Sunday, November 17, 2013


100. . . .to one of my scouts who got up early on a windy, snowy morning and started a fire by blowing on the coals from last night's fire, for a half hour, by praising him in front of the troop and then buying him a doughnut.

99. . . .to my assistant scoutmaster who took time out of his weekend to camp with the scouts by letting him work with a struggling scout to complete the bookwork for his Physical Fitness merit badge.

98. . . .to another scout for teaching a new scout the oath, law, motto, and slogan using the EDGE method by praising him in front of the group and then telling him he'd passed off a Life rank requirement doing so.

97.  . . .to the professional scouter taking notes on the Targhee District pow-wow by sending the clear message that the pow-wow was a welcome event, that the $10 per scout charge was reasonable and that we'd help out next year teaching courses to help ease the instructor shortage.

96. . . .to my wife for letting us go camping while she stayed at home with two demanding children and two demanding dogs by cooking Sunday dinner.

95. . . .to my daughter for writing me a guilty note chastising me for not reading to her at night by starting "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."

94. . . .to my youngest son for being "man of the house" while we were camping with the scouts by bringing him a pow-wow patch for his collection.

93. . . .to my wife for doing all of our laundry by putting my clean clothes away.

92. . . .to a scout mom when she came to collect her son's gear by saying he's a fun kid to be around, and thoughtful too for bringing cookies to the campout to help celebrate another scout's birthday.

91. . . .to the father of a new scout by letting him know in a letter what progress his son has made on his Tenderfoot rank, and getting him involved by showing what he and his son can do together to finish things up.

90. . . .to the Idaho Transportation Department for clearing Highway 20 of its first snow in a manner that made it safe for me to drive scouts home by obeying the speed limit and not causing mayhem on the roads.

89. . . .to one of my Brigham Young University-Idaho students who wrote a funny essay profiling a friend by showing us what he admired about his work ethic through the eyes of the Subway sandwich shop security camera by giving him an A+, and then telling him he made me feel like the teacher from "A Christmas Story" when I got to give him that grade.

88. . . .to my mentors at BYU-Idaho who work hard with instructors who are not professionally trained as teachers by posting my self-evaluation on schedule and with answers that were thought out and, above all, honest.

87. . . .to my son who worked hard this weekend in cleaning his room by reminding him that we put that extra shelf up in his closet so he'd have a place to stow his LEGOs.

86.  . . .to my father- and mother-in-law for raising such a wonderful daughter by telling them in word and action that I do still love her very much after 16 years of marriage.

85.  . . .to my neighbor who got a little worried last year that I let the weeds by the "junky" side of the house grow too tall by keeping them cleaned up all summer long.

84. . . .to the city council candidate who came by our house shortly before the election to see what was on my mind, by having a sincere, neighborhood-wide concern to share with him, rather than just saying, "Oh, everything's fine." (He won, by the way. Hopefully we'll see that storm drain cleaned out so the flooding stops on Tiebreaker Drive.)

83.  . . .to my Father in Heaven for a blessed life in which I have seen many examples of how he knows what is troubling me by working on a novel that shares that message.

82. . . .to my employers who put up with my occasional crankiness and sometimes gonzo approach to work by putting in a full day's work for a full day's pay.

81. . . .to the bishopric member who called me to scouting by completing the first tour and trip plan he's seen in the last few years.

80. . . .to the former scoutmaster, whose shoes are enormous to fill, by ensuring that the four scouts he's got close to earning their Life rank will earn that rank, three of them in December.

79. . . .to the ward member who several years ago got us a deal on a new Springbar tent for the scouts by hanging it in my garage all weekend so it can dry out and not go moldy.

78. . . .to the parents of at least half of the scouts in my troop (and the other half will come soon) by meeting with them and their scouts to find out what they want out of scouting and out of their scoutmaster.

77. . . .to my brother who is in jail for mistakes he knows he made and wants to fix by writing letters of encouragement to him as often as I can.

76. . . .to my employer who wants to make sure I'm adequately trained for the job I'm doing by taking the training in an expeditious manner so they don't have to nag me to get it done.

75.  . . .to our financial adviser who is helping us plan for retirement by listening to what he says and taking it seriously, and then joking that we'd like him to find us a Ponzi scheme in which we can get into early.

74. . . .my wife who wants to be able to spend retirement with me by following up when she asked if I was putting the maximum contribution into my 401k. I was not. But I am now.

73. . . .to Cecelia Fife, who enjoyed what I wrote in a high school creative writing class, by still working on creative writing endeavors.

72. . . .to the instructors I had at Utah State University in the technical writing program by remembering what they taught me as I perform my duties at work and by striving to maintain a habit of lifelong learning.

71.  . . .to my brothers and sisters who love me by loving them back, even if that loving sometimes takes the form of goofy Facebook posts.

70. . . .to Robert Schultz who wrote a terrific book by being sincere in my comments as I beta read so this terrific book he's written is even better.

69. . . .to my BYU-Idaho students who turn their papers in on time by grading them on time.

68. . . .to my father (may he rest in peace) who collected bucketsful of nails, screws, and other whatnots against a time of need by doing the same thing, and actually using what I collect.

67. . . .to my father who taught me how to work by teaching my children how to work.

66. . . .to Kevin Korth, by Wood Badge troop guide, who worked us hard to write our goals, by actually working on those goals.

65. . . .to Andy Hurd, who gave us a puppy, by loving that little ball of fur (the puppy).

64. . . .to my mother who taught us by example to love animals even if you don't want to (my favorite quote: "No, I don't want to hold it [a kitten]! I don't want to hold it! I don't want . . . oh, it's purring.") by loving the animals we have.

63. . . .to my Father in Heaven who gave us "dominion" over the earth by remembering that dominion is not a synonym for "do whatever the heck I want with it."

62. . . .to Bob Clark, director of "A Christmas Story," who helped bring to the screen one of my favorite films, by watching it every Christmas.

61. . . .to Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, by lighting a candle every 8 June 1955.

60. . . .to Carl Sagan, whose show Cosmos inspired me into a life-long love of the universe, by buying a telescope for my oldest son and going stargazing with him.

59. . . .to my oldest son who loves to learn, by learning right alongside him.

58. . . .to Jesus Christ, who paid for my sins, by trying as hard as I know how to be good. And more than in just a Santa Claus way.

57. . . .to the inventors of Diet Coke, by drinking their wonderful elixir. But not to excess.

56. . . .to Dieter F. Uchtdorf, apostle of God, who shares stories of growing up impoverished yet ambitious in East Germany, by saying "Danke Deiter" every time he speaks at General Conference.

55. . . .to Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, who listened to God as a small boy, by singing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" with gusto.

54. . . .to my wife, who is turning into a lifelong Scouter, by trying to latch on to her coattails as I enter Scouting myself.

53. . . .to my father who showed me how to plaster a wall with a trowel and mortar, so when it came time to plaster my own walls with actual plaster, I knew what I was doing.

52. . . .to my father, who took good care of his tools, by using the tools I inherited from him when I work around the house. including that plaster trowel. I think of him every time I use it.

51. . . .to my mother, who loves me unconditionally, by bawling like Flick whenever I watch the "Baby Mine" sequence from Dumbo.

50. . . .to Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, funnymen from the 50s who taught me how to address the ball, by saying "Hello, ball," every time I see a ball. And then chuckling for hours afterwards.

I'm halfway there. I have to move on to other things. But there will be more to come.

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