Almost One Year...

I'm aware that I haven't posted in quite some time. Life has been coming at me so fast, and at times I don't know how to handle it.

Over the past few months I have finally gotten everything in order. I am now a worth temple recommend holder, I should be receiving a call in the next little bit, as well as being ordained an elder. Who would have ever thought that I would make it this far? I know I didn't. I seriously thought I would fail in the first couple of months and have to keep starting over...luckily that wasn't the case. I am a lucky son of a gun.

There are several times when I know that my life is being watched, guarded, and shielded from the adversary. Blessing flow freely and I know that for sure now.

This post is relatively short, but I know that it is sufficient to say that I'm where I belong and where I feel the happiest.

It's a Reality

"I recently attended a banquet where President Eyring spoke, saying that people in today's world all have the Light of Christ and that that light was like a computer's search engine, looking for light it could cleave to in the world. For this reason, he declares that it is very important for LDS writers, artists, and musicians to publish "light" in the darkening world." - GG Vandagriff-Meridian Magazine

These last few weeks have been a trying time for me. I'm trying to get all of the groundwork down to begin recording my first album. It's a little scary, but very exciting at the same time. I feel that this is an inspired moment for me. It is something that has to get done.

Midterms were a couple of weeks ago. I did really well for having been out of school for awhile. I got mostly B's. Which I don't think is too bad...because I didn't really study. I have promised myself that I will work harder at that. If I'm going to make it to BYU...I have to step it up!

Now onto the fun stuff! I've been working really had to come up with a list of tracks for the album, but I'm still having a couple of holes. Any help would be greatly appreciated! So here we go:

1.Lead Kindly Light (An incredible arrangement by my dear friend Carrie Maxwell Wrigley)
2.Endure it Well (An original work by Carrie Maxwell Wrigley)
3.A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief (Unsure about the arrangement, but I'm hoping for some violin)
4.Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffanys (I know it's not spiritual, but I love singing it)
5.I Need Thee Every Hour ( I may do this a capella, who knows!)
6.A piano piece by my brother Kameron
7.Love at Home
8.Families Can Be Together Forever
9.Come, Come, Ye Saints
10. Applause of God
11. I Am Not Ashamed (This is pending approval from Marshall McDonald and Casey Wing. I'd love to do a modified version of it, but we'll see if that happens.)

This is a pretty hefty project as you can tell! We pretty much have everything in place as far as musicians. I'm still really unsure of the order the tracks should be in, but I suppose that can wait until were done recording. I just hope that it all comes together in time! Wish me luck over the next couple of weeks!

Also, I need to give a HUGE thanks to my cousin Chris Smith. He will be doing all the sound tech work for this. On top of it he has provided studio time, equiment, input, and most of all his own personal time. It is a huge labor of love on his part.

The Facebook Fast

I decided a few days ago that it would be best if I did a Facebook fast. It would keep me away from the computer and clear up plenty of time to really focus. So far it's worked. I'm currently on day four...and while that doesn't seem like has felt like weeks.

I remember a fireside that stressed the importance of not living our social lives through electronics. I've been trying really hard to lay off the texting as well. If I really need to talk to someone I just call them, and vice versa. I haven't been talking to many people lately because of the blow of Nauvoo. I don't want to talk about it, I just simply need to move on. I'll be fine in a few days, just like after every audition I don't get.

I'm encouraging a few friends to join me in this fast. It has been really good so far. I'm shooting for 30 days, but who knows...I may go longer...

Onward and Upward

I received my letter regarding the pageant in Nauvoo this summer. It was a "no". I was surprised, disappointed, but relieved at the same time. It had been such a stress wondering what my summer held for me. I did my best and that's that.

I've now got the time that I really need to focus on the things that are truly important to me. My music, school, and figuring out the rest of my life.

In regards to music: I've started preproduction on my first album. It will be a combination of hymn arrangements, jazz standards, originial songs I've written, and best of all I'll be doing it with my brothers. We all bring such an interesting piece to the puzzle, and I'm very aware that I can't do it without them. Hopefully we can get the ball rolling and have it ready for the summertime. June 19th is the tenative release time. We'll then see the response and decide if it needs more fine tuning. If not, will start getting it out there.

School: What is there to say about school? It's a pain in the butt. I like it most days, but it consumes all my extra time. I know that I need to get it done, because I can't move forward without it. I'll probably be taking some classes through the summer and I'm hoping to going the council for Fine Arts & Lecture. We'll see how it goes...

The rest of my life: It is a day by day thing. I still can't ultimately decide what I want to do. I've been leaning in the way of public relations. I really enjoy that aspect of things and it will really help with the music career. I'm just simply taking it one day at a time.

I'm really trying to be better about writing on the blog. I will update it as much as I see necessary. I hope to be getting some samples of the songs I'm working on out there. It will be one more destination on the journey.

6 Months and Counting

Today is my six month mark. It's a little surreal to think that I've come this far, but I still feel like I have a long way to go.

I've been trying to stay focused on the things that are important: school, music, family, and the gospel. It isn't always easy, and I find myself wandering. I'm working really hard to find myself. The real me, not the person I was before.

Last night I had a long talk with one of my dearest friends. I expressed my worries of relapse and feeling like I was so far behind. There are days when I hit an emotional wall and I'm not sure how to move forward. All of these fears are because I am now simply on my own without a constant safety net. I am now at a point where people see that I can succeed, but it is up to me to keep going.

She reassured me that I was right on schedule. And that all of these emotions were due to peeling back the layers, like an onion, of scar tissue. All of the hurt that I have caused, people that I have bruised, and decisions that I made...are coming to a head. I'm finally realizing the magnitude of it all. Sometimes it's tough to stay on this road, but I know that I have to.

As I look back on the last six months it seems like a lifetime ago. There are so many things that I can't remember, details, names, people. That is a very foreign feeling because I feel like I have a top notch memory. I think that I've told many people that, but it really is like a dream. The last three years of my life didn't really exist. I'm now just picking up where I left off after high school.

Today is my six month mark, but the journey is just beginning.

My Conversion Story

"And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

Conversion sometimes comes in the form of an angel, but it can sometimes come in the form of the adversary. I have found this out firsthand, because I wouldn't be where I'm at today if I had done things differently.

It was August of this year, and I was having a friend visit me. Many people know this friend as "Mike", but have never actually met him. He had come to town, because he wanted to see me. I was a bit unsure of the reasons behind this, but I agreed to it.

It seemed that everything that weekend went wrong. We were fighting constantly, and he was a different person from when I met him. He drank very heavily, and was not easy to be around. As we were sitting at a bar in downtown Salt Lake, he began to ask questions about the church.

"So, have you ever been to the Temple?" he asked finishing his beer.

"No." I replied with a look of sadness.

"Why not?" he seemed genuinely interested at this point.

I very quietly admitted, "There are choices I have made in my life that prohibit that. I would love to go someday, but I don't see it in the cards."

He looked at me and said,"That's dumb."

I started to ponder on the conversation. It WAS dumb that I wouldn't be going to the temple. It WAS dumb that I had made these choices. It WAS dumb that I had turned my back on the teachings that I had believed in since I was young. I felt my heart fall, and I began to cry.

We walked back to the hotel in silence. In the hotel room we got ready for dinner, but it turned into a fight again. I then told him that he was the most selfish person I had ever met. The next thing I remember was looking at the ceiling...from my back.

I had been punched, but the pain didn't come. I simply handed him the hotel key, and got in my car and went home. I talked with my mom about everything that had happened, and suddenly the light switch was turned on.

I can change my ways and come back to church. I can repent for the things that I did wrong and go to the temple. I can help other people that struggle with my trial.

I have never looked back since that day. I have made the decision to live my life in a way that is pleasing to my Father in Heaven. I also want to give as much service as I can. I love talking and helping people with struggles of any kind.

This is my conversion story.

Giving My Time

“Begin each day as if it were on purpose”-Mary Anne Radmacher

It seems like lately I have no time for anything. I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing though. Being in high demand is what I like, because it gives me purpose. And everyday should be lived with purpose.

I'm currently working full time at an online marketing solutions firm. I go in at 8am and leave around 4:30pm. Then, depending on the day, I go to play rehearsal, family home evening, or some other previous engagement made throughout the week.

I've found much more joy in giving my time, my talents, and my heart to things that are truly important. One of the greatest tools the adversary uses is boredom or idleness. I know this from very personal experience. The only times that I have fallen were when I was not involved with something uplifting, or with someone that was bearing me up.

Those have always been my darkest moments, but the thing to remember is that light always breaks darkness. I plan to always be involved with something that Heavenly Father would want me to do. It's the only way to ensure that I will not fall. I may stumble a bit, but He will never let me fall.

I've found that service is truly when I'm tired, feeling down, or not up to doing it. I do it anyway, because that's what He wants me to do. I always feel a million times better afterwards, and it lifts my whole day.