Thursday, August 31, 2006

Day 1 - San Francisco Labor Day Trip

"You Look Cute In Leather . . . .

Enjoy your new comfy leather seat!"

So I started my San Francisco Labor Day Trip with Jet Blue Airlines flirting with me. Every seat has a TV screen (with Direct TV which I really like) and when you first get on board and get settled, the screen has a series of messages welcoming you and such. Apparently, i'm their favorite customer, but i'm not supposed to tell anyone. Aww - they're so sweet!

The flight was pretty routine and it only lasted about an hour from Long Beach, CA to Oakland, CA. My friend Mark Andrew picked me up and we went to my hotel in downtown San Francisco only to discover that I couldn't check in until my friend Michael arrived from Santa Barbara. He was driving up and he was the one who made the reservation - so they wouldn't give me a key since the room was pre-paid. So Mark Andrew and I decided to go to Japan Town (which isn't as distinguishable as China Town) and got some dinner. We hung out talking and catching up for several hours, left and drove around through the Presidio, got back to the downtown civic center area, ran out of gas and got stranded, walked around for miles on a quest for a seemingly non-existent gas station in that area, finally found a Shell station, and walked back to the car. No worries, i had a good attitude about it all - it was good exercise! By that time, Michael was in town and we connected at the hotel - at which point we stayed up talking in the room until 2 a.m.

Fun times!

I enjoyed the idea of having been to work in Long Beach earlier that day and in only several hours being in a completely different region hanging out with friends and experiencing a world away from my home. I'm really going to enjoy traveling over the coming years! I'm going to start a Flickr account so that I can share my photos with you as I trek this Earth. On the schedule for Friday - Alcatraz, the actual Golden Gate Bridge, and hanging out with friends in Castro!

Go to Day 2 - San Francisco Labor Day Trip >>

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Return of Buddy and Sunday Afternoon Naps

Whew! So the weekend craziness has come and gone and I definitely feel a bit more relaxed. As a friend of mine said to me today, "you're smiling!"

A few days ago (in my last post in "Sleepless Nights"), I mentioned that my buddy/room mate is returning from his 3 week vacation in the Mid-West. I was excited to see him again so I cleaned up the apartment when I got back from the training conference (which I'll mention below), made my very first flower arrangement for him - white carnations with lavendar baby's breath, greenery and blue ribbons (what do ya think?), and I picked him up at LAX. (He knows that every time I say "buddy" in this blog I'm referring to him so it kinda stuck with us outside of the blog). It was good reconnecting with him again!

So the training conference . . . .

Well, i went in to work early on Friday - about 8 a.m. - since it was the last day before the event. As is typical, I stayed as long as it took to take care of everything that needed to be done. I left the office at 10:20 p.m. (As a side note, that older co-worker that I mentioned before - the one that makes me want to pull my hair out - left the office an hour early at 3 p.m. and was incredibly useless, lazy and unhelpful at the event the next day. She was there to help staff the event but I had to function as if she wasn't someone I could utilize. She literally refused to pick up a (light) box of binders while we were looking for something important. Sigh. Whatever. Enough about her.) I got home, did laundry because I couldn't fall asleep - not really anxiety, more like anticipation - and finally got to bed around 1:30 a.m. I came back in to the office at 6:30 a.m. to start the day and coordinate the logistics of the event.

In a nutshell, I think it went well. Over the years, I've learned that planning as much as possible before an event is important because it minimizes potential problems but once the event starts, you've gotta be flexible and adaptable because there will always be uncontrollable or unforeseen things that will come up. We were able to follow the schedule and I did my best to handle the curve balls.

I said before that it was my "coming out event" (or as my Michigan friend (Matt) says, my "debut event") because this was the first event that demonstrated to my co-workers, bosses (the office manager and the executive director), and the board of directors that I can handle the logistics of an important event. Before this, they didn't have a frame of reference for my potential, so as the new guy I kinda felt underestimated. Now, hopefully, they'll feel like they can give me similar events in the future to be responsible for. I'll admit that there's a sense of fulfillment when an event goes well. I enjoy working behind the scenes to make things happen. Fortunately, i'm happy to report that I got lots of positive feedback from the higher-ups who were pleased with the way everything went.

The event ended and I left for home (to clean the apartment for my buddy's return) by 4:30pm Saturday. I feel good that it's behind me and a weight has been lifted - of course, that is until the next event. After having so many sleepless nights, especially every night this past week, I enjoyed a nice long Sunday afternoon nap. I thank God that I've got Monday off!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sleepless Nights

I haven't been sleeping well for this whole week! Literally, every single night this week I've found myself waking up earlier than usual - about the one o'clock hour (usually if I wake up, it'd be about 3am then back to snoozing) and i've been waking up several times periodically until wake up time.

I guess there's just been a lot going on in my world right now . . . .

Primarily, much of my focus lately has been on work. I don't mind the actual work, in fact, I like the work that i'm doing for my new job. There's one co-worker in particular that's been the source of much grief for me though. She's an older woman - perhaps late 50's or 60's - and on one hand she's very helpful at times in letting me know how things have been done in the past. On the other hand, it get's very irritating when she lets me know how things have been done in the past. I officially am completely done with the phrase, "well that's the way we've always done things" !!!!

**this is where you imagine me screaming at the top of my lungs while pulling my hair out**

She can be very nice, at times, but it gets pretty frustrating much of the time because she doesn't do things very efficiently. She STILL uses a typewriter. A typewriter.

The thing is - the work that I do are things that she used to be doing. So there are times when I need her to tell me how things were done. But she thinks that her telling me how it used to be done also means that it's the way it is "supposed" to be done. No. I'm all about finding better ways of doing things, especially when I'm the one who has to do it - and so when I start doing things my way, I can tell it irks her. Tension.

For the past several weeks, I've been organizing a training-type conference which is happening this coming Saturday. Before I started working here, she was the one working on it. Now, the responsibility was given to me. So over the past several weeks, I've been finding that she doesn't fully brief me regarding things that I need to know about. Argh! So I keep having to adjust, be innovative, and make it look like it doesn't phase me. I have literally redone everything that she had done prior because it's just not quality stuff or it's not the way that I would rather have it. It's not my style to blame someone else when an event fails. So when she does things that almost seems like she's sabotaging my success, I work even harder to ensure it. I'm very flexible and adaptable and I love multi-tasking - so the work doesn't bother me. It's just the tension that she creates between us.

I think she underestimates me. Actually, I feel like she patronizes me. She's twice my age. She doesn't know that I have experience with event-planning. So I feel like she wants me to fail so that she can prove that I can't do it without her. I'm determined to demonstrate my potential. I feel like this is my "coming-out" event at work. This is the first event that I've been in charge of at work and I want to show what I'm capable of. I really just think she feels threatened by me because the bosses are not happy with her and she can foresee herself losing her job.

Speaking of coming out, the kewl thing is that I can be "out" at work because there are others that are "out" too. It feels good to be able to just be me. I don't have to "act" straight (even though I'm told that I come across that way anyway) and I don't have to "act" gay just to show that I'm out and proud. I can just be me and I can be measured by the quality of the work that I do. That's a kewl thing. And I get great feedback from the higher-ups that are pleased with my work too! Several weeks ago, my boss told me about a conversation she had with a friend of hers who said to her, "have you ever noticed that gay people always seem to be successful?" That was awesome because if two straight people are going to have a conversation about gay people, i'd rather it be a comment about our success rather than our sexuality.

So work has been good times and bad times and great times and frustrating times - but i'm super excited about the training conference this Saturday. I've been pretty thorough in planning out the logistics so i'm sure it'll turn out well!

I'm excited to find out today that after this long long and tiring week, we've all got Monday off because of "Admissions Day" or something like that. Something about it being the day California was admitted into the Union. Never heard of it. I can use the day off. Hey, wait, I just now realized . . . i'll be off Monday, then i'll be off Friday (see SF trip below), then i'll be off the next Monday for Labor Day. Woo hoo! Three day work week next week! =)

Work has probably been a huge source of the sleepless nights but there's been more.

With most of my time being invested at work right now, I haven't done as much as I would like with Catalyst. I did, however, meet with the Program Director at the Gay & Lesbian Center here in Long Beach and I'll be teaching HTML workshops on how to build a personal website. It may span out to other kinds of tech workshops too. My goal is to use the revenue that the Center gives Catalyst from the workshops (only about 20% of what the Center takes in - small but it's something) and to use those funds for the leadership development program that I'll be developing.

I discovered an article online last week at the Press-Telegram that references my name and Catalyst Long Beach. It's a small reference but I was excited to stumble upon it. I was going to share the link with you but it's no longer showing it.

I've also been investing energy with Toastmasters - that's an organization that helps people develop their oral communication skills. Last week, I delivered a speech which went very well. The week before that I facilitated the impromptu speeches portion of the club's meeting. For both weeks, I was given an award for what I did. That's always kewl. I'll be entering into a speech contest in September for impromptu speeches. That's where they give you a topic and you talk on it "off-the-cuff".

I'm really excited about leading a workshop in September for Open Door Ministries' conference. I'll be talking about how to expand one's relational sphere of influence while living out a lifestyle of faith - this as an approach to living out the Great Commission and reframing the way we see "outreach" and "evangelism". After the workshop, I'll be leading a weekly home group that will be focussed on living out genuine community while equipping and training people on the things I first presented in the workshop. I feel affirmed in all of this because while much of what I want to do is unconventional, my pastor is in agreement and support of me and what I want to teach and do. I want to help gay Christians get past the whole "gay" thing and really get to work in advancing His Kingdom.

Oh yeah, something else that I found troublesome, was this past Sunday morning when I visited a local inclusive church's service. The good: gay and lesbian Christians who's worship and message was completely centered on Christ. The bad: from the time that I first entered their "fellowship", through the service, and until the time that I exited and left for home, not ONE person spoke to me or touched me. No hello. No welcome. No handshake. No hug. No greeting. No acknowledgement that I was a visitor. This is a church of about 35 people. It was obvious that I was new. I also noticed that I was literally the only non-white person there. As unwelcomed as I felt, I still chose to worship among them and not leave (especially since it appeared Christ-centered) and also to share in Communion with them. I really don't think they intended for me to feel unwelcomed. I just think that they were oblivious to it. The irony is that they were talking about how for the last two weeks, they've been discussing "Church" and what it is and why we "go" every Sunday and how it's not about religious routines but rather that it's about people.

Sigh + Chuckle = Shaking Head.

I'm also looking forward to my trip back up to San Francisco during the labor day weekend. I've already purchased my plane ticket and I'll be leaving right after work that Thursday so that I can (hopefully) have time to do stuff that evening. I'll stay in the Bay area through the weekend and will come back labor day evening. I'm really excited about the trip because I want to pack in alot of things - including meeting up with new friends, site seeing with a bud of mine (who will be joining me from Santa Barbara), seeing the REAL golden gate bridge (don't laugh at me! okay, go ahead and laugh!) and Alcatraz, checking out the gay & lesbian center there, and visiting one or more inclusive churches. I plan to take lots of pictures!

My buddy get's back from his 3 week Mid-West vacation this Saturday. He's my room mate. You've seen him before here. He went home to visit family and old friends. He also went up to Minnesota and Canada for canoeing. I'm excited he'll be back soon! =)

Some of my lack of good sleep can also probably be attributed to a bit of tension i've been having with a friend of mine who has been enduring hard times for the past few years. I want the best for him and I want him to be happy, it's just that it's hard to hear him focus so much on what isn't going right in his life instead of what is. I prefer a positive attitude because the alternative is too void of life. I'd rather (at least try to) lift people up. The tension came last week when we both had a pretty heated discussion about the fact that our hard times isn't always God's fault. You've gotta understand that I come quickly to my Lord's defense because I personally know, first hand, what it's like to hit rock bottom. Literally. Those were times I still have not yet shared specific details on this blog. I know hard times. And the hard times was not His fault! Of anything, it was mine. But the Lord was the One who helped me out of the hard times - from nothing, He rebuilt everything I messed up. I know God to be good. So, yes, I'll defend His name and His character - even with my life, if necessary. I just want my friend to accept and acknowledge the good that God is giving him because it's there. Maybe then he'll experience the peace that God has already allocated for him. He's hanging in there though and i'm praying for him! =)

The final contribution to my lack of good sleep is most likely the fact that I've been exercising! Yes, i've been going to the gym again. On one hand, it feels really good - especially since i'm starting to drop a few of the unwanted lb's - but on the other hand, my body is oh so achey. That's probably been keeping me up at night too.

I'm hoping for rest - not just sleep, but rest. I trust it'll come. My Lord is faithful and while it does seem like I've got so much going on with busyness and work and frustrations and tensions and worlds colliding and fun times with friends and all that jazz, i'm also mindful of just being still.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Michigan Friends

Last Friday night, I was super excited to meet for the first time a good friend of mine from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I know, that kinda sounds funny - met for the first time but he's a good friend? Yep! He first started off being one of the earliest Two World Collision readers and we began keeping in touch since September 27, 2005 - whoa, almost a year!

So he came out to the LA area last week with family and we got to spend some time. We went to Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade and watched the kewl street performers (jugglers and dancers), had a delicious Italian dinner, walked out to the pier and got an ice cream cone, then sat at the end of the pier chatting and listening to a really interesting spanish speaking musician. Since neither of us understood what he was saying, we took turns filling in the lyrics ourselves with what we imagined he was singing about. We walked back past midnight and a guy passing by gave him a red and yellow flower. He smiled and gave it to me. Awww . . . what a sweetheart! Anyway, he said that it was okay to put his pic up on TWC - I forgot to ask him if I can use his real name so for now I'll refer to him as my visiting friend. He's a cutie, huh?

Some of the things we particularly related with was our paradigm regarding the "Church". He connected with "Jumping The Walls" and "Band of Brothers and Sisters". . . .

I was *this* close to writing another blog post last night about my paradigm of "Church". The inspiration was there but I wasn't yet ready to articulate them yet. That typically means i'm still chewing on it and so it'll probably come out of me later.

I mentioned before that I'll be teaching a workshop at a conference that a local inclusive church is hosting in September. The workshop will be discussing relational/"oikos" evangelism which in a nutshell is basically living a lifestyle of faith in the context of loving God, loving others (two Greatest Commandments) and inspiring others to do the same (Great Commission). Part of that will be about living in "community" as the Church. After the conference, I'll be leading/hosting a home group meant to train and equip people to live these things out. I'm looking forward to that.

[If you'd like to see other posts about my paradigm of Church, try "Church Outside The Box" or some of the other posts in that section in the right column.]

Anyway, it was so good to finally meet my visiting friend. We've got tons in common and he always makes me laugh and/or smile. I'm definitely hoping to visit him in Grand Rapids some time next year. He's got an awesome home and has 11 ducks. He said once that he noticed that we always have BBQ's here in Long Beach so we're gonna have a BBQ at his place. No, we won't BBQ the cute ducks!

He's also good friends with Becky - (that triathlete that I've mentioned before - the one who competed in the Gay Games). She also lives in Grand Rapids so it'll be fun to see her too! Actually, Becky is wanting to move out here to Southern California so when I went to the gym today (yes! i finally got back to the gym - had a good work out by the way) I inquired on her behalf about personal trainer positions. Becky and I are starting a campaign to convince our friend to move out here to So Cal too. I think it would be so awesome to live out "community" with each other - especially since all three of us share the same paradigm about "being the Church".

Anyway, fun times, fun memories . . . . still fun yet to be had!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Romance That Is Mutual And Reciprocal

Transitions always halt the normal routines of life. I've had the new job for a month now and I haven't been able to return to doing the things I once did.

I used to exercise alot - several times per week. Now, I find myself tired after work and I don't run as much as I used to. I tell myself that I'll go to the gym after I get home, then once I get there I think, "yeah right."

I used to be intentional about staying connected with friends - going out for coffee or lunch. I could do that because I wasn't employed and my work with Catalyst was flexible enough to allow me the ability to nurture those kinds of connections. Now, I've got to weigh out my time - choose whether to rest up or connect with one person or the other or to be a part of a group gathering.

I used to blog alot more often too. I apologize for that. Not only was I blogging more often, but I was also using this blog to journal and process my thoughts. It's been awhile since I was raw with my feelings so I think I'll take the time now to just write for "me" - without worrying about who may be reading it or what someone may think.

It's just that . . . there's been alot on my mind and I was seeing this guy . . . .

So I had started seeing a guy about two weeks ago. He's a great guy and my buddy helped facilitate an introduction by giving each of us the other's phone number. The thing is - I don't think the intent was initially to fix us up together. This guy is kind of where I was at a year ago when I first started Two World Collision - with the exception that he's now at a point in his life to where he wants the whole gay Christian thing to work whereas a year ago I was at a point of simply exploring the "other side" to educate myself about the gay culture and what God was doing in it. I approached it objectively whereas this guy pretty much has decided that gay is the way to go - with or without God. He's still processing through that part.

My buddy gave him my phone number in the context of Two World Collision and thought that I'd be a great person to help him process his thoughts. I love being able to talk to people in that context. So we met two weeks ago and we connected almost immediately. We had great times of talking and getting to know one another and it was uncanny how similar our stories paralleled each other. I guess, in that process, we began to see each other in a different context - in a more romantic context.

So we began spending more and more time with each other and we began to interact more intimately. After about a week, we both discovered that we were taking all of this way too fast. We both really enjoy spending time with each other but I realized that he's not exactly in a place in his life to where he's ready for a relationship. He's still wrestling with alot of issues between faith and God and sexuality and other stuff. So we mutually agreed that we are better off taking a step back and keeping things platonic right now.


I realize that it's the wisest and most sensible thing to do. It's the right thing to do. But I have to admit that I liked the idea of developing a relationship romantically. It was fun. It was awesome being able to make someone feel cared for and to feel cared for in return. It was good to feel like romantic interest was mutual and reciprocated. It's been a week since we last decided to be platonic and we've hung out and talked to each other on the phone over this past week. I know it was the right thing to do but I miss that affection.

It just amplifies that feeling of loneliness. I want a companion. I want to be with someone. I want to walk with someone. I want to journey with someone. For so long it has been such a burden trying to do this alone. I know, I know, God was always with me - yadda, yadda, yadda - I don't intend to take Him for granted or make light of His presence. But I want someone tangible to experience existence with me. I want to hold someone's hand and I want to embrace someone for a long period of time and I want to cuddle and snuggle and all that mushy stuff. At the end of the day, you can't (or shouldn't) do those things with a platonic friend.

I think that one of the reasons why I try to be intentional about nurturing friendships and relationships is because deep down I have a need for intimacy that isn't being met. So the next best thing is to try to feel "connected" with friends. Ultimately, I want to connect intimately. And I feel so lonely some times. Many times, I just want to be touched - to have someone touch my face or to caress my arm or to hold my hand while we're driving in the car. I want to look into his eyes and find myself lost. I want to watch him talk and interact with my friends and discover that I'm falling for him.

Goodness, I'm not one to wallow in depression and sadness - I've been there before and I choose not to live there - but honestly, I am sad alot. My emotions are balanced with other positive feelings too because I do feel blessed in many other ways. But sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, there's a sadness in my heart. I get up and go through the routine of my day but that sadness lingers. It's not because I'm gay. It's because I feel like my companion with whom I am whole with is not yet connected with me.

I'm not talking specifically about the guy I mentioned before. I'm okay with us being platonic. I'm talking about my soul mate. Does he exist? Is he out there? How much longer will it be before God says that it is not good for Eric to be alone and he unites me to another with whom He has chosen and approved of?

Back to talking about that guy - he often says that I'm "a catch". Hehe. It's flattering - sure - but it's hard for me to accept. I mean, sure I think I'm a good guy and that I have much to offer another person in a relationship. But to tell you the truth, I kind of doubt whether or not I'm "a catch" because I haven't been caught. It's not like there are a million people or even just one person fishing for me. I want to be caught. Can I say that? I just want someone to want me and I want to want him back. I long for something mutual and I guess I feel so lonely because it's always been one or the other - either I liked him but he likes someone else (that's a killer!) or he liked me but I like someone else.

For once, I want the universe to match up - fall into alignment - and have a romance that is mutual and reciprocated. With that guy, it seemed like it was - and I guess i'm just a bit sad about it because that wasn't enough. The timing was wrong because he's not yet ready for it.

So what do I do now? Do I keep trying to go on dates? That's frustrating because how does one "get the date" in the first place? Do I go out to clubs more? That's frustrating because that amplifies my loneliness which affects my confidence in approaching someone in that venue. Do I try internet dating? That's frustrating because the experience is so two-dimensional - it's all about the photo and the looks and whatever is written in the profile as if that's enough to gauge whether or not I want to invest an evening with someone who potentially may not even be anything like his profile. Do I advertise to my friends that I'm fix-up-able - that i'm "on the market" in case anyone knows another single guy who would like to meet a nice guy? That's frustrating because, well, let's face it - that makes me feel desperate and pathetic.

So should I just stop looking? Well, heck, as if that's easy to do! I've had friends tell me to just stop looking and it'll come around. Um . . . when? Yeah, I get it - just go on with life and romance will just happen naturally. Sure, I want it to happen naturally. But at the end of the day, I still have to live through lonely feelings and I can only fake-it-til-I-make-it for so long.

I'm not a basket case totally overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness. I've got good friends and I'm connecting with people. But on the subject of romance - I'm sad. As honest as I can be right now, I just want to be held - not by a good platonic friend, but by someone who is holding me because he is loving me.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Miscellaneous Things To Catch You Up On

I apologize to TWC's regular readers for not posting in over a week and a half. I'm also glad to see that there have been many new readers to TWC as well as people reading past/archived posts. Rest assured, I do have some thoughts brewing in this head of mine - i've been processing life events, examining Scripture, revisiting points along my journey so far - things I'll share with you when I can find/make the time to sit down to articulate them into a blog post or essay.

That's not going to happen at this very moment so I thought I'd write to you to catch you up on a few things that's been going on in my world since I've gotten back from San Francisco (my last post) . . . .

First of all, I'm so embarrassed that I totally thought I actually saw the Golden Gate Bridge! LOL, it turned out to be the Bay Bridge. Hehe, good thing I can laugh at myself, otherwise I'd go hide under a rock . . . or a bridge (- i won't even try to say which bridge i'd hide under!). Anyway, I'm determined to see the Golden Gate Bridge with my own eyes so I'm going back up to San Francisco during the Labor Day Weekend at the beginning of September and hopefully see alot more of SF - including Alcatraz and anything else this tourist needs to/should see. I'd like to see the Gay & Lesbian Center in SF too to compare it with what i've seen here in Southern California. It'd be good to get some good insights for Catalyst. I'll be going up and meeting up with friends - i'd also love to meet any TWC readers in the Bay area. Email me (see left column) if you'd like to connect!

I'm settling in at the new job. There are good days and there are not as good days - but i'm still in a mode of wanting to do well at it. I want to prove my potential. I'm excited that I've got the opportunity to plan a couple of events! I'm really excited about the benefits package that I get. Apparently, massages are covered by my health insurance! A co-worker of mine goes to a place that accepts the insurance and so the co-pay is only $5 for an hour long massage. Score! I'm sooo going to be using that! The other kewl thing is my car insurance. Through my previous insurance with Allstate, I was paying $102 per month for only liability insurance. With my new insurance, I'll be paying $59 for full coverage. The kicker is that it also includes unlimited towing service - any where for any distance for any number of times in a year. I'm thankful, Lord!

So what else has been going on in my world? Hmm . . . .

I've become a member of a Toastmasters club. If you've never heard of them, they are an internationally recognized public speaking organization. The club really helps a person develop his or her oral communication skills. I like public speaking and i've always wanted to compete in speech contests again. I had done a few in high school and I loved it! I was even my university's student graduation speaker. Anyway, in Toastmasters, the first level of achievement is called Competent Communicator (CC) and a person earns that by delivering 10 speeches - each one focussing on a particular skill. I delivered my speech #1 last Saturday and the feedback that I received was that I did extremely well. I'm looking forward to doing more speeches!

Last Sunday, a friend of mine invited me to go with he and his family to the Hollywood Bowl to see the "Sound of Music". I had never seen the movie before (I never gave it a chance) because I only recently discovered an interest in musicals, plays, and other kinds of live entertainment. I had such a good time! There was four of us and we had what they called 'box seats' which was the second closest section nearest the stage. Before the program begins, everyone eats dinner. Many people bring food - others order food from waiters/servers. It was weird and kewl because it was kind of like a combination auditorium-restaurant-concert hall. So we shared a wonderfully prepared dinner that my friend's mom made, then we saw a program filled with incredible singing and awesome music from an orchestra. I was surprised to see John Sneider sing and play the role of the "Austrian" father/Captain. Fun times!

What else has been going on? Hmm . . . . Oh yeah, here are a few things:

For a time, I was slacking off on my exercise so I'm back to regularly doing some sort of exercise - running, walking, gym or bike riding.

I'm trying to eat healthier too (sort of).

I've been going to a Bible study on faith & sexuality which I may be posting my thoughts about later.

I'm in discussion about teaching HTML classes at the gay & lesbian center here in Long Beach to teach people how to build their own Web site. I'll also teach classes on how to start a blog. With these classes, I'd like to empower people to tell their own personal stories. Once I help them create their sites, I'll link them together at Catalyst's Web site and teach them to build a sense of community via these awesome media vehicles/personal outlets.

I'm kinda seeing a guy. We've gone out together a few times and we're getting to know each other. We're both on the same page - we both want to take things slow. We haven't defined anything yet. I like him. The kewl thing is that the interest in each other is mutual. We'll see how things progress . . . . =)

I'm excited to be invited over for dinner tomorrow night (Friday) at my pastor's home. Last month, I had him and his new partner over for dinner and I cooked chicken adobo (every day common Filipino dish) for them. This time, they are going to cook for me! =)

In September, one of the local inclusive church's here in Long Beach is having a day-long conference and I'll be teaching a session (twice to different groups) on what I call "relational evangelism" or "oikos evangelism". It's about living out the Great Commission organically as a lifestyle of faith and Kingdom values rather than just trying to "evangelize" people. I'm excited to do this and I consider it an honor and privilege to be asked to share these things with this church.

The other news that I thought was worth sharing (in terms of worlds colliding) is that recently i've been extremely pissed off at one particular friend --> acquaintance because he professes to be a believer in Christ and yet he has been sexually promiscuous knowing that he's also HIV positive. And he's not telling the people he's with. That is SO not cool.

Anyway, that's all for now. This post was more of the reporting-in/catch-you-up kind of thing. I'll write another post that is more insightful and thoughtful about things I've been thinking about. Stay tuned!