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    23rd January 2006

    Procrastination!

    I’m feeling much better so hopefully the antibiotics took care of the sinus infection or whatever it was, but now there is something else that I have to deal with: I actually have to do the schoolwork that was assigned to me to complete by the end of interim. I have been working furiously day and night for 4 or 5 days now – or at least I have been consistently working. Yesterday I had trouble getting started after church because the Broncos had a playoff game. And then I had trouble getting started because I was so irritated by the result of that playoff game. I haven’t followed football for years, but for some reason I really wanted to see the Broncos in the Super Bowl. At least the Seahawks got my Uncle Mike back to the big game (Uncle Mike is Mike Holmgren, and though he’s not actually my uncle, (1) we really are related in some small way that I can never remember; (2) my dad grew up in the same San Francisco church as he did; (3) his mother and my grandmother used to be in the same retirement center; (4) his family has a cabin at the same camp that my family used to have a cabin at; and (5) my cousin Lisa was the youth pastor at his church in Seattle and at some point got a bunch of his old furniture…)

    I have been enjoying very much being at home, but I’m ready to get back to school. (Its funny that I never think that I will be ready to go back to school, but I’m more than ready). I’m probably heading back across the country on Wednesday. My brother Michael is coming with and then flying back on Sunday. This weekend is also the Worship Symposium at Calvin, so maybe we can catch some crazy symposium stuff or something.

    16th January 2006

    My brother Eric…

    Has undoubtedly been one of the most significant influences in my life. I might not have ever started running if it wasn’t for him, and probably wouldn’t have had so many terrible haircuts – partly because I wanted to be like him and he wore his hair like he was either way before or way behind his times; and partly because he was responsible for cutting my hair a few times, including the short mohalk that I sported during 4th grade. The monster mullet I had for 6 weeks of my senior year in high school was a tribute to him because he sported a monster mullet his senior year – but he didn’t know it was a mullet, he just thought it was cool – and at the time I did too. Come to think of it, I still think it was cool.

    But hairstyles aren’t the only way Eric has influenced me. He also made me want to be a class clown. He was always telling jokes and pulling pranks; people whom he was in high school with will still tell me about how he and Nate McHenry would make money off of people by gathering up the most disgusting plate of food they could and getting people to pay them to eat it. Or people will remember stories about his activities in the catwalks of the school auditorium during orchestra rehearsal, various objects flying around or dropping out of nowhere… I was never really as good at pulling off pranks like this; maybe I never had the guts to do such things in school.

    I was the best man at Eric’s wedding, which was kind of funny because I was only 13 and certainly nothing resembling a man. Melissa’s sister Kaitlyn, the same age as me, was the Maid of Honor – how are 13 year olds supposed to come up with good toasts? (Or host bachelor’s parties… not that that there would have been licquor as Eric was only 20 when he was married…) My toast was something about how Eric was a good fisherman but none of us knew how he’d made a catch this good. If I were to make it now, being a bit more bold, I think it would have been something more about how Eric and Melissa owe their marriage to the good will of their siblings who had to go with on all of their dates or whatever they might be called (something to do with courtship)…

    One of my first memories of singing in church is of Eric making fun of me because my voice was so high (of course it was, I was in like 4th grade!). Irony would have it that while Eric’s voice developed into a high tenor, mine settled into an upper baritone range. This memory withstanding, however, one of the things that I remember about Eric in church after this – or at least at youth group events – was his passion for singing and praising God. In our spiritual lives we usually have to learn from other people, and especially other people’s example. Eric’s example in worship helped me to worship more freely, even if the full effect didn’t take place until after we were involved with different churches.

    And this website itself is largely the work of Eric, a skilled web entrepreneur in his own right. And today, ladies and gentlemen; TODAY is HIS BIRTHDAY! So,

    Happy Birthday Eric!

    and I hope this year brings even more joy than the last.

    And sorry that I didn’t get you a birthday present. See entry below about feeling sick. I just came home from the doctor’s office with some antibiotics for a sinus infection. And Michael stole my idea anyway… But maybe as a gift I will try to convince my few readers to visit your sites:

    Eric has a site with lots of personal information at ericholmlund.com

    His personal blog, which isn’t updated that frequently is at uglyblog.com

    His business blog is at ericstips.com

    And the online prayer community that he founded is at prayway.com

    Everyone out there should check out my brother’s pages and maybe even wish him a happy birthday!

    Feeling pretty sick…

    I’ll make this brief for two reasons. First I have been feeling quite poorly – and I don’t usually complain about little things – but being sick makes life a little slower and coupled with the additional slowness of paraplegia, it makes life much slower. So I must conserve my energies to focus on the second reason this must be short: I have to do the work for my two incomplete classes now. I’ve done a little bit – a very little bit – and I’ve been trying to read in Greek a bit to keep up, but I still have a significant amount of reading and writing to do in the next week and a half before I drive back up to the place where it’s always winter and never Christmas.

    1 comment

    9th January 2006

    A beautiful wedding…

    I got back from the wedding of Laura Ebner and Drew Rholls last night. It was wonderful. Congratulations and God’s blessings upon you Drew and Laura!

    4th January 2006

    This week:

    I am going to my cousin Laura’s wedding in Massachusetts. My family is flying out today and flying back on Sunday. I love my extended family so this promises to be a fun long weekend.

    When I return it will be time to finally complete the two incomplete classes that I still have to finish from last fall (I was in that car accident over Thanksgiving which meant that there were two weeks of class and finals left…). I have to write a couple of papers and a couple of take-home-exams and turn them in when I go back to Michigan – which will probably be on the 24th or 25th.

    1 comment

    2nd January 2006

    Inspiration…

    I am an inspiration. Or so I’ve been told many times in the last year or so. Much of the time I’m not really sure exactly what that means, so I try not to be offended or get angry. One of the athletes that the documentary Murderball follows recounts a story about one of the first times he went out to a bar after becoming a quadraplegic. A fellow whom he didn’t know came up and told him “it was good to see him out there” and this guy says, “What? Like I was supposed to be stuck in a closet somewhere or something?…”

    Of course the disability tag does get to me a bit sometimes, but not as much as this other thing: The feeling that there are many many eyes looking at me. Yet here I am posting on this website, about to complain about how many people out there are interested in what I’m up to. Here’s one thing I’ve been doing lately: Going to parties and answering the same set of questions for friends and aquaintances of my past schools and churches and whatnot. And then I go to public places and answer a similar set of questions from people who randomly talk to me because I’m in a wheelchair or because they read an article in the paper about me.

    I know that answering the same set of questions is what everyone does at parties and social gatherings (like graduation parties, the set of questions is, 1) where are you going to school? 2) what are you going to study? and 3) why would you study that?) but I can assure you that I get to do it to the extreme.

    Now, there are worse things in the world than having to talk to lots and lots of people, and its nice that I am able to “inspire” them, but what does inspiration really do? The people who have always influenced me the most are the ones that I spend a fair amount of time with, and especially that I did things with: co-workers or teamates or roomates and the like. So one of my difficulties with being an “inspiration” is that though I might inspire people, there is no accountability in that inspiration.

    Another way in which this “inspiration” thing makes me a bit uncomfortable is that I have always lived (and acted) according to the idea that actions speak louder than words – you can tell people that you love them, but they’ll really believe you if you go over and help them wash dishes and do their homework or cook dinner for them and invite them to hang out with you and your friends. I have had some difficulties finding activities – active activities – that I like doing with people and can still do as a paraplegic. I used to bond through running and whatnot or going on stupid hiking and hitchhiking adventures. Maybe I need a job again or something, but it would be fairly hard for me to have a job and go to school at the same time next semester. Guitar lessons. I am willing to give guitar lessons to people in Grand Rapids this spring if they are serious about learning…

    And here is the third and most important reason that I am uncomfortable with being an “inspiration” – it is also a reason that is most cutting for me to realize: It is hard to be an inspiration when I am not so sure that my lifestyle is something that I would want to be inspired by. I’m no Super-Christian, to say what is obvious. I am a Christian, but there are enough times when I am shamed to say it because my actions speak otherwise.

    Praise Jesus that in his perfection he frees us from our need to be perfect! But mercy! it seems like I ought to be moving forward in the process of sanctification and so often it seems like I am not. I decided at the beginning of the fall semester that if I could do anything it would be to inspire people to read the Bible, and if I could do anything else it would be to help them understand and respond to the scriptures. How have I been doing that? Have I been doing that at all? A number of people asked how I was handling the minor celebrity that I had acquired and I told them that if I could just take the attention and refocus it on something else, than I would be willing to endure such “popular” status. Have I been that upward pointing arrow that I wanted to be?

    Now if it sounds like I’m just griping about my station in life or the fact that lots of people like to talk to me, I should make this clear: I love people. I love talking to people; I love listening to people; (usually) when people ask me silly questions about being in a wheelchair (or my favorite – when little children are asking their parents questions about me just a few feet away and their parents are terribly embarrassed…) I (usually) see the very human curiousity to which I myself am disposed and cannot help but love the silly question. I would choose spending time with people and answering their questions over whatever schoolwork or going to sleep or responsible activity were the alternative – even if it made me feel uncomfortable, which it sometimes does; I would choose it every time.

    With respect to how I use my time and interact with people, I have made three New Years resolutions (or at least three maxims which I hope will order my life) and all of them are somewhat relevent to the last couple of posts on this site:

    This year I hope to continue moving forward in my quest to maximize my potential in my recovery from SCI.

    This year I pray that in conversation and action I may not just be an inspiration, but that I would better be a pointer to the God who is my inspiration.

    This year I want to fall in love with my faithful Savior, my God, once more – before I fall in love with anything else.

    Cheers to a Happy New Year and Thanks to God for a wonderful close to a year in which he was so faithful through trials and tears and even a few moments of pure joy and inspiration.

    2 comments

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.