Saturday, November 27, 2010

As we commemorate 10 years the Lewis’ begin year 1

Stuart William Lewis, 43 years old and Karalee Lewis, 18 years old, both of American Fork, Utah, perished in a car accident in Tabiona, Utah, on November 25, 2010. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Lewis family was about 10 minutes away from their intended destination when their 18 year old daughter, who was driving, pulled out in front of a semi truck at the intersection of State Road 35 and State Road 208.
According to police, the driver was unable to avoid the crash and hit the driver’s side of the Oldsmobile Silhouette van the family was riding in. The two Lewis members, identified above, died at the scene of the crash. Other family members, Trudy Ann Lewis, 46, James Andrew Lewis, 15, and Abigail Lewis, 11 were injured, with the two children being flown to Primary Children’s Medical Center in critical and serious condition. All were reported to have been wearing their seatbelt.
As reported at ronkramerlaw
I can’t help but feel sad for this family, as my family and I have a unique perspective on this sort of tragedy. I want to help. I know I have readers out there. I wonder if we can’t do something to help this family out.
“Relatives have set up a fund at the Bank of American Fork called the Trudy Makin Lewis fund. Trudy is the mother/wife who was injured in the accident. I understand they are quite desperate financially, now that their bread-winner has died and especially in view of the enormous medical bills they are facing.” – John Hollenhorst KSL news.
You can donate to this fund at any Bank of American Fork. Just tell the person at the bank you would like to make a donation to the "Trudy Makin Lewis Fund."
I know that a similar fund was put in place for my family, and it helped a LOT! It is because people took time to help us out that we were able to accomplish as much as we were could. I ask with the most sincerity that I can muster, please help this family! If you live close by please find out what you can do to help them. I do not know if they are members of the LDS church, but please try to contact a bishop in American Fork and find out what you can do to help. Anything, from money, to meals, to thinking of you cards will help. This family desperately needs help, let’s give it to them.
I could not find a way to contribute to this fund online. I am in contact with KSL, so if they alert me to any news I will post it here. If anyone else can figure out how to contribute online please post it in the comments.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The worst storm we’ve had in 10 years

…Well, that’s how they pitched it anyway. I don’t want to take away from the havac that the storm caused in Idaho, and even into Salt Lake. However, in little old Lindon and down in Provo we got nothing. It’s cold to be sure, but it isn’t anything that we don’t see on a regular basis in Utah. I was waiting for the power to go out and for massive trees to be blown over. I had planned on making a snow cave in the back yard with the massive amount of snow that was supposed to have fallen.

The storm was supposed to hit at 3:00pm, and then at 6:00pm. Well, 10:30pm rolled by and it still hadn’t gotten here. Now it’s the next morning and the ground outside is disappointingly not covered in white. Nothing is blown over, and the lights all work. After all of the hype I must admit that I am thoroughly disappointed. But, it’s still the holidays, so I will enjoy eating massive amounts of food and spending time with family.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

We can all learn something from BYU football this season

We can try to come up with excuses, or reasons, for why BYU had such a horrible start to this season, but the truth of the matter is that they started 1 – 4 and looked to have a dismal season. When they could have called it a loss, and thrown in the towel, they dug deep and started from within. Bronco Mendenhall fired the defensive coordinator and took over the job himself. They also kicked O’Neil Chambers off of the team. I don’t pretend to know the reasons that these decisions were a good idea, but considering BYU’s 6 – 5 record you have to believe in the decisions that were made.

What I find incredible is that BYU looked inward to solve their own problems. Instead of wanting to blame inexperience, or outside forces, they faced the reality of their situation and did what they needed to do.

How often can we do this in our own lives? When life isn’t going the way that we want it is easy to want to blame other people for our hardships. It is much more difficult to accept that we (usually) have quite a lot to do with our situation. Even in the rare case when it is truly not our fault that life is going badly it is a futile exercise to look outward for a solution. We can only control ourselves, and we can only work on our own lives.

Just as BYU looked inward to solve their issues, we should be looking at ourselves to solve our problems. The Savior said it the best when he said “first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” (Mathew 7:5)

Good luck against Utah next week!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Coming up on 10 years since the first time my life was turned upside down

It was a typical Saturday before Thanksgiving. My siblings and I had gotten up early to watch cartoons with the idea that we would be enjoying a lazy day before Turkey Day. It was at this moment that the telephone began to ring. I answered it only to hear my grandmother hysterical on the other end. I could barely understand her, but I heard enough to know she wanted to talk to my mother. I had just turned 16 earlier that month, and the night before my grandparents had been over to celebrate a write of passage celebration in the LDS church. I was ordained as a Priest in the Aaronic priesthood. It had been a very special event. However, now that my grandmother was on the line in a hysteria my thoughts turned to concern for my grandfather. The truth of the situation was more serious than I had contemplated. I waited in the front room only loosely focused on the cartoons. When my mother came in and turned off the cartoons I didn’t even protest. I wanted to hear what was going on.

I couldn’t believe my ears when she broke the news. Earlier that morning my Aunt Nancy, and Uncle Keith had been travelling with their 5 children for Thanksgiving. They were trying to cross a dangerous highway in Texas, when suddenly everything went wrong. They began to cross the road when they realized that a semi-truck was speeding towards them. There was no avoiding the impact. Nancy was killed on contact. The rest of the family sustained major injuries and were taken to the hospital. Keith died the following day from injuries. All 5 of the kids, however, survived.

Immediately my parents sat us all down and explained the situation for us. The first question they asked us was if we would be willing to invite the 5 new orphans into our family as brothers and sisters? We all agreed readily, but I know that I had no idea what I was agreeing to. I had no idea that I had just agreed to turn my life completely upside down in a way that would change my life forever. Lest anyone thinks that I regret the way things have turned out, I wouldn’t trade this part of my life for anything. However, it has been the most difficult part of my life.

The first years were absolutely the hardest. There were physical injuries to deal with for most of the kids. The youngest sustained major head trauma and only lives today because of some amazing doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital. Two other kids had broken femur bones, and a broken wrist. Everyone had bad bruises. However, with the exception of the head injury, these injuries pale in comparison with the emotional trauma that all of us suffered. The obvious emotional issues were with the 5 kids who lost their parents. They were rudely yanked from their happy lives and made orphans in a split second. However, for me and my 5 siblings life was similarly difficult. In many ways the emotional issues that my family had were equally difficult to deal with.

Though the catalyst for change was painful, I am eternally grateful that I have had this experience. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to take some time to highlight some reasons that I have to be grateful for events in the last 10 years.

First and fore most, I learned who my friends were. They were, and continue to be, a rock for me to lean on. In a time when I could have easily given up on God, and checked out of life, they reminded me that God is good and that life is a test. They told me that God obviously thought we were strong enough to handle this kind of adversity. I also learned a lot about dealing with unexpected changes in life. That experience has come in handy here recently as I’m going through a divorce.

I have loved having 11 children in my family! This comes in handy when you need someone to lean on, or want people to hang out with. There is never any shortage of activities to participate in. I love that we all get along so well because I have a huge network of friends that will be around for life!

I cannot believe that 10 years have gone by. In some ways it feels like just yesterday since “The Accident”, but in many ways it feels like forever ago. I can barely remember life before having 11 children in my family. It feels so right. I can’t imagine life without those kids in my family. I am so grateful for trials in my life. I am hopeful that my current trial will work out similarly for me. Hopefully in another 10 years I can look back and say some similar things about my divorce.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Awesome video that my room mate produced

Check this video out. My room mate produced it for a competition at the Glenwood. It's awesome!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I couldn’t agree more

I recently read an article on a blog I follow entitled Let the boys play. Why in the world is it up to the coaches to throttle their own team aside from pulling the starters? If the backups can perform well enough to score points they should be allowed to do that. Especially with BYU having the kind of season it is having, it is not our responsibility to lay off the gas. We should be going full throttle the whole game.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I find myself brainstorming for great ideas

I don’t know about you, but I always find myself thinking of ways to make money doing things that I enjoy. I keep wanting to come up with that killer application that will become the next big thing, or at least catch the attention of the likes of Microsoft or Google.

I’ve tried the online internet survey thing, just to see if it works. Yeah, you can make money at it, but my experience hasn’t shown that you can make a lot of money doing it. But, you can maybe make $0.25 / hr or so. Google’s AdSense program is genius, but I’ll have to get pretty lucky to make any real money with it. What I really need is a killer idea, like the guys at Omniture. The former CEO of Omniture recently brought a few of his high performance vehicles to BYU for some event at the Marriott School of Business. Now that is what I call a killer app that has changed the world and made the inventor lots of money!

So, if anyone with a good idea wants to let me in on your idea I’m all ears.

26, Divorced, and still going to BYU

Now, how many people can say that?

It occurred to me that I am a member of a very elite group of people. Not by plan or by choice, but simply by the way life has turned out so far. So, I ask myself how does it feel? What is it like to be at a school that encourages marriage and discourages divorce. What is it like to be living in singles housing when you are 8 years older than some of your room mates? Before this divorce I don’t know that I could have answered the question. I would have imagined that it was a sucky situation. I would likely have passed some pretty tough judgment on whoever I heard about being in this situation. Never in a million years would I have thought that the above statement would have described me.

I have always considered myself a pretty good person. I wanted everyone else to see a perfect person. (Tell me I’m not the only one who puts on a front for the world). The truth is I still consider myself a pretty good person, but I’m starting to see that I am not quite the perfect person I wanted everyone else to see, and I’m starting to see that as a good thing. Perfection is a good goal, but only if we focus on our progress toward perfection, and not the actual attainment of perfection.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The end of an era is the beginning of a new one

It seems the last 5 years of my life have been a blur. I grew up with the expectation that I would serve a mission for the LDS church. I planned my life around that fact. I accomplished that goal and then realized one important thing... that was the end of my plans. I have been shooting from the hip with mixed results.

I am in the process of finalizing a divorce from my wife of 2 years. If that doesn't slap you in the face I don't know what will. I have gone from a married man with my own apartment, to a single (read divorced) man living in singles housing at BYU. So, like I said in the title, the end of an era is the beginning of a new one. I'm hoping this era works out better for me. I'm hoping that this era involves less compromising my values and more sticking to my guns. PLEASE let this era also involve graduating from BYU. I love this place, but come on! I have got to get out of here some time.