Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday in Seattle

While we had intentions to the contrary, Church Services for us today was too far away for us, in order to effectively arrive to the dock in time for our cruise.  In the absence of that opportunity, we decided to hold our own family/church experience here in our hotel room.  While we didn't have the chance to partake of the Sacrament, we did listen to a great talk by President Uchtdorf off my laptop.  Sarah organized everything, including a program, announcements and work assignments.  It more than reminded me of Church and the spirit was present.  I miss being at my own Ward, partaking of the Sacrament, but so grateful for the opportunity of being with my family, soon to be my extended family on board, and to know of my Heavenly Father's love for me and my family.  I was remind of what a great talk President Uchtdorf gave.

I want others to know that I do have a testimony, that giving of my own service to others helps me realize that my lot is not as bad as I would think and that often the answers I'm searching for are in the needs and helping of others.  The most discouraging thing of watching some in public service is watching their selfish reactions and games for political gain.  Instead of trying to find solutions, they look at how to undermine others and so often, I don't see the Christ-like actions I would hope to find.  I'm far from perfect and it reminds me that I have room for improvement.  Others may not be ready to accept the gospel and doctrines in which I believe, but I do want them to know that I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and hoping that one day, my life reflects it.

President Uchtdorf's Talk

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Trax - The Opening of the North South Line - Funny Story

I'm going to date myself a little here, but I actually spoke at the grand opening of the North South line of Trax.  I was thinking about this a little today as I get ready to attend the opening of the Mid-Jordan and WVC lines.  I thought I would share a funny experience from it.

It was a very cold morning,and of course those sitting on  the stand, which included Governor Leavitt and others, were sitting with the sun facing us, which made it warmer.  Those in the audience were in the shade,which included my 7 year old daughter and my Mother who was in her 70's.  After we got done with the speeches, we boarded the inaugural train which was going up to the Gallivan Plaza stop and then would come back.  However the last thing I saw as I boarded the train, was my 7 year old Jessica crying because it was so cold, standing next to my mother.  I felt absolutely horrible and just wanted to get back to get her warmed up.  When the train came back, I quickly got off, but couldn't see them anywhere.  I should have realized that my Mom would take care of my daughter, but I began to panic.  There were huge crowds, and of course, everyone wanted to ride the train.  The next train was leaving, and I figured they were on it.  I quickly got on it, to see if I could find them.

Picture this, a Trax train totally packed, such that you couldn't even walk, if you wanted to.  I looked desperately in the car for them, couldn't find them, so at the next stop, got off, ran up the platform and hopped in the next car.  It reminded me of the crowded trains I had taken frequently in Japan, but I had no idea what lay in store for me.  Not finding them in the next car, I got off at the next stop, ran up to the next car, and so on until I had been in all four cars, and then even proceeded back to look again in each of the cars, and to check the platform, in case they got off.

While it's hard to imagine, few had cell phones back then, and while we had one in our family, my wife had it.  There was no way to call and see where they had gone, and the haunting image of my daughter crying was really taking its toll.  We finally arrived at the Sandy stop, where the forced us all to get off.  I tried to explain that I was actually one of the speakers and an official from Salt Lake City, but they wouldn't let me stay on the train.  They told me I would have to get back in line, which was blocks long to go back to Salt Lake.  On top of that, the pay phone on the platform, had not yet been installed, so no cell, no pay phone, and stranded in Sandy!  I noticed a gentleman pulling out his cell phone, and I approached him and asked if I could make a call to my brother, who lived near by.  They too had been stranded like me, and I think were calling a taxi or something.  He looked at me and asked, "Do I know you?", to which I explained that I was Carlton Christensen from the Salt Lake City Council.  I was relatively new at the time, and pretty unknown.  It turns out the gentleman was John Saltas from the City Weekly.  He was kind enough to write about the experience later and about the fact that UTA had not be discriminating about who they stranded!

Well, my brother Elliott came and picked me up, drove me back to the arena station, and I decided I had to go call my wife and tell her I had lost both our daughter and my mother!  I started to explain to the UTA Director of Rail Operations, my plight when a train pulled up and off hopped my mother and daughter, who were both smiling and had an enjoyable ride.  I looked at them and couldn't believe what I had just been through and asked them what had happened.  It turns out, that my mother put them both on the next train, to keep my daughter warm, but when they got to Sandy, she refused to leave the train, and utilized her senior status to make the point!  Both she and Jessica enjoyed some chocolate coins she had in her purse and affirmed that they like the train! 

Today, I've decided to take my daughter Sarah with me to ride, but we both have cell phones, as does my wife, and come what may, she's a VIP and I'm not going to let anyone separate us!