Category Archives: Thoughts

Learn What You Want To Learn

Last weekend, we were playing Loaded Questions.

Alana: What’s something you want to learn more about?
Me: I actually have a list! There’s only one thing on it right now. Teaching 1-1 correspondence to people with visual impairments.
Alana: Wow, you have a list!?
Me: Yeah, then I always remember! If I come across something and think “I’d like to learn more about that,” I write it on my list! I had some more stuff on it a few months ago, but I took some time to learn about those already.

When you think of (or come across) something that you want to learn more about, write it down. Literally. Get a piece of paper and a reasonable writing utensil, and write it down. And always keep that list with you. In your wallet, perhaps.

Or get out your phone, and make a list on there. That’s where my list is.

And then, when you have a couple minutes of spare time, find information on it.
If you only have 5 minutes, that’s enough to find something. You don’t have to read it right away.
If it’s an internet website, bookmark it for easy access for when you have more than 10 minutes.
If it’s a book, put it on hold at your local public library, and pick it up on your way home. Always keep it with you so you can read when you have a few minutes. 
If its an article, save it to your computer for easy access for reading when you have more time. Or print it out and keep it with you to read next time you are waiting in line for something, getting your oil changed, waiting to meet up with someone, etc. 

Learn what you want to learn.

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Perfect Faces

All these kids and babies have beautiful eyelashes.
When I am holding them close or sitting by them and singing to them,
just smiling at them and admiring their perfect faces,
I can’t help but notice their perfect eyelashes.
Each one so delicately placed on their eyelids by God.
Whether they are blind or seeing,
cross-eyed or not,
disability or no disability,
in the orphanage or at the hospital,
they all have perfectly beautiful lashes.
And perfect smiles.
Natural beauty.
I can’t help but kiss their perfect faces. 

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Look for the Positive

Her voice is really high pitched.
She always speaks kindly of others.

She always walks on her toes.
She knows what makes her comfortable. 

He never sees what’s going on around him.
He is really good at focusing. 

Her shoes are dusty.
Her shoes match her outfit perfectly.

You don’t know your multiplication tables.
You are really good at counting to 20. 

His shirt is totally wrinkled.
That color looks really nice on him.

Your legs don’t work.
Your arms are super strong.

Look for the positive.

Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.
-Mr. Edward Magorium

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It’s Amazing

I got to sleep while flying over the Atlantic Ocean. I just want to invite you to think about how INCREDIBLE that is! My body was in a state of peaceful slumber as I crossed the Atlantic Ocean…without even getting wet!! Well, except for when I spilled some water on myself, but we don’t have to count that.

Flying is incredible. I am grateful that I am not scared of airplanes. Instead, I look forward to my time in an airplane! I have two favorite parts – takeoff and landing. Whatever seat I am in, I am staring out the window during those two times. It is unbelievable how we can speed up so quickly, and then all of a sudden the front wheels are off the ground. Then the back wheels are off the ground. And you can feel yourself on an incline as you climb through the air, higher and higher, watching the details of the lives of millions of people below become smaller and smaller until they disappear behind a cloud. A cloud. IT BLOWS MY MIND.

Turbulence is actually rather exciting for me. I imagine it’s how a flamingo feels as it flies through windy air. Sorry if turbulence worries you…

And then landing…I get so excited when the pilot (or is it the copilot?) announces the final descent. Not because I can’t wait to get off the plant (though often yes, I can’t wait to see people or places that I love), but because it means that one of my favorite feelings is coming. As you get closer to the ground, you can see the details of the lives of millions of OTHER people coming into focus. The crazy, wonderful intricacies of everyday life come back into view. And then as we near the runway, I get so excited once again! And as the wheels touch the ground I get this feeling that I can’t explain. But if that feeling had words, they might poetically be “Wow. I just did that.”

If the guy next to me on the flight as I wrote this spoke more English, or if I spoke more (or any) French, I just might have told him all about this.

I also got to cross the night/day line…usually it comes to me. But on Friday, I came to it. Here’s to 30 hours and 30 minutes of total travel time. That’s a record for me.

You may see it as little things…takeoff and landing in an airplane. Something that happens every day, in airports all across the world, to millions of humans.

I, however, see it as something unbelievably wonderful that happens to me every once in a while. It’s kind of like a dream. And I deserve it.

(If the music video looks a little choppy, that’s because it’s made entirely from 25,632 photographs)

Nothing can compare to deserving your dreams.

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Happy Roses

Sometimes you struggle. It happens. Don’t deny it. 

One way I’ve found to help those days is to serve others. 

It can be as simple as handing out roses to strangers. 


And sometimes you intend them for strangers, but they end up being for people you actually know, who you didn’t even know were struggling, just like you.

And then all of a sudden, your own struggles are easier to deal with.
No, they don’t go away just like that.
Well, they might. But they tend to not do that.
They’re still there, but you can put a smile back on your face, because you just put a smile on someone else’s face. 

It’s worth it. 

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The Chair Challenge

Once upon a time there was an adorable little girl named Vivian. I had the privilege of spending the whole day (well, about 9 hours) with Vivian and her two older siblings. Basically, babysitting is the best. 

Vivian is two years old. 

I was in the other room playing Barbies with her big sister when I heard a chair being dragged across the kitchen. My first thought was that she was trying to reach something. And if a kid needs a chair to reach something, they probably shouldn’t be getting that thing. 

Me: Vivian, where are you going with that chair?
Vivian: Nowhere, I’m just pushing it. 

And she was. I watched her from the other room as she just happily pushed it around the kitchen, then back to where it belonged in the play room. 

Why is this significant? Because she was pushing a chair just because she wanted to push a chair. 

Yes, I realize that she is two.


Today, do something just for the joy of doing it. 

You don’t need a grand purpose.
You don’t need an end in sight.
You don’t need to have a goal.
You don’t have anything to accomplish by doing this particular task.
It is not something that will be a building block for something else.
It is for joy.

Today, do something just for the joy of doing it. 


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Paying Rent Through Service

I was walking home today, through a building on BYU campus, and I saw this…

bookstore 005And I was like “YES!!!! My new motto!!!”

Who is N. Eldon Tanner?
Nathan Eldon Tanner was a politician from the Canadian province of Alberta.

Where is this thing found?
This can be found at the Tanner Building on BYU campus. This building houses the Marriott School of Management, and at the groundbreaking, Tanner was recognized as “an exemplar of the arts of management … and as an appropriate role model for our students in management.” (see this article)

BYU is a religious school…where does N. Eldon Tanner come in?
Tanner was a business leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

So let’s get back to the quote…
“Service is the rent we pay for living in this world of ours.” I love service! For the past 2 years, I have made an effort to make service a big part of my life, and I feel I have succeeded. Service has blessed my life beyond measure. SERIOUSLY. And now, I have a new favorite quote!

bookstore 006

Now what?
Now, go out and pay rent!

(if only service could pay the rent for my apartment…)

Thank you, Nathan Eldon Tanner, for the inspiration. And thank you to the incredible sculptor who made this…

bookstore 007

“Service is the rent we pay for living in this world of ours.” – N. Eldon Tanner


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