Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Beginnings

Life is interesting... perhaps it is when you don't feel like new will come into your life, or that the monotonous cycle of daily life will never change, that your whole world gets turned upside down.  Now, the dizziness and  nausea that was once the result of an endless battle of monotony and ennui is from the excitement and roller coaster called marriage.  Perhaps I see things differently, perhaps life is just more interesting, perhaps I have more things to do.  Perhaps it is because now there is not only one to think about (myself) but two; and the mixing of thoughts, traditions, habits, and lifestyle is anything but monotonous.  If you are reading this you probably know me well enough that on September 8th, 2012, in the Rexburg, ID temple, I was married for time and all Eternity.
Who was the one to save me from the monotonous life of singletude and risk everything for a tired, overstudied, engineering major from Misery?  Her name is Juanita, formerly Juanita Millyard, now Juanita Cardwell.  I am honored and humbled to be able to call her my wife.  We met at the beginning of this year, I suppose only a week or two after my last post where I lamented on my life, and the cycle of hopeful relationships and hopeless heartbreaks.  I was the Executive Secretary in our ward so I went out to all the apartments to meet all the people and introduce myself to them.  She was one of the people I introduced myself to, but I didn't have the courage to ask her out for another two months, rather, I spent my time beating around the bush and feeding on the generosity of many sisters who were kind enough to feed me.  Eventually, I was invited to help set up a birthday party for one of Juanita's roommates.  They had cupcakes, so of course I helped.  That's when I really first met and talked with her.  Not too long after, I was at a meeting with plans to go to the Idaho Falls temple afterwards (the Rexburg temple happened to be closed at the time).  I wanted someone to go with but no one was really available.  One of my friends mentioned to me that a girl was wanting to go to the temple, so, using my super ward directory powers, I called her up.  She agreed, awkwardly, to go with me.  I picked her up about an hour later and we went.  I consider this to be our first "social excursion together just the two of us" but at that time didn't really call it a date, it wasn't planned (for more than an hour), and I never paid for it (it was to the temple).  We had a good time, but at that time I wasn't having any serious romantic feelings, and neither was she, so we didn't really go on any dates soon after.
However, not too long after there was a Valentine's Day dance that we both helped set up.  I think she was one of the few girls I danced with... not because I had any strong interest at that time (there was starting to be some) but because I lacked courage (only 20 seconds worth).  Occasionally I would see her in the MC and talk with her and her room mate Kara (now married) but still didn't have the courage to ask her out.  Eventually they invited me to go country dancing, and I agreed.  However I didn't last too long after the instruction period because that's when I was actually expected to cognitively dance.  I think Juanita and Kara were the only ones I danced with, mainly because they made me.  I soon gave into fear and left.  Juanita soon texted me, sternly, stating "you better not have left."  I lamented that I was too anxious and lacked courage to dance, and the social skills to speak intelligently to a female.  She then proceeded to lecture me about having courage and how there will be dancing in heaven, or something like that... The next day I asked her out.  We went on our first official date the next day (February 24th).  I intended to go to comic frenzy, but they didn't have a show that night (we found out at the door) so we got gator jacks and went ballroom dancing.  We saw each other almost every day for the next week and our first kiss (and the official start of our relationship) was March 4th (my dad's birthday, ironically).  The rest is history.  I proposed (officially) on June 3rd.  Here's my version of what happened...
I had been thinking up for some time how I would want to propose (even before meeting Juanita).  I decided to base it off of the three greek words for Love, namely Philia, Eros, and Agape.  Philia denotes a more friendly, brotherly love; Eros indicates a more romantic love, and Agape is more of a Christlike love.  I put each one of these on a note talking about it, complete with music lyrics (that I sing to her in her head).  I also had three different colored roses to go along with each.  A yellow rose, symbolizing friendship, a red rose, symbolizing romance and passion, and a white rose symbolizing purity and holiness.  I had one of my friends stand with the rose and a note at three places around Rexburg, The MC, where we first danced, Gator Jacks, our first date, and the Rexburg Temple, where we first started talking about getting married.  I was also at the Temple.  She got an initiatory note along with a pink rose from a friend of mine which led her to her first destination, the MC.  there was a clue on the note at the MC to go to Gator Jacks, and from there a clue to go to the temple.  I waited anxiously at the temple for her to come (when she finally got the first note, it didn't take long).  She eventually met me there with all the notes and roses and I popped the question there in front of the temple.  SHE SAID YES!!
We did take a trip out to Missouri and Alaska to say hi to parents and to get away from Rexburg for a while.  That was a lot of fun.  I drove Juanita's car (now our car) from Denver to Rexburg after the trip.
Since being married, life has been great.  We are doing very well and staying very busy.  I'm taking one of the hardest classes of my life (principles of physiology) and she is finishing up her degree.  Hopefully she will be placed locally near Rexburg so that we don't have to move anywhere.
Well, that's about it.  perhaps I'll try and post some pictures soon....

Monday, December 26, 2011

Another page turns...

Well I suppose it's time for an update, not that anyone really needs to be updated about what's going on in my life.  The only ones who read my blog are probably the ones who already know what I'm up to, but oh well.  Life in the burg seems to have slowed down a bit.  Being off track seems to do that.  Student Support is pretty much over, we are just getting ready for Get Connected... which is ready.  Over the past few Months I have seen some close friends come together and get married.  Interestingly enough, a lot of them met around the same time and are getting married around the same time.  Where was I you may ask... in the library... doing homework... thus is the story of my life.  At times it seems the world moves on around me just leaving me dizzy and nauseous.  But all is well, and life is good.  In all honesty, I am ready for the crazy semester to start.  I'll be up to my ears in classes and other things, but at least I won't wonder every day what I am going to do... as I have done most days the last few months.  With every new semester comes new people, new friends, new experiences, new trials, new joys, new love interests, new heart breaks... it's all a never ending cycle.  Overall, it's been a good year.  It hasn't ended the way I was hoping, but it's probably ending the way it is supposed to.  The question is now, what will a new year bring my way?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Life is...

Life is... what is life?  Who knows what life is really about?  It twists it turns; it stops it goes.  Sometimes it makes sense but most of the time it makes none.  It is filled with different people with different goals and aspirations.  One day you may be at the peak of Mt. Everest, the next you are at the bottom of the Ocean.  You may have everything one day and then have it all taken from you the next.  Life is unpredictable.  It would seem that whenever you think you have something figured out, or when you think you can make some prediction of the future, life has a way of reminding you of how little you are in control.

Right now I sit at home in Missouri, contemplating my life and the circumstances that have brought me to this point.  I cannot help but consider what may have been or what could have been or even perhaps what should have been.  I wonder what may have been different for me now if I had made different decisions. No matter, what is done is done, there is no sense living in the past.  There is only the future.  I do not know what or who is out there, all I know is that I need to keep moving forward. 

It is like hiking toward a mountain... with each individual step you notice no progress, you notice your immediate surroundings change, but the mountain still looks as far away as it ever has been.  By and by however you look up and find yourself at it's base, staring up at it's towering peak.  Then you start climbing... again, you feel like you aren't making any progress, that the goal is always just out of reach.  Then you reach the top.  From there you are able to look back at where you started, where you've been, and where you stand now.  Off in the distance, you see another mountain you couldn't see before.  This one is larger, and further away, yet it calls to you, so you move towards it.  Thus is life...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Re Re Re Recruitment!!

Hey y'all!  It's been a while since I blogged so I thought I would write something... life in the days of Joe have been pretty crazy the last month or so.  School started on campus at the beginning of September... yeah... I'm off track.  It's always interesting to listen to all my friends talk about all the homework they have to do and I get to remind them of all the things I have to get done by the end of the day... which include... eating... breathing... sleeping... and going to the bathroom...  so busy.  Actually I have managed to keep myself pretty busy.  Right before Labor Day I had a job... I worked for four days cleaning carpet for a local guy here and I expected to continue working for him once the semester started.  However, he has a phone allergy and I can hardly contact him to know when I can really start working.  So... I have a job... sorta... I haven't worked since Labor Day.  How Ironic.  So I think I've decided to get myself stuck twice a week with a needle and offer myself to the plasma gods... yay... 

Anyway, despite not having a job I have done a substantial amount of volunteer work for the school.  The week after Labor Day I was a part of a program on campus called Get Connected.  I was an I-Team leader and basically helped a group of new students get acclimated at school.  If you want to see the crazy side of Joe just place a bright orange polo on me and give me sign with a big picture of Chuck Norris on it... I'll do things you wouldn't normally think of me doing... like screaming like a girl in front of a couple thousand people and dancing ridiculously to a jump rope song.  Who knew right... 

After Get Connected I was called to serve on the Student Support Council that puts together Get Connected.  My position was a "Recruitment Coordinator" but now I'm called the "Outreach Coordinator" (my position was revamped)  It is my responsibility to make sure all the various programs have enough volunteers to function during the next semester.  It's been a lot of fun actually.  It's been like being back on the mission.  A couple weeks I've spent almost 30 hours doing recruitment related things like standing (or sitting) at a booth handing out flyers relating to Student Support.  I've also gone door to door handing out flyers.  It's always fun to knock on a door and try to make things as awkward as humanly possible.  Like mentioning the fact that the person who is knocking with you is single... then intentionally creating an awkward silence to let that sink in.  It gets more interesting when the person who opens the door says she likes awkward guys... then you proceed to offer her your partners number... then pause again for awkward effect.  Yeah, it happened.  Only it was my number that was offered.  I almost gave it to her.  I would have gone on a date with her.

Anyway, it's been a lot of fun serving with some super energetic and happy people.  It's quite contagious sometimes.  they also have great spirits about them.  We're always laughing and having a good time in the office.  Like today for example.  Apparently there is a Canadian Thanksgiving holiday and it just so happens it was today.  It also just so happens that our Area Directer is from Canada.  She came in to a nice big Canadian flag and we later had a Thanksgiving feast of Canadian Bacon, Swiss Cheese, and crackers.  I think we should pick a country everyday and name it that country's Thanksgiving, I could go for that every day.  But that's what goes on in the office all the time.  It's great.

As far as church is concerned I'm now one of the Gospel Doctrine teachers.  I really enjoy that calling.  They also recently formed a choir.  I was so excited during sacrament meeting that I did a little fist pump and whispered "YES!" only I guess it wasn't much a whisper because everyone heard it... then the first counselor proceeded to make it known to everyone that "Joe is excited too" it was fun.  As usual I'm pretty much the only tenor... I guess other people think it's too manly to hit those high notes and of course all the men don't really want to be men... they want to be cows (or bulls if you want to be anatomically correct)... but if that's what works for them then so be it.

When it's all said and done, all I can say is that my life is pretty much awesome.  I can't complain.  I have been blessed with so much I don't really deserve it.  But that's a day in the life of a Joe.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Off-Road Civic

So so far it's been a pretty interesting week.  Casey and I have our usual morning dream report and mumbling session.  I will not disclose Casey's dreams on this blog (younger children may read it, not that they are inappropriate, just disgusting)  I've been working out/running every day so I feel pretty good.  I also volunteered at a rehab center where I'm going to do a little presentation on Jamaica (because I know all about Jamaica...) it should be fun.  I'll also be reading to an older disabled gentleman.  Aapparently he likes to be read from some of the "LDS" stuff, but also from some of the "Seventh Day Adventist" stuff... that will be interesting.  Anyway, on to some more exciting things.  Yesterday I went with the institute out to Jackson and went to the Bar J Chuckwagon Supper.  It's a pretty sweet gig they got going on there.  Basically what it's an all you can eat country ho down (without the dancing).  What they do is load you up into big Barn.  I did the math (I had a long wait and got a little bored... yeah, I'm a nerd) and you can fit about 800 people in this place charging each of them 25-35 dollars a plate.  They do this every night from Memorial Day until Labor day totaling about 80,000 people over the summer. So basically, they make bank every summer.  When it's time for dinner they have you line up and then you go through a serving line where they SLOP (they may get a little on you) on a bunch of food on your plate.  When you are done eating that you can go back for seconds.  Following the dinner they have a little show where these cowboys get up and play their fiddles, guitars, basses, and banjos to some old country songs my grandmother probably has never heard of.  All the while cracking jokes.  It's actually a lot of fun.
 That night I ended up sleeping at a friends house in St. Anthony and we were going to go up to Table Rock today.  We ended up not going there and decided to try and find the Ice Caves instead.  You would think when directions to a place consist of passing over cattle guards and looking for piles of rocks that roads probably aren't all that great.  However that didn't stop me and my civic.  The Ice Caves are like that island in Pirates of the Caribbean that you can only get to if you already know where it is.  You turn immediately after you pass a 3rd cattle guard onto a little dirt road that could be easily mistaken for a small ditch on the side of the road.  Well we did find this "road" and turn onto it thinking (hoping) it would be just a smooth dirt road that would take us straight to the caves.  Well, it wasn't smooth, and it definitely wasn't straight.  It was filled with ruts and rock where I'm sure many a civic had lost a muffler, or popped a tire, or just plain died.  But not my civic.  You see, my civic (shirley is her name) is indestructible and will probably never die, even when I want it to.  She tackled that road like a beached whale inching along the shore with the tides.  I: spent 45 minutes maneuvering over the road, trying to avoid the tire paths. They were carved in and if I would have used them I probably could have passed for a 4 cylinder bulldozer.  However, the only thing that would have been dozed would have been my car.  I think I had a top speed of a blinding 4 miles an hour.  Somehow, we made it to the caves, which if you aren't careful you could drive into.  It's basically I giant rocky crater with a cave at the bottom of it.  It's called the ice caves because all the way through it you are walking on Ice.  Water apparently drained into the cave and froze leaving giant Icicles and walls of Ice all through out the cave.  It's actually pretty cool (no pun intended).  After gallivanting around the caves, trying not to get impaled by the rocks and ice chunks that hang down we headed back to the car and drove back, narrowly escaping with Shirley's life.  when we finally made it back to the road I checked her out just to make sure she still had all her fingers and toes and after re attaching the muffler, we headed back.  I don't recommend taking a civic that is only about 6 inches off the ground off roading... at least not on that "road."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lights upon the Water

I had a restless night last night, I was thinking about some things.  On Church on Sunday, the focus of the lessons seemed to be on doing service and being an influence on others.  This caused me to think about some of the things I am doing in my life and the influence I have on other people.  A well known scripture speaks of being a light set upon a hill and giving light to all those who see it.  I thought about what kind of light I am displaying in my daily actions.  Am I using my knowledge and experience to bless the lives of others?  Am I being a positive influence on other people?  A movie I recently have seen is "Soul Surfer," a movie that speaks of a teenage surfer in Hawaii who was attacked by a shark and lost her left arm.  Despite this tragedy she found a way to turn her experience into a blessing for others.  She became a light unto others, helping them gain a new perspective and to give them hope.  I have never had such a tragedy occur in my life, I still have all my limbs and live in good health; yet, I have the light of the gospel in my life.  I have specific experiences and challenges that I have overcome that I can glean from to help other people.  Despite these blessings, I still find myself coming up short when it comes to being a light to other people.  At times I feel like a light upon the water that is being tossed about the waves or sitting idle upon still water.  How could I be a light to others when my position changes based on the wind?  What I need to be is steady, fixed and immovable, like a lighthouse.

In a similar vein, I started reading Franklin Covey's book "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and it's caused me to think about a few things, particularly about what principles and laws our lives are based on and how to change them from the inside out.  One particular example he used struck me as particularly significant.  It speaks of a battleship at sea in dense fog who sees a light in the distance appearing to come right at them.  Assuming it's another ship the battleship signals to the light to change it's course.  The light signals back that the battleship needs to change it's course and after some heated exchanges the captain signals that he is a battleship and the light needs to change it's course.  The light responds by saying, "I am a lighthouse."  With this added understanding and new perspective the battleship changed it's course.  The point of the story was to relate how often, in order to change, we need to change our perspective.  I use this example to illustrate how those who are sure and steadfast can influence others to change their course by standing in their place, refusing to be moved.

In conclusion, we are all both battleships and lighthouses.  We are all trying to improve our course each day while still trying to be a positive light unto others.  Whatever light we have, the question is, how hot and how high does it burn.  Another question is, how do we increase the light we shed forth.  My answer is put God first in all that we do.  If we can do that, everything else will fall into it's proper place or drop out of our lives.  We will have an increased measure of the spirit, even the light of Christ.  Our love of the Lord will increase and so will our recognition of the Lord's love for us.  Our self esteem will increase along with our confidence, and we will have the capability to do all things and accomplish much good. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Guys... are all alike, except for the fact that we are all different...  Some guys find it awkward, weird, or just plain "gay" to hug another guy or show any type of closeness whatsoever.  Others may not be so uptight and will welcome a hug from another guy (or perhaps more often initiate a hug).  Most probably fall somewhere in between.  In all cases however, I'd say guys aren't as "touchy" or "cuddly" with other guys as girls are with other girls.  I know many girls who find nothing wrong with cuddling together, laying together, holding hands or hugging each other.  Obviously then there is some hormonal differences between guys and girls that cause guys to be more distant from each other.  However, I feel other factors contribute to how close guys allow themselves to be to other guys.  Guys seem to have something called a "bro-meter" that measures their "bro-ness" as it relates to another guy.  How does it work? well, the higher the "bro-level" you have with another guy, the closer you are to them and the more likely you are to have some sort of physical contact (never, however, to the level of girls).  What contributes to a guys Bro-ness?  Well, What makes any type of relationship work?  Time, energy, sharing interests, mutual respect, listening, working together, having fun, and avoiding trying to date the same girl.  If effort is made in these areas, a guy will move up on the bro-meter.  When a guy achieves a high level of bro-ness with another guy, then suddenly it isn't weird to give a hug now and then, or even on occasion say I love you (the love I speak of is brotherly love).  And you know what, That's ok.  Why do I talk about this?  I find it interesting to observe how one guy (such as myself) may find it totally natural to hug one guy, but find it totally awkward to hug another.  I spent some time today with a Guy who I'd say is pretty high on my bro-scale, perhaps higher than anyone else, we've spent a lot time together (mainly before he got married, now... not so much), we have a lot of the same interests, we can talk about just about anything, and as far as I know, we've never tried to date the same girl.  I would feel comfortable giving him a hug just about any time and not think a thing of it.  On the other hand, there are my room mates...  They are great guys, and I don't have a problem with them (usually) but they aren't nearly as high on my bro-meter (no offense to them). We simply haven't spent as much quality time together, we haven't worked hard to really achieve something, or really had to rely on each other all that much.  Do we talk to each other, of course.  Do we occasionally share what we are feeling? Yes, but always at a distance.  Should that change?  Probably.  Will it? who knows.  Of course... there are the exceptions when for seemingly no apparent reason, your room mate comes in to your room and touches your ear... just to see if it would shock you then proceed to place bubble wrap on you face... For that I deduct 3 points off the bro-meter....  All in all, Bros will get close to other guys based on what level they are on their bro-meter.  For some guys, moving others up their bro-meter is quicker than for others, some have different ranges of where their meter extends, but I think all guys have a bro-meter of some sort.  Anyway, I've blabbed on and probably confused you all enough.  I'll leave at that and call it a night.  Until next time, keep smiling.