It's been a long time (believe me I don't want to look at the gas prices picture anymore either). And for my loyal four readers I sincerely apologize. In my defense I've been incredibly busy. I stopped working for the Mahoney Group in December and took a new job with Eli Lilly (not to be confused with Cotton Gin creater Eli Whitney). This was a job that I had been after for quite some time. I'm happy to have it. The past three weeks have I've spent studying Osteoporosis and a wonder drug called Cymbalta. It hasn't been anything but extremely stressful.
We moved our belongings (Brooke, myself and our newly acquired puppy, Maeby) to Arizona. We'll live in Lake Havasu full time after I return from training in Indianapolis.
Let's see, today is the day before Christmas, and its almost time for "Christmas Eve". The weather is cold outside and a storm is on its way. I welcome it. It's been a long year and I just want to duck under the blanketing storm and rest for a little bit.
This year has been full, Brooke and I are married, with Olive due in a little over a month. I've been through four different jobs finally getting the one I had been after since the beginning of January. I've moved to Utah and now from Utah.
I'm very happy. I'm so happy to be with Brooke, to be having a little daughter. Happiness I suppose doesn't come close to the feeling I have for Brooke and Olive. I have such an immense gratitude for both of them. Stress has distracting me from truly realizing how lucky I am. I hope whoever reads this is having a little bit of the same fortune as I have this year. I promise lots more posts. I have good stories and I intend to share them.
We're winning the war! That's the line I use every time I see the price of gas drop. This last week gas fell below $2.00 for the first time in forever. I didn't know what to think. What's even more wonderful that since the 13th (when the above picture was taken) gas is now as low a $1.79 in my area. Can you friggin believe it? $1.79! We are winning that war baby! We are winning that war!
Our instructor began with the question, "When you think of the Millennium what are your thoughts?"
We had several comments and then I added
"To me the Millennium is so intangible, its like imagining Candyland. It's such a incredible idea. That prophets of old and Christ Himself will return, that the earth will return to a state of Pangaea, that Cubs will win the World Series. It seems unreal."
I got a good laugh about the Cubs.
In seriousness I don't doubt the Millennium, in fact I welcome it. I want to see what many see as impossible. It'll be an amazing time.
Now don't suppose that I'm some whack job that thinks that Adam rode on Dinosaurs. I am very practical in my belief in God and Heaven. I know that there is a God and I have 14 years of spiritual bruises to prove it.
What was interesting about our discussion was the immediacy of Joseph Smith in announcing the Second Coming. Our instructor felt that Joseph really believed it would happen in his, Joseph Smith's, lifetime.
This lead to a discussion about preparedness. Comments, strong comments were made about being ready for anything.
I've used it in the past and I used it on Sunday. I feel that whether we walk out of our home today and there it is Second Coming in all its glory or whether it's not there we need to be prepared. We could just as easily walk out of our home and be hit by a bus. Then where will be? Facing some sort of afterlife.
Our discussion moved a bit off center to why good things happen to bad people. Why when we are faithful we're rewarded but also when we're faithful we're tried.
That discussion brought me my blog post title "Keep the Faith and Come What May"
Good things happen to bad people, bad things happen to good people. Faithful God fearing people are rewarded for their faith, faithful people are also tried for their faith. And then there's things that just happen. A butterfly flaps its wings in Japan and your mom while holding your puppy gets hit by a boulder.
In all this I really feel the answer is keeping your faith.
If I know that I am doing my best to keep God's commandments, I can know why all these things happen.
I can know that a reward is a reward and not some lucky break. A trial is a trial and not some punishment. I can also reconcile the unexplained because ultimately there is such a larger part of our existence after this life. I know there is and it stretches eternally.
I really do know that the pains and hurts of this world are swallowed up in a reality of eternal life.
I know that there is so much happiness if we do what is right and let consequence follow. There is so much comfort in being a good person, doing good things. Saying sorry for our offenses and trying so hard to remain good.
I really enjoyed my lesson this week. I didn't become some doomsday fanatic. I just came a little closer to preparing myself.
I'd like to give a shout out to the men who have played our commander-in-chief on the silver screen.
Deep Impact: President Tom Beck
Our country faced it's biggest threat, a meteorite the size of your mom. Morgan Freeman as President of the United States, unfortunatley didn't have Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck to help rid the world of their impending destruction (they were busy facing another asteroid with the help of Aerosmith)
24: President David Palmer
David Palmer. What can I say about Dennis Haybert's role in 24. I love 24 and Haybert was the most confident and plausible character in the show. I all but forgot he played a Voo Doo chanting power slugger in "Major League" (Up your butt Jobu) Without a second thought I would have voted him to office.
His brother on the other hand had a very scandelous stay in the oval office.
So now as President elect Obama takes office Hollywood's Black presidents will no longer be fantasy. Hollywood will have a real person to build from.
In a moment of seriousness (If I can mingle the funny and serious in a single blog post) I am completely supporting my future president. I only wish our country was beyond the race issue enough to not make it about Obama's skin color. When I first heard the man speak, he was an inspiring orator. He's proven himself and his campaign. My hope is that his administration can now move forward and be measured by its accomplishments and not by his race.
And please oh please oh please oh please oh please, Chris Rock, stop it, don't make anymore movies, do yourself favor and just go away...
A movie club that was too lazy to even get part time participation. I intended it to be a monthly movie watching opportunity for friends. Couldn't get people together. Then it became a venue to write about movies loved by people. Only one person really contributed. Now it's gone but hopefully not forgotten. I'll always love you Lazy Pants Movie Club, you didn't live as long as a pet store hamster, but you provided us a couple of laughs, some insights, and a hope for a better tommorow.
Brookey is 27 weeks pregnant. Which to be honest I hate this measuring by weeks thing. I don't know how many months that constitutes (I'll probably need a slide rule and that Chinese math tool that has a bunch of beads...oh yeah an abacadabra)
So just now while we were lying in bed she rubbed her belly and said "I'm so sexy!!!" I loved it. I love how she can be playful.
She is sexy is the thing. Well you're not suppose to think that cause I'll punch you or something. But I am so in love with her right now.
I love her humor.
Here's to 13 more weeks (or 91 day, or 2184 hours, or 232040 minutes, or...well you get it)
Here's the deal, when this election really began, when parties had their candidates and it was time to make a decision, I was excited.
I registered, I listened to both conventions, and I made my decision.
Now it's just crap. I've grown tired of the experience.
You're telling me you haven't decided who you'll be choosing? You're telling me that after hours of debates, talking heads and celebrities weighing in (they're the one's we really need to listen too. I made my decision because Oprah told me so) you haven't picked a candidate?
Well I'm tired. Tired of hearing about the election. I'm over these last minute dirt diggings. I'm way tired that the election is all I see.
I get it you're voting for McCain, you want Obama.
What I can't stand is the nature and lengths we go to be heard. More so, how we pick our party.
It's the party or bust.
I wanted one candidate, they didn't win the primary. I watched the conventions and formed my opinion.
Does it match what I initially chose? Nope.
Am I okay with that? Sure.
What other option do I have?
What sucks is I have to hear the candidates, the Facebook, the blogs, the MSNBC, the FOX, beating their effing drum relentlessly.
I feel like I'm getting on an airplane and learning how to buckle a seat belt.
Oh the big end goes in the little end? Really?
Oh this is the most important election I'll ever be a part of? Really?
If you think I don't care about my civic duty, I registered and will vote early this week. I am also scheduled to work as a Poll Clerk in Utah.
Bottom line is I've chosen my presidential candidate
(I made it independent of you and as far as I know this blog has not eluded to who it is. You don't need me to make your decision for you. You don't need to hear my drum banging. You're a big kid, read up on the issues and make a decision)
Do me a huge favor, there's one week left. Put some faith in your fellow Americans and let them cast their votes in peace.
Today I went to my beginner training to be a poll worker for the upcoming election. We spent two hours learning how to write a persons name down and hand them a card to vote on a touch screen computer. The sad thing was there were actually people there who need more training. Brooke and I had some good laughs especially with the lady who looks like the dad from 50 first dates and a woman who died about four months ago but no one told her. Our teacher was great and could tell we could handle our responsibility. I'm looking forward to earning my paycheck on November 4th when I work from 5:30 am to 8 pm. I hope we get a couple of trouble makers so I can exercise my civic duty of knocking their heads in and showing them the door. Did you know you can't wear anything that promotes your party within 150 feet of the polling center?
Brookey did this 8 things bit on her blog so I added it to mine. Here are my answers. Please feel free to comment.
8 Favorite TV shows... 1. Arrested Development 2. 30 Rock 3. Friday Night Lights 4. Curb Your Enthusiasm 5. Family Guy 6. Short Attention Span Theater 7. 24 8. The Cosby Show
8 Favorite Restaurants... 1. Gino's Italian (Salinas, Ca Blackened Chicken Alfredo) 2. Tito's Tacos (Los Angeles, Ca Tacos and Salsa) 3. Hank's at the Hook (Capitola, Ca Chipotle Mango BBQ Chicken Sandwich) 4. Pizza My Heart (Santa Cruz and Capitola, Ca Pepperoni Pizza) 5. Zion Ponderosa (Zion, Ut Porterhouse steak) 6. Killer Shrimp (Santa Monica, Ca Shrimp and french bread) 7. Nestor Barragan's House (Goodyear, Az spaghetti and meatballs) 8. San Benito House Deli (Half Moon Bay, Ca Turkey on squaw bread)
8 things that happened yesterday... 1. I woke up late with Brookey 2. Talked myself out of going into the office to "help" Craig with the microwave 3. Played Dactyl and scored 558 points to become attain new high score (over Craig) 4. Had some apples with peanut butter 5. went to Zumas with Brookey 6. Watched Saved 7. Started watching VH1 do a countdown about Hip Hop songs 8. Fell quickly to sleep
8 things to look forward to... 1. Playoff to end (No Yankees, no interest...well go Cubs go) 2. General Conference 3. Dinner with the guys before Priesthood 4. Potentially going to the BYU game in Logan 5. Halloween 6. Thanksgiving 7. The snow coming soon 8. Baby Olive
8 things I love about Fall... 1. Turkey 2. Cranberry 3. Stuffing 4. Pumpkin Pie 5. Sweet Potatoes 6. Mashed Potatoes 7. Hawaiian Kettle Rolls 8. Effing Egg Nog
8 things on my wishlist... 1. As much time as possible with Brookey and Olive 2. Opportunities to do shorts with Craig Tovey 3. Chances to go Snowboarding 4. A dog 5. A calling 6. The opportunity to make Brooke happy 7. Time with my siblings and their children 8. Discipline
No greater words have ever come from a speakerbox at a fast food resturant. If you've been a religious reader of my blog you'll remember Lymie Beans!!!!! where I began my disdain for all legumes.
That being said the other day I went to Taco Bell with Brooke. As we pulled up to the drive through (I rarely go to the drive through, I hate it. I'm already so impatient that I can't wait for a decently cooked meal? Now I have to eat it in my car? Why don't they just shoot it into my mouth as I speed by?) the person taking our order made the following statement:
"Welcome to Taco Bell, we're all out of beans how can I help you?"
To which I replied:
"No sweeter words have ever come out of a Taco Bell speaker, I hate beans"
The employee got confused and it took a little while to get our order. When we drove up I explained that I hated beans and that this was a wonderful day. He really didn't care all that much.
You see any order that I placed, with the caveat to omit beans could not be denied or ignored. I was free to order a Burrito Supreme and not even have to add the tagline "no beans on that please." The crunchy cheesy wrap no worries no beans. Yes it was a wonderful visit to our local Taco Bell.
I'm a little bit tired over all this election hype. I've watched both of the conventions, been inspired, enjoyed talks from both sides and now I'm ready for some football.
College football did not disappoint in its first week. With upsets all around, probably the greatest being UCLA's upset of Tennessee.
The NFL has started. My Giants beat the Redskins last night to open their season (that made the pain of a Yankees postseasonless year a little easier to handle)
Now get this Chad Johnson has legally changed his name. For those of you who don't know Chad, he's a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. A wide receiver is possibly the most overwhelmingly loud member of the team (with the exception of the field goal holder), Here are some of the more memorable moments in post touchdown celebrations:
Terrel Owens (the sharpie celebration)
Joe Horn (the cell phone celebration)
and Chad Johnson ("the river dance", "the proposal", "the golf putt", "the CPR")
(He's actually putting the effing football with the touchdown pylon!)
These wide receivers have been provided colorful touchdown moments. However this post is about Chad.
What did Chad change his name to you ask? Of course he made a wise decision and changed it because "Johnson" was too plain. Perhaps it was all those wrong phone calls due to a common surname. Chad would have to change his name to differentiate himself from the little man.
With careful consideration Chad will now be referred to as Chad "Ocho Cinco".
Yep Chad "Ocho Cinco".
Now in defense it is his jersey number (which makes it a completely rational decision)
A grown man has changed his name to reflect his nickname. The thing that bothers me the most is he gave himself the nickname.
Its one thing if you get a nickname. I have several friends who have nicknames For example:
Mikey Barragan- "Scurvy" and "Smalls" Ryan Murray- "Lumpy" Josh Gale- "Routine Ria", "Mischa" and "Ralphie" Matt Badja- "Grimace" Matt Duffy- "Kibby" Kevin Peterson- "The Wolf"
and of course
Jeff Bryner- "Poopsie"
Following Chad these friends should all change their names.
But to give yourself a nickname, well that's as weak as...as legally changing your surname to reflect it. Way to go "Ocho Cinco" you've given credibility once again to million dollar professional athletes.
I can't wait to see what Manny Ramirez does to top it.
So the other night Brooke was in Chicago and I couldn't sleep. I was watching television at about 12:30 am. During my flipping I came along an infomercial starring Bowser from "Sha Na Na". It was "The Ultimate Oldies but Goodies Collection"
There I was mesmerized by song after song. Loving the short snippets of great music. I realized I love these commercials. I love just getting five seconds of a great song and then moving on to another.
Then this afternoon while Brooke was resting I was watching the Cosby show. Elvin, the lame ass son-in-law, had come over to the house because he and his wife, the daughter that no one ever really cares about, Sondra, were in a fight.
Anyhow Clair and Cliff begin to reminice about moments that the family has shared and suddenly we're in a clip show. Oh how I love the clip shows. You get the best moments and just enough to have you looking for more.
Anyhow in a tribute to the great Timelife music commercials and the Huxtables I present to you
Cbarragan4.blogspot.com's Greatest Hits Volume 1.
That's right if you read right now you can enjoys such favorites as...
"On Jan 21, 2008 11:35 PM, Chris Barragan wrote: Please allow me to pay rent now $650 I am willing to pay each month. I have check for $1500 can you please take your $650 and forward remaining $850 to party I have payment for in Panama. I have brother who has Christian work relief mission there. If this is good time please reply."
"Five minutes before the end of the movie I leaned over to Craig Tovey and asked "What's the plan? What do we write on her form?" Craig Tovey's reply 'I kinda thought that when the credits start rolling we run like hell.'"
Late Friday evening after Craig Tovey's wedding Brooke and I were at David's house talking with friends about California's proposition 8 which will be voted upon by the people of California. The proposition states:
"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California."
It has been a debate for some time now and one that friends of mine have shared varying viewpoints. I myself have have looked at many views trying to formulate a strong opinion. I thought that a recent ariticle posted on www.lds.org helped provide me with some insight.
Here is one part of the article that I most important to my personal view on marriage:
The Divine Institution of Marriage
Marriage is sacred, ordained of God from before the foundation of the world. After creating Adam and Eve, the Lord God pronounced them husband and wife, of which Adam said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Jesus Christ cited Adam’s declaration when he affirmed the divine origins of the marriage covenant: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.”
In 1995, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” declared the following unchanging truths regarding marriage:
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children . . . The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. The Proclamation also teaches, “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” The account in Genesis of Adam and Eve being created and placed on earth emphasizes the creation of two distinct genders: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Marriage between a man and a woman is central to the plan of salvation. The sacred nature of marriage is closely linked to the power of procreation. Only a man and a woman together have the natural biological capacity to conceive children. This power of procreation – to create life and bring God’s spirit children into the world – is sacred and precious. Misuse of this power undermines the institution of the family and thereby weakens the social fabric. Strong families serve as the fundamental institution for transmitting to future generations the moral strengths, traditions, and values that sustain civilization. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms, “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society.”
Marriage is not primarily a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage and family are vital instruments for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. While governments did not invent marriage, throughout the ages governments of all types have recognized and affirmed marriage as an essential institution in preserving social stability and perpetuating life itself. Hence, regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, married couples in almost every culture have been granted special privileges aimed primarily at sustaining their relationship and promoting the environment in which children are reared. A husband and a wife do not receive these privileges to elevate them above any other two people who may share a residence or social tie, but rather in order to preserve, protect, and defend the all-important institutions of marriage and family.
It is true that some couples who marry will not have children, either by choice or because of infertility, but the special status of marriage is nonetheless closely linked to the inherent powers and responsibilities of procreation, and to the inherent differences between the genders. Co-habitation under any guise or title is not a sufficient reason for defining new forms of marriage.
High rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have resulted in an exceptionally large number of single parents in American society. Many of these single parents have raised exemplary children; nevertheless, extensive studies have shown that in general a husband and wife united in a loving, committed marriage provide the optimal environment for children to be protected, nurtured, and raised. This is not only because of the substantial personal resources that two parents can bring to bear on raising a child, but because of the differing strengths that a father and a mother, by virtue of their gender, bring to the task. As the prominent sociologist David Popenoe has said:
The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender differentiated parenting is important for human development and that the contribution of fathers to childrearing is unique and irreplaceable. Popenoe explained that:
. . . The complementarity of male and female parenting styles is striking and of enormous importance to a child’s overall development. It is sometimes said that fathers express more concern for the child’s longer-term development, while mothers focus on the child’s immediate well-being (which, of course, in its own way has everything to do with a child’s long-term well-being). What is clear is that children have dual needs that must be met: one for independence and the other for relatedness, one for challenge and the other for support. Social historian David Blankenhorn makes a similar argument in his book Fatherless America. In an ideal society, every child would be raised by both a father and a mother.
So I heard about it, read about it and now as I'm eating my packed lunch (which consists of a turkey sandwich and a jello pudding snack) I'm blogging about it. The Spanish Olympic team while posing for a photo decided to make "Slanted eyes" in a playful gesture about being in Beijing. Was it the smartest move the Spanish Olympic Basketball team could have made? Probably not. In fact it brought me back to seventh grade. I had a geography teacher, Mr. Dorfman. (I wish I could make up a name that great)
Mr. Dorfman was an engaging teacher, one of the many great teachers at Cunha Middle School. (Someday I'll blog about the Cunha years) I'd show you a picture of him but he refused to ever be photographed. (Maybe a little creepy in hindsight) Every Friday at lunch he would replay the "Simpsons" episode which played on fox the night before. It was like going to the movies at school.
Mr. Dorfman had all the school in a buzz over his map races. In fact he had a giant map in his room which he used. Students would compete against each other in a one on one competition to see who could find the Country, State, City that Mr. Dorfman had just announced. I remember his little finger on his right hand was permanently retracted because he had lost the ligament in it. (speaking of fingers you can get a great deal more out of your pudding snack if you use your index finger at the end. It's a bit messy but we're talking like 5 to 10% more pudding) Sorry to digress.
In any event one day we were going over some geographical facts he wanted to go through an example. I don't clearly remember the details only that as an object he was using students to represent places. He began by using me as China. I without thinking turned to my fellow students and made the "Slanted eyes".
No sooner than I did it Mr. Dorfman stopped and said "not funny" and then immediately removed the assignment from me and placed it on another student. I was crushed. I felt so dumb for doing it. It was so knee jerk on my part that I didn't even think about others feelings.
To be quite honest my friend Christian Chee was the only kid my age that was Chinese. I'm pretty sure he wasn't in the class with me so I didn't know who I would was hurting. I did however offend Mr. Dorfman and that made me fell so small.
There I was feeling like a big dummy for making that mistake. I've never done it again. I was 12 and I had learned a lesson that has always followed me. I'm sure these Spaniards feel enormously small for what they did. I'll forgive them, I can empathize.
So I don't get it. Really I don't get it. There's all this juice being sold here in Utah. There all from some weird plant and they all make you feel so much better and cure your dog's cancer. They also all taste like crap.
Why do Utahans subject themselves to Amway Fruit Juice sales pitches?
I don't know either. All I know is that last Wednesday I was taken to a lunch by my future brother-in-law, lets just call him Rusty Jackson and I was told how amazing this opportunity is. So here I was eating a "free" lunch while I learn about the power of "Seven Plus".
You see the thing about "Seven Plus" is that they take all six of the crappy fruits and get their crappy tasting extract out to form an "exfuzion" of epically crappy proportions. (The seven is important because they are always looking for a new and more powerfully crappy fruit to add to it)
I've been told that it can heal the lame, make the blind see and if poured into the gullet of the Dread Pirate Roberts, can bring him back "to blathe".
I'm in this restaurant hating life and hoping it will end. I am in awe of how assumptive the Host's sales pitch is.
The first thing I'm thinking is "I have no idea how multi-level marketing works." I've never been a part of it and try to run away from these sales pitches.
As I'm trying to figure out how it works our host is talking about a company called "NuSkin" which I've seen advertising for but I've never stopped to learn about. I guess they're big and have notable "Top Sellers". He mentioned names of people who I assumed worked for NuSkin at some point and had made the move to Exfuze. So Exfuze has to be good. Right?
I wish you were there (You could have had chicken parmesan with a side of mashed potatoes, really potatoes?) because I don't think I'd be able to give the presentation justice.
He played a DVD of what this juice can do (his pitch also was that he's just a normal guy and all he has to do is play a DVD). They had testimonials of people who were using it and loving it. Lawrence Taylor, that's right former cocaine addict and New York Giants great, Lawrence Taylor tried to sell me the health offerings of Seven Plus.
After the DVD there was some more song and dance about how the product is moving out to California and beyond.
I have a great opportunity to be a part of something huge. I have to get in now.
After the meeting I had a phantom phone call which I had to take and hoped that my ride would be finished soon.
Rusty Jackson and I rode with a current Exfuze rep. The rep was busy taking advantage of a couple of Spanish gentleman that were reallly excited. "The Hispanic Market is just waiting to be reached!" exclaimed the rep.
I don't know what I'm supposed to do to sell this stuff. I have no clue what the buy-in is. All I know is that you get bottles of this filth every month and you pay for it.
If you can trick enough people to also buy a product they don't need or want, it starts to pay for itself.
Then there's like "down-line" and "up-line" and residule checks and who knows what else.
I don't speak "Alientate my friends and family and pressure them every time we have a get together juicey juice talk".
I'm gonna be fine not making that great passive income.
This is Brooke Eaton. I am in love with her. For a while now I've been asked about this new woman in my life. Recently a friend of mine, Brandon Ogden and I were talking about her. I stopped for a minute and told him, "It's so hard to encapsulate my feelings for her. I feel like whatever I try to verbalize won't ever come close to how I really feel."
That being said I will give my best effort to at least bring you to some understanding of what kind of person she is and more so what she means to me.
The "How we met":
I suppose I met Brooke about two years ago. I was in Utah for a company picnic at a golf and games place called Boondocks. I stayed at a friends and over the weekend we went to a movie (Invincible starring Marky Mark) To be completely truthful I don't really remember her being there. I do remember Saturday morning going to Dave Eaton's house with my friend Craig Tovey and while there Dave's sister (who honestly I didn't remember who she was) came to use the pool with two children who I assumed were hers. In any event this was my first time meeting her and it was completely in passing.
This last November I went to my friend Craig's Birthday party and spoke with her again. She was a very nice person.
In mid December of last year I moved to Utah. I was pretty sad. I spent time with Brooke and her family. Brooke was a great support. She was so soft to me and so fun. I can not tell you how much of a blessing it was to have her in my life. I fell in love very fast and she is so much of what I needed and need in my life.
So let's get into the "why I love her":
She wants so badly to love her children.
Okay so this isn't her child, she has yet to have one. But I use this picture as an illustration of how much a loving mother I see in her. I cannot tell you how much she and I want to be parents and how much I truly and deeply I love her for her want to be a mother.
When speaking of my own mother I am often brought to tears when I tell people "My mother always wanted to be more than anything the best most loving mother she could be. My mother loves her children more than any other I have ever known." I mean that. My mother loves us so much. I am so grateful that Brooke's desire is so strong to love her children. If anything all the pain and hurt that I have had longing for a family and children of my own was worth the pain knowing that Brooke will be the mother loving our children. I cannot tell you how much I know that she will love our children. I see it in every interaction she has with her 26, soon to be 27 nieces and nephews. I cannot imagine how hard it was for her to see all these children born and raised. How patiently she has waited to become a mother. I am so humbled to think that I have the opportunity to raise a family with her.
Before she was a wife she was a missionary:
Brooke served a sister missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am humbled by her sacrifice. I joke with her a little bit about it (that it was for 18 months rather than 2 years) but in all honesty it takes a lot for anyone to leave there family and friends and serve. What's more she became a Spanish speaking missionary after arriving in Southern California. Her efforts as a missionary have continued to be an influence in her life and now mine. I get a "To Do" list from her by way of email every morning. It reminds me to read my scriptures, take care of today items, "do something for someone somewhere" as well as spend quality time with Brooke (that's my favorite). I know that comes from her dedication as a missionary. The best part is it's not nagging at all. I look forward to it. I love that she wants us to be organized and proactive. I love that she was a missionary.
She loves me:
Brooke and I have had very lonely times in our life. We both have tried very hard to be good, faithful people. When we met we were both very lonely. The time together has helped that. There were many who were surprised at the suddeness. Some were concerned about it. Even we looking back are regretful that we may have been too selfish and rushed some things. We have accepted the consequences both positive and negative. Some family members have gotten sad, some have only ever shown support knowing how much we need to be happy. Throughout it all she has always loved me and supported me. I love her for that.
Brooke is an amazing women. She is beautiful, talented, funny, amazing just amazing. She has the voice that would call ships into dangers. She can make you feel like the greatest man that ever lived. She is so soft. I love the way she makes me feel. I love that she is the last person I talk to at night. I call to say good night each night and then I call again one more time.
August 1st we are getting married. I cannot tell you what it means to call Brooke my wife. That she will be a mother to my children. That we will be together.
So I sometimes use my friends computer (name withheld for safety reasons) so anyway this friend, lets call him Rusty Jackson sent an email on my behalf to a former colleague of my in Connecticut. It was embarrassing and though I was able to smooth it over it was pretty hard to believe that I had to fix it. Well I did my best going forward not to forget to sign out.
So in the process of time I have been trying very hard to get a position with two great companies. It's been a long process and I haven't worked since a short lived position with a Connecticut based company and a Park City Benefits company.
I enjoyed my time with the Park City company and I am grateful for that opportunity. I worked with great people and had opportunities to create things.
Since it's been taking so long to hear from these new companies I've been a bit worried about having a job. I'm sure others including my friend Rusty have been concerned. I get that.
Now this is what happened. Yesterday I checked my email and saw that I got an out of office reply from my former boss. I thought it was weird but I didn't think anything of it.
This morning I was talking with Rusty Jackson and he asked me if I had heard anything from "Don" at the Park City company.
I couldn't believe it. "You didn't email him. Please tell me you didn't email him" I said.
"I just know that you need a job." Rusty said.
"Come on man, I don't even want to work there again. Come on you didn't really email them."
"I just sent the email it'll be okay."
"Rusty you can't do that, I'm gonna go check."
I went to my gmail account and sure enough in my sent emails was a letter to my former boss. And I'll quote...
"Hey Don, I've been thinking about my departure. Career wise, I'm not sure if it was the right move. Can you let me know if any positions open and reconsider my employment?
Have a good holiday. Chris"
But you know what the best thing is. At the end of each of my emails is a link to my blogspot. Which if you're a reader of my blog you'll know that I recently posted a video with Craig Tovey. So the best part about the email is that if my former boss clicks my blog link he'll get to watch that video and get to see my bare bottom. Yes, me in a towel.
Thanks Rusty Jackson. Pretty awesome.
***As a note. I just found out that he sent four other emails.So That's awesome***
Some years ago Craig Tovey, John Barragan, Matt Chidester and I began making movies. Saturday with the help of Gordon Peterson and Doug Tovey we started a new generation of shorts. It's an homage to a early short Craig, John and I made. If I ever find a copy I'll be sure to post it. Please enjoy Craig Tovey and I in roommates
Comedy great George Carlin died Sunday of heart failure at the age of 71. I remember as a kid how much my dad loved watching his comedic style. My dad would let us listen to records of Carlin and whenever there was an HBO special we watched it together. Carlin was Manhattan raised as was my dad. I think that was one of the things that made it fun for my dad to watch. I can honestly say that a lot of my humor comes from growing up and listening to what my dad loved. George Carlin, Steven Wright, Bill Cosby, and others shaped my funny bone. Seeing the article this morning reminded me of times when me and my dad laughed and laughed hard. Where ever George may be I hope he's happy there. I hope for his sake those nuns that taught him in his youth will go easy on him.
Included for your pleasure and in memory of George Carlin I include a favorite piece.
"Baseball is different from any other sport, very different. For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs. In most sports the ball, or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defense is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he's out; sometimes unintentionally, he's out. Also: in football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball and in baseball the ball prevents you from scoring.
In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager. And only in baseball does the manager or coach wear the same clothing the players do. If you'd ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders uniform, you'd know the reason for this custom.
Now, I've mentioned football. Baseball & football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.
I enjoy comparing baseball and football:
Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.
Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.
Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park!
Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.
Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying.
In baseball you wear a cap.
Football is concerned with downs — what down is it?
Baseball is concerned with ups — who's up?
In football you receive a penalty.
In baseball you make an error.
In football the specialist comes in to kick.
In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.
Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
Baseball has the sacrifice.
Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...
In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.
Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
Football has the two minute warning.
Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end — might have extra innings.
Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.
In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness.
In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.
And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:
In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.
In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! — I hope I'll be safe at home!"
I got to spend Wednesday through Monday in Arizona. The highlight of my trip was Anna. For those of you that don't know I have a 2 year old niece. Now I know some of you have two neices, maybe a nephew here or there, heck you may even have 26 nieces and nephews. Well for the next two and a half months I have only one and her name is Anna. She's always been adorable (for additional pictures see www.thebarraganfamily.blogspot.com)
This weekend was all Anna. She's amazing, we were playing scrabble and she was looking at my letters, she then said "A". I thought "okay she knows 'A' and she got lucky." I showed her a "Q" (10 point letter) and she said "O" then "Q". I had her guess five other letters and she nailed them. This kid is two years old. She's a friggin genius.
The next game was rummy. Anna started listing all my cards by their numeric value.
I learned two things from that experience. First Anna knows her numbers and letters and second I need to make sure she stops revealing my game hands.
We watched Sponge Bob Square Pants and even went to the lake and pool. I love Anna. You should get to know her, she'll lighten your world.
Mother's Day and I decided to do something that everyone should do at least once. I went and saw the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in its "Music and the Spoken Word" performance. The performance was great. You have to get there early to get your seats. We, Brooke and I sat in the front row. Prior to the live performance (which is the longest running performance in U.S.) they introduce several promenant attendees. Unfortunately I was not noted. Next time perhaps. Janice Kapp Perry who is a big deal with Mormon music was there because they were playing her song. The music was inspirational. They started with "Morning has Broken" a song that Cat Stevens covers and lots of other people. One of the songs during the middle of the performance had a snare drum. The acoustics made it sound as if it was right overhead. It was awesome. They closed the presentation as they always do singing "God be With You Til We Meet Again." After the show I was even able to get my picture taken with real live Mormon Tabernacle Choir peoples!
The best part was later that night. You see the Utah Jazz were having Game 4 of the Western Conference Semi Finals. During the game they were showing some of the more notable Utah attractions and wouldn't you know it there we were front and center. You could totally see us. I even re-wound the television, which you can do these days, and saw it again and again. All in all it was a great experience.
Lots of people, like lots, saw the Iron Man movie this week...
But what they didn't get to do was see it three weeks early like me and Craig Tovey.
So without further adu I'd like to tell you the story of how Craig Tovey and Chris Barragan saw Iron Man three weeks early...
I just quit my job and had the rest of the day to play. Craig and I met at one of those Baja Fresh/Mexi Fresh places that have the fish tacos (I decided to go for it and they were muy tasty). Anyhow Brooke and her family were with us and we were all having a nice meal. When Brooke had to go back to work I asked Craig if he wanted to go see a movie. He said he did and we made our way over to the dollar theater.
There was nothing playing. I mean there were tons of things playing if you like crap (The Game Plan featuring Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson, 27 Dresses featuring that girl from Knocked Up and the X-Men guy) so we decided to go to the Century 10 on 33rd and State street.
When we got there once again crap movies. But wait a second, private screening, what does that mean?
"Excuse me, what's the private screening?" says Chris Barragan. "That's for the Salt Lake film critics, they're watching Iron Man."
"Oh really?!" Chris Barragan replies "We'll have two for that please."
"You can't buy tickets for it." states the ticket counter girl.
At this point I could see that she didn't really like her job and she wouldn't care what we did after we had our tickets ripped.
"Okay give me two tickets for anything playing"
"What do you want?"
"I don't know, Drillbit Taylor."
So we took our tickets and proceeded to fake out the other underpaid movie house employees on our way to Iron Man. Once inside we were immediately greeted by our credential asking tardy guard.
"Are you with the Salt Lake film critics"
Now before we came in we started developing a poorly designed plan for how we were going to pull this off. Craig, once confronted would tell any security people that he worked for Fuel Marketing, that should do the trick. As for how we were to get out...
"Once the movie ends please come see me so that I can get you information" say tardy woman.
We started watching the movie. It's awesome. You can now watch it without deception and truly enjoy the experience.
So as the movie went on I would have moments where I freaked out. How are we gonna get out of here. Then I'd look over to Craig Tovey and he was as cool as could be.
Five minutes before the end of the movie I leaned over to Craig Tovey and asked "What's the plan? What do we write on her form?" Craig Tovey's reply "I kinda thought that when the credits start rolling we run like hell."
So that was the plan, the credits roll we run in the dark like hell. The only problem was when the credits began to roll the lights immediately came up and there we were sitting in the front of the theater for all to see.
So what did I do? Well I just calmly got up, made eye contact with tardy woman and began toward her. Three steps toward her and then I bolted. I ran as fast as I could, first out of the double doors to the lobby, then immediately to my left and out the back exit. Craig was at one point on my heels but quickly passed me as we made a dash for the car. I didn't look back. I didn't want to see tardy lady running after me.
We got to the car short of breath and laughing our heads off. Two grown men acting like kids, dressed professionally, outrunning the law.
When we got in the car Craig Tovey said "Do you really think that fat lady was gonna chase after us?" we bursted into laughter it was classic.
So that's how Craig Tovey and I saw Iron Man three weeks before it opened.
So I met this great kid who will most definitely become a great college athelete. As for now he's a bit of a smarty pants. But hey at least I can say I was the first to post incriminating photos of this future College All-American Nick Margiotta and his sister in the tub. Do you think this will help his popularity in his up coming freshman year of high school?
So I moved to Utah. And I found out when I got here that, and I wonder if anyone else has heard about this, but Utah has places where you can ski and snowboard. Crazy right? Well apparently it's a pretty big deal here. I mean they even had an Olympics here, with a child of light and everything!!
Friday, two weeks ago my co-workers wanted to leave work a little early and go to Main St. in Park City. (just a block down from our work) People were snowboarding and skiing. They had set up some rails and jumps in the center of town. As the snow was falling people were lining up to take their turn. This got me so hungry for surfing. I haven't had the chance in a while. Being in Utah I think it may be a while longer. I thought about being in a wave, carving back and forth and thought to myself "Snowboarding can't be that much different." So I texted Craig Tovey.
Chris: What does one have to do to try the snowboarding?
CraigT: Just get in the car with Gordon and me tomorrow.
CraigT: Yeah we're going in the morning to Park City.
So I was set. Not only set but overwhelmed at how cool this was. Craig and Gordon, bless them, seriously bless these guys cause there awesome, had everything for me. Boots, board, goggles, googles, gloves, clothes and one free lift ticket. So the next morning I got up at 7, got in my car and drove down to Provo. Gordon was still in bed when I arrived and Craig was ironing the bottom of the snowboard, I don't get it but that's what you need to do I guess. So after pressing my pants I went up stairs to wake Gordon. (he was awake but still in bed, oh lovely, lovely Gordon) They suited me up and we headed to Park City.
It took a little bit of time to get the free ticket. There was some guy pissed that he didn't get something he thought he should have because rules don't apply to him. Anyway we got the ticket and headed over to the bunny slopes.
Now before I continue I want to impress upon my audience the indebtedness I have to Gordon Peterson and William Craig Tovey.
When I was asked by a friend to teach them how to surf, I would get them a wetsuit, a board and bring them to the ocean. This was pretty much the extent of my teaching. Actually I'm not that bad, I stay with them for a while but eventually get over it and go get my own waves.
Anyway with Gordon and Craig, these guys were with me every step of the way. They started me with one foot in the board, the helped me make turns to the left, to the right, to the front, to the back, then slide baby slide...wait.
No they were the best instructors you could imagine.
I hated getting on and off the lift. You do it with one foot in the snowboard, which is awkward. Then you have to hang in what appears to be the least safe ride at the carnival, the ski lift. That's okay because you're not belted in and there's nothing to hold on to.
The second time I came off the lift, I totally wrecked. I spilled myself all over the ground. What's good about that is there are people constantly coming off the lift behind you and since they're more than likely strapped into some board or ski, they have to maneuver pretty quickly to get around you. I loved it.
The first run of the day for me was a little difficult. I fell a few times and at first hated trying to get up from my butt. I decided to take the roll over and push up approach.
The second run I started making my turns a little more clean.
On to the third run, Craig and Gordon wanted me to go down a different hill, I was grumpy about that because it bled into the more advanced skiers.
The thing of it was Gordon and Craig were totally cool about it. They stayed close by, they made suggestions, supported me, it totally helped.
Craig had to pee on my fourth run, so Gordon and I went up by ourselves. That run I made it all the way down the bunny hill only falling once.
I know I totally mastered the bunny hill.
Gordon was proud of me and I wish Craig would have been there. As I got to the bottom of the hill I stopped for a minute to take it in. I was so happy with myself and at what comfort I made my turns. Sure they were a little sharp but I was having a great time. As I was basking in the greatness that was me I went to head toward the lift and where Gordon was and I totally lost my balance, fell to my butt and ripped my head against the ground. My goggles and beanie went flying and I was completely deflated.
As I was lying there, I thought, "no really the snow isn't cold. I can stay here for a little while."
I got up, dusted the snow off and tried to get to my goggles.
The thing about it is, when you don't want to be gliding down a hill, it's almost impossible to do the simple things like walk two feet and pick up your belongings. So after ten minutes of awesome effort, I got my goggles and headed back to Gordon.
Craig was now with Gordon and we went up the hill for one more run. I loved it. I want to do it again and again. They were so great. It was so generous of them. Sometimes I effing love those guys.
Anyway that's how I mastered the bunny hill.
Now I'm ready to take on Lane Myers on the K12. That's right John Cusack, I want Beth, or Monique, or the two Asian guys you race...or booger.
I was just sitting at my desk, stressed about this PowerPoint I have to do, and all I could think about for a minute was little Troy James Ellermeier falling from the bed. I just envisioned (and it's making me giggle just thinking about it) his little body all tucked into itself, hands, feet, just like he always lies, falling through the air toward the ground. In my mind he has enough time to begin to rotate, much like buttered bread always does, face down toward the carpet. I see him having enough time to feel the fall as the gravity driven wind blows across his tightly closed eyes, and in a moment of realization he wakes, looks at the impeding crash and has this realization, "Well, now, I've never had to deal with this, what do I do?" And what does a baby do, at what age does your body know to reach out it's arms and brace itself for impact? I'm guessing it's not three months. Anyhow he just has to take it. He just hits the ground waking his aunt in the other room (oh and maybe he bounces just a little bit, oh God please tell me bounced a little bit) and forever becomes one of the greatest short stories we will ever get to verbalize, and why? Because it came on the same day little Dane Ellermeier slammed his wiener in the toilet.
The following is an email conversation I began as I was inquiring about an apartment for rent in the Salt Lake area. Note Salt Lake City is where this Craigslist posting was listed...
On Jan 22, 2008 11:52 AM Chris Barragan wrote: 1. Chris Barrington 2. 730 Ocean St Santa Cruz, Ca 831.427.0532 (editors note: this is the address and phone for Wamu) 3. 31 years old 4. four 5. yes, a dog 6. yes 7. Insurance 8. Christian 9. Praise yes. - Hide quoted text -
On Jan 22, 2008 11:40 AM, Beth Moore wrote: Thanks for the reply. Good hearing from you that you shall be promising us that our house will be well taken care of,and i appreciate your expression.So , i want you to stick to your words.Is that okay with you?And the below is the final question that you must answer to qualify for this the rent of my house?
RENT APPLICATION FORM: Also,Pls let me get this answer. 1)Your Full Name 2)Your Full Address & Phone Number 3)How old are you? 45)How many people will be living in the house? 6)Do you have a pet? 7)Do you have a car? 8)Occupation? 9)What is your religion? 10)Are you born again?
Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file incase of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you.Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the key to you,please we are giving you all this base on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words,you know that,we do not see yet and only putting everything into Gods hand and I pray the lord be with you,so please do not let us down in this our property and God bless you more as you do this. Below is the address of the house 325 Dune st Norfolk Va
Regards. Await your reply now
On Jan 21, 2008 11:35 PM, Chris Barragan wrote: Please allow me to pay rent now $650 I am willing to pay each month. I have check for $1500 can you please take your $650 and forward remaining $850 to party I have payment for in Panama. I have brother who has Christian work relief mission there. If this is good time please reply.
On Jan 21, 2008 9:01 PM, Beth Moore wrote: Hello, Thanks for your response regarding your interest in having my apartment for rent.The apartment is much available for now.I want you to know that I am the owner of this building .But right now i am in africa on a Christain mission with my wife and we have the keys right here with us.I will like to inform you that it was due to my transfer that made us to leave the house and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a resposible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean at the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own.So for now,We are here in West Africa,NIGERIA our new house and also with the keys of the house,we are trying to look for an agent that we can give this document before we left but could not see and we are as well as dont want our house to be used any how in our absent that is why we to ok it along with us here.We are only willing to give the apartment out to a lovely and caring family only, so if you know you cannot give the apartment the neatness it deserves please don't contact me.But if you promise to always take good care of apartment,get back to me on how you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in rentiong home.Hope you are okay with the price of $650 with hydro,heat laundry facilities,air-condition and so on.i look forward to hearing from you ASAP so that i can forward you an application to fill out and discuss on how to get the house for rent,also are you ready to rent it now or when? Thanks, Await your reply
On Jan 21, 2008 7:28 PM, Chris Barragan wrote:
I am interested in the advertisement on craigslist and would like to have more information.
I felt that I had a duty to write something heartfelt with regards to my belief in the God, Jesus Christ and His Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When I was a senior in high school I joined the LDS faith. My introduction to the church began between my freshman and sophomore year of high school. My friend Craig Tovey had recently move to Half Moon Bay from Paradise California and we became close. That summer I had a bad bicycle accident which left me in an arm cast for six months. Over that time he shared his beliefs about God. For me it was amazing to see a 14 year old kid speak about his intimate belief in the after life. Not only that but to see his conviction to and love for the gospel. I took his lessons and filed them in the back of my thinking. He moved back to Paradise and I began to associate with the other Mormon kids at Half Moon Bay High. The biggest reason for my association was that I wasn't a party person, I didn't drink and I didn't smoke weed. I liked that I could hang out with them and not feel the pressure of getting wasted. In time I learned about seminary, a morning religious study. I'll admit initially, they made it out to be much cooler than it ended up being, no teenager in his right mind wants to wake up at 5:45 am and make his was to a cold classroom at the church building. I did however go and later took the missionary discussion. On November 20, 1994 I was baptized at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach, Ca.
I've never written the account of the night of the 19th of November, please note that although I've spoken about it often, I do hold it as an important and defining moment in my life and as it will now be posted for anyone to run across I hope you, the reader will take a minute and give it a heart felt listen.
On the night of November 19th, I went to South San Francisco to have a baptismal interview with the Elders of the Church. I had never met an Elder before and assumed they were old men. To my surprise they were a little older than I was. An Elder was in fact a missionary who had committed to two years of service for the church between the ages of 19 and 25. I don't recall his name but I do remember him being from the Midwest. He asked me a series of questions "Do you believe in God the Eternal Father?" "Yes I do." "Do you believe in His Son, Jesus Christ?" "I do." "Do you believe that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God?" "Yes." "Do you believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God?" "Yes." "Do you believe that a prophet leads and guides us today?" "I do." "Are you ready to be baptized?" "I am."
And I was. Leaving the building I remember that my friend Christian's mom had driven me to the interview. As I was getting into the van she said "the moon looks very golden tonight." I remember looking at it and getting an sense that anytime I saw a golden moon I would recall that evening.
After they had dropped me off at my house I decided to not quite go inside. My family was not looking into the religion as I was and I still needed time to go over the questions that I had answered. As I stood outside a moment early in my chruch discussions had come to me. There are a series of six church discussions which cover the basic beliefs of the church. The sister missionary who had taught me asked me in the first discussion to pray to know is Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon was true. I didn't want to. I had logically come to the conclusion that this was the right thing to do. It sounded right and I made sense of everything the sister missionaries had taught me. I could believe in the prophet Joseph Smith, having current prophets also made sense to me. I could believe that God would command others to have a record of Christ so why couldn't the Book of Mormon be true? But what was getting to me at that moment was the thought "You know for yourself that it is true but you haven't asked God if it is."
I made up my mind to ask God if this was the right thing to do. Knowing that the ocean was less than three blocks away, I crossed Highway 1 and walked down to Venice Beach (not the Southern California but Half Moon Bay's named beach) Walking there I remember noticing a street light that was out. When I came to it it lit up, which was welcoming because it was getting dark. I got to the cliff and knelt down to pray. I remember saying to God "Well I'm getting baptized tomorrow and I know that what I've learned is true. I haven't asked you however and I want your decision on the matter."
I took a minute and got up. When I was walking back, there was that street light. As I passed it and made my way over the highway it went out. I though for a minute, "maybe that's the sign, he ways watching my way and giving me light." I thought little more about it a felt confident that I was making the right decision. As I walked up my driveway I suddenly felt a confirmation of the spirit that has been promised to those who seek after it. I felt in that moment a feeling that was undeniable, a feeling that to this day brings me to serious reflection and great appreciation for a loving Father in Heaven. I found myself on my knees, consumed in the spirit and love of God. I knew that my efforts were not in vain but that revelation has been and is given to those who desire a closeness to Deity. I cried for a moment, in gratitude. I then got up from my knees and went into my house and waited for the next day.
On November 20th, 1994 I was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was a great day and one that I use as a point of strength and courage when faced with adversity. My hope is that this post is inspiring to those who have a desire to be closer to God. I love God and I am grateful that I am a child of God.
Thanks to the likes of Brooke Eaton, I can cut and paste and create a delightful post about my religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormons. Enjoy, be sure to drink your Ovaltine.
Facts Some facts might include: First, “Mormon” is a nickname for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members are often referred to as “Mormons,” “Latter-day Saints,” or “LDS.” The term “Saint” means “member.” Second, the Church was restored in 1830 in upstate New York with Joseph Smith as its first prophet and president. Today it is headquartered in Salt Lake City, with President Gordon B. Hinckley as the present prophet. Third, there are now over 13 million members in 176 countries and territories. About 6 million of these are in the United States, making us the fourth largest Christian denomination in America. As one of the fastest growing Christian faiths in the world, we complete a new chapel every working day. Members pay a tithe, which is 10 percent of their income, making this and other programs possible. Fourth, local congregations are led by volunteer, unpaid members. Both men and women serve in assigned leadership positions. And fifth, Mormons are well represented in politics and government. (In the United States, for example, there are 16 members in Congress, from both political parties.) Members also serve in high and trusted positions throughout the world in business, medicine, law, education, media, sports, and entertainment.
Faith Next, people need to know something of our faith as committed Christians with strong traditional values. Along with the Articles of Faith we need to emphasize that: We believe in the eternity of the soul, that God is the Father of our spirits, and that we can return to Him after death. We believe that Jesus Christ is our personal Savior, and we try to model our lives after Him and His teachings. We commemorate Christ’s atoning sacrifice in our Sunday worship services, similar to taking communion in other churches. We accept as fellow Christians all who believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and the Savior of all mankind. Many Christians do not understand that we have much common ground with them. Joseph Smith taught that Jesus Christ is the core of our belief, and everything else is an appendage to it (see Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 44). The name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe the original church that Jesus established was lost and has been restored again in our day. The priesthood, the authority given to man to act in the name of God, with apostles and a prophet to lead us, has been restored as have all necessary ordinances of salvation. We believe in and we use the Holy Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. And we believe in the Book of Mormon and other books of scripture which support and authenticate the Bible and testify of the ministry and divinity of Christ and of God’s ongoing revelation to man. Indeed, the Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”
Family The next thing it is good for people to know is how family-centered our theology and our lifestyles are. Once again, simple statements are helpful to someone who is uninformed but curious about the importance we place on families. Mormons place particularly strong emphasis on family as the basic unit of the Church and of society. We have a deep commitment to marriage (defined as a union between one man and one woman). Polygamy, a limited practice in the early pioneer days of the Church, was discontinued in 1890, some 117 years ago. Families and individuals, whether members of our faith or not, can attend Sunday services in our chapels. Here we worship together, instructing one another from the scriptures. Latter-day Saint families are encouraged to hold family home evenings weekly, usually on Monday nights. This provides a regular and predictable time for parents to teach values to their children and to have fun together. We invite those not of our faith to adopt this practice with their own families. The Church has auxiliary programs for women, youth, and children as a support to the family. These programs provide such things as religious instruction, opportunities for Christian service, sports, drama, music, and Scouting. And there is also much focus on extended family, genealogy, and personal family history, providing young and old with a stronger sense of roots, identity, and belonging. The highest and most sacred ordinances of our faith relate to our families, both living and dead, and some of these ordinances take place in our temples.
Fruits Now, even as someone begins to understand a few facts about us and comes to know us more accurately by our faith and the importance of family, it was the Savior who said “by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20; emphasis added). A church, or any way of life, should be judged by the fruits or the results that it generates. Here are a few examples based on United States statistics. But these would be similar throughout the world among practicing Mormons (by which we mean those who attend church and the temple regularly): One of the fruits is a longer life. Studies show that practicing Mormons are healthier and therefore live longer than the national average. In 1833 the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith the Word of Wisdom, which is the way to live in order to enjoy a long and healthy life. Second, those who are married in and attend the temple regularly have a divorce rate far below the national and world average. Third, we achieve an educational level that is higher than the national average. Fourth, over 70,000 members volunteer at their own expense to serve for 18 to 24 months in humanitarian efforts, Church service assignments, and full-time missionary service throughout the world. And fifth, we place strong emphasis on self-reliance and a solid work ethic. We encourage active involvement in our communities and in providing service to others. The Church continues to donate substantial money, goods, and services to humanitarian causes around the globe, including untold hours of labor donated by members to assist in disaster cleanup and relief.
I know this was sort of the lazy way out, but he really articulates everything in a more concise and thorough way than my own was turning out to be. Feel free to ask or comment or whatever. (This last paragraph was Brooke's words, turns out she copies and pastes too. So much for original thought. Then again look for my all new blog, coming soon!!)