I don’t know how I feel about the word “introvert”. Introverted, extroverted, Type-A, melancholy, choleric, INTJ, ESTJ, ESPN, whatever. All ways we try to figure out how to measure each other, define us, figure ourselves out, make sense of something that is more complex than any one particular label we could come up with. We look at ourselves in the mirror and feel compelled to name what it is we see. Like Adam naming the sheep and the cattle and the cockroaches. To not be content with identifying the genus and species, the gender and age, but to know ourselves beyond what we can see, the soul and spirit many of us refuse to even believe exist.

The Bible says we’re created in God’s image, and I think that’s true. But not in the physical sense. As complex as the human body is — and it’s extremely complex — we can peel back each layer and identify each component and its purpose. This machine made of muscle and tissue and water and bile that somehow works in amazing harmony for decades despite all reasoning to believe it shouldn’t. After tens of thousands of years, we finally understand more of it than we don’t. And yet that’s the easy part. That’s the part we can see. Then there’s this whole other part that we can’t, and we don’t know how we feel about that. So we give it abstract names to try and simplify it, then start putting the different variations into well-defined categories, and then anything that doesn’t fit into those neat little boxes we say is abnormal and must be corrected. Meanwhile, we can’t seem to admit that maybe that unseen part — the part made in the image of a Being that exists outside the limits of time and space — is more complex than what we could ever fully comprehend. This spirit within us is more than just the result of firing synapses in the brain. We think and analyze and socialize and dream in ways that are similar to other mammals, and yet we’re more than that. We wonder. We question. We yearn for truth. We look at our reflection and ache for more than what we see. The spirit within us reaching out to connect with a God that is also more than what we see. The God who created us in His image before time even existed.

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Taylor Swift recently made a lot of headlines for pulling all her music from Spotify, arguing that the streaming service was hurting album sales and essentially driving her into bankruptcy, killing the rest of the music industry, and clubbing a few seals just for the heck of it. It’s a laughable argument, see as how Swift is one of the most commercially successful musicians out there. No amount of streaming can put a dent in her album sales or profits, and whining that it does only makes her sound greedy and elitist. (It should also be noted her music still remains on other sites like Rdio, which further deflates her reasoning.) Spotify, for its part, issued a rebuttal, naturally picking and choosing which statistics would make it sound the best. They may have paid out $2 billion in royalties, but many artists will rightly point out that they still earn far less from streaming than from album sales.

There are plenty of people who have very vocal opinions on both sides of the issue, and I’m certainly no expert when it comes to the music industry. But while I can’t speak for the artists or the streaming services, I can speak for myself as a consumer. And from my standpoint, it appears Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, and the rest offer way more pros than cons for consumers and for the music industry in general.

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My mom is dying.

In the last nine months she’s spent maybe a week total at home. The rest of the time has been spent moving from the hospital to a rehab center to a managed care facility and back to the hospital. My older sister, who has a nursing background, has spent almost all of that time with her, to the detriment of her job, her family, and her health. She’s taken over my mom’s finances, stayed on top of the countless medical bills, and micromanaged 7 different specialists. Needless to say, this has been a rough year.

I won’t go into the specifics of my mom’s situation; it would take too long to explain everything anyway. But her condition has gradually worsened over time, and it’s not going to get any better. This past weekend, I sat down with my sister to discuss and begin planning her funeral. This isn’t something that I ever expected to be doing at this point in my life. Both of her parents lived well past 80. The possibility of burying my mom at 67 is unimaginable. And yet, here we are.

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I have a confession to make. I’ve started another blog. Well, sorta. I’ve actually started a tumblr, which I don’t consider a “blog”, per se. But I guess technically it is. Anyway, you get the idea. It’s called (as you can probably guess by now) no coffee for squirrels. Which would also probably make a good band name come to think of it. If there any bands out there willing to pay me six figures for the naming rights, give me a call, I’m sure we can work something out.

What does that mean for this thing? Absolutely nothing. I plan on continuing to post here, although as you can see I don’t do it very often. But that’s OK. I see this site as being better suited for longer, text-driven posts that are more personal or introspective. Those kinds of posts aren’t well-suited for Tumblr or Google+ or other social networks. This will always be my refuge, my home base so to speak, where I can write with relative freedom and complete independence. Those moments don’t come along very often unfortunately, but when they do, I need a place to embrace them. This is that place, and it always will be.

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