November 2018 Update

I haven’t been putting off writing a blog post per say… More I have been really struggling on coming up with a good topic. Life is going really well, and I am trying to steer myself in a certain professional direction. This direction makes me feel obligated to post more technical things, but I know that my current audience is not technical. I guess that means that I will just keep going the way I have going starting with just a simple life update.

Life has been treating Maxi and I very well. We are our own special sort of family living together in Vineyard Utah. My mom thinks that it is kind of a cop-out to consider Maxi and my baby, but what does she know, she only had like 75 kids. I am a proud Dog Mom! I take care of my little puppers and he takes care of me, and is absolutely adorable. I never knew I was such a dog lover.

Work is going really well! I love my job! I love my place of work! Nav, a FinTech startup in Utah, has really given me a lot of opportunity to learn and grow. About two months ago I moved from a Software Engineering team to a Data Science team. For my non-technical readers, this means that instead on building out software services that perform data ingress tasks, I will be using math, statistics, algorithms and fancy machine learning models to learn and extract business value from data. I have taken a head first dive into this field trying to learn and read as much as possible to advance my skills and be a real contribution to the company.

I am also working on giving back to the Utah tech community. Back in September I started the Utah Chapter of the Women Who Go  organization. I have been organizing local MeetUps to help women and new developers gain the skills needed to start careers in software. I have also given talks at the Utah Go Users Group as well as at BYU.

Well, Maxi is begging to go to bed to I guess that ends the update! Until next time!


Trying to Find Strength

Names have been changes

Yesterday just before 7pm my phone rang. Heading out the door with my pup so he could do his business, I went back to my office to get the phone. I NEVER answer the phone when I do not recognize the phone number, but for some reason I did this time.

Hello, Miriah?

This is Alejandro Sans…

My heart dropped

I have dated few people in my life, but this Alejandro Sans left me scared. We went out for just a few weeks, but in that time he managed to take advantage me in almost every possible way. While dating him I lost all sense of value and self worth.

Blaming myself for being trapped in such a horrible situation, I took out my emotions on those closest to me. Those to whom I wanted to express my pain to but couldn’t. In just a few short weeks, I lost myself, and the results of that relationship and the other occasions form the following months made me lose the will to live.

Honestly, I have no idea how Alejandro Sans had my number, he didn’t even have a phone when we were dating. Each tries to contact me over social media I block him. Yesterday, I blocked the number he used to call. I have done everything I can to avoid him and forget him, but I know that is not enough. In therapy, we have discussed what happened, but I am hesitant to work through the pain because I don’t want to relive it. I want it to have never happened.

Never in my life did I think I would be in a position like this. Now, I just think of those who get trapped in situations similar to or worse than what I went through. They may be enduring pain for months, years or even a lifetime. I grieve for them. I cannot imagine that pain, and I admire them for their undying strength to overcome. Strength much stronger than my own.

I am grateful for my loving parents who have been undying examples of love and respect. I am happy that they can celebrate their 46th anniversary this weekend. Additionally, I am grateful for my Maxi dog. He has given me so much strength and will in the few short months that I have had him. He is the most amazing blessing to me. Lastly, I am grateful for the strength I have found in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is why I am alive to day and how I find the strength to continue daily.

My Dog Max

I don’t know why I’ve been putting this off for so long, but I’ve been meaning to write this for a while. I feel like my last post needs a follow up.

Man’s Best Friend

This is a picture of the ad that I sent my sister. I just fell in love with that face!

I have been looking at getting a dog for a while. I figured since I live alone, I should go ahead and get a dog. Well, truthfully, I thought that a dog would help with my mental health. Give me a companion, a friend, and if nothing else, a reason to get out of the house when the goings get tough. So, I talked to my therapist, and with his approval I started looking for an emotional support dog.

So I was looking everywhere – at shelters, at rescues, and on classifieds. After my previous experience with a shelter dog, I focused mostly on classifieds, looking for young dogs that were potty trained and that owners were giving away for free.

An image of the text that I sent to my sister telling her about my love at first sight experience.

One day I came across the cutest post ever for borkies. This is a designer breed that isn’t recognized really by anybody. It’s kind of new. It’s a cross between a beagle and a Yorkshire terrier. Beagle + yorkie = borkie.

Well the picture on the ad was of the most adorable puppy that I have ever seen in my entire life. To top it off, the dogs were not thousands of dollars like most pure bred puppies featured on the ads. Within the week I had a new puppy.

Oliver Maximus Peterson

Well it’s been a couple of months, and can I say this dog has been probably one of the best things that I’ve done in a long time. He makes me so happy (except when he pees on my bed then I have a panic attack). He is the cutest thing. He is super smart and relatively obedient (we’re working on that). He loves to run, which is good for me since I love to run outside. He loves people, so my huge family is not a big deal for him. He is very good with dogs. He has no issues when I go to work, but loves when I work from home. He is a snuggler when he’s tired. Anyway he has just been a super incredible blessing for me.

I don’t know if I would recommend that just anyone get a dog. I also don’t know If I would recommend an emotional support dog. Max is an amazing puppy and he has been just what I needed right now. I have a lot of stuff that I am working through – a lot of emotional baggage- and having someone who needs me, loves me, and is always there for me has been incredibly beneficial. I can say without a doubt Max has made me the happiest girl in the world.

Almost Done

I promise this is not a plug, but he also has an instagram account. This is mostly because if he didn’t have one my instagram account would be full of puppy pics. So, if you think my puppy is as cute as I do feel free to follow him there. https://www.instagram.com/maxtheborkie/

How to Save a Life

So this past Saturday I had a major panic attack. The worst I can remember. While I was in the thick of it… horrible hysteria… I couldn’t even put together a complete sentence, my mother called me. She dropped everything to come and help me through it.

I have struggled with mental illness all my life. On my mission I was fortunate enough to have a brief window of relief. I had only two panic attacks on my mission, both very early on, and I thought when I go home that I had basically been cured. I was not, and when I fell, I fell hard.

A Walk to the Past

There was a time in the not to distant past where I went to a very dark place. I felt like I was worthless, a failure. From my perspective I couldn’t do anything right. I had gotten it in my head that my closet loved ones were annoyed and angered by my existence. It seemed that even my parent’s lives would be better if I wasn’t around. Suicide became a reoccurring thought. It was more than an escape from the emotional pain it was in, I thought I would be doing a favor to my loved ones if I was out of their hair.

Suicide is often considered taboo. Which, in my opinion is very counter productive. I was lucky enough to have been able to escape the horrible suicidal thought pattern without too much external intervention, but that was honestly luck. My plan was to wait for someone to notice or acknowledge my suffering, when they were ready, when my problems wouldn’t inconvenience them.

When someone is struggling in life I find that more often than not they just need a friend. Someone who can be there without being an inconvenience. On Saturday my mother was there for me without a thought about all she had to do. She was willing to talk about how I was feeling, with out  judgement, without solutions, with just ears. To be there and to show me that she loves me.

Hard Topics

So, when it comes to addressing taboo topics, the only solution is to address them. To talk to communicate. To talk about them before they are an issue. To talk about them with love and understanding. It takes being proactive when something is out of whack.

When I was at my lowest I planned my suicide twice. Each time I got to the  point of execution my mother was there. She noticed a problem and inserted herself into my life. She saved my life. So I invite us to follow her example and be present and involved in the lives of those around us. To observe and act.

A Story From the Mission: Hermana Bell

So this is an email that I sent home when I was going through a life changing experience on my mission. I had a companion go home sick after just two weeks of being companions. I just wanted to share. Enjoy!

So I am in Pando with my former Companion Hermana Racchumi. We have passed through one of the roughest weeks and I have a lot to explain. I just hope that this doesn´t sound like an obituary.

My Companion Hermana Bell was shipped home this week.

Hermana Bell and I at a Family Home Evening activity

We passed together what probably was the best and hardest two weeks of my mission. Full of miracles and opposition. This didn´t start just 2 weeks ago. She has suffered her whole mission in the service of the Lord, but I am going to start with the 24th of July.

Thursday
On the 24th of July her test results came in. She had previously had an [endoscopy] and stomach biopsy done and the results were ready on Thursday. That day she started off ok, but after lunch took a turn for the worst.
We set up a doctor´s appointment for Monday to figure out what was wrong, but she had already taken a turn for the worst. On Thursday she started [vomitting] everything that entered her stomach and more. At some points it was just bile, but she kept working. We worked for the whole weekend. I couldn´t stop her. Late at night, after vomiting everything she was freezing, barely walking, and exhausted, but wouldn´t ask to go home.  I called it quits sometimes.
To tell you the truth I was worried for her life. She couldn´t even keep water down. I had never in my life prayed so hard to guidance to save a life, but the honest truth is that we work everyday by the spirit. All of the energy, comfort and guidance we received from him.
Sunday
Sunday was a rough day. She was exhausted after the sacrament meeting, but it wasn´t until we were alone that I could tell. She had a way of just putting on a smile and making everyone think that it was ok. The other sisters that lived with us didn´t even have a clue.
Monday
Monday-one week ago-we went to the Doctor. It was a horrible experience. We received all of test results and the Doctor  said that she didn´t show the signs of any kind of disease, but she weighed her and examined her, when we shared share her vomiting routine the doctor got worried. She re-exmined her, said that she felt her organs to tough her stomach, recommended 4 o 5 tests and said that my companion was dying…. We called [the mission] President. He came to pick us up and told us that he felt it was best to send her home to get help.
That was the only thing that my companion didn´t want to here. She took it well (with president) and he told us to start [her] on a liquid diet. So we did, but we could only work for about an hour that day. She didn´t have anymore energy.
Tuesday
Tuesday we went to district meeting, we started strong. President called us during district meeting and [that] Dr. Smith (the mission doctor) prescribed a “a baby food” diet. So we tried with that. She still couldn´t keep anything down. We didn´t go to work that day.
Wednesday
Wednesday. The last hoorah. She woke up strong. We had a good [morning] study and went out to work, but after an hour and a half she was out of breath. We went home and waited out the night. President called us again she had to get an IV.
Thursday
Thursday morning he took us to the hospital, so she could get an IV. He told us that she would leave that night. We passed our last 4 hours in the hospital together, went home and she packed. She left, and I stayed in Progreso for 3 days. I arrived in Pando yesterday evening.
The truth is that I have never been closer to or more affected by any companion. She was such an amazing person and It was hard to seed her go. Her example of endurance and Love of God really moved me. I could not be more grateful to have been blessed to get to know her. I hope I never loose her as a friend, and I want you to know that I only cried twice.
Edited for clarity

Young Dumb and Broke: My search for a paying job

So as reference previously I quit grad school to pursue a career in Software Development. Before leaving Oklahoma I had applied for more that 60 jobs and by the week after Christmas I had applied to well over 160. As a graduate student, the stipend was pretty slim so I was looking to get a job quickly to pay bills and such because my savings had been exhausted by the moved back to Utah.

The Interviewing Process

After the New Year several companies reached out with online assessments and phone interviews. One particular day I had two phone interviews and an in-person interview in Orem. One of the phone interviews was scheduled in the half hour before the in-person interview, so I had the phone interview on the 45 min drive down. I thought the phone interview went great!  By the end I had a second interview with that company later that week.

The following interview went ok. It was a little weird. I walked in and there was one man in the office with an empty boxes and half-put-together chairs. The interview was weird. I had the eebee-geebees. Later that night I received a phone call from the company CEO and the second interview was set.

I completed both second interviews, but only one company was ready to make an offer. The creepy one without furniture… but I thought a paying job was a paying job… or so I thought.

Working

My one month tenure at Rural Data Centers, the company in Orem, was not what was promised. I was hired as the QA team manager with the opportunity to move up to a mid-level developer within 3 months. Well, I had no team, and nothing to QA. I worked alone in the office since all developers were remote, and my boss loitered in my office all day talking my ear off about his several previous businesses that ran out of money.

The first pay-day came around. On the way down I was talking to my younger sister about a previous job she had that did not pay her on time. I told her that even though my job was uncomfortable and weird at least it paid…

An hour later boss came in with a great story. The client was upset because the developers did not complete the website by the deadline; therefore the client decided not to pay my boss so I could not be paid. I was mad… I almost walked out that day, but after talking to my brother I decided to stay because the job would help build my resume.

Fast forward two weeks. I received an email from the company that gave me the phone interview. They were interested in hiring me I just needed to complete a small project. I did everything I could to finish that project. When my first and second paycheck from Rural Data Centers bounced I quit and started my current job at Nav.

The Paying Job

I was so blessed that Nav contacted me when it did. Although I am still owed 3 paychecks from Rural Data Centers, if Nav had not contacted me when they did I would have missed several bill payments and overdrawn both of my checking accounts. It had gotten to the point that my only job requirement is that it paid and Nav has been much more than a paying job. 

At Nav I am working as an Associate Engineer. I am doing a lot of on the job training and loving every second of it. The office is full of incredibly friendly and enthused people. There are no lies or stories. I get paid. Most importantly I have learned an incredible amount about scaling, software development, Go, and command line (to name a few).

I think the moral of the story is that we cannot accept a job just because it pays. Sometimes we have to hold out for something better. If I had waited I may have started at Nav sooner, or I may have a different job. I am happy with where I am though. Glad for this growing experience and good story to tell at parties. 

Choosing to Become a Developer when I hate Coding

I have said many a time that I hate coding. This leads to the question- why on earth am I pursuing a career in development?

Story time

In Oklahoma, where I went to high school, we didn’t take many field trips, but in 10th grade the entire sophomore class went to the local vocational school to check out possible “alternative” educational paths. We were required to visit 9 classes and get information and a whole bunch of stuff. None of the classes I visited seemed interesting, but as I was leaving I grabbed a flyer for computer programming.

Who knows what it said, nor why I thought it would be  a good idea, but I signed up for the class. And, I hated it. I really just HATED

Enough Scream GIF by Originals - Find & Share on GIPHY

everyday I was there. I didn’t hate the programming, not did I hate Java, and there were a lot of people way more skilled than I, and even more people who finished the class without knowing how to define a variable.

This computer programming program was supposed to be two year with year one in Java and year two being in C# and C++. I quit the program after one year by finishing all of my Java coursework and completing a final project which was an MP3 player/chat room (because that is what everyone needs).

Over the years

Well, I an say that my horrible experience in my first programming class scared me for a long time. I was in love with physics so I decided to focus all of my time and attention for physics, and optics, and research. I eliminated hobbies. I just wanted to be a physicist.

Needless to say, I didn’t ignore coding altogether. I works for several months as a QA specialist with development tasks. I took logic classes. I had quite a bit of practice with mathematical languages for Data Analysis, but I did make this website as a portfolio site (still working on that).

So why go into programming?

First, I don’t think like a physicist. I don’t want to search for an answer. I am horrible at looking for things. I want to plug things in and see me result. Physicist spend their lives looking for what’s new, trying to discover and understand the obscure. I prefer to manipulate the resources given to me.

Second, I speak logic. Programming languages are really just applied math. Not the the accounting style math, more annalytical. A cross between proofs and algebra. Guess, what? That is already how my brain works. I have used enough coding languages that although I may use the correct lingo all the time, it is just a question of learning syntax and libraries.

Third, because it is relevant. I love technology and progression. I always have. Development is constantly growing and progressing as life becomes more centered on technology. I would love to be in the thick of that. I would love to be able to directly influence progress.

I may hate coding, but who wouldn’t hate staring at lines of Latin characters on a computer all day.  All developers will tell you that looking for the missing semicolon sucks. I want to create. I want to make a difference. I want to do something that fulfills me. Seeing the end result of a developed project does that. It is amazing when I create something that works. Now, I am just following a career path that will let me do that always.

When the Game of Life is too Real

Just when you think that you have your life all figured out, God seems to throw a wrench in your plan. Over the past several years I feel like I have been playing a game. That doesn’t sound too bad, if the goal is only to get to the end of the game. Unfortunately I am a strategist, a planner, so when everything is up to the roll of the die, my strategies are pointless.

The explanation

I have many sub-goals in my life, but I would say that my life defining purpose is to follow my patriarchal blessing. For those readers who are not of the LDS faith, a patriarchal blessing is a priesthood blessing that any member can receive once in their life. This blessing contains personalized guidance from God to help the receiver achieve their greatest potential in this life and live with our Heavenly Father again in the next life.

Since I received my blessing 10 years ago, I have worked hard to follow the guidance of this blessing. I have fasted, prayed, attended the temple; I have done all things in my power to assure that my life choices were inline with this blessing. That is why I chose at 17 to study physics. That is why I quit my developer job to focus on my physics research. That is why I dropped my second major to graduate a year early. That is why I ended the only positive dating relationship I have ever been in to pursue graduate school. That is why I moved away from my family to study physics at the University of Oklahoma. Everything I was choosing seemed to be right and correct, but after trying so hard to follow “God’s plan for me” that turn ended, and I had to roll the die again.

While I was in Oklahoma life was rough. I was the perfect graduate student. I studied day and night, worked hard as a TA, join a research group early and started doing research in the lab. I made connections in extra curricular groups. I invested in the next 5 to 7 years of my live.  Despite all of my efforts to succeed, success just always seemed to be beyond my grasp.

The Roll of the Die

Just after I moved I started to experience major anxiety. Worse than I had in a long time. I was having daily panic attacks. I was quickly rendered unable to be productive at all, and despite all my best efforts, it took months for me  to receive professional help.

So with medication and therapy I hoped things would magically get better. A lot of prayers were sent out in desperation, and with time I found an answer. That answer though, was a complete 180 from where I was-a career change. My answer was to quit. I mean not really, I do plan on going back to school and getting a PhD, but not in physics. I don’t know what it will be in, the world of possibilities is endless. That is what scares me.

So at Christmas break I moved home. Well, not really home, my gracious brother and sister-in-law

This is my brother, sister-in-law and their children.

have allowed me to move into their house as I redirect my life. I have recently taken a job as a QA analyst for a tech company. I hope to use this job to lengthen my coding skills as I search for a new career.

I am now searching for purpose again. I why to know why everything that felt so right for so long was actually so wrong. I want to know what to do with my life; I need a new plan now. Alas, that is not what I need right now. So for the time being I will be in the wilderness, like Nephi, looking for the promised land.

One For my Sister

There are very few people in this world to whom I am actually attached to, and by that I mean whom I love more than myself. Obviously one is Jesus Christ. Next my parents, but this story isn’t about them. It is about the one person who I would literally take a bullet for.

Just a Little Backstory

According to my mother some 8-9 years after she had her 7th child she felt like there was someone missing from her family. She would knee down to family prayer and that feeling would hit her every time, but she pushed it away. She had 7 kids already and was in her 40s. She said, that one day her oldest daughter echoed the same sentiments that someone was missing. So voila I was born.

Me and my little sister. I am the one in the back. She is rocking shades in the front.

It did not take my parents long to realize that I would never be able to function alone in the world, so they decided to bless me with a younger sister. What a blessing? I was almost the youngest child. Almost the most loved and adored in the family, but alas, I cannot express enough gratitude to my parents for realizing that I needed someone to teach me how to appear somewhat normal.

Throughout the years my little sister has been my rock, my strength, and one of my greatest struggles (she threw a remote at my face once-I still have the scar). We grew up sharing a room and many life experiences. There were many times when she was my only friend. Additionally, I attribute all of my people skills to her. She has been there through everything, good and bad, and I have no clue what I would do without her.

I have been a classic big sister when it comes to her. I am practically the youngest child in my family, but being “big” sister has always been very important to me. I always tried to live in a way that I was a good example to her. I hoped to protecter her from the evils of the worlds, and to help her always be stronger than me. The truth is that she never needed my help doing that.

So about a month ago my baby girl got married. Basically she left me for someone else. She moved on, just leaving me behind.

For a long time that is how I felt about her relationship with her then boyfriend, now husband. I was hurt by how easy it was for her to leave me behind; never even considering how hard it was for me to loose my best friend. I knew that this was a dangerous relationship, and if I had not moved out of state I don’t know how things would have turned out, but thankfully I did move. Missing her became easier. Loving her became easier. Understanding her became easier.

When I traveled back for her wedding everything was different. It was not about me, but about her and family. I am soooo amazingly happy for my sister and her new husband. The day of her wedding was amazing. I loved it, and I HATE weddings. I am so excited for her new life and the adventures that await.