Sunday, August 31, 2014

This week I’ve been thinking about how unfair life sometimes is.  For example, a teenager I know was recently in a terrible car accident.   The accident was not her fault and she came out alright, but the person in the other car died as a result.  I have a hard time understanding what she must be experiencing and the thoughts that must sometimes run through her head because of the accident.  And to be honest, I have a hard time understanding why she has to endure this when the biggest concerns of many her age are what to eat for lunch or whom to ask to the upcoming dance.    

Similar stories of how life can be tragic for some seem to always be around. 

Boyd K. Packer once said, “Life was never meant to be either easy or fair.” (“And a Little Child Shall Lead Them”, April 2012). 

But why?  Why isn’t life fair?  I understand that we all need trials.  But why does it seem like some people experience trials so much harder than what others experience?  It seems that at every age level there are inequities.  In my high school teaching, I see teenagers who struggle with these things every day.  And sometimes it’s seemingly simple problems, not the horrible tragedies, which make me wonder the most.  Boys question why others are more athletic or funny.  Girls wonder why they aren’t more pretty or personable. 

Well, my answer to all of these questions: I don’t know. 

At least for now.

But some day I will.  And that will be a wonderful day.  As Emily Dickinson wrote:

“I shall know why, when time is over,    
 And I have ceased to wonder why;         
Christ will explain each separate anguish              
In the fair schoolroom of the sky.            
He will tell me what Peter promised,            
And I, for wonder at his woe,    
I shall forget the drop of anguish             
That scalds me now, that scalds me now.”
(Poems of Emily Dickinson, p. 93)

Or, as Jeffrey R. Holland said, “It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.” (“An High Priest of Good Things to Come”, Oct 1999)

So that’s what I’ll try to do. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Gone on Vacation

The family decided to abandon me for two weeks and journey to the South.  I remain here guarding the home from whatever mischief might arise (which, let’s be honest, considering I live in the Goshen. could be any number of things). 

After five days, let me observify:

- I never really enjoyed being single when I was single.  It’s even worse being single when I’m married.

- Do you think my mother would be annoyed if I brought her my laundry?

- This is the longest I’ve gone without being around the Gem.  Sad.  (Don’t worry, I have tissues right here).

- I eat a lot of junk food when the Mrs. is around.  Double that when she’s gone.

- On a positive note, there is something exciting about being free to do whatever I want.  (Actually, the excitement wore off about three and half days ago, but it was nice while it lasted).

- I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do for meals for the next nine days.  I mean, I love McDonald’s and all, but three times a day for nine days is a little much.  Maybe I’ll throw an Arby’s visit in here and there.

- Another positive note: I don’t have to clean for two full weeks.  (Which is not unusual, it’s just that for these two weeks I don’t have to feel guilty about not cleaning).

- Now that I think about it, maybe my neighbors will invite me over for dinner (although hopefully that dinner isn’t laced with some sort of drugs).

- Once you have kids, life is incredibly boring without them.

- On video chat I told Holden I was sad I didn’t get to read to him at nights.  His response, “Well, that’s just the way it has to be.” (Considering his time in “timeout” goes way down when I’m not around, I think he’s more than content giving up the occasional bedtime story).

- No but really, what do I do if my mom won’t do my laundry?

- Another observation: This Mrs. thinks I don’t like to be told what to do, which is true on the surface. However, this week I’ve realized that deep down I do like to be told what to do, otherwise I just walk around the house eating candy and wondering what I should do next.

- I sure do miss them. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Miserables


Me and the Mrs. (or “the Mrs. and I” depending on your educational upbringing) went and watched Les Miserables at the Hale Center Theatre in the Western Salt Lake Valley tonight.  It was a fantastic experience.  Here are some observations:

- My second favorite character in the musical is Javert.  For some reason I’ve always identified with him.  Maybe it’s because he seems so heartless most of the time.  

- Red Vines should not cost three dollars.  But the play was so good I suppose I’ll be forgiving (as long as my hard earned money went to pay for something useful like the bridge).

- One of favorite characters in all literature is the Bishop.  My goal in life is to be like him.  ”Knock there.”    

- The whole time I was watching the musical, I kept trying to figure out why I like Les Mis so much.  My answer: I don’t know.  One day I hope to figure it out.

- When I was in seventh grade, I listened to Les Mis almost every night before I went to bed (on cassette tape of course, we didn't have CD players in our house until 8th grade).       

- If you have any cultural sense and you've never seen a play at the Hale Center Theatre (in Orem or the Western Salt Lake Valley), you’re missing out.  However, if you don’t have any cultural sense, you’re not missing out. 

- In case you’re wondering, I think this is the first time ever in watching a musical or movie that the Mrs. cried more than I did.  I was actually fairly composed.   

- Do you know that Phantom of the Opera is the longest running Broadway musical?  It is.  Les Miserables is in the fifth place. 

- I can’t choose a favorite song from the musical, so don’t ask.  Too many.
- We ate at JCWs after.  I wonder what JCW stands for. 


Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Brother Chad

I have a brother.  His name is Chad.  He's 16.

For his 16 birthday the Mrs., in her wisdom, put together a little kit for him.  The kit included cologne, deodorant, gum, breath mints, and chapstick. 

Because he's sometimes allowed to use a calculator, I wrote the following manual for him (just in case he was confused by some of the items).

In case you know another 16 year old (or 42 year old) who might benefit from a little direction, here it is. 


Disclaimer One: While these items/tips are especially useful when preparing for an outing with the female, they are also recommended for application on a daily basis.

Disclaimer Two: These items/tips are very useful and scientific research has proven them to be effective.  However, always remember, there’s no accounting for taste.  Sometimes a male who hasn’t put on deodorant in a year will find a date to Homecoming whereas every female you ask will have to wash her hair.  You just can’t account for taste.

ITEM ONE: DEODERANT (a.k.a. the Deodorizer)


-          Apply to underarms once a day (Note: While one application per day is usually sufficient, if you’re involved in any type sporting event, you may want to reapply.  Likewise, if you have a date with a really attractive date, you also might want to reapply just for safety’s sake.  Conversely, if you’d rather not impress your date, be sure to skip your deodorant application for at least two days prior to said date).

-          Is best applied to skin when garments (and undergarments) are not being worn.  However, if garments are being worn, application is still possible.  It is generally recommended though that the deodorizer still be applied to skin, not to the garments.


-          Although this will help in your search for a female friend, it will not solve all your problems.  A debonair personality is just as essential as the application of deodorant, if not more so.

-          If, in your everyday activities, you find it necessary to take off your shirt (For example, maybe you’re playing shirts and skins in a basketball game) and your lady friends are around (which they probably are), be very careful.  Sources tell me the female gender is not particularly attracted to males with residue white deodorant visible in the underarm. 

ITEM TWO: CHAPSTICK (a.k.a. the Smooth Kisser)


-          Apply to lips that are chapped, dry, pealing, dehydrated, parched, shriveled or otherwise in disrepair.

-          Do not apply too much.  Otherwise, when you get a drink in the drinking fountain after third period, you’ll be drinking more petrolatum than water.


-          Do not leave in the sun.

-          If you don’t have any chapstick handy and your lips feel especially chapped, in my personal experience, the best solution is to find a female (or male I suppose) who has recently applied chapstick, and just kiss her (or him) for awhile.  That way her (or his) chapstick will get on your lips and the problem is solved. 

-          Or you could just ask to borrow the one she (or he) has.

-          Contrary to popular belief amongst junior high school girls, there has been no research to prove that chapstick actually makes you a better kisser, so be sure to practice your kissing technique with your pillow before the big day.

ITEM THREE: COLOGNE (a.k.a. the Sweetness)


-          Spray three or four times to the neck/chest area (Note: If desired you may apply to other areas of your body i.e. feet, ankles, toes, etc.  However, most would consider application to these areas to be not particularly effective or useful).

-          It IS possible to wear too much cologne, so be careful.  If you notice people around you having trouble breathing or cringing as you approach, you’ll want to perhaps reconsider your current cologne application volume (Of course, the cringing might be for other reasons, but those are problems not addressed in this volume).

-          Do not leave cologne in your car during the summer.  It will disappear (i.e. evaporate).  When it does, so does your chance for a good night kiss at Homecoming (assuming you had a chance in the first place).    


-          Despite popular belief amongst high school teenage boys, cologne is NOT a substitute for the deodorizer.  Rather, these two items should be used in conjunction with one another.

-          Again, as with the deodorizer, although cologne will help in your search for a female friend, it will not solve all your problems.  A debonair personality is just as essential, if not more so.

ITEM FOUR: GUM/BREATH MINTS (a.k.a. the Breath of Heaven)


-          Use regularly throughout the day. 

-          Along with regular use, be sure to apply whenever talking to members of the opposite sex directly after eating Doritos, nacho cheese, salsa, anything with onions, Cheetos, seven layer dip, peppers, BBQ, or just about anything else.

-          Also the Breath of Heaven is especially helpful at the end of the day and on Fast Sunday (especially Fast Sunday). 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Dance Teacher

Once upon a time, before I became a fairly uninspiring history coach here at the Payson, I was an even more uninspiring dancer at the B.Y. (Actually, using the word “dancer” might be a little generous, let’s just say I was in some dance classes).  Now lest you be misled at this point and create the wrong, and consequently, very disturbing mental image, I should clarify that I was not a ballroom dancer, nor was I involved in the modern dance nor ballet scene.  Nope, I was in fact a folk dancer (which still might be slightly disturbing to some, but what do you do).

Anyway, in my futile attempt to learn how to dance, I was lucky enough to take some pretty great dance classes, and also to have some pretty awesome dance instructors.  While attending the B.Y. I’m pretty sure my dance classes were one of the best parts of my university experience and the teachers of those classes were one of the major reasons why.

One of those instructors was a lady named Delynne Peay.  I had her class five different times and loved every one of those classes (except the Spanish dance class, I really, really hated that one).  Here are ten things you should know about Delynne:

1. Of all my instructors, Delynne was my favorite.  Sorry Tara, Jeannette, Ed, Vickie, and Colleen, but if I had to name one of my children after one of my folk dance instructors, her (or his) name would definitely be Delynne (I mean, it would probably be the middle name, but still).  

2. One of goals in life was to have Delynne tell me I needed to eat more salad.  She never did, but I’m thinking maybe she would now. 

3. I, and by extension my ankles, will be forever grateful that she never made me dance Tinikling. 

4. On the flip side, I am still upset that she made me dance Puerto Rican (and I’m pretty sure some of those elementary school students still carry the mental scars of having to watch me try and shimmy).

5. Not only was I in her class five times, but two of those times she specifically chose to have me in her class/performing group.  I’ll tell you, it takes a special person to choose to have the worst dancer on the planet in a performing group.  It’s one thing to have someone as uncoordinated as me confined to a classroom, it’s quite another to have to take me out in public.

6. On my Most Influential People Of All Time Who Are Not In My Family list (MIPOATWANIMF for short), she’s definitely in the top seven, maybe even top five.

7. One time, in an attempt jump start my non-existent dating life, in the middle of one of our dances at an elementary school, she held up a sign which read, “Skinny, look at the teacher in third row.  NO RING!”  Naturally I didn’t get up enough courage to even talk to that teacher after the show (she was not ugly by the way), but I was grateful for the attempt.

8. For two straight years, Delynne and I drove up to Idaho Falls (a fairly long drive I’ll have you know) to teach about 7.5 people some recreational folk dances.  I hope when I’m in my 50s, I’ll still show that kind of passion for the subject I teach.

9. Even though she had a pretty strict policy of sticking to the costume guidelines, I’m still grateful that she didn’t fire me after I danced High School Musical in lederhosen.
10. Delynne Peay passed away on January 13, 2014.  A wise person once said, “Heaven becomes closer as those we love go there.”