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Friday, October 31, 2014

LDS Church: Women's Meeting now an official General Conference Session

Posting today with some game-changing news that impacts Church history. I have mentioned on this blog before the disagreement I had with fellow Wikipedia editors about whether the General Women's Meeting for women, young women and girls aged 8 and older was an official session of general conference. Well, I found out that yesterday (Thursday), a spokeswoman for the Church officially stated that it is a session of general conference, just as President Uchtdorf had said it was. The First Presidency has announced that from now on, that gathering will be referred to as the "Women's Session" of General Conference. The heading on the general conference website has been changed to reflect this. I was gratified to read of this news. It confirmed what I had been maintaining all along. I was highly tempted to rub this in the face of those editors who moved heaven and earth trying to convince me that I was wrong in so thinking and stating, but thankfully Amy persuaded me to take the higher road. The Church has officially spoken, and the issue is resolved now. So there are and will be six sessions of general conference from here on out. I did feel kind of bad about one thing. Before the news articles came out announcing this change in terminology, the PDF version of the November Ensign had made mention of this "Women's Session" of General Conference in three places: in the table of contents, in the conference summary section, and on the page where the talks from that gathering are reported. I had looked through that PDF file several times and never noticed that. This will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows that my powers of observation are severely lacking and that sometimes I fail to see things that are right in front of my face. For more on this issue, I refer you to two great articles, one from the Salt Lake Tribune and the other from the Deseret News.

Salt Lake Tribune: Women's Meeting now part of General Conference

Deseret News: Women's Meeting now part of General Conference

I will admit, my first inclination was to gloat and rub this in the faces of those who refused to believe me. But my sweet wife, Amy, helped me to realize that I needed to take a more Christlike approach and that the important issue was not that I was right, but that the issue was resolved, especially after so much contention about it, where I could not convince anyone else I was right, and no one else could convince me I was wrong. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on the way the other sessions of General Conference are referred to. Sorry if I bored any of you with this post. I just had to blog about this exciting new development in Church history.

In other news, I was able to find out the name and address of the company I will be working for today. It is ROI Solutions, located at 792 East 280 South in American Fork. I also found out that on Monday the company will be starting the day at 7:30 instead of 8:00 am to allow for a half hour meet and greet and for the necessary paperwork to be filled out. So I will have to wake up at 5:30 on Monday to get to work on time, which I am not thrilled about. And it may be that the stuff they have will not be gluten free, which is a double bummer. But I will make sure to have a good breakfast before I go and will then be prepared either way.

I may have mentioned in a previous post that I will be unable to continue seeing my physiatrist ( Dr. Judy Gooch) because the type of Medicaid I have won't allow me to see her at her new clinic in Murray. Someone from her office recommended that I find someone new to see ASAP, but they didn't offer any recommendations. So I e-mailed Dr. Gooch and asked her who she would recommend. She said that Katia Waters, a nurse at the University of Utah Hospital Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, was the best person she could recommend for me. So I made an appointment, and we will be seeing her next Monday. That will be excellent, because it has been too long since I last saw anyone about my spasticity issues. While I have managed on my own okay with physical therapy and Baclofen, it's still nice to have the support of a go-to person in case of questions or emergencies. And since Dr. Gooch couldn't continue to prescribe my Baclofen without seeing me in clinic anyways, it will be good to get in to see Nurse Waters. She comes very highly recommended. If she's even half as good as her reviews say, I'll be in excellent hands. If I can't be seen by Dr. Gooch, it sounds like Nurse Waters is the next best person.

Still no luck on the neurosurgeon search. I will be calling Kathy, the nurse of Dr. Walker, my pediatric neurosurgeon, to explain my situation and see if there is anyone other than the jerk that she would recommend. Mom found a clinic in Murray that I could potentially go to as well. But the only problem with that is that the address for one of the neurosurgeons in Murray that accepts Medicaid Healthy U is different from the one of the clinic in Murray that Mom found. The difference is subtle, which means it might be in the same building, just a different section. I will be trying to sort this all out tomorrow.

In addition, I went to physical therapy today. I thought it would be wise to get in one more weekday visit while I could, because starting on Monday, I'm restricted to Saturday visits once a week and will have to try and be disciplined with my home program (doing it at least once but preferably twice a week). Yesterday, I called my Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to let her know that I had a job. Had to leave a message, though. Hope to hear back from her soon. I also took time yesterday to call Vanessa Howell, my SSI Benefits Specialist, to find out what, if any, impact my working full time at $10 per hour wages would do to my SSI. I also asked her (in a message because of course I can never speak in person to her when I call) what impact, if any, Amy's inheritance (her dad paying for a modest home for us) would have on my SSI if the money never actually came into our hands. She told me at one point that if Amy's dad gave us the money to buy a house that I would lose my SSI, but I don't know if it's a different situation if the money never actually comes into our hands. I also don't know if I would lose my SSI only temporarily or permanently. So hopefully I hear back from both Annemarie Smith and Vanessa tomorrow.

I see Dr. Weinstein on Tuesday. It would be my luck to have made an unbreakable appointment that can't be rescheduled for a later time on the same day during the very week I have training for a job. But I look forward to that visit. I will be glad and grateful to report the good news to Dr. Weinstein that I am feeling better.

I don't know what all will happen with the three days remaining before I start working. I do know that I have Physical Therapy on Saturday morning and Stokes Family pictures and the monthly dinner that night. It will be fantastic to go to Church on Sunday and have the opportunity to fast and listen to testimony meeting and the lessons. Then in the evening there's a CES fireside for Young Adults. The featured speaker will be Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy. Directly after that, I will be going with Amy to my parents' house to get a father's blessing from my dad prior to starting work the next day. Hopefully we don't stay up too late on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights.  I don't know why it happened, but something woke me up at around 6:15 this morning. I got up and took my first set of pills and tried to go back to sleep. It worked for a couple of hours, but by around 8, I was done for the night. Which is probably just as well, since I will have to get up at 5:30 on Monday and 6 every weekday morning after that to get ready for work on time. It wasn't bad to be restless, though. I had a wonderful morning prayer (which practice I had sadly been neglecting for far too long of late) and had some cereal and read some of the talks from General Conference. It was such a good experience. I wouldn't mind if that happened again tomorrow. But I will be okay if it doesn't. Tomorrow will be my last day to sleep in for a good long while, so if I can make the most of that, all the better.

Well, I've rambled on longer than I meant to. I hope you all are well and that you all are enjoying these updates as much as I enjoy writing them. With the acquisition of a full-time job, some have speculated that my blogging will be more sporadic. But I am determined to make it as regular as I possibly can. Please bear with me if large intervals of time pass between posts. I will write as often as time and circumstances allow. I haven't forgotten my promise to consider posting excerpts from my book, but I will look at doing that when it is closer to the publishing stage. Until I write again, all the best!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I Have a Job!

I wanted to write and reveal the good news now that I can. I have a job! Here's what happened: On Friday I got a call from Kelly Services in Provo, one of the employment agencies Scenic View Academy had me working with. We played telephone tag for a while, but when I was finally able to reach Matt, the man who called me, he told me that there was a call center position open in American Fork that he thought I would be eligible to fill. He said that he wanted me to come down to Kelly Services the next day (Saturday) to discuss this prospect and see if I would be a good fit. So on Saturday when he called to let me know he was at the agency (he was commuting from Salt Lake City), we headed down to Provo. I met with Matt for about 20 minutes. He and I visited about my qualifications for the job, and he told me there were two open positions I could potentially fill. One started Monday (yesterday), the other one a week later. He said the job paid $10 an hour and aske about my availability. I told him I was looking for an 8-5 or 9-5 job as I was taking medication in the evening that might make me drowsy and thus render me unable to work. He said he was sure the company would be willing to work with me on that. After we had visited, he said he was satisfied that I could do the job. He promised to call me with further details Sunday evening once he heard back from the company.

On Sunday, Amy was sick and stayed home from Church. I went to fulfill my responsibilities as the Ward Media Specialist and, at her insistence, stayed for the whole block. I greatly enjoyed passing the news of my job on to many of the friends I've made in this ward. Each expressed their elation that things were finally starting to work out for Amy and me. I had the opportunity to be home taught and to go home teaching. The rest of Sunday passed uneventfully. I was more than a little concerned when I didn't hear from Matt.

On Monday, I tried to start getting into the daily routine I will need to follow once I start work next week. Because we went to bed too late, I was unable to follow through with that. I had an appointment with my dentist to get the worst two of my four fillings taken care of. That went well. We visited Amy's dad so Amy could pick up some stuff she needed and get some branches and acorns to make a Thanksgiving wreath to hang on our door. We also got more details about how his buying a house for us would work. It would be Amy's inheritance from her parents. I also received word from the office of my muscle doctor, Judith Gooch, that since Medicaid Healthy U wouldn't allow me to see Dr. Gooch at her new clinic in Murray that I would have to find someone else to manage the medical side of my spasticity issues. So I dashed off an e-mail to her late last night asking for her recommendation as to whom I should see at the University of Utah Hospital to replace her. Haven't heard back yet, but hope to soon. It pains me to have to stop seeing Dr. Gooch. She's been taking care of my spasticity issues since I was a little guy, and I couldn't have asked for a better, more caring doctor to help me manage that. However, my hands are tied, so I will have to make the best of a bad situation.

Last night, we got to bed really late. I had trouble sleeping and tossed and turned for a while before I gave up at 6 and got up. Several hours later, I called Kelly Services and got more details about the job from a different man who was also named Matt. I will be working from 8 am-4:30 pm and will have a half hour lunch. Since I won't be too far away, Amy and I have talked about the possibility of us having lunch together every day, though we haven't worked out the logistics of it yet. The way my job will work is this: The first week (next week) will be training. When the company is satisfied that I have been sufficiently trained, they will refer me to another call center, where I will work from that point on. That was slightly different from what I'd previously been told, so it'll be interesting to see what the truth is. Once I am established with the company, I am to make sure that I present them regularly with a list of my upcoming appointments. Matt (the one I talked to today) assured me that it was not a problem to get time off for my medical appointments. He also said that the company uses electronic time cards so that I don't have to worry about lousing up a physical time card with my awful handwriting. That was  a big relief to me. So, I now have a job and will start on Monday. Hallelujah!

There are a couple of downsides to finally having a job First is the reality that I will no longer be spending as much time with Amy. I will miss her terribly. But if I can see her at lunch every day, that will be great! The other is the fact that I have never worked full time or at all, so I don't know how it will work out for me or how my body, mind and spirit will handle it, but I am just glad that the Lord has finally answered our prayers and let a job fall in my lap after all our blood, sweat and tears about the issue. Best of all, Amy won't ever have to bear the burden of supporting us and earning our living anymore.

With the rest of my day, I contacted Irwin, my employment counselor at Scenic View and let him know about the job. He was ecstatic for me. I left a message for Vanessa Howell, the woman who handles my SSI case, to see first how my earning $10 an hour and working full-time would affect my SSI and what effect, if any, Amy's dad buying us a house would have on my SSI if the money never came into our hands. II attempted to call Annemarie Smith, my Vocational Rehabilitation counselor, but just got an automated voice that directed me to dial one of several extensions that I knew for a fact were out of date. So I will have to try again tomorrow to reach Annemarie. I was able to nap for a couple of hours in the afternoon and felt much improved for the rest I got. We went to Fresh Market to pick up my prescriptions and some Halloween candy. Once again, I made Amy a promise. If she would let us buy enough candy to allow for a generous amount of trick or treaters and none came as in years past, I would buy her dinner somewhere. If we do get trick or treaters, I don't get anything out of the deal except the good feeling of knowing I was right.

The rest of this week will be spent getting myself ready for work. On Saturday evening, we have the monthly Stokes family dinner and we are doing family pictures. I may or may not try to get in to Physical Therapy one other time this week before I go Saturday. I imagine I will stop by my parents' house on Sunday night and ask my dad to give me a father's blessing prior to my beginning work. And I will work and hope and pray for the opportunity to one day stop working at the call center in favor of devoting my full time to writing. But in the meantime, it gives me great relief to know that we will be taken care of. I admit to not knowing what the future holds. But, as ever, I am optimistic that the answers to all of our problems are just around the corner. The Lord is in control of our lives, and we couldn't be in better hands. I will continue to update this blog regularly as time and circumstances allow. Until I write again, all the best!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Developments in Our Lives

I realized today in looking at my blog that I had not posted for a while, so I am posting now, though there is not much to report on. I am still in search of a new neurosurgeon. The new medication I am taking for my head seems to be working, but it makes me super tired, so I've been sleeping a lot. I finally was able to read Chris Heimerdinger's great new book "Drums of Desolation." Another rip-roaring success, but it left so many questions unanswered. Chris has stated he will try to wrap up the current adventure (and possibly the series) in the next book, "Thorns of Glory," which he hopes to have out by next year. I will be anxious to see if that will happen.

I had a wonderful visit with Brandon Sanderson on Sunday. He and I talked about major life events that had happened since we last got together. He then helped me set up the "Store" section of this blog (see the preceding post) and helped me add page numbers to my book. My task before we meet again next month is to try and finish the book. I haven't made any progress there yet, but I did take the opportunity to "map out" the remaining scenes. Now it's just a matter of making them work. But that wasn't the most impressive thing about Brandon's visit. He told me that he thought that my taking one computer class online per school semester would quickly enough allow me to be certified in something that would help improve my job prospects, whether I am able to find work in the meantime or not. When I told him money was a bit of a problem, he said it wasn't for him. He mentioned that he had a foundation that awards scholarships to those the foundation overseers see as needing them and that he, as the head of the foundation wouldn't have a problem with awarding me a scholarship for the purpose of taking some online classes that would allow me to get certified in something computer-related and improve my job prospects, now and in the future. I was overwhelmed by this generous offer. When I was awarded a scholarship at BYU, I took my education very seriously, knowing that it was someone else's money that was making furthering my education possible. And so, with Amy and Brandon's encouragement, I will be taking one class online per semester until I am certified. I won't take this opportunity lightly. I just hope I have the stamina to do work and one class per semester. I'm sure it will work out. As soon as Brandon mentioned the scholarship, I felt like this was the Lord providing an answer to some of our prayers. While it doesn't solve the immediate problem of needing a job, it will help me increase my prospects for the future. I'm glad about that.

Amy's dad recently also gave us a very generous offer. He said if we could find a reasonably priced house in an area we'd like to live, he'd pay for it in our behalf. I had administered to Amy in the past and told her that the Lord would open the way for us to move from this place to a house of our own, but neither of us knew how it would be possible. With this very generous offer, we are looking for a place within the American Fork East Stake. We will see what we can find.

I noticed last week that there was a mistake in the prescribed dosage for one of my medications that I need to get filled tomorrow, so we will be making a trip up to Salt Lake at some point tomorrow to pick up the amended prescription. It's a bit of a hassle, but what can you do? I'm just grateful the problem can be fixed so easily.

My current neurosurgeon (Richard Schmidt, the one I won't go back to) recently e-mailed me with a survey, asking me to describe my latest experience in his clinic. And so I did. I was as honest as the day is long, sometimes brutally so, but he did ask for honesty. I submitted the survey anonymously after commenting on my negative experience with his office and saying that I wouldn't be coming back to his clinic as a result of his staff's lack of serious concern for my concerns. It has been said by some that I've never been known to say anything bad about anyone. Those who know me best will no doubt contradict that statement. I am only human, after all. I can only hope that my anonymous honest criticism of his and his staff's treatment of me will give him pause the next time he thinks to disregard a patient or not take their concerns seriously. But based on his attitude during our last visit, I hold out little hope for an improvement in his bedside manner. That's why I won't be going back there and will instead be taking my neurosurgery needs elsewhere. So, if you know of any good ones closer to American Fork, I'm open to recommendations.

That, in a nutshell, is what has been going on with us. Amy was sick yesterday and missed Church. I went to fulfill my obligations as Media Specialist, and, at her insistence, stayed for the whole block. I was glad to be there, but grateful to return home and take care of Amy. We have been doing a lot of reading lately and watching things on Amazon Instant Video (I signed up for a one-month free trial). While life could be better, I know it could also be a lot worse, and I am grateful for the blessings in my life, most especially my sweetheart Amy. I don't know what I'd do without her. I hope I never have to find out. I long for the day when we will have children join our family. Yet I know that I don't understand the purposes and timing of the Lord, so I do my best to trust Him and leave the rest in His hands. I hope you all are doing well. I wish you all the best until I write again.


Visitors to my blog will notice a new section to the right entitled "Store." It is a section I am just barely getting up and running. In the store, I will advertise products from Amazon. When anyone buys any products from the store, I will get a certain percentage. Brandon Sanderson suggested this as a way to make some money while I yet remain jobless. So that's what purpose the store section will serve.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

General Conference Talk Transcripts/My take on the Supreme Court's Decision/Latest Health Developments

Hello, all! I am posting again today for a couple of reasons. First of all, the transcripts of the General Conference talks are now available online. It's so thrilling that nowadays the Church gets them online within two days of General Conference ending. I remember in the past having to wait until the Thursday after Conference (sometimes longer) to get those. I post a link for all who are interested:

General Conference Talk Transcripts

I encourage all of us to review these talks often. We have been told in scripture that, as observes, "When holy men of God write or speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, their words 'shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation' (D&C 68:4)." and that "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38) General conference was wonderful. I hope we won't let the messages we heard die, but that they will become a part of who we are and how and why we do things.

In general conference, Elder Oaks reiterated the Church's stance on the issue of same-sex marriage, that the Church favors traditional marriage. He said, "Prominent among these today is the strong tide that is legalizing same-sex marriage in many states and provinces in the United States and Canada and many other countries in the world . . . we should teach the truth and the commandments plainly and thoroughly as we understand them . . .On the subject of public discourse, we should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious. We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence. In doing so, we ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion . . .When our positions do not prevail, we should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries. In any event, we should be persons of goodwill toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or nonbelief, and differences in sexual orientation."

His words were prophetic in a way in light of the Supreme Court's refusal on Monday to hear any cases about the legality of same sex marriage, effectively making such marriages legal in 30 states. Having appealed to "the court of last resort" and come away empty handed, those who favor traditional marriage, like me, were no doubt disappointed. I was very pleased to see the Church's official statement on the matter. I post a link to it below.

Church Statement on Supreme Court Announcement

I love belonging to a Church that holds firm on its position on moral issues. I agree with the Church statement wholeheartedly. While the outcome was contrary to what I and many others of my faith desired, we should be respectful towards those whose values differ. As with everything, I believe that diversity even on issues of morality provides for interesting public discourse and discussion. I also firmly believe what Elder Oaks said, that we can disagree without being disagreeable. I am now and always will be in favor only of marriage between a man and a woman, but I understand that not everyone else feels the same way. And since "we believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law" (Twelfth Article of Faith), we recognize that this is the law now, even if we disagree with it for moral and ethical reasons. The Church will continue to hold firm in its position, which I am eternally grateful for.

In other news, I saw my neurosurgeon and neurologist yesterday (Tuesday). My neurosurgeon turned up my shunt setting after seeing that I was over draining, and I hope it helps. But he acted as if I should be honored that he would grace me, a lowly patient, with the honor of seeing him, an exalted neurosurgeon and behaved as if he were God's gift to the neurosurgery field. When I suggested that I should be scheduled for more regular visits if I had to move heaven and earth to get an appointment when I needed one and offered a word of criticism about how I had to get tough with his staff before they would schedule an appointment for me to see him, he abruptly and rudely reminded me that I had been on his nurse's schedule and he was only seeing me himself because she was sick today, and that he had to rearrange his schedule to accommodate a visit with me. He then mentioned that since my blood pressure had been very high the last several times I've had it taken, I should probably get it seen to, and he left. Amy was very angry about his attitude, and it bugged me too, but not to the same level. The result being I am now looking for a new neurosurgeon. I wouldn't go back to that guy if he paid me to do it. So we are checking into who is covered by my plan and what our options might be there. If any of you are aware of any good neurosurgeons not associated with the University of Utah that are covered under Medicaid Healthy U, please let me know.

On a much better note, I also saw my neurologist. She said that as far as my headaches and nausea were concerned, we will have to wait and see what the shunt pressure adjustment does before we adjust any medications. She also gave me the scoop on the new medication she wanted me to start. I was happy to hear that this medication would be a replacement for one of the ones I'm currently using. Ultimately the goal is to see if we can get me taking less medication possibly, but it all depends upon how well I do. She also shared with me some news I hadn't been aware of but Amy had. Apparently now because of federal regulations changing, I will have to get some of my prescriptions month-to-month, a fresh script each month, rather than one script with several refills. That's going to be a bit of a bother, but we can make it work.

Well, I've droned on long enough I've probably put some of you to sleep. That's the latest on us. I will keep you informed on developments as they happen. As always, thanks for reading, friends.

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference Review and Predictions Results/Elder Ballard's Birthday/General Update

Wow! What an uplifting weekend of general conference it has been! I greatly appreciated all the talks. If I had to pick a favorite one, though, one that I felt I really related to, it was President Uchtdorf's talk from the Priesthood Session. He talked about how during the Savior's final night, He told His disciples that one of them would betray him. He observed how interesting it was that instead of pointing fingers and saying, "I'll bet it's that guy!" His disciples responded with the self-evaluating question, "Lord, is it I?" He talked about how if something is not going right in our lives, rather than blame our circumstances or someone else, we should look inside and ask, "Lord, is it I?" This talk meant a lot to me. It helped me to realize that perhaps I'm not doing as much as I should be doing in several important areas of my life. I will be forever grateful for this wonderful message and that President Uchtdorf chose to give it at this time. I was also really touched by the talks about the Sacrament and following the Prophet. So many good messages. And now it's over. *sigh* And the real fun begins. Trying to implement into my life the counsel I've received this weekend. I'll work on it.

In the meantime, it's time to report on the success of my predictions. My predictions for changes in Church Leadership were dead-on, as you can see by my re-posting them below.

October 2014 Predictions for Changes in General Church Leadership
First Quorum of the Seventy: Elders Carlos H. Amado and William R. Walker released and granted Emeritus Status.
NOTE: These brethren were released and granted emeritus status.
Area Seventies: Releases and sustainings.
NOTE: Two area seventies were released: Arayik V. Minasyan and Gvido Senkans

Now, before posting the results of my predictions for speaking order, I should explain something. Wherever a name appears on this table, I allow for a possible 3 points. I award myself 3 points if I got the right person in the right spot in the right session. I award myself 2 points if I got the right person in the right session, just in the wrong spot. I award myself 1 point if I was correct that a certain individual spoke at any point during the conference, regardless of what session or spot within the session he/she was in. If someone speaks that I didn't predict, I don't give any points to myself. I have calculated the accuracy of my predictions versus what actually happened, and the result is 72% accuracy for this conference, excluding the women's conference. I will post my chart with the results and then add a further explanation.

October 2014 Conference Predictions [Text in brackets indicates what actually happened.]
Saturday Morning
President Henry B. Eyring
President Thomas S. Monson

[President Boyd K. Packer]
Elder L. Tom Perry

Elder Lynn G. Robbins

[Cheryl A. Esplin]
Carol F. McConkie

[Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong]
Elder Jörg Klebingat

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Saturday Afternoon
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Henry B. Eyring (Sustaining of Church Officers)

[Elder Dallin H. Oaks]
President Boyd K. Packer

[Elder Neil L. Andersen]
Elder Dallin H. Oaks

[Tad R. Callister]
Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong

[Elder Jörg Klebingat]
Elder Larry S. Kacher

[Elder Eduardo Gavarret]
Elder Hugo E. Martinez

[Elder Jeffrey R. Holland]
Elder Neil L. Andersen

[Elder L. Tom Perry]
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Saturday Priesthood
President Henry B. Eyring
Elder Quentin L. Cook

[Elder Craig C. Christensen]
Bishop Dean M. Davies

[Bishop Dean M. Davies]
Elder Craig C. Christensen

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

President Henry B. Eyring

President Thomas S. Monson
Sunday Morning
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Henry B. Eyring

Elder Russell M. Nelson

[Carol F. McConkie]
Cheryl A. Esplin

[Elder Robert D. Hales]
Elder Eduardo Gavarret

[Elder James J. Hamula]
Elder Robert D. Hales

President Thomas S. Monson
Sunday Afternoon
President Henry B. Eyring
Elder M. Russell Ballard

[Elder Richard G. Scott]
Elder David A. Bednar

[Elder Carlos A. Godoy]
Tad R. Callister

[Elder Allan F. Packer]
Elder Carlos A. Godoy

[Elder Hugo E. Martinez]
Elder James J. Hamula           

[Elder Larry S. Kacher]
Elder Allan F. Packer

[Elder David A. Bednar]
Elder Richard G. Scott

President Thomas S. Monson

 I will use the Priesthood Session to illustrate what I mean by points. I gave myself 3 points each for correctly predicting that President Eyring would conduct and for getting Elder Cook and Presidents Uchtdorf, Eyring, and Monson in the right speaking order. I awarded myself only two points each for Elder Christensen and Bishop Davies because they spoke in the reverse order of what I had predicted. If Elder Allan F. Packer had by chance spoken at the Priesthood Session, I would have given myself 1 point for correctly predicting that he would speak at all, even though I would have had him in the wrong session. And if, say, Elder Edward Dube had been asked to speak in the Priesthood Session this go round, I would have given myself no points for that because I didn't predict anywhere that he would speak. I hope that clarifies how I "score" myself and determine the accuracy percentage for each conference.

I guess I should also note that Elder M. Russell Ballard will be marking his 86th birthday on October 8. I don't know if I mentioned this, but I have the birthdays of the apostles listed in calendar order in a file on my computer. In another file, I have all the Presidents of the LDS Church, listed first by chronology of presidency, then by service tenure length, then by birth chronology, then by age. And I have calculated when President Thomas S. Monson will pass all the Church Presidents currently ranked ahead of him in tenure length and age. He is currently the Church President with the 11th longest tenure (will become the 10th on 11/19/14) and the 10th oldest (will become the 9th oldest on 12/9/14). And in another file I have the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, first listed separately, then together as 15 apostles, listed by apostolic rank and then age. I update these files every time there is an apostolic birthday (though when there are multiple birthdays in the month, I only update them once all the birthdays for that month have passed). I also update them on General Conference Sundays, the Sunday that falls on or after February 3 (marking the anniversary of President Monson becoming the prophet), and anytime President Monson breaks a record. I imagine I will speak more of this in future posts.

In other news, I never was able to get the prescription for my new medication, but we see my neurologist on Tuesday and will hopefully get it then. I also have repeatedly called my neurosurgeon's nurse to try and see if we could get am X-ray and/or CAT scan set up, but they haven't gotten back to me. I'm a little frustrated that they don't seem to be taking me seriously enough. My neurosurgeon said during our last visit that he didn't want to see me again unless and until there was a problem. But the only way to tell if there is a problem is to see him and get X-rays and a CAT scan.

I got my autographed copy of Chris Heimerdinger's wonderful new book, "Drums of Desolation". Though I haven't really had much time to read it, I have skimmed it and it looks like another great book. I can't wait to get into it more deeply! Already read the Prologue and it has me by the throat.

Wrote a review of "Muckwhip's Guide to Capturing the Latter-day Soul" for the other day. But I don't know if that and Eddie Fantastic and Drums are going to be items I might advertize here on my blog. I want to see how Chris feels about it first. So I e-mailed him about it the other day. Unless he's responded while I've not been checking my e-nail the last couple of days.

Still feeling extremely nauseated and in pain. Hoping these issues can be dealt with this week by visiting with Dr. Weinstein and Nancy Duncan (Dr. Richard Schmidt's nurse) otherwise I will have to give Physical Therapy a miss this week again. As always, prayers are appreciated.

We found out this week that if I do end up going to the Deseret Industries to see what, if anything, they can do to help me find work, it would make me ineligible for the services of Vocational Rehabilitation and Scenic View Academy, so at some point very soon, I will have to decide what to do about that. On the one hand, I don't want to lose the services I'm currently getting in case I need their services in the future for any reason. But Amy really seems to think going through the DI will help me. It's tearing me apart worrying about what choice to make, and I'm deathly afraid of choosing the wrong option here, so if any of you have any insight into the matter, please let me know.

There I go, sounding negative again. I don't mean to. It's just the situation and its never-ending, dreary sameness. Just when we think we've got one hole in the dyke plugged up, KA-BLAM! Another pipe bursts and makes a mess out of what's left of our lives.It would help greatly if we knew what the end result would be. This not knowing where we're going is driving us nuts. But don't be unduly concerned about us, friends! With the Lord on our side, victory is just around the corner. I'm sure of it. At any rate, thanks for letting me vent. Hope you are all well and looking forward to my next blog post. Don't know when or what that will be about, but I'm sure to come up with something. Until I write again, all the best!