Recently there has been a trend on Facebook to share interesting things about yourself.
I thought that rather than post on Facebook, I would post on our blog too as it might help our clients to know who I am.
1) My first ever backpacking trip was in Australia on my 21st birthday. I didn’t know anything about backpacking. I brought peanut butter and jelly with me. The jar of jelly opened up inside my backpack on the first day. My second ever backpacking trip was in Yosemite. We had to stay up all night to keep a pack of bears away from our food. Not sure why I went backpacking every year after that, but backpacking was definitely a favorite past time of mine for many years.
My 1st backpacking trip on my 21st birthday (1997):
My 2nd backpacking trip (1999):
Imagine this being pitch dark at 3:00 in the morning and hearing branches breaking in the middle of the night from bears creeping around. You shine your flashlight around and all you can see are 8 sets of glowing eyes shining back as the bears wait for you to go to sleep so they can steal your food…yep, that happened!!
2) Worst experience of my life: This is a long story for another day but let’s just say that it all began in a hotel lobby in Lhasa, Tibet on a trip to Mt Everest with me trying to do charades to a Tibetan teenager to explain to him that I needed a laxative because I was bound up. Imagine the charades involved with that. Things just got worse from there…it was a rough few weeks and it was the only trip I’ve ever been on where I just wished I was home.
Prem and Ben near Mt. Everest (2004)
Speaking of bad travel stories, I once slept in a windowless cabin in the jungle in Australia and there were spiders larger than my hand only a few feet from Where I had to sleep. Yes…Tibet was even worse than that. This was the spider who was perched about 3 ft. from my pillow. The photo doesn’t show it but the legs extended out to the edges of the red circle.
3) I am an extreme type A personality (I’m sure anyone that knows me knows that). I always think I’m right but I have the utmost admiration and respect for someone that can prove to me when I’m wrong and I’m not afraid to admit it. In fact, I love being proven wrong because that meant that I learned something.
Taken in the Egyptian dessert (2004)
4) Cheridy and I got engaged after only knowing each other for 4 months. Our first year of marriage was one of the most frustrating years ever, but getting through those struggles has allowed me to have an amazing marriage to my best friend. 12 years and 3 kids later we are grateful for those first year struggles. The lessons we learned from “The 5 Love Languages” book are what got us through.
This was taken a few minutes after Cheridy and I got engaged (2000). She was hoping for a granola bar because we had barely eaten anything that morning but I gave her a ring instead. This was in Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington.
5) I am the president for the US board of directors of Africa Christian Ministries (www.africachristian.org) which is a children’s ministry in rural South Africa.
Some of the kids I met on my first mission trip (2000). I remember playing cards with the boy on my left. The kids didn’t speak enough English to communicate. The only thing they had was a worn old deck of cards. I’m not sure what we played or what the rules were…all I know is that I lost every time:
6) My favorite thing to do is travel somewhere, rent a van, drive around for a week and take photos and sleep in the car. Cheridy and I managed to do two weeks in Hawaii on two different islands for $950 dollars (free plane tickets from frequent flyer miles). We stayed at some of the fanciest resorts available and by “stayed” I mean slept in a van in their parking lot and then used their bathrooms to wash up.
Cheridy and I on our Hawaii road trip (2003)
7) The first property Cheridy and I ever owned was a condo In California. We bought it while we still lived in an apartment in Michigan. We bought it, rented it out for two years, then sold it without ever seeing it.
This is the only view I’ve ever had of the property from a satellite image I found online. It’s super weird having never seen it in person:
8) I’m blessed to have both sides of my brain work equally. My father is a super intelligent man who has multiple degrees from Stanford. My mother died when I was 8 but she was the most incredible artist I’ve ever known. She could draw and paint with both hands, play many musical instruments and speak 8 languages. My business name, Arising Images, was partially formed from her name. Her name was Auri and I wanted to find a word that used at least some of the letters from her name as a reminder to me of where my artistic side came from.
One of the few photos I have of my mother and I as a small child:
9) One of my favorite foods is artificial liquid cheese. My favorite is the nacho cheese at Taco Bell. I would rather eat at Taco Bell or McDonalds then at a fancy restaurant.
Our fancy dinner on our 12th anniversary (2013):
10) I feel like I’ve led an interesting life and had many unique life experiences to this point, however, I am a very boring person. I would prefer to sit and talk in small groups or sit with my wife and watch a movie. If I can do either of those things, I am content. Going “out” is the bottom on my priority list.
Pic of me in Spain at an old monastery (2012):
11) I found my church (Kensington) by reading an article in a newspaper that was left open on the floor of a bathroom stall when I worked at GM. That article led me down a path that was life-changing.
Service from 2013:
12) I used to be afraid of heights. To get over it, I bungeed off a 40 story bridge. After that, skydiving, hang-gliding, rappelling, etc were all a piece of cake.
This was from New Zealand (1997):
This was the bridge that helped me conquer that fear:
13) I was once lost in a jungle and the only reason I found my way out was because I heard a truck driving down the road off in the distance. I later found out that that is the only truck that drives down that road and it comes once per week. This was definitely a “God moment” for me.
This is a reminder of how dumb I was and how blessed I was. Being in a jungle with no compass was really stupid:
14) People think I’m a good person because of some of the things we do as a family. However, I’m a very selfish person who is surrounded by amazing people that inspire me to be better. My wife is the one that’s really good. Cheridy has a heart of gold and is always looking to put other people first, to serve others, to love others, and to take care of others. I’m good because of my association with her.
15) If I have a shirt that I like, I will wear it for 10 years without even thinking about it.
Ben and I hiked up to the rim of Mt. St. Helens in 1999. I still have this shirt:
16) We had one son and adopted two others. Our three boys are within 15 months in age and two of them were born a day apart. They are best buds.
The bros in Atlantis (2012):
17) For the most part I’m a very serious person but I sometimes have a weird side that comes out.
I have no idea why we were doing this:
I was doing a speaking engagement for the Professional Photographers of America in 2012 and I wanted a profile photo that would make people laugh: