Thursday, June 25, 2009

Self Improvement

I've recently decided I don't write enough.  I type a whole heck of a lot but when it comes to putting pen to paper I'm falling behind. I want to change that. The only problem is that I have terrible handwriting, especially when I'm trying to write fast. 

So here's my personal challenge. I'm going to start writing in cursive again. I hated it so much in school that once I was out I never did it again. Now I'm wishing I hadn't. Cursive looks cool in a journal, even if it's sloppy, and the whole point of cursive is to be able to write faster. Maybe my teachers did know something...

Anyway, I started yesterday. I had to google how to make a capital "I."

This should be interesting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Eternal Struggle

I read a blog today  that inspired me to write. You can read the inspiration for yourself at It’s very good.

The overall theme of her blog was essentially why do men suck so bad and why are the bad guys so attractive to women? Let me first start off by saying, I am in no way, shape or form the perfect man. If you talked to my wife and she told you the truth, she could easily describe me as one of the men I’m about to decry.

On the other hand, I do think I have a tiny bit wisdom on the subject, at least from the point of view of a man who tries (every once and a while) to be a good man.

I’ll start with the men first, then move to the women (what you thought you were immune ;).


Our world seems to be overrun with man-children: Members of the male sex who are technically old enough to be considered men but who have not progressed beyond a Jr. High or High School mentality.  They can’t commit to anything, they base their value on performance and achievement, and they are constantly hurting themselves and anyone who gets close to them. When they die, 3 subjects will sum up their life:

1. Sports (or video games or music or drugs or add activity here and mix and match as you please) – Whatever they can do to fill their time and take their mind off the fact that they are miserable and dying inside.

2. Money – How much cash can they make, have or at least appear to have: Money is also the catalyst that helps them achieve subjects 1 and 3.

3. Conquests – How many women can they con into sleeping with them: The word “power” could be used as a substitute. Same difference.

Any man who is telling you the truth will tell you that there is not much in this world that is more appealing than these 3 subjects.  And this is exactly the problem.

As humans we are imperfect, we are damaged goods. We are born evil and will remain as such unless we experience the power of Christ. Even with Christ, the lure of evil is often times overwhelming.

If anyone has ever raised a puppy, one of the first things you learn is that you can’t just leave puppy chow sitting around. A puppy will literally eat itself to death. As men, we are puppies left alone in a land of infinite puppy chow… which leads me to my next subject.


Why are women so attracted to the bad guy? I can’t say any of this without certainty because I’m not a woman, so I’ll just have to go off of observations I’ve made and material I’ve read on the subject.

Observation 1 – It’s not just a cliché; the whole bad guy thing really does work. I was the nice boy for the longest time. I also never had a girlfriend for more than a month (they always dumped me), but then I started putting the pieces together. Soon enough I was playing guitar and I had tattoos, piercings and dread locks. Before you know it, I was dating a model. See visual aide number 1.

   Visual Aide Number 1

Observation 2 – The bad guy thing works for a while, but then to keep them happy, you’ve got to turn into a good guy. When we met I was a college flunky with dreads and tats and not much else going for me. When she dumped me I was an Aviation Administration major with a perfect GPA, full ride scholarship and nice preppy haircut.

Observation 3 – As much as women want to catch the bad guy and tame him, once they tame him he gets boring and they get bored.

So what’s a guy or girl to do in this insurmountable clash of the titans? John Eldredge, in his book “Wild at Heart” really helped me understand, and his explanation with God’s help, shaped the foundation that my one successful relationship has been built on.

In the book he says that inside every woman there is a beauty. A beauty who is looking for a prince to slay the dragon and rescue her so they can ride off into the sunset, and off to adventure. He goes on to say that inside every man there is a dragon to slay, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.

Notice the story does not read, “The prince rescued the princess and she became his life and he became hers.“ The adventure is a very important part of the story and cannot be ignored. 

(As for the question, why do women like bad boys? Bad boys tend to signify adventure, drama, and danger, most of which women find exhilarating. Not that good boys can't be exhilarating, but let's face it, they usually aren't.)  

Now I would be foolish to think I could wrap up the entire male/female relationship conversation in a few short pages. There are obviously innumerable scenarios. I also do not believe that every woman needs a man, or visa versa. But for those who are looking, I think these ideas may be a good place to start. See visual aide number 2.

  Visual Aide Number 2

Mindy and I have been married for a little less than 2 years now. Our entire relationship has lasted about 5 years. Notice my nose ring and gauged ears. This picture was also taken at one of my concerts. Mindy is very supportive of the adventure that God is sending me on, and I am very supportive of her adventure. We have not tried to “tame” each other. We have our bad times and our sad times and are by no means a perfect example, but in the end we both understand that we will not give up and with God’s help and God’s help alone we will transverse this awkward existence known as life.

For a few more random thoughts on the subject, I leave you with this"

“Love, love, love, is all we ever talk of, talk and talk is all we ever get done"

- Staggerford

“Love is a verb.”

- DC Talk

 “A friend of mine spent twenty years looking for the perfect woman; unfortunately when he found her, he discovered that she was looking for the perfect man.”

- Warren Buffet

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Va moozey tim yeppa mooch?

It’s been one full week since I’ve been back in the United States and I still don’t know what I want to write. It’s been a busy week, so I haven’t had a whole lot of free time to just sit and decompress. The free time I did have I spent watching House M.D. I’m not a proud addict, but I am addicted…

At most I have a collection of random thoughts so I’ll put those down for lack of something better to write.

1. I’m going to be in big big trouble if I ever have a daughter. As attached as I got to a couple of the girls there in just a few short days, a daughter of my own will probably be too much to handle. Future suitors beware…

2. The orphans could really use a good financial education. They’re given about 600 Grivna a month from the Government and most of it is blown on payday. These kids don’t have a lot of out of pocket expense. Imagine what they could accomplish if they were to save half of what the Government pays them. 300 Grivna a month for the 36 months they are at the Orphanage leaves them with 10,800 Grivna, or about $1400 US at the current exchange rate. Not a lot by US standards, but not too bad for a Ukrainian orphan. (I don’t’ know what kind of investment tools they have in Ukraine, or if they are even stable, but I’ve got to believe that saving something is better than spending it on alcohol and candy.)

3. Ukrainian orphan boys could probably thrash US boys in athletic competition, and they don’t have fancy equipment or supplements to make them bigger, faster, stronger.

4. I’m definitely going to know at least a good handful of Russian by the time I go back.

5. I’m definitely going back.

6. Kiev is a really cool city, almost like if they put Chicago in the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina.

7. US culture is so obsessed with TV and the internet that we miss out on a lot of real life experiences.

8. I watch too much TV and spend too much time on the internet.

9. Ukrainian colds hold on for a lot longer than US colds.

10. I can’t spend too much time thinking about what the future may hold for the kids I got close too. If I was able, I would have taken a couple kids home to live with me, or even stayed to look after them, but I can’t (not yet anyway). So here I am, sitting comfortably in the US and feeling very helpless for their situation. This is when I have to realize, above all, that I can’t save the world. God is in control. He’s called me to this cause, and He’s called me to recruit others for this cause, but there is nothing worthwhile that I can accomplish outside of Him.  

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Return Voyage

Wow, I’ve been “home” for a couple days now and I’m just getting around to doing this.

First I’ll write about the trip home and then I’ll get to the “what I’ve learned” part in the next blog. I was going to try and do it all in one, but I've been so busy since I've been back, I haven't been able to get straight in my head what I want to say. 

As is typical in the United States, I hit the ground running just as soon as I got off the plane. Thankfully, God provided a bit of a respite even in my travels when he allowed me and 3 other members of the Faceless team to be upgraded to First Class for the 10-hour flight home. Though I feel a little guilty that the rest of the team was stuck in coach, the added comfort of First Class was very welcomed.

After getting off the plane and through customs in New York, I had to rush to make my flight to Milwaukee. In the end, the rush was unnecessary as my flight was an hour and a half late. This in turn caused me to miss my connecting flight in Milwaukee. The airline was generous though and put me up for the night in the Wyndham Hotel. I didn’t sleep that well, but that was partially due to jet lag. I woke up at 5 am the next morning, had some Duncan Donuts and coffee and jumped on my flight to Minneapolis.  In Minneapolis, my beautiful wife surprised me by picking me up, which made the day great.  We had lunch at the Macaroni Grill and then spent the afternoon wandering through Ikea and the Mall of America (which was shocking to the senses after having been in Ukraine living with orphans the day before).  The next day I woke up to run over the set with Bright Light and then the Pilot for Kite set, and then it was off to play Water’s Edge in Albert Lea. 

This morning I woke up at 7:00 to see Mindy off. I spent morning drinking coffee and learning Russian. I’m going to be prepared for the next trip. Despite the coffee and non-drowsy cold medicine I took, I fell back asleep at 11 for another two hours. I’m really hoping my body becomes acclimated to the central time zone soon. Tonight we head to Wisconsin for another show. Then it's off to Illinois for a week long camp.

I'm really looking forward to getting back to Omaha and seeing my dog Henry and spending some more time with my wife and friends, but for now I've just got to keep pressing on. If Ukraine taught me anything, it's that time can fly by faster now that it ever has in the past.