Monday, December 29, 2008


"Curiosity might be pictured as being made up of chains of small questions extending outwards, sometimes over huge distances, from a central hub composed of a few blunt, large questions. In childhood we ask, 'Why is there good and evil?' 'How does nature work?' 'Why am I me?' If circumstances and temperament allow, we then build on these questions during adulthood, our curiosity encompassing more and more of the world until at some point we may reach that elusive stage where we are bored by nothing. The blunt large questions become connected to smaller, apparently esoteric ones. We end up wondering about flies on the sides of mountains or about a particular fresco on the wall of a sixteenth-century palace. We start to care about the foreign policy of a long-dead Iberian monarch or about the role of peat in the Thirty Years' War."

These words were written by Alain De Botton in "The Art of Travel." I was recently introduced to him by a friend and have come to respect him as a writer. The particular line that prompted me to include this here was "...our curiosity encompassing more and more of the world until at some point we may reach that elusive stage where we are bored by nothing." Wouldn't you love to be bored by nothing? I believe that being inquisitive is a virtue. Without curiosity, learning becomes terribly difficult. Curiosity sparks enthusiasm, which leads to the enjoyment of life, even in its most simple moments.

Something to think about for the new year: becoming more curious instead of more comfortable with the status quo.

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Music: live

Are you aware of something that brings delight to your soul, but if left unvisited for a time, you forget? I rediscovered my love for live music this afternoon at the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Chorale. I make an effort to enjoy live music every couple months, and it seems every time I do, I wish I did it more. Almost two months ago I was in Hollywood listening to two musicians from Stockholm -- a show that moved me. Then a dry spell until the orchestra. I don't remember when I last attended a concert like the one today, but again, it moved me.

Perhaps that is why live music has such a way with me. I leave changed. Music itself, recorded or live, is emotional. It makes us feel. When in the same room as a performing musician, I interact with them and understand the music on a different level than when it's echoing through my earbuds. A musician wears his heart on his sleeve. He can't help himself; it's a part of him. Passion is contagious, and (good) live music inspires me to go and do that which I love.

Watching the orchestra today, I noticed how involved each musician was in the music. They were giving everything they had. My favorite section switched from strings, to brass, to percussion, to woodwinds, to strings. I confess I'm not good at picking favorites when presented with multiple equally fantastic options. The strings had all of me during the violin solo in "White Christmas" but I wanted to help crack the whip for the percussion section in "Sleigh Ride."

It's nearly impossible to pick a favorite piece that was performed today, but there is one that shines brighter than the rest: The Hallelujah Chorus. Goosebumps from start to finish were a good indicator that it was done exceptionally well. I swelled with pride when everyone in the audience stood. I realize this is tradition, but pause to read the words:

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,
And of His Christ, and of His Christ;
And He shall reign for ever and ever,
For ever and ever, forever and ever,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
I thought of the mixed beliefs that stood in that room, all the thoughts about God, and knew there were many standing on their feet to the above words who wanted nothing to do with Him. I sensed a tremendous privilege that we are still willing to stand and honor lyrics like this in America. I absorbed every moment, wanting the ceiling to retract and reveal the splendor of the heavenly angels joining with us to show everyone present that this King of kings is REAL! And we are celebrating His birth and life on Thursday.

This is why live music is so wonderful: there are more dimensions than simply what you can see and hear. Much of it can't be described, but you know you want to throw yourself into the song and lose yourself in that moment. Maybe that's a touch dramatic...but that's the point.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


If states had genders, Colorado would be a female. Example: Yesterday morning I went for a run, wearing my capri pants and a light jacket. Four hours later a winter storm blew in and covered the ground with inches of pristine white snow. Today, I'm enjoying the snow in patches because the sun is out again. But it's still too cold to run.

This allows for excellent snowflake observation, which I can do best when scraping the snow and ice off my windshield. Truly, each little flake is different in size and shape. It gets me thinking someone must have designed them...
Some resemble the complexity of stained glass in a great cathedral. Others are as simple as white daisies in summer. If I wanted to put it on my fingertip to get a closer look, the detail would quickly disappear into a contained droplet on my skin.

The beauty found in noticing details is worth the extra glance. Not only does it allow us to appreciate more of the everyday, but it turns our heads upward to acknowledge the greater. This intelligent One who designed each flake also feeds the sparrows and gives them shelter in the storm. Will He not also watch over you and me?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Poetry from days past

Dabbling in poetry from days past. Sometimes I wrote because it's the only way to work through something, sometimes because it was assigned for class. Below is a combination of both.

This is a tribute to Anonymous from years past.

Wait for the Sunrise

You took my hand when I was young,
and with my face toward the sky, laughing,
you told me to close my eyes and follow.
Or maybe I really was blind.
I don't remember now.

My hand suddenly grew cold
as the warmth of yours disappeared.
I opened my eyes
to see where you'd brought us,
only to find that you weren't there.

Startled, I searched for you,
then returned to the place you'd left.
It led me to a cliff overlooking the sea,
and I thought how you would have loved the view,
how you'd even talked of bringing me to this place.

I watched the sun set behind the sea,
lay back and smiled at the stars
because I knew the sun would rise
on the other side in just a little while.
And I'm still enjoying the view.

Sarah's Song

In any crowded room
she's the one against the wall.
Quiet; to some, odd,
but passion drives her just the same.

Music beats
between her lungs
as a pendulum swings
on the grandfather clock.

Red lips glisten
behind the microphone,
Guitar fits that old position
in her knowing hands.

Lyrics escape from her mouth,
as words hang in the once-empty air.
Her damp eyes birth tears,
writing an unexpected end to her song.

Her breath catches in her throat,
she looks down at her faded boots.
Pausing, she lifts her eyes and sings
'just do the best you can.'


Confused and lost, the end was all I wished.
Who told me life was beautiful? Who said?
No white I see, for only black exists.
Don't want to say, but I am filled with dread.

This broken body is my prison cell
Split bones and skin reveal ugly wounds.
There's no way out, at least that I can tell.
Inevitable death before me looms.

But wait! A gentle man comes with the key.
Matted scars vanish in his tender gaze.
His promise means that I no longer plea.
I stand secure beyond the end of days.

His perfect work reflects in transformed heart.
O Lord my God, how truly great Thou art!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Career Testing

I recently took one of those tests that supposedly helps you find your dream career, or at least points you in the right direction. My results were interesting. According to this test, I'm a precisionist, resistant to change, and prefer tasks over people. I'm compliant. This was a little disappointing. I had hoped that my results would be a bit more colorful! I've settled at the fact that the precisionist is true, but resistant to change, false. No more than three things are still the same as they were for me a year ago. Everything else has changed, and dramatically. This change excites me, because I've been offered the chance to start over, which is not a privilege afforded to everyone.
Back to the results, do I prefer tasks over people? It depends on the task, and it depends on the people. Some people I can't help but prefer over any task, no matter how exciting. Can I combine them so I'm accomplishing a task with people?
I am happy to mention that nearly every job that has fallen into the "dream" category was on the list of potential career matches. This included Criminal Investigator, Writer, Buyer/Purchaser, Interior Designer, and Architect! From here, it's working hard to get where I want to be, so I'm constantly thinking, writing, and working toward doing something I consider an interesting and worthwhile career. Ah, the twenties. So much to figure out and so little time!

Can do!

Read it, loved it, had to share it.

I can do something
I am but one,
But I am one,
I cannot do everything.
What I can do
I ought to do.
And what I ought to do,
With God's help,
I will do.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Thanksgiving Tribute

The holidays single-handedly make our home a whirlwind of chaos, laughter, tension, and warmth. My dad's annual question for mom is, "Will there be enough food?" The answer is in our refrigerator for a week after Thanksgiving. Yesterday, my grandparents, cousins, aunt and uncle, and some friends joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. The conversation at my table about household traditions had us all laughing. One man said, "At our house, the women prepare the food and the men do the clean-up." His confused wife leaned over and asked in reply, "Where is this??"
The below pictures were taken when the pies were brought out. Have you ever seen this many men in the kitchen?

Yesterday was memorable. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. The game we played after dinner forced everyone to laugh at themselves and revealed us all at our most creative and quirky. I hope this isn't too much of a "you had to be there" post.

On a more serious note, I haven't realized how rich I truly I am until much was taken. With some significant things gone, I feel freed up to think about what is truly important and how, in reality, I have more than I could ever ask for. I always will. Thank God for the holidays and that we have a time set aside every year to concentrate on our blessings.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Operation: Cut Expenses

The promise of a dim future -- the immediate future -- delivered innovation to the otherwise predictable dinner table talk. Eating forkfuls of warm chicken marbella on white rice, I listened to Dad list this week's travel itinerary. This is the third or fourth week in a row he travels west to put air back in the lungs of his business by meeting individually with investors to ease the blows of a bad economy.
This is not the golden year for financial institutions, my father's business being no exception. Tonight, the conversation centered on ways to cut expenses at home, as personal income would inevitably be affected. We live quite comfortably, so thinking of ways to cut back was not difficult. We discussed the obvious, everything from turning off the light when leaving the room to running the water only when necessary in the shower and sink. We'll embrace the winter with sweaters and slippers instead of the thermostat and maybe even enjoy frequent candlelight dinners. My contribution is forfeiting the heater at night. I wake up hot anyway.
Once the ideas to cut expenses began to fizzle, my mom suggested we think of ways to increase what we bring in. My imagination went to Depression days when everyone in the family worked primarily so they could give all they earned to the family fund for survival. We're far from that, but how remarkable to think America is sniffing down its own 80-year-old trail.
I enjoy these challenges. They become a game, a road to accomplishment. It's tempting to donate a month to frugality and experiment with my perspective. It just might change me for good. This small piece of history may lead to greater sacrifice with little material result, but I would expect it to produce tenfold the bits of life that can't be measured or purchased. I secretly hope that something will happen that's big enough to once more cause us all to realize that life at its simplest can be life at its most beautiful. For that, I'll lather without the water.

White Walls

White walls signal new beginnings. An empty room with white walls is the most welcome place for change as the only thing to do is to add color, design and function. The finished room depends entirely on the vision of the designer. This is where I am -- I've been emptied out, swept, painted white and primed for renovation. My architect and designer are One, and He will put His mastery on display as He completes the room according to His initial design. This designer is Jesus, the Redeemer, the only one who can create life out of death and make old things truly new. This blog will serve as the place I describe the color, the furniture, the artwork, and even the fresh flowers set on the table. It's time to start over.