Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Time for an adventure? Yes please.

Have you ever thought to yourself: our children are young, and their lives are not really intertwined in the neighborhood yet, so let's take our selves out of our comfort zone and have an adventure. Pause before you take the first step of that adventure. Consider all the random and unforeseeable possibilities of this idea. Someone in your family could be bitten by a Brown Recluse spider, another may be bitten by a tick and contract Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, your apartment may have a mold problem that may or may not lead to multiple cases of pneumonia. You may also have to have your appendix removed while on your adventure. You may even add another mouth to feed, and though she may be a beautiful daughter, she isn't a good sleeper, and a fussy and demanding little princess.
Not that all of these things are bad, but they are somethings to consider. And it is true that some of them could still happen in your comfort zone, they make the adventure seem more like an adventure.

Now that you have reflected on things that you may not have considered, don't forget about the other side of the coin. Your children will become better friends, and develop regard (one step away from love) for one another. They will make new friends that come from many different backgrounds and parts of the world. You will have spiritual and doctrinal conversations with a complete stranger, and you will each walk away happy that you had the conversation, and strengthened in your faith. Not because you had to dig your heals in and defend your faith, but because the conversation was based upon the common understanding that God is our Father in heaven, and He loves all of his children.
Your children may also have new experiences in chasing and catching fireflies, and box turtles. They will be able to see a larger variety of birds, including owls, cardinals, storks, herons, and vultures tearing a part armadillo roadkill. They will also be able to go fishing and catch catfish, blue gill, sun fish, and large mouth bass.

There are a lot of things to consider, in addition to the financial, and living space, and other "grownup" "first world problems" that will come into the equation. But make sure that no matter what the decision is for that adventure, that you keep looking for one, and you are ready to start once the right one presents itself.

In conclusion I must add that the most important element to your adventure is your spouse. She / He will be your biggest support, and your most valuable foundational factor in your success on this adventure. Make sure that you say, often, that you are grateful for their support, and are amazed by the weight they are carrying. Don't worry, it won't be fake, it will be an honest and sincere.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thank You

I have not given up on this blog thing. And I have now downloaded the blogger app on my phone so that I can jog thoughts down on the go.
But what has spurred this resurgence is the approaching holidays. I may have a lot of needs, but I have much more to be thankful for. I recently read an article which stated the power that comes from saying the words "Thank You". I hope to write a thank you note a few times a week. These will vary from the most simple thank you, which will consist of one to two sentences, to fully detailed accounts.

I need to thank my wife for her willingness to sacrifice nearly all for our children. She only wants the best for our little ones, and she continues to put them first. - Thank you Jennifer for your attention to our little ones. It makes a difference.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

First, but not the last

Gabe's first Primary Program

So, on mothers day (May 13, 2012) Gabe had the chance to sing in his first Primary Program! And oh was he excited. One of his primary leaders was sitting behind us and she was helping get Gabe excited and ready to go all the way up to the front of the chapel and sing. Let me paint a simple picture for you as I begin to unfold this experience. In our ward, there are usually 4+ rows of folding chairs that go into the basket ball court. We were sitting in row 3 of 4, from the podium, the back left. Well, when it was time for the children to go up front, Gabe quickly ran up front with all the other little people, and was standing in the front, from the podium, right corner. This put him at the furthest point from us that he could be, and close to the piano. Well, there he was, standing there with a huge smile on his face, ready to sing, and then it happened. The piano made some music. Gabe made an about face and pushed through the crowd and tried to play the piano too. One of the other primary leaders jumped up on stage, pulled him away from the piano, and held him on her lap for the whole program, which was luckily only one song, I think. The children singing did a great job. 
As they started to bounce down the stairs, to sit with their families, I'm going to guess that the primary leader who was still holding Gabe whispered something to the effect of: "the song is over, now it's time to go sit next to your mommy". Gabe, in his most polite and gentile manner responded with a loud, and direct "I don't want to sit next to my mommy!". This was followed by an equally loud howl and cry. If you have ever attended an LDS Primary Program, you know that everyone enjoys the short program, but we all are expecting, and waiting for that one kid who is the stand out, and usually makes everyone laugh. This year, it was Gabe. As he howled, the congregation started to chuckle, as did I. But was really made them laugh was when I stood up, on the second to last row, ran across the back, and down the isle, walking briskly through little people to pick up my crying son at the bottom of the stair he had just walked down. As I picked him up, I couldn't help but think this is funny, and I'm glad that this year was my son's turn. I hope that next year it goes to someone else. We walked around the hall ways, and then back to our seats, next to mommy, and Gabe did well the rest of the meeting. It was a great day, and after our meeting, I had several compliments, letting me know that Gabe stole the show, and he was their favorite part of the program. 
I love you Gabe! You make me smile, and you are my favorite Gabe!

Friday, September 30, 2011


Today is my last day as a BBA recruiter here at Westminster College. I have really enjoyed my time here. My coworkers have been amazing, and I appreciate their patience as they have worked with me.
This position was a contract position with the posibility of a full-time position becoming available. Last night I got "the phone call." My manager called me up to tell me that the full-time position had been offered to and accepted by another candidate. When I got the phone call I was working for my dad at his new rental property. I told him the history of the position, and the situation that I am now in. He asked if I wanted to go home, because getting bad news isn't easy to take. I said no, there is still work to be done here. Last night before I told Jennifer, as I was holding Gabe putting him to sleep I couldn't hold the emotion in any more. I cried like a child. In my minds eye I was fallen to my knees crying at our Father's hem because I don't know what to do now. After I composed myself again I went to tell Jennifer, and then she lost it too.
We had put so much hope into getting this position, and now that it was given to another, now what.
I usually get a little misty eyed when I leave one job for another, but this one has been different. This is the first real job that I have had since I earned my degree. (No offence Wayne, washing windows is a great job, just not my long term one. And I must thank you for your patience, and your willingness to work with me.) Since I earned my degree I have wanted to give back to the BBA team, to become a part of their team. This was that position, and now it is over. It is a sad day for me. In the past I have been leaving one job for something better for me and my family. But in this case, I feel as if I have nothing to look forward to. I have stepped outside the light, and all I see is darkness. When I look at the listed of jobs posted, I see that I fill the education requirement, but I don't have the experience. I am competing for jobs against people with an MBA and 10+ years of experience. I feel that this is a trial that has been designed to force me to my knees. I am learning humility right now, and I think that I am headed into a time of working really hard trying to work. But so much of my emotion comes from knowing that my dear wife will have to continue to sacrifice being a mother for being the bread winner. I am sorry Jennifer, I wish I could do more for you and the boys. (I can't type anymore, the tears are blurring my vision, and I really don't want someone to see me like this, all puffy eyed and snot nosed man.)
I pray for faith and for strength. I pray for a miracle. I pray to give thanks for all that I do have, and all that gifts that I have been given. I think it is time for an hour long prayer again. Now more than ever I pray to give thanks to my in-laws who watch my little boys every day and take care of them. I pray to give thanks for my parents who have been so generous. Thank you all. And most of all I thank God for Jennifer. She is my perfect wife. I love you.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Creating Opportunities

Tonight I felt that I had a small victory. Let me give some back ground just so you can understand where we were when this began. Gabe and I were down stairs watching Kung Fu Panda (I was on the floor and Gabe was on the couch) and Jennifer was upstairs putting Isaiah to sleep. Jennifer came down after putting Isaiah in his bed and sat down next to Gabe. Gabe asked for some apple juice. This is where the opportunity was created.
Light back story: Because Jennifer works full time and has had less time than I have had with our boys, especially Gabe, she is always looking for ways to spend time with just him. It is a tender topic and so tonight was especially nice for me to have played a hand in.
Back to the story: I went up stairs, got Gabe his apple juice and then wondered what I was going to do. Though I love Kung Fu Panda, I just wasn't into it tonight; I was falling asleep on the floor. So after I delivered the juice I went into the laundry room and gathered all the clean clothes, two loads worth and headed upstairs. As I passed Jennifer and Gabe I said "enjoy your Mommy Gabe date." She gave me a big smile. As I headed up the stairs I turned and asked if I could make some popcorn for them. She again smiled and said yes. I went into the kitchen put the popcorn in the microwave, then dumped the first load of clothes on our bed to be folded. I put the popcorn in two bowls and then delivered them downstairs. Gabe was snuggled in tight against Mommy and they were sharing a blanket, it was a tender sight. I went back up stairs, turned on a show on Hulu and folded clothes. About 40 minutes later I heard Gabe calling for me because the movie was over. I asked him if he had had fun watching a movie with Mommy, and he said yes. Mommy wrapped her arms around Gabe and said that she had fun watching a movie with him too.
To many that read this, this little story may seem to simple to be excited over. In our little family, this was a great opportunity, and I felt like I was doing what a husband and father is supposed to do: I was working so that my wife could spend time bonding with her little boy. I was creating the opportunity for my little boy to spend time with his Mommy. I don't know if I can explain my sense of accomplishment in this; but I am glad that I was able to make it happen.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Now we wait.

I had an interview today at Westminster. I wish I could say that I knew how it went, but I have never know how well my interviews appear in the eyes of those on the other side of the table. I mean I felt confident in my answers. I made eye contact with the four members of the panel. I didn't feel nervous or ashamed as I have in the past when I took time to think about the question I was asked and how to best answer it. I was nervous, but those butterflies keep me on my toes. I would like to say that I'm excited to call my manager tomorrow and follow up, I also need to take Thank You notes to the interviewers, thanking them for their time and their dedication to finding the right person for the job; weather that is me or not. As I walked up the stairs to my office I thought "Now it's time to sit back and watch the hand of the Lord perform a miracle." I don't know if that miracle is going to be me being offered this job or not, but I have to trust that I have been doing all that I need to be doing. I have been working hard, I have been praying, I have been trying to stay close to the Spirit; now it is time to have faith in the Lord's love for me and my family. I will let you know how it turns out. Just remind me to not let months pass before I follow up!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sandpaper vs. dinomite

I have been trying to think of something big and powerful to write about. I have had little things here and there, and they have been powerful and very helpful during the hard days. Like the hymn How Firm A Foundation popping into my head and the words: "for I am thy God and will still give thee aid..." repeating over and over in my mind. Like watching Isaiah start to crawl, and then watch him crawl over to me because he is happy to see me!
I have been able to watch Gabe impress his grandparents and cousins with his manners and his attention to detail.
I have been able to work with a friend washing windows. This not only has helped my family, but his as well (I hope), as they are preparing for the birth of their first child! I have been able to work with some old friends, move again. They have relied on me for months now, and they have taken care of me in return. I have been taught and led by the Spirit, in moments when I both did and didn't recognize that I was being led. I have been able to bear testimony to family and friends. I have seen my wife grow tremendously through our days of trial. I have felt the sweet, sweet peace of the Spirit return after I have repented; and feel the love from a perfect Father in Heaven wrap around me welcoming me back.

There are probably many more little things that I am looking over that have helped build me, and strengthen my foundation on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the restoration of that gospel. As I have written this entry I have been reminded that big things don't happen very often. It is by small things to great things come to pass. And that the Lord helps us grow by building us line upon line; just a little at a time. Though I wish I had some fantastic story, some life altering and mega motivational experience to share, I am proud and grateful for these little experiences that have helped fine tune, and shape me easily into who I am today. I know that I still have a lot of edges that need to be rounded off, but I also know that because of the atonement of Jesus Christ I will be able to make it through those times as well. I am also eternally indebted to my wife. She loves me more than I will ever understand. Her love must be a perfect love, because I know who she is giving her love to. I am far from an easy person to live with, especially when I'm tired and being a jerk (I love you sweetheart :)). She works so hard every day, and she sacrifices so much! I am struck by her dedication to all she is responsible for, especially for her children! If I make it back to our Father's door, it will have been because of her! Thank you Jennifer for all you do! Even as I type this you are cleaning the kitchen: emptying the dishwasher and then filling it again, and I know how tired you are. Thank you! I love you more! more than I can say with words. You are my "big and powerful" that I am writing about!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

...the foe's at the door of your homes...

Have you ever felt that you are being attacked by the foe? The feeling that there is a little shoulder devil jumping up and down trying to get you to do something that you believe is not a righteous thing to do. his voice is not one that is still or small, but annoying and persistent! That is how I am feeling today. There is a shoulder devil jumping on my head and trying to keep me from being productive, and from being worthy of the Spirit of God. And I have to make a decision because I now have a choice. Sometimes the thought crosses my mind that the rest of the day will be easier if I will just give into the temptations, and then repent. That way the devil jumping on my head will sit back and relax because he did his job. I wouldn't be as happy, or as productive, but I wouldn't be fighting any more. But then I remember that the father of all lies works harder when something big is about to happen. I remember that there is a way stop the fighting and still keep the Spirit! I remember that my boys need me to continue to fight. When I think I can win this fight, that I am an active member in the fight for my worthiness, and my happiness, I fight with more determination and fervor! And when I grab hold of that attitude, almost in that very moment the dancing devil is thrown off his post and I have the upper hand in the fight. On my mission I found a hymn that has helped me fight the daily fight. #248 Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion. Each verse builds on the one before, and it is empowering and uplifting! I would recommend it to all during those times of battle.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Birthing VanOrdens

This is our midwife Becky! She is amazing and we are eternally grateful to her for her wonderful care in assisting Jennifer deliver both our boys! Thank you Becky!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tender Mercies

This morning I woke up no earlier than usual, around 6 AM with Gabriel climbing into our bed. Depending on the day he will sometimes fall asleep again in our bed between Jennifer and I. But he is not a gentle sleeper, he moves a lot, kicks, drools, you know, normal little boy stuff. Well I can sleep through that, I force myself to; but Jennifer can't. Once Gabe climbs in the bed she is awake. And on a Saturday morning that is just torture. It is her morning to sleep in. She works hard all week, and deserves a few extra hours of sleep when she can get them.

So I carried Gabe, very much awake back to his room, put him in his bed, and went and filled his sipply cup with apple juice. He drank it, and than went back to sleep, and I went back to sleep on the floor next to his bed.

An hour later when Gabe woke up again and wanted to play, I was in no mood to play. I wanted to sleep in too. But like he is determined. He pulled the quilt off of me and then tried to lift me up by gently (he is usually very gentle with this part) lift my head to get me up. I didn't want to play with the playdoe, I didn't want to play cars, I wanted him to quietly color, or watch Saturday morning cartoons, or anything that would let me fall back asleep. Not the case. Daddy this and daddy that; I just sat in the living room and slowly acted upon his requests.

As the sun slowly rose in the sky, I became more and more cantankerous. I just wanted quiet, simple quiet. (You'd think by now I should know that a want of quiet with a two year old boy, and a five month old boy is a wish). It being Saturday morning we had ordered a basket from a food co-op., Bountiful Baskets, and my father-in-law was meeting us there, so there was additional pressure because we couldn't be late like usual. Well I scrambled to get myself and Gabe dressed to go pick up our basket. The pick up spot in on 33rd South, in the parking lot of the new fire station.

This is where my morning changed:

Most Saturday mornings the fire trucks are out of the garage somewhere, or the garage doors are closed. But this morning, the truck was in the garage, and the door was half way up. I told Gabe that we would go see the fire truck as soon as we had bagged our basket. As we approached the garage door, a fireman opened the garage door all the way and invited us in. Gabe didn't really know what to think. He had only seen the fire trucks screaming up the street, never this close. And then I felt the love that our Father in Heaven has for Gabriel, and me as his daddy. The fireman invited Gabe to sit in the drivers seat. Gabe was scared, and didn't want to be alone up there. I said its just like mommy's car. His eyes opened wide as he grabbed the steering wheel! He was on cloud nine. The only thing that would have made it better was if the sirens were screaming!

All morning, I had selfishly denied Gabriel my attention, therefore my love. His Father in Heaven showed me that his beautiful bright smile is worth far more than my quiet time. As we got in our car and headed to get hashbrowns at Burger King (it's becoming a tradition for Gabe and I) I said a silent prayer of thanks to my Father in Heaven for letting my witness another of His tender mercies (see vs 12). - Thank you Father, for teaching me, and for helping me see Gabe's smile this morning! - Gabe just woke up from his nap, so I need to now go and try to practise what I have been taught this morning, that attention to the little details makes all the difference.
It's hard to see his smile in this picture, but it was as big as it gets!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Feeling Low

The other day I did something that I try not to do very often. I prayed for humility. My prayer was answered. I felt low and that I understood that I cannot accomplish all that I need to alone. I need divine help.
As I was waiting for the bus I was listening to a conference talk by Bishop R. C. Edgley entiled "This Is Your Phone Call". It has to do with unemployment, which is the catogory that I fit into right now. It is a talk that I have listened to several times over, and have been moved by it, but not as much as I was while waiting for the bus this day. Near the end of his talk he references the comand of President Young to go and save those on the plains who were caught in the weather. I have felt like those pioneers.
In story upon story, the pioneers testify that angles assisted in pulling handcarts, and staying alive. I have not seen angles, but I have seen their influence. In helping me fill out another job application with a smile; helping my sons be patient when their mother has to go to work in the mornings; in being able to meet our financial obligations when there is no logical way that we could have. Now I feel that there is an army of Saints on its way to help me and my family finish our travel through this storm. I don't know who they all are, or their motivation, but my spirit is lifted in hope and excitement. I am also encouraged by the words that Bishop Edgley used in this begining of his talk: "The economic clouds that have long threatened the world are not fully upon us."
When I was serving in St. Louis Missouri I remember watching storm clouds quickly move across the sky, faster than they do here in Salt Lake, because there are no mountains to slow them down. They were dark, and had a powerful wind that led the charge. Powerful enough to knock over trees. And then the rains came. In a ten minute walk back to our apartment my companion and I were soaking wet to the bone. And then, then the miricle happened. The storm kept moving, it didn't stay. The dark storm clouds continue to move across the sky, and the sun warmed our faces.
Like the rain storm, I believe that these economic clouds will pass and I will feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I believe this because I know that the Son knows my name, and that he hears my prayers, my wifes prayers, my two year old son's prayers!
And without the rain from the clouds, our fruits and flowers couldn't grow. As frightening as a terrible storm may be, the long term effects usually spark new growth and life. I am grateful for my Father in Heaven who is taking care of me and my family!

If you have some time, I would encourage you to watch Bishop Edgley's talk.

Time for an adventure? Yes please.

Have you ever thought to yourself: our children are young, and their lives are not really intertwined in the neighborhood yet, so let's ...