Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Eve Before the Eve of the New Year

I didn't realize until I looked at my blog how long it has been since I last wrote a post. I guess there has been a lot going on both at work and at home that this just hasn't crossed my mind that often I guess.

But these past few days I have had the pleasure of participating in some of my best friends' wedding, Katie Carson and Tommy Webster. Kat and Tommy are some of my dearest, dearest friends. I have learned so much about life and love from the both of them and through watching their love story unfold these past two years. Truly, one of the things that I can say about myself is that I love to learn, and these two have taught me incalculable lessons on how to value and love people. Their love for the Lord, their creativity, and again their love for community has changed my life. It has been such a joy to be a part of helping them get ready for their wedding day! I cannot wait for tomorrow when they are finally man and wife!!

As I get ready on this eve of the eve of the new year, and start mentally preparing myself for 2008, there are many things to reflect on. Mostly things having to do with what I want to accomplish next year. I don't like to make goals for myself. Goals actually mean something. And goals don't leave much room for spontaneity or the bends in the journey. Or for a procrastinator like myself, goals end up becoming guidelines and thus lose their intended power.

But I think that now I have a different view. I heard this quote once from Zig Ziglar: "Are you a wandering generality or a meaningful specific?" I have lived my life as a wandering generality, just taking life as it comes and not having an ending in sight that I want to accomplish. But I would like to start in 2008 to live my life as a meaningful specific, because I think I have realized that you can live life with goals but also leave room enough for life to run its course. So as 2007 comes to a close, I am going to think hard on what I want 2008 to look like and come up with some goals - goals that I am going to take seriously. And on New Year's I'll post some of those goals on here!

That is, after I have recovered from Kat and Tommy's wedding! :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Heavy Heart...

Today is a black day for Major League Baseball. The Mitchell Report, a 400+ page document, came out detailing the use of steroids and named the names of allegedly 80 players that George Mitchell was able to confirm used steroids.

The fact that there are MLB players that have used steroids is not a surprise. Anybody who looks at Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, or Jason Giambi three years ago, cannot have a hint of doubt.

What hurts me as a fan though is learning that some of the best pitchers in the game, Roger Clemens and Andy Petitte, were also users.


Pitchers have a special place in my heart. To me, a well-pitched game is the most exciting thing in all of baseball. Forget the homerun. Homeruns are overrated. But a guy who can pitch a full nine innings is a hero - bar none. A guy who can load the bases but then battle all the way back to strike the next three hitters out is a hero. Pitching makes or breaks the game (caveat - you do need to have good hitters - but if you have great pitching, you don't need great hitters - just good hitters). There is nothing more exciting than a pitcher's duel. That is why, though Josh Beckett is now a hated Red Sox, I still love him - he is one of the most awesome pitchers in the game right now.

That is why this hits me so hard. Being a diehard Yankees fan, I have to live with the hatred of everyone for their dominance in baseball. Now I learn that players on my beloved team, and pitchers nonetheless, cheated!! I mean even Chuck Knoblauch was named!! Knoblauch! The disappointment and hurt runs deep.

I just hope that in the end, all the youth and college ballplayers that I come in touch with, will take this whole scandal as a warning and not try to cheat the game. I have seen quite a few of the college guys come through who were so big, that it just isn't natural. I hope that they realize that the path they are walking on is a perilous one before it is too late.

That hope is what makes the disappointment and hurt less painful.

Monday, December 10, 2007

That Perfect, Elusive, Shot...

This past weekend I went to the driving range and tried to hit a bucket of balls semi-successfully. I think that for the amount of experience I have (very, very little and no lessons), I can hit a golf ball pretty well. There is a lot I need to learn, but I haven't devoted the time needed to get my swing right or to seek out help from those who know more than I do. But nevertheless, there were shots that went straight and true and far and sounded so pretty, that I fall in love with the game all over again. And then the very next shot I either hook, slice, or top the ball and I wonder why in the world am I deluding myself?

I guess the beauty that is found in the world of golf is the ability it has to build character. You have to have humility; you have to be able to laugh at yourself; you have to be able to ride the emotional rollercoaster that each shot brings; you have to be able to ignore those around you, the people that may be watching you, and just focus on you and the ball - otherwise, you psych yourself out! And in the course of the journey of eighteen holes or a bucket of balls, you can hit each and every single one of those emotions. And then there are those shots that will live with you forever, and those are the shots that will always keep you swinging that club.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Reflections on Fall

I know that fall is almost over, but I came across this reflection that I wrote about a year ago when I was reading back through some of my old journals, and I really like it, so wanted to share it (please forgive the run-ons and lack of grammar...). It was written when I was housesitting out in Amissville, as I was sitting outside on the back porch of the house.


I feel as if I am in Narnia Lord. It is so perfectly and devastatingly beautiful right now, gazing out into a sea of green, shades of green, when the world and nature enter this season of passing away; when the trees, instead of glorifying in their strength and beauty, fall and fade into the passing of the season with dignified forbearance. In this last gasp of life, nature, the earth, bursts forth in a flurry of color and warmth, as if to remind us that in death, abundant life is found. The winter, no matter how long and how cold, cannot hide the life that courses underneath it forever.

The mountains rise in the background, gracing the scene with tangible icons of forbearance. Their timeless beauty and grace stands firm, unmovable, with wisdom and knowledge, whether crowned with the greenness of trees or the blanket whiteness of snow.

And coursing through it all is the primal pulse of all living things. The symphony and cacophony of crickets, beetles, birds, and all other insects. Flowers bloom in all their beauty, not ready to succumb to the inevitably of the season around them. And the sun; the beautiful, glorious, life-giving Son; the sun that provides all warmth and light shines its life-giving rays upon all - made bearable by the wisps of wind that breeze through it all. It rustles all leaves, lifting and gently depositing those that have succumbed to death; those whose brief, glorious life adjoined to the branch, has now passed. They will no longer dance with their brothers and sisters because that part of their journey is over. Lifted from the branch, one leaf here, one leaf there floats on the currents of the wind - whether or mighty or soft, and comes to the next phase of its life.

There is a deep magic here. There is a power felt in it all - whether sheer power or love or both, it is mysterious and incomprehensible. It can only be felt and admired and awed. It can only be delighted and reveled in - it is revered. It is revered and loved because its Creator is in all these intangibles - it is the ray of beauty that parts through the clouds - it is the breeze that brushes through my hair and past my face - it is the joyous noise of an unhindered laugh - it is the grace and steadfastness of the mountains - it is the beauty of death and the pain of life - it is the incomprehensible but deeply felt mystery of all the earth that shines in its primordial state.

It is beauty unscathed, untouched by all the awful things that have corrupted life. It is God -God in all His awesome glory and unnerving power and mysterious love. It is past all understanding and reason and can only be felt on soul-baring love and level. There is no understanding this confluence of beauty, death, life, warmth, light, whispers, grace, and forbearance. There is only the heart and the heart cannot put words to the awesome wonder and beauty that God's creation gives to God. Nature worshipping its Creator and the Creator continually gracing and loving His creation. There is no shame, no guilty, no constraints.

Each piece of creation sings forth the song of its purpose and nothing can deter it from doing so - no internal or external force plays upon it, no will manipulates it from its path. It only obeys the will of God and God in turn gives it beauty because of its obedience.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A couple quick reflections on ice-skating...

I had the unintended pleasure this Saturday of going to the ice rink at the Sculpture Garden at the NGA and watching the people skate around for a little while and during the course of watching and observing these people, I had a couple of favorite people:

1. The guy who kept wiping out - this guy was absolutely hilarious and I fell in love with him because he had the heart to keep on trying to skate on, even though he had to have a death grip on the ice rink's railing! There was this one point in which there was a little kid in his way and he had keep one hand on the railing, while reaching around the kid with his other to grab onto the railing and not completely wipe out. There were times that even while holding onto the railing, he would completely wipe out!! It was hilarious and amazing and awesome and gave me a living example of why we should have a good sense of humor, humility, and lots of gumption to keep on trying when we completely wipe out, even when it is in front a ton of people!

2. The couple making out on the ice - It was romantic and one of those moments that felt like it was from a movie, so this particular PDA elicited that "awww" that lives in every girl's heart. It semi-reminded me of the movie Serendipity - one my girl movies.

3. The dad trying to skate while holding one kid in front and another in the back holding onto him! - Again, one of those moments that elicited that "awww" that lives in every woman's heart. And it also made me laugh seeing the other little one clinging onto her dad's back pockets so that she didn't fall down! It was beyond cute.

4. The pros flying around the ice - there will always be those that "fly around" us, no matter what profession or sport or thing we attempt. There is always someone that can do it better and make it look effortless in the process. While there is a certain beauty in that effortlessness and you admire the skill, I have more admiration for the guy who kept on trying even though he completely lacked any kind of skill at all.

5. The joy of the crowd - it is just fun to see that many people enjoying themselves so thoroughly and fully. I wish there were more crowds of people enjoying themselves like that, with pure fun.

A Map and Guide for along the way...

A couple of weeks ago I went to Charlottesville for the day and had one of the best days with the Lord - one of those kinds of days that I have been longing for for so long. One in which through reflection and quiet hours spent by myself, I felt that I saw things in a new light and with new understanding. And though I feel a little trepidatious opening up to the world my thoughts and prayers, I wanted to share this, since it has been an important realization along this Road that I am walking on.

Oct. 28th
Dear Lord,
This is the day that my heart has been longing for. And yet again, it is found here in Charlottesville, in my favorite garden, on a most beautiful, glorious, sublime day. All of nature is in harmony and the only noise is that of the birds, or the squirrel rummaging for food, or the chipmunks rustling in the underbrush, or the wind breezing through the leaves. There are the occasional sounds of people's voices or cars or even the train whistling through the town. But it is silent. I feel silent, at ease, at rest, and I can hear You. I can feel You Lord. I feel You in the warmth of the sun beating down upon me, or in the coolness of the breeze that wisps around me. I can feel You in my heart, reaching for me, asking me to come into Your arms and rest my lonely heart in Your loving embrace. I feel as if the journey has temporarily stopped because I have realized I am walking in circles and I need to look at the Map. I need to study the Map and realize that I cannot find my way without It. Without the Map, I am journeying nowhere, expending my energy in a quest with no end. I can explore many paths on my own, taking each twist and turn in stride, but I will never know when those paths meet the Road, if I don't look at the Map. And the other thing is, I need the share the Map. I need to share the Map with others that I encounter on my journey - no matter where they are in their own. Because for some reason their paths have intersected mine. And because of that, I want to and need to share with them the Map that I have. And maybe, as I meet these people they will help me to better understand the Map. And maybe they will help me to turn down a path I had never considered before.

I think though I oftentimes mistake people on the path as the Map. And for that, I ask for Your forgiveness Lord. That is replacing people for You. That is seeking to fill the need and loneliness in my life with others and not You. Please forgive me Lord. For that is sinful. I ask for Your mercy and forgiveness for seeking and wanting people to fill my life, when in fact it is You and You alone that I want.

And Lord, not only are you the Map, You are also my Guide. You are my Guide on this journey, the One who seeks to walk with me along the path. And when I am thinking correctly, I let You guide me. But these past few years, with a couple of months' exception, I have been walking on my own, not looking for my Guide.

But I am here now Lord. I have stopped. I need to stop, before anymore of this journey goes by. Three years God. Three years Lord Jesus have I been walking, mostly on my own, with an occasional glance at You. I have cried out many times, but rarely have I really looked for You.

And I ask again for Your forgiveness. I am a lowly, lonely sinner Lord. I am one of the worst sinners there is. The guilt and shame of my many transgressions are always before me. And it is because of them also and the shame I have over my weaknesses that I have ignored You. Please forgive me God and please remind me every day that I am forgiven only through Your grace, love, and mercy. I cannot boast of my salvation - I have done nothing to earn or deserve it!! But I can boast of You and Your great power. It is only through Your power, Your grace, Your mercy that I a sinner can walk on the paths You have laid before me and look to You as my Guide and my Map. You alone can fill that need, just as You alone can fill the loneliness that racks my heart.

I love and trust You always - Amen

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Conductor and an Epiphany

Last night, as part of my day in DC, I went to a performance of the National Symphony Orchestra. Of all the pieces that they played, the most stunning and sublime was a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. Incredible does not even begin to describe it - it is one of those things that you have to experience in the moment and words do not suffice afterwards.

The most fascinating thing though while watching the performance was how my eye was constantly drawn back to the conductor. Even during the soloist performances throughout the piece, I kept watching the conductor. There is something so memorizing about the conductor to me. Perhaps it is because during my long love of classical music, I become so familiar with a piece of music that I sometimes pretend that I am the conductor, bringing in the different instruments at the exact time, creating the mood of the piece, setting the tempo of the performance.

While watching the conductor, and simultaneously wishing that I was a conductor, I realized that is what I want to do - I want to be the conductor! I don't want to be the violin virtuoso or the lead soloist - I want to be the conductor, directing the piece of music, bringing all the instruments together to create one harmonious sound. I don't like too much dissonance in my works - but a feeling of harmony, of lushness, of power, of such majesty that it gives you goosebumps when you hear it. I want to be the one directing the big picture. I know all the pieces and the instruments and I see them working together as a whole. I respect my soloists but I also need all the other parts of the orchestra to make the piece work. No one instrument or person is ultimately more important than the other. I am the guide for the work - I make the orchestra come together as one.

That realization, coupled with my experience in Italy this past year, is evolving my thinking and helping me to realize that I want to be a leader and that I can be a leader. I want to be a leader that brings people together to work as one whole, a team of people to create something of beauty and greatness. A leader that works through the dissonances to create a magical harmony that gives goosebumps to those that experience it. A teacher that can guide the soloists into one body. A big picture visionary.

A bend in the journey? Or a sign that is along the way? Whichever it is, at least I feel some definitity...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Inspiration of Project Runway

One of my absolute favorite TV shows is Project Runway. Ever since I got hooked into this show, back in Season 2, I have been a diehard fan. I love it. There are so many elements that go into making this one of the absolute best reality shows out there (it should have won the Emmy, not Amazing Race, no matter how much you like Phil Keoghan!). Some of my favorite things about this show:

1. The Creativity - I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in a room with all of these creative people. They are all visionaries and are able to execute some of the wildest things I have ever seen, with materials that I can't imagine ever, ever being used for clothing. I would absolutely love being in the room with these people, though I think the reality-prone, practical side of my brain would start to kick in if confronted with an overwhelming dose of creativity.

2. The Judges - I love, love, love Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, and Heidi Klum. I don't always agree with their assessments, but I love their personalities and critiques of the designers.

3. Tim Gunn - I'm sure there are people out there that think Tim Gunn's appeal is overblown. It's not. He is such a good mentor and critic and always wants to see the designers succeed in their challenges, but he's not afraid to offer them advice on their designs or construction of their pieces. His phrase, "Make it Work!" is a priceless challenge to everyone, no matter what line of work you are in - figure out how to make it work!

4. The designers - I don't think there is a more eclectic bunch of personalities on one reality television show than this bunch of people. Some are divas, some are bad-asses, some are genuinely nice. But they all have strong personalities - they are the kind of people, that if you met them at a party, would probably be at the center of several discussions. There aren't too many wallflowers in this bunch!

5. The fashion - I just love it. I love seeing the dresses and collections that these designers come up with. It can be incredible, it can be awful. But it is inspiring to me to see what they pull off - and then whether or not I am inspired by their creations to come up with something of my own!

I am such a dichotomous person - I love both fashion and sports, classical music and alternative hip-hop, working hard and being lazy, history and business. No flippin' wonder I can't figure out what path I'm supposed to take!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wild Weekends, Sadness, and one of my Life Dreams

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending one of my best friend's bachelorette party/weekend. It was pretty wild in terms of games played and other things done, but as the saying is often amended..."What happens in VA Beach, stays in VA Beach". I do have to say that the highlight of the weekend had to have been at Dirty Dicks, in which the waitress, after being told there was a fly in one of our drinks, says, "Oh, what gets me is when there is a hair in the drink! There are usually flies at the bar anyway..."!!!!!! Not joking - she seriously said that!! I wish I had a camera to capture everyone's faces at the table - priceless.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I found out this past weekend that one of the people that I work closely with on the travel baseball league that I run finances for, suffered a brain aneurysm. When my boss called and told me about it, it was so strange. I felt so detached and immediately felt like I slipped into "Ok, what do we do" mode, instead of letting it sink in. I wonder if because I have gone through so many of these tragedies, I almost am numb to them now? Or the fact that a lot of my coworkers lately have been suffering personal tragedies (a father passed away a couple of weeks ago, then another's sister passed away from an aneurysm two weeks ago, and then another's aunt passed away from cancer last week) has made it seem almost routine - I usually am the one in the company that notifies everyone and then gets something together to send to the family. I just feel very strange and wish that I felt more and could cry about it, because she is someone that I am pretty close to. I wish there was a different word than just strange to describe what I am feeling, but that is what I feel.

On a completely different topic, I was going through my fabulous sister's pictures on Facebook (who currently is teaching English on a Caribbean island - does her life get any better?) and saw this photo and it instantly captured my heart. It is just a simple picture of the sun glistening off the water with a sailboat in middle. But ever since I have gone sailing (twice now), my heart has been captured by sailboats and the open sea. I would love to take sailing lessons someday. There is something about the huge openness and calmness on the ocean or in the water or on any kind of boat that just enamors and fascinates me. And this picture perfectly captured that feeling.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Spiritual Warfare - The Reality of Christ and Satan

You know, one way to "test" the realness of Christ is to be in ministry for Him. And especially when you are about to do something significant in ministry for Him.

I am a Young Life leader at a local high school in my hometown and last night it was my turn to give the "talk" or the "message" at club last night. This is the point in club in which, for the last 5 to 10 minutes, we get to talk about Jesus and what He has done for us in our lives. My talk was on the topic of Need - how we all have a need for Jesus in our lives and that nothing short of Christ will ever fill the desires, the holes in our hearts. Giving the talk is not my forte. I am not a strong public speaker and when I get in front of a crowd of people to talk about something I get really nervous and feel like my voice is completely shaky and weak and that what I am saying does not make sense. In short, I cannot give the talk on or in my own strength - it requires all the power of Christ within me and in the end, whether it is successful or not, it is because of Christ and my surrender to Him.

This particular talk I had been struggling with all week. I had been germinating ideas and trying to figure out what passage in the Bible would work well, but I wasn't able to solidify any of it until the eleventh hour Sunday night and yesterday morning - with the threads coming to together on Sunday and the writing it out yesterday.

I also was housesitting this weekend (and last week), and had to leave the house where I was staying yesterday morning. So after finishing my talk, I got myself ready and all packed up, and started taking some of my stuff out to my car. And when I opened my front driver side car door, I see glass everywhere and a huge boulder sitting in the front passenger seat. I was in a state of disbelief and shock. At first I thought that it was just a complete and random act of vandalism, but I realized today that something was stolen from my car - obviously not that important since it took me so long to realize it - which kind of makes it more logical to my head and (this will sound strange) easier to stomach. But I was a wreck with the initial shock and the "What do I do?" I hate feeling and being helpless in situations like these, but thankfully I have the wisdom of my dad who helped me figure out what to do, as he often does in times like these.

But in the midst of cleaning up all the glass I had to pray and pray hard to not let this distract and frazzle and stress me the rest of the day. I realized that whoever did this to my car, didn't know about Jesus our his or her need for Jesus, and that is exactly why, or at the very least, why I had to give my talk to my high school kids - so that they did not end up as vandals destroying and stealing people's property.

Then, all day, I was supposed to meet with my boss. But we didn't end up meeting until 6pm - which meant that I had to miss Campaigners. But then we didn't finish until 7:30pm - which only left half an hour for me to race to Club. It's the way things work with me and my boss and any other night it would have been completely fine and not a stressing point - it was just the fact that I was giving the message! But again, I prayed and God heard me - I asked to not let this frazzle and stress me, and it didn't. I was definitely running on adrenaline, but it all worked out for the best (besides me realizing the fact that I am seriously out of shape!).

And then finally, finally I gave the talk and it went well. It was the most that the kids have paid attention during a talk, and that is through no power but Jesus's. I can't claim any credit, because He was there and the kids were tracking with what I was saying. The nervousness was there in my voice, but God was there in spite of it.

So despite the attempts of Satan to get in the way and thwart my peace of mind in the process of giving my talk, Christ's power, which has already conquered Satan and all evil, prevailed. I got to really lean on and experience His power and grace, which is funny, since that is exactly what the topic was at YL leadership on Sunday night. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I love makeover shows...

There is just something about makeover shows and fashion magazines that I love. I love the creativity that they inspire within me. I love watching the feeling of empowerment that the people feel after they go through their makeover. It becomes something that is much more than clothes - through the course of the show you find that the participant often has deep personal and emotional issues that are hidden underneath the facade of their t-shirts. It fascinates me how much a person's appearance can change with different clothes, haircut, and makeup and then how much that changes their view of themselves. I know self-worth isn't ultimately found in our appearance, but it is kind of amazing how our appearance can be a mirror for how much confidence we possess.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Grab some popcorn...

...because my life is a movie. I don't know when this happened but after I learned today that the love of my life from a couple of years ago, just came back from his honeymoon, I realized that this would make a great movie - in fact, I think that I have seen this particular scene in one of the many movies that I have watched. Coupled with the fact that everyone - and I mean everyone - around me is pregnant or just had new babies - I can't escape! Craziness. Complete craziness.

Yesterday I got to go down to Charlottesville and had an amazing time. I had the opportunity to go to my favorite church on this planet, Incarnation. It is just the most amazing Catholic church. The pastor, Father Gregory, has inspired this community of people and they truly are an outreach church, loving each other and those in the Charlottesville community. I have felt so lost since moving back to Warrenton and going to the churches around here, so it was the best feeling in the world to enjoy church and love going to Mass. I felt like I was at home. I will always remember being in church and standing in the back next to this kid, dressed all in black - kind of gothlike - who clearly did not want to have any part of being there. When it came time to give the sign of peace to each other, Father Gregory walked all the way from the front of the church, came to this kid, extended his hand, and looked him straight in the eye, and said "Peace be with you." That is the kind of display of love that stays with you for a lifetime. It is one of the examples that will always inspire me to reach out to others.

I learned many other things yesterday, which I'll talk about through the rest of the week, but I am still all caught up in the fact that my life is a movie (and because it is really late and I need to go to bed). I just think it's too funny and ironic. If anyone has any good ideas for a title of my life as a movie, please send them on. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Swirling Thoughts

Do you ever have those days in which thoughts just circle around and around in your head and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to them? In those times I have to force myself to write them down, so that in the midst of the craziness that is going on in my head, I have some sort of outlet to express myself in. And so here are some thoughts that have been swirling recently:

1. Life a Small Town:
My life in my little small town is something that I both rage against and can't seem to leave. There are times when I feel desperately all alone, with no one around in the same situation. There are like three or four single people in my group of friends. Everyone else is in a relationship, married, or has kids - which is beautiful and wonderful. It's just not my lot in life. And when it feels like the walls are starting to cave in, with everyone moving away, the loneliness creeps in.


But, there is God. There is Jesus. And I know that part of my loneliness stems from the fact that I still look for other people, other things to fill the hole in my heart. And I know in my head that to do so is foolishness. There is nothing else that can fill me but the Lord and His love. And in neglecting that relationship, the loneliness will of course feel immense and desolate because I am not allowing the One that I was created for to live inside my heart. Still, knowing that does not lessen my wish to be around some people that were in similar stages in life.

2. Turn Ahead:
If only I could figure out what that turn is supposed to be. Is it a move? Is it a job or position change? Is it finally figuring out what I'm passionate about? Do I go back to school? I miss school a lot.

I am craving some sort of direction here. I thought that I was getting it last month, but now I am not so sure anymore. I just know that something needs to flippin' change.

3. Into the Wild:
I still am passionately in love with this movie and am going to go see it again sometime soon. There is just something there that I can't explain - it is one of those things that you need to experience for yourself, or else you just won't get it.

4. Pacey Returns to TV:
Thank the Lord - Pacey (Joshua Jackson) is going to be on Grey's Anatomy this season. It doesn't get any better.

5. Seasons Turning:
Though I love Fall, I am sad that is officially upon us. It makes me bittersweet. Nature is ablaze in all its dying glory, because the leaves that turn colors are essentially dying. There is a metaphor in there about our life and relationship with God, but I can't think of it right now. I will have to look up a journal entry in which I reflected on that metaphor for more thoughts. But I think the thing that gets me the most about Fall is the fact that it now turns dark so early. I hate early darkness. And it makes me sad because just a few months before, I was sitting out at a ballfield at 8pm, watching the sun set behind center field. I think I have seasonal affectiveness disorder.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Journey in Film

Last week I got to go see this movie with two of my dearest friends. We went to the Fairfax Cinema Arts Theatre, which is so charming. At the movie was one of my dearest and best teachers, Mr. Jacobs. So from the get-go, it was destined to be a good night.

Then the movie started and from beginning to end, it was absolutely beautiful and heart-wrenching - so much so that still a week and day later I am still thinking about it. The story of Christopher McClandless, or Alexander Supertramp, and his journey over a two-year span, culminating with his tragic and ironic end in Alaska, struck a chord within me.

There is a pain and yearning that Sean Penn and Emile Hirsch capture in this film. It is the pain and betrayal felt by a boy who has been scarred by his family life. There is a yearning for escape, to leave everything that they stood for, and try to discover himself and in the process, find happiness. Throughout his two year journey, Christopher/Alex encounters so many different people and touches many lives with his own. But his own end-goal is to go to Alaska. Alaska becomes his Quixotic windmill, except that he gets there. And he relishes his experience there, until the land starts to betray him - first with the impassable river that comes to life in the spring, and next with the lack of available food. Then his own intellect betrays him as he misreads his plant book and eats a poisonous plant that ultimately leads to his starvation. It is the ultimate irony, that in trying to escape from the pain of his family life, he learns in the end that happiness is shared - happiness comes from relationships, from the people that he met along the road, from being with his family. The place where he seeks escape gives him death instead - a kind of escape that he wasn't looking for.

There is so much more in this film though. For example, there is the whole sequence in which he meets Frank, an old man who lost his wife and son in a car accident while he was away fighting in a war, and since coming back to the States has not left his little town. And in part of that sequence, after Frank has climbed up a mountain after being told that he couldn't, he says to Christopher/Alex that it is only after we forgive that God's love can shine down and through us. Which is so true. I think I also was so touched by this sequence because it in a way reminded me of my Grandpa who I still miss and mourn for.

It has been a long time since I went to a movie and found myself still thinking about it a week later. The two other films that I saw last week (The Hat Trick, as I like to call it :)) don't hold a candle to this one. It is definitely a must see.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just Some Quotes...

Before I jet off to NYC by myself (cannot believe the twists and turns of this adventure so far...), I thought I would post a couple of quotes that I love:

"Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule."
~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

"A real man tries to do something he thinks he cannot do."
~Emmitt Smith

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if ANYTHING is excellent or praiseworthy - fix your mind upon such things.
~Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)

"You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take."
~Wayne Gretzky

"Learn to expect the unexpected, beyond all that you ask or think."
~Andrew Murray, Streams in the Desert

"Courage is not the absence of fear but Action in spite of fear...Courage is proceeding in spite of fear because you believe it is the right thing to do."
~Bob Russell

"Every experience of beauty points to eternity."
~Hans Urs Van Balthasar

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Me + NYC = Craziness

Tomorrow, I will (hopefully, weather and God-willing) board a plane to NYC! Absolutely crazy. I don't know what it is about visiting this city that is always brought on by some kind of crazy thing that I have to go and see through. I am so very scared and so very nervous but also at complete peace because I know that it is all in God's very able Hands. What will happen, will happen the exact way that it is supposed to happen, and hopefully I won't get mugged in the process!

And Good Lord, is it expensive to go visit and stay in The City! Did not realize that it would be so much!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Work sucks. Especially in an economy on the brink of recession. This is the time when the cliche, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going", becomes a harbinger of truth.
I knew that the path was going to turn soon - I've sensed it coming for the past month or so. And now it has come to the crossroads, in my mind. A lot sooner than I thought. But here I am, with clarity in this current situation, but no idea as to where it leads. Oh Lord - why is this, all of this, so hard?

At least this picture is pretty...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Post 4

As the title implies, this is my fourth post on my blog, and I have to say that the experience so far has been fun. I enjoy technology and learning new things, and this has been so simple to use and try out. The hardest part is coming up with content for the blog!

Some random musings for today:

1 - I love language - beautiful language. I was watching a documentary on Winston Churchill tonight, and his use of language and ability to turn a phrase, made me yearn for that power. I wish I had a better grasp on vocabulary and could use it to its full effect. There is so much power in words and just a short while ago it seems that most of the public had a command of them - which is something you don't see today. To be able to string together words so that they evoke powerful emotions and knowledge at the same time - such is a gift that I wish I had.

2 - I love classical music. And there are so many performances coming to the DC area that I want to go see! Yo Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Joshua Bell, Itzakh Perlman! The arts delight and fill a part of my soul. Again, I wish I understood it more and could appreciate the music even more - but there is also something to be said about experiencing a piece of classical music in naivete. Then it is all about the experience and the orchestration of the art.

3 - I was thinking about the path and journey that I have been on so far and how some parts have turned out radically different than I thought that they were going to. And I also was thinking about some of the journeys that my friends are on and how they have ended up on completely different paths than what they thought. And yet, we are all in the exact place that God wants us to be in.

4 - I also was thinking about how I love thinking broadly - the big picture, no matter what it is, is what excites me. I love seeing how things all come together. I guess I need to progress to the point in where that once I understand the big picture, I can also look at the different parts and see where changes need to be made and what parts aren't working. And in the Winston Churchill documentary I realized for the first time how narrowly focused Roosevelt's worldview was and how because of that, we have ended up in the position we are in in the world today. I had never seen that thread before, but the groundwork was laid all the way back then! And that is why history fascinates me - because of the way that events back then can be linked to events today.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Exquisite Simplicity

Is there anything more beautiful or soul-satisfying than the beginning of spring or fall? Here in Virginia, both seasons usher in the long months of winter or summer. But for a few brief weeks the weather and everything in nature converge together to bring forth some of the most exquisite beauty that can be found or experienced.

This past weekend saw nature shine forth in all its glorious simplicity and gift us with glorious weather. You couldn't sit inside. And in being outside, with the sun shining forth its rays, the breeze whisping through your hair, and the glory of a bright blue sky bursting at the seams, renewed hope entered my heart. I can't say what the hope is for - maybe it is the knowledge that all the beauty and glory of nature is just an echo of what awaits all of us in heaven, with Jesus. C.S. Lewis spoke of heaven in The Great Divorce, describing it as just that - something that was brighter, sharper than what we see here on earth.

There were just a ton of ways that God spoke to me this weekend - through Father DeMartino's sermon on the Prodigal Son to the verses we looked at in YL leadership, especially John 1:5
"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it"
(NLT). This shouts out hope to me, the hope that both is a product of and fuel for faith - Hebrews 11:1

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

And hope and faith are what I need now - now at the "turning of the tides"...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Technology Gripes and About this Blog.

I can really hate technology sometimes. Especially when after spending an hour entering in a bunch of numbers into a program, you hit the "Save" button and it gives you a run-time error. So frustrating!

BUT - there are many benefits to technology. It has on many occasions saved me in a pinch, or helped me figure out an impossible task. I do love it more than I hate it in the end. Still - run-time errors are no fun.

A little note about the title of this blog:
When Blogger asked me what I wanted to entitle this blog, I was all of the sudden blown away by the dearth of possibilities available to me. I could name this blog absolutely ANYTHING. What word, phrase, quote, or silly combination of words would perfectly capture the essence of a blog - something that I know very little about - as well as myself?

As I was pondering through this quandary the thought suddenly came to me to name this "The Road Goes Ever On". Two reasons for this name: 1 - I was in the process of just finishing the book, The Fellowship of the Ring, and there is a poem in there about setting out on an adventure, a journey, and life at the beginning that I have always loved. 2 - Because I am firm believer in the theme of journeys and believe that this life we have is one, big, long journey with many twists and turns. No matter what kind of path you walk - smooth or rocky - there will be happenings along the Road that are unforeseen. And there are points along the Road in which you can choose a new path. And I feel that I am on the brink of that point right now. The Path has all of the sudden become wide open again, and I am allowing myself to explore some of its possibilities.

This blog will serve as a collection of random thoughts about the journey, as well as a place for quotes, antecedents, Bible verses, and general stream of consciousness. Should be fun!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

First Steps...

Today begins a journey that I am curious at undertaking. I have been hearing about blogging for a while now and have read many of my friends' blogs, so I want to try and see what this is all about. Should be interesting - and should be interesting to see how often I keep this updated.