Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Google Fiber!

It's official! Google Fiber will be coming to Provo!

Read the official blog post here.

If you don't know what that is, check out the video below:

You can also check out the wikipedia page here.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I was named after a woman, and I couldn't be prouder.

     For the past week or so, I've been trying to figure out just what to say about this. My grandmother, who we called "Muddie", was/is basically my hero. She passed away two weeks ago tomorrow. It was a sad thing for us, but it wasn't unexpected, and in the end, we were largely happy that she was able to join those family members she severely missed. She expressed several times that she wanted to see them, and now she has.

I was very touched when my dad and older brother asked me if I would make a few comments at her funeral, which was intentionally kept small and simple, just a brief graveyard service, at her request before she passed. I wanted to share what I said, here:

I’ve thought long and hard about just what to say about Muddie. I want to say something that expresses just what an amazing woman my grandmother is; but every time I thought of something to say, it was never enough.

To be honest, I don’t think there is anything I can say that is quite enough. If you knew Muddie, you know what I mean.

Over the past few days, several friends of mine who knew Muddie have sent me their condolences and their impressions of Muddie:

“Once you meet Muddie, you never forget her!!”

“I love Muddie. Such an amazing person. The sweetest you could ever meet.”

Several of the things I read were from people who had only met Muddie briefly, but in that short time, she had impacted their lives significantly.

You often hear the metaphor of a stone thrown into a pond, and the ripples spreading. Muddie, however, was not content to simply drop into a pond and sink to the bottom. She reminds me more of a stone, skipped across the pond, and everywhere she touched, she created yet another set of ripples. She raised three wonderful children, who each have gone on to have their own families and to touch other people’s lives for the better. She impacted each of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and so on. And she touched their friends, as well – even friends of mine who met her for no more than a 15-minute visit were struck by her amazing spirit and sincerity.

I remember feeling that the timing of her passing was incredibly fitting – She has always been one of the most stalwart followers of and believers in Christ that I have ever known. And now is the time when we celebrate His sacrifice for us, and His Resurrection, which occurred so that we, too, could someday live again, and return to His presence.

I know, without a doubt, that I will see her again, and I can’t wait to see that grin that always made me feel like I was worth something, and that twinkle in her eye that always let me know that she was up to something. J

Within the last few days, my mother found a page inside of one of Muddie’s bibles, which had a brief essay a man had written about accomplishing everything you want to in life. Muddie had marked the following passage:

“We have much in our lives that is unfinished – relationships that need mending, good deeds we plan to do when we have time. But with God’s guidance we can do each day what we need to do that day, so that no matter when we die, we can have the comfort of knowing that we have lived fully and been faithful.”

On the same page, she wrote in her very distinctive handwriting, “This is how I feel. Don’t weep and grieve for me. I have had a wonderful life. God has truly blessed me.”

The last time I spoke to Muddie on the phone, she said something to me that she had said many times before, but this time, it genuinely felt different. As the conversation was winding down, she very deliberately said, “I love you, Bill.”

Then, she paused, as if trying to emphasize the sincerity of what she was next about to say: “And I always will.”

I choked back tears, and I returned the sentiment: “I love you, too, Muddie. And I always will.” It was different than previous conversations, and I felt it was a particularly important moment.

Those were the last words we said to each other, and I will always treasure that exchange.

Muddie gave me several things, but I think one of the most special, at least to me, is her name. When they weren’t calling her “Muddie,” which is a child’s adaptation of the word “Mother”, her family and friends called her Billie, and my parents named me Billy, later Bill, in honor of her. As I grew up, there were a few times when I considered going by Will or William, or some other form of my name, but in the end, I never wanted to, for one reason: because I couldn’t be more proud to share her name.

My one regret regarding Muddie is that the wife and children I hope to someday have will not have the opportunity to meet her in this life. I can certainly tell them what an amazing person she was and is, and I likely will do so several times – but without meeting her, it will be more difficult for them to know just how special she really was.

In the end, I think that the best way any of us can let the people we care about who never had the opportunity to meet her know how incredible she really is would be to live our own lives in a way that they can see the positive impact she had on each of our lives, that they can feel the ripples she left on each of us when she touched us.

“Keep on keepin’ on,” she said to me just about every time we spoke.

“It’s all a matter of the mind – if you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”

And, as I heard from her countless times, and I’ve heard repeated several times over the past few days by people who knew her, “Don’t you quit!”

I love you, too, Muddie. And I always will.