Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unidentified Blessings

So... I didn't get much sleep last night.

You're all sitting there wondering why.  Well, we went to bed around 10:50 (a pretty good time, which would usually allow for almost 8 hours if we get up and get to work on time). However, I just couldn't fall asleep.  I sat there thinking, and then realized that I couldn't remember if I had locked our front door.  I got up and checked - it was locked.  I went back to bed hoping that would help me sleep a bit.  So I just lay there for a while with my eyes closed trying to relax.  But I couldn't!  At least not for a little while.  Well, just as I felt like I was about to fall asleep...

our doorbell rang.

I was very tired, and annoyed that whoever it was had kept me from falling asleep, so when Kimberly woke up and asked me if someone just rang the doorbell I said "Yes, but I'm not answering it".  I just hoped that it was either a mistake or something and the people would just leave.

Then I heard voices outside our window, and that's when I felt fear.  I felt like something was wrong, and so I got up again and walked into our living room.  Kimberly got up and whispered "Don't answer the door!"  I wasn't planning to.  We have a little deck with a porch light on it, and we usually turn it on at night, but for some reason we hadn't last night.  I heard a sound of metal on metal outside and so I crept up to the porch door, (the blinds were shut) and turned on the light.  At that moment, a shadow appeared right in front of me on our blinds, but it quickly moved away from the light. I stood there, frozen, in disbelief at what I had just seen.  There had been someone standing just on the other side of that door from me!  The lock on that door isn't very secure and it has always worried me.  I'm guessing that other people figured that it might be an easy lock to break in through!  We called the police to let them know what had happened.  An officer came and told us that someone else in our complex had answered their door and the person just walked in!  He didn't tell us what the person did after entering, but I'm sure it wasn't nice.  It seems like these people were going around ringing doorbells to see if people were home and if not their plan was to break in through the porch.  Needless to say, I was a little shaken up at this point, and I didn't have an easy time falling asleep after that.

As I look back on what happened last night, I realize how blessed we were.  1. When we first moved in, we had a meeting in our ward during which we discussed neighborhood safety.  The man who spoke talked about ways to avoid break-ins.  He mentioned that if you hear someone outside your home, the best thing to do is turn on a light to let them know you're home.  Usually this will scare them away.  2. I think it's interesting that I was very tired, but I couldn't fall asleep.  I wonder how differently I would have acted if I had fallen asleep, or if I would have heard the doorbell at all, or been awake enough to think to turn on the light.  3. I was grateful I had gotten up to check that the door was locked because I probably would have been more freaked out and would have gone to the front door to do that first and that might have given the people a chance to break in through the porch.  4. Nothing happened (no damages, nothing was stolen, no one was hurt, etc.) but it heightened our awareness and helped me realize ways that we can improve the security of our home.

It was a scary night, and I didn't sleep much, but I'm so grateful for a loving, protective Heavenly Father who guides us even when we don't know what we're doing.

On a brighter note, we went to Idaho Falls this last weekend for Kimberly's friend's wedding and reception.  After the temple ceremony, we walked around on the bridges. We asked a passer-by to take our picture with my phone.  She happened to be a photographer, and offered to take some with her own!  Her website is here and her blog (where you'll see our pictures) is here.

 Or, if you don't care to visit her site, here are the two she posted:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Engaged... and very Anxious


I'm engaged to the most amazing, beautiful girl in the world.  Yes, I love her.  :)  We were engaged on Jan. 24, 2010.  The date is May 7, 2010.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Those Police Officers...

I am a good driver.  I think.

Of course, everyone thinks that.  But I really think I am a better driver than the average person.  Sure, sometimes I do stupid things, most of the time I'm safe, defensive and aware.  Before my mission, I received one traffic citation for speeding.  I was on my way to a flag football game at the U, and I thought I was going to be late.  Well, I got pulled over, written a ticket, and I still made it to my game on time.  So that was a pointless ticket that I should have just been more careful about.

Well, since that time I've had a clean record.  No tickets, not even having been pulled over.  In August, I had a sweet idea to do a Meteor Shower Hike!  I can't believe I haven't written about it yet!  It was an awesome night.  We hiked up to Sunset Peak at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, ate dinner at the top and watched the show!  Then we hiked down.  Well, on the way home, it was 1:00am, and I wasn't paying attention and... you guessed it: I got pulled over going 10 over the speed limit.  Luckily the officer dropped it down to a 5-over, which is the least expensive ticket you can receive.  However, I still had to go in and pay for the ticket.  Then I got the chance to go to traffic school!  That was just on Saturday.

So Sunday night, I was taking Kimberly home after a night of doing homework (again), and I got pulled over again!!!  This time it was for not stopping completely at a stop sign, and not signaling for long enough.  Apparently I didn't learn my lesson at traffic school.  Luckily, I got off with a warning and went on my way.  Anyway, I had officially decided at this point that I should be a more careful driver.

For ease of description, two diagrams have been provided.  The gray oval is my car, the red ovals are police cars, and the blue is a Ford Expedition.
So I was.  Last night, after dropping Kimberly off after (you guessed it) homework, I was pulling out from her apartment, when I saw a police car coming toward me with its lights on.  It turned right (see the little red line I drew?
So after the police car had turned, I decided it was clear and I turned to follow it (because that's the way to go home).  As I drove, I looked to the right and saw now two police cars (one from before and one other) following a blue expedition in the parking lot of an assisted living center there.  I watched and expected the expedition to stop, but he didn't, he just followed the parking lot around as if everything was normal.  The cops didn't have their sirens on, just their lights.

Anyway, there were no police cars on the road I was now on, so I continued on my way, expecting everything else on my drive home to be normal.

Well, as I drove, all of a sudden I look in my mirror and see flashing lights - "Again?" I thought, even though the lights were far behind me.  I hadn't sped or done anything wrong though, so I just pulled over and waited.

I didn't have to wait long.

All of a sudden, the blue expedition FLEW past me at about 65-70 mph on a 40 mph road, and the police cars were close behind.  I stayed pulled over for a bit, wanting to just stay out of the way.  It was pretty crazy to be watching a real high-speed police chase!  That wasn't all though.

After all was clear (for the second time), I proceeded on my way home, just wanting to go to bed.  I approached a stop light at the intersection shown in my second picture (1):
I could still see the police car's lights flashing and their sirens blaring about a quarter mile down the street (not shown).  I stopped at the stop light and watched as the expedition took a corner really quick into the neighborhoods on his right (left side of the figure) (still not shown).  A few moments later, a police SUV turns from my right onto the road in the direction I'm facing.  Just then, the light turned green.  As no police cars were behind or to either side of me, I proceeded to cross the intersection behind the SUV.  But as I neared the middle of the intersection, a bunch of things happened all at once.  The expedition came flying out of the neighborhoods in front of me and turned toward my car, into ONCOMING TRAFFIC (2)!  There was a raised median, so he was stuck going the direction he had turned into. Luckily for me, the police SUV was in between the expedition and myself (3).  Again, trying to stay out of the way of everything, I pulled over as soon as I crossed the intersection (4).  I watched as the police SUV pulled in front of the expedition while the other two police cars tried to hem him in (5&6).  Well, this guy wasn't stopping, he ran right into the police SUV!!!  Then, he went around on the shoulder and kept heading, STRAIGHT TOWARD ME (7)!  The two police cars behind him kept chasing, and he had enough room to pass me, but as he did so, a fourth police car (8) came around the corner behind me, almost hit me and tried to block the guy again!  He peeled out and flew across the intersection again, this time behind me.  All of the cop cars, including the SUV in front of me that had its front end smashed in on one side now, continued the chase and just drove around me!  For the final time, I pulled out and cautiously drove home - unscathed.  I'm just glad not to get pulled over, let alone escape being in the middle of a high-speed police chase without getting smashed between a police car and some psycho.

All-in-all, I think I've had my fair share of experiences with police officers lately...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Counting down

It's just exciting sometimes to count down to things.  For example, there are 19 days, 1 hour, 22 minutes and 12 seconds (right now as I'm writing this) until Christmas!  Isn't that exciting?

Anyway, I've been excited for a while to count down the days until school ends!  This is the last week of classes, then next week is finals.  It's been a really difficult semester as far as difficulty of classes go.  Bioinstrumentation especially has been a challenge for me, but it's cool to look back and realize how much I've learned over the course of a single semester.  Another thing that's made school difficult is developing a relationship with Kimberly.  She's been in school this semester too, and since we're both so busy, we have to squeeze in time for each other, and it's been a challenge for each of us at different times to not have the other's attention as much as we'd like.

Another thing to count down to is... CHRISTINE AND PAUL ARE COMING TO VISIT!  Ahem.  Sorry, I got pretty excited there for a second.  The thing is, I really am super-excited.  They're just way fun to hang out with.  Plus, they haven't met my Kimberly yet, so that will be fun for them to get to know each other, since I've talked to each of them about the other.  It's just going to be fun to get to see them again for a while.

What are you counting down to?

I know this is random, but I just have to say,

Kimberly smells so good. :)  For those of you who haven't met her, here's a picture of the beauty on our "Ghost Tours" date in October:

Sunday, November 14, 2010


So... it's been about 3 months or so since I even looked at my blog.  Sorry to all of you faithful readers who have been waiting on the edge of your seats, checking every day to see if there was some updated post, some new picture, some record of the proceedings of my life.  I guess I'm just not as into blogging as I used to be.  I just have other things to do to distract me, so I guess I can update you a bit on those things...

School is going well.  I'm taking some pretty difficult classes this semester, and I feel like I'm doing ok in each of them.  I'm learning a lot, and I hope that trend will continue.  (If not, what's the point, right?)

I've been working in a musculoskeletal research lab at the U since the beginning of the semester.  It's almost the same type of work as I've been doing for the last year, segmenting out images.  However, now they are CT scans of human hips, rather than confocal microscope images of cardiac myocytes in rats (I think the myocytes one just sounds cooler - and I think it is cooler too).  It's a good job, and I'm glad to get more research experience, but to be honest, I don't really get that much experience, especially since I already know a lot of the things I could potentially learn, so really I'm just there for the money.

I recently was released from my calling as Ward Mission Leader.  As with almost any calling, this is a really bitter-sweet release.  I enjoyed this calling very much.  It was extremely difficult, and a lot of the time, I didn't feel like I really made any progress or affected anyone's life.  However, looking back I know that I was able to help some people, and hopefully the Lord will magnify what little work we did do for the benefit of His children.

Last, but certainly not least, I've been dating a wonderful girl named Kimberly.  She's so kind and cares a lot about people.  We have a lot of fun together.  I should also mention that she is gorgeous.  Like, super-model gorgeous.  I'm lucky to get to date her.

So really, it's all of those reasons that I haven't blogged a lot lately.

I hope you'll excuse my absence from the online social network.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

God's Fireworks

A lot of my posts lately have been of a more spiritual note.  Cool.

So on Sunday, I came home in the evening to see my parents sitting on the front lawn.  I thought "my parents rock".  I thought they were just sitting out there enjoying the grass and the nice weather.  In a sense they were.  But I sat down next to them, and my dad said "Check out the sky".  I looked up and my mouth probably dropped.  The sky was mostly covered with huge bright clouds of varying colors - yellow, pink, white, blue, gray, purple, red.  Some were sinking down and looked like an upside-down cobblestone road with huge stones.  Others looked like an upside-down slow-shutter-speed picture of a waterfall coming over a huge boulder.  Off in the distance were the ginormous cumulo-nimbus that Russell from Up is so knowledgable about. So we sat out there for about 30 minutes just watching the sky change slowly and every second of it was beautiful.  At one point, my mom said "Isn't it wonderful for God to put on a fireworks show for just 3 people?".

Today there's a sweet summer thunderstorm outside.  It reminded me of a video \that my friend posted a little while ago.  Here it is.  Watch it, it's pretty cool.

So... who says God's fireworks are better than man's?

I do.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Faith or Frenzied-ness? :)

So, I sold my road bike.

I did not want to.  As you could probably tell by my posts about road biking in the last 2 weeks as opposed to the long hiatus of non-blogging before that, I fell in love with road biking.  I could tell that if I kept at it (which I wanted to do), I could become very good at it and even compete.  I love the rush of wind as I pedal at a consistent rate.  Basically, I "fit" as a road cyclist.

However, sometimes things don't go the way you want (at least not at first).  Friday night, I was saying my nightly prayers, and the thought came to ask this question "What do I need to do to prepare myself for my future wife?".  I had asked this or at least similar questions before, and usually the answer was to be patient or no answer, which to me means, "It's not time for you to know yet" etc.  But I hadn't asked it since I had bought this bike.  The immediate answer was "Sell the bike."  Not just A bike from our garage, not even just one of the two bikes I own, but THE [road] bike.  My thoughts were "What? I just bought it!  I love riding it! It's good for me!  Isn't it?  Was that just me thinking that for some weird reason?"  Anyway, I kind of struggled with those types of thoughts for a good while in my prayer, and then asked if I was still ok to go on my ride (see last post), and I felt I was, so I did.  Then I said "If it's Thy will, I'll do it."  The next night, (Saturday night), I said in my prayers again "Like I said, if it's Thy will, I'll do it, but I need to be sure I'm not just doing something crazy for no reason", and asked Him to confirm to me that what I was thinking was truly from Him.

Well, Heavenly Father answers prayers (if you didn't know that).  I went to a friend's ward to hear her report on her mission, and the theme of the meeting was "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."  That's in Proverbs 3:5-6.  I was like "Hmmm, if that's not a clear answer, I don't know what is" but somehow I felt that I was going to keep receiving confirmations that day.  Well, I did.  My own sacrament meeting, Bishop Ayre's daughters Kenedi and Amanda and Brother Hansen's daughter Madison spoke about the trials of their pioneer ancestors and how they had to sacrifice some great things to receive even greater things.  Also, Travis Bodtcher and Collette Charles (soon to be Bodtcher) talked about their relationship and how grateful they are for each other.  That wasn't a direct answer to my prayer, but it reminded me of how wonderful married life will be, and that I should be willing to give up anything for her.  Travis talked about how greatly his life changed the moment he decided to turn his life around, and now he's getting married in the temple because of it.  That was interesting to me.  Then in Sunday School we were talking about rehoboam and jeraboam and their poor leadership.  There were a couple of comments that hit me, but most of all when we talked about the grandson of Rehoboam I think it was, I can't remember the name right now, who was righteous and was surrounded by enemy armies.  He was told by a prophet to wait and trust the Lord, and the Lord caused the armies to fight each other and were destroyed.  Elder's Quorum the lesson was on the talk by Elder Martino, called "All Things Work Together for Good".  Basically, the whole day was saying "Yes, you should trust Me and the Holy Ghost.  The answer you received was from Me."

So, it's now gone.  I'm kind of sad, but I trust that the best will come of it.

I'm grateful for my testimony, and Heavenly Father's love.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

33 mi

Today I rode 33 miles on my new road bike.

I know that for experienced riders, that's not very far, but considering I've only had the bike for a couple of weeks, for me, this is the longest consecutive ride that I've done on the thing!  Last week, my Brother-in-Law Paul and I rode from my house to the second entry of Snowbird (see map).  We met Chrissie and my parents there for a day of hiking.  Then we just threw the bikes in the car and rode back down with them, so overall it was about 16-1/2 miles of riding.  But today I decided to go up and back.  I woke up today at 7:30 to start out by 8, and got back around 10:45 or 11:00 (I don't remember exactly).  As I got to the second entry, I decided to keep going (mostly because I was following a lady, and she didn't stop there, so I felt like less of a man if I did stop).  But I made it to the 4th entry, where I took about a 10-minute break to rest and enjoy the beauty of that canyon.  Next time I go, I'll go the rest of the way up to Alta.  Then the descent.  If you watch the tour de france or anything, you'll see some cyclists getting up to like 60 mph.  I got up to 42, and let me tell you, even though I'm a little bit of a thrill-seeker and I LOVE anything that feels like I'm going fast, I was a little nervous.  It wasn't bad at first, because the road is newly paved and smooth, but when I got toward the bottom where it's a little more beat up, I slowed down to about 32.  So yeah, those guys that go 60 are crazy.  Anyway, it took me less than 1/2 the time to get home that it did to get up.  I really enjoy cycling, and I think I'll stick with it.  It's going to be hard though when school starts, because to get really good, you really have to devote a LOT of time to it.

So for the rest of the day, we're going to play some ULTIMATE at 4:30 and then go to the REAL SL game tonight and watch fireworks after!  I'm pretty stoked.

Get out there and exercise, it feels so good.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Priesthood

I've kind of delayed writing this for a while, because it's personal and very important to me, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to share, and if there was anything I shouldn't or didn't want to.

However, for the few people who read my blog, I think, I would feel comfortable telling you about these experiences in person, so why not in my blog?

A couple of weeks ago, our family went down to my favorite place on Earth - Lake Powell.  We've been going twice or three times a year since I was a little kid, and I look forward to every single opportunity we have to go. This year was no different.  I was able to go the whole week, and I couldn't wait for morning ski rides, sun-tanning, hikes, swimming, having fun with my awesome cousins and sisters and parents (I could've just said family), and perfecting the back-flip on my air chair.  We got there on Monday afternoon, so my first opportunity to ski on nice water was Tuesday morning.  Unfortunately, for some strange reason, my Dad decided not to wake me up for the nice water, and just went (even though I've woken him up many times to go skiing)!  I was a little upset.

So later on that day, when the water was choppy because of boat traffic, I decided to break out my air chair, and see if I couldn't land the flip and hold on.  So I rode for a while, just enjoying the flying feeling of gliding above the waves.  Then, I jumped a couple of times, and tried the back-flip, but didn't really jump, so I just fell headfirst into the water, which I've done a lot (see video).

So the next attempt, I jumped, flipped, and in mid-air I thought "Yes!  This is it!  I'm going to make it!".  Something weird happened, and even though I had made it around, I crashed when I hit the water.  Usually, this is no big deal.  This time though, it was.

To me, it felt like my hand had gone into the rope handle, and that the handle had hit my forearm extremely hard and pulled me forward in the water a little bit.  It hurt like the Dickens, and when I came up, I saw that my glove was gone.  After telling the people in the boat to pick up the glove, I noticed that I couldn't move my fingers, they were just stuck in a half-clenched position (as if I were still holding the rope in my hand), and there was a half-golf-ball-size local area of swelling right where it felt like the handle had hit me.  I thought (verbatim) "Crap, I just broke my arm".  So my dad helped me into the ski boat, and we went back to the houseboat to look at it.  It still hurt a ton, and I was thinking I had ruined my family's (as well as my own) favorite summer vacation - which, to me, was more painful than the injury - seriously.  I didn't cry about my arm, I only cried when I was by myself changing, because I was sad to have to leave without getting to ski.

Anyway, I had the thought "I should have my dad give me a blessing", and Christine, one of my 3 amazing sisters, even suggested it to my dad.  Well, we decided to drive out to the channel to see where we could go to get my arm x-rayed, or at least to talk to someone about my arm.  When we got out there, my dad gave me a blessing, and then we called.  As I talked to Brian, the guy at the Bullfrog clinic, my arm hurt less and less, even though I didn't notice that until afterward.  The swelling had gone down almost completely, and I could move my fingers almost as much as before.  There was still some pain when I flexed my hand or wrist, but it wasn't nearly as bad as before.

The next day, Christine and I decided to go on a little hike across the canyon from our houseboat:

So we took the kayaks over there, and parked them at the bottom (1).  We left our life jackets there, and started climbing up the rocky slope.  Every step we took sent small rocks down, so we tried to make sure not to send rocks down on top of each other.  We got to a point where there were huge boulders (2), and we had to rock climb around them to get up higher.  I went one way, and Christine decided to go another way, about 10 ft away from me, (to the right in the photo).  We were just talking, and both of us were thinking how cool we were as siblings to go hiking up this hill with our chacos on and everything, when I suddenly hear Christine yelling.  I turn around to see her falling backwards off of the rocks above a 10-foot drop, and about 60 feet total below her to the water.  I watched in horror as she fell and rolled and fell again down the hill.  All I could do was yell her name trying to show my immense concern and worry and love for her, because I thought she was going to die.  When she finally stopped falling (about 10 feet above the water) (3), she sat there, turned and looked up at me holding her head.  I was worried she had split her head open, and was going to go unconscious soon.  I heard her yell across the water to the houseboat "Dad!  Get in the ski boat and hurry over here!"  That comforted me a little in knowing she could think and yell.  I slowly started moving to the side and then down as they came over in the boat and took her back to the houseboat.  As I walked down carefully, I noticed that one of the kayaks was upside-down in the water about 10 feet from the shore (4).  At the bottom, my dad and I talked a little about what had happened.  He said that he could only see me up at the boulders and the rocks falling down from me.  The huge boulder Christine had been on was falling straight toward the kayaks, and he thought Christine was in or near the kayaks!  One miracle is that the boulder didn't follow the same path as Christine, who went left (black line) and the rocks went right (green line).  Apparently that boulder had hit the one kayak and flipped it over into the water, smashing the one end.  When we got back to the houseboat, I went to change into dry clothes, and again, being alone, cried because of the emotions I had felt as I watched what I thought were my sister's last moments.  Then, my dad and I gave her a blessing as my mom, aunt and sister Chelsey took care of Christine's cuts.  She was in shock and was shaking.  Miraculously, she didn't break any bones, didn't split her head open or anything.  She had some pretty big scrapes, but no deep cuts, and a twisted ankle to top it off.

I was amazed at how quickly she and I healed.  I was able to ski Thursday morning, Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.  Christine, I think, could have as well, but to be safe decided not to, in case of infection from the water getting in her cuts.

(The girl in the picture is my cousin Ashlyn, who got up on skis for the first time this trip!)

I know those are long stories, but I wanted to preserve as much as I could what happened, and add to them my testimony of the Priesthood.  I know that it's a real power, which has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith by Angels, and that God and Jesus Christ personally appeared to Joseph Smith to restore this power and the true Church of Jesus Christ.  How grateful I am for a worthy father who is willing and able to give me and my sisters those blessings when they are needed, and for the blessings that come through that Priesthood and the love of God.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hearts (Again)

The heart is so amazing!  The human heart beats over 2.8 BILLION times over the course of an average lifespan of 75 years*.  This pumping machine pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day, and works from it's first beat to it's last.  How cool is that???

I just started a job at the same research lab that I've been volunteering in for almost a year now.  I'm analyzing some structural differences in striation patterns of t-tubules (which serve as boundary lines for sarcomeres) in healthy vs diseased vs diseased then treated hearts.  It's really cool stuff, and I'm excited for the opportunity to learn more and grow in experience.

I'm just grateful that Heavenly Father knew to put such a diligent, persistent organ in us to which we attribute our deepest feelings (i.e. love, devotion, pain, joy, disappointment, and hope), and which provides life to our body and its systems.