Sunday, March 12, 2017

7. The discipline of writing

I am a writer. No, I am not a paid writer. I write, so therefore I am a writer. Writing is my favorite way to express myself. At an early age, I began collecting my thoughts in journals. I would write diary entries. I would write poetry. I would document my spiritual discoveries and prayers. Journal after journal... I think many of them are in various boxes in my garage. I'm not sure whether to throw them out or keep them. Writing has always been an essential part of who I am. It has a tie to the deeper parts of my soul. I suppose it is because I often write to express emotion or spirituality.

For a while, I stopped writing. I'm not talking about this blog. I mean, I stopped writing all together. It reflected something deeper. It reflected a negligence.

This Lenten season is renewing of many disciplines for me, including writing.
I'm already feeling refreshed.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

6. Progress

My garage is a cluttered mess. It is a catastrophe. It seems that every time we move it gets worse. I am not sure if that's true. I long to have a clean organized garage. I envy my neighbors that do. When I drive by those storage places, I tell myself, "That's where my neighbor stores all of his junk." Maybe its true. Maybe its not. But someone is using the storage places. A whole bunch of someones store stuff there. It doesn't make me feel any better. I spent a couple hours on Tuesday organizing and cleaning out my garage. I started working on it because I was looking for a mint coin set that my daughter could use during a group presentation she is doing on money. It took a while but I found it. Boy, I was happy I found it! There's still a loooong way to go and a lot to do to clean out the entire garage. I can hardly imagine! But- I made progress and progress is good.
Progress is good. Whether I am cleaning out or doing a few push ups, moving in the right direction is better than not moving forward at all. I am aware that stagnation generally leads to degeneration. Baby steps! Baby steps are better than no steps at all. Progress. That's what I am after in my garage. That's what I am after in my disciplines.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

5. Who am I?

On Saturday, I took a personality test. It was a short questionnaire based on the Meyers Briggs test. Then, my whole family took it- all 6 of us. I even read the questions to my 9 year old. The results were interesting. Fascinating, really. I think its a great tool to help understand others. I was unsure if my kids would be able to understand the questions well enough to get accurate results. I was a little amazed at how well the post test results descriptions fit.  It isn't defining but it is enlightening. On Sunday, at church, the pastor talked about spiritual gifts. He said that spiritual gifts work hand in hand with the fruits of the spirit. Spiritual gifts are basically a talent that you can use within the Christian community (church). Fruits of the spirit are love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. I couldn't help but think about how the different personality styles may correlate to different spiritual gifts.

Variety is wonderful. There is no such thing as an insignificant or irrelevant spiritual gift. Also, inferior personalities don't exist. You may wish you had different traits but all are valuable. I am who I am. But, who am I? That is what I am considering and have been thinking about since Sunday. I need to know who I am to reach my potential. At the same time, as look inward, I cannot help but hear the words of this song:

"I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Still you hear me when I'm calling
Lord, you catch me when I'm falling
And you've told me who I am
I am yours"

Reference: 1 Corinthians 12, Galations 5:22-23, and the Song, Who Am I by Casting Crowns.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

4. Relationships

Relationships are tricky. That's not news to anyone. I spent the day dealing with arguing kids. It was exhausting. Then, after some relaxed family time this evening, something changed and everything changed. Really, probably, we all got tired and didn't realize that's what was happening. I hate when something negative happens at the end of the day. It takes over the feeling of the day. Its just what happens sometimes. I know it happens to everyone sometimes but it sucks. It sucked tonight. How eloquent of me, I know. Anyway, so, I went back outside and sat by what was left of the fire. It was calming. Being outside is always therapeutic. The fire was out but the logs were still simmering. I was warmed by the heat of the red hot logs that were left.
I wanted to find a lesson in this...some bit of wisdom taken from my moments by the burned out fire. The fire was out but the heat was still radiating. I thought it reminded me of our night. The happy feelings were gone but the love felt earlier in the night was still there. Relationships are tricky. Feelings are fleeting. I want to be able to look past the fleeting feelings and see love. But that isn't easy. Feelings deeply affect relationships, even if it is just for a night.
I know I need to go deeper.
That's a good place to rest tonight.

3. Be still

I made a decision to be still. I sat outside by the fire pit. I watched the palm tree branches blow in the wind. It wasn't hard once I was there. I felt relaxed and at peace. The hard part is stopping to be still.
Be still.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

2. Ordinary

Today was an ordinary day. It was an ordinary busy day. Busy is ordinary. At the end of the day, as I sat at football practice, I thought through my day trying to find something exemplary. I wanted to remember a thoughtful part of my day- something meaningful. It seemed that I had just had an run of the mill, extremely busy day. I did. But then I remembered that in the middle of it, I watched my neighbor's boys for 4 hours. It was fairly effortless (aside from the fact that my dogs love to bark at the boys). They played and played some more. What's two more kids when you have four? But, as I tried to come up with something that mattered today, I realized that sometimes I may not recognize something of value. I am sure that I helped my neighbor today. It was an ordinary willingness to help out. I like that. I want more of my giving to others to be ordinary.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

1. Meaningful Relationships

Meaningful relationships. That's what is on my mind today.
I want the people I know to know how much they mean to me. Daily. I mean, whenever I interact with others I want to be more present. Also, I want to look for opportunities to express gratitude towards other people. Who doesn't enjoy feeling appreciated? Yes, gratitude. I want to cultivate a grateful attitude towards everyone- from strangers to those who I am close to and everyone in between.