Sympathy for the Way Ill

I have a few friends who have consistent health issues. These are things that impact their lives every day, and that often create a cycle of even worse health. For example, they develop a chronic illness and are physically unable to exercise. Over time this leads to things like gaining weight, which causes more systemic issues, and there is simply no opening for them to begin doing things that can make them healthier.

I have still never experienced anything like that. But I felt that last year I gained a little empathy for people about whom I might previously have judged for not making changes in their life. For a while I had a bunch of colds and persistent sinus infections, and bronchitis for perhaps a few months. Most of the time I continue to run when I have a cold, and I've been fine. But for weeks I kept having horrible coughing fits after exercising. I began to suspect a form of asthma, and my doctor did refer me to a pulmonologist. Eventually I got better, and decided not to go.

When things happen in my life that I don't like, I do sometimes try to think about the purpose for them. I believe in God, and that He directs my life if I allow it. And I believe that regardless of whether a given trial is from Him, or caused by my own choices or the choices of others, I believe that they can be turned to our good. In this case I gained a little more empathy for people who have long-term health issues, which I think makes me a better person. (Note that that's a relative measure, not an absolute statement.)

Anyway, a little perspective shift now and then is always good. And maybe if I learn some lessons well enough I won't have to repeat them.

Musical Paranoia

There's a big music store in town that I drive by on my way to work. They have a piano showroom, and I think they rent instruments as well. This place always seems suspiciously busy to me. Whenever I pass by the store, whatever time of day, there are always more cars there than I would expect form a music store. I seriously wonder if it's some kind of front for a criminal enterprise. If we were still in prohibition days it would be the perfect speakeasy. But given modern society it's more likely a meth lab or something. Guess I'll start using the inside lane to pass by, just in case.

Split

Fair warning: If you're not LDS, this post may not make any sense to you at all. Find a member of the church to interpret for you.

A couple weeks ago in sacrament meeting our stake high council representative read a letter telling us that our stake was realigning boundaries and creating two new wards. A meeting the next Sunday evening would give us the details.

That made me sad, because our ward was essentially the combination of two different neighborhoods, and the odds were they would be split up. Most of the friends we had made were in the other area. Later the rumor was that one of the new wards would be named after our neighborhood, so I figured we were in for a big change.

The rumor mill was right, and we are now in a brand new ward. It's now our neighborhood and a second subdivision again, this time in the other direction. We were moved to a different building (fortunately, much closer to our house), and our meeting time was changed to 8:00 a.m.

That's right, 8:00 church. With four kids.

Four wards have to meet in this building, until the completion of a new building in July. I know the stake presidency felt the wards were becoming too large, but I can't help but feel that waiting a few months wouldn't be that bad. I'd rather have crowded classes than 8:00 church.

Anyway, we were given leave to just have sacrament meeting the first week since it takes a while to get organizations staffed and ready for classes. So I was curious to see when we might get phone calls and receive callings.

Katie got a phone call Thursday night and was called as the ward organist. So now we had to plan to be there at 7:45 on Sunday. ARE YOU ASKING FOR A ChALLENGE?!

We prepared as much as we could on Saturday. Finally that primary song made sense. "Saturday is a special day. It's the day we get ready for Sunday..." And we did well, getting there early and everything. It was a little weird to recognize half the ward and have the other half be total strangers. People seemed nice, of course. I'm just hoping we can get to know each other so we don't end up with an "us" vs "them" mentality. And I'm curious to see what I end up doing. Come on, hymn book coordinator...

2017 Whatever

I guess I usually do a year-end post of some kind, but it's been a little hard to figure out what kind of year 2017 was. And yet for some reason I don't feel like I should post anything else until 2017 is put to rest. So what you get is stream of consciousness!

Recency bias means things toward the end of the year are on my mind. I had a bit of an unusual health situation happen, and as a result I learned that I can give myself shots, at least when it's a pen-style syringe. Depending on what happens over the next few months I may post more about this, but for now this will do. But it has altered my perspective on things a bit.

I traveled to Dallas and Las Vegas for work conventions. I dislike being away from the family for five days at a time, but the change in schedule can be fun. I work with good people, and they make things run smoothly.

As far as running, the year was okay. I got in 800 miles (the goal was 1,000). I got a lot better at running up hills, and did climb over 1,000 feet during one 15-mile run. So I was proud of that. I had the goal of training for a marathon with a real training plan (I just made up my own plans in the past), but I injured myself the first time I tried the speed work because I wasn't used to it. So that didn't happen.

Samuel turned 12 in October, which is a big milestone in the LDS church. He's now considered a "young man" instead of just a child, and it's an interesting feeling as a parent to have a child on the edge of adolescence. He's a super kid, and I'm proud of who he is. Oh, he also got braces, which is sort of another rite of passage. He also started learning the trumpet in band at school.

There weren't any huge changes to us as a family. It felt largely like a year of treading water, managing four kids and various responsibilities with church, work, and so on. I wouldn't call it an easy year, and I think I'm glad to move forward.

In 2018 I expect more incremental growth rather than large changes. Allison will turn 8 in April, another LDS milestone because she'll be baptized. James will enter the terrible twos, and Sam will become a teenager and enter middle school. And that's all I can think of right now.

*end brain dump*