Saturday, October 4, 2008

Driving Rant

I was writing this as part of the one about the flute, but pulled it out because it was a distraction.

I am reminded of how frustrated I was while driving last night. I was pushed off the road twice by the same lady in a minivan. A guy drove up the road in the construction zone on 8th east on the other side of the barrels, because he was too impatient to wait on traffic. He ended up having to wait for everyone who was turning right, including me, and many in front of and behind me. I had hit all but three red lights driving up University (which has A LOT of lights) and also had people trying to turn left into the left turn lane hoping that someone would let them in because they didn't have the forethought to plan ahead nor the consideration to take the next left. As I drove past the guy, I honked at him and he flipped me off. I rarely honk, but I did five times last night. I had a headache by the time I got where I was going for the stress that I inflicted on myself due to the events I witnessed and in which I took part.

So when I drive, I think about how I react and others react when we drive. I believe that traffic would be significantly reduced, accidents would be less frequent, there would be less road rage and people would have a much better time driving if everyone, especially those who know better, would not think themselves more important that everyone else on the road. Whose time is more important than another's. Even if you are paid more, or drive a more expensive vehicle or haven't been home for awhile, do you really think that everyone else on the road is just there to be in your way? Do you really have to turn left here or take this exit and perhaps ruin someone else's drive? Is it that hard to accept your mistake, suck it up and take some extra time to get where you are going safely or without impeding someone else's trek? Is it that important to be 20 feet farther ahead than someone else by not letting them in when they use their blinker? Is it that hard to be considerate to others and actually use your blinker?

Maybe now I will get to this point. I don't know what situation the lady in the minivan was in when she tried to push me off the road (twice), then turned into McDonald's suddenly as I was in the right turn lane. I don't know if that guy in the truck had a special need to get somewhere and was as frustrated as I at that time. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but I get frustrated at how inconsiderate people are. I hope that people will think more of others and give everyone an equal chance when driving. I also hope that people will consider the fact that there is more than one way to get where you are going and if you will miss a turn unless you do something drastic, that you can take the time to prepare for the next opportunity to either take another route or turn around. Life is short enough, we don't have to spend it being inconsiderate or stupid.

Things of Worth

Nine days a ago, a good friend of mine, Annie, having a lot on her mind, as she usually does, was on her way home from school. She had stopped by the Creamery on 9th to pick up some ice cream for a birthday party she had organized for her roommate, Tara. She had her flute in her hand as well as a bag of groceries. According to her, she put the flute on her car roof as she was placing the groceries in her car. She drove off, leaving her flute on the car. When she arrived home, she realized she didn't know where her flute was, as well as what she had done. I showed up to the party after Institute, so I was late. Everyone was in the living room playing a card game and enjoying themselves. I figured she was in the kitchen taking care of things. Another friend of hers who had arrived before me, asked Tara where she was. Tara said Annie was looking for her flute, because she had misplaced it. He called her to see if he could help and found out more of the story. A few of the guests went to help her scour her route home. We ended up looking and putting up fliers until about 2am. So far that is the last anyone has heard or see of it.

I talked with Annie Wednesday for a few minutes. She was still feeling down about having lost such a big part of her life. She has had the flute since she was twelve. It was given her by her Mother. Not only that, but the value of the flute, monetarily, was great. She had, not long ago, purchased a new head (whatever the piece is called that you blow into) which was hand-made in Boston, with gold plating on the inside. This gold plating and the way it was made improves the quality of sound so much that to fine flautists, such as herself, it is worth any cost. It cost almost as much as my first four cars which, if you know me, doesn't mean much, but still. As we were talking Wednesday, she said something to the effect of, "It is something that can't be replaced. It was handmade and there will never be another like it."

I always have a lot of thoughts that flow through my head, which makes it rather difficult for me to concentrate. Elder Oaks was talking about Sacrament and how to prepare for it. He was talking about music when he said that it shouldn't be chosen as a performance to draw attention to the performers. The whole purpose is to focus on Christ. When he said the word performance, my mind started connecting thoughts and memories.

About a month ago, we had Regional Conference. I went with Annie to our old Stake's Saturday Evening Conference Session, because they had asked her to perform, with three others, a beautiful piece of music that was to set the mood for the meeting. They did that successfully. It was amazing on all accounts. They did not draw attention to themselves, but performed as though their gifts of music had been given them to perform that night. The song, sung by a guy with a voice that I only wish I could have, was about Christ. I don't remember the song exactly, a weakness of mine, but altogether it was beautiful and did what the Stake Presidency had asked them to do.

So with that performance, I was taken back to the conversation I had with Annie Wednesday to what she said about the value and uniqueness of the flute, which was lost. The verse concerning the worth of souls (D&C 18:10) followed. I wondered if she had a friend that was also lost or if she held her friends in as high esteem as she did her flute. Then, I thought about how I valued my friends and family. Annie is acquainted with some of the most amazing people I have met. She does her best to make everyone around her feel good about themselves and it works.

Back to my thoughts. I wonder about a lot of things and thoughts just flow through my head at times. So I wondered if she had thought recently about how much value she places on the souls of those she knows, given how hard she has taken losing a possession so valuable to her and not monetarily. I suppose I thought about this, because it is something I need to consider myself. How much do those I know and associate with mean to me? How much do I actually show that? I think I followed this train of thought in order to put it down here. The Sister who spoke today on Missionary work caused me to think what I could do about it and perhaps this is one answer. My thoughts during Conference pretty much kept revolving there as I was trying to listen and keep my thoughts on the next things said.

I need to improve my relations with my Family and Friends. I need to let others know what they really mean to me. I need to show my appreciation for them. Unfortunately, me and feelings don't mix and I have successfully practiced keeping them from others for a very long time, another weakness. Anyway, I know what I need to do, just have to figure out how to do it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From Home to Home

I was on my way home from my parents' house in Arizona to my current residence, my brother's house, in Utah. I took Hwy 89 north through Kanab, in hopes of finding the apricot tree Mom said she saw and received permission to harvest from. I drove around a few times and couldn't see it, so continued on. I stopped at the Ranch to try to find somethings that were left at my Aunt's Reunion two weekends ago. The Ranch was nice and tidy with nothing left over, unfortunately. I continued my way north, enjoying a fast drive up the dirt road back to the highway. One of my favorite things to do is tear down a dirt road as fast as reasonably possible. I had a lesson taught to me about what isn't reasonable, but that is another story.

I stopped to replenish my snacks in Panguitch at the local market, then continued on my way. I was in a hurry to get home because I had an appointment to meet with my friend Chad. He is training to be a financial advisor. I told him I wasn't going to buy anything and he told me that he didn't want me to. I have been in school full-time for the past two years and haven't really had a job since I returned. I am not broke, but I am by no means well off. He called me right when I had turned off 89 onto the 20, which I always use to cut across to I-15. I pulled over to avoid losing him in the canyon. I love the 20, because it is 20 miles of twists and turns. It used to be more fun before they widened it, but at least it is safer now. Driving on it in snow used to be treacherous. Anyway, it is a lot of fun and I used to travel it so often that I knew exactly how fast I could safely take each turn, when I could coast and where each up and down was.

Chad told me that it was okay that I would be late because his trainer probably couldn't make it anyway. He was tied up at another appointment. Hearing that I decided to take the scenic route home. I jumped back on 89 and cruised about 55mph all the way home. I would speed up if another vehicle approached and couldn't pass easily, but then slowed down again. It is a 4.5 hour drive using the freeway, but it took about 9 for me to get home. My last Mission companion , John W., called me as I was coming into Manti about a technical problem. So I pulled over and wandered around the Temple grounds while I talked with him. I was there for over an hour and looked in every nook and cranny such that security was sent to check me out. I nodded as he past and continued on my way, settling on the grass. The sun went down and I figured I should git, so I said goodbye and got. I still felt like dawdling so took my time so long as there wasn't another car to hold up.

The best thing about travelling up 89 is the scenery and the peace. There isn't much traffic on the weekdays, even though it takes travellers between Zion, Bryce, Escalante, Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon. Not to mention it is one of two direct routes to Arizona. The road winds lazily through valleys, spending most of its time south of I-70 following the Sevier River, which flows north. The view changes from red cliffs to red mountains to white mountains, even some yellow ones, to the regular Rockies. You pass through little farming towns which are usually in places no one would have considered settling if it weren't for the Church sending their ancestors there. The deserts truly blossomed as a rose. Nearly every community is surrounded by lush green fields.

I am usually in a hurry so I don't take 89, but I am glad things worked out such that I could. I miss the days when gas was cheap and I could drive to my hearts content, visiting as many places as time would allow. I also usually stop and see family, but I had to bypass them because I was in a hurry with a couple errands. I was long past by the time I found out I could go on lazily. The beauty that God created when He put together Utah is simply amazing. I have found no place so barren and beautiful at the same time. To watch the sunset across the red cliffs is a great site to see. Our family ranch is located right in the middle of it all. When W. W. Phelps penned "Come, Come, Ye Saints" he must have seen our ranch and the experiences our family has shared on it as he wrote, "We'll find the place which God for us prepared, Far away in the West, Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid; There the Saints will be blessed. We'll make the air with music ring, Shout praises to our God and King; Above the rest these words we'll tell--All is well! All is well!" Everyone who spends a little time at the Ranch comes away feeling more peaceful and rested, even though chaos ensues. This part of the world is blessed. I suppose every part is blessed where there are faithful followers of God.

I am grateful for the opportunity to travel along Hwy 89, and even more so that I took the opportunity instead of continuing on to the freeway. That I can call this place home, is something that so many could only dream of, and yet for whatever reason that blessing is mine. Hopefully, I will be able to share it with someone soon.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Blessings

I moved my sister from New York to Utah this past week. I spent Christmas on the road. I am the free professional mover of the family. My immediate family members usually don't move unless I am there to help them. I moved one sister from New York three years ago and flew out 20 December to move my other sister. I finished my exams that day and boarded the plane. I arrived with virtually no sleep the next afternoon. We spent most of the time before retiring packing the U-Haul trailer and their van. We took a reasonable nights rest then started off the next morning. Before I left, I was watching the weather reports to see what we were going to run into, since we were traversing the northern half of the country. It appeared that we were going to run into at least three snow storms. Having finished cleaning and packing the mop, broom and vacuum, we loaded into the van, said a prayer and were off.

The trip started with some heavy winds, but we missed the storm that was supposed to roar through. We stayed at a friend's house Sunday after we went to Church and were inside before the snow storm hit. U-Haul trailers are not aerodynamic in any sense and for that reason they are hard to pull. We could not drive faster than 55mph without the trailer starting to sway so much that it would jerk the car back and forth. I had hoped to be able to drive the speed limit, but found that we averaged about 50mph. I got frustrated every time the trailer would start to sway. I became expert at keeping semis from pushing the trailer when they passed us by pulling over to the white line as far as possible without hitting the rumble strips. We were better able to keep our speed when I finally figured that out.

It took us a day to get to Danville, IL from Akron, OH due to being stuck on our friend's lawn for a while until we bought a tow strap and he pulled us out. From Danville we went to Omaha, NE, then to Lincoln and finally to Utah. Every night the Weather Channel predicted snow showers for our trip and gave poor ratings for the freeways we were to travel, but every morning the storms had either cleared up or moved in a different direction. We missed every predicted storm and had clear roads almost the entire way. Had we been able to drive faster we would have been stuck in every one of the storms. It turned out to be a blessing for us that we drove so slowly. There was a part of I-80 which was kept in shade most of the morning where we hit a patch of ice from the storm the night before, which caused us to slide a bit. My heart was pounding like it hadn't in a while, once we had traction again. I was especially grateful when we started dropping off of the continental divide and found no ice coming down the steep roads. We made down I-84 with out any problem either. The heavy snow predicted earlier that day had moved out or dissipated before we had to worry about it. I really did not want to take a trailer pulled by a minivan down Parley's Canyon or any other drop into the valleys with the possibility of snow on the roads.

There is no doubt in my mind that God had His hand in our travels. Though I was frustrated by the lack of speed we had to endure, I can look back and say that events were orchestrated to bring us safely home. We even had a toddler under three and a two-month-old baby in the car and only rarely did we have to endure much crying. All in all, we were more than blessed in every way. Does our Heavenly Father still care about us, His children? Absolutely!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

In the beginning...

Today I was reminded, again, that I should keep a daily record of the events in my life. We had a lesson, or rather a thought, on Thanksgiving and President Eyring's message about the events he recorded in his life for his children and other posterity. I am hoping I can be consistent with this and perhaps share some light and good times with those who view these entries. In the last few weeks there hasn't seemed to be much good to speak of, with many things going wrong, but there were and continue to be bright spots. I will reflect on them as time permits. As with a lot of things I do, if I put too much time into this I will have to scale back, so as not to impede on some other part of my life...exams, labs, homework or other duties. This is just the beginning so I will leavea it as an introduction.