Monday, May 28, 2012

How I Became Famous

Once upon a time, about 7 or 8 months ago, I had a good friend who worked for a magazine called the Ensign.  This magazine happened to be the official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, an organization of which I am a member.

This magazine often publishes faith promoting stories written by its members.  I asked my friend, Heather, (the aforementioned employee of the Ensign) to keep me apprised of what kind of stories they may be looking for.  She let me know that they were looking for stories about learning to act on promptings from the Holy Spirit.

I wrote up a short story about the experience I had while trying to buy a house and how I was lead to find my wife.  I filled out several different forms saying that I consent to the printing of my story, that I allow the church to distribute my story and a few other things I don't remember.  Shortly thereafter they sent me back a slightly edited version of my story. (Edited for length, primarily.)  They asked me to approve the edits and then it was made official that I would be published in the June 2012 edition of the Ensign.

About a month later, my bishop came up to me and said, "I hear you're a writer."  At first I wasn't sure what he was talking about.  Then he let me know that he had heard I was being published in the Ensign.  It turns out that the Ensign contacted him to do a background check on me and make sure I was a member of the church in good standing.  Who would've thought?

I was really excited about it, but since it was so far away my mind became occupied on other things and I sort of forgot about it.  Fast forward to about 5 days ago when I got an email from a friend of mine that I haven't seen in several years. He said, "I saw an article in the Ensign by a Jeff Stockett from Utah. It was about house hunting and following the spirit, which led to marriage. I wondered if that was MY Jeff Stockett. So, is it you?"  That's when I remembered that it should be coming soon.  I hadn't yet received my copy in the mail, but naturally, I downloaded it on my iPhone and told a few of my coworkers that I was famous.

About 2 days after that it finally came in the mail.  I finally got to see my name in print.  It's a little surreal to realize that something I wrote will be viewed by millions of people and translated into dozens of languages. (In addition to being printed in the Ensign, it is also in the Liahona which is the church's international publication.)  I told Robyn I want to go pick up a spanish version so I can see my story translated into spanish.  She just looked at me like I was crazy, which is not a rare occurrence.

The best part of the publication is that they included an artist's rendition of my story.
Apparently my writing makes me sound like a tall, skinny guy who is not bald.
So, it's been a really neat experience.  If you want to read what I wrote, you can look at pages 18 and 19 of the print version (June 2012 issue) or go to the online version of the article at  There are several stories and mine is the third one.  So scroll down a bit to find me.

Or, if you like, I can just share the story here:

The Spirit communicates in a number of ways. I’ve experienced moments of peace, feelings of comfort, and clarity of thought. Some of my strongest impressions come simply as a feeling of truth or correctness. The feeling is hard to describe, but it is there when you simply know that something is true or that you need to act.
One of the most powerful experiences I’ve had with this feeling was in my search to find a house to purchase. I was single and had been contemplating buying a house for several years. I told my realtor what I was looking for, and she did an excellent job of finding houses that fit my description. She would show me houses, but I would turn them down because they didn’t feel right. She started asking me what I disliked about each one so that she could better show me homes that would fit my needs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t articulate very well what was missing.
Finally, one afternoon we walked through a house that wasn’t as nice as some of the others we had seen. It was a little more expensive than others. It fit my description for what I had said I wanted but not as perfectly as some we had seen. Nevertheless, after walking through it, I told my realtor I wanted to put in an offer. She seemed somewhat surprised at my willingness to act so quickly. Considering my reluctance through previous months, she was right to be surprised. But the feeling that this was where I needed to live was almost overwhelming. I didn’t feel a need to stop and think about it.
I put in an offer, and the sellers accepted my bid, despite the fact that it was not the highest offer they had received. I told my family that I knew I was supposed to live in that house, though I didn’t know why.
I found out why I needed to live there fairly quickly. I met a woman in the singles ward within a month of moving in. A little over a year later, we knelt across the altar in the temple, where we were sealed as husband and wife.
The Lord truly moves in mysterious ways. I had no idea that He was leading me toward eternal marriage when He helped me choose a house. All I knew was that I was being guided to take this step, and now I can see that that guidance came from His Spirit.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The value of showers

This is a story about Mother's Day.  I know I'm a little slow in posting it.  I've been kind of a blogging slacker lately, so bare with me.  Since Mother's Day was over a week ago, this can be one of those posts where I talk about the good old days and you all quietly mutter about how I'm really old and the story probably isn't true because my memory is gone.

So let me take you back with me to the old times.  Cast your memory back the the ancient days of slightly over one week ago.  Focus your mind on Mother's Day.

This image will totally get me brownie points with my mom.

We were in church with our sunbeams (Robyn and I teach the "sunbeam" class, which is what we call the 3 and 4 year olds) we were talking about mothers.  We asked the kids to share some of the things that their mothers do.  There were a number of answers such as their moms take care of them when they're sick, or make food for them or clean the house or various other motherly functions as seen by children.  One girl in particular had something very special to share about her mom: "My mom takes a really long shower and makes us late for church."

If you need someone to make you late for church, who better than a mom?

Later, we were making a cute little note from the kids to their moms.  It was one of those fill in the blank deals where it says "My mom is as pretty as a ______", "I love my mom because ________" and so on.

One of the questions was "My mom is the best at _________".  This same girl thought for a moment, to think about what her mom really excels at.  Finally she realized the obvious answer: "Taking showers."

So if you really want to impress your kids.  Take a long shower.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Favorite Uncle: A Quest

Favorite Uncle.  Isn't that the title that we all aspire too?  It's an extremely difficult task.  Just when you think you've got the election in the bag, some other uncle comes along who's better at tossing children to and fro, letting them climb on him, or many other important skills.

The work of uncling is never done. (I totally verbified a noun, deal with it.)  That's why I decided to get an early start.  Two days ago, William became my newest nephew.  (From what I hear, his journey to get here was not an easy one.  But that is a story reserved for his parents to tell.)  He and I are already totally buddies.

He is dreaming about what an awesome uncle I am
The above picture was taken right after I taught him how to play chess, and we had a heated debate about whether Star Wars or Star Trek is better.  My main argument: "Death Star.  Enough Said."  His main argument: "Star Trek was playing during my mother's labor."

What can I say?  He's a good debater.  I'm looking forward to lots of good uncling in the future.

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