Monday, April 22, 2013

Soul Food

Recently, I've been under very high stress conditions: my visa requirements to Brazil (where they want me to get every single paper I've ever had since day 1 of my life notarized and authenticated by the state of Georgia), my frantic juggling of my new 2 part time job schedules, family responsibilities and preparing to enter the temple to get endowed, to name a few.

So when things like this are happening behind the curtain of a carefully placed smile and tranquil exterior, needless to say, I need a moment to myself. I need a release, a single piece of the universe that I can bury myself into for a few minutes.

Now, I've always been a bit particular when it comes to certain things. With movies, photography, art, literature and especially music. Now, I say I'm particular, but some might stretch this concept and possibly call me... a music snob.

And this is definitely true. Whenever a family member puts on Miley Cyrus or a crappy country song *cough cough* Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy *cough cough* I do tend to cringe and curl into the fetal position with my ears bleeding.

But it's interesting to me just how much I actually do need music. Now, apart from the fact that I did play the violin through middle school, high school and college, in addition to a few songs I've written and singing in the shower or the car by myself, I would not call myself a music aficionado. Nor would I say I'm musically talented, though I do try.

However music has really been one of the core things in my life that I've desperately required. Looking back, there's never been a single day or night that I've gone without listening to a written ballad. It's been something that soothes my soul, relieves my anger, relaxes and calms my mind, inspires my writing, and reminds me of the experiences I've had that I don't want to forget.

And with the week I've had, music has been the one thing that's saved me from sticking my head in the oven & turning on the broil setting. Between trying to hire a notary, calling Salt Lake asking them what the hell a police clearance letter is, putting on my best face in interviewing for jobs I desperately need, stressing about making ends meet till my last paycheck comes in, doing the grim chore of going clothes shopping for ghastly missionary attire, it's any wonder why I haven't been found cross-eyed and muttering to myself strapped in a strait jacket.

Music is literally food for my soul. So why would I ingest anything that wasn't amazing? If eating junk food isn't healthy for your body, couldn't it be the same reasoning and logic for awful music for your soul?

In attending the Andy Grammer concert last week with my sister, I was able to see some incredible artists bare their souls on stage. And for those few hours I was truly happy and satisfied, forgetting everything that was making me pull my hair out.

So for your listening and viewing pleasure, here a few lyrics to a few songs that have spoken to my soul.

Falling for the Beat
Stole my heart
You took & threw it in your getaway car
You caught me
You caught me so off guard
And I kinda like... I kinda like it

I've got it bad
How did I ever get to where I'm at
Somehow I woke up in the palm of your hand
And I kinda like it... I kinda like it

How could I want you
Want you so bad
When I just met you
How could I let you
Take what's left of the love I had
Feels so wrong
It feels so right
Now I'm falling for the beat
I wouldn't change a thing
I'm falling for the beat
Falling for the beat

When your souls weary
When you find doubt
When you can't hear me
Lay your troubles down

In your dark moments
When your hearts weak
Bring yourself broken
You will find me

Who wrote the rain
Who wrote the sun in
Who called your name
Where are you running
I'm gonna be there near or far
I'm gonna meet you where you are
Who wrote the rain
Who wrote the sun in 


Monday, April 8, 2013

What e'er thou art

Act well thy part.

This past weekend, as most everyone knows, was General Conference. Although I didn't have a chance to see every talk and every session, there was one particular talk, other than Jeffrey R. Holland's, that really struck me to the bone.

Sister Elaine S. Dalton gave an amazing talk where she gave an account of being in Scotland after her father died, feeling disheartened and depressed, and then seeing a stone with this phrase engraven upon it:

What E'er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part.

I've always been somewhat of a collector of quotes, and this one will probably be added to my small collection. Her story really touched me with the context of this quote, and with the changes that will happen to me in Brazil over the next 18 months. I know I'll have times of depression, frustration and discouragement, but in looking back on this story and this quote, I can only hope I'll receive the hope and strength that Sister Dalton, and President McKay received.

I can only pray that the small part I'll play on my mission, in my life and in the hands of the Lord.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I usually never do this. Not because of anything other than the fact that I never have cash on me. I mean never

But a few days ago, I was at the intersection of University Parkway and State Street, which is probably the busiest intersection in Orem, and I saw a kid probably no more than 22 years old with a backpack, holes in his jeans and a pair of worn glasses holding a sign that said 'Stranded, Anything Will Help.' 

I don't know why, maybe it was how young he looked, how different his sign was from the usual 'Family in Need' or 'Homeless, God Bless' boards I tend to see off little center streets, but I was struck and saddened by this poor boy. 

So, finding as much change as I could, and probably pissing off the people in the car behind me, I rolled down my window and waved him over. I apologized saying this was all I had on me and he looked at me with such sorrowful eyes and mustered a sweet 'Thank you, bless you.' 

I continued to my destination and still felt like I should've given him more. Now, I'm not blogging about this to get any kind of salutation or pat on the bat for 'being so Christ-like' but as I look back on that little moment I had with this kid, I wonder how many times we do feel stranded, for one reason or another. 

We maybe feel stranded in a dead-end job, in a dead-end relationship, in a dead-end phase or season of life. We feel abandoned. Left alone. Stranded. 

Now although I don't know the story of this kid's estrangement, (for all I know he may well be a drug addict or a good for nothing loafer), but as I looked into those sad eyes of this boy who couldn't have been older than me, I felt like I wanted to give him so much more than I did, and I felt righteous indignation against the people, or person, who left him there. 

Regardless of a person's circumstances, or disposition, no one deserves to be stranded. No one deserves to be cast off or shrugged off.

I hope one day I'll be able to see this boy again, in this life or the next, and hold him in my arms for a while, repeat to him that he's never alone and reassure him that I'd never leave him stranded.