Sunday, March 1, 2009

21st Century Martin Handcart Company

I just found these photos from Christmas. Catie took these photos from the comfort of our car, which conveniently got stuck in the snow when we slid off the road.

We were traveling to Brigham from Logan to visit our parents on Christmas morning. We decided that because it was snowing it would be safer to avoid the canyon and travel through Honeyville. It was difficult to see, and there were tracks on the left side of the road that looked like the road. I began to drive towards the tracks until I noticed that they were tracks left by a truck that was previously stuck. When I overcorrected our car slid off the right side of the road.

As we were waiting for our family to rescue us, we watched a train of cars get stuck in this location. I got out to help push and others started to join as we pushed each car through Honeyville (except ours of course; it was towed later). We ended up getting a ride from one of these vehicles.

Interestingly, as I drove back to pick up our car, I noticed that there are several drop offs along this road. We were lucky enough to land in a spot that was flat.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Blog

I've decided to start a new blog. It's called Stone Shining in the Darkness. I realized this blog is a little too specialized so I'm not writing in it as often as I should. I may decide to return to this blog when the theme applies to God prepared a more excellent way.

For now visit It should have more themes that may or may not be religious.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I will lead you along

D&C 78:17
Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his hands and prepared for you. . . nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along.

The Lord definitely provides a more excellent way. Allow me to share an interesting experience my family has had this last month. When I started ICON, I was told that once I graduated, I would receive a better raise; however, once I graduated, the economy dropped. I figured that a raise was unlikely. This concerned me because now I had student loans to pay, and we were already struggling to stay within our budget. In addition, I became even more worried as I looked at my workload, which was becoming extremely slim. I decided that I should start applying for a different job, just in case.

When raises finally did come, I was informed that although I was promised a better raise, ICON had put a cap on all raises. However, I did have an interview with SDL the next day. In addition, I attended a tech expo, which produced little leads. During the interview, my presentation, which I had tried both on my mac and windows, did not load. Following the interview, I continued to send in my resume to various companies, but I was really hoping that I would get the job with SDL. A few weeks later, I received an email notification that I didn't get the job.

Prior to interviewing with SDL I had kept my plans localized to Logan because I didn't know what we would do with our house, especially during these times. I had thought many times that it would be nice to move out of the valley, but we had this house that we would either have to sell or rent. About a month ago, Catie's sister moved into our spare bedroom. A week later, she got engaged. Shortly after their engagement, they were discussing their difficulty in finding an apartment that would allow them to bring their dog. I was upstairs working on my presentation for SDL when I heard my wife say, "You can rent out our house for six hundred a month." Later that day she told me it just came out but she felt like it really was time for us to move. After praying, it was confirmed that this was what we were supposed to do, which is interesting because we were FINALLY starting to feel like we belonged in the ward.

I decided that it was time to start looking outside of the valley. I applied for a job with a company called Brainstorm, located in Provo. Then, I applied for a few jobs with Amazon. To apply for Amazon, I had to register with On November 14, I received an email from a recruiter for Brainstorm; he wanted to set up a time for a phone interview.

On November 18, I came home about a half an hour before the phone interview was supposed to occur. When the phone rang fifteen minutes early, I thought it was my interview. Instead it was another recruiter who had found my resume on He told me that there was a company called Cover Pools that had determined that I would work well for them.

On November 21, I received an email informing me that I did not get the job with Brainstorm. I also had a phone interview with Cover Pools. During the phone interview, it seemed as if they were ready to hire me right away. The recruiter and I set up an interview appointment for November 26.

On November 25 at 4:50 pm, my manager asked if we could talk for a few minutes. He informed that ICON was having a layoff and he had to let two employees go. He said that he had decided to eliminate the bench and system position, which was my position.

On November 26, I had my interview with Cover Pools. When I spoke with the recruiters, they told me that Cover Pools really wanted to hire me. During the interview, they only wanted to see a few samples and make an offer. I received an official offer, which was a considerable amount more than I made at ICON.

Don't worry, the fun doesn't stop here. On November 28, I wrote my acceptance letter, but decided to wait and see if my manager came to work so I could discuss my last day of employment with him (he was nice enough to give me two weeks, but Cover Pools wanted me ASAP). I had just discussed the matter with him when I received a phone call from my wife. She told me that she had had a dream that I someone was telling her to tell me not to take the job. This made me extremely frightened because now I had nothing to look forward to. I called McDonald's because I know they will always take me back. But the more I thought about McD's the more I didn't want to return there.

We decided to fast, pray, and attend the temple. During the temple we both received peaceful feelings about taking the job with Cover Pools. I am baffled about Catie's dream. Catie thinks that Satan was trying to stop us from taking the job because she was scared that I would be mad, and she felt horrible after the dream. I think it could've also been an Abraham and Isaac type of a test. Or it could've just been her subconscious speaking her fear of change. Regardless, I think this was an amazing experience and shows that the Lord will lead us in the paths he wants us to follow.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Rest and Work Paradox

I was reminded this weekend of a mind-boggling paradox. As we were watching general conference, my mother-in-law made the statement, “Sometimes when I'm at church, I feel like saying, 'If they tell me one more thing I have to do, I'm going to have a nervous break down.” I began pondering this statement and how it is true that the more we give to the Lord, the more He asks us to give. Many scriptures say, “Unto whom much is given, much is required.”

However, Christ also says, “Come unto me, and I will give you rest. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” This doesn't seem to make sense. My wife was recently called to the primary presidency just after she returned to school while trying to take care of a two-year-old. After spending an entire day in meeting plus several additional hours magnifying her calling by preparing a lesson, filling in for the secretary, visiting families, and organizing her binder she realized that she hadn't had time to complete her homework. She was ready to quit.

I felt the same way during my last year in school. I was working over forty hours a week, attending school full-time, and trying to raise a young family. Then, I was called as the ward mission leader, which included attending a weekly meeting, visiting investigators and members, and assisting the missionaries. It seemed like I had no time for myself whatsoever. I definitely wouldn't have said that I got much rest. I was usually going to work at 3:00 am and going to bed around 10:00 pm.

So, where is the rest? Where is the easy yoke and light burden? In an Ensign article from 1993, President Hinckley said, “The strength of the Church is not in its thousands of houses of worship across the world nor in its universities or seminaries and institutes. These are all facilities, desirable means to an end, but only auxiliary to that which is the true strength. The strength of this Church lies in the hearts of its people, in the individual testimony and conviction of the truth of this work. When an individual has that witness and testimony, the requirements of the Church become challenges rather than burdens. Declared the Savior, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:30.)

The yoke of Church responsibility, the burden of Church leadership become opportunities rather than problems to him or her who wears the mantle of dedicated membership in the Church of Jesus Christ.”

This last weekend also contained some excellent answers for how this strange paradox of finding rest through giving more works. However, I wanted to leave this open more as a discussion. So do you have any examples or suggestions about how coming unto Christ leads to rest while we are expected to work harder? Please post your comments.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I just read a very interesting passage from "As Long as I Have You," the last book in the Children of the Promise by Dean Hughes. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been trying to figure out what I should do with my life now that I'm graduated.

In this book, Elder Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is talking with one of the characters in the book, Alex. He asks the character what he plans to do after he leaves the military. Alex responds that he is unsure what he wants to do. Here is the remaining conversation:
"Well. . . I wouldn't plan too far into the future."

Alex thought he had heard wrong for a moment. "You Wouldn't?"

"No, and I'll tell you why. There's no way you can know all the things the Lord might have in store for you. Go home and finish your education. Prepare yourself the best way you know how. And then, when you take a job, work hard at it. Be the best that you can be; give your employer all you have. If you do something well, someone will come along and give you another opportunity. That's what always happens. And when that opportunity comes, pray about it. Ask the Lord if that what you're supposed to do. If it is, go after it. Work at like that's your life's ambition; don't just put in your time. If you do that, another opportunity will come along--and more and more will follow. That's how my life has always gone. When I was your age, I never could have imagined the things that have happened to me.
I don't know if this is something that Elder Benson actually told a service man, something he often preached, or a tool invented by the author. I believe in the principle of working where ever you are as if "it's your life's ambition." There is a scripture in that Doctrine & Covenant that says something to that effect, but I always have a hard time finding it again (feel free to comment if you know where that is).

Maybe this is my answer; I should just work as hard as I can at ICON until the Lord sends me another opportunity to pray about.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Give Heed to This Compass

Give Heed to This Compass
Last week, I mentioned that I had intended to post about Abraham and Sarah; however, today in Sunday school we discussed Alma chapters 36–39, which I feel impelled to discuss further. In chapter 37, verses 38­–46, Alma is talking to his son, Helaman, about the Liahona. As I am currently trying to decide where my life should go post-graduation, I found this lesson intriguing. After I graduated in May, I worked extremely hard looking for a job. I was very diligent at it too, for almost two weeks. Then, I got discouraged and decided to stay with ICON for a while. This wasn't a decision I had made with the Lord; it was just a decision I made out of easiness.

Return to McDonald's
I was reminded today of the time I decided to return to McDonald's. Prior to my mission, I worked for my local McDonald's. I quit about a week before my mission. As I walked out the door, I shouted joyfully, “This is the last time I will ever work at McDonald's again!” And I meant it.

When I returned home from my mission, I avoided talking to my friends who still worked at McDonald's because I knew they would want me to return. Finally, my brother convinced me to visit my friend. He asked if I would consider coming back to McDonald's. I told him right away that I wouldn't, then I suddenly felt guilty. For two years I had been asking people to be open-minded and ask Heavenly Father what they should do. I softened my stance and said that I would pray about it, but probably not.

That night as I knelt in my room, I offered a vocal prayer (something I need to do more often). I said, “ Heavenly Father, I don't want to go back to McDonald's. I do need a job, but I really don't want to go to McDonald's. I did tell [my friend] that I would ask and I want to go where you want me to go. So, should I go back to working at McDonald's?”

Immediately, I heard these words in my mind, “Go until I tell thee otherwise.” It was one of the clearest answers I've ever received. I wanted to imitate Jonah and try to sail across the sea. Unfortunately I live in the desert and there is no sea, just the Salt Lake which won't take me very far. I knew I had to return to McDonald's. Now I can look back and see that I have developed many leadership qualities that I would not have gained in other pre-graduation jobs.

The Liahona
I decided today, that I need to be more diligent in seeking this type of guidance as I search for a job or decide to stay at ICON (because I'm not ruling anything out). Alma tells his son that the Liahona was compass that “was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.” I love the analogy of a compass. I remember when I was trying to follow a compass and map in boy scouts. We were supposed to find our way to an exact location, but somewhere along the way, we set the compass to the wrong degree. We discovered that by following even one degree different would put us completely off track.

Alma continues to teach that the compass did “work according to their faith in God.” The teacher today asked for examples when this has happened with the scriptures. I thought about how I have used the scriptures for this very purpose. Unfortunately, as I have neglected my job search, I have also neglected this simple principle of using the scriptures as my Liahona. “. . . Because those miracles were worked by small means . . . they were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence. And they did not progress in their journey. Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst.”

A Far Better Land of Promise
According to Alma the reason they were slothful was because of the easiness of the way. Indeed, it should be easy, but I wonder if sometimes the spindles pointed to path that they did not want to travel. Perhaps they pointed towards a dark forest or a desert that looked very deserted. I believe sometimes we will get an answer that doesn't make sense. I know I didn't want to go back to McDonald's. I'm sure Abraham was confused when he was commanded to sacrifice Isaac. In time we come to understand the reason we were meant to travel down a certain path. We just have to have faith to follow that path and
trust that it will lead where we should go. “Just as surely as this director (the Liahona) did bring our fathers to the promised land, shall the words of Christ carry us to a far better land of promise.”

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Death and Marriage

Death and marriage is an interesting subject when we discuss God's more excellent way. Recently, I started re-reading a series, Children of the Promise by Dean Hughes, about an LDS family during World War II. In this series one of the siblings is killed in action. The story discusses the heartache of his fiance who started working for this kid's family, and who had practically become part of the family. In a conversation discussing this young woman the mom of the family says, “She works for us, and I'm not so sure that's the best thing for her. She probably needs to break away from us and forget about the life she thought she was going to have.” Her youngest daughter then said, “I don't want [her] to marry anyone else. I want her to marry [my brother]—in heaven.” I changed the names in case you ever decide to read this series.

Although this story is about a fictional family, it makes a good point. What happens when God or even man takes away the life of someone we love; someone we felt we were destined to be with? The question returns to are we going to trust God?

My Brother
On a little more personal note, this same thing happened to my brother. A little over a year ago, my brother met a girl that he completely adored. Now, my family has not brought forth the most outgoing, popular men in the country. For example, I did not kiss a girl until I was 25, and she is now my wife. Although this brother had not followed in my footsteps as far as that is concerned, he didn't have the best of luck with women either. He finally had a girl he adored, and she adored him back. She planned to move to Utah where they could become officially engaged and finish their schooling together. In addition, his future was finally looking bright. He had gotten a job besides McDonald's and was pursuing a degree that looked promising.

About a month after he had visited this girl and prepared these plans for engagement, my brother was driving through the canyon to his new job. Apparently, the roads were a little icy. He probably hit the last patch of ice that spring until the following winter. His car spun into the lane next to him, where he met a semi at full speed. My brother was killed instantly.

Where is God's more excellent way? Honestly, I don't know yet. However, I do know that God is there and is mindful of us. I hope that some day I can finish this story with the answer to that question, at least in part. What I can do is give you some examples that show there is wisdom in his more excellent way. I don't believe the more excellent way lies where the girl from the book suggested, however. I know my brother was a good kid, the only thing he did wrong was get angry at his older brother who picked on him a little too often. So, I do believe the Lord's going to take care of him. But I don't believe those left in mortality should put their lives on hold so that they can be married in heaven.

I Will Fulfill
In the July Ensign, there was a story about a girl who took longer to get married than she wanted. She believed the gospel teaching that states that we should be married, which I'm afraid too many women take too serious and a few women and men take too lighthearted. She became frustrated that it was taking so long. Then, she read the account found in the Doctrine & Covenants disbanding Zion's Camp, section 105. Verse 13 says, “It is expedient . . . that mine elders should wait for a little season.” Although not an Elder, she realized this scripture was talking to her, so she continued to read. “. . .For as I said in a former commandment, even so I will fulfill—I will fight your battles.”

Although I don't know what's in stored for this girl, I do know that the Lord will fulfill his promises. If she will but wait a little season and trust His loving guidance, she will find that more excellent way. Another great example is Abraham and Sarah as they desired and were promised children; I will discuss this topic in greater detail next week.