Return and Report

If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody tweets about it, did it really happen? This is one of the thoughts that meandered through my mind as I sat in Stake Council meeting. The topic that dominated most of the meeting was the changes to ministering announced during General Conference. We sat together as stake leaders and talked about what it meant for us and how we would proceed as a stake. We talked about the direction we wanted to go, and how to help individuals move forward, adapt, and thrive with this new program.

As a member of the High Council, I have had the opportunity to attend several meetings over the last few weeks, ranging from High Council meeting to Stake High Priests Quorum to Ward Elders Quorum. In each of those meetings, the same concern was raised. People want to know: now that we're not doing monthly Home or Visiting Teaching, how are our efforts reported? Nobody is going to call us each month to ask if we visited our assigned families. There is no box to che…

Counsel from on High

As one chapter of my life closes, another begins. I was released from the Bishopric last Sunday and called to the High Council. Two days ago was my first High Council meeting and as you may expect, the Stake Presidency put me right to work. I was given responsibility to oversee missionary work within the stake, among a few other things. The Stake President explained that this assignment is unique from many of the other High Council assignments. He counseled me to take initiative and be actively engaged in moving the work forward. Sure, there are some things like arranging meals for the full-time missionaries, that will simply come to me and need to be done, but in most other aspects I was given authority and encouragement to make it my own.

Shortly after High Council meeting ended, I went with the rest of the Stake leadership to a ward conference for one of the wards in our stake. I didn't have any specific assignments or responsibilities, so I simply attended as a representative …

The Experience of a Lifetime

Over the course of my career as a software developer, I have had many different roles and responsibilities. I have had the opportunity to build new software, replace legacy systems, and many other unique projects. Similarly, the department for which I work has had many different employees filling many different roles. I am currently a member of the one-man team know as the maintenance team. In a nutshell, my job is to field all of the bug reports from each of our various systems and fix them. It's a much different paradigm than writing new code. I've heard it described as being the detective in a crime movie where you're also the murderer.
I recently found myself working on a maintenance task to replace some old technology that is being phased out. As part of that effort, I was required to make some fairly extensive changes to one of our applications. More than would normally be required when fixing bugs. It's our standard practice to have your changes reviewed by a co…

No pressure

Shaun White's gold medal in the half pipe in the 2018 Winter Olympics will go down as one of the most exciting performances in Olympic history.  Not only did it mark the 100th gold medal earned by the United States in the Winter Games, the manner in which he won was, to say the least, dramatic.  Each competitor in the finals was given 3 runs.  Shaun found himself in silver medal position as he took his position for not only his final run, but the final run of the event.  Japanese snowboarder Ayumu Hirano, who had just completed a nearly flawless run, including completing a trick that had only ever been done successfully in competition once before, sat in gold position. As Shaun moved into position and prepared for his run, he knew he needed the snowboarding equivalent of a buzzer beater or a Hail Mary to win the gold. No pressure, right?

We tell ourselves the same thing sometimes. No pressure. Stay calm. Don't panic. Everything will work out just fine. We try to minimize the p…

One small step for man

Today was a unique day.  It's not every day that a major religious organization changes leadership.  In fact, in the nearly 200 years since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was founded by Joseph Smith, it's only happened 16 times.  That's roughly once every 11 years.  It's only happened 5 times in my lifetime, and really only 4 times that I remember. 
For the LDS faith, the calling of a new prophet and First Presidency feels a lot less like a changing of the guard, and more like the next-man-up mentality held by many sports teams.  When the prophet passes away, the apostle with the most seniority, in terms of years serving as an apostle, not years of life, is called as the next prophet, and life goes on.
Even though a divine pattern for succession has been established and the whole event is predictable, it's still a unique and sacred experience for most members of the church.  We have an opportunity to see the mantle of prophet passed on to another, …

Signs of the Times

As his earthly ministry was coming to an end, Jesus' disciples asked him "what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"  The Savior then taught them how to avoid being deceived and for which signs they should watch.  
Signs are all around us.  There are signs dotting every road and street, alerting us and helping us stay safe.  There are signs on hiking trails in the wilderness, helping to orient us and keep us on the right path.  There are signs everywhere we look, providing guidance and information, but all of these signs mean nothing unless we look for them, and pay them heed.
The evolution of personal, mobile devices has forever altered the way we receive information.  Gone are the days of watching for signs to tell of forthcoming events.  We no longer look to the skies for an indication of coming weather.  We have an app for that, that will notify us of changes in the weather, and of approaching storms.
We no longer need to remember the dates …

Forget what you know

Software development is a field of constant change.  Just because you know how to do something one day doesn't mean that way will always work, or that there won't ever be a better way. So, go ahead.  Throw it all out.  Toss aside everything you think you know.  Well, maybe not all of it.  Just the pieces that are holding you back and preventing you from learning new things.

We sometimes get stuck in doing something that works just because it works and that's the way it's always been done.  I recently saw a comic depicting a teenage girl stranded on a desert island and in the caption she lamented that she was never going to get off the island because she ran out of rocks before she could complete a message of distress on the beach.  She stared, distraught, at the incomplete message at her feet:  #HEL.

It was good for a laugh, but it also illustrates something that happens to all of us.  This poor girl had been taught by example and experience that printed communication…