Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ode to an Era of Solidarity

'They' always said that you would know when you found the right one. I never really believed what 'they' said. I had had my fair share of heartbreaks and setbacks, most of them because of something I did or didnt do, but nonetheless had given up on finding 'The One'. I had settled in to a comfortable routine in life. I was 28, graduated with a Master's degree, working in a career that more than compensated me for my time and I was comfortable. No real sense of urgency because afterall I had in the real sense of the word(s), given up. I was pondering what it would be like to slowly grow in to the population that was single and content with their lot in life (atleast on the outside). I went on  obligatory 'blind dates' orchestrated by concerned family and friends, as more of a gesture of friendship for those friends who cared. Each one was destined to be 'The One', with each one leaving me questioning what my friends really thought of me as a person. Though in the midst of my comfortable, but happy life, Im grateful for friends who did not give up on those obligatory blind dates because that is where 'Our' story began.

Having been set up on nearly 30 blind dates (I wish I were exaggerating) in my life, I was not very enthusiastic at the prospect of going on another date with the inevtiable 'One'. Though this one promised to be worth the effort. So in full faith of a friend that this one was different, I knocked on the home of Starlee Holman. As she opened the door I remember thinking, 'she's gorgeous, this is a good start, dangit I should have planned a better date'. The first date ended up being dinner with friends who had invited their friends, who yes, invited their friends- a small baby was even present. Not knowing half of the dinner guests and starting to realize that there could be something here I began to panic. In the back of my mind I kept thinking, 'Well you blew this one too'. Luckily we had dinner in Provo and had an hour drive to Salt Lake back to her home where we could atleast debrief the obvious debacle known as Chance being unprepared. Luckily for me I had friends who car had died and Starlee was willing to lend her jumper cables for use.

As to fill out the situation a couple of days later, I asked her if she wanted to grab some hot chocoalate, she obliged. That date lead to another and then to another. I remember going home after each date really happy, recharged and excited. I hadnt really felt that way with a girl in a long time. I knew she was different. Slowly over time I began to open up and trust her, something that I have always struggled with. Work was continually stressful and the only way that I was not stressed was when I was with her. I admired her passion and her goal to be a mother. People lit up when they were around her and she genuinely loved people and they loved her back. I found myself wanting to be better. It was then I conceded to myself, maybe, just maybe there could be something here.

After a couple of months of dating I blurted out, "I think I'm falling in love with you." (Not the most sure, but it was honest). She replied with the same, which actually scared me a little. It was what I wanted to hear, but I wasnt sure if I was ready for it or not. I went home and remember not sleeping very well because I was scared. What had happened to my comfortable life, my plan to turn 30 and move to Hawaii and live on a boat, to be the best Uncle the world had ever seen? Was I willing to give up being comfortable for the more unknown? I had been reading a book by Clayton Christensen and he talked about the things that mattered most in life was his family. I formulated a question in my mind that at the end of the day what are you coming home to and what were was I willing to give up to make sure that what I wanted most is there waiting for me. I think I knew then, but being the over analytical person that I am waited. I grew to love her family who had been so open and so loving to me from the beginning. My family loved her and she was the topic of most of my conversations with them. Until one day I realized I couldnt imagine living my life without her. What I really wanted to come home to was her.

With my oh so romantic way of going about things, we were driving home late one evening just holding hands, not really talking when I told her I loved her. She paused for a little bit, but gave the reply that I was hoping for. It wasnt too long after that where wedding dates were discussed and plans were put in motion. Maybe what 'they' said was true after all, maybe you do know when you meet the right one. Atleast for me, I cant imagine it any other way.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer 2011 Fun

This summer has been a great summer so far. I have been able to really get in to work and have really enjoyed my co-workers and all of the patients. I don't dread going to work everyday, and actually look forward to it. I feel like the Lord has truly blessed and answered my prayers as I have been searching for the right job and career.

Not having school has also been a blessing. Most days all I have is work and then I am able to go home and don't have homework or papers to write. I have enjoyed catching up on a couple of projects as well as exercising a lot more. I don't feel like my life is rushed and I can enjoy everyday a little bit more. Life really is good.

About a month ago the Director of Nursing came in to my office and asked me if I wanted to run a half marathon with her. I had been wanting to get in to running and so I agreed to train and get ready. It was a run to help raise funds for cancer treatments for families in the valley who could not afford it. It wasnt easy but I was able to complete it, with an ok time. Since then I have signed up for a couple more runs and have really enjoyed getting out and being active. Being in DC and studying all the time sure took its toll on my weight. Hopefully I can slim down a little bit and be a lot more healthy. Here are a couple of pictures from the few runs that I have done so far.

 The half marathon was the AF canyon half. The first 8 miles was through the canyon, which was mostly downhill. I thought that would be great but it ended up hurting more going downhill than I anticipated. The last 5 were pretty much flat with a couple of ups and downs. However, I finished, and I was proud of myself. I ended up with a time of 2 hours and 15 minutes which is ok. I definitely needed to train more and look forward to doing another half this summer.

 That is me in the background at the finish. If you can zoom in you can see the anxt in my face. Needless to say I was sore the next couple of days. However, I felt like it was a beautiful run and minus that stupid hill between mile 10 and 11, I loved it.

 One of the best parts was the free massage at the end of the race. Though it may have been the most painful massage of my life, it sure felt good after.

 A week later I signed up and ran in the Freedom run 10K. I thought it was going to be great considering I had just finished a half a week before, in my mind it was going to be a piece of cake. However there were a lot more hills than in the half and I sure felt it. I was running with a coworker who is a marathon runner and she kept our pace about an 8 min mile. I ended up with a time of 55 minutes, which was better than I had anticipated. Next year Ill probably just do the 5K...

 This is me crossing the finish. I was glad to be done with this run. I was a lot more dehydrated at the end of this race as well. It was unfortunate, but they ran out of water at mile 5 because we were sharing the same water table with the 5Kers and that was their mile 2. Since we both started at the same time the 5Kers had cleaned out the water table by the time the 10Kers got there. Though it was fun to run through the parade and then be able to watch the parade after it was over. The rest of the 4th was a lot of fun as well. I went to a couple of BBQ's and watched the fireworks that night. Also the Saturday before I went to my brothers house for dinner and met up with Lindsay and her Fiancee. It was good to spend time with family.

I also ran another 5K yesterday in Mona, UT with a couple of friends. It was the Lavender field run and it was beautiful. It is what it says it is-a race through lavender fields. It was a good way to start the day. I have enjoyed running and look forward to doing a couple more races before the summer is over. I am also the alternate on a ragnar team for the Seattle Ragnar race at the end of August. It is a team relay race of 12 where you run over 200 miles. Each runner runs three legs of the race and you run through the night. It should be fun, Ill find out in the next couple of weeks if I am in.

Other than that I have just been working and finding time to date and catch up on life. This having only one job thing is really nice...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fishing with Papa and Chad

Every year my dad goes on a fishing trip somewhere, and it seems like the last few years I have not been able to go with him due to work or school. However, this year I had been planning for it for a while and a week after graduation I hopped on a plane to Tulsa, OK where my dad and Chad picked me up. We drove a couple of hours NE to stay at my dads friends lake house. We just spent the next 4 days fishing and relaxing. It turned out to be a perfect way to celebrate graduation. I was happy to spend some quality time with my dad as well. This is the only picture I can find from our trip:

Most of the fish we caught were catfish like the one above. We set limb lines (which are just strings with hooks baited tied to tree limbs that hang over the water). The water was so high because there had been flooding so we were able to take the boat out and catch a lot of great limbs. First we caught a bunch of Shad with fishing nets and then used them as bait to catch the catfish. We spent the rest of the time just lure fishing and experimenting with bow fishing. We were also able to catch up with my grandma who lives near and some other family. I am already looking forward to next years fishing trip.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I am a Master now!

Well, this last semester has been crazy! I came back from DC with an opportunity to finish up my Masters. I loved my time in DC but I always knew I would come back and finish. The timing worked out for me to go and so I did it! This last week I graduated with a Masters in Public Administration: Emphasis in Strategic Management and Finance. This semester it was good to reunite with some of my Master Program friends, but also to tie up a couple of loose ends. I enjoyed the semester-but it was really busy. I had school (22.5 credits), Volunteering with the Church project, working at a Rehab clinic in Orem, and dating. It seemed to pass by like a blink of an eye, but I am grateful that I did it. Needless to say my blogging fell by the wayside, but I have some fun things planned for the summer. Here are some picture of graduation.

 My parents were able to come up to celebrate. I am glad that they were able to make it. Graduation is always a little and drawn out, but it made it fun to have all of my family there.

 Here are the two little ones...not so little anymore. Chad and Linds came as well. Big thank you to Chad for going early and saving seats for everyone.

 Here is the happy bunch (Minus Jared).

 Here is the Masters program graduating class. There are a lot of great people in this photo that are going to do a lot of great things in the world!

 This was my home for the last couple of years, I never actually slept here but I came close on a couple of occasions.

 I made a lot of great friends in the program. This is Matt Hartvigsen. We spent a lot of long nights together working on projects. It was always fun to have his little boy Max around for a distraction. I love this guy.

This is definitely not one of my most glamorous shots, but it shows how happy I was to be done and eating a  Cheesecake Factory Cherry Cheesecake.

Overall I am glad I did and I am glad that I am done. I am looking forward to moving past this part of my life and knowing that I accomplished what I set out to do!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Review: The Unlikely Disciple

I just finished reading 'The Unlikely Disciple' by Kevin Roose, and must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also must be honest and say that I had never heard of Liberty University, nor this book before finding it on a Barnes and Noble book list.

It has a simple plot, with a very good message. Kevin, a Sophmore at Brown University, took a semester off to attend Liberty University, as he put it, "A sinners semester at America's Holiest University".  Because I had never heard of the book nor the University, I wasn't sure what the book would be like, but found the synopsis interesting.

I thought the book was enlightening and provocative in its perspective of being a Christian 'outsider' (though as a Quaker, he technically is a Christian), and I must admit that I have changed my view of sharing my beliefs with others, and working with others in finding common grounds in which to build.

The best part of the book was the parallelism to experiences at BYU, in terms of philosophies and cultural ideas, which can be found in the following descriptions of life at Liberty University:
"I guess I should explain that outside of Jane Austin novels, nowhere is marriage a more frequent topic of conversation than at Christian college. Since arriving here, I've heard hundreds of jokes about the Liberty wedding frenzy--the 'ring by spring' race, going to school for your MRS degree, and on and on. Three weeks into the semester, it's already crystal clear, this school wants marriage like Ohio State wants football championships."
"I've never felt particularly rushed about getting married (probably because I've never taken an abstinence pledge), but when you're surrounded by nuptial-crazed Christians, it forces the issue. Every few days, I hear about another Liberty guy who popped the question, and I spend a few minutes feeling panicked. I'm almost twenty! Shouldn't I at least have someone in mind?"

"At Liberty, hand-holding is third base" 
"When you go on a date, all you have to do is follow one rule: pay, pray, and say"
Also, one overriding theme of the book, that was thought provoking for me was summarized in the following paragraph:
"What happens when a Liberty student' [or any student, BYU student, etc.] instilled values clash with his personal experiences? What happens when the moral system we're taught in our classes-- a system where everthing is clear-cut, black or white, good or evil--comes in to contact with the messy, complicated world? Do the values fles to fit reality? Or is Liberty's thoelogical inculcation so powerful that it can convince its students to override their social inclinations?
Roose also had a couple of quotes that sparked my interest:
"Religious observance increases students' satisfaction with academic life, social life, and the college experience in general." -A conclusion of a study by Margarita Mooney. Mooney studied both religious and non-religious college students and demonstrated that students who attended religious service weekly or more were both happier and more successful in school than their non-religious counterparts.
"It is not so true that prayer changes things as that prayer changes me and I change things." -Oswald Chambers  

Overall, I would recommend this book, with the caution that there is forward conversation about adult content (though they are not explicit but rather discussion topics), with some language (not heavy).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pentagon Tour

Today I went on a tour of the Pentagon. I have driven by the Pentagon multiple times, or have caught a bus there more times than I can count, but I had never been inside. A friend of mine, Rachel Murdock, and I got a private tour from one of the workers at the Pentagon. It is really intense to get inside. After providing multiple proofs of identity and my social security number, and passing through guards and a metal detector they let me in. I had no idea what to even expect. It turned out to be its own little city with restaurants and shops (including a red box room). I guess the idea is that they dont want people to leave, or atleast leave early from work or have to leave for lunch.

Once inside, I lost track of where I was at in the maze of circles. There were a lot of exhibits on the walls about war heros, treaties signed, and paintings. We were able to walk past the Secretary of State's office, and pause to reflect at the September 11th chapel and monument inside. Overall it was a great experience, and I learned a ton about some of the history of the Pentagon, and a new added respect for our men and women in the military.

Here is the Pentagon, which is the largest office building in the WORLD! it is over 6,500,000 sq ft of floor space. Plus just walking around you can get the sense of how large it is. There is a courtyard in the middle where workers can walk around without having to leave, plus a smaller food court area right in the middle (which this Russians thought was an important place because people were always going in and out of it, but they didnt know that is where the food is served). They have finished the revuilding of the wall where the plane hit, but you can still see the seam of where the new and the old meet.

This is the only place that you can take a picture, so with only one picture to show of the tour, this will have to suffice. Overall it was a great tour, one in which I feel very luck to have been able to do.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lakers vs Wizards Game

I didnt get as many pictures as I would have liked, but the one above will have to suffice (thanks Becca's Phone!)

One of the vendors that we use for the company I work for (Lotame) took us to a Lakers vs Wizards game, and we were able to watch the game from suite. There was a ton of food, and the view was pretty good. It was just great to get to spend time with some of the co-workers outside of the office. If I had a choice I would probably sit in the stands where I think you can be a little more involved in the game. But you cant beat the food and the company in a suite box.