Things That Wouldn't Make Me Cry

If my car was hit... by the Publishers Clearinghouse Prize Patrol van bringing me a check for $10 million.

If Hollywood sank into the ocean.

If my

Housekeeping Note

The preceding post is an article I wrote for the e-newsletter sent out by yourldsneighborhood.com. Back when I was on Blogger, I used a separate blog for that, but I'm just combining everything on here. If you don't like that, you're a terrible person.

Be of Good Cheer (but Don’t Overdo It)

By Joel Hiller

Most people who know many latter-day saints would agree that members of the Church are, as a group, happy. In the media we are often portrayed as excessively cheerful and optimistic. Obviously, this mostly stems from the fact that living the gospel naturally brings us happiness—for me, the prospect of exaltation makes up for a lot of rainy days in this life, and the blessings that come through obedience are undeniable. But we are also specifically counseled in the scriptures to “be of good cheer,” and Church leaders have advised us that enduring to the end means more than simple survival.

An eternal perspective also gives us insight into the need for trials, however. Few members of the Church would deny that great blessings can come to us through overcoming the tribulations we all face. None of us will escape trials in this life, and many of our most severe tests can bring about life’s greatest joys. Parenthood, for example, is one of the greatest responsibilities we can be given in this life, and it brings with it both difficult trials and incomparable rewards.

Sometimes, though, it seems we as saints are afraid to show ourselves as human. Remaining optimistic in the face of difficulties is important, but does that mean we can’t ever let on that we’re going through tough times?

Now, I’m not saying we should “disfigure our faces” when facing trials. Nobody wants to be around someone who is always complaining. But there’s a difference between griping and being honest about what we are going through. After all, if we truly are supposed to “mourn with those that mourn,” don’t we need to be aware that other people are mourning?

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but sometimes it’s harder for me to develop close friendships with people who can’t seem to relate to me. The people in my ward who never seem anything but perfectly composed (with perfectly obedient children, of course) seem so far above me in progression that it’s harder to develop the unity that we should all enjoy as friends and neighbors. If they truly are that happy at all times, then I greatly admire them and hope that I can someday achieve such a state. In the meantime, however, the people that my wife and I always feel closer to are the ones that might occasionally have bags under their eyes from sleepless nights with a baby, which we can readily relate to. These are faithful members of the Church, fulfilling their responsibilities and serving others, but we can be honest with each other and admit that we’re looking forward to a time when nighttime feedings are a thing of the past. We can draw strength from this solidarity, and find comfort in the support we offer each other.

When we are suffering through trials and it seems as though everyone around us has life all figured out, that can leave us feeling like something of a failure, not righteous enough to merit the constant happiness that others seem to enjoy. Because many people easily feel insecure, even with the comfort the gospel brings, we feel lonely when it seems we’re missing something that those around us seem to enjoy. By building walls around ourselves to keep others from seeing our humanity, we lose out on the closeness that comes from uniting together to endure the challenges of life. By being open with each other, we learn that success in the eternal sense comes from faithfully enduring and overcoming trials, rather than acting as though they didn’t happen.

I am not suggesting that we all stand up in fast and testimony meeting and detail everything that is imperfect in our lives. But in the appropriate circumstances and within reason, we have great opportunities to show empathy and love when we open up and share our tribulations with one another. Ironically, when we all seem a little more human, our goal of eternal perfection can seem a little more attainable.

Coming Soon

Explosive Confession


One day, when I was a teenager, some friends and I had several boxes of those snaps that you throw on the ground during fireworks season. For some reason, we decided to come up with a creative way to use them. In the end, one of us (possibly me; I have largely repressed my memory of the incident) suggested that we unwrap them all and combine their minuscule amounts of gunpowder to make a super snap. So, we got a paper towel and sat on my friend Krista’s porch, unwrapping the snaps and pouring their contents onto the paper towel.

Star formation is very interesting, aside from all the math. It turns out that one way a star ignites is through gravitational collapse, which occurs when the mass of a dust cloud becomes so great that it collapses in on itself, heating up to the point that the fusion reaction begins.

So anyway, there we were, sitting on the semi-enclosed porch, with our heads close together over the ever-growing pile of explosives. And then the pile reached the Jeans mass, and the weight of the gunpowder caused it to explode. In our faces.

Diving from the porch, it took some time for us to recover, especially our hearing. But you know what’s even more valuable than five sense and two eyebrows? Knowledge. G. I. Joe would be proud.

Today

It was a weird Saturday. This morning I decided to take Sam so he and I could get our hair cut. But today was the Salt Lake Marathon, and our house is in the middle of the loop, so we can only go a few blocks east and west. When I explained the delay to Sam, he said, "We'll never get there, and my hair will grow the size of the moon!"

We did eventually get our hair cut, and then I went for a run. It was nice to run 10 miles for the first time in a year. And I managed to get sunburned a bit, which was something I wasn't expecting this early in the year.

After that, I took the kids to Cabela's, because we looked at their website and it looked like just a fun store to hang out at. I'd never been there, and I wanted to give Katie a break. so we went and looked at all the taxidermied animals. Allison wanted to touch all of them, and Sam kept trying to convince me that he needed a giant, stuffed shark pillow (we compromised on a less expensive toy gun).

Then tonight we decided to take a walk, and Dortmunder started to follow us. That was a little weird, but I had a cat growing up that would occasionally follow me around a bit. But Dortmunder went on the entire walk with us, which was about a mile. That crazy cat thinks he's a dog or something.

The end

He's Busting Mad Rhymes with an 80% Success Rate

So if I ever send a song to Katie, she is mainly concerned with the lyrics. She wants to know exactly what it's saying, regardless of how it sounds. A friend at work is the opposite. He doesn't really care what the lyrics are; it's the sound of the song that he cares about.

So my question is, are most people like that? I personally care about the sound at first, and then if it's enjoyable I will look up the lyrics. Both parts have to come together for me.

Is anybody out there primarily a music/lyrics person?

Quote from Sam

[caption id="attachment_1154" align="aligncenter" width="614" caption=""What I really wonder is just how bacteria evolved.""]Sam Pondering[/caption]

Shall I Return?

While I enjoy the features of WordPress, sometimes I think about coming back to Blogger. Does anyone out there have an opinion on that?

I Called It

Okay, this is pretty amazing. Remember when I posted this?

Of course you do. Well, take a look at this.

Yes, I am awesome.

Worst Post Ever?

I wasn't going to post this, because it's unbelievably boring. But there is something noteworthy here, and that is the fact that I could find this interesting:

Read at your own risk (of crushing boredom.)

So as dinner is in the oven, I'm sitting here waiting, staring at the labels for peanut butter and honey, because Sam's having a sandwich. I was wondering which had more calories. The honey label says that one tablespoon (21g) has 60 calories, and the peanut butter says that two tablespoons (32g) has 190 calories. Hang on, that's weird. One tablespoon of honey is 21 grams, and 2 tablespoons of the peanut butter is 32? What's the deal there?

Oh. As I look it up, I realize we're converting volume to mass, so the peanut butter and honey have different densities.

Hmm, according to onlineconversion.com, two tablespoons of peanut butter equals 22 grams. So the label is wrong, unless for some reason Jif has a markedly different density from whatever peanut butter that website is referencing. Weird.

Out of Character

Lately Sam has been strangely courteous. He's started asking me question such as how I slept, and if I had a good day at work. Then he'll try to stab me with his toy sword, cackling as I act out a death scene. It's a very odd combination of traits.

Chat Log

Here's a chat I had this morning with my friend Rob Wells.

me:  I'm sure they'll call any minute



robisonwells:  I'm sure you'll get a punch in the neck any minute
(because I hired a guy)




me:  I'll do it for half the price




robisonwells:  no, when hiring a hitman, I find it best to avoid possible conflicts of interests. You know, I'm all about ethics.




me:  Why would you hire a hitman just to punch me? That's like hiring a doctor to apply a band-aid.




robisonwells:  because I take pride in my work, no matter how small the job
also, when looking to hire someone to punch someone in the neck, your options are pretty limited.





me:  He bruised his knuckle on my vertebra. We're going to try again.
Much better.






robisonwells:  oh goof
good






me:  But he says he's going to charge you for the extra punch






robisonwells:  but, oh goof also
that hitman, he's such a goof!!!






me:  So how much am I supposed to tip him? These situations are always so awkward.




robisonwells:  you're supposed to buy him lunch

the best tip a hitman can get is an intelligent conversation over a hot meal

Regrets

Not getting into running as a teenager.

Made in...

Our kitchen chairs: Malaysia

Fingernail clippers: Korea

Running shoes: Vietnam

Frying pan: France

Screwdriver: Taiwan

Every other object in the house: China