Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Birthday J.C.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14

Today, Christmas day, we should all take time to pay homage to the man that has allowed for all that we have to be possible. I know that the day will be filled with spending time with family and friends and opening gifts, but we should not forget that on this day over 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born into this world as a gift for us. He lived and died so that we could all have eternal life. That is a gift much greater than anything you might find under the tree.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Holidays!!

We wish everyone a Happy Holiday and Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy 3 Years!

Yesterday was mine and Will's third year marriage anniversary. It's crazy how quickly time passes. To celebrate we took the day off from work and went to the ICE! exhibit at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day.

Though we have been married three years, I have now been with Will for ten. I've truly grown up with him. Some of my greatest growth, has been since we've gotten married. I'm proud to call myself Will's wife. Though as independent as I've always loved to claim that I am, I am happy to have him to depend on.

In the work I do as a hospice social worker, I love to ask older couples what the secret to a long, happy marriage is. I've met several couples who have been married OVER 70 years! The answers I get always vary, but among the center of them include good communication, putting your partner first, and as one husband jokingly (or not!) put it, "Do everything she says." :) One thing I've learned over the past year is that love is a choice. We can choose to be loving every day, even when there are days when we are upset or angry or frustrated. It can be easy to slip into a pattern of routine, where we stop showing one another how much we appreciate and love each other. My hope for our marriage is that we hold on to our appreciation and show it daily through our actions. Though we haven't always been successful at this, we have certainly grown and learned its value. Thank you Will for putting up with me, even on the days I fail to show how much I love you! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Anniversary Time!!

On December 17, 2005 I married my partner and best friend and now we are about to celebrate another anniversary. I just want to say how thankful I am to have been able to share another year with my wife. I greatly matured as an adult this year and it has been nice to share that with Cara. I am very much looking forward to spending another year with Cara and many more to come. I feel like we are just at the beginning of something great and are starting to connect on even higher levels after all this time.

Congrats Nate and Jaclyn!!

This past weekend our extended family grew in number by one. Our cousin, Jaclyn, got married in a beautiful ceremony in front of her family and friends. Though I did not get a chance to meet her new husband, Nate, I am glad to welcome him to the family and also welcome him to an exclusive group... The Young Non-Toulouse Toulouse Men. :-) We are the men that have married into the second generation of the Toulouse family.

There were just two of us, my brother-in-law and myself. Nate now brings our number to three. We will be adding another member in January when our other cousin gets married. Hmm... If our other cousin gets married soon we can have enough for a basketball team. I'm seeing a Toulouse vs. Non-Toulouse men's basketball game as and added event to the Toulouse Christmas gathering in the future...

Sorry, got a little sidetracked there... This is supposed to be about the wedding, haha.

It was really a beautiful wedding and I was glad to be there. It reminded me a lot of my wedding day, when I was so happy to be joining my life with Cara's. I could tell by the look in Nate's eyes when he saw Jaclyn coming don the aisle that he was feeling the same way. Unfortunately, I have to report that Nate did not break down and bawl like I did. That means that the title of "Most Emotional Groom Ever" is still mine for at least a little while longer, and the Toulouse men made sure I knew it, haha.

Anyway, I just want to say congratulations to Jaclyn and Nate. I wish you the best and Cara and I are here for you guys if you need anything. You both just started what will be the most exciting and thrilling journey you could ever imagine.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Turkey Trot = DONE!!

After a month of semi-training, Cara and I finally ran the Fort Worth YMCA Turkey Trot 10K last week on Thanksgiving. We ran at a very stable pace so that we wouldn't tire out too quickly and except for an impromptu potty break (thank goodness for big cars parked on the street!!) we pretty much ran the whole way. Gladly there are no pictures to document the event because I'm sure no one would want to see a picture of me freezing in running shorts...

All in all, it was a very pleasant experience jogging with Cara. There were times when I started to speed up and she would yank me back. Then there was a time when she provided a nice distraction to other runners while I had my potty break (once again, thank you SUV!!). Hopefully the Turkey Trot can become a yearly tradition in the Wallace household. Worst case, it will provide a tiny bit of last minute exercise before we stuff ourselves with turkey.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Got Dunked In Water!!

This past Sunday I was baptised by Pastor Phillip Ward of Destiny Worship Center, our home church. It was an amazing experience and there are not words to describe how I excited I am about it. It has been a long road to get to this point.

For much of my life, I fought the idea of attending church and sharing in faith and worship. I thought I could take care of myself and do it on my own. I was shown the hard way that I couldn't and that was when I began my spiritual journey. I have learned so much along the way and what is so amazing is that I know I am only at the tip of the iceberg. I am happy that I have reached this point and that my wife, Cara, has been beside me every step of the way. I can honestly say that I would not be at this point if it were not for her. Whether she knows it or not, she has been my rock and my biggest cheerleader as I have gone through this spiritual growth and I thank her for it.

I also want to thank those of you who took time out of your Sunday afternoon to come to the ceremony. I cannot express how much it meant to share this momentous event in my life with you.

For those of you who were not there, here is a video of my baptism that my buddy Tanya sent me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Inside of the Track

Will and I are running together to train for the 10K we are doing on Thanksgiving morning. It's the first time we have ever worked out TOGETHER on an ongoing basis. As I look back over the course of our almost 10 year relationship, I think about the playful competitiveness that's always been a part of us. We've teased about who scored higher on the SAT (remember, we did start dating in high school...); we've teased about whether TCU or UTA is the better school (we even went to the TCU/UTA basketball game on our second anniversary...TCU won by the way!); and we've teased about whose way is the right way to solve most any problem (as we usually take different approaches). But it seems like lately we're finding that there's value in one another's way. And that we rely on one another more than we ever would have admitted before.

When we train, we run on the track at the Cedar Hill Recreation Center. It takes 13 laps to make one mile. Of course, in running, like most everything else, we have different approaches. I am usually full of energy at the start. I like to take off at a good pace--then I hit a wall and have to slow down. Will on the other hand starts out slowly and builds up speed as he goes. Though we have our differences in style, we choose to run together, pushing one another when one of us feels weak or wants to quit. Because I like to start with some speed, I usually start on the outer most lane. Though running on the inner lane of the track may be more of a mental advantage somehow it seems to keep us moving. When I hit my wall, Will crosses over pushing me to the inside of the track. Then I work to keep my pace up with his. Later, after breaking through my wall I catch a second wind. Somehow it's about this time Will hits his wall. Without ever having to talk about it, we switch back, with Will taking the inside of the track. Normally as we finish our run, Will always has the energy to pick up speed for our final lap. And it always takes everything I have to keep up. Yet we usually finish beside one another stride for stride.

I was thinking about all of this as we ran tonight. And thinking about how much Will keeps me going and encourages me when I struggle or am weak. Not just in working out, but in our life and our marriage. Though in the past I used to consider our differences as a hindrance, with maturity I realize how much those differences are what I love and appreciate about him. I certainly hope that I do for him what he does for me when I struggle. I am so lucky to have him as a partner, choosing to run by my side--even if he isn't such a TCU fan. ;)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

America is For Real

I have seen something that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. America will finally have its first African American president. When all of the news channels finally projected Barack Obama as the winner of this election all I could do is begin to weep. I feel like this win by Obama is something that means more to me than just a man winning an election. This makes me believe that the United States is truly a place where dreams can come true.

I can remember growing up in the suburbs and going to school. More often than not, I was always the only African American in the class. This would be a theme that would continue to be in my life up to this point. I was often the only African American in many of my undergraduate courses, the only African American in my graduate school graduation class, and am currently the only African American in my division at work. It has always bothered me and made me feel uncomfortable, but I always told myself that it was okay because I was being afforded opportunities that many of those before me did not have. People like my grandfather, Ducky, did not have the same opportunities. He grew up in a world where he was not treated equally and was only given the option of going into the military or being a sharecropper. Two generations later I am a successful engineer, like my father, and the U.S. will have an African American president.

I am just so overjoyed to know that when I have a son or daughter I will be able to tell them that they can become president and actually mean it in my heart. This will be a defining moment in my life and for the country and I am glad to witness it. Being a child of the 80s all I've witnessed is a lot of war and terrorism, but now I have something positive that I can tell children about when I am old.

I just want to thank my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles for helping me become what I am today. I didn't understand why you all pushed me so hard to succeed, but tonight I understand why.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Church Related News

So the news just keeps coming... First it was Cara and I joining a wonderful church, and now it is more church related news concerning me.

I am going to be getting baptized next month!!! This is what I have been waiting to do since we started going to church. I never got baptized when I was younger because my parents wanted me to do it when I felt I was ready. For a long time I shied away from church because I didn't have the greatest experiences with church when I was younger. But now, I can honestly say that I am ready to make one of the greatest public proclamations of my faith. I am growing so much spiritually and it all is just so exciting.

If you would like to attend the ceremony, please let me know. It is tentatively scheduled for November 9th, but I will get a final confirmation later this week. Once I know for sure, I will make sure those who want to attend get the information they need. Those that can't attend can be certain there will be plenty of pictures. There is no way Mrs. Wallace will let me experience rebirth without taking tons of pictures. :-)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We Have A Home Church!!!

Earlier this morning Cara and I made a decision that is just another piece of the changes we are making in our lives.  This morning we joined Destiny Worship Center, a Disciples of Christ church near our house.  That’s right folks… I am officially a DOC!!

Cara and I have been “dating” the church the past couple of months, as Pastor Ward says, and decided that we really wanted to join.  We called up both of our families and told them we were going to join and asked them to join us in church.  So when we got to church this morning we took up an entire pew. When it was time for invitation we got up from our seats and headed down the center aisle towards the altar.  As we passed each row and people noticed we were coming, they started to cheer.  When we made it to the front the men’s and women’s ministries surrounded us and the pastor welcomed us to the church.  It is something I will never forget.  This is the first time I have ever been an actual member of church and it feels pretty good.

For those of you that don’t know, I have not always been a guy who wanted to go to church.  I remember a time when my mother had to drag me into church kicking and screaming.  Those times are over.  Now I can’t wait until Sunday morning so I can sit in church and worship with my wife.  It is a great feeling and I am only sad that I didn’t find my way to this point sooner.

Hooky Day at the State Fair

We made it out to the fair this past Wednesday for our hooky day from work. We did everything from watch a performance by African acrobats to buy shoe cleaner from one of the smooth talking vendors (I have yet to go to the fair once and not get talked into buying some kind of product I don't really need...). We had a great time and I was able to ride the famous State Fair of Texas ferris wheel for the first time ever. I think hooky day at the fair is going to become a yearly tradition for our family. I hope some of you can join us next time.

Here are some pictures from the day. Sorry there aren't more, but we were having so much fun walking around and people watching that we forgot to take more pictures.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Color Purple

Today we had the privilege of attending a showing of The Color Purple at Dallas Music Hall. I had no intentions of seeing it while it was in town, but my aunt mentioned she wanted to see it and it seemed like it would be the perfect birthday gift for her after the Aspen trip she gave us. We turned it into a Wallace family event and bought tickets for us, my aunt, and my parents. I must say we all had a great time.

If you haven't had a chance to see the play yet I recommend you go see it. The show is still playing through October 19. It is just as good as the movie, but has some nice songs added in to add some lighter moments. I can't wait to get to New York City sometime so I can see the play on Broadway with the star cast. I'm even man enough to admit that I got a little teary in the finale. So if you are into theater at all I suggest you go see it.

For more information on show times click here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hooky Day Is Coming...

The PTO forms have all been submitted and signed so it looks like a day of playing hooky is all good to go this week. We are taking a random day off work this week to go enjoy the State Fair of Texas without having to fight the crowds.

If you are brave enough you should come join us. You know how to reach us if you would like to join in the fun. If you can't come that is fine too. As usual, there will be many pictures taken and I will share. :-)

(Actually, we have quite a few events going on this week so there will be some nice pictures posted very soon...)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aspen Trip Pictures Like I Promised

I promised you pictures so you could see our Aspen experience with Millionaires Lifestyles. I can't even put into words how amazing the trip was. I cannot wait to go back to Aspen again in both the ski season and warmer seasons. There is just so much to do there that two days just wasn't enough. We packed in as much as we could.

The weekend started on a Friday night upon our arrival. We were picked up from the airport by a driver at the Ritz-Carlton and whisked away to the Ritz-Carlton property. I was amazed just at the sight of the town of Aspen, but I was blown away when we arrived at the property. It looked exactly like what you see in movies when the wealthy head to the mountains for vacation. I couldn't believe we would be staying there and that thought continued throughout the trip.

We got to the suite to find that it was a 3 bedroom, 3 bath suite with Cara and I having our own room. With that room came the best bathroom I had ever seen. It had marble everywhere and there was a switch on the wall that you could flip to HEAT UP THE FLOOR!!!! Of course I played with this the entire trip. There was a nice balcony that stretched the length of the suite and overlooked the heated pool and hot tub. Enough about the room though...

We had lots of events planned. We got to go to a Chef's Corner with the chefs of the Ritz-Carlton. They prepared an eight course meal right in front of us and gave us the recipes for everything they cooked. There was also a bottle of wine with every course which led to some interesting behavior later in the night. :-) We also went paragliding which was a lot of fun. We also got to spend a lot of time just walking around Downtown Aspen and seeing the city.

Enough of me telling you about everything. Just about everything can be seen in the pictures. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as we enjoyed taking them. If you would like more information on how you could possibly have a similar experience with Millionaires Lifestyle let me know and I will get you in touch with the right people. ;-)

Kylee's First Trip to the Zoo

Will and I decided to take our niece, Kylee, to the zoo this weekend. Here are some pictures from our day.

She was so cute, as she got so excited looking at all the animals! It was a lot of fun! It also gave us a 'taste' of parenthood. Boy were we tired at the end of the day!! The stuff not documented in pictures: us figuring out how to open and close her stroller, trying not to feed her too many things Mom and Dad don't want her to have, digging through her diaper bag for necessities of taking care of her, and finally, Kylee opening the bathroom stall door while I was going to the bathroom! Whew! We discovered we still need a little training before we are ready for our own. :) We had a great time though! And Will is completely ADORABLE with Kylee!! I know he will be a wonderful father when it is that time...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Last Lecture

For the first time in ages I actually read a book for my own personal pleasure. Anybody who knows me knows that I am far from a reader. I pretty much only read magazines and I don't even read those very often. Anyways, I picked up The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon. If you don't know the story about him, let me bring you up to speed.

Randy Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2007. If you don't know much about cancer, this is one of the types of cancer with the worst survival rates. He had done many treatments and had all the cancer removed, but when he returned for a checkup they found numerous tumors on his liver and he was given 3 to 6 months to live. He had a wife and three young children that he knew he would be leaving soon. So he decided to move his family back to Virginia to be closer to where his wife was from so she would have help once he was gone. As he was helping his wife get settled into their new home, he was asked to give what many professors give at the end of their careers, a last lecture. He struggled with the idea of whether to do it or not as he wanted to spend as much time with family as possible, but he decided to do it. There was a catch though, he required that the lecture be recorded so that he would have something to leave behind for his children. This is where his lecture took on a life of its own. The video of his lecture has spread across the web like wildfire. With so much attention being brought to it, Dr. Pausch decided to write a book about the topic of his lecture, chasing your childhood dreams. This book is how I came to know about him.

Even though Dr. Pausch passed away earlier this summer, I feel like I know him now. If you read the book you will know what I am talking about. This man completely captured how to live in his short book. Even as he knew he was dying, he continued to live as if he would be here for a long while. I feel like I am better now for reading this book and I just want to get off my butt and start doing so many of the things I have talked about. Dr. Pausch accomplished all of his childhood dreams by simply going for them and I should do the same. He was a good man and he will be missed.

If you have more interest in Dr. Pausch, his lecture, or his book you can go to for more information. You can view the entire lecture there and read some passages from the book.

For my nerdy computer friends, please check out what might eventually be Dr. Pausch's legacy in computer science. He created ALICE, a project that uses educational software to trick people into learning how to program. He left it in good hands and it is still going strong.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Living Like A Millionaire

As I type this post I am looking over my shoulder over a balcony at an awesome pool and some beautiful mountain scenery. I've been living like a "baller" as they say for the past few days. We, with some other members of my family, are in Aspen for the weekend courtesy of Millionaires Lifestyle. It's an awesome company my aunt has started and I am so appreciative that she allowed us to share in this awesome experience. I will be giving more details about the trip after I get home and can post pictures, but just know that I have been having more fun than I have had in a while.

So be looking for pictures and more info on what I've been doing up here in Aspen. Have to run now so I can go get dressed for a night on the town that has been planned for us. I don't have a lot of details of what is supposed to be going on tonight, but someone let it slip that I will be more than amazed... :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 11, 2001...

At 9:30am on this day seven years ago, I woke up and experienced something that immediately changed my life forever. Sometimes things happen to you in your life and all you can do is drop to the ground and disbelief and this was one of them. I remember it like it was yesterday. I don't know if this is the right place for it, but I feel like sharing my 9/11 story...

I slept in that morning because my Engineering Economics professor had canceled class for that Tuesday. I was sleeping so peacefully, when all of a sudden my phone rang. I answered the call and it was Cara on the line. I thought that was strange because she was supposed to be on a flight to West Texas for a soccer game. She told me that her flight had been canceled because planes had flown into the World Trade Center. It didn't really register to me what she said because I was basically still asleep. So I got off the phone and laid back down for a few minutes before the light bulb went off in my head about what she had just told me. I hopped out of bed and turned on the television only to see a plane crashing into the second building. I screamed out loud not knowing I was watching a replay of what had happened hours earlier.

I ran across my dorm suite and beat on Dre's (roommate) door. He opened the door and told me he had tried to wake me up earlier and tell me what happened and then explained what was going on in the situation. As he told me, my heart sunk down into my stomach and I felt so sick. When he finished I went into my room and just cried for what seemed like forever.

The rest of that day I was on and off the phone talking to people about it as we learned more and more about what had happened. I remember finding out that the attack was planned to be much bigger with targets across the country using flights leaving from all the major airports across the country, including DFW. This is what hit me the hardest. Cara and her team were scheduled to fly out of DFW that morning and she easily could have been on a flight that was destined for doom if the FAA had not grounded all flights. I've never spoken of this, but it scared me so much to think that in an instant Cara and many of the friends I was beginning to make on her team could have all been gone. The "what could have been" thoughts angered me and saddened me at the same time.

So each year since that day in 2001, I look at today as a day to give thanks. Any one of us could have been one of the people on those unfortunate flights, just like any one of us could be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Be thankful for the people in your life and cherish them because they may not always be there. Also, be thankful for those who have sacrificed for our freedoms, not just right now, but over the many years of time in our world. I know I would not be doing many of the things I do or have many of the things in my life if it weren't for them.

I also personally want to thank all the people in my life for being there. Life has punched me in the stomach many times, but you've always been there to help me get back up and stand on my feet even when you didn't even know you were doing it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Toulouse Perspective

It appears that I come from a family of bloggers much more talented than I am. It also appears that I married one (seeing that the past 4 blogs are Will's!). Anyways, I thought I'd share recent political blogs from my family. The first comes from my brother's blog, Retrospective Reflections. It is a commentary on John McCain's pick for VP, Sarah Palin.

The second is found on the PBS website (click here), where my father was asked to do a blog reflecting on religion in the National Conventions.

You should check them out and see where I get my blogging skills. ;) Ha! Well, at least you can appreciate their skill. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Non-Karaoke Karaoke Party

Well, Cara is now 26 and to celebrate we wanted to do something different than the usual night of bar hopping. So to be different, we decided to have a karaoke and cookout party with a few friends. It sounded great in theory, but it just never quite took off like we planned.

First thing, there was no cookout due to a long story involving a certain dog chewing off a vital piece of my grill. The dog will go unnamed...

Second thing, there was no karaoke!! We have two karaoke machines and per Murphy's Law neither of them worked. Our newest karaoke machine was working just great up until the time Cara and co. arrived here. I had been jamming and testing it out, but when we wanted to get the singing started the machine would not read any kind of CD. So I tried to switch to the old machine we had on standby and it would not even spin the CDs so they could be read.

So we had to fall back on just talking and hanging out with friends and it seemed to work just fine. We should probably do things like that a lot more... :-) Everything else worked out greatly and there was the hugest cookie cake ever for everyone to share. There's still a ton of it left and I just might have to eat a lot of it.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pedicure & Probe

So Cara dragged me to get my first ever pedicure yesterday and it was a pleasant and traumatizing experience at the same time. I enjoyed having the little woman clip, pick, and buff away any and all things unsightly on my feet. I even enjoyed it when she was massaging my feet and legs, though I did squirm a little bit when she touched my toes (Hey, can't a man be ticklish??). I know, this all sounds like a good time. So what was so traumatizing???

The massage chair they sat me in..... It violated me. :-(

Here's the play-by-play.

We both sit down in our chairs and turn on the massage.

Hmm... I've never been in a chair that works the bottom.
Will: (Inside head) What is she talking about working the bottom??

I begin to feel something move around my butt.

(Inside head) What is moving underneath me??
Will: (Inside head) That's not normal... AHHHHHHHH!!!!
Will: Cara, I think my chair is violating me.

I shed a single tear knowing my life will never be the same...

Yes, this massage chair had some feature that would massage the buttocks. The only thing, is that my chair didn't like me for some reason and tried to massage the center of my buttocks in a probe-like fashion. So as I sit here now traumatized I would like to thank Cara for taking me to get a pedicure. I now know how the people who have been abducted by aliens feel. :-)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

For those of you that don't know, I had to go to the dentist yesterday and get an infected tooth extracted. Since I made it home from the procedure I have been in a lot of pain. My gum around the missing tooth is now swollen. I have to keep gauze in my mouth to help stop the bleeding. It's a lot to deal with right now and it is not fun at all. Cara and a lot of other people have checked on me and made sure I was doing okay and it has been helpful. I just wanted to take a second and thank you all.

To all of my friends, I am very grateful to know that I have friends like you who I can call on for pretty much anything.

To Cara, thank you for taking care of me and not making fun of me for eating my homemade "baby food" right now. :-)

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Great Moment in Wallace History

On Saturday morning a great moment in Wallace history occurred. What happened? Mrs. Wallace mowed a lawn for the first time in her life!!!

I found out about a year ago that she had never mowed a lawn and I could'nt believe it. I just assumed everyone had mowed a lawn at some point when they were a kid. Well this lady somehow got to skip out on that duty, but she made up for it this weekend. She asked me to show her how to mow so we got up early on Saturday morning. She went around the house trying to put together the perfect mowing outfit while I ran to Home Depot to get her some gloves, protective eye wear, and a nice ventilation mask to keep her from breathing in the grass and dust (she is a bit of a bubble baby, bless her heart). When I got home I saw she had assembled her nice all-white outfit and was ready to go. I gave her a quick overview of how to start and run the lawn mower and then I sent her on her way. I must say I was impressed at what a good job she did. She did such a good job on the front that she decided to mow the backyard (aka The Jungle) as well. So now I have a mowing sidekick to help me get the yard done faster. So watch out because Wallace Mowing Co. may be coming to a city near you...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Husband, the Engineer

As an extrovert I've never understood sitting in front of a computer all day long as a satisfying, or even stimulating way to spend a work day. Being married to a software engineer I get an inside look at a man who actually chose to pursue such a thing. :) Even with the inside look, I'm not any closer to actually understanding it. There have been many nights I've seen my hubby hunched over his keyboard with his face lit by the screen of the computer. I've seen his focused look, the one that shuts out all distraction. Then, I've even been privy to that look of brilliant satisfaction when he's figured IT out...whatever IT is I'm sure I'll never know.

Several weeks ago, Will sent me a link to this blog (click here), written by a computer programmer to all of us "non-programming spouses." It definitely provides some insight to the allure of programming (or of computer/software engineering)...kind of. ;) There was so much that stuck out to me that I could share here, but if you have any interest in gaining further insight to those engineering/programming minds you should check it out. But if you choose not to, I'll leave you with the summary:

As you can see, a true programmer should have cool brains, creative mind and a strong heart. He should understand people needs, solve tough problems and clearly express in the program what these brainless, but logical computers should do.

So, next time when you see a thoughtful programmer behind his desk, you should know he creates worlds of logic and reason for computers from vague world of people ideas. And he has good reasons to enjoy it.

On another blog (click here) I found a list of the Top 10 qualities of The Perfect Programmer. I'm posting them here because Will exhibits each and every one of them...not only as the software engineer he is, but also as a person. :)

  1. Intellect- can understand the problem, translate and express ideas in clear and readable code, has analytical and logical mind (range: building programs for narrow well defined requests to conquering freaking complex problems in elegant way)
  2. Personality - has right mixture of personal traits (detail-oriented vs. creative, flexible vs. disciplined, sociable vs. independent)
  3. Expertise - knowledge and experience for solving client’s problems in the specific context with chosen technologies (range: a specialist in one technology to a veteran programmer with broad experience in different domains and platforms)
  4. Motivation - cares about work, shows enthusiasm, interest and love for programming (range: from working for money only to implementing interesting ideas in spare time without pay)
  5. Maturity - knows and uses sound software development principles, practices and approaches as agile, design and architecture patterns, domain-driven design, unit testing, refactoring (range: from an enthusiastic amateur to a black belt guru, who can invent new approaches on the go)
  6. Pragmatism - understands what is possible, loves simplicity and avoids over-engineering; understands business goals, keeps touch with reality and focus on what should be done (range: from a spontaneous artist to a self-driven pragmatic achiever)
  7. Cooperation - listens, accepts that other people could have better ideas, supports team goals without hidden agenda, shares ideas and knowledge and coach others (range: from idea challenger to a team coach)
  8. Communication - effectively communicates and exchanges ideas, supports knowledge and decisions about the system with clear explanations, justifications and answers (range: from a quiet introvert to a system evangelist)
  9. Potential - has professional goals, good learning skills, curiosity, adaptability and performs constant self correction (range: from person who reached his limits to the future programming star)
  10. Vision - sees the big picture, understands context, trends and people, aligns actions with team and company implicit goals, contributes into building shared vision for the software system (range: from interested in programming only to entrepreneurial visionary)

Things About My Wife That Make Me Smile

I thought I would just share some of things that Cara does that brings me joy and fills my face with a big smile or makes me laugh.
  • The look she gives me across a crowded room.
  • The way she always rests her head on my shoulder when we are in a warm embrace.
  • The peaceful expression on her face when she sleeps.
  • How she tries to show me that she is smarter than me in so many ways, even though I already know it. (Don't tell her I said that, haha. )
  • When she never pays attention when we watch movies so I have to spend half the time repeating what the characters are saying.
  • How she tries to make sure I am always being healthy as she gobbles up a bag of Twizzlers.
  • When she slowly grabs my hand and gives it an "I Love You" squeeze when we are in church.
  • How she calls me in the middle of the workday for no other reason than to call.
  • When her face lights up when she sees our young niece do something new that we've never seen her do before.
  • When she asks me how to do something and after I've spent 10 minutes explaining it she does it her own way anyway.
And finally....
  • When she smiles and when she laughs.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bride Be Looking Good!! :-)

So after almost 3 years I finally got my hands on Cara's bridal portraits from our wedding. I must admit that I am just as amazed looking at them today as I was when the doors opened and she walked down the aisle to me in the church on our wedding day. I am so lucky to have this woman and just thought I would share my two favorite pictures of the bunch.

See!! That's pretty damn amazing. I only wish they took real groom's portraits so I could have some hot pictures like that! I'm going to organize and start a protest to get groom's portraits added to the wedding tradition. Guys can look good too ya know??

The Significance in Ordinary Moments

Several months ago I found myself preparing for the monthly reflection I do to begin our Monday morning meetings at work. It was a Sunday night (yes, the evening right before my reflection....once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator) and my inspiration for my reflection came from spending the afternoon sorting through boxes with my family. After deciding on my reflection I sent an e-mail to my family to share it with them. Will told me the e-mail was great blog material, so I found it fitting to make it my first. :)

Several of the reflections prior to mine were about the clinical value/significance of encouraging life review with our patients/families, ways to engage in life review, and the importance of truly listening. The reflection I prepared was simply sharing the story of how a simple afternoon sorting through boxes reminded me of the importance of personal life review, and how the work I do in hospice helps me to appreciate the value in these moments with family (and how much I learn about my life in the work I do in hospice).

On this particular Sunday, my family gathered at my sister and brother-in-law's house (Marcie and Kevin) to celebrate Kevin's birthday over lunch. My Mom and Dad arrived, each in their own car, both stuffed FULL of boxes. No matter how much of an adult I have become, both in age and maturity (I suppose...), I'm still very good at the childish groan I make when I'm told I need to do something I don't want to. :)

For those of you who haven't heard the news and who may be wondering the need for sorting through mounds of boxes, my parents are preparing to move to Canada in January (Click here for further info) so are now getting rid of the things collected from over 30 years of marriage, 3 children, and sharing life together.

So, throughout the afternoon that day, both before and after lunch, we spent time digging through boxes of "stuff" from the past: photographs, awards, yearbooks, high school love notes, etc. In that time, stories were retold, memories were recalled, and we shared some of our own 'life review.'

One thing that struck me that day was how when things were in my box that belonged to Marcie or Josh (my sister and brother), I was so ready to just toss it out on their behalf, as the stuff wasn't THAT important, right? Yet, before I'd make it from my hand to the trash bag, my Mom was quick to stop me, saying, "Let them look at it first, then let them throw it away." As even in the drudgery of going through old boxes, there is certainly value in the process.

So, amidst the change we are preparing for in our family, knowing that our birthdays and traditions will likely be celebrated/recognized in a new way over the next several years due to distance, what a nice afternoon it was for reflecting on our story--and what a good one it is at that.

Most people, when they learn of my work in hospice, wonder how it is that I am able to do the work I do. But it is through that work that I recognize the things most valuable to me in my life and the ability to recognize/appreciate the significance of life's most ordinary moments.