Thursday, July 31, 2008

Isn't 'keen' a fun word?

Turns out my brothers weren't too keen on me meeting strangers through CL. I understand their concern, but.

After a nice chat with one of them, I decided to start looking for work again. In order to widen my horizon of options, I opened the phone book and began flipping through the yellow pages. The night before, a friend mentioned that I ought to apply for an entry-level supervisor or management position. I think maybe I underestimate myself too often. Once I realized that IS something I could do, I began to think on a larger scale of options. I don't have to be a 'retail rat' forever!

My goal is this: To get a 'grown up' job, find my own place, and enjoy each day as it was meant to be. Once I'm working, I'd like to take some dance classes and some writing classes. I'd like to do those things now, however, they usually like to charge money for them, and I am low on funds.

I will strive for simplicity and contentment.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The X-Files - I Want to Believe

***************** SPOILER ALERT!! ********************

Last night I went to see the much awaited new film from genius Chris Carter and company, The X-Files - I Want to Believe. It's a rather fitting title since every X-Phile has wanted to believe the film would be as good as the show since they heard rumor that it was being made. Contrary to the final belief of Agent Scully, X-Files fans everywhere have been left unable to believe.

The only thing that was known about the plot of the film before opening day, was that the show's creator, Chris Carter, had decided to leave behind any mention of the long running series' driving plot line of alien invasion & government conspiracy. As with the first film, Carter wanted a film that could stand on it's own two feet with out alienating (excuse the pun) those of the public who never watched the show. Unfortunately, he seemed to have fooled himself into believing that anyone other than X-Philes would want to see this film. In fact, it took so long for the film to finally make an appearance, he's probably even lost some of that fan base. Now, instead of seeing fans come excitedly out of the theater chattering with how wonderful the movie is and how it stayed true to the show, outsiders ears will ring with the sound of patron disappointment. It's is this Phile's opinion that he should have stayed on track with what we love, and in doing so, he could have created a whole NEW generation of fans, who would then run out to buy the series on DVD - and isn't it all about the money anyway?

Part of the enjoyment of a film can be influenced by the audience itself. Though the seats were rather empty, there were two teen aged girls one row down who would laugh hysterically at the slightest thing. Not cool. Now, I have always found the X-Files to be witty and humorous, however, I was not informed that this film was a comedy. During any given show, you're bound to find yourself chuckling under your breath every so often, but you rarely find yourself laughing out loud. It became a nuisance.

The movie opens very similarly to it's precursor, X-Files - Fight the Future, with a very snowy scene. Perhaps it's cheaper to shoot in wintry conditions. It was sad that it wasn't very classically X-Files. Sure, it had the trademark time/location stamp in the lower left corner, it had the wonderfully composed music of Mark Snow, and the quirky habits of Mulder that Philes have grown to love. Other than that, it was lacking. I felt it spent slightly too much time on the now bored relationship between Mulder and Scully. It was difficult to believe that two such determined people would have ended up the way the film portrays. Or perhaps I just don't want to believe that would happen to them. The friendly push and pull banter between them was gone. Scully was sadly made out to be a boring middle aged doctor with nothing to get upset about except people stepping on her toes. Towards the end, there was a shinning glimmer of hope with the unveiled presence of A.D. Walter Skinner. It was welcomed with erupted applause (and giggles from the girls).

The battle of the story was one more of a spiritual matter than a supernatural one. Once again Mulder goes off on a wild goose chase (only with a bit less action being they've aged a bit) and begs Scully to help him as usual. She gets involved for a time, but since she's now a medical doctor, she has her own life to worry about. She's trying to save the life of a young boy. While out with Mulder, his source, a Catholic Priest turned pedophile, turns to Scully and says "Don't give up." She doesn't believe in the man's so-called visions from God that have been assisting Mulder in finding the victim of said goose chase, mainly because she doesn't believe God would speak through a man so sick and evil. However, since this man knows nothing about what she's doing to save the boy, which she doubts she's able to do, she freaks out and wants to believe that God is speaking to her through this man. In the end, she goes through with the experimental procedures on the boy, and it is left up to the audience to decided if he is saved or not.

I enjoyed watching the movie, even though I had my disappointments. And for those of you who decide to go see the film, make sure to stay through the credits. There's a little something something to finish off the story. It's not a teaser for another film, but as I recall from back in the day, both Duchovny and Anderson were rumored to have signed a contract to film 3 X-Files movies.....

Watch out for 12/22/12....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Perfect Strangers

I've been wanting to meet some new people lately, so I posted a brief ad on CL yesterday. A few hours later, I found myself (and Jami) enjoying the company of a complete stranger. Here's the story as I told it to a friend in an email:

So, we met this guy Sean at around 8:15pm down at DeCoursee. We decided to skip frisbee and go walk on the trails. Sean apparently knows the trails well because he says it's his favorite park in the area and that the trail totals about 3.3 miles. So we head off into the woods. He's wearing sneakers, Jami and I are in flips. At about 9pm we end up over at Fruitland Elem. He goes searching the school and finds a bouncy ball that we throw around for a while. He's a really great guy, very talkative and easy going. Well, a half hour goes by and I suggest that we may want to start heading back. We stop at the water fountain before going back into the woods and he starts joking about all the scary things that we might run into on the way back. A sense of humor, that's good.

We head off towards the woods and he just walks in them where there isn't a trail. He's stomping over brush and Jami and I are like, um.... is there a trail? The trail is just 15 steps into the wood, he was just short cutting into it. But, he's also a gentleman so he offered to piggy back us over the bushes so we wouldn't get pricked or anything. I took him up on the offer, while Jami passed and decided to just walk real close behind. That was just for those 15 steps or so. So here I'm thinking, gee, I never thought I'd be riding piggy back on someone I met only a few hours ago.

We forge ahead, barely able to see, following our mighty leader. At one point I pull out my cell phone and use it to try and see, but it seems to be more blinding than it is helpful. As we get further into the woods, we start to hear a shreeking sound that grows louder and more aggitated at us. It was a bat. We apparently were walking into his territory and he didn't like it. We swear it was circling us because the sound kept jumping side to side. Sean decided to take us on a shortcut trail so we can get out of there faster, not so much because of the bat, but because the park closed at dusk and no one wanted to get a ticket.

Down the short cut we go, only we are sliding most of the way, because it's really just a soft dirt streak on the side of the hill in flips. Once again, concerned for us, he offers to take us each down one at a time. However, neither of us wanted to be left alone. So, I get real cozy with this stranger again as we go slowly down this mountain and Jami takes off her flips for a better grip. I'd say we went downhill this way for a good 15 minutes. Every so often, we would come to a T in the route and he'd look back and forth trying to decide which way to go. But he was always confident of his decision and so Jami and I followed blindly. Jami did make sure to ask him early on if he was a serial killer, which he is not, so we felt safe.

Once we finally got back on the main trail and could walk normally again with the bat far behind us, we started to see glimpses of a light somewhere out there. Finally, we could tell it was a person and Sean hollered at him, but got a quiet mumbled response. Not cool. Next thing we know, he's on the trail behind us and walking at a rather brisk pace. At this point Sean moves behind Jami and I on the trail. What a good protector! When the trail widens out, we move to the side to let the creepy guy pass, and he doesn't say a word. We can barely make out that he's got something on his belt (Sean thinks it's knife) and he's carrying what looks like perhaps a map. Not too far ahead of us, he goes off the trail into the wood and as we pass him, his light goes dim. Not fun. We weren't too far from the parking lot, so we just picked up the pace, making it to the cars about 10:10pm.

After all that, we went to Red Robin for some drinks. Jami and I split some chicken and fries. Yum. Our feet were rather dirty, though Jami's were much worse than mine. We continued to talk and share about our lives. He shared about his family and job and was able to be very open and honest. At the end of the night he picked up the tab. What a great time I had. I can't wait to meet more of the folks who answered my little ad. There were 8 more emails in my inbox when I came home!

I think this was a great way to meet a perfect stranger!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Weekend Away

I had a lovely time out camping this weekend with some dear friends. We drove down to Battle Ground Lake Park for a few days, but wish we could have stayed longer.


On the road!

Dinner time!

S'more fun! I had mine with Reese's and a Crunch bar.

Playing Yahtzee!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Music to my ears.

Yesterday, I stopped by the library to see if they might have the soundtrack to Momma Mia available. Before I went searching the soundtracks I went through the section marked SACRED. I like to browse this section every so often, just to check in. I pulled out two albums that I had never heard of before. Usually when I do this, I end up with semi interesting albums, but hardly ever end up with something I absolutely adore. I hit the jackpot this time! Both CDs I grabbed, are fantastic. Actually, they are so much more.

The first one I picked up was Ralph Stanley's SHINE ON. The song titles on the back included "I'll Fly Away" and "This Little Light of Mine" so I thought, why not? I had no idea what kind of music would come out of my stereo when I played this disc and I was pleasantly surprised. It's a beautifully heartfelt bluegrass album that brought me back to a simpler time. It made me want to hitch up my overalls and go running through a corn field. There's something grand about an old man singing about his Jesus. I dare you not to dance.

The second artist I hadn't heard of is a phenomenally talented young man, Jimmy Needham. His voice is reminiscent of Jason Mraz and Micheal Bublé. His songs are wonderfully honest. In "Lost at sea" he speaks of following Christ though the way is unknown. He wonders at how this Holy King could see him for who he is and not want to "discontinue [him] for all eternity and then some." He has an obvious heart for the Lord and for the Lost as made known in "Dearly Loved". His voice is of a man crying out to his people to rise up and realize their true potential and calling. The album's title song "Speak" is inspired by Romans 10:14. He ends the album with a profoundly read Benediction that will touch you.

I urge you to give this whole album a chance if you are able. Let it convict and inspire you.

The Fear Factor

You know those days when you get a decent amount done, and you feel great afterward? As if you've just made serious progress in some quest you're on. Maybe that feeling is saved for us "list nerds" that find it bliss to check off the final item on that overbearing Things I Can't Afford to Pay Someone Else To Do list. I've had a comforter that's needed to visit a dry cleaner for about four months. After 'clearing' the garage, I made a pile of items to get rid of. That was about two months ago. How hard is it to load the boxes in my car and drive over to Salvation Army?

If it's such a grand emotion, why is it so difficult to get started? You know in the end you'll feel like King Kong, and yet procrastination ensues. WHY? The only answer I can grasp at is fear. Fear of something. Please don't ask me WHAT. I haven't gotten that far. Plus, I'm certain it's different for all of us.

Fear is a powerful human emotion and we usual allow it to incapacitate us negatively, and cause us to act unwittingly. Fear of ugliness can cause us to spend outrageous amounts of Benjamins on make-up, clothing, hair cuts, and even surgery. Fear of failure can let that pretty girl walk out the door before we talk to her. Fear of loss can keep us from taking a risk and keep us from truly living. Advertisers and Marketers have figured this out a long time ago and have been using our fears against us for years. Next time you're watching the boob tube, just ask yourself what fear is being presented in the next commercial you see. "Have it your way!" -BK

I think at times we find ourselves so comfortable with this type of living, that to step away from it sounds like more work than we think it's worth. Ironic isn't it? The fear of not walking in fear, keeps us trapped in our personal pit of despair. Life being sucked out of us, one lift of the lever at a time.

Perhaps these are just my own personal fears and no one else has any clue what I'm talking about, but I doubt it. Humanity is a whole. We all laugh, we all cry, we all bleed, and we all fear. I had only wanted to write a useless blog about "what I ought to get done today but won't." Turned out quite differently I think.

I'm not sure it's possible to live a life completely devoid of fear, but we can turn the tables and use fear to our advantage. A fear of being poor has driven many a men to become thieves, but it has also created hard working men as well. The choice is ours.

So, if you're going to let fear drive you today, let the fear of ugliness persuade you to put on a smile and create smiles on those around you. Let the fear of failure drive you to success for the Kingdom. And let the fear of loss urge you to linger a little longer with friends and to not hesitate to say 'I love you.'

I think I will have to do a little study on 1 Jn 4:18. Perhaps a fearless life is possible....

Friday, July 18, 2008

Is this for real?!

Sometimes when I read the paper, I feel like I ought to be reading fiction. Reports like this just shouldn't be real.

A group of golfers complain that the group ahead of them are playing too slowly. Next thing you know, there's a golfer being rushed to the hospital because he hit another man's golf club with his head.

Shouldn't the story have gone more like this?:

"Hey there Larry, it seems that our group here is going at a bit more rushed pace than your guys. Would it be a problem if we played ahead of you?"

"George! Of course not! We're enjoying our leisurely pace, and wouldn't mind waiting while you gentleman play ahead of us."

And the beat goes on.


If this photo doesn't make your day, I don't know what will.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

S & S

I've been recently engrossed in Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility. I have found a quote from the 1995 version of the film that describes my desires for a husband perfectly.

You require so much!

I do not! I require only what any young woman of taste should - a man who sings well, dances admirably, rides bravely, reads with passion and whose tastes agree in every point with my own.

Isn't this what we all want?

Spiders, Starring, and Tacos

The lovely Jami and her new 'do' and I went for a bike ride this evening. I brought a helmet that I hadn't used in a while and had to clean it of spiders. Ick. I was a bit paranoid that I missed a spider and it was going to get me once I put the helmet on. Thankfully, it was only a nightmare and never a reality. We took a break on the grass on the side of the road where we apparently were the talk of the town as deducted from the blatant stares we received. On the way back to the house, Jami was almost blown up by a firework lit by a rather polite hoodlum. I guess she's just explosive! We then went off to dine at Taco Time. Yum! Thanks for the fun day Jame!

One month.

Well. It's been a month since I started my fitness challenge. To let you all know, I did adjust the program a bit to fit my goals better. However, I did some major slacking with the nutrition side of things. Yes, this photo was taken this morning. Notice that it looks identical to the first photo I post. This is not encouraging. However, I am still determined and encouraged that I am improving my overall health. Perhaps the next four weeks will bring more visible results. Go me!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Severe Mercy

There are bothersome things that come with finishing a good book, they are a bother to me at least. For one, there is a strong desire to re-experience the story all over again right away. Unfortunately, it's a difficult task considering the medium. There's a want so strong to get to the end of the book to find out what conclusions will be made, but at the end of a good story, you want nothing more than to go backwards, and never quite finish the book after all. There's also the sudden heavy weight of knowing that you are responsible for acting upon this newly gained knowledge. A good book affects you, it stirs within you passions once fiery and dreams once touchable. So then lies the question of what sort of doing must now be done.

I just finished reading this memoir by Sheldon Vanauken and have so many thoughts spinning that it's as if they are not really spinning, but are rather at a stand still. Frozen, and unable to separate. I will attempt to attack them gently with a pickaxe.

*The previous text was written a week earlier than the following:

I ought to have set aside all distraction and explored my thoughts more immediately, rather than waiting a week. I fear some of those thoughts will now stay hidden away for another day. Hopefully to arise as a pleasant surprise on some idle Tuesday.

In the final chapter of the book, Vanauken quotes C.S. Lewis,
'if a man diligently followed this desire [for joy], pursuing the false objects until their falsity appeared and then resolutely abandoning them, he must come out at last into the clear knowledge that the human soul was made to enjoy some object that is never fully given - nay, cannot even be imagined as given - in our present mode of subjective and spatio-temporal experience.'
Huh? Lewis refers to the deepest longing of the human soul. The way your heart seems to long for something far beyond reach, yet we search and search for it. What we are seeking is joy, and we will chase after whatever it is that we believe we will find it in. Whether that be in painting, in sailing, in motherhood, in sports, or some other endeavor that we find ourselves enamored with. It is in the failing to find that highest of all joys that we must come to realize it is in something so much bigger than we could ever begin to fathom. We cannot deny that we all long for this joy.

Thus, we can only conclude that we were made to enjoy this something that so lures our souls. What we are seeking is God. Though we may not recognize it, he is the ultimate satisfaction that our heart aches to taste. Vanauken claims this idea as the heart of his and C.S. Lewis' writings.

Vanuaken's tale is one that journeys through his and his wife's quest for this joy and how they discover Christ. He is beautifully honest with his words and takes the time to tell the whole story. During the years the book is set, the author meets and corresponds with C.S. Lewis, asking him tough questions about Christianity at first, and continuing on as dear friends, praying for one another, as the years pass.

I will end now, for I feel I cannot ever capture all that this book speaks. What I've shared is only a tiny portion of this filling meal that leaves it's reader ready for dessert. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Airlines being offered new 'shock bracelet' to help deter terrorists.

Airlines being offered new 'shock bracelet' to help deter terrorists.

Karen De Coster writing on LRC had the following to say about this enslavement bracelet.

This bracelet will replace the need for a ticket and contain all necessary information about the person, and as a bonus, it can allow the passenger to be tracked through the terminal. Crew members would be empowered with radio frequency transmitters to subdue "hijackers." The technology will override a person’s central nervous system and zap them down quicker than you can say "Homeland Security." The company assures us that being dragged through the bracelet process is a "small inconvenience in order to assure your safe arrival." In fact, its studies show that most people would "happily opt" for wearing the bracelet to "insure their own security."

Alright. Who's the joker who came up with this? April fool's right?
Let us not become bitter & tainted by the world. May we keep our bright eyes and youthful hope.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

a random study

Seeking to hear from God is like trying to decipher a combination lock. As if the right combo of worship, bible reading, purity, and joy will open the door to the King's throne. Or perhaps it's a mixture of a completely different set of Christian virtues. There's an impossible amount of possibilities to this lock. I remind God that I am nothing and he is the Brilliant One. He may have the know how to figure it out, but I certainly don't. Though I try. If only I could figure it out, then I'd be set. I wonder if God enjoys watching us lose sleep over such longings. My heart aches for his voice, for his direction and guidance. Why does he not email me directions? Even Google does that! Why does the Lord seem so unaccessible? Decoding that lock is a daunting task. My biggest fear is that I may find the combination, release the lock, and open the door only to find another lock.

So I turn elsewhere. There are truths at my finger tips that are not under lock and key. I will search the scriptures. I will scour the love letter of the Beautiful One. I will stand on these truths and continue to carry Hope in my God.

I begin here: Psalm 48:14 "This God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death." While it's not exactly known after which victory this song was penned, we are certain that there was a victory. The writer praises Jerusalem, the City of God, and in so doing he praises the God of Jerusalem. Enemies fear it, friends delight in it, God takes care of it, he provides safety for it; it is praised for what God has done, does, and will do for it. The Psalmist sees the glory of the Creator in the creation and so ends by declaring loyalty to God. He is not saying that God will lead him, but that he will follow this great and wonderful King.

I'm sure glad I chose to read and study this whole Psalm. What a difference it makes! It's not about getting emails from God that tell me what to do. It's about recognizing that following God leads to success in life, and I must seek him where he's at in order to follow. I must not wait for him to come to me and my dreams. A challenging victory indeed!

I had planned to just list off some verses that mention leading and guidance and let them simmer for a while. This study turned out better than I had expected.

Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye."

Friday, July 4, 2008

Niner Zero Six Delta Golf

Here's Amy in front of the plane! We got up pretty early to catch our flight! We stopped for breakfast and a fill up and were able to catch Nathan's hot dog eating contest final. Who wants to eat 59 hot dogs in a year, much less in ten minutes?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Independence Day America!

I won't be around this weekend, I'll be enjoying the sun! I urge you to do the same :)

Happy 4th!