Completing Families

Earlier I wrote about how without the work done in the temple the earth would be utterly wasted at the second coming. Today I found Mister Hill.

Up until a few hours ago this child was simply listed on the death records in Ohio by his last name. Knowing the death date doesn’t allow the temple work to be done. A birth date is required because children under the age of 8 do not need to be baptized.

Today I found his birth date, or rather his birth range. FamilySearch correctly had the 1900 census connected to the parents. That document, while extremely imperfect, at least told me who was in the household on the 27th and 28th of June 1900. Mister Hill was not listed. This meant I could use June 1900 to September 1901 as his birth range. Once his birth range was listed it allowed me to print the card for sealing him to his parents.

This morning, there was a missing son. Now he’s been found. It’s my responsibility to get the work done to help complete this family, and without that work occurring the whole purpose for this wonderful, beautiful earth would be wasted at the second coming.

There’s a real joy that comes from doing this work. It’s nice to spend those moments doing the things you love and taking care of those who have passed away.

We Wish You Well

My grandfather was a man with a kind smile.  He died before I made it to ten years old.  When I had kids of my own and visited grandma’s house I discovered his old reel-to-reel tape recorder and found a treasure of information on the old tapes.  While I don’t know what year this particular recording came from and I can’t verify if Donal Hill was the author, I can attest that the loving thoughts expressed are a benefit to those who will listen.

A Heritage to Follow

Screenshot_20181012_225445The Lucius Clark book is up on Amazon.
It’s been really neat to find lessons in there that apply no matter what age the reader is.  I’ve enjoyed these stories as a teenager, and now as a parent.  My parents are finding parallels with his mission to theirs.  There seems to be something here for everyone.
Here’s the description from the book cover:
The Clark children didn’t have beds, but slept on straw filled ticks on the floor. When company came for dinner, it was the custom to have the children wait until the adults were through eating, or stand at the table to eat, because of the lack of chairs.Friendly Indians frequently rode about the area on their ponies. The braves would shoot squirrels with bow and arrows, and roast them over a fire on sticks. The Clark boys were invited to share this delicacy with the Indians. It sounds like the beginning of a great adventurous life, and through those experiences Lucius gained insight that allowed him to leave behind a great legacy. That legacy was passed on to his children during his lifetime, and is now passed on past that generation through this book.This is a selection of the writings of Lucius Clark and those who knew him. The book includes his autobiography, transcripts of interviews, and his funeral proceedings.

Idaho Character

For over a year I’ve been proud to be a part of one of the greatest teams you’ve probably never heard of. I work at the Boise Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). There are 65 MEPS across the country and each one assess the aptitudes, physical capacity, and background history of the young men and women wanting to join the armed service of their choice. It’s not possible without the great crew dedicated to fairly applying DoD standards as efficiently as possible. Boise continues to rank among the top-tier across the nation for efficient processes and customer service.

One of the many roles includes serving as the swear in officer. A few times each day I ask these young men and women to raise their right hand and repeat the words of the oath of enlistment.  At this point I’ve conducted several hundred of these ceremonies and enlisted more than 1,900 people into the service.  It didn’t take me long to memorize the oath of enlistment:

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

The transition into military life isn’t for the faint of heart and the oath isn’t for those of thin character.

An applicant who enlisted in the Marine Corps wearing his tribe’s uniform.

At the end of the oath ceremony I’ve been asked several times to pose for a photograph with the military’s newest enlistees. I gladly comply if asked, but over the months and weeks I’ve learned to have the applicant stand with the seal of their chosen service in front of the nation’s flag. I call this the “Mom Photo” because it’s the photo that moms are happy to post of their children.  If parents aren’t available the recruiters will step in as the photographers and send the photo later to the enlistee’s family.

For several weeks I had been teaching recruiters to take and share these photos when something out of the ordinary happened.

It started with quite a normal scene.  I walked into the ceremony room with our red carpet and inside were two applicants, a young man with his family and a young lady with her recruiter.  They were both dressed respectfully and immediately went to attention when I walked in the room.  (This is done out of respect for my authority as an officer and the oath, not who I am as a person.)

The young lady, sharp as a whip and ready to go, finished the oath and stood proudly as her photo was taken.  In the process of helping her pose for the photo I explained that I nicknamed the photo, the mom photo and suggested she send the picture to her mother.

Her countenance quickly changed. I could tell I created a difficult moment in her life. I wasn’t sure what I had done wrong, but after taking the photo I stepped out of the room and she remained in the room with the other applicant and his family.

When I saw her next to sign her paperwork I could tell she had been crying. My heart sank. I felt that I must have done a terrible thing. We finished the paperwork for both applicants and I stood up to walk down the hall to follow-up and apologize.

One of the recruiters stopped me and he too had an emotional expression on his face. He told me what happened after I left the ceremony room.

The young lady shared that due to her mom’s poor choices her mom was living over 2,000 miles away and not a part of her life at the moment.   She said she wouldn’t be sending the photo to her mom.  When she was coming back in a few months to ship for basic training mom and dad wouldn’t be there.

The other family heard this and without hesitation stepped in and offered to attend the ceremony and write the young lady while she’s off at basic training.  One moment she didn’t have a bit of family in the room.  The next she had been adopted by one of the many families I’ve seen in that ceremony room during my time administering the oath.

That day’s circumstances were extraordinary, but I think extraordinary is typical of the people in this state.

In my official capacity it would have been inappropriate for me to write down names or dates.  You see, she leaves to put on her uniform after I’m done wearing mine.  I don’t remember when she’s coming back to ship out for basic training, but I know that people in this state mean what they say, and say what they mean.

Somewhere in Florida there’s a mother out there who’s unaware that her daughter is being loved, and I couldn’t even tell you who’s doing it, but I don’t know of anyone I’ve met at the MEPS who wouldn’t have stepped up and done the same thing as this family.

There’s an obscure regulation in the MEPS that advises me to share some life advice before administering the oath.  Sometimes I tell the applicants in front of me that the State they represent when they go off to start their careers might be famous for its potatoes, but the real gems of this great State are the people.


I Run A Movie Server In My Car

Emby gives the server a clean interface
Emby gives the server a clean interface

I run a server out of my 2005 Volvo XC90.  2005 was not a year that Volvo thought of putting a server in the car.  So I’ve done the engineering work for them.  This solution lets kids use their own devices to choose their content.  That ability to choose allows them to feel more like they’re in control and less like they’re caged in the car.

The version in the video uses an old laptop.  Now the solution uses a Raspberry Pi.  You’ll also see in the video how I’ve intentionally not automated some things to force my kids to learn how to use the command line.  

To this date I don’t know of any car manufacturer that installs servers in their vehicles for media consumption.

Part of what I’ve learned from the project is that IoE and IoT devices shouldn’t be designed to be completely dependent upon the internet as lack of connection can cause them to be useless.  I discovered this first with my Chromecast.  I put it on a closed LAN without access to the internet only to realize that it had to handshake with Google to work.

That was a sad day.

If you’re going to build something for IoE or IoT, make sure it doesn’t turn into a brick when it’s non connected.  Otherwise Microsoft might just hire Pawn Stars to make a commercial about it.  

What device would you like to have in your car?   Leave a comment below.  

Improvised Living

In any army school you live in the barracks. Most folks don’t understand what a barracks room looks like. The quality of some barracks compared to others varies quite differently as well. To put it simply it’s somewhere between a prison cell, a motel room, and a dorm room. Someone smarter than I am can make the graph of those things. I just know that when I walk into the door I see a mix of all three.

My roommate for this stage of adventure is a young man named David Sherman, who graduated from Clemson. He’s low maintenance, and a good guy. There’s just two of us in the room and we both feel pretty lucky. Most folks have 3-4 people in their rooms.

This week we were kept busy inprocessing for the school. Somehow the Army didn’t quite keep my digital dental records and so I had to start from scratch. That was an annoying three hours waiting in line to get my teeth x-rayed. I did manage to get it done though and so I wont have to worry about it again.

It’s not very surprising to realize that after nearly two years of being around my family full time–I miss them. So I decided to adopt some of my fellow students and make us a family. I started with Jacob Snyder. When we noticed that we both had the same name we developed a story to go along with it. Mom and dad had trouble having kids, so they adopted me. Then you showed up and they felt like they had gotten things right and named you Jacob. Jacob Snyder is the “good son” while I got treated as the red-headed step child.

Having a brother is great… but it still didn’t feel like a family. So we needed to adopt a sister that would help us complete the scheme of things. So we adopted Katie Richesin. She was the quietest one in the squad. So the story goes: Katie’s our sister and she’s quite because of how domaneering we are and how mean we were to her growing up. Ironically, as soon as she accepted the fact that she was adopted into a family she wasn’t quiet any more. In fact she’s got quite a complimentary personality. She’s the perfect addition to this made up family–and we’re glad to have her.

Jacob Snyder is from Missouri–the only state where it was legal to kill Mormons until the 1970’s. He drives a blue Toyota truck, is a good speaker, listener, and friend. Katie graduated from the Citadel and enjoyed some time in Africa doing humanitarian work and research for a project. There’s a lot to her that’s underneath the surface and we keep telling her that she’s gotta find the guy that loves her for all that’s there. We also been having a bit of fun practicing saying “Rukungiri.” The name of the town where she spent time in Africa.

Well “the family” needed a name. So we started shopping around and the best one we could find was Chrissy’s maiden name: Hovan. There’s no one else here at school with it, it’s easy to say, spell, and sounds cool.

The family decided that we were going hiking this weekend and took along a few other folks. Five of us all together hiked what they call “mountains” here and had a blast. We saw a tarantula, a cave, adventure, and fish. At the top of a rock there was a seasonal puddle with some very small fish in it. I’ve emailed a professor at USU to see if anyone knows the name of the creatures… I thought they were cool!

We found a cave full of daddy long leg spiders — there were so many of them on the ceiling that their legs looked like fur. It was a bit creepy — but still really cool.

Being away from the kids gives me a chance to go and have adventures. It’s important to keep busy while away. I’ve put the highlights together for this blog but there was a lot more to this week than just making a family and hiking.

I’m glad to be here with these folks, doing the things we’re doing. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

I’ll have the photo of the three of us up later.