Thanksgiving!

Well, it was Thanksgiving this week (in case you missed it.)

During this time I get to think about the things that matter most to me, and the blessings that I’ve been given in my life. I have so much to be grateful for that it’s hard to think about everything at once.

However, getting together with family to eat Thanksgiving dinner is a good reminder of the thing I am most grateful for: my family. They have all done so much for me so that I could make it to where I am today. I have had the blessing to grow up in such an incredible family, and I will be forever grateful for that.

I’m also so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The teachings I’ve learned in the Church have shaped the way that I have lived my life, and have helped me to live a happier life. I don’t know where I would be or what I would be doing without the Church in my life, but I know that I wouldn’t feel as happy or as fulfilled as I do with the Gospel.

I’m also grateful for so many other things, too many to list, but one that I certainly do not want to leave out is my awesome girlfriend Paige. She supports me in everything that I do and puts up with all of my complete weirdness. She knows I’m a total nerd and loves me anyway. Not to mention she’s one of the hardest working people that I know, is extremely caring for others, and is just a totally awesome all around person. I’m a lucky guy.

It’s hard to stay in the same attitude of gratitude that exists during Thanksgiving, but I do want to try this year to stay in a grateful mindset. Gratitude breeds optimism and kills complaining, and I have plenty to be grateful for!🙂

Guys. Time isn’t real.

Okay, so last week, I went and saw Interstellar in IMAX with Paige. I really, really loved it. Partially because I’m just a space junkie, partially because I think the theory of relativity is CRAZY INTERESTING, and partially because it was just a dang good movie.

In Interstellar, the effects of relativity on time cause the main character to experience time slowing down relative to the people back on earth. He experiences a drastic change in time compared to the people back on earth. As much as this is a science fiction movie, the part that blows my mind is that the concept of time dilation is actually real. Time dilation has been proven to be true.

For example, GPS satellites, which experience weaker gravity due to being farther from earth, experience time moving more quickly in comparison to time on earth. Guys. Time actually moves more quickly. The satellites’ clocks actually have to be adjusted based on relativity so that the clocks match up with earth’s because otherwise, they will run fast.

I think that this concept that time itself is not constant is absolutely bizarre and fascinating. Time is something that is so difficult for us to even imagine as changing, when in reality, it does! I think that just goes to show how little we really know about the universe, and how much there is to still learn and discover.

Family Search Tree!

For those of you unfamiliar with Family History work, it refers to ancestry. It refers to finding out more about our ancestors and trying to learn more about them.

I have to make a quick plug for the Family Search Tree app for tablets and smartphones, as well as the Ancestry.com app. With these apps, you simply log in, and are then able to see your family tree, along with pictures, stories, audio clips, and a whole bunch of details about your grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents, great great great great great great great grandparents, and so on. It’ super cool! For example, here are some pictures I found of my great great grandparents on the Kerr side of my family, Walter Kerr and Alta Sariah Parrish (who I never met):

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I think it’s a super cool way to learn a bunch of details about my ancestors, most of which I have never met. You can also very easily add details (like pictures or stories) about any ancestors you have in your tree who don’t already have those details filled out. Thanksgiving’s coming up, so I think it will be a cool opportunity to chat with grandparents or parents and see what pictures they have of ancestors. Then, with the app, it’s easy to upload the information!

Just wanted to give a little promo for this cool app!

Opportunity and Responsibility

Often times, I have been thoroughly amazed at the opportunities that I have been given. My incredible family, my great friends. My various jobs that have given me a wide variety of experiences. My two-year mission in Argentina, where I learned more than I could possibly express. I have the chance to attend BYU, and have been aided through scholarships to be able to continue attending. I had an amazing internship opportunity to work at the Church this last summer. I am part of BYU’s President’s Leadership Mentoring program, where I get to hear monthly from extremely successful BYU alumni. I’m a part of a great program in the Master of Information Systems Management program. I could go on and on.

I don’t state this to brag about the opportunities that I’ve been given, but to acknowledge the many way that I’ve been blessed. For one thing, I don’t really feel like I deserve all the blessings that I have been given, but I am grateful. However, I also feel like I have a great responsibility to live up to these opportunities that I’ve been given. I don’t always feel like I know how to best do this, but I really do hope that someday I can use the opportunities that I’ve been given to do some good in the world. What kind of good? I guess we’ll just have to see.

My Strange Brain

For those of you who know me, you would probably not be surprised that I consider myself to have a really odd brain. Ever since I was young, I’ve had quite the overactive imagination. This has been evidenced by many things, for example, my dreams. I pretty consistently have intense, wild, silly, and epic dreams. I may have just watched too many movies in my life or something, but I certainly have a pretty crazy and overactive imagination.

Just another example for fun of my odd brain. Paige and I were having a staring and not smiling contest, while trying to make each other laugh. I kept laughing anyway, and so she told me to think of something sad. I don’t remember who won, but she probably did, because I always break in those kind of things. Anyway, afterwards, I said “You want to know what my sad thing was? A ladder falling on a beagle. That was my sad thing.” JUST THINK OF HOW SAD THAT WOULD LOOK. That was the first thing that came to my mind when she said to think of something sad. Does this mean that I’m totally crazy?

Glass and Rubber balls

Last week, a friend was teaching a friend to juggle. Said friend struggled a bit, but was eventually able to do so. At the same time, school has been quite stressful recently. I’ve had quite a bit going on in all of my classes. Said stress and said juggling lesson made me remember a “parable” that I learned about last year in the junior core of the information systems program.

I call it:

The Parable of Juggling Glass and Rubber Balls

Each of us have plenty of things going on in our lives. We each have plenty that we are supposed to be doing. We’re each juggling many things at the same time. Some of these balls that we are juggling are more important than others. Some are glass balls. If you drop those balls, neglect those activities, you can have some serious consequences. Others, on the other hand, are less important. If those get dropped for a bit, they can bounce and be picked back up later, or can be simply left.

We need to determine which parts of our lives are glass balls, and which are rubber balls. This process is not as easy as it might seem. Sometimes, we may think one part of our lives, like that paper that we forgot to write and have three days to finish, may seem like a glass ball that we can not ignore. However, at home, we may have more important things, like family, that really need our attention. Family is one of those glass balls that cannot be dropped. An essay, which, in the long run, has relatively little impact on the rest of our lives, can maybe be neglected a bit, if we need to use that hand to catch another glass ball that we are dropping.

Each person needs to figure out which are the glass balls and which are the rubber balls in our lives. This way of thinking has helped me to realize the importance of not sweating the little stuff, and has helped me to better focus on the importance of the sometimes seemingly trivial, but greatly important parts of life.

A Gift for a “Stranger”

This week, my MCOM 320 professor, Dr. Shayne Clarke, challenged us to “buy a stranger a Coke, or something else.” So, I thought about buying a meal this week and delivering it to a stranger on the street, preferably someone who was homeless. I’ve actually wanted to do this for a long time, but this gave me an excuse to go out and do it!

However, as always happens, life got in the way. I was extremely busy with school this week, and felt like I had no time, and this “assignment” was pushed to the back of my mind. I planned to do it Friday, or today. However, I forgot. I did buy someone a Coke, but she was not exactly a stranger. More specifically, she was my girlfriend’s roommate. Doesn’t quite qualify.

This did get me to thinking, though, how easy it is to get caught up in our own day-to-day lives, and how easy it is to forget to help those in need. Or, even more, how easy it is to forget to just try to do something nice for someone else every day. I still plan on delivering that meal to someone in need this coming week, but in the meantime, I hope to be able to commit myself more to focusing on the needs of others.

Lessons from Dad

Okay, this week’s post:

A story about my dad.

Once, I was working over a summer for my dad at his company, Fintool. I was probably 15 or 16. Something like that. I worked doing a number of different things, including a lot of milling work to produce the machines that produced radiator fins. I was working on a set of steel dies which my dad had spent a couple of days building. Basically, I had it in a grinding machine that ran it back and forth a bunch of times. I would then rotate it and start it grinding on the next part. Fairly monotonous work.

There was a button I could use to move the table up and down so I could pull the die out to rotate it. I had finished what I was doing and was waiting for Dad to finish talking to the UPS guy so he could come tell me what to do with the part next. I was a little bored so I started moving the table up and down with the button a bit, to see how far the table could move. (Obviously I was an extremely intelligent 15-year old.) Dad finished talking with the UPS guy and came over to where I was and immediately had a look of horror on his face and said, “WHAT HAPPENED!?” I looked over, and there was the die piece, with the shaft completely bent. I legitimately could not figure out what had happened for a few seconds, until I realized that moving the table up had snagged the die on a piece of the grinding machine that completely bent the piece. This was a critical piece to a machine that my dad was trying to finish, and he had spent a number of days trying to get this part ready.

I felt awful. My dad had every right to be angry with me, to yell at me.

But he didn’t.

He saw that I was upset about it, and he simply told me that it was alright, that “maybe we could fix it.” I could tell there was no way that we could repair it. He then just had me work on another task. He never got visibly angry, never even raised his voice at me.

I have never forgotten that day, and will always remember his example in the control he had (and has) over his temper.

General Conference – 2014

This weekend was the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). This is an event where we gather together to listen to the modern prophet and apostles that have been called by God to reveal His will. Prophets have been a crucial part of God’s plan to communicate and guide His children since the beginning, as is seen in the Bible, with examples like Moses, Noah, and Abraham.

During Conference, we hear messages that range on everything from the divinity of Jesus Christ to how to apply the Gospel to our family lives to have greater happiness. We even hear messages about how to prepare ourselves for disasters, and how to discover our lineage and heritage through family history work.

I had the opportunity to attend conference in the massive Conference Center in Salt Lake City, and I can tell you that it is an awe-inspiring thing to be in the same room as the prophet. When you hear him speak, you know and can feel that he is a man of God.

For those of you who didn’t get the chance to see or hear any of the messages, I’d encourage you to do so! They can be found at this link: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2014/10?cid=HPSU100514465&lang=eng For those of you who are not members of the Church, I would invite you to look at the same list, and listen to or read the messages that were shared, especially that of the prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I’ve spent my whole life listening to and reading these messages, and I can assure you of the good that come of them, and the peace that reading them can bring to your life.

Dreams.

Any of you who know me well know that I have constant, epic, bizarre dreams. All the time. Every night. Just about. When I go to sleep, I’m not just going to bed. I’m going to an action movie every night. I’m not sure if it’s because my wild imagination just never stopped going or if I’ve just seen too many movies, but almost every single night, I have wild, crazy, intense dreams.

Last night, I had a dream (and I don’t remember all the details), but I was definitely with Hugh Jackman on a boat that was being hi-jacked (yes, I was with Jackman during a hi-jacking. He was, however, not the one performing the hi-jacking, luckily.) Later on in the dream, I was driving a motorcycle down the road at around 140 mph. I was having a blast until I realized that I was driving 140 mph, and without a helmet. I just about fell. It was a little scary.

A couple of months ago, I had a dream that my sister (or my girlfriend Paige, I can’t remember which one it was) had been kidnapped. By none other than Liam Neeson. But no worries, I ran down the car that he was in and jumped on, pulled the door open, and punched him right in the face and took the car to get Shanna (or Paige) back. I injured some of his cohorts (not fatally, of course, that would be terrible), and so I ran to get a van to drive them to the hospital, but I was nervous about driving because I didn’t have a Chinese license, because I was in China.

I once had a extremely detailed dream where I was a secret agent, with my family, in a coastal city that was being attacked by a giant sea monster, which ended up being a monster that was sent from another country (China maybe?) which our government ended up nuking, while I was there (there are many, many, many more details that I did not describe here), and my friend Ian and I had to jump down a giant sand dune while the fire from the nuke rushed down the dune behind us (because obviously that’s how nukes work). We ended up making it to the bottom where a huge hotel spanned the canyon. We hid from the nuke in there (which worked, go figure), and the dream continued on.

And you know how people always say you wake up right before you hit the ground in your dreams where you’re falling? Well I always hit the ground. Seriously. Every time. But I usually bounce when I do hit the ground, which is nice. Painful, but not fatal. I even fell from a flying aircraft carrier (this was years before The Avengers came out, so they must have stolen the idea from me) while trying to board an SR-71 Blackbird in the sky. I fell for a couple of miles, and then smashed right into the ground. It hurt, but I got up and kept walking around after that.

Needless to say, I pretty much have an adventure every night. Which is not always a good thing. Maybe with this blog I will continue to document some of my more interesting dreams. Because believe me, they are quite entertaining.