Sunday, March 2, 2014


Between January and the end of March, if you ask me what I've been up to, you'll most likely hear me say "work."  Sorry, it's a lame response to your question, but it's kind of the truth.  I don't mind the long hours at first, but it does start to interfere with my balance in life, or at least I have let it.

My personality is one to compartmentalize.  If I'm at work, I'm at work.  When I'm at church, I'm at church.  When I'm singing in my car, I wouldn't drive around me, cause that's all I'm thinking about--not you. :)  So, because I find myself so prone to segregate these different parts of my life (which it's probably good that I'm not singing while I'm at work.  ha) I've started to realize its effect.  Whenever I'm at work, the environment, the atmosphere, the tensions, the stress, all eventually begin to take their toll.  Mind you, I have awesome coworkers who "keep things real."  I really like the people I work with.  They make the long hours very bearable.  Normal work season hasn't been such a problem, because I can come home, unwind, etc.  So, during "the busy season" I don't get this time to come home, to shed the stress, to refocus myself on my spiritual inclinations and "remember," so to speak, of my purpose in life, center myself.  Sounds a bit (yoga-ish)  So, when I'm getting off at 9:30 or 10:00 at night, I'm barely getting food in my system, brushing my teeth, and reading some scriptures for 5 to 10 minutes before I zonk.  And I kind of resigned myself to this time as being a bit of a soul/balance killer.  Why am I okay with that compromise?  3 out of 12 months isn't bad, right?  It's for my future . . .  yeah.  What's wrong with really focusing on a career at this point in my life when I don't necessarily have a family that I'd be neglecting so much?  Some of these thoughts and others have helped me cope with this time of year.  I'm out of balance, but it's okay. . .   really?

Then, recently I start to reassess.  What is it that I really need in life?  What do I want to achieve.  When it comes down it, I want happiness, joy.  I want to be able to consistently be that way, to exude that, and to help others achieve that as well, if that is their goal.  So, if I'm working such long hours, when do I fill my cup?  How can I take control?  Am I just doomed to be slowly devoured by this thing called "the busy season?"  How can I maintain the the influence of the Holy Ghost - that member of the Godhead who reminds me who I am, why I am here, who helps me to reach out to others and think about their needs, who reminds me to share my happiness with others, who points out to me that others might be struggling or have hidden sorrows or concerns that maybe I could at least be a support to.  As I pondered this question, I feel like the Lord tried to give me an answer, and this blog is an attempt and verbalizing it and hopefully expanding it a bit more.  If I can just remember Why in all that I'm doing.  Why am I working?  Why do I do this every day?  Why am I performing these tasks?  What is the short-, medium-, and long-term point of it?  To finish the task, to finish a quality audit, to secure current and future income, to serve as a foundation to my career that I can use to support a future family, etc.  I realized that if I could just remember to ask myself Why in all that I'm doing and understand the eternal nature of the task, how could I not have a smile on my face while doing it?  "Bugging the client about this workpaper again is help me to build my future family."  ha.  Seems kind of corny right?  But is there not some logic and truth behind it?
Or how about when I go to lunch with my co-workers? When I'm there, what would be my answer to "Why?"  Or how about when I'm in the midst of some mundane errands?  What's the point of going and depositing this check?  Where's the joy in shopping for groceries?  Why am I reading my scriptures?  Why am I kneeling by my bedside getting ready to open my mouth to someone whom I can't see?

I believe that this life is short.  I believe that we are here with very specific purposes--innumerable.  I believe that I have not achieved some of my specific purposes in life . . . that I've let them pass by.  I believe that we are all a part of a plan -- which is lifting each other up, up to God.  That is to say, lifting us up to our true potential.  I know I'm here to become like my Father.  I want so much to be like Him, and I know He wants the same.  Because I know my true identity, I need to put myself in a position to be able to help others understand the same.  You, she, he, we are all children of heavenly parentage with infinite potential.

So, enough of this busy season excuse that consumes and distracts me from my purpose.  It is a part of my purpose and doesn't have to rob me of my joy in life.  I am the captain of my soul, not busy season.  ha.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Viola Lessons . . .

I'm really taking this viola seriously...  And I decided to prove that to myself by investing a little money in a newer instrument--boy does it ring.  Went to an awesome strings store down in Merriam, Kansas.  So many instruments, so many bows.  They stuck me in a practice room and just let me play it out.  Viola after viola, bow after vow, until the pads of my fingers were throbbing.  I think I found the right one.  She's kind of bigger, 17".  No, even though I've referred to her as a "she," there isn't any name yet. :)  I'm still getting used to her, but I think it's going to be an awesome relationship!

So, now I have this wonderful instrument to play on.  I took it to my weekly lesson today with Nick.  He's been such a great teacher.  Started lessons back in September with him, and have told myself I would keep going, even with my busy season taking away consistency in my practice time (I just think it'd be rude to start practicing in my hotel room at 9:00 at night, ya know?).

So, when I first got the instrument last Saturday, I was playing, and thought that maybe I had gotten it a little too large.  My fingers weren't used to stretching that far (I had been using a 16" up until then).  I figured that I could discuss it with my teacher today.

So, I bring the instrument in.  I discuss how it's been feeling, sharing my concern that maybe I've purchased it a little big.  He had me play a song to warm up and "calibrate" on it.  As I was playing, he stops me and has me bring my palm away from the neck a little and rotate a bit more parallel with it.  That made all the difference in the world!  Yes, he had told me that before, but over the weeks I've just slowly forgotten.  Playing with that 4th finger was so much easier.

I drove back from my lesson today, quite assured that without a teacher I probably would have quit awhile ago.  I'm so thirsty for autonomy.  It's a seemingly safer, more controlled way to live.  And I think in many things autonomy is what I'm really striving for.  But, I think that sometimes, my desire for it can be a bit proud, and keep me from really learning and progressing the way I truly need it.  In my mind, it would make sense to just learn on my own--it'd be cheaper and definitely more convenient.  So why have I hired a teacher?
1) He knows so much more than I do.  Today was a perfect example of that.  I never would have caught what I was doing incorrectly with my wrist and palm, and it made all the difference.
2) I need someone who will hold me accountable.  I know that I push myself to learn these songs that I'm assigned, where if I were left to myself, I realize that I wouldn't continue onto another piece until I had mastered the one before it.  And my teacher is showing me that mastery at first with this instrument is not quite the key--at least not his way.  I still continue to progress.
3) I'm committed.  Each month when I write that check, I feel the pinch.  It's not cheap.  So, every practice, every week I really try to make it worth my time.
(Friends, if you're gonna pick up an instrument, even though you might be surrounded by 8 and 10 year olds that play much better than you, getting a teacher and weekly lessons is the way to go.)

This idea struck me in another way as I pondered for a bit more.  My weekly commitment to worshiping in sacrament on Sundays is like a weekly viola lesson for my soul.  Sunday becomes a day of reckoning and accountability.  Everything I've been working on during the week gets, in a sense, laid before the Lord as an offering in a sort of way.  And if I didn't practice what He instructed me to do the week before, it really shows.  But, as a loving teacher who sees the great potential, he kindly accepts what I did do, allows me to repent and decide to improve where I made mistakes, and gives me suggestions, tips, and guidance for the coming week.  And it almost always comes in the form of something a little more challenging than I was working on the week before--be a little more thoughtful of others, try being more consistent in your scripture study, let's cut down our web surfing time this week and replace it with something may be a bit more in line with what you want to accomplish in life, etc.

And I think, "What if I didn't have this weekly lesson, this time with the Teacher?"  I guess I'd just be left to myself.  The little habits that I let creep into my life would slowly start to make living the way I had originally set out to live more difficult.  And then doing good things wouldn't be as enjoyable, or as readily easy.  Serving would start to seem less important and "fun."  And then before I know it I've decided to just put the instrument on the shelf for awhile and focus on some different things, just because there isn't really enough time anymore for it.

I believe in a Father in Heaven is the master Teacher.  He is so patient with me!  Shoot . . .  
He waits weekly, daily, for me to come to him, to spend time with him, so that I can show him what I've done, not for him, but more for me.  Right?!  It's for me.  And then, since I've decided that it's for me, then he can help point out some ways to improve, and give me some things that will stretch me until the time I "see" Him again, and I'll actually be in a place to want to.

I wonder what other lessons I'm skipping in life, trying to figure out how to do it on my own?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My annual tradition

Another year.

Today is the anniversary of my birth.  My mortal parents welcomed me into this world 29 years ago.  For so long I had awaited on the other side for my chance, my opportunity.  To grow, to press forward in my eternal desire and passion to become like my Heavenly Father.  I looked up at him in great awe and wanted so much to become like he is.  He made me and all of us that promise.  He provided this world and then a plan to save me from when I would fall and lose my way.  And 29 years ago, I breathed my first mortal breaths.  I inhaled in a new world and soon opened my eyes to see two righteous souls with smiles and weary eyes, full of hope and joy at my presence.  A man and a woman joined together for my cause, to show me the way that they have walked in this plan, in this journey of remembering, of remembering  all that I learned before, and growing in that remembrance to continue with my eternal desire and passion of becoming like my holy parentage.

I thank you God for most this amazing day.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I believe, I trust, I have faith

I say it all the time
I hear it so much
Flows so easily from my lips when I'm on the other side
It's so clear, the answer is simple
He has all power
Omniscient Father
All love

But what happens when the crisis comes?  What happens when the desire must lie dormant for years?  What do I do when the road ahead is foggy, the way unclear, the road ahead a vast open waste with seemingly no anticipated destination or town at least to pass through?

Do I forget the great wisdom that I so freely share?  Do I forget those words so promptly spoken, as if second nature? Oh, that I were like a child again--to believe so readily and wait with pure faith.

"He that will lose his life for my sake shall find it."  Lose myself in this present state, and arrive at the desired destination.

I believe
I trust
I have faith

Saturday, September 1, 2012

1 Year Later

I began writing this at 12:00am..  didn't even really mean to.  Just happened to be a year from the last time I wrote.

I wanted to relay an experience I had earlier this week.  Lately, I've been doing a lot more photography.  My opportunities have grown, and, consequently, my desire to be better.  I've found myself coming home after work, getting something to eat and just looking at tutorials, playing around with my camera, until midnight.  I fall in bed worn out and tired, getting up around 6:00 the next day.  I've learned a few things, but one of them came so unexpectedly.  I got home one evening, didn't have anything to do that night.  So, what do I do with all this time?  I was kind of lost.  I felt a magnetic pull to my scriptures and to a lesson I'll be giving on Sunday.  I sat and studied my scriptures.  I paused and thanked the Lord for the feeling I felt as I pondered and read.  It was a serene peace.  I finished up a good study.  It was 9:00, and I thought to myself, "Wow, I don't have any desire to really do anything else.  I could go to bed right now."  It was such an odd thought, as most nights I find myself staying up late trying to pack in as many things as I can.  
As I pondered this feeling, I realized what was happening.

"Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.  Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness."

This verse became so real and alive to me.  All of these tutorials, studying, posting, editing, shooting--a great hobby that is wholesome--was not bringing me the complete satisfaction I wanted.  I found myself wanting more and more, and it never really leaving me satisfied.  I was happy, but there was always that drive to get more.  But here, I had studied for about an hour or so, and was left full of "fatness."  It was such a stark reality of the truthfulness of the scriptures.  I was amazed and very humbled at what I had been taught.

Truly, our Heavenly Father knows what will "fill" us.  Through obeying his commandments, I can understand how to have this peace and satiated feeling always.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Just Once a Year

When I've talked with anybody today about how my birthday went, I can't really describe it.  It started on Tuesday and hasn't stopped.  I had a friend make me an incredible cake and decorate HER house.  How, cool?  I had another friend take me on a surprise visit downtown Kansas City to view the Nelson.  It was so awesome, and she fed me the best picnic I've ever had:  a BLT with probably a pound of bacon! and a whole batch of peanut butter cookies. ha.  It's so cool to see how much your friends really know you... kind of surprised me.  Got to work a full 8 hours at work today, a cupcake specially delivered from another good friends.  The most impactful gift came from the most beautiful greeting from my Heavenly Father.  I had a sunrise in the east and a rainbow in the southwest this morning.  They only lasted 20 minutes or so.  I drove to work and looked off to the east as much as I could without being hazardous.  I was almost moved to tears as I soaked in the tranquil beauty of it.  It spoke to me, great love, words that I cannot even write.  I listened to Trinity College's rendition of "Hymn to the Eternal Flame" (Thanks to Matt Nielsen) as I drove and stared at the beautiful rays reaching up in the sky, chasing away the night's darkness...  It was very allegorical, very moving.

I came home to streamers and balloons.  I spent the evening with my family out to eat a great restaurant; we were completely ridiculous together.

Mom made an angel food cake for me.  Absolute favorite.

I am filled with great joy, overwhelmed with the love of my family and friends.  There are so many well wishes and greetings that were so special, so thoughtful.  I wish I could name each of them right now.  Thank you everyone.  Birthday's are for feeling special, unique, important, loved.  That has happened today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oh Frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Morgan and Bryanna Rainey
Winter Quarters Temple | Omaha, NE

I love this one...  They are looking into the stain glass of the celestial room.  It is a depiction of the Tree of Life.