Saturday, April 28, 2018

Calgary, Canada

My next adventure: I will living in Canada for about 18 months starting this summer!
I’ll be in the southern part of Alberta. I’d say it’s probably 1/3 or 1/4 of Alberta, I’m not really sure.

The reason I’m going is because I decided to serve a mission for my church and I was assigned to serve in the Canada Calgary mission, English speaking. (There’s also Mandarin and Spanish speaking missionaries there.)
I’m super excited about it but a little nervous too, which is completely normal.

Apparently, from what I’ve heard and read, it’s pretty diverse there. Return missionaries (RMs) from that area shared that they enjoyed different types of food from Indian to Filipino.
One of the things I’m not looking forward too though is the cold. I grew up in Virginia where, yes, we have crazy weather, but it’s certainly not as cold as Canada will be.
But I also read about chinook winds, which are, apparently, warm winds from the Pacific that are really nice. I’ve also heard that they melt all the snow. (And then it snows again.)
I have also had poutine, which is super famous in Canada. I didn’t have it officially, but I had make-shift poutine.
So, poutine is made up of French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. The idea is also that the gravy melts the cheese curds.
When I had it recently, it was tater tots, gravy, and shredded mozzarella. It was pretty good.

Anyway, I’m pretty excited to experience what Canadas like and to serve the people there.

I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;
I’ll be what you want me to be.
- LDS Hymnal, hymn #270, I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go

Sunday, September 3, 2017

College Life

Time flies when you're having fun.
I guess so. I mean, not everything in the past year has been super fun per se but it's been good overall.

It's been a while since I posted on this blog. Like almost a year.
And now I'm at college. For real, not joking.
It's crazy. Fun, exciting, and scary too.
I mean, I'm away from home for longer than I've ever been in my life and I'm living with two people I didn't even know existed until now. I'm learning so many things like how to squeeze in doing laundry when there's only one washer and one drier on your floor and you're way too lazy to go to a different floor that may or may not have more washers and driers. (And even if I did that, there's no telling if they'd be free and if they were being used that would be a total waste of time and energy.)

But life is pretty good. A little overwhelming on the homework side of things but really great on the learning new things side.

I love where I am right now; not only is it not far from home, it's also beautiful and small.
I'm at Southern Virginia University, a little liberal arts college nestled in the Shenandoah Valley.
The students are friendly, the professors are great, the ecclesiastical leaders are marvelous; what's not to love? (...Beside the whole "only one washer and one drier on my floor" thing.)

So before I left, I watched some videos on what to bring and what not to and things that people don't tell you about college. Most of them were pretty helpful.
I have a lot of quiet time in my dorm without my roommates because I'm just not social. Or, as social as they are. Which is okay, I mean, it's not like I'm a total alien to the rest of the student body. (Actually, quite a few people know my name and I don't remember theirs which is really unfortunate; and I thought I was good with names.)

But overall, college has been a blast.
And it's only been one week.
I'll just have to wait and see what the rest of the semester has in store for me, I guess.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

There's Always Something To Be Grateful For

October is just about over. Halloween is right in front of us. In a few more days kids will be running around in costumes and asking for candy. A few hours after that, it'll be November.
When you think November, what's the first thing you think of?
For me, the first thing that comes to mind is Thanksgiving which is, as the title of the holiday says, thanks giving. It's a day to give thanks.
I know it's not November yet, but it's close enough.

If you look around at the world today, it can seem, at times, that there's not really much to be thankful for? Sure, a lot of good things happen but a lot of terrible and confusing and frightening things happen too?
Are we supposed to be thankful for everything?
Yeah, I guess we should. But it's hard.
In America we have this presidential election coming up and it's simply chaotic.
There are refugees swarming into cities around the world, looking for help, shelter and comfort.
There are hungry families, people struggling and scraping for the bare necessities, shootings, and other terrible, horrible things happening all over the globe.
So why are we even celebrating Thanksgiving?
Because there's always something and if we have to work a little to see what it is, it makes that thing (or things) more meaningful.

I'm reading a book called And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran, a resistance leader in France during World War II. Jacques was an extraordinary person. Not only did he survive a concentration camp after being ratted out by a member of the resistance group, Jacques was blind.
He'd never really had strong eyesight but before the age of eight he got in an accident that left him blind.
He said about his blindness,
Every day since then [his accident and surgery on his eyes] I have thanked heaven for making me blind while I was still a child not quite eight years old. 
I bless my lot for practical reasons first of all. The habits of a boy of eight are not yet formed, either in body or mind. His body is infinitely supple, capable of making just the movement the situation calls for and no other; ready to settle life as it is, ready to say yes to it. And the greatest physical miracles can follow from this acceptance.
I am deeply moved when I think of all the people whom blindness strikes when they are fully grown, whether it is caused by accident or injury in war. Often they have a hard lot, certainly one harder than mine.

You know, if I knew someone who had become blind that young, I would probably think something along the lines of "oh my goodness, that's terrible! Think of all the things they didn't get to experience and see!"
But if you look on the flip side, it is easier to make habits when you're younger. If you've been doing something one way for a long time, it's pretty easy to keep doing that.
So if Jacques Lusseyran, a man who went blind very young, can say that he's thankful that he went blind young instead of old, well then, I think I certainly find something to be grateful for even in the wild, crazy, scary world we live in.
And, believe it or not, those trials can strengthen us.
Thanksgiving is a holiday where we think about what we're truly thankful for but that's not the only time we should be counting our blessings. We should be doing it all year around.
So have a happy Thanksgiving this November (if you're in the United States it's in November, for those in Canada, you already had it) and remember to just take a step back and look at all the wonderful things you've been blessed with.

Be thankful for what you have. Your life, no matter how bad you think it is, is someone else's fairy tale.
~ Wale Ayeni

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Letter to the Movie Industry (Or a gripe about the movies of today)

I posted this on my other two blogs and the reason I'm putting this on all three blogs is because I think this is super important. Movies are everywhere and we all see them, either int he theater or at home or whatever.
So, there's a lot of movies out there today. They premiere all the time. But I've noticed something, something kind of big.
A lot of movies that come out aren't exactly wholesome or family friendly. And those things are really important to me, the opportunity to watch a movie with my family and feel good about it.
I search "2016 Movies" on Google and I looked up the ratings (as in G, PG, PG-13, and R) for each movie listed there (which were not all the movies of 2016). The results: no G rated movies, which is, very sadly, not that surprising; 11 PG movies; 25 PG-13 films; lastly, 13 were R rated (which, in my personal opinion, are 13 films too many).
So I thought I'd go back a few years (specifically 2012) to see if we had better movies, in a rating sense. I would like to say we did, but I was really surprised to find this out: no G rated movies (sad but again not that surprising, which is just sad); only 6 PG movies; 17 PG-13 films; and the killer, 23 R rated. Why???
So, I guess, we're doing a little bit better…maybe since, I'm sure those weren't the only 2012 movies and I didn't list the ratings for all the 2016 ones.
Honestly though, why do we have so many R rated movies? I mean, this is really sad. We went from Gone With the Wind being banned from several states because Rhett Butler says, "I don't give a darn" (except he didn't say 'darn') at the end of the movie, to this.
Personally, I don't think we should even have R rated movies. I mean, if you "can only be 18 or older" to watch it, then why make it?!
I believe in movies that are family friendly, which seem to be almost obsolete these days. I mean, really, we don't need all the language in a movie to make it cool and you really don't need the sexual references hidden in the film to make it funny. In my opinion, those things just make it, I don't know, less cool.
Look, something happening today is that kids see movies they probably shouldn't. There are some kids who've seen PG-13 movies and they are not 13 years old. (Just so you know, so you don't think I'm a perfect-go-by-the-rating type person, I saw some PG-13 movies before I was thirteen, they were Harry Potter films, but they were screened first.) I know, the PG-13 films are the cool ones (I agree to a point) but please realize that these movies were rated for a reason.
Kids are impressionable. There are messages being sent to the audience and sometimes those messages aren't that great.

There are great movies out there, I'm not saying every movie is a terrible one. I'm just saying that movies have a rating for a reason. And you know what, the reason we have so many PG-13 and R rated movies is because we support them by watching them.
Movies do not need to be riddled with swearing, nudity, immodesty, sexual innuendos, and other trash to make them amazing movies.
In fact, the better movies, the ones that fill you with feeling and leave you thinking and send you a positive message, those are the best ones. All the trash and other garbage in movies, they kill those feelings. You really don't need to say swear after every word to get your point across.
That's why I'm always super appreciative of people who make wholesome movies without swearing and with great lessons.
Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again. I say we should make America great again in media. I think that's one great way to make America and the rest of the world great. 

Everyone loves watching a movie now and then, why not make it a great movie?

Sunday, December 20, 2015


This season is all about Christ.
I just love the feeling of Christmas, the love and joy and warmth and giving.

This is a video that I love. I love seeing all those youth bear their testimony; you can just see it in their eyes, the joy and truth they feel about Christ.

I'm so grateful to our Father in Heaven who loved us so much that He was willing to give up his Only Begotten Son.
I'm so grateful to Jesus Christ who was willing to pay the price. He died that we might live.

This video was produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can find this video on their website,, or on YouTube

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mormonad: Make Room

So this is just a link to a Mormonad that I thought was super cool.

Click here to see it (It'll come up as a PDF)

If you don't have time, I'll summarize.
I can't really explain the image but I what I really liked was the text at the bottom. It says: Make Room. "Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus!" ~Elder Neal L. Maxwell.

I love that!
We're each an innkeeper. I've never thought of it that way. But we are. We decide for ourselves if we're going to make room for Jesus.
So, as you go about your holiday shopping and gift wrapping, parties and setting up decorations, don't forget to let Jesus in.

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
do you know what I know
In your palace warm, mighty king,
do you know what I know
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Let us bring Him silver and gold

Said the king to the people everywhere,
listen to what I say
Pray for peace, people everywhere!
listen to what I say
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light
~"Do you hear what I hear"

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Remember What It's All About

This is paper I posted on my other blog yesterday. (I just changed the date from Dec 1st to 2nd.)
December 2nd already?
Time flies.
Well, as we continue to move into the holiday season remember what Christmas is all about. It's not about the gifts. It's not about the food.
It's about Christ.

Sometimes I wish Christmas was everyday but not for the same reason as most people.
There's just a special spirit that surrounds Christmas. People are kinder and we reach out more during this holiday then any other I know.
Wouldn't it be great if we all acted like that all year long?
So, I guess, what I'm really saying is, I wish we had the spirit of Christmas with us all year long.
It's such a special, extraordinary kind of spirit. And although we do strive to be caring and helpful all year long, the spirit isn't the same.
It's just...special.

"Can anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?"
Good question Charlie Brown! He asks this questions during a Nativity rehearsal as he tries to figure out the meaning of Christmas.
And then Linus, our good friend with the blue blanket, walks to center stage and quotes from Luke:
"'And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.'"
"...That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."1

I was glancing around looking for things to help illistrate my point and I ran into this statement on Wikipedia from the 1889 volume of The American Magazine:
"to give up one's very self — to think only of others — how to bring the greatest happiness to others — that is the true meaning of Christmas"2

This is a wonderful video that seems to perfectly illustrate the above statement. It does not take place during the Christmas time (I don't think) but it applies just the same.3

Dr. Suess wrote the classic, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. It's about the Grinch who hates Christmas so he decides to stop Christmas from coming by stealing all of the Who's Christmas things. He sneaks down in the middle of the night, grabs all the Who's things and takes flight. But you know, that didn't stop Christmas from coming at all.
Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?"
"It came with out ribbons! It came without tags!"
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"3
How great! "Maybe Christmas means a little bit more!"
And how right he is! Christmas isn't the things. It's the feelings, the family, the friends. The love and the caring, the togetherness, the songs, the laughter, the fun and the hugs. And most of all it's God' gift to us all.

And so on that last note, on the first day of December,
I hope you'll all continue to remember,
That it's not about things, about Santa or stockings.
Christmas is about the joy and the hope and thanksgiving.
It's about being together and knowing ones better,
And maybe that's why Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close together.

(Okay, very last note: this is great video about what Christmas is all about.5)

1 "A Charlie Brown Christmas" movie
The American magazine, vol. 28 (1889) found on Wikipedia
3 This video called "Ripple" can be found on YouTube
4 The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess
5 This video, "He is the Gift", is on YouTube and