Every once in a while you hit an exact moment where you realize that everything you see beyond that moment will always look different to you than before that moment and it's all because of that moment. I'm not talking about long drawn out life changing experiences- those certainly force you to view the world a completely different way. I'm talking about just small and quick exchanges that for whatever reason permanently shed light on life. I present 10 of mine:

1. As a 7 year old at a Jazz game I threw a piece of popcorn in my mouth that was all by itself only to find that it was actually an already chewed blue piece of gum with soggy popcorn crusties all stuck to the outside. I've never thought it was ok to eat food unless I knew exactly where it came from since then.

2. When I was 16, my high school coach told me that there was no sense in doing anything unless I was intent on becoming the best at it. I've never looked at challenges, goals or tasks the same since then.

3. My high school English teacher once said that whenever she thought something nice about someone else, she immediately tried to tell them, believing that an entire lifetime of compliments that wouldn't have been given without such a goal would leave the world in a much better place. I believe that very few days have gone by since then that I haven't thought about what she said.

4. I used to be deathly afraid of tile (don't ask, I have no idea why). I remember scrubbing my foot as a child over and over again because it accidentally brushed against a tile floor at home (this was a clean tile floor by the way). About two years ago I told myself that it was completely irrational to be afraid of tile and I forced myself to go stand on the bathroom floor barefoot for one whole minute. I'm no longer afraid of tile and I also feel like I can overcome any fear now (except maybe for snakes).

5. Last summer I met Blaine and Diana and at the end of our first visit Diana asked me to tell 7 year old Joseph that he had a family now that loved him and would never let him get hurt again. After I told him, Joseph immediately walked over to her and put his arms around her and I watched them sob and hug. I don't look at people the same way anymore.

6. In December, while on the phone back and forth with Krishelle and Uncle Will, I spontaneously decided to drop everything and fly to Costa Rica first thing in the morning. Making that decision is funny to talk about but it actually opened up the idea in my mind for the very first time that I actually have absolute control of my life and I can make things happen if I really want them to.

7. When I was nine my mom was dropping me off at school one morning and I started making fun of the crossing guard as we drove past her. I remember my mom saying, "I don't think anyone deserves to be talked about that way." And it was as if it didn't occur to me until that moment that this crossing guard was an actual real person. I think I've been a lot more sensitive toward other people since then because of that moment.

8. One month before the end of my mission I was punched several times and kicked, while lying on the ground half-conscious, by a group of seven or eight angry men. I finally stood up and walked through the group and got away as if they could no longer see me. Nothing has really scared me that badly in terms of being in personal danger ever since.

9. When I was about 10 I was home with Micalyne for a little bit and a bad storm came in. I got scared and said a prayer that my mom would call us. She called within seconds of me finishing the prayer. Prayer has felt so much more powerful and real to me since then.

10. After recently finding out that a friend had unexpectedly passed away I thought about how much I wished I would have spoken to her again before she had died. But I had let myself get so busy that I neglected someone. Nothing seems important enough to me now to ignore friends.