31st of May 2004
Making Time for Others
Along the lines of a blog I did about two weeks ago,
and three weeks ago, Feelings About Leaving
LA, I've thought about why I feel unattached to some people,
and have come up with some revelations on this point. There are
some who I may think we should be closer friends, but our
off-balance relationship explains why this isn't true. And maybe
this explains why some of our other relationships crumble or are
weaker than we think.
I've spent a lot of time going out of my way to visit with some
people, making myself available to them because I care for and
love them. I give them a higher priority because I esteem them
to be special among those God has placed in my life. Yet the
reverse is often untrue.
These people think that by taking time out only when I
happen to be around and spend valuable time together
is sufficient, but this isn't true. It makes it hard to feel
cared for when there isn't a mutual sacrifice or a sacrifice
given on one's behalf. And if, for this reason, I feel
as though I'm only a side article to their lives, then I don't
think any of us should be surprised. There's such a difference
to those things we do out of comfort and what we do out of
discomfort. What distance will we go for each other?
Now this is what I've seen that made GCF so valuable to me while
I was at LA. There were those in that group who went out of their
way for me, and showed the love of family many don't give. And
likewise I enjoyed going out of my way for them to make the
feeling of family mutual. And this mutual sacrificial nature is
what makes a family strong. If anyone in GCF set their own self
and ambitions higher than the rest, not being available and not
making time for others, then the feeling of family in respect to
them was diminished. As much as any of us may have tried to
reach out to them and try to make them feel as though they were
apart of our family, they may have felt connected by the sacrifice
and effort, but to those of us who gave, they were lost and
Without the mutual give/take and time for understanding,
family becomes broken, and it's not surprising that people feel
left out. If anyone makes time for me, and I will not for them,
I cannot expect them to feel the strength of family. I can be
thankful for what they've given me, but while I may delight in
the expectation for what they've shown they can share, they
cannot delight in anything I can share when I haven't shared a
If any of us who are thankful for what God has given us, but are
unwilling to make sacrifices to be with Him, then is it any wonder
that Jesus says in Matt 7:21-23, "Not every one who says to me,
'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does
the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will
say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and
cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your
name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart
from me, you evildoers.'"? How does one know the will of God
other than spend time with Him? God may come to us often, but if
we don't come to Him, then where's the family in our relationship?
Oddly enough, those who don't take time out for me I also would
have to say, "I don't really know you."
30th of May 2004
Bible Translation and Misinterpretation
It's strange how reading multiple translations can clarify
verses in the Bible that are written without clarity. Looking at
Proverbs 17:9 in the RSV, "He who forgives an offense seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter alienates a friend," I once thought
this had to do with repeating a matter once forgiven, however
reading the Living Bible and Amplified Bible translations clarify
it to show that it's nagging versus forgiving. Likewise,
Proverbs 17:17 in the RSV, "A friend loves at all times, and a
brother is born for adversity," I might think it's the good/bad
contrast often given in Proverbs, however both the Living Bible
and Amplified Bible read that the brother is born to
help during adversity. The Amplified Bible reads,
"A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother,
I find this alarming simply because the two readings mean
significantly different things. Because the proverbs are often
so terse, I think they are probably more likely to cause
confusions like this. And I wonder if I'm not better off
reading them in the Amplified Bible than the RSV as I've been
Listening and Yapping
There are those people who don't take the time to understand,
and proverbs has a verse about them. Proverbs 18:2, "A
[self-confident] fool has no delight in understanding but only
in revealing his personal opinions and himself" (Amplified
Bible). I've met so many people who would rather give advice
than ask questions and spend quality time to understand. Their
giving advice is like their personal opinions and their own
29th of May 2004
Forgiveness & Alienation
Proverbs 17:9, "He who covers and forgives an offense seeks
love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even
close friends" (Amplified Bible). This proverb
is great because it identifies the importance (wisdom) of
forgiveness. In order to allow someone to rebuild lost
trust, they need to be forgiven (pardoned) so that they are
given that opportunity to move beyond the offense. Otherwise
hope and trust is forever lost with them. Nagging endlessly
is unhelpful and unloving. This is a really great proverb
because it describes a difference between a loving versus
unloving rebuke! :)
25th of May 2004
The Proverbs Dilemma
Proverbs 12:15, "The way of a fool is right in his own
eyes, but a wise man listens to advice" (RSV). Trying to
help others is difficult when they don't need to listen.
This verse makes me think about the book of Proverbs. In a
way, it talks about itself. The fool will be the one who
doesn't need to listen to the book of Proverbs (or truthfully, the
Bible as a whole) because their own way is right in their own
eyes. Almost sounds like it condemns post-modern thought,
doesn't it! :D
This past Sunday evening I helped hand out extra food to some
homeless people in downtown LA with a really good friend of
mine. (A truly noble jesture, from her noble heart.) And it
felt good giving these people something they
needed rather than money which can be so easily abused. But,
my friend expressed, what's the best way to declare God to these
people with this kindness? And I don't know because these people
need so much more than food. Food sustains their life until
hopefully they may come to know God, but just giving out
food won't automatically point them to God, especially the
true living God.
Like she said, the Bible lifts up helping out the poor. And
since I've been studying Proverbs, so I decided to do a word
search for poor and see what I could find!
Proverbs 17:5, "He who mocks the poor insults his Maker, he who
is glad at calamity will not go unpunished."
Proverbs 22:2, "The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord
is the maker of them all."
Proverbs 22:9, "He who has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for
he shares his bread with the poor."
Proverbs 28:27, "He who gives to the poor will not want, but he
who hides his eyes will get many a curse."
Proverbs 31:20, "She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out
her hands to the needy."
Proverbs 19:1, "Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
than a man who is perverse in speech, and is a fool."
Proverbs 21:17, "He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; he
who loves wine and oil will not be rich."
Proverbs 19:22, "What is desired in a man is loyalty, and a poor
man is better than a liar."
Proverbs 29:7, "A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a
wicked man does not undersand such knowledge."
Even Proverbs is very much in favor of helping out the poor. Yet
the tragic part about this is that sometimes I think some of those
poor on the street are what Proverbs would consider to be sluggards,
fools, and liars. Proverbs isn't very nice in considering these
types of people, saying in Proverbs 1:23-31 (Wisdom saying):
"Give heed to my reproof; behold, I will pour out my thoughts to
you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and
you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has
heeded, and you have ignored all my counsel and would have none
of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when
panic strikes you, when panic strikes you like a storm, and your
calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come
upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they
will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated
knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, would have none
of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall
eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices."
And yet there are poor out there who aren't sluggards, fools, or
liars. People who are just forced onto the streets due to hard
times and aren't looking to take an easy way out in life. People
whose understanding and gratitude would allow them to see God's
work in this ministry. And, beyond the poor are those people who
may see God's work through the willing sacrifice of Christians to
My only fear is that at some point we may neglect our Christian
brethren at the expense of the poor. If
we help the non-Christian poor and lose our brother or sister,
then we do need to reexamine our priorities. And there is one
advantage to ministering to the poor in that you can see (if you
ask) firsthand what leads to poverty. In some cases it may be
an absence of fearing God.
The Poor Who Know God
One last comment about sharing the Gospel to the homeless is that
this past Sunday we met a man who claimed to be a Christian,
except his understanding of God was imperfect. This reminded me
of a danger to thinking that someone simply needs to know that
Christ died for them, and He is God. I've met several homeless who
have no real understanding of God at all. They have unorthodox
beliefs, and need real guidance because they really are still
lost. Although this is perhaps no different than what
constitutes even those who are not homeless, it's worrying that
homeless may get an incomplete message and feel sound in their
incomplete understanding which
should only have be the beginning of a life long search for their
God, not an end.
And discernment. Matt 7:6, "Do not give dogs what is holy; and
do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them
under foot and turn to attack you." Giving people what they
need when they need it is important. Some homeless may need
something more personalized and less superficial if God is
going to use us in their blessing. And sometimes the time
just isn't right.
24th of May 2004
The Beauty of the Retreat
The greatest part of the Harvest SGV retreat was the time
I could spend with its members. There was the time and a
variety of opportunities to interact with them, things that
don't often happen on a normal Sunday afternoon. But the
best part was the continuity in the fellowship! Rather than
an hour or so and then bye for a week, it was an hour or so,
then maybe several hours later, and more chances to share
experiences with them. Surely, at no time have I felt a greater
bond with the members of Harvest than at this retreat! The
availability and time sharing really made it feel more like
a family than a simple hanging out time during the week.
I'd wish it could last for longer, but everyone has to go
their own ways eventually, and the group disappears for
multiple days and quality time becomes scarce once again.
I feel particular sorrow for those who couldn't make it
because of other engagements or illness. And sometimes I
wondered if some of those who were deepest in the planning of
the event couldn't enjoy it as much as everyone else. I hope
that God can sustain them through their sacrifice, and give them
other opportunities to feel the momentary closeness I felt at the
Serving a group certainly feels differently than serving
an individual. An individual is like a flower in a garden of
flowers. A family is when you not only take time out in the
garden, but also attend and take time to share the blessings
of the individual flowers. The joy of the garden is not just
watering it and keeping it healthy, but enjoying all the
components that make up its beauty.
Too Much of a Sweet Thing
The retreat reminded me of my aversion to many sweets.
It's funny that I used to not have that problem, but at some
point it's become a challenge just looking at sweets. I think
at some point it must have been one too many of those parties
with too many sweets. Now looking at sweets makes me recall
the sickening feelings, and I can only enjoy them in moderation.
I wonder if I could still handle these sweets if I hadn't
overloaded myself too many times. I don't know if my aversion
comes from anything else. I just know that my tolerance has
dropped immensely. Where are those recipe books with less
sweet, yet tasty, snacks?! :-O
22nd of May 2004
Justifying the Wicked
Proverbs 17:15, "He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns
the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord" (RSV).
I know some people who make excuses for people who do wrong, like
"they are mostly good," or "he can't help it," or "it's just a
stage in life." And I know people who get mad at those who
properly correct these people who do wrong (where the excuses
are used to justify their own position). It's really sad when
people claim to love the Ways of God, and then make exceptions
where no exceptions ought to be made. :(
When You Can't See the Road You Are Driving
Driving up to the SVG Harvest Retreat was an experience! I don't
know what to think. Sometimes you could only see a few feet
beyond the front of the car, and sometimes you couldn't see
anything due to mountain fog. I wanted to continue driving
because the conditions
were such that I didn't think anyone else would have an easier
time, but perhaps Bobby, who was my co-pilot at the time, could
have done better. But, God's blessing was on us even though I
resisted giving up the wheel to Bobby, mostly fearing he could
do no better, but close to the end I was ready to give it up
for his own peace of mind. His personal desire to drive up the
mountain since I've only been driving for about 4 weeks was
completely reasonable. The twisty little roads really made
it difficult, and roadsigns and markers were hard to see.
(But one is never completely sure at what
point one becomes sufficiently capable of taking on a challenge.
The first two times I drove long distances on a freeway I was
alone and scared, but by God's grace it all turned out all right.)
19th of May 2004
Starbucks & Wireless Internet
It costs money. And not just a pay per usage fee either.
You need to pay a $30 montly fee which is absurd seeing
as how I only wanted to use it once, or until my DSL starts
working. Oh well. Guess I can't connect to the internet
while I wait on my car's tires to be changed. Thanks T-mobile.
Predestination in Proverbs
I bet some people don't like Proverbs 16:4. "The Lord has made
everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of
A Typical Characteristic of a Wiseman
Proverbs 16:23, "The mind of the wise makes his speech judicious,
and adds persuasiveness to his lips" (RSV).
The Strife Bringer
Proverbs 16:28, "A perverse man spreads strife, and a whisperer
separates close friends" (RSV). Although a warning about what
we can do wrong, it's also a warning about dealing with those
who incite conflict and bear messages only meant to destroy
18th of May 2004
Always Seeking Profound Relationships
Been thinking about the past blogs. And I realized that
along with caring about people, I really do want to have
stronger relationships with people -- although I fail for the
most part. This in itself is something that requires time
and effort. More effort than I think many of us can afford.
Relationships always start with the superficial, and unfortunately
often end their too. Fortunately, there are a few people in LA
that I've really grown to know through my time there. And I
can count on us all staying in contact with each other mutually.
Patience is Always a Good Idea
Proverbs 15:28, "The mind of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things" (RSV).
Further admonition for trying to answer/help people too quickly.
I think many of my own rushed responses haven't been the best,
and people always seem to respond best after I've had enough time
to consider everything as carefully as I can.
What is the fear of the Lord?
Proverbs 15:33, "The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility goes before honor" (RSV).
17th of May 2004
Proverbs 14:15, "The simple believes everything, but the prudent
looks where he is going" (RSV). I wish I could be simple, but
the truth is that you can't believe everything you're told.
We each need to be able to see where we are going, and ask God
for eyes that can see.
17th of May 2004
Problems of the Day
As usual, the day has ended quite extraordinarily. The
professional movers handled everything well, but trying
to begin my own trip to SB from LA I discovered my front-left
tire was flat, so I had to call AAA (I bet they're getting a little
upset with me). Fortunately, the van's spare is a full tire, and
I was able to drive really fast all the way to SB to get to my
apartment just minutes after the movers arrived! And then this
evening I received
an automated phone call from Verizon saying my DSL was ready,
but I tried and it was all the same. I contacted the techsupport
and we messed around some more, but still couldn't get it to work.
She said her tests showed everything to be alright, but certainly
they aren't! To help she's put a mark on my records to say the
next time I call they can direct me to their repair support. I
couldn't do it tonight because the backlog was too long, and
they'd probably close shop before I'd have a chance to receive
help. Oh yeah, I dropped off my tire at the local Firestone
this afternoon and the guy said they'd call me in an hour and a
half when they fixed it, but they still haven't called and
they've probably long closed shop by now. I don't like the idea
of driving w/o a spare.
I was recently thinking about possible reasons why I don't
feel like I'd miss many people. And it came to me that I've heard
people tell me often that it doesn't matter if you feel rejected
because God is always with you.
Well, certainly I believe this is true, although I also believe
it is a shame when you feel rejected from His church. I think
I've been accepted often enough, only to be forgotten in
a crowd, that I don't expect much anymore. I don't really miss
people as much as I miss who I once thought people were.
I find most of my effort is spent, even when I'm not away from
people, trying to understand who they really are. People are
complex. Caring in one case, uncaring in another.
Too busy, too busy. I'm too busy to miss people. I've learned
how to not count on people. You ask, and shouldn't expect
anything. It's quite a blessing when you do receive a reply.
And if anyone is consistent in replying, then you've found a gem.
(Of course, I don't count unthoughtful replies which aren't worth
the time spent composing them.) Give, but don't expect to
receive. And if you receive, only give if you have a heart to
give, not just because you received. So, if I'm also a
sporadic/spontaneous giver, then I can't say I'm surprised.
Really, the only reason I can think of why I keep-in-touch with
people is not because I miss them so much as I care for them.
The past is not something to dwell on except in respect to the
future, so it makes more sense to me not to dwell on people's
absence as it is to have a mind for them no matter how far they
may be. People 'missing' me doesn't mean much to me. People
fellowshiping with me means a whole lot more, and I'm certain
it's the same with everyone else too. Because of this, it's
not surprising that people request 'visit often', or keep-in-touch.
They may wish to be missed, but they don't really seem to make
that as high a priority.
16th of May 2004
The Last Weekend Visit
Let's start by putting it this way -- some people are busy.
Sitting in church alone for awhile, contemplating my latest
failure at communication with someone at UPC, the haze was
clearing in my mind. The real test to how much people
really miss you is not how much they say they are going to
miss you, but the level of effort they put will put forward in
order to stay in contact with you when you are finally gone.
People who hardly stay-in-touch when you are close by
can hardly be expected to stay-in-touch when you are away. If
they did, I would be astonished! People who at least care will
give a call every-once-in-awhile. But even people who stay
somewhat in contact when you are nearby will usually not have
time to truly miss you while you are away, and this makes sense
because why should they? To miss someone would seem to suggest
that without them there is something missing in your
life, perhaps a deficiency the other person filled.
And as I sat there I could tell who were most likely going
to miss me at UPC. There were those I'd met there who were
willing to go out of their way today to seek me when I was
alone. And then there were those who were -- by experience --
the least likely to approach me at all, those who I always
had to seek out. But, as often occurs, those whom you seek out
who feel satisfied with how things are currently will not
reciprocate. But who would expect it? They are content.
The Worthless Friendship
I have someone who says he's my friend but doesn't show any
trust in me. He tells me what I think and why I do what I do and
doesn't listen to my own reasoning. Then he says he trusts me.
How can one communicate with someone who isn't even seeking a
sense of trust? How can I trust someone who won't trust me
when I feel I should be trusted? How can I communicate anything
to someone if they treat whatever I say with little or now
weight? It reminds me of Proverbs 13:18, "Poverty and shame shall
be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof
shall be honoured" (KJV). If I correct him with my true thoughts,
and he refuses to listen, how can I honor him?
15th of May 2004
Week in Review
It's been a crazy week! A whole lot has happened; not
having all I needed to live comfortably, the car battery
dying, DSL not working, and getting comfortable at work.
:D All things seem to be getting along well though.
Maybe a little more work that I didn't want to do, but God
gave me the fortitude to come through it alright. :)
14th of May 2004
Good Company, Bad Company
Proverbs 13:20, "He who walks with wise men becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm" (RSV). Sometimes
such advice seems obvious, but I don't think even I'm always
careful to watch out with how chummy I get with people in trying
to appear kind in their sight. The point where you bend to
being their companion in foolishness, which can be easy
if you are afraid to rebuke them, is where harm probably would
Spare the Rod, Hate the Son
Proverbs 13:24, "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he
who loves him is diligent to discipline him" (RSV). I thought this
is great because it reinforces the necessity of discipline. I see
so many under disciplined children because hurting them is
considered 'unloving'. Yet, not all pain is necessarily delivered
Proverbs 13:25, "The righteous has enough to satisfy his
appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want" (RSV). Now
that I'm making more money than I have ever in the past, I wonder
what I'll do with all this that God has given me. Will I be
satisfied with what's good so that I will have abundance to share
with others? Or will I never be satiated, and spend all the
wealth on myself? What does this proverb say about those of us
who are always searching, and never see any form of abundance
that God has given us?
13th of May 2004
Today I drove to UPS, which is well hidden on Pine St. Missed
it the first time and searched diligently the second time before
finding their trucks tucked away in a corner! Yes, and then
after work, I excitedly plugged it in, and it didn't work!
:( But once I figured out how to navigate Verizon's
voice automated system by saying 'DSL', I got
a very friendly technician to try and help me debug everything.
Still doesn't work, but he was very patient with me.
Work Going Well
Things are starting to heat up at work. I'm getting a good
feel for everything, so I can see them giving me some more
difficult assignments rather than just reviewing the project.
I pray that God would help me make good of my effort. I also
had an opportunity to go to farmer's market with two coworkers
and maybe I will be able to play volleyball on Monday nights.
Proverb on Tarnished Beauty
Yesterday I considered Proverbs 11:22 and thought it really held
meaning to me. "Like a gold ring in a swine's snout is a
beautiful woman without discretion" (RSV). Pigs were quite
unholy (unclean) creatures for Jews, so sticking a valuable gold
ring in a pig would be a waste of the ring. I think it puts
into perspective the importance of looks versus good character.
The gold ring (beauty) is meant to add to what's already
there, but isn't key. The character (being) is what really
matters because a bad character (swine) simply makes beauty a
waste. So God's wisdom is that character is higher than beauty,
although sometimes I think many people put way more effort in
beauty than in character.
Proverbs 12:10, "A righteous man has regard for the life of his
beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel" (RSV). I thought
God's wisdom on this point was quite discriminating. The
righteous man cares even the life of a beast, even though it's
lower than a man, yet the point where the wicked claims to be
providing mercy, it's really cruel. The righteous man's mercy
and care are really built in, whereas the wicked can't show mercy
because they don't really care.
12th of May 2004
At least that's what my car battery was feeling this morning
making it quite difficult to get to work when I wanted.
:( I was all ready to arrive at work by 7am, but the
car certainly wasn't! It just weezed and that was it... So
I walked to State St. to all the stores (about 15 min
brisk walk) and found a Kragen Auto Parts and a Sears, but
the Kragen wouldn't open until 8am and the sears until 9am!
So I waited around and bought one of those portable jumping
stations at 8am and carried it back to my car where I jumped
it and arrived at work shortly before 9am. (On this short
drive the odometer, spedometer, and fuel guage were acting
funny -- stuck --, so I prayed just followed the speed of the cars in
front of me.)
The adventure doesn't stop because I wanted to pick up my DSL
modem today, but after jumping the car at noon, I decided I'd
better fill it with gas first, and after filling it with gas I
couldn't get it to jump, so I called AAA. It took awhile, so I
walked to work, told them I may be gone for awhile depending on
how things turned out, then walked back to find a battery-fixit
man there. He jumped my car at about 2pm, and I drove it back
to work let it idle for 30min to charge, and then left
so I could do some more work. Then at 5:30pm I wanted
to see if I could perhaps pick up my modem, but found the car dead,
and was able to jump my car and my manager let me borrow his
portable bike just in case, and I drove directly to Sears.
There I parked close to the garage, and found out about their
express battery service place in the garage, but had difficulty
re-jumping, so they jumped it for me and I drove in. We
pronounced the battery dead, and I bought a fancy new DieHard
batter. :D Now I just have to make up for all that
lost work time...
11th of May 2004
Second Day of Work
Things appear to going well. There hasn't been too much
structure to work yet, but they've been clarifying the project
I'm on and I've learned enough that I've begun to make my own
searches for answers on-line to learn about the project.
:) I went out to lunch with one of the new guys today
and he's really cool. We discussed the housing situation since
he's waiting for an apartment and I found one so quickly.
Part of it is that I have so very little so I can choose to
move into a small apartment. I'm also
getting to know people better, so things are going well! I'm
looking forward to using the new pillow I bought at Sears
to improve my sleep at night! |-)
Proverbs of the Day
Since I'm reading through proverbs I thought I may as well
include a few that I encounter. Like today I read Prov 10:12,
"Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses" (RSV).
This proverb is really helpful in showing one of the differences
between love and hatred. Hatred is more interested in keeping
contention, whereas love is more interested in getting over it.
It's the difference between those who seek to cause dissension
and those who are peacemakers.
11th of May 2004
First Day of Work
I've found that I forgot many things when I came to Santa Barbara.
I forgot a knife, a spoon, a can openner, toilet paper, a pillow,
a cutting board, pajamas, and things to store food in (like
Ziplock bags or Tupperware). It's taken me multiple trips to
the grocery stores to remember these because I keep on forgetting
all that I need. And of course some things they don't
have at the nearby Albertsons or Longs Drugs! Albertsons has
next to nothing, other than cutting boards and toilet paper.
And Longs doesn't have any decent spoons. They're all either too
big and flat, or they are ice cream scoopers. Guess I went the
way of the ice cream scooper. :) Still need a pillow,
and the pajamas aren't necessary.
Orientation was good, my manager showed me around, and then I was
able to get the computer to
work and I talked to several people in the group. Still getting
to know my way around, and still getting to know people. They
gave me some docs to read and I'm content. :) I'll
need to ask for a notebook for scribbling down work notes since
nothing I do there is allowed to leave. It feels different with
work not being taken home quite like at the University setting!
8th of May 2004
Last night the UCLA IV-GCF group had a farewell party for me.
And I was thinking, while they all
prepare pages in the scrap book maybe I should be preparing their
scrapbook pages ahead of time. :D It only makes sense
if I won't be around to do it later... But I didn't. I think
I may be able to prepare them later since I'm not too far away.
It was a great time and it really does show what makes long
term relationships precious. It really is about being able to
understand people better. The more you interact with people, the
more you see them and how they respond in particular situations,
and the better you can relate with them. By cutting off these
opportunities, the relationship can be hampered. This is the
real shame about moving around so much and not being able to
remain in a stable community.
This made me think about the benefits of moving away. And you
know, I could think of several! We all take things for granted
when they are just there, whether they be people or objects.
Moving makes you appreciate those things that go, or allow you
to see them in the proper context. You can always say to yourself,
we can meet up next week all the time and keep putting it off when
you are living close to your friends, but then they move away and
it just makes you want to kick yourself because you took their
close proximity for granted. This is good because sometimes I
don't notice something until it goes missing.
For example, I'm going to miss the Monday night prayer and
accountability group. The availability of everyone in my small
group for meeting not only that night, but also throughout the
week brought us closer together. And it reminds me of how
important it is to be available to your friends. Also the
openness of the group when we were together was critical in making
us closer. It builds understand you just don't get when you sit
nearby yet never say anything that reveals anything about yourself.
You can always serve people better when you know them better. It's
disappointing when you feel like you are treated generically
because it seems to show a lack of understanding. The more you
really get to know someone, the more unique they appear and you
can't help but treat them in a more unique way.
So, moving is going to make all this more clear to me because
communication is going to be constrained. E-mail and phone calls
are probably going to supplant the more intimate prayer circle,
eating out, walking together, and just being in each other's
presence while talking. Even before moving I felt regret for not
having time to spend with certain people I wanted to keep close
with, so maybe this will help me develope another perspective
in regards to them as well.
7th of May 2004
Yesterday I was visiting a friend and one of the children lost
their toy. Well, more precisely a bunch of people were playing
with the toy, and it was one of the types of toys that flies, and it became
stuck on a nearby roof. :( So child was ~6 years old
and was quite distraught due to his loss. Someone else was
playing with the toy at the time and they lost his toy.
I can't pretend to relate to children. My first thought is, it's
just a toy! Which makes me wonder, why do I have such
a simple view of it? I'm much older, and so when I see a toy or
material thing go bye-bye the first thing I remind myself is that
it's really nothing. It's not a person, it's not eternal. So,
I dismiss its importance. And this makes it terribly difficult
to relate to people who really love their toys!
So, while I was leaving to go onto my next event, I thought about
it. It seemed right to care for the child's loss because he really
wanted that toy -- even if it is insignificant from an eternal
perspective. But I don't want to teach the child that material
possessions are something to fret over! And yet, while thinking,
I decided maybe there are more important concepts to teach the
child at this point. I can't imagine explaining to a kid why his
toy is not worth crying over. That toy means everything to him
now, but it won't in the future. (I just have to look at my own
childhood to know this.) I can imagine his perception of such
explanations as being justifications to abandon the little toy on
the roof of the house to make my own life easier. Do I
want the child to think making excuses for my own benefit is a
part of the Christian way of life? Absolutely not! So, my own
concern should not be about the toy, but about his ability to see
the sacrifices I am willing to make to heal his pain related to
the lost toy, in hopes that eventually he can understand the
lengths at which a Christian is willing to go to heal a broken
relationship (peacemaking) whether between he and I, or he and
But, just so you know, the only reason why I think this way for
this child is that from his own perspective it was an injustice
that his toy was lost by someone else. If the child was driven
by greed and was manipulative, then the Christian role would be
to focus on breaking the greed which would separate him from God.
But since his focus was on something even Christians care about,
justice (the focus of Christ's own sacrifice), it shouldn't be
taken lightly, but seriously, so that he can see its own
importance in our lives! :)
6th of May 2004
People I Can Count On|
Regardless of how well I know them, there's some people in LA
who I respect and enjoy because I know I can count on them.
Whether they are Christian or not, they've stood by me when I've
been injured, waiting for me in the hospital when they
could have left and slept in bed, they've been available to hang
out with, they've encouraged me when I wasn't in the best of moods,
and they've shown compassion to others when it wasn't required
of them. These are people you can trust no matter how far
away you live. :) Probably the greatest danger is to
take people like that for granted. Forgetting that they are
people who can give what they have sacrificially, yet also have
their own limitations, and have things they lack. To forget
this and use them for selfish ambitions, rather than remember that
they also have hearts and spirits, is what I definitely need to avoid.
6th of May 2004
Possibilities to Stay in LA
Northrop-Grumman contacted me this morning! 1.5 weeks late
because I already accepted the Raytheon offer. Interesting
twist of fate since they are in Redondo Beach (near El Segundo).
One may think, why didn't I wait on the Raytheon offer? But then
it was the most perfect offer, doing more of what I've done in
my graduate studies. Something I could enjoy doing. Nice and
friendly collegues. Only 1.5 hours drive away from friends in LA
... A distance, but not unsurmountable. And yet the NG group
has many great characteristics too! The only difference being
ultra-high-speed digital electronics and closer to LA. But I had
given up hope on it prematurely, so although I considered it, I
saw it only as a dim possibility. (It's been 4 months since the
interview. I should have called on the
status of the position now that I think about it. First job,
first experience, first tangle of offers.)
So, there was always an opportunity I didn't think of
considering. And it brings up the question, how important is
staying in LA to me? Is it important enough to riscend the
Raytheon offer for the NG position? Which of course plays on
my sense of honor as well. With a contract I've agreed to,
the honorable thing to do is follow through with it. Yet, as
I wrote on Wednesday, the importance of my life in other people's
lives is really unknown to me. If I leave, then I imagine
they will be able to continue on. At least I can visit them
sometimes ... it's only 1.5 hours away. And I think
about the new people I will meet in Santa Barbara. Perhaps God has
a purpose for me there? I know He has a purpose for me wherever
I go. Where should I be?
It's remarkeable how unattached I feel to most people here.
Of those I do feel most connected to, I know that we'll keep in
contact with each other. Of those I'm not sure about because
the reciprocal nature of our relationships is poor to non-existant,
is it surprising that I feel disconnected there? And reciprocation
is not just in what I receive materially, but in what I can
perceive as what I can give and share. What do I have to give
and share that would give strength to the relationship? Without
feedback, even giving and sharing takes on the appearance of
emptiness. Without detail in feedback, everything looks
superficial and the relationship remains as a weak bond which
is easily set aside for other superficial relationships. If I'm
sad about anything, it's that most relationships I have made
here are superficial (at least in my eyes). This leaves only a few
where I've find a more profound bond that would ever make me
consider staying in LA if I had ever been given a reasonable
hint they would be seriously hurt in the move. Some relationships
can be maintained, at least on some level, from a distance.
5th of May 2004
Feelings About Leaving LA
In a way I can't escape the feeling of being heartless leaving
all the people whose lives I've become apart of in LA. At the
same time I wonder if by leaving quickly I'm taking relationships
for granted, and that perhaps I'm not recognizing value inherent
in them. Or perhaps I don't know the extent of their value hidden
from my sight.
Now, there are some people I will miss dearly because they have
been a big part of my life. Yet, there are those that I have
only known for a short period of time, and I wish I could have
had more time to know them better, but it will fade without
effort from the both of us. And there are those who were just
another face, so superficial a relationship that I know them no
better than any new person I would meet at Santa Barbara anyway.
Of the value I have in other peoples lives is sometimes anyone's
guess. The value of a relationship is so hard to convey. I'm me
and what is it about me that conveys value to others? I wonder
if it is the same for everyone? I don't think so. Sometimes I'm
simply too finite to appreciate all of what someone has to offer,
and I can imagine it's the same with others (although I could be
wrong). Someone may enjoy a discussion aspect, another person a
thoughtfulness aspect, maybe a patience aspect, and perhaps there
are those who may even find things about me a bit annoying. Maybe
I'm a bit zealous, confused, or confusing at times. How do these
all come together to form an overall opinion and affect the way people
interact with me?
There's a silence in respect to these things. I've often wondered
if I should confront people with my own thoughts, but society has
seemed to teach not to reveal people's faults to them out of
courtesy... although I actually do reveal faults to people I know
really well... like my twin (isn't that odd!) and he takes it
rather well! Along with Proverbs 9:7-9, this courtesy begins to
see even less so, but it's so ingrained in my life that trying to be
frank in a nice and helpful way seems to be self-contradictory.
I can't help but wonder what reservations some people have towards
me (after all, I'm imperfect). Why does so and so seem quite
unwilling to speak to me? Probably just a bad day, but maybe not!
Could be that courtesy kicking in, and, try as I might, no amount
of asking will root out the real cause! It's a conspiracy!
And then there is the reality of being God's. What about me
at any particular place makes me apart of His great work among those
people there? Am I truly invaluable there? Can't I be replaced by
another one of His people? How special am I in any particlar
case? If He sends me to Santa Barbara with some plan there, what's
to keep me in LA?
And finally, although moving is not like death in that it isn't
as great a distance to travel, those of us who believe in
eternity know that the separation caused by death is only temporal.
Likewise moving is only temporal. Our lives here are temporal.
Putting too much value in the temporal could be problematic if it
interferes with doing God's will. So, if I move, I hope it doesn't
make people too sad. And similarly, if I leave this world I hope
people look on to eternity and not be sad in the moment, but glad
in the future.
Obtained SB Apartment Yesterday
Everything went well. I went to El Segundo to get the necessary
cashier's checks,drove all the way to SB, where I had
lunch, and then gave them my money and signed all the necessary
papers! So, now I have a tiny, yet nice, apartment to live in
at SB. :)
3rd of May 2004
I'm finding that the worse thing you can do when communicating
with someone is consistently not come to understanding with them.
For me, I know that when someone talks with me and doesn't seem
to register what I'm saying, and it is coupled with little or no
apparent desire to seek understanding, I wonder if they really
care about what I say. Given enough successive occurances and
no evidence of the contrary, I begin to feel no connection with
them whatsoever, and an antagonism develops so that I no longer
have a good spirit of expression with them. Instead it
becomes clouded with a lack of trust and hopefulness. Essentially
a ruined relationship which is difficult or impossible to heal
without effort from the other person.
In a way this makes me sad because I see the wall go up but lack
knowledge in how to start any healing process. I'm fearful that
my own expression of discomfort will come across as harsh (because of
my already tarnished feelings), leading to escalating problems
due to defensiveness (which often means rejection of criticism),
and a increased sense of uncaring.
When I know someone cares, I'm always more at ease with them
because I know they will not quickly jump to conclusions, and
will not take offense too readily. So they will be able to see
the desire for reconciliation for what it is, and will take the
time necessary for the process to be initiated and completed.
Sometimes I wonder how some Christians
understand Matt 5:23-24 which says that if you know a brother has
something against you to seek reconciliation. Sometimes I find
Christians who simply don't respond to questions of clarification
or understanding. When animosity forms between you and them, it's
almost as though there's none of this brotherly responsibility
taught by Christ. It's like you aren't really their brother, just
another guy they'd rather not deal with. :(
2nd of May 2004
Taking communion this Sunday at Westwood Presbyterian Church,
I considered possible significance of metaphors for the substance
of the bread and wine. Thinking about linking the Word with
bread (as the flesh of Christ) by Matt 4:4, and life with wine
(as the blood of Christ) by Lev 17:11. And I thought about
James 2:17 (faith with works) and 1st John 3:17-18 (words and truth).
So, we don't just live off of the words of Christ, but they must
be given life in our lives. :) So we need both
elements for completion! An interesting way to see the elements
of the Eucharist.
Elements of Compassion
I was considering this morning (from a discussion) elements that would
show a lack of compassion. From a recent experience, I considered
one way to show no compassion would be to apparently ignore
another person's just concerns for their own well being.
For example, I could tell someone a concern I have about doing
something, and they could give related advice that doesn't really
account for the concern. Then, rather than showing trust in their
own advice by making personal surety (sacrifice) to bolster the value of
their own advice in respect to my saftey, they can give no sign of how
willing they really are to stand by their own advice. It's as though, not only
do they not care for the concern, but they also don't trust their
own advice, yet they are quite willing to see me follow it
and possibly get hurt. To me this can be interpreted as a lack of
compassion -- asking someone to do something you don't yourself
1st of May 2004
Streets of Santa Barbara
Today I tried to find those apartments I located on Friday.
It was certainly a challenge. I was early to the first one
so I decided to find a place to eat at, and I became a little
lost. While scoping out the neighborhood, I almost caused an
accident. :( While crossing a one way street I
thought I looked and saw was clear (but cars were parked on
the side, so it was difficult to really tell) I saw cars
coming at me fast and I became scared and used the wrong peddle...
I braked and I thought to myself, "This is it! ..." But the
person braked fast enough, and we were spared. I could smell
the burning rubber and saw that we had come within inches of
colliding. Not fun. I pulled over for a moment on the block
I had been travelling to just to wait and see if the car would
want to have a word with me... But he didn't, so after resting
some, I decided to continue my apartment hunting adventure.
Getting to the first apartment was easy. It was a small
apartment. (Note to self that a compact 1 bedroom apartment means
a studio with a wall inserted between the 'livingroom' and
'bedroom' so they are connected by a hallway and no doors.) Not
the prettiest of places I've been to, but I suppose it would do
if it hadn't also been the furthest from my job. Maybe if it
was just across the street or the last hope I may consider it.
The second apartment was difficult to find. Not only did I go
the wrong way when I got off the offramp, but when I finally
realized it and made a u-turn, I thought I started to go the
wrong way again, but it turned out I had made the right choice!
(The road at one point looked like maybe it turned...) And I
found the next apartment, which was small, but really nice.
Close to a trailer park with elderly people in it, so quite
silent, except for the hum of the nearby freeway (which the
first apartment had as well). :)
The third apartment was also a challenge to navigate to, but I did
manage to get there without any wrong turns. It had a small
bedroom available, a bit larger than the others, but more
expensive, and its only problem was in layout. They had larger
one bedrooms becoming available later, that looked much nicer,
but too much in the horizon for me I'm afraid. :(
The fourth apartment was easy to find. But, once I saw the
room and noted how expensive it was, I realized that the third
apartment was far better, if just a little further away from
work. It definitely wasn't worth the price unless I was
desperate. In the end, I think it was probably as big as the
large one bedroom would be at the previous apartment. :|
(Besides, they never got back to me when I left a message anyway.)
I took an application just-in-case. :)
The last and fifth apartment had a road to it that was easy
to miss around UCSB, and I missed it and ended up driving into
UCSB and having to backtrack. When I did find it and park, I
heard a little horn being blown periodically, and lo-and-behold!
An snack truck (icecream truck?) was driving down the street
making noise. :-O I've had bad experiences with
annyoing icecream trucks, so I become leary. The prices in the
area were more expensive anyway, and the apartment I had found
a classified for was closed, so I was just checking them out.
I think I'll just wait for the relocation rent tour for those.
Well, I went to Chilli's for lunch, and dropped by Staples to
pick up some envelopes for my application I was preparing to drop
off at the second apartment, which I gleaned was the best choice.
Easy access to-and-from the freeway with a nice manager. Good
price too (for the area). The manager suggested a few other
people were looking too, but they've been advertising for awhile,
so I think I still have a good chance at it. :)
Now I needed a money order or cachier's check. At the 3rd apt,
I asked if they had a BofA around. And so I had an adventure
trying to find a street he told me to drive on, and after a fun
drive around Goleta, I finally found it and located the BofA in
Santa Barbara. I got out of the car, locked the door, and closed
it behind me... And it just so happened that the keys were still
in the ignition! Ugh! What a day! Well, I went inside
and told them my situation, but couldn't get the cashier's check
because I didn't have the name of the apts handy, but at least
I could call AAA (they were quite nice about it). I waited for
the tow truck guy and he noticed my windows were cracked (it was
a hot day in the sun), so he tried to hook to what he thought was
an electronic lock. :> But it was the window switch...
But amazingly enough it worked! :-O I had left the keys
in the ignition at the point the windows and electronics were on...
Go figure... What a blessing that was! It made the work that
much easier. I'll have to be more careful next time.
Anyway, by that time the BofA was closed when I tried to get
back in. (It was Saturday, so I must have got there just before
it had closed). So, I called my mom and she located a nearby
"seven eleven" using Yahoo! yellow pages. :) I drove
there, bought the money order, and returned to the third apartment
and dropped the application into the office's slot. (Her office
hours had expired a long time ago that day.)
Then it was time for the long drive home. My eyes were starting
to water because I was so tired. But I managed by singing and
humming to myself. And it all went well.
It's been my 2nd week with the van, and praise God that I
haven't had/made any accidents yet! Only close... It was cool
that the key had been left in the car so that the windows worked
when I had locked myself out. I bet that's why it didn't bing
at me... But better that way, because it made the job at getting
into the car easier. And just being able to get there and
back again safely was great! (One-way trip is about 1.5 hours
using the 405-101 in clear traffic.)
30th of April 2004
Finding an Apartment in Goleta
I found various resources on-line for finding apartments. So far
the two best appear to be periodical related. :) There's
the Santa Barbara Independent
and (even better)the
Santa Barbara News-Press. I guess I'm a little anxious to
find a place since I need to do so in a very short time period...
like 1 week. :-O What was I thinking when I said I'd
be ready to work in just 2 weeks after the verbal offer! (On
Monday I received a job offer from Raytheon in Goleta.) But,
I've called 7 apartment complexes and three of them responded
with information (left my name and number on four), so I think
I won't have too much of a problem finding a place to lay down
So far, it looks like prices are kind of like in LA. The more
expensive 1-BD apartments are closer to UCSB, whereas the less
expensive are further from UCSB. We're talking about a $1000
(cheap closest to UCSB) to $830 (cheapest near west side of
SB city) spread. I wonder if it has anything to do with trying
to milk students who often have roommates...
Just in case I've started the process of having the reloaction
rental tour, but they can't give me a tour until May 4th
(Tuesday). So, I made sure I could cancel if I find something
before then. :D
I finished all the paper work, now I have to get prepared to move
and file away all the new documents I have. I'm considering
taking advantage of the program to have professional movers move
my things, but I was told they have to box things for me otherwise
they aren't insured. Oh well. I guess I'll have to make piles
and direct them to only pick up certain items and leave my
roommate's (Tim's) things alone. At least using this I won't
have to worry about fitting the moving in other people's schedules.
Although, I would have to wait about a week after work started,
so maybe it will depend on how I feel. Maybe I can cancel that
too if I just decide to move things myself. :)
Thoughts About Materialism
Today, while waiting to submit my urine for drug testing, I saw an
older couple. And I thought to myself, it's awful to see the
woman look so decrepit. It looked like she may have Parkinsons
because she moved slowly and seemed to have some of the
fidgeting that my grandmother had with the disease. This made
me think about how she may be able to use prayer. And then it
occured to me that everything I had just responded to were
superficial! What's more important? Her physical/mental
health or her spiritual state with God? I was putting temporal
elements ahead of eternal elements of her life!
Sometimes it is so easy to see things from a more tangible
perspective and focus our attention on those things we can see.
You broke a leg, are ill, lost a friend, so let me pray for you.
But the question, if asked, about keeping our relationship
strong with God is sometimes secondary. We don't first pray
foremost that our eternal spirits would remain firm in the hope
of Jesus Christ, but instead pray for temporal challenges to be
taken away. And this seems to be reflected in the way we
approach others, so readily capable of concern for physical
ailments, and not for their relationship with God. So, rather
than say, I think it's terrible that so and so is sick, I
might prefer to start out by first considering their
relationship with God (the eternal) and then move onto getting
physically better (the temporal). Perhaps considering this
order would put into better context the value they each hold in
our lives. So, if someone dies in this world, do we concern
ourselves with their physical absence, or with their eternal
relationship with God? :)
27th of April 2004
Poetry at LA Times Festival of Books
I was able to the panel on the magic of words in poetry
Saturday morning. I think I was able to pick up some tips
from the poets present, although in some ways I'm not sure
if misunderstood them, or disagree with some of what they
Since I've dabbled in poetry,
I was able to compare my experience with what they related.
The tips I enjoyed was the exhortation to write poetry that
has an aura of mystery to it to make the reader more involved
in the poem. Rather than be a straight-forward narrative or
exposition, it should make the one who would normally just
be a spectator be a participant in the unfolding of the
poem's inspiring qualities. (Of course, they must be referring
to a particular type of creative poetry, not epic or narrative
poetry which tell stories.)
It was unclear to me what type of
clarity they supported in poems. In some sense they really
seemed to push for a poem's substance to be flexible enough to
stimulate, but not to lead absolutely to a particular point.
I was wondering how they would see my poetry. I like to write
with a definite message I'm trying to get across, but rather
than say it in a straightforward way I try to build it through
poetic relationships (and sometimes at the end I try to clarify
the point of the poem). However, I believe some may complain
about my style because I often have a strong point I'm trying
to convey. It doesn't have the element of lacking certainty that
they often described. And although I agree with them that you
often learn a lot even through writing your own poem, I
tend to think that the real power of poetry is seeking that
personal connection with the reader. If you can put them
at ease and make them feel at home in the poem, their
understanding can be greater than simple narration or exposition.
Someone asked, and they said they revised poems often (even to
the point of published poems changing). I also revise,
but possibly because I'm not too much of a perfectionist at this
point, and I like it to be mostly written through the inspiration
of the moment, I don't revise as often as many of them. Besides,
I don't have that much time. :D If someone grossly
misunderstands what the poem says, I'll certainly go back and
Probably the last impression was that they suggested flow by
voicing it and not just running through it in the head.
:) Being a quiet sort of guy, I suppose I tend to fail
at this point. Eventually I'd like to be able to control the
structure to help in the evoking particular images, but I don't
think I'm that far yet.
26th of April 2004
This webpage is for those who are interested in what I may be
doing. With this in mind, I shall endeavor to make it as
informative as possible with as many words as possible. >:D
And it should be realized that only public thoughts will be
posted on this public forum. So, anything that belongs on
any other webpage of mine will appear here. In fact, I'll make
web links to any new material on my webpage that is relevant
to a blog.
It's also important to know that as blogs age so do my ideas.
I reserve the right to cancel old blogs which cause excess
confusion or edit them for clarification. I'll endeavor to
make as many convoluted markings as possible to show what changes
were made. Also simple spelling and grammatical errors will be
corrected without markings unless I feel additional chaos is
needed. (In which case I may add them without requiring the
presence of errors.)
If you wish for clarification or comment, please e-mail me
in accordance to this proverb:
Proverbs 9:7-9 (RSV) - He who corrects a scoffer
gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man,
and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will
be still wiser; teach a righteous man and he will increase in