keep calm and graduate

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can

keep calm and graduate

Seven more months…

(PS When you type “I think I can” three times in a row at 2:00 am, it looks quite silly).

 

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The App That Gave Me Back Mornings

I have night owl in my blood. Really. It just comes naturally to me. Plus, I’m always afraid of missing something, or I think I can cram in ONE more page, one more minute of an audio book, one more activity. Often, this kind of thinking finds me feeling like crap at 2 or 3 am, wondering why I am so stupid.

Next time, I will go to bed on time
Me, every night.

The next morning, either I feel gross because I didn’t get enough sleep or I feel gross because I got too much. Either way, all too often I have felt like the “hit by a truck” statement could be applied to me in the morning. (NO, I’m not grumpy in the morning, generally–I’m just not happy sunshiny either.

Everything changed last year. In the summer, I got an iPhone, and in the fall, a friend introduced the Sleep Cycle app to me.

Sleep Cycle app
Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle is an app that uses the accelerometer built into the iPhone (and iPod Touch) to track your sleep patterns, and then wake you up in the general vicinity of when you’d like to wake up (within the half hour before, usually), but when you’re at the edge of a sleep cycle. That is, it wakes you up when you’re not in deep sleep, which is the most shocking phase to get awoken out of.

It’s really quite simple: you plug your phone in (the app drains about 30% of battery over the night), set your alarm sound (you can use a song from your iTunes) and a time you’d like to be awake by,  click “Start”, then lay the phone glass-side down on the edge of your bed. Then, you entrust your wake-up call to this genius application.

It is. Genius. I promise you. It has revolutionized my mornings, which, in turn, has revolutionized my days. I no longer wake up hating the day, hating myself, hating the fact that I have to get out of bed… oops, I said I wasn’t grumpy in the mornings. I’m not, I promise you, but now I actually FEEL good as well!

Oh, and there’s a handy graph feature where you can look back at all the nights you have used Sleep Cycle to compare your patterns. Also, what kind of app would it be if it didn’t have a “Share on Facebook” feature? I kid you not. I have so far restrained myself, though.

Solid app. Well done, Sleep Cycle people!

YES, it’s worth the 99 cents! What are you waiting for?!

I’m saying good-night…

Sleep pattern graph and sleep screen
The data and the image Im going to be looking at in a few minutes.

To Gym or Not to Gym

I made a resolution to work out this year, in a manner of speaking. I told my doctor that doing cardio was a goal of mine, and I really hate lying to people in authority. It’s just rarely a good idea. One can get away with telling fibs to servers and cashiers and nosy aunts, but when one’s health is in question, honesty is definitely the best policy.

When a friend gave me a two-week membership to the local YMCA, I thought, “Aha! My break has come! In I go”. So I did. For two weeks.

And I loved it. I learned how to use all the machines, talked about going to work out with my friends, dreamed of attending morning classes, took my brother ones, looked for the combination lock from my high school locker to put on my gym locker, bought non-cheap new running shoes, etc.

Then I encountered a wall I haven’t been able to breach: $44 + GST/month, plus the $80 activation fee. GULP.

Sure, when you think of it in terms of your long-term health, or how it costs $10/visit if you’re not a member, or how you have absolutely no motivation to do anything physical by yourself and have no TV with which to employ Wii Fit, that amount of money makes sense.

But then the scale flips and you remember your rent, cell phone bill, home phone bill, hydro, gas, insurance, groceries, investments, and other financial responsibilities, and suddenly it’s a big deal again. Yikes.

Yet, if you’re willing to humble yourself

Life in the H.C., Part 3: Bar Fights and Deep Fried Mars Bars

Tonight I joined the friend who made my birthday special on an excursion to make her birthday special. Looking hot, we met up with some of her friends (and her sister, who is closer to my age then my friend is, yay) and headed to a popular bar in the other big town in the H.C. (other than Goderich, obviously), Grand Bend.

One of my weaknesses is that I’m often uncomfortable in new situations, new places, and with new people, especially when I don’t know what to expect. If I have someone whose side I can cling to, I do alright, then once I get used to the situation or the layout of the place, I’m fine. Usually.

I’m less comfortable in places where people are more likely to boldly (drunkenly) talk to you or single you out. If I’m simply blending in, that’s one thing, but looking hot in a huge place packed with drunk horny people on a long holiday weekend is terrifying! If I had known, I probably wouldn’t have gone, but then I would’ve missed the drama!

So there’s a zillion people in this place, people lined up around the building waiting to get in. It’s Jam Night, so there’s live music that’s not necessarily wonderful, and inconsistent. There are several self-important beefed-up security dudes allowing people into the building in small groups, after checking everyone’s ID. Telling them we’re with a birthday girl doesn’t work for us at all.

Once inside, our group was split up by the layout of the place and the sheer multitude of people inside it, constantly moving. I didn’t even see the bar the whole evening because I wasn’t brave enough to fight through the 5-deep crowd buzzing around it. I was so overwhelmed by the noise and the people and the strange place that I wanted to leave as soon as I got in, but stuck it out anyway.

Two of us found a couple of stools in a very busy passageway and claimed them, our knees getting very familiar with strangers without any input of ours whatsoever. We chatted and sang along a bit, and sipped our drinks, but mostly kept squishing backwards in our chairs to get out of the way as much as we could.

We had gotten a little sick of the constant surge of scantily-clad tipsy youngsters when a garbage can came through one of the floor-to-ceiling windows beside the stage, about 20 feet from us, shattering two layers of glass and drawing the attention of 450 people. The band members were instantly bounding over tables and chairs and people and out an emergency exit to catch the punk while we just watched, stunned. Then there were cops and security guards with headsets. Hundreds of people stared and milled about, and we had a great view.

As soon as the band was back on stage and playing again and things were calming down, a fight broke out in front of the stage that had the musicians trying to play their instruments with one hand and slap the idiots with the other. The Macho Macho Bouncers shoved a group of people out the door as the singer yelled obscenities through the microphone (“Will the $&#^ing psychos get the $^@& out NOW?!”). The crowd started chanting along with him.

After all this, I figure I’m safe to trek to the washroom. Arriving to the lineup unscathed, it wasn’t till I was almost done my business that the yelling and the mighty mighty F-bomb made their way to the doorway across from the ladies room. More beefy bouncers herding bombed bar-goers away from the head case who was apparently still trying

A Long and Meaningful Conversation Gone Public

(I’m on the right, in purple, and my friend is the one not on the right or in purple)


14/11/07, 11:45 PM


u still chillaxin?

yes, i still am chillaxin’

haha
i thought you’d be asleep by now
are you back from work?

yeah
we closed a bit earlier than 10 so i was home by 10:30

sweet
so, what do u do when you have a little bit of extra time?
how do u spend it?

right now? online
i also read and watch the west wing, private practice, house, grey’s anatomy, and the office… all downloaded shows i watch on my laptop

no, i mean, when u have “you” time, what do u usually do?

that’s what i do

sweet

if i’m out, i get coffee and read
11:50 PM

yea, u r a reader

and i write every now and then, too
can’t live without books

i like ur blogs

thanks!
looks like i’m about to get a whole new design and i’m STOKED!!!

design?
i thought i’d have a great time at youth tonite
i got up early this morning
had a great meeting

and not so much?

had an inspired moment
wrote down what i thought would be a great message
was very excited about it

yeah my blog site is really generic… i’m gonna pay to have it overhauled by a pro with an original design, etc.

came together pretty good
wrote it all down
prayed about it
got ready
and by the end it felt like junk
it just didn’t feel right
it felt like it sucked

so did you switch it up?

i hate that
no
i was very confident all the way until i actually begin to deliver it
and because i thought it was very good
i tried to deliver it all
but as i was sharing it it didn’t make sense

11:55 PM

shit
i mean, crap!

hahahaha!!!!
shit!!!! u r funny
i love your “realness”
seriously

yup.
i love that i discovered the edginess of swearing at the right moments
hahaha
12:05 AM

u r funny

u r right

r u chatting with a thousand other people?

just one
right now
and looking into buying a book
and emailing the blog designer

which one?

which book?
No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog

u r a nerd!!!!!!!!
ha!

pretty much
but this blog thing is important to me
and i want it to be a truth destination

yeah, i can see that

not just a journal about what i’m having for lunch!

i admire it

i wanna inspire people to be more honest
which is a challenge for me ’cause it means i have to be really honest with myself

well, to be honest
u do inspire me

well right on!

12:10 AM

i am inspired to be honest with myself too
and working on being more honest with people
and to be honest, i am not doing the best lately
being in the US right now has taken the life out of me
i do not feel alive
like my regular self
it sucks!!!

for me, i think it’s living outside of YWAM

i love God so much
but i feel like an alien here

i feel like an alien outside of YWAM.

i don’t know
life is just different

could it be part of that yearning for heaven thing?
feeling lonely ’cause we need more of God?

i think so
being heaven bound

or maybe part of the church culture that exhausts you?

yeah
that too

i really just can’t stand it all
i mean, church, en si*, is good!!

it just always feels like you are the odd one around
yeah

but it’s just how we’ve come to do it that eats the life out of people!

yeah

just read a really interesting and truth-full book called So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore by jake Colsen

ok…

it’s the fictional story of Jake and how he meets a man named John who seems to have known Jesus in person, that’s how much he has the truth of God deep inside of him
12:15 AM

cool

each chapter is about a different conversation Jake has with John and how John helps Jake find God’s truth for himself, which happened outside of a church building
but it’s very clear that it’s not anti-church or anything

that sounds like an interesting book to read
yeah, i know

just talks about how we’ve made church into a self-serving institution
that teaches people how to fail, pretty much

it’s so hard to look at church and see what is wrong with it without being negative

free-thinking is frowned upon
programs are emphasized, etc.

yeah

anyway, it was very enlightening and an easy read… pick it up if you can!

i have had a hard time trying to figure out what is worth saying and what is not at youth group

hmm yeah i have the same struggle with youth people themselves

haha

i have a study group that’s me, a 25-year-old guy who was raised catholic and has been reading the bible and discovering faith for a year
then a handful of 16-18 year-olds
some of whom grew up entrenched in the pentecostal church

interesting
wow

and another who only recently “got saved”

“got saved”?

and knows virtually nothing about “christianity”

ha!

well she uses that term now because that’s how all the pentecostals called it
but i personally don’t love it

yeah

and i’m afraid she’s already getting a stilted view of what faith is, just like her christian youth group friends have grown up with

man…

it’s a very crazy mix… me growing up one way and then almost flipping over to have a faith that looks SO different!
i feel like a doctor in theology with them

hahaha!
i know

anyway, i talk to them about faith and church, and i really have to try hard not to diss the church that most of them attend
because that’s their reality!

yeah
i struggle with the same things

but i try to talk about other perspectives and point out ways that could be better to do things, and how i have my own personal opinions, and some things work better for other people

12:20 AM

like we do not think we are better

but i DO think their (recently it was mine, too) church is sick and i’m actually scared of what they might learn there

just more aware, maybe, of the futility of this life and are longing for that “more” in Jesus

well, and the freedom that comes when faith doesn’t have to take the rigid shape of sundays and wednesdays, tithes and small groups!

that is where i am, at least
yeah

where people desire to gather and they do, spontaneously, and God-conversation happens over meals because poeple are hungry for him, not because you’re striving, planning to have people to gather because that’s what christians DO!

but u feel so odd because everyone else thinks u r a heretic, a crazy son of a gun

yup
sorry – i’m passionate about this, as you can tell

of course

and i have to work on the balance of not hating on the entire church as a whole!!

well, i need to hear it and share it too

recently i heard that the vast majority of north american churches are gaining people only because people are switching churches from “dead” ones
few new converts come in and few churches are being planted
wow, huh!?

yeah
i had heard that
most of the growth is people switching chrches
there is really no outreach mentality
it’s all programs
and tradition

yup
grrr it makes me just… i don’t know… it makes me feel gross!!!

and religious institutional shit
ooops
crap

haha there you go!!!

sorry
yup

12:25 AM

hahahaha!

um. I’M not offended!

i know
i am just laughing hard right now

hahahaha
nice

it’s cool to have a friend like you

one of the things that turned me off most about my church is what i call the Superficial Bullshit that hits you in the face as soon as you walk in the door

i am so glad we can talk about this

like…

superficial “hey, how are you?!” ‘s when people don’t know ANYTHING about you besides who your mother is and where you work

yeah

like feeling the need to say “God bless you” to every person you see… because that’s the loving thing to do
what does that even mean?

i feel so bad because there are people in church who really need God

i mean, i know God can and does bless people, and isn’t it sweet to wish that for someone, but is it actually heartfelt??

and yet, we are so burnt out doing the “other things”

i found such a lack of deep relationship, hardly any pursuit of friendship outside the doors of the church, a group of people who don’t KNOW each other, they just know about each other

that we do not have the energy to give any more because we are spent by everything else

yeah, so burnt out trying to keep people in our churches!
right??

right!

imagine if we weren’t so close-fisted about our buildings and our schedules and our rituals

i think this is the longest chat conversation i’ve ever had
!!!!!!!

haha you don’t hang with me often enough!

ha!
i guess

12:30 AM

continuing on…. imagine if we didn’t try to make sure our financial butt was covered, if the majority of a church’s finances weren’t focused inward

well

imagine if our kids could ask “why” questions about God and faith

love it
i think for me the most riddling thing is why leadership is so concerned about image
and what things might look like
and the lack of communication and trust
and the lack of confidence and team work

yeah. HATE the image bit!!

right now at our church no one seems to be enjoying working together
brandon** left already

wow! didn’t know that.

nancy**, (one of the staff members with the longest tenure) and one of the most faithful is thinking of leaving too

and why are they leaving?

the new pastor is just basically calling the shots and not communicating real well with anyone

yikes

and anytime one of us shares an idea or even points out a few things about his ideas, he basically shuts them down

oh my
classic for practically sending people running from your church!
i see why you don’t work at your office!

12:35 AM

like, my wife and i have gone a few times into his office to share with him how we feel and stuff, without complaining (or trying not to) and just wanting some communication or feedback, but none was given
ha!

yeah

i feel bad
cause i feel like i do not really like him
and i am praying that i learn to love him anyways

but you work for him

regardless

and you’re supposed to like him, he’s your pastor
yeah

God is good
and he is really, really faithful
we are here, and we won’t give up until our work is finished
but man, it just seems to get harder every week

sort of heavy, huh?

yeah
but, oh well
life wasn’t meant to be a joyride
specially in the ministry

no, but we were meant to have freedom in Christ

we know that

i mean…

yeah

you do have a purpose there, i’m sure

of course

and we all have to sacrifice

even though at times is hard to see
or remember

but you can still live in freedom
from the things that bind many “christians”

yeah, like drinking a beer tonite

sweet

and hopefully others will be inspired

nice!!
hey i’m thinking of putting some of this conversation on my blog site, edited, of course… would you mind?

nope
i’d be honored

sweet!

hey girl, and friend, i gotta go
sleepy time

okay. buenas noches

bye

Edited for spelling, clarity, and anonymity.

* “en si” – in and of itself
** Not their real names

The Promise of Posting Proliferation

It’s 2:09 am, I’ve turned the lamp back up to Brightest from Dimmest, I’ve given in to my hunger pangs and opened a package of Salt & Vinegar Crispers, and the whole neck/shoulder/back region of my body is protesting the positions I’ve forced it into over the past several months as I’ve stayed up late to watch movies and such addictive TV shows as Grey’s Anatomy, Gilmore Girls, and House on my laptop, not to mention a fairly all-consuming addiction to Facebook, however I am so freakin’ inspired by Dooce.com that I must, yes, MUST post something right now!

How completely unacceptable that I have not posted something since (gasp!) Friday (today will be Wednesday). One would think my life was entirely without inspiration, but the reality is that I’ve a) been focusing my creative thoughts elsewhere (I’d post a picture but I haven’t taken any of my new spring cards yet); and b) I’ve been under the perfectionist-tainted and misguided impression that everything I write has to be deep, thought-provoking, and life-changing. I discovered tonight that such is not the case. Thank you, Heather B. Armstrong, for this lesson in professional bloggage: Happiness is… (yes, you have to follow the link).

If someone who supports her family through her blog site can do a 5-word post about poop and call it a day, so the heck can I, I who have no one to support nor any ads paying me anything… yet.

So here I sit, cross-legged on my bed, leaning over my beautiful iBook G4, which rests on a nice fake wood TV tray, at 2:21 am, typing with my left hand and only the ring ringer of my right (can’t count the number of times I’ve hit delete in these last few lines) because of the residual enriched wheat flour and monoglycerides from the Crispers on my index and middle fingers, saying that I hope to become at least a small bit more posting proliferate, being that I no longer expect only to share the thoughts that my family, children (someday), friends, or church would be proud of. Be ye warned.