Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Few Things Worth Mentioning...

When you have a view like this available from property that you're considering you even have to go inside for the tour? I think not!

Not sure what the marketing approach is supposed to be here, but it made me chuckle nonetheless.

The U2 Concert last night was AMAZING! Thanks Qualtrics!...and Stacy for being my date...and putting up with my ridiculous comments.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Adustment Bureau

Last night I went to see the movie "Adjustment Bureau" with some friends. It had some strong language unfortunately, but other than that, I REALLY enjoyed it!  There were two main reasons that I found this movie well worth my time:

1) I was emotionally drawn into the movie.  There's nothing more boring to me than a movie that doesn't draw me in to the characters in a way that I either can sympathize or empathize with them, or more importantly that doesn't makes me WANT to do so.  I've seen a lot of movies lately where I can see the intentions of the writers, but they just don't do a good job evoking any emotion from me.  This often happens because they don't evolve a character enough, don't give enough background, or the character is just plain unrelatable to me.  The emotional involvement was definitely there for me in this movie.

2) The message I got from it and the thought process that it evoked in me was well received.  What's funny is that I can't decided exactly what the writer(s) was going for in way of overall point.  They could have been trying to say that religion isn't necessary, and that spirituality is what counts no matter what you call the higher power that you believe in, and that people shouldn't conform like mindless sheeps.  Perhaps this really is what they were going for. I'm honestly not sure, but I DO know what I took away from the movie.  

  • The first message I took away from the movie was to not let the idea of fate or destiny dissuade you from getting what you truly want.  Too often I find myself and others sitting back and waiting for things that we say that we want, to drop into our laps, or who we want to become to happen with some sudden transformation.  Act, don't be acted upon. Sound familiar?
  • Sometimes you need to let logic take a backseat to how you feel about something.  I find it extremely important to be logical and rational in my approach to things, but I also feel that it's important to pay attention to emotional intelligence as well.  When things don't make sense logically,  it can be very hard to rely on a gut feeling, or to listen to what you heart is telling you.  What can be even harder is when things DO make sense logically, but it just doesn't feel right.  
  • If you don't use the gifts that God gave you, then you either lose them, or its as if you don't have the gift at all...seemingly obvious, I realize.  Think about how many people you know that don't use their minds to be able to make decisions that are best for them.  Perhaps you find yourself doing this.  God gave us a brain, He expects us to use it to benefit others and help ourselves where possible.  There are some things that God just has to make happen if it's going to happen, but we need to use the resources wisely that He has given us first and then expect help from above.
  • The way that Satan works is extremely crafty.  The way that he is able to convince people to follow him is often by imitations of God's original creations.  In our lives, Satan will seek to convince that we're free even if we follow him.  Often times this is by making us think that because we choose what to wear each day, or free to choose between restaurants, or between Redbox or going to a movie, that we're free. But when it comes down to bigger, life altering decisions, we find that we're not as free as we may have thought. Either because we find ourselves addicts to some item(s), or because we're limited by choices that we've made in our pasts that have been unresolved, thus leaving us to face consequences that have lurked in the background only to arise at pivotal and importune times.  Often what we perceive as "freedom" is really restrictive in the end, and vice-versa.
Those are a few messages that I managed to derive from the movie, whether intended or not on the part of the writer.  Whether you're interested in seeing it just for entertainment value, or because you're intrigued by the points that I've brought up, I encourage checking it out. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

People ARE my happiness

WARNING: This a post that very well may come across cheesy.  Whether or not that is the case, I don't care, but you might.  What I do care about is that the reader realizes that I'm 100% sincere in my remarks. Happy reading!...

When I left Utah to go down to live in the Los Angeles area with my dad and step-mom (who I call mom), and brother the summer before my Junior year in high school I had no idea what was in store for me over the next couple of years.  The friends that I made, the different family members I finally got to really grow to know, the growing experiences, etc. When I left to go on my mission two years later,  I left a place that I loved more than anything I could ever have imagined.  Yes, the climate was amazing and the beach was only an hour away. Yes, I had no real responsibilities while I was there other than graduating high school and staying out of trouble (oops!);  but it wasn't the actual geographical location that had really won me over.  The people who I had developed friendships with, my family members who I had forged stronger relationships with, and the memories that I had created with them was what REALLY made Southern California such an incredible place to me.  That was my home.

When I would come up to Utah to visit friends and family, I would always realize just how much I missed it here.  Yes, I love the mountains here. Yes I love the different seasons that Utah offers...well, forces upon you in some circumstances.  What I REALLY loved about Utah were the people who had had such an impact on my life up to that point and who had helped make sure that I was watched over. Those were the people who were there for me when I struggled, and who were there for me to cheer me on when I was doing well.  It was because of those people that I strongly considered moving back a couple of times in high school.  That was where I felt I belonged when I'd visit...or at least that's what the home sickness in me would try to convince me of, anyway.

Here I am, over 8 years later, sitting in my room in Orem.  I still love Utah county and enjoy living here. I still long to go home to California whenever I get the chance.  Being in my parent's home is my refuge where I can truly relax and let down any guards that I have.  But it's still not the climate that draws so much affection from me, nor is it the majestic scenery of these two beautiful places.  It's the people in my life who I literally owe everything to, collectively.

One of my best friends, Billy, is moving in on Monday to share my room with me, so I started making room for him earlier tonight.  Upon doing so, I stumbled across my mission stuff,  and among these items were tapes upon which  my dad had recorded my calls home.  I'd never listened to them so I popped in the call from Christmas 2004.  As I was listening to my family members, and even Rachel Nelson (now Morgan), talk to me, I started looking through pictures from high school in California.  TALK ABOUT NOSTALGIA!  I almost got all choked up as I looked back to what I think I can safely call the happiest time of my life.  It was fun to listen to the conversations, littered with speculations about the future, and to hear the encouragement that they all gave me.  It was fun/crazy to hear parts of conversations and to be able to remember having the conversation originally.  It really made me realize how truly, incredibly blessed I am to have such amazing people in my life.

Temporal things are nice.  I really enjoy my car, and I love having nice things, but in the end they truly are meaningless to me.  What I'm REALLY grateful for are the incredible people in my life, past and present.  Happiness for me doesn't come from the U.S. Treasury, or things that I can purchase at the mall.  PEOPLE are my happiness. My memories come from the amazing individuals in my life, and because of that I'd say that I'm outright euphoric right now!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Parable of the Good Samaritan

I've read the parable of the Good Samaritan many times and have never stopped to think too deeply about the message that the Savior is conveying.  The message seemed pretty obvious to me.  To my amazement, the article found at the link below gave me a whole new perspective, and pointed out symbols that had never occurred to me.  Definitely worth reading.

The Good Samaritan: Forgotten Symbols