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Friday, June 26, 2015

Supreme Court votes to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide

As most of you are aware by now, the United States Supreme Court voted today to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. I cannot articulate adequately how disappointed I am by this decision. The LDS Church, however, remains firm in its doctrine that marriage between a man and a woman is the only valid option in the eyes of the Lord. I am grateful to belong to a church whose doctrine and standards remain constant. Man may change what is legal, but the doctrine of the Lord's church will remain unchanged. We believe and teach that marriage between a man and a woman is the only valid option that is sanctioned by the Lord. And it will be so throughout our lives and all eternity. No man nor set of men has the power to change the doctrine that the Lord has decreed. And so, in spite of the disappointment which we feel about this situation, we will move forward. I think I've said enough about this issue. Until I post again, all the best!

July 2015 Ensign Insert on Elder L. Tom Perry/My sister is pregnant!/General Update

I wanted to post for three reasons. First of all, I discovered that the July Ensign will come with a special insert that pays tribute to Elder L. Tom Perry. It was amazing to read about his life and accomplishments. I always loved Elder Perry and his exemplary service as an apostle, but there were things in the insert that I hadn't known before. I think it's sad in some ways that we only hear about the apostle's personal lives and accomplishments when they are called, when they die, or if they mention any of their life experiences in general conference. That's why I have tried to learn everything I can about these men I sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. Every new thing I learn about these brethren that speak for the Lord gives me greater respect for and an increased desire to learn more about their lives and teachings. That insert is well put together, and I encourage an in-depth study of it when it comes to your residences.

The second thing I wanted to mention (now that I can) is that my older sister Joanna is pregnant with twins, which are due in December. Grant is very happy about getting some siblings. He has already named the babies "R2-D2" and "C-3PO", It's still too early to tell the genders of the babies, but they seem to be growing properly. I've known about this for almost two months, but was asked by Joanna and her family to keep it quiet until they officially made the announcement. That took place earlier this week, and I have Joanna's go ahead to tell people about it. She will likely have the babies on the island, unless the birth becomes complicated, in which case she will come back to Utah for the delivery. But Lyle might not be able to come with her back to the States depending on his school schedule. So they are hoping and praying that Joanna can deliver the babies on the island. Lyle missed Grant's birth due to being deployed in Iraq, and no one wants him to not be there for the birth of the twins. We join in their prayers, even though it will mean that their families on both sides won't be able to be close to the Lyle Hickmans when the babies are born. Both sets of grandparents are planning on visiting the Hickman family once the babies are here. I honestly don't know when I will get my first chance to see and hold the new additions to the family. It makes me a little sad to think that I may not meet the new babies until they are toddlers. I'm sure something will work out. Maybe my book will sell so well I'll be able to afford regular trips to see the St. Kitts Hickmans frequently. Time will tell.

I wanted to conclude this post with a brief general update on our lives. We missed Church on Sunday because we were sick. Due to not feeling well, I have continued to miss work at least once or twice a week. The only day I was able to make it to work this week was Monday. On Tuesday, I woke up with stomach cramps, a fever, and extreme fatigue. Those symptoms went away by the time I woke up today. However, yesterday and during the first part of the day, I started to ache all over. The aching got worse as time progressed. So tonight, Amy took me to the urgent care clinic. The NP (nurse practitioner) examined me and determined that I may have contracted some form of the flu. From the symptoms I told her I'd had that had gone away and the symptoms that remained, she said it sounded like I'd had the flu and that it should be on the way out. I explained that I had missed every day of work this week except Monday, and wondered if she could give me a doctor's note excusing me from work for the days I missed. She did so, not only covering me for Tuesday-Thursday but also tomorrow (Friday) as well, on the offchance I still need to stay home tomorrow. She also said just in case it was something else, she'd order some blood work as a rush job for which she would have the results later on this evening. I should have had the presence of mind to tell her that if I didn't answer my phone, she could leave the results in a message, but I didn't. As the clinic's lab was closed, she sent me to AF Hospital to get the blood work done. I was in and out in short order. About an hour later, I was sitting at home with Amy when my phone rang. I couldn't reach it in time. Since I hadn't told her to leave the results in a message, she only said in the message that she had some results she wanted to discuss with me. So I will have to call her tomorrow to get those results. In the meantime, there has still been no word on the blood work Amy had done a week or so ago. Fortunately, the RN who ordered the blood work for Amy will also be on duty tomorrow, so we can hopefully get both results tomorrow.

We have been blessed financially in spite of a very low check received two weeks ago. I just hope we will have enough to get by with what we will receive as the next two paychecks. I also hope that I can recover from everything soon so I can go back to work where I belong. While being at home with Amy is always wonderful, we would both prefer that I be at work earning a living for us. We have faithfully paid our tithing, so I guess all we can do is keep praying for miracles and hoping for the blessings we desire.

On the good news front, my nausea has decreased substantially recently to the point where I am only taking one set instead of three of my nightly anti-nausea medications. I also have been able to reduce the number of Nauzene I am taking. My headaches overall seem to be better on this new schedule. If my headaches continue to improve, perhaps we can talk to Dr. Weinstein (my neurologist) about cutting back on some of the headache medication I am taking. I haven't been able to get to that point yet, but hope springs eternal.

Our situation is still at times discouraging, but, as I wrote in the Ensign article, I know there is a purpose for every trial we face and that some of the greatest blessings that will come into our lives will do so as a result of our faithfulness in "thanking [the Lord] in all things" and by doing our best to keep being optimistic, even in the most trying circumstances. I testify that I know the Lord is keenly aware of each of us. He pleads our cause before His Father. We have no greater Confidante or Friend than Jesus Christ. No matter what we go through, He stands ready to strength and help us, even to the point of removing the burdens from our backs.

I know our Savior has truly borne all our trials, and that through Him, we can make it through anything that comes our way. I know that "sorrow may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning." Anything I have to bear that will help me become closer to Christ is infinitely worth it. All these things will give me experience, and will be for my good. I testify that I know our Savior, Jesus Christ, is our advocate (defense attorney) with our Father. I have no better friend than Him.

I love Him with all my heart, and my greatest desire is that I might spend the rest of my life in His service, testifying of Him, and emulating His perfect example. If my example and testimony can help make a difference in the life of but one soul, it will be a success. That each of us may so influence any and all who traverse our path is my prayer, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.