Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Traditions

When I was a small child, my family had a wonderful Christmas tradition, which unfortunately was discontinued when the children in my family grew up. My family owns a book, which contains 25 wonderful Christmas stories, one for every night leading up to Christmas. Every night the children would gather around my mother or father, often with a comfortable warm fire blazing in the background, and listen to stories of service and of love. It is one family tradition that I most utterly miss. I don't believe that my family has done these stories since I was about 8 years old. Now that I am 18 years old, the tradition has faded into the memories of me, my brother, and my sister, but I can still recall the magic that it brought into my life as a young child during the most magical of all seasons. For my blog post tonight, I would like to retell one of my most favorite stories entitled, "The Sixth Word."

Just a week before Christmas, I had a visitor, this is how it happened. I had just finished the household chores and was preparing to go to my bed, when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door of the front room, and to my surprise, Santa Claus himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree. He placed his fingers over his mouth so I would not cry out.

"What are you doing...?" I started to ask, but the words chocked up in my throat as I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone-gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know.

He then answered me with a simple statement of "Teach the children." I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood there bewildered, Santa said again, "Teach the children. Teach them the old meaning of Christmas-the meanings that Christmas nowadays has forgotten."

I started to say, "How can I..." when Santa reached into the toy bag and pulled out a brilliant shiny star.

"Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promise long ages ago. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was a sign of the fulfillment of that promise. The countless shining stars at night-one for each man- now show the burning hope of all mankind." Santa gently laid the star upon the fireplace mantle and drew forth from the bag a glittering red Christmas tree ornament.

"Teach the children that red is the first color of Christmas. It was first used by the faithful people to remind them of the blood which was shed for all the people by the Savior. Christ gave His life and shed His blood that every man might have God's gift of Eternal Life. Red is deep, intense, vivid-it is the greatest color of all. it is the symbol of the gift of God."

"Teach the children," he said as he dislodged a small Christmas tree from the depths of the toy bag. He placed it before the mantle and gently hung the red ornament on it. The deep green of the fir tree was a perfect background for the ornament. Here was the second color of Christmas.

"The pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round," he said. "This depicts the everlasting hope of mankind. green is the youthful, hopeful, abundant color of nature. All the needles point heavenward-symbols of Man's returning thoughts toward heaven. The great green tree has been man's best friend. It has sheltered him, warmed him, made beauty for him." Suddenly, I heard a soft tinkling sound.

"Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring for man to return to the fold-it means guidance and return. It further signifies that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord. As the soft sound of the bell faded into the night, Santa drew forth a candle. He placed it on the mantle and the soft glow from its tiny flame cast a glow about the darkened room. Odd shapes in shadows slowly dance and weaved upon the walls.

"Teach the children," whispered Santa, "that the candle shows man's thanks for the star of long ago. Its small light is the mirror of starlight. At first, candles were placed on the trees-they were like many glowing stars shining against the dark green. The colored lights have now taken over in remembrance."

Santa turned the small Christmas tree lights on and picked up a gift from under the tree. He pointed to the large bow and said, "A bow is placed on a present to remind us of the spirit of the brotherhood of man. We should remember that the bow is tied as men should be tied, all of use together, with the bonds of good will toward each other. Good will forever is the message of the bow."

Santa slung his bag over his shoulder and began to reach for the candy cane placed high on the tree. He unfastened it and reached out toward me with it.

"Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherd's crook. The crook on the staff helps bring back the strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane represents the helping hand we should show at Christmas time. The candy cane is the symbol we are our brother's keepers."

As Santa looked about the room, a feeling of satisfaction shone in his face. He read wonderment in my eyes, and I am sure he sensed admiration for this night.

He reached into his bag and brought forth a large holly wreath. He placed it on the door and said, "Please teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love; it never ceases, stops, or ends. It is the one continuous round of affection. The wreath does double duty. It is made of many things and in many colors. It should remind us of all the things of Christmas."

Santa's face seemed to light up in the darkness as a smile creeped up his rosy cheeks. A tear ran down his face and got lost in his big white beard. "Goodbye my friend," he said, and in the blink of an eye Santa disappeared. A melodious whisper seemed to float on the wind after Santa left, "Please teach the Children"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harry Potter



It seems like everyone is blogging about Harry Potter right now, so I will add my blog to the list of everybody's blog. From the first time I read the Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone, I was hooked. Harry Potter was my favorite book ever. I grew up with the boy, what do you expect. My sister and I even loved playing Hogwarts when we were children. I even convinced myself that when I turned eleven, my acceptance letter to Hogwarts would come, and I would be whisked away to a magical land, wherein my magical training could commence. I looked forward to the quidditch matches I would be involved in, and the hexes I would shoot at my enemies. Sadly, I grew up, and my imaginative relativity quickly became only my imagination. I continued reading however. I read of Harry's tales of fighting Basilisks, winning wild quidditch matches, snogging girls, fighting dragons, Winning triwizard cups, a kind old man named Albus Dumbldore, rivalry battles with Draco Malfoy, also fighting the dark lord Voldemort. I read recently in an article that JK Rowling's Harry Potter series had sold over 400 million books, which made her the first billionaire author ever and the Harry Potter movies, have so far made 5.5 billion dollars, which does not include the first part of movie number seven, and part two as well.
JK Rowling's books also made the number of people that read books, go up. When her first book was released people hardly read at all. During the years that all seven books were written and released, the world saw the number of readers go up drastically. The Harry Potter novels were translated into 67 languages, so it's no wonder why we saw that number go up. Now that all the books have been released the world is seeing the number of readers decline again, which makes me sad. Reading can introduce people to all kinds of wonders.
Now that the Harry Potter books are done, and the movies are almost done, a sadness creeps up my limbs. I'll always have the books and movies yes, but the suspense of when the next movie or book being release is gone. Harry Potter is all grown up, and now I suppose I have to grow up as well. Thank you JK Rowling for introducing me to the wondrous, magical world of Hogwarts, where all things are possible. Thank you Harry Potter, for your brave tales of valor. I'll join you at Hogwarts in my imagination.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vertigo

Yesterday I was diagnosed with vertigo. Apparently my ears have filled up with fluid, which cancels out the balancing feature of my head. Basically every time I move just slightly, I get incredibly dizzy. Not just spin in a circle buzzed dizzy. Like merry-go-round as fast as you can, then getting off and can't even stand up dizzy. It pretty much sucks. I don't recommend getting it. Sunday night was full of vomiting and dizziness. With a small convulsion, which was fun I must say....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sacrament talk

So I'm giving a talk in sacrament meeting in ten hours and 7 minutes, so enjoy my talk on the Stripling warriors!



Good morning brothers and sisters. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is James Daniel. I’m 18 years old, I grew up in Provo, Utah, but I’ve lived in California twice, Colorado, and Indiana. Most people, who know me, know that I have two loves: Baseball and piano. I’ve been playing and watching baseball for about 8 years, and I’ve been playing the piano for even longer. There are 142 days until my mission papers can be sent into Salt Lake and 268 days until my 19th birthday, so I’m pretty excited to serve a mission. I am currently a political science major at Weber State University, and that’s about it for me.
My purpose today is to speak to you about the 2,000 stripling warriors, and the lessons that we can learn from studying about them. Growing up in primary I had two favorite scripture stories. First was the story of Ammon chopping off all the Lamanite robber’s arms, and let’s face it, what ten old boy isn’t going to love a story about arms being chopped off. Second was the story of Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors. Reading about them in the 53rd and 56th chapter of Alma is always a delight, and I am very excited to discuss the wonderful lessons we learn from these fine young men.
About 90 years before the coming of Christ, the Ammonite people, converted by Ammon, made a wonderful covenant with the Lord to bury their weapons of war deep in the Earth. They covenanted that “they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands.”
About 26 years later, the war between the Nephites and Lamanites pressured the Ammonites to break their covenant, and to fight to protect their families and religion. They saw the sacrifice that the Nephites were making for them, and they were “desirous to take up arms in the defence of their country.” A man named Helaman prevented these men from breaking their covenant, and in the process saved their souls. In 53rd chapter of Alma, we read of the sons of the Ammonites, who did not make a covenant with the Lord. In defense of their people, they take up arms, and Helaman takes command of these 2,000 sons of the Ammonites. To make a long story short, the stripling warriors are involved in multiple battles, and to Helaman’s astonishment, none of the 2,000 warriors died.
From the stripling warrior’s mighty example, we can learn of many very important lessons, however I would like to focus on 3. The first is faith. When the stripling warriors went into battle, they had no battle experience at all. They had never as much as picked up a weapon, and yet they had no fear when they went into battle against the Lamanites. They knew that if they did not doubt that God would deliver them and keep them safe. Alma 56: 47 says, “Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives.” Like the Stripling warriors, what aspects of our lives can we go into with no fear? For me, it was moving away from home. I’m 18 years old. I was scared to death to move away for the first time away from my family. My first two weeks here in Ogden were miserable, and I had no idea what to do. I missed my family terribly; I still hadn’t made a whole lot of new friends. I was figuratively in my own personal war against an army of Lamanites. Fear is a big part of everybody’s life, but the thing that destroys fear and gives you hope is faith. When you exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you can conquer entire legions of Lamanite armies. Eventually, I exercised faith and I was able to make friends, and the homesickness and fear dissolved into strength and courage. I know that using faith is easier said than done, but in Alma 56:56, we get to see the results of when the stripling warriors used their faith. Helaman says, “But behold, to my great joy there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war.” Not only did none of the Stripling warriors perish, but they scared the Lamanites so much, that they surrendered! And they had never fought before! I imagine looking upon an army of Lamanite soldiers can be quite an intimidating thing, and yet they did not fear. Similar in our life, when we see figurative Lamanite armies and we do not fear, we can do the same things that the stripling warriors did, we will fight against our opposition with mighty power, and eventually we will scare it off. Our fears become scared of us.
The second lesson that we can learn, is obeying the words of our parents. Alma 56:47-48 says, “Yea, they had been taught by their mothers that if they did not doubt, god would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.” The Family A Proclamation To The World says, “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live” Parent’s roles are so very important in children’s lives. We can see the effects of righteous parents with the stripling warriors. Their mothers helped them develop such incredible faith, that they conquered multiple armies of the Lamanites. That means that today our parents can do a similar thing. I don’t believe I could have conquered my fear of moving out to Ogden, without the faith and courage that my parents taught me. What an awesome responsibility we will have when we become parents. We will have the ability to teach our children how to conquer any problem, and how to use and exercise faith. And after we teach them faith, they can bring forth mighty miracles.
The third lesson that we learn, is that of good missionary attributes. Alma 53:20-21 lists many attributes that described the stripling warriors that can help us become good missionaries. They were exceedingly valiant for courage; they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. They were men of truth and soberness. They kept the commandments of God and walked uprightly before him. Elder Ballard in a Liahona article said, “While we are profoundly grateful for the many members of the Church who are doing great things in the battle for truth and right, I must honestly tell you it still is not enough. We need much more help. And so, as the people of Ammon looked to their sons for reinforcement in the war against the Lamanites, we look to you, my young brethren and sisters of the Church. We need you. Like Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors, you also are the spirit sons and daughters of God, and you too can be endowed with power to build up and defend His kingdom. We need you to make sacred covenants, just as they did. We need you to be meticulously obedient and faithful, just as they were…What we need now is the greatest generation of missionaries in the history of the Church. We need worthy, qualified, spiritually energized missionaries who, like Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors, are “exceedingly valiant for courage and also for strength and activity” and who are “true at all times in whatsoever thing they [are] entrusted” (Alma 53:20).
Listen to those words, my young brethren and sisters: valiant, courage, strength, active, true. We don’t need spiritually weak and semicommitted young men and woman. We don’t need you to just fill a position; we need your whole heart and soul. We need vibrant, thinking, passionate missionaries who know how to listen to and respond to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. This isn’t a time for spiritual weaklings. We cannot send you on a mission to be reactivated, reformed, or to receive a testimony. We just don’t have time for that. We need you to be filled with “faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God” (D&C 4:5).”
Although we have no record of the stripling warriors serving full time missions, their example can help everybody be better missionaries, even if you are not officially called as a full-time missionary. It will help those brothers and sisters serving full time missions, but it will also help those who do not go on missions, and those who have returned from serving missions. Those who have returned from serving missions, your work is not yet done. When living by these attributes, you can be such an example to those who are not of our faith, and serve all of God’s children. These attributes can also apply to magnifying your calling. If everybody were to serve in their callings with these kinds of attributes, can you imagine how our church would be? Can you imagine the kind of missionaries that the church could produce, if all the young men in our church lived by these qualities?
The stripling warriors are an incredible group of young men, from whom we can and have learned many valuable lessons. Their tale is incredible, and the lessons we learn from them are priceless. There is a very important reason why Moroni included their story in the Book of Mormon, and we cannot ignore the multiple lessons we learn from them. I touched on just a few, the more you read of their account, the more lessons you will learn.
I know that this church is true. It cannot be false. I know that Joseph Smith, did see the Father and the son in the Sacred Grove. I know that the Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God, and that is God's word to us on the Earth today. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that he did atone for all of my sins, and all of your sins. I know that President Monson is God's prophet on the Earth today, and that he receives God's will for his children today. In this I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Quotes

Yes it is currently 1:06 in the morning, and yes I am completing a blog post right now. My friends a floor above me recently began the process of completing a quote "door" in which they post random quotes written upon post it upon their door. In a similar fashion I will post some of my favorite quotes from my college experience on my lovely blog.

Diego:"Your shirt is so red, did you join a Nazi group or something?"
Kim:"No I didn't join a Nazi group..."
Limson:"Oh do you mean the relief society?"

Taylor:"Tanya your leg is so warm!"

Taylor:"Everybody should touch Tanya."

Nacho Libre:"Chancho. When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. It's for fun."

Megan: "Can't sleep - but too sleepy to get up and get the drugs. Surely, this is what hell is like."

Megan: "I feel like a butterfly hitchhiking on an airplane."

Megan: "There's no worse feeling than sitting on a warm toilet seat."

Kenna: "Ah, we meet again."

Diego,"What if Limson were black?"
Kinsley,"Then he would look like Michael Jackson."

James,"What if Vance gave birth to a unicorn."
Heather,"Then I would be seriously disturbed!"


You have just experienced some of the most lovely quotes I have experienced in college. I certainly hope you enjoyed them, and got some sort of giggle from them. Perhaps in the future I'll have a new assorted batch of quotes that are possibly profound or life changing, However i seriously doubt that since my friends are the funny sort of people, rather than the profound sort of people. They give Michael Jackson quotes, rather than the quotes given by Ghandi.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm sick of school

Today I had the disgusting thought of how many more years I will be in school... at least 7 more years (9 if you include mission time). Yuck. I'll be 27 by the time I am done with all my schooling. If I'm sick of college now, one semester into my college experience, I can't stomach the thought of graduating with a doctorate degree 9 years in the future. 9 years! That is how old my youngest sister is, and it seems like forever ago she was born. I cannot express my distaste toward 14 more semesters of college. Good thing I'll get a two year respite from my mission I suppose!

mission countdowns
122 days until I start my papers
153 days until my papers go in
275 days until my 19th birthday!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Conference

One of my favorite talks from general conference was Elder Ballard's talk, "O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One." He spoke very movingly on devices that Satan uses to ensnare and capture us with. He made a very impressive analogy between a fly fisherman hand carving a lure to capture a fish. He said, "The goal of the fly fisherman is to catch trout through skillful deception. The adept fisherman studies trout behavior, weather, the water current, and the types of insects trout eat and when those insects hatch. He will often craft by hand the lures he uses. He knows these artificial insects embedded with tiny hooks need to be a perfect deception because the trout will identify even the slightest flaw and reject the fly." He compared this to how Satan "handcrafts" his lures to ensnare the children of God. One of the traps that Satan uses in our modern days, is addictions. Elder Ballard spoke of the usual addictions that plagues our world today, but he added a new addiction to the list. One I had never thought as something that could be addicting. Elder Ballard spoke of the technology that addicts us as a human race. He said, "There is also great concern about some of the pernicious, addictive behaviors like gambling and evil pornography that are so personally destructive and so rampant in our society. Remember, brothers and sisters, any kind of addiction is to surrender to something, thus relinquishing agency and becoming dependent. Thus, video-gaming and texting on cell phones need to be added to the list. Some gamers claim to spend up to 18 hours a day going through level after level of video games, neglecting all other aspects of their lives. Texting on cell phones can become an addiction, causing the important interpersonal human communication to become lost. Not long ago a bishop told me two of his youth were standing side by side texting one another rather than talking to each other." I have never thought that I could ever be addicted to texting, but now looking back, I can see that I have been! Another technology that can be addicting is that of Facebook. I spend WAY too much time on Facebook, keeping myself updated on aspects of people's lives, that I just frankly don't care too much about, and yet, I can't stop! Every time I log onto firefox, I find myself automatically typing in Facebook's web address. Technology should be use for furthering the gospel, and every time something comes along to further the gospel, Satan jumps in with his counterfeit. Trying to ensnare us in something to prevent us from furthering God's plan for His children. Use the advancements of technology for good, not for your own pleasure! I know I have things to work on!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Disclaimer

I wrote my last blog post before president Uchtdorf's talk in the October 2nd priesthood session of general conference. I had no idea he would speak on almost the exact same thing!

I'm slowly begninng to hate sports

Don't get me wrong I LOVE sports. I do enjoy watching sports, but the rivalries are draining my love for it. For example I love BYU, but because I love BYU I am expected to hate the U of U. I think the U of U is a fine school, and i think they have fine athletic programs. I was reading some comments on my friend's facebook status about Utah State's win over BYU, and the things this young man was saying about BYU and my religon was terrible. I don't understand how anybody can have such hate and enmity towards a school, and every person that attends that school. I think rivalries could be a fun simple things, but people take them WAY too far. The BYU and U of U rivalry is now completely blown out of proportion, and the people who are participating in the awful fight, frankly need to grow up. People attending and participating in the rivalry are in college, they are seen as adults in the United State's eyes, and they behave like spoiled children. As Elder Quentin L. Cook said in the second session of general conference, "treat ever person as a son and daughter of God. The fact that I am now prone to get in an argument every time my favorite team loses to Utah University, or any sports team in general, has completely ruined the enjoyment of watching sports. Fans all over the world, please... just grow up.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why can't we be friends?

Chunky peanut butter or smooth peanut butter? The two types of peanut butter seem to be bitter rivals. Like BYU and U of U, it seems like you can't like either one, unless you are a weirdo. I'm one of those weirdos who enjoys both chunky and smooth peanut butter. Both have delicious peanutty benefits, and it doesn't seem like either has a negative side to it. You get your nice "crunch" from the peanut butter, and the nice smooth feeling from the smooth. Why everybody can't enjoy both styles is beyond me. Every time I mention that I enjoy both styles, I get very odd looks back. Nobody enjoys both! Peanut butter is peanut butter, it doesn't matter the texture of the peanut butter. Stop arguing! Just enjoy the sweet peanutty taste of peanut butter!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I like college

I'm starting to enjoy college now. Here is a list of my favorite things. (In no particular order)

1. Playing a piano with four broken keys
2. Losing 6 pounds in four weeks
3. Playing spoons until 2 in the morning
4. Playing ward volleyball with 20 teammates
5. Pita Pit
6. 4 games of bowling for $5.00
7. Having my roommate disappear for a week
8. Getting drenched with foam
9. Having my name appear on a fridge for no apparent reason
10. Taking 9 tests in 2 weeks
11. Tripping on every staircase I walk on
12. The football practice horn
13. Leaving the football game at halftime, then finding out that the game went into 4 overtimes, and Weber in fact won the game.
14. Seeing my bowling teacher at the football game without a shirt
15. Watching 5 seasons of the office in two weeks
16. Forgetting my ID, and running back to my dorm room to get it so I can get into a class
17. Having one of my coworkers leaving work early because he was too hungover
18. Leaving my ID at pizza factory
19. Remember the Titans
20. Discovering that Oreos are dark brown, not black.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

History of Music

So i haven't blogged in quite a while.... ha sorry. Anyway I wrote this Essay about my own personal music history. Hope everyone enjoys it!


My first memory of being exposed to music was ten years and 36 days ago. On my 8th birthday my sweet mother introduced me to the beauty of the piano through formal piano lessons. Very rapidly in my studies of the piano I was introduced to wondrous and beauty melodies of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. While I was learning basic musical theory and classical style music on the piano, my mother once again introduced me to music coupled with words, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Although I did receive many queer looks from my schoolmates when I informed them that my favorite music was classical, I was very proud of my musical tastes. The combination of classical music and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir served as a base to my favorite musical styles for years to come.
After my 8th birthday, the only music I can recall listening to (other than piano music I was playing and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) was in the movies that I watched. I quickly developed a taste for musical scores from movies. In fact, the first song I ever purchased was a song from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and I still enjoy musical scores today. Through grade school and seventh grade I participated in the band programs as a percussionist to stay involved with orchestra type music. I even won a student of the year award, and from that award I was able to obtain an acoustic guitar. I quickly set to work teaching myself the rhythms of the acoustic guitar, and I still have a small knowledge of that instrument today. By 8th grade I was able to play the piano, the acoustic guitar, snare drums, bass drums, vibraphone, xylophone, and many more percussion instruments fluently.

When I entered 8th grade, I quickly found my musical selection changing. Because of my background in piano, acoustic guitar, and percussion, I was drawn to music that had primarily those three instruments. In time I found my favorite artists: The Fray, Jack Johnson, and Jon Schmidt. All three have piano, guitar, or percussion as the main instrument portrayed. While I do enjoy other types of music; the more piano, acoustic guitar, or percussion a song has in the song, the more drawn I am to enjoy it. My background with these three instruments helps me relate to the song better.
Music to me is a way to serve. A wise man once told me, “May you have the sense of using your talent as a means of bringing beauty and joy into the lives of others.”I believe that music is a way to uplift and make people feel good. I strive to use the music that I play to serve people. I consider myself a musician, and as such I make music quite often. While I love playing music, I still love to listen to other artists as a consumer. Listening to other artists as a consumer helps me also as a musician. It helps me imagine new music puzzle pieces that I put together when I create my own music.
I enrolled in Music 1010 hoping that it would be an introductory course on musical theory. I was sorely disappointed on my first day of music 1010. I took the class because of the fine arts credit offered, but I stay because of the fascinating information I learn about my own craft. From learning the history of music, I can provide a more melodic future for music.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

college

The first three days of living on my own have been hard. I've never experienced homesickness before, but I do now. It seems like I can't concentrate in my classes, nor can I make any friends, because I seem so down and depressed. Added upon my homesickness is my desire to know what I want to be when I grow up. I get nervous every time I ponder about it. I switched my major from athletic training to general education, which cost me almost 300 more dollars extra in book fees because the Weber State bookstore won't give me a refund on my athletic training books, because I took the plastic off the books. Added upon all of that is my lack of a job and friends. searching for a part time job in our current economy is frustrating to say the least. the only way that I can get through college is to find a job to support myself. It's been a lonely three days for me. My dorm room is the worst prison cell on the face of the planet. It seems like a weightlifter had dropped a dozen 700 pound weights on my back, and I have to carry those around from class to class. I'm so scared, and there is only one piece of knowledge that will help me get through this: My knowledge of my savior's atonement. My elder brother, Jesus Christ, suffered the agonies of Gethsemane so that I can return to live to my Heavenly Father again. In the third chapter of Mosiah, seventh verse, we read, "And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people." Christ knows exactly how I feel right now. He suffered for it in the Atonement. I'll never be alone with His atonement in mind, and that goes for everyone. He knows what you have experienced, and He is anxious to help you.
I also found words of comfort in section 121 in the Doctrine and Covenants. Verse 7 and 8 read, "My son, peace be unto thy soul: thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." Later in the section it speaks of Job, the "perfect" man from the book of Job. We all know of his trials, he lost everything he had, and then lost even more. I am not yet as Job, so I guess I should stop complaining. I'll get through this. I know I will. Pray for me!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Last Day

Today is my last full day in Provo. It is my last day living in the place I've called home for 18 days. It is the last day I have the security of my home surrounding me. It is the last day that I will sleep in a comfortable queen sized bed, before moving to a less comfortable dorm sized bed. Needless to say I'm a bit nervous to set out on my own. I think the nervousness cancels out my excitement. I guess that's part of growing up though right?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Family Vacation 2010 Pictures













Family Vaction

Today I got home from my family vacation from Island Park. We left Sunday after my ordination as an Elder, then arrived at my aunt and uncle's house four hours later. we spent the night there, then woke up at 6:30 the following morning. Me, my sister, and my cousin saddled up her horses and helped my uncle round up his cattle. We spent all morning riding horses and rounding up cattle to send to a feeding farm so our fellow Americans can enjoy the privilege of eating meat. After our adventure as cowboys and cowgirls we began driving to the cabin we would stay in for three days. On the way we stopped at Mesa Falls.


After our brief intervention at Mesa Falls, we arrived at our cabin and hour later. Our first night consisted of board games, movies, and food. After our first night in very comfortable beds, we left to go to Yellowstone National Park. It was my fist time going there in almost 10 years. We drove around for hours, visiting various geysers, and watching the geysers spurt water swiftly out of the ground. Then almost immediately as the boiling water reacted with the air, it turned into steam. We even got to watch "old faithful" exploded with a very large geyser. In fact the largest in North America.

video

After our encounter with Old Faithful we drove another two hours, passing the most beautiful tress and lakes. When you looked at the lake, you couldn't tell when the lake ended and the sky begun. The sky and the mountains were reflected off the water, making the most beautiful image in the lake. On our two hour drive to the upper and lower falls we faced a herd of bison. They decided to ignore the masses of honking cars and walk into the road, backing up traffic for miles.

We finally made it past the bison and proceed to view the upper and lower falls of Yellowstone park. The upper waterfall was a swirling flurry of water, rushing down a 100 foot drop. The lower waterfall was comparable to my favorite waterfall, havasu falls in the grand canyon. The lower fall was at least double the height of its upper counterpart and at least double the ferocity and beauty.

After our visit to the two falls our trip to Yellowstone was over. We survived the herd of bison and the 5/8 of a mile hike to both the falls. we survived at least 6 hours in the car going only 10 miles an hour most of the time. Yellowstone is a beautiful place.

We drove back to our homely cabin and played more board games, then promptly went to sleep. Our eyelids were struggling to stay open after our third game of 1-100. We awoke this morning and drove home! That was my 2010 family vacation.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Writer's block

Sometimes I have writer's block... thus preventing me from writing a interesting blog piece. I apologize for my lack of engaging ideas and thoughts. Unfortunately my thoughts are swirling in a bit of a haze right now, and they refuse to settle just long enough for me to write a blog post. So until my thoughts stop their thrill ride in my head, I cannot access them to entertain readers. Hopefully you could entertain yourself with a nice snack, or perhaps a relaxing nap. It may be a while before I write something worth reading.


5 days until my birthday

21 days until i move out

23 days until classes start

Friday, July 23, 2010

Final days as a child

While I was at work sorting shoes, a thought hit me like a sledgehammer. I have 13 days of childhood left. I feel a unique link to one of my childhood heroes, Peter Pan. I have a longing to stay a youth forever and never grow up. Already as my days as a child are dwindling I feel the pressures of being an adult. Things like paying for college, living on my own, relying on my own strengths and wits to survive on my own. While I feel prepared from my parent's teachings and example, I am scared to death to become an adult and be responsible for everything. Although I am very excited for some of the perks of being an adult, I wish to be like Sir James Matthew Barrie's legendary character. To stay young forever, to not have a care in the world, except to have fun all the day long. I'll miss my youth days, but I guess I'll need to face my adulthood head on. That must be a big part of becoming an adult. Growing up is a bit frightening, but that's life

Friday, July 9, 2010

When I'm bored

When I'm bored I go through all my old files. Today I found a design I made for the Timpview Video Announcements.

video


I thought it was way cool when I made it! It took me close to 8 hours to complete it. I may or may have not mimicked the TNT symbol, and changed it for my own personal design. They can't sue me or anything if I changed it right?......





Summer countdown
3 (Basically 2) days until Lake Powell!!!!!

27 days until my birthday

43 days until I move out - I found out who my roommate is today!

45 days until college classes start

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Parents


My parents wrote this about me when I graduated, a month ago today!


If you could personify someone with music, James would be a string of eighth notes. Everything James loves to do is fast, fun and light hearted.
James is the second child in our family. He was born in Lodi, CA and in his almost 18 years of life has moved 8 times; to 5 different states. He is a well-traveled young man.
He has a myriad of interests in his life. He love music and has since he was very small. James loves to make music with almost any instrument and plays the piano, xylophone, harmonica, guitar, trumpet and drums. If James is remotely bored or if he’s not, he’s making music somewhere. At the age of eight, we started James with piano lessons at the suggestion of a friend. James had (and still has) handwriting that is terrible. A friend suggested that the piano would strengthen his fine motor muscles and his handwriting might improve. While his handwriting did improve slightly from the lessons, it almost wasn’t worth having to listen to him play the Indian song, reveille or that circus one that woke us up every morning. He has always played fast and loud and those beginning songs were no different, just ear shattering. But as we look back now, we know that those loud initial songs were worth it. We love to listen to him practice now. He has loved the piano since his first lesson. I think in all the years he took lessons, we only had to ask to practice a few times. He just loved to play. It’s typical for James even now to choose songs that are fast and happy. It’s rare to hear him play something slow or reflective and when he does, we know his mood matches it. He uses music to serve others and will play peaceful, calming music when he knows someone needs it. On the night we waited for President Christiansen to come to our house to set Ben apart as a missionary we were all feeling the stress of knowing Ben would leave the next day for 2 years. James sat at the piano for the longest time playing hymns and classical music. I’m not sure if it was for him or for us, but it gave us all peace and brought the spirit to our home in abundance. It set the tone for the evening.
James’ other big love in life is sports. He is a die-hard Cardinals fan and loves the Colts too. He’s played baseball for Timpview since the summer before he started there as a freshman. Altogether including summer ball, Fall ball and the regular spring season, James has played 13 seasons of baseball wearing blue and orange. They may not have won them all, but James left his heart on the field with every game. He’s played every single position during his 4 years of high school baseball, but center field is where he’s played the most. We love watching him run for fly ball. He’s so fast that those balls rarely get away from him. He made some great diving catches this year too. This year he also hit his first and second out-of-the-park home runs. He’s a leader on and off the field and it’s been a great year to watch him play. He also loves to play basketball and has enjoyed all his Aaronic Priesthood years of church ball. This was our Ward’s third time in a row to win the Stake title and move on to region play.
This year James was on student council and split the video coordinator responsibilities with a friend. He’s made some fun movies and had some great ideas. He’s learned to create special effects that we love to watch. He’s logged more 50 service hours this year in student council. It’s been a great experience for him.
James did his Eagle project as a freshman. He didn’t actually have it awarded to him until he was a sophomore though, because it took him a year to write it up and turn it in. His love for baseball was evident as he chose to paint the dug outs at Timpview for his project. He had friends, family, and our ward family all helping and together they logged close to 150 service hours.
As a baby, James learned to sign. At 10 months he could ask for milk, a cookie or a bath. Sign language has always come easy to him. As a child, we had to send him to preschool to learn how to talk. He much preferred to sign. He wouldn’t talk to people that he didn’t know at all; he’d only sign to them. His sign skills have always been strong, and even though he and Ben have had their disagreements, they could always communicate with each other. Tomorrow night we’ll go to the honors awards where to watch James receive a certificate for the letter he earned in World Languages, from his 3 years of ASL.
We’re so proud of James! He works hard all the time. We know this last semester has been difficult for him with his 2 best friends and favorite role models gone; Ben and Madison. Seeing them both leave on missions has been hard for him. He misses them, but also it makes him want to go on a mission now. He doesn’t want to wait a year. He’s preparing now for a mission and we know that he will be a great missionary next year. Heidi hopes he gets called to the Provo mission so he’s close by. James hopes for something a lot farther away.
So congratulations to James! In the fall he’ll leave for Weber State. He’s planning to major in sports medicine. He know that he will succeed at everything he does and he’ll do it with a smile on his face.


My parents are wonderful! I love them so much. Thanks for everything you have taught me you two!! Also this is my 30th blog post! Congrats to me!

Friday, June 25, 2010

I don't know what day it is?

One of my favorite feelings of summer is not knowing what day it is. I awoke with a smile this morning when I came to the realization that I had no clue what day of the week it was. I don't know why I enjoy it so much. It must be that freedom of summer that everyone enjoys. Sadly I had to discover what day it was shortly after I woke up so I could remember if I had to work today. Just so everyone knows, it is Friday June 25th, 2010, and i am working today at pirate island!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

summer countdown

19 Days until Lake Powell
43 Days until my Birthday
59 Days until I move out

That's all I have to look forward to this summer... I need more things to do haha

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm learning a new song


I'm learning a new song on the piano. The corpse bride piano duet from the movie Corpse bride. I convinced my friend, Bethany Meldrum, to play the corpse bride's part, while I play Victor's part.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sometimes

After I finish work at Pirate Island, I won't change from my costume.



It is surprisingly comfortable. I guess it's a bit strange that I don't want to take it off.........

I've blogged for three days straight! It's a new record! Or maybe I should get a life....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer


My 25 favorite summer things

1. The sun doesn't go down until after nine
2. The smell of freshly mowed grass
3. Baseball is one of the few sports going on!
4. Waking up after 9:00
5. Body Surfing
6. The smelling of candles at a certain craft store
7. Eating all day long
8. the grilling of meats
9. Death Threats while playing Mario Kart
10. Texting old friends
11. Crazy Steve
12. Staying up late Watching movies
13. Office and Avatar marathons
14. Wendy's runs
15. Dressing up like a pirate
16. Star gazing
17. Becoming tan
18. Swimming as much as I desire
19. Movie nights
20. Pineapple
21. Two hour jam sessions on the piano
22. Summer Sunsets
23. Upsetting small Irishman
24. Cooking delicious chicken
25. The smell of summer rain.

These are not in any specific order, just some of my favorite sensations and things to do in the summer. I love the summer!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Alas

I have nothing to blog about. I know I've been lagging, and at the same time depriving my beloved blog readers about my insights and thoughts. I must apologize for my massive writer's block, and hope for better blog posts in the future. Let's hope for the best. Maybe I'll win some award for some future blog post? Oh well, a guy can dream right? Ha ha.


28 days until Lake Powell
52 days until my 18th birthday
68 days until I move out
295 days until I can start my papers!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ah life

Tomorrow is graduation. It is an odd feeling to be finished with high school. After tomorrow I am no longer a senior in high school, but a freshmen in college. Oh the joys of being a freshman (heavy sarcasm). At least being a freshman won't be as awful the second time through. My voice has already changed, thus reducing the amount of voice cracks, girls are not taller than me anymore, and I am not the scrawny, weak, awkward freshman I was the first time. I'm pretty excited for college. Ogden should be good for me! Hopefully I don't freeze to death up there. Senior Ball was last Friday! It was great! I went with Hilary Ammons! Great Way to finish up my senior year.

Here are my countdowns!

Tomorrow is Graduation!!
8 Days until youth conference at Utah State
47 Days until my Lake Powell trip
71 Days until my 18th birthday
87 Days until i move out
314 Days until i can start my mission papers
436 Days until my 19th birthday and I can go on a mission!!!!!

Do you think I am starting my countdown for my mission too soon?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Piano

I can never walk past my piano without sitting down and pressing some notes out of my piano. She is always calling to me and tempting me with her lustrous keys. Eventually I submit to the temptations happily. My fingers and her keys fuse together, and together we create streams of melodies that flow into listener's ears like the Provo River flowing into Utah Lake. The warm feeling of friction soon develops on the tips of my fingers, and I realize just how much I love playing the piano.


Senior Ball tomorrow! I'm certainly excited. Seven Days until graduation too. Also I lettered in World languages and student leadership today. Wohoo?...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mosiah 23:21

So I found a new favorite scripture from an email that my brother sent me, Mosiah 23:21. "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. I must admit when I first read this verse it left me a bit frustrated, why does the Lord need to try my patience?! I suppose the verse clicked for me today after my seminary lesson on faith. Faith is much more than passive belief. You express your faith through action—by the way you live. In the 12th chapter of Ether in the sixth verse the prophet Moroni gives a great explanation on faith. "And now, I Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."

The last line of this verse is key, "ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." We must take a leap of faith, much like Indiana Jones in the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. We must put all our trust in God, he will never let us fall! Through a trial of patience and faith, you can receive a witness, and because of that witness your testimony will be strengthened by the power of the holy ghost.

Moroni is a perfect example of this principle. Later in chapter 12 Moroni is worried about his weakness in writing his language. In verse 23 Moroni says, . . ." for Lord hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing." Moroni speaks with so much power, that he cannot possibly write them down. Moroni and his father, Mormon, take a HUGE leap of faith writing and compiling the Book of Mormon. They had to trust that the Lord would help them write this Book for our day. The Lord did try Moroni and Mormon's patience while they worked on the Book of Mormon. Because of their steadfastness through this frustrating time, they received a witness that the Book of Mormon would become the keystone of the future church.

Anyway I thought this was pretty sweet! The Book of Mormon is just amazing. There are so many cool principles! Thank goodness that Joseph Smith restored the gospel and translated the Book of Mormon right?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why am I going to school again?

Yesterday in A.P World , we watched Rocky IV..... then in seminary we talked about terrorists... ..... Then in A.S.L we played a game.... WOW..... senioritis is affecting all the more since we are not doing anything in any of my classes. I have one more final then I am done with school, but still have to attend for two more weeks. Gah school needs to be over.

Here are my countdowns ....

8 days until senior ballBold10 days until seminary graduation
14 days until graduation
60 days until lake powell
84 days until I become an adult
100 days until I move out.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

weather

I found out today that it is supposed to snow this week. Utah are you freaking kidding me?! It is April 27th! We are roughly three days out of May and it is still going to snow?! IT IS SPRING! Not winter... ugh i am so sick of this blasted snow! Snow can die for all I care. I wish it would be spring and summer the entire year round.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Days until....

29 Days until Seminary Graduation
33 Days until School Graduation
103 Days until my Birthday
119 Days until I move out........


Holy crap..........

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Baseball


I honestly think that instead of a heart, I have a baseball pumping blood through my body. I got to watch UVU play a baseball game today, and it reminded me just how much I love this game. Baseball has to be divinely inspired, I mean baseball is the only game on Earth where the object is to get home. I love the mentality behind baseball, you fail about 70% in this game, and that's only if you are good. You just have to man up and keep playing hard, I believe it correlates directly off the baseball field as well. Having the ability to forget your failure and keep working hard to succeed. How can you not love baseball? I don't understand those people who say baseball is boring. If you pay attention, there is so much more excitement and mentally stimulating aspects then in football or baseball. Sure when the pitcher is pitching to the batter the game can move slow, but when the ball is in play it is so much faster than any other game on Earth. Next time you watch a baseball game, I strongly encourage you to pay attention to the little details that make baseball the most exciting game on Earth.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gosh I love Jack Johnson. I could listen to him forever and not get tired of him. "It's always better when we're together"


Life goes quick

It seems odd to me that I only have fifty days of high school left. It seems like just yesterday I was an awkward little kid in 8th grade, and now I am about to be thrust out into the real world where in I have to obtain a full time job to pay for my college tuition. In four or so months I'll have moved out of my home and into a college dorm. Goodness life moves fast. Pretty soon I'll be on my LDS mission and that seems so far away, but it'll be here just like that. It seems like I should still be a freshmen.
Also I hit a three run home run last Saturday, my first region home run, just in case you were wondering...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

wow...

Wow.... the last time I wrote on my blog was sept. 2nd. I do apologize for neglecting my dear blog spot with the one or two followers.... I do apologize for any distraught I may have caused you.
So I decided that Utah weather is AWFUL!!!!! Today when I left Timpview for a nice lunch, it was a beautiful 50 degrees. An hour after school ended we had a bit of a blizzard. So much for our opening day of baseball on Monday. Baseball is pretty miserable in the snow so hopefully Utah's bipolar weather will decided to pick either winter or spring so it'll stop driving me completely bonkers.