Thursday, December 31, 2015

Your Top 10 Most-Viewed Posts of 2015!

If you want a preview of tomorrow's post, go on and click this link. 

For now, let's jump right into the Top Ten Most-Viewed Posts of 2015!

10.) Releasing Stress: Wal-Mart Run - January 10. 100 views.

Considering the primary post's topic, I think my largest demographic of readers - college students - were drawn in. After that, this post was shared several times by people who liked our videos portraying our candid conversations in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart. Either way, this post came in at #10.

9.) Spotlight Review: Zen Pencils - November 9. 103 views.

I believe the success of this post is attributed to the kindness of Gavin Aung Than. After I wrote this post, I tweeted at him just so he could know someone was appreciating his work. After all, being a creator myself, I love it when I learn my creation has positively affected someone else. To my surprise, Than retweeted my post, and I think many of his fans came to see my Top 15 picks. Either way, this post firmly belongs in the #9 spot.

8.) Intense Belated Frozen Movie Review - September 9. 106 views.

I saw Frozen nearly two years after it had been released, but I'd already nearly grown tired of it. I know I'm supposed to Let it Go! THANK YOU! Luckily, I took a chance and watched the movie all the way through, and ended up liking it a lot. And, of course, because the movie's so popular, everyone wanted to read what I had to say. Thus, this post ended up in spot #8.

7.) Thinkjoust Tuesday #15 - Can Girls Initiate Romantic Relationships? - September 1. 115 views.

This post is notable for being the only feature on the Top 10 list. Even thought Thinkjousts don't engage readers as much as I'd like (at least until 2016. I hope), my two dating Thinkjousts ended up prompting a lot of discussion and debate. The sequel to this post just barely missed hitting the Top 10 itself, and it makes me want to do more dating Thinkjousts as it is. Either way, here's to #7.

6.) Commitment: My Sister's Wedding - June 5. 123 views.

This post was the most popular post for a very long time. Everyone flocked to see my sister's happiness and joy radiate off my page, and so I was able to steal my sister's success to ride a wave of my own. Sorry, sis! Either way, this post deserved to be in the Top Ten, but it didn't take long before some other posts pushed it out of the top three.

5.) Love: Supreme Court Ruling - June 29. 180 views.

This may have been my most controversial post ever. In the post, I discussed how everyone has a right to decide for themselves what makes them happy. I defended and acclaimed agency. This post never reached higher than the #2 spot, but either way, it's still one of my favorites to date.

4.) Anniversary Special Recap Slideshow - June 23. 207 views.

This is THE most advertised blog post I've ever written. I went through on Facebook and tagged basically anyone and everyone who'd ever appeared on my blog, with the challenge that they comment with the timestamps of their appearances. Unfortunately, I soon learned the slideshow went by too fast for people, and very few people could accurately find themselves among the constantly shifting pictures. Regardless, this post was #1 for a few months, until September 7 had other plans.

3.) Spotlight Review: The Cultural Hall - October 5. 210 views.

Again, I accredit this post's success to the kindness of the person I spotlit. The Cultural Hall is, by far, one of the coolest internet things I've ever seen, and the fact that they first featured my tweet on their website, and then retweeted my review of them, made my day. Many of the fans on the back row came out in force to read what I'd written, and I was touched by the interest and enthusiasm. Maybe some of you are here now because of The Cultural Hall. If so, welcome again!

2.) What I Think About Tattoos - September 7. 465 views.

This post's popularity absolutely shocked me. I wrote this post on Labor Day, having spent most of the morning and afternoon far away from any computers or internet. By the time I finally finished writing the thing, it was nearly five o'clock. I doubted anyone would see or even read the post, given the lateness of the hour and the ongoing holiday.

Within the hour, I had over a hundred views. Before I went to bed, this post had reached #1 status. And still, the view count continued to climb, more than doubling the count of any other post I'd ever written. And still, people tell me they appreciated my thoughts. I thought, for a while, that this post was going to remain at the #1 spot for the rest of eternity. But then, I was surprised another morning.

1.) Children from a Same-Sex Marriage - November 6. 530 views.

I actually wrote a different post on the morning of November 6. I even published it. Then, I went to the social media sites to begin advertising the new post.

To my surprise, the trends were ablaze about the LDS church's decision to refuse children from a same-sex marriage baptism. Even my non-Mormon friends were getting in on the debates. Being ignorant of the controversy, I read up on it, and then decided the post I'd written for that day was irrelevant. I unpublished the post (where at least two readers had stumbled upon it regardless) and rescheduled it for the following Monday.

Then, I wrote this post.

I expected to receive a lot of views, but I didn't expect it to beat out the post on tattoos. Either way, this post was the most-viewed of 2015, and really, the most-viewed ever.

Thank You

As the year crawls into its coffin, I wanted to point out that this list not only represents the Top 10 posts of 2015, but also the Top 10 posts EVER. This year has been good for the growth of Change and Cherish, and I can't wait to see what comes next year.

I'll see you tomorrow for my big announcement.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Top Posts for 2015

Being an avid blogger, I wrote 365 posts this past year. Some were worse than others, as indicated by yesterday's list of the least popular posts (click here to read that), and some received relative wide-spread attention. In regards to that latter group, I will post the Top 10 Most-Viewed Blog Posts tomorrow.

Sometimes, I write a post I'm convinced will break into the Top 10. And then, it doesn't. The post might not even break the average view count (For those of you who are curious, the average view count for the blog's entire run is about 39 views a post, or 44 views a post for 2015 alone).

Today, I wanted to present a list of posts I was sure would be winners, but instead ended up somewhere in the middle of the pack. I present them from least amount of views to greatest.

10.) January 13. 24 views. Why Guilty Pleasures Don't Define

This is one of my rant posts. In it, I discuss how I am a avid geek who likes embarrassing things like MLP and D&D, but how I don't really let those things define me. I talk about how disturbed I am by people who feel incomplete without their various brands of entertainment or the company of fellow fans, and I express relief over those who define themselves by their religion. The post is pretty fiery, so if you're looking for a little bit of that in your life, some on over!

9.) May 16. 28 views. Enjoyment: Smashing an Alarm Clock (VIDEOS)

I don't know why, but this whole post just cracks me up. From the backstory behind its conception to the final smashing of that clock, I thought this post was going to be a classic. Unfortunately, apparently people just aren't impressed by the random destruction of property, or perhaps didn't realize how literal I was being. Either way, if you want to watch a funny, unscripted video, check this out!

This is the preview.
8.) October 24. 35 views. I Am A Warrior (Visual Poem)

When I just write a post, it takes me about an hour. When I try to add a visual element or produce a video, it takes me much, much longer. I think that's why so many of those types of posts are on this list. I sometimes feel the posts I put the most sweat, blood, and tears into are under appreciated. I wrote this poem when I was feeling frustrated one day, and after being inspired by Zen Pencils, decided to publish it as a visual poem. I still think the final product offers both inspiration and quality, so go on and give it a read!


I may love to wax geeky, but being an aspiring autodidact, I also like to wax nerdy once in a while. When I first learned about pareidolia, I wanted to share my thoughts with the world, and so I did. Perhaps this post isn't particularly amazing or notable, but dang it, I liked writing it. Do you know what pareidolia is? No? Well, you'd better go find out.

6.) November 4. 44 views. We turn 500! (VIDEO)

Like I commented on #8, this video may have taken me more time to produce than any other post I have ever produced. The coolest thing was, the entire thing, from script to post, was completed in less than 24 hours. Of course, I spent nearly every waking minute of those 24 hours working on this video, so see that how you will. Either way, as I commented yesterday, I don't think you guys like thank-you posts. At the same time, this funny, self-deprecating, light-hearted celebration of how far Change and Cherish has come has a special place in my heart. That's why this video is on this list.

This is the preview.
5.) December 19. 47 views. Why I Think Prejudices Exist (Visual Poem)

You would have thought I'd have learned from the first visual poem, but this piece of work didn't receive a lot of attention, either. To be fair, I had to redesign and reupload it at least once due to popular demand. Either way, I think this poem is both relevant and succinct, and I'm rather proud of it. If you'd like a visual summary of how prejudices are perpetuated, go on and check it out!

4.) May 30. 51 views. Adventure: Donut Dogs (VIDEO)

Again, this is a video that makes me laugh. Just a couple of friends, throwing hot dog condiments on donuts. Did it taste good? Well, I guess you'll have to watch the video to find out. Trust me. It's worth it.

3.) November 25. 52 views. MockingJay & Ram Trucks Crossover Commercial: A Positive Review

Ok, ok, I'll admit, I learned about this commercial way too late. If I'd made this sarcasm-laden post when the commercial first came out, it might have reached the Top 10 status. As it was, I only saw the commercial near the end of its run, after the initial controversy and outrage had died down. At the same time, I knew I was going to have fun making fun of the commercial, and so went ahead and wrote it anyway. What you should really appreciate is that I went through and took screenshots of every individual shot. Every single one! That takes some work, man.

2.) February 3. 57 views. 10 Virgins: A Modern-Day Take

This is one of those posts I dreaded to write, because I thought the humor was going to fall short in some places. I was pleasantly surprised when several people told me how funny they thought this post was. I've been immensely proud of it ever since.

1.) November 14. 69 views. What I Think About Islam

In the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris attacks, I was shocked to see an outpouring of hatred toward Islam as a religion. Having gained an appreciation for the peaceful adherents to Islam over the years, I sought to set a distinction between the conservatives and the radicals. I knew I was writing a controversy, but I put my soul into the post, and I think there are very few other posts that truly capture the spirit of Change and Cherish.

And there's my personal Top 10! Tune in tomorrow to see the official Top 10 list by pageviews!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Your Least-Viewed Posts of 2015!

Sometimes, marketing is hard. I don't always know what it takes to get readers to click on my links. As it is, the posts I write occasionally melt into obscurity after I give them a chance to shine.

Thankfully, that's what the end of 2015 is for. I have compiled a list of the eight standard posts that received less than ten views over the course of the year. I excluded Sunday Snapshots and Throwback Thursdays from the final list, which were given much less marketing focus earlier in the year.

8.) 9 views. June 2. Thinkjoust Tuesday: Pie vs. Cake

I was actually surprised this Thinkjoust was the lowest of the low in terms of pageviews. My entire life, I have staunchly perpetuated what I believe to be one of the most important debates in our political sphere right now. Even though pie and cake both have their strengths, I firmly believe pie is the better dessert. Once the ultimate identity of cheesecake is understood, I believe that will be the ultimate decider in the debate.

For some reason, I never reported which side won this particular debate, though I think cake was this readership's top choice. You traitors.

7.) 9 views. May 6. Evolution: And Another Thing ...

I have noticed that posts with 'boring' photos don't receive a lot of views, no matter how relevant the photos are.

Of course, the photo for this post isn't super relevant as it is. The original post mainly discussed how I've changed over the years, and how my affinity for driving has proven that. Still, it's a good message, and one I would highly recommend reading.

6.) 9 views. April 1. Teamwork: eSport Tournament

There is a serious controversy brewing among hardcore gamers regarding how seriously people take them. I have a hardcore gamer mentality, but I rarely play video games anymore and don't have any of my own. As it is, I am more of a biased bystander in the debate, though I definitely see points to both sides. If you want to know what I'm talking about, watch this video from Game Theory: Leave PewDiePie ALONE!

Regardless, I suspect this post's lack of views has much to do with at least one side of the debate.

5.) 9 views. March 31. Fighting Back: Ill Week

This is mainly a motivational post about how I didn't let my illness define my activities for the week. I feel like the picture is pretty cool, personally, especially how it combines the themes of shining your light and Christ. I don't know why it didn't receive a lot of views, but I recommend you read it anyway!

I guess people don't really like hearing about sicknesses, though, so there's that.

4.) 8 views. July 8. Another Thank You: 400 days & 12,000 views

Most of my commemorative posts don't receive a lot of views or love. I just want to thank you guys! Let me thank you! It's all right, though. I suppose those kinds of posts are why you come to Change and Cherish, anyway!

3.) 8 views. February 21. Adversity: Changed Perspective

Another optimistic post for ya, this one is unique in that it talks about how using your agency to change your attitude takes you far. I suspect this post didn't receive a lot of views because first, it doesn't have a super exciting picture, and two, it was marketed as the second part to the post from the day before. People who didn't read the earlier post probably weren't interested in reading this. Either way, it does stand on its own, so give it a try!

2.) 7 views. July 29. Weaknesses: Terrible Repair Job

This post had a pretty boring picture, too, and even I'll admit I got lost while trying to determine how the post's message matched the beginning scene. Either way, head over to the post and leave a comment if you agreed that this post should be kept buried in the archive forever.

1.) 4 views. March 30. Weak Things (Poem)

I find the placement of this post to be interesting. After all, according to the poll that's currently over there on the right, my poetry posts are the most popular posts. I've always felt like my poetry posts are difficult to market, and generally don't receive very high views, but I think that's because I have a hard time finding correlating pictures. Either way, with only four views to date, comes my poem Weak Things. Give it a read! Comment below if you think this post should have received more views!

Well, that's that! I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Cynicism vs. Idealism: Zoo Lights

John 12:36 - "While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light ..."

My pops, my older younger sister, my brother-in-law, and myself journeyed to Portland and the Oregon Zoo to see the beautiful Christmas lights abounding along the path.

The weather was cold and rainy. We were damp before we'd even walked a hundred yards from the car, but we were excited. Not only were we going to see a very unique display of Christmas lights, we were also going to be able to see animals! Animals! At night!

It soon became apparent that we weren't going to be seeing many animals. We saw some seals, some bats, and some penguins. The rest were all in hiding from the weather, or kept in a facility protecting them from the winter. No, the zoo had drawn us in just to see the lights. Nothing more, nothing less.

Given my nature, I wondered if the zoo was taking advantage of us. It made sense for the zoo to seek ways to draw in tourists. After all, what zoo-goer wants to walk around in winter? By setting up a bunch of pretty lights, the zookeepers hoped to make us forget we weren't seeing animals, and therefore deprive us of our hard-earned cash! The scoundrels!

So it was easy for me to forget the lights and imagine conniving businessmen lurking behind every corner. However, the further I went along, the less discontent I became. After all, the lights were beautiful. There were some displays that had obviously required much love to put up. The zookeepers may have gotten our money, but they were likely using it to feed the warm and cozy animals as they waited for Spring to return.

And honestly? I enjoyed it. This picture walk will never be able to capture the raw beauty of the lights. I tried to get a few shots of the wire animals, like the raccoon you see at the top of the post, but any pictures I took paled compared to what I saw in person. If you ever visit Oregon in the winter, come visit its zoo. You'll be amazed.

And most importantly, we four had fun. We laughed, we talked, we even danced a little. It was a perfect, idyllic night, and even if we didn't see animals, we had each other.

That was enough.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Let's Learn About Boxing Day!

One of my favorite pastimes is saying dumb, outlandish things and watching people give me the strangest looks. It's mad fun!

This sometimes occurs when I'm asked about my favorite holiday. I don't know that I have a favorite holiday, but I always have an answer. I might say April Fool's Day, but if I'm feeling particularly confounding, I'll say Boxing Day.

"What's Boxing Day?" some people ask.

I throw on a facade of fury. "What? How can you not know about the greatest holiday of the year? The first weekday after Christmas? You plebian!"

To be honest, despite by posturing, I didn't really know what Boxing Day is, either.

I thought it was either this, or something to do with Muhammad Ali.
So, after years of ignorance, I set out on this boxing day to determine exactly what it is.

To my surprise, Boxing Day had nothing to do with throwing out your Christmas wrapping, packing up your Christmas decorations, or stiff uppercuts to the jaw. Instead, Boxing Day is another holiday centered around giving.

Way back in the first half of the 1800s, Boxing Day was established in honor of the services done for the general public. Mailmen, errand boys, paid servants, and other servants and tradesmen could be expected to receive some sort of gift from their employer, traditionally served in a box. Thus, the term Boxing Day.

Of course, nowadays, most people only know about Boxing Day as a bank holiday here in the US. Outside the US, Boxing Day is a British Commonwealth shopping day similar to our own Black Friday. And, of course, many non-Americanized sports like football (the original kind), rugby, cricket, and hockey hold pretty big games on this day.

Now you can proudly proclaim you are no longer ignorant of this wonderful holiday! I'm definitely going to give my garbage men a present. What do you think about an old Christmas tree? Everyone wants one of those, yeah?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Family-Approved Quotes of the Year 2015

I don't have too much of a blog post for Christmas today; I'm just sitting fat and happy for now.

However, my family did release their 'Quotes of the Year' yesterday. I'm featured fairly prominently.

Here's a sample:

"Dad! Nate's not letting me lick his back." – Zac

By the way, did you know I'm the only member of my family born in an odd-numbered year? Weird, huh.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Force Awakens Review - Quality, Cleanliness, and Enlightenment

Don't forget to vote on the right-hand side! I need your help improving this blog!

The family and I following the movie. WE WAS EXCITED.
After re-watching every Star Wars movie and avoiding spoilers for a week, my family and I finally had the chance to go watch The Force Awakens. Here is my review, and this time, I'm not holding back about any spoilers. You have been warned.

Was it good?

In summary ...

The Force Awakens was a cohesive, action-packed movie that kept many of the well-liked elements and dropped the heavily criticized qualities of the original six movies. The movie balanced the action and the drama cohesively, and we immediately began rooting for characters both new and old. The movie suffered from some overused Star Wars tropes, like contrived coincidences, and required some knowledge of the fictional historical accounts recently published in anticipation of the movie. However, all in all, it was a highly enjoyable experience that proved a crisp and cohesive narrative, and will likely send viewers heading back to the theaters long after its release date.


In long ...

I felt like this was the most cohesive Star Wars movie in existence, for starters. Even compared to other science fiction/fantasy films, it did a good job glossing over the 'boring' stuff, like heavy political discussions and lots of expository 'telling.' These sorts of things were criticized in the prequel trilogies especially, where we'd see ten-minute conversations between Anakin and Palpatine as they just sat there.

No, people go to watch Star Wars and similar movies for the action, and boy, the movie didn't spare any action. From the opening scene to the best lightsaber fight in the series at the end, the movie kept the action scenes coming while exercising brevity during the quiet drama scenes.

Of course, Star Wars is notorious for having unbalanced fights, where every good guy is a sharp-shooting savant, while every person in white armor is half-blind and incompetent. There were definitely shades of this in The Force Awakens, but stormtroopers were presented as a much more effective and deadly force than ever before.

And speaking of plot armor protecting the good guys, this movie still had a series of contrived coincidences that kept things rolling. BB-8 finding Rey, Han picking up the Millenium Falcon after having lost it for years, the good guys finding Rey in the Death Star substitute, Han and Kylo Ren walking near the same bridge ... it didn't pull me out of the movie, but man, explicitly named characters in this universe always seem to find who or what they're looking for.

Beyond that, I think the most important thing is character development, and dang, did the movie do a good job of that.

We were introduced to a cast of new characters, and within minutes, I was rooting for them. Their individual stories were compelling, they each had something for which to fight, and I wanted them to succeed. I was devastated when Poe was declared dead at the scene, and he'd only been in the movie for a small fraction at that point. I even found myself rooting for the highly conflicted and emotionally unstable Kylo Ren, and even after he did some very dastardly things, I found myself longing for his redemption.

And we found the old characters not as we expected. With Luke and R2-D2 in exile and Han, Leia, and Chewbacca reverting back to their old ways, I almost worried the writers had damaged the characters. But no, as life came into the characters' eyes, and we saw them fight to survive like old times, I realized the writers and actors did a wonderful job keeping true to the spirit of the original trilogy. I rooted for their victories, and I mourned their losses.

The only other thing I wish they'd done was develop the Solo family line a little more. I know a lot of that backstory is included in supplementary materials, but I didn't read any of that stuff. I didn't know I was supposed to bone up on a fictional historical account before watching a movie.


I made my brother a shirt for our viewing. It was hilarious.

Was it clean?

On a scale of Dog in a Swamp While its Raining to Newborn Baby Sitting in a Bubble Bath, I give this movie a Dinner Table right before the Host and Guests are about to Eat.

For starters, the characters threw out some mild expletives several times throughout the film, far more than was prevalent in the other movies. We heard some damns and hells and possible a few others, but it didn't really bother me. If that stuff bothers you, however, be warned!

Beyond that, besides the normal levels of violence in a Star Wars film, including many explosions and laser bolts blasting through what looks like cheap plastic armor, there wasn't too much to blink an eye at. There was one scene in a shady bar-like atmosphere that featured some mildly promiscuous clientele, but I felt like the scene served to show how morally questionable the place was.

However, I'm not going to say it didn't present some conflicting moral messages ...


The entire scene where Kylo Ren kills his father is pretty disturbing. Any kids watching this movie will probably reel in shock over the high levels of conflicting emotion in this scene, and I could easily imagine several kids leaving theaters somewhat scarred, especially if they have good relations with their own fathers. The scene itself wasn't that gory or brutal, but I felt like the emotional conflicts would have been enough to confuse anyone not fully exposed to the very real evil in this movie, and in life.


Was it uplifting?

The primary message of the film was to show that you never have to run away. Fighting for something is better than fleeing.

We see Finn, constantly trying to run from the First Order. We see Rey, trying to run back home when there's nothing left for her. We see Han and Leia, trying to run from their broken past. We barely see Luke, who's locked himself away in exile. The futility of running is shown time and time again, and our main squeezes especially, Finn and Rey and definitely Han, both overcome their fears and head toward the things that scare them the most.

That's definitely an inspiring message. The problem was, I didn't really feel like I saw too many of the consequences that come from running away. Sure, you could argue that Luke and Finn's determination to run from things hurt their loved ones in the short run, but I felt like that's hard to determine based on what we've seen so far.

Either way, I have several loved ones in my life who love to run away from their problems. In that, I think this movie did a fine job showing them that confronting problems oftentimes turns out for the best. However, The Force Awakens is definitely the first of three parts, and so the message of the trilogy likely has yet to be fully revealed.


And that's my review! Let me know if you agreed with or disagreed with anything I said. I'll see you tomorrow for Christmas!

Here's a close-up of that shirt. You can decide what's going on with that lightsaber, cuz I didn't know.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What to Expect from this Blog before the End of the Old Year

Don't forget to vote on that poll on the right-hand side! I'd love to find ways to improve this blog.

Hey, everyone! In order to hype some of the exciting things coming up on the schedule for Change and Cherish, I wanted to give you a current peek at what I'm planning on doing for the rest of the year.

24th - Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie review. In this post, I'll decide if I'd recommend it to an audience seeking clean entertainment, if I thought the movie was good, and if the story's primary message was tight or even existent, among other things.

25th - Christmas introspection. There's a high chance I'll put out a late post that day.

26th - Another politics post. At this point, it's looking like another Know Your Candidate, unless someone has a topic they want me to express an opinion over.

27th - Sunday Snapshot.

28th - Thoughts on the Zoo lights, a trip my family and I are embarking upon tonight,

29th - A recap of your least favorite posts from 2015, or the posts with the least number of views overall. You can see last year's counterpart here.

30th - A recap of the posts I thought deserved more credit than they received. You can see last year's counterpart here.

31st - A list of the most-viewed posts of 2015. You can see last year's counterpart here.


2nd - My New Year's Resolutions.

I'm excited about everything coming up! Hopefully, we crash into 2016 right!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Thinkjoust Tuesday #30 - Which Features of C&C Could You Not Live Without?

As 2015 prepares to tuck itself in for the last time, I'm performing an inventory of Change and Cherish and the various features I employ.

I figure you probably have some opinions about which sort of posts are your favorite as a fan of Change and Cherish, and I'm curious to know for which features you come here. I'll include an explanation about each feature down below, and then you can vote for your favorites in the poll on the right hand side! Your votes may change the future of the blog itself.

Slice of Life

Change and Cherish was founded on a series of Slice of Life posts. The typical format is to talk about an experience I had, and then comment on the spiritual connection I made. Even though I don't write as many today, Slice of Life posts make up the majority of all posts.


I used to have a goal to write two poems a month, though now I might produce one every three months. I've transcribed a few of these poems to song, and I've recently begun illustrating a few I've written.

Sunday Snapshot

I started doing these so I wouldn't have to work on the blog on Sunday. They're basically inspirational quotes I've personally penned, set against a backdrop of some sorta nature shot.

Throwback Thursday

Once a way to spotlight posts of the past, I now usually write Throwbacks to add some sort of commentary or backstory about the creation of the post.


These take a lot longer to write/produce, but focus on a wide range of topics, including musical performances to celebration posts commemorating milestones for the blog.


I do these whenever I feel like it, but I've reviewed movies like Frozen to car commercials. Sometimes I talk about whether the entertainment is uplifting, and other times, I just gripe about how annoying I find it.


I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or Mormonism), and will occasionally write entire posts outlining my beliefs, including when there is a controversy within the church itself. I also occasionally make commentary about religion in general, though these posts are often closely related to the political posts.

Thinkjoust Tuesday

Hey, that's what you're reading right now! For most of the feature's existence, it's basically been an excuse to poll audience members regarding their mostly insignificant opinions, like whether summer or winter is a better season. It originally started to help foster open communication between internet-goers.


A more recent topic on the blog, if I see something in the news that I have opinions about, good golly, I'm gonna say something about it.

Know Your Candidate

And, finally, these are the posts that display the knowledge I've begun accumulating about presidential candidates as they struggle through the primaries. If I don't have an opinion about current events, then this post takes up the Saturday slot.

So, there you go! Vote away, and tell your friends! This poll will be up for two weeks instead of the usual one.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Finding Purpose at a Food Bank

I often feel like my life doesn't have enough purpose. I work so hard on things for me, I often forget to reach out to others.

A few weeks ago, my FHE family reminded me why I feel a need to reach out at all.

We couldn't all be there, but a small minority of our family members drove on over to the local food bank to volunteer for a few hours. It's a great place to volunteer at, by the way, so if you're living in the Provo area, I recommend giving them a visit sometimes. Check them out at Community Action Services.

I wasn't really sure what to expect upon our arrival, but I was very impressed by just how much food people had been donating. Being a struggling student makes it hard for me to find anything to donate, but I realized that every little bit must count. If every college student in Provo donated a can every week, I bet the food bank would have even more food.

As it was, families and individuals had been donating enough cans to give us volunteers something to do for several hours. I bet we could have worked for several more hours had the woman in charge not needed to lock up for the night.

In we came, and at the boxes we got, sorting the cans into different categories like vegetables, fruits, meats, beans, and others. Our group was certainly the fastest, emptying our first unsorted box in record time before moving on to the rest. 

We did this for a couple of hours, churning out organization like an archivist close to retirement. Even then, we felt like our efforts were insufficient. After all, looking around told us there was so much more work left to do. In the end, we recognized we'd saved much time and effort for anyone else coming in behind us.

I felt good as we walked out. I know my pitiful efforts at the food bank barely put a dent into world poverty, or even local poverty as it stands. However, as I spent my free time ignoring homework and personal aspirations, I felt like I'd found a purpose, at least for a moment.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Another Sunday Snapshot Sabbatical

Hey, Sunday crew! There aren't many of you, but I love you just the same.

Have you seen yesterday's visual poem, by the way? I put a lot of effort into it. If you like it, why not share it on social media?

If you haven't seen it, here's a preview.

Love you guys! See you tomorrow!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Shine Your Light: Poetry Slam (2 Videos)

A few weeks ago, my friend and I went to a poetry slam hosted by a couple of our other friends. I'd never been to a poetry slam before, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

It was off the hook!

Man, I don't even know how to describe the event. For months, my friends had described slam poetry to me, and I'd usually respond with a, "Cool." I didn't really understand the levels of passion, heart, and dedication that goes into the writing and delivery of such a work of art. For an example, watch this video.

People went up there and got lyrically serious (seriously lyrical?) about topics that meant a lot to them. The poets made people laugh, they made people think, and they made people cry.

The half-time show was a Haiku competition, for which I'd come prepared. I started out with this self-composed winner in mind.

I had not time to
write a haiku. Now what am
I going to do?

The problem was, I was near the back of the line, and some guy near the front had a similar idea. I didn't want to upstage myself, so I quickly composed a new haiku in my head. This was my final delivery.

Sometimes, I just run
out of time to say what I
want to say. It's a

I didn't win, but I was on stage anyway!

And for me, that was the beauty of the event. People were able to get together and present original material without fear of judgment or scorn. I'm sure some people in the audience raised a brow at a few of the acts, but for the most part, you could feel how excited everyone was just to be there.

And the poets were inspiring. I came up with and wrote down about five different slam poem ideas throughout the event. I wanted to rush home and write my own rhythmed reasoning. Nearly everyone I talked with said they wanted to try their hand at performing during the next event. People went home buzzing with ideas, and it was because a few brave souls stood up and spoke out.

Whether they were prepared and slamming down some serious limericks, or sweating and composing a haiku on the spot, people shined their light as bright as they could, 

I think that's all God expects of us.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday #52 - Needed Message

Today's features post comes to us from November 26 of last year. Click here to give it a read!


I observe so many people in the media and in my every day life act so cruel to one another. I feel like I'm struggling to have faith in kindness.

Many people's response to this struggle seems to revolve around giving up or becoming cruel themselves. If the world isn't going to make any effort to be kind, then I won't, either.

The thing is, humans are inherently negative people. If we see a few isolated acts of cruelty, we assume the entire world is secretly cruel. The media exploits these feelings and generally only reports on the bad things that happen in the world.

But people really are kind, even if their kindness is sometimes hard to see.

In November last year, I saw someone go out of their way to cheer passers-by up. And I appreciate them for that.

Go on! Read all about it at this link.