Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Best Day in a Long While

Today was, as the title implies, one of the best days in a long while. It started as all days start, with my alarm on my ipod going off at 6 and me staying in bed for twenty minutes. I got up, shaved, got dressed and straightened up my room as I always do. I spent some time in the word, reading 2 Timothy 2, which I found to be one of the meatiest parts of scripture that I've read for some time. After my time with the Lord, I walked into my day. The sunrise was amazing, as it has been recently. It is always cold in the mornings, but this morning was a little warmer than normal. School was school, but because I slept so much last night (8 hours!), it was easier to stay attentive and interested. At lunch, I had a bit of an agenda. I paid my neglected internet bill, and opened up an account on Etrade. That's right, I am now an investor. Problem there is that I don't know anything about the stock market, so I subscribed to some podcasts about it, specifically Jim Cramer's. That got me to thinking. If I spent half of the time I spend listening to music, listening to news or something informative, imagine how knowledgeable I would be. So, I subscribed to a business podcast, a news podcast and a financial podcast, to cover my bases. After that, it was seventy degrees and completely sunny, I had to take advantage of that. I changed clothes and drove down the hill to one of my favorite delicatessens. I bought myself a poorboy sandwich and drove to the nearest beach to sit and eat it. It was delicious. I went back to school which was suprisingly bearable. After school, I wanted to do something active, but none of my friends were down to throw the frisbee or anything, so I drove back down to a different beach. There, I sat and read "Every Man's Battle," A book on purity. It's a great book and the Lord has spoken to me through it. I feel like, in the last couple of weeks, the Lord has impowered me by His Spirit to really do my part when it comes to my walk with him. It has been sweet. He is really working on my heart and my will lately. I don't want to sound arrogant in this, the ability to do so is not my own at all. He's just so good. Anyway, after an hour of that, I went back to the base. I ended up going up to the gym and playing in the Navy-Army basketball game. It was fun, and afterward I stayed at the gym and worked out for another two hours. Now, it's 9:30 and I don't have any real agenda. It's a good feeling, after accomplishing so much today. Also, I've been approved to work with a professional sound technician in the church's recording studio. It's 25 bucks an hour for him, but the NextGeneration ministry has commited to $250 for me to pay him with. More on that later. God is good, so so good. Be blessed, I know that I am.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

What it is

I spent 50 dollars on groceries a few days ago in an attempt to get in shape and to save money. It was the first time that I have ever spent that much on groceries for myself. I think that its a sign of maturity, buying ones own groceries for the first time. So, feel free to congratulate me.That's about as exciting as it has been these last few days. Except for the golf tournament that I volunteered at on Friday. Pebble Beach is awesome, and I was able to walk around and keep score for a team from Louisianna. They were good guys, though they reminded me of the four guys from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.
I got a blister on my left foot from playing basket ball in my 15 dollar basketball shoes. I guess you get what you pay for. My room is almost clean, for the first time in a while. It feels good. I think I'm growing up slowly.
There really isn't any reason for my writing, I just felt like a superficial update would perfectly fit my current mood. I should go down to the coffee shop, that place always seems to inspire me to greatness. My bedroom, however, does not. I feel greasy. I play too much espn MLB 2005. That is certain. I have church tonight and I should probably be leaving. I started sponsoring a kid from India, his name is Sarath. He likes Cricket and studying English. He's seven and he doesn't wear shoes when they take his picture. Looks like a bright kid. Hopefully my 28 dollars will change his life. Whatever legacy I can find, I guess.
Until next time, keep it simple, lock the doors behind you, and always find the cheapest gas station. There is no excuse for paying more than you have to. In the words of Christian Hip Hop artist Play Dough, "If your spirit ain't livin', then you got no soul." Outie.

Oh, and that movie "Glory Road" was pretty good.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Retrospective part 1 of 2

I'm on the plane that's taking me back to San Jose. It's been quite a day, and its crazy to think how this morning I woke up and went to the church I grew up in for the first time in half a year. Crazier still is to think that in four hours, I'll be asleep in my bed in my new home, California. I have come to that conclusion. St. Louis is my comfort. But what it is and what I perceive it to be are very different. I put a lot of importance in the food that I eat. That is to say, I find myself complaining when the food doesn't meet a certain standard. My perception was that, save the Mexican food, the food in Monterey is mediocre yet overpriced. On the contrary, the midwest food that I remember from my childhood was the opposite. It was good, filling food for reasonable prices. After spending two weeks in St. Louis for the first time in a year, I've come to understand that what I have perceived might not have been the truth. I still hold St. Louis food at a higher standard than Monterey, but I feel that they are not as opposite as I once thought. The same can be said for the overall standard of living, St. Louis is still preferred, but it no longer has that optimistic glow about it that my childhood would have seen.
Change has been another battle that I have faced. I often hear accounts of people who move away from their perspective "home." Upon their return, they notice a blatantly obvious change in the people, in the architecture, and in the overall living. This concept is not a difficult one, as things do change. They always have, and when we are not present to witness that change, it shines through and illuminates our perception every time we see its outcome. I find myself in the applicable situation, returning to the place I call home after not spending any extended time there for, what had seemed like several years, but was only several months. So, my perception upon returning was that this place that I left behind would be different. I was convinced that my parents would be different, that my younger brother would have grown up and matured into the man that I was at his age. I expected my college friends to have matured, to walk with a certain professional aura about them, using big words, discussing politics and commerce. I expected to see new developements, skyscrapers even, slowly taking shape in the near by commercial district. However, as however does, I now sit here in this manmade aircraft shocked by how much everything had stayed the same. Granted, my brother has developed a social life, and there is a new office building being developed up the street. But overall, St. Louis is still St. Louis, my family is still my family and my friends are still my friends. Still doing the same things, still acting the same way. Still facing the same struggles, still savoring the same blessings. That should provide rest and comfort to my toiling soul. Many people in my situation would love to hear that report, to know that their life at home is still in tact. So why do I despair? (to be continued. . .)

Retrospectivepart 2 of 2

I despair because of this: while the world that I left behind has not changed, I have. I have changed a great deal. Living alone in the continental state furthest from my own has changed me in every way. I have grown up. I have moved on. I have become what teenagers fear: a responsible adult. I've fallen victim to this corporate world, the every day grind, the pull of the alarm clock, the slavery to time. I am now a primitive form of who I will be when I grow old, professional, working and wise. It sounds depressing, and it sounds harsh. But of the transitions that we have to go through in our lives, two stand out. The first, puberty. Our entire physical being is turned upside down as we physically transition from childhood into adulthood. The second is less definitive. It is this transition from dependency to independence. You could say that we perceptually transition from childhood into adulthood. We gain our perspective, we open our eyes to the medial tasks that keep our lives functioning; taxes and investments and bills and Windex and laundry hampers and Captain Crunch. We must become independent; A concept that is difficult for many to embrace. But there is only truth in it. Once we throw off the lies that our minds tell us about how great life once was, it is then that we can see the joy of responsibility. The desire is to be young and ignorant, to be oblivious to the pain and struggle that go on around us. For essentially, that perspective is childhood. Once our perspective changes, life gets harder, because we are forced to embrace those struggles that we could easily ignore in childhood. So to be young, to be in high school again, they are desires and wishes that cross into my mind as I'm sure they do to many. But the natural flow of life in God's perfect plan leads on to the next step, onto this responsibility of independence. And coming back to the Midwest, I realize that besides any changes in my stature, my appearance, my beliefs or my convictions, the most-important is the transformation of my dependence that has made me a completely different man. And I sincerely hope and pray that this man that I am becoming is exactly the man that the Lord will use to change the world for his names sake. Though I feel as though I've lost my place.