Desierto norte de Chile

Monday, February 27, 2006

Yahoo! music

Tonight I rediscovered Yahoo! music, where you can listen to 90 minutes of streamed LaunchCast radio for free :) My choices: Praise and worship, reggaeton, gay club mix (yes, out of curiosity, what on earth would be playing there? Wouldn't you be curious? Something 80s was on, but I forget it), then back to praise and worship. Should you try it out, enjoy! But don't try to skip too many songs or they'll disable the skip feature.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ten Things

In the spirit of jeniwilliams*, ten things:

1- Today is the first day in a long while that we have low, translucent cumulus clouds dotting the skies. Recently, we have endured gray / overcast skies and intermittent heavy rain showers. Yay for dry weather. It is the "dry season" after all.

2- Yesterday, while IM'ing a friend over Skype, I had a short visit from a little furry creature. A shadow caught my attention on the window (which is about eye-level when I am seated at my desk), and when I pulled back the blinds, I locked eyes with a wild monkey! "Wyark!" (sound made by the monkey, not me, come on!) "Holy cow" (sound made by me, not the monkey). Anyway, I startled the little guy pretty good, and he immediately jumped down and ran around the building. But seriously, how crazy is this life, when I am greeted by monkeys jumping on my windowsill?

3- Also yesterday, I became victim of a random skype stalk. This Venezuelan, Jerson Rafael Salazar Chirinos, IM'ed me out of the blue, and started asking me all kinds of questions. I was somewhat excited to use my newly learned Spanish, but I quickly realized that speaking a foreign language and writing it are two very different things. My spelling quickly deteoriated into poorly-conjugated verbs and mixed-gender agreements. But I have a standing invitation to visit Valencia, VE, and if this guy comes to Oklahoma, I told him I would show him around. I am still deciding whether I was too generous in this conversation. After giving my email address, I received 10 photos of Jerson & friends, and when I agreed to show him around Oklahoma, he replied "and take me to a very cheap hotel". Yikes! I pray that is a language barrier / translation slip. Again, how crazy is this life, where I get propositioned by a random Venezuelan over Skype chat?

4- The last 5 days have been very productive research-wise!! I ran my first MM5 simulation ever, the test "storm of the century" (1993, aka "superstorm") case. After trudging through "lf2c" and "-lX11" errors, I was able to run the simulation!! Next in line is reformatting the test case to simulate hurricane ivan. Not sure that will be as simple.

5- As posted earlier, I am officially an alternate for the NSF EAPSI summer program (I applied to study in Perth, Australia). Four people (out of only twenty) must decline their offer to go to Australia for me to be elevated from the alternate list. While it is tough realizing that my proposal was not "good enough", knowing an answer has been good for me. I have found myself dreaming of what to "do" next -- of where to spend my time, what people to engage with, etc. Most of these dreams, incidentally, have not been located in the US. I've been wondering how God has used these past seven months on Barbados, and how they fit within the larger lessons that I have been learning in the last few years. Right now, I can only say that one of my new passions is to engage foreign cultures. That is incredibly enjoyable to me, and combine it with a spirit of adventure (and restlessness), I have caught myself longing to embark on another overseas journey.

6- Monday, while walking to CIMH, I had time to examine my desire to engage foreign cultures. I realized that I have a hard time establishing new relationships, even though that is something I really enjoy. I posed this question to myself, framed in the context of a larger theme of community: "why do I so often catch myself longing for my communities of the past? If life has seasons, and many of our relationships are meant for only a relatively short time, why do I continue to view myself as an "outsider" in new places?" In Barbados, I have regularly longed to connect with friends back in the states, and I still do not consider myself a "local" though I am approaching my seventh month on the island. When I moved to Norman, I proudly proclaimed my North Carolinian heritage, and even after four years at OU, still fondly look back at my days at UNC and long to reconnect with friends.

While not claiming any specific revelation, I was encouraged by the verse in Jeremiah, where God (thru his prophet) instructs the Israelites on how to live in a foreign place. He knew that during their 70-year exile into Babylon, they would long for their days in Jerusalem. He knew the natural response would be to view themselves as "outsiders" in that foreign culture. But rather than rebuking His people, God told them something surprising: "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." Essentially, God says though they are indeed outsiders, they are to engage the place as if it were their home. Instead of idling, waiting to return to a place of comfort and familiarity, God tells them to live.

I realized, that as I seek to live the lifestyle of Jeremiah 29: 4-7, moving is hard. I envy those whose calling it is to remain in one geographical place for many years ... consider yourselves blessed!!

7- I am still praying and pondering my own location and occupation during the next 12 months. My current dreams involve me teaching meteorology in a country overseas. I find my heart longing for that ... but the logistics are crazy and give me a headache. I wish they would contact me, offer me a salary and living space, and tell me to get back with them when I've decided. Unfortunately that has not happened. However, I do have tacit support from the dean of my department, and I am enjoying the process of praying about what to do next. Join with me :) Presently, Reading, Monash, Buenos Aires, Sri Lanka, and Université d'Auvergne (yes, that is in Clermont France) are options. The most appealing to me? Buenos Aires!

8- The photos of Colombia Night 2006 (held in Norman to celebrate the lives of Colombians at OU) brought about a good deal of nostalgia. Colombia rocks, and the people are just awesome! Thanks again guys for a truly wonderful week.

9- I am waiting for access to the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data to initialize my MM5 run of Hurricane Ivan. Once granted access, I am excited to chug ahead with my main research project, namely to compare computer simulations of Ivan's winds (a function of track, intensity, and structure) to what really happened on Barbados, Grenada, and possibly St. Vincent. I'm excited to get some results!!

10- I give great props to my friends Meadow and Dave, Dan, Robin, Celia, Kenny, Andy, Mark, Bob, Tim, Ryan, Nick, and cousin Rebecca, for either hosting me in your home, or providing me a ride to/from school/church/airports/meals, or both. You guys are great friends, and I dearly miss you here in Barbados. May God bless your week ahead in ways that you would never expect!!

*jeniwilliams (AIM away message 2004)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's day

How did YOU celebrate Valentine's?

After dark today (you know the good stuff only happens after dark!), I:

- went for an envigorating walk down holder's hill & back
- had a nice tuna salad sandwich & banana
- phoned my parents (about getting a new pin # for my debit card)
- read a few online articles
- did my federal taxes (i owe $126)
- did part of my state taxes (i should get about $100 refund)
- wrote up 3 blog posts
- crashed around 1:30 (estimate)

Not bad for a holiday I've never celebrated! And btw, can we call valentine's day a holiday? If you're in a great relationship with someone, do you really need a day set aside by Hallmark to remind you that you should tell that person you love them? Shouldn't that be coming automatically? In that spirit, I've decided E-cards are defintely the way to go :) You can be creative and fun - and it's all free!

EAPSI Alternate

I received notice today that I am an alternate for the NSF EAPSI program in Australia. For me to become a nominee, other nominees must decline their spot or withdraw from the program. While disappointing, I am pleased to know that I will almost certainly not be spending time in Perth this summer. Stay tuned as other plans come into view . . .

Living a globally meaningful life

So today I read an article from the site (they send me weekly emails with cool christianity-based articles ... perhaps you've noticed a posting trend -- whereby I tend to post not too long after I read one of their articles. I have also quoted them at least twice). The article gave a lenthy discussion - complete with lots of probing rhetorical questions - about what it means to live a globally meaningful life. I won't steal their thunder by summarizing the article here, but suffice to say, I am thinking about some of the issues they raised. Specifically about three themes: stewardship, sacrifice, and solidarity. (And let's throw in submission for good measure).

Turns out that while I thought I lived my life in a rather frugal way, and that I try to understand things with a global perspective, I generally miss the point. Like when 1 John 3:17 calls for the rich to help "brothers in need", I think my weekly smiles to the local barbadians are sufficient. Or that my (meager) online donation to Katrina or tsunami victims is quite sufficient to justify dropping several grand this year on world travels. Or that my monthly donations to other christian "workers" - who I assume are helping the needy in some way or another - meets John's standard.

The article affirms that "deeds" such these are indeed good, but it asks me to think deeper, to ponder what radical stewardship/sacrifice/solidarity might look like in my life. I confess to owning more material possessions within a 10-foot radius than 1 billion people in the world will probably ever own, cumulatively, during their lifetime. I am reminded of a conversation I had back on 30 Nov with a Trinidadian about "global wealth balance". After 90 mins of healthy geopolitical economic discussion, we were no closer to identifying any problems than when we began. However, we did agree that wealth is not balanced globally.

I think Jesus understands wealth imbalance - and gives us some strategies to cope. Namely, by commanding us to forsake earthly material possession: "if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me". For me, and I suspect almost all western Christians, denying myself is inherenly connected with material possession. I love Paul's exhortation in 1 Timothy 6: "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, be rich in good deeds, & to be generous and willing to share."

So this week I am pondering what it means to live a "globally meaningful life". I find myself much more encouraged than discouraged -- heck, how cool is it to even ponder such a question?! If this question is answerable, something tells me it will come over a process, probably trial and error. Let me know if you have any insights!

the article is linked here.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bethany tagged me . . .

. . .

4 books I am reading:
1. I am not reading 4 books; I am not even reading one book.
2. Books are hard to come by in Barbados.
3. But I do read a lot of articles,
4. b/c they are available online - and free!

4 things I am learning:
1. The sense of love and belonging found in genuine community is a powerful and wonderful thing
2. I do not have “it” all together – and never will
3. It is possible to grow in your faith apart from community (especially when you live in a place that doesn’t lend itself to community)
4. I am high maintenance

4 celebrities I would go on a date with:
1. Julia Roberts
2. Kara / Ruthie (Road Rules / Real World)
3. Sarah Jessica Parker (remember her in “Flight of the Navigator”? She had me even then)
4. J-lo / Halle Berry

4 jobs I would like in the future:
1. Teach meteorology to students who eat it up
2. Make the critical forecast decisions in the chaotic June-Nov Atlantic hurricane season
3. Teach English to foreigners who eat it up
4. Photograph cool weather events for calendar companies and/or Nat’l Geographic

4 clothing articles that I always pack for a trip:
1. Plenty of boxer shorts (answers that question, doesn’t it!)
2. A comfortable pair of both short & long pants
3. T-shirts
4. A belt

4 favorite drinks:
1. Skim milk with lots of ice cubes
2. Fresh fruit juice
3. Tap water (by volume its my fav by at least 4-1)
4. Anything served to me by a host family in another country

4 people that make me laugh:
1. Jerry Brotzge
2. Suzanne Hardee
3. Mike French & Jen
4. Marcia

4 tags:
1. I wouldn’t wish
2. this on anyone.
3. But if you want to go through the exercise,
4. it might be useful later. (how many of you have been told that by a prof?!)
Z Barnes – you’re my only regular blogreader I know of who also has a blog – so knock yourself out. You should even print your ‘tag’ in Czech. That would be impressive!

** Edit: the above reference to zbarnes was not totally correct. Guevarafam & the Travises are also regular readers with blogs. And maybe even Timothy Lives checks me out occasionally. And m.haugland, and a.taylor, and r.tanamachi, and d.dawson, and - well - ok I have more regular blog readers than I remembered when I wrote up the above Tag. **

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The evangelical church

Here is a quote I came across this morning while reading an excerpt from Urbana 1961, the tri-annual missions conference supported by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. What a strong diagnosis!

Why was the evangelical church in Europe so weak in the past, so that at present it seems to be largely destroyed? Because it played around with nationalism, uncrucified nationalism. It marched with the political right; it marched with Hitler. That's why in Germany today there is no strong evangelical voice, except in the Evangelische Gemeinschaft, the confessional churches, which were the churches that finally stood up to Hitler and denied their German nationalism.

Are we at the same point today in America, where evangelicals have discarded the yoke of Christ and proudly embraced the yoke of Bush? There are obvious differences between Bush and Hitler, and I am not going to be so bold as to draw any conclusions. But is the spirit of "Americanism" overpowering and silencing the spirit of God? I think the post-millennial evangelical church in America today would do well to heed Dr. Arthur Glasser's warning. As Jesus said, "give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." Any comments?

    Newer›  ‹Older