Friday, September 30, 2011

BFF - KIT - Don't Change!!

My mom brought my old high school yearbooks to me on her last trip here. I thought that they'd be fun to flip through during recovery or while Kara was here, but I didn't get to them until today.

Wow.

I sure looked like 1993. But so did all of my friends! Facebook upped the entertainment value since I think of so many of my classmates as the people in the Facebook photos...it was wild to see them as we were almost 20 years ago!

Often, when reflecting on my life, I declare that, "I like the girl I am today so much more than the girl I used to be!" I've always assumed that rested 100% on how mature I have become...but today I got a different perspective. Today I realized that I might just be the exact same girl I have always been...only maybe I've learned to like her a little more. I read through all of the comments that people wrote into my yearbooks and I think if I had a yearbook to be signed by friends today, they would probably say some of the same things:

I am the funniest girl they know
I am wild and fun
Everyone wants to party with me
I am the best and most devoted friend they have
I am super smart and a hard worker
I am really talented and have mega star potential in my future

I guess the only shocker is that I still have mega star potential...and after 20 years I haven't stepped any closer to it than my 18 year old self?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Progress

Nothing big today...just wanted to report (and remind myself) that every day is a little better than the day before!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Silver Lining

One of the really great things about the dark clouds in life are the silver linings. It seems that the crumbling of my world brings down elevated expectations with it and I suddenly find myself much more pleased with the simple things.

Today my car was giving me grief and although I had anticipated a $2,000 repair in the near future, I wound up acting like a kid on Christmas morning when I found out that it was the battery...warrantied, no less!!

Then I got the great news that the girl who cut my hair before she moved out of state, will be stopping by my neighborhood on her way into town on Friday and she offered to swing by and make a house call!

So, whatever is better than Christmas morning...well, that's how I'm feeling! AND...there are rumors of pool like weather coming our way Saturday...could anything better wrap up the week?!?!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Long Snapper

When people find out "who I am", they often want to impress me by letting me know that they are "BIG, HUGE" football fans. The bigger the bragger, the more I love stumping them by asking who the long snapper is for their favorite team.

Most people don't know who the long snapper is...many people think I'm making the position up...hardly anyone can really answer the question.

It's an unfair question. One that I would not be able to answer if it wasn't for the fact that my little brother does it for a living. Our family learned long ago that the position comes without any fame...as long as the guy is doing his job right...so it's always fun to see my brother get some positive recognition:


Monday, September 26, 2011

Kara

When it comes to friends, I am spoiled rotten.

My best friend from Colorado came to stay for 4 days after my parents left. She came with no agenda other than nursing me to health. We spent most of the time talking. Talking about the past, talking about the present, talking about the future.

My favorite thing about Kara is that she is a central figure in nearly all of my laugh until you cry memories. Some of my most favorite stories to retell at a party or to liven up a dull conversation are stories that somehow involves Kara. And she has a knack for bringing out a side of me that I'm rather fond of...everything has a funny slant when she's around.

Of course there was some heavy conversation...but it is such a blessing to have a friend that will let you talk freely with no punishment or judgement.

We don't see or speak as often as we should and I hope to do better. But I so appreciate that she's the kind of friend that is all quality regardless of quantity.

I am a very lucky girl.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What I Learned in Church Today: Listening

As a regular Sunday School teacher, I've recently been asked to spend the next 8 weeks attending a Teacher Development class. I've both taught and attended this course before but I think it's always helpful to brush up on teaching.

In today's class we were asked two questions:
1.) How can we increase our love of our class members
2.) How can we express our love of our class members to them,
My answer for both of those questions are the same, by listening to their comments and testimonies as they are shared during class.

I have sat in Sunday School classes and observed as a teacher asks for comments, then completely disregard that comment in an attempt to motor through their prepared lesson plan. While I do believe that it is the teacher's responsibility to mediate classroom discussion and keep it focused on the outlined curriculum, hearing and validating the comments is a powerful skill.

As we really listen to and hear and understand what is being shared, we begin to develop a better understanding about the individuals we are teaching and consequently we increase in love for them. Additionally, listening and hearing and understanding individuals is a remarkable way to express love to each class member.

I know this to be a powerful tool because I recognize it in my personal relationship with God. As I feel that my prayers are being heard...really heard...I feel an increased measure of love from God. And, as I listen to Him....really listen...I know that I am actively expressing my love to Him.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Reminder

I do not like "Romantic Comedies".

I don't believe it. I've never seen a man in real life act anything near the lead of a Romantic Comedy. And maybe that's why so many men avoid relationships. Many friends' recent relationships ended when the man observed that he just didn't feel the rush anymore...which seems so silly. Unless he's holding himself to the standard of the Romantic Hero who gives up all sorts of things because he's so powerfully compelled to be with the girl-next-door?

I used to think these movies were only damaging to the women who expected the men to behave like that...but maybe it's just as much a relationship killer for the men?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Housework

Sheri didn't think I could do it...but today I put fresh sheets on a bed all by myself! You know you're recovering well when you can do housework unassisted!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

So Alive - Love and Rockets

I went for a short drive for the first time since the hospital. This song was the first on the radio and seemed somewhat appropriate....enjoy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Unpaid Advertisement

My parents have been so good to me this last week. I was feeling pretty good this evening (it's all relative), so for their last evening, I wanted to take them to dinner. Although they both appreciate a great mexican restaurant, I actually took them to Pistol Pete's for the ribs.

It's one of those places that you'd never know about unless someone else took you there. About a year or so my brother Ryan and I both ended up there simultaneously, but through different recommendations. He and I both agree you won't find better ribs. I can't vouch for the Mexican food, but I'm going to go ahead and advise you not to waste your time.

**Warning** One order of ribs is enough to fill an army. Three of us gave it an effort and there were still enough for a take-out box!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vampire Bites Are Not Sexy

(Posted to Facebook Notes 09.20.11)


“Vampire bites are not sexy.”

That was my first complete thought Thursday evening after the Cardiac Ablation procedure. It was late, friends and family had long since said goodbye, and it was just me standing in a dark hospital room attached to a bunch of wires, taking my first glance in the mirror to see exactly what “hit by a semi” looked like. My right jugular vein had been one of the entry points into my heart and I stood there staring at these bizarre little “bite marks”, right where they should be had I been jumped by a glittery vampire...but my version lacked all of the sparkles and romance of the Hollywood sort.

The procedure was a success as far as the doctor’s ability to identify, and accomplish what he had hoped. He identified 47 offending areas to burn (it didn’t occur to me until now to find out how that compares to the average). It turns out that the end results aren’t manifest until 3-6 months afterward. I'm currently navigating some wicked heart-burn...as in burnt up heart, not acid reflux...and too frequent bouts of dizziness and shortness of breath...but I’m leaning optimistic that these will all soon fade and I'll be in Rockstar condition in no time!

The first 24 hours following the procedure are blurry...thanks to the high doses of Ativan.. and I spent most of the afternoon and evening asking my parents the same questions repetitively. The haze has stuck with me at home. In fact, just yesterday (96 hours later), I discovered an EKG patch still stuck to my left rib cage. I LOATHE those things and can’t believe that one lasted through showers, and wardrobe changes, and restless nights. It’s just evidence that I’m still working my way back to sobriety.

The competitive Denney side of me showed up that first night when I was given permission to take my back-less gown for a late-night stroll...I walked for 45 minutes...a floor record (which would present with much more pride if I wasn’t 50 years junior the average patient)!! I am continuing to feel out my limitations here at home by pushing expectations during my daily walks.

I am immensely grateful for Craig and Sheri who were willing to make sacrifices to be by my side. Although I don’t think there is anything wrong with being tough and pushing myself into recovery, it has been good to have my parents here to help me, encourage me, distract me, and pace me.

Saturday and Sunday were much tougher than I had anticipated, and I found my independent self both frustrated and submissive. Fortunately, sleep is coming more easily now, and each morning I wake up feeling a little better than the day before. I still have a lot of work and required patience ahead of me, but I think that tomorrow I might even feel up to returning the emails and phone calls that I haven’t had the sense to before.

I’m learning a lot about faith. I feel blessed to be sustained by the thoughts and prayers of those who have mastered it better than me. Big thanks to so many people who have been a great support as I fight through current struggles and work toward an exciting future.

~kimi d


Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Intentions

My head has been in such a fog, that I have had a really hard time putting logical or interesting thoughts together. But today, I had every intention of taking time today to put together a great post-procedure review.

When I finally got around to taking a shower about noon-ish, I found evidence that my head was still a haze:

AN EKG PATCH STILL ATTACHED TO MY BODY!?!?!?!?!

I know I have complained about the irritation of the patches and the goo they leave behind in the past (see most of July's posts), so the fact that I've had one on my left rib cage for 4 days unnoticed, even in previous showers, is all the evidence necessary to postpone an update for one more day.

Tomorrow....I promise....pretty sure about that.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Up-Swing

Today was much better than yesterday. Maybe tomorrow I'll even be able to put some coherent thoughts down. Wouldn't that be nice?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Boo!

Today was rough. First thing this morning my mom warned me that day 2 & 3 post-surgery are the worst...she was oh so right.

Then to top it off, an ugly loss by BYU to Utah. Tomorrow can only be better!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Not That Easy

The Cardiac Ablation was a success! My heart rate is steady and paced just right!

Now there's a huge learning curve about "taking it easy". I've already miscalculated my abilities and the consequences were wicked nasty!

I'm very lucky to have my parents here to keep me in check and to sit by my side when I overdo it. Very lucky!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep........

This post is brought to you by the Emergency Pre-Posting Service.

I'm anticipating that I won't be in the mood for blogging today...what with the burning up of my heart this morning...so this is a reminder that I'm out of commission, but happily accepting prayers and well wishes!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Surgery Eve

There is anxiety bubbling deep down. I guess it's a blessing that I feel so physically wiped out that I don't really have the luxury of entertaining the anxiety. I want to feel better...and this crazy procedure is supposed to make that happen (fingers crossed!).

I'm not worried about something terminal happening, I think I've worked past all of those fears. Now my fear is fighting through recovery to only find that things didn't exactly work out. I have had a lifetime of learning to settle for less than the best...but I want to put my foot down on this one!...it has to work! HAS to!!!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Awesome

Following yesterday's pathetic post, I was compelled to find something uplifting today. The following was posted on a few friend's Facebook walls during the last week and I thought I'd share it here:


There was a time when you were five years old,
and you woke up full of awesome.
You knew you were awesome.
You loved yourself.
You thought you were beautiful,
even with missing teeth and messy hair and mismatched socks inside your grubby sneakers.
You loved your body, and the things it could do.
You thought you were strong.
You knew you were smart.
Do you still have it?
The awesome.
Did someone take it from you?
Did you let them?
Did you hand it over, because someone told you weren’t beautiful enough, thin enough, smart enough, good enough?
Why the hell would you listen to them?
Did you consider they might be full of shit?
Wouldn’t that be nuts, to tell my little girl below that in another five or ten years she might hate herself because she doesn’t look like a starving and Photoshopped fashion model?
Or even more bizarre, that she should be sexy over smart, beautiful over bold?
Are you freaking kidding me?
Look at her. She is full of awesome.
You were, once. Maybe you still are. Maybe you are in the process of getting it back.
All I know is that if you aren’t waking up feeling like this about yourself, you are really missing out.

This post reminded me, of what I've been told, about who I was when I was young...before I knew that I was supposed to judge and hate on myself or others. I was overflowing with Awesome.

I was also reminded of a super cool YouTube that still makes me laugh:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Get Thee to a Nunnery


I have a friend who worked for the LDS church compiling social statistics of the membership. She shared a fact that I found horrifying...

Temple recommend holding members of the church (those in full activity), who were single and over the age of 35 reported 50:1 = Women:Men. This cold hard statistic is super depressing for a single LDS woman hoping to marry an active LDS man.

This statistic has been a "go to" in many of the dating conversations I have with Sassy as we try to make sense of why dating seems so impossible. That statistic even provoked an idea to start a Mormon Nunnery. We figured that if 98% of the active women in the church will statistically die alone, and we know so many of them to be fun and kind and interesting and capable, a lot of good could be done if we productively joined forces similar to those of traditional Nunneries.

Of course, we've never done anything about that thought because truth is, deep down, we really are hoping to be in the 2%. I have been known to do all kinds of things to keep that hope alive, like wear jewelry with the word "Hope" stamped all over it...or tell myself that there really are thousands of good men out there but I just haven't met them yet...or silently pray that a good man will finally get out of his bad marriage and be thrilled when he learns what I have to offer.

And then something will be brought to my attention and I'm suddenly embarrassed and apologetic for my silly tactics. Something like the essay found here:


Warning, it is long and insane...but there is a big part of me that feels certain that it is representative of the majority of the men in my dating pool.

I've had some time to simmer down and I'm left with two thoughts in response to the essay:

1.) I will most certainly die alone...it seems the only fate for a chubby girl

2.) I am sooooooo lucky to be chubby...it means I have absolutely zero risk of ever being` married to that guy

(I'm copying, in full, the essay found at the link above...because if the dude sobers up and removes it, I want to be able to come back comedic purposes later.)

CONFESSIONS OF A WARD HOPPER

Who Are You?

I'm a serial ward hopper. I'm a thirty-two year old single male living in Salt Lake City. Since getting home from my European mission twelve years ago, I have been ward hopping. I have attended every LDS singles ward that has existed in the last decade from Provo to Ogden - and a few in Vegas, California, Washington and St. George. I feel like I'm in a singles war rather than a singles ward. I wander endlessly, searching for a spouse, and never finding one. I don't know when my luckless expedition will end, but I know that I am an expert on Mormon singles wards. I know everything about them -- as only a ward hopper could -- and I am so conflicted about them that I fee compelled to write this short essay for no reason I can explain.

How Do You Know?

I can drive through the parking lot of any random meeting house on Sunday and tell just from the cars in the lot if a singles ward is meeting inside. When I'm hunting for a new ward, if I see minivans and SUVs, I move on to the next church. If I see bumper stickers, old trucks, and sub-compacts, I park and go in. I know what type of singles fill university wards, YSA wards, and single adult wards. I know how their members think and what they want. I recognize a hundred other ward hoppers I run into over-and-over as the years roll by. We ignore each other because we know we can expose each other. We're not really just visiting, and we didn't really just move into the boundaries.

I know that ward hoppers favor the afternoon meeting times when the attendances are bigger. I know most ward hoppers are Internet daters because they're into appearances and playing the numbers. I can tell within thirty seconds of meeting another priesthood holder whether that Elder is addicted to porn by watching which women he glances at. I can tell from the response I get to a single smile whether any young woman is from a small town, whether she is spoiled and stuck up, and whether she is a democrat.

I have seen everything in singles wards. I have seen anti-Mormons testify the Church isn't true on the stand in testimony meetings while being video-taped. I've seen "quiet" gay protests in Sacrament meetings where people sing out of up-side-down hymnals and read from up-side-down scriptures. I have seen a reenactment of the "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera during sacrament meeting, complete with the Phantom in a porcelain mask fondling Christine on the stand. I have seen Elders show up for church dressed like Vampires telling me they're "Emos" (with skin-tight pants and painted black hair that could only have been styled by flushing their head down the toilet). I have met two confused, fanatical bishoprics that require all potential ward members to pass background checks and own a car to join the ward. I have seen Chinese horoscopes appear printed on the back of Sacrament meeting programs. I have seen the Qur'an quoted on a Sacrament meeting program . . . on Christmas! I was informed that the Gay pride festival was coming to town in the announcement section on another Sacrament program. And singles wards, like all wards, need to set apart a Gunny from the Marine Corps to teach the Priesthood how to pass the Sacrament in an organized fashion, like soldiers, so they don't wander all over with the trays bumping into each other like blind mice.

What Do You Think?

I hate singles wards -- and so does everyone who attends them -- but we all keep going to them, pretending we like them, pretending like we belong, only because we all want to get married to someone who's LDS and we believe the wards are a necessary mine field in our lives. The reason we believe this is because, in fact, they are necessary. There is no where else to go to meet LDS singles in person and no other way to get to know them - particularly for those of us working a lot during the week. I want to go to a home ward where I know there is more focus on spirituality, gospel and family. I want to be married with kids to someone beautiful who's LDS, who's not spoiled, who needs me - and I need to find that person before I settle in a home ward. I'm desperate, and my grip on innocence is slipping as I get older, and life passes me by without a ward or a spouse.

Several weeks ago, there was a knock on my door. I opened it and the Elders quorum presidency of my local home ward introduced themselves. I had never seen them before, even though I've lived in my apartment for two years. They invited themselves in. We all sat down. They told me they were out trying to reactivate inactive ward members, and wondered if I would consider coming back to church. I was shocked. I wasn't inactive, I assured them. In fact, I attend church every Sunday, usually more than once. I told them I was attending a singles ward across town. They asked why my records had been sent to the home ward. I told them it was because I'd gotten too old to have them transferred to that YSA ward, but was attending anyway. They asked why my records weren't at the older ward, for singles over thirty-one years old. I was uncomfortable in that ward, I told them. Everyone was obese and socially inept. I didn't want to be on the inactive list, but I realized then that I have become a ghost. I am a member of the Church who wants to be active, but nobody knows I exist. I am in Church every Sunday, but nobody knows where. I am everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Why Don't You Talk to Your Bishopric?

Although I attend church every Sunday, I don't have a bishop that knows me - and I miss my old bishops that used to like me when I was younger. I consider myself active, but don't always know where to pay my tithing, so I stock pile it, and then pay in random places, or sometimes not at all. My temple recommend expired two years ago. I want to renew it, but I don't know which bishop to see. I want to pay tithing at my homeward, but don't want to attend it because I need to keep jumping around singles wards looking for someone I haven't found yet.

I do date. Sometimes I date a lot, but sometimes not at all. I sometimes meet girls at the singles wards, but find there are only about four girls in each singles ward I would consider dating - and they usually aren't interested in me for reasons that are painful and not totally clear. I can often meet all the girls in a ward that I want to meet in a few weeks, realize I'm not connecting, and then I have to move on to another ward looking for others. The girls I want to marry do exist. I meet them from time-to-time, but it hasn't worked out with any yet.

I have met dozens of bishops and bishoprics . . . and I am amazed to say that until I met those requiring background checks to join the wards, I had never met a bad one out of dozens. In fact, the most amazing things about YSA wards to me are the quality and truly Christian traits of their leaders. I attend them in a constant state of profound surprise at the charisma, intelligence, charity, testimony, education, and commitment they demonstrate in their callings and to the ward members. Even their families are committed to their callings, and the bishoprics have socials at their homes all the time.

Are you Inactive and Sleeping Around?

Never slept with anyone. In the last ten years, I have kissed a lot of young women, but I have never broken the Law of Chastity - even though the thought has crossed my mind a few times, and has crossed the minds of girls I'm dating more than a few times. I refuse to sell out all I've learned and believe for a ten minute thrill. A third of the girls I kissed out of charity - to be nice to them when I didn't like them but knew they would feel bad if I didn't. About a third of them kissed me for the same reason. With regard to other third, we both genuinely liked each other, but the relationship just hasn't worked - mostly because of my own flaws, which I don't know how to get over.

I have fought hard for ten years to maintain my virginity, and have managed to hold on to it, but loosely. The older I get, the harder it becomes, in some twisted way, to abstain from physical intimacy - but not because of the physical urges. For me, it's a matter of calculated relationship management. I have realized the girls I date expect and want more physical intimacy that the Church permits as I get older. It's paradoxic. In some way, the intimacy improves the relationship. In another way, the intimacy hurts the relationship - and I've seen relationships end for both reasons. It's a Garden of Eden problem at every turn. The only solution seems to be marriage, but I can't seem to get there.

The sad thing is that I don't want the watered-down physical intimacy anymore. I have had just enough of it that it has ruined the mystére I used to image I would find only in marriage, and that drove me to marry early. As a lawyer, I am always stressed out, and this causes me to get cold sores a lot, which I have found are a convenient excuse not to kiss girls and waste a lot of time after dates, so I won't medicate for them. My current cold sore is healing and I'm worried it's going to cause me to have to waste lots of time with girls during the next few weeks, so I don't want it to go away. I'm not really interested in kissing anymore. I'm interested in getting married and all that happens in the dark afterwards, and don't really want to venture there anymore 'til I find the one I'll marry.

When I start sensing that a girl seems to like me, I get overly anxious and start confessing all my sins and talking too eagerly about all the things I think and want to share with someone, and then the girl gets worried I'm eccentric and bails out because she usually has a lot of other options - options she has for the same reason I'm interested in her.

What's Wrong with Girls in Singles Wards?

Two thirds of the young women are overweight. These girls all think that because they have good personalities, or good jobs, or are well-educated that guys should care more about who they are than how they look. Someone needs to make them understand that young men will never want to be intimate with them if they're even a little heavy, and they're doomed if they don't lose weight. If these girls understood the world and men, they'd all quit their jobs, drop out of school, and devote themselves soley to losing weight. It's that important. While beauty isn't the only important thing in a girl, it is the gateway to the other qualities which no man cares about exploring without the attraction. No amount of makeup will cover a size fifteen dress size. Like men, women have an obligation to be happy, to procreate, to start a family, to experience humanity and love -- which means they've got an obligation to lose some weight to accomplish that. Nobody would have wanted to kiss Sleeping Beauty if she were a fatty with a Ph.d. Hate the game if you want, but you can't change the rules, and you women are chosing old maid-hood. As Bruce Springsteen would say, you can't start a fire without a spark. The other third of the girls who aren't overweight have a different problem, which I'll illustrate by describing what happens when I go to dinner with them. We sit down at a nice dinner, and they begin to dawdle on about somebody who's suffering some medical or emotional problem. They then begin to extol the virtues of holistic/herbal medicine and animal rights, which apparently this person who's suffering doesn't understand. I nod in increasing frustration as they begin to praise vegetarianism, then proceed to pontificate about liberalism/feminism/homosexuality from mental notes they took in a humanities class being taught by some gutless, godless, gay, liberal hippee freak at the University of Utah (or follower thereof who they hang out with at Starbucks or somewhere). At least two-thirds of young women in the Church have been herded like sheep into this stuff thinking it makes them smart, and soon they're into astrology and other weird illogical world views. These women actually hold men in contempt who don't share their "enlightenment" on these philosophies. Like I said, I have seen horoscopes appear printed on Sacrament meeting programs. It seems like many LDS women who aren't married seek to identify with bizarre belief systems, as if these beliefs have become their spouses, to the point they become blind to real life. I am amazed how many women spend all dinner telling me about pharmaceutical companies conspiring to cover up a cure for cancer that holistic doctors have discovered, or who refuse to eat because they are doing "cleanses" with exotic fruit juices, as if somehow these fruit cleansers form covalent bonds with all the toxins in their bodies and clean them out. I am amazed at what a huge amount of women in the Church criticize the Church openly for what they perceive to be conservative/puritanical social perspectives on women, gays, divorce, the temple, wedlock, and adultery/fornication - even totally active singles. All of these beliefs have somehow replaced these women's testimonies and retarded their ability to appreciate and interact with traditional, non-artsy, down-to-earth males, which are the only males who can support a family. This is one of the reasons men aren't going to college as much anymore.

Then, there is another pervasive problem that I observe across LDS women before going on dates . . . pride. It's the high school mentality that takes over half the girls in the ward. The girls start behaving in YSA wards like they did in high school, forming clicks, and deciding which groups of people they'll socialize with and which they won't, ignoring wards members who haven't integrated themselves into the clicks, or associated themselves with others. I am convinced that the YSA wards create an environment that breeds a degree of superficiality, in which many of the best men in the YSA wards are overlooked because they refuse to participate in the superficiality, or lack the time or inclination to do so. The men, of course, have problems too, but not as many in my opinion. They're overweight also, and many have grown up being sissies, tattletales, or general losers (some become aware of it and try to change). I don't think weight matters as much for men, though, even though I recognize the double-standard I espousing saying so. The biggest problem I've noticed with men as they get older in singles wards is they begin blaming their unhappiness in life on their parents rather than trying to change whatever is causing it themselves. As a lawyer, I am taught to look for jurors in jury trials who do this because it's a sign they're easily influenced and gullible -- and is usually a sign of defensive attribution bias.

What About Your Testimony?

I defend the Church like a Danite. I always have, and always will. My faith is solid as a rock. I cherish the pioneer heritage my ancestors have legated to me. Yet, I have had my testimony questioned by girls in singles wards because of the fact I sometimes sport a goatee and drive a motorcycle. I've choked on tears as girls I loved and wanted to marry decided instead to marry other guys who later became gay, devoted their lives to playing XBox, or promptly went inactive - but seemed like clean cut guys at the time to these girls.

I am so sick of whiners who attack the Church year in and year out, including gays, Jews, apostatized members, inbred evangelical "Christians," liberals, my educated friends, and the like. I once wondered out-loud on a talk radio program whether the Mountain Meadows Massacre was justified. I can't stand people who attack the church and condescend to it. I hate politicians like Rocky Anderson, and I won't usually vote for non-members running for elected office on that basis alone - especially apostatized former members. Why should I feel bad, or bigoted, about it either? This is Utah, and I want politicians who will protect, and not betray, its most important heritage: Mormonism. I don't want a bunch of secular, touchy-feely imbeciles who appologize for Utah's culture and religious majority, or who think Utahans are sheltered and naive. I resent academics who try to make impressionable/insecure coeds ashamed of Utah, or convince them that they have somehow transcended the non-existent Utah "bubble." These people are weak-minded. Utah has the highest mix of bilingual males per capita anywhere in the US, and the highest cross-segment of male Caucasians in the world who have lived in foreign countries. Nobody is naive here except the person that fornicated at a frat party, or somewhere, after smoking weed and thinks they're enlightened because of it.

Who Are You Really?

I am thirty-two years old Caucasian male, and will soon be thirty-three. I went to BYU and then to lawschool, and now I'm a lawyer. I'm 6'2, and fairly slim. I used to body-build, but now I just drink Coke and watch FOX News. I have thinning brown hair and blue eyes that are so piercing that sometimes I find whole rooms of people falling silent and staring at them as I enter. I like to think I'm attractive and smart; but, in moments of pain and failure, I realize that I am not as attractive and smart as I've convinced myself I am. I am constantly stressed about cases, clients, being single, money and my habitual disorganization. My apartment is a disaster, and so are my cars. My father is a convert to the Church, and totally devout. He is in the Stake Presidency, and wants me to get married very much. I want to honor his wishes.

I sue a lot of people. I make over $100,000 a year, but waste a lot of it on toys. I have two boats, two motorcycles, four cars, and part ownership in a plane - and I love owning them all. I bought all these things thinking they would improve my dating life, but it doesn't seem to have worked. I go fishing at Strawberry Reservoir alone sometimes, and go on a lot of motorcycle rides.

I never imagined getting home from my mission I would be this old and unmarried. I came home young and innocent, and so anxious to meet a beautiful young woman and marry her. It didn't happen, even though I proposed to several girls only to be denied, and it was a heart-breaking experience ending up where I am. Now I'm getting older, and lonelier. I'm sad and a cynical, and unsure what I need to do to get married and be happy. I am also becoming increasingly worried that even if I get married, somehow my wife won't be happy with me and it will be a disaster because I'm getting too set in my ways now, so I'm scared of escaping the confines of the very situation I hate.

I used to gamble in Nevada, but I've overcome it, and that's the only big addiction I've had. I would drive or fly a plane to Wendover or Vegas all the time and was addicted to Blackjack. I wish so much I would have never started gambling. It cost me a ton of money and has caused me problems and sadness of every kind. I once met Aaron Eckhart on the high roller tables in Vegas and told him to be loyal to his faith. He said if actions were as easy as words he would be. I try not to break the Sabbath, but I do buy food on Sundays because I don't know how to cook. Maybe I'm a hypocrite. I'm the kind of guy who walks into Walmart on a Sunday night and looks around in dismay at all the Sabbath breakers who are wandering the store, and wonder how dare they be there.

I want to have a wife and a family. I want to be better. I want to provide for and help people I love - and as many other struggling people as I can, regardless of what they've done. I care deeply about struggling people, and hold in high contempt those who attempt to attack people trying to make it, whether that attack is physical, emotional or political. My little sister is going to USU. She thinks I've become disassociated and too cynical. To show her I'm nice and I love her, I gave her my credit-card and told her to use whenever she wanted. She said she wouldn't, even in an emergency, but I told her she better. I look at my statements each month, and she has never used my credit-card even once. If she started blowing a lot of money with it, I would be happier because I would feel like my money is benefiting someone I love, but she won't spend any of it, so I sit at home and watch the news wondering what's becoming of me.

What's the Solution to All This?

I wish someone would tell me. For now, it seems to be to just keep going.



Sunday, September 11, 2011

What I Learned in Church Today: Switch Points

Today's Sunday School Lesson material focused on 1 Corinthians 11-15. In these chapters, Paul addresses the Saints in Corinth regarding his concern that they are straying from some of the pure doctrines of Christ.

The lesson began with an excerpt from a 1972 address given by then, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley:
“Many years ago I worked in the head office of one of our railroads. One day I received
a telephone call from my counterpart in Newark, New Jersey, who said that a passenger
train had arrived without its baggage car. The patrons were angry.

“We discovered that the train had been properly made up in Oakland, California, and
properly delivered to St. Louis, from which station it was to be carried to its destination
on the east coast. But in the St. Louis yards, a thoughtless switchman had moved a
piece of steel just three inches. That piece of steel was a switch point, and the car that
should have been in Newark, New Jersey, was in New Orleans, Louisiana, thirteen
hundred miles away”
With this concept in mind, we discussed the doctrine in 1 Corinthians and then considered how a seemingly small change might have a significant effect on where we might find ourselves in relationships to doctrine. These "switch points" can be an event, decision, new knowledge, or any change that can shift the direction of our beliefs and life. Switch points can be negative if they lead us from the truth, or positive if they put us back on the right track.

As I pondered on "switch points" in my life, I could not help but to immediately consider the impact of September 11, 2001 on my life and on my relationship with God.

Prophet Thomas S. Monson submitted an Op-Ed piece to The Washington Times which was printed this week here. My memories of that time ten years ago are best described in the following excerpt from that piece:
"There was, as many have noted, a remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy. People across the United States rediscovered the need for God and turned to Him for solace and understanding. Comfortable times were shattered. We felt the great unsteadiness of life and reached for the great steadiness of our Father in Heaven. And, as ever, we found it. Americans of all faiths came together in a remarkable way."
As I watched breathlessly to the news reports, I felt compelled to DO something. But I was in Utah so far from any place that could use my assistance. As a result I DID the only thing I could think of...I dropped to my knees in prayer over and over and over. Up until that point, my approach to prayer had been much less formal. I would tend to kneel for a groggy morning prayer, but most of my petitions were sent as I busily prepared for the day or later as I commuted in my car. I had never been a diligent kneeler. There was something about the act of humbly kneeling that brought some kind of satisfaction in those first hours and days. I felt like I was DOING something.

9/11 has been a "switch point" for me in regards to my approach to prayer. I find that the act of kneeling in prayer helps me to do so in a more humble and reverent manner. I am more inclined to be thoughtful and grateful, and less likely to be casual and demanding.

Because of the attacks on September 11, I eagerly and without apology, fall to my knees to appeal to God in both the good and the bad times. And because of the peace I was granted as I did so ten years ago, I have hope that the same peace will be granted to me even still.


The Healing Fields, Sandy UT, 9/11/11

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Do You Know What's Grosser Than Gross???

It was the name of a childhood game. Someone would suggest something gross and we would all reply, "GROSS!" And then some a creative kid would offer up, "Do you know what's grosser than gross?", and they would suggest something slightly grosser than the first kid's idea. And the game would continue like that until we ran out of gross ideas or until we were laughing so hard we were crying...whichever came first. And we totally thought we were champions...but we were so wrong!

The guys at Epic Meal Time on YouTube have put my childhood friends to shame with their ability to grosser than gross themselves at least a dozen times in under 6 minutes! The only redeeming factor, they're Canadian, so it just makes it funny somehow!

****Warning!**** This is not for the weak of heart, stomach, imagination, gag reflex...etc!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Putting Yourself Out There

As a single woman, I'm often told by married observers that it's really important to be "Putting yourself out there". It seems like such hollow advice, especially when I challenge the advice with a follow-up such as, "What exactly do you recommend I do, that I'm not already doing?", and they give me nothing.

But I do understand the sentiment. I can see how easily an old maid becomes an old maid...one Redbox weekend at a time. Which is why one of my 2011 goals is to only spend one weekend night a month in. I know that it's important to stay socially connected an active, even if it means another GNO or having to do all of the planning to make it happen.

But, there is a price that is paid. There's that solitary drive home at the end of the night, when you have to face the fact that your weekends are becoming "Groundhog Day" in nature and you've managed to attend another party at the same place with the same people exchanging pleasantries with the same men who have already rejected you before...well, it's a heavy price to pay. And tonight as we handed $250 cash to the tow-truck driver who was releasing Sassy's car, it seemed like staying social at this age might be well outside our budget.