Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bike Accident

As some of you know, I started riding a bike for recreational purposes about a year ago.  It has been a great way to exercise and I have enjoyed learning all about cycling.  I have a good friend, Craig Schafer, who has been riding bikes for many years.  He has been a real friend in helping me to know what equipment to purchase and teaching me the rules and etiquette of cycling.  However, on the morning of August 5, 2011, Craig was not able to ride so I decided to head out by myself.  I left the house before 5 am and rode a few miles away where another group of riders usually meets up.  No one was there and after waiting for 5 minutes or so, I decided to just go by myself.

The route I choose to ride had a bike lane and always had other cyclists.  I saw lots of other riders; however, I didn't hook up with any groups preferring to ride solo and push myself through my workout.  After a good workout of about 30 miles, I was heading home around 6:30 am feeling good about my decision to ride even though I had to go it alone.  I was riding past a large Boeing plant that frequently had lots of morning traffic as workers hurried to their job.  I am always careful in this area because cars are often moving into the bike lane as they make their turn into the parking lot.  I was headed west bound and I noticed a car in the east bound left turn lane and I supposed they were waiting for myself and possibly other traffic to clear before turning.  I was traveling about 22-23 mph and the car suddenly turned right in front of me.  I didn't have much time to react but I recall yelling loudly and slamming on my brakes.  I was able to stop a few feet short of the car but my momentum threw me over my handlebars and I slammed into the right front part of the vehicle.  My left leg landed in front of the right front tire and the tire went over my leg.  As soon as my leg was free, I pulled back from the car and laid down on the street.  I felt excruciating pain in my right shoulder area and my left leg and I think I was pretty vocal about the pain I was feeling.

The driver of the car stopped immediately and got out of his car to check on me.  He called 911 and then apologized for not seeing me.  Soon other people were on the scene including other cyclists who stopped to offer assistance.  Someone asked if there was anyone they could call for me.  I asked them to call Camille although I knew she would be very worried getting this phone call.  The paramedics arrived soon and began to assess my situation.  They took one look at my shoulder and knew something was not right.  They put on a neck brace and strapped me to a board (which is very uncomfortable by the way).  Camille arrived just as they were loading me into the ambulance.  She was able to see me for a second before we headed for the hospital.  I remember asking her to check on my bike and to see if the driver was cited by the police.
Road rash
Soft tissue damage

Left Ankle

At the hospital, we spent a lot of time waiting for doctors, taking x-rays, having an MRI, and a myriad of other things that were deemed necessary to find out what was wrong.  They determined that I had separated my right shoulder (a few days later, the orthopedic surgeon diagnosed it as a 3rd degree separation) and had some soft tissue damage on my lower right back, and some road rash and bruising on my left leg.  They sent me home with some good pain medication and told me to see an orthopedic doctor in a couple days.  While at the hospital, Craig stopped by to pay me a visit.  I could tell he felt bad about not being with me on the ride but it probably wouldn't have made any difference.  He called a friend and they were able to give me a priesthood blessing before I left the hospital.

Ready to go home
My bike took a few hundred dollars to repair.  In addition, the doctors at the hospital cut off my riding bibs and jersey and my helmet was slightly damaged.  Fortunately,

My recovery has been much better than expected.  I heard from some that recovery was extremely difficult and painful but my experience was as good as could be expected.  I only took one pain pill after leaving the hospital and I had my arm out of the sling within a couple days.  The shoulder was sore and my mobility was limited but I had very little pain and recovered fairly quickly.  I couldn't run for several weeks and I didn't get back on my bike for a couple months but all things considered, the accident could have been much worse, my injuries could have been much worse, and my recovery could have been much more difficult.  I believe the priesthood blessing I received directly aided in my recovery and limited the amount of pain I had to endure.  Although I would prefer to not experience an accident such as this, I believe I was watched over and protected so as to be able to accomplish other things in my life.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tender Mercies

A few weeks ago (June 18th), I had the opportunity to hike Mt Humphreys with Tanner, my brother Shad, and my nephew Riley.  I had talked about doing this hike several times over the past few years but had never actually gotten it done so I was grateful that my brother Shad invited me to come along.  I really love the outdoors and this hike was a reminder of how much I have missed backpacking the past couple years.  We left Mesa at 6 am so we could get to the trialhead in Flagstaff at a decent time and begin hiking.  I think we started hiking around 9:30.  The weather was perfect - a little cool but not cold.
Here are Tanner and I at the trail head - 9.6 miles round trip with a beginning elevation of 9,300 and ending at the summit with an elevation of 12,633.

Tanner and his cousin Riley taking a water break along the trail.

My brother Shad on the trail.  Still lots of snow but very little actually on the trail.

The views were beautiful!

Here we are after reaching the saddle.  It was very windy and the temperature was cooler thus the additional layer of clothing.

Here are Tanner and I after reaching the summit.  We sat down behind some wind breaks, ate some food and water, and enjoyed the fantastic 360 degree views.  We spent about 30 minutes at the summit before heading back down the trail.

Although downhill, the hike back to the trail head was challenging and required you to pay attention to all the rocks and tree roots in the trail.  At one point, our group got off the main trail.  As we made our way back to the trail, we had to descend a steep area that was covered in loose rocks and sand.  My footing slipped and I reached my hands back to catch myself.  In the process, the back of my head smacked a large boulder.  As I sat down on the ground with my head spinning, blood began to run over my head.  My brother began to get out his first aid kit when up the mountain came another hiker.  He came upon us within a minute of the accident and he immediately started to assess the situation.  None of us had seen this guy before so my brother started to question him by asking if he was a doctor.  He said that he was a nurse and that he was a volunteer with the forest service.  He and my brother cleaned the wound on my head, applied pressure to stop the bleeding, and bandaged it so I could continue down the mountain.

Later as I pondered about this experience, I felt very blessed that my brother had packed an excellent first aid kit and that a skilled nurse had happened upon us almost immediately.  This experienced reminded me once again of the tender mercies of my Heavenly Father and how He is constantly aware of me and my needs.  Although my injuries were minor, I was watched over and my needs were met allowing me to continue on my hike and enjoy the day with my family.  This has happened repeatedly during the course of my life.  I feel like the Jaredites did as recorded in Ether 6:12 - "...And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Another busy week as we transition from school schedule to summer schedule.  Here's an update on where everyone's at these days.

Chase is quickly becoming very independent and feels he needs his parents less and less.  We are glad that he's such a good and responsible young man and he continues to make good choices in his life.  He just completed the 11th grade and was able to attend Prom with a young lady from our ward.  He enjoys singing in the choir and was accepted into the Chorale Choir for next year (nice job Chase!).  We were able to attend the Rock 'N Roll concert that the music department held a few weeks back and all the choirs did a great job.  It was a fun evening with lots of fun music and dancing.  Chase is currently occupied with studying for the ACT test which he will take in a week.  He starts training this week for his lifeguard job at Big Surf water park (the job starts the following week so long as he passes the training).  He was also recently called to serve as the 1st assistant in the Priest's Quorum at church.

Jordan has started early morning football practice as he prepares for his first year playing for the high school team.  He has practice every day at 5:30 am and then he had an additional football camp that he attended at another high school for 3 evenings.  He has been pretty sore from lifting weights and doing lots of cardio work but he seems to be enjoying being a part of the team.  As a sophomore, Jordan was in choir for the first time this year and learned a lot about singing.  He was reluctant to take choir but I think he really enjoyed it (not sure he will admit it though).  So much so that he decided to take choir again next year!  He participated in the Rock 'N Roll concert as well and did a great job.  Jordan continues to be a voracious reader, devouring books whenever he can.  He is a very attentive older brother to Ryder and loves to spend time tending to his every need (explains why Ryder is spoiled beyond belief).

Since completing the 7th grade in Jr. High, Tanner has been very busy with friends and parties.  Seems like he is always off going somewhere with some group of kids.  Fortunately, he runs with a good group of kids and they all keep each other in line.  He continues to grow like a weed and we have trouble keeping him in clothes and shoes that fit him.  He is now taller than Camille and Chase with no sign of stopping.  Tanner just completed his first season of Juniors baseball in Little League.  This was his first time playing on a regulation size field and he adjusted well.  His team had a great season although they didn't fare well in the end of season tournament.  This week, Tanner is beginning a 2 week baseball hitting camp with one of his friends and he has been exploring the option of club baseball.  Tanner has continued his creative ways - some of his creations rival McGyver.  He received several different styles of duct tape as a present and has found many different things to make including wallets and shoes.  He also is starting a Junior Lifeguarding program next week with the city pools.

Trevor is a unique spirit who loves to play with his toys and his friends.  Fortunately, two of his good friends live just around the corner.  These 3 guys can usually be found together at one of their homes playing with toys, swimming, playing video games, legos, or doing something else that they dream up.  Having friends close by at this age has been a real blessing for Trevor since he is sometimes "too little" for his bigger brothers.  Trevor just finished the 3rd grade which included the infamous Rain Forest program.  This involves Trevor making a hand puppet to resemble one of the animals that reside in the rain forest.  Camille loves (not!) this part of the 3rd grade curriculum.  It involves a lot of time and effort mostly from the parent(s).  However, when all was said and done, the puppet turned out great and the program was a success.  Trevor was one of the narrators for the program and he did an excellent job (as did all the kids).  Trevor just finished his first season of Minors Little League baseball.  He showed steady improvement and his team had a successful year.    This summer Trevor has been taking swim lessons, attending basketball camp and will go to cub scout day camp at the end of this week.

Ryder is such a joy and a blessing to our family.  He is adored by his brothers and as mentioned before, completely spoiled.  He is finally starting to get some teeth which has slowed his appetite somewhat but he continues to be a happy, loving toddler.  He LOVES to be outside - just mention the word "outside" and he lights up.  He loves shooting hoops, feeding rocks to the dogs, playing in his car and on his slide, splashing in the dog's water dish, anything outside!  Sometimes he will press his face up to the back door like he wants to come in but if you open the door, he squeals and runs away inviting you to follow and play.  He will spend hours outside pausing only for a few moments to get a drink of water.
He sometimes get confused when feeding the dogs a bisquit  - "Do I eat this?"


Here's his basketball shooting form.  We're going to have to work on this!

Camille and I spend most of our time just trying to keep up with all the events mentioned above.  Camille is an angel to put up with all the testosterone in our home.  She is great at teaching our kids about the details that I often forget (like that tan and gray don't match).  She is the chorister in Primary and does a fabulous job.  Her love for music and for the children is very evident as she teaches songs each week.  She rarely misses a day at the gym, she loves her book clubs and her bunko group, but she always puts us first and we would certainly be lost without her.  She was able to attend Women's Conference at BYU this year with some friends and with Suzanne.  She had a great time and I'm sure it was a nice break from the boys.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Journal writing

I have need to repent.  No, this will not be an all-inclusive confession but I have felt an strong urge to make an improvement in my life specifically in the area of journal writing.  I have been setting a very poor example for my children and for others that may or may not know whether I keep a consistent journal.  But as my mother would say, "I was raised differently."  And she, of course, would be correct.  I was raised in a home where journal writing was stressed and where my mother was and still is the queen of journal writing.  As a youth, I wrote in my journal at least once a week albeit many times under duress.  Nonetheless, my journal "chore" was done.  I believed my parents and felt of the importance of keeping a journal.  I imagined myself a modern-day Moroni writing to my posterity who would in some future day look back and be grateful that they had a faithful ancestor who shared great wisdom and knowledge through their journal writings.  However, the amount of writing I actually did would put me in the same category as Chemish.

Many of my entries revolved around my daily activities and the results of various sporting events in which I had either participated or viewed.  I do have some entries that contain who I had a crush on that week and an admission or two of some of my youthful indiscretions.  I have read much of my previous entries and the only knowledge I can glean is...on second thought, maybe not.

As a full-time missionary, I believe I improved not only the consistency of my journal writing, but also the content of my entries.  Writing a journal became something different - it was more about how keeping a journal helped my development and less about how my writings would help someone else.  My journal writing provided a private way to express my feelings and frustrations, to discover and expand my character, and to give substance to my dreams.  I continued my journal writing after my mission while I attended undergraduate and graduate school.  Gradually, I wrote less and less, sometimes going several months between entries.  As the frequency became less and less, I found that the content of my writing became more of the travel log of my youth.  Sometimes I would convince myself that I didn't have time to write since it would involve trying to "catch-up" with all the daily happenings.  Several years ago, some of my journal writing was entered in this blog as an electronic history of my life and that of my family.  But the past couple years, my journal writing has been virtually nonexistent.  My time has been occupied by work, family, church, hobbies, media distractions, and a host of other demands.

As my children reached an appropriate age, my wife and I encouraged them to keep a journal.  In fact, similar to my own upbringing, we included "Write in your journal" on their list of Sunday duties.  Some weeks it is a pleasant experience as they write about the happenings of the week but often it is a struggle as we enforce the rule and try to help them see the value in journal writing.  For several months now, my older children have complained about their journal writing  and vocally questioned why they should be required to write when I neglected this supposed important duty.  I always had a excuse about how busy I was what with my Sunday church duties and the other demands on my time.  However, it was just that - an excuse.

In addition to my kids' gentle (or not so gentle) rebuke, I was provided another reminder of my journal neglect when our high councilor spoke last week.  His remarks were centered around a talk given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf about refocusing our efforts on things that matter most.  I was reminded about how many television shows and sporting events I had made time for while I neglected things that matter most to me or that should matter most to me.  Journal writing is one of those neglected items.

I have recommitted myself to keeping a consistent journal.  I will make sure my journal writing takes priority over things that don't matter.  I know that developing this habit will benefit me and I'm hopeful that my example will help my children see the importance of this latter day commandment.