Friday, April 27, 2012

Romney Rising

This piece here by Jim Geraghty over at NRO details how the Romney camp has been so quick to respond to the distractions that the President's campaign has been trying to drum up. This is in reference to the charge about how the Romney's transported their dog on top of the car back in 1983, and then also all the uproar over how Ann Romney supposedly never worked a day in her life.

Romney has been very, very impressive the last several weeks. And I'm really pleased with how the GOP has been lining up behind him recently as well. This week he picked up Rick Perry's endorsement, and Santorum has been said to be following suit soon as well. In spite of however much vitriol was spewed from these other candidates, they realize that there is a lot at stake with this Presidential election and they have been getting on board with what needs to happen if there will be any hope of unseating the incumbent.

That Geraghty piece is interesting because it goes into some of the tactics employed by the McCain campaign back in 2008 and how they utterly refused to engage in any of the back and forth with the Obama campaign.

2008 was just a bad year. There was a very unpopular president, with an economy on the decline, and an up-and-comer, and even if the perfect candidate had been nominated, I don't think it would have amounted to much against the tide that had been formed at that time. This year, however, the tide seems to be ebbing and I think this a great opportunity to get someone who can be really good as the next President.

I know that I have been really hesitant about Romney, but I think he has just been shining lately. His wife is a star, and he seems so much more polished and capable now. 2008 sharpened him, but so has the primary season. I'm excited about him and think he has a real chance at winning this thing.

Anyway, here's another post about Romney, following his sweep this past Tuesday.  This excerpt comes from his speech:

We launched this campaign not far from here on a beautiful June day. It has been long and extraordinarily rewarding.

Americans have always been eternal optimists. But over the last three and a half years, we have seen hopes and dreams diminished by false promises and weak leadership. Everywhere I go, Americans are tired of being tired, and many of those who are fortunate enough to have a job are working harder for less.

For every single mom who feels heartbroken when she has to explain to her kids that she needs to take a second job … for every grandparent who can’t afford the gas to visit his or her grandchildren … for the mom and dad who never thought they’d be on food stamps … for the small business owner desperately cutting back just to keep the doors open one more month – to all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I’ve met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance, to all of you, I have a simple message: Hold on a little longer. A better America begins tonight.

Four years ago Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama?

Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump?

If the answer were “yes” to those questions, then President Obama would be running for re-election based on his achievements–and rightly so. But because he has failed, he will run a campaign of diversions, distractions, and distortions. That kind of campaign may have worked at another place and in a different time. But not here and not now. It’s still about the economy…and we’re not stupid.

And then an excerpt from the post I linked to:

As I watch Mitt Romney, this thought also occurs to me: Romney is sometimes criticized as “inauthentic,” but this is radically incorrect. As a politician, he has had to tack with the winds from time to time, like anyone else. But as a person, Romney is hugely authentic. His persona is no mystery: he is a Dad. We have all known men like Mitt Romney. We may think they are square and out of date; we may roll our eyes if they are occasionally goofy. But when times are tough, in moments of crisis, everyone knows where to turn: we look to leaders of character, competence and decency, like Mitt Romney. I am increasingly confident that in November, Americans will see Mitt Romney as just what we need after four years of Barack Obama’s incompetence.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Growing Up

On the radio this afternoon I was listening to some talk radio, and one host, the older one, was giving the younger one a hard time about turning 30. He also said, "you turn 30, turn around once, and then all of a sudden you're double that age." And I'm sure most people reading this would probably agree.

On my birthday a week ago, my friend texted wishing me a happy day, and said something like, shouldn't we still be 18? I can't believe that I first met her when I was actually 18. Can't believe that's 14 years ago.

It's actually happening. The getting older thing. You know how I can tell? The subject of my conversations lately. Today I was talking to my bestie, and we got through the usual stuff about work and school stuff, family things, but then we started talking about kids, and I was telling him about the Go Crib that a friend of ours was telling us about last night, and then all of a sudden I'm realizing, holy mackerel, I'm in such a different position than I was in just 2 years ago.

When you're single, all you talk about is dating - who you're interested in, why things are so awesome, or the opposite of all that, why things stink, why is so and so making it so difficult. You talk about friends, or what you're doing for the summer.

You get married, you get a little older, and then you're talking kids, parenting, career and really important things.

The funny thing is, I wouldn't trade 32 for 30 or 25, or 18 or almost any other age. (Although I might trade it for 14 because what's better than playing roller hockey and soccer all day everyday like I did at that age, right?) Honestly, though, I don't think there could be a more exciting time. Amy and I are going to have a baby, and I'm about to start a program wherein the current students who are complete strangers to me light up when talking about it. That's great sign, right?

It really is that way, though. All the things that you worry about seem to take so long while going through them, but then you turn around, and all of a sudden more things change than you ever thought possible. It's crazy how that happens.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Same Old Formula

There are several shows that I watch regularly. I watch the NBC Thursday lineup which includes Community, 30 Rock, The Office, Up All Night, and Parks and Recreation. A few of these shows have been switching out for a time while another steps in its place. 30 Rock was on hiatus to start the TV season, then Community, then Parks and Rec, and when they returned they pretty much all delivered. I also watch Modern Family, Psych, and White Collar. There used to be some others in the rotation, and then I'll lose interest. Lately we've also been watching the dramas Awake, along with Alcatraz before it finished up.

There's something about a couple of these shows that I'm just getting bored of lately. One thing in particular. It's the constant make-you-so-uncomfortable-that-you-can-barely-stand-to-sit-still-while-beginning-to-physically-and-mentally-curl-up kind of humor that is really old to me. The Office did this wonderfully for awhile with Michael Scott, and now they do it with Andy, mostly, but they'll rotate it among some of the other characters. It especially bothers me when it happens to Jim because he was the one guy on there who was obviously the cool, most normal person that you could relate to, but now that everyone is free game, it's just kind of old. Where it's really bothering me is that now Modern Family is resorting to it, and it just feels like such a cop-out to me.

(Another thing is the addressing the camera as if its another person, but only part of the time. I'm not actually tired of it yet, but it's been recycled a lot.)

But let me say, for the record, I've never had a big affinity for this kind of humor. There are plenty of these kinds of guys out there, and everyone has run into them at some point in time. They're the ones that think it's the funniest thing in the world to make everyone else so uncomfortable that they can barely stomach it. They'll purposefully ask awkward questions. They think it's funny when other people recoil. I've never really thought much of that kind of humor. I mean, I can appreciate it when it's well done, and it's one of those things where it takes real guts to ask something so dumb/inappropriate that you just kind of stand there slack-jawed, hardly believing what you're witnessing. But it's definitely one of those things that gets butchered or overplayed when used by the wrong person.

I realize that in some ways, I'm totally snotty when it comes to my TV show humor. I want clever, and I think that what I laugh at tends to be smarter and more sophisticated than a lot of what's out there. And while I openly say that I think my humor is more sophisticated, I still laugh at a lot of things that are silly and goofy, but I just want it to be done in a skillful way. Let me give you an example.

First of all, this is totally dumb, but this video that got passed around a little bit last week by some friends of mine on some of the social media things was the funniest thing in the world to me. I was in tears

It obviously kills some of the humor to have to explain a joke, but let me do it anyway: The genius behind this is not just how ridiculously bad the cover is. It's all about the presentation. You have one of the most climactic moments in the movie, a time when the dinosaurs are finally unveiled to the researchers who spent their whole lives in their study of these extinct animals, and the scene is backed up by a musical score that now everyone in the whole world knows as another awesome John Williams piece to another great movie in Jurassic Park, to have it cut in with some idiot's terrible rendition that is barely recognizable, but only because you know both the movie and the music so well. Genius, right? That's what gets me going.

But Modern Family is taking a big hit right now. And The Office keeps on repeating this same mistake. It's the kind of thing where the characters act so idiotically that I wonder aloud, who in the world would ever do that? It works on something like Seinfeld because the characters never stop being absurd, but I just have a hard time buying it when it seems inconsistent with what I thought was developed with the character.

And I guess that's why I love Community. I totally recognize that it's not for everyone. A lot of people won't connect to it, and may even have the same kind of complaints about that show that I have of these other ones, but I think it's the most creative show because it doesn't have any boundaries. The show takes shots at other shows without pulling any punches (Glee, for instance), and do things like a documentary style pillow fight civil war. Not every episode is a hit, but it delivers far more often than it misses.

I think that's what made people appreciate Arrested Development. It's not conventional, and it makes you feel like you're getting something more than the same old song and dance that you see in so many other shows. Is that too much to ask for?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Count Goes On

Man, running lately has been awesome. I think the biggest difference between training this year and last year is that I'm not at all burned out on running. By the end of my training last summer, I had a couple of bad runs, and I was just done. I didn't care. My last run was just awful. I had these weird numb moments and I could not force myself to run the last mile or two.

Tomorrow I run 18, and then I am planning on two more hard weeks with 20+ miles and then that's it. I only have two tough weeks of training after this one and then I'm ready for Utah Valley.

What's been great too is that my pacing has been good. I feel stronger than I ever have. I have been doing strength training in conjunction with my running, working out my core, my back, my legs. I finish my long runs, my more up-tempo runs, and I'm never sore. I'm fatigued, sure, but I always finish strong.

Yesterday I ran 9 miles after having had Tucano's for a birthday lunch, and although I felt heavy and sluggish, I ran a good portion of it on an incline, and I still came out with an 8:03 a mile pace. It just feels awesome to be feeling so strong.

And I'm way slow to get on board with any of the new running technology, but I just recently got a new Ipod Nano for my birthday, and I was finally able to use the Nike+ accessory Amy won in her work raffle from Christmas. I just loved it. I listened to my podcasts, the electronic lady told me my mileage, my pacing so that I didn't even have to bother looking up that stuff myself. I just love it. It makes just going out and running even easier since I don't really have to pre-plan my route or calculate minutes per mile, etc. Awesome.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Political Experiments

Here's another article talking about the differences between California and Texas. I'm not going to post much from that article, except for this one point:
My point was simple: California is often a trendsetter in the realm of left-wing policymaking, while Texas legislators keep their government small. The results speak for themselves. But for those who didn’t find the article convincing, here’s another way of looking at the issue.

During my six years of service in the California state assembly, I was on the budget committee and the revenue and taxation committee. I’m a numbers guy. Numbers say everything about a government and its values. Follow the money and you can figure out whether elected officials view themselves as the center of the universe, or whether they think the government exists to protect liberty.
The way states run themselves is a good way of seeing how the liberalism v. capitalism experiment is working out. California is the most extreme end of that liberalism in how the government is run, and the results are quite telling.

I think it's interesting to note how other states are faring in these political experiments. Texas is the most fitting example of conservative politics. Others that were once more liberal that are now swinging back toward more conservative principles provide very promising examples of the benefits of a conservative bent in ideology. I was just reading this morning about Louisiana and its education reforms, but I've also read a lot recently on Wisconsin, New Mexico, New Jersey, and all of these examples speak volumes to how effective conservative politics helps stimulate economies and general well-being.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Feeling Grateful

We had stake conference this last weekend and the Saturday evening session was dedicated almost exclusively to gratitude. It was great.

 It also happens to be something that I've been feeling a lot of lately.

On Friday I found out that I had been officially admitted to the MBA program, and although I had been kind of expecting it following the last time I took the GMAT, it was still a comfort to know that this is now a path that is set in stone. It's one thing to plan on applying, hoping for the best, sometimes even assuming it'll work out, but it's another once you've gone through the process, you've gotten letters and emails and everything is set in motion for that path to actually be trod upon.

Today I got notice that I'll also be getting some financial aid from the university, and though that's the case with many, maybe even most, admitted applicants, it just adds to the big pit of gratitude and debt that I owe to God and this university that I'll never be able to pay back.

Yesterday was my birthday, the 32nd such celebration. I got calls and texts, and normally I don't care much for them, but even the Facebook posts were nice. It's just nice to be remembered, and it is nice to hang out with people I appreciate, and will get to see again because Amy's birthday is also just a week away from today.

Anyway, I just can't believe the multitude of blessings in my life. I can't believe that I have been given so many opportunities to succeed. Not everyone has as many as I have been given, and I can't say enough about how much I appreciate all of it, to have such a supportive wife, and to have a baby on the way to boot. I am in great physical health, all of my family is doing great, and I have many people that I care about and who I feel like care about me.

What else could I ever want? It's amazing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Romneys

A couple days ago, a political aide to the White House Staff commented that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life. That, of course, sparked a good amount of outrage, and Hilary Rosen has been on damage control since she made that statement. Here is her apology:

Let’s put the faux “war against stay at home moms” to rest once and for all. As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his lack of a record on the plight of women’s financial struggles. Here is my more fulsome view of the issues. As a partner in a firm full of women who work outside of the home as well as stay at home mothers, all with plenty of children, gender equality is not a talking point for me. It is an issue I live every day. I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.

Very heartfelt, no? Feels like one of those, I'm-sorry-you-decided-to-get-so-upset kind of apologies.

One writer took the time to enumerate the genius behind her decision to be a stay at home mom in this piece here. And here's an excerpt:

According to one estimate from a hostile party, Mr. Romney earned about $6,400 an hour at Bain Capital. The Romneys’ personal net worth is somewhere between $190 million and $250 million, but that understates things a bit: The Romneys set up a trust for their grandchildren worth an additional $100 million or so.

Assuming a 2,000-hour work year, Mrs. Romney as a higher-end CFO would have earned about $132.94 an hour, or about 2 percent of her husband’s hourly wage. A 40-year career at $265,882 would have given Mrs. Romney lifetime earnings equal to about 3.5 percent of the family’s net worth.

The Romneys, who are notably charitable people, have given away far more money than Mrs. Romney probably would have earned in a career that would be considered by most of us wildly successful and highly paid.

Conclusion: Ann Romney is economically a hell of a lot smarter than Hilary Rosen.

The marginal value of the wages earned in a typical C-level career would have been almost nothing to the Romneys. But there is that other scarce resource: parental time.

It is difficult to put a dollar value on parental time, but it is clear that to the Romneys one hour of Mrs. Romney’s time at home with the family was worth far more than one hour in C-level wages; further, a 2,000-hour annual block of time invested in earning C-level wages would have fundamentally changed the character of the Romney household for the worse, while providing negligible economic benefit. Instead, she provided the family with a critical good that Mr. Romney, for all his riches, could not acquire without her cooperation. If we think of the household as a household, Ann Romney’s decision to stay at home makes perfect economic sense: Her decision to be a full-time mother enormously improved the quality of life for Mr. Romney, for the couple’s five sons, and — let’s not overlook this critical factor — for Mrs. Romney herself.

Mrs. Romney’s personal investment model — marry a man who turns out to be wildly successful in business and politics, escape the tedium of what is sometimes described romantically as “a career,” have five children and the pleasure of raising them — is not open to everybody, of course: The supply of future centimillionaires is limited, and they are not easy to identify. But making intelligent decisions about forming a household and about the division of labor within that household is an option open to many of us, though unhappily not to all of us, given the state of the family.

Ms. Rosen’s remarks were criticized as being snide; the real problem is that they were stupid.

In another article that I already posted on Facebook, Kevin Williamson makes note of the challenges that Romney faces in the general election regarding his religion. You can find the full article here. From the article:

Mormons and Catholics are alike in that they matter. Everybody knows who the pope is, and when there’s a papal vacancy the drama of the election leads practically every newspaper in the world, and all of Europe holds its breath. Very few Americans could pick Bryant Wright out of a police lineup or tell you that he is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. What the Catholic Magisterium teaches influences public policy — and life — around the world. Mormons, likewise, have a kind of cultural electricity about them: There is no Broadway musical assembled to lampoon the beliefs of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, but The Book of Mormon keeps selling out. There are few if any websites dedicated to “unmasking” the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., but there are dozens dedicated to Mormons. The Catholic Church matters in part because it is global, and in some quarters it is still held in suspicion for that reason. The Mormons represent precisely the opposite condition: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only major worldwide religion bearing a “Made in the U.S.A.” label. Forget apple pie: With its buttoned-down aesthetic, entrepreneurial structure, bland goodwill, and polished professionalism, it is as American as IBM.

Also, it drives people crazy.

“A Mormon One-World-Theocracy Brought to You by Mitt Romney?” Apparently, Romney has a 59-point plan for that, too, if you believe the more hysterical anti-Mormons, the doyenne of whom, quoted above, is Tricia Erickson, a Mormon apostate and professional opponent of all things Latter-day Saintly. She is the author of, among other works, Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? The Mormon Church Versus the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America. (She also is fond, as you can see, of rhetorical questions.) She believes that the fact of belief in the Mormon faith is in and of itself disqualifying for an aspiring president.

She is hardly alone in that belief. One in five Americans declare that they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate — even if that candidate were a member of their own party. There is no other religious group that comes close to inspiring that kind of widespread hostility in U.S. voters. Seven percent of Americans say they would not vote for a Catholic, 9 percent would oppose a Jew. Five percent would oppose a black candidate, 6 percent a female candidate. Twenty-two percent would oppose a Mormon. The only groups with higher negatives are homosexuals and atheists, and their numbers are improving. Anti-Mormon hostility has been more or less constant since Gallup added the question to its survey in 1967, an innovation occasioned by the presidential campaign of a moderate Mormon ex-governor and millionaire business executive by the name of Romney. George Romney’s candidacy was hobbled by his infelicitous use of the word “brainwashing” to describe his experience on a Department of Defense–organized tour of Vietnam (“A light rinse would have been sufficient,” quipped Eugene McCarthy) and by the New Hampshire machinations of Nelson Rockefeller, who saw to it that Romney’s 1968 campaign was over before it began. For his ineptitude, Romney pere was rewarded with the secretary’s chair at Richard Nixon’s Department of Housing and Urban Development, a career-ending appointment that prevented the country from answering in 1972 or 1976 the question that went unanswered in 1968: How big a problem is religion for a Mormon presidential candidate?

There's much more to that article that's worth reading. Interesting stuff.

I took a PEW quiz about political knowledge, and this quiz just asked which party - Democratic or Republican - has this person as a member, or supports which issue, etc. It got me thinking a lot about freedoms, and who supports liberty, and that got me thinking about the expansion of the federal government and how in many ways that is actually restricting our freedoms in many ways. One example is how the deficit is becoming so unsustainable that at some point, it's going to require a drastic reduction and cutbacks in major services that will really dampen the lives of many Americans. Another article I read was talking about how Democrats are intending to create a government dependent society so that people become entrenched in power. Then I was reading about North Korea and how the Kim family has been able to maintain control over their people for so long through creating dependency and its manipulation of its people. It's a story that continues to repeat itself over and over: some support the cause of liberty, but others seek to suppress it. (You can probably guess where my loyalties lie in this one.)

Sometimes it happens in very egregious forms like when a government mutes the press and forces particular way of thinking, as was the case with the various forms of communist governments. And other times it's as simple as coaxing someone to eat a piece of fruit.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Come Thou

I hate that I'm totally unoriginal and I totally love the same hymn that everyone else does. I remember the first time I heard this hymn. I was in the MTC and it was shown in the video of a large group meeting, back when they still had those. I totally broke down and it just melted my heart. Loved those words, "prone to's my heart, oh, take and seal it."

This last week I've been watching General Conference talks while I eat breakfast and it really has been pretty great covering those again. Sort of. Some, or all, may be more like the first time because for some reason I was pretty sleepy during a number of talks. Thank goodness for DVR, right? Anyway, one of those also happened to be President Monson's Sunday morning address, which was wonderful, obviously, but then it was followed up by the MoTab's latest performance of the hymn.

I don't know what it was about it, but it just got to me again. I got very emotional, laying on the couch tucked under a blanket while Amy was still using the bathroom. With my feet stretched out over the length of the couch, what little my body covers anyway, and my head leaning on the arm of the couch, I quietly sniffled through the duration of the song, and even into my shower.

There's a lot of legend about the song. It was written by Robert Robinson, and the story goes that he was a rowdy teen, given to drinking and causing trouble, but was then convicted by the gospel and that he needed to change. Some stories have it that he and his friends were attacking a gypsy fortune teller, who told him that he'd live to see his children and grandchildren to be born, only to realize that he did not want them to see him as the person he currently was. Other stories have it that he never was able to give up his drinking, and that he died never having fully overcome his vices.

The thing that strikes me most about this song is that it must have come from a very deep and very personal place, one that everyone has felt to some degree at one time or another. Regardless of how it came about, Robinson penned some amazing words that just about any can relate to. Everyone has experienced that loneliness and longing for some greater power to rescue them, and every member has felt that guilt born of weakness that causes both the author and hearer to exclaim "prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love."

Just so beautiful. The part that really got to me in that performance was when the men begin the verse singing "Here I raise my Ebeneezer." The clarity of that choir and their voices, the words, it's all very good.

Anyway, here is another version of it. I just happen to like the full orchestra and not just the organ accompaniment.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Opening Day!

Well, the only one that actually matters...Angels open up against the Royals tonight. Pujols debut. Morales returns. Fireworks.

Man, I wish I could be there.

I can't believe how much I love baseball. I was a heavy baseball card collector. For three complete summers I played it every day in the green belt over by my house with my then best friend, Ryan McCoy. It really is just so summer to me. And home. It's part of the perks of home and I miss it. I'm so excited for this season. They look awesome. Play ball. Go Angels.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Romney Rising

It now looks pretty inevitable, right? He swept Maryland, DC, and Wisconsin on Tuesday. Wisconsin is huge because it's such a swing state. He's getting key endorsements all over the place now. I really like what the Republican party is doing, lining up behind him, making it known that it's time to start putting together a strong message against the incumbent. I'm very curious to see what will happen with the VP nomination. Polls suggest that most people want two of the rising GOP stars to get the nod - Marco Rubio or Chris Christie, but I think both have publicly declared that they are not interested in the position. No one saw the Palin VP bid, but that's what happened in the last go-around, I think this one could be similar.

I know you'll be so disappointed to hear this, but I had such a great post put together yesterday about gas, how gas prices fluctuate, how prices range from regions, how the President is largely responsible for high gas prices, etc, and when I published it, all but the very beginning part disappeared. I lost all interest after that. Kind of disheartening. You'll just have to trust me when I say that the President can have a huge effect on gas prices, the US has more oil in reserves than the rest of the world, and the presidential election is our chance to voice displeasure with the current state.

Back to Romney though. I thought his speech following his Tuesday victories was really impressive. He's no longer worried about his GOP opponents, but now crafting his message for the general election. I love that. I was very reserved in my opinion of Romney before, but he's really become much more polished with his campaigning and I think all credit for that should go to the primary season and how that has forced him to improve. He's come very far since 2008, and very far even since the fall. He's looking good and I like his prospects come November. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Changing Direction

It does, it takes faith to change directions. The first significant direction changes seem to happen in college as people are deciding on their majors. That one is kind of interesting because for a lot of college grads, several years following graduation, it really doesn't matter what it was that they ended up deciding on while they were in college to where they are now. They would have gotten to that place had they majored in English, marketing, communications, family life whatever and it wouldn't have really mattered, but if you would have asked them back when they were making those decisions, it seemed to mean the whole world.

Sometimes I wonder a little bit what it was like for my parents to decide that they should move to the United States before I was born. Did everyone in a third world country think that way back then? What would that be like to feel that your best chance at happiness consists of moving away from your home and family to a new country where they speak a language that you don't even know? That's what my parents did.

My dad made a couple of reconnaissance trips to the US before deciding to move to lovely Orange Country. It's kind of amazing what he did, saving up $10,000 in Brazil to come out to visit one brother in San Francisco, then another brother down in Laguna Hills. He saved that money back in the 70s when there was a worse global recession than we've seen this century and in a third world country that was far from the economic upturn it would experience in these recent years. It's amazing to me that he did it. And he just came over to the US, moved his family, learned English, and created a successful business all at the same time. Crazy, right? Making that kind of decision to move would require enormous faith and he made it work. It came with some costs, but in the end, neither of my parents have ever looked back and never plan on going back to Brazil, so content they are with their lives in this country, even if they have had some rough patches.

So for me, I guess it's not anything close to the same magnitude to decide that applying to business school was a better option than finishing out my Phd program. It adds another year, will add some debt, but after talking with some people in that program and that have also graduated from it, it sounds like a really great opportunity, not only for what the program itself is like, but for what types of jobs are available post-graduation. So we'll see what happens with that.

And I guess even a few years earlier, it was a pretty big move for me to leave my job, go back to school, and leave the comfort of California to come back out to Utah, a place that was familiar to me at one time, but wholly new in other important ways. It took some time to start up my new life out here, but obviously that was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

I wonder what keeps certain people in their holding patterns. I know one person who is in a job that she has already outgrown and offers no future career prospects, living in a place where she feels like she hasn't met anybody new, but still can't seem to steer herself into a new direction in any capacity. Everyone outside of her has been encouraging her to move, to do something different, and Amy even forwarded her a job position that seemed to be a great fit, only to have her turn all of it down for the status quo, which in her more honest moments, she'll admit that she's far from content.

Sometimes major upheaval is necessary. It's interesting to think about the times when I've grown the most have always coincided with when I've had the most significant changes. Sometimes it means a makeover. Buy new clothes. Get a new job. Move somewhere. Get a new haircut. Go back to school.

The great thing is that the gospel invites and encourages change all the time. The invitation is always there to reorient ourselves and point ourselves back to the Lord, and sometimes that means just giving ourselves a new perspective so that we can see him better.