Thursday, February 28, 2008

Where the effigies come to halve.

I am poor in most everything, but I will get a crown of kings.

Well. I've really been trying to work today. I've got a lot that didn't get done this last week, and I need to figure out this P.E. stuff. But I'm having a difficult time concentrating today. So I think maybe if I put a blog entry in, then go eat lunch, I may be able to come back and get some stuff done this afternoon.

The index finger hurts because it got bashed pretty good yesterday while I was carrying a TV and had the door I was just about to open, open magically rapidly into my hand, causing there to be a small sized skin rupture on the finger. It was swollen yesterday, but I iced it up for a while and it felt better. I didn't have the energy to make up a creative story for the kids involving ferrets, mollusks, toucans, or snow leopards.

I've been pretty worn down this week. This having to teach thing is really stressing me out, I'm feeling some other stresses about being here, and I'm really struggling to Trust about something and someone I know I need to.

It seems though, that just as I feel like I'm not going to be able to do much else than go back to my room and sleep, I get just the encouragement or energy I need. A cheerful text message. Getting off campus to play frisbee. A smiley face of skittles. A hug from a kindergartener. A funny request from a friend via e-mail. (asking for a witty answer to "What if dogs and cats had opposable thumbs?" since Monday is "What if dogs and cats had opposable thumbs?" Day. Anybody got any ideas?) A nice chat. A good morning Reading. Being able to help a friend. Thanks, friend.

Speaking of the funny request, if you could Remember a good friend of my former boss. He's very sick, and my boss and his family are trying to encourage the friend and his family by sending them a holiday card every day. (M & S, I think you guys are great for doing that. Anytime you need ideas, let me know, and I'll share them here, I'm sure at least one of my readers can come up with some idea).

Earlier today, I strolled down the street because I was hungry and wanted nan. All three of our local nan shops were out since it was 10:00 A.M. and they'd sold the morning's production and no one buys nan between about 9:30 and 11:00, apparently. Anyway, it made me really want to be able to just walk through this city for a while. Obviously, I'm not going to do that, but that's what we have to deal with sometimes, the feeling of being cooped up. I've gotten out a little more than other people, but one of my friends who went to Frisbee Tuesday said she thought this was the second time in a month and a half that she'd been more than a mile or two from campus. I'm not terribly bothered by this most of the time, but some of my friends really are, and it would be great if you could Remember us here during this current locked down time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It is well.

I took up my pencil this morning, and wrote that I was going to be joyful today on the sheet on the back of my wall. Maybe not the easiest day to do that. But long ago, He made the sun stand still. Who am I to think that He is not good to me today? He will be. He is the holder of the sun.

I got to play Frisbee at the embassy last night. It was fun to get out, fun to see some of the folks again, fun to play. I had to bribe our security guy with chocolate and microwave popcorn to get out.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dreams of shrinking

The Mr. Newcomer PE experience is continuing. I will be, for the foreseeable future, be teaching the two tenth grade weight training classes and elementary P.E. This also includes a couple other duties of the P.E. teacher's which I am taking on.

I am not terrifically excited about all of this, but it may only end up for a short time, and either way, it is a stretching, growing experience. I keep asking for trials so that I may be stronger, well, it turns out that I get them in more uncomfortable fashion and in areas that I wasn't exactly prepared for. I guess that's how it works.

I have been processing and thinking much recently on how some things I am working through are supposed to happen. With some of these stresses, the stresses of the new stretching P.E. experience, and some other internal stresses that have to do with rejecting a certain Liar, there are days that I don't wake up in a good mood, or with the proper attitude to face my day.

So I took a little time out today to prepare and create a little sheet that I'm sticking on the back of the door to my room. It's a little strange, perhaps, but it's got some stuff on it that reminds me that it's my decision to have faith, that there's joy there to be filled with if I just take it. It's also got spots on it for me to write down days and things that especially made me joyful that day, to help me remember on the days I have trouble being joyful. And I'll steal a block of sticky notes and put them up too for days when I need them. Like I said, kind of strange. We'll see if it works. At the very least, making it brought me some enjoyment.

I was challenged in two ways in our guys group tonight. First, challenged to see my Dad at work in this P.E. teaching situation in ways that I know I couldn't have done something in my own strength. The second, to live a life of hopeful anticipation, especially about one certain situation. So I told the guys what I wanted my Dad to do, and I'm going to expect Him to work in that situation. I know He will, just not exactly how I see it sometimes.

Finally, it's my mother's birthday today! Happy birthday, mom! I bet none of your other sons called you and had a chorus sing you happy birthday! Because you don't have any other sons. Ha! I win!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Within the gale.

Grace can still be found.
I will be delivered from here.
Fear and reverence raise my spirits.
My drowning is not the end of me.
Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.

This has not been a good few days for me. I lie to people when they ask me, say things are fine. I just want to go Home. I know that since I can't get there yet, I have to be here. Inadequacy assails me, and frontiers in my mind that I had thought long pushed back come creeping forward. What am I doing here? Where can I find the answers to all my questions, all my failings, all my longings?

But in truth, this is not what I am here to have discovered. Even though I am struggling, there is no other place I would rather be. The open water here is my only fear, but I'll sail as long as I still have breath in me. I'll swim because I know that I won't make it on my own. I'll surrender not to my own wishes, but to the wishes of the one who gives and takes away. What else do I have to do?

He holds my dreams.

Roses can be many colors.

I bought Blindside's The Black Rose EP yesterday. I enjoy it. I enjoy many things these days.

Yesterday was a good day. I got to make Toucans, I got to hang out, I got to read. My roommate from last semester had a bunch of people down to his new place for pizza, and it was pretty good. Ham and Pineapple, which I discovered I like more than I thought I did.

Today has been fine so far. I've written, I have some stuff to read, and maybe some hanging out tonight. I don't know. I'm in another weird mood, and I don't really know what is going on anymore with anything, except that I need someone Else's help to make it through, and I haven't been asking for or actually taking that help as much as I need to these last couple of days.

If you're wondering, my blogging has not be as verbose recently because I'm writing other place for other people. You all don't get it read what I'm writing, because one of them isn't meant to be read, and the other one is for just one person. Speaking of which, I need to use 10 minutes for that, so bye!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Feathers, Toucans, and Torches.

The week is done.

Day 5 of the Mr. Newcomer P.E. experience is done. Mr. Newcomer really hopes to not do P.E. quite as much in the coming days/weeks/months. I'm just not a teacher. I realize I shouldn't say I'm giving up after only a week, but I don't want to do this and try to get all my other stuff done anymore. I've felt like I haven't gotten anything done, but I have, just not all I wanted to get done. It's been tough.

Today was really not my best day. I'm skipping a party tonight because I just can't be new-people-social tonight. I had a quiet dinner, read aloud for a chapter, worked out, have been writing some, and now am probably going to hit the sack.

PS: Twenty-Four Eleven.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Colors again," said the herald of shining.

Today, I had a full day. The morning was ridiculously crazy, and I made it worse with my own helter-skelter nature. I barely sat down at my computer before 8:30. Then, I did Kdg/1st PE at 9:00, which was fun, 2 weight training classes wherein we played Bocce, which I guess went OK, had lunch fast, tried to get a couple things done, had lunch duty, 6th Grade PE, 9th Grade boys Health, then had another 20-30 minutes at the computer before car line, then homework club after car line. Immediately after homework club, I went with a friend of mine to get something to drink, then just relaxed and talked until supper, ate supper, went and tried to work out before staff meeting, had staff meeting, which was Quiz/Trivia night (and my team won by 1 point, :P ). Just a full day.

I didn't even mention what's been occupying my background thought processes.

Our P.E. teacher isn't coming back. I want to help, but I can't do as much as I have been doing. Especially if I have to start planning lessons, since I've just been cribbing off of what she left for us. My ideal situation would be that I could do elementary P.E., and other people can do the other classes. We'll see what happens.

Despite the full day, I'm not stressed. Neat things happened today. The Kdg and 1st graders were pretty good in P.E., and they're so adorable. We had soup for lunch. I got a cool little award from the 1st grade class for flexibility. One of the third graders in Car Line asked me if I had a good day, then told me about learning about the rain forest in class. I got to leave campus, just for a short time, and have a quiet relaxing talk with a friend. More little things that I probably have forgotten. It was a good day.


"This place will be different. (...) I hope I can make it here."

I keep a fairly regular diary/journal on my computer. Every time I go to make a new entry, it opens at the start of the file. The two items above are part of the very first entry. I see them all the time, and I remember the feelings, emotions, and thoughts that I had the first days that I was here.

And as the weather has taken a turn back to the warmer, as we are into the second month of classes after the break, as the world around me changes and grows, I think back to those two thoughts.

"This place will be different." Far different than I imagined that it could be, and yet already it has become familiar. The language, the community, the work. The smell of propane, the taste of heavily filtered water. The need for flexibility, the desire to be intractable. How long ago was it that I was me and not me? Yesterday, and yet it seems like a decade.

"I hope I can make it here." Weeks like this week, I still wonder about this. I mean, I've been a P.E. teacher the last week. Me! How does this happen? I sometimes feel unable to interact around students, staff, my friends, even my Best Friend. I feel totally inadequate for the job and the responsibilities I have been given. And who knows what's going to happen with P.E. in the coming days.

Yet, amidst this recurrent thoughts, I have a rock that I can hold to, a fortress that cannot be assailed. There is a strength greater than mine own, and I have been given the measure of it that I need for this day, and I will get the measure I need for the next.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Staid and redoutable.

Day 3 of the Mr. Newcomer P.E. experience is over. It was a little different, this morning, I had to talk to the High School students during assembly on flexibility. That is not my favorite thing to do, but I think it turned out OK. Since it was assembly day, it meant that my three classes today basically all were pushed together with no time off, since the lunch duty that I also have to fill was between two of them. So it made the day seem kind of longish. On the plus side, however, I had previously asked some of the other teachers to cover my afterschool basketball, since I had to do homework club. Yesterday, one of the teachers took homework club for me, so I could do basketball, and then today, the teacher who was going to do basketball told me that he would do HW club instead, so I got to do ball again. That made the day good.

We had guys group tonight, and one thing that we talked about that I've been thinking a decent bit about recently is that sometimes, we don't see the results of our labors right away. I struggle with this sometimes, because I don't really see the gifts (that I think I have been given) bearing fruit. I struggle because I wonder if I am doing the work I should be doing. The conclusion I have come to, right or wrong, is that I don't get to see the results of my work, because if I did, I might start to attribute these things to my own abilities and doings, instead of realizing where the credit is actually due. So instead of seeing, I just trust that I am walking the right path, and that the fruit I can't see will be sweeter when the day comes that I can see it..

We are not judged by our own size, but by the substitute we pick to run the race (and mine has already won it).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I saw your name.

Day two of the Mr. Newcomer P.E. experience has concluded. Mr. Newcomer is rapidly drawing some conclusions about his P.E. experience. First, it is a good thing I'm not a full time teacher. Second, I don't think I would enjoy it.

I felt the need to blog, but I don't have much to say here. P.E. is going OK, I'm busy, but not stressed, which is definitely not of my own doing. I'm trying to cut back on my food intake, since I don't exercise enough, but it's hard when there are good things like chicken noodle soup or pizza on the menu. Oh well. I guess I could cut out the chocolate muffins. Nah.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My ears are bringing FIGHTER PLANES!!!!

Well. Day One of the Mr. Newcomer is the P.E. teacher experience has concluded. It began rather eventfully, with a sick Mr. Newcomer. Apparently, the leftovers I had last night were not agreeable with my stomach. Once I was done with my morning hibernation, though, and got some Pepto-Bismal in me, I began to feel much better. So my first class (weight training) was OK, the 3rd Grade P.E. class I had after lunch was good, and 9th Grade boys health was fine. I didn't get all the stuff that I had wanted to get done done, but I got some necessary things done. I went and gamed with my old roommate for a while, then came back and read with a friend. Talked to my folks for a while, and am now headed towards bed.


Erm. This concludes tonight's program.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mark me with sparks and send me. Send me.

Tomorrow first thing is the great heater turn on project, then a thing to get done before 9:00 A.M., then my P.E. experience starts. I've got 3 classes, 10th Grade Weight Training, Elementary P.E., and 9th Grade Boys' health. And lunch duty and car line. And homework club this week. And assembly Monday morning. And two more documents to get done for the accreditation stuff. It's going to be a busy week.

But it has been a pretty decent weekend. I slept in a little yesterday, hung out with friends for a while in the morning to early afternoon. Looked at and booked our beach front rooms in Thailand for Spring Break. That's going to be fun. Last night, we had a singles Valentine's day dinner. Lots of good food, and pretty good company. I was in kind of a weird mood, parties aren't my thing, and I didn't let myself have a really good time. I'm glad for my friends who care about me and my weirdness, though.

Today was a good day, even if we were on travel restriction. We played frisbee in the street for a while, quit after throwing the disc into the neighbors' yards a couple times. I hung out with friends, worked out, got to read and talk for a while, which was a happy way to end my day. It was nice to come out of the weekend with good feelings, even though I know those feelings alone won't carry me through the rest of the week.

Figuring out life can be tough, and I wish it wasn't. I get what I need for each day, and I must work to be content with my what is it for each day, and not try to gather more. For when I try to see ahead, when I try to take more than I should, my what is it just rots overnight. Instead, I will trust in who gives me my what is it, that I'll get what I need each and every day.

I need to go to bed for tomorrow is the start of a week for me. As your week draws to a close, I hope you remember this land, and Ask that those here would get their what is it every day.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

All the rest of that.

[Edited at writer's discretion]

Retreat from our own strongholds, and take refuge in those Given to us.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Come, just sleep.

Today, I am... whatever. Sleepy, but not tired. Uncertain, but not anxious. Underrepresented, but not disenfranchised.

I duplicated DVDs and sent them off today. I worked on reformatting curriculum guides. Had a hard time focusing on much of anything. Had lunch duty.

Random thought. I need to ask people less questions when I should probably not know the answer, and people need to volunteer less information when I don't ask. Sometimes, I get told things aren't public knowledge in the funniest of places. Anyway...

I had the science teacher's six year old son over to hang out tonight. Why, you may ask? See, I like kids. Becoming a father is pretty high on my list of things I'd like to have Happen in my life. Being a father is a couple years off, I don't have any nephews I can spoil, and so I choose to be a semi-uncle to this little guy. We had a good time, ate pizza, played a game with a friend, watched a movie, played some Commander Keen, then sent him home. It was fun. It reminds me; however, that I'd probably be a lousy dad. But that has time to change, I suppose.

I should, but don't want to, go to bed. Whatever.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Not afraid of being alone with only our own thoughts.

Today has been pretty goodish. Got some good work done, had basketball, helped spread the goodness of cherry jolly ranchers, figured out some stuff for our spring break trip. Got a hug from a kindergarten kid. Tacos (I LOVE TACOS!) for supper. Smiles from a friend. Good day.

Someday, I'll lose my need to impress, and I will stop trying to convince the world that I'm something I can't be.

Transparency mode on.

So, frequent readers of my blog will recall me talking about the promotional video I've been working on. I'm honestly fairly unhappy with it. I haven't done any of that kind of editing in the last year, year and a half+, and so I'm rusty and out of practice. I don't like the way it turned out, but I just needed to get it kicked out the door. It has the problem that all of my creativity does - it isn't very. I'm pretty workman-like in my creations, I can do things fairly well technically, but they're dry, boring, derivative things. No spark, no real 'art'. And especially when people tell me that my video is really cool, I just don't handle that well.

Compound with this the apparent fact that people think I'm good at my job, when everyday I feel like it is another day that I'm barely holding my head above water. I don't actually have a good handle on networking, my attitude is too laissez faire for me to pro-actively address problems before the metastasize. And then people tell me, "You're superman." I know they mean it to be a compliment, but it just drives me further into the ground because of my knowledge that I'm really not. See, you know your pride is really bad when you are proud of your false humility.

I'm trying to accept compliments better but it's just not a normal mode for me. I'm trying to be better at receiving things, but that's difficult for me, too. Yet it's something that, as I'm reading through Rmns10 I see more of the importance of doing this. It's not my works that actually matter, but that which matters comes from a different source. And this source is not anything that I have done or have control over. All I can do is accept it, and then try to follow the Way for the rest of my life. My pride should frighten me with an abyss as black as night.

In our guys group last night, we talked about servanthood, and one thing we talked about was the start of the sixth section in the tax collector's message, and one of the questions asked was, "What do you do that no one notices?" I realized that many things I do out of 'servanthood', I really do just to be noticed. Is that bad? Well, it shows where my reward will be. So I'm going to try to do one thing every week that will not be noticed, yet is an act of servanthood. We'll see how long this resolution lasts, but maybe the thought alone will make me more conscious in every opportunity.

My will be a dead man.

Monday, February 11, 2008

To convince the world


My nose bled because it got frozen, then I scratched it.

My abs hurt because of my workout.

My probable early-on-set arthritis is really bothering the middle and ring fingers on my right hand.

My work projects had conflicting priorities, and I didn't work on the ones I should have, in all likelihood.

My room is cold.


The lunch hour was good because first, I did lunch duty for a friend who wasn't feeling well so she didn't have to stand outside, and therefore could go relax and hopefully feel better, then second, I got a hamburger from last night for lunch because I asked for one, instead of the spinach casserole.

The afternoon at work felt productive.

The high school assembly speaker used me as an object lesson for flexibility.

The dinner hour was spent quietly and happily.

The high school guys had fun playing basketball for the second day in a row, since I canceled my other Sunday afterschool activity since no one came for the second week in a row.

The power from the city is probably going to last most of the night.

The evening included our weekly guys meeting.

The things that have been bothering me seem less important, in perspective.


Three events made me happy.
Two things received my anger.
One person brought me joy.
Zero words stole my peace.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Surrounded by such a...

OK, so... I'm decadent. It's winter in Kabul, I had my buddies over to watch Firefly tonight, which meant firing up the stove. And since it's going, I might as well keep feeding it... since I have a small room... I'm wearing shorts and a T-shirt. It's decadent, like I said.

Today was a pretty good day. It started with French Bakery, went to white chili, nan, and chocolate muffins for lunch, then hamburgers and french fried chips for supper, to hot chocolate and skittles during Firefly. Yeah, today was a good food day.

The rest of today was fine. I got the promo video done and sent off with the director to a conference. He seemed really pleased with it, which is good, but I wasn't too happy with it. I've just been out of the editing practice for too long, and I should have done a lot differently. I may start working on it on my off time, to make it better.

It's days like today that I walk out of my office, and wonder what happened that I have been given this opportunity to be here. Who am I, that I could be used, was brought to this place. My skills don't exactly line up with what I'm doing, my life experiences wouldn't suggest that I have the capability to exist here well. My walk is not as strong as it should be, my obedience at times faulty. Even so, I am here, through no agency of my own. And in wondering these things, I come upon a realization of something; this place really is not far different from anywhere else. It is where I have been brought now, I should wonder equally why I was taken down the path that I have been on until now, for I deserve none of the blessings that I have been given. And I am convinced that neither heights nor depths of the sea can take me away.

And I remember I'll soon be dead. And what a day that will be.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Well, I should ha- wait, was that Jack Hartman?

Today has been a day. A day.

It started with my early morning heater turn on project, which involves me motivating myself to get up and out of bed in time to be able to turn everyone's heaters on, while still having time to do all my other regular morning stuff. Unfortunately, there was lots of gas out all over the place, and I between figuring that out, changing bottles, and then filling in morning duty for someone who was sick, then subbing for Kindergarten computer, I didn't even turn my computer on until 9:00. Then, I subbed for PE at 10:40. So my morning was hectic, my afternoon better, I have the promo video done except for the media printing. It took me long enough, though. After work, I worked out really quick, I need to run more, but I have a hard time motivating myself to do it.

Then we had supper, and after supper, I went and helped my roommate from last semester (who lives just down the street now) fix a couple things on his computer, then we hooked up his XBOX360. I say hooked up, because I had helped him figure out what he would need to do about power, which ain't like the states where you can just plug anything into the wall. Anyway, we got him powered up and going, and then we played 30 minutes or so of Halo3. I'm not a huge Halo fan, or a huge console gamer, but it was just a bunch of pure fun to play XBOX in Kabul with my buddy.

The fact that people here talk to me about their issues or their lives kind of weirds me out sometimes. I guess they feel comfortable around me, or that they can talk to me since they know I have a dearth of good advice, and will generally just be quiet and listen. That, or if they come to my office and I have it, I give them chocolate. I think it's the chocolate.

Been reading through the book to the folks in Italy recently. Lots of good stuff in there. I think I'll re-read it once I get done.

My fingers are frozen, it's mid single digits outside, and I think it's as close to freezing as is possible without actually freezing in my room, so I'm going to crawl under my nice warm covers, and sleep.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Whispering Ghosts.

Today was a good day. I hung out, I helped, I went to meeting, but the second best thing I did today was go to the Snow Bowl. We played Ultimate Frisbee today on a clean blanket of fun. Oh, was the snow enjoyable. You see, when the field is snowy, you don't have to worry about sliding as much. You slide more, but sliding and falling doesn't hurt, because instead of falling and stopping, you slide and bleed out some momentum that way. Does anyone know what I mean here? Ultimate was awesome. I was trying not to be too enthusiastic about it so as not to bum out the people that couldn't go, but it just rocked. And I played pretty well, so that's always a plus.

A couple of years ago, I was at a sort-of party, it was a potluck where we were playing games. It wasn't my turn, and I started to kind of zone out. In fact, I totally zoned out, and had a moment where I didn't know who I was, or where I was. It lasted about 5 seconds, I was kind of freaked, then I remembered I was at a potluck, then who I was. It kind of freaked me out, though, to not even know my own name.

I was at an orientation a couple years ago, and they were talking about maintaining discipline in the class. One of the things the leader suggested that we do was call misbehaving kids out by name because names are power. They assign responsibility, and call attention.

I think American culture has lost a lot of the richness of names that there was to be found, and is to be found in other cultures. To us, names are merely identifiers, labels of a sort. Back in the older times, a name was power. It defined a person, and when significant enough events occurred in one's life, one's name could be changed. Now, in American culture presently, the only name changes are for purposes of becoming lost, or becoming married.

I've also been reading Vernor Vinge's True Names, in which a True Name is distinguished from an 'online' or virtual-world name. And a true name is power, because it is control over the individual. This harkens back to an earlier idea, I think a druidic idea, that everything has a true name, a name that can grant an individual absolute power over a thing that he learns the true name of. This theme is also present, as I recall, in the Earthsea novels by Le Guin.

And make no mistake, names are power. Names cause the world to recognize, they cause the different to be recognized. Names identify the guilty, and give hope to the innocent. Names relay a picture of a person to those who know them. Names find.

in some worlds, names begin to lose their significance. We're traded in for a number, a different identifier. To some, that seems dehumanizing. To others, progress.

I never liked my full name growing up. Probably because my full name only got used when I was in trouble. Now, I wonder, is my name me? Does my name define me?

No. In fact, only one name should define me. And it's not mine. Lost was I, but no longer.

All I have been given in this world is more than a king could ever wish for.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bent save one raising.

I watched a movie tonight. The kind of movie that makes me angry. Movies don't usually make me angry. News stories don't make me angry, usually. But there is one kind of movie, one kind of story that is guaranteed to make me angry. Stories or movies in which men trade their role as protectors for the role of predator. To prey on the weak or disadvantage, to exploit one's strength to do another harm, this dishonors a man more than any other action could. And in some cultures and in some times, this is regarded as a virtue.

I had a good day today, except for my reaction to the movie. I got some work done, I hung out and worked some, I got some things done for the director which needed to be done. I worked on the promotional video for a while, then after I got to the point where I was staring at it for too long, I made an outtakes video. It's moderately amusing. There's one part that is pretty fun. I was cracking myself up while making it, and disturbing those who were actually trying hard to do real work (sorry!).

The fairest one never has ceased to call my name, though I am bent as the rest.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

the deepness

Innocent names lost a mote of power
the moment it seemed I came around
fortify the walls and think not to cower
the name will never stay in the ground

Silent names never lost their grace
even when hidden beside a flowing brook
unwhispered, they saved my true face
alone in the solace from the name I took

Bright names in the murky gray will shine
with the sudden flash before the thunder
spoken pride never holds back the dark
a single name rent the world asunder

True names over us hold their sway
solid cornerstones support the frame
we rise from despair and hope they may
absolute is the power of a single name

A simple word

Earlier today, I was taking video of the school. I decided, "Going up on top of Bldg C might get me some good shots, I got good photos last time we went up there." So I go on top of Bldg C, get some footage. Go to leave, and try to pull the door open, and it absolutely won't budge. Not opening at all. Nothing happening. Those doors have the spring locks, and I figure, I'm definitely locked in. On top of Bldg C. Great. Now, I had just seen our admin assistant walking into BldgC, so I figured I could call her instead ofone of the maintenance staff or any of the teachers, and have her come unlock the doors so I can get down. She comes up, looks at the door for a second, then pulls it open, and says, "It wasn't locked."

So, figure out what I did? That's right. I tried to pull open a door that I should have pushed, and then figured I was locked in. I figured it out as soon as she pulled the door open, so I just said, "Well, I couldn't get it open. Maybe it was stuck."

That's me. Solving problems wherever I go.

A pretty good day did I have today. I got up a little late, which made my morning a little rushed. I never have problems getting up when it is warm out, but when it's cold, getting up is the last thing I want to do. Anyway, then it was barfing out, and none of our maintenance staff was here yet, so I decided to shovel a path in the barf so our kids and staff didn't have to walk through it. I would get a path shoveled, look back, and there was barf all over again. I had barf all over my hair, the kids were tracking barf all over the buildings, but it was a good workout, and I enjoyed shoveling the barf.

Barf is the local word for snow. Sorry, that was kind of juvenile, but I enjoyed it. The fresh snowfall was one of the most beautiful things I saw today. I know it causes problems for people, especially those with mud roofs, but the country needs the moisture, and it was just so nice looking coming down.

Anyway, I worked on the promotional video more today, it's mostly there, just needs polishing. I got into a snowball fight with high-schoolers around lunch (fun), got to help out sick friends (fun), play taboo (semi-fun), and now I'm blogging.

The more that I live here, the more I see that I have a chance to have an impact on people's lives. I remember thinking and writing before I left that I would just be back in the shadows, never really affecting people, but supporting the people who are making a difference. I see now that this is a short-sighted view. Everyone, anyone can have an impact, can make a difference in the lives of others. No matter what our skills or our vocation or personality.

I have again a theme that I want to develop before posting. Stay tuned, there could be a deep post coming in the next day or two.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


There is nothing that can be done to realign the primary coils that manifest themselves as a singularly unknown set of confidence factors. We try to be the left and the life to the ones who forced behind the simplicity, but the kindness that gets thrown around like a bandoleer of string stooped to that level a long time ago. The westernmost outpost put out a new set of living standards a while ago that reduced the courteous to a blubbering mass of reliquarian cold. From the sadness wrested a sight fortuitous and friendly, the six legged scone with scrupulous tendencies toward oscillation. It's the admission of a great return from the daring trough that couldn't have found a blue flame in a white bottle of candlesticks.

My will be a dead man.

For some reason, I have become rather... hyper tonight. We had a team meeting tonight, the purpose of which was to have an evening of enjoyment. So we had some standup comedy, some funny video clips, some humourous songs, a good time. Then we read some more in Silent Planet, and I came back to e-mail and blog real quick before going to bed. But my generator was on. Rather than turn it off, I'll just let our staff turn it off at 11:00 P.M. while I enjoy lights, solid wireless, and not running my battery down by playing music loud. So this blog post has been taking a while, as hyper me is listening to Project at full blast, and occasionally taking a second out to pretend I'm in the band, or scream out lyrics with Andrew. I can't think of any time that I've done this quite to this extent in the last couple weeks. And it's not because I'm mad or anything, I'm just hyper. I had a good day at work, I'm working on a promo video for the school, and I'm having a blast getting footage and editing. And I've had basketball the last two days, which I enjoy so very much.

And, I've been Reading some pretty incredible things recently. I changed my Reading pattern since I got back, and it has proven to give me enough of a different perspective on why and how I Read, that I've felt that I have been actually seeing much more.

Finally, requests for Pr. My fellow staffers from here, Jeremy and Rachel, just had twins, a couple weeks premature because of complications. The girls are small, but expected to be OK, but still need your . Also, a friend from Omaha, Katy, just had her first boy, about 6 weeks premature, and while it sounds like he'll be OK, he's going to be in the hospital for a while, too. Thanks for your remembrances.

Monday, February 04, 2008

There is a brighter way.

It's the big things and the little things.

It's having my music player randomly pick a song I haven't heard for a while, and that reminding me of who I am, and who I know.

It's feeling like I'm really starting to accomplish things in a certain work project that I need to get done soon.

It's snow for a dry and needy country.

It's getting to help my friend out by helping in her class for a while.

It's watching my guys play basketball on a slick outdoor court with snow falling all around, and having a blast.

It's a good group of guys to have community with.

It's fried chicken for lunch and pancakes and !!! for supper.

It's two matching sets of skittles.

It's e-mails from friends.

It's issues affecting our whole school starting to get solved.

It's the encouragement of a quiet Word, right when I need it.

It's a smile.

There are times when I choose to let big things, negative things drag me down. There are times when I let little things drag me down. There are times when I miss opportunities put in my path. There are times when my prideful heart refuses to let me do the things I need to.

And then there are times when I can see who holds our dreams.

Unashamed I wish to stand one day.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Call me anything you want.

Today has been a mostly good day. Some minor frustrations, some wasted time, but I get over it. The day started out well when I left for croissants at just the right time so I hitched a ride there with our driver, instead of walking both ways. That was nice. It was warmer than usual today, I didn't even use the heater in my office after lunch! We had soup and homemade bread for lunch, which is another plus. And then corn for supper, along with potatoes (again, a plus) and some not-exactly-my-favorite chicken casserole. Spent the evening with friends, first, I watched an episode of Firefly with a couple buddies, then went and looked for spots to stay over Spring Break and then got to just chat.

One of my big worries in my initial coming here was my ability (or lack thereof) to fit in with new groups of people. It took me a while, but I think I've found the niche I can exist in. This I am so grateful for. I'm grateful for my friends here, who aren't my friends from back home, but have filled roles I needed. I'm grateful for someone who will ask me how my day is going, and who I feel comfortable enough to be able to really tell because I know they truly do care, and who stop, sit, and talk for five minutes in the midst of a busy day because they can tell I just need to get some of this out. I'm grateful for someone who I can talk with about very personal things. I'm grateful for someone who just wants to hang out with me, and let me hang out with them.

I'm also very grateful for friends back home who have stayed in touch with me. Even though I'm not there, you folks can make me feel like I'm there with little stories, telling me about what you're doing, what's going on. I never mind getting e-mail like that, send it to me whenever you wish.

I've been impressed the last couple days that we really do get what we need when we need it. I've heard or read things in the last couple days when I really needed to. I've had conversations that needed to happen. I had a friend stop by my office yesterday, when I was having a... weird day, and ask me how I was doing, and then take the time to listen, encourage, and just be my friend. I had a fellow staff member say something to me later yesterday, out of the blue, pretty much the exact moment that I needed it. I had the ability to be honest with someone when I needed to be. A friend of mine had a good day teaching while having a not great of rest-of-life day. All of these things came at just the right time. He has given us things exactly when we need them.

He holds our dreams.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A glass can only spill what it contains.

Frustrated today. Taking a few moments out to blog. For whatever reason.

It frustrates me how quickly I forget the peace I've been given. How quickly I turn from joyfulness to restlessness. How quick I am to abandon the simple trust, and forget the things I asked for just hours earlier. New every morning, and still my soul is not like that of a weaned child.

I was awake early this morning, so I turned on almost every classroom heater on campus. Only one person said anything to me so far about it. I don't know if I want them to. I don't have a lot of doubts that people don't know it's me, but why do I do what I do? There really isn't anything of value in me. Maybe that's how someway soon I will begin to be used.

The ascent isn't as far as it seems to be from here.

Friday, February 01, 2008

This can't be the great peace we all seek.

Who holds our dreams?

Some of us went to a party at the embassy tonight. I wonder why I went. Really. I left early, with some of my friends.

Much thinking today. No resolution of anything.

All that I want to give gets caught between every rib. What does that make me?