Saturday, February 21, 2009

Formal introductions are in order for Jewel’s family, soon to be expanding. Jewel moved to Las Vegas the summer she graduated from high school. She was almost 18 (2001). I was not keen on the idea and was standing (trying to) in the way, but Janeil convinced me to look at it in a positive light, which was smart and a comfort, since obviously she’d have soon gone anyway! She got a good job almost immediately as a receptionist at Rebel Oil Company. Johnny Scarborough was a coworker and she always spoke highly of him as being an easy going and supportive friend, who would do anything asked, for anybody. Recently he told her that early on when she worked there, he was with friends and his mom, her name came up, and Johnny told her, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry one day.” Upon a bit of quizzing, he also said if he could ‘build’ a girl, she’d be it. Jewel says she was oblivious to all this. She lived with three sets of girls prior to getting married in the fall of 2004 and worked at Rebel for three and a half years.

Jewel renewed her Rebel acquaintances a year and a half ago, and she and Johnny grew closer. He’s 28 and from Beatty, Nevada. Beatty is a town of around a thousand on the border of California, near Death Valley. He has one brother, younger, Seth. They have played together since high school, Seth guitar and vocal, Johnny drums. They occasionally still play together including back in Beatty. Their parents grew up near and still live in Beatty, and they have grandparents in Las Vegas and Georgia.

Johnny has worked for Rebel for over ten years. He is their “trouble-shooter” and he travels around to the various stations (of which there are many in and around Vegas) keeping things in good repair and working order, from sprinklers to AC to fuel equipment. Jewel appreciates his skills, as he also keeps things at home in working order and good condition. She says he is “finisher” - likes to do projects and always gets them done quickly and professionally.

He has a dog named Chuck and unfortunately Jewel doesn’t appreciate him very much so they live mostly in an uneasy truce. Jewel loves dogs and has her own, Roscoe, a Jack Russell, but Chuck, a large purebred English Bulldog (picture - his “cousin”), through no fault of his own, isn’t prone to keeping things in what could be termed good condition. It will be a true test of Johnny’s gentle nature being stuck in the middle!

Jewel had a very good job in Provo for a few months when she started her divorce (which took
f-o-r-e-v-e-r I might add!), and they let her stay in one of their contract homes when she went back to Vegas, where she lived a year and a half, up until December. (Turns out you should think long and hard about marrying/living in Nevada, because she would have had to obtain his permission to live anywhere else [and still retain ANY custody rights]!) The house ended up in foreclosure. Johnny bought another foreclosed house a few blocks away, same builder, as they prefer its floor plan and it was a much better deal. His mortgage is close to the same as he paid for the house he’d been renting.

Johnny is a skilled quad runner and has a large circle of friends and family with the same interest. He bought Hayden a child’s size quad for his third birthday last year (complete with kill switch). Johnny is a happy and grounded person, and has a very wry sense of humor. I tell him he should be a radio announcer (deep melodious voice).

Johnny has been a very good addition to Hayden and Jewel’s life. I see Hayden being much more respectful of his mom, and I see a calmness in Jewel’s life she’s never ever had. Her job, due to the economy (high-end high-rise leasing), ended in December, and she “gets” to be a stay-at-home mom, courtesy of Johnny. I can’t imagine how she’d have survived her housing and employment crisis, without him. (Other than the fact that she’s definitely a survivor and would have regrouped surprisingly well, as always.) But I’m also glad they were already committed to each other before those storms arose. Pretty big step for a guy who’s never even been engaged. I wish them the best as they meet the challenge of soon adding a sister for Hayden to the family.

[Was thinking of picking music to go with this, but actually, I think the one that’s at the top of the list from the last blog, still applies. Great drumming and musicality in general, upbeat, supportive … composed the year Jewel was born. (I know, I know, Jewel's rolling her eyes….)]

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I’ve been flopping from annoyed to angry to irritated to worried to sad to scared over growing anti-Mormon online local newspaper comments, so a particular forwarded email struck a chord. I was thinking of sharing it, but googled it because there’s so much ‘fact’ phony baloney out there. Found one of my suspicions was correct --

Some time ago ‘In a local newspaper in Provo, Utah, there had been an ongoing series of articles written by individuals who wanted to persuade LDS Church members to leave the Church. In response to the highly critical and spirited remarks, a local member wrote this rebuttal….’

-- if it really occurred (couldn’t verify that, including the archives), from reading the text it was a v-e-r-y long time ago and whomever first started the forwarded email flow deceptively left off those first three words! (It’s still a good rebuttal however, and entitled “Quit the Church.")

In looking for the “proof” that it was actually a published editorial, I ran across the funniest long dialog on The subject was people’s feelings about how boring and long church is. I’m sure it’s a timeless issue. Reminds me of Grant saying it was boring when he was four, and I asked him what would improve it, and he said, “Vending machines in the foyer.” Some of the funnier ones:

One guy who is an organist said, more well thought out and prepared music would help and that he was called ‘the Van Halen of church organists.’ Someone took offense to that and said, “You say you’re the ‘Van Halen’ of church organists, but can you play the keyboard part from ‘Jump’? Well, I can, and as anyone can tell you, that makes me REALLY COOL!” [Bitter mockery=envy throughout comment.] Organist’s answer: “Of course I can, Aaron. I played in a rock cover band in the 80s.”

“One way to improve a boring lesson is to make a thought-provoking comment. I haven’t tried doing this during a sacrament meeting yet, though I’ve been tempted to raise my hand a few times.”

“People imitating GAs is often worse than people that don’t know how to speak at all--the creepy staring at people or trite poems.” [Like the vice/monster one? ☺]

“A lot of the responses seem to be very self-centered: ‘If only I were in charge, church would be much better.’ I’m rolling my eyes so fast the friction is keeping me warm on this cool autumn night.”

“I’m just biding my time for the day when my wife gets sick of it. It probably won’t happen, and that’s okay. I’ll attend weekly for the rest of my life, if needed, but if she comes around, I’m gone.”

“In my laziest, I’m-never-getting-out-of-bed-again moments, I honestly can’t remember or believe how uplifting it is to do something generous or spiritually replenishing. But I have enough experience to know not to trust that amnesia.”

“I tend to spend my meetings reading my NIV or some good gospel or scripture related book (which excludes most stuff coming out of Deseret, IMHO).” [In my humble opinion.]

“I finally realized that I wasn’t at church to be stimulated, intellectually challenged, or even inspired. Church wasn’t about me. [She admitted naively bringing a book to read until she realized people noticed and were deeply offended.] I was there to love the people. This should not have come as news to me since I’ve known this on one level for a long, long time.”

In response to a commenter named “Rosalynde”: “(P.S.–can I just say that it makes me unreasonably happy to see your name on the screen? It’s just such a great name, especially with the ‘y’. / gush mode off /)”

“I find myself dreading Gospel Doctrine every Sunday morning before I go to church because I know it will be full of idiotic Republican comments. And when I go, I get very mad at those people. But then I take a deep breath, say a prayer begging for the ability to forgive and forget, and to be able to focus on the lesson. And, quite often, what happens is that I do focus on the lesson and have some of the most spiritually uplifting experiences of my week.”

“To be honest I hear far more anti-business comments than stereotypical Republican comments. About the only exception might be gambling, pornography, and abortion.”

“He [God] makes do with what is available. There seems to be a correlation between simple faith and diligence and pigheaded prejudice. I’m sure God is as grieved by that as you or I am.”

“I hate going to church, and I enjoy it. I hate the members, and I admire them. But I don’t hate Heavenly Father. If this is the best he can do, it’s not his fault. It’s up to us to make the church better.”

Well, even though my drawing attention to this issue in this way could be termed grossly ‘irreverent’ all by itself ;), might I just add that taking one’s family to church regularly teaches them a lot more than the gospel!  Went to a funeral awhile back of a member in an extended family of whom most were inactive, where I witnessed: children roaming around behaving well beyond just irreverent, adults wandering in late, people answering their phones and getting up to go talk to some live person apparently more important than the dead (I guess I should be glad they left the room), people visiting with their neighbor during hymns, adults dressed in starkly nonchapel attire, a speaker having to go back down and spend five minutes hunting through her assorted odds and ends to find her speech, even the husband of the deceased had something so important to do that well into the program he left the chapel for 10 minutes! And to top it off, having to wait an extra 10 minutes at the end for the family to exit while the chatters in the group blocked the isle. At first I thought this was the biggest live demo I had ever witnessed of genetic ADHD. Finally realized it was due to the untaught/unexpected need for respect and self-control. Which you get, over time (some longer than others), if you attend church regularly:  three hours’ disambiguation a week (though you only recognize it in retrospect).

[Note to self: refer 11/08 Ensign pp. 17, 47.]