Wednesday, October 1, 2014


One night, while stargazing near Brian Head, Utah I noticed an especially bright star in my right periphery. Stunned by its brilliance, I shifted my gaze to admire it directly. It disappeared. Black space existed where the star had been. Thinking that I was mistaken, I looked elsewhere only to have it appear again, shining brightly once more in my peripheral vision! Time and again, when I looked right at it, the star vanished. When I focused instead on the surrounding stars, it reappeared.

Friday, September 19, 2014


"The Ascent" by David Linn
"Why me?" This ubiquitous cry of the suffering displays an urgent craving for answers. We try desperately to find reasons for our pain, the assumption being that purpose will help us to endure our sorrows, while meaninglessness makes them unbearable. The answers you find depend largely on what you believe, but there is a universal usefulness for our misery: everything we suffer empowers us to help others.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


“According to studies, most people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means, at a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.” - Jerry Seinfeld

About a decade ago I performed with a comedy group in college. Some nights I was "on," but other nights I'd get nervous about the crowd. Fear of embarrassment led me to forget my lines or stumble in my improv attempts. Joel, one of my fellow performers, was an audience favorite who never seemed to choke on stage. When I asked him for the secret to his fearlessness, his answer surprised me: "I just try to remember that there are people in the audience who are going through hard times. I have the privilege of helping them to laugh and feel happy, so each performance is my gift to them."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's Not About the Nail? How to Fix and Validate Simultaneously

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You've likely seen the hilarious YouTube video about the wife with a nail in her forehead, telling her husband about the pressure and pain she constantly feels. He suggests that she get the nail removed and grows frustrated when she insists that "it's not about the nail," wanting him to validate her feelings instead of trying to fix her problem. It's a relatable struggle in a wonderfully ridiculous context.

Many couples get hung up on this dynamic (which is why the video is so popular), but what most fail to see is that validating and fixing are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can be the same thing as long as the real issue is properly identified.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: INTO THE WOODS at the Utah Shakespeare Festival

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As an examination of the dangerous pursuit of "happily-ever-after" and the sometimes-tragic consequences of getting what one wants, Stephen Sondheim's two-act musical Into the Woods (playing through August 30 at the Utah Shakespeare Festival) is a mixed bag of hit-or-miss comedy and drama. The first act is delightful, with a baker and his wife questing to undo a witch's curse of barrenness and, in the process, crossing paths with Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack (of the beanstalk fame). As each seeks their happy ending their tales are turned on their respective heads in clever and witty ways.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How God's Love Can Help You to Love Yourself

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Billions of people worldwide believe in God in some form or another. If you're not one of those people, then this article may not be for you (but you're more than welcome to join in!) One of the most universal doctrines is that God loves everyone. Sometimes people settle into the idea that "God loves everyone simply because He's God." To me, this is a lazy, impractical theology. If God just arbitrarily loves everyone, vaguely and collectively, then there's nothing special about any of us. We'd have every right to engage in self-pity or self-loathing regardless of divine affection.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


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Like the tanks that figure so prominently in its plot, Saints and Soldiers: The Void lumbers along in need of a tuneup but nevertheless packs a wallop when it counts. The third film in writer-director Ryan Little's ongoing WWII series (each one a standalone story) features a black soldier battling both Nazi enemies and American prejudice at the close of the war.