Monday, February 26, 2007

Spring Training

Well, the time has come again for my favorite smell:
Freshly cut grass.

Baseball is officially starting up this week with Spring Training games! Pretty soon I will be sucked into the obsession of rooting for the best team in the Major Leagues again -- the
Cleveland Indians -- hoping and praying that they will dominate their way into the playoffs this year. And for all of you who aren't paying much attention, they have a good chance. The bullpen has been filled up with veteran presence, the position players all have another year of experience under their belts, and the lineup is ready to flex its muscles as it was one of the top run-producing lineups in the majors last year.

However, the season of baseball is more than just hoping my favorite team will win the Series. It's about having faith in something outside myself. It's about experiencing emotional highs and lows when your team wins and loses. It's about being caught up with the details of hitting streaks, records, and statistics. It's about the beauty of catching a line drive while being parallel to the ground. It's about gathering with friends and family to experience and catch up on life. It's about memories. It's about relaxing at times, and jumping up and down at times. It's about hearing the crack of the bat. It's about hearing the ball slam into the mitt. It's about hearing the crowd roar. It's about the rush of feeling like your heart will leap out of your chest when you put faith in your team to pull through to win.

Of course this type of faith that I am referring to is imperfect. I will not always feel good at the end of every ballgame. I will not always see a "W" next to our starting pitcher's name. I will not always be happy. That is life. That is what I love about baseball. It's like life. I like the fact that there is no instant replay. I like the fact that the umpires make mistakes. I like the idea of teamwork and support from your teammates. I like the fact that some innings are boring, and some are exciting. That's life. I like the fact that sometimes you get dirty, sometimes you get beaned in the head, and sometimes you make a mistake and get caught in a run-down. I love the fun.

I love the smell of freshly cut grass. It reminds me of life.

Photo taken from

Thursday, February 22, 2007

New temporary part-time job!

I explained my new job to an acquaintance last week, and this person was quite surprised.

Since I graduated from SPU last spring, I have been working part-time at the University of Washington. I have done a lot of organizational work, mostly helping everybody else out so that they can do their jobs efficiently. As of last week, I was offered a new part-time position, working with the same people, only with different responsibilities. So now with both of these jobs, I'm working full-time! Woohoo! So happy.

When I began to tell this person about my new position, it seemed like they were overwhelmed with what I was telling them. My new responsibilities include statistical data management, organizing student questionnaire data files, working with statistical programs such as SPSS and database programs like Access, among other things. Now, this doesn't sound too scary to me because of my experience with social research. However, the person I was telling this to was wide-eyed with a "what the heck are you talking about," nervous kind of smile. Why were they so surprised and shocked? It might have been just because they were surprised that a person like me would be doing boring statistical work, but I think it was more because of the fact that most people are overwhelmed by the unknown.

What do you do when someone tells you something and it clearly goes way over your head? It happens to me all the time... I usually just give a shrug and a nervous I-have-no-idea-what-you-just-said-to-me laugh. It may make perfect sense to them, but to me (depending on the situation) it makes me uncomfortable thinking about learning about something new.

For example, a couple years ago when I knew absolutely nothing about football, I figured that I would go my whole life not caring about football. Seeing as how baseball is the best sport in the world, I was okay with this. However, once the Seahawks actually began to win games, I got interested in the sport. When I first started asking questions about how the sport is played, I was overwhelmed by all the little rules and details and all the hundreds of different position names, and I was very overwhelmed at what I did not know.

Now, a couple years later, I have learned a lot about the game of football and have actually been teaching my other friends about how the sport works. And now I love it. I was previously overwhelmed by it, and because I took the time to understand it, now it's pretty simple and it makes sense. This realization is much deeper than I had originally thought: Once you take the time to learn about something, it's not as difficult to understand.

Why are we so overwhelmed and scared of things that we have not yet learned about?

I often feel the same way about my relationship with Jesus. The unknown can be scary. My faith -- in the fact that Jesus did actually rise from the dead, that God is in fact powerful enough to create the whole universe, that the Holy Spirit actually does live inside my heart -- can be very scary sometimes. It's not something that I can prove. It's not something that I can feel or touch. It's not tangible. It's hard believing intangibly.

So, if I take the time to learn about Jesus and the Bible the same way that I learned about football, then why can't I have the same process to an understanding? Learning about Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit is the only way that my faith makes more sense to me... which of course comes through reading, prayer, community, and worship. I am less overwhelmed by life and the unknowns that come with life when I learn more about Jesus. I am excited about the life I have ahead of me to deepen my understanding of it.

Does that make sense?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Movie Review #1 - Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine

Awkward situations in life. There's nothing better. I think that the people who annoy you and drive you crazy are the people who make life interesting. Just think about it... if we all lived our lives without feeling like we wanted to smack somebody, then life would be truly boring.

Little Miss Sunshine was all that and a bag of potato chips (or, a bucket of chicken that grandpa hates). If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It's definitely in my top 5 favorite movies (along with 25+ others), all because I can connect with the characters and feel like I am right there with them through every uneasy scene. I must admit that I do not have a family as dysfunctional as the one depicted in the film, but the little bits of everyday life scattered in the family situations certainly made me laugh and cry.

Why is it that we can have such strong connections with characters whom we don't know, have never talked to, and just watch on the screen? Why is it that we feel empathy for that which is so distant? Well, simply, it's because it's familiar. We can identify, and it becomes something we care about. In the movie, I care about each member of the family because I think I know them based on the interactions that I have witnessed taking place. Do we really know them, or are we just internalizing their pain or joys and attributing it to our own lives?

I like to think that my conscience plays a large part in my life. I try my best to obey what my mind inside is telling me. Usually it's the right thing to do. I like to think that the Holy Spirit leads me through my conscience, but I don't know for sure. I like to think that my actions will follow what my heart tells me to do. I like to think that I will obey because I love.

I don't always, but I hope that I can get up onstage like this crazy family did at the end of the film. They did a wonderful thing for Olive.

5 out of 5 stars.

Image taken from

Friday, February 16, 2007

Let's try it.

New blog site!

All the previous blogs have been copied from my myspace blog to here (with their original times and dates).

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Can you believe it?

Well, I did it.

I decided to ultimately toss my Pez dispenser collection down to the bottom-rung of my priority list. It wasn't a difficult decision to make, but it is hard in the sense that I feel like I am possibly ignoring a large part of my life by spending less time focusing on it. But what do I have left in my life?

If anything, I have more time to spend doing so many other things. Before I got into my relationship with Jen, I played video games fairly often. But now I play video games almost never. And it's great! I get to spend more time focusing on the Lord, my fiancee, my friends, my family, my church, my work, and all the things that really matter. ...and guess what? Pez certainly isn't on the "things that matter" list.

Now, I'm not going to throw out my Pez dispenser collection. Some people have called it a "weird thing for a 23-year old guy to do" but I just see it as something fun that I can show people when they come over, and if they think it's weird then who cares. It's not like they are a bunch of little idols or something like that. It's just a hobby, like photography or playing an instrument "on the side" of life. I'm going to keep all 422 of them (as of last week). And I'm certainly not going to refuse accepting a gift if somebody has an extra one laying around their house if they want to get rid of it. ;-)

I'm just making sure that it doesn't take up the quality time of my life that I have here. I want to make sure that I'm focusing on the important things (and people), and I guess I can just say that my Pez collection is just "out of focus."