Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I'm glad some things didn't work out

I'm glad I couldn't say ch or j until I was six years old.

I'm glad I never won the spelling bee.

I'm glad I broke my leg in fifth grade and had to learn how to walk again.

I'm glad my Spanish teacher chewed me out on the first day of seventh grade.

I'm glad I wasn't one of the popular kids in junior high.

I'm glad I spent two days throwing up in the snow on my first fifty mile hike.

I'm glad I didn't make the honors program in eighth and ninth grade.

I'm glad I wasn't placed in the front of the violin section sophomore year.

I'm glad I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis at age fifteen.

I'm glad I had to perform some last-minute miracles to graduate high school.

I'm glad I was required to work one Christmas Eve in my job as a debt collector.

I'm glad I never had a girlfriend before my mission.

I'm glad I had to wait till college to get an article printed in the school paper.  

I'm glad Egypt got too dangerous the semester I wanted to study abroad.

I'm glad the University of Utah rejected my application.

I'm glad it took me so long to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  

I'm glad some things didn't work out, because they made room for the things that did.  

Two years ago today I took a pretty girl out on a first date.  Now, we're happily married in the temple with a baby coming any day.  We have a nice apartment in the town where we both grew up, and I'm doing what I love in school.  

Not to brag, or anything, but my life is amazing.  

It's also been full of trials and disappointments.  And thank goodness for those!  I shudder to think where I would be without them.  It hasn't been easy, but it's been a great life so far.  Here's to the road ahead--the ups and the downs. 

"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly."
--Thomas Paine

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.
--Romans 8:28

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The North Wind and the Sun

The North Wind boasted of great strength. The Sun argued that there was great power in gentleness.

"We shall have a contest," said the Sun.

Far below, a man traveled a winding road. He was wearing a warm winter coat.

"As a test of strength," said the Sun, "Let us see which of us can take the coat off of that man."

"It will be quite simple for me to force him to remove his coat," bragged the Wind.

The Wind blew so hard, the birds clung to the trees. The world was filled with dust and leaves. But the harder the wind blew down the road, the tighter the shivering man clung to his coat.

Then, the Sun came out from behind a cloud. Sun warmed the air and the frosty ground. The man on the road unbuttoned his coat.

The sun grew slowly brighter and brighter.

Soon the man felt so hot, he took off his coat and sat down in a shady spot.

"How did you do that?" said the Wind.

"It was easy," said the Sun, "I lit the day. Through gentleness I got my way."

--Aesop's Fables

This little tale was on my mind a lot this afternoon.  During my lunch break at school I took a stroll around the courtyard, and it was so beautiful outside that I took off my jacket and found a bench to sit on.  First day of the year without a jacket!  I was in heaven.  

Spring is evidence that God loves His children.  We're not done with February yet, but Heavenly Father is giving us a little taste of warm weather to let us know we're almost there.  He's great like that.

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
--Psalm 116:5

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Life, the Universe, and Everything

My wife and I had a blast this weekend going with some friends to Life, the Universe, and Everything, a convention centered around writing science fiction and fantasy.  Many published authors were in attendance, with some big names like David Farland, Brandon Sanderson, and Orson Scott Card, all offering advice on a variety of topics that included tension and drama, character development, making the most of writing time, and selling a finished novel.  If you want to become a better writer--in any genre--it's a great idea to go at least once.

Being a creative writing major at Utah Valley University, I found this weekend's convention to be a wonderful supplement to my education.  Some of the best advice I've ever received came from Henry J. Eyring, whose grandfather said to find something you love doing so much that you think about it when you don't have to think about anything.  Well, if this is how I spent my weekend, I must be on the right track.

But I got more out of it than just writing tips.

In several discussions there were people who asked how to promote their books once they got published.  The question was answered by a different author every time, but the answer was always the same:

You've got to talk to people about your book.  Talk to everyone.  Do book tours, do social media, visit schools--be committed.  Word of mouth is the fastest way your book will get attention.

My first thought was, That sounds like being a missionary.

And that's when the Spirit called me to repentance.

I'm currently writing a novel that's sort of a mash-up of Wall-E and Final Fantasy, with a tiny bit of Battlestar Galactica thrown in.  I love talking about it.  I was explaining one little aspect of the story to my wife one day and an hour or two later she knew the book pretty much from beginning to end.  

But you know, that stuff's not important.  Not really.

If I loved talking about the Book of Mormon as much as I love talking about my novel, I'd make a greater difference in the world.  That's not to diminish the impact that fiction makes on people's lives; I can list all sorts of books that have touched me and made me a better person.  But pure truth, the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is more powerful than any other written word.  It changes lives more deeply than anything else.  Reading The Little Prince taught me how to build better relationships with people.  The Book of Mormon teaches me how to build a stronger, more personal relationship with God.  The question of priorities should be a no-brainer!

If I'm willing to talk about my novel and gain readership, I ought to be talking about the scriptures even more.  They've changed my life.  They've opened my heart and my mind to my Heavenly Father, and because of that, I have access to the aid of the most powerful, loving being in the universe every single day.  He's there for me.  He's actually in my life, and it's real.

It's real.

And that's what the world needs the most.

Thus my attempt to begin blogging again.  Mine is only one testimony.  But it is a testimony, and that's the most important thing I can give as a writer.

And you don't even have to take my word for it; just follow this link!
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