I woke up at 5am on Saturday before the temple trip so I could play the organ before we left from Neenah. I was glad to rehearse a few of my Sousa march arrangements for the first time.

We left Neenah for Chicago at 10am. We made very good time considering the amount of construction, perhaps people are learning to take other routes to avoid it. We arrived in on temple grounds at 12:30pm. Several people did an endowment session while the rest of us for about half an hour, mingled on the grounds before finding a place to eat lunch. We returned around 3pm to drop off the people who were going to do baptisms. Those who came to do family history left for the nearby stake center. Unfortunately, no one showed up to unlock the building.

After a period of 6 hours being in Illinois, we headed back home, arriving safely in Neenah around 10:30pm. I got to bed around 11pm.

I woke up again on Sunday at 5am. I made a quick double batch of instant vanilla pudding for potluck. I left for church at 6:30. I played the organ and picked hymns for Sacrament meeting for roughly an hour and a half. I also put a major dent in my arrangement of Sousa’s “Washington Post March.”

Today was our Branch Conference, we had the pleasure of listening to our Branch president and 2 Stake presidents. President Munson, our branch president spoke first. Next President Jones, the Stake President of the Green Bay stake, spoke on the importance of remembering, especially remembering the Savior. Lastly, President Kindt, the Stake President of the Appleton stake, spoke on prayer, highlighting several things that Elder Rhodes spoke about in Stake Conference.

In our combined Priesthood/Relief Society meeting following sacrament meeting, we had three speakers from the Stake. Our first lesson was from Sister Kasper, the Stake Relief Society President who spoke on perfection and how to strive for it. Next, Brother Young, our High Council representative shared a great lesson which he drew from Elder Ballard’s talk in last month’s CES devotional. Following both of those lessons, President Kindt shared a few remarks and closed the meeting.

Following the 3 hour block, we had a potluck. The theme for the potluck was barbecue, after one plate and only ONE cookie, I was completely full. Photos of food that I liked are attached below. I enjoyed the conversation we had at our table with Brother Greene, a member of the Branch Presidency, Robert, Kjirstin, and three rookies to the branch, Matt, Tanner, and Cali.

I arrived at home at 4pm and watched Music and the Spoken Word with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I was particularly excited for today’s broadcast because of Richard Elliott’s organ solo of “The Battle Cry of Freedom ‘Rally Round the Flag'” and a patriotic medley which closed the broadcast because it includes “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” my favorite march of all time. I also loved Lloyd Newell’s remarks in his Spoken Word message:

“True patriots are those who cherish freedom and do their part to improve and strengthen the land they love. We would do well to answer the question posed to the schoolchildren: ‘What can you do to make it better?'”