Semper Fidelis.

faithful / adj. 1. loyal, constant, and steadfast 2. plural n. having a strong belief 3. true to the facts or the original

this word has been on my mind a lot lately. i was looking up pictures of my dad's helicopter he used to fly, and i kept running across these marine corps websites with semper fidelis all over the place. semper fidelis is latin for always faithful, and has been the marine's motto since their inception.

so i started thinking about faithfulness, and how it relates to me specifically and these things came to mind as examples of me being faithful:

towards the end of high school i had a tough decision where to go for college. i applied for several public universities as a back up, but i knew God wanted me to go to a christian college. i remember being adamant about this, and never really wavering when it came to trusting God about where i should go to college. as a reward, i think God made it a very obvious decision when it finally came time to finally choose. and despite all of the griping i did about oklahoma, i would not be half the man i am today if it weren't for the growth that i went through at oc. i look back at my time in oklahoma with nothing but fond memories and praises to God for blessing me more than i deserved.

juaner. i would have never been friends with juaner if we hadn't been stuck in the same apt together. it's sad to say, but at that point in my life i was so close minded when it came to who i should be friends with. i remember praying to God that he give me the patience to deal with the 'frat boy- soccer playing- oregonian- psych major- transfer' that i was going to have to live with. juaner is now one of my best friends, and i thank the Lord constantly for the rock that guided me towards youth ministry. i'm just glad that God rewarded me for being trusting enough to look at juaner through His eyes, and not my own.

speaking of friends, there are three guys that were at my third birthday that i still refer to as my best friends. (i know i have a lot of best friends, most have to have prefaces like college, or new, or back in the day. these guys don't.) our relationships were forged through years of growing up in the church, and despite our distance and the frequency with which we talk, i have no doubt that we will go to our graves as best friends. what a blessing to be rewarded with lifelong friends. this may be a stretch when it comes to faithfulness, but i can't imagine us ever not being friends, and i think that helps remind me of the type of ongoing, forgiving love that God has for us.

my parents. i can honestly say that i never had a doubt about my parent's faithfulness through their twenty five years of marriage so far. it seems like the more they are tested, the stronger they bond to each other and to God. in a world were one in every two marriages end prematurely, it is a huge blessing to know that your parents are both going to be there for you. i hope this doesn't sound too self righteous, but i have had a soft heart lately for the kids of divorced, or a single parent homes. i don't know how they do it, but they manage to make it through life at a disadvantage. God bless them and provide them with the love that they need to survive. going back to my parents though, i feel like i have been rewarded for my parent's faithfulness with a confidence and knowledge of God's love that has always been a guide to me.

my job. i decided halfway through my junior year of college that i wasn't going to be a graphic designer. my grades were terrible that year and i was put on academic probation. i remember praying to God to show me the right thing to do. that summer i was forced to live at home and work and take some online classes to catch up. i was pretty humbled, and i was working landscaping, spending most of my days to myself because i couldn't speak spanish. i was really humbled. but, i spent a lot of my free time hanging out with the two interns we had at woodinville, and realizing that youth ministry was a viable option for me. i told my parents that summer that i would finish up my degree in advertising design, but i would be taking extra youth ministry classes when i could. they were very supportive. actually, they asked me what took me so long to figure it out, they had known all along. anyways, the next summer i did an internship in weatherford ok, where i was offered a job. i turned it down because i knew there would be someone more effective for a small town in the long run. on the way back to school after that summer i spent time with dantheman and lukestrong, and they said i should look into doing a semester at park plaza after i graduated. the second day of school, i met with mr wild at heart himself, and he said he would be proud to have any friend of dantheman's come work at park plaza. he said i could def do a summer there, and could probably stay till i found a job. i stayed there until i felt that i had to go home to take care of mi padre and was blessed by every minute of my time there.

moving back home. i never wanted to be 23 and living at home. i also never wanted mi padre to retire before his 50th birthday. but i knew the right thing to do was to head home and take care of pops until mom had the summer off. i knew right off the bat that God was rewarding me for doing the right thing. that time with my dad was invaluable, and i am increasingly aware of how much i wish i could have held on to that time.

but i had to leave. going back to the job hunt, i was turned down by several churches, that i was sure were 'the one'. i was picky when i was looking for a job, and i didn't want to settle. i felt called to be in southern california doing youth ministry, and i was willing to wait for God to provide with the right place. several things fell apart, and it began to look like no one wanted to hire a youth minister with no experience, no bible degree, and no wife. on the last day of my internship in san diego i received a job offer from simi. talk about having to trust God, oh man. i have to say, though, that i was confident that God would provide me the right place at the right time, and He did.

females. these stories so far have gone in sequential order, but they have also progressed in the amount of faith that it has taken for me to trust that God had everything under His control. when i was in college, i just wanted to be able to have a big group of friends that shared my faith. i had a lot of catching up to do socially, and that's what happened. when i moved to tulsa, i asked God to keep females off of my mind for a year so i could focus on ministry. He did, and almost to the day a year later i met up again with nursegirl. the only thing i place as more important than where i am meant to work, is who i should spend my life with, so i really shouldn't complain and/or doubt that God will once again reward me for my faithfulness. i think this one is way underrated considering the time we live in.

so the question i have for myself now is why should i ever not be faithful to God after He has rewarded me so many times? why isn't faithfulness on the forefront of my mind more often? why has it taken me so long to realize this? what is it that God is doing right now to strengthen my faith?

i know i have left out an obvious example of faithfulness when it comes to mi padre, and that is intentional. i open myself up a lot on my posts, but today i need to keep some things to myself for the time being. perhaps in a few days i can revisit this with a post about my dad, but not today. i hope you understand.

anyways, i hope this has been an encouragement to anyone that has read this. i would love to hear your stories about faithfulness, so feel free to respond. (i know thornton has a few, he better put something up here.)

one love, one heart.


Beethoven was deaf. Helen Keller was blind. I think Rocky's got a good chance.

so this blog is more about blogging out of habit, and trying to keep to somewhat of a structure, which i guess really is the theme for the past few days. after simplifying my life for the past few weeks (months, maybe), and trimming down my expectations to a necessary few, i feel much more capable of creating some sort of structure to my life. it's a lot tougher than it sounds, esp when you've never really one to build structures. anyways, i'm pretty stoked for myself over the past week or so because i feel like what i want to do, and what i'm actually doing are starting to get closer in line with each other. it's funny how the most random stuff can provide the biggest inspiration. going snowboarding last week has really provided me with a lot of motivation in general, i guess you would call it a sense of accomplishment. add to that a weekend of hanging out with some of my favorite people, and the fact that the sun is actually sticking around for a few days, and i'm feeling pretty energetic and enthused about getting things done. on monday (my day off) i had a list of about twenty five things that i wanted to get done, and i did every single one of them. seriously, i've never accomplished that much in one day. it was amazing. i should probably clarify that none of those things were major undertakings, but still, it is nice to look at that day's to-do-list and see everything crossed off. i was so stoked about getting that much done, that i actually kept the list and i think i'm going to put it up in my office as a reminder of how good it feels to get a bunch of stuff done.

speaking of putting stuff up in my office, i finally decided what to put up on my blank wall that i stare at every day. i wanted something inspirational, so i went out and got a nice rocky poster to complete the office. as cheesy as it sounds, there have been several times in the past few days where i've imagined myself bouncing around the office listening to the rocky theme imitating the finale of the training scene where he's on top of the steps... yeah. so if you happen to sneak up to the office there's a good chance you're going to see me with my fists in the air blasting the theme from rocky (or whatever version it was that i bought off of itunes).

going back to having things ordered, i guess there really is a balance to how much order is good, and when too much order is kind of a bad thing. call this my orson welles part of my blog. maybe this has more to do with automation than order, but there's something i've started to notice about automation and customer service. i use my card to pay for everything, which makes keeping up with my finances a lot easier, but it makes going to the store seem very robotic. i go to the store, i pick up my stuff, and instead of actually interacting with whoever is behind the counter, i'm typically busy punching in my pin code or signing the automated screens. really, the only thing the person behind the counter is there to do is assist me in bagging. at wal mart and home depot, they've even managed to forgo that with self checkout lines. trust me, i love having the self checkout lines to avoid dealing with incompetence behind the register, but it creeps me out that it is getting easier and easier for people to not have any social interaction. if i wanted to disappear from society, or go an entire day w/o having to talk to anyone i think i could pull it off pretty easily. i know there are days where that's exactly what i want to do, but what about the people that have no motivation to interact with others. should we really provide them with the ability to do so? hmmm, just something that was on my mind.

what else is there...

i may have finally crossed a boundary that i had set for myself. my goal was to go as long as i could owning only what i could fit in the back of my truck. i haven't tested it out, and i don't plan on it soon, but i think after actually buying a bedframe on monday, i may have exceeded my limit. maybe. actually, since i got rid of my bed springs maybe i actually have less stuff. nevermind, i think i can still fit all of my stuff in my truck. all is well.


so a few of my guys decided to come to church early and we played our increasingly popular sport; puddingball. it's pretty much what it sounds like, we hit old pudding cups from the 99 cent store with a bat and try to spray each other with pudding. tonite we even branched out and got some old melons and thrashed them too. i also introduced them to the art of antiquing, or covering someone with flour so that they look like they've been asleep for about fifty years. needless to say it was a good day of youth ministry.

well on that note, i think i'm going to go home and watch a movie or something.

i hope that while you are reading this you feel blessed. one love, one heart.


It's called the '80s. Ford was president, Nixon was in the White House, and FDR was running this country into the ground.

go see benchwarmers. turn your brain off, find a friend who can handle a movie without a story and go enjoy.

so i've done about a dozen things today in between the time i intended to write this and actually started this post. it's just one of those days where i don't have anything planned, so i'm kind of going from one thing to another, getting a lot of stuff done, but not really chalking up a long list of accomplishments. i spent most of today reading and writing encouragement notes, which always makes for a good afternoon. i went through myspace and decided to write at least 25 people an encouraging line, or just say hola.

on to the reason for the melancholy... i broke up with mucho risas chica last night. my first real break up. i kinda feel like a jerk, but i don't really regret my decision. when you know someone is not 'the one', it's time to let go. better a little pain now then a lot of pain later. that, and with everything that's happening with my dad, i just think it's a dangerous time to try and start something, esp when you're not 100% sure where you want it to go. either way, today has been a surreal day, my first in a while. it's too sunny outside to listen to pink floyd, and i'm too tired to listen anything really mellow. so i'm kind of in a weird spot. going back to her though, i never wanted to be one of those 'it's not you, it's me...' or 'let's be friends' people, but as of today, i feel like i am. oh well. better now than later. at least it wasn't over a fight, which now that i think of it may have been easier. nope, it was good for me to have to do something tough but necessary, i'm thinking back to my rocky post from last week...

in other more fun news, i went snowboarding yesterday at mt. high and did awesome. i actually made it all the way down the run w/o falling down once. snowboarding is much more fun when you aren't embarrassing yourself all the way down the hill. by the end of the day i was actually carving around the people falling down in the middle of the run, as opposed to causing others to swerve to avoid me, as i had been doing earlier that day. next time i go i think i should be ready for some bigger runs, and hopefully get a jump or two in as well. actually, check that, i think i'm going to get where i can cruise comfortably and call it a day. yeah, after all the snowboarding injuries i've been around in the past few months, and the fact that my body isn't exactly 16 anymore, i may relax on trying to win any big air competitions. whatever, i had fun, and i didn't need dantheman to persuade me to go. (sidenote: i just sneezed really hard and my whole body now aches. i don't like being this kind of sore.) the best part of yesterday was that i really feel like i conquered a major personal goal. i've actually wanted to learn how to snowboard for a long time, but have always been to chicken to try. i'm not one to give myself props, but today i feel like i accomplished something big. for those of you that know me well though, i do have to talk about my best crash from yesterday. so i can handle going down the hill pretty well, but getting off of the lift is still a 50/50 kinda thing. my first time off yesterday my board caught and edge and i ended up doing a somersault and the chair hit my board, which hit me in the back of the head. the ski school that was watching nearby got a good laugh after they came over to see if i was okay, which would be pretty cool if they weren't five year olds. oh well, i'm laughing now too, and i'm really glad no one had a camera around.

on monday i got to hang out with valleygirl all day which was a blast. needless to say any female that is going to laugh at movies like benchwarmers is going to have huge potential for best friend material. the fact that we both broke out into the robot at the same time when 'safety dance' came on the radio also makes her a nominee. needless to say, we had a good day, and having someone to bounce my thoughts off of is really a blessing to me right now. now if only she weren't so busy eating sunscreen... (a little inside, i know).

so the past few weekends i've been to several plays, productions, musicals... that sort of thing, and i'm realizing now that i really need to go to a baseball game. so anyone that reads this that feels like catching a dodgers or angels game in the next few days please give me a call. actually, anytime anyone feels like going to a baseball game please give me a call.

going back to previous debates, going snowboarding reminds me of a debate that me and some of the fellas had last year, snowbunnies vs. surf chicas. tough call.

so a friend of mine asked me to put together a cd to 'remind her of california', which is much harder than you would expect. me being in a high fidelity mood and all, i put together a few guidelines for making this particular cd mix:

every band should be from california, or at least be associated primarily with california.
phantom planet's 'california' is disqualified for it's association with the tv show 'the oc', and it's just too easy.
so is the red hot chili peppers' 'californication'.
one cd isn't going to be enough, so this will have to be a two cd mix.
i'm really liking having an ipod right now for reasons just like this, i can add or remove songs at will from a playlist.

so here's the rough draft of the songs that remind me of california and any comments i felt necessary:

311/ amber - the most california-esqe of their songs.
bad religion' los angeles is burning - these guys sell out shows weeks at a time in l.a.
beach boys/ california girls - we all wish
ben harper/ diamonds on the inside- i needed some ben, this seemed to fit somehow
blink 182/ josie - before they broke big, this song was all over socal
bob marley/ three little birds - marley is still on the radio here, and this def captures a sunny day in socal
chris murray/ 4th of july - a local guy who started out playing at the beach
coolio/ 1,2,3,4 - we still know how to jam
distillers/ city of angels - this reminds me of waling down sunset ave and seeing the disparity between the different things you see.
donovan frankenrieter/ whatcha know about - surfer, songwriter, good times
dr dre and tupac' california love - i think this is our official state anthem.
escape club/ wild wild west - i don't know if there are words to explain...
eve 6/ anytime - i associate this song with snowboarding which i associate with california. sorry colorado.
g love/ honor and harmony - i could skip the cd mix and just make her a copy of the thicker than water soundtrack.
guns n roses/ welcome to the jungle - this was required by law to be in the soundtrack to any movie about l.a. in the 80's.
incubus/ warning - the whole album was written from a mansion overlooking malibu.
jack johnson/ rainbow - ladies and gentlemen, our next governor.
jane's addiction/ stop - the socal contribution to the grunge era.
jurassic 5/ quality control - the best of l.a. hip hop
long beach dub all stars/ sunny hours - this is like adding a third sublime song to the list
no doubt/ spiderwebs - ladies and gentlemen, our next lt. governor.
offspring/ come out and play
ozomatli/ super bowl sundae - the only song to be number one on the rock, hip hop and latin radio stations here.
p.o.d./ rock the party - one of our best kept secrets that got leaked to the rest of the world.
paul wright/ resurrection - this song gets put in the mix for it's references to mexican food.
pennywise/ surfin usa - one of the biggest bands in socal covering one of the biggest songs by the biggest socal band ever.
rancid/ruby soho - they may have started out in the east bay, but they live here now.
red hot chili peppers/ around the world - another one of socal's finest.
reel big fish/ sell out - one of the bigger ska songs to hit the airwaves.
reeve oliver/ i want burns - our current best kept secret.
screeching weasel/ cool kids - it's hard for me to leave this off of any mix.
slightly stoopid/ sweet honey - one of the better sublime sounding bands.
social distortion/ story of my life - orange county punk rock at it's greatest.
strung out/ matchbook - had to throw in some san diego bands
sublime/ waiting for my ruca - this song gets put in simply for it's references to selling oranges on the freeway.
sublime/ badfish - my favorite song from one of socals most influential bands.
switchfoot/ dare you to move - another well guarded secret that exploded on mainstream.
transplants/ california babylon - captures the energy of socal.
unwritten law/ close your eyes - big around here, never heard of outside of socal.
weezer/ surf wax america - the anthem for san diego.

well, since i'm in a high fidelity mood and it's getting to that point where i need to eat again i guess i'm out. more to come soon.

one love, one heart.


fall back, spring forward...

just a few ramblings today...

baseball is back, and sportscenter is yet once again relevant. ahhhhh... there is nothing i enjoy more than waking up to my tv set to espn and hearing "welcome to baseball tonight".

for anyone that reads this that missed last years rant on baseball, you may want to go back to my april 4, 2005 post to catch on how much i love our nation's pastime.

and in honor of baseball season starting up again i think i'm going to start up another top ten list:

top ten reasons i am stoked about baseball this season:
10. i can watch sportscenter again w/o having to put up with 'highlights' of women's basketball
9. with piazza going to the padres, i was able to narrow down my list of teams to pull for to the astros and yankees
8. with all the media attention focused on bonds, the other hundreds of baseball players can relax and do their jobs w/o a camera in their face
7. no more joe morgan comments on the length of johnny damon's hair
6. i can go to dodger games and see what the fall fashions will be like for raider fans
5. two dogs and a coke
4. me and the cuz end up watching too many movies during the off season. i can only watch breakin so many times.
3. i get to see my uncle's championship ring from last year
2. forget all these self-help motivational guru's; gammons, kruk, reynolds and gwynn tell it like it is.
1. it's baseball, our pastime. nuff said. it's one of the few times that our country gets patriotic, grown men get to be kids, and thousands of people who have nothing in common get to share a nacho stand and eat ice cream out of little helmets.

oh yeah, this year's world series picks:
safe bet: yankees vs cardinals
longshot/ you heard it hear first bet: astros vs. blue jays

moving on...

i read the other day that michael moore is invested in haliburton, hmmm, that hasn't made any of his movies.

i joined the masses and bought an ipod last weekend. this should have happened a long time ago, but it's a good thing i waited for the video ipods. there's nothing like being able to watch the office while waiting at the dmv.

since i now don't really have a need for cds, i was able to stuff them in the back of a closet this weekend. i can't handle throwing them away just yet, but i did have a ceremony to get rid of all the burned mix cds that once littered my truck

speaking of my truck, tyra has a huge gash in the side of her. i'm not sure when it happened because i never really look at the passenger side of my truck, but its pretty deep. at least deep enough that it can't be buffed out. anyways, i have a high deductible on my insurance so there's a big debate on how to approach this, esp since i'm not sure what scratched my truck. just frustrating more than anything.

and speaking of scratches, i ordered this usb turntable a couple of weeks ago that converts vinyl to mp3. it came in a couple of days ago in a box that had three corners thrashed right next to a giant fragile sticker. it's good to know that ups employees can read.

beat up box

now that i have my pergo floors in my office, and my painting done, my list of projects is getting pretty narrow. here's what i have left...
put molding up around the room
make a desk
sand and repaint my old surfboard with the youth group logo on it

april fools and the time change should be set farther apart

i had to preach on sunday which is not my favorite thing to do. throw in a time change and not a lot of sleep and i was due for something to happen. it did, i misread the clock and thought i had to stretch my time and ended up going 40 minutes instead of 25. hopefully that will get me out of preaching for a while.

in personal news...
i've started to feel a change the past few weeks. you know how in the rocky movies he takes a bunch of punches in the first few rounds, then just as you start to wonder how many more he could take the music starts to change and he starts fighting back? i feel like rocky starting to punch back. maybe it has something to do with the weather, maybe it's actually having things semi sorted out, but as of late i've felt really empowered. i got my taxes done, some paintings done, i'm spending my time the way i want to spend my time... pretty soon i think there's going to be a lot of energy to focus on the youth group again. that'll be good. be prepared for updates.

this is going to sound really cheesy, but i think myspace has kind of helped me out too. out of all of the friends i have on that list, i know at least two-thirds are pretty close friends that truly care about me and my ministry. it's really cool to be able to see how many people have been a part of my life, and how so many people have affected me in different ways. it's also cool to go back and reflect on different memories, from the el patioso crew to my first crush back in kindergarden, there's a lot of fond memories tied to scrolling through my friends list. it also serves as reminder to me of how many people i have the potential to have a positive impact on, which is always a good thing.

well, i think that's it for today. it's nice outside so i think i'm going to jam a little bit before roots tonight.

one love, one heart.