Thursday, July 31, 2008

Urbanization, Hepatitis, Power Rangers, & American Idol: How to Spice Up Your Life

I appreciate all feedback received on my last blog post. Unfortunately, pencils are considered obsolete around this office, I have little interest in TV (especially without TV reception), and you couldn't pay me to read celebrity gossip. :-) As for the haikus, I think that is a hilarious idea...unfortunately, any department-wide e-mails have to be pre-approved, and I don't see that going over very well. However, I have been spending a little more time on Wikipedia checking out demographics for different areas people call in from. One of our biggest clients is the City of Tempe (AZ), a suburb of Phoenix. That area defines urban sprawl. I could not imagine why anyone would want to live in an urban the desert, mind you. Last night I saw a program on my friend's TV where they were in Phoenix and it was 105 degrees! Sheesh! But I digress.

Even in just the last week, I think I'm making a little bit of progress as far as being content in the here and now, but also in making real effort to make my life a little less monotonous.

Today my office is hosting a blood drive, for which I signed up to participate in. This is a big deal, as in 2002 I had a very negative experience attempting to donate blood. Now that I'm a water-holic, I figured it was safe to try again. Unfortunately, I had to open my big mouth and tell them I had hepatitis 12 years ago. Then I couldn't remember what type it was - it was in 7th grade, and hepatitis is hepatitis when you're vomiting non-stop. I would have to go to extremes that are not worth going to in order to determine what type of hepatitis I had whilst puking during several episodes of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Then, off all things...not even my own mother remembers me having hepatits!

Finally, I have a friend who is a local youth pastor and aspiring musician, who has responded to a double-dog dare from his youth to audition for American Idol next week at Kemper Arena in Kansas City. In response to this dare, he then suckered me into auditioning as well. So, on August 7th & 8th, I will be taking some paid vacation time to audition for the next American Idol. If anyone needs me at some point after that, you can find me at the top. :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Things To Do

The nature of my job is often pretty busy and ongoing. However, I would say that about 25% of the time, there are no incoming calls, and nothing to be followed up on. During that time...well, let's just say I can only check e-mail/facebook/blog/etc. so many times, considering the low volume of correspondence I receive. So to the few of you who actually read my blog, I am opening up the floor to new & exciting ideas for filling up my free time! Go!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Killin' Time

I have reached a painful conclusion: I feel this is what I've been doing for the past several months.

In several ways, this is a very good thing. For example, I've been out of college for over a year; for me, college meant, for the most part, all work and no play. I still wonder if I'm fully recovered from burnout. Those who know me know that I give my all in anything and everything...until I reach burnout.

However, somewhere in the mundane, I believe I was really connecting with people and doing other things which matter in light of eternity. I honestly can't say I feel the same way about this current season in my life.

Case in point: the music minister at my church is rotating me in & out to play acoustic guitar (and maybe sing in his "mini-choir"). Last night I practiced with the praise team for the first time. Even with being plugged into 3 different pedals and an in-ear monitor, the reality is that with drums, bass, two electric guitars, keys, and multiple singers, an acoustic guitar is a subtle addition at best. I know from my experience in similar setups that I have never been able to hear the acoustic guitar underneath anything...except 1 other acoustic guitar. While this is in part my response to conviction that I need to be serving in my local church somehow, it's hard to convince myself I'm not just a warm body wasting space. Disclaimer: I know that both big and small acts of service count in the eyes of God, and I am not denying that.

Since moving to KS, I have fallen into a "peer group", per se. They're great when I want to do fun stuff and for the sake of not being by myself. Things appear good and healthy to anyone that would look upon me...and us. However, let's face it - they haven't connected with me, and I haven't connected with them. They don't know where I've been, what I've faced, what I've experienced, who I've known, or the full extent of my extremely Type-C complex personality. I'm certain I've either been pegged as too much or too little.

I recently had a birthday lunch at Lambert's Cafe, where there were far more attendees than I ever anticipated, thereby causing me to further stretch my mingling skills. Reality hit me hard when for the sake of former college acquaintances, I had little to account for over the last year or so. And of course, I didn't talk about when my car flooded because I wasn't thinking about it, and it's hard for me to condense that.

I am by no means just sitting around and having myself a pity party, nor am I seeking your attention. Those days are left in the dust with Xanga. Besides, I somehow keep myself busy with plenty of things. Nevertheless, for the sake of making myself write and keeping this blog updated, this is where I am at today...just killin' time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Patriotic Rant

I show that nobody has updated in a few days...myself included. Now that I'm back into blogging purely for the sake of writing (and not for attention or popularity), I hope this "community" among friends does not die off so quickly this time around.

This last 4th of July weekend I had a last-minute opportunity to go down to the lake in N.E. Oklahoma for a day of water skiing and baking in the sun. When I wasn't wiping out on the water, I had a little bit of time to reflect on "Independence Day".

As I'm sure many would agree, when I think of the 4th of July, I think of a nation with not only innumerable resources, but innumerable freedoms to use those however they wish. I think of meat being cooked, games being played, TV's being watched, bodies of water being occupied, and resources being hoarded. My conclusion:

We. Are. Spoiled.

I think of how the Lord designated the Israelites as his chosen people. I think of how in spite of their sin & rebellion, He continued to bestow His blessing upon them (for a time). Because they continued in their wicked ways despite God's favor, He extended the "blessing" to a new group of people, not limited to locale or nationality; this was based on one thing: Jesus. Because of Jesus, we, the church, are now those chosen people. We are the ones experiencing God's favor, whether it feels like it or not.

Unfortunately, the parallels line up all too well, as we are also Israel - walking in the same sin, partaking in the same rebellion. In my own opinion, America is the worst example; I don't say this because we are the most hateful or violent nation, but because we are the most blessed, blind to Whom the blessings come from, and yet as a majority we are purely driven by a word called "me". We take everything we're given and continue to take advantage in a very self-destructive way.

I am grieved by this.

This is a time in my life where I have a list of unanswered questions for God which will likely remain unanswered in this lifetime. Add to the list: Why America? Why do You continue to bless us so (especially we who call ourselves followers of Jesus) when we are blatantly living in rebellion? I truly believe a day will come when we are one of many persecuted third-world nations...but why have we made it this long so far?

To the church, I offer this challenge: go against the norm. Break free of this stereotype. In everything we say and do, let us ask ourselves how this reflects the heart of Christ. Are we making a sincere effort to bring glory to our Creator in even the little things? Are we using our "stuff" we've been given to truly bless others (and in doing so, bless the Lord)?

I'm afraid to give an honest answer for myself. However, today, let us be spurred on toward Godliness.