About Joe 2016

It has been long overdue for another edition of “About Joe” and today is the perfect day to post this. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and finally arranged 30 songs that reflect my life, family and friends at this point in my life while building upon the original “About Joe” created more than ten years ago!

Enjoy this playlist!

Thanks to everyone who has been a part of my 30 years of adventure on this beautiful rock. 🙂

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Giving Good Gifts

When I was 8 months pregnant I attended a conference. The opening session of the conference was packed. Fortunately I had gotten there early enough to get a good seat. Unfortunately about 30 minutes into the presentation I needed to use the bathroom, one of the joys of being 8 months pregnant. I was irritated, knowing that my seat would be taken once I left. When I returned from the bathroom the room was even more packed than before. Every seat was full and there were about 30 people standing in the back. Tired and hugely pregnant, but not wanting to miss the captivating speaker, I joined the people standing in the back of the room. Standing was even more uncomfortable than I had anticipated and I was feeling more and more irritated by the second. After standing for maybe 10 minutes or so a man came up to me and offered me his seat. I was incredibly relieved and grateful. That small act of kindness from a complete stranger made my day.

Over the last 6 months I have been the recipient of small acts of kindness like these that have made such a difference. There was the manager at the grocery store who insisted he help me unload my cart when I was enormously pregnant, the woman who rushed to open a door for me when she saw me pushing my stroller, the person who returned my cart to the store when my baby was screaming,  and many others. These acts were simple, but someone saw that I was in need and they helped.

These complete strangers have made me want to be more kind, and I think that is the biggest difference that these people have made. Too often we focus on the bad in the world, but we can do something to make sure there is more good. Since seeing what a difference small acts of kindness can do, I have been trying my best to look for small kind things I can do for others. I have also made a goal to be more accepting of  the kindness of others, because I believe that is just as important.

I can’t help but think that by being kind to others we are in some small part doing the work of God. In the Book of Mormon I read in Moroni 10:18 “. . . remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.”

Bump Update

In case you were curious I am still pregnant and officially at 36 weeks. When this baby is going to come is anyone’s guess. And if you would like to be in on the fun you can cast your own guess through our Google form.

Here are some pictures of the growing baby bump.

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A Great Comment

Yesterday I heard someone make this great comment about priorities and putting God first: When you don’t have your priorities straight, you find that your anxiety increases, even in the simple aspects of your life, such as work. You need to focus on the basics, such as putting God and family first.

Service

Not much is happening here. Personally I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, as it has always been one of my favorite holidays. I like taking time to be grateful for what I have. One story I have from last Friday is that I was standing in line to buy tires at Costco. The lady in front of me was panicking because she had them fix a flat and thought it was covered under her warranty. She had three little kids who were trying to comfort her but it wasn’t working. She did not have a debit card on her nor an American Express card, (because that’s all Costco accepts). Costco was not going to let her leave and come back and her husband was unavailable to help. I stood back, hesitating initially, but then I volunteered to pay her $47 bill. She was grateful and promised to send me a check. It felt good to serve but as I was reflecting about the experience, it was out of my comfort zone to talk to a random stranger and offer her money, especially not knowing if she was going to pay me back. I had to remind myself to be more Christlike. Overall, it felt good to help somebody out who needed it. I remember doing that frequently while serving my mission. Don’t ever forget that you are doing a great service.

Love,
Joe

Three Year Anniversary…A month ago

It seems like this past month has gone by extremely fast. So fast there’s been no time for blogging. It seems that it all started at the beginning of August when we celebrated our three year anniversary.

That day I got off work early and Joe and I checked out a couple of apartments. One of which we are now living in. Moving into our new apartment has taken up the majority of our free time recently. Finding the apartment on our anniversary seemed like a good omen and a good start to our evening.

After we filled out paperwork for our apartment we headed to Snowbird to check out some of their attractions. We ride the alpine slide and the mountain flyer. Another bit of luck came our way when we rode the mountain flyer. No one was in line behind us so the operator let us ride it three times. We felt like that made it worth the money.

After Snowbird we headed to dinner at Benihana. We had a $30 gift certificate to use there from my birthday. And since it was our anniversary they gave us free ice cream.

All in all it was a great day. It’s strange to think Joe and I have been married for 3 years already. On a whole it’s been a wonderful three years, and it’s gone by fast. I’m grateful that I married so well. I wouldn’t trade what we’ve got for anything.

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Family Tree

About a week and a half ago I took the youth from church, that I work with, to a youth conference held on Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. At first I thought that it would be the standard tour they usually give, which I have been on at least ten times, but I was pleasantly surprised. They took us to several parts I never have been and showed us the latest in terms of ‘project development’. I was able to create a fan chart for both my family and Hope’s  family. It was really cool to see my family nine generations back, but also showed my work cut out for me, as there are several ‘branches’ missing from my family. There might possibly be a few too many ‘nuts’ as well. It is really easy to create your own family tree fan chart at createfan.com. All you need is a FamilySearch account.

The Benefits of Being Unemployed

I have technically been unemployed for almost a year now, but during most of that time I was consumed with classes and an internship. For the last two months I have been unemployed without school or internship. While it’s starting to get old there are some benefits to being unemployed.

  1. You don’t have to plan ahead to do fun things, so when a friend asks you to run Ragnar last minute you can do it. I didn’t even have to worry about what effects the soreness and lack of sleep would have on me because I didn’t have to go anywhere afterwards.
  2. You can sleep as long as you want. You can also stay up as late as you want. I’m not sure that Joe, who actually has full-time employment, is too pleased with my new sleeping schedule.
  3. You can catch up on all of those TV shows you have previously been too busy to watch. I may watch Netflix a little too much.
  4. You can be on top of all of your communication. I can write daily letters to my little brother who just left on a mission.
  5. You have time to make your house spotless. I don’t actually do this, but I think about it sometimes. Maybe one of these days I will actually get bored enough to do it.
  6. You have time to organize your house. This I have actually done, it was refreshing to be able to get rid of a lot of unnecessary things and free up some space.
  7. You have time to revise your resume, cover letter, etc. and check all of the job boards. I am really dedicated to this job search thing, when the internet went out for a day and I couldn’t check any of my job boards or send in any applications I did not know what to do with myself.
  8. You have time to research ways to save money, since you aren’t making any.
  9. You can get a head start on making any hand made Christmas presents, or other presents. I’ve already got baby presents ready for friends whose babies aren’t due for months.
  10. You have time to make meals (another one of those ways to save money) and try out new recipes.

 

There you have it, 10 benefits of being unemployed.

Hill Repeats

I walk home from the library feeling confident and reassured, I can do anything. I convince myself that this includes some hill repeats. I arrive home and change into my running clothes before I change my mind. Before I know it I am running towards my hill. I had originally planned on only doing three, but I feel good and five seems like a better goal.

I turn the corner to start running up my hill. I begin to employ my strategy to keep up my quickened pace. I choose an item about fifteen feet in front of me to focus on. Choosing a new one each time I reach the previous one. Fire hydrant, that patch of grass, the end of that square of sidewalk, leap over some overgrown weeds to avoid a couple walking down the narrow sidewalk, mini tree, driveway. That’s one.

I turn around and run slowly down the hill, regulating my breathing. I can do this. I can do anything. I remember the hundreds of hills I have ran over the course of my running career. I wonder how many times I have run this hill, maybe hundreds of times? Maybe.

I turn around again and start up the hill. Fire hydrant, patch of grass, patch of concrete, railing, mini tree, fire hydrant, driveway. Keep the pace up until the top of the hill. That’s two.

I run slowly back down the hill. My mind wanders to thoughts of my upcoming exam. Though I’ve never failed an exam in my life and I feel prepared, I’ve never taken a test like this one before.

I stall for a second at the bottom of the hill and then take off running before my mind is ready. Fire hydrant, patch of grass, patch of concrete…you’re slowing down. My breathing gets heavier, mini tree. Only two more…I pick up my pace momentarily to avoid being hit by a car backing out of the driveway. That’s three. Three, three, three. Only two more.

I run even slower down the hill. I begin to think about the really important things in life, like what I should have for lunch, if the maintenance technician is ever going to come fix the tub, and what movie I should watch this weekend.

I turn and run up the hill again. My breathing is getting more labored. I slow down. I forget to focus on the fire hydrant, the grass, the concrete, the tree, the driveway. A car drives slowly by, the man driving looks at me. Is he checking out my legs or contemplating calling an ambulance. I keep running. I slowly reach the top of the hill. Four, four, four. One more?

I run slowly down the hill. I decide that I can do six of these, maybe even seven, no six is good for today. I feel good about the compromise I have made with myself.

I turn again and run up the hill. I focus better this time. I remind myself that I am strong, I know how to run hills. Fire hydrant, grass, concrete, tree, driveway. Five! One more.

I run slowly down. I feel accomplished and proud that I decided to do just one more.

I turn and run with a spring in my step, reminding myself to stay focused. Fire hydrant, grass, concrete, you’ve got this, tree, keep it up, driveway, push it to the top of the hill, that’s six and you’re done.

I turn the corner to finish this run on the same route that I finish all of my runs. As my breathing steadies my legs pick up the pace. I keep running and I feel alive. I run past some women carrying boxes to place in a U-Haul. They look at me as if I am very strange. I keep running. I turn the corner and pick up my pace a little more as I run down hill. I keep my eye out for the man who stands on his porch and stares into space and sometimes plays random notes on a banjo, I don’t see him today. I round my last corner and pick up my pace just a little more, then as I approach my church I sprint past my invisible finish line and startle the people waiting at the bus stop. I jog slowly the rest of the way to my apartment. I feel sweaty, tired, breathless, and at the same time confident, empowered, and strong; because today I conquered the hill.

Seemingly Radical Things We Do To Save Money

The more I witness the spending habits of young people like us, the more I view our spending habits as radical. The ways in which we save money have always seemed natural to me. Being thrifty was a skill I was raised with. Let me share some of the “radical” things we do to save money and see what you think.

  • We don’t have smartphones. Shocker, I know. And on top of that we don’t have unlimited talk or text either. We have the lowest texting plan and minutes that are possible with our provider. We debated over not even having a texting plan for a while, but I know from experience that people assume you have a texting plan and will inevitably text you. We have also had our phones for three years; we have avoided upgrading our phones to save us money in the likely occasion that we decide to switch carriers in the near future.
  • We cut our hair at Great Clips, and we even wait for haircuts to go on sale at great clips and buy several at once to save even more money. I admit when I do something extreme to my hair I will usually go to a more expensive salon, but other than that—it’s Great Clips. I will also wait as long as possible between haircuts. This past year has been the most I have ever gotten my hair cut in my life. This was because I was growing out my pixie cut, and even at that I cut my hair every three months. Most years I cut my hair twice a year.
  • We don’t have cable television. In fact we have a bulky old TV that my parents gave us when we got married, complete with antennae and digital converter box. We actually don’t use it that much because we live on a busy street and whenever a car drives by the picture goes out. Mostly when we watch TV shows we watch them on the Internet.
  • We share Internet with our neighbors. We live in an apartment complex and didn’t see any reason why each apartment should have it’s own wireless. We pay a price for this one though, since our friends we share Internet with live a few stories up from us, and they have the modem. Weak signal strength aside, it is worth the savings.
  • We drove an old but functioning car for years that Joe “bought” from a friend while we were dating. We drove that car well past 200,000 miles and didn’t buy a new one until we had saved enough money for a down payment for a new, safer car. If you had seen our car you would understand this one better. The car had so many things wrong with it we were surprised someone bought it from us after we got our new car (the dash lights did not work, the tail light went out a couple times a year, the headlights were held together with bungee cords, one of the doors did not open, the trunk did not open for a while, the car had some significant body damage from being in an accident, etc.). Also did I mention we only have one car. Yes, two people can share one car.
  • We live in a small, one-bedroom apartment. We’ve stayed in our apartment for three years because the location is great for us, and it would have cost money to move. It’s been enough space for us and has taught us how to get rid of things that we don’t have space for, and don’t really need.
  • We walk or ride the bus whenever possible. Lucky for us we get free bus passes from school and work. Because we live close to where we go to school and where we work it makes it easy for us to walk or take the bus. This also makes it easy to share our car between the two of us. And it saves us lots of money on parking.
  • We limit eating out to once a month. Eating out adds up very quickly. We manage to limit our eating out most months to only once. Believe me, this saves a lot of money and is well worth it.
  • We have a plot in a community garden. Our church owns some land that they have split up into plots for a garden that is open to the community. All we pay for is the water, which is very minimal. We’ve been able to save even more money on our garden by growing most of crops from seed. Not only do we get to grow our own vegetables, but we also get meet people from our neighborhood that we might not have met otherwise.

There you have it, some radical ways to save money. Do you do any “radical” things to save money?