Christmas 2023

Merry Christmas from the Cottings.

I hope this finds you all doing well and enjoying the Christmas season. The word hope is a word that is a familiar part of the Chirstian belief. For me it is something that is reinforced during the Christmas season as I think about the Jewish people who were hoping for their Redeemer to come and rescue them. His coming was first promised in the beginning to Adam and Eve back in Genesis. I’m sure many of the Jewish people had given up hope as there had been a 400 year period of silence from God at the time of Jesus’ birth. I believe that hope was fulfilled in Christ’s birth who my family and I celebrate this time of year.

Every year it feels like the year goes faster. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Just like the little old lady in the left hand lane of the freeway with the left hand turn blinker stuck on, everything is just zooming by too quickly as I get slower. Or maybe it’s just my imagination.

This year Wendy suffered setbacks with her health as attempts to treat her Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) did not come with the results we had hoped for. We are grateful that she is able to live mostly the way she wants, but we are disappointed that the cure did not come as we had hoped. This just means that now she has to slow down her exercise activity. We have hope because we believe that this is all part of God’s plan, and there is something good that is coming from it.

Otherwise, she is still doing well with her Pediatric Urgentologist career. This time of the year she is in high gear with Flu and RSV coming from every direction. I got the opportunity to watch her use her skills in person one afternoon. Some missionary friends of ours, who live in a remote place in the world, called with concerns about one of their children. Over the phone Wendy was able to take a history that helped determine what was happening, determine a treatment plan, and comfort the parents. It was a blessing to see how good she has become at treating children and comforting parents after 16 years of practice. She’s also teaching residents and mid-levels at work. In her spare time she still finds ways to hang out with our kids, watch their soccer games, teach her 3 & 4 y/o Sunday School class, and put up with me.

This past summer we flew to Dallas and then drove down to San Antonio to visit with Wendy’s family. The kids got to spend a lot of time in the swimming pools of the family members we stayed with. We also went on a trip to Six Flags while we were there. We had a great time, but my take away from Texas is that it’s too hot, there’s way too much traffic, but there is some really tasty BBQ.

We also managed to spend some time up at our mountain property this summer. It’s always less time than I want. While there, I get to cut down dead trees, and the rest of the family gets to relax. We really enjoy having a place of our own we can go to to escape the city and just slow down. It’s very peaceful, except for when I’m running my chainsaw or the kids are shooting their .22s. We hope to be able to build a cabin up there someday. 

This year Cody and Mia both continued playing soccer. They both play for the same club (Utah Avalanche), but play in different age groups. They both really enjoy it. Thankfully they both have the same coach. This makes scheduling work out better. Twice a week we would spend 3-4 hour afternoons at the park during spring and fall with a picnic supper packed by Wendy. The kids also continued their training with Krav Maga twice a week. It is a fighting style intended for self defense. Both kids achieved their orange belts this year. Both kids are also still going to Intermountain Christian School. I’m so happy to see how much they enjoy going to school. It’s not the same experience I had with school. The kids also went with me on some mountain biking rides. I’m glad I’m getting to share with them something that I also really enjoy.

This year Mia went from 4th to 5th grade. Her teacher goes to our church. She’s really growing up, but she still enjoys being a kid. She is still a really big reader. It’s staggering to me how much she enjoys reading. She gets in the car when I pick her up from school, and she’s already reading. She got that from Wendy, not me. 

Mia has been getting supplemental soccer training once a week from a well known coach in town. It has been really fun to watch her improve her footwork with the ball. I look at it and think, well, she’s surpassed any level of skill I ever had in soccer. This past summer Mia got to go to a Summer Bible Camp for a week. It was the first time she was away from us for that long, but she had a wonderful time. She hopes to go back again next summer.

Cody has gone from 2nd to 3rd grade this year. His teacher also goes to our church. Cody is also getting bigger and is close to the same size as Mia now, despite the 2 year difference in age. Cody enjoys school and seems to really enjoy the social aspect of having other kids to play with. He likes doing things with others which can be complicated when Mia wants to read and Cody wants to play. That’s where mom and dad try to step in to help give him someone to play with. 

Cody also gets supplemental soccer training from the same coach as Mia. His long ball kicks and shots on goals are really great. His ability to aim his shots are also beyond any level of kicking I had as a kid. Cody loves playing video games, sometimes too much. I try to spend time playing video games with him as a way to spend time with him. Cody and Mia’s favorite game is Minecraft, but lately we’ve been doing Valheim. Cody also hopes to go to the same Bible Camp that Mia went to this summer.

Despite not having a full time paid career job, I have managed to continue to stay busy. It’s funny when people ask me what I do for work, my response is “Depends on the day of the week.” I still work for our church doing computer work and managing security. I do part time work for the University of Utah doing medical response for attendees of large events (including REAL Salt Lake MLS games). I taught at two soccer camps this year for young kids who were interested in soccer. I volunteer for security at my kids’ school each week. My hopes for a successful sticker business have not been met, but I package the orders when they come in. I drive the kids to their after school activities. Then I do Dad work in my other time. It all keeps me pretty busy, but I find it fulfilling. 

This spring I was able to get my first real mountain bike. My old one was from 1999 and was far from being a good bike. I was able to start doing some trail riding again. I got to go to the resorts in Park City for some downhill fun as well. I’ve only had one bad fall this year, but it was enough to ring my bell. Earlier in the summer my hopes of summer road biking were dashed when my road bike frame broke. Orbea refuses to honor their warranty on the frame, so now we are trying to save up for me to get a new road bike frame. I am hoping to be able to ride again this summer. 

I’ve been battling stomach problems for a few years that got much worse this year. It’s more than just that my stomach is getting bigger 😉, but we are hoping that my doctor has it figured out. As I get older, what I thought was a healthy body continues to need more attention from doctor’s visits. Also, I want to take this time to thank the city of Salt Lake and their miserable air quality for causing me to have to treat asthma now. Maybe all those years of road biking in poor air quality weren’t as good for me as I thought they were going to be. Now if we could just keep all those outside people from moving here and adding to the problem. 

It is my hope that you are enjoying this time of year. It is also my hope that you have hope in the right thing. I have found that having hope in things that we can do such as career accomplishments,money, education, hobbies, people, and other worldly things only bring hope that is fleeting and eventually disappointing . However I have found that having hope that Christ has done enough for my salvation has given me hope that will never fail me.

Here’s hoping you have a Merry Christmas and a great New Year.


Christmas 2021

Merry Christmas! (a day late)

The Cottings hope you are all doing wonderful. Things are good with us, and boy has it been a busy year.

Cody finished up Kindergarten in May and became a big first grader in August. He enjoys playing with his friends at school. He is doing great in school and seems to be really interested in Math and Science. Hmmm, I wonder where that came from? Cody has been playing soccer in the Soccer Academy part of the Utah Avalanche Soccer Club. He’s enjoying it and does well. It’s fun watching him improve over the year. The age group he is in doesn’t keep score, but is focused on building skills. He also made his first entry into baseball with a season of coach pitch baseball. He enjoyed that, and Jason helped the coach with the games. Cody has also been enjoying riding his bicycle, driving his RC truck, and much to his parent’s displeasure, figured out how to play games on Wendy’s Chromebook.

Mia finished 2nd grade and moved up to 3rd grade. She is doing really well in school and looks forward to going every day. Keeping her voracious reading appetite fed takes some effort on her parent’s part. Who knew that wanting to read all the time was genetic? This summer Mia moved up from the Utah Avalanche Soccer Academy to her first year of girls competitive play with the Avalanche. She has a fantastic coach who normally coaches the competitive 17 and 18 year old girls. The season started off kind of rough for her team. Now that they have learned to play as a team, they are solidly winning all of their games. Her league is 7 vs 7 outdoor. She finishes up her indoor league on New Years Day. It has been fun to watch her grow in her skills and her confidence. When Mia isn’t playing soccer or reading, she’s riding her new mountain bike, roller skates, playing with her stuffies, and the dogs.

Wendy’s job has thankfully gotten more secure lately. We went through a period earlier this year where her company didn’t think there was much value in the urgent care pediatrician role as their numbers had declined during 2020. This was an odd conclusion that the management came to during a pandemic. The number of kids coming to her clinics have steadily gotten back to where it was before. Now they are short on doctors, and Wendy is finding herself working extra shifts to cover some of the openings they have. Wendy is also the primary teacher for the 3 y/o Sunday School class at church every week. She loves her class and enjoys getting to teach little kids about Jesus. Wendy enjoys spending time with our kids on her off days and finds fun activities to do with them. She also enjoys trying new recipes to keep her family fed and happy. Wendy stays busy but still finds time to do things she enjoys such as taking hikes, reading books, and studying her Bible.

Jason is still around. His full time job is helping raise Cody and Mia. He has been very involved with our church. He’s still working part time at our church doing computer work. This year he redesigned the church’s website and is currently expanding the computer network in the building. He’s also involved with helping with the men’s ministry and manages the church safety team. This fall he got to teach a handgun class to some of the men of the church. Jason also did some soccer coaching for a clinic put on by the Avalanche soccer club to the public teaching little kids. He also started a small part time job with the University of Utah doing medical response for the crowds during big events. He’s glad to have found a way to serve the public with his medical training again. Jason’s sticker business has yet to flourish, but he hasn’t given up yet. Jason didn’t get to ride his bike as much this summer because he developed pneumonia during the summer. It was a long recovery, but he was able to get back on the bike before the cold weather set in. Now he’s riding indoors on his bicycle trainer using Zwift. Jason was able to get a lot of dead trees cut down on our property this summer. There is still a long way to go, but he was glad to make some progress in cleaning up the property. Jason has been spending lots of time watching Cody and Mia at their sporting events. He is enjoying being a dad and knows all too well that the kids are growing up fast.
We all flew to San Antonio this summer to visit Wendy’s parents for a week. We had a great time visiting and getting to do fun stuff around town. In July we drove up to Idaho for a week to see what was up there. Once we got up north of Boise, it was beautiful. Jason says he’d move up there if we weren’t so established in UT right now. For fall break we drove down to central Utah and stayed in the town of Ferron, UT. From there we went out exploring the San Rafael Swell where we saw the Little Grand Canyon, ancient native American rock art, and a dinosaur footprint. We also took a muddy and snowy ATV drive up into the Manti-La Sal National Forest. It was a nice little get away without the crowds you find in national parks these days. This summer, we also got to spend some time up at our land enjoying being in the mountains away from everything. Jason says it wasn’t enough.

Looking forward, we plan to continue doing more of the same. The kids are happy at their school and Jason and Wendy plan to continue with their jobs. This coming February, we will be traveling south to St. George, UT for a soccer tournament for Mia. We are looking forward to some warm weather during the winter. This coming summer, Wendy’s parents are planning a 50th wedding anniversary in Breckenridge, CO. We are excited about getting to go to that.

God has blessed us this year. We are excited to see what He has waiting ahead for us.

Merry Christmas 2020

Hello friends

I hope this letter finds you all doing well. This has been another good year for the Cottings. We have had our work cut out for us this year, but we are all healthy and well.

We have gotten to spend a lot of time together as a family this year. It has been a real blessing as Wendy and Jason still get along and Cody and Mia are at a great age where playing is the priority. They also enjoy each other’s company (most of the time).

We are very grateful for the mountain property we purchased last year. It has been a great place for us to get away to this year. We spent about 20 days out there this summer. With things being closed or full this summer, it was always a place for us to go to.  We jokingly refer to it as “brain on nature”.

Jason did a lot of work with beginning the cleanup of the dead trees on our land. There’s still a lot more to be done, but it’s a start. He built a little structure so we could use a solar shower, added some cabinets to the cabin (shed) and also installed some insulation in the cabin. 

Wendy has been learning more about cooking outdoors. She’s even been doing some baking in the dutch oven. Wendy got to do some exploring around the area as well as enjoy some of the wildflowers nearby. She took Cody and Mia to the lakes that are in the area so they could play in the water and the sand. 

Cody and Mia had a lot of fun playing outside. They got to see stars that they’ve never seen before and they ask us to take them on walks around our land each night. We are glad that they are getting to experience some of the simple life that we have learned to love.

The dogs did a lot of time running around smelling stuff. They seemed to have cleared out the squirrel population around the cabin.

We’ve enjoyed getting to know more of the neighbors up there. The majority of the people up there are of retirement age. The parallels with living in a retirement community can be humorous.

Cody finished up PreK this spring and started Kindergarten this fall at Intermountain Christian School (ICS). He enjoys being at school and playing with his friends. He has learned a lot and is improving his reading, math, and writing skills. He has a wonderful teacher who Mia had two years ago. Cody got to play some soccer this year and he enjoys it. He still enjoys playing with trucks and cars and playing with his Paw Patrol toys. He’s also been riding his bicycle around the neighborhood.

Mia is now in 2nd grade at ICS. She is doing really well in school and is excited about going to school each day.. One of Mia’s favorite things is reading. She has read our complete set of Calvin and Hobbes several times. Jason keeps an eye out for deals on sets of books at Costco. Mia played some more soccer this year and really enjoys it. She also loves riding her bicycle around the neighborhood.

Wendy is still working as an urgent care pediatrician. In an ironic turn of events, her work load has dropped off significantly despite being in a pandemic. We are grateful that she still has a job. She enjoys spending time taking the kids to parks and on hikes.

Jason still does things around the house and plays dad while Wendy is at work. He got in as much bicycle time as he could while the weather was good. He has now transitioned to riding indoors using a VR program called Zwift. Jason is still working part time for our church doing computer stuff and volunteers at the church managing the safety team. He also started a small side business selling some stickers he created.

During this Christmas season, I (Jason) have been learning more about and appreciating the hope and anticipation the Isrealites had for a promised messiah. With Jesus being the fulfillment of this promise, understanding the significance of the name Emmanuel (God with us) has brought me much comfort. 

The Cottings hope you are all having a great Christmas season and hope you have a wonderful 2021.

Christmas 2019

Merry Christmas from the Utah Cottings! We have had another good year of God’s blessings in our family.

Wendy is still working for Intermountain Health Care Kidscare doing pediatric urgentcare. She has been witnessing first hand how the face of healthcare is changing in our country, both good and bad. We are blessed that she has a job that provides for our family and allows her to do what she wants, which is care for sick children. Wendy has also been enjoying her role as a mother. Since she works mostly in the evenings, she makes intentional effort to spend time with the kids during the time she’s not working. Wendy has also joined a fitness class to encourage more regular exercise. She is enjoying it now and is seeing the benefits of staying more active. Wendy is also active in our church where she is the Sunday school teacher for the 1st graders. She enjoys the opportunity to teach young kids about Jesus and the Bible.

Jason still does stay-at-home dad duties. He gets a lot of time with the kids especially while Wendy is at work in the evenings. Jason is also still working part time for our church, Risen Life Church. His role there changes as needs arise. He mostly helps with computers and technology for the church. He also volunteers by managing the safety team. Jason keeps very active with our church. He still rides his bicycle during the warmer months of the year and finds projects to do around the house.

Mia started first grade at Intermountain Christian School this year. Her academic skills were clearly inherited from her mother as she is a great student, is doing well in school, and enjoys going to school. Her reading abilities have really taken off this year. She reads all the books we can get her. Her favorites lately have been Sophie Mouse, Amelia Bedelia, Nancy Drew, kids magazines, and her Bible. Mia has been playing soccer and really enjoys it. She loves to ride her bicycle, gymnastics, and play with her Paw Patrol pups.

Cody entered into Pre-K at Intermountain Christian School this year. He goes for half days three days a week. Now that he knows his letters and numbers, his teacher has been working with him this year on his writing. He’s also been participating in a computer based learning program called Upstart. He has shown great progress with it and has started recognizing some words. Cody played soccer for the first time this fall and wants to play more. He enjoys riding his bicycle, playing with his Paw Patrol pups, playing with his cars, gymnastics, and playing with his sister.

Our dogs, Panzer and Daisy, try to keep up with our coming and going. They spend time trying to be a part of what we are doing at home. They remind Jason that they want to be played with, which is never enough. The kids are responsible for keeping them fed.

We got do some more car camping this year. The whole family enjoys time away enjoying the simple life. We also took a vacation to the mountains of Southern Utah which was beautiful. During the summer, we took Jason’s parents on a trip for their 50th anniversary to Island Park, ID. Jason’s brother, Chris, and his family joined us there. We rented a large cabin for everyone to stay in. My parents got the chance to enjoy being with the whole family, Yellowstone National Park, as well as the beautiful scenery that was up there.

This fall Jason and Wendy finally got to realize a dream they had both been wanting for a long time. We were able to purchase 10 acres of mountain property. It is in a place known as Argyle Canyon in rural Utah about 2 hours from home. The person we bought it from had built a 200 sq ft unfinished cabin on the property as well as cleared some area for roads. It sits between 9000 and 10,000 ft in elevation with aspens and fir trees. There’s no utilities up there, but it is remote, peaceful, and beautiful. There is also a community of friendly land owners up there who we look forward to getting to know better. We plan to make it our place to get away from the city. We hope to make many fond family memories there. Jason has already started making plans to make improvements to the property. Wendy dreams of it being her pioneer homestead. The kids enjoy getting to run around and play. The dogs enjoy the freedom of exploring the land.

We hope this finds you all doing well and enjoying the Christmas season. Have a blessed Christmas and a great new year!

Cotting Christmas 2018

These trips around the sun seem to be getting faster. Life for Wendy and Jason has assumed the ordinary business of keeping our family moving forward.

Mia started Kindergarten this year. She loves school and is doing really well in her studies. She started reading right around the time Kindergarten started. During her first month she decided to write a book with words and pictures. Obviously she gets her academics and love of school from her mother. Mia has also been playing soccer and loves to play. She’s also spent a lot of time this year riding her bicycle. She really enjoys physical exercise. We have been enjoying watching her grow into her loving sweet personality as she has become a little girl.

Cody started Pre-School this year. Its hard to tell how much he likes school, but he seems to enjoy it enough that when we ask him each night what he is excited for the next day, he usually says “School!” Cody has been learning to write his name, recognize letters and numbers, improving his verbal skills, and using his imagination with play. Cody likes to make us laugh and doesn’t like to be serious. Cody has spent a lot of time riding his balance bike and will be moving up to a big boy bike this spring. He loves his trucks and cars, Paw Patrol, the dogs, and playing with his sister.

Wendy still enjoys being an urgent care pediatrician. The company she works for has been going through some rough transitions, but Wendy has come through it. She has been taking up more exercising and enjoys taking the kids places to play. Wendy enjoys cooking for the family and finding new recipes to try. She also has been getting joy from teaching her 3 year old Sunday school class at church. Wendy planned a few campouts for our family that we have all enjoyed.

Jason spends most of his time around home with the family. He got to do a lot of riding of his bicycle during the summer when the weather was nice. Keeping things up around the house keeps him busy. He has also settled into his part time job at our church doing various jobs. Initially he was hired to come up with a system for keeping up with the guests at our church, but that has transitioned into doing various computer work. He has also taken on more responsibility with helping with safety at our church. He’s been keeping up his Paramedic certification with various continuing medical education opportunities. He also attends various shooting courses learning about defensive gun fighting.

We traveled to San Antonio, TX to visit Wendy’s parents. It was a wonderful time being away and letting the kids visit their grand parents. This summer we took a vacation to Teton National Park for a few days. It was a wonderful time in a beautiful place. The kids had fun hiking, riding their bikes, seeing the beautiful sites, and swimming. Wendy and Jason just enjoyed getting away for a little while. We also got to go car camping three times this year. The kids really enjoy camping. Wendy and Jason enjoy the chance to get back to the simple life and sharing that experience with our kids.

This coming year we look forward to spending time as a family and trying to pursue our hobbies as time allows. Wendy and Jason are excited to see Cody and Mia continue to grow and develop as they get older and also to see them grow in their relationship with Jesus.

We hope you all have enjoyed your time this Christmas. May you be blessed in this coming year.

“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” – Luke 2:20

Cotting family 2018

Christmas 2017

Greetings from the Cottings.


Before we had kids, we never realized what parents meant when they talked about being busy. Well, we are seeing how that is a thing.


2017 has been a good year for our family. Everyone is healthy and doing well.


We flew down to Texas this summer to visit Wendy’s family. We had a great time and the kids got to see the ocean. Later we went camping at a campground in Big Cottonwood Canyon which is a short drive from our house. The experience was much better this year and the kids had fun. We also took a fall vacation to NE Utah to the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. It was a beautiful landscape that we didn’t expect to see in Utah. We had a lot of fun this year.

Mia had her second year of school. She was in Pre-K at Intermountain Christian School. She turns 5 next month. Mia, much like her mother, really enjoys school. So much so that she gets excited when we talk about it the night before. Her teacher is wonderful. She has learned a lot of valuable things, and she has started reading and writing some words. Outside of school Mia has also been doing gymnastics, swim lessons, and a soccer camp. Mia loves running, jumping, standing on her head, riding her big girl bicycle, and reading. She is a really good big sister to her little brother.

Cody has developed a lot this year. He had to learn to run so he can keep up with his sister. He has also been doing gymnastics and swim lessons. His speaking has been improving and has recently used the potty for the first time. He turns 3 in February. Cody enjoys being around his big sister, playing with the dogs, riding his balance bike, helping around the house, and playing with his cars and trucks. Cody is a charmer and likes getting attention from people, especially the ladies. Cody has mastered how to
be the little brother.

Wendy stays really busy taking care of the family and working. She takes the kids to gymnastics, school, swim lessons, and during the summer she took the kids to parks to play and ride bicycles. Wendy changed from teaching the nursery at church this year to teaching the 3 year olds. She enjoys cooking and puts a lot of effort into planning meals to keep her family fed. She still enjoys her job and plans to continue with it.

Jason stays busy doing things around the house and helping take care of the kids. He started a part time job last year working for the church doing computer work. He also started volunteering to manage the safety and security group for the church. Jason still enjoys riding his bicycle, but would like to have more time to do it more. Jason has spent time going to EMS conferences to keep up his education hours needed to keep up his paramedic certification (144 hours over 4 years). He has stopped looking for work with the fire departments, but hopes to be able to use his EMS certification somehow in the future.

The dogs are doing well, but wish we played with them more. Panzer turned 1 and Daisy is about 6. Panzer is terrific with the kids and lets the kids crawl all over him without complaining. Daisy has met her match in a fetching partner as Panzer, who is bigger, likes to steal the ball from her.

As a family we stay active with our church. We cohost a small group from our church at our home once a month. Between Wendy’s evening work hours, our tendency to be home bodies, and two small children, we spend a lot of time at home and close by.

We will be staying home for Christmas. Wendy’s parents are staying with us for Christmas and Jason’s parents have lived in town since Mia was born. Jason’s brother and his family will be driving out after Christmas to visit.

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season and a great new year.

Jason, Wendy, Mia, and Cody



Christmas 2015

Hey  y’all. Here is the latest on what we’ve been doing the last year.

We had a new addition to the family arrive in February. Jason was worried he was going to have to share his birthday, but Cody Wyatt Cotting was considerate enough to arrive two days later. He is now 10 months old and is a happy healthy little boy. He is a really good crawler who is doing his best to become a walker. Cody is currently cruising. He enjoys following around his big sister and playing with her.

Mia turned two back in January. She keeps getting bigger and bigger. Mia is a good big sister to her new little brother. She plays with Cody and helps Mom and Dad take care of him. Mia enjoys helping Wendy in the kitchen. Minnie Mouse has replaced Bear as top friend. Mia enjoyed playing outside at the parks this summer and learning to ride her balance bike. She still enjoys reading which is a wish for Wendy that has come true. We’ll have to see if that continues once she actually learns how to interpret all those little black lines on the page. We are holding off on preschool until next school year.

Vacations were scarce this year. We did an overnight car camping trip during the summer in American Fork Canyon. It was over the July 4th weekend which meant it was full of people. It wasn’t an easy camping trip, but we enjoyed it. It was Cody’s first time to go camping. We also went to Frankenmuth, MI for a family reunion that Wendy’s father had planned. It was nice to get out of town for a few days, but Jason and Wendy were exhausted by the time we got back. The kids made travel tough. We discovered that Detroit’s airport is not stroller friendly in case you were wondering.

Wendy took 12 weeks off for maternity leave. We all enjoyed having her around the house for a long time. She is still enjoying her job with Kidscare. Since most of her shifts are in the evening, she gets to spend a lot of time with the family during the day which she enjoys. She was able to plant another successful garden and is enjoying being a mom.

Jason has continued his stay at home dad responsibilities. He has been unsuccessful in getting hired with the many fire departments he has applied for this year. His firefighter certifications expire next month with no way to renew them. We feel that God has closed a door which has been difficult to understand. Jason has not given up on looking for work as a paramedic though. He has been to a few conferences this year to keep up his continuing education hours. Jason was able to do some bike riding this summer but nothing big. He also was able to finish building Cotting Creek in the backyard.

Day to day Jason and Wendy spend most of their time taking care of Mia and Cody. They would both like to get back to backpacking some day, but that is going to take a few years. In the mean time, they hope to do more car camping next year since Cody will be a little older. This coming summer, Jason has plans to build a new workshop in the backyard, and Wendy wants to do more hiking.

Things are good at Chez Cotting. We hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year

Jason, Wendy, Mia, and Cody

Cottings Christmas 2015
Cottings Christmas 2015

Star Wars – The Force Awakens, my opinion

Now that opening weekend of the new Star Wars movie is over, I’m assuming most of the hardcore fans have seen it. SPOILER ALERT, don’t read this if you don’t want to know what happens in the movie.

First off, I went to the midnight showing on Thursday night / Friday morning. I was surprised to see that they were showing it before midnight seeing as how Friday the 18th of December was the release date. I’m sure it has something to do with getting more ticket sales for breaking record opening weekend sales.

As for the movie, I had high expectations. The prequels, episodes I, II, III were not very good. Especially II, I almost fell asleep during that one. The originals, IV, V, VI were the best movies. My favorite was episode V, The Empire Strikes Back. My biggest desire was hoping that the movie was better than the prequels. I got that much out of it.

To use one word to describe what I thought about the new movie, weak. It was entertaining and I’m glad I got to see it, but compared to the original trilogy, there isn’t much for me to get excited about.

Oh Jason, you are just being a naysayer. No, I’m being realistic and not all jacked up on Disney hype. Full disclosure, I own shares of Disney stock.

Why was it weak? Well, as is the case with most of the “entertainment” that Hollywood dumps at the theaters, there is nothing original. Everything is a remake or a continuation of something that was once good. The same can be said about The Force Awakens.

Do you remember how the original Star Wars movie started out? The evil Empire is attacking a Rebel ship and Strom Troopers are boarding the ship to retrieve information the Rebellion has. Princess Leia gives R2-D2 secret battle plans (building plans for the Death Star), and tells him to keep them safe. R2-D2 and C3PO then get off the ship and begin the adventure of staying away from the Empire while delivering the plans.


So guess what happens in the first fifteen minutes of The Force Awakens. Storm Troopers attack a village where a rebel leader, Poe, is getting a map of the location of Luke Skywalker. The rebel leader realizing he is trapped, gives the map to his droid unit, BB8. Poe then tells him to get away where BB8 begins his adventure of trying to get the map to the place that it needs to get. Sound familiar? I think it sounds a little too familiar.

When we first see the Millennium Falcon, our new young hero, Finn, makes his way to the lower gun chair where he has to learn how to shoot down Tie fighters using an unfamiliar weapons system. Hasn’t this happened before?

The Millennium Falcon is then captured inside of another large ship where the new heroes hide themselves in a familiar smuggling compartment while waiting for their captors to board their ship. Hasn’t this happened before?

The Order (the bad guys who may as well be the Empire) continues to pursue our heroes who escape in the Millennium Falcon while trying to get the map of Skywalker’s location to the Rebel leaders.

The new villain in the movie, Kylo Ren, is a guy wearing all black, a cape, and a mask that distorts his voice. Please, really? The worst part is that the voice distortion sounds so bad that it sounds like some cheap Darth Vader toy you buy at Wal-mart that your kids talk through to sound like Darth Vader but not really. This guy too has a bad temper and carries a red light saber.

The Order has built a, wait for it, another planet like weapon for blowing up other planets. Except this time its different because it is built into a planet instead of being a completely separate space station. This of course makes it much larger. So guess what the Rebellion has to do now? I don’t know, maybe find a way to blow it up. This hasn’t happened before, has it?

To blow up the new weapon, they have to disable something on the planet so that the Rebel ships can destroy the weapon. To do this Han Solo must lead a small team to covertly get on the planet to sneak their way to this place they must disable. Hmmm….. I seem to remember in The Return of the Jedi, that Han had to lead a….. no, that’s just my imagination.

A Storm trooper Captain gets captured by Chewbacca and Han Solo. Chewy wants to know where to put the captain and guess where Solo wants Chewy to put her. A garbage compactor. While admittedly that was funny during the movie, it was a bit weak.

In a heroic ending for our brave Han Solo, the new heroes watch helplessly from a distance as they watch the old Rebel battle hero get killed with a light saber. Wasn’t this how Obi Wan died?

I’m sure there are more similarities if I wanted to take the time to delve into it, but my point is that the writing for this movie was weak. They took the same story lines from the old movies and put new actors in them, even old actors.

We finally get a glimpse of Skywalker at the end of the movie. He doesn’t speak a word in the entire movie.

Han Solo was without a doubt the best part of the movie. Harrison Ford I’m sure will be nominated for awards which he deserves recognition for. Now that he is gone, I don’t know how the other actors in the movie are going to have the strength to give the next movies what is needed. I’m sure the next movie will be all about Rey and Skywalker, but if they are relying on Mark Hamill to shoulder the acting load of a movie, maybe they should find a way to resurrect Harrison Ford because I don’t think Hamill is that good of an actor.

I’m sure I’ll watch the next movie, but my hopes for it being anything better than OK movie are not high.

Intermountain Health Care, Irresponsible with Physician Compensation

Fist_Full_Of_Money_clip_art_hightA few years ago, I wrote about how my wife was over payed by her employer Intermountain Healthcare over a period of two years to the sum of a six figure amount. TLDR, we agreed to pay the money back, and we have been doing it it over the last four years. The monthly amount was equivalent to what some people pay for a mortgage payment each month. Thankfully, they were willing to waive about 1/3 of the amount for reasons we never understood, but we were grateful for.

During this time, we learned of several other physicians who had also been overpayed by IHC and were now repaying it. IHC also decided to hire an outside company to audit their payroll as apparently they have no ability to make sure they are doing it correctly in house. Earlier this month, we finally made the last payment on our debt. We expected to have a smooth closing to the deal, but more incompetence than I could have imagined followed.

Twice a year, Wendy gets a bonus based on the patients that she has seen. Each year, we agreeded to let IHC take money out of her bonus for the repayment. Earlier this month, she had her second bonus of the year which would pay the balance of what we owed to IHC. To our surprise, we got a notification from (where we keep track of our finances) that we had gotten a ~$65,000 deposit into our checking account. This was no where near what was supposed to happen. I doubt anyone at IHC gets a $65,000 paycheck for one pay period. Instead of taking more money out of her paycheck for the final payment (it usually shows up as a positive accounts receivable deduction on the pay stub ) they put in a large negative deduction to the accounts receivable ( negative deduction adds to your paycheck for those of you keeping score at home). There was no explanation as to where the amount came from other than someone randomly pressing numbers on a keyboard. Wendy immediately texted her supervisor about the error because we didn’t want to have to go through another dispute about pay.

Wendy corresponded with a payroll person at IHC. It was decided that we would write them a check for the ~$65,000 that got deposited in our account, and they would issue us another check for the correct amount that she was supposed to receive for that pay period. This new amount was calculated to include the deduction for the amount we owed for the last payment. The number that they gave us, unsurprisingly, did not match what the records I had been keeping showed. Wendy emailed her contact what we felt the right number was who then went back to recalculate our payment. He then gave her another number which still did not match my records, but it was in our favor so we decided not to protest it.

The agreed upon amount was taken out of the check they sent us as a replacement for the ~$65,000 payment from earlier, and a new deposit was issued to our checking account. According to this agreed upon amount, our debt was now payed in full. They agreed to send us a letter stating that we had paid our debt to them in full. When the next pay period rolled around, another deduction was taken out of that paycheck which was the same deduction from the previous paycheck. At this point, they were taking money out of her paycheck, that they weren’t supposed to be taking out anymore. Another paycheck was issued to correct this.

You would think, that once a mistake was pointed out earlier this month in her paycheck in closing out our debt to them, someone would have been making sure that all the numbers were going to be correct and that everything was going to be done right. Nope, nothing resembling that happened. It is as if they didn’t even care about what was going on. They did not care. As my father-in-law so correctly described it, someone was asleep at the switch. Even people in management who were CC’d in the emails my wife was corresponding with for all these corrections never once stepped in to make sure things got taken care of correctly. For an organization whose purpose is caring for others, I believe the non patient care employees let their true colors shine throughout this whole ordeal about what kind of people they are.

This is a multi-million dollar nonprofit cooperation. Intermountain Healthcare is the largest healthcare provider in the state of Utah. There are lots of employees and logistics and money to keep track of. Keeping track of money for an organization this size is nothing new. There is zero excuse for not being able to have an accounting department that makes sure employees are paid correctly, especially when it has been pointed out to them multiple times that they are not doing it correctly. Even something as simple as a flagging system for when someone gets a really high paycheck, such as $65,000.

There are only two explanations for what has happened. Someone important must have a brother in law running the payroll department. He’s untouchable, therefor no effort is put into doing the job correctly. The only other explanation I can come up with is that the payroll department is actually a cage full of monkeys throwing poo on the walls. I took some accounting when I was working on my MBA, which I never finished. Even I can see that things are being running poorly. I can’t imagine what it is the people running this organization are thinking when they are making decisions for this organization.

As a nonprofit, Intermountain Healthcare does do fundraising for their Primary Children’s Hospital. Don’t get me wrong, kids need to be able to get good medical care. I have two of my own I want to be taken care of. A philanthropist should have second thoughts about giving money to this organization if they had any idea at how poorly they keep track of the money that they do have.

This paycheck problem is disturbing to us. I wrote about in the earlier post about how her paycheck is calculated. Its pretty complex and we do not have a way to check if what they are calculating is correct. Since mistakes were made with simple calculations for repaying her debt, I shudder to think at what is being done incorrectly when calculating her paycheck.

This whole fiasco has not been all bad. We’ve learned to live with less money, which is good. I think many people get too tied up in their money. We believe God used this to teach us to not rely on our money. After all, He got us through this.

My lesson to anyone reading this, don’t trust that your employer is going to pay you correctly. Keep your own records and be prepared to defend what you think is right.

Cubs 2015

I would have liked to have seen the Cubs win the World Series this year. Their getting blanked by the NY Mets 4-0 in the NLCS looked bad. I am not bummed nor disappointed. I’m a Cubs fan, the “Next year” mentality has become a natural feeling to me. Here is what their record has been the last few years:

  • 2012: 61 – 101
  • 2013: 66 – 96
  • 2014: 73 – 89
  • 2015: 97 – 65

At the beginning of the season, my expectations were that I wanted the Cubs to have a winning record. Not only did they have a winning record, but they also had the 3rd best record in baseball in 2015. On top of that, they beat the team with the second best record in baseball (Pittsburgh Pirates) and the best record in baseball (St Louis Cardinals) to get to the NLCS. Things didn’t go so for well for the Cubs after that, but over a whole season, the Cubs did a really good job. What is even better is that the majority of their players are young and very talented. This means that they will only get better and they will continue to be competitive for the next several years. Yes my friends, its finally good to be a Cubs fan, and I’m excited about next year. Go Cubs go!