Little Letter

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Dear “500 Days of Summer” soundtrack,
I’ve always enjoyed listening to you. Music can really make or break a movie in my opinion!

Dear Fulbright,
Can I just find out about you already?! I’m loosing my mind. I guess patience is not my best attribute.

Dear Graduation,
Seven weeks. Let me say it again: seven. weeks.

Dear Coffee,
I’ll never stop loving you, ok?

Dear Screenplay,
Geez, you’re not progressing as quickly as I’d like. I should really get a move on!

Dear Hair,
Not sure what to do with you these days. Maybe a mullet?

Dear Parents,
Have fun in Cambodia, Vietnam and Seoul these next three week!

Dear song “Psalm 23”,
Obsessed with you. Look it up on Youtube, it’s by Reality San Francisco.

 

An interview with my German professor

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My German professor is one of the most interesting and well-traveled people I’ve ever met. He has instructed me for the last four semesters, and I will miss his classes immensely after I graduate. His life has intersected with history time and time again, so I thought it would be a travesty if I didn’t take advantage of his insights while I had the chance. So last week I sat down with him and listened to a few of his stories. I’ve written them down in the short essay below, and I hope you find them both interesting and inspiring. Enjoy!


I hated being drafted in 1961. I’m the oldest of five children and that was the first time in our family that there was a major “break.” It was hard on the family and hard on me. I dreaded it and was not excited.

When I was in high school, I had a music teacher named Hering who was a displaced Jew from Vienna who escaped before WW II. He was a child prodigy and concert pianist who taught me piano. He was so wonderful. He himself was taught by a line of teachers who studied under Beethoven himself. There were no German classes in my high school, but this music teacher began to teach me German. It sounded so interesting to me, even though I couldn’t really understand it yet. Little did I know then that I would one day be sent to Germany.

But once I was sent to Germany with the military, I realized God was opening a big door for me. I was a Conscientious Objector, so I was trained in basic medical care instead of combat. The military gave me the opportunity to travel and see historical places, so I took advantage of it. I became passionate about learning German, unlike my fellow soldiers– I was odd in that respect! I was working at a military hospital in Landstuhl;  the whole country was on alert against Russia, who was building the Berlin wall that year (1961). Sometimes we would go out on mock field missions where we had to simulate a battle scene with Russia! I used to not wince at all when I had to draw blood, but today the thought alone makes me cringe. In 1962 there was a big 7.1 earthquake in Iran. There were over 12,000 deaths and hundreds of people who were injured . We were put on alert and thought that we might be sent to Iran to help, but at the last moment it was cancelled. I was relieved because it would have been my first time confronting death so head-on, and I knew it would be difficult.

That was the only real emergency while I was in Germany. We were never sent to Berlin, but it was always a possibility since it was a “flash point” city. The Russians were flexing their military muscles and the atmosphere was tense. I knew several people who had left East Germany and come to West Germany.

One real blessing was that I got involved in the church in Kaiserslautern. A black family took me to church every Sunday and Bible study during the week, rain or shine, sleet or snow. The preacher there, Hans Nowak,  mentored me. He was immensely talented, and inspired me to become a preacher in Germany years later.

I was in the army for two years total, and then I came back to the US. I had an expectation that I would go back to Germany one day. I didn’t know when or how, but I just knew I would. I went to college at David Lipscomb University and did my masters at Vanderbilt University. When I applied to Vanderbilt, I wrote in my application that I aspired to be involved in Christian ministry in Germany one day. One of the professors degraded me and put me down for that, but I never let it get to me! I applied for an exchange year at Humboldt University in Berlin and was accepted. I got involved in the church there, where I soon began preaching. Heinz Müller, the preacher in Berlin, was also an inspiration to me, and I’ll never forget when he said, “Du predigst nächsten Sonntag.” I was so nervous! I was an exception because I wasn’t formally trained in theology or hermeneutics, but I taught myself through experience. I became interested in Greek and Hebrew too. I worked in the Müllers’  bookstore while I studied in Berlin to support myself. It was in Berlin where I met Udo Herbst, who was a Berliner and had become a Christian years earlier. He helped teach me Hebrew.

Then after I finished studying in Berlin, I committed to do full time mission work in Munich from 1971 to 1975. There were four churches in the US who sponsored me out of the generosity of their hearts. Munich is where I met my wife, Pat, who had a job with the US government.

I still hadn’t written my dissertation, and I had a deadline to finish my Ph.D. So eventually I went back to the US to finish up at Vanderbilt University. I knew I needed to have a Ph.D. to support a family one day. Then I got my first teaching job at Abilene Christian University, where I stayed for eight years. It was hard to readjust to life in the US. Life in West Texas was somewhat boring compared to Germany.

Then in 1983 Pepperdine University offered me a job. I accepted eventually and we moved in 1984. I haven’t regretted coming to Pepperdine. I would do it again. I’ve had wonderful opportunities and met talented students. It is a ministry to me because I’ve had contact with and influence on so many diverse students. For instance, I am going to baptize a former student on Saturday, and I’ve officiated at the weddings of several students over the years. Not all the non-Christian students I’ve taught have become Christians, but I feel like I’ve influenced them positively in one way or another. I enjoy working with the very multicultural student body at Pepperdine.

If I have any advice for young people, it would be to keep your aspirations high and in alignment with God’s purposes for your life. Never let anything discourage you. Once you become convinced you have a calling in life, never let anything or anyone stop you.


Fascinating, right? I particularly related to the part where he said, “I had an expectation that I would go back to Germany one day. I didn’t know when or how, but I just knew I would.” I too have an expectation that I will return to Germany one day, though I don’t know all the details yet!  I’m so glad I took the time to record these memories in perpetuity. I would encourage you to interview someone in your life who intrigues you! Human stories are incredible.

P.s. A few photos from Berlin in the 1960’s

Five Things

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1. I swear I get asked the question, “What are your plans after graduation?” multiple times a day! I’ve started answering with silly things like “I plan to join the circus” or “Become an astronaut.” I have a few post-grad ideas/leads in the works, but nothing concrete. Any suggestions?

2. How is this blog always SO good? It has been my inspiration for years with no sign of stopping. I once emailed the founder/senior editor, and she emailed back right away with the kindest words of encouragement!

3. Have you heard of the podcast “Pod Save America”? I just discovered it and am enjoying listening to an episode before bed each night.

4. I started my new job as a student worker in Pepperdine’s Human Resources department. It’s a lot of new information and new faces, but I’m really enjoying it thus far. Plus, it’s fun to dress professional every now and again.

5. I started an article club on Tuesday nights with my girlfriends. We discuss an article, eat cookies and bask in each others company. Would you ever consider attending or hosting one?

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P.s. Photos from my other instagram

Little Letter

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Dear Rain,
Wow, it’s good to see you again old friend. It’s been too long since last you made your presence known in Southern California. Stay awhile, won’t you?

Dear “The West Wing”,
You are surprisingly addictive. I can feel myself getting sucked in already, which is not good considering you have seven seasons…

Dear Fulbright,
I just heard I was selected as a semi-finalist! Thank you, I can’t tell you how much this means to me. Now I hurry up and wait till March.

Dear Monday,
I was dreading you until school was cancelled due to the many road closures caused by landslides! Oh beautiful, joyous Monday! You are my new favorite day of the week.

Dear Women’s March,
It was a profound, deeply impactful experience to march on Saturday. Something special happened, that I’m sure of. You were the largest organized march in US history. Bravo.

Dear NPR,
Gosh, keep up the good work!

Dear “Old School”,
Props to you, Tobias Wolff, for writing such a stellar novel.

Dear Novella,
I should be much further with you than I am. And by further, I mean I should have started writing you a long time ago…uh oh.

Dear Guitar,
My guitar class has proven so insightful! Thanks of being a gorgeous instrument.

P.s. Photo from the Women’s March

Five Things

img_55551. Christmas break cannot come fast enough. I’m not too stressed about finals this semester, but I’m just so burnt out. Senioritis is real.
2. It has been CHILLY and windy here lately. Ok, so that’s coming from a native Californian who thinks anything under 60 degrees is chilly but hey…
3. Have you seen my little Thanksgiving film?
4. Dreaming up plans for this summer already…is that bad? Europe is definitely involved ;p
5. Trying to figure out what to get family for Christmas is always tricky for me. Gift Giving is not one of my love languages haha but I always try to make my gifts a bit more personal.

Little Letter

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Dear Turkey,
Personally I find you dry. Sorry, I just can’t get on the turkey train. Does that make me un-American?
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Dear “The Great Gatsby”,
I am reading you for the fourth time right now. And honestly, you just keep getting better and better. It’s no wonder you’re a classic. You deserve the title old sport.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-9-43-53-am
Dear Wall Family,
Thanks for taking me in this Thanksgiving. You are my adopted family for sure! I feel so at home with you 🙂
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Dear Parents,
I hope you’re having fun galavanting around Europe for your work conference. The pictures and texts suggest you’re soaking up every second of it. Can you take me in your suitcase next time please?

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Dear Gilmore girls,
Friday can’t come soon enough. Thank you for making four new episodes, you are golden.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-9-45-48-am
Dear Coffee,
Still love you long time, never forget.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-9-46-08-am
Dear H&M Jeans,
I wear you approximately four times per week. At least. You are fraying at the seams and your holes are ripping so wide they’re almost not fashionable anymore. But I love you dearly and can’t imagine life without you. Never leave me. I’ve peaked in the jean department, it’s all down hill from here.

P.s. a few photos from my ‘secret’ Instagram account

Saturday Night Formal Photos

img_1690On Saturday night, it seemed like half the school gathered on the Malibu Pier for photos before heading off to their respective sorority dances. While I’m no longer in a sorority, I went to take pictures of my many beautified friends and their dates! I was the press for the event, if you will. The sun was just sinking below the waterline and I was desperate to get in as many shots as I could before it disappeared completely. Below are just a few if you’d like to see!img_1606img_1613img_1628^What a beautimg_1632img_1634img_1635img_1639img_1643img_1645img_1647img_1650img_1653img_1657^Coincidence that they both wore purple dresses and black chokers? I think sister telepathy is more like itimg_1661img_1663img_1664img_1667^I was a thorn among roses, as they sayimg_1668^Didn’t get the serious memo…img_1671img_1694img_1698^Dear friends from Heidelberg Meredith and Alli!img_1703img_1707img_1715img_1717img_1725img_1689Hope everyone had fun at their respective dances!

A morning with my little ladies

img_1420Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning, I babysit two little munchkins named Winnie and Piper. Winnie is two and Piper is three, and they continually surprise me with their humor and unending joy for life. Honestly, if you’re feeling down in the dumps, I would suggest spending some time with little kids! They are hilarious. I just want to bottle up their enthusiasm and take it home with me. Below are a few photos from our time together yesterday.img_1425Me: What are you doing Winnie?
Winnie: I’m reading this book of course.img_1428img_1429Me: Winnie can I read that book with you?
Winnie: No, Micah, I don’t think so.img_1445Winnie: Can I take pictures of you?
Me: (Hesitantly) Sure…img_1447img_1483Winnie: Oh my, I need to cook you some food! How about cucumber?img_1484img_1500Lazarus the cat has a love hate relationship with Winnie, who is ultra affectionate (and sometimes picks him up the wrong way) :pimg_1519img_1525We headed down to main campus to explore. Always good to get out of the house and have an adventure.img_1528Piper: It smells like Christmas!img_1529Winnie and Piper climbing on the George Pepperdine statue (the founder of the university)img_1532Piper: Why won’t he turn the page of his book?
Me: He’s a statue, he can’timg_1534img_1537img_1540img_1551^Probably my favorite photo of the day!img_1554img_1573img_1586Winnie: Look at all the Dori and Nemo fishies!img_1594Me: What do you want for Christmas Winnie?
Winnie: Pinkimg_1598img_1601What’s you favorite thing about Christmas Piper?
Piper: Grandmaimg_1602Have a great one friends!

Six Things

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  1. There’s only four and a half weeks left of the semester, including Thanksgiving break. I can’t believe how fast this semester is flying by. I will be a college graduate before I know it…scary thought.
  2. I can’t wait to spend Thanksgiving break with close family friends this year. Even though I’m sad I won’t be with my family, these people are definitely my adoptive family here in California.
  3. I started reading “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. It’s great! I forgot how much I enjoy reading purely for pleasure.
  4. The new release of Gilmore girls is set for November 25th. Is anyone else planning to binge watch them all in one day?
  5. The election really hit me hard. It was my first time voting and experiencing the event at full capacity. You can read my thoughts on the subject here.
  6. My parents head to Germany for a conference this week. They are spending a day in Frankfurt, meeting my friends from the summer and seeing where I spent three months of my life. While I’m insanely jealous, I’m also SO excited for them and can’t wait to hear all about it when they get back. They better take tons of pictures or else!img_0899img_0911img_0928img_0961img_0987img_0991P.s. a few (unedited) photos from downtown LA the other day

our job

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I express myself best through writing. And as a writer, this quote from Toni Morrison stood out to me in particular:

This is precisely the time when artists go to work—not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!

She hit the nail on the head. So, partly as catharsis and partly as responsibility, I will try to write about my feelings after the election.

I am mourning the loss of Hilary Clinton today largely because of its deep held symbolism for me. Yes, I believe she was the most qualified candidate and possibly female politician alive today. No, I didn’t agree with all of her policies and choices. Yes, it did matter to me that Clinton was a female. When she left the stage after her concession speech, it was as if she symbolically left the public stage forever. And that is a huge setback for the groups and causes she has fought for her entire adult life. As this article put it,

“To many of us, Mrs. Clinton was representative of every woman who’d been talked over or overlooked for a job, had her qualifications questioned, or been called a “bitch.” She was those times I was told I needed to be ‘nice’ and she stood for those women who were told they didn’t look like engineers (or in her case, presidential).”

It meant the world to me that our current president campaigned so hard for her, as he wants his two young daughters to have a female role model who doesn’t apologize for how hard she has worked but instead is admired and lauded for it.

This was my first election, and it taught me a lot. Perhaps most of all, it taught me discernment about when to speak and when to stay silent. For the past year and a half or so of this election cycle, it seems everyone has been determined to have their voice heard. But my resolution moving forward is to speak less and truly listen more. So yes I am still sad, but ultimately grateful to live in a country that allows its citizens to freely and peaceably choose their leader. Every time I look at Trump, I will be reminded of that truth. I will strive to be reminded of the power of democracy and the people’s voice. They have spoken, now it’s my turn to listen.

Tomorrow I pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back to work because, after all, “that’s our job!”