The Most Incredible Love Story Ever Written - OR Never Written!

Wow... What a trip!

Took a day and went to a training conference in Modesto, California yesterday.

This jam-packed, no-seats-available, Sunday evening flight to Oakland was not something to look forward to. I wound up finding my seat next to 2 sisters - and the conversation that ensued was one for the ages.

Lemme give a shout out first to Elenore "Ellie" the Barbara Streisand lookalike, and her sister Lisa... a beaming romantic still in love with her High School boyfriend.

We started with some banter about the books we were reading, and it went from there... HANG WITH ME, because I can't tie this to greatness for a minute.

The two were obviously sisters. They had a similar happy smile (In fact they told me, "we have the same smile"). Each had a different father, and had been in Salt Lake City visiting their mother. A sense of kinship and connectedness between the two and their mother (now married for the 3rd time), and a quiet tone of acceptance was pervasive throughout our 2-hour flight.

On the surface, the 2 sisters were friendly and sweet. None eluded to a life's accomplishment worthy of boasting. Both are mothers of 2 or more children, as was their Mom. Both work. Both love their children dearly. As our exchange meandered from family, to kids, to marriage, to background, I was privileged to hear more in-depth information about their stories.

The story of first sister's father... and being raised primarily by her mothers next husband - and father to the second sister. The story of the second father, and his abrupt departure from the United States to live in Thailand (or somewhere) when the second sister was still young, and the older sister had moved out of the house. The story of their mother finding love, and moving to Utah (of all places).

Ellie told stories of her life, and her 3 children. The story of an incredible adventure with a past boyfriend - how they met on an airplane, and later how they flew to Hawaii, hitchhiked to a remote trail head, hiked 14 miles, camped in caves, and got a ride home on high seas with drunken fisherman - all with not much more to eat than dry bagels and some canned chili. (She quite literally described scooping the chili from the can with the dry bagels... great story!) She told other stories.

Lisa talked with a smile about her husband of 20 years, who was her high school boyfriend, and her 2 children. She expressed what could be interpreted as a longing to see her family more often, and not seeing family as often as she felt she should. She seemed excited to share (and I was truly in disbelief that she will soon become a grandmother to her oldest daughters first child.

It was nice to get a chance to express my own affections for my wife and children and share a few personal tidbits as well.

These stories that came out in our conversation seemed like stories that need to be written. They were GREAT STORIES to me... because for these two women and their mother, they are the most important stories that will ever be told. But the most important part now, reflecting on the stories - were the love stories.

I have spent a day contemplating what was the most important part of their story, and realized it was the love story they were each writing...

As I reflected, I thought about the movie THE NOTEBOOK. When you watch the story portrayed in "The Notebook" it seems so incredible on the silver screen... but I submit that it is a common story. So common in fact that it is almost not newsworthy. It is a story about a boy who falls in love with a girl, and never gives up on that love he feels for her.

What is incredible about "The Notebook" is that it is a story that is TOLD.

In just a couple of hours, we as an audience are allowed to see the stories highs and lows, observe the depth of the struggles and triumphs, feel the power of the resolve to stay together, and watch the couple grow old.

Every couple struggles through real life. We all feel the moments of passion, anger, defeat, and loneliness... we just don't have the benefit of being able to watch the outcome in 2 hours.

This is what makes MY love story The Most Incredible Love Story Ever NOT WRITTEN.

I know the depths of sorrow I have felt, and caused my wife to feel. I know how incredible it is to see her laugh & smile, and how bad it feels when we go a week or two without connecting at all. She has (not me) been the most loyal, forgiving and committed wife ever. I know how much fun it has been, and all of the work it has required just to get to where we are - and our story is just in the first couple of chapters!

Can we be honest with each other for a moment?

I am not a great author when it comes to writing. You and I both know it.

But my quest is not to "be a guy who can write good and stuff", but to AUTHOR a life that is worthy of being written about.

The GREATEST achievement I could accomplish, would be in 20 more years to have my wife feel about me as Lisa & Ellie seemed to about their husbands.

Now who knows - maybe their love story is over, and I am just imagining something here... I hope not.

My parents have a love story that has been more than 33 years in the writing, and I assure you that it would not fail to entertain if condensed into a movie. More importantly, I believe that for each of my six brothers and two sisters and I, the love story will prove to be NEXT TO OUR OWN, one of the most incredible love stories ever written... and maybe someday one of us will decide to write it.

Seen in the proper perspective, perhaps there is NO GREATER ACCOMPLISHMENT than becoming the successful author of our own life's love story?

Here's to hoping that you & I live to see OUR LOVE STORY become the Greatest, Most Incredible Love Story Ever Written - Or Not Written.


Through the Forbidden Valley, Over the Perilous Pass, Around the Swamp of Solitude, and Into the Belly of the BEAST!!!

Every great story of an incredible journey must have adversity, Right?

So if you ever find yourself stuck where I am - up to my eyeballs in adversity, I guess you just remind yourself about that.

Frodo Baggins kept on walking. Despite all odds, that little fuzzy-footed foot soldier would not quit. He put one foot in front of the other all the way to Mordor. (Spelling of Tolkien names is not under warranty)

Yesterday, I finally finished a critical task I had been working on for 3 months. As a result, I was going to be able to free up a little bit of money from a bank to pass on to subcontractors to whom I owe an unbearable amount of money. Bear in mind, I was far from done, but my whole heart had sort of brightened at the idea of being able to give some people something.

I don't care to bore with too much detail, but the funds were Frozen. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! Upon hearing the news, I was off to the races. Calls from my cell phone were flying to the bank, my attorney, subs who I had written checks, my wife to tell her I was not on the way home to spend time with my children after all...

Disaster had struck.

What do you do when the one thread of hope you have been hanging on to for the last 3 months is clipped as casually as my 3-year old daughter knocking over a glass of newly poured milk? I guess you just stand there in disbelief.

That is in fact what I did yesterday. Stood there as if looking down on the milk - now dripping from the counter onto her clothes, seat, and the floor - and feel sorry for myself.

Where was Staples with their fricking "Easy Button" now?

So not by choice, I'm forced to take a night to think about it... What does all of this mean?

From the $700 Billion bailout in Washington D.C. to the loans that I got and maybe shouldn't have, to the loans I helped other people get who are now living the same mess as me, to the subcontractors who did the work and can't pay the suppliers, to the suppliers who can't repay loans to the banks for the losses, and all of our employees we've let go who now can't find work or pay their mortgages, just like I can't pay my mortgage...

Back when money was more abundant in my life, and my ego abounded (not necessarily a happier time, just a time when I was more stymied by illusions of success due to my own skill as a business man, and the resulting imbalance in life's priorities), I used to think the legacy I would leave behind to my children was that they could do anything they dreamed of.

My children would sit captivated as I told them stories of slaying mighty "mean Dragons" while I rode triumphantly on my "nice Dragon" who brought me my sword. I think for about a week, they were pretty convinced Dragons were really real.

I wanted to start a little thing called "Dragons Live". An organization, charity, foundation... or maybe just a children's book - but something dedicated to letting kids know that they can make their very own dreams come true.

Needless to say - that has not gone very far. (nowhere)

What has happened is that I have achieved a quiet confidence knowing that I, like Frodo - can keep going.

I will be forced to - in my own realm, "go through the Forbidden Valley, over the Poisonous Pass, around the Swamp of Solitude, and Into the Belly of the BEAST, just as Frodo was.

Just as my parents were - and are. Just as whoever is reading this blog must do.

I imagine that these desperate times, when we can't make it any farther, and the last strand of hope has been cut - are some of the times that Jesus Christ experienced on our behalf in his Atonement in Gethsemane.

He too, had a path to walk that could be walked by none other. He went as far as He could go on His own, and then was broken.

Even then, He placed one foot in front of the other as He faced Pilate, then Herod, then Pilate again. He even climbed Calvary with the help of the man who carried His cross.

By no means am I a martyr as He was, and by no means holy.

I hoped to gain a profit, and gain wealth and worldly accolades. For the record, I tried my best to do it the right way - but in the end, I too have been broken.

So what incredible adventure in life would be so without a breaking point?

I guess this is the essence of this blog, for me. Climbing Everest for Sir Edmund Hillary was no meager accomplishment. Only HE could do it for himself. As it is with a Marathon (I suppose, mine comes next year).

While hundreds of people have climbed Everest, and hundreds of thousands complete marathons and other remarkable feats of strength and endurance each year... it is the accomplishment of each individual for themselves that is miraculous.

To finish any such task a goal must be set, and one foot placed in front of the next in succession until the task is finished. I suspect that in the process - each person must push past the barriers that would hold them back, like the Swamp, or the Valley, or the "Belly of the Beast".

Relative to my own life's calamity: I will wake up tomorrow. Get dressed. Skip the bowl of cereal as I almost always do. Kiss my kids & wife, and keep trying.

I hope that you will join me!



Amerigo Vespucci vs. Christopher Columbus

Waking up early doesn't happen enough... but when it does I try and let it lead me.

One of the friends that has been a true inspiration to me is Bryan. When we met we shared a cynical disdain for accepting life for what it gives us. Both of us seemed to be searching for some answers to life's most important questions:

1. Who am I?
2. Who is God, really and where do I stand with him?
3. What am I going to do when I grow up?

Bryan has been an inspiration because he has pursued the answers with seemingly greater commitment than I. (Grant me an 8 month offset for a financial meltdown, and he is still ahead in the race.)

I'll blog another time about the importance of surrounding ourselves with people that will make us better... this whole intro is actually intended to lead into my topic: Amerigo Vespucci vs. Christopher Columbus.

It all started when Bryan created a list of 17 goals he would accomplish. There is no question in my mind that he will accomplish all of them. One night at the gym he recited all 17 goals to me, and I was (as I often am by my friends) inspired once again.

It is far from my place to list HIS goals, but since I have adopted a handful of them as my own, I will name 3 of the goals I adopted.

1. To walk 50 miles in 20 hours or less.
2. To complete the Mongol Rally.
3. To run a full Marathon.

Each of these goals deserves a Blog all its own.

I am very proud to say that #1 (Walk 50 miles in 1 day) is DONE! That is right, I was a participant with Bryan, Mya, Ken, Heather, Cherie, Phil, Jason & Charlie in the first ever PROTOSA. This blog may be the first ever public online record of the event which was founded by Bryan Miller.

We walked 50 Miles (actual mileage probably more like 52+/-) from the Provo Temple, to the Salt Lake Temple. I will blog about this later, but it was an incredible and unforgettable life experience. I can not wait to do it again next year.

#2 on the list of goals adopted from Bryan is the Mongol Rally.

A quick overview of the rally: Participants drive (for charity) from London to Mongolia in a car with no greater than a 1 Liter engine, and have an adventure of a lifetime along the way. Visit the website and read about it!

Excitement to participate in this event is an understatement. Thoughts of the Mongol Rally have flooded my subconscious for several weeks. I have spent more than an hour on multiple occasions visiting Google and looking over different routes that might be selected. Thoughts about the vehicles we will drive, what might happen, countries to visit, I've even pictured myself coming home to my wife and kids... all kinds of things.

In the course of contemplating, discussing and planning these seemingly ostentatious and would-be self centered undertakings Bryan discovered another incredible adventure, called LONG WAY ROUND.

Ewan McGregor and 3 Friends simply decided to ride their motorcycles nearly around the world, and document the trip. They travel from London across Europe into Asia across Russia, driving North and literally crossing from Russia to Alaska. They finish by driving from Alaska through Canada, the U.S. and finally end in New York City. INCREDIBLE

This has awakened my mind to ideas I have not had since I was learning about Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci in the 8th Grade.

So when I woke up early, I had dreamed of a route around the world that I would drive. I would play COPY CAT cat to Ewan McGregor and his pals, and plot a route all my own. I dreamed of Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus.

Consider these thought for a moment: Christopher Columbus was the first, and greatest explorer. He risked all. He discovered the New World.

So what about the rest of the explorers, like Amerigo Vespucci? Were they not just COPY CATS themselves? Once the New World was discovered, what else was there but to copy? Did'nt these explorers literally attempt to copy Columbus?

Haven't I, literally done nothing more than copy Bryan for his goals?

So this pondering sets the stage for where my brain was at when I fell asleep.

Upon waking I had dreamed about my route around the world. I had dreamed of Columbus & Amerigo Vespucci. So I woke up and googled Vespucci and found the following article. What a fun and interesting article about how How America Got It's Name. I encourage you to read it when you have time:


So now that I have had a day to reflect on these thoughts, and how they may (or may not) relate to my quest to become great, please allow me to conclude:

Great men often mimic, even copy the great actions of other great men.

This "Copy Cat" behavior may seem at first to be less than inspiring to the sideline observer... but contemplated it. Did Abraham Lincoln not read and study the works of George Washington? Can we suppose that Michael Jordan did not aspire to some day reach the level of Dr. J, and some of the other Greats? How many incredible parents have become so because they were emulating their own parents or grandparents... etc.

I don't believe that it is a venture outside the realm of probability to say that Columbus himself aspired to be like some other great hero sailor/explorer of his time.

So in my quest to climb this everest... I will try to be like Bryan. I'll even take some of his goals as my very own. In the end if we walk 50 miles together, it is an accomplishment that still required me to put one foot in front of the other until I had finished, as it did him.

I will gladly work someone else's idea, and try to improve upon it for my own. I will seek knowledge and understanding from the teachings and lessons of other teachers, and simultaneously attempt to share what I am learning in my own way with others...

These actions alone surely do not GREATNESS make - but they probably don't hurt our chances either.

After all - consider Vespucci's outcome:

Christopher Columbus has now and will always have international renown. Every school child makes the little Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria out of construction paper. Every person in America can recite "in fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue" and so on. I've always been inspired by Columbus. He is celebrated all over the world. Each year Columbus has his very own day, and we revere him.

But for Vespucci you have to admit - having a little continent named America be named after YOU is a pretty remarkable accomplishment.

P.S. If anyone knows the name of the very first explorer to sail all the way around the world, please let me know.


Nasal vs. Life Congestion

Woke up with nasal passages so clogged it was like someone had poured concrete through a tube into my nose. This is not the normal clogging we are talking about - this is ear popping mind numbing clogged nasal that is so severe, I found upon waking I had spent the last 3 or 4 hours breathing through my mouth, and my now Sahara-dry tongue had shriveled into a stale pink piece of ABC Gum... (already been chewed).

Aaahhh... Sunday at last.

Not only has my face/head/nose been congested. My brain is congested as well... so after convincing myself that missing church would be acceptable under the circumstances, I go to work reading another chapter in The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clayson.

Pretty incredible book if you want to live life as a free man not a slave. I read the chapter called "The Camel Trader of Babylon".

This chapter is a short story of a man who began his adult life getting married, earning a decent living - but living beyond his means. Soon his debt is a suffocating noose around his neck. (Sounds very familiar!)

After his debts become unbearable he dispatches his wife to live with her parents, and flees the city. After several attempts at different career options (a merchant, a bandit, etc.) his life spirals further downward he is taken captive. Next the good part: He is sold as a slave and nearly castrated into a eunuch. (This simply must be mentioned, because in the next 10 years I find it unlikely that I will ever have the opportunity again to write in context about a eunuch... how terrifying and hilarious! We should all set a goal to use the word eunuch at least once this week in conversation. Eunuch... LOL!)

His life takes a turn for the better when his master - the woman he serves spares him his castration, and asks some important questions:

"If a man has in himself the soul of a slave will he not become one no matter what his birth, even as water seeks its level? If a man has within him the soul of a free man, will he not become respected and honored in his own city in spite of his misfortune?"

Later after a proving period she asks directly, "Dabasir, hast thou the soul of a free man or the soul of a slave?"

As I read this story today a conviction grew within me once again to be a free man... to REPAY my debts, no matter how long it takes.

There are some very incredible inferences here... but please forgive me if my enthusiasm is over-zealous: did Dabasir have the "balls" to do what needed to be done? Let your imagination run wild with jokes after this story.

Not to get the cart before the horse here. Because the blog is brand new - I don't believe I have even mentioned anything about my debts... but with the collapse of the Real Estate market comes a failure of my business, and some pretty significant debt. It has been pretty darn "emasculating", and my ego has undergone several subsequent rounds of circumcision.

Just reading this story inspired me that this debt must be repaid - albeit eventually, if I am to be FREE. The chapter closes with the lesson: "WHERE DETERMINATION IS, THE WAY CAN BE FOUND"

I have the determination... now it must be done... creating for myself a new goal. REPAY ALL MY DEBT.

Next, I went out to the web and tried to find a picture of the book to post on my blog, and found a pretty awesome website instead:


The site is by who seems to be a very down to earth individual named Trent Hamm. The site is very worth a visit and some study. Remarkably his story is not unlike my own. His blog states that he went through a financial meltdown in 2006 and has since documented it very well, and the tools and knowledge he has since acquired to climb back to the top of his Everest.

I congratulate Mr. Hamm on his accomplishments, and thank him for his inspiration.

In conclusion: My nose is congested. My life is congested. I want to live and breath freely. I am convinced there are many more resources available to me for my life than there are my nose.

The difference is that with my nose, I can simply take a pill, and wait. With my life, I must be willing to stick to a plan for longer than a pill. I must act... read, study, implement.

Should I go back and beat the drum that consistency = greatness?

The bad news is that no matter what I do today, it looks like my Sunday will be spent with Nasal Congestion.


Fear of Cheese

Okay... so 3 days into this, the predominant fear inside myself is that this blog is way too cheesy to actually pull off.

I can hear the cynics now: "Climbing Everest... this guy is a self absorbed bastard who is so completely unaware of his own mundane mediocrity he actually believes he is trying to be great, LOL!"

As I read the blog... and schedule my Saturday I truly fear they might be right.

1. Get kids cereal. (Only after being told to do so by Amanda)
2. Drive to Orem, Utah to pick out carpet for the new house.
3. Do a meeting for ACN at 11:00 AM. (ACN is a Network Marketing company I belong to.)
4. Clean up my yard for the home I am building.
5. Go home & watch movies
6. Set up my fantasy football teams for tomorrow.

It is now 8:46 AM, and already the day has its disappointments.
1. I got mad at my oldest daughter (and was rude to her) for standing on my foot.
2. Since I was rude to her, have been grumbling around the house in a bad mood, warning everybody to stay out of my way.
3. Subscribed as the first and only follower to my very own CHEESY blog.
4. Am seriously considering calling people, and asking them to subscribe so I feel less cheesy about it. (I won't do it. I won't, I won't, I won't)


Repetition = Greatness???

Greatness = Repetition?

So... the first thing to say about being great is that there are a lot of different iterations of this word.

Observation #1: There can be no true achievement of GREATNESS without REPETITION.

We have all heard the saying that "Every dog has his day" or "Every squirrel finds an acorn". There have been comical stories aplenty about the guy who got up to bat in the Major Leagues one time, and got a hit... his lifetime career average is 1.000! Clearly, that does not compare to the true greats who manage .333 and send our nostalgic fathers into tears at the mention of their names. (My dad loves Mickey Mantle... and can't talk about him very much without really being in awe of just how great he was... and he does actually choke up sometimes!)

So my thoughts on Repetition: It is the most difficult thing anyone will ever do.

In the books of sacred writ... "Enduring to the End" is the part that seams toughest. I have my heroes when it comes to repetition... Amanda; Mike, Barb, & Jimmy; Trent; My Dad; My Father-In-Law.

My wife speaks in such admiration of her Dad when she recounts that almost every morning she can remember growing up, he was awake before her, and studying the scriptures. The same can be said of some of my best friends... and my Mom.

So far, I have been more of the "VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE" kind of guy. I put my car keys in a different spot every day when I come home - and change my clothes in a different room in the house - and without even thinking about it.

So a few weeks ago a man I respect tremendously made a comment about the Book: THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON" by George S. Clayton. My respect for Bryce is such that him mentioning the book made me go buy it. I will talk about it for the rest of my life, because it is a great book.

In that book, Arkad is the Richest Man in Babylon. Some of his friends question him on how he achieved it... and one commented that he simply had "strong will power". Humor me, and allow me to quote a paragraph from the book:

"Willpower!" retorted Arkad. "What nonsense. Do you think willpower gives man the strength to lift a burden the camel cannot carry, or to draw a load the oxen cannot budge? Will power is but the unflinching purpose to carry a task you set for yourself to fulfillment. If I set for myself a task, be it ever so trifling, I shall see it through. How else shall I have confidence in myself to do important things? Should I say to myself, 'For a hundred days as I walk across the bridge into the city, I will pick from the road a pebble and cast it into the stream,' I would do it. If on the seventh day I passed by without remembering, I would not say to myself, 'tomorrow I will cast two pebbles which will do as well.' Instead, I would retrace my steps and cast the pebble. Nor on the twentieth day would I say to myself, 'Arkad, this is useless. What does it avail you to cast a pebble every day? Throw in a handful and be done with it.' No, i would not say that nor do it. When I set a task for myself, I complete it. Therefor, I am careful not to start difficult and impractical tasks, because I love leisure."

This paragraph inspired me with insight about greatness... in fact much of the inspiration to do this blog came from reading the book, and discussions with my friend Bryan.

So... time will tell. Do I have the fortitude Arkad speaks of to complete a task, once set for myself?

My goal is to post on this blog regularly... several times per week, and report on my progress.

Hopefully in the coming weeks the stage will be set for me to do more specific reporting about what is happening, not just the psudo-inspirational B.S. that I come up with to get the Blog going.

We shall see...


Intro to Nano Economics... er, My Blog

So... this is my blog.

More than 1 year ago I was sitting in a beautiful 2500 square-foot condo overlooking the Marina in Cabo San Lucas with my wife and (at the time) 3 children.

I was checking emails when it became evident something was very wrong. The Real Estate market was crashing, and I knew instantly my life would never be the same.

There are moments in your life you simply don't forget - the birth of a child, your wedding day, getting bit by a shark (if applicable) - and this is one that will stay with me. I can still feel the cold air of the air conditioned hotel room. I can picture the blinding sun outside, and the feelings of panic and helplessness sitting there in the room reading those emails.

Since then, a lot has gone on.

I was active in the Real Estate market, and had a dozen investors at the time... I have lived the "Credit Crunch" and Mortgage Crisis as first hand as anyone.

I have come to feel a sincere gratitude for the opportunity to watch this MELTDOWN first hand.

Life has tossed me its share of curveballs and sliders on the inside corner. The result is that I am better.

I am starting this blog to recount some of the crazy stories that went on, and still happen from time to time. I am excited to chronicle my life.

Don't you want to be GREAT, not just good? Haven't you ever wanted to climb Everest or win the Boston Marathon, instead of climb the stairs or do 15 minutes on the treadmill on the 5.5 setting while you watch some skanky music video at the gym you only attend once per month?

I want to be great... so read about my quest!

Please be a part of it!