Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Year at Home

Courtney is my wife. For two months now. I've never been happier in my life. In all seriousness.

But before she was my wife, she was a fellow missionary in California. It's hard to think of our relationship now as having ever been just Elder and Hermana, with absolutely no romantic interest at all. But believe it or not, it was. Okay fine, I'll admit, I thought she was cute, but that was it, alright?

Anyway, when we both came home, we texted a lot. Just as friends and stuff. Fine, I still thought she was cute, but....anyway, I don't have to explain myself. What I'm getting at is that one day, right before Christmas, she texted me and she was pretty upset. Someone had said something about her publicly that made her doubt the value of her service as a missionary. No, not doubt. Courtney doesn't doubt. But it hurt her feelings. In my response to her I told her that she should never question her contribution to the work of the Lord in California. I went on to say that she was the best missionary that I ever served around. Period. Not the best sister, not the best Spanish missionary, just missionary. There was no one that I trusted more, had more confidence in, or who inspired me more.

I still stick to that statement.

Today is October 23, and it was one year ago today that Court came home to her family. And it was only 8 days later that she went on a date with a kid from New Mexico who brought almost his entire family (parents, in-laws, babies, and everything) on the date with him. She probably thought it was weird, but that family eventually became her's, and she decided to start using their last name. But I just wanted to publicly show my appreciation for my wife's service as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with sharing the things that I thought were abmirable that I saw first-hand for those who weren't able to see them.

By serving a mission, I know that my wife will be an incredible mother. Her care and deep commitment to the people of her mission is evidence enough that she is a charitable person, and charity is what a mother needs.

She can do hard things. New things. Intimidating things. She had to every day as a missionary, and I was able to witness some of it. She wasn't afraid to approach strangers, teach in extremely weird situations, and stand up for her beliefs, all in a caring, obedient, Christ-like way. She still is able to do new things with me, too:

Speaking of obedience, Court was the missionary that everybody new was exactly obedient. One of my favorite memories of her on the mission is this: upon arriving at a new area and realizing that her car was already near going over the allotted mileage, and needing to do laundry on P-day, she and her companion decided to carry their laundry while riding bikes. I remember seeing her on that day, with bike grease on her skirt and a pink face (it was pretty cold), and I think a tear in her skirt, if I remember right, and smiling really big. She was so proud of herself. The senior missionary in charge of the mission fleet got mad at her and told her to just go over miles and to never try to ride her bike to do laundry again. Once she got permission, she didn't mind. But until then, she was going to be obedient.

Court is such a good teacher. Whether she was giving a lesson, a spiritual thought at dinner, a talk in church, a comment at zone conference, or teaching an English class, she is engaging, funny, intelligent, well-spoken, clear, loving, and, most important, spiritually in tune. Her mission honed this teaching ability, and I am grateful because I can't wait to have her as a teaching companion for our kids.

I have seen her experience, endure, and overcome heartbreak. When I was transferred to Fairfield and we served together for the last 3 months of my mission, she was going through a hard time. The work was not going well in her area, and the strain on her spirit was apparent. But regardless of the difficulty, she never slacked or gave up. She worked harder. She prayed more, contacted more, worked more, gave service more. Her endurance and resilience impressed me and inspired me. Although you don't need to serve a mission to experience hardship and develop faith and endurance, I know that her mission was a crucible that gave her a crash course.

She knows the scriptures. This is what they look like:

The other day she was proud of herself for accomplishing something and she decided to reward herself....with an Old Testament Student Manual to help her study. Yeah.

Above all, as her fellow missionary, I was able to hear, feel, and experience the strength of her testimony. Often. And a lot of the time, she wasn't even formally bearing it. Those who know Courtney know that she is sure of the truthfulness of the Gospel. Her testimony strengthened me then, and it strengthens me now.

I love my wife. She is the joy of my life. I've never felt so happy to be with someone, so commited to their happiness, and so determined to live the Gospel. And it feels so good. And its all because of her. And even though she didn't need to serve a mission for me to love her, I am so glad that she did, because it is a reflection of her character, her commitment to God, and her potential as an eternal partner. Thank you, babe, for serving. Thank you for doing so honorably and so well. Your service will be an eternal legacy in our family.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Things I Love About Courtney

A few days ago Courtney had her bridal shower back home in Naperville, IL. A few weeks prior, her brother and sister-in-law made a short video of me answering questions about myself and about our relationship. The object was for Courtney to guess what my answers to the questions would be. Of course, she guessed nearly all of them right. However, while all of my answers to those questions were honest, they were not all complete.

At some point in the interview, I was asked what my favorite thing about Courtney is. For the sake of the video, I needed to keep my answer to a single, rather brief response. I complied. But I feel like I would be doing this incredible young woman a disservice if I did not let her know exactly how I feel about her. So here goes my best effort:

What I love about Courtney....

1. Anybody who knows Courtney knows that she has a strong testimony and an intense love of the Gospel. She has been blessed with a keen awareness of who she is now and what she has the potential to be. Even from a young age she was developing her testimony. She has told me stories of her spiritual experiences that she had through prayer and scripture study at ages 7 and 8. I don't know if I had even had the desire to seek out spiritual opportunities at that age--I was too busy thinking about Star Wars, Power Rangers, video games, and making up fantastical stories about how I would be recruited by Bryon Russell to play for the Utah Jazz as its youngest (but somehow ablest) player. Meanwhile, Courtney already knew of her divine role and potential as a daughter of God. Her love of the Gospel has increased exponentially since then, and she has developed into a faith-filled, active member of the Church of Jesus Christ, a rock of testimony that will never be shaken. I had the privilege of seeing her as she served her full-time mission. I can say without bias (I told her this before we started dating) that she was the best missionary that I ever served with. Not just the best sister missionary, but the best missionary, period. Her determination and drive that she showed as a full-time servant of Christ has not diminished since she has been home, and she continues to be an impressive disciple. I know that I can always count on her to do the right thing for the right reason. And I love knowing that I will have such a strong example and firm role-model as the mother of my children. I have no doubt that they will be raised to know the truth of Christ's Gospel because Courtney will teach, lead, and inspire them to find their own testimonies.

2. As I said on the video, I have always been impressed with Courtney's empathetic nature. I have never known anyone who cares (really cares) more about the happiness of others than Courtney. She actively tries to understand how other people are feeling and how she can best relate to them so that she can best help them. Regardless of culture, language, or socio-economic class, Courtney loves and respects everyone that she meets and wants them to be happy. And if they are not, Courtney does all she can to better their lives.

3. Along the same vein, Courtney is extremely service-driven. She experiences happiness most often by serving others. This is explains her desire to serve a full-time mission, build homes in Mexico, and to volunteer teaching English as a second language. Attached to her character of service is the quality of dependability. If a friend ever needs help, she goes to the rescue, regardless of inconvenience. Her greatest desire is to serve God and the rest of God's children.

4. One of the most attractive qualities of Courtney is her humor. Quite frankly, she is hilarious. She has the ability to make everyone in a room laugh. I have never been around someone who has made me laugh more than Courtney has, which is actually a pretty difficult feat, since I don't laugh easily. But she always puts me in the best of moods. Any time that I am around her, my mood only gets better. And that is the remarkable thing about Courtney's humor: it is entirely uplifting. She never laughs at the faults of others or makes people feel bad about themselves, or at least that is never her intention. She practices humor to make others feel good, which is impressive when you consider that the most popular humor today is crude, vulgar, and mean. It is refreshing to be around someone who makes you laugh not by making fun of humanity, but by making humanity fun.

5. Next, Courtney possesses an uncanny optimism. Although she is human and occasionally feels nervous or stressed, she never lets these emotions dominate her life or her decision-making. She looks forward to the future and is excited for what it holds, regardless of how difficult it may be. She puts all of her trust in God and enjoys the adventure of living. Even during the hard times, Courtney will search for the good in every situation and the lesson that God is trying to teach her. She welcomes a challenge because she knows that every life-situation can be positive, if she decides that it is going to be.     

6. Courtney is the most beautiful woman that I have ever laid my eyes on. That is all that I am going to say about that quality publicly.
7. Another quality that I love about Courtney is her determination. She is extremely focused and goal-oriented, which means that she is also very productive. When she sets her mind to something, you can bet that it is going to get done. If it is her goal to clean her room by the end of the day, then dagnabbit, her room is going to be clean. If it is her goal to finish school on time, even with the difficult situation that her fiance has put her in (sorry, babe!), then dagnabbit, she is going to graduate on time. If it is her goal to has a celestial family that loves each other and loves the Lord, then dagnabbit, she is going to do all that she possibly can to ensure the safety and survival of that eternal family. Additionally, she is willing to sacrifice personal comfort and convenience to fulfill these goals. I absolutely love this trait about her.

8. Courtney is also one of the most intelligent people that I have ever known. She is able to talk about anything and everything, because she studies. When we have long drives together in the car, the radio is rarely turned on because we are too busy talking. Also, she is the first person that I have been able to talk to so easily, without having to include lengthy introductions to topics or explain the back history of an issue. With her, I don't need to explain the type of book that I am reading, because she already knows who Dostoyevsky is, along with most of the elements of nineteenth-century Russian literature. I don't need to say where a scripture is found, because she knows the scriptures better than I do. And I don't need to explain some of the possible ramifications of current legislation because she has already read up on the issues and formed her own opinions. And when she doesn't know something, she immediately tries to learn more about it. Most of her late night are due to staying up and researching a topic that she wants to know more about, just for fun. I love it. I reminds me of me.

9. Possibly the most adorable quality that Courtney has is the love of her family. She is constantly praising her parents, her siblings, her in-laws, and her nieces and nephew. Probably 60% of the times that she has me look at something on her phone, it is to show me an Instagram from one of her siblings that features them or their children. This is usually accompanied by one or more of the following phrases: "Awwwwwww! They're so cute!", or "Oh, I just love them!", or "I miss them so much!" Aside from her own wedding that is fast approaching, he most anticipated days are Thanksgiving and Christmas, when she can be back with her family. I also love and appreciate how much she loves my family. Honestly, I'm pretty sure she communicates with my sisters and sisters-in-law more than I do. I love that she loves my family and that she wants to be a fully active Hatch.

10. Courtney is also assertive and opinionated. This is one of my favorite qualities about her. She cares enough about people/issues/policies to educate herself and to take a stance. And once she has found out the truth, she sticks to it tenaciously. She is not afraid to stand for what she believes and to make her opinions known. However, she carefully balances this boldness with a kind and accepting humility. She is willing to hear the opinions of others and to consider them. She is even willing to alter hers if necessary, if she receives more clarifying information. Lastly, she understands the boundary between opinion and fact, and she never oversteps that line.

11. Perhaps my favorite thing about Courtney is the fact that she is only going to get better. Because of these qualities that I have listed, I know that she will only be more Christ-like, more powerful, and more loving as the years go by. Our relationship is only going to get sweeter, deeper, and more meaningful. That is what I love about her. That is what I am most looking forward to.

These are only a few qualities that I wish I could told Courtney about in my interview. This is not a complete list. I don't know if this blog could hold all the things that I love about Courtney, and this post is already pretty long. But I am okay with that, because I am going to have an eternity to tell her. An eternity that I am very excited for.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dear Dad

Hey, Dad! I just wanted to write you a letter and let you know how much of a hero you are to me and the rest of the really cool Hatch family. Because you made it. The family, that is. So here it goes.

First of all, Dad, you have taught me what it is to be a real man. You have taught me that manliness is not based on extreme strength, monetary attainment, or immoral virility. Granted, being strong, well-off, and attractive are not bad things. But unfortunately, the world teaches that these attributes are to be sought after as an end in and of themselves, for personal achievement and glory; the world teaches that manliness has to do with pride and selfishness. This is the mistake. Instead, manliness has everything to do with desiring, aquiring, and using these attributes in order to help others. At least, this is what you taught me, Dad, whether through your words or your actions and whether you thought you were teaching me or not.

From you, I learned that to be strong is good, because I will be able to serve, help, and protect my future family better. I can take my family on hikes, run and bike with them, and build (and rebuild and remodel) a home, where my family can be safe and happy. With a strong body, I can protect them, if need be; I can be the source of help in an emergency; and I can intimidate that young man who takes my daughter out on her first date. True strength is not measured in looks and max-outs, but in my ability to make easy the lives of other people. This is what you taught me, Dad. And if this is true, you are the strongest man that I know.

I learned that it is good to seek financial independence, because I will have more time and means to facilitate the happiness of my family, friends, coworkers, and those I will serve in my church calling. This will be done by my interaction, not my money; but I can free up my schedule and my availability by being financially independent. Dad, the way you live and the way you spend has taught me that money is only important in that it is directly related to the ease in which you can serve others. Because in the end, being a man is all about being a good servant.

Lastly, Dad, you have taught me something that the world rejects altogether. You have taught me that to be a good man includes being moral, righteous, and spiritually in tune. Your moral devotion, your testimony, and your diligence to all activities involved with those two things, is where I learned that true manliness is directly related to commited discipleship. Dad, your faithfulness has not gone unnoticed. Not by me, not by Mom, not by any of your kids, and not by your fellow-servants in Christ. I hope that I can be as good a man as you are, Dad. I want to be just like you. And I know that as I emulate you, as you emulate the Son of Man, and as He emulates the Man of Holiness, we will all learn the true, pure meaning of manliness in some future day.

You've given me a good headstart. Thanks, Dad!



Monday, May 24, 2010

This Post Doesn't Have a Title

Here is the company dining out. We were authorized civilian clothes and paid a lot of money for okay food. Here's pretty much all of my best friends at one table.

The YSA USNA dance. Put on by the church for any YSAs that want to dance with midshipmen. It turned out to be pretty fun, actually.

And the Youngster Luau. Pretty much the only thing that 3/c get to look forward to at the end of the year.

I like to imagine its an alien crawling into his mouth.

Tyler is kind of special.

Scott with a happy face. This doesn't happen often, so I just had to record it.

Gladiator shenanigans.

Jace riding a bull.

And the first company pastime...frisbee. There's Warren, catching and throwing underhand in the same jump.


Josh being athletic and Marty looking strange.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Whole Lot of Stuff the Last Few Days

This is Tom Cruise. It is the name we gave to the almost-pet mouse that we had in our room for nearly two months. He was a crazy guy, I didn't realize how fast mice can run or that they could jump. Yeah, they jump. They also eat EVERYTHING. Tom ruined an entire six-pack of ramen noodles that I had. Stupid critter. Anyway, when Jace and I were gone to do aviation training, Josh was able to catch Tom Cruise (in his backpack of all places). He then put Tom in the recycle bin and poured Listerine on him. And that's how it ended. We had a proper burial for him, though, as the video at the bottom shows.

Something very gay about this picture.

So in the Physics spaces, there are signs all over the walls that name the different Physics disciplines: Optics, acoustics, nuclear quantum hyperdrive teleportation, etc. Well, here's a well placed placard. I love that it's in brown and yellow.

So for silly things in the Navy, pt.2. Down this hallway you will see clocks. It's hard to see in this picture, I'm sorry. If you click, you may be able to see them better. Anyway, I noticed how many clocks there were and decided to count one day. 21. 21 clocks. That's just in the hallways for the Physics and Chemistry spaces. That's inordinate. And next to every single clock, there is a bell. Really? How much did that cost? Because there has to be a better use of the government's money.

I'm especially grateful for these two clocks. Just in case I forget the time two steps after I pass one clock, there's another one waiting to show me the time.

Also, this last Saturday I was able to see Clint Black live. I was on row three, right in the center of the stage. Pretty good seats for a country legend if you ask me. Also, I almost caught a pick. It hit my palm and bounced out. ARRRGGHH!!!

And here's the ad hoc funeral.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Matt's Fault

I've had this song stuck in my head pretty consistently the last....oh, let's say two weeks. Matt got me hooked on Mr. Bocelli over Christmas break. And then I found this video of him with Elmo. I have a soft spot for cute little muppets. Enjoy!

Here's the real version...