Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Well … that’s it. I am single a single man.

Its run its course. I’m not feeling particularly emotional or torn up today, but I am feeling very pensive.

I didn’t want this, but it’s the best thing going forward. The last three years we have changed into two entirely different people. Polar opposites.  We’re straight-up incompatible. For those reasons I’m grateful for divorce.

We were best friends. We were compatible. We could have made it work. We had similar goals, likes, and aspirations.  For these reasons I hate divorce.

About a year ago I wrote a list of things I wanted to remember, I think and communicate much more clearly in writing than I do in other ways. I wanted to learn what I needed to from this life experience the first time around. I’d do just about anything to not go through it again.

This post will be based largely on that list, and a handful of other thoughts on my mind. Things I wish I knew before now.  I’m sure some may disagree with some of my thoughts. Take it for what it is; one man’s opinion based on his (overwhelming) failures, successes, studies, and prayers. I’m no expert.

This is written by the respondent in the divorce.  An imperfect husband whose wife decided she was done when I wasn’t. The one walked away from; not the one walking away. I got married young to someone who also didn’t know how to communicate, cope, compromise, or work together. I knew we weren’t perfect but out communication was so far off that I didn’t know things were that bad for her before the night she told me she hated me and wanted out. I missed so many red flags, so many warning signs over the years. I kept secrets; I was a terrible husband at times. I tell you this to give a little perspective into my writings, not to play victim.
Whether you’re single, engaged, married, separated, or divorced; I’m hoping someone can maybe learn something from my experiences that I didn’t learn soon enough
Here are my thoughts.
  1.          There is an unprecedented attack on the family unit. I’ve personally watched the degradation of the family unit in society lead directly to many social problems that are prevalent in our day and age. I do not wish to downplay the necessity of divorce in some situations, but rather advise against the quickness in which it is often resorted to. It is nigh impossible to find friends that encourage you to deal with pain and heartache in an effort to preserve your marriage. Being in a rocky marriage is hard, but it can be temporary. Being on the rocks doesn’t mean it’s over. One of the biggest sources of peace in my life is laying my head down at night knowing I did absolutely positively everything I could to try and make things work. Those friends you find who can encourage and support you in your (righteous) patience and fortitude are worth a hundred of the friends who say “You deserve better.”
  2.     The “deserve better” attitude is a trap. A downward spiral. People want you to see what they see in you when they say it, and that is great. What no one else knows, however, is what our creator knows. As evidenced by the world around us, He is a master craftsman. He knows the refinement process better than we could ever understand. We may well make choices that led us to where we are, but He always has a way out. He has a plan b on standby as soon as we are ready to take it. Even when we willingly walk into the furnace of affliction, he can turn that furnace it into a crucible, burning away our impurities. Anything you, or your friends and family, think you deserve cannot hold a candle to what our creator has in store for us.
  3.     Pride can destroy a relationship quicker than just about anything. Do not let yourself get in a cycle of self-pitying. See #2. Without tasting the bitter, we couldn’t comprehend or appreciate the sweet. I’m not saying it’s bad to be angry, upset, frustrated, and lonely, but dwelling on those feelings is a self perpetuating cycle. You’ve got to find hope. Cry, yell, read, build something,  run, do what you need to do; but when the morning comes(and I promise the morning WILL come) concentrate on the future. Set goals that will help you reach the destination you long to reach. Specifically goals that don’t rely on the actions or choices of others. You have got to work on you.
  4.     When trauma hits a relationship, each party has to work on themselves before the relationship can be worked on. More damage can be done by trying to fix the couple too soon. Just like any other machine, each component has to be in a reasonably healthy and functional state before the separate components can effectively operate together. Space and time can be good. Note that I didn’t say it IS good. I said it CAN be good. It all revolves around what you do with that space and time.
  5.     There is not a reason for everything. You can find reason in anything though. You got where you are at because of a combination of your choices and your partners choices. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your marriage failing was all “part of the plan.” Accept responsibility and analyze the situation for the lessons you can learn. Watch for Gods tender mercies in your life and the hardest situations like separation and divorce can indeed yield the greatest harvests of personal growth. Take advantage of those learning opportunities, they don’t come cheap.
  6.        You need good friends. Friends you can call in the middle of the night, but friends who don’t just want to sit around and trash talk your ex. Wholesome recreational activities and good conversation are a medicine that you need in this time of loneliness and pain. Friends that will ask you what the heck you’re doing when you start to make bad choices or get stuck in self pity are the best kind you can find.
  7.     Remind yourself why you love your spouse and why you want to keep trying. Sometimes it’s hard. You need to keep these things on your mind in order to not lose motivation in your efforts. Don’t forget the potential you once saw. Even if it’s over, those qualities you once saw are something to be remembered.
  8.     Concerning hypocrisies, lies, negative actions/reactions of your spouse. Don't be afraid to show your pain and displeasure at their actions or choice, but don't lecture, preach, or come down on them. Experts agree that low-stress positive interactions are the best way to form a high trust relationship. I’m not saying there isn’t a line, only you know what and how much you can take (although I promise you will be surprised what you can handle if you turn your struggles over to the lord.) Be patient and loving, in deed and in thought.
  9.     I think the key (if there is one, we have to remember that God would never “soften a heart and MAKE someone come home or be faithful” no matter the sincerity of our prayers and genuine intentions, he will never remove anyone’s agency) to rediscovering love and changing the heart of someone who no longer loves you is patience, service, and charity.
  10.     You need peace. You need rest. Do your best to make your home that place. I slept on the couch for over a year after Clarissa left. Time and change is necessary. Now my room doesn’t feel like our room. There isn’t a single piece of furniture remaining from our time together. The kitchen isn’t organized the same. These seemingly silly changes helped me feel like my home was a place of rest and not a prison of memories. By far the biggest thing I found to help, was striving to make my home a place the spirit could reside. Turn down the noise. Clean up the clutter. Do the basics, the Sunday school answers.
  11.     “Be still my soul, the lord is on thy side. With patience bear, thy cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide” – I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I sang this to myself, it was so powerful in bringing calm to my mind. Even when I reached times that I was physically shaking from anxiety, it had profound effects. Find a source of peace to have on standbye. It’s a tumultuous time, and if you’re anything like me, you won’t be perfect at controlling your emotions when huge things come up. You need to find something that no matter where you are, no matter what or who it is; you have the ability to bring yourself back down. When used in conjunction with daily scripture study, it positively modified my roller coaster of a mind set on a daily basis. It made my life more consistent both emotionally and physically.
  12.      Logic and reason are incredible tools, but you can’t always expect them to lead you to the right answer. If it’s totally inconsistent and unpredictable behavior or reactions that you’re dealing with; mental disorders may be a piece of the puzzle. Seek out professional insight even if the other person wont. A licensed professional met with Clarissa and I for several months analyzing our strengths, weaknesses, and abilities as parents. In her conclusion, was an analysis of our personalities and quirks, which pointed out hidden toxicity in our relationship that was self perpetuating.  If we had this valuable information, and used it, two years earlier it could have been invaluable in modifying the dynamics of our relationship and learning to effectively communicate.

The most important thing I learned from my experiences the last few years is this.

The Atonement is real.
 Its healing powers, its enabling powers, and its protective powers are all as real as anything else in our existence. I bear testimony that If/or/when we truly turn over our troubled hearts to the lord, he accepts them entirely and can turn even the darkest and worst of situations to spiritually transformative and positive experiences. I went through several cycles letting it all pile up time and time again until I felt that I was at the breaking point. I would then turn it over to the lord and experience profound peace and/or moments of rest and rejuvenation. I am striving to maintain that change of heart going forward, and hopefully I’ll do a little better each day, month and year. Being compelled into humility sucks. Bad. If I can learn to strive moment to moment to maintain a humble heart, I think that is the key to moving forward from here.

I have full faith that I will experience the greatest joys that life has to offer.

I promise that it really does get easier in time.

I promise that if you both allow the Atonement into your lives, hearts, home(s), and relationship that marriages can be healed.

I would like to extend a personal thank you to my incredible support system. I call you late at night, we go for long directionless drives, we get burgers, and you give me priesthood blessings. You make me laugh, you cry with me, you acknowledge my battles and recognize victories. You don’t push me into decisions, but your counsel is often an answer to prayers. Even if we only talked, text, facebooked, or communicated once or twice the past few years, you probably made a difference in my life. I can’t put into words the profound impact some of the smallest of your actions have had.

Now get off the computer and go serve your family.

With love,
        Zach Sawyer

Friday, March 1, 2013

The End. 5 Years

Today makes 5 years since Clarissa and I tied the knot. 

If your reading this blog you probably know that we've been separated about two years now. At this point the divorce is in its final stages, and the desire to no longer be married is now sufficiently mutual. I'm not going to pretend like there isn't animosity and tension, but that's not the point of this post, quite the opposite. I would like to, in some small way, honor the significant portion of our lives spent together by telling you about three separate snapshots in time that makes it all feel worth it. Three fleeting moments where all the pieces of the puzzle came together just right.

Since my sophomore year of high school I've had one of the best friends a guy could ask for. Unfortunately just out of high school we drifted apart. Thankfully we reconnected after I got married while he was serving a mission for the LDS church. When he returned he hosted a bbq at a park. Nothing special, just a simple get together for our old group of friends. At one point I was manning the grill talking with my freshly returned friend and Clarissa came up to me and wrapped herself around me and Taylie joined in. At just that moment someone snapped a picture, for which I'm really grateful. That moment was perfect. I remember it like it was yesterday, forcing myself to keep from shedding a tear. That was exactly what life was supposed to be like. Here is the picture.

The second moment was very short lived, but overwhelming just the same. We came into possession of an old beat up motorhome to put on or property and finally got it where we thought it would make the trip. Haha this thing was a complete pile. I rebuilt the carburetor and got it running but it wouldn't idle unless I adjusted it for that precise moment in time and that lasted about 3 minutes. The starter solenoid was bad, and it wouldn't shift into overdrive. No a/c, and the mixer was stuck on heat. To start it required me bypassing the solenoid and battery cable with a jumper cable, and I remind you it didn't idle. After an adventure getting it from Ogden to Slc and fueling up, we finally made it onto i 80 headed out through the salt flats. The heat was unbearable. Subsequently about the half way mark to Wendover neither of us was wearing anything but our skivvies. I looked in the rear view mirror and here we were. Having the time of our life, half naked, laughing, talking, the kids in the back trying to get semi trucks to honk at us, broke as a joke trying to afford fuel to get us out there, praying every mile that the rv (which still holds the record for the worlds biggest turd) would make the trip. It was a really great moment. As we got off the exit the rv died in the big intersection in Wendover and all we could do was laugh as dozens of cars lined up behind us while I coerced the old girl back to life. That road trip was magical. It was the American dream all wrapped up in a few hours and a few hundred dollars.

We were lucky enough to be able to get a couple tickets to a play, called the Martin Harris Pageant in the summer of 2011. It is is Lewiston Utah. Around an hour drive from Ogden. Primarily through farming communities and  undeveloped land. We started by going to Denny’s here in Ogden for dinner because we had coupons for free Grand Slam meals. I ordered my eggs sunny side up, and the waitress proceeded to tell me she had never tried eggs with a runny yolk, and asked me if you could “taste the baby chickens.” That was a first. We had a pretty good laugh about that and jumped in the car to head up to Lewiston. We made it through the canyon, and turned off onto the main drag to get to the town. Low and behold there was a small deer on the side of the highway that had been fatally struck by a vehicle. I’d never done anything like it before, but for some reason we decided we were going to pull over. I just so happened to have a bow saw in the trunk of my car from a recent camping expedition and we harvested one of the antlers off this roadkill deer. We got freaked out thinking someone was going to drive by and get us in trouble so we ran back to the car and hurried along to the play, having a really great time together. After the pagent ended we came to the conclusion that we couldn’t live without the other antler. So we pulled over by a small man made reservoir and waited, laying on the hood of my car for around an hour and half until everyone had gone home and the highway was slow enough that we could claim the other prize. We finally found the deer, and Clarissa held the flashlight so I could remove the other antler. When I disturbed the carcass by lifting the head on an angle that I could access the base of the antler to cut it off. There was an absolutely overwhelming sound of a swarm of bugs. It was DISGUSTING. Like straight out of a horror movie; here we are on an dark road in the middle of nowhere standing over a dead deer carcass. Still committed, I summoned the cajones and removed the antler and ran back to the car. Clarissa fell asleep on my shoulder on the drive home. It was silly, and it sounds pretty dumb; but it was one of the most random and fun nights we ever had.
After our separation last year I really wanted to do something for Clarissa since it was our first REAL anniversary, even if we were getting divorced. We were married on Feb 29th 2008 if you didn’t know that (Leap year).
I took the antlers which were hanging up in my shed and soaked one in bleach water for a couple days, removed the felt, and crafted a hydrangea (her favorite flower) out of pieces of the antler. I turned this into a necklace using some beads and old 30-30 casings. It was a true effort of love. She has probably tossed it, but I hope not. I hope its sitting in her top drawer somewhere and she smiles when she sees it. I know I’ll never forget that night. Here is the necklace.

We could have made it together, but we didn’t. She was one of the best friends I’ve ever had. I have no doubt I’ll find happiness in the future, and when it really comes right down to it I hope her new family the best.

This post was mostly for me, I just wanted a reminder, and a record; that the last 6 years of my life wasn't a waste. Maybe some day I’ll decide the best thing to do is delete this blog in its entirety. Who knows.

It’s been a couple rough years, but things are looking up and going great. Each day is a little easier. In a way I’m glad the divorce has been so drawn out. It forced me into dealing with the baggage and hurt the right way and not just trying to fill the void with someone else.

The end of an era…
the turning of a page…
I suppose anything could lie ahead.

The End

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Death to the North Wall and roof

On June 20th I got the opportunity to drive out to the property for a couple hours to check things out and show the land to a gentleman visiting my brother from England.

As we pulled up to the property, disappointment quickly set in.

It seems like the wind got ahold of my pre-fabricated northern-most roof section and took one wall with it due to the banding straps that were attached near the bottom of the wall. The banding straps on the west apparently broke under the stress rather than taking the wall with it.

The solution I believe that we will be trying, money permitting, is to restack the failed walls (hopefully without having to tear down the rest of the structure) and rebuild the roof in place, but this time pour 6 pylons and chain the roof directly to a positive anchor in the ground rather than the strawbale wall.

Luckily we didn't loose all of the lumber from the north roof section as it landed a dozen yards or so away and held its ground.

I stacked a half dozen bails on top of the roof on the west side just before we left a couple months ago thinking that a few hundred pounds of straw would do a pretty good job at holding the roof on in addition to the banding straps. I was very supprised to see that not a single bale (around 50-65 pounds per bale) remained on the roof section still in place. I have definitely underestimated the power of the wind.

It was a neat experience having Chris from England out for a few days. It was fun seeing the things that were new and impressive to him that I don't even give a second thought to like dirt roads, roads that stretch straight for as long as the eye can reasonably see, open space for hundreds of miles, being able to carry a pocket knife and/or other means of self defense.

Taylie realllly wants to go home with him so she can "marry him and live forever and ever in a castle." She's already got the accent down pretty well from this clip she finds hilarious http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM.

Taylie really enjoyed his company and even made him a drawing to put in his journal so that he would "Always remember her", I hope he didn't mind coming a few thousand miles to be adored to death by my 4 year old.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fresh start

Zach here:
I have kept this on the down low for the last week; but last monday my employment was terminated with FLSmidth SLC Inc. For those of you not familiar with my employment or the company I worked for; I started out @ Summit Valley 3 years ago fresh into the mining industry knowing very little about the precious metals concentration and extraction equipment I serviced. My primary responsibilities were aftermarket sales, shipping and recieving, purchasing, expediting, and project management on a small scale. Summit Valley was aquired by FLS in Dec. of 09. We went from being a small office of two dozen people operating out of second hand cubicles and running the warehouse out of a gravel parking lot and several storage sheds; to a worldwide conglomerate of with thousands of employee's and so many bosse's to answer to I don't even know all of their names. There were definitly pro's and con's to the large company; but if given the direct choice I would take a small company like Summit Valley over a giant corporate beurocracy like FLSmidth despite the lesser benefit packages. I hope my search for gainful employment leads me to a similar place. There is something really really great about feeling welcome to walk into the CEO's office and ask for financial advice, help with your golf swing, or any concerns you may have with your job or your compensation.
I feel good about my efforts @ FLSmidth. I hope that my co-workers and customers there appreciate my efforts and service.
I feel peace despite the hardships that are sure to come with finding a job in this economy. In all of my life I have never left a job by anyone's decision but my own; this is a new feeling. I have never been at a better place in life to face unemployment (well maybe when I was 16 and had no responsibilities and bills). Clarissa has been the most supportive and loving person I could have ever asked for through the ordeal.
If anyone is aware of any technical sales/purchasing/shipping & receiving/ inventory control positions around the wasatch front feel free to email me with info and it would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Significant Progress!

The walls are up and the roof is in place and secured.

My apologies on the quality of some of the pictures, the camera mode got changed without being noticed. It still needs a fair bit of work; like straightening the roof panel seam out on the front, waterproofing the roof, installing a door and window, and plastering the straw; but the walls are up and the roof is on top and secured from the wind.

There isn’t any hard data for its performance, but when it was painfully cold and windy outside it was comfy and cozy with a blanket hanging for a door and my little radiant propane heater inside. It’s like stepping back in time when you walk in. I am happy with how it has turned out so far.

It really has cost about twice as much as I anticipated. Much of that is due to the foundation and roof. I was planning on using more local natural resources for both but changed my mind.

Total square footage is only about 130 square feet, but weighing the costs and efforts I feel pretty good about the size. It will sit and sleep my family and a handful of guests to get out of the weather and play a game, eat, watch a movie, ect... Sheds and awnings attached to the sides should add significantly to the use-able space.


Image Image Image

I would like to take this chance to write a public thank you. I don't know how we would have gotten the modular roof I built up and on without the help of Geoff and his tractor. It was definitely the smoothest and easiest part of the build with his help when it could have been one of the hardest.

My truck started making some awful noises as soon as I got on the pavement headed home. I ended up re-packing and tightening down a wheel bearing in the parking lot by the spigot in town on the way home. I got it all done with the exception of getting the last snap ring on the axle shaft before putting the hub back on. I struggled with that one snap ring for a good 30 minutes trying everything I could imagine to get the ring expanded and on the shaft. A local (I believe his name is Peter) came to my rescue with a small pair of needle nose pliers that did the trick, I'd probably still be there kicking myself for leaving my snap ring pliers home if it wasn't for him.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010


So we actually accomplished everything we set out to do this weekend. :)

We rolled into town about 11:30 Friday night, we didn't even get around to unloading the truck before going to bed. Saturday morning Clarissa went for a little walk and picked the spot where she wanted us to build and we went to mark the corners. I had forgotten my trig.... and couldn't remember how to measure for a right angle using the length of the sides of the triangle. Therefore we "eyeballed it". Turns out I had a pretty dang good eyeball that day. We were within 1/2" on getting it square. Thats better tolerances than the straw appears to be bailed to, so I think we are good.
By about 11 we were level and formed up (all but two pieces which we decided to pick up in Wendover so we could use one piece for a straight form instead of scabbing a bunch of pieces together). So we jumped in the truck and went to A & I Hardware in Wendover to get the rest of the quickcrete to pour.

On our way back just outside of Oasis was a golden eagle chowing down on some lunch; what a neat sight! We drove past and turned around for pictures, as soon as we pulled up it took off. Unfortunately it didn't give us the chance to get a good picture but what a magnificent bird!

When we got back in town we spent an hour or so trying to chase down the owner of a travel trailer on the side of the highway that had a for sale sign w/o a number, price, or name. After that flopped we headed back down the 7 miles of dirt road and got to work pouring.
Man alive did the sun go down way too early.

After calling it a hard day's work we warmed up a little with the sagebrush we cleared.
And the next morning we removed the inside forms and filled it with gravel.

Two weeks to cure and we will be out stacking the straw!
I cant think of a better place to spend Thanksgiving!

A shout out to my brother Brad. Thanks again for helping us out, and for lunch in Wendover. We definitely couldn't have got everything done with just Clarissa and Me.