Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful for a wonderful year of blessings

Cathy and I on our recent trip to Range Creek with the
Natural History Museum of Utah
On this Thanksgiving Day, I would be remiss to not express my thanks for a wonderful year of blessings.  While the year hasn't been without trials, we made it through it and have had some wonderful blessings that have come our way.  If I could have envisioned how 2013 would go in January, I would have left out a number of chapters!  It has been a whirlwind of a year.

First undoubtedly would be my call as Stake President of the Salt Lake Rose Park Stake.  While I've always enjoyed my voluntary service in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this has been an amazing experience for me.  After nearly a month since being called and sustained, I have such deep gratitude to the great examples who preceded me in this calling and to the faithful members of the our church who support me and most importantly express their love to our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ.   This is a long term deal and as I've entered a few things on my calendar and made them recurring entries, calculating the potential number of times it should reoccur, has been daunting.  However, we take it one day at a time, and find great joy with this new opportunity in our lives.

I'm grateful for a new job, that provides both opportunities and challenge.  As Salt Lake County's new Director of the Office of Regional Development, I have the opportunity of working with some great people, new challenges every day and hopefully an opportunity of using my talents developed over the last 16 years to make a difference in the lives of the most populated county in the State.  I am thankful for a County Mayor, Ben McAdams who has expressed trust in me and afforded the opportunity of serving the public, in a different way.  My thanks to my former employer, Zions Bank, who not only supported me in my public service over the last 8 1/2 years, but left on such a good note, that they let me take my super-duper heavy duty chair with me to my new job.  They are unmatched.

My thanks for eyesight.  Faced with diminishing vision, I had cataract surgery in both eyes during the month of June.  Through the miracle of Toric Lens implants, I not only solved my diminishing vision issues but now can see distant views in clarity that I haven't seen in 20 years.  The artificial lenses have a certain glare to them, but Cathy and the girls are always starring at them to see the reflections it creates.  Ok, they're the only ones who get to stare into my eyes.

I'm grateful for a myriad of opportunities to serve.  This year, not only do I complete my 16th year on the city council, but I finished my term as President of the Utah League of Cities & Towns, President of the Advisory Board for the Museum of Natural History of Utah, and rotated off my other regional boards and commissions associated with my public service.  Each have expanded my horizon and given me the opportunity to learn.  I look forward next year to joining the Advisory Board for the Jordan Valley Conservation Garden.

Finally, last but not least, my thanks to my family.  They have stood by me, carried me at times, and loved me without reservation.  Cathy in particular has carried some heavy burdens and I'm grateful for her numerous sacrifices to have our family be successful.  Both Jessica and Sarah always remind me what a wonderful blessing it is to be a father and I love them all.

And thanks to you, who took the time to read this and for being my friend.  You make a difference in my life.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stake President - My new calling in the LDS Church

Carlton, Cathy, Sarah & Jessica

A calling in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) is not something you apply for, or for that matter pursue with any kind of personal preference, but is extended after much prayer and thought by those extending the call from Priesthood Leadership.  Such is the case today, as I was sustained by the Members of the Rose Park Stake as Stake President after being extended a call from Elder Bruce D. Porter of the First Quorum of Seventy and Elder Warren G. Tate, an Area Seventy.  It's our belief that callings are extended based upon that which Jesus Christ would have, and are a reflection of the needs that our Savior feels is needed for that congregation at that given time.  While worthiness is a requirement, the extension of the call isn't a comparison of who is more worthy, because many men would have been worthy of the same call.  For me, upon extension of the call, I felt a spirit of confirmation that it was in fact a call that our Savior would have extended and I am humbled by the opportunity.  

For my friends, unfamiliar with my faith, a Stake is a geographical area made up of Wards or multiple congregations.  In the case of the Rose Park Stake, we have eight wards, including a Spanish speaking ward and in total, over 3,000 members.  It is a very challenging responsibility of which I'm not paid.  I don't do it all by myself, in fact I asked two counselors to serve with me, upon prayer and confirmation of the spirit that would assist with many aspects of the calling.  For my First Counselor, I asked Paul Fullmer to serve and for my Second Counselor, Brent Hyde.  Both are very capable men, who come with years of experience in serving in the Church and like me, have a love for the Lord and His work.  They like me are lay clergy or individuals not paid for their service and in fact everyone who serves under us within our Wards or Stake Callings are not paid for their service.

It's been a very full weekend for my family and me.  To be honest, we're emotionally and physically exhausted.  If I thought I had to do it, simply based upon the merits of my own ability, it would be impossible.   With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I can do it.  It's a clear shift from my service on the Salt Lake City Council.  I've appreciated the sixteen years of service there and will complete my term which ends in January.  I likewise will have my other or "real" job with Salt Lake County as the Director of the Office of Regional Development.  It's work that I'm really enjoying, working with some great people and it too is a new and frankly difficult challenge for me.  I am blessed with a great wife, two dedicated daughters and a family that helps me whenever they can.  I too have been blessed by my service in the Church and it is very much a part of my life.  It is after all, a reflection of what in my life is most important, and helping people be their best, assisting them through their challenges and being a genuine friend is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.  I'm hoping I can sleep a little better tonight!