Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Shake yer Steak

Dinner at Steak 'N Shake with Jim and Chriyus last night was excellent, and not just because I somehow...*cough*...*sheepish grin*...managed to not have to pay for my "meal," which consisted of just Strawberry Shortcake. Yum! It's good to know that The John Rule is extending beyond Southern Seminary's campus ;)

We talked about stuff...the past, present, and future. It was strange in a good way to have Jim was like he'd never left. I told him when I picked him up from the airport on Friday that I knew exactly how he felt; I'd experienced much the same several weeks ago when Andrew was driving me away from the airport at home. Of course, my emotions were slightly...well...more complicated, to put it lightly. But enough of me. The conversation last night took us to a lot of places I'd forgotten about: the many, many times we'd sat in that same Steak 'N Shake on Hurstbourne (Uch, remember that night when you met Rob?), meeting Eric and the crew from the New Attitude Band just a little over a year ago, and more...a whole lot more. We also discussed the circumstances we're all in right now. None of us could have predicted the circumstances the Lord has us undergoing at the moment; do we regret any of them? Nope...not a bit. It's great to wake up in the morning and know that despite the questions, despite the answers, we can still rejoice that our lives aren't really our own, and never really were. Hmmm...I gotta remember that one a little bit more ;) The future is the great unknown, and the three of us discussed that one a lot. Actually, I think I mostly listened. Chriyus and Jim are both much closer to graduation than I am, although my semi-immediate future is still unclear. It's looking more and more like the summer will see all of us separating...really, really separating...*shrug*...who knows? Only the Lord, and that's not so bad, is it? ;)

Ok, Scott just called, gotta run to Dorm Meeting.

posted by Bolo | 9:15 PM
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Biggz and the Mrs.

I could start by stating that the wedding was one of the most Christ-centered gatherings I've ever had the pleasure of participating in (and I do mean participate); I could start by expressing the deep joy I feel for Jonathan and Shannon, not only because they're both great friends of mine, but particularly because of the circumstances they withstood in order to see this day; I could even start by relating how much I enjoyed the classy settting provided by The Olmstead House. I will not detail any of those things, however. Nay! Instead, I shall indulgently divulge the story of how almost our entire row (me, Scott, Rob, Chriyus, Tiffany, Jeremy Pierre and his wife, Laura Beth, and a couple others that don't really matter for this story) found ourselves trying with valiant failure to contain our mirth. What happened to cause such hysterics?

Picture Mrs. Mary Mohler, wife to the President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., sitting in the row in front of us. Dr. Mohler was not attending the wedding, and all the chairs to the aisle side of Mrs. Mohler were free. Now picture Biggz...yes, BIGGZ, being escorted in by Josh Ryherd, sitting down next to Mrs. Mohler with an absolutely ginormous grin on his face.

Yeah...I had to look away and bite my tongue to keep from laughing too hard. Too bad that my turning made me look at Scott, who was doing as good a job as I at taming his laughter.

I even got a picture of Biggz and the First Lady ;)

Anyway, now that the contents of my blog are potentially incriminating to the remainder of my time here at Boyce, I must speak of the glory of Christ as seen today at the Leeman wedding. My goodness, what a beautiful gathering! Christ was made much of...we sang several hymns, we listened to the beautiful intention of marriage as designed and ordained by God, and we felt a stirring in our hearts to worship our Lord. It was clear that the focal point of the whole day was not the bride and groom, but Christ as the Bridegroom and the church as His bride. Wow.

You know...I can say with a huge grin that I am genuinely happy for the bride and groom as I've never been before. I've been to other weddings, yet with this one, there was so much more to their story that raised the level of joy I feel for the happy couple. Scott and I both wanted to do a little cheering during the official kissing of the bride, but stuffy sobriety won out in our minds, for better or for worse. What a shame, I think ;)

posted by Bolo | 12:48 AM
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So. I told Mon as she walked in the door, "I would tell you, 'Happy Birthday,' but it's already past your birthday, so I won't do that." I know, I know, I'm a terrible brother. But I was working all day, and I hadn't written her birthday card out just yet, so I figure it just wouldn't be appropriate to wish her a happy birthday when I'm not truly ready to wish it upon her.

Ya know?

Other random thoughts that have popped into my head since the last post some...oh...two hours ago.

Brian's on a songwriting binge. Good for's about stinkin' time ;) It's interesting to hear him play me his latest songs over the phone...imagine that...I get a personal concert from The Maestro himself while over 4,000 miles away. Cool, very cool.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's homesick. Kev is feeling it, too...the emotions involved are incredibly complicated, it seems, and it's hard to sort through them all when you're in the midst of trying to live life.

Picked up Jim at the airport last night. We had a little bit of a Presidential gathering last night, as Jim and Matt McCullough, the two most recent Boyce College Student Council Presidents, were in the Patio Room together with Scott. Talk about Old School Boyce! In the past few days, I've seen a handful of people from my very first semester on makes for a very interesting contrast when I see them together with the newer Boyce students who have no idea who these other people are.

Parties given by The Popular Seminary People are interesting. I see a whole lot of people who seem cool and neat and swell, but you know what? I hardly know most of them. A handful do recognize me for some reason (maybe it's 'cause I look DIFFERENT), but I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that.'s a random thought to go within this random thought...maybe it's just that I'm still trying to figure out how to love people as I need to love them with Christ's love, and not simply love them for what they can do for me, which is not really love at all. Hmmm...

It's nearly 3 am. In 12 hours or so, Shannon Robbins will become Mrs. Jonathan Leeman. Whoa. On a John-level note, I'll get to celebrate not only with the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Leeman, but also with a bunch of Old School Boyce people. Very cool :) Which reminds me...I still gotta write out that wedding card. Oh, and Mon's birthday card, too...

Can you believe she's THIRTY-SIX?

posted by Bolo | 2:25 AM
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1 John 4:7 - 21

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

I'm not even going to think about unpacking this passage. Quite frankly, I'm silenced by it. Why? Humanly speaking, love is something that, as it is specified here, can only be truly found in those who are born of God and who know God. Think on that; the implication is profound. What John is stating here is that the only way one can truly love is to love in Christ, as the Father intended when He sent Christ to be the propitiation for our sins and set us free to live through Christ. John speaks of God being love, and how we know that God abides in us: the manifestation of love within us as the Spirit, whom the Father has sent, abides within us. We abide in God, and God in us as we abide in love. Wow. John points out several times that God loved us first, and of His own volition. The fact that He did so freely is key to the very essence of love as we know it in Christ.

But I won't get into that now. My brain is too overwhelmed, crammed full of thoughts like Blind Brandon's closet is crammed full of all the stuff that usually resides on his floor when he cleans his room in ten minutes for Open Dorms :) I'll have to unpack everything from my brain in order to sort through my thoughts, and quite frankly, I'm not ready for that just yet. Therefore, I'll avoid the deeper waters of that passage and be content to wade through the shallows.

About two and a half weeks ago, Andrew and I were on our way home from Sanoya's. That was the night we had been on our way back to Sushi King for their Midnight Special after a night at Hale Noa, only to find that Tuesday was the one night of the week that they closed at 10 pm. Doh! Anyway, he'd been encouraging me to use my "way with words" and look to encourage people more. In essence, to love people as defined by Scripture. *Sigh*...for some reason, as I talked with Brian tonight, my thoughts went back to that conversation with Andrew. I'd been thinking about that passage in 1 John 4, and my conversation with Brian triggered memories of that conversation with Andrew. I know, I know, it sounds strange, but what about me isn't strange? Anyway, the thing that clicked in my head (and heart) was the notion that I must love people. If I am to truly love people, I must point them to the love of Christ, and do so through the love of Christ that abides within me. Not to do so constitutes hatred, or a hypocritical love that Paul warns against in Romans 12. Dare I live my life as one who does not abide in God? Certainly not!

Yet, I often do.

That's what Andrew was speaking of. Put negatively, he warned me not to love hypocritically; positively, he encouraged me to love by speaking words of life. And oh, how I've failed! I look into my heart, and I see reflected there but a tiny portion of the dark sin of self-centered pride that I've recently clothed myself in. How shameful, how destructive to the Kingdom of Christ! In my heart, I know that I make light of my sins, and that I gloss over them far, far too quickly. Oh Lord, forgive me...melt the hardness of my heart!

*Sigh*...still, I can take heart in the very essence of love. God has first loved me freely, needing no love of my own to be given to assuage Him first. In that, I do take heart, for it was His love in Christ that first placed within me a spring of love to flow forth in true love for others. Indeed, the more I see of my need for forgiveness, the more I see of God's love.

posted by Bolo | 11:49 PM
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Cold Hard Truth

The drive home from work was cold. Very, very cold. The temperature was below 20, and I was doing my best to figure out which was better: driving fast to gain the promised warmth and rest of my bed, or driving a little more slowly so as to delay the undesirable inevitability of having to face the twenty frigid yards from the car door to the front door, as well as the deadbolt that would delay my entry into the warm house by a few seconds.

Despite the importance of that ponderance, however, something else weighed in on my mind. My thoughts went back to last summer, and the spiritual state I found myself in. I remember sitting in Leeman's office, telling him why I was looking forward to the beginning of the new school year. The pain of life and the reality of sin had beset me in an overwhelming fashion, and I was looking for a way out. The new school year, with the all the excitement of seeing old friends and making new ones, would provide that much needed escape. Or would it? I feared that at that point, I was looking forward to it for the wrong reason. I told Jonathan that I didn't want to enter the new season with the wrong heart, with the wrong perspective on things. I can clearly remember telling him how, most of all, I desperately wanted to enjoy God. If I couldn't enjoy the Lord for who He is when no one else was around, what made me think I would enjoy Him any more when others would surround me? I would be trying to fill my life with distractions, with an escape from the reality of my shallow relationship with the Almighty.

That's a sad state of soul, isn't it?

I'm faced with much the same now. I don't quite feel the depths of despair that I felt during the summer, but I do recognize the same thinking, the same type of doubt and hints of guilt that are wont to come in the wake of sin and pride. It's not a state that I can say I'm happy about, but it is one that I'm grateful for. Why? The recognition of this gives evidence that the Lord is at work in my heart, because if He were not at work, I would not even care about the fact that my desires for Him must be pure. After all, He alone is the One who can purify my desires and my heart!

As I neared the house, my thoughts went to the many faces that now occupy my life. The Lord has blessed me with many friends since that talk with Jonathan. Many of the friendships I'd already had have grown and blossomed. Yet, I found myself loathing the way I treat those friendships in my heart. I find that I often look to those relationships to see how they add value to who I perceive myself to be, rather than looking to those relationships to see how the Lord might use me to encourage the other person, or perhaps to catch a glimpse of Jesus being formed in someone's heart. In essence, I try to make the blessings of the Lord into things that propound to my glory, not His. Ugh! It's a sobering thing to ponder, especially at 5:30 on a frigid January morning. There's not much to soften the blow from the cold, hard truth the Lord reveals at such times.

It's times like these, though, that make me appreciate the warmth of God's lovingkindness so much more :)

posted by Bolo | 5:46 AM
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Old School

The Old School block has been updated...

posted by Bolo | 7:19 PM
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If I took one thing away from Dr. Mohler's Convocation Chapel sermon this morning, it's this: the cross of Christ is rough, bathed in blood, and is most certainly not pretty.

Distressingly, I try every day to make that same scandalous cross appear more and more wholesome and less and less grisly. What's worse is that my malady is not limited to my own soul; rather, it is a plague that spreads itself amongst the body of Christ, often in the name of "winning souls."

But today, I don't want to talk about my brothers and sisters in the church, I want to talk about me. I wish to, in essence, poke and prod at my own lukewarm heart in an open attempt to stir some embers to flame once more. Last night, as Scott and I were engaged in our ritualistic (yet hardly rote) Monday night, post-Dorm Meeting walk, I was struck by a thought. The Lord teaches us wisdom (for wisdom was precisely what Scott was speaking of when I was struck by my thought) through ways and means we would often not desire for ourselves. In other words, the very things that grant us wisdom are the tough roads, the struggles, the disclosure of sin that the Spirit orchestrates in our hearts. All of these things, like it or not, are an integral part of lives that are lived in a desperate embrace of Christ's precious cross, that cross which is splintery and gouges into us in ways we often do not and cannot fathom.

As Dr. Mohler spoke this morning of the scandal of the cross and the manner in which we often attempt to cover that scandal, I felt a little shame wash over me. Far too little shame, I might add, for I know that in my heart I desire to make the cross less offensive when it suits my need to do so. Don't get me wrong; it's not that I am entirely unaware of how scandalous the cross is, nor is it that I am dispassionate toward proclaiming the scandal which the Lord Himself has done. No, the shame comes from knowing that my life is often lived in a manner that allows the death of Christ to become less and less prominent, and more and more of an ideal or vague notion that is no longer so heart-wrenching. For indeed, the death of Christ is heart-wrenching! I often look upon our Savior's death with a casual eye, an eye filmed over with the comfortable filth and grime of the world and my sin. I see the cross as an everyday reality, a casual happenstance that gives me the freedom to smile when things aren't going so well. Even though it is not clean and does not allow passivity, I still treat it as a historical blemish that asks for a solution. I still foolishly see the cross as a license to judge "the lost," or when I'm really angry at someone, to smugly comfort myself by saying, "oh well...they're probably going to hell."

But that is not the message of the cross. No, its message is not one that declares me righteous in and of myself; rather, it graciously lays upon me the righteousness that is Christ's! That is a very sobering truth, for the cross does not undo all the sins that I've done, nor does it prevent me from ever sinning again or needing the cross ever again. I will always be under the scandalous power of the cross, and forevermore I shall be claimed by the blood that Christ so horribly shed upon it. Does that seem ludicrous, that someone who utterly deserves death should be freed by the agonized death of One who was never guilty of anything...the One who was God in the flesh? It does. That is why it is the wisdom of God, yet the foolishness of the world. The cross is grisly, it is scandalous, and it is uncomfortable. It is what it is, and I for one am thankful for it.

posted by Bolo | 1:06 PM
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First day of class...Theology III with Dr. Wellum went well. When I woke up this morning, Mon was already up. She said she'd been up since 5 am. FIIIIIIIVE in the morning!!! After I told her about my 8:30 am class time, she said with a grin, "aaawww, first day of class! I'm jealous."

What a nerd :)

posted by Bolo | 11:55 AM
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Midnight Special

In about four hours, Andrew and Brian will be seated in a little Japanese restuarant on the makai side of the Diamond Head end of King Street. The restaurant? It's cheesily named Sushi King, but it's anything but cheesy. Their infamous Midnight Special, which runs under $8, is truly a sight for eyes sorely deprived of good Japanese cuisine. It's one of those places the three of us continuallly go back to over and over and over again.

This time, though, they're there without me. I told Brian that I'd have them call me when they get there, but I need to crash before my 8:30 Theology III class with Dr. Wellum. It's my first class of the Spring Semester, and I want to actually be awake for it, you know? Therefore, the Sushi King phone call will have to wait. Perhaps I'll call Uch and have him place an order for Hamachi on my behalf; I know he'd be more than happy to do it :)

Talking with Andrew earlier today was good, if short. Life for both of us seems to be...cloudy...yet good. I'm not sure how to explain it, other than to say that I don't think the wrinkles that the Lord's woven into the tapestry of our lives will negate the beauty of the finished product. Does that make sense? I hope so. Talking with Brian was much the same. He said something I needed to hear: the time of "waiting" we're all experiencing to one degree or another is just as important as the time of "doing." In essence, this time of uncertainty and preparation is not to be ignored, nor is it to be viewed in a lesser light...especially since the one true Light is still shining forth, lighting our paths. Wow...I really needed to hear that again.

posted by Bolo | 11:52 PM
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The Anchor

It's late. Nearly midnight, actually. And you know what? Gmail access is temporarily unavailable.

Oh, the horror!

There are worse things in life, however, and I shall live on, I promise you that :) Indeed, life gets better by the day. On Monday, I'll finally get to start my semester, as I have a Theology III class with Dr. Wellum at 8:30 that morning. It'll be the first of four three-hour classes in two days...*gulp*. With my school week ending on Tuesday, however, I'll be able to pack in full-time hours (and more) at work, which will be great for the checkbook. We'll see how the semester pans out.

Today, I was thinking about how deeply the apathy toward this new semester has been gripping me. In light of this, I thought of the ways the Lord uses the strength of our desires to reveal the frailty of our faithfulness to Him, and the cost that that lesson often brings with it. I also pondered the murky haze my gaze cannot pierce when trying to discern my future, as well as the muck and mire my feet constantly sink into when walking the paths of today. *Sigh* much seems uncertain...yet is anything truly uncertain?


For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. Do I lack anything that God has said He would provide? Not in the least. And do I need anything that He will not provide? Negatory. That includes the all the things that my heart longs after, as well as the knowledge of what and when He will provide what He will provide. I remember just last week, sitting down with Jeff and asking him, "what do you lack?" It was a trick question, really, because the answer was a simple, "nothing." Even as I smugly let him tick off the perceived great lacks of his life, I should have paid better attention to my own question, because I now find myself engaging in silent dialogue between my mind and my heart. The resolution? A slow and difficult acceptance of God's sweet, sovereign grace.

Yet, as difficult as I may find it during this season of life, I must be gripped by the certainty of the gospel. After all, there is nothing so beautiful and so glorious as to gaze upon Christ's cross standing as an anchor of hope in the midst of the muck and mire of my sin and despair...nothing.

posted by Bolo | 11:48 PM
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The Ocean

Many times in years past, I'd go to Kaka'ako Park and contemplate the ocean. Beautiful, huge, glorious, dangerous, mysterious, and shocking. A week ago, the night before my sister's wedding reception, I was blessed enough to once again walk the familiar haunts of Kaka'ako Park. It's affectionately known as the place where "Honolulu greets the sea." I've often felt like it was the place where the ocean greeted me...or, depending on the time of day, where the sun would bid me goodbye, or where the moon would come out of its hiding behind the Ko'olau Mountains. I loved to go there at odd hours of the day, particularly at sunset or around midnight. I'd sit out on the boulders that stretched themselves out past the wall, listening to the swells that would crash below me. There was something about the smell of the ocean that always made me feel alive, too...I miss it a lot, now. At night, looking over the ocean was like gazing upon an angry sea of living ink. I'd stare at it, wondering what its depths held...knowing that just hours ago, I was at its mercy as the waves held me under and pinned me to the reef for just a few moments. What secrets did it hold under its temperamental surface? The reef, a house to so much marine life; crabs that rushed down from the rocks and into the surf; and sharks, those huge kings of the briny blue, who glide through the currents to hunt food like I sometimes hunt food at school. I'd wonder at it, thinking that the God that made the ocean, of which I glimpsed but the tiniest bit, must indeed be powerful beyond my grasp.

*Sigh*...I'd sit there on the hill at Kaka'ako Park, and contemplate more than just God's ocean. I'd contemplate Him, too. What better to consider, what better to reach out and try to grasp? God...the God that made the ocean not only made me to enjoy it, but He made me to enjoy Him. Wow...what a powerful contemplation! Of course, I'm reminded once more of Augustine's sagacious words: "He loves Thee too little, who loves Thee together with anything, which he loves not for Thy sake." Those things that have my love must, in order to be truly loved, be loved for His sake. The ocean, as much as I miss it, is only a bitter memory unless it is sweetened by the truth that He created it, He created me, and that we both exist to harmoniously sing to His glory.

Do you know what I love the most about the ocean? It reminds me of Him.

posted by Bolo | 7:51 PM
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That Thing I Do

During the course of a conversation the other night, I discovered something about myself. While some people do things because they're challenging, I do things because I love to do them...and in the course of doing them, I usually find them to be challenging. The point is, my motive for doing comes in that order, not the other way around.

A little background before I go further. I'm the type of person who, in the midst of finals, will stop studying just to go watch a sunset. Or listen to the birds sing. Or roll around in the grass. Why, you ask? Why not? I think I would rather be caught laughing and dancing in the rain than studying hard for a math final. Not to say that I won't study for my math final (which, by the way, will need to be done this Spring...ugh!). It's just that I hate to think that I'll forget to enjoy the little things in life...the simple pleasures, the silly things, the profundity to be seen in all that surrounds around us. A little over a month ago, I wrote a post about how the Lord commands the morning. I hate to think that in the midst of all of life's trials, struggles, and challenges, that I've somehow missed something.

Thus, we come back to my original strain of thought. I love to do the things I love to do because...well...first and foremost, I love them. They're enjoyable, I take pleasure in them, and when I do them, I realize with vivid freshness that the Lord has made me to do them. It's like that when I write, when I surf, when I teach, when I somehow pull an analogy out of my butt, when I play volleyball, when I pray, when I talk about the Lord, when I hug my nephews, when I put together another one of my journals (if you'd like to see it...ask me may actually make it onto one, one of these days), or when I watch a sunset. The Lord made me to do those things...and you know what? That's why I love to do what I do. I think that, in the course of doing the things I love to do the most, I find that they are challenging...but they still come easily to me. That's a scary thought. I love to's challenging...but words flow unabated from me like a freshet. I love to teach...and often, in the midst of trying to explain something, analogy after analogy will pop up over and over again. I can't explain how it happens, it just does. Even though it's challenging, I still find that teaching comes naturally.

That scares me.

Do you know why? It's a responsibility issue. *Sigh*...God made me this way for a reason...and, unlike some others that I know, I'm not the type of person who dives into something just because they present a challenge. I'll have to remember that as I set out to be used for His kingdom...I'll have to remember that I love to do what I do because they not only bring me pleasure, but they bring Him pleasure, as well :)

posted by Bolo | 1:36 PM
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Yes, I'm still homesick...don't worry, I promise to get better...but for now, I'm still homesick.

posted by Bolo | 12:05 AM
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My heart still yearns to be at home. But you know what? I think it'd be far too easy to be at home right now. I yearn to be at home, yes, but I have ministry to do here. *Sigh*...there are hearts that are broken, lives that are in shambles, and souls that are utterly lost under a yoke of bondage to sin. The question I am now faced with is a difficult one to answer, as I continually find myself asking of the Lord, "how do I minister to the lost and broken when I myself feel so displaced and torn?"

I feel a loss for a loss for a loss for a loss for hope, even. I look inside my heart, and I see nothing there that makes me feel as though I can be the one to minister to the lost and broken. Yet, what strikes me as strange is that those around me seem to think otherwise. I would say it is foolishness, except that same thinking seems to permeate everyone I come across. Of course, it's not me that they're really seeing, nor is it me that they're saying can really do it; it's Christ they see in me, and it's in Christ that they rejoice and hope. Oh, how torn I do feel!

But you know what? Perhaps that's exactly what I must be. Perhaps I must be torn; my Lord Jesus did His most powerful work in being torn upon the cross, and in being conformed more and more into His likeness, I must embrace whatever rending the Lord works upon my heart. *Sigh*...though all around me is painful, though all around me causes me to weep, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!

posted by Bolo | 2:16 PM
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Yes, confusion.

It's hard to believe, it really is. I was home...home...I didn't dream it, and I didn't make it up, but in a way, I wish I were dreaming right now. Coming back would be hard, really hard...I knew that before I went. I just didn't know it would be this hard.

In a post from yesterday, I wrote that I haven't ever felt this confused in my life. When I had told that to Boss the other night, he looked at me in shock. Yeah...that's how tumultuous I feel inside. I know what I need to do, but when I look at all the pro's and con's, I find that every pro could be a con, and every con could be a pro. I told Kev as I was waiting at the airport terminal the other night...was that really just the other night?...that I recalled to mind a little Lord of the Rings dialogue between Frodo and Sam, when Frodo was leaving Middle-earth to go to Valinor:

Frodo: Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.

Sam: But I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done.

Frodo: So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.

I want so much to be be whole while I'm here on earth. But I don't know if that's meant to be. What I told Kev I'm now asking myself is whether or not I'm like Frodo or Sam in this; in other words, which, if any, of those things I love most will I need to give up in order to save them? Will I watch my niece and nephews grow up? Or will I know a deeper joy in daily beseeching the Lord for grace upon their lives from a painful distance? Will I once again enjoy ministry by Andrew's side at FCF, the church we grew up in, or will I hear over the phone even more about the painful trials that the elders and pastoral staff are going through? What if I do go home for the summer? Will that mean I'd suddenly find myself forgetting about those here at Boyce College, those faces that I've come to know and love? And what about that other face? I know a lot of people who go home for the summer, and going home shouldn't be that big a deal, right? *Sigh*...whatever. I told Jewel last night that even if my family were here, I'd still want to be in Hawai'i. Hawai'i is still Home...and while I'm in this world, nowhere else will ever truly be Home. Perhaps, despite my confusion, you can see my conundrum, even if just a little of it. Are you confused by what I'm saying? If you are, join the club...I'm still trying to sort through everything.

Despite that...dang...being home was good.

posted by Bolo | 1:09 AM
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Pics from home...

Sunset at Kewalo's.

posted by Bolo | 3:17 AM
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A picture that's been long in the making...

posted by Bolo | 3:09 AM
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Steak Sauce with the quiver!

posted by Bolo | 3:03 AM
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Diamond head, sometime around sunrise.

posted by Bolo | 3:00 AM
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A normal Sushi King :)

posted by Bolo | 2:30 AM
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Uchida, Letoto, and Cabreros. Friends are a good thing, you know?

posted by Bolo | 2:28 AM
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Kimo isn't really trying to pick his just conveniently looks like he is :) Besides, don't you think his thumb would be a weeeee bit too big for such a maneuver?

posted by Bolo | 2:19 AM
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posted by Bolo | 2:17 AM
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posted by Bolo | 2:15 AM
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Boss and Bolo...

posted by Bolo | 2:13 AM
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Boss is in the backseat...

posted by Bolo | 2:05 AM
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While Uch drives on the way back to Town out of Hale'iwa.

posted by Bolo | 2:04 AM
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Lisa tickled me juuuuuust as the shot was snapped off. What are sisters for, right?

posted by Bolo | 1:54 AM
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"Hi, I'm Goose."

posted by Bolo | 1:52 AM
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The post-breakfast pic. Yes, that's really how I dress at home.

posted by Bolo | 1:51 AM
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Someone please tell me why I'm here :/

posted by Bolo | 1:31 AM
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Holy Monkeys! Shane, Susan, Andrew, Blaine, Aya, Carla, and Amber...back row first, left to right.

posted by Bolo | 1:30 AM
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The Mother Goose and me. (Check out the OneDay Volunteer Shuttle magnet on the 'fridge...I think I beat him out with the OneDay03 album and video spots, though.)

posted by Bolo | 1:22 AM
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Me and the Sisters Uchida: Rachel and Sarah/Peter. (Don't ask.)

posted by Bolo | 1:17 AM
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Marian! She's no longer a Letoto by name, but I'd still chill with her on any day of the week ending in the letter "y." Did we really graduate in...*gulp*...1997? Yeesh.

posted by Bolo | 1:13 AM
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Hey, how'd my mommy get in there?

posted by Bolo | 1:09 AM
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Uch with a new sticker being applied to the one he chose from his quiver that day. I would smile like that, too, if I were about to head into the water...

posted by Bolo | 1:08 AM
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Cabreros, Uchida, Ohata, and Fuller.

posted by Bolo | 1:02 AM
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Eddie would go...

posted by Bolo | 1:00 AM
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posted by Bolo | 12:56 AM
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The Surf Crew at Diamond Head, my first day back. This picture hides my paleness a little, which I'm grateful for. On a different note, I think we could have charged these tourists for this picture with them...hehehe...five bucks a pop would've been a good rate, don't ya think? Also, make note of the one Nihonjin grabbing his buddy's pec...HMMM...that gave us a good laugh on the way to Kaka'ako Kitchen.

posted by Bolo | 12:34 AM
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Kason's going to be a big brother! Woohoo!!! So yeah, that means I'll be an uncle again!

posted by Bolo | 12:30 AM
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$3.64, including tax, for our mini plates from Gina's. What's even better is the treatment you get when you walk in from the Korean ladies behind the counter..."John! Where you been?" Once, Andrew didn't even make it to the door before Gina started scolding him. You gotta love Korean women...they prove the theory right over and over and over again :)

posted by Bolo | 12:27 AM
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Hamachi. Yes, Hamachi is a fish...served as sashimi. Yes, that would be RAW :)

posted by Bolo | 12:24 AM
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I don't know. Don't ask.

posted by Bolo | 12:20 AM
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Kev...what the heck were you doing? You weren't waxing, 'cause I can see skegs.

posted by Bolo | 12:16 AM
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No sibling rivalry here! (You can baaaarely tell you're in purple, 'Drew, I promise!)

posted by Bolo | 12:09 AM
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Scott, here's your shirt. On the NORTH SHORE, no less!

posted by Bolo | 12:09 AM
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Tara's cool. She's one of the Twinkies, but that's not what makes her cool. What makes her cool is that she puts up with having a dork like me as her friend...I guess the Lord gives us all at least one person to teach us patience, right? ;)

posted by Bolo | 12:05 AM
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Steph's two fingers aren't up in a "peace" sign, they're up to signify how many of her dufus friends are in the picture with her. (She looks a little scared, doesn't she?)

posted by Bolo | 11:57 PM
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Boss in my chair. He keeps it warm for me :)

posted by Bolo | 11:42 PM
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Sarah & Steph...the better looking portion of The Surf Crew.

posted by Bolo | 11:40 PM
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posted by Bolo | 11:39 PM
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I'm back. *Sigh*...I don't know if I've ever felt this confused before. I know what I need to do, but my heart's not in's really not in it.

posted by Bolo | 7:05 PM
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Short and Random

Short, random thoughts...

I miss home already. As much as I know I'm not supposed to stay, I can't help but think that if somehow the airport were to miraculously (but harmlessly) shut down for a couple days...weeks...years...decades...I wouldn't exactly be totally bummed out by it.

Tonight Andrew and I went to Hale Noa, a kawa bar on Kapahulu Ave. Our friend Tiffa plays there every Tuesday night, and this session featured her cousin, as well. Amazing, I tell you, absolutely amazing...

Total meals I've shared with Andrew and/or Brian or both: a lot...I've lost count already. By far, I've spent the most time with the two of them. Tonight I'm crashing in Andrew's house...on his living room floor...I told him that I'd tell his mom that I do indeed prefer the floor to the couch, because it's better on my back.

Today we surfed at Kewalo's. A bunch of people back on the continent received phone calls allowing them to listen to the surf as I held my cell phone over the water washing up on the rocks. Scott even passed his phone around to Boyce folks before we got cut off :)

There's still a bunch of stuff stewing in my brain. And yes, despite the fact that I'm supposedly on vacation, I'm still going to do the same crazy amount of thinking and reflecting that I always do. What's going on in my noggin right now? A lot...a lot. More later, though, 'cause I'm gonna crash soon :)

posted by Bolo | 11:45 PM
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I was thinking about going with at least a semi-Hawaiian themed series of links today, but you know what? It probably will end up being pretty normal. Oh well.

Wow. Pablo, this one's for you.

Not to be viewed while overly tired, intoxicated, or stressed.

So...tell me, Miss Graham...does this sound like me? (Click on the response, as well.)

Pay attention carefully, Mr. O'Neal, because cards in a stack are like guys...

Makaha. One of my sisters lives out there, and Da Surf Crew (Andrew, Brian, Steph, and I) will head out there to enjoy the 3 to 5 foot surf :)

Hmmm...who does this remind me of...

posted by Bolo | 9:22 AM
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Many Greetings

It's a great thing to see old friends. It's even better when those friends are people that watched and helped you grow up, and you've not seen them in over a year and a half :) Going back to FCF this morning was great, if only because I was able to see a lot of people I missed greatly. Gary nearly killed me with his hug (not that I'm complaining!), and Sam gave his fellow Bald Brother a nice Bald Brother greeting. Lynn said I was a, "sight for sore eyes," to which I was rather speechless.

Even though a lot of things have changed at FCF, it's good to see that some things haven't. I woke up much later than I had intended, and got there a little later than I had intended. Thus, it was quite ironic when I stepped out of the car in the parking lot and saw Andrew getting out of his car, too. What else should I have expected? When will Andrew and John not walk into someplace late together? *Sigh*'s good to be home :)

posted by Bolo | 3:42 PM
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Home is a place you're supposed to feel comfortable at, a place you're supposed to be able to be yourself. Home is a place where you're able to let your proverbial hair down, and help others to do the same. Indeed, home ought to be the place where you best express who you truly are, and where those who know you best see you for who you truly are.

Why is it, then, that I find myself questioning my very right to be at home?

That's the main jist of the thought that continually ran through my brain today. Why such an alienating ponderance? It's simple: I don't really belong here right now. Ouch. That's a rough one for me to admit, it really is. Oh, don't get me wrong, it's not like that comes as a surprise. I've known for well over a year now that the place the Lord has me in life does not involve me staying at home for an extended period of time. Furthermore, that probably won't be changing any time soon.

Still, feeling like you don't belong at home is a tough pill to swallow.

Along with that comes the struggle to be the John I really am, and not just the John people expect me to be. *Sigh*...I've been gone for over a year and a half. During that time frame, a lot has happened, a lot. I know I'm not the same person that people remember, but I'm not sure how to go about showing them that. Do people see the changes? What changes do they see? Am I coming across as too critical? Do they see my life as one lived in a manner worthy of the gospel? Am I being Salt, am I being Light? Am I the very aroma of Christ? I wish I knew the answers to those questions, I really do. But I don't...I don't. I can only wake up each morning and trust the Lord. I want so much to control what people think about me; that's a fruitless and foolish endeavor. As in all of life, I can only look toward Christ, trust Him, seek Him, love Him, and follow hard after Him. After all, if anyone knows what it's like to face the uncertainties of feeling like He doesn't belong amongst His own people, it's Jesus :)

posted by Bolo | 11:51 PM
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Waikiki Rules Apply!

The first surf session was incredible. Andrew, Brian, Kevin, and Britton laughed at me as I screamed like a fool and rolled around in the sand on the shores of Leahi, which is better known as Diamond Head. "Aaaaahhhhh, saaaand! Sand! The sand is finally on my body!!!" Andrew reminded me that I should wipe the sand off of my chest before I mounted the board and paddled out, lest I garner for myself a nasty rash. *Sigh*...such simple pleasures!

posted by Bolo | 7:19 PM
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I saw the lights at a little before 9 pm Hawai'i time, lights I've not seen in over a year and a half. The Pacific was stretched out below me, and in the distance I thoguht I could imagine the various breaks I've surfed over the years: The Point, Straight Outs, Bowls, Rennicks, Concessions. Finally seeing the glorious panorama of Honolulu's coastline with my own eyes was a little too much for my tear ducts :)

I just got back to the Judd Street House, after spending a couple hours at Andrew's. Kevin, Britton, and Brian were waiting for us after Andrew picked me up at the airport. The nice thing was that Brian had no idea I was coming in (thus, all the enigmatic hints being given over the past couple of months, as well as the countdown), so the other three monkeys were more than happy to help me surprise the shortness out of him. Ok, maybe not the shortness; there are some things that take nothing short of miracles ;)

The execution of the operation was smooth. Andrew walked in first, and the other three had their attention drawn by Jack Johnson's latest surf video. I walked in like a year and a half hadn't passed and asked, "what are you guys watching?" Brian's face...oh my...PRICELESS. So was the two minute hug he gave me :)

Being home is...surreal. It's like I've not left at all, and yet everything is different. Everything I'm not used to sticks out; construction on H1, Liliha Bakery being closed (Lisa reminded me they're probably closed for New Year's), and the plethora of "stuff" sprawled throughout the Judd Street House. My schedule is already beginning to fill out. The Surf Crew will hit dawn patrol Diamond Head at 8 am, and then in the afternoon I have a date with Kayla and the other kiddies.

I'm home....I'm really home. But you know what? I'm already thinking about having to leave...*sigh*...

posted by Bolo | 1:05 AM
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The Day

Today is the day. Wanna know something? I I'm actually scared. Excited, yes, most definitely excited, but scared. It's been so long...will I be able to handle coming back again? You know, I really can't say, and I think that's what scares me.

But who cares, right? It'll be amazing. Probably not quite what I expect, but then again, life is never what I expect it to be. If I haven't learned that in a quarter century of living, I haven't learned a thing. Next time I'll be different ;)

posted by Bolo | 7:13 AM
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Comfort? Nah.

As I sat there, Chip related to me how he recently had had quite possibly the worst day of his life. "Wow," I thought, "the worst day of your life, huh? That's pretty bad." He then related to me what God had taught him. He told me that all at once, it had become clear as day: Christ suffered far, far, far more than we do with nary a complaint, yet at the littlest sign of suffering, we whine and become mad at God for no good reason.


I told Chip that his one day of suffering and trial seems like my past half year or so, in the sense that my difficulties have taught me much the same, but they've come over the long-haul of the past six months rather than the intensity of just one day. That extended time frame has brought a lack of "normalcy" to my life, and there are no signs of a return to normalcy on the horizon. Chip being Chip, however, he reminded me of something beautiful. If my life were comfortable, I probably wouldn't be walking in Christ's shoes the way that I need to be, because the life that Christ calls us to is not one of comfort. Dang. It's hard to be an ingrate when someone older and wiser than you puts your whining in such eloquent perspective, you know?'s a fresh thought on the comfort angle. Just prior to the end of the last school year, I was just beginning to truly feel comfortable here in Nowhere Land. Andrew had come and visited, the friendships that the Lord had blessed me with here were growing roots that went deep, and I began to see where I fit in here. In short, I was excited about being here. But a funny thing happened along the way to happiness: I forgot something. It's a common plague amongst humans; it's a forgetfulness in who and what truly is important in our lives. The good thing is that God is mindful of our failure, and He more than makes provision for it, He uses it. How He uses it is a mystery to me, so don't ask, 'cause I don't have an answer for you. But really, that's the crux of the matter. Everything that's going on, the whirlwind I feel caught up in, it's not an accident; it's on purpose. And, although my circumstances do not in any way compare with Job's, I still have his choice before me: I can either curse God and die, or I can fall down on my knees and worship.

Which do you think I'll choose?

posted by Bolo | 1:35 AM
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Endurance, Discipline, and Joy

In less than two days, I'll be doing something I've longed to do for a very long time. I've longed to do this for a rather significant portion of my life, really. What is it that I'll be doing? Wouldn't you like to know ;)

On that note, there's something to be said for patience and perseverance. Hebrews 12:7 reads, "It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?" We endure the sake of discipline. Wow. In looking at the immediate context of Hebrews 12, the larger context of the whole book of Hebrews, and also at the entirety of the book of Philippians, it amazes me to see how deeply the Lord uses discipline to form Christ in us and into His likeness. Although I often do not understand His discipline, the glorious truth of His Word reminds me that I not only still have free license to rejoice, but indeed, I must rejoice! It is not a command which is to be taken lightly, for if we do not rejoice in the midst of trial, how are we to rejoice when the journey of life seems void of trials? I would think that that would render the joy we feel in our hearts when all seems well to be a shallow joy, one that has not been tempered by the flames of patient endurance under the crucible of suffering. In looking at the Scriptures, the Lord seems to be saying that true, Christ-exalting joy is the fruit of patient endurance through the scourge of the Father's discipline; it is a joy that has depth, for only by yielding to the power of the cross and the conformity to Christ's death are we truly brought into a place where we are shaped and molded as the Father desires us to be.

In saying this, I must qualify my thoughts on two levels. First, there are so many of my brethren who are suffering far more than I; indeed, my sufferings are shallow, and it is only by the Lord's grace that I do not suffer more. Yet I am content in my sufferings, knowing that the Lord allows me to suffer only to the degree that I am able to to bear them. Second, it is through suffering that the Christ was perfected, and therefore, we are also perfected by the same means. If I were to say that I am always rejoicing in my sufferings without despairing of my own impatience in the midst of the Lord's loving discipline, I would be a liar. I despair daily, I fall daily, and I am tinged with my own selfish shortsightedness. What can I do? In my own strength, nothing! Yet I labor with the glorious might that is ours in Christ, and therefore, I labor on by taking up my cross daily, dying to self, and glorying in Him. Do I not have a Great High Priest who has made atonement for my sins, and who ever lives to intercede for me? Yes! Is He not also the Shepherd who leads me in paths of righteousness, for the sake of His name? Yes! And is He not the Bridegroom who has laid down His life for me, that I might be presented to Him holy and blameless and without blemish? Yes! He is the Christ, and I am His, and He is mine.

Thus, I must rejoice.

posted by Bolo | 2:03 PM
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Not for the faint of heart. Pun intended.

What a waste of time!

Thoughts on calamity.

Deep Geeks click here. Tolkien Geeks, that is. (That's you, Abbicus Maximus.)

posted by Bolo | 8:16 PM
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Like Turkey...

There's a road named Burkey something in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, zip code 43068. in turkey, but with a "b." What kind of name is that? Up until the 30th of December, it was one that held absolutely zero significance for me. Now, however, it's a street name that causes, after the snickering and the laughter, a gentle smile to cross my countenance. And a little bit of a frown, 'cause I left my jacket and a pair of my slacks at the Cavanaugh's, and I'm hoping that Scott brings them both back tomorrow, when he leaves the Cavanaugh house.

Which reminds me: the Cavanaugh family. They're the reason Burkey (like turkey, but with a "b") is a good name in my book. Well, memorable is a better adjective...yeah, I'll go with memorable. Why? 'Cause Burkey still sounds like a cruel name you'd give to the kid who sits alone in the cafeteria because he once tried to sit down with all the cheerleaders but they laughed at him and then when he tried to sit down with his nerd friends again not even they wanted anything to do with him so now he sits all alone and his mom packs him these horrible sardine and mustard sandwiches that give him zits 'cause he's allergic to something in the mustard she uses but he doesn't know it and won't be rid of his zits until he goes to college where he'll later become a much cooler dude but that's 'cause he'll get saved and then he'll know and trust in Jesus and so then he won't care about what the cheerleaders think about him at all because his identity will be found entirely in Christ and so the shallow things of the World will hold no sway over him. Yeah...Burkey.

Back to the Cavanaugh family. Again. Emily's family rocks. Although on the surface they may seem "typical," there's nothing typical about this family. I did not meet Jeff, but I did get to spend a good deal of time with Emily's two younger sisters, both of whom are remarkable young ladies in their own right. Steph is a cute little imp, and she could have you wrapped around her little finger in no time at all if you let her. VERY DANGEROUS LITTLE GIRL. (I'm still trying to unravel myself from that little finger of hers.) Abby is quite the young Tolkien Geek; give her a few years, toss in a timely rebellious streak, and she could also be sporting a nice little Elvish tattoo of her own. (Don't do it, Abbicus Maximus! Your mother and father would never invite me to their house again!) Speaking of the 'rents, Mrs. Cavie gets cool props, as well. I like the fact that I could tell her some of the silly little things that happened in her house during my visit, almost as if I was her spy who was helping her get the inside scoop on some of my fellow guests. Of course, she fed me; that alone is a trait that quickly wins me over :) Then there's Pastor Steve...Mr. Cavie...The Big Guy. He sported this incredible coffee maker (oh my goodness...must get one of those, if only for the whizzbangOHMYGOSHthat'stoocool factor) which he used to spout out a constant supply of excellent coffee. *Sigh*...such delights! But that's not what I'll remember most about him. What comes to mind is 1 Timothy. He clearly portrays those qualities that Paul lays out for Timothy, and he does so with a dignity and grace I cannot grasp, nor claim as my own. His family clearly follows his lead; that was a thing that was incredibly beautiful to behold, for it displayed how the Lord, in His perfect wisdom, ordered things to be. In fact, it was more than just beautiful, it was a blessing :)

posted by Bolo | 11:43 PM
1 speakage


Broken and Afraid

I've said before that when I think of or try to describe some of my closest friends, a word or phrase will pop into my head that encompasses whom I perceive them to be. Several years ago, a friend of mine told me that when she thought of me, one word would pop into her head: broken. She said it was because I was always seeming to desire to be broken before the Lord...more than anything else, that was what my heart sought after.

As I drove back today from Columbus, I had a lot of time to think and reflect on the state of my heart. What desires do I have for this new year? What delights do my heart yearn after? How much do the things I say I delight in match up with the things I truly delight in? There's a tremendous difference between the two; if I'm not careful to constantly search my heart for the deceptions it so easily embraces, the lines between the two will quickly become blurred. And, as many of us know from experience, such a state of heart is not one from which we can clearly discern the will of the Lord, nor one that allows us to freely delight in Him. The truth of this was like icy water on my slumbering soul; what a waker-upper! When all is said and done, what will be said of me? Will the Lord say I was a servant that sought to be broken before Him? A broken and contrite heart, O Lord, You will not despise. Or will I be the unfaithful bride, the lukewarm church that He spits from His mouth?

This new year holds so much promise. Will that promise be fulfilled? How will I live? *Sigh*...those are answers that will not come quickly, nor easily. As I sat with Chriyus tonight, I told him I'm afraid. Afraid. Afraid is not a word I often use to describe myself to others, save with those I trust. Perhaps it's because I'm insecure; perhaps it's because I'd rather not entrust my weaknesses and fears to just anyone. Yet tonight, I said I was afraid, and I meant it. It seems that I've only just begun to realize that the Lord gave me certain gifts and abilities that are unique, and as is the case, I must entrust myself to the Lord, that He might develop them and use them. I know, I know, that sounds retardedly obvious. Understand, however, that it's not the responsibility that I'm realizing, it's the fact that I have these gifts at all. This is a scary predicament to me; growing up, I never thought I was "talented." I still shudder to say that word in relation to myself. I'd rather not, to be utterly honest. Still, I cannot shy away from what the Lord has given this ungrateful child of His. *Sigh*...believe me, I've already spent enough time running from the Lord, and I don't want to do any more of that.

What is somewhat...intriguing...about this revelation is that I still have no idea what this means for my future. Oh, it's so like the Lord to do this! He shows but bits and pieces, and only as His perfect wisdom deems necessary does He reveal what He has in store for His beloved children.

Chriyus told me I have this uncanny ability to pull illustrations out of nowhere. Hehe...I don't know if I should share this, but I will. He said he was preaching a couple weeks ago, and in the midst of his sermon, an illustration just popped into his head. He immediately launched into the illustration, and when he was done, he said that he thought to himself, "that was something John Letoto would've done!" In his Alabama accent, he told me it was "John Letoto-esque!" I laughed in appreciation, but also in trepidation. Is that something I really do? Is that ability something that other people don't have? What's more, is that knack for spontaneous, analogous thought something that others recognize as being uniquely mine? I suppose you could say such creative thought comes because I see life through a certain lens, or series of lenses. (I don't think those lenses are rose-colored; perhaps they're "blood-colored"...Jesus' blood.) Whatever the case, that's just one example of the ways I'm realizing the Lord has gifted me, and with such gifting comes responsibility. The ironic thing is that I've poured a great deal of energy into learning how to coast through life. I've done the minimum necessary to get by, and my personality is such that I'm prone to continue to do just that.

But you know what? I won't. I can't. My Lord Jesus died that I might live, and live life to the fullest! If He's given me the means to help others do the same, I cannot sit idly by and watch them wallow in the muck and mire of life's leftovers. There is a feast to be had at the table of our Savior, and I must go and guide others into the dining hall...even if I'm afraid.

posted by Bolo | 11:47 PM
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Happy New Year :)

It's 2005. Happy New Year :)

Here are some quotes for the New Year...

Emily: "My face is so white."

John: "Uhhhh..."

Scott: "So you mean I can't get any A-plusses any more?"

Heather: "Crap!"

posted by Bolo | 1:38 AM
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