Church and Stuff.

by barkerwoofer

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I like this quote. I guess that means I like church.

Here’s the thing, if you didn’t know: I’ve been inactive since about halfway through my senior year of high school. That’s around three years, if you’re keeping track at home. (You aren’t.) I’m taking a Book of Mormon class at Institute this semester, and it’s actually been a blessing to be able to unwind with some good word every now and again. I think I just barely graduated seminary, because the majority of my time my senior year was spent ditching. Anyway, it’s fun to me that the gospel is no longer a bore. I’ve been making a concerted effort to read my scriptures and (gasp) pray, and the difference between this semester and last is night and day. Call it placebo effect if you’re not theist, but I really do feel more relaxed and overall happy this year. I’m still working on actually going to church, but that should be the easy part – right?

I think one of the main reasons I stopped going wasn’t that I don’t believe in it, it’s that my last ward was awful. Don’t take it personally if you happened to be in the Red Cliffs 6th ward. Things just weren’t clicking with me and my leaders, and my family felt very outcast. My ward in Cedar is immeasurably better. When I do make an effort to be at church, things are wonderful – people say hi, and I feel welcome, even if I don’t talk to anyone but my old roommates. My home teaching companion actually went to Snow Canyon a few years above me, and he’s such an awkwardly funny guy to be around. I guess his passion for the gospel is contagious.

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Anyway, like I said, I like Institute tons. I even take notes. (Gasp!)  Since I guess this is my soapbox, here’s something quick I wanted to share about 2 Nephi 2. Don’t mind my nasty handwriting up there.

Reptentence is awesome. I’m sure the whole book is filled with good stuff, but there are some real good nuggets in Second Nephi Chapter 2. This isn’t something I normally share, but I’ve been asked by my bishop to not take the Sacrament. I am “that guy” in church that has to awkwardly pass the tray to the next person as quickly as possible and sit in shame wondering how many people saw what just happened. Is it embarrassing? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.

Call me egotistical if you’d like, but I have a thought in my head that I have it better than someone who’s never had a problem with sinning. Guys in my old ward went on missions at 19, no problem, and that’s great, honestly. Guys like me, who have seen the other side (so to speak) and know how awful it feels after actually sinning – we have a different perspective. We’re able to say “Yes, I did _____, but I’ve learned from my mistakes. It’s awful. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” Because of that, I can say more equivocally than Peter Priesthood that there is a reason the Church has stances against certain sins. I have a real, tangible experience to base my testimony on, not just a thought or warning from a leader. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bragging about sinning. I’m just saying “I have done it, so I (better than anyone) can tell you it’s not a good idea.” I’m in the long process of repentance as we speak, and it’s tough, tough stuff. But for the first time, I realize how good and fair it is. I’m thinking more clearly than I have in a long, long time, and I have this kind of corny vision in my head of a temple wedding someday. That’s definitely on my radar. I may have taken a different path than most, but I’ll still get to where I want to be in the end.

Anyway, I went a little off topic. Here’s the thing about Second Nephi:

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

Sin is necessary. It’s a learning experience. Once you do it, you (should) realize why it’s bad and gain a better understanding for the church and the gospel. That’s not to say you can rationalize or justify running out and sinning all you want, but it’s amazing to know that if you mess up, things will get better. It’s like working out. When you lift, you’re actually ripping your muscles apart. But give it time to heal, and things always come together stronger.

I could go on. I think I subconsciously thought out a long talk about Repentance and Sin during class. I guess this is a snippet. I just love this chapter, is all.

Anyway, I think that’s as much as I can type about the church right now without coming off as preachy (gasp) or braggy. I was wrong about it in the past. Church = good. One of my goals this year is to get my Patriarchal Blessing (yeah..) and the thought of a mission is floating around in the back of my head somewhere..

Run Michael, Run

I’m still running. And I’m making progress. In the past two weeks I’ve cut almost 2 minutes off my 5k time, down to 28:05. Still not earth-ending or remotely impressive, but I’m reasonably pleased with it. My average mile time on January 2nd was 11:20. Tonight it was 9:15 over four miles. Again, not impressive (actually, pretty crap) but shaving two minutes off in 30 days is great, in my opinion. I should be down to a 1 minute mile by May, right?

The funny thing is, I’m not forcing myself to go running like I had to back in high school. I get home from work around 8 and it’s like “Welp. Better go running.” One of the highlights of my day is getting my run done, sitting in the living room to stretch and thinking “Yeah, I did that shee.” I think the sense of accomplishment (in anything) is a huge motivator for me. (As well as being able to say “I told you so, haermm.”)

I’ve been a little worried about a lack of progress (Single mile time hasn’t significantly improved), but considering the weather and time, I suppose I should chill out. That’s one of my faults – lots of times I’ll demand perfection of myself and if I can’t do it, I get do the opposite and get lazy. Maybe that’s why I’m a 20 year old freshman. Anyway, I think progress will pick up a lot in spring, which reminds me –

I can’t wait until Spring. Nothing against 20 degree nights and occasional snow, but I love Spring/Summer Cedar weather. Last summer there were seriously only a handful of days where I sat back and thought “Okay, it’s too hot.” Absolutely perfect weather here in the summer. I can’t wait to be able to wake up in the morning and go running without a sweater and handwarmers.. I guess I could run at the PE building on campus, but I think we all know I’m too socially awkward for that. (Haermm) It’s not horrible running in 35 degree weather, since you really warm up after a few minutes, but I wonder a little if my times would automatically be better in say 70 degrees.

More stuff with an Awkward Segue

I have a newfound respect for photographers. A while back my brother posted something on Facebook to the effect of “Hey girls, starting a page called _____ _____ Photography and thinking you’re a professional photographer isn’t an occupation. Go get a real job.” And I couldn’t help but agree with him a bit. (Privately, because he was lambasted for it)

I can do post-production work just fine, but tuning the F-stop and Shutter Speed, messing with lighting.. it’s all confusing to me. I guess that’s a little ironic because we did a project on Premier Pro CS5 at work last summer and I was assigned files that specifically had to do with it:

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I bring up Photography because I’m taking Intro to Photography this semester and while I think I’ll pass just fine, it’s just interesting to me that it’s a lot more complex than people realize. It’s easy to see a picture on Facebook and think “Yeah, I could do that, big deal,” when really, you can’t.

Speaking of school, I’m getting better at drawing. I used to draw with short dashed lines – see below – which my professor says is normal if you’re unsure of what you’re doing. So this whole time I thought I was awful at drawing, I was actually average. Yay. Anyway I’ve almost kicked that habit, which is a miracle in and of itself. I’ve also learned a LOT about Illustrator in the first month of classes, which is a relief because I had a personal and work goal of learning to work using vector art as opposed to raster, and it’s coming along nicely.

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There is is. Don’t be like me, kids.

The Wrap Up:

  • It’s February which means the Super Bowl is this Sunday.
  • No, I couldn’t care less about either team.
  • I started my job last Valentines Day, which means I’ve lived in Cedar almost a year.
  • I probably have a Skype date with Damo this Valentines Day.
  • I bought Last Summer by Eleanor Friedberger (legally!) and I love it.
  • I think she’s pretty, but no one (and I mean no one) else I’ve talked to about it seems to think so.
  • I’m a little self conscious about how many parenthesis and dumb quotes I’ve used in this post.
  • I don’t know if I’m supposed to be throwing periods at the ends of these sentences
  • My newest iPhone addiction is Scramble with Friends, so if I start a game with you:
  • Please respond
  • I’m not terribly excited for taxes.
  • My niece can crawl now. (!)
  • I’m pretty sure I have shin splints from running so much. And it hurts my abs when I sneeze.
  • The pedo mustache and complimentary stringy beard are back for the foreseeable future.
  • I ordered the Royal Rumble last Sunday and I’m not quite sure if I’m glad I did or not, haermm.
  • Haermm is an inside joke, if you’re wondering.
  • I miss some of my old high school friends (Sherry, Mireya, Jake, etc), but I’m too proud to talk to them about some of the issues we had.
  • I haven’t gone to Snow Canyon in almost 3 years, which is mind blowing to me.
  • That nasty dashed drawing up there is some concept art from the 2D Design capstone I can’t seem to shut up about. It was supposed to be a pop-up book, but thanks to procrastination, it became a flash presentation.
  • Apparently Cedar has a DMV behind Lins. I found this out because I tried to renew my car’s registration on the last possible day at around 4PM.
  • Kelly is moving back to California and she’s going to Raw with my brother on the 13th. Insane amount of jealousy.
  • I picked a random new theme to go with for this, because I think you have to pay to design your own.
  • I had to refer to the Church website while writing this and I have to say it looks sexy. Am I allowed to use that word when describing something Church related? That’s your call.

I’m just going to end this awkwardly by saying “bye”.

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