Saturday, February 18, 2012

Poetry from a Dirtbag

With every day there's something new,
I do my best to return to you.
But I fall short, I feel the pain,
The clouds roll in, it starts to rain.

Why does living seem so hard,
I wish I was dealt a different card.
Life is much more than just a game,
Although, I wish it was more humane.

Sometimes I forget there was another,
He lives for me, he's my older Brother.
Sent from God to give me strength each day,
He came and died to take my sins away.

Just as he came for me, he came for you,
All he wants is to help us through.
It's up to us to let him in,
He's waiting, let us begin. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stories from a Dirtbag

n. generally a person who has a history of temp jobs and prefers climbing, surfing, traveling over living a normal predictable life.    (

I have always kind of been a dirtbag.  My parents weren't always thrilled when I told them my highest aspiration in life was to be a beach bum, a ski bum, or a climbing bum. Possibly all three. I would not mind living in a van, as long as I have my guitar and outdoor gear with me.  A tipi would be my ideal home. 

I knew a mission would be a great opportunity to be a spiritual bum, in a sense.  I wander around all over Montana and Wyoming and share messages of hope, faith, and comfort.  As missionaries we never have permanent homes, have all kinds of adventures, eat what we're offered, and don't get any money.

Some of my favorite wanderers are the apostles of Jesus Christ.  They were wandering around following a man they knew could bring change.  I have a strong desire to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  I know the change he can bring.  My goals in life have been tweaked a bit since I've been out.  But no matter where I wander, I will always do my best to follow the Savior.  I don't need much in life, but I do need Christ.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How can I make a difference?

How can I make a difference?  I've pondered this question many times in my life.  "I'm just one person."  "What can I do?"  Mother Teresa said, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love."  We can make a difference in the life of others, if we love them.  We can change the world one person at a time.  Here's a cool story of a teenager who is making a difference. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rez Life

I've been on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation going on six months now.  I love this place.  The people are awesome.  They amaze me with the faith they have.  There has been a lot of history here. I would like to share a story that happened here on the reservation many years ago.  This story is about an apostle for the church named Melvin J. Ballard.  The article talks about a very spiritual experience he had on the reservation. 

"A number of years ago, Elder Melvin J. Ballard (1873–1939) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had an experience while visiting the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana, USA. At the time, he needed inspiration and strength to help the people in that community."

One night he had a dream in which he was ushered into a room, where he saw “the most glorious being I have ever conceived of, and was taken forward to be introduced to Him. … He smiled, called my name, and stretched out His hands toward me. If I live to be a million years old I shall never forget that smile. He put His arms around me and kissed me, as He took me into His bosom, and He blessed me until my whole being was thrilled. As He finished I fell at His feet, and there saw the marks of the nails; and as I kissed them, with deep joy swelling through my whole being, I felt that I was in heaven indeed. The feeling … then was: Oh! If I could … go into His presence and receive the feeling that I then had … , I would give everything that I am and ever hope to be!
“I know—as I know that I live—that He lives.”

I've been to the spot where Elder Ballard saw this vision.  It fascinates me every time I think of what happened there.  I know the lord lives.  My experiences may not be quite as powerful as Elder Ballard's but I have felt the Lords hand in my life, and continue to see it every day. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bears and Boy Scouts

When I think good stories from my past my mind always reflects upon Boy Scout camps.  That may sound a bit nerdy but I don't even care.  Scouting was the best.   So many things happened on a single week camping trip.  I remember my first camp out as a wee 12 year old.  I was pretty excited to go camping for a whole week.  We drove up a mountain near my house and started setting up camp.  We had all sorts of fun going to merit badge classes, or rather skipping out on the classes and going canoeing.  We played capture the flag until we were either injured or we were tired of hearing our scout leader yelling at us to come back to camp.  I could finally eat all the junk food I wanted without my father knowing.  It was a young boys dream.
Bear Face Photo
One night at camp I was sleeping pretty well.  One of my friends sleeping in the tent whispered, "Paul, there are bears outside."  A little annoyed I told him to shut up and go to bed.  But a few seconds later I heard growling and all kind of terrifying noises.  My friend and I sat in our sleeping bags quietly, praying we wouldn't become bear food.  After what seemed to be hours, some others scouts in our group woke up and heard the same thing.  They went outside to check it out.  "Oh man there are skunks in our camp." Skunks? I thought to myself.  Really? Skunks?  I felt a bit pathetic and got out of my tent.  The skunks left and we went on with our morning. 

Satan in a way is like those darn skunks.  He messes with our minds.  He uses tactics that make us afraid.  He leads us to think he is big and bad. In reality he is just a skunk.  He stinks and he's got nothing to offer us.  We have the ultimate skunk protection, Jesus Christ.  Christ has power over Satan. 

I see others who are trapped in life.  They are stuck in a rut but they don't know how to get out.  They feel like I felt when I was camping.  They are trapped in sin and feel if they try to get out they will be threatened.  The ultimate answer is Jesus Christ.  If we put our trust in him he will deliver us from temptation and free us from sin.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I am not ashamed of the violin

Me playing violin as a little guy
Music runs through my veins.  I think my DNA is made up of tied music notes.  I love music.  When I was about four years I wanted to be like my mother and play the violin.  My mother bought me a tiny violin. I started plucking away hoping I would sound as good as my mom.  I played through my childhood years and enjoyed it.  As a became a teenager I got tired of practicing the violin.  The violin wasn't very cool and everyone knows only girls play the violin.  At least that's what I thought.  I hate to say it but I began to be ashamed of the violin.

In high school I put the violin down and a picked up the guitar.  I didn't want to play Bach or Beethoven,  I wanted to play the Beatles and Bob Dylan.  I wish I would have stuck with the violin.  My repertoire in music would be so much greater.  I do plan on picking the violin up when I get home. 
Basement fun

One of my favorite scriptures in the bible is Romans 1:16.  Paul says " For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."  Like myself with the violin, we can become ashamed of the gospel.  We think we are too cool,  too manly, too womanly (if that makes sense), or just too good for the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

In conclusion the only way to obtain salvation is through Jesus Christ.  The gospel may not always be the most popular thing to do, especially in the world we live in today.  But the gospel is the only thing that will bring lasting happiness.  That's nothing to be ashamed of. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mind Games

   Tennis is a pretty interesting sport.  Its definately plays a toll on the mind.  You always have to be thinking.  Where am I going to put the ball next?  Is the opponent getting tired?  Should I put a spin on the ball or just crank it?  You don't have a lot of time to decide.  I found my self lacking confidence many times.  I would think too much rather than just stroking the ball.  Once I started doubting everything would fall apart.  I would screw up my serves, hit the ball too hard or too short, and unavoidably fail.  Only when I did not doubt, when I had confidence in myself, could I win the match.

Life is very much like tennis.  We are constantly making decisions.  Their are many different situations which need careful thought and consideration.  Thinking is great, as long as we don't think too much.  We have to find a balance.  Once our thinking process turns to doubt and fear, the problems begin. 

One of my favorite scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants says, "Doubt not, fear not."  Another scripture that comes to mind is Matthew 14. In this scripture the apostles are traveling by boat whilst the winds and the storms are bearing down on them.  They look out and see Christ walking on the water.  Many of the apostles become afraid.  Jesus tells them to calm down.  Peter, being strong in  faith, steps onto the water and begins to walk toward Jesus.  He takes his eyes off of the master and sees the wind and the storm.  He gets scared, and falls through the surface of the water. 
Peter and the Savior
We are all like Peter in a way.  We may be doing something incredible.  Often times doubt begins to settle in and we fall.  Its up to us to get back up again.  May we all stay strong in the faith and follow Bob Marleys simple advice,  "Don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be allright. "