Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 - the best of times

2011 was quite the year. There were a lot of things that may allow me to say "what a horrible year" or "why did I mess up so bad this year?" or "I want to blot 2011 out of my memory forever." However, I don't think this is the best way to look at it. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But it is better to look up. With that said, here are some of the good highlights from 2011. 
It was a Great year with The Advocates
Through all the craziness of this year, The A Cappella group (The Advocates) has been a constant blessing to my life. The challenge, the music, the amazing and extremely talented friends who have been there for me in really hard times, and the great opportunities. And we made another talent-exchange with Vocal Point. We lost a good one (Jake Tengelsen) and got a good one (Keith Evans):

6th in a national video contest:

My buddy Kendel and I created this video for a contest for the Ruth Institute. It was fun to make and we ended up getting some free stuff out of it. Good experience.

I learned about looping
I got one of these babies and hung out with a guy that has a solo show in Vegas with looping (Mister Tim is his stage name). I was able to perform at the Velour, at the University of Utah and a couple ward talent shows. More to come this year. 

Ran the SoCal Ragnar
200 mile relay with 11 other people. We ran more like 225 because we got lost. It was an adventure. Start on the beach and end on the beach. This was Ragnar #2 for me and I liked this one much better than the Vegas course.

Launched a website to go along with the manual that I will be finishing this year: Live My Gospel. Mainly it has been an informational static website that has served to collect data for the book. Good progress. Have collected some great data with the pilot study and will launch the real study this month to finish the job and get some great information for the book that will come out in 2012. 

Got a Job in SEO
After leaving Qualtrics, I found a job at a great SEO company called OrangeSoda. I like to joke with people that I deliver carbonated soda to retail locations when they ask me what I do. ha. What I really do now is what I have wanted to learn for a while: Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I finally landed the position I want there and am happily learning very marketable skills.  Thank you Google for providing me with a great job.

Book of Mormon: Edition 1

I went to D.C. in May and among other things, I went into the antiquities and special collections area of the Library of Congress and was able to hold and flip through a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon. I have a love of the history of book making as seen in a past post and I have a love for the Book of Mormon, so it was a nice combo.

Lived with my nonagenarian grandmother!

She is amazing and I always learn so much from her. You would never guess she was in her 90s when you see her making 3 meals a day from scratch, going to all the family events, heading up clubs, taking care of the elderly in her ward, doing full day shifts at the temple once a week, writing a book of her own personal history, and teaching primary kids. She even has an iPad2 and an active facebook account! I loved my time at her home. 

Started an LLC and co-created an iPhone app

Met the Future President of Mali
Okay so maybe saying that he is the future president is a little optimistic, but he is the frontrunner candidate and I sure hope he gets it. Yeah Samake is such a good man and it was amazing to meet him in person. He is so humble and is hungry to help the people of Mali rise to a higher level. I put it on here because it really impacted me to meet and talk with him about his plans to change the country. I believe people like him are raised up to become great leaders and this world needs more of those. He can do so much good. 

Mexican Cruise

Saved up. Blew a tire on the way. Went to Disneyland while there. Got drenched by one of the largest natural blowholes in the world at Ensenada. Spoke Spanish to some people in the open air market. There were a couple hickups along the way, but it made the list. 

I will not refer to the worst times of 2011. Why not remember the good that happened and move forward? It is better to look up. It is better to smile. I learned from mistakes. Some very painful ones. But like C.S. Lewis said in his book he wrote when his wife left him alone on earth: "pain is God's megaphone to a deaf world." I guess I was losing my hearing for a bit there. But there were some amazing times this year. Experiences that seemed to recompense that which may have been lost. I will think on these days and stay grateful for God's hand in my life, to bless me more than I can realize while in the moments of pain. 
"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals" (Goethe)
The becoming is a continuous project. But there is no "end-check-mark" that will appear with some mondo achievement or list of achievements. The process is the project. And no matter what I checked off my list for 2011, I know that I have become a better person. Mostly, I think I have been able to experience the reality of the power of the atonement, and learn first hand of the depth of love I know exists in the Savior. He is real. He is SO real. I don't deserve what He gave me. But He did it anyway.  

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