Christmas Card 2017

Illustration by @kimmikart

Merry Christmas! I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits--and before anything else, yes I finally cut my hair. After two years I was ready to go short again.

I am still working at Mountain Vista Catering as the Business Manager and we are growing steadily as I am learning more about business and sales. One of the things I have loved about this job thus far has been the ability to feed and host people, including occasionally giving away fresh bread on my social media. 

I was able to do a few trips this year: for my birthday in January I was surprised with a trip down to LA; it was a lovely respite from the Winter; I ate a great deal of Shake Shack and saw Conan O'Brien live. My sister and I also had the chance to head up to Idaho where to watched the Eclipse in August and I can safely say it was the most beautiful thing I have experienced. I’m hoping to head to Chile in 2019 to see what should be a fantastic eclipse again.

In other big news, I finally broke down and purchased my uncle’s 1980 MGB convertible. It hasn’t moved in a couple decades but after many hours of work (with the help of some more knowledgeable friends) the engine runs again. I still have some tweaking to do before it's road worthy, but I’m hoping to have her on the road by Spring. If anyone wants to come over at that point, I can take you for a drive up the canyon… hopefully. 

I hope 2017 was wonderful for you and I hope to hear from you sometime soon. Happy holidays!

Photo by Jon Bryner


Christmas Card 2016

watercolor by @thatevanngirl
Season’s Greetings! I came close to skipping my letter this year but I am happy I get the chance to reach out to my family and friends. I hope this letter finds you in the best spirits and conveys my love.

As you may notice my return address is slightly different this year; in March my sister and I joined a couple of our friends and rented a house a bit further South. Its spacious and actually has modern amenities like A/C that we have enjoyed greatly. This also means we were able to reclaim a couple of our old chickens; their eggs have been delightful. We also added a small golden-doodle to our ranks named Buckwheat.

As far as my employment; I’m still working at Mountain Vista Catering and business has been great. We are providing boxed lunches for several local businesses and our event catering has increased quite a bit. We will also be working on a line of packaged food items starting this next year which I am excited to prototype.

It’s not as dramatic as summiting a mountain but this Summer I was able to achieve one of my long standing dreams while living in Provo: I was able to (legally) climb to the top of one of Provo Power Plant's smokestacks. They have long been an icon in our skyline but were fell this Fall in the name of progress.

In other accomplishments I built my first computer which I am writing to you from. I also traveled to Colorado twice, Minnesota, Wyoming, and northern California for Thanksgiving. Seasonally I also bought my first live Christmas tree!

I hope this letter finds you well, please feel free to come visit!
photo by @miriellesanford


Coming Back

When I was a deacon I was conversing with a friend in the hallway when I accidentally uttered “hell” in a non-scriptural context; this was not a common word for me to use and it felt heavy coming out--sure enough a young woman I admired was walking by at the same moment and gasped at my foul mouth. I was devastated and that same night I prayed earnestly for forgiveness and felt the warm embrace the Atonement immediately.

In the context of my adult life I understand that accidentally uttering a mild swear word will not be the worst of my sins but it is in that context that I want to discuss the love of Jesus Christ in our lives.

During the Sunday Morning session of General Conference, President Utchdorf told about the Dresden Firebombing of World War II in which a sprawling ancient city was reduced to rubble in the matter of days and compared it to our own spiritual well being. How many times have we felt our spirit be utterly destroyed by the depths of sin?

I came to BYU in 2004, I had little hope or wish of church activity. Over the next five or six years I attended only enough to maintain my endorsement. I confess at this point I no longer felt any personal connection to the Gospel and I only continued to attend out of a social obligation but generally ignored the standards it involved. It took my heart being broken by a young woman to make me evaluate my life and start to turn it around though I confess it was originally just a design to win the lady back.

President Utchdorf taught: “It matters not how completely ruined our lives may seem. It matters not how scarlet our sins, how deep our bitterness, how lonely, abandoned, or broken our hearts may be. Even those who are without hope, who live in despair, who have betrayed trust, surrendered their integrity, or turned away from God can be rebuilt. Save those rare sons of perdition, there is no life so shattered that it cannot be restored.”

How wonderful and true that statement truly is. Despite my selfish reasons for returning to church activity I still felt the arms of Christ welcome me back because that is how much he loves us. As Elder Gong said “Remember, He knows all the things we don’t want anyone else to know about us—and loves us still.”


Christian: The Third Decade

It's finally happened, I hit 30 years old a couple week ago. I ushered in the new year quietly with no expected fanfare; I even decided to postpone my annual party till the Summer. Instead I opted to just go donate blood with some friends. #humblebrag. Luckily Sarah wouldn't stand for that and instead orchestrated a surprise birthday party for me which was completely unexpected.

I had already planned to donate blood with Sarah and some friends the day off which served as a perfect distraction. There was a small hiccup when it turned out that I was the only one allowed to donate blood because I was the only one who made an appointment--classic Otting. I thought it was strange that they opted to just sit around and wait for me but I assumed it was just so they could go to dinner with me afterwards.
Dinner was lovely though I was disappointed when Sarah was "called into the studio" right after we sat down. Still the meal and company was pleasant though I did find it odd how long we lingered at the table after the meal. My friend Abby dared me to drink a carafe of water which I accepted unfortunately.

We finally left and since Sarah took my car, Jon gave me a ride but first wanted to run by my Mom's house to see if she had room to store this arcade game we got for free. I thought nothing of it until I saw a shape run by in the window in the dark and then recognized the balloons--a party!

I felt very special to have everyone come to celebrate my birthday and very grateful to Sarah and my Mother for orchestrating the whole thing.

Also Mirielle made me a crown and it fit PERFECTLY. This is amazing because my head is very large.

Here I am on a Snow Hippo.


Christmas is over.

I don't really buy into New Year's resolutions, maybe just because I am terrible at them, but I do want to return to this blog as a chronicle of my life if for no other reason then it makes my Christmas card much easier to write.

Anyway, the holiday season has finally come to a close signifying my upcoming birthday and just in case anyone was wondering: no you did not miss my birthday party invitation, it's just going to happen in the Summer this year because why not?

I stayed in Provo for Christmas and New Years this year again and had some family come in from out of town. We did a lot of things but the coolest thing we did was go up a mountain in a Sno-cat and eat a seven course meal in a heated hurt on top of a mountain.

Seth wanted to do something special so he found this place online as one of the top things to go and do in Utah. It was pricy but we all figured it was something special to do so we signed up. The nigth begun with a very cold and windy sleigh ride up the mountain which they thankfully gave up waterproof blankets for
Once we arrived in the yurt we were greeted with a warm berry spiced drink, followed by the rest of the meal. It was really fantastic food even if it was quite simple in composition. The whole meal was two hours long I think with live piano music the entire time--I think the pianist enjoyed the fact out table consistently sang along to his covers.

Following the meal we took the sleigh back down and luckily the wind had died down so we could appreciate the wonderful views.

The rest of the holiday we mostly hung out and played games. Christmas came and went. I had most of the two weeks off of work so it felt almost like a real Christmas vacation.
On the morning of Christmas Eve I went on a hike with some friends.

Sarah joined my family and me up in Salt Lake for a very cold night of Christmas lights.
For New Years, my good friend Mirielle hooked us up with some free tickets to Thanksgiving Point's New Year's Eve Party. It ended up being really geared towards smalled children but we still had fun, some of us even ended up competing in a lip-sync battle.

A video posted by Chris Otting (@chrisotting) on

We ended up getting second place but only because we didn't have a little kid perform with us.

Happy New Year! I am going to be 30 years-old in 9 days!


Christmas Card 2015

Illustration by Esther Sanford

Photo by Mirielle Sanford
Season’s Greetings! I hope you are all having a wonderful season with your friends and family.

It’s been a busy but fantastic year for me. In the spring I was promoted to be the business manager of our small but growing catering company and while it has been time consuming it has also been fulfilling.

It took a year but my church finally caught on to the fact I was a caterer and released me from my four-year-long calling as executive secretary and put me in charge of feeding the congregation twice a month to encourage socializing, i.e. dating. I’ve been at it for a few months now and it’s been a lot of fun crafting meals to fit the very limited budget given to me.

In September, I finally summited Mt. Timpanogos after saying I wanted to do it for the past several years. It took us nine hours round trip to make the mile climb in elevation but now I can say I’ve done it.

On the local front, for a short time this year we had chickens! After getting permission from our Landlords, my sister and I along with two neighbors purchased six baby chickens and proceeded to raise them into adulthood. Unfortunately we discovered we missed some important rules regarding chickens in Provo and had to give them away but two live with my parents now so they are never too far away.

I hope this post finds you well and that I hear from all of you in some way or another even if just on social media.

Merry Christmas.


It's a holiday season.

Two holidays have past and another one is rapidly coming! I sent my Christmas card to the printers today so I finally decided it's time to update this here blog before my card goes public next week.

First off, Halloween!
This is our second Halloween in the Knight-Allen house and this year I pushed our spookiness a little further with additional green lights. Allison was out of town and I didn't want to be stuck at home all night so I decided not to hand out candy. This was highly disappointing to a couple groups of kids that I knew that were looking forward to soda which I handed out last year.

Thanksgiving I was alone.

Well not totally alone but all my family went elsewhere and invited me but for various reasons I found myself in Provo for Thanksgiving Day. This gave me the opportunity to take up my friends', the Sanfords, yearly offer of joining them for dinner. I offered to make the turkey and it turned out almost perfect... if you like turkey that is.
our thanksgiving group
The next day I decided to do a little Black Friday shopping and purchased my very first suit!
I mean I've owned two other suits but they were either a gift or a thrift-store find so this is my first legit fitted one. It was a coming of age event and I feel the same.

Also I got a new chair.
$25 at a thrift store, yay!
And my Christmas lights are up! I didn't have a giant free tree this year so I decided not to put on on the balcony again.