Thursday, April 10, 2008

"And you shall know them by their love"

This will be first first video post on this blog, but I'm excited to show this to everyone. It's a little piece I just finished about a few of my experiences in Thailand. Enjoy.


video

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hey, I'm back

To those of you who have been looking at this blog periodically, in the off chance that I would return to share more thoughts, I'm sorry. Since my return from Oxford, I have done many things and experienced a lot of changed. One thing that I have not done, however, has been to post on this site, or be diligent with most online forms of communication. Well, I'm back to share more, if you're willing to read with me.

There are a few reasons why I'm coming back. First, my long-time friend Grant encouraged to get back into this weeks ago. As is characteristic of our relationship, I have just now realized the value of his exhortation. Secondly, I am starting to get very excited about some future prospects, and this is a good way to share about them with a larger group of people. In the coming weeks, I look forward to discussing those prospects more. But for today, I think a few pictures will have to suffice. These are a few headshots that my sister Jessie took of me. I'm using them for some new job applications. Plus, if you forgot what I look like, these will remind you.











Wednesday, June 13, 2007

From Backpacking Europe to Assembling Strollers

A few days ago, I had a strange thought. I was putting together a new stroller when suddenly two things hit me very hard. The first one creeped up so naturally, that it almost passed for a normal, reasonable tidbit before I caught it as an unlikely visitor at the doorstep of my conscious. I simply thought to myself "Hmm, I like this design. Funny to think that I could actually be doing this for my little girl one day- Wait... What?" Now, realistically, this could actually happen. At this point in my life, however, it seems so far away, and with that idea comes all the warning flags of my own looming, and at times still very present IMmaturity. From this succeeded the second big thought: "Two months ago I was discussing Sartre and Kierkegaard over a beer at my favorite pub in Oxford." Again, back to reality, while this thought is not one of those romantic daydream kind but more of a true reminiscence, right now I am putting together a stroller because I work at USA Baby. My sister, who is the manager, helped get me the job.

Stopping again to think about the interaction inside my head at that moment, I see now that this is very indicative of my current spiritual and emotional state. Earlier on in my Oxford experience, I had to do the same thing I am doing now. I had to find my place, and it took a good amount of time. Now that I am living at my parents house again, working two part-time jobs, and seeing few of the faces I had grown to love so much over the last 5 months abroad, I need to replant my roots on this side of the pond. Having pondered everything from the existence of God to the philosophical message behind the Monty Python films, my life here can seem like an old sepia tone photo in comparison to the color-rich panaromic memories of the last few months.

There is hope.

After work today I decided it would be a good idea to climb Garcia, a steep and dusty little trail a short drive from my house. It was a good idea. As I started to navigate my way through the switchbacks and valleys, I remembered that there is a cross on the top of Garcia. Fittingly, the cross is only visible during certain sections of the hike. When I finally fought my way to the top, with some sweat, soreness, and a few spills on the way, I reached the foot of the cross just as the sun was beaming her last rays over the adjacent mountaintops. Again I was hit by the profudity of the moment, but now I was the sum of all things past and present. This is the person that I want to be, and the struggle that I face. I want to synthesize my life-changing experience abroad with the things that I am learning now. Yes, building strollers and selling cribs does build character...and patience. But more importantly, it is the knowledge that while God has a plan for every one of us, we have a choice to continue on the path we are called, or to tread elsewhere. Sometimes it is easy to look up the mountainside and behold the empty cross. In the other times we must press on with faith that the cross remains.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm home...

Family and Friends,
Thank you for reading my blog and keeping up with my life in the last few months. I have seen some incredible things, and I hope my way of sharing them with you has been beneficial and enriching to your lives. I am now back in the United States, trying to get settled in, and eventually find a summer job before starting school again in the fall. I apologize that I have not been very diligent with my updates recently, but please bear with me in this transitional period. You can expect to see some changes on this blog in the near future, as I feel that it is important to visually reflect the changes that have occured in my heart over the past few months.

Thanks again for going with me all over the world.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Mom



The other night I had a beautiful conversation with my mom about my experience here in Oxford thus far. Of the many realizations I had during that conversation, the most poignant was that my mom has a beautifully sensative heart, to which God often speaks. Yet what is so incredible is that I feel that she has passed on that sensativity to me. At times, this has gotten me into trouble, as I have given my heart to certain people and gotten it back in an injured state. But God also seems to tug at it in certain times, quietly reminding me that He is around, and has a purpose for my life, though I have to seek it out. What's more encouraging is that my mom seems to be experiencing the same themes in her life. She, though with much more wisdom and experience, must also seek God's plan for her life.

My roommates and I often sit around, taking a break from our studies or just procrastinating, and ponder the tough questions of life. Though we all come from different backgrounds and often approach things at different angles, there are a few things we agree on. One of those things that we unanimously agree on is the notion that it is dangerous to have everything figured out. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we shouldn't have fundamental beliefs in certain things, even if we know it takes a leap of faith to get there. We all seem to agree on the fact that life is not just a checklist, and once you've filled in all the blanks, crossed the t's and dotted the i's you can check out and be happy.

That's what I love about my mom. She graciously shows me that the adventure of life is in the searching. It's like a never ending scavenger hunt, where we find new items, and put them into our arsenal, all the while looking for more new and exciting pieces. It's only when we look back that we can see how the pieces fit together. But there are no corner pieces to this puzzle, the picture keeps getting bigger and more beautiful.

When we were on the phone, I was so impressed how my mom felt safe with being vulnerable to me. She has been in, and will be, a few situations that put her out of her comfort zone. Yet she softly and confidently told me how God's grace is sufficient for her every need and that maybe she needs this time of vulnerability for God to work in her heart.

I love my mom dearly, and I am honored that she would be so open with me. But perhaps she knew that sharing with me would open my eyes to this time of vulnerability in my own heart. Maybe Oxford has been somewhat of a wilderness period for me, where I am to seek answers to the questions in my own heart. I'll end with a quote from C.S. Lewis that seems to describe it in not-so-complicated terms. "Further up and further in".

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Walk in the Meadow

I decided to go think and take pictures this afternoon in the meadow by my house. It strikes me that this much beauty cannot come from randomly arranged particles. There's got to be some genius behind this masterpiece.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

All Things Work for Good...

It's about 3:30 in the morning, and I am finding myself awake and in deep thought for the second or third night in a row. Earlier this week, I was thinking about the verse in Romans that talks about how all things work for the good of those who love God, and who are in his purpose. I felt especially impressed by this after some difficult discussions with a friend at home, and a rough transition from dropping one class and picking up another, that there were some redemptive process that pulled me through. In the end, things turned out better than I expected.

Yet I was mistaken to proudly accept this turn of events as an act of God's sovereignty without looking at my own reactions. Now I see that this redemptive process was God's grace, and that I, lacking enough humility to see that, attributed it instead to a reward for my trust in Him. I don't think this is how it works. As I look at this passage again, I think that more importance is placed on the purpose.


My sister took this picture when we were hiking on the cliffs of Dover, which overlook the English Channel. To me, it sort of represents an ideal picture of the type of man that I want to be. I seem adventurous, standing tall and firm, in front of the sparkling sea. And yet, I know I am not that man. Maybe a part of it lives within me. It is probably the same part that enjoys the walks (when I force myself to get up early enough) in the meadow by my house. When I feel free to have conversations with the Creator of the meadow, as if He is walking beside me . Maybe Jessie sees that potential, and God has that version of me within His purposes.

There is a scene in Braveheart where young Willam Wallace's father turns to him and says "Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it." Deep down, that's what I want to do. My family has been so supportive in cheering me on, and telling me that they're proud of me and that they love me. Jessie sends me devotional emails about how she danced like David did, unabashed and wholeheartedly in worship. Right now, Dad and Jessie are on a plane to Thailand, pursuing their dreams. What will it take to pursue my dreams? What will it take to pursue His purpose? Do I have the courage to do so?