Monday, June 6, 2016

Quasi Lì. (Almost There)

Sunday June 5, 2016

It was about a year ago that Ellen and I decided to get serious about serving a mission. It was 12 months ago we started the Senior Missionary Application.  Now here we are, one week away from entering the MTC, two weeks away from leaving for Italy on such a mission.

Anticipation, anxiety, excitement, worry, concern, joy, peace, satisfaction, thrill, fear, and love are all emotions that have been building to a crescendo. Clothing, electronic, and sundry purchases have been made.  Immunizations have been received. We assume the applied for Italian visa has been received by the church. We are physically, but perhaps not emotionally or intellectually, ready.

In a recent phone conversation with our insurance company I shared that we would be out of the country for 18 months.  He asked "Will you be on a church mission or something?"  I explained, "yes, we will be going on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to the Rome Italy mission.  The representative asked, "What will you do while you are there?"  He may have been wondering why we would go on a mission to Italy. I responded that we wanted to help people, possibly including refugees.  There was not time in the brief exchange to share my deep feeling on the subject. But the exchange got me to thinking about my response and how I might answer the question if asked again.

We want to bless the lives of those in need any way we can, whether the needs are spiritual, emotional, intellectual, or temporal. We offer ourselves to assist. It is humbling to think that we will be representing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As his servants, within our abilities, we will endeavor to do and say what he would. We will bring our own unique talents and gifts to share with all those we meet and serve.  We anticipate the exchange of love and spiritual strength to be reciprocal. Together we will grow closer to our Heavenly Father. In order to be most effective in this aspect we have been exercising our spiritual muscles. We want to bless and boldly testify of our loving Heavenly Father and of his plan of happiness. This spiritual preparation has included scripture study, meditation, prayer, obedience, and going to the temple. We acknowledge our weakness, but with willing hearts we make ourselves available to our Heavenly Father to use us however he sees fit.

We are ready to take the leap, not knowing exactly what awaits.  We hope that you, our family and friends will join us for the journey.  We look forward to any encouragement, thoughts, and prayers you want to send our way.

Ellen and I are thinking we will capture and share our thoughts on a weekly basis, using email, Facebook, and the blogs as electronic tools.  If we have your email address we will include you in the distribution unless you indicate otherwise. If you want to be added to the weekly letter, send us your email address.  The blog and Facebook may contain more pictures than the email, so we will provide links if you choose to follow them.  We will add names to our distribution as we become aware of them.

Versione Italiana

Era circa un anno fa che Ellen ed io abbiamo deciso di andare avanti sul serio di svolgere una missione. E' stato 12 mesi fa abbiamo iniziato l'applicazione per anziani missionari. Ora eccoci qui. Tra una settimana entreremo il MTC per istruzioni. In un altra settimana partiremo per l'Italia in tale missione.

Attesa, ansia, eccitazione, paura, preoccupazione, gioia, pace, soddisfazione, paura, ed amore sono tutti emozioni che stanno crescendo nei nostri cuori. Abbigliamenti, elettroniche, e gli altri diversi acquisti sono stati fatti. Vaccinazioni sono stati ricevuti. Non assumiamo che i nostri visti italiani sono stati ricevuto dalla chiesa. Siamo fisicamente, ma forse non emotivamente o intellettualmente pronto.

In una recente conversazione telefonica con la nostra compagnia di assicurazione ho condiviso che saremmo stati fuori dal paese per 18 mesi. Il rappresentante ha chiesto "Voi farete una missione per una chiesa o qualcosa del genere?" Ho spiegato, "Sì, andremo in una missione per la Chiesa di Gesù Cristo dei Santi degli Ultimi Giorni alla missione Italiana di Roma. Il rappresentante chiese:" Che cosa farete mentre siete lì? "Lui potrebbe essere stato chiedendo perché dovremmo andare in missione in Italia  non a qualche posto piu bisognosi. Ho risposto che volevamo aiutare la gente, forse anche i rifugiati. non c'era il tempo nel breve scambio di condividere la mia sensazione profonda sull'argomento. Ma il colloquio mi ha fatto pensare alla mia risposta e come risponderei se chiesto di nuovo .

Noi vogliamo benedire la vita di coloro che sono nel bisogno, in qualsiasi modo siamo in grado; se i bisogni sono spirituali, emotivo, intellettuale, o temporale. Offriamo noi stessi per aiutare. E 'umiliante pensare che rappresenterà il nostro Signore e Salvatore Gesù Cristo. Come i suoi servi, nelle nostre capacità, cercheremo di fare e dire quello che Lui avrebbe fatto. Porteremo, con noi i nostri unici talenti e doni, da condividere con tutti coloro che incontriamo e serviamo. Prevediamo lo scambio di amore e forza spirituale di essere reciproco, Insieme potremo avvicinarci più vicino al nostro Padre Celeste. Per essere più efficace in questo aspetto ci siamo allenati i nostri muscoli spirituali. Noi vogliamo benedire e con coraggio testificare del nostro amorevole Padre Celeste e del suo piano di felicità. La preparazione spirituale ha incluso lo studio delle scritture, la meditazione, la preghiera, l'obbedienza, e visiti al tempio. Riconosciamo la nostra debolezza, ma con il cuore disposte ci rendiamo disponibili al nostro Padre Celeste di usarci in qualsiasi modo che Lui ritiene più opportuno.

Siamo pronti a fare il salto, senza sapere cosa ci aspetta. Speriamo che voi, nostra famiglia e amici, ci unirete per il viaggio. Possiamo usare qualsiasi incoraggiamento, pensiero o preghiere che desiderate inviare in nostro direzione.

Ellen e io stiamo pensando di catturare e condividere i nostri pensieri settimanale, tramite e-mail, Facebook e blog, e questi modi elettronici. Se abbiamo il tuo indirizzo e-mail vi includeremo nella distribuzione, al meno se non ci dica altrimenti. Se desidera aggiungere alla lettera settimanale, inviaci il tuo indirizzo e-mail. Il blog e Facebook possono contenere più immagini che l'e-mail, quindi dovremo fornire i collegamenti se si sceglie di seguirli e vedere le foto. Noi aggiungeremo nomi alla nostra distribuzione come diventiamo consapevoli di loro.

(Con assistenza di Google Translate. Chiedo perdono per gli errori, che senz'alto sono i miei.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Driving, Learning, and Brimming with Knowledge

Yes, I am still driving 90 miles each way to and from work.

Yes, I know this is not environmentally friendly. I try to mitigate the gas usage by driving with a light foot. My Mazda 3, which the government rates at 29 highway miles per gallon, has been averaging 35.5. From a personal economics point of view I have crunched the numbers backwards and forwards. Unless, I can find a friend to give me a place to live for free, near work, the commute is, temporarily, the least expensive option.

So, friends will continue to ask, "are you still driving all that way to work everyday?"

The work continues to be stimulating, motivating, and rewarding. The commute continues to be enriching, educational, and thought provoking. The commute, after all, gives me a legitimate excuse to spend 3.5 hours a day listening to podcasts and books. No one I know is so lucky.

The Gallup Organization identifies "Learner" as a being a core strength. "People in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them." While the long drives have certainly been strengthening my "Leaner" muscles, the latter part of the definition leaves me feeling a bit of a void. The idea of doing nothing with the learning feels wasteful.

So, if learning by itself is not very satisfying, I need to do something with my new-found knowledge. Gallup describes additional Developer and Maximizer skills that have the potential to put the knowledge to use. Developers recognize and cultivate the potential in others. Maximizers stimulate personal and group excellence. So. . .

Pity my poor wife as the one upon whom much of the ingested knowledge is regurgitated. My son and daughter in-law are good listeners and often catch earfuls. A captive Deacons quorum is also susceptible. Those who are friends on Goodreads and choose to look over a book because I rate it highly have a bit more freedom of choice in the matter. They have only themselves to blame. Recently, I have been suggesting to Ellen we invite more people over to dinner. I this so I will have more vessels to fill?

Yes, I am still making the long drive to and from work. Approach me at your own risk. I am close to exploding with knowledge.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Careful. . .you might get what you ask for

Last night, Ellen and I drove across the desert in a noisy, but otherwise, smooth running vehicle.

A couple of years ago, I purchased new tires for the car. I was delighted because they had an excellent treadwear rating. It has now been 55,000 miles and the tires still have additional tread left on the tires. Given the current state of my personal economy, I would be happy to not be required to purchase new tires for at least several more months. That is the good part of the story associated with these tires.

Now the bad. . . These tires are very noisy. As we drive down the freeway, or even down quiet rural roads, the tires are reminding us how strong and firm they are against the wear and tear of the road. They do not give up precious millimeters of rubber to the road without a fight. And this is a noisy fight. They make a constant drone, the volume of which corresponds to the speed being traveled. Recently, we had a friend in the car and he exclaimed, "I have never been in such a noisy car". I lamely told him of our noisy tires. I think he assumed it was a cheap car. I am not sure my excuse convinced him otherwise. In order to listen to the radio or a book on CD, the volume needs to be turned way up. If we could block out all other noise, we would laugh at how loudly we are talking in order to be heard over the battle taking place on the road beneath us.

Now, back to our ride across the desert, Ellen was sure that the third row concert level volume would deafen her. We arrived without incident. Rogers and Katherine only had to tell us a couple of times that we did not need to talk so loudly. Fortunately, after a good night's sleep, our hearing seemed to return to its previous level.

Learning: Tires with long treadwear may save money in the pocket book, but may also have other unanticipated side effects. Check the tread. Proceed with caution. In retrospect, would this cheapskate have made another decision? I am to much of a penny pincher to say yes.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Without our kids around we had a delightful time with Katherine and Rogers and his friendly family. Looking forward to the safe return of our kids in the next month.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Debate

I love the debate. I enjoy learning from others, challenging others on their beliefs, and finding common ground.

Caution must be taken to avoid personal attacks, excess emotion, and group think.