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!