Monday, October 29, 2012

It was only 1 week?!

A lot happened this week, and for anybody that actually reads this blog, I figured a) I'd remind you that comments, and emails, and likes (on facebook) give motivation to write, and b) update you on this week, and our married lives.


The first news that came through was that my childhood love (oh, who am I kidding, my greatest love until I met Lejana ;) ) the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center was officially closed by the Alpine School District. Let me back up a little bit.

A couple months ago, the Space Center was closed by the Alpine School District for electrical repairs that needed to be made in order to bring it up to code with current electrical standards. That repair takes more money than the Space Center has, and the ASD is willing to part with, and so the Space Center was (at that time, permanently closed). They planned to possibly open up a math, reading, and writing center... Or something else. The intent was to close the center. They said the simulators have no educational value.

Me, hard at work. This is a briefing at the Space Center, giving the
instructions before the kids enter the simulator. Painting the
overall picture to help them understand what they are supposed
to accomplish in their mission. These missions teach more than social
studies, science, and math. They teach problem solving, communication
and many other important life skills. 
The Captain gives instructions to his Operations and Helm
officers in the old Galileo Simulator.

I'm not sure whether or not the District has continuously shifted their stance, or whether they struggled to clarify their initial position- but since their official announcement, they have stated that they intend to keep the simulators open, and better the Space Center. I believe that the community has played a huge role in this continued shift of position; the phone calls, emails, and demands of the community to the district have helped them realize the importance of the simulators. Their educational value is incredible. I would like to share my favorite story that illustrates this point:

In the summer of 2008, right before I left on my mission, I wrote a story for the Voyager simulator. That story is now known as "Silhouette" (it's original title was "Beneath Us a Shadow", but Silhouette sounded better). The story is one that pits the crew against a man named Stanton Everett who has been identified as a terrorist. He is slandered in the worst possible way during the briefing, and their objective is to capture him, and hopefully that will dissolve his terrorist cell. But Stanton isn't really a terrorist, the country who asks for help to capture him is trying to get him arrested so that he won't alert anybody else in the Galaxy know what they are planning. A good plot, and the kids love the plot twist (usually). 

But I wrote the story because several friends of mine committed suicide in that year, not because I loved the plot; and having talked with their families, and their friends, it was revealed that these friends I'd had had chosen to follow the crowd, instead of what they wanted in life. And, in the realization that they weren't who they wanted to be, and the mess they were in, it was easier for them in their minds to just end everything. I told this story in detail after every mission. I begged the kids to stand up for what they wanted to be- told them that this mission was to teach them that even though it wasn't popular to side with Stanton Everett, who wasn't really a terrorist (but only they find this out in the mission, everyone else beats on them, and frustrates them), that they had stood for what they believed in, and in doing so saved their country in the story. Then I related it to their lives, and how important it was to not fall into the folly of my friends.

Several campers emailed me, wrote me letters, and found me on facebook to tell me how much that story had meant to them, and how they'd never looked at it from that point of view. That is what they learned at the Space Center. Something that can't really be TAUGHT in a classroom. Simulation- putting the kids through the experience: that is teaching.

So please, if you would, like this page. Support us in our mission to teach kids through the power of doing, teaching them to see things in a way that teachers, and parents can't do alone. And don't just join- participate. Become an active participant in this endeavor to save something that really makes a different for children in Utah, and will make a difference across the globe:


James Harden is one of my top 5 favorite players in the NBA right now. Why? Because I think he has tons of talent, his excitement is fun and catchy, and I envy that beard of his. So why is he in my list of the week?! Because he got traded from my favorite team in the league (OKC) to the Houston Rockets because he's an idiot.

Great player, bad decision making.
He left OKC because they wouldn't give him a quadrillion dollars. Once you're in the millions, it shouldn't matter, but whatever. Instead of wanting to win a championship, he can now go suck in Houston for a couple more million. I totally see the logic...


We (as in the BYUH Seasider basketball team) played in our first scrimmage this week at the University of Hawaii. We played well, and learned a lot (if you have more questions, I'll answer them, but that's all I'll say online). I wore my wedding ring on my shoe because I thought it was "cute", and thought Lejana would like it. When I untied my shoes at the end of the scrimmage, I put the ring on the desk in the locker room while I showered, AAAANNNNDDD.... I left it there, and we haven't heard back from them as to if they found it or not :( I miss my wedding ring. I hope it wasn't stolen....


Last night, we were evacuated all across Oahu for the potential of a tsunami which was caused by an earthquake in Canada. This tsunami was to hit us Saturday night at 10:28. Lejana and I ran to the church with a makeshift 72 hour kit for both of us (the church was high ground, exactly 100 ft higher than our house, and exactly 273 feet away). At 11:00 the waves had upped from 4 inches to 14 inches, and that was it. After all the alarms, the fanfare, the media... 14 inches is all that made it to us, and I am so grateful. Other islands were hit much harder, and I am so happy to not have had any damage to our property, or each other!

The newspaper this morning posted this photoshopped picture of what this would do to Honolulu.


Last Sunday Lejana and I sat in Gospel Doctrine (the fancy name of our Sunday School class) and were minding our own business when Brother Haverly of our bishopric popped his head in, and walked towards us.

"I understand that you can play the piano," he said to me. I said, "Yes, and the organ if you need," with an air of confidence... Oops.

A typical primary program- not ours, you can tell this is
a Utah ward because everyone is white... but all the same,
I think I saw every single one of these facial expressions today.

He informed me that the pianist for the primary was overdue with the baby she was supposed to have had two weeks prior, and that they were in desperate need of a pianist. I bit my tongue, thought "what have I done", and then happily agreed to help the primary out.

So after a week of practice, I only butchered 1 of the 11 songs, and two others were C grade, but besides that, it was a screaming success, and I made it through with no issues with anxiety or anything else, and they asked me to help them out again next week :)! I'm very excited, we have an awesome ward.

So that wraps up this week. It's been INSANE! But, there is the week. I will do better at posting throughout the upcoming weeks, it's hard to find things that are entertaining to write about, so I'll work a little harder. For now, I'm going to lay next to my already sleeping wife, and get some beauty sleep so that I can function tomorrow. Peace!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

A post.

Well. We've now gapped two months or so since I've posted anything on the blog. I'm sure that you are all wondering what happened. We got married- and then life hit, and now we're trying to keep our heads above water as we try to keep this marriage thing going.

I would happily post wedding pictures on the blog- but I feel like they are doing great by themselves on Facebook- so check them out there, comment on them- tell us how hot we look (Lejana really likes that- so, just keep stroking her ego. I don't mind it, but, she checks all the damned notifications before I can ever check facebook. So in all reality- she's the only that's gonna see it). So, if I get a bunch of people commenting on posts telling me to post pictures... I might consider it.

As for news- we have very little. We live in paradise. Lejana is taking this semester to work because we're poor. That's not really a surprise. We just got married, and I'm not a millionaire. Neither is she (though my mother always did tell me that 'you can marry more money in a month than you can make in your whole life', but... isn't that like cheating in school?), so we're making due with what we have. We both plan to finish school at the same time, so, there shouldn't be any problem there, just trying to catch up on student loans, and fun stuff like that.

Welp... Just wanted to get a post out. I'll try to think of some fun commentary (like why people's blogs are so whiney), or a good story to tell (like... anything but twilight) before tomorrow hits. You'll just have to wait in stroked anticipation. :)


Sunday, July 15, 2012


The events that have lead to a point often seem random, but as I have begun to take a look at them, I have discovered one thing. Random is not a word I would use to describe my life. Everything that has ever happened has happened for a reason. I don't know why, but I tend to get all sentimental and reflective when a life-changing moment is staring me in the face. Maybe it's my coping mechanism for when I know the change is coming, and I'm not sure what it will entail. Maybe it's just that I'm truly an emotional person, and as much as I try to hide it, all of the waves of change wash it to the forefront of my mind. Regardless, the reflections come and go with events, and they always seem poignant. This is my reflection on Lejana and I's meeting.

My story starts in 2008 when I left for my mission to Houston, Texas. I have told people this before, and I truly do believe, that when I opened that mission call, it felt wrong. That felt like it was absolutely and totally the wrong place. I didn't say anything. I gritted my teeth. I moved forward. But I was unhappy because I was going back to where I grew up, and I wanted to go somewhere that wouldn't be aggravating and frustrating. I had prepared my whole life to go on a mission, and this call was going to try my patience. But, like I'd been instructed from day 1, I tried to do as I was asked.

My mission was Hell. I have never been beaten and tortured as I was there. My mission president seemed to hate me. It felt like everything that went wrong was always my fault. My personality, which is a super type A, rubbed wrong with some of my companions, I was trapped in an apartment for a very long time. Everything that could have gone wrong was wrong. I felt like I was being punished by the leadership, and even the ward members in some of the areas were absolutely ridiculous. When I finally couldn't take it anymore, and everyone in the mission had abandoned me, I left. I came home. I had never felt more hopeless in my life, and had no more will to live. Coming home saved me.

Even then, I felt like the world was still beating down on me. I didn't have any support from my parents. They didn't understand. They didn't know what I was going through, or realize the intensity with which I was being struck with. The anxiety was unbearable, and I needed someone in my corner. Instead, they wanted to fix me, make me the way they thought was good. It just reiterated that I was broken, and I fell into a deep depression.

Fighting out of that hole was the hardest thing I have ever done. There were days when I didn't know how to function, or how I could function. The best description I have is that it felt like I was trapped in a whirlpool of complete blackness that would pull me closer and closer to the bottom every second, and there was literally no way to swim out. There were mornings when I would wake up, and the pain and the sorrow I felt wasn't just emotional, it was physical too. I would cry, but nobody knew. I would beg God for help, but it felt like those pleas couldn't penetrate that swirling blackness that was keeping me in.

Then, over time, people came to my help. Garyn showed up out of the blue to offer support and help. Doctor Johns was Garyn's idea, and he helped me learn and understand what I was going through. Knowledge truly is power, and it was a great help to me. Erin was someone who understood what I was going through, and offered insight and drive that I hadn't been able to muster prior to her involvement. My Grandma and Grandpa Funk were able to give me strength and comfort through their help- I stayed with them for a while, and learned a great deal from them, and how to solve problems that lie ahead. Erica, who now probably loathes the sound of my name, but she had a way of helping me look inward, and seeing my weaknesses that held me back, and helped me conquer a few of them, and left me to fend off the others- and also taught me that weakness can be a strength if you learn to harness it, and learn from it. Marc, who always stood beside me even when the rain clouds poured buckets of pain and frustration from the skies of hell, and always knows how to laugh at any situation. Glen Christensen, who has never once let me feel like I am a failure, but that I am someone important in the grand scheme of things, and that God has a purpose for me, and that these lessons will eventually lead me to some greater understanding of my purpose as a human here. Coach Lewis, who gave me confidence that there were still things to be done, and that many people cared- and that there was no way he would ever give up on me. Bria, who never gave up, but consistently tried to help me in the darkest of hours, when I had nothing more to give. Coach Cleve, who was so patient with me, and gave me opportunities that I doubt anyone else would have given me. And then finally, my parents, who came around and realized that there were ways to help.

All of these people made profound impacts in my life, and I aspire to have so many of their great qualities. And even though I am not all the way through this trial, these were God's army of angels sent to help me when I didn't know what else to do.

After all of this, when I actually finally was able to see clearly, and focus on something else other than trying to get out of the tunnel I was stuck in, I met Lejana. I admit that I wish I hadn't been dating her friend at the time, because of the aftermath it caused. This is not to say that I regret that, or that I was ashamed of it- I just wish the circumstance hadn't been so furious and bitter when Lejana and I hooked up. The first thing that I felt when I met Lejana was that she had an incredible ability to care. She wanted to help people, and was always looking for ways to serve. She also loves with tremendous ability- her heart is huge. That drew me to her, I wanted to know that I would be loved, and that I wouldn't end up being stabbed in the back by doubting that emotion, or allowing it to be influenced by another party. She didn't have that capability. She loved what she loved, and who she loved- and it was apparent.

After a while, I started noticing all of the qualities that I mentioned in the army of angels that I had sent to me existed in her. She was everything I could want in a best friend, in a girlfriend, and in a future wife. It didn't take me long to realize that I wanted to spend the rest of my forever with her.

Without the trials that extended from my mission, I doubt I would have made it to Hawaii to meet her, our paths would never have crossed. I wouldn't have been looking for the loyalty of love, or the compassion of a large heart, or many of the qualities that exist in Lejana. I fell in love with Lejana because it honestly felt like she could see through me, and do repair the injuries that were within me. I fell more in love with Lejana because it felt like I could do the same for her. Our personalities compliment each other. She loves what I love, and I love what she loves (except for chick flicks, and girly music... But I'm trying ;)). I love the way her hand feels in mine. I love that I honestly feel like we can do anything if we do it together. I love that I feel safe with her. I love that she treats me like a king. I love that my only goal is to make her happy. I love Lejana. I am oddly grateful for my trial that came from my mission, because it led me to the locations and the places in which I could realize the traits of human-kind that I wanted to have in my life. This week marks the most exciting week that I have ever had in my life, I'm marrying the most amazing woman I have ever met, and cannot wait to kneel across the alter from her, and promise her my whole being.

Trip, I love you. More every second, and I pray that it never stops. I know it won't, but prayers can't hurt!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Matt's Strip Show/The End and Beginning

It's always an interesting time here at the Space Center. This week was especially interesting as I was nearly scared to death by a normally conservative human being.

Matt Ricks looks cute and innocent.... BUT BEWARE THE ODYSSEY
I walked into the Odyssey, mostly to check on the staff sleeping in there. I was enjoying my time, but I heard Matt saying something to the effect of "Don't look over here, don't look over here!" So of course I had to know what's going on, I walked in, eyes closed, and faced the direction of his voice. He screeched a little, and then said, "I suppose I don't care."

I then made a critical mistake. I started to beat box... Or pretending to. Matt then got this idea that he was a stripper. He began to remove his shirt, and swung it around his head. He then started "shaking his hips in a seductive manner" and it freaked me out.

So Matt, wherever you are, I am now officially terrified by your presence. You make me fear the Odyssey.


I realized last night that last night was one of the last nights I would ever spend here at the Space Center. I layed on the bridge on my Queen sized air mattress, and mulled over that thought. I have been doing this for 10 years now. I have loved every minute I have spent here, even when I am frustrated with Campers' attitudes, or their density. It has been a privilege to work here at the Space Center. Though I will still gladly make tacticals, or write stories, or make videos, or do whatever they need- I am approaching that time of life where I don't have much of a choice but to leave and move on with life. There is so much ahead of me, but one of the greatest adventrues of my life is now coming to a close. I would like to publicly thank (again) Victor Williamson. He's heard it all, but there has been a profound impact on my life that extends from him and this place. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities and privileges that I have had, the friends I have made, the people I have met, the campers that have changed my outlook of life. I have learned so much from my time here. Though I am not officially done until August 22, I feel the end as it comes slowly.

Of course, it's not all bad. The future is ahead of me. Next Saturday I will be married to the most amazing woman in the world. I have forever to spend with her, and I don't know if that will be long enough for me, but it's a good start. I can't wait to wake up to her smile, and to spend time with her. It has been way too long since I have been able to just giver her a hug, and stare into her eyes.  It's crazy to be saying, "I'm getting married". But, I am so glad that I am, and can't wait to be with Trip (Lejana).

Also, my future goals can now be pursued. This is exciting for me, because now I can roll forward and do those things that I have dreamed of since I was a kid. There is so much I need to learn. I realize that I have an air of arrogance that surrounds me sometimes when it comes to that. I like to feel in control and in charge, and that's how it comes off, but I realize and recognize that there is so much I still need to know. I'm glad that I can finally pursue my dreams of becoming a coach, and teaching. The next phase brings so much with it, so as I slowly rid myself of what I used to know, there is excitement that exists in the future.

So this is to the future, and what comes with it. Only God knows, but I will try my hardest to keep my head up, and roll with the punches.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday and the 3 Day Break

It's Sunday, after the leadership camp at the Space Center. I attempted the leadership camp last year. It fell apart into a disaster. I partially blame that on a couple of very uncooperative and frustrating people, but I guess they had their side too. This years was well done. It was... aggravating in a lot of ways, but it was fun, and I couldn't have asked for it to go any better. When Jackie gets me some pictures I will update this post with them from the camp (I really need to do a better job of taking pictures. It was really easy when I had my good phone, now I don't do it like I should).

This week came with a surprise. The Space Center appears to be closed between now and the fourth! That means a 3 day break. That means sleeping in my own bed, eating what I want, and making the Magellan tactical that I have put off for a month and a half now. It's fun to actually have time to think. I'm excited.

Today is also the day in which I will finally be putting the invitations in their envelopes and sending them. I know that they are late- but I did the best I could to have them done 2 or 3 weeks ago, and then everybody in my family had to stick their fingers in that pie. I just eventually gave up and let whatever happen. I am too tired to fight, and don't care enough about pieces of paper that tell people that already know that we are getting married, haha! So I get to do that for a couple of hours today, and then see what comes after that.

My mother and Jaysa are on a volleyball trip. I haven't heard heads or tails from them, but I know that Jaysa was so excited to go. Her team made it to nationals this year, and I hope that they kick butt! That's a very exciting experience!

Well, I'll probably either update this post, or write a new one with pictures. I just felt like writing for a second, so I pulled this sucker up. Check back later to check out the mailing action, or even some leadership camp stuff! It's all going to be right here!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cancellations, and Other Things

At work there are a list of things I'd rather not do. This list continuously grows as I discover things I dislike. Here is the small version of that list:

-Fly Phoenix private missions.
       REASON: The ship shouldn't be as complicated as it is. I hate it. I hate that the children can't wrap their heads around it because it is too complicated. The controls are for a 14 person ship, and there are only 6 kids. I hate private missions in that ship. My vote is that it becomes a runabout like the Galileo.

-Fly Galileo School Missions.
       REASON: The Galileo is a shuttlecraft. A Mark VI stealth runabout. As cool as that sounds, our school missions were written around evacuations. It's kind of difficult to imagine stuffing, oh, I dunno, 350 people in there. Or 1,000. Depends on the story. Or, a story that engages the children in a battle... It's a shuttle. Not much you can do. It just sucks to have to attempt to tell those stories in there.

This thing barely fits me and 6 kids in it... Evacuating anyone is almost ridiculous...
-Supervise Current Magellan.
       REASON: The current Magellan is supposed to be a space station... However, this space station avoids the key word of station in every single situation it is posed. A station is a stationary vessel that fuels vessels, issues commands, and does administrative things. This particular space station has Warp Engines, Impulse Engines, Thrusters, a transwarp core, a cloaking device, a planet buster, a system that turns the entire station into a weapon, etc. The consistency, and ideas placed in it frustrate me. It is turning into a battleship. I will love it then.

-Kitchen Duty
       REASON: Mostly because I would rather play pretend than do actual work. Actual work isn't that fun, you know?

So there is my short list of things I prefer not to do. There are many other things that could be attached to this list. But these are the ones that make me the most angry :P!

Today, I was scheduled to fly the Galileo for a summer school group. Summer school groups frustrate me, because A) I feel that parents should be more involved in their children's lives than to let them fall into the pangs of summer school. B) The children already struggle in our ships, so adding the density of most summer school children is hard to stomach and fly with. C) It's the galileo for a school mission... GRR... I woke up in a slightly frustrated mood, and geared up for work.

My mood lit greatly though, when my father talked to me about my fiance and I's honeymoon. We have it purchased and paid for, and I couldn't be more excited than I am right now to take her on this honeymoon my parents have set up for us!! I am stoked!!!

Then I came into work, and they didn't have enough to fill my ship! What a great day =D I love it when the Galileo gets cancelled. That's a very happy thing. I have nothing against that Galileo. I love the Galileo- but Galileo school flights... GRRRR! (Need another repeat?)

Anyways, that was my day thus far. I shall get on with it. I have to go do insanity... Ugh...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Flying Time/Tempting Fortuna

Life is like a roll of toilet paper, it goes faster as it gets closer to the end

Weeks come and go, and it's crazy how fast they do so. Some days are long, others pass by at warp speed without me even knowing they come. Work has been hectic, so much to do, and not enough time, campers always need attention, and of course consistent customer service. And of course you cannot possibly keep everyone happy all the time, so it makes multiple situations more frustrating, but that goes without saying.

Plus, the wedding isn't coming fast enough. 1 month, and 5 days, and I just want it to be tomorrow. I miss Lejana worse than life itself. It doesn't seem fair that I can't hold her hand, or stare into her beautiful eyes, or whisper into her ears and tell her how much I love her. Isn't that what engaged couples are supposed to be able to do?

And thusly, time continues it's effervescent journey which loops and twists in all manner of varieties, and sings forth into the abyss of the world as it connects every human being to it's whims.

This week has been a frustrating one. This is in stark contrast to the previous week, because I loved it. The kids at work were well-behaved and fun, there was always someone smiling about something, the kids would get into the stories we told here. It was a GREAT week. This week was like we'd all been crammed into extremely tight quarters, and some people wanted to kill too many others.

Though blind, Fortuna sees all, and hears all that is spoken from her special throne on Mount Olympus

I made the mistake. I tempted Fortuna. She is the great, and abominable temptress of the Space Center. For years she has made her presence known to our staff, and her mischievous ways tackle our efforts often. I proclaimed that she could not touch bring me down, and she dropped me to my knees.

It all started with the Insanity workout. Jon Parker (co-worker/friend) and I began the program on Monday of this week while we were at work. It just seems convenient to do it there, and get it done. So Jon and I have done it every day this week. However, doing this at work necessitates showering. We have a shower at work, that shower is on deck 2 of Voyager. Earlier this summer we discovered that taking warm showers on deck 2 is not a wise decision, as it sets off the fire alarm. When the fire alarm goes off, the boss gets unhappy. By setting off the alarm, and the risk of said alarm going off- the boss has been leery of allowing us showering privileges.

The issue arose when I discovered that if I take cold showers, that the alarm will not be evoked. It stays dormant, and happy. So, I have gotten away without an incident. My boss was talking to me about how much trouble showering was, and I explained that I could shower without setting off the alarm. The boss told me that Fortuna would find away, and I replied with fervor, "THERE IS NOTHING THAT FORTUNA CAN DO! FOR BEHOLD, I HAVE DISCOVERED WATER OF THE MOST COLD NATURE THAT DOES NOT GIVE OFF STEAM, WHICH CANNOT CONDENSATE, AND SET OFF THE ALARM!"

From Mount Olympus, Fortuna was listening. She was listening, and she heard every word I declared. From that moment a smile curled in her lips, and she whispered softly, "The goddess of luck shall meet you soon," she hissed. And thus the war was started. Her army of miscreants, against me.

Life instantly became a disaster. Everything I touched begin to crumble in my grasp. I tried to play basketball with some of the campers, and a kids shoes broke. I tried to help in situations that I usually help in, and was chided for it. I tried to enjoy a basketball game, and workout later (against the wishes of my boss, who wanted Jon and I to work out earlier so that we could shower at the pool) which proved to be a tortuous test of the boss' patience. Yes, Fortuna's army made their point, and I sit here waving readily my white flag of surrender.

And there I sit, atop her wheel of fortune. This week I was sent spinning off like I'd never before been atop that wheel. What will she allow for me next week? Only the fates can know...

The lesson that I take away from this is to never tempt the temptress. She controls the fate of luck, and will not let die so easily blasphemy spoken of her. She has the power to degrade and uplift. She will sometimes smile upon us, or bury us in fury. But never, never tempt Fortuna.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Space Center

Last night, and into this morning, I worked an overnighter at the Space Center. These are my favorite of camps. I like the ability to establish the feel of being in an actual vessel, and crewing it. There is character development, and there is time to strike fear into the hearts of the crew. These overnighters are the best of our product, and I enjoy them so.

Crew of the Voyager during an Overnight Mission
The Space Center has given me tons of opportunities that I would never have had otherwise. I love to work with the kids, and watch them grow over the course of one of our missions. Just by way of information, here at the space center we do simulations in the universe of Star Trek. What you're looking at here is the bridge of the starship Voyager. She was built in 1990 by Victor Williamson, and if you want to hear me tell you why he's awesome, click here. He wanted to incorporate simulation into educational experiences. He was and is an educator, and he started doing this "simulational education" idea with his 6th grade class using paper and poster board controls. He would sit behind his desk on the floor, and play the voices of the computer, his engineer, and the alien characters the crew would encounter. His class loved it, and he wanted to evolve the idea to an actual starship set. Voyager was born, and since 1990, the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center has grown through 7 simulators, thousands of campers, and bulls forward today.

Today, the Center has 5 simulators, each with their own set of stories, controls, and ideas. We host nearly 1,200 kids a week, and teach them different problem solving, situational skills and social studies. It really is a joy to work with them, and even learn from them.

I found the Space Center in Elementary School. I had done missions in 5th grade, and came back multiple times with my friends. I was already in love with the place. When I was in 6th grade we came to do an overnighter, and I realized that I wanted to be here a lot. Back in those days, the volunteer pool wasn't overfilled, so I applied to volunteer a couple of weeks later. I remember that day well. It was a Saturday morning, about 11. My sister had a soccer game. I was in my cleats, and shorts and a t-shirt. Her game was at Central Elementary's field. I had a soccer ball, and I was kicking it around. I accidentally kicked it down the hill in the back, and when I looked over as I chased it, I saw Mr. Williamson outside taking out the trash. I ran over to my mother, and begged her to let me go talk to him (she had to give me permission to breathe as a child, which I appreciated then. It kept me from being kidnapped, or worse). She was against it at first, but I continued to beg. She allowed me to go, and I sprinted over to the door. Out of breath, I begged this powerful looking man to let me work at the center.

I can only imagine what it looked like from Mr. Williamson's point of view. This lanky kid runs up to you, in soccer gear, cleats, and panting asks "hey, Mr. Williamson, can I volunteer, here?" Knowing what I know of him now, I would say that his hesitation was annoyance, but he doesn't have it in him to say "no" to kids that have a desire to work here. He just doesn't have the heart for it. 

Victor Williamson in his natural habitat. Looking Distinguished
He stared at me blankly for a moment. I said, "please!". He said, "I'm sure we could find a place for you." And we entered through the door in which the brig is located, and came into the office to receive his schpeel on becoming a volunteer.

Once again, knowing what I know now, I doubt that he thought I would actually return these documents. Who could blame him- I was dressed in soccer gear, and didn't look all that responsible. However, within 4 days, it was back in his hands at the very same desk you see above.

Me, today, holding my original volunteer submission from 10 years ago.
I thought it would be fun to retype my original submission so that you can see how much evolution has occurred in my head:

Dear Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center,
My name is Bracken Funk, I love the Space Center; a very creative idea!!!
I love Star Trek, Star Trek The Next Generation and Star Trek Voyager, I know a great deal about each which helps because that is what you based the Space Center on!! I want to work at the Space Center because I enjoy learning about different things about space!!
I also am a great leader, for example, any time we play German Spy Dodgeball; my team always asms ME who the spy is going to be. I accomplish my work and get good grades!
I have also worked in the Student Council at Barratt!! (I wish I were at Central!!!)
I really want to work at the Space Center!

Bracken Funk

P.S. Address 918 North 1420 West
Telephone Number 796-0538

I laugh when I read this now. That describes me pretty well. I'm a little less in your face with everything, and I feel a little more mellow, but there you go. That was me. 

I asked Vic what he thought about this particular day in Space Center history, these were his words about it:
I had no thoughts. You were just a kid, and you just asked to be a volunteer. What do you want from me?

So apparently he doesn't care about such things. However, that isn't the most concerning of things to me, he's become senile over the last few years, and his memory is failing him. That's ok. He has earned such rights.
Yes. Senility.
At least he doesn't show up for work late. Anyways, I have now worked here for about 10 years. I have enjoyed every minute of it. There have been rough spots, and tough people, but even that has been a learning and growing experience. There is no better place to work than the Space Center.

So here is to 10 years of volunteering/working/playing at the space center. Thanks to all of those who have stood behind me when I was obnoxious, worked with me when I was bossy, and helped me when I was beaten.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Lejana and I shooting our engagement photos by Darice Chavira
Well, it's finally happened. I haven't really kept it updated, but it really did finally happen! I met the girl of my dreams, I fell madly in love, I wanted to do something about it, and so we decided that we would get married. Now, the world seems to fit together more, and I find myself in a constant state of ecstasy, and I can't wait to be married to this amazing woman that I love more every day.

Plans are finally taking shape. We are in the very beginning stages of planning, but we are planning, trying to figure out exactly how everything fits. Of course, money has been tight the past few years, so we are trying to learn how to keep costs down (and if you have any advice, feel free to throw it our way. We are still young, and don't have a lot of anything- so if you have any tricks, know anybody, etc... Let us know!). However, this exciting time of life has given us a lot to look forward to.

We now have a website up where we will keep anyone interested up to date on what's going on. You can access that website here:, and if you would like an invite, we would ask you to request it here:, and finally, if you would like to come to the festivities, we would ask that you send an email to Lejana and I's joint account:, and tell us that yes, indeed, you are coming!

Visit the website often, we'll keep it updated and exciting.

Also, I will keep the blog very updated on developments, and the story of our preparations for the wedding. I want to have it documented for the future!

We really are so excited! I can't wait to marry my best friend!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Actual Meaning of Love, and Why I Hate the English Language

Alright, I've had it. I was once a culprit, but I am now going to be a different man. I feel that the meaning of the word love in the English language has been degraded to a non-functional point, and I need to put a stop to it.


  [luhv]  Show IPA noun, verb, loved, lov·ing.
a profoundly tender, passionate affection for anotherperson.
a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
sexual passion or desire.
a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person;sweetheart.
(used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection,or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?

The English language is incomplete and folly, as well as not obeying any rules set forward by anybody but itself- sort of like the many countries that speak it. But, there is a point where there has to be another word. I am in love with my girlfriend, Lejana. I love her. This is a serious form of this word that means something emotional. And then, facebook contains billions of females, males, and whatevers saying "I love you" "I love this" "I LOOOVE THAT" etc. For what purpose and reason is there no standard whereby to measure the form of liking you have for an object other than the word 'love'?

When the Savior speaks to Peter in the New Testament, and asks if Peter "loves" him, it should read differently, and then a pastor speaks of this whole situation in this way:

The true meaning of love, as defined in the Bible, has been corrupted in the common usage of our English language and society. Most often, love is confused with infatuation - that elated, "high" feeling we get when we "fall in love". This kind of "love" is something that lasts typically less than a year, and unless replaced by true love, results in broken relationships...The Greek language (the language of the New Testament) uses two different words to describe and define love. The most commonly used Greek word translated "love" in the New Testament is "agape." This love is represented by God's love for us. It is a non-partial, sacrificial love probably best exemplified by God's provision for our rebellion:
"For God so loved (agape) the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
The gift3 of God's son as a provision for sin4 was given to all humans,5 regardless of who we are.6 God's love is unconditional.7

In contrast, our love is usually conditional and based upon how other people behave toward us. This kind of love is based upon familiarity and direct interaction. The Greek word "phileo" defines this kind of love, often translated "brotherly love." Phileo is a soulish (connected through our emotions) kind of love - something that can be experienced by both believers and non-believers. This is in contrast to agape, which is love extended through the spirit. Agape love requires a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, since the non-regenerated soul is unable to love unconditionally. Agape love gives and sacrifices expecting nothing back in return.8

I have to agree here with the self proclaimed Pastor Deem. What a beautiful way to show the Savior's love for us, but in contrast, how sad it is that we don't truly understand how powerful this word is, and it is strewn about as though it has no value.

There is a quote that has been circulating the internet, one that I think stands out in this situation:

"As sex got easier to get, love has gotten harder to find"

The world is becoming a place of values that are confused with all sorts of worldly ideals. It is hard to understand how much someone cares for us when someone tells us they love us if the word, and the idea means nothing to us as human beings. Satan has been able to corrupt homes, to tear apart families, to dispand all things that were good, because of counterfeiting principles, ideals, and morals. I REFUSE to let him take the one thing that reminds us why we do things for others- the idea of love. Jesus Christ died because he loved us. He did that so that we could one day stand before God, and beg for the Atonement of the Savior to allow us into His presence. That kind of love is sacred, and powerful, and CANNOT be mistaken; and while the world degrades love, I will not lose it's identity in my mind.

I will no longer use the word love as a description of something that pleases me, nor use it in a way that degrades it's meaning. I ask you to band with me.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Iconic Images and Their Degradation of the Female Gender

This idea was brought to my attention tonight as I spoke with three friends of mine about varying issues of the female gender. These three friends are all of that gender, and all three of them were talking to me about different angles of life, and their individual pursuits of happiness. As I listened, and discussed differing ideas during this conversation, as well as drawing from a general overall read of girls as of recently, I discovered that there is a general disposition of the female gender that somehow indicates that they are "not good enough" and that they aren't what they are supposed to be, which causes a general outlook of pessimism. Though that looks like a long run-on sentence, that's exactly how it's come across as it's been looked at.

I've pondered this idea for a long time. Why do girls have this idea that they are not good enough? If anything, guys should be the ones that have this outlook- girls have amazing traits: the ability to care, the ability to love, the capacity to heal. Guys don't have these traits in general. The female gender in itself makes these creatures remarkable. Creatures isn't the right word. Women in general have the overall ability to be better. Their inner beauty, and abilities far surpass that of the male gender, but, for centuries, men have ruled the world. They have had control of what women think, how they dress, how they are "supposed" to look, etc.

Because of this male pressure, women feel like they have to meet the requirements set, or they won't be able to receive the attention that they want. Marilyn Monroe was a key part in the current movement of iconic imagery. Women since Marilyn have felt as though they have to match up to her style, and her scanty amount of robage. It's been a down-hill trend, and continues to curb downwards. Very few people can escape the inadequacy they feel when they are being compared to the icons of the world.

However, this iconic imagery, displayed through television, movies, music, pictures, tumblr, etc. has literally degraded the outlook of females on the world today. Very few females that I have talked to in the past 3 years are happy with who they are. Granted, there are many struggles in the world; monetary issues, familial problems, work, and others- but the iconic imagery generated by the media is a social norm that degrades the ability of females to see themselves as what they can be, and what they are. Instead of looking in the mirror, and seeing the goodness, and the incredible accomplishments they have met, they compare themselves to that imagery, and can't seem to find the comparisons.

There is not a single reason that anybody should feel inadequate. Comparisons aren't fair to anybody. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder- beauty can be seen in any sense, and any light. Just because the world thinks that everyone should look like media-worshipped unrealistically built stars doesn't mean it's required. There is so much more in the world that matters than looks, and gaudy prowess. Life is more than a dog-eat-dog competition to be the most beautiful. Life is meant to discover who we are- deciding who we want to be, what we want our legacy to be, and how we want to be remembered, and then going out and doing it.

So this is my message to all the girls in the world, and I hope many will see it. Don't let anyone else tell you what, and who you should be ever again. There is so much ability, and capability in each and every one of you. Beauty isn't a general decision, it's an action, and it's created by you. Love who you are, and love will find you.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Plot Thickens

It's late. I'm currently in the middle of dealing with a few points of frustration on multiple fronts that have occurred from bad communication on my part. It sucks when you're the one that messes everything up on a consistent basis because you can't figure out how to communicate. I feel, often, that I would have made a magnificent court jester in the olden days. All I'd have to do is open my mouth, and the idiocy would probably just naturally come.

That's right, check out the awesome costume I would have worn!

Today is a game day as well. We play Chaminade tonight, which is a big game for us. These inter-island games are huge. The teams and the refs seem to have a lot of stake in these games for some reason. It's going to be a lot of fun, and I can't wait to play!

That's all for now. It's bedtime.

Monday, January 9, 2012

2 Months? I'm Back Now!

It was brought to my attention today that I haven't posted for a while. I looked at the dates, and I realized that the last post was on November 11th of last year, and that will simply not do. So, I'm sitting in Accounting 201- possibly the most dry, counterintuitive, and boring class in the entire universe, and I'm catching up on the events of the new year, and everything in between.

The basketball season is picking up steam. Our team is looking very, very good, and we are finally achieving the success that we have strived for since the beginning of the season. Our team has been slightly restructured- we are no running 4 guards out, and one big in; I guess Wagner didn't like me playing on the outside that much, but, it has really boosted our ability to run the floor, and play inside-out.

Christmas was good. I got to spend time with my family, and it's always nice to be around them. We had a lot of fun. My sister Marquelle blew out her other knee, which has been a real downer for her, but she's been a super trooper for the most part. ACL injuries suck. I've had one, this is her second. Patience is thin, frustration is high, and the world feels like it's falling in on you. She had a really good disposition for the most of the holiday, and I was so glad that that's what she decided to throw in her outlook. My dad and mom were fun. They made the break very fun, and entertaining. Jaysa looked good, and was her fun, exciting self. We also got to go up and visit the whole family, and that was incredibly fun.

Lejana and I were able to spend New Year's together. For those of my readers who don't know who Lejana is, she is my girlfriend. She's amazing- been a wonderful influence on me, and helps me become better every day. I want to be a better person because I know her. We went night swimming with a large group of kids. I of course kissed her at midnight, the first kiss of our new year... Then I dropped her. That was embarrassing. I suppose I should've thought that one through. But it was a great night, and we had a lot of fun.

So now school is back in session. That's going to be brutal. I hate school. I hate the pointlessness of 90% of the classes we are told to take by people who think that we need to "broaden our view of horizons and courses one can take". I know the course I want to take, and I can guarantee that biology is not anywhere near it :P

So, here it is the start of the new year. I'll post my resolutions in the next couple of days.

Game day tomorrow! I'm super excited =D