Saturday, September 29, 2012

Memorization: Colossians 3, Part 2

After my Morning and Evening posts from Thursday, I thought I would give you guys a break and post something a little less me and far more Christ-honoring and encouraging--Scripture.

In a post I wrote here, I explain my current year-long plan to memorize thirty passages of Scripture for my thirtieth year of life. One such passage on which I have been working is Colossians 3. Today, I offer the chapter in its entirety, plus the first verse of chapter 4 as a kicker.

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears; then you also will appear with him in glory. 
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all. 
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,  compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your heart to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 
Wives, submit to your husband, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with the. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do you not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven."

I gotta admit; I had a few mistakes I had to go back and correct (wanna share the verses accurately, you know). If I were grading it, I'd have given myself an 87%--about a percentage point off for each error.  Looks like I'll need to review this perpetually for it to stick.

Thanks for reading!! I picked up a short passage in Romans that I will share next week. Now onto a doozy from I John 3.


Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Some evenings...

Remember this post from the morning?

Well, I'm here to fulfill my promise. How did I deal with "one of those mornings"?

Pretty simple, really. I stopped whining and started being an adult.

I took a deep breath, considered my life, and acknowledged the fact that if I had a job, I would have no choice but to do what I must. So I did. I took the pic for my semi-weekly flickr/instagram comic, I programmed a new unlocking remote for our car, I packed ebay items, and I worked on my book. Oh, and I did more push-ups--a lot more push-ups.

A funny thing happened halfway between the car issue and working on the novel. I just kinda got over the feelings of the morning. Around 11 AM, I looked at the clock and realized I had done a good amount already, and I had plenty more I could accomplish. That in mind, I mailed some packages, worked more on the book, went for a walk with the wife, and even grabbed a post-lunch nap. After dinner I kept trying to stay on task and ran drills on the piano (I hope to undertake the keys during my stint in a house that has them).

Bottom line is this, folks. I have a real opportunity right now. Yes, I have no verified revenue stream; but what I lack in income I have in time--another valuable resource altogether. I need to spend it well. If I want to call myself a writer, then I have to write, especially on the days I do not want to. That's how a job works, right?

Thanks for bearing with me today. Hopefully what I have to share Saturday will be a bit more useful.

Some Mornings...

Some mornings I awake and want to do nothing. Some mornings I get up and I'm ready to go. This morning is definitely one of the former, and I have no idea why.  Was I up too late?  Is my coffee weak? I am just drained emotionally, spiritually, or mentally?  Do I just need a break?  Is my body out of whack because I did not work out yesterday?  Did I work out too hard the evening before?  Lots of questions accompany mornings like these, when sloth looks more appealing than effort and small tasks seem to be insurmountable.

I hate these mornings, and the longer we go without work, the more I come to loathe them. I tell myself that it's time to move, that I cannot waste these days, that I must stay in motion--but some mornings, I just do not feel the drive.

Perhaps another round of push-ups will jolt me into gear. ...nope.
Maybe I need some extra breakfast. ...nah
More coffee and an extra boost of sugary creamer?  I doubt it.

Frankly, I think this is just one of "those" mornings. Some of them are like this.  I wish it wasn't so.  But today, it really is.

Luckily, the day is young. It's just past 8 AM, and I still have alot of hours ahead of me. Gotta change things up. Do something different. Maybe that'll help. Or maybe it's just be one of those mornings.

[Dear Readers, Here's a promise...I will post again either this evening or tomorrow and tell you what became of this day. Who knows, maybe then I'll have something a little more useful to bring to the blogosphere...or maybe I'll just have to admit that I spent the day doing nothing.]

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

After a month...

My wife and I have been in Delaware for 4 weeks as of today. Between the two of us, we have researched hundreds of jobs, applied for dozens, and heard very little. I have had some phone interviews. My wife was offered a position that was not the right fit. We have had unplanned expenses. We are learning the area, my wife for the first time, me for the second. Things have changed. We have had some stark realizations in the last 28 days.

When we first arrived, I felt at peace. We were exactly where we needed to be. One month later--without jobs, our savings draining, my goal of self-publishing becoming ever more complex--I feel as satisfied, as at peace, and as hopeful. Frankly, I feel almost better than I did then. I have been so fulfilled over this last month. Seeing old friends, making new acquaintances, visiting old haunts, enjoying evenings with family--these have been wonderful experiences.  The major issue I am having is maintaining my focus on Christ, on honoring him with my time and my energy, on remember that he led us out here in the first place and ensuring that I continue to keep him at the center of our lives. I have waned and waxed in that focus, but overall my love of Christ has continued to grow.

As we move into month two, my thoughts are optimistic, particularly in light of month one. Here's a few bullet-points:

*My book is gonna get better. Stronghold is significantly more readable than it was a month ago, and it will be improved more a month from today. I am unsure of when it will be "ready" for publication, but I am certain that I will be confident in the quality of the work when that time comes.

*Jobs are a priority, but we may still be without them at October's end. We are going to continue looking for work, and I still believe that we will find those positions that the Lord wants us to take. This last week, my wife was given the opportunity to take a job that was clearly not aligned with our goals and schedule. She had the wisdom to decline it, and the Spirit filled her with peace as a result of making the choice. We are seeking, he is leading; and I am wholly assured we will land where he wants us. I just don't know it that will happne in the next 30 days; and frankly, I am okay with that.

*Our social circle will continue to grow as we visit more churches and make more acquaintances, and I hope that by October's end, we will have hit the major churches we intended to visit and make a call by November to which we should or commit (or at least develop a short-list).

*Time with my family will continue to increase and hopefully find some consistency/regularity.

*Oh, and more unforeseen expenses and monetary restraints will emerge, and we will stress initially and then get over it. That's a given.

Will let you know how his all pans out come October 24, 2012. Until then I'll be posting more of the same, about livin' life like the blog suggests! As always, thanks for reading and keeping up with us!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Conflicting Values

Once upon a time, I committed to a schedule for my blog. Posts would appear on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. This past weekend, you may have noticed that no post appeared. Well, there's a story about that--not too much of a story, just about a post's worth.

Usually, I set my alarm for around dawn and disturb my wife's sleep as I make my way downstairs to do my Bible reading/Sciprture memorization before beginning the day's tasks. Friday night, however, I felt that I should forego the alarm; and once I awoke Saturday, I decided to just stay in bed and read in order to be there when she awoke. When she did, I offered to pick up breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and drinks at Starbucks. While I was out I also stopped at the Redbox to grab us a film we've been wanting to see since spring. By this point I realized that this day was shaping into the type of Saturday we often enjoyed in California. Out west, after a long week with both of us working, we'd usually get up Saturday and share breakfast and a film--it was one of my favorite habits that we developed, one I could definitely adopt anew once we get settled into our own home at a later time (and one that we have not indulged since around May). 

Anyway, we were enjoying the morning so much that it became evident that I was going to take this Saturday as my weekly day of rest and transition Sunday into a working day. That being the case, I went out, got another two flics, and used gift cards to get us lunch. We watched the second movie with some Wendo's (or "Wendy's" as it known by most), shot some hoops, read, relaxed, and watched a third film to end the evening. 

About quarter-to-ten, it hit me. I had failed to blog on my scheduled day. Oh no.  I wrestled within myself. Should I meet my schedule and get done a post or should I maintain the disciple of rest, go to bed and just continue my posting schedule on Monday? I know the choice seems insignificant, but I found myself pinning beloved values against one another (work versus rest).

Clearly I chose the latter; and as per usual, I did this for a few reasons. First, at this point in my life, maintaining the discipline and worship of rest is more important than hitting a self-imposed schedule for a personal blog. Second, I really felt that the day had been about us--my wife and I enjoying rest together, and the blog is a solo gig; thus, it would have been selfish for me to seclude myself and write in the last hour or two of the day. Third, given the first two reasons, I would have blogged against my better judgement, and I would not have taken the time to re-write my post through a half-dozen drafts, to say whatever I had to say, well. I think I made the right call.  

I find myself running into these conflicts more as I get older, as I live with more intentionality and attempt to live the best life I can. They are good conflicts to have. That being said, I apologize to those hoping for a Saturday post who didn't get it. I doubt that many checked that day (or yesterday), but for those who did, I am sorry for the day-shifting and resulting lack of post; but if it's a minor consolation, the skipping of that post led directly to this one (funny how things work out).  

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Rewriting, or as Writers Call it, "Writing"

I am in the process of editing the third draft of my first novel, Stronghold. The first draft was all about finishing. The second was about correcting obvious errors that emerged when reading the first. This draft has been about everything else; and that covers a good bit.

Adverbs. Verb Tense. Sentence Structure. Tone. Oh, how the little nuances of inefficiency are peppered throughout an early manuscript. I cannot count  how often my characters "began to" do things rather than do them, or how they "just","barely" did them while "still" "doing" something else, "so that" the action would "feel like" something entirely different but wholly similar. Ugh. This latest rewrite is the kind that makes one ask, "should I even be writing at all?". Yes, it's been that bad. I am finding, however, that the process has been more fulfilling than those that preceded it.

The first draft was exciting. The ideas flowed; the story unfolded. Characters surprised me, and themes emerged. As both a first-person protagonist and a first-time novelist, I went on a wild ride. The second draft was inspiring. I had run through the text, and it actually proved readable. And well-paced. And engaging. At least I thought it was. Correcting typos was a small price to pay for the realization that I had a manuscript.

I then read the second draft, and the sheen began to disappear. Sentences began to catch my eyes in all the wrong ways and on every page. Run-ons were rampant. Ideas were dropped. Glaring mistakes were everywhere. The manuscript was incomplete (or at least unpresentable, which means incomplete).

Thus, I went to work. One small step at a time. Pulling out the just's, the already's, the still's, the begin-to's, the continue-with's, the feel-like's, and the again's. This of course required the re-write of phrases, then sentences, then paragraphs, then sections and more. Then came the onslaught of questions on minutea: "why are they doing that?",  "how did they know that?", "why did he say that?",  "can this be shorter?", "should this be longer?", "how can I word this and should I even bother?".  And then there's the dialog. Oh, wonderful dialog.

During this process, one thing became clear, and it changed the way I approached every session. I am a writer now. A real writer. I sit at the screen and write and read and re-write and re-read until nothing makes sense. Then I do thirty push-ups and start the process anew. I get up early and I put in time--any time--to make sure I don't get too distant from the book and its needs. I look up rules I should have learned as a child. I ensure that I am constantly reading other authors. I think about corrections I need to make when I am nowhere near my computer to make them. I am in a constant state of writing--of editing, correcting, and slowly perfecting. The process is tedious and tiresome. And I love it. I find myself more excited to do it each day, for with each surgical change, my novel improves, and it can only get better (no really, it has to only get better).

Here's to draft 4...and the many drafts to follow!

Thanks for reading,

PS - I didn't do a dozen drafts on this post, so I promise the novel will be better written than this is. Just sayin'.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I overslept.

My parents left yesterday for a 10-day trip, and for the first time since our arrival in DE, my wife and I have the house to ourselves.  Because of this I decided not to set my alarm last night. I was hesitant to do this and even said, "I probably should set it, cause if I don't I'm gonna sleep in until 10 AM". I was assured that I would not do so, and I would likely catch a little extra, much-needed sleep. Believing that, I laid down knowing no alarm would sound, and I fell into a deep sleep.

I dreamed of many things--the first of which woke me in the middle of the night but did not rattle me to the extent that I remember it. The second thing about which I dreamed was a camp or college or some sort of community wherein dorm life was involved. At this place, I was being bullied and rejected. I awoke at least once after some major incident but fell back asleep and returned to the dream (which, of course, only happens when the circumstances of the dream are unfavorable). I continued my plight in social torment, attempting with great moral conviction to simply take my lumps without retaliation, until I finally snapped and enacted vengeance that was wholly imbalanced against the ill I had experienced, nearly beating my persecutor to within an inch of his life (strangely, his head went from a normal one at the beginning of my attack to a video monitor with his picture on it by the end, which I think symbolizes my dehumanizing him during the process of my assault. But what do I know about dreams.). This violent event shocked back to reality, and I awoke with the echoes of the dream in my memory, coupled with a sense of concern over why the subconscious story played itself out in such a fashion.

Being wholly awake given this experience, I ventured downstairs thinking, "I feel oddly refreshed, I must gotten adequate sleep and worked through something through that dreaming. I am guessing it is around 9 AM." Much to my chagrin, however, the clock read 10:34 AM. This was disappointing. For those first few moments after seeing the time, I felt a whirlwind of emotions: "Oh no! I lost 4 hours of my day (seeing as how I am usually up by 6:30). I am not keeping my schedule. How will I ever get anything done? I am becoming lazy. I still don't have a job. I am such a derelict!"  But something happened that I did not expect, something truly wonderful.

A host of ideas from the last week rushed to the forefront of my mind. First, I began to consider things said to me by a good friend with whom I recently had drinks. His current place in life is heavily focused on self-awareness and acceptance, and he had encouraged me to remember self-compassion in the face of failing to meet my own standards of excellence (standards that he found admirable given my being unemployed). Second, I began to reflect on a Scripture shared with me not once but twice yesterday--Romans 8:1, "There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit". Third, I thought about a time of sharing that occurred at church yesterday, in which folks spoke of God's grace, his seeing us as we are in Christ, and his desire for us to look forward and pursue the future rather than dwelling on present or past failure. Fourth, I thought of my wife's ever-earnest desire for me to cut myself a break when I fail to do things I demand of myself, a desire I knew she would voice if I showed any concern over the amount of sleep I got. I do not find it accidental that all of these things were reiterated over and over by independent parties over the last week, leading to today.

With these ideas in force, I took a breath and simply accepted what had happened, and I was grateful to the Lord for it. "Wow," I thought, "I must have really needed that sleep and that time to process whatever was happening in the recesses of my mind." I focus on this second point because of what I felt after the dream had passed (and, frankly, while it was ending). The individual who had belittled me  and met my wrath became a victim himself due to my response, a dynamic which filled me with great compassion toward him and remorse for my supposed act of defensive justice. I am still trying to discern what was motivating this, but I have a 4-5 mile run today to contemplate it. Bottom line is, I am encouraged, truly; for two things happened today that I would not have expected. First, the self-abasement as a result from my sleeping was minimal (a development for me, I assure you). Second, having quickly resolved to accept that my day was starting late, I got to task with immediacy and fervor, getting done a number of things that I was not looking forward to doing.

Not a bad way to start the faux-workweek. Thanks for reading,


Saturday, September 15, 2012

On Conversation

I find that I delight in good conversation more than many other aspects of human interaction. Quiet time spent in proximity is wonderful. Games and activities are plenty of fun. But something about the art of exchanging deeply-held ideas blesses me in ways that work wonders on my soul. 

In fact, I think that last sentence pinpoints the very reason for my impressions. In deep conversation, my  intellect and my heart connect in a dizzying helix-like fashion, each informing and directing the other. While my feelings and beliefs are bursting from my core, my language and thought enhance these emotions by giving them form and a means of being understood. Once one idea is completed, another wants to be loosed into the world, and the pattern continues. When emotion is expressed with clarity, and the other members of the dialog respond, my soul leaps. I feel validated as a human being myself, and I have renewed connection to the person who has understood.  That other participant oftentimes expresses a portion of his or her own soul in return, providing me with a greater knowledge and appreciation of who he or she is. When I see a person's heart more deeply, I value him or her more, despite differences between us which may put us at odds. And so forth and so on. Two or more parties engaging in this organic creation of dialog conduct a sort of mental commerce and exhibition of hearts, creating an intimacy that is ever-sought but sadly rare, even among those who have known one another for a great deal of time.

Perhaps it is due to my being a screenwriter by study and a novelist by accident; but the manner in which conversations of substance develop fascinates me. I find the nature of their formation odd but endearing, in that talking about a local park's recent renovation can turn toward  reflections of childhood pleasures, which can then become a lament of lost innocence and transform into a discussion of adult anxieties.  These journeys across the paths of time and perception, wherein honesty and compassion can trump ideological supremacy, seem to me one of the greatest gifts of human language.

Needless to say, I love conversation; and as I look toward to the coming week, with my schedule feeling more full with each glance at the calendar, I am filled with great anticipation--what will be said and by whom and where?

Thank you for reading. I pray that your coming days are filled with fruitful endeavors, that Christ is revealed to you with more beauty, that your life is joyous and your hours spent purposefully.


PS - On a very personal note, I also find these conversations to be some of the moments when I am filled with the most gratitude to God for both my existence and that of others. We have a blessed gift in relationship and compounded treasure in kindhearted speech. In light of this, heaven and eternity are  more beautiful. What a joy it will be to sit amidst a New Earth, sipping drinks and talking for a thousand years, knowing that sin and death have passed and the stressors of the world and brokenness are gone. In that day, conversation will be even more honest in light of ultimate Truth, when that Truth will contextualize the self as one is, not merely as one perceives oneself to be. This is a blessed thought for those who will be there but a sober one for those who will be absent (a dichotomy that almost leads me to delete this last paragraph altogether). On that note, I need to spend time in prayer, both in praise and supplication. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Memorization: Colossians 3, Part 1

Shortly after turning 29 in June 2011, I undertook the task of reading the Chronological Study Bible (NKJV) over the course of a single year. Several days a week (but not each and every day, I admit), I would take time to sit with God's word, read a portion of it (and study notes if available), and jot down references to the events or teachings that specifically struck me. The endeavor exponentially increased my love of the Holy Bible, and I plan to read through the text in its entirety again (with a different translation) within the next few years.

Having finished the reading just prior to turning 30 in June of this year, I decided to undertake a new project for the next 12 months of my life--memorize thirty passages of Scripture. For several months, I have been going back through my notes and focusing on specific passages to memorize. This month, I began the first and possibly longest passage, Colossians 3:1-4:1, from the English Standard Version (the primary translation I am using for study at present).

I LOVE having this Scripture memorized, and I need it as a constant reminder of both Christ's glory and my own need to pursue righteousness. I feel like it is an excellent summation of a true Christian behavior and a fundamental passage to remind the believer of the lifestyle to which he or she has been called. Here is what I have memorized thus far in hopes of having the entire passage complete by month's end (In fact, come October, I will do this again and see if I have reached my goal):

"If then, you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appear, then you also will appear with him in glory. 
Put to death, therefore, what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. In these you once walked, when you were living in them, but now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouths. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. Here there is neither Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, scythian, slave, free. But Christ is all and in all. 
Put on, then, as God's chosen one's, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing one another, and if any one has a complaints against another, forgiving each other. As the Lord forgave you, so you also must forgive. And above all put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts..."

And, again, that's just the first half. Good stuff.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 10, 2012

On Rest as Worship

I attempt, with woeful inconsistency, to make my life a song of living worship. With each action and deed, I want to create a melody of grace, encouraging others and praising Christ. I want each of my words, whether directed toward the Lord himself or to my fellow humans, to give God glory. This is nigh impossible, and I oftentimes feel the plight of Paul as described in his letter to the Romans. I do that which I did not want to do and fail to do that which I should. 

Such is the reality for the Christian, and Christ, in his abundant grace and overwhelming river of mercy, forgives and renews us to continue our pursuit in spite of ourselves. The Holy Spirit, our great aid, reminds us of our loving Father and his desire to use us as vessels. The Scriptures affirm the Spirit's assurance, and they together pull our focus anew, placing it once again on Christ, allowing us to pursue our living worship once more.

In 2012, I have found the Lord teaching me about worship as rest.  I believe, wholeheartedly and with the great conviction of personal experience, that rest, particularly taken in the form of Sabbath, is a humbling and useful ways in which to honor and worship the Lord.

Sabbath, a 24-hour period without "work" (or "toil", as I would describe it), is a means by which I do three essential things for my faith. First and foremost, it is the manner in which I recalibrate my WILL to surrender to God's leading, in that I refuse to do the labor I want to do in favor of actively resting and adopting a model first displayed by God himself. Second, it is the manner in which I recognize my pride and strike it down as my week begins. I feel that I am so important and that my tasks are so essential; yet the Sabbath forces my acceptance of two things: (a) that the world continues without my accomplishing "x, y, and z" and (b) that in my frailty I actually need rest to function. Thirdly, this day of rest reignites my desire to work. Having enjoyed existence of leisure, encountered my own weakness, and resisted labor that I might have done, I am actually excited about undertaking life's many snares and demands with vigor, giving thanks to God for the very ability to work.

Inasmuch as this practice has been difficult, the Lord has used it in powerful ways. This year, Sundays became a great deal more wonderful, and the next one is only a few days away!

Thanks so much for reading!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Funsies: Car Nick Names from Trip

So, here's some weekend fun.  During our trip, we drove. A Lot. And being on the road as much as we were, we encountered a number of other drivers. Now, I don't know about you, but I tend to talk to other drivers--wait, that's not accurate--I tend to instruct and command other drivers to operate their vehicles in a manner that eases my travel. Of course, I do this in my normal "talking voice' with my windows rolled up, so they never obey (but that's besides the point). 

When doing this, I usually bestow a name on these fellow drivers based on their vehicles rather than the driver themselves. For example, rather than referring to the 60-year-old, bearded gentleman in the Blue Bronco as "Beardy", I will call him "Blue-Broncs" or some such variation. Anyway, I forced my wife to take down a list of nicknames that I gave to fellow drivers during our trip, and I thought they might be fun for a laugh...or maybe that's just me. If nothing else, I know I'm not the only one who does this. 

Silverfish (a silver sedan), as in "I'm gonna pass Silverfish."
Redbot (a red coupe), as in "Come on, Redbot, you're holdin' up everybody!"
White...Dunk (a big rig with a white trailer), as in "I want to get into the other lane, Jam, but this white...dunk is boxin' me out."  
This Jaunt (also, for a big rig), as in "Yeah, I'ma switch lanes once This Jaunt gets outta the way." 
Mother of Pearl (for a champaign-toned vehicle), "This Mother of Pearl keeps breakin' in front of me, and I can't get around him."
Bike-rack McGillicuddy (for a vehicle with a loaded bikerack on it), as in "Hey, I'm watching out for Bike-rack McGillicuddy over there; I don't want one of those cycles flying off and hittin' the windshield." 
Whitefish (a white sedan), as in "Outta the way, WhiteFish!"
Whitebread (a white sedan), as in "Look out, Whitebread!"
Van Wilder (a 12-person van), as in, "Van Wilder is gettin' over."
Truck Turner (an Expedition or truck like it), as in "And Truck Turner's with him!" ("him" being Van Wilder) 
Aquamarine (a bluish-greenish coupe) , as in "Hey man, Aquamarine is in my way, I got no moves."
Petrolio (a tanker with the word "Petreleum" on the side), as in "Let's go, Petrolio", in reference to his need to speed up. 
Blue Chip (a blue sedan), as in "Blue Chip's behind me now; I'm movin' over."

And of course, my favorite of the trip, from my wife,  Jamie. 

Werner Van Trap (an 18-wheeler rig for the "Werner" freight line), as in "Okay, Werner Von Trap, let's do this." ("doing this" meaning "driving faster through a tunnel")

Hey, gotta do something to pass the time on the road! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

In Love of People.

Last night, I went through our digital photos--all 9,800 of them. I did not plan this. I sat down at the computer to learn how to export edited LEGO shots to my iPhone. Once I learned how to get these initial pictures transferred, however, I figured I might as well take some time to save some others, just so I had them with me at all times.  But something happened as I began to roll through the years of images.

Gradually, the photos became moments in time, memories of simpler days and blessed fellowship, of joyful holidays and wonderful trips. They became a testament that things do not change but simply adapt--in spite of different locations or ages or participants (a reminder that is as relevant to me presently as it ever has been), life goes on and people are people. I saw some common threads formed throughout my life, evidenced by a thousand moments of it.

I could discuss all these threads but that would be too time-consuming. Rather, I will focus on one, the one that struck me with great conviction and has lingered in my mind since shutting down our computer last night. It's simple.

I love people.

In a sense I mean this somewhat nebulously, like when someone says "I love cats." They are giving felines a favored status by default, simply by virtue of their kind. I have the same feeling about folks, I love them and want for their best just because they are. Pictures reminded me of people who I barely met yet still remember, people for whom I care without knowing where they are, people who I may never see again on this side of life but with whom I hope to spend a thousand years in heaven, sipping tea on a porch just shooting the breeze.

Of course, I also mean this with specificity. I love my friends and family. I was almost tearful seeing their faces--their smiles, their glances, their poses struck for a laugh. I love them in as much as I know them, whether that be due to long evenings of deep talking or countless hours spent at gatherings. I love them for who they are, and in many ways I love them because of who they are becoming. I love the ones I see often and the ones who I don't. When it comes to those with whom I have really shared life, I just love these people.

That being said, I am just feeling blessed this morning.  I grew up with wonderful family, married into a wonderful family, and I have had amazing friends all along the way.

I wonder who I'll meet tomorrow...whoever they are, I kind of love them already.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

So, I'm here...what now?

Schedules. In my opinion, few things are as useful to productivity and wellness as schedules--well, perhaps lists. Schedules are the means by which we frame our lives. They assure us that time will not be lost to the ether of mindlessness and inactivity that so often bring us to a place of regret, atrophy, and lack of success. One could say that the schedule is a method of self-direction, insuring us against wasting our lives needlessly and reminding us of those things we have accomplished.

Like all good things, however, schedules can enslave us. They can become burdensome and needlessly convicting.  Planning one's day down to the minute will make each conversation seem like a meeting, every trip to the restroom feel like a step off course, and every stoplight a very hindrance to one's existence. On the other hand, a schedule with too much fluidity leads to procrastination, which is another type of enslavement (to sloth or fear) altogether.

Therefore we must consider the schedule as we do many things in life, we must look at it as a useful tool that can be a means for good or ill, depending on our implementation of it. That being said, I am developing a schedule for the near future while I am still unemployed at my parents' house, looking for work, and completing our move. The reason I am sharing it here is twofold:  first, I am going to outline a proposed publishing schedule for the blog; second, I am going to ask for accountability (for those willing to assist me in keeping my butt in gear when I fail to meet the expectations I have set forth).

Here's the daily plan I hope to keep for the next few weeks, Monday through Saturday (starting today), until I can land a gig that will demand I adjust myself to a new model.
6:45 AM - Wakies, Push-ups, Bible reading, Breakfast
8:00 AM - Daily Tasks - Outline things which must be done throughout the day.
8:30 AM - Complete listed tasks and conduct writing
11:30 AM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Continue listed tasks and job hunting
3:30 PM - Free time
4:00 PM - Continue listed tasks and job hunting
5:30 PM - Dinner
7:00 PM - Free time
9:00 PM - Workout, Shower, reading
11:00 PM - Bed

Publishing schedule (starting next week):
Monday - Blog Post
Tuesday - "Stunk's-Bricks-Pics" - The adventures LEGO Mini-stunks (via Instagram and Flickr)
Thursday - Blog and SBPs
Saturday - Blog Post

Now, given the fact that I am going to be blogging more regularly, please be prepared for less original content and more "What I'm reading", "What I'm watching", and "Recommendations", etc.  Additionally, I will likely toss up more random links as I come across them, adding some spontaneity to the mix. I would promise constant articles and musings, but the truth is that I am still trying to pin down the flavor and focus of this blog; and as a result, I am unwilling to commit to any specific themes until I am more certain I will fulfill the promise to explore them.

That's how things are looking for now. As always, thanks so much for reading! Don't forget that you can also catch content on Flickr and Twitter, just search for "CJStunkard".