Monday, February 03, 2014
You may have heard that Google Fiber recently arrived in Provo, Utah. If you want to know what exactly that means, read this short article by my friend and yours, Christian Faulconer (the David Letterman of Provo), who actually toured the Google Fiber facility.
My home was officially Google Fibered last week, so I'm a fan. But I'm probably also inclined because our family got to be a part of the ad campaign! And now, since you didn’t ask, I’d like to give you some “Behind the Scenes” of the Google ad. Some “The Making Of” goodies. Some DVD bonus features.
It all started when Google decided they needed a gi-normous family, in order to back up their slogan for Provo: Bigger Broadband for Bigger Families. Yup. That’s us. We are officially a family of 10. But at the time of filming, back in December 2013, we were still getting used to our size, as Hillary had been born only 3 weeks earlier. And it was mid-December with Christmas fast approaching. So, not to brag, but, you know...we were kind of out of our minds and barely keeping it together.
Go here to read the rest.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Youguys, youguys, youguys! Ohmygosh, youguys!
So, let's just say (totally hypothetically) that your 16 year old daughter - we'll call her Abbie - was creatively asked to her first school dance on Saturday night! And, just for funsies, let's also pretend that you belong to a fantastic book club (which is closed) and it's your turn to host, so your home is filled with 10 amazing people who think your daughter is pretty neat-o, and they can BARELY contain their excitement that they have a front row seat to the actual moment she is asked!!!!
You know what? Let's get even more detailed.
To read the rest of the post, go here.
Monday, January 06, 2014
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Or is even the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions” enough to make you feel discouraged? I’ve made my fair share. I am going to publicly share one of mine for 2014. Ready? Here it is:
Write more Thank You notes.
I’m not particularly bad at this; I just want to be better. Being a words of affirmation guy myself, I enjoy doling gracious words out to people I love - family, friends, or neighbors - who have selflessly done something for me or my family. (A thank you note seems like the very least I could do for somebody who invites our family of 10 over for dinner. I mean, really. Who does that? Only the saintliest of folks.) But I want to be more conscious of doing it. Even devoting just a few minutes to it changes my perspective and broadens my view of how good I have it - to be surrounded by people who are generous with their time, consideration, cupboards, talents, finances, or words. I want to be more dedicated to looking at the gifts in my life and expressing thanks that they are there.
I found a few examples online of Thank You Notes that made me smile.
Here’s one from Conan O’Brien, which I found to be a wonderful combination of kind and funny.
Dear Nikki -
Thanks for your very flattering offer. It's great to know I have such a devoted fan out there, and I'm sure you would make a great prom date (I didn't go to mine - it's a very sad story).
Unfortunately, I got married recently and my wife doesn't allow me to go to proms anymore with cute 16 year old girls. Still, it was very cool of you to ask me. Thanks and have a great evening.
Look at this one from President Obama. How cool that he was reading with his daughter. And how cool that the took a moment to convey his gratitude and appreciation for the work. The author personally noted, "What amazes me is the gratuity of it. As you would know, there is a large measure of calculation in what public figures do. But here, what does he gain? I’m not a US citizen. In no way can I be of help to President Obama. Clearly he did it for personal reasons, as a reader and as a father. And in two lines, what an insightful analysis of Life of Pi. Bless him, bless him."
Mr. Martel —
My daughter and I just finished reading Life of Pi together. Both of us agreed we prefer the story with animals.
It is a lovely book — an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling.
This one from President Reagan actually pulled on my heart strings a bit. It’s to a broader audience - the American public. Personally, I felt his genuine gratitude for the opportunity to be of service. I think what got me though was the image of a man on the threshold of decent. Still with all his faculties, but completely aware that his health - physical and mental - are fading and will soon evanesce. And the effect of that on his loved ones. And yet he is still gracious and wanting to offer thanks. I really liked that.
My fellow Americans,
I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.
Upon learning this news, Nancy and I had to decide whether as private citizens we would keep this a private matter or whether we would make this news known in a public way.
In the past, Nancy suffered from breast cancer and I had cancer surgeries. We found through our open disclosures we were able to raise public awareness. We were happy that as a result many more people underwent testing. They were treated in early stages and able to return to normal, healthy lives.
So now we feel it is important to share it with you. In opening our hearts, we hope this might promote greater awareness of this condition. Perhaps it will encourage a clear understanding of the individuals and families who are affected by it.
At the moment, I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done. I will continue to share life's journey with my beloved Nancy and my family. I plan to enjoy the great outdoors and stay in touch with my friends and supporters.
Unfortunately, as Alzheimer's disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden. I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes, I am confident that with your help she will face it with faith and courage.
In closing, let me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.
I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.
Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Have you read Senor Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages? A fascinating read! And by “fascinating” I mean “easy enough for even me to understand.”
According to Captain Gary Chapman, love is spoken in five different languages. You want I should spell them out for you? Done. They are 1) Physical Touch, 2) Acts of Service, 3) Gifts, 4) Quality Time and 5) Words of Affirmation.
One of these is your “love language,” that is, the way you feel loved. (No, Eating is not one of them. But mark my words, Sir Chapman has a sequel in the works, and it includes a title somewhere along the line of The Sixth Love Language: The Most Delicious of All.)
As I read Sergeant Chapman’s theory, it made me feel like a genius, because I was pretty sure I was multi-lingual. I spoke several of these love languages, if not all of them. Give me a hug (physical touch), and you bet I’ll feel loved. But give me a hug while telling me how smart I am (words of affirmation), pulling money out of my ear (gifts), and brushing lint off my shirt (acts of service), then I really feel loved. And if you make it a long hug, then that’s quality time, and we just covered all our bases, and I’m feeling more loved than Santa Claus.
After a more thorough reading and much deliberation, I have concluded that my love language is actually Words of Affirmation. Although after seeing this sketch, I think maybe I need to become more adept at the love language of Gifts.
According to Saint Chapman, the reason it is so difficult for me to narrow in on my love language is due to his theory that if you hear your love language spoken regularly and your Bucket O’ Love (scientific term) is full, then it’s difficult to detect which language is yours. Or, if you feel absolutely no love, and your Bucket is plumb empty, then it is equally difficult to determine what your love language is. But if you know Katie, then you know that my my Bucket runneth over. But I think there's still room in that bucket for more gifts!
Monday, December 02, 2013
I was in college during the short nine months that Howard W. Hunter was president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have two memories of him speaking. First, I remember his words that we - the members of this Church - should be a “gentle people.” I wrote it down. I committed to be a gentler person. I am still trying. And failing. And trying.
Isn’t that a great list? I love that list. I read it every December and try to focus on it as part of the season. Because once I hit January, and I’m forced to go a month without sugar, all bets are off, people.
Monday, November 25, 2013
“Waitress, are these ice cubes in my Diet Coke organic and locally sourced?”
“We’ve just loved homebirthing our eight children.”
We home birth.
3. This baby was way overdue. We may never know how accurately overdue. You know they base the 40 week pregnancy cycle on the date of your last period. But since Katie has either been pregnant or nursing since 1997, she’s had, like, two periods. (My apologies to any men who... no. You know what? I don’t apologize. If you can’t talk about women’s periods, then you are no man. There I said, it. Now good day, sir.)
This is Katie, about 45 second before pushing out a head. I sat at her feet watching her. With all apologies to the women I know, plus my daughters and future daughter-in-laws, plus Pink (who I imagine to be pretty tough) - I told my children that their mom was the strongest woman they would ever know.
November 23, 2013
9 lbs 20.5” long
Monday, November 18, 2013
The other day Josh asked me what I thought our theme for this week should be. Know what I said? Babies.
That's what I said.
Could be because at this moment, Katie is 16 days past her due date. And babies are ALL I can think about.
Here is a photo from a party Saturday night. That's Katie, still going to parties despite wanting to mostly cuddle up on the couch and watch movies until this baby decides to make the scene. And that's one of my BFFs and PTA's own Chris Clark – a self-proclaimed Baby Whisperer – telling this baby to step it up. (Photo taken by up-and-coming Baby Photographer, Kacy Faulconer.)
And I am seeing babies everywhere, now. Neighbors, strangers at the grocery store, random babies who just show up on my front porch, knocking, then pointing at me and laughing when I answer the door. (That last one might have been a dream.)
Look at the cover of this month's Ensign, for crying-gosh-sakes-outloud!
I know, I know. I'm not Katie, carrying around what is most likely a 10 pound baby, so what am I sounding so impatient about? I'm just anxious to hold this new soul, that's all. I love that.
I love the stillness that comes to a home when a newborn arrives.
I love the absolute wonder of new life.
I love the smell of the top of a baby's head.
I love how our babies are consoled by the sound of Katie's voice.
I don't love the worry when you don't know why they're crying, and I don't love the spit ups when you just put on a fresh shirt. But those always seem to work out just fine.
This footage is from the movie The Tree of Life. It is one of the most beautifully filmed movies I've ever seen. It's often impressionistic, and I don't often recommend it - because maybe you'll love it, or maybe you will find it boring and strange. But I loved it.
Speaking of the Ensign, in President Eyring's talk on Sunday morning he quoted President George Q. Cannon: “There is not one of us but what God’s love has been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed.”
That observation reminded me of an image I once held, just briefly. I was sending Abbie off to Girls Camp, and before she left, I sat and visited with her. I hugged her and kissed her and offered words of encouragement and love. That was me, a super-flawed mortal father. And Abbie was leaving for only a single week. I couldn't help but think of how a perfect Father would spend a few moments with His child He loved perfectly before sending them to mortality. A few moments where He cared for and caressed His child at the start of their mortal journey that would last much longer. At least to the child.
And then that child arrives in your arms. And you almost swear that those impressions are still enveloping that baby...and you are somehow privileged to feel them. As if heaven is tangible for just a bit.