Friday, May 30, 2008

Fragility of Life

I got an email from my younger brother Jason today.  In it, he shared about an accident that occurred in Phoenix, on one of the major interstates (I-10), on Thursday May 29th.  My brother Matt, his ex-girlfriend is the one mentioned in the article.  Her name is Che Laughing.  The young man who was killed was her roommate.  Read about it here and here.

How fragile life is...

Home and Sick

Not to be confused with homesick... I'm finally home again after being gone for about 10 days.  I was in Las Vegas for The 'Source and then in DC for Student Forum and the National Gathering for the Young Adult Seminarians Network.  They were great trips.  I'll post some pics soon.  I also stayed in Vegas for a few days after the event, to spend some quality time with my best friend Kristyn.  It was a very belated 30th birthday celebration for the both of us.  It was fabulous!

I sometimes tend to get physically tired after traveling and it was especially apparent after this trip because I have had a cold/allergies for the past 4 days.  It's finally in the "on-it's-way-out" stage and I've been quite friendly with the kleenex box.

One especially cool thing happened while I was in DC... I was able to hear God's call for me to stay an extra day (thank you Brian!) in order to help the group process a situation that happened that involved race and racism.  I won't go into much detail out of respect for those involved, but I felt particularly called to change my travel plans in order to facilitate a discussion on the tricky subject.  By no means am I or do I claim to be an "expert" in the issue, just one that has had some experience with it.  It felt like some of the things that had happened prior to this trip with co-workers, friends, and family had sort of prepared me for being present in this discussion and allowing myself to share what I've learned about race.  Again, I certainly don't assume that I've learned all I need to know about the issue, as I am in constant learning of the topic.  I do strongly believe that situations can help teach you and even prepare you for things in the future.  If I hadn't had some of the conversations and experiences I've had in the last 3 months, I would have had a very different perspective and may not have felt equipped to lead a group of my peers through tough conversations.

I sense that this will always be a part of my life, race that is, and I anticipate that I will be called into places and situations to help bring a different perspective.  I hope that I can always bring a voice that needs to be heard, a voice that God is calling me to bring.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

i think i've found the coolest watch ever

check it out at it's a thing of beauty. i love the way the face looks like a cassette.

3 sad results

yesterday was a sad day in the wide world of sports for me. 3 teams that i follow played, and all 3 lost. the detroit red wings played game 3 of their best-of-7 series in the stanley cup finals against the pittsburgh penguins, and lost 3-2 in pittsburgh. then, the detroit pistons lost in a heartbreaker to the boston celtics 106-102 in boston. they are now down 3-2 in that best-of-7 series in the eastern conference finals. and finally, in probably a result i should have expected, the US men's national football team lost 2-0 to England. please note that when i say "football", i'm referring to the sport known here in the states as "soccer". american "football" should be called "throwball". the only real consolation is that this game was only a friendly, but it would have been nice to beat (or at least tie) one of the world's historical football superpowers.

next the Netherlands play Denmark in another international friendly. hup holland!


am i a nerd? yes i am. final score in the Netherlands vs Denmark match, 1-1. goals came from Ruud van Nistelrooij (NL) and Christian Poulsen.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

the never-ending saga (seemingly)

as i'm sure a lot of you know, i am in the midst of a rather lengthy job search. in some ways, it seems like this process has lasted years, and i'm not sure when (if ever) it will end.

i had a new development this week. but first, a bit of background. for the past 6 months or so, i've been attending a career networking group that has helped me learn new & more effective ways to find a job/career. at one of these meetings within the past few weeks, i met a recruiter. long story short, she found a potential new job for me. on paper, it seems promising. the pay & benefits would be better than what i have now, and they are willing to promise me a management position by the end of the year. it's still within the administrative side of healthcare, which is where all of my job experience comes from over the past few years. it's not my "dream job" of something within the music industry (although i wonder about that too...but that's a whole other blog).

the problem? i have this gut feeling that i shouldn't take it. and it's a feeling that i simply cannot shake. i feel it in my heart and my stomach, if that makes sense to you. i can't rationalize it away, and i can't ignore it. has this ever happened to you? it's frustrating, because logically i should take it. but my emotions are screaming "NO!" how do you handle this? do my emotions know something my conscious brain hasn't noticed?

i've been struggling with this since Tuesday, and I've tried telling the recruiter I won't take it, but she keeps selling me on it. side note: she will make a rather nice chunk of change if i accept the job. and, due to my 1) innate desire to be accepted & friendly to everyone and 2) struggles with saying "no" in those situations, i have told the recruiter i will ponder this until next Tuesday (just after Memorial Day). i am slowly realizing that it's more important for me to pay attention to my gut feeling rather than what has been laid before me in black & white.

in the meantime, i do have a decent, steady job that helps us pay the bills. thankfully, julie is not the type of person who is willing to let me settle for whatever decent offer pops up first for me. i'm grateful she is willing to bear with me through this process, and help me learn how to deal/process/think through these types of situations in general.

for those who are curious, i did (officially) turn the job down. your continued prayers, support etc as i continue to search are greatly appreciated. mucho thanks!

Monday, May 19, 2008

amnesia...or whatever that word is that means "i can't fall asleep"

have you ever had one of those nights when you just can't slip off into dreamyville, even though you are definitely tired? that's me, right now, and why i'm posting a blog at 12:30 -ish in the a.m. on a school night. so, i'll take advantage of this time to share a few things.

1) friday night my friend Ted & i saw the founders of coolpeoplecare speak a bit about their new book "New Day Revolution". it's essentially about basic, simple ways you can change your life on a daily basis to make a difference. it covers everything from recycling, to getting involved with charities, to effective ways to develop better community. the website focuses on stuff like that, too. side note: i'm discovering i love seeing authors speak about their books.

2) i recently discovered a new favorite band. they're from (of all places) france. M83 is that band, and they have that lush layered sound that i just fall in love with every time. their song "Graveyard Girl" caught my ears on Left of Center (the indie/college station on Sirius satellite radio) last week. and lo and behold, they have 5 albums out...and i was completely unaware of their existence until now.

3) saturday night involved me meeting up with my friend Chad to see Paramore, a band from here in the nashvegas area that is making waves on the rock scene. it was part of the Nashville Crawfish Broil Festival. i know. that title just sounds hick. but as they played, just after New Found Glory and T-Pain, all was right with the world for about an hour.  they have an incredible stage presence.   see pics above.

4) julie is in las vegas and washington dc this week, and i miss her

5) our cats, panini and kitty, like to wake me up around 5a.m. so i can feed them. that does not work well for one who isn't a morning person. when julie's home, she will get up and feed them too. but....i wake up easier.
may all your days be merry and bright.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Source

I'm off again tomorrow to do prep for The 'Source, an adult worker training, in Las Vegas.  I'm looking forward to it as well because afterward my best friend Kristyn and I will spend some time celebrating her birthday and enjoying the hot desert sun!


This was the name of a young adult event that I spoke at last weekend in the Western North Carolina annual conference.  The event was good and they are trying to do some good stuff with the ministries that are either currently existing or wanting to get started.  The leadership team was great to work with and I hope that their event in October goes well!  Another highlight of the trip was that I got to share a meal with two friends, Dayna and Noel and their adorable girl Maggie.  Noel and Dayna moved to Valdese, NC last year and seem to be doing wonderful.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Julie's Travels-General Conference

So from April 21-May 3, I spent my life living out several things I'd been working on for what's called General Conference.  It's the top legislative body of The United Methodist Church.  It meets every 4 years and it's a pretty big deal.  One of my responsibilities was the Young People's Address, where 6 youth and young adults addressed the church with their views and hopes for the church.  Here are some links to the awesome address...  There were many ups and downs, legislation passed and failed, it was exhausting, I'm glad it happened and it gives us hope for the next 4 years.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

white education

i've learned a lot in the past 6 months of being married to julie. some of it has been hard, and some a bit easier. one thing that i'm learning more and more about each day is white privilege. i'm going to be completely honest here and say that before i met julie, i was ignorant/naive/uninformed as to the existence of white privilege.

white privilege is defined this way on : "a right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities". this happens in everyday life. the fact that many times, in the course of looking through résumés, an employer will ignore those from people whose name "sounds" black. or that salespeople are more willing to help a white person in a store, while a black person may be watched suspiciously. how often have you passed a black person on a dark empty street or alley & the thought "i hope he doesn't try to steal my wallet" has crossed your mind? i'm sure this doesn't happen in the same scenario when the other person in the street is white.

this can happen consciously or subconsciously, but it does happen. all of this is the result of white privilege, and it's roots stretch back to the beginning of before the founding of the united states, when europeans came over committed genocide (some even call it a holocaust) over the native americans, killing an estimated 90-95% of them. why? 1 obvious reason is the selfish reason of having more land. Another reason comes from a quote by the father of our country and our 1st president, george washington, who
"preferred buying indian's land rather than driving them off it because that was like driving "wild beasts" from the forest. he compared indians to wolves, "both being beasts of prey, tho' they differ in shape"" (taken from Robert Jensen's book "The Heart of Whiteness").
this mentality toward nonwhite people continued into the era of slavery in the states, and still happens today.

i know this is a lot to wrap your head around, and this is only the beginning of all that white privilege entails. i'll write more in the future about it as i learn more about it. and don't think it's limited to just blacks & whites. it stretches into hispanics & whites, asians & whites, etc. the biggest step forward is realizing that it is there and doing your part to erase it in your own life...which can take a lifetime to occur.
thanks for reading this.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Welcome! Bienvenue! Het Welkom!

Welcome to Julie & Brian's blog. This is our way of keeping family and friends informed of our lives as newlyweds and two people on a journey together. We hope you enjoy reading as much as we enjoy sharing. We will share about our important moments as well as our mundane moments as well, for all of those are what make up our "PJ" life. We invite you to share your comments and thoughts.