15 Years Ago

On June 23, 1996 I eagerly counted down the final minutes of church. I had a special appointment that afternoon. Finally the time came and I hopped in my family’s hideous green station wagon and rode to Healdsburg to meet with Patriarch Mortensen. I can’t remember what his house looked like on the outside but when his wife welcomed us inside the ornate Victorian furniture fascinated me. I couldn’t remember seeing anything quite like it. I was careful not to lean back too far into the sofa for fear its delicate back would snap off. I looked at the end tables topped with carefully placed magazines. Blurred sunlight reflected from their glossy covers. My eyes followed the light streaming through the window. I gazed outside and wondered what exactly I was going to hear today. I tried to sit still and act in a way that showed I was ready for what was about to happen. I tried to be anything but 12-years-old.

I had been here a few months before when my sister received her patriarchal blessing. She was 16 at the time and I was so floored by the whole process I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait that long. I had a habit of trying to do things early in my life and my patriarchal blessing proved to be no exception. I was so excited to be back in the same house knowing it was my turn. After we waited for a few minutes Patriarch Mortensen greeted us. He asked if he could speak with me alone. I followed him into the study and he pulled up two chairs next to a large desk. I had already had an interview with the bishop and I anticipated Patriarch Mortensen would ask some of the same questions. I tried not be distracted by his snowy white hair or his hazy blue eye that had been damaged in a stick fight when he was a kid. I specifically remember him asking me about the significance of the sacrament. He asked me if I understood that the receipt of promised blessing depended upon one’s obedience to the gospel. I said I did. I knew that in order to receive all of the blessings pronounced in a patriarchal blessing I would need to be a faithful member of the church for the rest of my life. I was ready to make that promise.

Patriarch Mortensen invited my parents and his wife into the room and we moved into a corner with two bookcases. His tape recorder was on one of the bookshelves. He shared a few words with my parents and I. He was the only one standing and he took his place behind me. He spoke into the tape recorder and when he was sure it was on he placed his hands on my head and we all closed our eyes. Over the next few minutes he carefully spoke the blessing. He took his time and paused here and there as divine inspiration flowed to him. I tried to catch every word, every meaning. There were some unfamiliar phrases and it was indeed a lot of information to hold onto. When the blessing ended I was so grateful to President Mortensen for being able to carry out such a sacred calling in a wonderfully comforting and inspiring manner. I was very keen to study my blessing but it would be about two weeks before I could receive a transcribed copy in the mail. Patriarch Mortensen would first have to send a copy to the church headquarters in Salt Lake City so the sacred record would never be lost.

When I finally received a manila envelope addressed with beautiful calligraphy I tore it open very carefully. It revealed a watermarked sheet of paper covered front and back with beautiful words in bold typeface. I read through the blessing and showed it to my parents so we could all remember what was said. The blessing is incredibly valuable to me because it speaks of my lineage in the House of Israel, the role my tribe plays in these latter days, what I was like before I came to earth, and the things the Lord would have me accomplish here on earth. Most importantly, the Lord promises to keep me safe so I can complete my mission in this earthly life. Whenever I’m driving in a scary snowstorm or walking down a dark street I remember that although I may face physical peril, I will have the faith to be healed and move on with my life.

I’m very grateful for my patriarchal blessing. At times I laugh at my eagerness to receive it when I was only 12. Then I remember that this is simply how I am – always eager to learn more in hopes of one day returning to the presence God and being able to dwell with Him and my family forever. Throughout the mire and monotony of any give week it is easy to forget that our purpose here is simple: return to Him. Even better: take as many people with you as possible. The more the merrier, right? I really hope to have a family and be able to see my children receive their patriarchal blessings. More than anything, I am elated to think that one day they will discover their mission in life and pursue it valiantly. In meantime I am still searching for mine. Maybe it’s hiding right under my nose; maybe I’ve already had a chance to begin it. Either way, I know I’m here for a reason and I know that my Father in Heaven loves me.


For more information on patriarchal blessings:


My 10-Year Plan

Today my sister and brother-in-law celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary. They got married eight days after I graduated high school and while I was sad to see the spotlight so swiftly shifted away from me, in hindsight I see I gained the best brother-in-law ever. He has brought so much to my family and, although I didn’t think it was possible, he has increased my sister’s ‘cool’ factor. Way to go cunhado!

Reflecting on the 10 years that have passed since high school has made me a little wary of the upcoming 10. I have often pestered myself for not having a five- or even three-year plan. Tonight, in honor of my sister’s anniversary, I’m setting out to do the impossible: write a 10-year plan. Let’s go!

YEAR ONE (June 2011-June 2012) Age 28

This is the year I am going to FIGURE OUT MY CAREER. Seriously. I’ve already been saying this for six months. Enough with the talk and on with the walk. If anyone has suggestions I’m game.

This is also the year I’ll finish Suzuki Book 2 and move onto Suzuki Book 3. Along the way I will learn how to play vibrato which will be SO exciting. It might take me an entire year to learn how to do it but I know I have the best violin teacher and she’ll be with me every step of the way.

I’ve dubbed 2011 as my “photography year” and although I’m very much a beginner I know that practice is key. Plus, reading the manual would probably help so that’s going on the list, too.

Travel destination: Southern Caribbean cruise. I’d love to go to St. Lucia, Curacao, Grand Turk, Aruba and more.

Fitness goal: Buy a road bicycle and start training. Run a 10k and finish in 55 minutes or fewer.

YEAR TWO (June 2012-June 2013) Age 29

Travel destination: Brazil. I would like to be able to go back every three years and I am due in fall 2012. Can’t wait!

Next priority: Survive December 21st. Yeah!

In February 2013 I will hit my five-year mark with my current employer and I’ll earn a four-week sabbatical (that’s right – four weeks in a row of paid time-off)! Right now the plan is to go to Europe and see EVERYTHING. Think I can do it?

Fitness goal: Run a 10k and finish in 50 minutes or fewer. Join some kind of cycling group.

If the stars align: Get married in 2013. (That would be two years from now and I don’t think that’s asking for too much. Seriously!)

YEAR THREE (June 2013-June 2014) Age 30

Educational goal: For real, I have to decide if I’m going to pursue business school. 30 is my “drop-dead” deadline. If not, I’ll have to face the music and learn how to cook instead. I honestly don’t know which one would be harder.

Fun goal: Have the BEST 30th birthday party ever. Everyone and their dog is going to know that I’m turning 30. (I always hear great things from people in their 30s. I think it will be an awesome time.)

Outlandish goal: Run a ½ marathon. Even crazier: Learn how to swim. (Currently I only know how to doggie paddle, tread water and back float. Lame!)

Travel destinations = Australia, New Zealand and/or Tahiti.

YEAR FOUR (June 2014-June 2015) Age 31

MOVE BACK TO CALIFORNIA. Hopefully the economy will have recovered by then. (Is that even possible?)

Have my first baby. Yeah!

YEAR FIVE (June 2015-June 2016) Age 32

Fitness: Participate in a triathlon of some sort. It could be a relay or just a short distance individual event.

For the remainder of the year: Recover from the triathlon and ponder my insanity for choosing to do something so punishing.

YEAR SIX (June 2016-June 2017) Age 33

BUY A HOUSE. Immediately adopt two cats. (Outdoor cats, of course.) I really miss having cats but I don’t want to go through the hassle of finding an apartment that allows for pets. I’d also like to try my hand at raising a dog but I’m pretty sure I’ll be terrible at training one. Hubby will have to do that.

Bust out Baby #2. Be sure not to give it a crazy “Utah” name.

YEAR SEVEN (June 2017-June 2018) Age 34

PUBLISH A NOVEL. That gives me at least six years to come up with a really good idea for a book. No vampires allowed!

YEAR EIGHT (June 2018-June 2019) Age 35

Baby #3 it is! Even though I always hoped to have four kids I hear they’re kind of overwhelming. At this point (age 35) three kids will have to do. Maybe I’ll get lucky and have twins. On second thought, would anyone in their right mind call that LUCK?

YEAR NINE (June 2019-June 2020) Age 36

Okay, funny thing about the year 2020… Ever since I was a kid I thought that the television show “20/20” was named that because everyone anticipated that 2020 would be the raddest year ever. I pretty much assumed that 2020 would be the year we’d have flying cars, teleportation and undersea residential compounds. I only realized a few months ago that “20/20” refers to perfect vision. In honor of my overdue revelation my goal for 2020 will be simply to maintain my 20/20 vision. It fits, right? I guess I’ll have to stop staring at the sun and buying cheap sunglasses! I'll need my perfect vision in order to...

YEAR TEN (June 2020-June 2021) Age 37


Okay, my 10-year plan may have just turned into a pipe dream but I’ll let you in on a little secret: THIS IS MY DREAM. Wouldn’t it be wicked awesome if it came true?


My goodness gracious – this was hard to do! I thought I’d be able to fill in the blanks quickly but it is quite the challenge. I definitely encourage you to try it.

It was a lot easier to come up with timelines, goals and plans when I was a student. Now that real life is such an open book I hardly know where to start. It’s not like I’m new at this game (I graduated from college four years ago) but if I don’t make a move soon time is just going to keep passing me by. Here’s to the next 10 years!


Procrastination Station

There's a place in my head
I visit once in a while
It's the place where a tiny inch
Somehow turns into a mile

There's really no start and go
Instead it just drones on
And lasts as long as I want
Until the time is all gone

Even then I keep on wasting
Precious time that isn't mine
And I make lots of fun squigglies
Out of very boring straight lines

On life's highway I don't run to and fro
There's no point in racin' from A to B
Why miss the stops along the way
When there's plenty more to see?

My favorite destination
Is the capital of my nation
It's the place dreams go to die
It's Procrastination Station

Visitors turn in for a quick night's rest
"I'll only stay one night," they say
But visitors quickly turn into residents
And hardly ever move away

You'll never see an inhabitant
With anything but a smile
Their glass is half full and they're alright
Because their deadline's out a while

And when that deadline comes
And knocks on their front door
The house is empty save for a note,
"We just don't care anymore."

Deadlines haunt the place
Searching for their debtors
But everyone in P.S. knows
How to shake a pair of fetters

In Procrastination Station
Worries are gone, guilt is weak
Problems are invisible and
Consciences never speak

It's the gateway to freedom
It's the way to win it all
Here you can drop 100 feet
And never even feel the fall

You can compete alone and take first
Winning a race you never ran
Others praise your academic worth
For finishing what you never began

It's the start line and the finish line
Wrapped up in fine twine
Like the diploma that congratulates,
"You still have time to pine!"

In Procrastination Station
There's so little to do
That soon you'll look for ways
To put off being you

"What's a drop in the bucket?
What's an inch in a mile?
Why not just get a mullet
And put off being in style?"

So here I sit with my mullet
And my hand full of flowers
Waiting for another visitor
To help me kill the hours

On the road of life why run to and fro?
On my mind's highway it's plain to see
There's no point of racing from A to B
When P.S. is the only place for me