Is Happiness a Chicken Sandwich?

Today I got out from buying my lunch/dinner near Loyola and passed by a lady from the #Chicago #ChickFila who was passing out free chicken sandwiches. I initially passed her by, but said that she should give a sandwich to the homeless guy down the street. I passed him by earlier because I didn’t have the fund ability to do anything. Then I stopped, turned around, and picked up the sandwich from her, went back and gave it to the guy. Quick, easy opportunity to do something that could make a difference in someone’s day. I’ve been hungry before. Thankfully, not homeless, but I know what it’s like to have been down to your last bag of onions and have people treating you badly for your penury.

I went back for another sandwich for myself- I haven’t tried a ton of ChickFila’s menu, but I do know that it tends to be good food. A little pricier than other fast food, but typically good quality stuff. The man standing next to her was holding two sandwiches as she looked me in the eye and replied that it was only “One sandwich per customer.” I was a little shocked, and told her, “I gave my sandwich to a homeless guy.” She shrugged her shoulders a little coldly, but I figured that she was just doing her job. I kept walking.

No, I didn’t give the guy the sandwich to write a blog post about it. If I took away her opportunity to give the man a sandwich later, I’ll never know. Luckily, I’d already bought my own food. I didn’t give the guy the sandwich to dismiss her, or to keep him from finding a job, employment, etc. but to help someone live. Don’t care what kind of praise or ridicule that it would get.

Last time I checked, I try to be a decent human being. I would think that ChickFila would appreciate that, but I know that when I said that she might want to give the sandwich to the homeless guy, she looked shocked, disgusted, and appalled as I walked past for a second. I looked back and she was completely happy to give sandwiches to everyone else who was out there.

I overheard her mentioning to someone when they asked why the free sandwiches that the store wanted to get to know the community. She’s doing the same job as any Costco sample person. I love the samples, and I’m grateful that they’re there, but please don’t tell me that they’re to increase good will in the community. It’s selling product. All of the people that she gave samples to were well-dressed Gold Coast types.

Who is she to judge him? To me, it’s not a race thing, and it doesn’t matter what races the people were. It might be a socio-economic thing. Normally I see myself as one of the poorer people when I come to this area of the city. I have as many flaws as the next person, but I am confident in doing well. If she saw him every day, and he swindled people, that’s not my concern. My concern is making sure that I do the best that I can with the circumstances given. Last time that I knew, that’s the meaning of life. Maybe that’s what she meant to do, too, but the interpretation of commitment was shaky.

And no, I didn’t give the guy the sandwich to get another one, but I was honestly surprised at her reaction. And I’m grateful that I didn’t have to worry about someone else’s good will to feed me tonight. Perhaps it says something about American society that it’s not acceptable to #sharegoodness unless it’s to the people who we deem worthy of it. That’s not acceptable to me. I’m working on forgiving people. I’ve got a lot of things on my plate when it comes to what I need to do and how I need to live. I’ll be lucky if I can make it to Christmas this year. That said, a free sandwich making a man’s face light up like there was nothing better on this earth? That’s the stuff that makes life a little better. I don’t know where the nearest shelter is or if he’d take the help. However, I was able to do something and did something for once. With or without coming out of it with a sandwich, it was worth it.

Answering the Ultimate Question

In a recent meeting with an advisor, he brought up a question, “Where do I come from?” as an example of the ultimate question for historians and genealogists. Culturally and religiously, I grew up knowing the answer to that question, so I started giggling a little, but quickly went quiet as he took the question seriously. I’ve never seen anyone actually ask that question out loud before in earnest and it took me a second to realize that it was a real question for him, and extrapolated, for others.

I already knew the answer to the question and it was obvious for me. I wasn’t giggling at him for asking the question. I thought that he already knew the answer, and that he was sharing a small private joke of some sort as he studies religious history. What floored me was that he didn’t seem to know the answer. It wasn’t a hypothetical exercise for him, and this rather shocked me.

I grew up in and am an active member of the LDS Church. Part of the theology is that before mortal existence, the spirits of all people were with God as his children, learning and growing. There was a grand council in heaven regarding mortality and a war of ideas that resulted in the expulsion of Lucifer, or the devil, from heaven. I believe that Adam and Eve actually existed. Though I don’t know every aspect of their existence, I believe that there was a Fall and that mankind are the offspring of Adam and Eve. I stick with the Church because I’ve prayed asked God whether it was right and He said that it was true. The knowledge of where I came from came before I learned basic arithmetic. My initial witness from God occurred at around ten years old, and through the rest of my life I haven’t completely stopped communication with God. That said, my life hasn’t been easy, but my challenges keep me progressing.

My advisor knows my religion. He’s actually one of very few people who are not of my faith who I know where I live that are open to positive academic discussions with someone of my faith. I’ve never met someone as supportive as my advisor, and I will never be able to adequately express how grateful I am for his attitude, counsel, and training.

At the time of the conversation, I did not answer his question. He studies religious history, but I don’t know if he follows any particular doctrine. Typically I think of professors as people who eschew religion, unless they either openly study it or teach at an actively faith-based campus. That’s not to say that I would ever be against my professor learning more regarding my faith. There are some things that I’m trying to weigh in my mind and heart regarding a best approach on such a topic. Somehow I hope to be able to give him a gift for the help that he has given me. He may not agree with my answer to his question, but it’s something that I hold dear. I think that he might at least accept the basis for the answer as a gift, no strings attached.

Sometimes it’s Good to See the Janitor

I’m grateful for grace that keeps me sane. This afternoon my husband prayed that he and I would be able to get where we needed to go, and that it would work out okay. Simple prayer, but then I left for school. On the way to school, driving was simple versus road rage-enducing chaotic. I got a text from my step-mother that my father lost his job and I didn’t immediately panic. I put them on the prayer roll, and went to the elevator, since I could just offer faith and that was it.

On the way up to cross the breezeway between the portals in the parking garage, I was in an elevator with a janitor. Normally I see doctors, business people, and others who intimidate me. I’m from the middle class, not upper class, and I don’t roll in the same tax bracket as those who wear Burberry. The janitor was more my speed. When I went to the other elevator, the man inside was confused and had to figure out how to get back down. Finally, the guy who wanted to get back into the elevator at the bottom was another maintenance-type.

I was probably more grateful to see these men than anyone else that day. They were people who were humble, patient, and happy. They reminded me of the livery drivers who live in my complex, or the others who make their living helping others feel important.

Coming to this part of school is going to world of Bentley’s, of the city’s elite shopping, and people who probably spend more money on their clothes than I do on my rent. However, seeing the salt of the earth on the way to class helped me feel calm and relaxed. I don’t have to put on airs for anyone. My navy ensemble is quite casual, but it’s clean, and I’m clean and neat and that’s what matters. Whether I wear a Wall-E shirt, or weigh more than the typical Yuppie, or am working on a Masters degree in my 30’s, it’s still working out.

Attempting to Overcome Difficulties

I went back to school. While the first semester felt fairly easy, I should have known that was the calm before the storm. This semester has been thing after thing after thing. A recurring theme of this semester is that if it can happen, it will. There’s been death, friends facing incredible challenges, and illness between my husband and myself. It’s not an every day uphill battle, but there’s so much happening that it’s very difficult to finish homework and to get things done.

Considering that is how I left off on school, and ended up with academic issues that could affect whether I can continue going to school, missing any part of the course or being home isn’t an option anymore. I have to go to class and I have to do as well as humanly possible no matter what else is happening in life.

I have opportunities for learning how to code if only I can take them. Spring Break was the most wonderful time off, but should have been used for coding nonstop. I’ve been paying for it ever since.

Saturday will be a huge family history fair, locally. There’s been a lot of stress involved, and the main person in charge is in process of moving. Very few people around here who are of my religious background are into family history, although it’s a tenet of our religion. At least, if they’re into it, they need training to do more. That’s good that they want the training. Normally, I’d be glad and grateful and all happy about it. Because of my coughing, drainage so I just want to sleep circumstance (sick!) all that I can think about is… not that much. I can barely keep myself together, and even then not that much.

School feels like I’m digging a grave, and not getting out of it. I love genealogy and I know that I want to get this app done, but I am far behind and likely to fail at the present. My teacher’s trying to give me chances to do better, but I feel like I’m just slipping down the slope and there aren’t any hand-holds to catch.

Can I make it? Will I make it? I need to make it, even when I feel like life is running me over with a threshing machine.

Tired, but studying,


Ethics, God, and Fruit Juice

I am taking a Computer Ethics class at my university, and we’ve been talking a lot about varying philosophies. It’s actually pretty fascinating to read the philosophies. I see ethics as the gospel without prophets or Christ. It may sound like, “How in the world could there be the gospel without these central figures?”, but I’ve been learning that most people attempt/want to be good people. Sure, there are exceptions, but the laws are theoretically in place to deal with nefarious exceptions that are against the overall moral good.
Aristotle taught a lot of things that are extremely similar to our Church’s fundamentals, excepting that he was a bit of an elitist in addition to not including prophets or apostles or Christ. It may sound strange, but growing up with the concept of modern prophets, I didn’t know any different. I could easily see people outside the Church seeing prophets as a wacky concept, but that goes back to humility, faith in God and in His answers, and prayer.

The more I read and study regarding ethics, the happier that I am that there is a prophet, and that Christ lived and is God. That He is a Resurrected Being. Reading the philosophic arguments, it’s not exactly that they all don’t understand morality or goodness. There’s just no director. The scriptures are awesome, but they by themselves do not give authority for a person to enfranchise themselves as a pastor or teacher. Authority to act in God’s name can only be given from God to do so. Otherwise, there are a lot of well-meaning people who worship God the best that they know how, or live moral lives the best that they can do, but there is definitely something missing.
Something that I love about Joseph Smith, Jr. is that he was not looking to become a prophet. He didn’t ask for it, was not seeking for it, and he fulfilled his calling because of a love of God and love of fellow men. Imagining all of the complainers, all of the people who could easily try to micromanage his time, and similar things- apostasy is super easy when you think that you understand it all and don’t need further counsel and/or guidance (or direction.)
One of my heroes is Hyrum Smith. He was an older brother to Joseph, and yet he was humble and loyal. He was the Sam to Joseph’s Frodo.

The more that I read the philosophers, the more I see the holes. The arguments have blatant holes that need filling from the fullness of the gospel. When I was a missionary I taught the basis of prophets and apostles; it was simply normal stuff to me and I never really understood the “other side” from the point of view of the logic behind it.
Now that I’m learning it, I don’t see it all as bad or wrong. More like, they are doing their best, but they’re functioning in great degree without God, attempting to move in a very dim room without guidance. Kant was awesome until he met his Korihor (David H). Until someone showed Kant a path without relying on God, he had God in his sights. My other consideration was that Kant lived at a time when the gospel in greater fullness wasn’t yet on earth: 1724-1804. There was no one or nothing to authoritatively tell Kant, “Guess what? This is right. This part of what you believe is accurate. This part is confusion.” There was no guidance (prophets based on the true gospel of Jesus Christ) and obviously no missionaries.
For years I struggled with the concept of the Apostasy and why there needed to be a Restoration. The Restoration includes a lot of the best parts of the philosophic principles- agency, good will, the light of (they call it truth with a little “t”, we say Truth with a capital “T” denoting Christ), and from what I’ve been able to read in, Kant had more light and was about to learn further principles when his version of the devil stepped in. However, Kant didn’t have the guidance to know truth from error. I love that the gospel begs us to plead with God, whatever format that pleading is- though the simplest format is prayer (basics of prayer being in Preach My Gospel) in search of knowledge. We assume properly that God wants to speak to us.

Because I grew up with prayer, it is such a foreign concept that anyone would not want to pray to God, or that someone would think that they aren’t allowed to pray whenever they want to. It’s just bizarre that God would stop talking to people at the end of the book of Revelations (especially considering that the book of Revelations wasn’t chronologically the last book of the Bible- the translators compiled them largest to smallest, and the phrase about adding to or taking away from the Revelations ONLY refers to that particular book of section.) SO MANY THINGS that awe me because they are so plainly obvious but aren’t obvious to others.

Culture and gospel aren’t the same thing, but the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness really is novel. I kind of want to tell my teacher, “Guess what? There IS an answer for what happens after you die. There IS an answer for ultimate truth. There IS an answer for anything that you’re looking for in the scriptures and through prayer, church attendance, temple attendance, Priesthood blessings, or similar methods and modes.” Sometimes the gospel and receiving answers take more work than not. Occasionally things are as clear as broth or as easy to chew through as baby food. But, often, it takes a little more work and a little more patience to get answers. It’s the witness of the Holy Ghost that binds with the soul.

My ethics class is fun, perhaps entertaining. However, I see it like drinking 30% fruit juice when I grew up drinking 100%. The taste is different, and 100% tastes better. I prefer 100% over sugar water substitutes any day.

Best to all,


Basic Resume Types and Content Categories

  • Two Most Common Types of Resumes:
    • CV (Curriculum Vitae)
      • Every position, place, education: the whole she-bang
      • Your life story abbreviated to categories (see below)
    • 5-Year Abbreviated Resume
      • Only list experience from the last five years.
      • Include experience relevant to position, or positions whose duties would overlap skill sets
  • What is typically on any resume
    • Name (Legal Name, no nicknames)
    • Contact info:
      • Address
      • Phone Number
        • Cell phone number (pertinent in 2014 whatever model you have.)
        • Home phone if separate and applicable.
      • Email Address (Professional email address- you can use gmail or yahoo, msn, or an sbcglobal or similar address. Beware Netscape, hotmail, or pre-2000 technology.)
    • Objective: Optional. More useful incorporated into cover letter, but can be used on the resume.
    • Skills: If your skills are more recent than your most recent experience, or you are changing careers, this is a good way of highlighting and including capabilities that otherwise may not show up. If you include software under Skills, try to keep current on recent editions.
    • Experience: Applicable work history or cv.
    • Education: Highest degree, followed by undergrad. Only include high school if that is the highest level attained. Include further professional training either here or under Professional Memberships, wherever it would best apply. Also include any college-based extracurricular activities here that may apply such as Phi Beta Kappa for history, or IEEE Student Member, or SAAS Example University Chapter President
    • Military Service (if applicable): See example resume and do not include specific classified information. You can, however, provide Security clearance level. (Secret, Top Secret, etc.)
    • Professional Memberships: National Association of X, American Association of X, X Union, and include any board or officer positions held with or by you in those groups, accomplishments, etc.
    • Volunteer Work: Extra-Curricular stuff that takes up more than 5 hours/week, but does not have to include anything that would violate EEO anti-discrimination (Equal Employment Opportunity: Race, creed, gender, etc. etc.) standards. Missions are okay to put on resumes, but I do not include typical, weekly Church calling services on a resume as those are part of everyday Church and not a full-time commitment (no matter how busy it gets).
    • Awards, Publications, Professional Blogs or Websites
    • If you notice, just by writing this material out in a basic format, [if you print this out or copy it into MS Word] I have already gone over a page. That is allowed if the information is important and/or pertinent. Do not just go one to three lines over to add an additional page. Unless it is a full and necessary paragraph of text, see if the resume will fit legibly on a single page (unless it is a cv, in which case, it is expected to run longer than a page).

Simple Formatting Tips

Layout matters. Make sure that the resume is easy to read, and clean.

  • Resume should be organized, with simply-written, active verbs.
  • Do you organize your words visually? i.e. With appropriate spacing, legible font size, reasonable style, proper punctuation, avoiding jargon potentially unfamiliar to the recruiter.
  • Do you use bullets or levels of words to lead the reader or for very easy scanning? You may only have two seconds once the pre-weeded resumes are removed. A person who really wants the job will go to the trouble of using their resources to make a clear presentation.
  • Do not make a recruiter dig for anything. It should be obvious where your name, address, email, and phone are first. Then your experience, education, military, volunteer work, or other applicable skills should be easy to search. Treat your resume like a search engine. If you wouldn’t be able to tell something quickly and easily, neither can the HR person.