Dear Elder Schenewark,
In continuation with my opening theme last week, I share with you a thought from President Monson's talk, Be an Example and a Light. "Leaders of the Church met with officials in Jerusalem to work out a lease agreement for land on which the Church’s Jerusalem Center would be built. In order to obtain the permissions needed, the Church had to agree that no proselyting would be undertaken by our members who would occupy the center. After that agreement had been made, one of the Israeli officials, who was well acquainted with the Church and its members, remarked that he knew the Church would honor the no-proselyting agreement. “But,” he said,referring to the students who would attend there, “What are we going to do about the light that is in their eyes?"
We're proud of your example, and the light in your eyes, visible to us as parents long before you went on your mission. Although you probably got the twinkle in your eye from your grandfather.
The 21st of January was #squirrel appreciation day, but I'm sure you're more interested in news regarding your family!
Your cousins are all in the news seen fit to share with you this week. Stevie's basketball team in Gilford remains unbeaten .
Evan is in Jordan, beginning his semester abroad, already having adventures.
Breyer has been throwing out funny comments faster than I can get them written down. Usually I'm in the car driving, and forget when I get home. One day, speaking of another four year old male acquaintance, said, "He thinks his jokes are funny but they're not. They don't make me laugh."
Last night, while falling asleep, with tears in her eyes, said, "I miss Hunter so much, my most beloved brother." Okay it was touching, but the beloved made me laugh! Where does she get this stuff!
We were assigned to clean the church this week, three "S" families. I had to go to cub scouts with Miller, Sawyer was dropped off at basketball practice, so Jarrod took Cooper and Porter over, with plans for us to show up later. When we met in the parking lot, and they were done, your sister howled in disappointment. She and Miller love to clean the church. Between her sobs, Miller told me, as I always assign them the chore of cleaning every light switch, that they pretend their spray kills the bad guys, and their cloths wipe them away. Who knew?
I've spent a little bit of time organizing my Relief Society board. I now have a visiting teacher coordinator, a compassionate service leader, and a few spots that made eye brows go up. My Relief Society humanitarian specialist in charge of monthly service projects, my Relief Society welfare specialist in charge of finance, employment, health needs, my board member we dubbed the "Welcome Wagon" lady of the ward with her new member, move-in packets in her arms each Sunday, my food specialist who hides food storage items under your chairs each Sunday to take home, and my emergency preparedness specialist who owns her own medical flight helicoptor service here in Granbury. My burden lightens every day.
The cub scouts used Sawyer and Cooper's leftover merit badge college fair sculpting clay for their activity on Thursday...squishy hands-on stuff is the best.
Porter's game on Tuesday was monumental in that he made one basket on a dish-off, one on a rebound, and brought down two rebounds, all under two minutes. The whole student section was on their feet cheering for him, the assistant coach, also who recruited him for football, was on his feet waving his arms, and the cheerleaders were going nuts. Such a nice thing to see for someone who hasn't been around very long.
Miller and Sawyer played on Saturday. They both lost, but it's still fun to watch. I kept the books for the first time, love it! No wonder one of my favorite presents from my mother was a pair of filing cabinets...in fifth grade!
Your grandparents and other New England friends and relatives this week endured #Blizzard2016. "Winter Storm Drops More Than 30 Inches of Snow in Several East Coast States. Locations in New York City, Virginia and Pennsylvania have recorded more than 30 inches of snow. At least 25 people have died as a result of the storm.
We've had a very mild winter here in Texas, just a few days of rain, most days in the high 50's and low 60's. Your siblings are begging for snow, like I can shake princess powder on french toast.
Have a wonderful week. Be careful, know of our love
P.S. Dad says not to read his letter. He'll mail you a copy. You better read it!
I am at Weatherford College for the second part of a two part merit badge college. It is a very nice day. The sun is shining and the sky is blue, it is a little chilling (48 degrees) but there is no snow. As always it is nice to go outside at night and look at the stars for a little while. The front door of our house faces directly north and (85% of the nights) I can step out of the front door and there is the North star. Each night when I look up to see that the North star has not moved at all I think of the following words from President Hinckley: “When I was a boy, we lived on a farm in the summer. It was in the country, where the nights were dark. There were no streetlights or anything of the kind. My brother and I slept out-of-doors. On clear nights—and most of those nights were clear and the air was clean—we would lie on our backs and look at the myriads of stars in the heavens. We could identify some of the constellations and other stars as they were illustrated in our encyclopedia. Each night we would trace the Big Dipper, the handle and the cup, to find the North Star.
"We came to know of the constancy of that star. As the earth turned, the others appeared to move through the night. But the North Star held its position in line with the axis of the earth. And so it had come to be known as the Polar Star, or the Polestar, or the Lodestar. Through centuries of time, mariners had used it to guide them in their journeys. They had reckoned their bearings by its constancy, thereby avoiding traveling in circles or in the wrong direction, as they moved across the wide, unmarked seas.
"Because of those boyhood musings, the Polar Star came to mean something to me. I recognized it as a constant in the midst of change. It was something that could always be counted on, something that was dependable, an anchor in what otherwise appeared to be a moving and unstable firmament. Love is like the Polar Star. In a changing world, it is a constant. It is of the very essence of the gospel. It is the security of the home. It is the safeguard of community life. It is a beacon of hope in a world of distress.”
I would also give you this quote from Elder John Sonnenberg: “Inscribed on the granite walls of the temple here in Salt Lake City is the constellation of Ursa Major, or the Great Bear, commonly known to you as the Big Dipper. If you were to project a line through the bottom two stars opposite the handle, it would point to and bisect the North Star. The mariners and those who have been lost at sea or on land have looked to the North Star to find their bearings. I bear witness that there is, figuratively speaking, a “North Star” leading us today—a beloved prophet of God. Look to him. He will point you to the way of truth and righteousness. Look to the Savior, for he will give you life eternal.”
I was thinking about the flags of your cousins’ various missions - Kaleb has the North Star on the Alaskan flag, there is a star on the California Flag (though it represents sovereign/independent Republic of California) and I see there are 27 stars on the Brazilian Flag. And of course there is a Lone Star on your home flag. In any case perhaps the above quotes will be of use to you.
Friday marked the end of the second week of school at Tarleton. I had one student walk up and ask if I had ever lived in Hutto, because my named sounded familiar. Apparently he remembers Tanner from school. His name is Hudson Evans. He graduated in 2010, so is a year older than Tanner but also played on the baseball team. Do you remember him? He is in my Psychology of Exercise and Sport Class and seems to be an enthusiastic student. He is a History major and wants to get a minor in Kinesiology, so that he may teach and coach. I told him Tanner was at BYU and had gotten married this past October. He thought that was wonderful and incredible (he was just happy to at least have a girlfriend.)
Hudson also mentioned others from Hutto, including Austin Drolette, who Tanner had played baseball with and who is now playing baseball at Tarleton. Here is his picture from the athletics website. I will always have happy thoughts of Hutto and still think they have the best mascot and the incorporation of the mascot into any town life.
Speaking about students, I have one who is a return missionary. During the first day of introductions, I mentioned that I have a son who is in Brazil for a period of two years. I usually mention that I lived in Utah for a while so those who know anything about the church may guess that I am LDS and have asked. This student, I had figured out the same as he stated he was from near Snowflake, Arizona and had served a mission for his church for two years. He came to Tarleton because of the rodeo program. He wanted to go to Utah State, but they do not have a rodeo team. He is a bronc buster and is married, with a child on the way.
Tarleton has one of the top rodeo programs is the country. It is very interesting that students are able to earn money competing in rodeo. The university had a student, a couple of years ago, earn a million dollars in prize money for the year. It is an interesting concept, since all NCAA athletes are barred from earning any sort of money based on their athletic ability (and I am not including the concept of the school paying the athletes). I have thought about looking more into the college rodeo model of student athletes.
Here is the last thought from school. There are always student excuses. I try to build a relationship of trust and try to give students the benefit of the doubt, until they have shown me otherwise. I have saved the top student excuse from last year and publish it for your amusement. This is the exact message from the student:
“I apologize in advance for such a long e-mail, but I felt as though it would be appropriate to tell you what is going on. In the past 24 hours I think I have e-mailed all of you, minus one professor who I have already spoken with via telephone in regards to my situation this week. On Monday I had a horse who was 35 years old having seizures that started at about 6 and went on until about 8:30 and the vet finally showed up around 9. Long story short-- I had to make the decision to put my friend/employer's horse, to sleep and with that meant I had to tend to her burial this morning before the animals got to her and before the bloat got bad (basically before she popped) so I had to miss class this morning.
Right as they were finishing up, I got a call from the daycare saying my 1 year old was throwing up and having diarrhea and that if it happened again I'd need to come and get her because she couldn't keep anything down. (I missed work Friday because she was sick, but mainly had a temperature and wouldn't barely eat/drink.) I end up getting her and find out that she is NOT allowed to go back to daycare until the vomiting and diarrhea has been stopped for at least 24-48 hours--due to the stomach bug being very contagious and 2 babies being out all last week with it…”
How would you handle the situation? I was had at the part of being in charge of your employers/friend’s horse, which died on your watch and is sitting in a field where it may expand like a balloon and explode. But then they had to throw in the dreaded diarrhea. I never did ask for a note from the septic company that dug a hole to bury the horse.
The singer Glen Frey of the Eagles passed away. I liked the Eagles. Coming back from Tanner and Anne Marie’s wedding we stopped in Winslow, Arizona. Sawyer and I took the opportunity to get our picture of “Standing on the Corner.” I noticed from the news that Glen Frey’s widow’s name was Cindy Millican. I thought to myself “NOOOOOO!” Yet sure enough his wife is a girl who I went with to high school. She is your mother’s age (and almost 18 years his junior.) They started dating only five years after graduation. I saw that his estimated monetary worth was over 70 million.
Thinking on the upcoming Iowa Caucus, and knowing some have asked who I favor, I’ll ask now, how well do know me? In the words of Uncle Aaron, “For whom would Uncle Jarrod cast a vote?” Send in responses, from the following group:
Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christy, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton
My vote is in that list. I have also signed up to volunteer to help. Texas will have a primary on March 1st.
This past week, I was able to watch Porter play basketball. He does not get much playing time, however he is glad he went out for the team (and so am I.) As mentioned before, when he goes into the game the school cheers (especially the cheer leaders.) This past week he scored his first points and the bench exploded in excitement. He is the leading rebounder (when factored in minutes played.) This week he played 1:34 – scored four points (2 on a fast break, 2 on a rebound and putting the ball back up) and had 3 rebounds. I wish I had a camera as the area I was watching him was about ten feet above the basket and gave a great view of him rebounding (his baskets were at the other end of the court.) I also heard his name on the radio (all the games are broadcast and streamed on the internet). Here is the radio call “Granbury in-bounds the ball and Porter gives the ball to the official. That will do it for tonight’s game.” I am proud of Porter.
As said by Theodore Roosevelt “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” I am grateful for Porter to be in the arena. I am grateful for all of my sons.
I am grateful for Tanner and his sweet wife, Anne Marie. It was such a joy to have them here and I look forward to other days. I am grateful for Hunter on a mission, even though you are missed. I am grateful for the blessings of my family, which would not have been if not for the fullness of the gospel.
You are involved in a very important work and I worry about taking your mind away from your work. I hope my letter does not do so.
I finish with Breyer. We have come into possession of a lot of plastic fish bait. We have enough to last for a century. The plastic worms, salamanders, crayfish, and frogs keep her delighted. She has them in the bathtub. She took a purse full to church. She sustained a member in a calling while raising a plastic wigglier in her hand, for all to see (we usually sit in the third row.) I am not sure the sister in the row ahead of us enjoyed Breyer, dragging a frog across the top off the pew, with its rubbery legs kicking in a lifelike manner. She enjoys being the hook girl, ready to change a lure on a moment’s notice.