Life has been crazy lately, but I wanted to give you all some more substance of what my life has been like the last 6.75 months.  I was looking back at all the saved drafts I have on this blog and wanted to see if any could be fleshed out or explored further. Out of the 12 (yes, I have had 12 topics I never published…) I decided to start with the notes of one titled “Almost 2 Months in LA”.

My initial reactions to reading through the draft:

  • this has been the fastest year of my life. I am beginning to understand the phrase, “The days are long, but the years are short.”
  • Life is good, even amidst struggle. Life’s a journey, but I need to remember who is in control. As they said at Youth Day at the Religious Education Congress over the weekend- “Keep calm, God’s got this.” (hopefully more on that in a later post)
  • I don’t give myself enough credit for the many, many small changes I’ve made in my life

In many respects this year continues to be the most challenging and fruitful year of my life. I went from only having to think about me, to considering how my actions affect the 5 other people I live with (that’s not a bad thing!) and how many actions ripple into the greater city and global community.

I’m a changed man. There’s no doubt about it. I used to spend most of my free time glued to the TV and PS3. Now I play guitar and read. I’ve become more politically active. I’ve become more decisive. I’m working on being more assertive. I think I may be starting to see the signs of being “ruined for life”.  I have made quite a few lifestyle changes. Here’s my notes from month 2:

lifestyle changes: tapatioon everything , authentic mexican food, conserve water in shower,using shaveing oi instead of chemical laden shaving cream, watching the west wing, learning guitar, drinking more water, spirituality nights, helping cooking when I can, full-time employed (and then some? is this more crazy and full than a regular youth minister or campus minister?), more grateful for food and friendship, my blood is beginning to thin,I’ve gone from being the only clevelander in a 60 mile radius to being one of two

challenges: spanish, my spice tolerance, gorgeous every day, missing fall in the midwest, not being able to ‘be’ with dear friends, trouble getting in contact with friends

joys: the sometimes ‘not-so-hard’ life of a volunteer (the year where people’s incredible generosity will be made known), parish parties to have other parties, dancing the caballo dorado (achy breaky heart meets the electric slide)

 

In the 5 months after writing this I’ve found that I still struggle with many of the challenges, but that they invite me toward greater appreciation of this year (and life in general). And joy can be found everyday.

Vision

Posted: February 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

There’s always something great happening around here. The kids look so happy with their new glasses!

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0206-lopez-vision-20130206,0,3683766.column

More Gratitude

Posted: February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

My mom emailed this to me awhile back. enjoy!

Food for Thought

Posted: January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

A roomie of mine sent this my way. It’s a few years old, but still resonates with the work that we do in LA and the people we have come to know.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-james-martin-sj/glenn-beck-vs-christ-the-_b_698359.html?ref=fb&src=sp#sb=691782,b=facebook

Need a Pep Talk?

Posted: January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

“Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.”-African Proverb

Show Me

Posted: January 18, 2013 in gratitude, music

Beautiful, haunting, and timely. John Legend’s music helped get me through the week and his songs are what I am learning next on guitar! Enjoy!

 

Voice of a Mountain

Posted: January 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

We watched this movie for community night. It helped me get a better sense of the struggles Guatemala has gone through and continues to go through. Our discussion afterward also reminded me about the importance of fair trade products to the dignity and stability of others.

 

http://www.voiceofamountain.com/about/

Youth Group and the Gun Debate

Posted: January 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

I’m trying new things at youth group today.  A few weeks ago, for our New Year’s meeting, we talked about how we want to move forward as a group in 2013. One of the suggestions was to look at and talk about current events and social issues. Things that affect our community.  In a few hours, I’ll be facilitating an honest talk on the gun debate.  It’s been an opportunity for me to read up on arguments from all sides and look at statistics.  I’m still figuring out for myself what I think the best course of action to address this issue is, but I know gun violence had been an issue that has touched my community here for years.

I leave you with a letter to the editor in yesterday’s LA Times: “As the nation wrestles with the question of whether to ban assault weapons, people in our inner cities know a simple truth: There are too many guns on our streets, and this can be directly linked to the high numbers of homicides that are sadly a regular part of our lives.

This past summer there were four homicides within a span of 62 days within a square mile of Dolores Mission Parish, just a few miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Since 1980, when the Jesuits came to this parish, we have experienced the deaths of some 200 community members to gun violence.

Though not the only angle on the issue, I have to believe that if there were tighter gun control laws in our country, fewer guns would find themselves on the streets of our inner cities. And more of my parishioners would be alive.

The Rev. Scott Santarosa

Los Angeles”

Great things happening at JCU! Jurell offers a beautiful reflection on last week’s readings. The first half resonates with me this week.

Video  —  Posted: January 17, 2013 in Uncategorized