Saturday, December 30, 2006

Death of Saddam

Ok, this is big news, and the photo appeared on the washington post dot com website. Here is their article.

I'm sure everyone has an opinion on this event. I'm sitting at a hotel right now, and I've seen footage of his last moments about 8 times in the last hour. (Actually, make that 9 times. While I was typing this it was shown again.) How many times do we need to see something like this? How often does it need to be recapitulated in our news. I realize that by putting this in a blog, I am probably doing the same thing.

What do you make of the way we report news? How do you feel about the death of Saddam? I'm really not sure what to make of the event myself. It's hard to know how to feel when someone dies you have only seen on television. How do I feel about the death of James Brown, or the death of Gerald Ford. I guess overall, I'm a little sad, because we were made eternal beings in the image of God, and when someone dies, I wonder--will they spend the rest of their eternal lives in the presence of the Creator of the universe, or will they be eternally separated.

And what about us? While we still have breath, are we contemplating the type of people we are becoming, and preparing for the kind of life that is eternally in the presence of God, or outside the presence of God?

I'm not articulating these thoughts well. It is difficult to process exactly what I am thinking right now. (especially now that the video has been shown a 10th time while I am still writing). I think I am going to prepare for a drive back from Terra Haute to Parkersburg.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Apple World

Apple World, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Apple has definitely come a long way. Wired Magazine had an article about how this is Steve Job's best year ever. You can read it here.

I'm looking forward to the new iphone. It's just a rumor right now, but I have a feeling it will be coming out soon, and my phone is in rough shape right now, so I think it will be a cool replacement.

Anyhoo, I thought this picture might make some people nostalgic for gradeschool or somethin'.

Photos and Technology

Here is yet another video from Royksopp. Actually when I went to amsterdam the first time I picked up a CD of European house/lounge music, and this song was on it, and quickly became one of my favorites. It was also the song Apple used when you turned on a Mac with the Panther OS. In other words, when I received my mac, and turned it on for the first time, it was not only visually pleasing, but also it was music to my ears.

So this video really intrigues me. I like the way the images end up being continuous layers of photos. (I think HP did a commercial with a similar concept).

After I was introduced to the other Royksopp video, I thought I would search to see if eple was on you tube, and since it was, I figured I would share it with ya.

I am amazed at the illusions we can create through technology. Just when you think you are seeing a "real" image, it fades into the background and becomes a photo on the wall.

You could think about the whole thing as an illusion, but the more I think about it, I think of it a little differently.

Photo's capture an image of a larger story. The video demonstrates that the image is only an image, but it is a part of something larger. As the camera moves in the video, we are taken into a story that is larger than the photo's although it is an unfamiliar story. When we look at our own photo's we are immersed in a story far larger than the moment captured, and in those instances, it seems like we are more cognizant of it.

Just some random thoughts to coincide with a cool video and tune.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Blogging from Nowhere

Blogging from Nowhere, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
So, I took this picture of the Ceiling of the Egyptian theater in Los Angeles when I went to see the film Los Angeles Plays Itself with my Friend JR May.

What's new in my world? Well, my flickr account just said I need to upgrade to pro if I want to be able to see all of the photos I've uploaded.

I'm in the middle of nowhere in Missouri at a conference right now, and just wanted to take a minute to blog. The conference is great, and I finally found a wireless signal.

My pink eye has cleared up, and my GI tract has returned to a somewhat normal state finally.

And then, after everything else that happened to me, my camera died somewhere around Christmas. When I pulled it out to take some holiday photos, it wouldn't work.

So I have purchased a new camera, and it should arrive in Parkersburg by the time I make it back that way. I plan on spending new years with my family (including my best friend/brother--willie and his family). We are going to see Brett Cain on New Year's Eve.

Initially I was thinking it would be cool to have a bunch of people come join us, but given my mom's health situation, this probably wasn't the brightest idea I've ever had.

So those are some random things happening in my world. A little disconnected and random (especially with the picture).

If you would like to read more about my experience at the Egyptian, click here.

Hope to write more (and photograph more and become a flickr pro member) in the future.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

pink eye and quarantine

reflections in a pink eye, originally uploaded by I, Puzzled.
I didn't take this photo, but I can empathize with the dilemma of pink eye. I found out out that I have contracted pink eye, and right now I am in the process of treating this illness with an anti-biotic.

My internet access has been limited over the last few days, and so I haven't been able to write. Plus, I have felt like yuck!

Thursday I left Morgantown only to find out that I couldn't come to parkersburg for an additional 24 hours, or I would put my mom at risk exposing her to pink eye.

So I drove to Pittsburgh to do some Christmas shopping, and then I drove to wheeling to visit some friends, including Brett Cain. I would put a link to his website in this blog, but it is under development right now.

So I drove back to Morgantown Thursday night, and left Morgantown Friday afternoon. I did some Christmas shopping in Pittsburgh again (different mall), and then proceeded down the road to Parkersburg.

Along the way, I started to feel sick. I think I might have gotten food poisoning. I decided to stay at my sisters because of the sickness. And then I ended up getting a fever (which broke around 4AM Saturday morning).

Right now, I am still under a limited quarantine, but I am feeling better, and I am looking forward to seeing my mom and dad on Christmas day.

It's been a difficult couple of days, but compared to many, my problems are insignificant.

I've been trying to figure out what God was trying to do in the middle of all of this. I haven't been sick like this for six or seven years. I think maybe God was wanting me to spend some time with my sister and brother-in-law. In spite of my illness, we had a great couple of days together.

In spite of our circumstances, we can be faithful that God causes all things to work for the good.

And even though I have pink eye, at least I am not as hairy as the rabbit in the picture!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Nothing simple is it?

My friend Jeremiah sent me a link to this video on youtube. It's by a European lounge band called Royksopp, and it is called "Remind Me". The whole video is oriented toward proecesses, and it is a good reminder that nothing is as simple as we think it is. When we see how complex our world is, it gives us a picture of how much more complex God is. He sustains it all. And there is so much happening every day in our world that we take for granted. Have you given much thought to how the water cycle works, and the distances water travels from your home to the rivers, and back again?

I marvel at the complexity that this video shows of our world. Even in the beginning, to think about how complex our bodies are--we take it for granted because everything in each one of these systems works well most of the time. Sometimes we need to take a step back like the song says and let the visuals "remind us".

Friday, December 15, 2006

Beautiful City

Beautiful City, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I was going to entitle this "City of Blinding Lights" after the U2 song, but then I realized . . .Morgantown isn't exactly a city of blinding lights.

But the sky the other night was beautiful. I went for a walk through my neighborhood with my friend Ryan Huffman (who just got engaged!!!) and we just took time to catch up.

As we walked out of my driveway, I saw this sight, and pulled out my camera to capture it.

This town amazes me. I remember when I was considering college, this wasn't exactly number one on my list. But I love this town. With views like this, who wouldn't.

If you have ever been to morgantown you know what I mean. What's your favorite view, or place to hang out round here?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Night Sky

Last night I drove out with some friends to my friend Jeremiah's house to watch a meteor shower. Ricky Beamer took the picture above (among many others) and posted them to facebook if you wanna see more of em. I tried to take some photos with my camera, but unfortunately I just couldn't get anything but darkness--no stars, nothing.

So a half dozen of us took some blankets, and laid down on a hill close to Jeremiah's house in Preston county. It was really relaxing to just spend some time like that. I realized that most of my life I have rarely taken time to lay on the ground and just look up at the sky for an extended period of time. The night sky is beautiful. The daytime sky is pretty cool too, but I just seem to get so busy in the comings and goings of life that I fail to really appreciate the beauty of looking upward.

Of course there are all kinds of spiritual implications to this. We need to not be so busy that we forget to look to God, and ideas like that are definitely true, and came to my mind last night.

But much of the evening I thought about two things. Firstly, I thought about how the heavens declare the glory of God. I thought about how vast the heavens are, and how much more vast Christ is, and how it would be easy to begin to explore the heavens and get distracted in the process, but how wonderful it is to explore the created order and see the fingerprints of God--everywhere.

The second thing I thought about was having undistracted times with people. I thought about my tribe's land, and how we would often stay up half the night talking about Jesus, and drumming and singing, and watching meteor showers on our little plot of land. We would share stories with one another, and as the weekend continued on, life would take on more and more of a simple beauty. I feel like last night touched on that simple beauty. There is something about connecting with others, connecting with creation, connecting with yourself, and most importantly connecting with God that happens most artfully as we leave most of our daily distractions behind.

I hope you are able to take some time to set aside the busy plodding of life to soak in the special moments with friends and family over the holidays. Maybe give the television a rest for a bit. Shut off your computer. Turn off your cell phone. And enjoy the simple beauty of a night with friends and family.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Chasing Darkness

Chasing Darkness, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Well, folks have been wondering how my mom is doing. While she is dealing with a cough and some shortness of breath, I have some wonderful news to share.

All of the cancer is gone except for the tumor in her right breast!!! She is starting a different chemotherapy plan Wednesday. I am totally thrilled. I don't have a lot of the details, and unfortunately I wasn't with her when she found out or there would be a picture of her crying tears of gratitude.

Just like the light chasing away the darkness, God is using your prayers to chase away the cancer in my mom's body!

Thank you for your prayers, and thank you God for chasing away the bad stuff that was trying to hurt my mom!

I am soooooo immensely grateful for the gracious mercy and love God has made evident in my life over the last month. What am I saying, ha! He has made his gracious mercy and love evident over my whole life. I guess we have those moments of lucidity though.

I hope to be more God aware for the rest of my days on this earth! And I hope I can encourage the same in you!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Woodburn Whiteout

Woodburn Whiteout, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I took this picture at about 1.30PM today. It looks like dusk is nearing because the snow is falling so heavily. That's woodburn hall in the background. You can tell it is daytime because the woodburn lights aren't on yet. Not sure why the light posts are on.


I was walking down to campus this afternoon, and a storm blew up. I thought it would be cool to take a picture, and in the few seconds between that thought, and stopping to take this photo I was saturated with snow!

Not so long ago, it was sixty-five degrees. Maybe the cold weater and snow are finally here to stay.

The wind and snow were coming down similar to the rain I experienced last week. The snow hurt as it hit my face, and before I knew it my body was covered in white. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on whether you have to drive or commute in this), the snow has seriously slowed down since that gust.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One Billion Bulbs

This morning I received an email from my best friend on the planet, Willie, about an environmental website that is encouraging people to switch from incandescent bulbs to lower wattage fluorescent bulbs. I've just recently started switching out my bulbs, and the idea behind it is to save money on the electric bill, decrease the amount of environmental waste done through normal lighting, and also reduce cooling costs for homes in the summer.

It's pretty amazing to look at what happens when you change one bulb out. I am in the process of placing some of these bulbs in my house. I am so excited about it that I created a group that you should join!!! I thought it would be cool to see what kind of impact we could have on the environment. If you look on this blog, I have added a link to the sidebar that will track the total impact this group is having, and the total amount of savings that just me and my friends who join the group are accruing.

I hope you will go out and buy some bulbs and consider joining my group!

Also, earlier this year, I had a post about discovering your ecological footprint. In other words, if everybody on the planet lived like you (or me), how many planets would we need to sustain everybody. Click here to find out what your ecological footprint is. I just did mine again this morning, and because of some changes I have made, it would now only take 2.8 earths to sustain the world if everybody lived like me. Only 2.8 earths!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Following Jesus

A friend of mine loaned me a book about five years ago that I am just getting around to reading. It's called Follow Me, and it has been a really interesting read so far. In the opening chapter, Jan David Hettinga, the author, proposes that many who profess belief in Jesus have never made a decision to really follow Him. Below is a quote of what he says a life like this might look like.

If I were to put myself inside the skin of a Christian who believes in Jesus but doesn’t follow Him—what would my life be like? What would I experience? I would:
Be Cynical about church and the possibility of the Christian life actually working.
Cover the fact that I was spiritually empty, dry, and unsatisfied.
Tend to be passive and apathetic. I would have good intentions but lack follow-through.
Be focused on myself—my needs, my rights, my options.
Prefer being a spectator—watching, listening, but not really participating.
Occasionally admit that I have a busy, fast-paced, cluttered life, and a short attention span.
Insist on arranging my life around my personal preferences, pleasures, and comforts.
Subdivide my life so that I could move from one sealed compartment to another, keeping each strictly separate—church world, work world, leisure world, family world, and so forth.
Go through the motions, doing what is expected, more out of habit than anything else.
Be spiritually sterile, barren, and nonproductive in witness, and not troubled about it.
Experience the frustration of trying to have the best of both worlds, attempting to serve two masters—Jesus and someone or something else.
Pride myself on my ability to be independent and self-sufficient.
Keep my options open and remain uncommitted in order to avoid getting tied down.
Have little or no sense of overriding spiritual purpose or cause, and prefer to drift.
Cover up a quiet desperation inside—“There’s gotta be more to the Christian life than this powerless state I’m experiencing.

After I read this, I couldn't help but feel like this could describe periods in the life of every person I know, including myself. It has been a good reminder to me of my need to take regular time to evaluate what I am centering my life upon.

As Dallas Willard is fond of noting, we are all students of someone. We are all learning how to live from someone, and following some teacher. The question we are compelled to ask ourselves is "Is our teacher Jesus, or somebody or something else?"

Monday, December 04, 2006


Temptation, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I was walking to visit/study with some friends at a the Zen Clay Cafe in Morgantown when I saw these berries hanging from the limb of a tree.

These berries look so delicious. I just wanted to pick a cluster and start eating them. But, I have the feeling they are poisonous. They seem to be ripe a little out of season. It is december, and the tree these were hanging from has no leaves. In fact, no tree in the area has leaves. They are all barren. That just makes these berries stand out even more. They are just so tantalizing. I wonder what they taste like. Maybe just a little bite . . .

I think that's the way temptation works in our life. When we are walking along on a cold winter day, and we see a splash of color, something that we wouldn't pay much heed to at other times can be quite consuming. Temptation always looks good. It sets itself apart from everything around it. It makes itself look more satisfying than it could ever be. And before we know it, we are captivated by its allure.

How do you respond when temptation presents itself so delectably?

Tears of Joy

Tears of Joy, originally uploaded by tiffany_harned.
I was trying to find a photo that captured the pulchritude of salvation, and I found this image on flickr. The woman who took the picture said that she believed this flower was crying tears of joy after a rain storm.

A couple of months ago, I was contacted on my myspace account by this gal who had found my blog and had been reading it for a few months. She wanted to write me about what she had been reading, and thankfully I had recently set up a myspace acount.

I received an email from this gal on myspace, and in the email she shared how she had been an athiest/agnostic most of her life, but through reading this blog she felt inspired to find some way to dig herself out of what she had buried herself in over the past few years.

An email correspondence ensued. She came to check out our small faith gathering, h2o. She told me she couldn't just start believing something blindly, so I encouraged her to begin reading the Bible each day starting with the gospel of John. Last Thursday, she called me and told me she wanted to meet with me if I had any time available.

So we grabbed lunch at a restaurant in downtown Morgantown called Black Bear Burritos that was started by my high school senior class president. We enjoyed a great meal, and I proceeded to share with her how our satisfaction was meant to be found in God alone, but that we were all estranged from God because we have been seeking our satisfaction in other places. Thankfully, because God is immensely gracious toward us, He has allowed us to be reconciled to Him through Jesus the Messiah.

I asked Kristen if there was anything that would stop her from putting her trust in Jesus Christ to reconcile her to God and to lead her life. She said there wasn't, and so I asked her if she would like to pray with me and invite Him into her life. She said yes, and so right there in the middle of the restaurant, we prayed, and and cried tears of joy, just like the flower in the picture. Now Kristen is a Christian, and nothing can separate her from God's unfathomable love!

Isn't that wonderful news?