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Monday, March 2, 2015

Church History Milestones/Temple Progress/General Update

It has been two weeks since I last updated my blog, and what an interesting couple of weeks it has been! I was surprised to realize that so much time has passed because, while some of it has been slow, most of has passed by extremely quickly. There's a lot to update you on and little time to do it in, so let's get started!

First, as always, I begin with significant events that have happened in Church history since I posted last. Today President Monson succeeded President Lorenzo Snow as the 8th oldest prophet in the history of the Church. His next major milestones as far as age or tenure are concerned happen next year. On February 13, 2016, he will succeed President Heber J. Grant as the 7th oldest living prophet. Then six months later, on August 24, he will succeed President Ezra Taft Benson as the 9th longest serving prophet of the Church. I am grateful that President Monson is in good health still, and I project that he may live to break President Gordon B. Hinckley's record as the oldest living prophet. That will happen on March 26, 2025. If he does so, he will also on March 6 of the same year become the 4th longest serving prophet, succeeding President Joseph F. Smith. He has a few more prophets to succeed in both age and tenure length before he gets there, but he may just do it. Only time and the Lord's will will tell.

Additionally, there have been some major milestones reached in temple building progress. The First Presidency announced that the Star Valley Wyoming Temple groundbreaking will take place on April 25. Also, a site has been announced for the Cedar City Utah temple, and the Church is currently seeking local government approval for that temple building project. All going well, the groundbreaking for the Cedar City Temple could be announced soon. The Lisbon Portugal and Tucson Arizona temples are anticipated to have a groundbreaking in the near future as well. All other announced temples, with the exception of the two that don't yet have a site announced (Urdaneta Philippines and Durban South Africa), could have their groundbreaking this year or next year. The Idaho Falls Temple will close on the 16th of this month for extensive renovations, expected to last about a year and a half. This is an exciting era of temple building progress, and what a blessing it is to live in such a day and age.

That being said, I can now briefly update you on all that has happened since I last posted. Life has been busy but good. My sister Joanna called me last week to let me know that her husband Lyle has been accepted to medical school and that they will be leaving in May. I was so excited/stunned/taken off guard by this wonderful but sobering news that I didn't catch many of the details she shared with me. In following up about that with my mom, I learned that they will be stationed on the British-owned island of St. Kitts and Nevis and that Lyle will be on an accelerated program. After roughly 2 years of medical school, he will do his clinicals in Maine and then go wherever he can get a residency. I am excited for my sister's family, but I will miss them terribly. It will be so hard not to see them at the family dinners every month. I will miss having them close by. But I know this is something Lyle and Joanna have been looking forward to for a long time. So I am happy for them. And I wish them all the best. I love them very much.

Work has been good. Lately, since I have been having trouble being on time for work, I have made a practice of staying behind for a time to make up for it. The trouble is, with the phone system set up the way it is, unless I'm very on top of things and can set my phone to not receive calls after I have made up enough time, I wind up staying too long. My paycheck loves that, but Amy and I aren't too crazy about it. A couple of weeks ago, we got a few new agents on our team. My team leader, Trent, was so busy working with them that he didn't have time for our weekly review. As he was leaving work on Friday the 20th, he told me to report to the training room at 8 am Monday and Tuesday the following week for Member Services training. We had been told that everyone on our team would be trained to take Member Services calls (which means more responsibility but sadly no increase in pay), and I was among the first on our team to be trained. As with my original training, I remembered a good bit of it but still need to ask questions periodically. Fortunately our team leaders have now received the same training so they can help when Member Services questions arise.

Then on Wednesday, I reported to work as usual only to find that someone was sitting at the cubicle I usually occupy. So I asked Trent what was going on. He said he had moved me since I was doing so well. He then led me to my new spot, a big cubicle with a big desk. I was stunned by this since such spots are usually reserved for those who are team leaders or close to becoming team leaders. But I took the spot, and it has been treating me very well. Also, I had the opportunity on Friday to meet with Trent and discuss my progress. He said that I was doing great, but, as always, there are things I need to work on. Particularly, I need to get my productivity above 80%. It has been a lot closer to that lately than I ever have been, but I need to do better. One possible improvement we discussed was having me take my breaks whenever I take my pills. This means that instead of two 15 minute breaks I will be taking three 10 minute breaks. Before I had been taking my two 15 minute breaks but then also going into break mode whenever I needed to take medication. By taking my breaks when it's time for my medication, I can cut down on the time I'm in the break auxiliary. This should greatly improve my productivity. I would greatly appreciate your prayers in this regard.

I got my first check from ROI Solutions on Friday the 20th. It was nice to get a big check. The great news is, since I have been putting in more hours, I should get a bigger paycheck next time. No overtime yet, but we'll see what happens with that. Our Utah tax return finally arrived last week. Combined with what was left of my check, it will hopefully be enough to get us through until I get paid again this Friday.

I saw my dentist for my annual cleaning on Wednesday. My teeth have been hurting, and it feels in a couple of places as though I have something stuck there. The dental hygienist, Jan, who was in our ward when we lived in Payson, did my cleaning and then Dr. Grant Stucki came in and visited with me. He said I had eight cavities, some of which are quite bad, which explains the pain I have been experiencing. He prescribed a special toothpaste to help with pain and sensitivity, and I am scheduled to have the four worst fillings taken care of next Monday. Hopefully the dental insurance will cover all these fillings. Whether they do or not, I've got to get them done.

On Thursday I saw Dr. Michael Green, my physiatrist. We visited about what I was doing for physical exercise, and I told him about the Matrix routine that my physical therapist, Buck Mendenhall, is having me do. He said that sounds like great exercise, especially if I can start doing it outside of my physical therapy visits. My feet have been swollen, so we asked him to look at them. He said it was a pitting edema, and that I need to get in to see my PCP about it ASAP. He also said that it would go away if I drank more water and wasn't sitting as much during my day. He encouraged me to get as much physical exercise as I can, especially while watching TV. I had had some difficulty getting hold of him since he is only at the U of U Hospital one day a week, so gave me his PCMC number. It was a good visit.

I have been trying to get a prescription for one of my medications that Dr. Weinstein prescribed. I called her assistant on Monday and spoke to him about getting that script. I called again on Thursday to let him know we'd be in Salt Lake and could pick up the prescription if he needed us to on that day. He called me back on Friday asking if we could still pick it up. I explained that he had missed us on the day we were in town and suggested he have it FedExed to my place. He said Dr. Weinstein couldn't do that. So it had to go by snail mail. My only hope is that it will arrive before Tuesday when I need it.

The house we had an interest in was sold. I later found out that it was my younger sister Elizabeth and her husband Jon who had bought it. But the sale fell through. So it's back on the market. We are seriously considering buying it. But with Amy's dad only willing to give us half of what he originally promised us, it will mean taking out a bigger loan from the bank. We are still trying to work out the details. But it doesn't seem accidental to us that the house has twice been sold and the sale has twice fallen through. It seems as if the Lord wants us to have that place. The only thing I don't know is if Elizabeth will still be speaking to me if we end up buying it. But the truth of the matter is, we were interested in the house long before Elizabeth and Jon took an interest in it. So if we do end up buying it, I hope that's okay with Elizabeth and Jon.

I went to Physical Therapy both on the 28th and the week before. It was a good workout on both days. Buck seems to be continually impressed with my progress. Now if I can just get to a point where I am exercising at home, it'll be fantastic. I went to Church both last week and this week. Amy was home sick last week, and I started out walking both to and from Church, but was offered rides in both cases,, which I was grateful for. Today, I was able to help the guy who taught our Elder's Quorum lesson get set up with a TV and DVD player. I even was able to have him take me home so I could get my DVDs of General Conference for him to use. During the Priesthood Opening Exercises, I saw Brandon Sanderson, who has been out of town on tour promoting his newest book. It was great to have him back with us. He indicated to me that he was tied up with family stuff for the day but that he wants to meet with me next Sunday if I am available. I am excited to catch up with this good friend. I have spent much of my time the last two weekends sleeping. This is good in a way because I am always staying up far too late. But it's also bad in a way because I have trouble sleeping at night if I sleep too much during the day, besides which I miss out on time with Amy if I sleep too much. She has been very understanding and forgiving, though.

This week's projects are to get my productivity up at work, see if we can finagle a way to buy that house, exercise as much as time and circumstances allow, and help Amy get the house cleaned up. I get paid on Friday, and it could very well be the biggest check I've ever gotten on this job. I am hoping that I can work on being on time for work and being back punctually from my lunch and breaks so that I don't have to stay after making up for it, but we'll see what happens. It will be so good to get things done and to hopefully make progress towards our future. I hope you, dear readers, are still enjoying reading about my exploits as much as I enjoy writing about them. Until I write again, all the best!