Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas

Here is Utah we are blessed to have a very cold and white Christmas this year. This year is quite different than any other in recent years. This year we are 14 weeks pregnant and for the first time having to think about getting maternity clothes. I do not need anything else for a gift this year...the Lord has blessed us with this pregnancy. There are many ways that the Lord has blessed us and I hope that I can share those blessings with others.

Last week I was made the first counselor in the Young Mens...it would seem that I can relate to the youth...or I need to learn on to grow up...which I doubt will ever happen. Maturity is not easily defined and is relatively subjective. I have found that immaturity is look upon in a negative light...I differ with that view. Immaturity is simply the lack of knowledge and in some cases experience.

As the special day is fast approaching I want to thank my parents for all that they have done for me over the years. I could not ask for better parents. I am also extremely blessed to have a mother-in-law and father-in-law who have taken me and loved me for who I am. I could not be more blessed than to have such parental love from both sides of the family...something that the vast majority of people in this world will never know. To top it all off, I have the most amazing, loving wife a man could ever hope for. She loves me despite my faults and shortcomings...she believes in me and supports me no matter what.

So, take this time this holiday season to show appreciation and love for family and for friends. I want to thank all of our friends for their support over the years. So, from the Lehi Burkes to you...we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

December Update

Well, here I sit watching the snow fall fast and furious after what can only be described as a growing experience. After our company had some layoffs this week I thought this day would never come. It was a hard experience for me as a manager as I lost over half my team. My wife and I have those who lost their employment this week in our prayers. I have every confidence that these fine individuals will find suitable employment. I know that Lord will bless them. As I recall in my own life, my wife and I were both unemployed when we were married. The Lord has always blessed us even when we could not see the blessings right in front of us.

So, after much sleep deprivation I sit here watching The Dark Knight, sorry Debbie...I will watch it with you tomorrow as well. Snow is falling faster with each passing moment...I cannot put off the inevitable...I need to go get a snow blower so I do not have another spring surgery.

I sincerely hope and pray that regardless of the circumstances you are in that you enjoy the holiday season. May the Lord bless us all in these turbulent times.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving

Thanks to Matt for inviting me over to watch the BYU game. It was good to watch such a dismal game with friends...good way to still enjoy the Max Hall melt down. It was fun despite outcome.

I look forward to the turkey eating and sleeping this Thursday. It will be nice to enjoy some down time...I also look forward to Taylor tradition of going to a movie on the holiday. It will be great to see Transporter 3...action and no real plot...great entertainment. I hope that all of you enjoy the holiday and take time to express your appreciation for that which you are sincerely thankful for.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BYU vs. Utah

Bring it on red! You ain't got nothing. I look forward to another great game where Utah leads the entire game and loses it by allowing BYU to perform another magic trick. Maybe this time it will be 4th and 35 to go on the their own 5 yard line. Who knows...only Utah can allow for such consistant comebacks.

It will be fun to say the least...once BYU pulls off another miracle I am honor bound to mock my Ute neighbor. I will restrain a bit as he has three girls which means he is completely outnumbered. Here is the prediction for the score:

BYU - 35
Utah - 31

Friday, November 14, 2008

BYU vs Air Force

So, it looks like BYU has a must win game on their hands tomorrow. If they want to make the win against the upcoming Utah game mean the most, they need to destroy Air Force. I am confident that we will win and that red needs to look out. We have witnessed Utah's weaknesses over the past two games...we will exploit them. Go BYU.

Our company had a 2 1/2 hour meeting scheduled today and you could tell most were worried that it may get boring. Well, we ended up watching the latest James Bond movie. It is amazing. The funny part is that the wife and I are seeing it tonight at 5:55 pm. However, the movie is so good that it can be seen twice in a day. The only recommendation I would make is to watch Casino Royale right before this movie. It will help you catch interesting pieces of information.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Changing Times

As another birthday has come and gone, I have been thinking about how society has turned focus to the individual and not on our neighbors. As people become entirely consumed about their lives and their own personal needs and wants, they forget others around them.

I have the feeling that people are pulling so within themselves or within their immediate families that the lessons from the Savior are being misconstrued or forgotten. We are not showing God our love for Him by serving ourselves or reserving all service just to our immediate families. We need to reach out to others...be aware of their needs and wants. Times are difficult and it will get worse. The economy has a way to go before it bottoms out, so all of those preparations we had been warned about or instructed to make by the prophets are now almost too late if we have done nothing.

I am not saying I am perfect or that I am prepared. I am saying that when we start to lose focus on the little things, especially when it involves our fellow men, then we are on one of those wandering paths leading away from the rod of iron. In my life I have tried to think of others and serve others. I have had some extremely bad experiences from helping or serving others, so I have every right, according to society, to shun that responsibility. While I feel it is within the nature of women to be more caring, compassionate, of service, and loving to their neighbors I am concerned that society is getting to them as well. I am surprised at many woman I know that are contrary to their nature. It is a ominous sign to me that the devil is making serious headway.

We know that men, by their nature, are lazy and self centered. However, I have seen a trend that gives me some hope...more priesthood holders are taking their responsibilities very seriously. I have seen acts of service that have given me hope. I have a friend, Rich, who, on his birthday, fixed my roof. With my slight fear of heights, a curse on my family with working on roofs, and my bum shoulder, this individual felt is very important to take time out from his 3 jobs and on his birthday to help out a fellow in need. Never was their a truer saint or a worthy priesthood holder. I am fortunate to know many such examples and I am trying to emulate them.

As we are all busy it is insulting to use that as an excuse to not serve and show God our love to Him. I have read almost 80 books in two year...I have written a book and another 82 pages in the second book in that series. My wife and I have been trying for children for 8 years. I have finished college while working full time and have had very busy callings. I have plenty of time to spend with the wife, to read books, to write, to play games, to have book club meetings, watch BYU football, watch a myriad of sports, and still have time to serve others. We all need to man up and recognize that as times get worse that we will need to be ready and able to help our neighbors. Are we not all striving for the very best in life? Are we not striving to return to God and to be with that family we have or will have? You will not get there by serving yourself or just your family. Let's all work on not being selfish and be willing to go out of our comfort zones.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

November Update

Well, we had an 8 week ultrasound and we for sure have a very healthy baby and the other looks like it will not grow anymore. We are fine with that and are excited for the growth we are seeing. We appreciate everyone's prayers and support throughout this process. We are just thankful for the blessings that the Lord is showering us with.

This month I am going to try my best to work on my book. Work has many exciting things going on and is not nearly as stressful, so I should be able to adjust my focus finally. Of course, the wife comes first so we will have to see how things develop. I hope all of you are well and that you are prepared for some significant changes this next year as our country heads in a different direction. I hope that the election of an ideal turns into a positive, however, I do not hold out much hope since he will only have four years to make changes. While I am not a fan of our new president elect, I hope the country can pull itself out of its funk. We, as Americans, should not rely on the government to better our lives...we should do it ourselves. Just like God wants to bless us, we still need to work for those blessings.

Anyway, enjoy the Utah vs. TCU game tonight...this is the only time I will cheer on Utah so I hope they do the Mountain West Conference proud by trouncing the Horn Frogs.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Update

I hope that all of you have a great Halloween and get lots of candy to the feed the dental machine. I think next year that I will need to make enhancements to the costume. There were many cool costumes here at work today. It was amazing to see the amount of work and creativity that went into the finished products. It will be nice to be at someone's house tomorrow night so we do not have to be the ones in charge of candy distribution. It will be fun though to see all the little children in their costumes.

As a baby update, we have two heartbeats now. One is 140 and the other one is 97. It is likely the second one or weaker one will not make it, however, we are fine with knowing that whether in this life or the next there will be twins. This is a great blessing from the Lord and we will certainly be praying for both babies. If you are so inclined, please pray for both as well. We love you all and hope again that you have a Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Burke Baby Update

We are pregnant with one baby for sure. We saw the baby and heard its heartbeat. There is another possible baby, but we will not know for sure until next week. It is smaller than the strong one. We are absolutely elated for this blessing and appreciate those who have supported us.

This has been a testimony building experience because I have been wondering about the direction many areas of my life have been taking especially at work. It is a relief to have the most important part of life to have a positive outcome. Thank you all again...continue to keep us in your prayers.

Friday, October 17, 2008

BYU Football Lows

I cannot believe that BYU played so poorly. It was as though they had not prepared at all for TCU. It had to be the most painful experience for me. Watching that game made my head hurt. I had to stop watching before I lost it completely. It is sure that we will not be highly ranked anymore...I predict that we will end up at 23. The only thing left to do is to root for TCU to beat Utah. As much as I want the Mountain West to be respected I want Utah to go down. Hopefully many other highly ranked teams go down this weekend.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Good News At Last

I must say that this summer has been terrible to say the least...personally I was near my wit's end. You could say that I needed good news or I would have to take time off from work just to get my sanity back. So, when we got the call on Saturday about the blood test that would tell us whether or not we were pregnant, I assumed the worse. However, within seconds the wife was screaming and arguing with the poor nurse. Debbie did not seem to think the nurse was telling her the truth when she said we were pregnant.

So, there you have it...pregnant on our first try doing In Vitro. We are excited to say the least. We do our first ultrasound in 2 weeks...I will do my best to keep you all posted. Continue to keep us in your prayers...those of you who do not regularly pray and have been in our behalf, thank you. Every prayer is heard and we certainly appreciate all those who have taken the time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Marriage & Family

It seems to me that this world is progressing in a way predicted by the prophets and apostles...life is becoming more and more precarious. It is amazing to the subtle ways that Satan influences us all to do things that are contrary to the Lord's Plan of Happiness. I think that the message that stuck out to me this past conference was that selfishness is the preferred tool in these latter days. In the priesthood session it really became clear that we need to focus more on what we are doing and thinking. When we are in the company of the opposite sex we need to conduct ourselves as though our spouse is right there beside us.

The same thing goes for our thoughts...I am one who is cursed with a mind that races 24/7. I have to work very hard to focus on one train of thought...conversations can be difficult because my mind wants to race ahead or go elsewhere. I liked how in the priesthood session they talked about keeping our thoughts clean and not cheating mentally on our spouses. I think that in this day and age that this behaviour is acceptible or considered healthy. For me this is an indication that people are not happy with what they have. Be happy now with what you have or find ways to make yourself and your family happy with the circumstances that have come your way. We cannot choose our trials and we need to be able to find happiness in our trials.

I am one who gets bored with the stories about the pioneers...just like many of the bible stories because they are not directly relevant to today's situations. However, I came to understand during this last conference that the pioneers had trials and were happy. It has come across rather cheesy to me in the past, but it struck a cord with me this time around. While the pioneer stories will likely always bore me, however, I will at least be able to relearn the lesson of being happy with what you have and accepting the trials that come our way.

If we waste our time in the pursuit of happiness, we will end up alone in the end. In the process we will be miserable and blame others for our choices. This is Satan's plan and I am sad for those trapped in the vicious cycle. I certainly understand better than most realize the hardships that life can bring. There has been happiness in those trials and I learned how to love myself, my wife, and my family and friends. I owe this most crucial learned lesson to my beautiful wife. She is such a wonderful example of gospel living and accepting others for who they are and not who we would like them to be. We all have faults...we all have responsibilities and we all have to work at everything in life. If you do not want to work at all the little and big things in life, then you made a bad choice in choosing to take on mortal flesh.

To all my family out there, we love you and appreciate all of you. We thank you for your prayers in our behalf. We pray for all of you more frequently than you probably realize. Be strong and remember to work for those things that are more precious and dear to you.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Go Mountain West!

I was caught between two different emotions last night...my desire to watch Utah get crushed by Oregon State and my desire to improve the Mountain West Division's standing in the BCS. So, I went back and forth just like the score last night. It had the secretly desired outcome for me, but I was sad at the same time that Oregon State did not stick it to the Utes. So, it is looking like either BYU or Utah will be a BCS buster. Of course, that will not be decided until the BYU vs. Utah game in November. Until then we will have to enjoy the brilliance that is BYU football. Go cougs!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last Update

We had two fertilized eggs implanted today, so now we have the two week wait. We really appreciate all the support and prayers. I must say that I have seen and experienced more in this area than I ever thought I would.

We will be relaxing the weekend while enjoying the many upsets in College Football. Maybe BYU can crack into the top 10 without even playing.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Latest Update

So, of the 13 eggs 7 fertilized. So, we will either implant 2 of the fertilized eggs on Saturday or Monday. So, good news thus far...keep us in your prayers.

By the way, if you have not started reading Brisingr, do it this weekend.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fertility Update

I know that I have been secretive about our treatments, but we just had enough stress without trying to remember who we needed to update. So, we did the egg retrieval part of in vitro today. Debbie was under for the procedure, those who know her understand how hard it is for her to come out of anetestia, and she did really well. She is resting well today, so please no calls. A typical retrieval yields around 12 eggs which allows for the best results. Debbie had 13 eggs. We will know tomorrow how many fertilized. The eggs will be put back in on either Saturday or Monday.

It just feels good to be on the right path and that we are doing what we should. Now we just wait and see what happens. Hopefully work will become less stressful as well...I have the feeling that we may get multiples out of this.

We appreciate those who have shown concern, prayed for us, and thought outside themselves. I know that in this day and age it is difficult for most to think of someone other than themselves so we really appreciate the family and friends who have been able to be so supportive. I know that Lord will bless you.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Brisingr Has Arrived

You know a book is good when you want to skip work so you can read a book. Christopher Paolini's third installment in the Inheritance Cycle is amazing thus far. I am 252 pages into it and it is great. You can tell that he has found his style and natural flow. I am excited to read this book in part because it was Eragon that inspired me to write my own series and the Lord willing I will get published too. If you have not purchased your copy yet, go out and get it. Target seems to have one of the better prices at $15. You will not be disappointed.

Work is insanely busy as usual but I do hope that it will slow down this week as we have a pretty high stress level this week as some of you may know. So, hopefully I can focus my energies in finishing reading Brisingr and then finish The Gypsy Morph (Terry Brooks). Then I need to read Chainfire by Terry Goodkind. Which reminds me...Wizard's First Rule should be coming to ABC in the next couple months. I like the idea of making Goodkind's massive books into a TV Series.

So, the moral of the story is that I read way too much. I guess I am over compensating for my worry that my brain will go to mush if I do not constantly feed it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Book Update

Well, I have had over twenty different people at minimum ask how my book is coming. It is interesting how the Lord can beat you over the head sometimes and we still do not get it. My goal is to resubmit my book to a couple different publishers this week and then this weekend I will finish chapter 13 in book 2. The first book is complete and has been edited (though I am sure there are still errors). I really am going to focus on getting it published...that is the answer I keep getting no matter the question I ask. So, I am going to stop ignoring the promptings and get to work.

I really do appreciate those who express interest and/or support for my writing. My dream is to become a published author and to finish this trilogy. I have several other books in mind, however, I need to focus on finishing what I have started first if I am ever going to feel accomplished.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Newest Payson Burke

We would all like to welcome Zander to the Payson Burkes. Lizzie and Connor could not be happier and Gary and Heather seem very happy with little Zander. Here is a picture of the little man:


Company Softball

Our company team has a co-ed softball team...sounds real fun at the onset, but let me tell you that being outscored 58 to 10 in the first three games is getting real old fast. It is interesting how bi-polar the make up of the team is. About half do not care about the outcome and do not even pay attention most of the time. The other half are very competitive. Even though it is extremely difficult as the coach to not get too agitated, I may end up cracking. The only thing that keeps me from losing it is that there is someone way more competitive than me. So, my friend Amanda takes the lion's share of screaming and yelling at the other team, the umpire, and even our own team.

The most complex part about the team is that I am the coach because the real coach did not show up for the first game. The team had a mutiny and I became the coach. It seems like I plan all of the fun events at my company. I guess I am either good at it or a glutton for punishment. Anyway, I am hopeful that the spring season of softball fares better than this fall season. If it was not for the entertainment value of Amanda's non-stop ranting and smack talk, I would just skip the games.

I am actually really happy that I can even play. I am batting pretty well...have not played in the field that much because I am a little nervous about hurting my shoulder. It has been over six months since my surgery and I am amazed at what I can do. Knowing myself though, I am not that pleased that I am not fully 100%. Still, I am glad to be active and able to be outside. I just wished I had more summer time left to golf and other outdoor activities.

All that said, it would not be possible to be where I am without the support of my loving wife and my close friends who really care. I appreciate every one's support and encouragement. Hopefully I will be fully ready for the springtime. For the time being, I am going to enjoy reading some fantastic books, not that I have not stopped reading...I read about 2 to 3 books a month. I am also going to start writing again and work on getting my first book published. It is a rather difficult process...I have learned a great deal about people when it comes to my writing. It is sad to see how many people are so self absorbed that they only talk about themselves, their issues, their problems, their happiness and really do not care about what you are doing in life. So, in my writing I have learned that it is a very lonely road.

Any way, that will be enough of my rantings. I hope you are all well and that you are enjoying life to the fullest. Remember, if you are down and out, you can just turn on the TV and watch some amazing College Football and then follow that up with the NFL. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Life is Good

The Olympics are over...thankfully football is here to save the day. I cannot wait for the season opener this weekend with BYU and I am looking forward to an amazing NFL season. I truly believe that football gets me through the winter. To me there is nothing more fulfilling that watching a game and reading a book at the same time.

Work is rolling along nicely with my new position and we are really feeling welcome in our ward. They have already learned that Debbie is the go to lady and that she is the good one in our partnership. I am truly lucky to have such an amazing wife...she puts up with a great deal and keeps me on the straight and narrow. Anyway, I hope you are all well and hope that you too can enjoy the football season along with me.

By the way, I lost 8 lbs from being sick and I have kept it off. First time that has ever happened.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Flu Alert

If you have not experienced the stomach flu lately, then you will want to avoid our place of a day or two. I had the flu two weeks ago and it lasted a couple of days. Then Debbie got the flu this last week right before her parent arrived for the weekend. She was able to finally get over it today. I have been ailing since 3 am Saturday. The only positive is to lose 8 lbs, which I will gain right back. Thankfully Debbie's parents were able to see us Friday night. Debbie was able to go to Cody's birthday party and priesthood ordination. Congratulations to him on this milestone. Hopefully the rest of this week will be free of sickness.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Wife, A True Saint

Well, my poor wife had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a true asthma attack brought on by allergies. While singing in church today my throat suddenly started to swell shut. A life time of mind over matter philosophy got me through the remainder of sacrament meeting. Poor Debbie had to listen to me gasp for air for 25 minutes...she got me home and after using the inhaler and taking Benadryl I was out like a baby. After recovering I was left with no energy...I am just super grateful for a wife who patiently and tenderly attended to me.

So, the moral of the story is to not be stubborn...after all, stubborness is akin to stupidity. So, if any of you are unfortunate enough to have the cursed combo of allergies and asthma...don't mess around when you are having problems. Life is a blessing that we get only one shot at.

Thinking back on what could have caused the event, I surmised that the family behind us had animals. I am almost 100% certain that I had simply swallowed a cat hair...I know some will roll their eyes about this, but it almost cost me dearly...nothing to laugh about. It is times like this that reminds me that we all have different struggles and trials in life. It is how we overcome these difficulties that defines us. Another way we show our true colors is how we react to other's trials that we may not understand.

I have found in my life significant intolerance towards people like myself who have allergies. Those who do not comprehend how allergies affect the body are typically offended by those who are allergic to their pet (whom they usually feel is part of the family). It is this kind of thinking that saddens me the most. Anyway, when I have days like I did today I am reminded of people's ignorance and how they react to something they clearly do not understand.

The long and the short of it is that Debbie is truly a saint. She puts up with so much from me on a daily basis...I truly do not know what I would do without her.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dark Knight

I must say that my expectations were very high going into this movie. I will say that the Joker stole the spot light. Heath Ledger did an amazing job in this role. You never knew what the Joker would do next and his scenes were always suspenseful. It will be hard for anyone to fill that role, but it will have to be done. I would recommend this to anyone who saw Batman Begins and loved it. This movie is definitely darker and is longer than its predecessor. Best movie of the year for me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stake Youth Conference

This last week our stake had their youth conference. Debbie and I were able to go to the get-a-way survival camp. It was fun to just be an advisor and not have the responsibility that my friend Adam had as the Stake YM President or my cousin Diane had as the Stake YW President. When I got there I was asked to fill a station...fire starting. I dubbed myself the fire starter, but as Diane pointed out to me, I am not the expert Burke boy who had a plethora of experience in starting fires. That honor would go to Gary and Doug.

It was a challenge to quickly think up spiritual relationships with fire. It was an experience that really helped me feel much more prepared than I thought I was. Sometimes I worry that with my brain that information that I have up there gets corrupted or lost with my constant need I have to feed the brain. Just goes to show that the spirit can do amazing things.

We currently have my Mom staying with us and it is has been fun having her at the house. Hopefully she will be able to rest up as we do not have children quite yet, so it is relatively quiet at our place.

On a sad note...the tree on the side of our house had to be chopped down yesterday. Some mites were eating the poor thing alive. I am sad because we no longer have that shade on that side of the house. I really appreciate Rich, Jeff, and Jaden for helping with the project. I can always count on the Young Men and their leaders to help out. I must say that I am tired though of being a wimp physically. I wish I was back to full strength...I do not like being reminded that I am unable to do a great deal.

I have been working out 2 weeks now at a gym that my company pays for most of the membership. Honestly, when I first walked into the gym, I thought I was entering Globo Gym from the movie Dodge Ball. It is huge, but is has everything I need. Anyway, enough rambling for now.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Newest PA Burke

Here is the picture of the latest addition to the Burke clan of Pennsylvania. We welcome Nicholas Scott Burke to the group.

We are extremely excited for Scott and April. Hopefully they will be able to enjoy the little one without the extreme heat that is hitting all of us.

It is amazing to see how much Gabby, Luke, and Molly have grown. My biggest wonder is whether or not April can make the noise a duck makes. Congratulations to Scott and April. We love you guys!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vacation Pictures

I had to put this picture up here to prove that Debbie, who usually gets sick playing video games, actually does play. I also have this as evidence against the video game hater Lindsey...she used to get so mad at Adam and I for playing video games. At least they were having fun.

We spent some time as couples at GameWorks, but Adam and I spent a few hours there the next day. We were able to defeat some four to six different arcade games that would have cost us a small fortune back in the day.

Here we are out front of the Monte Carlo where we stayed while in Vegas. We had a great deal of fun being away from work and the hectic every day life that seemed to never have a break.


Here are the Shumways out front of the hotel. We all enjoyed our first night in Vegas after a long day of driving. Much thanks to Adam for being a trooper and driving the entire time. Thanks to the Shumways as well for offering the use of their nice SUV to get us there. That first day there we had a typical male/female miscommunication. Adam and I asked the ladies to go down and get the Danny Gans tickets for that night. The men were thinking they would head to the concierge desk to pick up the tickets at our hotel lobby. Nope, they walked all the way to the Mirage to get the tickets. In the end, the seats were great...our own box seat.


However, the result was that poor Debbie got some nasty blisters in the same spot on both of her feet. She was quite the trooper however, she still went to the show and even went browsing around Caesars for a while after the show.


While walking around that night, Debbie got thirsty...who wouldn't when it is still over 90 degrees after the sun has gone down. Anyway, we learned that there are no drinking fountains anywhere in the hotel and casinos. So, at a indoor cafe, I bought a small bottle of water...$4.58!!! She said that is didn't even taste all that different. Be still my cheap, cheap heart.

Finally, here is a picture of Adam and I thrilled to being interrupted in our game play whilst at GameWorks.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip. Debbie and I had a great dining experience at the Bellagio right before we say the most amazing show ever. We saw the Cirque du Soleil show called O. I will never think of the circus, acrobatics, or water in the same way ever. It was absolutely amazing.
The trip was amazing and was exactly what we needed. You have to remember that we have never taken at trip before that was just us for more than one day. I think after 8 1/2 years of marriage and around 7 years of fertility treatments and trials, we deserved it. Especially Debbie...after all, she has survived all of those treatments and she has survived me. What can I say...I am one lucky man.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Debbie is 30!!!

My sweet wife has finally joined me in reaching the 30's. She is such an amazing woman...I did my very best to spoil her. We loved our trip to Las Vegas with the Shumways. I would have to say that one of the rememberable events was the first day. We told the ladies to go downstairs and get tickets for Danny Gans...instead of going to the concierge desk, they walked all the way to the Mirage and back. It worked out though...we got box seats for just the 4 of us. Dinner that the Belagio and seeing O was amazing. I am just glad that I was able to spend so much time with Debbie and to be away from the stress of work.

Yesterday I had my company's annual golf tournament that I am in charge of...it was a great event. Everyone had fun and the chief architect and I were able to shoot people with water guns. Our new CEO started yesterday...really good golfer.

I am really looking forward to the new challenges that my new position will provide. I hope that later this month I will finally be able to work on my book again or at least submit again to publishers. Anyway, hope you are all well.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Las Vegas Here We Come

Well, we are off tomorrow to head to Las Vegas for the Father's Day weekend and for Debbie's 30th birthday. I think I finally surprised Debbie for her birthday for once...you will have to ask her what she got. Let's just say that she has been a very good girl. I could not ask for a more loving and caring woman. She is the most compassionate and caring person I have ever met in my life. Her greatest act of charity was marrying me and for tolerating me for 8 1/2 years. I could not possibly love anyone as much as I love her.

We will be heading to Las Vegas for a 4 days and 3 nights of fun with our long time friends the Shumways. Hopefully we will not melt in the 100 degree weather whilst we are there. For me, it will be nice to finally have a break from the hectic pace of life this year. As some of you may know, I have been having stomach issues of late. I hope that this break will be good for the health.

Today also marked an achievement in my career...I was promoted to be the Technical Services Manager. I went from being responsible for 2 groups, conversions and interfaces, to being responsible for 9 different areas. This will be a challenge, but it will be one I gladly welcome. I hope that once I get back from the trip and the change of at work becomes widely known that I will be able to get back on the creativity wagon. I really am anxious to continue writing book 2 in my trilogy.

As a parting note...I have come across my all time favorite quote. This is a quote from my all time favorite TV series that was short lived...Firefly. One of my favorite characters, Jayne Cobb, uttered the following phrase in the episode called "The Train Job":

"You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with 'til you understand who's in ruttin' command here!"

My conversion team says that I should put a chain above my desk. I may do that...unless it is some sort of HR violation.

Monday, June 9, 2008

June Update

Well, it looks like I have to have a Endoscopy now on Friday the 27th. All I can say is that at least it will be for free. I apparently have an affinity for going to the doctor now. The shoulder is still recovering...at least I have full range of motion. I have to hold off on fun activities until August...this is slowly driving me insane.

Debbie and I are looking forward to our Las Vegas trip later this week...so, we will be gone for Father's Day. So, here is our shout out for our fathers...Happy Father's Day! We will probably still call you. We love you and appreciate all that you do for us.

I am currently reading Pillars of Creation, book 7 in the Sword of Truth series. Debbie is reading the 3rd Vampire book in the Twilight series. Our callings are keeping us busy...Debbie more so than me. Work is slowly grinding me into the ground, so I am really looking forward to the vacation.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Congratulations Alex Shumway

I just wanted to congratulate Alex, my cousin Diane's oldest boy, on graduating from High School. More than anything, this signifies Diane's age...which will remain unknown. Seriously though...Loren and Diane have raised a good young man...I cannot wait to see where he gets called to serve on his mission. And, when he becomes rich and famous, he will remember his short, stout cousin Steve when he is making millions at whatever he chooses to do in the future. He will remember (waiving of hands in a mystic way) this blog...always.

It was great to see the all the Shumways, the Stuckles, Grandpa and Anne, Gary, Heather, and the kids. We nearly froze to death outside, but it was worth the hours of warming up. Alex has gone from preparation for life to the stage now where he gets to live his life...good luck!

Monday, May 19, 2008

May Weather

I think that someone has placed a curse on me...this is the third year I have been in charge of the AdvancedMD golf tournament and weather has vexed me yet again. Last October it literally rained, iced, and snowed during the tournament. This year the temperature is going from 95 tomorrow to 60 on Thursday with chances of lightening. You would think that since I still organized the tournament even though I cannot play golf for another 3 plus months that luck would have been on my side. So, I think this is the last year I am going to do it.

Subject change...if you have not seen Iron Man yet, it is worth the price of admission. Have not seen the latest Narnia movie, but I am looking forward to Indiana Jones...brings back great childhood memories.

Last subject change...the book club finally met and we had a great discussion about Wizard's First Rule. Terry Goodkind does a fantastic job of exploring the human condition. Next month we will be reading Ender's Game and the first book in the Icewind Dale Trilogy. Reading all of these books in getting me in the mindset to start writing again, but work is stil thwarting my creative endeavors. Hopefully I will be able to get everything under control.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Well, I just wanted to take a moment to thank my mother for all that she has done for me. It could not have been easy with four boys who were roughly two years apart. She was always my biggest backer when it came to sports and she always had our backs. I am very thankful for my mother who means so much to me. I love you Mom.

It is a blessing to have a mother-in-law who tolerates me like my mother. I am truly a blessed man. My wife and I were able to enjoy a weekend away this Mother's Day weekend. It was very nice to get away from the stresses of every day life. It was also very nice for the Shumways to bring Debbie flowers. She really appreciated them.

If you have not told your mother lately that you love her, get on it straight away. Much appreciation and love to all mothers out there...if roles were reversed between men and women, this would be a dismal existence.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Day

What a way to start the month of May...snow! I think we are cursed here in Utah...it is crazy that is can be 86 one day and 44 the next. Grumbling aside, I am glad that May is here. There will finally be good movies in the theater again. However, if you have not seen The Forbidden Kingdom then shame on you. Jackie Chan and Jet Li could not be funnier.

This month my book club will be reading Prince Caspian in preparation for the movie. We will also be discussing Wizard's First Rule in our meeting this month as no one was able to make the meeting last month. I will also be having a Hal0 party over the holiday weekend, so I have plenty on my plate.

Debbie and I will be going to a bed and breakfast over Mother's Day weekend, so there are numerous events to look forward to. My company is having their golf tournament May 22nd and I am in charge of it. The bummer is that I will not be able to play golf until August or September at the earliest. Life happens.

I hope you all enjoy the month of May and I certainly hope that you are not having snow like we are wherever you are at.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Doug's Acting Debut

For those of you who have not seen it yet, here is a short clip of data in a World War II short:

http://www.vimeo.com/915379

It looks pretty cool for a senior project. I must say that Doug looks like he has the chops for acting. It looked like he had fun at the very least.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dark Wraith of Shannara - Review

I just finished Terry Brooks' first graphic novel and I must say that I am impressed. I have not been interested in this genre before, but now I think I have been won over. It was a fast read with great pictures. I would recommend this to anyone who loves the graphic novels or may have interest in them. This is too short to be on our book club list, but I do suggest that the book club reads this book. It is an amazing short story with pictures that captured the characters personality perfectly. If you loved The Wishsong of Shannara, then you will love this story about Jair Ohmsford. Take time to read it...you could probably go to Barnes and Noble to read it.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Battlestar Galactica Final Season

The final season of Battlestar is under way and already they have had a cliff hanger ending. The season is starting in a fashion that promises and excellent ending to a stellar series. Remember to watch it every Friday at 8 pm MST or at 10 pm MST. If anyone has missed the first episode, I have it saved on my DVR.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wizard's First Rule

Well, it has been decided...the book for April, and possibly May, is Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind. It is a long book, but it does keep your interest. This begins the long road through 11 novels in the series. I think that we will not read the back to back, but over time we will likely get through them all.

This fall ABC will be airing an entire season (22 episodes) for Wizard's First Rule...directed by Sam Raimi from Spider-Man. I personally cannot wait. It will be nice to have something after the last season of Battlestar Galactica is over this year. Next month we will take another vote on what book to read if we are done with this one. Hopefully this will broden everyone's horizons and help them appreciate different authors.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Freedom

Today I got to take of the blessed sling...it feels pretty sweet to be free. I still have 6 months where I cannot do major or jarring activity, so no golf or softball. So, I may have to host more Halo parties over the summer. I am looking forward to the one tomorrow with our new setup. I appreciate Chad helping with retrieving our new BBQ grill. It feels like we are almost full home owners now. The last thing left is to acquire a sprinkler key.

Debbie and I are looking for to not only my Mom coming down for a visit, but now Dad is coming as well. Hopefully they will enjoy their time off and getting to see their kids and grandchildren.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Book Club

I will be starting a book club that will primarily read fantasy and sci-fi books. I will post on the blog what book we will be reading, so feel free to join in and make comments. We will meet once a month to discuss the books...some books will require more time to finish. I may even create a poll on the blog to have people vote on different books. More information will follow over the weekend.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March Update

Well, the recovery process is coming along slowly but surely. We are now getting ready for spring which will pose a problem for me since I am unable to do any yard work or be of much help around the house. I know, some of you are thinking to yourselves that this is nothing new. You are probably right...my Debbie does so much for me and for us...I am really thankful for her and all that she does. She is a saint in my view.

I wanted to take a moment to congratulate my brother Gary on his promotion to manager at his current job. Not only is he continuing to move on up, he also has an office. Needless to say, I am jealous. My cubicle should be burnt to the ground it is so hideous. Debbie and I are very proud of his accomplishment and know that this is only the beginning of better things as his continues his career.

I have not had any time to work on my book, which only infuriates me. I am hopeful that I will have time this month to work on it. One of my former employees who moved to another team within our IT department has begun work on drawing the maps I have for my book. I am pretty excited to have a much more realistic representation of my world.

I hope all of you are well...feel free to post any comments on this blog at any time.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Recovery Joys

I am back at work out of a need to not be in the house any longer. I am in considerable pain, but I am making it work. I think that I am recovering well considering how badly I tore my shoulder. I will hopefully have some pictures for you all later in the week to look at. I will be in this lovely sling for 5 weeks...I have my post-op appointment this Friday morning, so hopefully my checkup goes well.

I am thankful to one of my employees who is going to be able to drive me for the most part into work so I do not go insane sitting at home. I have to say that I love the ice machine that I was able to bring home from the hospital. It circulates cold water for up to 4 hours at a time. It is a life saver.

I want to thank you all for your concern and well wishes. I have to say that I was plesantly surprised with a gift basket from my work...our front desk admin lady was the kind person who thought to send it to me. I am also grateful to my buddy Rich for bringing over his amazing Mountain Dew Brownies...best brownies ever. Thank you to the Shumways for bringing me some frozen goodies...and congratulations to them on their latest edition to the family. Thanks to brothers and their families for keeping me in their thoughts and prayers.

Work is going well and I should probably get back to it. I will post more later.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Surgery Time

I am set for 9 am tomorrow morning for surgery. Hopefully all goes well. I will try to have Debbie keep you all posted on the outcome.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Surgery Marathon

Poor, sweet Debbie has to deal with quite a bit the last two weeks of this month. First, she is flying out tomorrow with her sister Rebecca for California to help out with their Dad's surgery. After she returns in the evening this Sunday, she gets to have two days to recover before I have my surgery on my shoulder. Let's all remember Debbie in our prayers...I will try my best to be self reliant so that she can go back to work for a break from me.

I think the P.A. today thought I was rather optimistic in what I will be able to do and in what time frame. I told him that I was hoping to head back to work on Monday and he simply laughed...I then told him I could work from home and he said that we will see. So, maybe the recovery is a bit more than what I was originally thinking. I then asked him if I would be able to go white water rafting with the young men come June 30th and he did not laugh at all...he simply said no. So, in addition to missing out on that fun I will also be missing the upcoming company golf tournament that I am in charge of. There was considerable smack talk after my team won the tournament last October 20th. Not only did my team win, I won the longest drive and closest to the hole contest. There has been a great deal of conspiracy theories and cries of rigging the event. Now, I will not be able to repeat my stellar performance...better to go out on top any way.

So, if anyone is up for Xbox 360 play this week or next week, I am game. If you have the need to beat me at Halo, wait until next week when I am drugged and incoherent. Oh, and I will only have one hand. What I am really trying to say is BRING IT!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Surgery It Is

Well, after my follow up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon this morning, it looks like I am going to have surgery. It will be a pretty standard shoulder scope that should fix a couple of tares and some buritus, so it should not be bad. The date of this same day surgery is scheduled for February 27th. I just look forward to not being in pain 24/7. I just wanted to keep you all posted.

By the way, one of the readers asked if I did not like my current job. I do actually enjoy my job, but I would love to be a full time writer and work from home...that is the dream job. Anyway, I hope all of you are doing well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

February Update

I decided to take time out of this unusual non-snowing day to write a bit about what is happening with us. Thanks to old man winter, I am looking forward to my appointment this Thursday with the doctor in reference to my shoulder. Chances are that I may have to have a little surgery. As long as it does not turn out like my hernia surgery blunder, I will be fine.

As of now, we are taking a much needed break from fertility treatments. I must say that I am pleased that the Church has finally recognized that there are some couples who have the righteous desire of having children and that it will count the same as though who had children in this life. I must say I was really impressed with the World Wide Leadership Training due in part to this explanation. We are turning our focus now to our own personal health and to some stressful medical procedures coming up in Debbie's family. We are also very mindful of my Mom and her health situation. When it rains, it pours.

On another note, I am now committed to writing one or two short stories about characters in my trilogy I am writing. In this way, I hope to get published in a journal so that I can reference this success when I am submitted my book to publishers and agents. There is not a day that goes by that I am reminded that the writing I am doing is important...in what way I cannot say. It does no good in life to get hopes up to high, but that does not mean I have to be pesimistic about my chances. I am unsure of how I will react when I am finally published, but the dream of telling my employer to tak this job and shove it will not be among the realistic responses.

Debbie is doing very well now that she is getting over her cold that I so kindly shared with her. She is making a significant impact in her calling with the young women...none of us are shocked by this, but she constantly denies the success that she is having. I guess it could be worse, she could be arogant about it like many here in the lovely deseret which in my mind negates any good they actually did. To have a humble wife is a true blessing.

We hope that you are all well and that you are warm and safe wherever you are. Remember in your prayers to pray for moisture...in the mountains!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Moment of Brilliance

As some of you know, I had a rather brilliant moment Thursday evening. Thanks to our diligent snow plowers our cars were unable to safely breach the barrier created by them. R.C. Willey was bring a replacement to our couch that had a dent, so I felt I needed to clear the way. Overestimating my strength, I brought on what I am going to refer to as a hernia moment. Needless to say, I stood in the driveway in blinding pain for 15 minutes unable to move. I eventually made it into the house and had the R.C. Willey guys come and go. Doug graciously came over to help in whatever way he could. I made the mistake of sitting because it was the only way to not have blinding pain. Debbie and Doug tried to help me up to go the InstaCare and I thought I was going to die.

Debbie called my friend Rich to come over and help Doug give me a blessing...I should note at this point that I have had a rather nasty cold all week which had reached the point of severe bronchial coughing. Thanks to two ready priesthood holders I was able to get up under my own power without severe pain. I did not have any cold symptoms until the next day. I was able to go to the InstaCare to get pain medicine which allowed my body to begin the healing process. Thankfully I did not have a hernia...I probably a something peak through and it thankfully went back to where it belonged. This experience has strengthened my testimony of the priesthood power. I have always had great faith in the priesthood and I am grateful to my brother and my friend for being worthy when it counted.

I think the moral of the story is that people who work desk jobs should not try feats of super human strength. I'm a writer...not a snow plow.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

January Update

After my Christmas experience with a bogus book agent, I found a website that reports what agents are real and get their authors signed. They give you full access to the agencies so you can easily find out for yourselves what agencies to approach. The site I want to was: http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/peala.htm.

After going there, I submitted my query letter, a new and improved letter, to several agencies. I heard back from one earlier this week asking for the first 30 pages of my manuscript. It is an agency out of Denver and they have many reputable authors they represent. So, this is the first true positive review from a book agent yet. Nothing may come of it, but at least my query letter is improving.

Work on book 2 has been slow due to some changes at my work. Our company has been owned for the past 5 years by three different venture capitalist groups...they were bought out by a massive IT Investment Firm called Francisco Partners. They are a 5 billion dollar firm that solely owns AdvancedMD and plans to build our company into a significant player in the medical software industry. We are about 10 times smaller in size than what they typically purchase, so our business model really spoke to them and they love they way we manage our company. What does all of this mean, simply that we will continue to grow and as a manager I will be able to acquire more resources to build my teams how I see fit. Liberating.

I am making progress with book 2, even if it is at a snails pace. I have two brothers in my ward who are reading book 1 and are loving it. Their only issue is that they will finish book 1 and book 2 will not be completed yet. Nothing like positive motivation from eager youth. My personal goal, a very ambishious one at that, is to finish book 2 and book 3 this year. My ultimate goal for me is to also get signed with either an agent or publisher this year. I will not be satisfied if I merely get signed with an agent...I want to get my booked published this year.

Debbie is doing really well so far this month. She has set goals to read 1 or 2 books a month outside the scriptures. I believe she just finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I think she is going to read all of the books in that series...that means that she might be able to beat me or at least keep up with me when we play Harry Potter Scene It Edition 2.

We hope you are all well and that life so far this year has been good to you. Please feel free to make comments or ask me questions via this blog anytime.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

The new year is upon us once more...we hope that you are all well and prepared for the blessings of 2008. We are optimistic about the year ahead of us. Hopefully all of our visions of hope will come to fruitition this year.

We welcome updates from family members and friends alike. We wish you all the very best in 2008.