Saturday, October 31, 2015

Know Your Candidate #6 - George Pataki

Welcome to Know Your Candidates, a fresh weekly feature here on Change and Cherish Blog that gives you the chance to learn about presidential candidates you may know nothing about! The feature maintains this blog's vision of ensuring that every voice is heard and that every light has the opportunity to shine. Major news networks fail to consider these things when they insist on focusing on controversial or purely entertaining candidates.

Let's meet ... George Pataki!

George Pataki's campaign website Pataki for President (click here) is actually quite interesting. I appreciate the fact that he has published information regarding both himself and his wife. After all, I believe our First Lady* has massive influence over our nation. We don't elect one person into the presidency; we elect a family.

Anyway, his campaign website is also somewhat disappointing, considering there is no one page I can view to read up on his full platform. In order to understand where George Pataki stands on the issues from George Pataki himself, I had to scroll through a lot of different posts.

In the end, I think this article (click here) from Wednesday's GOP debate does a pretty good job summing George's stances on various issues. The article takes his best quotes regarding tax reform, party lines, America's military, Hillary Clinton**, Obamacare, vaccines and climate change, conservatism, science and innovation, blue-collar workers, Uber, and New York sports teams.

For further information regarding George, I would recommend going to and reading his entry. Click here to check that out!

What's My Opinion?

In the end, whatever I say after this should not affect your opinion in the slightest. Make and own your opinion. Pick who is right for you.

That being said, in my book, George has a lot of good things going for him. I was really impressed by his decision to include and spotlight his wife in his campaign. I found him to be confident and self-assured. That page of quotes from the recent debate shows he has a good sense of humor. Even if he's not your choice for president, I think you'd be hard pressed to say he's not a good man. Honestly, when it comes down to it, that's who I want to vote for. Just a good person.

Anyway, what do you think? Be sure to comment below!

*I refer to a First Lady here because, if Mr. Pataki is elected, we will have yet another First Lady. That being said, when we elect a woman president, I believe her husband will be called the First Man.

**I will eventually investigate bigger-name candidates, including Clinton.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Finding Peace: Early to Rise

I've been waking up really early as of late. Sometimes, I wake even before the sunrise.

I rise before most, if not all, of my roommates. I study my scriptures, I prepare for the day, and then, I leave.

The streets are quiet. The occasional car passes by. The driver and I, we nod at each other. I'm left alone to think about life, where I'm going, what I want to do. The solitude gives me perspective on things I can't achieve when I'm enjoying company. 

Later on in the day, things get hectic. I blog, I check my finances, I go to class, I go to work, I write, I do homework, I spend time with my loved ones, I run from appointment to appointment.

But lately, I've been giving myself time to pause, getting up first thing in the morning like that. It's a pause I need and relish, and even though I'm often tired at first, the rest of my day always seems more smooth and anxiety-free.

Today's challenge? Give it a try. Wake up at 5:30 AM sometime. I'll be right there with you. In my own timezone, of course, but you get me.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday #46 - The Dentist

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly feature here on Change and Cherish Blog that gives you the chance to peek into our vast archive and remember posts of yesteryear. Don't forget to click on the link to read the featured post!

Today's throwback comes to us from November 13 of last year. Click here to read the featured post!

The original post makes me cringe just a little bit. I believe I've improved as a writer since late 2014, and I think this post demonstrates that progression in ways I don't seeing.

However, the overall message of the post is sound. I am open about my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I reminisce about my experiences in Jamaica. I advocate sharing the gospel with whoever, whenever.

I don't think the original post is written as well as it should have been. Nonetheless, it's perfect to look back on.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I Sold My Smart Phone and Laptop?!?

My phone had three notifications from Twitter, thirty-seven new unread emails, and a couple of bloops from Facebook. My YouTube and Chrome apps were literally right next to each other, meaning that I could watch a video or read an article whenever I had more than five seconds of downtime. Netflix and Amazon beckoned me from my laptop, encouraging me to leave my priorities behind.

I was tired of it.

So I sold my laptop, deactivated my smart phone, and got some new toys instead.

I've been operating without my own operating system for several weeks now. If I want to listen to music, I use my mp3 player to listen to music (Remember the post from yesterday? Now you know why I started buying my own music. Be sure to let me know via the poll if you buy music). I keep my calendar in a paper planner. I use my 'dumb' phone strictly to text and answer calls. I do all my writing from my personal electronic typewriter.

And life has been great because of it.

When I find myself with downtime, I don't just mindlessly flip through social media. Instead, I read a book, or pursue other endeavors. When I do use a computer, it's at the library, where the environment itself demands I stay at least somewhat focused. I can check social media infrequently, making sure it doesn't consume my time.

I'm not saying this is the new best thing for everyone. But I do firmly believe that this has helped me find myself again. Without being constantly shackled to media, I am free to be me.

Be sure to let me know if you give this lifestyle a chance in the comments!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Thinkjoust Tuesday #23 - Do You Buy Music?

Welcome to Thinkjoust Tuesday, a weekly feature here on Change and Cherish Blog that gives you the chance to engage in friendly debates over arguably non-consequential topics. Everyone has the right to voice their opinion and be respected for having it. 

Last Week's Results: Is Your Room Messy, or Clean?

Depends on the Hour: 80%
Messy: 20%

Well, it seems as though the status of most of our rooms is firmly in flux. Guess I can't say I'm surprised!

For sixteen months after I came back from Jamaica, I didn't buy a single song. No, Spotify, Pandora, and other free music software proved enough for me.

Recently, however, I've purchased over a hundred dollars worth of music (SPOILER ALERT: I'll at least hint at why tomorrow). In a weird way, even though I loathed losing every single dollar, I feel better about buying songs than I did just listening to them for free. After all, I'm now directly supporting my favorite artists, and I don't have to worry about them starving to death or, even worse, giving up on producing music.

What do you think? Be sure to vote on the poll, or comment below using your Google account!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Higher Life: No NaNoWriMo 2015

Yep. I'm not doing National Novel Writing Month this year.

Don't get me wrong, I really wanted to. It just became a sad, unfortunate fact of my life that I don't really have time for it.

The thing is, I could make time to write 2000 words a day. I really could. I just worry about what else I'd feel like I'd have to skip out on. After all, I'm working about 20 hours a week. I'm taking 7 credit hours of in-person classes, along with a healthy amount of homework for both. I'm also taking six credit hours of online courses. Grad school applications are steadily moving up my priority list.

And I still haven't finished working with the novel I wrote for last National Novel Writing Month. I'm trying to complete the novel about jackalopes that I frequently allude to. I haven't touched my humorous mission memoir in several months. I'm writing a high school drama for one of my classes.

In addition, I'm trying to balance a lot of social commitments, and I'm even trying to get back on my dating game.

So, after much thought, I decided my life is full enough as it is. Perhaps it's too full. I rarely get the opportunity to just sit back and think about things. Adding yet another project under my belt might just be too much.

As the year comes to a close in just a few short months, I'm going to make sure I have time to relax, time to ponder, time to remember who I am and what I'm doing with life. That seems most important.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Snapshot Sabbatical

I wore myself out yesterday working on the I am a Warrior visual poem, so I'm going to take a break from making a Sunday Snapshot this week.

Have you seen yesterday's post, by the way? Not only do I consider it one of the most powerful things I've ever written, I also put a lot of effort into the visual elements behind it. In essence, I think it's pretty dang cool.

What do you think? Here's the preview.

And if you want to see the rest, click here!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Simple Life: Book in One Sitting

I'm taking a Writing for YA and Middle Grade class right now. One of the assignments for the class involves reading 15 YA books over the semester.

One evening in the last couple of weeks, I was waiting for a friend to finish one of her assignments so we could hang out together. I was sitting in the library, biding my time, when I decided, Hey, why not pick another book to finish up this requirement of mine?

So, I ended up selecting a book with the overly-long title of Is Kissing a Girl Who Smokes like Licking an Ashtray? by Randy Powell. I anticipated either getting bored with the book and chucking it aside, or checking it out.

I ended up sitting on an armchair for nearly two hours until I finished the book.

The book was all right. It didn't change my perspective or anything. The experience was a different story. I was surprised I'd spent so much time just sitting and enjoying a good read. I thought about many of the movies and TV shows I've watched, and how I often watch them for hours at a time in one sitting.

But this time, my hours-long entertainment binge was with a book.

Something about the experience made me think about things, about life before TV and the internet, life before I was ever around. I felt more liberated about knocking back a book than I ever have bingeing entire seasons on Netflix. Something about it gave me an odd sense of accomplishment.

I know this is difficult, but I challenge all of you to do the same. Pick a book of reasonable length, go out, and try to read it all at once. I guarantee you won't regret it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday #45 - Flippin' Freezin'

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly feature here on Change and Cherish Blog that gives you the chance to peek into our vast archive and remember posts of yesteryear. Don't forget to click on the link to read the featured post!

Today's throwback comes to us from November 10 of last year. Click here to give it a read.

Have you clicked the link and read the post yet? Good.

Something I really liked about that post was my commentary on how the changing of the weather helps remind us of God. After all, anything that gives me an excuse to stop and ponder God is a good deal in my book. The world is so busy and hectic and loud, I find myself forgetting Him at times when I need Him the most. Bring it on, winter!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Know Your Candidate #5 - Jill Stein

Welcome to Know Your Candidates, a fresh weekly feature here on Change and Cherish Blog that gives you the chance to learn about presidential candidates you may know nothing about! The feature maintains this blog's vision of ensuring that every voice is heard and that every light has the opportunity to shine. Major news networks fail to consider these things when they insist on focusing on controversial or purely entertaining candidates.

Let's Meet ... Jill Stein!

According to Jill's candidacy website Jill Stein for President (click here to see more), she wants to focus on economics and quality of life as her platform. This is laid out in eleven steps.

First, Jill wants the nation to use 100% clean renewable energy by 2030.

Second, Jill wants to make employment a right instead of a privilege.

Third, Jill wants to ensure that every American has access to the bare essentials.

Fourth, Jill wants to make health care a right instead of a privilege.

Fifth, Jill wants to abolish student debt and make education more accessible to the public.

Sixth, Jill wants to create a just economy by raising minimum wages and breaking up big corporations, among other things.

Seventh, Jill wants to create a global treaty that will halt climate change.

Eighth, Jill wants to ensure that everyone has the right to speak and nobody is discriminated against.

Ninth, Jill wants to cut all secretive and/or brutal governmental practices.

Tenth, Jill wants to create a foreign policy built on diplomacy instead of warfare.

Eleventh, Jill wants to give everyone suffrage.

Now, this is just a summary of Jill's platform as detailed on her campaign website. I would recommend visiting (click here for that link) to learn more.

What's My Opinion?

In the end, my opinion about Jill shouldn't matter squat. What does matter is that you need to go out and research these candidates yourself. Find out if you like these people, and then help them succeed!

I did like what Jill had to say, but of the three and a half other candidates I've spotlighted, I think she confused me the most. I guess I've always assumed that Americans already have the right to free speech and suffrage, so I didn't really understand why she felt like those were issues worth mentioning. Sure, I know there's a lot of discrimination out there, but it's not like that same discrimination is currently legal. Also, I wondered about her green energy plan for 2030. Even if she gets elected for two terms, she would still need six more years to see that project come to fruition, and who says her successor would take it the rest of the way?

Anyway, what do you think? Be sure to comment below!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Thinkjoust Tuesday #22 - Is Your Room Messy, or Clean?

Last Week's Results: What is Your Favorite Pizza?

After tallying the votes and figuring things out, I have determined the following pizza is THE pizza that would please the greatest amount of our readers.

A pan-crust (57%) with marinara (57%) and cheese (100%) topped with pepperoni (42%), mushrooms (42%), and onions (42%). 

You walk into your room and look around the place.

Do you have clothes in your closet or on your floor? Is your bed made, or do your blankets lie in an eldritch pile? Are your books organized, or are they piled haphazardly? Do you know where things are, or do you make educated guesses?

Only you know the answer.

Well, you and possibly your roommate or spouse or beleaguered parent.

Either way, throw your voice on the poll and comment below!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Taking Opportunities: The Kilt Crew (Video)

My friends and I gathered, debating.

"Should we do it?"

"No. No, we shouldn't."

"Come on, it'd be great!"

"Why do we have to wear kilts, though?"

"They're not kilts, they're sarungs."

"Ugh, let's just not do it."

"No, I think we should do it."

"Man, I'm not even a part of your ward."

"Doesn't matter! You're one of us! Let's do it!"

"Now I don't want to do it."

"Come on, from the top."

Don't forget to TILT

And so we did it.

And not one regret was had. 

What opportunities are you going to take today?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I Did Not Make Out on Squaw Peak

Psalms 23:4 - "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ..."

As is common among many people, I got into a funk a bit ago. So, in order to combat this feeling, I took a drive up the canyon.

Now, I'd heard of 'Squaw Peak' before. I'd heard what people had said about this particular overlook, that students and lovers usually went to Squaw Peak chiefly to make out. I'd heard enough about this place to make the decision never to take a girl there because then she'd think she knew what was coming.

But, I'd never been there myself. I didn't even know where it was.

This time, I drove up the canyon and spotted the sign marking the dusty old road leading up to this local legend. I figured I'd see what the fuss was all about and turned off the main road.

The drive up to the overlook was twisted, windy, and long. I drove for nearly half an hour, just waiting, expecting the next curve to reveal my final destination, but it was long in coming. On and on and on I drove, just enjoying the warmth of the sun and the coolness of the air and the silence of a trundling car engine in the middle of nature.

And then, finally, I made it.

And I didn't understand.

Why would anyone want to make out up here?

The view was spectacular. It stretched for miles and miles. I could see landmarks I recognized, roads I often traveled, places I didn't even know existed. I sat on the edge and just stared off into the distance, trying to piece together how small I really was, how insignificant my life was compared to the teeming valley that seemed but a hand away. 

I was awestruck.

I couldn't believe I'd never been here before.

I eventually tore myself away and trundled back down the mountain, just thinking. I wondered how many couples had missed the sight in favor of a few minutes of pleasure. I wondered how many sights I'd missed as I wandered down in the valley below, only able to see right in front of me. How many things had I missed on the other sides of walls, of trees, of my own problems?

I didn't know.

But I decided I wanted to keep my head up more often.

And that was enough.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Links of Steel: RA Reunion Party

Once upon a time, I was a thing called a Resident Assistant. To some, that meant 'a part-time job.' To others, that meant 'leader of men (or women, as it were).' And to some, that meant 'glorified babysitter.'

Whatever our job description, my fellow RAs and I actually grew super tight over the year or so we worked together. Since our fall, we haven't had as much time to see each other. So, when Facebook allowed several of us to voice our desire for a reunion, a lot of us jumped in on the planning and hosting and catering and all that jazz.

We ate waffles and caught up with each other and ate waffles and played werewolf and ate waffles and just had an absolute blast. The experience made me wish we could have reunions more often, especially since some people couldn't make it.

I've moved a lot in my life. I remember when my family moved from Michigan. There was no doubt that we needed to go, but we didn't want to leave all of our friends, who'd become like a family, behind. My siblings and I doubted we would again find a people who we'd grow to cherish so deeply. But then, after a few years in North Carolina, we'd made fresh friends with many of the wonderful people living there. These new friendships didn't diminish or replace the friendships we'd left behind. Instead, they helped us grow stronger.

I wouldn't be who I am today without the bonds I forged with individuals in both Michigan and North Carolina. It's been over four years since I've been back to either of those my former homes, yet I'm still in touch with people there.

Moving on is hard, even if it's just from a workplace environment, even if I'm going to end up living in the same town as my friends and family, anyway. Despite this, I've come to learn that neither time nor distance diminishes the love and appreciation I have for the people in my life, no matter where they are now.

From Michigan to Helaman Halls and even Canyon Terrace, I thank you for being there.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday #44 - Whichever Door

Today's throwback comes to us from November 10 of last year.

I actually don't have too much to say about the original post, other than that I appreciate the sentiment I wrote nearly a year ago. Today, I'm trying to make a lot of decisions about my standing, my future, my life ... Oftentimes, I feel incredibly overwhelmed.

It's nice to be reminded that having all these choices is a good thing.

But go ahead! Click here to read Agency: Whichever Door!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Know your Candidates #4 - Robby Wells

Welcome to Know Your Candidates, a fresh weekly feature here on Change and Cherish Blog that gives you the chance to learn about presidential candidates you may know nothing about! The feature maintains this blog's vision of ensuring that every voice is heard and that every light has the opportunity to shine. Major news networks fail to consider these things when they insist on focusing on controversial or purely entertaining candidates.

Let's Meet ... Robby Wells!

According to Robby's candidacy website Robby Wells for President (click here to see more), his platform focuses on what he calls 'Eaglenomics.' This concept is comprised of 12 different issues.

First, Robby wants to make sure immigrants who otherwise can't pay to enter the country legally can instead enter a four-year program serving the US government or military to earn their citizenship.

Second, Robby wants to enact universal childcare to help single parents go back to school and work.

Third, as part of his actual economic plan, Robby wants to improve the nation's economy by doing ... a whole bunch of things, actually. I was going to write more, but the plan is actually quite detailed, so click here to get a more full overview of that.

Fourth, Robby wants to develop energy independence so we can stop doing business with countries harboring terrorist factions.

Fifth, Robby wants to destroy every label except for that of 'American.' He hopes this will help individuals stop focusing on differences and instead focus on similarities.

Sixth, Robby wants to ensure that veterans are never associated with the words 'homeless' or 'unemployed.'

Seventh, Robby wants to stop sending manufacturing overseas and ensure those kinds of jobs remain in the US.

Eighth, Robby wants to create 'millions of jobs.'

Ninth, Robby wants to eliminate student loan debts by ensuring the Federal Government can't profit off of them.

Tenth, Robby wants to make undergraduate college tuition free for all.

Eleventh, Robby wants to bring back the concept of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by making sure everyone firmly believes they can rise to the top no matter their extenuating circumstances.

Twelfth, Robby wants to improve the military by making sure we are more technologically advanced than any other country.

Normally, I would recommend checking out Robby's profile at, but he doesn't have one for some reason. Go figure!

What's My Opinion?

As always, when it comes down to it, you need to decide what issues speak to you the most. I hope these blog posts are seen as an opportunity to expand your mind regarding your options.

That being said, I find it disappointing that there are so few presidential candidates in the running. The democratic party especially has very few contenders stepping up to the plate. Even despite this, I personally believe the best leaders are those who have the majority of their charges firmly on their side. The presidential debates often seem more polarizing than anything else. When the election is over, the parties never seem to be able to forgive each other.

Anyway, what do you think? Be sure to comment below!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thinkjoust Tuesday #21 - What is Your Dream Pizza?

Last Week's Results: How Do You Sleep?

Back: 45.25%
Right Side: 27.25%
Face: 18.25%
Left Side: 9.25%

Yeah, go Backs! You win the prize! Of being told you won the prize! I guess!

You walk into a pizza place and demand the finest pizza.

"The finest pizza?" the cashier repeats. She begins to sweat. "But, Your Majesty! Such a thing is naught but legend! Great heroes of valor and might have tried to find the recipe, but all have failed, dying horrible and bloody deaths immortalized in songs sung by our most dispirited of bards! Oh, how I wish I could fulfill your request, Your Majesty, but alas, I ..."

"Pish posh," you say. "I have performed the necessary quests to find the Legendary Recipe of Lore. I have climbed to the top of the Highest Mountain and sought wisdom from the Never-Ending Sage. I have thrown myself off the Wailing Cliffs of Naught and discovered the Golden Monkey Statue of Civilizations Past. I have taken the statue to the Man With No Legs and Three Arms and forged them together in the Crack of Vale Oceania. I have defeated armies, won over the hearts and minds of beautiful people, and become the Mightiest Warrior in all the Land. I know the Finest Pizza. And you will make it for me."

"But your majesty!" the cashier cries. "What is the recipe?"

"I will tell you," you say.

And then you fill out your order on the poll located on your right-hand side.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Standing Strong: BYU v. ECU

This past weekend, I attended the BYU v. ECU game held at the Lavell Edwards Stadium here in Provo.

I was slightly torn about the game to begin with. Many of my dearest and closest friends were hardcore ECU fans or alumni back in high school. Most of them ended up attending ECU as students. Don't get me wrong, though. I definitely wanted my school to win. I just knew I couldn't crow as loudly as usual if BYU won. After all, I have relationships I strive to maintain.

As part of my experience, I trekked from the student section across the stadium to give the ECU fans look over. I knew it was a long shot, but if any of my friends had decided to travel across the country and forgotten to tell me about it, I wanted to see them.

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone I knew was there. However, I was impressed by the ECU fan section.

One sliver of purple among a sea of blue. I had an incredibly difficult time getting a good picture of the section because they were swallowed up so much by the Provo pride. Despite the overwhelming opposition to their team's cause, the ECU section still managed to make themselves heard. Even from across the stadium, I could hear them cheer as loudly as they could whenever their team made a victory on the field. They made their presence heard.

It was one thing being a BYU fan, proudly wearing a giant 'Y' emblazoned on my shirt. I felt safe in the crowd. I was a member of the ROC. It was another thing to be a fan on the opposing team, especially when there was so few of them. Something about football games prompts thinly veiled hostilities between sides, and I felt it when I went up next to the ECU fans.

Regardless, the ECU fans didn't back down. They feared no backlash. They cheered and hollered and screamed for their team to succeed. They were fierce. They stood for what they supported regardless of the opposition.

Sometimes, life tries to crush what I believe, what I support, what I hold to be true. I know it can be easy to crack under extreme pressure from an opposing side. Despite this, I am grateful for the examples of people who stick to their guns and defend their position, whatever that may happen to be.

I am a strong advocate for being open-minded and acknowledging the good in every point of view. That doesn't mean we can't be firm in what we believe ourselves.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Make Your Mark: Essay Contest Results

I recently entered a writing contest hosted by BYU.

I lost. 

Today, I present the essay I wrote.

Your Unseen Influence

I step into the ‘X’-shaped administration building from the North entrance. I used to frequent this structure as a nervous freshmen, understanding it contained many answers to my questions. Now, I rarely give the edifice a second thought, using it only as a shortcut in the most peculiar of circumstances.

Today, though, is different. I have yet again determined I dislike my chosen major. My education has worn me down physically, mentally, emotionally, and, most importantly, financially. Despite this, I am looking at seeking several more years’ worth of loans as I change tracks and embed myself in even more semesters of school. I know I am pushing back my career and what I believe to be freedom, but I am stuck, unsure of my next step.

I slow down and stop. I don’t want to go to class. What good will it do? I’m not learning anything that will help me in my career. I’m not helping anyone, and certainly not myself. I briefly contemplate dropping out of school, getting a part-time job off-campus, and just having fun with my free time. It sounds like an easier life than what I’m currently living.

As these thoughts burrow deeper into my mind, I unconsciously meander over to a painting on my left-hand side. The administration building’s namesake, Abraham O. Smoot, looms over me, his peaceful smile accentuated by his classic neckbeard. I’ve heard this man’s name a lot, but I can’t honestly remember why he’s so important. I look at the plaque below his likeness and learn that he was the first President of the Board of Trustees. His plaque credits him with saying, “… I love that school … It must live.”

I appreciate the distraction from my thoughts. In another time, my curiosity would have died long before I found the right person or book in the library to tell me who Abraham was, but today, I have a phone with access to the internet. I plug Abraham’s name into a search engine and poke around.

I’m disappointed to discover that precious little of Abraham’s influence has been recorded in easily accessible databases. My attention span doesn’t allow me to linger for too long, but I learn that Abraham died without a dollar to his name. Brigham Young University had once been on the verge of financial collapse, and Abraham had sold everything he owned, even his own home, to ensure that the school would live. As I slide my phone back into my pocket, I assume Abraham’s sacrifice is the reason why I was able to enroll here at all. Without him, there wouldn’t have been a school.

I sit on the bench to Abraham’s left-hand side. Abraham may not have known if his sacrifice had meant anything. Perhaps he worried that the school would collapse regardless of his status as a benefactor. I suspect he died praying his life of service had made a difference.

I look around the administration building, named after this great man. Even setting aside the rest of campus, this structure alone is beautiful. I look at the intricately designed tile floor, the majestic columns, and the unique marble stairs. I smell that indescribable scent, crisp and poignant, that permeates every step of campus. I peer out the glass doors and see hundreds of students passing by, confident and assured.

I smile. I hope Abraham can see this. I hope he can see what his contributions did for us students. In knowing what I do about him now, I find it fitting that his namesake is literally the ‘X’ that marks this campus’ spot.

Then, I remember.

I’m not here so things can be easy. I’m not here because I know what I want to do in my life. I’m not even here for myself.

I am here because I want as many opportunities as I can to lift others to their true potential.

Abraham may have never met me, but he gave away everything he had to ensure I had the same opportunity to give of myself, as he did.

I stand up. I may have missed the opening prayer, but I can still make it to class. I don’t know where I’ll be at the end of my education, but I do know I want to make a difference. And once I step out into the world holding whatever degree I choose, I know I won’t be disappointed.

Abraham made sure of that.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Shine Your Light: Chalk Drawings

1 Thessalonians 3:9 - "For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God."

A few weeks ago, a good friend and I plastered perfect chalk artwork all over a prime piece of pavement.

I claim no rights to this artwork.
The Olaf and Anna, on the other hand, were entirely my doing.
I also attempted to draw the minion things from Frozen Fever with mixed results.
I also drew the creepiest Mickey in the world.
My friend also drew a Tangled-inspired sun artwork.
We had an absolute blast, even though she totally kicked my butt in terms of quality and patience.

I was touched by an experience we shared with a young little girl, who was heading home with her mother from a youth soccer game. A couple of kids had already passed by and commented on our work, but when this little girl tried to approach us, her mother, not seeing what we were doing, told her to leave us alone.

"No, no, it's OK," we said. "She can see what we're doing."

The mother then realized what her daughter wanted and came over as well. The girl didn't say anything, though she inhaled deeply and smiled brightly at all the colorful characters she obviously recognized. Upon that joy-filled cursory glance, the mother-daughter pair left.

I thought about this for a while. I'll admit, I'm not good at drawing with chalk, or drawing in any other medium, for that matter. However, my pitiful little offering nonetheless brought visible happiness to a little girl. And, for me, that made the experience I had with my friend all the more special and all the more memorable.

Of course, the little girl was probably far more impressed with the sun and Flounder and probably didn't even see my stuff, but I can dream, right?

Love you guys! See you tomorrow!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday #43 - Passing Glory

Today's Throwback comes to us from November 7 of last year.

I use these throwbacks to introduce fresh readers to some of the classic posts of yesteryear. I also hope long-time readers will take the chance to check out a post they may have missed or forgotten. After all, the posts I select to spotlight contain messages I generally feel still applicable today.

I also use the numbered throwback posts themselves to serve as a running commentary for the posts I wrote a while ago. My commentary on the featured post for this day is that I think it's awesome. It contains my favorite kind of message, the ones that encourage you to stop and ponder while running through your hectic days.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Know Your Candidates #3: Martin O'Malley

Welcome to Know Your Candidates, a fresh weekly feature here on Change and Cherish Blog that gives you the chance to learn about presidential candidates you may know nothing about! The feature maintains this blog's vision of ensuring that every voice is heard and that every light has the opportunity to shine. Major news networks fail to consider these things when they insist on focusing on controversial or purely entertaining candidates.

Let's meet ... Martin O'Malley!

According to Martin's candidacy website Martin O'Malley for President (click here to see more), his platform focuses on thirteen different issues.

First, Martin wants to raise the minimum wage by a significant degree.

Second, Martin wants to break up big banks to offer greater protection for families.

Third, Martin wants to offer greater educational opportunities for our youth, including debt-free college.

Fourth, Martin wants to decrease tax cuts to make sure that every family has access to good housing near their work and schools.

Fifth, Martin wants to protect and increase employment benefits for women.

Sixth, Martin wants to break poverty cycles by investing in certain economical programs and public education.

Seventh, Martin wants to reform the immigration system by giving greater slack to illegal immigrants and using them to build the base of our economy.

Eighth, Martin wants to expand benefits for seniors so they can retire with dignity.

Ninth, Martin wants to seek improved directives for economizing renewable energy and battling climate change.

Tenth, Martin wants to break down large corporations to allow for greater open competition among businesses.

Eleventh, Martin wants to make it easier for people to vote and to support certain candidates.

Twelfth, Martin wants to publicize all of the government's progress to enable greater accountability among officials.

Lastly, Martin wants to reduce threats to our nation by eliminating poverty and strengthening the middle class.

Now, this is only what Martin has said on his very own website. I would recommend checking out to learn more about what Martin has been saying during debates and the like (click hre to learn more).

What's My Opinion?

Honestly, my opinion doesn't matter. I can rant and rave all I want, but in the end, it's up to you to decide which candidate best fits your vision.

In considering that, however, I actually really liked what Martin's website had to say, especially the parts about debt-free college and raising the minimum wage. I mean, who doesn't want to see poverty obliterated? However, while I saw a lot of cool promises, I wish the website showed specific plans detailing how Martin's going to accomplish all this. It sounds like everything he's proposing is going to cost a lot of money, and everyone knows that national debt keeps rising. I mean, look at this thing! (Click here to see our national debt)

Either way, what do you think? Be sure to comment below!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Thinkjoust Tuesday #20 - How Do You Sleep?

Last Week's Results: Do You Eat Breakfast?

Breakfast, but not Lunch: 14.5%
Lunch, but not Breakfast: 28.5%
All Meals All Day: 42.5%
You Missed My Answer: 14.5%

I'm sorry I missed one of your answers. Given the comments, I have a theory. I should have included an option for people who aren't consistent in their breakfast habits. Am I right?

In thinking about last week's results, I anticipate that it will be difficult for me to come up with this week's responses. I think there are four different ways to lie down, as I demonstrate above, but I'm not sure how I sleep!

The thing is, I usually start out on my back. As I get more tired, and my mind starts to go, I roll over on my left side. As I sleep, I toss and turn all over the place, because when I rise, my blankets are either wrapped around me or tossed on the ground. Of course, I wake up when my alarm goes off, with is usually located on my right-hand side. This means I usually find myself on my right side after I finally turn my alarm off.

So, I guess the only position I don't find myself is on my face.

Anyway, in regards to the poll, I guess I'm looking for the position you lie in when you're first trying to lie down. When you go to take a nap, do you lie down on your back? Your side? Your face? For example, I would select the 'Back' option. Sure, turning onto my left side finishes my 'winding down' process, but I can't really relax unless I start on my back.

Anyway, add to the discussion by voting on the poll and commenting below! Can't wait to hear what you have to say.

Hey! Real quick tangent here, but I got this response from The Cultural Hall following my post from yesterday!

So, either they saw they got some traffic from this URL, or they saw I tweeted about them. Either way, thank you for checking them out! I'm listening to their podcast from yesterday right now, and it's great! 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Spotlight Review: The Cultural Hall

Alma 39:1 - "And now ... have ye not observed the steadiness of thy brother, his faithfulness, and his diligence in keeping the commandments of God? Behold, has he not set a good example for thee?"

I don't exactly know why I have readers. Sure, obviously some of you are my family, and some of you are my friends, and you read the blog out of a moral obligation to support me in my endeavors. For that, I feel nothing but gratitude. Thanks, guys!

For others of you, I imagine you read Change and Cherish Blog to have a source of clean, consistent, uplifting entertainment. After all, I update every day. I write messages about shining your light, expressing gratitude for the little things, being open-minded in the face of differing opinions, and squeezing the joy out of every moment. I think those kind of things are pretty awesome.

The thing is, I'm not the only online entertainer who produces clean, uplifting content on a regular basis.

This past weekend, I involved myself in five live-tweeting sessions encompassing the events of the LDS General Conference (You can see the summaries here: Part 1 and Part 2). My twitter account received an unprecedented amount of attention, which meant some of my tweets got a couple of likes and maybe one or two retweets every so often. Either way, I was excited!

Following the sessions, I got tweeted at by @TheCulturalHall.

Wait, what?

So I looked at the article.

And there my tweet sat. #17. I'll let you check the article out at this link:

I'll admit, I was entirely ignorant of the existence of The Cultural Hall. So I gave them a look-see, and I loved what I found.

I didn't have too much of a chance to study their site, but what I found convinced me I'd found a fresh source of entertainment. I listened to their latest podcast (Articles of News/Week of September 28th), I read a couple of their blog posts, and I thought it was all awesome.

These guys are definitely the big deal, so I doubt they'll really care or notice if I send some of my traffic their way, but I recommend you check them out! If you don't want to listen to an hour long podcast (which I nonetheless recommend), read some of their posts. Click the link to their 20 Best Tweets above, or click here to check out their article about the BYU Store. It's pretty hilarious.

So, seriously. Check them out. You won't regret it, I promise.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

#ldsconf - Semi-Annual 2015 PART 2

Hello again! Just as I did yesterday, I'm going to be live-tweeting during the LDS General Conference today. You can follow me @Zachary_JamesCC, if you so wish. Otherwise, I'll be updating this post with screenshots of my tweets periodically throughout the day.

Ready to rock? Let's go!

Sunday Morning Session

Sunday Afternoon Session