Spelling Bee (Emily)

I cannot spell my name. It is true. Growing up, I would sign my name over and over and I think it looked very pretty from all of that practice. Then I met Sam and he threw off my groove! I now have a new last name. Which contains my least favorite cursive letters (r and k)! This problem does not just come from handwriting my name but also from typing it. It ends up being Merkly, Merklty. Merkely, Merkleu, or Merkleyr. What is that?! Unbelievable! Now I am probably going to be stalked because I just told everyone my name. Awesome.


Play at your own risk (Emily)

On Saturday, we went to a tumbling gym and I realized that I am a scaredy cat!

Sam was flipping off of all sorts of things (see below)...
And trying to make other people face plant...
And I would stand on the edge terrified...
And then I would finally convince myself to jump while still terrified...
And then it would take me a year and a half to get out of the foam pit!
We were exhausted by the end...
And almost slept through Grace's blessing the next morning... (thank goodness we didn't!)
I like when I get to have my husband for a weekend!


An ode to my beard (Sam)

So as has been my tradition for the past 4 summers since I've been installing security systems, I have once again grown a king sized beard. Why grow a beard in the summer when it is the hottest you say? Well, I have been a BYU student for the past four years as well and growing a beard is not allowed by the Honor Code. I had to get all my beard growing fantasies out during the summer. That's one of the reasons why I always grow it during the summer, but it is also kind of a social experiment. I think that most people when they see a man with a beard make a few snap judgements, here a a few for your consideration:

1. This man is a crazy biker about to go on a cross country trip on his Harley Davidson,
2. This man is a bum, lives on the street, cannot afford a razor, hasn't showered in the last two weeks, and has awful personal hygiene.
3. This man is a lumber jack briefly down from the mountain and deforestation to purchase beef jerky, and ammo for his shotgun.
4. This man will not let go of his dreams of becoming a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd and will begin singing "Free Bird" any moment...

Well unfortunately for everyone, or maybe fortunately for everyone, I am none of those things. I am just a relatively normal guy who loves growing really long beards and occasionally hiding things such a golf tees or pens in there for later use. When I first started growing a beard one of my favorite things to do was attend religious services (the temple, and other services) and participate to the fullest of my abilities. This really threw the older folks for a loop because they did not know what to think of this kook with a beard. I thought it was hilarious!
There have been some drawbacks of having such a large beard though. Before I was married, when I was still single even, I was at a baseball game at Wrigley Field and got picked up on by a 40 year old woman. Being that I was only 25 at the time this was definitely not my target audience :-) I guess she didn't know I like my girls young! Another drawback is when I eat hamburgers and have to take big bites sometimes my moustache gets caught between my teeth and the food, pulling the hair. It's actually quite painful. I could probably go on for hours about beards, but I will spare you. I guess in closing I would just say to all, beards are great, so don't judge people for having them because they might actually be alright guys underneath all that facial hair.

Sneak peak into our marriage (Emily)

Emily: Sam, are you going to blog today?
Sam: Probably not. Why?
Emily: Because there is no point in me writing "Emily" in parenthesis at the end of every title if I am the only one who ever writes.
Sam: Oh.


Just thinking (Emily)

I have a perpetual feeling of stupidity. It is unbelievable pathetic and I get so mad at myself. I cannot form complete sentences around smart or intimidating people. My brain shuts down. I try to say something smart and it comes out as a stuttering disaster. I hate feeling incompetent. So much anxiety. (Maybe I have agoraphobia. Let's pretend I don't.) I am trying to feel more competent and I decided to look at learning in a new way. I cannot believe it took me sixteen years of school to realize it, but I am glad I did before I was completely done with college. So onto my epiphany...

Learning is not a checklist. As much as I love lists, I would hate the Learning List even if one could be found. It would never be completed. Ever. Even if I read every book and talk to every person, knowledge is always changing. Learning takes acceptance and connections. If I don't know how to change my oil then my brother does. If I don't know which state to register to vote in then my sister does. If I don't know if my bank is about to go under and I need to switch then my mom does. If I don't know how to get the internet through a USB adapter then my dad does. If I don't know... Nevermind, I think you've got the point. I don't know a lot... but other people do! I hope I have something people could come to me for. I am not sure what it is but maybe. You cannot just focus on one field and block out all other information. No one would want to talk to you if you only ever talk about the evolution of monarch butterflies (honestly, I wouldn't want to talk to you if you only brought that topic up once). I am sure everyone knows people who know something about everything. I have three brothers-in-law like that. (Yes, Bryan. You are one of them.) And it is a very admirable trait. I have come to the realization that I have to let go of some things. I have tried too long to be good at everything and I have ended up being barely average in everything. Harriet Braiker said, "Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing." Amen.

School is supposed to be interesting. It is supposed to change me; make me think more about who I am and who I want to become. All of college so far has been a checklist: I just need to get through my classes in order to get a diploma, get a job, and be successful. I was completely missing the point! I was always trying to memorize. I wanted the professors to tell me what to write down so I could later learn it and regurgitate it for the exam. This semester, I am genuinely interested in what I am learning and I love it. I don't want to just pass the test and forget it. I want to be able to talk about it.

I always thought of my brain as getting full and I needed to kick out some information. Naive, I know. My cousin is majoring in theater and I asked her if she forgets her old lines when she learns new ones and she said she doesn't. They are all still rattling around somewhere. Well, duh Emily. Of course. I have so much "room" left! Time to go shopping!

I know about some things. Don't write me off as a complete imbecile. I know about sign language (although my self-efficacy took a beatdown when I came to BYU). I know about baseball (but I cannot tell you anyone's ERA). I know about swimming (but that doesn't mean I worship Michael Phelps). I know about some parts of psychology (not even close to all I should know). I know nothing about The Beatles. Big deal! (I can sing every country song that came out between when I was fourteen and seventeen.)

So my lesson from this... Just because someone does not know what I know does not make them dumb (and if I do not know what they know I hope they would give me the same benefit of the doubt). We have different interests. I hope that when they have the home field advantage they will be willing to kindly educate me instead of ridicule.


Summer Adventures (Emily)

I guess it is time to reflect on the goals we set for ourselves this summer. We did not do everything as much as we wanted and some things we did not get to at all but I will include pictures of some of the things we did.

1. Rockies game
The game we went to was D-Backs vs. Rockies. Yes, I wore a Diamondbacks shirt. And it is purple and turquoise which shows you how long I have been a fan! Back then they left the "iamond" in their name. Who decided that D-Backs was cooler than Diamondbacks? Lazy people, that's who. Sam wore a Red Sox hat... notice the fading? We are both strong supporters of our teams and got some awesome looks from Rockies fans.

2. Elitch Gardens
Elitch Gardens was closed the last two weeks I was in Denver so we went bowling (twice) instead! It was very fun! After Sam threw this ball he tried to justify his gutter balls by saying that the lane wasn't "catching" the ball. Riiiiight...

3. skydiving
We never did this. So sad. Hopefully we will do it sometime in the near future. This is a picture of when I went skydiving with my friend Whitni Jo after our first year in college. Our hair was crazy!

4. go to the pool at least 3 times a week
Neither of us wanted to have a picture taken in our swimsuits. This is a picture of our beautiful pool.

5. run 3 times a week

This is Sam running...

and me pretending to run.

6. play catch once a week
Although I played softball all growing up, I have not played for a long time! My arm was getting sore! And Sam was making fun of me. How rude!

7. read more books

8. plan our honeymoon
On December 28th, Sam and I will be going on a cruise! The ports are Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. This will be my first cruise and Sam's fourth. I am so excited! Happy New Year!

9. get a job for the Fall

I got an internship with Icon Security (which is where I worked the past two summers and also where Sam has worked for the past four years). I will be working on company efficiency and I am very excited! I actually feel like I can make a difference... I hope.

10. go to the temple once a week
The Denver Temple is very small but very beautiful. It is awesome because on rainy nights the lights from the temple glow in an amazing way. It makes me happy.

11. go golfing 3 more times
We did not do very well on this one either! We only went golfing twice all summer and I didn't take pictures! But honestly, who takes their camera on a golf course? The golf etiquette crazies would come hit you with their nine iron. This is a picture of me before the first time I ever went golfing (except for the times in Scotland where I threw and kicked the ball around the 18 holes... those times don't count).

12. Garden of the Gods
13. try to wake up before noon
We are not really sleeping here but you get the idea.

14. stop leaving clothes in the washer
Most of our clothes still smell like mildew!

15. go on walks late at nightSam acting homeless on one of our walks. His beard is huge. I wonder when we are going to get rid of that thing.

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