Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas in America is How It's Supposed to Be

I really hate the commercialism of Christmas these days.

Maybe I'm noticing it more now that I haven't watched TV on a regular basis in the last year. Another contributing factor is that the radio station I primarily listen to is the local public radio station, which doesn't have commercials. I don't know.

I do know that the last time I did watch TV, I was kind of appalled at how corporate USA has co-opted the tradition of the three wise men (or however many there were) bringing gifts to Jesus.

Holy smokes, the wind is blowing so hard right now. We've been having a blizzard all day.

I know it's popular to bag on things—anything really—like I have just done. It's cool for people in my generation to be disgusted by things and let other people know about it. I almost don't like to talk about the commercialism of Christmas, for fear of people thinking that I'm doing it only because it's chic. But that's just coincidence.

And now I'm worried that my shoddily constructed apartment is going to blow over. Maybe the Big Bad Wolf is outside. He's going to have to light this place on fire to get me to leave, though. It's way cold outside.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Is this what I imagined?

I have a new pair of skis sitting in the corner of my bedroom. I've always wanted to own a pair of skis. For as long as I can remember. To own a pair of skis means you live close to the mountains. And there they are, leaning against the wall, the light reflecting off the goldish-orange bindings.

Is this what I imagined, when I was 10 years old, when all I could think of was the next time I'd be going to Colorado? When I memorized the mile marker on I-70 where you can finally see Pikes Peak? (It's mile 371, in case you're curious. Mile 376 on an extremely clear day. Don't bother to pay to climb the red painted tower along the Interstate there that claims you can see six states -- I'm pretty sure it's not true.)

Life is surreal. I own a pair of skis. I live in Colorado. I see Pikes Peak everyday. Life is good.

Sometimes surreal, like right now. But good.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Place in this world

On his album "God West Young Man," Michael W. Smitth recorded a song called "Place in This world." Here are the lyrics:

Verse 1
The wind is moving / but I am standing sitll / A life of pages / waiting to be filled / A heart that's hopeful / a head that's full of dreams / But this becoming / is harder than it seems / Feels like I'm...
Looking for a reason / roaming through the night to find my place in this world / My place in this world / Not a lot to lean on / I need Your light to help me find my place in this world / My place in this world
Verse 2
If there are millions / down on their knees / Among the many / can you still hear me? / Hear me asking / "Where do I belong?" / Is there a vision / that I can call my own / Show me / I'm... [repeat chorus 2x]

Whenever I used to hear that song, it would stir within me an acute angst, a desire to figure out what I'm made to do with my life. But now, I don't feel that anymore. Not now, anyway.

Today I started my new job. I'm working for a Web site that ministers to college students. It's called I'm the Assistant Editor. I'll be writing and editing content for the site, as well as figuring out how to promote the site on a shoestring budget.

The way that everything transpired to get me to this place is really amazing. I didn't even want to apply for the job, honestly. But my new co-worker, Denise, and my new director (both of whom interviewed me for the job) came to ME and asked ME to apply. I decided to apply, just to humor them. But even though I thought it would be incredibly too stressful, God completely changed my heart. And He got me the job.

The point I'm trying to make is that I feel so incredibly blessed. I knew, even prior to getting this job, that God had given me the ability to write. And now I'm very excited to get to employ that gift.

I don't know my place, exactly, just yet. But I feel like I know where I'm going. And I really like where I am right now.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Crucified With Christ

I know it's chic these days to bag on contemporary Christian music. It certainly is wrought with positivity, and sometimes that positivity comes across as incredibly trite. But it's that positivity that I especially like about the song that I have typed out below. It's called Crucified With Christ, by Phillips, Craig, and Dean.

Maybe I like the song because it conjures up for me thoughts of warm summer days when I was twelve years old and being much more carefree and naive and easily impressed by new things than I am now. But even when I lay those idyllic memories aside, I am still enraptured by this song. The melody is very compelling. But the words draw me, every time I listen to it, to the fact that I know that God wants me to pursue Him, and He is pursuing me.

I especially love two thoughts the song presents. The first is contained in the line, "When I finally reach the point of giving in / I found the cross was calling even then..." I've experienced some pretty dark moments in my life, but in those moments I realized that God - through the work Jesus Christ did on the cross - was calling out to me saying, "I'm still here, and I'm going get you out of this mess."

The second line I love comes from the last line of the second verse: "And by His resurrection power I am alive!" The truth of that line and how it has played out in my life gives me chills even now. I remember very vividly sitting in this olive green 30-year-old Lazyboy recliner that I'm sitting in now, asking God to make himself real to me. I understood with utter clarity that Jesus' existence is as real now as it was those 2000 years ago when He was physically, bodily on earth. And I realized then that because He is so real now that the very power that raised Him from the dead was the very power He was going to employ in my life to make me the man He wants me to be. And I can say that since that moment, God has been faithful to that promise. His resurrection power continues to make me more alive than I was - indeed, more alive than I could imagine that I would be now.

So, I encourage you to buy this song on iTunes. And below you will find the words. Is it sappy? Yeah. Impact? To an even greater degree than I have described here or ever could. Enjoy, and be blessed.

[verse 1]
When I look back at what I thought was livin'
I'm amazed at the price I chose to pay
And to think that I ignored what really mattered
'Cause I thought the sacrifice would be to great

When I finally reached point of giving in
I found the cross was calling even then
And even though it took dying to survive
I've never felt so much alive

For I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live.
Not I but Christ that lives within me
His cross will never ask for more than I can give
For it's not my strength but His
There's no greater sacrifice
For I've been crucified with Christ, and yet I live

[verse 2]
As I hear the Savior call for daily dying
I will bow beneath the weight of Calvary
Let my hands surrender to his piercing purpose
That holds me to the cross, yet sets me free

I will glory in the power of the cross
The things I thought were gain I count as loss
And with His sufferings I identify
And by His resurrection power I am alive

[repeat chorus]

And I will offer all I have so that His cross is not in vain
For I've found to live is Christ, and to die is truly gain

[repeat chorus 2x]

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The War of Art

I’d like to write about something this evening, but I don’t know what. And now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I’ll write about writing – or rather, some professional opportunities I have to step into a writing and editing position.

I read an inspiring article that was itself inspired by the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. The book “aims to help readers ‘overcome Resistance’ so that they may achieve ‘the unlived life within.’ Whether one wishes to embark on a diet, a program of spiritual advancement or an entrepreneurial venture, it's most often resistance that blocks the way. To kick resistance, Pressfield stresses loving what one does, having patience and acting in the face of fear.”

And while I haven’t read the book, the article that expounded upon it caused me to foment upon what my life could look like if I started beating “Resistance” and began living for some of these dreams that I’ve had, nebulous and pie-in-the-sky though they seem to me.

I became especially aware of how I am allowing Resistance – and its companion, Fear – to chase me away from vocational opportunities that are presenting themselves. They are just opportunities; neither are a sure thing (far from it, actually), but I am well suited to seize them, if I would simply put forth the effort.

Being the overly (or at least particularly) introspective person that I am, thought processes like these lead me to ponder "why?" Why do I not simply go for it? What within me would rather sit back and be acted upon by the world, rather than be that catalyst that I’m waiting for?

I let Fear rule my life. But it’s high time that stops. After all, God does tell me to “[c]ast all [my] anxieties on him because he cares for [me]” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV).

So what would it look like for me to simply go for it? To grab the proverbial bull by the horns? I’m not sure, but I want to find out.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

valley of the sun

An alpine valley in the Mosquito Range, south of Breckenridge, CO. 6.24.06

I thought I'd post this picture. I took it on a Saturday excursion into the mountains. I just love how this picture makes me feel. And really, that's why I love photography - every good picture produces a very deep longing within me. If you care to take the time, let me know what sorts of ideas and feelings this photo stirs within you.


Monday, July 03, 2006

A new hard drive; a new perspective

Matthew 6:19-20

19" 'Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal...' "

The verse above is very appropriate for this particular time in my life. I recently replaced my hard drive in my Apple Powerbook - not because I wanted more storage, but because my old one simply quite spinning. My computer wouldn't start up one morning back at the beginning of June, so I took it to the Mac experts where I work. They were attempting a data recovery when the drive crashed completely. I then took my computer to a store that specializes in repairing Apples. They did their best (after letting my machine sit on the shelf for three weeks), but could not recover any of my data. All this means that when I got my computer, it was literally like getting it out of the box for the first time. I had to re-establish my user profile and do all that stuff that new computer users must do. It was all very disheartening.

Throughout this entire process I've had to remind myself that my life is not completely ruined because I lost an entire year's worth of schoolwork, as well as my budget, or because I don't know how to transfer all my digital music from my iPod to my new hard drive. When I'm feeling down like that, I simply remind myself that really, it wasn't my computer in the first place. God was only letting me use a piece of equipment for a while. That computer - as attached to is as I did grow - is still only a tool for bringing Him glory. I did, after all, dedicate it to Him when I first got it, and I said that I would let people use it who were in need, or use my computer to help people in ways they can't help themselves.

So all of this is to say that I've experienced a lesson in how not to store up "treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal..." And where computers crash at random. I guess God wanted to tell me that I spend far too much time on my computer doing really innane things like Facebook. And I guess He wanted me to understand that I don't need all that past school work to prove to some future employer that I know what I'm talking about. And maybe He simply wanted to teach me a lesson in trust.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My Linguistic Profile

I was perusing my friend Melissa's blog, and she had posted the results of her linguistic profile. It all sounded pretty interesting to me. So I took the test. And I'm pretty sure the 10% Dixie comes from my usage of the word "y'all." Y'all should check it out.

***Your Linguistic Profile:***

60% General American English

10% Dixie

10% Midwestern

10% Upper Midwestern

5% Yankee

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Monday, May 22, 2006

An end to the drought, perhaps

I'm not sure why, but I feel like writing. And maybe it's because of the rain. It rained today in Colorado Springs. Of course, I wasn't able to avail myself to this beauteous event; I was inside, working, doing something. I was probably folding table tents for the next conference that my coworkers go to. Whatever I was doing, I was changing the world. But outside it was raining. And it was splendid.

I like the rain. I like the idea of it even more now that I live out here on the Front Range in Colorado, because it rains so very little. Well, it does sprinkle or shower every now and again. But rarely do we have the sort of storm that really makes you feel small and helpless and vulnerable. Those are the kind I like.

I was recounting to a coworker today the storm that developed in me a phobia of tornadoes. I was seven. I was on my cousins' farm just a few miles east of my hometown, having complete first grade. Where their farm is located happens to be the flattest place that I can think of. It's about as flat as the Bonneville Salt Flats west of Great Salt Lake. But maybe it seems even flatter because on the horizon there are no mountains. It's so flat. And there on the flatness my cousin and I spotted what we thought was an intense downpour, probably five miles to the northwest of where we were. But we went to get my aunt anyway. It seemed like the right thing to do. And she was smart enough to realize that rain bursts don't rotate in a conspicuously counterclockwise fashion, the way that this particular downpour did. So we headed for the basement. Later that night, my parents helped collect all the belonging from a family's house that had been literally destroyed, blown off its foundation. We washed so many clothes that night. The family lost everything. The tornado was rated an F-5 on the Fujita scale. It had swathed a path across the plains a mile wide. A mile. That's epic. As I told my coworker, "That's from here to Wal-Mart." The power that I witnessed in that storm stirred within me a paranoia of thurnderstorms that lasted for several years.

But as I said, I like storms now. One thing I like very much about thunderstorms are the clouds that they often leave in their wake. These clouds are so beautiful and distinct, their contours very pronounced. As I drove home from work today, I watched some of these clouds enshroud the top of Pikes Peak. It made for a striking scene. I told one of my roommates that I really like an abundance of clouds. Clouds, on any mountain, lend perspective to the grandiosity of the mountain that no blue-sky day every could. Clouds are sky. Mountains are land. When the two meet, I feel as if heaven is opening up, trying to tell me something. I'm not sure what the divine message is, but I relish every chance I get to listen for it, where the mountains touch the sky.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Thousand Words

alaska : spring

Right now, at this very moment in time, if I could do anything, I would become a photographer. I can get tired of writing (not that I’m a writer). Sometimes I want to communicate without talking. Sometimes I want to speak in light and color.

Photography really was my first love. She taught me about beauty. We went everywhere together. We traveled to Yellowstone and the Tetons. And we've seen more Kansas sunsets than you could shake a proverbial stick at. She was a high-maintenance friend, though. She wanted to smell every flower and remember every face. She'd convince me to stay up all night with her, recording star trails. I told her I couldn't afford her. Harsh, I know. But I had to do it. I think I broke her heart. ...Perhaps she will have me again, someday. I hope things work out between us.

camping : auke rec : juneau

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Geographic Existentialism: Flatland

plains sunet : gove county : kansas

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my connection to Kansas. Perhaps this is brought on by my reading of a book called Not Just Any Land. It’s one man's compilation of interviews with writers who have lived in and written about the Central prairies. Maybe that is what has caused my thoughts to wander to the east of here—to the High Plains of Eastern Colorado and beyond to the flatlands of Kansas. But I think my sentimentality for the flatter places would have occurred on its own anyway. The book just intensifies my affections.

So, as I said, I’ve been thinking about Kansas. I’ve been ruminating about the land, and the feelings it evokes within me. I find myself longing to be out there, to be out in the middle of nowhere, where the flatness of the land mimics—no, shapes—the simplicity of the lives and the culture of those who live on it. The Plains are simple, and to me, that is beauty.

I tell people that I miss the flatness of my homeland. My friends here either question the sincerity of my divulgence, or they look at me askance, inwardly flabbergasted at the idea of my missing a place so unassuming and boring. Sometimes, I joke, self-deprecatingly, about how ridiculous I must sound. Missing the flatness—now that’s a hoot… And sometimes I just stare out the window of my car, wishing that Pikes Peak weren’t in the way of the horizon.

I cannot sufficiently verbalize how I feel when I think of the flatlands of Kansas. How do I articulate the essence of the land to which I feel so intimately linked? So often, my mind's media are light and motion and space, not exposition. And so I long for experience. Only personal encounter will do. I want to see the pure, piercing beauty of a prairie pasture set alight by the warm rays of the setting sun, perforated by a stand of cottonwoods, hardy and wise, their heart-shaped leaves trembling in applause of another day well lived.

On the flatlands, beauty is no volunteer. It must be pursued. It reveals itself only to those willing to wait. In time, though, the land becomes a close friend, sustaining and true.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Compassion, NPR, and Pursuing Happiness

I thought I’d post an update about my employment situation. Several of you have offered me counsel regarding the position at the nursery. That opportunity fell through. Apparently Jesus didn’t want me to work for cantankerous Larry this summer. Also, every opportunity I thought I had at Focus on the Family has fallen by the wayside. And, quite frankly, I’m glad. Knowing my vacillating political inclinations, maybe Focus, being so politically charged, would have been less than befitting.

God has decided to provide in another way: This coming Monday, I will begin working as the Volunteer Network Associate Temp at Compassion International (yes, the word “Temp” is in my job title, but we’ll get to that later). For those of you who don’t know, Compassion International (commonly referred to simply as “Compassion”) is a ministry based here in Colorado Springs, whose primary mission is to eliminate spiritual and physical poverty from the lives of children around the world. Basically, they are a child sponsorship organization. I will be working in the Marketing department, for the Compassion Sunday Campaign. Compassion Sunday events are held around the country in thousands of churches on a particular Sunday (though I’m not yet sure which one) in April. Though the events are sponsored by Compassion, they are facilitated by Compassion Advocates—individuals who have chosen to make it their mission to highlight the plight of poor children in developing countries. My job will consist of entering into Compassion’s database the names and addresses of participating churches, and sending advocates the materials that they request.

I have in my job title the oft-debasing word “Temp” because the position ends at the close of April. Please do not ask me what I plan on doing in May. I do not yet know. (Not to worry though—I have made a bargain with the devil, and he assured me I’d be independently wealthy by then.)

Though the position will not be the most stimulating or thought-provoking (it has the potential to be down right mind-numbing), I am looking forward to it. Almost everyone that I have met at Compassion is quite cheery, as if they have been injected with a sort of happy serum, or some such antidote that works to counteract the typical work-a-day angst. Lucky for me, my job should be mindless enough that I’ll be able to listen to “All Things Considered” and “Morning Addition” from National Public Radio everyday on the internet. How I do love public radio. NPR is does for my mind what bran does to the intestinal tract… Well, it makes me think, anyway.

The future, though unclear, is looking bright. As of now, I am considering very highly the possibility of going overseas at the end of my lease, which comes at the close of July. I have contacted several ministries that interest me. Opportunities range from teaching English in Central Asia or China, to reporting on and raising money for relief in the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan. No matter what I do, I plan to have more than enough fodder for my blog.

Please pray that doors would open and close, according to God’s will. I am learning that I will be much more effective in life if I live it to glorify God, rather than in pursuit of my own happiness (as unpatriotic as that sounds). Though I do not believe that God’s glorification and the pursuit of happiness are mutually exclusive, I have noticed that when I engage primarily in the latter, the two do become opposed to one another. But when God’s glory is my highest desire, His glory and my happiness seem to merge into the same yearning—insatiable, yet completing.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Counting my chickens, or Thoughts on accepting a job that I haven't yet been fully offered

I think I managed to acquire a job today. I’m not going to count my proverbial chickens before they hatch, but (to borrow from another colloquialism) I think it’s in the bag.

I interviewed for a position at a plant nursery and show garden here in Colorado Springs. Should I be extended an offer and accept the position, I would become their tree salesman for the season. I would probably be put in charge of repotting as well.

Many of you know that this sort of position is right up my alley. Plants—trees especially—are on my list of favorites (see footnote 1). I worked at a nursery in Juneau, Alaska, the summer that I went “on project” with Campus Crusade for Christ. I loved what I did, being surrounded by beauty all day. I would marvel at the colors and contours of each plant that I worked with. The job would have been relatively perfect (can perfection be so modified?) were it not for my boss, whose cantankerousness seemed to increase throughout the summer. Other than working for a sometimes crotchety man who quite resembled Santa Clause (only in plaid and driving a beat up Chevy truck), I could not complain. God created me to enjoy the beauty of His natural creation, and I got paid to enjoy it.

Here’s the quandary I find myself in now: I’m not sure I want to take the job here in Colorado Springs. (Yes, I know I can’t refuse a job I haven’t been offered. Obviously, my chickens haven’t yet hatched; what follows probably constitutes me counting them prematurely.)

I am experiencing two reservations, one of which I know is most likely illegitimate and probably unbiblical. I’m not sure yet about the other. Let’s first discuss the latter.

My interviewer—the woman who manages the nursery, and my would-be immediate supervisor—warned me at the outset of our meeting that the man who owns the entire business is notoriously Jekyll-and-Mr.-Hyde-ish in the way he treats his employees. One day he may take them out for lunch, and the next he’ll tell them that they’re doing it all wrong. It just depends on his mood. From what I gather, he possesses the male version of what is often referred to in women as a high maintenance personality. Everyone has to walk on eggshells, because no one knows what his mood will be. The man I worked for in Juneau had the same sort of personality, and I can tell you that he was often not an enjoyable person to be around. I really don’t want to work for a man who doesn’t understand the effect that his countenance and speech have on his workers. I recall the days when my fellow workers and I would lament our boss’s emotional vacillations. We really wanted to quit, but we couldn’t, as per our the agreement we signed with project staff prior to going to Juneau with Crusade.

But here’s the flip side of the coin: I almost want to take on the challenge of befriending this man, and getting on his good side, so to speak. I want to show him what a dependable person looks like. Most importantly, I want to show him how a devoted Christian lives, or at least works.

So, do I take on the job, and try to keep my chin up when my boss unwarrantedly criticizes my work, hoping that I have some sort of influence on him? Or do I continue looking for a place that consistently treats their employees with respect?

I don’t know. But I do suppose that God knows. And so I shouldn’t be anxious.

1. Other favorites include honey mustard; bright colors, especially orange; and sunsets.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Wilderness and the Ecology of Healing

Hiking on Douglas Island, in Southeast Alaska. Admiralty Island in the background.

Tonight, I started crying, and I’m not sure why. I was reading a book called The Pine Island Paradox. I read the following sentence, from a chapter about bringing wildness into our everyday lives:

“Maybe moral resolve is the highest value of wildness, the wild flash of awareness that the ecological wholeness of the natural world requires a moral integrity as well” (Moore, p. 100).

The sentence is profound, but my sudden outpouring of emotion surprised me. I believe that the author so clearly stated in that one sentence what I want to accomplish with my entire life that I didn’t know how to contain myself. I suddenly became completely overwhelmed at God’s goodness in having created the beauty that is the natural world. I suddenly became completely overwhelmed by my desire to communicate to others that beauty and our collective responsibility to maintain it.

Before I was reading, I had been looking at photos of Alaska on the internet. The beauty of one photograph in particular struck me to such a degree that I had to look away. The golden grass and the magenta of the flowers growing out of a rock made of slate as black as darkness was too much for me to handle. The color and the composition created such an amazing sight that I felt as if I was looking at the face of God. I had to turn away. I know that’s a strange, seemingly blasphemous comparison, but that’s how I felt. But if God is the source of all beauty, is that really so strange a thought? Is it so peculiar that the image in my mind of something He created would bring me to tears?

I began to think of my time in Alaska. I began to thank God for all the beautiful places that I saw there. I longed to be in those places again. I wanted to see the mountains and the glaciers and the sea so badly that I thought I was going to turn myself inside out. In unison, I felt both the joy and angst of wanting something that I could never get enough of. I don’t know how to fully describe it but I think it’s like when you love a person. When you truly love someone, you want them so badly that you want to somehow consume them into who you are. You want that person so badly that you not only want to define yourself in relation to them, but you want to literally be one with that person. You desire a complete lack of distinction between who that person is and who you are. They begin where you begin. They end where you end. That is how I felt, after having read the aforementioned sentence and picturing in my mind the photo of the grass and the flower growing out of the stone. I longed for the landscape of Alaska to such a degree that my heart was overflowing, and yet could never be satisfied.

I read the sentence again, and I was reminded of the faithfulness that God showed me during and after my time in Southeast Alaska. While I was in Juneau, I was on a summer project with Campus Crusade for Christ. God used that time to heal many emotional wounds. The landscape of that place has become for me an Ebenezer stone of God’s faithfulness to me. I hadn’t the strength to complete that summer on my own. But He granted me the grace I needed to fulfill the mission He sent me on. The beauty of Southeast Alaska represents to me healing that God has done in my life. Beauty is healing. Healing is beauty.

I began to dwell on my desire to incorporate the beauty of wild landscape with the healing that God does in our lives when we trust in Him. I’ve always had within me a feeling that the two are somehow linked—that spiritual and ecological wholeness are two different paint strokes made by the same Artist. For a while now I’ve had a desire to use nature as therapy, to utilize nature as both setting and metaphor to help wounded souls heal. I had a sort of epiphany, you know. Wilderness draws people in. I’ve always wondered why. Why are people so drawn to the wild places? Why do we feel rejuvenated when we escape our paved streets and skyscrapers? Maybe it’s because nature is God’s original design. Why do people spend their money on counseling sessions and self-help books? Why do people do anything they can to feel whole? Maybe it’s because wholeness is God’s original design. That’s what got me thinking about the amazing parallel between wilderness and the human soul. Wilderness is so valuable to the human soul because it is so beautiful and perfect. It reminds us––me at least––that wholeness and healing truly are possible. If it is possible in the wilderness perhaps it is possible within me. Wilderness inspires vulnerability, and vulnerability begets healing.

Tonight I was overwhelmed with God’s beauty and His healing. I was consumed by His goodness.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

Being the New Year and all, I decided I’d be a tool and make some resolutions. These are pretty much the normal sort of resolutions. For some reason, I really like making resolutions. Maybe I like fooling myself into thinking that I really can change. I mean, I know I can, but for the most part, those changes haven’t come from a few decisions I’ve made around the first of the year. I guess I like to think about what is possible if I were to actually follow through with my yearly oaths: I’d be really buff, able to run a marathon, rich (or at least frugal), well read, the best friend you’ve ever had, and holier than Moses and Paul combined. Instead, I’m of average strength, huffing and puffing through my three mile workout, just barely able to pay off my credit card this month (and who knows about the next), prone to reading only Christian non-fiction, poor at keeping in touch, and definitely not being canonized in the near future.

But like I said, I like to think of the possibilities. I shall enumerate.

1) I resolve to read the Bible every single day. To be honest, I’ve always found it difficult to make time for a “quiet time” (what does that mean, anyway?). Those stretches of time when I have communed with God everyday have been transformational. Why do I forget this? Why do I get caught up in the busyness of life and forget that my relationship with Jesus is what really sustains me? My guess, after taking the time to be introspective, is that I begin to believe that my worth comes from doing things and doing them well, rather than simply being. When I spend both quality and quantity time with God, I remember much more easily that He made me, first and foremost, to be in relationship with Him, and not to get things done and look sufficiently competent doing them.

2) I resolve to run the BolderBOULDER, and in 52 minutes. It’s a 10K race held every Memorial Day in Boulder, CO. I think 8:15 per mile is reasonable. I’ve always wanted to get into running. I do it to stay in shape, but no more than four or five miles at a time. I’d like to work my way to up to half-marathons. Or maybe a marathon. I’m not a fast runner, by any stretch of the imagination, but I love the challenge of running until you can’t. I also love running as a stress reliever. After a run, I don’t have a care in the world. Endorphins are a gift from on high. If you’ve never experienced runner’s high, you’re really missing out. The few times that I have were pure bliss. I highly recommend it. But watch out – all that running really jostles the bowels (if you know what I mean).

3) I resolve to lift weights at least three times every week. This goal is requisite to every new year. I’m always wanting to be buffer (more buff?) than I am. But it’s not all about aesthetics. I do like the physical challenge of lifting weights. And lifting helps me run better, and jump higher, and hit a volleyball harder.

4) I resolve to call my friends on the phone more often.

5) I resolve to find myself a spiritual mentor. I already have a lead on this one. I hope it works out. I’ve never actually had to seek this out on my own. When you’re involved in a campus ministry, they basically seek you out. Now, I have to do the seeking. It’s intimidating, but worth the fear of rejection (which is ridiculous in and of itself).

6) I resolve to make and adhere to a budget.

That’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll post more of these later. I hope you have fun making your own resolutions. Resolve to resolve.