Going Out in Style

Scott Carrier. 

This guy is a character and definitely beats his drum to his own melody. He serves as a journalism writing professor at good ol’ Utah Valley University and used to scare my little naieve self too death.  The guy is a bucket of knowledge and has written powerful articles about hefty tops like the Palestinian conflict, drugs, war, etc. etc.  His work has been published in the Rolling Stone magazine and he has written a book called “Prisoner of Zion.”  Basically, he is a power house that knows how to tell the truth in a clear,concise matter. 

Today we finished up his class and he issued us a final quiz.  Since we are a journalism class, we listen a lot to him speak and write down what he says as fast as we can.  So today we did this again and wrote down word-for-word interpretations of quotes by Sam Hamill of the book “Wen Fu.”  We were supposed to write next to the quote whether we thought the idea was true or false.  So basically, we all did this and stressed over what was the ‘right’ answer only to find out at the end of the quiz that Carrier was giving us all a 100%. That my friends, is the way to go out in style!

This isn’t a pointless post, don’t worry.  I wanted to include these quotes that we wrote on here for you all to see.  If you haven’t thought what you write or say was important or worthwhile before, I want you to read these and re-evaluate.  What you say does matter and you can make a different.

1. “Everything I wrote was true because I believed in what I saw.” -Jack Keroauc (one of the most powerful writers of all time)

2. “This is all I ask of the writer.  To be a hero, appoint herself/himself as a moral leader, wanted or not.  I believe that words count, that writing matters, that poems, essays, and novels–in the long run–make a difference.  If they do not, then in the words of my exemplar, Alexsandr Dyachenko, the writer’s work is no more important than the barking of village dogs at night.” -Edward Abbey

3. When cutting an axe handle with an axe, surely the model is close at hand.

4. When studying the work of masters, she follows the movement of their minds.

5. The writer stands in the center of the universe contemplating the engima.

OK, I’m pretty sure no one really understands #3-5…or least I hope not because they sure lost me from about the second word on.  But if you do understand, my hat goes off.  I think the words of #1-2 are beautiful and beyond well said.

Speak up, you matter.


Movie Gems

So I thought I would throw in a different medium here to talk about….Movies! Some of the movies that I’m going to list in this post aren’t necessarily true stories–but that is beside the point. These films are biguns and are absolutely inspiring. I think you know the type of caliber I’m talking about when I describe how you might have felt after seeing “Warrior.”  You walked in feeling tired or just fairly content and walked out wanting to change the world and become a UFC fighter.  See what I’m saying, there is power beyond measure in these movies like this.  They have the ability to move us out of our natural mundane mindset and into a frame-of-reference that enables us to live up to our potential.  Personally, I don’t understand why people want to watch gorey, scary films instead of something that uplifts them. So basically, if you want to watch a scary movie and be freaked out for the rest of the week–don’t call me to be included in on that ha. I want to watch something that is a quality film based off my own standards.  And to me, a quality film is one that has the ability to move me emotionally enough to want to become a better person–even after the reel is stops turning.

I wanted to put together some of my top favorite quotes from unforgettable movies to help get you started with creating/thinking about your own favorites list. So there is the challenge people! However, if you’re one of those thinking that this challenge isn’t for you (which is really is) then I want to issue a different challenge.  Next time you walk into a quality caliber of film,  let yourself become completely vulnerable.  Drop the walls and experience whatever emotions that naturally come to you fully.  Take note of the parts that move you and revisit the themes of the idea later on.  For me some of these quotes came in times that I was stretched emotionally, and therefore, these have great meaning to me–they inspire me.

Secretariat: My all-time favorite movie








“It’s not whether they think we won.  It’s whether we think we won.” – Penny’s father Chris Chenery

Remember the Titans

“This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting among ourselves today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin’ with the blood of young boys. Smoke and hot lead pouring right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men. I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family. You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don’t care if you like each other or not, but you will respect each other. And maybe… I don’t know, maybe we’ll learn to play this game like men.”
“Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die. Follow your heart, kid, and you’ll never go wrong.”
Rocky IV
“Going in one more round when you don’t think you can –
that’s what makes all the difference in your life.”
“Were gonna go inside, were gonna go outside, inside and outside. Were gonna get ’em on the run boys and once we get ’em on the run were gonna keep ’em on the run. And then were gonna go go go go go go and were not gonna stop ’til
we get across that goalline.” 
Coach Carter
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence
automatically liberates others.”
Love and Basketball
“All is fair in love and basketball.
Double or nothing.”
“My life is simple, my food is plain, and my quarters are uncluttered. In all things, I have sought clarity. I face the troubles and problems of life and death willingly. Virtue, integrity and courage are my priorities. I can be approached, but never pushed; befriended but never coerced; killed but never shamed.
Forever Strong
“Let’s focus on where you could end up, not where you were or are.”
(As for this picture I included….Yep, I couldn’t resist. Hello number 12 😉 )

Oh, Pinterest

This really inspires me.

And so does this.

And yes, after I do accomplish that yoga position above, I will absolutely be making cupcakes like these.

Both of these photos came from the big hit site “Pinterest.com.”  I absolutely have joined in on the craze and am more than happy when I see creative pictures of cupcakes, clothes, decor, etc.  Of course, I naturally love checking out the inspirational pieces that people have put on the site.  And trust me, there is plenty. 

I’ve already mentioned my position as a “Pinterest.com” fan but I wanted to just issue a warning here.  I was looking for fitness inspirational photos, quotes and stories on the site when I came across some pretty wacked-out stuff.  Some pictures and ideas were unhealthy and almost scary.  One of the pieces that I’m talking about gave advice for “how to look like this photo” of a girl with a clearly rockin’ bod.  All is fine-and-dandy until the list gets down to advice #10-55 that is basically telling you how to be anorexic. It said stuff like, “Drink ice-cold water instead of dinner but make sure it is ice-cold so you can burn extra calories.” I’m pretty sure if we are really that concerned with even the smallest amount of calories burned from drinking ice-cold water, we have a problem.  This isn’t healthy nor is it ‘hot.’ 

The point I”m trying to make here is that there is absolutely inspiring information on “Pinterest.com” that is worth checking out–and I personally do… probably a little too often to be honest ha!  But there is also some misleading, dangerous inspiring pieces that we need to be on the look out for.  Don’t be deceived and don’t fall into these traps.  Instead, look for pictures of crazy yoga positions that you someday want to accomplish and look for quotes that help you reach your own personal goals!

By all means though, check out “Pinterest.com” for your own inspiring ideas about basically everything under the sun. You just might LOVE it like I surely do!

And We Give You…the World’s Sexiest Man

So that is the kind of post title I need to capture your attention, huh? Good to know! But this post isn’t actually about this year’s World’s Sexiest Man title-holder Bradley Cooper, but instead is about his runner-up Mr. J.R. Martinez.

Martinez was the winner of this season’s Dancing with the Stars mirror ball trophy.  With a hefty resume including titles like:  U.S. Navy Seal, motivational speaker, and sexy samba man…not to mention is beautiful complexion, giant pearly whites, and muscular frame…there is no doubt people don’t envision a sexy man right off.  However, what you might not envision if you didn’t see J. R. at first is a man with a missing ear and severe burn scars.

Martinez was the victim of his burns when his Humvee hit a landmine on the road to Baghdad. Forty percent of his body was burned. They say 32-34 percent of it was third degree.

“The first time I seen my face, it was pretty hard,” Martinez said. “The doctors didn’t want to let me do it yet, but I said I’ve got to get strong, and I’ve got to learn how to deal with it.”

I think we take for granted how much our looks contribute to who we think we are.  Martinez may have thought in essence that he lost himself.  Can you even imagine looking into the mirror after something like this and realizing that, that you forever? I’ve kind of noticed that our physical appearance can be a fall back for us in times of weakness.  But scars like the ones J.R. has are unavoidable… you can’t hide behind that.  He faced this challenge with strength though, recognized that he was dealt this card, and moved forward making everything he had work for him.  I’d say he has done just that–he is incredibly sexy and successful.

I’ve linked two videos about J.R. here below and highly encourage you to take a look at them… like, NOW! The second one is a short clip that DWTS did on J.R. that they played before he completely his final dance of the season.  I thought they did a wonderful job at creating a moving summary about this complex, inspirational man.

His cool, quiet confidence and attitude for life have kept J.R. going.  Taking a life-altering accident like his and moving forward with more strength than ever before is absolutely incredible. It is an absolute shame that he already has a girlfriend 😉

“I jokingly tell people now I was listed as one of the Sexiest Man Alive, I tell people when they ask me did you ever think that would be possible? I said absolutely, 33 surgeries, I better be one of the Sexiest Men Alive. It was a long rode and a tough ride at 19 years old to look at your body and your face and say, ‘What am I going to do about this now? How I’m going to move forward? Thinking you’re completely alone and no one in the world understands or can relate to you, but luckily I was able to see a side that I can use my second chance at life as an opportunity to help people with their first chance at life, and I wanted to really pass that on to people and help them in a powerful way. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to do that.”

“I look at it now my new weapon are my words and my new uniform is my scars,” he says. “I’m going to continue to serve in a bigger way than I felt I could do in Iraq, which I feel is going to be more needed now if the talks of pulling our guys out of Iraq and Afghanistan and bringing them home now. You’re going to see a lot more guys that are going to need that psychological aspect of recovery. It’s important for me to be that voice.”

Grateful for Thanksgiving Dinners with Lindon City

Click to read the full story here

Alright, so this story is more on a personal note here.  This past Thanksgiving I got to be a part of something that mattered. My dad works for Lindon City and likes to keep our family up-to-date and involved.  No, there isn’t always something super exciting going on in the little city of Lindon, believe it or not…I know that is hard to believe ;).  However, the news I got about an upcoming Lindon City Thanksgiving dinner was in fact new, different, and exciting.  To be honest, I looked forward to finally spending my day doing what I considered to be service for my community.  I think we all hear about these types of opportunities and secretly wish we were a part of them.  The only problem is becoming a part of these events might take some effort on our part.  I was lucky enough to be simply placed in the situation and given the opportunity to experience this.  Thanks dadders.

To answer your question and probable assumption right now, no, this is absolutely not a do-gooder post gloating about how wonderful I am.  In fact, this is just the opposite.  I was able to be thrown into a situation that was so beautiful and powerful that I realized how incredible people around us are.  The mayor of Lindon City is adamant about this Thanksgiving dinner that he started last year for the community.  Of course he received the backing of city staff, contributors, and community members, but he did not received all support.  Some people felt it was a great idea but wasn’t practical.  “Too many people, tax dollars, and effort,” was what most non-supporters were thinking.  What people didn’t realize was that the mayor found sponsors for the event–no tax dollars would be used.  Now the enormous amount of effort necessary for this to happen part?  This absolutely was true.

I’m not sure if you think the way that I do or not, but logically this project the mayor wanted to do is absolutely a large commitment and work load.  This didn’t stop him though.  The passion he and his followers had for the project was enough to put the plan into action.  Passion about something can move mountains, let it.

My family and I were given the opportunity to be on the ‘food preparation’ crew for the event.  We arrived at 8 a.m. to start our work mashing hundreds of pounds of potatoes, sweet-potatoes, jell-o, and the sorts.  I was proud of my 36 boxes of good ol’ Stouffers stuffing that I made.  However, what I was more proud of was the elderly man next to me beating the soften potatoes into a creamy mixture endlessly.  I’m pretty sure he stayed there shaking the bowl back-and-forth with his wabbly hands for at least and hour and a 1/2 to finish in time for the dinner.

I was also proud and touched by really all of the other 175 volunteers that came in, young and old. Everyone was slaving in the two kitchens and running around frantically, yet orderly, to do their part.  Laughter was the sound that filled the refurnished city center and turkey was the smell of the building. I walked into the gymnasium where the actual dinner portion of the event was being held and honestly teared up.  I was overwhelmed with the effort put in by these people out of the goodness of their heart to create such a beautiful setting for everyone that came.  Live Christmas music filled the sound and I couldn’t believe what good hearts these people I was surrounded by had.  This to me was inspiring.  I was even impressed with the way that the 500 utensils were hand-wrapped with ribbons and each person at the dinner was hand-served.  These people could have just cooked the dinner 1/2 heartedly, developed a serving line system, used paper plates, and left the gym undecorated, but they didn’t.  Each detail was intricately attended to. The passion they had for people was enough to make sure everything was perfect.  A job worth doing is worth doing well.

I felt an overwhelming amount gratitude and admiration of the entire production.  These people are inspiring. The day and work wasn’t even about service, it was about being together and a part of something. I think this was one of those principles that I missed on–I thought I was going to just give service and feel good about it, so naive. But what actually happened was that I realized that we are all human. Everyone needs to feel love and a part of something.  I also realized how important it is to develop our own passions and take the time to go after something wholeheartedly. If we do this, the results we can produce will be beyond our wildest dreams.

Medals with Special Meaning

I ran my first marathon when I was 16. Absolutely bizzarre coming from a girl who vowed she never would run one, I know!  Anyways,  I have many memories of sitting in my little checkered jacket as a little girl waiting for my mom to meet us at the finishline year after year.  Every year that I watched my mom finish or ran along side her for the final mile, I realized the value of what she was doing.  I never really did understand as a little girl just how far 26.2 miles was. I didn’t know why she cried everytime she saw her kids cheering for her.  As I aged, I began to realize how strong my mom was.  I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to run one…. let alone cross the finish-line with the strongest woman I know.  Long story short, we made this little dream of mine a reality. Funny how sometimes you go out on a whim and for some odd reason do things you never thought you could like RUN A MARATHON.  So on behalf on my mom as a Sophomore in high school, I ran my first one.  I high-fived my mom at each mile; never have I felt such peace as I did that day after finishing with my mom.  Running has turned into emotional thing for me that brings such happiness—that is my motivation.  It is a get-away that I can’t imagine living without…. Like mother, like daugher I suppose? But the meaning marathons have for the guy in this story below have an even more emotional connection that is absolutely inspiring.

click to see the complete story here

So this blog isn’t really about the story of the Brown family running tradition in least.  However, I wanted to make a point here that we all have a driving force unique to each of us.  I found it absolutely beautiful that the man in this story has a motive to run for a fallen 9/11 hero…even at the age of 70.

To understand this next paragraph I’m about to write… You have to click on the above link and read the story! Ok, ready go.

Each marathon this guy ran was in honor of a fallen hero.  He contributed his entire race to comfort someone with a broken-heart, and even gave away his medal.  I myself can’t even imagine running 26.2 miles, being crowned with a medal around my neck, and then immediately turning to give that medal away.  Maybe I could do it once; but to do it time and time again is incredible.  This man had no problem with sending his medal to comfort a complete stranger for the loss of a loved one though.  

The love and strength this man had on behalf of even a stranger is commendable.  He continued giving and devoting his runs each year to his hero and made a difference in the life of many. This was not something asked of him–he very well could have continued on running having done his charitable work for the year.  However, he didn’t, he didn’t see this as ‘charity’ work but something he believed in and loved.  He coontinued reaching out. I’m in awe with the way this love and friendship unfolded.  The 9/11 victim’s family was rallied around–celebrating life.  If we had more stories like this in the world, we would be living in an entirely different place.  I was touched by the fact that someone else’s piece of mind was the motivation for his marathon. If I was a victim of the 9/11 attacks that had passed away, I would look down upon this act with nothing but smiles.

“Running marathons have given me everything,” Pratt said. “I knew if I could  give someone else just five seconds of comfort from all the effort and training  it takes to run a marathon that it was all worth it. I am very proud that at 71  years old I was able to finish the marathon and give this tribute to James’s  family.”

Preston Hadley…a Stud

Tribune Article

Who: Local football player, Preston Hadley

What: Worked towards his goal

This is one of those stories reminding us to never give up. It just so happens that I know this cute athlete so that makes this article all the better.  I can attest that Preston is a class act. But as I read this story about him, I kept thinking about the famous, classy quote by Michael Jordan here below.  Ironically, this quote has been on the little fliers floating around Utah Valley University recently so that serves as a great, gentle reminder.

A lot of times we get down on ourselves and feel overwhelmed with the world crashing down on us.  We start feeling like too many responsibilites, requirements, standards, jobs, tasks, to-do lists, goals, etc. etc. are weighing us down and we won’t ever make it to the top of where we want to be.  Along with these pressures, we might feel like we are just not good enough.  We experience failures time and time again that take a toll on our little hearts. Add in the pressures of society, peers, yada-yada telling us that we can’t and we just might as well eat our wheaties and head right back to bed. 

However, the people that get a head in the world are not the ones who go back to bed.  The people who rise above and succeed are the ones who take the hits.  They tell their offender thank you or offer them up an American wave (the bird).  There is no doubt pushing forward is hard when failures keep coming your way.  With persistance, you eventually will succeed.  Maybe you won’t achieve your exact goal, but you will reach accomplishment.

Preston Hadley, a local BYU football player, has done just that.  Actually, he has reached his goal but it wasn’t done easily.  He had to work his way to the top regardless of the hits that he took along the way.  He must have understood the principle that “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and pushed forward with confidence.  So moral of this post? We salute you Prest.

Never, ever give up on your dream.



Gabby Giffords- Tough as Nails

Who: Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly

What: Unbelievable Strength, Hope, and Love

If you want to hear a story of true, compassionate love, you need to hear about Mark and Gabby.  Gabby was a bright, enthusiastic member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Arizona’s 8th District.  She was known for being extremely personable with people and sometimes walked ten hours a day just to meet others. Gabby married Mark, a U.S. Navy Captain and American astronaut. The two were living their productive lives when the unthinkable happened. Gabby was shot in the left side of her brain by a 22-year-old.  In the incident, 6 others were killed.

Less than 10 percent of people with brain damage like Gabby’s survive. If the bullet went any further or went on any other angle, Gabby would have died or suffered extreme losses (such as speech).  She did lose her ability to speak, walk, reason, etc. but that wasn’t enough for her husband Mark to give up on her.  Mark wouldn’t give up on Gabby and displayed what I consider to be one of the most beautiful forms of love ever.  This is one of those real-life love stories that completely puts Twilight and other love movies to shame.  In fact, no love movie should really be put on the level of these two.

Mark wouldn’t give up on Gabby.  One of the most beautiful examples of Mark’s love was how he did things according to how Gabby would do them if she had the ability too.  He treated her as if she was still completely there.  He knew she loved setting goals–so he began helping her set goals, daily.  Just two weeks after the incident, Mark set her running shoes and clothes across the room on a chair–in perfect sight for Gabby. He told her in two weeks, she was putting those shoes on and they were going walking-NO EXCUSES.  And you want to know what? She did.  He also would place both of the two’s wedding rings in her hands for her to play with-just as she did before the accident. Now this is incredible alone but they way Mark composed himself throughout the process was another thing.

Hope is a form of love. -Mark Kelly

He insisted on everyone who entered the room to display the same lifting attitude.  He put up a sign that said “No crying” on her door and urged people to laugh and smile.   He told Gabby she was beautiful. He practiced phrases with her everyday and had her try to fill in the missing word.  He smiled with her as she struggled pronouncing anything but the word “spoon.”  When he was in the room and ready to breakdown, he didn’t—he would pull himself together because he knew if Gabby was in his shoes, she would do the same. Everyday he would urge her to talk but most importantly beg her to smile.  He reminded Gabby daily saying, “We can beat this.”

This is what wedding vows mean. -Mark Kelly

Mark has nothing but great things to say about his wife and to this day still remains in completely in love with her.  Gabby can talk and understand things much better now, much thanks to her incredible husband.

So here’s the thing, you need to watch this entire documentary/interview done by Diane Sawyer.  I’ve attached the clips of some of my favorite parts from the story above and I promise you that you’ll be moved even by watching just short clips.  The strength and love of these two is unbelievable and they hope they have together is unreal.  There’s no way that an action of an irresp0nsible 22-year-old will ruin life for these two people.  In fact, if anything, they prove to the world that hope and love can prevail anything. Mark Kelly has not only changed the world in space and in the military, he has also stirred up conversation and set the standard for the role of a husband. His message and example is even shouted down from his space-craft above earth as he says “I love you, Gabby.”




What’s with those Signs on the Side of the Freeway? Eh?

Seeing how my blog focuses on the inspiring messages in the media, it is only fitting that I give a shout out to Values.com for making my day that much brighter.  I’m pretty sure my favorite billboards out there are put out by this non-profit organization. Seriously, they make my day… Admit it, you love seeing them too!

Anyways, thought I’d give you a little Q&A about their organization because let’s be honest, you’ve always wanted to know but are too dang lazy to actually follow-up on it and check it out when you get home to your computer.  I am absolutely copy and pasted information directly from their site (values.com), so don’t go filing copy-right infringements on me or reporting me, deal?! This is just for your benefit. Ok, here we go:

What is The Foundation for a Better Life?
The Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, started in 2000. Our sole objective is to promote positive values, using print and broadcast media
Why are you doing this?
We want the stories we share about the positive actions and values of others to serve as inspiration for someone to do one thing a little better, and then pass on that inspiration. A few individuals living values-based lives will collectively make the world a better place.
How do you determine these values?
The Foundation does not have a political or religious agenda. Our values are selected with the hope that most individuals would find these values universal, encouraging, and inspiring. The Foundation acknowledges that each person has a unique lens through which he or she views the world. Naturally there are religious, nonreligious, political, and cultural views that give meaning to our lives. Our objective is to provide a wide spectrum of values without any intended agenda or slant and provide an uplifting message around each one.
Where does the money come from to support your public service campaigns?
Public service media, by definition, is donated by the television, theatre, outdoor, print, and radio media outlets. Their generous contribution of time and space allow these messages to be seen and heard around the world.
How are these messages created?
The Foundation has developed a network of writers, art directors, and marketing people to provide technical and creative input. We also listen to the stories of those who are making a difference in their communities to better understand the role that values play in their desire to do good and Pass It On.
Are you affiliated with any religion or political view?
The Foundation for a Better Life is not affiliated with any religion or political view. We hope that the values we share transcend any religious, political or cultural orientations.
Are you affiliated with any other organizations?
We have a sister foundation, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is the only organization with which we are affiliated.

How can I work for The Foundation for a Better Life?

We have an extremely small staff and therefore do not typically have openings. The best way to be a part of the Foundation is to incorporate the values in your own life and pass your values on to others in your school, work-place, and other organizations that you may be a part of.

Can I join The Foundation for a Better Life?

The Foundation is not a membership organization, and we do not sponsor or endorse any groups or clubs. The best way to “join” is to incorporate the values in your own life, setting a good example that you can pass on to others.
Can my organization partner with The Foundation for a Better Life?
We cannot sponsor or endorse any groups or clubs. The best way to “partner” is to incorporate these values in your organization: hang posters, play the TV spots, and be a positive example that you can pass on to others.

Can I give The Foundation for a Better Life money?

We do not solicit nor accept any money. However, all of our media space is donated. If you are affiliated with a television station, theatre exhibitor, radio station, print publication, or outdoor advertising company and are interested in receiving information about participating in an upcoming public service campaign, please email us.

Can The Foundation for a Better Life give me money?

The Foundation does not give grants or any other aid. We exist to promote positive messages that encourage and inspire a better life.
Do you sell posters of your billboards or copies of your public service announcements?
Because we are non-profit and non-commercial, we do not co-brand, sell, or otherwise use any portion of our site for profit. Visitors to our website are welcome to print copies of the billboards for their private use. All of our public service announcements may be viewed online. Schools may request posters of billboards in our current inventory by filling out a request form. Members of a media company who wish to broadcast our TV or Radio PSAs can also request broadcast-quality materials by filling out a request form. Each request is considered separately.