Friday, April 29, 2011

"Adventure Time"

Here's Eden's latest filmmaking post to YouTube, this time featuring a sample of some of his hand-drawn animation.

Coincidentally, it's also soon-to-be Elder Sanders's 19th birthday today. Happy birthday, cousin.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Going Out with a Bang

Last night's "Big Event" family home evening marked our final activity together in the Millstream Ward. As "last hurrah"s go with groups I've been a part of, it was a very good one and a fitting farewell for a place I've been connected to for . . . well, for a very long time.

The dress code for the evening was formal, as in the most formal (black tie and all) we wished to adhere to. I was impressed with the number of people who showed up in tuxedos and fancy dresses, including the members of our bishopric.

We started off the night with a delicious Dutch oven dinner provided by Zak and Kirk Davis, who worked very hard to feed our motley crew. Ryan also slaved for an untold number of hours to make us a tasty cake, which was the highlight of the dessert table. Here he is, posing with his creation and with Adria in what I can only assume is a mock wedding photo (unless those two know something I don't know):

After dinner, each member of the bishopric took a few minutes to address us and to share some final counsel and thoughts as we prepare to go our separate ways.

That was followed by about three hours of dancing, and most of the die-hards stayed and participated in everything until the very end.

Yours truly was among that group, dancing the cha-cha with Stephanie and, after that, joining with Bishop Lake and others in an old favorite, "Y.MC.A.":

We were plumb tuckered out by the end of the night, but it was a good kind of tired; we enjoyed every minute of it.

And, for many of us, "enjoying every minute of it" pretty much sums up our whole experience with the Millstream Ward.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Rolls Around Again

Today marked my final Sunday as a member of the old Millstream Ward, and it was a memorable day for myself and for the 25-or-so others who will, likewise, be looking for a new place to hang our hats come next week. Bishop Lake delivered a fond farewell address to us in sacrament meeting, and I got to join with the ward choir for one final time in putting on the Easter program, singing “O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown” and “He Is Not Here.”

Afterward, the Plowman clan also enjoyed another good family dinner together, following which the kids took part in the annual Easter egg hunt in the backyard.

Dallin, at age 11, has apparently now outgrown the tradition and is "too school for cool," though he did roam through the yard, joining 13-year-old Kylee in keeping tabs on all of the goings-on.

Those still young enough to take part in the fun, namely Jenna, McKenna, Luke, Jackson, and Kira, ran ragged collecting their spoils.

At the end of the hunt, some of the parents joined in to help assess the damage and to (presumably) help eat the candy.

Good times were had by all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's the End of the Ward as We Know It

Earlier this week, the Bishop sat down with me in his office and let me know, in the gentlest way possible, that the time had officially come for me to leave the ward.

Previously, we'd been informed that a big shakeup was coming to the Millstream Ward and to the other singles wards in Salt Lake and Davis counties, but we'd not been told any specifics as to how it was all going to go down. The Bishop passed along the news that our ward is going to be moved into a new stake with other YSA wards. The new boundaries will be strictly enforced, as will the 18-to-30-year old guideline.

For those of you who have been keeping score at home, that's an age group that I no longer fit into, effective a couple of years ago - and "couple of years" is being polite. In the meantime, I've been flying under the radar, more or less waiting for the kind of conversation that the Bishop had with me Sunday night to take place.

However you look at things, the upcoming reorganization fireside at the Conference Center - scheduled for April 28 - signals the end of the ward as we know it. Do I feel fine?

Strangely enough, I do. Sure, I'm going to miss seeing all of the good friends I've made on a regular basis (though, hopefully, I will still see them semi-regularly), and I'm going to have to start all over in a new ward, be it my home ward or another place. But I am at peace with it. I know that the time is right to be moving on.

It's kind of the way I felt when we had to put our golden retriever to sleep a few years ago: I didn't want to do it, but the time was right, and it was the best decision to make.

And so, very soon, I'll be moving out of my comfort zone and into . . . who knows where? I'm making this up as I go along. Whatever happens, I feel optimistic about the future.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jenna's Baptism

Earlier today, my eight-year-old niece Jenna was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a service that all of the Plowmans, most of the Woodburys (minus Jessica’s parents, who are serving a mission in San Diego), and our cousins Scott, Claudia, and Madison attended in Woods Cross. Her dad, Dave, performed the baptism and confirmed her a member of the Church.

Here, Jenna (left) and her "identical" (and also soon-to-be-eight-year-old) cousin McKenna (right) pose for a picture at the conclusion of the service:

Jessica, Dave, and all three of their kids also posed together for a photo to commemorate the occasion:

Afterward, we collectively adjourned to Dave and Jessica's nearby home to enjoy a nice potluck lunch. Fortunately, the weather cooperated throughout the afternoon and gave us a beautiful spring day.

It was an unforgettable day, and I am proud of Jenna for making the decision to join the Church.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Argh! Preview"

Here's my cousin Eden's latest filmmaking effort. He just got his mission call to serve in Quito, Ecuador, so unfortunately relatively soon there won't be too many more of these new films posted on YouTube.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Dinner with Jenna

Last Friday, it was my niece Jenna's eighth birthday, and, ergo, it was her turn for the latest birthday dinner and shopping trip outing with Uncle Paco.

Earlier tonight, I took Jenna out for a lavish dinner at McDonald’s. Lest you think me a cheapskate - and it wouldn't be the first time someone has had that thought - keep in mind that the kids get to pick where they want to eat.

Jenna's meal included chocolate milk (I didn't know you could get that at McDonald's, but it is apparently now a Happy Meal option) and Chicken McNuggets. I hadn't come into that close of contact with McNuggets since last year's failed attempt at winning the "McNuggets Challenge" (downing 50 McNuggets in one sitting), and it appears that I still have no desire whatsoever to eat another McNugget ever again.

At any rate, after dinner, we headed over to Target so that Jenna could pick out her own birthday gift, and she ended up choosing a couple of Zoobles - whatever those are. (Her mother assures me that they are the "in" thing right now.)

She didn’t say much throughout the evening, but then again, I don't know too many eight-year-olds who will necessarily talk your ears off. Plus, I'm betting Jenna's mind was on her family's impending trip to San Diego, for which they will be leaving early in the morning.

I enjoyed my evening out with the birthday girl, and we're looking forward to big events for her in the near future, such as her upcoming baptism into the Church.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kindly Deeds, Done for Free

The other day, I woke up to a very nice surprise: My old car, which I had feared was on its last legs, had not only been fixed but was up and running in the driveway.

The Aluminum Falcon had gone kaput! on me in the latter part of July, flat-out refusing to start one morning. A couple of good friends of mine came over to look at it and to assess the damage. One of them cleaned the corrosion off of the battery and tried to jump-start it, with little success, and the other determined that I had some sort of electrical issue going on and that I could very well be facing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of repairs.

Mainly due to the thought of having to fork out all of that money to get things fixed, I let my Escort sit silently in the garage, collecting dust and cobwebs, while I drove my "loaner" car (the aforementioned Stratus, which also broke down on me in Lehi) over the past several months, all the while trying to save up and to find some way to get it back on the road.

Then, not long ago, my brother Steve, seeing my plight, made a bartering agreement with a friend of his: As "payment" for Steve filing his taxes, his friend, a mechanic by trade, in turn, agreed to come and have a look at my car and to see what he could do to help.

I had scarcely learned that Steve and his friend had come over when they informed me that they had found the problem (a coil in the engine, as well as the battery, needed replacing) and fixed it, and they had also replaced a tire that had become flat and unusable in the intervening months. This project, I learned, required more than a few minutes' labor - closer to a couple of hours, actually - for them to accomplish all of this.

It was, indeed, a nice surprise that awaited me in the driveway. And as much as I thanked him for his efforts, Steve's friend refused to receive payment for something that, indeed, could have been very costly to yours truly.

So, today, I'm just full of gratitude for a simple act of kindness that has, to me, meant a great deal. I'm glad that there are people out there who will offer service out of the goodness of their hearts - and that includes my two friends who had, earlier on, made an effort to help. And it inspires me to "pay it forward," if I can, in the future.