Category Archives: other stuffs

Believe it or not…

So you know that thing I had talked about in my previous post that I said may or may not happen that you may or may not hear about?

Yeah, I think I’m gonna tell you about it now. Because it’s happening.

My good friend, Emily LeFever, and I are now courting as of yesterday. Or dating. Whatever you want to call it. But not dating the way the world sees it.

Dating in the world’s eyes is essentially the illusion of a deep relationship with a someone because of the high level of romantic intimacy that couples dive into right off the bat. This leads to getting attached to someone for the wrong reasons, e.g. being with them because they make you feel good, or because it gives you security. And a lot of times, dating is used as an end in and of itself. In other words, there are a lot of people who date because they like dating, or are just dating with no clear purpose in mind. This just feels wrong to me.

Because of the immediate romantic/emotional intimacy that happens really fast in such a dating relationship, it leaves out a lot of opportunity to actually get to know the other person. Both parties are trying to impress the other person, not figure out who the heck they’re dating. Infatuation tends to be blinding, a mask to cover issues in a relationship.

Essentially, what I’m saying is that dating in the world tends to be more about fun than anything.

What Emily and I have agreed upon is a relationship with a purpose, a goal. That goal is to find out if marriage is a possibility. And this stage of our relationship will end in either marriage or not marriage. The idea is to find out about as much of the other person (and ourselves) as we can, while romance grows appropriately around that. The goal is to guard our hearts, guard each other’s hearts, and grow in God as we discover who we are together.

We’ve also decided to not make it “Facebook official” yet, mainly because we’ll get 40 thousand notifications (each) from people commenting on our relationship status saying, “OMG, congratulations!!! You two are so cute together! You guys should get married and have babies together!!!!” And we’re not really keen on that, considering the nature of the relationship is to find out who we are, not jump into a bunch of peer accelerated romance. Perhaps we’ll put it up in the future, we’re not sure yet.

But I at least wanted you all to know about it, because I’m pretty excited about this new season in life. :)

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Woof.

What a weird week.

Grandma went to the hospital last week, and was diagnosed with pancreatitis, as well as had some stones in her gallbladder or something. So Mom’s been keeping her company in the hospital this week, and it feels like the house has been empty without here. But surgery was today, and was evidently successful, and Grandma pulled through like a champ. So there’s that.

Also, the big pine tree in the backyard cracked over in half because of the insanely huge storm last night. So we’re gonna have to get rid of it. It was so big. The landscape in the back yard looks so weird now with it gone. I wasn’t here at the time when it blew over; I was over congratulating my graduating friends at Calvary Church at the CHALC graduation. The storm sounded crazy even from inside the church. Also, I can’t help but think of the imagery of the tree in Jane Eyre. There’s really nothing in my life that would be symbolized well by the tree, but it’s definitely a “BAM.” moment. A nice landmark in the course of my life, anyway.

Our bathroom is currently all torn apart, because it’s getting revamped. Just another thing adding to the weirdness of this week.

Also, there’s something else that may or may not happen that you may or may not hear about. It’s exciting and yet caught me off guard something fierce, even though it’s been on my mind for a little while.

There’s some other stuff that happened this week too that aren’t necessarily related to the above subject, and aren’t incredibly interesting, but have been just more things that have been different about the week, that just made it stand out more.

Also, countdown to my various missions trips are getting closer and closer to zero. There’s less than a month until I’m at Joni and Friends, and then the rest of the summer will be a blur from South Africa to Burkina Faso.

I’m pretty sure I will remember this year in my life, from what I hope is going to happen this summer overall. I hope God will stretch me and challenge me in ways I have no clue about, and I hope I survive everything he throws at me. I know both will happen. I’m just sorta nervous. But it’s an excited nervous. A happy nervous. A determined nervous. Really, it’s mostly just me being uncertain of what’s coming and plunging into it anyway. YAY!

Oh, and it’s my birthday tomorrow. So happy two decades to me.

That’s really it. I don’t have anything groundbreakingly philosophical this week, though I have been working through some really good books. I haven’t read for awhile, it was rather refreshing. One more thing different about this week.

So it’s not that I haven’t enjoyed this week, it’s just that this week has been completely out of the ordinary. Which is awesome, and….weird.


The Return

Surprised kitty is surprised that I actually posted again.

Hehehe. Hey, I’m “back”.

So I’ve been very lazy about the blog the past couple weeks. Mostly because I’ve been doing other things. Like dancing, Portal 2, Futurama, and actually reading a book. I’ve also been trying to be vaguely more responsible in general around the house. So I haven’t really written anything recently that I finished. I was going to do a long blog post on Osama bin Laden’s death and people’s reactions to it, but I never got around to it.

But, here’s the short explanation of my perspective on people celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death: Are people celebrating his death, or his removal from power? I’m celebrating bin Laden’s removal from power, not his descent into hell. And even though it probably won’t do much against Al Qaeda, bin Laden was an extremely dangerous and intelligent terrorist that needed to be removed from power. And we didn’t murder him either, by the way. Murder requires innocence, of a sort, in the victim.

But anyway, back to what I was saying previous to that. Um….

Actually, I may not have been saying anything else previous to that.

Oh, yes I was! So, I’m still trying to raise funds for my missions trips this summer, so I’m offering private swing dance lessons for $15 an hour and $10 a half hour, which is stupidly cheap by any calculation. Also, I’m offering record-to-CD conversion for about $5 a record. Several people have expressed interest in the lessons but nothing has come to fruition yet, leaving me grasping at thin air. So if you’d be interested in either of those things, I would be quite happy to oblige and take your money. Also if you just want to donate, that would be fantastic. Just email me at tall.lanky.monkey@gmail.com and I’ll let you know how. I still have over a thousand dollars to raise, so anything would be appreciated.

And with that, I should go be responsible. And eat breakfast.

Oh, and the blog may not go back on the same schedule. I don’t know, I have to think about where this is going. Hey, maybe you could sponsor a blog post for $5! That would be awesome. It would give me more purpose with the blog, and raise money for it, too! And I would let you tell me what to write about, if you wanted to! So if anyone wants to hit me up for that, I’d be up for it.

Okay, NOW I’m ending the blog post.


Giggles and Guffaws

This is Guffaws. Giggles is mad right now for not receiving his x-tra happy juice in the mail like he was supposed to.

So recently, Jay, Tony, and I started a new blog. Actually, it was more like Jay and Tony started it, and then I jumped in. Actually, it was probably just Jay who started it… Anyway, we now have a blog entitled: “The Wondrous Events of Captain Smash-Bad-Guys’-Faces!”

It’s pretty sweet, check it out. We’re gonna be all like smashing bad guys’ faces in by storytelling bad guys’ faces being smashed. By the Captain. Of world-saving.

So yeah, I’ve already got a few superhero stories written up for that, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

*phone rings*

Oh, hang on a second, readers. Someone is for real calling me.

*picks up phone*

Oh, hi Jay! I was just typing on my computer about how we started a blog about fake superheroes that smash bad guyses faces in!

*phone rings again*

Oh. Whoops.

*swipes to answer call*

Oh, hi Jay! I was just typing on my computer about how we started a blog about fake superheroes that smash bad guyses faces in! I actually just said that a few seconds ago, but you didn’t hear me.

Oh, what? It’s actually not about fake superheroes? It’s actually just called Giggles and Guffaws? And is only supposed to be funny and not heroic? BORING!!! What?! This dialogue I’m typing out for my readers to read is boring?!? And probably FAKE???!! How do you even know what I’m typing?!

Oh. Right. *waves to the levitating Jay outside the window* Well, I don’t care what you say. I bet Tony would say we should write about superheroes. I’m going to call him behind your back and we’ll plot and scheme to change the blog around.

Oh, you already got his opinion? How? Oh, right. Hey Tony. *waves to jetpacking Tony, also outside the window*

Fine. I’ll see if I can be funny. (And write about face-smashing superheroes.)

Oh, c’mon! Dang, Jay, your ears are good.


Dictionary Diving

I’m developing a new sport.

Actually, I just conceived and developed it last night. Yeah, I’m awesome like that.

So it’s called dictionary diving. Guess what happens in dictionary diving?

Oh. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. One takes a bunch of dictionaries and fills up a swimming pool with the ripped pages of said dictionaries, and then dives in them. You got it right.

No, of course you didn’t get it right, stupid! That’s just ridiculous, and I can’t believe you made me make that up.

So anyway, essentially all you do is randomly open a dictionary and pick a word that you like that you never knew existed before. The goal is to find a way to use the word in normal conversation that day.

I found “eximious” today. It means “most distinguished; excellent.” Hehehe, can’t wait to spring that on some poor, unsuspecting construction worker.

So try it out, and share with the class (aka comment below) what obscure devices of communication you discover when doing so. And what happens when you use them in normal conversation. It’ll be fun!


Missions trip! (Please read)

Dear friends:

I love missions trips. I like getting out of my comfort zone to serve God and be his hands and feet. Most of my missions trips to date have involved mostly work trips, and I’m actually going to be doing a couple more of those this summer as well. But I’m writing to talk about an opportunity that opened up for me this summer that’s a little different from what I’m used to.

God has opened the door for me to go on a short-term mission trip to South Africa with e3 Partners Ministry from July 11-22. Instead of being a work-based trip, this trip is focused on actually working with existing churches there that are burdened for winning the lost, discipling new believers, and starting new churches. I will be teamed up with other Christians as we go door-to-door telling people about Jesus Christ through translators and bilingual literature. After leading people to Christ we’ll start discipling the new believers and hold cell group meetings. We’ll then be training the national church members in evangelism so they are able to carry on the discipleship process after we come home. This has been a very effective method used in South Africa and I am excited in being a part of this ministry.

This is incredibly different from anything else I’ve done, since I’ve never actually been the one evangelizing. I’ve always been the guy in the background doing stuff, or giving money so that the person evangelizing can do it well. And I’ve been, well, comfortable there. I’m hoping this will stretch me in a way I never have been before, and though I’m nervous, I’m also excited to see how God will work through me to reach people who are desperately wanting and needing the gospel, even if they don’t know it yet.

So here’s the thing. I really, really need your help. This guy can’t do this by himself. Evangelism is a team thing, and I need you on my team. First and foremost, I will need your prayers for the spiritual battles that will most likely be very prevalent in this trip, both in preparation and while I’m there.

Second, I can’t pay for this thing by myself. I’d love to, but I’m unfortunately not independently wealthy. Anything you can give is appreciated. I’m prepared to help out with the cost as much as I can, but I’m already paying to work at Joni and Friends Family Retreat again this summer, as well as serving in Burkina Faso (also in Africa) for a few weeks. So please pray about being a part of my team and about how much God would have you give. And if you happen to be reading this and you don’t believe in God, just go ahead and throw some cash this way anyway. :)

The total for this missions trip is $2900. Much of this amount is due on April 13th because I need to buy airline tickets. Please consider investing in this project. It’ll give you warm fuzzies inside. Actually, in all seriousness, God is going to move in South Africa like you wouldn’t imagine, and I would love for you to be able to be a part of it, whether with money or prayer.

If you would like to join me in this, you can donate either online here, or make your check payable to “e3 Partners Ministry” and mail it to me (email me for my mailing address if you don’t have it). e3 Partners will then send you a tax deductible receipt.

So thus endeth this letter. I know you’ll probably read (or trash) about 8 of these kinds of letters this spring/summer, but please consider helping out. I’m really looking forward to this trip and what God’s going to do. Thanks at least for reading through the whole thing. :)

Derek

P.S. If you would be interested in receiving updates on my trip, just shoot me an email at tall.lanky.monkey+SA@gmail.com, and I would be quite happy to add you to the list.


Disaster


I have a hard time comprehending something like this.

These kinds of disasters are nothing new on this earth, but each time it happens, it’s still hard to really grasp.

I actually have a hard time not only comprehending such a huge disaster, but also empathizing. For some reason, I’m emotionally unmoved by pictures of disaster. Perhaps because I’ve seen so many before? Perhaps.

It’s not like I’m a stone-hearted individual who has no sympathy because there was enough warning for people to get away from the tsunami. I know that’s pretty much impossible on short notice, especially when everyone attempts to do it at once. People are essentially trapped in such a situation, knowing that they’re going to be swept away any minute, or worse, any hour. Just the anticipation of such an event would be horrible. Why does merely thinking about this situation not move me emotionally?

It’s like knowing with your head that God’s real, but not with your soul. I suppose there’s little that I can do about it. And then again, should I WANT to be emotionally moved by it? What would the advantage of despairing for those poor people? I won’t make me donate more than I have already, and it’ll only drown my brain in unproductive sadness. Does this make me prudent, or cold-hearted? I don’t know.

However, Japan, I am still praying. Be safe, as safe as you can be.


Sorry, no blog post today.

I’m been insanely busy trying to get stuff together for three missions trips this summer (which you will hear about soon in depth in the next week or so, I expect) and getting all ready to go to Pittsburgh this weekend for Steel City Blues. All of which I am excited about, but which also hindered me from getting any kind of time to write a blog post. But I hope to have a post up Monday. So stay tuned.


Overhaul

This is how my room used to feel.

I used to hate to clean my room. My room was just an utter mess in terms of how I wanted it, and though Mom would probably beg to differ, I’m sure I had a greater desire for it to be clean that she did. But I couldn’t ever get a good organization system going. I would try clean in stages, but the stages themselves wouldn’t ever be completed because there would be another stage getting in the way. And then I would get my stages all mixed, then end up having to give up in the middle of cleaning because of time, and just have a differently messy room. It was annoying to say the least.

Now, my room isn’t very big. But the things in it happened to be large. Actually, the main thing that was just really large was my waterbed. I loved my waterbed. It was very comfortable. But, since my room isn’t very big, my bed had taken up about a third of it. The rest of my room consisted of my desk (which I hadn’t used in ages), my K’nex entertainment center, a bookshelf, and general mess.

That’s not a whole lot of stuff, generally speaking. But it was still very hard to clean the place, the main reason being I had so much poor/outdated infrastructure in the organization of my room. I’ve had my room since 2001, and in that time, the main structure of my room didn’t change much. There wasn’t much to change! The big thing was my bed, and since it was a waterbed, it never moved, ever. This limited the ability to rearrange my room to my liking, even though I didn’t realize it before.

Besides my bed, most of the infrastructure in my room was left over from previous years of living in my room. The organizational system had no room for records, since I just started collecting them a year or two ago, and my desk was in a spot where it was supposed to be convenient to do schoolwork (which I don’t do much of at all anymore). The speakers in my room have never really been at a satisfactory spot for me, mainly because they had to go around everything else. Pretty much, to wrap it up in a nutshell, everything was put around everything else, so that there was no easy way to organize ANYTHING without disturbing something else that would need to be put where something else was, and so on.

But then something wonderful happened.

My waterbed developed a leak.

Well, that wasn’t very wonderful. I was actually rather annoyed. I kinda didn’t like getting randomly wet as I was checking Facebook for the 14th time since I had gotten in bed. But that’s beside the point.

Point is, we didn’t really have any patches that we could get to stay on the waterbed, so I just decided to dismantle the thing and sleep in a sleeping bag until I could figure out another plan sleeping-wise.

But when I dismantled my waterbed, not only did my room get twice as big, but my room got twice as big. It was SO COOL. After I got done dismantling the bed, I kinda just stood there, with a look on my face like the look on a kid’s face after he got done dismantling his waterbed and finds he just got twice the real estate in his room. It was great. Not only did it free up room to put stuff, but it freed up room to temporarily put things as I was organizing/throwing out other things. A big requirement to organize is a space big enough to put everything you need to organize. And boy does that space motivate when you get it.

So the past week I’ve been reorganizing things in my room, and doing it successfully. Making all kinds of plans like figuring out where I’m gonna put my speakers, my desk, my books and everything. Probably gonna paint it my room too, maybe put in a different light fixture and window (Mom and Dad don’t know about the window yet, so don’t tattle, since they’ll probably never read this completely open blog of mine that I post for everyone to see). So the creative juices are flowing in terms of redoing my room, and I’m loving it.

This is partially why I’m so darn happy about my hammock. It hooks onto eyehooks in the wall when I’m using it, draping across my room, and when I’m not using it, it hooks onto a single hook on one end of the room, and will conveniently hide some storage boxes. And then I have just about my whole room to do stuff in. The possibilities are somewhat endless.

It’s fantastic to get something you’ve wanted for a long time that you had no idea you really wanted. But that you definitely wanted.


Rain (the spinoff!)

Rain Rain Go Away!

So my friend Jay wrote a blog post about rain. And I liked it. So I decided to steal his idea. Thanks, Jay.

I love and hate rain. So there’s that. Rain is great at lulling one into a lovely sense of rest, and the way it sounds when dripping on the roof is just delightfully scrumptious. I love the way it drifts one into a state of contemplation, even if the issue being contemplated consists of nothing at all. And right now, as I’m thinking about this, I’m really upset that I don’t have my hammock yet. That would just top off this lovely, rainy afternoon (Sunday). The slight swing, the gentle tapping of the rain on the roof….

*snort* Woah. Guess I’m drowsy today.

The unfortunate thing about rain, however, is that it’s impossible to ignore. There are two sides of Derek’s brain when it’s raining and he has to do things: the part that’s slowly falling asleep and the part that’s trying to drag it along. On a dreary, rainy day, my brain doesn’t want to do anything else, especially if it has to do something else. So I guess it’s not necessarily the rain that I detest as much as the fact that I have to do things whilst coexisting with the rain.

And as a construction worker, this side of my opinion tends to be made even stronger, depending on if the work needs to be done indoors or out. I really really hate being damp from rain. It’s like being slightly sweaty on a humid day for an extended period of time. It’s just bleh, and a source of great discomfort. I’d rather be totally soaked, honestly.

So yeah, my opinions on rain are rather scattered.

By the way, check out Tony’s blog. It will entertain your face into a million pieces. And then glue it back together using balloons and soap. Yes, it can do that. But don’t try that at home.