This past year, I discovered that President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an Apostle, and I have the same birthday on November 6th. With a house full of boys, you can imagine that we take our ties very seriously. Every 6 months, the Church has a General Conference that is broadcast all over the world. The boys and I love taking note of President Uchtdorf's ties in particular. He has very good taste and always wears extremely dapper ties. An idea came to me while talking to Ryan about his ties...
Why not send President Uchtdorf a tie or two for our shared birthday?
Well, a lot of people had opinions about this and most of them could be summed up as: "You would be a creeper" or "You can't bug him." I was undeterred. I figure if I explained my reasoning behind the birthday ties (our shared birthday and the fact that every conference we like to see what ties he is wearing) he would not think I was a creeper and it wouldn't bug him.
I did a little research (looking at every video of him speaking in the past few years) and discovered that he mostly wears striped ties with a few solid ones thrown in here and there. I purchased these 2 ties:
Dear President Uchtdorf,
I hope you will allow me to explain why you are getting a birthday present from a complete stranger… I recently discovered that you and I share the same birthday – Nov. 6th, but that is not the only reason. Here is my explanation:
We have three sons. Ryan is 23, served a mission in Santa Rosa, CA, is now married and goes to school in Provo. Sean is 20 and serving a mission in South Carolina. Troy is 16 and a sophomore. My husband, Kent and I have been married for 26 years and feel so blessed by our temple marriage and our wonderful, faithful sons.
Having 3 boys, a couple of who have served missions, means that we buy a lot of ties and we appreciate a good-looking tie when we see one. My boys started noticing your ties quite a few years ago and it has become a point of fun anticipation as we look forward to each general conference to see the ties that President Uchtdorf wears.
Last general conference, after a texting conversation with our oldest son about how much we loved your tie, we decided that we would send you a couple of new ones for our shared birthday. We have noticed that you seem to like stripes, so hopefully these will fit in easily!
Thank you so much for your counsel and guidance and service as an Apostle of our Savior. As a family, we heard you speak during a special visit you made to Allen, Texas a few years ago. We have since moved to Phoenix, Arizona and heard you speak just today at our stake conference broadcast. Again, thank you so much for encouraging us to follow the Savior and make the temple a focal point in our lives.
We are thrilled about the dedication of the Phoenix Temple in a couple of weeks and loved serving as tour guides during the open house. Our son is participating in the cultural celebration and feels so privileged to have members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve here for this once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate the dedication of the newest House of the Lord.
So, happy birthday to you! Hope you enjoy November 6th with your family. I know I will.
I sent it off and did not think about it again or expect anything in return, but a few days I received this in the mail:
What a humbling experience! This man, who by all accounts, is extremely busy conducting business of the Church all over the world took the time to thank me for the gift. I am really bad at thank you notes. I say thank you in other ways, but his gracious response of gratitude taught me a valuable lesson. All my boys, including Kent, were so happy and loved seeing and reading the letter. We talked about what this has taught us and expressed gratitude to our Father in Heaven for such a humble and kind servant of HIs.
The story doesn't end here.
The night of the youth cultural celebration for the Phoenix Temple, I was looking through my camera as President Uchtdorf entered the stadium. Was he wearing one of the ties? It looked very similar, but the colors seemed more pink than orange. I got a few texts from friends who were watching the broadcast on the internet wondering the same thing. When I asked them about the coloring, they also thought it looked more pink, so I figured it was not our tie.
The story doesn't end here, either.
A couple of days later, Pres. Uchtdorf posted some pictures to his Facebook page from the Phoenix Temple Cultural Celebration and it definitely was the tie! Somehow the lighting in the stadium made it look different.
His kindness is just incredible. He knew our family would be watching and he knew our son would be present and he gave us such a fun, sweet gift by wearing our tie during the temple celebrations in Phoenix.