Monday, November 26, 2012

Sasquatch VS The Mighty Screamer

We spent Thanksgiving in the San Francisco Bay area at my sister-in-law's house.  That's the happy part of the story.  The sad part of the story is that the only flight we could get home left at 6 AM Sunday morning.  The really sad part of the story is that means we had to wake up at 3:45 AM to get to the airport on time.  The tragic part of the story is that the world's mightiest screaming child was in the row behind us on the airplane.

Do you ever get that feeling like you're in the presence of greatness?  That's the feeling I had as I heard this child scream.  If screaming were an Olympic sport, this kid would be putting Michael Phelps to shame.

His volume was incredible.  Normally, sounds get pretty muffled on a plane, but this child's voice rose above any other white noise that tried to muffle him.

His stamina was unimaginable.  After 30 consecutive minutes of screaming, he was still going strong.  I can get some good volume, but I would have tired long before the 30 minute mark.

But what really put him over the top were his high pitched shrieks.  These were definitely at the professional level.  I was unaware that human vocal cords could reach such a pitch.

Of course, if you thought that the Olympic screamer was the only celebrity on the plane, you thought wrong. Screamer (as I affectionately call him) was in the seat behind me.  But a few rows behind him sat Sasquatch. Now, I didn't actually see Sasquatch, but I heard him, and had to conclude that's who he was.

You see, as Screamer was giving his free performance (which everyone on the plane was grateful for), he would always lead up to his highest shrieks with a bit of a crescendo.  The chorus of his song went like this, "Mommy! Mommy!" then his volume and pitch would rise together. Right as he would reach his highest pitch and loudest volume simultaneously, there was another individual who would also feel driven to song.  This individual (identified as Sasquatch by the quality of his voice) would shout, "Yeaaaaaaugh".  His talent was not as great as Screamer's, but it definitely portrayed strong emotion.

After a few of the Screamer's cries for mom followed by great crescendos and accompanied by the Sasquatch growl, I began to be concerned that Sasquatch perhaps wasn't enjoying the talents of this young prodigy quite as much as everyone else.  In fact, I commented to Robyn that Sasquatch was going to kill the child (and probably eat him).  Robyn didn't like me discussing the death of the child sitting behind us out loud.  Apparently, I broke some rule of etiquette.

Finally, the drama came to a close.  An individual who I will call Big Sister, finally had a brilliant idea, "Sit Next to him!".  The individual I will call Mom, heeded this brilliance (since it hadn't yet occurred to her in the last 30 minutes to try that), and then Screamer became a whole new character who I will call Happy Lad.  I assume dad must have been sitting next to him before that, but I don't really know since I couldn't see them.

I learned a few lessons.

First, if a child yells, "Mommy! Mommy!" for 30 consecutive minutes (with brief pauses for high pitched screams) it's possible the child wants his mommy.

Second, when you buy a plane ticket, they should specify wear the screaming child will sit.

Third, Sasquatch eats children.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Importance of Penguins

Today we were teaching our Sunbeams about the importance of the Scriptures in our lives.

Robyn had a clever little lesson planned.  We brought an assortment of different kinds of books and placed them on the table.  The kids were super curious, and they wanted to know what all the books were for.

Robyn brought her scriptures all wrapped up like a present.  She told the kids that there was something very precious inside.  She let each of the kids take turns helping unwrap it.

Finally, it was revealed that there were scriptures inside the present.  We told them how the scriptures could help guide is in our lives, and how they are very special.

Robyn set the scriptures on the table with all of the other books, and then asked the thought question, "So which of all these books is most important?"

One kid, excitedly exclaimed, "The animal one!"

This was the "animal book" on the table.

I mean, one book has the words of eternal life, the other has pictures of penguins.  The choice is clear.

We have really touched their lives.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tracting with Obama

Last night I had a really strange dream.  I dreamt (The editor is giving me a red line under 'dreamt', but I just googled it and it is considered correct, so deal with it.)(The editor also put a red line under 'googled'.  Oh well, moving on.) that I was a missionary again.  That is not particularly strange, it has been ten years since I was a missionary and I have at least 2 or 3 missionary dreams every year.

The strange part is that in the dream President Obama was my Mission President.  One can only assume that he joined the Church before becoming my Mission President.  However, he certainly didn't seem all that knowledgeable about the gospel.  Upon my arrival in the mission home, he wanted to go tracting (going door to door to share our gospel message) with me.  (My real Mission President never went tracting with me, but he would have been much better at it than Obama.)  At each door, he would tell me to knock and do the talking.  After the person answered, I would give my door approach: "Hi, I'm Elder Stockett and this is President Obama.  We'd like to share a message with you about Jesus Christ."  Then, President Obama would always follow up my door approach with, "I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message."

At first, I thought he was super clever.  What a brilliant thing to say, since we've all heard that line way too many times in commercials.  (When I woke up, I realized that I was the clever one since it was my dream.  Booyah!)  After a while it annoyed me.  I was like, "why don't you take a turn teaching once in a while?"

Despite his lack of teaching skills, I was still excited that I went tracting with the President of the United States.  I remember thinking that I really wanted to post of facebook that I was tracting with the POTUS.  But then I remembered that missionaries can't get on facebook.  I wrote a letter home that just said, "I'm tracting with the President of the US."  That's a missionary's version of a facebook status.

After that, the dream got even weirder, and one of the houses we knocked on turned into a restaurant where Mitt Romney was eating, but he was wearing a funny wig.  I'm sure wig wearing Romney would have been a better companion since he actually served a mission in France.  But, missionaries don't get to pick companions.

Okay, all you dream interpreters, what does this dream mean?  Personally, I think it means I've seen way too many political commercials recently.  But, it could also mean I ate something funny before I went to bed.  What do you think?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Your right of suffrage

Today is election day.  I know we're all sick of this election season.  Both of the major candidates have inundated us with ads filled with political spin.  I'm kind of a political nerd, and I'm sick of it.  I can't even imagine what normal people feel like.

But I'm not here to talk about either candidate.  I'm here to talk about the sacred privilege that many of us take for granted.

We're all familiar with the story of how the American Revolution came to be.  One of the most well known phrases from that era is, "Taxation without representation is tyranny".  Colonists were angry, not about the taxes themselves, but about the lack of representation.  Put simply, they were angry that they didn't get to vote.

The 56 men who signed the declaration of independence all suffered greatly.  Many died, others lost their wealth, their friends, their children and their wives.  They believed in a simple dream of freedom.  An important part of that freedom was the right to choose representatives who will safeguard your beliefs, your ideals and your vision of liberty.

Later, after the Civil War, there was a movement to help black men gain the right to vote, to have their voices heard within government.  And still later, women had to fight their own fight to gain this right of suffrage.

In each of these cases, individuals had to fight.  Some had to give their lives, others had to fight the battle of words in the arena of ideas.  In all cases, the individuals were passionate about one simple principle.  They simply wanted to vote for their representatives.
Today, we have the opportunity to choose our representatives, both at the local level and the national level.  We get to choose the President of our nation, as well as our representative in Congress (and other representatives as well, depending where you live.)

Unfortunately, many people do not value this right that was so highly prized by previous generations.  Please remember the battles that were fought so that you could have this right.  Remember that every election affects you.  You will pay the taxes that are imposed by your government.  You will have to live by the laws that are passed.  You will have to live within the culture that is created.

Please study the issues.  Please go out and vote today, even if your vote cancels out mine.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Novembald to Novembeard

Sometimes I have really brilliant ideas.  Sometimes my wife thinks my ideas are awkward.

So you may have heard different people talk about "No shave November", or "Mustache Movember" or various other ways to denote the growth of facial hair in November.  I prefer to call it the Novembeard.  But, I decided to add a little twist.  In addition to growing a Novembeard, I felt it was important to open the month as a Novembald. (Robyn gets credit for the term, "Novembald", she is very wise.)

This is what I looked like yesterday.
Behold the Novembald
Being Novembald has already created trials in my life.  This morning, in the shower, at the point where I normally shampoo my hair, I stood there perplexed for at least 5 minutes.  It was like my brain was unable to  move on to the next step without executing the current one.

The Novembald won't continue for the whole month.  I'm going to let my head hair (at least the part that still grows) grow out along with my facial hair.  I promise to show you the changes at the end of the month.

I also promise, I will look awesome.
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