Thursday, October 11, 2012


Throughout my Mormon career, I've sat and listened to a lot of Sunday School lessons.  Sadly, by church the next week, I would've already forgotten the lesson taught the previous week.  I didn't forget them all though.  There were a few lessons that stuck with me, and I would like to tell you about one involving standards.

Standards are everywhere.  Some examples: You must be this tall to ride this roller coaster, you must have this good of a grade to get an A, you must be this attractive to be called a Jaw Breaker.  But these aren't the standards we were talking about.  This lesson was about moral standards.  The chart above (the extent of my artistic ability) compares God's standards to the worlds standards.  We know God is "the same yesterday, to day, and forever," (Hebrews 13:8) and as such, his standards never change.  The world's standards, on the other hand, are continually getting further from God's standards.  The penetrating question that was asked during this Sunday School lesson was this: "Are we only trying to be above the world's standards, or are we staying in line with God's standards?"

If we just want to be better than the world's standards, that can and will get us into trouble.  And the further down the slope we go, the steeper it gets.  May we stick to the Lord's standards and avoid the world's with all costs.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Left in the Dark?

The other night, we were driving to dinner, and their house was way out where there are no street lights.  Like way out where they lived on a dirt road.  Once we turned off the main highway, we needed to use our high beams to see better.  For some reason, we couldn't figure out how to get them to work.  We flipped every switch, pushed every button, and twisted every nob, but we still couldn't find how to turn them on.  So we spent a good while only being able to see about 10 feet in front of us.  I wouldn't recommend doing that, but don't worry, we eventually found out how to turn the high beams on.

Relating this experience to us, we're all driving in the dark through life so to speak.  We can see a few feet in front of us, but never the whole picture.  We can't let that keep us from continuing to move.  We'll find that as we push forward, God will give us more vision.  That's the only way to see more of the picture.  We know from Paul, we are supposed to "walk by faith, not by sight."  (2 Cor. 5:7).  When we have that mind set, we'll be able to fight through the night to the bright, white light (rhymes!).  Just as the wise men were guided by the star of Bethlehem, we will be guided by the light of Christ.  God will never leave us in the dark.  So find the faith inside to press forward and finish.  You will become firmer in your faith, deeper in desire, tougher in testimony.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Ratatouille is an awesome Pixar movie, and possibly one of the hardest words in the world to spell.  The movie follows the story of a rat named Remy whose only dream is to become a top notch chef in the restaurant world of Paris.  I don't know about you, but rat and chef just don't go together.  The thing about Remy was that he was actually an excellent cook.  He didn't settle with the slimy, sewer diet that most rats sustain.  He wanted something more.  Something delicious.  Something delectable.  But a rat becoming a chef is a preposterous thought.  Or is it?  All Remy needed was a chance, and when it came, he succeeded and became he had dreamed of.

Sometimes in life, we are Remy.  Other times, we're the ones not giving Remy a chance.  Appearance is the first thing we as humans see.  It's not always easy to look past it, especially when we're looking at a 'rat that wants to be a chef.'  But to truly know someone, we must see as the Lord sees because "the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7).  Our Lord and Savior sees us as we really are.  He sees our heart.  May we strive to be more like Christ by giving others a chance and casting out unrighteous judgments.  It is then that we will be able see the kind of chef that Remy can become.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Clean the Corners

I talked to a former owner of a restaurant the other day, and for some reason we got on the subject of cleaning.  More so relating to cleaning bathrooms, but we won't delve into those details.  Of course she, the restaurant owner, couldn't constantly be at the restaurant to check every little thing, but she had her own ways of finding out what had been done.  One of her tricks was to put a small stack of pennies in corners of certain rooms.  If the employees really cleaned, then they would've discovered the pennies, or at least knocked the stack over.  But if they didn't really clean, then the pennies would be in the exact same place as they were when they were first stacked.  More often than not, the corners were overlooked.

Corners are places that people pay little attention to.  They figure no one will see them.  But corners aren't only in rooms; we have corners in our lives.  At first glance, things could look fine, but in the corners of our lives, we could have a stash of dirt and debris that desperately demands dusting.  The question is, how often do we clean the corners of our lives?  Do we let them collect dirt and dust because we know they're not seen by other people?  Or do we make sure they are just as clean as the rest of the floor?   As much as we try to hide it from others, the Lord sees all.  Alma puts in pretty bluntly by saying, "But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God." (Alma 39:8).  May we clean, clear, and cast out our concealed crimes.  When we do, the corners of our lives will no longer haunt us.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Laughing or Crying?

Life is good.  It has it's ups and downs, but overall it's good.  It's easy to see how the good times make life good, but sometimes the bad times make us think otherwise.  I relayed a quote to a sister missionary the other day.  The quote was, "You're either laughing, or you're crying."  Her response was, "Yeah, and if you're crying, you might as well be laughing while doing it."  Talk about profound.  The key is attitude.

Nephi, a Book of Mormon prophet, was with his family in the wilderness and he and his brothers went out hunting for food.  While hunting, Nephi breaks his bow and his brother's bows loose their spring.  Needless to say, they didn't get any food.  Everyone around Nephi was "exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord" because of their lack of food.  (1 Nephi 16: 20).  Nephi himself recognized that "it began to be exceedingly difficult."  (1 Nephi 16:22).  But he chose not to murmur against the Lord.

Even though times were tough, Nephi's choice was to "laugh while he cried."  His "laughing" brought himself to become a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.  We have the power to do that in our own lives.  When things are tough and life makes us cry, make sure those tears are from laughing so hard that you forget that times are tough.  If we keep that attitude, we'll be able to see the good in life even while looking through tears.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I learned a valuable lesson the other day that has to do with music, but the principle can be applied to so much more. I had a conversation with someone who is quite musically inclined, and I was explaining to him that I wanted to be better at the guitar and better at singing. He asked me who my favorite music artist was, and I told him Jack Johnson. Then he proceeded with a follow up question: Is Jack Johnson an amazing guitarist or singer? Honestly, he's not. But he's an incredible musician.

I mean, I'm a decent musician, but sometimes I don't feel good enough.  It's great to have that desire to get better, but I shouldn't beat myself up because I'm not the best.  In a Jack Johnson song called Posters, he sings:

Looking at himself but wishing he was someone else
Because the posters on the wall they don't look like him at all

Looking at herself but wishing she was someone else
Because the body of the doll it don't look like hers at all

The world today has a way of portraying what we should look like, who we should be, and how good we should be at it.  We don't need to be like the people in the posters to be worth something.  We must remember that "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God."  (D&C 18:10).  No matter what the world thinks of us, we are all great in the sight of God.  And remember, "it's better to look up." ~ Thomas S. Monson.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bad Hair Day

The other day, I officially got the worst haircut of my life.  I was persuaded to let a certain person cut my hair.  Not known to me until after the fact was that it was his first time cutting anyone's hair, but that's besides the point.  In the midst of the noise of the clippers and my hair flying everywhere, the one cutting my hair was busy telling me how good my hair was looking and was going to look. 

I must say, I was pretty excited to check out my new hair-do.  I was convinced that my hair looked good.  Then came the moment to look in the mirror and see how it was.  That was when reality hit, and I suppose I looked something like the picture to the right.  It was only when I stepped back and took a look at myself that I realized my hair needed to change.  And quick!

Our lives are the same way.  We often go through life taking everyone's word for whatever it may be.  But occasionally we need to stop and examine our self.  We need to step back, take a look in the mirror, and see what needs corrected.  Sometimes the realization, such as in my case, can be quite shocking.  We must do whatever we need to in order to fix the problem.  We all make mistakes, but as long as we come back, we will be openly welcomed.  "...There is joy in the presence of angles of God over one sinner that repenteth."  (Luke 15:10).