Teaching Family History in the Ward

My wife and I were recently called as Ward Missionaries and Family History Consultants. The purpose of this hybrid calling is to focus on Family History and use that as a tool to assist with Missionary Work. We are both really excited about this calling and the opportunity we will have to focus more on our own family history research and in finding our ancestors who need to have their temple work done and teaching others how they can be a part of this great work.

I will probably be posting more and more about family history research, sharing my experiences and what I am finding as I continue my family history. Here are my first few thoughts on Teaching Family History in the Ward.

What is Family History?

Elder Allan F.  Packer, Family History Is More Than Just Genealogy, RootsTech 2013

“Genealogy is an important subset of family history.  Family history includes genealogy but is much broader in scope and time. It is not limited to the past, but includes the present and the future. Family history is the history of a family past, present, and future.

Create your history as you live in the present, discover the past by learning of the stories of your ancestors, and shape the future by sharing your stories.”

Family History is, quite literally, a history of families.  We learn about our families: who they were, how they lived, what their relationships were.  The Church has in the last several years been pushing Family History as opposed to Genealogy.  We are not just looking for names and dates, we are looking for people, for family members.   And we want to know about their lives — who they were between the birth date and the death date.  We do not just ‘take names’ to the temple, we take people.  We perform sacred ordinances for our family members.  The names that we look for and find when doing family history research are our ancestors, they came before us and we have a responsibility to learn of them.

The doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is clear — “the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.“ – The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  Families existed before we were born onto this earth and our families will exist eternally after our time here has ended.  Thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all will be resurrected and all will have the opportunity of accepting the Gospel of Christ and repenting of their sins and receiving a place in the Celestial Kingdom of our God.

Families can be sealed together through the restored priesthood of God, and our deceased ancestors can receive the same saving ordinances of baptism, confirmation, temple endowment and sealing of spouses and children.  This is why we do this work.  We help our families accept the gospel of Christ and accept the same redeeming ordinances that we enjoy.

“I hope to see us dissolve the artificial boundary line we so often place between missionary work and temple and genealogical work, because it is the same great redemptive work!”

President Spencer W. Kimball, “The Things of Eternity—Stand We in Jeopardy?” Ensign, Jan. 1977

 

I heard it explained once to someone who was not a member of our church that we are inviting our deceased ancestors to a great eternal family reunion.   They are not obligated to accept the invitation, but we have the responsibility of inviting them, of performing the saving temple ordinances so that we can all be sealed together as a family.

At RootsTech 2015 in February, Elder Quentin L. Cook introduced the Church’s new emphasis for Family History with the following motto — “Find, Take, Teach”

https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2015-07-01-find-take-teach?lang=eng)

 

FIND: Use the FamilySearch website or the My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together booklet to find the names of one or more of your ancestors or their descendants.

TAKE: Take these names to the temple or share them with others so they can take them to the temple (when possible, do this as a family).

TEACH: Teach your family, and then teach others to do the same thing.

 

Find – Start with yourself. Add your parents and grandparents.  FamilySearch.org has a lot of information already on deceased ancestors, you should be able to fairly quickly connect to a deceased ancestor.   If you are missing information, ask family members or search historical records to find the information you need.

Take: From FamilySearch.org there is a Temple tab which will show those individuals in your family tree that need temple ordinances.   You can reserve these ordinances and print a sheet which you take to the temple, where the name cards will be printed.

Teach: Teach your family this process, and then teach your friends and neighbors.  There is a lot of interest in the world in family and family history.  We have amazing resources available to us that we can share with our friends and neighbors.

 

Family History research is sometimes daunting and overwhelming for many members of the Church.  Recent converts or those individuals from convert families may feel there is too much work to do and they don’t know where to start.  Those who come from families that have been members of the Church for several generations may feel that all of their family history work has already been done and they don’t know where to start.  Some members may be uncomfortable with computers and internet technology that seem to be taking over the world of family history research.  Others may well be familiar with computers, but do not know which of the many family history and genealogy software and sites to use. It can all certainly be overwhelming.

I start with counsel from October 2015 General Conference from Pres.  Uchtdorf

Start where you are.

“My second suggestion is: start where you are.

Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not “more” of something—more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly, or capable. Naturally, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve. God created us to grow and progress. But remember, our weaknesses can help us to be humble and turn us to Christ, who will “make weak things become strong.” Satan, on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to the point that we are discouraged from even trying.  I learned in my life that we don’t need to be “more” of anything to start to become the person God intended us to become.God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you. All you need is a willing heart, a desire to believe, and trust in the Lord. “ Pres.  Dieter F.  Uchtdorf, “It Works Wonderfully”, October 2015

 

We just need to start where we are, with what we have and move forward.   The Church has many great tools and resources designed to help everyone start and continue with their family history research.  BYU has a class on Family History and they outline the Five Step Research Process.

BYU Five-step Research Process 

Step 1.  Fill out a Pedigree Chart or log into FamilySearch.org and start setting up your tree. Fill in as much information as you currently know.  As you enter information, try to verify it with documents and records (such as birth, marriage, or death records) to prove the correct information.   Save these sources and cite them in your family tree.

Step 2.  Find the gaps in your information, determine what you want to know.  Fill out a research log to keep track of your research so that you do not need to duplicate your efforts.  Clearly write what you are looking for, where you are looking for it, and what you found.

Step 3.  Determine what records will get you the information you are looking for.

  1. Are you looking for a birth, marriage, death date or place? The name of sibling or parent? What records would have that information?
  2.  What is a primary record vs. a secondary record?
    1.  A primary record was created at the time and place of the event.  Ex.  A marriage certificate is a primary record for the marriage date and place. Consider who created the record and why and how they obtained the information contained in the record.
    2.  A secondary record is created at some later date.  Ex. A census is not a primary record, but can provide useful information in locating the correct primary record.  A death certificate is a primary record for the death date and place, but is a secondary record for the birth of that individual – it was entered after the fact and may not be accurate.

Step 4.  Obtain the records

  1.  Where is this record to be found? Online? Family History Library on microfilm? State, County, City Office?
  2.  Cost of obtaining record? Copies? Do you want the actual record or just the information from it? Maybe you record the information and cite the source now, and later decide to pay to have the actual record.  Always record where you found the information so you can find it later if needed and so others can duplicate your research.
  3.  How will you store the record? Is it digital or need to be scanned and uploaded? Do you have a box or file folder?

Step 5.  Use the information

  1.  Enter information into FamilySearch.org
  2.  Submit the information to the temple for the work to be done
  3.  Write your family history, share this information with your family and share the research process to help inspire them.

BYU 5-Step Research Process

 

  • Step 1: Identify What You Know About Your Family

This step includes filling out a pedigree chart and family group records with what you already know about your family, gathering additional information from home sources and relatives, and organizing your records for easy access.

  • Step 2: Decide What You Want to Learn About Your Family

This step involves selecting a specific ancestor about whom you would like to know more, determining what you would like to know about that ancestor, and preparing a research log (https://familyhistorylab.byu.edu/sites/familyhistorylab.byu.edu/files/researchlog.pdf).

  • Step 3: Select Records to Search

This step involves identifying the category of record you need to search in order to find out what you would like to know. This record category might be a compiled record, an original record, or a reference source. The step then involves identifying the specific record to be searched next, and describing it in your research log.

  • Step 4: Obtain and Search the Record

This step involves obtaining the record from the Family History Library, or another repository, searching it, and recording the results of the search on your log. You may also make an extract or photocopy of that information.

  • Step 5: Use the Information

This step includes submitting names for temple ordinances, submitting information to Pedigree Resource File, posting information on the Internet, writing family histories, and other uses of the information.

 

Advertisements

Thoughts on General Conference October 2015

These are just some thoughts I wrote after watching and enjoying the October 2015 General Conference.  It was a wonderful, spiritual experience and I thoroughly enjoyed the thoughts and impressions I had.  I look forward to having the text of these talks and studying them more in depth to glean even more from them. I encourage everyone to check out the Church’s website in the coming days for these amazing talks, sure to uplift and embolden the spirit.

There was a lot of emphasis on the basics of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, on reading and studying the scriptures and praying.  Pres. Uchtdorf reminded us to simplify and to rejoice in the simplicity that is in Christ.  There are so many things that we allow into our lives that are eternally unnecessary.  

Remember the testimony you have experienced and commit to move forward in the strength of that testimony.   Elder Holland taught beautifully of the power of motherly love.  I remember what my mother said to me in the celestial room of the Seattle temple that first time I went – “I have waited a long time to see you here” I believe that our Father in Heaven says the same thing when we attend his holy temple, and will say the same thing when we meet him after this life.
President Eyring during Priesthood session taught that the Lord will bless his priesthood holders when they faithfully fulfill their duties.  I need to reach out more, be kinder and friendlier, speak less harshly,  I need to make friends in the Elder’s Quorum and at work.  And then in the spirit of love and friendship I can bear honest and simple testimony and invite freely to come closer to Christ.

And President Monson again reminded us of the basics of the Gospel – Keep the commandments, in this there is safety and peace.   It really is that simple.  As we keep the commandments that the Lord has given us through his Prophets and Apostles we will be blessed with safety and peace.  We can know that the commandments are truly given us from our loving Father in Heaven as we read and study in the scriptures and pray and seek the Holy Spirit.  And we will gain the spiritual strength necessary to enable us to keep the commandments.

Repeated throughout the Conference was the counsel to observe the Sabbath Day, to increase our worship.  We were also asked to ‘ponderize’ a scripture a week.  This will certainly help us “always remember Him” which will guarantee us the promise of always having his spirit be with us.  That spirit will in turn help us gain more from our Sabbath worship and our scripture study, as well as help us resist the temptation that comes.  We remember that the Lord is at the head of this Church, he leads and guides the leaders of this Church whom he has called.   We may complain about them and what they say, but these are the men whom he has called and prepared.   They stand as witnesses of Christ and reach out to the entire world with his message of peace and love.  As we give heed to their counsel we will be blessed as we obey the commandments of God given us through these Prophets and Apostles.

For me, the take-away of General Conference is that I need to take a step back and begin again doing those basic things that help us develop a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I need daily prayer, sincere prayer and conversation with my Father in Heaven.  I need daily scripture study which is more than just reading a few words on a digital screen.  I need to truly “always remember him” so that I can claim the promised blessing of always having his spirit to be with me.   And with his spirit I can do all things.  I can find the spiritual strength and power to keep the commandments, to reach out with love to my brothers and sisters, in the Church and out of it, and fulfill those priesthood responsibilities that I have been assigned.   I do not like Home Teaching, not because I do not enjoy going into the homes of those my brethren in the Elder’s Quorum to share a Gospel message, but because I become anxious when talking to people I do not know in order to schedule an appointment.   I guess it is just the initial fear of contact, if I had an established monthly appointment, I would have no problem doing my Home Teaching each month, but I fear and stop when I am asked to talk to someone I do not know and do not have an established relationship with.   Seeking and maintaining the companionship of the Holy Ghost will help me overcome these misguided fears and allow me to reach out in love and in the true spirit of Home Teaching to care for my brethren in the quorum and their families.   

What did you enjoy about this General Conference? What thoughts impressed you? What do you plan to change because of what you heard and felt?

Marriage, Equality, and Pride

By now the news has surely spread that the Supreme Court of the United States has announced that same-sex marriages must be allowed in all 50 states.   Gay marriage is now legal across the entire United States.   My Twitter feed has been a constant stream of posts about this subject, most of them in favor and celebrating this long-awaited decision.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about the subject, and it mostly stems from the separation I see between legality and morality.   Personally, I believe that marriage is ordained of God and He has decreed that it is between one man and one woman and that it can and should, when sealed with the proper authority, be eternal.   That is God’s goal for all of His children – to be united in one eternal family and as individual families.   Family is the whole purpose of existence — we are born into families and grow up in families and seek to create families of our own when we reach an age.

Marriage between a man and a woman who have been married by the Priesthood authority of God and who are faithful in keeping the commandments of God will last beyond the grave.   There are certain laws that govern eternal marriage and eternal happiness.   Lasting happiness and joy only come when we are obedient to the commandments of God.   And there are no double standards with God — all of His children are asked and expected to keep the same commandments to the best of their ability.  But, knowing that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”, the Atonement of Christ was provided to allow all of us to repent and return to live with our Father again.

This brings me to that word which has been so often used in the debates and discussions around same-sex marriage – Equality.   Many have claimed that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is discriminatory and not being fair because of its stance on this issue.  But, the Church’s stance on marriage has been consistent.   Marriage is between a man and a woman, and any sexual relation outside of this marriage is sin.   True, this stance condemns any homosexual relationship, but it also does not condone any heterosexual relationship outside of marriage – no affairs, no premarital sex, nothing.   The commandment is the same for everybody – isn’t that equal?

And this weekend, in Seattle at least, is a massive LBGT event that has appropriated another word which I used to like – Pride.   It is one thing to have pride in what you do, in who you are, in where you come from, etc.  but it is another thing to declare, loudly and brazenly, that everyone who disagrees with you is wrong.  It seems that these Pride events are less about asking for acceptance of a lifestyle that is not the norm and more about getting in your face with over-the-top exhibitions of that lifestyle.   They seem to embrace all of the outlandish, extreme stereotypes and flaunt them – almost as if they are offending the religious conservative members of society simply because they can.

And in writing about this, I was reminded of something I was talking about in Sunday School last week, where I taught a lesson on Matthew 23 and how Jesus spoke of the scribes and Pharisees of his day and how we can avoid hypocrisy in our lives.   I referenced a General Conference address given by President Ezra Taft Benson in April of 1989 – Beware of Pride.  He said, “In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride—it is always considered a sin. Therefore, no matter how the world uses the term, we must understand how God uses the term so we can understand the language of holy writ and profit thereby.“

But toward the end of his address, President Benson also stated, “Our degree of pride determines how we treat our God and our brothers and sisters. Christ wants to lift us to where He is. Do we desire to do the same for others?”  That needs to be our guiding principle in life — What is our desire for those around us?  Even if they disagree with us, or with our closely-held religious beliefs, we can and should desire to accept them, love them and help them become the eternally happy children of God that they intrinsically are.

This is indeed an historic day, a major Supreme Court decision was handed down that will affect politics in this country for generations to come.   There will be both support and backlash among our family, friends, and acquaintances, but we need to remember civility in all of our communications.

The bottom line is — My dissent is not discrimination and my acceptance of your newly declared legal rights is not approval of your actions.

On School Discipline

There was an interesting tweet I read from The Seattle Times about an upcoming Education Lab event.   It read, “Suspending students does more harm than good. But what’s the alternative? Join the conversation on May 20” and linked to this registration page, where it states, “Study after study has confirmed what many parents, students and teachers already know: Traditional school discipline often doesn’t work. Students who are suspended have a higher risk of dropping out and their behavior typically doesn’t improve when they get back to class.

What would help discipline work better?

Join the Seattle Times Education Lab for a thoughtful discussion about the way our schools handle discipline. “

 

This is a very important topic to discuss as teachers, as parents, and as anyone who has interest in education.   What is the best way to discipline a student?

I never really understood suspension as a punishment, even when I was a student.  Those students who don’t want to be in school anyway are ‘punished’ by not being allowed to go to school.   It never made sense.

On the one hand I understand that when a student is misbehaving or disrupting the instruction in a classroom he/she needs to be removed from that classroom so that the rest of the students can continue to learn. And I guess a suspension that requires a student to stay at home is supposed to cause some inconvenience for the parents, who must find a way to care for the child while they are not in school. I suppose a parent having to take off work because their child was suspended from school is supposed to get the parent involved and working to discipline the child so that the behavior does not continue or repeat, but I have not often found that to be the case.

There needs to be a balance found in discipline between the needs of the individual student and the needs of the rest of the class.   And, to be honest, before we can begin talking about the best way to handle discipline we need to have a serious discussion about the purpose of discipline.   Is discipline intended to simply punish a student for wrong-doing or is it intended as correction, to help the student improve their behavior? It is the same argument for the prison system – is it intended to punish or to reform?  Is it a deterrent (avoid the punishment) or is it a social program (help people become better)?

Of course, discipline needs to be, at least partially, both.  Students who misbehave or break school rules need to be punished as a clear indicator that such behavior is not tolerated and cannot be repeated or duplicated by any other student.   But discipline should also work with the student to help correct inappropriate behaviors and ensure they can return to the classroom and continue their education.

I am more a proponent of In-School Suspension programs, then, because they do separate out the student who is causing a problem or disruption in the classroom, allowing the classmates to continue learning and the teacher to continue with the lesson plan, but it also provides something for the student to do.   Usually the student is given some schoolwork that they need to complete, not busy work to keep them occupied, but actual assignments from their classes that they need to work on.   In-School Suspension, in this case, works on the same principle as a Study Hall, giving the student an opportunity and the time needed to complete their school assignments.   This sends the message that while the student needed to be separated from the classroom for a time due to behavior issues, they are still expected to complete the required assignments and meet their educational objectives. School is still stressed as being important, unlike the situation when the student is sent home, where the message is “School is important, but it is more important for other students than it is for you.  You don’t need school right now, you just need to leave so others can do school properly. “


There also needs to be involvement from everyone affected — students, teachers, administrators, and parents.  All need to be on the same page with regard to the purposes and goals of discipline.  All need to work together so that individual students’ educational goals can be met as well as community educational goals and the educational objectives of the school as a whole.  This needs to be an ongoing discussion in our schools and in our homes. Everyone needs to understand the reasons behind different types of discipline and work together to ensure that everyone is able to learn and grow properly in school.

Mormon Monday: Nothing but Repentance

There is a phrase that appears several times in the scriptures, a few times in the Doctrine and Covenants and a few times in the Book of Mormon, that I have always found extremely interesting.   “Say nothing but repentance unto this generation” or in the Book of Mosiah, 18:20, “Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people. “

When I think about what we teach in the Church and how we, as members of the Church, talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I do not think that we follow these commandments from the Lord to “say nothing but repentance”, and because we do not I do not think we have a correct understanding of what repentance is and the role it should play in our daily lives.

I have been thinking about this for a while and have started writing this post, gathering my thoughts on this subject and a couple of things that were said at Church yesterday reminded me of this and furthered the discussion.

What does it mean to cry nothing by repentance?  How often do we talk about repentance in the Church?

Why is it when we talk about repentance or the Atonement it is usually about great sins, almost shaming people, filling them with guilt? I think part of it might be the language that we use — I have never liked the word repentance.   Etymologically it is derived from the Latin poena which means penalty and also gives us the words penance, penitence, and punish.   These are all very negative words focusing on the consequences of sin and not, as repentance should be, focused on returning to God and reconciling ourselves with him.   In the Hebrew Bible one of the words that is translated as repentance is שוב shuv  which means ‘to return’, which is similar in German where the word used is Umkehr, which quite literally means to turn around.   The idea is that we stop what we are doing, stop going down the path we are going down, turn around and return to God.

If we can lose the negative connotations of repentance and learn to embrace repentance as a returning to God, as a positive step towards becoming like our Father in Heaven, then I believe we can speak more openly and more often about repentance in our Church meetings without everybody feeling like they are being punished.   We need to change the way we speak about repentance to encourage everyone to be repenting daily, of everything that separates us from God.   We need to be constantly turning and returning to God, working our way back to him, becoming more like him on a daily basis.

The Atonement exists for everything, repentance exists for everything that stops us from being like God.   Moroni teaches us that we must “deny yourselves of all ungodliness” (Moroni 10:32), we need to remove all things that are not godly about our behavior and our conduct.   The beautiful thing about this process is that if we remove everything that is ungodly about ourselves, what remains is godliness.   That is how we become as God is, by simply ‘denying ourselves all ungodliness.’ Repentance is the process by which we become godly, the process by which we “lay aside every sin which doth so easily beset us” (Hebrews 12:1). It is not just for great sins and evil deeds, it is for the small, little actions that we take every day which remove us from the presence of the Lord.   It is for thoughts in our minds and our hearts that keep us from being perfectly godly.   It is for everything, and needs to be used and applied daily — multiple times a day.

A speaker in Sacrament meeting, in discussing the Atonement provided a great analogy.   He said that the Atonement is NOT like our food storage, which we dip into only in emergencies, but mostly ignored during our day-to-day.   We do not need the Atonement only during emergencies, only during great sins or misdeeds.   The Atonement needs to become part of our daily lives, a staple of our diet.

Which tied in rather nicely to the Sunday School lesson we had on John chapter 6 where Jesus feeds the multitude with a few loaves and fish and then teaches the spiritual principle that He is the bread of life and if we feast upon Him and his Atonement then we shall never be hungry again.   We had a great discussion during Sunday School about what it means to feast ung the bread of life, what is involved in the process of eating and the many different metaphors and analogies that use eating terminology.   We talked about tasting and chewing and swallowing as part of the eating process with the phrases that we use almost daily about having a taste as a metaphor for trying new things, chewing as in”chew on that” – to really ponder and mull it over, and swallow, as in “I could not swallow that idea” – to not be able to understand or accept.   All of these ideas are part of coming to Christ and partaking of his Atonement.

One brother, who likes to read several different versions and translations of the Bible and read different commentaries pointed out that the Greek word that is translated as “eat” when Christ asks his disciples to eat of his flesh has a habitual meaning to it, in the way we say that some animals eat nuts and berries — implying that they survive off those foods, that is how they live, it is not just something they eat once or twice, but that is what they eat consistently to survive. We need to eat of the bread of life, we need to partake of the Atonement of Christ in a habitual way, in an ongoing way, as part of our daily diet and not, as pointed out earlier, only as emergency food storage to be used when we absolutely need it.

I think part of our conversation problem in the Church is that we do put so much emphasis on the works part of the gospel, we rightly teach people of the things they need to be doing in their lives to keep the commandments of God, we speak so much about ordinances and performances that we overlook or relegate the idea of Grace and Mercy to the back burner.   We teach so much about the things we must be doing — reading and praying and going to Church and paying our tithing and doing our Home Teaching and . .  and . . .  and . . .  et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.   I think we forget that Lehi also teaches “Salvation is free” and that the Atonement of Christ applies to all.

What made yesterday all that much better was the lesson we had in Elder’s Quorum where we discussed the talk from October 2014 General Conference by Jörg Klebingat, “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence”.  He said,

Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is very practical, you should apply it generously 24/7, for it never runs out. Embrace the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance as things that are to be welcomed and applied daily according to the Great Physician’s orders.Establish an attitude of ongoing, happy, joyful repentance by making it your lifestyle of choice . . .  spiritual confidence increases when you voluntarily and joyfully repent of sins, both small and great, in real time by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

 

The Atonement of Christ is real and it really applies to each and every one of us in countless ways every day.   I have said this before but I firmly believe that there is really only one commandment, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt.  5:48). All other commandments exist to help us achieve that commandment.   OR, in other words, as Moroni stated, “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness” (Moroni 10:32).  We can each of us be a little better today than we were yesterday, and be a little better tomorrow than we were today.   That is all the God asks of us.   That we are striving to approach him, and he has promised us, through his Son, Jesus Christ, that we can be better, that we can be perfect.   The Atonement, as part of our daily lives, will improve is in every aspect of our lives and our relationships with others.

We need to repent more often.  And we need to say nothing but repentance unto those of this generation.   Nothing else can reconcile us to the Father and allow us to enter into his presence and live with him again.   Repentance through the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the greatest gift given to man, and we need to exercise the faith necessary to repentance so that we may also approach the throne of God with confidence and know that He is our Father and that we have become like Him.

On Solving Problems, and When It’s Okay Not To

I work tech support and have done so for about 7 years, and so all my life is about solving problems, fixing things that aren’t working, and helping people do things that they are not able to do themselves.   I enjoy it, I really do.   I like having a problem presented to me, and then working out how to resolve it.   That is what I have spent my whole day doing for these past several years, and so solving problems has become an integral part of my life and the way that I view the world.   I often approach situations in the same way that I approach my work — as an issue to be resolved, a problem to be troubleshot, an incident requiring a solution.

That is great, it has certainly helped me in a lot of ways.   I am able to take in a whole situation and begin applying troubleshooting techniques to break it down into more manageable projects and issues which are more easily solved.   It does make some aspects of life easier – to approach them as problems to be solved, and as situations to be taken one step at a time.  It is a logical way of looking at the world and I enjoy it.

But, I have had some problems of my own that are not so easily solved.   And there are some problems that do not have easy solutions, or are not meant to be solved.   I found myself thinking about this recently after a discussion with my wife.

There have been some major changes in our lives recently, as we moved across the country and are still looking for a job in our new home in Seattle and are trying to adjust to a new living situation and our son growing up and becoming more independent and defiant.   Though we have been married six years this weekend, I am still learning many things about my wife and we are still working on drawing closer to each other.   My wife is one of those people who needs to talk through her problems and issues.   She likes to talk and explain things as her way of working through them, and I do my best to sit and listen to her, being attentive to her needs.

The problem arises when I immediately launch into troubleshooting mode and want to solve all of her problems.   For me, that is what life is about, that is what I do.  People come to me complaining or bringing up problems that they have all day and they expect me to solve their problems and be quick about it.   That’s what I do as technical support.   But, my wife is not a technical issue.   Our family is not a technical issue.   I want to solve all problems quickly and then move on to the next one, because that is what I have trained for and studied and learned, but I am learning that my wife often just wants someone to listen to her.   She does not want or need me to answer all of her questions and resolve everything right away.

I do enjoy solving problems and it has provided me a great job and career and great experiences in life, but I am learning now that not all problems need to be immediately solved.   It is okay to sit and discuss and talk about issues without having to jump to solving them right now.

Patience truly is a virtue, and sometimes we need to patiently sit and wait and we will see that things we thought were huge problems and unsolvable, simply work themselves out and are no big deal. I got more upset than I honestly should have when I thought my wife was bringing me yet another problem that I had to fix.  She was explaining an issue that arose in our family and wanted my sympathy and a jobs listening ear. Instead I saw it as just another incident brought to my attention that I was expected to resolve. And so I began along questions about how we were going to handle the situation and I was harsher than I should have been. My wife just needed me to be her husband, and her companion listening to her and loving her. I started to see my wife as another customer whom I needed to support, but she is eternally more than that.

Problems will arise, things will need to be fixed abs dealt with. Life will go on. I am glad that I have my wife beside me to help me, to constantly assist me and push me to be more than I am or think I can be. I truly do not know why she has started with me for six years, but I am grateful to her and I love her more than I tell her. Life is meant to be lived, not solved. Marriage is meant to be enjoyed, not fixed. We work together and we love together and we have a hope for an eternity spent together in the world to come based on the promises of God and his priesthood.

Update on my life

I am just looking at my blog and realizing that I have not posted in almost four months.  Things have been busy for us lately, with the biggest news that we have moved across the country — from Columbus, Ohio to Seattle, Washington.

I grew up in Renton, WA and we have been trying to find our way back to the Seattle area for several years now, but haven’t had any luck in finding a job.  I have applied for anything I could find that was even remotely related to what I want to do and what I have experience in, but haven’t heard back from hardly any of them, even the jobs I was more than qualified for.  In reading several job search sites and speaking with friends I learned that many companies do not like to hire from out of state, and often will not even look at candidates who are not local.  Especially in Seattle in the technical support industry, which is what I am looking at.  They have enough local applicants that they do not want to bother with the hassle of interviewing and hiring someone from out of state.  I have heard that some companies in Seattle do not even look at applicants if they live on the wrong side of the city, fearing the commute may be too much or some other factor may keep the employee from taking the job or staying long, I guess.

So, after a couple years of hearing nothing from Seattle and with the knowledge that jobs would respond better if we actually lived in Seattle, we decided to just move.  We began looking into the logistics of moving from Ohio to Seattle and started planning it. Our current landlord wanting to raise the rent significantly in our apartment and then having some friends in Seattle say they had a house they rented out a few rooms in where we could stay with them helped make the decision for us.  

It was quite a month, boxing everything up, organizing a yard sale to get rid of excess items and bring in some money to help with the move, and getting everything else settled to move across the country, but we did it.  And then we took five days to drive the 2600 miles, having a slight problem with our radiator and overheating as we were towing a full U-Haul trailer over the mountains in 100 degree weather.

But, we arrived safely and had wonderful help getting the trailer unloaded and now we have been working om getting all of the boxes unpacked and things put in their new place.  I have been looking for a job here in Seattle, and have had a couple of promising interviews.  But one last great thing happened a week before we left Ohio.  I had already put in my notice at work and was preparing to leave, when my manager approached me and asked if I had a job lined up in Seattle yet.  I told him I didn’t yet, and he asked if I wanted to keep working for Ohio State remotely.  I could take the laptop and log in remotely to keep working for the University to help them through the beginning of the fall semester, which is the busiest time of year for a university help desk.  So, I have still had a job and continue to have a job with OSU through September giving us much needed time and income to get on our feet and search for a job out here.  

We are doing well and enjoying Seattle so far. I have been driving around trying to take in all of the changes that have occurred in the ten years since I lived here and showing off my favorite places to my family for us all to enjoy now.  We are equally excited to see what comes next for our family, now that we are finally living in the great Pacific Northwest where we have wanted to be for so long.