Quotes for 2010

Every year I collect quotes in the “Favorite Quotations” section of my Facebook profile. I feel that every year has a theme, which make the quotes of that year somewhat reflective of who I am and what I learned. For me, these quotes — these snipets of ideas — serve to inspire, and remind, and educate:

“… when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” – Author Unknown

“If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough” – Mario Andretti

“Whatever makes you nervous” – Michael Jordan in response to what he bets when he plays golf

“Malo Periculosam Libertatem Quam Quietum Servitium.” – The Palatine of Posen

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them; disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones – we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Apple

“When I became a man I put away childish things including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” – CS Lewis

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” – CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

“I would hope that everyone in every profession would take the time to ask themselves on a regular basis one question: Do I tolerate mediocrity? And if the answer to that question is yes, then the next question obviously is: Why? For if we are to have integrity we must answer that question well and not tolerate excuses or half measures. We must lead our lives in an exemplary fashion, offering ourselves a constant, persistent challenge to excel.” – Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger

“It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

The Blessing

For everyone at The Colorado School of Mines, class starts today. Despite the fact that I’m not in school, I still like to celebrate this day, taking note of its significance. For me, it’s almost like New Years day, being the start of the school year and all.

I’ve been thinking recently a lot about the desires and challenges of life and where they lie. I have fond memories of playing in my backyard with my brother and my neighbors when I was little. During the summer, I would design tree forts and think, “If only I had the money to build this.” I had a desire to have the means necessary to fund my adventure.

Back then, I got something around a $5 allowance/week. And I could earn some extra money by doing some extra chores. But the $250 in materials needed was freaking huge. I dreamt of ways to come up with money so I could build the ultimate tree fort; I mowed lawns through middle and high school and eventually started fixing computers for friends and family who would also pay me. It never seemed like enough and always got spent in other places, mostly LEGOs. But I desired for the day that I would be a grownup and making lots of money; and then I could do anything!

Of course, there’s a certain innocence in being a child. While I wasn’t making any money, I also didn’t have to worry about other adult things, like figuring out living situations, paying for rent and utilities, working a little bit, and being generally responsible.

I had a desire to go to college, learn about engineering and get a job. Maybe I would build airplanes. I knew it would be a challenge, but I was prepared.

I went off to college and learned a lot. I had to deal with finding food on my own. Mom and Dad were no longer there to cook meals and I was 1000 miles from home. I had to do laundry, get up on my own, plan ahead, and keep my grades up; all without anyone else being there. I had several internships where I traded in some more responsibility for some more pay. But it wasn’t enough. I felt restricted in what I could do as an intern and in the limited confines of a classroom. My desire was to be done with school and to grow up; to go out into the world and make a difference. I wanted to make my mark on society and I was going to do this by challenging myself to be the best damn engineer the world has ever known1.

When I graduated, I took on an entirely new set of responsibilities. I had a job — a real, full-time job — and practically all the responsibilities of being grown up2. I had to deal with insurance in all its wonderful forms, making doctors appointments, scheduling vacation, getting enough sleep, budgeting, etc. I was working on integrating myself into society as a contributing member of what makes this world work. I had the desire to grow up more though, to contribute even more to society. My new challenge was to meet a woman, date her, marry her, and start a perfect nuclear family3.

Several months ago, probably starting during my trip to Haiti, I took pause.

At every point in life, I was measuring my level of happiness not by what I had, but by what I desired. It was never enough to have accomplished what I set out to do, because there was always another bigger desire behind it. And each desire became increasingly complex and time consuming. What was I really chasing?

I wanted to be grown up. I think I saw not being grown up as a limitation on what I could accomplish and a limit on what my opportunities were.

I came across this bit from C.S. Lewis4:

Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

This was one of those “A ha!” moments for me. Before, being an adult meant being grown up. But now, I can start to see the difference between the two. And so I think about what my desires for life really are; what are the things that I truly could not bare to be without?

So far, I’ve come up with three things:

  1. A loving relationship with my creator.
  2. A loving relationship with the people I care about.
  3. Never to be left unchallenged.

The last one, while it is last for a reason, is also important. As Scott Adams has pointed out, “Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems.”

I love solving things. I love figuring things out. What makes me excited to wake up in the morning is knowing that I have still have so much to figure out. I know I can be a better Christian, a better boyfriend, a better friend, a better engineer, a better coworker, a better person. I know there are so many things left to explore, there are many questions left to ask, and there are many challenges left to solve. I know I won’t be able to accomplish everything, but I that’s not the point. Besides, if I were to accomplish it all, what would I do with myself?

And so I wake up saying, “Today, I will try to be better than I was yesterday.”

Perhaps this is the blessing5 and what makes me so excited: a God who loves me, friends that care about me, and things — such as dating Carly — that challenge me in all the good ways….and vice versa.

Here’s to another successful trip around the sun.


  1. or something like that 

  2. or so I thought 

  3. this is simplified version of a complex challenge, but I think the point still stands 

  4. emphasis mine 

  5. read Hustling God by M. Craig Barnes for background 

L’Abri and Itinerary v0.5

11/12 June 2009

L’Abri was the shelter for my journey. After traveling for over five weeks, it was time to stop for a moment (although I wish it could have been more). It was great to see Quinn. It was even better to have some great conversations with some amazing people at L’Abri.

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Huemoz, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland

I was able to finish a book I have literally been try to finish for almost two years and have started, stopped, and restarted several times, The Language of God by Francis Collins. I read over 150 pages in two sittings, morning and afternoon.

The Language of God is a decent book, not great. From an engineer’s (or scientist’s) perspective, I found it lacking in detail. However, I assume such omission was not a matter of ignorance, but rather an attempt to make the book more acceptable to a general audience. I would have liked something more on par with Stephen Hawkins’ A Brief History of Time in terms of science content.

I also began reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and upon finishing the preface, immediately wished I had read this eons ago.

It was nice to be on a schedule, having set times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was nice having a time set aside for me to just ponder. And it was actually nice for me to have my computer locked away for a littler while, and something that I should probably do more1.

As John, the Swiss L’Abri “Director” noted in his email to me about my request for refuge at L’Abri, “A couple of nights is not very long to deal with theological questions, but perhaps it can serve as a beginning.”

The few nights I was there were a good start for me and a reminider of what I need to focus on. It also reminded me why I want to retire to Switzerland, perhaps even Huemoz.

I took some time to meditate on my trip. Where I had been, what I had seen, and what I wanted it to be about. I looked at what my current plans were and decided that they would not do if I wanted to make it with my sanity intact…not to mention, perhaps actually enjoying the trip.

Thus, I also sat down and refigured the rest of my trip. I wrote down the cities I was planning on going to, researched them some more, and then wrote down an even smaller list of cities. Thus leading to Itinerary v0.5, which I now present to you with the applicable changes:

  • July 10-13: L’Abri, Huemoz, Switzerland
  • July 13: Leaving L’Abri in the morning, travel to Arbon, Switzerland via Interlaken and Luzern
  • July 13-14: Arbon, Switzerland
  • July 14: Leave Arbon, Switzerland for Vienna, Austria on the overnight train.
  • July 15-17: Vienna, Austria
  • July 17-21: Budapest, Hungary
  • July 21-25: Prague, Czech Republic
  • July 25: Travel to Krakow, take a bus to Auschwitz and back, then travel to Warsaw
  • July 25-29: Warsaw, Poland
  • July 29 – August 1: Berlin, Germany
  • August 2: Frankfurt, Germany
  • August 3: Leave Frankfurt in the morning for Seattle (via Chicago O’Hare)

Still pretty intense, but nowhere near the pace Charlie and I had going for Turkey and Greece. Most of Austria was gutted, because I didn’t have any real interest in going. Based on my prevoius experience, three nights and four days seems to be a good amount of time to spend in a city; and more importantly, an amount of time that I’m willing to spend and not feel like I missed it or spent too much time there.

In Arbon, we’ll be hanging out with Remo and Gunther, who you may remember from my last trip to Switzerland. They are two brothers who live in Arbon and are super funny.

So, to all the amazing people I met and had the opporunity to talk with at L’Abri, and who managed to find this blog and read this far down, a heartfelt thank you for taking me in. It was pretty much just what I needed, and I shall return.

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Montreux, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland


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Montreux, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland


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  1. I’m also thinking about switching to a system where I only check my email three times a day