Tuesday, September 25, 2007

.waiting for a rainstorm
ready for the sky to fall
the clouds to rumble
Hoping for a beautiful downpour.
The sounds of stillness grip the air.
Call it a prelude.
Expectation. I will find.
Everything else than I imagine.
So Much More.
Take my dreams. Simplify yet Expand
These moments do not define me.
I stand with my hope
And wait.

Friday, September 21, 2007

a little bit of Everything

t's been another good week here in London. This week I saw a little bit of everything. A good old rainstorm, fireworks over St. Paul's cathedral, John Mayer, and Stomp, just to name a few. If I didn't keep a journal of the places i've been, there would be no way I could keep up with everywhere we go.

Someone asked me the other day to share with them what I was learning so far in london. I figured that would be a good thing for me to write about, so i'm going to dive into what i've been learning so far. here we go.

1) i love having ryan hoffman and elliott dansby in the rooms on either side of mine.

2) I have grown in my appreciation for the small things. let me explain this a little bit. I think we have a tendency in life to diminish certain events in our lives and exalt other better times. It's hard not to really. No one wants to go through hard times, but we can't seem to get around them either. Here in London its easy for me to tell you about all the awesome things I'm doing. But I'm learning that whether I'm in London or whether i'm in Birmingham or wherever else I am, each season of life has its own unique quality to it. I don't want to get stuck in the habit of just "looking forward" to things in life. I want to be satisfied with where I am at. As Jim Elliott, former missionary, said, "wherever you are, be all there". That's been my motto for the semester, and I'm trying to ingrain that principle into my life. It's more or less living a philippians 4 lifestyle. Being content in any and every circumstance, knowing that I have Christ as my guide.

3) Good shoes are a good thing. especially when you walk miles every day

4) japanese style roll up beds are amazing

5) sweaters are a must as the temperature creeps lower

6) I love a good coffee shop. one of the things that just makes my day better is going every once in a while to the cafe down the street and getting a coffee and croissant or apple strudel....which leads to ...

7) oh my goodness i love pastries. and there are so many of them here. strawberry ones are the best, but really, any of them are great.

8) it is GOOD to praise the Lord. i love taking part in worship with the people here and learning how God's people love Him in different ways.

9) sitting down at least once a day to read a little bit of the paper or read a good book is essential for continuity. when you live in a house like this with 20 other people, you quickly find this out.

and here is a little bit of what the PEOPLE here have taught me...

ryan- rooming next to him is a blessing. and hearing him laugh is like watching a five year old laugh. its amazing.

andy - andy brings a certain consistency that is just so needed here. and he eats at least 24 sandwiches a week. and he thinks deeply too

elliott- at least a few times during the day i will hear elliott's harmonica. a nice reminder of the south.

crosson- not only does he fix computer things, but he's just a very considerate friend

trey - when he's not making a joke, he's either A) talking about how amazing a certain classical piece is or B) making tea and throwing ice cream into it....another just quality friend.

and i could go on. but i wont. this is a little taste of life here. i'm loving it. and i think i'm learning how to take it all in and not let it ooze out of my brain the next day.

thats it for now. grace and peace


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Perspective, the continual story

Something you realize more and more as you move into new circumstances is that life is a continual flow of movement and change. We were created for change. And we are in need of something that is Unchanging. It's a wonderfully simple paradox. Change is something that I so often resist, and I think i'm not the only one who does this. When you get comfortable somewhere, you just don't want to change. But then there are those times you do want things to change. So you've got this great-big continuum where the only constant is change.

Life is going to change, regardless of how we choose to look at it. I'm a different person than I was 1 year ago, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. I've added new layers of experience that have shaped me in new ways. Going from being a sophomore at samford to interning with a relief organization to studying in london. That's just a little bit of change. But I don't want to harp on change too much, I want to focus instead on how I'm reacting to it.

Like many others who have done similar things like studying abroad have found, you dont just go overseas and "become a different person". Sure you change and enjoy new experiences and allow them to become a part of your life, but if anything, you also realize in a deeper way your core values. You rediscover, in a way, those things that at home have lost their novelty. They take on a new shine when you are away from them.

You can either sit and mope about missing them, or instead be thankful that they mean something to you. I'm talking about things like college football saturdays, caf meals, that friend who you talk to every once in a while who always makes you smile.

I'm finding that as I'm over here in London, there's a tendency I have as a human being to want to shift to either end of the spectrum, either ignoring those things I miss, or missing them too much. The cool thing is, though, that there's a balance somewhere in the middle where you begin to appreciate what either side can give the other. I can have those things I cherish as a sort of anchor that lets me sail on and try new things. I can be both entirely open and entirely secure at the same time, and thats the beauty of real perspective.

I'm going to continue this thought very soon here, but I think this is a good starting point for thinking about change and adaptation. I'll continue on soon.


Sunday, September 9, 2007


Well, I am going to tell you how things are going. Let me find some good music to play in the background as I write this. Okay, there we go. The Weepies will do for now.

Well, since I last wrote, much has happened. But it always works that way, regardless of whether I'm in London or Birmingham or Texas. Time moves forward and life changes. It just seems to change in a little more exciting manner when you're in a beautifully enchanting european city. And of course I happen to be living in one right now.

Life is different over here, quite different, in fact, than life in birmingham at samford. But in a good way. I'm slowly getting used to the continual noise of the cars outside my window and the constant sight of concrete, pavement, and large structures built many hundreds of years ago. The beautiful architecture, I'm sure, will get less exciting over time, but you know, I hope it doesn't. For the time being, everytime I pass by one, it's like i'm reminded again at the complex history that I am a living part of.

It's really the small things you appreciate in life, and it's no different in London. Sure the buildings are amazing, as are the big parks, but its still the small things that add the icing to the cake in life. The cup of good tea on a slow afternoon, a conversation with a new friend, moemnts when you realize a little more fully the magnificence of our Savior. These are things that make life so neat to me. Yes i used the word neat. haha.

I've always been a fan of really cool bookstores, and london is full of them. I actually need to get to reading though, for I am doing way too much browsing and too little reading. Oh well...

Boy is it a blessing having friends over here. It just makes life so much easier having people to share experiences with, unload to, and laugh with. I'm enjoying getting know everyone here better, even my good friends that I've known for a while now.

Okay, before I go on 100 tangents, I'll stop and tell you a little bit about my weekend trip to France.

You know, I've always had this terrible impression of French people from when I was in Paris for a few days as a young lad. I dont know why i developed such a bad impression, i guess it was the waiter who gave me the scornful look when i tried to order a coca cola. Anyway, those olds impressions were put to rest this weekend.

We started out flying to Tours, a city with so much history. But we couldn't stay and take it all in, because we had bigger and better things to do, like take a 3.5 hour train ride to Caen. Now let me stop here, and remind you that my French consists of all of about 7 statements. Mostly useful in getting around. But not too good with everyday conversation. So keep that in mind as I keep telling you about my weekend. Just imagine all the goofy, awkward conversations I had with French men and women. So after arriving in Caen, we decided to spend the night there, since it was too late to catch another train. The city was magnificent, with several large gothic cathedrals.

Then it was on to Bayeux, a small city outside of the famous beaches of Normandy. It's a fun word to say, Bayeux. think of it as saying " bay-you", with a nice french accent. and there you have it. Well, we didn't get to stay in bayeux, and only glimpsed the majestic cathedral from a few miles away. We wanted to see the beaches of normandy and the american cemetary instead. And it was a great choice. I had been there a few years back, but andy and trey hadn't been, so that was well worth the time.

Completing our weekend tour was the city of Mont. St. Michel, a unesco world heritage sight. It's absolutely amazing. I don't think i have a large enough vocabulary to adequetely describe it to you. In the words of andy farmer, "its just one of those places you just nearly stop when you see it for the first time". Yeah, its like that. Splendid, fantastic, majestic. Beautiful. Awe-inspiring. All of those things and more mixed into a nice big stone castle on an island.

Then we came back to London. A little tired but satisfied with our little excursion outside the British Isles. And coming back felt like coming home should feel, so thats another good sign that I'm adjusting better to London.

All in all, things are going well. So thats an update of what i've been up to, i'll try to post a few things here and there about my thoughts of being here, because i'm really trying to write more than i usually do, hoping it will make me a better writer. ha

okay, until next time, au revior!