2017 - 16 July 2017
|15 JULY 2017 - Melting Pot, SLC -- Post Anniversary meal selfie - Celebrating 13 years|
Weekly Reflections and FocusSo, A wee bit about me. Today i sit here 13 years from a significant date. On July 16, 2004, Liz and I started our journey together as being officially married. Now for us, this is quite significant, because we had dated for approximately 2 years. We took our time and assured this is what we both wanted. See, Liz and I have a few things that are unconventional that help provide some context. Liz and I originally met online via a forum. My version, is she say my handle - the forum chat name - asked some questions about USU, kept talking and in contact (loose) and over time, she ended up at Utah State University. What's more, she not only came to USU, but she ended up living in the Residence Halls right next to mine where I was a Resident Assistant. At first we were both weirded out by the nature of how we met, that we were both a bit geek-like and then there was the age difference. Liz entered this world in 1983 and I crashed into this sphere in 1974. However, after two years and plenty of memorable milestones and simple mistakes, learning opportunities, challenges and other things, we ended up in Kensington, Maryland on Thursday July 16, 2004.
We were granted a beautiful morning. We chose to us a special place to be married. In Kensington, Maryland is where the Washington DC temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is found. For us this is and was a special place, for we believe in our faith-based community that not only would we be legally married, but we would be lawfully bound and 'sealed' for eternity - not just until 'death do you part' - we believe that we would have and continue to have the opportunity for our relationship as husband and wife, and our family that we may create, to be bound and sealed beyond the grave of mortality. This means that if we are faithful to the covenants (agreements between us and Deity), our family relationships will continue for eternity. People sometimes also refer to this ordinance as “temple marriage” or “eternal marriage.”
So here we were, young and hopeful Shane and Liz, ready to embark on a journey that we were naive to believe we would control. Many folks have different reasons for entering into marriage. I feel for us, we truly were in 'love'. True, we were young! We had dated, for a series of what seemed long at times and too fast at others, 2 years which challenged and prepared us. Well, so we thought. Our families collided from Sacramento and Philadelphia here in Washington DC and with various reservations, concerns, hope, and many more feelings - a lot of support was provided and granted to us in our behalf. Se we done did it. We went in, came back out. And our lives were forever changed. We began a journey that has enriched us in many ways.
Indulge with me for a moment. Some key memories from my perspective. In June of 2004 just prior to our marriage, I graduated from Utah State University. In July, Liz and I decided to honeymoon by driving across the country from Philadelphia to Utah to bring back Liz's wares and drop them of in young married student housing at Utah State University. We carried on to California as we had receptions in Philadelphia and in California. This provided us a way to celebrate with our many friends, family, and many others that were excited for us. We were treated by close family, familiar friends, those that were excited, and some that were quite surprised and even skeptical of our choices and potential success/failure in our choice to be wed. That being said, many memories that remain and fade were had. We celebrated. We took pictures. We danced. We became a couple, a couple that was recently married and completely clueless to what was coming our way.
So, we honeymooned by driving from east coast to west coast. We dropped off our stuff in Utah and then kept on to California. We celebrated and returned to Utah. Liz returned to school, and I began trying to find work. I started with a few odd jobs and then secured a position as a janitor at Utah State University, where I quickly learned that 'swing shift' was not what I hope to acquire with a University degree. A few short months later, two months, I started a job in the Registrar's Office at Utah State University. Dennis decided to join us in July of 2005 and a few months later Liz finalized and finished her degree at USU. So there we were two recently graduated college students with a newborn we called Dennis. A few vertical promotions later and 3 moves later, we decided to purchase our first home in Hyrum, Utah. A lovely home that we intended to stay in until Dennis and his future siblings would grow up and leave us empty-nesters. Looking back it sounds pretty lovely. This is where our journey gets interesting. A short 8 months later, I took a position at the Yale University Law School as Associate Registrar. It was an awesome opportunity and we decided to do it. This meant we would be apart as a family, as we need to sell our home in order to all live in New Haven, CT. Well, at this time, the housing market in the USA recently crashed. This left us with a very stale market and a difficult time to sell our home. Further while we did this, I only had 4 visits from November of 2008 to July 2009. We then decided to move to Virginia, I took a new opportunity, and our home sold - finally. So, we met in Utah and drove a truck with what was our precious belongings with the help of family and a good friend - Steve Jacob. Destination - Farmville Virginia. We stayed in Farmville Virginia for a calendar year. I took another job with, at the time Sungard Higher Education (SGHE) and still work for that company as a Systems Consultant, Sr.
Farmville, Virginia is a special place. It is home to Longwood University, where I would work as the Associate Registrar. We met friends that we still keep in contact with today. From Alecia Knox, to the Yankey's, Ludgate's, Sodderholm's, Carwile's, Ian Seeholzer and many others, we became friends with folks that further refined and shaped our lives. Professionally I came to trust myself more, and a mentor or two (I'm looking at you Alecia - yes , you - thank you) and was able to identify another opportunity with now Ellucian. Farmville, was so much more than just a friendly game application that folks found on Facebook. It for us became a pivotal point in our relationship. We had a choice when I chose between Longwood and moving on to Ellucian. We wanted to stay, but couldn't arrange for housing that met our conditions, so we bought our second home in Logan Utah in July of 2014.
So, we pack up our wares in a bigger truck, and re-did the whole travel across the country with a big moving truck, this time leaving our goods in the garage of our soon-to-be home and I dropped off Liz and Dennis at my parents residence in California while I started traveling to Houston, Texas and a few other places. Many more things have happened since. Juniper joined us in July of 2015. 9 years of secondary infertility challenging my beautiful wife Liz and I. Soon, in Septemeber we are expecting baby number 3.
I shortened a lot of critical growth details above, but wanted to highlight some things. Truly, looking back, we had no idea, other than we both knew that we were in love, that we both trusted each other despite many other things -- we took a leap. A leap that was unsure, not full of anything but a whole bunch of I don't knows. But what I have come to learn along this journey is this:
Take timeTake the time it takes (there is no magic number actually) to get married once. This is not one to fumble. this is serious. Do not let it deter you from making the decision, but be mindful and fit the time to meet your situation and do it right. Otherwise, find the person you hate the most and buy them a house and a car, and a whole bunch of groceries. I'm serious. Don't fumble this one.
Relationships and adviceGather friends, true friends and listen and observe so that free advice with its associated worth may add value that is priceless over time. Allow folks to mentor you at times, and do the same in return or pay it forward when it presents itself. I don't often remember exact examples at the time, but I can look back and clearly point to the friends and the way their demeanor, their integrity and their advice or counsel shaped my life, and also Liz's.
FamilyKeep extended family in hearts and minds, but make your own decisions that are correct and fitted for you and your spouse. Through the years it will provide your family unit the strength and protection that will be relied upon for years to come. Extended family will also come to support and realize it was what was best for you - even if re-calibration is required to get you there. Some may not agree with how or what you choose, but time will often allow them to obtain confidence, trust and strength is ONLY found when they come to glimpse what you saw and why you chose what you chose. Sometime, they will never see, and that is also why you and your spouse choose for you first.
Temperance of timeTrust in the concept (fact) that time will reveal the what's and the why's but remember that you and your spouse must make up the 'how' along the way. No one else will do it for you. Trust in your faith, but know that you are required to drive the 'vehicle' that will get you there. It also takes time to get to places. Just like jumping in a car or walking or running somewhere, it still may require some patience and planning. Sure sometimes things fall into place, but looking back, they did because we were ALWAYS a part of the 'HOW'.
Kindness and focusDon't focus on yourself too much, rather, support your spouse and their future potential. This is very unique and difficult but very rewarding. I'm not going to offer more here than, had I not trusted in Liz and I more than I trusted in me, it NEVER would have worked. NEVER. I am coming to believe that love is not enough. Sure love is great, but love is 'easy'. Be kind. Be full of charity and always act upon your love. To me it's like a faith based statement of - 'Faith without works is dead'. I think the word faith was not the intended word choice, rather it was love. But that's just me. The actions of love and charity will long serve as a commodity that is priceless when that may be all you and your spouse may have.
Where and What is Home?
Home is where you make it. From Hyrum, to New Haven, to Farmville, to Logan - we always determined that we would make it home. Sure, a few of them felt more like hotel stays, but let home be in your hearts and shape your opportunities. Let home be a safe place for you and your children. Let it be a laboratory wherein mistakes and successes are equally accepted. Let home be a place where you shape future hearts, dreams, desires, and self-worth. Let home be where you are. Make home important and always available, ALWAYS.
Where to put your trust
Always trust in your faith - whether it be based in deity, or self -- trust in it. Act upon it, and execute with integrity to your belief system. While it may be true that many may not agree with your choices, if you act with integrity and courage, many will come to tolerate and ultimately revere you for your faith and courage to be true to yourself. Shakespeare was pretty accurate.
Being AdaptableBe adaptable. Liz and I are separate and distinct with at time many and others few commonalities. We both have come to identify we are more important than tings, and memories are more important than things, too. Without the ability to change, improve and evolve, whatever journey your find yourself on is often more difficult than it has to be. Be tolerant to the requests from your spouse. Be firm, but learn to adapt. It took me years to finally listen and admit that Liz was right. I was fat, and I lost sight of being healthy and fit. She didn't know how to deliver the message - sure it seemed like naggings or even I told you so's - but in the end she was right. Adapt quickly and become firm together.
Life as a scriptLittle goes unscripted. The gap between Dennis and Juniper was difficult. it came in many different waves. For me it led me to being disconnected and often out of touch with Liz. For her, it nearly drove her beyond a few cliffs of self worth, confidence, and at time into depression. Secondary fertility sucks. We were indeed blessed, and understand fully it is not primary infertility, but when absolutely no answers were clear and present, it was just rough. Our hearts go out to the many (known and unknown) folks that suffer through infertility in their own ways. Professionally, we took a few opportunities that were ultimately right, but it took time that felt very off script to identify why it was right. For us, we didn't understand that we write the unscripted fairytale along the way. Maybe she did, but as a dude, I have been pleasantly surprised to just how much I had to adapt along the way :) See What I did there :P
Compatibility and being complimentary
Be complimentary and compatible, but don't force a square peg in a round hole. We are still figuring this one out, but some advice I remember from a dear friends Dad (I'm looking at jared Thompson's father - Bruce) - "find complimentary activities - you don't ALWAYS have to do EVERYTHING together. Let her have her things and you yours, but make sure they are complimentary." It was sage advice and I offer it here. I loved to snowboard as an example and she didn't know how, so for awhile, she did school and I worked and snowboarded. It was complimentary. Liz then tried to learn to snowboard and we were able to 'ride' together off and on. Now I do triathlons and she plays pregnant. It's not perfect but it works. Soon we hope to all play triathlon, relay, adventure together.
Chasing and shaping Opportunities
Unreasonable expectations lead to future resentments. Be careful in goal setting and chasing dreams as a couple. Dream big of course, but incrementally with reason-ability and carefully learning the precision required to accomplish tasks that will yield goals and acquire dreams. I think I see this in a vastly different light than many as I remember sitting in a ski chair at Alta Utah thinking, "well I have achieved all my goals and dreams, now what?". Well some 10 years later I came to learn what a dream Liz was to my life and I seized that day, with reservation and reluctance from me, but I wouldn't have it any other way as we have been able to chase dreams and avoid the challenges of resentment (mostly) along the way.
Be Mindful, Be Present
Don't be complacent. in July of 2013 I looked around a plane bring my family back from Strasbourg France. We spent a wonderful 30 days or so in one of the greatest cities in the world. It was a dream. I was no longer the skinny dude on the plane. I was about 2 inches from needing to ask for a belt-extender. I had reached 247 lbs almost 250 - I bet on that trip i passed 250. Be passionate, stay engaged. Shortly after that trip I bought a bike. I completed my first 100 mile century ride one year later, and have completed many things since. Most notable has become my love and passion for the lifestyle of triathlon. I get to play triathlon as a middle aged adult. How cool is that? I love to swim, cycle and run. Most importantly - I live my passion and play triathlon. I get to watch my son run in Iron Kids and is developing his passions for the activities he is exploring. I was welcomed by Dennis and Juniper after my most recent and excruciating 70.3 Ironman St George triathlon with open arms, pride, love, and a gratitude for Dad.
Love your kidsLove your kids, individually and unique but love them all together, too. Kids are not dumb little subordinates. In fact, they will one day take all the things they modeled from you and reflect who you were. Scared yet? You should be. But don't avoid it, crash into it and make it hte best you can. Kids know of their worth to you - that's a fact. So love them each separate and distinct from the other, but let them learn and understand that you love them all, too.
Well I didn't expect for this to turn into where I took it. I feel like it represents some of the 13 years of me and Liz as a wedded couple. We are indeed very blessed and quite grateful to where we are and what we have become and where we might just go. Life is a grand adventure. Some days are indeed miserable and tough, while others are full of bliss. We seek after and hope to obtain a fullness of joy and many opportunities to be happy along the way. That is our journey, that is our hope. We also know many support us, and others may just not understand us. We hope that we are not offensive and are ultimately tolerant and accepting of all we come in contact with. We have loved the diversity of experiences and relationships that have brought us to where we are at. Thank you. 13 can be an unlucky number, but I feel like Mike Ness of Social Distortion -
Thirteen's my lucky number, To you it means stay inside.
At the end of the day, I got very lucky, very luck indeed. I have been using Facebook the last few days to highlight some pictures and memories of Liz and I building up to our anniversary today. I have seen via Facebook many friends that have come to accept and support us along the way. I love my wife, (stubborn, persistent, beautiful, intelligent, sharp, sometimes witty and often insecure). She is who she is and has become a beautiful partner and companion - and she let's me be me and play triathlon and be a dad. That in itself is priceless. Cheers! July 16, 2017 -- Luck number 13!
I plan to loop back later and add a lot more pictures of memories and other things. Cheers! Enjoy!
Activities - Strava Logs (Shane's Strava link)
I've condensed this space to just the link above. Stalk me or join me as a follower, your choice.
STATSWeight High for the week XXX.X
Weight Low for the week XXX.X