The Woodchuck Part 2

Then along came Chuckie a super wood chucking Chuckie and the champion woodchucking chucker of Chattanooga.

One day the Chuckie went a chuckin’ and a chompin’ in the wood when he came across the super chuckin’ champion of the wood and that very same super wood chucking chucker that would chuck a lot of wood if a woodchuck could chuck could chuck wood.

So the Chuckie challenged Chucker to a wood chucking kind of challenge to see who could woodchuck all the wood that they could chuck; so on the count of three they began to chuck the wood.

There was no cheating only chucking, and they chucked all the wood that they could chuck. Then they counted the chucked wood… 33, 34…35, 3600 woods chucked in the wood chucking challenge of the Chattanooga wood.

So they had chucked all of the wood that the super wood chuckers could chuck because it turns out woodchuckers could chuck a lot of wood.

Then they took all the chucked wood, all 3600 of chucked woods, and chucked the wood into many nice cabins in the woods. Then the Chuckie and the Chucker chimed the Chattanooga council and made the choice to give the cabins to the homeless for no charge.

So in the end the Chuckie and the Chucker chucked all the wood that they could chuck and the chucking challenge helped those who had no chuck.


So Dirt Poor – The Beginning

As parents we often have those moments where we like to express how life was harder for us than for our children. The “up hill both ways” anecdote is a common example. A year or so ago, we experienced this same discussion, but within our own children. We had recently purchased a new stroller anticipating the birth of our fourth child. The older three sisters were quick to observe that this new stroller was seemingly nicer and better outfitted than the stroller they were privileged to have ridden in as babies. Nothing we said was able to convince them of the coolness of the stroller they had, or to simply be happy for their brother and the stroller he would get to use. So, in desperation, I pulled an “up hill both ways” story. I began describing the stroller I had as a child:

“Kids, let me tell you about the stroller I had as a baby. My wonderful stroller was made of cardboard – only cardboard, had one triangle-shaped wheel, and when it rained there was no canopy to keep me dry. One day we got caught in a rain storm. The stroller filled with water, and the bottom fell out. I let out a gasp and landed in a puddle of water. I was 2 months old. Yes, kids, I had to learn to swim at an early age!”

Now clearly this story was made up, but it caught my kids attention. They called my bluff despite my sarcastic claims to validate the story with their grandmother.

Since that time there have been several additional moments for me to share an “up hill both ways” story from my childhood. These stories have become known as the “So Dirt Poor” anecdotes.

Now as a quick explanation, we were always taken care of as kids. My parents always provided what we needed, and I am grateful for how much they’ve sacrificed for me over the years. These “So Dirt Poor” moments are simply just that – anecdotal, an opportunity to teach my children that despite how rough life may seem at the moment, we can be grateful for what we do have and know that it could be worse.

I hope you enjoy the subsequent entries in the series “So Dirt Poor”


How the Parable of the Trekker Taught Me about the Purpose of Life

Our Savior often taught with parables. These short stories drew spiritual parallels with common tasks or activities to which people could relate. President Packer described a parable as, “….a true-to-life example used to teach a principle or a doctrine that is invisible or intangible.”(1) A recent true-to-life example that I experienced helped me better understand the purpose of life. This experience was stake youth pioneer trek. Every four years, our stake holds these treks, and several adults throughout the stake are asked to help in various capacities. For the most recent stake trek, my wife and I were asked to serve and go along. I felt I had a reasonable expectation of what the venture would be like, but what I didn’t realize is that, for me, this experience would turn into a true-life parable.

On the last night of trek our stake presidency held a fireside. When our stake president shared his thoughts, he mentioned that the next day we would be headed home. He described how we might be anxious and excited to get clean, sleep in our beds, and see our families, and how good all those things will be. Then, he commented that returning home to our Heavenly Father would feel a billion-million times better than that. At that moment, the parallels between youth pioneer trek and our Earthly experience flooded my mind. At that moment, trek, for me, turned into a parable. And the need for a direct purpose for life sunk into my heart. In other words, life really isn’t just an aimless passing of time without purpose or direction. There is purpose to why we are here, and there is sense to how our Earthly life has been established.

A broad summary of our trek experience could be described like this: We met early morning on the first day to depart to the church ranch where trek would take place. Once we arrived at the ranch, we parked our vehicles, gathered our families, filled our handcarts and set off for our first campsite. Each morning, we set off for a new campsite until finally on the last day we returned to our vehicles and drove home. Each day brought new experiences along the way, including spiritual experiences, physical hardship, pioneer games, meals, family and inter-family interactions, and tender moments and memories.

So, if I could write out a parable of our experience on youth pioneer trek it would probably end up something like the following (please note that the term “man” in the parable also could be interpreted as “woman” as well):

“The intent of life can be likened unto a man who, with his family, was asked by a Wiseman to leave the comforts of his current surroundings and travel in the wilderness only to return home in due time. If the man chose to travel, the Wiseman promised fulfilling opportunity and growth, and an increase in comfort upon returning home. But the man was hesitant, fearing the uncertainty of the wilderness and clinging to the current comforts of his home. Nevertheless, trusting the Wiseman, the man gathered his family and a few of his belongings and headed into the wilderness. Now, there was one appointed as a trail leader who was to lead the man during the time of travel. The trail leader explained that his path was not the easy one and that hardships would undoubtedly ensue, but ultimately he would show man the way back home. And so, while man traveled, the weather turned burdensome, shelters became difficult to construct, sores and blisters afflicted man’s skin, and irritating insects tormented man. Nevertheless, man remembered the promise of the Wiseman and chose to continue traveling with the trail leader that he may return home. Now, upon the conclusion of man’s travel in the wilderness, having experienced pain and joy, hardship and peace, and frustration and love, but also having followed the trail leader to the end, man returned home with an increase in stature, gladness in his heart for having chosen to travel, and with an abundant appreciation for the comforts that home provided.”

So, just like each of us was asked by our stake president to attend trek and were led by our trail boss to show us the way to return home, we were asked by our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to come to Earth and follow the prophet to return safely to our Heavenly home. During our time on Earth, along with the joys, would also come hardships, but the promise exists that if we will follow the prophet, we will experience fulfilling opportunity and growth, and an increased level of comfort is waiting for us once we return home to our Father in Heaven. In the end, we will be glad that we made the choice to travel.

Trek brought to mind the story of Lehi and his family: “And it came to pass that [Lehi] departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.”(2) Lehi was commanded to leave the comforts of his home and depart into the wilderness. I now have a greater appreciation for how hard that must have been for him and his family, but Lehi made the choice to travel. What a great example.

Now, there are some in the world who would suggest that there is no defining purpose to life and that there is no need for a purpose to life – that we are here to simply live then die with no continuation afterwards. But I disagree. In the parable of the trekker, we understand that there was a home that was left and returned to. In other words a starting point and a destination that are one in the same. But without the faith and belief that there is a home that we came from and are returning to then is one just left wandering aimlessly around the wilderness? Perhaps, so. And if one wanders in the wilderness, especially for too long, the odds of survival, I fear, are unfortunately slim. But, there is a purpose, and there is a destination, and there is no need to wander aimlessly.

On our youth trek, the kids in our family knew one speed for pulling the handcart – fast. I might even venture to say that if they entered their handcart in the Indy 500 they’d have a good chance of placing in the top three. But despite their frequent desires to go faster than that which the company was traveling, with a little guidance and understanding they ultimately knew that if they hurried pass the trail boss who was leading them, they risked eventually ending up lost. Similarly if they chose to fall too far behind they could also lose their way. This can be likened to the need to follow the prophet with a sense of exactness and perseverance knowing that he is setting the proper pace for us spiritually. Doing more or less than the prophet asks, can lead to us become spiritually lost. Our Savior taught this concept in relation to the doctrine of the Gospel while among the Nephites in the Americas following His resurrection: “And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine … is not built upon my rock.”(3) As much as the kids on trek wanted to set the pace of the handcarts, in the end, they knew it was better to let the trail boss do the pace setting.

As a final note, perhaps an obvious difference between our Earthy existence and the parable of the trekker is that in the parable of the trekker there is memory of home life during that time. How would our perspective of trek have changed had we not had memory of our home life? What if we went only with a promise that we could return to a home which existed and would be worth working towards? How would that have changed the trek experience? I know, personally, there were moments during trek where I longed for my Earthly home for various reasons, but for the most part when I forgot about home and immersed myself in the current events of trek, I could better focus on personal growth, building my testimony, serving those around me, and generally enjoying my current experiences. Perhaps then, for these same reasons, while we are living our Earthly life, we need to have no memory of our Heavenly home.

Like in the parable of the trekker, I had my hesitations and concerns about going, but I knew that in the end it would be worth it. It was something I knew I should do. And, I knew that it was important to trust my stake president and follow his call to go. I’m glad that I went. Undoubtedly, I’m glad that I went. I’m appreciative to the fantastic trek family that made it all worth it and with whom I could share the trek experience. I know that our Earthly life has a purpose, and I know that if we will follow the pace of our prophet we will make it back home. Let us not wander aimlessly, but with exactness and perseverance in following our prophet. If we do, I know that, in the end, each of us will be glad that we made the choice to travel.


  2. 1 Nephi 2:4
  3. 3 Nephi 11:40

A Homeowner’s Political Plight

What would happen if the federal government oversaw the day-to-day events of a homeowner? The following dialog may provide some insight. A pdf for download can be obtained by clicking on the link below, or simply read along in the post. The dialog’s already in process so let's listen in to what's going on:

Homeowners Political Plight

Congressman Republican: That’s un-American!

Congressman Democrat: You’re un-American!

Congressman Republican: Your mom’s un-American!

Congressman Democrat: Hey that’s not true. I have the birth certificate right here.

Congressman Republican: That’s a blank piece of paper. Congressman Democrat you’re not Doctor Who.

Congressman Democrat: Ok, I know I have it. Wait, here it is…ah nope. That’s not it either. Oh, here. Got it. Ah, that’s not it either…….Oh, the state has just informed me that my mother’s birth certificate cannot be provided at this time.

Congressman Republican: Convenient

Congressman Democrat: Talking to birds is convenient.

Congressman Republican: Wait, what? Ah, you’re doing that thing where you say something random to distract me, hoping that I’ll forget what we we're talking about.

[Awkward silence]




Congressman Republican: Hey, what’s for dinner, anyway?

Citizen Homeowner: I would really like an extra-large, cheese pizza. Doesn’t that sound good?

Mr. President: Is pizza really the healthiest option? Couldn’t we go for chicken and potatoes, or something?

Congressman Democrat: Actually pizza does sound good, but Mr. President you’ll be happy to know that we recently passed a new homeowners rule to the limit the orderable size of a pizza. Large is the biggest size you can get. You see, the problem is Citizen Homeowner is fat, and the food industry made him that way so we decided to start helping by regulating the pizza industry.

Mr. President: Brilliant!

Citizen Homeowner: First of all, I’m not fat. I’m a healthy 165 pounds and exercise regularly. Second of all, shouldn’t I be accountable for my own eating habits?

Congressman Democrat: No, it’s clearly the pizza industry’s fault you’re fat. The good news is that the e-Food Stamp I just sent you will cover the cost of the pizza and plus you’ll have some left over to get soda and chips.

Citizen Homeowner: I’m not fat.

Congressman Republican: Is this homeowners rule even constitutional?

The Courts: I can answer that. You see, we support any form of regulation that blames industry for all home-ownership and personal problems of said homeowner.

Congressman Republican: You didn’t answer my question.

The Courts: Yes, I did. You just didn’t interpret it correctly.

Mr. President: Congressman Republican, I believe The Courts appropriately answered your question. Remember the earmark that recently passed on your behalf that allowed Citizen Homeowner to make an addition onto his home for the purpose of neighborhood snail races?

Congressman Republican: Ah, yes, Mr. President I understand now.

Citizen Homeowner: By the way, those snail races have become a popular event and have gone on without incident. Except for when my dog got into the snail cage. Poor snails.

Congressman Democrat: Wait, you have a dog? When did you get a dog?

Citizen Homeowner: A couple weeks ago.

Congressman Democrat: How did this get passed me? What kind of dog did you get?

Citizen Homeowner: Golden retriever.

Congressman Democrat: Ughhh…gasp.

Congressman Republican: Oh boy, here we go.

Congressman Democrat: I can’t believe you said G*ld*n retriever

The Courts: We ruled in Dog vs. Norman that it’s discriminatory for an owner to refer to their pet by the color of their skin, fur, breed, gender, or animal type.

Congressman Republican: What can he call it?

The Courts: Technically “it” is on the discriminatory list as well.

Citizen Homeowner: Since you brought it up, my dog and I would like to redefine the meaning of owner and pet.

Mr. President: Brilliant!

Congressman Republican: And I didn’t think this could get any better.

The Courts: [on the phone] Secretary please cancel my tee-time for this afternoon. I’m expecting some new homeowner legislation to cross my desk soon.

Congressman Democrat: Citizen Homeowner what are you suggesting?

Citizen Homeowner: I believe it’s in the best interest of me and my, ugh, ugh, well you know who I’m talking about, to be referred to as “air” and “potato”.

Mr. President: Brilliant!

Congressman Republican: That doesn’t make any sense. For centuries, we’ve called the relationship owner and pet. It has worked quite well and now you’re introducing definition chaos!

Citizen Homeowner: The problem is my other neighbors have amended the HOA rules to traditionally define owner and pet.

Congressman Democrat: That’s just wrong.

The Courts: We define human/pet relationship as “air” and “potato”. Let it be done. Times can change and so can definitions. Let the chaos ensue!

Congressman Democrat: Citizen Homeowner, I didn’t realize you were part of an HOA. The fees must be horrendous.

Citizen Homeowner: Actually they are $45 a month - pretty reasonable for what they cover.

Congressman Democrat: Even so, how are you supposed to have an enjoyable middle-class lifestyle if you have to cover that fee on your own? We’ll cover it for you.

Citizen Homeowner: I just got a notice saying my taxes have gone up. Does anyone know anything about this?

Congressman Republican: Oh, here we go. Wait…for…it…

Congressman Democrat: We needed the funds to cover your HOA fee.

Citizen Homeowner: But my taxes went up $90?

Congressman Democrat: You’re covering your neighbor’s fee as well.

Mr. President: Brilliant!

Citizen Homeowner: I just got my paycheck from work.

Mr. President: Ooh, what does it say?

Citizen Homeowner: Negative $115. After everything I still owe the government $115.

Mr. President: Brilliant! You can make checks payable to Mr. President.

Citizen Homeowner: You do realize my check will bounce? After the government takes its money for taxes and other who knows what, I’m left in the red. And I still have to pay utilities.

Congressman Democrat: Since we are on the subject of utilities, scientific studies have shown that the average temperature of your home has gone up 0.0000001 degrees over the course of the last 10 years. We call it homal-warming.

Citizen Homeowner: Homal-warming? 0.0000001 degrees? That doesn’t sound very significant.

Congressman Democrat: But it is significant. Statistically significant in fact. The probability that your average home temperature would have increased by that exact amount is 0.000000000001%. It’s quite remarkable really.

Citizen Homeowner: But couldn’t the temperature just as easily have gone down?

Congressman Democrat: Citizen Homeowner, you’re smarter than you look, but we’re one step ahead of you. We’ve already updated our terminology from homal-warming to homal-change. That way if the temperature goes up or down, we’ll be right.

Citizen Homeowner: Congressman Republican, you’ve been very silent recently. Do you have anything to say about all this?

Congressman Republican: Sorry, I’m still filling out paper work to cover the redefinition of owner/pet. I have 10 pets, I mean potatoes, I need to account for.

Congressman Democrat: Citizen Homeowner we’ve linked the increase in temperature of your home to excessive use of your toaster.

Citizen Homeowner: What? Maybe I like toast. What’s wrong with that?

Congressman Democrat: Certainly nothing. You can do whatever you want as long as I agree to it first. Just know I’m on your side in this fight. I’m here to help you out. That’s why we’ve instituted a plan to regulate the toaster industry so that by 2030 all toasters will reduce their BTUs to 0.

Mr. President: Brilliant!

Citizen Homeowner: How does a toaster toast without heat?

Congressman Democrat: Trust me. You’ll thank me someday. We also have a similar plan in place for each of your vehicles. They will not be allowed to consume electricity or gasoline by 2030.

Congressman Republican: Congressman Democrat, is there anything you can’t help Citizen Homeowner with?

Congressman Democrat: Maybe I’ll turn the table and ask if there is anything you CAN help with? I’ve noticed that you haven’t provided any meaningful contribution to this dialog.

Congressman Republican: Now, that’s not true. I’ve opposed everything you’ve suggested.

Congressman Democrat: How is that helping?

Congressman Republican: Bright lights can be really shiny.

[Awkward Silence]




Congressman Democrat: Touché

Citizen Homeowner: Mr. President. My wife and children have just formed something they call a union. They want to negotiate better benefits for their allowances.

Mr. President: Ah, very good. While you and Congressman Democrat were sorting through your toaster problem I contacted your family and relayed the benefits of a union.

Citizen Homeowner: But my wife is now asking for daily pedicures and my children each want $10 a day for their chores. They don’t even have daily chores!

Congressman Democrat: I just successfully passed the newest homeowner rule to increase minimum allowance to $15 a day per child. Spouses and significant others receive 10% of the full total amount summed together to come up with a large number that must be payable at 10:59 pm local time each day.

Congressman Republican: Wait, I didn’t get a vote on that!

Congressman Democrat: Ok, all in favor say lizard.

Congressman Republican: Lizard?

Congressman Democrat: Great. Lizards have it.

Citizen Homeowner: Congressman Democrat, my wife and children have come for payment. I don’t have the funds to pay my children, and I can’t make sense of the law to pay my wife.

The Courts: I can help interpret. Give your wife free access to use the family money as she pleases without need for accountability. You, on the other hand, get nothing.

Mr. President: By the way, you still owe the government $115.

Citizen Homeowner: It appears I need a government bailout to cover my allowance expenses. Without it, I may crumble.

Congressman Democrat: Now see that’s the spirit! You got it! And, don’t you fret about borrowing money. We do it all the time, and just look at how good we’re doing!

Congressman Republican: Really? Lizard? That was just cruel.

Congressman Democrat: Congressman Republican. You’re falling behind again. You really need to stay caught up. Things are changing quickly around here.

Congressman Republican: How about we pass a homeowners rule that allows said homeowner to carry a concealed spoon around his house?

Mr. President: Did Congressman Republican really just propose legislation? Kind of goofy legislation, really, but I’m impressed.

Congressman Democrat: Now Congressman Republican we are not in the business of granting freedoms here. You clearly have a lot to learn if you want to help Citizen Homeowner.

Mr. President: Congressman Democrat, I think we should throw Congressman Republican a bone this time. He hasn’t done anything productive this entire dialog and he has clearly strained really hard for a suggestion.

Congressman Democrat: Ok, but next time I won’t allow it so easily.

Congressman Republican: Wahoo! I’ve got to call my mom and tell her all about what’s just happened. She’ll be so proud!

Congressman Democrat: Citizen Homeowner, before you get your concealed spoon permit, you’ll need to pass a series of background checks and tests including but not limited to proper spoon handling, what to do if threatened by another with a spoon, and how to properly holster your spoon. Oh, and the filing fee for a permit is $5000.

Citizen Homeowner: Congressman Democrat, I can’t worry about that right now. There appears to be a large wall being built around the edges of my property.

Congressman Republican: Yes! That is my doing. My mom said she was proud of the great things I’m doing, and she encouraged me to continue doing great things. So I’m building a great wall around your premises to keep unwanted visitors out.

Mr. President: Congressman Republican you have the least brilliant ideas I’ve ever heard.

Citizen Homeowner: But what about visitors I do want to let in? My parents are flying in and I need to be able to let them through.

Congressman Republican: No problem. I’ve already accounted for that. All they need to do is pass x-ray, thermal scanning, and polygraph among other things.

Citizen Homeowner: Among other things? How long is the process to get cleared?

Congressman Republican: 3-5 business days.

Citizen Homeowner: But they fly in Saturday and are only here for three days.

Mr. President: This is a disaster.

Congressman Democrat: Congressman Republican is clearly in over his head. Let me tell you how to solve your visitor problem. I suggest you open your doors. Invite everyone in. You’ll cover their room, board, all educational, including college, expenses, medical care, and pension. There’s no better way to make friends than offer them everything they want for free.

Citizen Homeowner: But I have nothing left to give. I’m going to bed.

Mr. President: Congressman Democrat and Congressman Republican please report on what you’ve accomplished today.

Congressman Democrat: Mr. President, I’m pleased to announce that we didn’t accomplish anything of true significance today.

Congressman Republican: I second the announcement.

Mr. President: Then it’s been a good day.



One day Lindsey and I were watching an online video where the speaker was giving life advice.  One of the pieces of advice he gave was to increase your Question to Answer Ratio.  I couldn’t tell what he said, so I  turned to Lindsey and said, “What?”  She then began laughing. It occurred to us that if you can’t hear people very well that is certainly a good way to improve your Question to Answer Ratio.


Celery and Peanut Butter

So I'd like to share an amusing experience that happened to me this evening.
Please note that the names in the following story have not been changed so as to implicate the guilty!
This evening I decided that having a snack of celery and peanut butter sounded quite delicious. A very simple thing really. What could go wrong!? Little did I know that total and absolute anarchy was about to ensue. I entered the kitchen, alone, met only by a quiet and peaceful setting. I opened the fridge, got out the newly bought celery, and took it to the counter. I then removed two sticks of celery, rinsed them off and placed them on the counter - all the while I'm still immersed in my blissful state of peace and tranquility. I put the remaining celery back in the plastic bag and returned the bag to the fridge. I then went to get a knife out of the pantry (none were in the drawer) to cut my celery.
As I was getting my knife, my sense of calm was suddenly shattered. Out of the kitchen I heard a voice (Maddi), "Mmm, celery." "Yeah, celery," exclaimed another voice (Laney). The first voice astutely noticed that there were two pieces of celery and two hungry bellies. "Look Laney! Two pieces of celery one for me and one for you."
Their timing couldn't have been more perfect. By the time I had left to get my knife, got my knife, and returned, two anarchists had shown up, infiltrated the kitchen and thieved my two long sticks of celery.
Feeling defeated, I placed my knife on the counter, let out a soft sigh, and returned to the fridge to fetch more celery. As I returned to the counter with my bag of celery I quickly noticed that now my knife had gone missing.  A quick glance around the room revealed the perpetrator. "Thanks dad for the knife. I needed it to cut my celery," Maddi told me in her soft, tender voice.
At this point additional footsteps could be heard entering the kitchen. I knew I was in trouble. Four against one never turns out well - not in the past, not now, nor will it ever turn out well. The new footsteps (Kayla and Emily) worked on toasting some Eggo waffles. "Harmless enough," I thought. "It doesn't appear that they are after my celery." Turns out I was right about my celery being safe. It was the "harmless enough" I was wrong about.
By now, I had returned to the fridge, got more celery, rinsed more celery, and gotten another knife. Check, check, and check. I was feeling pretty good about myself. Several successes in a row and I was still alive to tell about it. Nothing could stop me now. I went and got a plate and put it on the table. I didn't even give a second thought as to the safety of my plate. Yep, pride cometh before the fall.
I went to the get the peanut butter out of the storage room and upon returning to the kitchen my eyes met the most beautiful princess (Emily) I had ever seen. The problem was she was in my chair and her Eggo waffle was on my plate. "Oh sorry honey. Were you going to sit here?"
"Was I going to sit there? Was I going to sit there? Are you kidding!," I thought. "No, honey. You're welcome to sit there," I replied.
I placed the jar of peanut butter on the table and embarked on my journey to get a new plate. By this time at least 30 minutes had passed and I still hadn't gotten to sit down with my celery and peanut butter - all while everyone else was enjoying their freshly made snack. I'm convinced this is what the scriptures meant when they say "the first shall be last and the last shall be first" - First to enter the kitchen means you will be the last one to eat!
Well, I returned with my plate in hand only to see a sight that simply left me in utter disbelief, disillusionment, and discombobulation. Four conniving anarchists were huddled around my fresh, new jar of peanut butter laughing and giggling without a care in the world enjoying succulent spoonfuls of that same peanut butter I labored vigorously to retrieve. I had walked down 13 stairs, through the garage, into the storage room, back through the garage, up those same 13 stairs and into the kitchen to get that peanut butter. No man, or woman for that matter, should be required to labor so much to get a jar a peanut butter. But I did. You know why? Because all I wanted, all I had wanted for the past 30 minutes, was celery and peanut butter.
I was defeated. No, not feeling defeated. Literally defeated. I walked over to the peanut butter waiting for the opportune moment to make my move. When that time came I took the peanut butter, got a scoop, put in on my plate with my celery, sat down at the table and began cutting my celery into smaller pieces. Everyone looked at me like, "What's his problem?"
Not 30 seconds went by when one of the anarchists (Laney) cried out, "A knife. I need a knife. Where's my knife?" I had a faint glimmer of hope that someone might get her a knife or that she might get her own knife, but when the shrieking didn't let up I took one last fond look at my knife (please note that this was a plastic knife. this info is important so you don't think I was trying to intentionally injure someone) and said my farewells. I tried to toss my knife to Laney but having undergone intense emotional duress for the past 30 minutes my aim was off and I nailed another one of the anarchists (Kayla) right in the head.
I got a mean look from Kayla (rightfully so) and a stern reprimand  (also rightfully so) from the beautiful princess that I shouldn't throw knives - plastic or not, and at that point I determined that the kitchen that greeted me with peace and tranquility 30 minutes earlier was no longer the same kitchen I was currently standing in. I picked up my plate and retreated to my room where I finally enjoyed a nice peaceful plate of celery and peanut butter.
After I had some time to calm down I realized there must have been something I was supposed to learn from that experience. It made me wonder how often we might seemingly coincidentally come across something in life (two celery sticks) that appear fortuitous and just what we need at that moment, but really it is God that has placed it there without us even knowing. It made me realize that sometimes in moments like that I should try and recognize all the celery, knives, plates, and peanut butter that happen to show up and try to be a little more grateful when those moments occur.
I also realized the incredible amount patience God must have with us. I just hope that one day I have as much patience.