Monday, February 23, 2009

Hey Jude

So Erin is having a boy!!! When she went in for the ultrasound a week or two ago, they couldn't tell what it was because he was riding the umbilical cord. But she went to this place that does 3D pictures of the baby and was able to get some really great pictures of him sucking his thumb and posing for the camera. He is so cute! We are all so excited and can't wait for Jude to make his debut in June! For the really good pictures and news go to her blog-

Sunday, February 8, 2009

CS Lewis on Prayer

I got an awesome book for Christmas, The Quotable Lewis, which I have been wanting for a super long time. I have been having a hard time with prayer lately and so I decided to read some stuff from different authors and church leaders. I looked in this book and found some awesome, awesome, AWESOME!!! thoughts from him.

"Take not, oh Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in Thy great,
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate."
-Poems, "Footnote to All Prayers" (1933) p. 129

"The prayer preceding all prayers is 'May it be the real I that speaks. May it be the real Thou that I speak to.' . . . Emotional intensity is in itself no proof of spiritual depth. If we pray in terror we shall pray earnestly; it only proves that terror is an earnest emotion. Only God Himself can let the bucket down to the depths in us. . . The most blessed result of prayer would be to rise thinking 'But I never knew before, I never dreamed . . . ' I suppose it was such a moment that Thomas Aquinas said of all his theology, 'It reminds me of straw.' "
- Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, chap. 15, para. 15-17, pp. 81-82

"We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us."
- Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, chap. 4, para. 15, p. 22


Look at the stars, Look how they shine for you
And all the things that you do.
Yeah they were all yellow.

I came along, I wrote a song for you
And everything you do.
And it was called yellow.

So then I took my turn
Oh what a thing to've done
And it was all yellow.

And your skin, oh yeah your skin and bones,
Turn into something beautiful
Don't you know?
You know I love you so,
You know I love you so.

I swam across, I jumped across for you,
Oh, what a thing to do,
Cuz you were all yellow.

I drew a line, I drew a line for you.
Oh, what a thing to do, my love,
And it was all yellow,
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And your skin, oh yeah, your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
Do you know?
For you I bleed myself dry.
For you I bleed myself dry.

It's true,
Look how they shine for you
Look how they shine for you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Black Belt/Leadership Essay (Kwon Shu/Kenpo)

So, I had to write a short essay for karate as an assignment for acceptance into the leadership team. This is what I came up with:

"Over the past 14 months, karate has become a very important part of my life. As a child, I had a great desire to get involved in karate, yet I don’t really know where this dream came from. None of my friends or anyone in my family was interested or involved in martial arts at all. It just started to grow in me one day until it became all consuming. Maybe it was from the first time that I saw the movie, The Karate Kid. Something about that movie just spoke to me, but the possibility of ever achieving that dream was almost instantly pushed aside when I realized the futility of asking for something like that. I remember asking to participate in soccer, and laying in bed thinking about what I would say and how I could present it to my mother, and when I did I knew I would have to have a way to come up with the money. That was no where near as expensive as karate would be all year, and so I never asked. I knew she would respond with frustrated words similar to, “You know we don’t have the money for that. Why don’t you call your dad and ask him if he can pay for something like that!” I knew full well that would never happen, especially since I had already asked him to help me buy my $15 PE uniform, which he refused, and so, that was it, the hope of ever fulfilling that dream was gone. I dropped it completely, knowing it was hopeless to continue to even think about it at all. But dreams never do really die. They always seem to find a way to pop back up from time to time, always tormenting you until you take the time to pursue them, which is what I finally decided to do. I was talking to my mom on the phone one evening and told her how much I wanted to do this and reminded her of how I had wanted to do this since I was about 8 or 9 years old. She had completely forgotten it and was surprised. I started to cry terribly and told her I felt like I would never be able to do this and that I was so frustrated that I let myself just sweep so many hopes and dreams aside or ignore them all these years just because I was so worried about everyone else. I didn’t know why it was so important to me, but the emotions became so strong, and the years of frustration finally just started to pour out.
I am grateful beyond measure that I finally listened to my heart and took the initiative to do this! I have learned so many things through karate, not just about self defense, but about myself; who I am, what I hope to achieve and be, and what I can be. From the time when this dream was born at 8 years old until I finally acted upon it last year, I never really thought, “I want to be a black belt.” I don’t know why I wanted to do karate or what I hoped to get out of it, I just wanted it and I knew I needed it. Something about it just called to me even though I didn’t know what it had to offer. But, since I started, I have learned to set higher goals and to believe that they really can be achieved. I have always been a determined person and once I start something, I usually see it through to the end. Yet, since starting karate, I have become even more focused on what I can become. Earning a black belt isn’t about status or rank and it isn’t the end of the road either. As I see it, earning my black belt is just the beginning. Maybe I will continue on and earn higher degrees, but even if I don’t, it is about the fact that I listened to myself and responded. This tells me that I can continue to listen and respond for the rest of my life, no matter what the situation might be.
For me, it isn’t about why I would be a great black belt. Instead, it is about why a black belt would be great for me. Until last year, I would never have seen myself where I am today and where a black belt can take me. Knowledge, wisdom, strength, confidence, faith, determination, physical health, and spiritual and emotional awareness are just a few of the things that I have seen grow and I know will continue to grow on the road to earning my black belt. These are things that I could develop through very few other pursuits. I don’t know that I have anything more to offer than anyone else, which would make me a better candidate for a black belt, but I know that what it has to offer me is something I can not deny or refuse."

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