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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Being resolute for Jesus

So we're going to have our home's candlelight service soon, and the inevitable Candlelight Service card was passed out for all to fill. I was sitting at the desk with mine this morning trying in vain to fill out anything beyond my name. I don't often have trouble with stuff like this; little questionnaires are usually a breeze for me. But in the interests of taking this one seriously (something I have begun attempting with increasing fervency every year), I spent some time staring at its sweet white interface and begun to ponder.
The problem is that, in past years, when I've filled out these cards, I wrote what I was in the mood for right then. "I'm having a guitar boom and it's been my superficial hobby for the past 3 days, so I'm going to go ahead and make 'learning to play the guitar as well as Herman Li' one of my goals for the new year" type things. Consequently, I end up with a list of resolutions that are just the first thing that comes to mind--a lot of unrealistic expectations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I've recently begun making resolutions that are very nebulous and over-generalized, like "Read more Word" or "Get closer to Jesus," Just because I've accepted the fact that my life is not sensational or massively motivated and those are probably the things I'd better stick to anyways, the ones that only require holding on and letting the train take you where it needs to go.
So this year I didn't just want to chalk down the first things that sprung forth like Jack from a brain box, and I sat there and wrote...nothing.
So yes, the card is still empty (save my name, which is quite delightfully adorning its personal little space), but I need to go back to it eventually. The fright of which brings us to a strange personal realization.

Strange personal realization:
I realize that I am quite a weak, feeble mouse of humanity. Basically, I'm not impulsive, not very assertive, and I like my routine. I like an exciting routine, to be sure, but I like MY routine, not other people's routines that all of a sudden jump into mine. If I'm confronted with an opportunity, especially if it's something I've always wanted to do, I'll usually wish that it would sort of go away so that deciding to take the risk going for it or not wouldn't be rattling my brain. Often I'll abandon the process when it seems to be taking me too far in any direction, or if there are any people making a big deal about it. I am a noodle that is slurped about into any little vacuuming vortex, and will never really end up anywhere outside this pile of post-vacuum noodles. I hate asking people for things, I hate coming across as boorish or self-centered (although I often do, probably why I have such a complex about it), and I really don't like being pushed into situations outside of my comfort zone.
Positive upswing: Most of these things are things that I manage to have the Lord help me with. Obviously our lives for Jesus require us to sometimes stumble into an unexpected place where you are suddenly outside and being pushed further and further away from your comfort zone, so I have tackled these things and found them to be the biggest growing experiences of my life. I'm still an extreme wimp about them, though. Also, I'm learning to mind less and less the way I think I am coming across to people, and to just pray for the anointing to come across the way the Lord sees fit, which is bottle-breaking. However, I am, at the core of me, frightfully attached to normalcy.
So the exciting summation of this self-discovery is that I have decided that my main resolution for 2009 is to have a more adventurous and full-of-faith spirit regarding the challenges the Lord wants me to tackle; to be open to seeing them in the first place; and to take them all the way home. Lord help me!!
See ya, monkeys.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Facts From Foolish Florence For Fruitful Fulfillment!!

Florence (the absolute undeniable expert) tells you about her current experiments for increasing productivity (and tries to sound super motivational about it, just to inspire herself. Rahhh!):

  • Wake up a little earlier than you're used to (only five minutes can do the trick) and take the time to match your clothes, comb your hair, and splash water on your face. A complete 100% better than just walking into devotions from having climbed out of bed. (Better yet, if you're a superhero, you can make your bed!) Some people manage to wake up a LOT earlier than this and go jogging or do some other exciting activity. I have tried and failed, so I sympathize with those of my brothers who belong with me in the sloth family.
  • Start exercising. Just starting is a good place to focus all your concentration. Don't worry about continuing, it's sort of something that just follows. Starting is the only real difficult thing!!!
  • Start doing all the little bunches of tasks at the beginning of your day, if your schedule allows for it. I've found that if I can knock off a bunch of little to-dos at the beginning of the day, it gives me much more inspiration to tackle the work that tends to come in blocks of several hours later on in the day. Get that successful feeling!!!
  • Buy DOWNY for your laundry!! It's a serious kick in the pants. I am now LOOKING for laundry to wash.
  • Get a new method of time managing--a new scheduler, a new calendar, a new task-manager program on your computer. I have found myself sinking into the depths of nothingness only because I felt stupid about getting a new schedule when the other one wasn't finished (changing horses in the middle of a stream), or trying to pretend that I was all time-managed (putting lipstick on a pig), or spending too much time inputting to-dos that I thought it was better to just forget the process in favor of just doing stuff. Valid reasons for feeling stupid, all of them, but I have decided that if it helps me out for a bit, I'm just going to DO IT.
There is a quote by God-knows-who that says something to the effect of "In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail." And all this business of making yourself a harder and more effective worker is a GREAT ATTEMPT my friends!! Let's make those distances between the failures shorter and shorter.
(I hope you realize that the part up there where I said I was the absolute undeniable expert...was...a...joke...)

Friday, January 23, 2009

High Quality Photography Post

I have decided to take more pictures to post on my blog--let's just say, as a New Year's Resolution. (Wow, my only NYR for 2009 is to post more pictures on my blog. That's...fantastic.)
So basically, today I wielded (weld?) a camera and looked for recurring themes in my house. This is what I found. Following is my Signs on Walls in PC Home Collection: All Signs Currently Hanging On Various Walls Or Refrigerators. Behold.

Now the sign to the left is of particular mention. Not many visitors to our house are privileged enough to see it, because it is in one of the furthest corners of our house, the upstairs bathroom. The particular mention that I am going to make about it is--rumor has it that it was created and handled (scotch-tape and all) by my predecessor Phil. It is the only one of its kind that remains, since time (and toilet fingers) was not kind to the others and they were taken down. I honestly don't know why this one stays up, but the longer it stays fused bravely to our wall the more a part of the PC legacy it becomes. (Also, as a bonus, the photo includes sort of a sink-looking receptacle.)

Now this is sort of self-explanatory. I love the attention to detail (happy dinosaur stickers and adventurous misspelling of the word "review"). I believe the credit for this creation goes to Michael (who probably was moved to address the subject when he was home finance man.)







Another bathroom tidbit. I saw this one one day and marveled at the expert color coordination of the tacks. It is quite lovely and cute, and I wonder if it took the unknown benefactor very long to go search for 4 tacks of the same shape and different colors. Or...maybe they had a set...which would totally ruin the mental picture.






I wandered into Mom and Dad's room and snapped a few pictures of Mom looking tired at her desk and of Dad under his covers, and decided that it's probably not in the best interest of the excitement of my blog to post those photos. Mom did, however, invite me to take a photo of her cactus garden, which I find hugely thrilling.






Sigh. There is nothing interesting about this sign, really. I made it, and it's part of a whole set of a bunch of other quotes on the same ring. They're just bloody difficult to switch around because you've got to unhook it and shuffle with some papers, so it tends to stay on the same quote for quite some time. Which isn't a bad thing. I'm...just...saying... whatever.





The schedule, on a refrigerator. It's actually this genius (and consequently, incredibly difficult to understand for civilians) schedule template-hybrid made by Akira or Mia or somebody. It makes me feel smart that I look at it every day and actually see my NAME intertwined into something so complex and mathematical.






My personal favorite. God bless all TRF doers. It would be so interesting to see what would happen if the person in charge of the TRF just decided to take the people that didn't turn their stats in after incessant nagging off the TRF. Like, just..."Oh sorry, I forgot about you because I guess I didn't have your stats in my pile. Darn, I wonder whose fault that is?" I'm very thankful for love and forgiveness.

So that concludes my first high-interest collection of the earthy, cool sort of photographs that I am so good at taking. I was actually seriously considering posting a picture of Dan that I happened to get in a golden moment when I was outside of a room with my camera poised to take a shot of a sign on the door when he opened the door looking extremely tired and unamused, and stood there for a good few seconds wondering why I seemed so ready to take a picture of him outside the door. It was a very good moment, and the picture also is quite good (based on the value of humor, of course), but in the interests of not getting killed, I will only tell you about it and save the photo as a batering tool.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Burning Motivations

Today read the new Offensive Briefing for devotions. It was a massive trial to stay seated. For some reason I had that sort of pounding feeling in my heart that I usually have if there is some sort of impending doom, or if I'm embarassed about something, or if I'm worried and can't help thinking about something, so it was unpleasant and I tried to suppress it, and for the first little while I had no idea why I felt that way and tried to recollect whether there was anything that I was anxious about. I realized that I'm just anxious about witnessing. I want to do it, badly.
Not only that...there are so many things that I want to do that give me ants in my pants. Let's just do stuff, guys. Let's just do it now. I want to take off a whole month of no other responsibilites and focus entirely on like...getting Activate subscriptions. My God that would be fun. Obviously, for most of us, there will never be a time when we can focus ONLY on one thing to the neglect of all our other duties, but we can still do so much if we don't rely on the feeling of burning up in one area to motivate us. That's usually my NWO, quickly losing the vision if I can't focus all of myself on something. Doing several simultaneous things, leading several simultaneous ministries is a difficult thing for me. Probably difficult for most of us. If we can master it though, we can feel that burning motivation a few times over, and that's awesome.
So let's conquer the world with Activate!!! Raaaaah!
Since the photo probably calls for a caption, it's David and I engaged in a hard-core contemporary dance at the PMA Celebration (obviously I am witnessing to him, and OBVIOUSLY he has no shirt.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Guru

Allow me the wicked honor of introducing to you, Guru.

GURU: Shun, Taka, and Steve

So I'm at this point where I'm wondering how much commentary I should offer up about this music, seeing as I'm not really a music specialist and it's not generally the sort of music that I have strong feelings about. But I really liked this stuff and I'm listening to it for sure. You guys'll like it too. Have a go. It's 6 songs, not too much to swallow in one gulp.

Spread the word!

UPDATE: Steve has a blog. Hurrah!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A small and strange trial

The first thing on my mind right now is this strange little melody that I have in my head that I think (for the time-being, at least) is cool and I can hardly wait to fit to some sort of words. However, my life is sort of ordinary at the moment and I can't seem to pull any lucid ideas for a song out of my thoughts. What I'd like you to think is that I am full of strange and creative sentences just swirling around in my brain at all times, but in actuality, I probably have very little in my brain but a rusty crowbar and some dull crayons.
I did, at one time, try to write down phrases and combinations of words and ideas that I liked in a little notebook to try to "lubricate the faucet" when the time came, and that helped, but it got lost or thrown away or something and now I have nothing. I can't start another one just yet, it'd be like remarrying before enough time has passed to actually wring out all the last drops of mourning.
(Who writes songs like this? Probably no one. I'm probably very strange. Probably.)
I've been flipping through my quote books looking for word combos that would stick out to me, but I feel like a curtain fluttering in an open window--kind of pathetic and that close to getting ripped away. Haven't you always felt sorry for curtains that are put through that? They almost look like they're drowning and hoping someone seems them all panicked out. Who knows though, maybe the curtains were just trying to feel free, like the guy in "The Room".
Now, THAT was a good song.
I did enough to frustrate myself yesterday when I sad down and tried to beat some words out of myself and realized that I was in a somewhat sad and melancholy mood and wouldn't get much other than a sad and melancholy song. Which is definitely not the way to go. So I killed it (gasp! I throttled the creative expression! Newsflash for the carnal, creative expression is sometimes garbage) and I repocketted the melody in my head.
I have been singing this melody at various times, mostly on the toilet, and sometimes while doing dishes. Obviously, since it has no words, the words that I sing make very little sense. Sometimes I surprise myself with some lines that actually rhyme and sound clever, but I never actually come up with anything useful when I am singing it on the spot, and I think I just confuse my home members as to why I am singing a similar melody throughout the day with fluctuating and curiously nebulous lyrics. Something quite alarming, also, is that often the words that come out of my head make little sense and are typical System-song-y cliches that smell like incense that a puny little emo teen girl would burn before she goes and plays her guitar while sitting on neat bohemian pillows. Seriously, I feel like my head is full enough of the Word that I should feel like singing "Jesus I love you" more often when I'm "freestyling," but it doesn't often go down that way. There are some sentences that I find myself repeating quite often, that have been stuck in my head for situations like this for years. God, the things that we hold in our heads to embarass ourselves.
But I've had this happen before where, in sort of the opposite manner, where I had words stuck in my head for a long time, that finally came out one day in a massive wave of shiny Jesuspiration. And I consider that to be a pretty good reason to keep holding on to this melody that one day will make its way into actual songhood.
...
I feel dorky talking about this.

Monday, January 12, 2009

LNF

Well it's a downright happy new year and I'm glad to be innit. 2009, my second decade of life. I won't be selfish and I will share it with you.
It started off in much the same fashion as last year--with everyone's big big plans being squished and shriveled from massive and fantastic into small and just right. My home suffered no visitors except for Jonie, so we razed the roof at karaoke and in the livingroom with a 50in TV (and ramen).
On the second I had a Kando Bando show and many dramas trying to get there. They had to actually go ahead and start the first set without me, so I had a good laugh when I got there and saw Steve with his "Kent Cobain" hairstyle and a snivvelly nosed-face trying to compensate with some wicked gyrations.
I went back with the tired Tateyama-ites looking forward to some good vaca and ended up getting sick halfway through my first day. It was all good at first cause I knew I had it coming, and I was just thankful that it was after Christmas that I actually dropped with it, but then it kept continuing on and on and getting better and getting worse until I finally pulled out of it with a nasty cough and cold that I am still entertaining in my head.
Yesterday getting dropped off on my way back from the mountains, I got to go to Narita airport for the first time since I was a kid, to pick up some people flying in from Taiwan for retreats and things. It was pretty nutty feeling so weird and out of place around so many gaijins speaking so many different languages. I gotta get out, man.
So today I'm glad to be home. I love coming home to a clean room, being able to walk around a house that is warm pretty much all over, having a shower that is blasting and HOT, a bed that does not slip off in pieces during the night, and having hot coffee in the morning that I didn't have to take from someone's private stash.
But I miss you and I wish I'd spent more time with you.