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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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.

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