Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's Been A While

Good day, Sunshines!

Overcome with guilt at having posted nothing in many, many moons and the fact that so many of my friends and family are starting blogs of their own, I decided it was expedient for me to put a little something up here.

Things are going well for me. I'm still working in Customer Service, which I love and making somewhat lousy money, which I love less. But, my job is enjoyable and I really like the company I work for. (If you're interested, you can view our website at www.zagg.com.)

As of the last update on this blog, I was headed out on a month long end-of-the-year sabbatical. That was December 2007. The sabbatical was grueling, but I learned some things and got some things done. I had a chance to take a step back and make some decisions about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Back in the real world, I found myself in a new home. Dawn & Lawrence had moved to Salt Lake from Rexburg, which necessitated us all finding a bigger place to live. Now we're in a four bedroom place on the Salt Lake Valley's east side. I've enjoyed decorating the place and filling it up new (...ish) furniture from yard sales. Finally, after a year and a half, it's really starting to look like a home.

I've also gotten started working on some of the goals I set for myself during my sabbatical and extending some of those goals to include even loftier pursuits. I've begun taking some self improvment classes, which I'm getting a LOT out of and meeting with a sort of "life coach" to help me figure out how to best use this new information. As with most things that are worth doing, this isn't easy and it's kinda slow going. But, I love the direction I'm heading.

So, how am I spending the rest of my time? Well, hobbies are good.

I enjoy reading and studying philosophy and religion. I've been reading books on Catholocism and "mainstream" Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism (as well as my continued reading of The Book of Mormon and other LDS authors). It is amazing how much truth there is to be found in their philosophies and practices. It's also amazing to notice all the things that are missing.

I'm facinated by the things the various groups elect to focus on and the things they completely neglect. The more I discover about the different religions, the more I become convinced that The Truth of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only place where EVERYTHING makes sense! What a wonder it is to be able to turn to a living prophet for clarification of the so-called "mysteries of GOD". How comforting it is to not have to just make stuff up to explain such things. There is nothing the human race needs to know about life, death and personal salvation that has not been revealed to us.

Cooking is another hobby I enjoy. I have a friend I get together with from time to time to host dinner parties at my home. We've been trying our hand as some international cooking including, Italian, Indian and French. (By popular demand, we are reprising a French dinner we did a couple of years ago that featured Roast Lamb w/ Artichokes, Celery Root Puree, and a very yummy Ratatouille. If you haven't seen the movie "Ratatouille", you should. It's fun.)

Speaking of movies... I enjoy those, too. The most recent "new" movies I've seen were the James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace", Will Smith's "Seven Pounds" and, to kill time one evening, "Bedtime Stories" with Adam Sandler. None of them were anything to write home about, but they were all alright. Currently, I'm trying to find the time to go see the new "Star Trek" movie.

Well, that's where I'm at for now. If anyone has any comments or questions for me, feel free to post them and I'll try to respond here.

See ya!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Letter 2007

Dear Friends-

Well, it’s that time of year again and we’re all starting to see those Holiday Cards showing up in our respective mail boxes. They feature images of decorated trees, unusually brilliant stars, manger scenes, snow men, Santa Claus and other various reminders of what this time of year is really all about.

I love this season and all the happy greetings that come with it. Several of my friends and relatives have made a habit of sending a sort of “year-end newsletter” with their cards, detailing all of the most interesting, fun and important events that have taken place in their families since the sending of last year’s card. This year, I decided to do the same and the result of that decision is what you are reading now.

Last year, I predicted in emails, letters and conversations with many of you that 2007 would be a year of monumental growth for me. I expected to do a lot of work this year and bring to pass some much needed changes in my life. Not surprisingly, my prediction has come true (in spades!). But, as is usually the case, the opportunities for growth and change have come in VERY unexpected ways.

It has long been my opinion that the purpose of regret is to inspire the “regretter” to learn from the decisions and experiences that produced the regret. Once the lesson is learned, the feeling of regret is no longer necessary; it has served its purpose and can be (and should be) allowed to dissipate so that the “regretter” can move forward with his or her life in a healthy and positive way.

Several things happened to me and around me this year that brought to light quite a few skeletons, ghosts and dust bunnies from the closets of my life. Some were things I thought I had dealt with and conquered. Some were things I’d buried under piles of old shoes and forgotten about in the hopes that they would never have to be dealt with. But, regardless of what I thought about these things, they’re here now… and so is the regret that has collected on these relics like so much dust on great-grandmother’s antique thimble collection.

Sometimes, when things are stored for a long time and later re-discovered, the need for disposal of the items becomes apparent. Some things are easy to get rid of. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to stack up the old newspapers and throw them in the fire or carry them out to the dumpster. But, for other things, the price can be much greater. Usually, the heavier the item, the higher the price. For example, no one’s going to let you dump that hideous hide-a-bed that graced the living room of your first apartment without charging you for it.

Thankfully, the cost of disposal for some of the bad decisions I’ve made has been reasonably low and many of the dust bunnies have already been cleared out. It has been something of a shock, though, for me to realize just how much these dusty, old skeletons actually weigh… and how costly the disposal fees can be. So, what to do?

The pages of literature, scripture and history are filled with stories of great men who became great only after they’d experienced what I’ll call their “mountain-top moments”. Moses found direction in a burning bush, a reluctant Jonah found himself on “time out” in the belly of a whale and Saul, the persecutor of Christians everywhere, became Paul, the great Apostle, after being rebuked by the resurrected Lord on the road to Damascus. In his classic “A Christmas Carol”, Charles Dickens tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge who abandoned his miserly ways and became a regular “Father Christmas” after the extraordinary experiences of one sleepless night. Every one of these men made choices that changed their lives and blessed the lives of others, but only after their respective circumstances nudged them each into a period of serious reflection and sincere prayer.

An opportunity has been presented to me to finish up this banner year by taking something of a sabbatical. In just a few days, I will begin the ascent toward my own mountain-top, where it is anticipated I will stay for about a month. I expect that the conditions will be harsh, but bearable and contact with my life and loved ones will be severely limited. Still, I intend to make the experience a rewarding and valuable one as I look toward my future and what I want to make of it. While I do not expect to see any ghosts or gods on my mountain top, I will be listening very intently for whatever still, small voices might whisper insights and inspirations I’ll be able to use when I get home.

Every life is a journey and each road is a choice. Eventually, we will all arrive somewhere. But, no one will ever arrive at a destination at the end of a road they did not choose. Now is the time for me to choose what road I want to be on and redirect my journey toward the destination I desire; a destination where no regret is necessary.

I would like to begin the next stage of my journey now by saying a few things that I feel need to be said.
-To those who have been hurt, either by me or by my skeletons… I am sorry.
-To those who have hurt me because of my skeletons… you are forgiven.
-To those who have stood with me in spite of my skeletons… I thank you.
-To those who have chosen to part company with me for whatever reason… I will always mourn the loss.
-And, to those who choose to accompany me into the future and share the joys and blessings to be found there… I love you and I’m grateful for the friendship we enjoy. I look forward to being able to share my life with you and, I hope, being a positive part of your life, as well.