Monday, January 31, 2005

A Song For Troubled Times

Here's a new tune I wrote a couple days ago. Contrary to what it may seem, I find hope in this world that God is accomplishing something in spite of what it sometimes looks like. I believe that the culmination of God's dreams, man's passion, and heaven will collide here... it's just a matter of time and will and patience.

But we also must be truthful and honest about how things seem.

GLORY (listen here and pardon the poor quality...)
by Ryan Lee Sharp

im so tired of hearin the same old story
to grim to bleak to have to look towards that one day in glory
when one mans plan seem to force some to head over... before their time
but he ran away, run away, don't think he'll mind

run away... you'll be fine...

damned when our dreams dont get realized
damned when we're found out by all our petty lies
damned when our plans fail, damned when people try
damned when i cant see the truth through these jaded eyes

these eyes... see through these eyes...

but i'll tell ya somethin'
more than i want to know, i want to feel
that somehow... its all gonna be alright
tell me it's gonna be alright

ill tell ya about this young man who thought it was over
still that gas-guzzlin suv just couldnt crossover
damned boy walked though, kept to that high ground
them people had no choice, inside those train cars they drowned

walk away... from this mess...

tell me bout that president from yesteryear
somethin about a better way of life through military fear
somethin about a better plan, this better man was stickin to his guns
damn theres gotta be a better way this world can be run

but i'll tell ya somethin'
more than i want to know, i want to feel
that somehow... its gonna be alright

and more than i want to see, i need to hear
someone tell me somehow... that it's gonna be alright
tell me it's gonna be alright

Sunday, January 30, 2005


I know it's a cheap shot, but they're so damn funny!

Thoughts on Life: I'd like to take this opportunity to share a few quotes from our beloved president, courtesy of the "Bushisms" calendar...

1) 'Teach a child to read and he or her can pass a literacy test.'
2) 'This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating.'
3) 'It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas.'
4) 'Neither in French nor in English nor in Mexican.'
5) 'I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe - I believe what I believe is right.'

Remembering the Dixie Chicks

Well, you may or may not love 'em, but you gotta give them props for having (excuse me) the balls to say what they said 3 years ago while on tour in Europe. The Dixie Chicks' frontwoman, Natalie Maines made a comment at one of her concerts that got their albums pulled from shelves, songs pulled off the air, and careers temporarily jeopardized.

The were some of the first to formally disagree with the war... and they were a country group!

Such confusion ensued as to how some down-home girls from Texas could disagree and be 'ashamed' of our president. People called them un-American, un-patriotic...

I remember having a discussion with my brother and his wife just after this happened. We were playing mini-golf at a little place in the Dallas area. While they support the notion of 'freedom of speech', they agreed with much of the American sentiment that once we went to war, it was time to stand behind the president... who after all, was elected by the people. And that's fair, you know? Of course fair for them to have their own opinion, but also fair to hope that once a direction was set, that it would be more helpful for the country to support it instead of wavering.

Skip ahead these 3 years or so and I am on a plane headed to Atlanta, and I look over someone's shoulder to read the headline of the newspaper in his hands. It says, "Administration feels that time for accountability is over; Time to move forward."

I felt sick to my stomach. And then I remember why I appreciated that blonde country singer from Texas saying that she disagreed with this war and was ashamed of our president: Because it is so very American and patriotic to hold our leaders accountable, to do our time to make this country what we want it to be, to stop sitting by the sidelines and go out there and help people think!

And we have an administration currently that does not want to look back and take stock; they only want to run ahead enforcing freedom by martial law. Wow.

The notion that being patriotic and pro-American means blindly (or even not-so-blindly) following W is sad to me. I feel sadness in the number of Christians who I have seen adamately support this war and this presidents decisions. Those who can not see the empire and crusade language in all this mess are blinded by something I do not have.

So, props to you Natalie Maines! Even though most of America hated you, I stand by your decision to comment on the war. Cheers to you!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Dam Would Break

So, we just finished watching Mona Lisa Smile. Cute movie. Not a Dead Poet's Society caliber, but inspiring none the less.

It got me to thinking about how to help people transition and change and progress.

You see, I was talking with a friend yesterday. She was telling me about how some people around her are starting to ask questions, picking apart at their own foundational lives and understandings. It got me to thinking about how we begin change in opposition, you know?

I'll explain: I find that I change easiest when I am in an environment of somewhat like-minded individuals who are talking about things in ways that lead me to oppose them on first impulse. But over time, I find myself beginning to embrace or at least understand their side. But it all begins in opposition.

Still, for those of us on 'the other side' (of whatever that may be), we long for the dam to break in others' lives. You know, that they'd just get it.

But dams breaking is incredibly messy and you have to use fierce amounts of destruction (just look at what this administration's enforcing of a paradigm shift in the Middle East is doing). But if you can pick away, brick by brick, then eventually the dam will give and it will be much less painful to transition.

That's what I liked about the movie. That Julia Roberts slowly picked away (with a few bursts here and there) at these girls understanding of life and reality, then the dam broke for a few of them... but in their own time.

I just thought that was helpful to remember. People change slowly with sudden bursts here and there.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Thanks Henry.

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them."
- Henry David Thorea

This quote has stuck with me like my very own thorn in my flesh... since I was young, high school maybe. Who really thinks about these things in high school?

I want to live an extraordinary life. Not so I can be above people, not so I can impress God or my family... but simply because I think I was made to live an extraordinary life, and given the option of living a "normal" life and an extraordinary life, I'll choose the latter.

But I am so quickly pulled back to the ground every day, in good ways and in bad ways. I am reminded of my own limitations... so i seek to either overcome them or become familiar with them in order to understand myself. I want to do that which is good, but I find that I simply cannot sometimes.

Much of the Indian (eastern) world believes that life is as it is for a reason and that we should learn to embrace it, surrender to it, not master it. The western mindset is so the opposite: "you can control your own destiny". Talking with Rhianon, Heath, and Holly last night over dinner about how Michaelangelo's David epitomized that sentiment in the Renaissance era. In fact, that is what birthed the modern world, secular humanism, and yes, Henry David Thorea eventually. His transcendentalism would arise out of this, "we can do anything we want or believe in" mentality.

So I am quagmired in thought: is an extraordinary life found in attempting to surrender or attempting to control? Or are these the yin and yang of the larger equation?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I do not even know how to feel...

Wow. A guy tries to commit suicide by parking on train tracks. Then he chooses to live. The the trains derail, and it kills 11 (or more?) people.

I feel such anger against this man. I am furious that someone would be so stupid and selfish.

They are talking about the death penalty, and though it would appease my taste for justice (or revenge at least), I cannot support it. But I'm not completely sure why. I mean, I am opposed to capital punishment; I feel like it is not allowing God to finish this man's story... it sends redemption right out the window. But perhaps that is too loose. This man has sinned against society and his neighbor. Shouldn't he pay? Can our prison systems really reform him?

I dunno. Sometimes being a social liberal or social conservative doesn't fit me right.

Innocent people dead because one man's plan failed. I wish that didn't sound so familiar.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Day 8: Venezia to Nuevo York to LAX to Oceanside

Up at 6am, breakfast at 7.30am, water taxi at 8am. On the crowded water taxi, we found out that our plane had been delayed, for it was coming from JFK to us, and JFK was in a blizzard. So Delta sent another plane from Atlanta, but it was 4 hours late. So, we would wait at Marco Polo Airport for an extra 4 hours... with Team Abercrombie.

Team Abercrombie: a group of about 30-40 young college students who appeared to be on the first 'vacation' away from Pops and Mom. You get me here? All decked out in their finest Hollister and Abercrombie... some in thier Louis Vuitton bags and all bitching and whining about getting back to the States and how the lines were so long.

They somehow seemed to typify American youth culture in every bad way. Really. Loud, obnoxious, rude, amazing.

So, Holly and I grabbed a few Bellinis. I mean, sure it's only 10 in the morning now, but a little alchohol might mellow our nerves.

We finally board and take off. Oops! They forgot the inflight movie. No big deal, the flight attendant (who got chummy with Team Abercrombie) asked one of the college kids to sing over the intercom! Where am I?!? 42,000 in the air, and some kid is singing New York, New York on the intercom.

It's like a party plane. I cannot even get back to the lavatories because those damn kids are in the aisles! What is going on?!? Seriously. What is going on? There's a party going on, and no one seems to be doing anything about it! 9.5 hours of this. Wow.

So, eventually landed in JFK (where at this point there was 1.5-2 feet of snow on the ground). Deplaned. Called Jesse to tell him I'd be late (eventually he would find out that I was about 6 hours late and got in another line to claim our bags and recheck them through to LAX.

They had already booked us on a Monday (today is Sunday) flight in the evening. Delta was expecting us to get a hotel room and hang longer with Team Abercrombie...

The gods favored us! There was two seats (albeit middle seats on different rows) available on the late flight to LAX! Praise God!

As we were speeding up to take off on the main runway, we could feel our plane sliding all over the tarmack. i guess it was just that icy. Wow. Terryfying.

No sleep on the 6 hour flight back to LAX, but so good to see Jesse and our car and our home. Our trip had ended... or had it... still another 2 hours of driving to get home. Wonderful, so we stopped at Denny's.

Wonderful trip. Would visit Northern Italy again in a heartbeat... but they can keep Rome!

Ciao e Arrivederci!

Day 7: Venezia

Best day of the trip. Wow. Got lost again, shopped, took a boat to Murano (where Venetian glass is made). Hey, remeber, these are the guys who came up with the blinds, you know?

Lunch another little local joint. Pasta and minestrone soup. Mmm.

Got more lost, shopped, drinks at a little cafe in a town square as the sun went down.

Alright, some more St. Mark's shots...

And a wonderful old building. Remember, this was a real city like 400 years ago...

Got a day pass for the vaporettos (water transportation). Holly's favorite photo she took...

And a troubling one that I took. There are several sentiments like this around Italy. Remember, it is part of the coolition as well. It is a very divided country with regards to this war.

On this particular boat ride around the back side of Venice, we saw the Alps. Spectacular! Wow.

Dinner was interesting: our last night, we decided to go for a nice dinner. Looked for one restaraunt: it was closed. Another: it was booked full up. So, the third option. Couldn't totally read the menu, but it looked nice.

Went in, ordered from a sort of put-off waitress. Again, I couldn't totally understand the menu.

Out came out some more of that sparkling wine! Aye! I do not understand carbonation and wine together. No! Basta!

But then, the main course: Spaghetti, in black sauce, with OCTOPUS! Aye! What the hell was I thinking? I guess I didn't read the menu properly. I couldn't eat it. So Holly ate it for me. Blessings!

Came home after dinner and packed and slept. Wonderful day. Wonderful day.

Tomorrow will be the worst day of the trip. Stay tuned.

Day 6: Venezia

Slept in until 9.30am! Woo-hoo! Finally a solid night of great sleep. The beds are so much nicer at this hotel. Big room. So nice! Grabbed some free breakfast at the hotel and then took off.

Our agenda for the day: GET LOST! There are so many little islands and canals on these islands that there is no other way to go. So we did. And lost we got. Wonderfully.

Eventually, we found St. Mark's Square. [Think: "I love this woman, I love this woman... I love this man" commercial.] Pigeons galore...

So I decided to offer my arm...

So did Holly...

Saw the basilica (lots of goldleaf) and then consulted the book of armaments as to where to go next...

How 'bout a canal?...

And a fruit stand?...

Some gondolas?...

We met this cool couple from Spain and talked for some time on the boat down the Grand Canal. Cool people. Great English speakers! They snapped this one of us...

Found a wonderful place for lunch. A rotisseria with great pasta and good wine. Cheap too! More getting lost. Siesta.

Woke up from the siesta to watch the BBC news covering the inauguration. I cannot stand listening to that man speak, so I turned the TV off. Really.

And then a late afternoon stroll and some shopping... got Holly some yarn, a sweater, some other giftts...

Pizza for dinner. Enough! (Basta!) And a Guiness.

Then we checked out this Light Show thing set to music. Interesting. Ended up falling asleep, so we went home. 11pm! Wow, what night owls. One full day left... What shall we do?

Day 5: Roma to Firenze to Venezia

Today is the day of the train. A lovely 6 hour train ride from Rome to Venice with a stop-over in Florence. We love trains. Wow. Perhaps it's just a lack of being able to really train around in the states, but whatever it is, we love training.

This was our first night to actually sleep through the night. Nice.

Woke at 6am to head to the train station, got a caffe latte and donut type thingie, and went to get on our train. We went and asked (in very broken Italian) if this was our train and the conductor/assistant/whoever he was said that we were at the wrong train (again!) and needed to find this other train on the other side of the station! Ah! Will we ever figure this out?

So, let me amend my above statement: We love travelling on trains (as in the actual being on the train), but are not fond of train stations and schedules.

Turns out the part of the train we boarded wasn't being heated that morning, so they moved us up to the sleeper cars. Holly and I got our own sleeper area for the entire trip. Wonderful! And oh the views! Snow and rolling hills and vineyards!

Arrived in Florence and hit the ground running. Only had 4 hours or so, so we began. The city was just opening up for business, so we wandered, found another bar to grab a caffe latte (Holly was still hungover on sleeping pills!).

Wandered toward the Academia where Michaelangelo's David, and passed this church on the way...

David was amazing. It is hard to explain... I mean, I'm not really into naked guys, but this was a truly stunning piece of art, and I get bored at museums and stuff, but this was amazing.

Headed out and found some food (pizza) for lunch. We ate near the Ponte Vecchio (that bridge that you see on any ad for Florence or Italy). Beautiful.

We heard that the most amazing gelato in all of Italy was here in Florence, so we checked it out and were not let down.

Again, this restored our faith in travelling in Europe and made us want to start planning a trip to Switzerland or Austria or France... oh the places we will go!

In one of the markets, we met a really nice Iranian guy. We just started talking and he told me he was from Persia... and I thought I had misunderstood him, but not he really said Persia. And I was like: Ancient Persia or is there some place still called Persia? Well, he is technically from Iran, but doesn't like the stereotypes that it pulls up, nor does he necessarily want to be associated with the government of Iran. He then asked me where I was from... I lowered my head and said... the States... He said that I shouldn't be ashamed. That just because our government is making decisions that are awful, I am separate from that. And I am.

It was just a cool moment. Me and and Iranian in Italy chatting about politics... and how to make the world a better place without war. Dreamers, I guess.

Got back on our train and headed to Venice. Snow on the beaches as we arrived. It was friggin' cold, man! Friggin' cold!

Once we got off the train and made our way out of the station, we realized that we had no idea where our hotel was and Venice isn't exactly laid out well. I mean, there are no real streets or anything, so we began to wander... and voila! we bumped into some friends we had made back in Rome. They showed us to our hotel! Wonderful.

I wasn't feeling too hot since it was so cold, so we got some pizza and hit the sack.

We had now traded subways and trains for boats... bellisimo!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Day 4: Assisi

Well, I again slept from 7.30pm till 3.30am. Holly went to sleep a bit later, but woke up at the same time. Ah!

Got to the train station around 6.30am for our 6.55am train (we thought). Turns out we wanted the 6.47am train... and we found that out at about 6.44, so we had to book it to our proper train. Once on though, we were relaxed. Leaving Rome felt nice... training across the hill country of central Italy was beautiful.

We arrived just about 2.5 hours later...

We hopped on a bus in the rain that took us to the top of the old city. This is a beautiful fortified walled city. Hopped off the bus and began hiking 'round the town.

Finally found a place to get a caffe latte... remember that it was like high 30s outside...

We made our way through a neighborhood to this old Roman bath. There is a small neighborhood that has been built around these baths. Can you imagine living just up the street from ruins?

Here is an old pagan temple converted into a church.

A view from the city out onto the hill country.

Here is the sky near the St. Francis Basilica.

A funny note: Francis was buried on the 'hill of the damned' because of who he stood with, but the church later renamed the hill, the 'hill of paradise'. Huh.

Ate at a little wine bar for lunch as we listened to The Killers' album being played over the airwaves. I guess the bartender had a taste for American pop-rock-stuff.

Kept seeing this little FIAT 500 that Holly fell in love with. They have such cute cars out there! None of this SUV craze out there.

We headed back to Rome after the shops closed in the afternoon. Grabbed our first 'real' meal. Nice. At a trattoria (traditional food).

All in all a good day... one that restored our hope in travelling in Europe!

Jim Wallis on Jon Stewart

Worth your time.


just got mine...

Day 3: Roma

Went to sleep at 7.30pm last night. Actually, I did. Holly laid in bed until like midnight. She couldn't sleep. Bummer!

Woke up at 3.30am. Both of us. Couldn't go back to sleep. Wow. Never had jetlag like this before. Wow.

Finally got up around 6am or so and got ready for the day. Today, after all, is our big day in Rome. Vatican City, the 'real' tour of the Collesium, the Sacred Walk down Via Sacra, the main tourist stops. So, up and to the shower we go. A little breakfast and then we are off!

First stop: Vatican City. This is an amazing, wild place. It was set up as a independently-operated country. But it controls more than just Vatican City. I see this as a sort of world-seat for Roman Catholicism. I am sure they see it the same way. The phrase is the Holy See. It is my understanding of how they preserved the Roman Empire: through religious (instead of purely political) means.

Some shots from Vatican City...

And the original mega-church: St. Peter's Basilica...

St. Peter's is the church that bankrupt (or at least nearly did) the Vatican back in the 15th-16th century. This was the church being built around Luther's time... what led to gathering indulgences.

Interesting fact: St. Peter's is the tallest building in Rome. No building is allowed to be built taller than the church.

After the basilica (where we saw the Pieta), we headed to the Vatican museum. Then pizza for lunch. Potato pizza. Yum.

Next, back to the Collesium for the interior tour...

Now here is something that I see throughout much of this trip: strange redemptions. Here, the Collesium (a place of torture for hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, especially Christians) has a cross right in the middle of it, as if the church said, okay, we will call this place ours.

I mean, can you see the strange sort of irony with having a cross in the middle of the Collesium?

Holly on break...

We did the Via Sacra and got lost, then it began to rain, so we figured we would head back to the hotel and then dinner. So, to the subway we went.

This time, Holly held her bag to her chest and I kept my hands in my pockets. When we got off the subway, Holly's bag had been cut into. Nothing removed luckily, but wow. Seriously, wow.

As we arrived back at our subway station near our hotel, we grabbed a panini to split (we were planning on getting gelatos that eve). It started pouring down rain. No gelato, so we stopped by a local grocer and got some wine, cheese, and crackers. Nice.

Got home and opened the wine... it was carbonated. Then took out the crackers... turns out they are graham crackers! What a night.

We said that we are done with Rome. Bought tix to Assisi (as in St. Francis of...) for tomorrow and went to bed.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Day 2: Roma

Well, after a non-sleeping flight, we arrived into Roma Fiumicino airport at a lovely 8.15am. Wonderfully cool outside! Winter felt more real and alive there than it did in Sunny Southern California. Nice.

Got our only checked bag (my new backpack). I liked that we were 'packing' even though we were staying in hotels and such. My friend Frank says there are two kinds of travellers: those with backpacks and those with suitcases. I want to be the former.

At the terminal, we realized that our shuttle was not there for us. After scanning the terminal for some help (remember that most of these people do not speak English) and failing, we found another couple that was there on the same cheap deal that we got. Gate 1 Travel to be specific. They also were waiting for the shuttle. A nice Italian chap dialed them up for us. They arrived shortly.

Our shuttle shuttled us around town and we finally arrived at our hotel. It's like 10.30am or so now. Can't check in until noon. No shower yet. Aye! Oh, shuttling around Rome was a bit surreal... all this ancient and modern stuff side by side. Weird.

Killed time by getting cash and getting ourselves our first caffe latte. Mmm. Also had a warmed panini (tost).

I was feeling a little bitchy, so I went home and took a little siesta...

After waking, Holly and I headed to the subway to jaunt around Rome... see the Collesium and such. We got felt up real good on the subway. I mean, wow, it was really weird. Nothing stolen, but it left us feeling very jaded and paranoid (like a good American). Got off the subway and walked for a few...

Then the arch of Constantine...

Then got lost, and then back by the Collesium...

We were feeling tired [read: Ryan was feeling a little bitchy again and Holly was putting up with it so graciously], so we went back to the hotel, promising ourselves that we would get an early start on the day tomorrow...

Oh, and Holly found out what a bidey (sp?) was. Ha.

Day 1: LAX to Roma

And here begins the chronicles of our trip to Italia in the wintertime. I am doing them in a day-by-day fashion even though the trip is over. This way I can do photos and stuff along the way. Ciao!

So, we left our apartment about 5am or so to head up to Orange County where we would meet Jesse. He kindly took us to the airport at that ungodly hour. Thanks Jesse. On the way to his place, we scanned the radio stations and I heard STAR 98.7 actually say, "home of THE OC". Can you believe that? Wow.

Got to the airport safe and sound, got checked in safe and sound, got on our plane safe and sound and headed out to Roma via Atlanta.

It was a night flight, so we attempted some sleepy-time. Nuh-uh. Kids crying on the trip and the only movie they were playing was "Up a Creek". I mean, seriously... Sleeping pills and wine did nothing for us.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

jesse, i hope you get this...

well, i am here in marco polo airport just north of venice and am sipping on a bellini (an especially venezian drink). jesse, i hope you check my blog today because our flight is delayed into jfk. actually, we might not even be flying into jfk, we might be flying into cincinatti. i will call you as soon as i touch down in the states.

the trip has been wonderful (with the exception of rome which i care to never return to). venice, assisi, florence... amazing.

i will do a day by day with photos once i am back home, but for now... it is a 4 hour delay here in venice with a bunch of hyper-trendy american kids running around. like an abercrombie and fitch ad.

i do hope we arrive tonight into la, but it is possible that we will have to overnight in ny or cincinatti. we shall see. i should know more in the next 12 hours.

cheers? another bellini? i think so.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

rome, oh rome, whereforart thou rome?

so, i just tried hijacking my sisters email account to send out a message to all who know us that we are okay. lisa, if you read this can you tell mom and email anyone in hollys fam that you have email for? or have mom pass it on?

with that being said, rome has been... interesting so far. we bought tickets to head to asisi tomorrow. should be a nice break from all the thieves and such here in the big city. luckily, we havent had anything stolen... just hollys bag has a knife gash in it and we have both been felt up more than we care to tell our therapist. we will take a few good memories still...

today was the vatican and the collesium. most of yesterday was jetlag.

after tomorrow, we head to venice. hope that is more chill than rome.

just bought some cheap red wine and crackers-cheese. good evening. buono serah.

ryan and holly

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Final Note

A couple days ago, the news reported that a marine vessle that was heading for Iraq cancelled its mission and headed to the Indian Ocean for relief work. The news said, "a mission of hate was turned into a mission of hope." I liked that. It gave me good feelings about our military.

But I was having dinner with a marine friend last night who said that sure it sounded good, but most marines would be pissed since they have spent months prior psyching themselves up to kill and kick down doors.

Interesting, but... interesting.

I found this article that also gives me hope. It gives me hope that those who are told never to speak up are speaking up. That there are those within the military speaking out against this war.

Anyways, here it is.

IPS NEWS: Generally, COs possess a sincere conviction that forbids them from taking part in organised killing. This objection may apply to all or to only particular aspects of war.

Only a small percentage of people who apply receive a CO discharge. But military statistics lag about one year behind, and the decisions on CO applications take on average six months to one year - sometimes as long as two years - so the exact number of COs in the present war will not be known for some time.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

World On Fire

The storms of Southern California left plenty of trash and other sorts of crap out on the beach in front of our apartment. James yesterday asked us if we wanted to help him with a trash pick-up this morning for an hour or so.

We began this morning at 10am and went until about 11 or so. Picking up small debris, styofoam, gatorades, coke bottle tops, flip-flops, shoe soles, etc. Just Holly and James and I.

Thing is, there was this tractor that was plowing the beach, "cleaning" stuff up (though it was pushing alot of the trash deeper into the sand.

We picked up 3 trash bags worth. Hardly anything. And you didn't even know what to pick up and what to leave. You wanted to help, but you didn't know if it was worthless to help since there are bigger and better machines in place to "clean" the beach, you know?

Do you follow me? Do you feel like you want to make the world a better place but find yourself shadowed by the systems that are in place to make the world better? Like you could do it (and perhaps do it better), but to bring change means realizing that change comes slowly, with sudden bursts here and there. Jesus of Nazareth said that the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed: It's planted for a long time and nothing happens, and then it's huge.

This is the reality I hope for and live by. But do I have the patience to see it through? Can you help me?

World on Fire: It's more than I can handle.
Dive into the water, try to bring my share.
Try to bring more, more than I can handle.
Bring it to the table. Bring what I am able.

God, please let Holly and I go to Thailand and help. Please.


Ha! Should I ask for royalties?

You might have to keep refreshing, but you will eventually see me!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Ironical... right?

My sister beat me to the punch.

Tsunami Pictures

A friend of mine led me to this site. Wow. The Banda Ache photos are almost too awful to be true.


I just saw that one person has cancelled their subscription to my blog. Sad day.

I mean, what did I ever do to deserve this oh my pretty audience? To deserve this virtual-rejection? I am dismayed.

That being said, Holly and I are leaving for Italy on Sunday. I hope to blog some day-to-day updates here.

For those of you who are sticking around to read my blog, thank you. You make life worth living.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Salvador Option

: "‘The Salvador Option’ - The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq"

Alarmed by the thought of another "dirty war?" U.S. officials are considering whether to hunt Sunni rebels in Iraq and Syria by creating the kind of death squads that were used in 1980s Central America, reports Newsweek. Tagged "the Salvador option," U.S.-sponsored paramilitary forces would attack not only insurgency leaders but also - and here's the key word - civilian "sympathizers." Such tactics may stop civilians from abetting rebels with impunity, cracking the insurgents' popular support, but at what cost to human rights? Not only do Iraqi interim leaders, including Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, support this strategy, but the current ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte, was ambassador to Honduras when such counterinsurgency strategies resulted in disappearance, torture, and murder in that region.

A thought for our time.

"The arrogance of power must be countered with reason, force with dialogue, pointed weapons with outstretched hands, evil with good."

- Pope John Paul II, in his address Monday to an annual gathering of world diplomats.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Our Own Storm

Wow. It has been raining for like a week straight now. It has caused the rivers to let into the ocean. Brown fresh water mixing (or attempting to mix) with the salty ocean water. Brown waves outside. Debris strewn along the beach. Palm fronds, trash, trees, things once living now dead. Wow.

And come to find out, the bridge that allowed us to cross the San Luis Rey River has been washed out to sea altogether. I mean, that bridge is like several hundred feet from my house... or at a couple thousand.