Monday, November 22, 2010


My post this week is entitled "Grateful." You may be thinking, "Hmm, cliche," or maybe you're sick of hearing "lists of gratitude." If these thoughts just went through your mind, then this isn't the post for you. I am bursting with gratitude, and I'm going to share it.

I love this time of year. For me, it brings back memories of every year since I can remember. Family, food, fun, food, fiesta, food... Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I honestly believe that Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that hasn't been completely commercialized. We don't spend a month worrying about what presents we will buy, or making lists about what we want, or making sure that we don't leave anyone out. Instead, we simply spend a day (or a weekend - I am excited to see my sister!) with our loved ones. We forget about those mile-long lists of wants, and spend one, just one day in humility as we consider all we have. We aren't concerned about missing someone on our list, but missing someone in our prayers. I am grateful that we have 1 out of 365 days that can humble us that much.

It's frightening to me to start a list of all of the things I'm grateful for because I don't think I'll ever stop typing and eventually you'll get sick of reading. I did write a list, but to spare you a headache from words I will just tell you that it was a few pages long... If you don't believe me, you can ask to see it! I got really bored in class on the last day before the break... haha.

Most of all I'm grateful for my family and for being a part of something so wonderful. I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am grateful for all the little things that I have that make my life worth living, and I am grateful for YOU!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Whatever is... is best.

I had the wonderful opportunity to serve under two amazing mission presidents. I learned a lot from both of them. I loved having two different presidents. They were both so unique and really lead us through their personal testimonies. It's amazing to me how people can be so spiritual, yet we all have our own different way of portraying it. It's interesting to see how people show their testimonies. President Ellsworth was a spiritual giant (literally giant because he's like 6'8" or something like that). I used to have a hard time seeing the big picture. I used to get caught up in the "why and how." I became so enveloped in planning whatever I was going to do next by trying to change what was currently happening. I needed answers. We went to a zone conference and something that President Ellsworth said has really stuck with me. He said, "Whatever is, is best." He then repeated it about a hundred times just to cement it in my head, I guess.

I respond well to little 'catch-phrases' so I spent the next few days thinking about that. To this day, if I find myself questioning "why?," this phrase still pops in my head. I have made a lot of changes in the past few months. I've spent so much time worrying and hoping that I had made the right decisions. To worry is hereditary in my family. I think we're really good at it! Some days are better than others, but as a general rule, I have learned that life is so much better when we stop worrying about everything and accept that live is what it is!

I have always liked President Monson's quote:

"The past is behind,
learn from it.
The Future is ahead,
prepare for it.
The present is here,

As I looked into it a little more, I found this poem written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. President Ellsworth may have been quoting this, however I am not sure.

I know as my life grows older,
And mine eyes have clearer sight,
That under each rank of wrong, somewhere
There lies the root of right;
That each sorrow has its purpose,
By the sorrowing oft unguessed;
But as sure as the sun brings morning,
Whatever is - is best.

I know that each sinful action,
As sure as the night brings shade,
Is somewhere, sometime punished,
Though the hour be long delayed.
I know that the soul is sided
Sometimes by the heart's unrest,
And to grow mean often to suffer -
But whatever is - is best.

I know there are no errors
In the great Eternal plan,
And all things work together
For the final good of man.
And I know as my soul speeds onward,
In its grand Eternal quest,
I shall say as I look back earthward,
Whatever is - is best.

I've thought a lot about this in the past few weeks. Sometimes we think we know what is best for ourselves and we try to take the reins and speed ahead. I think God must get a good laugh in when we do that and make complete fools of ourselves. I know I'm not the best at just letting things happen, but it's something I am constantly working on. I know, as the poem says, that there isn't a flaw in the eternal plan. There are times in life where it is hard to see that big picture though. I learn more and more every day that the place for me to be part of that plan is right here, in the present and I plan to live every moment of it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just to reemphasize!

In case any of you had forgotten......

Look what I found in New York!!

The ONLY reason I did not buy this piece of heaven was because I didn't want to carry it around all day. Doesn't this picture just make you happy?

I heart Reese's.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Sometimes to get where we want to go, life takes us on a little detour.

New York City for fall break? Yes! Cheap stand-by tickets? Yes! A few days of amazing friends and lots of good times? Absolutely!

When one of my mission companions, Brian, and I decided to take a trip for fall break, we were way stoked! We had everything all planned out. He would get the hook-up for inexpensive plane tickets, I would get us an awesome place to stay, and we would have the time of our lives in the Big Apple. We decided to fly stand-by seeing as it is really cheap. Ok, mom, you have given me enough crap for not paying attention to what "stand-by" means. Got it.

The night before we were supposed to leave, Brian
calls and informs me that it will be impossible to leave from Salt Lake City. My reaction- bummer! no trip! However, there was an alternate option... drive to Las Vegas, and catch any of the flights from there. 24 hours later, we were packed up and on our way to the Vegas. It all makes perfect sense, of course, we want to go from Salt Lake City to New York City, so drive to Vegas... Ok, I am guilty of thinking those little construction detours were bad. Try a 7 hour detour, each way.

Well, we got to the airport in the Vegas super early on Thursday morning and waited. I thought we would have a good chance getting on the first flight, I was wrong. The second flight definitely looked better! Nope, no luck. When the third flight was finally taking off, there was one seat left. Brian was then on his way to NYC while I did homework in Vegas. Luckily, my prayers were answered and I was on the next flight out three hours later. We landed at 1:00 am in New York City and luckily Michael and Siri didn't kill us for arriving at their house so stinkin' late! Sorry guys...

Of course we slept in the next morning and then it was off to the big city! It wasn't until we got into Manhattan that I found out that Brian had never actually been there before. So all day Friday was spent doing touristy stuff. We met up with Kait and Heidi and had a great time touring one of the greatest cities on the earth.

That night was awesome! We met Michael and Siri for dinner at a really good Italian restaurant and to see In The Heights with Jordin Sparks! Michael got a sweet deal from his work and we sat on the 4th row. I swear Jordin winked right at me. Sad tale though, we waited outside the door on the road for Jordin to come out. I just knew that if she saw me, I would get a kiss. Unfortunately, we didn't see her. But I still did get a kiss! Kind of...

Saturday was AWESOME! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIRI! We slept in (again), lost the Wicked lotto,

went to central park and played in row boats (my personal favorite),

went to Serendipity
(my other personal favorite),

then we tried the Wicked lotto again (yet another favorite). However, there was something different about this lottery! 2 people from our group actually won! (my very favorite part). Michael and Sarah both won 1st and 2nd row tickets to that night's show! Michael and Siri gave us their tickets and Brian, Sarah, Heidi, and I were able to go and see Wicked that night! The second row was 100% incredible and a perfect way to end our last night of the journey.

Thank you Michael and Siri for letting us stay with you! We had an awesome time! Also, thanks to Siri for the awesome pictures!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Letter Sent Through Time...

Suz, this one's for you!

I hope you're all ready for the embarrassing/random moment of the week. Rather than keeping these moments to myself- I usually share them. Too bad I just don't get embarrassed easily!

Today, I received a letter in the mail... from myself! 4 1/2 years ago I wrote myself a letter in seminary. I gave it to my teacher and told him that I wanted to get it in September 2010. I remember why I chose the time period I did.

Inside the envelope were a few things I sent. First, there was the letter to myself! Awesome. There was a letter my good old friend, Tiffany, wrote. Awesome. I also mailed myself a pass for a free game of bowling! Awesome-er. (Too bad I didn't check the expiration date before I mailed it. Oh well, it's the thought that counts.) Lastly, I also put a dollar in the envelope! Awesome-est!

I'm going to share the majority of the letter with you- omitting some parts, of course. The stuff in parenthesis are my current comments on whatever I wrote four years ago.

Dear Me (duh),

Wow. Well, it's kind of weird to be writing this to you (technically myself) a letter. Brother Davis asked us to write these letters to compare our perspective in high school to that of when we receive the letter (oh great... do I really want to remember my high school perspective...?) . I have chosen for my letter to be mail in September of 2010. I will be 22. In the time period between now and then, I have a few goals I want to accomplish:

I want to graduate from high school (check!),

get my eagle (check! thanks mom...),

get into college (check!),

and most importantly, serve a mission. (BINGO!)

When I get this letter, I want to be working for a college education (check!) and " searching" for an eternal companion. (Che... Wait, Woah! For the record, I cannot believe I wrote that!)

I want to be a good husband and father in the future and work hard to be a good church leader and an honorable priesthood holder. Right now, I'm only concerned with little things such as who likes me, and being involved with friends. In 4 years, I hope to be looking at things with a bigger perspective. Oh yeah, I want to be rich! Haha. (oh, how we learn so quickly...)

Well, what fun would this letter be without listing some girls I'd like to date between now and then?! So let's see if any of these "crushes" end up working out... At the moment, my #1 crush is ____________ but I don't really know her that well yet. A couple couple of girls that are good friends that I'd like to go out with are: ___________, ___________, ___________, & __________. (Did you really think I'd write the names on the internet?! NO WAY! However, I will say that I have been on at least one date with all of them since I've been home. Excluding the one who's married, of course!)

Before I end the letter, I feel really inclined to write about how much I love my family. (Can't have a blog post without writing that apparently. Still love you guys!) They are awesome and I can honestly say that I would be completely lost in the world without them. Over the last year or two, I got a lot closer to Dad than I ever thought possible. Before, we were always at each others throats and stuff, but now, we have seemed to click a little bit more. I like that we can laugh and roll our eyes together at things like when the women in our family are moody. I am thankful to have a mom who cares for us as much as she does. She has always been there for me and I can talk to her about anything. She constantly puts her own needs aside to help us with ours and I don't thing I could love anyone more. I don't know what I'd do without her. Since I'm next in the family, we'll take a "skip." I have enough about me in this letter already. Lauren is my hero! She is the most perfect person I know in every way possible. She makes me strive to be a better person and although I am older, I know that she is the example to me. I'm glad we had the opportunity to be so close while growing up. She truly is my best friend. Finally, we come to Tanner. What an I say about him? Even though Laur and I give him a hard time, we really do love him. Without him, our family is far from complete. He may get annoying sometimes, but I try to remind myself that that's what little brothers are for. I'm sure he'll turn out alright.(Seriously the last line of my letter? You should've seen Tanner's face when he heard that! Good thing I made up for it in the last post!)

See ya in 4 years!


It was an interesting letter for me to read. In a way, I am happy that I was able to accomplish those goals. To some, they may seem insignificant. To me, they were life-altering. I'm going to write myself another letter and find someone to give it to me in 5 years. I'd like to see where I'm at then. This time, though, I'm sending myself at least $20!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Friend Worth Finding

When I moved home at the end of this summer, I was wondering what the heck I was getting myself into. During the past few weeks, I have realized that so many good things have come from this decision. However, there is one reason that has had the biggest impact on my life so that's the one I thought I'd share.

Ever since I can remember, my little sister has always been around. I don't remember a time when she wasn't my best friend. We did
EVERYTHING together. With her help, I have made it to where I am today. I've never had such a loyal friend; someone who'd stand by me with such selflessness.To this day, we are still closer
than anything.


When I was
6, a new member was added into our family.

I was SO excited! In fact, I remember being so stoked that I actually threw up all over the hospital for hours... (the emotions in our family run a little high.... and sorry for the visual, but it's true). I finally had a little brother!

I feel bad that the truth is as we were growing up, Tanner and I were never as close as Lauren and I were. We like to get on each others nerves quite a bit and we're pretty good at it too. However, these past few weeks have been an incredible eye-opening experience for me. I came to the realization that the wall in our relationship was only put up by me and I was the one who had to take it down. I never knew that my biggest regret would be right in front of me for nearly 15 years.

Tan, I owe you a huge apology. Anyone who knows Tanner also knows that he is the MOST LOVEABLE person in the entire world! When I think of all the words that describe my little bro, not a single bad thing pops into my head. He is caring, loving, hysterical, helpful, friendly, respectful, nice, smart, loyal and so many other things!

I have thought a lot about who plays which roles in our family. Dad has always been the thinker. He's the brain and the head of the house. (Even if he says mom is the boss... ha). Without him, we wouldn't be anywhere. Without him, our motivation and drive to succeed would be lost. Mom has always been the "glue." She's what holds us together. She keeps us strong in hard times. She keeps us close when we're physically far. Lauren is the "doer." She gets set in a course and glides right through to the finish line. She is basically the arms and legs of the family; always encouraging us to do the right thing, even if it's hard. She's there to give you a hug even if it's over the phone. All of these roles are so important but none would work without Tanner, the heart of our family. I always joke with him that he's mom and dad's favorite, but the truth is- he's everyone's favorite. One of the definitions I found for heart is "the vital or essential part, the core." He really keeps us going. We love you Tan Man! I am the luckiest person in the world to be a part of this.

I am so grateful that I came home this one last time so that I could find one of the best friends I'll ever have. Tan, thanks for being patient with me while I figured it out. I'm glad we're "roomies" again. You have been one of the greatest blessings I have in my life, so don't ever forget it!

If you don't know this guy, you are really missing out. When you get to know him, you will have a best friend for life, I promise.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Heaven on Earth

Harry Burnett Reese is my hero.

How is it even possible to invent heaven and stick it inside an orange wrapper? Call me worldly if you'd like, I'm in love with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy chocolate, which is really the same thing.

Some of you probably know how I deal with stressful situations, especially at work, but let me just give you an example...

Based on a true story:

I have often wondered how people with desk jobs pack on the pounds so quickly. A few months ago, I began a job where I am on the computer all day. They are so nice here, in fact, they even stock the kitchen full of food. After only a few short weeks at my desk, I came to realize that I must be following the pattern of a frustrated computer-user. It seemed like every time I tried to do something new, the dang machine would give me another new problem. Instead of getting angry at the situation, I would just open my drawer, pull out a reese's and pop it in my mouth. This process has been repeated every five minutes for 8 eight hours everyday, 5 days a week, for the past 12 weeks. I think that explains a lot. Also, you should know that I regret nothing. Not a single bite wasted.

I have especially grown to love the holidays. The goodness starts with Valentine's Day. Who needs a date when you can buy a few six packs of the heart-shaped reeses? These are especially good because they contain the correct chocolate-to-peanut butter ratio, which is very important. Then along comes the Easter bunny (he knows exactly what I want every year... reeses eggs... imagine that). After a long hiatus, Halloween finally arrives. Pumpkins. Then there's Christmas. Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree... I love your chocolatey goodness. Believe me, I could go on about this forever, but I really should get some sleep. I'll just end by saying, "We need more holidays..."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don't Take Another Step

Snakes. I hate snakes. If there is one thing that I never want to see again or that I could condemn straight to you know where, I would say snakes. (If any of you use this information to your advantage, I promise there will be hell to pay. Seriously.)

Decisions. They're hard. The decisions we make navigate our journey through life. I am not particularly fond of decisions all the time. Sometimes they are the hardest things to deal with. With each decision comes a consequence- good or bad. At times, we make the right one. Other times, we have an error of judgment and a mistake is made. I believe that our mistakes govern our lives as much, if not more, than the easy/'right' decisions. Life is the decision; living is the consequence. We make the decision. We choose the consequence.

"We choose our joys and our sorrows long before we experience them."
-Kahlil Gabran

I have been thinking a lot about a certain experience that I had on my mission that has really stuck with me. To some, this event probably won't seem like much, but to me, this has really changed my outlook. About a year and a half into my mission, I was serving in the beautiful city of Santa Maria. My companion and I, along with the two elders we lived with, had been wanting to go hiking for a long time. We asked around and our branch president recommended this amazing hike to us. He and his wife talked it up quite a bit and we were so excited. After they talked about how wonderful it was, they gave us a warning. It was like an arrow to the heart for me. Their words were, "Elders, be careful. A lot of people have told us that they have run into rattlesnakes on the trail." Great... well, it was a good idea anyway! Me, being the only one afraid of snakes, suggested that we find a different trail, but that did not go over well. The next p-day we were hiking one of the most beautiful trails I had ever seen! Just look at the pictures. It was incredible and everything that we had heard it was.

We decided that we would go all the way to the end of the trail rather than stopping half-way. As we walked, we became careless. I was walking with one of the other elders and talking when suddenly he threw his arm across my chest and pushed me back as hard as he could. That's when I heard it. The sound I had avoided all my life. This is a little over dramatic but to me, it was the rattle of death. I had come withing of foot of stepping on THIS!

(Please note that even putting this on here makes me want to hurl... It's just to make a point.)

Before you could utter a nasty four-letter word, I was a quarter mile back in the direction that we had come from. The other three elders provoked that blasted thing a bit while I was sitting down with my head between my knees. Ultimately the decision was made that we would continue past that .... thing... and finish our hike. I, however, don't remember the next 5 minutes. But this is how they got me past the rattler.

Judge me all you want. I'm a wuss. Whatever. You can see from this picture that the trail was pretty wide. Well, it became narrower and narrower until we were all walking in a single-file line through the brush. We were all just a bit on edge. No, they didn't carry me the whole way. We had made the decision to carry on and we were going to stick with it. About an hour after our first encounter with the devil, we were approaching the last section of the trail. My stomach fell to the ground when I recognized the devil's mating call once again. Right there, lying across the center of the trail, was yet another diamondback. These things were really starting to ruin my day. I knew what that second snake was, it was a warning. It was the line. We had reached the line right across the path and we were not to go any further. To me, this was clear. I had the very distinct feeling come into me that begged, "Do NOT take another step!" You don't have to tell me twice. One of the elders turned to me and said, "I know what you're feeling because I feel it too. We are going back." Awww thank you! Someone finally understood! My companion was about to be swayed either way, while the other elder was determined to finish the hike. The elder that was ready to finish this thing threw rocks at the snake until it was rattling from the brush and walked past it. As he crossed that line, I told him my responsibilities as a leader ended right there. To walk one more step was his own agency. Twenty steps later, that missionary froze in his tracks. I was worried that there was another snake right there so when I screamed out, "What's wrong?!" He replied, "I cannot take another step. Even if I wanted to. I can't move my feet." After pausing for about a minute, he turned around and led us out of that place. There was not another snake in his path. There was only a distinct warning that we should not go any further. We cautiously began the hike back over the mountain and only ran into one more of those disgusting creatures. This time, we were ready for it and we passed by without it even coiling up.

We were blessed that day. We don't know what was avoided or why we turned around but we did all return unharmed. (Mentally, maybe I was a little overwhelmed...) The point is that we had a choice. We chose to continue our hike even though we knew what risks we were taking.

I have made a lot of decisions in my life. We all have. I had made my share of good decisions and bad ones, but I am grateful for the ones I learned from. Right now, I am in a time of life that seems like each day brings another choice that I don't want to worry about. I have often heard it that that "If you decide not to decide, you have already decided." At times, I think I have it all figured out. I am sure that I've made the right/good/correct decision and that everything will work out perfectly. These last few weeks have really taught me a lot about myself and how I can better myself in this process.

When I think back to certain experiences in my life, I feel like I have been very guided in the decisions I have made. Sometimes, I get frustrated because I'm sure I've made the "good decision" and I'm going to the path that I'm supposed to be on. Then comes that feeling, "Don't take another step!" It's almost as if a brick wall is slammed down in front of me and I have to turn back and go the other direction. (Believe me, I'd rather it be a brick wall than an evil creature without legs...) So, I turn around. I hike back up the other side of the mountain to another beginning point. I wish I knew why I made the decision I did. I wish I could always be sure of where I'm going but that's not always part of the plan. That's not always how we learn.

We are promised that we will receive blessings according to our faith and obedience, so I guess it's time to just take that leap. A friend of mine sent me a text with this scripture today, "I will be your light in the wilderness: and I will prepare the way before you... Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall be led toward the promised land and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led." (1 Ne. 17:13)

So, was it worth the view and the experience? Totally.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The BEST of Times

When I started writing this post, I had something completely different in mind. I asked my mom, what should the title of this Monday's entry be?! I didn't want her to know what I was writing about and my description was, "what should I name my post that only talks about one worldly thing that I couldn't possibly live without...?" He response to me was this, "Start writing it first and then it will come to you." For those of you who know my mom (or even if you're only acquainted with her on Facebook), you know she is a great writer! So... I took her advice and started writing that 'materialistic' blog of mine. Oh, by the way, this was all on Saturday. And then, it all changed! You know those times where you spend like two weeks writing your talk for sacrament meeting and then you wake up that morning and you think to yourself, "Shoot! I can't get up there and say that!" This was one of those situations. Rest assured, I am just postponing that other blog until next week. It can wait, this one can't.

On Saturday, I had an experience that taught me a lot. Without any details, I'll start by saying that things haven't been easy breezy for me these past couple of weeks and months. Nothing serious, don't worry. I'd just been having a hard time figuring out where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing. It's such an awkward time of life and I'm just not sure how to take it sometimes. I can be having the time of my life one day, and the next, I have no idea what happened. I feel like I am giving a good effort to make the best of it, but even then, I have to figure out how to do that.

Saturday night was the first time in who knows how long that my family was all together. Just us. We barbecued together (and of course, we burned the chicken), then we went bowling. For the life of me, I cannot remember the last time we ALL went bowling together. I didn't even know my dad was really good at bowling. I must have gotten his genes there because I won the second game with 5 strikes!! That has definitely never happened before. I haven't even been practicing... Then it was off to Baskin Robbins. Mmmmm Mmmmm good. On our way there, we blasted some MJ and rocked out to "Beat It." I mean, we REALLY rocked out with the windows down. You may think we're weird, I don't care, we were having a good time and everyone we passed was smiling! Well worth it, I'd say. Do any of you do that with your families? Or alone...? haha because I do.

While we were driving home (still rockin' out, mind you), a song came on that had a humongous impact on me. Were any of you raised listening to STYX? Some of my favorite memories include riding the car with the top down and blasting the STYX Greatest Hits album. The song that came on during this particular occasion was "The Best of Times." It was in that moment that I realized that these truly are the BEST of times. Things aren't easy right now, and maybe they never will be. But that's ok. I have some of the best friends in the whole world. My four very best friends were rockin' out with me in the car and I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. Here are some of the lyrics:

Tonight's the night we'll make history
Honey, you and I.
'Cuz I'll take any risk
To tie back the hands of time
And stay with you here tonight.

I know you feel these are the worst of times I do believe it's true.
When people lock their doors and hide inside
Rumor has it, it's the end of Paradise.

But I know
If the world just passed us by
Baby, I know
I wouldn't have to cry. No, no.

The best of times

Are when I'm alone with you

Some rain, some shine
We'll make this a world for two.

Our memories of yesterday will last a lifetime.
We'll take the best, forget the rest

And someday we'll find

These are the best of times.

It occurred to me that I can make any time the best time. I also recognized that any time I am with my family, I feel loved and important and needed. I know that when I'm with them, I have a place and a purpose. I'm not expecting to get married anytime soon, but I realized that the girl I get to marry will be pretty lucky. I don't say this because she will end up with me (haha), but she is going to become family with the four best people I know. Dad is always there to provide and support for us. He is constantly sacrificing everything he wants and needs to make sure that we are well taken care of. Mom is the most supportive and encouraging friend anybody could ever ask for and she will love you no matter what. Lauren is the one always encouraging us to do better and she is the family 'protector.' Don't let her get around you will an airsoft gun if she suspects you've done something to hurt one of us! And Tanner will always keep everyone on their toes and laughing. He can make even the most terrible times something to smile about. I'd say that I've got everything I need. The worldly stuff can wait. I get this forever.

Monday, June 7, 2010

laugh with me! or at me? I don't really care... just laugh!

"Laugh as much as you breathe, love as long as you live."

If I laugh to much for you, I don't apologize. I don't sympathize, nor do I understand. There are a few things I cannot live without- although some of the things on that list are: iPhone, my magic bullet, and my costco card- I would rather die than live without laughter. This post is going to contain some of my thoughts about laughter as well as many quotes from wiser people who were either smarter than me or just better with words.

"If every word I said could make you laugh, I'd talk forever..."

If I laugh with you, I feel comfortable with you. It means that I like being around you. If I can laugh with you about anything, I love you. If you make me bust a gut, you are my friend. If my abs hurt after spending time with you, you must be my best friend. If we don't laugh, I'm sorry... but I honestly don't think that happens very often. Laughing builds relationships. If two people can laugh and smile with each other about anything, I feel like a bond is formed. Victor Borge once said, "Laughter is the closest distance between two people." Apparently, laughing brings you closer to someone than spooning with them...? I think I am ok with this- not to discourage spooning in any way, haha. I heard the quote a while ago that "laughter is the way to true love" (anonymous) and I believe it. I don't understand love without laughter. To me, that's like living without air- not possible. To love someone isn't only defined as an unspoken connection between two people. To me, it's much more than that. What do you talk about? What brings you closer together? What makes you smile? What moments do you share? What do you laugh about together? Laughing with a loved one doesn't have to be a 24/7 thing, but I think that it should be something that occurs more often than not.

"Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough."
-William Saroyan

One of my favorite quotes came from Christopher Morley. He said, "Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do." Anyone who knows me well, knows that that one 'something' can easily turn into many other things. "The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused." (Shirley MacLaine) Well, it's true isn't it? I'm living proof! Constantly amused... Please don't blame me, I take after my mom, who is also very amused when she can laugh at herself. In my opinion, things shouldn't always be so serious. I have found that when I look back on a situation which I have handled poorly, I wish I would've have laughed rather than what my actual reaction was. The situation could have been less intense and complicated. I have learned from those experiences and now do my best to laugh rather than stress!

"Laughter is the shock absorber which eases the blows of life."

I am probably the only one who notices a difference, but I feel like my 'laugh' is back. The past couple of weeks have been pretty awesome. I felt like I'd lost my touch to enjoy life, but I just had some lessons to be learned I guess? I don't know what happened, but I am sitting here on a marvelous Monday and smiling because I had a great weekend. It doesn't matter what I did or who I was with, but I laughed the ENTIRE time! From a hilariously fun concert on Thursday, to a great time 'camping' on Friday, a day with the family on Saturday, and some interesting experiences on Sunday, I laughed. My abs hurt. My cheeks hurt. And I love it.

"God is a comedian, playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh."

Monday, May 31, 2010

Life Without Cruise Control

"Destiny is no matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
-William Jennings Bryant

I used to be a "grandpa driver." At least that's what my friends told me as I was shuttling them around. I don't think it was that bad, most of the time. I have never been one to speed excessively or drive recklessly, but I recently began a new job that requires a daily commute from Provo to Murray during the morning traffic. After doing that everyday for a few weeks, I think I have shed the title of "grandpa" and now I am just a "commuter." I think that switch generally requires an average increase of 10 m.p.h. and 53% more lane changes. Also, a commuter is envious of those that are able to utilize the carpool lane, although a commuter is too cheap to buy a "commuter pass." (to be able to use the carpool lane with only the driver in the car) I also love my car. I chose what I wanted, but I was unaware when we bought it, that it did NOT have cruise control. I repeat, the car does not go without my foot on the gas peddle. Long commute? Depends on traffic. Minor detail, right? Even though, it seems like something small, I am going to blame all of my problems on these facts from now on.

With it being the holiday weekend and all, my little bro and his friends went to St. George to celebrate his birthday and have a good time. Of course, my roommate and I tagged along with the 12 teenagers and my family. We had to leave later than the rest of them though, so I had to take my own car. I have made this trip once before with my spacious (but little) Honda Fit (that doesn't have cruise control) so I knew what kind of adjustments I would need to make during the ride so that my bum bum wasn't sore the entire way. I've thought a lot about how to fix this problem. While I'm driving and my right cheek is killing me (sorry to be so graphic...) I just try to find a solution that will keep the car going. This trip, I learned how to use my left leg for just a little while before it wussed out as well.

Cruise control.... cruise control... cruise control... two words that go through my head a lot, I think. St. George was wonderful! It was warm and sunny and the pool felt great. On Saturday, my roommate and I decided to go hiking. We were going to go hike up in Snow Canyon. Since I am on vacation, I should drive in a leisurely manner, right? Wrong. Once a commuter, always a commuter. Don't forget that. That is, until you get pulled over. In over 6 years of driving, I never once got pulled over! I think that's pretty good. Mom, I know it took you like 29 years, congrats. Why could I not have been a grandpa driver that day? Oh yeah, let's blame cruise control. If I had set my cruise control, would I have been going 38 in a 25 zone? No. I know what you're thinking, "who sets their cruise control at 25....?" Ok, we all know that I wouldn't have set it, but I need something to blame, remember? Cruise control/commuter (those are my 'issues'). Apparently, my "innocent act" worked to my advantage. I only got written up for 30 mph instead of 38. whew! Is it bad that I'm relieved to get that first ticket experience over with?

In all the thoughts I had this weekend about cruise control, I had many interesting ideas on how to make this work in my car. It was then that I had a bigger epiphany... what would it be like if we had cruise control for life?! We could just set it at the desired speed and daunt through existence while occasionally steering in a new direction. How many of us have tried this? Um, me. I will be the first to admit that. I think it seems easier at times to just coast through the necessities and hope that we can get by. In a way, this is kind of a run-on from last week's lesson from New York. Who controls what I do? Me. Who controls who I am? Me. Who controls my attitude, my actions, my thoughts.... my life? I do. We don't get the option to set a 'cruise control' to help us slide through the difficult travels that we'll make. We control our pace. At times, our speed limit (so to speak) is going to be much different that what we want. We can't always go 38 in a 25. At the same time, it's totally impractical to go 25 on the highway! We learn from those mistakes. We govern the journey that leads to our destination.

Cruise control through life? Forget it! I am going to drive myself to meet my goals. I hope it's a long trip, but you just never know. I picture different friends and family with me along the way. There will be good conversation, lots of great 'road trip' music, and maybe some funny games. Heck, I'll also tell you that my right cheek will be a lot more toned than that left one. It will be a little sore, but at least I'm setting my own pace. Right?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Waking up in the "Big Apple"

I have only committed to writing on Mondays. However, to get a jump start on things, I am going to write just this one Tuesday. The good part of the story involves Mondays though so I think it's legit. Two weeks ago (the day after Mother's Day), I woke up thinking, "Grrrrreat.... it's Monday.... (!)" I am very enthusiastic in the mornings... (take note, that's sarcasm). Anyway, I reached over and picked up my phone like I normally do to see who's contacted me when they should have been sleeping. I checked my email and received the most wonderful of surprises! I had signed up for this website called '' It was supposed to help me find good deals on flights to places that I wanted to go, but usually I got depressing emails that only reminded me that I was not going anywhere anytime soon. I'm glad I did not take my name off that list just yet. As the suject of the email, I read, "Fare Alert! Low fare from Salt Lake City to New York City." HA! I'd probably have to pay $500 and they'd call it 'low fare.' When I opened the email, to delete it of course, something marvelous caught my eye. There it was, "$20 Round Trip to New York City." That bout threw me over the edge! Who on earth would try to get my hopes up like that?! Everyone knows I've wanted to go and visit Kaitlan and see the Big Apple, but this was just cruel. I decided that I'd check out this hoax on Jet Blue's website. Much to my surprise, it was true! No hoax at all!! To make a long story short, I had plane tickets within 15 minutes. Thank you internet. The only catch was that I'd have to leave the very next day. Problem? Nope. I decided that instead of coming back the next day (as was required by the $20), I'd just buy a one-way ticket and stay for a week and then pay regular price to come home. (Dear BookingBuddy, I'm so sorry, please forgive me. I will never doubt you again...)

Spontaneity is always something that I've enjoyed. Sometimes, even 'planned spontaneity' is better than nothing. But I am a firm believer that every once in a while, one must do something that requires you to make a decision in an instant that could change your life. I'm not trying to be melodramatic, but in a way, I feel like I came back from NYC as a different, rejuvenated, and more focused person. So... before I knew it, I was on the red eye out of Salt Lake City. Arriving at JFK was an adventure, especially since I was by myself. I got on the air train, transferred to the subway, got almost to the hotel before I got lost and took a $4 taxi because I was so delirious! I made it on the same day as Kait's showcase. Coincidence? No. She did AMAZING! I'm so impressed with that girl and how much she's grown in the past few years. I was then able to spend a few days with one of my very best friends in a city that I have always found exhilarating. Although I can't put my finger on it, there was something that happened in that week that re-inspired me to try to be great. I came to the realization that I am, indeed, in charge of my own destiny.. For the first time in a long time, I have understood that limits to what I can do and who I can be, don't exist.

The only person that can make me feel trapped in my own little world is me. I've realized that the decision is mine. If I don't like something, I can change it. If it's impossible to change whatever it is, I can change my attitude. I am really grateful for my own little "adventures" that teach me these lessons. They help me put things in perspective and I always learn something new. Who knew someone could find so much purpose in a place where one person is so small?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Attempt #1: "Justified Blogging"

For the last few months, I have been trying to convince myself, "I do NOT need a blog..." Truth is, I don't. Let my friend, Nicole, attest to this, I make fun of bloggers. All of them. But let me take you through my thought process and maybe, just maybe, you'll understand this whole thing...?

#1: While this is my first attempt at "blogging," I have a very small success rate at
writing in a journal. I just can't do it! Needless to say, that's still a work in progress.
I'm counting these as journal entries.

#2: Put frankly, I'm definitely not good at working with computers. I'm honestly
putting forth some effort. If this thing does not get better looking soon, I'm going to give up. Who knows how to use these blog things?? HELP!!!

#3: Getting really tired of facebook....

#4: Six months ago, my life changed dramatically. My mission came to an end and I came home to figure out that life isn't quite what I was expecting it to be. Months later, I feel like I'm finally getting to where I need to be. Let me be honest, even after six months, the comment I still hear the most is, "Spence, we really are glad that you're home, but we're really missing your Monday emails." Well, I hope you meant it because here I am again, in full force! haha. Clearly, I learned and grew just as much, if not more, than anybody else. I have missed writing those Monday emails. Hence, the terms "missingmondays" and "letters from monday..." In a way, I feel like I am Monday. Plus, it's my mom's favorite day of the week. So, here's a toast to our favorite day! (Mom, Grandma, Grandpa, other family and friends that have commented to me, here's your chance to stay caught up on Mondays once again:)