Monday, November 30, 2009

Going Over the Road

I'm never happier than when I'm going over the road.  November has been a cornucopia of blessed opportunities to do just that!  Early in the month Booklogged and I took an 1800 mile journey through Southern Utah ending up with a visit with our daughter Aly in Las Vegas.  The very next week SpiderTracks and I made a 1000 mile journey into Southern Utah and Arizona.  This past Saturday was spent driving 500 miles to Richfield to the funeral of my wonderful cousin Lester.  That journey was accompanied partially by my sisters Hazel and Wendy.  Yesterday, I discovered that Wendy had left her purse in my car, so my other Sister Lee Ann and I made a 300 mile hop out to Provo to return it.  Somebody complained that it was too far just to return a purse.  After driving to Newfoundland, nothing is far.

For me travel has little to do with the destination.  Even alone.  I simply love driving down the road watching the world go by.  Accompanied by good conversation, driving is even better and more fun!

Let me describe Saturday's trip just to give you an idea of what makes me tick.

I am up and away by 6:00.  I pull out of Vernal in the dark.  As I drive past Sundance RV's nice, but abandoned dealership I rejoice that I am no longer a salesman.  I shake my head to think that the huge building will soon become a mortuary of all things.  I say a little prayer, thanking God that Wayne and Pam are, so quickly, out from under the huge and now unproductive mortgage it represents.

The sky is clear and the stars so bright.  Orion, my favorite constellation has already set in the West.  I don't often stargaze in the morning so the sky seems quite unfamiliar to me.  I make plans to get up early one day to take a better look at the morning version of the winter night sky.

As I pass through Ft. Duchesne my thoughts turn to Bobby, Dixon, Aloin, Gloria, Willard, Henry, Ernesto, Francis, Nick, such good Ute friends who call this place home.  I also think of John, when I pass his old house and hope he is well and still in recovery.  I love that they widened the road up to Hilltop.  I hope that will reduce the number of fatalities at the treacherous intersection with White Rocks road.

I stop in Roosevelt to fill up and wash the car at the Chevron station. Their car wash has better pressure that the one in Vernal.  A zip through McDonald's drive through and I'm on the road again.  Dawn is beginning to appear in the East.  As I pass by Gale's Office Supply I can't help wondering about Brad.  What on earth took place in his life that would lead to such monstrous choices.  I wonder how he's doing in prison.  I hope someone is teaching him the gospel.  I hope he is responding.

Two lovely swans are gliding across a sewage lagoon outside Duchesne.  They've frequented the place for about a year.  It must be okay for them, health-wise, but it still makes me uncomfortable to think about.  It seems so contradictory to see such beauty in a place of corruption.

Driving up Indian canyon, I notice the spot where we nearly wrecked on our way to Disneyland.  How would the world be different now if we had died that day instead of living on for twenty years.  I guess we wouldn't care.  Would anyone else?  I guess Karen wouldn't miss having Megan in her Kindergarten class, if Megan had never been born.  But then I guess we all miss stuff all the time that we don't know about.  The potential of our life's experience is so infinitely vast and yet we are really exposed to so very little of it.

I always look for deer and elk as I travel the canyon.  I seldom see any.  It gets prettier and prettier as the elevation changes.  All building to the crescendo of the vista out over the Avitaquin.  This time I pull over to take a lingering look.  Such a wild, remote, beautiful, untouchable place.  I've gazed into the vast mystery of the Avintaquin many many times, but think I shall never set foot inside.  Somehow, it seems like my presence would defile it.

I pass the road to Argyle Canyon and smile about the excursion Steve and I took to Nine Mile that culminated there, after dark beneath the brightest view of the Milky Way I had ever seen.  If you've ever driven over Douglas, you can't help compare it with Indian Canyon.  There are a few differences and many similarities.  On this day I am thankful for the differences.  Indian isn't nearly so scary as Douglas.

Just North of the Power Plant above Helper is a place I always get the willies.  Don't know why.  Steve and I passed there three weeks ago in the dark.  Today I am glad the sun is up.  Willies aren't usually so bad in the daylight.  Less scope for imagination I guess. Darkness is a blank slate upon which the mind can paint some pretty scary pictures.

This is my third trip through this part of the country inside this month.  I think it odd that circumstances bring such things about in clusters.  So many choices which suddenly resolve into one distinct reality.  Across the mancos clay beds south of Price I see pump jacks for oil wells and remember Lanny's shenanigans as he sank half of Deb Cassida's equipment in the mud trying to get his own rig unstuck.  It all transpired right here where a little water and a lot of clay can make such a huge mess.  Castle country has it's own beauty as if the Lord wondered how many variations He could create with off-white.    

My first trip down Hwy. 191 to I-70 was with Merrill and Jo.  I was 16 and they were taking me off to see the world.  They lived in San Diego.  A pretty good place to start.  We stopped to attend church in Emery.  Steve and I thought we had never seen such pretty girls as attended meetings that day.  I wonder if Shawn Bradley had been born there yet.  (I just looked it up, he was born in 1972, six years later.)  Maybe he's the son of one of those pretty, distracting blonds in our Sunday School class.

And so my journey goes, memory after mile, past Ferron and a bygone family reunion and Salina Canyon and a well location we once surveyed there.  "We will have these moments to remember," another Lanny sang as we had to climb a huge mountain to find a section corner for an otherwise easy job.  I can't see that they ever drilled that well.  I've got a fossil back home to commemorate the day.  I wonder if I'll ever clean out the carport and find that leaf imprinted stone again.  Maybe not if I don't stay home once in a while.

I've never really poked around Richfield.  Three weeks ago we drove down main street.  Knowing Les' funeral will be here is all the information I have.  The place can't be that big.  I find four LDS chapels, none are right.  I finally stop at Albertson's and the produce man looks up the obituary for me.  Nice guy.  In this small town, how does he not know Les?  I can't imagine he is a stranger to anyone.  It's only a few blocks to the church and the parking lot is jammed.  Matt greets me at the door.  Genuine Matt.  The first of uncountable hugs and tears.  Les doesn't look good.  They never do.  Life looks good on most everyone, death doesn't.  It is hardly Les lying there.  He'd rode that old body pretty hard.  He'd never treat a horse like that.

Ty's family prayer, is so sweet, familiar, tender, down home. 

The funeral is and isn't what I expect.  Cowboys in blue jeans and bishops in suits and everyone in between.  There was un-judged room for everyone in Lester's life and this cosmopolitan crowd proves it.  There are two things we all have in common though, Les and tears.  Even the toughest hombre weeps for the loss of this great, kind man.  A son, a son-in-law and a brother speak.  Granddaughters sing/sob so sweetly.  And finally a recorded song is rendered by Les himself.  It is so good to hear his voice.

Kathleen, so courageous, so bereft gives me a copy of Les' CD.  I want to pay for it.  "He loved you," she tells me through tears, "he wanted you to have it." Just like she tells everyone else.  The grieving momentarily done, we assemble at the church as we always do; eat ham and funeral potatoes, reconnect with friends and family and days gone by.  Cousins we haven't seen for years, a sister from across the continent, shirt tail relations we only see at weddings and funerals all connect through one unique and special friend on a special day, to celebrate his life.  I imagine Grandpa Eph elboing his way to the front of the crowd so he can be the first to welcome Les to another family reunion.  What fun it would be to see both sides of the veil.  We look at one another and wonder who's next.

Brad brought the girls down from Provo, I get to take them back.  We're the last to leave.  There remains a bit of Dad in us, obviously.  Wendy and Hazel and I load up and head North.  We stop in Salina at Mom's Cafe for pie.  We don't need it.  I'd just feel like I'd cheated myself if I were this close didn't stop.  Her pie is that good.  We bump into Santa Claus on the way into the cafe.  He gives us each a candy cane and poses for a picture with Hazel.  It is so good to see him well and happy.  Hope I never have to go to his funeral.

Belly up to the Mom's bar we sample each other's coconut creme, German chocolate and blueberry sour cream pies.  They're delicious!  Such a small sacrifice for such a fine treat!  Wendy slaps my hand away from the check and pays the bill.

Great conversation makes the trip to Mapleton vanish into thin air.  We have so much catching up to do.  We seem to talk faster and faster as we begin to fear we'll run out of time.  Wendy changes clothes in Mapleton while I promise Connie I won't stay away so long next time.  (When I see her again on tomorrow's trip, I remind her that I've kept that promise.)  We drop off Hazel in Provo and have a quick bright visit with Gary and Brooke.  Brooke is not a little girl any more.  I don't get here often enough.  Wendy and I drive to Orem to see Uncle Merrill and Aunt Jo. They aren't home.  (They are home on tomorrow's trip and so it goes.)  So I drop of Wendy at Todd's and head for home.  It's dark and the streets are amazingly empty.  It is then that I remember the BYU/Utah game is underway.  No wonder I have the city all to myself.  As I tune in to the game I decide to drive past LaVell Edwards Stadium to take a look.  Cars are parked along the Parkway all the way to Orem, a silent representation of frenzy.  The stadium is packed.  Somewhere in there are John and Courtney.  The radio tells me the game has ended in a tie, 20-20 (not representing visual or visionary acuity, in my book).  I can get out of town during the overtime and still beat the rush of traffic!  Cars are parked along the Canyon road nearly to the canyon.  Who are these people and what has become of their sanity?

I gas up and get back to the car in time to hear the victory screams.  Blue has beaten Red 26-23 and already there is controversy, vitriol, agony and ecstasy and smiling, I think, "a billion Chinese and I don't even care."

I wish there were still fruit stands along the road.  I wish this every time I pass this way.  I wish there were still orchards in Orem and Edgemont.  I wish Utah Valley hadn't changed; maybe I'd come back more often.  I even miss the steel mill.  Maybe if all that were still here, I would be too.  And so would Les, and Mom and Dad and Grace and Bart and Grandy wouldn't be in prison and I could pick apricots with Grandpa Eph.  So many choices, so many changes.  So many possibilities become fixed and hardened reality.  By the time I've slipped this deep into the melancholy of wishing though, I'm on the new canyon road and I can't imagine anything nicer!  The hard reality of all this concrete, streamlined beauty brings me back to the present which is so, so fine.  There is no better time to be alive than right here right now.  I stop in Heber for a soda and then drive off into the darkness of an option filled, possibility laden, journey of joyful surprise.  All of which isn't in some distant place or time, but right here, right now, in this car, on this road, in this most blessed reality.

I pop Les' CD into the stereo and listen to his sweet wispy old voice sing cowboy songs all the way home.  I can hardly believe how he yodels!  Before long, it is good to be home in Sweetie's arms and then crawling into a nice cozy bed.  The concrete of today is curing nicely in the forms of my choices, and looking forward to a fresh pour tomorrow, I drift off to sleep wondering what it will shape up to be.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Having a Ball!

My daughter Kris has been hired as a part-time rural mail carrier by the Post Office.  Rural carriers have to provide their own vehicle.  Kris will be acquiring a vehicle that can be driven from the right side, but in the mean time she needs some one to drive her left sided Liberty while she makes the deliveries.  As I have the time and inclination, I volunteered.

Having been in the delivery business I am able to help her get familiar with her route and free her up to handle the mail.  Everyone, including her supervisor agree that this is a great way to get started.  The initial task of learning the ropes is challenging and stressful and this takes a bit of the edge off of that sharp learning curve.  I find it fun to compare the Post Office's methods with those of UPS.  Plus, I just get a kick out of being out and about once again, a life style suited to both Kris and I.

Best of all is the chance to spend so much meaningful time with my precious daughter.  I admire her so very much and just don't take enough time to be with her.  For the next few weeks we'll spend several hours together and I am just grateful for the privilege.

Years ago, when I was bound for the military during the Viet Nam war, I had a concern that it could yet be a long time before I saw my brother.  He had left on his mission shortly before I returned from mine.  Now I was leaving for war before he returned from his.  I called his Mission President and requested an opportunity to visit him on his mission.  I explained the circumstances and also my awareness that he had a duty to perform.  I assured him that I had white shirts and ties, a regulation hair cut, the discussions memorized and a current Temple recommend.  I intimated that I would be willing to labor as a missionary, if he would grant me a visit.  He called back a few hours later with an unforgettable, YES!  Brad and I had a grand week together on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation serving the Lord and refreshing our life long friendship.

While what Kris and I are doing is not as unlikely as what Brad and I were able to do, it is no less special and miraculous to me.  I cherish this opportunity to work with my sweet daughter.  She is doing so well in her new career and I am so pleased to see her earnest devotion to duty, her bright attitude and her quickness in learning so many new skills and rules.  She is awesome and I get to witness it first hand!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some Things Don't Make Sense

Dixon and I went to Midweek Activity at the Detention Center last night.  We had a marvelous time.  There were 15 kids in DT and five in O&A.  We did entirely different things in each group. We had to, because of the disparity in the numbers.

Both groups were so well behaved and had so much fun.  It's incredible!  You need to understand that Dixon and I are not some kind of charismatic, dynamic duo.  I am a homely, sixty year old fart with a pot belly and Dixon is a crippled up old Indian with a speech impediment.  What could two old duffers like us possibly have to offer a room full of juvenile delinquents?

The Staff say these kids look forward to our visits all week.  I can see in the Staff's eyes that they are as bewildered about this phenomenon as I am.

In DT we played the sign game.  Each person in the circle chooses a hand sign to represent themselves.  Play begins by a person giving his sign and then the sign of another in the circle. That person must immediately give her sign and then the sign of another, who must respond by doing the same and so on. Anyone who misses their sign or delays the passage of signs, must move to the end of the line.  The object is to advance to the King/Queen's chair.  We had a ball, laughing and trying to trick one another into flubbing up.  Such a simple parlor game; something you don't imagine hoodlums enjoying.  Yet there is no sense that they are just putting up with this, they were genuinely having a great time.  At the end, after sharing Ding Dongs, a quiet girl who looks like she has a chip on her shoulder volunteers to say a sweet heartfelt prayer.  They express their genuine thanks and we bid our fond goodbyes and another evening of surprise comes to an end.  I've been doing this for five years and this kind of reaction never ceases to utterly amaze me.

Over in O&A it is the same.  Three kids have just shown up there to join a couple of "old timers".  All three had hoped the judge would let them go home after a few weeks in DT.  Instead they are dealing with the dismaying blow that they must face another six weeks confined in Observation and Assessment.  They will eventually adjust and even come to love O&A.  The staff there are great!  The opportunities to learn and grow are abundant.  For now though, they are bitter and down-hearted.  Again, two frumpy old duffers turn up.  For three out of five, the activity is an unexpected, unwanted, additional bump in an already bad day.  They join in because they don't yet know they don't have to.  They try not to have fun playing Farkle, but a lucky roll of the dice and they're hooked.  They can't believe we already know their names.  Their confused, quizzical looks fade into relaxed enjoyment.  One little girl scoots up closer to Dixon, not afraid any more.  Ding Dongs are graciously accepted.  A boy jumps up and collects everyone's wrappers.  A girl who's had weeks of difficult adjustment to a structured environment surprises everybody, by offering a long, sincere closing prayer. Hearts are touched.

After five and a half years of this duty, I admit I sometimes have to drag myself down there, but I hardly touch the ground each time I leave.

I can think of only one explanation for all of this.  It has to be the only explanation because it is the only thing Dixon and I really have to offer.  There is only one thing that could build such a sound bridge over such wide gaps of age, interests, cultures, abilities and values - a thing called love.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Settling Down

I'll probably report on a trip my  brother-in-law and I took to Southern Utah and Northern Arizona here in a day or two.  We covered a lot of country in three days of blissful sightseeing.  But that is for when I've got the pictures a little better organized.  We took so very many photos!

Anyway, now I'm back and hopefully, back in the saddle.  I interviewed for, acquired and have begun a new job.  I'm at it now.  I work the control room at the local Juvenile Detention Center.  It's just part time and so far I love it.  I've volunteered at the Center for five and a half years now.  It's rather interesting to see the operation from the otherside of the glass.  While I have no contact with the youth, as I do in my volunteer role, I do have opportunity to watch and pray for them.  Common words in the scriptures, watch and pray.  Very often we think of our work in the church as an active, hands on, labor thing.  Yet, God's admonition is often, just watch and pray.  As I sit here scanning the monitors, I'm afforded time to contemplate these wonderful children, their lives, trials and challenges.  I can love them and I do, but much of what they require is beyond my capacity.  That is were a kind and loving Heavenly Father comes in.  He loves them too.  He can and does orchestrate circumstances that are suited to bring each of us home to His home.  As I watch and consider the difficulties they each face, I'm grateful that I can invoke blessings from a loving God upon each of their heads.

Because of separation of church and state rules, I am required by law to relegate my religious activites to my volunteer time.  Still, I think I shall not get into much trouble if I watch and pray while on State time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Itchy Feet!

Sweetie and I have just had one of our spur of the moment moments.  We're headed out of town.  We aren't too sure where the trip will take us or for exactly how long.  You can follow along by clicking on The Folks Aren't Home tab above.  We'll keep you posted as to our whereabouts if not our destination.  There may be the occasional post here as well and I'll keep up with The Book Of Mormon Today, so keep stopping in there.

Not sure what we're looking for since we've already found each other.  There's got to be something in this quest.  Maybe its food, fun, Fulghum, forgetfulness, fantasy, focus, fundamentals, future, fame.... Who knows maybe its just surprise!



Here I Am In Fulghum Land

Those who know me, know I'm a big fan of Robert Fulghum.  He has a home in Moab and boy would I like to drop by and pay him a visit.  Fulghum doesn't know me from Adam, but thanks to his books and his candor, I feel like I know him quite well.  In fact I feel like a buddy of his.  I think that characteristic of his writing is what gives him such appeal.  Fulghum is real, who cares how correct or wise he his, we can relate to him.  The fact that his experience in life is so amazingly eclectic and so wonderfully diverse, certainly lends color and credence to his work, but his genuine, down to earth touchablility is the blanket that spreads warmth through everything he writes.

I wonder if he's up in the night enjoying a nice rack-of-spam contemplating what else he might find in the fridge while I'm up finishing off the ravioli I couldn't quite fit in earlier, at the Moab Brewery.  (They might have offered a bit of salad and not so much pasta.)  When the motel room heater cooked a dead moth and set off the fire alarm, I thought of  It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It and wondered if it was time I gave that little gem and another whirl.  I don't reread books, except Fulghum's and Rachel Naomi Remen's and, of course, the scriptures.  In those cases, it isn't really rereading so much as it is a chance to converse with an old friend.  We might rehash the same old stories, but each time, the context has changed and its nice to anchor life's new experiences in the safe harbors of the past.

I'm not a celebrity chaser and so I won't go knocking on Robert Fulghum's door seeking his autograph; but if he ever pulls up a chair next to mine in the Moab Brewery, I'd gladly split a plate of ravioli with him.

Growing Up In Himni, Utah - Episode 11

You’ll Get Yours

Henry Steinmetz was our Sunday School teacher for a while. His kids, Hank, Ernest and Riley were our age. Henry looked old enough to be their grandfather. Brother Steinmetz was a kindly old man, a little rough around the edges, with more hair growing out his ears than on his head. Henry was a pray-er. It seemed like every time Sacrament Meeting went long, the Bishop called on Henry to offer the Benediction. (“Another Sunday night without watching Maverick,” I’d complain to myself.) Often there were audible groans. Henry never prayed shorter than 20 minutes in his life. He prayed about everything! Sometimes it was even embarrasing, like the time he prayed my acne would clear up – right in Sacrament Meeting! Or the time he prayed that Brother Warner’s cow would stay in the pasture and out of Sister Banks’ corn patch. He was Ward Teacher to both of them, which was awkward; as though that prayer wasn’t.

Sunday School class was like that too. Nobody applied the gospel to our particular lives like Henry did. Some days it seemed like he knew exactly what shenanigans we’d been up to during the past week.
We loved to go to his class. It started with Henry at the door to welcome us individually to Sunday School. He only had three fingers on his right hand and yet his were the most comfortable, warm handshakes I ever felt. Ironically, a handshake from Hank (Henry Jr.)was a different story all together. Hank’s grip was like a vise. In fact for fun, he’d often pretend he was cranking on a vise as he drove you to your knees begging for mercy. My dad had a monster grip, but Hank could even bring him to his prayer bones in agony. Mercy was not in Hank’s vocabulary. We tried not to ever shake hands with Hank. Even if you were agressive and charged in for a good grip it was hopeless.

Anyway, back to Sunday School class. There were about a dozen of us who regularly attended Henry’s class. Of all the teachers we harrassed during our youth Henry was the most memorable, or at least his class was. We were pretty unruly but somehow he got through to us.

Frannie Hermann and Aaron Black were among us. They were dating at the time. Frannie never took her eyes off Aaron for the whole 45 minutes. She’d tickle and touch his face and whisper stuff to him. He on the other hand was always concientionsly trying to pay attention. This little distraction always amused us. Like the time, out of nowhere, Frannie grabbed Aaron’s lower lip (Aaron had predominant lips) and stretched it half way across the room. Henry just said, “Put that back!” and carried on with the lesson. Aaron gave Frannie a fatherly smile, half impatience, half adoration, smacked his lips in his characteristic manner and turned his attention back to Henry’s lesson. I couldn’t take my eyes off Aaron’s lower lip! I still can’t believe it could stretch that far.

The classroom had coarsely textured plaster walls, smoothed by several heavy layers of cream colored paint. I never could ignore the bucktoothed mermaid that seemed deliberately sculpted in the texture of the west wall. The paint was rubbed off her breast so apparently I wasn’t the only one who’d noticed her over the years. Once, I sat with my back to her and rocking back in my chair, bumped my head hard on that same worn protrusion. I don’t know how many pounds per square inch the impact produced, but it hurt like the Dickens.

Rob Hanke was also in that class. He usually slept. Rob spent all his energies on misadventure and used church to catch up on lost sleep. The night before one particular class, had been spent shooting frogs he’d inflated with a straw, then floated on the pond behind his house. Instead of a scope on his pellet gun he’d duct taped a flash light. The poor frogs couldn’t sink, being blown full of air. That is, until he popped them. Which is why Rob bolted out of his chair from a dead sleep when in Henry’s lesson, he told us that it was his opinion that God would punish us in kind. Or in other words, that we’d get precisely what we gave, as punishment for cruelties we had committed in this life.
Rob had what we called “Coke Bottle Bottom” glasses. The thick kind that magnify the wearer’s eyes. He was turning a tinge of green and his eyes looked so big and froggy that some of us thought the punishment had already commenced.

Lily Tomlin once lamented, “I always wanted to be somebody…I should have been more specific.” Thank you, Brother Steinmetz, for teaching me to be specific.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fasting and Prayer

Karen gave the lesson in Church at the Detention Center this morning.  As she commenced the lesson she told us that she had prepared another lesson, but that this morning she'd felt inspired to teach a different one.  We had some pretty tough customers at the meeting and when she announced that the topic would be Fasting and Prayer I was not a little bit skeptical.

Before she finished though, there were tears in every eye.  Her lesson was filled with the Spirit and really hit home with each young man.  I was surprised at how fascinated they each were with the concept of going without food and water in order to gain spiritual strength.  One, young man, a Native American made the comparison to fasting at Sun Dance or on a Vision Quest.  You could see an interest in each of them to give Fasting and Prayer a try.

Most humbling for me was the wake-up call I personally experienced.  I haven't fasted very faithfully lately.  Something, that was once a very vital part of my life and commonly occurred more than once a month, has kind of drifted out of my consciousness lately.  Part of the reason may be that we don't have Fast and Testimony Meetings at the Detention Center.  I'm not saying we shouldn't.  I guess it didn't occur to us that these kids might like to bear their testimonies.  That will be an experiment I'd very much like to try next month.  Anyway, what I'm getting at, is that I haven't attended a regular Fast and Testimony Meeting more than a couple of times in the five and a half years I've served in DT.  I guess, I've just let the importance of Fasting and Prayer slide a bit.

During the lesson I was reminded of the story of a dear friend of mine.  We'll call him Chip.  Chip was an alcoholic, from his teens well into middle age.  His father too, was an alcoholic.  A few years ago Chip and his Dad attended a family reunion.  When, in the afternoon, the two of them passed out drunk under a tree at the park, the remainder of the family had a little meeting.  In the meeting they all agreed to Fast and Pray for their two beloved drunks, on a monthly basis.  It was July.  The family kept their commitment every month until December, and beyond.  December was the month that during a phone call Chip's Dad mentioned that for some inexplicable reason, he'd lost his interest in alcohol.  Shocked, Chip responded with, "Me too!"  They had no idea their family was Fasting and Praying for them.  They were more than a little bewildered about what was happening to them.  "It just became more difficult to drink and than it was to just not, so I didn't." says Chip.

Chip has since served as Elder's Quorum President and as a Councilor to his Bishop.  Fasting, Prayer and the love a wonderful family had brought down the blessings of Heaven, upon two wonderful men, not to mention their loved ones.

All of this is such a wake up call for me.  It didn't even occur to me until after I had eaten and gone to church today that it was Fast Sunday.  How remiss I've become.  My own recovery from addiction was hugely facilitated by Fasting and Prayer.  Why have I not taught it more carefully to these kids?  Why have I never, in five and a half years, ever specifically Fasted and Prayed in their behalf?  I made my Heavenly Father a promise today, that such an oversight, will never happen again. When I go to 12 Steps this afternoon, I'm going to make that same commitment to the kids.  Anyone familiar with 12 Steps knows that recovery doesn't come without the help of God.  What better approach is there, to acquiring that help, than Fasting and Prayer.

Since my last relapse, I've wondered and wondered what I need to learn to avoid another.  I think I got my answer today.  Thank you Karren, for listening to the Spirit and teaching God's lesson today, rather than your own.
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