About Me

Phoenix, AZ, United States

Monday, December 31, 2007

Hollywood


Being the avid tourists that we are, yesterday we headed over to the ever so famous Hollywood Blvd Strip, home of the "walk of stars." Although it was cold and windy it was heavily populated, which means there was lot's to see.



There were plenty of street performers, impersonators and photo opts. Pictured below are two youngin's who we assumed were a brother/sister duo. To my surprise, the guitarist blared a very familiar riff and the gal who must have been about 7 years of age started singing:

She's got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky


Of course, I liked her about a million times more than the excessive Axl Rose.

My favorite was probably a quirky magician that was sitting against a wall. I saw he had a black had and a deck of cards, but no people around so I approached him. He had some amazing tricks and soon after, a small crowd developed.



There was the Tree man covered in leaves, standing about 8 feet tall (on stilts), who would stand by tall palm trees and scare unsuspecting pedestrians. He even got Tim. :)



Ripley's Believe it or Not, I have been to this Strip several times now, but never actually made it into the exhibit...i'm too cheap, I think it's like 16 bucks for admission, yesterday was no exception, we just stepped in the foyer for a few pics.



If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be Stefano's Pizza... it's simply amazing. In fact, we stopped in here on a full stomach and shared a couple slices because it's that good.

The original :)



Elliot outside of the Ron Hubbard, Scientology building. Some interesting marketing, a stress test, a Christmas display and 3 young adults that were all intelligent, articulate, attractive, calm and confident, of course it would take much more to convince E.

Reminded me of home...the Mandarin Theatre... No, i'm not chinese, but close enough. \

More than meets the eye.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Quick update


It's Sunday morning and we're in Los Angeles, we arrived early Saturday Morning after a 19 hour drive from Seattle... We hit severe weather again up in Oregon and into Northern California. We rushed to meet Brad, who had arrived the night before and therefore we did not get to stop in San Francisco, or Fresno to see Steph. I was also planning on calling Louie and Vic since they weren't far from that region...but it didn't work out.

I just watched, literally 75 percent of our hotel empty out. I'm not sure what was going on, but there were hundreds of Latin folks here who just boarded a couple tour buses. At the moment, I'm sitting outside by the pool, alone.



Last night, I took Brad and Elliot to the Santa Monica Pier, but I think the cold weather toned down the commonly busy tourist attraction. There were only about half the normal amount of tourist merchants present and only one performer, an older asian fella who was literally a one man band.

He had a rig made of pvc pipe that had a couple of keyboards and cymbals. He had a harmonica around his neck, a guitar in hand, with drum sticks taped to the headstock..and of course a microphone for vocals. Evidently he had been on t.v. a few times in the past. It brought a smile to my face so I guess he was entertaining.

We then headed across the street to the 3rd St. Promenade which is a large strip of shops. We watched several street performers and even listened in on a Christian gentleman who had an area set up with 2 microphones, one for himself the other for whomever might want to ask a question. I didn't agree with a lot of his answers and I found him a bit abrasive, like he was looking for a fight... nevertheless, it was interesting.

There were two spanish guitar players that were pretty amazing, a solo artist from Alabama that we enjoyed, a legless beggar, dancers and a cute blonde gal who seemed to be just getting a start. I wish Phoenix had a place for all the creative at heart...

I do enjoy this city. The coastal air from the pacific has a distinct feel that's so familiar to me though I've only spent a limited amount of my life here. Most people complain about the traffic, but I love driving in LA. The PCH is one of my favorite drives...and of course there's Muholland and Beverly...

I'm not sure what our plans are for today, I think we're gonna hit up Koreatown because Tim seems to really miss the motherland.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Update

Pikes Place Market



As I type this we are back on the highway headed towards Portland, leaving Seattle with a deal of reluctance, next main destination is Los Angeles, CA.

The last 48 hours have felt like one endless day. Fast food, gas station snacks, ice cold weather, driving and more driving…fatigue...sheer joy. I had about a combined 5 hours of sleep between both days…my companions about the same, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

After leaving Boise, ID Thursday morning, we drove into Oregon. It was quite beautiful. Oregon is surrounded by giant hills blanketed by deep amounts of powdery snow… High in elevation, the air was thin, but as pure as one could imagine.



We made a stop when we realized we were traveling the Oregon Trail. Due to it being the end of December we found ourselves completely alone at the “Oregon Trail Interactive Center.” Of course, it was painfully cold. I was the only one with gloves, therefore I amused myself by throwing snowballs at Tim and Big Love, E.
Upon hitting the roads again, we saw warning signs indicating “Extremely Icy conditions,” and rows of large semi’s were pulled over to the right placing chains over their tires. On certain roads, a thin cloud of snow would float just over the blacktop…and it looked like we were driving on a cloud. We made a food and gas stop… and found that in the state of Oregon you were not allowed to pump your own gas… The poor attendants stood out there explaining this law to all the cars that pulled up.

I took over driving duties from there and after a few hours we found ourselves in Washington at about 5:00pm. Much to our dismay we hit pretty severe conditions from this point on. We tuned into a local radio station for a report, the message was concerning severe weather (snow) in the region we’d be driving right through. It was a blizzard, heavy snow fall and strong winds, to make matters worse our windshield would get a thin layer of moisture from the precipitation and then freeze over. Unfortunately, our washer fluid stopped working and so we had to put up with low visibility, did I mention it was really dark,the roads were curvy and slippery and we were in a Chrysler Sebring convertible? ☺ It was probably the scariest drive I’ve ever been a part of, although initially it was exciting after the second hour It started to wear on me.

At about 7:30 pm, we arrived in Seattle exhausted, hungry, and cold, but excited at the sight of the space needle. We checked in to a lovely hotel downtown, compliments of Tim and found ourselves with a gorgeous view of the city skyline from the 27th floor.

Dinner was Seattle’s world famous clam chowder and it was fabulous. We had it in this really neat shopping mall. From outside it doesn’t look like much, but once through the surface you find floor upon floor of shops and eateries. We did just a little walking around, mainly looking for a
Starbucks, I know, it’s Seattle home of Starbucks and there were 2 for every block, but for some reason they were all closed. Despite the cold and rain I just really loved the feel and smell of the City. We were in bed by 10pm. I can’t tell you how thankful I was for a bed.

In the morning, we headed down the street to the famous Pikes Marketplace. The vendors were just starting to set up so we walked around for a while, until we found a spot that served breakfast food. It was delicious, all you can eat Waffles for $ 6 and a chili omellete. Yum.

I finished eating first and stepped out for a moment, alone. It was a brisk morning, the air was slightly moist, cold and crisp… I loaded Amos Lee on my ipod, lit a cigarette and walked over to a flower shop and then to a newsstand (standard of larger cities). I picked up a few postcards and I watched…

I watch a restless city pass me by, I watch to trade the sting of emptiness within for the emptiness without…

And I felt something… difficult to describe with words…but profound… I think I fell in love with the City.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Halfway?

We are in Boise, Idaho and it's about 7:44 am, Thursday Morning. I've been sleeping in spurts of an hour here, a half hour there...crammed in a car with Big love and Big tim.
:) Tim has done the majority of driving so far because he got some sleep while Elliot and I did the "Vegas things" respectively. Generally, one person will drive, one person will sleep and the other will keep the driver company...well that was the idea, but it's been more like 2 sleep, 1 drive...our Life is in the pilots hands. We've had some scary moments, foggy freeways in Utah, snow and wind...but so far so good.

We've traveled over 1,000 miles in the last literal 24 hours... and I'm starting to feel it. Neck is stiff, back is stiff, and I'm really tired.

From Vegas we headed through Northern Nevada.


There were unspeakable sights in there...unspeakable :)


Utah was next. It was a beautiful drive through massive mountains scraping the clouds... and we drove through a good amount of snow... at night because of the headlights of the car it looks like you're traveling through a portal or at some sci-fi warp speed... and It was COLD!!! At one point the car thermometer read negative 7 degrees... I think Tim's right when he says I'm meant to live in Arizona all my life...or maybe So. Cal? In Salt Lake City, we pulled over at a truck stop and slept in the car. Elliot disappeared for a while and I woke up to the smell of truck fumes...we were sandwiched between to big rigs... no wonder I was so sleepy :)
Elliot had found a 24 hour diner nearby and so I joined him, while Tim slept in the parking lot. They had a full menu with steak, chicken, pasta what have you... but it was 2 a.m. and no one else in the restaurant but Me, Elliot and the server in a gas station restaurant.... I feared for my stomach and sincerely wondered if she would also be our cook... I opted for French toast because I figured it would be a safe bet.



Boise, ID



We are charging our laptops, blogging and drinking Starbucks. Idahoans are quickly populating the shop, it's business as usual...first impressions, Boise seems like a nice, quaint town... Next, it's back on the road for another 8 hours, continuing on the 84 North... Seattle here we come!





It's icy here... I nearly slipped, I'm such a tourist, look at the shoes i'm wearing...


Highlights so far, crowning Elliot "Big Love," Poker in Vegas, Snow, the scenery, Tim grabbing Big Love inappropriately, and spending all this time with my boys!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

And that was vegas...

We started pretty dam early this morning. Tim was too dam late getting up :) so we left phoenix around 7 a.m. And then we went from one dam thing to another.
Ok that was horrible. Here is Hoover Dam in all of it's glory.


Here are Timothy and E in the Chrysler Sebring.



Viva Las Vegas, and we actually listened to Elvis in the Car.



Treasure Island on the Strip.



We had lunch at Caesars Palace upon arrival. Then Elliot went for a walk around the Strip, Tim took a nap in the car and I...well, I found the Poker tables. It was very enjoyable as usual and I left with a good chunk of change :) But of course no camera's aloud in the Poker room so you'll have to take my word for it.

We took a stop at Starbucks for internet access and some coffee...


It's just before 5 pm and the sun is starting to set on the desert...and Vegas will really come to life...but we're off to Idaho I think...which we will just be passing through on our way to Seattle, WA, I'm very excited. So far we're all going on very little sleep, but having a blast. 2 hours of sleep last night and I'm still up because it's mighty difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position, anyway, more to come! Oh and check Tim's blog (freakngenius) for other updates!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The day is done...

6 a.m. day after Christmas
I'll throw some clothes on in the dark.
The smell of cold, car seat is freezing
the world is sleeping, I am not... Ben Folds

Advent

I feel strangely numb. This time last year i was a well of emotions... and for the moment I feel "comfortably numb." I never imagined I'd ever have a chance to reference Pink Floyd in any of my blogs :)

It's quiet, and officially Christmas now. Just about half past 1 a.m. and exactly how one would imagine this time of this particular day to be... completely serene...cold, frozen...calm. And yet since i haven't laid my head down on my pillow yet, I'm convinced that it still remains the eve of...

I've been having difficult dreams the last few days so I sort of don't want to sleep... though my eyes grow heavier by the moment i'm fighting it with all I have.

It still doesn't feel like Christmas...everyone I have talked to today and even late this evening can relate. This year has been quite interesting to say the least...and I wonder if there's been just that much change, all around.

I'm not sure what it is I want to feel...what i'm waiting for, what i'm missing... If I did, perhaps I could do something to evoke this apparently mysterious sentiment...or at least something closely resembling it...but I really don't know. I know that I feel empty and I feel quite ambivalent about feeling empty. I know that I miss Christmas last year and that it just couldn't be more different today...

If I'm honest, it feels like just another day, just another late evening...but that just can't be right. Selah.

Over two millenia ago, God came to us in the form of a vulnerable Child, because we, left to ourselves had made such a great mess of everything. He came to us in a way that we might relate to Him...because we could not reach Him otherwise. He came to us. He came to us...

And so, despite my disappointments about how different and hollow this Christmas feels to me... I am confronted by this powerful truth...

He came to us...

"Unto us a Son is given, unto us a child is born."

Monday, December 24, 2007

Xmas Eve

It's Christmas eve, day... I must be one of the few people working today... well, I saw the garbage truck this morning in our neighborhood... and then there was the Fed EX guy I ran into in the store parking lot. I asked him how he was doing and he asked me the same...we both smiled with a level of understanding since we're at work when much of the country is not... :) The poor mall people are still working...and of course our soldiers both domestic and overseas... our public servants, like police officers and firefighters, paramedics... and gas station clerks...oh here comes mr. mailman too. So here's to all the people hard at work during the holidays.

I don't really feel "Christmasy" this year. Though I've been in Arizona for over a decade now, it has always struck me as strange to see blue skies, green plants and people wearing short sleeves during this time of year. Nevertheless, it's a beautiful morning... and I'm in good spirits. I've been having some great mornings... the afternoons and evenings are a different story, but the mornings I've been looking forward to :)

Tim (the best friend) is here from Korea, so i've been spending every waking moment with him since he got in on Friday. As evidenced in my blogs this year, I've been feeling more and more estranged here in my home of over a decade... with Tim here it feels a little more like familiar.

So on Wednesday morning, Elliot, Tim and I will begin our journey... Roadtrippin'!
We'll begin with a 5 hour drive to Las Vegas! We'll probably have lunch and spend a few hours at the poker tables (no limit holdem' of course). Then we'll be off, up to the North, seeing more of Nevada than I ever have, through Idaho (i've never been)to our second destination about 18 hours later: Seattle, Washington. The following day we'll head down the Golden state, to Fresno to meet Steph the artist/flight attendant, oh happy day. Then to Frisco maybe for clam chowder in a sourdough breadbowl and beer along fishermans warf? Then we'll drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to the City of Angeles. At LAX we'll meet Bradley. We'll spend a couple days there, including New years eve and then we'll make the 6 hour trek back home. I know, it's quite ambitious to travel 4,000 miles in a week... but we are ambitious people :)

I'm really going to make an effort to blog along the way.

I miss certain people today... I was telling Tim the other day that even knowing God will see us through the toughest valleys of our life, that He has a plan and all still doesn't keep us from sincerely missing those lost along the way. My Christmas won't be complete...it just won't.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to you all...or more accurately: joyous Advent!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Blah, blah, blog

Usually I write with a degree of intention. Most often, with a heaviness in my heart or several specific thoughts in my head, which I feel the need to ponder further; writing provides a medium... this evening, I find myself writing because it serves as a form of company. I know it sound a bit odd, perhaps even a bit sad and I don't expect anyone to relate to this...but it is a true description of how i feel at the moment. So I can't promise much of a read since I feel anything, but grounded by purpose...in fact, something as light as this evenings chilly breeze could probably direct and redirect the substance of this blog...

I feel sort of like a zombie these days. A headless zombie if those should exist. Well, i am talking about zombies afterall...so there aren't really any "rules" :) So i'm a headless one, riding a unicorn, hunting fire breathing dragons... with a small company of elves...? sure why not.

Zombie...? what do i mean by that? Well, I'm not doing anything with any amount of passion. I work, keep myself entertained until bed time, and then work again. The small group and younglife are both things that I feel are important and significant, but passionate about it, I dunno. I am doing the best I can with the group... I care about the guys and have every desire to be diligent in this area... but am I passionate about it? not so sure. It doesn't excite me like rock n' roll... but nothing does.

At the same time, I feel pretty much stuck here for the moment. I've been in a holding pattern for months... waiting to hear from God... impatient, most of the time...but not really hearing anything even resembling an answer about where I should be headed... it's frustrating to say the least... and somehow I feel more exhausted than I ever have felt, in my entire life...(of course there have been other factors). Nevertheless, it seems as though for the moment, for the season, I may have to just wait...in vocational stagnation... but sometimes "waiting" feels so daunting a task. Ok, actually it's most often.

The thing is, I pretty much suck at it. That's why I appreciate things like the microwave and instant coffee so much, toaster strudles...Granted, we're an entire generation raised on such luxuries...(little did we know they could hurt us). To add insult to injury I'm definitely on the passionate side of human personalities...so i'm a ball of impatience at times. But i wait...

I just finished talking to Tim online... and through nothing he said directly, I thought about how many people i've met over the years. Perhaps thousands? And how sad it is that the vast majority of them are entirely insignificant (pragmatically speaking) to me (and I to them) in terms of our respective lives, today. For one reason or another, a relationship wasn't born...nurtured or built... and our lives just moved right along...

To take this further, we could look to friendships...many have come, many have gone...over the years, and this will continue to occur. I used to really hate the idea of certain friendships being very temporary... i mean i know: bigger picture, all friendships are...(due to death and sin),but what I mean is there are people that enter our lives and provide a function for a short time...and then for whatever reason... they are gone...relationships change...

It's a tragedy of life i think... because it speaks of how everything is so very fleeting... and I don't use the word "tragedy" lightly.

And yet, those relatively short moments can make an eternity of a difference...we can play extraordinary roles in another persons life even if for only a fragment of time... and perhaps the impact can be as significant in the grand scheme of things, as some lifelong friendships. And I suppose that's the poetry of it.

Now I don't think a touch of beauty redeems an intrinsically sad reality...not entirely or even close.... no more than a drop of red ink would turn a tub of water completely ruby... but I guess it would blend into the colorless fluid and create a faint pink...so as to ease the pain just a little.

I will always struggle with this because I'm extremely relational by nature...I want to keep every one of my friendships and continue to build on those relationships...but I guess I'm learning or beginning to accept certain realities...at least while we're here on earth...

methinks heaven will be vastly different with regards to relationships... I truly hope so.

I'm strangely tired, so I guess I'll leave it at that...I promise I'll write with more of a point tomorrow. :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

7 guys, 3 gals and baked goods under 1 roof.

The small group met last night at Louie and Vic's house. I'm thankful they've opened up their home to a group of noisy guys... Though I haven't spent an extensive amount of time there, the house just has a feeling of "home" to me... It's warm and comfortable.

I was preparing an outline for our discussion up until the very last minute, rushing to leave work, while talking on the phone with Tim. My hands were more than full and I was trying to close shop, while carrying my laptop bag and the remnants of the day's lunch; my small cell phone precariously fixed between my shoulder and my head...

I was exhausted because I stayed out too late the night before after the "progressive dinner" talking to Elliot in front of his house, it's good to have him home.

Truth be told, I really didn't want to meet with the group last night...I was emotionally drained and feeling pretty cynical...and just tired.
In the words of Kerouac:
"I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion..."


I made it just in time to meet up with one of the guys before the rest of the group had arrived... he asked if we could talk and shared with me some very heavy things...I mostly just listened... The older I get, the more I listen and the less I speak - I should say the less I feel the need to say something for the sake of saying something... I think before, due to my insecurities, I always felt a need to say something profound...you know so that I would prove myself as capable or knowledgeable; otherwise I thought I needed to say something to demonstrate to the other person that I was in fact interested... but I'm finding it shows, if sincere, albeit in non verbal ways. I'm still insecure though...just dealing with it or trying to deal with it very differently now.

After he spoke...I asked him several questions that he pondered for sometime. I witnessed the inner struggle...as we sat out in the patio...in the cold. Being critically honest with yourself is never an easy exercise...not necessarily because we don't want to be ...but we've also learned a million different ways to lie to ourselves...and we have to navigate through that maze...

there were moments of long pauses...

I could hear people arriving...the house was filling up...laughter could be heard at a distance through the sliding glass doors that separated us, but I decided not to turn around, not even for a glance... I think I needed to be right there in our conversation, and only there. I hope I was of some help to him, but I'm not sure.

To my pleasant suprise, Tweed and Wash were over helping Vic bake cookies and zucchini nut bread. I am always suprised at just how easily women change the dynamic of everything... I mean even if it's completely unbeknownst to them and entirely unintentional... they bring a gentleness, a unique sort of calm and soft warmth that's very different from what guys have to offer... granted, these three gals are exceptional people.

Due to the activity in the kitchen, Louie threw a couple logs of wood into their fire pit and we sat outside with mugs of coffee and blankets. The discussion went well. I think the guys are starting to get more comfortable with one another, which means more individual involvement, more sharing.

The discussion centered around John Eldredige's idea that Desire is central to who we are. That we lose by supressing our desire and how the aftermath of that actually destroys us. There is a war waging within our selves, because we fight to kill off the very thing that makes us human writes, Eldredge.

We also talked about diciphering good, legitimate desire from illegitimate. We talked about what makes a good desire, good and a bad, bad... we also talked about intrinsically good desires, gone bad... It naturally turned to a talk of romantic relationships... we concluded of course, that God must be our portion, that all else could not be relied on...could not be the source of our hope...because it would all fail us...or fall away, inevitably.

I challenged the guys to consider then, what this should look like in practical terms. What does it tangibly look like in your day to day if God is your focus, the center of your life? I asked this because within the body of Christ we always hear the statement, "make God your center," it's almost a cliche, but we often don't know what it really means...it's abstract and if we don't evaluate it, we'll just associate it with a feeling, which is never a good idea.

The conversation that emerged was centered around the concept of Worship, with our entire lives. A few of the guys presented the idea of allowing God to truly exercise authority, the final say in all parts of our lives and I fully agreed.

Hoping to dig a little deeper, I presented the idea that because we exist in a finite reality, time was the ever precious commodity... Therefore, we need to closely evaluate where all our time was being spent because it would speak volumes regarding our actual focus in life. It's like money in that regard, of course they say: "time is money." We spend both on that which we treasure... as Jesus said: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." I think I spend a good amount of my time and $$$ on keeping my stomach full (literally and figuratively), trying to impress others by making myself look a certain way, and well, keeping myself entertained... it's sort of the American way. Of course I give of my time and money... but such a small percentage, in reality. I think I can safely say, God is far from being the center of my life... I am the center.

Vanauken, in his book A Severe Mercy, states that God was like a beautiful poem he would read once in a while to make him feel a certain something... but a true, real relationship it was not. I feel that way at times... and I'm realizing this whole "relationship with God" concept is something I'm still only beginning to unravel after all these years...

Anyway, It thrills me to see everyone within the group getting along. We stuck around afterwards, playing video games and shooting the breeze; it seemed everyone had a good time. For some, this is the only community they are truly a part of...

I talked to Tim on the way home and I could hardly keep my eyes open... I was afraid to go home... afraid of being met only by my lonliness. It was hard to get up this morning... but I'm here... taking each day as it comes and trying to find God in and through it all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Letting go.

She opened herself up to me after much resistance... she hurt me quite often...and I kept trying to change her. I was critical at times, I regret that so deeply... she remained guarded... through and through.

To break up with me, she tried on numerous occassions, said it would never work... I guess she knew better than I at the time...but I always talked her out of it... I knew all the right things to say. I was addicted to her...and her to me.
I just couldn't let go.

Amazing doesn't begin to describe her.

She hurt me more than anybody ever has. I hurt her more than I had earned the right to. We couldn't let each other go...even though we had decided it was for the best... we clung to each other... against all reason... it felt so good to hold her in my arms, her head nestled in my neck... we'd talk for hours... she was beautiful.

I didn't love her baby like she wanted me to...I couldn't commit, because I was so scared, so lost... and confused... I just knew they deserved so much more than me, so much more than my uncertainty. I hated myself for that...

I thought one day I might learn to... but couldn't ask her to wait around for maybe. I always knew...they deserved more... I was waiting...hoping I could become so much more. I miss the pair... more than I had ever imagined... reminders of what I lost come to me all too often.

She didn't call anymore... and then suddenly she said, we couldn't be friends... she'd moved on... and I should as well, but she refused to talk to me... only text messages. It has been sometime since I've heard her voice.

I couldn't breathe that day... and though time has past, at moments I still feel that way. I'm not sure of who she's become... but it seems the warmth of her heart has grown calloused and grey... and to some extent, I have myself to blame. A Redeemer we both need in a desperate way.

You see, last night she broke me again... armed with harsh words, some horrible things to say... though they weren't spoken aloud, they echoed in my head...i tossed and i turned trying to make sense of it all...

it's time to let go.

I don't know when we were broken...

two young lovers walking hand in hand,
'round the man made lake
at our favorite coffee plant.
I counted the stars to give them to you
you smiled in the night and faded the moon.
but nothing it seems remains anymore
nothing of us, nothing i fear...

but with effort I still remember, my dear...
our love was once true and our hearts were so near.
and nothing in life will take that away,
not distance, nor time nor your searing words yesterday...

And when years have long gone...
and only strangers, we've become...
a simple truth will always remain:

We were at one time...important to one another.

To this I'll cling when all memories i've lost
and remember your laughter, when the days are long...


always praying for you... and letting go.

A Christmas Song

Excerpts from River by Joni Mitchell

It's coming on Christmas, they're cutting down trees.
they're putting up reindeer, singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river, I could skate away on.

But it don't snow here, it stays pretty green
I'm gonna make a lot of money
and then I'm gonna quit this crazy scene,
Oh I wish I had a river, I could skate away on.

I wish I had a river so long, I'd teach my feet to fly...
I wish I had a river I could skate away on.

I made my baby cry.

I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I gone and lost the best baby that I ever had.
I wish I had a river, I could skate away on
Oh, I wish I had a river so long
I'd teach my feet to fly.

I made my baby say goodbye...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mix it up

I most often share only my thoughts and rarely the events...I often wonder if my blog is a pretty dull place of emotional weighty-ness, so today I'm going to share about my weekend, not that it was out of ordinary or anything...but just in the name of variety... As with most of my weekends, it zoomed by. (zoom, zoom). I can't help, but think of Mazda anytime I hear or read the word "zoom" or any tense of it. :)

Friday night I stayed out a bit late, but all in good fun. I arrived at my friend Josh's house after work. Josh lives with his girlfriend Lauren in Phoenix. They are both Jewish and were giving each other Hanukkah gifts, for the 4th night of the celebration. That was neat to watch, Lauren gave Josh a set of poker chips, and a poker table (which I was also thankful to her for) and Josh got Lauren (and himself) 2 tickets to the next Suns game, with press passes for the two of them, so that she might meet some of the players. They lit candles together and I very much enjoyed being a fly on the wall. Then we watched the Suns game.

They are both huge basketball fans, in fact Josh was once a Suns ball boy.

Everybody around these parts seems obsessed with the Suns lately. Now I do enjoy a good College football game once in a while, but I could also live without it.
I don't watch ESPN for highlights, ever. I don't particularly like talking about what happened to this player, or who's contract is up or what team has the winningest record... who should be traded, who should be the MVP this season...I don't ever have to know the score to any game at anytime, I've never had such figures texted to my phone... but most of my male friends and increasingly more female friends do...and it seems this way more and more.



I don't mind that they love it at all... in fact I often end up watching a game and enjoying it in the name of being a good sport...as more often than not anytime my boys and I get together it's inevitable...but I just don't seem to like it as much as everybody else... I guess I'm missing something?

When I was a kid, I did enjoy it a bit more. But nowadays... I just view it as a bunch of grown men, playing a game. And these grown men on occasion curse, cheat, get angry and emotional and even fight over this game...what is more, other grown adults, thousands of them...pay money to watch all this go on...

they're not playing...which is what makes it that much more bizarre to me. they are in no way involved with what happens on the field, court or ice... and yet they wear identical uniforms, hats and hoop and holler as if they were out there themselves...and as if it were a matter of life and death, some of them. But they are merely spectators, nothing more. Sometimes these spectators even curse, yell, lose their heads and in extreme cases fight themselves... but again it's all just a game...that they are merely watching unfold.

All this to say, that I just don't get it, it's completely lost on me...but to each his/her own.

I do know people want to feel a part of something...something significant... something bigger than themselves to identify with...which is why people often relate to the team closest to their hometown... or some to the "best" most winningest team or player.


Anyway, post suns game, I actually learned to play the Dreidel that night, which is like the Jewish equivalent of rolling dice. Josh kept winning, so I joked that he was spinning the thing like Jesus would. With all this tradition around me, (they also had gelt and several choice Hanukkah foods) I couldn't help, but consider how religious tradition is in and of itself far from being a real worldview, but many really don't understand a distinction exists. What I mean is my friends are Jewish in so far as they recognize all the holidays and understand much of the traditions... but know or believe very little about the worldview, as well, a worldview. It doesn't seem to truly work it's way into their lives...with regards to their day to day living and that pretty much sums up our culture. Religion, philosophy or a worldview is often just a small portion of a person's identity in post modern culture. Even though so contrary to what's implicitly suggested in the very term, worldview.

Anyway, I'm rambling on my thoughts again...

When the other guys arrived, Lauren left to hang out with the ladies...and we started our Texas Hold em' game... armed with Josh's New Poker chips (Purple and Orange; Phoenix Suns colours) and his new green felt table- with built in cup holders, great for ice cold beer :)

We talked our usual nonsense, making fun of one another at every possible point.
We laughed a great deal, had Burger King, got into some serious conversations regarding relationships, our futures, careers and the like... stepped outside and enjoyed the rain...and played until our eyes could hardly stay open. It had been a while since I got home at 3 am... but I really enjoyed it... Of course that meant saturday would be quite difficult...as my body doesn't seem to recover as quickly as it used to.

Saturday was dedicated to recording my other friend Josh (yeah I have a few Joshuas in my life). Cliff my old bandmate came over as well... following our session we had dinner... but after that I stayed in, feeling pretty exhausted.

Sunday was church, I slept in and made it to a later service... I sat next to a family who had 2 daughters. One of whom was probably about 6 or 7... she was adorable and kept starting at me... she made me smile...I must be getting old... it also made me really sad too... because I thought of Andrea and Maddie...

Following church I sat at a Starbucks that I hadn't been to in a long time... I was supposed to meet with one of the guys in my small group. He was quite late so I sat by myself for a while... I hadn't brought with me any books, so I found a corner of the cafe and sat observing people. Upon his arrival my small group friend and I talked a great deal about our longing and need for community... I'm not at liberty to talk about what he's been through...but his childhood looked vastly different from mine, or from most others. Interestingly enough though, his longings are similar to those of mine and everybody elses. We all feel so disconnected...so lost... we all just want to feel loved...and less alone.

Talking with my new friend really made me realize how much we as Christians really suck sometimes at being a church... We only prance around with the trappings of community... we think because a bunch of people are getting together once a week to sing songs and have a good time or because there are social events lining calendars, that we are a Christian community...but we forget the reaching out part... we don't really stop to get to know one another... a stranger...the outsiders, those who should most be reached out to. We don't do it like Jesus would. Jesus wasn't just trying to have a good time with his friends...he was always reaching out. I am very much guilty of this. People just want to be accepted and loved, invited to the movies, talked to, listend to, authentically cared about and I'm worried about how this person might not be my favorite person to talk to, or they're "weird" or not fun to be around... as if my having a good time is the most important thing...

I was grateful for the conversation...and I hope he learned half as much as I did. Afterwards, I headed over to Brad's and we hung out watching Miami Ink and talking about our next tattoos and how I'd like to marry a tattoo artist...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Rain is the rhythm of my song for you.

I'm at my desk after having just propped open the front door; it started to sprinkle and I wanted to feel somehow closer to the rain (without having to get wet).

Storm clouds rolled in late last night... It's mostly pale and grey outside...a brisk morning. A beautiful storm.

On rare ocassion the sun pokes through the thick blanket of dust and moisture leaving a momentary beam of gold, it shimmers, but for a second, bringing to life the dull sidewalk...and though a heavenly sight, it couldn't appear more out of place on a day as this.

I'm flooded by feelings... a vast array of them... but not one, too intensley... I have not the words...

Motionless like a stone.
Watching clouds drift along.
Gently, slowly, East to West
every soul, encircling...

With eyes closed,
every breathe on hold
To feel the world revolve.
Spinning, turning, carelessly
moving along in apathy.

Time: the cars that pass me by.

Patiently I wait for rain,
to soak the streets
and wash away the pain...

Soggy trees will dip
burdened with ladened leaves,
and oily puddles will fade
like weathered dreams.

As the dry storm clouds
after giving away
will quietly float on...
every season must change.

Like you and I
and what we've become.

The room is freezing now...but I'm burning up inside.

I wrote a song for you, there's nothing left for me to do.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I'm still afraid of hope...

Dreams, by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.


"To desire is to open our hearts to the possibility of pain; to shut down our hearts is to die altogether."
-John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire


and yet from my soul is an ever flowing well of desire...a spring of dreams.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ebay

This is pretty funny... I can't say I read it all, but the idea behind the whole situation made me laugh. And look at the bids! People are truly insane... although i think i'd take these over a grilled cheese sandwich with Jesus' face on it. :)

Check it out

just in case the hyperlink doesn't work:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130144061675

Small Group

So last Thursday, my small group met at Borders on 75th Ave and Bell. It was our first official meeting, it was brisk out, but we opted to meet outside, huddled around two round, aluminum tables pressed together, the chairs were terribly uncomfortable also having been created out of the light pliable metal. We spent several minutes shooting the breeze and introducing ourselves. Some shared a great deal, others not so much...but everyone showed up, which is a good sign.

I've never done anything like this, nor have I ever even been a part of a small group myself, so I really don't know what I'm doing :).

Nevertheless, we will be exploring a book together as one of our main tasks. I took the liberty of recommending two books to choose from.

The Journey of Desire, Eldredge (of course) and Searching for God Knows What, which I've spent some time talking about in recent blogs.

I copied 3 quotes from each book onto a single sheet of paper and had everyone spend a few moments reading through them. Then as a group, we discussed which book we wanted to work through in the coming months.

Earlier that day, as I was searching for "good" excerpts, I found it was quite easy with Donald Miller's book, and not so much with Elderedge... and by "good" excerpts I mean short paragraphs that captured the writing style as well as some of the main ideas of each writer, but in a concise and accurate manner... Both authors are great and either book has so much to offer... but they are essentially, so very different.

Miller is afforded more freedom I think, and his off beat humour is completely welcomed within the context of his topics, which I assumed would make his book more accessible to a group of college aged guys. While, Eldredge sets out to discuss a "weightier" concept if you will, namely of loss and disappointment. Miller weaves in and out of several ideas with ease and a bit more generality... while Eldredge is much more focused on one major theme, and so consequently, finding shorter quotes that might sum up Eldredge's core idea proved to be a challenge...interestingly enough, The Journey of Desire, is really best represented by a Journey... from cover to cover, the ideas are all deeply interconnected and each principle gradually leading to the next. For some reason I keep picturing a slinky, walking down a case of stairs, influenced by gravity, but also requiring each previous step to get to the next one...

Anyway, I was convinced that the guys would go with the former, but not because it was necessarily a better book, but based on my inability to represent each book with all fairness. To my suprise though, most everybody expressed more interest in Eldredge's, The Journey of Desire. Of course being a group of guys, we came to the decision in a matter of minutes :)

Since I realized we weren't going to be working through Miller's book, I read several pages of Searching For..., to the group. Yes, I read to a group of grown men, in public. We spent some time discussing some of the significant ideas presented by Miller and I got a glimpse of where each person was in terms of their respective journey's, but just a glimpse. Human dynamics are so interesting, complicated and yet beautiful.

Much to my satisifaction, after all was said and done, we stuck around for sometime, just hanging out, which I believe will prove to be an integral part of what we're trying to do with this group. I observed a mixture of excitement, uncertainty, deep wounds and paper cuts, questions, answers, struggles, flaws, strengths, hopes and dreams and hopelessness...but from everyone, a real longing that only Christ alone can fill...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Meatloaf Monday

Quiet day at the store. I did some reading and then went across to street to Safeway for a minute to pick up lunch. I stood in line at the express check out (9 items or less) with the following:

1 Safeway brand meatloaf (so bad, but so good)
1 Loaf of Bread (wheat to make myself feel better about the meatloaf)
1/2 lbs of Deviled egg, potato salad (pure yummy)
1 bag of Cesear Salad (fiber)
1 Bottle of Mayonnaise (squeezable containter because it makes life so much easier)

I have to report it was pretty delicious. This particular meal against the cold afternoon made me think a bit about December of last year. Obviously things have changed so dramatically since then...

We were still able to employ Mr. Bill then and we had a great deal of fun together. One day, Bill ran off to get us lunch... He returned with a smirk on his face and several bags bearing the Safeway logo. With the enthusiasm of a 7 year old on Christmas morning, he pulled out the above items, plus a case of what he called "DP" (dr. pepper). It was the first time I had ever had a "meatloaf sandwich," but not the last. We made it a tradition...from then on out... in celebration of when business was rampant...or as a means of drowning our sorrows during the slow months... we consumed quite a bit of this grocery store delicacy. I haven't had any of course for several months, that is until today... I miss Bill.

The weekend came and went in a flash, I spent most of it working... A friend of mine, a singer/songwriter wanted to do some recordings, so I'm helping him out.

It's strange to find myself in a sort of mentorship role... He had so many questions about everything...and I recall a time when I was where he currently is. There's much I miss about those days... when I was interning at Dream Catcher Recording in Mesa... Everything seemed so overwhelming at the time and I wondered how I would ever learn the ins and outs of recording music. I was 19 when I started that...

Tim and I were just talking about how the last few years have been such a blur...

I spent sometime looking through job classifieds today. Specifically within the music industry and entertainment industry. There are some internship programs I might be interested in, of course they are in Hollywood or New York... and I have to be enrolled in school... so I'll have to consider that. I also spent some time looking at the Berklee School of Music, in Boston. They have a unique program for contemporary music with degrees in music business, songwriting/composition, publishing, performance and much much more... but it's all geared towards contemp styles like Jazz, Pop and Rock... they have a neat Alumni list.

Somedays I'm perfectly fine with where I'm at... with regards to not knowing what I'm supposed to do with my life, in specific terms. But on days as these, I get pretty anxious... Vanauken, In A Severe Mercy talks about time. About how we can't escape the reality of it. How we carry this constant pressure of the clock ticking away... and I think that provides some of my anxiety... reality is, i'm not 19 anymore...though I wish I were :) So I do feel like I need to figure some things out, sooner than later... but of course that's what I'd very much like... so for now I wait.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Winter night

The rain was so beautiful. The cold even more so... It feels like winter now, fully, but winter in a distant place.

I stepped outside this evening to have a smoke... and the clouds had cleared a substantial path up above... and I could see stars and a reddish planet in the deep blue heavens.
Both belt and Warrior were enormous, stretching across the darkly skies... leaving but a small corner for a shimmering ladle and a cluster of stray diamonds...

but as hard as i looked I couldn't find Cassiopeia...not without you here to point her out for me... I sat until i could no longer feel my finger tips... i waited because i've lost my way...