Monday, February 28, 2011

My Old Time Favorites

Since it is now out in the open that I watch Disney cartoons online (a trend that only started yesterday but I am sure will continue for a long time), I figure it is safe to share what I discovered last night. First, we need a background story. When I was four years old there were three cartoons that I saw and immediately loved. Actually "loved" is not strong enough of a word. I idolized these cartoons. I would replay them again and again in my little four year old mind. The bear character would cause me to constantly laugh to myself outloud, while Mickey's character inspired many action sequences involving my G.I. Joe toys. If this confuses you, you will understand after you watch the cartoons; trust me. I only saw them once, and I can't recall how or where I saw them, but they have stuck in my memory ever since. So yes, the before statement was not an exaggeration. I knew one cartoon was Mickey Mouse, but the other two I had no idea. I didn't recognize the bear from Disney or from Loony Toons. Basically, I had no lead to guide me to the source of my childhood entertainment. Well, last night as I was watching some more cartoons, I stumbled across these Disney classics. I can't even begin to describe how happy I was. After more than two decades of trying to rack my brain for the titles and sources of these cartoons, I finally solved the puzzle that had been escaping me. I now have a better understanding of what Indiana Jones' dad must have felt like when Indy finally discovered the location of the Holy Grail. And I want you all to enjoy what I have found.

The first cartoon is titled "Brave Little Tailor." It is a Mickey Mouse cartoon. The next two deal with a Disney character named Humphrey that had some success with Donald Duck, and as a result starred in two short films. I have to say, now knowing that he is Disney, he is my second favorite Disney character (the first being Goofy). Here are the links. I hope you love them just as much as I do! Oh, and one other thing: the manager of the national park has the best cartoon voice imaginable.

Brave Little Tailor

In the Bag

Hooked Bear

Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Explanation for "The Description of Teachers: The Goofy Way"

It has come to my attention that my previous post may have come across as a political statement concerning the situation in Wisconsin. As a result, I want to clarify my earlier post. It is in fact not a political statement. The fact I have seen a grand total of 84 seconds on the subject matter makes me totally inept at even attempting to have a stance.

The real reason for the post is actually a long series of pathetic but time-well-enjoyed series of events. The first event was a video game for the Wii called "Epic Mickey." It of course deals with Mickey Mouse. The premise of the game is that you are in a place that is built a lot like Disneyland (this has resulted in me really wanting to visit this wonderful place on earth in real life). In order to go from one area of the game to the next, you travel through projector screens that take you to different places that are themed after famous Mickey Mouse cartoons. Some of these cartoons include "Steam Boat Willie," "Alpine Climbers," and "The Lonely Ghosts." Being the total geek that I am, I have since wanted to desperately watch these oldies but goodies. I didn't know how I could accomplish this since the cartoons are 70-90 years old. Fortunately for me, the moment finally came for my hopes to become reality. It happened this Sunday afternoon.

Since I am on vacation at home as a result of finishing my first trimester of school, my Sunday was a lot less busy than it usually is. Since both of my parents were passed out in their bedroom (one due to jet-lag from China and the other to unfortunately being ill) I realized I had to find a way to kill the time. I decided to investigate youtube for videos of the Disney classics I had been desperately trying to see. Chalk it up as a major success. Youtube is Disney cartoon heaven! I thought it would only take an hour of my time, at the most. Well, happy to say, it took between two and three: well spent and happy hours of total bliss.

Having had my fill of Mickey I decided I wanted to watch some Goofy cartoons. The cartoon that was on the link in my previous post was the first (and due to time the last) one I saw. The cartoon made me realize that teachers are very under-appreciated and deserve to be treated better by the students they teach. Included in that statement are the students' parents. Since I have current and former teachers as friends and family, I really wanted to show my support for all that they do and sacrifice. And to give them a good laugh as I am sure they can relate to Goofy's character in the cartoon clip.

So once again, it was not a political message, but a show of support and love for the great teachers of the world. We really do appreciate you. Kind of ironic to think that it took a video game and a whole bunch of cartoons to help lead me to again contemplate that...

A Description of Teachers: The Goofy Way

Recently there has been a lot of support for teachers and all that they do for our children, which I think has been long overdue. Yes, there are some pretty bad teachers our there, but lost in all the noise are the stories of those inspirational teachers who have greatly influenced and positively changed our lives. These are the teachers who didn't give up on us when other teachers did. Who helped us in our early years gain confidence in our abilities. And to those teachers in college, who with their passion for the subject material helped us love it as well (and sometimes even decide to declare it as our major).

To become a great teacher, many things are sacrificed: personal comfort zones, family, and hours in the day that could be used for personal time, but are not. With all of this in mind, enjoy this video that was made by Disney almost 60 years ago. It gives great insight (and a good laugh) at all that teachers go through. Enjoy :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Did I Just Lose My Man Card?

Today while skimming through facebook, I happened to notice an ad that quickly caught my eye. The sentence in the ad contained the words "Hunger Games." It immediately, as it was intended to do, attained my quick attention. What transpired next made me wish it hadn't.

You see, the ad went something like this: "Darin, you like "Hunger Games" so you should check out a new book called "Angel." Now, on first read you might think, "Darin, what's the big deal?" Look below and you will see why.

I don't even have to open this book to know if I read it I would have to rip up my man card. Actually, that's not strong enough. I think I would have to actually shred it into a million itty-bitty little pieces. I mean, just look at the cover! It's a book written for teenage girls! (sound familiar?) All because I happened to like the "Hunger Games" trilogy. So this got me thinking.

I always assumed the "Hunger Games" series really were books that men could read with dignity, unlike "Twilight" where every time a guy is seen reading it, many men walk by laughing to themselves like gossiping teenagers. I know, I've done this. I'm not proud of myself, but it has happened. I never said I was mature... Then it hit me, oh so suddenly, and with great fear and shock: what if guys laughed at me when I read the "Hunger Games" like I laugh at guys who read "Twilight"? The thought alone made me feel terrible.

The thing is, it could be a book that is mostly meant for girls. Yes, there is action, but what is the main theme of the trilogy? The love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. And what girl doesn't love a good old fashion love triangle. And it scares me to think that I love a trilogy focused on a love triangle. And yet, it's okay. Because really, who cares. My focus on the book was the action and strategy of the war game. And maybe, the men who read "Twilight" are not reading it for the love triangle between the depressed girl, the pale vampire, and the hunk of a werewolf. Maybe there is something else that grabs there attention.

Even if the men are reading these books for the "girly" reasons, why should I care or poke fun? From the experience I had today, I realized I don't want people making fun of me for the books I choose to read, so I won't do it either. So thank you facebook; you have shown me that being "manly" is more grey than it seems.

Everyone's A Coach

Last Saturday, as in two Saturdays ago, I attended a youth indoor soccer game that the family I home teach participate in. The dad coaches and the son plays forward/midfielder. My goal is to actually support the people I home teach instead of just showing up once a month, and I figured going to their game would help that. Plus, with the Major League Soccer season just around the corner, I was just itching for a chance to wear my Real Salt Lake jersey to a real soccer game. Okay, so the second reason is not true; but I did wear my jersey since the son is an RSL fan. And when I got to the game the team's jerseys were red, so it worked out really well.

While I was there I it occurred to me how much I enjoyed watching the kids play. It made me wish I could watch my two nephews play their basketball games that are in season, and makes me very much look forward to the day when I get to watch my future kiddies in their various sporting, musical, and other endeavors. Unfortunately, a common theme kept ruining the mood of the event: coaching by the parents in the stands.

I understand that you want your child to be successful. I understand that you want your child to do well. What I don't understand is how yelling at them from the stands and embarrassing them in front of their friends and peers is going to accomplish this: especially when you get so out of hand that you are also "coaching" to the kids that aren't even yours!

The "coaching" was obnoxious. I couldn't help but think to myself, "Your child is 12 years old. I see pros make the mistakes they are making, so calm down. Plus, I really doubt you play perfectly as well, so quit yelling at your kid about his lack of effort and hustle."

I grew up in a family where my parents would come to my games and just watch. They would encourage me from the sidelines, but only in a positive way. I was never yelled at, ridiculed, or embarrassed by their actions. After seeing what I saw last Saturday, I cannot thank them enough!

There is one coach, and maybe an assistant. Let them do the job. If they lose every game, who cares; its kids and it's a rec league.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Mail Surprise!!

I just wanted to share this Valentine I got in the mail that totally made my day great and amazing. With big tests coming up for finals, I needed this pick-me-up. It's from my nephews Jacob, Brigham, and Caleb. It was great knowing I'm loved :)

Receiving this card in the mail made me think of a conversation I was having with some friends last week about this day. One of my friends had never been dating someone when Valentine's day rolled around, but he got married about 6 months ago. He was very nervous about what to get and plan for his wife (side note to women everywhere: Valentine's Day is one of the scariest days for men of the year. The fact my friends and I all swapped past horror stories, failed attempts, and our deepest fears of this holiday almost proves it. The sad thing is every story had good intentions). We all gave him advice and different ideas that ranged from crazy and over the top, to simple yet sincere. Yet, after getting this simple and nice card from my nephews, I further know which approach is best: the simple yet sincere. Nothing beats a gift, no matter what holiday, that is heart felt; no matter how small or simple the gift may be.

There could be dinner at a fancy restaurant, four dozen roses, and one six foot tall stuffed bear (which commercialism tells us are the workings of a "great" Valentine's Day present), yet if the gesture is empty, fake, and insincere it all means nothing. I'd rather have the heart felt paper card that surprised me in the mail from my amazing nephews than all the stuff commercialism tells me makes an "amazing" Valentine's Day. So thank you Jacob, Brigham, and Caleb; you all, like you have so many times, showed me what really counts.

But now to the reason of this blog post (and which the card in the mail inspired). I want to take this time to thank all of my family members for the surprise family photos, cards of encouragement, and letters I have received out here while I have been in Davenport. Know they do not go to waste, but actually are proudly hung in my apartment. School can be discouraging, but the surprise gifts (for that is how I view the pictures, letters, and children's drawings) received in the mail or right before I left for school have been very much appreciated and cherished. They are constant reminders of a loving family who supports their son/younger brother. It means the world to me. These simple gifts brighten up my days and nights more than anything else. I realized I haven't said thank you to most of you, so I wanted this blog post to rectify that.

So on this day that was probably invented by Hallmark and can be overrun with commercialism and stress (for the men), don't forget what it can be all about: expressing our sincere and heart felt (no pun intended) love and appreciation for our family and friends.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Another Jimmer Spoof

This is a great video I saw on a friend's facebook that I had to put up. It is a spoof of another youtube video that was a hit. The first link is the Jimmer video while the second link is the original video of the news story that the third video is spoofing. The third link is the song that was made from the second video that the Jimmer video is spoofing (confusing I know). Enjoy!

Casting Our Nets

Today during Sunday School we were studying in the fifth chapter of Luke. There were a few verses in there that really stuck out to me. The context is that Christ has just taught the people while being in Peter's boat. After the sermon, Christ asks Peter to go further out into the sea to fish. Peter says, "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net" (vs 5).

The principle that struck me very hard during class is the faith of Peter to follow the Savior, even though he was tired and his previous labor was fruitless. So many times with our callings, responsibilities to our families, and during our general experiences in life we experience what Peter experiences. We have worked and toiled to no avail. We have caught nothing in our nets. We study in school only to get average grades. We teach our children good habits only to have them repeatedly act like they are not listening. We work at our callings only to have things not go according to plan. Then, after we have spent almost all the energy that we can muster, the Lord asks us for just a little more.

It is at this moment that our faith is tried. Do we give up and say, "You know what Christ, I don't want to. I did what you asked me to do, and you know what happened? Nothing. I give up. I'm done." This approach leads us to walk away feeling discouraged. We are worse off now than we were before.

The better approach to take, and the approach that Peter took, is to say, "Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." We are tired, spent, and think that we have nothing left. Yet we, with faith in Christ, put down our nets only to have "a great multitude of fishes." So much in fact that our nets break (vs 6).

The bestowal of the blessings from our faith and the fruits of our labors to reveal themselves may take days, months, years, or even after this lifetime. Yet, with trusting in Christ, the time will come. The blessings will be so great and full that our nets will break. And just like Peter, all the trouble, the doubt, discouragement, and the heartache will have been worth it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Institute Insight

While living in Provo I took institute for granted. I thought it was too long, I had too many things to do, and basically any other lame excuse I could find that would justify me not going seemed to work for me. Well, absence makes the hart grow fonder. I never thought that I would admit that not having institute as an option would make me sad, but it did. Especially now that we do have it. I can definitely feel a difference in the weeks where I go to institute as opposed to when I didn't go, because institute didn't exist.

What makes institute even more meaningful to me is the fact that our teacher, Brother Evans, drives all of the way from Chicago to teach 5 students. That's a 2.5-3 hour drive one way. The sacrifice he makes for us means a lot to me, and causes me to never miss a week of institute. If a man, who has a family that I am sure he wants to see, can sacrifice basically a whole day of not seeing them so he can drive down to teach 5 people, then what excuse do I have to not show up? If I were to ever not show up without a legitimate reason I would feel like it would be a slap to his face. It would be disrespectful to the sacrifice he is making. The number one reason I go though is not out of guilt. I go because love the insights I receive when I attend his lessons, like the one I am about to share.

For some of you, this might of been obvious, but for me, hearing it tonight struck a cord. If the question was asked, "How do we worship Heavenly Father?" there would be many different answers from people of many different faiths. Some would say, "I go to church" while others "I partake of the sacrament." There are other good answers as well, but I won't mention them as they would take a long time for me to write. All of the answers would fall under a more overall category, which is this: acting like Heavenly Father. That is how we worship Him; we act like Him.

In Doctrine and Covenants 93 we are taught how to worship and what we are worshiping (19). We learn in this section as well that light is truth and truth is light, which come from the Savior (2,26, 28). We also read that the Father and the Savior are one in purpose and glory (3-5).

Now, what does light, truth, and the fact that the Father and the Savior are one in purpose and glory have to do with how we worship the Father? Everything. Jesus Christ mentions in verse 19 how and what we are worshipping after he explained that he is the truth, light, and is one with the Father in glory and purpose. Christ wants us to know that he is the source of light and truth so we will draw closer to him. By drawing closer to Christ we feel his light which results in us acting more like Him. With acting more like Christ we act more like the Father, and with acting more like the Father we are then worshipping the Father. Again, how this works is that the more we act like Christ the more light we receive, the more light we receive the more truth we gain, the more truth we gain the more we are able to act like Christ, which is acting like the Father. When we act like the Father we then are worshipping the Father.

The beautiful thing about this truth is that worshipping the Father is not something that we do for three hours a week. It is not something we do once a month when we home/visit teach the members of our ward. Worshipping God, our Heavenly Father, is a way of life. It is how we live our life, everyday.

By doing this we get rid of the narrow view of "check marking" the good things we do. This is hurtful to us because we look at the little things which causes us to miss the big picture. We all know people who go to church, home teach every month, do their calling, but are disrespectful and unkind to their spouse and children. Instead of focusing on the fact we went to church this week, taught our Sunday school lesson, and got our home teaching done for the month, we focus on being the best person we can be. We focus on improving our life every day. We focus on acting like our Heavenly Father, which then leads us to want to treat all of his children, which for better or for worse is everyone here on earth, as He would; with love, respect, and charity. We don't worry about "checking off" the good things we have done as they will naturally fall into place. If we don't know how to live and act like Heavenly Father, all we need to do is look to the Savior for an example, as He and the Father are one. Christ acts exactly how the Father acts. Christ is our example.

What is reassuring about this, and what gives me hope, is that Christ didn't receive the fullness of the Father at one, big moment while he was here on earth. Christ received it little by little, "grace by grace" (D&C 93:12). We know it is only because of Jesus Christ that we can be perfected through his Atonement, and not through anything that we do on our own (Mosiah 13:28). As a result we must look to Christ to show us the way, as Christ knows what it takes to get to our final destination. As we patiently do our best, try our best, and look and rely on the Savior through his grace, love, and mercy for help and guidance, we can eventually, probably not in this life, but eventually, be "perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Great Video About What REALLY is Important in Life

This video is really great. A man gave up football after winning the Super Bowl so he could be with his family in a time of need. What excuse do we have when a big game is on that we are just watching (not even playing in) and our kids want to play with us or our spouse needs our attention/help and we don't even give it to them because we are so engrossed into what's on the TV? Obviously the family on the video is an extreme example, but still, so many times we let sports, video games, etc. get in the way of our family and giving them the time they need. Anyway, enjoy!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

FHE Idea

This will be a quick post, but I just got back from FHE. The person in charge of the activity had to work tonight so I took over the responsibility. I didn't quite know what to do as I didn't want to play card games. I remembered when I was at BYU I had a friend who had the group make cards for the bishopric and then mailed them to their houses. At the time I thought it was a great idea.

So I took that idea as a foundation and come up with making cards for all of the recent converts in the ward for the past year. It was great writing letters of encouragement and letting them know that we understand that changing their lifestyles can sometimes be hard and discouraging. We also wrote about the Lord's love for them and that He is always with them. Someone also came up with the idea of having a lot of the ward members sign the cards before they are delivered so it is more than just four signatures (the total number of people at FHE tonight). I think it will help the ward members feel more connected to the recent converts and will hopefully let the recent converts know that we think of them and are glad that they are now in our ward.

If you are struggling with ideas for FHE, I recommend doing this. It was a spiritual experience for me when I wrote the messages for the families I was assigned to write for, and I know that it will strengthen your love for the Savior and the recent converts if you choose to do this activity as well.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Force is Strong With This One

So I saw this video on a friend's Facebook page (who I guess saw it on my brother Devin's Facebook page) and I had to post it! The reasons are as follows:

1) The kid totally reminds me of my brother Devin and my nephew Brigham because I can picture both of them doing this. And yes Devin, I know you're 26 now but you know deep down you still fantasize and day dream about having force powers; some things just never die with age. I also love the kid's reaction at the end and makes me hope I have a child of my own who loves "Star Wars" as much as the kid in the commercial.

2) The commercial has a dog. And really, who doesn't love dogs?

3) My realistic dream car is a Passat. Yes, we all fantasize about various sports cars and the like, but I really want a Passat. It is affordable, nice, and German (which means it is reliable).

4) I love how the dad reacts to his son. I want to be a dad like that.

Now, enjoy this amazing commercial that is a truly a combustion of all that is good in the world.