About Me

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I'm Kyle, and I forget when I start my laundry. Also, I am a small human being and apparently a college student. I laugh a lot - usually in my brain, and usually when nobody else laughs. Oh, and I've probably consumed more Skittles than any other human being on planet earth.
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Guest Post! What?!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

(Alright folks, here's the deal - Sometimes I don't have anything to write, but I set a goal to post something every month. This is a problem. Well, it used to be, but then I invented the idea of guest authors - ta-da! You're welcome blogging world. I can't believe nobody thought of it sooner.....

So meet my wonderful friend Erica Ellen! She is one of my favorite human beings alive, she is native, which makes her even more awesome, and she was kind enough to write a post for my blog. She is pretty dang awesome. Word.

Now, just for the record, I did not assign her a topic. Fo rizzle. I did not make her say these things, I promise - she wrote them so I posted them.

With that in mind...Enjoy!)

Kyle Joseph asked me to be his very first guest author on his rarely read blog, and then told me that I could write about anything.. which is the worst thing you can tell someone like me.
in a flash of good judgment,  I told him that he needed to tell me what to write about, and he said,

"Whatever you'd like - you may have noticed the blog has no point, so anything goes! It can be serious or funny, long or short, fact or fiction, happy or sad.
"I know that provides no direction, but sometimes that's good?"

then I gave him options.. one option I knew would really grind his gears..
a list of why dark chocolate M&Ms are better than Skittles
the other option is the subject that I've decided to write about, but I've renamed it..
because I'm pretty sure Kyle Joseph has a lady friend that he won't tell me about, annnnnnd
I don't want her to think I'm a creeper.. even if the title would've been just to make him feel awkward. which is one of the reasons I keep him around.. because he is so awkward.
so I give unto you, the rare readers of Kyle Joseph's awkward life story..

Twelve Reasons Kyle Joseph is One of My Favorite People Ever

1. He is willing to listen to whatever ridiculous thing you have to say.
     Which for me, is a good thing, because I am a pretty ridiculous person.. and I don't see why he would ever feel the need to make an exception for me. So, I'm going to assume he does the same for most people. It doesn't matter what stupid thing you are talking about, he will listen. Granted, he is totally making fun of you in his head, but he's pretty good at keeping it to himself. If you're fortunate enough to be stupid, you won't even realize that he's making fun of you if he does happen to verbalize it. Which isn't often, he is a man of few words.

2. His favorite Disney Princess is Belle. Not Cinderella, not Aurora, not Jasmine, Belle.
     This is significant because Belle is the most admirable of the Disney Princessess. For one, she is the least skanky Disney Princess. She's also the most independent, she is intelligent, and she's not afraid to be different. The other princesses are whiny, and want/need to be rescued. Belle is the heroine. Also, if any of the other Disney Princesses had been put in her situation, the ending would not have been so great. The beast would have died, and we wouldn't have a ginger prince. Or the beast would be alive, rockin' the single life, and Gaston wouldn't have had to ask more than once.. but I digress.

3. He will kill giant spiders in your trunk, despite being like... little-girl-afraid of them.
     Once there was a huge, and ferocious black widow in the trunk of my car. I didn't know it was a black widow, I just knew that for the past month, there was a spider that kept spinning webs, and I was scared to put things in my trunk. So, not knowing he's scared of spiders, I asked Kyle if he would kill it for me. We went out to my car, popped open the trunk, and looked around for the spider. We found it, I was super creeped out.. we took a picture, then Kyle manned up and killed it. We named her Gail.

4. He is not afraid to tell you how dumb you are for liking Twilight.
     In 2007-2008 I was under the impression that the Twilight series was fantastic. In February of 2008, he told me why Twilight is the worst thing to ever happen to the written word.. and he did not hold back. I totally cried. It was on facebook, and it consisted of three very long wall posts.
     "The books are unhealthy and quite repetitive. There is no character development and the main characters are annoying. Yes I didn't think they were all that bad at first, but things have changed. Again, the only reason girls like the books is because they just sit and picture themselves with Edward. Us guys don't do that ( I didn't anyways) because Bella is whiny and completely helpless, not to mention self destructive."
     That is just a small portion of what he said to me.. even if it all made me cry at the time, I'm definitely a better person for it.

5. He won't get mad when you call him in the middle of the night to cry because your douche-bag boyfriend dumped you over a text message.
     It was around 1:30 am, on a school night, a week or two before finals.. and I just needed to cry and tell someone.. so what did I do? Well, because I am a horribly inconsiderate person, I called my best friend. He answered, didn't get mad, and he listened to me cry like a baby, because that's the kind of boy he is.. the good kind.

6. He has a Kermit the Frog-esque voice.
     Coupled with straight sarcasm, it's an entertaining mix.. and who doesn't love Kermit the Frog?

7. He wants to find Sasquatch, and is kind of obsessed with skinwalkers.
     I will never forget the day he told me about installing (or delivering) something (an air conditioner, maybe?) at the Skinwalker/UFO Ranch. The way his eyes lit up, you would think that he was a child that just met Santa Clause. He's gone skinwalker hunting. He loves the ridiculousness that is Finding Bigfoot. I wouldn't be surprised if he went into the wilderness to practice his squatch calls.

8. He still has a myspace page.
      He has an old school song, a picture of the gate to skinwalker ranch, and his mission address.. And a ton of old pictures of him in ill fitting clothes, and bad hair cuts. Sometimes, as in like maaaaybe once a year, it is almost worth it to remember your myspace password to look at all of the magnificence.

9. He likes to have popcorn for dinner.
     Which is a good thing, because I have witnessed him mess up EasyMac. Yeah, EasyMac.

10. You can win back his friendship with a bag or two of Skittles.
     In high school, I needed a partner for co-ed for cheerleading. Practice every day at 7 am for a week to perform a dance once is not my idea of fun, and that's a lot to ask of a boy.. but I asked Kyle anyway. He showed up for practice, and since he was the smallest boy, the two seniors decided it would be a good idea to have him be the flyer in an all-boy-basket-toss.
     I will never ever ever ever forget the sight of him flopping around like a fish out of water as he flew up in the air. It was mixture of glorious, and hilarious. I still kind of feel bad for asking him to do it.. but only kind of.. to make up for it, I bought him a ton of Skittles, and we are still friends.. so obviously it works.

11. He will sing Disney songs, "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," old school Taylor Swift songs, and Kelly Clarkson's hit single, "Since You've Been Gone" at the top of his lungs with you.
     We made the long voyage from Cedar City to Roosevelt together once.. and if you have never made that drive, let me tell you, it is a long and boring one, but a necessary evil at the time. So, to entertain ourselves, we sang.. to be honest, I'm not sure if you could call that singing, but we did it.. and it remains one of my favorite "road trip" memories.

12. He loves the gospel.
     I can't think of many people that are a better example of loving, and living the gospel than Kyle Joseph. I'm super thankful that I had him to be that example for me.. because without it, I'm not so sure that I would have the relationship that I do with the Savior, and Heavenly Father. Which is kind of a scary thought, because I would definitely be a total hot mess without it.

Those are just twelve of the many reasons that Kyle Joseph is one of my favorite people ever..
and ways that I have taken advantage of our friendship.. I'm kind of a horrible friend like that.

The Black

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The night was cool - a frightening chill, unexplained by simple temperature, hung in the air. My surroundings, once so familiar, now seemed different - dark, and barren. My breath was short, the terrible anticipation gripped my chest, squeezing tighter and tighter until I was hopelessly at the mercy of its overpowering clutches. I knew what I had to do - I had spent many minutes (at least ten) preparing, and yet, I felt unprepared, and unaware of what was ahead of me. My journey was far from over - it hadn't really yet begun. The weight of expectation was heavy on my shoulders, like some sort of really big tortoise that you can't move because it's big...and also really heavy.

It was then that I realized I hadn't yet moved. "How long have I been standing here?" I thought, as I continued to stare straight ahead - looking forward, but wishing to remain behind. Every step forward would be a step toward danger and confusion - I would be walking directly into fear itself. "Let's start small," I said to myself, "just one foot in front of the other. Start with the right foot, its steadying balance will surely be required tonight - it would be wise to start on the right foot. You can do this." I tried, uselessly and unassuredly, to reassure myself, "You can do this. Can I do this? Am I doing this?" I was suddenly aware that my feet were moving - my feet were going where my heart dared not, as if summoned by an unknown source - dark, unseen, and unheard. A mystery to me, this source, to be sure, but not I to it, for it was calling me, pulling me in - closer and closer until all hope was lost, and with it any sort of cogent and coherent thought. I had entered the black - darkness now surrounded me. I could not see. I had my vision of course, but could see nothing. I looked around, but found only confusion, chaos. I pressed forward, I had accepted my fate (or, it had accepted me) and could not turn back now. I felt as if I was in a dream, a nightmare really, and could make no sense of this reality (could it be reality?) - surrounded by so many, yet completely alone - there was so much, and yet there was nothing. I saw many familiar faces - friend or foe I could no longer tell - passing me, following me, smiling - but what truth hid behind each deceiving smile? I could trust no one, of that I was certain, but why I did not know. This is the fate of one such as I on a night such as this. We are all wanderers tonight. We are all alone. On a night like this, the more you surround yourself with the presence of others, the more alone you become - the unnamed, unknown presence has you right where it wants you.

Time passed painstakingly slowly, and yet frighteningly fast. I moved about as though I was in a daze - unaware yet undeterred, a part of reality yet somehow, apart from it. Apart from myself.

If only there were a way to fully explain what I saw on this fateful night. If only I could convey the terror, the horror, the no good, very bad things I witnessed. But there are times when words are not enough, when what we have seen is too gruesome, too frightening, or too disheartening to share. And then there are times when what we witness is all of these. This was one of those times. The words I share with you now do not do this experience justice, and for that, really, we can all be grateful.

Where there had been chaos and confusion, like when you and your siblings realize there is only one cookie left, there was now silence, and stillness, like that awkward moment you make eye contact with a stranger, and you're both like: "This is weird, why are we doing this?" An unexplained moment of expectancy was upon us - my heart raced, my eyes elbow itched, so I scratched it...and I listened. I could almost hear it - impending doom. Certain destruction. Then, in an instant, as if commanded by the voice of the unheard presence itself, the floodgates were opened, and true madness spewed forth. Man, woman, and child pitted against one another in a battle for supremacy, all were alike, all were equal, all were enemies. Friend, family, these terms meant nothing now. Survive. Destroy. Hunt. This is now the world in which I find myself.

I move slowly at first, cautiously, aware that every move I make could very well be my last. I am not where I need to be, where I am supposed to be - my instincts told me it was not safe, so I waited. "One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand..." I could wait no longer - had my instincts betrayed me? I had not time to decide - I was off! Keenly aware of my surroundings, yet blind to them, I raced! Nothing could stand in my way, not now, not anymore! My target was in sight, but ah, the horror! The sharks of greed and selfishness circled it, feeding upon the helpless prey sharks feeding upon helpless prey. It's worse than I ever imagined, fear, greater than I had ever known overcame me. One more step and I would certainly meet my demise. My instincts, the same instincts I had just questioned, had been protecting me. They had protected me and I had betrayed them - there was no helping me now. It was too late to turn around, too late to accept any other outcome than the one now staring me in the face. I was being pulled into the madness, with a quickness for which I was unprepared - it wouldn't be long now, my misery would surely end soon, the suffering, no doubt, will be brief. Predators don't wait, I will be finished shortly.

But then, in an instant that can only be described as inspiration. Or maybe it was an epiphany.....

But then, in an instant that can only be described as a flash of inspirational epiphany, I thought to myself: "This isn't how I go."

And just like that, I became one with the madness - I was no longer afraid! I was no longer the hunted, I became the hunter. I was not being pulled into the madness, I was creating it. I saw no people, I saw obstacles, but they would not stop me. I pushed, I pulled, I kicked - I crushed. There was no stopping me - there was a fire in my eyes, and my fists of rage knew no bounds - I would succeed. Kill or be killed - the law of the wild. Or don't kill and don't be killed, but do whatever you have to do to destroy the will of your opponents without ending their lives - this is a secret law of the wild that not many people, or wild animals, know about...this was now my law.

My target was once more in sight, but I was not the only one seeking this treasure - the heartless, nameless, shameless monsters of the night stood ready to pounce - on me or the target I did not know, and I would not wait to find out. It started suddenly, in an instant, I had no time to think - I grabbed the nearest bystander, used him as a shield to block the treacherous lunges of my new-found enemies, and snatched my target up. I came and conquered, and would not wait to witness the destruction of a people such as these. I chose my escape route carefully, instantly, and seized my open opportunity - I put an egg in my shoe and beat it. I did not look back, and I would not until I reached higher ground. There was no point, the lesser creatures were being consumed by the madness and I could not bear to witness their demise - I could not bear it because it could have been mine.

This thought may haunt me for the rest of my life.

I sought safety and found solace as I reached high ground. From this vantage point I could see all, but in their fits of uncontrolled rage, these animals, these fanatics could not see me. My pulse was racing, like words coming out of a nervous guy's mouth as he asks a poor, unsuspecting young lady on a date. My senses heightened, I discovered an unexplained urge to join the madness once again, but I refused - this is not sport, it's survival. I had done enough damage for one night, and I still had an escape to make.

The second wave of madness was quickly approaching - the unknown presence called out to me with every passing second: "You are weak. You cannot escape. You know how this will end. You cannot hide. Give up now." Its taunts, although harming my self-esteem, could not derail my plans. I responded to the presence the only way I knew how: "What you say? Get up out my business! I thwarted you and your hoodlums once, I'll do it again. I done told you once you son of a gun, I'm the best there's ever been."

And with that, I was off, it was not time to make my escape, oh no, not yet - but it was time to seek solitude and safety in a place these hooligans would never suspect. I walked directly into the heart of the beast, the source of the flame - I stood face to face with fear. The source of this madness surrounded me, I could feel its awful presence, but I did not fear. Like I always say - the closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm. Just a little phrase I coined...

I was surrounded by fiends, monsters, and stinky people - I saw them all, but they did not, could not see me. I can avoid being seen if I wish - so that's exactly what I did. Insanity. That is all I heard, all I could see. In this frightful display of pointless derangement I found solace where there was none, safety where it could not be. I would survive.

I knew my time was short, my window of opportunity would soon open, and just as soon close. I must be swift as a coursing river. "One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi..." I was off! With all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire I made my escape! I could not be caught, I could not be touched. Whether I was seen or not I do not know, it did not matter, the plan was in place - there were things then in motion that could not be undone. I made a decision to leave the carnage behind and I would not stop, I would not deviate from my now determined course. Tranquil as a forest I knew I would soon be free, but on fire within I quickened my already quickened pace to almost unthinkable levels - I could see my exit - closing yes, but there nonetheless. Surrounded by a blackness that somehow grew ever darker, I pushed forward. There was a struggle yes, the presence would not let go, and I would not give up.

Finally, after a herculean effort certainly powered by large amounts of turkey, I escaped. The presence no longer had any influence over me, and I stood, breathless yet full of life, back where my journey began. I had returned to where I should have stayed. It's like I always say - once you find your center, you are sure to win.

It was finished.

I had won. I was victorious.

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Morning came quickly - I awoke early, stirred by the harrowing memories of an unspeakable presence, an unfathomable horror. Was it a dream? Surely such terror could not exist in a place such as this. It must have been a dream - a nightmare not to be forgotten.

I looked out the window. This had been no dream.

"A red sun rises. Blood has been spilled this night." I whispered to myself in dreaded awe.

The hypothetical blood of innocent shoppers.

I survived Black Friday (Eve).

The End

p.s. The real title of this post is "Black Friday Eve" but I didn't want to give away the ending...

p.p.s. It may be impossible to separate fact from fiction, it may not always make sense and most of it never happened, but this is based on a true story.

I'm a Human

Monday, November 12, 2012

I think I might be afraid.

Now let me tell you a story.

(I'll be brief)

(....I'll try to be brief)

(Let's just be honest here...I'm not very good at being brief)

I was sitting in a British literature class recently as we discussed a book entitled The Quiet American, and analyzed, as a class, the book's narrator and main character. Throughout the course of our discussion my thoughts kept returning to one particular passage from early on in the book, which gave us necessary insight if we were to understand the character. What's that? You want to read it? Well good, here it is.

"Why should I want to die when Phuong slept beside me every night? But I knew the answer to that question. From childhood I had never believed in permanence, and yet I had longed for it. Always I was afraid of losing happiness. This month, next year, Phuong would leave me. If not next year, in three years. Death was the only absolute value in my world. Lose life and one would lose nothing again forever. I envied those who could believe in a God, and I distrusted them. I felt they were keeping their courage up with a fable of the changeless and the permanent. Death was far more certain than God, and with death there would be no longer the daily possibility of love's dying. The nightmare of a future of boredom and indifference would lift. I could never have been a pacifist. To kill a man was surely to grant him an immeasurable benefit. Oh, yes, people always everywhere loved their enemies. It was their friends they preserved for pain and vacuity."

This passage stood out to me for a number of reasons, but mostly because it somehow sounded very familiar. And then it hit me - this character, in this passage, wasn't talking about himself - he was talking about me. Now, granted, there is nobody sleeping beside me every night (which is good...BYU housing frowns on that sort of thing), I don't have a particular desire to die (in fact, I kind of really like being alive), I have a very strong belief in God, and I don't usually find killing people to be very beneficial. But, despite all of that, I found that I can relate to the essence of the paragraph.

The man speaking in this paragraph is a man who claims to be indifferent, who constantly reminds the reader that he is simply an objective observer, a man who doesn't take sides. He tries to convince the reader, or really himself, that he is not emotionally attached or involved in anything going on around him. But here, perhaps accidentally, he confesses that this is not truly the case. He isn't objective (nobody is), he isn't indifferent, he does take sides and he does find himself emotionally invested. By claiming to be indifferent, by working to convince himself that he doesn't care, what he is really doing is trying to protect himself from loss and from pain.

And I can relate.

Although I typically refuse to admit it, I too am always afraid of losing happiness.

I am afraid of losing happiness.

This is a problem.

This is a problem because when I am afraid of losing something (happiness itself, or a source of happiness), I distance myself from it, thinking that somehow this added distance will make the loss easier to handle. This is a problem because I've unintentionally taught myself to live in such a way that my happiness, for the most part, is replaceable. This is a problem because I seek to convince myself that I don't care, that I too am an objective observer, and that I am not involved. This is a problem because instead of making decisions with the intent of increasing my level of happiness, I find myself making decisions simply to avoid decreasing my level of happiness.

I'm afraid of happiness, because I'm afraid of losing happiness.

I'm afraid to dream, because I'm afraid of unfulfilled dreams.

But really, it's not the happiness that I'm afraid of, and it's not even the loss of happiness. I'm afraid of being vulnerable. I'm afraid of the vulnerability that inevitably comes when placing a certain level of trust in another person. In an earlier post I mentioned wanting to feel vulnerable and safe at the same time, which is an honest desire, but I'm finding more and more that it is this feeling of safety, not vulnerability alone, that I seek. I dread the thought of vulnerability without an accompanying sense of safety. It scares me.

I can't fully explain this to you - although I really wish I could - if you haven't had a similar experience in your pursuit of happiness, then you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. And that's okay.

I also wish I could explain why I need to write all of this, but to be honest, I don't really know. I know I'm writing this for my benefit, but I don't have any solutions, so I don't know what all of this typing will accomplish. If you've survived this post up to this point I thank you - this is all a sort of strange moment of honesty coming from me. This is not an easy thing to talk about - it's very real and very personal, and those are two things I typically try to avoid.

While I don't have many answers, or many adequate explanations, I have learned a few things:

1. Happiness is not meant to simply be replaced. If you're living your life in such a way that your happiness is easily replaced, you'll one day find that the life you lead is not the life you need. Trust me.

2. Happiness without vulnerability, in many instances, is not complete happiness. As we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we open the door to happiness. As we open the door to happiness, because we are now vulnerable, we run the risk of disappointment and pain. It's complicated, isn't it?

3. We need to learn to trust, and we need to live in such a way that we can always be trusted.

I still feel like something is missing from this post - like this is just a big, incomplete thought, and really, it is. I know that I fear vulnerability, and I know that I enjoy happiness. I know that I try to protect myself from loss and from pain, and I know that by doing so I experience a different kind of loss and disappointment - missed opportunities, and what might have been.

And I know that life is good.

It's simple, really - I am a human, and sometimes it scares me.

"We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone - but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy."

-Walter Anderson

Also, spiders. I'm afraid of spiders.

......Seriously though, they creep me out.

The Beauty of Letting Go...

Friday, September 7, 2012

...And Our Occasional Inability To Do So


I want to tell you about a man called Ildefonso. I have never met this man, and surely never will, and I share his story hoping to relate it to a topic completely unrelated to his experience. Bear with me and hopefully this will make sense.

(Side note: Everything in regards to Ildefonso's story that I share was shared by a woman named Susan Schaller, who ends up playing a pivotal role in Ildefonso's life.) 

Our story starts in Los Angeles in the late 1970's, Susan Schaller is fluent in sign language (she had learned it sort of by chance) and had just been put into an interpreter training program at an L.A. community college. She walks into a reading skills class and sees kids all over the classroom signing excitedly, but then by the door she sees a man off by himself, holding himself as if he were making his own straightjacket. When Susan asks the professor about this man he (the professor) explains that the man was born deaf and is brought to the school each day by his uncle. As Susan observed this man she noticed that he was studying mouths. She then walked up to him and signed "Hello, my name is Susan."

He looked at her, and instead of signing his name he brought his hands up and signed right back to her "Hello, my name is Susan."

Susan shakes her head and says (signs) "No, no, I'm Susan."

To which he responds "No, no, I'm Susan."

And it occurs to Susan that this man, who she called Ildefonso (we don't know his real name), doesn't have language. He was 27 years old, had never been taught sign language, and didn't know he was deaf. He was born deaf and didn't know that there was such a thing as sound - he could see mouths moving, he could see people responding, and he thought everyone had simply figured this stuff out visually.

Well as you can probably guess, Susan begins to teach Ildefonso sign language, and it's an extremely slow and frustrating process. She took out a book and showed him the sign for book, but he thought she was ordering him to open the book, so he grabbed it and opened it. She would show him the sign for standing and he would think she was telling him to stand, so he would. This process continued for weeks.

Long story short, Susan begins to teach him language. After a few weeks of the slow process mentioned above Ildefonso comes to the realization that everything has a name, and his ability to learn and comprehend language began to slowly improve. Fast forward four or five years - Susan and Ildefonso had gone their separate ways when she decides to write a book about him, so she went and found him again. He has language now - she can carry on a conversation with him and ask him all kinds of questions. The big question was, of course, what is it like to be languageless? What had been going on in his head? Susan explained: "I asked and I asked. And I asked.  And he starts telling me that was the dark time in his life. Learning language is like the lights went on and I tell him, 'well we know about language...we want to know what it’s like not to have language. And he doesn't want to talk about it.'"

Fast forward a couple more years, Susan is talking with Ildefonso, once again about the way he used to think, and has this experience: "He said he can't think the way he used to think, and when I pushed him to talk about what it was like to be languageless, the closest he ever came to any kind of an answer was exactly that. I don't know, I don't remember. I think differently now."
Ildefonso could not remember his old way of thinking - he couldn't recall what it was like to think before he had language. It wasn't simply that he couldn't explain it - he literally could not remember. His old way of thinking - of being - had been replaced.


Now, why am I telling you all of this?

Because so often we look back. We hold on. We remember.

There are things in the past - your past and my past - that we miss, and there are times when we struggle to move on. It may be an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend that you miss, if only for one day; maybe it's an old job that you now know you shouldn't have left; it could be a time, a place, a friend, a class, or a sport - it could be anything. Perhaps you miss something that you never really had - a should-have-been love interest, a dream never realized, or goals never achieved. Or maybe this time it's a little different - maybe, somehow, you're missing something that's still there - a friendship you see changing, a relationship you know has to end, a family member pulling away -- in each case, a distance coming between you and one you care about.

We miss things because we care about them. We look back because, at times, it's easier than looking forward - it seems there are fewer questions in the past, and the questions we find there don't always demand an answer, not anymore. We hold on because there is no promise of something better, no guarantee that we'll find what we're looking for, no assurance that what we found unsuitable in the past will be corrected in the future. We remember because our lives were changed; because really, there's no way to forget.

This experience - looking back, remembering, missing - is different for everyone, and changes depending on the situation. Sometimes we look back with fondness, we're grateful for these experiences and these people. At times we look back with sadness and regret - we see missed opportunities, wasted time, and too many mistakes. Then there are the times when we look back and, for whatever reason and for however long, we wish our past was our present. Unfortunately, during some of these times we may even stop looking to the future completely - we may tell ourselves that there are voids that can't be filled, wounds that will never heal, and that happiness has passed us by - if we aren't careful we may experience fear and doubt to a degree that they become almost paralyzing.

I'm not telling you anything you don't already know - we're all familiar, to some degree, with these feelings and emotions, and usually know how to deal with them. I also don't have any life-changing solution to share with you (although I wish I did, if only for my own benefit. I'm sure your coping strategies are already more successful than anything I've come up with) - mostly, I think, I'm just walking myself through my own head, trying to sort through the mess that is my brain. And here's what I've decided

We need to remember - we need to look back. 

We have to look forward.

There are lessons to be learned from the past. Experiences and people that have shaped us, and taught us; corrected and protected us - these can't simply be forgotten, or ignored. We can learn from the good times and the bad - how to treat others, the type of treatment we each deserve, how to act and react in certain situations, how to avoid heartache and failure in the future, what we're looking for, what we now know we ought to become, weaknesses that need strengthening, and strengths that can carry us through the obstacles that are sure to come. As we look to the past we can discover a map for the future. We can discover ourselves.

I am convinced that the regret we experience - the pain we feel - will not be permanent. Ildefonso, the man from the beginning, spent 27 years without language - he didn't know words existed, he didn't know there were sounds, or names; he didn't know how to communicate with those around him, and nobody knows how or in what manner he thought. But, after 27 years of both literal and figurative silence, 27 years of what he described as darkness, he found language (or rather, language found him) - he found light. His old way of thinking, whatever it was, was eventually replaced by something better. He couldn't remember his life before language because the void was filled, because he found what was missing.

I am certain that the same will be true for us - voids will be filled, wounds will heal, and happiness will abound. I don't mean to suggest that we will forget every problem from our past, or that we will never experience regret again - I simply believe that as we do all in our power to move forward, things will work out. Lessons will be learned and we will move on. We will find what we're looking for, and so much more.

Our problems from the past will be replaced by the better things - the things we were looking for all along.

This is the hope that keeps me looking forward, even when I can't stop looking back.

I don't know how it will all work out, but I'm certain that it will. I believe that, and I hope you do too.

We've got to.

"It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal."

-Hellen Keller

The Builders of the Nation

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I can't think of anything I can say concerning the pioneers - their tremendous journey of faith and dedication; the example they set and the heritage they left behind - that can, in any way, do their journey justice. So instead, I'll just share a few things from the book The Price We Paid by Andrew D. Olsen. You've probably heard the first story many times, but it's a favorite of mine, so here it is again. I have followed in the literal footsteps of these pioneers - walking where they walked, seeing the same land they saw - and I am grateful for them. I only hope that I (and all of us) will have the courage and faith necessary to endure all things which are placed in my path, as they did in pressing forward, day after day, in conditions much worse than I will be faced with. I am grateful for their example, and their shining legacy.

"When Francis Webster was an old man, he was sitting quietly in a Sunday School class in Cedar City as some people were criticizing Church leaders for the handcart tragedy. When he could bear the criticism no longer, he stood and asked the people to stop. Speaking calmly but with emotion, he acknowledged that it was a mistake to send the handcart companies so late, He also acknowledged that he and others in these companies had suffered greatly. Nevertheless, he bore testimony that he had found a pearl of great price in the experience:

'We suffered beyond anything you can imagine, and many died of exposure and starvation....[But we] came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives, for we became acquainted with Him in our extremities.'

'I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. I have gone to that sand, and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.'

'Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with god was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin handcart company.'"

A Trail of Tears, A Trail of Hope

"In many ways, the trail that the Willie and Martin handcart pioneers walked was a type, or metaphor, of mortality. Along the path to Zion, they were sometimes mocked or ridiculed. Sometimes they had to cross rivers that threatened to sweep them away. Some of those crossings were through icy waters that left them frozen and numb. Along the path there was also sand, sometimes for long distances, making progress slow and grinding. When the elements were at their worst and the Saints were at their weakest, they had to face Rocky Ridge. Toward the end, they had to go through mountains that had several feet of fresh snow. Indeed this was a trail of tears.

But the experiences of the Willie and Martin handcart pioneers show that faith and hope will triumph over the worst days on the trail. Faith and hope kept these Saints stepping forward when their strength was gone. Heaven-sent rescuers helped sustain their hope when despair began to take them off the path. And when they felt alone, when they felt that they could bear no more, a divine hand was stretched out to steady them and guide them home."

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

(Olsen, Andrew D. The Price We Paid: The Extraordinary Story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. 2006. Print.)

All I know

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I don't know many things.

I'm never the smartest person in the room - I've never really been one of the best and brightest.

And it's okay.

I struggle, at times, like we all do. I get frustrated, annoyed, and discouraged. I try and fail, and worse - I fail to try. I look back and see regrets; I look forward and see no solutions. I have trials, I have doubts, and I have fears. I'm imperfect, impatient, and insipid.

And it's okay.

It's okay because what I know outweighs and outshines all that I don't know. It's okay because the answers I know are far more important than the questions I have. What I know gives me hope and confidence while providing purpose and perspective. It calms me down and lifts me up. It has made me who I am, and will help me become who I ought to be.

Here is what I know - really, all that I know.

God lives. He is my Father in Heaven, and yours as well. I am His son - you are His child. He has a plan, a perfect plan, for all of us. He loves His children - each of us - even me, and especially you. He loves us perfectly, with a love we can't fully comprehend. Trust me, I have felt His love for His children - for myself and for others - and it is a powerful and motivating thing. He lives, and He is involved in your life. "He does love you, and He knows your fears. He hears your prayers. He is your Heavenly Father, and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed" (Jeffrey R. Holland).

Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. He came to Earth to save, and save He did. He saved all of mankind - He saved us from ourselves, and from evil. In His wisdom, He did not remove the burden of personal responsibility from us, but showed us the way, and opened the gate, back to our Father in Heaven. He suffered all things - pain, sickness, misfortune, betrayal, loneliness, darkness, and death. He did so for us, so that He might know, fully, what we experience and exactly how to help us. He provides strength when we are weak, forgiveness when we are wrong, and shelter from the storm. He lived for us, He died for us, and He lives again today - for us. He loves you, and will always stand beside you.

We lived with God before we came to this earth, and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can live with Him again. This should be our goal. We can live in His presence, with our families, in perfect happiness and peace, for eternity. There is nowhere else I'd rather be.

As we follow our Father and rely on our Savior, there is nothing that can stop us. No pain is permanent, no failure is forever, and no mistake is immutable. We will continue to struggle, to stumble and fall, to doubt and be discouraged. But knowing who we are, who our Father is, and where our Savior stands will give us the confidence to continue - the faith to move forward.

I wish I had the ability to convey the power behind these truths - to help you feel what I have felt, and to know what I know - but obviously I am an inadequate spokesman. If you already know these things, please, remember them. If you aren't so sure, see for yourself - you won't regret it.

I don't know many things, but I know our Father in Heaven - I know that He lives, and "I know that He loveth His children" (1 Nephi 11:17).

And at times, that's all I need to know.

This post gets no name

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Okie doke folks - I've been neglecting the blog lately, so I figure if I post two things in one day it somehow makes up for a month with no posts. This post is pretty much completely pointless - I simply took one of those 'note' things that used to get sent around on facebook, copied what I wrote there (with a few minor alterations), and put it here. I guess you might learn a thing or two about me...enjoy?

1. I've never been a writer (this is to warn anyone who may be reading), but I wish I was. In fact, I want to write two books (only because I randomly thought of two titles..). Being a writer is just one item on my 'I wish I was' list.

2. I'm an awkward human being. If you're reading this you probably already know that, but a list of facts about my life would simply be incomplete without this drop of knowledge.

3. I once bit off a (tiny) part of my own tongue while playing football. I can't think of a time when I felt more macho (although I probably should have felt like an idiot..). Side note to all you football players out there (since I have so many friends still playing football): keep your tongue in your mouth when tackling/getting tackled.

4. I don't do a whole lot of talking, unless of course I have something to say. Maybe that sounds strange, but do some listening to the people you're surrounded by all day - not talking is a good habit.

5. I still remember the first time I heard what my voice actually sounds like. It about gave me some sort of identity crisis - I felt like I didn't even know myself..I sounded ridiculous! Still do, of course, but I'm coping.

6. I have a bald spot. It's how my family recognizes me, so it's kind of made me who I am. Also, it's seen 23 years of sun, so it might be the death of me.

7. I like to use periods to represent awkward pauses...See?! I did it without even thinking! I'm trying to cut back though..
p.s. That's how awkward I am, these periods literally represent little awkward pauses to my brain.

8. Growing up I had trouble deciding if I would be a professional football player or basketball player. Mother Nature helped me with that decision - I was always too scrawny for football, and too short for basketball (in neither case do I mention not being talented enough..don't worry I'm well aware of that problem, I just didn't think it was even worth mentioning) so the obvious choice had to be - soccer! Who says I should have realistic goals? I'm expecting a contract offer any day now...

9. Speaking of sports: I love playing sports! There's a common assumption that I enjoy competing against: Short, scrawny, quiet people can't be athletic/good at sports. It never gets old.
Also, if you ever play basketball against me, don't make me mad - short, scrawny me will bother you, and beat you to the basket. I promise.

10. I love competing, and I absolutely love being the underdog. There isn't much that motivates me more than being doubted.

11. I enjoy laughter (although I don't actually laugh out loud very often) and am very easily entertained. Speaking of being entertained - I sometimes make fun of people in my brain. Well, I mean, I make fun of people with my brain......there aren't people in my brain.

12. I'm pretty sure I'm an old man trapped in a young body. I like going to bed early (even though I don't do it), my knees always ache, my body cracks, and I really want a cane and velcro shoes..

13. I really like big buildings, and stadiums.

14. I served a mission in the Missouri Independence Mission and it was fantastic! I'd go back right now if I could. Lawrence, Kansas is my home away from home.

15. If I ever grow up and get a real job, my one goal is to actually enjoy going into work. One thing I dislike more than going into work, is the fact that I dislike going into work. What a waste! This is why I'd like to teach seminary - we'll see what happens there.. (Side note, I actually like my job now, but I've had many jobs that I didn't like..I think you know what I mean)

16. I HATE the sound of eating. And swallowing. Hate it. I'm talking about all eating - I don't even like to hear myself eat (I've literally spent years trying to train myself to eat and drink quietly). Eating in dead silence is torture to my brain. Eating with only one other person at the table with no background noise, also torture.

17. Speaking of eating, I really don't like having food on my hands. Bread and stuff like that is fine - but grease, Doritos etc. not so much. I eat fried chicken with a knife and fork. Is that weird?

18. I miss the high school days. Yep, I said it. I  thought high school was a blast! I loved just hanging out all the time and living the zero responsibility life. I still live that life, it's just not as fun as it used to be - there are consequences now.

19. I don't watch a ton of movies. You can pretty much assume that my answer to the question 'Have you seen _________?' will be 'Nope, sorry.'

20. I'm not as intelligent as I should be, but not as dumb as I could be. Actually, typing that sentence just made me feel more intelligent - victory! It took a long time, but I've accepted the fact that I'm pretty much just an average human being. It was a tough lesson to figure out, but it's a good thing to come to grips with.

21. I have four brothers, they have names. I have one sister, her name is Sister.

22. I've already figured out the names of my first two children. Child number one (boy or girl) Smoosh Boots. Child number two ( number two will be a girl..she has to be, or else her name won't fit) Tolanda. The name Antoine is in the running for child number three, in honor of Antoine Dodson - my homeboy.

23. I don't believe in sarcasm. I find it offensive, degrading and insulting...........that may or may not be a lie.

24. I think it'd be a blast to run for president. I don't want the job, I just want to campaign for it

25. I'm starving. Right this second, all I want is food. This is not rare for me - I think there should be at least six meals a day.

26. I think I may expect too much from the human race. I don't think it's unreasonable for people to act in a manner they know they should. But every day people manage to fall short of these expectations. Dear humanity, just be decent - and stop thinking about yourself.
(as I'm writing a list all about me, my message is stop thinking about yourself..maybe a little hypocritical?)

27. I assume a lot. I know it's a bad habit, but if it makes you feel any better - I kind of tend to be right. Well, that's my assumption anyway..

28. I'm a pretty oblivious human being. Sometimes I'm amazed at how unaware I am..

29. There will always be a special place in my heart for popcorn and skittles. Oh, and tacos. One more? Pizza too.
(Just for the record, I had tacos for lunch..and may have just decided to have pizza for dinner. Good day.)

30. Sometimes I hunt skinwalkers. Sometimes I have conversations with random homeless people that walk out of the bushes at one in the morning. And sometimes I'm good at accidentally making people really dislike me. Oops.

The Impossible Dream

I'm in love.

Sort of.

But I'm not in love with a person, rather an idea. This is not unusual for me. 

Sometimes I just love the idea of falling in love with a person because it would be so convenient - it would save time, effort, money, heartache, and failure - what's not to like?! Sometimes I love the idea of loving somebody when I know they don't, and won't, feel the same way - "there's a continuous low-grade suffering that becomes a sort of addiction in its own right" and at times I just can't help myself. 

(And yes, that link sends you to an article about soccer. Read it.)

But here's the problem - I already do a lot of settling in my life. I settle out of necessity, and it doesn't bother me at all - in fact I kind of enjoy it, but I can only settle for so many things. I drive an old (ish) car I don't like; I buy microwave burritos, cheap toilet paper, and Wal-Mart bread; I live in a modest but ghetto-ish apartment, wearing clothes that are far from 'hip' (they usually don't even match...), keeping warm under a blanket that I've had since third grade. I could continue, as I'm sure we all could, but I think you understand what I'm saying. I do settle for less in many aspects of my life, and I enjoy it - it makes sense to settle (in these instances) - it saves me time, money, and energy - all to be spent on more important things (like school, maybe?). But when it comes to love (I'm using the L-word a lot in this post..I must be getting old) I can't make myself settle for less - it wouldn't be fair to me, and it wouldn't be fair to the other half of the equation.

So what am I looking for? What am I holding out for? Well, I want a love that makes me feel vulnerable and safe at the same time; I want to feel lost at sea yet right at home, out of my league but somehow right where I belong. I want a love that doesn't make sense, yet makes perfect sense; that makes other people ask questions while answering all of mine. I want to know exactly why, or for whom, I'm getting out of bed in the morning. I want to feel, some days, like we've never met yet never been apart. I want to feel like it was all worth it - like I finally got something right.

In matters of love, it seems, we experience more disappointment than success; more heartache than happiness. So often we find ourselves saying "( I ) hoped for better, but it turned out as it always does." (Viktor Chernomyrdin)

"It's the hope that kills you. Disappointment is never far off." - James Appell

I don't know if a love like I'm looking for actually exists, or if it's simply the product of too many movies and sappy quotes. This may come as a surprise to you, but I am no expert in the field of love and I freely admit that I may be looking for too much. While it may be the hope that kills me, that makes sure I stay acquainted with disappointment, it also tells me there is so much more. 

So I will continue to hope - to believe that there is something more out there and that the wait will be worth it. Then I will continue to hope against hope - to search for that which may not exist, to strive to accomplish that which may be impossible - because when it comes to love, I can't afford to settle for anything less.

"There's a time when a man needs to fight, and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny is lost, that the ship has sailed, and that only a fool will continue. The truth is, I've always been a fool."


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Let me tell you a story. I love stories. I love telling them (even though they always take me too long to tell), and I love hearing them - I hope you don't mind.

So there I was, sitting on a ride called Jr. Gemini, at an amusement park called Cedar Point. This place is quite possibly the most fun place on the planet, and I was ecstatic to be there. I was not, however, ecstatic to be on this particular ride. It's a roller coaster for kids, it was too small, and slow, and lame, for me to be riding. I felt embarrassed to be sitting on the ride waiting for it to start, and to make matters worse, I was the odd one out in my siblings - they all sat next to each other while I had to sit all alone. Sad day. So I just sat there, wishing the ride would start so we could get it over with, when suddenly a woman approached and asked if her daughter could sit next to me. Of course I said yes, even though I was (and still am, obviously) afraid of girls. The woman then explained to me that her daughter is blind, and then turned to her daughter and said  "Don't worry, this nice boy will be next to you the whole time, and I'll be waiting right here when you get back."

That is the power of a mother. This girl couldn't see - she had no way of knowing what kind of ride was really in store. She couldn't see how high, or how long, or how fast this roller coaster was. She couldn't see the twists and turns that awaited her, or the ups and downs she was about to experience. She couldn't even see the random stranger that she was suddenly sitting next to - she didn't know me or anyone else on that ride. All she knew was that her mother suggested the ride, found someone for her to sit next to, and would be waiting for her return, and that was enough - she got on the roller coaster.

There is just something special about mothers - they give birth to you, they change your diapers, they wake up in the middle of the night, night after night, to take care of you, they pick out your outfits and do your hair, they care for you when you're sick, they care for you when you're not sick, they continue to care long after you stopped caring, and then they teach you to care again. The list could go on and on - this world would be a mess without mothers. I realize this is the ideal - not all mothers are always there, not all mothers care as they should. Mothers too, fall short, and I recognize this. One of the beautiful opportunities life provides is being able to learn from others - from their success as well as their mistakes, from what they do as well as what they don't do. No matter your mother, you can learn from her and improve yourself, and for that we should all be grateful.

Now let me tell you a little bit about my mother.

I have to be honest with you, when it comes to the typical 'mom duties' my mom probably wouldn't win any awards. She isn't the world's greatest house keeper, she isn't a gourmet chef, she can be forgetful (she used to forget to pick me up after school between sports seasons all the time..), she isn't the most organized woman on the planet and she is short (but very good at passing on short genes). But, despite all of these supposed shortcomings (which aren't really shortcomings at all - she's just human), she is the greatest mother I could have asked for. While she doesn't have every scripture memorized and doesn't have the answer to every question, she is a master teacher. It's not that she sits us down often and starts teaching (or preaching), and it's not necessarily that she has an overabundance of knowledge just waiting to be shared - she's a master teacher mostly unintentionally, and that's why it's so effective.

My mother's life is one of service. We're not just talking send a card to a lonely person service, or help the lady with her groceries service - we're talking full on service projects that take too long and require more than anybody realizes. We're talking creating and/or gathering hundreds and thousands of items to be donated to people in need. It's difficult for me to fully explain the level to which my mother serves, and I won't even attempt to - she is literally involved in some sort of service project at all times. No joke, always. I honestly can't remember a time where there was not some sort of service project in process at my house - usually there are multiple service projects scattered around the house at the same time.

My mom lives what she knows to be true, and I'm extremely grateful for it. My mom doesn't teach sermons - she lives them. Her life is a sermon, a testament, and she's unintentionally creating a legacy worth remembering (and replicating). I was once asked, on stage, what my favorite thing about my mom was - I tried to be clever and funny, and responded with some remark about how she is willing to laugh with us. If I had the chance to answer that question again there would be no hesitation, I would answer it the right way - She cares. If there is a job to be done she'll do it, if there is a need she'll meet it. She puts the needs of others, often complete strangers, before her own. She lives a Christlike life by doing as He did.

I am grateful for my mother, and for countless other mothers out there who take their responsibilities seriously and serve so selflessly. I think it is appropriate that we have a day set aside to remember and honor our mothers, and I appreciate the refocus on the family it tends to bring. Thank you Mom, and thank you mothers.

While I do appreciate mothers, I want to broaden my thank you to include women everywhere. There are countless women, both young and old, married and single, with and without children, who set wonderful examples for those around them, and I for one, appreciate it. There are women everywhere who are virtuous, graceful, caring, considerate, kind, compassionate, strong, and humble. There is something particularly special about a woman who understands who she really is, and knows her divine potential. So thank you - thank you for living the way you know you should, for setting a great example - for setting a standard. I am amazed by your kindness, your goodness, and your strength. You may not see these things in yourself, but I do, and I know many others who do as well. While we can all do more, and can all continue to improve and become more, the trail you blaze and the path you leave behind do not go unnoticed, and they are a source of strength and motivation for those around you. Trust me, I am one of those, and I am constantly motivated to live up to the standard you (once again, often unintentionally) set.

So thank you. Remember who you are, who you really are - a daughter of God. Remember what that means, or discover what that means, and let it continue to be a motivation for you.

Once again, thank you.

"How thankful I am, how thankful we all must be, for the women in our lives. God bless them. May His great love distill upon them and crown them with luster and beauty, grace and faith."

-Gordon B. Hinckley

Chasing Sunsets

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Only in Kansas can you chase a sunset."

That simple sentence gave me a lot to think about. "I'm in Kansas, how did I end up out here?" I thought as we silently chased the sun. Chasing sunsets - that's really what we do. As we chase the sun, we're chasing light - that's how I ended up here; I found light some time ago, and I've been sent here to bring that light to those who have been, and are, chasing it. As they 'chase the sun' are they even aware? Do they realize the object of their search? Do they know that the light is within their reach? Perhaps some do - I think so. But more often than not, the answer is no. But there is one who always knows, He is keenly aware - He is, after all, the creator of light, and He starts each one of us on our search for it. Then once we find it, after searching long and hard, He tells us "Hold it up, there are others searching too." So we hold up our light, it's all we know to do. We hold it out, we hold it up, we don't apologize - we can't, because we know the truth.

Then something happens, something changes, and it's then that we realize we have just become a part of another person's search. Life is now different, it can't be the same. It's no longer just about me - I'm holding a light that countless others are looking for.

It's times like this that I feel small, that I feel I can't do it alone - and I can't; it's like that by design you know, we're not in this alone. It's not really even our light that we're holding up, it's His - and it's His banner to the world. Keep in mind - a candle does not create light, it carries it. So I carry the light, holding it up as high as I can, knowing as I do my part, He will always do His. Remember - He started each and every one on their search, and He gently guides them along the way.

I think I'll always remember this calm October night, as we tried to chase the sun, and catch its golden light. For it's times like these that I realize I am a part of something much larger than myself.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I have literally been staring at my monitor for the past 30 minutes trying to think of the perfect way to start this post. Not a joke. This tells you two things - first, my math homework is not getting done tonight, and second, I have issues with perfection (or at least, in my mind, something approaching it), which is actually want I want to write about - how convenient!

I want to be perfect. It's a goal of mine, and I truly believe it is a possibility..eventually. If you don't believe me, here's an incredible quote from President Spencer W. Kimball:

"One of the great teachings of the Man of Galilee, the Lord Jesus Christ, was that you and I carry within us immense possibilities. In urging us to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect, Jesus was not taunting us or teasing us. He was telling us a powerful truth about our possibilities and about our potential. It is a truth almost too stunning to contemplate. Jesus, who could not lie, sought to beckon us to move further along the pathway to perfection" (Jesus: The Perfect Leader, 1983).

I absolutely believe that we should be striving for perfection in our own lives - it should be a goal of ours and we should constantly be working towards it. But all too often I find myself focusing too much on the destination, and not enough on the journey. President Kimball didn't say that Christ 'sought to beckon us' to become perfect immediately, but "to move further along the pathway to perfection." In fact, following the above statement we read:

"We are not yet perfect as Jesus was, but unless those about us can see us striving and improving, they will not be able to look to us for example.."

The idea, at this point in our progression, is to simply be 'striving and improving' - working towards perfection, not necessarily achieving it (because, let's be honest, this perfection business it kind of tough).

So here's my problem (and the reason I'm writing all of this - I had no intention of getting all Gospel-y on you..) - my over-focus on perfection (especially as a destination..) manages to find its way into my daily life, and I allow it to become a hindrance. Strange? Yes. True? Yes. Not only do I want to be perfect, I want everything in my life to happen perfectly. I want every conversation to be as smooth and effective as possible, I want jokes I tell to go exactly how I imagine them, every time I play a sport I dread messing up even a single time, I want to have an answer to every question, an insight to every dilemma, and a solution to every problem. Instead of motivating me to do and become more, these desires become a source of paralyzing fear, or distress, in my life.

I used to lose sleep after every soccer game, replaying, over and over, every moment of the game that I should have performed better. I hate asking girls out because I dread the awkward conversation - for both of us. I have trouble deciding on date ideas - not because I don't have any ideas, but because I am sure there are better things that I'm failing to consider. I don't answer questions that I know the answer to because I am sure my response won't be eloquent enough (at least for my liking). The list goes on and on - I spend too much time in my comfort zone because I can control what goes on in there - it's almost perfect.

I'm sure none of this makes any sense to you - I wouldn't expect it to. I am certainly not the only person who desires a perfectly flowing life, so what makes me think writing about all of this is necessary? It's not necessary, first of all - blogs are never necessary..but really, I've just been realizing how absurd my quest for over-perfection is.

So here's my new 'on my way to perfection' goal - embrace the imperfection. Enjoy the awkward conversations, realize when good enough really is good enough, and get over it. It's time we all learn (me especially) that the imperfections - those times we'd like to forget, the times we stumble and fall, when we make a fool of ourselves, when we achieve less than we should have, the rejection, the heartache and disappointments - are all preparing us for, and will help us appreciate so much more, the greater things that await.

I'm beginning to realize that it is the imperfections that make those precious little moments - when things actually work out, when you couldn't have planned it any better - just perfect.

I have nothing to say

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I have no words.

Seriously, none.

Theoretically this little post would be introducing you to my blog - you know, telling you what to expect, why I created the blog in the first place, and informing you of the life-changing goodness that you will experience each and every time you visit. But here's the thing - I created this blog over a year ago and I still don't know what you can expect (or what I expect, for that matter), I can't remember exactly why I created it, and I don't believe for a second that I actually have anything to say that will change your life (for the better, at least).

Yeah, so I created a blog. A year ago. And for a year nothing changed - I didn't post a single thing! Starting a blog seemed like a good idea at the time, but once I started typing I quickly realized that in order to create a blog post you need to have something to say, and I had nothing. Now I am aware that countless people talk, type, and text endlessly when they really have nothing to say, but I didn't want to join that club. Now perhaps you're thinking "Great! He spent a year coming up with intelligent and relevant topics to blog about, right? Or at least spent a year compiling funny stories to share? This should be good." I just waited a year to join the 'I have nothing to say but I'm saying it anyway' club. Sorry to disappoint.

But seriously, why am I starting a blog? It's a good question, but I'm not totally sure how to answer it. I honestly can't remember the circumstances that prompted me to create the blog, but there are a couple reasons I decided to keep it. First of all, I like to write. I'm not a talented writer - I have a small vocabulary, I use too many commas and way too many periods, and I put dashes where they don't belong - but I like to write and wanted to find a place where I could write and people could read. It's not that any of you need to read what I write, I just need somebody to read it. I have this strange belief that if I write something that nobody reads, it is as if it had never been written, and in most cases that just doesn't make sense. Of course, most of what I write will probably be fairly pointless, so maybe it does make sense? Moving on....

The second reason I've decided to become some sort of blogger is the fact that a lot of people that know me don't really know me. Hold on...what? True story. Although I'm not really sure why, I've noticed I'm not very good at letting people get to know me - the me you know (sarcastic, freakishly laid back, carefree, sarcastic, and a little more sarcastic), is not the whole me. Of course it would be foolish to believe that just by writing random nothingness on the interweb everybody will suddenly know me on a whole different level, but I do think that allowing you a little glimpse into my brain will be a good thing - for me at least.

So, with all of that being said, welcome to my blog! I'm sure it will be more self-indulgent than necessary (or than is even acceptable..sorry Sister), and more pointless than not, but here it is. I can't promise your visit will be worth your time, I can't guarantee that you'll enjoy what you read, and I am certain that my blogging skills will pale in comparison with those on display here and here (by two of my favorite people on the planet, by the way), but what you read will be real, and that's what I'm going for. Pointless? Yes. Long-winded? Obviously. Will I be trying too hard? Most likely. But real nonetheless.

I hope you enjoy your stay.

Dear Wife-to-be

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dear Wife-to-be,

I'm trying.

I'm trying to find you. I realize this is exactly what I should be doing, and I will admit it's taken me longer to get started than it should have, so I don't tell you this in some paltry attempt to impress - I just want you to know that I'm trying. Please don't give up on me - it sure would be disappointing if I found you right as you found someone else.

I don't know you yet, but I know this - you're out of my league. You are out of my league and I thank you for it. I wake up every morning with the intent of becoming a little bit better, doing a little bit more, so that, day by day, I can get closer to where you already are. Of course, your rate of improvement is greater than mine, so I'll never actually catch up, but that's okay - just know I'm trying.

Now let me just tell you - I'm crazy about you! You make me want to sing out loud and dance the night away, and those are two things I don't often have the desire to do. It's your hair, your eyes, and your smile..and it's much more than that - it's you.

There are so many things I want to tell you, so much I'd like to share, but it will just have to wait - I've got to find you first. There are a lot of things I don't know, but this one thing I have come to know all too well - I will never truly be home, until I find you.

And I want to go home.

I'm trying. Remember that, will you?

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