Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not someone's best guess...

Because of all the commotion with moving, I didn't get out a post during this April's LDS General Conference. Thankfully I did get the chance to view the conference over the Internet. This one of my favorite quotes, from Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Full text of his talk) :

"This gospel does not come from man. The doctrine of the Church is not someone's best guess as to the meaning of ancient scripture. It is the truth of heaven revealed by God Himself. I testify that Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw. He truly looked into the heavens and communed with God the Father and the Son, and with angels."

This quote describes why I choose to belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believe that to have an effective organized religion, God himself must lead it.

The following highlight video from the conference shows a good example of how God inspires and speaks through the leaders of the Church. The men speaking in the video are "apostles" (the same kind as in the Bible), and their assignment is to lead the Church and be special witnesses of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Farewell California

It's difficult to categorize the emotions we felt leaving Southern California for our native Pacific Northwest. In the past week I’ve felt occasional pangs of homesickness for our friends, our home, and the sunshine that we left behind. We were very blessed during our time in California and contrary to the prejudices of my youth it turned out to be a great place for our family to begin a career. Here are some things we’ll miss.

  • There’s always something interesting happening close by. If you want to go to a sporting event, the zoo, a farmer’s market, a shopping center, camping, or whatever, it’s all there and usually you have multiple choices.

  • There are many choices of hospitals, libraries, performing arts venues, clubs, and other organizations that enhance the quality of life.

  • The weather is unbeatable in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. In early April we left sunny, t-shirt weather, which allowed us to go on family walks or attend outdoor activities just about whenever we wanted.

  • The Church is strong and its members in California are extraordinary people. We saw individuals give hundreds, if not thousands of hours of their time in volunteer service to Church administration, youth programs, humanitarian projects, and defending the traditional definition of marriage. We also enjoyed attending a temple just minutes from our home.
Along with these advantages, California definitely has its challenges. For example, we won’t miss the prohibitive cost of living, the threat of a massive earthquake at any time, severely underfunded schools, torn-up busy freeways, unhealthy air, and political corruption and ineptitude at every level of government. Many of these things exist to some degree everywhere, but California is a state of extremes.

Peter Schrag’s book California: America’s High-Stakes Experiment gives a well-rounded picture of some of the current and future hurdles that California faces, and you will find it interesting whether you’ve lived in California or not. The book was published too early to include last year’s Proposition 8 battle over gay marriage or the 2009 state budget standoff, but these events would have fit in as natural chapters and were easier for me to understand after reading Schrag’s book.

Friday, April 17, 2009

1100 miles later, we're back online

This blog has been offline for a while as our family has been busy relocating to the Pacific Northwest. Although we had tried to limit the amount of stuff we accumulated during four years in California, it was still quite a chore packing everything up, loading it onto my father-in-law’s trailer, driving 1,100 miles with two children, and unloading everything at the new place.

Some things I learned on the drive:

  • Goldfish crackers will quiet almost any storm that brews in the back seat. But if that doesn’t work, Pez will do the job.

  • If you buy two identical Magna Doodles for your children so they won’t fight, they will still pick one to fight over.

  • Nothern California rest areas are just as thrashed and understaffed as Southern California rest areas.

  • Oregon must have some money in their budget for road projects. We crawled through one construction site after another.

  • Once the kids get to sleep on the first evening of driving, gun it and get as far as you can.

  • If you drive through California, Oregon, and Washington in April, you’re going to see a LOT of water. And a lot of green. The drive was beautiful.

For our friends back in California, we are cold and wet just like you predicted, but safe and settled in just as you wished for us. Thank you for all the help and offers for help leading up to our move.