Sunday, January 28, 2018

Update on my book

All the comments I got from those that read my book were good. But, almost everyone that read it was either a friend or a relative, so I am not sure how the rest of the world feels. My friend took a picture to show me that my book is among the best sellers at the Deseret Bookstore close to her...

I was happy that my mom liked it...and even admitted that she believed in God after she read it. 

I have used my book slightly as a missionary tool. It has been easier to share the gospel with some people because of it. I have given away two books of Mormon and am about to give away another one. I am hoping that those that read my book will desire to read another good book, the Book of Mormon.

I am doing a book signing in the Rexburg Deseret Bookstore on February 10th (1 - 3 pm). I am also doing one at the Deseret Bookstore by temple square in SLC during the priesthood session.

I still have not mentioned my book to most of my students, but I do hope they will buy it. It would be nice if I can make it required, but it does not quite relate to statistics or math (haha).  I should have included a math chapter, and then I could have sold 200 copies every semester!

I will be speaking in church next month and I am looking forward to that, but worried at the same time because I have so much going on between now and then.  I am also speaking on campus in March. I guess they do something on campus to promote books written by BYU-I employees and I didn't know that.  Other than that, I don't have speaking assignments. I was expecting to be busy this semester with book signings and speaking assignments, but I guess not. I am glad because it gave me some time to focus on my classes and on preparing for future semesters. 

I was telling my students the other day how grateful I am to be working here. I was about to end up working in New York and I was upset that the job there didn't work out because I didn't know what the Lord had in store for me. Sometimes he closes a door, but opens another that is even more amazing than you have ever imagined.  

Our RS teacher today encouraged us to do two things every Sunday. She asked us to:

1. Say a prayer of thanksgiving to Heavenly Father thanking Him for all that He has given you.
2. Ask Him to help you know how you can be an instrument in His hands and what He would have you do to move His work forward.

I hope each of us can do these two things today. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

It's a Small Beautiful World

I found a Palestinian family who lives close by. It seems like it is a small world after all. This is the cutest letter I got about my book from a 9-year old cute Muslim girl, Jena, who you can see on my left in the picture below:

Yesterday they invited me over to dinner and I had the most amazing meal.  It was nice to have a touch of home even when I am not able to go home and visit. 

We were supposed to hear back about my PERM application last month and it is now the end of January and still we have not heard anything.  I have a more serious issue now since my work visa is about to expire. They say it takes 3-4 months to renew that and I was worried because I would not be able to renew my drivers' license without a valid visa. I was about to start hitching rides from people. Well I considered driving without a license, but the penalty for that is severe and I didn't want to end up in jail or something. But, BYU-I agreed to pay the expedited process fee to help me get my visa in time. Hopefully I won't have to be without a visa or without a license. I have learned to not worry for too long when strange things happen because somehow it always seems to work out.

As for my hip, I started taking the medicine every time the pain is too much and every time I feel like I want a pain free day to enjoy. I have been able to survive without it most of the time for which I am grateful.  I am going back to visit my doctor next month to see if there are other options.

Our Sunday School lesson today was about the creation.  I am grateful that I was able to travel and see some beautiful places over the holidays. The fresh new grass springing in San Diego was refreshing, and the beautiful flowers and birds.  Yet Rexburg in its frigid state can be beautiful (well, not right now it isn't because we have not had snow in a while and it is just frozen and ugly). But, frost on the trees and fresh white snow can be magical.  Heavenly Father and our Savior created this earth for us. This is how much they love us. 

But, as I read the third line of the hymn "how great thou art" I came to realize that without the Savior's atonement all of this would be in vain. If we could not grow and learn and repent and be cleansed from our sins..if we could never be resurrected, there would be no purpose to earth life and no purpose for the creation.  We are His creations and He loves us so much. In fact He loved us so much that He was willing to suffer and die just to save us.

Click Here to listen to the hymn "How great Thou Art".

I am grateful for my Savior and for all that He has done for me. I look forward to the day when I can bow at His feet with humble adoration and thank Him for all that He has done for me.

Monday, January 15, 2018

San Diego

I had a great week in San Diego. I went to a Math conference and it was amazing. 
Our hotel was on the bay and the view was amazing. The weather was simply perfect 70+ degrees. It was nice to get away from white cold Rexburg for a change. 

We walked around and had some amazing food. Mostly sea food (I think I ate enough sea food to last me for a while) and even went to a Persian restaurant which was quite an experience. 

 I also got to see my cousin Rana there which was really nice. We went to the Mormon Battalion and walked in the old town of San Diego and had authentic Mexican food there.

We took a boat tour (well it was supposed to take us to see sea lions, but we only barely saw two seals on our own). It was amazing to see the sun set in the horizon on the way back. We almost missed the boat because there was a parade going on and we could not find any parking anywhere! I had to pay $20 for parking, but I think the boat ride was worth it.

 We went to the San Diego Zoo. I know it sound like a silly thing to do, but everyone kept telling us that it is the best thing in San Diego. It was fun to be a child again and look at the animals. Apparently the Polar bears in the San Diego Zoo don't like snow since they grew up in warm weather. 

So, here is the famous baby giraffe that we kept seeing on Facebook. He's cute...

 We also made it to the temple. I love the San Diego temple, it is one of my favorites...I love how you can see it from the freeway.

I know with all those pictures it looks like all I did in San Diego is have fun. I did actually go to some really good talks in the conference. It was very hard to sit all day, but I survived.
I'm back in Rexburg and glad to see that there is no snow on the roads and that it is not very cold. I am not looking forward to going back to work, but it surely is nice to be home.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

My visit to Utah

I had a great week, but it was rather exhausting. I drove to Utah on Monday and stayed with sister Porter. She was nice to host me for a few days while I did interview after another. I didn't realize this, but Sister Porter is on the RS general board. I happen to mention that speakers in conference speak way fast and we never have time to translate. So, she is going to see if she can somehow get the word out so speakers are assigned a number of words. I am not sure how that will go or if it will get changed. One of the new general authorities spoke 200 words a minute. I mean I struggle with some of the sisters who speak 160 WPM, so I am not sure how Jabra did the faster talk.

I am grateful for Deseret Book and how nice they have been in working with me and organizing all those things. 
I had an interview with Fox 13 and I will be on their show "The Place", I am not sure when. It was kind of fun to be in a talk show studio and just see what it looked like. I have never been in a TV station either, so it was nice to look inside and see all the equipment and stuff...

I also had an interview with LDS living who will do an article on me sometime this year (probably towards the end of the year).
I also did an interview with KSL for a program they will do called "Voices of Strength" that will air between the sessions of general conference in April. I think that will be great and should get a lot of viewers that way. 
The last interview I did was for Leading LDS podcast. They interview leaders from the church (just people who have served in leadership callings).
My friends, the Stevens, also had me do a presentation and then a book signing to some of their neighbors. 
I felt a little famous during that week, it was kind of interesting. I really hope this helps my book sell...
It is actually a little bit uncomfortable to be in the spotlight. I need to get used to talking about myself. I am often the center of attention and I am used to being the person in the shadows. 

The weather was perfect in Utah and the weather here has been nice, not too cold although we did get some snow yesterday. I am grateful that I didn't have to drive in bad road conditions though on my way to Utah.  It seems like I will be driving to Utah often, so I started to listen to audio books (thanks Danae for the suggestion) and I love it because it makes time go by fast. 

I tried to visit some friends while in Utah. It was nice to see some people I have not seen in a while...

I love those kids...and I have never seen anyone be as grateful as Eliana when she got my gift, she kept hugging me and saying thank you. Actually out of the whole big gift, the most thing she was happy about was the candy cane (she has it in her hand).

It was also nice to see the Lewis family...

 I also got to see Elder and Sister Price while they were in Utah...

Sorry I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to see in Utah. It was just too short...But, I was glad to see those I did get to see.

I'm back in Rexburg now and I start classes tomorrow. But, I am heading to San Diego for a conference this week. I think I am kind of liking this Winter. It is not so bad when you are in Rexburg only a few days and get to be excited about the snow...It has been nice to have some warm weather for a change and I am enjoying this variety. I have been away so much these past few weeks that I feel I come to Rexburg to 'visit' then I am off again. It will be nice to finally be home after San Diego and get back to the routine of work. Though I will surely miss my travels and adventures.