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Winter Quarter Temple

Winter Quarters Temple Trip
When an event happens in your life and it's worth recording, this is one of them. Last night's trip to the Temple was something that I don't think I could ever forget. As committed to my 365 days of service, I am seeing that blessings are coming in, especially from yesterday's trip.

There is an Elder that has been in the mission field for nearly 2 years, and his name is Elder Frehner. About a year or so ago, He was serving in an area that met a family. John and Dacia Boston, who had a son, Anthony. With the teaching from Elder Frehner and his companion, they were able to baptized the family into the church. Well, a year later or so, the family was to go through the temple for the first time, and wanted Elder Frehner to be presented to witness the event.

Elder Frehner and his companion, Elder Davis, had a ride to the Winter Quarters Temple with a member who had canceled on them. So at the last minute, they scrambled by calling all the other Elders in Wichita to find somebody who would be willing to take them up to Winter Quarters. It is nearly 400 miles from here, and in a case like this, it would be very hard to find somebody who would be willing to take them. Somehow the request came to me, and I didn't give a second thought and I was willing to take them. The Lord knew that I would want to keep up with the 365 days of service, and they were led to me.

So the Trip began at 4:15 in the morning, as we had to get there by 11:00 AM. I knew this trip was going to be 15 hours or longer, and it was going to be a long day, especially when I'm doing the driving and such. So we left at my apartment and began to drive to Omaha, Nebraska. With the unfamiliarity of getting there, I had opt to take the route that goes to Kansas City, so that I can stay on the freeway for the majority of the trip. It took us 7 hours to get to the temple, including the hour break that we had for breakfast at IHOP in Olathe, KS.

We arrived safety at the Winter Quarters Temple and on time. As I had planned the trip, I was so glad that my planning pulled off very well since I have done a lot of traveling on my own. I was very pleased that we got there okay.

The moment we got there, was the moment that blessings were starting to come in the door in my life, that I am so thankful for the idea of helping somebody each day for the next 365 days. I'll do my best to describe what had happen during the stay at the temple.

When a new missionary started serving in the Bel-Aire Ward, here in Wichita, I quickly connected to him. Elder Garlington was from the area that I served my mission in, and prior to meeting him, I had said that I wanted to give away my mountain bike to a new Missionary so that he can use it for the mission. It turns out that Elder Garlington was the one that got my bike, and during his stay here, I was able to work with him so that he can teach me the missionary lessons. It was a great month getting to know him. Well, transfers came, and he was to leave to another area. I thought I would never see him again, but it turned out that he did come to the temple session yesterday. His companion had known the family that was going through the temple for the first time, so he brought Elder Garlington along. It was great to see him.

When I went through the temple for the first time at the Bountiful Temple, in Utah, I told myself that I would never go through the sealing session for the dead until I got the chance to do it for myself. I kept that commitment for nearly 12 years. Well, as I was taking the missionaries to the Winter Quarters Temple, I had the chance to learn that we would be doing the endowment session and the sealing session as well. My thought was, "I am not going to attend so that I can keep the commitment." Turns out that I decided to let that commitment go so that I can attend. The sealing wasn't for the dead, but it was for the living. It was a blessing to see it happen before my eyes.

We did the Endowment session which was wonderful. Then we were to do the Sealing Session afterward. I had witness John and Dacia Boston being sealed for all eternity and it was very special. It had made me cry because as I was listening to the sealer talk about Alma 50, I felt the spirit come to me and as I witness the sealing of John and Dacia, my heart grew as in hopes that I'll be sealed to someone who would be very special to me. I did not know the Boston family, but seeing this happen before my eyes was amazing. It was quite a blessing for me to see it. Then moments later, after John and Dacia was sealed, their son, Anthony, was brought in. Watching Anthony walking up to the Altar and kneeling down, placing his hands on his parents hands was amazing. Right then, the holy ghost came over me a hundred times stronger than ever, and I broke out in tears. It just reminded me of the Holy Ghost talking to me as I first remembered it when I was in the Oklahoma Temple a few months ago. I knew this was a good thing as I saw the sealing ordinance before my eyes for the first time.

There was a girl there that knew the Boston family. She reminded me of Angela in many ways. I knew she wasn't Angela, but as I saw her, I felt that the spirit was telling me something. Or I may have just wanted to feel this way, I honestly don't know, but it was a blessing to me. This girl was about the same height as Angela was, she has the same skin complexion, she had the same haircut as she did. She looked somewhat like Angela. It bothered me a little bit because I had driven nearly 400 miles and not expect to see this girl who looks so much like her. So as I got to the Celestial Room, I prayed about Angela and asked if she is still the right person for me, and if this girl being in the same room as I am, is trying to tell me something. I felt a tingly feeling from the Holy Ghost. I don't want to describe what I really think of the whole thing, but I just find it quite a blessing to help me feel good about the gospel and what I am going through in life right now.

After the temple trip, we all gathered together at the entrance of the temple and took pictures. I had the chance to take my picture with Elder Garlington, which once again was wonderful to see him. And I knew that I had a long trip back to Wichita, but I decided to let Elder Frehner and Elder Davis mingle with the other missionaries who also attended the session to spend time with the Boston Family. It was a special day for them, as well it was for me, even though I am just a driver.

On our way back to Wichita, I decided to take the route that my GPS suggested. I was afraid to do so at first because I wasn't familiar with the area. But driving up, I understood what I was dealing with. So I took a chance to drive back taking the old highway, and it would shave off 1.5 hour of the trip and we would be back in Wichita by 9 PM instead of by midnight. Well, the road I took back was far away from civilization, and I wasn't really distracted by a lot of things. The Elders were tired, so they slept. It allowed me to think about a few things going on in my life.

I am so glad that I am doing the 365 day of service. I have no doubt that I made the right choice to serve the Lord. I am pretty sure that I'll be doing it more than 365 days, but this is a step to lead me to the right direction. I feel that this year will change my life in ways that I am not sure what to expect right now.

I learned something about myself and why I was angry in the past when I had tried to be the nice guy. On my way back, I had thought about the things I learned about myself. I read a book several weeks ago, "Five Love Languages," by Dr. Gary Chapman. I found that Quality time with people is what makes me happy, and it's what I yearn for. Let me put together what I have learned in the past month:

Last month, I decided to help the Black Family go to Scotland by watching their dogs. In the process, they would let me stay at their house so that it can make my life easier. I was happy to do it for them as I don't mind helping one another. They were going to offer me $250 and some other things. I turned it down because I didn't really need those things. I couldn't quite explain why I did that, as it wasn't what I was looking for to make me feel satisfied about the service I have done for others.

When I started doing the 365 day of service, and I had not missed a day since 2 weeks ago, it made me happy to help others. I've had a few people offer me gifts or some sort of reimbursements and I still turned them down. It wasn't what I was looking for, and people still wonder what it is it that I want.

I had discovered this desire that I want last night as I made the trip to the Temple and back. For years, I had wanted to help people out and I love spending time with people. Yet with my hearing loss, I struggle with this because when I am with people, I quite often have a hard time understanding what is going on, and yet I am left out. But I get mad because I don't spend time with the people as I want to. Quite often, I love spending time with someone one on one because I get to talk and understand what the person is talking about.

When I took the missionaries, I had the chance to talk to them for nearly 17 hours. I had a great time. At the end of the trip, the elders were so thankful. They knew that I paid for the trip, meaning that I paid for the gas, and I paid for the breakfast and dinner for all three of us. They wanted to find a way to pay me back, and I turned them down. I told them that they did a lot for me, and this whole trip was a blessing. I had quality time with them, and I was happy. I knew that I had spend money to make this trip possible, and I knew that it was going to dig my pocket a bit deeper. But deep down, I knew that the Lord will provide me a way to get through life, and I had faith that I would be taken care of one way or another.

See, I finally understood why I was overbearing with Angela and why I got angry at people for not doing things with me. I understood why I was frustrated because I quite often feel alone. I do want to get married to the right person for the right reason. A big part of me still feels that it's Angela because when I had spend time with her, the Quality time was amazing, and I loved it. I wanted more and I went too far that it drove her nuts and now she isn't speaking to me. I do hope that she'll have a change of heart and give me another chance someday. But the blessing of this whole trip is discovering who I really am. The visit to the Temple really helped that. I will still continue to help one another...but a big part of me will yearn for quality time more than getting gifts from anybody else.

This is the end

Well, it turns out that this is going to be the last Livejournal entry that I'll make for this. I have moved over to LDSJOURNAL, and will be starting to make journal entries there. I've known this website for a long time, and I finally decided to start up an account today because I found out that it has everything I need. So, this is the end of Livejournal for me. Hello, LDSJOURNAL.

I'm not going to cancel the account for quite a while because I love looking at my friend's journals, however, I am noticing that the majority of them has stopped writing. It's not the reason why I stopped. The reason why I stopped is because my life is becoming a bit personal. I met a girl that I really like a lot. I wanted to say so much about her, but I can't post it on here because it's too public. Other than that, there's not a whole lot to write about that I would like to share to the public.

I wish the best of luck to you guys, and say hello if you can.

An Open Letter

Over a month ago, I wrote this letter to a good friend of mine, who I knew would understand my frustration in many aspects of my life because she has a family member whose situation is very similar to mine. I have wanted to write this letter to all of you. But wasn’t able to do so, because I wasn’t able to write it in a way that I hope many others could understand my perspective on life and with the LDS church. I knew she would listen and in turn she did give me a great advice which I will take it to heart.

I never joined in the LDS church until March of 1997. Growing up in Utah since 1987, I've been around some great people, and had some very good influence, so a lot of people have mistaken me as being LDS. I even thought I was LDS until a friend of mine, Darren, explained a bit deeper about the church. I joined the church when I was 19, a year after I graduated from High School. Well, at that point in time, my life was changing a lot. It was defiantly throwing me out of my comfort zone, and it still is today. I constantly couldn't fit in, which I'll explain why I feel that way.

At first, it was so easy. So many people already knew who I was. They knew how to talk to me; they knew I was a recent convert of the church and the people who grew up around me knew of my hearing disability. As college life was starting for me, people encouraged me to go to the Institute to meet more people. I was young, vibrant, alert, and was willing to learn. I was making friends on the fly as there was so many people at my age. I was excited about the change. As unaware of the hardship that was soon to be facing me, I thought things were going well.

A year later, I met a girl, Heather Goodson. She was, what you could call, the revolving point of my life that started to open up the hardship that I never was aware of. This wasn't High School anymore. This wasn't Lagoon anymore. This was the beginning of my adult life. That year in 1998, I needed friends more than I ever thought, and I kept Heather close. I was head over heels for Heather, and I really liked her for who she was, but she fought to have us be friends. It was a struggle, but the point of the story is that, I went to Heather a lot because we understood how to talk to each other. Meaning that we communicated very well, but I didn't communicate with her friends. Not deliberately, but I had a hard time talking to them, because they misunderstood what kind of person I was. I had a hard time talking to them in groups as it was like reading 5-6 books at the same time, as I that I read lips a lot more than listening.

I had a hard time being in a group conversation as I continue to get lost and not know what to say to stay on top of it. It never really bothered me that much, but Heather and I talked about it. I would try different ways, and I even came up with a "horseshoe," method, where everybody lines up as a horseshoe, and I would be somewhat in the middle of it. It didn't work very well, as people don't really do it very well. Thus I learned that I can't change people, and Heather has tried talking to them about it. People would just take me as I am, and assume that I am not interested in getting to know them. It began to bothered me, but not too much.

Then things got a little bit harder, as my Mom decided to move to Oregon. I realize that I was starting to be on my own. Friends started to meet one special one, and get married. I didn't quite have that many close friends to be with. I wasn't sure what to do. Then I thought...well, maybe I can go on a mission! So I went and got my papers in, and a few months later, I was off to Oakland, CA. Not so bad, huh? So I thought. At MTC, it finally hit me. Not one single person I knew was there, no one to can rely on to. I wasn't even sure what was going on. I was lost. I only had a schedule telling me what's next, and it was the only thing I can rely on. My companion and the district were all chatting away, every day, learning how to be a missionary. Each person I met, I would have to have some time with the person getting to know them better so that I can read lips, and have a one on one conversation which I was very good at. Reading lips is like reading a new foreign language. But it's the MTC. You don't get to stick with one person, and is just got harder and harder. Finally, at the third week, I broke down. I cried in class, saying that there's no way I can do this. That I couldn't figure out what was going on, and the thought of going on a mission to Oakland, CA scares me. If I got bored within the first 3 weeks...how am I going to make it work on my mission?

The arrival at Oakland, CA...I was quiet most of the time to the mission home. I didn't know how to take the whole thing, but one step at a time. But my companion overwhelmed me. First thing he did was to drop my bags at the apartment, then we started going tracting. Next day, it repeated. I was just overwhelmed as each day grew. Then my bike came, and we started going on bike trips. It was even worst because I would be spending the day following him, not being able to hear him, and not having a conversation with him. I was getting frustrated. So I am hoping you are getting the idea of where I am at.

Now, what did all this have to do with the church, and why I don't go? Truth is, two year after I was converted, I got lost. Darren was the only person that I learned a lot from about the church. With Darren out of the picture, I never had anybody to converse with. There has been lot of things that I don't understand, and as I'm the only member in the family that is LDS, I don't get that much support. Over and over, I have tried to listen to people and learn about the church...it's been hard. So I don't feel like I'm involved. So, every time I go to church, I know what the steps are, and how it's done. But during sacrament meeting, more than often, I don't hear or understand what is going on. So my mind starts to wander of boredom.

Back to my mission, one of the HARDEST things for me to accept was what my companion said to me. This was shortly after a discussion with a non-member, and it was nearly the end of the day. We both arrived home, and I said, "Elder Norris, why did you interrupt me when I was trying to answer his question?" He said, "Elder Isbell, quite often, you give the right answer to the wrong questions." That made me feels stupid. I know it was not his intention to make me feel that way, but it certainly made me feel like a failure. Shortly after that, I was transferred to another mission to Houston Texas, for American Sign Language Mission. It didn't work out too well, as the damage has already been done. So I came home early in 7 months as an honorable missionary release. At least I can't say that I never tried.

So as I came home, I went to the single's ward, and it was a struggle. I went off and on. I was working at an Engineering Company, which I ended up gaining a lot of experience. Life was good, until I decided to go to New York to get a college degree. I did well, and moved to Colorado and started working at Adam Aircraft. Then I lost my job and moved to Kansas.

When I went to NY, I made a lot of friends in the church, and I didn't go to church a lot, but did go to the activities and institute. I had a hard time being in church because I had a hard time with going because of my family, and that I struggled to learn what's going on. But the best part was that I had some very good friends.

Then I moved to Colorado, and went to the single's ward. Once again, I made some good friends, and once again, I had a hard time going because of my Uncle's family. My uncle is the Senior Pastor of the Baptist Church, and as I'm trying to maintain good family relationship, it wasn't easy for me. But I did get a chance to go to the single's ward from time to time. I still made some good friends and I still made some good home teacher companions.

Lastly, I moved to Kansas. And it hit me hard. I noticed that all the other places that I've been to, I've made friends with several guys, and girls… and it was all good. But in Kansas, there was a girl that I met, and I ended up talking to her a lot. Then I thought, well, I would like to ask her out to get to know her a bit better. She took it the wrong way and it got worst from there. Gossips were spread, and people were talking about me behind my back. I didn't have a chance to stop it because I had no idea what was being said, but I later did find out that a few accusations were made against me, which were not true. SO I felt, why do I want to be with them if they can't give me a chance to be a friend to? As for the single's ward...I just turned 31, and decided to leave because of the immaturity from several members I had no desire to be a part of.

To all, I am very tired. No matter how hard I try to "understand" what is going on, I quite often feel lost. I quite often feel that attending the ward is too quiet. When I mean, “quiet,” I meant that I have no clue what is going on. I miss the "fire" from when Darren first taught me about the church. I do believe in the church and it's teaching, but for 13 years, I have not learned a lot. I don't stay very strong to the words of God. Truth is, I am a very independent person, not set in my own ways, but...I have a hard time trusting people to help me succeed. Being in Kansas has really opened an old wound, that I have a hard time healing. I miss my life where I was at before I joined at the church. Clear, free minded, happy. But now I feel that my mind is dark, burdened, and I get up each morning forcing myself to get through the day. I'm worn out.



Where do I fit in?

I'm not deaf. I'm not a hearing person. I consider myself hard of hearing. I don't like being in a deaf world, but I do like the benefits in some areas. I love being in a hearing world, but I don't like how it is in some areas. I often feel that I'm in the hard of hearing world, which I struggle with a balance. I want to fit in the hearing world so badly, and yet I know I would fit in the Deaf World, but not quite welcome to it, and wouldn't be comfortable. A lot of people don't understand me as the things I do, offends them at times. I don't care what they think, but I do care how I feel, and I hate being alone. I have no clue how to make it work, and "roll" with it.

One of the best Dog Story I ever read.

They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie, as I looked at him lying in his pen. The shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly...I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open. Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.

But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn't hurt. Give me someone to talk to. And I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local news. The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn't look like "Lab people," whatever that meant. They must've thought I did.

But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner. See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off when we got home. We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home). Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too. Maybe we were too much alike.

For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls --- he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes. I guess I didn't really think he'd need all his old stuff, that I'd get him new things once he settled in. But it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn't going to.

I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like "sit" and "stay" and
"come" and "heel," and he'd follow them - when he felt like it. He never really seemed to listen when I called his name --- sure, he'd look in my direction after the fourth or fifth time I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever. When I'd ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey.

This just wasn't going to work. He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes. I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell. The friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff. I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the "damn dog probably hid it on me."

Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter's number, I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter...I tossed the pad in Reggie's direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home. But then I called, "Hey, Reggie, you like that? Come here and I'll give you a treat." Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction --- maybe "glared" is more accurate --- and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down. With his back to me.

Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought. And I punched the shelter phone number.

But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten about that, too. "Okay, Reggie," I said out loud, "let's see if your previous owner has any advice."...

____________ _________ _________ _________

To Whoever Gets My Dog:
Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter
could only be opened by Reggie's new owner. I'm not even happy writing it. If you're reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter. He knew something was different. I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time... it's like he knew something was wrong. And something is wrong...which is why I have to go to try to make it right.

So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with

First, he loves tennis balls. The more the merrier. Sometimes I think he's part squirrel, the way he hordes them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn't done it yet. Doesn't matter where you throw them, he'll bound after it, so be careful - really don't do it by any roads. I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.

Next, commands. Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them again: Reggie knows the obvious ones --- "sit," "stay," "come," "heel."

He knows hand signals: "back" to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and "over" if you put your hand out right or left. "Shake" for shaking water off, and "paw" for a high-five. He does "down" when he feels like lying down --- I bet you could work on that with him some more. He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone" and "treat" like nobody's business.

I trained Reggie with small food treats. Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog.

Feeding schedule: twice a day, once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening. Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.

He's up on his shots. Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they'll make sure to send you reminders for when he's due. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet. Good luck getting him in the car --- I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he knows.

Finally, give him some time. I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He's gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn't bark or complain. He just loves to be around people, and me most especially.

Which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new.

And that's why I need to share one more bit of info with you....

His name's not Reggie.

I don't know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them his name was Reggie.

He's a smart dog, he'll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt. But I just couldn't bear to give them his real name. For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I'd never see him again. And if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything's fine. But if someone else is reading it, well ... well it means that his new owner should know his real name. It'll help you bond with him. Who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change in his demeanor if he's been giving you problems.

His real name is "Tank". Because that is what I drive.

Again, if you're reading this and you're from the area, maybe my name has been on the
news. I told the shelter that they couldn't make "Reggie" available for adoption until they received word from my company commander. See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've left Tank with ... and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone... call the shelter ... in the "event" ... to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption. Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he'd do it personally. And if you're reading this, then he made good on his word.

Well, this letter is getting downright depressing, even though, frankly, I'm just writing it for my dog. I couldn't imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family ... but still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family.

And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.

That unconditional love from a dog is what I take with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things .... and to keep those terrible people from coming over here. If I have to give up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have done so. He is my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.

All right, that's enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. I don't think I'll say another good-bye to Tank, though. I cried too much the first time. Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight - every night - from me.

Thank you, Paul

____________ _________ _________ _______

I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope. Sure I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at half-mast all summer.

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.

"Hey, Tank," I said quietly.

The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.

"C'mere boy."

He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in months.

"Tank," I whispered.

His tail swished.

I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.

"It's me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me." Tank reached up and
licked my cheek. "So whatdaya say we play some ball?" His ears perked again. "Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?" Tank tore from my hands and disappeared in the next room.

And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.


The Ethical Behavior Test


The One (1) Question Test

This test only has one question, but it's a very important one. By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally.

The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will have to make a decision. Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous.

Please scroll down slowly and give due consideration to each line.


You are in Florida , Miami to be specific. There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding. This is a flood of biblical proportions. You are a photojournalist working for a major newspaper, and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless.

You're trying to shoot career-making photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water. Nature is unleashing all of its destructive fury.


Suddenly you see a man and a woman in the water. They are fighting for their lives, trying not to be taken down with the debris. You move closer. Somehow they look familiar. You suddenly realize who they are.

It's Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi!! At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take them under forever.

You have two options:

You can save their lives or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the deaths of two of the world's most powerful people.
NOW, Here's the question; and please give an honest answer...

Would you select high contrast color film, or would you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?


The Right Stuff

It was the Spring of 1990, that I was given an opportunity to go to Space Camp at Huntsville, Alabama. I knew this was going to be a one time event, and I knew that I may never have a chance to experience it again, so I soaked in the moments as the events transpired. I remembered the first morning that the majority of us were going to the SLC Airport. The morning sun shone throughout the entire sky, as I was beaming a bright smile, all because I was going to SPACE CAMP!

When I arrived with some of my classmate at Huntsville, the bus was waiting for us, I was getting a bit excited. As we met the counselors, I was rearing to start exploring the entire campus. But it's been a long day for us, so, we had dinner, and watched a movie, then head to bed.

The following day, we started our lessons, as we were learning the basics of being an astronaut. As I was closely paying attention to the counselors teaching us, I learned how the rocket is controlled by it's boosters, and how things work in space, and one of my most memorable thing I learned was the ABC's. In an event of an accident, and the astronauts need to figure out what's going on, and the first thing they remembered is the ABC, which stands for Always Be Calm. I thought it was interesting, and I would not forget that.

As the next few days had transpired, I made a lot of good friends, and yes, there was a girl that was interested in me, which her name was Paige. I have no idea where she was from or what not. But I do remember quirky look, that she could easily pass off as a nerd. She had braces, and glasses. As for I, I had glasses, but I certainly wasn't a hearttrob kid. However, we enjoyed our company and yes, we shortly did keep in touch after the trip, but it didn't last long.

Then that day came, the day that I never will forget. Every time I hear the words, "Space Camp" it reminds me of a scar that I got from that day. The scar I have been carrying for so many years that occasionally would cause an pain in my ear, if certain conditions were met. If the Barometric Pressure changes, our body does react to it, which is hardly noticeable. But as for I, I notice...because of that scar. The scar is a slight cut from my hearing aid's shell when it shattered to pieces. It was a day that I would never forget how it happened.

It was a Wednesday Evening, after a full day of activities, we were all directed to have dinner. During the time at Space Camp, I had obtain 2 rocks that had the magnetic properties. I was walking with a friend, and we were conversing about a few things, and I wanted to show him the rocks that I got. My friend was on the left side of me, and I had my head turned to the left so that I can talk to him and pay attention to what he was saying and doing with the rocks that I handed to him to try out with the magnetic properties. While I was talking to him, I walked right into a concrete pillar that kept the cafeteria's roof up. I pretty much was walking fast, and I slammed into the pillar, where my right ear took the damage, and my hearing aid was in that right ear. It shattered the hearing aid to pieces, and left shards in my ear, where one of the piece left a slice in my ear canal. My ear bled, and I had the broken hearing aid in my hands, and I knew I was done for. But, with the lessons that I've learned at Space Camp, I remembered the ABC's. I looked at the damages that I experienced, and I didn't panic. I tried to be calmed and the counselors took me to the hospital to take care of my ear.

So, the rest of the week was going to be hard on me as I couldn't hear anything, but had to watch everything that goes on around me and try my best to figure out what's going. I still had a good time, and my favorite part was that I got to launch my rocket which was never found again. But, the memories I had were well worth it, despite the fact that I didn't have a hearing aid to hear the sounds.

Graduation day came, and we all get to have a certification saying that we accomplished a great week and so on. Without my hearing aid, I had no clue what else was going on. So I patiently waited and waited and waited. Then my counselor jumped up and pointed at me! She told me to come with her, and I still had no clue what was going on! I was directed to go to the podium, and I was given an award, "The Right Stuff" medal. It was given to only one student, out of 200 that attended Space Camp that week, and I got it. It was all because of the time I walked into a wall and shattered my hearing aid and did what I was taught to do, just know my ABC's.

I sure would like to give my kids a chance to go to Space Camp one of these days. It was worth it.


Tick Tock Tick Tock...

Anxiously waiting... that's what I am doing right now...waiting to hear from Kelley. I wasn't quite focus on work today as I was hoping to see the e-mail from Kelley, or any word from her.

It's funny, people has pointed out that I waited for 2 months before I asked her out. Truth is, I never did. I pretty much waited for two weeks for that time to come, which of course we all know that it never turned out the way I hoped. Over the 2 month period, I have ran into Kelley a few times, and the more I got to know her, the more I became interested in her. That last meeting we had, just pretty much confirmed that I wanted to get to know her more by asking her out. Slowly, the 2 weeks went by, and I wasn't really stressed out about it.

What people had pointed out that, if it's on my terms of waiting, I can be cool about it, but when it falls on somebody else...I get worked up. This was something that I never expected to happen, and now I'm very anxious to hear what Kelley has to say.

As I was curious if Sandra has given the Rose to Kelley over the weekend, I decided to call her. Sandra did call Kelley about the "Unclaimed Pink Rose." Sandra has told me that she was out of town for the weekend, but once she found out about it, she was very excited and can't wait to see the Rose. She was coming home tonight, so she may get it then or tomorrow. Well, it's nearly 10 PM, I can't say that she's got it, but I can be certain that she knows about it. So, I'm excited.

But, I'm still anxiously waiting to hear from her. It's driving me nuts.


The Unclaimed Pink Rose

Today's the day that contains, "The Moment of Truth..." That moment came and went. Sigh, boy, do I have a lot to say about it!

I had planned on asking Kelley out today. I was really nervous about it. I got up this morning, and all I could think about was, "When can I do this? When should I go? How can I do this..." I'm very good at making friends, and people do love talking to me. But when it comes to asking a girl out or something like that...I don't like moving too fast. I like to take the time to get to know somebody, and I do find that it's the best thing you can ever have!

The way how I approach on coming to ask Kelley out, I have no regrets. I know I took my time, and I was content. I knew what I was doing. All the events that Kelley and I had, were quite interesting, and of course it led me to want to ask her out. And today, that was my goal.

In my mind, the goal was simple. Get her one single pink rose, tell her Happy Valentine's day, and tell her that I'm interested in getting to know her better, and ask her out. Just simple as that.

In reality, I did go get the pink rose, and the person who did it, did a great job! So, on my way back home, I was a bit nervous, but ready to give it to her. I walked in the office, and to my surprise...she wasn't there. Sandra, which is a good friend of mine happened to be there, and I was a bit perplex about it. I knew she was scheduled to be working today, so I asked Sandra if Kelley was today today.

I found out that she no longer worked there. I was bummed out! Then I told Sandra, that the pink rose I got for her....I was going to give it to her today, and ask her out. She thought it was sweet. Also, Sandra has saved the day for me. She keeps in contact with Kelley, and she said that she is willing to give the rose to her tonight. I was very pleased with that, and left her my contact info, so that she can get a hold of me.

It was the best way for me to ensure that she gets the rose. I'm just really bummed out that I didn't give it to her in person. So, it's 5:10 now, and Sandra just got off work. So, within the next few hours, she'll claim the pink rose.