Sunday, September 28, 2008

Church Spotting

So, I'm home alone, awaiting the time to turn to a decent time to show up for church. You know when it's appropriate. If you show up too early, people ask you to do stuff . If you show up too late, you don't get a good seat. There's a perfect time to show up to church, although I have to make myself wait until that time comes. I'm prone to being early to engagements. Occasionally, I might be late due to unforeseen annoyances. For the most part, I'm early. I really do struggle with making myself show up later, for that perfect time, to church. If I show up too early, I start playing the piano and then EVERYONE expects you to play the piano-I'm not that good, I just enjoy it. Or I'm asked to pass the sacrament. Please don't misunderstand, I love serving, I don't mind helping out. But please take some initiative and ask people to do these things BEFORE Sunday-model concept?!?!!? I even think the brethren have counseled to ask people in advance for any church assignment. While I'm on the subject, don't ask for volunteers. Delegate assignments, "Bro. Garner, I need to to help with the sacrament next week, will you do that?" "I'd love to." Why would I say no? Then, call a few days in advance to confirm.

I'm not bitter, in anyway-just would like things to change. I still love the gospel and support my leaders. I'm still called to serve Him.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ouizer, Clairee, Dolly and Glenda

These are a few of favorite women, in my head and real life. When the pie calls, when the chicken nacho's beckon, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel, so bad.

The other night, my friends and I held a packing party which consisted of cardboard boxes, name calling and things that would frighten fish! But we all had an extremely fun time.

Around 1030, Clairee discovers her need for pie. We set out on a journey for any pie Baton Rouge could offer. We stopped at IHOP, which was fruitless, to say the least. We were seated promptly by a woman with too much hair for one head. Then proceeded to wait a good 5 or so minutes before deciding we should try somewhere else. Not only did no one come to greet us, IHOP doesn't even sell pie-what 24 hour establishment doesn't sell pie??!?!??!!!

Our travels took us next to Waffle House. I know they serve pie, I've eaten it! After deciding there were five of us and we all could not fit in a four person booth, we determined we'd find nourishment elsewhere. That's when the magical words rang like birds singing on a summer's morn; unless that morn is Saturday before 9am and you're trying to sleep and loudmouth Snow White-wanna-be bird won't shut up! We heard, PLUCKER'S! No, not plucking the loud bird, Plucker's-known for their wings by most. But Clairee, Ouizer and I know them for their delicious Chicken Nachos. Although, Clairee was not in search of Nachos this eve', oh no. She was in search of another Plucker's delicacy...the Fried Twinkee. That's right, we fry everything in the south, I've even had friend Oreos-oh, heaven will have those!

On our way through the great campus of LSU to the magical land of fried fatness, we stopped by an old friend, Mike.

Mike is none other than the mascot of the 2008 National State football Champs! The funny part is we didn't think he'd even come out. We walked around his cage for a little while. And when I say cage, this is no ordinary cage. This is a 15,000 sq foot enclosure to house this wonderful mammal. It is gorgeous! Anyway, we walked around it and as if cued for his entrance, he appeared. We were so happy. He even posed for us for a bit, but we only got back shots of him. As if to say, "this is my better side." But he seriously came over to us, plopped down and sat for about 10 minutes. Then he laid down to nap. Such a camera whore.Now, for those of you who may be scared of death defying feats, please do not read any further. No-DON'T! It could be too dangerous for you to view. For, what I'm about to show you has never been attempted by anyone before with a purple shirt on. Please, please, don't try this at home.

After our "feat" with Mike, we pressed on to our destination of Plucker's. Fun and a sense of nausea was had by all. Fried Twinkee's are great, but at 1130 at night, they too can be dangerous!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Here's a picture

So I've been chided for not having any pictures on here-not sure why I don't.

Recently, Glenda and I went to my first Southern game. It was very impressive. Roomie, the mascot, had an unveiling. Although I am oh so interested in sports galore, we left at half time, but not before the fire-refic display of music and fire works to reintroduce the new Roomie, with muscles and real animal fur as part of his new costume. Realistically, it was entertaining and well done!

Two things I want to mention.

I don't hate sports, but I don't enjoy watching them either. If I am attending a sporting event, it's more for the fun and the people as opposed to the actual event. If I drank, I'd be one helluva tail-gaitor! It was a lot of fun, though-especially since I know who Roomie is, shhhhh!!

Secondly, Louisianians are some hard core fools when it comes to our college football. We were out there with Panchos, during the aftermath of Ike. It dumped on us pretty good for a little while.
Also, I'm listing an e-mail of just how crazy we people are here in the south, hope y'all enjoy! We may not always be singing in the rain but it doesn't get us down either!

Please read it, it's all very true!

Gustav's Guide to Hurricane Survival
Lessons Learned During and After the Storm
The hurricane grouch quotient can be calculated by adding the number of children and pets in a home without power, multiplied by the number of days quoted on the Entergy telephone recording, divided by the number of fans or portable air conditioners powered by your home generator, (however if you were last in line at Home Depot and have no generator then multiply by the daily high for that day reported by either Pat Shingleton or Jay Grymes), then add the number of trips to the washateria and the days left until school opens. Discount by the percentage of time spent at neighbors who have power. Recalculate as often as necessary

No matter how many times you flick the switch, lights don't work without electricity.
Vienna sausages only appear on the food pyramid during hurricane season.
Gas mileage is recalculated based on miles per fume.
Lovebugs do not disappear in 80mph wind gusts.
Disasters can cancel one LSU football game but there will be even bigger casualties if we cancel two.
Despite protests, kids can re-live their parents' youth when there were only 3 tv channels!

Cats are even more irritating without power.
Baton Rouge without traffic lights resembles Mexico City, Rome, Los Angeles and New York City all rolled into a single snarl.

A 7 lb bag of ice will chill 6-12 oz beers to a drinkable temperature in 11 minutes, and still keep a 14 lb. turkey frozen for 8 more hours.

There are/were a lot of really big trees around here!

Just because you're 18 doesn't mean you can stay out as late as you want. Mayor Holden meant business when he said curfew.

People will get into a line that has already formed without having any idea what the line is for.
Calories consumed during a hurricane or power outage do not count.

Telemarketers function no matter what the weather is doing. New Delhi does not check the weather report in Baton Rouge.

Most popular text message after September 1: do u hve pwr

Twenty-seven of your neighbors are fed from a different transformer than you, and they are quick to point that out!
Crickets and cicadas can increase their volume to overcome the sound of 14 generators.

Dirty clothes in an unsupervised hamper multiply at an exponential rate.
Coffee, spaghetti and frozen pizzas can be made on a grill.
He who has the biggest generator wins.

Tree service companies are under-appreciated, except after hurricanes.
Our Lady of the Lake never closes. Really.
Water will fill the Acadian Thruway underpass, even sometimes when it is not raining.
There are a lot more stars in the sky than most people thought.
If you owned a store that sold only ice, chain saws, gas and generators, you would be rich
With only a small amount of guilt South Louisiana can collectively pray a second hurricane to landfall in another state or country.

And so to our friends and families, some who are still without power and others who have endured great personal loss, you are in our prayers. Hang in there, we are making progress. Thank you to all our first responders, healthcare professionals, service technicians, teachers, police officers, small business owners, and more who join with the thousands of individuals sharing their time and talent to help restore our community to wholeness.

The most important lesson of all learned from Gustav in the last week is that the human spirit has an amazing resilience that even a hurricane cannot bend. Through God's love and amazing grace we can endure all things.

Called to Serve-My first essay since I've been back to school

Within the organization of my church, there is a leap of faith. All young men, at the age of 19, are strongly encouraged to take two years to serve as a full-time missionary. From the time I was a young child, my parents have taught me correct principles to help prepare me for this journey. My parents have always taught me to look for opportunities to help others. A friend needs a shoulder to cry on. An elderly woman asks for help in yard work. Anytime someone asks for my help, I need to assist in any way I can. I knew, however, there was more.

At an early age, I developed a desire to help people, to serve. With my family, I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the month after my 9th birthday. Although I was young, I still knew that what I was doing would lead me to serving in the ranks of God’s army. The young men who taught my parents, sister and me of the true gospel of Jesus Christ would live on in my memory as spiritual soldiers in this army of God and help to lead me to join this call to serve, specifically as a full-time missionary. These young Elders served our family so effortlessly. Without thought to themselves, they came into our home to share with us something so special; a gift that would stay with my family and strengthen us. Also, their time with my family would lead me to follow in their footsteps and so that I too could share this gift with others.

Nothing was going to stand in my way. I had options to not serve. There was the possibility of marriage, school or a job. I even had obstacles, but nothing slowed my drive to serve. My mind only thought about serving a mission. Even from the time of my baptism, I can remember only wanting to serve as an Elder. My desire to help others shattered any other wants, like a brick whirling through a pane of glass. To be honest, there were times of brief doubt or instances where I had to ponder if this was what I really wanted to do. This was two years of nothing but service. I’d be far away from my home. I would have no access to television, I could only call home twice a year, and I couldn’t date or even attend school. My life as I knew it would be put on hold. This was a decision I would need to make if I were to share this magical gift with others. As fast as electricity responds to flipping on a light switch, these concerns, these doubts were outshone by all of the positive things that this mission would bring to others.

As a servant of the Lord, I shared my testimony of truth to thousands of people. I bore strong witness to people who never heard of Jesus Christ. Through the spirit of Christ, people were converted to the knowledge that He lives. My ability to serve was not only spiritual. I slugged through manure to help clean out horse stalls. Some of my time was spent shoveling glass or gathering newspaper for a recycling center. During the winter with shovel in hand, I walked from house to house offering to shovel sidewalks and driveways. This, all of this, was worth the small sacrifice of two years. What better could I have done in two years on my own? I learned so much about service, which leads to the love of others. To be part of this force to serve helped me more than if I would have attended college for two years. If I would have worked for those two years, I still wouldn’t be as rich in spirit and life as I would have been monetarily. Stepping out of my life and into the ranks as a spiritual soldier continues to help me to serve others.

Today, I still see benefits of my mission. My ability to notice when someone needs a helping hand has increased. Most of my time as a missionary was spent talking to others about things that are very important to me. Certain points of doctrine aren’t understood by some of the people I taught which has instilled in me a judge not philosophy. I don’t judge people just because they think differently than I do. I can discuss things better now when I enter a disagreement. Before my mission, I might not have been so open-minded. I’ve learned patience as I’ve struggled to teach people who want to learn but won’t change their lifestyle to prove it. This all attests to my parents helping me, teaching me, and setting a good example for me to do what is right; of which I will always be grateful. This call to serve came from God but started through my parent’s decision to teach and give the very best to their son, the gift of service.