Saturday, September 23, 2006

Gone for... a Week

Well, in three hours, I will be beyond cell phne range. I will be Southeast of Roosevelt on Federally leased land, and I will have no way to get ahold of anyone. What will keep me from going insane?
  1. My Bible, and my prayer life.
  2. The prayers of others.
  3. My Ipod, and specifically season 1 of lost (I trust and hope there will be a few power plugins).
  4. Books.
  5. Dreaming of being out of debt. One day, I am gonna call the Dave Ramsey show and freak out.
God bless you all, know I love you, and pray for me!



When I was a kid and I went to camp or moved to a new school, everyone would always talk about loneliness. I never really felt it though, when I was supposed to. Loneliness, I guess, is supposed to hit us the hardest when we don't have the emotional and social mechanisms in place to fight it. In other words, when we're immature. When we're young.

You hear about soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we're told that they're homesick. But are they lonely? Probably. Even though they have, in some instances, trained for years with the units they are in combat with, they are as individuals probably lonely.

I came out to Utah to work. I'm going to change my driver's license to a Utah license. I'm going to change my car registration to Utah (unless I live over the border in Colorado, then you change the name of the state). I'm here. I've met several people that will be key in my life.

Pastor D, a nice guy who helped me get a job and is doing a great job ministering in a difficult place. Fernando, my boss, who gave me a job at a great wage. Pat, who has sort of taken me under his wing, gives me advice about the field from how to act on it to what to wear to what to make sure I'm safety conscious about.

But in all of this, I have no permanency upon which to build friendships. I feel lonely, even though it's not rational. I think there is a silly reason for this too. You see, without a place to call home, I'm convinced that a part of me is missing. You see, I am a host. I love to host people, and in people coming over, I find great satisfaction. But a home is also a place where a person can "hide" if they want to. A home is a man's castle, or so the saying goes.

Why am I so lonely? I don't know. Maybe loneliness feels like a lot of things. Maybe loneliness feels like being nervous about doing well at a job; I've never done physical labor, and I am pretty sure I have a better education than the majority of "roughnecks." Maybe loneliness feels like not knowing where I'm going to live when I get back from the oil field. Maybe loneliness feels like a lot of things.

Writing about this makes me feel a lot better, but I know that until I have a place, I just won't be at the top of my game.

Friday, September 22, 2006


It is counterproductive to heat a room, and then have a regrigerator in that room cooling off your food in the same room.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

And the Day Ends with a SCORE!

Today at about 8:00 a.m., Pat called and asked if I would like to go out to a rig. I said yes, I would like to, and we headed out on those bits of Federal Property called roads that make their way through Indian land (incidentally, I saw some houses that didn't look sanitary to live in. That's a nice way to put it). I got to see exactly how these two to three million dollar a week operations run, and meet the guy running this particular rig. Pat also made a lot of phone calls for me to companies to see if they are hiring. When I got back into town, I went around driving to drop off applications at a long list of companies Pat gave me. I didn't find most of them, as I dont' know the area very well. Pat had, by the way, already found me a job that paid like $16.00 an hour, but he said to hold off till next week on that job. After checking into my new hotel, I went out to supper with the pastor of the church I'm going to attend here, and while we were eating, he made a phone call to a Christian (this is Utah, normal people here are Mormon[70%] or heathen [25%]. The rest are Indian or Christian) guy named Fernando who owns a rig. Well, Fernando has two crews. One of his foremen is also a Christian.

To cut to the chase, I meet Fernando at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, and I'm supposed to show up ready to work. Fernando starts paying people $24 an hour. This is a HUGE answer to prayer. I don't have this job yet, technically, but I am praying that it works out. I have faith that it will work out.

And looking into the future, I see out of this oil job I'm believing to get in the morning a church plant in Boston, MA. I'm encouraged. I'm leaning on God, trusting in him, knowing that yes, now sucks but that he has a plan for me out of this. Thank you, Jesus.

If you're praying for me, pray that:
  1. I "get" things out on the rig. One thing I have learned is that this is a whole new language and a whole new way of looking at things.
  2. Pray that I stay safe. This is potentially dangerous work.
  3. Pray that I find a permanent place... soon.
  4. Pray that I can pick up extra work. If I can pick up say, 2-3 extra shifts on my weeks off, that is 1000 bucks I can throw at my debt a month (conservatively).
Thank you for all the people that have been praying for me: Mom, Dad, lil sister Rachel, Nancy, Shawn, Kristin, P. Alan, P. Troy, and anyone else I've forgotten.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Job Hunt Update

So, I'm reviewing my notes on the job hunt, hotel, and housing situation. My thoughts are:
  1. The hotels are making a killing. A lot of them are high at 79.99 a night, but get this - that's 79.99 a PERSON! They don't even want to let you diffuse costs!
  2. Job services was not really that helpful. Nothing against them. They had me make a resume, and then they gave me the name of four companies. My contact Pat had more names off the top of his head.
  3. It's going to suck here if the boom ever ends. Sounds like they are building a ton of housing, which they need due to the lack of availability... but that lack comes from people like me.
I'm going into Patterson in an hour. I want to work for them. Pray that I can work for them.

I'm scared. There, I said it. I'm alone, and I'm in Utah. Last night I was scared because I couldn't find a hotel within an hour of where I need to be. Today I'm scared because I'm having thoughts of "This isn't the right place for me" enter my mind after a conversation I had with a guy at the hotel while I checked in. He told me that I was pretty much guaranteed to lose a finger, that I am gonna be workin my hind end off, and that I'm NOT going to be able to find housing. Well, sir, thanks for the advice. It really helped a lot. I woke up dealing with thoughts of going to Dickinson, ND so I could have some family nearby. But as I prayed, it hit me that I know that God has this place in mind for me (Roosevelt). I know that it's HIS plan that I be here, that I work here, that I live here, that I base out of here.

I talked to Pat (the guy I'm getting my info and advice from) this morning and that was good. It calmed me down a lot. He told me that people don't lose fingers today - that's 30 years ago. He said that OSHA is all over all the companies here, that orientation is specifically designed to make you aware of dangerous things, and that yes, while the work is intense, it's not 12 hours of killing yourself. It's doable by the average person.

So I'm going to job services to find out what is available in the oil area, and then I'm calling Pat to go over the jobs with him. Then, I'm going to apply. Hopefully I'll be in orientation tomorrow. Hopefully I can find an apartment today.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Be Removed, Mountain

There’s something wild about mountains. As I write this, I’m sitting at the top of Pike’s Peak. At this height of 14,110 feet, very little vegetation can live. Coming off a warm summer, there is still ice and snow at the peak. The only thing here is thin air, rock, and dirt.What makes an ascent like this worth the effort? The view along the way is gorgeous, yes, but many folks find themselves dizzy at the top. Many find themselves almost going over the edge of the roads on the way up and down. Brakes fail with constant use, engines overheat due to pressure changes and the effect of that on radiators, and a lot of folks get to the top to realize that they’re flat out dizzy from the thin air and can’t handle it.

It’s the view that makes trips like this worth it. It’s the perspective. Pike himself said when he was at the base of this mountain in 1806 that it seemed no man could ascend this mountain. And yet the mountain has been conquered, and every year thousands of folks drive to the top of Pike’s Peak, making it the most visited mountain in the United States. Fill up with gas, pay your ten dollars, and you’ll make it up the mountain. This is an easy mountain to defeat thanks to road graders, gravel, and cars.

There are still mountains out there that man has to work to defeat. From McKinley to Everest to certain mountains in the Alps (I’m away from my reference materials as I write this on top of Pike’s Peak), there are mountains that we’ve not put the effort into building roads on. And that’s fine, keep the challenge there for the real mountaineers.

We have mountains in our lives, figuratively speaking. If you’re honest with yourselves, how many mountains have you defeated? You might have made it to the top of the mountain of eliminating debt, seeing your marriage restored when you thought it was beyond repair, getting a degree or some type licensing that was difficult. You might also have mountains that you’re at the base of right now. You echo Pike, and say “There is no way I can make it to the top. The mountain has conquered me!”

Jesus once told his disciples that if they spoke to a mountain, they could tell it to be into the sea, and that it would be removed from where it is. God is all about you defeating your mountains! The fact is, if you’re at the base of your mountain and you’re not doing anything about it, if you’re not asking for the gift of faith and the gift of ACTION to defeat your mountains, to cast them into the sea, you have a clear mandate from God to do so. And as you go up your mountain, you’re building a highway for others to follow you on. Your experiences are a God gift to be used in helping others.

So get going! Stop being a pussy and climb that mountain

Monday, September 18, 2006

Connecting with Cousins

One thing I'm doing right with this move is taking the travel light. I'm hoping that unlike other moves, I won't feel like I should take a nine year nap when I reach Roosevelt. In the spirit of that, I called my cousin and her husband (I guess some would just say "my cousins") to see if they wanted to have dinner. Not only did they end up not letting me buy (rascals), but they put me up in their very nice home as well! I'll have to remember to grab a picture of their house in the morning. They've got a nice place - when you drive on the main road by their house, there is a breathtaking view of the Rockies!

We ate at Thai Basil. It was a great meal. I had a beef dish which was cooked, in regards to hot spice level, exactly where I ordered it. This is really a rare treat. The muchrooms in the meal were a bit... spongey. I think I like that though, but I'm not sure.

The best part though, was getting to connect with my cousins. Amy was much older than I growing up, so I never really got to know her. And I really had only spoken for maybe five minutes with her husband since they got married last year... so it was a great time! I got to find out about their lives out here. The cool thing is that it sounds like they are looking to find a church similar to the one I come from back home. I really would love to see them get plugged in. They're such a nice couple, it would be great to have them in a place where they could go to the next level in their spiritual lives and then continue to grow more like Christ, whatever that looks like for them!

I even showed them some of the videos River Valley has done - they said that it looked like a church they could plug into to, which was cool. We talked till past 10:30. I'm looking to get a 6:00 a.m. start from Littleton so that I can grab some good light for pictures on Pikes Peak... so I had better get to bed.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Overnight

I'm at the Ramada in Lincoln, and I'm struggling to sleep. I'm going to make sure I get a good run in the morning before I head further west.

Things couldn't have been timed better though. I want to have a sunrise at Pike's Peak as that is the best time to take pictures. I'm going to try to get the throw of the morning light on the mountain and see what I get. I should pull into Denver about 6:00 tomorrow night, I'll spend the night, get up early, get my pictures, and make it to Roosevelt on Tuesday.

While I'm in the car tomorrow I have to make sure I get my housing arrangements squared! They can't tell me I'm not coming when I'm half there!

Packed up, Leaving

Well, my car is packed. To the brim. Literally. I had to open the back windows to fit stuff in, and was worried they wouldn't close! I'm about to go on the adventure of a lifetime. Two years into my Pastoral Studies degree, I'm taking a break to head out west, stop being a slave to lenders. God is also giving me the awesome opportunity of preaching to students and connecting with their youth pastors/other staff in churches and conventions all across the west. It really is going to be a blast.

On the way, I'll be stopping by Pikes Peak. Hopefully at some of the higher altitudes I'll get to see some leaves changing. I grew up as a boy in Middle Tennessee, and since we've moved up north I've longed to see a full, lush forest changing. Sorry, 94 just before the 10 breakoff to St. Cloud doesn't count! Gatlinburg has been the closest I've come since we moved... but we went at Turkey Time! Too late!

For those of you that read this and support me as a friend, thank you. Please pray for safety as I travel through the mountains in my 211,000 mile car. It is reliable, but you never know what can happen! Please also pray that I would maintain the discipline I've had in my life this summer and grow in it, that I would continue to strengthen my body, and that I keep my eyes open to learn this year.

I was treated to a concert last night - one of my best friends bought me the ticket as a bday present. The band was tool. The guy ended the concert by saying "Peace the **** OUT!" Well, I don't hate the world like he does, but I have as much energy as he does right now. Peace out my friends! I no longer live in Farmington!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Police, Why Must You Destroy Wedding Day Goodness?

Yesterday, my friends Levi and Kelly got married. Go Levi and Kelly. These two have come a long ways in life and I'm very excited for the way that God will use them. Their ceremony was very nice, with just the immediate family attending, and was held at Centennial Lakes. After a great reception at River Valley Church, friends and family went over to the Hoyts and ate. Around 10:45, I went straight home. But alas, my early night was not to be. The Lakeville Police Department had other plans for me. After an awkward pause at a four way stop, a Lakeville Police Cruiser pulled behind my vehicle. They followed me for three miles and pulled me over just as I was pulling into my neighborhood. Mom, I did not get a ticket (I say this so she doesn't get all worried and read through too fast).

Within a few minutes, there were three police cruisers behind me. An officer cautiously approached me and asked if I knew why he pulled me over. "No officer, " I said. I wanted to ask him why he hadn't pulled me over sometime in the last three miles, or why he had scared me beyond what I should be scared by being five feet off my bumper for the majority of that time - but I didn't. He demanded my liscense and registration at this point, so I gave them to him, and he went to his car.

I sat on the side of 170th, just off Pilot Knob for 40 minutes before he came back."Sir, your liscence plates are registered for tab expiration in Februrary, but your tabs say March." At this point my mind is asking SO WHAT? Again, I hold my tongue. "Normally, this means that the vehicle is stolen. We have determined, however, that you most likely are the owner of this vehicle." Thank you. Is your name Captain Obvious, officer? He gives me my papers back and indicates that I'm free to leave, then pauses. "You will want to have the DMV fix your tabs. Other police might not let you off this easy - they might take you in while they determine vehicle ownership." I drove the remaining two blocks home, and I was angry.

I have to ask a few questions:
  1. What are the odds someone would steal a '97 Mazda 626 that has 210,000 miles on it?
  2. Would my liscense not tell him that I own a '97 Mazda 626? That it was black? That it had a plate number matching the one on my car? Would he not have access to a VIN number on file?
  3. Why have I gotten picked up more by the Lakeville Police Department than any other department despite having driven less than 3,000 miles in Lakeville, and well over 100,000 elsewhere in the last 8 years?
  4. Is there no legitimate crime for the Lakeville Police Department to fight, or must they spend 5 man hours (there were five cops in those three cruisers) investigating liscense plate tabs on a Saturday night in an area with lots of drinking and driving?
Pissed? I'm beyond pissed. I'm humiliated and pissed. Those are sucky things to be.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Misplacing Things is Scary

My entire life, I have lost things. My mom was phenomenol at finding whatever I lost growing up, but her investigations from Memphis are about as bad as a long distance eharmony relationship at accomplishing what they're supposed to. In other words, when I lose something, I either have to find it, which I suck at, or eat it.

I'd been proud of myself that I've only lost sock pairs over this past summer, but last night, I became convinced that I lost my 60gb Ipod Video. Man, was I scared. I called Applebee's, checked the church, ripped apart my laptop bag, checked my car (which I've been doing an excellent job keeping clean: eat that, ADD), ripped my house apart, and went into a rough sleep.

Waking up this morning, I checked my laptop bag one more time. I had ripped it apart and even had a friend look in it. Somehow though, we had both missed it. It was in a compartment that is normally just for papers. It's to thin for an Ipod in all reality... but I put it in there. Dumb. Folks with ADD often misplace things by putting them in a spot they have no business being in. For example, a month ago I fell into the ultimate ADD textbook scenario, and found my remote in the fridge. This is the example that psychologists and college psychology classes give out to folks to say "This is how retarded these people are." Yeah, I did it.

Ironically, there are a lot of people that don't have ADD but have their biggest posessions misplaced: Their time, their passions, and their finances. I'm blessed to feel that I'm moving into the will of God in a way that I haven't recently, but I know a lot of friends that aren't. That's fine. What bugs me is when they don't wrestle with things - they don't seem to ask questions, they don't seem to seek counsil, and they just flat out seem content to continue walking through life that way.

There are two verses that come into my mind: The ever mentioned "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death," (link) and "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed" (link)

There are a lot of people that are putting their life in the fridge, or into the flat compartment of their laptop bag. How many people do you know that are working a deadend job that they get no satisfaction from? How many people do you know that go home every night and sit in front of their tv instead of doing something to change the world? How many people do you know of that only wake up in the morning to do busywork the rest of the day? How many do you know that have no clue that there is a God purpose for their life, and that they can find that purpose for their life? How many do you know that have no clue that there is a Biblical way to order their finances that will leave them a lot less stressed out?

It's often true that the hardest things to find are those that are immediately in front of you. Ironically, that God purpose that so many have no clue about is within them, put there to grow by the creator. The counsel that so many don't seek but so desperately need is probably within a few blocks in the form of a church leader, or maybe a successful business man. And many just don't stop to look at the resources available to help them with financial planning despite probably having breezed by them in bookstores a hundred times.

So, these people are out there. What can we do to help them?
  • Live your God passion out before you start telling others to.
  • Set an example of asking for wisdom from others yourself.
  • Get your finances in order yourself (that's my next year's exclusive purpose).
  • Encourage those younger than you. Pride will often prevent people from accepting advice from someone that's younger than them.
  • Notice people, and let them know that what's important to them is important to you.
I sure am glad I found my ipod. Those times that I've found a part of who I am and what my life purpose is, I'm much gladder of.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Happy Birthday?

So, it was my birthday today. In fact, it was the first one to get celebrated in two or three years. That was meaningful, seriously. Having your birthday at the beginning of the college year and changing schools doesn't help people know about the day.

I had a transmission mount replaced today on my car. My wheels have 210,000 miles on them, but they're paid for and I keep them maintained. I'm so confident in my maintenance though, that I felt deeply disturbed when my mechanic showed me the old mount - it was snapped completely in half! My follow up thought was anger: I had my transmission replaced 60,000 miles ago. I thought the reason my old transmission case had devloped a crack was because of the wreck my car had been in (I got it at 140,000 and rebuilt the rear. Less than 2,300 in it, purchase and repair!), but now I'm inclined to think - and my mechanic agrees - that the mount cracked first, and the transmission followed suit later due to getting slammed around. That makes sense when I think about the way transmission handling for both transmissions has really paralled the other's. This means though, that the guy that replaced my transmission didn't replace the mount! Not only that, but the guy owes my family's business for three transmissions we sold him! He's a total crook... but his business in town went under. It's so hard to find good mechanics, I'm really fortunate to have a guy now whose word I would take at face value. The good guy's name is Cliff Barth, and he owns Motor Magic in Breckenridge, MN. I give him two thumbs up and a recommend any day. He's also mayor of the town :p

Sometimes I feel like people have similar trust levels for Pastors and Mechanics - a mentality that they will either help you or screw you over, but more screw you over. I hope that any ministries I'm associated with will see folks helped, with personal hurts kept to a minimum.

I'll put up a picture of that part in a few days :p