Sunday, December 17

Days 11-17: #LightTheWorld

Day 11: "I was a stranger, and ye took me in" - Matthew 25:35

I spend most of my time with strangers. For most of my life an incredible feeling of loneliness (in part from being autistic) has been a part of my life. It's the most painful thing I could ever imagine... and I can't handle the thought of someone else feeling the same way. So I give my time, my talents, my happiness, and pretty much everything in my life to strangers in hopes that they will come close to God and never feel alone.

Day 12: "Blessed are they that mourn" - Matthew 5:4

This day I was an emotional mess. Fitting turnabout, perhaps, because most of my time I try to think of myself as a solid, stable, stoic guy. And then I felt more alone on Dec 11 & 12 than I had in years. The pain was so bad that I wanted to die. And then I burst into tears because I'm a good Mormon boy, and killing myself isn't an option.

Yeah. I was in a *really* bad state. I don't know if any of my friends had ever seen me like that... but at least they were able to help me feel like they cared.

Day 13: "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” - Matthew 7:12

The thing I want most in life is candor in my relationships. Nothing else gives me more stress, or more meaning, than my relationships in life. So I gave the gift of candor, and shared my open and honest feelings with the people closest to me. It took a while, and some of it was exceptionally hard to communicate... but it was good.

Day 14: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” - Matthew 6:21

Another twist of irony. On this day, rather than spend my time with family, or friends, or even strangers - the treasures I would say I value most - I spent it alone. Part of me felt guilty for being so alone... the other part was still recovering from the emotional ordeal of the days before, and preparing for the stress that was still on the way.

Day 15: "Blessed are the merciful” - Matthew 5:7

When I first started my first business, all I did was give stuff away. Good business sense? Awful business sense? Either way, turning a profit was rough. When I started my second business, I made the decision to never give discounts, to anyone, because I knew that I'd give them to everyone.

On Day 15 I gave a discount. It was to a couple who had come in for their anniversary. They made gifts for their 7 kids, and were incredibly happy. I don't know if that counts as merciful, but that was the best I had available.

Day 16: "naked, and ye clothed me” - Matthew 25:36

I get almost all my clothing from DI, and usually wear my clothes until I can no longer mend the holes. But I have a couple shirts that aren't a color I wear often, and a pair of sweat pants that was always too big and I can't wear anymore. So on this day, I started going through my closet to give those shirts, and sweatpants, another life with someone else.

Day 17: "Ye shall meet together oft.” - 3 Nephi 18:22

Church with my family in their ward - my little brother spoke. Church with my family in my own ward - I sang. Family dinner. Dinner with a handful of neighbors.

Being around people is often exhausting for me... so I think that's more than enough.

This week is my birthday, and the last week of #LightTheWorld. I hope it goes well.

Sunday, December 10

Days 3-10: #LightTheWorld

Writing a blog post about what I did to #LightTheWorld each day felt... self-aggrandizing. It was like tooting my own horn, writing about the good things that I did and sharing it with the world.

That's why I haven't written about it here. The experiences have been amazing, but I didn't want to come off the wrong way... which means that I've got bigger problems. Haha. If I can't be myself and share my life honestly on (G)MG, where can I share it? But I guess that's a question for another day.

Day 3: Honor the Sabbath - I went to Church for about 8 hours, and also gave nutritional and supplement advice to someone who asked me a handful of questions - the kind of question I'd usually field at work, so using professional skills to help others on my day off.

Day 4: Love your neighbor - I went home teaching to a guy who lives close by. Got to know him. Shared my testimony. Even though I'm no longer assigned to be his home teacher (since assignments just got changed), hopefully I can help him figure out his life.

Day 5: Honor Thy Parents - I had a short conversation with my dad, and did some service for my parents. My parents moved into the house I was living in a little over a year ago, and in the time since I've had mixed feelings about living with family again. For now, I'm doing what I can to help my family, and I'm here... though sometimes it's more than I can handle.

Day 6: Judge not - This one is hard to write. When bad decisions that my dad made caught up to him earlier this year, I felt like everyone in my mom's family abandoned her. My dad was gone, my siblings were in total shock. She was so alone, so isolated, and had to run a family and a business and work to repair the enormous damage that had happened. I never accused my family, since we were all going through the same pain... and maybe they just didn't know what to do... and maybe some of them did reach out but not in ways I could see. Either way, in my heart I judged some of them for not being there for us when we needed them so badly. So I forgave them.

Day 7: Care for Children - I spent the evening with my youngest siblings. We made veggie spring rolls, which turned out way too crunchy... then played games together.

Day 8: Love your Enemies - I don't have enemies, but I do have a family member that tends to always be involved in every argument that happens in my home. So I'm starting a week of being kind, not with the hope that it will fix the problem, but the hope that I can better communicate my own love.

Day 9: Visit the sick - I have multiple people in my life who are going through rough times in their lives. I reached out to a couple of them... and did what I could to lift their spirits.

Day 10: Study the Scriptures - I made the commitment to arrive to every scheduled meeting, event, hangout, etc on my calendar 5 minutes early... and to use the extra time when I arrive to study the scriptures. I find that studying them throughout the day in short bursts is more effective at keeping them in mind than just once a day. And if my once-daily session gets bumped, having lots of little moments will make it easier to still make it happen.

It's been a good experience so far. Tiring, and sometimes stretching. But I'm glad that I've had the opportunity to #LightTheWorld this December.

Saturday, December 2

Day 2: "Living Water"

Today I felt out of sorts with the suggestion to serve. The prompt is of living water - both physical (giving gifts of clean water) and spiritual (testimony). I hate bottled water, because of the impact it has on the  environment... so I didn't want to give bottled water to the Food Bank. I gave a monetary donation yesterday, so today I wanted to do something different.

The opportunity came when I was talking with a friend, and I was able to share my testimony of the gospel. At the end of the day, water is important... but those who drink living water - the word of Christ - will never thirst. I know that Jesus Christ is the son of God. That He lived and died and lives again. And that be following His guidance, I will find the greatest possible happiness and peace in this life and the world to come.

Friday, December 1

Day 1: "Freely Give"

I realized as I read the suggestions for today that I struggle to know who needs help, and how to help them. My first thought was, "give a fast offering - that goes to the people around you who need it, according to their needs." So I did. But even that sometimes feels impersonal. I have a personal mantra when it comes to giving... one that I don't know if I've ever shared before in public: give enough that it hurts. Not enough that it would make me go broke... but I don't need a nice car, a new house, or fancy clothes.

I do have stuff that other people might appreciate - though it would likely be more my knowledge than anything else.

That's what I can do. I could offer to volunteer. I know that BYU has a center that mentors entrepreneurs. I'll make that phone call. As long as I have the guts to do it. Thanks, #LightTheWorld, for giving me an excuse.

(This post is part of the #LightTheWorld series - find more info at

#LightTheWorld In 25 Ways Over 25 Days

I'm doing the #LightTheWorld challenge this year. Every day of December, I'll go to and grab a motivational video, bible verse, and suggestions of how to make the world a better place. I did a little last year, but this year I'm going to do every day.

I had the thought to invite someone to do it with me - that way I can share my experiences.

And then I had the thought that maybe I could write about them too. It's been too long since I wrote frequently. Get ready for a 25-day-long deluge.