The 2014 Distinguished Joshbys

As you might be aware from my Facebook and blog posts this week is the Joshby Awards week. It’s an annual award week that I do to celebrate the people in my life. On Monday I released the nominees for the top awards, yesterday I named my top ten race medals from 2014 and then I’ve awarded numerous other Joshby’s throughout the week. But, today I am giving out some special awards. These are distinguished (and some, somewhat not distinguished) awards given in honor of special people in my life.

So without any further adieu here are the 2014 Distinguished Joshbys …

Thursday-1My Aunt Diane was one of the most kind and giving people I know. She truly had a heart of gold. She was always willing and wanting to help others any way should could. She would anonymously help any of her nieces and nephews with anything from tuition, missions or side jobs. In addition, for years she sponsored a number of children in Africa. She would update us about her children and help them get an education.

These few short paragraphs do no justice though. There were numerous things she did for others before her passing nearly two years ago. Likewise, there is no short way to express the heart that this year’s recipient, Elsha Stockseth, has for others. She lets no obstacle get in her way of helping others. Whether it’s simply giving words of encouragement or organizing fundraisers for schools in Africa or her adopted African kids … she will ALWAYS give and ask nothing in return.

She reminds me so much of my Aunt in the small acts of kindness and love she displays.

Thursday-2This award is pretty self explanatory, especially with said picture of Ms. Emily Grace. Emily is one of the coolest awkward people I know. Seriously, she has some of the funniest things happen to her. I’ve told her for years she needs an anonymous blog. Plus, she owns her coolness (like all Holmgrens do).

That is why Dennis Effing Busch receives this award this year. Like Emily, he is not afraid being himself. He is not afraid to speak his mind … or to say what’s on his mind for that matter. Heck, sometimes you wonder if there is a filter there? Regardless, sometimes it puts him in some awesome, awesome circumstances that only he could put himself into … awkward and all.

Thursday-3The thing about this award is that Angie is receiving her award. Why? How? Well, for one reason … I make the rules around here since they are my awards. And, because you won’t find anyone as original as Angie. You just can’t. She is one of the most fearless and open people I know. She is not afraid to be herself and embraces not only her uniqueness, but that of those around her.

She is definitely in the right career as a High School teacher. She knows how to connect with them, not on their level, but a level of respect and admiration. She is able to see the students as they are. Something that is difficult for those that can’t embrace and celebrate themselves.

Thursday-4This is an award that I don’t give out loosely (meaning this is not a floozie award), because there are many that could qualify for this award. There are many friends that I have made along my running journey that are just awesome, awesome people. But, there are a select few that I connect on an entirely different level and are in my life for reasons God only knows. That’s how I’ve felt about Becky when we met last year and trained for the Ogden and Utah Valley Marathons. I mean, we’re practically sisters.

And, I’ve felt that same way about Jill this year as well. I’ve watched Jill’s running journey unfold. I was there at the 2012 Salt Lake City Marathon where I saw that twinkle in her eye that lead her to a 5K and then eventually a half marathon. I saw how both Mark and Jill found solace in their daughter’s passing through running. Running didn’t them the answers, but I saw how it helped put things into perspective. Plus, their journey was done for her and her sister Addison.

I ran with her at the Salt Lake City Half Marathon this past year with a needed pit stop at mile 12.9 for Slurpees, I was there with her pacing her in at the Timp Half to a new PR and then of course I was there with her every step of the way during her first marathon. This is not to mention the numerous training runs we ran together. And, I feel extremely lucky to have been there for all of them.

I have so much respect for Jill. She wants to be an example to her daughters. She wants to show them what it means to be a powerful and strong woman. She wants to be a good mother to both of them. And, you know what? She is. Being around the Gabicas a lot this year, I’ve seen how Addison pays attention to not just Mark, but Jill. Addison is following her example and I know she’s watching. She is taking many mental notes.

I feel extremely lucky to have so many awesome friends, but especially those few life-long friends like Jill and Mark that have been put in my life for a reason.

Thursday-5CANCER SUCKS! There’s no way behind it. And, when my Mom was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer two years ago, life was put on a shaky uncertain foundation. The future was uncertain, but no matter how bleak it seemed my mother was always confident and brave beyond words. She wouldn’t let cancer defeat her. She couldn’t let it.

She has now been in remission now for over a year, but that hasn’t stopped her from giving back and sharing her empathy and support to others in similar circumstances. She is an amazing woman and I am EXTREMELY lucky to call her my mother.

This award is going to my friend Marie, she is in my running group and is battling cancer for the second time. But, one thing about Marie is that you wouldn’t know it. Her enthusiasm and passion for life is infectious. She truly lives everyday at the fullest with a smile on her face and will to fight. I am always in awe of these fighters, they amaze me. They inspire. Their attitudes and determination are testaments about never giving up no matter how BIG the obstacle may seem.

You deserve this Marie! And, you are still in my prayers!

Thursday-7Robert Merriman should be a Canadian Ambassador. In fact, I am kind of surprised that he isn’t? If there was a Canadian Ambassador to Utah, I am sure he would be the one. Robert is one of the greatest people I know. He’s funny, friendly, a fast runner and not to mention Canadian. He also makes really awesome car decals. He simply put is one of the friendliest people you will ever know.

That is why this award is going to Judith. Not just because she is a fellow Canadian, but she is extremely friendly … funny … awesome … and have I mentioned funny yet? We haven’t met in person … yet, but I feel like I already know her. One of these days Becky and I are planning on taking a trip to Nova Scotia to meet Judith in person, because we both admire her so much.

Judith and Robert … more reasons to love Canada, eh?

Thursday-8It’s no secret that I’m a TAD obsessive about my niece Callie. Actually, I am quite OVERLY obsessed with her. She is one of the greatest kids. She’s smart, funny, loving and just caring about the world around her. I am one lucky uncle for sure. She is just extremely cute and I want the world to know it!

But, there is another kid this past year that has grown on me as well. I’m not sure who is more obsessed with who? But, Becky’s daughter Claire clings to me. She isn’t like that with many people, but for some reason we just connect. She calls me Uncle Josh and she very much is a niece to me. Plus, the posts that Becky posts of her on Instagram are beyond cute. She has a personality that is beyond adorable.

While she might not overtake Callie, she is definitely in that category.

Thursday-10I carpool a lot with the Gabicas. Since they live in Roy and commute southward for races they’ll usually pick me up in Bountiful along the way. Not a bad deal. I especially love it when they take me on their errands after our runs … like … IKEA, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, etc. I’m like a third wheel to their Saturday chores. It’s kind of fun. Because without them I wouldn’t have been introduced to Cookie Butter or all-natural fig newtons. My life wouldn’t be complete.

While Sonja doesn’t take me to IKEA, we have carpooled quite a bit to and from races. Without her carpooling at the Striders 30K I would have died. On the way back to her house from the race she bought both Becky and I a hot chocolate from Maverik. Who does that? Awesome carpoolers that’s who! Plus, we always a fun conversation to boot. Conversations that always end up with a gut laugh. Very delightful if I might say.

That’s why Sonja receives this award. And, who knows maybe in 2015 she’ll even take me to IKEA or the Home Depot?

Thursday-11Family is awesome, especially cousins. They’re like siblings, but not. Kinda like siblings you don’t live with? Okay, that was a bad description. But, with most of my cousins I have been lucky enough to connect with them on a personal level. Emily-Anne is one of those. No matter what the conversation is about it usually ends in a laugh. And, forget about having a serious conversation … they just don’t happen. But, that’s the beauty of our relationship.

Besides being close, we’ve also shared in many adventures. We ran a lot of races together, especially when I started my journey two years ago. We’ve also gone to Disneyland numerous times (well, three) in the past couple of years … and she also is part owner of Penny Ann’s Cafe in Salt Lake City. Is most definitely a cousin with benefits.

Heather and I have somewhat of a similar relationship. It wasn’t until about three years ago that we reconnect and found out how similar our personalities were. She is five years my senior, but you wouldn’t know that when we are together. We’re pretty much teenagers when we are able to get together (she lives in Nebraska so it doesn’t have enough). But, at the same time we are also able to have a serious and in depth conversation when needed. I know I can call and text her anytime and she’ll be there for me. Even if it’s just because I need a laugh.

Thursday-12I don’t know if I need an explanation on this one. Timothy is simply put one of my favorite Peeps. Period.


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