Sunday, January 30, 2011

We are what we read

I have a friend here in California.

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but I'm pretty sure that it is true.

Anyway, this friend of mine, Joe Jeppson, (If you don't believe me, just go poke him on facebook, he would love it) really likes to read. This gives the two of us a lot to talk about and discuss since reading is one of my few passions in life. This past weekend we hung out in San Fran for a bit and after spending an hour or two in a sweet bookstore we got to talking about just how influential books can be/are in our lives. Joe said something I've been thinking about a lot lately, he said something along the lines that each book we read becomes a part of us or that we become a product of each book.

Essentially, we are what we read. It got me thinking about what books have played a role in creating me. Having read hundreds of books over the past 20 years or so, the list would be fairly long, but I just want to mention a few of my favorites and how they are a part of me.

1- The Book of Mormon (9). I consider myself a religious person and this is the book that created that part of me, it has literally changed my life and continues to change my life as I read it everyday. I consider It is by far the most influential book in my life and I recommend it to anyone and everyone, so if you want a copy, just ask me.

2- The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis (2). CS Lewis is a genius and by taking a different view on religious principles and and taught me how to be a better person. Pure and simple.

3- The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo (4). Taught me to follow my dreams. I have since lived my life in a different manner, I am more grateful for my everyday experiences and do my best to learn from everything.

4- The Road by Cormac McCarthy (3). Many see it as a depressing book, but for me it was uplifting and powerful. It has taught me that despite the terrible condition of the world around us, people can still be good. It taught me that I can be a good person and have an impact at a time in my life when I doubted it.

5- A Long way Gone by Ishmael Beah (2). An easy read, a hard read, but most of all, a gratifying read. This book taught me just how grateful I need to be for the life I have been given and for the situation in which I live. I am a pretty lucky guy.

There are so many books that have had an impact on me and played a role in creating the person writing this blog. Even simple things, like my style of writing are a result of the books I have read. I would encourage you to look at your life, and recognize just how influential books have been in your life and then I would encourage you to read more. I believe that reading is one of the most important things we can do and I am sad when I see just how undervalued and unappreciated it has become in our society.

So do me a favor. No. Do yourself a favor and read a good book and become a more diverse person.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Well, despite my somewhat discouraging words earlier in the week, the year of 2011 can already be described as a great success. I finally beat Whoswayne in words with friends after approximately 15 strait losses (give or take 5), I did not get an e-mail asking me to join the class for "struggling" students (although, I guess I still could...), I just bought tickets to Switzerland for spring break ($600 round trip), and I finally got my music blog up and running.

It is titled "But Also Mostly" and is a combined effort with my best friend and communications expert, Jo Olsen. The purpose of the blog is to help proliferate quality music in the hopes that it will have a positive impact on those that choose to listen. My portion of the blog is titled "Premium Musics" and each week I will showcase a song or artist.

So please, if you like music, check it out. Support Jo and I. Save yourself. Enjoy Life. Peace.

Monday, January 17, 2011

FAIL 2011

Christmas break was a bittersweet experience for me this year. I had the opportunity to go back to Utah for about 3 weeks and for the most part I got to spend a lot of quality time with my family and friends. That encompasses the sweet part.

The bitter part came in the 2 days before I came back to California when I received my grades from law school (that were substantially lower than I had hoped) and I had "the talk" with Natalie that ended our 14 month on-and-off relationship. I was able to stay pretty positive while I was in Utah amongst my family and friends, but soon after I returned home to California, everything began to settle in. During the week that followed I felt like my life was falling apart at the seams and I hit some serious lows concerning my self-worth and happiness as I began asking serious questions about myself, my potential, and where my life was going.

But I was soon lifted up as I remembered a principle that has guided my life over the past few years; I remembered that happiness is a choice. We as humans don't have a lot of control over the circumstances and events in our lives, but we do have exclusive control over how we react to those events and happenings. If we choose to look at events in our lives with a negative perspective, then a lot of bad things will happen to us during our life spans and we won't be happy. But if we choose to have an optimistic perspective then the exact opposite will occur.

So I realized that these seemingly terrible things that happened aren't all that bad, and in all likelihood are actually great blessings. There are a lot of life lessons to be learned from failing or from falling short of our goals and expectations. In fact, most things we learn in life are due to the moments in which we fall. Those are the moments in which we learn who we are and prove ourselves to God.

I have already learned a great deal about myself, and about life from the past two weeks and I know that there are many more great lessons to be learned as I move forward and progress in life. And at the moment, the lesson I have learned is that my happiness is my choice. This was reconfirmed to me this evening as I read a verse in the New Testament that quotes Paul as saying "...I have learned, in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content." - Philippians 4:11

I know that we will all have experiences and trials that will seem to be terrible and burdensome, but I also know that things happen for a reason and we don't have to let those moments get us down. Rather, we can choose to learn from those experiences and we can choose to be happy. Life is great, so let's all be happy.

Also, this makes me happy.

Special thanks to Steve West.