About Me

Phoenix, AZ, United States

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Today was one of those days I wish that I just could have stayed in bed and slept away... I mean I've had rough days before, but rarely if ever do I feel this way. Alas, it's almost over...and I feel pretty crappy.

you know what though... I think i'm going to thank God now so as not to waste a complete 24 hours... Lord, thank you. Thank you for my job, for always providing for me, even on bad days. Thank you for my imperfect family, my health, my sanity and my daily bread. Thank you for your grace, forgiveness and salvation. Thank you for your Son. Thank you for music, for the air that fills my lungs, for the mountains, the eve and the morning... Thank you that I'll find you when I wake tomorrow...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Contemplations, Rainy Sunday

Another Sunday afternoon, another weekend that seemed to have raced by... like a vapor, a flash of lightning, something so quick to leave that I have to question whether I really witnessed it. It's raining again, I'm sitting outside underneath a patio cover and listening to the storm pitter pattering onto the pavement, into the pool, upon rooftops; it soaks the city. Beautiful is the only word that comes to mind...and I know I tend to use it quite often, but this world is fo full of beautiful sights and moments that deserve to bear a similar label...

I find myself closing my eyes between sentences to enjoy the smell, the tickles to my ear drums... the feel of my once warm skin as it numbs against the cold wintry air... and though I feel a sorrow in my soul, an unsettling ache, I can't help but surrender to this very moment, a moment too beautiful to pass...

I grab the daily news, it's a rainy afternoon, I'll read the black and white till the words fade on...

I read an article in this morning's paper about a lady, a mother of 3 who had her second bought of cancer. The article begins with the fact that she was given about 6 months to live. Chemotherapy would only prolong her life to about a year, so she decided to try and live out what few days she had left without the ill affects of that type of radiation. This mother and wife was spending each day attempting to instill precious lessons into her children, something she thought she would have decades more to do... for just like you and I, she imagined to live a "long" life. The article follows her spending time with her family and friends, camping, traveling and preparing her husband as best as she can to take over both parenting roles...the article ended with her passing and a cold, sobering punctuation mark. A period never felt so final to me in all the literature I've read.

These are the stories that deserve more than a read. They beg of us to stop and think, to ponder, to slow down and sit outside on a rainy Sunday afternoon, to ask what this life is really all about, to ask "why?" I think I wanted to talk to someone about this, the thoughts that resulted, but feared it might be lost, these ideas, this enormous story... on most of my companions...

I wonder what it is that God has been trying to communicate to me through the course of this period of my life? I wonder what God has been trying to tell me the few years that I have journeyed through thus far. I wonder what God is trying to speak through the mountains, the stars and the changing seasons? God forbid, I miss his precious "words." Most times I feel that He speaks a different language all together, or I do... So I go about my life, my day, my plans... and perhaps He's been trying to communicate with me...but in a language I can't or won't accept. Or is it Truth that I struggle to accept, have I made up mind as to what I want to hear? Is there no room for Him? Do I truly long to follow Him?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rain, Scrillas and Politics

It was yesterday, about 4 pm in the afternoon that I sat outside for a few minutes and watched the sky move around me. I wouldn't say it was windy out, but a lethargic breeze appeared to be gathering storm clouds from around the valley; slow was the activity and steady as if the draft were pacing itself for a long night of work...

Just before I headed back inside I remember thinking to myself, at this rate it probably won't rain till tomorrow...and here we are in the tomorrow of yesterday (a very complicated way of saying today)and it's raining, well sort of. Raining for the valley at least, but it's quite lovely... and I look forward to the clean air that will result.

So I'll go down to the sea and breathe the air, take back your piece of me..."

I am looking forward to the weekend only because I'm really worn out from work this week. Things have been picking up, but sales have been slow, this translates to business without the excitement of scrillas in my pocket. Yeah, I said "scrillas" funniest colloquialism ever? quite possibly.

Politics. During my commute to work this morning I was thinking about my disinterest in politics as of late. Now, I hold the strong conviction that legislation is of vital importance, our government directly affects our lives and we have this unique amount of input in choosing our policy makers and sometimes the very policies themselves...and it all changes our lives, whether short term, long term, in direct or indirect ways.

But it's also become this big, dramatic game and I have to wonder if there's something wrong with that. Elections are like the Superbowl; we rally behind our team, buy bumper stickers, t-shirts, and buttons and we get together to celebrate victory or mourn the loss of our side, on the big game night(s). It easily becomes this huge "us vs. them" fiasco, but in the most childish sort of way. I was sucked into this hoopla the year our current President was re elected, i had the signs and stickers and we even tried to crash the "other sides" party at one point...and now I look back and think it was all kind of silly and that it felt like it was all of a sudden ok to be mean to another person because they didn't agree with my value system.

I'm not saying there's anything intrinsically wrong with celebrations, or rallying for a candidate or even bumper stickers, I'm just saying electing our government officials is heavy stuff and yet it all comes together like a competitive sporting event (which mind you we watch for entertainment) and maybe it shouldn't. Maybe we lose sight of the weightiness of everything and maybe we can easily get caught up in the game and the idea of winning...maybe most of the debates sound to me like chickens squawking and I've just grown disinterested in how every candidate talks about how great they will be for the future of our country...I think the whole thing just makes me really, tired.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


It's seems like utter madness, the thousands of thoughts one can continually carry in the reservoir of the mind. Of course, many of the thoughts are, but passing ideas of no real consequence. What should I eat for lunch today? Why did God create dinosaurs? Why would anyone find turquoise jewelry aesthetically pleasing? I wonder how many miles I have driven in my lifetime? These are hardly, life bearing considerations...

And then you have thoughts that may actually be worth their weight in neural activity.

I have been reading quite a bit this season, consequently, I feel almost inundated by ideas. Some are formulating into questions, while others into plausible answers to previous questions... some are just abstractions that I hope may one day develop into more. They whirl inside my head... but of course, I'm not constantly pondering them... I can't.

During my short academic career, I took a Social Psyc. course under a charming and intelligent Harvard grad, Dr. Short. I recall one of our discussions being about biases...and how they may actually develop out of necessity. Our brains are stingy processors because they have to be, otherwise we would be left utterly overwhelmed by the amount of stimuli encountering us constantly. Our minds will categorize, compartmentalize as a means of simply coping.

So I find I am no scientific phenomenon... I go about my day, work, talk on the phone, have dinner with friends, watch films and the ideas lay dormant for a time... but I know they are there waiting for an opportune or inopportune moment to jump out... I don't know what it is about ideas, but I always feel a need to resolve them... like a task to carry out... this may be a flaw, I fully recognize. I need to learn to get outside of my head more, I really do, for life is to be lived in reality.

Anyway, here they are, a few of them with little organization so as to attempt and paint a fair picture of the chaos. I know this entry looks long...but bear with me chief, it'll be fun (maybe not).

I have been entertaining the idea of relocating to Seattle. I'm trying to figure out if I'm running from anything or anyone, even if it be Monotony. And if this is the case, would that be wrong? I wonder what it is I hope to find elsewhere that I have not found here?

Chip Ingram suggests that God has been "connecting the dots" of our calling throughout our entire lives, so we might evaluate the course of our lives up to this point, you know, glance at the rear view mirror at the joys and struggles and everything in between, for insight. The idea is to consider how our unique circumstances might have shaped us for a specific call...

I've been thinking about how many/few people will actually make it in the end, you know to be with God. Jesus' language regarding salvation and the kingdom make it sound pretty rare at times... plus there's all that language about "persevering to the end." I mean I know grace is a gift, but look at the gospels and the epistles and consider what the cross when truly accepted should look like, carried out. Why are we told to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling?"

Don Miller in Through the Painted Desert," suggest we need to ask the "Why" questions, that we get stuck asking "How" questions. "How do I get a job, a spouse, house etc..." I have been thinking about the "Why" to all of my desires. I want to get married someday, but why? If you can answer this without thought, there is likely a problem. I want to find my "good work"...but why? What are the deepest reasons for the things we do and pursue? What are the profound reasons to it all?

I read this article recently in the Arizona Republic, regarding the cost of gold and how it has gone up to about 900 dollars an ounce! This has prompted people and companies to consider prospecting for Gold again... I even looked into buying a panning kit, to go up to Prescott on weekends...and dig around in the moving bodies of water there, might be fun.

I have these images, suggested by my grade school teachers who painted a beautiful moment of early American history in my mind. I envision droves of working class people migrating form state to state, hoping to improve their social status overnight. A country full of optimists, fueled by distant stories of success, the frenzied search for a soft, shimmering metal...found within the earth, in streams and beneath rocks...dreams of fortune filling the air... what a beautifully desperate time. *Note the Chinese guys who were probably railroad workers, that could have been me sporting such a fabulous hair do.

I received a very welcomed package yesterday, it was one of the books I ordered on half.com, titled "Finding God at Harvard." I stayed up last night and made it through the Prologue, Editor's notes and the first lengthy, but non-laborious chapter.
It's a neat collection of writings from a number of Harvard students and professors who are followers of Christ. Each has a unique story of how they encountered or re-encountered Christ in their studies at the world renowned campus.

Harvard stands as one of the oldest universities in our country established in 1636 and the prestigious academic reputation goes without saying. It's foundations are deeply rooted in the pursuit of truth, namely truth in the person of Christ. Harvard had 3 early mottoes, "Veritas (Truth), In Christi Gloriam (To the glory of Christ) and Christo et Eclessia (For Christ and the Church). As I read through some of the personal accounts of students and professors I witnessed amazing stories of God as not only the pursued, but as the pursuer. It brought me an amount of optimism that perhaps even those that I have known in the past, whom have "fallen away" are not entirely lost, that God truly has an agenda, He sits not passively, but actively seeks people, divinely weaving lives together, suggesting ideas at timely moments, through specific circumstances or what have you...that His glory may be revealed.

Prompted by a podcast by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, I read through the book of Philipians the other day and then I proceded to 2 Timothy. The former letter was penned by the apostle Paul in a prison cell...There is longing in his voice, loneliness and disappointment and yet he encourages the church to rejoice again and again. In the latter epistle, Paul writes to Timothy knowing that his time on this earth is quickly coming to an end... one of his most famous lines find it's home in this letter: "I have fought the good fight, I have run the race..."

Paul's writings have made me really consider what it means to be a servant of God. I think it's a difficult concept for any American or western believer, especially in our time. Life is so comfortable and rarely, if ever do we actually suffer for Christ's sake. But the bible is replete with stories of people like you and I who had only committed their lives to carry out God's work. They gave up their own agendas and just wanted to help other people find the way and yet they suffered gravely for it. I suffer mostly because I make poor decisions, because I'm selfish and try to remain autonomous, I try to do it my way and pay the consequences...

Interestingly, Paul refers to his troubles as sharing in Christ's suffering...He actually saw beauty in it, like it was something of great honor. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to get whipped, stoned, shipwrecked or incarcerated, but I'm wondering why there is such a stark contrast in my life and the lives of the apostles, disciples and the life of my savior.

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:25)

I think that if Children are a gift from God, my lack of interest in kids might actually be objectively wrong. We don't like to "judge" so we tell people: "to each his own." Some people naturally take to children others don't and we think that's ok.
But if God views Children as a blessing, a result of his perfect design, the fruit of the union of two people, then kids must be beautiful. If I don't see it that way I have some changing, growing, perhaps simply maturing to do.

I'm wondering if dreams really do mean things. I mean I'm sure some of them do, because you have all those important stories in the bible where God or an angel of the Lord appeared to folks in dreams. Remember that little incident with Mary, the mother of Jesus. So I guess my real question is how can we really distinguish between meaningful dreams and dreams resulting from that fourth microwave burrito you know you shouldn't have had after midnight? What is the basis? I'm wondering this because I've been dreaming a great deal lately, some of them very unpleasant, others severely mundane.

Ok, so that's probably more than anybody will care to read or have time to look through, I apologize for my verbosity, I just get to writing and this happens...this big mess...here's to thoughts.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Obviously, I spent a little time changing the appearance of this, here blog... I found this picture of a road anticipating a turn...and just fell for it. This picture caught by the lens of an unknown photographer, makes me think of Life. For life is a road, a winding one... and we often have no idea where it will lead us...or what joy or peril, obstacle or blessing awaits us just beyond the curve... I love the color that the picture was developed into, it's hazy with an imbalance of earthly tones, perhaps a touch of sepia... aloof- that's how it feels.

It's Sunday afternoon... I know this not only because the calendar says so...but because I feel it. See, there's a common sentiment that I have often associated with Sunday afternoons. It was upon expressing this idea (or attempting to) with others that I discovered it to be common among several others. *It's a quiet sorrow blended with one part uncertainty and one part loneliness. I could liken it to the feeling you get when you're forced to say goodbye to someone you only started to grow fond of. It's not deep and penetrating because you haven't had time to develop those sibling like emotional ties, but it's there and it hurts because you know you will probably never see them again and because you had not the chance to grow together. Sunday afternoons feel that way to me...have since I was a child... perhaps it's the days behind, the week I'm parting with...the week that once realized, disappears like vapors into the atmosphere.

Currently, I'm sitting outside a coffee shop, which might explain some of my *recipe descriptions of an emotion. This particular afternoon, this brisk, winter afternoon in the middle of a month that's moving too swiftly, I don't just have the previously defined feeling, it's as though it were climaxing... for I think I've carried the melancholy with me for the last 3 days, from sunrise to sunset... why? I'm not sure, so we'll just leave it at that.

I purchased my first audiobook, Through The Painted Desert, by Donald Miller, on itunes on Friday of the week past. Although I'd made a pretty substantial purchase of softcovers earlier this week, I find that as I wait for their arrival I miss the company of another's thoughts. I must say I have been pleasantly surprised. It's a beautiful book and Miller is beginning to really earn my respect as a writer and more importantly a thinker. It's about perfect in audio format...and I'd highly recommend it. More on that later... for now I'm going to sign off and probably go for a drive or find a quiet place outside to sit. I'm supposed to call a couple people to possibly hang out this evening...but I'm honestly not up for it. I really just want to be alone.. still, but I want to be outside my house...so we'll see what I can come up with. I'm about sick of starbucks so anywhere, but here will do.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

First of the year.

Somehow I find myself at the end of what feels like a lengthy week. Nothing too eventful has occurred though. I haven't felt the desire to blog much lately. It means that I'm generally in better spirits. For whatever reason, I tend to write most when I'm feeling down and this has not been so much the case since the beginning of the new year.

When I look to my entries of the last few months I begin to notice the descriptions of a process... Of course, it was difficult for me to recognize at times... but through the clearer lens of hindsight, I see how different ideas and truths entered my life at specific points, be it through conversations with friends, or books read. Now, I find myself in a place where perhaps much of these lessons have begun culminating.

The fact is, I'm not the same person that I was a year ago. I've never been the person that I am today. Of course, this isn't necessarily all a positive thing... I lost bits and pieces of myself along the way... but I feel as though I've grown, really grown in some areas.

The lessons resulted from various situations, different people entering and leaving my life... from trials and failures, costly mistakes and minor successes. But here I am now, just a little wiser and a little closer to being conformed to His image...on the road to becoming the man I so long to be. (At once, also realizing that I have so very much more to learn; a tremendous journey of personal growth awaits.)

So as my first, real New years entry instead of going into a list of resolutions, I'm going to list some of the lessons I've learned this year. Some were more profound than others, most I thought I had learned in the past, but was confronted by them differently this year...and some were more painful to arrive to, but all lessons they remain and lessons I'm sure I will continue to learn and relearn in the days and years ahead. (No, I haven't nailed any of these things, daily I struggle, but I think I've made some progress.)

1) Appreciating my family and what it means to honor my parents.

2) Fearing God. How reverence is essential to worship, you cannot have one w/out the

3) Forgiveness. *Accepting it, granting it to those even when they haven't asked for it. Both are liberating.

4) Surrender. Not only pertaining to my behaviors, but everything I hold so dear to me, even the "good." The life that I have worked so hard to arrange for myself, the future, the dreams... all of it.

5) I am a never ending well of pride. Further, this pride will rise up at every possible opportunity and so I must check my tongue and my motives at every turn.

6) I am severely insecure.

7) A cup of warm coffee each morning promotes Regularity.

8) Guarding my heart. (boundaries).

9) When you're overwhelmed, exhausted, feel like you've got nothing left, serve others. "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." (Proverbs 11:25)

10) The imperative to do relationships God's way. Rules are placed to protect us.

11) Keeping my eye on the prize. (kingdom living). The life of a Christian is the pursuit of the eternal, not the attempt at building heaven here on earth.

12) My value does not depend on a what others think of me. Life is not a political campaign, I don't need to impress anybody and I don't have to be loved by everyone.

13) My choices can have enormous consequences.

14) There is nothing like that sweet hour of prayer.

15) Sometimes, you only get one chance...

16) Life is freakin' hard.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New years eve/day.

It is officially new years in California now. At the moment, I'm sitting outside alone by the hotel's swimming pool. The lobby of our residence just experienced an influx of airline pilots and what looks like their significant others...for those who have them and people are wishing one another a happy new year. We spent our evening at "downtown disney," which is a neat attraction right next to disneyland and then headed back to our room... I must have been exhausted because I fell asleep on a 30 minute commute...and woke up to Tim telling me happy new year as we neared the hotel. It's strange not being home for new years eve... I feel somewhat dissatisfied at the anticlimactic evening... but it really isn't a big deal.

All around the world people got together with friends, family, strangers, communities for fireworks, champagne, excessive hats and glasses, confetti, parties and heavily populated strips, bars and restaurants to usher in the occasion; others spent quiet evenings at home, or at work, or in foreign countries thousands of miles from home, alone, separated from loved ones...or simply without... stark contrasts, so it is with life.

Nevertheless, another year has gone...

This morning Tim and I went to Santa Monica Beach to read, think and enjoy some quiet time... I read just a few pages of A Severe Mercy again; the particular section about Vanauken's Illumination period of Davy resonated with me. He talks about how there simply is not time enough in this life... not to live it like we truly desire to. We are always on the clock, life is always passing us by...though we try so hard to find "timeless moments." Of course, this speaks of our longing for a timeless reality.

I feel this most of the time...tonight I feel it much deeper.

I'm not sure how i feel about the coming year, which is a bit strange for me since I generally know exactly how I feel about something at any given moment. I feel cold because i'm outside early in the morning during winter. I feel fatigued because it's been an extremely eventful week, half of which was spent on the road... and I feel a mixture of reluctance and invitation at the thought of returning home... but as far as the new year is concerned...I simply don't know right now...

It's been an interesting year...and one I will not soon forget. It's been a year of change, drastic change and this not only for me, but also for so many around me. It's been one of adversity, of brokenness, failure, of love and loss and regrets... and a year of immense growth...learning.

If there's one major thing I'm looking for in the new year, it would be Redemption in 2008.