Saturday, April 26, 2008

91 Degrees and Fishing for Trout

A good friend of mine, Scott Barrett, has taken a position with a firm headquartered in Scottsdale. He has been in Scottsdale this week getting up to speed on his new duties and is staying over the weekend and through next week. This gave us the opportunity to go fly fishing this morning.

We fished locally on the Salt River just below the Seguaro Lake dam a few miles from my home. This was the first time either of us had fished in Arizona. It just seemed strange to fish for trout at 91 degrees in among the Suguaro Cactus and other desert fauna. This was also the first time I had fished in many years. I was rusty. Scott was kind enough to give me some "tips" to get me back up to speed. Scott is a nationally recognized fly fisherman so it is always a humbling experience to fish with him.

Scott actually pulled a rainbow out of the river and had a few other strikes and fish that came off the hook. I had a number of strikes and one fish that came off the hook. As with all fishing, catching something is not the only reason to fish. The time spent in the water and time talking is most of the fun.

I did learn that I have been away from fishing too long.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Syncronized Swimming Watershow

Lindsay performed in a syncronized swimming watershow this past Saturday. This event was a fun exhibition for family and friends to see the combined skills of the competition and recreation teams. Lindsay did a great job as usual especially in serving her team as the "board." The board forms an under water platform from which another swimmer can stand and perform a manuver like a summersault above the water. Lindsay was chosen because of her abs.

Lindsay's experience with syncronized swimming has been very positive. It is a unique team sport unlike anything that her siblings have tried. The watershows and competitions include an element of entertainment and costuming including a hairpiece and hair painted with clear knox jello to keep the hair in place throughout the manuvers.

Team practices include extensive conditioning through swimming and pilates. The manuvers require amazing strength and flexibilty. The team has a strength and pilates coach for this purpose. I have tried a few of the moves and I look like a cow floundering in the water. Lindsay makes it look so easy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Winter Guard Takes Top Honors

Becky finishes her high school color guard career in a big way. Her High School Winter Guard earned a first place division trophy in the state competition yesterday. Becky's HS joined just two other division first place winnners in the state competition. A score of 87 points placed Becky's guard in the top 3 teams at the competition. This was a tremendous effort in that this is only the second year that her high school has fielded a winter guard color guard unit.

Becky has served as the captain of both the field season and the winter guard and her steady student leaderhip helped keep the girls together and motivated to win first place. Way to go Becky!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Training on the Bike

I am back to a more regular bike training regimen. I am preparing for the MS 100 that takes place in June in Illinois. Last year, I completed the 100 mile ride in a respectable time. The weather conditions however, were awful; mid-50's and rain most of the ride. I rode on the BP (British Petroleum) team organized by Bill Hall. There were quite a few old friends with whom I rode when I lived in Illinois.

I have a few goals this year. The first is to lose 15lbs. Second is to ride 125 mile a week. The first goal will be accomplished largely via the second goal. The second goal will be made easier by working on the first goal! The third goal is to reach and maintain an average speed of 19 miles per hour.

Achiveing these goals will be very tough in that I travel. This means that I will score most of these miles on the weekend. I will do what I can on the rode at hotel fitness centers.

(Editor Note: I was not able to participate in the MS ride. Spring weddings, graduations and other excuses made scheduling this ride difficult. I have a new ride planned for Glacier National Park in August)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Louisiana Connection

The Boizelle family came into the United States via New Orleans from France. Recent research indicates that the family went on to St. Louis for a period and then came back to New Orleans. More on that story later.

The last remaining direct Boizelle relative living in Louisiana, to my knowledge is Sybil Boizelle. Sybil is the daughter of Felix Boizelle, the brother of my Grandfather, Paul Boizelle, Sr. Felix had a love for electrical engineering and medicine. He chose medicine and was trained to be a physician. I understand that he had two hobbies. One was ham radio. He was one of the first US citizens to obtain a ham radio license. His other hobby was model railroading. He and a friend built a complex layout in the attic in his home in Baton Rouge. He practiced his electrical engineering interest in developing both his hobbies.

Felix, at one point in his career, was invited to be the on-site physician for Esso Research in Baton Rouge located on the banks of the Mississippi river just north of the State Capital Building. According to Sybil, Felix was the closest physician available when Huey Long, the then ex-govenor of the state of Louisiana, was shot in the state capital building. The ex-governor's staff planned to call for Felix Boizelle to attend to the ex-governor since he was just down the hill at the Esso facility. Long insisted, however, on being treated by a doctor in his inner political circle. Apparently, Huey Long had many enemies and he could only trust those in his inner circle. The delay in getting the doctor up from New Orleans may have been the difference in saving his life.

I joined my sister Carolyn a few years ago in New Orleans - about a year before the Katrina disaster. We toured parts of New Orleans and then went to visit Sybil Boizelle in Baton Rouge. Neither of us had ever met Sybil. We met in her home in Baton Rouge; the home owned by her father Felix. I have attached a few pictures of that visit to Baton Rouge.

This is Sybil's home in Baton Rouge. Sybil was born here. This home was originally built by her father Felix. Felix was a respected physician and surgeon.

Pictured here are Sybil and my sister Carolyn.

The beautiful, tree lined parkway is Sybil's street. This visage is typical of Baton Rouge residential areas.

A view of the park in front of the state capital building and part of the Baton Rouge down as taken from the top of the state capital.

The Esso Research facility located north of the capital building. This is where Felx Boizelle worked as the on-site physician.

Sunday Thoughts

The following Sunday Thoughts are generated through my preparations to teach Gospel Doctine class. The focus of study this year is the Book of Mormon, A Second Witness of Christ. I have made every attempt to support the doctrinal statements made through the scriptures and through a search of the reference library found on The primary purpose of these mini-sermons is for the benefit of my immediate family that I might fulfil my responsibility to teach correct principles and the doctrines of salvation to my children.

Last week, the gospel doctrine lesson was primarily directed at Jacob, chapter 5, the allegory of the tame and wild olive trees, written by Zenos, an Israelite prophet not included in the Old Testament text. I have to admit that while I understood the concept of the allegory, I never took the time to examine all the elements within the allegory. Preparing the lesson helped me to understand why the allegory was quoted by Jacob and why Mormon included it in his abridgement.

The point of the allegory is two-fold. First to witness of the Messiahship of Christ and his love for mankind and second to show how the house of Israel can reject the sure the foundation of Christ and yet be reclaimed in the end.

Jacob quoted the allegory because the spirit led him to prophesy regarding the spiritual stumblings of the house of Israel and that Christ would be the only sure foundation upon which they could build their lives (Jacob 4: 14-18)

Understanding the symbols used in the allegory is the only way to obtain the full meaning. The vineyard is the world in which we live. The Master of the Vineyard is Jesus Christ. The tame olive trees represents the House of Israel, the Lord's covenant people. The wild olive trees represent the Gentiles, those not born into the House of Israel. The branches and shoots are groups or tribes of people. The servants who work with the Master of the Vineyard are prophets, apostles and other authorized servants. And finally, the fruit represents the good and evil works of the groups or tribes of people.

In addition to the symbols, it is also important to understand some other concepts. For the most part, the first visit of the Master of the Vineyard contains the important concepts that help the reader understand how Jesus Christ cares for his covenent people. In Jacob 5:3-4, the Master of the Vineyard went forth and saw that his olive tree, the House of Israel, was decaying or falling into apostacy and sin. He pruned the tree and digged about it and nourished it by sending prophets and mobilizing his servants to discipline the people, to ground the people in sound doctrine and to revitalize their spirituality. The Master of the Vineyard continues this pattern, sometimes at the urging of his prophets, until the end of the allegory thus demonstrating his love for the people of the world. The Masters intent was to always preserve the root of the tree or the faithful and unwaving core of the House of Israel.

To save the core, he brought the gospel to the wild olive tree or the Gentiles. Converts have a way of invigorating the long-standing membership of the church. He moved new shoots or certain righteous groups to the nethermost parts of his vineyard. The three principle groups, the Lehites, Mulekites and Jaredites are a prime example of starting new tame olive trees away from the corruption of the original tree. We can assume that there are other groups yet unknown who were part of the greater diaspora of ancient Israel.

It is tempting to want to align the time periods of the allegory to actual events in the history of the House of Israel. There is simply not enough context in the allegory to do so. However, there is an excellent article in the August, 1988, Ensign entitled "The Tame and Wild Olive Trees - An Allegory of Our Savior's Love", by Ralph Swiss. Brother Swiss breaks down the allegory into seven scenes and provides some potential historical examples that are thought provoking and show the long-suffering of Christ toward the House of Israel.

Further study about olive trees helps me to understand why olive trees are the perfect symbol for the allegory. Olive trees can produce abundant good fruit when properly tended. Olive trees can live in harsh conditions and in climates with temperature extremes. The trees require constant nourishment to survive and produce good fruit. Tame olive trees can become wild if untended. Wild olive trees can become tame and produce good fruit through grafting in tame olive branches. Olive trees may produce fruit for centuries. Dying olive trees send out new shoots from the roots which can be planted and mature in to fruit bearing trees. Thus the root may go on producing new trees and fruit for thousands of years. The olive brand is a symbol of peace.

The allegory is representative of the Saviour's love for the House of Israel and ultimately, of all mankind. There are at least four verses which signal this love. Jacob 5: 4, 7, 33 and 60. The Master of the Vineyard will continue to send his prophets and servants to nourish his people and to keep them in the straightway. He is grieved when his best efforts do not produce good fruit. He is anxious to lay up the fruit of the vineyard or to bring eternal life to his children. He does not give up on the House of Israel. While he can become frustrated with a fruitless season, he is easily entreated to nourish his people again. The Master's ultimate objective is to have joy in the fruit of his vineyard.

Take the words of Zenos to heart. His words are a type of the plan of salvation and how the Lord preserves his people. Have full confidence that the Lord will reclaim the House of Israel and that Israel will claim Christ as their foundation in due time. Recognize that the servants working in the vineyard before the millenium are latter-day saints called to serve and bring about the three-fold mission of the Lord's church. How blessed will be those who have labored in the vineyard.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More Relatives Visit

By way of update, we hosted relatives over the last weekend of March. Leon and Colette Spackman came over from Alburquerque, New Mexico. They recently moved from the Washington, DC area to New Mexico due to an employment change and a strong interest to move to that part of the southwest. During their stay we did a lot of catching up and in between we did a few short trips aound the area.

On Saturday, Diane Spackman (Gary's wife) and her son Brett who were down from Boise visiting Nancy (her daughter) and Travis Crump came by for a visit. Nancy and Travis also joined us so we had a small Spackman reunion. Sandy and I took the whole group to Tortilla Flats, an old wagon train stopping point on the Apache Trail on the way to Roosevelt Dam. The drive up was quite spectacular with the Brittlebush in full yellow bloom complimented by the blue of the Arizona Lupine. Tortilla Flat is very touristy but still a worthwhile site to see. Two of the buildings have a combined $80,000 of one dollar bills stapled to the walls and ceilings provided by visitors from all around the world. We, of course, purchased prickly pear ice cream (made from the fruit of the prickly pear).

Later in the afternoon, we had a BBQ for our guests back at our home. We grilled cubes of beef and chicken and vegtables on skewers. Collette brought some gourmet bread and Nancy and Diane brought orange/lemon combo citrus which was turned into a citrus drink. After dinner the ladies went to Ikea and the guys stayed home to clean up and watch March Madness.

Sandy and I have been so fortunate to have so many family visits. Arizona is out of the way yet we have enjoyed the company of many of Sandy's brothers and sisters over the 5.5 years we have lived in this part of the country. So far from the Spackman side we have had visists from Leon and Collette, Mary Ellen and Glen, Howard and Sandy and their family, Syd Hawkes and her daughters Randee and Kim, Steve and Raye Ann and their family, Diane and her son Brett, and Nancy and Travis crump. From the Boizelle side we have had my brother Chris, my cousin George and his family, Lauren and Erik Merkely, Kathy Merkely and her sister's family and Stephanie Quinton, Jon's fiance.

General Conference Priesthood Meeting

I attended General Conference Priesthood meeting this evening. I did so alone as both of my sons, Jon and Ben are now away from home. I saw other younger fathers with their sons sitting next to them and it caused me to reflect on the parental cycle in attending to this duty. I remember attending the same meeting with my father while growing up in New Jersey and them taking my sons when they reached the appropriate age and knowing that in the future, my sons will take their sons. Hopefully this cycle will repeat throughout the generations of Boizelle posterity.

For those not of our faith, young men, at the age of 12 are admitted into the Aaronic Priesthood which is a preparetory priesthood which they hold until approximately age 18 or until they leave to serve church missions and receive the higher priesthood or the Melchezedek Priesthood.

I think that my father was anxious to have me attend the priesthood session of General Conference because he started taking me when I was 11 years old. We lived in New Jersey and traveled a considerable distance to attend the voice-only broadcast at one of the chapels in northern New Jersey. I don't really remember the talks or the content. I do remember that the time difference between Utah and New Jersey was two hours. At that time, General Priesthood Meeting started at 7PM in Utah which meant 9PM in New Jersey. The broadcast was as long then as it is today - two hours. So the broadcast would end at 11PM and then we would drive that considerable distance home. I would often nod off with sleepiness after about one hour into the broadcast. My father would gently nudge me to keep me awake. The long-term value of attendance was probably more about discipline than spiritual uplift.

What goes around comes around! When my son Jon turned 12, I started to take him to General Conference Priesthood Meeting broadcast (I might have taken him while still 11 years old). I would do my fatherly duty to gently nudge Jon to keep him awake and attentive. I was quite proud to take my son to this great event - sitting in at the Naperville, Illinois, Stake Center among a sea of white shirted men and boys and keep the cycle going. The broadcasts were now via satellite with digital audio and video. the stake center was only 15 minutes from our home.

I also reflected this evening on my good fortune to have been able to attend most every broadcast since I started attending in my youth. I can only recall missing one broadcast while I was out of the country on a business trip. I was heartsick when I realized that my travel was going to cause me to miss. I also recall that I missed the first half of one broadcast due to a miscommunication with my father on meeting timing. Other than that, I believe I have attended every broadcast since I was 11 years old.

I enjoy attending and look forward to general conference season. I am reminded with each broadcast that I am part of a great spiritual brotherhood of priesthood holders. I am instructed plainly by prophets and apostles on my priesthood duty and on the expectations of the oath and covenant that I have made in association with my ordination. My goal is to continue to attend each broadcast for the balance of my life and for as long as I am able to physically attend so that I may continue to be instructed on my duty and to have my faith strengthened.

I would hope that my sons and my daughters' husbands would consider adopting a similar personal attendance goal and to set a companion goal to raise up their sons to follow their example.