Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Next Dream Camera! (Until Something Better Comes Along)

I absolutely love this training video. I don't even need the EOS 60D to enjoy it! One day I'll have this camera or its successor!!

And I'll be just like this guy!

Camera -- check!

 Motorcycle -- check!

A fiery desire to explore the
Chinese countryside? --


One day I'll be a traveling photographer. And one day even sooner, I'll have to make a blog post about everything I have ever aspired to do! Photography being just one of them!!

Monday, December 24, 2012


Christmas Eve.

My computer is right next to our beautifully lit Christmas tree. There are a few (but more than enough) presents underneath, lying in wait until relatively eight hours from now, when my younger brothers are sure to wake me up and drag me downstairs to open them -- much like I did to my father every Christmas morning roughly around 6:30AM during my childhood years.

Christmas has taken on many different meanings for me throughout the years. From Santa just deciding be nice, to understanding that it was my parents deciding to be nice, to figuring out that I can get whatever I want so long as it's within reason, to realizing I was old enough to buy presents for others, to finding out that it wasn't so much about the money, to finally being mature enough to comprehend the religious significance and deeper meaning of my favorite time of year.

And these last couple of years I've especially recognized that from the time I was a spoiled little child, to the present, I have been at least humble enough to feel and recognize the Spirit of Jesus Christ during the Christmas season. But only now have I truly pondered the meaning of Christmas and how it is able to convey such a strong spirit in my life. Only now have I made the important connection between Jesus Christ and this worldwide tradition.

I'm sure everyone feels it who participates in Christmas: a strong desire to follow tradition, to be thankful, and -- for those who are able to make the connection -- remember Jesus Christ.

He's the center of all giving and all service. The source of all love, whether we know him or not. The messiah who's birth we celebrate through giving and humility, as well as allowing the Spirit of Christ to enter our hearts.

I would like to bear my testimony of Jesus Christ. Allow me to begin in testifying that he lives! Even as the Spirit of God speaketh unto me. There's a reason so many flow unto Christ. We love him, worship, and revere him.

His birth, ministry, and ultimate sacrifice as he shed his blood to fulfill our Atonement are equal to none. I know that the example of Jesus Christ is one of perfection. As I follow it, I feel closer to God, and my testimony is strengthened accordingly.

Let the world project onto the life of Jesus Christ what they will, but I know that nothing but goodness radiates from his story and, by extent, our story. Again I say that the Spirit of God testifies boldly of his existence, and that his worldwide following is only the smallest amount of proof of that witness.

Christ is surely the light and the life of the world. Without him, we are not saved. All who come unto him will find rest and direction in their troubles and greatest concerns. Only through him will we realize our true eternal potential.

My deepest thanks to the Lord for allowing me to know my savior, which knowledge has not come without effort.

I say these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Getting Outside of Myself

I just wanted to share an excerpt from a journal entry I made today. A talk last night with a good friend and a strong desire to be happier, do better, etc. has led to this little 'click' sounding in my mind.

Here's what that click sounded like:

"No matter what happens, no matter what I feel at any given moment – it can be fear, sadness, hopelessness, feeling like things will never change or that I will always have to worry – I know that everything will be okay.

When will I stop having to worry? That time is now! I have so many things I could worry about but none of them matter as long as I remember that I am me. That I love myself and that I'm worth it. I'm worth the effort to be me. I don't have to be anyone else. If I'm being someone else I will never realize how awesome I am. I won't let anybody tell me differently!

I'm going to stay positive because negativity will only bring me down. I won't let anything bring me down! I'm a good man. I have many things to look forward to and many people in my life who I just love to death. I want to lose myself in serving and helping them – finding ways to make their lives easier and to let them know that I love them.

Every sunny day, a person realizes their true potential. A person sees that no matter what anybody says, no matter what happens to them, no matter what they've done or feel they're worth, they still have the potential to change lives and be happy alongside everyone else! Everyone has this God-given ability.

This is why I love sunny days. There have been so many in life. I so love that warming sun and the trees and nature, music and art, movies and books, writing and reading, good styles and good people, trials and the happiness that comes from learning from them, friends and fun times, Christmas time and Jesus Christ, my religion and my life.

I resolve this day to get out of myself and see what others love. To reach out to other people and talk to them. To show them that I care. To find ways to help and love them. Because they need my help and I need theirs just as much.

Somewhere out there, there's a man or woman, boy or girl, someone young or old, who wants so badly for me to reach out to them they way I've been hoping my whole life for someone to reach out to me. If things are just so bad that I can't find any light or hope in my life, I can at least give someone else that light and hope. That's why I want to serve a mission. That's why I want to help. I don't want anyone to have a bad day so often as I can be there to help them have a better one!

Today is the beginning of a life of caring in every way I can for others. Because if I can get my mind off myself and focus on them, there won't be much to worry about, will there! (Not to mention, that's how you solve many of your own problems)

I'll start with my family. They need me, and boy do I need them! I've always wanted them to know how much I love and appreciate them!

Then on to my good friends. I love them oh so much!

Then complete strangers and acquaintances. They need me, and I need them just like any pair of close friends or family members would!

"Like beggars in the greying morning
These needful hands are reaching for you
We're beggars bought by suffered gold
We want what little love we hold"

Falling Up – Greying Morning

We're all beggars, even if we're not facing devastating circumstances, and I'm going to remember that. Remembering that and acting on it for the sake of others is where much of our true hope comes from! Even doing something simple for someone else can mean the difference between a life-changing friendship and nothing at all.

So simple :)"

And be sure to check out Falling Up's latest album, Midnight on Earthship! I'm really liking what I'm hearing!

Here's a link to their site!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I Love Photography

I definitely need to get out with my camera more, but during the times that I have, I've snapped some photos I can be proud of! And of course I love them because they're mine. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

To You

It's 1:56 in the morning as I start this little blog post addressed to you, my wonderful friend. You need to know how long I've been wanting to write this ever since deleting the last one. I regret that, you know. If only I'd seen what you'd commented before I deleted that post -- how much it seemed to have meant to you. Luckily, Blogger keeps the comments. So that's enough for me. :)

I just finished talking with you, but now that I'm back at home, I miss you. I wish we could talk longer. But there are rules we both need to follow. I'm sorry to say I've broken mine... The curfew I set for myself was nearly two hours ago!

I do need to go to bed. But I do need to write this for myself, and for you. Right now, it can't wait. So I'm stuck... I'll just keep writing until I decide!

I dream about the day you fully understand how much our relationship means to me. I dream even more about the day I fully understand how much it means to you.

I want to know everything about you. I want to know your deepest thoughts, your dearest dreams -- those you hold closest.

One day, perhaps.

That's why I ask you how you're doing. That's why I ask you any other question. To know you. Some questions so simple and not overly inquiring. Each time, I get something like 'Good. I did (this) today.' But that tells me so much sometimes. Every time I talk to you, I learn so much more than you say. I take in your personality more and more each time you speak, each time your eyes move up into mine, each time you open up, each time you close up -- it always tells me something more.

I learn how you interact. I see your body language. Glimpses of how you feel, what you're thinking, who you are. Only glimpses. And it's my job to figure out what they mean, so I can know you. Understand you. Love you even more.

You intrigue me. You fascinate me. I can't help but wonder how similar we truly are to each other. I feel like one day, we'll know that we are almost the same person. But I can't assume that. For both of us to know, we need to continue getting to know each other inside and out. And we will.

Every time I think about you, I see sunflowers and skinny jeans and hear indie music. I feel the warmth of a sun and I see it's yellowness as it pounds rays onto my face and warms me all over. I don't know what the sun means, only that it makes me feel good and that it reminds me exactly of how I feel when I'm around you.  Lighting up parts of my life that I thought never could be lit.

That warmth reminds me of something long ago that I cannot place.

I remember all of the times we talked. Almost every conversation it seems. I must cherish them if I can remember almost everything we've ever talked about in our long chain of serious but enjoyable conversations. Some of them lasting for more than six hours or so. I miss those.

Ever since I first spoke to you and introduced myself to you in that car as we dropped you off from a singles ward event, I saw a beauty and friendliness I immediately recognized. Such a vague memory but something I remembered I'd always thirsted for. I wanted to be your friend from day one. I knew things could be.

And then we really talked, that one summer night. The very first time I was able to help you through something you were struggling with. I didn't know you, but you told me everything. You trusted me. I was touched. I knew I cared about you already. I gave you the best advice I could muster. I already wanted to be there for you every time but I couldn't say anything yet.

And then things got difficult, but I never forgot that night. That feeling. So I stuck around. I persevered. I still had more to learn from you and I knew I would miss that warm sun even more if I left it cold turkey.

I'm still here, and I will never forget you.

You have been a great friend. Trusting. Loving. Caring. Such a beautiful person inside. So full of ambition and love and the Spirit. So fun to be around, even when we aren't talking.

Never forget me either.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

If My Life Had A Soundtrack...

Born to Loving Parents

Love, Family, Innocence

Heartbroken (Does Anyone Love me?)

I Lost Myself, Maybe Forever, Trying to Be Someone I'm Not

Can I Come Back?

My Future Was Uncertain, But Would It Soon Be Decided? (Leaving My Family, Leaving Behind Everything)

It Was Dark and Hopeless (Will I Ever Find Myself?)

My Return to the Faith

An Epic Comeback

A New Peace, A New Life

(I now know who I am, I have returned to those I love, it will be alright)

Continue On...

I will have to update this list in the future as life goes on and as I perhaps find better music to portray my life!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hello November

You may be confused by the title of this post, seeing that November is well over. Allow me to explain. 'Hello November' is what Maren (my good friend) and I call our band! After months of sharing with each other our favorite music and finding that our tastes are almost exactly the same, we've finally resolved to make our own! It's just her and I right now but we're so excited to bring you the most beautiful and heartfelt indie music you've ever heard!!

Instruments we plan on using to write our songs will include:

-Xylophon/Bell Kit
-Our voices :)

We have only several months before we leave on LDS missions so we can't really go anywhere right now, but we're going to have fun anyways!! And when we get back -- if we still want to do it -- we'll be performing in concerts in no time!

Since Maren is living roughly 10 miles away right now and neither of us has a car, we won't be able to practice that often. So I made this video for her so that she can practice with me when she's not in Spanish Fork, and maybe even be inspired to write her own songs for the band!

Thanks, Maren, for doing this with me. :)

Here's a sneak peak at the writing process!! I filmed this within an hour of writing the song's first verse! (Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved!!)

Friday, November 30, 2012

My New Favorite Movie!

Life of Pi is hands down the most beautiful movie I have ever seen. It was absolutely, mesmerizingly beautiful. I think the friends I went to see it with -- Maren, Steven, Camille, and Camille's friend Abby -- would agree.

Not only was the cinematography and the soundtrack utterly mind-blowing, I have rarely seen a movie deliver such powerful messages of bravery, truth, faith, and letting go.


At one point in the movie, Pi, the main-character, ends up parting with the tiger named Richard Parker. After a terrible shipwreck, he spent his whole time with Richard Parker lost at sea -- this vicious, perhaps mindless animal -- whom he has learned to love despite a difference in species.

As Richard Parker looks into the jungles of Mexico (where they've made their final landing), he doesn't so much as look back at Pi before disappearing into the trees.

Pi is devastated at his indifference, after everything they'd been through.

Later in the movie, Pi tells a second story where the tiger is a representation of himself during that fateful journey in which the murderous side of him came out as he killed another shipwreck survivor in desperation.

Before I knew it, the movie was over and was left wondering which story was true and which one I liked better.

It might seem strange but I can connect with the second story better. To me, that tiger walking into the forest without looking back symbolized that evil part of Pi leaving him forever. Pi's devastation symbolized the difficulty of letting go, whether it be letting go of the past or of a certain reality you feel you have to live with.

(*End of Spoiler!)

To me, this was a movie of redemption, a movie about change and acceptance. A movie symbolizing that whatever we may regret or find hard to accept does not have to stop us from moving forward and becoming a new person.

This is not the only wise element to this movie. There are many, many more to analyze and learn from because of the deep truths contained in such a masterpiece.

I said it in a humorous way when I turned to those sitting next to me in the theaters and said, "I will spend the rest of my life processing that."

But that's the truth.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm A Thinker

 Did you know that one out of three people are introverted? This video was just too good for me not to post before I forgot to! It puts so much into perspective for me and helps introverts and extroverts understand where they fit in in life! I love this!

I've always been slightly bothered whenever somebody has labeled me as shy. It bothers me just as much when someone labels me as extroverted, confident, or sociable, because sometimes it simply isn't true. Those labels are absolutes. I'm either absolutely extroverted or absolutely introverted or 'shy' in the eyes of other people. The truth is, it's always a varying combination of both wherever I am and whatever I'm doing, and let's not forget to mention that shyness and introversion are not the same thing. The question that remains is: How much of it is shyness and how much is my natural introversion? How much is confidence and extroversion and how much of it is a defense mechanism to not seem shy.

One thing is certain -- I'm definitely a thinker and not so much a talker. That's one reason I have a blog! I feel like I can sometimes get a lot more across in writing than I can giving a speech!

In The Beginning, There Was DANIEL!

I'm the most serious person you've ever met, I'm the most silly. I'm the most abstract man to have ever confused you, I'm the simplest man alive. I'm the deepest person you know, I'm a guy baffled by many of life's simplest complexities. I can be distant, I can be close. I can be self-centered, I can love you more than anyone else.

You don't know all of me, and maybe it is impossible for you to know it all, but we'll start somewhere -- and that somewhere is here!!

My name is Daniel. I'm a native Utahn, the oldest of four brothers, a faithful church goer, a guy with tons of amazing friends, too much time on my hands, and loads of ambition!

My interests -- most likely much of the material that will make up this blog -- include writing, reading, discovering or writing new music, photography, cinema, enjoying my heart-to-heart relationships with friends and family, the outdoors, running, philosophizing/discussing various issues with like minded people, and sitting on the computer all day if I don't stop myself. (Posting on the blog doesn't count against me when it comes to my computer addiction!!!)

I love warm weather, dry sarcasm, and eating apple peels. So if you are ever in the middle of making a homemade apple pie on a summer day, call me over to your house, and while you eat your pie, I'll devour those peels you would have thrown away and have a grand old time making sarcastic comments with you on the back porch. We'll get along great!

In closing, my life centers around:

-Living by the teachings of these books

-Looking sharp as a Sir

Sir Ian Mckellen (or Gandalf!) at around my age

-Good music

Bon Iver - Towers
 Jonsi - Around Us
The Cinematic Orchestra feat. Patrick Watson - To Build A Home

The Lighthouse and the Whaler - White Days
Jinja Safari - Peter Pan

-Reading and writing

-My relationships

-Apple peels