What do you do with your spare time?

I find that since we up and moved to Calgary, I have less and less spare time. A typical day for me begins at 4:15. I’m catching the C-Train by 4:40 and get to work at 5:15. I usually leave between 3:30 and 4:00 and get home between 4:15 and 4:45.

Sunday’s are a real day of rest. Other than my time at church, I’m usually sleeping or watching America’s Funniest Home Videos with the Kids (although that is harder now that Battlestar Galactica is on at the same time. Thank goodness for the PVR). Saturdays and a little bit of time during the evenings are my only free time.

There are many things I’d like to do with my spare time but it’s hard to pick. On Saturday’s, my girls have Snowboarding lessons at Sunshine, so we’ll be doing that until mid March. The time we get to spend together doing that is priceless. During the week I have a couple of TV shows I like to watch (Prison Break, Heroes, Lost, The Apprentice, Survivor, Smallville, and Battlestar). Most of those usually end up on the PVR and I watch what I can on Saturday nights. I’ll take my wife on a date once or twice a month. I’d love to veg out in front of the Nintendo, but time just doesn’t seem to allow it. I might put in an hour or so of Flight Simulator, Age of Empires, or StarWars Empire at War. My Son likes playing those with me so that’s usually a fun time with him. Thursday nights are music night where I get together with an old friend and jam for a couple of hours (Rick, Dar – it would be sweet for all of us to get together like in the old days and have some musical fun). Summers are spend on the Shuswap lake wakeboarding and other water sports.

You must have some free time. What do you like to do?

Baptised and Confirmed

Yesterday marked a milestone for us. For Kim and I as parents, and for our daughter Sin?ɬ©ad. She is our eldest daughter and the first of our children to be baptised and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sin?ɬ©ad's baptism

It was a very special time for all of us, a joyous day and the start of her membership in the church. This was a decision she made on her own, after study and prayer. It is something we have prepared her for, for many years and something she has been looking forward to for a long time.

It was a beautiful baptism and confirmation and we shared it with family members (Kim’s parents and my dad were able to come out for it, as well as my mum and brother and sister who live here) and friends. Kim baptised and confirmed her, her grandmothers spoke, her grandfathers were witnesses as well as participated in the confirmation, her violin teacher and the mother of a classmate and friend performed on the violin and piano, a beautiful duet of Teach Me to Walk in the Light. We sang I Believe in Christ and I’ll Follow Him in Faith. Her Aunt Naomi and Uncle Sam gave the prayers. The Primary president and the bishop welcomed her as the newest member of the ward.

Nana made her baptism dress, she wore special baptism socks she received at 8 is Great from the Primary President, and she had a special, personalised towel from our primary chorister (who is also the mum of one fo Sin?ɬ©ad’s dearest friend. Actually, Sin?ɬ©ad says she is her best friend.).

For a few brief minutes she was totally pure until her brother did something to annoy her (of course after the service was over, so hey, it’s a memory). She was and is very happy and excited to have entered into the covenant of baptism.

It was a very poignant time seeing my daughter enter the waters of baptism and recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost. To think it has only been a little over eight years since she was born. I didn’t realise the time would go so fast, but it did. Seeing how her testimony has developed and grown has been very humbling. She has a deep love for the Saviour and a love and good knowledge (for her age) of His Gospel.

Kim Siever’s Diet Tips

Oh, you may be asking yourself, “Woah! Kim Siever is on a diet.” That all depends on what you call a diet. Let’s just say in the last eight years or so, I have not had a large weight gain (more than five pounds). So what’s my secret?

  1. Don’t eat crap. Eat healthy food and a wide variety of it. Sometimes my breakfast consists of an butter-fried egg and mozzarella cheese on two pieces of buttered toast and eaten like a sandwich. Sometimes it’s an apple, grapefruit, orange and banana combined in a blender. Sometimes it’s a bowl of Cheerios. Sometimes it’s all three. I never eat crap like Fruit Loops or Pop Tarts or that sort of thing. And when I do eat something iffy like a cinnamon bun, it’s once or twice a year.
  2. Don’t sweat it if you do eat crap. Occassionally. Since I eat a wide variety of healthy foods, I don’t feel guilty when I occasionally eat something indulgent (like a Cheesecake Cafe banana split cheesecake). I know that in the long run, occasional treats (high sugar, or high fat or high salt) do not ruin my health as long as I have a mostly healthy and varied diet.
  3. Rarely stuff yourself. Some of you who know me may be laughing yourself silly at hearing me say this. The truth is though that I rarely stuff myself. When I do, it’s at an all-you-can eat buffet and my Scottish/Dutch background forces me to get my money’s wroth. But it’s only a couple of times per year and doesn’t affect my long-term health.
  4. Don’t worry about five pounds. If you are five pounds overweight (even ten pounds really), don’t worry about it. Especially, if it’s been that way for a long time. Five pounds will not affect your long term health, and accepting it will improve your self confidence.

Overall, my philosophy is to simply be healthy. I eat what I want, but I eat healthy.

What tips do you have?

Income Splitting

Some countries allow income splitting when a couple files their tax returns. The idea is that the higher wage earner basically transfers some of his/her income to the lowest wage earner and hopefully drops into a lower tax bracket. This ultimately means the higher wage earner pays less taxes.

The downside is that such a practise is unfair to single wage earners and may discourage some people from entering the workforce (so their partner can pay less taxes).

How do you feel about income splitting?

Pass-Along Cards

I just don’t get it… Has anyone ever sucessfully used these to proclaim the gospel? How do you hand it out? Do others accept it? What is is suppose to accomplish? I’ve asked this at church and our ward mission leader really doesn’t have an answer other than “well, you just hand them out”. What am I missing here?

Why My Mission Isn’t the Best Two Years

There’s a common saying among returned missionaries that their missions were the best two years of their life. I even thought that once. I no longer do however. It was a good experience ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù valuable even ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù and probably ranks as the better two years of my life.

I have to say though that in the more than 12 years I have been home, I have had more valuable experiences than any mission experience.

No experience with any mission companion comes close to equating with kneeling with Mary across the wedding altar nearly 12 years ago when we were married.

No convert experience compares with being part of the birth of my three children.

I’ve learned more regarding how the Church operates as a two-time elders quorum president and serving under a bishop and stake mission president than I ever did from any priesthood leader on my mission.

The poverty I experienced on my mission was nothing close to the poverty we experienced when we first moved to Lethbridge.

The trials I had on my mission pale in comparison to the faith-shaking experiences I have had since then.

Do I consider my mission the best two years of my life? No.

Would I go back and do it all again? Yes.