Thursday, October 14, 2010

Slow it Down

To put it simply, I needed to hear this. Please take a few minutes to listen. It talks about the importance of slowing down in our busy modern world and about key relationships in our lives.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Attitude is everything

I was just sitting here thinking about how quickly life goes by. It's pretty often that we look back and think to ourselves, "I wish I had done that," or "I wish I hadn't done that." So many wishes. I suppose it just makes it even more important to take life at face value and to love it for what it is, now. My problem is that I always wish I had done more or that I could do more. But I'm just letting my attitude dictate how satisfied I am with myself. This is the only earthly life I have, so why not make the best of it, right? I need to change my attitude.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wake-up Call

To be completely honest, I have no idea what I’m writing. I haven’t written in far too many months, and I just about gave up hope in ever returning to this blog. But, while reading Mark chapter 2 this morning, I had an overwhelming desire to put my scattered thoughts on paper.

Where to start…well, life’s been pretty hectic. Mono. Grad school. Marriage. Moving. Work. Not the most smooth or easy combination. And through it all, I have to admit that I’ve really sort of lost track of who I am. Who I was. Who I want to be. It’s sad, really…sad and unnecessary. Well, not so much unnecessary as I believe that sometimes we need a little smack in the head to set us on the right path again.

And I guess that’s what life’s been for me lately—a smack in the head. Everything’s been contributing to communicate my lack of self, even down to the freakish snow on April 30th in the middle of the desert. But as I’m sure I’ve put it before, I feel most myself when I have faith. Faith in myself and my abilities. Faith in my family and loved ones. And most importantly, faith in God. But I’ve lost it lately…well, not necessarily my faith, but my fervent and ardent desire to act on my faith.

The hardest part is that this downturn happens ever so slightly and ever so subtly that you hardly notice. I’ve been so distracted with my struggles lately that I’ve compromised perhaps the most important part of myself.

The biggest struggle has been mono. There’s no way around it…it just sucks. Bad. I came down with it last fall and am still feeling the effects. For someone who could put in a nine-hour day of manual labor and then go home and want to play a game of ultimate Frisbee, it’s been really hard to be confined to utter exhaustion and bed rest after a simple day at school. Though perhaps I’m completely wrong in doing so, I mostly blame mono for my complete breakdown of self. My understanding of my mind and body has completely been flipped upside-down and everything just seems so foreign to me. I don’t sleep the same, eat the same, or move the same. And my breaking point has lowered a significant amount that now, I no longer think the same, exercise the same, or react to situations the same.

And with all of the exhaustion and accompanying depression, I’ve lost track of that desire to act in my life and to live my faith. Instead, I’ve just…existed.

Which brings me to my point. When Jesus was in the house at Capernaum with a multitude of people, a man with palsy was brought to Him, carried by four others. And…“When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mark 2:5). Not long after, He said, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17)

That passage struck me this morning—even those who are sick and struggling can be healed. It doesn’t always take a grievous sin to require forgiveness from the Lord. If we are not continuously turned toward Him and acting on our faith, then our spiritual strength begins to diminish.

Sometimes, we have to just keep going. We have to…move on. With this whole mono ordeal, I’ve gotten so frustrated at my new limitations because it’s made me, as I see it, less of a person than I used to be. It’s my retched tendency to focus so much on the past and not the future; I look so much at who I used to be and who I am at present, and I forget that every single day provides an opportunity of being something/someone different. What a blessing! And just as Christ healed the man with palsy, he can help me to overcome my own “illness” (call it mono, apathy, laziness, whatever) so that I can be more of the person I want to be. With these new limitations, I have gleaned new insight into myself and the world around me, and I should take that new knowledge and apply it to a new me, instead of trying to go back to who I was.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christmas Season

It’s Christmas time, right? So that means lots of love and family and service and charity. It’s that time of year we all magically become selfless and become the way we “should be.” I love Christmas. Please don’t mistake my tone for complete pessimism; I just can’t help but think about how the tradition of Christmas (despite its over-commercialization) is that one time of year when we all forget our usual selves and become…something different. We all become a little nicer. We all become a little more loving. We all become a little more selfless.

I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s incredible to see a whole community come together for a common purpose. But it’s after Christmas that I really wonder about. After all the presents are opened and the sugar-comas have passed, we kick our extended families out of our homes, make our never-to-be-fulfilled New Year’s Resolutions, and “begin anew” the incoming year. We do this all in hopes of starting with a clean slate and of finally get back to our lives. We go back to school and work and think, “Well, that was a nice holiday season.”

And that’s it. Christmas is over, and it’s about 50 weeks until the next one.

I believe that Christmas is more than that, as I am sure most of you believe as well. But we (me included) get stuck in this routine cycle where we move from one phase to the next in our lives. Get this one done so I can move on to the next. Even though we may feel the so-called Christmas Spirit, we stress ourselves out over buying the presents, sending out the Christmas cards, baking the holiday goods…and after all of that stress, we take a big sigh of relief once Christmas has finally ended. And yet, we immediately look forward to it the following year.

I propose we do as we have been instructed time and time again—to carry that Christmas Spirit with us the whole year through. Now, that’s not to say that we should have a decked-out pine tree in our living room year-round or that we should only fill our wardrobe with red and green. Rather, I mean that we should take those things that mean the most to us during the Christmas season—such as family and giving—and we should make it our goal to foster them the whole year through.

It’s a tacky notion, perhaps, and we’ve heard it a thousand times over…but that doesn’t make it any less significant. Rather than see the Christmas season as a phase of the year to pass through, see it as a learning opportunity—a time to practice selflessness and to improve our understanding of it.

We give and we give and we give all year round, but do we ever really enjoy our giving? Do we ever see the opportunity as a blessing rather than a burden? So this Christmas season, avoid trying to check everything off of your list and try, instead, to learn from what you experience.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


This is just a thought I had late last night after writing in my journal:

I think that the Lord, in my trials, pushes me to my breaking point. But, right before I reach it, He gives me clear skies. The joy and happiness ALWAYS exceed the darkness and gloom. This is how we learn. This is how we grow.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Laugh It Off

So yesterday was a particularly interesting day. And when I say interesting, I mean less than wonderful. Many of my classmates and friends have been out with the infamous Swine Flu, and I was starting to feel some of the symptoms myself. I had a test I needed to take, two assignments I needed to finish (one of which by 5 p.m.), and I had no time to do any of it because I needed to go to work. On top of it, my mind was fried from the previous couple of days and I had no desire or energy to do any of it. I was having, what I like to call, a classic stress moment.

I’m not trying to complain, here. I’m in grad school juggling work, an acting gig on the side, an extra dance class, and a fiancĂ© who lives an hour away…what else am I supposed to expect? Of course I’m going to have a packed schedule and be stressed! My point is that yesterday, the walls seemed to be caving in…not the best day.

So what happened next only made it worse. I went to the testing center and took the test. After handing it in, I was walking down the stairs when I tripped. Luckily, I only fell down about two or three steps and caught myself with my left foot. However, my right ankle twisted in ways unnatural to the human body and I crumpled to the floor, complete with backpack on, dropping my phone and dance shoes. I was groaning in pain when two guys coming down the stairs behind me came to my rescue and tried to pull me up, but I didn’t have the voice to tell them that my ankle felt like it had been sawed off with a blunt spoon.

I managed to tell them what was wrong, but of course I couldn’t just get back up in a hurry without anyone noticing. Much to my self-conscious horror, I looked up and saw at least seven or eight people gathered on the stairs staring at my pathetic body lying on the floor and my teary face. Great. How embarrassing.

Once everyone but the two guys helping me left me to my shame, I put my game face on, played the “independent-I-can-handle-myself-tough-girl”, and got back up. I slowly applied pressure to my right ankle, declared it merely sprained, and was soon enough on the road again, limping all the way across campus to my car.

Now, I’m not usually one to tell specific personal experiences, so what’s my point to this long and ridiculous story? Well, when I was walking across campus with hints of tears still running down my face, I started laughing...hysterically.

I mean, picture it, here’s this girl who’s having a pretty awful day and to make matters worse, she trips down the stairs and sprains her ankle. How ironic! And what a funny thing to picture! Who trips down the stairs, anyway? And to think of what I must have looked like lying on the floor…and the gaggle of people gawking at me…classic. I have to be honest with myself—it was funny.

What I’m trying to say is that even when situations get pretty bleak and discouraging, we’re still in control of our attitude, and as the saying goes, “Attitude is everything.” So the next time something less than fortunate happens to you, ignore your inclination to groan and complain. Laugh. Laugh it off.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that my day yesterday was a bad day. Less than desirable? Absolutely. But not bad. You just have to look at it the right way. First of all, I’m ok. My ankle’s just sprained. And secondly, now I have a funny story to journal about. And what’s life without a few laughs?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sometimes, You Just Have To Jump

I’ve talked a lot about choices and how life is full of them. Well, this is no different.

Life. It’s full of choices.

But one of the things I’ve learned recently is that sometimes you have to step a little out into the dark before the light comes. What I mean by that is sometimes we have to choose without the complete assurance that we’re making the right decision.

I think of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Harrison Ford reaches the “leap of faith.” He has to step out off of a ledge, and it’s only after that he sees the platform. The same thing happens for some of the decisions in our lives, and usually the most important ones (which can be very frustrating).

So why is that? Well, in my opinion (and as I’ve alluded to in past entries) it’s not so much about whether we’re making the right decision, but that we’re making a right decision—we have to be proactive about the path our life is taking. If our fates were predetermined, then sure…we’d have to search for that one right decision. But a choice isn't about searching, it's about doing. We have been blessed with the gift of personal agency and thereby have become the masters of our own destinies. We make the decisions. We travel the paths. We create our own lives.

That’s not to say that we can’t have help or that we aren’t influenced by outside sources. But regardless, we’re here to choose and we have the ability to do it. What a wonderful thing!

But how terrifying, right? That lack of assurance when making a decision can paralyze us with fear (it does me, anyway). It would just be so nice and easy if the consequences of each decision was illuminated before us. However, that’s not how it works. It’s times like these when faith really needs to be applied. Faith in others. Faith in ourselves. Faith in God.

It’s now my opinion that sometimes, you just have to jump. Jump, and have faith that you’ll be able to handle the consequences that follow. Obviously, work out as much as you can—see as far into the darkness as your perspective will allow. But once you’ve done all you can do, don’t hold yourself back from progression with unnecessary fear. Instead, see the jump as an adventure and know that it’s usually you who turns a decision into the right one.