Tuesday, December 25, 2007

a different Christmas...

so today is a first....it's the first time i've woken up on Christmas morning being the only one in the house. i'm flying back to oklahoma city today to be with my family for Christmas but needed to be home for Christmas Eve service. i spent the early moments of Christmas morning at denny's with staff and leadership of missiongathering after our gathering. our table of 15 clapped and cheered and midnight to the odd gazes of everyone else in the restaurant. oh well...we're an odd group, and that's what I love about us. i left denny's and met a couple of friends for a drink then went home, turned on the Christmas lights in my house and watched tv until i fell asleep on the couch. went to bed and woke up in an empty house to pack and head to the airport. it's going to be an interesting trip home - interesting dynamics with my parents, a grandmother who is not doing well. it's been a different year all around. Merry Christmas, everyone. my you experience the hope of Christ this season. ~aroll

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

two liters of tequila and a road flare...

when those words came out of quint's mouth, i almost spit my drink out i was laughing so hard. so last week some friends of mine from oklahoma were in town for a conference. i went to rescue them from the hotel and take them somewhere for a fun san diego dinner. to my pleasant surprise the other san diegan helping drive (whom i hadn't met before) suggested only the greatest spot in all of san diego - the Turf Supper Club. yes, in case you hadn't noticed, i don't capitalize in my blog, but i did just capitalize the Turf Supper Club. it is that fantastic; i'm there at least once a week. i'll have to post about the glories of the Turf Supper Club another time. back to the story...we were eating our dinner and consuming our beverages, and the topic of wine bars and corkage fees. someone mentioned then the obvious need for bringing a flask in order to avoid such fees. then i chimed in that even better than a flask is a camelbak! there's nothing better than cruising down the mountain on my snowboard with a camelbak full of vodka...okay, i'm mostly kidding. but then quint chime's in, "it's all about two liters of tequila and a road flare!" we all died laughing. i'm still not sure what he meant by it, but it was a classic line, nonetheless. ~aroll

Thursday, October 25, 2007

in the midst of so much good...

tuesday evening i went down to chicano park to serve dinner to volunteers and families who had been displaced as a result of the fires. we ended up also feeding several homeless people since we had so much food. over the last 2 days there have been some really disturbing events at the park - the san diego minutemen and even the police showing up because they heard that undocumented workers were among some of the people being helped. can you believe it? in the midst of so much good people can still do such ridiculous things. read more about what happened here. my friend beth brought up a good point today as i was telling her this story...at a time like this, who do we see as human or not in our decision to help the "homeless?" tens of thousands of people are homeless right now who normally are not...how does that change our perspective? ~aroll

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

a matter of perspective

things have been slow at the store (west elm) the last couple of days, for obvious reasons (see previous post). there has been more traffic in the store than i had anticipated, though. tuesday i did sell $2100 worth of leather sectional to a customer. i have gone home early the last two days in an effort to cut hours and save the store money. today they called and said i didn't need to come in at all. yesterday, however, i had an interaction with a customer that blew my mind. this customer had been in the store over the weekend and purchased several items that we were going to ship to her in new mexico. i came back from my lunch break yesterday to one of my stock guys asking if i could email this customer her tracking numbers (apparently she had just called). i said, "sure," and i called her to confirm the email address. i let her know that the items would ship that day (tuesday) since there had been no ups pick-up on monday due to the fires. the customer then became upset that the items wouldn't arrive in time for her movers on thursday and her house guests on friday. she wanted us to send the items 2-day air, and of course she wasn't going to pay because "it wasn't her fault." i tried to explain that it wasn't our fault either since the city was on fire, freeways were closed and 500,000 people had been evacuated from their homes. i had one of our managers call her back to explain the situation, and he told her the same thing..."do you understand the gravity of the situation?" the customer was still irate. really...your rugs and a couple of furniture pieces compared to the loss of nearly 2000 homes and businesses and nearly 600,000 people displaced from their homes. it's times like these that really change our perspective and shake us, hopefully waking us up to some sort of reality check of what is important in life. ~aroll

deja vu...firestorm 2007

sunday afternoon i went to meet some friends for a drink, and my nose caught a whiff of something that instantly transported me back 4 years. in 2003, a very large part of san diego was on fire. i was evacuated from my apartment and lived with friends for 4 days. sunday the fires returned in full force in san diego...now worse than 2003...and the smell of smoke has again pervaded the city. it is a very different experience, however, living where i do now. i am now living in a far more urban area, well-protected from where the fires are burning. working down in mission valley has kept me relatively isolated. we have been getting onshore winds up through the valley which have kept the air relatively clear. in 2003, the whole sky was clouded with smoke making it feel completely overcast. my closest connection this time is to a few friends who have been evacuated, and a couple of other friends who i found out yesterday have lost their homes. i went and served dinner to some volunteers and families who have been displaced at an evacuation center. everyone is in good spirits despite the uncertainty of the future for them. the outpouring of generosity and giving has been huge in san diego - evacuation centers have more food then they know what to do with, more volunteers than they can put to work...there is still good in the world. now if the news would only talk about that once in a while. (that's a whole other post.) oh, and the news is loving this, of course, naming it "firestorm 2007." do we really need to brand a disaster? (again another post sometime on my frustration with the current news media.) so for now life is again surreal...the winds are shifting and now blowing back in all the ash that had blown out over the ocean. it's amazing how a smell can trigger such vivid memories... ~aroll

Thursday, June 28, 2007

it's a small world...

yes, i realize it has been a long time since i've posted. life has been incredibly busy, and so i have a lot of writing to catch up on...so much has happened in the last few weeks! so the small world post: so two and a half weeks ago, i woke up sunday morning to get ready for church. as is usually the case with me, i spent way too much time trying to figure out what to wear. i finally settled on a shirt i bought in Florence last year when i was in Italy with my friend david. it's really cool; it's olive green and says "love life" in cool big font on the front. anyway, i put the shirt on and walked to church. i knew my friend mark scandrette was preaching that morning, and that a guest band was joining as well. so i go about my business of setting up my keyboards and in walks ryan sharp. i used to work with his wife holly at youth specialties, and ryan and i collaborated on the theme song for the emergent convention 2 years ago. the last time i had seen ryan and holly was when i ran into them in Vernazza, Italy. it was the same trip when i had bought the shirt that i had chosen to wear that morning...in fact it was the same shirt i was wearing that day in Vernazza!!! {{ flashback...david and i were killing time waiting for the train in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy to go to Milan. i had just ordered lunch in this little cafe, walked outside and heard, "alex roller?!" i turned to look up the street and there were holly and ryan! i knew they were gallivanting about Europe, but what were the chances that they would be in the same town?! we smiled and laughed in stunned excitement, had someone take our picture, then went our separate ways - david and i to the pastry shop holly and ryan recommended, they to the internet cafe to upload files. we couldn't believe it...how fun! }} it was so great to see holly, ryan and their new baby...what a small world! it was great to see you too, mark. ;-) ~aroll

Friday, May 18, 2007

a great loss...

i think i am still in shock. i received an email last night that a friend and partner in ministry took his life thursday. Lee Eshleman lost a battle with depression and ended his life today. Lee was one of the most talented men I have ever known. his ability to make you laugh one minute and cry the next with poignant insight was inspiring and moving. Lee had the one of the most amazing hearts of any man i have ever met. i am in utter shock at the loss i am experiencing tonight, and the loss that the art world is experiencing as well. Lee was a true actor and artist with an amazing ability to bring scripture to life with a perspective that cut right to the heart. Lee, you will be missed....more than i will ever truly know. i pray that you have found peace, love, and rest in your Creator, and i pray that your family will know the hope and comfort of the Spirit in this time. i look forward to the day when i will see you again.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

my new home

so in just a couple of hours i will be on my way to sign the lease for my new home! while i certainly wish i were in a place to actually buy my residence, alas that may never happen in san diego. but in the mean time, my friend anthony and i will be moving into a 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse in north park. we're really excited about the place...washer/dryer hook-ups, small patio, granite countertops, gas stove (woo hoo!), and a 3rd bedroom for the guest bed and my office. i'm also stoked about being able to walk or ride my bike or skateboard (yes i have a skateboard) to church, band practice, and sanctuary (mid-week home group)...oh and walk to the grocery store. can you tell i'm excited about living in a more urban setting?! i'll get pictures up as soon as we get into the place on the 15th. house warming party will be sometime in june...details to come. a_roll

Friday, May 4, 2007

the search for a new dwelling

in the process of looking for a place to live, one's priorities and proclivities become readily apparent. i certainly have figured out what parts of town i don't want to live in, but i feel my last two years in my current condo have spoiled me. it's hard to find 2 bed/2 bath places with all the amenities that i can afford!! as i prepare to make the move, i have also begun to realize how much crap i have. i'm starting to clean things out so that i don't have so much crap to move, but i am also very much realizing that i need to simplify my life. i have things i haven't used in years, clothes i haven't worn in years, and things i don't really need. the part that will be hardest for me, i think, is figuring out how many things i really need to save in the "memerabilia" category - cards, ticket stubs, etc. i'm a sentimental guy...i still have everything from my 2-year relationship with my ex-fiancee...and that ended 1.5 years ago. i also have the frugal/savings tape playing in my head, "i might use that someday..." at some point i just need to get rid of it, i suppose. who would have thought that the search for a new dwelling would bring a pretty significant shift in perspective...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

maybe i am a salesman...

so today was my 3rd day working at West Elm (furniture store owned by williams-sonoma/pottery barn). i love the furniture and decor there, which will make my 40% discount either very wonderful or very dangerous...or both. my first two days i was training on the product information, touring the store, learning GUEST (their sales approach), and minimal time on the register. today i went in expecting more register training, some time in the stock room, and shadowing a sales associate. nope...right to the sales floor! with the exception of needing to learn more about our products so that i can just answer questions instead of looking it up in my handy-dandy reference materials tucked neatly in my chocolate-brown apron, i was pretty confident on the floor. so much of it is simply being able to talk to people and find out what they are looking for. so with a grand total of 1 hour shadowing someone prior to today, i went to work. i met some fun customers and helped redecorate 1 condo, 3 bedroomsm, 1 living room, and sold $2600+ my first day! i was pretty excited. we shall see what the future holds....so if you're in san diego, stop by and see me!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the retail life

so i figured it was about time i posted again, seeing as it has been almost a month. sheesh. on monday i started a part time job working at discover nature, a gift store in seaport village in downtown san diego. two friends of mine - beth & joe - own the store and offered me a job. so i am now a "sales associate." i haven't worked a retail job since the summer after i graduated high school...and even then i was in the office, not on the sales floor. it's a totally different world than what i'm used to. it's fun to meet people who are visiting from all over the place, though. i'm a people person and love to hear their stories, so maybe it will be a good fit. at least it's money coming in...which is greatly needed at this point. it's long hours on my feet, though, which isn't great for my back...maybe new shoes are in order...hmmmm....

Sunday, March 18, 2007

my suitcase in a coffee house

this is one to tell the grandkids...so i'm in seattle right now. for the last two days i've been working an event up here, and this morning i was picked up by my friend colin who lives here in seattle. he and i met in romania last easter when i was there doing music for an outreach/work project with project compassion. anyway, we went to church then headed to the famous pike's place market. i had incredible little donuts and watched the vendors throw fish. we then went by the big troll under the bridge in fremont and had dinner at a great thai restaurant. then it was time for my friends to go back home, but I couldn't get a hold of the other friend i was going to stay with tonight. so colin and dawn dropped me off at this great coffee house called zoka...so here i am with my suitcase, doggie bag, and the sunday paper waiting for someone, anyone, to come pick me up at the coffee house. i wonder what people are thinking...i started off outside, but now i'm at an inside table. oh well, i've certainly seen stranger things.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

really...dawson's creek?!

i don't remember my dreams very often. this morning, however, i woke up startled because of what just happened in my dream. i don't remember the context of what was happening, but it looked like a soap opera set. someone was sitting up in bed holding a baby or pet or something, and on the bed was a newspaper with the following headline, "dawson's creek surpassed by the beautiful rescue." for those of you who don't know, the beautiful rescue is the name of the band i am in. really...dawson's creek?! i never even watched that show when it was on the first time, let alone the current syndication. have i finally descended into the depths of insanity?

Monday, March 12, 2007


before reading this post, please make sure you have read both parts of "the middle of nowhere" posts. okay...so i had completely mixed emotions while attending the tent revival outside of victorville. my honest first reaction was one of disbelief and dumbfoundedness (if that's a word). the shere idea of setting up a tent in the middle of nowhere boggled my mind. the music sent me over the edge, and the string of christianese confused even me. yet in the midst of the craziness, i was struck by the faith of those 3 staff people - valerie, tamika, and louis (who I think was staff...maybe just a committed volunteer). they have been there since february 20 and will be there until at least march 20. 30 days. i have no idea how many people come on a given night, but those three are there every night singing praise to God and talking about His Word. what has God called them to? would i be willing to rent land in the middle of nowhere to setup a tent for maybe no one to show up? i don't know. i thought following God's call into youth ministry 8 years ago was crazy for me. i've moved halfway across the country to follow His call. in the midst of it all, though, i don't know that i've ever risked humiliation. sure i've been laughed at, shunned, ignored...but never have i felt humiliated for my faith. i'm certainly not saying that those faithful few have been humiliated, but that might be an emotion i'd feel in their situation. does God still work through tent revivals? maybe. i guess i'm just in a place where i'm not so sure the traditional methods and concepts of outreach still work....especially given the language used and atmosphere created in that tent in the middle of nowhere...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

the middle of nowhere...part deux

alright, so for the last 3 days, i have been racking my brain for the words to describe what i experienced sunday night on my way home from mammoth. i did indeed time my journey to arrive just in time for the promised nightly revival at 7:30 (see the previous post with this title if you're confused) 40+ miles outside of victorville on us 395. as i was driving down the dark, desert highway, cool wind in my hair (just kidding), i saw lights in the distance and realized it was the tent. at 7:15p i turned into the dirt lot to find two other cars. i parked on the outer edge, as to make a quick escape if needed as well as for better picture taking. while sitting in my car talking to carrie, a man walked up to my car. louis, i learned his name was, carried a bible and a greeting, encouraging me to park closer. i told him i would in a little while. i sat in my car listening to more of the relevant podcast that had been playing on my ipod, wondering if anyone else would show up. finally at 7:24 i got out of my car, having moved it slightly closer, and went inside the tent. there were 46 chairs set up on top of indoor/outdoor carpeting laid over the dirt, ccm music playing through 4 powered mackie speakers, a large wooden pulpit set on an area rug in front of carpeted wooden platforms, and a drum kit off to the left (see photos). a woman, whose name i learned was tamika, came over and asked me to fill out a guest profile card. finally i learned who was doing the revival - valerie sorensen ministries. in the mean time, 3 more people showed up - an older white gentleman with a bible and spiral notebook, and an african-american couple. at 7:30, a tall woman dressed in black walked to the front with her head covered in a black shawl. adjusting the cd player to a new track, she turned around and started to sing to the cd "the year of jubilee" as tamika scrambled to get to the drum kit and play along. we then sang choruses (most of which i had never heard) with just the drums. then valerie started her message with a constant music track of piano hyms (to which she would occasionally sing). the primary text was out of hebrews 5 about being a priest in the order of melchizedek, but the message was a string of every christian bubble, christianese phrase or idea i've ever known or heard...and some that were new to me. oh, and don't forget "amen" and "praise the lord" thrown in every couple of lines. valerie asked at one point to pray for me, and so i let her. she also prayed for the couple. an hour and a half later, it was over. i've left out a lot of details about the message that were completely surreal, but this post is already too long. maybe I'll post more about it another time. she did give me a dvd/cd combo from a tent meeting they did in africa with clips of the preachigng and african worship music. i will certainly post about that upon watching and listening to it. so that was the revival experience. i'll post separately about my reaction to the whole deal soon.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

don't i know you...?

So yesterday I was snowboarding at mammoth for my first time. it was incredible, so i am definitely looking forward to boarding again on sunday before hopefully driving home to catch the revival in the middle of nowhere (see previous post). anyway, i'm sitting in mill creek cafe with some of the students and leaders enjoying my chicken wrap and fries (for $17...i hate mountain food prices!!!) when past me walked someone i'm sure i know. do you ever have those times, though, where you see someone you know in a setting that is completely out of context for how you know them? this is one of those times. thinking quickly, i pull out my phone to see if the guy's number is still in my phonebook...scrolling, scrolling...yes!! chad bailey. so i call and it eventually goes to voicemail. "hey chad, it's alex roller, your old voice teacher. are you by chance in mammoth? i think i just saw you." *beep beep* chad is calling me back. sure enough it was him with his wife, his dad, and his brother. we chat for awhile, and it turns out while he was standing in line he was staring at my old-school jedidiah shirt wondering, "do they still make that one?" no they don't, but it's my favorite jedi shirt in my collection. it's always amazing to me the random places i run into people i know...sometime i'll blog about the time i was in vernazza, italy and ran into holly and ryan sharp. it's a small world...

Thursday, March 1, 2007

the middle of nowhere...

okay, so i just arrived in mammoth lakes, ca to speak at a high school retreat. after spending 6+ hours in the car by myself, i am certainly happy to see other human beings. i will say that it was a beautiful drive - the desert, the mountains (most of which were snow-capped), the valleys, the lakes. immediately upon arriving in mammoth lakes, i found the starbucks, bought my venti soy no water chai latte, and logged on to blog about an amazing sight on my drive. i saw the most unexpected thing roughly 25 miles north of a town called albento (where i stopped for burger king). literally in the middle of nowhere along us 395 i saw a tent - a white tent with red trim, to be more accurate. seeing a tent in the middle of nowhere along the highway certainly piqued my interest. as i approached said tent driving about 60 mph, my questions were answered. a white vinyl banner with large black, block lettering informed me why this tent was in the middle of nowhere along the highway. the sign read, "revival 7:30pm nightly." and then i noticed the port-o-potty adjacent to the tent. much to my dismay, i did not have the quick reaction, likely because i was stunned at what i had just seen, to stop and take a picture. *stupid, stupid, stupid* so i did the next best thing...i called carrie (for any of you reading this who don't know me, she is my girlfriend of 5+ months). in recounting the tale to her, she came up with the next best, probably better, option - time my journey home on sunday to arrive at said tent in time for said revival. brilliant!!! if for whatever reason i am unable to do so, i will certainly remember to stop and take a picture on the way home. really? people drive to the middle of nowhere for a revival? we shall see on sunday...

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

and so it begins...

alright, so i realized over the weekend that i need to write. i miss it. so i decided to start a blog as a place to write. who knows what will wind up on this page, but it will give me a place to write on a regular basis. so, here we go!