Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I've Moved!

I'm moving over to WordPress. All these posts (including the new one...read it) are over there now.


Thanks for reading.

Worth Fighting For

If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be too cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.

-Annie Dillard

It's not always going to make sense. I'm learning that consistency in relationships (of all kinds) is key to keeping them going. Inherently, this makes sense, but all too often we have a lot of trouble practicing it. It's not always easy to keep trucking along, especially if you're putting yourself out there, or putting something on the line (your heart, your emotions, your secrets, your time, etc.). And especially if it doesn't seem to be immediately reciprocated. With committed consistency usually comes uncertainty, and with uncertainty usually comes risk. But to really love, to really be loved, to really be known, we have to risk much. We have to put ourselves way out there. Further than what is comfortable. Further than what is logical. Maybe it won't always be worth it. But even for one success amidst a thousand failures, it takes risk. It takes work. It takes consistency. Be consistent today. I'm confident that when that one success reveals itself, it will be better than you could ever have dreamed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Prickly Thorn, but Sweetly Worn

I'm trying to think of as many things to update on as I can, but I'm sure I won't be able to think of very much.

-Saw Slumdog Millionaire last night. I think it lived up to (most of) the hype. Well shot, good music, interesting story, great love story. And how cute was the youngest Latika?? 

-I've had some trouble with my left shoulder for a few years. For a while, it was only a nuisance, but it's gotten to be much more bothersome in the last few months. Like I was telling a friend last night, I'm to the point where I just want a doctor to cut me open and fix whatever is wrong. I've heard a few different opinions on what's going on with it from a chiropractor, an orthopedists, a couple of general doctors, and my sweet mother (she's the best doctor she knows), but I'm sick of getting different answers and I'm sick of it hurting. Cut me open and take the bad out. Thank you.

-The Auburn women's basketball game was easily the best moment in Auburn sports in what has been a pretty bad senior year for me sports-wise. 12,000 people in Beard Eaves for a women's game was pretty impressive. And so is 20-0. I hope we can keep it going. Mark my words, if we make it to the Final Four, I'm going. 

-I'm sad to report that, as of Saturday, I am the only member of the "Porch House Crew" left in Auburn. I see this crew as Oldham, Stewart, Chase, Austin, Nathan, Tanner, and me (I guess Jay counts, but he won't read this). Stew left this weekend for a semester of studying abroad in Italy. This year just continues to get more and more strange. Where did all my best friends go?

-I've been spending a lot of time with GarageBand. It's been good to learn by doing, and to slowly become more and more comfortable with hearing my voice. 

-Like any college senior, the last few months have been filled with this question: "What are you doing after you graduate?" A couple of days ago, all of these conversations came to a head, and I had a bit of a personal crisis. I was sick of saying "I don't know!" I've been through the gamut of every possible idea...Boston, Seattle, Nashville, Birmingham, Boulder, Kenya, non-profits, teaching, charter schools, US Foreign Services, AIM, Teach for America, IJM, music. Nothing feels perfect. I don't feel any real pull to anything. No doors are opening. I'm frustrated. Actually, I'm way past frustrated. I know that most people in my position go through this. Don't tell me that. Don't tell me to just pray about it. I am. Don't tell me that I'll figure it out. I know that I will, eventually.

Last night, in my never-ending perusing of the World Wide Web, I came back to something that I've looked at a couple of times: The Peace Corps. I noticed that, after a year of having their people pulled out of Kenya after political strife and violence that originated in December of 2007, they're back. And that's exciting. I'm going to be looking into it much more. MUCH more. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

All of the preparations have been made. People have spent hours upon hours in front of their computer screens or televisions in order to get ready (catch up) for January 21st. The friends and family have been invited over. The Tivos have been set. Finally, the wait is over. 

Millions and millions of Americans will be in front of their flatscreens tonight, hoping to find out where the island has been moved to. Their questions are many. Why was Locke in the casket? And why were they referring to him as Jeremy Bentham? Is Jin really dead? How will the Oceanic 6 get back to the island? 

Even if one of these questions is answered tonight, there will likely be ten more once the final word pops up on that screen and we hear that familiar sound effect. Every commercial break, we'll look around at our friends, wondering what in the hell just happened, and what could possibly happen next.

It's official. LOST-mania is upon us.

Never has a show gripped American television audiences quite like LOST has since 2004. We all know the premise of the show, and we all know that, if one were to try to start watching tonight without any prior knowledge, they would be asking so many questions that they would miss most of the show. 

LOST fans are crazy. There are hundreds of websites and message boards devoted to the show. People like to come up with theories about where the plot is going next and about certain mysterious parts of the show like the Smoke Monster and Jacob. Fans are polarized about almost every character, but there are some who are universally hated. And in most cases, these characters are killed off. Take Ana Lucia Cortez for instance. I hated her, you hated her, pretty much everyone hated her. There was nothing to her character, and Michelle Rodriguez (why is she famous?) did a pretty crappy job of acting. From her introduction in Season 2 to her eventual demise later in the same season, I hoped that every episode I watched would be her last. 

Isn't it funny that we get so invested in a show that we hope for a character to be killed off? And that we get online and postulate what could and should happen in future episodes? We Tivo it. We watch it twice. We yell, we scream, we cry. We read reviews afterwards. LOST fans are crazy. I'm crazy about LOST. I've watched about 45 episodes in the last 2 weeks to get ready for tonight. My mind is full of Desmond's flashes and Claire's screams for her "BABY!!!!!!". Maybe I am crazy. Maybe we all are. But this show is good on so many levels. So let me enjoy my crush on Juliet. Let me enjoy the never-ending plot twists. Let me be the only one who doesn't really like Jack. Let me be obsessed with getting LOST.

Monday, January 12, 2009

In the New Year.

It's really tough to return to posting regularly after having been gone for so long. Internet access was shoddy, at best. Time became more and more precious after Christmas. Trips, friends, and festivities took up almost all of my time, but it was enjoyed.

Extended breaks that involve going home (Hoover) are increasingly tough as I get older and more disconnected from that place. Times are changing. Home reminds me of things past, and things that are no longer a part of my life. And "home" is a term that is changing meanings. Auburn feels more like home than Bluff Park. But Auburn doesn't always feel like home either. Home is where the people I love are. Yes, I love my mom and my grandmother, and it was excellent to be in their presence for a few weeks of laughter, good food, good talks, and relaxation. But my little brother, who I feel more and more disconnected with every day, was MIA for most of the break. Something about a girl in Tuscaloosa. And I love my older brother, sister-in-law, and beautiful niece and nephews. It was wonderful to play with them and hold Sam. I got to go with Stokes see Connie play with Red Mountain at Workplay, and that was an excellent night. My family is great, and I am thankful for them and love them and thank God for them. 

But home took a different shape over this break. I think this is cliche nowadays, but home is a mindset. I felt at home with 5 kids in our house on an otherwise lazy, low-key Christmas Day, but home was more evident in my friends in Nashville and Boulder, and most evident in my strong desire to get back to Auburn for what is my last semester of school. 

Nashville was great. I loved ringing in the New Year and my birthday with Auburn friends at a downtown establishment which I would otherwise never call "my kind of place". I loved seeing people in Nashville I haven't seen in a while. Boulder was great. It's a beautiful place. It was so good to see many of my friends from the Kenya trip. But I felt extremely disconnected from them, to be honest. It's a somewhat sobering thought to realize that you can still love people, but realize that you've all changed so much that you are nothing like them anymore. Not that it's bad or anyone's fault. Just something that happens, and it's hard to realize until you spend some time with them. 

The whole time, thoughts of Auburn had a tight grip on me. I was sick of festivities. Christmas, New Years, my birthday, and a huge reunion were all great, but I was ready for  it all to be over. I was ready to be in Auburn. I was ready to be home.

I'm home now. Life is back to normal. Not routine, just normal. Normal can be good sometimes. This is the beginning of the end of a quite interesting chapter of my life. Here's to having even more fun, and making even more memories, than I've made in the last 3 1/2 years. Let the final laps of this race begin. And let the location and details of the next race reveal themselves soon. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Veil their faces to the presence..."

Let all mortal flesh keep silence
and with fear and trembling stand.
Ponder nothing earthly-minded,
for with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to Earth, descended,
our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on Earth he stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
in the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the powers of hell may vanish
as the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim, with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord, most high.

-Liturgy of St. James

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Yesterday morning I was awoken by my grandmother standing next to my bed, quietly trying to wake me up, yet also trying to not disturb my slumber. She always acts this way... forceful, yet subtle. A gentle soul, never wanting to encroach on me or my goings on. As an adjective to describe her, "selfless" does not even come close. 

8:00 AM at my house usually means very little. My mother is taking advantage of this time in her life. She has trouble sleeping as it is, so I don't normally expect her to be up. My younger sibling is a night owl, always being social, or the life of the party, usually both. I like to think that getting up early while home for the holidays is a good idea. In practice, however, it rarely happens. But Meme is always up by 7. Making coffee (for us), although most of the coffee the day before got poured out. Sugar, spoons, cups, and travel mugs all set out. Reading the paper, then leaving the Sports section on top when she's done, because she knows that's where I go first. Making sure the kitchen is spotless, even if she had already done so the night before. Every dish clean. Trying to be as quiet as possible, so as to not wake the rest of us late sleepers. She always apologizes for being loud, even though I never hear her. 

Meme woke me yesterday to tell me that her brother, my great uncle, needed some help, and would be there in an hour to pick me up. No details, but I always know what this means. Harold has been building brick mailboxes, along with doing other brick and stone work, around Birmingham for around 12 years (after retiring from working for the US Postal Service). He's old. I would guess around 86. He has no business doing what he does. He doesn't need the money. He's had a stroke and hurt himself multiple times the last couple of years. He's hard of hearing. He's a terrible driver. But yesterday he finished his 580th mailbox. He often needs help lifting large cement blocks that go on top of the mailboxes he usually builds. You've probably seen many around Birmingham. If my brother or I are home, he comes calling. He would do it by himself if he could, but it's just not possible. Yesterday was no different. We lifted two huge cement blocks onto the top of his newest creation. Even with a third person's help, it was tougher than its ever been. He's not getting any younger. And I'm not the strongest guy around. But we got it done. Just like always. 580 mailboxes completed, and I guarantee you as long as he is alive he won't quit. 

What an inspiration these two older relatives are. And how lazy they make me feel! 86 and 80 years old, still work regular jobs. When Meme isn't working, she's always DOING something. Always. She stays up late. She gets up early. Cooking, cleaning, reading, working in the yard, visiting her widowed friends in nursing homes who have little family. She rarely relaxes. She never stops. Harold works outside, whether in the 100 degree heat or the 25 degree winters, 6 days a week. He still collects aluminum cans to take and exchange for money. Money he doesn't need. He pays me $20 every time I help him, which is ridiculous for the amount of work I do (although I might deserve that much for daring to ride in his truck with him!). In other words, he's giving. He's selfless.

Two extremely hard working, extremely selfless individuals. Both of whom probably have no business doing the things they do. But they're Nalls. There are a total of 7 kids. They're all this way. Hard-working. Selfless. Inspiring. My mom and I often joke that the Nalls are going to live forever, because despite almost all of their spouses having died (sometimes more than one spouse), they have all lived. And besides one who's in a nursing home, they are all active and busy. Compared to them, my sleeping until 10:00 AM and sitting around the house watching sports all day during my "break" from school is embarrassing. It's obvious that God put them in my life to give me something to work towards. To aspire to. I'm constantly being inspired to aspire.