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Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

Happy New Year 2015! Well, another week has come and gone. Time is passing all too quickly. I don't know why, but especially lately, it seems like the time I spend with my sweet wife Amy seems to zoom past so fast it makes my head spin, while the time we are apart seems to drag on interminably. I am nonetheless grateful for the many blessings I have received this week. In this post I will try to enumerate some of those blessings.

First of all, on the Church News front, on Saturday, the Church published an article about new temple presidents that will start serving later this year. Temple presidents usually begin service on or around November 1, with their assignments typically announced in the summer/fall prior to the commencement of their service. So why did they announce these three presidents now? Because these three men and their wives will preside over the three temples that are closest to completion: Cordoba Argentina (scheduled to be dedicated on Sunday May 17), Payson Utah (scheduled to be dedicated on Sunday June 7), and Trujillo Peru (which is nearing completion, though no formal open house and dedication dates have been announced for this temple). I also discovered, much to my disappointment, that the Payson Utah Temple dedication will only be broadcasted to stakes within that temple district, rather than the entire state of Utah as with previous Utah temple dedications. That bummed me out more than a little, but I'll get over it. Other than that, there has been no significant progress made on temple construction or groundbreaking or anything like that.

I kind of halfway expected that the First Presidency would be sending out another e-mail newsletter this month, but so far I haven't received word that this will be the case. I am therefore assuming that such newsletters will only be sent out when there are major developments the First Presidency wants to share with the worldwide Church.

The last time I updated my listings of the prophets grouped by tenure and age and the tables of ages of the current apostles was December 14. I hadn't intended to update those listings again until January 25 (since I typically do it on Sundays and since the 24th is Elder D. Todd Christofferson's 70th birthday), but I had some time this week, and I thought I might as well do it. So I did. The next major milestone after Elder Christofferson's birthday will be on February 3, when the First Presidency will mark 7 years of service together. After that, the next major event happens on March 1, 2015, when President Thomas S. Monson will replace President Lorenzo Snow as the 8th oldest prophet in the Church's history. The next event of note will be President Henry B. Eyring's 82nd birthday on May 31. I hope I don't bore you guys with all this trivia. If I do, I apologize, but I find this information very interesting and hope some of you do as well. And since I am using this blog to "sound off" about things that are important or of note to me, I wanted to mention these things.

That being said, this week has been an eventful one. Once again, I was playing telephone tag with the Pulmonary Clinic. When we did finally get hold of each other, they told me that the physician's assistant I am seeing had (finally!) called in a prescription for my cough. When I went to pick it up at the pharmacy, however, I discovered that my insurance wouldn't cover it and that the pharmacy didn't have it in stock. So I relayed this information to the clinic, and after some more telephone tag, they told me to try Delsym, an over-the-counter cough suppressant, and to call if that didn't work, in which case I needed to be seen in clinic. So I went to pick it up the next day. But my pharmacist advised against it, saying that the Delsym had a similar cough suppressant effect as some of the pain medications I was already taking, so I had to call the clinic again and let them know that the over-the-counter stuff wasn't an option either. The clinic left me a message saying I would have to get an appointment to see the PA, which I already knew. So at this point I was beyond frustrated. I called the clinic on Friday for an appointment. I told them I was working and needed an appointment in the late afternoon, after which they promptly tried to schedule me in the morning. I again told them I needed  an appointment in the afternoon, and we finally settled on Wednesday at 3 pm. I don't know what I'm going to say at the appointment. I feel betrayed by the lack of care and concern shown for my plight by this office and its staff. I am really ticked off about the whole thing. So I hope between now and then I can calm down and that I won't say anything at the appointment that I wouldn't regret later.

Aside from the fiasco with the Pulmonary Clinic, this week has been a good one. I have learned and grown from all I have experienced. Work has treated me well. On Monday, I left early so that we could get Amy to the dentist for her semiannual cleaning. Her dad has been struggling with some health issues, and he wanted to take the van he has been letting us use in for some maintenance, so we have a different one for now. We are a little nervous about it, because this one's not on our insurance, but we have thankfully not had to worry about anything too terrible happening. On Friday Amy's oldest brother had some seizures and had to be taken to the hospital. Amy went to visit him after bringing me my lunch. We have been kept up-to-date on how he's doing, and, thankfully, he's at home now. But we worried about him for a couple of days, because they found several other problems with him while he was in the hospital. So we have been keeping Amy's dad and brother in our prayers.

Thursday was New Year's Day. I unfortunately didn't get off work early on New Year's Eve, but that's not a bad thing because it's money in the bank. I enjoyed the holiday and getting some extra rest. It was back to the grindstone on Friday. We received another very small check from work on Friday, but it turned out all right because we still had money left over from the anonymous benefactor. While our situation is not ideal, it is getting better. On Friday night, we gathered with my family for a game night. It was a lot of fun. Yesterday I went to Physical Therapy, ran some errands, then came home and rested. I was up far too late last night. However, thankfully, we switched from the 9 am Church block to the 11 am Church block, so I got to sleep some more after taking my first set of medication for the day. I got up and had time to pray and watch "Music & the Spoken Word" and update my documents before Church. Church itself was wonderful and very inspirational. I greatly enjoyed my attendance there. I came home and had a nap, only waking up at around 6 pm. The rest of this day has been spent with my beloved Amy, and how I have enjoyed that! As I said above, the time with her passes far too quickly while the time without her drags on relentlessly.

One thing I almost forgot to mention. This week, Amy and I finally got the rest of our Christmas presents: the books we had ordered. I am very excited to read the ones Amy got for me, one which I read back in Junior High and the other which I have never read before. It will be good to spend some time with those books.

Amy has been asked to do some additional work for her Relief Society Activities Committee calling, so she will be busy with that this week. I see my neurologist on Tuesday, my pulminologist on Wednesday, and my dentist on Thursday to get the remaining two fillings done. I am looking forward to these appointments because it means more time with Amy and getting some important health issues resolved. But I am not looking forward to missing the work I will have to miss to make these appointments happen. Oh, well. Not much I can do about that.

We found out a while back that my older sister's father-in-law is a real estate agent, and we have decided to seek his help in finding a house for us. Hopefully this will expedite the process. We are still living paycheck to paycheck. I unfortunately did not get an SSI check this month. I am ticked off about that as well because it seems like every time I talk to my SSI benefits specialist, she changes the rules about how I can qualify to receive SSI. At first I was told that if I earned more than $1,500 per month I wouldn't get anything. I was also told that the determination for whether I get SSI on any given month would be made based on what I earned two months prior to that. But now I am being told that the determination for whether I qualify for SSI on any given month is made based on my wages for that month. The long and the short of it is, I doubt if I will ever get SSI again as long as I'm working. This upsets me, because I am earning more or less the same amount that Amy brought in per month and I was told that less of my income would be counted against me in determining SSI eligibility. So I can only hope my wages cover all our necessities.

Other than the cough, my health has been relatively good. All things considered, while life could be better in some ways, it could also be much worse. So I rejoice in the goodness of the Lord in giving me the blessings He has bestowed on me, and I take confidence and comfort from the knowledge that He will provide for my needs in the future. All I have to do is have faith in Him and do my best, and He will make up the difference. That is wonderful to me, because I know all too well how much I muddy the waters of my life. I am grateful beyond expression for the incomparable atonement that enables me to constantly and consistently repent and change and become better. I know that "all things will work together for the good of them that walk uprightly." I have confidence that the future will be glorious because of Him and His sacrifice for me. I am especially grateful to know that when I am troubled or struggling, He is only a prayer away. There is no doubt in my mind that He loves all His children. I have felt that love in sacred, unforgettable, and unmistakable ways.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I know the Savior lives, and, more than that, I know the Savior. I love Him with all my heart. I know He is my Advocate with the Father, and I could not have a better Friend or role model. I feel like I can say, with Bruce R. McConkie,

"I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.
"But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way."

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He did live and die for all of us, that He was resurrected, and that He will come again someday very soon. It is my hope and prayer that we may all be ready when that great day arrives, with our lamps full and burning brightly, ready to receive Him. I leave these thoughts and this testimony, which I know of myself to be true, with you all, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.