Feeling Like Jello

I once ate Jello with chopsticks at the MTC. It’s not the hardest thing to do if you slightly break up the blocks so that there is something there for the chopstick to hold to.

My life feels like Jello. I think that I am falling behind in my classes although they seem to be all that I ever do. And even as I write that, I know that I spent more time watching TV this semester than I ever have before, and also a lot of time looking through job ads. God said that I needed to keep up with school, but He never mentioned how I would get through my  bills and that’s caused me to be a nervous wreck for a few months.

Although actually less stressful somehow, I just moved this weekend to another location in the city, pretty far away from the things that most people act like are important but closer to companies, businesses, and actually closer to one school. The amenities are resoundingly better than my last apartment, and although the commute to one school is much longer than it used to be, I get to deal with that next semester.

Today I am supposed to register for classes at the closer school and I have no idea what to attempt to get into. I want to do markup language coding and learn more languages so that I can mark up the way that I want to mark up and do things that help my projects progress and be happy. Personal happiness is a luxury now, not a right. It’s that elusive thing that living commandments is supposed to get you, and sometimes it just takes an attitude adjustment to get toward.

Nothing in my life is simple. I wish that it was, but instead, I feel like I am walking on Jello. God walked on squishier stuff, but I am starting to wonder if my current state of being is simply an attribute like a mark up language. I have some stability, but at the same time everything else flows around me and ignores me. Goes right past me and maybe that is a good thing.

All that I can see is that I have to hold on and do what God’s already told me to do. To live the commandments, I’ve turned down some really hard temptations, and when others would not listen to Deity, have been pushed aside akin to Miyagi’s wax on-wax off method. Whatever the method or reasons, I’m here now and am trying to figure out what to do with this lifetime.

Afterlife is easy: help with the gospel, do the right thing, keep on going. Done. Just work hard, and do as well as possible. Seems simple enough. All that I see for this life now is finishing school, making family history apps, working on the genealogy business, and otherwise paying bills. I wish that I could have a family, but that is dependent on other’s agency of which I do not have control and would not ask for that control to be had by me. Without someone else’s choices, my progression is limited in this life. It seems harsh, but it isn’t. Not everyone has the chance to marry. I think/thought that I will have that chance, especially as I am still fairly young. I’m young, but I have the weight of kingdoms on my shoulders and they hurt a little. I’d give my life for a good, honest, temple-worthy guy to help share the load and for me to share his load.

No matter what, I must keep going. There is no vice without a price, and in this case, I have avoided much and hope to be able to endure a lot more. God has said often that He expects a lot of me, and I don’t really know exactly what that is or how to get it done. How long did it take the Brother of Jared to figure out that God touching small stones could make light for the barges when crossing oceans? I mean, that’s REALLY creative stuff. I’m not honestly that good. I have an app. One app, and it could easily change the world. I feel like I am behind in everything that I do, but maybe I’m stuck in the DNA-style loop that seems to befit the fullness of times.

I don’t know what God wants me to do now outside of unpacking. Do homework, look for and apply to everything under the sun including scholarships, and become exhausted on a regular basis. Trying  not to drown.

Best from the GenealogyDr



When I think about the people who have helped me out over the past few months to multiple years including my Church, it would be incredibly dumb for me to leave anyone out when they needed things.

There are a lot of people who need things- I need a job, and am looking for one. In the recent past, I have received a lot of kindness from others. There are bills to pay, and tears to mend, but I have a roof over my head and I have food.

I believe in Jesus Christ, and I know what the teachings there are. For all of the help that others give me, it’s time to give back. I was talking with a friend on the phone today and noticed that he seemed envious when I mentioned making home-made macaroni and cheese. I didn’t have the box version and looked it up. Simple, common “peasant” food.

Instead of hearing tones of wishing that he had a homemade something, he was simply envious of the food itself. That should never have to happen. No one should ever go hungry. I don’t care how idealistic that may be in varied areas of the world, but were people to not only put their money but their time and their resources where their ideals are, there would be less problems.

I did some minor digging and found out more about the situation. There are a lot of people who he does not trust, and he has really good reasons for it. He has had a really hard life, and emotionally needs people who will act as the family that either does not or cannot help him now. He trusts me, and I’m never saying his name here. He has a lot less pride than many people I know, but his name is un-necessary. I thought about my excess of food now- how I got it, I’m not entirely sure. Just haven’t eaten it down yet. Immediately, thoughts of what to do came to mind, and it was time for action.

Most of the Sunday School classes that I go to teach this stuff, and teach that acting on the commandments is the best way to live them. If the only faith that you preach comes from your mouth, you haven’t lived enough yet. I’m not trying to get into heaven on works. I’m trying to follow the Savior, Jesus Christ. Perhaps it wasn’t a mistake that part of my reading this morning dealt with the miracle of feeding 5,000 from five loaves of bread and two fishes. God walks on water and he feeds people who are hungry in whatever form that may be.

So, this kid will be coming to my apartment, more than an hour by mass transit from where he lives. He has few people to almost no one to turn to, or at least feels that way. I’ve definitely been there and usually am there. But I also know in Whom I trust. “In God we trust” isn’t some old motto that people stick on paper money to take up inking space. It means that we believe in a little less arrogance and a little more kindness. There are some times when people will not accept help from the people directly around them unless they are open to receiving it, and I want to help. It’s what my mother would have done.

The plan tonight is to make sure that he is fed this evening, give him something for tomorrow, and that he has bus/transit fare to get home again. I never saw myself in a parable until making extras of macaroni and cheese and just trying to make sure that he had something in which to cook things.

Our Church has functions in place that when they work should help with this sort of instance. People should be looking after each other, but it does not always work perfectly. My car works, but the registration barely expired. Cannot chance a ticket. I have more than 400 pages of reading I need to finish for one or both grad programs. There are plenty of other things that I could be doing, but I’m sitting here writing a blog post to help mentally process this blessing that came to my life.

This is the first time in a long time that I have the means and God provided the ability to pay it forward. There was a movie of a similar title back in the 90’s or early 2000’s and followed a bunch of people as their lives intertwined in ways that otherwise were completely unconnected. This man is my friend, and whether or not the blessing will lower because of posting about the action online or (and the following is what I hope) inspire others to reach out and TRY it, too- it doesn’t matter what the end result is. God let me serve someone without even leaving the house using means that He gave me in the first place. God’s doing is genius.

I hope that he does not read this and get embarrassed, but knowing him, he might be okay with it. Sincerity goes leagues with people, and that is why this matters.


Last night, someone asked me if I was happy with what I was up to: two Masters, trying to find a new job, being super-busy with Church stuff, and otherwise under a lot of pressure. My answer didn’t really sound that good. I want to be obedient to God and because of that, I don’t expect immediate happiness. That just sounds bad. It seems like the point of doing all of this stuff is becoming happy, and I don’t remember what it’s like to be happy. I can remember gratitude, but at the same time I’m trying not to panic every second of the day.

Having problems isn’t really going to change. Everyone has issues, whether they’re health-related, whether it’s employment or family or school or relationships or whatnot. Some of the problems get solved, and a lot don’t. At least not in ways that are convenient or otherwise things that are “nice and fluffy.” There’s no puppy or reward for completing some of these issues. New problems come up to replace the old ones. While I like being a problem-solver, the solutions that I see to the problems are things that I can’t do anything about.

Maybe my worldview actually isn’t that bad. I do everything that I know to do, and I have faith in grace. I try to have a lot of patience because my life is non-ending pressure, and there isn’t adequate outlet for it. I don’t know anyone who is happy-go-lucky all the time. Attitude does have a lot to do with it, however.  Everywhere I go, I’m expected to be an example of my belief system. To literally live my religion as well as I can. People have perceptions of those in my religion that could be anything, and a favorable impression is the best thing that we can do.

We don’t persecute others and wish not to be persecuted. I feel sorry for politicians who ascribe to my belief system as politics is non-ending catfights and sorrow. I love peace, quiet when wanted, and a time to dance in positive manners when possible also.

Anything that isn’t perfectly in accordance with my belief system in my life makes me upset. This isn’t necessarily about other’s actions very often, but about my actions. Of late, there are myriad examples of things are not in perfect accord but all of them require things that are not under my control to correct them. I have built my own puddles and walls but I don’t own ladders and don’t have bridges. There is honestly no way that I can save myself (ha. not possible to save yourself, no, but wanting to make up for things- that is where I fall flat on my face and break my nose no matter how much I want to repent.) Saying that you’re sorry often is not enough on these things. It is paying things back bit by bit. I just don’t have the ability to do so now. That is the reason that I want a job besides paying bills.

It feels like the math concept where a line can get so close to zero, but never quite gets there. I feel frustrated that I will never get where I need to should be. Although I am grateful for where I’ve gotten so far, all that I can ever see is where I am insufficient and it compounds when looking at the different aspects of life. I see all of my errors and how I don’t have ways of fixing them. Some of these errors have been around for a while. While none of them bar me from participation in religious activities, I’m sick of having my soul eaten up by acidic pain, remorse, or guilt over things that I would change in an instant had I ability.

It’s like looking at the homeless people when going on or coming off highways or at major intersections and seeing their signs and not being able to do anything about it because of being on low fuel and not having cash or otherwise ability to do anything. I don’t care whether someone did things to get to the point where they’re at. Who hasn’t? God doesn’t look at someone and says, “Oh, you did this to yourself. I’m not helping you.” He looks at them, shows compassion, and helps them get to a better place: training or something else that changes people and helps them toward a better life. I desperately want to be better and to be clear, and it’s not happening. Prison isn’t just for cell inmates. I talk to God a lot, and He doesn’t bug me about the things that I haven’t been able to change. I think that He knows that I know them well and want to fix them and don’t have a clue how to do it currently besides what I’m already trying. I typically come back with more things to do, and my feet feel bashed because I don’t see how I can get them done when I need to get these things done…somehow.

When you’re capable, it seems like you become more alone. People expect more of you, and sometimes you have extremely kind friends who help you get from A to B, but most of the time expectations are that you will figure it out for yourself. That you will do something that will save yourself, or that you won’t mess up or somehow that you will see any or all dangers and not make any mistakes. Nothing will really get to you; somehow you’re superhuman. That is RIDICULOUS thinking. It sets an extremely unfair double standard on people and makes it close to impossible to recover. The world is a very cruel, cold, lonely, bitter place.

So, all of those judgements, whether they come from others (often the case), or come from internal sources (people usually tell me that I’m too hard on myself, but I figure that it’s better me being hard on myself versus someone else being hard on me- beat them to the punchline, as it were), it’s a LOT of pressure. Saturday and yesterday, besides asking whether or not I was happy, I had people who told me that I needed to de-stress. I would if I could, but I can’t, so… I can’t. I am responsible for myself. I have extremely good friends who are kind and thoughtful, but the only person putting me first is me. And that doesn’t work out that well, either. There’s only so much self-talk that a person can do to feel better, work harder, or otherwise keep going. I do believe in infinite capacity and that God can do miracles and all. I just wish that they came before I was literally falling head-first at the ground and I can’t see anything to catch me.

The falling head-first without security is how I have felt starting in 2005, but was more apparent after 2008. But that’s when everyone lost security and safety. 9/11 was the beginning of restrictions in the name of safety, but trying to be a good person, trying to pay bills, and advance in life feels like trudging through the swamp in the Never-Ending Story where it’s just almost too depressing for words. Governments are destroying themselves, laws are passed that give no one any rights and take rights away, and people are dying more often now than before no matter what kinds of medical breakthroughs attempt to extend life longer. My generation is not doing better than my parent’s generation even though their generation expects it and says there is something wrong with us if that isn’t happening immediately.

I miss being part of a family. Miss a support system that kept me safe. I was brought up so well, and I received such an incredible education. My home life was amazing, but there were definitely flaws, most of which I didn’t know until I was out of the house. Now, my generation feels lost. We want to hold to something. Anything with a feeling of permanence to it. I’m a little surprised that anyone gets married anymore, even though I definitely believe in marriage and people having families.

I see other people who can figure it out (jobs, families, progression in life), and on one side wonder either what’s wrong with me, or else what can I do to change things? (meaning changing myself, not wanting to change them.) That’s about the time when I put my faith back in the tool belt and keep on walking because I can still walk and I don’t know what else to do. If I was sick in addition to my current maladies, I think I’d break. I may be sick, but I haven’t been able to get to a doctor for a long time and I do my utmost to try to stay at least symptomatically-healthy. There may be worse things going on, but I literally can’t afford to find out right now.

Guess there’s one thing left to do at that point. When at the end of the rope, make a knot, and hold on tight. I have nothing left but faith, and maybe an Internet connection if I can pay the bill.

Best to all,


Something Different

It’s good to meet people who appear calm, whether or not they are.

This morning I was praying and doing scripture study and asking God why men? Not as in needing to continue the species, and I don’t swing towards females in that sense. I’m working HARD on personal employment, education, betterment in whatever way it may be. Tonight at Institute I saw someone who simply looks grounded. It was nice to see anyone who is stable in the midst of the true chaos that is all around. Ideals and beliefs are literally mocked, disregarded, or otherwise treated as items of nought on a regular basis. I’m not sure whether it is simply advertising, media, or actual beliefs. Core beliefs for society should be family, religion or world belief, and then community.

Hearing a calm, honest, real voice was good.

I’m scrappy. A feisty little Scottish descendent, I’m a  bit of a whirlwind. At least, according to a few friends. I am the “duck”: calm on the surface and paddling furiously underneath. Strong testimony, burning, bright, and otherwise wanting to be straightforward about life.

This morning, God said that I needed a man for stability, honor, two other virtues [friendship, trust, hope], and patience (and kindness.) I wrote them all down, but this is what I can remember from this morning [this stuff was added later when looked up]. There is no concrete, obvious, or actual correlation between the calm person and the virtues, but on days when otherwise every other hope is gone, it was nice to see one bright spot in life.

Listening to the news on the way over here in the car, it was depressing. Life doesn’t look bright. Hearing the calm guy was nice. He spoke, and peace came over the group. The voice wasn’t loud (although it carried far enough), it was deep but not distracting, and the points made were simply beautiful. So that was good. He was new, and I hope that he comes back. Class was good as usual: real-life, truthful, no varnish required. When it was done, things worked out.

I don’t have time to have expectations that may not materialize. That would be too much and not necessary for now. I may never see the Calm Guy again. But, being grateful for the existence of people like that is good. People who are grounded, strong, who have gospel expectations and don’t make a big, showy fuss about it. Real people who are doing their utmost to be good. Here’s to something or someone different. Positive people who help me smile when otherwise I know how hard it is to survive in life, who allow me a chance to use hope. Thanks, to the Calm Guy who showed up today and helped me remember how to smile.

Best to All,


Observations on Faith

I am definitely Christian, and I go to two Catholic schools. I like studying in a very quiet and picturesque reading room that was the old library at one of my schools. The reading room adjoins a chapel.

Considering my undergrad institution: while it may look more utilitarian in the rooms, all of them are used as chapels and Sunday School rooms and similar on Sundays and for other Church activities and meetings during the week in addition to regular classes during the week, without regular classes held on Sundays. Growing up, I was used to my religion and I learned history enough to see divisions and splits in other religions and just to watch what happened in the developments of other churches over time. Call it the “change over time” principle espoused by traditional historians.

I know that there are some people who are active in their beliefs, and others who don’t care at all. Since I am open to hearing anyone’s beliefs, I seem to know a lot of people who are atheists talking to me on a regular basis. I am respectful, but it is wearing as they try to convert me to their viewpoint without exception. My generation is not known for their religious conviction, but for turning away from religion in many cases. Sitting in my study room, there is an open mass happening nearby. The inter-faith room is also close by, inhabited regularly by students of Muslim background. My guess is that some of the other people studying in my reading room have that background, from looking around.

I was caught off-guard yet pleased when I found out last week that a friend was not attending class due to a Jewish high holy day. Honestly, that’s cool. My current colleagues in my department at my other school are also really open when it comes to being cool with religion, and although no one else has said anything, my religion became known and they’re nice and accommodating.

Today, I wonder about Catholicism. Doesn’t hurt that an attractive male walked into the mass. Although dressed in normal campus clothes, he tapped into the basin of holy water and knelt down to cross himself before entering the chapel. He’s the youngest person I saw walk in there and he seems to know all of the outward actions of the mass. Appears to be a “good Catholic” which is what I’m guessing they call people who are orthodox. I’m not sure, though.

People being orthodox in their religious faiths is something that I admire. Usually, they’re nicer and more open than people who are trying to get me to think otherwise, despite mass media interpretations of everyone of faith being dogmatic disciplinarians without senses of humor who are more likely to kill you than consider you as a person.

It’s not cool to be religious, but I find it useful and helpful for my life. Not as a crutch, ever, but as something that helps me be myself. I do believe in God. I believe in Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father, and the Holy Ghost. My beliefs are not the same as the kid sitting in that chapel on some of the finer points of practice, but I admire and respect a kid who at least attempts showing up to church. Few people do so. It’s not entertainment, but it is cause for celebration. I may never know his name or anything about him other than that he exists and that he went to mass on a Wednesday, but I am glad that he showed up today.

Best to all from



For the past month or so, plenty has happened but it is all personal things dealing with re-starting the school year, job searches, car accidents, disappointments that give heavy hearts, and being pulled from pillar to post. There aren’t any big schema shifts or new and amazing things discovered. For the most part, I try hard to keep from complaining. Perhaps the world is lucky that I reserve my gripes for prayer or close friends.

There is so much in the world where I feel like there is zero justice. In my case, I know that I would like to remit my debts and not have any enemies. Perceived or reality, living in a world where high stress is normal makes for exceptionally shorter life spans. I believe (personally, not ecclesiastically) that stress levels are what is killing people younger and younger. During the past summer, there were many deaths. It seems that since 2009, deaths are increasing  or else I’m noticing it more.

I am also very aware that I am time-wise a generation gap within myself. On one hand, I work hard whenever possible. I have ideas for technology and other things that may or may not currently exist. On the other side, I don’t know how to operate an RSS feed reader. Yes, that is ridiculous given my current field, but I’ve never seen HOW to do it and feel disproportionately disadvantaged that somewhere along the way I never learned how to do this. Keeping up with current media is a staggering task, and it does not help that everything get filtered and processed! People wonder about their food and try to get back to original materials. I wish that news was like that. Even watch Al-Jazeera or BBC, anything on American news channels may as well be Bologna versus steak. Processed, filtered, cut, formed, re-shaped meat product from items that otherwise might be non-useful.

A former roommate told me once that she envied me due to my not being a part of society. WHAT?! I exist, and such. And then she mentioned that I simply wasn’t a part of the modern world at all and she envied that sometimes. I like some modern music although I prefer 1970′ s classic rock. Yes, I am a history buff and it influences pretty much everything that I do, so I’m not especially trendy. I miss the late 90’s and early 2000’s like mad. I like cemeteries, but I’m NOT goth. While interested in photography, I’m not a hipster and I like vintage but I will not go out of my way for the clothes, etc. Maybe I’m a hipster but I can’t afford the life style.

Mainstream modern world really isn’t my thing, and in that respect I guess that she’s right. I like having standards and morals, and while craft beer holds no interest for me, I’m a big fan of strange and interesting juices and like flavored aloe juice and cherry juice (not strange but fun). I’m quirky, but I am at the middle of various conflicting movements between hipsters and mainstream America, intelligensia and every day people. I like Popeye’s chicken, and tinker with ingredients on labels.

Overall, I can’t imagine her ever envying anything to do with me. She seems to have everything that modern society says that you need to be complete in the world save a BA or BS. She has her problems (everyone does), but she seems to be doing okay.

I need a job. My field is family history, but there does not appear to be anyone hiring for that where I live. Where they are hiring for that, I’m not to live there presently. So, I’m increasing skills doing two Masters degrees at the same time. Regularly, I’m called crazy for that. Might be true. I don’t know. Somehow I’m getting through it. I’m doing this part-time, and since the economy flatlined four years ago, when I got my BA, now I just want to pay bills and find affordable insurance so that I’m not a victim of Obamacare penalties. Everything that I want to do appears to be either non-profit or not-for-profit and I’m drowning.

Today in class I was rude to a friend and that was bad. I tried apologizing in class and afterwards, but I can see my stresses wearing on me. Need stability in my life. Safe place to live and study, and I would literally give anything for some of my non-stop worries to lift off my back a little. That means actual resolutions, not attempts trying to treat symptoms.

Monday at FHE we learned more about grace. I grew up thinking that grace was what filled in the gap after all that I can do. Well, no. Doesn’t work like that. Grace fills the whole pothole, not just sticking a steel patch on it. So then various Christian groups say that works don’t matter at all. Well, they matter at least as a sign of who you are- that you choose to do good things to say thanks to Deity, not to earn anything of yourself. What one does in mortality does affect the afterlife. It helps God and you choose where you want to go.

I think that God is an inclusive being and wants a big party up in heaven. The thing is that there are a lot of people who read: Black Tie, then clam up, not realizing that the outfits are in the box that came with the invitation. They don’t put in the effort to open the box. It takes some work to attire properly for that situation. Not exactly where you’d want to show up in jeans or pajamas. And no, heaven may not be  a Black Tie party, but this is to illustrate the point where God asks for our best and even provides the outfits!

In some cases, the best that people can do is to roll over in bed. That may be a true best for many people, and I have honestly no ground to stand on judging anyone else’s capacity. My capacity appears to diminish daily. Lately I seem to need to ask forgiveness a lot. While I am under constant, extreme stress and instability (and I don’t do well with instability although it appears to be a part of life for the next while) I am also learning how to deal with this. It is not an easy process, but that is not the point. Learning patience and faith is not easy, but to quote “A League of their Own,” it’s the hard that makes it great.

Still trying, still working (moving forward), still going. We’ll see how far I go before I collapse! 🙂

Best to all,



I write this post with a little of a heavy heart. Recounting what happened this summer to a former friend, I realized that this summer there has been my car accident, two friend’s parents died, two friends went through surgery (one brain surgery), I found out that my Mom’s best friend is dying, and that my family has bigger issues than I realized.

Last year, both schools acted like I was a traitor for not being “only at one school” when THEY were the ones that set up the joint program in the first place. It was like siblings fighting over toys. Now, I am no longer part of a joint program, but still doing two Master’s degrees at the same time. My present degrees dovetail better than my previous degrees did, and where scheduling may not fit with one, I then get material in the other. I feel like I am pulling up a zipper and whatever this clothing item is fits nicely.

I am no longer being split apart. It is harder in some aspects because neither school naturally communicates with the other, but I finally got over that at the end of last year and decided that if I was going to do this, I had to keep up and do it on my own. I work as hard as I can with my advisors, but in the end these degrees depend upon my coursework and not on anyone else’s work, ambition, or similar things.

Along with this is the need for a job. I had one job, and then another opportunity presented itself. That opportunity evaporated, and although I may be able to get the old job back, the commuting costs versus the pay and hours did not come together well. I need something else.

School feels steady. I am only starting the semester, but along with that I feel like there is a genuinely secure feel even though nothing is truly set up. Why am I so calm? Why have I been pretty calm through all of the employment shifts and changes? The only thing that really shook me up was the family trouble, and somehow that has to work out. I think that I am extremely lucky that it is the beginning of the semester, and I need and am able to get something together instead of feeling like I am only ending up somewhere.

Despite or because of all of the insanity of the summertime, I feel surprisingly calm. Not exactly happy, but somehow dealing. Not neutral, exactly, just… to quote from the Bible, “I know in whom I have trusted.” (gentle paraphrasing), so I’m not freaking out quite so badly as is customary in a dead economy when nothing really makes that much sense. Pressing forward even when there isn’t time to process life. I guess it’s called growing up.

Best to all,