Hugs are one of the best things ever. Today I got 2 hugs. Today is a good day, hug-wise. Hugs are interesting because there are so many ways to hug. Arms over, arms under? One up, one down? Shoulders only? Side hug? Pickup hug?

Anyway, thanks for the hugs today. Really, thank you.


Old Things

Old things and memories make me happy. Below are 3 things I wrote a long time ago. They make me happy. The above picture is really old. It makes me happy, too. Memories are something that can never be taken away from you. For better or for worse I will always have been where I have been and I will always have done the things I have done. Even if, like Job of the Bible, I have it all stripped away, the fact that I used to have it can never be taken away.

Small comforts? Perhaps, but every little bit helps.

A Real Conversation

rachel (11:03:05 PM): do you like your car pics?
rachel (11:03:09 PM): they’re almost porongraphic
me (11:03:12 PM): lol
me (11:03:18 PM): poron?
rachel (11:03:31 PM): yes
rachel (11:03:41 PM): a new genre

A Poem About the Wind

Today I went out
out into the cold
cold wind hit my cheeks
cheeks nineteen years old
old cold wind feels good.

A Poem

I made you cold;
I make you colder.
I put my arm around your shoulder.
I reach out.
I know it’s sin,
to play your vocal chords again.


Baby Got Bark

I like big trees and I can not lie
You other loggers can't deny
That when a tree falls down with an itty bitty sound
And bark thrown in your face
You get sprung, wanna pull out your chain saw
'Cause you notice that tree was felled in order to be turned into toothpicks
Deep in the south where they like toothpicks (I guess)
I'm hooked and I can't stop sawing
Oh baby, I wanna chop you down with an axe
And take your picture
My homeboys tried to warn me
But that bark you got makes me so much money
Ooh, Old-Growth-Tree
You say you wanna get in my logging truck?
Well, use me, use me
'Cause you ain't that average group of trees
I've seen them dancin' in the wind
To hell with huggin'
She's sweat, wet,
Got it goin' like a turbo logging truck
I'm tired of magazines
Sayin' short trees are the thing
Take the average logger and ask him that
She gotta pack much bark
So, loggas! (Yeah!) loggas! (Yeah!)
Has your Old Growth Tree got the bark? (Hell yeah!)
Tell 'em to saw it down! (Saw it down!) Saw it down! (Saw it down!)
Saw that healthy bark!
Baby got bark!

Seriously though, Big Trees are cool.



This is my new friend Mitchell. He's on drugs. Don't ask about it.



I like geckos. I'm getting one. He'll be my Christmas present to myself. This is something that I do every year. More to come. I promise.




You, yes you. You're grounded.


I so enjoy stories. Short stories are the best as they have little time to stuff the pages with trivia and must focus on the meat and potatoes of the story. The above picture is not from any story I know, but it seems to beg the question of "What happened before this and what will happen afterward?" The best question of course is "Why?"

Here is a story that I found quite a while ago: http://www.fullmoon.nu/articles/art.php?id=tal. It is about a man's conversation with God. It's really quite interesting.


Fortune Cookies

I like fortune cookies. I don't really put a lot of weight into what they say, but I've had some that offer really good advice. The one above was terrible.

Today's fortune cookie said, "Your good deeds are not forgotten."
I had one that said, "Invite a friend on your next voyage."
Once I had one that said, "Oh God, make it stop. The pain... oh God."

Okay, maybe not.



Lately, I've had some of my best conversation via txt.

Samurphy: I think i like midnight.
Hillarious: It likes you.

We'll see how that pans out. I get the feeling that it might.


These Kids

These kids make me happy. Jeremiah, Philip, Sophia, Rhemee, Judah, Aesa, and, Grace. I love them all. Jeremiah is about to start high school and Sophia was only born on October 3rd. I look forward to many many years of watching them grow. I am only a little sad when I think about the sorrows that they have yet to discover. As an aside I will relate two stories about the most rambunctious kids.

Philip: Do you know where Gabriela is?
Me: You mean your mom?
P: Yeah.
M: You can just call her Your Mom.
P: Well, I thought you might think I meant your mom if I said that... oh. Never mind.
M: I don't know where she is. Ask my mom.
All: *Laughter*

Rhemee: Where's Rebecca?
Me: You mean your mom?
R: No.
M: You mean my friend?
R: Yeah, why isn't she here.
M: I don't know. She's really busy.
R: What is she doing?
M: I'm not sure. I haven't talked to her in a while.
R: Why not?
Gabriela: Rhemee, you can't color on the floor. Someone might step on you.

My family is worried that these kids are going to bring up bad memories or something. But I feel sorry for the kids. They lost friends and they don't know how or why. I'm sure that they'll figure it out as they grow up, but they're just looking for nice people to shower them with love and attention. I happened to bring home those kinds of girls. That they left me had nothing to do with their lives, but they felt it. Whether it was Philip asking, "Where's Wachel?" or Jeremiah asking me if Rebecca and I were still getting married but just later, they are looking for answers to questions that make sense to ask. But the other adults can't handle it. I'm not incapable of having these conversations with these kids. They deserve an answer that they can understand.



xkcd.com makes me happy. It's a quirky web comic that looks at issues from the perspective of a techno-nerd who is not socially illiterate, though was not the most popular kid in school. [above comic found at http://xkcd.com/443/.]



Club Crackers make me really happy, but endeavors of whimsy make me happier. Example: This webpage about Club Crackers.

Perhaps you're too lazy to click, so here is how they describe the above image:

"Club Crackers will stab you in the stomach, force itself into your bowels, and will consume your internal organs with divine flavor so delicious that the pain of being stabbed in the belly and stuffed with processed bread product is inconsequential."



So, I don't have a picture of this Christmas, but it made me happy.

I rolled into Charleston on no sleep and we did family pictures. Afterward I cooked up some Cheesy Rice 'n Tomatoes. They were a hit at lunch. Following lunch came the programs.

We had the normal songs, Christmas Story, and prayer. I volunteered to do my program first. I was going to try to do some sort of Dating Game thing to make everyone else feel uncomfortable, but instead I played the DVDs of my Bungys. They were quite impressed and asked lots of questions. It felt good to be able to relate that story to them and let them in on that part of South Africa. I got zero votes.

After the programs we did the gift exchange. Adam asked each of us to answer a few questions before we got our gift. "What was the most memorable event since last Christmas?" was the big one. I thought that I would be able to hold it all together, but I couldn't. It felt so good to be able to cry in front of my family and feel safe. I don't remember it verbatim, but the idea was that since so much had happened in the last year, it was really difficult to single out one item. Between the highs of being engaged, 30,000 feet in the air, and being in South Africa, it was hard to pick one as the highest of them all considering that the lows were things like being given the engagement ring back, jumping off of the highest bridge outside of the United States, and dealing with my mother's breast cancer. It's been a roller coaster ride of emotion, traveling, and life events. So I went on to the next question, "What have you learned this year?" I've learned that there is a plan. Although I have no idea why God has put me through the things I've had thrown my way, I know that He knows. I know that He has a plan for me and that I am not forgotten though I am small.

Next, I was to say whether there was a person or group that I've appreciated in the last year. It's my Mother. Mom has dealt with so much, breast cancer aside, to get the study abroad program together and sorted. She took time out of her life and the lives of her loved ones to scout locations, and assess safety/logistic issues in South Africa for students that she did not know were coming. She has done things for those students that have not been reported to anyone and never will be known by anyone but herself. In return, those students have not realized the gift that she gave them. On top of it all, she fought cancer there so that they could stay and not lose the experience or the monies spent on the trip. The great strength that I've seen my mother display is humbling.

Throughout all of this I never once ceased crying. The tears were for the disrespect she was shown, the disrespect I was shown, the things I've lost, the things I've gained, and the feeling that there is no telling whether or not the next year will be any better on average or any worse in the extreme.

The final question was quite open ended. Adam asked if we had any final thoughts. I said, "no, I don't really think about anything else." However, I hope that the next year does not drag me as far up or down, because I am near breaking. Knowing that God has a plan is what has kept me going this year, but I need more than that. Not a lot... just something more.

My story was not the most tragic, nor the most emotional. By the end my cheeks were hot with tears as I heard the out pour of emotion from my family. I head about how they love each other and how they appreciate being loved. I heard about their toils and joys. I came to realize how much this is my family. The fact that I stood alone in front of them, without a wife or son, was not because I am not worthy, or that I'd done wrong. It was because God has not put them in my family, yet. The days are not long and will soon be accomplished that I will bring to them new faces for their consideration. I know that they will embrace them as they embrace myself. I know that their love has no bottom.

That is the best gift God could have given me today.


Big Things That Move

Large, specialized machinery makes me happy. This is especially true when the machinery in question couldn't be easily replaced by other machines. Clearly the Snow Drill above meets these criteria for being cool, but there are others such as: Switchers, nearly any machinery in the logging industry, most machines seen on Dirty Jobs, and the Large Hadron Collider. Rock on Big Stuff.



Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and most of the Western United States make me happy. The happiness isn't derived from the memories I've had there. Clearly that is part of the appeal of South Africa for me, but that is not the case out West. My Western memories are very fuzzy, fleeting, and fake. The West, to me, is about the land. I just want to go there and sit.



Weather makes me happy. Sure, there are days that I don't want to deal with wind, snow, rain, or what have you. But I enjoy knowing about the weather that is coming. Now that I live outside of town, I am able to watch the weather move in. That is better than any weather map or forecast in terms of enjoyment.

It's About Time

Well, one thing that South Africa has not helped me with is punctuality. I still find that I run behind on most projects. Examples:

Mailing out Christmas CDs/cards
Final script for Christmas performance
Christmas presents
White elephant gift

The things that are part of this Saturday I will have done on time. But that is because they have a hard deadline. The Christmas CDs/cards have a real deadline of Christmas Day... though ideally sooner. That is a soft deadline. I also happen to be quite good at rationalization, so I'll say that it isn't fair for my friends to get the Christmas CD before my family does. There, that almost sounds legitimate.



Dogs make me happy. It might be the way that they are unashamed to bare their emotions. It might be the way that they need so little. I might be that they're furry. But I will always make time to pet a dog. The smiles they cause in me are always genuine. Always. These dogs are my favorites. Hands down.



To me, there is nothing quite like driving down a stretch of road. Whether that road is going West or East, Up or Down, or even if it's on a different continent than I'm used to, I love it. Even driving to waste gas for hours on end is enjoyable to me. I even have been known to drive four hours away just to say, "Hello." It would be foolish only if I couldn't have afforded the fuel and if I didn't like driving so much. Sometimes I'm only looking for an excuse to hop in Truck and drive to town.



I really enjoy climbing. I'm pretty sure that I'm not very good at it. However, I'd like to be. A friend put it the right way when she was comparing a mountain to the Grand Canyon. She said that you see a mountain and you struggle up the side until you reach the top. Then you get a brilliant view, the high of low oxygen, and it's all downhill from there. With the Grand Canyon, on the other hand, you start with a great view, take a leisurely stroll downhill, find out that there's nothing to see at the bottom of a hole, and then have to walk all the way back up. I pick mountains every time. (Above Left: Me climbing Lion's Head Mountain. Above Right: The view of Lion's Head Mountain from Table Mountain with Robben Island in the background.)



I love my truck. People ask me if I've named my truck. I have... her name is "Truck." She's been such a good truck to me though I've taken her to Devil's Tower, and past, and back. I intend on owning Truck for the rest of my life.

I never thought that I'd be a truck person, but here I am. I drive trucks for a living, I have a truck I can live in, I live in the country, I want to leave the country, and I have a truck that will go anywhere with me.

(Note: I do not own a straw hat. I do not listen to country music. I do not own a dog.)


South Africa

South Africa is such an amazing place. Though I've only been twice, it seems like SA puts bookends on chapters of my life that might otherwise have never ended or never started. SA has also given me so many fond memories, such as the one above. Mostly though, my experiences in South Africa have challenged me by asking hard questions and expecting good answers.

Thoughts on Zooey

In Hogsback I met a girl named Zooey. She and I had an interesting conversation concerning the nature of everything. As best as I can recall, it happened something like this:

Zooey: So, did the faeries bring you here?
Me: Faeries? No, this backpacker was recommended to us by some friends.


M: Wait, do you believe in faeries?
Z: Yes, I believe in all kinds of things: faeries, elves, spirits...
M: How do you know that they're real?
Z: Haven't you ever had something happen that you couldn't explain? That's the faeries.
M: I've always called that God.
Z: But God can't pay attention to every little detail. That's why he uses faeries.
M: But God can and does pay attention to every little detail. He can do anything and everything.


M: What else do faeries do?
Z: Lots. They give you hunches and nudges. They are responsible for intuition.


Z: Say, since you're a Christian, do you believe in angels?
M: No.
Z: But the Bible talks about them.
M: I don't believe in the idea of specific guardian angels or patron saints. My understanding is that they are just there to praise God as He deserves.

-conversation about topics including: Horoscopes, spirit guides, specific roles of specific elves, politics and more-

M: So, you believe in Heaven, but not Hell. How does that work?
Z: Well, you can't go to Hell if you're just reincarnated.
M: How do you keep track of all of this?
Z: I can tell you don't believe me, but you seem to be quite open minded. Thank you.
M: Well, it seems that I have one concept that I've put all of these functions into. You, on the other hand, have individuals who perform each task. It's almost like God just keeps everyone on the same page.
Z: It's a lot like that.
M: But, reincarnation is something that I can't swallow.
Z: Why not? Do you think that God is so cruel that he only gives you one shot at life?
M: I think of it as this: God lets us try and try and we fail. We will fail every time at everything. The idea being that God wants us to realize that we only fail if we don't rely on Him. Once we do that our lives get better and then when we die we get to go to the eternal party. If we don't learn the lesson, we go to Hell.


M: At what point does the reincarnation end?
Z: How do you mean?
M: Is the goal to be more God-like each time? or what?
Z: No, the idea is to perfect each relationship. You get to try over and over to make each one as good as possible and to take it as far as possible. Once you've done that you go to Heaven.
M: So, you're saying that it's the human interaction that we should focus on instead of the "do right, do good" mentality?
Z: Exactly.
M: Then, Zooey, I must ask you.
Z: Go on.
M: Have we met before?
Z: I don't think so. This feels new.


M: Your idea is so exciting. There's no need to be upset at death or separation. You'll get another chance if there's anything that is left undone.
Z: Yes.
M: I mean, we could be married one day. We could be brother and sister. We could be mother and son or father and daughter.
Z: That's the hard part. It's not that you'll marry everyone you meet. Some people are supposed to be your siblings or your boss or parent. Some are supposed to be your life mate. But you have to figure out where they are supposed to be and then that's the relationship you have to perfect.
M: Heavy.
Z: Very. But the faeries will help you.

I never found out her last name or much about her other than the fact that she's from Australia and that she travels as much as she possibly can. The last thing she said to me was very touching given our conversation. She said, "See ya in another life."



I really like ants. I think they're really cool. In South Africa we had Small Black Sugar Ants (Lepisiota capensis) that would overpower larger insects until they managed to kill it. Then they swarm in and devour it... bit by bit. Way cool. I had 2 mantids (Miomantis) and some of the ants got in and killed them both. It was bad ass.


Happy Days

Since the year is winding down, I've decided to only post about those things which make me happy.... with a picture. So, here we go:

Dressing well. I enjoy any opportunity to put on a suit and tie. In this picture note the paisley. I sure do love me some paisley. Should you happen to see me out and about in a three piece black suit, don't assume a loved one has died, that I'm applying for a job, or that I have a big meeting. Sometimes, I just like to dress well for me.


Christmas already

Mom and Dad's Christmas is less than 2 weeks away. That means that I have 12 days to think of a presentation for the family.

Last Christmas we started a tradition. Each family within the super family has to perform something for everyone else. This can be sketch comedy, singing, or what have you. Then, we vote on whose was the best and that family takes home a traveling trophy.

Last year Rebecca and I re-enacted our engagement. It was complete with a dime-and-ring. haha. We didn't get last place, so that was good. But this year my family is smaller. It's really tough to sit around all of them. My brothers all have wives and, except for John Mark, play with their children. But I have a plan to turn the focus away from the empty seat next to me.

I would launch into it, but Ashley might be reading.

Oh, funny story: I was talking to a girl I went to high school with and mentioned the my brother married a girl from Charleston. She asked what her name was and I replied, "Ashley." She said, "Oh, Ashley who?" I, not really thinking, said, "Ashley Murphy."


The last 8 years

For the last 8 years I have been in some sort of relationship. This is not to say that I've had girlfriends back to back. Rather, I've had my eyes on someone and I've had someone set to speed dial 2 that I could call whenever I wanted. I've talked to people on several continents about this and I've had feedback that ranges from "You're codependent" to "You've always been alone." I think that I have been lonely for most of my life and relationships, especially the kind I find myself in, alleviate that. Also, I do take joy in making another persons life easier or better. I enjoy being needed.

I think I found another factor. I believe that, like most things, life is better when you're sharing it with someone. From the first moment that I started sharing my life with another being, I loved it. I saw a million ways that life becomes easier with a partner and knowing that someone cares for you is a special kind of comfort.

I've also noticed that between relationships the first thing I miss is hugs. I think that hugs are underrated. However, three months without a decent hug has made me realize the power of the uncommitted hug. When someone hugs me because they want to, rather than because they are in a position where that is expected, the hugs mean more. That doesn't mean that it fills my desire for emotional intimacy. But now I am aware that emotional intimacy is a need for me in my life. So, I'm not going to settle for anything less than first rate.

Side note: while I've seen some ways that the last 6 months has changed me, I am excited to see how they impact my next relationship. Predictions: slower, less initial trust, more of a resistance to force compatibility.



One of my friends said to me, "Didn't South Africa change you at all?" I said that it did, but I couldn't really elaborate on how. At that point I had been back for less than 2 days. Now that it has been about 2 weeks I'm recognizing things that are different about me. Here are some of them in no particular order and without any value judgment whatsoever.

I am far less likely to say, "I don't care."

I am impatient with those who hesitate.

I am much more at ease with waiting.

I am frustrated by owning more clothes than what can fit on my back.

I am in no hurry to get to the next level of my life.

I am fairly okay with silence.

I am more aware of God.

I am unable to sleep for 8 hours or longer.

I am much more inclined to cook.

I am less cynical.

I am more likely to see alternatives.

These are just things I've noticed about myself. In general, I'd say that I'm calmer. Maybe I don't seem calmer, but I feel it.

About six months ago, I was desperately pleading with God to fast forward my life by six months. I was miserable and it felt like there was not a way out. I knew that time would make things better and I was impatient for that. Now that I'm here, I'm glad. God delivered me from my pain. Now, I am excited to see what God has in store for my next six months.



I bought a dry erase board. It's 2'×3' or 3'×2'. I have it mounted to the wall and 4 different colors of markers. It sat, blank, for a couple of days because I was trying to think about how to use the space. I did much searching on teh interweb, to no avail. So, here is what I came up with:

4 columns: calendar, todo, Today, and Tomorrow The calendar is really just a list of dates and events that I'd like to be a part of. The todo isn't a list, it's a collection of single words (with rare doubles) that are topics for me to complete. Example: "Room" means clean my room, put stuff up on the walls, and reduce my clothes collection. Today and Tomorrow are true lists that are sometimes in order of importance. They are the lists of the things that I must do each day in order to count it as a success. I usually pull from todo and use them to fill up Today and Tomorrow with the occasional calendar event filling in. I try to do my planning before bed, much like the August trip, so that the next day can be focused on what I have to do.

On a completely different note, since I can't find my card reader so that I can post the picture I just took of the dry erase board, I like candy. Yum, candy. South Africa was great for candy but something unexpected happened; I fell out of love with TopDeck. Don't get me wrong, it's fantastic. However, I've found someone else. Cadbury Eclairs are, in a word, 'Carmel with a chocolatey centre'. (I dare not speak the name of unchLay arBay lest evil spirit arise from the pit of my stomach to murder me and those around me.)


longitudinal study

While I don't have many close friends, the ones I have are quite good. These relationships are amazing because they don't suffer from atrophy during the customary long breaks between interaction. They look at 3 months of me being absent and don't seem to notice. That is not to say that they aren't aware that I've gone, but that the friendship is so much stronger than an occasional break of months or years. I am so lucky to have them.

What also impresses me is the fact that they tend to go back very far. The longer the friendship, the longer it seems to sustain a vacuum of conversation. Additionally, the friendship isn't at all tied to work, romance, location, or anything in particular besides the fact that we are friends. I suppose that is the idea behind family.

These pleasant facts coalesce to allow them to give scathing advice and insight into my life. Though I count myself as a good giver of advice, I am often at a loss to identify trends and provide suggestions in my own life. Jenny's recent observation (not recently formed, but recently restated) along with the advice of Mike and Nicky have come upon me like a schismed cloud. I can see to the other side of myself and I'm now trying to decide what to do with this information.

It's like when the shifter became excessively sloppy on the truck and I discovered that the bolts were loose. Obviously they needed to be tightened. But there were the questions of how it became this way, what tool(s) would best fix the problem, and what course of action could prevent a recurrence.

That is where I am with myself. It is clear to me where I've erred. I am sure that I could count on them to alert me if they see me on the paths that have so disappointed me in the past, but I need to do this on my own. I have to keep off the path to begin with.

One more note about friends: Other of my friends show the same resistance to atrophy, insight into my life, and Quality in general. However, they are young friendships and as such cause me to be wary. Still others show little insight, little tolerance for long breaks, or only superficial quality. I must make it clear that they are still my friends, but they are friends for other things.

Summary of main point: It isn't the mistake you make, but what you do afterward that matters. Now I am trying to figure out what to do afterward.


working to work

I joke with people that FedEx is my longest lasting and most rewarding relationship. Ha ha, right..? rewarding..? But I do enjoy my work there. Taking four months off and coming back with the high expectations of package handler of the year has put quite a strain on my body. The most interesting muscle pain is the ones in my fingers.


There's something about trust. Some nagging feeling I get when I think about it. The imperfect words I've found only really convey the idea that love and trust are related, but more than that. They aren't the same thing, but they're so connected. It's like they're the same shape or something.

I think I've figured out that one can't really trust someone who has betrayed until the betrayer is forgiven. I mean truly forgiven. And, one cannot love a person they don't trust. I mean truly love.

So, the important question to ask in a relationship isn't "do you love me? why?" it's "do you trust me? why?"

Just as you cannot make someone love you, you cannot make them trust you. You can, however, be trustworthy and be lovable. After that you have done all you can. You have done more than most. You have tried.

If you have betrayed someone's trust and you want it back, then you should do I know not what. I am waiting for that answer. What I do know is that it is not impossible.


Thanksgiving redux

So, it seems that I have some sort of tradition of giving myself food poisoning every couple of years. On Thanksgiving Eve, I made some beef curry that turned out to be poisonous. Thursday morning was not a happy day as I eliminated the toxins from my body, but I still limped home to visit family. Thirty hours of sleep has a way of making everything feel better.

Our Turkey Day was on Friday and it seemed so muted and dull. It was as if we weren't thankful for mom's successful radiation treatment. It felt like it wasn't a holiday at all. Perhaps I remember Thanksgivings more dramatically than they were.

Prior to the meal, however, I still had an idea of what I was thankful for. I am thankful that God has a plan. Building this ship of life on a sinking plank may be bad, but at least I know there's a current under there somewhere.

I usually come away from family holidays depressed and sick of my family, but this time I feel better. I feel energized and ready for the next challenge to overcome.
I hear it, a whisper
ed secret for me
I can't tell
you what it is
because it's mine
I can tell
you it makes me


Thank goodness

I think ahead to Thanksgiving and a family tradition of going around the table and saying something that we are thankful for since the previous Thanksgiving. Though I know that I have much more to be thankful for than nearly all of my previous Thanksgivings, I don't know where to start. I have gone through so much since November 29th, 2007. There have been the highest highs and the lowest lows. A year ago I was 2 weeks from popping the question, looking to move out West, preparing to finish my degree, and contemplating whether I should move up the FedEx ladder or start a new career. Now I'm single, still living in Champaign-Urbana, further from my degree than ever, and struggling against bureaucracy to get my old job at FedEx.

I don't say all of this to gather pity, because I've earned more than I've lost, I think. On the other hand, I'm not bragging about how much I've done and what I've experienced. I'm trying to figure out how I'm supposed to thank God for all of the good things when He was responsible for the bad things, too. I believe that He does it all. I feel like I need to thank Him for the bad things. Though, somehow it seems wrong to rejoice for my mother's breast cancer or Rebecca leaving me. But aren't all of these things connected? Don't they all go back to a loving God who does all of this according to His will that we should also aspire to? If I'm to live in accord with His will, then shouldn't all of it be divine? "This is the day that the Lord hath made/Let us rejoice and be glad in it/This is the day/This is the day/That the Lord hath made"

The poet John Berryman offers the perspective that comes closest to answering my question, though it doesn't satisfy me:

From Minnesota Thanksgiving

For that free Grace bringing us past great risks
& thro' great griefs surviving to this feast
sober & still, with children unborn and born,
among brave friends, Lord, we stand again in debt
and find ourselves in the glad position: Gratitude.

So, I guess I'll just have to say that this year I'm thankful that I survived. I'm thankful that my wings did neither burn nor weigh me down



And so it goes

So, where do I start? This trip, that is, my adventure to the ocean and back, became something else entirely. Here are the highlights:

During preparations for moving out of my apartment, I ask my ex-fiancée if she would like to come with me on my silly road trip. She says yes. I also find out that I will be pushing back my trip in order to receive the highest individual award from FedEx. So, we travel to Kansas City to spend the night with my best friend, Mike. The next day our trip begins in earnest as we head north. North eventually gives way to west. West gives way to the Ocean. The days out to the Ocean were the hardest. We fought plenty, but we had no choice to continue on the journey. Upon arrival in Seattle (to a stirring rendition of the Star Wars theme song, sung by wild animals) things perk up. The Ocean gives way to the Ocean and we head south. South becomes annoying and becomes southeast. Once it becomes east, we are chased by a tornado and decide to go north again. This brings us to Colorado where we climbed a mountain and the truck blew out a brake line. Once that was fixed the direction became east again. Our last night camping was one of the best. We fed the fire with wood, stories, and understanding. The adventure ends where it began, in Kansas City. Eighteen days and 7200 miles later, we found ourselves in Urbana. Rebecca's job and new apartment were also born that day, August 21st. On that day, while moving boxes of belongings into Rebecca's apartment, my dad called. My mother, who had left on her own adventure just a day or two after we left for ours, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Shocking information, to say the least. Her adventure, a study abroad program, took her to South Africa. She needed me to be there. We finished unloading the truck, and then I told Rebecca. After a great deal of crying and talking, I left for Charleston to develop a game plan with my father. The best flight appeared to be on the 25th, so I took it. August 25th I left for South Africa, though I arrived there on the 27th of August. The study abroad program was to last 3 months and my mother's radiation would last 6 weeks. I had one week in Cape Town, then 4 weeks in Port Elizabeth, where the radiation treatments began. I did the highest bungy in the world, twice, and learned to drive on the left hand side of the road. Port Elizabeth led to Cintsa, outside East London. Cintsa gave way to a 3 day safari. Finally it was back to Cape Town. I left South Africa on November 21st and arrived in Charleston, the city of my youth, on November 22nd. Total days between moving out of my old apartment and into my new one: 115.

Wow. My original idea was to just drive west until I got to the Pacific Ocean and then leisurely drive back. It seems that God had a different plan that involved three times the oceans and so much more.


a cosa

Che cosa?
Che cosa vuoi da me?
Che cosa vuoi ancora?
Che cosa vuoi di più?
Che cosa posso dare?
Che cosa inventare?
Qu'est ce que tu veux de moi?
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Che cosa?