22 March 2012

The Parable of the Banana

Before I get into the meat of this post, let me just say that I am very, very, very sad that my blog is being lame. As you have noticed, many images are now black boxes with exclamation points in them (except this post because I still had all the photos on file to redo the post). The last two are good. A friend told me that it might be due to the new format of the new design page, but that would be inconsistent of when I lost all the images. I wrote a note of concern to the blogger people but they have yet to get respond. Anywho, please excuse my little rant.

Late this afternoon, I decided that I was in need of snack/dinner. So behaving as a mature young adult, I decided that I would have a large bowl of ice cream. But why stop at just a simple bowl of ice cream? I had hot fudge, caramel, nuts, whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and one last banana in the fruit bowl.

I'll make a banana split. Yum. Plus the banana will make it healthy, right?


In my banana split, there is a certain order of stacking the goods:

Aren't my paint skills amazing?

So I fetch the banana from the fruit bowl. This is the banana that I find:

Eeeewww! What a nasty looking banana! It's basically a giant bruise. There are some minor gashes in the peel. I don't even want to look inside to see what awaits me. But I do look inside, just for fun. And this is what I find:

Wow. That is not so bad after all. I mean, it's not perfect, but when you compare it to the outside, this is some pretty darn good fruit. It's slightly bruised and there are some imperfections on the meat that reflect where some damage was visible on the peel, but it is definitely edible. Which got me thinking....

How often do we, as human beings, judge others based solely what we perceive?
What good things are we missing out on because we're not willing to see beyond the surface to the "fruit?"
We, like the banana, aren't flawless on the inside. We are impacted by our environment and the things that happen to us, and those influences make a lasting effect.

So as you judge others (we are all guilty of it), consider the banana. Had I not given it the chance, I never would have had the sweet fruit in the bottom of my bowl that contributed greatly to my banana split. Likewise, you may miss out on opportunities to have others contribute their sweetness to your own personal bowl we call life.

Random photo from the mission:

Me and Elder Steve L ridding our nose pores of blackheads. September 2010.

12 March 2012

Falling Into Place

Music. It's something that I love.

I love creating, arranging (the little that I've done), performing (when it's over), and sharing.

I love it so much that I want to make a career of it. I'm going to become a music teacher... Eventually. After my bazillion years of university are over.

I want to share my passion and my joy with young people. I want to teach them why music and the arts are so important to society. I want to help infuse them with a desire to create good art.

To achieve these goals, I'll be taking lots of classes and credit hours relating to music. I've also invested a lot of time and money in attending conferences, workshops, and conventions which will help me develop my skills. I've had the opportunity already to attend one conference last February and I'm going to more in the coming months. I'll have (or had) the opportunity to work with and learn from legends such as  Ron Staheli, Rosalind Hall, Terry Durbin, Philip Baldwin, Jack Ashton, Reed Criddle, Mark Henderson (who I couldn't find a bio for. He's currently up at Weber State) and Mack Wilburg just to name a few. I'm also involved in the community by participating in the Orchestra of Southern Utah and the Peter Street fiddle ensemble (even though my emphasis is choral, it's still good experience). I also volunteer in a fourth grade class at my own elementary alma mater. It's not secondary education (which is what my degree is towards) but it is experience in a classroom. And I love it. I was also hired on as the assistant director of the Southern Utah Suzuki Strings Youth Orchestra. It doesn't pay much, but it will provide invaluable experience and look really good on a résumé.

That last little bit is what I was building up to. I am really excited and honored that Sara, one of my past violin instructors and the director of the youth orchestra, would approach me and offer this position. I'm a little bit nervous because I have to memorize a lot of music for it and that doesn't come easily to me (or maybe it does come easily. It has been years since I've memorized music), and I'm sure there are many other things contributing to my nervousness. I just need to have confidence.

Cue: Julie Andrews with theme song:

It's not very good quality, but I feel like it describes my feelings right now.

Random photo from the mission:

Capitol Heights area, April 2011. I stole this photo from Facebook from Sister Walters. Every transfer cycle (6 weeks), we would have apartment inspections. Elder and Sister Walters did this one and asked us for a picture with Flat Alyssa (like Flat Stanley) for a niece/granddaughter's school project. LtoR: Elders Eric M, me, Matthew P, and Taylor T.

10 March 2012


Sweaty palms.


Heartbeat that can be heard from 5 feet away.

Numb and tingly appendages.

A very shaky right leg.

That's what happens to me when I'm super nervous. This nervousness usually comes about because of a solo performance, whether singing or playing the violin. That's not good because I'm a music education major and those opportunities are frequent.

Last Friday (or yesterday. Wow. Time flies) I participated in the weekly student recital on campus. I sang "The Vagabond" from Songs of Travel by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Before the performance, I thought I was either going to faint or puke. I didn't do either. And I did alright.

Random photo from the mission:

Once a transfer, zones throughout the mission would get together and do fun activities. This particular zone activity was a "National Treasure" photo scavenger hunt on the National Mall. We were the orange team. We came in third. It was about 100 degrees that day with 95% humidity. LtoR Sister Kristy C, Elders me, Tanner R, and Andrew P.