Monday, April 15, 2013

Moving on from This Blog to New Beginnings

Much thanks to all who have followed me to this point. Knowing that there was something of an audience inspired me and reminded me that even if it was only a few people, it was worth it. I'm now creating a new blog/website that will have a more professional feel to it, but hopefully still as worthwhile. I'm going to need a lot of stories for my upcoming podcast, so be sure to keep an eye on that as my contacts are limited.

Thanks again for the ride so far. Hope you'll continue to enjoy it in a new way.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

News of the Death of My Blogging Life Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

This blog may be dead, but I am not. For any of you who still may be following this, my humble apologies for not keeping up with it. As you can see by my last post, life got crazy (in a good way) and I just lost track of time. 

I'm inviting you to visit a new blog that I will be creating soon. It will be a very different one than you're accustomed to now, but I totally understand if you have no interest in it. Rather than it being a journal of thoughts, as I've used this blog for in the past, this will be a much more professional looking (and hopefully sounding) one than you see here. However, if the blog doesn't appeal to you, I highly recommend you check out the podcast that I'm starting called "In Reel Life". There will be links to it on the blog/website. 

Thanks for all your support so far. This blog was just the beginning.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Best is Yet to Be

So this is a WAY overdue post. Probably more so than any other post I've tackled. Due to the complex nature of the situation, I refrained from making this announcement more public. I'm sure that many of you are already aware of this but just so it's official as it gets: I'm engaged!
Now, while you may have already known this, very few people actually know very much about this wonderful woman that came into my life and changed it forever. First, I'll give you the condensed version of our story. I decided to give online dating a try back at the end of March and within a week, the profile of Lauren Kay House came to my attention. She initially reached out to me, so although I wasn't entirely sure what to make of her profile, I began talking with her. I set up our first date within a few days for the following Saturday. We went to a stand-up comedy performance on BYU campus and got frozen yogurt afterwards and talked about anything and everything. I dropped her off in total shock, amazed at how brilliant she was and how I felt closer to the Lord being with her. I had really begun to lose my confidence in the dating process, but being with her that night reminded me that everything I had gone through at that point was all worth it. I didn't want to get my hopes too high, but I prayed that I would have more opportunities to take her out and be around her. I knew she was a very unique and precious daughter of God, and if for no other reason than that, I wanted to spend more time with her. She really made me want to be better. 
Due to the conclusion of the semester, a sales job that took me to Illinois, and some other inconvenient issues that came up, we didn't come into contact with each other for several weeks. At that point, I was already in Illinois, so the only way that we could communicate was email and Skype. We began emailing each other every night and Skyping once or twice a week. 
Within a month or so, we both received strong promptings from the Lord that what we were doing was right and that we should look to the future with the plan of becoming eternal companions. I was initially hesitant to share the promptings I had received because not only had we only known each other for a few months, but we had been separated for the majority of it. But, from the beginning, we both valued transparency and complete honesty with one another and so during one of our Skyping sessions, I just came out and said it, simply hoping it would come across the right way and that whatever was going through her head, she would choose to take it up with the Lord. The "The Lord told me that you should marry me" card has always struck me as ridiculous for several reasons and it gets used all too often in the dating world, and that was the last thing that I wanted to come across in sharing my experiences with her. To my great surprise, she had received similar promptings and we decided to just move forward. 
For various reasons, we were only able to see each other for a few days during the summer apart and although we knew we were going to get married, I wanted to make the actual moment of giving her a ring and asking her to marry me to be ours and meaningful. So this past Wednesday, we drove out to Salt Lake to attend an endowment session in the temple and before going in I took her to the rooftop of the Conference Center to propose. Due to security issues, we weren't allowed to go by ourselves, so we were given an escort to take us there. After expressing our desires to avoid the tour, she left us to be alone for a moment and surprisingly, the rooftop was barren. As we were gazing at the temple, I finally asked her the question I'd been waiting all summer for and became one of the happiest men alive. The tour guide saw from a distance what had just taken place and took several pictures of us including the one you see above. 
Now, more about Lauren herself. She is originally from the east coast, primarily Boston and the surrounding areas, though she has spent a lot of time in various places on the coast. She attended American University and double majored in Public Communications and Graphic Design before coming to BYU and beginning her work in Ancient and Near Eastern Studies. She loves the Hebrew language and culture and would love to continue her studies as a profession. She is very health-oriented and loves cooking and living healthily. She is very creative and loves reading, writing, painting, and photography. She takes the gospel very seriously and has studied the Bible extensively. She is an expert thrifter and deal-finder. She continually inspires to be better than I am and reminds me how blessed I already am. It was the easiest thing to fall in love with her and I cannot express my eternal gratitude in words for her choice to become my wife for time and all eternity. 
May I just say to all my single friends who are still out there, it's tough being single sometimes. Dating can be unbelievably frustrating and ridiculous at times, but I know from my own experience that God has a plan for each of us that will bring us the greatest happiness so long as we choose to do things in His way. I thought I knew what it meant to love someone until I had the experiences that I did with Lauren and our separation. I didn't know that my heart had the room for such an amazing amount of love. All the time spent in preparation and waiting for your own future spouse will be so worth it. The Lord desires to bless us with greater things than we can imagine. Trust in Him and know that, as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland would say, "The best is yet to be." 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

One Day at a Time

This is one of my dad's favorite sayings and accounts for half of the conversations I have with him when I'm away at college. Being in a long distance relationship has made me develop a new level of patience that I hadn't ever really experienced. The only comparison that comes to mind is the separation that came with being away from my family during the time I was on my mission. I'm incredibly grateful that I never had a girlfriend on my mission and give props to all those who do and are able to stay focused on the work and give 100% to the Lord. Living my normal life and being separated from someone I hold closer to my heart probably anyone else right now has been difficult enough.
What gives me a great deal of comfort however is knowing that the Lord is at the helm of my life and in this separation has come some of the greatest blessings. After all, as we are taught in Corinthians, "[W]e see through a glass darkly..." at this point in time in terms of our relationship with our Heavenly Father. And yet, He gives us so much to be grateful for and happy about. This life, though it comes with its share of trials and tribulations, has the potential of being the supreme learning experience, filled with inexplicable joys and happiness. I know that having the opportunity to end my separation with my fiancee for a brief period brought a greater sense of gratitude and joy in my life that I had never experienced before. There are few times in my life where I can remember being so happy. The Lord continually teaches me amazing lessons through those trials I face. I can only imagine what it will be like when we are no longer separated from our Father in Heaven and we get to see Him face to face. The happiness will truly feel incomprehensible to me.
Hopefully my next post will be a little more original rather than an extension of my last one, but for now I just wanted to say how lucky I am, and we all are, to have so many blessings in our lives as they are. Watching the video below reminded me of that and I hope you'll take a few minutes out of your crazy days to watch it as well. I didn't get up and bear my testimony in church today despite having the opportunity, so I hope this counts for something. I know that our Heavenly Father has a never-ending love for us and that whatever trials we face in our lives will only give us the chance to become more like Him and receive more happiness than we have now. I encourage you to take the time to ask Him what you can be learning from the difficult experiences you may be facing, and I promise you, while you may not come to an immediate recognition of them, you'll be amazed at what the Lord has in store for you. Happy Sabbath!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

This too shall pass...

Wow, it's been way too long since I've posted. So much has happened I don't even know where to begin. Time seems to just get away from me constantly these days. While this will be a short post, hopefully it will still be meaningful. At any given time in our lives, we as individuals are experiencing some form of trial, or know someone close who is. Whether it's experiencing the difficulties that come with a long-distance relationship, losing a family member, overcoming a divorce, working every day to help a child with special needs on top of raising your own children, there is seemingly no end to the trials we face. But, for me personally, knowing that these times, these trials are temporary, and knowing that there is most definitely someone out there who has it much worse than me changes everything. I hope that regardless of whatever personal trials you may be experiencing that you will be able to find that perspective you seek, and that you will reach out to those who are having a more difficult time than you. I'm so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ, who suffered everything that I would ever have to face. I know that as I seek His help through prayer and His word that He will turn my trials and tribulations into some of the greatest experiences of my life. 

I discovered this song a few weeks ago and haven't been able to stop listening to it. Even if you're not a big fan of this band, hopefully you'll enjoy the video. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Know that My Redeemer Lives

I can't say I fully understand all the reasons for posting this today. Perhaps, if for no other reason, its to help me think aloud. I was looking over this month's First Presidency Message and as I did so, this song popped into my head. This particular version is so powerful to me personally. I remember hearing it for the first time on my mission, and just having a feeling of peace. Almost every day I spent in the mission field, I needed a reminder of why I was doing this work, because if I ever got to thinking it was just for my benefit, it wouldn't take long for discouragement and disappointment to settle in. But remembering what this message means to me, that my Savior Jesus Christ not only suffered and died for my sins, but continues to live for me today, changes everything. I can't think of a greater message that needs to be shared with this world. I'm so grateful that my elder brother would have the love to do that for me and make it possible for me to return to my Father in Heaven. I'm so grateful for this knowledge in my life. This message is one of hope. All things have been made possible through Jesus Christ, and there is nothing we can't overcome with His help in our lives. I would most certainly not be where I am in my life today without it. So grateful to know that this life is not the end, but that through Christ we may partake of eternal life and live forever with our families in the life to come. May we all remember what the Savior means to us as we celebrate this Easter season, the commemoration of His resurrection. And may we strive to live in such a way that His light will continue to be seen, and bring hope to all those around us.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Issues With Adaptation (Part 1)

So, this is going to be an ongoing topic for another post or two, but this is something I've been thinking about a lot, given that I've been doing an in-depth research paper of the film adaptation of No Country for Old Men. I'd like to give you a taste of some of the issues regarding adaptations in general. I feel it is important that this issue be addressed because too many people, myself included until recently, think that a film adaptation is only as good of a film as its reflection to the book. I'd like to use the True Grit films as a case study.

Man, and we think the rating system is screwy today. M for Mature? What does that even mean? At least the video game rating system has an age to go along with the letter. It is incredible to me just how much even the way trailers for films are made these days compared to now. While even today no two trailers are the same, the style and the manner in which they are prepared is markedly different compared to four decades ago. Anyway, this film will forever remain a classic for many people if for no other reason than the fact that this was an Oscar-winning role for the Duke. I have no doubt that many people were very wary of having Jeff Bridges step into the boots of the Duke. 

However, if you'll watch them both, you'll notice that these films are not even comparable really for multiple reasons. One being that the Coens drew inspiration from the book rather than the 1969 film for their screenplay. The tone is markedly different as well. While the 1969 version may have received an M rating, I can recall seeing this film at a very young age, and it wasn't because my parents didn't care what I was watching. The 2010 version on the other hand doesn't appear too family friendly. The Duke's Rooster Cogburn may be rough around the edges, but he also has a very likable demeanor about him. Bridges' Cogburn doesn't seem like the guy you'd want to cross anywhere. Period. Now, another problem you face with adapting a book into a film is perspective. The book is written in first person, entirely from the point of view of the 14-year-old female protagonist Mattie Ross. Immediately, you face the issue of trying to make that voice come out in the film without a constant monologue. This is one of the reasons I found The Hunger Games to be a very well done film adaptation because many of the little changes made to the film opposed to the book were simply because you couldn't inform the audience all the details roaming through Katniss's head, not to mention the little details of how the games worked along the way.

So, is it really even fair to ask how the film compares to the book? To what degree can the two be compared?