Getting to Know David Taylor

Introduction and Early Life

Four Peaks in Mazatzal Mountains in Arizona

Four Peaks in Mazatzal Mountains in Arizona

I enjoy knowing a little about the various authors and bloggers I follow on the Internet, and I offer that opportunity now to you. That’s me up there in the Old West style photo. My name is David Taylor, and I grew up in Arizona surrounded by extended family on both sides. I was active in the Boy Scouts where I developed a love for the outdoors. Most of our outings involved the desert regions of the Superstition Mountains or Four Peaks in the Mazatzals.

Although the desert is hot and unforgiving it is also enchanting and beautiful. To a young boy there was a certain magic just in the names of the places we visited: Weavers Needle, The Lost Dutchman’s Mine, the Mogollon Rim, the Superstition Mountains, and more. My dad owned every single book ever written by the great Louis L’Amour, and I read most of them. I lived vicariously through the characters in these frontier novels and felt a sense of belonging in the American Southwest.

Vanilla or Cinammon?

I enjoyed the beauty of the desert, but my favorite place was the cool Ponderosa Pine forests of the White Mountains in eastern Arizona. Those not familiar with Arizona are often surprised to learn that Arizona is home to the largest Ponderosa Pine forest in the continental United States. (Ponderosas are the tallest variety of pine tree, and you may find visitors with their nose to the bark trying to determine if it smells like vanilla or cinnamon!) My grandparents had a cabin in Lakeside, Arizona that my grandpa built with his own hands. I loved to spend my summer vacations there.

As I write this I am flooded with memories – images, feelings, even smells – of these magical places of my childhood.  Places have a way of doing that.  They will always be home to me.

Early Adulthood

After I graduated from high school I headed off to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where I learned how to cope with snow for the first time in my life! I interrupted my studies to serve a 2-year mission for the LDS Church in the jungles of Southern Mexico where I learned first-hand the meaning of the term “tropical climate.” (All the jokes about Arizona being bearable because it is a “dry heat” are absolutely true.)  I returned from my mission, met and married the girl of my dreams, and finished my undergraduate degree. We then moved to Indiana where I attended IU for graduate school.  Indiana taught me to appreciate four wonderful seasons every year, not to mention magical creatures called fireflies.

All of these disparate and unique places have a special place in my heart. I found beauty in each one of them.

Education and Careergraduation-caps-thrown-in-the-air

I earned a Bachelors in Latin American Studies from BYU. At Indiana University I attended the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and earned my Master of Public Affairs degree with emphases in 1) Comparative and International Studies and 2) Information Systems. Concurrent with that I also earned a Master of Information Science from the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS).

After teaching at IU and consulting for the State of Indiana I joined up with DoxTek and became an expert in document imaging and business process automation solutions. I have had the pleasure of working with a lot of different people in many different industries. I am grateful for what I learned from each of them.

The Family Nexus

Present day.  I have launched a new endeavor called The Family Nexus.  This site and the various projects associated with it will focus on the Power of Place and how it relates to Family History. One of my first projects will be a mobile app that will allow you to explore the places significant in the lives of your ancestors. I will develop other ideas over time.

The site is also a place to share some of my thoughts and ideas. I sincerely hope you will share your thoughts in the form of comments as well. My name is David Taylor and I look forward to getting to know you!

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8 Comments

  1. lizzie

    Reply

    dad this is awesome I cannot believe it’s actually a real website i’m so proud of you.

  2. Melissa Young (Brimhall)

    Reply

    Congrats! I was so obtuse in high school and had no idea we shared similar loves, (ie the White Mountains and the smell of the ponderosa). I am so proud of you and what you are accomplishing. Good luck moving forward!!!

    • Reply

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Melissa! I don’t know how anyone who has been to the White Mountains could not fall in love with them!

  3. Nathan Lowry

    Reply

    Alright then.

    I’m Nathan Lowry – and no I don’t have any pictures (yet) of me on this site. But you can certainly look at pictures of me and get to know me better at least for now at https://www.facebook.com/nathan.lowry

    I grew up in northern California. In fact, that’ll be the opening line of the first chapter of my memoir. Where I grew up turned out to have a profound effect upon my entire life. Born in Chico, my earliest memories were in Susanville, and I was raised in Redding. These are not well known or famous places, but they mean the world to me. The values of respect, tolerance, skeptism, anti-authoritarianism and kooky-dry humor that I presumed to be vanilla culture turned out to be real valued assets to me throughout life and have helped me to relate to others well. I am so grateful for the place I grew up and called home.

    Redding is at the top of the Sacramento Valley, and although its pretty far north in latitude, the climate is Marine in the winter and Mediterranean in the summer. That means although it would ran for 40 days and 40 nights sometimes, in the summer we’d be nearly as hot and dry as the Mojave – but without the desert varnish. Instead, water from the mountains surrounding on three sides would continue to trickle from the snowtops to the valley floor at 428′ above sea level. East and north are the cascades including the dormant but potentially potent Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta. Westward were the coastal mountains – which are not small as you head northward in California, and over their twisty and windy highways the coastal redwoods forests.

    Southward extended California’s Central Valley, with kiwis and strawberries locally, the rough valley floor begins with more organized olive, almond and peach orchards southward, and finally into the rice lands of the irrigated Sacramento – and on southward for as long as water can provide the fruit of the valley the among the largest and most fertile lands on the earth.

    I’d still call it home, but I’ve since settled in Colorado, so it’s not exactly fair to my wife and kids to call it that since we’ve live here in Colorado Springs since 2000.

    Interesting to that my father had (still has) every Louis L’Amour book ever written (even his mystery novels) who shared his love of his westerns with my grandfather. I can’t say I dove into them the same way, but I still do feel very connected to the land I stand on – whether it be across the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, in the fjords of northwest Greenland, or central Alaska, or the swamps of Florida – whereever I may be.

    My aging to adulthood, although imperfect on my part, was full of wonder. I’ll go into great detail at another time and in another space – but suffice it to say that I also ended up at BYU and continued for two years before leaving to serve a mission in Dallas. Upon returning, although I had hoped not to repeat the same stories of my cousins, I did in fact meet my wife returning to school where we dated for two years until we married and I graduated with a B.S. in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) more or less simultaneously. I’ve since worked for local, state and federal governments, private industry and have even supported some non-profits in GIS for the past 20 years. I started studying public administration at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs in 2014 and am loving and living what I learn.

    This year I was given a gift – a gift I was not seeking, let alone expecting to receive. I had worked for four years in Denver for the State of Colorado (prior to that had worked full-time for the US Air Force for ten years). I loved the work, but the commute was awful – two hours one-way, four hours daily.

    In February, my wife started a business to make up for lost revenue when her hours were reduced 40% as a CNA taking care of my autistic son the year prior. By May she was working 70+ hours a week and had hired three part-time employees – she needed me home to take care of the house and kids!

    I had always dreamed that the best insurance for our family was for my wife to be equal or better than I in earning potential. And I couldn’t be happier – for the last month I’ve been home helping my oldest (autistic) son transition from school to adult day programs, have been able to work and play alongside my 15-year-old son, and have been able to enjoy my time with our daughter and my wife in plenty of other small family activities interspersed between her burgeoning workload. I’ve improved the house and yard in ways over this short period of time that I’ve envisioned for years but could never perform.

    Mostly, I am extremely and intensely grateful. I took my oldest to Finding Dory a month ago and cried profusely. We watched the show again last night and I cried even more – meaning, I find that my life is extremely rewarding right now and that despite the fact that I (myself) didn’t do anything to deserve this privilege, am learning to stop complaining about being blessed and to use the time and opportunity to do something good for others – my son, my family, my community, my world.

    – Nathan Lowry
    21st Century Cartographer

    • Reply

      Nathan, thanks for sharing with us. I love your descriptions of the places you call “home.” Congratulations to you and your wife on your new chapter. I hope it continues to be successful for you!

  4. Mariann

    Reply

    I’ve downloaded the app. I can sign in, I get a brief look at the map and the app closes. Can you tell what I need to do to fix this. I’m on a Mac

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