Thursday, January 31, 2008

warning, this is a "Religious" post....

it is quite late, so this might be a little scattered...

in the last month (being january), i have had a variety of conversations with friends, both new friends, and ones that i have known for a while. apparently, (also, more so, when i sent out my newsletter) it has clicked with people that i fit into a box, called a christian.

one friend, said "i didn't know that you were religious, until i read your letter. i mean, it's not really much of a surprize, but, you know...." another friend, consistently asks me when i am reading a book, or whatever, "is it religious?" and, another, when i said "so i went to church in Downtown eastside" she said " church? you mean, to a service?"

and, i find it funny. 1) people automatically refer to you as "religious" if you say you are a christian, or if you believe in god. are they one and the same? 2) how surprizing is it really?

but, the 2 questions that have gotten me thinking recently a lot are these... 1st, i was asked if i believe that one has to be "born again" to not go to hell. and 2) if i feel that one of my gifts as a christian is to "redefine" what christianity looks like. and, of course, i have an interesting time with both those questions. the first one, perhaps easier than the second.

1) born again? my question is, what does that mean? i dont think that in my own life, i have a moment, when i thought "dang, that is what it means to be 'born again;'! i feel like i have a brand new life." my faith, in what i can understand, was a long process~ it still is. sometimes i even wonder if i really am a christian. i mean, really, i sometimes tend to disagree with people a lot of times on thoughts about God. and, i have never had that defining "born again" moment. or, maybe i am, as one person mentioned "spiritual, with a predominantly christian influence." yet, that bothers me as well... i dont think that is right either. faith. my faith, is based on the grace that christ showed humans on the cross, and the workings of the trinity. through love. through mercy and grace. through his reaching out towards us. and, in a gradual process, i came to know and believe it as truth. but, that doesn't mean that i know. cause the further i grow older with faith, and walk this really strange road, the more i realize that i dont know. and, ps, i have no idea if anyone is going to hell. that isnt up for me to decide. that's up to the god that i believe in.

2) redefining christianity. i originally answered, "eh, maybe. sure." but, now that i have thought about it for 2 weeks, i absolutely do not think that is true. the god that i believe in is outside of definition. how can i try to "redefine christianity" when i cannot fully grasp and understand God? how can i attempt to define a god that is beyond comprehension? and, i think (i think), that to many people have tried to define christianity, and that is where christianity gets in trouble, and gets put into boxes. i do not need to redefine christianity. there have been enough people in the world, through many centuries that have done that. and, i hate it when people try to define me, when i say that I am a christian. so, if i hate it, why should i do that to the faith that i claim as my own? all i think i can do, is constantly try to redefine the way i live, and love. because christ first loved me.

Monday, January 28, 2008

to do something about something...

so, yesterday, I had a day that completely played on my emotions, apparently. But, I didn't realize it until today. It seemed like a fairly regular sunday, going out for my weekly coffee with friend's at the best coffee shop in Vancouver, Cafe artigiano, and then proceeding to church. I then decided to go back downtown, to go see the Finale of Umoja, the south african musical. I finished off the night, by going for a "long run" in my effort to train for my marathon.

coffee. church. downtown eastside (DTES). africa. run.

my weekly ritual. my secret refuge. a place that i should/could/want to be closer to. my passion. the desire for my body.

everytime i pass through the DTES (where my church happens to be located), or when i bike through, or when i take the bus through, there leaves a sense of longing. I look and i see drug addicts, and shit on the street, and poverty, and comradery, and mental illness, and some sense of need. i dont know what the DTES needs. it certainly doesn't need me. but, perhaps, i need it. i find myself wanting to be closer. really, actually, longing to live there. find a 400$ apartment, sell most of my belongings, and move on in. but, right now? i dont think that it is quite my time for that. but, how? how do i meet this need inside of me, to be there? to do something about something....

i also, out of a fluke from the night before, i found out that it would be the last day to see "umoja," a south african muscial. and, as you know, i love african dance, and i love africa, and i *love* hot black dancing/drumming african men. and, all it did was make me nostalgic. all I want to do is go to africa, with no time frame of when to return. I want to go, and to stay for a while. see where the wind blows, and discover what adventures lie ahead. to explore the northern sahara. to bike along the garden route in south africa. to embrace my liberian family. to find the man of my dreams. to get lost in the jungle of the DRC, and see the mountains of rwanda. to run with my sponsored child in mozambique, and dive with the sharks in capetown. to take the train in kenya, and climb mt kilimanjaro. to travel by boat on the nile, or lake victoria, and to see vic falls... to get lost in africa. to be there, and not tell anyone where i am. to do something about something.

finally, I went on a run. I am wanting to run the vancouver Full marathon, on the 4th of May. so, training is in go ahead mode. however, it has been really really hard. and, yesterday, on my long run (i was aiming for about 12.5 miles, i got close to 8.5), i feel. early in the run, I slipped on black ice, on ontario street. and, it hurt. alot. i now have a huge bruise on my lower left back/top of left ass, and on my left elbow (not the bad one!!!). so, i almost stopped. but, i did enough "positive self talk" that i got myself up, and kept on going. i had to stop early, because of the pain in my left leg and knee (and more impending ice of doom) from the fall? from weak legs? from bad knees (which i have never previously had?!?) I am training for this race, because all I want to do is feel like i can be physically active, without being in pain. i want to know that my body still can function to some degree without hurting. but, right now, it cant. and, it really sucks ass. my body is not supposed to be in pain every time i try to achieve an athletic endevour. good god, i want this body to function right. so, that i can just do something about something....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

dreams, bumper stickers, and podcasts

The meaning of dreams.

the other night, i had a dream that i woke up from, feeling rather like "oh man, where did that come from?" it made me think about dreams, and how much significance we are supposed to place on them. I mean, they obviously come from the uttermost parts of our mind and emotions. they occur, even when we dont want them to happen. I've had dreams about people who I really care about, getting hurt. I've had dreams about people that i haven't seen or talked to in years. I've had dreams about flying. The last dream I dreamt, I was kissing a boy (nope, you don't know who it is, I can almost guarantee, so stop trying to analyze who it is), and it just seemed right.

what does this mean? that something awful has happened to someone? that i miss people that don't effect my daily life? that i have a secret crush that i dont know about? Any dream analyzers out there?

Yesterday, when i was running, i saw a bumper sticker. it said: "remember who you wanted to be" and, it made me think quite a bit about that. and, i came to this conclusion. I think that the bumper sticker is to remind yourselves of the dreams and aspirations that you had when you were "younger." when perhaps, passion and drivenness seemed more tangible in your mind. when you thought that you could reach and attain the stars. and, i then thought, well, maybe the bumper sticker should rather say "remember who you want to be" because dreams and aspirations and hopes and priorities change over life. you meet people, you experience things, and all of this changes. you desire to be someone who is more suited to who you are now, in this moment.

I saw "into the wild" for the second time. i like this quote: "when you forgive, you love. and when you love, god's light shines upon you." and this quote: "The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences."

Some pretty sweet video's on "the hour" with George Strombo lately. I download them as podcasts onto my computer. Have a look:

man who climbs mountians, without any legs, Warren MacDonald:

Les Stroud, Survivorman:

(you may ask why I am wanting to potentially sell my car~ I can see no negative aspects behind this. it is far cheaper to not have one, as well, I rarely ever drive it. anytime i need to take a longer trip, I can rent a car. Every time i need to do laundry, I can take my scooter. Everytime i need to pick up groceries, i can take my scooter. scooters are more environmentally friendly. And, they are cute. )

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

my newest obsessions

so, these are two things that i like a lot right now.

i am currently debating selling my Maggie the Matrix, in order to buy a scooter. Would love a vespa, but they are a little expensive. but, definently beautiful. not to mention super amazingly cool. if you see someone cruising down the street on somthing that looks like this:
how can you not instantly think that they are amazing, and that you want to meet them? no idea. i would want to meet me if i drove one of these.

current obsession #2:

Juno (the movie, not the goddess).
if you have not seen this, i reccomend dropping everything that you are doing right now, and going to see this movie, and download the soundtrack. the best part of this movie is not that it is filmed in Vancouver, which is pretty cool as well, or that the main actress is from halifax, and reminds me of a friend of mine, or that the soundtrack is fricken amazing, or that there are high school boys running in short shorts, but rather, the best part of this movie is yes folks:

the reality of the relationships. i loooove how they develop the relationships. they are so real and they are people that we each have in our own lives. and, the deepness and sincerity of how not only the two people in the relationship affect eachother, but how other individuals also affect the relationship between two people.

people i currently miss a lot: Sam, Gretchen, Donna, Caitlin, Kirsten, Meg.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

some pretty great songs.

so, last spring, I compilated Amo's Hotshots 1. I have just done amo's hotshots 2, yet to be distributed. the following are the play lists. Pretty sweet songs....

time to relax
the offspring
Beat The Drum Great Big Sea
Your Daughters and Your Sons The Duhks
Mushaboom Feist
Fidelity Regina Spektor
Love Is The Seventh Wave The Duhks
johnny's camaro David Wilcox
African Queen 2Face Idibia
Collide (Acoustic) 4:37 Howie Day
No Bravery 4:03 James Blunt
Elias 6:37 Dispatch
0% Interest (acoustic) 4:11 Jason Mraz
God Of Creation 4:14 David Crowder Band
Let's Go Dancing 2:38 Teitur
Braille 4:56 Regina Spektor
One Evening 3:36 Feist
life for rent 3:43 Dido

Amo's hot shot's 2
Boom Snap Clap 2:53 A.M.
The Rain 3:54 k-os
Indigo Girl 4:26 Watershed
Kingdom Come 4:11 Coldplay
Hard To Concentrate 4:02 Red Hot Chili Peppers
Steal My Kisses 4:05 Ben Harper
broke down with you 3:58 Jack Johnson
la cienega just smiled 5:03 ryan adams
please forgive me 5:36 David Gray
molinos 3:21 paperboys
what sad old song 6:00 po' girl
Blessed to be a witness 4:12 Ben Harper
Roll Me Away 4:38 Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Time Breaks Down 3:49 Bend Sinister
I feel home 4:04 O.A.R
rosy and grey 5:04 lowest of the low
The Wind 1:41 Cat Stevens
hard sun 5:22 eddie vedder

Monday, January 7, 2008

New year's newsletter

Alright, Y'all. I know that you are reading my blog, because I have had 26 hits today alone. glad to know that you are reading my newsletter, or at least scanning.

also, i can see where the hits are coming from, so I can have a reasonable guess who is looking, and reading. but, really, folks, leave a comment! i would like to know who you are. at least this once ;)

Click on following to enlarge:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year, and, New Beginnings?

So, we are one day into 2008.

What I have found funny, is the silence of blogs over the holidays. To me, this is a good sign. it means that people are doing better things than sitting on the computer, writing about themselves. but alas, it is a new year, and people are writing on their blogs again. as for myself, I wanted to take the time to write in my journal to figure out some of my thoughts, before I was going to give a cap of the last 10 days or so.

I do believe, that I have just had the best christmas that I have ever had in my life. My friends from the states came up to visit: Christina from DC (my best friend, who i haven't seen in 3 years!!!!), and Zach and Ben Mauss. They arrived on the 20th, and we went to whistler from the 22nd, to 26th; we then travelled to Tacoma, and dropped the boys off, and Christina left on the 30th. Im not going to lie, but post christmas sadness sucks. It is like a emotional hangover.
Whistler was beautiful. Although I was not able to snowboard, I spend one day snowshoeing, and the other days relaxing, cooking, and just not thinking about school, or work. It was sooooo good, because it was so needed. I have been really slogging through the last couple months; and time with my closest friends reminded me of love, and good company, and how relationships provide rest and rejuvenation, and stimulate life thoughts. we decorated stockings, we had an amazing christmas dinner, the christmas elves stuffed the stockings, and put presents under the tree.

So, these three people are amazing people. and, it has been in coversations, and interacting with them over the last little while that I have really come to realize the big things that have happened in the last year, as well as what I strive to achieve in the next year.

I also was priviledged to see my long time friends, Stephen Klebs, and Tricia Burnett. Both of these individuals bring joy to my life, and remind me that friendships exceed time apart, and distance. And even though, it was brief, it was amazing.

and, sitting in a coffee shop this afternoon, I was thinking about what has happened in the last year. and, the most interesting thing that I found about the whole thing, is how things play into eachother. nothing is really stagnant and distinct from one another, but rather very fluid, and interrelated. Unfortunently, I dont necessarly feel as if i want to disclose how the following things effected my life, but they did so significantly.
so, in the last year, these are the things which played a significant part of my life:
  • "dating" markus in feb/march
  • travelling to the middle east with Zach in April
  • Bike crash in july, and the following medical situations
  • deciding not to row, in september
  • a conversation with Zach in august
  • School
  • December, and friends in town

and, in these coming months, these are some of the things that I want to do:
  • Get back to personal journalling again. to find the extraordinary in the mundane.
  • Get a better grip on my finances; pay off my bicycle, and my credit card.
  • Travel to the eastern states. Maybe hitchhike.
  • run another half marathon, and do an olympic distance tri.
  • Talk to makayla at least every 3 weeks.
  • graduate from my masters. Take the MCATS, apply for medical school
  • Organize the youthgroup at St Johns
  • do yoga, and african drumming again.
  • Love & be open to love.

so, folks, Happy New year. :)

What are the things that you are going to do to improve your life this year?