Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Random Thoughts

It has been awhile since I have posted anything on this blog - I guess you could say I am struggling with blogger's block. I am not sure if that is actually a condition, but I am claiming it. This is what has been on my mind lately.

As all of you know, my 4th child is expected to be born in the next 28 days. We will name her Katelyn Ruth. Ruth, after my maternal grandmother who passed away long ago and whom I don't remember all that well, and Katelyn because I love the name Kate and Michelle wouldn't allow me to just name her Kate. Kate, as in Kate from Lost. I know, I am a loser.

Update on my weight: I told Michelle yesterday that I feel like I have plateaued. I am at a solid 210 pounds, down about 14 pounds from when I started, and my motivation was struggling until this week I watched the season premiere of The Biggest Loser. Wow. I am once again motivated. Nothing like watching morbidly obese people who can barely walk up a flight of stairs without literally dying to motivate you back into eating perfectly. 17.2% body fat - down about 5% from when I started. I feel great - except that I have to get 4 new pairs of suit pants altered.

The fall television schedule is upon us. I have decided that I will not be watching any new shows that air on NBC. There is not a more despicable channel on the planet. I will however continue to watch The Office, 30 Rock and The Biggest Loser. Some habits are hard to break.

My BYU Cougars are ranked 8th in the country with a home opener this afternoon against highly ranked Florida State. This could be their toughest test to date. After the opening week's unexpected win over Oklahoma and last week's trouncing of Tulane, Florida State will be ready for this game. If they get past this game, I see the BCS in their future.

Last weekend, my mother spoke in Stake Conference on what it is like to be a single adult member of the church. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it there to listen to her but I did get a copy of the talk. It was most inspiring and I have since forwarded it to several of the single adult women in our ward. Each of them was completely inspired and grateful to have read it. I am proud of my Mom.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Niece's Blessing

Today being the first Sunday in September, it was Fast and Testimony meeting in our ward. It is the Sunday that is customarily used for the blessing of newborn babies. As such, my new niece Mackenzie was blessed today in their ward by her father TJ. Unfortunately, I also had to conduct the Sacrament meeting in our ward today.

So, after our Sacrament Meeting today, so that I could be a part of Mackenzie's blessing, I jumped in my car and rushed to the Cave Creek building, which is about 40 minutes north of the Stake Center, where our ward meets. I had to hurry to get there so I wouldn't miss it and honestly, I wasn't looking forward to the drive. I walked in just before the meeting started and squeezed into the pew next to Michelle.

The Bishop called TJ and Mackenzie up to be blessed, along with all the other family members that had been invited to be in the circle. We went to the front, formed a circle around Mackenzie, and something very special happened. I am not sure if anybody else in the circle or congregation noticed, but I did and I am sure TJ noticed as well.

Mackenzie was a little fussy and began to cry softly. Having blessed three of my own children, I know the stress that this can cause. There is nothing more difficult than trying to feel the promptings of the Spirit when blessing your child, who you love more than anything and want to bless with everything that is appropriate and good, and she is crying. This happened to me in at least one of my child's blessings. As TJ laid Mackenzie into our hands and we began to rythmically bounce her (because that's all we know how to do), she spit out her pacifier and began to cry again, a little louder and I knew that this would be distracting to TJ.

Instead of putting my hand under the baby, I took her pacifier and put it in her mouth and held it there as softly as I could and kind of cradled her head to try and calm her down. She continued to wimper a little bit and it wasn't until TJ actually started the blessing and she could hear his voice that she calmed down and stopped crying.

Because I was holding her head and her pacifier, I actually kept my eyes open most of the blessing. I know it's not the reverent thing to do, but I didn't want to choke her with the pacifier or accidentally poke her in the eye or something. It was the coolest experience to watch Mackenzie, whose eyes were open and were fixed on TJ the entire blessing, and I knew that she knew who was speaking to her. She didn't make a sound for the entire blessing and TJ was able to concentrate calmly and listen to the promptings of the Spirit and give a beautiful blessing.

After the blessing, as is customary in the LDS Church, I took the pacifier from Mackenzie so that TJ could hold her up and show her to the ward much like Mufasa did with Simba in the Lion King. I handed TJ the pacifier, he gently kissed Mackenzie on the forehead and I made the 40 minute drive back to our ward to attend to my responsibilities. I am thankful not only for the priesthood that allows fathers like myself and TJ the blessing of being able to bless our children, but also for a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to allow me to have spiritual experiences when I least expect them.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Are the Cards Who We Thought They Were?

A couple of years ago, when Dennis Green was still the coach of the Cardinals, he had one of the greatest postgame rants ever recorded on video. His lowly Cardinals had just absolutely broken the hearts of Cards fans everywhere on a Monday night home game against the Chicago Bears by basically handing them the game after having it won. They truly stole defeat from the jaws of victory. It was pathetic.

After the game, Denny Green let loose with his now famous tirade about the Chicago Bears, "The Bears are who we thought they were!!!" He said it like 10 times; it was an instant classic. He was also out of a job at the end of the season because the Cardinals that year were exactly who we thought they were: a very bad team.

After last year's unexpected and glorious run to the Super Bowl, I have very high hopes for the Cards this year. They should have one of the more potent offenses in recent NFL history. They have who I consider to be one of the brightest coaches in the NFL right now. They also have a new running back in Beanie Wells, who if he stays healthy, has no limits. Their defense pretty much is the same as last year; logically speaking, this means they should be better because they are a year older and have all that playoff experience under their belts.

Having said all that, the Cardinals have looked lethargic at best during the preseason. Their first string offense has been horrible, although Matt Leinart has looked fantastic on the 2nd team and their running game is much improved. Their defense has been absolutely abysmal; they can't stop anyone. Needless to say, I am a little worried about this team. It seems to me that they believe they can just flip the switch when they need to and be that same great team from last year, and I am afraid that no such switch exists.

The one bright hope that I have in this team is their coach, Ken Whisenhunt. I believe him to be much smarter and far more dedicated a coach than Dennis Green or any of his predecessors. I think he has a way of motivating this team, although they have seemed very unmotivated the last 4 weeks.

My question to the reading audience is: Are the Cardinals going to be who we think they can be? Or will they revert back to the Cardinals of old: a huge, fat disappointment? I sure hope they can start playing like the Cards of last year, because I believe that deep down, Phoenix is a football city waiting to erupt.

Update on my weight: 215.4 pounds, 19.4% body fat, 36 inch waist (I started at 38). I am feeling pretty good.