Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 in pictures

Leah used me for a photography project this past semester. The purpose of the project was to tell a story using pictures. (In my case, the sad story that is called my life - haha)

Thus in the spirit of picture storytelling, I've decided that at the conclusion of each year I'm going to select 10-15 pictures that best tell my story during that time.

2009 - you have been one of the craziest years of my life:

Moved to California.

Dancin' @ MC Hammer / Vanilla Ice Concert

Got engaged! (Still so crazy to think that actually happened....)

Tried out for SYTYCD! (and Mia Michaels said YES!)

Danced at Freestyle Session 12 with Angels of Death
Snuck into Warped Tour with GroundHounds!

Trip to Zions! (Kourtney hooked us up huge down at the ranch)

KISS for Halloween
(pretty much our greatest Halloween costumes, ever.)
I moved back home.
That same week I got to see one of my close friends from high school, Katie Young, get married!

Witnessed a historical snowstorm.....
(I never want to shovel snow again)

Leah comes to visit!
Snowed in scenarios ensue :)

2009 has been the most intense rollercoaster ride my life has seen. Somehow I have survived and am grateful for the experiences and people who made it everything it was.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

old & new traditions.

The other day as we finished decorating Christmas cookies Mom asked us which traditions we felt we would carry on with our own families (whenever that day comes).

Everybody has different traditions; good, bad and just bizarre. In fact I just read that in Estonia one of their oldest holiday traditions is the "Christmas Eve Sauna" - Yes nothing says Merry Christmas like sitting naked and covered in sweat in a 100+ degree box with your family and friends.
We've done a lot of different things over the years - reading the Christmas story, caroling, christmas decorations, christmas cookies etc. etc. For as long as I can remember on Christmas Eve we would be allowed to open one present - ALWAYS pajamas. Here it is, the one tradition I will cling to for as long as I'm alive. I cannot part with those pajamas. So, in the even that I do get married I have a brief message to share with my dear future wife - Do NOT deny me Christmas pajamas. The consequences will not be something you want to face.
Just kidding.

No, but seriously.

This year we added something new to the traditions - we invited some older individuals from the ward to join us for Christmas Eve dinner.

I am ashamed to say that the thought never crossed my mind in the days leading up to Christmas that there might be people in the ward who would be spending the holiday season alone. Luckily, Mom & Dad once again taught us a lesson (something that seems to happen regularly around here) and we had several people join us for dinner. It was nothing short of the best Christmas Eve dinner I have been a part of. Great food and wonderful company.
And to dispel the thought that the older generations cannot relate to todays youth, let me provide you these images :

You've seen nothing till you witness senior citizens killin' it on the Wii. No busted hips or other major injuries. In fact Sister Hayes asked me to take her next week to go buy a Wii for herself so she can play it in the rest home she lives at.

To see the happiness of everyone and to hear the sincere gratitude at the end of the evening was the best Christmas gift I could have ever gotten.

It was one of those special moments where you feel that you got more out of the "service" than anyone else .

This is one tradition that we have decided will be sticking around for years to come.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

redneck globalization

Winchester, Virginia
Population: 25,119
Size : 9.2 square miles (mostly farms & orchards)

My current home. A rural area that can only be considered civilized in part due to the giant Wal-Mart that lies off Highway 50. That being said, were you to cross the threshold of Wal-Mart you might find civilized to be the wrong adjective.

I haven't always lived here though:

League City, Texas
Madison, New Jersey
back to League City, Texas
Provo, Utah
Newport, Wales
Wolverhampton, England
Chelmsley Wood, England
Provo, Utah
Winchester, Virginia

Last night was Kamerons choir concert-- a quick glance across the audience would give you at least a dozen "Joe Dirt" look alikes - and if you looked harder you could probably assemble the cast of My Name is Earl.

The students singing attend James Wood High School, just like their parents, and for some even their grandparents once walked these hallowed grounds.

For many, high school never ended. High school sweethearts married, only to divorce, and then remarry somebody else they went to high school with.

The most recent triumph in the area was the acquisition of a Sonic fast-food restaurant!
Good grief.

But - these people are quite happy.

Subsequently, I found myself happy for them.
Happy for them - not for me.

We come from different backgrounds and accordingly we need different things. I'm sure I could enjoy living here and could make the most of it if I had to stay - but I would never be satisfied.

If nothing else, during my month long stay here thus far, I have learned that this lifestyle is not for me. It's not that mine is good and theirs is bad or vice-versa - they're just different.


Friday, December 4, 2009


I was left in charge last week. Mom and dad went out of town to celebrate their anniversary.

It's been awhile since I've done the whole babysitting thing, but with the youngest being 14, I wouldn't exactly call what I did babysitting.

In fact considering our current situation I think I was more parole officer than babysitter.

The house is still standing.
Everyone was fed.
Nobody died.

Overall I would call my time in charge a success.

With mom away I also played the role of substitute seminary teacher.

My life has been filled with incredible teachers-- at home, at school and at church. From these diligent individuals I was taught many lessons over the years. Equally as important, but never the focus, I was taught how to teach.

For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed public speaking-- and teaching is pretty much the same thing.

My favorite church callings? Anything that involves me being in front of a class.

So- being in front of a group of teenagers at 6:30 in the morning is right up my alley.

They are wonderful youth. Being with them reminded me of my time in seminary (mostly how tired I always was). We started most mornings watching some bboy battles (my style of teaching is a little different than my moms) but always ended with testimonies being born of the principles taught that day. I loved every minute of it.

I've thought before about getting into the CES and trying to do the career thing- but I always get hung up on the financial thing. I've also thought about teaching in the public education system- but again, the concern in finances. But I'm starting to reconsider things now. Teaching is something I love and something I feel like is a strength of mine (but I could be totally off. haha) I love the kids I have worked with in my various teaching roles and find myself constantly thinking of them and hoping they find success in their own endeavors.

With my current lack of job opportunities I feel myself being drawn to a new career path.

But-who knows?

For now I'll just enjoy my new calling as Gospel Principles teacher in the ward.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Team Alice

Back-to-back days of solo movie trips to the Alamo Drafthouse to catch a movie has made these 2 days some of my most adventurous yet since being back.

Oh man. That doesn't exactly make my life sound exciting right now, does it? Hhhmm, guess I'll have to work on that.

Todays matinee showing? New Moon.

Part 2 in the Twilight Saga. Before you ask - yes, I have read the books. All of them.

This single literary conquest places me in the heart of a very large but defined demographic. Teen girls ages 12-18. Not exactly the ideal spot for a 25 year-old male. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the storyline of the books and was bound to like the movies before ever stepping into a theater.

There is a lot of talk right now (among the specified demographic) about which team you are on. You can choose to be on Team Edward (the glistening vampire) or Team Jacob (the werewolf). The general consensus after this movie has Team Jacob well ahead of the opposition. Even I found myself liking Jacob more than Edward in this movie, which is surprising since that didn't happen when I read the book.

But I will not choose either team. In fact I have created my own team. Team Alice. The vampire. As the most beautiful person who steps onto the screen it was an easy decision to make her my choice- not to mention her bubbly and fun personality to cap it off.

Oh man - it's probably a good thing none of the guys read this blog. I just realized that I not only saw the movie, but have now spent the better part of 10 minutes writing about it.

I'm caught. Kyle, welcome to the Girls ages 12-18 demographic.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

did not disappoint.

I talked this movie up after watching the trailer and I was not disappointed!

I took a solo trip to the Alamo Drafthouse here in Winchester while the kids were in school to check out The Blind Side. I was joined by a spirited (literally & figuratively) couple in the back who made it very clear from the start of the previews that they needed our waitress to bring out a lot of alcohol.

Thank-you local rednecks for enhancing my movie-going experience.

The true story of Michael Oher is inspiring not simply because it is the classic underprivileged youth turns around his life story -- it is inspiring because of the family that takes him in, making the turnaround possible.

I was touched by the high level of compassion the Tuohy family showed for someone they knew nothing about. Think about the possibilities for mankind if this level of charity was demonstrated more frequently.

I left feeling uplifted and inspired desiring to somehow make a difference in the lives of those around me. It is a feeling I would like to make a permanent fixture in my life.

My recommendation?
Go see the movie! Like right now.