What I’ve Learned

A review of 2014…

Milton and Chew Toy
Milton the Dog

My dog can’t count.
I suppose I knew this already, but it’s been confirmed by our current living situation.  We live on the 7th floor of an apartment complex where we frequently take the stairs up and down.  If you were to observe Milton as he travels, he would convince you that he knows where we are going, but the reality is, he doesn’t.  He never knows what floor we are on.  Ever.  He attempts to exit the stairwell on each floor, every day, every time.  Then, when it’s not the right floor, he looks at me like I’ve ruined his life.  ‘Another floor?  You’ve got to be (expletive) kidding me’.  He’s got a mouth on him, that’s for sure.  Milton appears to have a particular set of skills and talents, it’s just that counting is simply not one of them.  I love him anyways – unconditionally.

I, too, have a particular set of skills.
Since I was a little kid, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been fond of drawing and exercising.  They’ve consistently been two of my favorite activities.  However, this year, I did something a little differently with both.

I wrote and illustrated my first children’s book!  I published three copies – one for my Godchildren (Paul and Anna, the original reason I wrote the book), one for my Mom and Dad (they are a great support), and one for Kia and I.  Ruston the Seal (Ruston der Seehund) is a book about a seal who lives in the Puget Sound.  It is written in English and German with the hopes of teaching the readers, and the author (me), a second language, while also showing my friends where I live.  It was a lot of fun!  Here’s the front cover and an excerpt:
Ruston the Seal Front Cover Ruston the Seal on a Bicycle

I walked and ran 2,014+ miles for the year 2014!  It was my New Year’s Resolution and I actually did it.  I officially surpassed my goal on December 7th.  Here’s the breakdown for the whole year:

My training partner, Milton, and I on December 7th, 2014.  We reached 2014 miles for the year at this spot!
My training partner, Milton, and I on December 7th, 2014. We reached 2,014 miles for the year at this spot!

January: 189.05 miles (6.098/day)
February: 124.55 miles (4.448/day)
March: 180.6 miles (5.82/day)
April: 171.65 miles (5.721/day)
May: 183.45 miles (5.918/day)
June: 163.5 miles (5.45/day)
July: 154.6 miles (4.987/day)
August: 154.65 miles (4.99/day)
September: 240.35 miles (8.01/day)
October: 190.15 miles (6.134/day)
November: 217.6 miles (7.253/day)
December: 202.25 miles (6.524/day)

Total Mileage: 2,172.4 miles
Average Miles per day: 5.952 miles/day
Average Steps per day: 12,383 steps/day

I am a genius!
You can read my two blogs, Opening Day and Sunny With a High of LXXV, if you don’t believe me.  I nailed my predictions on the Mariners and Seahawks.  Check out an excerpt from each:

Mariners PredictionMariners end the season over .500 for the first time in years.  Because they’re in such a tough division, they will end up in 3rd place just out of a Wild Card berth.
Mariners Reality – They ended the season over .500, in 3rd place for their division (behind Oakland and Anaheim), and they lost out on a Wild Card berth during the last game of the season.
Seahawks PredictionSeahawks go 12-4 and win the NFC West.  Super Bowl XLIX Champs!
Seahawks Reality – They went 12-4, which didn’t look so promising when they were 3-3, and they won the NFC West.  It is yet to be determined whether or not my Super Bowl prediction will hold, but I have no reason to think it won’t.

I am not a genius.
You can also read my two blogs Heart Madness and Mike in the Airport, if you don’t believe me.  I really bombed my college predictions.  Check out an excerpt from each:

March Madness PredictionNew Mexico, Virginia, Arizona, and Michigan
March Madness Reality – None of them made it.  It really wasn’t even close.
Cougar Football PredictionCougars end the season 8-4 in a very difficult Pac-12 North.  Bowl game destination: Las Vegas.
Cougar Football Reality – Cougars ended the season 3-9 in a mediocre Pac-12 North.  I think I was one year ahead of myself and that next year both the Cougs and the North Division will improve, but I’ve said that before.  By next August I’ll be as optimistic as ever and I’ll probably predict unwarranted success once again.

Camp impacts lives.

Bob Baker, Executive Director of Lutherhaven Ministries, and I on the last day of summer camp.
Bob Baker, Executive Director of Lutherhaven Ministries, and I on the last day of summer camp.

It certainly impacted mine.  So much so, that I’ve had a hard time explaining it since I left in September.  Camp helped me grow up when I was learning how to grow up.  It helped me feel called when I was searching for my calling.  It gave me a home that will always be my home.  Camp positively influenced my life as a kid, as a college student, and as an adult, but that alone wasn’t it’s greatest strength.  The best part was that I wasn’t alone.  People of all ages, from various backgrounds, with different expectations and experiences were being impacted in great ways, too.  If camp was an individual event impacting individual people, which it is at times, it would be a pretty good place – I suppose – but it’s more than that.  Camp is a giant, messy, chaotic set of events positively impacting a community of people in unexpected ways.  It’s taken me a few months to digest what my years at Lutherhaven meant to me, to unpack my bags if you will, and I still don’t think I can put it into words.  That’s why I’m going to steal someone else’s.  Lutherhaven’s Executive Director, Bob Baker, said at our closing program this year, “You Have Impacted My Life Tremendously”.  It was his six-word story about camp.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I’m going to miss Pete Carroll.
Yes, I am fully aware that he hasn’t left.  I am also hoping that he doesn’t for a really long time.  Over the years, dating back to his time at USC and now, most recently, as Head Coach of the Seattle Seahawks, Carroll has been one of the most fascinating people I know.  I’ve never met him, but from what I’ve seen, heard, and read, he is a person I’d like to emulate.  His commitment to his core beliefs, on and off the football field, are inspiring.  His youthful energy, his aspiration for excellence, and his ability to form a team motivate me to be the best I can be (cliché but true).  Pete Carroll is a positive role model for athletes, fans, and those he meets within his local community (particularly Los Angeles and Seattle).  I really am dreading the day he calls it quits because, as far as I’m concerned, he’s irreplaceable.  To quote one of my childhood favorites, Paul Harvey, “Somebody will take his job, but nobody will take his place”.  I miss Paul Harvey.

My big toe is resilient.
In the spring, I bent my toenail back and eventually lost half of it while racing on an inflatable bouncy toy.  It was the same toenail that I lost completely my senior year of high school when I dropped a 45 lb. weight on it at 7 a.m.  I am proud to say that I currently have a strong, healthy, fully functional toenail on my big toe.  It’s a resilient little buddy, that’s for sure.

I enjoy writing.
I referenced my Children’s book earlier and that, along with my attempt at a blog, have combined to be a real joy for me.  They have been an outlet for my thoughts, feelings, and opinions.  They have been a challenge for the way I think and communicate.  They have provided opportunities for learning that I wouldn’t have had in any other avenue of life.  I look forward to improving, to facing new challenges, and to having conversations with people from all over the world, but for now, I’m happy to say I started.  That, in and of itself, can be difficult enough.

One thought on “What I’ve Learned”

  1. I was really thinking about your Pete Carroll thoughts when I was at the game this past weekend! I always forget how chronologically old he is, because of just who he is. It was really fun to get to see him walk in the tunnell after the game (right below us), and see him waving to the twelves. What a guy. And camp rocks. It IS a home, you are right, and a family; must be why I keep coming back to LH over the years. Congrats on your everything! Hollie

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