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Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas '09 and the End of a Decade

I can't believe Christmas is next week. Things seem too normal for it to be that time of year, but it is here. It's also a time of year when I begin to feel guilty for not being as selfless as I should or for not accomplishing all of my goals I set out at the beginning of the new year. With the end of a decade soon approaching I could reminisce over the past 10 years of my life, an interesting time for sure. I could also set goals for the future new year and decade. All of which is fine, but I am often reminded of a lesson which President Monson taught:
'learn from the past, prepare for the future, live in the present'.
Today is the day to change.

What does the Spirit of Christmas mean to me? Simply, it is the Spirit of Christ. Though it is an all encompassing question which I cannot explain to its full capacity. But a few aspects of personal significance I could share, with recent quotes by general authorities reminding me of what is of true importance.
"Often our efforts at Christmas-time result in feeling stressed out, wrung out, and worn out during a time when instead we should feel the simple joys of commemorating the birth of the Babe in Bethlehem. Usually, however, the special spirit of the season somehow finds its way into our hearts and into our lives despite the difficulties and distractions which may occupy our time and energy."
"Finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Real joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the World, who said, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these ... ye have done it unto me'."
"As we contemplate how we’re going to spend our money to buy gifts this holiday season, let us plan also for how we will spend our time in order to help bring the true spirit of Christmas into the lives of others."
Thomas S. Monson, Christmas Devotional 2009
"I promise that if we unclutter our lives a little bit and in sincerity and humility seek the pure and gentle Christ with our hearts, we will see Him, we will find Him—on Christmas and throughout the year."
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Christmas Devotional 2009
The young single adult GEM for this week quotes President Monson's latest General Conference talk and reminds me that I need to overcome my selfish desires, especially during this season, in order to find true joy and happiness in my life and brighten those lives around me.
The Savior taught His disciples, ‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.’ I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives.”
I keep a picture of Christ in my room of him washing the feet of the twelve apostles, which helps me to remember we are here to serve others as the Master did.



Returning to the first thought, President Monson provided three pieces of our treasure map to guide us to our personal 'treasure'. The treasure the Lord taught of is the great Joy here on earth and eternal happiness hereafter. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." What treasure will I invest in today this Christmas season?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

OKLAHOMA STATE Volleyball

The OSU Volleyball Club team asked me to come back and coach them again this year. And since my 'move' back to Stillwater, I've been helping them out two nights a week. We're trying to help the club program grow and participate at a national level. And it's extra special here at Oklahoma State since they are one of only two (Vanderbilt) D1 schools (out of 332) in the nation that do not have a women's volleyball program! (Latest Division 1 RPI rankings) Of course we are not close to adding an NCAA women's program in Stillwater any time soon (unless someone has connections with Boone Pickens?? ...and really? the Cowgirl Equestrian team needs 63 girls? I'll talk more about that later...), but the club program is a respectable entity which has existed for 25+ years. On the men's side it has produced some great beach volleyball players such as Jake Gibb (Utah) and Phil Dalhausser. And after winning three straight national club volleyball titles in the mid-1980's, the BYU men's volleyball club was added to the athletic program and became an NCAA team. They have since won 3 NCAA national titles ('99, '01, '04). Although there exists close to a thousand NCAA/NAIA/NJCAA women's volleyball teams, the women's volleyball club program around the nation also continues to grow. The OSU girls joined the SIVA conference this year, participating in tournaments in Texas. They placed 3rd in their first tournament at UNT! You can check out more info on the OState Volleyball blog.


A little more ranting, then I'll stop. I know the NCAA only allows 15 scholarships to be given for the equestrian team so the number of team members may be irrevelant. But lets compare OSU's athletic program to one very similar: Texas A&M. Both schools have an equestrian program and if we continue to check teams against each other, they match almost one-to-one. One difference is A&M has a men's swim team, while OSU has men's wrestling. Those basically cancel each other. And what we are left with is Texas A&M still has enough room to provide for a women's swim team and volleyball program! And if we compare another school which has an equestrian team (Georgia) we see the exact same thing, plus Georgia is able to field a women's gymnastics team. Now I'm not an expert on NCAA rules nor do I know how the OSU athletics department divides up its' scholarships, but it seems to me they are missing out by not having a women's volleyball team. Plus the Big 12 conference is only 11 without them :`( ..So what's the problem?
----> $Money$ (Plain and simple, just not enough resources to add a new sport)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Colorado and Utah


I went to Boulder Colorado for work meetings in September. I love being able to travel for work and explore new cities, especially those in the mountains near a university town! Besides the usual meetings to attend during the day, I found some fun activities to do in the evenings. FHE at the CU institute. Walking along the Boulder Creek pathway up to the mouth of the canyon. Visiting with a good friend from BYU and her children. Walking downtown Pearl Street and eating out along the strip. Exploring the beautiful campus of CU.



Afterwards, I took a side trip to Utah to visit my brothers, old friends and everything great about Utah. It's nice when Southwest is having their special deals on airfare and things worked out perfectly. I spent about 5 days there:
Friday after flying in I went up to Jake's house in Kaysville (a former SLC roomate). We had a blast roasting hotdogs and marshmellows outside over a fire with his family and then playing glow in the dark croquet with techno music in the background.
Saturday we drove up Little Cottonwood Canyon up past the Alta Ski resort and hiked up to Cecret Lake. Perfect hiking weather for our nice little hike. I do miss the mountains. Then he dropped me off in Provo where I got together with Ben, Noah, and Jeremiah, along with Lindsay, Carter, and Kendalyn. Fun times in Provo.
Sunday I went to church with a friend. It is an amazing ward.. the BYU 41st.
Monday I went up to SLC to work on a few things at the U of U meteorology department. Also got me some Cafe Rio for lunch. Yum. Walked around Temple Square a bit. Took the TRAX and bus system. Got back for another fun FHE activity where we watched 'Forever Strong', the Utah Rugby movie.
Tuesday I spent some time on campus at BYU, seeing the new additions and reviewing past memories. We all went to Kendalyn's intramural volleyball game in the RB. Fun times. Wish I could go back to school at the Y, although I don't want to deal with all the homework or tests.
Wednesday I went on a fun date :)

I was sad to leave. But work and coaching were calling. Oklahoma is a familiar place, which is nice. But where do I belong?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Norman High Volleyball

I have been quite busy, or uneventful, depending on how you want to look at it. It has been awhile since my last post. But I've been privileged to have this opportunity to move to Norman for a couple months to work at the National Weather Center and coach JV and Varsity Volleyball at Norman HS. The short season started this week as we begin with a tough schedule. I only started a few weeks ago, so I haven't had much time to help them get ready, but they are a great group of girls and have high hopes for the season.


Our first game last night was at Tulsa Union, the #3 ranked team in the state. After the adventure getting there on the bus, we got ready to play. Nerves were flowing, but everyone was excited for the first game of a new season. Although varsity lost.. handily.. they show promise. The highlight of the night for me was to see my JV girls come in and fight back after a nervous first game to dominate the final two games to beat Union JV! Lots more volleyball to play, but that was an big win to start off the season! Go Norman Tigers!!


Update: Both teams have been playing through a tough schedule the past few weeks and learning a lot. Varsity is 3-9 after dismantling their cross-town rivals (#11 Norman North) and all of their losses coming to teams ranked in the top 8 (currently undefeated at home and 2nd place in conference). JV has been consistently improving and holds an impressive 9-3 record thus far.

End of the year update: Varsity has been so close, although not receiving much respect from other coaches in the rankings. But I know who the lady Tigers are and how much they have accomplished this year. We play our last regular season game tonight at Norman North. Varsity holds a record of 11-17 with wins over Putnam City, PC North, Shawnee, and Norman North (all ranked teams) and haven't lost to any unranked team. Finished 2nd in conference with their only loss coming to Edmond Memorial (who we play in Regionals).
JV finished their season 18-6, with a second place finish in the Gold bracket at the Bishop Kelley tournament. We went undefeated in conference and competed well all season! I'm very proud of them.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Texas... Austin, San Antonio, and In-between

This past weekend I drove down to Texas to see some of my old college friends from BYU for our 2009 annual reunion. They are amazing people, and I feel so lucky to have some of the greatest friends. This year we stayed at Tyler's parent's new home in the hills of central Texas, between Austin and San Antonio. I had never been to this part of Texas, so I was enthusiastic about experiencing what it had to offer, even in the 100+ degree heat!
I arrived into Austin a few hours before the first plane got in, so I spent some time touring the University of Texas. I enjoy exploring college campuses when I get the chance. The rest of the trip was full of highlights: visiting the small town of Fredericksburg, a night out on the town in Austin, digging a trench and laying pvc pipe down, tubing down the Comal River near the Gaudalupe in New Braunfels, walking the Riverwalk in San Antonio and visiting the Alamo. As well good food, good conversation, and good fun relaxing.








Will add some group photos when I get them.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My First Cruise!

During the first week of June I went on a cruise on Royal Caribbean with my whole family! It was such a fun experience. We departed from Los Angeles and cruised up the Pacific coast to San Francisco, Victoria, and Seattle. We all met up Saturday evening and stayed at a hotel near the port. Then after going through a few lines Sunday got onto the ship and headed straight for the food. There were many highlights on the cruise. The port-0f-calls were fun to visit. First time in San Francisco and Canada (Victoria, BC), and Seattle is always nice...when it isn't raining. Actually our two best weather days were in Seattle and Canada: 80's and sunny! The food was also great, from the cafe promenade to the windjammer buffet and the evening dinners in the dining hall. I also enjoyed the many shows around the ship, especially the game shows with guest participants. The best crew-cast show I thought was the ice skating show - under the big top. And it was great to just be around my family and enjoy their company and see how weird they can be sometimes. haha.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Volleyball in Minnesota



I went to the USA Open volleyball championships this memorial weekend in Minneapolis. It was fun and played some good volleyball. It was my first adult nationals experience. I really liked the city of Minneapolis as well. Nice spring weather and a really cool place.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tornado!



Yesterday just before 7pm a tornado touched down 4 miles due North of the ARM site (my work place) between Lamont and Billings in Kay County (photo from Roger Hill at www.stormchase.net). Too bad I was back in my apartment in Stillwater watching on the TV. Videos (from TWC...not correctly linked anymore):

Tornado Video 1

Tornado Video 2

video

Friday, March 27, 2009

OSU Volleyball


I continue to coach volleyball in Oklahoma at different levels. Currently coaching the men's and women's club teams at OSU in Stillwater. They played their last tournament in April, hosting club teams from Kansas State and Arkansas. The girls really made a lot of progress during the semester, making me a proud coach. I am also still helping out a bit with the 580 Charge 16s team in Ponca City/Ark City.

The last tournament with my 580 Charge girls I help coach. They made it to the gold bracket during regionals. Great to see them progress during the season.