Sunday, June 17, 2012


It's been awhile since I've posted here, but needless to say- I've been busy.
Have you ever had a computer done something aggravating like work perfectly fine until one morning when you turn it on and it tells you there is no memory, no operating system and no hard drive? Cause I haven't. Until this month that is. It makes you realize just how fragile life is and makes you think of what you would have backed up yesterday that you can no longer back up today. So now I'm going through school with my significant other. Loosing a computer could be related to loosing a girlfriend but loosing a limb might be a more accurate analogy. Especially when the library is a ten minute walk away.
Lucky for me I discovered the blogger app for the iPod touch, so even if I can't do my homework until Monday morning- I can still blog! Life isn't that bad afterall.
The greatest accomplishment of the week was reaching a life long goal of walking on a tight rope. There is a slacklining group on campus and the first time I attended I wasn't able to get farther than a step down the line. When I went this week something must of clicked in my brain cause I could do it! Whaddaya know?
Speaking of circus arts the juggling workshop is coming along very, very well. One day I was coming home from the grocery store when I saw a unicycle riding off in distance. The only reasonable thing for me to do was to chase it down. Just goes to show what kind of strange life I lead... She is coming to the workshop so it was worth it! We also made homemade juggling sticks. Only a juggler would get excited about wooden dowels, bike tube, and electrical tape. And excited we were. Among the other homemade toys we managed to make thus week are rola bola boards! We managed to make three full sets and I still have eight feet of six inch PCV pipe in my closet. With some of the stuff I've been accumilating my roommates must be starting to wonder about me. Heck I'm starting to wonder about me. Mainly because I'm starting to pick up ventriloquism. Watch out world!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A towel a day keeps the tree huggers away

For crying out loud he's right, I can't not do it! Now I look like a weirdo shaking my hands 12 times over the sink every time I wash my hands. I'm pretty sure that this is what qualifies for obsessive compulsive disorder by definition and he just signed us all up. On the other hand I just used 1/3rd the tree I usually use for wiping water off my hands. Its a noble cause for the tree to die for I just wish that not so many have to give their lives in the service of getting that water off my hands. My day would just be so much longer with that pesky water on my hands.

This week marks the launch of the Juggling Workshop of Brigham Young University Idaho. Its a hit. With minimal advertising 15 people came. We have a few people with experience and one person with stilts! Once we get a few more pieces of apparatus like that this will become quite the spectacle. I want to see unicycles, giraffe unicycles, poi, cigar boxes, juggling sticks, and rola bolas. Then I'll be quite thrilled with where we've ended up.

Unrelated with juggling, but still cool- I tried slack lining for the first time this week. For those of you who don't know its basically tight rope walking. Yes, it is as hard as it looks. But I will not be beat by a 2 inch piece of rope! This things going down.

I had a project for my English class today. The guidelines for the project were this: create something and bring it into class. I was thinking about doing a juggling act and filming it and bringing it in. One thing led to another and I produced this. I seriously mean one thing led to another and this video just happened, no forethought, no planning.

My roommates thought I was crazy. And they're right. I shake my hands 12 times before using a paper towel.

Best quote of the week comes from Elder Packer of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. "There was a senator some years ago who tried to get the church out of the state of Idaho. Well all I have to say is he's dead! And the church is still here." And so it is.
I'm sure glad it's still here too. I won't profess to know everything about it. In fact I made a short list of things I don't know about it. Here is an abridged version.
  • How exactly does the power of God work? How does he control the elements or know the thoughts and intentions of man?
  • What will we do for eternity? What is the end goal? Is there an end goal?
  • How is it that during our lifetimes we can't remember anything before or after it? Is this a one time thing in the stretch of forever?
  • How does gravity work? That's not doctrinal but I don't get it.
  • What does God look like?
On the flip side there are also things that I do know. In the end they may prove to be much more significant.
  • God does live.
  • Temples are the house of the Lord.
  • God listens to me. He cares.
  • God supports his messengers, the missionaries, out declaring his message of peace.
  • By drawing close to the Lord through prayer and study of his word, he will bring peace to our souls.
  • The Holy Spirit speaks to man as it did in the Old and New Testament times.
I have reason to believe each of these things. Perhaps when it comes down to it, its more important for us to know these things. Too many facts confuses a mind. Most of what we have to worry about is finding faith in our savior Jesus Christ. His grace is available for all despite past mistakes. The partakers of his grace experience the most supernal peace and joy in their lives.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

Shout, shout for glory,
Shout, shout aloud for glory;
Brother, sister, mourner,
All shout glory hallelujah

That's all for this week.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Whats short and white and writes blogs all over?

We'll start this off with some riddles.

Q. What is the difference between a set of bagpipes and awounded duck?

A. I don’t have awounded duck. I’m convinced that every single reed in my pipes is shot. The dronesare off tune and the chanter keeps letting out these horrific screeches and Ijust can’t play them anymore. Even my practice chanter is terrible out of tune.Now they yearningly lay on my shelf, collecting dust, waiting for a veterinarian.I’ve got a new set of drone reeds coming in the mail, (duck organ donor) but Idon’t know what to do about the chanter reed (voice box implant).

Q. What do you get when you cross a girl, People magazineand Saturday evening?

A. A really bad date. This story is two fold. At the beginning of the week I knew I wanted to go on a date that weekend. The morethe merrier (especially if your RM socially incompetence hasn’t worn off yet)so I decided to make it a double and let my friend in on it. I met him at efy,haven’t talked with him since and four years later we ended up in the sameclass. I spent the week gauging my options so by Friday he had picked someoneout and I needed to act fast. There was a girl in my sociology class who Ithought would be perfect so I resolved to act after class.
Insociety we have what is called symbols. These are objects, signs or evenphrases that have certain emotions or meanings attached to them. Everyone inthe society knows and agrees on the symbol and the emotions attached to it. Forexample a cross is accepted as a symbol of Christianity and defiling a crosscould evoke a strong emotional reaction from some of the population. A wedding ring is also one of those symbols. It indicates a commitment to another person.Unavailability. Closed shop. Now surrounding symbols are folkways which are theunwritten laws of society. You smile when you meet someone for the first time,you don’t pee in elevators, you really oughta tip your waiter, and don’t askout girls who are wearing wedding rings.
Youcan guess how that turned out. Since I burned out with the date my friendgenerously offered to ask his dates roommate to accompany us and I accepted. ThusI once again became third wheel this time to a long unbroken talk about movies,actors, celebrities, movie quotes, gossip… and more! I almost went crazy. Onthe plus side now I know that Tim McGraws wife approves of the women he kisseson screen, Robert Downy Jr. had succumbed to a drug addiction but has made amagnificent comeback starring in such films as Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, andthe Avengers. Don’t forget about what’s his face in his next movie actuallysinging and playing volleyball on the beach withhis shirt off! I just about wet myself with excitement. Notonly do I not watch a whole lot of movies I haven’t seen a single movie in twoyears asides from documentaries on Joseph Smith and the Atonement and resurrectionof Christ. I gritted my teeth waiting for that one to end vowing the whole timeto not get myself into this situation again.

Q. What is blue and black and stuffed with sand?

A. The guy I beat up at the park the other day. As wellas the juggling balls I prepared for the juggling workshop making its debutthis week. There’s a lot of excitement for this workshop among the activities committeeof the school and they’re helping a lot to get it off the ground (punintended). It stands in stark contrast to the juggling club I attempted tostart at my high school. There was a zero interest level from the student bodyand the teacher adviser didn’t even come to the meetings. This one is lookingup. I actually don’t think I’ll have enough equipment for all the people whoare going to start flocking to this activity. There was an overnight retreat ina cabin in the middle of nowhere of X town Idaho pop 34 for all the peopleinvolved in Talent Activities. That was fun. Got to meet a lot of cool peopleand didn’t feel like a third wheel.

Lastly I’ll share an interesting train of thought thatwas pointed out by my professor this week. In the first books of Moses the Lawof Moses was introduced to the people. This was in preparation for the comingof the Savior and was to be followed strictly and religiously. Fast forward tothe New Testament and the Law of Moses is being followed with an exaggerated fervor.Rules had been added to the Law of Moses to keep anyone from getting even closeto breaking the “core rules”. In the process of doing so the peopleunfortunately missed the point. They were so caught up in following these made up rules theyforgot all about the basics, such as not judging your neighbor, love andcompassionate service just to name a few. The book of Acts speaks of about 3,000Jews who on the day of Pentecost were converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christand were baptized. This is a lot of converts. In fact the majority of theconverts to the church were Jewish by religion, culture and tradition. If youwill reflect your mind back to the Law of Moses established generations andgenerations before, before anyone can even remember, you may realize just howheavily engrained this tradition of the Law of Moses is. The Atonement of JesusChrist fulfilled the Law of Moses so there is no need for these new converts tocontinue practicing the Law. Yet they still did and thought that everyone elsehad to as well. This became one of the most troubling problems that theapostles had to deal with during their service. The Jewish converts insistedthat the gentile converts must begin practicing the Law of Moses once they werebaptized into the church. If you strip this problem down to its roots thequestion becomes does salvation come byworks or by grace? The Jewish converts insisted that only by their works,only by following the Law of Moses could salvation come. The thing is salvationcomes only through the grace given to us by Jesus Christ.
BruceR. McConkie Stated, “We cannot resurrect ourselves anymore than we can createourselves. We cannot create a heavenly abode for the saints, nor make provisionfor the continuation of the family unit in eternity, nor bring salvation andexaltation into being. There neither has been, nor is, nor ever can be any waynor means by which man alone can, or any power he possess, redeem himself.
Thisflawed thought is not only present in the Holy Bible, it was prevalent when theBook of Mormon prophet Abinidai calls King Noah and his people to repentance.
Know ye not that I speak the truth?Yea, ye know that I speak the truth; and you ought to tremble before God.
And itshall come to pass that ye shall be smitten for your iniquities, for ye havesaid that ye teach the law of Moses. And what know ye concerning the law ofMoses? Dothsalvation come by the law of Moses? What say ye?
And they answered and said that salvation didcome by the law of Moses.
Following this interchangeAbinidai takes the time to remind them of the most basic part of the Law ofMoses, the 10 commandments.
And it cameto pass that after Abinadi had made an end of these sayings that he said untothem: Have ye taughtthis people that they should observe to do all these things for to keep thesecommandments?
I say untoyou, Nay; for if ye had, the Lord would not have caused me to come forth and toprophesy evil concerning this people.
And now yehave said that salvation cometh by the law of Moses. I say unto you that it isexpedient that ye should keepthe law of Moses as yet; but I say unto you, that the time shall come when itshall nomore be expedient to keep the law of Moses.
Andmoreover, I say unto you, that salvationdoth not come by the lawalone; and were it not for the atonement,which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, thatthey must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses.
And now Isay unto you that it was expedient that there should be a law given to thechildren of Israel, yea, even a very strictlaw; for they were a stiffnecked people, quickto do iniquity, and slow to remember the Lord their God;
Thereforethere was a lawgiven them, yea, a law of performances and of ordinances,a law which they were to observestrictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and their dutytowards him.
The interestingpart comes in when you consider how that applies today.

In and out, untilnext week.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Three Wheels are Better Than None

So these weekly letters were actually kinda fun.
First week of BYU Idaho has been... interesting. If I said it was fantastic I would be lying, If I said it was terrible I would be over exaggerating. My student account with all the schedules announcements and email capabilities one needs on a first day of school were held hostage by the Health Department. They refused to let me learn until they could stab me with a needle. My schedule flip flopped about twice everyday. Turns out you need a car for Auto Mechanics! And you have to take math 108 before you can know what on earth they're talking about in Pre-Calc. Finally got a pillow halfway through the week. But hey, if it all went smoothly it would be boring.
The thing with living in Mormon land is you have to get used to their schedule. In no other place in the world does the whole town shut down for Monday night Family Home Evening and Tuesday afternoon devotional. Out here if your not Mormon you might be really confused. Heck I am Mormon and still don't know whats going on here.
But I must say this school has something special. The spiritual education blends in so much with the secular you can hardly tell them apart. Its so refreshing to look at religion out of the context of Sunday school and look at it in the context of science, sociology, dance, English, and history. My math class has yet to discuss any spiritual but if it does this blog will be the first to know. Considering our teacher it may never get there. First day of class: "If all of you get 100% on a test I will take you to my favorite restaurant. But that won't happen. You know why? You're all just a bunch of dogs."
"Do you know what restaurant I'm talking about? Its down by Idaho Falls near- aw, I'm not going to tell you where it is, I want to eat alone not surrounded by all you dirty bastards."
I jerked my schedule around to get him for a teacher. Naturally.
Read a great speech given at a devotional at BYU Provo back in 1979. Its title, Love is Not Blind.
It speaks of the college experience and how the pursuit of knowledge can pull back the curtain and reveal how uncertain life can be. The law system is composed of contradictory principles instead of hard fast rules, our families aren't what we thought they were, friends go off the deep end, or you have doubts or suspicions about the church (in this case LDS church). Brother Hafen quotes "I believe that it is always better to give the Lord and his Church the benefit of any doubts we may have when some such case seems too close to call. I stress that the willingness to be believing and accepting in these cases is a very different matter from blind obedience. It is, rather, a loving and knowing kind of obedience." When faced with apparent contradictions brought up by obtained logic or knowledge its best to not be two types of person. The pessimist. This person belittles, finds fault and ridicules. He doesn't place faith in that which doesn't appear to be perfect. The second is actually the optimist. He sees things as ideal as they ought to be and refuses to entertain the thought that there may be a missing piece to the puzzle and he has to profess faith over knowledge. This can be scary for him. Also missing a home teaching appointment is unacceptable. We want to be the third person. To illustrate he shares this fitting example of women. "Some stupid people started the idea that because women obviously back up their own people through everything, therefore women are blind and do not see anything. They can hardly have known any women. The same women who are ready to defend their men through thick and thin... are almost morbidly lucid about the thinness of their excuses or the thickness of their heads... Love is not blind; that is the last thing it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind." Whether it be faith in your God or in your spouse or a friend, accept that nothing is perfect. No one has all the answers. That's why we have faith. This earth experience just wouldn't be the same if those who we trusted and relied on were perfect and knew everything. The only person with all the answers is God above and he's not about to give us the cheat sheet to this test. On my two year tenure as a missionary it would have been easy to give up when no one would listen to you for weeks on end and those who said they wanted to learn actually just wanted to make you happy long enough to get you off their backs. It would have been easy... except I knew it was true, what I was doing was right and a little bit of faith could do a heck of a lot of good for that one soul searching for a rope. Faith. Love that is not blind.
See you just don't come out with great stuff like this at a state school.

Lately I've been obsessed with the Uilleann pipes. They are beautiful. They are temperamental. They are not for the weak of heart. If they didn't squak at the slightest oncoming of humidity I'm sure they would be in every school band. Hear for yourself.

Beautiful. But still my heart belongs to the bagpipes. As proud, majestic and strong as the highlanders meant them to be. But hey if I was $2,000 richer... now accepting donations....

So with BYUI being the dating central of the nation you would expect that that would mean I'm already engaged.
Though I know a guy who got home from Japan a month before me and his wedding is scheduled for this next summer.
Actually this last week I've been riding the 3rd wheel. The unnecessary third wheel. I'm riding more tricycles than bicycles. I do pretty dang good on a unicycle though. Pretty dang good. With all the cycle riding going on here hopefully I can hop on the right one.

On that note I'll check out for this week.