Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Quarter of a Century

It's almost November 29th. It's my 26th Birthday. I've come a long way since that hospital in San Antonio, Texas. I think it's wise to reflect on how much can happen in a year. Here are some highlights.

In my 25th year I got my motorcycle, was Best Man in my Best Friends wedding, learned a lot about Manliness, grew a beard~ twice, took a Ballroom dancing class, moved to a great house in La Mirada, reconciled a friendship, started dating again, laughed till I cried, just cried, learned more of the depths of my sin and heights of His redeeming love,

saw John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl, faced some of my darkest days, went to a Polo match, watched all 6 season of Lost, bought a Queen size bed, continued to look for a queen to share it with, got my first TV~ 46" of beautiful HD, stayed up too late with friends, got up too early for work, saw God's provision for every day,

rented my first car ~ a chevy aveo, broke more than a few rules, ate a fish eye, biked to the ocean, tried to be a better friend, humbled myself to ask for help, was blessed to have my sister and brother visit me for parts of the summer, almost beat Roger at PS3 baseball, took a lot of fun trips to Disneyland, saw World of Color, panicked, rested in the shelter of His wings, was rebuked,

ate breakfast for dinner, dressed up as David Bowie from the 1986 movie Labyrinth, spent way too much time on facebook, not enough time in prayer, disappointed by expectations, delightfully surprised by the unexpected, saw Wicked with my family in SF, faced many fears, conquered some was defeated by others, acquired my first art piece, found the gospel to be fresh and exactly what I need time and time again.

Thank you Father for my life. It's unfair how blessed I am. I am so loved by you and through the people you have filled my life with. No matter how hard I try I can never seem to convey, or show my gratitude enough. Thank you for you grace and mercy in my prideful mistakes. Thank you for the pain that reminds me this is still a journey to my home with you and for your promises to see me all the way there. Thank you for lessons learned. Thank you for sunrises and sunsets. Thank you for taste, scents, beauty, music, touch, and your Spirit that speaks all that I cannot. Thank you for a church family. Thank you for a job to work. Thank you for health and for sickness that reminds me what a blessing health is. Thank you for the blessing of a future and for peace in the uncertainty. Thank you for my family that prayers for me, supports me, laughs and cries with me and loves me almost more than I can take.

Father may you be glorified in this next year. May every day bring me closer to you in knowledge and truth. If you tarry until I'm 27 may I be more like your Son Jesus.

I love you.

Jonathan

Saturday, November 27, 2010

To be taken Daily.


Today I got a refill on some prescription meds I've been taking for the past month to help me in my battle with anxiety and panic attacks. The pills have been a daily reminder of something I hate to face.
1. There is something wrong with me.
2. I'm too weak to battle it on my own.

I've spent the last year absorbing as much content on Manliness as I could get my hands on. I've set goals and tried to grow and mature into more of a responsible, strong, committed, man. I even got up the nerve to ask a girl out on a date and buy a motorcycle. I thought things might finally be coming together. Then CRASH!

My world seems to collapse like a sandcastle during high tide. I couldn't sleep, eat, relax, work. Everything felt overwhelming. There was been a daily assault on my sense of hope for the future which I want to discuss later.

In this battle something has become a clear as the Caribbean sea. My Daily need of God's grace and mercies. Because:
1. There is something wrong with me.
2. I cannot bring about my own salvation.

I hope that someday I won't need these pills but I know that everyday on this earth I need God to be my strength and to release my gorilla grip on all that I think I control about my life. This is why prayer and God's living word are so crucial to my everyday. God knows I seem to have a tragically short memory when it comes to truth and I need the constant reminding.

I am so grateful for His faithfulness to me.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Soul Incarnate



Maybe it would be extreme to say that Coldplay is my soul incarnate but upon hearing their newest song "Spanish Rain/Don Quixote" which they premiered last week on the start of their Latin America tour, I am even more persuaded to say that it's true.

I get a little nervous when I'm about to listen to a new Coldplay song for the first time. "Might this be the first song I don't like?" One of the first songs I ever wrote when I first started playing guitar was titled "Don Quixote". I definitely like their version better. This new song is both absolutely Coldplay and yet fresh and not just something we've heard before. Chris Martin proves that his lyric writing is getting even better.

While listening to this song for the first time I had goosebumps and my heart and soul were dancing. I feel ridiculous even saying it but I can't help it. If this is any sign of what is to come from their new album, which is tentatively aimed to be released by Christmas I am filled with great hope that it will be another outstanding album from our boys across the pond.

Have a listen.

You can Download it here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

And then I don't feel so bad



We all have those days when it seems like nothing is going right. We have a bad hair day, we hit every red light when we're already running late for work, someone at the party is being charmed by someone we wish was us, we get our elbow stuck in a chair in the middle of a crowded room, our boss wants to "walk into" something we did that wasn't up to snuff, we wake up and find we are a literary character in a Russian novel or perhaps having under gone a metamorphosis into a giant vermin. We've all been there.

I find that on these days on of the best things I can do is to write a list of things that I love in life. Later I go back and read this list and I'm always amazed at how many things I forget about. I can't help but read my list and find a smile is sneaking it's way across my face.

Don't leave anything off the list. If it makes you happy put it down. From the eternally mind blowing awesomeness of our unmerited salvation in Christ Jesus to the smell of waffle cones at Disneyland.

Every now and then I like to go back and add things. This list can never be too long. Below is my list feel free to borrow any of mine if you find they resonate with you as well.

Cheers,


* Jesus Christ and His salvation,
* Family,
* Friends,
* Elatia,
* Falling asleep to the sound of Rain,
* listening to a skilled musician,
* Passionate People,
* Imagination,
* Australia,
* Stars,
* Elephants,
* Music,
* Thunder Storms,
* Making People's lives better,
* Hugs,
* Serving,
* Listening,
* Writing,
* Sending and receiving Real Letters,
* Scent of Waffle Cones,
* Gardens,
* Miniatures,
* Trains,
* Classic Disney: meaning everything made before the 70's.,
* Jackets,
* Chivalry,
* Ruth's Chris' Steakhouse,
* Coldplay,
* Cuddling,
* Wakeboarding,
* Flying at Night,
* Bowling,
* Fresh/New Sweatshirts,
* Fresh Pineapple,
* Chocolate Covered Strawberries,
* Old Books,
* the sound of an orchestra tuning right before a performance begins,
* Frosted Mugs,
* Hands,
* Toasted Bagels,
* Autumn,
* Pumpkins,
* Pie,
* Cats,
* Breathtaking views,
* BBQ Brisket,
* Texas
* Meeting New People
* Public Speaking
* Learning more about God
* That feeling when you come home after being gone awhile
* Staying up all night talking then watching the sunrise
* Finding Solitude (especially in So Cal)
* Holding Hands
* Scarecrows
* Dancing
* Laughing until I can't breath and I'm crying
* Having No homework
* the Joy of the Lord
* The Fruits of the Spirit
* Miracles
* Praying with others
* Dreaming the Impossible
* Drive In Movie Theaters
* Puffy White Clouds
* Sunshine
* Apples
* Fires
* Kites
* Old Couples in Love
* A Glass of Red Wine
* A Pint of Guinness
* Accents
* Hats

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Absence Makes the Heart Grow


Several months ago we had a work day at my church. A couple of Trustees and I spent a good 10 hours doing hard manual labor installing new door jams and a new gas line. It was the kind of work where you are covered in dirt, sweat, blood and muscles you didn't know you had hurt. It was wonderful. Everyone once in awhile I love doing tough manly work that reminds you you're alive. We finished our work that evening and I began the drive home.

When I arrived at my "cozy" studio apartment my roommate wasn't home. My stomach gave a deep roar that echoed off the walls. I collapsed on the couch and tried to fathom what I would make for dinner. I began to think of how wonderful it would be to be married. How joyfully I would hand over my paycheck, take out the trash, change the oil in the car, squish creepy crawlies, fix and repair things and so much more, to come home to a kind woman who would greet my dirty face with a kiss and prepared even the simplest of meals. (As a side note, I love to cook and would do so with great enthusiasm when the situation is reversed.)

While initially this day dream brought pangs of longing, instead of rejecting the desires I decided to open myself, embrace all the feelings and commit them to memory and in this case a blog. I realized that this experience was what would make that day, if it ever comes, so much more meaningful and sweet. The memory of the absence will help me in appreciating my wife and the blessing that she will be to me. I don't presume that this is an absolute and I hope to blog on contentment another time.

What I learned that day was that the absence can be great catalyst to future joy. It makes me think of our Father's "now but not yet" Kingdom. We have a clouded hint of what that day will be like but until then we live with the absence as we long for that day. In the process of our sanctification our hearts can grow and stretch to hold more love and appreciation when we are united in Heaven.

Until either of those days come I will do my best to embrace the absence and cultivate joyful longing.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Emanation

Everything has a beginning. This is the beginning of my first blog. I'm curious to see what arises from putting my thoughts down in this format. I've kept a journal off and on for several years. I never had any interest to start a blog of my own but in recent months I have been blessed by reading several different blogs. It is my hope that this will not be a blog that adds to the noise but is a unique element in the symphony of life.

The fact that it is cool and rainy on this February afternoon is contributing to my introvert state of mind I am certain.

I am a melancholy romantic, an old soul and young at heart. Turning 25 has caused me to rethink a lot of things and stirred up an intense desire to Man Up and live life with more purpose and accomplishment. I hope that this blog will help me to set, track and fulfill my goals as well as process my thoughts and feelings along the journey.

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

- Jack London