12.29.2009

2009: A Year in Review

so when i used to have my xanga, every year i'd post a yearly recap of memories, fun times, sad times, lessons learned, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that happened over the past year.. i haven't done one since 2006 (i believe) so i'm attempting to rekindle a tradition.. its always nice to look back on the year.. and to also have the recap to look back on later.

the only thing i've found with respect to the lessons learned aspect is that you can't ever really have an unbiased recap since your perspective on an issue is based on your current state of affairs and could easily change in a matter of weeks, months, years. but without further ado, here is "2009: A Year in Review"

** after graduating college, i soon realized the "real world" wasn't all its cracked up to be. my hard earned diploma was barely worth the ink and tree pulp it was printed on.

** searching for a job in politics led me to searching for any job i could possibly take.. any job that would get my feet wet/in the door and make some connections. i sent out literally thousands of resumes, all to have maybe a 1/3 of those even responded to. some people were friendly, most places weren't hiring, and one guy was a complete douchebag. (see my post on 2.11.09 entitled "happiness is a warm smoking gun" for more info on that)

** because of these situations, i found myself at the bottom of the barrel having a great deal of concerns, anxiety, etc. so i really started passionately praying for God to do something.. show me an open door.. show me where else i could apply, etc.

** in doing so, God showed me that i had been focusing on what i thought i wanted for my life, not what He wanted for my life, so i started praying for guidance in following His will and thats when i felt Him calling me to the ministry/to start studying at seminary

** did some substitute teaching mostly at denham freshman high, but also some at dshs and also lohs.. hope to never have to do it again. the kids were horribly disrespectful and the pay was definitely not worth it. but it did tie me over while i looked for a more permanent job.

** moved a good friend up to kentucky indefinitely.. which was pretty tough, not knowing when/if she'd ever be moving back, how the friendship would be affected by it all, and mostly, just not having that person to hang out with on a very regular basis.. we've stayed in contact though (def not as much as we used to be but.. enough to keep the friendship alive and still a part of each others lives)

** church hopped for the longest time (about a year in total.. may 08 to around may 09) and never felt connected anywhere i went. i started attending Christ's Community pretty regularly because my parents were/are members there and i even helped them start up a mid-week youth service.. but i never felt like that was my home.

** all in God's timing, i got contacted about coming back to live oak methodist to play bass in the 1130 band and i'm so glad i accepted. things have been going great at loumc and i've gotten extremely involved (even moreso than when i was there originally).. playing bass at 1130, helping lead music for the thursday night service, about to start helping lead music for the youth, playing 4 songs in the V-Day Banquet, and a ton of other stuff. i've gotten to be really close friends with a lot of great people who i never really knew or only knew as acquaintances beforehand. i'm not sure what i'd do or where i'd be without those friends in my life right now.

** (this next one is kinda out of place chronologically but it fits with the previous bullet so) all of the positive things going on at loumc has put me in a tough situation though.. i haven't really expressed this to too many people yet, but here goes.. being in seminary and involved in church ministry is preparing me for a future in the ministry.. and as far as a job goes, it'd be beneficial to my resume, experience, knowledge, preparation, and future to get a job in the ministry.. however, i can't see myself leaving live oak at any point in the near future. things are going so great and i couldn't imagine leaving that behind.. it would definitely have to be a God thing.. which is guess is the way it should be anyway taking a job in the ministry.. but because things are going so great at loumc, it's kept me from finishing and posting my ministry resume for other churches to see.. i keep putting it off and i think its largely because of the reasons i just stated.. so thats def an issue i'm currently dealing with and something i would greatly appreciate prayers for.

** went to boston for the 5th (or so) time, this time with my parents and grandmother (on my dad's side).. it was interesting having her along on the trip but it was nice to see derek & shelby again since i only get to see them once or twice a year.

** moved back to the parents house after living on my own for 5 years. i'm living out in the gameroom so i'm not under their roof, which def helps alot with me still having my own life/privacy, but its also def weird living back here after being gone for 5 years. its been an adjustment, but its been a nice adjustment for the most part. how long i stay here depends on how the job/school situation continues to play itself out but hopefully i won't have to stay for too terribly long. i enjoy the freedom and responsibility of having my own place.

** went on a 15 day mission trip to ecuador. it was my first time out of the country and it was definitely a great experience. i went with a group from Christ's Community made up mostly of college-aged peoples.. alot of whom were originally from judson so i already knew em quite well. anyhow, we worked with kids, hosted a kids camp, helped out at 2 saturday kids club events, spent 3 days in the jungle of ecuador.. ahh such a great trip. definitely an amazing experience and one i'll never forget.

** started working on my Masters of Divinity at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. it was a bit overwhelming at first having taken a semester off of school and this type of learning being completely different from most of what i had engaged in prior. met some great Christian brothers and sisters, and took some great classes in my first semester (intro greek, philosophy of religion, worship leadership, exploring the old testament and spiritual formation) i'm still waiting on most of my grades but i did get a B in Greek and a P in Sp. Form. i'm excited to see what all God has in store for the rest of my time at seminary, as He's already showed me a great deal in just this first semester.

** started playing tennis again. i forgot how much i loved to play. it took a while to get back in the swing of things (haha get it?!) but it's been a heck of a lot of fun and a nice break from school, etc. we started going every saturday morning for quite a while, but havent been in a few weeks with rain and busy schedules and all.. hopefully we'll get back in the routine of it. i miss playing.

all in all, its been a great year. there were definitely a great deal of low points mostly in the first half of the year, but everything has really turned around and i'm extremely thankful for where i am now. i have a few great new friends (especially 2) who mean the world to me and i'm glad we've been able to become really close (like brothers and sisters) in a relatively short amount of time. y'all know who you are (if y'all even read this.. come to think of it.. i don't think y'all do.. hmm..)

anyhow, that about concludes the year in review.. as the 2nd of half of this year (especially the most recent couple months) has been pretty great, i'm really excited to see what all 2010 has in store. stay tuned to find out. i know i will. hehe.

12.16.2009

down we go

as of yesterday, i have officially completed my first semester at seminary. most of my classes had papers due last week instead of final exams (a 30-pager, a 15-pager (for the same class), and a 5-pager).. but i still had to take my Greek final (non-cumulative) and Worship Leadership final yesterday. it feels really nice to be finished with the first semester and have 14 hours behind me.. just awaiting the grades now =| haha.. its definitely weird readjusting to a 7 point grading scale.. i got so used to the 10-pointer that its weird thinking of an 85 as a C or whatever ya know..

next semester will be 13 hours (both low hour numbers due to this 1 hr. first year class i have to take).. so i'll be taking: Baptist Heritage, Logic & the Christian Faith, Intermediate Greek, Systematic Theology I, and Spiritual Formation (the first yr. class).. so i'm looking forward to getting started on those even though i know its not going to be easy at all haha.

in other news, life is going pretty great. not much to speak of, but theres not much to complain about either so i guess thats a good thing haha. been hanging out with friends alot lately so thats always a good thing too.. although i think i might not be hanging out with other friends quite enough.. ho well. it is what it is.

got some sweet Christmas parties and stuff coming up so those are always lots of fun. i've finished all my Christmas shopping, except for mi padre because i have NO idea what to get him.. any suggestions are greatly appreciated =) Derek & Shelby are coming into town about this time next week (23rd prolly) and stay here til after Christmas.. so that'll be nice to get to hang out with and see them for a while. i know it'll be a much needed break for Derek since he just finished up a project he's been working on for a little over a year :0

Purpose (1130 band) has been practicing up on our Christmas music lately.. getting ready for the Christmas Eve service (4:30) at the church which i'm getting pretty excited about playing.. its going to be great! i've never been to one of LO's Christmas Eve services but i always love those services in general.. just so festive and close-knit and all that good stuff.. =)

anyhow, i think thats pretty much it for now. i'll update again when my grades are posted.. see how good i did haha!

muchlove. trent.

11.04.2009

sir hiss

quick video update for y'all to enjoy. that chirping sound is back and with a vengeance. i don't know why it does that, but i don't hear it on a regular basis.. it's only audible when i playback the videos.. who knows??

anyways, hope you enjoy. oh and btw.. the "sir hiss" reference is from disney's version of robin hood.. "hypnosisssss can cure you of your psychosisssss.. ssso eassssy"

love, trent.

video

10.20.2009

stern warnings from yesteryear

This is a stern warning from one of our founding fathers that is just as applicable today as it was then. I wish more emphasis in this country was placed on the ideologies of these incredible, bold revolutionaries in developing our own current political ideologies. These men were "involved in high treason with all means available" to them, yet they stood up for their moral convictions anyway, regardless of the certain consequences. I couldn't have said this any better myself..

“Is it not high time for the people of this country explicitly to declare whether they will be freemen or slaves? It is an important question, which ought to be decided. It concerns us more than any thing in this life. The salvation of our souls is interested in the event; for wherever tyranny is established, immorality of every kind comes in like a torrent.

It is the interest of tyrants to reduce the people to ignorance and vice, for they cannot live in any country where virtue and knowledge prevail. The religion and public liberty of the people are intimately connected, their interests are interwoven; they cannot subsist separately, and, therefore, they rise and fall together.

For this reason, it is always observable that those who are combined to destroy the people’s liberties practise every art to poison their morals. How greatly then does it concern us, at all events, to put a stop to the progress of tyranny. It has advanced already by far too many strides. We are at this moment upon a precipice. The next step may be fatal to us.

Let us, then, act like wise men, calmly look around us, and consider what is best to be done. Let us converse together upon this most interesting subject, and open our minds freely to each other. Let it be the topic of conversation in every social club. Let every town assemble. Let associations and combinations be everywhere set up to consult and recover our just rights.” -- Samuel Adams

10.19.2009

break it down

this whole week is fall break at nobts. i'm used to the 2 day fall break non-sense lsu and other schools have, but hey i'm not complaining! plus we get the whole week of for thanksgiving too, rather than just 2 days (again like lsu).. woot.

our fall break is pretty late though compared to most other schools so all my friends are either working or in school this week.. actually most of em have midterms this week.. so good luck to all y'all out there. hope y'all do well on em! but yeh it leaves me with not too terribly much to do during the week, so i'm being a good student and getting caught up/getting ahead in a few of my classes.. i know, what a nerd right?! haha.. yeh its true.

i've been loving this cold weather. i've had my windows open all day and all night.. i love to sleep in the cold. the colder the better.. mostly cuz it feels so good to crawl into bed and snuggle up in the blankets and such.. too bad its supposed to be warming up for the next couple days.. boo on that junk..

well hopefully the break will produce something of value. i'll be sure to keep y'all updated.

muchlove.

10.16.2009

pentatonic

my dad sent me this video in an email yesterday. he doesn't send me stuff like this very often so I figured it must be something worth watching/hearing.. i'm definitely glad he passed it along to me.. and so should you, because now I'm sharing it with you =)

this guy is a pretty great singer, but i'm posting it more for the introduction he gives the song.. anyhow, watch and enjoy. (oh don't read my post-video comments til after the video please.. dont want to ruin anything! haha.. actually i think i'll make sure to be vague enough for those of you who don't follow directions well :p


so i always knew John Newton was a slave owner and all that jazz.. but seeing this take on it added a whole new depth and level of inspiration to this incredible song! it only seems to get better every day haha! =) you can't watch this video and not be in awe of how amazing God is and the incredible divine providence He uses to make all things, even a song of sorrow on a slave ship, glorify Him in abundant ways.. God is so good!

9.27.2009

God is so good.. All the time!

today has been a pretty busy day, but very rewarding at the same time. all of it was at church.. in fact, all 3 of my meals today have been at church haha.. craziness. started out with purpose practice, then 1130 service, lunch at church, straight to v-day banquet practice at church, came home to change shirts, and went straight to judson for a retirement celebration for preacher and i just got back from there. the last item on the agenda is who i want to dedicate this post to.

preacher (merlin mccon) served at judson baptist for 32 years! and has been in the ministry for a total of 48 years! i can't even begin to imagine what an outstanding feat that is.. and like one of the speakers said tonight, 32 years at one church is an incredibly remarkable testimony to the kind of guy preacher is. its unheard of for pastors to stay anywhere near that long at any church, in fact, the average tenure right now for southern baptist preachers is something like 3-5 years at one church.. it was also said preacher baptized over 1300 people and preached roughly 3000 sermons during his time at judson.. how incredible! God certainly used him to be a tremendous impact to the community and he definitely didn't stop at anything to reach out to the hurting and the lost with the love of Christ. for that, he is to be highly regarded. he definitely made a lasting impact on my life in the first 20 years of my life that when i attended judson. it is very safe to say that without his leadership and example in my life, i would likely not be where i am today.

but, i'm not intending on writing this as a memorial of sorts for the man that is merlin mccon. he'd be the first person to tell you, "i didn't do all that much while i was here.. it was ALL God." He certainly placed him in the church for a reason and He has definitely placed on preacher's heart a burden for another area of ministry, still yet to be seen. but i know that whatever preacher ends up doing, God will certainly be at the forefront and His name will be proclaimed!

throughout the entirety (is that redundant?) of tonight, i was admiring his service, of course, but also praying that God would use me in the way He was able to use merlin. but i know merlin was so successful only because of his focus on God, not by his own efforts. his ministry and his impact can be used as an example of how to truly serve God with all you have and to show the significant ramifications that ministry can have in people's lives and in the community in which God places you. it is a charge on my life not to let myself get in the way of the ministry God has called me to and to seek His passions only.

the service started off with the reading of a verse that summed up preacher's ministry well and the verse should definitely be used by all in the ministry as a cognizant reminder of how we as God's chosen leaders are called to serve. "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away" (1 Peter 5:2-4). i intend to continually read this verse that my ministry might reflect this charge from Peter.. not to get caught up in the ministry being a job, but being a passion.. a yearning for God to work in lives.. to love those whom i love.. to lead the lost to Christ.. to be an example of Christ's love in the best way that i can in order that His name might be lifted up.

9.22.2009

only time will tell

i've had a hard time keeping this thing updated.. not sure if it is because i find myself a lot busier lately with school or if its because most of the things that happen on a regular basis don't seem all that blog-worthy. but then i end up posting novel-long blogs that no one ever reads - or comments.. =/ so maybe i'll start posting more pointlessness, or maybe my life needs to become more eventful, and thus, blog-worthy.. hehe =)

i started playing tennis again. i forgot how much i love the game. its very close to an addiction. i'm still no where near as good as i used to be.. my serve is garbage and my control still needs to be tweaked/fine-tuned, but its getting there.. and even on my bad days, i still love to play. a group of live oakians have started going every saturday, but i need to play more during the week too.. so if you want to play, hit me up (even if you've never played before.. always fun to teach somebody)

i made a 97 on my first greek test, which i was pretty excited about. i thought i did fairly well (mid to high B) but i never thought i did THAT good.. i'm pretty well caught up in all my other classes. the only concern i have right now is a 30 page paper due for my philosophy of religion class in about 2.5 weeks.. i'm caught up on all the reading and everything, but it continuously looms over my head. i'll be glad when it's behind me.

for quite some time now, i've been seeking my own plans/desires with regard to the chicas (and we see how good thats all worked out for me huh? haha), but lately God has been revealing more and more clearly to me that i need to focus on Him first and foremost, allowing His plan to be fulfilled in my life, trusting what He has in store for me, not pretending to think i know whats best for me.. i read an article that basically speaking, said that we can't truly be prepared to love another human being the way God intended unless we are completely content with being loved solely by Him. it is through that relationship that we learn what true love means, that we are blessed in all aspects of life, including our worldly relationships.

only time will tell what God has in store for my life (in all areas), but thats not an end destination, its a life long pursuit.. constantly pursuing Godly passions and Godly desires. my prayer though is that i hold fast to those ideals and not be swayed into my own pursuits through the desires of the flesh.

much love. trent.

p.s. my dad had surgery thursday to repair his torn rotator cuff. the surgery went well and he is recovering well so far, but its a very long recovery process so please remember him in your prayers as i know it will likely get very frustrating at times being so limited in what all he is able to do.

9.11.2009

How Now Shall We Worship?

i'm in the process of reading a book for my worship leadership class called, "Exploring the Worship Spectrum: 6 Views" and it has renowned leaders in each of their areas discussing their styles of worship (formal-liturgical, hymn-based, contemporary, charismatic, blended, and emerging) and then each responding to the other author's commentary.. its a great book and offers a great perspective on worship and a remembrance of why it is we worship, regardless of the preferred style..

anyhow, i just finished reading the chapter on contemporary worship by Joe Horness (worship leader at Willow Creek Community Church, which really spurred the contemporary worship movement back in the late-70s/early-80s).. he not only argued for contemporary worship which meets the community with a message they can understand, but also argued a strong reminder of why we worship, how we are called to worship, and to the greatness of God as the primary purpose for all worship.

the chapter was very well written and i wanted to share some of his commentary with y'all, not simply for sharing's sake, but also to get your responses back and maybe spur on some dialogue about "modern worship" - ways you perceive it as being relevant, ways it isn't, encounters you've had with various (anonymous) churches (both positively and negatively) and what the church could have done in those negative instances, and should do in the future, to help reach the lost/unchurched/disconnected people. please be brutally honest. i welcome all thoughts on the matter, whether i agree or disagree - disagreements fuel growth & reflecting on something helps to understand why/how we do anything in life & how/why we can & should do it better.

below are excerpts from Horness' chapter on contemporary worship. i've pulled out the parts i thought were extremely relevant and/or thought-provoking, while trying to maintain the context of his discussion. its a little long, but definitely well worth the read. i hope you enjoy.


"Above all, our God - the God of the Universe, the God who is above all gods, the God who is holy and powerful and wants our obedience - longs for a relationship with us. Can you imagine? God longs for something! The One who is above all and who created all still desires something. And that is to be our God. To be my God. To be in a relationship with all of us... He desires [our] worship, not to somehow meet the needs of his heavenly ego, but because it is an indication of the relationship he shares with the people he loves."

"[In Isaiah 29:13], God is not condemning huge sins or child sacrifices or debauchery. Something else is breaking the heart of God: dutiful worship, expressions of love that are not really expressions of love at all, tradition that becomes rote, going through the motions, lip service. Impossible as it seems, the people's hearts simply are not moved in any real way by the continued love and mercy and faithfulness of the God."

"If our worship is just about singing songs, getting people in the door before the announcements, or killing twenty minutes before the message, then do not bother. If we are reciting creeds simply because that is our tradition, knock is off. If we seek supernatural miracles simply for our benefit and for what we will receive, we have missed the point. If our hearts are not engaged in authentic expressions of love for him, if this is not about a relationship with our Creator and Redeemer, then God is not honored. 'We cannot honor God is our hearts are far from Him. Where feelings for God are dead, worship is dead' (John Piper)."

"I do not think God is overly concerned about whether we are singing a chorus or a hymn. And I do not think he really cares whether you are playing the organ or the drums. What I think God cares about is the disengaged heart. I do not think he is particularly interested in our theories or techniques of worship except as they are effective in genuinely drawing hearts to him. Worship that is not heartfelt and authentic simply does not interest him."

"The passion to see hearts fully engaged, to radically eliminate dutiful, going-through-the-motions song times, and to bring people into a powerful time of relationship with our living God is what is at the heart of the contemporary worship renewal. [It] endeavors to use modern instrumentation, contemporary musical styles, and freshly written or arranged songs in the language of this generation to lead people into authentic expressions of worship and a genuine experience of the presence of God."

"People of this generation are longing to experience the genuine presence of God. And God is longing to move in and among the hearts of his people. If we will learn to worship from hearts that are fully engaged, God will be glorified and set free to move in us and among us... [Growing up in a traditional church], I began to realize that singing about God was somehow not enough. I wanted to know him. I wanted to interact with him. I wanted to experience the things I was singing about and find them to be true. I began to understand that worship, as it is described so vividly in Scripture, was meant to be a dialogue, flowing from the outpouring of a relationship with God... Worship is more than one-way communication from us to God. It is a two-way communication between God and his people. We exalt God. He reveals his presence and changes our hearts. We pour out our hearts and remember his greatness. Refusing to be outdone, he meets our needs for intimacy and grace."

"To assist this generation with such an exchange, the contemporary worship movement has indeed made adjustments in how people approach God. For much of the post-Christian America in the 1970s, church music had become a stumbling block rather than an avenue for connecting with God... Bringing a nonchurched friend to church was like bringing them to Mars. The music was different and unfamiliar. The quality was often poor. Even the language we used made it difficult for them to understand the life-giving message we were trying to communicate. The whole experience was designed for the already convinced."

"If we reduce the contemporary worship movement to a definition of worship that uses guitars and drums, or if we define it to the exclusion of liturgy or hymns or charismatic movements of the Spirit, we miss the point. At the heart of the contemporary worship movement is the longing to connect with God... On the day when those instruments no longer serve us best, we'll lose them. If the congregation we are leading best connects with through liturgy, then that is the tool we will use. The instruments, and even the worship style, are only tools. They are not ends in themselves. There is no competition with other worship styles. Ours is no better than theirs. We simply use what will serve our people best and help them encounter God most readily. The end is to meet with Jesus, to know his presence, to fully engage our hearts in authentic expressions of love to him... Musical styles play an important part in helping each generation communicate with God in a way that is familiar and that frees their hearts to meet with him. But the goal is not style. The goal is to produce authentic worshippers of Jesus Christ."

"God desires that we worship in his presence so that he can move in our lives! God desires our worship - not just because he is worthy, but also because he knows that when we fully engage in worshipping him, it puts our hearts in a place where he can move and stir in us as at no other time... Even the sun, the moon, the stars, and the heavens are implored to worship the Lord. Worship is clearly one of the most important things God's people can do. It is their first and ultimate calling... When we do that, God will be there. Psalm 145:18 says that God will draw near to those who call upon him.... When we worship, we will develop nothing less than a yearning for God, joy, a passion for God's presence, an increased faith, a love for God's Word, comfort, an increased love for God, adoration, exaltation, celebration, thanksgiving, praise, unity, and repentance."

"[However], contemporary worship can also become a performance. We forget that worship rises or falls on our concept of God. We forget that one of our primary challenges is to paint for people a great picture of God to which their hearts can respond. We forget the power of Scripture. We forget the power of prayer... Our first priority is not to perform. Our primary purpose is to lead God's people to meet God. If the congregation is disengaged, we are simply back to where we started with a different cast of characters."

"The prophet Malachi writes that they have figured out that it costs a lot less to put a lame lamb on the altar than to offer the best of the flock. They know that offering the sick lamb that will die anyway makes more economic sense. But they have missed the heart of God that simply longs to be honored as their God. After all that God has done, is this the best the people could muster in return? A lamb that costs them nothing? An offering that is convenient? A dutiful, going-through-the-motuons expression of thanks? Tradition? Lip service?..."

"...We must know that the offering that we bring to God each week is of utmost importance. It is not enough to preserve the classic hymns. It is not enough to utter ancient phrases. It is not enough to play the latest praise songs with a really hot band. It is not even enough to speak in tongues. It must be our passion, and our calling, to lay upon the altar the very best offering that we can bring to God each week. Bringing God our best does not come without effort and sacrifice. It requires prayer and careful planning. It requires prayerfully listening to God about where and how he would like us to meet with him. It requires authentic, godly worshippers who will model to our churches what it means to love Jesus and to love being in his presence. And for our congregations it will involve their hearts, their minds, their souls, and their wills. Fully engaged. Emotional. Surrendered. Heartfelt. Pouring out authentic of love to the one who gave his life for us. The band, the choruses, and the worship leader are all secondary. They are the tools we use to help engage the hearts of our congregation in meeting with God."

"A final thought. Following the book of Malachi, God is silent for hundreds of years. No more prophets. No more visible activity. The people had brought the cheapest lambs they could find. Now they wondered, how would God respond? Would he respond? They waited... The very next thing they heard from God was this: 'An angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'' (Luke 2:9-10). God brought his best Lamb. Let us do the same. Give him praise!"

8.18.2009

day 1

today started my first day of seminary at nobts. first day of grad school. i haven't been to all of my classes yet, in fact, i've only had 2 so far, but i can already tell its going to be a good bit of work.

intro to greek is going to be interesting for sure. i am excited about the end product of learning greek, but not all that excited about actually learning the language. as far as the work goes, the course is nothing unreasonable and the professor seems like a pretty good guy.. its just the task of learning a new language with an unfamiliar alphabet, structure, etc. i'll keep you updated.

philosophy of religion is going to entail an enormous amount of difficult reading, as well as a number of pretty lengthy, in-depth papers. dr. stewart is an awesome guy and is very knowledgeable in the study of philosophy, apologetics, religion, etc. he has an incredibly dry sense of humor, which makes class extremely enjoyable. i'm really excited about getting deeper into the subject matter of this course because i know he has a lot of knowledge to offer and i can learn a great deal from his lectures and from the course readings. but its definitely not going to be a cakewalk either.

next up is worship leadership. haven't been to it yet so my only knowledge is what i read on the syllabus online. it'll definitely have some nuggets that i can take from the class and apply in worship, ministry, and just in my daily walk. one of the projects in the course requires us to attend 3 different styles of worship service.. examples included Jewish, charismatic, Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Vineyard.. anyhow, it'll be really interesting not only to attend these services, but to be there with the primary purpose of taking notes and learning from the way in which these other groups "produce" worship services

spiritual formation is a thursday only course. it's basically a small group (8 people) discussion course designed for first year graduate students. i'm also taking an Old Testament hybrid course which meets on Fridays once a month and supplements the rest of the course with online material and independent readings.

so thats where i'm at. not much else has been going on in life. i need to find a job and i need to find one soon. if you know of anywhere that is hiring, please let me know! tuition and books wiped out the rest of the money i had collected for the trip to ecuador, which, by the way, was incredible! i just realized i still havent posted a "post-ecuador blog" so i'll have to get on that pretty soon.. if you havent seen the pictures, head over to the facebook and look at em there. the landscape/scenery/terrain was amazingly beautiful. everywhere i looked there was another view that just blew me away.

enjoy.

7.10.2009

t-minus 2 weeks and counting

video

so i made this one about half as long as the last one.. more concise = better viewability. i tried playing a little music in the background to help spruce it up a little bit, so hopefully that turned out decent enough. oh and btw, i'm not quite sure what the chirping sound you'll hear in the background is. it happened on the last video too. i think it might be the fan in my computer spinning but i'm not all too sure. anyway, happy viewing =)

6.28.2009

chapter nine

so i figured it was time for an update. lots of news. well not really, but it sounds good haha

the trip to boston was great! the weather was in the 60s the entire time, and although it rained pretty much every second of everyday we were there, it was extremely enjoyable. much better than the 100+ temperatures down here.

tuesday, dad and i moved the rest of my big stuff (bed, dresser, nightstand) home to help get the pool house/game room finished for me to move into and live here for.. well, i'm not really sure how long it will be. i just knew that commuting to seminary, working a part-time job, plus other expenses would be much easier without a rent bill over my head every month so here i am. there's still some work that needs to be accomplished, but i hope to post some pictures soon. stay tuned :)

tonight is my first night to stay out here. i've slept out here countless nights over the years when i was growing up.. sleep overs. late night n64 parties (haha), watching tooth and nail compilation videos, shooting pool. good times. great memories. but tonight is different. its not just a sleepover-esque night with friends over and back to the house tomorrow.. no, this is now my home. i'm excited about it though. excited about what the future holds in store. everytime i've moved into a new apt or whatever, i can look back and notice a distinctly new chapter being written in my life. i'm excited to see what this one holds.

i received my official acceptance letter to seminary earlier this week! classes start august 17th, with orientation the thursday and friday before then, so i'm not quite sure what courses i'll be taking yet, but i have a general idea. i'm really excited to get started with seminary, immersed in the study of God's word.. it can't get much better than that!

all of the money i needed to raise for Ecuador was raised, plus some, so excess money is being set aside to help fund my tuition/books for my first semester in seminary, but it was definitely a blessing to have the Ecuador trip fully funded. thank you all for your help and support, both financially and prayerfully.

much love. trent.

5.31.2009

greater things have yet to come

i want to start out by saying, i don't have a job. i've finished college. i really don't have much to do on a daily basis.. but i am extremely excited about what God is doing in my life right now.

as some of you know, i've been attending Christ's Community Church in Denham Springs for a few months now, and nothing against the church, but i never felt like it was my home. i basically settled because thats where my parents were going and i knew some people there. God had other plans in mind.

as of next sunday, i'll be the bass guitarist for Purpose (the 1130 band at Live Oak Methodist). Jonathan Hetrick is attending seminary, getting married, and thus moving away from Watsonopolis (hehe). Mrs. Terrie called me up and asked me if i was interested and, at first i wasn't 100% certain, so i did some praying about it and definitely knew God was calling me back to Live Oak. i attended the past two sundays and am really glad to be back. i know its all for a reason and can't wait to see what God has in store.

meanwhile, Christ's Community is moving into the building formerly known as Eden Baptist Church and will have their first service in there next Sunday. so i'm helping them do some construction/maintenance/repairs/remodeling around the church this week in preparation for their big move. the church members are really excited about it and moving to their own facility (even though only somewhat temporarily) will give them the opportunity for tons of ministry opportunities that were just unfeasible during their tenure at DSJH.

the mission trip to Ecuador at the end of the summer is shaping up nicely. the group that is going has really connected very well and i'm excited to see what God has in store for us in ministering to the kids in Ecuador. i know the experience will be an eye opener for me and can't wait to get that rejuvenation.. it'll be perfect timing too. we'll get home about a week before seminary starts.

seminary update: i contacted the seminary at the end of the previous week asking what documentation they were still waiting on. two of my references hadn't submitted their papers yet, and judson hadn't mailed off the church statement yet. i got in contact with all three at the beginning of last week and everything should have arrived at the seminary on wednesday or thursday. so hopefully, now that the seminary finally has all my paperwork, i will know something within the next couple weeks and i will be certain to let you all know.

God is doing a lot in my life right now and i feel like He's definitely preparing me for even greater things to come in the weeks and months ahead. i'm just excited to be a part of it and can't wait to see all that He has in store.

much love. trent.

5.13.2009

video killed the radio star

video

I thought it'd be cool to change it up a little bit and do a video update instead of just tons of boring text. Who actually reads anymore?! Haha anyways.. hope you enjoy.

4.20.2009

submission is the key to success

one night in late january, i was laying in bed frustrated with the status of my job search. i was racking my brain trying to think of every possible place i could send resumes that would lead to getting my foot in the door somewhere in the realm of politics. i was thinking so much, as i often tend to do, that i couldn't clear my mind.. and thus, couldn't get to sleep. finally, i said enough with it, i'm going to sleep.. and then it hit me...

what does it matter if i pursue a career in politics? where will that lead me? even if, by some rare chance, it lead to a lofty position of elected office, once that was over and my life neared its end.. what did it all matter? what did i do with the time God gave me? i don't want to work at some meaningless job all my life and have a half-hearted devotion to the work that God calls us to do.. why not devote my life to God's work, to what He calls believers to do (glorify Him and further His kingdom), and start now what I will be doing for eternity.. praising God. just as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes.. life is meaningless. so why chase after even more meaningless tangibles.. why not chase after God. glorifying Him, rather than myself, in all aspects of my life, including my job.

i prayed about it long and hard to be certain that this was God's calling on my life and not just a futile search for something positive.. soon after, we went to a collegiate conference in alexandria and God confirmed the calling while i was there. i knew it was what i needed to do and as soon as i got home i was going to talk to my parents about it and start down the path to applying to seminary.

then, the week we got home from the conference, i was offered an extremely lucrative position for a political consultant based out of chicago working on high-profile political campaigns. i couldn't pass it up. my eagerness got the best of me and i put all my eggs into that basket, chasing that position. obviously, it didn't work out (i never heard back from the guy actually), but that was enough of a distraction to steer me on the wrong path, again pursuing a political job and allowing that struggle to distract me from where i needed to be for a little over 2 months.

i had an interview with the clerk of the louisiana house of representatives a few weeks ago and after that interview, the culmination of all the failed attempts to find a job were weighing on me very heavily and i met my dad for lunch. during our conversation, he asked me if there was a calling on my life that i was ignoring (i had never actually spoke with him about what had happened before)..  and i was stunned.. how did he know? God.. what are you trying to say to me? but ultimately i blew it off and decided the best course of action was to start applying to grad schools for a masters in political science. other things happened that week that kept trying to get my attention to refocus on what God had in store for me, but it all came to fruition that friday. i dropped off my transcripts at the post office for my first batch of grad applications and on my way home, i got a call from the seminary asking how everything was going.. how much clearer can you get?

so i said all that to say this: i finally directed my attention back to God's will for my life and away from my own. i have applied to seminary in New Orleans and hope to start in the fall. i'm pursuing a Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics (if you don't know what it means, ask me.. i'll be happy to explain). one of the main questions everyone asks me is what ministry do you want to get involved in once you graduate? the best answer that i can give is that.. i don't want to restrict myself to one area, because it's ultimately in God's hands.. not mine.

so all that being said, i would greatly appreciate your prayers and support, over the next couple months before school starts with all of the logistics, and after that, with the course loads and just an overall support group helping to hold me up and keep me focused.

i'd love to talk with y'all one on one about it in more depth but i figured this would serve as a general announcement and to proceed from there.. if y'all have any questions, comments, prayer requests of your own, please let me know.. either on here, facebook, myspace, or just send me a text/phone call.. hehe it felt weird typing that.. who actually calls anyone anymore.. weird..

much love. trent.

4.02.2009

life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

i had an interview on monday for a temporary position within the louisiana house of representatives. it felt pretty cool going to the state capitol for a reason.. not just as a tourist. the interviewer kept focusing on my lack of qualifications for a full-time position because they "haven't hired someone with just a bachelors in over 25 years".. thanks for that tidbit of trivia sir, but i'm pretty certain i went in there seeking temporary employment. which is why i started off by saying i was looking to get my foot in the door, make connections, and improve my experience. when i apply for a job in august, me in august would be a heck of a lot more marketable than me right now, if i were to get a legislative position of any kind.

as i walked down the hall leaving his office in the underbelly of the state capitol, my emotions overwhelmed me - not to the point of tears, but of some level of grief. i thought to myself, why am i getting emotional.. i soon realized these emotions weren't the product of one not-so-successful interview.. it was a culmination of over 3 months of continued rejection. that sort of crap starts to weigh on you after a while. and, i'm not going to lie.. it sucks. i hate not being good enough in practically every employers eyes.

i met my dad for lunch after and we had a good long talk that i really needed, to be honest. he told me some stories i hadn't ever heard of his and mom's life just outside of college graduation. it helped encourage me to keep my chin up and not allow the constant rejection to weigh on me. the rejection does suck, but i'm bigger than that. and frankly, what they think doesn't matter anymore because they aren't my boss. and it helped me also remember that i need to do what i enjoy. i want to enjoy whatever my life is and what it will become. i'd rather make $2 dollars a year doing something i absolutely love than $200,000 a year and hate my life. i am passionate about analyzing and debating government policy.

today, the u.s. house approved obama's 3.55 trillion budget for 2010. as i've now listened to floor debates for numerous massive spending bills (including ones during the end of the bush administration) i've always come back to one thing: sure these plans sound lofty and admirable, but is it the federal government's place to do these things? and the resounding answer is HECK NO! aside from bailing out banks and homeowners, those are obvious no's.. we get into things like ramping up emission standards on cars, throwing billions of dollars at an endless war on drugs, paying for volcano monitoring, bike paths, atv trails, raising taxes and mandates on cigarettes, reinstilling the death tax (not only are you taxed all your life, now you're taxed when you die!)... i could go on and on. 

the increasingly intrusive government has taken away more of your freedoms and more of your hard earned money over America's lifetime. we have abandoned what this great nation was established for - individual freedom and liberty. to make decisions for yourself. thoreau said it best in his essay "civil disobedience" when he said "that government is best which governs least." i had jury duty one day a while back and had the opportunity to read this essay during my free time. many people in today's society attribute it to the abolition of slavery, but i propose those are the people who have never actually read it. i too thought it was going to be all about the abolition, however, the subject only arose in one paragraph. i suggest everyone read this essay. its as applicable now as it was then.

this post turned out to be much more political than i originally intended, but i hope it encourages independent thought. i'll leave you with some more quotes to chew on.. (note: these are all founding fathers)

"the liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."  - patrick henry

"the natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule."  - samuel adams

"in all our associations, in all our agreements, let us never lose sight of this fundamental maxim - that all power was originally lodged in, and consequently is derived from, the people."  - george mason

and finally..

"when the people fear their government, there is tyranny. when the government fears the people, there is liberty."  - thomas jefferson

2.11.2009

happiness is a warm smoking gun

the other day, i sent out a massive amount of resumes to political consultants throughout the united states. all of whom i had never met or spoke to prior. i found an exhaustive list online and figured it wouldn't hurt to get my resume in the hands of as many people as possible. many didn't respond to this mailing, which is perfectly understandable. many responded with messages to the tune of "not currently hiring, but we'll keep your resume on file"

a few generous souls provided me with encouraging words or even advice. they pointed out improvements which could be made to enhance my resume, websites to search for conservative political jobs, or even provided me with other people in which to contact. i prefer to deal with people like these.

one man, a political consultant based out of chicago, asked me to call him. i did. we spoke about the potential of me being a staff member for his office in one of many upcoming political campaigns, most notably in Georgia. he was a strong conservative and seemed to hold his faith and family values close at heart. i like that. working for a political campaign while employed through his office would allow me to make a tremendous number of connections - with the Georgia politician's network, as well as the Chicago consultant's network. this could lead to a tremendous amount of open doors in the future and if nothing else, great references and experience to add to my resume. i'll keep you posted.

but one man stood out among the rest. i struck some nerve in him that pierced down to the very soul, or absence thereof, of this man. he is the president/ceo of a relatively well-respected political polling, research, and consulting firm, established in 1981. he's not new to the game. i assume he wanted to impart me, an impressionable college grad, with his "wisdom" of how the world works. i chose to respond with my own wisdom and humility, something i am quite sure he lacks. i decided to share the conversation with you, the reader. enjoy. oh, and please tell me what you think! =)

i'll start with his response to my initial letter. here goes:

Trent

You are graduating at the wrong time.

I am unaware of anyone hiring for anything anywhere in the State of Arizona, or for that matter in the United States. Even the once permanent signs in the McDonalds are nowhere to be seen.

I assume you have already noticed this.

I wish I could be more encouraging; but there is a recession out there and possibly a depression coming.

Best of luck to you,

Mike O'Neil

*note: i have left the original formatting, syntax, and grammar in tact.

i was completely surprised when i got this email back. all i had done to him was basically ask if he had, or knew of, any job openings. he decided to take out his hatred of the world on me. now, if you know me, which i am pretty sure you do, i couldn't resist responding to a message of this caliber with a message of my own.

Mr. O'Neil,

Thanks for your quick response to my email.

I must start by saying, I appreciate your refreshing optimism.  While you may in fact be correct about the further impending doom of the economy, I cannot sit back and do nothing about my lack of employment.  While there may be few people hiring in the United States, there are always people hiring.  This is not the 1930s.

In addition to the optimism that I have for my own successes, my values and core beliefs do not allow me to file for a social handout, such as welfare.  Although I am currently unemployed, and have been for over a month now, I refuse to take someone else's money, when I am perfectly capable of making a living myself.

At this point, I am not ready to settle for a mediocre job outside of my education area, but when I do, it should be noted that Baton Rouge, my hometown, has recently been recognized as a "safe place to ride out a recession."  The economy here is showing few signs of disaster and there are numerous places hiring, as well as new businesses springing up everywhere.  And for the record, Baton Rouge just so happens to be in these United States of America.

The difference between you and me is perception.  You have a job, a career, and a well-established firm, yet the economy has turned your entire world view into excruciating pessimism.  I, on the other hand, have not had a job for over a month, have little to no experience, and few connections; however, I remain faithful that everything will work out in due time.  Optimism is the key to life.  Life's too short to be pissed off all the time.

My words don't come from some sheltered adolescent who's worldview will be completely crushed upon entering the "real world."  Instead, I have faced "the real world" on numerous occasions and have always risen above my circumstances through my optimism, perseverance, dedication, hard-work, and most of all - my faith.

You could be more encouraging, but you choose not to.  There are greater things in this life than the economy and the current state of affairs.  You can't let it affect you as much as you have.  Otherwise, you'll remain bitter forever.  That's no way to live a life.  I choose happiness, despite any hardships I may encounter along the way.  Maybe you should give it a try too.

Trent Barnett
trentbarnett@gmail.com

i feel like i was adequately able to convey my disagreement with his comments. if we had sat down for coffee and discussed politics, his commentary would be one thing. but to respond that way to an initial job request email, when we've never met before, no thank you sir.

one thing that kind of makes me happy is the fact that this guy is the owner of this big, well-established firm.. which means he probably hasn't had anyone talk to him in that manner in many years.. much less a measly college-grad like myself. 

i hope you enjoyed this as much as i did. please, leave your own commentary on the conversation. i'd like to see it.

1.28.2009

honey makes everything magical

i just made the most amazing peanut butter and jelly sandwich i think i have ever made in my entire life. the proportions were just right. the flavors were nothing but the best: jif peanut butter, smuckers concord grape jelly, and nature's own honey wheat bread. expiration date: tomorrow. it was the perfect scenario. i decided to make it even better. the addition: a bit of honey. is there anything you can't add honey too and make it taste amazing?!

the aforementioned sandwich acted as my comfort food for tonight. my mint chocolate chip ice cream, if you will. while i'm on that subject.. whats the deal with all the mint chocolate stuff?.. doesn't that defeat the purpose of both.. chocolate is meant to be an enjoyably sweet candy substance. mint is meant (hehe) to be.. well, a mint.. to freshen your breath. all that good nonsense. combining the two leaves you with chocolaty minty smelly breath.. requiring you to then eat a mint, with no chocolate, to attain the fresh breath you first desired. don't get me wrong, i love chocolate and i love mint, but why can't we keep chocolate and mint in their respective places.. out of each others lives.

i digress. as i was laying in my bed attempting to tire myself with boredom, eventually resulting in sleep, i became hungry.. hungry like the hunger you get after you've just worked out. which would make sense, being that i had just worked out roughly an hour and a half prior. maybe working out at night isn't such a good idea.. it gets my blood pumping. gets my metabolism in high gear.. ready for some food.. all while my brain is ready for sleepy time. then i eat, only causing me to remain awake even longer, leading me here.

but i digress. laying in bed, i was thinking about my plans for tomorrow. go to lsu to pick up an official college transcript to send from the post office with an application for a potential job with the city of baton rouge. go to the bank to deposit a check. go to livingston parish and apply at dsfh, dshs, whs, and lohs to become a substitute teacher.

and thats when it really hit me. i am settling. i have a degree from a respected local college and i can't find employment. society told me to achieve this education and i could go places in life. good thing i am about to become a sub. that education i got means nothing at this point. i have a piece of paper that is worth about as much as the tree pulp and ink that went into producing it. i am taking a job that i could have easily gotten without 4 and a half years in college. without spending thousands of dollars, amassing thousands of dollars worth of debt.. all while working my butt off to achieve something society said would be rewarded. where's my reward?

but i have to settle. i have to obtain an income. i cant continue living off of saved paychecks from the fall. i cant continue scrounging every penny that i can lay my hands on just to sustain my life on the planet earth. money is a necessity. a necessary evil that i am now confronting face to face.

i would love to find a job that is relevant to my degree. i would love to find a job in politics because that is what i am passionate about. i majored in politics because i care about politics. i want politics to become my future, my job, my life.. as sad as that might sound. but i am again confronted with the lack of experience.. and the fact that my degree apparently means nothing to those looking to hire people like myself.

and to the realization that politics is all about who you know.. and while im not complaining about my upbringing in the slightest little bit, frankly.. i dont know anybody. i dont know anybody who matters. therefore my entry into the political realm is not as easy as it is for others. i don't have the luxury of inheriting a political family tradition.. or of inheriting an extremely well-established lobbying firm right out of college (which was the situation at my most recent job interview).

but while some may look at that adversity and see an impossible mountain to climb, i see an incredible journey. an incredible chance for me to work my butt off to achieve the goals i have set out in my life. to not be hindered by society's lack of interest in my "experience" and education.. but to overcome that adversity through hard work, dedication, perseverance, and determination. and when i have reached the top of my game, i can look back and know that i fought my hardest. i wasnt simply handed a title or fame. i earned it. and i'll be proud of that. and i'll have a better understanding.. a better comprehension.. a deeper respect for those who are in my position now.. struggling to find their way. fighting what seems to be an impossible battle.

although the journey may be long and it may difficult, we shall overcome.

honey certainly is magical, isn't it?

1.15.2009

create a moment

i have now been school-less and job-less for one entire month. at the beginning, i didn't really notice how much free time i had.. all the holiday festivities were going on with christmas and new years, plus graduation and the crazy excursion to boston.. so my first truly "free" week was last week and i enjoyed it to its fullest.. i did absolutely nothing, played way too many video games, stayed up late, just acted like a complete bum.. and enjoyed every last second of it.

then monday came. video games were no longer appealing to me (and haven't been for the entire week), tv is getting dull and not entertaining me much, books lose my interest after a few short minutes.. basically, its hard to fill up a whole day with pointless, time-wasting activity. i have no commitments, no obligations, no nothing. just wake up.. find something to do to kill the day and go back to sleep. and none of it entertains me anymore. i need to get out of this apartment.

i've broken up errands into small duties.. meaning i have little errands to run each day, as opposed to getting them all done in one day. while that would feel extremely productive and make for a great day, i would then truly have absolutely nothing to do on the other days. today, i went to the post office to mail 2 documents, one an application, the other a thank you note. yesterday, i went to lsu to pick up 2 official transcripts to accompany the 3 applications i faxed from fedex kinko's to various employers (who knew faxing was so dang expensive?!)

yesterday was my first day back at lsu when school was in session and me there not as a student. actually, heck its the first time since spring testing (as a high school sr) that ive been to lsu when its in session and not been there as a student. the feeling of being finished hit me again when i was there yesterday. i saw a bunch of people walking around.. some excited to start a new semester, some still sleepy from not having re-adjusted their sleep schedules since the break. i thought of the first week enthusiasm, skepticism, and even anxiety felt for your new classes, new teachers, new faces. the pressure of seeing the syllabi, knowing what awaits you for the next 4 or so months of your life. i saw, and pictured, these thoughts on everyones faces.. and i was simply there. no anxiety over school work. no wondering what my next class will be.. whether this professor was putting on a show for the first day (whether positively or negatively).. i was simply there to handle business. i think the feeling would have been better had i had a job though.. i could have been there with no anxiety in my life whatsoever.

to return to my previous statement of "i need to get out of this apartment" also requires a look at my previous post entitled "Life Is Beautiful?" I understand that the majority of people, my friends included, work during the day. if they work at night, they sleep during the day. both of those provide no day-time relief for my symptoms (when did this turn into a dayquil commercial? hmm..) so during the day, i occupy my time with pointless nonsense (and redundancy). by night time, and i mean early night time, not this current time of night.. i am completely bored out of my mind.. seeking any sort of relief, any sort of escape from this repetitively bored state of existence. however, my friends, the ones that would hang out with me during the week, typically reside in the parish of livingston and don't have much incentive to drive out to BR just for me.. maybe i should provide more incentive.. hmm.. anyhow, so my night consists of even further boredom, leading to a great deal of ranting (as is exhibited through this post)

in closing (i know, finally! right?), i need something to do. something to occupy my time. i would love to stay busy the entire day and wonder where my free time went. at this point, it sounds like such a capital idea. people watching, eating, driving (not at the same time), catching up with old friends, anything really. heck, tennis would be nice! i need the exercise

1.04.2009

life is beautiful?

where do i even begin? another chapter of my life has come and gone.. and looking back, i regret the fact that i didn't make the most of it.. college slipped away. it was never my priority. my GPA and lack of involvement are proof of that. i was too focused on where i had been.. instead of closing the high school chapter of my life when it should have been closed.. i tried to maintain old friendships, which made it impossible to make new ones. most of those friendships too have come and gone. that isn't to say that i haven't made any new friends in 4 and a half years, i certainly have and they've all made a lasting impact on my life. but my days at lsu were relatively lonely because i had no one there to enjoy them with. all of my friends, both old and new, either dropped out of college or never went to begin with and they all lived in livingston parish, making it hard to visit them too often. this resulted in countless nights sitting in my apartment completely alone. what if i had met people that i could share experiences with? that truly cared about me? where would my life be right now?

growing up, i always had a close circle of friends that i could rely on and even more, that i could just be myself around. i dont feel that way about most of the friends i have now.. there's only one person i really feel this way around: josh mclin. he's truly been my best friend and we've stood by each other through ups and downs, mistakes and successes. i could never even begin to thank him enough for simply being there.. but, for 4 and a half years, my life was based around trying to make and keep other people happy.. and not worrying about my own happiness or future, for that matter.

so much of me has wanted to move away now that this collegiate chapter is over.. use the opportunity to really start anew, make new friends.. do things right.. live my life the way i want to live it. but we come back to the issue currently at hand.. i have no job. if i were to be offered a good opportunity tomorrow in Botswana, I would take it. i'm willing to go anywhere. anywhere but here.

thats not to say i dont like this place. louisiana will always be home. it has a special culture to it that no other place can quite capture the way southern louisiana does. i have family and some friends here. but.. my life here has dwindled. i need a fresh start. a new place would help that, i think. or am i just trying to run from my problems?

time will eventually provide an opportunity. where? i do not know. when? i don't know that either. i know for now though, i will certainly enjoy the free time. i need it. i need time to think. and for now, i will make the most of what i do have. enjoy the life that i've lived here in louisiana my entire life. enjoy what that life has become, with all of its ups and downs. life is beautiful.