Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Your Opinion About the New Year is Wrong (with Added Commentary)

Alma 42:23 - "But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the Atonement ..."

New Year's resolutions get a lot of flack from the world because of the classic situation a lot of us seem to get in.

Take Ol' Bob Robert George, here. Around the first of December, Bob made the decision he needs to stop his habit of throwing rocks at his neighbor's windows. It won't be any trouble, he thought to himself. I can quit whenever I want to. Heck, New Year's is just right around the corner. I'll stop then.

So, for the rest of December, Bob Robert George gleefully broke his neighbor's windows, going so far as to increase the amount of damage he was causing. After all, his last chances to participate in such an activity were rapidly decreasing.

"So, uh, heh heh, Bob," Mr. George's neighbor said to him. "I, uh, couldn't help but, uh, notice! That, uh, you've been breaking a lot more of my, uh, uh, windows recently."

"Oh, don't worry, neighbor!" Bob said cheerfully. "My New Year's resolution is to stop this nasty habit!"

Mr. George's neighbor failed to be reassured by the statement, but chose not to press the matter.

So here's the catch, dear reader. The New Year came along. For about a week, the neighbor of Ol' Bob Robert George enjoyed unbroken windows. And then, sure enough, before he even knew what was happening, Bob was over at his neighbor's house, frantically bashing in as many windows as he could.

"New Year's resolutions are the worst!" Bob moaned. He shoved his neighbor's TV through the bathroom mirror. "I never keep them! Nobody ever keeps them! They're just a sham!"

... really, now.

The problem with this painfully ridiculous fictional story is that Ol' Bob Robert George should have stopped breaking his neighbor's windows the moment he recognized he needed to stop. When he gave himself the time to indulge in his idiocy, then he only further entrenched himself in it, making it harder to, quote unquote, quit cold turkey.

True, the concept of New Year's resolutions has a problem. It's that people place an expiration date on everything they need to change. Imagine if someone struggling with, say, confidence recognizes they need to work on that confidence, but they make that acknowledgement in the first month of the year. "Oh, but it's January 15," they say. "I'll wait until 2016 to start working on that."

NO. Nobody does that because that's dumb. However, leading up to January 1st,  a lot of people seem to get in their mind that the only time they can begin changing is on the next year, and therefore fail to keep their resolutions.

The advent of any New Year is wonderful because it does give us a chance to start with a clean slate. The end of the year is a reflective time, perhaps moreso than any other time in the year. However, we should not make that advent the only time we can possibly change.

As for me, I have a lot of things I need to work on, both now and for the rest of 2015. I'm constantly looking for ways to improve. Sure, I may fail to hold fast to my determination to stick to a certain principle or decision I've decided to keep. However, through the forgiving power of the Atonement, I can take as many chances as I need.

What are your resolutions?

Hey there! I wrote a commentary about this post on April 7, 2016! Click here to read it!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Favorite Posts of 2014! (Part 3)

You can read the other parts at these links: Your Least Favorite Posts of 2014! and Your Favorite Blog Posts of 2014 (Part 2).

Ironically, if things keep up, the 'Your Favorite' post might actually deserve to be featured on the 'Your Least Favorite' post. Who knew!

Well, either way, I'm going to self-indulge today and talk about my personal top ten favorite posts from this year. True, I may not be the best blogger in the world, but I know I can claim an award for being prolific, especially considering I haven't made a cent yet. Every day, I write posts I hope will encourage or uplift one of you readers, and some days, I discover the person I needed to uplift was myself.

I hope this selection of ten posts illustrates why I keep a blog, and more importantly, what it's grown to mean to me. Without further ado, I present my personal favorites of this year, in order of appearance.

Calling all Wordsmiths [July 22] - This post made the list because of my personal attachment to the word coined within the passage. It's a word I still use frequently, even in my writings. It meant a lot to me personally, though, because it gave me an opportunity to foster more peace and love in my very vocabulary.

Oh, deer, did I do that? [August 2] - I rather liked this post for two reasons. First, it demonstrates a serious contrast between the first world I'd been so bodily thrown into, and the calm appreciation for what I'd been missing right in front of my face. Second, whenever I see the associated picture, I recall a distinct memory in which my fuse all but wet itself, and then my current fuses also proceed to vamoose.

Journey [August 12] - I liked this post because it illustrated, in many ways, the way way I felt about my life upon my return home. I think it's also a very universal post, because I know many others have felt the same way when faced with similar thresholds in life.

SLCC: Finding a Place [September 7] - This post was special to me because it marked the day I met my favorite author, as well as helped me recognize just how blessed I am to have the circles, experiences, and opportunities I have now. Also, Gollum.

Re-Learning Yourself: Five Defining Words [September 17] - I liked this post because, one, it gave me the chance to really think about myself, how I view myself, and even how God views me, as well as give others the opportunity to do the same for themselves in an easy activity anyone can do.

Seeking Enlightenment: The Quest [October 10] - I enjoyed this post because it was one of the more active posts I ever had to write, requiring me to get up and do some research before sitting down and actually writing it. I also enjoyed seeing the spontaneity and the joy people had in sharing their words of wisdom, and hope to be able to do something like that again.

Don't Hide your Christmas light: Ward Talent Show [October 28] - This one was memorable for obvious reasons, but I also enjoyed the post because it gave me the chance, while writing it, to remind myself that no matter how small or insignificant I view my own talents, God gave them to me with thee intention to use them for the benefit of others.

Spontaneous Charity [November 6] - This post stuck out to me because of first, how far I stuck my foot in my mouth, and second, how grateful I was to see individuals to willing to give and to love with little to no thought.

Under the Belt: NaNoWriMo 2014 [December 1] - Of course I was proud of the accomplishment, but I didn't blog about it to brag. Rather, I hoped others would be encouraged and determined to accomplish similar tasks, whether in their own fields or of a similar nature. As many of you may have noticed, light-shining is my favorite topic on here.

Falling Acoustic (VIDEO) [December 20] - As I mention in the post, I wrote this song fairly quickly, and pretty much took the video in one take once I'd sorted out my difficulties. The creative process only served to remind me just how God can take a tough time and make something beautiful, even if the song is only beautiful in my own mind.

Well, there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the three recaps. Here's to more next year! See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Your Top 10 Most-Viewed Posts of 2014! (with Added Commentary)

The original title of this post was "Your Favorite Blog Posts of 2014 (Part 2)."

Following up from Saturday, in which we reviewed you readers' least favorite posts of 2014, here we have a post detailing your favorites! Let's start the countdown, Jimmy! Click the titles to be taken to the posts!

10.) Optimism: No Straps, Four Arms [37 views] - Originally posted on November 15, this post featured an epic tale detailing the struggles and difficulties faced when four college students were faced with a simple problem: "Our car is way too small in which to shove this giant-sized piece of hardware!" Couple this with bitter biting winds, a class in less than an hour, and a broken vehicle, and many of you came in to enjoy the ride.

9.) TT #1 and Future of the Blog [38 views] - I'm not surprised this post made it onto the list, considering how often I've referenced it since its original posting on November 20. Not only was this the first Throwback Thursday post, it also gave an explanation as from where all these advertisements were coming from and to why there weren't going to be any more posts on Sundays. Of course, there still are posts, at least in the form of Sunday Snapshots, but very few people check the blog on that day, anyway. Seriously, though! Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss the Sunday posts!

8.) Christmas Report [41 views] - Let's be honest. Who doesn't want to know the story behind this Christmas present I received this year? Well, forty-one of you certainly did, which is why this post, originally posted on December 26, came in at number eight of this year. I won't spoil the surprise, but be excited: this is one of the most picture-heavy posts I've ever done. It even features private texts! From me!

7.) Why Preach My Marriage Doesn't Work [42 views] - There are several reasons anyone would want to read this post. I mean, first of all, it contains a hilarious anecdote about why I should be kept from dating as much as possible. Second of all, it features an anthropomorphic cantaloupe. Seriously, why are you still reading this description? I would have clicked on that link by now. Posted on July 27.

6.) Jumping Out and Jumping On [45 views] - I've received some constructive criticism about titling my blog posts from you readers. This post was written before I had earned such aid. So, when I saw this post had made sixth on the list, I honestly had no idea what it was about. It's been a while since I wrote it! Forgive me! Anyway, this picture didn't help me figure it out much, either. Shoot, that's probably why this post was so popular: NOBODY KNEW WHAT IT WAS ABOUT. Why don't you see if you can figure it out? Originally posted on July 19.

5.) Serving Others: Birthday Vegetables [46 views] - "Vegetables? Not a cake? PROPERTY DAMAGE? But ... but I thought he was an RA? What is going on? Man, oh, man we gotta check this out! Even if it's just for blackmailing purposes!" ... is exactly the thought process I imagine all o' y'all went through to make this come in at numbuh five. Posted on September 26.

4.) The Day Dawn is Breaking [47 views] - Originally posted on June 23, this is the mother of all blog posts. No, I'm not saying it's that amazing, but this is literally the first post I ever wrote, therefore birthing all other posts that you've ever read. There is absolutely no fanfare, no explanation as to what I was trying to accomplish, I just went with my original formula and went with it. It was only later that I actually tried to explain what I was trying to accomplish, long after I gave up sticking to one theme.

3.) 100 Posts, 3000 Pageviews [49 views] - Y'all came out in droves to celebrate this landmark with me! Not only did Change and Cherish reach 100 posts in 100 days, we also reached 3000 pageviews to boot! With a great start like that, it's no wonder I'm still here, chugging away with the two hundredth post in sight. Posted on September 30.

2.) RA Thriller Dance-Off: VIDEO [64 views] - Apparently, people dressing up like zombies and dancing to silly songs about herping and derping is quite intoxicating for the lot of you. I, for one, enjoyed this post as well, as it featured the conclusion of a several-week-long arc. Though we didn't win, I don't think the memories we built (and filmed!) will be forgotten readily. Originally posted on October 30.

And finally...

1.) Magnify your Responsibilities: Crazy Protein Shake [97 views] - I don't know why a post about me drinking a potentially harmful protein shake was so popular, but there you have it. I should do more death-defying tricks, like touch an electric eel or scream at a wild banshee. Yeah, that ought to do it! Anyway, if you want to view unprecedented blog popularity, check out this post, originally posted on September 29.

TOMORROW: Check back for My Personal Favorite Posts of 2014!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Your Least Favorite Posts of 2014!

I came back from my mission in Jamaica on June 19 of this year, after having faithfully kept a journal throughout all 744+ days of my service. Four days after my arrival home, I started up this blog as both a replacement and a continuation of the experiences I had while on my mission.

Of course, this wasn't just to be a journal. I also wanted to use this blog as a platform to share my testimony and offer uplifting entertainment to the world, as a way to combat the less pure entertainment options out there. Therefore, I watched the views I received on this blog with great intent, hoping my voice was being heard.

Unfortunately, sometimes, I just fail to capture your attention or draw you in. I spend forty-five minutes or so describing my life in a post, and then nobody reads it. To celebrate those moments, I present to you the Top Ten Least Viewed Blog Posts of 2014, at least according to Google analysis. Here we go! CLICK ON THE TITLES TO GET LINKED TO THE POSTS!

10.) Give said the Little Ice Bucket (August 22) - Coming in with 9 views overall, I personally thought a video of me getting splashed with ice water would be a pleasant treat for my readers, but, for some reason, this post was one of the least-viewed posts this year.

9.) One Step Back, Two Steps Forward (July 9) - Also coming in with 9 views overall, I determined pictures of newspaper were only slightly more likely to bring in views than a pile of dirty laundry.

8.) Climbing the Wall (August 21) - Coming in at 8 views overall, I think this week took a hard hit in general. Maybe everyone went to Disney World without me? Anyway, I thought the photography alone on this piece - notably not taken by myself - would bring in viewers, but maybe it was the shot of my behind that drew you guys away. Who know?

7.) Family on Earth (August 18) - Even though my family is full of the most attractive jalapenos on this side of mars, only 7 people wanted to check us out, and since there's six of us, that probably means we were all just checking out ourselves. That lends the question, though: who was the seventh ogler?

6.) Merry Christmas 2014 (December 25) - All right, I can't really blame you guys for this one. Coming in at only 6 views, I imagine most of you were too busy spending time with your family and messing with your new toys to spend time checking out this post. Shoot, all it really is is a long scriptural quote of the birth of Christ, a picture of a tree, and a thank you, so you really didn't miss out on much. If you want to relive those warm fuzzies from a few days ago, though ...

5.) Beginning Again (August 19) - Again, all o' y'all really ain't that interested in still photography. Also coming in at 6 views, this post illustrated the feelings we all have when we're headed into an unfamiliar situation bound to push or stretch our limits. I thought this was one of the more universal posts I've ever written, but, it did have a pile of dirty laundry ...

4.)  Leavin' on a jet plane (August 15) - While this post is certainly about me boarding another plane away from home to head to a new one, I could have at least snapped a photo of the darned plane. But, nope; have another pile of dirty laundry.

3.) Reunion (August 17) - Again, this week just took a huge hit for some reason. I mean, who doesn't want to click on this picture of happy people uniting after years and years of solitude? Naw, it makes sense. I want to read about the 23 texts from parents, too.

2.) Landing (August 16) - This post contained the first picture that was ever taken of me at BYU upon my return home, setting off a lot of the college-esque postings about finals and all that. It also features a picture of my car! Best two dollars I ever spent!

1.) Any Sunday Snapshot (November 23 - November 30December 7 - December 14 - December 21) - For my first Throwback Thursday, I announced my intention to post advertising on my blog, and therefore cease work on Sundays. Still wanting to offer content every day of the week, I promised to prepare a spiritual inspirational message during the week to be automatically uploaded on Sunday. To make sure you don't miss these, be sure to subscribe using one of the tools on the left side of this page!

Coming up next week ...

Your Favorite Posts of 2014 and My Favorite Posts of 2014!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Report (with Added Commentary)

Matthew 2:11 - "... they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh ..."

My parents are very thoughtful people. A few days before Christmas, we had this short conversation.

The two most important lines are the first ones, but the rest was pretty funny, too.
I just about forgot about the conversation until Christmas morning, when I found this waiting for me under the tree.
It's a pun! Get it? Get it?
The outside of the box.
The inside of the box.

Yes, even my third request.
My parents are silly critters, aren't they?

What thoughtful gifts did you receive/give this Christmas? Be sure to comment below!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Luke 2:11-20 - "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

"And suddenly there was with the angle a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

"And it came to pass, as the angles were gone away from them in heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

"And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

"And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

"And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."

Merry Christmas from the cast and crew of Change and Cherish! May everything be cheery and bright! See you tomorrow for a full report on the day today!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Prayer: Driving Home

Luke 2:10 - "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people."

Our family started the drive up to Washington from Logan today.

Back in my mission days, before anyone drove anywhere, we would be sure to sanctify our journey with a prayer. It's true that I never drove on my mission, and therefore rarely was in a car, but throughout my stay there, though we were no strangers to hearing news about accidents, the missionaries were always kept safe and protected.

So, though all of us were tired and beat from a late night the day before, after our prayer, any worries I personally had about the twelve hour drive vanished. I feel confident in our safety and good fortune no matter what happens.

May your own travels be filled with prayer, safety, and love this season!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hindsight: SLC Filming

Luke 2:9 - "And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid."

Last Christmas, while I was on my mission, my family made a video they sent to all our family and friends. Because I was in Jamaica, I was, unfortunately, unable to be a part of the video.

This year, as part of our jaunt to Logan, we ran down to SLC for about half an hour to film this year's Christmas video, and I was actually able to be a part of it!

Unfortunately, in a few days, we'll be splitting again. Most of us will head on up to Washington tomorrow to spend Christmas eve there, and then, about a week later, I'll be back down to Provo.

When I was younger, all I ever focused on was leaving the house and cutting my own swathe through life. My appreciation for what I had was diminished by my focus on what I didn't have. I wanted this now, I wanted that later, I wanted to be on my own. It was only when I left that I was truly able to understand what I had. Experiences like these are going to be far and in between, but while I'm here, I'm going to appreciate every second I have.

Here's to hoping you will, too!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Choices: Family Time Commences

Luke 2:8 - "And there were in that same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night."

I honestly could go any direction with this blog post.

I could talk about how home is where the family is, because we never seem to vacation at any place any of us would actually call home. We're actually all just cooped up in some stranger's basement for a few days.

I could talk about how awesome it is to be with family. After all, my sister won't be able to spend Christmas with us, so we had a mini-Christmas right here in the basement with her. Only a family would go so far to break the very bonds of tradition for one of their own.

I could talk about how obsessive I get about things, like with our new board game Pandemic, especially considering its cooperative nature. This means a loss only serves to infuriate me more because we have no one to blame but ourselves. It's especially embarrassing when an series of inanimate objects trounces you repeatedly.

I could talk about forgiveness and love in times of trial and need.

I could talk about the importance of the sacrament and our determination to get the entire family to one together before who know when we'll be able to do that again.

I could talk about honesty and the bravery of one of our own in the face of miscommunication.

I could talk about how my point is, something about being with family teaches you a lot of things about life and yourself that you really can't learn on your own. Even when you're out of the house, families can still teach you so many things, which is probably why a lot of us go looking to form our own when its time. So, no matter the situation, no matter who or where you are, be sure to enjoy what you have as much as you can.

Love you guys! See you under the tree in just a few days!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Falling Acoustic (VIDEO) [Added Commentary]

Doctrine and Covenants 124:1 - "... for unto this end have I raised you up ..."

In a fit of emotion, I wrote this song. Video link and lyrics are below.


I got so far to another mistake
Was feeling so good now I ain’t that great
Why did my mind have to come so late
To the station waiting for me to leave
I’m falling
Westside, inside, outside, left side
Too close to the edge
I’m drowning, I’m moving, I’m screaming out for help
But there’s just one thing
To Keep me afloat
When I run, I tire of every little breath
When I scream, the fire pulls me close to death
It’s one thing to lose yourself
Another when you’re gone
And I’m gone
OH, I’m gone.
I’m falling
Eastside, outside, inside, right side
Gotta step back from that ledge
I’m holdin’ on, I’m beggin’ on, but one thing I don’t know
Is why I fall
Why can’t I say never again.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Experiencing All: Party Crashers [with Added Commentary]

Genesis 30:27 - "... for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake."

So I'm sitting in my room late Wednesday night, trying to give a care about my upcoming finals, with nary a shower or a change of clothes earlier in the day to get me going, when I heard a knock at my door. Oh great, I thought. Someone locked themselves out of their room. Again. Dragging my gym shorts off my couch and running a finger through my gnarled porcupine hair, I approached the door and cracked it open.

To my surprise, I wasn't greeted by a resident, but by one of my RAs. His opening statement was a bit more complicated, but the story boiled down to this.

"So, my uncle gave me tickets to a free dinner at a Brazilian restaurant hosted by UVU parking. I don't have a car, but you do, so wanna crash it?"

Well, duh.

So I actually showered and changed and jumped in a car and got lost on the way to this Brazilian restaurant. When we arrived, our entire plan boiled down to finding the event, sitting down, and hoping nobody asked any probing questions. After all, my friend's uncle was expected at the event, and seeing how we were from a rival school, any investigation might result in us being exposed for frauds. It was all very exciting.

So we found out where the event was and sat down in some empty seats, squashed between other empty seats. The food was bank, man, and the fact that we were getting it ... for free ... because some UVU executive was paying for this fantabulous feast when we totally didn't deserve it. I pay parking tickets, not give them.

Thankfully, we were lucky in that there were actually several factions represented at the event, so most everyone thought we belonged to a different group than the one they were associated with. Unfortunately, we couldn't avoid the moment forever. An older couple asked us what it was like, working parking. It was time.

We hadn't discussed an alias or plan prior to the event in case we did get asked such a question. I'd formulated one of my own, perfectly designed to throw my friend under the bus. "I'm with him." Of course, I never had the chance to use it, because my friend answered for us. "Oh, my uncle gave us his tickets."

Huh. Never thought about honesty.

The old couple was surprised. They nodded. They never said another word to us.

It was awesome.

Point is, besides the hilarious experience, imagine where I would have been had I rejected such an opportunity. Probably sitting on the couch, staring at the ceiling, wondering how the Glorious Revolution fits in regards to Marcus and what New Testament epistle he appeared in. True, studying would have been the best priority, but I gained a memory, something I won't be quick to forget. 

My challenge to you today is to not put experiences before something that can be put off for later. True, at some point, I had to buckle down and take the exam, but my two hour excursion didn't hurt that. This season often has us focus a lot more on its preparations than for what it is actually intended, namely, spending time with friends and family and spreading and feeling love. So go out there! Crash a party! Above all, have fun. 

Hey there! I wrote a commentary about this post on February 25, 2016. Click here to read it!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday #5

This week's Throwback Thursday is from July 5 of this year, the very first holiday post I ever did write.

Given the season, I figured it might be nice to look back on a holiday past and recall another reason we choose days to celebrate and remember. I don't have too much to say on this account, but here's to hoping you enjoy the flashback.

Click here to visit Explosion Day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Lament of the Singles (Poem) [with Added Commentary]

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

This poem is a bit more unique than the others I've written here in that it doesn't really contain a happy ending, but, rather, a hopeful one. While it is true that I tried to capture some emotions I have personally experienced throughout my lifetime, my true inspiration for this piece comes from observing the several recent experiences of a few individuals I call friends.

Without further ado, The Lament of the Singles ...

We were designed as a simple half
a perfect line through a perfect pie graph

So when we lose the other side
forgive us for the easy slide

No matter who ends it, no matter the reason
Our bones will lock up, and our mind will be freezin'
Our agony acute in any season
No time at all before we're bruised and beaten

When she says, "It's over," his face takes on a pall
When he says, "Can't do this," her tears begin to fall

No one said this search would be that easy
Begging to the sky that this weight will soon leave me

Sometimes it's not for lust, and sometimes it's not for love
It's the dreaded fear of being unnaturally alone
It's one thing to desire a castle to call home
But when we're out upon those streets, we grimace and we groan

God made us this way for a special purpose
A need for another to be stoked like a furnace

One thing we must remember in the darkness we must delve
He didn't send us here to wander all by ourselves

So patience and virtue are our weapons then
Battling our demons seeking to break and bend
Someone will bring light into our shadowed glen
And if we wait, we'll soon not ask for when

Hey there! I wrote a commentary about this post on the 17th of February, 2016. Click here to read it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blessings from Heaven: Trip to Logan

Luke 2:7 - "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and, and laid him in a manger ..."

I had the wonderful opportunity yesterday to head up to Logan and help my sister move her gear to another place.

It really was awesome. Not only was I able to severely decrease the load my sister would have had to shoulder herself, I was also able to get to know her a bit better and talk about life, the universe, and everything with her. It was unfortunate that I had work in the evening and had to leave so soon, and I'm looking forward to visiting her again later this week at the advent of the Christmas season. And, of course, an added bonus was that I also got to see my old mission friend again!

It was a day spent foolishly, at least by the world's standards. With two mandatory exams scheduled back-to-back the next morning, and me having found no time to study them beforehand, it was a day spent hurtling toward failure. But, of course, I wanted to do as Christ would. And I knew if I did, He would bless me.

Well, it is true that the Lord can only bless you with as much effort as you put in. I'm pretty sure I utterly bombed my geography test, though time will tell if I was able to somehow guess correctly consistently. However, on my ASL exam, the grade for which I already got back, I ended up getting just shy of an A, actually bumping my grade up. I was met with a clarity in ASL communication that I rarely experience, and with only a few exceptions was able to understand everything that was being 'said' through sign.

That blessing, of course, could have only come through God, granted unto me because of my willingness to put my own concerns aside for someone in greater need of help than I. I don't say any of this to brag, but to encourage and exhort everyone to do the same, to seek out what Christ would do in every situation. I promise you, not only will you feel joy in so doing, but you will also be granted great blessings to aid you as well.

I love my sister. I wish I could find more ways to help her, as well as those around me. I'll just keep on praying.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Clean Day, Rough End

Did You Think to Pray? - 140

I accomplished a lot yesterday.

I went to church, I played techie for my EQ class, I went home teaching, I worked on my journal, I visited ward prayer, I finished up some work stuff, and I got all ready to leave for Logan for the next day.

This is how I looked (and felt, really) at the end of the day.

I took some pictures with better quality, but my incredible eye for photography immediately recognized the mood of the photograph required a lower quality to completely capture my artistic vision. 
I was fried and frazzled. So much done, and so much left to do, what with finals looming just around the corner and a whole bunch of other projects I'm excited to take part of. It seems with every ending comes a lot of stuff that needs to be taken care of. Stat.

The thing is, at the end of the day, despite my worry and stress, I was able to kneel down and pray to the Father to know what to do and how to do it. It was a comfort. And, as I began the week on this particular Monday, I felt confident I would be able to tackle everything that came at me, even if I went down with whoever or whatever it was I am planning on tackling. And that was enough.

Now don't you go on and forget.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Get Out There: Another PAH-TAY

Psalms 115:16 - "The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: but the earth hath he given to the children of men."

About a month ago, I found an e-invitation in my email e-asking e-me to come to an e-surprise birthday party. I mean, regular surprise birthday party.

This, of course, meant I needed to keep a secret from the friend for whom the party was being thrown. Don't get me wrong, I'm great at keeping secrets, but I'm so smug whenever anyone entrusts me with a secret, I find it amusing to waggle the secret in front of people's faces with increasingly less-obscure hints until I'm frankly blurting it outright.

... so, not so great at all.

Anyway, I made sure to carefully monitor all contact with the family to ensure I didn't spill the beans, which led to some of them wondering why I'd all but fallen off the earth. Regardless, I successfully failed to spill the beans right up until the party itself.

Upon my readying to journey out into the night, I found myself worrying about the deadly creature likely prowling around at the party itself, formally known as 'strangers.' I may be a good friend of the birthday girl, but our relationship was my sole connection to her other social circles. As I drove up to the rendezvous point, I found myself worrying, Oh man, what if they think I'm lame? What if I have nothing to add to the conversation? What if I just sit in a corner, painfully sipping root beer? What if they ask about my entomology collection? I don't even have one of those!

In the end, unsurprisingly, I had a good time, and was able to make some solid acquaintances before the night was over. I was even able to participate in an epic slow-motion video of someone chucking a gummy bear into someone's mouth from long-distance. It was great!

The point is, I think we're all sometimes scared to shove ourselves out in situations with which we're unfamiliar. But the other point is, think of all the opportunities you can miss out on if you allow yourself to be paralyzed with fear each and every time one arises! God didn't give us this world with all its pitfalls, risks, and dangers to stay inside and tremble. He gave us this world to breathe it in! So get out there! BREATHE! I promise you, you won't regret it.

Some of the PAH-TAY goers at their finest.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Makin' Memories: Dance PAH-TAY*

Luke 2:4 - "And Joseph also went up from Galilee ..."

Yesterday was the Helaman Halls Yuletide Gold-Tie invitational, or, as some of the RAs had taken to calling it, the 'Chicken Fried School Slide.' Other options included the Yule Tried Cow Hide, the Spool Lied Fool Cried, and the Mule Shied Wool High. Anyway, this thing was yesterday!

I had some more clear photos, but I appreciated how trippy this one is.
I went with a group of RAs on a friendly double date, and we had a serious blast. It was an interesting event in that, unlike many social events to which I pander, it really felt like people were there to just have fun. And fun was had! I saw friends among the RAs, among my residents, among other residents, classmates, and even superiors, and all of them were just enjoying the experience of kicking loose one last time before finals and break.

True, my raucous partying meant I felt so inclined to sleep until just before noon today, and some of my personal responsibilities were inadvertently shirked the day before, but, that's what I used today for!

All in all, the experience was a blast, and even looking back on some of the things I 'missed out' on, like Geography review session, I wouldn't take it back. Some things you just can't experience twice. I think there are a lot more 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunities out there that we don't recognized just because they seem more common than not. And honestly, five years from now, I think I'll look more fondly on this party of mine instead of how many countries are within the boundaries of SWANA.

So go on out there! Make some memories this season! I'll be waiting!

The girl on your right has lights in her hair. Like, EMBEDDED in there. It was SUPES COOL
*I also claim rights on all usage of the term 'PAH-TAY,' as originally coined here.