people (rolls eyes)


. . .  but sometimes you get what you need. (the Rolling Stones)

Sometimes I do what I want, other times; I do what I must. (Gladitor)

I have been thinking along these lines a lot over the past few months, and some of it was brought to a head today in a way that would probably be unusual for most people.

As we all do in many areas of life, I have spent the majority of my life in one particular area doing what I must, rather than what I want. And it is not an area where what I want to do is inherently bad (in someways I think it would be quite positive), but I have had to bend my personal will to that of the various entities and people to which I am held responsible. In many ways, this has been a very good growth process for me throughout the years, sometimes a growth process and/or amusement for others, but overall a sanctifying experience for me.

It seems as though whenever I begin to get to point where it can move to situation in which I am free to do what I want, it is either derailed or turns out to not quite be as conducive of a situation as I had thought it was, which then shifts it back into that growth process of bending my will to that of others. What can be frustrating about this is that it does hinder my ability to accurately represent myself (which I very much try to do and has probably caused me to miss a few ministry opportunities since I want to show who I am rather than put up a front, since everyone does that, so most people front extensively).

And then, a a few months into the sanctification process, we came to a ministry that not only allowed but encouraged being comfortable with who you are. As this came more and more together, I slowly grew into doing this thing in a way that reflected who I am, though it is by nature a slow process, as most similar things are.

But then that ministry fell apart. Being my stubborn self, I tried to hold on to what should have been there and continued to seek these ideals, never really admitting that it was gone . As my life was transitioning away from this, I had a few opportunities and necessities of doing what was needed rather than wanted, but I refused to admit that the dream had faded, so I complied in only the most limited sense of the term. There was also a lot going on at that exact moment in time, so I think there was much more grace extended toward me by various people than may have normally occurred (though the lasting effect worked more toward my preference in the long run).

So then moving forward again a few months, there has been progression in most areas toward restoring the parts of our lives had been derailed, but there were still some areas where I was stubbornly holding on to the dream. In order to move back to where we were before, my wife and I have been making some decisions we have not necessarily preferred, but they are the best options for the time being. Temporary discomfort/misery is worth the trade-off of a more comfortable/less miserable/more beneficial future. One of these choices was in this realm.

I have seem that I am a unique person. Things that affect and reflect me do not necessarily do the same things for the average person. But I also tend to think through things (particularly unusual things) more thoroughly than average.

I have a good friend in atypical ministry who also thinks through things, much more thoroughly than I do. He made a related decision a few years ago and has unfortunately had to continue much longer than preferred. Thinking about his choice tonight made me thinking about mine. I had not made mine with the same initial intention as he had, though I believe the pieces were there in such a way that it lead me to make the choice that I did, just not putting them together in the finished product until later.

Though it may seem petty, foolish, unattainable, trite, selfish, pointless to many, I have long had an atypical desire, especially for someone in my chosen life-path, even more particular in the fact that I hold it so strongly. Part of it stems from a personal preference, part of it stems from a desire to help some who are very much in need in a way not often seen by someone in my position/field, part of it from a desire to best reflect myself in how I am presented to others, and part of it is simply a desire to do these things while I have the ability. Since I was very young, I have wanted to grow my hair out to the point that I could donate it to make a wig for a kids dealing with cancer. I have not yet been able to do this, largely as a result of schools/jobs/etc not allowing me to get my hair to that point.

This last ministry was heading in that direction, but it did fail. The ministry situation which I hope to help develop would allow, embrace, and probably enable this, but that will take a while to get to the point where I am able to fully focus my attentions there (provided it happens at all). In the meantime, the work situation (which I love) is moving in a direction in which it would not be conducive to do so (yes, it was mentioned to me, and although it is not what I prefer, I do agree with the reason and the probable necessity).

This time, instead of barely skirting the boundaries of acceptability, I decided to go for what amounts to an incredibly drastic step for me, comparable to most guys shaving their head. Granted, it still reflects me while taking these factors into account, it is still not fully me. The amazing thing was that whenever I have done things like this in the past, I had felt like I was betraying not only myself, but some of my core beliefs (all people need to be accepted as they are by churches/ministries; use what God has given you to bless those in need; God uses us for who we are; be creative in blessing/ministering to others; diversity in non-moral issues should be encouraged; etc).

This time, it felt like the right thing to do. I was getting a bit fed up with the way my hair was, largely because I kept getting it almost to the point that it would begin to head toward the desired length before having to start all over again. This time, it will be quite a process.

I had earlier mentioned my friend and his interesting commitment. After getting burned again by a church, he decided that he would not cut his hair until he was comfortable and accepted in a church again. It has been almost 5 years, and though he does ministry and is highly involved in his church, he has not gotten a haircut (I doubt anyone reading this knows this friend, but is was a commitment just between him and God that he shared with me as he was helping me work through some of the ramifications of this past summer).

I have decided that I will be making a similar, though opposite, commitment. Once I am comfortable in a ministry again, whether voluntary or paid; typical or atypical, I will be keeping my hair short. (Short for me, anyway; I will likely only get a couple trims a year still). Once I get in this ministry situation, I will begin to make a solid effort to grow my hair out again, like the Nazarites or various warrior cultures of old. By the time it gets to an appropriate length, enough time should have passed to be fully ingrained in that ministry.

well, just one in particular, at this time.

when they were newly married, my parents attended big church in Pueblo that tended to suck various parts of my family back in at various times in our lives (such as qualifies as a big church in Pueblo. maybe it should be “really old church in Pueblo”). It was at one of its larger time periods, so there was a fairly large young marrieds’ class with all the drama of a high school (similar to college classes at Bible-college towns). My parents being the authentic and jovial people that they are did not fit in with he various cliques/gossip hubs that are the mainstay of such settings. Also to note at this time, my dad was a bit more bulky than he currently is, and was in more more usable configuration rather than the current storage functionality (he looked like Superman).

One of the other couples came to a class function with her having a very black eye. the story shared was that she had fallen at the store and hit in on the handle of a shopping cart. My dad, being his jesting self and having a sometimes dry sense of humor, grabbed the other (rather smallish) gentleman by the arm and said in a serious voice something along the lines of “If you beat your wife again, then you are going to have to answer to me.” There was dead silence in the room for a few moments, then the conversation slowly started up again. One of the women came up and mentioned to my mom how she was surprised that someone actually came up and said something to this couple and hopefully it would help to stop the abuse.

In a similar way, I have caught myself in similar situations the middle of different groups. Much more often than I am probably aware, I will think there are some currents flowing, but the undercurrents are totally different.

What makes this interesting is with my training in counseling coupled with my uncanny ability to break things down to an obnoxiously meticulous level, I am usually fairly adept with seeing what is going on. I guess I bring in my dad’s optimism and unawareness at times in the hope that what I view is the best in people, instead of my realism at seeing people as entirely prideful, self-serving, and generally sinful, as we actually are. Most of the time, this occurs when we are working toward a mutual cause, typically something that if it does not honor God directly, it is at least helping people, usually teens.

This has occurred way more times than I would like to count. In the worst instances, it usually brings down someone else in the process and is usually from one of the least expected sources. The worst experiences have been since going to college and being more involved in ministry. I had one instance that occurred relatively recently that reminded me of another that was much more complex and should have been obvious. Here is the more interesting one (it is a bit long, but it was a complicated situation):

There was a group of us who had been assembled to start a ministry with a unique flair. It was not something that had been entirely unsuccessful other places, but was unique in the fact that it was intended that way from the beginning. And it was unheard of by the people who were helping us. Our team consisted of several different people with different backgrounds that fit together very well for the overall picture, but had not worked in that exact context before. the key was that each person was committed to the big picture idea while being flexible to work it how needed to fit the situation as it developed. As the team was being assembled, more and more of the structure was designed to fit around the abilities of different parts of the team.

We did not have quite as much planned out as we could, largely because it would be difficult to do so extensively until we saw how things were going. We did a few test runs, refining as we went. We even went to an example of what we were going to be doing, although what we observed was only temporary in nature and much more limited in scope than what we would do. We thought that we were bringing everyone together based on this core idea. When we tried to take off, there were suddenly huge rifts springing up in our team. The first try was borderline disastrous. Not that what happened was entirely different than what we were shooting for, but it was not exactly what everyone expected. So we decided to back off a bit.

There was nothing wrong with what we wanted to do, just a few problems in our team with how to do some things, as well as huge communication issues. We started to meet as a team in a regular, formal setting to work through these issues. The meetings went on for a while, progressively getting longer and more intense, until ultimately causing a huge rift in the team. Some members went one way, another large group went another, and some just faded out.

During this time, from team assembly to explosion, it had progressively appeared to me that although one person had came up with the concept and assembled the team, this person was a bit off in some key areas for this to work. I was skeptical at times that it would come together. A lot of the things I did were not exactly what I would choose and a bit out there (to me), but the big picture was good, and after the difficulties, we were working through some details. One younger team member in particular had problems with a lot of what was going on, particularly with the idea person. This younger member was the first to split off, for seemingly irreconcilable differences (we should have seen this coming, since he was “offended” by the temporary example we had visited). This was a hard hit, since this person had been there the longest. Right after this, the rest of the split occurred. I had no idea that it was heading that direction. I thought we could work it out since the problems were mostly communication based.

After things calmed down, more of what really happened came out to the light of day. One of team had been a snake. The bad part was that he had been a snake before, but those who assembled the team firmly believed that we should give second chances, just like God does with us. Of course, not all were aware of this, since it can negatively affect how others will treat them. So the snake had been working on a few people in very subtle ways, which I was not aware of at the time, but realized later on after seeing how he had tried to trap me as well.

The snake would criticize some of the more unusual things we were doing at different times to different people in a very quite and subtle way, almost questioning the wisdom of what was going on, while leading his hearers to think that these ideas came from the leader. This would build doubt among the team as to what we were doing. He would not say these things in front of the leader, but just quietly in a “let’s not make waves, but I am not sure about getting into this too far” way of speech. He caught young member early on slowly began to pull him away from the goal. He may have even became less subtle once he had snared people. he tried to pull me in a few times, but because of my commitment to what we were doing, and more importantly God’s grace, I was not snared. What made this most interesting was that most of the unusual ideas we had came from the snake! Toward the end, he would outright tell different people entirely different stories and then say something totally different in public, although generic enough to fit the different lies and half-truths he had told.

So after the explosion died down, the team went its different ways. some faded out. some tried a less creative way of doing things with the snake, but it fizzled out in short order. Some of us, largely due to personal stubbornness, continued on with the plan. It was not as good as it could have been. It was not as easy as it should have been. We went through a few more interesting experiences before we got it closer to what it should have been to begin with. It was never quite what was intended, but still something that uniquely honored God.

I still wonder about young member. This person was very gifted and very much wanted to serve God. When leaving, we were wished the best and given “irreconcilable theological/philosophical differences” as the core reason for the departure (similar to leaving a church b/c it isn’t “deep” enough). What is sad is that there was not any difference worth noting in the theological/philosophical realm, just the practical side of how it worked out. Form and function had been confused, and probably would not have, had there not been a subtle hiss pushing in guiding in different directions.

When we last spoke, shortly after the split, things were cool between us, but even after trying to mend what had happen, our project was so tainted that there was no way it would even come close to being considered again by young member. What makes it more sad is that there was a huge opportunity with us. We had a need for those skills to be used. Anywhere else would probably not invite young member to the team because of a combination of lack of experience and most leaders do not free the team to use their skills so openly.

I still feel bad that I was not able to see it then. I am not sure if it would have been well received had I noticed and pointed it out. I tried to point it out later, but even after all snake had put young member through when they attempted their own thing and it failed miserably, young member was so wrapped around snake’s finger that there was no way young member could see what happened. Young member had been ripped out of a place of potential thriving and dropped, alone, in the desert. And snake was still loved for it and the leader, who had give young member more opportunity than he deserved, was not quite hated, but received an attitude of “I hope what you do accomplishes your goal, but can neither be a part of it or support it.” I still hope the effects are not long term in the sense that he was able to pick up the pieces and will be able to and has been able to accomplish amazing things for God.

Though there are a several messes going on, one situation was particularly sad. Our school is an online/alternative school. We take the students that don’t have any other options. really, we take anyone who wants to be here, but the focus is on the ones who struggle in traditional settings.

there are a lot of schools who have problem students who need to have a place to go. In Colorado, schools get paid based on how many students they have on October 1. So we have a lot of “educators” who want to “help” the students by sending them to our program, but only after they get paid for it. Unfortunately, the students will be the ones that will lose out, unless we can get some alternative funding.

the other interesting thing that we run into is that most online schools basically grab the money and run. we have had such a hard time recruiting students because of how they other so-called educators messed it up.

not too surprising. everyone else tries to grab as much government money as they can, why not “educators?”

as a side note, we had some interesting things come up in our situation with our district. we have been working through it, but we are current 2 weeks late on paychecks. it is funny to see how the employees who were the most vocal in supporting what we are doing were the ones to attempt to sue us when it was a day late. At least we don’t have to trim down payroll since most of the worthless people left of their own volition. And if I am going to be doing their work anyway, I would much rather be aware of it going in rather than finding out about it last minute when it is going to affect me adversely.

Here in Colorado, they have started replacing some of the left turn lane lights with a slightly different setup. now instead of having 5 bulbs, they only have 4 in a single line. Instead of having a solid green for “you can turn when it is clear” they now have a yellow arrow that flashes.

I uncertain as to whether this was for economical or awareness issues (since flashing yellow says “caution” better than a solid green), but it has been amusing to see the effect.

After a testing period in a few cities (such as Pueblo), these lights have been migrating into the bigger cities, such as Springs, Denver, and Aurora. the funny thing is that they have been here for several months, but people still often come up and get really confused. No one seems to understand. There is one by our school, and I have several times followed the same person through this light and they will just sit there totally oblivious to what is going one. A slight “courtesy honk” does not seem to make a difference. The lights don’t even stay lit for close to a “watch out for the red” length of time. When it comes for the red, the yellow is significantly longer than the flashing.

What makes this amusing is that these lights been in Pueblo for over a year now. Most people picked up how they worked in about a week or two. Growing up in Pueblo and having parents who still live there, I can solidly attest that the average person in Pueblo is far below average most everywhere (Except perhaps the South. And a toss-up with the East. Far below average in Colorado, at least.).

When I was younger, I used to think of myself as someone who was weird, which I enjoyed. Then, in college, I had a friend who clarified it as being more “quirky,” which I think was a valid characterization. Although I enjoy things like sci-fi and video games, I still function in society. I don’t (regularly) have people avoid me for no apparent reason. I don’t sit in a chair and rock back and forth for no reason.

Some of the quirks are fairly random and somewhat comical:

I hate socks, but I can’t wear shoes without socks, so I usually wear sandals whenever safe (and high-quality ones at that: Chacos, usually Z2s). I have even worn sandals with a suit on occasions (though that was slightly to tweak some brittle people – another quirk/character flaw: I sometimes do things just to see how people respond. Sometimes it is for spiritual reasons, but usually just my entertainment). If I have to wear shoes, I will usually opt for hiking boots, although recently my boots fell apart to the point of no return, so it has been other shoes 😦

I hate to spend very much money on clothing and will basically only shop sales. The only time I buy clothes that cost more than 50% of the original price is if I HAVE to have it 9like work related). I have been using the same pair of jeans for motorcycling since I was in middle school (yes, I was chunky then too). But my camping gear must be top notch and I spend way more money there than I should, especially backpacks.

If I have a bad experience with a product or store one time, it is very likely that I will no longer give them my business, even if it was a fluke or the company has since improved. The bigger factor is usually not as much what happens, but how the company handles it (ie – Magnavox, Motorola, Wal-Green’s, Hyundai, ATT, Sprint).

I love people, but they drive me crazy sometimes. I need an evening or afternoon of personal space about once a week to keep from getting edgy. Even from my wife (I am really blessed that she puts up with me, which will be even more apparent as you continue reading).

When I read, I don’t always read the words or sentences in order, sometimes even 2 or 3 lines at a time, but they come together in the proper order in my mind. I end up being a very fast reader, although it often appears I am dyslexic when reading aloud. This, combined with the fact that I can remember concepts better than words, is likely why I have problems remembering vocabulary in other languages (even though I am a bit erudite in English), but once I have it down, I can usually read it relatively easily, though not always precisely.

If I am learning something new, I would prefer to read or converse about it. I can barely stand watching a video or listening to a lecture. I think it may be because I can neither speed it up or interact with it. I think this is why I am better at doing interactive teaching/discussion rather than preaching/lecture and why I tend to be on the brief side, unless I have interaction. This is also why I tend to take a lot of notes when I think it is something worthwhile. I have gotten better at it, but I used to view something in writing as being solid and reliable, but something spoken as being indefinite.

The worst set of quirks that I have involves sleep. This is the area that drives me nuts, and my wife as well, since she can generally fall to sleep in about 10 minutes basically anywhere, anytime:

I sleep much better in Colorado than anywhere else, probably due to the lack of humidity and thin air. I generally sleep better in the mountains than the plains, even if it is on the ground.

Regardless of when exactly the sun goes down, I get very tired from about 30 minutes before and until about 30 after the sun goes down. I then get a second wind. This is less severe in the summer and/or if I am able to watch the sunset against the mountains.

If I am woken up unexpectedly, I generally snap awake in about 3-5 seconds and can function normally for a few minutes. If I can fall back asleep in 5 minutes or less, there is a good chance I won’t even notice, but if I stay awake my functioning will be diminished but I will not be able to fall back asleep for several hours. Unless some actually has happened, in which case my adrenaline is usually pumping. I think I developed this when working at camp, particularly from dealing with bears consistently, and from being an RA and dealing with morons consistently.

About once every 1-3 weeks, I have a night were I cannot sleep hardly at all (as little as an hour or two), but am able to get up and function normally the following day. Sometimes I am a bit extra tired the next night, but usually not.

I cannot sleep in the car or during the daytime unless I am completely exhausted. I was done with naps when I was two. While I was in college or working at camp was the only time I could ever take naps, and that was because I was busy about 16 hours a day and rarely got more that 5 hours of sleep. It was more likely that I would make it through the week and then sleep 10-12 hours on my day off to catch up.

I normally go to bed around midnight and wake up around 7, though it can range an hour either way on either end. If I try to go to bed any earlier, unless I am completely exhausted to the point I am about to fall over, I will wake up in 1-3 hours and not be able to fall asleep again till about 5am regardless of how tired I am. I generally can only catch up on sleep by sleeping in, not by going to bed early. The cool thing is that I can typically wake up early for a trip, etc. without to much of a problem or needing extra sleep later, provided I am not already exhausted.

I have a fairly set procedure that I have to follow in order to fall asleep and stay asleep all (or even most of the) night:
First, I have to take a shower within 3-4 hours of going to sleep, closer is better (but not too close). I cannot sleep if I feel dirty.

I then have to relax without really thinking much for 30 minutes or more (sometimes an hour or two), generally by watching tv (which started when I was in HS). If I go too long, I sometimes end up not being able to fall asleep. Sitcoms or mild sci-fi (like Star trek) tend to work best. If I read something, I tend to get way too into it and then stay up really late.

After relaxing, I can go to bed, but the blankets must be neat and crisp, the room must be very dark and quiet, otherwise it drives me crazy and I end up not being able to fall asleep. Once I get past the tv stage, if I do anything to mentally involved, I will be up all night. Talking, loud noise, deep thinking, really anything.

If something messes up this process, then I will become wide awake and not fall asleep again till 3-5am, regardless of what I try, even though I am usually completely exhausted. The most successful way is to start the process again (shower, tv, etc), but I generally avoid it at first since it means investing at least an hour, maybe two (takes more relaxing the second time around). Even then, it will sometimes not help. I will be watching tv about to crash, go back to bed and be wide awake.

Because of this ridiculousness, I am usually up an hour or so later than my wife, which happens to help me fall asleep better (since she likes to talk and then fall asleep, which gets my brain going again).

Aside from all of this, I have to be careful to not eat, drink caffeine, play sports or be very active, or even have meetings within a couple of hours of going to bed since my brain/body will be going to much in order to go to sleep. Even having a church event that is done around 9 will throw me off.

The worst part about all of this is that I understand better than anyone how ridiculous and obnoxious all of this is, but I have not yet been able to change it (the second worst part is that as the more tired I am, the more grumpy I am and the harder it is to fall asleep). Maybe “weird” is a better term. Thankfully, I have a wonderful wife who puts up with my crazies and tries to help out in anyway she can, even though it frustrates her as much as me.

My wife currently works for a cell phone company, and one of the people on her team put together some research on the new I-Phone so they could see what the competition would be.

Here is the part we found entertaining:

Environmental requirements

* Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F

* Nonoperating temperature: -4° to 113° F

* Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing

* Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet

How are they planning on selling any of those out here? You can only use it in the spring and fall, unless you catch a bad break and you get a freak warm or cold day. Hopefully you can turn it off in time. And don’t try to use the handy GPS when you go hiking – probably get lost. Maybe even break your phone?

Do they send it with a thermometer, altimeter, and hygrometer so you can make sure you won’t break the delicate flower?

Maybe I should check with some of the sheeple that bought one already . . . . Reminds me of a Simpson’s epsisode.


I am wondering when English with either adopt a fourth gender or it will start being acceptable to  refer to people as inanimate objects. There is nothing really functional to refer to a person without being gender-specific that doesn’t sound ridiculous. You can’t refer to a person as “it” or “that,” and using “one” sounds way to pretentious, even for me, and really isn’t all that functional. It is no longer PC to use a generic “him” and a generic “her” labels you as a bit of a self-righteous whacko.

This comes up as a problem for me all the time, especially as the school stuff is picking up and I spend more time in driver’s ed. Just this morning, I was talking with a parent whose kids was name “Tyler.” A year ago, I would have automatically assumed that this was a guy, but I can no longer make these assumptions based upon how many people want to be trendy by doing something that is different, yet really not creative at all. Turns out it was a guy. But when we talked on the phone, I was very careful.

Names which should be gender-specific but because of moronic parents now make working with teens much more difficult (may have different spellings for gender, but usually not):

Tyler

MacKenzie

Taylor

Jordan

Blake

Hayden

Adrian

Lindsey (Linzy)

Jayden

Dalton

Alden

Colby

Kyle

Dylon

Ashley

Colton

Evan

Lauren

Cameron

Damon

Devin

Dakota

Perry

Cordell

Cassidy

Cory

Whitney

Kelly

Jodi

Morgan

Dana

Shawn

Adian

Riley

Shortened names that could go either way (Not nearly as bad, though some still should go one way or the other.) Occasionally given to kids as full name. (NOTE: may have other spellings, but the sound is what matters):

Chris

Jamie

Alex

Danny

Jessie

Johnny (Jonnie, etc)

Andy

Jerry

Pat

Sam

Billy

Gene (Jean)

Terry

Mac

Names that shouldn’t be names and probably came from, as a co-worker would put it, “throwing something on the ground and seeing what sound it makes” (or are combinations or derivatives of real names).  And some could still probably go either way:

Major

Alton

Dallin

Lexus

Colston

Dallas

Cole

Gage

Keegan

Tegan

Cordell

Dannica

Blaine

Cade

Gregor

Payton

Wyndham

Audra

Tawnie

Quin

Dasanni

Skyler

Tanner

Jerah

Carly

Klunk (not really, but give it a couple of years)

Brinley

Breeson (sorry Jamie, but its true)

Mason

Luketia

Chelise

Arvel

Arris

Skye

T-Keyah

Hagan

Brisha

Tashara

Krimzen

Jayce

Oakley

Delaney

Darby

Tania

Annalise

Chakayla

Shandra

Dirk

Keeley

Kylan

Javan

Then you get the crazy spellings of normal names. I mean, some names automatically have multiple spelling (Catherine or Katherine), but some are ridiculous:

Ashleigh

Kristyl

Alicyn

Branden

Lukas

Kortney

Michele

Kelsy

Kaitlynn (so many here, not sure which is “normal”)

Christin (see above)

Derik (see above above)

Krystina (ditto)

Jo-E

Melyssa

Nycole

Bradleigh

Aric

Steven

Alysse (Elise)

Johnathon

Jayme

Raychell

Stefani

Jazmin

Kevyn

Mersaidies

Chyanne (should probably be up a category as well)

Then you throw in normally spelled  names that are pronounced differently . . . .

Come on! Your kids won’t be babies forever! You are cursing not only your kids, but their future teachers and anyone else who has to work with them. 25 years ago, it wasn’t too bad since it was different, but now you are just teaching them to follow peer pressure. Maybe you should have learned to be an individual before you had kids.

You are being different, just like everyone else.

Reminds me of some of the Goth kids on South Park . . . .vel