Do you have a question about relationships and flirting?

You can email me about any of your relationship and flirtation questions, and I'll be happy to address them in my blog. Won't that be fun! Its very Dear Abby, but hey...I'm just as good as she is! Just put "Dear Ottis" in the subject. Make sure your letters are annoymous though, to protect you and me. Send all questions to

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Carol of Joy

Forgive me a Christmas moment:

For the past two years, the BYU Combined Choirs and Philharmonic Orchestra have ended their Celebration of Christmas concert with a rather amazing piece: Carol of Joy. This haunting portrayal of our lost world in spiritual winter and the human need of divine salvation can bring tears to your eyes as you recognize the glory and splendor of the gift offered to us by our Savior.

Eileen Berry is truly an a amazing poet. Her ability to paint a picture with her well-chosen words astounds me. As I read the text and marvel, I stand in awe at how every word has great importance in the scene she is setting. Never do you feel a word or phrase is thrown in just to fill a meter, never do you feel that a section is less thoughtful, nor that there is a section that isn't pensive and full of emotional vigor. Her words touch the heart and soul.

I implore each of you to read her beautiful text, ponder on her words, muse at the scene she has created, and let your mind wrap around the picture she has painted. Then, let your your mind move to the amazing gift offered to each of us by the Savior. "Jesus is born, your curse to destroy... you who are lonely, laden, forlorn, to you a Savior is born." Oh the exquisite joy of this statement. How it fills the soul.

Once you've read the words, you should listen to them put to music. Dan Forest's setting of Berry's text takes the whole experience to another level. He matches the tragedy and triumph, despair and hope; he gives it a whole new life. I've included a recording of the BYU performance of it.

As I rehearsed this song, its full meaning didn't come to me until I actually sat down and listened to it as I read the words. As I sat at my desk listening, tears streamed down my face as I put into perspective the meaning of the text in my life. Verses from Jeremiah 30 came into my mind:
12. For thus said the Lord, thy bruise is not incurable, although thy wounds are grievous.
17. For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast.
No matter how bruised I feel, no matter how laden or forlorn, no matter how burdened or bound, we can always look up and witness God's love. I hope that you all enjoy this as much as I have!

Green leaves all fallen, withered and dry;
Brief sunset fading, dim winter sky.
Lengthening shadows, Dark closing in…
Then, through the stillness, carols begin!

Oh fallen world, to you is the song—
Death holds you fast and night tarries long.
Jesus is born, your curse to destroy!
Sweet to your ears, a carol of Joy!

Pale moon ascending, solemn and slow;
Cold barren hillside, shrouded in snow;
Deep, empty valley veiled by the night;
Hear angel music—hopeful and bright!

Oh fearful world, to you is the song—
Peace with your God, and pardon for wrong!
Tidings for sinners, burdened and bound—
A carol of joy! A Savior is found!

Earth wrapped in sorrow, lift up your eyes!
Thrill to the chorus filling the skies!
Look up sad hearted—witness God’s love!
Join in the carol swelling above!

Oh friendless world, to you is the song!
All Heaven’s joy to you may belong!
You who are lonely, laden, forlorn—
Oh fallen world! Oh fearful world! Oh friendless world!
To you,
A Savior is born!

Monday, November 9, 2009


I invite all to re-refer to the article previously posted as Annoyance...This still applies today!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sleepless Nights

Last night was one of my usual sleepless nights. As 1:00am rolled around, I figured I'd go on my traditional late-night drive. I planned to head over to the canyon and drive around. As this was my usual routine, I felt totally comfortable with it. So, I threw on my hoodie and a some sandals and headed down the stairs. This insignificant excursion of energy, however, caused some pretty heavy coughing. Was I not getting better? I thought this was why I was on antibiotics and codine...

I got into my car, turned on the lights, and backed out of my tight spot. I had become accustomed to taking my time backing out of my column lined parkin' hole under the Dev after almost hitting my side mirror and knocking if off several times. I left the parking garage and headed towards University Ave. The streets were empty. A subtle mist had crept over Provo, and it was like being in the cheap horror movie that I had treated myself to watching just the night before. As I pulled onto University Ave I noticed one other car in the area...a police car. I cautiously pulled onto the road and preceded at a leisurely pace. I had my usual nerves of seeing a police officer, but hey, I wasn't doing anything wrong, so I was fine.

As I continued down the street listening to the smash hit "So What" by Pink. Then, as I was doing my usual looking-in-my-mirrors game, I noticed the police officer pulling a U-turn and following me. What's this all about? I was stricken with horror. "Just keep going 30, just keep going 30, you'll be fine," I said to myself out loud. Then, to continue on with the horror, on went his lights. I pulled right over in utter confusion. "I wasn't speeding was I? I stopped at the light, right...?" were the thoughts racing through my mind. I would also like to note that I actually pulled over off the street. Something that for some reason Utahns don't find the need to do. They just stop right in the middle of the street. But, that's a whole other posting.

As I sat there, my dad's words of advice came to my mind: "When you get pulled over, you just get out of your car and go talk to him." Well, this sounded ridiculously foolish, since when he does that they usually pull their guns on him. Rather, I unrolled my window, and put my hands on my steering wheel.

"How are you doing tonight?" the police officer asked casually.

"Um, pretty good..." I responded in apparent bewilderment.

"Can I see your driver's licences, vehicle registration and proof of insurance, please?" he asked politely.

"Oh, ya," I said in obvious fear. "Sorry, I've never ever been pulled over before, I don't really know what I'm doing..." I mumbled as I looked for my registration and insurance cards. I was so devastated that I had been pulled over. "Is there some kind of problem, officer?" I asked as I tried to think of what Judge Judy would do. I mean, I now know never to sell a car to family or loan money to friends, but she's never talked about what to do in this case!

"You've never been pulled over? Wow, good for you!" The officer exclaimed in what appeared to be a sincere tone. "What are you doing out so late?" he questioned.

"Oh, I couldn't sleep, so I thought I'd just go for a drive." I responded.

"Ok, well, I'll be right back with these," and he was off, back to his car.

Suddenly the words of Paramore came rushing in...not because of some poetic lyric that perfectly described my sentiment at that very moment, but because I realized that I forgot to turn down my radio when the officer came. "Judge Judy would crucify me for this...stupid!" I thought to myself as I sheepishly turned down the radio. As I sat there in my horror, I noticed that for some reason the once empty roads were now filled with people. People judging me. People laughing and pointing their fingers at me. Shame.

After what seemed like an eternity the officer finally came back. "Well son, you're front left headlight is out, so you should probably go get that fixed as soon as possible."

That was it? My whole never being pulled over record was tarnished because my headlight was out? Wow. Utter nonsense. "Oh, I'm sorry officer, I'll get that fixed asap. I'll head home right now so there won't be any problems."

As I pulled away, and turned back up the radio to drown out the ridiculous replaying of the events in my head, I was surprised to hear a familiar melody. Indeed, Alanis Morissette, queen of all angry music, was on the radio. "Well, isn't this just ridiculously fitting," I thought to myself. I quickly parked my car, ran up the stairs, jumped into bed and thought to myself, "This has been a month unlike any other: H1N1, pneumonia, getting pulled over for my first time, but...such is life!"