Monday, December 20, 2004

Christmas Break

That phrase is a beautiful one, isn't it? This is the first break that my parents have decided to come visit me (and my older brother's family, who now live down here) rather than the other way around. They just got there yesterday, and my brother is going to pick me up today. Then I'll spend about a week up there, and return the day after Christmas to start working for a little extra money.

Yesterday my roommate and another friend and I played one of his games on his new PS2 most of the day. That was fun. But this morning we had to be up by five or so to take him to the airport, which is the main reason I put off going to my brother's until now.

Unfortunately, because my lady works at a school down there in Mexico, and they close up most things during break, she doesn't have access to the library where she would normally have internet access, so she either has to go to town to get ahold of me or just call me, which is expensive. This means that our communication has become much less frequent. The days drag on. I miss her. :.( Yet another reason I can't wait for school to start again.

Hope all is well with you! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Drama (No, it's a good thing!)

I forgot to mention that last week we had tryouts for next semester's play. This year, we are putting on a production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Last year, we did his As You Like It, and it was a very professional performance. I had the privilege of being the lead male role, Orlando. The roles are already assigned for this year, and I am Leonato. I'm not the lead male role, but I am a major character. I'm supposed to be an older man, the father of a girl named Hero. I don't know how they're going to pull that off. :-) I also have as my brother Antonio the same guy who was my brother in the last play. We do look a little bit alike, but I didn't expect to be paired with him again. Not that it's a bad thing. I'm so excited about the play! I've missed it since last year.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Some news, both bad and good

Somehow this semester seems to be centered around the amount of sleep I get at night. I seem to be ready to do absolutely anything to stay up just a little later, and then the next day I can't get up at the time I want, or only while looking like a zombie. Case in point: Thursday night, I stayed up almost all night, partly helping my roommate with a project (at least I think it was Thursday...all the days sort of run together when you do this....) and partly doing email stuff, etc. I set my alarm to wake me in time to get ready for class, but I didn't go. I don't remember what happened, but my roommate tells me that I slept right through it, so he came over and tried to wake me up. I got up and walked over to my clock and turned it off, and then just stood there glaring. He decided I didn't want to be awakened, so he didn't stop me when I went over and jumped back in bed. I only really woke up at 10:30, realized that I had missed both my classes that day, and went back to bed. When an old friend called at 2:30, I was at the phone before the second or third ring, as always. For some reason, the phone *always* gets me up. Sometimes I'm not awake, but I'm always at least up. I wasn't completely awake when he introduced himself, but about the second or third sentence, I was. We talked for about ten or fifteen minutes, but he was worried that he'd awakened me (which was my own dumb fault for staying up late!) so we got off the phone and I went back to bed. Finally, I woke up at around 5:15 or so, and went to supper. Except for missing the classes, I felt great! Sleeping about 12/13 hours will do that. So that's just one example. I hate it. Until this semester, I may have had trouble getting to bed at a decent hour, but nothing like this! I am a morning person, and I love to be on time to class. Maybe it's senioritis, but whatever it is, it stinks!

Aside from that, I have worries about classes (as a direct result), worries about two papers in English classes (due this week, W and F), worries about finances, and worries about my Honors thesis, which I haven't really worked on all semester (don't read that, Dr. D.!). It isn't due to be finished until next semester, but this semester was a major part of the time I was supposed to be doing research.

On a MUCH lighter note, last night, Honors took a group of us to see The Nutcracker in Bass Performance Hall in Ft. Worth. I saw it live once before, about three years ago. It was a great performance. I was impressed all over again. It is such a great fairy tale. It occurred to me while I was watching it that while perhaps most girls (just a guess) dream of being the center of a fairy tale like that, many probably don't realize that there are a few of us guys that dream of being the hero in just such a fairy tale. All the way to Bass from school, we (the people in the car I was riding in) talked about significant others, as well as accidents we'd been in and traffic tickets we'd received, and because of one big backup due to an accident, we barely made it to the performance on time. After the performance, we decided to go to Barnes & Noble for a little while. I spent my time in the "Fiction and Literature" section, of course. I am worried about finances, but sometimes you still have to indulge yourself a little, so I bought one classic novel, Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence for about five bucks. All the way back, we talked about classic literature and things like that, and had a lot of fun. The ride seemed much shorter, and we felt like better friends by the time we dropped one off and drove back to the parking spaces by one dorm where the rest of us could get out. Two great things in one night! Even when life isn't going your way, things are still good.

Now I'd best rush off to lunch, before I miss that, too! As the Peruvians (among others) say, chau!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Miscellaneous events

Searching for a title that would be a bit novel, I considered, "Welcome to the Expion News Network: all Expion, all the time!" but I decided that that would be a bit much.

Thursday I had a podiatrist appointment, because I have been having trouble with an ingrown toenail for about six months (while using various measures to cure it), and he decided to do the surgery right then and there. I'll have to see him in about a month, but it was nice to be really doing something about it. I thought I was missing class, because it took long enough, but I had forgotten that the teacher had cancelled it already. Then I let my other teacher and my boss at work know that I wouldn't be making it and why (I had to keep my foot elevated), and had my roommate post a sign on the door to the computer lab to let my tutorial students know I wouldn't be tutoring. I had a very relaxing day and got some stuff done. I got enough sleep also, which helped me have an awesome day yesterday.

Today was neat as well: It was the second reading for the transfer of my membership, so I am now officially a member of la Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día de Keene or the Keene Spanish SDA Church. I love that church. When they asked for a raising of hands from whomever wanted to accept me into membership, I think the whole church waved their hands. I know that they always do, pretty much, but it was special to me, especially since one friend of mine was at the same time mouthing the words "Bienvenido a tu familia" or something like that.

Sabbath School (Escuela Sabática there) was very interesting, even though it was on a very technical subject. We were talking about Daniel 7, and what the prophecies mean, and how looking at these prophecies and how they have been fulfilled SO clearly should strengthen our faith dramatically. It was great. I was in the youth pastor's class, and he explained things very well.

The sermon was good, too, all about how we should be sure we are saved, not because of our own strength, but because of His strength. We shouldn't feel lost if we commit a sin, but should simply come back to Him. We don't stop being His child when we sin, we just have to fix the problem. It was great. I must admit I had some trouble staying awake, like I did last Sabbath also, because last night I stayed up quite late chatting with friends on MSN Messenger, and then was picked up for church a little after nine this morning.

But the best thing about today happened while I was typing this: my girlfriend called from Mexico, and we were able to talk for a few minutes. She is going to try to call me again (at least I think that's what she said) if she can find another phone card or something. I can only hope, but talking with her was so awesome, even for just a few minutes. She is so precious to me. She is missing me a lot, just like I am missing her. We are trying to find a way that we can see each other before May. We'll see what happens. Maybe she can come visit me here. :D

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

More news

More big things going on in my life, in different ways. One thing, which is not even my news, is that my ex-fianceé, Sylvia, is getting married this Sunday, to the guy who broke off their previous engagement. She seems very happy, though, and everything seems resolved, so I can only congratulate her and wish her the best. I'm glad we're still friends.

In more personal news, my girlfriend and I seem to grow closer every day, even though we are something like a thousand miles apart. She is perhaps the best woman I have ever met. She is a very spiritual person (which I value highly), but not at all holier-than-thou. I love her, and she certainly loves me. I must find a way to see her before May. That's just too long to wait! She keeps reminding me that this is building our patience, and our characters are the only things we will take with us to heaven, but I still don't want to wait. We've talked once a week on the phone since the day I asked her out, and we've been emailing and have also started chatting on MSN Messenger whenever we get the chance, but it isn't the same. And phone calls are so expensive, even with a phone card. If any of you have advice on a cheaper way to be able to call, I would love to hear it. I wonder if I got a cell phone if I could use the free evenings and weekends for that. Maybe they don't work internationally. I should look into that.

In other news, I am quitting one of my jobs, in exchange for the start of my own business: Cromwell Tutorial Service. Yes, I do take credit cards: Cromwell Tutorial Service has an account registered with PayPal where those credit card deposits can be made. As yet, my advertising is entirely word of mouth, among my friends and the students in my regular tutorial. I have decided to continue holding the writing tutorial I do for the school three nights a week (two hours a night), for several reasons: the tutorial is where I got my reputation for being good at helping students with papers (though I am willing and able to tutor other things, and have previous experience tutoring math and Hebrew, as well as instructing a lab for General Biology), and to keep my reputation strong, I will hold onto it. Also, I really enjoy doing it, and it gives people options. I don't mind it when people come to the regular tutorial, but there are several advantages to paying me to tutor you: my tutorial is available six days a week, not three; rather than waiting in a line which I may not get through for my help, you have my full attention for that hour; and the first visit with me is free, so if you don't like what I'm doing, you don't owe me anything, but if you do, the next time you can pay me. I really feel like it is a win-win situation. I'm currently planning to put up flyers on campus, to send out an email, and I'm looking into making a video ad also. Maybe it would be worthwhile to canvas the high school, etc. as well, or even put an ad in the local newspaper... If you guys have advertising ideas, I'd like to hear them.

I also have a new email address: Please use this address for all future emails to me. I haven't shut down my old one, but I'll be rarely using it in the future. I know I told many of you that I was planning on sticking with Yahoo forever, and I was even more sure of it when they upped their quota to 100 MB, but a friend of mine showed me Gmail (from the people at Google) and invited me to try it. Because it is a beta right now, you can only be a part of it if you are sent an invite, so it is very much like word-of-mouth. There are several things I really love about Gmail, including the 1000 MB quota, the searchable mail, the labels used instead of folders (meaning that one email can show up in more than one category; a great improvement IMO), and (last but not least) the new "conversation" format for emails. This conversation format is awesome: you can look at what you wrote to someone and what they wrote back to you, all on one page, and composing is right there on the same page, too! There are other cool things about Gmail, but this gives you a taste. I don't think I'll ever go back!

Live life intensely and don't stop dreaming!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Big news

I have big news that I must share with you all. I hope you guys are periodically checking this site, since I do actually post my news here, like this bit. It is much easier to post news here than to email everyone, whether individually or collectively.

As of Sabbath, October 23, 2004 (about 2:20 PM), I have a new girlfriend. Her name is Yesenia (pronounced "Je-SEN-ee-uh"). She is Peruvian, but lives and works in Mexico. I met her there over the summer, while I was working there as an English teacher. We have been emailing ever since, and though she has been devoted to me, I have been debating entering a relationship with her since then. Finally, I have made my decision. Even though there are some factors that will be difficult to overcome (including culture and language, though I do speak pretty good Spanish), I have decided that she is the one for me.

I wish you as great a week as I'm having. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Thoughts on God's Will

I appreciate the comments I received on my last post. There is certainly truth in them. Since then, however, I have had a sort of epiphany/reminder. As my last post shows, I generally go with the accepted view of God's will, which has to do with there only being one truly "right" answer to a particular issue or decision, the brightest thread, and nothing else is God's will. But I keep forgetting something my Bible teacher in high school once told me, which I really like, and I believe it when I think about it. I was reminded of it again today when I was having a discussion about relationships with my favorite teacher on campus, one of the English teachers: I was telling him how I want to do God's will in my choices in relationships. He said, "I'm not saying this facetiously, but have you ever stopped to wonder if God really cares?" This made me think: I'm always so worried about what God's will is, but sometimes, when the choice isn't going to interfere with my salvation or my usefulness to God, maybe he leaves it up to us. He just says, "You can choose this, or you can choose that, and I'm with you either way." I really like that view of God's will. It seems more open and reasonable than some other ways I've heard it. My teacher also told me in our discussion today that God might say, "I don't want you to look for a sign from me, because then if it doesn't work out, you might wrongly blame me. I'm okay with it either way." That seems much more in tune with the idea that God gave us free will, and gave it so that we could use it. When we talk about free will, we often focus on only two options, right and wrong, and focus on the fact that free will gives us the option of doing what is wrong. This is an important aspect of free will, but obviously right and wrong are not the limitations of the options: there may be many right options and many wrong options, and free will was given for us to choose between those right options and avoid the wrong ones. We were meant to CHOOSE. So begging for a sign or something is like throwing my responsibility (and privilege) of choice and free will onto some sign, person, or ultimately God, which is not what He wants. Otherwise, why did He give it to us? That isn't to say that we shouldn't search to follow His guidance in the deeper matters, when we truly do not know what is right and wrong, or other possible scenarios, but in general questions in which there is no wrong answer, why don't we use what God gave us to use and choose?

Friday, October 01, 2004

Happy Sabbath

Vespers was really good tonight, but I couldn't pay attention very well because of distracting people all around me. I am going to try to never sit in the back of the sanctuary again, if I can help it. Too many distractions.

My favorite text for quite a while has been Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires," but I'm starting to think that even though that is a really cool promise, it is kind of selfish, because I tend to focus on the "getting" part. I think I should choose another one of the ones I really like. Any suggestions? What are your favorite verses? (Hint: this is where you comment, as I've been hoping you would all along.)

I wonder so often what God's will is for my life, especially in regard to relationships. Maybe I shouldn't focus so much on it, and focus more on my relationship with God and being the best person I can be (which will put me ahead in the other area besides), but it is a pretty important part of life, overall. Tonight, the speaker at Vespers talked all about when God is silent, just so we can wrestle with the question we have, and find the solution we need, which makes us stronger and better, as He desires. This was a very deep and powerful sermon, and spoke to me. I often feel God is too silent, but I need to remember that sometimes that is what I need. I am also reminded of a sermon I myself once preached about spiritual growth and God's will. I concluded that we often wait for the big project God has for us to be beamed into our mind, when in fact His will is all around us, in the little things we know we should do. If we do the first things, the things we are sure of, God will give us the next step. I still think that is true. At this moment, the thing I am sure I need to do is start to get to bed earlier, starting with tonight. :)

Saturday, September 25, 2004


I guess this is a combination between random thought and almost journal entry, but I have time and I feel like it, so it fits:

Today I have experienced one of the best days of my life. Not that anything mindblowing happened, but I have been truly blessed. This morning, I woke up after a fairly good night's sleep, and had an extended morning devotion that was exceptional. Usually in my worships, I tend to follow a particular pattern, but this morning, I just had a talk with God in my prayer journal and told Him how I wanted to be like a new Christian, and how I wanted Him to have control of my life. It was awesome, and I felt so connected to God.

Then I went to church at the Spanish Church, where I've decided to transfer my membership. I love it there. It is so friendly and open, plus it gives me a chance to practice my Spanish and be surrounded by it, something I've been missing since I came back from Mexico. I got there a little late (with a ride from my roommate, who was kind enough to give it to me), and the program was already started, though the sermon was still ahead. I got a good seat, up near the front, and really enjoyed the sermon. It was a blessing to me, all about how Joshua (Josué) was nervous when he took over the leadership from Moses, but God came to him and told him three times to be strong and valiant. The preacher focused on why God told him 3 times to be strong, and explained that God only repeats himself like that when it is very important. He used an illustration from Spanish, how when something is rather small, they call it poquito, but when it is extremely small, they call it poquitititito! Finally near the end, he emphasized how the promise that Joshua received is a promise to us as well. We should be strong and valiant in the face of everything, and if we are, God will do marvelous things in our lives also, just as He promised to Joshua. This reaffirmed my faith.

Then at lunch today, I was able to sit with two of my favorite professors (both English professors) and their families. That was both enjoyable and affirming.

Then this afternoon, a big group of us from my school went to the botanic gardens, but it wasn't just a walk in the park (so to speak), but there was a sort of lesson/Bible study added in, where someone would read something and talk about it. It was great. Very affirming of my beliefs, and making me want to be the kind of Christian she was describing.

So overall, today has been a wonderful day, one of the best.

Friday, September 24, 2004

To Ponder

To Ponder

By Thomas L. Cromwell

One day I happened to perform

a peccadillo minor

But hastened quickly to reform,

to thus become the finer

My conscience clear, I then returned

to business as I saw it

Convinced the sin I had abjured

would not come back to spot it

‘Twas short-lived, far as respites go:

the guilt next day was stronger

And pressing on my heart-strings so,

I could not bear it longer

This heavy weight upon my heart,

it gave me quite a beating;

I soon divined by thinker’s art

the cause: what I’d been eating

Thus any open, thoughtful mind

is forced to ask the question:

How many times has suicide

been caused by indigestion?

Truly, it is amazing how deeply we are absorbed in the absolutely trivial in life. How many people live a life that is actually worth living (not that I am questioning the value of human life: I am questioning the use people make of theirs), with an awareness of who they are, where they are going, where they have come from, and their reasons for their actions (self-awareness, in sum); and how many people are caught up in living life blindly, moment by moment, never raising their heads above the smog of the daily grind/drudge to actually take a look around them, reassess their priorities, and see what life is all about?

It is exactly like a quote I once heard from someone famous:
Life is what happens while you are doing something else.
I have found in my own life that there are only a few things which are truly important, and everything else is dispensable. It may be interesting or urgent (not the same as important!) or stressful or relaxing or a host of other adjectives, and many things are worth keeping in one's life that are not truly important, but those other things can come or go with no lasting or significant/serious effect. The few must be preserved for life to remain meaningful. These are ultimately a list of priorities, to put things back in perspective, revive one's self-awareness, and practice a life above the smog. My list (for now, in stream-of-thought order [NOT order of importance, though the first is most important]):
  1. My walk with God, and all that goes with it. This gets as simple and practical as the fact that when I don't take time to have morning devotions, my day goes kaput; and as deep and meaningful as the absolute necessity of my belief in Christ and His ability to save.
  2. Meaningful relationships with true friends and loved ones
  3. Self-acceptance
  4. Purpose/direction. This goes back to the Biblical quote: "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Proverbs 29:18.
At first it may have sounded like I was referring to physical objects or activities as being important, but when everything else is stripped away, the important things are inside.

I admit that I spend time in the smog, worrying about what people think of me and who likes whom and other trivial matters, but I, too, must continually recapture the vision, and choose again to live life above the smog.


Dear family, friends, Romans, countrymen...oh nevermind. :-)

I have been convinced of the beauty of having a place to spill my general thoughts and news, so this is it. I don't know how often I'll have time or desire to do so (particularly time), but I'll try to do it at least once a century. So check back every once in a while, and comment if you like.

Quote from my roommate Robert: "People are so stupid." Agreed. Present company excepted, of course. ;D

In any case, welcome to my blog. Please enjoy.