Friday, August 26, 2011

A Very Late Shout-Out

Howdy Friends, happy Thursday. I'm moving back up to school tomorrow and I've been grumpy and stressed because of that most of the day. I was pretty close to freaking out tonight as I finally unpacked my mission luggage and started rounding things up for the big move.

As part of this process I went through some of my old shoe boxes of treasures from before the mission. I found a few old turkey-grams from the Taylorsville Seminary. For the uninitiated, every November the seminary would write turkey-grams. They are small pieces of paper that you could write a quick thank you note on and then they'd be delivered to that person.

I read about 15 turkey-grams that I had saved. I know that there were more than that, and I don't really know why I chose to save these 15. But I'll tell you what- they really helped calm me down and made me very grateful to have such great friends that care about me so much. It really made me feel loved.

So, I know the audience that this blog reaches is pretty minute. The people that wrote me those 'grams are probably not reading this. But for what it's worth, thanks. Thanks to those people that cared enough to send a small turkey-gram my way. Who knew it'd help out so much so many years later? I am sincerely grateful for those notes of appreciation tonight. I can't really explain what it means to me, other than to say that it has made a big difference.

There's an important moral to this story. Everybody wants to be cared about. Everybody at some point or another needs somebody to show some affection. Everybody needs help. The trouble is that we all go through this- nobody is always feeling 100% chipper and ready to help their friends. Even the helpers have bad days. But if we do the best we can, and if we share that love with people as often as we can, I think we'll make it out of this alright.

The application: tell somebody thanks. It's a pretty big deal. I'm off to do so. I hope y'all are having a good day. Thanks for being my friend(s). (You know, assuming I've got more than one reader....)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Short post tonight- I still haven't decided what this blog is all about during version 2. Just a random thought on things I write in letters.

I often write, and see written, "I hope this letter finds you well." There are two possible meanings that this phrase can take, and I haven't decided which one it actually represents.

Before I go any further, I'd like to point out that I'm a total fan of making things mean whatever-the-devil I want them to mean. If I want "Sweet and Low" by Augustana to be about diabetes, heck, for me, that song is about diabetes. If that's not actually what the artist intended, I say too bad, because I'm going to interpret it for my maximum satisfaction.

So, knowing that it doesn't actually matter what it is supposed to mean, I'll just explain what I think it might mean and then tell you which one I pick. Pointless? Probably, but here we are.

Solution A: "I hope this letter finds you well." In this solution the letter is the boss and he is trying to find the person. If the letter finds the person well, it means that the letter has not failed in its mission to locate the individual. "The letter found him poorly" could mean that the letter never arrived, or was beat up upon arrival, or got there very late.

Solution B: "I hope this letter finds you well." In this solution the "find" verb isn't so much about location as it is about the state that the person is in when the letter "finds" them. As a related example, we can say, "Summer found him dreaming of winter". I hope that the letter finds you well refers to the letter discovering that the person is doing well whenever that letter arrives. This is my preferred interpretation.

What's the moral of the story here? Many things can be interpreted in more than one way. I like to pick the way that fits me best- whether or not it is officially intended by "the man" or whatever counter-culture label we want to put on it. Therefore, Sweet and low is about diabetes, Human (the Killers) is about an LDS mission, and inception ends- it does not keep going. I'll take my right to choose all the way to my misinformed grave, thank you very much.

I hope this blog post finds you well- whatever way you like to be found.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Howdy friends, I'm back :)

My blog has been dormant for two years. I was serving a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Dallas, Texas. I loved my time as a missionary and wouldn't trade it for anything. It's absolutely the best thing I've ever done.

I got home a little more than three weeks ago and I've been working like crazy. I love being home and I love taking on life 2.0. It's been a great adjustment and I'm really looking forward to the future. Great things are in motion and everything is looking up.

I want to blog again (behold, I am blogging!). I don't know what this blog will end up being, but for now I expect it will be a place for me to sort out some thoughts and share what I've been thinking about. It may change forms. You're welcome to read it. If you don't read it we can still be friends. I guess.

I've been thinking a lot lately about choices and plans. Having a two-year-recess where you think little-to-nothing about yourself is incredible. Getting home necessitates that you begin to think about your plans once again and make concrete decisions about where you are going. I have been doing my fair share of that. I've loved getting input and advice from others and I'm feeling good about the direction that life is headed in right now.

I have this nagging reservation and it is causing me to think. The decisions that I'm making right now will clearly impact the rest of my life. I make decisions today based upon the way that I feel and upon the information that is available to me. I know, as you know, that further information will become available as time goes forward. I'm making choices without knowing the consequences. I know full well that my feelings are going to fluctuate and change as time goes on. This can create a situation where a decision that I made last week under the influence of a certain set of feelings can still be in effect this week. Now that my feelings have changed, I would like to have made a different decision, but since the decision was made last week I am stuck with it. That's not a real life situation I'm talking about, it's just an example.

So that's the hang-up. How can we make decisions based on life when we don't know how we are going to feel in a week? How can we decide what to study when the market can change in that three year time span?

I've got this unconquerable attitude going on right now- I'm really enjoying it. I've learned that my feelings change. The true test of greatness comes in doing things that are not easy- or, in this case, in doing things that we don't necessarily feel like doing right now. We can't become a world class athlete if we don't train on the days we don't feel like it. So, with this unconquerable attitude we can set a goal or a vision and say, "I will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal, no matter how I feel in the future." We put our head down and go to work- and we likely achieve what seek.

We can contrast that with the more cautious approach that handles things on a more day-to-day basis. If we don't feel like running that day, maybe we should listen to ourselves and not run. If we have a great desire to be an art major on thursday, maybe we should give it a shot. We must listen to the way we feel because that's a large part of who we are. We are receiving messages from ourselves and from the world and divinity and we've got to respond.

So my deep question of the day is this: "Where do I draw the line between striving to reach my previously-set goals and reevaluating based on how I feel?" Because if I change my goals/desires every day based on how I feel I will likely go nowhere. If I put on the blinders and work like crazy I could potentially beat all odds, achieve what I wanted, and realize that it wasn't something I really desired. Does that make sense?

Clearly it's a balance. We're striving to understand ourselves and the world around us. Sometimes that means we've got to take a moment to look inside and find out if what we're seeking is really what we're after. Other times that means continuing on through the hard days and trusting that good will come of it. Sometimes it means remembering the way that we felt before and remembering why we set out to make it happen in the first place. We have to trust last Thursday's version of us when we're questioning on a rainy Friday afternoon. Thursday felt something great and made a decision because of it. If Friday can't feel that, it doesn't negate the reality of Thursday's feelings. So who wins in that situation? Rainy Friday's lack of motivation or Thursday's zeal? Both are legitimate feelings coming from a legitimate human being based on legitimate stimulus.

So what's my plan? Look above and search for help and guidance there first- and then move forward boldly and tenaciously to make that vision a reality. I don't have many regrets about life. One of the things I do regret is not boldly going after what I really wanted in the past. I let opportunities pass me by because I knew I'd feel differently at some undetermined point in the future. My decision now is to not let that happen.

Levi's often quoted by Molly as saying, "It's the hard days that make you a champion." I'll second that. It's not every day that we get an opportunity to prove to ourselves that we want it that bad. Do we want it bad enough to go running even when we're super tired and it's raining? Do we want it bad enough to get our homework done even though we're just burnt out? Anyone can do homework on an easy day. Anyone can go running when they feel good. But the hard days make us champions.

Today I'm going to make a plan about who I want to be at the end of this semester of school. It will reflect how I feel tonight based upon everything that has happened to me in the past 21 years. The plan will involve studies, finances, girls, social life, spirituality, etc. I'm looking for guidance because I know how important these decisions will be. It's Saturday night and I've got some zeal. Will this zeal be sufficient to Wednesday's lack-of-motivation that I'm sure to face? Is that the right choice? Is it right to blaze through that hard day and carry on with the goal? Or do I change my mind and listen to myself? Do you see the conflict here?

It's about trust. We trust ourselves and we trust God. And if we trust and listen we'll know when to make the change and when to keep pushing forward. I'm counting on that one here.

Rahahaha, bonus points to anyone who managed to reach it to this point in the post :) It is what it is and I shan't apologize for that. My working theory is that the quality of these posts will improve over time. Thanks for reading friends. It's great to be back. I'll catch y'all soon.