Saturday, July 2, 2011

Count them one by one

First off, Guam was pretty awesome. I would definitely be satisfied living there someday, everyone is relaxed and it never gets cold. Even in "winter" their days are filled with warm sunshine and clear days. My experience there wasn't quite all that, I stayed on a small boat which made several voyages up to Saipan. I got seasick on multiple occasions (yes I admit this), and didn't spend as much time exploring the island for WWII artifacts as I had anticipated. That being said, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. The past few days I've been reflecting on a lot of things and I realize just how blessed I've been. I spent 4 weeks in Guam this summer, and now I'm working as an intern at a national laboratory in Albuquerque. I just bought my first truck, and unlike a lot of my friends who were given cars with their license, I'm actually financially responsible for it - I'm reminded every time I log in to my online bank account. I have great friends and as long as I continue to work hard I'll have a steady job and eventually an engineering degree. I have an awesome family which I'm blessed to be able to see a few times a year. Sometimes I wonder how this has all happened, but I don't have to comtemplate long, I realize it has been Him all along. So here's to continuing to trust our Creator that things always work together for the good, and that through Him all things are possible. Sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget to relish the little things. I think the world would be a better place if we could all take a minute to count our blessings, if we're honest with ourselves and have the courage to face facts we'll be much better off.

I hadn't intended for this to be a motivational "count your blessings" pump up monologue, but that's how it turned out. I'd been down the last couple days, I had an ear infection that has put me out for the count and that most likely has seomthing to do with it. Today, however, I took a drive around the town and just started thinking about what all I have to be thankful for and as cliche, fairy tell, and just downright ignorant as it sounds, it was the pick up that made my day. I'm not great a putting my thoughts into words, but if you're reading this I hope I've somehow started a chain of thoughts in your own mind of all you can be thankful for. And that, for now, is all I am requesting of this entry.

For those of you like me who've found it easy as of late to lose sight of what's important in life, let this be the encouragement and motivation to stand up for what you know is right, and to live as the beacons of hope to this ever-discouraged world!

Oh, and I'll add some pictures from Guam when I get to a real computer, apparently Blogger isn't ipad-friendly.

Until next time,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cancun, Rings, and other things

So much has happened since I last wrote here! In the interest of time, I will keep them all relatively short and without much detail, but let me know if you are interested in hearing more about any of it.

First, I went to Cancun for spring break. It was my first time to ever truly do the classic spring break trip to somewhere exquisite, and it was by far the best spring break I've ever had. I went with 7 other guys from my company here, and we stayed at an all-inclusive resort which had great food, an excellent location, and outstanding service. We met a lot of really cool people too and we hit up some of the nightlife scene in downtown Cancun with them which is always a good time. Overall it was a fantastic trip and very hard to return from.

The next item of interest is Ring Dance, which was two weekends ago. In the previous post I mentioned that I should go with a date, and in keeping with the tradition I did just that. I originally asked a girl from one of the spring break groups we met in Cancun (she was really cool and I hung out with her more than the rest of the people we met down there), but unfortunately she couldn't make it due to a previous engagement. Luckily for me, my friend Brett also asked one of the girls from that same group and his date was actually able to make it, so  yet another girl who was also pretty cool in the group was able to go with me. The formal followed the traditional schedule of the Academy formals, a long, delicious dinner followed by a few hours in the dance hall. It was a good time, and I really like my ring. It is white gold with a Texas Star on top and has a small diamond inset in the center of the star. I'm just happy I was able to combine the Academy and Texas into one ring! After the formal several of us stayed at a rented house where we played games, ate more food, and had a great time until around 4am. It was a great weekend that I'll probably never forget!

In other news, I bought an iPad 2 for this summer's assignments. I don't want to have to bring my computer with me to Guam and Sandia National Labs because it is big and bulky and has been giving me a lot of trouble recently, so the iPad is a good substitute since it is basically a miniature computer that is ultra-portable and capable of handling any of the computing needs that I should encounter during the summer. So far I'm loving it, I find it amazing how far technology has come in just the past few years.

Lastly, our Combat Arms Team has been wrapping up it's year with two of our biggest competitions. The first was JSACWC, hosted by Navy this year. We didn't win, but we had a good time and got to hang out with the teams from the other Academies. This past weekend we went to West Point's 2-gun match (rifle/pistol) and had an absolute blast! The day started off terribly, it was raining sideways and probably 40 degrees outside. I haven't been that cold since I whitewater rafted in Alaska, I couldn't even load my mags. Around lunchtime it stopped raining, however, and for the next 5 hrs we just had a great time shooting through the stages. We weren't even keeping score, just having a good time and being a little competitive amongst ourselves on a stage-by-stage basis. Those last 5 hrs were the best I've had with the team the entire year - very happy I was able to make it this year!

That's about it for now, I need to head to formation anyway. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to write in the upcoming weeks, I have finals next week and then leave for Guam the following Saturday. But as always, if you have questions/comments feel free to leave them here and I'll get back to you eventually! So, until next time, take it easy friends!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Summer, the last pieces

I found out what operational unit I'm going to this summer, as well as which phases will be what. For the first phase (half-ish) of my summer I'll be going to Guam and will be attached to our unit there, and then I'll go to Sandia National Lab in NM. I was bummed with the news that Sandia was second phase, as that means I will be missing Shane's wedding. Perhaps if the operational unit had been one closer to Texas I could have made it, but with it being on the other side of the world it is not a possibility. The silver lining, though, is that if I'm going to be forced to miss his wedding I may as well be somewhere awesome instead, and I think Guam, if for no other reason than it is extremely isolated and rather exotic, fits the bill. Overall, I was stoked about this upcoming summer before I was assigned to Guam, but now even more than before I am excited to get this summer started!

In other news, we sign for our career stater loans tomorrow, a very large sum of money that I will owe (albeit at almost negligible interest). So crazy, the time has truly flown by. I can't believe that I will most likely be purchasing my own truck this summer. Absolute madness.

Also of interest, Ring Dance is coming up in about a month and a half. For those of you unfamiliar with service academy tradition, Ring Dance is a formal event where cadets are all dressed up in their best dinner formal attire, traditionally accompanied by dates, and are presented with their class rings during the course of an exquisite meal. After the meal there is dancing and "hanging out" in a very formal sort of way.Unfortunately, I don't know anyone outside of the Academy up here that I would like to ask as a date, and being 2200 miles from home eliminates the possibility of going with any of my good friends from home, which leaves me with two choices. Either ask someone who goes to this school or go on a blind date set up by a friend from here. The first option is almost not an option at all, there's only one person I would even consider going with (it's a long story), and I'm really hoping to exhaust all other possibilities before that. Besides, I am thinking she might already have a date. Anyway, this leaves me with the option of going on a blind date, which is also highly risky and just not something I've ever subjected myself to. It's all quite unfortunate - I really wish my school was closer to home and the people I know I can trust! Oh well, I'll get over it and figure something out. The prospect of Ring Dance in and of itself is too exciting to let this be the aspect which clouds the memory of the occasion!

Until next time

Monday, February 14, 2011

RIP Charmaine Cherry

Yesterday a close family friend passed away as a result of pancreatic cancer. Charmaine Cherry, a native Hawaiian, was one of the most exuberant individuals I have ever met. She wasn't much older than my mom, yet had four grown children and many grandchildren, many of whom I have met. It's hard to describe just how much someone like Charmaine can impact one's life. I'll always have many memories of our family's time with hers, but the one I always remember first is from the last time I saw her.

Being a friend of my moms and just an extraordinary person in general, she volunteered to assist my mom in the preparations for my high school graduation. I was homeschooled, so graduation meant a 45 minute piano concert followed by speeches, farewells (since I was leaving for the military), blessings, shared memories, and then a large reception for all of the guests. Needless to say, the entire operation is a huge undertaking. Charmaine, out of the goodness of her heart, stayed up with my mother through the entire night before my graduation. They made fruit dish after fruit dish, deli platters, cracker bowls, everything you can imagine. She stayed up all night before the graduation and didn't think a thing about it - that's just who she was.

After the piano and speeches part of my graduation, she came up to me excited as usual, completely blown away by the performance (or so she said), gave me a huge hug which she swore was the best she had ever had, and draped a Hawaiian style wreath around my head! It was made from plastic wrap, candies, and $1 bills crinkled up into small fans, and I know it had to have taken a long time to make. She was so energetic that I had no idea she stayed up all night helping my mom. In fact, it wasn't until yesterday that I even heard that story.

Charmaine Cherry, you were an example and inspiration to us all, you are already missed! I'm thankful you are in a better place now but the selfishness of my heart wishes you had stuck around for a while longer.

Please keep the Cherry family in your prayers.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Internship{s} - Follow up

I found out about the internship - I'm going to Sandia labs in NM! I'm stoked, not only because that was one of my top picks, but also because I'm going with a great group of people. I'm going with three other dudes from my major who are all cool. I was worried for a while because I know the internships are usually selected based on academic performance, and the ones with the highest grades are really tough to be around/hang out with at times - which is saying something considering I was home schooled and am somewhat used to that! It all worked out though, and I can't wait to get started on the acceptance/application procedures. Now I'm just hoping that I get the internship in the first half of the summer so I can attend my friend's wedding!


Thursday, January 20, 2011


This summer I'm guaranteed to speed at least 6 weeks deployed with an operational unit, but for the other 5 weeks of my summer I've applied for an internship. Well, actually, I applied for 5 internships. The first was an aviation internship, since I want to be a pilot. The next 4 were through the engineering department at my school, they were NASA, Sandia National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. They were all pretty selective internships, only 8 people were picked for the aviation internship out of my class, and they only send 2 people to NASA and 4 to each national laboratory. Turns out I was accepted to the aviation internship and have been selected for one of the engineering ones as well, although they have only told me I'm probably getting my first or second choice (NASA or Sandia, respectively). I'm pretty excited, I was definitely surprised to find out that I was selected for both. Unfortunately I can only pick one, so I declined the aviation internship and went with an engineering one. I'm thinking that the engineering one is too huge of an opportunity to pass up - I'll either be working at NASA or working on the cutting edge of classified military equipment. Pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most people I would say, and I am certainly no exception. The aviation internship would be an absolute blast, but comparatively I think the engineering internship would be more beneficial to me, certainly if I decide to go to grad school and probably if I go to flight school, also. My only hope is that my internship occurs in the beginning of the summer so that I can be present when my high school buddy, Shane, gets married! I wouldn't want to miss that for the world.

I'll keep y'all posted!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Last Night

As I mentioned in the previous post, I've been struggling with knowing what God has planned for me, especially concerning one particular girl that I see when I make it back home to Texas. If I followed my own advice I would have just told her how I felt, but for the longest time that seemed like an unwise choice and when I prayed about it I never felt at peace with that decision. That is, until this last time. I really felt like I should have an open conversation on the topic with her, and even though I hung out with her the night before I left it never happened. I felt pretty bad about it, and the entire next day as I flew back to the Academy I felt as though I had missed an important opportunity. I took advantage of the long flight hours to do some praying, trying to find out if God really wanted me to move forward with this deal. For the first time I felt like God wanted me to finally be honest with her.

So I called her last night. It was somewhat hard for me to do, people say that guys have a hard time talking about their feelings and unfortunately I am no exception. The surprising thing was that she thought we had already covered this about a year and half ago, which I don't remember. I know I had asked if she had wanted to go to a military formal when I got back home, but other than that we had never talked about us. Regardless, we talked last night. I asked her how she viewed our relationship, then told her how I felt. That part went surprisingly well, God really helped me through the whole thing. The outcome was rather predictable, for me at least. After I gave my spill she told me that she thought I was a good guy and a great friend, and although she wasn't completely opposed to the idea of us dating later she didn't think it was a good idea for the present time. She really appreciated me being honest with her, she said it is always nice when guys will actually share how they feel.

Effectively, she was turning me down. I wasn't too upset though, I completely understand not wanting to jump into a long-distance relationship like that, especially in the early stages of college and without a very solid prior-existing relationship as a foundation. She was very kind and considerate about the whole deal, I was thankful for that. We understand each other and agree with decisions we were able to make. I told her to feel free to call if she ever needed anything, but that I wouldn't necessarily be making an effort to stay in touch this semester as I had in semesters previous. She said that was a good idea and then basically wished me a good semester.

I'm very happy I followed God's direction and was honest with her. It's so much better to be honest with someone, and it was killing me to not be open with her even though I felt that was God's leading up until now. When I got off the phone I realized that at this point it was completely in God's hands, so I prayed and asked God to take the relationship into His hands so I didn't have to worry about it anymore. It was a very freeing experience. I don't know what His plans are for the relationship, if there even are any, but I am at peace with the fact that at this point those plans will not authored by me and in fact won't be authored at all unless by Him.

That should just about get it for my touchy feely feelings for a while, remember to always follow God's direction, and when in doubt just be honest with people. Also, it's okay to be single while you're waiting on God. You'll be happy you did!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years

First off, happy new year to all of you!

Secondly, why is the end of my military leave always so...depressing? I really hate that word, it is overused by people too lazy to get up and deal with their problems. However, I'll admit that for a few days every time I come home I get depressed. Thankfully there's a fail-safe cure - reading my Bible and working out. It works every time!

Usually, this is where my train of thought ends. But I'm just tired of it. Why do I have to deal with this every time I'm home? And why at the end of leave? Obviously there's a reason. I believe its a combination of a few things, namely:
1. I really love being home, and no matter what I'm going back to it never seems to measure up to being home (especially in the winter).
2. A girl.

#1 is pretty self explanatory. I've made incredible friends up at the Academy, they're my best friends by far, now. Even as I write this I am reflecting on those relationships and realize that I miss seeing them, even though it's been a mere two weeks since I've last seen them. Even so, Texas is amazing and miss it as soon as I leave.

#2 is a bit harder to explain. There's this one girl that has held me captive off and on for the past 2 1/2 - 3 years - and the only "off times" during that time span were times when I managed to convince myself to giver her up. And this is pathetic. I realize that. Here's the story:

I met her just a few months before leaving for the Academy. I barely knew her when I left, but I was fascinated with her. She wrote me a few times over that first summer of boot camp, which was awesome. Then during that first year when I unfortunately let all my previous relationships go by the wayside I think she moved on. I honestly have no idea whether or not we would have had anything, but I'm fairly certain that at this point she sees us as no more than friends. I've tried keeping in contact with her, tried getting to know her better, and all to very little avail. During my second summer, while standing watch in the northern atlantic ocean on a ship, she still managed to creep into my thoughts. It would be freezing cold outside, driving sleet, my survival suit sleeves would be iced over, and I absolutely hated my life. Yet in those dark, wee hours of the morning I couldn't help but think about her. It's been that way for most of my time at the Academy.

When I'm home I usually manage to see her once or twice during the break, usually over a meal or something of that nature. If it's just us it's amazing. We have great conversations and I always come away from it on cloud nine. Sadly, many of the meetings we've had were with her friends. She's a couple years younger than I and went to a private school, so up until this break her friends have been these close-knit private school kids with whom I have nothing in common and I usually end up sitting with them but not able to contribute anything to the conversations at hand. Really awkward, more awkward than an awkward turtle.

At this point most would ask my why I haven't told her of my feelings. I don't have a solid answer. The best answer I can give is that it feels like that would be a terrible thing to do. As I previously mentioned, we don't know each other very well. Further, we live over 2000 miles apart, and I only come home about 2 times a year. I think my fear is that if I told her how I feel that would make what relationship we have even more awkward and what little we have would fall apart. On the other hand, perhaps I'm just super chicken. She's this amazing, beautiful girl that I talk with only occasionally and I'm considering telling her that I've been head over heels for her for years? Maybe I'm afraid of the long-distance relationship. Am I really considering asking out a girl that I'll live 2000 miles away from for most of the year, seeing her only a handful of times (at best), without any firm relationship foundation? Would I even be capable of making that work? And what about her? Is that fair of me to ask that much of her? I think the answer is no, that wouldn't be fair of me.

If I followed my own advice that I have given to many others, I would tell her my true feelings. If nothing else I owe her that, and even if I get rejected I'd feel much better about it myself. Didn't Jesus say something to the extent of "The truth will set you free"? Man, dangerous words, those. Maybe it's the fact that I'm writing this at 2 am, maybe I just needed to hash this out, but this seems like the wisest choice. Maybe being completely open and honest with her is the first step to working through the depressing last few days of leave that perpetually plague the tail end of my leave... Or maybe I'll just go read my Bible, work out, and feel completely refreshed like always.

I'll keep you posted


Sunday, December 26, 2010

I love Christmas

Despite the fact that it has been forever since I have written here, I would like to express my absolute love of Christmas, as well as being home. I know a lot of people loose interest in the "holiday season" as they grow older, but I have come to enjoy it more and more. I think this is because I used to take family time for granted. Now that I only get to see my family 2-3 times a year, I have come to treasure the time I have with them. This, and freedom, are why I love home so much. Also, the people here. I have yet to find people anywhere else that are of the same caliber as those here (sorry if you're not from around here, you're probably a great person but I just love the people here). But Christmas is especially awesome for a few reasons.

First, Christmas music. I love Christmas music. Unfortunately, it seems that fewer and fewer of my friends share my love for the music genre, but I always look forward to playing Christmas music and often start well before Thanksgiving.

Secondly, everyone appears happy. There seems to be less fighting, much more getting along, and overall cheer fills the cold, sharp air. Now, as some of my pessimistic friends have pointed out, for many people it is nothing but an act. Some are really good at playing the part and some try but are terrible at hiding their fake smile. I have a fairly good ability to read people and can usually spot those playing the part with some ease. Regardless, it is often still a more enjoyable atmosphere. Perhaps sometimes it's ok to hide one's feelings. I'm sure that a child, who often cannot read the illegitimate happy front, benefits much more from the cheery parent than they would from an honest but glum parent. It is a well known phenomena how a person's cheer or gloom can spread to others, so when people appear happy, regardless of their true emotion, it often spreads. I really appreciate this aspect of Christmas. Ideally, a happy atmosphere would occur year-round. I try to fulfill this dream in my own life, realizing, of course, that we all have bad days. But the reality of the world is that it does not, so the Christmas cheer that seems rather universal (at least in our country) is a great time for me.

Last, and probably most important to some members of my family, is the food. Christmas and Thanksgiving are the "amazing meal" holidays and I love to eat. I love eating almost as much as I love sleeping. I eat military food most of the year anyway, so I'm pretty much in heaven during the entirety of these two holidays.

Suffice it to say, I truly enjoy Christmas. This year in general has been great, though. It is fitting to have an awesome Christmas break to end a great year on. The past semester went well, I ended up with a term GPA of 3.49, bringing my cumulative up to a 3.05. Not that great for an average college student, but military college is a bit different and sadly I'm still recovering from my first semester there. I'm applying for an internship next summer and one of the requirements is to have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater, so I finally meet that requirement and that was my goal. Additionally, my best friend and I have come up with an idea for our senior design project that we'll start next school year, so we'll be writing up a proposal for that next semester. Overall it has been a fantastic year, and I'm looking forward to what I have ahead of me! God has been so good to me, I really have no right to complain. Any time that I feel down or tempted to complain, I need to remember what they used to say: "Count your blessings..."

How was your year? Share your blessings and spread the cheer!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Concert follow-up

So the concert was amazing! Definitely one of the best I've ever been to. I missed Easton Corbin because we got there a little late, but I heard Sara Evans, Darius Rucker, Jason Aldean, and Brad Paisley! If I ever get the chance to go to any of their concerts again I'll jump on the opportunity. I brought my new camera along and got some cool pictures too. This first picture is of Sara Evans during her concert. It takes some great low-light photos and that was great since a lot of the concert was at sunset and after it was dark. The picture at the end of my post is of from Jason Aldean's show. After the show we headed up to New Hampshire to stay with some friends who graduated from the academy this past year. There's four of them that live in an amazing house in the woods. If that's what I have to look forward to as an Ensign then I'm pretty stoked. Hopefully we'll have something like that (whoever I get stationed with) down at flight school!
All in all it was a great wee
kend trip, and a
great way to start off the school year (which looks to be another tough semester).