Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Past Few Weeks

So, the past few weeks has been amazing. It started off with helping Em move into a new place, then 80's party (the Friday before that Saturday was great too), then Sunday came around had some lunch and played some Rummy, (I'm really not quite sure how to spell that card game)... the week went by in a great pace, as Monday came about in a daze, Tuesday was just another blessing, Wednesday came around and got to spend some good quality time with a friend, Thursday (or really-Friday) was the realization of what it is that I needed to understand about rest, then Friday came about and in prayer, I was able to go through it-- then go to a Joel and Carly's wedding reception. Saturday was great, stared the day out slow as I slept in, then hung out with, a really great friend, Jared.

I've been seeing how God works within my days and how He's been a comfort for me. I've seen Him lead me through difficult days, sometimes at work, sometimes just in the heat of the day... I'm blessed to have such great friends and such a great girlfriend, I'm blessed to have such an awesome job and co-workers. So the past few weeks have been amazing.

Joel and Carly Poindexter's Wedding

Joel and Carly's wedding reception was great, I was Em's date, or otherwise noted in the placement card as "Emily Winter and guest." That day, I came into work thirty minutes early and worked through lunch to leave an hour early to meet up with Em and leave for the wedding early. It was simple, somewhat planned, and we had directions... what could go wrong?

Well, we got lost.

We were somewhat expecting to get lost as we both know that each of us are somewhat directionally challenged so we alloted around thirty minutes for getting lost; and as much as I like getting detoured (yes, it's a euphemism), I don't particularly like getting detoured when I need to get somewhere. At that time, I just thought to myself, we'll get there when we need to be there. Then my thoughts shifted to "this is a good friend of Em's, we need to get there," there was also this lingering sense of nervousness driving Em's car. I prayed. Then I felt her holding my hand and it was okay. I started thinking to myself again that God is in control and I felt humbled by it.

We walked around seven miles away from the location. She was anxious at first but it was okay. It was good. I can say that I felt blessed to be in that car with such an amazing person. A few minutes later after searching for the place on foot, we get back into the car, she called her dad and Aaron Green called me to give me directions. That was a blessing in itself, Aaron was giving us hints and directions to where it was and Em was listening to her father giving her similar directional advice.

So we drove on Camino Capistrano, seven miles1 or so... and we were there... at the reception; then I realized I had a great trip, and we had fun.

In other interesting news...

Co-Project 80's pictures are up:

Co-Project 80's Dance Party 2009

{1I did notice the "seven miles"... I just thank God for it.}

Links:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Caffeine Lackey

I'm addicted. I'm addicted to a drug. I'm addicted to the bitter bite of caffeine. I'm not actually addicted but I've become somewhat dependent on it's effects of it. So lately, I've been cutting off on caffeine consumption, by switching to water and iced tea, which I just found out has almost the same amount of caffeine as Coca Cola Classic. Still, somehow even without the actual withdrawal symptoms of caffeine, this happens:

Aaron Sleeps #1

Then again:

Aaron Sleeps #2

Which is okay... I did these naps just a bit during lunch break (notice no one in the background and internal time stamps on the flickr pages.) It wasn't quite the caffeine I was addicted to, nor was it really the problem...

Lately, I've been more and more tired mentally. I've been thinking and processing so much within my life that, I need to just rest. On nights like this, waking up from rest, I start thinking about everything that's happening in my life. How I'm thankful for each and every moment of it. Then I start trying to re-structure my thought process and be more cognitive about what it is I am thinking about, so I can pray about these things that concern me. Then the next day requires more thinking to fix problems for clients, trying to make sure that the fixes are stable and good.

Last night girlfriend, Emily, mentioned that she needed to manage her time more wisely. This struck a chord with me, as I started remembering Ecclesiastes and how in Solomon's wisdom he states in more poignant words: "there's a time for everything."

"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--"
- Ecclesiastes 3:1

Earlier in the afternoon Brian made a great point about the structure of multi-tasking. As he pointed out: "... it's like running three applications simultaneously, it takes longer for them to startup than opening up the programs one at a time." I still need to process further what it is I need to do to manage my time more wisely. The task at hand, as it is, is to rest. So this is it for now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Art: Natural Pigments and God

I was reading this evening about the application of gesso and rabbit glue to wood panel in over seven layers, dried- to then be sanded down smoothly flat and gilded with gold when I came across this:

Icons are not just stories in paintings, Hart explained. "The intention is to introduce you to reality, not to imitate nature. It is to show you not what you see, but what is real." So the figures of saints often go beyond the frame to show how there are no real boundaries, and buildings tend to have a strange perspective-- you can see left and right and up and down, which is meant to represent the way God "sees" the whole world at once. The use of natural pigments is similarly embodied in the Orthodox teaching that humanity-- like all Creation-- was created pure but not perfect, and the purpose of being born is to reach your true potential.
-Aiden Hart in "Color: A Natural History of the Palette" by Victoria Finlay

Aiden Hart is an Orthodox icon painter who uses classical traditional mediums and techniques to craft and paint, in Victoria Finlay's book, "Color," he describes Orthodox theology and how painting as a craft parallels to it.

I am contemplating perfection, as it is in God and the life He created that relies on His glory in necessity to perpetuate it's existence. I find that God's choice, to create man with free will, and in initial creation is pure and without sin(until the fall, as chronicled in Genesis) to be reasonable. The purpose of creating something is to beget identity to the creator. As a painter renders an illustration of a rose, it isn't so much the glory of the rose that is shown, but the skill of the painter in both artistry and technique. For God to create a being that had choice to glorify Him or not is the most profound act of cognizant thought.

What is the perfect hue, or pigment? If color is so consistent it gets uninteresting. The inconsistencies in life keep us attentive to be willing to interact with the mundane. As is with color, the imperfections at times create texture and sometimes depth. To not be able to predict how paint would flow and the minuscule of inconsistent hues in the paint give the painting more character that sometimes cannot even be replicated.

I am in awe of so much that God does throughout this life and all it's inconsistencies. He paints our lives with such beautiful natural hues, sometimes we just need to be aware to see it. I thank God for this.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

80's Party, Heck Yeah!

Em and I at the 80's Party

Last night, the Co-Project had a fundraiser party. The theme this year was "80's Dance Party." I can't really tell you how much fun it was; great music, great food, great people-- I mean, even Les was there via Skype! It was a party to experience, most of all if you like rad dancing.

Les at the Party!

In any case, I just finished cataloging 318 pictures; made sure there weren't any doubles or so... every now and again, the camera names pictures the same name, so every now and again I have to append an alternate number to a few photos. I'll be working on these photos for the next few days and uploading them to both Picasa and Facebook.

We, at "Co-" would like to thank everyone who came, you guys made the party so fun! For those who brought food- that was really delightful! For those who bought raffle tickets for prizes (specially one awesome lady who bought 50 of them), your donation means a lot and goes far... to the amazing DJs that kept the party freakin', rad and kickin'- you guys rock! For everyone who had a great time, let's try to do this again next year.

We really trust that God will provide for the ministry, in our small efforts like this, we hope that you're aware of the impact a few dollars went. So really, thank you all, from the sides of our hearts, I guess I speak for myself- the bottom of my heart is reserved, we hope you had a great time.

Sometimes I ask myself...

... Why do we have so much fun... and sometimes I get answers like theese:

  • To create an opportunity to ask for help and rely on God's providence
  • Create awareness about the Co-Project and homelessness
  • Be able to raise funds and support for the ministry
  • To take a breath from life, even just for a few hours and have some dancing fun.

So, for now; I'll be going to bed. I still have a bit of work to do with those photographs... but hopefully most of them came out nice.

p.s. {I really like my girlfriend, and really, I don't care who knows it. :-) }

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Parking Ticket in the Morning, Oh Yes

This morning, I woke up and thought to myself, "oh, this is going to be a great day... wait, the weather is slightly gloomy but oh well! That's not going to bring..." then I approached my car and saw a yellow slip on top of my window, "...me do(wn)-arnit!"

Buttercup

I really don't understand at times why such an ordinary and simple act of parking a car would be a crime. Maybe it's a crime when the city needs income. Maybe I'm just venting. I am. In any case, these tickets (yes, it's my second one- apparently non-metaphorical lightning, the ticket police, do strike at the same spot... twice) just make me a bit more cynical about parking... anywhere.

Truth is, is that I violated the overnight parking statute that isn't posted anywhere near my neighborhood, only at the borderlines entering the city. Which I would have to say, I never noticed until I had a ticket. The signs are so sma... I think I'm finished venting about that.

Nothing like a parking ticket to start the day. Whoop-dee-doo.

p.s. {Don't ask me about the pig... I really think it brings the humor out of the situation.}

Never So Far Away

Never So Far Away

So tonight was amazing for me. One of my dear friends, Les, had recently moved to Chicago, in pursuit of life. In much more a sense of adventure to grow in, and an adventure to be challenged of. It was great catching up, as he was able to be on video chat, we were able to converse for hours on end- just talking about life. I really appreciate the kind of friendships I have with these awesome men. I've learned and grown much from their company, I've fellowshipped with them and we usually end up pointing ourselves back to God.


Right There.

Les is coming back soon in September 8th to visit; I really can't wait to see him. I am really amazed at how well that form of communication worked. It was almost as if he was never really far away. In our conversation, I didn't have much to mention except my wonderful girlfriend, as she's been a great blessing to me. I have to admit, I do know that they're already a bit irritated about it... but, it was definitely something that needed to be said and something I need to be held accounted for... even in all the "cheesyness."

So, I am thankful for such great brothers in my life.

Every one of them has been reading more, and I am think to myself, "maybe I should read also." Reading novels or poetry, just never really interested me that much, but this is a great opportunity to facilitate growth in that area. I've been longing to finish a book called "Color: The History of the Palette" by Victoria Finlay, I've read it twice, halfway through. I could just never really finish it because of impatience. I think... I know, now would be a great time to pursue that book and it's knowledge. In any case, I'm somewhat looking forward to this and maybe I'll dedicate time for this.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Case of the Mondays

Yesterday wasn't such a great day for me... I had one of these:

Case of the Mondays

I was tired and somewhat restless. After work, I just went home, changed, then jumped in bed. I woke up a few hours later and just somewhat found myself in a daze. I prayed for Co- and many other things. Then I started to think about blessings. I'm not one to over-spiritualize things but when I look at what is in my life, I can't help but be thankful.

So blessings, like having one somewhat wornout breakpad that makes me drive safer and more cautiously. Another blessing is having a great group of friends that I trust so much and we continue to grow with each other and with God. A blessing in ministry with Co- and the college ministry, being able to serve there is just a privelege. I'm in a relationship with someone wonderful and we're both in a relationship with God. I couldn't be happier right now.

I stayed awake in bed in the dark of it with my eyes closed and imagining in light of everything. Then I realized it was 2:30am and I ended my prayer of thanks and praise. Then I prayed that I would wake up early in the morning. So, I'm awake now, I'm at work, and I'm doing alright.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Iced Coffee Please

Iced Coffee

Sometimes, you just wonder how much coffee you have... next time use a measuring cup... (then enter us.)

I woke up today and I felt this hopeful energy within me, of wanting to go to work... as I was thinking: "whoa, maybe I should take a minute or two," I re-set my alarm for another ten minutes and woke up at 8:00am instead of getting out of bed at 7:30am. I eventually really got out of bed at 8:30am and proceeded to go to work by 9:00am.

I got to work and to find my desk occupied (which is okay, my name isn't on it... it is, but it's okay, I'm just being sarcastic... about not being okay with having my regular desk... but I am okay with it.), and my regular soft drink glass was missing from the cupboard... and there being no more coke syrup in the soda fountain... I just screamed "Noooooooo," but it was okay... there are other cups, er, I mean- there was a cup left. It was a magnificent measuring cup. A two cup, measuring cup. In fact, this cup was a Pyrex cup that can handle both hot and cold extremities. It is durable and has measurement lines and even a handle! It was a perfect cup with a spout... it was a measuring cup.

In any case, I saw that there was coffee brewed, I filled it to a 3rd of a pint (I know, because I measured it). I grabbed 12 packets of white sugar which would be about 6 table spoons, I then proceeded to mix and dissolve it into this syrupy mix of sugar and coffee, I added ice and filled the cup to the 2cup/1pint mark with coffee... it was iced coffee and I was content.

Sometimes, all we need is some iced coffee in the morning.

Perseids

Star Gazing

I've been spending a few of my evenings with a really good friend of mine. Last night was amazing even thought the sky was laden with a mist, a cloud. We laid there and looked up. We sighed in awe of so magnificent sights. Each time I saw a star shoot across and through the shroud of fog and light I was reminded of how only God could have taken such a seemingly insignificant rock and use it so wonderfully just for a moment of beauty and glory. Then right next to me is someone amazing. I didn't have words. So I just prayed and thanked God for all He's done and all his glory. It was an amazing night.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Google Voice Business Cards

Google Voice Business Card

They arrived yesterday... I ordered them August 5th, they look like pretty regular cards. They are pretty plain (I like them). Google did this as a promotion for their new service called Google Voice. As it's printed:

Now, these cards came just as fast as I ordered them. It almost seemed like yesterday when I filled out a web form and giggled about getting 25 free business cards from iPrint.com.

I remember almost two weeks ago, a group of my friends left for Calcutta India to do door to door ministry. I had them on my mind everyday. I prayed for them everyday. Now that they're back, it's almost as if they had never left. The only thing that had changed is their life experience since a week and a half ago. I'm still excited to hear their stories.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Broom ball

Ice Broom Ball

Tonight was fun... broomball and all. 42 People in one photograph wasn't something I was expecting. I just had a feeling that it'd be a good thing to bring a tripod.

About the game, it was the college ministry against the post-college ministry. I was a traitor as I joined the post college ministry without a second thought. I was also glad as Justin, Matt, and another person decided to join me on the "dark side." (As post college group needed more people.) The game got cold and exciting, as we battled to get a silly blue ball into one of the goal nets.

Three days later, the college group scored a goal! It wasn't exactly three days, more like forty five minutes to an hour, I just want to emphasize how long it took. The energy was high as the post-college group was fierce and on fire, a few minutes later, they also had scored a goal! If we weren't so nice, we would have started a riot in the rink. I'm kidding, overall, it was a great game. Good night.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Serving: Home, Friday

It's the last day for the "Habitat" build, I met with them bearing water and Gatorade. Today involves the house sidings, plumbing and a bunch of other stuff. Today's morning crew includes: Sam, Tony, Courtney, Brooke, Drew, Blake, and Kat.

Briefing again

Blake

Plumbing? Getting to work

Have a great weekend guys.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Serving: India and Home

India Team

I'm still praying for the India team. I was in contact with Will and Lindsey yesterday; things seem hopeful. I'm still praying for their health and joy. It's already tough there to begin with, it's easy to understand how burdens can build up, but I still have a hard time imagining what it takes to go through it. So I pray that God would lift their burdens and instill in them the joy of Him, so that they may exude that joy to others in His light. I also pray that God would heal them, the fatigue of travel and conditions that they aren't accustomed to compromises their immune system. So I pray for that healing, not only of the body, also of the spirit so that they may have strength to endure the rest of this mission.

BriefingDo Work

Here at home, our service team is still out, helping Habitat for Humanity in Fullerton. Today, Alise and Jess showed up.

Update:

Working...

I'm at work.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Building Houses so People Can Build Homes

Image0565

Habitat for Humanity build in August 2007

So, that time of the year has come around again. Three 8hr days of an opportunity to serve. Our college ministry is trying to push this agenda of service in the community. Wednesday through Friday this week, we'll be working on a few homes in Fullerton. It's encouraging for me to know that there's movement within this body of believers.

I remember both years I've been privileged to serve there the past two summers (2007 & 2008), I felt as if I was serving with my body and mind as a whole. It was hot, the sun's heat beats down on you as you're trying to work carefully, hitting nails, building frames, building walls, cutting wood... then the sudden relief of a cooling breeze comes on the sweat of your brow. I remember a hopeful spirit within me as I was working with great people, all toward one cause for good and knowingly in glory of God.

This is all good. I can't wait to hear the stories.

Update:

Habitat for Humanity

Here's our build team, from left to right: Drew, Bob, Sam, Jon, Jason, Tony, Dan, Brooke, Matt, Cami, and Courtney. I met up with them and their early morning, "it's too early," faces... this was around 7:20am- so believe me, we all had the same face. After praying, they proceeded to the work site, I went grocery shopping for water and some fruits for this morning. I was there as Bob, the foreman, gave them a briefing on the work site and what they had ahead of them. I hung around for a bit and listened in; took a few pictures and then I left.

Pray for safety and fun for them today. I was not able to stay and work with them. But as I'm sitting here at work in this comfortably air conditioned room, compiling and deploying stuff, they'll be in Fullerton hammering nails, building things... I wish I was there with them.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Serving: Home

I really believe there's many opportunities to serve out there, however, there are only a few chances. Sometimes serving is doing well in a job, or being a good friend to someone you don't know. Here at home, I've tried and I've aspired to be that. To try to be selfless. At times, I feel idealistic and somewhat cynical of the actions I do that do not benefit me. To which I still act upon to do some form of good and give glory to God. I know that there is no perfection in any of the works that I do, I know that my works do not get me into heaven, I know that there are many times when I know I fall short of God's glory... yet, from my experience, God has always shown me of His faithfulness to me.

I've been helping with a ministry called Co-project, every Tuesday and Thursday I'm out in Long Beach, California, to hang out with good friends. Some that I've know for months, a few that I've known for close to or more than a year. After writing that previous post, I started thinking about how God has been working in my life and my relationships. I just wanted to share, briefly, a part of my life that has so much meaning to me.

Dinner with Friends

A little over a year and a half ago, one of my good friends Marc invited me to go feed the homeless in Long Beach. At the time, I was wondering about ways to serve God. An opportunity came for me to be on a missions trip to India, and I applied as it was an opportunity. At the time, I had both situations in mind. I remember taking priority with being with these people, whom I barely knew, to be around them. The trip was coming closer and closer, I noticed where my priorities were. It had become apparent to me that it was with these people. I felt a change within me, I noticed my heart caring for them. Later on I was faced with having to choose between my family and seeing them. I love my family so much and they made me realize that they support me in the good that "I" do.

Last year, I did not end up going to India, my heart wasn't all there. I was home last summer and I was content. I've taken joy in the blessings God gives me. He knows where He can use me, and He knows when I am truly willing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Summer Serving

This summer in our church has been filled with missions trips. Two teams have already gone out and served. One of them went to Rwanda to help with a camp for teens, a few of the things they talked about were abstinence, AIDs, and the bible. We also had a team go out to help with a camp in Israel called Musalaha, an organization that works for the reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. Then we have one more team, that has gone out to serve...

The India Team

(From left to right-top to bottom:) Troy, Will, Nathan, Emily, Corrine, Christe, Sarah, Lindsey, and Aija are currently in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) India doing door to door evangelism. I really believe in these opportunities to serve God. It's not often we're able to serve without being distracted by our lives. It's encouraging for me to see how God works, not only in the lives that He reaches out to through them, but how He's worked in them. I've been praying much for the all the teams and God's work and their heart in it.
I was working on the India team's t-shirt and on the back side it reads:

"To be a witness means to live in such a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist." -Cardinal Suhard.

It's an outpouring of faith to be able to serve, to have the heart and mind for it. I had heard this quote before from a dear friend. Both times hearing it, I was encouraged in the life I'm living. So in all of this fragmented thought, I can only say it's a blessing to just have these opportunities to serve. Even without these kinds of opportunities I believe that a Christian is able to serve God in the everyday life, I believe it takes an open and willing heart to serve Him.

So right now, I'm praying for them.

Second Post: Two Nights of Blogger API

Screenshot of the Blog

So I had been spending some time reading the blogger API figuring out how to do a few things, how to change a few things... how to make a blog layout that was "mine." So far, so good. This is way from complete, there's still much to do. Once it's done, I'll be releasing the layout for free.

I'm still not quite sure what to make of this blog... what I'm going to write about or say. Hopefully, the design comes out great and the Blogger layout is used later on by other people... it's definitely one of the more simpler designs I've worked with.

I've named the layout "Liso" which means "simple" or "plain" in Tagalog, the native language in the Philippines.