Thursday, March 4, 2010

I have an awesome family!

My mom started a new tradition in my family where we write a tribute or message to the member of the family on their birthday.  We started in January with my oldest sister Mindy, so I had a feeling it was coming for my birthday in February.  It made a boring day of school into a really fun birthday because I was able to check throughout the day and see the posts from my parents, brothers and sisters.  Each one of them wrote things that let me feel their love for me.

http://howellfamilynews.blogspot.com/

Time flies when you're busy!

I've figured that days go by like hours and weeks go by like days.  I don't know if I will be able to keep up with this pace.  I keep as busy as ever though doing things that I think will help me learn, grow, and become who I have set out to be.

Here are some of the things that I keep myself busy doing:

Sunday

1.    Church has always been important to me.  I usually start my Sundays early in meetings, and then the  regular three hour block, and then meetings after.  I love to be involved and meet new people.  I love to be around dedicated people that help make Sundays the day of spiritual uplifting and recharging for the week.  It has been great to be in a new ward to learn from new experiences and people.

2.    About a month ago, I was called as a Ward Mission Leader.  I have been in various leadership callings, but this one has stretched me already.  I've been working on getting things for the nine or ten ward missionaries to do to help the missionary work go forward.  I've also been able to go to some teaching appointments with the full time missionaries.  It has been excellent to be able to feel many of the same feelings I felt on my mission.

3.    About once or twice a month, the Institute puts on a fireside.  I joined the Fireside Committee to be more involved with institute and good people.  It takes up the whole evening of the fireside.  We set up chairs and refreshments, then usher.  We then watch the fireside and then hand out the refreshments, take down chairs, and sweep the floor.  By the end I am usually exhausted, but it is well worth the fun we have while we're working.
   
4.    I usually end the day by going to ward prayer.  Quite a few people from the ward come and there is a spiritual thought and a prayer and then we hang around and talk for a while.  This is usually held at someone's house.

Monday

1.    Monday mornings are great for me.  I am usually able to use the time to catch up and prepare for the week.  If projects are due that week, I can work to catch up.
 
2.    I am taking the Institute class, The Gospel and the Productive Life.  It is a great class that talks about setting goals and accomplishing them.  There have also been sections on time management and finances.  I've really enjoyed learning more about those things.

3.    Early in the afternoon, I TA for the ME 1005 lab.  In the lab the students learn Solidworks.  This is a shorter lab because there are only 6 students and they are usually able to get done with everything pretty quickly.  Right after that I have a meeting for all of the TA's. 

4.    In the evening there is usually an activity planned for FHE.  This last week, we got together and played games.  It isn't necessarily important for me what we do as it is to be around good people.  Free food and candy is also a great addition. 

Tuesday

1.    Tuesday mornings also turn out to be great for catching up with homework, or I have an occasional extra meeting with a professor for TA stuff.

2.    My first class is Artificial Intelligence.  I've enjoyed the topics we are learning there because they are different than what I have been learning so far.  It is certainly stretching my capabilities.  It's always good to be able to accomplish something I didn't think I could do before.

3.    My next class is a Robot Control class.  This class seems to be combining things that I've learned before and teaching more advanced things that are used to control robots.  It has been a difficult class, but at least this week I feel on top of it.

4.    At five, I have a Parables of Jesus institute class.  The lessons have been great this semester and I really feel like I’m learning things that help me directly in my life.

5.    Tuesday evenings usually are good for homework again.  There is always plenty of homework or grading to do so it's good to have a lot of extra time.

6.    At nine, there is usually a dorm devotional, where the members of the ward that live in dorm buildings close to each other get together for a spiritual thought and a prayer.

Wednesday

1.    In the morning I teach a lab for the ME 1010 class.  These labs usually consist of an hour of computer programming, then two hours of motors, circuits, sensors or working on building robots.  It is usually a fun lab to teach.  The students are great and make it fun to work.  There are about 12 students in this class.

2.    In the early afternoon, I go to Viewmont Elementary to be a Mad Scientist.  I teach an after school workshop on robots.  This can sometimes be a very frustrating time especially when the kids have had a long day at school and want to go home.  It can be fun when I can see that they are actually learning something and having fun with science.

3.    Wednesday evening is the time that my fraternity usually meets.  We usually start with the brotherhood circle.  We go around the circle and talk about what’s going on in our lives.  This has been a great way to get to know everyone and feel united.  After that we usually have some kind of activity planned, usually with a chapter from the sorority.

Thursday

1.    I TA for the 3 hour lab for ME 1010 again.  Pretty much the same thing as before, but this time there are about 20 students in the class.

2.    Artificial Intelligence and Robot Control class again.

3.    I’m usually free for the rest of the day to work on homework and other things.

4.    There is usually something going on with the fraternity or an activity for the ward or at the institute during the evening.

5.    There is another dorm devotional at nine.

6.  At 10:10 pm the fraternity meets at the Pie Pizzeria for Pie Night.

Friday

1.    Friday morning I have TA office hours where I spend time in the lab helping students with questions they have on assignments and homework.

2.    In the early afternoon I have a meeting with the professor that is the advisor for my thesis project.  This is the time that I report on progress that I’ve hopefully been able to make during the week.

3.    During the evening there is usually an activity or a date planned or a chance to catch up with homework.

Saturday

1.     Saturdays seem to fly by even though I am usually free most of the day to decide what I want to do with it.  Usually I use the time to work on projects, clean the house, make a trip to Bountiful to see my parents, grocery shop, or do laundry.  Evening time always seems to come way too fast and I realize I only got half of what I wanted to do done.

2.    Evenings are usually spend doing what I missed doing during the day so I don’t feel guilty.  Or I go hang out somewhere or go on a date.

Anyway, this is my usual week.  There are more things that seem to come up all the time that need done, so that’s why I always feel like I’m catching up.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

School Again...

I'm done with my first week of school.  It has gone well, but I can see that it will be a lot of work this semester.

My first class is Artificial Intelligence.  It seems like a cool class that includes a lot of computer programming.  I'll have to learn a new programming language called Python which will take some time, but I'll be able to do cool things.  One of the projects that we will work on is to design part of a pacman game.  From what I've learned in the class so far, we are a long ways away from having robots take over the world.



My other class is called Intro to Robot Control.  It also should be pretty fun.  We'll be writing programs to control a robot arm that throws a ball, and working with the controls of each motor in that robot arm to make it aim and throw at a certain speed.


I am also a TA for the ME 1010 class where I teach Solidworks, a 3D computer aided drafting program, and MATLAB, a coding program.  The classes are a lot smaller than last semester so I won't be running around as much answering questions.

Overall, school is going pretty well.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Go up Higher

The name of my blog comes from a parable in the scriptures.  It was one that I found on my mission that taught me a great lesson about how to seek perfection while still being humble.


Jesus was the master teacher.  He took every opportunity to teach those around Him.  In this story, He was invited into the house of one of the chief Pharisees for supper.  There were quite a few of the big guys there, the lawyers and Pharisees were the upper class and had a lot of pride.  The story starts in Luke 14:7.

7  And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,

So Jesus might have pointed out that some of them had gone straight to the spot nearest the head of the table or the places of honor in the house.  They all thought that they were more important than the others and that they deserved the honor.

8  When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
9  And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.

How embarrassing it would be for you if you have sat down in the place of honor all ready for the feast to have a more honorable person come in and the host ask you to move down and sit somewhere else.  To make it worse, you have lost any chance to sit in that room because the other spots are also taken and you realize you have no importance.

10  But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
11  For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

This shows true humility.  We shouldn't set ourselves up in a position to be praised and honored, but instead we should be humble and true praise, honor, and exaltation will be given to us by our Friend, Jesus Christ.

As for me when I was on my mission, I didn't need to go around with the attitude that I was so righteous and should be honored for my position as a missionary, but instead, I was to do the things I was called to do and be content with what the Lord gave to me and when He would give it.

All of us are striving for perfection.  We want to be like our Heavenly Father through developing Christlike attributes.  But the first thing to remember is that we do this through humility.  We are not any better than our brother or sister next to us, and we cannot know the thoughts and intents of their hearts.  There will be a day when the Savior comes to us, knowing our hearts, and will say, "Friend, go up higher".

Scouching


skiis
+

couch

=

scouch

During this last week I went up with a bunch of friends to go scouching. They had taken skiis and mounted them to the bottom of a couch. Then you get about four people on there and go down a snow/ice covered hill. You have one person on each side to steer by braking with their feet when needed. We went up to Dimple Dell Golf Course up Parley's Canyon. It was a lot of fun. You can get the scouch going pretty fast. The only drawback is pushing the scouch back up the slippery hill.

Wasatch Back Relay


I'm running in the Wasatch Back Relay on June 18 and 19. It really doesn't seem that far away anymore and I have a lot of work to do to prepare for it. My family has done a lot of races and triathlons, but I've usually been too busy with school. I thought that I would make time for this one though.

The whole thing is 188 miles divided up into 12 people. It goes from Logan to Park City. I've got three legs of the race, one of the legs is going uphill, but the other two should be fairly easy (as in flat). If I keep running to prepare myself, I think it will go well. If I don't, well, I think I might die.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I was running

So, I decided it was time to go out running to prepare for the Wasatch Back Relay. So, I went running with a friend. It was good because it really helps to have someone pace me and keep me going so I don't stop when I first start getting tired. We just kept running. She had a route that she likes to take but it ended up to be about 5 miles. I'm pretty tired now, but it's a good start. I'll really have to get into a routine so I can keep it up when school starts.

New Apartment continued

I found my camera battery charger so I was able to take pictures of my apartment so that you all can see how it is.

This is my bed...

This is my desk, bookcase, and window.

This is my bookcase, door and dresser.

This is the night view from my bedroom window.

and another...

and the view in the morning.


video
Here is a movie, because pictures don't get as much.

I start going in from the front door, then you see the kitchen, the living room, my bedroom, my roommate's bedroom (he moves in today sometime), and the bathroom.

If you want to see any more than this, you're going to have to come and visit.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sigma




At the start of the Fall semester I knew that I wanted to get more involved in Institute and other activities. When I went to Rush Week, I found out about the Institute Fraterity, Sigma Gamma Chi. Rush week is where they have a big outdoor party and you can join one of the chapters. I thought that it sounded fun and would be a great way to get involved. A friend and I walked around and looked at all the different chapters that there were and we chose Sigma. I didn't really know what I was getting into, but I knew that there would be activities and new friends so I was good to go.

I don't really have too many pictures to document it all, but here is what I have. We have activities every Wednesday where we get together and do something fun. Also, every week there is pizza night at the Pie Pizzeria. We also had exchanges with the sorority chapters where we get together with the girls. Some of those included playing football, going to the Haunted Village, a picture scavenger hunt, and others. Everyone worked hard to plan activities and that made it a lot of fun.


One activity that we had was called "Catch a Cougar". We carpooled down to BYU and walked around campus asking girls out. When we "caught" one, we met up with the rest of the guys at the Brick Oven for pizza. It certainly put me out of my comfort zone, but we all found girls and had an enjoyable night. I'm in this picture...just behind the other people, so you'll have to pretend to see me.


Another activity was the Battle of the Chapters. All of the fraternity and sorority joined together and each fraternity chapter was paired up with a sorority chapter. During the week, we collected food for the food drive, then we met together at the SLCC campus. There were games, relay races, tug of war, crab soccer and tons of other competitions.


Our advisor's brother owns the Rio Tinto Stadium, so we were able to go watch a REAL soccer game and sit in the owner's suite. It was a lot of fun. The owner's son also served in the Rome Italy Mission with me, so it was good to see him there too.

Sigma Gamma Chi stands for Service to God and Country. The whole fraternity includes about 12 different chapters. Each chapter has about 30 to 40 guys. It is awesome to see that good that it does. All the activities built unity and brotherhood. We did service projects and did a couple of temple trips. There were a lot of other activities that were really great. One of the best things is to hang around people who have the same values as you do. I'm glad that I am a part of it, and I look forward to when things start up again next semester.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Graduation!!!


Since I haven't posted anything for the past year, I thought it would be good to catch up on a few things. With so many big things happening over the last year, it will take several posts to catch up. I'll hit the highlights.

I graduated with a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering in May of 2009. It was an exciting day because I knew that I was done with a giant step of life. There were mixed feelings though. It was exciting to know that I would have the first summer off of school for a while, but it felt like a brick wall coming fast because I didn't have any fixed plans for a career. With the economy being how it is, I wasn't too excited to go on the job hunt yet. Also, I wanted to go to graduate school right away so I could keep my momentum instead of having to decide to go back one day.

Anyway, it turned out to be a great day with the friends I had spent a few years with in the classroom. In engineering, you usually take most of the core classes in order so you are with the same people for four years.
Weston was in my classes at Salt Lake Community College and transfered up to the University of Utah with me when we got our Associates.


I met Patrick while working at Heath Engineering. He was also in my classes when I transferred up to the U. His wife graduated at the same time also. I also met James when I transferred up. He went to the Milan Italy mission so we also took some Italian classes, which was a great break from Engineering classes.


I couldn't have done it without the help of my parents. It is impossible to list all the things that parents do for you in your life. Helping me stay out of debt by letting me live at home was very appreciated. It was also nice to be able to get advice from people that had been through it all before. Thanks Mom and Dad!

And you can still be dumb, even after you graduate.