Sunday, December 20, 2009

For the first time in a while...

For the first time in what would appear to be ages Salina has felt like home. While there I have been happy. I have been among my family members.
Personally I say home is where the heart is. This statement has proven my downfall a couple of times (for instance, I spent several MONTHS feeling like Brazil was my home), but overall it has made some of life's transitions easier for me, especially if I want to go there.
Saratoga Springs became my physical home about nine months ago. However, it only became my heart's home about 6 months ago (6 at most). I now love being in Saratoga Springs for many reasons. But I finally feel like I'm going home when I make my way south on highway 89, just as much as I feel like I'm going home when I head north on 89.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The last year in review

As a missionary in Brazil I used to write a review of the previous six months. This included my accomplishments, my thoughts and my feelings of what had happened and a personal evaluation of my growth and progress. I have been home well over a year now and, as yet, have not written a review. I elect to do so now.
Thirteen, almost fourteen months ago, I did one of the hardest things I think I've done. After spending two years among a people I initially found strange I found myself loving them. I was teaching, leading, learning, and growing at an incredible rate. My faith seemed to grow. I was happy doing what I was. Yet I knew that my days as a full-time missionary were limited and that I would return to my home soon enough. It tore my heart in pieces to think about it. I honestly didn't want to leave behind the work I was doing. One day while praying I told the Lord that I would return because He wanted me to come back. Several reasons exist for this, but I'll not mention them in this post. The hardest part of serving a mission wasn't serving nor was it leaving my family and certainly was not going to a strange place that didn't speak my language. Not at all. The hardest part was leaving it all behind and coming back to Utah. Even being back in Utah my heart spent several more months in Brazil. The hardest part of serving a mission was coming home, both body and soul.
Once home I had to step into the world of dating. I tried a super-long-distance relationship by internet, but when it was clear to me that I wasn't going to be able to see her I let her go. My next choice was okay, but still immature. I met another gorgeous young lady who had received her mission call to Brasilia, Brazil. We had a good friendship and even went to dinner together once. However I wrestled within myself and the choice that lay before me: do I press to be a closer friend (and risk robbing her of her mission) or do I back away and let her serve and be supportive of her choice to serve a mission. I chose the latter, despite personal desires.
From then I spent a month trying to woo a girl who probably wasn't that into me. Despite feeling, on occasion, that I wasted so much time and effort and money I added experience to my learning bank. So I count the time and effort as being well spent. And I learned a little about kissing too. By now I say by experience that it is worth waiting until after serving a mission to start serious dating and kissing. Just make sure first that this person is someone you would marry. Seriously examine their character with the eyes of reason. Emotions blind and deceive.
Since then I've been on a few dates and even dated one more girl and wanted to date another, but the situation didn't go that direction. So I find myself still single, but looking.
In the last year I've seen, the separation and divorce of my parents, the apostasy of my sister, the birth of my beautiful niece, the death of my deputy sheriff uncle, a Mindy Gledhill concert, a friend go away to college, another come home from a mission, and yet one more leave for a mission, Glacier National Park, miles of Montana fields and mountains, Yellowstone National Park, Bear World, miles of I-15 in Idaho, Mesquite NV, the lights on temple square, beautiful sunrises, snow, and family recover from divorce.
The last year has been a good one. Immeasurable growth has come of doing what I was hesitant, if not initially unwilling, to do. I've grown from experiences and learned more about myself. I've seen in myself and in others what I didn't expect to see. I've received direction from the Lord in a few matters and I hope and have faith that it was for the best.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Unique character

This Friday I found myself jobless. I have been laid off from my construction job. The very thing that I had, at times, complained of stealing all my time is gone for a season. I fought the urge to despair. As often happens, my thoughts began to drift and question why I had lost my job, why I wasn't staying on, etc. But these questions were only bringing me hopelessness and sorrow. I need to hang onto hope and faith. The Lord gave me that job. He can give me another, as I diligently seek one out.
Rather than wallow in sorrow and seek out loads of comfort/junk food I went out and about. I ran a couple of errands. I read and finished a good book. Once again my unique character came forward. As much as I think it would be normal to fall into sorrow and grief and as much as I would expect myself to do so, I did not. After all, I am atypical. I respond differently. Once at home I applied for unemployment benefits. I also found myself talking to Brother Reynolds, one of the men I most admire from the Salina Stake. He asked how I was doing and complimented me on a few things. I never once had considered that I might have been an example in the stake, occasionally my family or the ward, but not to local leadership. He thanked me for my example and told me that he wants to be like me when he grows up (this is coming from a man who has sent his three kids on separate missions, two of whom are already home). So it is that I find more faith to press forward and continue shining a light. My unique character is to shine forth the light of God and glorify Him.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Music brings beauty into life

Of the many topics that I feel strongly about, music would be among the top five. A small disclaimer I shall make note of first and foremost. I do not wish to establish my opinion as doctrine here. I will share my feelings, thoughts, and, yes, my opinion on music.
Last week I mentioned that I do not like to surrender my ability to choose what music will play. I don't like giving that freedom to a radio DJ whose values most likely are not even close to my own. This week I wish to mention the qualities that I look for in songs.
Firstly, I like music that has lyrics that elevate my thoughts to a new plane of thinking. I thoroughly enjoy uplifting lyrics. Sometimes I want to remember my covenants as a church member. Sometimes I want something that is fun. Sometimes, many times in fact, I want something that draws me closer to the Lord (hard to find any of these on a typical radio station, wouldn't you agree?).
When it comes to romantic lyrics, I like them to be about the action of love. Remembering anniversaries and important dates, bringing home flowers, valuing family above all else. Such words are hard to find most days. With regard to past relationships, sometimes I want to avoid romantic songs because they stir up those old emotions. Digging up those feelings doesn't help me move forward in life. Depending on my mood and thoughts that day, I may elect to listen to a romantically touching song or change to another composition.
When I hear lyrics that complain of a lost relationship or the related pain I often hope that the composer finds resolution. If not, I'll leave the song alone. I want my pain to be resolved. I don't want to wallow in it.
When my lyrical desires are met I often look at style (genre). Is it played in good taste? Is there a musical part that is overpowering everything else? Are the parts balanced? Is the melody somehow inspiring? Some of my music is instrumental and that is especially when I start to listen to the parts. I want to hear the individual instruments playing.
To speak the utmost truth, those are the major qualities I examine when I listen to music. I like to appreciate music. Rock often gives me a headache because much of rock slaughters one or the other requirement (sometimes both).
I would like to share some of the most profound and interesting lyrics I have heard (title, artist, and album are in parenthesis).
"Lord I need to know, my mind is playing games again, you're right where you have always been" (I will Rest in You, Mindy Gledhill, The Sum of All Grace)
"Have I blown all my chances to be less like the captive and more like the free?" (A Little More Like Thee,same)
"Oh great God, are you small enough?" (Small Enough, same)
"If anybody asks, I'm making friends at last with my reflection in the glass...I'm like a fire in the night, I'm burning up with all my might. Don't wanna flicker out of sick and fade into the morning light..." (Feather in the Wind, Mindy Gledhill, Feather in the Wind)
"I'm free to jump, free to fall, free to let it roll away when I drop the ball" (Falling and Flying, same)
"You will change the stars much faster if you trust yourself to open your own door, keep pushin' on" (Keep Pushin' On, Eclipse, For Show)
"The view I love the most is my front porch lookin' in" (Front Porch Lookin' In, Lonestar, The Greatest Hits)
I think those will suffice for now. When I remember more, I'll post them as well.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This one will probably have a little of everything

So this post just might be the longest I'll write and my thoughts suggest parts will relate to all the topics and labels on this blog. My thoughts have become poignant and I hope that I can express what I would like to here.
While at a friend's home to play Rock Band last week I mentioned I was unfamiliar with all the songs listed. One person responded, "Don't you listen to the radio?" I kept my silence, but the question evoked some profound thoughts. I don't listen to broadcast radio unless I'm listening to the news, weather, or the KSL talk shows with Doug Wright or Sean Hannedy. The depth of my thoughts continued when I asked myself "Why?" The reason roles back to my resistance to surrender my moral agency. I will choose. I don't like the radio because most often I find myself listening to the music that others, including the host, like. I don't like surrendering my ability to choose what music will play to someone I do not know. I won't let someone who probably doesn't hold at least some of my same values choose what I will hear. I WILL CHOOSE!!! I don't use cruise control because I will choose my speed and I will maintain it. I will not surrender myself to a faulty electronic system. Even watching TV can become tiresome for me because I'm choosing who will select my programming. Moral agency is the greatest God-given gift that each and every individual has, second to the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ. I don't remember the battle nor the details of it, but it is recorded that there was a war in Heaven over this principle. I felt strongly enough about moral agency that I fought for it. I won't surrender it to a bottle, a substance, a form of electronic equipment, or a person who, for all intensive purposes, is unknown to me.
Some days ago I received a phone call from a dear friend, one that I wasn't expecting nor did I want. Afterward, I felt to say this:
"Lord, put me through the refiner's fire and make me pure
Put me on the front lines of the battle, I'll fight for you.
Let the challenge and trial come
Let the rain pour down in torrents
My home is built upon your Rock.
I pray that Thou wouldst help me pick anchors that are strong.
May my selected armor be Thy armor.
While in the fire, grant me patience to bear.
Let me come out of the flame having become holy
May war lead me to lean on Thy ample arm
I hope trial will remind me to be humble.
I'll go through the fire, just be with me while I'm there."
Last night I had the awesome opportunity to go to the Oquirrh Mountain temple. My brisk pace took me in the front door quickly and there awaited a sister. "Do you have a reservation?" I didn't flinch nor did I despair when I responded that I did not. "Can you change [your clothes] quickly?" I answered in the affirmative. "You're in luck then because we can fit you into the 6:30 session." I almost did not believe the divine providence. The Lord wanted me to be there. My favorite part of going to the temple is being in the Celestial room. It's special in that place and I love being there. Especially since I feel closest to the Lord there, close enough to talk to Him. Before returning home, I purchased a notebook in which I shall write down my feelings and thoughts while I'm there.
A while ago I posted a list of recently purchased music from the iTunes store. Here are a few more:
Next Door to Eden (Album) - Drew Reese
A Good Man - Emerson Drive
Amarillo Sky - Jason Aldean
My Front Porch Lookin' In - Lonestar
There are more, but I'll not list them. There are enough of them. Eight days ago I was working, in the snowstorm no less, when the chorus lyrics of Amarillo Sky came to mind:
"Lord I never complain and I never ask why
Please don't let my dreams run dry
Underneath, underneath this Amarillo sky."
I stopped complaining about the cold wind and the falling snow. I kept singing to myself those words to uplift myself.
I don't believe in fairy-tale romances. I'm not Prince Charming nor do I ride a white horse. I'm not seeking a princess locked in a tower. I don't intend on fighting any dragons along the way (intentions and actions do not always match...) In terms of love and romance I rely on doctrine as taught by the prophet and his counselors and the twelve apostles. I rely on their teachings with regard to dating. Establish a friendship. Go out, just the two. Stop hanging out. If she says no or breaks up, move on. Feelings of love will remain, of course. That's normal. Move forward with life because it'll get better. I decided that I shouldn't worry that my emotional reactions are not typical. After all, I'm atypical myself. Everything I do will be different for what other people do.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Where have my feelings gone...?

I recently had a conversation about emotions. Most days mine are dead, or so it would appear. My parents' divorce did little to move me. I shed tears of sorrow with both parties, but did not cry for my own loss. When told that I would be incompatible with someone I admire deeply, I didn't flinch. Didn't hesitate. My answer was quick, logical and dry. "What can be said?" was my response. When confronted for ineptitude at work, my stare is dry and blank.
I feel anger and frustration at times, particularly when I no longer feel in control of or at least aware of the situation. I feel impatient with my own imperfections.
So are these things called emotions dead? Not yet. However, I do worry that many of my emotions are negative, intense emotions. I'm glad I learned to suppress and control my anger. Frustration is still hard to keep a hold on, but I'm learning.
The emotions and feelings I feel are sometimes missing or fleeting are love and happiness. I feel viral. When I begin to like someone there are feelings of excitement to see her and contentment when we're together. Satisfaction is particularly fleeting. To feel real, strong love has yet to come.
The most disheartening is that in situations that would normally produce deep sorrow produce nothing in me. Unless resolve is counted. Logical analysis of the situation begins and leads into resolved action to correcting the present situation or avoiding it in the future.
Sometimes my emotions are suppressed but not fully and have a delayed response. I spent ten days in euphoric enjoyment of being home from my mission then suddenly a breakdown. Hot, sorrowful tears of saudades (a complete English translation is unavailable) flowed like syrup on pancakes. When one relationship ended the analysis began and I began looking again, almost immediately. However two weeks later when she moved away, it finally hit me what had happened.
I'm not emotionally dead I've decided but I have determined that my emotions are messed up. Delayed reactions suck. I've yet to decide if the logical approach is any better. Is it normal to react with tears of deep sorrow, loss or regret? Or is the best approach to move on quickly?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More good things . . .

I prefer optimism over pessimism. I prefer the happy memories and days over the sad ones. I recognize the need to remember the good things the Lord has given me. And I shall relate some of those good things.
Despite having a long stretch of new concrete to pave last week we only worked the weekdays. To top it off, three of those five working days ended before dark. True that two ended after dark, I'm happy to have been off earlier than usual most nights. Forget that I missed a class session and had no time to complete my final project, hence likely earning a failing grade...I had a good week. To place the cherry on top, the weekend was off also.
Not working through the weekend gave me the chance to go to Salina and see my family. For the first time I was not going there to work nor to mourn. I returned to my roots to celebrate with five generations of Crane family members the ninetieth birthday of my great-grandfather. A happy occasion indeed.
There was even time to relax and watch movies. I watched G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra whle I was there. I'm thinking the next time I see it I will utilize a clearplay DVD player. I'm not so appreciative of the language nor of the excessive violence. Good will overcome evil, but I don't need to see the mutilation nor the death portrayed in such a strong manner. After I, Dad and Clint watched Battle for Terra, easily one of my favorite movies of the year. Definitely worth watching that one, again and again. My favorite line comes from the last 40 minutes of the movie. "I believe that in our darkest hour, the same qualities which made us great will make us strong. That love and mercy will overcome anger and hate..." I too believe that in our darkest hour the same qualities which made us great will make us strong.
Last week I attended a fireside with President Uchtdorf. This one was directed for the young single adults of the Church. One part in particular inspired me. He told the story of how he met his wife and what he endured while loving her for years and not receiving any reciprocation. This was, of course, while they were both young. When he got older he traveled and became a pilot and returned home to Germany. She was still in the same ward. A small conversation with her led him to realize that the time to act had come.
There is someone I've always admired and respected. Always. When I attended her homecoming commemoration in August I assumed I had no chance (due to several conversations to which I was privy to listen). But I feel the time has come and I'm moving to action.
Also to brighten my week I was able to give my foreman a quadruple combination (Holy Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) along with a The Restoration DVD. I'm hoping that in his darkest hour (his wife asked for a divorce Friday) he will turn to these books and find peace.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Much ado about . . .

I wonder how many opportunities I have and will yet pass up. Golden opportunities with friends and family. Chances to do good and better someone's life. Or perhaps a chance at improving my own.
I wonder how many times I'll blow the opportunity with how many great young ladies before I figure it out?
As much as my talk appears self-assured and confident and as though I have it all together yet I know so little. I have so little together.
What is up with me? How oft will I pass over or fail at relationships? Will I fail at the most important ones: the Lord, myself, and my family?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I have been instructed that adversity is one of the greatest signs of God's love for me. It is a blessing in disguise. It is harsh, but the experience is ever-lasting. The last week has brought on some interesting tests for me.
I've worked yet another 60+ hour week. These weeks leave me tired and even irritable. I often begin to feel the stress of not having much time to fulfill my academic responsibilities. I even expressed this concern to an engineer at work. He simply state that he understood that I'm frustrated but that I'm also needed on the job. I've been frustrated as I've received several instructions to complete the same project. I've wanted to quit my job. I've felt the strain as I hear some of the profanities and obscenities flow from the mouths of my co-workers. All this surmounts to the mental, spiritual, and emotional strain of holding back anger and frustration. I feel as though I was standing in a stout position holding a dumb-bell and the Lord added weight to that which I already was holding. Imagine those Olympic weight lifters straining under great pressure. Red-faced, sweating, but still strong men and women lift enormous amounts of mass into the air. I feel some days as though I'm a spiritual Olympic weight lifter. I know that occasionally I drop the weight. Other days I hold it.
Yesterday, as the work day was drawing to a close, I and a co-worker became excited. We worked side-by-side with our foreman. The sky had been dark all day and finally the clouds began to let forth some rain. We kept working. In fact we didn't let up. I worked there, head down (to keep the rain out of my face) and remembered a song by Jenny Jordan Frogley. Some lyrics follow:

I'm standing in the rain, holding up a light
Shining like a diamond against the darkened sky
And though the winds may blow, it will come to an end
and I know that I will see the sun again.

The sun will break through the storm. The emotional storm I was feeling used to be related primarily to my interpersonal relationships. Now it is literally, emotions. Learning to control, direct, and bridle feelings is a battle. Especially when these feelings are in relation to situations involving other people. Luckily for me this battle has moved into the work field and out of my social life.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good things are happening . . .

This week I began to work more closely with my foreman. He doesn't have a particular religion, though he attended christian schools until the eighth grade. He's a good man who works hard and does his best to care for his family. He hasn't ever been a big church-goer, but he's a good man all the same. Thursday he, another co-worker, and I were shoveling dirt and dragging filter bags around when the discussion turned to religion. He asked several questions and wanted me to clarify some rumors about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I answered to the best of my abilities and clarified the rumors. We've discussed religion of couple of times now. Yesterday work was painfully slow giving us plenty of down time. While he and I were alone he mentioned that he has some new goals. He wants to get to know the church better and he wants to get married to his wife in the temple. I pondered on the conversation after work and marveled at the simple beauty of the situation. I don't brag that I did anything or that I was a huge influence on my boss. But I now see so very clearly the opportunity to do some missionary work. It's an exciting prospect. Who knows how long it will take for he and his family to get ready, but they will get ready. And I want to help.
Work has been light this week. Light in the sense that I haven't had to physically exert myself too much. Carrying the concrete baskets and laying them out or picking up the bad baskets and throwing them away requires some strength but overall it's been an easy week. Even better is that I put in well over 60 hours this week. That puts a good check in my account. That' all I'll say with regard to my pay.
Throughout the early part of the week I began feeling down and out. I think its fairly easy to see, if you know me well enough. I have a strange, stoic resolution that keeps me moving forward through some of the toughest times, but I do break down. Just as I was reaching the breaking point, I decided to put in a CD called "Beautiful Life" sung by Jenny Jordan Frogley. I had forgotten just how much I enjoy this CD. The positive qualities of her melodies and lyrics have given me such a boost the last couple of days. I love positive music. It keeps me going. It reminds me that there is much worth fighting for. There exists in music a strength and a spirit that could only come from the Lord himself. This CD exhibits such qualities that listening becomes infectious. I love listening to it, and probably will do so for several days now (an odd character quality I have yet to discern the origin of: able to eat, listen to, or do the same thing repetitively without complaint).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Great Weekend

So yesterday was a good day. I had Friday off from work. I spent my lazy time Friday. That night I spent in the company of my great friends that served their missions with me in Brazil. So having spent Friday lazily I spent Saturday running errands and such.
I went to Taylorsville looking for a Brazilian market (which I happily found and to whom I gave some money...;)). This business place is called Central do Brasil and they have a restaurant in addition to a store. I ate lunch. I loved it. It was salty, as feijoada usually is which left me slightly dehydrated I fear. But I'm still alive. Afterward I journeyed back to Saratoga Springs on the recently-widened Redwood Road. I and a friend went to Springville. I had hoped to meet and get the autograph of comic book author Greg Farschety, but he had left for Layton hours before my own arrival (the autograph was for Clint, my kid brother by they way).
After all this, I went to the temple. I timed myself to arrive for the Portuguese session. For approximately two hours I was immersed in my beloved foreign language. I was reminded of how much I love hearing and speaking it. I even met a sister that knew President Milder, my mission president, from when he was a missionary (early '70s). Then I bumped into a sister that I met while I was in the Centro de Treinamento Missionario in Sao Paulo. I also had some questions answered. For this I love going to the temple. Above all else, in the quiet celestial room I can find time to commune with the Lord. It's a marvelous experience.
It was a weekend of laughter and love for Brasil. I've honestly not laughed so hard in a long time.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Over the course of some time I've been fascinated by the idea that everything about us really is the result of some choice we have made. I say it once more, everything. The way we think, the way we feel, personal habits, social habits, study habits, likes and dislikes and attitudes. The friends we have, the people we avoid, what we read, the list is potentially infinite. But all things considered, how often do we realize this truth? How often do we honestly try to blame someone else for our feeling a certain way? How often do we think that we just do certain things because that's who we are?
I've tried to remember that feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, or calm are all mine. The truth is that by a certain age we have defined how we will react to certain situations and henceforth others become our scapegoats because "they don't understand that doing [] makes me feel {}". Rather than do so, especially at work (that's where I often feel the most frustrated or irritated) I've re-assumed the helm to say "That no longer makes me angry" or "I'll do it without being frustrated". There's something incredible happening. I find myself going home and being less tense about the situation at work. I find my life becoming more peaceful. True the battle is not yet won. I must continue the practice until it becomes habit. I AM THE SHAPER OF MY DESTINY!
After this rambling I wish to insert a poem that I wrote in 2005 for a college-level literature class. What is described still holds true today.

How often I have contemplated on my own definition
escapes the count and numbering belonging to man.
I sit at a desk and type this poem, a privilege enjoyed only by this generation.
The school is mall and my class is even smaller.
I love to write, but this one hurts.
To put me into words cannot be fully done. Yet here
is the best I can do, just for you to enjoy.

I am a good person. Everybody tells me so.
I am a failute, can't even keep a high grade, whispers the dark voice.
I am an athlete that gives all I can.
I quit football and let my team down responds the darkness within.
I always do well in my religion classes.
I am the epitome of hypocrites screams my conscience.
I try my hardest. I give my best.
My best isn't enough and my stature doesn't measure up.
I have pure intents of serving others.
My intents are self-serving motives of glory.
I am humble before the world.
My school pride destroys my humility.
School is easy.
School is too hum-drum.
I can make it. I can be good.
Temptation wears me down. I'm not strong enough.
Be still.
Stop. Stop. NO MORE!
Back to center. Back to focus.
Remember who I am and move forward with faith.
These many conflicts define me, shape me, mold me.
I have no idea why God wants me to resist the anger, but I do.
Pressure builds. Musical and prayerful release soothe.
God is near. God will uplift. Jeremiah, my roots,
means "God Will Uplift."

Monday, September 21, 2009

A small correction

I've mentioned a maelstrom of emotion in which I find myself. I also believe I identified my anchor as being Christ. That I must correct. Christ is not nor can He be my anchor. My faith in Him is my anchor. He cannot be my anchor because He is my captain.
I find I must put my trust in my Captain. He has weathered the stormiest of seas and knows how to make it across. I must feel utter confidence in Him. Yet in this malevolent storm I found myself faltering. I must have lifted my anchor. Something came about that shook me.
It was through some enlightened reading and meditation that I found comfort. My anchor is falling back into the deep confines of the ocean and will soon root itself on the floor.
I considered staying home Saturday after a change came about in my plans. I felt like wallowing in the down feelings. I have found that in those very depressing moments the best thing to combat my low-point is to do that which I exactly no longer feel like doing. So I went out. I enjoyed myself. And the moment passed. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A continuation of the last blog...

Did I fail to mention that because some of my best friends have moved away a new opportunity has arisen? Being that I attend an LDS Young Single Adult ward there are many many new people with whom I can speak and visit. There are many new friendships that can be cultivated and developed. This is a golden opportunity. I'm excited at the prospects of making new friends and touching new lives.
So why do I still feel a little hesitant this time? I love meeting new people and making new friends. I almost revel the same and in the change that comes with newness. I think it's because I'm beginning to feel a stronger loyalty to someone. I'm starting to hold back a little because I found someone that just seemed to complete me...and I'm still hanging onto that person.
On another note, I've decided that I like the iTunes store. In the last couple of months I've found a few songs that I had heard long ago or with which I have some association with a strong memory. This made me happy, very happy. Almost jubilant in fact. I didn't think I would honestly find these songs or find them available for purchase and personal enjoyment. When I did find them I wasn't very hesitant in paying a whole $.99 per song.
So here's a list of the songs I've purchased recently
Perfect-Maren Ord
Sarah-Maren Ord
All I Want-Maren Ord
Beautiful-Maren Ord
Swallow-Maren Ord
Harsh Words-Maren Ord
Just Like You-Maren Ord
Tonight-Maren Ord
Relate To-Maren Ord
Waiting-Maren Ord
Speak-Maren Ord
Everyday-Maren Ord
(I bought the whole album in case you're wondering)
Amigo Apaixonado-Victor e Leo
Healing Waters-????
Book of Days-Enya
Only If-Enya
Paint the Sky With Stars-Enya
Storms in Africa-Enya
The Celts-Enya
I'm a music junkie. I like easy-listening music, but on occasion I can "rock-out". I'll write all about that stuff next time.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I'm not sure if I made this point, but I decided that my blog was created for the intent of having a place to write in a verbose form. This is my English writing outlet. It has become and exists for me to compose my newest pieces of literature. I'm loving it. This is good for me. It pushes my intellect to the point of a slight headache. Sure I must recover for some time, but it's of great benefit to me. The stretching of one's intellect is as the stretching of one's muscles; the more you do it, the stronger you become. The more often you lift weights the larger the quantity of weight said muscles can elevate (that's me trying to sound intelligent).
Also, I'm not yet certain if I mentioned that I have a hard time seeing my friends leave. I saw one leave about a month ago. That was hard, as was described in my last post. I said see you later to a friend last week. This week I said goodbye to another. I have a hard time doing that, especially since all three of them are great friends that in some way touched my life and taught me something.
I believe that may be my weakness. I become strongly attached to the people that change my life, that touch my heart. I hope they'll be there always, just as I want to be there for them. Is it such a bad thing? I would say not.
C. S. Lewis once said something like this "just as Jesus said ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen ye, the same could be said of our friends. We have not chosen them, but they were chosen for us." I believe the right people come into our lives at the right time and more often than not they are a Godsend. My conviction is that from there we can and should hang onto the ones we wish to.
Last Monday I went to a concert and heard the incredible Daniel Beck sing "You Raise Me Up". I closed my eyes because I know the lyrics to a certain degree and I thought on the meaning of the words. I began having a flashback of all those I could think of in a short time period, all those who have had some impact on my life. I didn't mind it; I reveled in it. I was almost brought to tears. So many people have come in, and several have left, but I still cling to those I wish to. I want them to stay.
On another note, I would rather make things happen than let them happen. Letting things happen is very passive. In a more modern day the Lord said "Verily I say unto you that men must be engaged in a good cause, doing many things of their own free will..." I'd just as soon make it happen by my own choice than let it simply come. Mine is the power and mine is the choice.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A whirlwind of emotions . . .

So the other night I had an edifying conversation with my dear Aunt Cristy. Besides being my aunt she is also my landlord and a close adviser. She rents the whole third floor of her house (which consists of a separate living room, an exercise area, a full bathroom, a guest room, and a bedroom), all to me for a lower than normal price. Call it the family discount. Call it nepotism. Call it what you wish. I adore her for letting me rent part of her home. Even better is the counsel and advice she gives me from time to time.
Of late I've thought upon many subjects, all of which are worthy of my time. Before serving my full-time mission in Brazil I admit taking interest in a couple of young ladies. My mind was firmly set, however, that I would not steady date before returning from a faithfully-served mission to my Lord. So I kept my distance. I developed a couple of friendships and even held onto hope that something might happen when I returned. Then I found myself in the Saratoga Springs young single adult ward. I went to a YSA Conference and the after-dance. I loved it. I walked out of the dance with a phone number. Thus began my experience in the world of post-mission dating.
I've had several interests since that conference (which was back in May), but a couple have always stayed with me.
One I spent a month chasing down and taking out and taking dinner to just because I wanted to and I was found worthy of a week. That week passed by too fast and the steady relationship ended. I spent time regaining my composure and control over my emotions and we had a talk. I was okay with the situation or so I thought. I thought I was over the habit, but every time I drive by the place of her former employ, I feel strange not stopping with a snack, a treat, or a sandwich of some kind. Most days I drive by the road that goes to the home of her family and I still feel drawn to drive that street. She's gone to school out of state so she's no longer here.
It's hard to drive by these locations and not stop to see her anymore. Even harder I think was when we met in Ogden so we could say goodbye. That's not entirely true though. I maintained my stoic composure while we stood embraced and just visited while her ride saw to his necessities. I tried to be strong after she drove away and I went my own direction. Dad offered to drive to my home, but I insisted that I drive. I needed to try my strength I suppose. I wanted to test it, to the very limit. And I wanted to test it of my own free will. I didn't make it far.
I've never actually felt like that often. Nor was I expecting to. We broke up a couple of weeks before she left and I went on vacation for a while, with the hope that being away would break the habits and I could move on smoothly. Oh was I ever wrong. Going my own way I felt a sharp stab in my heart. No pinprick, ache, or smart. A full-on, hard-set open wound. The radio was playing a love song and I couldn't hold back much longer.
"Dad, please change the station," I begged.
"I asked if you wanted me to drive," he replied as he searched for another station. It was already too late. I could feel the tears well up and begin to run down my face. My strength was quickly waning as I faced head-on this storm of the heart. Once Dad found a different station, he tried changing the subject. It took me a few minutes but I finally distracted myself enough to take my mind off her. I found myself excited to see an old friend, whom I had not seen for almost three years. But she was still lingering in the back of my mind, always there.
And through the other young ladies I've felt an attraction to since, she has always remained there. Some days she even comes to the front of my mind. Okay, most days. She and I quickly developed a habit of text messaging early in our friendship and that has not as yet been broken.
The recent storm finds me vacillating from one person to the next. I still have some friendships that I wouldn't mind cultivating more. However, the friendship with her is stronger still. I hope it will be. We kept chatting by text and once in a while I'll call her. I admit missing her, more than I thought I would. I thought I would move on quickly.
Perhaps it really was an open wound. I asked God for and even fasted to be healed. I thought I had been. Perhaps the Master Physician had healed me and I refused to let the sore be so that it could scar over and heal completely. Maybe He placed a band-aid there. I honestly don't think so however. I think He calmed my mind but let my heart remain open to the possibility that the relationship might rekindle.
The storm is in wanting to cultivate several relationships but liking them more than I had ought to. Or maybe that's the temptation. My approach to resolving the issue would suggest this is my perception. I maintain several friendships, but my primary interest is currently out of state studying.
I still find myself wondering some days. The questions come out of the blue, out of nothing. I take that as either inspiration or temptation. If inspiration, I believe it's meant to make me question and reaffirm my desires. If temptation, it is meant to test my strength. The wondering brings on an intense emotional storm and my solution I've shared with a couple of people. One of those was my dear Aunt Cristy. What is my strategy? Drop anchor, pull in my sails, tie-off my life-line, and hang tight. The portion of my cargo or supplies on deck that might be lost will be lost and let go. My anchor will hold my ship tight. The sails will be tightened so as not to be torn to shreds. My life-line will keep me on my ship. Simply I shall ride the storm out and wait for the light to break through the darkness.
The gospel of Jesus Christ anchors me. My goals and desires give place for the wind to blow my life where I want it to go. The Lord himself is my life-line. The storm will pass and the light will come through. My life will once again ride forward and progress. For now I'm holding tight.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My first post

I was reading a blog and felt as though writing my own would be of great benefit to me.
I noticed the feelings that were written and wondered if I could learn to express myself
in the same manner. Strange that I learned to speak Portuguese and learned to be very
expressive in my way of speaking. I learned to say what I felt and say it clearly. All this
I accomplished in but a year, maybe two while I served the Brazilian people. One
of my greatest desires since returning from Brazil was to be able to do the same in English.
Sadly I am like most people and have been stubborn in taking up some form of English
expression. The truth is that I love Portuguese, more than I initially realized. My daily
prayers to God are still done in Portuguese. My study of holy scripture is also in Portuguese.
My random journal entries are written in Portuguese. My thoughts often come through in
Portuguese. I work with Mexicans who speak Spanish and I understand them by cross-
translating from Spanish to Portuguese which I fluently understand. This beloved language
permeates everything. Even in those strange hours when I do not want others to understand
me or I become frustrated, I say it in Portuguese. I feel as though I cannot regain or improve
my English fluency without letting some of this go.
Yet, as much as any addict refuses to let go of their self-inflicted misery, I also wish to retain
Portuguese. I wonder if it really need be that I let go of my new-found language. Could it be
that I don't need to let it go as much as I really need to find a way to make room in my mind
and thought processes for English. Rather than revel in my lack of fluency, I should seek to
improve it through study and faith, just as I did to gain a great deal of fluency and expression
in Portuguese. Study English and the great vocabulary of the highly-educated shall be my course. I am both the pupil and the teacher, yet I shall learn from the Master Teacher, Jesus
Christ through the power of His Holy Spirit. The steps of faith are fulfilled in studying the correct
material knowing that these shall improve my mental lexicon. Faith shall also be satisfied
when I willingly go out on a limb to say something that I may not fully comprehend, but be
willing to learn to understand.
I recently rekindled an old love for reading. These novels are not of particular difficulty being
that the comprehension level is but semi-difficult for an adolescent. I love the adventure, the
thrill and the story. As I read I begin to feel a greater desire to search deeper into the context
and history mentioned in the novel.
Though I have put so little of the usual blips about myself, I put out some thoughts that welled up from deep within. I will expose some of my character and hope that the lack of usual blips will be forgiven. My character I believe to be of greater value than the small information that everybody has. My character nobody else may possess but me. It is the very essence of myself. The other
information is shared by others. Someone else was born on the same day as I (including such
celebrities as Wayne Gretski and Eddi Van Halen). Someone has the same name as I. Someone looks similar to me. But my character is engraved on my soul and no one may themselves share it with me.