Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Elephant Love

My brother had a picture of this. I'd share the original if I could but I don't want to risk copyright.
I fell in love at first sight. Elephants are my favorite.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Filtered Water--No More Spiders!!!

Today I decided to buy a water bottle to save on buying myself a new gatorade every week or so. Like it's a big deal to buy a drink once a week but yeah. I know. Silly huh? Anyway, I decided to buy a water bottle; I found one--the ÖKO. It's only five dollars and it has a unique filtering system that uses a natural coconut shell to reduce chlorine and enhance taste. I'm not really worried about chlorine in my water and I think my water tastes just fine. It's a stylish bottle for $5 though, and the filtering system is unique. I'm happy about it :)

Okay, I just came across the ÖKO ODYSSEY. Yes I am happy about this purchase, just because it comes from a cool company. The ODYSSEY is a modular 6-in-1 water filtered bottle (2 filters--one for tap and one more advanced for anything else), cup, lantern, flashlight, and emergency strobe light. The ODYSSEY is $50 though and my bottle will only be $5. I'm content with the $5 purchase for now.

Even more interesting than the modular design of the more expensive bottle is the information ÖKO provides for "US Regional Tap Water Conditions (NRDC)" as well as "International 'Improved' Water Conditions in Urban & Rural Settings" (http://www.okoh2o.com/okosafewater.php). What an educational site! The FAQs page is not bad as far as instruction goes either (I couldn't help but notice and appreciate as I've been studying all about Instruction and Learning in my master's program so it's kind of fun when stuff like this jumps out at me). Instructional and Learning designers are fans (should be fans) of modularity as well, so that stood out to me too. I'm definitely a fan :)

Perhaps the most useful function of my new water bottle, however, will be in preventing spiders and other little critters from taking baths in my drinking water, as I discovered tonight:

Have a great week everyone, and keep an eye on your water ; )

Sunday, March 1, 2015


I appreciate complexity, though I've more than once lost myself in its depths, making a mess. The Spirit is patient, though, and leads me to understanding and simplicity.

There is beauty in simplicity. I am of the belief that the lens of simplicity is more insightful of complexity than vice versa. Both are necessary, though if I were to choose a lens it would be simplicity. Experience is complex, so amazingly complex, but a complex lens only makes things more complex and difficult to understand--to really understand. A lens of simplicity is refining and refreshing. It is the balance, I believe, for the complexity in which we live.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is so simple, though it lends tremendous insight into the complexity of my existence. I am astounded at how much the Spirit has taught me, again and again and again. Focusing on the simplicity of the gospel, or rather making an honest effort to focus on the simplicity of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, has taught me far more than I would ever have cared to know about myself, and others, et al., without the influence that it has brought into my life--the influence of the Spirit, not of some other thing or person.

I realize that this is a rather complex way of explaining my thoughts and feelings about simplicity and complexity. It is a weakness and a strength of mine. I don't really have time to rethink the way I've written it out, though, so hopefully you can just appreciate the irony.

I've listened to many testimonies shared in simplicity of the blessings that have come from faithful obedience to the inspired commandments of God. What is to question about the experiences I have learned of? Nothing. There is nothing whatsoever to question. The experiences I have learned of are very personal, and those who have shared have been full of integrity. There was never a hidden agenda, or reason why the persons sharing their experiences--or the experiences of their loved ones--would make up the stories. What is wrong with believing that a principle is true based on the experience of others, even if you have not had the same experience yourself? I believe that wisdom would say that there is nothing wrong. I believe that wisdom would go as far as to say that one who would discount the honest deliberations and experiences of their fellow men would be incredibly misguided and remissed to neglect an appropriate appreciation for that which is shared. And what purpose does belief hold if not to inform your action? Should it not inform your action, or desire? How naive a deadpan response. Dull and naive.

As I write I know that I also am dull, in many ways. Countless ways, probably. I am not yet perfect, and honestly I don't really expect perfection in this life. So I'll work with what I've got though--a day at a time, a goal at a time, a moment at a time.

With that I believe an appropriate ending to this post would be for me to share my testimony, of what I believe. I love the word believe because I love the freedom that it gives me.

I believe in the commandments of God. I believe in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that Joseph Smith Junior was a prophet of God, called to establish the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ. I believe that the Book of Mormon is an inspired testament of Jesus Christ, as well as the Bible, as far as it's translated correctly--or interpreted with the Holy Ghost's guidance, as with anything/everything else though.

I don't know everything. I've never seen Jesus Christ. I've never seen God. I've never seen Joseph Smith. I never saw the scriptures as they were being written. I've never seen a lot of things. I've never seen most things. I do know of my own experience though. I know that as I study the scriptures I am enlightened in ways that really I wouldn't care to be enlightened about without the Spirit's influence. I know that living the Word of Wisdom has been a blessing in my life. I know that studying the scriptures and praying and living the commandments as far as I am able to--or can comprehend them--has been a blessing in my life. Yeah I've misunderstood a lot of things, but that's part of learning as far as I see it. And you know, I don't care that I don't know everything, or that I've misunderstood things and have been misguided in my own self-deception at times--sometimes for a long time :) (Aren't we all susceptible to that though? I mean, if you're honest with yourself?) And I don't care that I've not made sense of all of the complexity. I appreciate the simplicity of my own experience. I appreciate the simplicity of the experiences of those who have shared their testimonies with me too. I really am so grateful for the many, many people who have shared their sacred experiences with me over the years. It is awesome.

I believe that most people are good. And that even people who wish ill, and even do ill, have good inside them. I believe, or rather hope, that through the atonement of Jesus Christ we all can be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of his gospel. If you're going to learn about the gospel and ordinances though, I recommend seeking out those whose testimonies have brought about miracles in their lives and in the lives of those that they love. I believe in miracles. In miracles of all kinds, really, but yeah. I believe in miracles that come through living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. You can too.

Have a great week everyone, and God bless x