Tuesday, December 28, 2004

2004: The Year in...Turner!

Well, this is my final blog post for the 2004 calendar year. And so I thought it would be fitting to recap the year as it occurred in my life. I'll try and give y'all as complete a picture as possible of my life in 2004.

2003 had been a banner year for me. I successfully completed my time in Regina and moved out at the end of April. After a unique process, I was accepted into Education in Saskatoon for the fall just before I went to work at Stoney Lake Bible Camp for the summer. I had a great summer and felt like it was time to leave that behind after three years. It was a year of weddings, as I was part of 4 different weddings between June and December. In the fall, I began my studies at the U of S while Ariann completed her internship in Regina. In addition, I was writing for the Sheaf and leading the U of S IVCF group. After a very busy four months, we were in a wedding together and the year concluded with us kissing for the first time and having a good solid week of time together. I then left for Urbana 2003, a huge conference that IVCF runs every three years. At the conference, God called me to future staff work with IVCF. And so 2004 began with a lot of promise.

The first couple of months of 2004 were really good. Our IVCF retreat in late January was an incredible experience, as everyone who attended really appreciated it. Ariann made the decision to pursue going to Taiwan for the fall, and we began to prepare for that change in our lives. Nothing else really stands out as significant from those couple of months, except that my friends Chris and Maryanne got engaged over February break, and that it was really good to see friends in Regina during that time. It was just after the break that life changed greatly. In the week directly following the break, I felt that God was calling me to completely change my life trajectory. Instead of completing my internship in the fall like I had anticipated, He was calling me to work on my B.A. and serve as President of IVCF at the U of S again. We had some words, and I decided to pursue that path.

The remainder of the winter term of school was fairly busy. I taught 2 classes of Grade 10 Advanced History for my student teaching experience at the beginning of March, which was followed by the Passion Week outreach on campus. IVCF co-ordinated this outreach with CCO and Campus Crusade, and it was a great experience. The IVCF year finished out well, and I finished out mostly well, save for a paper that didn't die until early May. I had a couple of those this year.

After attending a live-in retreat at the end of April and lamenting the demise of my Leafs at the hands of the hated Philadephia Flyers, I prepared for my next venture: summer school. I took 18 credits over the summer, including 12 in May and June alone. It proved to be far more taxing than I had imagined. During these two months, I was able to start playing in the ultimate frisbee league here in Saskatoon with a team called "The Groove." It was great to get out and be physically active. I attended three weddings, and began to prepare for one of my own, as I asked A to marry me on June 26. The year had been exhausting so far, but it still looked very good. Little did I know...

July and August proved to be more difficult months. Though I was still taking a class, my interest in school waned dramatically, as did my attendance. As A stayed with her family in Rosthern, she prepared to go to Taiwan after the intense year she had had in finishing her degree in Regina. Unfortunately, her grandmother died midway through July. I did what I could in the difficult time for her, as she still endured many difficulties in leaving for Taiwan for her teaching job. Finally, she was able to leave in early August. It was also at the end of July that I began blogging. Meanwhile, I finished my summer class and spent the final two weeks of the month fighting with student loans for the money that I needed for the fall. But after a lot of running around, I finally got the result I needed, and I prepared to begin the fall term. I was again entering the college of Arts, in addition to writing for the Sheaf and serving as President of IVCF for a second term. Looked good.

Then came the fall, in more ways than one. Although September started well, including a weekend of amazing concerts at Harvest Moon 2004, it soon became difficult. I made the ill-advised decision of taking on the Young Adults Team Leader position at my church, and it took me a month to finally figure out that I couldn't do it. School was proving to be more difficult than I had expected, not because of content, but because of my waning desire to be in school after sitting in classrooms all summer long. Our family went through a significant change, as Mom left to attend school in Medicine Hat. And though we struggled with our looong-distance relationship, things seemed to be going well.

I made the decision to step away from Young Adults at the end of October to focus on school and IVCF. School continued to prove difficult, as the November crunch was hitting, and I was wholly unprepared for it from the previous two months of not being disciplined in my studies. IVCF was going well, as we were beginning to embark on a new direction for the rest of the year. And the Riders lost. But the biggest issue in my life was my relationship with A. We began to go through a difficult November, and I was not looking forward to the conclusion of the situation. And then December hit. As of December 1, she and I were officially un-engaged after five months. She sent the ring back with a mutual friend that had been staying with her for the month. I struggled to make it through the end of IVCF as well as finals season. I was able to go to Regina to help my good friend Lee celebrate his 30th birthday, as well as to see some friends that I likely will not see for a while. I finally finished my work on the morning of Christmas Eve, and so I have been able to enjoy the last week without having any schoolwork to finish. As of tomorrow, I will finish this rollercoaster of a year at a New Years' church camp. And thus will end my 2004.

What does 2005 hold in store? I am planning to finish these classes and my term with IVCF by April. In May and June, I hope to take one class in addition to attending/participating in several friends' weddings, in addition to moving out of the house in which I currently live. I am hoping to find a summer camp at which I can work for July and August. Then, I'm planning to come back to Saskatoon and spend the year finishing the credits I need for my B.A. I know that there will be some other great opportunities for me, and I will just have to decide what to do. I'm looking forward to the start of a new year, as "Independent D" gets a new lease on life. Thank you to everyone who has helped me out and been there for me over the past year. Here's hoping that 2005 has better in store for me than 2004 did.

And in no particular order, the best secondhand finds of the year:
Transformations/The Moment of Truth 2 videos - rare, normally ~$20 each: $2.99 each at VV
Uno Rage card game - worth $25CAN on E-bay: $0.50 at VV
Box of Construx - priceless: $4.00 at a garage sale

To conclude, here is the comprehensive list of all of the "Songs of the Day" from my blogs throughout the last five months. Enjoy!

Audio Adrenaline, “Some Kind of Zombie”
Bilingual “O Canada”
Blindside, “King of the Closet”
Blindside, “Sleepwalking”
Brave Saint Saturn, “Daylight”
C.W. McCall, “Convoy”
Chantal Kreviazuk, “Leaving on a Jet Plane”
Coldplay, “Clocks”
Collective Soul, “Counting the Days”
Collective Soul, “Disciplined Breakdown”
Collective Soul, “Heavy”
Demon Hunter, “I Have Seen Where It Grows”
Demon Hunter, “I Play Dead”
Elvis Presley, “Heartbreak Hotel”
Five Iron Frenzy, “Blue Comb ‘78”
Grand Incredible, “Right on Time”
Grits, “Seriously”
Lifehouse, “Take Me Away”
Lifehouse, “Trying”
Mars Ill, “Breathe Slow”
Michael W. Smith, “Great Is The Lord”
Moby, “Flower”
O.C. Supertones, “Superfly”
Pillar, “Hypnotized”
Project 86, “Hollow Again”
Project 86, “Stein's Theme”
Relient K, “Sadie Hawkins Dance”
Relient K, “The One I'm Waiting For”
Roper, “Still the One”
Skillet, “Open Wounds”
Spin Doctors, “Two Princes”
Switchfoot, “Learning to Breathe”
Switchfoot, “Meant To Live”
Switchfoot, “More Than Fine”
Switchfoot, “Spirit”
Stacie Orrico, “(There's Gotta Be) More To Life”
Theme, “Star Trek movie fanfare”
Theme, “Hockey Night In Canada”
Tree 63, “Blessed Be Your Name” (twice)
U2, “Numb”
U2, “One Step Closer”
U2, “Running To Stand Still”
U2, “Silver and Gold” (Rattle and Hum version)
U2, “Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own”
U2, “Vertigo” (twice)
U2, “Wake Up Dead Man”
Understated, “Privilege”
Understated, “To Know You”

2 Corinthians 3:17
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Armaments Chapter 2, verses 9 through 21
Colossians 3:17
Colossians 4:6
Colossians 3:17
Ephesians 3:16-21
Ephesians 5:8-21
Ephesians 6:12
Galatians 6:2
Isaiah 40:31
Isaiah 40:31
James 1:2-4
Jeremiah 32:37-41
Jeremiah 33:3
Luke 1:37
Phillippians 1:21-30
Phillippians 2:14-16
Romans 7:15

2004: The Year in...Music!

NOTE: There have been some alterations to this post since its original appearance on the blog, mostly in the Mix CD category.

I'm a music geek. I've admitted that fact repeatedly throughout my history of blogging. So it is with pride that I present to you my review of music in 2004. The highlights, the disappointments, the trends. But let us first begin with a quick recap of 2003. 2003 was a letdown, but it was "The Beautiful Letdown" that stole the year. Switchfoot's disc was amazing, and their show at YQ 2003 and the interview I did with them placed them securely in the pantheon of my top music ever. But for the most part, the rest of the year was disappointing, and really was a preparation for this year. Most of the best CDs of 2003 were remastered or rereleased this year, or the bands responsible for them released new material in 2004. Then came 2004. It started off great, and got better from there. It was a year of particularly hard rock, as you will see. So on with the lists.

Disappointments of 2004:
3. Creed's Greatest Hits. They could have done so much more. And they didn't. Jerks.
2. The Supertones' album "Revenge of the Supertones." I'm a big fan of the 'Tones, but this album was proof that the Mojo just wasn't working anymore. Much as I hate to see them go, it's the right decision.
1. Grits at Harvest Moon 2004. Suckest of the suck.

Best shows of 2004:
(Note - "HM 2004" refers to Harvest Moon 2004 in Edmonton AB)
5. Pigeon John, HM 2004: After the GRITS sucktacle the night before, John wowed the crowd on Sunday afternoon. January 19 at the Odeon. Be there, it's going to be awesome.
4. (tie) Roper, HM 2004 + Brave Saint Saturn, HM 2004: Roper's first show ever was amazing high energy pop-punk, highlighted by their cover of CCR's "Fortunate Son." BSS's festival closing show was amazing, if not only for true fans. Hearing "Under Bridges" live was breathtaking.
3. Tree 63, YCSK 2004: Save for the lack of their hit "The Glorious Ones," the show by the boys from South Africa in November rocked CNH Place in Saskatoon. Best worship set of the year, bar none. Any other year, this would be number one. But it's not, because of these guys...
2. Project 86, HM 2004: 11 songs, pure raw pulsating rock energy. The perfect Project 86 show. The set list, as best as I can remember it, in order: Hollow Again-Spy Hunter-Me Against Me-Safe Haven-One-Armed Man (Play On)-Oblivion-A Shadow On Me-Breakneck Speed-Say Goodnight To The Bad Guy-Little Green Men-Stein’s Theme. Evan particularly enjoyed the chance to sing the emphatic "ME!" into the microphone during "Me Against Me." There's only one show that could surpass this one in pure amazingness.
1. Blindside, HM 2004: Wow. From the opening chords of "Eye of the Storm," this show rocked. It consisted mostly of material from Silence and Burning Fire, with two classics thrown in for true fans. Everyone who I knew there agreed that it was like watching history being made. If you ever get the chance to see them, do it! Final five songs of the set:Shekina-Swallow Down-King of the Closet-Cute Boring Love-About A Burning Fire. Enough said.

The 2004 Mixtape - If I could take only one album songs from 2004, here they are, in no particular order.

Blindside - About A Burning Fire
Blindside - Shekina
Collective Soul - Counting the Days
Demon Hunter - I Play Dead
Demon Hunter - My Heartstrings Come Undone
Demon Hunter - Not Ready To Die
Emery - Walls
Further Seems Forever - The Light Up Ahead
Mute Math - Control
Relient K - Be My Escape
Relient K - I So Hate Consequences
Pillar - Hypnotized
Project 86 - A Shadow On Me
Roper - Vendetta
Sanctus Real - Everything About You
Sanctus Real - Beautiful Day
Tree 63 - Blessed Be Your Name
Tree 63 - King
U2 - Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
U2 - Vertigo

The Top 10 CDs I didn't buy but want to sometime, in alphabetical order:
Collective Soul - Youth
Emery - The Weak's End
Further Seems Forever - Hide Nothing
Grits - Dichotomy A + B
Sanctus Real - Fight The Tide
Skillet - Collide (Lava release)
Third Day - Wire
Tree 63 - The Answer To The Question
Underoath - They're Only Chasing Safety

Best CD Titles of 2004:
3. Grits - Dichotomy A + B
2. Relient K - mmhmm
1. Roper - Brace Yourself for the Mediocre

Best Cover art of 2004:
3. Blindside - About A Burning Fire
2. Relient K - mmhmm
1. Demon Hunter - Summer of Darkness

Trends of 2004:
3. Tribute albums. Artists United for Africa featured many artists covering U2 songs, and Veggie Rocks! was a collection of covers of songs from Veggie Tales. I'm hoping for a DC Talk tribute album sometime soon, or a second volume of Smash-Ups. These are not always the kind of CDs you can listen to repeatedly, but they're good to have.
2. Rereleases and remasters. Project 86, Five Iron Frenzy, Skillet, and Switchfoot were among those artist to revamp, rerecord, or repackage old material with new material. Although not always worth it, there are instances where it was. Sometimes, it's worth it to wait until the rerelease comes out. Or not. :)
1. Christian music gets harder and better. Project 86, Skillet, Demon Hunter, Pillar, Blindside, Underoath, Emery all are among the best anywhere in the biz at what they do. Even Relient K got into the act (listen to "I So Hate Consequences" for the background screams. Genius.). And Flicker Records emerged as a viable alternative to Solid State with the emergence of bands like Staple, Pillar, and Mortal Treason. Hard music has never looked better.

And finally, the Top Six CDs of 2004, in order:
(Why six? I couldn't eliminate any of them. That's why.)
Honourable Mentions: Roper - "Brace Yourself for the Mediocre," Mute Math - "Reset EP"
6. Pillar - "Where Do We Go From Here?" Pillar's coming out party. No more of that half-reggae kind of stuff, just driving hard rock. How can you tell a good album from a bad one? The first few songs are good, and the last one usually is too. It's the middle that you look at, after the first "set." The first couple of single tracks, and then the couple of quiet reflective tracks. If Track 6 or 7 are good, it's a good disc. On WDWGFH, it's "Frontline." Point proven. I really hope I can see them at YQ 2005. They've found their niche, and it's good.
5. Project 86 - "Songs To Burn Your Bridges By." Only in this year could a Project 86 release fall into fifth place. This rerecording of the 2003 indie version improved on its predecessor in every way. The tracks were rearranged, three songs were added, and it sounded a whole lot better. I still think it's a slight step down from "Truthless Heroes," though, and that hurts it here.
4. Relient K - "mmhmm." The main factor contributing to this ranking is that I've owned this album less than a week. But by all indications, it's their best yet. The combination of wit and social commentary is unparalleled, and the pop-punk hooks have matured since their first album. This was released on Capitol Records, and should be the break they need. They'll be everywhere in 2005.
3. Demon Hunter - "Summer of Darkness." I doubted they could top their technically near-perfect 2002 debut. I was wrong. Harder, faster, stronger. It grips you and doesn't let go. Not for the faint of heart, but the best Christian metal band since Living Sacrifice. Yet there was significant development of the vocals and melodies on this album. And this is number 3.
2. U2 - "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb." I could talk about this album for hours. In my mind, it's their third or fourth best album ever, and it was well worth the wait. They were right when they said this was like their first CD. They've all matured, and they sound more cohesive than they ever have. It's kind of like All That You Can't Leave Behind Part 2, but it improves on that previous album. I get something different everytime I listen to it. Any other year, this would be number one. Wow.
1. Blindside - "About A Burning Fire." The Swedish masters of emotional hard rock have mastered themselves here. From the opening chords of "Eye of the Storm" to the final breaths of "About A Burning Fire," every song on this album indicates that they have put every ounce and fibre of their being into this album. It's almost surreal, it's so good. Try listening to "Shekina" and not be moved. This is without a doubt the most widely underrated album of the year. It should have got major distribution, but it didn't. I just pray that they keep on improving in future releases. And this is elite company it beat out. Timeless, breathtaking, simply awe-inspiring. A release that redeems all music because it is that good. I thought about about a burning fire often, and I loved it everytime.

If you're not all music-ed out, check out Jesus Freak Hideout's Staff Picks 2004 and Christianity Today's Top 12 albums of 2004. They're good lists by people who know music themselves. And finally, what to look for in 2005. Pigeon John Jan. 19 The Odeon. Pillar at YQ 2005. The Supertones' farewell tour. And new albums from Switchfoot, P.O.D., Superchick, Mars Ill, and TFK, among others. Thanks for a great year in music! Here's to a great 2005, and hopefully buying an iPod to host all this great music! Thanks for reading my music-geek-ocity. Hope it inspired you, informed you, entertained you, or otherwise helped you out! Rock on.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

2004: The Year in...Sports!

Hey everyone! Welcome to the second day of 2004: The Year in Review. Today the focus falls on the world of sports. Definitely one of the best parts of my year was starting to play Ultimate frisbee here in Saskatoon. I learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and I improved over the course of the season. I hope to play again, but we'll see what the future holds. But read on to find out my thoughts about some of the biggest moments in my world of armchair sports in 2004.

Most triumphant Leafs moment:
3. Brian Leetch traded to the Leafs on March 3, 2004.
2. Ed Belfour's third shutout of the series gives Toronto a 3-2 series lead against Ottawa. Tie Domi gets the winning goal.
1. Senators goalie Patrick Lalime chased in the first period of Game 7 by Nieuwendyk's goal. Series TO 4, Ott 3. Series wins overall: TO 4, Ott 0. Sure, they didn't win the Cup, but at least they beat the Senators. If you haven't downloaded "The Ottawa Song" yet, do it. Trust me.

Most disappointing Leafs moment:
3. 2005 NHL season cancelled, so no Leafs this year.
2. Jeremy Roenick scores in OT in Game 6 of the second round to eliminate the Leafs.
1. Toronto-Philadelphia, second round, Game 5. Series tied 2-2. Leafs had just had a big victory in Toronto. I got home from a retreat through the third period. I rush home, turn on the TV, to see the score...Leafs 2, Flyers 7. Ugh. See you in 2005-06, boys.

And now for the non-Leafs categories...
Most triumphant moment:
3. (tie) I predict Red Sox ALCS series win during the final moments of a Game 3 drubbing. Cue the comeback.
3. (tie) Canada wins 2004 World Cup of Hockey
2. Gelinas eliminates Detroit in Round 2...The Flames are for real!
1. Burris throws a TD at the end of the first half in the CFL Western Conference Quarterfinal, overcoming tough Edmonton defense and referees. End result: Riders go into Edmonton and win on the Esks' home turf. Go green!

Most disappointing moment:
3. (tie) Perdita stumbles in women's 110M hurdles final
3. (tie) Huskies. Vanier Cup. 1 point. Always next year.
2. No goal called in Cal-TB Cup Final Game 6. It was a goal. Flames then come out flat in Game 7 and lose the Cup that was theirs to win.
1. McCallum. 18 yards. Wide left. Riders fans weep. Next year, boys, next year.

Most exciting moment:
3. Spurs-Lakers, Game 5. Duncan puts the Spurs up with virtually no time left. Derek Fisher comes back and hits the shot of a lifetime. Lakers win. Wow.
2. Sask-BC Second-round game second half. Really, what more could Burris have done? Wowie wow.
1. Last five minutes of Calgary-Vancouver Round 1 Game 7. Back and forth, Naslund scores to send it to OT, then Gelinas wins it in OT. Wowie wow wow.

Story of the year:
3. Canada's lack of medallage in Athens. Embarrassing.
2. World Cup gives the best hockey since 2002 Olympics, then NHL takes it away. Jerks.
1. Calgary Flames. Game 7 Stanley Cup Final. 'Nuff said.

Best non-NHL league to follow during the lockout:
3. WHL. It's still hockey, and it's pretty good too.
2. CFL. Would be number one if it lasted longer. Or if the Riders had won.
1. NFL. Parity rules! Go Bills go!

The "now that Boston Red Sox fans can finally quit whimpering" award to the teams that are toughest to be fans of:
5. (tie) L.A. Clippers/Golden State Warriors
4. Cleveland Browns
3. Chicago Blackhawks
2. Chicago Cubs
1. Toronto Maple Leafs

2004 was a memorable year in the arena of sports. Let's hope that 2005 features some real hockey to make it even better. Like everyone but the winner says, "There's always next year!" Tune in tomorrow for 2004: The Year in...Music!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

2004: The Year in...Movies!

Over the next week, I'm going to be spending some time looking back at the year that was 2004. Today we begin with the year in cinema. The majority of my favourite movies of 2004 were sequels that actually lived up to the reputation of their predecessors, if not surpassing them (as each of the three I really liked arguably did - see the top 3 of 2004 below). 2004 was the first year in several years that I not only attended, but also appreciated a number of movies, and that there were movies that were worth appreciating. But you have likely read all kinds of reviews and thoughts from people who are more reputable and more entertaining than I am, so I am here present my reviews of the 10 movies of 2004 I watched this year. In Haiku form.

Characters were flat / Social comment was a bust / Lohan's bust not flat (Mean Girls)
Ogre and friends back / For wackier adventure / Can't wait for Shrek 3 (Shrek 2)
New bad guy rises / More action, romance, drama / Better than the first (Spider-Man 2)
His last twelve hours / Graphic treatment hard to watch / Needed more flashbacks (The Passion of the Christ)
World in New Ice Age / New York flooded and frozen / Effects over plot (The Day After Tomorrow)
Singer led hard life / A lesson in redemption / Foxx makes you believe (Ray)
"Jesus freaks" lampooned / Comment forced but makes you think / Worth rental at least (Saved!)
Robots swarm like orcs / All Smith and special effects / Nothing like the book (I, Robot)
Pixar's best work yet / Heroes show family values / Elastigirl's hot! (The Incredibles)
Harry faces new threat / New characters steal the show / Best Potter flick yet (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

For the record, my top three movies of the year were, in order: 1. The Incredibles, 2. Spider-Man 2, 3. (tie) Shrek 2 / Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

And the movies I wanted to see but didn't get around to (in alphabetical order): Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Napoleon Dynamite, National Treasure, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Super-Size Me, and The Village.

And finally, the top 10 movies I am looking forward to most in 2005 (in chronological order of release): Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (May), Batman Begins (June), Fantastic Four (July), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (July), Cars (November), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (November), King Kong (December), Zathura (AKA Jumanji 2) (December), The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe (December).

So that's the year in movies according to me! Tune back tomorrow for the year in...sports!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas is here!

Song of the Day: Relient K, "The One I'm Waiting For"
Verse of the Day: Luke 1:37


Christmas has finally arrived. I finished that last paper today and e-mailed it off this morning. And so begins my Christmas vacation. It's been a good day. I picked up the new Relient K and Mute Math CDs....amazing. Wow. And I should get lots of stuff over the next day or two. I'm also excited to see how the rest of my family reacts to the gifts I've gotten them. Their reaction in many ways means more than getting gifts myself.
It's been fun resurrecting some of our family Christmas traditions. We go to see a matinee movie on Christmas Eve, and today was The Incredibles. Absolutely amazing. And Elastigirl is ridiculously freakin' smokin' hot. She is definitely now the answer to the question "if you could date any cartoon character" question. I saw some other family, and then went to the Christmas Eve service at church. Then we came home and watched the greatest Christmas movie ever, The Muppet Christmas Carol. No matter how many times I watch it, it still touches me. If you've ever watched it yourself, you know what I'm talking about.
Welcome Christmas, welcome. May you all have a very Merry Christmas and associated holidays. And here's to Canada rocking out the World Juniors...Go Canada go. Merry Christmas, and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Perserverance must complete its work...

Song of the Day: Switchfoot, "More Than Fine"
Verse of the Day: James 1:2-4


I completed one more class today. Now I have just one paper left. And then freedom, hopefully by Thursday at the latest. But with all this homework and everything going on my life, I've had a chance to think lately. A lot. And I've realized something disturbing: I'm at more or less the same point in life I was three years ago. Reflect with me, for a moment. Back in my second year, I was taking 200- and 300-level arts classes. I had a break-up with A. I was negligent in my school, handing in assignments late and leaving them until the last minute. My sleep schedule was all messed up. I was helping lead IVCF. I was living in a house with three other guys, and it was always a mess. And I was thinking that I had two years of school left. And so on and so forth. You see how the comparisons go on.
The basic point for me is that although I've gotten older, I haven't necessarily gotten wiser. I thought that when I moved to Saskatoon that it was time for me to "grow up." And then God completely changed my circumstances, so that I would be finishing this B.A. of mine. A year ago, I figured I would be a semester away from a completed degree. Now, I know concretely that I have two years left after this one is completed. I see the people around me "growing up," whether that's through getting jobs or wives or taking upper-level classes. And I see that I'm not exactly growing up myself. People have always said that I'm mature for my age, but what does that mean? I'm going to be 22 in a few weeks, and I'm at the same place I was when I was 19. That distresses me greatly.
I'm not attempting to be self-derogatory, nor to inspire a pity party. I am simply observing that my lack of growing up concerns me. I want to move on to the next phase of life, whatever that is. And that has completely changed over the past month and year. But I need to move on from the "student" lifestyle. From depending only on Student Loans, and pulling all-nighters, and using my parents' address as my primary mailing address, and treating my physical self like garbage for immediate gratification. I don't want to have to deny people that care about me just because I'm irresponsible with homework. I'm not living a balanced life that reflects maturity. I need to change that.
I'm not expecting that everything is going to change overnight. It can't. I have commitments and habits and all kinds of things that need to change too. I guess I'm considering these next six months, until June 2005, a time of learning and growing and preparing to go into a cocoon. Right now, I'm planning to finish this school year, spend some time in June going to weddings and just taking some space, and then moving out of this house at the end of the month and going away to camp somewhere for the summer. And when I come back for next fall, I hope that I have gone from being an ugly caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, and that Turner 2.0 can begin with a fresh start and outlook on life. As an adult, and no longer an adolescent, like I am now.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The State of the Union...and the League

Warning: the following blog is for hockey fans only. Everyone else can tune back later for a non-hockey-obsessed entry.

The ongoing struggle between the NHLPA and NHL has led me recently to begin to investigate some of the history of the league and the association. I just recently finished reading the book Net Worth, which was written about the history of ownership in the NHL, as well as the hockey czar who at the time was in the process of being dethroned, Alan Eagleson. Between that book and other sources, such as CBC's archives on "The Rise and Fall of Alan Eagleson," a few facts have become apparent about the NHL.
First of all, the owners are not as badly off as they claim. Although I believe that they may be losing money, I think that many of them are just fine. Would owners of new expansion teams pay $80 million for the right to lose money within five years? I am beginning to be quite skeptical of the "woe is me" claims coming from owners across the league.
Secondly, the players are overpaid. Although NHL players were treated the worst of any professional athletes for years, their conditions have improved ridiculously. Their salaries have not become a function of value, but of inflation. How else do you explain Bobby Holik making $9 million a year? Although they were just taking advantage of the new economic philosophy of the league, there needs to be some kind of restraint on the player market.
Third, the NHL has a history of being railroaded by powerful figures. In the early days of the league, it was people like the Maple Leafs' Conn Smythe and Big Jim Norris, who had stakes in all of the American Original Six teams. Later on, it was Alan Eagleson, Harold Ballard, Bill Wirtz and John Ziegler who held the power. Only since the fall of the Eagle just over a decade ago has there begun to be some sense of accountability and development of measures to prevent this kind of monopolization of hockey happening again. Unfortunately, these problems did affect the on-ice product: witness the horrible years of both the Maple Leafs in the 80s and the Blackhawks even today (owned by Ballard and Wirtz, respectively). Hockey needs to continue to develop safeguards to prevent the off-ice boardroom decisions from affecting the on-ice product.
Fourth, this situation has proven that the NHL is not one of the "Big Three." Gary Bettman's dream of glory has proven to be no more a reality than was the ill-fated vision of former CFL commissioner Larry Smith of American expansion. The CFL realized this and got rid of Smith and the American teams. They began to work on their product and their teams, and are just now a decade later beginning to truly right the ship. Granted, there are still ownership problems (Hamilton last year, Ottawa this year), but for the most part, the CFL has the capacity to continue as a flourishing regionally attractive league.
This is the model the NHL needs to follow. In order for hockey to survive, Bettman must give up on his dream for "every team to be viable" and to admit that he has been wrong. Hockey's home is in the north, and it will never be more than a passing attraction in the south. The league needs to focus on its core markets and developing a strong partner in the AHL that can serve non-NHL markets. The AHL is already in several of the larger non-NHL markets (Hartford, Houston, San Antonio, Utah, Winnipeg, Cleveland, Cincinnati), and there is no reason that places such as Nashville, Memphis, Anaheim, Baltimore, Tampa Bay or the like would not be served as well by an AHL team as they are by an NHL team.
The NHL has habitually existed in the "now" and not the future. There has been little of the foresight or non-traditional thinking that has made leagues such as the NFL an unadulterated success. Instead, the NHL has languished in its position as a league that has been manipulated by individuals and that has continually squashed the rights of its most valuable commodity, the players. Some might see Bettman as a visionary, but his push for expansion was the product of nothing more than greed and lack of foresight for the period after the money dried up. The NHL is now in that period, and this lockout time is critical for the future of hockey. The NHL needs to drastically alter itself both on the ice and off it in order to survive, and not to simply focus on reaching a half-baked solution to save this season that will end up with another similar or worse conflict happening in five years.
I have realized through all of this time of research into the history of hockey that it is not the owners or players that are suffering most from this lockout. Each of those two camps will continue to prosper, despite the claims to the contrary. The owners are finding ways to profit, and the players are finding ways to play. The victimized party, cliche as it may seem, are the fans, who have been robbed of their players and their teams, and who have been robbed of their money to support a league that could not support itself. It is the fans who deserve the consideration of both the owners and the players, and it has become apparent where the true fans of hockey are. (HINT: Not in several current NHL markets.)
It is these true fans that deserve the attention of the NHL, and who deserve a solution that keeps their best interests in mind. If it takes the resignation, forced or voluntary, of Gary Bettman and the instatement of a hockey mind who knows business (Brian Burke comes to mind immediately) to ensure the future viability of the NHL, or the formation of a rival league, or the dissolution of the NHL as it is, that would be just fine. Just as long as hockey, when it comes back, has its problems fixed, sees past tomorrow, and acknowledges the fans as its most valuable asset. An asset that they in danger of losing even further should they attempt an incomplete solution.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Hangin' out

Song of the Day: U2, "One Step Closer"
Verse of the Day: Jeremiah 32:37-41


I'm missing something in my life. Or maybe someones. See, I have a lot of amazing friends. Good, deep, unshakeable friends. Friends who help get me through all the rough times. Friends who are there no matter what. Solid friends. But I'm still missing something. And I think I've figured it out.
See, I'm always busy, whether with homework or IVCF (Friday nights) or church (Sunday nights) or other pre-arranged social forays (typically Saturday nights). My life has been really full, and so I haven't had much time for just hangin' out with people. So people don't call me when they're just hangin' out. Then, when I don't have anything to do, I'm just here. So I'm missing just hangin' out. Chillaxin with people, just spending time and not having an agenda or anything to do. Not having to arrange a social get-together a month in advance in order to ensure that the schedule is free. It'll probably be tough for that to happen this semester, but still, my phone is always open. I'm up for some hangin' out. I miss a lot of you, and I shouldn't have to. So let's hang out.

P.S. On a different note, I finished one class, and another one will be done as of Monday. Then it's just one paper left to finish and then I get a break. Ahhhh. See you on the other side.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Is This What Burnout Feels Like?

Song of the Day: Collective Soul, "Disciplined Breakdown"
Verse of the Day: Eph. 3:16-21


It's December 15. At one point I had been planning on preparing during this time to go to visit A in Taiwan. Instead, I'm struggling to find the mental, physical, intellectual, and emotional energy to finish out my semester. I'm working on this paper that won't die or write itself, I have a take-home final to do for Friday morning, and I have a webquest to finish for Monday. And I'm not that much further on the latter two than I was a week ago. Ugh. Then collapsing into a little puddle that used to be known as D.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Missing Hockey

Song of the Day: Theme, "Hockey Night In Canada"
Verse of the Day: Col. 4:6


It has not struck me until recently that I miss hockey. Desperately. I picked up the Hockey News' recent "Great Debates" Special Edition, and all those memories came flooding back. Highlights and goals and stats and Saturday nights and playoffs. Rabidly watching the internet between classes during my student teaching this past March. Mocking out Ottawa year after year. Speaking of which, download "The Ottawa Song." A must for any Leafs fan. In fact, right now, I'm listening to my hockey mp3s. And I know I would be one of those guys singing "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?" in the Canadian commercial.

I've tried to fill the hole with other sports. Baseball? Too many steroids and money-ball and too much American-ism. Basketball? Just can't relate. NFL football? Too hard to watch on Sundays, plus there's just so much I don't know about football. You need to know strategy and players, and I don't. It's interesting as a secondary sport to follow, but my heart just can't be in it. CFL football was a solution, but only for a time. I plan to go to an occasional WHL game, but it's just not the same. I find that any other sport is more of a distant pursuit. I don't have a team I have invested fandom in, so it's more difficult to connect on a personal level with other sports. They are interesting, but not on the same level.

Everyone has to have at least one primary sport. For my father, it's NASCAR. He's got his drivers he cheers for, and he knows the stats and can sit down for five hours and watch a race. I cannot. My sport is hockey; the secondary is CFL football. But my sport has been taken from me, as have my beloved Leafs. I realize that many of you do not realize how difficult this is for hockey fans, but trust me, there's a hockey-shaped hole in my life.

I am not unaware of the parallel between trying to fill this hole with other sports and the lack of success therein to my attempts to fill the God-shaped hole in my life with other hollow pursuits such as money, recognition, friends, school, or love. But sometimes you do not know what you have until it's gone, and then there's a hole there. I know that God uses times where things are taken away from us to make us stronger, especially if we continue to pursue Him. (Bet you didn't think I could tie this all in to my life, did you? I win!) Right now, I've got a hole in my life that has come about, and I need God to fill it. I can only pray that I will be stronger as a result of having gone through this experience. Much like I hope that hockey will be stronger for having gone through this lockout.

For the record, I thought I should weigh in with my thoughts on some of the debates that are not entirely related to the actual lockout. Shorten the season to 72 games and have it done by Victoria Day long weekend, keeping the full playoffs as is. Contract by six teams to form a 24-team league: Nashville, Florida, Carolina, Washington, Anaheim and Pittsburgh gone. The telling point would be that likely a maximum of ten players from each of these teams would make the rosters of a newly-shrunk league in a redistribution draft. And while they're at it, relocate Atlanta and Tampa Bay to Winnipeg and Quebec City, respectively. The league went back to Minnesota and Denver, and look how that has worked. The NFL has seen several teams relocate or expand to previously evacuated cities such as Oakland, Baltimore, and Cleveland because they realized the need to have teams in those markets. Atlanta and Tampa Bay are too marketable to dismantle completely, so the best solution is to give them back to true hockey towns. And then just let the game be where it is, and work on it in the markets in which it flourishes. And work out all this garbage that interferes with our game! That's what you get for allowing Americans to sort this all out (Bettman is from Queens, NY, and Goodenow is from Dearborn, MI.) I just hope that the chance will come again for hockey. But the chance may never come again. Come back, hockey. Come back.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Un-engagement

This is the official notice that as of December 1, 2004, A and I called off our engagement. Check her blog for a more eloquent statement.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Soli Deo Gloria

Song of the Day: Moby, "Flower"
Verse of the Day: Col. 3:17


Bach wrote three letters at the end of each of the pieces of music he wrote: "SDG." These stood for "Soli Deo Gloria," or in English, "only to the glory of God." I want to live a life that enables those three letters to sum up everything that I do. SDG.

P.S. If it's true that you can judge a man by his friends, I must be the most amazing man alive.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A Day About Nothing

Song of the Day: Lifehouse, "Trying"
Verse of the Day: Romans 7:15


"Nobody dies wishing they spent more time on the computer." - Jordan Kurtz

Highlights of today: some working on a paper, a repeat of Corner Gas, watching Ken Jennings lose (!) on Jeopardy which featured an all-Seinfeld category, playing up some Dr. Mario, and surfing the net. There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want, as they say.

Sometimes, you just don't do anything. And sometimes that's good. But sometimes it's not. Today I'm not sure. I got some stuff done, just not the things I needed to get done. But I had some fun along the way. But maybe I can't really afford to have time for "fun" by myself. Or maybe I'm just too demanding of myself. Whatever happens, there's a lot to be done between now and December 6, and then December 20. I can't believe it's December in a matter of hours. I guess this blog is productive. I hope.

For those of you that wanted your dose of music nerdishness, check out the RS 500. An interesting exercise, but ultimately futile. Even at 500, you're bound to miss some. For the record, I think the top 50 or so are fairly well done, the next 50-150 are moderately well done, and after that it's a crapshoot. Just as an indication of the bias, less than 20% of the songs come from the last 25 years, a time period that takes up nearly 50% of the time from which these songs were chosen. Only three songs from recent years, and those were from Eminem and Outkast. Kind of skewed? Yeah. True, there was a dearth of good music, particularly in the late 90s, but there were some good songs there. The absence of U2 songs such as "Where the Streets Have No Name," "Even Better Than The Real Thing," and "Beautiful Day" is conspicuous, as is the absence of Collective Soul entirely. I know they're riff-driven populist rock, but not even "Gel" or "Precious Declaration"? And they include Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer"? I'm confused. It is interesting to note the similarities between this list and the CBC's "50 Tracks" program from this summer. I haven't done a cross-referencing yet, but I would imagine that most of the tracks from CBC would be on this list. The more I read it, the more I'm frustrated: no Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson"? You'll take Salt-n-Pepa over that? Let the debate rage on, friends.
Now back to the nothing/paper.

Friday, November 26, 2004

More Music Geek-ocity

Song of the Day: "Superfly", O.C. Supertones
Verse of the Day: Phil. 2:14-16


Sorry to anyone who feels the need for more indepth details of my life, but today features more thoughts from a music geek. First of all, I saw the recent release of Creed's "Greatest Hits" CD yesterday. I was a fan of the band back in the day, so I thought I would take a look at it. Here's what amazed me: not only did it feature no new songs or previously unreleased or rare tracks or b-sides, it didn't even creatively organize the songs. 13 songs, all presented in three chunks of four or five songs from each consecutive album. It offered a Bonus DVD, but still. Absolutely no thought or originality, just here's some songs that fans will already have and presented blandly. There are several songs that could have been included that were not on any of their three studio albums that were on soundtracks or released only in Europe, but those did not get included. Maybe they didn't have the rights to use those songs, but it's still a really cheap marketing ploy.

I'm not opposed to Greatest Hits albums. I own several: Audio Adrenaline's Hit Parade, U2 both Best Ofs, DC Talk's Intermission, Collective Soul 7even Year Itch. The difference with these albums is that they included new tracks or previously rare tracks, and they created a new 'album' out of their hit songs. I think that a band can have a Greatest Hits album and treat it in composition much like any other album. They just have the added advantage of knowing the songs they want to include. And they know that they have fans who they want to not only buy the album, but to continue in their fandom, and thus that they have to please hardcore fans as well as novices. The best example by far was U2's The Best of 1980-1990 release. You could buy it with an accompanying CD of B-sides, but newer or more casual fans could just buy the disc itself. Perfect for fans old and new.

As a side note, the recent Sixpence None the Richer Best Of also did a good job, as it gave a few very popular tracks, in addition to new tracks and previously scattered songs. Worth owning. The upcoming Supertones Unite album may also be worth owning, even if just as a farewell to a fond friend. Supertones, R.I.P. 2005. I'm sure that Mojo and Ethan will find their way to other projects, but I can't disagrees that it's time for the 'Tones to go. I just hope that I get to see them live before they die. Next summer, maybe. That's all from my CD player today, folks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

All Good Things Come in Threes

Song of the Day: U2, "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own"
Verse of the Day: Jeremiah 33:3


I'm being a music geek now. By the way, you may see a lot of songs from the new U2 album as songs of the day. I've seen mixed reviews, but it's amazing. But it has gotten me thinking about "musical trilogies." Here's the thing: for most bands, the breakout album is number 1 or 4. It seems like an awful lot of musicians tend to do album trilogies, sets of three albums that are similar thematically and musically. Consider U2 themselves for a minute. They are partway through their fourth trilogy, and you can see how they all fit this way. Boy, October, and War: young, honest, unashamed, simple and straightforward. Unforgettable Fire, Joshua Tree, and Rattle and Hum: anthemic, epic, imagery in title, socially conscious, optimistic. Achtung Baby, Zooropa, and Pop: mysterious, enigmatically simple titles, synthesized, difficult to understand. And now All That You Can't Leave Behind and How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb: poppy composition, long title, sense of optimism, open and direct. I really abbreviated that, but you get the point.

I don't think this whole "music trilogy" idea is necessarily unconscious, but I do see it reflected quite often. It seems like these trilogies are often quite pronounced, and even the artists themselves know it. There just seems to be a natural change that comes after three. Movies are far better in trilogies than more, unless there's sets of trilogies. And often it takes a debut to work things out, without it being included. For example, take the Star Trek movies. The first one is right out. Then II-IV are a clear trilogy, as they continue the same storyline. V-VII features an older and wiser crew, and goes into the next crew. And VIII-X are the action-packed adventure of the second crew. It works perfectly. That's why they should stop now. Lethal Weapon 4 should never have been made. And why Indiana Jones 4 should remain unmade. 4 is just a bad number all around. 3 is just that perfect number.

This is one reason why I'm stoked for the next albums from Brave Saint Saturn, Blindside, Switchfoot, and Project 86. Their trilogies are one album away from completion. Thankfully, I don't have to wait long for BSS and Switchfoot, as they're both due out early in the new year. I may have to wait almost two years for the other two. But that's okay.
On a completely different note for music geeks check out Scott Fitz's blog. Scott works at Alive 99.5 in Medicine Hat, and he knows his stuff de musique. And for anyone awaiting them, all the interviews I've had stockpiled for months will be getting into the Sheaf next semester: Project 86, Roper, Pigeon John, Blindside, Tree 63, et al. Should be some good readin'. Eventually I plan to develop my own site and put all these articles and reviews online, but not yet. Maybe next summer, we'll see. This has all been the thoughts of a music geek. Go buy Atomic Bomb today!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

How to Derail An Academic Career

Album of the Day: U2, "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb"
Verse of the Day: Phil. 1:21-30


Atomic Bomb dropped today. I do dare say it's in contention for the greatest album they have crafted out of their 11 studio albums. Definitely in my top 3 of the year. More as it develops.

Not much else to say. I struggled through another paper and finished it last night, and now I have my biggest one left to do. This will definitely not be the most shining of my semesters at university. One month to go.

Continue to pray. That's all I will say.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Passion of the D-----

Song of the Day: Roper, "Still the One"
Verse of the Day: Ephesians 6:12


I'm still in the midst of papering it up. And of course, as I have been procrastinating, I have been doing a lot of thinking (and cooking...I don't know if I've ever eaten better on my own than this week) about school. The problem is that it's not a question of ability. I know I can do this stuff with my eyes closed. It's mostly the same stuff I've been doing for years, Arts courses. It's a question of passion, of which I currently have little. If school were a job, I would have quit by now to look for something better. I guess I have always looked at school a bit differently than a lot of people. School is where God has called me to be, but it has rarely been my passion. True, there have been occasional classes and professors that have truly stirred up something in me that transcends the ordinary, but for the most part my passion has not laid in my studies.

Maybe it's just because I'm disillusioned with undergraduate studies, maybe it's because I know that I am capable of far more intellectually than I have the opportunity to be. Maybe I'm just frustrated because I'm still pulling the same stupid stuff that I did in first year, and that it doesn't seem like I've actually learned anything or grown up at all. Maybe I'm just sick and tired of having my life sectioned off into four-month chunks that have such a high stress quotient and that I just can't up and leave at this point in the semester without losing thousands of dollars. Maybe all this is compounded by deadlines and life stresses and bad habits and disillusionment and...blah. Maybe I'm just making excuses.

So then what am I passionate about? My faith. The people around me...seeing their lives changed. Music, and writing about it. IVCF. "Life of Turner." Some of the subjects I am studying, even though I may not enjoy the classes. I'm not really passionate about "school." I would love to learn, and not have to write papers or be marked or graded. I'm passionate about engaging in the culture around me, and too often I find that university paradoxically dulls that ability to do so; not because of the content but because of the context.

Really, who decided that this was the best way for school to happen? When did we go from being focussed on creating better human beings with a greater understanding of the world around them to "get the degree and get out"? When did we make studenthood so undesirable yet so inescapable? When did I get so disillusioned with the educational system? Maybe it was when I learned that everything about the way university exists contradicts good pedagogy and educational techniques. This includes, ironically, the College of Education, where the motto should be "Do as we say, not as we do" judging by the way classes are taught there.

So I find myself here yet again. I've been here before, in other semesters. And every time I say "never again," only to get there again. And again. Is the problem in me or in the system? I say both of us need a good kick in the pants.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Odds n Ends

Song of the Day: C.W. McCall, "Convoy"
Verse of the Day: Isaiah 40:31


I don't really have too much to write about, so here are some random observations and occasions from my recent life. I got a free pearing knife at Wal-Mart yesterday for listening to some guy's presentation. I finished one paper today, and I have two more to go this week. The American Revolution actually is pretty interesting. I like Hawaiian shirts. I desperately want a U2 iPod, despite my lack of fundage. Papers are usually only as hard as you make them. Food is good. So is Coke slurpee. And Big Turks. I'm not really missing hockey yet, except when I think about it. I've already started thinking about Christmas gifts and birthday gifts for people. Why can't I be this organized when I'm writing papers? I remembered on Thursday - did you? My roommate is playing random guitar chords in the background. I need people to call me more often. Crop circles are interesting. Value Village half-off sale is on Monday. There are certain things that you can own on tape that you just can't own on CD. Like old Michael W. Smith. It's okay on tape, just not on CD. Too many CDs I want and not enough money or time. I like blogs. Especially other people's blogs. I'm still wearing the same watch I did when I was in elementary school. I miss my dog Odo...this time last year he was still with us. Go Veggie Tales. Hope this has been random enough for you. Your daily allotment of randomness, right here in D's blog. Joy.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Metablogging

Song of the Day: U2, "Vertigo"
Verse of the Day: Isaiah 40:31


Every so often, we need to step outside the construct to analyze the medium. The medium, as Marshall McLuhan famously said, is the message, and in this case, it is blogging. Blogging is an interesting process, and it is catching on. I've only been on the train for a few months m'self, but I'm well-established compared to a lot of people. It's really interesting to look at the many forms of blogs out there. You can tell that there are people who put tons of work in, and people who put the work of writing in. Me, I'm somewhere inbetween. I put in enough work to make it what I want without putting in the work to actually change it. I like it. The content and links are what make it all worth it. I spent some more time working on it tonight, so there's a number of new links there for you to check out. Make sure you take the time to investigate "D's Golf Cart Fun." You won't regret it.

I tend to blog not so much on the daily minutiae that occur in my life, but on the thoughts that arise out of those insignificant details. Some people write everything that goes on in their life, but I tend to try to go deeper with my blogging, although those events are often implied or referenced in my blogs. Eventually, I'll get around to posting all of my "Life of Turner" columns from the Sheaf here, so that you can see that side of me, too. Maybe when I eventually get my own domain and I can separate a blog from published articles. I also want to put up assorted pictures and reviews of CDs and such. Maybe next summer.

The funny thing is that I don't really have one overriding point like I usually do, so today I'm just going to update y'all on my life and share more random thoughts. Today was November 9. New Collective Soul in one week, U2 in two. From what I've heard, they're both excellent. And it's now been one week since Armageddon. And the world is still in one piece. For what it's worth, I'm glad Bush won. I did not like Kerry at all; Bush isn't much better, but he was still better. And the best thing to happen in this election was the continued exposure of the flaws and cracks in the system. We can only hope that in future elections that there are truly godly candidates who seek office, and that the cultural and political affiliations will be minimized. Check out Rick Joyner's thoughts on the election. He provides some insightful commentary, and I agree with a lot of it myself.

I am in the midst of the November crunch. Four papers to do in not a lot of time. I'm feeling a lot better than I have in the previous week or two, and I know it's not a superficial happy thing but a deep-down change of heart thing. Thanks again to all who contacted me to express concern. But I'm trucking on and pushing forward, and I'm about to bring the hammer down. Convoy.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Music as ministry?

Song of the Day: Tree 63, "Blessed Be Your Name"
Verse of the Day: Armaments Chapter 2, verses 9 through 21


I just interviewed and saw Tree 63 here in Saskatoon. Amazing. Though I only got about 15 minutes with the guys, I was very impressed with their knowledge, ability to speak, and humble manner. I love it when I don't want an interview to end. So far, I have really not conducted an interview with someone who just wants to get it done. I know these artists all have, well, a show to do, and that they answer most of these questions regularly, but I really appreciate it when there is an honest and true interaction between myself and the artist. And John Ellis of Tree 63 is about as open as you can get.

Their "set" was amazing. Interestingly, they did not perform any songs (that I recognized, anyway) from their second North American release, The Life and Times of Absolute Truth, which was quite possibly their most popular album here. Four songs from their first album, six from the newest, and a handful of covers interspersed inbetween, including an encore of U2's "Pride" and snippets of The Police's "Walking on the Moon" and an impromptu verse of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" after a fan threw a pink wig on stage.

There were three things that really struck me tonight. One, it wasn't about a set list, or getting through the hit songs, or banging out 10 songs and going home. The show was well over an hour, and many songs lasted longer than their album versions. There was a real sense of the band being led by the Spirit and not just playing. Two, they were amazingly tight. There were several instances where there was improvisation happening, and where there was incredible musicianship. You could tell that these guys were not just a band, but a group with a common goal focussed on God and empowered by Him. Three, they seemed to really care. Sure, there was maybe 1,000 people there, and not everyone knew the words, and I'm sure they didn't even know how to spell Saskatchewan before they were here, but there really was a sense of true and honest interaction between artist and audience. Or perhaps more appropriately, between worship leader and worshipper. It just happened that the worship leader was a fairly successful rock-worship outfit named Tree 63.

And this all began to make me think about music and ministry. In the past week, I have really needed the CDs in my collection, and they have really ministered to me. Too often we tend to separate the music at church and the music in our CD player, and without good reason. We buy music because we like it, not because God wants us to, for the most part. There have definitely been times where God has put a particular CD in my path, often fairly cheap, because He has wanted me to have that in order that I might find more of Him through it. John was quite opinionated on this point, that Christian musicians have a calling and need to focus on Christ both lyrically and musically. That is to say that half-hearted musicianship, even with amazing lyrics, still isn't what God has called the people who He has given those talents to. As Christians, we have an all-creative God who created the universe, and our calling is to duplicate that artistry in whatever field he has given us. I'm not a poet, or a painter, or a worship leader, but I write, and I act. And I refuse to do those things with less than my whole self. If it's not all of what He has given me, it's not worth doing. There's a lot of Christian musicians who need to hear that message and live it out.

P.S. I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail at Rainbow Cinemas tonight. 90 minutes of laughter. And the "verse" of the day. Pure comedy, even thirty years later. Ne! Ne!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

What A Week

Song of the Day: Switchfoot, "Meant To Live"
Song of the Day: Stacie Orrico, "(There's Gotta Be) More To Life"
Verse of the Day: Colossians 3:17
Verse of the Day: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5


Thank you to all of you who checked up on me during the week. I really found myself in a not-so-good place for the majority of this week. I have been finding it really hard to find joy, meaning, purpose, direction, motivation, and substance in life. Maybe that's been due to some personal struggles, school, being apart from the one I love. But it's been mainly because I have not been active in the war going on for my mind in the spiritual realm (see VotD #2). I know there are some choices I need to make that will help facilitate life better, and that some of those will be difficult to make. But they need to happen, lest I self-destruct. As my roommate Evan commented, "you need December more than I've ever seen anyone need December before." Or something to that effect.

Anyway, the road is still long and winding and difficult. These papers will not write themselves. The situations in which I now find myself will not resolve themselves. But I know that I do have the strength in Christ to make it through and thrive, not just survive. I may be dropping off the face of the planet for a good chunk of the next week to school it up, but better things are ahead. A new spring in my step and a smile on my face should be nice replacements for my recent slumping posture and grim outlook. Thanks for being there with me.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Numb

Song of the Day: U2, "Numb"
Song of the Day: Audio Adrenaline, "Some Kind of Zombie"
Verse of the Day: Ephesians 5:8-21


I read a story in the Globe and Mail today about a girl with a rare syndrome called CIPA (congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis). Basically, this condition does not allow her to feel pain, cold or heat. While this might seem at first to be an advantage, it hurts this girl because she does not know when what she is doing hurts herself. She is continually having to be supervised in order to ensure that she does not do something that will endanger herself, because she is numb to the normal signals that most humans have. She is trained to stop when she sees blood, but it still doesn't have the full effect that having those pain receptors working would have.

I wonder how much I'm like this with spiritual things. Am I numb to the consequences of my own actions? Do I not realize when the things that I'm doing (or not doing, as is often the case) are hurting not only myself but others around me, and ultimately my God? Do I have those people around me who are looking out for me and seeing me in distress and intervening in my life in such a way as to prevent further unnecessary self-inflicted injury? And how do I be trained to become more receptive to these issues, particularly when they exist on a less temporal and more spiritual plane?

I think sometimes school helps put us in this state of numbness. I've really been feeling that way lately. I need to really find the joy in where I am and what Christ has given me. And not just be a zombie. And yes, I'm aware that I will probably often have more than one song of the day. So be it.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Heavy

Song of the Day: Collective Soul, "Heavy"
Verse of the Day: Galatians 6:2


There are those people out there who make more work for themselves in school than they need to. They feel the need to read everything the professor assigns, and to recopy their notes, and to do any little thing that is even remotely mentioned in the syllabus. Sometimes these people can manage to do everything, but often it seems like they just take more on themselves and that in the end they are gluttons for punishment and usually burn themselves out pretty quick.
As anyone who knows me and my attitude toward school knows, that is most definitely not me in school. But in life is another story. For some reason, I get into these cycles where I just don't enjoy life. I can enjoy parts of it, but for stretches I just get down. I don't understand it. But I do it. And I don't like it. Sometimes I just think that I really need to just have some fun, but I don't. I let everything build up, and then I don't really let anything out.
Obviously, it doesn't help that I'm in high-stress situations, some by my own doing. School, IVCF President, other commitments. But why do I let these things bog me down? Why am I so selfish sometimes? Why do I not enjoy these things? It's beyond me.
And I know it doesn't really help that the main person that I want to share all these things with is 14 hours away and working more than full-time hours as a teacher. I really want to be more open and honest, but sometimes I just don't know how. Our individualist tendency in North America is sometimes all-too pervasive in my everyday life.
So if you catch me being down and all burdened and feeling like everything is too heavy for me, tell me to smarten up and lighten up. Life isn't all that bad. And I'm a fool for treating it like it is as often as I do.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Live for what?

Song of the Day: U2, "Wake Up Dead Man"
Song of the Day: Brave Saint Saturn, "Daylight"
Song of the Day: Lifehouse, "Take Me Away"


I know. Three songs of the day, no verse. But that's today. In some way, each of these songs is me right now. They're all different, but they're all me. Sometimes I don't get it either.

I wonder how people who don't have the light of things hoped for go on living each day. I have the hope of Christ, the hope of eternity, the hope of salvation to come, and I still find it difficult to go through some days. I want to live in joy. Not happiness, but the joy that Christ gives me in what I'm doing. And who I'm with. Honestly, if I had a choice, I would love for this mortal flawed insignificant life to end and for Christ to come and remove us from our fleshly prisons and release the lowest of us to experience Him more fully than the fullest anyone could on Earth. But I know that God has a purpose, and a calling, and a place for me here, and it would be selfish to desire otherwise. So I continue living, sometimes not with zest or joy but with only the recognition of Christ as head of my life and executor of my temporal estate. And it's only by the grace of God that I can have that, so I am thankful for this life as long as He chooses to give it to me. That's what gets me through some days.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Fall Cleaning

Song of the Day: Skillet, "Open Wounds"
Verse of the Day: 2 Corinthians 3:17


I've decided to alter the format somewhat. The "Thought of the Day" just wasn't cutting it for me. After the title, it was getting hard to think of something unique for the thought of the day. So for now, Song of the Day is staying, and I'm trying out "Verse of the Day" for now. It's partially a way to make me think more about what I read and encounter during the day, and what verse best describes that day. We'll see how it works. No particular reason for the song of the day...just that I finally found it and am hearing it for the first time right now. Go Skillet go. But on with the blog.
I have been spending a lot of time in the last week cleaning up my life. Today I spent a sizable chunk of the day on my computer just cleaning up files and burning data discs and such. I started to weed out and rework my contact list. I have been getting stuff that has been on my "To Do" list for months finally off that list. And I've been making some decisions to stop doing some commitments and fresh opportunities are already coming up next week. It's just one of those weeks where I have needed to take the time to take an inventory of my life and make some choices to get it right with God, with others, and with myself. Sometimes those choices are difficult, but they are rewarding in the long run. November 1 is All Saints' Day, and I feel like it is a new beginning for me. Ah, the smell of fall cleaning. So fresh and free.

Derek out.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Back to the Drawing Board

Thought of the Day: Crossroads
Song of the Day: Switchfoot, "Learning to Breathe"


This is a heavy weekend. A crossroads. One of those times where you know you are at a key point in life, where you need to make some key decisions that could very well affect the remainder of your life. I can think of other times when I've been in a place like this, and they never get any easier. I guess that's part and parcel of being human and doing things like failing and trying and not quite succeeding. It's times like these that I'm glad that I have the Lord's leading to follow and to guide me. Without that, I don't know what I would do. If you're a praying person, keep me in mind this week. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Life is like my walk to school

Thought of the Day: The secret to surviving studenthood is...
Song of the Day: Grand Incredible, "Right on Time"

It just recently snowed here in Saskatoon, and it was evident from my walk to school that not too many people had the time or wherewithal to shovel the sidewalk. But the extra few minutes it took to get to and from school allowed me to reflect on how life is a lot like that journey I took.

Sometimes we can stride ahead, confident that the ground beneath us will remain constant and that we will not have to watch our step. We are carefree and most likely enjoy the walk. Then there are times where you cannot enjoy the walk at all, where you are so busy concentrating on not falling because the ice below you may give way at any minute. This walk is not really enjoyable, but we still have to get through it to get where we want to go and/or need to be. The comparison to life is rather straightforward. There are times where we can just keep on going and enjoy what we are doing, without having to stop. Then there are those times where every step in life has to be carefully measured and taken to ensure that we stay upright.

Being a student features both of these times, ideally. But the difference in being a student is that you never leave work. Work always comes with you, always exerts pressure on you, always exists even in the back of your mind. No matter what you are doing, there is always a sense that there is something else that you should be doing. But this is where the key to surviving studentdom comes in: knowing your limits. You do what has to be done first, and then you do what you can do within the limits you have set. For me, that means that I try very hard to go to bed each night by midnight and take a Sabbath on the weekends. Sure, I could fill up those times with various things, whether school or IVCF or whatever, but I'll never get everything done anyway. So my theory is that I have to take some time to breathe and enjoy a bit and to invest in me, or else I'll go completely crazy.

I've also decided to try to treat being a student more like work. Eight hours a day. Granted, being a good student often requires in excess of sixty hours a week, but you do what you can. Besides, that midterm's only worth 10%, right? Right?

A slightly exhausted D out.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Hollow Pursuits

Thought of the Day: I think that was Scott Russell...
Song of the Day: Project 86, "Hollow Again"


I am pretty sure I just passed Scott Russell of CBC Sports fame in the Place Riel lobby. But by the time I could turn around, he was gone. A close brush with fame. But I digress.

I have been learning a lot lately about "things." Things that distract us from God. The ole' Mary or Martha question (cf. Luke 10:38-42). When the things that we do distract us or take away from our relationship with our creator, they become meaningless and hollow. This is the message of Christ in John 15:1-5, which boils down to him saying: "Focus on me, because I'm the only thing that's worth focussing on." And I should not be focussing on things, but on Christ himself.

I think this whole idea was best summed up by one of my favourite bands, Project 86. Their song "Hollow Again" from the Truthless Heroes album is based on T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men." Here are the lyrics. I hope you get something out of them.

Somehow I lost my way
And now it’s clear to me
All that I fought so hard to keep
Is all I had to leave

I know you can't hear me
And you won’t believe me
But there is something I must say here
Before I fade away

(This is the world ends…again)

Forever we will be…
Forever we will be hollow
Hollow again

So I'm left here waiting
So long I'm contemplating
And now I know how it is
But now it’s far too late

How will we open the eyes of the dead
When we are hollow
Hollow…

And all along here I was told
By fallen men in their charade
That we could find a hope inside
The safety of this empty place

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Redeye to the Hat

Thought of the Day: Me tired.
Song of the Day: Collective Soul, "Counting the Days"


What a week. Everything's going again, and I'm helping drive my mom back to Medicine Hat tonight after she goes to the Sting-Annie Lennox concert. This weekend is the last round of stuff that should really take up a lot of time. Next week it's buckle-down time for school for a few weeks, as well as getting back on the IVCF train and getting LHCYA going. And I just found out that the extended Return of the King drops on Dec. 14. Sweet. A little slice of my life.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The source of my energy

Thought of the Day: Oh yeah, I'm an "extrovert"
Song of the Day: Switchfoot, "Spirit"

It's funny how a day can change your whole outlook on life. At the beginning of today, I was bummed out. Nothing was going right, and I felt so out of control and just like life was crazy. Then I talked to people all day. All day. I had conversations--meaningful conversations--with about 10 people today. And then it hit me. I'm an extrovert. I feed off of people. Where do I go to get recharged? People. So what happens when I talk to people? Good things. Note to self.

"Corner Gas" is the funniest show on TV since Seinfeld. Pure Saskatchewan. They love it in the east because they think it's exaggerated, but we love it here because we know it's real. I hadn't watched it until last week, but now I'm hooked. Season one comes out on DVD next week...oh so tempting...Tuesdays at 7.

Which leads me into my next point. I have two shows that I watch now. That hasn't happened since I was in high school. I have Corner Gas and Survivor: Vanuatu. I kind of like having some TV shows to watch again. And they're both on peasant vision. Score.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Spider-Man 2 changed my life

Thought of the Day: Why does it seem so odd when a movie actually moves me?
Song of the Day: Mars Ill, "Breathe Slow"

First off, blog business. I'm toying with the idea of a new "department" on the ole' blog: "Verse of the Day." Overdone? I don't know. Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe it will just be one more way to connect with the readers. Or maybe it would be a vain and empty endeavour. Thoughts? Also, is the existence of a "comments" actually useful? I've been thinking that maybe those make it too "blog." I know it is a blog, but I think it's more than that. To me it is. Feedback? Alright, now that that is out of the way, onto the real blog.

I finally saw Spider-Man 2 tonight. A must-see, and one of the few movies I would actually go so far as to own a copy. There are so many positives about that movie. Special effects are great. Casting is as perfect as can be. It is truly a perfect example of everything a sequel in the superhero genre should be. But perhaps the best feature of the movie is the truly human aspect: not one of the characters feels like a cardboard cut out. Even J. Jonah Jameson has some depth to him. I especially loved Alfred Molina's troubled Doc Ock. Powerful.
But I fully understand why I did not see the movie before now, as it made a significant impact on my life. Not in the overwrought, cry-when-the-director-wants-you-to-cry Hollywood sentimentality. Rather, it was the honest connection of one soul seeking another who understands and knows the deepest struggles of life. For me, that was Peter Parker. It sounds strange, but I really identified with his identity crisis throughout the movie. (No spoilers, don't worry.) Is he Peter, or is he Spider-Man...or can he be both? And will he ever find the answer to his search?
For me, I felt as I was watching this that my "Spider-Man" is my ministry, mainly IVCF. Is it possible to be the Derek who has fun and hangs out and listens to music and says crazy things and is off the wall, and to be the leader that is responsible and able and dependable and mature and wise and solid? I believe that as I understand my calling and myself, I can begin to answer that question. And the answer is yes.
I've been struggling lately with balance: life and ministry. Calling and existence. Obedience and sacrifice. This weekend is the time for me to reflect and evaluate and decide. And I feel like Peter Parker has helped encourage me in the midst of my struggle with his example.

Faith, hope, love, and spidey sense.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I love being the "rock-writer"

Thought of the Day: Too much music, too little money and time
Song of the Day: Demon Hunter, "I Play Dead"


As you may have been able to tell from my band sites on the side of the page, I love the music. I love how I am able to play the role of rock-writer for this year with the Sheaf. I have already interviewed some amazing bands, and there are a lot more in store for the rest of this year. Tree 63 comes Nov. 5 to Saskatoon. I'm sure the bands at YQ will be good enough to warrant interviewing (I'm betting on Relient K and O.C. Supertones...you heard it here folks).
The problem is that there is only so much time and money and so much good music out there. So much. By Christmas, there are new albums from: Mars Ill, Roper, Day of Fire, Sixpence None the Richer, Relient K, Grits, Third Day, Collective Soul, U2, Superchick, and Supertones. Pretty much an album coming out every week that I would buy. I'm really counting on the fact that I can get some of them free from the Sheaf in order to satisfy my music needs. Add to those the ever-growing list of CDs that have been released that I want to purchase, and it is a long list indeed.
Maybe someday I can actually make a career out this obsession with music and be a professional rock-writer. But I may just have to settle for the fact that there will always be too much good music and too little of me to listen to it all. The rock-write life is tough, I know. I'm just glad that I have to live it, and not any of you.

Faith, hope, and love.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

God is my Gatorade

Thought of the Day: It's a good thing I love this so much.
Song of the Day: U2, "Silver and Gold" (Rattle and Hum version)

Today is one of those days. A day where things just begin to weigh on you. Not carefree, but careful. I often wonder why I am doing all the things I am doing. I often wonder if I can. And then I am reminded that I am where God has called me to be, and He will supply me with the strength to do what I am called to do.

This week and upcoming weekend are proving to be an interesting time in my life and my ministry areas. A time where I can reflect and understand just where everything needs to be and needs to go for the next two months. The start just takes so much out of you. I need this break this weekend. Really, we should have a longer one, but I'll take what I can get. After this, there's no break until Taiwan at Christmas time. Two months of sprinting. But God is my Gatorade, and He will replenish me as needed. Joy.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Friends are friends forever?

Thought of the Day: What is true "friendship"?
Song of the Day: U2, "Vertigo"


Don't worry, this blog is not the kind of rabid tirade inspired by a so-called friend stabbing me in the back and betraying me and making me question who my real friends are. Don't worry. I have just been thinking about friendship a lot lately. I spent a good chunk of this weekend catching up with people who I had not seen or talked to in recent memory, and that has helped fuel the fire of this thought train in my brain.
What is a "friend"? What most people would consider friends are more like acquaintances. There are a lot of people with whom we spend time that we really do not know at all. There is little of substance in a lot of friendships. And we all have a lot of friends who are really our friends' friends - people we spend time with because our friends do. And there are many levels of friendship, from the "hanging out" to the deep friendships that you very rarely get.
In all of this, I have spent time reflecting on what I consider a true friend. I know better what does not now than I did ever before: frequency and quantity. Spending a lot of time with someone does not necessarily equal true friendship. Quality, intentionality, connection - these are some of the things that truly matter. My best friends can talk to me once a year and still remain best friends.
I think that a lot of people allow their friendships to get in the way of God. Michael W. Smith sang that "friends are friends forever," and I am not sure I quite believe that. I believe that God puts people in our lives at certain junctures that He intends to take away later on. Even our earthly relationships are subjugated to our heavenly ones. That means submitting ourselves to God's will in every human relationship we have. It's a tough pill to swallow sometimes, but it is necessary.
Basically, I think what I am trying to communicate is that I know a little bit better all the time what a true friend is, and who those people are, and that God has put a lot of really great people in my life. Maybe friends are friends forever, after all.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Next Generation of Thought

Thought of the Day: There are times I enjoy being a geek.
Song of the Day: The Star Trek movie fanfare


I have been sharing a long-lost love with a friend recently: Star Trek The Next Generation. I watched it as a kid, and I am now beginning on that journey again. Pure genius. If I ever do an M.A. about post-modern thought in the western world, TNG is right up there. Still the best episode of TNG ever: The Best of Both Worlds, followed by Tapestry and The Inner Light. All Picard episodes. Hmmm. Anyway, I imagine I will be going back to where I have gone before, and I will love it. I am a geek.

By the way, I also love being post-modern. If only the North American Church would finally agree with me....

D out. Or is he? Can D be out? Or is it all just an elaborate ruse to make you think that your little box is self-contained and without disharmony? I don't know. Do you?

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

And now for silly blogs with Derek...

Thought of the Day: I've been pretty serious lately, haven't I?
Song of the Day: Relient K, "Sadie Hawkins Dance"


I was thinking about my blog this morning on my walk to school, and I realized that I have been pretty heavy lately. Lots of thoughts about purpose and cause and reasons for existence and other things that cannot really be digested easily. The reason this came up was because I was listening to Relient K's masterpiece "The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek." This album is perhaps the perfect mix of comedy and commentary. They make incredibly poignant points about the church, the purpose of life, appearances, failure, worship, and friendship, yet they are able to also throw in fun songs. And this made me think of my blog: while I never want it to degrade into a "this is what I did today" sort of log of life events, I do want it to reflect me. Both sides of me, the serious and the silly. So I'm going to try to blog some lighter stuff. I think I have been putting a lot of that commentary into the "Life of Turner" column for the Sheaf, and that's why the blog has been heavier. Thanks for putting up with me over the past month, too.

There's a few things I wanted to mention today. First, go to U2.com and check out the new single "Vertigo," off the upcoming release "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" which drops (pun intended) Nov. 23. It's U2, but it's not...it's reminiscent of early 80s Clash and mid-90s Offspring, but also of "Elevation" from U2's last album. Point is, I can't wait to hear the rest of the album, and this is just the beginning.

Also on the "can't wait" list is Relient K's fourth album "Mmhmm", coming Nov. 2. They just keep getting better and better. Go to purevolume.com and listen to their song "I So Hate Consequences." That's right, that's a scream you hear in the background. Also check out www.mmhmm.com.

Life is settling down, routine is setting in. And it's nearly October. Well, that's the kind of month-ish it has been. By the way, check out some of the links I've installed, particularly other bloggers. There are some really creative people I know. And enjoy the new design of the blog. I know I do! And leave comments, since I've reinstated them to the site. Please.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Another day, another mistake...or fifty

Thought of the Day: I hope these are all new mistakes.
Song of the Day: Demon Hunter, "I Have Seen Where It Grows"


Life is a path
Death a destination
I've met the end of being
My eyes are open wide
I feel myself depleting
And watch my body die

These lyrics (from the song of the day) may seem dark and nihilistic to the untrained observer, but they are in fact the opposite. They may appear to reflect a desperate wish for suicide, and they do in a sense do just that. But rather than the hopeless kind of lyrics that point to physical death as the salvation of self, this song points to death of self as the only way to grow. In this sense, Christ has opened our eyes to the need for the death of self to fully embrace Him and allow the "it" of the title - our relationship with Him and His life in us -- to grow. Deep stuff.

I have been thinking about making mistakes, and how many I make every day. Every day. Mistakes that hurt me, my friends, and God. Every day. I have recently been made aware of some of those mistakes, despite my best thoughts that everything is going perfectly well. People often comment on how I am so humble and able to admit my mistakes. Well, the fact is that I think I probably make more mistakes than most people, and I probably do not even begin to realize the extent to which they affect those around me. And I often take it for granted that I daily need the redemptive power of Jesus' blood to wash over me and make me clean of all the sins I daily commit.
Am I ever going to stop making mistakes? No. Will I hopefully not repeat the mistakes that I have already made. Probably not. My only hope is that when I get to the Great White Throne that it is not me that God will see, but Jesus in me. And that Jesus in me is doing far more good on this earth than the Derek in me is doing wrong. Such is the process of life. I am beginning to understand why Catholics believe purgatory is necessary. I will need a good purging of things me to enter the presence of the most holy. But eventually, it will all come down to those key words I cannot wait to hear, because they will signal the end of this fleshly existence and herald a new life: "Well done, good and faithful servant."

P.S. Trouble, I miss you so much. Less than 21 months to go. Yee haw.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Priorities

Thought of the Day: I don't want to choose what's "better," I want what's "best."
Song of the Day: Blindside, "Sleepwalking"


It's been a real week of thinking here in my mind. One thing that God has really shown me recently is that I need to have my priorities in order: God, A, people, stuff. He comes first, and I do not mean all the ministry opportunities He gives me. I mean relating to Him. That's the key. Without that, the rest is all hollow.

He also reminded me last night that people are so important. Years down the road, no one will remember the piddly details about some event. They will remember the relationships they made, and the friendships that transcend those events. With that in mind, I'm never too busy for people. If you need me, I am here. Thanks for understanding.

Love., D

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A midday's reflection leading into night

Thought of the Day: Turner. It's more than a lifestyle, it's a way of life.
Song of the Day: Blindside, "King of the Closet"


First off, if you do not yet possess the Understated record, you need to buy it. It will speak to your soul. There are few artists who possess this talent so early in their artistic lives, but there is definitely the gift with this band. Blindside is another band like that. And to be mentioned in the same paragraph as Blindside is some kind of feat.

Secondly, you all need to be reading the Life of Turner in the Sheaf. If you cannot get a physical copy, check out the pdf version online at www.thesheaf.com. Don't be the only person on your block not reading the Life of Turner! By the way, the official slogan is today's thought of the day. Genius, if I do say so m'self.

I've been thinking a lot about priorities and possibilities lately, as you may have gathered in recent blogs. I feel like I am learning more and more each day about abiding in God's will. Not in the cheesy worship-song churchy way, but in the reality of living each day depending on the Lord for everything and guidance in all things, including interactions with people. I guess what I can say is that I'm looking forward to eternity, when I have all kinds of people and all kinds of time. It's going to be a blast.

Day by day, step by step, following, following. That's my life. As of tomorrow, only 21 months until A and I become perma-roomies. By which I mean married. My heart aches for her, but God is bigger than that pain. I am still running the race. Are you keeping up?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Making most of the days

Thought of the Day: It's the pursuit of my life...
Song of the Day: Understated, "To Know You"


Do you ever have that feeling like you will never be done all the things that need to be done? Like you have a "to do" list that has no end? That is how I have been feeling lately. There seems to be so much to do. And it does not seem like just another ordinary September.
It is so easy to get caught up in the details of life. It would take a whole life to keep the maintenance on that life properly. Lately, it has seemed as if I have no time to waste. Every minute has to be purposeful. Chillin' can happen, but only in the schedule of things. Maybe this is what Paul talked about in Ephesians 5:15-17.
I have my fall schedule nearly figured out. There is not a lot of lag time. So that means that things like movies and video games get cut. But I find it better that way. There are a lot of opportunities to make the most of. I just need to keep discerning what opportunities to take hold of.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

A very personal entry

Thought of the day: I'm sorry. I really am.
Song of the day: Understated, "Privilege"


First things first. I really do apologize about the lack of blog. I guess there are times where I underestimate the significance of what I am doing here. And then there are times where I wonder if it is truly significant at all. Is it? Let me know if this blog is actually touching your life or affecting you in anyway...you should know the e-mail (check the profile if you need it). That's all for that.

The first week of school is now completed. Kicks are offed, life is going. Is it just me, or does it seem that life never really slows down? For me, life seems to be one continual race (see Phil. 3:12-14, Heb. 12:1-2) and I'm always running. In the midst of beginning the race anew this year, there are a few things I have learned:

a. There are too many people to reach;
b. There is too little time;
c. There is so much I want to do; and
d. I wish there was more of me to go around.

There is so much out there to do. So many people to reach that God has put into my life day by day. And I cannot do nearly any of what I want to do. I would honestly love to devote my life simply to people, but it just cannot happen right now. There are a lot of people out there who I love dearly and just not enough time to connect with all of you. I have realized that all I can do with my friendships is trust God day by day. I just have to follow His leading regarding the people with whom I am supposed to connect on a daily basis. If you are one of those people I love and you are feeling neglected, I am truly sorry. You will more or less have to contact me. That is just the reality of this life. I'm a missionary to the campus, and missionaries do not have a lot of time to be able to exist outside their world. But my furlough will come eventually. Whatever happens, know that I do care about you and if nothing else there is an eternity of hanging out and listening to Petra rock the heavens ahead for us.

That said, I will try to blog more regularly. Thanks for your time and effort into my life. It is appreciated so much.

Love to you all.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Grrrr.

Thought of the Day: Re-blogging stinks.
Song of the Day: Grits, "Seriously"

It bugs me when I blog, and then it doesn't post, because the second time is just never as inspired or intelligent as the first time you blog. That said, here's the highlights for this re-blog:

Harvest Moon, Edmonton, this weekend. I'm there with a "media pass." So ridiculously good.
School starts tomorrow. Schedule sifting out this week. More as this story develops.
Understated CD release party, 8 pm Weds., Circle Drive Alliance. It will rock your face off.
Contact me personally after next week if you want to talk or hang out. Life is always busy, but never too busy for friends.

That's all for now folks.

School's back

Thought of the Day: Whoa.
Song of the Day: Grits, "Seriously"


It's the last night of summer. School starts officially tomorrow. Unbelievable. My almost three weeks of summer vacation are now officially over. I'm excited about school going again, but I think it's honestly going to be tougher this year. Fifth year, still finishing a B.A., but following God wherever He may lead. There are things in store for me and for IVCF that I cannot even begin to imagine, and that helps keep me going some days. The Lord is good, and His mercy endures forever. Wow.

On a completely unrelated topic, I've already begun entering "concert mode" by immersing myself in the music of the bands I will be seeing (and interviewing) this weekend at Harvest Moon in Edmonton. Today was Grits and Blindside...tomorrow Brave Saint Saturn, maybe? Speaking of which, "Seriously," track 7 off of Grits' 2002 album "The Art of Translation," is the song that convinced me that they are as talented musically as Outkast and the other leaders of their genre. They should be great in concert. It will be good to get back into "rock-writer" mode, since I have been out of practice for awhile. Keep reading the Sheaf for the latest articles (www.thesheaf.com)!

Speaking of music, check out Understated's CD release party, Weds. Sept. 8 at 8 pm at Circle Drive Alliance. These guys are committed to serving the Lord and they rock your face off. An unbeatable combination.

Lots is beginning to shape up for the fall. This is the week where everything begins to come together, and then by next week I'm in full-blown student mode again. Whee.

Until we meet again.

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