A triumph

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Here’s another post, five years later. A personal blog / website kind of needs a reason to be, and this space hasn’t had that for awhile. All I can promise about what follows this sentence is that it’ll be earnest. Planned or well-put-together would be pushing it after all this time.

It’s funny now to think back to a decade ago, starting to blog when the blogging craze hit full steam, feeling a sense of purpose in doing it even though readership was probably like four people. Nowadays blogging can be lucrative business, but 99% of blogs likely go totally unread. Content drives readership, though, and so if you want eyeballs and mindshare you actually need to say something – preferably something challenging, helpful, thematically-tied, and so on.

Growing up I always looked forward to this time of life – young family, young kids, working hard all day and enjoying quality time with wife and fam-jam in the evenings. In retrospect, I’m kinda glad I did – meant I made some choices then that better prepared me for now. Some things can’t be prepared for, like how all-consuming having little ones can be.

Now, some of this is neglect on my part, but some of it is just reality for those who pour into their own – I’ve finished like 4 books in the last five years (since kid one came along), written just a handful of posts here, and for all intents and purposes whatever hobbies I had before have been left shelved during this season too.

It’s been worth it. Totally. But as worth it as it’s been… it’s been really, really nice lately to revisit old friends like the guitar, the written word, and (as of this post) putting thoughts to words.

I learned to play guitar ten or twelve years ago, mostly hoping it would impress the ladies (spoiler: it didn’t, not really anyway – though it may have had to do with my poor song choices… a little Dashboard Confessional heavy). Circling back to it now that there’s time to invest a little has been like rediscovering a lost limb. It was missing, it was needed, I survived without it, but it’s really, really nice to have it back and functioning. Helps that I’m not as bound-and-determined to try and learn metal songs on an acoustic guitar now, too.

I do quite a bit of written words and other creative outlets at work. That’s really sated my most urgent need for such, and I’m thankful for it. It’s been actually really fun to re-discover and re-develop dormant skills in graphic design, photography and videography… not to mention brainstorm concise, clear terminology (technical or otherwise) to help people understand core concepts of what we do. Challenges abound, but the fun kind – the kind you get energized by. Having been at MSC now for over three years, one of the best things about it by far has been the front-row seat to seeing an historic institution (75 years this year!) successfully navigate the massive undertaking of adapting to modern methods without sacrificing core identity components. The determination to not just survive but thrive is an important thing – anything can survive a long time in cruise control, but to risk and push and strive for excellence is in another echelon of living and being. I’m glad to serve in a place where thriving matters.

Isn’t it funny just how true all the cliches about time going by so quickly are? It’s Christmas again, we’re already fifteen years into the “new millenium” and we now carry supercomputers in our pocketses. We call them phones, but if you’re like me, it’s much more a pocket computer than a phone. Phone calls are so last millenium!

…the master(s) plan

Current Tunage: Emery – The Smile, The Face
My favourite thing they’ve done since The Question. It’s kind of a mixup of the sound they had on that record and the one they had on I’m Only A Man… which turns out to be quite a compelling mixturosity.

It’s coming. I’ve been writing.

In other news:
We have bookshelves! Thanks to mes parentes for aiding us with their ample vehicle space (ours is far from ample enough to fit bookshelves, even boxed up ones) and for helping assemble and make light the work.

So, today, I’m stocking them. And that means a lot of moving things around and hauling.

Today has also seen: replacing a light fixture, buying some new blinds (that ended up being the wrong width by 2 inches – sigh@returns), and hopefully before the day is out, more writing.

I don’t know how people write good books (even short ones) without taking eight years… they must have someone paying them to stay at home all day locked up and with a proverbial, imaginary gun to their head the whole time.

Love.

…storm the gates of

Current Tunage: Brandon Heath – Give Me Your Eyes
Catchy. If I hadn’t known better before listening, I would have expected horror-core or some kind of death metal. I can just see it now, in some horror movie… creepy protagonist faces the camera and says in a deep, very spooky baritone: GIVE ME YOUR EYESSSSSSSsssss… yikes. Great song in spite of my apprehension, and no, it’s not horror. Or “-core” of any sort. Heh.

Work is coming along well on my next “Second Reformation” post (I’ve started referring to them as “chapters” and to the series as a “book” – yikes). I’ll post it when it’s all ready. Its actually going to be another introductory … “chapter”. More of an outline of where I’m going, my core text (taken from the book of Revelation), and my non-emergent “trajectory” and intended narrative arc as I tell the story of… churching and how to do thereof. Yes.

So, patience and understanding, beloved readers. Ask yourself if you have the discipline (or time) to write a few thousand words each week (besides those required by your place of employ or scholastic endeavor), and have grace upon me – a mere blog artist.

In the meantime, I give you a bit of junk food to tantilize your mismatched tastes… namely, a music review. You can read it below.

Peace and Fire, friends.

…get away, so i can sleep in late

Current Tunage: He Is Legend – Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
New He Is Legend demos make me happy this early, early morning.

I may, for the first time in years, be on an early-mornings sleep schedule. We’ve been up at ~5:30-7am every morning this week and I’m actually starting to adjust – which is nice. It’ll make the school year much more potable (I write sessays best in the aye-emm).

Anyhow, I’m settled in here. I’ve been listening to sintax.the.terrific’s album “Curb Appeal” this week a lot in preparation for reviewing it (hopefully later today). I’ve been doing orientation shifts at my new placement with work here in Durham, and that’s been very enjoyable. Steph is well, and is doing a fantastic job with her teaching again this year (perhaps even better since she has no wedding to plan this year… and it’s not her first year in this school now!).

My courseload this year is still in limbo – I keep being informed that courses I’m registered for have changed their schedules etc. which has prevented me from getting a solid read on what my year looks like. Particularly, it’s difficult because I don’t want to have to go to Peterborough any more than absolutely necessary.

That’s it for now. I’m still trying to hit my stride in new routines, and once I do I plan to write daily. Until then it’s going to be hit-and-miss.

…unreadable!

Current Tunage: Action Reaction – Come See My Grave
I would like to recognize my friends
By which way they walk,
Not how far they run away.

I want to share something. It’s from my English 2000: Practical Criticism & Theory prof concerning my second essay from last semester (which I just got back a week ago):

“This is much better than your first [essay] which I found almost unreadable and, frankly, not terribly interesting.”

Now, I can’t help but admire his directness. Cuts like a knife, but really makes me want to improve, especially when the course is ridiculously difficult. I should mention that I pulled an 80+ on that second paper, so it’s working. What is it about telling the truth plainly, even if it may be “harsh”, that makes it work so well? I really need to work on “telling it like it is” when the context fits… especially when facing my own sins and the need to disarm them by accountability (which, I firmly believe, is best served harshly and directly):

James 5:16
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Of course, no accountability will matter unless we also are taking our sin to the Lord with an attitude of “Purge it, no matter what it takes.”:

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 32:5
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

One song which speaks to me concerning these realities is “Vices” by one of my favorite bands Dead Poetic. Largely, it examines what goes on when we aren’t being real with others (and God) about ourselves or our sin:

“Raise a boy to a cynic. Take his love, and then let it
Turn into something passionate… Something sick, something rabid.
And I vent to keep myself from caving.
I don’t hate you, I just hate where I’m heading.
I’m left here asking, when did I trade in
My bleeding heart for a selfish win?

Feeling cold, feeling empty. I am low, unworthy.
Bleed the god. Bleed the blessing. Like a vulture feasting.
I’ll exist as if I don’t feel conviction
of my ignorance to my perfect prison.
But I feel the stabs on my wrists and ankles every time I try…

To forget You. To forget You.”
-Dead Poetic “Vices”

As for the actual day, I had breakfast with dad – and with our coffee cups filled up with some excellent Ethiopian roast (home ground mmm) we enjoyed episodes 3 and 4 of the new season of 24. After that the usual Tuesday at school. Had company for dinner, and hung out with Steve for awhile and borrowed a bunch of his books to read while he’s in Holland. He leaves Friday so keep that in prayer. Now I’m studying 1 Peter 3 for TCF open house tomorrow, after which I have some other reading to do and such. Great day. REALLY looking forward to bootin’ it up to Orillia this Saturday with Shane to visit the pyrotechnic ruminant quadruped Gord. Should be a blast.