Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Snapshot: Ukulele

"Like a Broken Vessel" - Jeffrey R. Holland

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Adventure: Donut Dogs (VIDEO)

Well well well. What do we have here?
What is on these donuts?

Oh. That's what.

Life is an adventure, my friends, and there are a lot of things out there in the world that nobody has ever discovered. On the flip side, there are a lot of things out there that you've never discovered, be they things other people discovered before you or things nobody before you will ever discover.

If you're not much for my usual 'get out there and try something new' spiel, then here's today's challenge: stay inside and try something new! You could keep it culinary, or you could even go so far as to try watching a movie you wouldn't normally think you'd like. Anything and everything! The world is your oyster! LOVE IT!


Friday, May 29, 2015

Interrupted Cry Against Sleeping (POEM)

Psalms 51:10 - "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."

If I didn't sleep
I would have more time
To pick up, put down,
and make the world mine

If I didn't sleep
could work twice as long
play twice as hard
be three times as strong

If I didn't sleep
I could visit the moon
learn to calculate
fix up my croon

If I didn't sleep
I could read libraries
make my betterment of self
my task primary

If I didn't sleep
and put my nose to the stone
could solve the world's problems
'for I reach hunned-one

But if I didn't sleep
wouldn't know what I need
cuz if I didn't sleep
I would never dream

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Throwback Thursday #24 - Crazy Protein Shake

Today's Throwback comes from September 29 of last year.

I probably would have skipped this one over in my line-up, mainly because I don't feel it stands out as much as some other posts do. However, this single post has had more views than any other on this blog, breaking over one hundred, currently.

Obviously, there must be something in this post that appeals to some people, so for those of you who might also appreciate it, but missed it, be sure to click the link below. As it is, I have no real explanation for this phenomenon, though perhaps some people thought I was selling or giving out Protein shakes? Maybe?

Click here to read Magnify your Responsibilities: Crazy Protein Shake!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tolerance and Light: Bumper Sticker

I was out driving yesterday, and as I pulled up to a red light, I noticed this really cool bumper sticker I'd never before seen.

I was absolutely astounded by the creativity behind this thing. I, of course, recognized the peace sign, the gender symbols, the Star of David, the yin-yang, a cross. Given the context, I assumed the other symbols represented other facets of individuals' belief systems and lifestyles, facets some people often turn polarizing.

I ended up researching the bumper sticker. I was led to this link if you want to learn more yourself. 

So, first, I wanted to big up Piotr Mlodozeniec for coming up with the design in the first place. The design is simple, but incredibly powerful, and perfectly illustrates the idea that very different things can come together to create a very powerful message.

Second, I wanted to big up the owner of this car for being brave enough to support the idea of coexistence despite differences. Given the amount of hatred, bigotry, and uplifted stereotypes that plague the world's mentality today, I'm not sure just anyone would be willing to even admit that individuals on spectrums different from their own have value and worth.

Last, I wanted to big up the owner of this car for letting this particular light shine. I often relate the light spoken of in Matthew 5:16 to temporal talents, like singing, acting, writing. However, even more important are the emotional and spiritual talents, the talents that help others become the best of people better suited to uplift and help others.

Good work.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Thinkjoust Tuesday: Mountain vs. Ocean

I WARNED YOU! In this linked post, actually. Ever since that fateful May 11th, I've been pondering about adding a new feature to the blog, namely, Thinkjoust Tuesday. (I know Thinkjoust Thursday rolls off the tongue better, but considering my Throwback Thursday feature already exists, well ...) So, here it is!

For those of you who don't recall the origin of the word thinkjoust from this post, my dad and I decided the English lexicon needed a term for 'a friendly argument or debate needing no clear victor.' The result was the word 'thinkjoust.'

The cool thing about people is that we all have different opinions about things. As we discuss those opinions, we may not change them, but our minds are opened to different possibilities and mindsets that allow us to become stronger as individuals. The more we understand those around us, the more we are able to understand the subtleties of our world, and thereby maintain a more open mind for the fresh and exciting things around us.

So, that's going to be my intention with these Thinkjoust Tuesday posts. We'll see how long this feature lasts, and if it's even going to be weekly thing.

Anyway, so here's the thinkjoust! Be sure to kindly defend your homeland in the comments:

The last two major places I've lived (excluding Washington due to my brevity there), Jamaica and Utah, are known for their beaches and hiking trails, respectively. I personally like both types of climate/geography, but I'm curious.

Which environment would you prefer to live in? Near Mountains, or near the Ocean?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Diligence: Buffalo Head

Mosiah 10:11 - "Now, [they] knew nothing concerning the Lord, nor the strength of the Lord, therefore they depended upon their own strength ..."

There once was a mighty buffalo, a mighty buffalo indeed, capable of goring, trampling, and curb-stomping the strongest of unarmed men in a fight thanks to its physical superiority.

But alas, alas for the mighty buffalo indeed, for it failed to prepare for man's mental superiority, falling mightily before the might of a single bullet. Its head now rests on display in the lobby of a college dorm, forlornly watching college students perform PDAs for the rest of its tired existence.

So, too, the Bismarck, the supposedly unsinkable battleship that fell thanks to a torpedo right in the rudder. I ended up studying this story yesterday, and it really got me thinking about how I am truly fallible.

There are so many things at which I succeed. I have so many talents God has blessed me with, much like how he's blessed you (and don't try to convince me you're not talented, because you definitely are!), and sometimes, it's easy to begin believing that I've reached a peak in my abilities, that I don't need to grow or progress or evolve. If I'm not careful, I just might end up like our friends Buffalo and Bismarck here.

So, I struggle every day to improve myself, to make myself stronger, be it in writing, in music, even in my social skills.

I challenge you to do the same.

PS: Guess which blog just hit over ten thousand views? 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Competing: Publication Push (Part 2/2)

3 Nephi 12:16 - "Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

Continued from yesterday's post.

So the real question is, why would I pursue self-publishing when I see it as such an inferior method?

While I was on my mission in Jamaica, I was reminded of a story I once heard about a man desiring to compete in the Winter Olympics. It is unfortunate the details of the story, including the man's name, are lost to me, but the lesson I learned nonetheless stuck out.

This man wanted to participate in the ski jump. He was, however, not good enough to be sponsored by his country. So, he set about raising the funds he needed to enter the competition as an independent athlete. He worked to get his own gear, he paid his own way to fly to the Olympics, and after much time and effort, eventually found himself alongside the best athletes in the world, competing in his desired event.

He lost horribly.

But that wasn't the point.

For the rest of his life, that man will be able to puff up his chest and proudly say, "I was an Olympic athlete. I competed against the best."

That was the key for me. Compete.

The thing about publishing is that, if I refuse to do anything but wait for someone else to tell me I'm good at what I love doing, then I might waste a lifetime. However, if I truly have something to offer to the world, then I shouldn't hold back. I may not get a gold medal, I may not be a blockbuster hit like J. K. Rowling, but at least I will be competing. At least I'll be able to say I was on the blocks.

So, I guess we'll see where I need to end up on that front once my submission saturation winds to a close.

The work moves on. Now let's get moving!

This was a picture taken beside the eastern bay in my last area, Port Antonio.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Competing: Publication Push (Part 1/2)

Last Tuesday night, I finished my final draft of my NaNoWriMo novel, working title Ama's Watch. I've been fixing and tweaking it on and off since November, and I've finally gotten it as near-perfect as I can. 

Three emails hit the inboxes of three different literary agencies late Wednesday night, all with the subject line of 'QUERY.'

Since then, two more emails have hit two different inboxes with more or less the same subject line.

It's time for me to seriously push for publication for the first time in three years.

My current goal is to send a query out at least once a day, sans Sunday, until I feel like I have completely exhausted all my options. At that point, I will wait about four months after I have sent out my last submission. If I haven't heard from anyone at that point, then I'm going to self-publish via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.

I personally believe self-publishing is an inferior method to working through a publisher for a variety of reasons. These include a lower ability to market and drastically reduced distribution, among others. However, I made the decision about April of last year to pursue self-publishing regardless of my own opinions about its effectiveness.

Let me tell you why.


To be continued ...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday #23 - A Roller-Skating Analogy

Today's throwback comes from September 27 of last year.

I think what makes this post so fabulously successful* is how I am able to take the art of falling on one's own gluteus maximus and compare it to mankind's divine potential!


That's about all there is to say without taking away from the original post itself.

So! Click here to read Same Objective: A Roller-Skating Analogy!

*One man's opinion.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gratitude: The Never-Ending Hallway

I've mentioned I have taken part in completing inventories around the dorm complex I work at. To remind, the completion of a single inventory requires us CAs to perform an exhaustive inspection of the seventy plus elements comprising of the room's furnishings and architectural make-up. 

Usually, we embark upon this process in pairs, but last night, I was called upon to tackle a hallway all by myself. For the next three hours, I wrote down detail after detail after detail after detail after detail ...

Something that annoyed me when I first began the endeavor was that the building doesn't have any WiFi in the upper floors. This made listening to music as I worked a serious hassle. Man, I thought. They could have at least thought about employees before turning the WiFi off for the summer.

... after detail after detail after detail after detail ...

Then I realized I was being stupid. At least I have a phone. At least I have WiFi downstairs. At least I have a data plan.

... detail after detail after detail after detail after detail after ...

So, I worked with what I had, eventually switching over to the audio version of Doctrine and Covenants to save on data. My complaints were silenced, and I was able to smile.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Stronger: Abrupt Guitar Purchase

I called my best mate on Sunday night to ask him for help. "There's something I've been putting off for a while," I said. "I need to buy a guitar."

"You need to buy a guitar? What, are you going to suffocate without one?"

"Yeah, that joke's not old yet. Seriously, though, I've been meaning to teach myself how to play one for a while."

"And by 'teach yourself,' you mean 'ask me to teach you.'" 

"Glad we have an understanding."

In all honesty, I have wanted to up my musical ante in this regard for a while. While I love the ukelele, and can't imagine a foreseeable future in which it isn't my go-to instrument, I have reached a rather wicked incline in regards to the learning curve required to fully master the instrument. 

I might have been able to surmount this difficulty were I to prioritize my time differently, but seeing as how my top priority is currently revolving around my writing projects (like this blog), my forward progression has been stymied. As it is, I have felt quite stagnant in my musical abilities as of late, and have been craving some actual feeling of growth.

I think that's true for all of us, though, even if we're not feeling particularly musically motivated. In listening to songs that have become popular recently, I find that many use their lyrics to focus on the ability we children of God have to grow, to develop, to become a better, more enviable person than we are currently. Even if many try to pretend otherwise, the message is out there. We will not be beaten. We will not bow down. We will rise above our weaknesses, either for us, for each other, or for Him.

I know that, no matter what happens, we can rise above and even surprise the weaknesses we, ourselves, so often struggle with. We can, indeed, become stronger.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Life is Like a Pizza (POEM)

Life is like a pizza
covered with infinite toppings
selected over many years
by a cook's incessant shopping.

Served before us in the morning
to finish before the night
because when the sun goes to hide
so also ends our light.

But on this pie, there's everything
we do or do not enjoy.
For vegetarians, it's the meat.
For carnivores, it's the soy.

Some like artichoke, some despise,
others can't live without fungi,
BBQ chicken is for but some,
a few may cry if there're onions.

Pineapple is a divisive fruit;
to put on sauce, some can't compute,
and foreign lands may like their squid.
The cook agreed? Of course he did.

Chorizo, pistachios,
carrot, dill, and proscuitto.
Lobster, oysters, and some prawn,
tomatoes, peas, and honey ham.

Oregano and spinach greens,
beetroot, shrimp, and some black beans.
Broccoli and watercress,
baby leeks and some sausage.

Everything that you might want
and everything you've never heard
quivering on sauce and cheese,
leaning toward absurd.

This is not what you ordered,
you know what you like.
But after all, it has been said,
this is the pizza of all life.

Not everything can go your way,
not everything preferred.
But, so you know how to feast
a philosophy I'll refer.

God, the cook of life
has given us the world to chew.
There are so many things to see,
experience, and do.

But even with all options,
there are toppings we'd rather not.
But even with all options,
there are things we'd rather not.

We may not want to fight depression,
we may be scared to skydive.
We may not want to eat scallions,
we may be scared to sprinkle chives.

But we don't have to turn away
from trying even a slice.
You can combat undesired
both in pizza and in life.

In pizza, if you don't want a topping,
you can just pick it off.
In life, if something troubles you,
puff up your chest and scoff.

When a cook cares enough for you
to give you every topping,
appreciate the bad and good
though that may seem quite shocking.

But if you liked everything
upon which you ran aground,
then nothing you would like,
for bad keeps perspective 'round.

If it was all you ever had,
it'd be hard to describe pepperoni.
But you've had so much more,
so you know to compare to anchovy.

And so life is like a pizza,
an adventure and a feast.
The cook wants you to cherish all,
but you pick what to eat.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Enjoyment: Smashing an Alarm Clock (VIDEOS)

2 Nephi 9;14 - "... and [they] shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness."

God didn't send us here on earth to live monotonous, colorless lives. He sent us here to find joy and happiness in even the simplest of things.

So, I try.

Well, we succeeded.

Afterward, we chilled in a mezzanine, accomplishing our individual goals until we got hungry, grabbed pizza, and watched YouTube videos until our eyes bled out.

It was awesome.

How are you going to find enjoyment today? Be sure to comment below!

And a bonus, if you dare ...

Friday, May 15, 2015

Lost Sheep: Dog Run

It was only yesterday that I found myself running through an unfamiliar landscape after an unfamiliar animal. 

I harbored no particular love for the animal. I held no particular responsibility for its recent escape. I was certainly in worse shape than it was. My ragged breaths sounded like the wheezes of a dying muskrat. I felt prompted to fall back and try a different strategy.

But, it was my brother's new dog of only two hours. And I was the only one who had a line of sight.

The worst part was, I knew the dog was trolling. He would stop to look or sniff at something. I would slow down and walk carefully to him. I would reach out to grab his collar and, inevitably, would touch his neck. Off the dog would bolt, tongue lolling, panting happily, eager to resume the game.

Sometimes I wish I cursed. It would have felt marvelous at that moment.

Thankfully, the dog tired of the game fairly quickly, and my brother was able to use his animal husbandry skill points to successfully reign the beast in. I was grateful I'd taught him how to play roleplaying games.

All in all, I'm glad the dog was rescued, but I think I'm solidly in the 'cat person' camp.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Throwback Thursday #22 - Birthday Vegetables

Today's Throwback comes from September 26 of last year.

Not only does this post bring back fond memories of all my RA friends, I also appreciate its off-the-wall nature. For once, I wasn't doing the ridiculous thing; I was only merely aiding and abetting the ridiculousness.

Of course, I also think my writing style has improved tremendously since then. I mean, those run-on sentences are a horrendous chore, even for me. What was I thinking?

You can decide whether or not to agree with me when you click here to read Serving Others: Birthday Vegetables!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Onward and Upward: Rejection Letters

Most of you may recall the interviews I had with two separate publishing companies on February 14 of this year. It was a pretty neat experience. 

I finally received the second rejection letter yesterday. 

But that's OK! My manuscript is a lot more polished, now. I've received advice that may be able to help me present better pitches to future publishing companies. I feel more confident in my abilities.

So, soon, the publishing world is going to receive my manuscript by storm.

Let's rock!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tact: CA Building Party

I've learned an important lesson every time I've worked at a new job.

Before I began working at Sonic, there were many things I thought I didn't have to worry about in regards to operating as a consumer. Why worry about cleaning up after myself? Why worry about making messes? Why worry about taking too long in deciding what I want to order? Why worry about treating the employees pleasantly?

Then, I began working at Sonic. When someone else did one of the thoughtless things I previously had, it was like karma was stabbing me in the face.

I could go on, but I'm learning a similar lesson here at my new job. Previously, when I worked as an RA, I was not as diligent as I could have been in making sure my residents didn't trash their rooms before leaving. If I remembered I missed something later, I waved my hand and thought, Well, someone will pick up that slack during the summer.

Given my new responsibilities, that person is me.

I, of course, have been having fun. Yesterday, we lugged mattresses all over the place and even had mattress races. Regardless, I still wish I'd done a better job considering the heirs to my responsibilities, even if said heir hadn't been me.

We'll see how many times I have to learn that lesson.

This isn't all of us, but only those who worked in a certain dorm yesterday. Don't I take great selfies? ;)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Thinkjoust: Sleep or Midnight? The Sabbath Debate

Colossians 2;16 - "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days..."

This post is going to depart from my usual pattern, but if I like it enough, I might keep it on as a feature.

We Christians believe that God recommends certain courses of actions to His children to aid in our overall lifelong happiness. We call these, collectively, 'commandments.' Some of these commandments are more clear-cut than others, like the commandment not to kill people. Others, like keeping the Sabbath day holy, are left a little more up to the individual.

Considering Sunday activities, I have met individuals who watch TV, and I have met individuals who keep it completely unplugged. I have met people who like going to the park as a family, and people who refuse to leave the house. I have met families who will play games together, and families who will politely refuse. In the end, none of these individuals are wrong. They have done nothing more than present their own interpretation based on their individual understanding.

Obviously, each of us should pray to the Father and find out what He wants, at least for us. As it is, with everyone so doing and coming up with different answers, it's difficult to determine what His final say is.

Either way, though, I wanted to present a question I had about the Sabbath day, something I've pondered ever since I got back home from my mission. I know things will be pretty divided over this, but I also know there's no right answer, either. I'm just curious about what you guys are thinking. The question is this:


There are two camps, as far as I've observed. The first camp says that Sunday is midnight to midnight, no questions asked. The second camp says that Sunday is bedtime to bedtime, which is the usual choice for those of us who usually stay up past midnight, anyway.

So what do you think? Be sure to post in the comments below! Let's get this thinkjoust ROCKING!

I, for one, went with the midnight to midnight approach last night. Gotta love dem four double jalapeno burgers. Yum.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Teamwork: laz0r tag

D+C 49:27 - "Behold, I will go before you and be your rearward; and I will be in your midst, and you shall not be confounded."

Two of my thirteen favorite missionary companions, along with a wife, came down to visit Provo this weekend. Naturally, we got together yesterday to p0wn some noobs in the deadly arena of Laz0r Tag.

It was actually a pretty cool experience, seeing how effective certain individuals were in regards to their team.

The four of us did a pretty good job trading off as each other's back-ups, and as such, were generally able to mow down the opposition fairly effectively. There were a few individuals on both teams--including one notably large opponent who thought he was Rambo and kept recklessly charging right into our lasers--who felt like their attempts at being a solo operative were helping rather than merely feeding the other team's score.

The teamwork prize, though, went to a trio of peers, possibly a little younger than the four of us, who found a very strategic position near our base that we could not directly assault nor ignore without running headlong into their lax0rs. It proved extremely aggravating trying to flush them out, especially since they were quick to return once they'd reloaded. In the end, their tactics proved decisive in the second game, and we ended up forking the victory over to them.

In the same regard, I am very much someone who prefers to strike out on my own when it comes to any sort of endeavor (I mean, I write a daily blog. Not the best team-building exercise). However, as I have witnessed the value of teamwork in everything from my missionary experiences to something as simple as laz0r tag, I have gained an appreciation for it.

Sometimes, you just can't do without.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Perfection: Inventory Checklists

Over the last couple of days, my coworkers and I have been, among other things, going over inventories of every single room in every single building across the entire dorm complex. It's amazing to me just how many things we need to check in each room. From the door sign to the frame to the evacuation sign to the closets to the desks to the sink to the beds to the fire alarm and the other forty details in between, there is no end to the attention to detail we need to maintain.

Here's my partner-in-crime ... I mean, in, in ... good?
The process naturally reminded me of a spiritual analogy!

See, when it comes to preparing ourselves spiritually, it takes a lot. Even going so far as to read your scriptures every day and go to church every week isn't enough. You have to make sure to keep all the commandments, you have to try and become as Christlike as possible, you have to maintain good, loving relationships with the people around you, and then your checklist starts reaching a comparably lengthy list to the ones I've been working with, and I've only barely scratched the surface of everything we need to remember.

But, in the end, that's OK. In reviewing the checklists from last year, some problems were never fixed. Other problems were left off the lists altogether, likely an accidental oversight on the part of a CA from last year.

In the same way, we aren't expected to be spiritually perfect at the end of every day. Instead, we are expected to try.

No matter how many CAs fill out inventory sheets in years to come, I doubt those rooms will achieve the same level of spotlessness they had when they were first built. However, whenever custodial or maintenance follows up after us and fixes up what we've marked, the rooms will be just a little closer to where they were before.

Just as we will be when we review our own spiritual inventories and catch the things we missed.

Love you guys! See you tomorrow!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Throwback Thursday #21 - "Giving Compliments"

Today's Throwback Thursday comes from September 25 of last year.

Sometimes, I write really long, meandering posts I imagine some people give up on before they've even started.

Other times, I write shorter posts.

In every post, I (emphasis on) try to tell a true story from my life, to connect that story to a gospel principles, and to deliver a challenge. Sometimes these elements are more subtle, especially when they are inadvertently buried in the longer posts.

That's why I like today's throwback. I find it simple, yet powerful. And you can't miss those three elements.

Click here to read Giving Compliments!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Evolution: And Another Thing ...

Yesterday, I described driving up a canyon to take some time to meditate. It while I was up there that I realized something very important.

I like going on drives without destination.

I have had many friends throughout the years who have advocated meandering drives. Some of those friends even go so far as to invite me to hang out with them on those drives. For the most part, I've turned them down. What's the point of moving when you're not heading anywhere? I thought.

My perspective on similarly simple things has also changed over the years. For example, whereas I used to fear and loathe dogs, now I, at the very least, tolerate them. It's funny to me how the passage of time can provide and prompt experiences and subtle changes to work within us, most of them without us ever recognizing them.

My drive yesterday was therapeutic in a way it never was back in the day. But now, I think back to those who first planted the seed all those years, and I thank them strongly.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Prayer: Country Drive

I needed to talk with God today. I could have done it anywhere, but, instead, I decided to take a drive.

Up Provo Canyon I drove, zooming down the road while dodging all the traffic heading home. I passed several of the places I've highlighted in my record before, including Bridal Veil Falls. I had nice, mellow Chillstep playing, allowing my thoughts to wander and organize themselves.

I eventually found a small ridge overlooking a gorgeous lake. The ridge itself bore a small dirt road that led to fenced-in private property. It took me a couple of passes to actually embark upon the road, but once I reached the top, I turned around so I faced the lake. The sun was slowly setting. I was overwhelmed.

The being I wanted to talk to had created all this, grander than an oil painting, larger than I could explore even if I spent the rest of my years so doing. How could I hope to address Him? Why would He care?

I napped. The cars sped by below my ridge, unaware of my presence.

I woke and spoke. Words were difficult. Feelings were easy. I tried to express gratitude and plead for help with nothing but my raw emotions. I felt spent at the end, but I found the strength to begin the drive home.

There was a moment at a certain turn when I felt a certain power rise within me, something simply not of myself. I have reflected on that moment up until I began penning this post at work.

You can talk to Him.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Once Again: Empty Parking Lot

In the last four years, I have said good-bye to a large number of small, tight-knit communities I have grown to love and cherish. 

From Jacksonville to my freshman ward in Provo to Smyrna to my MTC group to Maryvale, AZ to Montego Bay to May Pen to Spanish Town to Port Antonio to the Jamaica, Kingston mission to Washougal, I have met individuals who have done nothing but change me for the better. A day doesn't go by that I don't remember my experiences from at least one of those places and feel gratitude.

I honestly thought that I had the art of saying good-bye down to a T. However, following the end of this last semester, I realized I still had a ways to go.

Throughout my life, it has been I that always shouldered my bags and walked away from the community. In regards to my past year of college, when all was said and done, I was not the one walking. Instead, the community bid farewell and walked away from me.

It's a strange experience, passing through and past the halls that once contained my dear friends and finding them barren. In many ways, I feel like the survivor of a horrible plague that consumed everyone I knew, save for the few other individuals besides myself immune to the disease. In this case, the disease is being homebound; the immunity, staying for ongoing education.

So, once again, I've had to ponder the effects of reconciling oneself to abrupt absences in one's life, even in a unique way I never have before. Thankfully, the same method I've used throughout those eleven-odd walks still applies.

No matter who drifts apart from or moves away from or loses contact with a loved one, they will eventually be reunited in the grand family reunion in the last days, when all will be resurrected and be brought to a remembrance of all things. Even though I may never see some of the friends I've made throughout my life in this mortality again, I can be assured they will not be forgotten, by either the Lord or myself.

Today, I want to invite all of you to honor someone to whom you've said good-bye. If you need a medium, use the comments below. As for me, as I walk through that lot from home to work, I'll be remembering you.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

What Will I Do? (Poem)

What will I do?

If I'm given the chance to smile
If I'm given the chance to serve
If I'm given the chance to sacrifice

What will I do?

Will I only frown
Will I turn away
Will I but scavenge

What will I do?

Will I still be me when everything's right
Will I still be me when the world's gone wrong
Will I remember the things I've been told and taught

What will I do?

When I'm relaxed with my guard down
When my darkest hour sends me to my knees
When I'm far from home and love and peace

What will I do?

Will I rise above my natural self
Do good no matter what others do
Will I be a voice of truth and light

What will I do?

There's one thing I fear above all
When the lights are out, and I'm by myself
When enemies threaten down my door
When friends abandon all sense or rhyme
When I have lost all there is to lose
When screaming is the only option

I fear I will not do.

I fear I will be done.

So now, I make my choice

I will only do

When chips are down, white flag is up
I will not forsake what I know
I will not forsake who I am
I will not forsake who I aim to be

So I don't have to ask, "What will I do?"

Friday, May 1, 2015

Diamonds in the Rough: Poetry Slam

On Wednesday, my friend contacted me and lovingly demanded I join him in visiting a poetry reading. "Come on!" he said. "It will be fun!"


As most of you recall, my experiences in my six-credit English class last semester helped me come to some very specific conclusions about how I plan to proceed with my continuing studies of the subject. Among others, I will no longer glorify the author, I will seek out timelessness as opposed to historical backgrounds, and I will shun poetry like the plague.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do like poetry. I write poems for this blog all the time, remember? I just don't think writing good poetry makes you as wise as some poets seem to think they are, especially when the concept of 'good poetry' is so arbitrary. 

Anyway, I decided to go with my friend, and I discovered I was right to cringe. Several of the readers focused far too much on author or on the historical background.

Where the readings took place. It's even more cramped than it looks.
However, many individuals brought their own individual pieces in, and I ended up really enjoying watching them shine their light. Heck, even my friend stood up and read a composition of his own, a rollicking good piece that had everyone dying.

But, see, in the end, I recognized I didn't decide to go for the poetry.

When I made that decision, the Lord was nudging me toward something else entirely.

Seeing as how the readings were performed in the library, a couple of librarians came to read a few pieces. One older gentleman in particular read a poem about how awesome it is being a librarian.

My top pick for a Masters currently is Library science.

Having fun, isn't hard, when you've got a library card. NAME THAT TV SHOW.
So, for the first time since I first heard of the Library Science Masters, I had the opportunity to corner, sit down with, and talk with a full-fledged librarian about the whole shebang, from what it takes to what to expect. I didn't come to any solid conclusions or anything, but the poetry reading gave me the right push and nudge in the right direction to begin my research into becoming a librarian.

Sometimes, when you decide to do something, even if you don't really want to do it, the dividends are far greater than you originally anticipated. This is one of the reasons I'm always encouraging myself to get out there and try new things. Even if you don't find what you think you will initially, you might find something better.

I was invited to a poetry reading. I left with a greater understanding of where my future might be headed, complete with a living resource in the form of a new friend, namely the librarian with whom I became acquainted.

What are you going to find today?