Saturday, August 8, 2009

That positive post that was promised...

If you have read the last few posts I've written, you probably think I am one depressed son of a gun. I want to assure you that's not the case. I had a struggle for a while fighting a losing battle to keep a job that provided for the fam and stimulated the mind. Also the health stuff had finally broken me for a while. But since those "down days" I realize just how good things are. So the next few posts will be about those things that are good in my life.

Today it's all about Karie: She's perfect. The day...or days I called her to let her know I was going to be let go, she was nothing but supportive. She was even excited for me to have the opportunity to go back to school and get into something I want to do. She never has a negative thing to say to me. She has been patient through all of my kidney stones, migraines, being the bishop, and now losing a job for the first time. She still looks at me as if she has won a prize (though I don't see it). I know that I have hit the jackpot when it comes to her. She is beautiful, understanding and just a tad shorter than me. :) This song by Nellie McKay called "Face of a Faith" is how I think we see each other...if you don't listen to another song on this blog listen to this one!

Nellie McKay - Face of a Faith

Monday, July 27, 2009

How Lucky We Are....

*Warning....this song contains the s-word

Meiko - How Lucky We Are

First off I apologize for the S-word in the song. I really do. This song has honestly been one of my favorites since I heard it. It's melancholy feel sings to me on a rough day. We can work so hard to achieve something and still fall short. Our timing doesn't usually line up with the Lord's timing; well in my case it never really has. We're always thinking about "Someday." This has been my trial as of late. I have truly worked as hard as I know how to achieve that next step. I've loved our crummy little apartment more than anything in this world. I've made friends here that will be friends forever. I have grown as a person here more than I could ever have imagined. Most of all I have had my sweetheart with me here the entire time. Her support for me has been unwavering. I can't help but think how lucky we are...even though we're still in this crummy* apartment. I dream of offering my girl something more, and when it seemed to be in seems God may just have different plans for us. We might just have to take 5 steps back in hope that eventually we'll move 8 steps ahead...or something like that.

Everyone who knows me knows I've had health issues over the last...well 7 or 8 years that I have allowed to hinder my progress. I've managed to keep a job and, in my opinion, excel at what I've been assigned given the circumstance I've had to fight through. Now, when my health is finally where we have been hoping it would be, it's disheartening to think of starting over in a way. Though I love this crummy little apartment, I want to make that next step, and when my health finally allows me to progress, I might just hit a wall and get to start over again.

One thing is sure: I have an amazing wife, one who, no matter what the situation, makes it easy to say "How Lucky We Are!" though, I can't wait till that morning comes where we can get in the car and go anywhere we want to go :)

I promise a happy post is to follow.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hope in Trials

This is a re post from a previous blog. Back about a year ago just after Karie and I had miscarried. Lately I've been a bit down and have been struggling with I thought it was applicable.

Well I've started this post 10 or 15 times, but have been afraid that it would come off a bit whiny, and hopefully I'm centered enough now that it won't but hey we'll see. I've learned a lot about myself and life through the challenges Karie and I have faced in recent months, some good things, some bad. Mostly though I've learned how to appreciate the blessings I have been guilty of taking for granted.

This is the part that might sound whiny, but hopefully it won't by the end of this post. August began as perhaps the greatest month of my life. I had never been happier. For starters I had recently received a diagnosis for the chronic kidney stones that I have been slowed by for the last several years. After a lengthy struggle with stones, and the almost equally frustrating process of finding a Dr who would, and could treat them adequately I finally saw light at the end of the tunnel. Next I got a job with a company that not only was a better job with greater opportunity, it was something I can envision becoming a career. Add to this Karie and I went to some great concerts (James Taylor, John Mayer, Jack Johnson) and on a fun trip to the Oregon coast.

The most amazing thing however was I was an expecting father. This alone was enough to fill my whole body with joy and motivation. Seriously I never imagined I could be that excited about anything. Because of that driving thought I felt on top of my game in anything I did. It was the wind in my sails and I could do anything.

Now I'll try not to sound whiny here and just try to illustrate how things sort of unraveled from there. It started with a trial I'm used to, a kidney stone. It was a doosy as pain goes, and it took me right out of commission. It quite frankly took all the wind right out of my sails.

The next day I found out on my way to work that my Grandma J had passed away, and was sent to spend a little time with my family. Later that day Karie and I found out that we had miscarried. This crushed me in a way I can't really elaborate on. My new company allowed me to go home the next day and take care of my family (they have been amazing through this whole thing.) I had the opportunity to conduct my grandma's funeral and see a lot of family that I don't see to often and that was great.

Since then I have had four kidney stones, pretty much constantly for the last month and a half, and struggled to do much of anything productive. I have been nearing the end of my rope when it comes to tolerating these kidney stones. The constant pain, plus the frustrations and trials we've been facing seems unbearable at times. Many of you know that I am also the bishop of our ward, which has been amazing, but constantly challenging. It would be an understatement to say I've had a hard time fulfilling my responsibilities the way I would like to.

In a nutshell it has been somewhat of a battle to feel like myself again, it has felt like whenever I come close to getting on top of things, there's a new soul stretching challenge that comes in my path. It has forced me to improve my relationship with my Heavenly Father, and has again verified to me how important my near perfect wife is to me.

Before I continue painting the gloomy picture that was September, I have to express how grateful I am for my wife, modern day prophets, general conference, and the power of the Atonement.

I wish I could cover how all those things have impacted me over the last month but that would take forever. I would, however, like to talk a little bout President Dieter F. Uchdorfs talk in General Conference. Hearing this talk has been one of more important turning points for me. On Saturday afternoon he gave one of the finest discourses I have ever heard on hope. You can listen to it here. While it is filled with many great insights on hope, how to cultivate it, and how it benefits our lives, the lesson that initially stuck me was the contrast of hope and despair.

Of despair he said, "The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition advances sickness pollutes the soul and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward."

Hope on the other hand is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn it encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world relative confusion and fear."

This is just one of the many great illustrations in this talk. I needed to hear this talk in a major way, because I have recently felt myself on that "staircase that leads only and forever downward" This talk has helped to inspire hope within me again. Hope that my current trials will someday turn to my benefit. Hope that Karie and I will soon have the opportunity to have a sweet baby. Hope that I will soon be through these kidney stones and can live a normal life. Hope that I will be able to live the gospel and be the kind of husband my wife deserves. Hope that I can be a good bishop, and can be there for those in my ward who need the help of a good bishop. Hope that I will be able to support my family, and be productive in my job. Hope that in the words of President Uchdorf I "will never allow despair to overcome my spirit."

President Uchdorf's words ring true. When I hope for these things, I am filled with a kind of light, or strength. Ideas come on how I might be made equal to the tasks that lie ahead. Assurance comes that somehow through these trials, my weaknesses will become strengths. Mostly I feel like Father in Heaven is aware of me and my personal struggles, fears, pains, doubts, fears. and shortcomings. This only comes as a byproduct of hope.

When I allow myself to doubt, it inspires despair, exactly as that quote describes. It brings a suffocating darkness that stunts any possibility of progression.

When I choose to be hopeful, I am assured that my Heavenly Father loves me, and knows all things. He knows "the end from the beginning."

All in all it has reminded me how to hope after a difficult stretch of trials and frustrations.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this, and it's far more personal than I would usually post. So I hope you'll forgive me if it's made you uncomfortable, perhaps I'll remove it if that's the case. I just felt I needed to share some of the things that have been going on with me. I've been inspired by some of your blogs (thank you Mandy) and felt perhaps someone needed to hear some of this stuff. So if you're still reading, sorry and thanks.

If you didn't get a chance to hear this talk on Saturday, check out the link.

President Uchtdorf - Sat AM Session (Hope)

I always appreciate comments, so please if you have anything to add i'd love to hear it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Falling Short

I've just recently abandoned a post that was titled "Failure." I decided it was perhaps to negative in nature and probably anything but inspiring or uplifting. If anything it was depressing. It illustrated my thoughts and feelings quite well though at that moment.
These days it seems there are probably quite a few people who could relate to my feelings of discouragement, as life in general is just hard. Whether it be employment, falling short of our dreams, or just the realization of our inadequacy in a number of different things. For me specifically, I have felt like I have underachieved in really any thing that has been put in my path. It sucks really. Starting back in September of last year when Karie and I learned we miscarried, to being released as bishop earlier than planned, not being prepared for obvious challanges, to still not being a father, to falling short to my own expectations at work, to now. I feel like I have fallin' short in any obstacle placed in my way. I hate being "the sick guy." I'm much more than that, but really that's all I'm known for....everywhere. I know Karie deserves a better man, and I can only hope to be that guy. There are a number circumstances out of my control that have made things difficult, but that's no excuse. I have not picked up on things at work the way I know I am capable of. I was unable to manage being bishop, and the unusual heath issues in my path. I missed opportunities to speak, and have frankly been out matched by my trials. It's hard to swallow when we learn that we are never. given any obstacle that we can't overcome...when i feel like I have been overcome by every obstacle in my way.
I hope that I can succeed at something here soon. I'm a talented guy with a lot to offer, but somehow, I've allowed my self to be aced out by the obstacles and challenges that have come in my path.
I hope there is a positive and uplifting blog to follow, but for now I suppose this is my whiny blog.
any advice on how to over come this slump is appreciated. I imagine things will get worse before getting better....but they will get better.

For now here's a tune that illustrates the feeling well.

Gravity - John Mayer

PS - Michael Jackson post to follow

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Back in the Swing of Things - Michael Jackson Tributes

Hello everyone, it has been a long time since I've written anything. That is because I've had a lot of big ideas on changing the way i do this. Eventually this blog will become a place where i simlply blog about my family, my thoughts, and perhaps some of my opinions. Eventually the music portion will be covered in another blog, and website I am working on building. There are some exciting things in the works there but for now, just to get back in the swing of things will give you a song for the and hopefully recapture some of you readers. Again comments and suggestions are always appreciated.

I'm a big Michael Jackson fan...I many it's unpopular, but I do have some opinions on the dubject, and most of them are sympathetic toward the king of pop. For now I'll stick to the music though. There are two great covers out for you guys to check out.

First James Morrison just released a great cover of "Man in the Mirror" one of my all time favorite songs. In fact this year's American Idol won me over on his first televised performance with it. Let me know what you think.

James Morrison - Man in the Mirror

(Kris Allen's Idol Performance)

(Kris Allen's Home Performance)

Another great tribute cover is by one of my rising favorites in music. A talented and heartfelt singer/songwriter David Ryan Harris singing "The Way You Make Me Feel"

David Ryan Harris - The Way You Make Me Feel (The King of Pop is Gone)

Check it out and let me know in comments what you think. Also I'd loveto hear your thoughts, good and bad about Michael Jackson.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mikey Mixes....I need suggestions

I am addicted to music.  If you've spent any amount of time with me you've heard of Mikey Mixes.  Since ninth grade (when we got our first CD Burner) I've been making cd length mixes.  The count is now 158 Mikey Mixes.  these are 80 minute playlists that are very eclectic... Everything from the Them song of Zoobalee Zoo to Snoop Dog, and Norah Jones.  Mostly though it's like a journal for how my taste in music has evolved.

The reason I post this is i've been thinking of a new format to the blog.  I want to post these playlists....but am not sure of the best way.  Start from the begining...or start with the most recent.   If any of you have any thoughts...if you're interested or not...etc.

I'd love your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Newton Faulkner

My cousin Jeff Gardner showed me this group  a couple of weeks ago and I have since become a big fan.  Their lyrics are clever and their tunes are catchy.  It's one of the few albums I enjoy listening to start to finish.

Newton Faulkner - Gone in the Morning

Dream Catch Me

Here's a link to their website.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Benton Paul - I Only See You

I just wanted to give another shout out to Benton Paul. I mentioned him a while back when his new CD came out in May. Well he's starting to gain some popularity and you should all check him out.

The first song you should check out is "I Only See You" from his album Gray. Karie and I saw him perform this song, and I think it was the first time he'd ever done it publicly at a little concert in Provo at the Noni building,  He's performing on the 13th in Provo at Velor.

Here's a Youtube video created by a fan for your enjoyment.

Let Me know what you think