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Friday, December 17, 2010

Because I let you.

It was the annual Christmas party.

50 people crammed in my kitchen living room area? Hello Sardines can.

Jayden just wanted to play a game.

"Ryan, can we play Break the Ice?"
"KacyAnn, can we play checkers?"

"Not right now buddy, sorry."
"I have to help make the rice, sorry Jayden."

The boy was frustrated. Clearly. Frustrated that no one paid attention to him, no one understood how he felt, no one communicated with him how he was hoping. Then, something interesting happened...

He didn't care.

It's not that he didn't care about me, his mom, or KacyAnn, he just went and found something else to do. Rather than get offended and not like everyone for what they do, he looks past that and moves on.

Interesting-I guess the primary reason that there are so many broken families, hatred of people, and hurt feelings, isn't because you didn't listen to me, or because you hurt me...

It's because I let you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Buy me somethin'!

I have to admit-I knew how to get what I wanted out of mom.

Dad? Not so much.

"Mom, I promise I'll pay you back."

"Mom, it's only 10 bucks. I'll clean my room real good."

"Dad, can I-" "No."


Every Christmas I've always had lists--no, more like books of things I wanted. Lego toy sets, remote control cars, basketball hoops, anything but clothes! Bleh!

Then a few years ago, my siblings and I decided to give up on our list and work on someone else's. Go find their toys, cars, hoops....and maybe even clothes! Bleh!

I found the gift I really wanted. I found something that took ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future to teach Scrooge...

I found Christmas.

I hope we can all do something to find Christmas inside ourselves...even if it means giving up some of your new clothes...


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

When you know you know, you know?

As per request of someone *cough* Madison Neiswender *cough*

I will tell you about what I did to propose to KacyAnn, and why I'm now a believer of the old cliche, "When you know, you know, you know?"

The day before I proposed I went to build-a-bear with my sister, Jayden and Kaylie. I wanted to get a stuffed animal and then put a recording in the bear of me asking her to marry me. Well- J and K had a blast. Kaylie was set on getting the puppy, and since KacyAnn loves puppies (thank you Sheila) then I thought it would be good.

Jayden was set on getting white and black tennis shoes to dress him up, I was looking around for some clothes and didn't see anything. I was about to just get the Harley Davidson jacket when I saw a little blue costume and a badge on it that said "Prince Charming". Perfect.

So we started off the day by going to the temple. We first went to the Draper temple, but as we walked in there we could tell it was really busy. My plan was to propose at the temple grounds, but with the weather being so windy and cold, I was deciding quickly that I was going to have to about face that plan.

We stopped after the temple at my mom's house to do laundry (hey-when you're seriously dating someone you can do stuff like that on a date okay?). KacyAnn had been talking to her brother on the phone for a while, and I realized I couldn't wait any longer. I just had to ask. She hung up with her brother and we were standing there talking. We were about to leave for lunch, and I said, "before we leave, I need you to close your eyes."

"What? Why?" she said. I grab her hands and place them over her eyes and say, "just keep your eyes closed."

At this point it had hit me. All the nerves were shot, all the excitement was coming to the surface.

I was shaking like a leaf.

So much in fact, I couldn't open my temple bag that had the bear and ring in it. I kept trying but that zipper felt like the sword in the stone, and I unfortunately was not King Arthur.

Once I finally opened it, I put the bear in her hands and said "when I tell you to, squeeze your left hand." She did and the bear/puppy said, "I want to be with you for eternity, so I was just wondering-will you marry me?" (Thanks Tiff).

She opened her eyes and I was down on my knee with the ring, and she said yes!

It's been interesting and humbling to see the Lord's hand in my life. There have been several things that have happened in the last year that I believe have prepared both of us for where we are now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I wonder why

I wonder why some people say,
I can't, I won't, I will not change.

I wonder why they dig their heels,
So deep in the ground they no longer feel.

I wonder why we cover our ears,
To the love of repentance, forgiveness, and tears.

He brings back to you that which was lost,
Only if you're willing to listen, and times pay the cost.

I wonder with humility, people will say,
I can, I will, I must always change.

Monday, November 15, 2010

You can fly!

Trust's possible.

Imagine yourself going to the top of a mountain. As you get to the top you look over this cliff and you can see for miles!

You see rivers and sunsets (just one) and trees (colored-it is fall of course) and you say with wide eyes "wow! this is amazing!"

"Jump." says this voice behind you.

"What?" you respond with this strange look on your face.

"Jump, if you do I'll make you fly." He says.

You notice that this man in front of you is wearing clothes a little different than yours. He's wearing all the mountains. But you feel something. You know it's Him.

"I don't think I can," you respond. "I can't fly."

"Why not?" He asks. "Do you have faith in me?"

"Well...." you say as you frantically look for some other excuse not to look straight at Him and say, yes.

"Yeah, I do."

"Then jump. If you jump I can make you fly."

What holds you back from jumping? Is it fear of what might happen? Is it a lack of trust? We dig our heels so deep into the ground that we look at Him at times and say "I can't sorry, I'm stuck." When in fact all you needed to do was change our steps or direction.

What's your cliff you need to jump from?

You can fly.

Trust's possible.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jack and Jill

Jill didn't want to be "just like everyone else".

She wasn't like that. She ate different food, she liked different things, she was different.

"Why should I believe what everyone else believes? It obviously get's no one anywhere...all it is are blind sheep being led to the middle of nowhere. No thank you! I'll have none of it!"

Then an something happened.

Jill's best friend Jack, was critically injured.

He'd fallen down a hill.

Jill suddenly found herself wondering why she was here and what happens after being here.
"What happens if one day, I go tumbling after like Jack did?" What happens?"

Jill didn't know. She found herself searching for answers. One day she found them. She started attending church again every week, reading, praying--

All those things the "sheep" do.

Her friend Jack asked, "but what about being led blindly? What about being led to nowhere?"

Jill then said something that changed Jack's life.

"You can't be led blindly when you have faith in following the Shepard."

Jack and Jill went up the hill to be baptized in the water.
Jill went down, and changed her heart.
And Jack came in right after.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hey! What the heck?

The other day my nephew and niece Jayden and Kaylie walked outside with their mother. Jayden looked up and exclaimed, "Hey clouds! Stop raining!" Then Kaylie added, "Yeah clouds! Stop it!"

How many times have you said Hey ____! Stop____! ?

"Hey dating! Stop breaking my heart!"
"Hey ward people! Stop gossiping!"
"Hey family members! Stop discouraging me!"

It happens all too often I'm afraid. Reality is, as much as I hate to admit it---

Rain happens.

Dating sometimes hurts, people sometimes gossip, family members discourage you. It just happens.

The rain also brings nourishment to plants, life to animals, and puddles to jump in.

So next time you see a storm cloud, think about Jayden.

"Hey clouds! Thanks for the good that you bring to me."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

You're stressed about it, but so am I.

Andrew really didn't know what to do.

He had grown up his entire life with a good family, friends of good influence, he did well in school although he enjoyed the occasional clowning around here and there.

He served a mission for his church to the Philippines and came back home with a resolve to be the best he could be.

He met a beautiful young woman at the University he chose to attend, he worked hard at work, volunteered at church functions or meetings, and took time to babysit.

Then something happened.

Andrew's job laid him off, his good family and friends weren't around him anymore, his girlfriend's family were critical of him because he didn't have what they felt he needed to have to be with a girl like her.

His life was stressful.

Walking home from school one day he saw an older woman trying to carry her groceries up her small porch steps. By the way she gently approached each step of her walk you could see that her knees weren't the best of shape.

"It's only 6 steps," he muttered to himself. "She doesn't need my help."

The thought came to him, "You're burdened about you, just like she's burdened about her. Focus on her burden and your burden won't feel so heavy."

Sometimes we feel like we have too much to bear,
Like we can't do it,
It's too heavy, I'm scared.
Then we look up from our own selves and see,
That others may have it, a bit worse than me.

So Andrew, don't worry about what other people think or do. You do what you feel is right and good.

And He'll make up the rest.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The boys of 309--308--210.

An anonymous author once said, "Friends are those who laugh with you, cry with you, but mostly just laugh at you."

Who have you laughed at today?

The boys of 309. I learned a lot from those guys for the almost 2 years we lived together. It's interesting how much you can learn from people when you look for something to learn from them.

TJ: From him I learned how to take time for the one. He always thought about someone else (which was usually a girl--name withheld), and I knew I could trust him to bring me up when I was down.

Dustin: He taught me how to genuinely care about people. He was one of the most stressed out people when it came to school but when the time presented itself to help someone feel uplifted, he did it. He showed you he loved you and didn't just say it.

Nate-dawg: One of the first things he taught me when I first met him was "not to take life so seriously." If anyone ever watches Nate cross the street you'll know what I'm talking about. He understands he is not perfect but he knows that through service he can get a little closer to achieving that. He taught me the importance of doing your duty, and always striving to do that with an attitude of Christ.

Watch the people around you with an attitude of learning.

You'll be amazed what you can learn.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wow! A deer! A female deer!

Drives to the canyon are always fun. Especially in the fall.

I love to slow down and see the changes.

Changes in the leaves, changes in the weather, changes in people.

It's interesting to watch people. They react to the changes as negative (Fall means winter, I don't like winter) or positive (Fall means beautiful colors and college football!).

I learned recently how not only should we enjoy the changes, but slow down and soak them in.

Driving through the canyon, KacyAnn and I were coming back down a steep, curving road. I was trying not to ride the break so we weren't going very fast. I loved the time to reflect, and take in the changes.

Then I shot a deer.

How could I not? There were 50....maybe 60 deer up on this hillside! I had to shoot one. At least one.

Okay, so there were 5 or 6.

And...I shot them with my camera.

But it was a nice Kodak one. It was almost like looking through a scope!

As I was shooting these deer, a car came flying from behind me and passed me. They didn't even see the deer. They were going too fast to enjoy what was happening around them.

Maybe we should slow down a little more in life. You never know the deer you may be missing.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Take off the mask

A man walked into a crowded room filled with friends, family, and people he'd known for years.

Not one person talked to him for the entire hour he was there.

"This is preposterous! I deserve better than that!" He exclaimed, stomping his way out to the car.

His wife, with a bit of a chuckle said, "Dear, you were wearing that silly mask the entire time. What did you expect? They didn't even know you."

I wonder how many times we've said that to ourselves?

"I deserve a raise, I've been here more than a year."
"I deserve more love than that."
"I deserve better than I have right now."

We deserve nothing.

Think about it.

We deserve nothing.

We serve God and serve others.

He deserves the credit. We deserve nothing.

If we could only take off our masks long enough to understand that.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why? Because you chose to.

We went to feed the ducks. I swear there were thousands...okay maybe 50 ducks.

It was a lot of ducks.

Jayden and Kaylie came with KacyAnn and I and we were throwing bread to all these ducks and I saw the happiness it brought to them to watch ducks fly across the pond, snatch a piece of the goodness and then fly away.

It made them happy.

Why did it make them happy? It was feeding ducks. It wasn't like they were riding the ducks, shooting the ducks, or even cracking jokes with the ducks. They were just feeding them some bread-some kind of moldy bread.

Why were they happy? Was it because the ducks tickled them? I didn't see any tickling ducks...

They were happy because they chose to be.

You chose to love, to be happy, to hold grudges, to foster hatred.

"Agency can either open a new door to greater growth, or put you into a closed corner." -Elder Hales.

Where do you chose to be?

And whether you're happy, sad, or angry remember the reason why?

Because you chose to.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The doors

Have you ever closed a door? What did it feel like?
Did it hurt? Were you happy?

Have you ever opened a door? And what about that? What did that feel like?

Now, what about the "doors" in your life?

I heard it said once, "sometimes you have to open the wrong door, so when you open the right one, you can appreciate that great gift you've been given."

I was thinking last night how so many different doors have been opened in my life because I was willing to close another. I think the problem we all run into at times though is staring so long at the door behind us.

When are you going to accept that maybe-just maybe, He can run your life better than you can?

I got home from my mission and got a job with my cousin. I'm grateful that door opened. 2 months later that door closed. Then I started EFY as a counselor. That summer shaped me in ways I couldn't imagine. Then that door closed. Then I worked at a grocery store, because of that door, I was able to see a family friend Lane quite a bit who was the manager of the Men's Wearhouse, my next job.

Because of a door in high school being opened to becoming best friends with TJ-I met Dustin. Through Dustin, I met Nate--through Nate, I have the best job I've had yet to this point in my life.

Maybe He can run my life better than I can.

As long as I don't stare at the past door too long.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Life is too short for nothing

A former stake president, Guy B. Beacom once said, “ If you have something to make someone's day, say it.”

Why are we so caught up in our own lives, our own hustle and bustle, that we don't stop to say hello?

Why do we love to feel the kindness directed toward us, and we can't direct it toward another? I'm guilty, and so are you. We've all known someone that needed help, or maybe they do right now. Yet, we can't seem to find the time, the means, or the way to do anything about it. There must be a conscience effort to change, and then willingness to actually follow up on your own commitment.

A couple years ago I was driving home from work. My uniform at work was a suit, and so with that I am about as cautious with my suit jackets as a girl may be with her shoes. I was coming up to the next stop light when I noticed an unreasonable amount of traffic for 10:00 at night. As I got closer I saw that a man's car had broken down and every car was merging to the next lane to go around him. I was about to join this band wagon when I conscientiously told myself to stop and do something. I stopped in the middle of the road, and helped to push the man's car out the road and down a few blocks.

Why am I telling you this story? Because people need you. They need me. Sometimes it takes 2 minutes, other times it will take 2 days. The point is, if you have something to make someone's day, say it. Trust me, you'll bring a change to yourself that you never thought you wanted.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wear T-shirts

I listened recently to Baz Luhrmann's "Everybody's free (To wear sunscreen)". As I listened to it and reminisced my fast fading youth- I've thought of my own advice - with a thankful wave to Baz and Mary-to our older friends. I call it, "Wear T-Shirts".

Ladies and gentlemen, to the class of the older generation,

Wear T-Shirts.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, T-shirts would be it. A long term benefit has been proved by us, the young people--where as the rest of my advice, has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience; I will deal my advice to you, now.

Enjoy the opportunities of the learning you could have. Don't be afraid of a computer-embrace it. Oh never mind, you won't know the power and beauty of the youth's around you until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at the good times that you had, and recall in a way you can't understand now--how much your young adult son or daughter really changed you. You are not so old that you can't still learn a thing or two from a young buck.

Don't worry about our future. We will come to you when we need you. Don't just give us a freebie, let us hurt a little. The smoothest rock wasn't made by years of sitting on the sidelines. Let us mess up, but not too much. Let us share what we've learned about the importance of learning, maybe you'll learn something from us.

Do one thing everyday that changes you for tomorrow. I don't mean get a tattoo, or take that trip to the North Pole, but do something. Don't say "I'm content to stay where I am."


Don't let someone's negativity or sad look on life bring you down, and don't let yourself be that way to someone else.


Don't waste your time on comparing yourself to others, the only one to compare to is you.

Give more compliments to those younger than you. Forget the insults and sarcasm.

Remember to love, even if they don't love back.


Don't feel frustrated if you don't know how to use your new cell phone, I know people half your age that don't remember how to remember because that "new gadget" does it for them.

Get plenty of fun in your life.

Be kind to your closest friends. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll run a marathon, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll learn to play the Wii, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll live longer than your children. Maybe you'll jump out of an airplane when you're 95 just to say that you did...the adrenaline may kill you, but your choices have consequences; just like everybody else.

Smile. Even if you have nowhere to do it but in front of your loved ones and the mirror, laugh at yourself-even if you think you're an idiot...BE SURE you read your scriptures everyday the example to us will last a lifetime.

Get to know your children since they've moved away. Don't believe for a second that they're going to stay the same punk high school-er that grew their hair out and didn't listen to you. They're different.

Go on vacation to some exotic getaway. St. George doesn't count.

Go visit church history sites. St. George again, doesn't count.

Realize no one is perfect. Especially the members of your congregation.

Don't find so much fault in those around you. When you start to focus on the dirt, that's all you see. Love the one's your children choose to marry and treat them as one of your own. They're adding to your family, not taking away from it.

Be careful with how much advice you shell out, sometimes the best advice you can give us is a listening ear.

But trust me about the T-shirt.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The best is left in front of you

We bought pizza for an entire student section at a visiting football game . We painted our faces and were at times the only 2 people to show up to our high school girls volleyball student section.

My stake president made him my first companion when I was a missionary.

We went to Connecticut on a weekend trip to watch football with ESPN analysts.

Late night game playing, girl talking, you've got my back I've got yours, frosty eating, understanding, best friend and...

It has hit me recently that my best friend since high school is married. It happened back in May, but it just hit me.

He's gone.

But it's okay, the change is good...right?

I think at times we don't see the difference, change in routine, throwing off of a good. All we think about is the hard part,

"I lost my job so I don't have money."
"I have to change location so I have no friends."
"My best friend is moving on so I'm left behind."

But the best is left in front of you. Not behind you.

Now you have an opportunity to find a better job, a good job, a job you love.
Now you can make more friends, grow relationships, increase your facebook friend count.
Now you can appreciate what they taught you, do your best to keep them near you, and love others the way they loved you.

Because best friends never leave you behind, they help you see the best left in front of you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hey Dad,

"Dad! I want to make a robot for the 4th grade science fair."

"Okay, Ryan-you'll need to find a lot of parts to make something like that."

"Dad! I read all 30 chapter books this weekend for the read-a-thon in Mr. Jackson's class, can you sign off for me?"

"Ryan, did you really read that many books? I saw you playing video games a lot."

"Dad! Can I borrow the car? Dad! Can I borrow some money? Dad! Can you help me with my math homework? Dad! Can I please not mow the lawn today? Dad! Dad! Dad!"

I think I annoyed my dad. A lot. Always asking for things, always trying to one up him, always trying to live up to who I knew he knew I could be...

But I fell down. Sometimes too much, but he was always willing to be there and pick me up.

Why? Because he chose to.

"Hey Dad, I totaled Mom's car on the freeway, can you come pick me up?"
"Sure Ry, I'll be there soon."

"Hey Dad, I'm having a really hard time handling what's going on right now, can I have a blessing?"
"No problem Ryan, come over when you can."

"Hey Dad, I'm sorry I was so mean to you today; I'll be better tomorrow."
"I know Ry. I know."

"Hey Dad, thank you for teaching me the importance of being humble. I hope I can one day say as the people said to King Benjamin, 'because of the Spirit...which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.' I'll be better today, than I was yesterday."

Why? Because I choose to.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thunderstorms with roller coasters

It's raining, it's pouring, the little boy is crying?

Last weekend I went to Lagoon. It was fun to spend the day with friends and go on roller coasters.

Except the white one.

If you haven't been to Lagoon, the white roller coaster is old, and while you're riding it you feel like you're going to fall off to the parking lot below... Not fun.


We were at the gate ready to board the cart of doom and as the last group came creaking inward, I noticed this boy, had to be about 6--scared.

Not boogie monster scared, he was boogie monster ate my teddy bear scared.

As he got out of the car, his father came up from behind him and put his arm around him. The boy immediately embraced his father, and would not let go.

I bet earlier that day, the boy was running around, happy as can be, and if the father tried to love and hug his son, the son probably would've shoved him away or not really notice.

I wonder how many times our Father has wanted to reach out to us, but because we're having so much fun...we don't notice.

I'm not saying we shouldn't have fun. I think the hard thing to learn for most of us is to continuously hug the Father even when life is good, even when life is fun.

Not only when we get on the white roller coaster.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

No! Anything but THAT!

Please! No! Not THAT!

I've been going to the same doctor my whole life. Why? Because I've lived close by him my entire life and because frankly-I don't want a bunch of people to know about, ya know...


I remember I use to get strep throat when I was younger, a lot. Well, at least for a 7 year old, 3 times a year is a lot.

"Okay Ryan, you're not quite big enough to take pills so you're going to have to have a shot."

A shot?! Are you kidding me? I don't care that I get a balloon tied to my wrist and a cheap lollipop, I don't want a shot!

So here we are, nurse walks in and tries to act like this is no big deal. (Yeah her!) I'm calm and collected until I see the needle, the source of the pain. I brace myself and then hear what sounds like an angel, "It's okay Ry, it will be over soon."

It was my mom.

We all have someone in our lives that brings comfort during times of pain. As we're going through life at times we face our own "needle",
not getting the grade we wanted, fighting with a loved one or roommate, feeling like the world is crashing in on you...needle.

Interestingly enough, we always have SOMEONE who is saying, "It's okay Ry, it will be over soon."

Or maybe you think that "someone" isn't really there for you? You think they're more like the needle and you shout,

"No! Anything but them!"

When THEM is the only thing that can save you from THAT. like the needle?

I know I don't. Ouch.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Who do you think you are?!

TJ draws better than me, Melissa plays the piano better than me, Tiffany knows how to talk to people better than me,

and Chad is...Chad. Chad = better than me.

Who do they think they are?

Truth is, we all have things we are "better at" than another.

And we have to love them for that. We love them for who they are-despite choices they make, comments they say or things they do.
I read a talk given at a BYU devotional recently by Elder Lynn G. Robbins. I liked his insight he shared using scripture:

Let’s look at the Lord’s list of behaviors showing how He loved the Church and apply it to the loving relationship that should exist between sweethearts. We find it in 1 Corinthians 13 [1 Cor. 13] and Moroni 7 [Moro. 7].

True love—charity—suffereth long.

• Is patient instead of impatient and tolerant of imperfections instead of intolerant.

• Is helpful instead of being critical of weaknesses. Charity does not criticize, is not cranky, and does not complain.

True love is kind.

• Is happy, thoughtful, helpful, interested in others, a good Samaritan, merciful, and true love gives comfort.

True love envieth not.

• Is content, frugal, and grateful for blessings; is not covetous, resentful, jealous, or greedy; avoids unnecessary debt; and is a full tithe payer. Charity is not selfish or vain, and it lives within its income.

True love is not puffed up.

• Is humble and teachable, does not seek attention, praises others, does not murmur or belittle.

True love doth not behave itself unseemly.

• Is courteous, well-mannered, reverent, respectful, and mindful, as well as clean, neat, and considerate of other’s property and feelings; is not crude, indecent, or improper.

True love seeketh not her own.

• Is tenderhearted, caring, sharing, sensitive, compassionate, generous, and united; thinks we, not I; listens; seeks to please God; is not demanding, controlling, or manipulative; does not blame; and says, “I’m sorry.”

True love is not easily provoked.

• Is forgiving, patient, calm, gentle, and respectful; is a peacemaker who does not get angry, irritable, or vengeful; is not abusive in word or deed; does not swear or quarrel.

True love thinketh no evil.

• Is not judgmental but respectful and trusting, pure and obedient; does not think evil of others by gossiping or finding fault; is modest in thought, dress, and speech; is not deceitful, cruel, or dishonest; avoids inappropriate music, pornography, and dirty jokes.

True love rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.

• Has a temple recommend and wants an eternal marriage; stays close to the Spirit through regular scripture study and prayer; is responsible; is not light-minded.

True love beareth all things.

• Is bold and patient with affliction and trials (this does not mean that abuse victims should silently bear cruelty or follow a spouse who is disobedient to God); is grateful; does not insult others; is not defensive, irritable, touchy, or grouchy; is not weary in well-doing.

True love believeth all things.

• Is cheerful; sees the eternal potential of a spouse; makes the least of the worst and the most of the best; shows by actions that there is a firm belief in eternal families; holds fast to the iron rod; has goals, dreams, a vision, and plans for a happy, successful life together.

True love hopeth all things.

• Is an optimist who looks for the best; praises, builds up, and expresses affection.

True love endureth all things.

• Doesn’t complain or murmur, is steadfast, accepts responsibility, and is industrious while showing initiative.

True love never faileth.

The Lord is describing a love that deals with our behavior. And behavior isn’t something you fall into or out of. Behavior is something you control and decide. Agency is involved here.
—Elder Lynn G. Robbins

Love is a choice. It's not something you expect or deserve, it is an action.

Or maybe you feel you're better than everyone else?

Who do you think you are?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Keep the change

"The total," said the cashier, "Is $19.97.

I look in my wallet, all I have is a $20.

"Keep the change." I say.

As I walk away feeling somewhat charitable.

I like money. I always have. It was the first thing I felt like I really understood how to do in the roller coaster ride of elementary school.

Especially when it came to counting change.
Quarters, dimes, nickles, it didn't matter.

Dad step out of the way, I don't need help with this math!

We all love change. That shiny, noisy, college kids scrape for it in the couch cushins...


I was recently thinking about how I grew up. How I've learned, how I've improved,

And how I've changed.

I love the anonymous quote, "People are in favor of progress, it's the change they don't like."

I agree with that. We can count change all day long but being older now and seeing how "grown-ups" are, I've realized how true that quote is.

We don't like change.

We don't like getting into a relationship, applying for a new job, making new friends, moving new places, why?

The change scares us.

The reality is, that's why we're here. We're here to learn. If you Google the rules of being mortal it's rule number....7 or something.

We're here to learn how to change.

I just hope when all is said and done, and God looks at me and says,

"Did you keep the change that I offered you?"

I can look Him straight in the eye and say,


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's nothing...right?

Flying into Albuquerque New Mexico is like nothing you have ever seen before.

No, seriously, it's just nothing.

But it was good to see Dustin get married, and to see how happy he was.

Having been in the temple and just having a lot of time to ponder, I thought about a quote from a book I'm reading called, "The Holy Secret", by James Ferrell.

"Perhaps you have become too attached to activities or pursuits that have become too precious. More precious, even, than what is holy."

That always strikes me in my "I should change" cord. How many times have we let our activities overtake those things that would bring us a little closer?

Closer to serving others, calling a friend, smiling at one who is downtrodden?

Closer to the One who can change a heart.

"Two roads diverge into a wood and I,
I take the one less traveled by,
And that made all the difference."

So what activities or pursuits are too precious for you?

And for me?

It may seem like nothing. But it is something.

And that change will make all the difference.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stub yourself

You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

If you know me well, you know that I can be loud, funny, sometimes put my foot in my mouth, loving, crazy, plays with illegal firewor---

But, there's something I realized recently that I've intrigued myself with...

I'm stubborn.

I realized after talking to a good friend the other day that I am very set in my ways, and I won't change.

I won't change the things in my life that I feel will hurt me later on down the road if I do change them.
  1. I won't change my dating standards. I'm getting married in the Temple, no questions asked.
  2. I won't stop finding ways to be better today than I was yesterday. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is here so we can "Try a little harder, to be a little better."
  3. I won't back down from something or someone that brings more joy to my life. Even if I'm a little scared.
  4. I won't stop listening...Ever.
  5. I can't stop smiling... Ever.
Find those things in your life that you feel you should stick to.

Then be a little stubborn about 'em.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Become a tree hugger...I dare you!

I dare you....

I'm not going to short change this, or over sell this in any way, shape or form.

I want to be a tree hugger.

I read something recently that really made me think, and I loved how the writer put an interesting "enviormentalist twist" into it.

It's titled, "Save the Earthlings"

About 20 years ago John Javna wrote a nifty little book that became sort of a handbook for do-it-yourself environmentalists back in the day. It’s called “50 Simple Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earth.” For this new movement of social environmentalism I offer (with a tip of the hat to Javna) “10 Simple Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earthlings”:

1. Recycle Kindness. When someone does something nice for you, consider it a challenge to do something nice for someone else. And when someone is mean to you, repay them with kindness (trust me – it’s the best reaction. You’ll be surprised how much a little kindness can improve a relationship. And even if it doesn’t, you’ll have the satisfaction of driving the other person absolutely nuts. Either way, you win).

2. Plant a Kiss. Preferably on someone you love. Or at least know.

3. Conserve Water. Help dry a neighbor’s tear.

4. Stop Air Pollution. Stifle those hurtful, discouraging words. And if you simply must get them out of your system, write them down on a piece of paper and then rip it into tiny bits. You can even throw them on the ground and stomp around on them if you want to. It’ll make you feel better without having to make anyone else feel worse. (Oh, and don’t forget to clean up those bits of paper – for recycling, of course.)

5. Consume Less. Especially things that hurt you and the people around you. You’re doing yourself a favor if you eliminate tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse from your life. And I promise, the world will seem to be a sweeter, more pleasant place. Eventually.

6. Get Tough on Polluters. Refuse to watch television programs or movies that waste your time, drain your energy and make your brain go limp.

7. Don’t Use Plastic. If you can’t afford to pull out the green stuff when the cashier asks “Cash or charge?” – do without. Indebtedness can be devastating to your social health, and it’s never as easy to eliminate as you think it’s going to be. Just ask President Obama.

8. Study Global Warming. If we all became a little warmer to each other and more tolerant of other people and their customs, religions and definitions of the word “football,” maybe we wouldn’t have to worry so much about defending ourselves against prejudice and the ultimate Greenhouse Effect: nuclear conflict.

9. Garden Organically. But keep the ol’ compost pit in the yard where it belongs. No need to allow the . . . you know . . . stuff to pile up in the middle of your personal or professional relationships, where all it will fertilize is uncertainty and mistrust. Be open, honest and candid, and let the “chips” fall where they may. So to speak.

10. Take a Stand. You’ll be surprised to find out how invigorating it can be to stand up for something you really believe in. Of course, first you have to decide what that “something” is – which can be an exciting adventure all by itself.

But do it now. Because of Earth Day. Because you care. Because you want to make the world a better place. And because . . . well . . . “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

I hope we can all keep finding ways to improve our "tree hugging" attitudes.

C'mon...I dare you.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thanks for the life saver

A few weeks ago I was thinking about how people have influenced me. I decided to write my former Young Men's leader an email. I'll share what happened in that conversation.

Brother Walker,

This is Ryan Johnson. I’m not sure if you still check this email, but I thought I’d try.

The other day I was reading Chad’s weekly email and at the very end of the email he said, “PS. I was reading an ensign from 1990 the other day and read something by Joe Walker, kinda cool huh?” So, today while I’ve been at work I decided to go find some things you’ve wrote and I wanted to tell you something I was thinking about as I read; thank you for the life saver.

I had a hard time when I was growing up with just trying to “fit in” (whatever that means). Being a teenager in a ward where you’re the only boy your age was tough, but reflecting back I’m grateful for leaders that magnified their callings, like yourself, Kenny Nay, and Ryan Mansfield. Having been an EFY counselor for a couple of summers, I know that a lot of times with teens those efforts to plant the seed of faith may be like drilling for a root canal with no pain killer, but I see the Lord does not let that pass Him by.

You held out the life saver of a testimony for me. I’ll always be grateful for the powerful lesson you taught on the Atonement using Matt Rowley as an object lesson asking him to do pushups. That opened my eyes to the reality of the Atonement and that even a skinny little 14 year old kid can become a better person than he was.

You showed me the life saver of genuine kindness and love. Every time I came to home teach or went to a young men’s activity, you were always there with a smile and a hug. You may not have known this at the time, but that genuine kindness began to shape me into the who I am and continue to strive to be.

Lastly, you showed me the life saver of the Spirit. I never knew I was feeling the spirit when I was younger, I always thought it was just a good feeling you get at church. I remember talking with you a few days after my mission and I remember you telling me, “Do all you can to keep the spirit with you the way you had on your mission, pay attention to what you do, you set your own rules now.”

So, once again, thank you for the life saver.

I hope all is well.


His response was this:


I can't even begin to find the words to tell you how much this extraordinarily kind and thoughtful e-mail meant to me. This is a treasure, especially since it comes from someone who I love and admire as much as I do you. You have always been a pleasure to know and to be around. You know, no matter how hard you work at being a good leader or teacher, it can be heard when the kids refuse to listen, or to give you a chance to help them. You always gave me a chance. You listened, with a good attitude. You accepted my efforts and tried the things I suggested. You accepted my efforts to reach out to you, and allowed me to be a friend to you. As you get callings and work with young people, you'll understand how important that is. You made it easy to serve and to give, because you accepted my feeble efforts. So many times you reach out to young people who won't reach back. You did, and that made it joyful for both of us.

You were a great kid, Ryan, and you have become an even greater man. I pray you have the opportunity to serve a Ryan Johnson or two in your life, and you'll know what a delight and joy you have always been to me.

God bless you! And thank you again for taking the time to write!


I was glad I took the time to write him. You never know what a random letter may do for someone's day, week or month.

I'm grateful to all the people that have been a life saver to me.

Thank you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Walking the hard steps using MATH?

"Arbiter Sports this is Ryan, how can I help you?"

"Yeah, I can't log into your website, can you help?"

"No problem, let me look up your information."

"Okay, I show here that your password is your last name in all lower case letters."

"What does that mean?"

I was dumb founded. How do I explain what lower case letters meant? That's something you the womb or something!

"Umm, type your name in all little letters. First type "s"

"Where is s?"

"It's by the letter "a"

"Oh, okay."

After this typical day at work, I thought about the fact that we all have problems. Whether they are present problems or future problems. Large problems or small.

I've been taking a lot of math the last 2 months, and I've seen how the way you approach an equation (a problem) is similar to the way we should approach a problem problem:
  1. Write out the problem, think about the best way to approach the problem.
  2. Try out what you feel you should do.
  3. If the problem doesn't seem to be working out the way you thought, go back and re-work it.
  4. If you still can't find a solution, talk to someone that knows how to work out problems similar to the one you have.
  5. Be willing to listen to your "tutors" and thank them for their help.

At times you may come across a similar problem, and you think that you're doing everything right until you get toward the end of your problem and you realize its not working out.

Why? Because you started with a negative.

I guess math really can apply to you in real life...

Except... for finding the lower case s.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Your personal dragon

The Manti pageant? Cheesy and way expensive for a 32 oz cream soda, but the company was good and it set my mind into a "what is God trying to teach me?" mode.

I went to see the movie, "How to train your Dragon". Not in 3D just the classic way we use to watch know, way back in 2008?

As I was watching this movie I thought about a few things:

  1. We're all broken in some way or another.
  2. We all need someone else to fix us, we can't do it alone.
  3. We all need to be accepting of others who might have a few more "broken" things about them then we do...though, reality is, we're most likely just as broke.
These last few days of different activities have opened my mind to the fact that life is not only about learning how to serve others, it is about allowing others to "fix" you; through their kindness, through their honesty, and maybe sometimes through the criticism, they can fix you. They can help you fly, they can help you reach your potential. Of course, we need to do our part to strive our hardest to fly, but at times it takes another to help us reach for new sky.

The problem is, we all have our own personal dragon to train. The dragon of pride. Once we take away that hostility, we become more willing to fly. When we're more willing to fly, we're free.

I just hope I can keep learning how to "Train my Dragon".

Without the 3D glasses please.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Super man- boy

The tutor for math wasn't there, I came at the wrong time.

"Sorry." said Calli the secretary.
"It's fine, I'll be back." I said.

I decided to go to the Institute, I haven't been there for a while, and I've come to find a certain comfort there that I haven't had other places. That probably came from being Vice President of the place last year.

I was walking from my car down a dead end road toward my end goal, ya know doing the normal stuff, sneezing from dreaded hay-fever and kickin' a rock. I looked to my left and saw this little blond haired boy taking the trash to the can.

He was in a Super man costume.

Full-on, red undies and cape. Super man.

He looked to be maybe 6. As I watched this boy throw the trash out and then run back to his mom sitting on the lawn with his 3 siblings, I thought about how it was that Super man boy was so happy?

How could he be? It's 90 degrees outside and he's wearing long sleeves and undies on the outside of his pants!

As I look at what that boy did, and look at myself and things I've done/do, I think he's happy for 3 reasons:

  1. He loves his family. He's there for them, and he helps them out, even with the small things in life. He loves to be with them despite their differences, (his 2 sisters were wearing ballerina costumes!)
  2. He doesn't care about what others think about him. I hope he never has to experience something that will completely taint that view.
  3. He loves his hero and strives to be like him. (Don't do anything drastic like jump off a roof or anything.)
I thought about that all day long. As I was playing water volleyball tonight for our ward activity, and I was with some new people from my ward that I don't know very well, some people I do, and some I've never sat down and come to know, I realized how much more I need to be more like Super man boy. I hope and pray that I can be.

Only....without the red undies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The child inside

"Mom?" the 4 year old says walking into the kitchen.
"Mom, how many dollars does a big kid bed cost?"
"Maybe 2 or 300 dollars."

The 4 year old stands thinking for a moment.

"Mom, can we get 300 dollars so I can get a big kid bed?"
"Why do you want a big kid bed?"
"Well, I want to get the 'How to train your dragon' blanket for my bed but my bed is too small so I need a big kid bed so the blanket will fit."

I love my nephew. He constantly wants to have fun. He's taught me a lot about how life should be; not too serious, smile at everything and love everyone for who they are.

I was thinking last night as I was going to sleep, how much I wish I was more like Jayden. Over the years from being picked on, teased, dumped, re-dumped, turned down, and embarrassed, my view of others and myself have become a little tainted.

My personal 4 year old is harder to bring out. It's interesting to me how easily kids believe and also how fragile they are to that fading away.

I told someone close to me recently how I admire those around me that place God above everything else. They don't see certain movies or listen to certain music because they understand that maybe, just maybe, God can run their life better than they can. And they want to stay as close to that guidance as they can.

Because God knows me, better than I know me.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Taking it off

Someone had to take it off, and that someone was not going to be me!

I was not going to be like so many others who tore it off like one of those really ugly Christmas sweaters your grandma gave you 5 years ago and you wear just for the sake of wearing it...only one day a year.

This was not just an accessory on my clothing. It made me part of who I became, who I was, who I am.

I've realized that in order for one person to wear the name tag though, someone else must take it off.

Since being home 2 and a half years, I've wondered, "Has it been a good or bad thing that I'm no longer in the "weird stage"?" You know what I'm talking about, that point right after a mission when everyone says, "give him a month and he'll be back to "normal"." I've thought about that a lot recently; when I came home and people thought of me as strange, I was likely doing the following upon coming home:
  1. I read my scriptures daily
  2. I constantly helped people. Whether on the bus, train, or in a car, or even in a ward I don't like.
  3. I had personal prayer. Every day.
  4. I repented of my short comings. Every day.
  5. I focused on things of God, rather than things of Me. I tried my best to follow the Spirit's guidance.
So why did I let - or do I let, those "weird" things fade?

After all, I didn't take that off with my name tag...right?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I love to hate you

I've noticed something recently. People love to be loved and hate to be hated, but they love to hate when they have a reason.

Or justification...

Example, a few weeks ago I was tired. (Ryan? Tired? No!) and I was hanging out with a few friends and one of my friends said a few comments to me and I reacted with a remark that probably wasn't the best. She reacted defensively, and I blew it off and went on with my life. Then, recently the other friend I was with told me that the other friend really doesn't like fact...hate's me. Not only that but I find out there is another person in my ward that feels the same way. Because of something I said to him. The grudges are held, the love is lost, the feelings are hurt.

Now I almost walk on egg shells around them. My friend says,"Just be nice to them, you don't have to be their friend." I have an issue with that. I value being a friend and being the best I can be toward and for other people. So when I find that someone "hates" me, my sincerity for that person fades away. I feel fake. I don't like that.

I guess that's why forgiveness and the sacrament are so important for our daily lives and weeks. We can be forgiven for things we've done but it is up to the person whether they continue to see the dirt on your hands or not.

It's a love I try not to hate.