Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I've been very introspective lately. I found myself going back through old writings and old blog posts, combing through past thoughts and feelings.

What I've seen most are the short film ideas I had written down at work. I read through them now for the first time since they flowed from my excited fingers a year or two ago. They are all quite revealing of my intentions, my passions, and the unrequited love I happened to be involved in at the time. I wanted to live vicariously through the characters I spoke of. I wanted love, security, and faith. The characters were always looking for something more...something that they could never find. They all get thrown into formidable situations beyond their control. And rather than thrive, they get sucked under. Some of them have luck in the end, but it's always by chance, and it's always unsuspecting.

I came across one unpublished post (draft) from January 2009 that simply states:
"This past Thanksgiving and Christmas marked the first times I realized I was an adult."

I remember that Christmas. I had a lot on my mind. I remember getting drunk a few days before leaving home for the Holidays. I was becoming a regular drinker (nothing crazy). Though in high school, I was a staunch opponent of even going to the parties where cheap beer flowed like water. I had a crush on a girl who I knew I would get eventually. I wanted to have a serious committed relationship with her...and I thought my chances were good (it fizzled out after nothing more than a kiss or two). I started to recognize the world around me as being endless with possibility. I could do anything. All throughout the break I told myself I was formally becoming initiated as an "adult" into this world. It was strange to come back into my previous life so soon after I had made these realizations within.

There is another one from March of this year:
"I know it's standard to be uncertain about your future in college. I get that.
But I just worry"

I still catch this thought every so often. But not nearly in the way I used to. Moving out to Utah was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I know my direction now. I have a tentative career path in a field where I'm not compromising my passions. I no longer want to make films for a living...but it's been replaced with something far more reaching into the depths of my appetite for life: helping others directly (cliche? yes. something I've found complete passion for? also, yes).

I feel like I have a taste of what I've always wanted. I have a faith that means everything to me, an understanding of my place in the universe, and a girl that I love. I'm not completely fulfilled because then I'd have no reason to continue living on earth. But for the first time ever, I'm not afraid to look at my prospective future. And I don't miss drinking either...

there's a waning moment in time
when the people slow down
the sun sets over the lake
my lungs breath in the cold air
and I know I'm alive

a wise man once said,
Dear God I see you move the mountains
Dear God I see you moving trees
Sometimes it’s nothing to believe in
Sometimes it’s everything I see

Monday, November 29, 2010


Every so often, I feel like I should write something in here. But I always end up writing it in my notebook instead.
It's strange, really. It used to be that I couldn't bring myself to write anything unless it was on my blog. I liked knowing that people read what I wrote...even if it was only a few friends. And I still like that feeling. But these past few months, I've found myself meticulously recording every notable raw thought that comes to my mind. I'm writing more now than I ever have before. I've accumulated 3 notebooks (and 1 small pocket-size book) which are filled cover to cover with insights and messy bus handwriting emotion. At the rate I'm going, I'll be consuming four 192 page notebooks per year.

I like that idea. I like knowing that I'll have a bookcase shelf solely devoted to my raw thoughts. It's something I look forward to sharing with my future kids. Every so often, I find myself paging back, examining the changes I've made and the opinions I had. It's a humbling, tender moment. And each time, I see the way God has worked in my miraculous ways. I've seen prayers answered and truths restored. I've seen those moments of complete peace and those moments of confusion and anxiety.
To look back in this fashion is to move forward. Each new entry I make is a building block to becoming the person I strive to be.

Dated 7/9/2009:
"I'm so thankful for the many things I've picked up from exploring a small portion of the Mormon faith...I just want to continue with this 'uncertain' faith journey. I feel like the small euphoria I felt when exploring the Mormon faith was only because of the roadtrip and hanging out with Alex, speaking of faith, etc."

It wasn't just the roadtrip.

I've found more truth and beauty than I ever could have imagined in the months following. And somehow, I continue to build upon this notion even more each day. That warm whisper of the conviction of my faith rises with me each morning. Somehow, I can read the same scriptures over and over and yet I still find new truths.

I'm not a religious zealot. I haven't been brainwashed.
In those months leading up to my conversion, I asked, over and over again if this was true. And I stand here today not having to ask anymore. I know that it is. I can't even begin to put that conviction into words. But when I kneel each night, I know Someone is listening. When I smile I know Someone else is smiling. When I see the beauty of this earth, I know the hands that sculpted its majesty.

And so this leads me to the ultimate point I'm trying to make...Write. Pick up the pen and paper, the word document or blog entry...
There are so many things I'm thankful for: my Heavenly Father, my family, my Natalie, and my words. I look back and see all of the ways I've been blessed throughout these tattered notebooks.
But what I see the most is God's love for us all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Do you ever have those days when you’re just numb to everything?

Those days are a conundrum of human existence.
It’s those days when nothing seems to please your human senses. No person, no taste, no sound, no music can seem to pull you permanently out of your lack of inspiration.

I’m never content with just reasoning that I’m “in a bad mood”.

I must dissect potential causes in my head over the span of many hours. I wallow. I look for that opportunity to pull myself up, that leverage from the rut.

And then, just as I’m winding myself up for further disappointment, I stop…

And its as if my mind leaps out my brain and into the sky. I breathe. This barred mindset is suddenly under foot and I’m free of all uninspired thinking.
And I hear Sinatra playing from the bottom of a deep well in my soul.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Modern Day Church

I wrote this recently in a letter to a friend. It's a response to the increasingly hostile views towards the LDS Church and its doctrine regarding Gay Marriage. This blog is more directed towards members of the Church who may be more familiar with its doctrine...


...Regarding conference, I was also struck by the numerous times "The 14 Elements of Prophets" (originally by Benson) was referred to. There was a lot about sustaining the Prophet and having faith that our Church is a covenant church (and remembering that covenant amidst the many persuasive secular voices of the world).

I thought it was especially important to hear in these times when the Church is under so much pressure regarding issues such as Prop 8 and gay rights. Many members find it hard to strike a balance between aligning with the issues of the world and sustaining the Prophet and Church's direction.

That being said, Pres. Packer's controversial talk was so important for members to hear. I was one of the many who was praying and searching for the appropriate way to balance my faith and political views. Packer put it bluntly, as he always has, claiming that the Church would never waver against pressure to change its core doctrine. I had never thought of it in that way. But it makes complete sense. The Church cannot and will not change an integral part of the doctrine given to us directly from Jesus Christ and the scriptures.
At first, I was offended. I thought Packer had no right to say something so bluntly. It didn't seem fair to draw a line in the sand. Especially in light of the media attention gay suicides have been getting. And I think that's why people were so offended. They thought the timing was wrong. I had a friend who told me they didn't want that "unloving mindset" dirtying the waters of a faith they belong to.
But as I prayed and pondered about my reaction, I realized that he was provoking people to do just as I had done, reevaluate our faith in what we know. It was a hard message to hear for some, but it was nothing more than a restatement of the Family Proclamation.

And it is a message of love...and of hope. I think this guy puts it best, and he's a Mormon who happens to be Gay,

As my LDS Church History Institute teacher put it, "We can be loving disciples without watering down doctrine." This means we are to be as loving and UNDERSTANDING as possible. We are not to call out people on ways we may disagree with. We are to stand by our convictions without forcing them upon others.

We Latter-day Saints have always been misunderstood and persecuted. Since our very beginnings, we have been persecuted and in many instances run out of town (and even states) by protesters and a secular world. Our doctrine has always been misunderstood because it requires much deeper thought and scriptural backing than the average non-member (or member in some cases) wants to spend time on. Which is understandable. We can't just expect people to be well versed in our doctrine. We must expect this sort of mainstream backlash by now. The Church knows what its talking about not only because it is led by Jesus Christ, but also because it has dealt with issues like this for nearly two centuries.


I don't mean to sound self-righteous throughout all of this. I just want people to understand why we believe the things we do. I'm not any better than any other person in this world.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


For whatever reason, I've found it much more fulfilling to write in my notebook lately.
I don't feel the need to write as often in here as I used to.
I still plan on writing here every so often but for now, I think it will be easier to update using tumblr. Soooo here goes something:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Long Distance Assurance

That old crow flows overhead each street I cross. I don't question the world because it's been know to run down many a man. So I'll just continue on this inclined path I push each foot against. Mark each step with an exasperated breath and I feel the pulse of that mended peace.

Take the church out of it. Take the people out of it. Take the scripture out of it. And I'm left running towards the purest love I've ever felt. I know where my base is. And I know where I'm heading next. I put all of those elements back in mid-step and I find my feelings haven't changed in the slightest.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


So lately, life has been a beautiful conundrum of life choices.

Do you ever have those days (sometimes even weeks) where you just sit back and think, "Whoa...I'm living. And I have work to do. And I have to get a job with my degree. And I'll have a family in future years?!"

It's daunting to think about. But after the initial shock and worry, you may find yourself humbled. There are just so many decisions to be made, and lives to touch. I don't understand how I'll make it through it all.

But even on the surface I know that everything will fall into place if I let it.


Also can I just leave for a mission already?
But I'm also REALLY looking forward to the coming months. I don't know if I'd actually go any earlier than this summer. There's too much to experience leading up to that point.


I would also like to point out that I found this ad...

Studies show Russian girls are very attracted to Western Men.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Oh Sister

My eyes itch with a sudden intensity
This dry air lays heavy against me
But a silent smile reaches far across my face
Her voice is a welcome breath of air from Ohio

She giggles while dancing in an illuminated living room
Warmth is swelling within
The blue sky above makes me feel closer than 1600 miles
The call soon ends and I'm left searching the horizon

A Western sun falls down the back of my neck
I am thankful for the beauty of the far reaching landscape
That mid-afternoon veil lays heavy over the mountains
I am constantly humbled by simplicity

Monday, September 20, 2010


"My memories start to wander off
Come to me the remembrance of
My way back home"
(band of horses)

Welcome to me 2 years ago:

"I worry so much about what others think of me. I'm constantly trying to mold myself into a presentable human being only to come off as awkward and funny at confrontations. I worry that if I ever truly love someone, I'll scare them away because of how passionate I am about them...within the first few weeks of the relationship.
I run everyday now and try to eat healthier but I still want to loose more weight. I feel like if I do that, I can cut out that whole body image part of my internal thoughts.
I feel like I am so naive to the world. People my age have experienced death, poverty, sex, drugs, divorced parents. I'm not wishing any of this upon myself, or anyone else but I do feel guilty when I complain about my self to my self."

Isn't it so strange to look back when we're this young? Two years seems like such a long time ago. That's like 15 years in "youth years". We experience so much change and adaptation in these times.

I always knew there was more. I had that instinctual feeling that there was something more to attain. I worried about girls, God, and food (not in that order). I worried I'd never find someone I could sit quietly with and feel completely content. I worried that God was dead and I was a pawn in a pointless life. I worried because food was such a priority to me haha.

I remember each night praying for a direction if there was any. I prayed to know if there was any truth out there. I wanted to know God personally. I wanted to believe. But I couldn't bring myself to "align" with anything. I could only view it as conformity. But then I woke up one day thinking I should go to Church again...this time at that Mormon Church in Hebron. I can still remember how uneasy I felt sitting in my car in the parking lot. But then I walked in and I felt a sense of peace. I remember hearing someone quote Mosiah 18: 10-11 and my heart literally flipped in my chest. I didn't understand why until I read it again.
I found my peace. I found my truth I always hoped and prayed for.

Later, after many setbacks, I found this girl. And to put it simply, I don't worry about anything when I'm with her. And she inspires me with each and every new day.

The food thing...yeah...I still eat more cereal than any human being should. But it's whatever.

Moral of the story (that's still in progress), have faith and hold firm to that light of Christ. Most things won't turn out the way you want them to. But we all have the choice to interpret these waves as curses or blessings. If we choose the latter, each and every moment can be beautiful. Good things come to those with hope and faith.

Feet pushing over that flattened sage
Curb to curb leaps where time stops
Living in a movie with no third act
Soak it all in and never look back

Originally uploaded by The White House

Monday, September 13, 2010


These simple hands can't transcribe the mysteries of the world. And this mind can't pick apart the intricacies of our culture. But in this windowless office I sit and attempt to break the pardigms of the universe.

Wheels roll against the uneven pavement with such fervor that the piece of wood they're attached to wobbles with a steady unsteadiness. The passengers'feet grip the top of the board as he breezes past others.
Anxious intensity runs through his veins at moments. Surrounded by such stock religious imagery, he doesn't quite feel like he should fit into the mold. But somewhere within, beyond all of his cultural identity, he wonders if he is simply overly dismissive, a youthful youth, an inexpiernced adolescent.

I look at him and see a portion of myself. That subtle rebelliousness. To fall in line with things would be contradictory to my constitution! But then you slowly realize that the change you so despise is not giving in. It is not an easy way out. It's putting faith and trust in something that brings peace and beauty. It's a promise of things to come. And if you live it the right way, it's a more unique perception of yourself than you've ever held.
"He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease." (job 12:5)

Monday, September 6, 2010


stream of (sub)consciousness

This half strand of christmas lights illuminates the living room with a dull glow. I'm sitting here with a stack of graham crackers asking myself if I should climb to the roof or not. Up there, you can see every star in the sky. And if there's enough of a moon, the mountains glow a purple splendor. It's funny how she's become such a normal part of my life. And I don't say that casually. Take her out of the question and I would be left with an unquenchable void. I want her here for it all. This stuck out to me today: "For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow" (Job 8:9). I am happy in a place where I can sit silently in a room with the girl and my best friend, music softly floating through the speakers. And even in these lonely late early morning hours, I am comforted by a peace that comes with knowledge of truth. I think I'll go to the roof.

Belushi doing Joe Cocker never gets old...ever.

Sunday, September 5, 2010



Stop by if you're ever in the area.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I haven't updated in so long. Too long.

But my leather journal has been alive and well. I wonder why that is? I don't have anything I'm keeping from the world, but lately I've felt more inclined to scratch my pen across its lined pages.

I've found myself completely taken by the images that surround me. I'm still absorbing it all. The idea that I'm in a new place, with a new life is still something I have to digest regularly. But in many ways, I am used to it already. I've always felt a calm when surrounded by those towering mountains. It's perpetual shadow in my eyes is now a constant sense of peace in my life.
I'm used to these people. I have this eternal perspective, more here than I ever did before.


Dr. Maranville shifts in his seat. I see his eyes dart back and forth beneath the dark sunglasses. The room is quiet as "Reed" spouts out the words in a mechanized tone he's grown accustomed to hearing. The automated voice reads a case study on business management. His back is arched and his face shows a placid expression of concentration.
We leave his office and he takes my elbow. On the way to a seminar, we speak of career, college, and faith. His words resonate with me long after I leave for the day. They are words from a father to someone else's son. Though blind, he's managed to become almost completely self-sufficient. He has his PHD and is still taking classes, along with the ones he already teaches. There seems to be no end to his will power.
I stare at him as he feels his way across the room confidently even in this unfamiliar place. He laughs when he accidentally knocks over a trash can. To have the ability to completely accept his earthly circumstance with faith and humility is a constant reminder that I can always strive to live more patiently.
I have such a strong conviction of this faith but it pales in comparison to someone who must fully understand the future blessings of keeping faith in the now as well as the future.
Later that day, he leans over to me, "Never let go of your testimony, Austin. Don't forget that Spirit you've felt. Don't let the culture out here dispel that sense...God brought us together for a reason."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


She sits silently and I see the wheels begin to churn in her mind.
The water passes through our feet silently and all the world is alive, moving with the slow breeze.
She turns to me and makes note of the beauty of God's creation, the dynamic relationship nature has with itself.

The lowly trees which dip into the waters while still anchored in the riverbank, the orange glow of the evening sun spread throughout the high branches, the chill of the pellucid Provo River against our toes.

I stare at her at she looks back out into the wilderness. That same stirring swirl begins to take place in her head...she smiles to herself and we both sit in a beautiful silence.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


yo yo yoooooooo


(I only had contacts before)

Sitting on a Mountain

I don't deserve this.

I don't deserve the low tree limbs scratching the dry grass.
I don't deserve the quiet wind blowing through my hair.
I don't deserve second chances.
I don't deserve the sunlight dancing with the shadows.
I don't deserve this perfectly shaped rock I sit upon.
I don't deserve the blessings an inconsistent faith brings.
I don't deserve the love that radiates from her voice.
I don't deserve to capture another perfect sunset falling in the Western sky.
I don't deserve the beauty of my family.
I don't deserve eternal love.

I think I'm finally coming to understand this whole Atonement thing...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sharon in Salt Lake

Everything Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings touch turns to gold.

Last night was one of the best shows I've seen in a long time. We danced for about 2 hours did Sharon.

I wasn't going to post this but.....

First off, I'm posting this for posterity:
"The LDS Church did not make a direct contribution to, the Prop. 8 campaign. But it did send a letter to each LDS congregation in California asking Mormons to give time and money to support it. A church spokesman told media that the church estimated the value of its non-monetary, in-kind contributions at $189,900 — less than 1 percent of the total funds donated to the "Yes on 8" campaign, which raised $40 million."

Prop 8 was overturned in California today.
What followed was a slew of facebook statuses in bitter thanksgiving, many throwing down the religious opposition as if they were unlearned bigots.
It made me silent. I've rarely spoken on the issue from the side of the "religious bigots".
I became a bit nervous for the Church and for my heavy past involvement with the gay rights movement. I saw some things directed at me or at the very least alluding to me and my new set of beliefs.
How do you respond to this?
You don't. Not directly anyways. I refuse to create conflict. Especially on the internet or in a public forum.

I have my beliefs. You have yours. I'm sorry that they don't always mix. But I will never shut you out. I will listen and respect you.
I know what I know. And what I know is what I've experienced.
I didn't quit anything. I didn't intend to create divisions. I went forth with what I know is right. I'm not a creature of habit. I don't follow orders blindly. I listen to that burning sense of truth that I feel. I follow the peace and understanding that is not a part of my worldly mind, but a part of the core of my soul.
My Savior has always been here. It's just recently that I have noticed His love and guidance.

I am sorrowful for California.
Not because I hate gay people.
Not because I am homophobic.
Not because I follow orders blindly.
None of those represent me.

I am sorrowful because others have not come to know the truth that is within the Church.
I've grown a testimony of the institute of marriage and its divine nature between a man and a woman. I may have thought differently in the past. But that was merely because I followed the ways of man, or rather, the rhetoric of a world that every day takes a firm stance against the Christian beliefs and morals we are ROOTED in.

Since then, I have found true truth. I have experienced God's all-knowing hand. I've come to know it, feeling Him work within my life and the lives of others.

So because of this, I believe in His Church. I believe in His church because it is through His church that I truly came to know Him. Never before have I come to know so intimately the will and love of God. I believe in His prophets, which he has placed on earth from the very beginning.
Through the scriptures and the prophets, God has revealed to us His commandments on marriage.

Why then would he let Prop 8 be overturned?
HE did not let it be overturned. It was the stubborn ways of man that seem to only further pervert the true ways of God. It has been written. It has been spoken. It has come about numerous times in the history of mankind.
In scripture, we see God's people survive many hardships, oppositions, and wars. But we also see His people fall to these causes in many instances.
Through these victories against God's commandments, we only gain a better idea of the significance and responsibility we have in upholding them. Christ's Church has never and will never fall from the earth. Man may create opposition...but through Christ, we believers endure to the end.

I watch the isolated Utah thunderstorms pass over the silhouetted mountain-tops. I can't help but remember that after the storm, there is peace...the woeful storm only nurtures the ground below.

(Please keep in mind that these are my opinions. I do not write this to provoke conflict, this is merely my outlet for thoughts, feelings and beliefs.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reverie #7

I walk home from a run down the street
My mind is empty, my thoughts blind
How am I to think
When I am waiting for it all to begin?
My lips are sticky my breath is hot
And as I turn the corner I'm struck
Struck by a flood of evening sun
At first I merely catch my breath
But its when my feet begin to shuffle
That I lift my head to the sky

There are no questions
Just the wave of golden slumber impressed
I drift in between the shadows of trees above
My mind is nowhere to be found
It is running rampant in a wild field
It is soaking in the sage, tree-lined horizon
It is falling from the heavens
Earthy thoughts are shattered
I am dreaming a dream of dreams

How can I worry
When the wind presses against my eyes
How can I worry
When all denotes that you surround me
How can I worry
When warmth cradles my head
How can I worry
When tree-lined streets exist

Now I am on the bus
It's difficult to steady your arm on the rumbling steel jutting from the floor
I am tranquil
The open window beside me
Blows in the gusts from passing traffic
I smile as the breeze drips down to my soul

Barry Rowen continues to amaze me with his work. This is absolutely phenomenal.
It's such a personal piece, but its impossible not to empathize with.

Dreaming from Barry Rowen on Vimeo.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Reverie #6

Against all odds, a weary smile on her face
A Roman Tribune in a time of revolution
A mystical being surrounded by plainness
A tip of tip of the hat to uninterested strangers

Mrs. Whitehouse glides through the crowds with grace
Thoughts of adversity are as blossoming rosebuds

A world without ties
Anything is possible with a wide brimmed hat
And the ears of an unsuspecting victim of truth
All things come to pass

Do you not realize Atlas can stumble?
Has not the thought of failure entered your mind?

Yet the tidal wave retreats back to sea
And the concerto plays on
God's hand dost prevail
A worried mind is pacified

I stand on broken ground amidst this earth
But I faithfully stand as I have since birth

Friday, July 23, 2010

Just come on home...

I thank God most for the sky...
That we may dip into its brilliance and wonder by simply glancing above...
It truly is the greatest blessing we have on earth.

22 letters to go until she's home.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quelling the demons: or I'm sitting on a bus thinking

So take your bottles and smile at their transparent glow
So take that handle and throw it down your throat
Life and love are so much clearer
As you push back the truths with denial

I commend you on your decisions
To put off the inevitable
I can't wait to watch you fall
So that you may realize

I'm happy to see you've found your way
Down a wide road of faux righteousness
I've seen it before
You're cutting at your own fingers

It just got personal
The riding the edge, the pacifying demons
It all weighs down on your fellowmen
Go on, do what you've gotta do

Oh and also...I'm a little obsessed with this song:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The End of Mosiac Law

Did you hear about that woman in Iran who was recently condemned to a public stoning on the charges of adultery?

It truly is amazing to find remnants of Mosiac law still taking place in this day in age. Jesus Christ tells us that he is the new standard...Mosiac law is over, no more animal sacrifices, no more stonings, etc (see mosiac law link above).

2000 years wasn't really all that long ago. I'm so thankful for a perception built by the precepts of the restored Gospel. It's amazing to read or hear people conversing about theology and see how much it all fits in to the restoration. I just sat through dinner with my Dad and uncle talking about faith and their frustrations with the Catholic Church. So it raised a lot of old thoughts in my mind when I was first checking out the LDS Church. Once you understand the restoration, there is no going back. It's the only way you can see things from that point on. It's a beautiful thing. As promised, living it only brings about happiness.
I'm in love with God's deft hand.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I love this girl.

Oh hey everyone, meet my girlfriend, Natalie.

caption: "~i luv picnik ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ~LOL JK ROFL ha haaa"
She edits pictures with picnik and listens to Shakira.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Two important things I've been trying live by recently (both quotes from the same talk by Elder James B. Martino)

1.) "We may never know in this life why we face what we do, but we can feel confident that we can grow from the experience.

Now, I realize that it is much easier to look back when a trial is over and see what we have learned from our experience, but the challenge is to gain that eternal perspective while we are going through our tests. To some, our trials may not seem great, but to each of us who are passing through these experiences, the trials are real and require us to humble ourselves before God and learn from Him.
...a small amount of pain now will protect them from possible pain and suffering in the future. Our Father in Heaven knows the end from the beginning. We need to follow the example of the Savior and trust in Him."

2.) “I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives.”
-President Thomas S. Monson

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I've been laughing so hard at this guys videos that my mom thought I was crying at one point...from downstairs in the basement.

My jaw hurts...this guy is the best youtube user EVER.


This dude is so happy...I'm so happy for him.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Newport Evenings

Newport at 5:24 pm

Sidewalk heroes jump the curbs that line the Victorian architecture
Their bikes glide delicately over transparent shadows left by neighboring trees
Windows down, I pilot my car around the shoddy patchwork road
The heat waves dance off of the asphalt, rising fingers against a retreating sun

Life in slow motion
The back wheel pegs a landing pad for the friend trailing behind you
Slush Puppy in hand, the jump is a delicate balance
Tired faces watch from the front stoops of 4th St.

Newport at 11:47 pm

They swarm under incandescent neon
Musk and body sprays clash into the smell of exhaust and cigarettes
Windows down, I watch from the red light, Bird my accompaniment
A crowd forms around a woman riding a mechanical bull

These streets run yellow with booze at night
It's whats left over from the bootlegger syndicate days of yore
Carbon copies cross from one bar to another
Look past the neon and you'll see right through them

The light is green and I am off to starry nights and thoughts of her

Friday, July 2, 2010

Welcome Home

I didn't take this photo, but it makes me proud to say I now officially live in Cincinnati, OH.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I have time for nothing anymore! This move is killing me. Ok so it's not all that bad...but I can't remember the last time I watched something on netflix or the last time I hung out with a friend here at home. I work 2 jobs, pack boxes, make calls to UVU and Utah housing, and run errands for my mom. Then I have like an hour or two at night where I talk to Natalie (best part of the day....yeeeeauuuuhhh).

I'll be so happy when everything is back to normal...or something close to normal.

This is my last week at Samuel Ct.
I've lived on this street for close to 10 years. It's a deserted battleground where all of my adolescent memories lie to rest. The many bullies I encountered, including the infamous Derek Pierce who lived in the house across the street from me, I'm still reminded of as I walk down the streets and through the backyards I used to take to avoid them. It was never a matter of fear, it was annoyance. And now I still walk those paths out of routine. They've all moved away. Now I stand in a steamy summer night watching the heat lightning, the thunder reverberating through the moist air. And I can't help but harbor an ironic love for this neighborhood. All of the things I've always resented; the snobby country club attitudes, the "everyone keeps to themselves" suburban mentality, and the beer IV's that every father seems to have except my own...

For the first time in my life, I've found my bitterness turned towards endearment. I'll miss this place with all of its ignorance. It really has been a good place to grow up. I've learned to love growing up in a place of opposition. My family was so unlike any of the people we lived around. We enjoyed being around each other. Faith thrives in our household. This home has seen more love than it will ever see. And I liked knowing that I was different when the school bus dropped me off each day. I thrived in what I exaggerated to be a "hostile" environment while dreaming of busting out of the suburbs to see the world. And I'm on the path to doing so as we speak.

So screw you Samuel Ct.
I love you. I love all of these memories, good and bad. And I know that I'll miss you.
But I'm so glad to be leaving for good.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An important read

These are my thoughts on the matter:

I won't try to convince anyone of my opinion. I know how personal this subject is to people and how unlikely it is for them to see another side of things.
But what I will say is that as a convert to the Church, I have not known this faith all of my life. I made the conscious decision to join the Church just about the same time as the Prop 8 decision was taking place.

I did not join because it was the easiest choice. I did not join because I disliked the gay population. In fact, it was the exact opposite for both. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make. But I could not deny the peace, beauty, and truth I had experienced in the LDS Church.
Now this is where most will stop reading. I know I've more than stepped on a few toes. But this is what this Church and this faith mean to people. Sure you have those who simply side with the Church because its the easiest way. But for those of us who fight that internal battle, it means much more. Faith is not a political opinion. Faith is as much a part of my life as my sexuality. It's something I cannot deny.
I apologize if that offends anyone. But I just felt like it should be said on behalf of those of the faith.
For the record, I do believe that the Church should stay out of political matters such as this.

To Mormons reading this article:
Whats more important than anything is your testimony of the truthfulness of the Church (3 Nephi 27). Nothing on this earth, no matter the issue, should take that away from you. That's not to say I'm siding completely with the Church on this. We are allowed to have certain disagreements or conflicted opinions. We will never have all of the answers. But we can pray to come to some sort of understanding.

"I can only hope people understand a little more about what goes into our decisions concerning the Gospel, however hard that may be."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Someone else did a project like this at NKU last semester. It was really well done. But I also thought it was over-produced. Too manipulated. I like the rawness and simplicity of Meredith Andrews project:

He push a breath of air and He fills every sail in sight

Ok so while I've got your attention, listen to this.

I am overwhelmed with the truth of the Book of Mormon. Now that I've said that, you're either:
A. Going to stop reading because you don't think this applies to you.
B. Say "oh here he goes again with the religious rant."
C. Open a new internet tab to watch cat videos on youtube
D. You may actually read this.

I won't take up too much of your time.

When I read from these scriptures, I can't help but know of the truth. Like...I couldn't deny it if I tried. And trust me, if I could have I would have. This past semester proved that this wasn't just some interesting idea or some movement I excitedly prescribed to. There was so much working against it. If it was just some youthful spontaneity or naive ignorance, I can assure you that I would have figured it wasn't worth my time. So I found myself swimming up current against everything that society, friends, and family were telling me. And I could see where they were coming from. I really could. But something kept pushing me on, telling me to keep pressing forth. I experienced things that I could not explain. Feelings from within that comforted and made me strong minded.
As I read these words, I knew there was something else at work. It is not cunning brainwashing for a weak mind or extravagant promises for a needy spirit. They are words of beauty. They are words that if read and pondered, will instill in you this never-before-felt sense of direction and truth. I can promise you that. It still happens with me even 6 months later. I'm continually amazed at the personal revelation I am given through diligent reading of these words. You'll find yourself reading something you've read countless times but somehow this time around, you find countless new insights you'd never picked upon before. That is the power of these words.

This isn't some shameless plug or some evangelical alter call. This is something I feel impressed to say each and every day to myself and others. It's something that only grows and becomes more entwined with my soul as I read the scriptures each day - even if only a few verses.

So I'm calling out to all of you to do yourself a favor and read this book. I grew up Catholic. I went to a Catholic school. I knew all of the Bible stories. But I never actually took the time to read what is known as "The Word of God" with diligence and study. Now that I read the Bible and The Book of Mormon side by side, I see how they are one and the same. The BoM is merely a continuation, a restoration back to where our hearts, minds, and idea of Church need to be. The Bible speaks of this latter day restoration countless times.

For you not of any faith, I know what you are thinking. Religion is so commercialized and scandalized and so many other bad words ending with -ized. "Why waste my time?" I agree with you. I felt the same exact way for a few years. But then I found this place where religion is truth. It's not elaborate golden cities or mega churches. I'm not outright attacking those other faiths. Because they do SO much good in the world. And their core teachings are those of Christ. But I can assure you that having looked into them all, there is still a void that needs to be filled. There is missing structure and missing doctrine that God has given us so that we may know Him more intimately.

That void can and will be filled if you give this idea I'm speaking of a chance. I promise you it will. It was for me and I've seen countless many others say the same.

I'm looking back on this and hoping I don't sound too much like a pamphlet or a street preacher. I don't want that. I'm not trying to impose it on you. I just feel overwhelmed with the peace of mind His word has brought to my soul...and I feel the need to write stuff like this so that others may question their own thoughts. I'm not above you in any way. I'm not "a chosen one". Me and you are on the exact same level. But I have this peace, this absolute knowing of truth in my head and my heart...and I want you to have it too.

Read scripture diligently each day without fail and you will know truth. And your mind will rest. It's inevitable. It's been that way since the beginning of time.

Seacrest out.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ode to Natalie

There's a certain moment in time when you realize something monumental has happened in your life. It may be obvious; a big move or a new career. But I think the most gratifying monumental moments are those meetings between two human beings.
You may very well realize their importance before they happen. But the most momentous meetings occur between two unsuspecting people. Two people who don't fully realize how pivotal the occurrence will be to their world.

The misty rain is collecting on the back of my hand as I hold the phone to my ear. I can think back to those silent moments after hours of speaking to one another, the fog off San Francisco Bay collecting in the winding roads I walk. Those in-between-topic moments where we can hear the feedback from the others breath. It's only the second time we've spoken on the phone and already I've had one of those monumental realizations. I didn't quite understand it. It was this looming presence in the back of my mind. I just knew it was important.
We spoke with a candidness unheard of by my virgin ears. I wasn't used to that sort of reception. "Everyone's waiting to talk, but no one's listening. Everyone's sweating, but no one's glistening." We are two souls entwined. We have no choice but to move forward with the natural order of things. We cannot deny these moments. For once in my life, I can accept all of those indigestible romantic cliches. I can understand what they mean. I swore I'd never walk that line. But now that I've found the muse they've all spoken of, I can't help myself.

What's more is that this girl was dropped in front of me by chance. She is not some fling I've exhausted. She is not some pretty face I see every day.
She is a beautiful accident that appeared in the form of words in an email. My mind was unsure of how to approach in a worded reply. I'm used to this being hard. I'm used to force fitting that last puzzle piece.
By the second email she sent I could understand the way she presented herself, the way she spoke from within. I knew she had felt it too. Our words flow in and out of the others, fingers rapidly typing quick, unguarded thoughts.
I've shared a lot of myself to prospective girls. I trust easily. And even as I continue to give myself to this new girl I know there is something different with Natalie. My words are not for me to stare at longingly and wonder what the other side is thinking.
I don't fret over my internet identity nearly as much as I used to. I don't analyze my words and thoughts in careful precision. I don't wonder about her thoughts. The answers we provide are uniquely for the other. We know how the other thinks. Somehow, our souls have connected in this big hectic world and our unsuspecting minds are cut loose from the bands of anxiety.

So now we sit next to one another at her mother's play practice. Our eyes gaze up at dark figures moving up the wall towards the ceiling. The conductor of this small ensemble waves his arms frantically to the rhythm, the music stand light throwing dramatic silhouettes against high ceiling. I worry about nothing. My mind can only focus on the subtle beauty of the moment. I'd rather be here than anywhere else.

The way things have aligned beyond our control are constant reminders of the divinity of this whole situation. For fleeting moments, I wonder if I'll ever regret speaking this way, if this will just turn into another fling. But before my mind can press forth with the idea, she enters my mind and I know I can't even bring myself to think such things. She has won so many battles over my subconscious. God continues to show me that the road I'm on is in line with hers. And the road is more beautiful than ever. The way the leaves of the trees drift in the wind are accompanied by her song.

And now I feel I'm with her. She's probably somewhere in the sky over a golden Mexican floor. She's probably nervous about her Spanish. She's probably thinking about the important words she doesn't know and the lesser ones she's sure of. I'm not sitting in that seat next to her, or even in the surrounding sea of faces. But I can sit contently in Kentucky knowing that my other half is living out another one of her dreams. I can sit contently in Kentucky knowing that her voice is readily available to play through the speakers lining the walls of my brain. I can breath easy knowing that the reigns are in someone elses hands...someone far more capable than I.

So go ahead. Call me young. Call me naive. Call me cliche.
You could probably hang each one of those titles on me in one form or another. But I'm just going forward with what feels right, with something that I couldn't deny even if I wanted to.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coeur d'Alene

Rain soaks our days old clothing. We smell of campfire, sweat, jerky, and the open road. We walk down railroad tracks that never were. A rushing river guides us to our destination, one of the many abandoned buildings that line the roads leading west.

At these moments, I feel detached from everything. There is no right or wrong. There is only adventure, a faint carousel echoing with faint prompting from the hills. I carefully map out the placement of my soggy steps so as to avoid the patchwork of wildflowers.

We get back on the road after 2 hours of unplanned, unmapped mystery. My camera is held tightly in my hand, the treasures we encountered held captive within.

We move on to the Idaho panhandle. Golden hour turns into hours as we chase the sun down through twisting canyon roads pointed West. We turn a bend past a ridge and see an indescribable portrait of beauty. The lake sitting next to Coeur d'Alene reflects a bright orange sunset, the waters more far reaching than the sky itself. The surrounding hills glow a deep blue haze against a tranquil night sky, We are only given a glimpse, but for a fleeting moment we all fall silent, our eyes unwavering, our breathing steadied. My hands are stuck to the wheel.

I'm convinced I must live in a place with mountains in my horizon. I need those harrowing towers off in the distance. My eyes never grow tired of tracing their silhouetted outline against the sky.
These thoughts are interrupted as I find myself watching a group of college kids clamoring up the pier steps overlooking the Lake Coeur d'Alene. The one leading the pack is stripping down to his boxers. They climb to the top level and begin to egg him on. I can see his feet hanging over the side shaking profusely. I don't think he realizes what he's gotten himself in to. A small crowd of fans assembling near the bottom.
"Come on Wesley!" one shouts impatiently.

Two others jump into loud roars of laughter and cheering as the freezing swimmer makes his way back to the dock.

Wesley's shaking feet are still hanging over. The crowd grows disenchanted with the dare and Wesley's hesitance becomes more apparent to those still faithful fans.
Some begin to coach him as the others begin side conversations.
Alex and Logan have walked on and Nate is waiting for me. I'm transfixed on his shaking feet and silent answers to the jeers.
We walk away slowly and suddenly I hear a splash followed by cheers.
I'm not sure if it was Wesley but I'd like to think that it was.
The moon is reflected off the calm waters and Coure d'Alene is just starting to fall asleep. But the young vagabonds that hold dominion over the city by night are coming alive.

Monday, May 17, 2010

This is a call to question

I jump out of my skin and I'm running through a deserted isle in Kroger. I tell myself its to save time, but I know its because I can. It's 2am and I'm getting milk for cereal.

"Welcome to Kroger." Scan. Beep. Bag. Automatic Doors. Night sky.

It's one of those nights where your skin tingles and your sense of being is magnified by a wide starry sky. It's those nights when you call things into question. The big questions that seem so insignificant to anyone but yourself...

When I close my eyes I see a part of myself that I can never get out in the many bumbling words that escape through my lips. I think if someone took all of my words and sent them to a cryptologist, we might begin to understand the intentions of my heart.
I don't want to sound like a disenchanted teenager..."No one understands me" they say with a soured shrug.

What I mean to say is that my intentions are etched into the insides of my head. Every so often, I close my eyes and see the intricate, but simple map to my soul. It's lined with "what ifs" and premature "I love you"'s but once you get past that, I radiate with a glowing earnestness. I just want to please you. I want to give to you. Most of the time I try to impart a little portion of my soul, but it always get distorted when I let my mind be the middle man.

What was that you asked?

Premature promptings and wise foresight battle for control. An incomplete mixed message is sent to the voicebox who in turn interprets it as "good to go". The words fall out of my mouth like tetris. They build up an elaborate response fit and trim with minute detail. It's then I realize I'm unsure if I answered the question.

Though it may not always exude brilliance, I speak with conviction. I could talk down the stars from the sky if given the chance. I don't confront with sage simplicities. I barrage the conversation with passion...unadulterated portions of half-thoughts. Most of which just evolved in my marathon mind.

But when I close my eyes, all that remains is the conviction. And I know some day that one soul will look and see the intricate lines that lead to my soul.
I wish I was a little more delicate.

Monday, May 10, 2010


It's many times I feel like this:
I'm ready to move. I ready to watch the shapes shift and the elements collide. I'm ready to up and go. I need out.

But then I'm reminded:
I feel my own breath against my arm. The warmth stays a few moments after exhale. I'm reminded of the many lives I've lived. The beauty these eyes have seen and the beauty they'll continue to see if I choose to acknowledge it.
And all is well.

Any semblance of unsatisfaction will bow at the awe of the untamed landscapes of yore. Life will blush with color once more. We will embark hoping for something we know we won't achieve. But its through the experience that we'll come to know what it is that we need. It's the Great American Roadtrip. It's an event revered in society, often parodied, often over-sentimentalized. But as long as there are winding roads and unreliable cars to steer them through, bands of human beings will make the pilgrimage.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This guy is good.

Requiem of a Semester

Have you ever been confined to one place for a long duration of time in which you are despised and sometimes just ignored?

It's an exhausting yet strengthening experience. The humility gained through living in a hostile environment is something I value greatly. It wasn't by choice, it was circumstantial for both parties. And I don't blame the other party entirely. I think the situation offers some areas of conflict. But that in no way shape or form gives the right to disregard me as a person.

Each morning I'm able to wake up, a little more tired than usual from attempting to sleep through the 4 am parties every night of the week...but I'm able to walk out into the morning sun and feel peace and conviction in the decisions I've made. I'm able to pray and love with a much fuller capacity than I ever could have known possible. I've truly found something that I simply cannot deny. If you had experienced the things I've experienced and felt, you wouldn't be able to deny it either. It's a peace beyond all peace. I can move mountains. I can endure to the end.
I still love you guys as my friends. You guys are some of the best people I know. But it's sad that I've been subjected to your worst sides in the last few months.

This isn't meant to be an "Austin the Martyr" kinda post. But if I may say so myself, I feel like I've handled this extremely well. And that's all thanks to this faith. I've been so blessed throughout all of this, it's incredible how God provides. Just know that this was MY decision. You have your own decisions and I still respect you for them.

SO...just because I probably won't be around you as much next semester. I will still make the effort to talk in passing in the hallways. I'll send you things I think you'd appreciate. I'll not harvest any sort of bitterness towards you.
I'll still love you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A State of Mind

Just watched A State of Mind. It's amazing how much we don't know about North Korea, and how much North Korea doesn't know about us. This past year I've found myself watching movies and reading on this country and its culture. The North Korean country is sad, grim example of the futility of man and the ideological worship of man, Socialism/Communism. The people themselves have the best intentions. They are a beautiful people of devotion and discipline. But these traits are invested in a faulty government mirage of power.

I don't know nearly enough to establish a true intellectual opinion, but from what I've gathered, I think the Western world's current stance on the country is far too biased. Sure, the country is a definite threat to our ideology. But this does not give use the right to ostracize an entire people. The US can be such a hypocritical idea. I love this country. And I believe it to be the one free, true place in the world where people can think and act for themselves. But we are not perfect. We have our hands in so many others countries pockets and affairs. I also think we put far too much emphasis on our responsibility of "educating" others in our ways. Let us act by example and not by forceful action. Everyone has a free choice, and agency to choose their own constitution. This is the basis of the USA. But it is not within our constitution to push this idea on others.

North Korea will not last. It will not be one of those empires with the privilege of millennial reign. It's isolation from the world will cause it to be eaten from within, once the people realize Kim-il Sung did not "create the world" or that Kim Jong-il can "control the weather".
Putting that much faith in man has proven in past and present to be a futile business. Man is not perfect. Nor is socialism, the ideology based off full faith in man. Kim Jung Il is not God...although official North Korean history claims his birth on Mt. Baekdu was "an event marked by a double rainbow and a new star in the sky."

We must keep a watchful eye on our neighbors...but not look at them as the next front in our "war for democracy". As a world super power, we are forced to be a world player. I just wish the US would be more careful with the ways in which it "plays" with other ideologies and peoples.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sums up my thoughts at all times

I want this tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.
The sky is my favorite place in the world.
I don't care how effusive that sounds.

Originally uploaded by laura taylor.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Long Way Home

Welp, here it is in all it's glory, and official Audience Award winner from the College Movie Festival.
My first "official" DP credit. And let me clarify, all I did was DP. Definitely an interesting experience. Not exactly the content I'm usually interested in, but for a Die Hard homage, I think it fits in pretty well.

(watch it in HD!)

still have legs and arms

I got home this morning with the sun right in my eyes
And there was no warning as it took me by surprise as it
Hit me like an Act of God, causing my alarm

My feet land in loud exaltation against the tile flooring on the 4th floor. Friday at 8am and the science building is in a lull. The long hallway stretches past empty classrooms. The rooms have a blue haze, a dim sunlight showing through against the countless desks. My feet continue slapping the ground. These shoes are too loud for 8am. Off at the end of a hall, a figure sits, head resting against palm. The figure is a shadow against the wall to ceiling window that looks out over campus. I'm walking towards this bright luminance at the end of a hallway. And I let my mind wander with the strains of imagination. We are the only figures in the hallway and I can't help but feel a sort of kinship. Both admiring the brightness of the early morning, both letting our thoughts drift towards the window, one of use breaking up the moment with loud shoes. The figure slowly lifts its face in anticipation of my approaching presence.
Still a shadow, I can't distinguish any physical details in the outline. I am close to my stairwell destination. At the last possible moment, the figure lifts her head and stares at me, a blank look to match my internal diatribe that began at the start of the hallway. We meet eyes and both look away. I walk on, another forgotten moment as my thoughts shift to the canted shadows that line the stairwell.
8:02 am
Life is beautiful.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

And the living is easy

I wonder why I can't just say a few words on here. I always feel like I need to write a lot.

Well today I'm going to merely "update" my blog. So...yeah.

I'm completely done with this semester next Thursday. It feels good. I need to get OUT of this place MAN! A week or so and I'll be living the life at home...taking pictures...staying up late...listening to music all night with the car windows down...reconnecting.

Great photographer

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I just felt like writing

Recently, I've been writing a lot about these big things like direction, purpose, God, faith, etc. I guess it's because I've had a huge shift in my life recently. In turn, these types of questions come to surface...

I think it's really scary to find out so many truths at once. It gives life this severity but it can all feel very flippant at times. Finding that middle ground between embracing radical change and staying true to yourself can be all at once so easy yet so hard. This whole paragraph is turning into one big paradox.

"I just thought I was a kind of bird. I just stood there, not saying a word."

Sometimes I want to just fill the mold. I want to walk through without disruption. I want simplicity. But that thought is dangerous. Idle hands/mind never did anyone any good. Even those who society claims have grown content with mediocrity are DOING.

I think it's depressing when you find someone so "in touch" with intellectualism that they loose sight of true humanity and God. They have found a so-called mecca of knowledge through the writings of man. I have faith in man, but there is much greater fulfillment from faith in He who created man. Makes sense, right?
There are SO many different ways to disprove the existence of God and a plan of salvation. I could link you to thousands upon thousands of documents and theories and scientific facts. But no one can express to another the divine feeling you have when you acknowledge that God is indeed there. It's a peace beyond all peace, a love beyond all love. It can't be broken down in a thesis or dissected in a documentary. It must be felt. And through true faith, it can be experienced.

To some, I may sound like a broken record. It's all things you've heard before. There are so many self-proclaimed "truths" out there. Everyone seems to have their own unique doctrine. That's not to say religion is conformist. You are conforming to a unified belief. It's a communal, beautiful thing. You're still free to be your own unique self amidst it all.
Look at the history of the world. Mankind has never gone forth in this world without a belief in God. It's natural for a reason. It's shaped what we know as right and wrong. Even atheists sense of morality is by way of societal glance at God. You cannot deny that. By claiming atheism, you are saying that your mind is greater than that of the world. You are saying that conscience is inherent and not effected by any outside force. How can you place your faith solely in humanity? Humanity is rife with wars, ambiguity, hate, greed, the list goes on. Humans are not perfect. And we can't be perfect no matter how hard we try. But we can make that effort each day towards perfection. Humanity is also rife with love, compassion, peace, and understanding. Where have these traits evolved from? From faith. We must go forth. knowing that we can't be perfect, but walking in the direction of perfection. Living this lifestyle will bring TRUE happiness and fulfillment. I can guarantee you that.

I think we all have these ideas of our destiny. Everyone, willing to admit it or not, has this idea in their head, this complete scenario of life. It's the story they would like to be told of their name. The grandiose details are grand and the hardships are acknowledged (but triumphed in short time).
Just make sure you learn to let it adapt with change.

I'm learning to live. And it scares me so much. But I'm so excited for whats to come.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hey so this is what I truly want to do ALL the time. In conversations, during class, at work, while driving...

Monday, April 12, 2010

persistance when blind

(based on Acts 9)
“Damascus is about one hundred and fifty miles north of Jerusalem, so it would take Saul and his attendants about a week to travel the distance.
Perhaps during those few days of comparative leisure, he began to wonder whether what he was doing was right or not.
Perhaps the shining face of the dying Stephen and the martyr’s last prayer began to sink more deeply into his soul than it had done before. Little children’s cries for their parents whom Saul had bound began to pierce his soul more keenly, and make him feel miserably unhappy as he looked forward to more experiences of that kind in Damascus.
Perhaps he wondered whether the work of the Lord, if he were really engaged in it, would make him feel so restless and bitter.
He was soon to learn that only the work of the evil one produces these feelings, and that true service for the Lord always brings peace and contentment.”
-Pres. David O. McKay

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bad Rabbits

I saw the Bad Rabbits last night and danced with like 80 other people

Most fun I've had at a show in a long time - cut to 1:20 in
(this isn't the show I was at, but this was exactly what it was like)

Can't Back Down from Bad Rabbits on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

my life

I've been blessed to have been so many different people in this life already.

-A human baseball encyclopedia from ages 7-14
  • A damn good first basemen from 12-14
-College kid from 18-present
-Fat kid from 11-17

-Fat kid at heart from the day I was born to the present
-I started running nearly every day 2 years ago and have lost nearly 30 lbs.
-I stole and crashed a golf cart at age 5

-I skied down the Olympic Run in Lake Placid, NY at age 12 and made it all the way to the bottom
-I went through about 4 bullies as a kid
  • I had a bully who's dad brought out a scale to weigh me because he didn't believe I was the weight I told all my friends I was - later that week I purposefully broke a lamp in their basement
  • I had another bully who would always make me "the queer" in smear the queer
  • I eventually "fought" one of my bullies and won
  • My youth was every childhood bully movie you've seen
-I met Dick Cheney on an elevator when I was 4
-I shook George W. Bush's hand on the campaign trail when I was 10
-I told people I was a Republican as a kid, but knew it just gave me a side to root for come election time (this way of thinking could be applied to just about any person claiming to be devout to one party-whether they admit it or not)
-Christian music fan 11-14
-I have a best friend that I've kept in close contact with for years, even though we're 1600 miles apart most of the time
-I watched Michael Jordan play live
-I made a hook shot into my basketball hoop from hundred feet away but no one was looking
-In Hawaii when 9/11/01 happened
-Movie lover from 14-present
-Movie maker from 14-present
-I spray painted most of my body brown for an Australian party in Utah
-I ran the streets of D.C. late one night to get to a rally in a hotel bar
-I witnessed a near-riot outside of an Obama speech and got it on camera

-I've crashed 2 cars...both, I claim, "were not my fault."
-I was depressed my entire senior year of high school but never really told anyone
-My parents are my best friends
-I went on a cross country roadtrip
  • I was driving a car when the engine exploded
  • I started a Texas brushfire
  • I witnessed a storm on the Colorado border that changed my perception of beauty and sense of God

-I took a photo that was featured on a photography website's homepage
-I read 3 Harry Potter books in 2 weeks time at age 13
-I was escorted by the LAPD through underground police tunnels at 1 am from the scene of a crime on Sunset Blvd. (and managed to get a picture)

-I had three girlfriends through high school and always wondered why they went for me
-I met Bono by accident in Chicago
-I helped out with Hurricane Katrina relief down in New Orleans and Mississippi
-I have a close friend that's Australian...I find ways to slip this into conversation
-I got punched in the face last night in a mosh pit I didn't want to be a part of
-I got arrested for climbing on the roof of a Quiznos with a friend
  • They dropped the charges 2 weeks later in court claiming that the cops must have been having a slow night
-I personally met my favorite musician Andrew Bird in Cleveland after a show
-I converted to Mormonism about 4 months ago after distancing myself from religion for about 2-3 years
  • I'm still learning how to integrate it into my life
  • I am shown examples nearly every day of how much this faith makes sense in our world today
  • It's one of the best decisions I've made

There are so many things I failed to mention (like the time I got a tattoo on whim). Looking back, I guess I can be kind of spontaneous most of the time. I'm aware of that, so I never make any life-altering bad decisions. I love that about myself. It makes life interesting.
If there's one thing I've learned in my time thus far on earth, it's to live passionately. No matter the location, the state of mind, the circumstances, live with joy and love in the hand you've been dealt. More importantly, know that joy and love are of God. Never grow disenchanted with life.

And don't be afraid of the changes...revel in them.

I can't wait to continue to add to this list, living vicariously through my own heart.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

listening to the new Nada Surf album puts my mind on a roadtrip back to family vacations on spring breaks in high school. this weather feels absolutely incredible...


“God shall give unto you knowledge by his holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost."
(D&C 121:26).

“The humanists who criticize us, the so-called intellectuals who demean us, speak only from ignorance of this manifestation. They have not heard the voice of the Spirit. They have not heard it because they have not sought after it and prepared themselves to be worthy of it. Then, supposing that knowledge comes only of reasonings and of the workings of the mind, they deny that which comes by the power of the Holy Ghost. . . .
Do not be trapped by the sophistry of the world, which for the most part is negative and which seldom, if ever, bears good fruit. Do not be ensnared by those clever ones whose self-appointed mission it is to demean that which is sacred, to emphasize human weakness, and undermine faith, rather than inspire strength."
-Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

I've found myself in shoes I felt I could not fill, shoes I thought I already knew the track record of. I pounded this notion into my brain night and day. I told myself that with this new faith, I would be on a set path to the day of my death. On one side of things, this is a comforting notion. By believing in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation, I can have direct answers as to where I will spend eternity. I've experienced the love, and the presence of the Spirit on more than one occasion. I've seen the power of prayer in action. I've finally come to know truly who Jesus is - I know Him on a personal level for the first time.
But the other side of this "set path" can seem disheartening. As an LDS member, I must deal with the unrelenting pressure of the world against the LDS church, go to church every Sunday, align myself with conservative politics, go on a two year mission, marry a mormon wife, have a ton of kids, all while holding a career. These are all the Mormon pressures/stereotypes I found myself thinking about in relation to my faith. And because I was shaking my base, I found myself slipping into doubts about the Church. (on a side note, I feel like these stereotypes are true of any faith. Mormons just get set aside because people haven't taken the time to actually see what we truly believe. We're still Christians).
In an instant I was able to forget about ALL of the beauty, peace, and love I had found in this Church. I was able to forget the scriptures I'd studied and prayed about, and the way they had impacted my faith. All of this I was able to shoot down for the sake wallowing in a doubt.

I was putting faith in doubt.

It's something I find myself doing in many other instances in my life. If I have to make some sort of life change, it suddenly becomes this HUGE LIFE CHANGING CAN'T GO BACK decision in my mind. I let myself fret and worry. I google things like "liberal mormon" and "lds convert doubt" just so I can enhance the whole ordeal. I want instant gratification. I want to know what the ending looks like before I go ahead and walk the path leading there. But the truth is...

There will always be doubts and inconsistencies in faith. If you make it a priority to look for doubts, they will always be there. This holds more truth than ever in this internet age. With the typing of a few words into a search engine, you can unload an entire encyclopedia of common dissent. A while back, Alex told me that "faith is not practical". Around the same time my mom told me, "Keep your head and your heart in the same place." These are written on sticky-notes on my desk, the very place I find myself hunched over a screen looking for insight.

Faith is not final. It's a living breathing relationship. And before I align myself with any stereotype, leader, article, blog, I should be asking my Heavenly Father for insight. The most important part of my faith is my personal relationship with Him. And in prayer, and days of thoughtful ponderance of scripture I know that at this moment in time, I am where I am supposed to be. Just because there seems to be this common knowledge that I must be a conservative, uptight, clean-shaven, member does not mean I have to. I will follow according to the insight I receive from above, through the scriptures, and through the Church leaders. Those stereotypes come primarily from the congregation. Mormons are awesome, loving people but there are a few "standards" that run in the culture of the lifestyle that aren't necessarily doctrinal. I can live my faith however I see fit, while still living it according to the scripture and doctrines. There is just too much right about the Church to let one or two things bring the whole thing crashing down.

I AM Hugh Nibley reincarnated.

The last few weeks I've put so much unnecessary pressure on myself. Faith is living, it's a choice you've made to recognize that relationship we can all have with something far bigger than ourselves and this world we live in. It's recognizing true eternal love. I will always side on the side of faith in the end. That's what this life is all about.

I'm learning to understand how the gospel works in accordance with this life. We don't have to recluse ourselves within our churches and our scriptures. Let us go out into the world, as frightening as it might be, and truly live out or faith.

No longer will I put faith in doubt...from this point on, I'm putting faith in faith.
Rejoicing in our present state may very well be the most important thing we can do on earth.