Friday, November 29, 2013

The Final Page

I still look for her name up in lights. When I think of an animated movie, I think of her. I wanted her to succeed probably even more than she did. I wanted her to be happy maybe even more than she does. I don't think I will ever know what that means or how I am supposed to feel but I know how I do feel: I want her to always be happy. And now that she is engaged, I hope and pray that he will take care of her. There are two sides to every story and in this one there were a few more than that but the end is only a beginning and although mine is still quite uncertain, I hold onto the hope that there will be some good in me and for me yet. I can see now that God wanted to bless her and help her in ways that I never would have been able to provide her. And I'm not surprised (and slightly grateful) that she never told me about the engagement, considering who and how everything happened.

I don't know if this is what I was waiting for or even if I was waiting... I really don't know. I guess I was afraid that if it had to be someone that it would be him and that I would have had to prepare myself enough to really mean it when I said I was happy for her. But I realize it doesn't matter how I felt about him because this isn't about me at all. It hasn't been about me for a long time - I am long gone. I am dead. I am barely more than a memory. I am more like those moments when you wake up and there is a faint part of a dream still in your mind, like a vague feeling and nothing more. Still, after seeing the news of her engagement, I felt like it was like looking in a mirror and she is right there over my shoulder. Everything as vivid as if it was yesterday. It is like living in fast forward on an emotional roller coaster except at the end of the ride instead of feeling sick, you feel like you got stabbed and you are just waiting for the ride to end so you can finish bleeding out.

Things naturally fall into patterns though. I thought I may have found a potential buyer for the ring two days ago. She had liked a video posted on Facebook by a mutual friend. I watched Frozen tonight with friends and began thinking of her. If I want her to be happy and be happy for her, then I have to remove myself fully from the equation. I have to completely remove myself emotionally because if there is any trace of the old me left then the past will become new again.

The only thing I can truly honestly pray for is her, for myself, for my future spouse whoever and wherever she may be, and that the hell I am going through is just a sign of the blessings that may be coming my way if I am able to lean on my Father in Heaven and my Savior and do my best to endure it well. I pray that this brings the closure I was unable to fully provide to myself. I need to forgive and I need to forget. I love her and I always will but if I am ever going to find happiness I need to learn to love again.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Girls You Should Be Marrying

Elite Daily - Ally Batista

Earlier in the month, I wrote an article titled “The Girls Who Are Never Getting Married”. You may have read it; it continues to get an influx of negative comments to this day, as the only people that are offended are the ones that know it’s true. So many women were furious with the article, claiming that the man who wrote it was misogynistic and disgusting. My favorite comment was that he “has four girls buried under his crawl space.”

Well Elite Daily readers, I wrote that article, and I am a female. Surprised? Feeling stupid? I hope so. I wrote that article because I’m disgusted with the girls of my generation who use their sexuality to get ahead in life and disrespect themselves on a daily basis. I’m flattered that you think I’m a male chauvinist and a creep though. I may be a offensive, but I’m just being honest.

I could honestly not care less if your goal in life is to get married or not. If you choose not to, that’s your choice and I hope that it makes you happy. I wrote that article because those are the women I would hate to see my close guy friends or my brothers end up with. If any guy that I’m close to wants to pursue a long-term relationship, these are the women I hope they choose:

The 30-Year-Old With The Graduate School Degree

This girl took the initiative to further her education and wants to make something of herself career wise. She’s a hard worker and she chooses to be because of her own personal standards. She is independent and she is the perfect alpha woman. It’s one thing to go to a four-year university, graduate with a degree and get a successful job. Trust me, I commend anyone that does that and encourage all of you to do so.

The thing about a graduate of graduate school that intrigues me is that she knew that it would mean more work and less partying. Not many people are willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money to further their educations. I like a girl like this because you know that she’s smart, you know that she has drive and you know that she’ll keep you stimulated. She is the furthest thing away from that club whore you usually hang out with that is most likely blown out down there by now.

The Best Of Both Worlds

The perfect girl. She’s smart, she reads during her free time and she still watches crappy television. She loves to shop and to present herself well, but feels most comfortable with her feet up on the coffee table and watching the game with the guys. This girl can laugh at stupid, girly nonsense but can still take a joke when the guys she’s friends with try to bust her balls.

I want guys to end up with a girl like this because I feel like they’ll never be bored. They’ll get the sexiness and femininity that they crave along with a best friend, because relationships almost never work if you’re not friends with your significant other. My parents have been married for 25 years and still chase each other around the house and play tag and that’s because my mom is a down to earth woman who loves Led Zeppelin and stilettos.

The best of both worlds is truly what it means. It’s the girl that will pig out with you on burgers and hotdogs, but still be so hot about it. She may even know how to play Madden. This is the girl that will go and buy drinks and steak for you and your friends during man night. There is nothing like being with a girl that is just down with everything.

The Girl Who’s Got Her Own

Just like the annoyingly catchy Ne-Yo song says, I want my guy friends to end up with a girl who’s completely independent. She wants you but she sure as hell doesn’t need you. She’s educated, she has a job, she pays her bills on time, buys all of her own stuff, completely takes care of herself and is more than happy with her life. You want to go out with your guys? Cool, do that, she’ll call you tomorrow because she’ll be out doing her own thing.

A girl like this is an absolute keeper. She can be in a relationship, but she doesn’t need you to take care of her because she can take care of herself. What guy wouldn’t want this? It’s borderline terrifying when a girl absolutely needs you in her life to make her happy.

So Elite Daily, that’s who I would want my brothers or my good guy friends ending up with. I know what some of you are thinking, “girls like this don’t exist.” I hear it every day in these offices, but guess what, they do. They exist and I’d much rather that all of the men out there wait and find one, instead of wasting their time on a girl who doesn’t respect herself. Some may say these girls are unicorns, but I beg to differ, try looking in the right places and not the club you frequently visit.

Monday, November 25, 2013

How Tight Is Too Tight?

I feel like when it comes to dating I have a problem and it is simple. I see the fleeting nature of relationships and the fear I have of their reality and how I hope that by holding tightly I can escape it instead of face it: Life is short. I feel like I know now how to deal with that apprehension better now than I did in the past but it is still a fear I have of being alone or unwanted.

Self-confidence comes from within and doubts come from outside so I try to avoid media and judgments and people who tear others down because of their own insecurities. Still, there are others that their insecurities tear at themselves because of the comparison they make between them and the next guy. I hate comparison. If I start wanting to see someone or date someone, I don't compare. Each relationship is new, different, and it cannot be approached the same way.

So what can I do? I am a man who has a huge heart and a lot of feelings and emotions. Am I supposed to change? Why can't I be myself? And if I do choose to not conform to what the world expects me to be then does that limit me? Am I less in some way because I refuse to meet expectation? Or are there places where I can meet others who accept others for who they are and not what they do? I want to feel accepted and I want to have someone to love, to serve, to share life with. But something so simple as acceptance is never so simple.

My fear is not so much of losing something that I already have but losing something I have yet to gain. It is a fear of not recognizing or not taking advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. It is getting lost in the "what ifs" and losing sight of the now and building the relationship where it stands instead of trying to plan out every detail because I don't know and can't know what the end will look like. It takes two people and I don't have that much control. In fact, for the relationships I have been in the only control I had was over me and that will never change.

It is so frustrating and there seems to be no end to it and the biggest issue is that I am not okay with saying that it will never happen. It is not an option in my mind. It will happen and I know that the possibility in every relationship is that it won't get to that point. It doesn't have to be her or her or even her. But it will happen with someone. But the question is why? Is it a personal problem? Is it cultural? Is it religious? Is it part of being human? I don't know. But it is tangible and it is real and I face it and believe that it is not an option and I won't settle. I have learned like many of my other feelings that this has to be an internal struggle like most things in life. I put on a good face and pretend that it doesn't bug me and sometimes it doesn't, but rejection is hard. It is never easy. Things don't have to go wrong to be the wrong person. It is just a struggle that happens and for some reason continues to happen in my life.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dating Lists

If I ever had a list of what I was looking for in a person that I would have a potential relationship with it wouldn't be what most people clarify as their "list." I think my list would be more like the following two. Yes, I said two lists. I am sure I had a more conventional "list" at some point in time but as you get older you lost track of them because you don't use them any more.

The classiest couple I could think of...
The one list would be how I want to be and the other is how I hope my other half would be like. These lists come from a blog called "Just / My Type." They are titled respectively the "11 Differences Between Dating a Boy vs. a Man" and the "11 Differences Between Dating a Girl vs. a Woman." Here are the lists:

Boy vs. Man Girl vs. Woman
  1. A man knows what he wants, and goes for it. A boy may have somewhat of an idea, but not really. He doesn’t think too much about it, and even if he does, doesn’t exert much effort to get it. A boy is passive, a man is assertive.
  2. A man plans for his future and is working towards building a foundation and infrastructure in order to have a family (at some point in his life).  A boy lives only in the moment and his plans are mostly around which bar he’s going to hit up on the weekend.
  3. A man looks for a woman with intelligence, who is supportive, grounded and encompasses a shared set of values when choosing a partner. A boy cares mostly only for girls who are hot, wild and exciting.
  4. A man knows a good woman when he meets one and will take initiative to get to know her. A boy may make an attempt if you’re lucky, but gives up before ever really trying.
  5. A man has the courage to have uncomfortable conversations. He is honest with his intentions and lets people know where they stand. A boy avoids. He ignores confrontation or any serious talks about feelings. Instead of dealing with a situation, he runs away from it or creates drama or excuses to mask the fact he’s not that into you or a relationship.
  6. A man knows when to invest in a woman and jump in with two feet. A boy is always “testing” – he doesn’t fully commit because he never knows if he is quite ready. But the truth is, because he is a boy, regardless of who he meets, he will never be ready due to the stage of life he is in.
  7. A man knows how to have a good time and be social, but is often busy making strides in his career and building his life. A boy is getting crunk with his buddies at the bar every weekend.
  8. A man takes the time to reflect on the type of man he wants to be, the example he wants to leave and the vision for his life. He has put thought into his values. A boy has not established his moral compass or values and consequently, is often inconsistent.
  9. A man has integrity. He means what he says, and says what he means. He has follow through and actions his promises. And if he can’t he has the guts to tell you why. A boy makes promises but doesn’t follow through.
  10. A man is afraid of rejection but will put himself out there anyway. A boy is afraid of rejection and acts passive so that his pride and ego won’t ever get too banged up.

  1. A girl throws tantrums. When displeased, upset or angry, she reacts just as she did as a child when she didn’t get her way with her parents. This often consists of screaming, pouting, giving the silent treatment, being passive aggressive and/or punishing. A woman still feels the emotions of being upset/displeased, but has cultivated the skill of responding versus reacting. She comes to the table as an adult, and communicates clearly what is bothering her.
  2. A girl perceives herself as a princess and believes people should treat her like so. She is entitled and feels that she is owed and therefore expects more than she appreciates. A woman, has standards (what she holds herself to) not expectations (what she projects on to others).
  3. A girl uses her physical beauty as her currency and basis of value. A girl may be so used to feeling validated through her looks and sexuality, that she uses this as her primary tool to get what she wants in life. A woman, knows her worth is beyond her physicality. A woman bases her value on her intelligence, her strength, her integrity, her values, her contributions, her humanity.
  4. A girl banks on a man to be her financial strategy. A woman plans to be financially independent – she banks on… herself. And if she so happens to enter a relationship dynamic where it makes sense for her partner to be the primary breadwinner, it’s considered a bonus, not the expected life line.
  5. A girl sees the world from a place of lack and scarcity. She competes and will even tear down another in order to secure resources or a mate. A woman helps other women. She knows that there’s plenty enough to go around and takes the high road of integrity to get what she wants.
  6. A girl cannot be bothered with anything domestic and is proud of the fact that she cannot cook or clean. A woman understands that being domestic is not a duty, but understands that it is one way of taking care of herself and others. She also understands that in the event she wants to create a family, having a person in the household who can contribute domestically is important.
  7. “A girl wants attention, a woman wants respect. A girl wants to be adored by many. A woman wants to be adored by one.” -anonymous
  8. A girl does not respect her body.  She has not yet understood that her body and heart are sacred, and that it’s important to be mindful of how she treats it and who she shares it with. “A girl cherishes handbags, diamonds and her shoe collection as her prize possessions. A woman cherishes her health, her sense of self, and her talents as her greatest assets.” – N. Mah
  9. A woman takes the time to reflect on the type of human she wants to be, the example she wants to leave and the vision for her life. She has put thought into her values and what she stands for. A girl has not established her moral compass or values and consequently, is often inconsistent. “After spending time with a girl, you feel exhausted because she takes more than she gives. After spending time with a woman, you feel invigorated, because she empowers you with possibility, and a passion for life.” – N. Mah
  10. A girl has a checklist that prioritizes superficial qualities above anything else. Here is an example of how this checklist may look: Hot, popular, wears skinny jeans, over 6 feet tall, rich.. This is the checklist of what a woman may look for: High integrity, intelligent, kind, good communicator, emotionally available…

Now, a lot of these differences require taking the time to know someone to figure out if the apple of your eye is indeed a mature woman, or someone with an immature mindset. However, the quickest filter that you can notice from the beginning is this:

11.  The one you don't want to date plays games. The one you do want to date doesn’t.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ender's Game

I saw a movie last night that was extremely well done. Now I have to go back and read the book and later I will change my opinion of the movie and tell you what a crappy job they did sticking to the original script. It is always how that goes. The author is the ultimate storyteller, never the screen writer. The screenplay cannot live up to the potential of the book itself.

Either way, I was impressed with the book immensely. It showed a boy moving through a coming of age process in a futuristic Armageddon-type culture. He is being trained to be a commander, a leader, a weapon. The conflict he has most is with himself. Will Ender digress into either of his siblings? Mercy or justice? Peter or Valentine? The real question throughout the movie is who is Ender really fighting?

"Ender's anger was cold, and he could use it. Bonzo's was hot, so it used him."

If I was to apply the story to my life, I would say that he is fighting himself. He is continually striving to be the best. He is trying to survive. He is trying to overcome his fear of what will happen, who he will become, the power and strength within himself, his own potential.

In that perspective, it makes the following quote so much more powerful:

"'In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them -'
"'You beat them.' For a moment she was not afraid of his understanding.
"'No, you don't understand. I destroy them. I make it impossible for them to ever hurt me again. I grind them and grind them until they don't exist.'"

Still in the process of trying to improve yourself, it is interesting to see how Ender learns from his situation. He uses a lot of observation and he is reflective, analytical, and extremely strategic. I feel like my disconnect is the strategy. I am consulting for the Dean of my college and he showed me a bit of business strategy as I was reporting back to him. I am learning.

"He had long since learned that when something unusual was going on, something that was part of someone else's plan and not his own, he would find out more information by waiting than by asking. Adults almost always lost their patience before Ender did."

I hope, that like Ender, I will be able to defeat my demons, become a leader, and find my purpose and as Ender says in the end, winning at any cost isn't right, the way we win matters. There are many themes and morals to this story but the one I want to leave with is the idea of permanence:

"Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be."

You are who you pretend to be. So if you can convince others of you want them to think you are, you may want to make sure that you like this version of you because you may convince yourself along the way. Always stick to your standards. Develop your weaknesses into strengths. Build on the power you find in and around you. Be a leader.

The Story You Write Yourself

If there is a place I can feel at peace it is within. I find that a story is something that I hold onto. A story is something I value. A story is something I relate to. I look for meaning within things that appear to have no meaning because I feel that there is nothing that is or will ever be that does not have a purpose. There is a story to be found in overcoming an obstacle as much as there is in every time you failed before. I do not understand all things but I am a lifelong learner and in most instances I can remember and so I am quick to adjust. No matter how strategic I feel that I am, I also choose to have attachment. I choose to relate to things, to people, to philosophies. I try to carry pieces of all these things with me so I can continue to grow. In all of this, I am working on writing my own story.

I never thought that I was a black and white kind of person but I think I am. There are a lot of things I wish I was and many of them are for selfish reasons and I resent that in myself. I want to be a better person but I shouldn't want it for worldly success or for the praise of others or their recognition or for the chance of future wealth. I have seen that pride affect and bring the very opposite of those desires to the people who seek it. Even in this statement of seeing my flaws, I find in the same hour that a note I sent to someone because of a prompting helped them see their own value. I shouldn't have such a perspective of extremes and I am working to see things in the gray but I do have this internal perfectionism complex. I know where I want to be and I have goals for myself and even though I know that I will fall short because of where I am now that doesn't mean that I can't be closer tomorrow and the day after and the day after that. I am always looking to improve.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Redefining Boring

"The Real Truth about 'Boring' Men - and the Women who live with them: Redefining Boring"

(Written by Ann Voskamp

So not every guy proposes with lip syncing, rolling cameras, and a choreographed entourage.

Yeah —  so what if  your Dad didn’t?

He just pulled that beat-up Volkswagon Rabbit of his over in front of Murray Reesor’s hundred acre farm right there where Grey Township meets Elma Township, pulled out a little red velvet box, and whispered it in the snowy dark: “Marry me?”

“He didn’t even get down on one knee or anything?”

You boys ask it incredulous, like there’s some kind of manual for this kind of holy.

And I’ve got no qualms in telling you no. No, he didn’t even get down on one knee – it was just a box, a glint of gold in the dark, two hallowed words and a question mark.


I know. When you’ve watched a few dozen mastermind proposals on youtube, shared them with their rolling credits on Facebook, marvelling at how real romance has an imagination like that.

Can I tell you something, sons?

Romance isn’t measured by how viral your proposal goes. The internet age may try to sell you something different, but don’t ever forget that viral is closely associated with sickness – so don’t ever make being viral your goal.

Your goal is always to make your Christ-focus contagious – to just one person.

It’s more than just imagining some romantic proposal.

It’s a man who imagines washing puked-on sheets at 2:30 am, plunging out a full and plugged toilet for the third time this week, and then scraping out the crud in the bottom screen of the dishwasher — every single night for the next 37 years without any cameras rolling or soundtrack playing — that’s imagining true romance.

The man who imagines slipping his arm around his wife’s soft, thickening middle age waistline and whispering that he couldn’t love her more…. who imagines the manliness of standing bold and unashamed in the express checkout line with only maxi pads and tampons because someone he loves is having an unexpected Saturday morning emergency.

The man who imagines the coming decades of a fluid life – her leaking milky circles through a dress at Aunt Ruth’s birthday party, her wearing thick diaper-like Depends for soggy weeks after pushing a whole human being out through her inch-wide cervix, her bleeding through sheets and gushing amniotic oceans across the bathroom floor and the unexpected beauty of her crossing her legs everytime she jumps on the trampoline with the kids.

The real romantics imagine greying and sagging and wrinkling as the deepening of something sacred.

Because get this, kidsHow a man proposes isn’t what makes him romantic. It’s how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic.

And a man begins being romantic years before any ring – romance begins with only having eyes for one woman now – so you don’t go giving your eyes away to cheap porn. Your dad will say it sometimes to me, a leaning over – “I am glad that there’s always only been you.” Not some bare, plastic-surgeon-scalpel-enhanced pixels ballooning on a screen, not some tempting flesh clicked on in the dark, not some photo-shopped figment of cultural beauty that’s basically a lie.

The real romantics know that stretchmarks are beauty marks and that different shaped women fit into the different shapes of men souls and that real romance is really sacrifice.

I know – you’re thinking, “Boring.”

Can you see it again – how your grandfather stood over your grandmother’s grave and brushed away his heart leaking without a sound down his cheeks?

50 boring years. 50 unfilmed years of milking 70 cows, raising 6 boys and 3 girls, getting ready for sermon every Sunday morning, him helping her with her zipper. 50 boring years of arguing in Dutch and making up in touching in the dark, 50 boring years of planting potatoes and weeding rows on humid July afternoons, 50 boring years of washing the white Corel dishes and turning out the light on the mess – till he finally carried her in and out of the tub and helped her pull up her Depends.

Don’t ever forget it:

The real romantics are the boring ones — they let another heart bore a hole deep into theirs.
Be one of the boring ones. Pray to be one who get 50 boring years of marriage – 50 years to let her heart bore a hole deep into yours.

Let everyone do their talking about 50 shades of grey, but don’t let anyone talk you out of it: committment is pretty much black and white. Because the truth is, real love will always make you suffer. Simply commit: Who am I willing to suffer for?

Who am I willing to take the reeking garbage out for and clean out the gross muck ponding at the bottom of the fridge? Who am I willing to listen to instead of talk at? Who am I willing to hold as they grow older and realer? Who am I willing to die a bit more for every day? Who am I willing to make heart-boring years with? Who am I willing to let bore a hole into my heart?

Get it: Life – and marriage proposals — isn’t not about one up-manship — it’s about one down-manship. It’s about the heart-boring years of sacrifice and going lower and serving. It’s not about how well you perform your proposal. It’s about how well you let Christ perform your life.
Sure, go ahead, have fun, make a ridiculously good memory and we’ll cheer loud: propose creatively — but never forget that what wows a woman and woos her is you how you purpose to live your life.
I’m praying, boys — be Men. Be one of the ‘boring” men and let your heart be bore into. And know there are women who love that kind of man.

The kind of man whose romance isn’t flashy – because love is gritty.
The kind of man whose romance isn’t about cameras — because it’s about Christ.
The kind of man whose romance doesn’t have to go viral — because it’s going eternal.

No, your dad did not get down on one knee when he proposed – because the romantic men know it’s about living your whole life on your knees.

There are Fridays. And the quiet romantics who will take out the garbage without fanfare. There will be the unimaginative calendar by the fridge, with all it’s scribbled squares of two lives being made one. The toilet seat will be left predictably up. The sink will be resigned to its load of last night’s dishes.

And there is now and the beautiful boring, the way two lives touch and go deeper into time with each other.

The clock ticking passionately into decades.

Soul Searching

When we move through this life we leave pieces of ourselves along the way. These small parts of our souls are created by deep moments of emotion. Whether these moments are of pain, love, joy... when they are born they are rooted not only in people but the space and place where they were created. I have traveled a bit and the places I have been to, I have tried to make memories with. One of the hard things to do though is remembering and emotions that come back even when those relationships may have had a tragic ending or no ending at all. I really don't know what brings me more pain: the painful ending or lack of closure and continued wondering.

I have tried to live life the only way I know how. The way my grandfather and namesake did. I live a life worth remembering. I live within the moment. I live in such a way that I try to make sure that the people around me never feel like they can be forgotten because they ARE special. People are unique. I have done my best to love and love and love again. I want to be someone worth remembering.

The night that brought me back to this thought was a rainy one. I had spent one similar with a friend. We had talked over dinner and decided to stop at a park on the way home and talk some more. The conversation got deep and it got personal and topic after topic continued to delve deeper into the relationships that we have in life and why we foster them. It was fascinating. It was intimate. And the paradox was there I was in the same place, alone. I had gone back to visit that place both mentally and physically. I wanted to think about life for a bit and reflect and see how I was doing. Have I moved on from my past? Had I made a future? Where was I in my life?

In the end, I feel like I found some of the answers I was looking for. I don't remember them clearly now but I do remember that something inside of me resonated with the answers and my fears and doubts slipped away. As easy as they had found me, they left. The safety of going back to a place that has a piece of your soul is that you can find yourself there and begin again.

Opportunity... Being Sexy... Living Life

I feel like I have a gift for gab. I don't mean that I won't ever shut up but what I mean is that I feel like I can talk to just about anybody. I somewhere acquired what at first I thought was a deep and abiding trust for people. I can see people for who they really are. I can develop a relationship with most people. But in all honesty, it is really hard to trust someone. Sadly enough, this is something we learn. We learn that people are imperfect. They fail us. They hurt us. They forget us and at times we can forget them. So what makes the difference?

It is finding someone who cares. They don't necessarily have to understand you but they want to. They try to. They show that they value you. They see you and they see the real you... And they are willing to accept you for who you are. We are all human. We all make mistakes. Even God cries sometimes. So if you feel lost or misunderstood, we will all be there at some point in our lives but like anything else, how long we wish to dwell there is up to you. The best thing you can do is be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. Serving others goes a long way in serving yourself by replacing the problems in your mind with seeing real ways that you can make a difference in someone else's life and in the world.

Still, relationships are hard for me. Hard to find... To get into... To feel the mutuality that I want and keep looking for. Mid-twenties is not an easy time to be single and LDS. I know because I am there. Still, I know that it wasn't easy when I was in my early twenties either and talking to my friends, I don't know why I expect it to get any easier later on in life. Loneliness is something that I know I feel pretty poignantly at times. On occasion it may be because I am literally alone. Other times, it is seeing the success and happiness others are having in their early families and young marriages. I am truly happy for them and I find joy in seeing and sharing in their happiness but at times it does highlight how I am incomplete. I am missing that piece.

Loneliness is not something that people who are outside of relationships have a monopoly on. There are wonderful people even in marriages that are lonely. You can be at a party and be lonely. You can be loved and be lonely. And the opposite is equally true. There is no deadline for love. There is no reason to rush things. You don't have one shot in life for happiness. You have to learn to have the heart and the eyes to feel it. Like a testimony, the feelings and emotions we have are real and undebatable. Although each relationship is different, there are principles that can create success.

Faith... You have to have faith in yourself and then you have to have faith in your partner. There is nothing that can destroy a relationship faster than a lack of trust. You need to believe in them as much as you believe them. Having the ability to see the perfection in imperfection is hard for most. Faith is not blind. It looks and acts on a belief in the future but it sprouts first out of hope.

Hope... It is knowing the past whether it is our own or others and believing that as history has shown, good things will happen. It is similar to patience but it is active. It endures. It waits but it supports our actions in the present. I have a hope that someday I will have the privilege of starting a family with my best friend. I hope that I will be a good provider and I have faith that I will be able to lead and guide them with the support and guidance of my future spouse and my Father in Heaven. I have faith that if I foster my relationship with Him that I am actively fostering my relationship with my future spouse at the same time by becoming a better disciple.

Charity... Love is kind. Love is simple. Love is natural. Love is easy. We cannot control whether or not we are going to be loved but we can choose to love ourselves. Life is so much easier when we focus on the things that we can control. You will know you found someone that is worth it all when that is what you have become in their little world. Your happiness is as important to them as it is to you and vice versa. The focus is on the other half of the relationship because you are confident and you have faith that they are equally focused on you.

Self-worth... Other people may not see your worth but that does not mean that you don't have any. The power that comes from reminding yourself daily how amazing you are is powerful. You wake up in the morning and look like death warmed over and you look into your bathroom mirror and you tell yourself,

"You are amazing. You can do anything you put your mind to. You are attractive. You are sexy. You are smart. You are beautiful because you are happy. You are beautiful because you are not afraid to be you. You are beautiful because simply you are you. The outside world does not define you. You are the master of your fate. You write your own story. You are the one that makes your dreams a reality. You are a god in the making."
And if you don't believe yourself then try believing Ashton Kutcher. Kelso always seemed like he would be a well of knowledge and wisdom... Who knew his real name was Chris?

I guess what I am trying to get at is that with all the ups and downs in the world the only way to stay stable is to pick a place and stay there. If you are going to be a cynic, well I personally would be cynical about that decision. I would choose to be happy. It is generally better than the alternative.
Stay positive. Stay high. Stay optimistic. And realize that blessings come to those who wait.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Celebrating the Little Things

Something I am trying to do more of lately is keep an accounting of my daily activities and celebrate the little victories that we have in life. I had a buddy who is going to get sponsored for an internship at Johnson & Johnson. I had a roommate get a perfect score on our accounting test. I helped a girl I know talk through and practice a presentation that she needs to give. There are things every day where we make a difference or celebrate in the successes of others.

I am realizing that more and more my decision to pursue consulting is a huge fit for me. I resonate and am passionate with it. I feel like I have been doing it in small ways my whole life and now I finally know what it is and I have an opportunity to shoot for the stars. I keep getting new things suggested to me all the time. Whether it is a new book to read like the Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton Christensen or Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni (the second one is not as "exciting" as it sounds but I am still excited to put them on my booklist) or it is a new contact to tap into, there are opportunities all over the place. It isn't just who you know but who knows you.

Two great examples were first the lunch I had today with a possible mentor of mine. He is a local consultant with a practice built around Organizational Development. I can't really explain how great our meeting was except that I felt like I really was understood and that I could in turn understand. It has been hard at times with different settings I have been in to be lost in jargon or have some miscommunication but in this instance, I felt like I was on the same page and it was greatly reassuring. I feel like I have not just found my passion but it something I have unknowingly been preparing for and studying out my whole life. It is as Paulo Coelho wrote in his novel, The Alchemist, "People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of."

The other success I had which I can go into more detail about was a case competition that was recently held at the University of Utah. Kalypso is an innovation consulting firm with a virtual office who recruits heavily from Utah. We are 1 of 5 colleges that they go to for direct recruiting. I had been networking my tail off at all of their events and I connected with their business model and consulting process. It was fascinating. In their competition, they had us read a graph and provide a reason why and suggestions for how to fix a gap that was depicted between the forecast and the current revenues from NPD (new product development). My group had a variety of backgrounds and since I only had 20 minutes of experience to learn how to approach one of these cases, I was free to listen to everyone who had suggestions. I even had to swallow my pride a bit and let some of the undergrads take the spotlight during the presentation of our conclusions.

The important or best part for me wasn't the fact that we in the end won the competition and got to go to dinner with the Kalypso team, the director of the MBA program, and a few other individuals, but it was the things I learned. The winning answer we presented was a well constructed framework where we restated the problem, presented the conclusions, and then walked through our process and posed questions we would ask in the future. The format was constructed by one of the undergrads. The MBA2 in our group had a finance background so he thought to bring some of the marketing basics in such as to talk about price and the forecasting. I brought in experience of taking the core product and attempting to restructure it or apply it in a new innovative way to increase sales along with being able to talk about the graph itself and discuss exterior and interior forces like repositioning products to limit possible effects from cannibalization of market share.

The ideas that the Kalypsonians brought to the field though were things like tying promotions from the core product to new products similar to Starbucks Coffee same-day coupons. They talked about choosing to avoid to use exterior forces as reasons for failure and working to push for results within the organization. They talked about researching and making sure that more advertising and marketing was being pushed for the new products to broaden the success of the launch. They had so many simple but effective ideas and visiting with the team over dinner was invaluable as well. Everyone had pushed to sit around the hiring manager during the dinner but noting that some of the key individuals had yet to show up, I set myself up to the right of the head of the table on the other end. This got me into conversations with one of the founding partners, a senior manager, our director of our MBA program, and all I had to do was be strategic with where I chose to sit. Enough little wins can help you secure the war.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Experiment in Gratitude

The science of happiness? How can there be any science behind our emotions? Well there is such a thing and there are steps or things we can do to improve our happiness and create an improved atmosphere around ourselves and others. If you want to see it in action, watch the videos...

There are about 12 episodes to this show and as a result, there was one person who took the pretest survey to determine the test subject or volunteer's level of happiness who got a perfect score. So the point that I wanted to share was there is something in the LDS faith called the Plan of Salvation or the Plan of Happiness. Here is a little science behind how faith in God and living a Christ-like life can affect you in your daily life.

Take some time to continue to research the science of happiness.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

How Far The Fall

I have been thinking a lot about dreaming big. I know that everyone has a dream of what they want to do and we all have our own paths in life in how we can possibly get there. For me, I realize that I am picking a hard road, high risk, high return... And I don't know how it is going to turn out. Still this is always how I have done things. I have lived on my own, worked my way through school, done long distance, bet on people and lost, had the strength to pick myself up along the way and never give up.

I am the kind of person who is a fighter. I see the best in people. But right now, I am taking the courage to let go of a place where I am comfortable because I can see more - something I love, things that I can relate to, and be passionate about. The question in the back of my mind is it worth the fall and even though I can see what could be, the only thing I can really do is tell myself that I will not fail. I will be the best. I am going to live the life that I will make for myself. I am my own paradox - I am my own dreams and my own nightmares because no one is going to define me except me.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Light of Christ

I had another interesting institute class this week with Brother Peterson. The topic this week was the ancient creeds of Christianity and their interpretations of the godhead. The part that was so fascinating to me was how closely we really believe in similar notions to the Trinity. The Trinity in its original meaning were that the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost were all made of the same logos, substance, matter, intelligence, spirit but they were not the same being or personage. In our own faith, we believe in a similar notion.

There were a few analogies that really resonated with me through the night. God is everywhere. This idea comes from the fact that when Joseph saw God the Father and the Son in the grove, their glory was so bright that it almost consumed the grove. The resurrected body is this perfect container or tabernacle but it is not a confining or impermeable box. Our bodies are similar in this regard because in this way the spirit of God or light of Christ can enter us or leave us. The glory of God or the intelligence or spirit that makes up God is in all things. It is in the earth, all matter, and in this way He is in all things, through all things, and is a part of all things. Everything is a part of this spiritual connection. In fact, in the early days of the church there was debate on the difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost. The former being this logos or matter that is in everything and everyone and the Holy Ghost is the being which testifies of truth.

This also brings in the concept of time. If God is not bound by a physical tabernacle in the way that His glory or spirit is fully encapsulated then he can be really everywhere and anywhere at once. He radiates past and through all aspects and corners of the immensity of space and time. However if we are too made of this matter or spirit or logos, then how does one grow from grace to grace? The answer lies in faith becoming knowledge and the idea of light.

What is the purpose of light? The purpose of light is to illuminate or create comprehension or knowledge. Comprehend is not only to mentally grasp something but to include or gather something physically. What if light was not only able to illuminate physical things but extend that to motivations, actions, perspective, or time? What if there was so much light that all shadows were gone? You would be able to see perfectly. We also are not trying to gain or gather more light but we are trying to release it or have it revealed from within us. Again, god is in all things so think of a light bulb in the sense of how it the design of them has changed. The outside of the glass is coated with a thin film of material to make it stronger but it is still porous enough to let the light come through. In the original designs however, it was simply pure clear glass. The light produced was so bright that it was impossible to look into them directly for extended periods of time. The light inside the bulb however was always the same - the outside coating was the only thing that was different.

If we have more light or share more light than others it is not that our spirit is any different or made of any different material but it may be because the light we have inside is coated to different degrees. The more willing we are to accept that light and are not afraid of it, the more we are able to see and comprehend. The fullness however will not be obtained in this life but it is in the next. Sections 88 and 93 of the Doctrine & Covenants are great reference points to study these concepts.