Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back in the saddle

One of my classes was cancelled today and so I finally have some peace to sit at a computer. I haven't posted in a while, I am almost done with my first week of classes for the fall semester. Last week was fun, but very different from my usual routine. To start with I helped my little sister move into her dorm last Monday. That is going to be a weird transition. I have gone from having College Station to myself, to having to share it with my little sister. That and becuase of our relative proximities I have now replaced my dad as her go to guy to get stuff done. It isn't too bad though, she is pretty cool, for a freshman at least (just kidding), and I can mooch meal plans from her. The other change has been the new house. I have been living there all summer, but the house has been mostly empty, just Jason, Kyle and me. Now that everyone is in the house I think I am going to be forced to become social and outgoing or die trying. There were people over and something going on at our house almost every night last week. My introverted nature has been stretched to the limit by the extended socializing. I spent the weekend at a church retreat near Giddings. It was a lot of fun getting to play with all the kids, playing a brutal game of disc golf, hanging out with the older non-student members of the church. My classes this week have carried the promise of long nights and hard work as all of my classes seem to have kicked into a higher gear of difficulty. What ever happened to syllabus day, that magical first day that you got your syllabus, listened to the professor's introduction and got to leave early? My first day in my construction law class left me with a court case to research to discuss in class and a 2-3 page ethics paper. It seems all of my classes involve major projects. Such is the fate of the COSC student. I went and watched a movie with David at the newly married Amanda and Travis' apartment. It still seems strange to know a married couple my age. Married people have always been older than me, but I know that their wedding was just the tip of the iceberg. Who knows, perhaps I may find my way into a matrimonial state of mind in the not too distant future? That would involve a girlfriend and so that future is still fairly distant. I'm continuing to work for Brock at the Ag Engineering department around classes. A couple of hours after classes is all I have time for, but a little pocket cash always helps. I am looking forward to this weekends football game. Kurt and I woke up earlyish on Monday to pull tickets. We weren't at the front of the line, but I think we got pretty good seats. Top of the first deck, 40 yard line. High enough to see the entire field but low enough to hear the crack of the helmets. Anyway, I hope to write again soon on a more philosophical subject when I have more time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Commgroup was thought provoking. I didn't add much to the discussion though that isn't unusual for me. The discussion was over the teaching this past Sunday. While I missed church the discussion got me thinking. We discussed God's purpose for our lives. God created each of us as individuals with an individual purpose in this life and gave us each a unique set of skills and talents to use towards those purposes. But what are those purposes? How do we know God's purpose for our life? Based on both the discussion, reading and personal thoughts here are my ideas on the subject. I believe God has a purpose for us, I don't think it has to be just a single purpose for our entire life. I do believe that He can have a different purpose for different stages of our lives. How do we discern what His purpose is? I'm not sure we are ever supposed to know for sure. I think that we are supposed to be constantly seeking after him to find out. But I do believe we get cues as to the general direction. They are in the way we are made. The desires God places in our heart, the skills and talents he gives us, the natural inclinations we have. I think these are all clues to what God intends for us. At least I hope so, it would be sick joke if God gave us these dreams and aspirations without intending for us to ever find fulfillment for them, but I believe God is good so I keep my hope alive. As much as I hate to share, I feel it necessary to share my goals and aspirations to further the discussion. I have no knack for conversation. I am not able to have a conversation with someone and leave being close friends. I wish I was a social butterfly able to pour into peoples lives. I'm not, what I can do, what I have always done is work. When I am nervous in a social situation I look for something to do. It is why at parties I look to help in the kitchen or wash dishes. There is comfort for me in working, a purity of spirit that comes from pouring my effort into a task. I enjoy helping people. I enjoy working hard towards a tangible goal especially if I have someone working alongside me. I believe that God has a purpose for me that includes that love of work. It is part of the reason I chose my career path as I believe it may help me in that purpose. I have been thinking about that since I started college and had to figure out what my major was. It seemed so clear when I first started down this road but the closer I get to the real world the fuzzier it seems to get.
Closer to my heart is my desire to be a father. I don't know what it is, and I feel weird admitting it, but I would like nothing better than to have a family to support and love. Partly I think I want the chance to be as cool a father as my dad is. I don't want it tomorrow, and I am determined to go about it with dignity and in a Christlike way. Of course I have no idea what that looks like. It frustrates me to no end. It is one of the stronger desires of my heart, I'm sure God has placed it there for a reason, but it is the one thing I have no idea how to reach for. I know that I need to start by getting married and then family will come, but how do I find and capture the heart of a godly woman when I have no idea how to go about it? It frustrates the heck out of me. I am at a point in my life where I could reasonably meet someone and get married. I have friends getting married this weekend. If I found the right girl I would get married tomorrow, but how do I get there when I don't even know how to go about dating a girl. Maybe this is going to be an area of my life where God wants to work, because as I am utterly hopeless without Him. Or maybe I need to take more initiative. Most likely it will be a bit of both, God working the circumstances to nudge me into taking the initiative. I just hope I figure it out sooner rather than later. I already know an amazing godly young woman, but circumstances have urged caution and so I play it cool and hope for an opportunity to.... ... to what? Well enough ranting, it is late so I will end this by saying a prayer. I pray that God grants me the wisdom to know his purpose for me life, and the courage to follow where he may lead. Amen.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

It's been a busy week. Last week I was sick for most of the week and being stuck at the house all week just about killed me. I got over it just in time to go to RTDA on Monday. The Retail Tobacconist Dealers Association annual trade show is a major shindig where the many cigar and tobacco makers come to show their new products and network with retailers. This was the first time I have gone and it was an educational experience, learning about how the business runs, how we manipulate the show specials to get the products we want at the best prices. While I'm not planning on graduating and going back to work in the stores, I could see myself getting back into the business later on. It certainly was fun learning more about the business. A few days of meeting the movers and shakers of the tobacco world and now back to College Station. I had a good time today, I went to the range and got some good trigger time in and finished the day enjoying a good cigar with David and Kyle. Therapy for the soul. It is strange how the process of violently and explosively punching holes in a paper target at 15 ft can just relax you unlike anything else. Shooting is more than just pointing and shooting, at its best it is the process of focusing yourself into each shot. It is thinking without thinking. You focus on one small thing practicing it till you don't have to think about it and then you do it again, working on something else. It is the endeavor of trying to reach perfection, the integration of mind, body and machine into a single system working to complete a task with the utmost precision. You can focus on the shot and feel the stress flying down range with each shot. You just can't beat it. Cigars are much of the opposite. Cigars force you to slow down and relax. There isn't a way to rush a cigar. If you rush it you ruin it and might as well not bother. Native Americans passed a peace pipe to show good will and fellowship between them. Cigars are some of the same for me. Enjoying a cigar with someone is a show of goodwill. It is an hour spent together enjoying something together. It is a way of connecting with my friends and my father. Enough of my relaxation. This summer is almost over. It feels like it has disappeared quicker than ever. The second half has been spent at a job I don't enjoy with too little time spent with friends. I have one more year of school left, I just hope I make the most of it. I hope to go straight into grad school, but it is too early to know what will happen.
Well I think that is enough rambling for tonight.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I haven't posted for about a week because I have been in North Carolina. My sister had a horse show and the rest of the family explored the local area. One of my favorite sites on the trip was the Biltmore Estate. This massive house was built by William Vanderbilt and is the largest private home in the country. But at the same time a house just isn't a home unless you have rooms for you, your family, and 34 of your closest friends; not to mention the 64 servants that lived in the home as well. We also explored some of the local cuisine. My favorite was in downtown Hendersonville. It was a little restaurant called Expressions and they had a rosemary crusted pork loin with lemon mushroom caper sauce that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. A glass of Pinot Noire and a chocolate mousse for desert completed the meal. They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. That would definitely be the case for me. I love food. I enjoy cooking it, sharing a meal with friends, eating out or staying in, expensive high cuisine or hamburgers on the grill. I can be rather opinionated when it comes to food as well.
As much as I enjoyed the trip I am glad to be back in College Station where I can relax. In North Carolina we spent most of the time doing things together. While I love hanging out with people, I need a certain amount of solitude to relax. I don't necessarily need to be completely alone, just allowed to separate myself a bit to reflect and relax. I have to force such solitude into my day at home with my family. It is nice to be able to be alone and relax. In College Station I think I have gone to the other extreme. I have had a lifestyle this summer that has given me excess solitude. Too much of a good thing can be very bad.
I have many thoughts that have built up on this trip and that still spin about my mind, but I am tired and need to rest so my other musings will have to wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

When are we old enough to do cool classy adult things? When I go home one of the things I look forward to is hanging out with my parents and some family friends. We go to the store after closing (for anyone reading this that doesn't know my family owns and runs a tobacconist selling the finest in cigars, pipes, and pipe tobacco) we provide the cigars and they bring a bottle of wine. They sit and talk for a couple of hours till the cigars are long since turned to ash and the bottle is empty. The conversation is light enough for me to be able to jump in and deep enough to be thought provoking. My question is, when am I old enough that I can get a group of friends together and invite them over for cigars and wine and not have people think I'm nuts. Maybe I'll have to try it anyway.

I'm going to be going to North Carolina in a day with my family. My sister has a horse show near Asheville and my parents at the last minute decided that maybe the rest of us could go up and watch her ride some, explore the area and get in a bit of a vacation while my sister works horses at the show. I'm excited becuase the area is beautiful. I remember briefly visiting the area many years ago and I'm looking forward to seeing it with fresh eyes. Right on the edge of the Appalachian mountains. It should be a good time, but I'll have to wait and see.

It is strange, this afternoon when I couldn't get to a computer I had all sorts of stuff in my head to write about, but now that I finally get to a computer I find myself with very little interesting to say. If nothing else maybe writing will become a bit more habitual for it. Anyway I need to sleep becuase it is already late and I have a lot to do before I leave tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

the words less traveled

This evening I helped some friends who are renovating their newly bought house. As I left they were thanking me for helping while I was thanking them for letting me come and play with their new house. How sweet would it be to have the budget and time to just pick a house and fix it up? Add a wall here, take that wall down, paint over that hideous orange in the kitchen. I'm sure that such a project might loose some of its appeal if I was living in the midst of the chaos, but it was a lot of fun talking with him and what he was doing with the house, how are you going to frame that out, agreeing on how weird the house had been built by the original owner. Ahhh, bliss.
I've been thinking (never a good sign) during the several awkward silences I have been part of this week about how much never gets said. Think about it, how often do you think about saying something but stop short of actually verbalizing? Now I know that often times this is a good thing as I can sometimes think things that are not especially uplifting, but aside from that how often do I stop short of speaking because I am trying to play it cool or just loose my nerve? What would it even look like if I actually spoke what was on my heart completely without any second thoughts to appearances. People might think I was nuts, but they would surely recognize that something about me was different. What if I just told my friends exactly how good it was to see them, or gave the complete and blatant truth about my life, good or bad, when someone asked "how's it going?". How would people take it if I started telling the women around me just how beautiful they are? (ex. Hi, you don't really know me but I just wanted to say that you look amazing today) Shy of that I'd just like to be able to openly tell a girl that I'm interested in them without having to spend a week working myself up for it. What would that total honesty look like? I doubt the world is ready for such a man, and even more if I could ever get like that but it would be nice if just a few more of those stifled words were set free.
As always I'm looking forward to this weekend with hope. Weekends always bring hope, hope of getting the chance to enjoy friendships and fun. Too often I squander my weekends to the backs of my eyelids (sleep) or television. But the great bit is that every weekend brings new hope of some fun get together with friends. We shall see what this weekend brings.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Say No to Drugs

Television can have a much more powerful effect on us than we give it credit for. It can influence the way we view ourselves and the world, and ties up large quantities of our time. I know for me TV has become almost a narcotic that I am much too addicted to. When life sucks or I just don't want to think, I can turn the TV on and my brain off for mindless entertainment. It is an escape from the day to day reality of a life that isn't always good. I can try to justify the TV I watch by talking about how I mostly watch educational TV and that I am learning from it, but it is like learning about thermodynamics from picture books, all you get is just enough jargon and information to be an informed idiot, but an idiot nonetheless. I escape to TV programming instead of dealing with real life. I can see how much time I waste on television, how it affects the subject of my thoughts, but I now have an addiction to battle. TV is a habit for me. I don't like living in a quiet house and TV is my traditional white noise, but I cannot help but give it my attention. If I turn it on I will watch it. I know there are better uses of my time, and I intend to start finding them with more persistence. I need to spend that time with a book, a paintbrush, building something; any of which will teach me more and help me grow. I also feel that TV has dulled my senses so that I have to look harder for the small beauties all around. I think it is time for me to step back into the real world and find joy in the small things I haven't taken time to notice in too long.