Why yes it is. It is the fourth time this winter season. The fourth time!!!!! During an average winter I will get the common cold once maybe twice. This year I guess I unknowingly decided to outdo myself and went to bed last night with number 4. I guess this weather doesn't help, the whole it is 75 and sunny to 30 and snowing like a motha. My perfect day of sleeping in, doing a little bit of homework, going to church and then dinner and games with some friends was put on hold for some other time. Instead it involved waking up every thirty minutes hacking up a lung, no sleep, locked up in my room, watching the entire third season of the office (no real complaint on that one) and overall feeling pretty miserable. I guess when I asked for a lazy sunday I should have specified for a healthy lazy sunday. Simply said, colds are lame.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I just realized that three years ago this week I returned home from my mission in the Southside of Chicago. Which means five years ago this week I first entered the MTC. It is really crazy how time goes by so fast. I look back on my mission with great fondness, it was in the field and on the streets of Chicago that I really grew up. I was forced to. I was 2,000 miles away from everyone I knew and from anyone that really knew me. In the beginning I was scared, not really sure why exactly I was out there, and really afraid that I wouldn't succeed. I didn't have my mom and dad to run to, to tell how I felt, and to ask advice. I didn't have any friends that I could vent to, that I could be around just to make myself feel better. I only had one source of strength and comfort to turn to - Jesus Christ.
I decided that first night in the mission home that I was going to give it my all. And I did, try really hard to do just that, I studied, I prayed, I tracted, I taught, I even baptized a few times. I never became unafraid, not really of the areas I was in- there were some shady ones- but I was never afraid to be in them, I was afraid of failing. Of missing that person that I needed to find, of letting down that One person who I realized was the only person I could lean on. I was afraid that there was going to be someone who needed to know who the Savior is and that I might not be there to tell them. I tried really hard to be successful, and I hope that I was, I never was able to quantify what being a successful missionary was. My mission meant everything to me, for the longest time that was all I could think about. I still think about it almost every day. There is always something that reminds me of it.
I miss how sure of everything I was. I knew that God loved me, that Jesus died for my sins, that there is a plan for me to return to live with them someday. I knew it, I fully believed it, and I taught it with the conviction of knowing it. Then three years ago I came home, back to the world I left behind.
Realizing how long ago it was that I came home from the mish has led me to some serious introspection. The real world hit me faster than I was prepared for. I started to slip into the old routine of things, casually forgetting to say a prayer at night, not reading my scriptures. And I have realized how easily not doing those two things makes it to not do other things. Someone once told me that the only way you really could measure a successful missionary was a few years after they got home, by the way they were living. If that is the case I feel like a failure.
I have lost that surety that I once had. I have let my testimony slide. I feel like one of my favorite church paintings....well almost. Here it is and then I will explain.
The painting is by Greg Olsen and it is called "Lost and Found". It is a painting that I have always loved and kept in my room. Right now more than ever does it make sense to me. I feel very lost. I know that I have to make a decision soon if I want to be found. Right now I am the boy in the picture. I can see Christ on the park bench a little ways in the distance, and I know He is saving a place for me on that bench. That as soon as I sit down next to Him, He will hug me, tell me He has missed me, and as I try to explain why I left the bench three years ago, He will tell me that it doesn't matter, that I am here now, and what matters is what I do from here on out. He will let me know that He will be there for me when I am tempted to get up off the bench if I want Him to be. I turn around and I can see another life,it is just as inviting but the the pathway down is a little darker, more mysterious, but enticing, and I have to decide now which direction I am going to start walking towards. In the last three years I have semi-unconsciously taken a few steps away from the park bench. Now I realize that I have to consciously decide what I direction I need to take.
I have avoided making this decision for as long as I can take, I procrastinate everything I do, but the deadline is up, if I continue to procrastinate I know I will be taking a few more steps away from the park bench, and I don't think I can afford to do that if I want to make a fully conscious decision.
The decision should be easy, I know the outcome of taking steps towards the park bench, I know that it leads to a fulfilling happiness, or at least that it has in the past. Taking steps in the other direction lead me to short lived moments of extreme happiness that leave you with a dull feeling inside once they leave, making me do whatever it takes to get my next fix.
And so it goes, B-rad at the apex of a crossroads, at home plate ready to bat. The pitcher is ready to throw the ball and I have to decide if I am going to swing or not. And if I do swing am I really going to go for it-the ball out of the park home run, or am I going to hit a pop fly, guaranteed to get myself out.
I don't know why I am writing this here, for the world (also known as the four of you who read this) to see, but I felt like I had to. I wish I had the certainty that I once had, where I knew the answers or at least really knew who I could turn to for the answers.
Anyways thanks for listening, I am sure the decision I make will be evident, I should probably stop blogging in the middle of the night, maybe I will just delete this, chances are I will probably fall asleep and forget I ever wrote it until a week from now....or most likely after American Idol and I come on here to blog my opinion of the week and realize how lame I am for writing this. oh well I will leave it on here, so I don't feel like I have wasted the last hour and a half. For now I am going to go pass out on my bed for hopefully ten hours, wake up ready for a new day of soul searching and decision making.
Posted by B-radley at 3:23 AM
Monday, March 23, 2009
The TAP Project is a program created by the US fund for Unicef to raise money to provide clean drinking water for children who do not have access to it. Every day more than 4,200 children die due to a lack of clean drinking water. Unicef has a goal to reduce that number to 0.
The TAP Project began in New York City two years ago when Unicef partnered with major NY restaurants asking them to have their patrons to donate a dollar or more for the drinking water they would normally receive for free. Unicef promised to turn that dollar into 40 days worth of clean drinking water for children in third world countries. The idea grew and this is the first year that it has become a global initiative and the first year it has been introduced into Utah.
I have been lucky enough to help introduce the TAP Project into the Salt Lake area in trying to get restaurants involved and helping to create awareness for this amazing opportunity that we have to really make an impact on the world. I feel overwhelmingly lucky and blessed to be living in a country that I do not have to walk four hours every day to find clean drinking water. Since I am lucky enough to have unlimited clean drinking water I feel it is my duty to try and help those that are not as fortunate as I am.
Please watch this video, it explains the TAP Project better than I can.
If you can't view go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JXbaWQDjZQ
I need your help!
I have been thinking about how the blogging world could be an aid into helping more people aware of the TAP Project and I am literally on my knees begging you to make a post showing the video with your own comments on what you think of the TAP Project begging your friends to do the same. Kind of like a tag, but one that will create awareness of this amazing project and letting people know what they can do to help.
Today marks the beginning of World Water Week and the week the TAP Project is in full form. There is a list of participating restaurants at www.tapproject.org and also for those in Utah www.utahtap.org.
Please post the video and beg your friends to do it as well, the goal of 0 is attainable with your help and the help of your friends.
Posted by B-radley at 1:41 AM
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I guess it is probably time to introduce you to the fam-damily. I think you all know me well enough now that it is probably about that time. So here it is:
THE CUMMINGS FAMILY
That is us, the Cummings family. We are a pretty cool bunch. Now let me tell you the story of a lovely lady and a killer dude. My Mom and Dad.
Meet the Parents:
My Mom and Dad mean more to me than anything. They are constantly there for me when I need them and I know that no matter what they always will be. They have always been the cool parents. I remember once me and my friends went to get shakes at Johnny's Dairy, and my friends
saw my parents pull up at the drive through window to pick up some milk and they ran over, left me to watch their stuff, so they could go outside and talk to my parents. My house has always been a hang out house. Whether it is two or twenty people, my parents have always been good about having my friends over.
They have been there for me at every significant event in my life. I owe them everything that is me.
He is my brother. He is three years older than me and has secretly always been my hero. Don't tell him, it will go straight to his head. He is the kind of guy who just seemed to be good at everything. And as much as that drove me nuts growing up, looking back it made me better at everything because we were so competitive with eachother. When we were kids we were good friends, I remember him beating up a kid who was trying to pick a fight with me who was two years older than me. (I was kind of a smart A, even back in the third grade) and again a year later with another dude. He always had my back and was always willing to fight my battles for me, even though I was his punk kid brother. When we were teenagers we kind of grew apart, got in stupid fights constantly, but now we are back, probably closer than we ever have been. I am so glad to have him as my brother.
Katie is three years younger than me. We have always been really close for as long as I can remember. We have always had inside jokes and nicknames for each as well. I would go into that, but some may find them inappropriate or require a long story, just know they are funny. It was crazy to leave on my mission seeing her as an almost 16 year old and then coming home to see her being an almost 18 year old. She is one of my closest friends and one of the funniest people you will ever meet. I am so lucky to have her as my sister.
Kylee is the youngest in the family at 15. She is one of the most thoughtful teenagers I have met. She is smart, cute, and really starting to come into her own. Being the baby of the family has probably been hard but she is a champ. We have always been pretty close. One of my favorite memories of her is when I went and snuck her out of school once and went to artic circle for lunch and then to a movie. I owed her one big time, and that is how I made up for it. We had fun. She also stays up late watching tv with me whenever I spend the night at the parentals. She had got serious insomnia like I do, and it is nice having someone as cool as her to spend that time with.
So here you have it, the Cummings Family
Those of you who know me know I am not one of those look how perfect my life/family/world blog kind of people, so I thought I would include some of the funny pics. Most of them are mine, because I don't want to embarass the fam too much, they say I do that enough as it is. Now it is time for the Cummings family photo bloopers. Mainly they are of me. I guess I am what photographer's call "a blinker"
Hair Malfunctions and funny faces:
Posted by B-radley at 1:31 AM
Hi everybody, or basically the three of you who read this blog. I turned 24 on Saturday. It is kind of crazy for me to think that I am now 24. 24, still single, still working on my bachelors degree, still having to stop at the parental's once a week, still playing practical jokes on people (for my latest one I have to apologize to my friend Brianne at work for.....it was pretty funny though, I am glad you laugh about it now, and I am glad you didn't call me at six in the a.m. when you mysteriously had your alarm go off on a Saturday morning,) and even inspite of still being as immature as I was at 23, I am still your average rockstar. I am glad that being one year older hasn't had any dramatic effects on me yet. It is kind of weird though. I always thought I would be two more steps ahead of where I am now when I used to think about what would happen when I would be 24. I thought I would be graduating this fall because 18 credit hours would be easy, (Ha ha never have taken more than 15 with two of those credits always being tennis classes) thought I would be married or engaged (this is not even close to happening, and right now I don't feel too bad about it), I don't think I will ever stop playing practical jokes (you may just never want me to see your cell phone again, it was such a funny practical joke, sorry again Brianne) and I will probably be a rockstar when I am 80. Thats it, no new profound explaination on the new age, no sudden new plans, no new resolutions.
With that said I do have to thank all my killer friends for making my bday an awesome weekend. First, Friday afternoon my awesome friends at work had a small bday party for me. Thank you Erin, Blair, Mccall, Jenni, Kelly, Wendy, Jesse, Will and everyone else at work. Then that night Christa and Amber took me out to eat at Stoneground, one of my favorite restaurants, and then we met up with Sheldon and saw the Reader (I will blog about the movie later) and then went back to the APT for brownies and ice cream. Then Saturday I went up to O-town to celebrate my birth with my friends up there. They took me to the OG, and then we went back to Missy's for an Office Marathon. Thanks Missy, Kriddy, Chelsie, Tyler, Lawrence, Heather, Brock, Briann, Kellie, Mike, Chiara, and Chantastic. I got a pass to do the I-fly at the Junction (indoor skydiving) and a few other goodies. It was awesome. Thanks.
Then Sunday was the fam's time to party. Both sets of G-parents came over, and my whole family was there (minus Katie who was on a trip and said she will make it up to me). It was a lot of fun. Made out with some loot from the the Parentals and the G-parents, and got some good flicks from the siblings, and the best picture from my buddy Jax. All in all an awesome bday.
Posted by B-radley at 12:56 AM
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
So as you all probably know I am an addict of American Idol. Lame I know, but I love music and it is cool to watch people who don't have the opportunities that others have to make it into the business. Anyways I guess I don't need to defend myself, even though I kinda feel like I do. Well finally tonights show has given me a favorite. Her name is Lil Rounds. She rocked Mary J Blige's Be Without You. Awesome. I finally have someone I am really cheering for.
Lil has got some pipes. She is my favorite.
Here are some others that I like.
Danny Gokey: I hate on him a little bit because I think Fox has been exploiting the death of his wife to make him as popular as he is. He has been shown more than any of the other contestants, which again gives him an unfair advantage. Can he sing-yes in the whole Bryan Adams kind of singing. Don't get me wrong I like him, I am just not buying the hype that has gone into making him what he is. If his wife was still alive would he be as popular?-probably not, and it is shameful of Fox to exploit it. I do not give out pitty votes. That said he sooo deserves to be in the top 12, unlike the blind guy. He is sacrament meeting good, not I wanna listen to him on any other day but sunday kind of good.
Ju'Not rocked Hey Delilah. Changed it up enough to make it different but left the important parts the same. He was the best guy of round 3, I hope he makes it to the top 12.
Kris Allen suprised me by doing a classic MJ song and doing it well. Who would have thought a white boy from Arkansas could authentically do Man in the Mirror? He is pretty good.
My Wild Card Hopefuls: Those I want them to bring back.
Megan Corkrey is hot. I kind of have a crush on her, and maybe that is why I am hoping she makes the wild card picks. I know her style of music is limited but I think that it represents a new era of music for women who can't do the powerhouse vocals of Alicia Keys, the hip of Beyonce, or the rock of Pink, but don't want to fall into the dumb pop genre. It is a throwback to 60's jazz/r&b mixed in with a bit of British invasion that is cool, soulful, and chill. Think Amy Whinehouse, Adele, Duffy, Corrine Bailey Ray, or Norah Jones. She has potential.
I kind of have a weird crush on Jackie. She is goofy but she has an awesome soulful rock voice that reminds of Janice Joplin mixed in with Pink when she is actually singing and not being goofy/angry. She has potential and I hope they bring her back even though i think it is doubtful.
That leaves one more spot in the wild card and I hope it goes to either Anoop-Dawg or Kai. They are both really good and I like both of them.
Posted by B-radley at 11:01 PM