This past year has indeed been a roller coaster. As I reflect on the year that has been I must pour out my heart in gratitude to the Almighty for the many blessings and great prosperity that we have experienced. As the chapter turns over to a new year I reflect on both the good and the bad of the year that we are departing from. I hope to learn from both to make the future a much brighter one.

2017 brought us many twists and turns as we continue to figure out this whole growing up thing. We try to avoid being responsible adults as much as possible but it seems to catch up to us anyways. Since my departure from Altra last year we have been tested by the great roller coaster of what is next. Thankfully, while I figure out my future my wife has willingly made the sacrifice to put her recently acquired RN certification to work by working full-time. Thus far, we have been able to work out schedules well and I have become a bit more of a domesticated husband and father. I actually enjoy it a lot. I like to be the one to cook, clean, and shuttle the kids around. It does get tricky at times with all else that I have going on, but God has blessed us with the fortitude to accomplish what is needed.

Returning to Complete What I Began

In order to complete something I started and to do something more, I started back to school this past year. It has been years since I last took college courses. With a desire to learn, complete my education, and likely teach someday we felt like this would be a good time to return. I have opted to pursue a major in Philosophy with a History minor. I feel like this direction will be the most impactful to me, my family, and our future. Going back to college in my late 30s seems a little like a sidestep, but one that will turn out beneficial overall.

I started attending summer semester and found it much more enjoyable than I thought. I had some excellent professors that were able to help me love going to class. I made my education a priority and was rewarded for doing so. My family was a great support as well. Since it was only seven weeks it was pretty simple for us to break into it. Going back wasn’t without its challenges though. We ran into a couple financial hiccups with school and taking on consulting clients meant I had to become a good juggler. Some of these things caused me to wonder if I was doing what I was supposed to. I even opted to take a leave during the fall semester. However, as I approach this upcoming semester I am reminded of how I felt when I started back. The words of the Lord to Oliver Cowdery remind me to continue forward when he declares, “cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart…Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” (D&C 6:22-23).

I know that I need to push forward and at least complete my bachelor’s degree, if not more. I am looking forward to going back next week.

Traveling Abroad

One of the key reasons that I postponed going fall semester was because I would be out of the country for three weeks. Les had the opportunity to get into UTMB this year. We decided to take advantage of this by making it an extended Fifteen Year Anniversary trip. We’ve traveled a lot together but haven’t had a longer getaway for 10 years.

Our European trip was an amazing adventure. Thanks to Airbnb, long layovers, strategic planning, and relatively cheap Inter-European travel we were able to get around to some wonderful destinations.

We briefly did a bike tour through London.

Had a short stopover in Basel at the intersection of France, Switzerland, and Germany.

We explored and took in much of the great city of Paris.

On our way up to the Alps, we found a quaint gem of a town in Annecy, France. We hope to get back to that beautiful town again soon.

The race happenings were in Chamonix and so were we for several days.

After the race was a quick pit stop in Geneva to then fly to Rome.

Rome began our Italian tour as we saw ancient Rome and the Vatican.

We then trained up to Tuscany to spend a couple days in Florence.

Our journey continued through Pisa into Cinque Terre.

Hiking around the five towns was marvelous. We loved the time on the beach and coastal regions.

We rented a car and drove through the rainy Dolomites and some lovely mountain towns.

Our trip to Italy concluded into the lovely canal city of Venice.

There was so much to see and do. we were blessed to get in what we did. The food, sites, cultures, and art was astonishing. It was an experience that we will never forget.

Family Travels

Aside from our trip to Europe we were able to get out on some other adventures together and as a family. Often, much of our travel tend to center around races. This year we broke that trend a little. Sure, we still went to Europe for a race, traveled to Sonoma, Southern California, Grand Canyon, and the Tushars in Southern Utah for different races. Outside of races we took a trip through the state of Colorado where we skied Steamboat Springs, visited Black Canyon and Mesa Verde National Parks, Four Corners, and Natural Bridges in Utah. We went up to Glacier National Park for several days over the summer. We flew to Las Vegas on super cheap airfare. Then this Christmas break we took our new van for her inaugural journey on a sun-seeking trip to San Diego, CA.

This fall we opted to upgrade to a new van and wanted something good for road trips. we invested in a long sprinter ran. We have removed the back two rows of seats and put in a bed and soon a loft bed. We are excited about the ease of travel and many adventures that await us in our van.

As mentioned above, our travels this year have taken us throughout the west. We have been able to add 5 new National Parks to the visited list this year. The two in Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Mesa Verda. A quick trip down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Our trip up to Glacier National Park. Finally, we stopped by Joshua Tree on the way to a race in the Santa Monica Mountains. We also revisited Zion and Bryce National Parks. We love the National Park system and enjoy the protection of these choice places. We hope that that will continue for many more years to come.

As A Father

Work has been interesting as I try to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I have been blessed with a good knowledge and a proficient skill set in helping others to succeed. I have found good work in consulting with a variety of companies in marketing and marketing strategy. It gives me something to drive me forward and keep me busy. Also nice to help on the family income front as well.

My duties as a father get to stretch beyond working and housekeeping. I really enjoy being a part of my children’s lives. I get to witness them develop their passions and talents. This is one of the great honors of parenthood. I hope that I teach them well and raise them up in righteousness. I am so proud of what they are each becoming.

Having a boy is a joy. He is truly a miniature version of me. He has much of the same interests that I had at his age. We love to talk basketball and take part in NBA games, most particularly the Jazz. Last year he asked me to coach his basketball team. We had a great Jr Jazz season to start 2017. This year we decided to step it up a notch and joined AAU super leagues. So far it has been quite the learning curve, but I love coaching our team. This time with my son means a lot to me.

A Year of Learning

This past year has been enlarging and enlightening. Going back to school has helped, but there have been other key things to assist as well. Earlier in the year one of my really good friends approached me about joining his newly formed book club. I saw this as a great opportunity to help me achieve my goal to read more. Never did I think that this group would become as impactful in my life as quickly as it has. All of these men have become great friends in a rather short amount of time. There is a vast variety of background and belief, but a certain level of brotherhood that I enjoy.

Through the book club, I have read books that I may not have picked up otherwise. The books and discussions have challenged my thought processes. I have had to look deep to ponder what I believe and why. It has in no way shaken my faith in God and His Son but has helped me to deeply ponder and pray to grow in faith. It has been a great process of learning.

Again, this year I spent the year teaching Gospel Doctrine class at church. I love teaching. There is nothing that helps me to learn better than being able to study, prepare, and teach a given topic. I’ve also done some substitute teaching for seminary recently. Teaching the gospel and helping others to better understand the scriptures and grace of Christ is a fulfilling joy.

My personal scripture study has always been a special and sacred time for me. Recently, I took the prophet’s Council to reread The Book of Mormon every day. I have been striving to do this for the past couple of decades or so. This time I chose to study with an emphasis on the grace and mercy of God. I am through 1 Nephi having picked up on many things that have already been a help to me as I navigate my own wilderness and trials.

I love to study and learn. I sure hope that I can continue to grow as I apply myself this year and in years to come. There is much available to us to learn.

Trials

My gratitude for the great bounty that has been imparted to us over the past year dwarfs and puts away any of the feelings and struggles that we experienced this year. However, to illustrate our humanism I want to briefly highlight some of those challenges that they might be of help to someone else or at least for my future recollection.

Over the past year, there has been a great turmoil of decisions of who I am to become. Here in mortality I have grown-up, had successes, and had failings. I have successfully started, launched, and grown a thriving business. I have seen great things. Amidst all this, I’m still unsure with that great question, “what am I supposed to be when I grow up?” This question has plagued me for many years. I foresaw myself leading a brand for many years when we started Altra. But feelings, impressions, and life changes have altered that future. Thus, I am no longer directly tied in with Altra as you may well know. So this past year has been a year of discovery, a year of pondering, a year of striving to figure out the answer to that great question, which I don’t yet have an answer to.

I feel like I am heading in a good direction, though sometimes I don’t feel the same assurances as I do at others. Working from home and taking care of my children while my wife balances motherhood, full-time employment, and running, has its own set of challenges. It’s not always the easiest to make and define my own schedule. It is trying for me to remain focused and on task all of the time. The nice thing is is that it allows us to take off on some fun adventures that we may not otherwise be able to.

While taking on this role of a consultant I have seen good ups and some downs. It takes a lot to keep clients happy and work with them on their terms, even if they may not be the best. We had a very promising client that we took some risks on because of the potential. We grew their business month over month 150% with a huge initial bump of 300%. We made them some good money in a short amount of time, but they decided that they no longer wanted to work with us. We ended up losing a key client with a fraction of the revenue that was owed to us. This hurt a lot as we were banking on a much more prosperous payout. This financial setback has hurt a bit. We will be fine, and I thank God for perspective and the understanding of the great blessings that we have.

Life is always full of up and downs. There are trials that affect us. This year has had its share of uncertainty and loneliness, but with my family by my side, I know that we can tackle any challenge that we will face.

Looking Forward

As I move into a new year, I welcome the time to reflect and ponder on the past with an eye to the opportunities that lie ahead. As a family, we are blessed. I see the hand of God in my life. I am still asking the great question, “what should I be when I grow up?” Maybe the lack of an answer means that I should not grow up. Probably not though. There are great things out there for me to achieve. I just need to continue with patience and I am sure that it will be manifested to me. This year is going to be a great one.