Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Merry Christmas!

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mexican Riviera Cruise

To celebrate our graduation we went on a 7 day cruise to Mexico. It was our first cruise and was great, except for Katie's blistering sunburned shoulders. We visited Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta and ate an unholy amount of soft serve ice cream.

Zion's and Bryce Canyon

Over memorial day weekend we went to Zion's national park and Bryce Canyon. In two days we did 8 hikes totaling 20 miles. Yep, I know... we're awesome.

Monday, May 23, 2011

At Church

So I went to the bathroom at Church today and as I was washing my hands I noticed that my tie was a little short. So I untied it and evened it out. However, as I started to tie my tie I started thinking too much about tying my tie. Since I pretty much tie my tie out of muscle memory, as I thought about how to tie my tie the muscle memory went away and I forgot what to do. This occasionally happens. When it does I usually try to think about something else and for some reason, focusing on something else helps return the muscle memory. However, as I tried to think about something else I became overwhelmed with the thought of how awkward it would be if someone else came into the bathroom and saw me struggling to tie my tie. Just then someone came into the bathroom which just made the situation worse. I turned by back from him and tried a couple more times to spark my muscle memory but I still couldn't do it. Finally, I went into a stall, closed the door, and for some reason the thin metal wall gave me the confidence needed to revive my muscle memory and I tied my tie. I then flushed the toilet so no one would suspect a thing and I left. That is all.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Erik's Daily Universe Response

Several times throughout his time at BYU, Erik has sent in responses to BYU's newspaper, the Daily Universe. He has been published on a couple occasions and below is one of them. The first article is the original viewpoint editorial in the newspaper, the second is Erik's response. (I will try to post his other published articles as well later.)


Viewpoint: Stand up or sit down

By Allison Goett


- Mon, 05/16/2011 - 22:30

Where has this world gone?

Like many students at Brigham Young University, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not only do I consider myself a member, but I wholly believe in the teachings of the Church — all of them.

I know others — even other members at BYU — who do not feel the same.

Take former U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. and his interview with Time Magazine for example.

“I’m a very spiritual person … and proud of my Mormon roots,” Huntsman said as reported by the Deseret News. “I come from a long line of saloon keepers and proselytizers, and I draw from both sides.”

He also told the Time reporter he found his membership status “tough to define.”

I don’t get it.

I don’t mind if he no longer considers himself LDS — every American citizen has the right and privilege to express their religious freedom — but he needs to stop sitting on both sides of the fence.

It’s the religious ambiguity that bothers me, not the lack of religious declaration.

Please understand I do not hold Huntsman to a higher standard because he works in the public eye. I hold everyone — including myself — to the same standard.

In middle school, I realized the time had come for me to decide, absolutely, if I would walk the line, or commit to the gospel. I chose the gospel.

In high school, I made sure I knew the teachings of the Church. I wore my clothes to my knees and covered my shoulders. I didn’t drink; I didn’t party.

In college, I continue the previous pattern. I follow the Honor Code, listen to my church leaders and try to improve myself each day.

I know these examples hardly scratch the surface of true Latter-day Saint principles; however, every day multitudes of people can’t keep these basic precepts.

I can hear the complaints now — I’m judgmental, closed minded and confused. People tell me I expect too much; I point out flaws and think I’m better than everyone else.

None of that is true. I am not perfect at this.

I have nothing against those who struggle, yet try to right themselves.

I have nothing against those who find themselves lost, but begin to search for the better path.

I have nothing against those who rebel and no longer believe in the Church.

However, it’s the “Jack Mormons,” the fence sitters and the Jon Huntsmans of the world who get my goat.

You cannot be both Mormon and a drinker.

You cannot have the LDS vote and the Anti’s.

You cannot stand up as a member of the Church then sit down when your beliefs become inconvenient.

So to those of you who may sit on the fence: please pick a side.

I do not judge you for your beliefs, I do not think of you as a bad person.

This world has too many wishy-washy people, tossed about by the waves of public opinion and self-doubt.

Do not be one of thovse people. Embrace who you are, what you believe and what you worship.

Ignore the opinions of the world, your peers and, sometimes, your family. Look inside yourself. See who you are. Make a personal plan of who you want to be.

Most of all, be proud of who you are. If you find yourself in a wish-washy situation, figure out why, and figure out how to set yourself free from half-baked ideas and shakey opinions.

You’re worth more than feeble opinions and shady beliefs.

Don’t forget that.

Letter: Benefit of the Doubt

Letter: Benefit of the Doubt | Universe.byu.edu


Wed, 05/18/2011 - 21:24

The Viewpoint editorial “Stand up or sit down” seemed to draw a lot of information from the statement by Jon Huntsman Jr. saying his Mormonism is “hard to define.”

The author was fairly comfortable assuming Huntsman’s statement was one of weakness and Huntsman needed to either buck up and believe everything or get out of the Church.

This may come from the common belief inactivity in the Church is only caused by laziness, pride or sin.

However, I know quite a few people that might give a similar response as Huntsman, but instead of saying it out of laziness and fence sitting, they say it because that is where thoughtful and prayerful study has led them.

The author said, “Embrace who you are, what you believe and what you worship.”

Well, many people believe the Church is a great institution and the leaders are sincere and often inspired, but not all the claims of the Church are correct.

They still want to be a part of the LDS community because it is their culture, they love it and they believe in some of its claims (to varying degrees), but they are not sure how to define their situation.

This inability to define if one is Mormon or not may come from the black and white tendency of some to define Mormonism as orthodox Mormonism and anything less as not Mormonism.

Many people find themselves in ambiguity not because they won’t stand up for what they believe but because that is what they believe — that is the testimony they have gained.

Let’s not marginalize these sincere and good people by saying they are weak or sinful.

It’s a bit hypocritical to profess the power of personal revelation when the answers are convenient to your world view, but to deny that very power when the answers led someone to a more ambiguous belief.

While I do not know if this is where Huntsman is coming from, I think I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Erik McCarthy
Gilbert, Ariz.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Christmas in Provo 2010

We had our first Christmas alone and although we missed our families we still had a lot of fun. Christmas Eve wasn't much, I had to work and Erik did other errands. That night we drove around and looked at lights and then watched Muppet Christmas Carol while we ate California Pizza Kitchen buffalo chicken.
Christmas morning we woke up to full stockings and all our presents. We ate McDonald's parfaits for breakfast while we opened our presents. It was great, Santa brought us everything we wanted and more. Sasha was particularly excited about her wrapping paper fort.
I got anatomy books and yoga stuff among other exciting things and Erik got a drill and guitar stand. We also got gifts from extended family that we loved, a cook book, money, Christmas dish towels,
ornaments and so forth.
We felt very spoiled!
For lunch we went to Denny's!

We also decided to go to Bridal Veil Falls to see how pretty it was with the snow. It was freezing so we had to bundle up but it was worth it. It was surprisingly busy with how cold it was and it being Christmas.
Then Christmas night we made our special dinner of seafood, which we have decided would be a fun tradition (the parfait as well). We made cilantro/lemon salmon with garlic spinach. It was very tasty! Overall, it was an exciting first Christmas alone, making our own little traditions and enjoying each other's company.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Summer of Hiking

This summer we have gotten way into hiking. We have done about 70 miles of hiking with a total of about 30000 ft of elevation climbed, which is higher than Mount Everest. We did about 16 hikes total and climbed to the top of 4 mountains. Here are some of the trips:

Provo Peak

Provo Peak is just over 11000 ft in elevation. The trail to the top was relatively short at about 1 mile, but it climbed about 3000 ft in that mile, so it was pretty hard.

You kindof get an idea of how steep this path was. Most of the trail was like this.

Katie and I at the top of Provo Peak. It's something like 11080 ft high. On the way down we were swarmed by flys! No matter what we tried they surrounded our heads and stayed with us the entire way down. This hike was the most strenuous of all our summer hikes. Katie couldn't walk normal for at least 3 days. (We didn't stretch at all after though, so part of it was our fault.)

Alpine Loop Area

Near Provo there is a wilderness area with a bunch of hikes near Mount Timpanogos. We went camping there in July and did a few hikes.

Katie Next to a water Fall that we found on accident. Katie is holding a bouquet of flowers she picked on the way up that she dried and has in our living room.

Stewart Falls. After we took this picture we climbed to the top of the lower falls and then went under the waterfall. When going under the waterfall the cold falling water would suck everything warm and good out of you and you would fall into a brief moment of severe cold and darkness. Pretty sure it's what it would be like to see a dementor. We had to walk all the way back in soft, powdery dirt drenched clothes and shoes. Katie forgot her belt and had to hold her wet pants up the entire way down as well. Needless to say were really dirty sticky when we were done. It was an interesting experience.

Y Mountain

Everybody in Provo has climbed to the Y on the mountain side. We wanted to one up everyone so we climbed to the top of the mountain. We are glad we did it, but it wasn't one of our favorites. You hike the Y trail at first and then branch off at the top of the Y to head towards the peak. The top wasn't' really a peak or pronounced so was a little anticlimactic. We still got a great view of the valley when you walked towards the edges but yeah.

Moab and Blanding

The weekend before Fall semester started we went down to Blanding to visit Katie's Sister. On our way there we stopped in Moab to do a hike and then we did some hikes the next day in Blanding. Sadly, I forgot to put the memory card in the camera in Blanding so we only got fuzzy phone pictures there but we did get some good ones in Moab. These were some of the funnest hikes all summer.

Climbing up the side of a canyon near Moab. This is the Colorado River.

This is at the top of the canyon hike in Moab. It is called Portal Over look. It only took about an hour to get to this spot. It overlooks Moab, the Colorado River, and some of the surrounding canyons. This was easily my favorite view all summer.

Mount Timpanogos

Mount Timpanogos is probably the most popular mountain to climb in Utah. However, it is no easy hike. The trail climbs about 5000 feet and it about 15 miles round trip. It soars 7000 ft above Utah Valley and it is the second highest mountain in the Wasatch Front at just under 12000 ft. The first 6 miles on the trail are about as beautiful as Utah gets with many waterfalls, cliffs, and greenery. After one gets to the saddle the trail is about a 18 inches wide and very exposed with about 3500 feet of steep mountainside and cliffs. On the summit trail the winds were a constant 30 to 40 miles and hour and there was some pretty scary rock scrambling. To get down we went a different way that had a snowfield that you could slide down. That was one of the funnest parts of the trip. At the bottom of the snowfield there was a beautiful glacial lake with many mountain goats. This was my favorite adventure of the summer and it took 9.5 hours total to do.

This is a view from the summit of the trail that we took to go to the snowfield. If you look close you can see the thin trail cut through the steep mountainside and cliffs. If you fell to the right then you would have about 3000 ft of rocky cliffs to cushion the fall. Although the trail wasn't difficult, there was a lot of exposure and wind that made things interesting. When the path curved around the peak on the right the path shrank to about 10 inches at one point. At another point you had to to shimmy across an exposed rocky ledge that was about 6 inches wide.

Our camera wasn't able to capture the moment well so I found some pictures of the path off the internet. Thanks to whoever took them. This was the most technical part of the trail. Anyone could easily do this if there was no exposure but since there was a 2500 ft cliff behind the camera guy, it was bit more intimidating.

Here is a picture looking down from the most technical part. It was a series of somewhat steep switchbacks on a not so somewhat steep cliff. Katie , being afraid of heights, did great on this.

Once again, not my picture, but it shows what we did so whatever. This is looking back at the summit from the path we took down.

Some of the trail went right along the ridge. To the right there is a super steep mountainside and to the left there is a 1500 ft sheer cliff.

If you look close in the middle of the picture you can see a white dot. That white dot is a mountain goat going strait down a cliff. About 5 seconds before I took this picture he was at the top of this cliff.

Here is Emerald Lake which is at the bottom of the snowfield.

Me feeling the water in Emerald Lake.

Emerald Lake reflecting a mountain. We are at about 10000 ft elevation.

Here is the snowfield we came down.

Katie sliding down the snowfield.

Some super steep scree we came down while trying to get to the snowfield. Sliding down the scree was pretty fun.

On top of the snowfield.

Katie at the summit.

The trail to get to the summit.

Looking East at Heber on the summit.

Me on the summit.

Looking down at Emerald Lake from the Summit.

Katie on a very exposed area.

The summit from below.

A herd of mountain goats that came to visit.