Category Archives: Wise Thoughts

If I were President…

In this wing of my Blog I will make posts about ideas I have about the problems of micro and macro society. I am primarily interested in finding, forming and fixing good ideas. This is not a place for venting or slandering, and I do not intend to promote particular Parties or Politicians. Hopefully my ideas can stand on their own.

If you have suggestions to improve upon and idea given, or if you have information that gives evidence contrary to my idea, please speak up! I in no way suppose myself to be the end-all expert in these matters. Rather, I hope to be a caretaker and moderator of an intelligent conversation. Thank you!

 

Everytime! Why do I keep falling for this?

Shamefully I must admit, I am a weak man. Every time I go to Dairy Queen or Chik Fil’A or restaurant, I always buy too large a size shake.

I love ice cream. Ice cream cones, ice cream shakes, ice cream snacks… It’s a big weakness of mine. I try to be responsible and smart about my snacking, but it can be hard to resist 2nds. Or 3rds… or… you get the drift.

But even my body, with all of its ice cream eating Spartan training, has its limits. I can eat myself sick if I don’t watch myself. And to make things worse, some of my favorite flavors are the ultra thick and rich, stuff-you-up-to-the-neck ones like Brownie Fudge and Cookie Dough. They’re just SOOO good and I want as much of it as I can, but I can only get halfway through a Large cup before it’s not much fun anymore 😦

I KNOW this about myself. I don’t know why I keep trying the same thing and expecting that things will be different. But they make it REALLY hard to buy just a small. I see the small, and it’s like $3.25. I’m thinking, “Yeesh, that’s expensive. I could almost buy a regular pint at that. Oh look, for just 40¢ more I can get a Medium. And for just 50¢ more than that I can get a Large! It would almost be irresponsible for me NOT to get the most bang for my buck. I should get a Large.”

How does one compete with a tag team of addictively good taste and marketing-ploy inflated perception of value? HOW!?

The Blessing of Balance with Twins

I’m not just talking about how it’s actually more comfortable to carry two car seats over moderate distances than just one, even though it is true, and is a great workout for the arms. But having two children of nearly equal standing I find gives the Universe unforeseen opportunities to teach you the value of the little things.

For starters; a short while ago Myles made us ecstatic by saying his first word. “Ma ma.” Okay, that’s somewhat a stretch. He was basically just playing with sounds in his mouth and happened to pop off in the middle of nursing, looked up into Jessica’s eyes and mumbled, “ma ma, ma ma ma ma ma…” I thought it was too unwieldy to be considered an actual word, but Jessica’s competitive and won the argument with a defiant, “It counts, dang it!”

Well, turnabout is fair play, and just a little over a week after that, Remington was chewing on his pacifier when he started to go, “da da, da da da da da…” While my logical mind knows that this 9 month old had no real idea what he was trying to do, hearing the sounds “Da da” reflexively plucked my heartstrings and made me feel so proud. This was when the idea was first brought up that we were blessed to have the opportunity to keep things balanced between the two twins.

When we go out shopping, we each get to take a baby in a separate cart, allowing us both to witness and enjoy the interactions of our boys and friendly strangers. When taking pictures we each get to hold a bouncing bundle of joy on our lap. But those are obvious benefits. Let me list a few that I feel are more unique to Milo and Remi.

  1. When feeding them baby food, Remington started off as a hearty and eager eater, more willing to try things like cereal, mango or avocado. But he also has a habit of putting his finger in his mouth right after taking a bite, which makes a mess. I hate food messes, btw. Myles can be a bit trickier to keep interested in eating his food, but at least he’s clean.
  2. Milo learned to crawl first, but in turn kinda skipped learning how to sit up on his own; a skill which Remi excels at.
  3. Remington love to rough-house, but Myles prefers silly faces and singing.

There are more, I’m sure, but I’ve gotta wrap things up sometime. If any of you have ever had twins, I’m sure you’ve felt a little of the same thing. Which is all part of God’s plan to reward parents who are willing to put up with double trouble.

How we are all like nuggets of Iron.

While listening to the Semi-annual General Conference talks this afternoon I began to ponder the purpose of our Earthly experience, the role of the Church, and what happens to those who do not receive the Gospel in their lifetimes. Thus came the analogy of unrefined metal and wandering magnets.

All of mankind, as children of God, are nuggets of iron ore; and the purpose of mortal life is for us to become the cleanest, most pure chunks of metal that we can be. Taking a turn through the “Refiner’s Fire” as it were. And God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in this scenario, are like magnets.

Our divine destiny is to return to God. Iron is typically drawn toward magnetic fields, but not if it is oxidized (rusted) or separated from the field by some kind of insulator like rock or dirt. Often times matters of this world bury us beneath layers of stress or complacency. “I don’t have enough time to start something new,” “I’m happy with my life right now,” or “I’ve heard too many different ideas I don’t know who to believe” are all examples of such layers that can accumulate over the course of our lives and prevent even pure cores of iron from recognizing the magnetic pull of the Gospel. These layers, however, are often fleeting and circumstantial and can easily be washed or shaken off by a moment of revelation, whether in this life or the next.

It is another matter when there is rust or impurities within the iron. The degree to which the metal is tainted often weakens its magnetic attraction. Likewise, sin makes us less perceptive to God’s influence. But iron-oxide, aka rust, can be converted back into pure form by smelting it in a fire; and “being purified by fire” is a phrase often used to describe repentance and cleansing by the Holy Spirit. (If you wanted to get even deeper into the topic we could point out that smelting “rust” into Iron requires a catalyst which takes the Oxygen away from the Iron and binds it to itself… but I’ll move on.)

But if the Iron is clean and is in contact with a magnet that is strong enough for long enough, something interesting happens; the raw Iron develops a magnetic charge itself. It now becomes a carrier of the power of the “parent” magnet. If you’ve ever been around someone who has undergone such a spiritual conversion, then you likely understand what I’m talking about. These are those who spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others, either passively through their example or actively through proselytizing.

Now, as I stated in the beginning, the purpose of our earthly experience is for us to become as purified as possible.Should we be fortunate to come across a “wandering” magnet when we are in a receptive state, we will likely be drawing to it and have an opportunity to be connected in this mortal life to God’s power. But whether or not we cross paths with such a magnet is not entirely up to us. It may be God’s plan that certain of his children do not fully “connect” with Him until after they enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

So that’s my analogy. It nicely sums up my feelings on the purpose of life, the reason He has an organized church and the eternal fate of good men and women who live and die without the Gospel. I wish I had made this analogy back when I was serving my mission. I know I could have used it a time or two when attempting to help address similar thoughts posed by those I taught.

On this day, 31 Years Ago

There, I stayed up just so I could post this at the exact right moment. At 1:17 am mountain time, just a little more than 3 decades ago, I was born into the world. Mind you, I came folded in half and butt first (good thing I was always skinny), but I survived and here I am now.

SAMSUNG CSC
SAMSUNG CSC

So what has changed since Nov. 11, 2014? I graduated college, which I suppose is a big achievement. My wife, Jessica, is pregnant with TWINS. I’m very excited about that, but I kinda just squeezed that one in at the end of my year deadline and was mostly unintentional (I mean, it’s TWINS! How cool is that?), so I don’t know if I can give myself too much credit. I got back into gymnastics via the route of Georgia’s competitive job market, and it has made me feel really good. Oh, I now live in Georgia, though it still hasn’t quite grown on me as a “home” yet, though I suspect it eventually will.

I’m still not a published author yet, but that’s largely my fault for being too distracted during my “free” time. It takes a lot of work to get one’s first novel published, and I really need to train myself to make it more like a job, which will kinda bite because that pushes it out of the Hobby zone. Still worth it. I think. I also haven’t started my Biology career, but I blame that on no one from any of the companies ever calling me back. I think it must be a Georgia thing. If I did the math, I bet I’d find less than 5% of my messages or inquiries ever returned. Guess who did call me back? The gymnastics team. Yeah.

I miss doing the animal rescue. I miss Rexburg, Idaho and my alma mater. I am surprisingly fine with sharing a house with my in-laws. I think a lot more people could find themselves in a better financial place if they just swallow some pride and share property with their nuclear families when feasible, and go into huge debt just to “have some space.” Besides, all you have to do is out live them and you get a free house! Lol, just playing. Love you Wallace Mom and Wallace Dad!

Ok, it’s 3:17 am (Georgia time). Gotta post! Happy Birthday to me!

What Creative Writing has taught me about God

Even though I have yet to be published and make a fortune as a famous author, I am already beginning to see some amazing fruits sprouting from my budding hobby.

And one very precious fruit to me is an understanding of the world from God’s perspective. What do I mean by this? I mean, how can anyone comprehend the world at the level of deity, right? Well, I don’t claim that I have a FULL understanding. It’s more like a tiny peek which gave me an important piece of the puzzle. Like when scientists smash two atoms together and find a quark or something. So what did I find?

The different levels of Creation:blueprint

Specifically human creation, I should say, though there is some overlap with everything else. I, like most religious people, believe that everyone has a Spirit inside of their body and God is the creator/father of said Spirit. I might take it one step further and propose that there was a level of existence even before the Spirit form, where we were all little more than a twinkle in God’s omnipotent eye. And idea. Floating, formless potential.

As a writer, I have character ideas galore. My first novel contains about 30+ solid characters and about as many more “fluff” characters. But I have well over 100 character concepts floating around in my head just waiting to be put into future books. Floating, formless potential.

Once a character gets put down on paper, whether in a story or just a character development exercise, it has moved on to the next stage. It has gained a measure of form and substance. It is now a “Spirit.” These working characters interact, adapt, change and reveal themselves and in turn I get to know exactly who they are. But they are still very malleable, and their function and path can change at any time. It’s not until the book is published that they now “exist” in a permanent, physical sense. They are now free agents unto themselves and I cannot go back and alter their base nature any more. I can only direct their future path in the sequels.

Why God created both the “good” and the “bad:” Why would God create a being such as Satan? Why not just make all good children and have a perfect world? Well, as a writer I have developed the belief that every idea deserves the right to exist. Granted, I don’t think that every idea deserves to be PUBLISHED (that would be receiving mortal form, remember). But an idea deserves to be developed, understood and evaluated for all of its value and potential before either being accepted or disregarded.

As a mere mortal I only have the capacity to develop a small fraction of my ideas. But an omnipotent being like God would be able to give every “idea” its due justice, each receiving a fair chance to show its worth. Once this is done, then writing and “publishing” can begin.

In a perfect world with infinite resources, I believe that the majority of ideas have a right to be published. I know this probably makes the brains of every publisher, editor and book critic explode. But the concept is that if an idea is worth something to even one person, then sure, why not let them have it? The only things that I can imagine ought to be disqualified would be works intended to deceive, to influence readers to make wrong choices, or to poison the reader’s minds with obscenities and filth. Sounds a lot like Satan and his followers, right? Which would explain why they remained in Spirit form and did not receive mortal bodies.

How God can know what we are going to do (and yet leave us with free will):

fox trot

This concept boggled my mind for the majority of my mature life. But now as I sit down in front of a keyboard to write, with the “lives” of my characters in my hands, it no longer feels impossible to grasp.

I’ve heard other authors say that they just go where their characters take them. If I as a writer have developed my characters properly, I need only to give them a scene and they practically act for themselves. If I want them to do something specific or change in a certain way, I need to provide them the experiences and interactions that would move them in that direction. It would be improper for me to “make” them do anything out of character. If I were to do so, it would be the same as me “obliterating” the former idea and replacing it with a slightly different idea that better suits what i want.

Because I know each of my characters perfectly, I can see the events of the story from beginning to end, given a specific set of circumstances. I know who they need to meet and where they need to go, and I make that happen.

Why do bad things happen?

Character development. Done.

Lol, no, but seriously, it’s almost that simple. If there is a death, or a catastrophic event in a story of mine and none of the characters are any different afterward, then I’m a bad writer. I can’t shortcut my characters to their end form in which I would like to see them, so what I need to do is give them the events they need, whatever they are, to change them in a believable way.

How each and every one of us is important to God.

The secret to this one might blow your mind if you are a writer, but imagine if you wrote a book for every single character in which THEY are the main character. The same global events happen, but now your perspective is completely changed.

That guard who got knocked out by the great grandson of Thor as he charged into the building, what’s important to him? He doesn’t care that his employer might be the reincarnation of Dracula, but he took this unscrupulous job because he’s currently a desperate and broken prodigal son who hated his father for being too controlling in his life and disapproving of his ex-girlfriend, the same one that ended up robbing him blind in the middle of the night and leaving him at the Motel-8 in Pittsburg. But you know that once “Dracula” is burned to ashes, he’ll be out of a job once again and his near-death FallInLoveexperience makes him want to settle for a lower wage but honest position as a mall cop where he will one day catch a young thief red-handed and send him off with some moral guidance because the kid reminds him of how he used to be just a couple years earlier.

The point being, EVERYONE can be important to you, especially when you’re their “creator.”

So yeah, this is what creative writing has taught me about God. So far, at least. I’m certain that now that I’m thinking about it, there will be more to come. If you have any similar insights, please share! This is my new favorite topic!