I Love Being With My Family

I come from a very large family.  My dad has a brother and a sister that each have a few kids that also have kids of their own.  My mom is the fourth of seven kids who also have kids and grandkids of their own.  I am the fifth of seven kids who also have a bunch of kids of their own.

For those of you keeping score at home, that is a bunch of kids.  All told I have 30+ cousins who almost all have kids of their own, and it is freaking awesome.

As kids we saw each other a lot but as we have gotten older we don’t see each other quite as often but it is still always awesome when we do.  My sister was told that while we were together today all we would do is eat and chat and eat and chat and that is exactly what we did.

It really doesn’t matter how long we have been apart, I could spend hours with my siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles just chatting and enjoying a nice meal.  I am so glad that we are now back closer to family so that my kids can make memories with their cousins like I was able to.

Family is just so darn great.  I know I am exceptionally blessed in this area, but family can really come from anywhere, not just blood.  When I deployed or have been on long trips it has been my crew that was my family.  We have taken on our neighbors as family when we moved far away from our blood relatives and loved them just as much.

This world is full of amazing people worthy of our love and attention so find someone you love and tell them how much they mean to you.

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Simple Joy

I was flipping through pictures on my phone today and just had to share this image with you.

This is of my little princess enjoying one of those bouncy slides at an awesome little festival we went to.  To me the look on her face is just priceless, and even more awesome because it was something so simple.

She was just going down a slide for less than two seconds and it brought her so much joy.  She actually kept talking about it for another ten minutes.  

As kids we find so much joy in simple things and then somewhere along the way we are taught that it has to be bigger and more extravagant to make us happy.  I am sure there is some scientific reason why dopamine is not as easily created or something but I also think it is a choice.

There is no reason we can’t find happiness in the simplest things in life.  In fact many of the happiest grandparents I know find their joy again in the simple joys of life.  Maybe we just go full circle and start to remember that it is the simple things that can bring us the most joy.

Civil Conversation is So Productive

In this world of sides that is being created it seems like it is harder and harder people to have a civil conversation about anything.  Even sports has become a venue for extreme discord, or at least the NFL has.

Today I had to reminders of what real conversation should be amongst educated adults.  

The first was reading a post about logical fallacies.  It reminded me of a class I took in college about logic and how to properly form an argument.  While that knowledge could be used to criticize people it can also be utilized to form better arguments yourself and make sure you are being logical before you go spouting off on a topic.  A pause that all of us should take more often.

The other event was a discussion I had with a friend on Facebook.  He had posted something about healthcare and I responded asking where he thought improvements could be made to which he responded with simple concise facts and opinions.  

This conversation went back and forth ultimately ending in complete agreement on many things despite our differing views on many other things.  There are really two important lessons I take from this.

The first is that most of us want the very same things with maybe minor variations.  We even agree on many of the paths if we will simply stop and listen to what other people are saying.  

The second thing is that this country is not as divided as the media would like us to think to continue to support their ratings.  We just need to spend more time listening and less time spewing anger and hate.  True or not, that will never improve any of our problems.

Did my friend and I fix the healthcare industry, no.  But we did do a small amount to improve the divide in this country.  We listened to opposing views like adults.  We asked questions to understand rather than to prove the other person wrong.  In the end we both just wanted to find a solution to the problem more than we wanted to be right.

I’m sorry to make this post political, but we all need more examples of understanding and comprise and less hate.

Getting Back to Work

It was so great going back to work today.  I didn’t know who I needed to see or where I needed to go or where anything was but man was it great to just be at work.

It is awesome to be in an active flying squadron again where I know I have a future.  It is no one’s fault that my last squadron didn’t feel that way, simply the nature of the transition, but it is refreshing to be somewhere new.

It likely will still be a couple of weeks before I actually get to fly courtesy of paperwork and such, but I am getting closer and it is amazing.

Life is just good right now and I’m happy.  I know some people don’t like to vocalize that because they think they will jinx it, but I am learning more and more that it is actually much better to acknowledge it.

I truly am excited to be here and excited to start a new long term adventure.  I know I have plenty to learn and that excites me too.  It is so great to feel gainfully employed after a nice break.

I Need More Places Like the Temple in My Life

For those of you not familiar with Mormons, we generally have two types of buildings where we go to worship.  We have our meetinghouses where we go on Sundays to worship and even during the week for other activities and events.  They range from large beautiful buildings to rooms rented over marijuana shops (yes it really was).

These buildings are open to anyone and everyone who would like to worship with us, and they are important to our worship and happiness.  They are where the vast majority of our services take place and there are thousands all over the world.

The other buildings that we utilize for worshiping are temples.  These buildings are much less common (only 157 currently operating in the world), and hold a more sacred place in our worship.  They are the place where we go to be sealed together for eternity as well as perform ordinances for those who have already passed away.

If you would like to learn more about the differences please let me know and I would love to explain more.  For the purposes of this post, those descriptions should suffice.

I had the opportunity to go to the temple here in Reno with my wife today and it was such a nice experience.  It was a bit rushed getting there, and we almost didn’t make it, as is often the case when you try and do something you know to be right, but we did, and it was wonderful.

There is such an overwhelming peace that comes with going to the temple and being surrounded by the spirit.  The busier my life gets the more important it is for me to take time for these spiritually rejuvenating events.  It only took a couple of hours, but it gave me time to refocus myself on what is most important in life and where I need to be putting my effort.

While temples are special, it is vitally important for us to find other places where we can also find peace and comfort and to commune with God.  Many prophets in the past would go into the mountains to find such places.  While we don’t need to have the types of experiences like Moses did, it is important for us to find places where we can clear our mind and refresh ourselves spiritually, whether we are religious or not.

For most of my life the mountains were always that place for me.  I could just sit up in the trees or around a fire and do nothing for hours.  It was always an amazing way to clear my mind and refocus whatever was going on in my life.

Once I stopped living in the mountains, the beach became that place for me, and unfortunately as time went on I kind of stopped looking for those places.  Thankfully, God has brought me back to the mountains where I can again go to find peace, like I did earlier this week when I went fishing.

Life is full of important stressful things that we need to do, but few things will reap more benefits than taking the time to be still, relax, and reset.  We all need that on occasion, but it is often the first thing we give up when life gets busy.

Running at Altitude is Tough

I went running for the first time in my new hometown today and it was a bit harder than I am used to courtesy of the altitude.  For the last two years I have lived at essentially sea level so now to run at almost 5,000 feet it is a bit different.

I noticed pretty quickly that there was not as much oxygen, but it still felt great to get in a run.  It is also awesome that there is a trail right behind my house that leads up into the hills.  While that is more challenging, it is much better than just running on a track or boring treadmill.

With everything drying up for the winter it was all pretty dry, but that is apparently not a bad thing.  While the air is thinner here, it is also much dryer which actually helped a lot.

My wife had told me it was about a mile and a half to the library by way of the trail but as I got to the library I figured there was no way that was right.  Before I left Japan I was doing a mile and a half in about 13 minutes, but somehow I had run that distance mostly uphill in only 14 minutes.  

When I got home I tried to verify the distance and my wife was wrong.  It wasn’t 1.5 miles, it was more like 1.6.  I know th8s is nothing to you big runners, but for me that was a big deal.  To congratulate myself I ran back in about 12 minutes, but that was downhill.

The longer I am here the more happy I am to be here. Everything is slowly falling into place and we are all getting settled in.  I have really enjoyed all of the places we have lived in the last ten years but this is probably the most I have felt at home.

My Son is Starting to Warm Up to Me

Adoption is such an incredible journey.  You experience some of the most amazing highs and some incredibly frustrating lows.

Bonding with my son is really important, but the reality of our lives made that really hard.  We just celebrated six months since Ty joined our family and of that six months I was not with him for about three months of that.  

As you would imagine that did not help our bonding much.  It has been awesome to see how close he is with his mom, but it also makes me a little jealous too.  

I haven’t really had a lot of time with just him and I, but today we got some time just the two of us and it was really great.

He climbed up on my lap and brought me books to read, including one that was actually just a handwriting book.  It was fun to just sit together and be alone.

I know that there is a long way to go here in our relationship, but it is so awesome to have these moments and see that we are making progress.