Mixtape #5 -- THIS: The Mixtape

Here is the final track listing for my latest mixtape, THIS: The Mixtape:

1) I Like You - Drew Moody
2) Starting a New Life - Van Morrison
3) Every Night - Paul McCartney
4) I'm Sticking with You - The Velvet Underground
5) The Man In Me - Bob Dylan
6) If Not for You - George Harrison
7) All I Want Is You - Barry Louis Polisar
8) I'd Rather Be with You - Joshua Radin
9) Together - William Shatner
10) Catch My Disease - Ben Lee
11) You Are the Best Thing - Ray LaMontagne
12) Funny Little Frog - Belle and Sebastian
13) Us - Regina Spektor
14) Wouldn't It Be Nice - The Beach Boys
15) Such Great Heights - Ben Folds
16) Think I'm In Love - Beck
17) If You're Into It - Flight of the Conchords
18) Young Folks - Peter Bjorn and John
19) Mars Loves Venus - The Brunettes
20) This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) - Talking Heads
21) Mushaboom - Feist
22) Beginnings - Chicago


Mixtape #4: All I'm Thinking About Is You: The Mixtape

Thank you, Megan, for the inspiration to create this mixtape.

Here is the FINAL track listing for my latest mixtape, All I'm Thinking About Is You: The Mixtape:

1) Love You In the Fall - Paul Westerberg
2) Got My Mind Set On You - George Harrison
3) So Happy Together - The Turtles
4) Dreaming of You - The Coral
5) All I'm Thinkin' About - Bruce Springsteen
6) Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye
7) I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers
8) Two of Us - The Beatles
9) Ghosts - Mark Geary
10) Dream About Me - Moby
11) Thinking About You - Pete Yorn
12) How Can I Tell You - Cat Stevens
13) All I Have to Do Is Dream - The Everly Brothers
14) Closer - Travis
15) Dreams - The Cranberries
16) I Want to Hold Your Hand - T.V. Carpio
17) Gotta Have You - The Weepies
18) In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
19) Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie
20) East from West - Denison Witmer


B.C. --> A.D.

Joshua Riley gave me a book to read a few weeks ago called The War Within, by Robert Daniels. Now, I've read a lot of books in my day -- even a lot of books about sexual purity, like this one. And, in all honesty, there's only two versions of the same book: there's the ultra-conservative version that, essentially, reads, "Masturbation is wrong, so don't do it;" then there's the version that, essentially, reads, "What's the real, internal problem? What's the condition of your heart? Here's how to deal with that."

The War Within is a pretty decent combination of both approaches, and, honestly, I've read it and heard it all before.

However, there was one particular section that I found very encouraging and I'd like to share it with you here, but in my own words so as to avoid plagiarism. Every entry will follow this outline:

B.C. (before Christ):
A.D. (after my spiritual death):


I am unworthy/unacceptable
I am accepted and deemed worthy

Psalm 139:13-24, Romans 15:7

I am a failure
I am victorious

2 Corinthians 3:5-6, Philippians 4:13

I am fearful
I am free from fear

Psalm 34:4, 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Peter 5:7, 1 John 4:18

I am weak
I am strong in Christ

Psalms 37:34, Daniel 11:32, Philippians 4:19

I am in bondage
I am free

Psalm 32:7, John 8:36, 2 Corinthians 3:17

I'm not smart
I have God's wisdom

Proverbs 2:6-7, 1 Corinthians 1:30, James 1:5

I am unloved
I am loved

John 15:9, Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 2:4, 5:1, 1 John 4:10-11

I am unwanted
I have been adopted by God

Romans 8:15-17, Galatians 4:5-7, Ephesians 1:5, 1 John 3:2

I am guilty
I am forgiven

Psalm 103:12, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14-20, Hebrews 10:17

I am depressed and hopeless
I am hopeful

Psalm 16:11, 27:13, 31:24, Romans 15:13

There is nothing special about me
I have been chosen

Psalm 139:1, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 6:11, Hebrews 10:10-14

I am not good enough
I am perfect in Christ

Colossians 2:13, Hebrews 10:14

I am defeated
I am victorious

Romans 8:37, 2 Corinthians 2:14, 1 John 5:4

I have no strength
I have God's power

Acts 1:8, Romans 8:9-11, Ephesians 1:19, 3:16

I feel condemned
I am blameless

John 3:18, Romans 8:1

I am alone
I am never alone

Romans 8:38-39, Hebrews 13:5

I have no one to care for me
I am protected and safe

Psalm 27:1-6, 32:7-11, 41

I can't reach God
I have access to God

Matthew 7:7-8, Ephesians 2:6, 1 Peter 2:5-9

I am afraid of Satan
I have authority over Satan

Colossians 1:13, 1 John 4:4, Revelation 12:7-11

I have no confidence
I am confident

Proverbs 3:26, 14:26, 28:1, Ephesians 3:12, Hebrews 10:19-22



I think I'm probably going to marry that girl.



What would I say when I saw her?

I spent the better part of three days wondering that; it was, for the most part, the only thing on my mind. What would I say when I saw her? As my friends, the Rileys, and I drove my car, Ol' Bessie, east to Columbus, Ohio, I rehearsed some lines of dialogue in my head: cheesy one-liners, smooth words, wistful, sweet nothings.

Megan, charming smile, it's such a pleasure to finally meet you.

Wow, the stars are dancing in your eyes tonight.

Hands in pockets, shoulders a little shrugged, head cocked slightly to the left, big, puppy eyes and a sheepish smile... Hi.

The words, the looks -- these fantasies dominated my thoughts for a week.

But, let me backtrack.

I almost hate to say it, but we met online. I don't know why I feel that's something to be ashamed of, but I redden with embarrassment every time I mention it. When those words, "We met online," come out of my mouth, it feels like the person I'm talking to is taken aback a little. "Oh," they reply. "Well, that's certainly... Something."

She lives four hours away from me, in central Indiana, so meeting would prove to be difficult. Luckily, Joshua needed to go to Columbus to visit a seminary and invited me along for the ride; I needed a vacation anyway, but I really wanted to meet Megan -- driving to Columbus would provide me the opportunity to do so. So I went.

All the way there, the four of us had different things on our minds, different goals, different intentions. Joshua was visiting the seminary his oldest brother attended and was deciding whether or not to pursue ministry; his wife, Sam, was eager to move out of DeKalb and start over; Aaron, Sam's younger brother, was excited at the prospect of meeting new people and leaving his troubled past behind; I was head over heels for a girl I hardly knew and wanted nothing more than to meet her.

We were in Ohio for three days, from Wednesday to Friday. When we left that Friday afternoon, the plan was to stop in Indianapolis on the way home, have dinner with Megan, then head back to DeKalb.

I had never done anything like this before, so I didn't know what to expect. I had never met someone that I've already met, if that makes any sense. What was I supposed to say? What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to act?

So I rehearsed. I prepared.

Around 7:30pm or so, that night, I got a text message from her: "I'm here!" Suddenly, my nerves, which were very apparent the minute before I received the text, went below the surface and I was, suddenly, very calm. I responded, "We're pulling off the interstate now -- we're going to park, then we'll find you." She told me she was standing next to a fountain and that she'd wait for me there.

After parking, I got out of the car and my legs gave up from under me and I was suddenly very terrified. Josh managed to calm me down just enough to walk me into the men's room at Nordstrom's. Or maybe it was Macy's. Either way, it was a fairly high-end department store. I locked myself in a stall and just... sat there for about 10 minutes. My mind was a blank -- all of the dialogue that I had rehearsed for so many days was gone -- and I was terrified. I pulled myself together, walked over to the sink and splashed cold water in my face, stared into my own eyes in the mirror and tried not to panic.

Josh came in to, again, calm me down. "Joshua, I think I'm going to finish the remainder of my life with this woman. What am I supposed to do if I can't figure out a way to start?" He wrapped his arms around me, gave me a bear hug and replied, "You just do it."

We walked outside and the fresh air, stroking my cheeks, did me good. It restored a bit of confidence. The streets were relatively empty -- certainly more empty than the streets of Chicago. I was relieved, because the emptiness helped me to concentrate on simply putting one foot in front of the other. Step, step, step, step, homeless guy, step, step, step. There we go, Drew. This is going to be okay. My rehearsed lines even started coming back to me.

I called her, so that she could guide me in her direction. It was a delight to hear her voice and it was, somehow, soothing. This is going to be okay. You're just fine.

And then I saw her.

It was from a distance, but I saw her. We were still on the phone, and she didn't see me just yet because of the awkward angle and the fact that her back was turned to me. But I saw her. My entire body turned to a leaf, and I felt the wind propel me in her direction at an alarming rate -- I quickened my steps, leaving the Rileys far behind me when they were, just seconds before, walking right alongside me.

I saw her and I couldn't force away the giant, idiotic smile that consumed my face. I told her where I was, walking up behind her and laughed a little as I watched her turn frantically from side to side to find me, but to no avail.

I saw her and she was standing only a hundred or so feet from me. I stopped dead in my tracks for a second, just to take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. In. Out. Close my eyes to gather myself. She turns around.

Then she saw me.

We hang up simultaneously, pause for a moment, then walk towards each other. She smiled at me from a distance and we both exchanged "hello's." Then, we were standing two feet from each other. That's when she smiled and every fiber of my being surrendered to her beauty.

I opened my mouth and wasn't surprised when my nerves reached out of the grave I buried them in and strangled me. The only thing that came out from the pit of my soul was, "Uhhhh..."

I looked into her eyes and melted. They were like champagne and I wanted nothing more than to cry, just to release a small amount of the mixed emotions that were bubbling up inside of me. Instead we reached for each other and embraced. We hugged for a little under half of a minute, but I didn't want to let go. Ever. It felt perfect, our bodies pressed against each other, so close, so well fitted.

I stepped back from her, breathed her in with my eyes and said, "Your picture doesn't do you any justice at all."

What? That wasn't part of the rehearsals, Drew! Stick to the script!

The rest of the night, from that moment to the one where I got into my car and drove away, was a blur of bad jokes, awkward glances, dinner in a loud restaurant, uneasiness, a homeless man on the corner who did his best to pretend he was satisfied with the leftover nachos I gave him and one more magnificent hug that didn't last nearly long enough. I can't even remember what happened, because her mere presence was so intoxicating. I drank her in, became wonderfully inebriated and have been hung over ever since.


The Librarian

As is indicative by the picture, I am quite sleepy. Today was the day from hell, and here I was thinking it was going to be wonderful.

I stayed up late with Megan last night, discussing the state of our relationship. Don't worry, everyone -- all is well and all will be better. But, every now and then, couples need to have that conversation, just to make sure both parties are heading towards the same destination. We both have issues we need to work on, and last night's conversation was a good way to highlight some of said issues.

I went to bed feeling good about what the next day would bring, but was in for a surprise.

To preface this story, I need to backtrack a bit further than my conversation with Megan: last night, I went to Jeff and Meggie's house for dinner and pipes and conversation. While there, Meggie started protesting the fact that she wouldn't be able to apply for a job the next day because she wouldn't have enough time to get all of the appropriate materials together. I asked her what job she was talking about, and she told me that Naperville Public Library is hiring for a shelving supervisor, but has an application deadline of 5pm on July 22. I reasoned that I would apply for that job.

That brings us up to speed.

So, this morning, I sat down at Lappy and spent the better part of four hours retyping my resume and cover letter so that it would be customized specifically for this job. I got everything together and, when trying to print all my materials up, realized that my printer wasn't working. Frustrating, but not a big deal -- I could save everything to a flash drive and have it printed up at a printer. Guess what -- can't find my flash drive anywhere. A little frustration builds, but not biggie -- I could save the three files (my resume, cover letter and reference sheet) to a DVD.

Mission accomplished.

The next step was gathering it all together, putting it in order and taking it to the library to apply in person. Now, one of the other materials required for this position was proof of highest level of education. So, since I graduated college with a BA, I either needed my diploma or transcripts. I went downstairs to my bedroom to find my diploma and, guess what -- I can't find it anywhere. It is nowhere to be found. At this point, I am getting really frustrated -- it's closing in on 1:30pm and I don't have ANY of the materials put together yet! After searching for 45 minutes, I freak out and give up. Of course, that happened after one of the dogs ran away. I spent another 15 minutes getting him back into the house.

Awesome. Time is just slipping away.

My only option was to drive all the way to DeKalb, have a copy of my transcript printed up, go to Copy Service and print my resume materials up, then drive all the way out to Naperville. It was 1:45 when I left Yorkville and all this driving added up to be around three and a half hours on the road.

There was no way in hell I was going to get everything turned in on time.

But here's the miraculous part -- I did get everything turned in on time. I hit every green light on the way there, I sped on I-88 and the police pulled over the people in front and back of me and there were no lines at Copy Service or at Williston Hall.

On the way to Naperville, I called the library's human resources department to make sure I had everything I needed organized and was informed that I still needed to fill out the library's application. That, according to the woman I spoke with, was probably the most important document of the bunch. But she informed that I could download the application from the library's website, fill it out and fax everything directly to her.

Mazel tov!

So, everything worked out. Megan coached me through the whole ordeal and kept encouraging me that everything would be fine. Sometimes, I need to hear the simplest words of wisdom to keep my cool, and she provided that. Mmmm. I really like that girl.

Now, a lot of you may be thinking that this seems like a lot of work just for a job. But, 1) I need a job, 2) in today's economy, I need to do whatever it takes to get a job, and 3) I want this particular job more than I've ever wanted any other job in my life.

I love books. I have a passion for books. I was an English major at NIU because I wanted to spend the rest of my life working with books, whether I was printing them, editing them, writing them, teaching from them or shelving them in a store or a library. Books are my utmost passion. You should see my personal collection sometime if you don't believe me!



First of all, my apologies for not writing the past two days. I promise I have a good excuse.

I don't, that was a lie.

However, I have some photos that will cheer you up.

For a long time (about 10 years now), I've had an acoustic Ibanez guitar named Addison. She's a good lady, always treated me well and has stood by my side through thick and thin -- more than I can say for any other lady in my life. She's not the prettiest girl in the world and she certainly isn't the most elegant, but, boy, when she gets the right set of strings on her, she purrs like a dream.

I've taken her out for nights on the town, one night stands, camping trips, vacations, church services, even to strange streets in the middle of the night to serenade the passersby. Since she's treated me so well, there was always one thing I wanted to do for her, and that was to give her a complete makeover.

Well, thanks to my good friend, Josh Richter, I was able to make that happen for Addison.

Ladies and gentlemen, without any further ado, allow me to present to you, the new and improved Addison...


Vienna 2

I got to see an old friend, Ashton, today, at the Pedal & Spoke in Batavia.

I've been considering getting a new bicycle, as Bruce Wayne just isn't cutting it anymore. For those of you who don't know (which, I'm imagining is all of you), Bruce Wayne is my 2008 Trek Soho.

I love Bruce -- he's been a really good riding companion, but the problem with Bruce is that he can't really go long distances; not as far as I'd like him to be able to go anyway. He sticks with me for about 10 or so miles, but only if there's no hills or gravel or any other obstruction that makes for a more treacherous journey. He is a single speed commuting bicycle and that personality flaw really restricts me from doing many of the things I want to do (like going 30 miles on a trail, for instance).

Worst of all, Bruce is a fragile guy and is unable to handle anything that isn't pavement. So that, of course, means we can't explore any area with gravel, dirt, grass, mud or... Well, anything that's not pavement.

I've been looking more and more into hybrid bicycles -- bikes that can handle both road and, to a certain extent, off-road riding.

(this is the part where Ashton comes in)

I was looking at the Trek 7500, 7200 and 7000, because, for all intents and purposes, I am a Trek guy. Ashton, however, told me that I should check out the Vienna 2. Today, I got to head over to the Pedal & Spoke to check it out and take it for a spin, down the Fox River Trail.

What a fantastic bicycle.

It was a smooth ride, it was an easy ride and it was a speedy ride. I biked about 5 miles in a little under 15 minutes, which is pretty good for a chubster like me!

And, as you can see, it's a fantastic looking bicycle! Shiny black finish instead of the matte of the Soho (which, I don't mind -- the matte is nice), curved top tube, saddle shocks, low, but adjustable stem...

I'm definitely considering getting the Vienna 2 -- next time I go there, though, I'd like to try the Vienna 3.

Just to be sure.


Pleased with My Purchase

There are those that laugh at me when I tell them of my love for the Goodwill Store. They chuckle and retort, "What in the world could you possibly find at the Goodwill? Why would you WANT anything from the Goodwill??"

I tell them of fantastic deals, absolute steals and meals on wheels (I really wanted to keep with that "-eal" motif I had going).

They don't believe me when I tell them of the treasures I find, stacked upon their shelves -- particularly in the book department. In the past month, I have bought at least 20 books from Goodwill, and I reckon I've spent somewheres around $20 for those books. And these aren't stupid, cheap books either -- this is actually quality literature!

Why, just last month I found a first edition copy of Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain! Sure, they wanted $30 for it, and, yes, that is pretty expensive for a thrift store, but that seemed to be a reasonable price considering it's worth around $600.

I made six more purchases today...

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
---> I've read this book a million times, but never got around to buying it. Now I have a copy.

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
---> I also found McCarthy's The Road at Goodwill. I've heard nothing but good about him, so I figured I'd get this one too.

House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
---> Three words: "Oprah's Book Club."

Waiting for God by Simone Weil
---> I really don't know what this book is about, but I figured a book by a 20th century French theologian can't be all bad.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham
---> Whenever I see a book that's won the Pulitzer Prize, I have a tendency to pick it up and thumb through it. When I see a book that's won the Pulitzer Prize at the Goodwill, I buy it, no questions asked.

A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt
---> This is a memoir by the brother of one of my favorite writers, Frank McCourt. I was very surprised when I opened to the title page and found the author's signature too, albeit addressed to "Jennifer." No bother -- I just need to come up with a story to explain this Jennifer person... Furthermore, my Irish nationalism bubbles over when I see an Irish writer and I have a high propensity to buy books by Irish writers simply for the sake of our being Irish together.

How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?

Today, Senate finally approved President Obama's national health care package -- a bill that is going to revolutionize the American health care industry. This reform is going to make health care much more affordable for the uninsured and will, in the long run, save lives.

As much as this is a major victory and a big step towards universal health care, America is still far and away from providing the same kind of affordable health care as... the rest of the world. And while this is discouraging, what's even more discouraging is the fact that there wasn't a single Republican in Senate that voted in favor of the bill -- every single one of them voted against it!


A: $

Yes, it's true -- good ol' American greed and the Almighty Dollar, once again, prevailed in the hearts of the Republican party; the supposedly God-fearing, conservative Christians. These party members turned away from their Bibles, from the story of the Good Samaritan, the stories in Acts that told of church members never being in want because other members provided for them, just long enough to say, "Fuck you, underpaid and unemployed poor people." Then, of course, they lifted their hands and proclaimed, "Hallelujah, for the Almighty Dollar shall save us all!"

I was watching the news and they were playing clips of Republicans bashing the bill and referring to it as "a job killer." Obviously, their main concern is that a bill that would make health care more affordable would put jobs in danger. Of course it is! They're not at all worried about the 1% tax increase on homes making more than $300,000 per year!

So, Republicans say that affordable health care is a job killer. But, on the other hand, unaffordable health care is a people killer. I suppose the silver lining to this debate is that more dead people means more job opportunities for the unemployed!

I think the only person that can offer commentary on this matter is The Boss, Bruce Springsteen:

Well the doctor comes 'round here with his face all bright
And he says "in a little while you'll be alright"
All he gives is a humbug pill, a dose of dope and a great big bill
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live

"Me and my old school pals had some mighty high times down here
And what happened to you poor black folks, well it just ain't fair"
He took a look around, gave a little pep talk, said "I'm with you" then he took a little walk
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live

There's bodies floatin' on Canal and the levees gone to Hell
Martha, get me my sixteen gauge and some dry shells
Them who's got got out of town and them who ain't got left to drown
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live

Got family scattered from Texas all the way to Baltimore
Yeah and I ain't got no home in this world no more
Gonna be a judgment that's a fact, a righteous train rollin' down this track
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live


Over the Wire Bible Study #6 -- Luke 2:1-21

Hello, Luke chapter 2 -- I've been looking forward to seeing you! Thus far, this has been a strange journey we've been on; but I am eagerly anticipating the adventures we shall experience now that we are together.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Luke 2:1-21

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

---> The inconvenient Truth.

This is going to sound a little weird, but I love how inconvenient the arrival of the Messiah was. It was "an inconvenient Truth," if you will.

Mary and Joseph led normal, everyday, middle class lives. They worked, they tended to their families, they paid their taxes, they worshiped their God; there was nothing out of the ordinary about their lives. That is, until Jesus appeared in their lives.

First of all, as already mentioned in a previous blog, Mary was an unmarried virgin. Her pregnancy very well could have led to public chastisement, alienation from her friends and family, ridiculed, labeled "insane" -- she even could have been disowned by her parents! "Excuse me?" they'd ask, "You say that Jehovah impregnated you with the Messiah!? That's blasphemy!" Who would believe such a ridiculous story? There is a good portion of the world's population that refuse to believe such a fantastic story even today!

...Jesus' arrival brought with it criticism, insults and slander.

And Joseph wouldn't have been spared from such ridicule either. People would have called his bride-to-be a slut, a whore -- who would've believed Mary's tale? I'm sure even Joseph was skeptical at first! His first thought was probably "My fiance cheated on me."

....Jesus' arrival brought with it skepticism, doubting and suspicion.

Now, Luke doesn't go into as much depth as Matthew does, but there were a lot of events surrounding the birth of Jesus. For one thing, as Luke does mention, Caesar Augustus instated a registration, so that all of the taxpayers in the area would be on file. This, of course, is why Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem (Bethlehem was Joseph's native city). Furthermore, the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem is no easy feat -- it was long and treacherous, over mountains, into valleys, across rivers and deserts. Joseph, of course, had to walk while his young, pregnant bride rode safely upon the back of a donkey.

...Jesus' arrival brought with it a long, dangerous journey.

When they arrived in Bethlehem, Mary suddenly went into labor. Now, this was a time without hospitals, so Joseph, in the middle of the night, had to find a place that would allow for the birth of his child. Can you imagine going door to door in a city you haven't visited in years and asking complete strangers if they'll let you use their homes or facilities so your wife can give birth? I'm guessing you wouldn't have much luck -- Joseph didn't. There wasn't any room for them in the local hotel, either, so they had to use a stable. A stable! An unclean, unsanitary, smelly, cold barn!

...Jesus' arrival brought with it desperation, destitution and refusal.

After his birth, King Herod got mad with jealousy and paranoia -- when the wise men told him that the King of the Jews was soon to be born, he suspected there would be an uprising that would remove him from the throne. To prevent it, he sent out an order to soldiers to kill all of the sons under the age of two (Matthew 2:16-18). So, in the middle of the night, with a newborn baby and a weakened bride, Joseph had to pack up and leave Bethlehem for Egypt so that his family would be safe (Matthew 2:13-15).

...Jesus' arrival brought with it condemnation, danger and persecution.

I wonder if Joseph and Mary anticipated any of it? I wonder if they were excited at the prospect of parenting the Messiah, if they romanticized it at all? I wonder, if they knew the troubles they were getting themselves into, if they would have rejected all of it?

Jesus was an incredible inconvenience to his parents. After his death and resurrection, he was still an inconvenience to all those associated with him and all those who followed him -- all of his disciples (save for Judas) were martyred and his followers were martyred by Rome, being stoned, beaten, crucified, boiled, burned at the stake, beheaded and even fed to lions. Such treatment of "Christians" -- Christ followers -- continued even into the Middle Ages (consider Joan of Arc, for example).

Jesus, even still, is an inconvenience as Christians are still being persecuted all over the world -- we are slandered, ridiculed, made fun of, chastised, belittled, even murdered in some countries. One need look no further than a Bill Maher interview, or a Richard Dawkins book, or a philosophy major at some liberal university to see evidence of this.

I, for example, will be disrespected by my peers just for writing this blog and posting it here and on my Facebook. If nobody outright criticizes my faith with a nasty comment or email, it is either because this blog is going to be entirely ignored or because people "aren't going to dignify it with a response."

And that's fine.

But, again, I wonder if people realize what they are getting themselves into when they sign up for this Jesus stuff? I wonder if they realize that Jesus' arrival in their lives is nothing like Joel Osteen or other prosperity preachers promise -- there's no fancy house, no fancy car, no debt relief, no in-ground swimming pool, no money, no grandeur, no praise, no honor, no respect.

Jesus' arrival does not bring with it a silver lining, or a happily-ever-after middle class fantasy and anyone who believes that it does was duped.


Personally, I believe it is one of God's mechanisms of separating the wheat from the chaff (Matthew 3:12). See, there are many people who will profess Christ with their lips without fully living in him or for him -- they will put on the appearance of godliness, but only because they are interested in the benefits, they believe, God will give them as rewards:

2 Timothy 3:1-9

1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

Persecution, hard times, financial uncertainty, chastisement -- these are all things, I believe (again), are devices God uses to nip false followers in the bud. My friend, Mark Wainwright, once used an image of a strong wind and a tree to illustrate this point: we were discussing the recent reports that came out of Ireland, detailing the thousands of cases of abuse (sexual and otherwise) being perpetrated in the Irish Catholic Church. We discussed what the ramifications of what that report would be and Mark said, "I believe God is pruning the Irish church. He is blowing a strong wind that will shake the dead leaves from the tree so that living leaves will flourish." The dead leaves represented the spiritually dead.

Though that example doesn't best fit with what I'm writing, the basic idea does.

If someone turns to Christ because they are attracted by the glamours promised by prosperity preachers, they are going to be severely let down. They are not truly turning to Christ as much as they are turning to an idol. And when God starts sending the strong winds of life difficulties, their faith is going to be shaken and the leaves of their dead spirituality will fall to the ground, be raked up and burned. God is going to separate the wheat from the chaff and the chaff, "He will burn with unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12).


Time for a Break

I think I might take a break tonight. Because, as you can see, someone is watching me.

Many thanks to Josh Richter for painting my guitar, Addison. I shall post pictures of her when I get her back -- should be amazing!


My Weekend

What a long weekend. What a long, strange, exhausting weekend.

Saturday morning: I wake up right on time to get ready for work, which starts at 10. I am surprised at my timely rise as I was up until all hours of the night on Friday and didn't get much sleep. What doesn't surprise me, however, was that I fell asleep for 30 minutes while showering. That, of course, made me 15 minutes late for work. When I did eventually get to work, I was surprised to find my mom in the office with, once again, her boyfriend. Now, I've been getting worked up about this for a long time as it is; I've been extremely aggravated with my mom's stupid actions and irresponsibility. I was hoping things were going to get better after she and my stepdad, apparently, decided to work things out. She even told the entire family, "I am through with Hector -- he is no more." So, one can imagine my chagrin -- nay, rage -- when I found them having a laugh in the office. Again. I walked into the office, saw them, made a quick left turn for the men's room so that I could get into the pumphouse (my office) and proceeded to trash the place with a lead pipe while shouting every obscenity in my vocabulary. My Irish blood was boiling. After a good 10 minutes, I tired myself out, collapsed in a chair and held back tears. I didn't see what good crying would've done me, but I also didn't see what bad not crying would've done me.

Saturday noon: I sat at my post, reading my Umberto Eco book, smoking cigarette after cigarette and fantasizing the things I would do to Hector with that lead pipe were he to come anywhere near me. Or look at me. I kept the pipe within reaching distance, hidden by the leg of my table, just to my right.

Saturday afternoon: Mom clocked out and went home at 3. Surprisingly, she went straight home. She tells us that Hector is, now, just a friend and that they're not having sex anymore. I'm still skeptical, but she's gone straight home three nights in a row, so that's something I guess. I supposed Hector stayed at the apartments, so I kept the pipe within reach, just in case. I've never dreamed of violence in my life; up until this situation, I've been the poster boy for pacifism. Now, I'm having daydreams about smashing a guy's face in with a lead pipe. That's troubling. I spend the rest of the afternoon shooting the shit with a couple friends at the apartments.

Saturday evening: Here was the plan -- I'd get off work at 9, then drive to Sycamore to have an all-night jam session with Josh, Ian and Corey. Joel, however, sends me a text around 8 that said his wife had just gone into labor. I relay this information to Josh and he proposes that we still hang out and, possibly, stay up all night -- sort of a "watch night," as it were. If Mandi were to give birth in the middle of the night, we were prepared to drive out to the hospital to congratulate them.

Saturday night: I drive to Sycamore and said jam session occurs. Josh's new townhouse is fantastic. We laugh, we sing, we play guitars, we watch picnicface.com. Corey goes home, then Ian falls asleep on the couch.

Midnight: Josh and I decide that if we're going to stay up, we need coffee. So we drive over to Steak 'n' Shake and talk about a myriad of things. Creepy DeKalb townies come into the restaurant, so we leave. We drive his car all over Sycamore, Maple Park, Elburn, Cortland, St. Charles and we just talk. We talked mostly about relationships -- mine with Megan and his with his wife. It was so refreshing to finally be able to talk with a friend about the significant life events that are taking place all at once in my life. I've met with Pastor Tom the last two Fridays and I think that's going to become a weekly thing, which is good and well, but as much as he's a friend, he's ultimately my pastor. It's an entirely different situation to discuss life and spirituality with a friend -- someone who's on the same level as you; not someone who speaks authoritatively into your life, but someone who helps to point you in the right direction and even sympathize with you. I miss that about DeKalb -- I don't have anyone in Yorkville that I can do that with.

Early Sunday morning: At five in the morning, after not hearing from the Nashes, I drove back to the pool to sleep on the couch in the clubhouse. I figured I could sleep at Josh's, on the floor, and get about four hours of sleep, or I could sleep on the couch at the clubhouse and get about five hours of sleep. I slept on the couch at the clubhouse and got about two hours of sleep. I did, though, get to watch the sunrise while driving there. I was hoping the sunrise would be symbolic of a new dawn in my life, but I doubt it was; the sun's rising is just an illusion caused by the world's rotation. There isn't much hope in that.

Sunday morning: The Nashes text me around 7:30 to inform that their daughter, Taylor Anne Nash, was born. I sent a brief reply and tried to fall asleep again, but it was of no use. I was excited for the Nashes, I was too tired to sleep, the sun was shining directly into my eyes and people were starting to walk around the clubhouse. I opted to just open the pool early and get back to reading Eco. I fell asleep, with the book in my hands, in the lawn chair I was sitting in by the pool. I didn't wake up again until 10:45, when I finally got my first swimmer.

Sunday afternoon: Since I run the joint and, essentially, make my own rules, I decided to leave in the middle of the day to go to the hospital for an hour or so to visit the Nashes and catch a glimpse of baby Taylor. She's a beautiful, beautiful baby and Joel and Mandi make for beautiful, beautiful parents. I'm very happy for them, very proud of them -- I know they're going to be wonderful parents for Taylor and she is going to grow up with a solid family. It is my prayer that she will be fully aware of just how blessed she is to have Joel and Mandi as her parents.

Sunday evening: I watch the Cubs split their Sunday double header and their four game series with the Cardinals. That is exactly what I did not need as my weekend's nightcap.

Sunday night: I come home for the first time since Friday night. I'm still so mad at my mom, I can't even look at her. I decided to write a blog.

And, now, I am going to bed.


The Things I Do While I Should Be Working...

At least I was able to get some writing, a lot of reading and a lot of CD burning done.

Oh. Also, I the sun burned my torso. It hurts.


Over the Wire Bible Study #5 -- Luke 1:67-80

Well, ladies and gentlemen -- here we are. We finally made it to the end of Luke 1! Now, you can rest assured that I didn't go into much detail -- not nearly as much detail as I could have gone into. Maybe one day I'll revisit these blogs and explore each book and chapter I read a bit more. But I'll save all of that for another day. For now, let's keep this good thing going as it is...

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Luke 1:67-80

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace."

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

---> Okay.

I honestly didn't think there was enough material here for me to write a blog of any worth. I was almost considering simply copying and pasting the pericapy and saying, "Welp -- that was some good stuff, eh?" But, after a second reading, I found two concepts that seem to contradict each other and wanted to pontificate:

One being God's protection, the other being John the Baptist's preparing the way for God. Going before God and, yet, following God.

In the first part of Zechariah's prophecy (v68-75), Zechariah praises God for His mercy and protection. He began his prophecy with the same words found at the beginning of other prayers and prophecies throughout the Old Testament, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel" (1 Kings 1:48, 1 Chronicles 29:10, Ezra 7:27, Psalm 41:13, Psalm 72:18, Psalm 106:48). He then proceeds to praise God for the provisions He has already made and the provisions He is going to make -- he speaks with the voice of the prophetic, calling things that are not as though they are. He praises God for protection and for ransoming Israel.

He then turns his attention to his child, John (v76-79). He prophesies that John will be a forerunner, preparing the way of the Lord and telling the world that salvation is on its way. Of course, Zechariah is merely echoing the words of Malachi:

Malachi 3:1, 4:5-6

1 "Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts... 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction."

In verse 80, of course, Luke informs us that John did, in fact, live in the wilderness and became strong in spirit before he made his debut as "John the Baptist." Then, would come John's ministry: going from town to town, as Jesus's forerunner, preparing everyone for his arrival.

Even today, God is sending out forerunners to go before Him. God is still using us to prepare the way of the Lord for all the people. He is still using us to "turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers" (Malachi 4:6). No, we can't save people -- only God has that ability. But He does use us to spread the word -- to inform mankind that salvation is on its way.

And who are we to be considered able to perform such a task? Who are we to have such a high calling? I must not only call into our question our personal statures, but I must even question our abilities -- what a high calling to prepare the way for GOD ALMIGHTY. I'm talking about the supreme creator and ruler of the universe, here. To quote an old song, we can't even walk without Him holding our hands! How, then, is it that God Himself has enough faith in us to prepare the way for Him?

A: Well. It's because He's got our backs. We have His protection.

Q: But if we have His protection, doesn't that suggest that He is going before us, and not the other way around?

A: Absolutely.

Q: ...?

A: Exactly.

It's such a paradox knowing that not only does God go before us to prepare the way, but He sends us before Him to prepare the way for Him!

I just had an interesting conversation with Joshua Riley a couple hours ago and, in this conversation, it was mentioned that "God justifies the ends to His own means." When people ask, "Why are things this way?" the only answer, really, is "Well... God." Sometimes, the only answer we can give for life's mysteries is, "God is obviously working on something."

Even John the Baptist recognizes the backwards logic of this situation! In Matthew's gospel account, he writes:

Matthew 3:13-14

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"

Even Jesus recognizes the backwards logic of this situation! Unlike John, however, he also understands there's something bigger than both of them at work, here. Check out his response:

Matthew 3:15

15 But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then [John] consented.


Over the Wire Bible Study #4 -- Luke 1:57-66

Wow -- four posts and I'm not even through Chapter 1 yet. I don't know if I'm being too meticulous or whatever, but I hope to get through Chapter 2 by Sunday. This "one pericapy at a time" business isn't getting me very far!

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Luke 1:57-66

57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, "No; he shall be called John." 61 And they said to her, "None of your relatives is called by this name." 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him.

---> I'm most intrigued by the word "fear" in this section. Luke informs us that "fear came on all their neighbors," (v65) -- why "fear?" What was it about this particular event that inspired "fear" in the hearts of their neighbors?

The word "fear" is used all over the Bible -- mostly in the phrases "fear of God" or "fear of the Lord." In my understanding, in such contexts, this word denotes an awe-inspiring respect for God. But I don't believe that is the context for "fear" in this passage -- I have to believe these people were legitimately afraid of what was happening. Here, Zechariah was muted for at least nine months for questioning God. When his neighbors start questioning Elizabeth's name choice for their baby and even going to Zechariah about it (I can only assume to nag), he blurts out, "His name is John!" (Luke tells us that he actually wrote that on a tablet since he was mute and, since this is the only account we have of this event, that must have been what happened. My imagination, however, prefers the possibility that Zechariah boldly proclaimed it silence his naysayers)

Whatever happened, it made everyone stop questioning the name immediately. I can imagine them throwing up their hands and slowly backing away, saying, "Whoa -- easy now, Zach. His name is John -- that's a good choice. Strong name," then walking away and murmuring to each other, "Well that reaction was a little unnecessary!"

But Luke tells us that they were fearful. I'm fascinated about how quickly their attitudes change from one moment to the next; one minute, they were rejoicing and praising God for His mercy (v57-58), the next minute, they're freaked out and, probably, a little offended at Zechariah's outburst.

But, consider the two events they were reacting to: when they were cheerful, they had just seen a birth. There was a cute new baby to join their little village and they were excited that God had allowed such a thing to happen. Then, when God's will, His word, is boldly proclaimed by Zechariah, they are suddenly silenced and fearful.

I find this in the church today: we get excited about the miraculous, we get excited about God's goodness and mercy and love. When we hear about forgiveness and liberty and freedom, we, rightfully, rejoice and praise God. Then the preacher comes at us with a hard gospel, with a high calling, and we are suddenly offended. When there was a cute new baby, -- possibly, for some in the village, symbolic of a new beginning -- there was something to rejoice about. But, when Zechariah comes to them and says, "You people are perverting God's will and tempting my wife to pervert God's will -- his name is JOHN!," suddenly there's nothing to rejoice about anymore. Now everyone is solemn, fearful and a little offended.


Luke tells us that they, then, walked away and talked amongst themselves about John's destiny, for they understood that if such miracles took place, surely John had a high calling on his life (v65-66).

And this leads me to ponder callings:

1) Everyone knew John had a high calling because of the miracles that surrounded his birth: Elizabeth gave birth at a very old age, Zechariah was muted for doubting God and his speech was restored for declaring God's word. If these things happened, surely God has something big in mind for John! God made these things happen for a reason; He re-aligns the stars and the planets to make His will happen.

2) The ball was in Zechariah and Elizabeth's court to facilitate God's will, His master plan. I find this to be one of the downfalls of Calvinism and open theism: Zechariah and Elizabeth had to be willing (free will), first of all, to carry out God's plan; He wasn't going to force them to do anything they didn't want to do. I believe, when Gabriel came to Zechariah and told him what was going to happen, Zechariah could have said, "Absolutely not," and flipped Gabriel off. But he didn't. And who's to say what might have happened had that happened? It was up to them to live their lives in His will and act accordingly.
The same goes for us, I think. For example, I believe I am called to be a missionary: guess what -- it's up to me to keep my passport up to date, to buy plane tickets, to learn another language if necessary, to find a place to live, to have some sort of plan. I believe I am called to be a worship leader: again, it's up to me to learn to play an instrument and practice, to get involved with a church that either needs a worship leader or has room on the worship team for another musician.
Things, more often than not, don't just happen. It's up to us to be God's hand and feet in these situations; to carry out His work. If we choose to reject His plan for our lives, if we choose not to believe, if we choose not to participate in the work He his doing, we won't receive the blessings He has in store for us (Luke 1:45, 1 Peter 3:9, Deuteronomy 28).


Over the Wire Bible Study #3 -- Luke 1:39-55

It's been a while since my last Over the Wire Bible Study update -- I don't believe Josh is doing it anymore, since he has bigger fish to fry, but it is a Wednesday night and I am bored silly; obviously this is the exact kind of spirits I should be in when deciding to study the Word a little bit.

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Luke 1:39-45

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

---> Luke 1, thus far, deals a great deal with faith. As I've discussed in the two previous posts, Luke dedicated the book to Theophilus so that he might increase in faith, Zechariah was silenced because he lacked faith even though he was a man of the cloth and Gabriel dealt fairly with Mary's lack of faith because she was an unlearned child. And now, in this selection of verses, we find Mary and Elizabeth, once again, dealing with faith.

In verse 45, Elizabeth declares the Lord's blessings on Mary because she believed that what God said was going to happen was actually going to happen. She had faith.

Now, when an angel of the Lord comes to you in the middle of the night and says, "You are going to birth the Messiah while you are still a virgin," there's one of a few ways you can react:

1) Disbelief - Mary could have very well said, "That is ridiculous. I'm 14, I'm a virgin and I'm not even the most spiritual person I know."

2) Anger - Again, Mary could have very well said, "That is ridiculous! I'm 14, I'm a virgin and I'm not even the most spiritual person I know! I don't want anything to do with this Messiah! This is going to ruin my reputation and alienate me from my friends and family! This is going to cost my life!"

3) Indifference - Mary could have said, "Well, Gabriel, let's not get too excited. I've heard God make promises before that have yet to come to pass. I mean, Israel is still in bondage, am I right? Let's just wait and see what happens."

4) Belief - Mary could have said, "Okay."

While the first three options are completely understandable reactions in Mary's situation, she opted to go with the fourth -- she laid down her life, her pride, her reservations and her doubts and said, "Okay." Because of that, even in her first meeting with someone else, the course of history already started changing.

Luke tells us that as soon as Mary came into contact with Elizabeth, the baby in her womb (John the Baptist) leaped for joy and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Two souls were filled with the Holy Spirit just by being near Jesus -- even as he was in the womb.

I have to believe that it wasn't just Jesus' mere presence that so affected Elizabeth and John, though; I have to believe that it was Elizabeth's faith that earned such a chemical reaction. Consider what Elizabeth said immediately upon seeing Mary: she didn't greet her with hugs and kisses, she didn't just say "Hello" and she didn't invite them in for milk and cookies; she boldly exclaimed, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" (v41-42)

Elizabeth knew because of her faith and she had faith because she knew. That is what saved her.

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I've been thinking a lot about faith, lately. Anyone who knows me, even moderately well, knows what I've gone through in my 24 years. And I feel like God has promised me so many things that have yet to come to pass. I don't have a job, I'm still single, I'm not out of debt, I haven't traveled, etc., etc. There are so many things that I've yet to see happen.

When I start throwing myself a pity party or when I start casting stones at God, I am now reminded of verse 45: "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

I don't feel blessed and, yet, I know I have been blessed -- interesting paradox. In the same way, I know God has spoken to me and, yet, I don't feel as though He is honoring the commitments He made to me.

This leads me to question myself, to check my heart. Is it possible that I am not being blessed because I don't really, truly believe that there will be a fulfillment of what was spoken to me from the Lord? Is it possible that I am the problem? Hmmmm.

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The Magnificat, I feel, is one of those things I simply don't need to write any sort of commentary on, so I will just copy and paste it here. I pray that Mary's praise will serve as a reminder to us who struggle with our faiths that God really is in charge and that He really will fulfill His promises:

Luke 1:46-55

46And Mary said,

"My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever."

New Beard

Obviously, this is something worth blogging about...


Mixtape #3: Under the Harvest Moon: Songs for Laying In a Field, Wrapped Up In a Starry Blanket

Here is the most up-to-date track listing for my latest mixtape, Under the Harvest Moon: Songs for Laying In a Field and Drinking Merlot, Wrapped Up In a Starry Blanket:

(song inclusion and order are subject to change upon inspiration)

1) Harvest Moon - Neil Young
2) Moonlight - Bob Dylan
3) Blue Moon - Bob Dylan
4) Pink Moon - Nick Drake
5) Each Coming Night - Iron and Wine
6) Dark As the Night - Doug Burr
7) Lay Me Down - The Frames
8) Blanket - Diego Sandrin
9) Amie - Damien Rice
10) Field Below - Regina Spektor
11) Satellite - Dave Matthews Band
12) The Song We Were Singing - Paul McCartney
13) No More Wishing - Hayley Taylor
14) Nightswimming - R.E.M.
15) Falling Slowly - The Swell Season
16) The First Time - U2
17) Something In the Night - Bruce Springsteen
18) The Nest That Sailed the Sky - Peter Gabriel
19) Tonight (Reprise) - Smashing Pumpkins

All I have to do now is listen to it, whilst laying in a field, with a bottle of wine, wrapped up in a starry blanket to know if I captured the mood just right or not.


Mixtape #2: Welcome to the Working Week: Songs to Get Through Long Work Days

Here is the final track listing for my latest mixtape, Welcome to the Working Week: Songs to Get Through Long Work Days:

1) Welcome to the Working Week - Elvis Costello
2) Superman - Lazlo Bane
3) Another Day - Paul McCartney
4) Finest Worksong - R.E.M.
5) Here It Goes Again - OK Go
6) Middle Management - Bishop Allen
7) It Don't Come Easy - Ringo Starr
8) Cleaning Windows - Van Morrison
9) Diner - Martin Sexton
10) Step Into My Office, Baby - Belle and Sebastian
11) Parade - Pretty Girls Make Graves
12) A Hard Day's Night - The Beatles
13) Hey Julie - Fountains of Wayne
14) My Only Offer - Mates of State
15) Young Folks - Peter Bjorn and John
16) Hooch - Everything
17) Fuzzy - The Incredible Moses Leroy
18) Five Years Time - Noah and the Whale
19) Saturday Night - The Thrills
20) P2 Vatican Blues (Last Saturday Night) - George Harrison
21) You Only Live Once - The Strokes


A Picture Per Day, An Album Per Day

This is my new goal.

Maintaining Radio Silence

I haven't been doing very well at maintaining this blog, but know that things are going as well as could be expected right now. I don't know what's coming around the bend, -- whether it be the light of day or a punch in the mouth -- but I'm looking forward to embracing it.