Monday, September 23, 2013

Family Letter 3rd Quarter 2013

Hello from Houston!

Work has been going well for me (Evan). I have just passed my one year anniversary as an application developer at the University of Houston and recently had a big project of mine successfully go into production, with another one that will hit testing soon. One of the things I love about the work environment here is that I don't necessarily need to work through a middle man in order to communicate with the customer. For the last project, I was able to directly speak with the customer during testing, which helped me understand exactly what she wanted out of the project. My manager has done an excellent job in providing guidance over the last year, which I am very grateful for. Brian has had his ups and downs at MD Anderson, but he says management has expressed great appreciation for his hard work. Fortunately, work has calmed down for him after a very busy summer.

We spent a lot of time with the boys this summer up until they started school again. Brian was able to work from home and take some vacation time so we could keep them at our house for an entire week. They love swimming in the pool, playing with Shadow, and playing video games. We also were able to have Brian's mom stay home with the kids during the few days Brian had to work from home, which was nice. The boys like school so far. Jordan started 5th grade and Tim started 3rd grade. I first met them when they had just finished 2nd grade and kindergarten. They are getting old too fast! They recently signed up for the Scouts and will also soon be participating in Little League, once again. They are good kids and we are so happy that we are able to be involved in their lives.

We have been continuing our home improvement projects. We have painted some rooms and had some of our windows that run along the front of the house tinted. We also noticed that the foundation issues in our house have been getting worse, which is our next project to address. Here's hoping that this fix won't break the bank!

Last week, while Brian was visiting his step sister and her family in Austin, I made a trip up to Salt Lake City to visit with Demaree, Marco, and Elliot, and to also attend the Affirmation conference. It was great catching up with them and being able to see their house. In between sessions of the conference, I was also able to visit with my old co-workers from San Angelo, who had moved to SLC.

The Affirmation conference was incredibly uplifting for me and I felt like it was something I really needed spiritually. Steve Young and his wife, Barb, were the keynote speakers. Along with the Youngs, I was able to listen to Carol Lynn Pearson, Judy Finch, and Benji Schwimmer, as well as participate in an incredible testimony meeting. They also had several group workshops during the weekend ranging in topics like "Growing Up LGBT and Mormon in America" and "Restoring Your Relationship with the Church." I was very impressed at the number of supportive family members there. Being able to talk to several parents who were just addressing this issue in their family for the first time gave me hope that more and more members of our faith are learning to open their hearts on this issue. If anyone is interested, you can watch several portions of the conference on Affirmation's Youtube channel.

Anyways, it has been great catching up with everyone! Hopefully we will be able to see several of you during the holidays this year. 

Evan and Brian