too.  Little Daryl does so many of the same things I did and sometimes it's hard to admit it.  He is an amazing helper when he wants to be and as stubborn as a mule when he doesn't.  I get to help him avoid the pitfalls I encountered but I also get to see how he overcomes them in ways I couldn't when he chooses to run head on into them.  It is glorious to see myself young again.

I am also blessed with a beautiful little girl who knows no limit to her charity, the pure love of Christ.  She is an example to us all on forgiveness and loving one another unconditionally.  And if you're not getting it right she'll be the first one to tell you so and get after you until you get it right.  She is the sweetest little girl ever and she just wants to know she can always be my cupcake and not worry that I will eat her.

Of course I wouldn't have either without my beautiful wife.  In all of my trials and tribulations she is there to support me.  She lifts me when I am down and she stands beside me to hold me up.  She is an amazing woman full of wisdom and compassion.  I am a better man for being with her.  I have accomplished so much because believing I could and can is fueled with the knowledge that SHE believes in me.

To answer the question of how I'm doing?  Well, I'm doing well.  I am blessed beyond measure.  I am healthy and happy.  Most of all I am grateful for the day I met you and every day since.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One of the Great Ones Gone

Newel Leavitt age 94 has returned to live with our Heavenly Father.  Newel was a man who worked on the Forest Service with Dad and as I recall it not only did he think a lot of my father, he took a shine to John and I.  He was a man from time forgotten by many these days.  Born in the early years of the last century he grew up in the true frontier west.  Molded by his surrounding he was one with the land.  Despite the obvious hardships in his life Newel had a very pleasant disposition, quick to smile and make a joke.

Dad suggested to John and I that it might be nice of us to visit Newel while we were both there in Star Valley.  For whatever reasons, the opportunity just didn't present itself and we did not get the visit in.  It stung a little when I got the text this morning informing me of his passing  but I'm sure he would understand the busy schedules of life and although I will not beat myself up with words like regret, I know that had we had the chance to visit him it would have been time well spent and the memory would be lasting.  As it is I will just remember Newel atop his horse, his cheerful smile, an image of One of the Great Ones riding off into the sunset.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


What a cool day for a birthday!  Too Bad Tricia had her little girl 35 minutes too late.  Oh well.

So the places I've been and the things I've done in the last two weeks WoW!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Carter's Room is Painted!

Well it's something we've wanted to do since we moved into the house.  Carter's room was the only one that didn't have a color unique to itself.  There is a pink guest room and Madelyn's room is yellow.  Our room is even light blue but Carter's had nothing. 

It's good to some extent that we've waited because he wrote on his wall a fair amount and put lots of holes in the walls so all of that was patched and painted over.  It's a very appealing green and blue now.  Yes two colors.  Two walls blue and the other two are green.

Of course his red dresser and red shelves were fine in his Orem, Utah bedroom and with no specific color in his room here they worked but now they just didn't match.  Liz wanted me to sand down the dresser to repaint but I remember how difficult it was to sand that particular dresser the first time we did it.  And the shelves with all their nooks and crannies would have been a multi hour undertaking. 

His little bookshelf was on its last leg so I decided to replace that with a bigger one.  The one I got was wider and taller, giving him two additional shelves.  The black oak finish on the bookshelf gave me the epiphany to paint the dresser and shelves black.  Sanding was still an ill advised proposition so I went with spray paint and I have to say they turned out great.  The dresser has been placed back in the room and the other pieces will be returned today once they are dry.  All in all the complete makeover has made the room look very different and fun and fresh for Carter.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day & A Painted Playhouse

It's Flag Day and we Saluted and followed Carter this morning in pledging allegiance to it this morning as we posted our Flag to pay tribute.  God Bless America!  I'm grateful to my father and the veterans and those actively protecting our country.

Hard to believe that Mom and Dad will be flying out tomorrow night.  I'm sure that there will be things that they are looking forward to returning to back in Wyoming.  I also know they have enjoyed their visit despite the hectic schedule we call life on the east coast.  A lot more driving to get to places than they are used to I'm sure.

True to their commitment they have helped with a number of projects around the house and even today with departure tomorrow they are painting the playhouse.

Liz got a summons for Jury duty next month and Mom is talking about making the trip out to look after the kids while I go to work and she performs this civic duty.  I sure love and appreciate our parents.  We're all grown up and they are still looking out for us and doing all kinds of things to help us where they can.

I'm so glad I know that families can be together forever!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pacific & America The Story of Us

Dad has enjoyed watching "Pacific" (10 episodes) and "The Story of Us" (6 episodes).  The first is made by the same group that did "Band of Brothers" but with the focus on soldiers and events of the Pacific Theater during WWII and the second about America from it's early beginnings and the events and people that have helped make our country what it is today.

I of course watched the "Pacific" one week at a time, recording it because I knew Dad would be here and enjoy it.  I of course watched with mixed emotions because I have family who fought and died during WWII specifically in the Pacific and yet having served a mission in Japan I have a great love for the country and her people.

I was especially moved by the act of compassion that one seemingly hardened soldier showed to a Japanese woman who was about to die.  Instead of ending her misery with a bullet, which she clearly wanted him to do, he held her tenderly which in some way gave her some comfort in her final moments, and probably saved his soul from the Abyss that it was clearly headed for.

Liz and I enjoyed the America program and saved it for Mom and Dad who also enjoyed it.  Very well done.  Educational and inspiring.  It's too bad more uplifting programs like these aren't made.  But with all we have going on we only have time to watch the good stuff any way.

My little princess

I adore my sweet Madelyn!  She is such a gem.  She had her little performance today and although it was short, sweet, and oh so simple, you would have thought she was performing for the New York Theater Ballet Company.

She is so innocent and sweet yet smart and assertive.  I know we'll have our hands full with this her in different ways from our beloved Carter but I know they will both make us very proud.  They do every day!


Mom and Dad have been able to attend church twice in the time they've been here and both weeks have been drama free.  Sacrament Meeting yesterday was especially inspiring.  I have to say that it has certainly been the most uplifting and inspiring meeting we've had as a ward and possibly in the whole time we've been here both as a branch and a ward.  Forgiveness was the topic and the Spirit was so strong.  Ren Thachter, one of the young men who has been working summers for Aaron Ellsworth for the last 6 summers, spoke on repentance and Alma the younger.  Sister Lynette Duncan spoke on forgiving others as she related her own story of hate and forgiveness as she dealt with the emotions she felt towards the young men who murdered her father and sister.  She was very open yet appropriate as she related the path her life took as she faced the trauma it caused and her journey from active young woman to her falling away and her return to the fold and how the hate and ultimate forgiveness all played a part in it.  Brother Wayne Brumbley spoke on forgiving ourselves and how important it is.  It was just a tremendous meeting.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Valley Forge

Today was our trip to Valley Forge.  Our GPS "Jane" wasn't the most cooperative but thanks to my wife, who isn't too proud to ask for directions, we got there. 

We saw a little fawn in the parking lot and the park rangers came and returned her to her mother.  Apparently there are quite a few of them around and they are used to reuniting them.  The deer here are certainly much smaller than out west.  Mule Deer in the West vs White Tail here in the east.

We hiked up to the the cabins that were built during the Continental Army's stay in the area then I returned to the visitor center and purchased the Audio/Car Tour CD which we used for the balance of the park.  Of course everyone had hiked further on and I picked up Mom and Madelyn about a mile before the others.  It was fun for Liz and Dad and Carter to get some hiking in.

It was so neat to see some of the places that Washington and other early founders had spent time and no doubt prayed for guidance in what they should do to ensure the birth of the country so many take for granted.  There is so much rich history out here and I hope that we will take advantage of it's relative proximity while we live out here, even if we don't ever move back west.

We scurried to get to the church that was later built because Liz wanted to see the organ that was there.  Unfortunately for us there was a wedding so we weren't able to get in to see it.  Liz did however find a couple of really great old books, one about Mozart and the other The Von Trap Family from the Sound of Music.  I love that she is so well read and that literature is so important to her.

By this time I think we had worn out my parents so we started the trip home only to realize too late that we were leaving during rush hour traffic (slow hour as Dad more appropriately called it)  Jane of course tried to hornswaggle us again but we worked through it and then made a stop in Kennett Square where Dad got some snacks for all to enjoy.

Another fun day rich with history.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ft McHenry

Thanks to Elizabeth's careful planning we swapped the days for the beach and Ft McHenry.  The beach was great and the weather was a huge part of it being so wonderful.  We knew we'd get some rain today so we opted for Ft McHenry because a lot of what's there to see is in the old buildings.

I encouraged Liz to stay home and get some rest that she needed and the rest of us went to see where Francis Scott Key penned The Star Spangled Banner.  It was the second time for the kids and I but I know that Mom and Dad enjoyed it.  Sitting in the room watching the little movie they've made about the history leading up to the "Dawn's early light" is very inspiring, and as they open the curtain during the National Anthem to see the flag waving in the wind is awesome.  Unfortunately because of the weather they had a much smaller flag  and it was hoisted a little late during the song but it was still neat to share it with my parents.  I know that J'Lene and Dallin also enjoyed the visit.

We took fruit and granola bars which were sufficient for the short trip and we made ourselves some lunch once we got back home.  It was a nice little day trip and we've saved some of the other things to do in Baltimore for a future trip.

I'm sure loving having my parents here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Atlantic Ocean and Redemption Beach

Today we made the trip to Lewes Beach in lower Delaware.  Dad wanted to put his foot in the Atlantic and Liz and I wanted to redeem ourselves from taking Mom to that nasty beach at Elk Neck State Park.  Both were accomplished.  It was a bit of a drive but the conversation on the way down and back was stimulating and the time there was fun for all.

We realized of course after we got there that we had not grabbed the right bag with the sun block, but I was able to get some by taking a short walk up the road from the beach.  The kids played in the water and found some more shells.  The water wasn't very deep and the shelf was a good 20 yards out so the kids could romp around in the water and not get knocked over by any really big waves.

Grandpa started digging a hole and then the kids started filling it in their attempt to help.  They would get on the edges and slide down in which put more sand in than they scooped out.  Dad, however, in his infinite patience kept on digging and slowly but surely the hole began to grow as did the excitement of our kids.  I think both Carter and Madelyn were able to bond more with my dad on this visit than any other.  Especially Madelyn, who for obvious reasons hasn't been around my parents as much as Liz's.  I've just really enjoyed their visit and the time they have spent with the kids.  Liz's parents did the same and I'm so grateful that my kids get to know and have a relationship with two sets of Grandparents where I knew only my Dad's parents.

Once the hole was dug we took some fun pictures as you can see.  It was a great day.

On the way home we stopped at a road side fruit stand and Dad was like a kid in a candy store.  The fresh fruit and vegetables made him giddy.  He put this and that into the cart and you could see his eyes getting bigger at the moment and almost salivating and the prospect of sinking his teeth in to any and all of it.

Of course we couldn't pass up an opportunity to get Cream Slushes at Sonic Drive In in Dover.  Mmmmmmm so good.  I think Liz and I need to open a Sonic by our house, like we need one more thing right LOL.  We had a great lunch and enjoyed the food and drinks and actually fed all 6 of us for about $30.  Gas has probably been the biggest expense when family visits, well that and all the extra groceries.  I know that Liz does the best she can to bargain shop and we'd be sunk for sure if it wasn't for her.  If you're still reading these posts sweetheart I hope you know how much I love and appreciate you.

It's just been a great time the last couple weeks with her parents and now my parents visiting.  The kids are having a blast and summer vacation hasn't even started for them yet.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Oh Happy Days!

Well Mom and Dad have been here for a couple days now and it's been glorious.  The kids have loved having them as have I.  I know that Liz has been happy as well but unfortunately she's been a little bit under the weather.

Dad and I completed one of the projects that I wanted to get done.  Perhaps it was the most important one on my list so getting it done first was great.  It was simply to build a cover for the pipes and valves and what not for the water holding tank from the Well.  Simple but important so that the kids won't continue to bang it up with toys and climbing around in that closet.  The cover took very little effort and we even used wood I had on hand here at the house. The best part of it was simply getting my Dad's help and his advise and just spending the time together and talking.  I've really missed my Dad.

We also went to Lowes and got the wood for building Flower Boxes for Liz.  Mom had the foresight to have them cut all the pieces to just the right lengths for us right there at Lowes so that probably saved us a few hours of doing it all by hand (since my skill saw is in Wyoming with David)

It's just been nice to listen to Dad and Mom's stories.  Dad talking about American History and Mom talking about Family History.

I found out last night that my mother played basketball for the Luckachukei girls team when she was a teacher on the reservation.  I could tell by her form and all the baskets she made that she had experience.  None of us knew that growing up and seeing mom swishing a few in the driveway must have reminded Dad because he told us.

I'm so happy they are here. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

A long needed project completed!

Dad helped me build a box of sorts to cover the pipes and valves at the base of our water holding tank.  Makes a nice little step for the kids to get at their games and whatnot while protecting things from those same little feet and errant toys.  Doesn't it look great?!  Thanks Dad!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just hours now.....

The days are now down to hours.  Grandma and Grandpa Olson will be leaving for the airport soon and boarding their flight out to visit us.  I guess I'm just especially excited for my Dad to come, for a number of reasons.  To start, I've been missing my Dad and thinking a lot about him and what a great father he is.  I wonder sometimes how he did it, where I struggle with two, he was responsible for 10.  My father is most definitely one of my greatest heroes.  I'm also excited to have him come because he's never been before and I am excited to show him where I work and the life I've made here on the east coast.  I'm excited to show him the sites nearby and just talk.  I'm excited to see mom too but she's been here twice so she's seen a lot of what's here and so a lot of it just won't be as new and exciting.

I really enjoyed the visit we got from Liz's parents over the past week.  Everyone had a really good time and I was especially happy for Elizabeth because I know she's been missing her Dad too.  Only 50 days until we go to Utah/Wyoming though so that trip and the fun associated with it is quickly approaching.  I really appreciate my in laws and how good they are to our children and their endless generosity.  They are very giving and it's clear where Elizabeth learned it from.

We met with a developmentalist for Carter and heard a lot of the same things we've heard before but we've now jumped through one more hoop they asked us to so perhaps we can get the insurance to pay for the testing that so many have recommended.  Psycho educational analysis is the big one I believe.  That and one other will come to about $5000 out of pocket if insurance won't pay but I believe they will, I have to believe it.  Hopefully the power of positive thinking will be sufficient, that and persistence on our part.

After the appointment the kids and I had a great time at the playland at McDonald's and made some new friends that I hope to one day share the gospel with.  Liz and her parents had lunch at Cafe Gelato's which is one of our favorites.  Well the prices may not be a favorite but they aren't too bad, especially at lunch, and the food is excellent.  I was really glad that Liz got to have a nice lunch with her parents and as I mentioned the kids made some really neat new friends.

I'm scheduled to see someone about my Anxiety next week in the early morning hours so I hope that proves beneficial.  I want to be a good husband and father and if addressing this will help me be better then it's about time I do it.   We had a  great lesson on the church's program for recovery and I do know that I am powerless to overcome the challenges of life on my own.  I hope I can attend the program, I would like to go as a couple but we may have to take turns.

We have a lot of fun activities planned for while my parents are here starting off with the annual Gore Picnic.  mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmm I can almost taste all the good food!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

14 Days and Counting

So Grandma and Grandpa Olson will be here in two weeks BUT much to our surprise Grandma and Grandpa Kjar are going to visit next week. I swear we've had almost as many family visits as we did when we lived in Orem. For the Record I am not complaining! I love that we have family come visit so often. It is great for our kids who would otherwise miss out on the relationships that their cousins might take for granted.

It will be nice to have all of them visit since I enjoy their company very much. I know my wife is especially grateful to have her parents some visit. For me it's extra special because where the others have been more than once my Dad will be visiting for the first time. I want to show him ALL the historical sites including the ones I haven't seen yet but I realize we'll just have to do what we can and enjoy the time together more than anything else.

I have a few projects that only my Dad can help me with. Not because no one else is qualified but because well no has the "Dad" factor (Of course I love and appreciate Liz's Dad as well but I've known mine longer)

I realize I need to get on here to leave updates more frequently but life is busy as a Father, Bread Winner (fortunately I don't have to do that all on my own. Thanks Liz I don't know what we'd do without you) an Elder's Quorum President, Butcher, Baker, and Candlestick Maker, I know I forgot stuff like missionary and on and on. And here it is time to go again.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Countdown

Well we're down to 28 days and counting until Grandma and Grandpa Olson come to visit.  I'm not sure who's the most excited.  I know the kids are, and my parents are, but perhaps I'm the most excited.  I really look forward to see my parents and especially showing dad the sites and the beautiful area we live in.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Bayview Ward

In a special meeting, of the northern units within our stake today, it was announced that we are now a Ward!  We've had a few baptisms and we've reactivated some of our less active members and our home teaching and attendance have been up but they also realigned the boundaries to give us the healthy numbers we need to become a ward.   Our Branch President (now Bishop) will be putting in the paperwork immediately to get approval for a full phased building.  With the added members we will be bursting at the seems.

One of the noteworthy additions to our Ward is Bishop Mullins.  Bishop Mullins was the Bishop of the Newark 1st ward and when I got to the area I was living within his boundaries and he really took care of me.  He made reference to me and my family on Sunday when he related to the stake that he had told me they were going to organize and divert the course of the river that marked the boundaries between the Rising Sun Branch and the Newark 1st Ward because our house is/was not within the boundaries of his Ward.  As it turns out the new boundary is another river farther east which means he is now a part of my Ward and not his.

He mentioned to me on Sunday that he considered me one of his own and he certainly showed it by taking me under his wing the way that he did.  I can remember I was in Utah one weekend and because he had not seen me at church he called to make sure I was ok and that I didn't need anything.

The bigger building is still several months away because they have to build it once it is approved and I'm not sure if we'll continue to meet in our existing building or if we'll have to find a new temporary home.  In any event it is exciting to think we will have a cultural hall/gym within a year or so and we can play basketball as an Elder's Quorum.  Just one of many fun things that we'll be able to do.  I think that one of the coolest parts of our smaller building has been that from the very first phase there was, and still is of course, a baptismal font.

We have had several baptisms in the branch/ward since moving in, the very first being none other than my son Carter.  More than half of the baptisms have been men.  This means that they are potential priesthood holders which is always important.  As it turns out one of those men, Juan Gonzalez, has prepared for and will receive the Melchizedek Priesthood next Sunday.  He has asked me to confer this priesthood on him and I am honored and humbled by this opportunity.  I have only done this once before so it is a special and significant thing to me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Elder Neil L Andersen - Quorum of The Twelve Apostles

It's not everyday that you get to brush shoulders with one of the Twelve Apostles but for the last two days I have had that pleasure.  On Saturday Afternoon I sat in his presence, shook hands with him, spoke with him, and had my questions answered by him.  He is the newest member of the Quorum and I was most impressed by his genuine love for us and his humility.  When asked about becoming an Apostle he said that he could think of many others that might have been a better choice than he but that he was called and that each of us are called to do what we are called to do and it is our duty to do that which we were called to.  He said that there are 1000s of men who could and would be great Bishops but will never be called to such.  He told us that our Heavenly Father does not hold him in any higher esteem than any of us just because he is an Apostle.  He went so far as to say that each of us there was in a sense an Apostle.  I remember my mission president, William R. Walker of the Seventy, told a group of us when we were Zone Leaders that each of us could be his Assistants and in a sense we were.  We are judged for what we do when we are called to do it.  Not by the position.

The Adult Session in the evening was great too as I had Elizabeth with me.  I am so grateful for her and her support in my calling as Elder's Quorum President.  I would not be able to do the job that I am doing without her emotional and spiritual support.  I know that she believes in me and I have done much having that knowledge.  My MBA, my career, so much of my success has come because I knew she did and would support me as I have given these things my all.

The Sunday Morning Session was also uplifting and he spoke more on some of the talks from General Conference and the Brethren who gave the talks.  It was fun to hear him share stories about President Monson and others of the twelve.  He took the time afterward to greet the children and shake their hands.  Carter & Madelyn had met him earlier in the morning when they arrived with Liz and I and shook his hand then and then again twice more.  He is just a man but he is an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and his testimony of the Savior and his humility touched my spirit.  I testify that we have a living prophet and apostles on the earth today and Elder Andersen is one of those men.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And it came to pass.....

Last evening I met with President John of the Wilmington Delawre Stake for my PPI (Personal Preisthood Interview).  I reported to him the work that we are doing in the Rising Sun Branch in the way of improved attendance at church and in Priesthood meetings.  I also shared our home teaching results which are always improving.  I shared with him our great desire to become a Ward and all the efforts we are making to become one.  President John then said to me, "You won't have to wait long".  To my great delight we will be becoming the Bayview Ward on April 25th.  He asked me not to share this information with anyone prior to the change.  He did say that I could share it with Liz on the way home from Stake Conference next Sunday.  I am typing this entry and it will be dated today but it will not be published until April 25th after it is official.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

As I listen to a beautiful arrangement of "For the Beauty of the Earth" I am overcome by feelings of gratitude for the beautiful earth that our Heavenly Father has created for us.  The spring time here in Maryland is beyond description.  All of the blossoms bursting in their various colors (popcorn popping according to Madelyn)  The lush green, and all the blissful sounds of so many different kinds of birds I never knew existed.

I am also grateful for the spiritual recharging I got from Conference.  I still feel the uplifting messages in my heart even days after they were delivered and they give me hope for the future.  In spite of all the chaos and calamity in the world I feel so blessed to have a family that I love and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have been blessed with a beautiful wife and equally beautiful children.  Is it any wonder that the family is central to the plan of happiness.

Monday, April 5, 2010

General Conference April 2010

General Conference this year was by far one of the best ever for me.  I got to watch every single session including Priesthood.  The kids were relatively cooperative so I only missed a moment here and there and with DVR I could rewind.  I can't wait for next month's Ensign to come out so I can reread all of the talks.  Every talk was very good.  Elder Neil L Anderson (who will be speaking at our Stake Conference in two weeks) told us that there are no assigned topics so each speaker chooses their own topic.  As such it's not surprising that many of the same topics were covered by multiple people but they were all great AND clearly those topics were important since many were inspired to speak on the topics.

I plan to read or listen to at least one talk each day until I've gone through all of the talks again and some will be worth doing this two or three times.

I was so excited to get home from Priesthood and share the talks with Liz on Saturday night.  I knew that she would be anxious to hear what we heard and that just added to my own excitement to share the wonderful messages I got to here first hand.

When Carter turns 12 I am going to take him to Salt Lake for the Priesthood session.  By my calculations that will be April 2013.  I hope that both Grandpa's will be able to attend with us but I will certainly make it happen for Carter and I.  Living where we do it's much easier to get tickets to Conference so that part won't be a problem, we'll just have to save up for the plane tickets.

Even writing about it now I am overcome with the wonderful spirit I felt at this April Conference.  I am so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the blessings of the restored gospel.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Vai Sikahema

It's not everyday that you get to meet one of your heroes but I did at the Gladys Knight concert up in Cherry Hill New Jersey.  We were waiting in the lobby to go into the chapel and when I saw him I knew it was "Brother" Sikahema.  He's actually the Stake President there if my sources are accurate.  I knew that he did sports for the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia because I spotted him on there not long after we moved out here.

He was so friendly and kind.  He talked to me like we were old college buddies.  I remember him as a part of the 1984 National Championship Team for BYU (Uncle Mel Olson was an offensive line coach for that team) and later returning kick offs and punts for the St Louis/Arizona Cardinals.  I lost track of him when he went to Green Bay and later Philadelphia but I've always admired him for keeping the standards of the church.

I'll never forget one of his kick off/punt returns either.  As I recall it the announcer said he wasn't much to watch because he played college ball for BYU.  Vai then proceeded to run it all the way back for a touchdown :o)  A true hero for young people like myself to look up to and hope to emulate.

Gladys Knight

I had a rare opportunity to go and see Gladys Knight and her Saint Unified Voices Choir.  As a member of the church she has used her popularity and fame for the good of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She is a convert and is not afraid to share her testimony of the restored gospel.

I was able to take Bonnie and Lloyd Harmon with me and they both enjoyed it immensely.  Bonnie is an inactive member of 15 years and I was the first contact from the church that she'd had in 5 years.  She is faithfully attending another denomination now and actively involved in their choir.  Lloyd is not a member but has been  receptive to visits from myself and the missionaries.  Neither really show tremendous interest in pursuing activity in the restored Gospel but it's no reason not to keep inviting them and letting them know they are loved.

I'm certain that they felt the spirit that was present at the concert but translating that into a need to embrace the gospel, as restored in it's fullness within our church, is not as obvious.  Still it was a great spiritual experience and one that will like touch many of the lives of those who attended.

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Good Friend Juan

I know a man Juan who is a recent convert to my faith.  He is a great man from Mexico originally now residing in the Oxford, PA area.  This fellow has embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ and wants more than anything to be a good member of his church.  He embodies the practice of serving his fellow man and is an example to us all.

As I spent time with him yesterday, visiting other members of the church, I couldn't help but think of how much my grandfather would have liked Juan.  My Grandfather never served a full time mission, he had to support a family.  He did, however, tirelessly spread the gospel to those around him.  He had an affinity to our Spanish speaking brothers and sisters.  He was self taught in the basics of the Spanish language and prided himself in singing many primary songs from memory.  He studied from the Spanish and English Book of Mormon to further his knowledge of the language and the more importantly the gospel.  I have a great love for my Grandfather and I know he would have loved Juan and that Juan would love him as well.

I spoke to Juan about my grandfather and he expressed a desire to meet him someday which I have no doubt he will.  Juan's testimony is growing everyday and he is an example to me and to all those he comes in contact with.  He reminds me of King Lamoni's father who says in Alma 22:18 ".... I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Madelyn proudly wears her CTR Ring to school and when questioned by her teachers about it she explained to them that it stands for "Choose The Right". Needless to say they were very impressed by this and asked Elizabeth about it. Liz of course explained to them that it was something from our Primary or Sunday School for the children. They thought we were Catholic because Madelyn said she got it from Sister Bowden. Liz explained that we were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, often known as Mormons. She was able to clear up the misconception that Mormons were not Christians. Missionary moments for both Liz and Madelyn and I couldn't be prouder.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lessons from my Father

So I broke/bent stainless steel shovel handle while attempting to move some heavy wet snow the other day (The fact that it's hollow makes it seem more like aluminum, hence it bent). In the spirit of, "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without", that I learned from my Father, I poked around the garage and the shed to see how I might fix it. As it turns out I also had a Hoe that broke free from it's sturdy wooden handle. By removing the broken handle from the shovel and trimming the splintered end of the hoe handle I now have a sturdy wooden handle on my snow shovel. Thanks Dad!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Milk Mustache

My little Miss Madelyn, MEKO as we affectionately call her is 4 1/2 going on 20. She is so mature for her age and her vocabulary is second to none. Sometimes I think she's growing up sooo fast and it doesn't help that I missed so much in her first two years because I was in Grad School. She can carry a conversation on just about everything and is always wowing other adults. I don't want my sweet little girl to grow up too fast.

Yesterday she and I stopped at McDonald's and she had chocolate milk. In her care free way she drank it down and gave herself a mustache that gave me so much joy. A milk mustache just has a way of exposing the little kid in us and of course I could see my sweet little 4 year old MEKO.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Making our simple little sledding run out in front of our house reminded me of the great sledding we did growing up.  Not far from our house in the mouth of Dry Creek Canyon the 'Second Hill' that you go up has a pretty steep grade.  And when it get's slick in the winter, from snow and vehicle travel, it makes for a very good ride.  Some winters I remember being able to go down the second hill and all the way up the first and down to highway 89.  Of course if you made it that far you had a good 3/8 mile to walk back.

Further up the canyon is Wiki up canyon and up here you could ride down a good couple miles if the conditions were right.  If the snow mobiles had made a good backed and it was a warm day so the snow was nice and slick you could ride your runner sled all the way from Mike's Knoll to Dry Creek road.  Now right there at the mouth of Wiki up there was a trial that dipped into a gully and then cut over to the road so we used to play cops and robbers on sleds and try catching each other.  One sledder would go down the hill at the very end of wiki up and hit dry creek road and the other sledder would take the trail and cut the corner.  The road was slicker and faster but the trail was a short cut so if it was at least packed you could usually intercept the sledder on the road (the robber).  I remember doing this well into my college years and even now I remember the events with fondness.  I think I probably got Carter up there at least once while we were still living in Utah but the trick was always to get on the second hill after it had been packed by the residents and travelers up and down the canyon road and before the county spread gravel.  I sure have a charmed childhood.  Thank you Mom and Dad for giving me the important things in life.  Hard work ethic, integrity, honesty, love, and charity.  I am who I am because of your example.

Falling for it

The drifts, that were formed by the wind and snow this weekend, reminded me of a drift growing up.  It was one of the winters after our basement had been poured but the house had yet to be built.

One morning when I was headed across the street to do chores, Dad said he wanted me to check something out.  He told me to walk so many paces one way from a given starting point and then to turn and walk so many more in that direction.  I did as instructed and the plan had been to have me end on the top of the drift hanging over the edge of the basement.  I don't remember for sure if I simply wasn't heavy enough to break the drift or if he had not told me to walk out far enough or if I figured out what was going to happen before "falling" for it.

I would have been fine had it collapsed since it was only about a four foot drop and there was clearly a great deal of snow.  My father is quite the prankster and really a clever fellow.  I miss his sense of humor and I'm glad when my wife tells me I'm just like him because I want to be the kind of man he is in a great many ways.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ground Hog Day

Well it's Ground Hog Day.  We find out from the Ground Hog today if we get spring or if it's 6 more weeks of winter right?  I'll ask the ol' ground hog living near our house how that works exactly.  I know it's supposed to snow tonight again so who knows.  ......This just in... 6 more weeks of winter.

I thought about this last night and then reflected again on it this morning on the way to work.  In the movie, which I love, Bill Murray has to live the same day over and over again until he gets it just right.  Now I don't agree with the notion of getting the girl into bed and perfect ending of it all but I do like the premise of working on improving things each time.

He has fun at first when he realizes that there are no consequences.  He later goes to great lengths to do good and to help others.  He learns to play the piano and reads good books.  He helps old ladies with flat tires and kids falling out of trees.  He does get discouraged when no matter what he does to help a homeless man he still ends up dying.  

The thought I had today was that we should always be striving to improve ourselves and to help those around us.  We should develop our talents and share them with others.  We should always be learning and improving our knowledge.  We should live by what is stated in our 13th Artical of Faith "... If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

And most importantly we shouldn't just do it to have a perfect day but a lifetime of such pursuits.  The character in Ground Hog Day had to work and work, dedicating himself to the things he wanted to accomplish.  If we are constantly striving to do our best and be our best then it won't culminate in just one perfect day but rather in a lifetime of fullfillment.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Called to Serve

I was taken back in time, to March of 2008 this morning, as I listened to the Called to Serve CD by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  When I first got the CD I had just moved into the corporate housing provided as we transitioned from Utah to Maryland.  Liz and the kids had not moved out here to join me yet.  The CD has so many great songs and each one of them touched me differently and all of them inspired me at a time when I really missed having my family to come home to each night.

I remember of course all of the experiences that led up to my decision to take this job and move out East.  I truly feel that I was "Called to Serve".  As a ward and branch missionary I was able to work with the full time missionaries to help spread and teach the gospel.  Now as the Elder's Quorum President I am called to see to the physical and spiritual needs of the families in the branch through organized and carried out home teaching.

"Redeemer of Israel" is one of my favorites on the cd because the words are so reassuring.

Redeemer of Israel,
Our only delight,
On whom for a blessing we call,
Our shadow by day
And our pillar by night,
Our King, our Deliv'rer, our all!

We know he is coming
To gather his sheep
And lead them to Zion in love,
For why in the valley
Of death should they weep
Or in the lone wilderness rove?

How long we have wandered
As strangers in sin
And cried in the desert for thee!
Our foes have rejoiced
When our sorrows they've seen,
But Israel will shortly be free.

As children of Zion,
Good tidings for us.
The tokens already appear.
Fear not, and be just,
For the kingdom is ours.
The hour of redemption is near

Text: William W. Phelps

I am reminded of how much our Heavenly Father loves us and wants for our hapiness.  "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" over mountain or plain or back east :o)

"How Firm a Foundation" In this topsy turvy world I am reassured that with our foundation in the gospel we'll be able to weather any storm that comes our way.

Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

Text: Isaiah 43:1-7

"I Am a Chld of God" I know this to be true and I want to be like my Father in Heaven.

"I Believe in Christ" I know that he is my Savior and My Redeemer and that Salvation comes in and only through his Atoning Sacrifice and in no other way.

"I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus"  I want people to want to know him because they know me.

"Ye Elders of Israel" As I lead our small quorum of Elders in Rising Sun I am humbled and honored to bear the priesthood of God, restored to the earth.  Every time I pass over the Susquehanna River I think of all the glorious things that took place on it's banks not very far north of where I live now.

"I Know tha My Redeemer Lives" I know that he lives, that he loves us, and that he wants us to be happy.  I know that he leads his church through a living prophet.

"High on the Mountain Top" I miss the mountains.

"He Sent His Son" John 3:16

"Come, Come, Ye Saints"  I'm so excited that we will be in Utah for the 24th of July this summer.  I'm so grateful to the pioneers and my ancestors who were among them.  This is one of my favorite songs to hear the Tabernacle Choir sing.

"This Is the Christ" I remember singing this one in a choir for which Elizabeth played piano in Centerville early in our marriage.  I've always been moved by the lyrics written by the late James E. Faust.  What an incredible man and servant of our Heavenly Father.

"God Be with You Till We Meet Again"  This song always reminds me of listening to the choir and the spoken work on the radio growing up.  I can remember listening to it with Grandma and Grandpa.  It reminds me of a simpler time in life.

And finally "The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning"  Indeed it is! I feel the fire when I share the gospel and there are so many who need to hear about our Father's plan for them.

Oh how I love this music.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Julie & Julia (Movie Review)

First of all, I adore Meryl Streep.  I think she is probably the most talented actress of her time.  Now I don't know much about Julia Child, aside from what Meryl portrayed, but something tells me she acted her to a T.  Julie Powell was very well acted by Amy Adams as well.

We rented the movie from red box and after having it for several days I decided to just watch it and take it back so it wouldn't keep costing us a dollar a day.  It was worth the $4 or $5 bucks it ended up costing and I wish Liz could have watched it with me because I'm sure she would have enjoyed it.  Guess we'll have to rent it again, I ceratainly won't mind seeing it twice.

Ironically Julie Powell, aspiring writing, was all about the Blog she wrote to share her experience while cooking 524 recipes, from Julia Child's book, in 365 days.  Followers were few at first but then she became very popular, obviously enough so to warrant a book and a movie :o).

I think Blogs are pretty cool and although I only have one follower, my beautiful wife, I'm completely content with that.  I enjoy writing and I could see myself one day writing my autobiography but for now the occasional blurb from me will have to do.  (I'm certainly long winded enough to blog everyday, I'm just not at a computer every time I have inspired things to write about)

The movie to me was fun and heart warming.  I got all warm and fuzzy about the relationship Julia had with her husband, Paul Child (Stanley Tucci), the American Ambassador to France. I soaked in nostalgia as they portrayed the pen pal relationships these characters had, and thought of our instant communication society and the lack of substance it has brought about.

The movie made me want to love on my wife even more, to cook something fun and fancy, and to really enjoy life.  I'd give it 4.5 Stars.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


My wife had a recent conversation with our son Carter.  During the conversation she asked him about school and what he liked and disliked.  School of course was boring but recess was fun.  When asked about the things he and his friends talk about, one of the things was girls.  Liz asked him if he liked one girl in particular that he mentioned.  His reply, "Yeah, I like her when she doesn't hate me"  CLASSIC!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Old Milk Jugs

On the drive into work today I saw something white tied to a tree and it reminded me of something from my youth.  In the fields above the house I grew up in there are old white milk jugs tied to the fence at equal intervals.  To the untrained eye one might wonder why apparent refuse would be tied to the fence.  To one who understands their purpose it's simple.  On the opposing side of the field equally spaced "risers" stand above the ground.  These "risers" are valves to a water line from which our irrigation water comes.  A "saddle" or valve opener is required to open these valves and release the water.  Our sprinkler pipes are three inches in diameter and are held together with a rubber gasket that clamps down on the inserted pipe when the water is flowing and fills the pipes, a plug at the end of the string is held in place in like manner. Water is precious and it's critical that each part of the field get it's equal share of the water so that it can grow and thrive.  If the pipes aren't straight this isn't fully accomplished.

Those old milk jugs were attached to the fence on the opposing side by Grandma and Grandpa Olson and maintained by each of us who changed the pipes over the years.  They acted as a target, a goal, even a beacon if you will.  Without out those jugs it was difficult to get the pipes lined up straight.  If one had been knocked off by a cow or a horse you could try and find another land mark but all the fence posts looked the same, the trees are hard to distinguish, and if it was early in the morning or late in the day and the light was dim it was only a white milk jug that would stand out for you to set your sights on.  Without them you'd usually end up with zig zags or a line that veered too far to one side or the other, leaving a strip of pasture un-watered until your return trip across the field.

I share this because I think it's a lot like life.  Our parents and grandparents can get us started and give us direction but eventually we need to maintain that direction on our own. We need something that stands out to set our sights on.  We need something to shoot for, a light to follow, a beacon to look to.  We need Old Milk Jugs and everything they represent.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Thuoride" & "Sloss"

Some of the things I love most about my kids are the things that only they do and they do best. Madelynisms and Carterisms if you will.

For my children I've made a point to be very vigilant in their oral hygiene. I did not have fluoride in my water when I was young and fluoride treatments or tablets weren't really something folks were conscious of at least not in Rural America where I spent my growing up. My kids got the advantage of fluoride in their water like their mom did. They've also had fluoride tablets like their mom which we've emphasized even more since moving to Maryland and having well water.

Anyway they've had trouble with the Fl sound so it was become a Th which makes Madelyn's request for "Thuoride" completely adorable. Carter likes to "Sloss" so I make sure he has access to the dental floss and thereby avoid the same problems I've had with my teeth over the years.

I'm grateful for modern medicine and science but I'm even more grateful that my kids constantly do things that make me smile.

Here's to your beautiful smiles!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

An Exceptional Woman in the Making

My Sweet MEKO (Madelyn Elizabeth Kjar Olson) is going to be every bit as exceptional as her mother. She is so cute and will be just as gorgeous as her mother in due time. She has a sweet disposition and is already playing the piano.

We will no doubt have our challenges with her, the least of all which will be meeting the endless line of boys wanting to ask her out. I may need to make a road trip to Wyoming to collect all my firearms.

She is absolutely adorable and a complete joy in my life.

I love you Meko!

An Exceptional Woman

I am married to one of the most amazing women I've ever known. Now of course one might say, "Well duh, why would you marry anything less?" I am incredibly blessed to have her for my wife. She could have married anyone she wanted and you know what, she wanted to marry me. She's told me before that of all the moments in her life the one that she's felt most sure about was the moment when she and I knelt facing each other in the Temple.

Today she gave a wonderful talk in Sacrament meeting on free agency. She was so excited in fact that when I came out of my meeting with the Branch President she and the kids were already there. They were a full 30 minutes early as I saw it, and in fact they'd been there for 20 minutes already. She was so excited (and [perhaps a little nervous) that she thought church started at 9 instead of 9:30. We've never been in a place where it started on the bottom of the hour but after 18 months we're used to it, unless giving a talk apparently. She wondered where everyone was come 9 o'clock but quickly remembered and realized her mistake.

It's things like this though that truly endear her to me. A simple and very cute little mistake that reminds me that she's human despite all of her Angelic qualities. She's been so supportive of me in my calling as Elder's Quorum President and my success will be, in large part, a result of her support and encouragement.

I love you.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Missionary Moment

Today is Carter's Birthday! Wow 9 years old can you believe it. I remember it was a Sunday when Carter was born. I was sooooo excited, just ask my mother. Apparently when I left the message on my parents answering machine, letting them know that Liz was in labor and the baby was finally coming (for real this time), I guess Mom thought I was going to hyperventilate. Anyway he arrived about 6:21 pm if memory serves correctly. He's been an utter joy in my life.

Well yesterday he went with Liz and Madelyn to the Doctor so that Madelyn could have her cat bite examined. The Doctor lives in our neighborhood and gave Liz his wife's number and asked her to give her a call since she hasn't made many friends since moving here. Well it turns out they have a boy Carter's age and Carter didn't miss a beat. Carter said, "He can come to Cub Scouts with me at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!" What a great kid.

I love you Carter.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let's try again in 2010

Well this year is shaping up to be a good one. Let's never mind that I haven't posted anything on here for over a year but I'm determined to try again in 2010.

Since the last post I've lost considerable weight and then gained a fair portion of it back again. We took our family photo at just the right time. I was almost at my lowest weight in 4 years and I was feeling great. Of course then I had a long string of weeks and months where I was traveling and not exercising or eating as well as I should have been. Then we hit the holidays and I added a little more Holiday Chub as I've decided to call it. Fortunately I only gained back a little over half of what I lost and I got some weights for Christmas so I can lift AND run now and I hope to have the weight off again and then some in time for our family reunion in late July.

Carter will be 9 tomorrow and I just can't believe how much he's grown and how far he's come. Hard to believe he'll be getting the Aaronic Priesthood in 3 short years. He's very small for his age but he makes up for it in moxie and I was small too and not nearly as self confident or assertive as he is so he'll do just fine. In the last year he took off in the Cub Scout program and earned all kinds of badges and awards and advanced to Bobcat and Wolf. This year it will be the Bear. Scouts is something he and I really enjoy doing together and when it's warm out we shoot hoops.

Madelyn is 4 and it was fun to have her fourth birthday on the 4th of July. She's a go getter and she plays the piano every chance she gets. She will be going to Julliard I'm certain of it, I just hope she gets scholarships :o) She told us more than once this year that it was the best Christmas ever and I think she is right. It was just the four of us but she and Carter were more excited than any other year so it was truly delightful.

Elizabeth is still the compassionate service leader and I was called as Elder's Quorum President just before Thanksgiving. I just got counselors so no more flying solo and time to get work done on building the kingdom.