Sunday, June 5, 2011


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Month

Wow, where has a month gone?

So much has happened. The transition to life in Los Angeles hasn't been without it's share of adjustments and continuing struggles, but overall, things have been very smooth.

Although our apartment still has no furniture besides our beds, two tailgating chairs and a tv, I'm starting to feel settled. I think this will all feel pretty surreal for a while, but it feels good.

Last week, I realized that the place in the city that feels most like home is actually the Mayan Theater downtown. It sounds crazy, but the sticky floors and peeling walls of the ornate theater turned porno-house turned trendy LA night club have been my constant through all of my time in Southern California. Living situations and work locations have changed, but almost every Sunday night, I have traveled downtown to find community and purpose.

Going back every week really feels like going home, and seeing faces of both new and old friends there is quickly becoming a major blessing as I suddenly am finding prayers for connection and community being answered without me even realizing it!

Tonight, Josh and I watched Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. My absolute favorite line comes from eccentric toymaker, Mr. Magorium, played by Dustin Hoffman, talking to his successor Mahoney, played by Natalie Portman.

He tells her, "Your life is an occasion...rise to it."

Speakers at Mosaic are constantly reminding us that we are created to do great things. We just need to step out into the light.

I don't know what I'm here for. Maybe it will take me a long time to figure it out. I do know, however, that I feel like the opportunity of being here is a great occasion, and I intend to rise to it...

It's time to step out and see what's in the light.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

now vs. next

Uh oh, I can feel it creeping in...

Yep, there it is. It's that need I have to think about what's next. And I'm not talking about the Los Angeles move. It's a given that I'm constantly thinking about Los Angeles. I have to think about that, I'm packing after all!

No, it's that thinking about what could be next.

It's wondering how Los Angeles will stack up against the lifestyle I loved in New York in the winter. It's the need to compare relationships, communities, and churches to what's been familiar. It's a beginning to romanticize about the idea of moving "back East" after a few years on the West coast. And I haven't even moved there yet!

Now don't get me wrong. I think it's awesome and even necessary to be dreaming big dreams for our futures, but not when those thoughts unhealthily disconnect us from the here and now.

I would assume this struggle is something everyone experiences in life, but I think it has been magnified for me by the last four years of being on co-op. No matter what I've been doing, that thought has always been tucked somewhere in my mind. "In three months I'll be back at school." "In just a few weeks I'll be in a new city." "After this, I can't wait for..."

But now, things are different. There won't be an end date on the calendar for me to be constantly watching, thinking about what's next. And in my brief moments of clarity, that's exactly the way I want it. I want to be challenged to completely be somewhere. To be indefinitely committed to one place.

It's not going to be easy, and it will definitely take some getting used to. But if I'm able to change my mindset, I'm confident the results will be great.

I'm dreaming big dreams. Not so much for the next, but for the now.

If only I could figure out how to get myself in the mindset of taking advantage of these last two days I have here at home...

Monday, June 28, 2010

but why california?

In the last week, without anything I've really had to do, I have had some time to think and dwell a little. I don't think that it's any coincidence that I spent a significant part of the last week next to an enormous body of water (Lake Erie) and was also in Somerset, PA. Being so near water not only made me think of California, but also reminded me of the summer I spent as a counselor at Summer's Best Two Weeks, just minutes from Somerset.

Not only that, but I also was able to talk and catch up with my friend Lori, who was on my Namibia team last summer and as I type this is actually en route to Namibia as a leader of this year's team with my friend Sonja.

Memories of those two experiences at Summer's Best and in Namibia are powerful and continually inspiring to me, as they were times when I felt really focused on a goal and was powerfully motivated by being in such a tight community with other people who shared that goal. In the case of Summer's Best, it is actually a little depressing to think about, since this summer was the last summer I could've gone back as a counselor, something I wish I had been able to do.

But in the midst of thinking about these experiences and other similar ones, it hit me, this is why I'm going to California.

While in Los Angeles, I felt extremely focused, inspired, and driven. Although I was never able to get into a small group community, I still felt inspired by Mosaic and loved the vision they have for the city and for people, and I loved serving with them. I really felt like I had a lot of clarity, especially during the summer I spent there, and actually was actively trying to apply a lot of what I was learning and thinking about!

The last five years in Cincinnati have been absolutely awesome. I may never have a community as incredible as the group of friends I've found and they've helped me grow in huge ways. I'll be working hard to stay in touch with them. Navs and crossroads have helped shape, focus, and inspire me in big ways too. But it was easy for me to lose focus again and again with all of the distractions of being in school. Now, I think it's time for a new chapter of the story, with a new setting.

I know going out to Los Angeles won't be perfect, and I don't expect everything to fall in to place when I arrive. I do know, however, that in LA I felt like I was really consistently moving in a direction I wanted to be moving, a direction I want to be moving in the future.

This Friday I fly to California to start this next chapter. Who knows how long I'll be out there, but for now, I'm supposed to be in the City of Angels.

Friday, February 5, 2010

beautiful morning

So there's this great lady that's a conductor on the downtown A train. She usually happily wishes everyone on the train a "beautiful morning" over the PA, and so we started exchanging smiles and pleasantries as Patrick and I get off in Brooklyn. It's such a nice way to start the morning that we've started to let other A trains pass through the station to wait for hers.

As we walked by on the platform today, she actually held the train so that she could say good morning to us and then asked us if we were rooting for the Saints on Sunday. We hesitated, and she repeated encouragingly, "Are you rooting for the Saints?" We laughingly answered "Oh yeah, of course!" and she wished us a good weekend. As she started to pull away I noticed the New Orleans beads and swag hanging from her neck and it brought a big smile to my face.

I don't know what's so different about New York this time compared to last year, but I am meeting some really nice people in random places, and am really enjoying conversing with would-be strangers.

So, yes, I will be rooting for the Saints on Sunday.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Here it is. Another day.

After five years of college and plenty of time co-oping out in "the real world," it's easy to become disenchanted and find myself giving in to the idea of just settling into something safe and familiar when I graduate in 8 months.

Settling into a life where every day is pretty similar to the last.

But that's not what we're built for. We're meant for bigger things. We're built to get dirty, to make some noise, to go against the grain. Those moments are when we experience true exhilaration, when we experience life to the fullest.

Some days I need a reminder.

Today, let's be crazy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ahhh, Fanta

So I've been back in the States for two weeks now. I've had plenty of time to readjust, and although the time home has flown by, I've had some time to recap as well.

This Sunday, Pastor Larry asked me to share for 10 or 15 minutes in Church. Writing a bit should help me figure out what I want to say.

Right now, sitting next to me is a piece of life in Africa, a two liter of Fanta. Unfortunately the grocery store didn't have my favorite flavor, Pineapple, but Orange is good for now.

(He writes for an hour or so, before realizing that the blog post is too long and he'd rather wait to post it until after this Sunday)

Okay well, instead of doing a major recap right now, I'll share some things from Namibia.

Months and months ago, I thought doing design work in Africa would be a big part of the trip. As we got closer, the scale got smaller and smaller until I didn't know if there would be any designing at all on the trip. Well, it turned out there was. The last few weeks in Namibia, Dan and I used our free time to design and build a website for our friend Martha's upcoming real estate business, Imani Properties.

While in Windhoek, Martha shared with me the vision she recieved for Imani, and her mission to serve the youth of the country and to show Jesus to them through her business ventures. She's been very smart about her business plans, waiting until God shows her when its the right time to take certain steps. Our hope is that the real estate business is something that can start bringing in some serious income which will then be applied to the other parts of Imani, an eventual Coffee Shop, Bookstore, and Radio Station.

Anyway, I did the design, and Dan absolutely rocked all the back-end coding, database stuff. He did an awesome job and we gave Martha a site where all she has to do is type in the info and upload the pictures and she's ready to go. Neither of us could've really made the site without the other person, so it was awesome that we were able to work together to make it happen.

What we made is far from perfect, but it is actually very nice and looks good. Here's a screenshot from the homepage.

If you follow this link you can take a look at the basic html version of the site. This is the work I did without all of the back end coding Dan put into building the site, so the page links will work, but the searches aren't active and the sparse properties included are not real. If Internet Explorer is unfortunately the browser you use, then not everything will look exactly right since IE is stupid, but you'll get the idea.

Martha was the best client of all time. She absolutely loved our work and said she couldn't thank us enough. It was very cool to help a cause we believed in with some of our know-how. We're hoping it will be live and completely working in two or three months.

Okay, that's enough for today. I think I have a debriefing form to fill out for Navs Headquarters. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by the task of recapping my experience at the moment.

Many have watched this video already, but I'll post it here, too. This is the recap video I made of my team's time in Namibia. I think it turned out pretty well. We're hoping to show it in church on Sunday. Hopefully it works out.