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La Paz: The City in the Clouds

With an elevation of 12,000ft, La Paz is known as the city in the clouds. I have always been interested in Bolivia since my dad served a church mission there in the late 1970s.

Recently I visited the breath-taking Bolivia. Here is a short photo tour:

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PSA: Parisian Sweets Advice

In my attempt to write more this year I thought that I should tackle the most important things first: 

Know the difference between a macaroon and a macaron.

Most people aren’t aware there is a difference. The auto-correct on phones won’t help either — often adding that additional “o” as if it’s not the difference between a wonderful treat and a passive eat. 

What is the difference? 

A macaroon is the brown cookie that is left when all the other good cookies are taken from a plate. The cookie usually has coconut in it and sometimes gets half dipped in chocolate to mask it’s lack of personality. You can remember this one because the “oo” in the name sounds like “ew” as in “ew, these cookies are so hit and miss.” 

A macaron is the cookie with color and personality. It comes in all sorts of flavors. The baked meringue on the outside has a smooth top, ruffled crowns and is both chewy and airy. You can remember this one because the “o” in the name sounds like “ah” as in “ah yes, this is the good one.”

If you’re looking for a good macaron in Las Vegas, Le Macaron in the Grand Canal Shoppes is a fun adventure that ends with a great treat.

Also, Trader Joe’s sells a convenient pack of macarons that are quite good. Serve directly from the freezer for extra chew.

A macaron memory

A few years ago, my brother and I were walking the streets of Paris. We passed a bakery just as it was opening and decided to try it. (Visiting bakeries was a common theme on that trip actually.) 

We picked out just the right mix of macarons so we could try all the flavors. By the time our purchase was complete, there was a line out the front door. It turns out that the chef is quite famous for his macarons. We had no idea.

Let the record show that I saw no bakeries dedicated to macaroons.

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A certain number of words

I want to be a better writer. There is only one way to do it. In the classic book “On Writing Well” we are reminded:

You learn to write by writing. It’s a truism, but what makes it a truism is that it’s true. The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis.

William Zinsser

I’ve been writing this blog since 2004. You can even find a post about the very first trip that Candace and I took together just a month into our courtship. This blog is older than my children.

I write in my journal daily but posts here are only occasional. I plan to increase the public writing this year. I would love for you to join me by reading. (And if you have a blog of your own, dust it off and let the world know.)

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Why not on social media?

When you blog at a domain that you own, your words belong to you. When you use a social media platform, the words belong to the company. Also people tend not to use social media wisely.

Using social platforms feels temporary. On social media the posts are hard to find, link to, and just seem to disappear over the years. I worry about those who “use Facebook as a journal.” It won’t end well.

What to expect?

One of my posts this year will be about how to start a real blog of your own. There will be more posts about journal writing as well. I’ve been covering that topic since 2005. I’ll offer more tech tips as I have in the past.

I plan to share photography, ruin diets with info about French pastries, further stress the importance of keeping a budget, and highlight talks that I really enjoy like this one and this one.

I’m looking forward to a good year of writing and improving.

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How to manually merge two Apple IDs to one

Since 2020 is made for pain, I decided to make some big moves that I have been putting off for a while.

The email migration took a while, but the new setup is so much better. My reliance on Google as a company is very minimal now. I am very happy with how this move turned out.

The finance transition wasn’t too bad. It just feels archaic and takes a long time as you sign papers, send them in the mail, and wait for weeks to get a confirmation. In the mean time, the money isn’t working for you which is no fun. 

My most recent pain procedure is now complete – Merging Apple IDs. It’s time to merge all the cloud services into one.

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They Stayed Up His Hands

One of the most inspired principles in the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the idea of presidencies. One man or woman is called to lead. It is up to them to make the difficult decision and move the work forward. It is their right to receive revelation over their stewardship. However, each president is part of a presidency. A president is given two counselors for support, insight, and help. I have two of the best.

The idea is not new in the Church of Jesus Christ. Peter, James and John were a presidency of leadership.

Even Moses had the help of two capable men. 

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Sixteen items of gratitude – Mission edition

Since there was so much time in the home office this year, I took the opportunity to scan my mission journal, separate it into days, add it to my current digital journal, and type out the pages so they would be searchable. With 820 pages of written journal, it was a big undertaking and it was wonderful. I would get so lost in the days and details that it would take me a bit to transition back to the current time.

Serving a mission was incredibly rewarding and I loved it.

These days, new missionaries come to sit with me in my church office. The first thing I tell them is that “I don’t want to hear the word ‘sacrifice’ as we talk about their efforts to prepare for and serve a mission. It’s a wonderful adventure and a fun time.”

I would never be able to list out all of the wonderful people and experiences from the mission field.

So here are just 16 items of thanks from my time as a missionary:

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Twenty-one random reasons for gratitude

Here are 21 things that I am thankful for in my life:

I am thankful for little birds that sit on our back patio and give us all something to smile about. 

I am thankful for adults who know how to help kids feel safe and appreciated. It’s a skill I admire. 

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What is wrong with them?

Why have they lost their way so much? They want to take all the money from the most important things and give it to their own projects. The changes they make are going to hurt the economy and make us less safe. 

I can’t even call them leaders. They make poor choices, their history is corrupt and they seem unintelligent. 

What really needs to happen is a little more cooperation from their side. They need to change. They are holding onto a decision just so they don’t have to admit being wrong. They want power. I’m sure they’re going to vote for only their side even though some of those people are bad people. 

I don’t know why my friend supports them. I can’t even talk to people who support that way of thinking. How could they hate everything about this country and it’s history?


It seems that nearly everyone can agree with the above statement as long as there are no names or parties attached. I’ve left those parts out and only included the contention. Seen under this light, it’s amazing what has been allowed into our life.

The biting comments. The destroyed relationships. The justification of judgment.

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A Scorecard for Life

I enjoy early morning rounds of golf. The world is still quiet. The course is still calm. The rising sun makes for some beautiful photos. I snap a photo each morning to include in my journal for the day. Sometimes it will be my only good shot of the day.

Some time ago, I scored 84 in a round of golf for the first time in a couple decades. It was exciting. Kind of. I had thought back to the round and remembered some gimme putts that were probably not sure things. I also had a couple mulligan shots.

When those shots are sitting in the back of your mind, the scorecard is a lot harder to celebrate.

On that day I made a commitment. If I am going score a golf round, I would always keep a completely accurate score. I don’t require it of playing partners. It’s not for the sake of competition. I just wanted to have an accurate measuring stick from that point on. That way, accomplishments really are something to be celebrated. I know that they are true.

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Hope and Unity in a Divided World

Many of my friends and family will be returning to worship in church buildings soon. The first step back will be a shortened sacrament meeting with limited attendance. There will also be cautions in place around gathering, the passing of the sacrament, etc. Some actions will feel a little different at first but I am confident the Spirit will be familiar and we will be able to adapt. 

Our family has been preparing our hearts to take this first step back. It is exciting. We have really enjoyed sacrament in the home but I know it hasn’t been easy for everyone.

For nearly a month, I have been studying a general conference talk from 2008 by President Henry B Eyring. In “Our Hearts Knit as One” he speaks to the importance of unity, acceptance and love.