Category Archives: Adventure

Soundtrack Of My Life

Music is one of the biggest influences on my life. I seem to always have some sort of music playing at all times. I really love it. I have a weird sense of music that seems to be all over the place. I feel that music is a way for me to emotionally connect and its been an outlet for many avenues in my life. I’ve noticed that I go through these phases and each phase comes with an album of its own. Those that know me best, know that I am an advocate for the album rather than a single. There is just something so special about an album to me. Its a true body of work that tells a story. I love the messages that can be found from a certain one. Whenever I transition into a phase of my life, there seems to be an album from an artist or band that just embodies my life. It becomes a large part of my life and I play that album on repeat for days, months, and even years (no joke!). Those around me have even gotten annoyed with me but don’t understand why I listen to it so much.

My whole life can be summed up by ten albums. Ten albums that show the progression of my life and have played major parts to the development of who I am. Those ten albums are some that I’m proud of and a little embarrassed at times. However, these albums hold a very special place in my heart, so no judgement.

Number 1: Millennium by the Backstreet Boys

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The start of the boy bands for me. This was the first cd that I ever owned and it is full of the greatest songs. Growing up, the Backstreet Boys were the greatest band of all time to me. My sister, Kendall was all about N’Sync and we would often fight about which one of the two bands were better. For my birthday, my mother bought this album for me with a new walkman! I would rewind the tape just so I could hear I Want it That Way multiple times. My mother would eventually barrow this tape from me and we would jam out in her car. It was true bliss. My mother has always taught me to listen to music loud with the windows down. Those are some of my favorite moments with my mother as a child. Sundays usually would entail a drive in the country, listening to everything and then some. This album always reminds me of those good times. I then would fall asleep, and wake up in my bed some how. Having a young mother made for a lot of fun adventures. My mother is the one that triggered my sense of adventure and it all started in a Honda Accord with the Backstreet Boys.

Number 2 – Enema of the State  by Blink 182

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My first Nast CD and the begging of a new era. Byron Hunt, my middle school best friend, introduced this CD to me by giving it a birthday gift. My mother was not happy one bit and wanted to take it away many times. However, she couldn’t due to all the songs being entrapped in my mind. This album made me feel rebellious and helped me escape the world of middle school. My favorite memory was air guitaring All the Small Things with Byron to Ali Suhadolnik at the Toppinsh Livestock Show. Byron’s camper was next to Ali’s tent and she came out to quiet the show that evening. However, the album would help me escape the frustrations of life. I’d put this CD into my boombox and play Mario Kart for what seemed like an eternity. It spoke to the pains of hating the world that I lived in and being bullied by others.

Number 3- Plans by Death Cab for Cutie

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I’m asked all the time what my favorite band is. Its no surprise that I love Death Cab! They just speak to me in a way that no else does. Death Cab came into my life my freshmen year of high school and has never left. This album expressed many of the things that I wanted to say but didn’t know how to. Growing up in a home where love wasn’t the first priority was hard. I began to trap the real feelings that I had inside and have begun to release them now. Death Cab was my first weird music that I listened to and became a gateway to many other weird things. Death Cab also began my obsession for depressing songs. This album is the one that scared my parents. I use to listen to this on repeat all high school. Eventually, my mother would sit me down and ask me if I was sucicidal. The answer was no. Looking back, I can see where she would think that. It became banned and wasn’t allowed to be played. However, when I moved to college, I bought another CD and it would help me get through the transition of adulating.

Number 4- Speak Now by Taylor Swift 

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Oh Taylor Swift! Taylor Swift was the love of my life. I could have married that girl. Taylor Swift is an incredible writer that seemed to write things about my life. This album came out at the end of my sophomore year of college and it was a time where I was frustrated with love. I was trying to hold on to a love that wasn’t in the cards. I was beginning to figure out the causes for all my problems. I just wanted to feel okay again. It was the start of a slippery slope. This album has a song called Never Grow Up. I was realizing that my life needed to take more direction and I didn’t want to grow up. I didn’t want to make those decisions and I wanted to live in a life with no responsibilities. More important, the song Mean became a staple for two individuals that had wronged me in life. As I was beginning to touch the surface of what made me feel the way that I did, I had so much anger for these two people and this song became my source of comfort. I began to move forward in life with the mindset of proving them wrong and being better than them.

Number 5- 21 by Adele 

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Pour Austin Stuchell would have to hear no end to Adele. I’m 90% sure that he can’t listen to this album to this day. As a junior in college, I became extremely depressed and I discovered that I had anxiety. I found myself extremely stressed from running track and cross country, working a full schedule, and taking more than 18 credits. As a perfectionist, I found myself slipping in all aspects of life. I didn’t want to be around others and I didn’t want to do anything. I was burnt out and angry at the world. Adele 21 helped me have hope for life again. It was angry white women music and it was depressing. It had so many things that I was feeling in regards to my life. I was really confused in life and didn’t know what I wanted. I had so many people telling me what they wanted me to do and I felt there was this pressure to please everyone. I just really wanted to have everyone be satisfied with the decisions that I was making. I found myself getting migraines daily and I just couldn’t be happy.  This album made me feel okay with life and was there when I needed it the most. It paved the way for the next phase.

 

Number 6- Up All Night by One Direction 

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Thats right, I bought 1D’s very first album. One Direction is my guilty pleasure in life. Its that band that I secretly love and don’t want anyone to know. However, senior year of college in Montana will always be remembered by this album. It was the era of parties and late night papers. I started senior year still depressed and looking to escape. I lost a lot of friends that year. However, second semester was a time of bouncing back. I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I finally was going to live my dream of living in Portland and it was time to let loose. My closest friends and I took a road trip after graduation and this CD was the only source of music for us. Lucky for us that I had brought it! Senior year also found me with an injury that ended my running career as a collegiate athlete. 1D became a source of taking my mind off the pain and helped me not go back into depression. My landlord, Virginia, would always tell me that she could me hear me singing to the album when I was in the shower. She told me that I could be part of this band and I would just laugh at her. It was a change of pace that was needed in my life.

Number 7- The Mormon Tabernacle Choir 

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Moving to Portland was a dream since I was child. I got accepted into school and was all ready to start my life there. Then, the Lord told me no. He told me to go to home and stay there. I couldn’t figure out why but after six months home, I found myself leaving to start a mission for my religion. I had been called to serve in the Florida Jacksonville Mission for a period of two years. For two years, I put my life on hold as I served the Lord and those that live in Georgia and Florida. I wan’t allowed to listen to music except church related. Before my mission, I hated the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. However, luck found me that everyone of my companions loved them. It was weird to me but in time, I found myself tolerating them. This was a time of much spiritual growth and for the first time, I felt that I knew who my Savior was. I had a front row show to the atonement of Jesus Christ and I loved it. My mission was not easy and taught me many things about who I was, life, and about what I wanted to do in life.

Number 8- Carrie & Lowell  by Sufjan Stevens

dbfa1978Coming home from my mission was probably the hardest thing that I have ever done. Life was really hard to adjust to, especially not being able to walk. I found myself missing and longing to be back in Florida. I was able to find help from five major people. However, life was talking many turns. Again, I found myself under lots of pressure and it was hard to handle. Carrie & Lowell is an album that Sufjan Stevens wrote for his dead mother. I felt dead inside and this album matched my pains. It made me think of life previous to my “death”. I didn’t know how to have fun anymore and I began slipping back into a depression.  I was trying so hard to make decisions that pleased others and not myself.  For the first time, I found myself wondering if life was worth living and the last few songs on this album taught me that I could. They give a new respect to the life that we do live and caring on the legacy of those before us. It gave me a bounce back and sense of being. It literally saved my life.

Number 9 – Strange Trails by Lord Huron 

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Alright, I will admit that this is a weird album. I love it so much though. They truly are songs from the unknown as the cover art tells. However, they spoke to my soul when moving to Utah. Utah is a strange place and I was broken hearted. I had lost the girl and I was in an unknown place full of weird people. Provo, Utah is quiet the experience and is a bit of cultural shook at first. This album couldn’t describe Provo any better! Lord Huron sings about how love is like ghosts and wanting to go back to in time and stopping himself from loving the girl. Well, thats how love was for me at first here. My heart was empty and I didn’t know what to do. Going on dates was hard and I wasn’t invested in them. Fool for Love reminds of me just wanting to be in a relationship so I would ask many girls out. There for awhile, I averaged three to four dates a week. Not the most healthy thing that I have done. I was hallow inside and unsure of what to expect.  It truly paved the way for the next album.

Number 10- Cleopatra by the Lumineers

cd663f4fcf6f0ce290a085d8b337a055aac7ac72This phase has been lived for about a year and half now. It was a fun phase as I begun to live a life similar to these songs. I was grieving life like Cleopatra as I was beginning to say goodbye people. I was growing up in ways that can’t have been guessed. I’ve been focusing on school and my career, instead of not focusing on love. I wasn’t being a fool falling in love and I’ve been focusing on the things that matter most. I’ve felt like Gale’s song not wining the love of a best friend. I’ve learned patience, more so in myself than in others, just like the song depicts. I’ve seen the light and have had hope to carry on with my life. I find hope in all aspects of my life.

I’ve entered the 11th album of my life- Harry Styles by Harry Styles. 

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An album that I never dreamed that would fit me so good. I kinda felt that Cleopatra would be around much longer. However, a new phase of life begun at the beginning of May. A new phase that I am excited to see where it takes me in life. So, with every new phase, a new album begins. I look forward to taking this journey and seeing what good will come out of it. For now, I continue to listen and see what happens now. After all, its the sign of the times.

 

 

 

 


The Good Life

After heartbreak, regret, disappointment, grief, and or anger welcomes themselves into my life, its natural for me to shut the world out. I personally find myself shutting the world out and not letting anyone find me. People ask me what I do and where I go when I shut the world out. The truth is, I find myself devoting myself more to my studies, running, work, and my relationship with God (not in that particular order either). I usually spend more hours than usual in the Temple, at least forty hours in the library for the week, harder focus at work, and bust it in the gym for large period of times. I find that shutting the outside world out helps me to focus on what matters the most and lets me hide a bit from my problems. It also gives me the chance to think. Being alone is something that I actually enjoy, which people find hard to believe. Being alone is a very comforting thing for me. Being alone lets me regroup my thoughts and then decide what I want to do to move forward. I like things to be quiet and peaceful. I find that the outside world is rather loud and I can’t always be the person that I want to be. So I retreat to the places where I don’t have to be around people. I justify in my mind that if I’m in places where people can’t be with me, then I don’t have talk to people. Many people don’t believe when I tell them that I am extremely introverted person but I am. I like to exclude the world and be alone.

Around the end of August/ beginning of September, I began shutting the outside world out again. I purposely didn’t answer phone calls or didn’t turn my phone on for long periods of time. I’ve hid in the Provo City Center Temple and the library. I’ve hid in the mountains near my house as I’ve gone for long runs or adventures with my roommates. I’ve only allowed my roommates and select few individuals to see me and know about my whereabouts. I’ve kept myself grounded and in my house. Its been really peaceful to not to see people. I’ve turned to my Father in Heaven for much guidance and light. In these moments, I’ve come to really feel the love that God has for me. I’ve felt his peace and healing power to help me in a time of much struggle.

Lately, I’ve been allowing myself to branch out and set social goals (yes, I have to set goals to interact with other individuals). I’ve begun to meet people in my ward, see people from my mission, and grow closer with my roommates. I’ve set goals to buckle down and get things done during the week so I could have the chance to interact with others on my weekends. Moving forward isn’t always the easiest thing for me but its something that must be done.

The past two weekends have been ones where I’ve had moments where I’ve had chances to reflect on things in the most random times. First, I went to Moab with my roommates and while sitting in-between two arches, I realized that that the Lord has really guided me to live with amazing men of God who help me in so many ways. They are so patient with me and understand when to back off and when to ask inspired questions for my progression. They don’t push me but rather are there for guidance and support. They bring much needed laughter and love at critical times. They see me for who I can be and help lift me to that person.

 

Then this weekend, I ran a half marathon with two amazing people from my mission. One of which I was able to run 12 of the 13.1 miles together talking. This was the first time I was social in a race and it was so needed. Being able to just talk about anything and everything was nice. However, it was after the race when I was invited to attend a OneRepublic concert with my best friend and his family that I realized much more. There was a moment halfway through this concert that I realized that God has really given me exactly what I need in life. He is so aware of who I am and who I need to get through the hardest of things. He has placed amazing people in my life that know exactly how to deal with my situations. He has given so much in times of need that I can’t help but be grateful.

I really do have a good life. A life that I couldn’t even dream of. I have much to be happy for. Moving forward into the future is something I’m excited for. I truly love all that has been given to me and the chance to regroup and figure my next steps in life. I look forward to being social again. To letting the world see me again. Though life is hard its not bad but rather good.

 

 

 

 


Provo Love Song

The town of Provo is a very interesting place. It has two of just about everything. There are two temples, two colleges, two canyons, two all-star apartment complexes, two Sodaliciouses, and the list goes on. Its the place to find things. Many come to find their future spouse, to find themselves, to find God, to find a new life, and again the list goes on and on. Its been my home for just over a year now, which is weird to think because time has gone by fast. I like to think as this place as the dating capital because people really live the American Country Love Song here. There are many boys who are trying to find and run away with girls’ hearts. There is always one more kiss before dropping her off at the door. Same old pickup lines get used every day and after three months of dating, he will get down on one knee.

Like others, my Provo experience has been full of ups and downs. I moved here swallowing my pride as I told myself that I would never live in Utah in a million years. However, I found myself packing my bags and unlocking an apartment on the south-side of campus. I spent six months convinced it was the worst place on the whole planet. I thought this place couldn’t get any worse and then something would happen that would top the next worse experience. I thought every person was either rude or weird. It was freezing cold and my beanie collection had me sticking out hard.

However, after six months of living here, I choose to change my attitude. I was humbled by the words of Jacob in the Book of Mormon; which taught me that there is no such thing as a bad area in the Lord’s vineyard. Jacob taught me that the worst area could bring forth the most fruit as long as the servant went to work.  So I rolled up my sleeves and went to work. I found myself giving service to everyone around me. I found myself investing myself in everything that Provo had to offer. I strengthen my friendships. I actually started living the American Country Love Song life. I found love and lost love a few times.

After a year of living in Provo, I’m convinced that it’s the greatest place ever. Its truly a place where what you put in is what you get out. So many people move there and hate it. Grant it, there are some weird and marriage hungry people here but for the most part, the people are the best. Its full of many opportunities that are just waiting to be grasped. It truly is the most blessed place on earth. The football team might need some help but I’m loving every aspect of Provo. Provo has become such a sacred place in my heart. One that I cherish deeply and am always excited for it throws at me. I’m truly living the dream and am blessed. I have the best job, best roommates, best program in school, best adventures, best temple, and again the list goes on and on. I truly love Provo, Utah!

 

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A Year Of Progress: I love tough things

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A year ago today, March 6, 2015, I left the land of Chomping Gators, Screaming Indians, sweet potato eating, southern people of Jacksonville Florida and Southern Georgia. A year ago, I took of my name badge and became a “return missionary”. Going on my mission, I was told that it would be the hardest thing of my whole life however, this past year has taught me that going home has been the hardest thing I have ever done. This weekend, I have taken the time to reflect on all things that has happened to me in just 365 and the person that I have become. The past year has taught and brought me closer to my savior then ever before and I’d like to write about a few ways how.

Coming home with a torn achilles tendon was one of the hardest things ever as I have had to learn how to re-walk and eventually learn how to run again. In a slow progression, I learned how to become whole again. Physically, I got to be healed and restored new. I’ll never forget the look of my mother’s face when I walked out of the doctor’s office in a giant boot. She was so shocked. Months of physical therapy where at times I was discouraged and left thinking I would never get to run again. The atonement of Jesus Christ was there in every aspect and helped me get rid of the fears that lingered in the back of my mind.

Coming home was a mental challenge. All return missionaries experience heart break as they leave the one place that their true love is. Words can’t express how challenging it is to mentally pick up life in a new world after your heart has been shattered. My mission motto was “I love tough things, I am the first to do tough things, I do tough things first.” I can remembering the plane taking off and my heart felt like it was being ripped out and then a familiar voice telling me that I love tough things. Coming home, that has been my motivator to do things that I don’t mental think I can do. Mentally, the Savior has helped me over come the struggles in my mind of insecurities, regret, and fears. The Savior is there to remind me that I can do the tough things that I don’t feel that I can do.

Moving to Provo, UT has been greatest blessing and I never thought I would say that. I live with three amazing men of God that teach me daily what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I can see through their examples how to Love God and Jesus Christ so much more. They have looked past my faults and challenge me to be a better person. They have helped me over come my addiction to the word hell and all the bad days that have come from heart break, bad break ups, terrible test days, and to not getting an internship of a life time. They continue to pick me up and help me be a better man.

Provo has given the Provo City Center Temple. This temple, though not dedicated, has been the biggest blessing me. I live five blocks away and makes me so happy every day. It has given me a deeper prospective of an eternal life and its where my soul feels the happiest. Its where I escape the world and remember the importance of all things in life. This temple has helped me to think of Jesus on such a different level that I can’t help but thank him for all that he has done.

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The past year has been a rollercoaster but as I continue to move forward I know that my Savior will be there for all aspects. I am so grateful for the amazing people that I have met this year to help me on this path of coming to the world and moving forward. At first, I was very hesitant on adapting but as I sit here in my Gator hat, I am very glad that I have. I am glad that I have had the experiences that I have had this past year from the heart aches, to the new loves, to new adventures, to the many new mountains that I climb daily. Though I miss Florida and Georgia deeply, I am glad for this new phase in my life and the person that I continue to grow to be. I love the Tough Things that I have overcame and face head one with my Savior there to help me.

 


My Toms

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Today, a lady at school told me I should consider getting new shoes because they are covered in paint and have holes in the heel as well in the toe. At first, I was rather irate with this lady as I was thinking she doesn’t even know the story that this pair of shoes and I have made.

These shoes are the first Toms I ever bought. The purchase was made in Missoula, Montana on get away trip with Hayley Harned our junior year of college. They’ve literally gone everywhere with me. They started as my lazy shoe to wear school and work so I didn’t have to wear socks, which I hate, or lace my shoes. They became my bus shoe as we would travel almost every weekend to a meet in Track and Cross Country. They have traveled all over the state of Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Utah to be there before and after the race. They have walked through loads of snow in the cold Montana days. In the summer, they went to Glacier National Park to see hidden lake and Yellowstone Nation Park so I could see a moose. They went on a New Orleans trip to build homes for Katrina victims and walked up and down the poor streets. They got their white paint from Selena Spees throwing paint at me while we were suppose to be working. They’ve been to Soup Kitchens in New Orleans, Washington, and Oregon.

They traveled back home to Washington and became my go to church shoe before my mission. They were there to help me work and save money to get ready for a mission. They saw me after many pool workouts when getting injured. They climbed Mount Rainer and Mount Hood. They’ve long-boarded down massive hills of the Tri-cities and Prosser.

I choose to take them on my mission where they become the most use. In Georgia, they helped find millions of bricks in the Corbits yard. They helped the Corbits build a deck and cleaned many yards. They were there to help build a fence for the West family even though Diane thought they were ridiculous.  On my mission, they were there to be my relief. After a hard day of work, I could slip these shoes on and take my troubles away. They helped me transition out of the world as I still had a piece of me.

Moving to Jacksonville, these shoes have rakedtheir fare share of leaves! There were two weeks sold were they were used to rake massive amounts of leaves for many people. They’ve fished off the docks of Beth and Kendall Williams and ran through the fields of Arlington. They obtained the teal paint from painting for BriAna McGhee, my favorite part. She finally let James Collins and I do something for her and we had just a little too much fun. They got the white paint from painting in Hendricks. They smelled up the car and had to be placed in the trunk in Hendricks and planted flowers for Jim Colney.

In Chiefland, these shoes saw manual labor as they helped dig ditches and feed livestock. They raked the grass of the Gibs and pulled weeds for an Irish couple. In St Johns, they became my doctor shoe as they saw many doctors regarding my tendon.

Coming home from my mission, these shoes have climbed Mount Rainer with my mom, watered the Jensen’s lawn, and feed sheep for the Holdens. They’ve been in the kayak on the Yakima River and the Columbia. They’ve been my adventure buddy. Recently, they been my shoe to feed the homeless in Salt Lake and a reminder of the adventures I’ve had. Four weeks ago, they hiked the Y in Provo. These Toms have literally been everywhere with me and will continue to see a lot of life. They are there to ride my Penny board down the hills of Orem and Provo. We’ve had a good five years! So to that lady, I’ll continue to keep my “ugly” worn Toms that let my big toe hang out.