One Year, Looking Back

One year ago I was excited to see all of my friends again and live with my family after 3 years of seperation. I was anxious about the transission, after living in New Zealand for that long, but I was happy none-the-less to be back home.

Looking back feels weird to me. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been back for 365 days now. The time feels more like months have passed rather than a full year. I have made good use of that time being with friends, traveling to places I’ve never gone before, meeting new people, making new friends, reuniting with old ones, continuing old traditions, and eating ALL the good food, haha. Continue reading “One Year, Looking Back”

Josh Garrels: His life, his music, his Influence


Josh Garrels needs to be known for not being known.

Humble, genuine, gifted. Josh Garrels has become known for these qualities through his attitude towards music, life, and God. Musical at the very young age of 3, Garrels started getting more serious about his music at 13. Starting a band, Garrels gradually honed his craft on the guitar and writing music. By the age of 22, Garrels was making lo-fi recordings in rooms and pumping out music on his schedule. Unimpressed by recording companies and the bureaucracy behind the music business, Garrels chose to self-record, mix, and produce his music without a record label or industry management. Keeping true to this style, every album he has released has been from the sweat of his brow. In Love & War & The Sea In Between, he and his wife hand labeled and sent out all copies of their music. His grassroots approach is radical. It’s not supposed to work, but it does. His fans love and appreciate his diversion from the traditional craft and they support it.

Continue reading “Josh Garrels: His life, his music, his Influence”

Beauty. Where ARE You?

Beauty is something we have forgotten to notice. Like the gradual passing of Autumn, we sometimes forget it was even there, trees go bare, do we even care?

Beauty used to be everything, in everything, made instruments sing. We used to care so much about the strokes of a brush, causing the hush, making viewers blush. Is it even there?

Beauty. Where did you go? Did you run and hide? Are you there below? Don’t you know? You are the seed that helps life grow. You are the glow, the early snow, you are the young lovers in throw.

Beauty has taken the back seat. Sitting alone, nobody remembers. Wasting away, nobody values her. There are the occasional fighters, and for them, I support. A beauty cohort.

Beauty, you’re worth it. And yet, an entire land with amnesia to one of the most important and worth while aspects of life…forgets. Beauty should be on the front page, in our words, how we treat the least of these. Beauty should take back the canvas, the soundboard, the page. Beauty should infuse how we love, how we create, how we care. Beauty should freely be.

Before, beauty arrived in true form, flowing lightly, like a leaf in a storm. Beauty surrounds, in sounds, beneath mounds, it abounds in Love. In the foregrounds of smiles, resounds in profiles. Beauty camps out with joy, with awesome wonder, emotion deploy, morning whisper.

What is beauty to you? Is it the rise of new day glow? Water bending beneath its flow? Din of cities turned down low? Heavy blankets in December snow? What is beautiful?, I want to know. Ask me, and I will echo. Hearing your voice say hello, the emotion in waiting till tomorrow, moving from much too fast to wonderfully slow.

Beauty, you’re the invisible phenomenon. You’re everywhere, but no one can see you anymore, feel you anymore, care about you anymore. I write to remember, I love so that you’re close, I read so that you remain alive. Beauty, come back.

Twice an Uncle

Well, I write about all things my life, and this is more of an expression of happiness than anything because my younger sister just had a beautiful baby boy! I received the news while riding in the car, coming back from helping a friend pack up his catamaran in Holland, MI.

I have to say with honesty that I have general reservations with not being at the hospital for either of my niece or nephews births. When Elisia was born, I was working at a summer camp that refused to allow me to leave, even to see her overnight when the camp was sleeping. Needless to say, I was pretty angry about that. Now, with Cohen’s birth, the plan was to motor over to Naperville, IL as soon as I hear she was in labor. Luckily, she went into labor on my day off from work. Still, with complications in my living in Grand Rapids, I had planned to move back home on the 3rd of November. With the birth happening four days before I move, it didn’t seem practical to leave come back and then leave again. Even though I get the suport of my family and friends that a four day old baby is the same as an hour old baby, I wasn’t there…and I hate that.

And yet, when I received the text:

“dude…your nephew abides. Cohen Monroe Birkey. Booyah!”

I couldn’t help but notice how fast all my reservations left me. I became immediately happy and purely joyous. Bliss was filling inside of me like water without enough room in the bottle, spilling over the top. I couldn’t help break a smile, which turned into my laugh, which turned into a compelling urge to call Noel and Robyn. I called Noel, and congratulated him on the birth of his son. I couldn’t hold back the emotional tidal wave that was crashing over me. I was so incredibly happy for these two amazing people, sibling and bro in law. I was jumping in my car, laughing, pumping some seriously infectious music, and thanking God for this perfect moment in time.

Even though I was not able to be there for the birth of my nephew or niece, I feel confident that the love they felt when they came into this world could not be matched. Welcome to the greatest family I have ever known, Cohen, the boy born from The Beauty and the Beard.


Here, at the End of All Things…

“Hmm.” My first reaction after walking out of my last ever class. Not the reaction I was expecting.

Well, I felt obligated to my readers to really get into my “day-after” experience, once I was done with school forever. I have to say, it still feels a little bit like every other summer break I’ve had: You get done, you feel great, but not too great, cause you always have another year of school. You can’t enjoy the break because you always feel like you have to get something done. You always feel like something is due, or that you missed something. Even now, as I am typing this, I have anxiety that I may have forgotten to do something at school, or at my internship, for which I’ve been done two days already.

I have to say that the easiest way to put it is, It hasn’t sunk in yet. Not sure if it ever will. Seriously, I’m unsure. I mean, I’ve been in school my entire life. Let’s get some perspective. I started school, technically we’ll begin in Kindergarden, when I was 6 years old (I was one of the older students in my grade.) If we start the school year on September 1st every year and end roughly June 1st, (rounding out the years I ended mid-June, and college years when I ended early May) This means that I have spent roughly 18 years in the academic field (if you count Kindergarden academic, haha) Now stay with me here, One academic year (the year we determined, sep1-jun1) Equates roughly to 274 days, 6576 hours, 394, 560 minutes, and 23 million seconds. This means that I have spent 4932 days in school, 118 thousand hours listening to teachers, over 7 million minutes taking assignments, and 426  million, one hundred-twenty-four thousand,  eight-hundred seconds with the pressure, stress and anxiety that school creates. Let that sink in.

Hey Eric, you pointed out all the bad things and none of the good things.” Yes. You’re right poignant reader. Very observant.

I do want to spend some time saying this: School can be hard at times, and even seem stupid to others. A waste of time, and a life killer. Get over yourself. If this is actually what you think, put into perspective that without a high school diploma, you might as well be homeless, or selling drugs, or mooching off of someone for the rest of your life, or the jackpot; D. All of the Above. The American Dream? Take advantage of this “really incredibly hard time” for you, and understand that it is going to put food on the table some day. I don’t want to get into a whole other topic about bullying, peer pressure, drug exposure, or family lives, but I recognize that in some cases, school can be pretty horrible.

That being said, I’m glad that I have a plan, and some goals to accomplish before I move to Grand Rapids, and then to New Zealand later in the year. Still, my original point with telling you exactly how long I’ve been in school was to explain that this is normal for me. Listen, I’ve been doing THIS, for my whole life. I don’t know anything else like I know academics. Sad, but it’s very, very true. I just wrote over 90 pages this year in academic papers, and I’ve totaled my paper writing count IN TOTAL (and this took me an hour and a half to add everything up) throughout my 6 college years to 764 pages! 239 pages from Calvin College and 525 pages from Aurora University. This is a LOT of time put into something that I care very much about.

I wanted to convey to you, the reader, just what this journey for has been like. I hope that you now have some sort of idea what I have been going through these past 6 years of college, and I want to let my good friends know that I will be seeing more of you in the near future. Sorry for being a hermit, ha. I love you all, and I want to thank every single one of you. So come out to my party when I can thank you personally. Peace.

Eric Peterson

A New Chapter begins. The exciting thing? I have NO idea where it will take me…

You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feetthere’s no telling where you might be swept off to… –Bilbo Baggins

If you like my recent, “Important pieces in the world” style of writing, here are some other Proud Works that I have written up for you guys.

KONY 2012: An Unbiased Summary

Teenage Pregnancy at 70 year Low

Wordless, (on the treatment of women in the workplace)

Keeping Your Brain Healthy

The Id, Ego, and Superego Explained

Love Hurts…Literally.

Wind: The story you never knew.

Elevendy 11, 2011

FAT…otherwise known as “Insulation.” 

I used to listen to music on the Radio….