If You're Friends With Pete, then You're Friends with Me

Sitting solitary tonight in a hotel room in North Carolina, I felt very alone. Very adult. I chose North Carolina for my computer training because I wanted to see my dear friend Melissa, and I'm really looking forward to that. But I still couldn't help the fact that I felt too adult-like for my age.

So I called my friend Peter. Pete and I are the type who will one day sit in high-back chairs with suspenders and discuss the good old days in wistful, reminiscent tones. But tonight we talked about increasing responsibility. About becoming mature adults. Being leaders who have to act seriously. Enjoying life and being young. Realizing that youth culture is valued highly in our society, but wisdom is what we should cherish. What it feels like to be rejected by a girl, and how that increases our doubt and insecurity. On what love is and what love we have to give to a woman.

Our conversation ended and I felt better. I realized I wasn't as alone in the world as I thought. Someone else my age was struggling with these same issues and not merely dwelling on trivial acts of youthful frivolity.

Of course, after this post, I sound older than ever. But that's ok. I still am fun, nerdy, and goofy. Just a bit more restrained and mature about it. Read the Proverbs and Psalms. It's ok to value wisdom and restraint.

Epitome of Brilliance

This may be a strange passage of Tale of Two Cities to put on one's blog, but this just shows the brilliance of Charles Dickens. I love the English language when it is used this well!

...Above all, one hideous figure grew as familiar as if it had been before the general gaze from the foundations of the world- the figure of the sharp female called La Guillotine.

It was the popular theme for jests; it was the best cure for headache, it infallibly prevented the hair from turning grey, it imparted a peculiar delicacy to the complexion, it was the National Razor which shaved close: who kissed La Guillotine, looked through the little window and sneezed into the sack. It was the sign of the regeneration of the human race. It superseded the Cross. Models of it were worn on breasts from which the Cross was discarded, and it was bowed down to and believed in where the Cross was denied.

It sheared off heads so many, that it, and the ground it most polluted, were a rotten red. It was taken to pieces, like a toy-puzzle for a young Devil, and was put together again when the occasion wanted it. It hushed the eloquent, struck down the powerful, abolished the beautiful and good. Twenty-two friends of high public mark, twenty-one living and one dead, it had lopped the heads off, in one morning, in as many minutes. The name of the strong man of Old Scripture had descended to the chief functionary who worked it; but, so armed, he was stronger than his namesake, and blinder, and tore away the gates of God's own Temple every day.

~Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens, pg. 272.


Succumbing to Outside Pressures

We've all gotten the emails. You know, those emails that ask you:

What's your favorite colour?
Do you like to eat cheese?
If it was twenty-five degrees outside, what would you be thinking about?

These emails are always followed by, "Now quick! Send this off to ten of your best friends to see if they like you or are even really your friends!" And naturally every email begins by trying to prove you really are above such things by saying, "Well usually I don't do these things but question thirteen was just so insightful!"

Well tonight I'm caving. Only one person has the power to actually get me to cave on such a pivotal issue like this. Fully aware of this, she thought she'd try her powers over me and "tag" me on her blog. So here I am about to tell you five things you may or may not have known about me. This is going to be hard since pretty much all of you probably know my middle name, and really what more do you need to know? Here we go:

1. I was incredibly shy and didn't say much up until college. In 2nd grade my good friends consisted of farm animals who wrote words in webs, and eventually I'd change-out friends in high school by getting to know Jason Bourne and Jack Ryan. While I did have real-life friends, I was probably the shyest person you'd ever meet at a party. I'd even fake sleeping so I didn't have to talk!

2. I'm a registered independent! It's true. I agree too much with both sides to lean one way or another. Plus I really hope to get a phone call from pollsters this coming election since I'm "on the fence."

3. I almost always throw up after my last interval of a speed workout or after a hard race. Disgusting eh? Perhaps, but I tend to take it as a sign of how hard I ran. If I don't lose at least a bit of my lunch then I probably didn't try hard enough. I actually dry-heaved five or six times this morning actually!

4. If I had to choose between chocolate cake or ice cream, I'd choose both of course! Why can't you have your cake and your ice cream too? Unfortunately I'm on at least a month hiatus from sugar, or at least desserts. I've made it about nine days now but I'm so hungry!

5. My middle name is Byron.


Taming the Tongue

Towards the end of December I read through the book of Proverbs. Then I started through the Psalms. Both books are filled with wisdom and insight into the heart of God, not to mention His desires for His people. And as the Word so often does, particular verses cut to my heart. This time one reoccuring theme appeared over and over: "Watch what you say!"

Here are some of my favorite examples, and I'm going to use the NKJV because I like how it sounds the best:

"Help Lord, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from the songs of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor,
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak."
~Psalms 12: 1-2

"Like a madman who throw firebrands, arrows, and death,
Is the man who deceives his neighbor,
And says, 'I was only joking!'"
~Proverbs 26:18-19

"A fool vents all his feelings,
But a wise man holds them back."
~Proverbs 29:11

James 3 is often referred to when people discuss taming bad speech. But I like the above verses better because they are vivid examples of struggles I have everyday. Modern psychology tells us its good to get things off our chest, and I take that to an extreme. But this is not wise according to the Proverbs. Nor is being idle in our talk, or using joking (probably also sarcasm) in a way that does not build others up.

In hindsight, I can see the wisdom of these verses. No amount of venting has ever made me feel better. Idle talk has never truely strengthened a relationship. Sarcasm and joking? They often lead to shallow conversation and friendships that have no idea how to interact on a deep, personal level.

We need to watch what we say. And we need to help each other out in this area. Sometimes I have no idea how my words come across to others. The other night a good friend pointed out something I said that unintentionally offended her. I was reminded, once again, that we need to be ever mindful of what we say and how we say it. We must continuously be building each other up, not merely discussing trivial things and jesting all the time.


Church Snapshots

The preacher gets up,
and leads a tired sermon.
He is burned out.

A sideways glance;
quickly look away.
They no longer talk.

An energetic attitude,
over-involvement and an easy smile.
He's lost many whom he loved.

A humble heart,
a willing attitude.
She has nowhere to serve.

Head of gray,
decades of experience.
No young man to listen.

Omniscient. Omnipotent.
He knows.
He cares.


Criminal Intent

While most people were out buying water bottles, batteries, and flashlights for the impending ice storm, I decided to buy something more practical: Law and Order. L&O: Criminal Intent to be more exact. And while I was still able to brave the elements and run ten miles outside yesterday, I've had more than ample opportunity to watch enough episodes to be considered a healthy individual.

Detective Goren is an amazing detective who has penetrating insight into the human psyche. He would give Dickens a run for his money if the two were to battle wits against each other. In episode after episode he exposes the insecurities of people and not only finds out what crime they committed, but the reason why they committed the act.

I am amazed that a lot of times the primary motivation is that of some insecurity the purp has. Whether it be appearance, intelligence, money, or a desire to be liked/needed the criminal motivation is to quell their irrepressible desires. Sometimes there seems to be frighteningly little between their insecurities and our own, except for the fact that they go to murderous extremes to stymie them.

I think the easy, Christian answer to this problem is that this is yet another reason we need God. And indeed it is. But I also think that often these people need others in their life to love them, care for them, and help them with wisdom they can't find in there current situation. It is so obvious that often all these people are longing for is love.

Or maybe people in New York are just crazy.



Listen to my body? If I was listening to my body right now I would be home in bed eating a danish and reading the funnies."
~Overheard at the 1991 San Antonio Marathon, The Quotable Runner

It's time. An hour and a half came and went. It fact, it went about seven minutes quicker than normal. And thus my fate was sealed. After a four-year retirement from craziness, I now am coming back more eccentric and nuts than ever. I have decided to run the Cleveland Marathon. After running the Dallas White Rock half-marathon in 1:23:46 (hh:mm:ss) I realized I stood a good shot at qualifying for the Bostom Marathon.

For those who don't know, the Boston Marathon is the dream of all runners. Everyone wants to run Boston who is even remotely serious about running. Its almost like the Olympics for those who will never be Olympians. There is one catch though. You must qualify. And for someone my age you have to run a marathon in three hours and ten minutes. That's about 7:10 per mile. That's moving.

The thing I love about the marathon, and I've only done one thus far, is that there is no faking it. Sure people have shown up out of shape to marathons and eeked their way through it. But those wanting to succeed at a higher level must put in the time. And we're talking lots of it. Between now and May I have around 800 miles scheduled to put on these legs. A marathon is much more than a few hours on a Sunday morning, it's about months of self-denial, dedication, and preparation. It's about pushing yourself beyond your normal limits and focusing on a task seemingly impossible.

I think that's why I'm writing this. Because its dangerous to say you want to break 3:10 in the marathon to others. I could easily keep this goal to myself and act like I never had it a month from now when training gets hard. But there is no hiding. There is no half-hearted attempts that may pass. It's either do or die. Ok, perhaps that was a bit too fatalistic! :)

If you don't think we runners are crazy, then just listen to this last quote, one of my favorites:

"Act like a horse. Be dumb. Just run."
~Jumbo Elliot



Sometimes there seems no place to go.

Another week comes and goes at work.
Another thirty-plus miles of running.
Another page turned in a book.
Another week a-flurry of church activity but seemingly little growth in my life or others.
Lunch with an old high-school friend.
A movie with an old friend moving away soon.


"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher.
"Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless."
~Eccl. 1:2

I'm not sure why I feel this way. Sometimes I think its the doldrums of life that hit from time to time. The monotony and predictability of it all. Other times I think its loneliness. Despite all the business of my life, and the many friends I'm blessed with, I still at times feel lonely. Often it's a lull in my faith and relationship with God. Or even a severance in a relationship with someone.

Tomorrow everything will be alright. I'll wake up and the world will be sunshine and rainbows again. But tonight I agree with Solomon.


Harry Potter!

If this doesn't send chills down your spine then I don't know what will:


I'll see you July 13th at 12:01 AM!

Editor's Note: For the record I've already watched the trailer over ten times. By July 13th it is fairly safe to say that I will have watched the trailer around five-hundred times. You may think I'm kidding, but ask anyone who knows me how many times I watched the Star Wars and LOTR trailers.