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Adventures Beyond the Comfort Zone

Sunday, March 11, 2007

82 Days

The time remaining before my Beloved and I are wed. The time seems to dissapear at an ever increasing rate as the day approaches.

An excuse for not updating? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

I've been living in Iowa for a little more than a month now, working the last couple weeks in a small town donut shop. It's an odd shift getting the donuts ready before sunrise, and it's done odd things to my sleeping pattern.

I'm still looking for the sort of work I went to school for, but this will do until then.

I'll try and update a little more often, since Beth has been kind enough to share her internet connection when I visit. But my time is up for tonight. I'll need a nap before work anyway.

Meanwhile, I've done a little something for the Unblind Eye as well.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What Do I Say Now?

Talked to Dad last night... What I thought was turning out to be a sturdy Christmas substitute has crumbled just as quickly as I saw it go up... Was it the pressure of the imminent paper deadline? (If so, I don't ever want to research under pressure again...)

I may post the actual article sometime... I'll have to think about that for a while. Thanks to my good friend Matt, who happens to be chief editor of the paper, my potentially misguided writting will not be appearing in the paper on Friday.

I'm in a confusing place right now... My faith in God Himself is still sturdy... because I know I can trust Him to help me understand this, while all other sources have discredeted each other.

It's like starting from scratch. Everything I thought I new about holidays and holy days is scattered all over the ground in pieces. But maybe that's to my advantage. I can put a sturdier meaning and focus into the foundation of... whatever God directs me to rebuild.

In a way, it makes me think of how I tuned out what the everyone had to say about pre-marital dating and just focused on what I heard God telling me (mostly, via His Word). I had to tear down a lot of pre-concieved ideas and start over. But when I listened only to what God had to say, that's when He stepped in and did something amazing. He guided me to someone with all of the qualities the He had been training me to look for. One of which being that she also saw God's leading in what was happening. And you know the rest of the story; she's agreed to become my wife in 177 days.

Just like dating used to be for me... holidays no longer make sence to me. And it's God's perspective I want now more than anyone else's. Because I know from experience that He honors that.

(Of course, I'm not beneath asking for help in finding His perspective...)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Free Will

Do you know what I'm hearing in your comments?

I hear you defending our right to celebrate Christmas because of our free will. And at the same time, I hear you criticizing me for considering the exercise of my own free will to choose not to.

[hours later update: I don't always think about conveying the proper tone online... For instance, I don't mean for what I just said to sound angry or bitter, but later realized it could easily be taken that way. Ironic is what I was going for.]

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Did I Really Just Say That?

I've turned in my final submission for the school paper just a few hours ago... and it's finally setting in. I was assigned to write about the original meaning of Christmas, and was pumped to push Jesus to center stage...

But that's not how things turned out.

I guess I'd always known that there was some kind of pagan connection to some of our traditions, but had always just assumed they were minor or that it had been a Christian thing first. And because of that I blew off my initial research as being biased against Christians.

But then when I tried looking for historical information on specifically Christian sites, information was a little scarce. There was a lot of focus on the symbolic or sentimental components, but very little about how our traditions actually developed.

That scared me.

And then I came upon this. And what they had to say set my head spinning.

God never asked us to celebrate His birthday. And if He had, He certainly wouldn't have directed us to mimic the winter festivals of the pagans. He's always directed us to be different and stand apart.

God had set up His own feasts/festivals for us to celebrate. Somewhere along the way, we've lost track of these and allowed them to fade into obscurity. And instead we've adopted traditions that pagan converts couldn't bear to let go of.

Seeing the decorations at church this morning really threw me off. It was only the night before that I had read that the garlands and the tree were never promoted by God as a means of celebrating anything, but that they came from people that had nothing to do with God.

It scares me to say it, but I'm having serious doubts about how, what, or even if I should be celebrating this time of year. If this isn't how God wants to be honored, I don't want to do it anymore.

And now it blows my own mind to think that I've just submitted an article to suggest that Christians reconsider whether or not God wants any part of the Christmas-spirit. Though if I have to be a 'Scrooge' to stand where Jesus is... as difficult as that could be... then that's where I'll be.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Blog or Sleep?

Perhaps I should be in bed now... But I've been overdue for a post long enough that it may actually be worth losing sleep over. ... Alright.. maybe not, but ... but... hmm.. well, go ahead and read on. You tell me if I have a good reason for posting tonight.

I will now openly declare that I am in love with Beth. Believe it or not, this developed after we became engaged. I may well be living an exception to a rule, but I highly recommend it. That the decision had already been made it possible to know that the feelings that were developing really truely were what they felt like from the first sign of ... "sparks"? It defies my current descriptive capacaty.

I finally noticed today that Dianna did in fact blog on the thoughts that she picked up here, and really liked what she had to say (a couple of weeks ago now). Though I feel I should defend poor Mr. Harris's book... It's been given a bad name by many of the people who've read it (or claim to have read it). He offers a different look at the purpose of dating, and no where does he condemn the practice. He just wanted to make people stop and think about it. (as in "are you really actively searching for a Godly spouse, or are you just fooling around to see what fun things might happen?")

He titled the book as a personal statement, not a genaric command. He himself kissed dating goodbye after learning from experience that he couldn't trust himself to maintain his purity within that system. After learning the same thing about myself, I followed his lead. .. But Josh and I recognize that not everyone needs to be that cautious because not everyone stumbles at the same places in life.

Okay... I'd better stop there before it becomes a rant... No doubt the topic will come up again. (and for the record, I think you'd like the book, Dianna)

Thanksgiving was great. Both of them.

After a needlessly interesting morning, I found my way to pick up Beth to have turkey with my family in SF. Upon ariving she was introduced to more [still-not-gonna-do-the-last-name-thing-online]'s than we've had in years. 16 of us. And of course that much family all in one place gets pretty silly as on person's sillyness gets a responce from a couple others at the table and is perpetually magnified. I love my family.

We "cleaned house." Never before had I seen a turkey that size actually obliterated in one sitting.

After some games and a bit of pie, I returned Beth to her family and stayed for dinner. Only about a third of the crowd that was in SF, but this one included people under the age of 13 (from 2 to 5), so the meal was still pretty interesting.

My only regret is that my stomach just wasn't big enough... You know it's bad when you can't make room for pecan pie.

Graduation is less than two weeks away now. In all honesty, it's starting to feel really anti-climactic. After 4 years of sitting at a computer and making art to fit other peoples' demands and deadlines, I'm not sure this is what I really want to do...

... But that's gonna have to be a blog for another time... I've got class in the morning.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Non-Compliance With Dating Standards

I've been spending too much time at the computer, and not enough time blogging. As a result, my wrists hurt and it's even more difficult than it has been to update here. So i've decided to cop-out and paste in something I wrote for the school paper, which was just published yesterday.

I won't say that I'm trying to set a standard here, because I know this kind of approach isn't going to work for everyone. I just want to put the idea out there that the same old 'dating-game' doesn't have to be the standard either.

As I write this, I find myself about six weeks into a new relationship with a lady-friend that I'd met a couple years ago. It was only about three weeks ago that she agreed to marry me. And we never really 'dated.'

Well, okay, there was the one 'date' the day after the LifeLight festival where we had run into each for the first time in months. Though it's hard for me to call it a date, and not just because I don't consider Burger King to be particularly romantic.

No, it had more to do with our conversation. I caught myself admitting that I had thought I was done with the standard dating routine, but hadn't really known where else to begin. Even more astonishing (to me anyway) was that she felt the same.

Now I can't say that I hadn't enjoyed the dating-scene. I'm something of a hopeless romantic at heart; and of course there's that physical side that "good Christians" like me aren't supposed to talk about. As much fun as all the emotional bonding and 'stuff' was, it no longer seemed worth the pain of having to give it up once it became clear that a relationship wouldn't work.

It's kinda like what a flagpole can do to a your tongue during winter. It's kinda fun until it's time to separate. Then you wonder why you'd done it in the first place.

So anyway, she and I had agreed that we didn't want to 'date.' There was that "Christian-esque" thing called 'courtship,' but that didn't seem right either. (mostly because we didn't want to deal with the question, "that's just the Christian version of dating, right?")

Even though we were talking pretty openly about getting a lot more serious in the future, we decided that we were still "just friends." It seemed simple enough, but got complicated when we tried to explain it to anyone.

That's when things got interesting. Various sources started giving me a less-than-genaric, "if God's leading, just go for it" kind of message. And when I start hearing the same thing in a small Bible study as I did on a random radio program and on Sunday morning, and it goes on for more than just a few days with increasing intensity... I have a hard time seeing that as coincidence.

Just to be sure, I asked some guy friends to pray for us. And that same night she had a dream where we were told that her family would approve of our 'intentions.' As soon as she'd told me about it and my head stopped spinning, I clumsily stuttered out a proposal. And she said "Yes."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Torrential Blessings

That's a term my sister coined this summer when she saw the home and the people who took me in as the form of payment for my fantastic internship. I'm back in the dorms now, readjusting to the food, and adapting to a new set of classes... but the storm isn't over yet.

Her name is Elizabeth, and she has agreed to marry me!

A little fast? Yeah, it is. We were surprised too at how quickly God prompted us forward. (though, I had known her before we reconnected at LifeLight a few weeks ago.)

I don't feel I have adequate time tonight to tell how it came about, but it's well past time that I let the news out. -- I suppose it's just as well that the few readers I have get a chance to ask questions, given my knack for not thinking to say the things that everyone wants to know.