Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My desktop. Story of my life right now. I love not having a sticky with a to-do list... such a wonderful by-product of being on break.

You are my sushine

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Copeland speaks to me.
I swear it's like this guy wrote the lyrics of their latest album with me, my life, and my current situation in mind. The combination of that relatability and the emotion and beauty of their music makes this album have such a special place in my heart (and iPod). It makes the songs gripping and personal in an incredibly cathartic way.
All that to say, if you don't have "You Are My Sunshine" by Copeland yet, it's time you pick it up.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A journey out of the torment of madness

I'm currently reading an autobiography written by a person who suffers from Paranoid Schizophrenia, a disorder that I've studied at length in several classes. Reading this inside, personal description of what it is like to have a psychotic break and experience the hallucinations and other intense effects of schizophrenia is an amazing experience for me; having only read clinical descriptions and textbook definitions of what the disorder is like. It has caused me to view it in a completely new way, and already has me searching for any kind of autobiographical narratives of other disorders (so far I have only found and purchased one written by an autistic woman, but the search will continue).
Anyway, there is a section in which Lori Schiller, the author of this book, describes how music interacted with her disorder, and how through music she was able to gain some control of her mood, and gain an upper hand on the terrifying and constant voices that plagued her. I want to share one small part of that section because I find it beautiful and profound. Although Lori was dealing with schizophrenia, her experience with music speaks to the way we all can connect to it, and how important and healing it can be.

"...if music was strong, my moods were stronger. More often than not I found that it wasn't the music that controlled my moods. It was my moods controlling the music. My moods would whirl around me, and seep out into the world, selecting the songs, filtering the tunes and lyrics not to alter my moods, but to harmonize with them and enhance them.
I never thought the songs or singers were speaking directly to me. Nonetheless, my moods sharpened the words and tunes like a knife, so they seemed to cut directly to my brain. The songs talked to my experience, shared my feelings. It was as if through music the world outside became a mirror image of my own inner world. The borders between the music and my mind would fade. As I became engrossed in the words and melodies, I often became captive to the mercy of the music."

-Lori Schiller, "The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness"

Monday, December 22, 2008

I can't get number 146 off my mind.

Please take 2:38 to see this.


Monday, December 15, 2008

How many dollars do we spend a week on things that we don't need?

It’s simple:

$1 = clean water

for 1 person

for 1 year

One $5,000 well = clean water for 700 school children in Latin America for 7 years.1

$5,000 ÷ 700 ÷ 7 = $1.02 per person per year.

One $15,000 deep well in Africa = clean water for 2,200 people for 7 years.

$15,000 ÷ 2,200 ÷ 7 = $0.97 per person per year.2


Do it. It adds up.


  1. A hand pump lasts an average of 7 years before needing repair. A repair might be a new set of seals in the pump cylinder. It might be a full well rehabilitation. We do all that stuff too. Then for the next seven years water is really cheap.
  2. Some are $40,000 wells with submersible pumps, tanks and water kiosks for 5,000 people. Some are $3,000 wells for 400 people. You take all those numbers, shake them up, and pour out $1.00 of clean, pure water for one entire year.


It's easy to look at your ideal self vs. your current self and, seeing the discrepancy, lose any inspiration to try and work towards the unachievable former. At the same time, trying to take change in giant leaps and pushes can wear you out, and the subsequent crash can put you lower than you were originally.
That's why there's two things I've been realizing about meaningful personal change: it does not happen quickly or easily, and it will not be successful if you try to be the sole driving force behind it. We are too frail, too easily distracted, and too easily satisfied. We will only fore ourselves so far without being pushed.
Hearing Isaac talk about our American version of Christianity vs. what Jesus told us the kingdom of heaven should look like got me started thinking about this again. About how when I compare my life and my intentions with what Jesus told us himself about who we are supposed to be, it is more disheartening than inspiring. I know my own weakness. I know how quick I am to give up, and how quick I am to pat myself on the back for small victories while turning a completely blind eye to the gaping holes in my life. I am not capable of standing and walking towards that ideal. I'm not.
But maybe Jesus doesn't need us to come confidently walking towards him by our own strength. He knows that we are bent under the weight of our sin and failure. Maybe all He needs is for us to crawl to His feet, and let Him take us by the hand, half-dragging us toward real Christianity.

The human reaction to failing (failing to serve Christ as we should) is to crash and burn. The supernatural reaction, the one that years of human history have proven to be highly improbable, is to look to someone that is ineffably greater than we are. To let ourselves be dragged up, through, and out of the muck that we've let ourselves be covered with. Change won't come as one smooth jump from our old self to a new, greater one. I believe we only grow by allowing ourselves to be pulled on by a grace that let's us, one heavy limping step at a time, approach real discipleship.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I've only been awake for a few minutes, but this lets me know it is going to be a good day for me.

I love that little girl, man.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Old tunes and

This afternoon after I got home from a couple of finals my iTunes genius made me a playlist that had several songs on it from the past, some as old as 2002. Hearing those songs really made me scoot my chair back and try to remember what life/I was like then, and what's changed.
What a trip.
It's amazing to think of how much everything has changed in six years. I don't have the space, and you don't have the attention span to give a lot of details, but I want to throw out just a few of the things that happened that have changed/taught/grew me. Since 2002:

  • I have been home schooled, attended a public high school, attended a JC, attended a state university. Each of these has come with it's own strengths, weaknesses, lessons, and revelations, and I am glad that I've been able to do each of them.
  • I began to take guitar and music seriously. I started playing worship at the greenhouse with Mike Z and have continued to have worship be a constantly growing part of my life ever since. I realized that worship transcends music.
  • Joined a rock band, rocked with some great guys for two years and then dissolved. Got the confidence to sing; something I had wanted to be able do for literally as long as I can remember.
  • I grew long hair and cut it off. Multiple times.
  • I lost friends, I gained friends. I watched some friendships strengthen and some dissolve. I blamed myself, and I blamed others.
  • Began working with children who are a mirror of a time in my life that was awful, and realized how much they need to see that Jesus loves them. And how much they need people to love them.
  • I grew at least a foot.
  • I listened to music that screamed and called soft music stupid. I listened to soft music and called music that screamed stupid. I realized I love them both, and that's ok.
  • I started to realize who I am and who I want to be, and tried every day to turn the former into the latter. I realized that left to my own devices I will always choose who I am over who I could be. Subsequently, I realized that it was not me who needed to bring about any change in me.
  • A boy and a girl began a relationship. A man and woman decided it should end.
  • I realized with shaking knees that the God I had always been taught to love loves me too.

There's obviously so much more that belong on a list like that, but those are things that jump out as being either important or worth smiling about. The process of remembering was really cathartic for me; I absolutely recommend that all of you put on some music from the early thousands and take a minute to reminisce.

Love ya.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Finals desk

This is what finals does to my desk, which is actually quite clean almost all the time. It's alright though, after next week i will have all the time in the world to clean that baby off.


My past in blogs would tend to lead to the assumption that I won't actually use this beyond a post or two. But I actually think I may stick to using this more consistently.

I have (along with most people who allow themselves to think) many things to say, and having a place like this to put down my thoughts, feelings, prose, and whatever else finds its way out of my brain and through my fingers should be cathartic. And needed.

I don't know what I'll be writing here, or how often, or whether or not it will be entertaining or of any meaning to anyone but me. But reading it and offering an occasional opinion is your choice. I'll be as happy with one reader as I would be with a thousand.

That's all for now. If you have some time, and are ready to feel strongly, take a look at this.