Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hold on to What You Believe

I was listening to music at work (big surprise) and this song came on my Pandora, "Hold on to What You Believe," by Mumford and Sons. I love Mumford and Sons. This was several weeks, or maybe even a couple months, ago and the words have been floating around in my head ever since. I'm finally getting around to writing about it.

In this song is the question, "What if I was wrong?" That sort of question reeks of regret. It's the sort of question that can easily take a person into a very sad place. It is best to avoid such places.

How is this a good song then?? Because of what is said next:

"But hold on to what you believe in the light, When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight." 

There are times in life when things aren't "all coming up roses." Those are the times with the darkness robs of you all your sight. I'm not saying that I'm in such a place right now-- but I can relate. Good music is something you can relate to, right? Hurt, sadness, loneliness, and pain are all part of life; but just like there are dark days, there are days of light-- hold on to them. "Hold on to what you believe in the light," so that when the dark days come the darkness doesn't overtake you. Remember who you are; don't stumble around blindly; hold on to what you believed in the light.

And here's my addendum: The light never leaves, but sometimes you just can't see it. You will see the light again.

Here's to Days Just Packed with Mumford and Sons!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

Five more minutes... Just. Five more minutes. I've said it before: I am by no means a morning person. On average, I hit the "snooze" button five or six times before I finally decide that I had better get out of bed, throw on some clothes, make coffee, pack breakfast and lunch, and rush off to work. This has been my struggle ever since the thought of Saturday morning cartoons was no longer enough to get me up and around by 6am, at least on Saturdays anyway. Just five more minutes of lying in bed with my eyes closed, pretending to sleep, and waiting for the alarm to go off... again.

What a waste of a morning! There's so much more I could do with that extra bit of time. I'll admit that my New Years resolution of becoming more of a morning person has failed miserably so far. It's time to change gears. As we enter this season of Lent, I have decided to keep trying. Lent is a season of humility. Lent is a season of  sacrifice and self-improvement. Lent is a season for thankfulness of the sacrifice already made for us. This year for Lent I am giving up the "snooze button."

Based on previous years, the question is: "What am I gaining in replacement of this sacrifice?" The answer is simple-- Time. Time to read a devotion, time to go for a run, time to eat a good breakfast, time to call a friend and wish them "Good Morning!"... well, maybe I won't go that far! The point is having time to enjoy the mornings we have been blessed with. Will I succeed? Time will tell.

Here's to Days Just Packed with five more minutes (x 5 or 6) of extra mornings!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rhubarb Pie

This post has its very own soundtrack provided by the ska stylings of Five Iron Frenzy. Go ahead-- press play!

Can you hear the music? Good. I love this song-- not only because it has a catchy off-beat feel with a walking bass and horn interjections, but also because it's about one of my very favorite things about spring and summer!

"Rhubarb pie, in the Summer. Rhubarb pie, made by my mother." Sometimes it's some of the simplest things in life that make us smile the most. Yes, my mom's rhubarb pie definitely gives me something to smile about and, as the song says, it makes my mouth water just to think about it!

Mom's rhubarb pie is definitely tasty, but it's more than just a delicious treat. It's the memories involved that really make it special; it's having the family at the dinner table on a Sunday afternoon, clearing away the dinner plates, brewing some coffee, and hearing mom announce, "And now, it's time for pie." Glorious.

Maybe you don't get as excited as I do about mom's rhubarb pie, but I sincerely hope that you have something that has the same effect for you. What is a little thing that makes life special for you? What is your "rhubarb pie?" Think on it while you bounce to the music...

Here's to Days Just Packed with rhubarb pie!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lent VI: Grudges

Carrying a grudge can often get quite heavy, especially if you're trying to carry it over a long distance or a long period of time. Sometimes however, it seems like it would be a lot easier to just hold onto a grudge than it would be to forgive someone.  It isn't, by the way. A grudge will eat at your soul until there is nothing left, and forgiveness is the only way to come out of it alive.  Just because you forgive someone doesn't mean that you have to be best buddies, but it does mean that you no longer hold over their head whatever it is that they did.

"Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die."  
~Malachy McCourt

Have I been holding a grudge? Yes, or at least I had been for awhile. Have I let it go yet? Mostly. It still needs some work. These things take time, but I have taken some great steps toward reconciliation.

Over the last week of Lent (Holy Week), focus on the last two petitions of the Lord's Prayer:

"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

Here's to Days Just Packed with letting go of grudges!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lent V: Fasting

I am not good at fasting-- at all. I'm sure I'm completely missing the point, but I just don't see any worth in depriving my body of much-needed nutrition on purpose. I realize that fasting is a way to show spiritual and physical discipline in devotion to God (or one's specific cause), but I find it much easier to concentrate and be productive when I've had a meal.

I think it's good that I recognize this fact about myself and come up with an alternative to fasting: Since I don't like to go without food, I will donate to the food bank so that others, who aren't given the choice, will not have to go without food either.

 On to the next week:

April 6: Forgive us our Trespasses, as we Forgive those who Trespass against us
Focus: Giving up a grudge and replacing with prayer for our enemies and seeking reconciliation.

Here's to Days Just Packed with finding alternative ways to serve!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lent IV: Facebook

Was giving up social media a successful sacrifice for me? No, not really. In my defense, I don't usually use the Facebook for mindlessly browsing the newsfeed for the latest gossip-- usually, but I still do. Is that a constructive use of my time? Not really, but sometimes a bit of good can come out of it. As I said earlier, it is good to stay balanced and maintain a relationship with God, your family, and your friends.

God may not have a physical (legitimate) Facebook page, but you can find Him there. God shows up in people's posts, photos, groups, and likes. Satan shows up as well (you wouldn't expect him to pass up this opportunity, would you?). Take a day to really look at what shows up in your newsfeed.

Here is the focus for this week:

March 14: Give us this Day our Daily Bread
Focus: Fasting for a day or giving up a comfort food or drink (dessert, alcohol, coffee) and replacing with financial support and prayer for the poor.

Here's to Days Just Packed with a small dose of social media!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Napping Geese

Nature is pretty awesome. A couple of days ago, before the ice all melted off the pond behind my office, I decided that it was warm enough to take a mid-afternoon stroll. When I came to the pond, I saw a whole gaggle of geese napping out on the ice.  If you haven't ever seen a goose taking a nap, it's pretty easy to recognize: It just turns towards its head backward and rests its beak on its back.  The cool part is that there were nearly 100 geese on this little shelf of ice all taking a nap! Well, almost all anyway...

As I walked closer to snap a quick photo on my phone, I noticed that there were a few geese scattered throughout the gaggle who were slowly scanning the perimeter. The instant one of their "perimeter guards" decided that I was spending too long inside their "safe zone," he began crying out a very loud and obnoxious alarm to wake the others. It must be a rule among napping geese that once you wake up to an alarm, you join in. Within seconds, I had unleashed nearly 100 honking geese to wreak havoc upon the peace and quite of the little pond behind my office. They didn't fly away, they didn't walk around, they just sat there and honked... and honked-- until I walked away.

Once I was back on the other side of the invisible safe zone, the geese slowly stopped honking and went back to their naps. So, so cool...

Here's to Days Just Packed with napping geese!