The Cunning Plan

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Okay, I need to preface this by saying that I DETEST that expression. For one thing, it sounds totally tacky. Also, we know that it’s completely untrue, and is in fact a considerably irresponsible mindset. You do not only live once. Also, I hope this doesn’t sound preachy or self-righteous. It’s just some thoughts I’ve concocted over the last few days.

Anyway… In Sunday School last week, my teacher mentioned that some people are upset that others who party and mess around and do whatever they want may ultimately achieve the same reward as those who live righteously. She said they “kind of get the best of both worlds” because they “get to do both”.

That really puzzled me, because I can’t think of a single sin that I’d be happy I “got to” commit. The truth is, there is no such thing as a worthwhile sin, there is no such thing as an action without a consequence, and there is no such thing as forgiveness without repentance. No matter what we do, or how small the sin is, we still have to repent, which is indeed a process and must be completed by everyone, no matter who they are or under what circumstances the sin was committed. Alma has plenty to say on this.

The response of one member of our class was that when we get to the other side and are able to see our lives, we will see both the good and bad, and only wish we’d been able to do better. In short, we will never at any time be glad we were able to sin. That’s that. If YOLO, then this would all be different, and nothing would actually matter.

I just want to say that I’m very grateful that we know that YDOLO, and we have the opportunity to repent and be forgiven. 22 days until I take off to share that message!!

7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be bmerry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.

2 Nephi 28:7-9

One of Those Lives

The other day on my bus ride to work, I had the unusual experience of sitting near a man without any legs. When I walked past him, I tried to smile, but he scowled back at me. At the next stop, the driver accidentally opened the wrong door twice, and in her embarrassment, said, “I guess it’s just one of those days.” and to those close to her, “Ever have one of those days?” In response, that man said, “Ever have one of those lives, where every day is one of those days?”

Awkward.

Most people don’t talk on the bus, so nobody responded to him, but what he said stuck with me all that day. One of those lives? Talk about sour attitude! I wanted to walk over to him and share words of encouragement, and discuss the Plan of Happiness or something, but my stop was next, so the opportunity was lost. In hindsight, I guess I don’t know if I would’ve had the courage anyway, because he was pretty darn grouchy.

Although I wasn’t able to talk to him and learn his story and why he’d come to feel about life the way he did, I was able to reflect on my life, and how it’s one of those lives where every day is my best day so far. Why is that? It’s because I know who I am, why I’m here, and where I’m going, and I have a clear understanding of what I need to be doing. What a blessing! Because of that, I’m just about to embark on a journey dedicated to sharing that message with as many people as I possibly can. I can’t wait.

Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God.

Being a Nerd

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I’ll say it straight up: I am a nerd. I acknowledge it, I accept it, and I embrace it. To some, this title might be insulting, and some intend it as such. But if you are a true Nerd, you will a) hesitate beginning a sentence with “but”, and b) never be phased such a gentle reminder of the passion within you.

Passion. “Nerd” is actually code for “Passionate”, and should be considered a compliment. I say if you aren’t “nerdy” about something, you’re a boring person. In fact, anyone who is truly great at something is so-called nerdy, because you have to be in order to attain that greatness.

I identify myself as a music nerd, which is inevitable as a Music major. As a college student, you are forced to become a “nerd” at whatever field of study you choose to pursue, because you are completely immersed in all things pertaining to that subject, appropriately yielding the title of Nerd, unless you are just mediocre at, and mildly invested in what you do.

I am also a Harry Potter nerd and a grammar nerd, two categories that are commonly associated with said title. Why aren’t pro athletes graced with the nerd association? Why do only certain categories of nerdy people have that privilege? I could also be a running nerd, a religion nerd, a pie nerd, a missionary nerd, and any number of other sorts of “nerds”. I would gladly accept it.

We need more nerds in this world. They are what make this world interesting.

Political Correctness

I’m doing my homework for my K-2 Math Methods class, and I come to a chapter about writing story problems. This is what the writer had to say:

“Naturally, teachers choose interesting problems that do not promote stereotypes. Women do not do all the shopping while men buy gas and cut the grass. Sensitivity to the cultural practices of each family helps teachers make wise choices. A problem about pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving may not relate to the everyday experiences of many children who eat sweet potato pie at the holiday feast or who don’t have holiday dinners.” 161

Oh boy. Complete craziness.

The idea of political correctness is especially prevalent at this… holiday… season. Holiday. Who chose which holidays are Holidays? I’m going to be honest– I get really offended when people wish me a happy Halloween*. Although I do celebrate it, there are some people who don’t support that wicked day, and we can’t risk offending them by being friendly. The best policy is to take offense if there’s even a slight possibility that someone somewhere could maybe be mildly offended by something. In fact, let’s just call Halloween a Holiday, and then we don’t have to worry about the consequences of spreading our joy by saying something nice to someone. It is a holiday, after all, and it comes just before Thanksgiving, so it only makes sense that we should strip it of its actual title and just stick it in the pile with the other days of celebration whose names are taboo.**

I was watching Fox News the other day, which is actually against my principles, but it was just on while I was eating dinner. This came on:

Wasn’t that great? I love it. I hope you watched the whole video.

*just kidding
**that was sarcasm

Recognizing Beauty

Sorry about the break. I was on vacation between semesters, and then it was the first week of Fall semester, so I decided to take just a small sabbatical. Now I’m back. 
I’d like to discuss my thoughts on recognizing beauty, because I really think it exists everywhere. I believe there is beauty in all things. 
But my question is– at what point to we accept and embrace the beauty we find, and at what point to we dismiss it because of the ugliness it that surrounds it? Do we find the best parts, or the worst parts?
On the one hand, I would say that we should absolutely find beauty in all things, and add it to what we have, and add to it what we can. Other churches can be looked at in this way. They all have portions of truth, and those we can recognize and even benefit from. There is so much that can enrich our lives if we allow, and there is so little progress to be had from identifying what is not enriching. 
However, is there harm in skipping over the bad parts? I suppose another way of expressing that is being oblivious. Is there anything wrong with being oblivious to the negative, while benefitting from the positive?

One example I’m thinking about is movies. I believe there can be great benefit from certain heavy material, such as the Holocaust, if done in the right way. Inappropriate entertainment for the sake of inappropriate entertainment is a waste of time and certainly harmful, and shouldn’t be considered. But I think some things have enough to offer that their cost could potentially be worth it. (As I said, these are just my thoughts. I’m formulating them as I type.) Some movies are really fantastic, except for… You know? There’s always that, “Except for this one scene…” that ruins it. Or does it have to ruin it?

What about friends? What if there are some really great parts of the relationship, but other really awful parts? What if there is a lot of good going on, but also some bad? What if progress is being made on some fronts, but digression is happening elsewhere? What if you could be there to help, even if you’re kind of getting hurt in the process? That is something real to consider.

I’m still torn, and I don’t know what to think. I’m all about finding the good in all things. I have a policy of never focusing on anything negative, and being positive as often as it is possible to be. But when is there a right time to be negative, and give up the good parts?

Where are your manners?

Have you listened to Chess in Concert? It is breath-taking. Have you listened to Schlinder’s List? It is sublime. Have you listened to Come Thou Fount by the BYU combined choirs? It is very moving. Have you watched If Guys Were Like Girls? It is hilarious. Have you heard Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in B-flat? It is exhilerating. Have you watched Happy Together, by the Piano Guys? They are so cool. Or Silent monks singing Hallelujah? It is extremely clever. And I could go on and on.

Do you know what all of these have in common, aside from awesomeness? They all have multiple “dislikes”, and several absurdly rude and un-called for comments! 

I honestly can’t comprehend how any of those fantastic youtube videos can even bring an individual to have any negative feelings whatsoever, but to go so far as to physically (with a single click of a mouse) proclaim to the virtual world that you don’t like it is completely beyond me. Why do we have a need to give our opinion on virtually (ha) everything? Especially if it’s not nice. I mean, come on. Didn’t everyone watch Bambi? And seriously, NO ONE CARES.

Also text lingo. I promised myself I would never type these letters consecutively, but I guess I will, for the sake of this thought. LOL. Oh boy. Does anyone even laugh out loud when they write that? I would guess maybe 2% of the time. It seems to me that it can be an excuse to say something insensitive, rude, or just plain stupid. For example “You look so dumb lol.” “This is really ugly lol.” “I hate you lol.” (Of course punctuation would be ridiculous. Who even punctuates anymore? 

idk if u r still reading this lol jk haha but this is smthng ive thought alot about lol and it just hurts me 2 c mean thngs online lol their r sm thngs i cn handle lol but their is no reason 2 insult ne1 esp. if u dont no them lol 🙂 🙂 🙂 <3 <3 =] 

These are just my thoughts on our virtual society, which actually sometimes makes me ashamed to be part of the human race.

"Old" Age

I’ve kind of been thinking about how age perspective really changes as you get older. For example, until I was no longer a high school senior, I thought high school seniors were old and awesome. I also felt that way about my age in 9th grade, and 8th grade, and 7th grade, and 6th grade…. I guess every year you feel kind of like you’re on top of the world. 


But then you go to college, and you find yourself at the bottom of the food chain again, and you realize that you are but a small child. And people that age are getting married! And the Elders, those old, mature Elders I used to see coming out of the MTC and playing on the missionary field, are but children as well. 


I don’t feel like I can even sound sophisticated enough about my age until I’m 23 at the youngest. Before that is just embarrassing. 

So, sixteen was always old. (And twenty was ancient.) But I found these movie quotes that make sixteen sound… You know. The way it felt at that age. 


The Little Mermaid:
Triton: They’re dangerous. Do you think I want to see my youngest daughter snared by some fish eater’s hook? 
Ariel: I’m sixteen years old – I’m not a child anymore… 
Triton: Don’t you take that tone of voice with me young lady. As long as you live under my ocean, you’ll obey my rules! 

The Sound of Music:
Liesl: I’m Liesl. I’m sixteen years old and I don’t need a governess.





So yeah. But then there comes a time when you realize that you aren’t exactly a child, per say, even if you’re comparatively young, as the general population goes. That’s for times like this:

Sorry if you can’t read that. It’s funny. And I get that I’m still way young, which is the point of this whole thing.


Also this:

Ha!


I also feel this way:

I really do still think that the ’90s is the “current” decade. 


Remember this?

Ah, good times.



The point is, I don’t feel like I’m getting old. Quite the opposite. But I am starting to realize that time has flown on. Here’s to 80 more years of awesomeness, and never feeling old.

Rescue Mission

I’m skiing down Wedding Ring at Sundance, onto the part that’s usually icy, beyond the bowl you can see from the lift. I’m cruising down, but I see a lone ski pole. Huh? I look another 100 yards down, and a man has crashed (he hit a rock; no shame there) and lost a pole. (Go figure.) So I yell down to him, “Do you want me to get this for you?” He nods, I grab it, ski down, hand it to him, and pass on.

That was stupid. Is there any reason on this earth he might be hoping to just stay on that steep, icy hill, eyeing his pole, with no desire to do anything but stare at it? Or maybe hike back up to retrieve it? Nope. Of course he wanted me to perform the simple service of going like 1 second out of my way to pick up his pole!

For some reason, I’ve remembered that ever since it happened, and I think it’s because I feel so dumb for asking a person if I could get him something he so obviously needed. Do you really have to ask permission to perform any slight act of service? I think not. In fact, offering service, without a solid promise or guarantee, might not even be whole-hearted. As Elder Rasband said in his Conference talk today, “Let me know if I can help” is no help at all.


He used the example of coming upon a drowning person. Would we ask him if he wanted or needed to be rescued? Of course not. The same principle applies to every situation for every person experiencing any difficulty or trial. We don’t need to ask; we just need to do. My goal is to be more aware and service-oriented.

And as long as we’re talking about Conference, it was awesome. Elder Rasband was my favorite talk (I’m always partial to any talk with any mention of my beloved Primary Children’s) and I also loved Pres. Eyring and Elder Anderson. Did you know that conference is translated into over 70 languages? I think that’s amazing. I love General Conference! Even if it means getting up at 6 am on Saturday and Sunday.

The Chamber of Secrets Looms Nearer

I’m going to be a teacher when I grow up. It’s kind of shocking how close I am to that nose dive! But the closer I get, (not too close. Still got a mission, don’t forget) and the more I read and learn, the more nervous and uncomfortable and appalled and surprised and perplexed I become, particularly pertaining to the effects of No Child Left Behind, on both students and teachers. (See above picture.)

I read this piece written a teacher in Kansas as he discussed No Child Left Behind, and I thought it was quite interesting:

“What other profession is legally held to PERFECTION by 2014? Are police required to eliminate all crime? Are firefighters required to eliminate all fires? Are doctors required to cure all patients? Are lawyers required to win all cases? Are coaches required to win all games? Of course they aren’t.

“For no other profession do so many outsiders refuse to accept the realities of an imperfect world. Crime happens. Fire happens. Illness happens. As for lawyers and coaches, where there’s a winner there must also be a loser. People accept all these realities, until they apply to public education.

“If a poverty-stricken, drug-addled meth-cooker burns down his house, suffers third degree burns, and then goes to jail; we don’t blame the police, fire department, doctors, and defense attorneys for his predicament. But if that kid doesn’t graduate high school, it’s clearly the teacher’s fault.”

There you go. Thanks to that lovely little act in 2002, children are getting left behind, and teachers are getting thrust into a pit of despair, with no hope of escape.