Tag Archive | service

New Image: Pact

I should have posted this days ago. I finished it days ago. Here’s what I said about it on Facebook:

This is my late Talk Like a Pirate Day tribute. There might be a better version of this coming when I stop being mad at the scanner. These are two characters my sister and I created when we were kids, Avion and Tara. Avion was the former captain of the Sea Stallion, but (due to circumstances yet to be determined) has become a ghost (I tried to make him slightly transparent in the image) who must haunt the new captain of his ship– which happens to be Tara.

I developed a fondness for pirates when I was seven, after watching Pirates of Penzance. I didn’t have a clue what was going on, but I loved it. The Pirate King had a place in my heart long before Jack Sparrow. Then just throw Muppet Treasure Island into the mix, and my view of the lot has been completely… theatricized. That’s how I like it.

I am almost satisfied with how this picture turned out.



It’s got a different sort of feel to it. I think it’s the pallet that does it. And the sky, perhaps. It’s a boring sky. A pale sky. And yet, that’s what I was trying to go for. All in all, I think it works, I just think it would work better if I had other stuff going on. But never mind. I think it was worth producing.


Other news: I got my rejection letter for my Creative Writing final project. I never wanted to submit the thing in the first place, so I’m not broken by the rejection.

Moreover, I’ve started yet another writing project. This time, however, I have a good friend eager to see my progress, so I might possibly keep up with it until the finish. In the meantime, I’m also cutting fabric squares for a service project that my church is doing in collaboration with other churches. I’m glad I get to feel useful and apart of something bigger than myself and my own creations.


Things have been pretty busy lately. There’s schoolwork, of course, and then there’s being a Gateway Seminar Facilitator, but this week I’ve also been involved in a few unique project. On Sunday I helped a roommate prepare for her preschool lesson by coloring in pictures of fruit. It has been a long time since I’ve handled crayons. I tell you I was itching for my prismacolors. And then I stayed up until past midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday folding cootie-catchers for a different roommate, they’re to be her wedding favors. Thank goodness that’s over now. Staying up until past midnight when you have a 6:30 am class is not a good idea. That’s why I’m so tired now. Despite all of the other things going on in my life, however, I’ve managed to stay on top of my schoolwork fairly well, which I am incredibly grateful for. My grades mean a lot to me, and I think I did well on the tests that I’ve taken this week. I think you receive blessings like that when you take opportunities to help out other people. It seems backwards, but somehow it works.


As for facilitating seminars, I did that again this week and it went pretty well. I’m very pleased with how it turned out, and my co-facilitator is great. I think I’m doing the right thing, and I hope that it is a blessing to other people.


I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in my life. People who have been great to me and for me, who have cared for me so much. They gave more than they received from me. That kinda blows me away, and it has made me want to help other people out and make a positive difference in their lives. The tricky part is finding out how. This week has just been great because those opportunities have almost literally fallen into my lap.


However… it doesn’t come without sacrifice. Like right now I’m really tired, but I have to go visiting teaching and complete an assignment or two before I pack it in tonight. Naps may be wonderful, but they’re not nearly so effective as a good night’s sleep.

Debts of gratitude

I’ve mentioned this before, and I want to expound upon that a little bit, because I don’t know if I’ve given a lot of time to explaining this. Be patient with me, and realize that I am speaking from my own thoughts, so I wouldn’t recommend accepting what I say without question. I believe I have valuable insights, but do recognize that as a relatively young person I still have a ways to go as far as gaining and sharing wisdom.


It would be my wish that people in life would take their debts of gratitude seriously. When someone gives a gift to another, expecting nothing in return, it is a gift of love. These gifts are wonderful, because you can receive them without feeling obligated to give anything in return, you don’t ‘owe’ a person who gives you a gift purely out of love. Yet I feel that to every gift of love, there should exist a debt of gratitude. Gratitude is an act of receiving a gift of love with love. Now recognize that I’m not talking about receiving a physical gift– which is also important, but not so much as receiving and recognizing the love by which the gift is given. How can you accept that without feeling grateful? To me it doesn’t seem possible. It is as if the laws of the universe, natural laws, the rule of God, or whatever you want to call it, follow this natural order; give in love and receive with gratitude.

I don’t think people realize how valuable gratitude is. But since I see it as another translation of love, I consider it to be of the utmost importance. It takes time and effort to cultivate oneself to the point where gratitude really becomes part of your character. But I believe that gratitude, when truly incorporated into one’s life, can become a powerful acting force. After all, if you truly feel gratitude for the gifts you have received, how can you keep from wanting to share that with others? It’s like in Plato’s Cave, upon receiving greater light and understanding, people will go back into the darkness of the cave so that they can bring others to see and experience what they have. It becomes a powerful drive, again like the natural laws of the human condition are working upon you– that divine spark, and you feel you have to give back somehow. And maybe you don’t feel like you have to give back to that specific person, but want to reach out to others. Others who need a gift, just like you do, just like we all do. And therein starts the ripples.


As for what these ‘gifts’ are, don’t disregard what you have to give– even if you don’t think it’s valuable or important. Sometimes humans get caught up in this “all-or-nothing” deal, where they think if they can’t be the type of person who gets documentaries made of them, they probably don’t have anything worth contributing. Start small, that’s where the great people start anyway. Make somebody laugh, share your creative talents, exude a cheerful disposition, learn to be giving, show concern for other people and their problems, go visit people and have face-to-face conversations, tell others how much you mean to them, learn how you can share wisdom, and find a way to be a unique contribution.


One final recommendation, look for the echos. Remember a couple of months ago, I made a blog post about someone I knew who was having a rough time, so my sister and I gave him treats? Well the truth is, I know him because he did a service to me once (he cleaned my oven on White Glove one semester). I saw an opportunity to give something to him, because he has done something for me. Well last night he was making raspberry s’mores, and had some leftovers. So he stopped by my apartment to give some to me and my roommates. You see how it is? These gifts echo through time, and it’s lovely to think about them. This is how the ripples begin. I mean, maybe I’m a starry-eyed optimist, but I honestly feel that these sorts of things create an impact on the world.

If nothing else, my world is certainly better for having that raspberry s’more in it.



Ray of sunshine

It’s so nice when people are aware of your troubles, and do something to help you out. Today, for instance, I had to work on that beast of a paper. Horrid thing. I don’t especially like it, but that’s only because I’m not doing as well as I prefer. It wasn’t quite so nightmarish today as it was on Saturday, but it was still nice that I had a sister who was thoughtful enough to go to the store and buy me a treat. It was so wonderful, I am incredibly grateful to her. And, for the record, I’ve finished the first write-though, I have reached the page minimum at last- and hopefully it doesn’t sound too bad. I’m afraid to look at it again, because I know I would probably want to re-write the whole thing. I’ve decided to put it away for now, and worry about revising tomorrow.

A good deed

Today was interesting. Not typical.

For one thing, I skyped my family. First time doing that. It was a fun experience. And kinda nice to talk to my family all at once, instead of segmented.

Then there was a Relief Society gathering. That was nice. It also meant we didn’t have to cook dinner!

And then we did a good deed. I talked about it a few days ago, wondering what you do when somebody has had a bad day or a bad week. Well… There was that Relief Society gathering and we had these leftover snacks so… I figured I’d grab the chance while it was there. It was a bit unusual for me though. I’m not the sort who generally goes around doing service like that. But I’ve been trying to get into the habit. After all, so many people have done services for me and I keep thinking… wouldn’t it be cool if I could do the same for somebody else? But the trick after making that decision is finding and acting on those opportunities to help others. And… well, it seems like there are more opportunities to serve here, because almost everything is within walking distance. I’ve never really been within walking distance of my friends before. It almost seems criminal not to take advantage of that. And… it felt good. To do something for someone else. You like to imagine that now they’ll be more willing to help others out. Ripples.

Then I visited my old roommates and agreed to make pizza for them on Saturday. Hopefully that will go okay. It’s not exactly fun to make pizza, but it’s nearly always worth it. And… well, I think everybody will enjoy it. Oh goodness, I’m getting anxious over it. See, sometimes I think I handle stress fairly well, other times I think I get stressed way too easily.

But I will count today as a good day, because of that good deed. Almost like that deed is going to be a safeguard for me this week. But… now there is something I wish I could do for my old roommates. I mean, as well as the pizza. I don’t know how much of a good deed that is anyway, since they’re going to be buying the ingredients. Still, I wish there was something I could do for others. Not to sound preachy or cheesy or anything, I just think it would be ungrateful of me if I did not. After all, I’ve had people do wonderful things to me over the years.