Sunday, March 30, 2008

(I'm no good at) self expression

so i'm terrible at really genuinely expressing what is going on in my head and in my heart. this has become more apparent to me today because I read this article about how our culture has become so cynical. I read it and it sounded more like a letter someone wrote to me describing how I am. Here's the issue: it just doesn't seem like I (and i'll lump our culture into this as well) really understand how and when to express what I am feeling. We are used to cheap, sappy sentimentality on the one side, and caustic cynicism on the other.

It would be a really constructive thing for me to try to understand better how to communicate what is really going on in my life. I have about 100 tangents I would like to go off on from here (like the "hi how are you?" syndrome and the i'm-too-self-conscious tangents) but I wont do that here.

The fact is this: we're so used to our emotions being exploited by music and movies and advertising that we get cynical about anything that comes our way. Then we can't seem to understand how to truly be a genuine person. Am I the only one frustrated with this about myself? hmm...

anyways, read this article.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

under tree branches

spending time outside this weekend has been amazing. i had forgotten how refreshing the occasional camping trip is. you realize you need a lot less than you actually think. and things like pancakes and oatmeal become the most satisfying meals. things just get simpler outdoors.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The boy and the squirrel

There was a young boy who very much wanted to catch a squirrel. Every day after school he would run into the woods behind his house to a small clearing, where, among other things, was a tree stump just his size. There he would catch his breath and begin to look for bushy tails and quick movements in the forest. Ever since he could remember, he had loved everything about squirrels, and now, all that he thought about was catching one and having one as a pet.

When he would spot a squirrel from his spot on the stump he would carefully crouch down and slowly take a few steps toward his desire. He knew that squirrels were very sensitive to movement, so he made sure to approach as sneakily as he could. But just when he would get close enough to reach out his small hands to scoop it up, every time the squirrel would dart away to the safety of a nearby tree.

The boy tried for days and days to catch a squirrel. He just couldn't seem to do it. One day, as he sat on the stump, he began to feel like he'd never catch the squirrel, so he just sat on the stump instead of trying. Each day after school he would return to the stump, and slowly he became interested in other things in the woods, like the flowers and bugs and the stream nearby.

It happened one day, that as he was eating a small piece of bread and examining a flower, a squirrel came to his side. He was so enamored with the flower that at first he didn't even realize a squirrel, that creature he had so desired, was sitting on its hind legs right next to him. He looked over, and saw that the squirrel was interested in the bread the young boy was eating. So the boy took a piece and gave it to the squirrel. Each day the squirrel would return, and the young boy would take a pieces of bread and feed it.

The squirrel grew to trust the boy as the days went on. He would follow the boy throughout the woods, sitting nearby as the boy picked flowers and dug up worms. The days grew on, and without even trying, the boy finally had his pet squirrel.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

enjoy the hoops!

It's one of my favorite times of year. March madness. Tomorrow all the tournament fun gets going, with a full day of good hoops. Hopefully there'll be some upsets and its just even more fun watching it during spring break. I have memories the last two years of having to literally run, with backpack on and full of books (an awkward sight, i must say) back to my room to catch the games in between class. This way is so much easier. It's just me and a couch tomorrow.

Yesterday I started and finished book 2 of the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I hadn't read it in about 10 years, and it was well worth it. I love that story, and I love the fact that I have so much of the story left for the rest of the break.

If that didn't qualify me as a nerd, then this certainly will...I am excited about two new books I found. A biography on JRR Tolkien and a book about C.S. Lewis and the BBC broadcasts that inspired his writing of "Mere Christianity". Good spring break reads? Yes, i think so. haha.

I'm finishing up the Divine Conspiracy, and I could write posts and posts about it, but you can just read andy's blog and get pretty much the same picture. Just read the book. That's as simple as it gets.

I have settled on a favorite region of coffee beans: Central/South America. Specifically Costa Rican and Colombian blends. Smooth, rich,

spring break is half over. then life will continue playing as normal. for all of you out there, enjoy the week, and enjoy the hoops!

"love is harder than a word said at the right time and everything's alright, love is different than you think" - caedmon's

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring needs a break

All the anticipation, expectation, and hope for spring break will soon be realized. Here I sit as a week's worth of break greets me from across the road. I'm excited that we get a break, but more than anything, I'm glad that I won't have to hear the question "what are you doing for spring break" 15 times a day. And I'm also happy to not have to remember so many different spring break plans. I was talking with a friend just the other night about how segmented our semesters are. It's almost like you can make a clean cut for spring into two nice, symmetrical halves.

Some people are going home. Others are going on trips with friends. More people are heading to any beach with sun and sand. And when we all get back, it'll be the start of the second half. This first half's been crazy. Readjusting to college life at samford, meeting new people, and deepening some important relationships. Oh, and getting chased out of my dorm. What will the second half hold?

It's here that I want to pause and say something. Spring break, with whatever plans you have, will provide you with something special: time. We'll all get a little time off from Regular Life. Take some time and think about what you're carrying around. No, not what kind of backpack or messenger bag you carry around, but what kind of stuff you're carrying around in your heart. Think about what all you're carrying around inside that heart of yours, and think about where your heart is. Is it divided up into the various things you associate yourself with? Are large hunks of it missing? Do you even know where tiny bits and pieces of it are? My challenge to you is this: take some time and think about where your heart is. We weren't meant to carry around large, heavy loads with our hearts. They were meant to beat for one purpose, knowing God, and most other things just weigh it down.

Maybe that's something you need to do. Maybe it's not. Whatever the case, have a wonderful spring break.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Around the track

This verse is really hitting me over the head:

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." - Phil. 2:3-4

This is the great struggle of life. Do I live my life through myself or do I live it through Jesus Christ? It is the reason that we can get so off track so quickly. And its the reason why there's that sense of complacency at the end of the day sometimes. It's selfish ambition. It's the focus on me.

I went on a run today and made my way by a local park. It was a pretty small park, in the middle of a neighborhood, and there were a lot of people there. I noticed a dad running on the tiny little track that circled the park. It couldn't have been more than a couple hundred meters around. I'm talking small, not the kind of place you want to do a run. Well, I watched him run around the track and realized I was watching an exhibition on humility. This guy probably didn't want to be running around that tiny little track. But his kid really wanted to play, and needed someone close by to watch. The dad was looking out for the interests of his kid over his own interests.

And it kinda hit me that it's that kind of attitude of humility that is important. Humility is a phantom concept. We don't really know what it truly means. We see false humility all the time. And we see downright arrogance all the time. But what is that true humility? It's in those verses in Philippians. Paul hit the nail on the head. And I can learn a whole lot by letting those words seep into my life and my daily actions and my disposition.