Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The calm before storm?

Well now, most of my guys have moved in. God has blessed me with a great group of guys and they are all starting to settle in. I have been praying for them all summer and God really came through, just like always.

At the moment things are fairly slow around here. Mostly I just hang out, eat and hang out. But that all changes tomorrow. Classes start on Thursday. I've always said that college would be even better if it wasn't for the classes. I'm only taking 16 credits so it shouldn't be too bad. As for now, I'm also only working at the Learning Center a grand total of 3 hours a week. I'm gonna be a millioniare.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Quick update =)

Need a date? Buy a field and a tractor and leave a little message for the ladies. Um, yeah. So I just read a follow-up on that giant farmer-style personal. (See previous post) That guy had 700 calls on his ad. I guess that's the way to do it when you need a date.

Desperate farmer

This is a cornfield in Iowa. The arrow is pointing to one desperate farmer...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

At the bottom of my game...

My guys move in today. I am so excited. All the training, all the hard work, all the boring meetings, they all pay off today. God has been working in me all week to prepare me for today and I can't wait to see what he is going to do.

I prayed at the beginning of the week for God to break me, to make me humble and empty before him. I arrived at that point on Saturday night and again on Sunday night. I really hit rock bottom. I am so overwhelmed with how inadequate I am for the tasks that he has called me to this year. If anything even remotely right happens this year, it will be all because God worked some amazing miracles. It won't be because of me but rather despite me. My soul has been crying out to him the past couple of days and I am confident that he will be faithful.

Well, pandemonium (which, by the way, is my favorite word, but more on that another day...) is about to break out. Please remember me in your prayers and remember my guys, prayer is such a powerful thing because the one who answers is all powerful. It's gonna be a banner year for GCU!

Friday, August 26, 2005

So I'm a slacker

The posts just aren't coming as often as they should. I know. I'm sorry. Next week will probably be bad too. But I'm thinking that by September 5 I should be back to consistently posting. Here's a little update to keep you demanding people happy:

Being an RA, so far, has been tremendous amounts of fun with lots of busy-ness and not much free time. I'm rushing about from place to place, doing everything I can to help out. The days have been starting around 8 in the morning and I am usually able to crash in my room around 10 or 11 at night. I'm starting to get a little tired. My residents move in on Monday. Sigh.

Since I left home on Saturday, so much has been accomplished. On Sunday morning, all of us RA's left for Prescott in northern Arizona for a leadership retreat. While we were there we built relationships, learned to trust each other (most of us anyway, but that's a story for another time), we grew closer to God and learned some things about working together by playing a whole monkey load of volleyball. After we got back on Tuesday we have been in meetings constantly. When I'm not in a meeting I'm prepping rooms for my residents or cleaning or decorating. It's not hard work at all, it's just that there's a lot of it.

Tomorrow I leave for Prescott again, this time for a Bible study leaders' meeting. Although it should be a lot of fun, it does mean that I will be hard-pressed for time tomorrow to get everything ready for Monday Move-in Madness. Pray lots.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

This doesn't count as a post!

Life is just a tad crazy right now. I packed my bags and moved in to the dorms at Grand Canyon on Saturday. On Sunday morning, all the student leadership headed up to Prescott for a fun-filled retreat. We came back Tuesday afternoon and have been busy with meetings and prepping our rooms since then. I understand that this update is pretty pathetic but hopefully I will have time to write a real post for tonight.

Friday, August 19, 2005

No touchy

So Jamie and I are on a "Contact Fast". It's kind of like a regular fast where you don't eat for a day or don't drink soda for a week to draw yourself closer to God, only we are restraining from physical contact (Ya know, hugging, kissing, that sorta stuff). I was talking with God on Wednesday night when this idea popped into my brain. After praying about it, I thought it would be a great idea for us to do. So for Thursday, Friday and Saturday we are keeping our physical contact to a bare minimum and we are going to try to spend the time we have together praying and reading the Bible and growing spiritually. We have never done anything like this before so we don't know what to expect out of it. But we know God is amazing and hopefully he will bless this decision by letting us draw nearer to him. If you think of it, remember us in your prayers.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A little piece of my heart

Today was my last day of working with Emma ("Where's the ball?"). When I took over the position at the beginning of the summer, I trained a little bit with Sally, the woman who had been working with Emma but was quitting. On her last day she cried a lot and was rather emotional about the whole thing. I was a little confused by it. I mean, Emma wasn't dying or anything, and here Sally was just teary eyed and hugging Emma all the time. They would still see each other around the school. It seemed a little odd. I now understand. That little girl really grows on you. She and I spent a lot of time together this summer and she holds a special place in my heart. She can always make me laugh and she has a beautiful smile and such a funny personality. I'm really, really going to miss her. It was all I could do to not cry this afternoon. We read a book today called The Little Lamb (I think that's the title). It was like a picture book about Emma. It talked about how God has special plan for people who are different and how he can use them in special ways. I'm so thankful he let me be part of his special plan with Emma. He really used her to touch my life.

So Emma, if you ever learn to read, this is for you: I love you sweets. Thanks for spending the summer with me. I'll pray for you always.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Where's the dog?

It's Tuesday, time for a picture to spruce up the site.

Sorry for the lack of posts, my sister is getting married today and things are crazy. Life should be back to normal tomorrow...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Weekend: it's just better here

Saturday. Is there really a better day of the week? I went swimming for two and a half hours today. In the sun. I'm slightly redder now. Meh.

The big news for today is that Jamie comes home from Colorado tomorrow. I go to pick her up around one-ish. I'm just a little excited. Two and a half months is way too long for a significant other to be gone. I have learned that the hard way.

Coming up this week: I will have a post on what I learned in school. (I'm teaching junior high/high school science on Monday and Tuesday and math on Wednesday), I will have a post on my last day with Emma (Thursday) and of course Tuesday is still picture day. (I have a good one in mind...) If you want something different, let me know. Probably no post tomorrow, so enjoy the weekend.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The big two - zero -zero

High fives all around! If you glance at the bottom of the page, you will see that this site has surpassed 200 visitors. Thanks for being a part of this moment in history.

My guitar came last night. It sounds so beautiful. I love it! When I opened the case, that "new guitar" smell came drifting out. Oh ya. I love that smell. I left the little freshness baggy in the case to preserve the scent. I wonder if they sell those things at guitar stores...

Life is busy but God is good. Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Planted and fertilized

I tend to be a long term kind of guy. I look at what I think will happen in the future and prepare for those circumstances. Too often I get ahead of myself. This summer is a perfect example of that.

This whole summer I have been eagerly anticipating the coming school year. I could barely contain my excitement at being an RA and the opportunities that go along with that for serving God. I was pumped up to be a Bible study leader and help guys grow in their faith. I had been so anxious for what God is going to do that I forgot that he was still at work in my life in the present and that I could serve him in the here and now.

It was great for me to be planning how to serve God in the future, but not at the cost of serving him right now. I get so caught up in future events and circumstances that I forget to strive for the kingdom in the present. If I truly believe the Bible (and I do) then I should know that God has me exactly in the right place in life to best serve him. And I should be making the most of every opportunity to do so. So here's a new resolution: to bloom wherever God plants me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Is there an echo in the room?

I've gotta be honest, I got a good laugh out of this one. This is a comment recently posted on my blog. Here it is in all of its grandeur:

Dear, Literary Vandal

I just read your story ["Put a sock in it", Wednesday, August 3rd] IN A MAGAZINE! That's right, somewhere besides this blog. So next time you post something, make sure you don't take a stupid pill [beforehand] plagiarizer.

Forever original,

Rudimental Writer

p.s. Some of us read other things besides your blog you know.

Let me start by saying that the post was not plagiarized. If you know the magazine or article which is thought to have been the original, by all means, tell me so I can read it myself. It is very possible it resembles another’s take on the art of listening. The topic is an important one in today's busy lifestyle and has been written about often. I'm going to let you in on a secret about that post. The blog in question was written withMS Word during a meeting. I had no internet connection, books, magazines or other literature available. When I got home, I copied and pasted it onto my blog. (Hopefully my employer will never read this...) The whole thing was written originally by me. Sorry to disappoint you my vigilant reader. But thanks for keeping me on my toes. (And laughing all night…)

Keep the comments coming.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Monday, August 08, 2005

Monday: I'm pretty sure it was a good day

I've got bad news. I really don't have anything to say.

I taught little kids how to jump rope today. That was fun. I also had a kindergartener tell me that I'm crazy. Repeatedly. For no reason. It made no sense. Maybe tomorrow will go just as well. Thank goodness tomorrow is Tuesday: picture day. Wahoo.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Wazzup Emma

After a four week hiatus, I was finally reunited with my main girl this summer. Emma and I got off to a slow start yesterday, but we made it through the entire session without too much trouble. When I first showed up, I think Emma had some trouble remembering who I was. But as soon as I mentioned that we were going to stand up and work, Emma looked me straight in the eye and said, "Uuuuuuuup?"

She had lost some strength in her legs, she is much more wobbly when she walks, but she seems to have retained most of her head knowledge. I have about seven sessions left with her before I have to head back to school. Hopefully God will bless us with some good progress before I leave.

Also, a quick update on the UK site. I just finished uploading the pics for the first three days. I'm still working on the rest of the trip and more should be coming soon.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Put a sock in it

Last night it rained cats and dogs. We had a river raging behind our house for most of the night. It was a glorious thing. I can’t imagine it raining like that for 40 days and nights during the great flood. There was just an amazing amount of water. Being from Arizona, I’ve never seen that much water come from the sky before. I saw a picture once of a lot of water in a lake. But coming from the sky? That’s pretty crazy.

Onto the serious subject of the day: the art of listening. There is a significant difference between hearing what a person says and listening to what they say. Hearing means that the sound vibrations reach your ears and that’s about it. Maybe your brain comprehends what is said, maybe not. Listening requires active participation. It means hearing what is said and responding appropriately. It is very much an art form. It takes practice and work to become a good listener.

There are four keys things to becoming a good listener. The first and most important is closing your mouth. It is incredibly hard to listen to what somebody else is saying when you are doing the talking. There is nothing worse than having someone ask you how your day is going and then proceed to talk and talk and talk without ever giving you the opportunity to answer the original question.

Next, make eye contact. There is no quicker way to indicate that you are not listening and that you are uninterested if your eyes are wandering around the room. When I talk with people, I watch their eyes. As soon as their eyes consistently leave mine, I tend to stop the conversation. I know that if they can’t bother to make eye contact, then there is no possible way that they can be paying attention to what I am saying.

The third key to being a good listener is reaffirming what the person is saying to show that you are listening and understand. While the person is talking, nod your head in agreement, murmur words of agreement and at times restate in similar words what the person has just said to confirm to them that you have heard what they said and understand their intentions.

The final key to being a good listener is responding appropriately. If a person has just shared that their favorite Aunt Jenny has just died, don’t laugh. This sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you how often I see this. Also, be careful when sharing your own story in response. Too often this will minimize what the person has just said. When a person shares about how they got in an accident and how their car was totaled, don’t launch into a story about the time you ran into a tree with your car. If you must, share what you learned from a similar experience but be careful when dispensing advice. The thing that links all of this together comes from Roman 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.”

It has come to my attention that I have not been setting a good example. It seems that I have been doing an awful lot of talking on this blog and not very much listening. I apologize. I will now take some time to listen, please, share what ever you like.

Okay. That's enough of that. Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Here kitty, kitty

The good news is that a guitar arrived at my house yesterday. The bad news is that it belonged to a guy in Georgia. The good news is that it was a nicer guitar than what I ordered. The bad news is that they aren't going to let me keep it. The good news is that they should be shipping me another one. The bad news is that it's not here yet. Oh well, I guess God wants me to wait a while longer to start playing again.

The last good news is that it's Tuesday: picture day! Hope you laugh out loud like I did.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Really, who is it all about?

I just got back from another small vacation. This time I flew up with Jamie's parents in their small plane to Colorado Springs to visit Jamie. We had a wonderful weekend together and I was reminded again how much God has blessed me with such a great girlfriend. Jamie is an amazing woman who is passionate about God. She has such a loving and gentle spirit, I am constantly amazed by the depth of character God has given her. Two more weeks and then she'll be back in Arizona where she belongs...

I am reading through a book called "The Coffeehouse Gospel". The book talks about having the right attitude and mindset for sharing the gospel and using the tools that God has given you to share the gospel. In one of the chapters, the author is interviewing a missionary and he asks the missionary, "Is it worth it?" and the guy responds with an answer that just blew my mind. He said that the question was wrong. It doesn't really matter if it's worth it. What matters is that He (God) is worthy. Look at that statement again. Wow.

From personal experience I can honestly say that I have gone through times in my life where I have asked God if it was worth it, if what I was going through was really worth the pain and trouble. Maybe it was, maybe not. That doesn't matter. If I truly have submitted my life to Jesus and call him Lord and say that it's not about me but about him, then it doesn't matter if it's worth it or not. What truly matters is that He is worthy.