Haven’t missed a year…

I won’t say that I have had an unusual parade experience; however, I may have one that is quite rare! I just celebrated my 32nd birthday and am married with two children. As a newborn (I would have been six months old) I was taken to the Salt Lake Parade of Homes™ by my parents. I have attended the parade each and every year of my life. I will readily admit those first years I don’t remember and that I am relying on the word of my mother, but I have continued this trend with my children.

From the time I could remember, I would always ask when the parade was being very anxious to see the latest new construction ideas. While many of the house treatments may seem to stay the same, I will suggest we have made some great strides. Technology is playing a big role in today’s homes which is fun to see with automation. But as I think, I remember when microwaves started becoming popular and flat panel televisions. I remember the main bedroom closets expanding and the “great room” becoming popular.

I am interested to see the trends change as the younger buyers enter the market knowing they want smaller high functioning homes.

Thank you for putting on such a great event! See you in July

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My friend Jim Hicks

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Watch out for shower doors if you are gawking

I think it was 2002, we were in a home called Tuscan by John Roe. Maybe other parade attendees are like me; dragging a husband along! I think they fear honey-do lists or a wife who wants a new house. Anyway, we were in the main bathroom closet. It was a walk-in, but you could step inside a few feet leaning against a rope keeping you from entering entirely.

While we were commenting on the organizers, three women stepped into the shower to take a funny picture. I will admit they were nice looking and slightly younger than we were. The door to the shower was glass and barely visible if you didn’t pay attention. As we turned to exit, my dear husband got distracted by their activity (beauty) and ran face first into the shower door.

It not only left a mark, but slammed the door shut shocking the ladies and making them scream. I can’t imagine what others at that end of the house were thinking as they heard the commotion. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t help! This is something we tease about even to this day. I often wonder if those ladies share a different version of the incident…

We love the parade, and have been regular attendees for years. Thank you for showing off your homes and builders.

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1976 Salt Lake Parade of Homes™

As a young man, my parents took our family to the Parade of Homes™1976. I remember the homes were in Glenmoor Village. It was exciting because the home builders had a large domed tent with exhibitors. I hadn’t ever seen anything this big that was temporary in nature.

While we walked through the home, I felt there were a couple things that could have been done differently. I mentioned this to my mother who agreed with me which validated my young heart. We approached a man in the living room who asked if we had any questions. My mother asked who he was, he happened to be the builder/designer Interstate Homes. To my great fear she said I had a couple ideas to share about the floorplan. He anxiously listened even offering that he may make the suggested changes in future homes.

Turns out he did, I loved seeing my ideas come to life. This seemingly simple parade experience set in place the course of my life. I pursued an architecture degree and have been that same little boy figuring out new ways to build ever since. I don’t think I am alone in having the parade mean something beyond showing the public new and innovative ideas.

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What is our “adult” example teaching?

Are we really adults as we go about bad mouthing, expressing hate, and dissing on each and every move our political leaders make? Why it is families are fair game now? Is there anything that either side can endure about the other today? Can we compromise on anything that comes from a differing ideology?

We teach our children good manners asking them to be appreciative and express themselves with gratitude. Suggest that we don’t tolerate rudeness letting them know in is never acceptable to lash out at another person. Offer that their greatest asset in life will be to become a good listener. Share that life has rules and set boundaries for them where they learn the consequences of decisions. Encourage open-mindedness so the diversity of life can be expressed through varying life experiences. And impart the value of showing respect to elders and those who hold important positions.

Certainly- as this is done we teach them how to think for themselves, create, and find ways to improve the world. That is normal, our thoughts are to enable greatness and build opportunity as this new generation grows into adulthood and leads those who will follow them.

Yet our supposedly adult eyes are closed and ears covered to anything the other side does or says. It seems we stand on platforms of acceptance holding out welcoming hands to all types of diversity; except ideological! What is absurd to me is that we know example is the best teacher. Our education systems are filled with appropriate methods to enable desired outcomes and further learning which is occurring naturally at home. But, what is a child to think when they see how the “adults” of the world destroy any learning that has occurred? Imagine what it would be like for them to learn critical life skills to then see that they mean nothing in the real world today.

My simple hope is that we can practice what we preach and join the youth in what we know to be the basis of acceptance and civility…

Jaren

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Misguided logic of some Outdoor Retailers

Utahns aren’t known to crater to threats or misguided logic. Yes, the Outdoor Retailer Convention was good for our state and many businesses that call Utah home, but having a handful of “industry leaders” voice through ultimatum their view isn’t how we do things here. I acknowledge our leaders for standing with the people on this; that is courage! I witnessed the brash treatment of our legislature as they debated this critical issue. Our elected officials held civility and open minds throughout.

Corporate heads such as Rose Marcario, Todd Spaletto, and Jerry Stritke didn’t have the courage to fly in on their private jets and sit down with Governor Herbert in person. Their bravery was readily apparent as they immediately provided a press release after their conference call. This type of bullying is why we suffer as we do in Washington, but not here in Utah!

I find it ironic that a criticism of Utah’s leaders was that they didn’t listen to the “people.” Guess what Rose, Todd, and Jerry, you have no clue! Your convention participants were interviewed by your organization in August of 2015 with results showing two-thirds of 6,000 retailer attendees and exhibitors want to keep the show in Salt Lake! Call Marisa Nicholson- Vice President and show director for specifics.

Another thing you should learn about Utahns is that we love our outdoors! We are careful stewards of public lands, in fact, I bet no other state does as much. We not only preserve our critical lands but enjoy management behavior that stands out as national leading ideas. This effective use of our land allows for beneficial use throughout a unique diversity of needs. Do you know Utah has 253 conservation projects engaging a commission to aid in continued preservation? We have 43 state parks which in part are funded out of Utah’s general fund, a commitment that goes back to 1957! There are 35 million acres of land open to the public and the country’s largest wildlife conservation project. You could say we are too good at promoting the outdoors as people from all over the world come to see what we have done. I haven’t even mentioned the might five national parks or eight national monuments.

Don’t give credit to Rep Rob Bishop, state and local leaders who were working together with the residents of Utah, yes “locals”—not blinded environmentalists— to preserve and manage the exact same area. With a little luck, and because we didn’t pander to your hysteria; we well may have a Goosenecks State Park soon! Go ahead and believe your alternative facts and internet stories to promote a false agenda. I stand with the leaders who represent the people of Utah who have a rich history of championing good land policy…

Jaren

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Two unexpected paths cross

Beautiful twin sisters were out late one night with friends. Nothing unusual occurred during the evening, but memories carried were that they all enjoyed each other’s company. Small talk occurred among the group as their vehicle traveled home on a nearly empty city street.

In the same neighborhood, and just over the fence on the street the teens traveled on, a surgeon and his wife had lain down to bed. They too had spent the night with friends perhaps having had similar memories run through their minds.

Suddenly, the couple heard a loud bang followed by crushing sounds of metal moving down the street. Sitting straight up in bed the Doctor suggested to his wife, “There has been a horrible accident; I must go see what I can do to help!”

He was right, the teen driver had lost control, and in an effort to correct course his car slid into its side beginning to flip. The teens weren’t speeding, but on a street with a speed limit such that it caused the vehicle to roll repeatedly as it gradually came to a stop in the middle of the street. As the car rolled, two of the passengers were thrown from the vehicle while the others tossed and turned inside hearing breaking glass and realizing crushing blows.

First on the scene was a woman who was traveling just seconds behind the car. As she walked onto the scene—somewhat in shock—the physician came running up to the car in a bathrobe and slippers. His natural instinct kicked in as he began to perform triage on the situation. What he saw was a car containing teens that seemed confused, but appeared to need less medical attention then the two who were outside the car lying on the pavement. He knew the escape of the trapped teens would need to be facilitated, but wanted desperately to check on the others first. He kindly suggested to the woman, “I feel it is important that I check on these other people first.” As he raised his arm pointing in the direction of those who had flown from the car, “I need to see if their needs are greater. It is important that we get all these people out quickly as you can see there is a fire building near the gas tank. Can you do that please?”

With that he fled to the others finding that they had received terminal injuries. This only took minutes as he then hurried back to assist the woman he had left temporarily. As he approached the car, he saw that she had helped everyone out but one. She yelled to him as he neared “there is one girl who is trapped” asking for his help. The only thing he could do was to crawl in the car with her to see what could be done. Once inside, he found that her hand was caught between the pillar and the doors window frame. He was nervous about the ensuing fire, yet wanted to help in a way not to do further damage her fear filled body.

He spoke with the young woman finding she had calmed in his presence. He suggested he was there to help, asking if there was any further bodily harm she was aware of he couldn’t see. Nothing was noted other than the unfathomable shock and fear that engulfed her. After hearing this, the doctor began working on freeing her hand. It was clearly crushed in a fashion making it nearly impossible to remove. He tried to comfort her as he tried different ways to help. At this point the fire had increased to the point of smoke making visibility and communication difficult between the two. He knew time was limited for both of them as fuels could easily combust without notice. The best option for survival was to apply full pressure to remove the hand at what could be high cost (potential loss of fingers or damage to the hand), but far less then another loss of life. “You need to trust me” were his next words, “I need to pull your hand with all my might to free you and it will be very painful!” To his surprise she said, “Go ahead, I am ready.” He felt as if she were closing her eyes as she spoke these words, but he couldn’t see. What he did know for certainty was that her courage was significant.

What happened next may be the first noticeable miracle of the night. As he pulled, after having tried many different ways with slightly less pressure, the hand slipped out and they were free. Just as both climbed out of the car, it blew into flames to become nothing more than black melted piles of what was once a car.

After the accident, the physician reached out to the brave young lady asking to see her in her hospital room. Once there he asked the family if he could meet with her personally. They had no idea what he wanted, but being so grateful for his heroism they obliged willingly. As he entered her room—after both subconsciously recounted there experience together—his first words were, “thank you for saving my life.” She sat bewildered believing it was he who saved her life so she was confused. You see it was her twin sister was one of the two who lost their lives that night, so she was particularly sensitive to his life saving actions. She remembered when they both stood in amazement at the car engulfed in flames just seconds after they arose from the entrapment.

Why do you say that? She asked sincerely. Well, I had made myself a promise that I would stay in the car with you no matter the outcome. When I asked you if I could your hand free, I knew that if you said no, we would meet a certain death. Your bravery saved us that night; thank you! She then quietly asked “do you know how my hand freed so easily?” No, but I do believe in miracles. It may be we simply received a tender mercy. Whatever it was; it saved our lives.

Not many of us can imagine the pain this young woman, her family, or friends must have experienced. Her loss is beyond words; her survival is a miracle as described by the doctor. This miracle may have never happened if this service minded physician didn’t offer help. Did her sister play a role in the rescue? I have hope she did.

Yet as in any hardship, there is a lesson in this story we can learn from. Intense grief can’t be broken down by words alone; it is through shared grief healing occurs, which then makes our words significant. Reach out to those in need, particularly grief stricken, and brokenhearted. Hold out a hand of love, offer a comforting embrace of compassion, shed a tear of common sorrow. Over time wisdom will transform pain into understanding, but for now support is needed. God bless this family who is surrounded by love during this difficult time.

Jaren

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Great story from a favorite show…

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Our Electoral College is outdated?

I am intrigued and gratified by the outcries of victory (and/or defeat) from the 2016 election results. Intrigued- that we are quick to find answers which support our side and Gratified- that we live in a country where it is okay to differ.

Why am I intrigued? If both sides can’t be right; then neither is wrong. What gives then? We must be bringing our individual perspectives to how we view the world. What if we could place ourselves in someone else’s shoes?  I suggest we can do this by looking internally first. Do we pick the side of justice we stand on even as the currents of change alter direction?  I might ask myself: was I okay with the findings of the FBI as the email issues were dismissed to then be frustrated when they were opened again? To then be happy they were dismissed a second time… What changed? Nothing more than the side that was thought to be harmed. This is one of many examples we can use to see how our decisions are made. I am as guilty as the next in allowing some partiality into my thought processes.

Where I typically come to terms with my bias is when someone I respect shares a differing opinion and I listen. The other night I was discussing the failure of leadership in what was being displayed in the WikiLeaks emails. A question was asked of me, “Do you think the pains of disclosures would be limited to one group?” Knowing the sincerity of the person asking—I dug into my heart—and realized no; they certainly are not. I too know that we have very good—often well founded—reasons for our views. Not one of us has the exclusive on knowledge nor are we readily able to see the unintended consequences of decisions. This is why collective thought (often incorporating the life experiences of others who have lived differently than us) and concession creates the greatest good. We are at our best when all sides are considered, debate taken, and compromises made.

Is there a protection in our Constitution against our selfish desires? I argue the Electoral College may be a critical tooldecisions wisely selected to shelter us from ourselves.

We are a Republic not a Democracy. A Republic is a form of government where power sits within the elected leaders who are chosen to represent the citizens. A Democracy is rule of the majority. I think our founders wanted to protect against “majority rule” knowing the likely results would be that power would then reside in populated regions (large metropolitan areas). The Electoral College is merely one safeguard against this; the other is the Senate (arguably the Supreme Court as well). Each state is granted a voice where Montana has footing in elections even though California has nearly 37.9 times more citizens. For me it is not a leap of faith to suggest someone who has issues with the Electoral College, then has by default a problem with the Senate as well. It too may have been established in our founding fathers belief that one day large groups could be mobilized through persuasion (good or bad depending on the view) by tools such as the media.

The separation of power isn’t limited to representation but includes three branches of government and states’ rights. Our success in maintaining balance and support in the voice of the people is satisfied among other things through the Electoral College. Presidential candidates seek the backing of the entire nation providing consistency in our country. Imagine the arguments we would be having if only the votes of the coastal areas mattered.

If our founders wanted a Democracy they could have created one.  To change a critical protection provided in our Constitution against becoming anything short of a Republic  is the Electoral College; I say keep it!

If you have issues; please ask yourself if it is the result of the election or at least argue the value of changing our form of government which has proven itself to the world…

Jaren

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It is best we don’t agree…

I was impressed with President Obama reaching out to Trump welcoming a healthy transition of leadership. “The peaceful transfer of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy.” Secretary Clinton was graceful in defeat and suggested our constitutional democracy demands our participation. I agree and suggest this advice makes for our greatness. We all must continue to do our part…

For me, the significance of life is found in being fully engaged in activities. The best undertakings for our well-being are found when we utilize our individual characteristics and invest them in something larger than ourselves. Our experiences—exaggerated by dreams—carried on faith and filled with hope can either succeed or fail. Either outcome eventually satisfies our inner soul because happiness can only be fully understood through loss. The joy of success is sweetened if one has felt the agony of defeat.

Our country has just experienced what has been described as one of the ugliest, hardest fought elections in our history. Well over 120,000,000 citizens took to the ballot box and exercised their right. Many of us were fully engaged requiring great mental and physical strength. We carried passion about our cause wanting to endure what many times felt like an impossible mission.

Emotions were larger-than-life as we failed to see why others (most often friends and family) could be so oblivious to what we knew to be true and felt in our hearts. Stories were overstated, feelings hurt, and our ability to listen stifled. Yet we maintained diligence in efforts to accomplish what we believed in which is healthy.

At the end of the day; some of us lost the battle. This emotion, like others in life sits low in the stomach. We walk in a somber state carrying in our hearts a suffocating feeling as if all hope has been lost. I know this feeling both from historical national campaigns and on a personal level having run for office. It sucks!

Today, as I sit in my office rejoicing in the outcome, I innocently look to my wall where I arnoldhave hanging a painting titled “The Prayer at Valley Forge” by Arnold Friberg. My heart immediately turns to those on the other side who may be heavy with sorrow as I realize—like George Washington—I can turn in prayer for the relief and support of my fellow beloved citizens and our country. It is every one of you great and wonderful people that have given me perspective, allowed me an opportunity to share my view, and who with me can build on the rich history of our great nation. President Washington considered it an indispensable duty to solicit the help of the Almighty. I too find comfort in kneeling in prayer at this critical time in our countries history.

Friends, I pray for your comfort. I pray that we will put the passion of the election behind us and reunite as citizens. I pray that we will build strength from our differences realizing unmet dreams, carried by faith and filled with hope for a better day!

It is together we have made this country great; it is together we will continue building on this rich heritage…

 

Jaren

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