Friday, December 14, 2012

Positive Thinking

You know that person that always seems to be happy? How do they always stay so positive? How is it that they can make you feel a little better, just by being around them? I don't have all of the answers to these questions, but I am very glad these people exist. I try to surround myself with as many of them as possible, because their enthusiasm  for life is infectious.

It is so easy to look for the bad in things, but why do so many of us spend the majority of our time doing just that? After a Jazz/BYU loss, people overreact like crazy. Even when we win, so many people find something to be unhappy about. In some of our jobs the only time our boss talks to us is if there is a complaint, or you need to improve at something. If you are doing your job, then you are doing what you are supposed to. Why  would you take the time to compliment, say thank you, or recognize the things others are doing?

I often wonder if I compliment my students enough. We work so hard at making sure what we are doing looks like, and sounds like it should. Then when they meet our expectations, we just say in our heads, finally, and move on without a second thought. Sometimes I think we are scared that if we interrupt it, we will ruin the moment.

I know the times I receive a sincere compliment it does much more to motivate me than when someone tries to tear me down. There is a time and a place for constructive criticism. If I'm doing something wrong I want to know so I can fix it, but how often we err on that side, and not on the positive. Last week I got a short e-mail from a parent thanking me for making this a good year for her son, and it brightened my whole day. It only took her a moment, and was a little thing, but for me, it meant a whole lot.

I was going to do two examples of how I could think about my life, and how it was going. One paragraph that was positive, and one that was negative. I wanted to show how your attitude can make the same exact thing very different. I had to stop though, because even after allowing myself to think negatively for just a moment, it got dark and depressing really fast. I can't let myself even think like that for a minute.

There is so much bad in the world, the news is full of awful things. Today was an especially hard day with the news of the shooting. However, there are SO many more great things going on out there. We can focus on the bad, and let it take over and paralyze our lives. Or we can make the best with what we've got, be grateful, and focus on the good. I can promise you that the positive one is a lot more enjoyable.

I hope that each of us will try to be that person whose infectious happiness brings joy to all of those around us. Life is never as bad as we may think. The sun will rise tomorrow, and if we learn from all of our yesterdays, we will have a lot of wonderful tomorrows.

I would like to challenge each of you to think positively today, compliment someone, and find a way you can serve and make the world a better place, even if it's just for one person. If all of us did these small simple things everyday, think of all the good we could do.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mr. Above Average

There they were on the table, our 6th grade class yearbooks! Inside the contents were filled with all kinds of things, stories we wrote, what we did that year, but there was only one thing we were interested in, the awards!

Several weeks ago, we had all filled out who we thought was the best athlete, smartest student, class clown, etc.  I couldn’t wait to see what I was going to be, I really had no idea.  I was good at a lot of things, but what I looked forward to most, was being able to say I am the best at something!

I quickly sat down at my desk. It felt like the yearbooks were staring at me, begging to be opened.  The bell rang, we said the pledge, our teacher reminded us of the schedule for the final day, and then finally, began to pass them out.  

Why did I have to be in the back, I thought. I should have talked more this year, then I could have been in the front with all the kids that needed...a little extra attention.  Wait, I’m losing focus! One more row, two seats away, it’s here!

I flipped through the pages. Where is it? What am I the best at? How am I going to be remembered? I started at the beginning, for each category they had one boy and one girl. First on the list was Stephen and Melissa as the Class Clowns. Then Chris and Lindsay for Boy/Girl Crazy. I wasn’t smartest! Oh, that’s OK, those two were kind of nerdy. Most athletic? Nope...

All the good awards had been taken, I was beginning to worry if I had even gotten one.  Maybe they hadn’t been able to come up with anything. Do you think they had decided after all that I had no talents or special skills?  All of my worst fears were beginning to come true.

Finally, at the very end, I found my name! I was the only one not matched up with a girl, but at least I hadn’t been forgotten! I read it, David Horan -- Best All Around Student. Really? I wanted to cry, they really HADN’T been able to think of anything for me.  I don’t think I could have been more disappointed.  So I’m alright at a lot of stuff, whoopty doo!

While everyone else was winking at the guy/girl that was matched up with them, or smiling about their choice, I just wanted to sign have a great summer a few dozen times and get out of there. See you later elementary school, way to hold back one of the greatest minds of our generation! On to Jr. High, where I might finally be able to find that one special thing I could really excel at.

A little overreaction? Maybe, but sometimes a guy just wants to feel special.  You know how it is don’t you? *Spoiler* I did win an award in 8th grade, but only because a boy in my class was making fun of me, we’ll get to that later.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dear Future 4th Grader

I had my 4th graders write letters to my future students.  They gave them tips, or information on what to expect, and to help those that might be scared. I know this is a little long, but here are some of my favorite parts from all of the letters. Each paragraph is part of a different student's letter.

Dear Future 4th Grader,

4th grade was my best school year. If you are scared a little at first that is okay. I was too but then I found out that Mr. Horan cares about us and that he is really nice and if you are good that you will get rewarded.

You are the luckiest kid in the school! Mr. Horan is the nicest teacher in the world!  The funnest thing is MATH! It is so fun! And it is really easy once you get it down.

You can earn prizes and Horan bucks. If you are good you can play a math game like buzz. If you come early or stay after school you can get help with your homework. Mr. Horan is funny and nice. Another game you can play is birthday math, it's so much fun!  Make sure you have fun!

Have a great year with Mr. Horan! He's one of the best teachers you will ever get! I have never heard him yell, not once! (If you had a teacher who yells before you'll understand how nice this is) He lets you know you are a special person.  You will have an amazing time in this classroom. You will have so much fun, so don't go home saying it was boring!

It will be a very fun and exciting year with Mr. Horan. TIPS: Don't talk to anyone when Mr. Horan is talking. Fun Things: The field trip to camp Floyd is a very long ride, but very fun, you'll love it. At the end of the year you'll be square dancing and yes you'll be dancing with a boy. Personal Experiences: When or if you get in a fight with a friend or just anyone then tell Mr. Horan as soon as possible. You'll have a wonderful year with Mr. Horan and your other classmates. It will be really fun.

Here are a couple of facts about Mr. Horan. 1. Very nice. 2. Cool. 3. Humorous. 4. Rewarding. 5. Discipline. 6. Very smart. 7. Nice Looking. 8. Likes fitness. 9. Likes Jazz. 10. Likes basketball.

You will really like being in Mr. Horans class he is a great teacher. I had a great time being in his class. Make sure you pay attention and turn in everything because it takes a long time to get them back in. I think you will have a fun time in his class because I think he makes learning fun. That's how it was for me. Tips: Don't talk, pay attention, & have a great time! U will love this year it was the BEST!

Mr. Horan loves it when he gets to work with you one-on-one when you need help. He's patient, but you have to be good or you'll lose points! You can earn "class points" by being good. Once you get 20 class points, you get a class party! Tips: Be good and you'll get opportunities! Don't be nervous, everybody makes mistakes! Don't be embarrassed to ask questions, but try to listen hard! Mr. Horan is funny, but don't think that you can shout things out and get up and dance whenever you want!

You are lucky to get Mr. Horan. You should not debate with him, he always wins. By the time you read this I will be in 5th Grade, so don't come looking for me.

If you are scared, don't be! Mr. Horan is a fun, nice teacher.  Here are some things to look forward to. First, Rendezvous. They are class stores that are really fun! Second, the field trip. You go to a place called Camp Floyd. Third, your year books, you carve things into wood!

I really hope you enjoy 4th grade.  I had so much fun with Mr. Horan this year! You are going to get to do the Utah Program, you might even get a part!

One hint is that fourth grade can get a little hard. So work as hard as you can! You will be smart I know it! Have a fun year and learn lots.

4th grade is going to be hard but fun. You get to learn a lot about science and do projects that are so cool. You'll become super smart. Rendezvous are so much fun. You get to bring things and sell them for Horan bucks and also buy things. You'll do so much new things that you can't do in lower grades. P.S. You have reading buddies!

Try not to be shy at the beginning of the school year. Find some new friends! Do NOT do BAD things in class try to be good. You can do what you want at recess, til then be good in class. P.S. do what Mr. Horan says. Be nice and U R AWESOME!

I moved here in the middle of the school year and I was very scared because I didn't know if I would make any friends, and because I did not know who my teacher was or if he would be nice. But Mr. Horan is a great teacher. You get to do lots of fun things, one of my favorites was when we made pictures and burned them on wood. You will have a great school year Mr. Horan is a great, nice and awesome teacher.

I am going to tell you about Mr. Horan and things about this class. If you are scared about 4th grade, don't be. 4th grade is fun and I loved it. If you have never had a boy teacher before and you are scared about that, don't be. I was but I shouldn't have been. Mr. Horan is the BEST! You should look forward to the school year! I AM SO GLAD I HAD MR. HORAN!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Big Bang Theory

I recently found out that one of my friends compares my roommates and I to the guys in The Big Bang Theory.  For those of you that have never seen the show, here is a very simplified summary.  The main characters are four scientists.  Leonard and Sheldon are two physicists working at the California Institute of Technology, and Howard and Rajesh are aerospace engineers.  In contrast to these science nerds, the fifth character, Penny a blonde waitress/aspiring actress, moves in across the hall from Leonard and Sheldon.  The humor comes from these scientists trying to understand how to navigate the social part of life.  As well as for those around them to come to understand their quarks and realize what great guys they really are.

The reason my friend compared us to these guys is because they always have their week planned out.  Every Thursday may be Thai food, at least that is what we used to do.  They are very comfortable in their own little world, and they don't see any reason to have it change.  It works for them, they are enjoying life, and life is good.  They don't realize what they are missing, nor do they care, until their lives get thrown out of orbit by someone so different and challenging to them in a way that is anything but scientific.

My schedule has also become rather predictable lately:
Monday: Basketball
Tuesday: Biggest Loser, then Golds Gym
Wednesday: LDS Conference chat, gym
Thursday: Bowling league, Thursday TV shows.
Friday: Lately it has been an accidental 3-4 hours nap, then not sleeping well that night, and being tired all Saturday.  Then I do it all again the next week.  I also fit in 3-4 Jazz games, and now an RSL game into the mix.  It also was warm enough to disc golf, so we did that on Friday, and will be going more often when we are all done with work.

Like these scientists, I am also very comfortable, it works for me, and I am enjoying life.  I'm not just sitting at home all day, I am getting exercise daily, getting out of the house, and doing things I love and enjoy.  I have never needed someone else to make me happy, or to make me feel complete.  Yet I am very glad that I have a lot of friends that pop in and out of my life.  They always seem to be there at the right times when I need them, and I try to do the same for them.

Maybe my roommates and I really are like these scientists. We may not really stick out in a social setting, but those that get to know us often get a lot of laughs, and an enjoyable evening.  We may say, or do, some funny things, but I don't know of many better guys.  When we see something we want, or that interests us, we go for it. But it has to be obviously worth changing up the good thing we've got going, and we might happily complain along the way for having our routine ruined.

Unfortunately, we have not had our Big Bang moment.  We aren't going to try and force ourselves into any social situations, forcing yourself on us isn't going to work either.  The right people always seem to fit in naturally anyway.

I know that some of you are probably going crazy right now saying, I know someone that is perfect for you, or maybe even, I'm perfect for you.  Well, sometimes I am slow, sometimes I am tired, and sometimes I'm just comfortable.  A little hint is a good thing, but I hate being told what to do.  Even if it's what I want to do, I need it to feel like it is my choice.  We scientists are weird like that, we like discovering things on our own.

Hopefully I will be lucky to find my own Penny.  Someone to help knock me out of this comfortable orbit, and onto a path that turns my good life, into the best life.  A path that is continually moving up, instead of wandering around in circles. I hope she doesn't mind Thai on Thursdays.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why do you believe in God?

I have always had a belief in God.  I believe that we are his children, that he loves us, and that he has a plan for us to return to live with Him and our families again.  This belief has brought me a lot of peace and happiness over my life.

It helped me so much, that for two years I chose to spread that message.  During those two years, and since, I met so many amazing people!  They came from many faiths and denominations, but all had been impacted by the beliefs in God(s).  I loved talking to them and being able to hear how that belief had blessed, or changed their lives.

I love learning about people, and what they believe.  I have taken world religion classes, and continue to enjoy learning about what people believe and why.  I have not been able to have these discussions as regularly, so I thought I would write this blog post today to hear what you have to say.

In my studies I have found it interesting how much we all have in common.  How you can look around the world, even in some of the most remote places, and find a belief in God.  I know that this is a very personal topic, but I would love it if you would share with us your belief.  I would also like to know how your belief in God has helped you in your life, how you came to that belief, and how it may have changed throughout your life.  You are also more than welcome to post why you do not believe.

I am also very aware of all the bad that has been done in the name of God throughout our history.  This is not a post to discuss that.  Personal attacks will not be tolerated from either side, and will be deleted.  It is a shame I even have to post that. This topic is just something that has a big impact on my life, and I would love to hear how it has impacted you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

David the Basketball Player

Story written by one of my 4th grade students, shared with permission.
Dedicated to my teacher: Mr. Horan
Written by: Name removed for privacy

Once there was a person named David Joel Horan.  He was a teacher.  He loved sports, especially basketball.  He was really good at basketball and liked to play it.  But he was a teacher, and that was about to change.

Chapter 1: D-Will
One day when David came home from teaching school he changed in basketball clothes and got in his car.  He was going to the park.  He was going to play basketball on their basketball court.  Later while he was playing basketball, the famous basketball player D-Will saw him playing basketball.  D-Will thought it was really good, he told David that he had a good chance for being a famous basketball player like him.  David was way way excited when he said that.  A half an hour later David went home.  He called all the family members he had.  They were all excited too!

Chapter 2: A Phone Call
The next day while David was eating breakfast his phone rang.  When he answered it, the person on the other end was D-Will!  D-Will told David that he needs to go to the Jazz Stadium at 6:00 PM that day to try out to be on the team!  At 5:53 PM he arrived at the stadium  At exactly 6:00 PM he tried out for the team.  At the end of tryouts they said he made the team!

Chapter 3: The End
So he played on that team and he thought it was way fun!......but he missed his class especially (The Author)! The End.

Glad I wasn't one of the Jazz fans booing DWill this past week, thanks for helping me make the team!  I also am glad that I arrived 7 minutes early to the stadium.  Maybe I could still teach my class via Skype or something.  I really would miss them! -Dave

Monday, January 16, 2012

#DaveWeek Wrap Up

"Whoa, you guys are overwhelming me, and I'm not easily overwhelmed" -David Locke

I could easily say the same thing.  I am not often surprised, I rarely overreact, or get too excited.  But this week there was a surprise around every turn, and it was definitely exciting!

Two of my friends, Lauren and Elyse, hadn't seen me in a while.  So on January 7th, Elyse wrote that the next week would be dubbed Dave Week.  Lauren added that maybe we could even get #DaveWeek trending.  I agreed, and #DaveWeek was born. Little did we know what #DaveWeek would soon become.

Sunday night we got together for dinner.  It was nice to eat and play games.  There were about 8 of us, and it was a great time.  At the end of the night we planned what we wanted to do each day.

Monday: Half off appetizers at Applebees.
I showed up at 9:00, and met my friends there.  They also invited a few people from their ward and it was fun to make a few new friends.  One of the guys walked up to me and said, you are @downrightdave?  It is a real pleasure to meet you!  I felt like a celebrity!  I got home around 10:00 and started getting ready for bed.

I checked my Twitter account, and it was going crazy!  Somehow all of my friends, and many more, had started tweeting funny things, and adding #DaveWeek onto the end of them.  It began to go viral in SLC and made it all the way to #1.  (Trending basically means that a group of people, within a given area, and given time, are talking about a particular thing.)  So between about 10:00-Midnight, more people in SLC were talking about #DaveWeek than Alabama, LSU, or anything else.

Tuesday: Jazz game
You can read all about this day here:
It was easily my favorite of all the days.  Since social media was a key ingredient to #DaveWeek, it was kind of funny that the people who got most excited, and that we got to meet, were the media people.  One highlight was when David Locke recognized me, even though he had never met me in real life before.

What began as us finding cheap $5 tickets, that were on the very top row, turned into a series of miracles. Security let me go onto the court, we got our picture taken on the halftime set, made it onto the background of the postgame, and got pictures with both the TV, and radio announcers.  Plus the following morning David Locke gave #DaveWeek a shout out on his podcast.

#DaveWeek also trended in SLC for the second night in a row, making it up to #3.  It even went national, and international.  Although those tweets would not have helped it trend in SLC.  It was amazing how many people were joining in, asking what was going on, and wanting to be a part.

Wednesday: The Chocolate
Since the point of this week was because Lauren and Elyse wanted to see more of me, most of our activities did not originally include large groups of extra people.  It became obvious that a lot of people wanted to be a part of it, wanted to meet me, and were just looking for crazy fun things to do.  So we devoted this day to them.  The Chocolate did a great job of making it special for us.  They even sent out this tweet earlier in the day:

We had a great turnout, and I was really impressed by their delectable desserts, as well as a really well run business.  They will definitely be included in future #daveweek plans.

Thursday:  Bowling
My roommates and I are in a bowling league.  So between that and watching some great TV shows, like Parks and Rec, I enjoyed a more relaxing day with two of my best friends and my brother.  I love doing crazy  and random things, but I also like to just chill at home sometimes too.  This week was tiring, and it was nice to unwind a little bit.

Friday: Dinner at Cafe Paesan, Shirts
One of our friends who had contributed quite a bit to getting #DaveWeek trending hadn't been able to make any of our activities.  She threw out the idea of meeting at Cafe Paesan for dinner, and so we did.  After dinner four of us went and made #DaveWeek shirts.

Saturday: Movie, Dinner, and Broom Hockey
The three of us went to go see a movie.  After, Elyse made us a delicious dinner and we went to her YSA ward activity, broom hockey at 7 Peaks!  We had enough people there for two games, and the people we brought with us were enough to make up one team.  Team #DaveWeek may not have won, but we had a ton of fun!  It was nice of their ward to let all of us join in and play with them.  They were super nice, and I quickly made friends.  It was just what a YSA activity should be.  I also ran into some old friends that happened to be there that night.

Finale: Sunday/Monday
Since Sunday was more of our planning day, and today was a holiday, we kind of extended #DaveWeek a little bit.  One of our friends happened to be in town from Las Vegas for the weekend.  We weren't able to meet up with him on Saturday, so I had thought I wouldn't be able to.  Late Sunday evening, who happened to show up at my house, but him and four of my friends!  We decided to go to iHop, (ha ha, I had to leave that after I wrote it) and spent our early Monday morning enjoying a lot of laughs.  Seriously, anything is funny at that time of night.  It was a great finale to a truly amazing week.

I woke up ready to relax when my mom called and asked if I wanted to go to lunch with them. I did so, and then we went bowling.  It was nice to have some family time after running around like a crazy person all week.  I was a little tired of eating out, but I will never say no to someone paying for me to eat.  After bowling I came home, ready to start that relaxing I had looked forward to.

So immediately my phone rang, and several of my life long friends said they were going to the grand opening of Buffalo Wild Wings.  There was an hour wait, so they put our name down, came over to my house and hung out for a while.  After 45 minutes we went over there, and waited another half hour or so.  It was super good, and I expect it will get my friends up to Lehi more often.

Tonight I will conclude the festivities by doing my favorite thing, playing basketball.

It has been a crazy week, and even though it is over, it seems like my life will never be the same.  It is amazing what a simple idea, some initiative, and the world's greatest friends can do.  We have already started thinking about next year, and fitting in everything we thought of that didn't fit into this week.  If my calculations are correct, this weeks activities included 39 specific people, plus all of those at the ward activity, in the bowling league, Jazz media, plus whoever comes to basketball tonight.  There were still many more I wish had been a part of it, and many who were at more than one activity.  #DaveWeek was used over 600 times on Twitter, trended twice, and will be something I will never forget.

All of this was done without any personal invites, just through the use of social media.  Thank you to all of you that took interest, came to the activities, and made me feel like I was King of the World!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


You know how people say that dreams really can come true?  Believe it! 2012 has been such a year.

It began one day as I found out that three of my friends were invited by Greg Miller, owner of the Jazz, to join him on the front row for a game.  As I read their blogs, I was amazed at what an amazing man Greg Miller was and thought how amazing it would be to have something like that happen to me.  You can read their accounts here:


I began to think of the "dreams" that have come true for me in my lifetime.  Since their posts were Jazz related, I thought about the time Karl Malone and his brother, taught my brother and I how to fish at a local boat store. There was a big group of people at the event and Karl and his brother each picked 2-3 kids out of the crowd.  Karl picked my brother, and his brother picked me.  They then gave us a quick personal lesson, a free Karl Malone fishing pole (Yes he had his own line of fishing gear) and signed autographs for us all.

Then there was the time my dad won tickets for us to watch John Stockton break the steals record.  We got a special certificate to show that we were there.  Luckily he got a steal that night! Usually the only game we got to go to was the free one with Jr. Jazz, so this was a real treat!

My favorite story would have to be the time I got John Stockton to sign that certificate.  My dad took us to watch the end of a Jazz practice and John had been the only player on the entire team that wouldn't stop to sign autographs for us. There had only been about 6-10 people there, but he wouldn't do it.  So my little brother and I waited outside in the parking lot of Westminster College for John Stockton to leave the gym from the locker room.  Of course he was the very last one out of the gym. Even though we were the only two there, and both little kids (our parents were within sight), he only agreed to sign if we would walk with him to his car so he didn't have to stop.  (Yes this was a dream come true, he is still easily my favorite player of all time)

I can now add #DaveWeek to the list of dreams come true.  Last week two of my friends told me that they missed seeing me.  They wondered when I would be able to get together with them again.  They decided to dedicate this entire week to me, and to call it #DaveWeek.

The week is only half over, but it has surpassed even my wildest dreams and expectations.  To keep this from getting too long, I will just briefly talk about my experience yesterday at the Jazz game.  You can check out the rest of the week here:

We got to the Jazz game an hour early and were able to go down onto the court.  Right as we got there Jeff Hornacek walked by.  I'm not someone who is shy, so I quickly asked him if I could get a picture with him.  Even though he was on his way out, he stopped.  He said, "wouldn't you rather get your picture with Enes?"  We said, "No, we would rather get one with you."  He gladly obliged, and was on his way.  I have always had a lot of respect for Jeff and would have been happy if this was where the story ended.  But it isn't!

We went to our seats, which were on the very top row and enjoyed the first quarter.  Several more of my friends joined us and they brought some of the most amazing signs I have ever seen!

Before halftime, we went to go watch the half time report.  Alema Harrington and Thurl Bailey saw our signs and looked at us inquisitively during their report.  When halftime was over Alema came over to ask us what #DaveWeek was all about.  He was super nice and asked us if we wanted to come on the stage and get a picture with him.  Obviously we said yes.

Wait, it's not over yet!  After the game we went down and got Matt Harpring to sign our posters.  Even though my head was not on a stick, he still thought it was a pretty great.  Not only did he play football, but it turns out he is also quite an artist.

Having had the most amazing night, we began to walk up the stairs to go home.  Except who should we bump into?  David Locke!  He may have been the nicest one of all, I was very impressed that he took a few minutes to talk to us.  He was even in the middle of doing his write up for the game.  He cared enough to even ask us for our names, although when I went to introduce myself he said, "Oh, I already know you!" (From Twitter).  

He then gave us shout-out the next day on his podcast.  Listen specifically from about 1:10-1:52. 

I may have been on the top row, instead of the front with Greg Miller, but this week has truly been a dream.  Plus, I already met Greg Miller about a month ago.  (Although you can invite me to come sit with you anytime Greg!)

So dreams really do come true, and #DaveWeek may have been my greatest one yet!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Last Leaf

Between four years of seminary, many years of Sunday school, and preaching the gospel for two years, I have seen my fair share of church videos.  There is one particular video called The Last Leaf.  It is a story about a girl that is sick and about to die.  She finds motivation to keep fighting as she looks out her window and sees a dying vine.  She decides that she can make it as long as it still has leaves.

When I visited my family for Christmas, my dad told me of something that reminded me of this video.  He told me that in our garden there was one rose that had survived the recent wind storms, and cold winter weather.  When everything logical says it should have been long gone, it wasn't.

In many ways this flower is like my mom.  When the winter winds, and the cold times have come, she keeps hanging on.  Like this flower, she is a symbol of a great life, and one that continues to bless all those that see her.  It's been a rough year, but one that I am very glad we have had.  I look forward to many many more!

I have posted The Last Leaf below for anyone interested.