Sunday, March 24, 2013

...all the single ladies...

If there's anything I've learned this season it's that teaching in Utah is way more demanding than I was expecting.  My plans and schemes have too often stomped on the expectations of debate and drama.  I needed to give both more time, in terms of state and region competition, but my agenda has made such difficult.  Next year I'll still be able to get much of what I want done, but I'm going to have to do it in a different order with different priorities.  For example, rather than doing the 30x60 during the spring, I'll pull it back and do it the second quarter, so that we're ready for some after school rehearsals shortly after the musical is done. That way there won't be the crossover that I've suffered the last few weeks.

You've no idea how crazy it has been trying to rehearse 2 productions at the same time.  It's just too busy.  It's just too time consuming.  It's just lacking in sanity.  We pulled off the 30x60 Thursday night, and for the most part it was successful, but it could have been better.  More time for costumes, more time to practice and rehearse lighting and sound cues, and more time to tweak the little things would have really helped us.  Still, I learned a lot from it, and have a better idea how to do it next time, more effectively.

Region Drama competition was yesterday, and with rehearsing for 2 shows, I really had to let the kids prepare on their own.  While initially I had more than 20 kids planning to attend and participate, in the end 11 attended and only 5 competed.  It was a fun and memorable day, including flirting with a judge that was just adorable, and spending time with other teachers who have been doing this longer than I have.  There's some strength and friendship there that I hope will grow in upcoming years.  On the positive side, all 5 of my students qualified for state; on the challenging side: state competition is the same weekend as You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.  I have no idea how to fix that.

Speaking of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, we've been planning on rehearsing a lot over spring break which officially began Friday.  However, for reasons I don't totally understand, the school decided to shut off power and lock the school for the week.  No option to get in the school.  So I did some asking and hopefully today I'll get a key and we'll be using the cultural hall at church this week.  It'll be different and challenging, but at least it'll let us rehearse.  We'll be pulling 5-6 hour rehearsals, but if this week goes well, we should be in good shape for 11-13 of next month.  I'm optimistic, and I hope to remain there.

Aside from myself, there's a ton going on in the family.  Brien's opening a new business, Kayla's moving back to be with her mom, I have no idea what I'm doing for Easter, and Eron and his family are moving to Vegas.  And what does that mean for my summer?  I loved Spokane because it was so beautiful and comfortable; neither adjective describes Las Vegas.  Maybe this means my summers of lazily hanging out with my bro and his family are coming to an end.  Poo.  Maybe I can still give a week or two.  Heck, him moving to Vegas means we're going to be living the closest we've been in years.  That's a nice thought.

Speaking of summer, I was heavily encouraged yesterday that what I need to do this summer is get involved in the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti.  Hmm.  That might be good, especially since I've been told it's a terrific place to meet girls.  :)  I've lost 15 pounds since the Super Bowl, and if I can lost 5 more this week, I'll still be on track for my goal of 10 a month.  If I could lose 10 in April and 10 in May...maybe the single ladies, all the single ladies, will be looking for me.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Happy St. Patrick's Day.
I wanted to share with 3 things this morning.
1. While some may consider me an emotional guy, there's a real part of me that appeals to logic. My logical side loves math.  My logical side loves games like Sudoku.  And, interestingly enough, my logical side is part of my testimony of the church.
Years ago I was at lunch with another teacher, and for reasons I can't recall, our conversation turned religious.  His name was Matt, he was Catholic, and I admitted to him that one of the strengths of the Catholic Church was time.  They were the only Christian church to claim authority all the way back to Jesus, and every other Christian church, in one way or another, was a break off of the Catholic Church.  It started with the Lutheran's disagreeing and then forming their own church, then the Wesleyan’s, and then other churches broke off from those churches and formed others.  Matt laughed and admitted something like, "And you guys don't even appreciate that what you have as the bible is because of us!" I agreed, and history proves this.  Then I suggested that so many churches have broken from Catholic theology, that one can't even determine what's true and what's theory, and there is so much confusion out there, that either the Catholic's must be right, or God himself would have to come down and set things straight.  He laughed and agreed.  I laughed and told him, "And that's what we believe.  We believe God came down and fixed it.”
I've never had this argument work in conversion.  But it really works in my heart.  I believe God appeared to Joseph Smith because there was so much confusion, that the only way to get things back on track, was for Him to put it on track.  And such was always the plan.
2. Part of that getting things back on track was the Book of Mormon.  I love that book.  I'm ashamed to say that I didn't read it completely and by myself until I was 18.  But then I read it again, and again, and again.  I could keep repeating those "agains" because I have kept reading and rereading.  Bruce McConkie once said something along the lines that the most important question to face humanity in the last days is whether or not the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I've made my study of that book a priority in my adult life, and I believe, with all my heart, that it's true.  My life has been shaped and guided, and many times my survival as an adult has come from the way that book has assisted my life. 
3. This one is reflective of #2, but I'll give it it's own number anyway.  In the Book of Mormon, Lehi's has a dream of the Tree of Life.   Part of that dream included the Iron Rod that led to the Tree of Life.  There are 3 types of people described in this vision in relation to the Iron Rod.  1. The people who never find it, wander off, and are lost. 2. Those who find it, cling to it, and make it to the tree, only to fall away and wander to the Great and Spacious Building.  I've heard many people describe this "clinging" as a powerful thing, like they're holding on for their dear life.  But clinging is what a dryer sheet does to your clothes as you pull them from the dryer: it barely hangs on and can sometimes be detached simply by shaking hard enough.  These people fell away because the Word wasn't important to their life, and the sound and mocking of the Great and Spacious building led them away. 3. These are those who, "held fast," to the Iron Rod.  They made it to the Tree, partook, and ignored those in that building, never falling away.
I think everyone in the world falls into one of these 3 categories.
Another focus here: what is the Iron Rod?  One could say it is the Bible and scripture and teachings of Jesus.  One could properly argue it is Jesus himself.  One interpretation that really works for me: Notice that Lehi found the Tree, looked about for his family, then Nephi, Sam, and Sariah found the Tree, and only then did Lehi see the Iron Rod, as if they all made it there without it.  Odd.  My interpretation of this: Lehi's vision went from specifically about him and his family to a vision of the world, and, perhaps, the Iron Rod he saw wasn't available to the world until later, until near the end.  Which means, perhaps, the Iron Rod he saw was the Book of Mormon.  Which means, perhaps, whether or not we partake of the fruit and fall away or partake and stand firm, could be how important the Book of Mormon is in our lives.
This is my testimony.  The Book of Mormon is the Word of God.  Joseph Smith was God's instrument to bring it forth and reestablish His truth on earth.  I don't have this testimony because others have convinced me or I've been brainwashed.  God has revealed Himself at various times in my life in ways that I cannot doubt the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.  And perhaps the most amazing thing about the Book of Mormon: God promises us that if we read it, ponder it, and ask Him if it's NOT true, He will prove to us it is.
And that's all I'm going to say about that.  This morning.

Sunday, March 3, 2013 day at a time.

I apologize that I've seemingly neglected my blog for the past month.  Truth is, I've been busy, especially on the weekends.  The weekend of the 10th I was in Vegas, the weekend of the 17th I was in West Jordan with Eron and Mom, and the weekend of the 24th I was in Cedar City.  I expect many of you want more details than that, but recall that this is the dating life of Bruce Kelly, so I'm going to quote a line from my favorite country band of all time, Blackhawk, "...and baby all bad things gotta come to an end."
Like Their Ain't No Yesterday
And that's all I'm going to say about that. :(
No, actually I'm going to be selfish here and describe what I've learned.  I'm a good listener, and a good communicator.  I'm good at being affectionate.  When I care enough about a relationship or friendship, if there’s a problem, I won't fall asleep at night until my mind and heart have devised a plan on how to approach a solution.  And I know how to give 110%.  Despite my track record, I'm a pretty terrific guy; I've just got to find a girl who is willing to trust that.
I've also learned I have a new challenge in dating.  The group Little Big Town, on their new album, 3rd song, has a chorus that states, "I love being in love..." and I know that's true about me.  I've been hungry for love, an equal, giving, sharing, and communicating love for a very long time.  So long that I'm now aware that dating may put me in a position of imbalance: am I in love with this girl, or in love with the idea of being in love with this girl?  Does that make sense?  One is honest and more centered on her and her needs; the other is selfish and unrealistic.  I don't think I'll need years of therapy and counseling to deal with this one, I just need to be aware as I step into my next relationship.  And it'll come.
I also know that one of the causes of my social anxiety is putting all my eggs in one basket.  This leaves me worrying too much about what she is thinking now, why hasn't she talked to me today, and defining our relationship too often.  This, of course, comes from too many women in my life not being up front and honest with me.  So maybe this sound selfish of me, too, but I need options.  I need to know that if things fail with this girl, I have other possibilities.  I found my job, social life, and even family life all darkened because I was worrying too much about my relationship, worrying too much because part of my mind was beginning to believe that this relationship was my last chance, that I'd never find another like her.  That's too much pressure for me, and too much pressure for her.  It seems maybe a bit hypocritical, for I've been working my entire adult life to be a one-woman kind of guy.  But what my life needs right now is meeting many women, and letting friendship grow into something else.
Okay, that's enough talk about girls.  Family and friends...if you're married and having problems: fix it!  Talk to each other!  Listen to each other!  Give to each other!  Sacrifice your needs for the wants and needs of the other!  Trust me, in this world today, you don't want to be single.
On a positive note, I lost 10 pounds in the month of February!  I used a number of strategies to achieve this: 1. A small breakfast. 2. A light lunch. 3. A sensible dinner. 4. Exercise after school when the time was available: walking to start with, then a light jog, then a short run, and now a combination of them all. 5. Water, lots of water.  One of the coaches I work with encouraged me that at my weight, I should be drinking 3.5 gallons of water a day.  Ridiculous!  I've never made it, but on the days where I've come close, I think it has made a difference in flushing my system out.  God willing I can stick to this, continue to find success, and be down another 10 pounds by spring break in a month.
And all of this combines to a specific point: you've got to take life one day at a time.  Forgive yourself if you indulge today, or make a mistake today, or give in to your favorite sin.  Forgive yourself, and work a little harder tomorrow.  But also be aware, in your mind, of what your goals are, and know that your choices today, could push those goals a little further out of reach tomorrow.  Discipline may be the key to happiness in life.   Maybe.