Monday, November 30, 2015

A Cop Pulled Me Over!?!

My friends and I were driving to Vegas for the weekend.

"Man, you're going pretty fast," one of my friends said.

I scoffed. "I could go faster. Besides, we're making great time!"

"Aren't you worried about cops?"

I shook my head. "Naw, I'll be fine. Speeding laws are just to protect other drivers, and there's no one else on the road!"

Turns out, going sixteen over is not justified by empty roads.

Yeah, the ticket is a serious financial blow for me right now, but it wasn't all bad. The officer was very respectful and even kind, building my faith in local law enforcement. My friends thought it was hilarious, and the experience gave us much to laugh about. I learned I shouldn't push my luck by speeding, and I even got a blog post out of it.

Yeah, sometimes bad things happen to me. However, when I look at things from the right angle with the right attitude, I turn annoyances and inconveniences into beauty in my eye.

I know anyone can do the same.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Know Your Candidate #8 - Rick Santorum

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 ... Rick Santorum!

Rick's campaign website Rick Santorum for President has a whole heap of information regarding his campaign efforts. It appears to be frequently updated with videos and news, and has a lot of different things you can study to learn more about him and his issues.

Here's what Rick himself has to say on the issues.

First, Rick wants to create an economic freedom agenda, which will adjust taxes, encourage businesses to remain in the United States, cut spending, increase domestic fuel production, fix entitlements like the food stamps program, and cut back on all types of immigration.

Second, Rick wants to involve America in the fight against radical Islam by advocating Israel and restricting trade with Iran.

Third, Rick wants to reduce immigration and increase the number of jobs available in the US by cracking down hard on immigrants, including implementing biometric tracking systems and removing laws that state anyone born here is an American citizen.

Fourth, Rick is pro-life and pro-disability, and wants to support legislation that protects these things.

Fifth, Rick wants to protect families by encouraging traditional values and discouraging efforts to redefine marriage.

Sixth, Rick wants to raise awareness of legislation encouraging governmental involvement in education while seeking to tear such regulations down.

Seventh, Rick wants tax code to treat everyone fairly and encourage American manufacturers to keep manufacturing here at home.

Eighth, Rick wants to severely decrease government spending on a national level.

For more on Rick's thoughts, I would recommend visiting (click here). You'll find a collection of quotes from Rick about different issues.

What do I think?

 Honestly, Rick doesn't sound that bad of a person, but I'm confused about the outlandishness in some of his policies. The biometric tracking system he wants to implant in immigrants sounds like Big Brother all over again. I can't help but feel like people are going to be terrified by that prospect. If we're willing to remove a level of privacy from immigrants, when will the law require all natural-born citizens to do the same?

Either way, thanks for reading! I'll see you tomorrow, as always.

Friday, November 27, 2015


A few weeks ago, select members of my family were visiting my sister and in-law's house. My sister decided we should all get homegrown facials.

I didn't want to get a facial, but I figured I could at least tell people one day that, yes, I did have that sort of experience. Now go away.

So I put some sort of foreign stinging cream on my face and waited for it to harden. Then, after I couldn't take it anymore, I grabbed an edge and peeled it off.

It was just bizarre, I will forever have a hard time describing what that felt like.

So, what did I learn?

First, I learned I don't really mind facials, but I'd rather not have another one anytime soon.

Second, I learned that now I can at least tell people that I had one, which will prompt much conversation and mirth.

Third, I learned that you really can't know what something's like until you try it.

So, for all of you plebeians wondering what a facial is really like, I highly recommend you at least give it a shot. I can't really tell you what it's like otherwise.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

I am grateful for my family.

I know they'll love me even when I stumble.

I am grateful for my friendships.

They raise me up when I'm at my lowest.

I am grateful for the talents given me.

I can use them to let my light so shine.

I am grateful for the kindness in the world.

Without it, I would be all the more bitter and cynical.

I am grateful for the people who try their hardest, from the poorest alms person to the richest world leaders.

It is through their efforts that we've gotten anywhere in the first place.

I am grateful for my weaknesses.

They give me a reason to seek more strength.

I am grateful for my faith.

With it, I have become an all-around better person.

I am grateful for the Atonement.

Because of Him, I can keep and develop everything else important to me in life.

I am grateful for the readers of this blog.

Without you, I doubt I would have taken the time to write any of this out.

Missing Throwback Thursday? Why not see my gratitude list from last year? Click here to read Thanksgiving Report.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MockingJay & Ram Trucks Crossover Commercial: A Positive Review

I discovered this commercial yesterday. It was published on October 31. Here it is for reference.

I'm going to describe my reaction to watching this video, shot by shot. I am not the first to express an opinion about this commercial, but I may be the most extensive.

Line: "There's a place-"

My thoughts: Oh boy! I love watching a commercial for a new movie using old footage! This is already the greatest!

Line: "-where hard work is king. Where people punch in early, and leave late."

My thoughts: My excitement for the Hunger Games was apparently entirely unwarranted, as now, we're watching a car commercial! I guess there was a broadcast error! Either way, look at how impossibly immaculate that truck is! I hope that comes with a guarantee!

Line: "So is it any surprise that when a true hero is born-"

My thoughts: Wow, I understand now! Some beautiful mind must have thought it was a great idea to marry a car commercial to a movie trailer! This is probably the best thing I have ever seen in my entire life!

Line: "-that they come from a place like this. Ram salutes the-"

My thoughts: See, I really don't think this writing is stretching anything at all. District 12 mines coal, and you're comparing coal miners to the District 12 protagonists. Even though Katniss never stepped in a coal mine, I am behind this comparison 100%! It even reminds me of those motivational billboards. 

It makes a whole heap of sense to compare Nelson Mandela to a plush toy! After all, even though Nelson Mandela pulled an entire nation out of bigotry and ignorance, I am far more inspired by Kermit's success story, especially since that involves eating flies and dating a pig. It's only logical to say Katniss and Gale are from the same place as these coal-mining men, even if the former's entire civilization is only the byproduct of an author's imagination! I can't imagine that ever being insulting to real coal workers!

Line: "-heroes of the Hunger Games-"

My thoughts: I am totally OK with you all saluting these fictional warriors in a fictional war in a fictional country. I am totally behind your decision to not salute actual heroes in your car commercial. *SPOILER ALERT* And even though Gale is actually a huge jerkwad, I think focusing your shots on him and repeatedly emphasizing how heroic and awesome he is is a great idea. *END SPOILER*

Line: "-and all those who clock in daily."

My thoughts: Wow! And here I was thinking the point was to compare fictional coal miners with real coal miners! Now you're including anyone who punches in and punches out? I wouldn't have thought you were really thinking of white-collar workers with that line, but you sure did! Not only that, you made the right call to exclude a huge occupational demographic with that line! After all, as far as I'm aware, most of our armed forces don't work on the clock.

Line: "Watch the finale of the Hunger Games: MockingJay Part 2 November 20."

My thoughts: Why did they even have two and a half new seconds of new footage? The old stuff was just fine.

Following my viewing of this commercial, I could only imagine what sort of geniuses had come together to produce this breathtaking matrimony of modern cinematic and automotive advertising.

HUNGER GAMES EXECUTIVE: So, we don't really want to pay for a full TV spot.

RAM EXECUTIVE: You know what? We don't want to either.

HG EXEC: Wanna go halfsies?

RAM EXEC: Eh, why not?

If only I could have basked in their brilliance at that very moment. Ah, what bliss it might have been.

Oh, was I being sarcastic? Yeah, pretty much since I wrote the word 'review.' See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thinkjoust Tuesday #27 - Are you going home for the holidays?

Last Week's Results: When Should Christmas Decorations Go Up?

Sometime in the month of November - 55.5%
No earlier than December 1 - 44.5%

It's been a while since I've seen so many options not voted for! Answers receiving a 0% vote include ...

- All Dang Year, Son.
- A bit before Halloween.
- Bah! Humbug.

As we continue our theme of holiday thinkjousts, I've been curious about where you all are heading for the holidays. Are you going to see your families? Did you have to make a decision about which holiday for which you're headed home?

Be sure to add your voice to the poll. Or, if you want to comment, you can now use your Google account, your LiveJournal account, your WordPress account, your TypePad account, your AIM account, your openID, your name, or even anonymously! Don't be scared to start a discussion down there. I'll be waiting in the wings.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A BYU student's Pet Peeve

Isaiah 57:14 - "And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people."

That's right. Today I'm talking about one of my biggest pet peeves.

I don't have any classes that have rows for seats, but when I went to a recent devotional showing here at the Y, I saw her doing it.

Sitting on the edge with about fifteen empty seats in the middle.

I was on the wrong side of the room to get a proper picture, but as I sprinted around the chairs to position myself properly, I kept seeing it happening.

Someone clambered over her.

Another person climbed on top of her.

Three people shoved their way past her blockading legs.

Finally, I stopped and took a picture of the offender.

See, nobody likes crawling over somebody else, especially a stranger, to get to a seat. It's uncomfortable. It's awkward. What makes matters worse is that you feel guilty. Oh no, you think. I am inconveniencing this person.

It makes sense for people to covet the end seats. It makes it easier to leave when the event is over.

But come on, people. I'm tired of climbing over you, especially when you give me a look like I'm being rude for wanting to sit past you. If you want me to be considerate, be considerate too!

All right, I'm off my soapbox now. See you tomorrow!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Know Your Candidate #7 - Lindsey Graham

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 ... Lindsey Graham!

Lindsey Graham's campaign website Graham for President (click here) features a lot of videos and celebrity endorsements. If you're a visual type, this is the campaign website for you.

Lindsey Graham's platform is split into three distinct portions.

Secure Our Nation

First, Lindsey wants to restore American leadership on a global setting by setting clear labels on our nation's enemies and allies.

Second, Lindsey wants to set aside the national debt in favor of a better funded military.

Third, Lindsey wants to eradicate radical Islam.

Fourth, Lindsey wants to destroy the chances that Iran will even acquire nuclear weapon technology.

Fifth, Lindsey wants to give full and undivided support for Israel.

Secure Our Future

First, Lindsey wants to simplify and expand taxes by using intelligent cuts and reforms.

Second, Lindsey wants to fix Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and keep it from collapsing in the near future.

Third, Lindsey wants to ensure that America will achieve energy independence and only use energy from sources right here in the nation.

Fourth, Lindsey wants to scale back on oppressive tax codes that affect families and businesses.

Fifth, Lindsey wants to eliminate illegal immigration while making it easier for those who have already illegally immigrated to gain citizenship.

Sixth, Lindsey hates Obamacare.

Protect the Sanctity of Life

First, Lindsey supports pro-life legislation, including a law that will ban abortion at 20 weeks.

Second, Lindsey supports traditional marriage and desires that anyone with traditional religious beliefs should have those beliefs protected.

Third, Lindsey wants to ensure that religious freedom is respected everywhere across the world.

Fourth, Lindsey wants to make sure the right to bear arms is upheld and sustained.

Fifth, Lindsey believes that the standardization of education through the US Department of Education is too invasive.

For more on Lindsey's thoughts, I would encourage you to check out some of the things he's said about various issues at (click here).

What do I think?

I don't have too much to add regarding Lindsey's policies, but I have a lot of respect for him as a man.

You see, early on in the GOP campaigning, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named thought it'd be a hilarious idea to give Lindsey Graham's personal phone number out on national television. Read all about that here.

Lindsey's response was to produce a very tasteful and hilarious viral video. Watch that here.

You gotta admire a man who can respond to idiocy like that.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Of People and Trees

In pondering things recently, I have come to a conclusion.

People are like trees.

I have met people who've shown me trees growing out back behind their homestead. "You see this?" they say. "I remember when this tree was only a sapling."

I've seen entire trees uprooted and moved across a country to be replanted. These trees have thrived.

I've seen trees withstand storms and hurricanes and the very forces of nature and remain standing, ready to face another day with no visible wear or tear. 

I've seen trees have names carved into them. I've seen trees droop in winter and bloom in spring. I've seen trees serve as havens for children. I've seen trees act as foundations for grand structures. I have even seen trees get knocked down, most of their roots exposed to the air, and yet still somehow continue to flourish.

Trees are strong.

People are strong.

You are strong.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday #49 - Newspaper Fall

Today's throwback comes to us from November 17 of last year. Click here to read the original post!

For one thing, it seems like it's been a lifetime since I was an RA. Heck, it seems like a lifetime since this past weekend.

In looking back at this post, I cringed a little. There were some sentences I thought were horribly written. I made some statements I thought were a little ambiguous. However, I enjoyed the lesson I was trying to teach. The lesson was good.

Embrace spontaneity. Don't let oddities ruin your day.

We need to live this, in my humble opinion.

Want to know what's going on here? Click here to read Shrug Your Shoulders: Newspaper Fall!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Conversation About Flowers (Poem)

If you give a flower nothing but darkness and dirt, it will die.
if you give a flower too much water and light, it will die.
I gave the flower what was good.
Now, it dies.
But I gave the flower all I should.
If the flower knows nothing but a torrent flood,
it will drown. 
Better just a little mud.
If the flower knows nothing but a scorching heat,
it will wilt. 
Better nighttime meet.
The dark will keep the flower cool,
dry dirt will help the flower breathe.
And when the morning comes to rule,
a happy plant will thrive beneath.
So lives mankind.
If you give a man nothing but critique and scorn, he will stumble.
if you give a man nothing but praise and warmth, he will stumble.
I don't understand.
Why does something with worth
only hurt the man?
To grow beyond your current end,
hearken to enemies, listen to friends,
struggle through mires, prance through fields,
before bad and good never yield.
Men and women need the both,
if they truly seek their growth.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thinkjoust Tuesday #26 - Early Christmas Decorations?

Last Week's Results: Do You Plan Your Day?

I plan some parts out. - 50%
Of course! - 25%
No way! - 25%

Well, that was a pretty simple spread. I approve.

As far as I can tell, people are of two philosophies regarding Christmas decorations. Yes, I'm aware philosophies and beliefs come in a spectrum, but literally, everyone seems to be of two minds.

The first philosophy is simple. "OMG I LOVE CHRISTMAS I WANT TO CELEBRATE IT EVERY DAY CHRISTMAS IN JULY WHEEEEEE!" These people wouldn't mind if Christmas decorations were left up all year round.

Then you have the second philosophy. "Please! Please can we just keep Christmas to the month of December only?" These people get severely frustrated when Christmas decorations go up in September.

Sometimes, I think these opposing views prompt hatred between parties.

So, what do you think? Use your Google account to comment below! Add your voice to the poll on the right! Let's settle this debate once and for all!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Stronger: First Snow Fall

I returned from my mission to Jamaica in 2014. A few months later, I experienced a winter without an accompanying 85 degrees of heat.

I was miserable.

I hated every second, every moment of that blasted winter. I was unused to the cold, I didn't particularly enjoy it, and longed for sunnier days.

Winter is fast approaching home here in Utah.

The weather a week or so ago.

The weather today.

For some reason, I don't mind the cold as much.

I can't be like Elsa (click here to read my thoughts about that character) and say "The cold never bothered me anyway," but I can say it doesn't bother me now. I've gained a resilience to bad weather I didn't have before.

Life is like that. Life throws fastballs and guano and every trial under the sun at me. It's horrible. At the same time, as I tackle and rise above every challenge, I become stronger.

And that's all I can ask for.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What I Think About Islam

Articles of Faith 1-13

I am a Mormon. Mormons have done some pretty evil things.

Want proof? Read this article right here. Want an article you know won't sugarcoat things? Read this thing from Wikipedia.

Guess what? I may be a Mormon, but I will never gun down hundreds of innocent people. You know why? Because I try to live the tenets of my religion as perfectly as I possibly can. I may not be a perfect Mormon, but I am trying to be as perfect as I can at being a Mormon.

Of course, some people may say that, because members of my religion are associated with the Meadow Mountain Massacre, I am no better than them.

Surely we can agree that's ridiculous. At some point, children can't be blamed for the sins of their fathers.

For some reason, a lot of people have this erroneous concept of Islam and its Muslim adherents. When a terrorist attack occurs, like yesterday's attack on France, social media explodes with people cursing Muslims, maligning and attacking prominent members of the Islamic community, and generally being complete and total ignoramuses.

The sad thing is, shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks, I hated Islam, too. I thought all Muslims were radical terrorists who'd rather shoot me than say a prayer. It didn't help that the school system focused on the fact that the terrorists were Islamic. All I ever heard people say is how horrible Muslims were. I wasn't even a teenager yet, and I was indoctrinated into a mentality of distrust and hatred.

And then, through some lucky turn of events, the school curriculum asked students to choose between two books, A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah, and Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson. Most of my class quickly grabbed copies of A Long Way Gone. I was one of the few kids stuck with Three Cups of Tea. Very begrudgingly, I started to read the book.

I walked away with my mentality completely and forever changed.

Three Cups of Tea will be the only non-religious book I will ever require my children to read. Whenever they inevitably say a negative blanket statement about any class or creed of people, Muslims or no, I will hand them this book and tell them to shut and wise up.

Pure Islam does not teach their children to be reckless murderers. A true Muslim is someone who practices these sorts of tenets (click here). You might meet someone who is not a perfect Muslim, but I guarantee most Muslims try to be as perfect as they can at being a Muslim. 

You can't say that all Muslims are terrorists just because some terrorists are Muslims. It is the latter group that is currently failing to live up to their pure beliefs.

When we make blanket statements about an entire group of people because of the actions of their small minority, we expose ourselves as bigots. Slavery occurred because some morons decided a few individuals represented an entire majority. Racism occurs because of the same.

And you want to know the kicker? Radical Muslims--you know, the people who don't follow the tenets of their peace-loving religion--hate western culture because of the past mistakes of a few people at the top. That's right, radical Muslims don't look at what you personally believe or do. Radical Muslims hate you for the culture you did nothing to establish. How's that for bigotry? How unfair is it for someone to hate you, a member of a majority, because of a small minority? Very.

So, please. Become educated about other cultures. Don't make blanket statements. Don't discriminate. Only then can we establish peace in this world.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Forward Progress: The Erratic Driving Pattern

My friend and I were driving back from Stake Conference, and everything was great. I was feeling the spirit, things were looking up in general, and then we got behind a car.

That car.

I refused to let the car ruin my feelings of good will, but this thing was erratic, man! It kept slowing down, then speeding up. Slowing down, then speeding up. It acted like it was going to go in the right lane, then ducked over to the same turn line for which we were aiming.

"Buh," I said. "What is up with this car?"

My friend shrugged.

"Well," I said. "I came up with a blog post idea about it. Can I borrow your phone?"


The car reminded me of every group project I've ever been in. No matter what happens, someone in my group drags the rest down.

I'll admit, that someone is sometimes me.

Either way, some crucial element to the project's success is placed upon the shoulders of one individual, who promptly proceeds to procrastinate. This procrastination keeps the group from being able to accomplish their own individual tasks, and eventually, everyone is filled with seething resentment directed at the slacker. And yes, that slacker is often me.

So it goes with life. Sometimes, I'm like a weaving car. I may not be fully aware of how my indecision and halting progress affects others. But if I sincerely do my best and put my everything into accomplishing great things, then others will see my light and desire to do their best.

As for me, the same for you. Let your light so shine, my friends. I'll see you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday #48 - No Straps, Four Arms

Today's throwback comes to us from November 15 of last year. Click here to read the original post!

Gosh, this experience was nuts. I still get chills whenever I think about it. Of course, some of those chills come from remembering how flippin' BAWSS I felt once we accomplished our task, but that's beside the point.

I think the message is pretty good, too. After all, though I was selling my life blood and then freezing my arm off, the pain only lasted a few minutes. Now that it's been nearly a year since we brought that whiteboard home, I now only view the memory with fondness. Good times, good times.

You probably have no idea what I'm talking about, huh? Well, wonder no more! Click here to read Optimism: No Straps, Four Arms!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Conviction: Broken Bench

 1 Nephi 8:24 - "... and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree."

Judging from the position of the sun and shadows in these photos, you know this experience happened a couple of weeks ago. You know, before it got dark at 5 in the afternoon.

I was walking along, minding my own business, when I noticed one of the campus benches laying on its side. It appeared as though the bench had fallen only recently, as there was a conspicuous lack of caution tape or hovering grounds people.

After I glanced at the bench, I walked away. But then, curiosity got the better of me.

How did a solid metal bench just break like that?

I turned around and went back. This is what I found.

The bench had snapped off one of its legs because rust had started to build inside. Slowly but surely, the strength of the support eroded away until, finally, some hapless bench-sitter had taken a seat, and then a plunge.

The thing is, the bench was probably perfectly functional before its demise. There's no way anybody could have known the bench would break until the very moment it broke.

I pulled out my camera and snapped some pictures, ignoring the incredulous stares I was receiving from passers-by. I shook my head, wondering if they'd ever seen a blogger in real life before. Then, I turned and went to class, thinking it over.

You see, convictions and beliefs are a lot like rusty park benches. If we don't reevaluate ourselves and where we are as often as we can, then the things we hold dear might begin to rust away. We may never notice or realize until we're challenged, all at once, by something we weren't expecting. This trial of our belief sits down on our convictions, and just like that, we break apart, lost, confused, and ultimately unhappy.

I challenge you today to examine your convictions for rusty spots. It's true you may have some convictions you wouldn't mind giving up. But if you have convictions you would never want to be without, shore them up once more.