Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Disassociation and Relocation

Music is often touted as one of the most powerful methods of communicating, whether it's a message or an emotion or something entirely different. It's quite interesting, too, how many memories can be associated with music: come across an old song on the radio or just browsing through iTunes, and suddenly memories from five years ago come streaming back strong enough to put me there.

Normally that's awesome. I'll just jump into the antithesis you're probably now expecting. I heard a lot of really awesome music this past year, especially this past summer. Some of it, especially the song "Fireflies", I really got into before it hit mainstream popularity. Now it's right in the middle of its huge wave (not to mention a few other songs, heard and now played similarly frequently all around me, out of my control). All of the memories associated with such songs have turned to some of the most painful and bitter heartbreak. When those songs come across the radio or are played by a neighboring room in the dorm or a store I'm in or any other place I can't avoid it, these memories stream in as strong as ever, accompanied by the pain of broken hopes.

I started to wonder, with the seeming unavoidability (new word?) of these songs, can I force new memories upon them? Even if I never fully enjoy them like I used to, this would at least keep them from sending my mind to thoughts that buoy depression. Well, I'm trying. It's my goal to re-associate the song "Fireflies" with new memories of winter; a chill in the air, a cloudless, starry night, driving fast on back roads and rocking out loud by myself.

I just read a brief study that says emotional memories are rendered vulnerable to change each time they are retrieved. I need to know it's possible.

I need to know I can stop this, even if I can't erase it altogether.

Friday, December 4, 2009

begin again.

It's much later than is healthy, which means blogging is a terrible idea.

I mean, I should have been asleep two hours ago.

And I'm not even doing anything productive right now.

But here I am. Thinking maybe I'll get into this blogging thing regularly again. And I haven't got anything profound to write right now. At least, nothing currently in my mind. So, I'll drink some more water, waste some more time and wonder why I'm not asleep.

And though I'm feeling more exhausted than I have in at least a few weeks, I'm going to stay up even later.

This blog is such a personal, emotional place for me. I was reading some old posts; they really do show the full range of who I am, from the best of me to the very worst. I guess if you want to get a glimpse of who I am, going through this blog is a good representation.

Sure, getting to know me in real life will accomplish that. But frankly, I'm scared of people and of deep relationships. Most of my deepest relationships have all ended terribly painfully. I still have my sister, and there's one other friend, but that's all that's to show of the dozen or so deep friends I've had in the past six years. I suppose a few have just slipped away, but even that really hurts.

Especially when... Well, I felt totally forgotten. Tons of people I know, all friends, and organized by somebody who once told me I was of immense worth and a very best friend...
But everything changes over time. I experienced enough to know that change happens and pessimistic enough to live in expectancy.
But it still hurts.

It's strange how I seem to cycle through very similar pain this time every year. Last year was so similar to this, and the year before, when I was living on my own, and the year before that...

I just have such unanswered questions; things about life I thought I was beginning to grasp, but it's all been thrown out the window. I do well with formulas and predictable outcomes. Do this and this will happen. But such a certainty in life just doesn't seem to exist.

I can spend day and night thinking about the things that have shaped me, but none of that seems to help me grow. Instead, I feel an even stronger inclination to introverted-ness.

Ugh. I just really need to go to bed.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

These are the wounds that give shape to who I am.

Do you miss me the way I miss you? The ways I miss you...
Do you hurt the way I hurt? The ways I hurt...
Lonely and hollow, but I'm still here, forgotten.

Could you lie to me and call it the truth? Tell me the truth...
I'm just another not-good-enough, another I "love" you, but...
I offered my whole heart; abused it, beat and bruised it.

I never saw you as perfect, just beautifully flawed.

All of me, I'm such a damned fool
Let you in, thought you were safe
Thought that maybe I had a chance
But I was wrong, I was wrong.

I never saw you as perfect, just beautifully flawed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's a process of healing, of letting go.

One Little Thing
Adapted by Tyler Scott

I love that you brush your teeth six times a day,
And how you wait for open doors; a sign of respect I gladly pay.
It’s great that you wait for me to call you first.
I adore how you know all the lyrics to songs,
And love to hear you sing along.
And when it comes to sports, I don’t care if you’re the worst.
But it isn't enough to give you feelings too.
Left me remembering little things,
The little things that drew me to you.

It’s a fact that I’d give the world for you,
And if you’d let me, I’d promise to always be true.
It didn’t matter how many times,
I wished and dreamed you might be mine.
Through any pain, I’d help you fight,
And when I was with you, everything seemed right,
For the first time in my life.
It’s almost certain I’m in love with you.
But there’s one little thing,
One little thing, not felt by you.

I like how you care about all of your friends,
But it sucks when you’re hurt by all of their burdens.
I love when you laugh without a cause.
I’m inspired when you’re crazy when you’re with your friends,
Can’t get enough of your stories without end.
I know you aren’t perfect, but I even like your flaws,
Still now we must say goodbye,
Remembering little things,
Your little things that caught my eye.

It’s a fact that I’d give the world for you,
And if you’d let me, I’d promise to always be true.
It didn’t matter how many times,
I wished and dreamed you might be mine.
Through any pain, I’d help you fight,
And when I was with you, everything felt right,
For the first time in my life.
It’s almost certain I’m in love with you.
But there’s one little thing,
One little thing, not felt by you.

But there was nothing I could do,
Nothing to change the way you view,
No spark about me to you.
All I could see were the little things that drew me so close,
But one thing was missing that you needed the most.
There’s nothing I could do to make you feel,
That one little thing
Which could’ve made this all real.

It’s a fact that I’d give the world for you,
And if you’d let me, I’d promise to always be true.
I would tell you a thousand times,
How lucky I was just to call you mine.
I would always hold you tight,
‘Cause when I was with you, everything felt right,
For the first time in my life.
It’s almost certain I’m in love with you,
But nothing I could do would make you feel it, too.
It’s breaks my heart to stop this, but there’s nothing I can do,
‘Cause there’s one little thing,
One little thing, not felt by you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's a mystery...

I feel like I have nothing substantial to blog about, and it's as if nothing can match up to the previous posts I've written.

Monday, August 31, 2009

title: 4


It's been a long time.

I'm back at school, obviously. And already I feel as busy as I ever was last year.
God is so prominent in my life, though, and I feel him overwhelming me daily.

That's a definite change from last year.
For the better.

I'm waiting for a shirt to dry and watching Dragonball Z to kill some time. My roommate, Daniel, is playing World of Warcraft, which is pretty standard for him at this time of night. It's actually pretty standard for him any time that he's not in class or sleeping (which often takes second priority to WoW). I like my roommate, but since he's always up late, I give in and stay up later, too.

My body is starting to suffer from the lack of sleep. I need it, bad, but I keep setting it aside for friends and homework and other things I want to do.

Oh, yeah. I'm actually doing homework this year. It's satisfying in a certain unexpected way.

God hit me with this the other day:
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
-Ephesians 4:2

I've read Ephesians a bunch, but this only just caught my eye. I was really struggling with loving a friend, because I always feel discouraged after talking to this person. My instinct is to just avoid, because then I don't get discouraged. But Jesus would love them more. Be patient, I'm told. Make allowance for their faults. After all, I have faults of my own.
I can't quite describe how much it really struck me, but I'm just feeling really convicted about it.

Keep yearning for God, first and foremost.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Life Vest

So, I blogged briefly about my week at Adventure Camp this summer, as part of my job; whitewater rafting, rock climbing, hiking, etc, and all paid... I had some interesting thoughts that week, and they recently came back to me. There is some really unrefined theology in this post. I don't mean it to be entirely accurate of God, but it's mostly accurate from how I perceive God at this point in my life, and perhaps it'll spur your own thoughts to challenge and grow mine.

I was in the lake the first day we got to the camp. All the kids were doing their own thing, and us three counselors were basically okay to do whatever. I decided to go for a swim, and the lake has no official lifeguard on duty, so I had to wear a life vest. They had a ton of things in the lake; slides and obstacles and a mountain to climb (all inflatable stuff), and I did a little bit of that. Mostly I just floated around. See, the life jacket hinders your movement tremendously. Even swimming somewhere took a reasonably difficult effort. It was really frustrating, so I decided to just float for some time.
It's interesting how some thoughts can just strike you. Somehow, I started wondering about how the vest I was wearing compared to Jesus. I had a few ideas sift through my head, but nothing that made significant sense.
The next day, we went white-water rafting. Our boat guide said something that made the previous day's incoherent musings suddenly click together unexpectedly. "Now take your Personal Flotation Device (PFD) - some of you like to call them 'life vests', but we can't call them that because we can't guarantee they'll save your life. We only promise they will keep you floating..." And I don't remember anything else he said, because it was no longer relevant to the revelation I was experiencing.

Do I treat Jesus like my PFD? Did I strap him on years ago, and just expect him to keep me alive, even in the storms that throw me from a boat? See, it's one thing to have faith that, if I just lay there, he'll keep me afloat. That much is true. But if some huge rapid tears me up, and I don't fight against the dangerous sin swarming around me, it's true that Jesus will still "keep me afloat", but I won't really be living. Not the way life should be lived. Jesus will always keep you floating, but if you don't seek his wisdom to navigate the storms and rapids of life, they chew you up bad and leave you feeling pretty dead. Life with Jesus is supposed to be so much more than that! He's keeping us afloat and able to breathe, so we have to choose to pursue life, or wrecklessly drown ourselves in sin. I guess if you dig deeper into the theology of my metaphor, you might perceive that I'm implying once you have the "Jesus vest", you never lose it... I don't necessarily believe in the "perseverance of the Saints", as Calvinists call it, that salvation cannot be lost.

I am certain that Christ would rather die than lose another person to sin and death.

But God granted us free will, to choose good and to choose evil, to choose him or choose sin, and if, in our choice, we deny him... I've heard some really good questions to challenge these things in the defense of the perseverance idea: "Was the person ever truly saved to begin with?"
"Couldn't they re-accept salvation in their dying breaths, proving they never, in their heart-of-hearts, denied him?"
I don't know the answers... I just feel as though, from what I currently know about God, it's possible to lose salvation. I don't understand why anybody would make that choice, but everyone makes foolish choices.

Anyway, are you fighting to live as Christ would have (which, by the way, cannot be done unless you have Christ from the start), or are you floating around, getting smothered by the waves and expecting Jesus to keep you breathing without your actions reflecting the life he desires for you?

As always, please comment with your thoughts or reactions. There is some really rough theology here and it probably isn't all accurate, but I only aim to challenge and be challenged, be transformed by renewing my mind.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

An Encouragement: Part 2

This one's primarily for the guys (though not exclusively, by any means).

Rob Bell writes:

The word that came to my mind at that moment was the word submit.

Not her submitting to him.

Him submitting to her.

...Submitting is serious. Submitting is difficult.

And it's the only hope a marriage has. (or any relationship, for that matter.)

I'm aware that I am using a volatile word here, one that's been used to cause great harm to women and consequently marriages and even men. The danger is that in reaction to the abuses and distortions of an idea, we'll reject it completely. And in the process miss out on the good of it, the worth of it, the truth of it.

The word submit occurs only a couple of times in the Bible, most notably in the letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5. The section begins in verse 21 with the command, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."

The passage says we are to place ourselves under one another out of reverence, or respect, for Christ. This reference to Jesus calls us to follow his example, his sacrifice, his giving his life for ours. As it's written in the book of John, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son." At the heart of the worldview of a Christian is the simple truth that people are worth dying for.

People are worth dying for. We know it to be true deep in our bones. And when we see someone actually do it, it's overwhelming.

Jesus said in one of his teachings that there's no greater love a person can have than to lay down their life for another. (John 15:13)

We know this to be true.

People are worth dying for.

So the passage in Ephesians is to love and serve the poeple around you, placing their needs ahead of your own, out of respect and reverence for Jesus, who gave his life for us, the ultimate act of love and sacrifice. Die to yourselves, so that others can live. Like Jesus.

In Greek, the passage continues with verse 22, "Wive, to your husbands as to the Lord."

Did you notice that a word is missing?

We're missing a verb. The words submit is not in the verse. You have to go looking for the verb, which is in the verse before.

The wife isn't commanded to do anything different from what everybody else is commanded to do in the previous verse, namely submitting. Placing the needs of others ahead of her own, especially in her most significant relationship - the one with her husband.

Verse 23 is next: "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior."

The point is that the husband is supposed to be like Christ. And what does that look like?

Notice how the text continues. Verse 24 repeats the submit command, and then verse 25 reads, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."

Christ's "headship" comes from his giving himself up for the church.

His sacrifice.

His surrender.

His willingness to give himself away for her.

His death.

Whatever authority the word head carries with it is rooted in the sacrifice of Christ and therefore the sacrifice of the husband.

So the husband is commanded to lay down his life for his wife, and the wide is commanded to submit to her husband, but they're both commanded to submit to each other because everyone is commanded to submit to everyone else, and all of this is out of "reverence for Christ."

A man waiting for his wife to submit is actually a failure to lead. He thinks he's the strong leader, but he's actually weak and misguided. If he really thinks he's the head, then he would surrender his desires and wants and plans. He would die to his need to be in control and do whatever it takes to serve her, to make sure she has everything she needs. He would die to himself so that she could live.

He would lay down his life for her, like Jesus laid down his life for the church.

This is submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

What if he had a habit of this?

What if she knew without a shadow of a doubt that his love for her was so great that he would give his life for her in the blink of an eye?

Think about your friendships, the closest ones, the ones that have gone the distance. How often do you ask who is in charge? Do you ever find yourself questioning, "Where does the buck stop?"

No, it's not even on the radar. Over time you've built up reserves of trust and love, and power and control become irrelevant. The healthier and more whole a relationship is, the less you ask these kind of questions. When people are truly living in what's called "mutual submission," you lose track of who's in charge.

In a marriage, you're talking about power and control only when something central to the whole relationship has fallen apart.

And once again, poetry comes to our rescue.

The woman says in Song of Songs, "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine."

She speaks a paradox. Two things are going on here. She's giving. Giving herself away. Letting go. Losing herself in her lover. And yet she's also getting something in return: the other person. Her lover, at the same time, has let go and fallen into her.

(Let's go back to those verses in Ephesians.)

This paradox of mutual submission is only one of the profound things going on in this passage. The command to the husband is to love your wife "just as Christ loved the church." On the first pass, it seems quite straightforward. But as we've seen before, words in the Bible are often loaded. In this case, the word love in the Greek language is specific.

The word for love here is the word agape. We find the word all over the New Testament, and it's generally used in the context of God's love for people as in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world."

So the man is to love the woman, to agape her, like God agapes the world.

Agape is a particular kind of love. Love is often seen as a need, something we get from others. Agape is the opposite. Agape gives.

Agape doesn't love somebody because they're worthy.

Agape makes them worthy by the strength and power of its love.

Agape doesn't love somebody because they're beautiful.

Agape loves in such a way that it makes them beautiful.

There is a love because, love in order to, love for the purpose of, and then there is love, period. Agape doesn't need a reason.

It's written in the book of Romans that Christ dies "while we were still sinners."

Jesus reminds his disciples, "You did not choose me, but I chose you."

People in the Scriptures essentially are loved into their futures. Think of how many of us had encouraging or affirming or inspiring words spoken to us years ago about our worth, our value, our future, and how those words shaped us. We often carry those words of agape around with us our whole lives.

Agape shakes us. It's too good to be true.

Or maybe you could say it's good enough to actually be true.

It affects how we live, how we act, how we think about ourselves.

For God so agaped the world...

And so the man is commanded to agape the woman with the same kind of love that God has for all people everywhere.

It's a big task the man is given, and it's reflected in the number of words in the passage. In the Greek, the command for the woman is 47 words long, while the commands for the man are 143 words long. The onus here is on the man to love with the kind of love that will go all the way to death if it has to.

What if she were loved like this?

Guys, do you realize she is worth dying for?

Gals, do you realize you are worth dying for?

See, marriage is on my mind. Not anybody in particular. But in another few years, I'll be around that age and stage in my life where marriage comes to great potential. I'm certain most of you guys are feeling similar to me. I want to live like Christ. I want to learn to love like he loves. I want to learn to die to myself so others can live. If I'm still living selfishly, marriage opens the door to cause overwhelming damage to another person. I want my marriage, with whomever, whenever it should come, to reflect Christ's love for us.

I guess the encouragement is more of an instigation for us guys. Can we spend our time now, whether single or already in some sort of relationship, learning how to submit to others, how to die to others? Can we learn to give up our desires and wants and plans for the sake of others? Now is the time to start learning and to start practicing.

Now's the time to start living. "To live is Christ and to die is gain." To live is Christ who died for our gain. To live is Christ so we should die for their gain. His gain. Her gain.

A good friend wrote on the subject of girls about two years ago. I'm going to adapt his main points, quoting and paraphrasing some and elaborating my own thoughts of response, too. Jeremy Steckel, I hope you don't mind, and know that I greatly respect you!

1. Girls are talkers!
I'd think if you haven't noticed or observed this fact before now, you might be somewhat daft. There's countless articles and books suggesting that girls use an average of 20,000-25,000 words a day, and guys use only around 7,000-10,000. There's no way this is going to change! Girls are wired to talk about everything, and it's how they connect with other people. I once read that girls define their closeness of friendships based on the amount of conversation they've shared, where guys base their closeness on the amount of time spent together, whether talking or not. The point is, if you want really respect a girl, LISTEN! It's important to her!

2. Girls are relational!
Some of you may disagree with this, but it's an observation Jeremy made with his post, and I agree: "Girls tend to de-bunk their bunk beds here at college more often than guys do. Why? I wondered the same thing. Until I realized an astounding truth: maybe they do it because, then, it's easier to TALK to your roommate! I've also noticed that girls seem to have more of an emotional connection with their roommate than guys do." From here, we get to Jeremy's third observation:

3. Girls are emotional!
Again, if you haven't noticed this by now, you may be a bit daft. Girls are HIGHLY emotional. Emotional security is probably the most important thing for a girl! God is a wonderful daddy who provides incredibly security, but as guys, we can constantly remind every gal we know of this. We are able to encourage and lift them up with the reminder that Abba, daddy, is their emotional guardian. Too, we can help to guard their emotions. Physical protection is a great thing, and I know girls value feeling safe in that sense, but emotional security is even more important than that!

4. Girls are gorgeous!
Yeah, we all know it's true! Jeremy said it best: "Imagine a world, or even a campus, without girls, and I imagine a place full of dead bodies of men who couldn't take looking at each other any longer."

Girls need to feel loved, and girls need to feel beautiful. Encouraging a girl in this area is a fine line, and I'll admit I often avoid walking it altogether out of anxious fear I'll creep a girl out. But us guys have the opportunity to really embolden and reassure value in our friends and sisters in Christ, and it is absolutely possible to tell a girl she looks beautiful without hitting on her! Take that uncomfortable step and encourage! (Which is a challenge for me, too.) After all, she is worth dying for!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lo and behold, it was the chainsaw...

Today, I cleaned out my car, in the hopes that somebody might soon buy it from me.
Then, Josh and Katie picked me up, and we drove to the Ohio State Fair. We saw some stuff, most notably a chainsaw artist carving a bear from a log, with botox lips, a mohawk, fins from its chin and strange legs. Katie swears it was actually a fish, but I was intent on seeing him carve a bear, so I just know that's what it was. Josh tried to convince me to eat a fried PB&J, but I went for a gyro instead. It wasn't worth $6, but it was still good; maybe worth $4 or so, at the most. We saw a lot of random crap people were selling in their various booths, and we also "walked the line" with beer goggles on. The trick is to look straight ahead, zone out and just step forward, heel-to-toe, with trust in your natural walking abilities. Josh wanted to ride only one ride there, and it was closed.

After the fair, we went to dinner at Buca di Beppo along with Drew, Josh Gulvas, Steve and Jackie, Andrew and Amy, and a couple other friends of Steve. It was sort of a surprise dinner for Steve's birthday in a couple days. Drew, Gulvas and I split the Chicken Parmesan, which at Buca is a huge waste of money. Never get Buca's Chicken Parm. You'll regret spending that much money on something that totally isn't worth that much money.
After dinner and some hilarious conversation/antics, Josh and Katie dropped me off and left to see G.I. Joe. The ride home was spent mostly discussing how awesome (my point of view) and lame (their point of view) the name "The Ceiling Fantastic" is. I love it. I think it's catchy and a clever play on words. I want some more opinions.

Anyway, all this stuff is great, keeping me busy and rather entertained. I truly am enjoying myself in the midst of such things, but being back at home, back in my terribly messy room and feeling overwhelmed by everything I need to do in the next week, I'm feeling rather bitter. I don't actually understand why I'm feeling this way, but bitterness is the best way to describe it.

I cannot seem to finish the music I've been writing. I keep changing the words, I keep striving to make it less cliché, yet still maintain my identity within it. The emotions in these songs are so deep and so dark, and I'm in a place now where I can dredge them up and use what I'm feeling to help create. But nothing ever feels good enough. It all starts to feel the same to me, even among the differences from song to song. It's additionally frustrating to be in my "prime" of creativity (both tired and emotionally fragile), yet still unable to produce.

My room is a mess, like the state I'm in, and busy-ness is all I see coming in the next week. Please pray for my endurance and peace and joy in this, as those will be pushed the most.

Currently Listening:
The Flower Kings - Adam & Eve

Thursday, August 6, 2009

title: 3

I've been really depressed this whole week. I'm not sure exactly what it is. I keep thinking, I just need school to start, then everything will be okay. But that isn't true. All of my stress and emotional burdens will follow me to school like they did last year. No, it isn't a matter of school to fix this.
I don't even know what "this" is. My car's transmission went out on Monday, but it's nothing to do with that. This whole week has felt all clumped and senseless. I don't even know what day it is, and I hardly believe the calendar. Apparently tomorrow is Friday. Already? I don't even remember Tuesday, and Wednesday is only a tiny fragment. And today is over now, too?
I'm riding my bike to work tomorrow. Possibly. It's a longer trip, but I don't have a car that'll get me there.
I feel as though my list of things to do will overwhelm me. Perhaps I need to rewrite it, organize it, and keep going at it. It's probably less challenging than I'm expecting, but since it's a bunch of things all floating freely in my mind, it takes up so much more space.

What's to come of friendships this fall? Will things start to fall apart, as I've witnessed in others' lives for this season? What of the expectations, or hopes, at the least, that I have for other friendships? And will I be able to restrain myself, exhibit self-control, for the sake of my commitment to God? I haven't the slightest idea of what's coming; just a general sense of fear. It's the same fear I feel when I see tv shows about supervolcanoes that could destroy the US or comets that could wipe out earth. It's a sort of worst-case-scenario fear, but those are the only scenarios I seem able to think. There's a supervolcano lying dormant underneath this upcoming school year which could blow at any moment, and anxious me is convinced tell-tale tremors are rumbling all around.
Some old habits and cravings are redeveloping, or at least resurging. I guess they never fully went away, but I'm feeling overwhelmed again. Food doesn't make anything better, but those endorphins are killer when I'm feeling down.
Everything just feels so artificial right now.

"Here's your change. Have a good evening."
"You too."
But neither of us feel that way.

Even time feels artificial. It feels as though time is whirling and spinning around me, and I do not even understand what I'm seeing. Everything just feels really foreign right now, as though I've been thrust into something with no instruction and expected to just "figure it out".

I don't feel hopeless. This is a different depression than I've had in the past. My belief in God is strong now, as is my faith in general. I just feel a general, dark sorrow, and also discouragement. Perhaps it's also an identity crisis.

Though this next part is unrelated to my current emotional state, something reminded me of this: I've been really grappling with some things about God this summer. There's certain ideas about God that I've grown yp being taught, and they all seemed to make perfect sense when I was younger. But I've been meditating on these ideas and I'm convinced that the only reason they exist is because it comforts people more to think that way than to think the way it really is. I'll just throw myself out there.
I don't think God has my life (or your life) all plotted out, step-by-step. I firmly believe God has a will for my life (and your life). I believe that will is for me (and you) to emulate Christ to the best extent we can; to focus our energy - heart, mind, body, soul - on loving God and on loving others as Christ loves us. THAT is God's will for me (and you). God also gave us freedom. That means the freedom to choose if we go to college or not, what we study, where we work, whom (if anybody) we marry, etc. I think Paul was right: it's best for us not to marry and our greatest work for the Lord is done when he has every fiber of our being dedicated solely to Him. But we are very fallible creatures, so it is better for "us" to marry and pursue God together than to try alone and fall more because I'm too distracted by desire. Back to the idea of "God's will", it just doesn't sit with me. God's will gets accomplished with or without us, right? So, then, for a person to live, that's God's will; for a person to survive a heart-attack means "it was God's will" that this person survived. But by default, that would mean for another person to die of stroke, or suicide for that matter, it was also "God's will". After all, by that argument, he planned out our days. I don't believe God would ever "plan" or "will" a person to die, especially not if by murder or suicide. It breaks his heart, and I'm sure of it! God wants life for us, and life to the fullest! That's why someday we'll be in a place with no more death and no more sadness! But God gave us freedom out of his great love for us, and with our freedom, we've entered into sin. That means we can kill each other, hurt each other, steal from each other, and it all breaks God to see us misbehave! But if he just steps in and stops it all, what freedom do we ultimately have? That would be like God saying, "You can only do it your way if it looks like my way. Otherwise I'm just going to step in and stop you until you do it my way." There is no freedom there, and without freedom there can be no love.
I don't think that sufficiently covers my thoughts about it all. I don't think any number of words could quite capture what's in my head. I just don't believe that God has every step of my life (or yours) already plotted out and planned to work a certain way. Sure, he knows what I'm going to choose since he is outside of time. But that doesn't mean he sketched it out and made it for me. He gave me the freedom to choose, I chose it all, and he's just able to see the whole timeline even though I'm stuck IN time still writing. I made the ending, but I haven't seen it yet; only God has.
I don't think God cares at all where I go or what I do or whom I talk to or marry or anything, as long as I'm doing all of it in a spirit of love and compassion, just as Jesus did, just as God-with-flesh would do. In a sense, Christians should be "God-with-flesh" or... the body of Christ... My actions should show God's love above all else, and the only thing I could do that would defy God's will for my life is to continue sinning. Like I said, I don't think God cares where I go to school, where I work, whom I marry, etc, as long as his love is evident and overflowing from my life.

(Now if school, work, people, relationships, etc, distract me from God, then such things should be avoided/moderated until the fruits of God's spirit are built enough to live within them and not be brought down. To dive into the specifics of this side of things would be a lot more typing, but frankly, it's all covered pretty well in the New Testament already.)

Hmm, I'm done ranting for now. I feel a little less depressed than when I started, but maybe that's because I'm excited about going to sleep.

Currently Listening:
Andy Hunter - Life
(I always forget how energetic and generally great this album is.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Part 1: An Encouragement

Do you realize that you are worth dying for?

This post is primarily intended to encourage my girl friends. I've recently finished a book, and there was a segment I really wished to share, and this seemed the best method. Anyway, Rob Bell writes, and I repeat with the utmost sincerity and desire to edify (and occasionally add personal thoughts in parenthesis):

You don't need a man by your side to validate you as a woman. You are already loved and valued. You're good enough exactly as you are. (You're good enough exactly as you are.) Do you believe this? Because it's true. You have limitless worth and value. If you embrace this truth, it will affect every area of life, especially your relationship with men.

You are worth dying for.

Your worth does not come from your body, your mind, your work, what you produce, what you put out, how much money you make. Your worth does not come from whether or not you have a man. Your worth does not come from whether or not men notice you. You have inestimatable worth that comes from your creator. (Unmatchable, immeasurable, limitless, incontainable worth in Christ.)

You will continue to be tempted in a thousand different ways not to believe this. The temptation will be to go searching for your worth and validity from places other than your creator.

Especially from men.

But you don't have to give yourself away to earn a man's love. You're better than that. You're already loved.

When you give too much of yourself away too quickly, you're not being true to yourself... There is a mystery to you, infinite depth and endless complexity.

Your strength is a beautiful thing. And when you live in it, when you carry yourself with the honor and dignity that are yours, it forces the men around you to relate to you on more than just a flesh level.

You are worth dying for.

If you're dating someone, what kind of man is he? Does he demonstrate that he's the kind of man who would die for you? What is his posture toward the world? Does he serve, or is he waiting to be served? Does he believe that he's owed something, that he's been shortchanged, that he's gotten the short end of the stick, that life owes him something? Or is he out to see what he can give? Does he see himselfas being here to make the world a better place?

These are the big questions you need to ask yourself.

Does he have liquid agape running through his veins? (Agape doesn't need a reason. Agape doesn't love because you're worthy. Agape loves in such a way as to make you worthy. Agape shakes us. It's "too good to be true.")

A friend of mine was engaged to a man, and some of her friends were not excited about them getting married. As the wedding day approached, one of her friends decided to say something to her. He said, "When a woman is loved well, she opens up like a flower."

She broke off the engagement soon afterword. In one brilliant sentence, her friend taught her what agape is and what it isn't.

Can you tell him anything? Is he safe? Can he be trusted?

Can you open up to him, allowing yourslef to be vulnerable, knowing that he will protect, not exploit, that vulnerability?

Are you opening up like a flower? (Perhaps like a red rose, or a blue orchid...)

When you live in your true identity, when you find your worth and value in your creator, when you live "in Christ," in who you really are, you force him to rethink what it means to be a man.

(You are worth dying for!)

I think, to try to summarize this whole post: girls are incredibly valuable.
I mean, besides the fact she gave birth to me, my mom is very important. Though we can fight on occasion, she has been a great source of wisdom for me as I've been growing up, especially in the last six years. My sister is also immeasurable valuable to me- she's my best friend, and at times the only friend I've had whom I could trust to talk to about things in life. I can't imagine what particularly the last four years of my life would have been like without her.
The fact of the matter is, you girls are an extraordinary gender. You are worth the respect, honor, protection and love of every guy. No exceptions.

You are worth dying for!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pictures at an Exhibition

...I don't recognize my hands anymore. Staring down at them, unfamiliar scars on my knuckles and elsewhere gaze blankly up. I turn them over, hoping to recognize the inside. Instead, foreign, calloused and stained landscapes instill within me a supsicious captivation. What works have caused such destruction to territory I once knew so well? These aren't hands the hands I knew, nor are they hands I would have ever anticipated owning...

...I do not belong to a "friend group". In short, I hate "groups". I'm not particular interested in ranting about this right now. I just refuse to belong a definable "friend group"...

...I'm very counter-culture. Or, at least, I like to think I am. It's very possible that a part of my brain is missing, or that I lost some vital social skill at a very early age. Whatever the reason, I don't typically do things through convential means. This applies to a lot of things, but probably most noticeably in a relational setting. Often, my anxiety is overwhelming and I do nothing. However, should I begin to feel safe, or should I have a rare moment of daring, impulse takes over. Sometimes it seems entirely irrational, but that's just how I live. I think I much rather prefer to live irrational, unconventional and absurd than to follow the "social norms" (whatever those are, exactly...)...

Selfless love in the name of Christ is the only means to achieving genuine world peace.

Think about that for a bit.

After you've thunk, please go here and vote for Brian and I. You can vote five times, and we'd greatly appreciate it!

I finished reading Passion and Purity recently. I haven't discussed it with anybody, so it is very quickly and largely escaping my thought. It was much more challenging and fascinating than I ever expected, though. The overall effect of that book on me was... simply wow...

It's difficult parting with my DVDs. At the same time, it's inspiring me to become free of even more possessions. It's like, what more can I rid myself of?

God, I made you a promise. Then that happened, and I compromised it without even asking because of my own desire. I need to reinstate that promise before situations arise where foolish me can mess things up from a lack of self control. I promised you a year, and so it shall be.

Do you have any idea what you do to me, how overwhelming you are? I need something tragic and beautiful, and Damien Rice may just do the trick...

Currently Listening:
Shiny Toy Guns - We Are Pilots
(I've had this CD for over a year, and I've only just discovered how good it is.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We speak in different voices.

I wasn't going to blog at all this evening... morning... See, I'm quite tired. Are you surprised?
Anyway, I might try to catch you up on the insubstantial elements of the last week, and I can supplement the deeper thoughts at a later time.

Monday night a week ago, I received a phone call from work. "What are you doing the rest of the week?"
"Not too much..."
"Wanna go to West Virginia?"
And so 12 hours later I was meeting up and departing with "Adventure Camp". It's a middle school camp run sort of through Super Games during the summer for a couple weeks. We arrived Tuesday evening, set up our tents and went to the lake for a couple hours to swim. The net morning, we made pancakes for breakfast and went hiking several miles.
Excuse me, let me clarify: there were three of us counselors and sixteen kids.
After lunch on Wednesday, we went whitewater rafting on the New River, which, ironically, is the second oldest river in the world. I'm determined to go whitewater rafting frequently for the rest of my life. It was AMAZING.
Thursday, we went rock climbing and rappelling, even though it was lightly raining. It really just made the climbing a bit tougher. Rappelling was awesome, though. We went back to the lake that afternoon, and I read a significant amount. I also played some giant chess. That evening, I connected a little more with the kids, playing some tricky word games. Friday morning, we awoke and packed up in pouring rain. We stopped and had lunch at OU. Arriving "home" we unpacked and set up everything to dry out.

Saturday, I set up and ran sound for an evening of worship at the "all-church" campout (which was probably only 5% of our total church, but whatever). Sunday, I did video stuff during the services, band practice, and running sound at CT.
Band practice.... what can I even say? The music we're making is so spectacular, I hardly have words. We're really locking in now, and the whole time we're playing, I have chills and can't stop smiling.
It's just soo goooood.

Today was spectacularly productive. I listed most of my DVDs on, then did my house sitting duties. I watered and pruned flowers, cleared the drive and sidewalk, grabbed the mail, then washed and waxed their boat. That was tiring. I cut some of our grass, too, but it started to rain. I still have to weedwack and also cut most of the backyard. That'll happen in the morning, though, along with shipping off about thirty DVDs that have sold already. I'll also be listing some gear from church tomorrow; just unused stuff we're selling to generate extra tech budget.

Insightful and profound thoughts will come soon enough.
I promise.

Currently Listening:
Seussical the Musical Soundtrack - Solla Sollew

Saturday, July 11, 2009

An Exercise In Prose

This morning, I decided to catch the sunrise. I had not actually been to sleep, and I had just seen Brian off for home. Here is my reflection, written while I observed the sun rising.

A subtle haze crouches close to the ground, its purpose unknown. Geese are calling out as they glide across a calm water, and a lone duck cleans herself. Fish intermittently break the surface, for food or other reasons, while a man stares longingly, yet emptily, in pursuit of those same elusive creatures. As I walk along this familiar bridge, I pull out my headphones. Yet a voice in me conflicts my desire: "You think you could create a soundtrack to this morning better than what I have in store?"

I put my headphones away and continue to walk. Water cascades in routine fashion over the dam, providing a familiar, soothing sound. The kingly moon seems to gaze even upward still of its own heavenly position. Indistinct treetops fill the horizon on all sides, and just above them, the sky is revealing careful distinction between clouds and solemn space. Even now, the gray-blue void is betraying soft shades of pink, orange and yellow, perhaps hinting at something grand to come. A machine nearby drones its steady tone of work, either measuring or drawing power from the cascading water. Several small birds dot the sky, leaving no trace of flight save an image in my memory.

A mile away, enormous power lines smile across the resevoir, but their smile is a force of habit and not an expression of joy. Docked sailboats hardly shrug as water passes beneath them, nearly unnoticed.
A jet tears through the poloroid sky some great distance from here; I cannot hear it, but I see the unnatural trail it expels. Meanwhile, the poloroid continues to develop, filling the crevices of earth with light and revealing greater color overhead.

I'm not lonely, but I'm struggling with the desires of emotional intimacy. I've been warned not to "arouse or awaken love until it so desires." Right now, that only begs the question: WHEN does love so desire? Would these incredibly urges for emotional intimacy be a signal fire that love desires an awakening? Why is the expression of selfless love through self-restraint such a painful challenge?

The sun has finally streaked above the curtain of trees to warmly make eye contact. The geese have withdrawn from the water, and it is quieter. The resevoir now clearly reflects the very sky and clouds responsible for carrying it away in small doses to foreign plaes. The reflection of the sun resembles an inverted torch, as if defying gravity. The vast orb itself still rises slowly, maintaining ever-increasingly bold and persuasive eye contact. I can bare to look no more, instead forced to acknowledge all that has been revealed in the light.

These emotions I hold are not secret. I have freely shared and embraced those who inquire of my feelings. Yet an aching lingers heavily, as though I haven't expressed what I feel in the necessary direction. "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." Do you so desire, and would you tell me if you didn't?

Come What May

It may be that I'm just really tired. Go figure. It's 4:13am as I'm typing this.
For whatever reason, though, I don't feel the slightest inclination to blog. Yet, I'm forcing myself to do this. I consider daily reflection, however brief, to be incredibly healthy and beneficial, so I intend to force this into habit.

Maybe I'll do more later.

Currently Listening:
Moulin Rouge Soundtrack

Friday, July 10, 2009

So let's just let it roll.

No matter how busy I get, I'm still in constant amazement at how awesome life is right now. God continues to bless me in overwhelming ways, using friends and family and work. I love my job. I just can't say that enough. Also, I got my check today. Soon, I'll be opening an account with Fifth-Third bank. After all, there's an ATM in the SSC, so that would make banking at school much more convenient. Things with the fraud in my current checking account seem to be resolving... I filed affidavits on Tuesday, they've refunded my overdraft charges and given me provisional credit for the money charged by shady companies. I actually just googled those shady companies; turns out many other people have had identical incidents (or nearly so)...

I'm terribly itchy right now.

I still don't feel like retracing the last five days to catch up on everything. I mean, mentally retracing is excellent, but to retype it all so late after the fact seems inappropriate for some reason.

Today, though, Brian and I slept in rather late. Then we sat around my room for awhile. I made some eggs and reheated some leftover burger-dogs from last evening. Then, Erin, him and I went to UDF for ice cream, then picked up my check. I had to fill out some paperwork, which left them out in the car much longer than I intended. :/ However, I did get some real encouragement from one of my bosses, who said they're all really impressed with my attitude and work ethic. With a job so great, how can I not have a good attitude and give them my best? Though, the credit should primarily go to God for answering my prayers of joy and faithfulness, among the other spiritual gifts, as they relate to working.
I made a pot-pie for dinner, which was mighty tasty, then we went to church to prep and practice for worship tonight. Brian and I, along with James Wallis and Eric Irvin, led for the high schoolers participating in the summer program called Accelerate. Tonight, a missionary (our new missions pastor, in fact) spoke on sharing our faith. We worked though our own stories and tried to condense them into three minutes. It was only intended for three people to share with everyone else, but eventually all twelve students, including Brian and I, had shared.
I really became rather vulnerable tonight. Not many people really know my story, even the three (well, four) minute version. Yet I felt oddly at ease and shared my life. Like I mentioned, this was particularly vulnerable for me, and I allow that to happen unbelievably infrequently. I'm not sure why, but I just let go, and it was good.
I think I need at least five minutes though.

Also, Andy Sieberhagen, the missions pastor, used the word "unpack" twice in about ten seconds. I always think of a couple of people when I hear that word... (And Brian was there, so I gave him a quick glance. :)

I've never quite understood how to put a smiley at the end of a parenthetical statement. The smile is also a close-parenthesis, and two of them looks odd, but one isn't really "right"...

In less recent news, I've been spending some time crafting music to accompany words I've written in months past. They're all so sad, and my mood is much better now. I don't really perceive a comfortable time sharing these songs (or words alone, even) with people. Perhaps it's merely because my moods no longer direct such words. Perhaps it lies in a fear of becoming too vulnerable. I'm scared of what people will think of me when they see how dark I've felt. I don't think anybody really knew how miserable I used to be, and I'm terrified friends would treat me differently, more fragile, if they knew. I'm beginning to tell people now, if they ask, but it doesn't seem "right" to sing songs that put these problems in the present. Yet, I cannot change them for fear of ruining the purity of that pain.
It's an odd paradox.

Well, it is late. I ought to retire.

Currently Listening:
Secondhand Serenade - Half Alive
(I love the whole CD on which this resides. Yet, it's been a year since I listened extensively. Oh, well.)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Oh insubstantial me.

It's been nearly a week since a significant post. And this will not be one either.

Brian is here visiting. It's wonderful.

I'll try to update with detail someday soon.
Yet... the more I have real conversations with people (whether telephone or in person), the more I crave that and desire less to maintain my digital lifestyle. I'm not having a change in my paradigm, because there's still something really appealing about my digitial life (which I feel does very accurately reflect me; it's not some facade to lead you to think better of me). It's just, I'm sort of "rediscovering" "real life". I've kind of been hiding in my digital life because it was really safe, and I had been through a lot of relational hurt a couple years ago. But now I'm developing some really substantial friendships that are showing me how great "real life" really is. And I love it.

Well, Brian and I only have a few days of fun together, so I'm off to galavant with him. I will update with greater detail soon.

Currently Listening:
Amante Lacey & The Life Worship Band - Live

Sunday, July 5, 2009

title: 2

Right now, I really want to tell you about my amazing day in full detail. However, I need to be awake in less than five hours for a Sunday that will keep me non-stop busy from 7:30am-9pm.

In short:
breakfast with Sam and my parents
work from 12:30pm-1am
i loooove my job :)

Currently Listening:
City and Colour - Confessions

Saturday, July 4, 2009


It's late. I'm exhausted and really don't feel like writing anything.

Sam came to visit today. We had dinner with my parents, then we went to Red, White and Boom for fireworks. They were literally exploding right over our head. It was awesome. We snacked on some food when we returned home, and we watched 30 Rock. I'd dare to say I have Sam very interested in the show now.

I'm going to sleep. Maybe I'll write out details later.

Currently Listening:
Thousand Foot Krutch - Breathe You In
(One of the most comforting songs for me, even though I'm not feeling discouraged in the least bit.)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

She poses for pictures that aren't being taken.

I can't stop talking about how awesome this week has been so far.

Today, I got to sleep in. I woke up, read some Psalms and read some of Matthew. I played guitar for awhile, played with my kitty, and then Eric came over. I cooked lunch; we split a quesadilla and had burgers without buns. Then we made some cookies and watched a bit of TV. After a couple hours, he took off, and I got some stuff together for worship tonight.
I met up with a friend from the high school group, Michael Vawter, and we played around with a few worship songs in preparation for tonight. Then we went to the church, did a little tech stuff, and practiced some more. James Wallis and Eric Irvin helped us out, too, so we had some percussion (my cajon, played by Eric) and some harmony as well as the dual guitars and vocals of Michael and I. We played Jesus Paid It All, You Said, and a kinda blues-y arrangement of Jesus Messiah that really rocked.

Michael and I were talking about how performance-oriented music has become. Music was such a cultural thing; everybody participated in music. Now it's become a very distinct seperation between the few talented onstage, and a crowd of on-lookers. This has also become very distinct in the worship setting. Many, many churches and other worship meetings generally have a band onstage with scores, hundreds or even thousands of people merely observing.
See, I think this is why I have such a hard time worshiping when I'm out in the congregation (see also: audience). I feel like I'm supposed to be watching some performance, and not participating in the music/worship. When I'm leading, or even playing in a band (come to think of it, it doesn't even have to be a worship band. Any music inspires this:) I truly feel like I am worshiping. I'm pouring out my music and gifts to God in worship. When I'm in an audience/congregation, I'm not participating, and the whole stage thing displaces me from participation; it directs my attention forward and not outward and upward. Now, I have been at some concerts (and worship events) where I've been able to "participate" from the audience, and it's truly a memorable experience.

An interesting question was raised tonight:

Do you really believe in Jesus if you're not willing to live the life he asks of us?

God sent Jesus so that whoever believed in him...
What does belief mean? If you claim to believe in Jesus, but you don't live like him, do you really, truly believe? I believe that jumping from an airplane without a parachute is deadly, so I don't do it. I believe that Jesus is the most revolutionary person ever, and truly understood living in a way that honors God, so I (try to) make every effort to live as he did.

Do you believe in Jesus, or is he just another good idea; your good-luck charm and get-out-of-hell-free card?

I haven't said this in awhile, but please respond if something in this post strikes you.

Currently Listening:
Ben Harper - White Lies For Dark Times
(This guy has some serious soul and talent.)

With all eyes upon him, except two that matter the most.

Today was a great day.
I slept in, until around 9:15am. Then, I read a couple Psalms and a bit of Into the Wild. The latter is rather intriguing, like a mystery of a grand sort. The Psalms are simply encouraging, though I suppose I just expect that these days.
Still in the cooking mood, I wanted to make eggs. I ended up adding eggs to the leftovers from my dinner last night, and scrambling it all in a pan. It may have been too many flavors all at once, or something, but I guess it was still decent. I watched a couple episodes of What Not To Wear and penned my first gentlemanly letter with a fountain pen, and I realized how poor my skills of penmanship are. In time...
I got a phone call asking if I could lead worship for a small thing on Thursday and also for the high school youth group on Sunday. This was so awesome to hear, because I had really been wanting to lead and play some worship with more than my lonely self this summer. (See, being so favorable towards music as I am, playing is my best expression of praise. Also, for some reason, I have a slight disconnect from an "audience" when I'm on stage, so I'm much more solely focused on God. Oddly, I'm most self-conscious being a part of the crowd.) This was a phenomenal answered prayer!
I played around with some songs to get some ideas, but I had to leave pretty soon for work. God proves himself ever more faithful, and he gave me even more hours to work, covering for somebody's shift. It was an absolute BREEZE of a nine-hour shift. There was two hours of travel time each way, which were spent conversing with the other staff guy, Kyle. We only had one inflatable to set (human foosball), and ten small flags. That was eeeeasy, then we waited around forty-five minutes for the kids. It was a really small group, so they rotated in and out with each other every ten minutes or so. We got a light rain, which was a little gloomy, but it really wasn't a big deal. The inflatable was a little tougher to roll from the sleekness, but we still got it tighter than it had been, dry... Anyway, we basically just watched the kids (and camp staff) play for around three hours, then spent probably twenty minutes packing up (and two hour drive home). I mean, seriously, today's shift was a breeze. I loooove my job. God is an awesome Jehovah Jireh!
I spent a decent amount of time texting several people after work, for various reasons. Then, I caught up on facebook and twitter stuff. Lyssa absolutely made my day (which was already awesome anyway) by putting up some pics where she photoshopped me in with everyone. I miss my friends a ton, but that made everything so much better. :)
I'm nearly done blogging, sort of, then it's kitty and sleep.

For some reason, everybody I see these days reminds me of somebody else. Nobody really looks new anymore; there's always something similar in one person that I recognize from somebody else. I wonder if this is anything related to the deja vu I experience several times a week? Frankly, I feel like sometimes I'm losing my mind. I just don't understand, ya know? Everybody is starting to look familiar; every place I go, I feel like I've been there before. I mean, it's really freaky. It's like sci-fi channel stuff.
I'm still not back to the fully contemplative mood I had when I began blogging around a month ago, but I suppose those times will naturally rise and fall.

Currently Listening:
Genesis - No Son of Mine
(I rarely listen to music older than I am, but some stuff is too good to let go.)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The cat chewed through my phone charger!

That's not some cryptic title to another blog; Leah did actually chew through the cable for my phone charger today. I had my phone plugged in, and when I would pick up my phone to text, the cable would flop around. Leah thought it great fun to start chewing, and I eventually noticed my phone sliding a little... By then, the damage was done, so my wall charger works no longer. Fortunately, my phone charges via mini-usb, so I can charge it from any computer, and if I could find my ipod wall adapter, I could even plug usb into that. I could also search for my never-used bluetooth, since it has a mini-usb charger, too.

God has been blessing me immensely with more hours and extra shifts at work this week. Today, I spent about eight hours helping prep for 4th of July. It's kind of like Super Games' version of "black Friday". We moved around tons of stuff, loaded trailers, cleaned the warehouse a little... It was all very hard work, but totally worth it. I love my job. I'm covering an actual event shift tomorrow from roughly 2pm-midnight, so that'll be cool (I can finally sleep in!!). Also, I think it's like two hours away. That means a long, paid drive to just read and chill, both ways! :)

I was really in the mood to cook tonight, so I pulled a bunch of stuff from the fridge: chicken, salsa, onions, garlic, cream cheese, spinach, tortillas, some herbs and stuff. I basically threw it all in a pan (only with much more grace that "threw" would imply). It tasted really good, and there are even two pictures! I'm just really proud of myself is all.

The whole dinner, salad and the chicken concoction.

Close-up of the chicken concoction.

I spent some time talking to a couple friends, and even managed a slight hint of productivity (not including work today and unloading/reloading the dishwasher, cleaning up after cooking, making more tea, etc).

I love sweet tea so much.

My parents made a deal to help me pay them what I owe them for phone and insurance and stuff. That's cool. I can handle the busy if it means less debt to people.

I read this quote recently, from Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I've been struggling so much with relational fear recently, just struggling when I think about several friendships and where they are going (for better or worse). This quote is pretty moving, even with respect to relational/people matters.

I really need to start memorizing more things: scripture, quotes, poetry, etc. They all have their usefulness at some point or another.

p.s. I miss my school friends so much it hurts sometimes. Sunday was really bad. Tonight was tough, too. Sam is visiting on Friday! :D :D :D

Currently Listening:
Sigur Rós - Ágætis Byrjun
(I wasn't originally into this at all, but it's so relaxing, and something about it seems really profound.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Funny, the way it is, if you think about it.

The reason I've been blogging so infrequently and so insubstantially is due to the fact that I've been reading infrequently and insubstantially. That was basically the first thing to go when I started getting busy.

I worked a lot the last two days, and that's been awesome. I completely love my job. Us employees get treated spectacularly, everyone that works there is pretty great, we all kinda push each other to work harder (it almost feels like a competition to work the hardest)... I dunno, I could probably go on and on, but I'm pretty tired right now and don't want to think too hard about anything, even about why my job is so amazing.

I did start reading Into the Wild today. I guess I made a sizeable dent, probably at least 40 pages. It's really intriguing so far, reading about the start of the fellow's journeys. He was really striking out to pursue the longing that lies in most guys and leave every hinderance behind. I'm not as reckless as that fellow, but almost constantly I find myself longing for similar travels. I mean, one of my biggest dreams ever is to get a VW van, the really old one, and just travel around the country in it for months, or even a year or two. I just want to "get out there" and "live".

Today, I was really, really struggling. I miss my Cedarville friends so much, because, for whatever reason, there's a certain level of communication and community I feel with them that goes otherwise unmatched. I've been so busy the last two weeks, so finding time, or energy really, to initiate such things has been challenging. There's also been a couple phones calls (or really the same one, twice) that have been cancelled last-minute, and it was rather saddening to miss the conversation (no doubt spanning basically anything and everything there is to talk about).
I'll be honest: I lose heart very quickly; I get discouraged very easily. I hate the idea of inconveniencing somebody or bothering them with anything (no matter how serious or trite). I generally tend to speak only if spoken to, unless I feel overwhelmingly comfortable around a person.
When that phone call was cancelled (and without any mention of "another time"), I lost the feeling of being welcome; I no longer felt comfortable to "enter in" or initiate anything. Like I said, I hate feeling like I'm a bother, and I felt like a pretty big bother, so I decided to quit trying.
I don't want to put my dirty laundry on my blog, or spend all this space complaining about what happened. Just... I'm still upset. I've been typing and erasing and typing and erasing for the last fifteen minutes, and it doesn't feel right to put any of that stuff on here. I'm still upset, and I can't stop overthinking everything I might've done to influence it being cancelled. I can't just get over it, because I feel like I did something wrong.
Anyway, I quit trying. It felt like an internal problem, so I quit trying with a lot of outward communication. The physical distance between friends is already a challenge. After that, conversation with any friend seemed pretty insignificant. Or, rather, I felt pretty insignificant. Thus, I returned to the norm of speaking when spoken to. You can't be forgotten or set aside if you were never in the light to begin with.

All that emotional vomit aside (I like to pretend somebody out there can sympathize), I've just really been hurting for and craving genuine conversation with friends. Today was especially hard, for one or two particular reasons. I wanted somebody to affirm I truly was loveable and desirable, and that I had significance. Yeah, yeah, "look to God and not to people," blah, blah, blah. The thing is, GOD USES PEOPLE TO SHOW HIS LOVE. I've been looking to God, waiting patiently and expectantly, though feeling rather downcast.
Today, he answered my prayer twice. A gal at work struck up a conversation on break, just the "getting to know you" sort of stuff. As little as that ten-minute conversation was, it made me feel like a million bucks. Then tonight, God answered my prayer again in a huge way using Felicia. I was driving around, fast, listening to the new Dave Matthews (rocks so hard!), just unwinding after an awesome 13-hour shift, and she called me. We talked about work and friends and life and burdens and God and Psalms, and that was the sort of body-of-Christ fellowship I was so desperately craving.

I need desperately to sleep now. I'm exceptionally tired (which loosens my tongue for things like the emotional mess above, which I'm not going to erase). Also, I found out minutes ago that I've picked up some hours tomorrow morning! Another prayer has been answered!

God is faithful and blesses his children, answering prayers and giving us the desires of our heart.

Currently Listening:
E.S. Posthumus - Cartographer (feat. Luna Sans, and also the Piri Reis Remixes)
(one of my top favorite musics ever.)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I won't be the phase you go through.

Well, the last two days have been full of adventure.

Thursday morning, I went to the dentist and left my lights on, resulting in a dead battery when I was going to leave. Fortunately, a fellow came along shortly after who very kindly gave me a jump. Then, I came home long enough to pack everything up for a significant exploit to be detailed soon. I stopped by the church to do a little work relating to the weekend services, borrowed the Pro Tools rig, and left.
I drove down to Scioto Hills Christian Camp, which was a two-and-a-half hour drive (longer than I expected, but totally worth it!!! Thank you GPS phone for getting me there!!!). Zac Dixon and the rest of East To West was in the middle of their second week doing music for this camp, and they asked me if I'd be interested in running sound for them for the night. Well, of course I was!!! I couldn't get the Pro Tools rig running correctly, so I didn't get to record them in the manner I wished, but we still got a stereo track straight from the board of the house mix. (Note to self... check that out soon.) I also took a few pics.
East To West ROCKS, by the way! Just, sooo cool. Everything wrapped up around midnight, I snapped some more pics, bid farewell, and began the drive home. It stormed like CRAZY, and I tried to get some pictures of lighting halfway home. The whole drive felt really surreal.

A lot of today felt pretty surreal too. I got out of bed around noon (didn't get home until nearly 4am, I think) and ate and showered. I cleaned up my room a bit, too, because once that was done, my sister and I went to pick up my new kitty, Leah! My mom wanted another kitty real bad, so she used me as the scapegoat to excuse getting her. I'm fine with that, because she is actually going to be my cat. :) When we got home, I took a quick nap and played with Leah for a bit.
Around 6:30pm, my sister and I went downtown for Comfest (Community Festival)! We saw a few friends, listened to Happy Chichester play and walked around all of the tents and people selling stuff. Comfest is a blast, just because of the huge variety of people there and the general attitude of carefree coolness and total chill. I'm sure all the weed and beer help fuel that for most people. Too, there's lots of crazy folks, like guys in skirts, really unattractive topless womentypically painted as well, drum circles with people dancing absurdly, etc. I love going every year, though.

It was back home after we had our "fill" of the whole Comfest atmosphere, then I played around with those photos from yesterday and wrote about these last two days. Leah's running around my room playing with her toys. I'm going to bed.

Currently Listening:
Frost* - Experiments in Mass Appeal

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I hate all your show and pretense.

Yesterday (being Sunday in my mind) was AMAZING. I arrived at church on time and ran video for the services. Afterwards, it was home for lunch with the family in celbration of Father's Day. We had shrimp, filet mignon, potatoes, and something else. Also, iced tea.

Okay, let me interrupt here. I could live on iced tea. I LOVE good iced tea. I could probably drink at least a half gallon a day and never get sick of it. In our house, we tend to make a gallon every other day or so through the summer/warm months. Iced tea is sooo good.

After lunch, I left for some jamming with a few friends. Brian Skeel had invited me to play some music with Savannah, himself and their recently-found drummer, Bill. I got to here their music (minus Bill) about a year ago, and I was totally blown away. Then, we played together (still minus Bill) for an acoustic night thing back in August. Yet again, I was totally blown away and then some. They've been trying to assemble a band to play some gigs around town, and Brian asked me to play. It finally worked out, and I got to jam with them. I wound up on bass, and for the most part, I felt comfortable picking up the music.
You KNOW there's something special when you're getting chills playing the music. Seriously, their music is like nothing else. It's really, really... really, really, really awesome. I can't believe how cool it is I get to be involved with something so spectacular, even if it's only for a couple months, or even weeks or days. Just getting to witness some thing so great is moving.


Back to earth now... When I got home from that, we did Father's Day gifts and walked to Graeter's. Then, I left for a bonfire with a few friends; Anna, Alyssa and Eric. We left almost immediately and saw The Proposal, which was hilarious!

This morning (being Monday), I slept in a lot. I went back to sleep after waking once around 8:45am, and finally got up about 12:30pm. It was sooo nice to sleep in. I sat around lazily playing with software on my computer, then went to the church around 4:23pm. John and I packed up all the gear from the live recording and took it back to his house. I ate with his family, then we set his studio back up. I came home after that, played with more software and finally re-established my itunes library. I had also gotten some new music earlier today, so I've been listening to that intermittently.
I'm gonna be at the church most of tomorrow, but I finally made a list of the productive things I oughta do. So, along with stuff at church, I'm going to try to be productive.
Still no word on the next round of photos. I'll get there eventually.

I don't have anything tremendously profound for today either. The thing is, I just haven't been reading, and therefore I haven't had thoughts provoked. Soon...

Currently Listening:
Dave Matthews Band - Big Whisky & the GrooGrux King
(totally digging it. just finishing up the album along with this post.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I knit sweaters, yo.

I woke up this morning to my back-up alarm and made it to the Super Games warehouse just in time. We loaded up and departed for our job northeast of Cleveland, which was three hours away. On the way there, a tire blew on one of the trailers, and the door came open twice, but we made it okay. It was pouring rain the whole way, but it cleared enough when we arrived to set some stuff up. In short, it was an amazing day for work.
We packed everything up in about half an hour, which was awesome, and then headed home. Another tire blew on the same side of the same trailer, so they just replaced both at the same time. Then, the truck hauling it was out of gas and wouldn't start again. Everything got worked out well, though, and I don't really care to go into details about how it all worked out. It just did.

I got home, and had to take a bath (and leave the water in the tub) because apparently our basement flooded and the sump pump was acting up. Then I spent a brief time playing some poker with friends, and got home before midnight. I really wanted to play guitar, since this time is really my only time I can even do that, but my parents were in bed and they twice told me not to play. :( Instead, I've been talking to friends online and catching up with little things on facebook (like photo comments).

I finished reading Jesus Wants To Save Christians by Rob Bell today. It was really, really awesome. I'm getting too tired to properly reflect, and it's taken me weeks to get through it, but I highly recommend it. It really, really opened my eyes to some awesome insight on Jesus and the Exodus and some connections in the Bible I never realized.

Currently Listening:
an amazing mix of last year's top 25 songs

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sing me something soft,

or loud and out of key. Sing me anything.

It's been such an overwhelming week or so. Seriously, just crazy. I'll try to sum things up for your curiousity. Last Friday was my sister's grad party. I stayed up really late after that working with my laptop, tweaking the heck out of it since I put the new screen in. It needs more RAM, but it's running awesome anyway, and I can see the whole screen! (I also have a 1TB external drive now with all my music, videos and photos, which means my internal drives are more free for a healthier computer.)

Saturday, I slept in, spent some more time working with my computer, then left for my first job at Super Games. It's such an awesome job. The work part is really hard work, and the chill times are really chill, so it balances nicely. We were in the warehouse for a birthday, and it was pretty toasty, but a great night anyway.
Sunday, I did the multimedia for church; ProPresenter and all that jazz. Afterwards, a bunch of folks all went down to the Thurman Café. Now, this is one of my favorite places to eat, ever, but it's been almost a year and a half since I had last gone. Anyway, I decided to tackle the Thurmanator this time around, since I had successfully eaten the standard Thurman Burger every time before. Here's a couple pics, and there's a couple more on my facebook. They were taken with my phone in dim lighting, so the quality isn't amazing:

Me with the Thurmanator.

The plate after everything was consumed.

Also, I drank eight glasses of coke and had a 24oz malt soon after. Then, I ate nothing more for 27 hours. It was totally worth it. I hung around CT (the high school youth group) doing sound and such that evening.

Monday, I spent close to eight hours sorting through my 1400 pictures from Europe and editing some of them. I also spent a a couple hours on that today. I'm down to a little less than 800 left, now. I put half of my Paris pictures up, but there's still a majority of the trip left. It'll be days before I can resume work on that, though. Monday evening, I had some plans get cancelled unexpectedly, so I decided to watch A Clockwork Orange. It was incredibly fascinating, but I don't feel inclined to go into detail about it here. It makes for some good conversation, though, so just ask me about it.

Tuesday, I picked up my new glasses. Then I spent the entire day at the church, doing all sorts of preperatory work for the live recording (which happened tonight). After around eight hours of such things, I came home briefly. The T-Mobile bill came... I used my phone more than I thought and paying my portion will be fairly hefty... No worries, though. I left soon thereafter for a rather impromptu evening with my very dear friend, Sam. We had an excellent evening filled with conversation, catching up, music, some white merlot, more conversation, a little Lego Star Wars and Scrubs, then some tea and other musical things in the morning.

Being on Wednesday at this point, I'll begin a new paragraph. I left relatively early, though, because I was unexpectedly in for an entire day of more recording prep. I met John at his house, we loaded up most of his Pro Tools HD rig, then went to the Vineyard to borrow even more equipment. We took everything to the church and began setting it all up. The drums were particularly fun: at least $6,000 in mics for a $5,200 kit:
An AKG D112 on the kick
Two SM57's on the snare (top, bottom, reverse phase on the bottom)
An SM81 on the hi-hat
Four AKG 414's, one per tom (those are $1,200 mics)
Two Studio Projects C1's for overheads

All-in-all, we had 38 channels being recorded. It was so crazy! We didn't finish up on Wednesday, that is, the band wasn't done rehearsing until just after midnight. I spent a lot of time organizing things backstage and in nearby closest containing various cables and gear.

Thursday, I woke up around 8:45am, got ready, and left for my second job with Super Games. It was some sort of huge outdoor even near the airport with hundreds or maybe even thousands of people. I spent around seven hours outside and got totally roasted. I also have some pretty serious lines on my wrists from the bands I wore to hide my tattoo (one band per wrist, for the sake of symmetry). It was a blast, though, and we were all packed up just before 4pm. I came home long enough to shower and change, then spent the next seven hours at church doing more organization while the band rehearsed. I also got to glean some pretty awesome recording knowledge from John. I was so tanked Thursday night, though, so I felt like a zombie the whole time. For some reason, I still stayed up until around 5am, mostly just talking to friends online (since that late time is nearly my only chance for social interaction with friends this week).

Today, I slept in a little (around 10:45am), then ate a little and watched something on the history channel about 70's technology. I took around an hour long nap, and woke again about 12:45pm. Then I decided to work on some more photos. I managed to get through around half of Paris, and I even put those up on Facebook. It'll be a few more days to get to anymore, though. I got over to the church, played with the lights a little, ate some dinner, and ran one of the cameras for the whole live recording event. Caleb, who is pretty great with all things video and lighting (and his dad owns a company that does stuff along those lines, so it reasons), brought in some extra gear to do a better job recording video than we can do with just our own stuff. I got to run a camera entirely by remote, and it was pretty neat. After it was over, I pretty much just split. Talked briefly to a few people, but I needed to get home, do this and get to bed. Tomorrow, I'm working my third Super Games job, from 6:30am to 8:30pm. It's an event up in the Cleveland area, I think, and travel is included in that, so it won't be awful at all. That means time to read (yes! finally!) or even sleep?

The greatest tragedy of being so busy is that my favorite things, reading and blogging, are the first to go. It takes a significant effort to spend time in reflection and to quietly read. When I'm totally exhausted, from being so busy, I prefer to spend any "extra" time being completely mindless, or at least just catching up with friends, even if it means staying up super late to chat online. Anyway, I haven't really got anything deep or highly introspective to write this evening. Too, I really oughta get to bed. Check out my photos in the meantime.

Currently Listening:
Miley Cyrus - The Climb
("There should be no guilt in pleasure." -John Mayer)

Thursday, June 18, 2009


The last several days have been so ridiculously nonstop, and as will the next several, that everything feels all blurred together. I have no sense of time or what day it is.

Lots of things have happened, I just don't want to write about it all right now. I caught up on the standard online stuff, but I haven't even had time to work on my pictures anymore, nor do some recording that I need to get working on.

I'll get some sleep, then jump back into the whirlwind.

Currently Listening:
Punk Goes Pop: Volume 2

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh, yeah.

I'll promise I'll get back into this soon. My life just hasn't felt very interesting, and I've been rather busy and exhausted by evening-time.


Currently Listening:
Will Ferrell's voice, from some videos on youtube

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's too late to ablogalize, It's too late.

See? Just look at the title. It's clearly too late for this. I'll do something more detailed later...

10am Woke up,
read Psalms 19-20 and some of John.
Cleaned my room a little more.

12pm Determined I need to donate a lot of junk and sell some more to make more progress.
Listened to some records.

2pm Discovered another fraud charge, bringing totals fraud charges up to $200ish.
Made several phone calls, and *should* receive full refunds within ten days. (praise)
Caught up with some wall-posting on facebook.
Stumbled across an old blog of mine.

4pm Showered.
Emailed a little.

5pm Church for seven hours, setting up a ProTools rig.
Discovered I'll be back on as a paid intern. :)
Had some encouraging and also just fun conversation.

12:15pm Came home.
More email, twitter, facebook.

Currently Listening:
Hamilton Hardin - some random jam sessions from local gigs on youtube
(this dude is sick at every instrument.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Someone understands me.

This morning, I was awoken at quarter til 9am. Somehow last evening, as soon as I hit the sheets, I was out. I didn't get any music playing, nor did I read any, nor did I set my alarm... I climbed into bed, only to find myself waking the next morning. I quickly got ready and also got a phone number for Lifeway (they double-charged me for Hillsong United's newest, by accident). Then it was over to the church to help my dad for a bit with hanging up some new curtains in the sanctuary. I left pretty quick, though, because I'm still trying to figure out the $120 in charges that I didn't make... The bank said to come back once they officially post, so I can file an affidavit and get my money back, which would still take 10-30 days, on top of the two days I have to wait for those charges to officially post.

I came home after that (with a brief stop by the post office), and worked on a couple job applications for golf courses around here. It'd be neat to get some work as a caddy or grounds maintenance person. I also started in on some recording. A friend of my dad's, well his daughter is putting together a CD or a demo or something, and I'm putting down some ideas for piano, synth and organ parts. It's a cool experience for sure, but something about this whole gig isn't sitting with me. Maybe it's just because it's yet another time-sucker when I really need to be working so I can pay off debt.
I ate some rice for dinner and read some of John, then my sister and I left for Fruit of the Vine (the homeless ministry I started last week). At several of our stops today, we actually walked and saw their camps. I can't really describe the feelings from seeing how they live: tents and plywood shacks set up deep into woods. I suppose speechless is the best description of how it left me. There was sadness over how little they have, amazement at their resolve to survive and thrive with what they have... It was just really... I still can't quite describe what seeing their "homes" did...
Altogether, it was a really great night, though. We had just enough food, also gave out toilet paper, socks, batteries and some clothes. I brought a ton of belts that I had amassed over the years but never wore. I'm gonna bring a bunch more clothes next week that I don't need, because these people do.
Erin and I got home around 10:15pm, and I talked to my parents for almost an hour. Then I went straight to bed. Or I blogged. But I'm probably just sleeping right now, as I have been for the last hour. You've only just imagined this post.

Currently Listening:
Iver - Citadel of Stars
(so beautiful)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What a wonderful day.

This morning, I woke up with time enough to shower and dress and eat before my first obligation. Let's step back and remember that I didn't get to sleep until after 5am, and my first obligation was at 10:45, and my phone (aka alarm) was dead. Anyway, I woke up at 9:45, showered, dressed and ate, then left for my eye appointment. After the very exhausting walk of 30 seconds, I arrived at our new optometrist. I picked out some new frames, and rather enjoyed the check-up as a whole. They dilated my pupils, which meant high light sensitivity and an inability to focus on anything within three feet for the next several hours, but it wasn't awful. It was a decent experience, I suppose.
I came home, made macaroni and cheese for lunch, then left for a dentist appointment at 1pm. We have a new dentist, too, and it was great. It's also closer, but I actually had to drive to this one. I accidentally left my wallet there, so I returned around 5pm to get it. Between my appointment and picking up my wallet, I spent a couple hours at church. I talked to my mom for a few minutes, and chatted with a few other folks. I talked to Terry about the college and young adult plans for the summer, because I'm really looking for some sort of community in which I can be encouraged and involved. He told me of the plans for various groups of that nature, and I was quite joyful to hear of the opportunities to connect in a more community-based way this summer. I also helped my dad with a project hanging curtains in the main sanctinasium, and we'll finish that tomorrow morning.
I came home briefly, after picking up my forgotten wallet, and decided to check out my account balance just for the heck of it. I discovered $120 in charges that I didn't authorize... I called the numbers attached to the charges- one number is out of service, and the other I was at least able to "cancel my account" with them. I'm supposed to call back tomorrow about a refund, but I'm also going into my bank. Seriously, though, I'm flat broke, and this is just frustrating as heck. I need every penny I have to keep up with paying off debt, and I don't want to waste time messing around with junk like this.
I couldn't really dwell on this, though, because I had made plans for the evening. I took a friend out for dinner tonight. I really wanted to catch up with her and see how she's been, because it's been a really rough couple months for her. We ate at California Pizza Kitchen (and made it out of there reasonably since we split a pizza), and walked around Polaris Mall for awhile. I drove her home, then we stood outside talking for almost another hour about some things. I was honestly nervous about it, because we've never really had a history of lengthy conversation (despite knowing her for the last eight years), but it was no problem at all. There was so much for us to talk about, and I was glad to catch up.
I got home and watched a little TV with my family; something like 18 and Counting on TLC, then Little Couple. Now, as I'm sure you've inferred, I'm here typing.

It's a very hard decision to make;
I know what's right.
I know what I should do.
But I feel like it would be a severe act of betrayal to do so. I don't know how to reconcile this all in my head. There's some very, very serious ramifications riding on a few brief words. I would never speak them with the goal of betrayal or hurting friendships, but it's inevitable such things would be felt. God, grant me peace about the choice I'm going to make. Help them understand it's not out of spite. There are no bitter feelings, only a great grief.

Currently Listening:
Celldweller - Last Firstborn
(I forgot how amazing this guy is.)