Thursday, June 25, 2015

On Villains and Evil

I'm way late too the Harry Potter-train. I just read the books this year. In 2015.
I'm a 27 year-old Potter Head.

I love the story.
I love the characters.
I love the setting.
I love the plot.
I love the descriptions.
I love the creativity.

Something in this story really moves me.

It's a story about innocence and coming of age.
Good and evil.
Character and integrity.
Being a force for good in the world.
The things we fear.
The power they have.
The power we give them.

Like evil and villains.

I love this quote from Sirius Black--Harry Potter's godfather:

"Besides the world isn't split into 
good people and Death Eaters. 
We've all got both light and dark inside of us. 
What matters is the part we choose to act on. 
That's who we really are." 
-Sirius Black

I feel like this quote is a decent reflection of where I'm at in my spiritual road trip.

It's really easy to put the world in boxes.
To label what is good and bad.
Right and wrong.
And it makes us feel comfortable.
To feel some small sense of control.
But I find that the people I trust least in the world, are those who think this is actually possible.
Or useful.

We can try to lump "the homosexuals" or "the Liberals" or "the evangelicals" into a box that makes us feel superior and in-control. But we will fail every time. People cannot be written off so easily.

There is not only good and evil--us versus "them"--there is dark and light in all of us.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I'm Done With Korea

Today commemorates the twenty-two months we've lived in Korea.
Today also commemorates the two months we have left over here.

And, to be perfectly honest, I'm so done.

I'm done living here.
I'm done teaching here.
I'm done being a foreigner.
I'm done feeling misunderstood.
I'm done feeling so very far from home.
I'm done Skyping to see my newborn niece that I haven't met yet.

And still--as bitter as I might sound--I love Korea.
I love what it's taught me.
I love how it's changed me.
And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

But I'm still done.

Not because I'm pissed.
Not because I'm upset with any one or any thing.
I'm just ready to be independent.
I'm ready to drive a car.
I'm ready to blend in.
I'm ready to move on to whatever comes next.

And I know that I've felt this way before.
Wrapping up one thing and moving onto the next.
Saying "Goodbye" and saying "Hello" almost simultaneously.
Trying to be here, but you're really there.
Struggling to be present in this moment when you're regularly pulled into the next.

It's an uncomfortable place to be: between moments, changes, countries, and cultures.

Two months left over here yonder.
And then, China.
And Thailand.
And Cambodia. 
And Bali.
And finally home.

But not yet. 
These two months first.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Farther Along // Josh Garrels (cover)

I realized this weekend why I've had so much fun recording music and making music videos these past few months.


I'm a natural alto. That's one step below those high-pitched sopranos. We've got the slightly lower voices. And most melody parts are better-suited for sopranos. So, for as long as I can remember, I've adjusted to singing harmony parts to their melody. And I've gotten really good at it.

And since I learned GarageBand back in January, I've been able--for the first time--to highlight that skill by singing both melody and harmony in a key that works for my range. And while, I realize this isn't the most exciting information to share, it matters to me. Because putting the pieces together has been...thrilling.

Because there's something about singing harmony that feels like double-dutch.
Or synchronized swimming.
Or putting the last piece in a puzzle.
Or dancing.

It's improvisation.
It's sensation.
It's listening to the rhythms.
It's adjustment.
It's taking notice to the nuances of the tune.
It's finding your role in a crowded place.
It's following someone else's lead.
And in the process making something more beautiful together than we could have possibly done on our own.

On Saturday afternoon, as I recorded this song, I vowed to do everything in one take.
One take recording guitar.
One take recording melody.
One take recording second melody.
One take recording harmony.

And it's the improv of that moment that's so thrilling that when I finished I was sweating. It's like tight rope walking. There's only one right note to sing and you have to find it on the fly, because it you don't, you'll know it. The whole song falls apart if you miss it.

But if you don't, it's beautiful.
And--in my humble opinion--this is beautiful.

Farther Along
by Josh Garrels

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by

Tempted and tried, I wondered why
The good man died, the bad man thrives
And Jesus cries because he loves em’ both
We’re all cast-aways in need of ropes
Hangin’ on by the last threads of our hope
In a house of mirrors full of smoke
Confusing illusions I’ve seen

Where did I go wrong, I sang along
To every chorus of the song
That the devil wrote like a piper at the gates
Leading mice and men down to their fates
But some will courageously escape
The seductive voice with a heart of faith
While walkin’ that line back home

So much more to life than we’ve been told
It’s full of beauty that will unfold
And shine like you struck gold my wayward son
That deadweight burden weighs a ton
Go down into the river and let it run
And wash away all the things you’ve done
Forgiveness alright


Still I get hard pressed on every side
Between the rock and a compromise
Like the truth and pack of lies fightin’ for my soul
And I’ve got no place left go
Cause I got changed by what I’ve been shown
More glory than the world has known
Keeps me ramblin’ on

Skipping like a calf loosed from its stall
I’m free to love once and for all
And even when I fall I’ll get back up
For the joy that overflows my cup
Heaven filled me with more than enough
Broke down my levee and my bluff
Let the flood wash me

And one day when the sky rolls back on us
Some rejoice and the others fuss
Cause every knee must bow and tongue confess
That the son of God is forever blessed
His is the kingdom, we’re the guests
So put your voice up to the test
Sing Lord, come soon


Thursday, June 11, 2015


Here's some goodness for your Friday. We recently celebrated our three-year anniversary by taking some pictures with Dorette Reyneke. I think it will be really cool to capture how we change through the years. These pictures matter.

This is the brick of our little apartment building. It's been our home in Korea. We are so blessed.

These are the little farms near our house. This is where we race home after we got to the market. This is where we dropped 2.5 dozen eggs. This is where the old man hunts for recyclables. This is where the goats are. This is where the motorbikes cruise through delivery Chinese food.

This is the park where we practice our pull-ups.

These cross walk photos mean a lot to me because this is such a regular spot for us. It's right near our apartment. We sometimes go here for coffee or across the street for a weekend stroll. It's our spot.

These pictures are in Sannamdong, the neighborhood right next door to us. The place where we make late-night runs to the market or bike rides to the ATM. It's where the market lady knows us and smiles.

There's a lot of grace here.

We are both allowed to cry.
We are both allowed to be angry.
We are both allowed to be scared.
We are both allowed to be goofy.
We are both allowed to make terrible jokes.

It's a good thing through and through.

On to year four.