Category Archives: Daily Normalcy

Sunshine Go Away Today….

Just a moment of insight from my morning commute. The vocal melodies of Jonathan Edwards comes on WOW 105.3, and the last verse of the song stood out to me more than usual:

“Sunshine come on back another day

I promise you I’ll be singin’

This whole world, she’s gonna turn around

Brand new bells will be ringin'”

What does that make you think of?

Heh. Well, I don’t really want the sunshine to go away (I waited all through winter just to SEE it…), but sometimes I do feel the sentiments of this song, where “working starts to make me wonder where/fruits of what I do are goin'” or other things that make me think this world is on it’s way to an idiocracy and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. And ya know what, that’s the way it’s been told.

2 Timothy tells us there will be terrible times in the last days. 2 Peter tells us that there will be abundant “scoffers”. Matthew 24 tells us there will be wars, rumors of wars, nations against nations, and not to mention earthquakes and famines (or recessions? ;-)). And there are many many more references.

Either way, things are going to get seemingly hopeless and just downright illogical and fruitless. BUT, we are called to have hope anyway, and LIVE like we have hope! After all,

This whole world, she’s gonna turn around

(because God will be doing some redeeming!)

And a brand new song we’ll be singin’ 🙂

(Rev 5 and 14)

So hey, listen to Jonathan, and especially the Bible. It stinketh right now, but it’s all gonna be all right. (Rev 21:4)

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Filed under Daily Normalcy, Music, Spiritual Application, State of the world, Stress

Hmmm. I must be getting old.

Admist the swirling maelstrom that has become my life in the last few months, I have had a few moments of peace. During those bits of time, I have composed maybe 6 essays in my head, outlined about half of a potential sermon, thought about a surefire entrepreneurial business strategy, and won some heated arguments against my own conceptions of the anti-me. At these little times in my life, I feel pretty brilliant. I feel blessed with wisdom. I feel spiritually gifted and inspired to share this “gift” with others and maybe try my hand at saving the world.

So I remembered that I haven’t posted a blog since maybe November? I thought, during one of these times of stillness, “well now I have plenty of ideas, all laid out neatly. I just need to sit and write them down.”

Well, here I am sitting and writing….but not remember what it was that I intended to sit and write! I don’t even remember half of the good ideas that I had during my quiet times of sitting in a waiting room, lying awake at night or in a long car ride.

Then I realized I’ve been forgetting a lot of things. I almost forgot my own birthday a couple weeks ago. Thankfully I have a husband who remembered for me. And I’ve forgotten some very simple things that seem quite foolish:

I almost left for work still wearing my slippers;

I was carrying a book, a glass, and a carton of grape juice. Intending to put down the book to pour the grape juice in the glass, I instead set down the glass and nearly poured grape juice all over my book;

I almost left my two month old son in the car, but still took his diaper bag, while about to enter the grocery store. I intended to leave the diaper bag, since it was a quick trip, and instead just take him.

I was perplexed on how to retrieve the power cord for my laptop since the large adapter part wouldn’t fit through the small slit between the desk and the wall. My esteemed colleague told me to just pull the small end of the cord down through the slit and take it out that way. Oh yeah…

And there are many more of these instances, probably more than 3 or 4 daily, that really make me look like a capable human being. Heh, in my observations of human behavior, if someone that was over 50 made these claims, they would just say “well, I’m getting old.” and shrug it off. But if I’m making these same bumbles, and I’m only freshly 27, do I not get to have an excuse? Uh-oh….this must be how I really am!

Oh well. That isn’t the point of this composition. Really, I sat down just to see if all these ideas would come back to me. Or perhaps I just needed a written record to document that I have had ideas, I just didn’t get them down in time.

Hopefully they’ll come back to me. If they really were going to help me save the world, I’m sure they’ll pop up again in another moment of sudden insight. At least, as long as I don’t descend into senility too rapidly.

My back hurts.

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Filed under Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Stress, Time management

Freedom’s little surprise

A few weeks ago, I was intrigued by a worship thought given by one of my MAU colleagues, Kris Sisodia. He had just returned from a visit in India, and had a lot of great photos and travel anecdotes that came together into practical worship thoughts. The first “thought” was my favorite, though. Our story takes place on the modern roadways of India.

Kris explained that the roads themselves are freeway-quality, comparable to many of the US’s major cities. 6 lanes, overpasses, exits, and the suburban streets are set up similarly as well. Rather nice.

Full of traffic, though. Just like here.

The best way to tell if you are in US traffic or India traffic, however, is probably the cows and the oxcarts.

cartontheroad

Yup. You’ll see the carts and cows along the roadway, sharing the same turnpike as the Corollas, Accords and Malibus. The usually go much slower, so if you’re driving by, you’ll probably want to get around them. But that can be hard to do when the traffic is like this:

traffic underpassmoretraffic

Basically, these parts of India are perfect examples of traffic anarchy. You may notice how there are lane markers, but no one is following them. There are no vehicle-type restrictions, and some people choose to just walk along the road. Not to mention, if the cows wander out onto the road, you can’t do anything to them. The cows are sacred, and must not be disturbed. Oh, and there are traffic signals, but good luck trying to go through your green light when three other cars are running their red light without a blink of an eye.

cowsonroadnolaneslilpileup

Also, Kris noted that many people still invested in nice cars. You might see BMWs and Mercedes and higher-end Toyotas, but usually the fastest you could ever get to go on these roads is about 35-40 mph….if you’re lucky. With this traffic anarchy, it doesn’t matter how fast you want to go. The cops aren’t going to stop you—but the traffic is. So all the money spent on these high-performance vehicles is pretty much wasted.

Oh, and they do have traffic rules. They even post signs of encouragement 😉

obey

It’s just that no one seems to follow them, no matter how nice the signs are. 🙂

Now Kris hardly had to summarize the symbolism in this part of his travelogue before we were all nodding our heads and saying, “ah yes, I see the connection here.”

Life is like a roadway in India.

The obvious lesson here is that the freedom to drive from A to B is increased when rules are enacted and followed. The less the rules are heeded, the less ability there is to drive safely, comfortably and even quickly!

Though some may associate anarchy with freedom, it’s not long before individual freedom is yanked away by all the other people trying to do things their own way. And we end up in a traffic jam.

In ways like this, the laws actually set us free, rather than restrict us.

I finally read Lord of the Flies last month. Cale was going over it in his sophomore literature class, and since I had never even picked it up before, I decided it was high time. The balance of rules vs freedom, of practicality vs more carnal desires, was the common theme throughout the story. People end up wanting rules. The total freedom that some twist into anarchy causes discord and fear, and people end up craving rules. Craving regulation. Yearning for order.

I’ll let y’all draw your own conclusions on how this fits into our daily lives, and our beliefs.

“To all perfection I see a limit;

but Your commands are boundless.

Oh, how I love your law!

I meditate on it all day long.

Your commands make me wiser than my enemies…”

Psalm 119: 96-98

 

 

(All photos taken by Kris. He was nice enough to share them with me.)

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Filed under Allegories, Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Logic, Spiritual Application, State of the world

What are we all arguing about?

Really, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I even scratched out an epiphany on the back of a bulletin while at church in St. Joseph, Missouri, since the words just came to me all at once–stream of consciousness style. Soon after, I thought, “I’m glad I finally wrote this down. Now I can do something about it.” I planned to blog about it. But then just thinking about it made me weary. I realized, I am just very weary of this subject in general. When it comes to differences between denominations, especially denominations that have experience with ex-Adventists, this seems to be where we argue:

“Are we under law or under grace?”

“What commandments still stand today?”

“Are we still required to keep the literal, 7th-day Sabbath?”

Most of the time I just want to throw up my hands at both sides. Forgive me if my tone here is not incredibly tactful or smooth, but this is the state of mind I am in when I think about this, and I can’t wait any longer to write it down.

We’re not getting anywhere on this argument. Sometimes it even feels like the other side is winning because there are more of them than there are us. But we’re not coming to any common ground because we’re hovering over the deeper, SIMPLER issue. First I ask, “why NOT keep the Sabbath? Why wouldn’t we want to?” or “Why NOT keep the 10 commandments?”

If we start at the other end, I think we’ll get farther than just arguing the original question. Honestly I’m still surprised that there are people that are so against the Sabbath. To me, that seems like the most nonthreatening “law” there is! Obviously those that are in a spirit of rebellion over the Sabbath are reacting against the way our own culture has made it, not the Biblical guidelines (which I think are made intentionally vague!!!)

Anyway, we are told all throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament, how to treat people. We find out what the fruits of the Spirit are. And we are told in many places Who the One True God is. If we live by those words and principles, we may find ourselves ENDING UP keeping the 10 commandments! Not because “it’s the law” but because it’s smart! Because it makes sense. The principles are there! And they are even recognized by most of society as the “right” things to do!

And on the other end of things, if we notice a person “breaking a commandment” and repeatedly falling into habits that are self-destructive or could make life difficult for them, we want to “restore them gently” because we CARE for this person’s WELL-BEING! And, foreseeing possible challenges in the future based on his or her behavior, we want to HELP them, not to police them or humiliate them. (If the latter is EVER the intention, than you are in much bigger trouble that wondering if you are under law or under grace. That is just plain the Wrong Spirit. Most anywhere in the Bible will tell you that.)

We don’t need to be debating this, really. Perhaps the devil is WANTING us to get caught up in the details. Yes, Paul does make a lot of references to “the law” and being “under the law or under grace.” I suppose that means that we are not to forget about the law and that we are to know its place in our lives. Because really, we only need a law when things are getting out of control and need regulation or clarification (and I’d say the world is a bit out of control!). If we daily live by the fruits of the Spirit, being guided by God Himself, we eventually won’t even NEED the words of the law to tell us to do what is right. It will be in us.

Test it. I dare you.

Good to read:

James 3:17

Galatians 5:22

Hebrews 4:9

Acts 18:1-4

Colossians 3

Deuteronomy 6

And so many more….

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Filed under Argument, Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Logic, Spiritual Application, State of the world

Writers’ Block

I have a lot on my mind. I even have a lot that I want to say. Things that I’d love to discuss and get into the nitty gritty. Things/ideas I’d love to hash out until a clear solution is discovered.

But I don’t know what to write about.

I haven’t blogged in a while because I thought, “I don’t have a good enough idea to discuss at this point.” 

My husband blogs just about every day. My co-worker has a personal blog that he updates every weekday. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “what in the world are they even writing about that they can keep it up so often?” 

If you read their blogs, they are personal reflections of each day, and there is usually a focal point that will illicit a reflective reaction. Just something simple like “today I went to the grocery store and found out that Fruity Pebbles were on sale for 50 boxes for $4. That made me think about variety being the spice of life and how, even though it was a very good deal, I just couldn’t eat that much of the same cereal for so long.” 

Not an interesting anecdote at all, yet I just had fun making that up and reading it over again. 

I remember when the Great Professor of my College Past (or His Eminence, as he liked to be called) Christopher Blake told me that the story is the focal point of every written piece. Even if it’s just a little bitty story with a touch of human interest, it’s enough to grab the human side of the reader, an article/blog/sermon/paper and guide the reader into the intended idea presented.

Could I be underestimating my stories?

Could we all be underestimating our stories?

We’ve all got something to say, even if it starts with the simplest anecdote of all. But if it causes you to analyze a piece of life, it just may be interesting and poignant to another reader. I guess this is just a note to whoever may stumble past this little blog that you, my friend, are important, and you have a story, and many people will even be interested in your reactions at grocery store sales and the effect it has on your life. 

We may think we have Writers’ Block, but maybe we just aren’t remembering how valuable we all are, and how precious all of our minds are. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made, uniquely created by God to be who we are. So let’s Be. And then write about it.

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Filed under Daily Normalcy, Spiritual Application

First we had the X-Games, now we have X-logic?

Lately, I’ve noticed a trend in arguments. Not just with Christians, but with most people in general. Each side seems to stand on either side of the see-saw, and instead of leveling things out, the see-saw just goes up and down. Here’s an example:

Guy 1: “Maybe we shouldn’t be so strict on our office dress code.”

Guy 2: “So you think our employees should just be able to wear whatever they want? That’s so unprofessional! We have to look our best.”

Ok, do you really think that Guy 1 made that suggestion with the intent of employees “wearing whatever they want?” Most likely, Guy 1  just wanted to be able to forgo his suit coat after office arrival, or lessen the requirement to wear a tie every single day. But, as is the trend I see these days, the other arguer seems to assume the extreme.

Here’s another example:

Guy 1: “Some day, I would like to play my instrument for church. My instrument is percussion.”

Guy 2: “So you think we should just rock out for our worship services? That’s so irreverent! Church should not turn into a rock concert.”

I know, I went there. Truthfully, I don’t even like talking about worship styles because it never seems to go anywhere and there are so many more important things to tackle, but it just fit here. I myself am a percussionist, so I can relate. Now I’m not actively trying to get my drumset into the sanctuary (even though sometimes the organ does need a little foundational rhythm so we can all hit the same note at the same time!), but if I happen to be talking to someone who is against drums in church, they assume that since I play drums, I would automatically want to play super loud and be the center of attention and try to turn the worship service into a contemporary Christian concert. Personally, I would rather hide in an orchestra pit and pound out a no-frills, fundamental meter to guide other instruments (as is the primary purpose of percussion). I think every instrument should blend together to make a balanced, harmonious sound, not necessarily have one ring out over everyone else. But often times, the extreme is assumed just because of the word “drums.”

Here’s another example I heard just before the election:

Woman 1: “I think I might vote for Obama.”

Guy 1: “You would vote for someone who wants to kill babies? That’s very unlike you! Don’t you realize he’s pro-choice?”

In this conversation, Guy 1 seems to think that if you aren’t pro-life, you are pro-abortion. No, pro-choice doesn’t mean you like abortion. That seems obvious. But I’ve heard this kind of argument even before this conversation. I’ve heard this kind of “Xtreme” Logic in waaaay too many places. It drives me batty. Have we lost our common sense?

Xtreme logic seems to be infiltrating our thought processes, whether it is about politics, personal opinions, or religion. Where did this come from? Why do we tend to assume the worst, way on the other end of the spectrum, if someone disagrees with us? Why do we take things so personally? Why do we get so defensive? Why are we so paranoid?

I hope we don’t forget that our God is a God of balance. We are advised in Ecclesiastes 7:18 that “18 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.”

We should always stand our ground on our beliefs, but let’s also try to avoid this “X-logic.”

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Filed under Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Spiritual Application, State of the world, Stress

If only they’d look a little closer…

There’s a country song that is played on the radio quite frequently, and it’s lyrics make me sad. It shows a common mentality of average joes these days. The song is Everybody Wants to go to Heaven by Kenny Chesney. Here are the lyrics:

Preacher told me last Sunday mornin’
“Son, you better start livin’ right:”
You need to quit the women and whiskey
And carrying on all night.”

Don’t you wanna hear him call your name,
When you’re standin’ at the pearly gates?
I told the preacher, “Yes I do”
But I hope they don’t call today
I ain’t ready

Everybody wants to go to heaven
Have a mansion high above the clouds
Everybody wants to go to heaven
But nobody want to go now

Said, “Preacher maybe you didn’t see me
Throw an extra twenty in the plate.
There’s one for everything I did last night,
And one to get me through today.
Here’s a ten to help you remember
Next time you got the good Lord’s ear
Say I’m comin’, but there ain’t no hurry
I’m havin’ fun down here.
Don’t you know that!

Everybody wants to go to heaven
Get their wings and fly around
Everybody want to go to heaven
But nobody want to go now

Someday I want to see those streets of gold in my halo
But I wouldn’t mind waiting at least a hundred years or so

Everybody wanna go to heaven
It beats the other place there ain’t no doubt
Everybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wanna go now

Everybody wanna go to heaven
Hallelujah, let me hear you shout
Everybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wanna go now
I think I speak for the crowd.

Obviously this guy hasn’t looked too closely at what it means to be a real Believer, a true Christian, following Christ. Some people like to leave it at the imagery of halos and harps, not applying the grace and guidance and Abundant Life to daily life. Really, it just makes me sad. But it alerts me to a view on Christianity that is still common in society, that I need to be prepared to reach. Now that I’ve heard this song, I better make it a personal mission and prayer request to live out what we so affectionately call the “Joy of the Lord,” praising Him when things are good and looking to Him when things are tough. Sharing the happiness and contentedness I get from putting trust in an all-knowing, all-powerful God and not worrying about “chasing after the wind” (here it is again!) or other vanities of life that distract the attention of millions. For some individuals I come in contact with, I never know if I’m the only one they might witness that is a committed Christian, experiencing the Peace that only God gives (that surpasses understanding), and the joy that comes from that Peace.

I guess some examples could be everyday conversations when I’m out and about. That’s what I need to work on. When I’m at the post office, buying vitamins at Walgreens or asking for a price check at the grocery store. Can my patience be detected? Can my love for humanity and burden for souls be picked up on, in one small way or another? When I’m with my volleyball team, when I’m performing with my country dance team, when I meet with friends that don’t belong to a church? I guess that’s my challenge for myself, and for everyone, really. Go out and connect with people. You don’t have to make friends with everybody, you don’t have to become an extrovert. But you can live out the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), the commands of Colossians 3, the mindset of Philippians 4:8, and some more of my favorites, Matthew 5:16 and 1 Peter 2:12. I’m making those my daily instructions.

Hopefully we can show people that God’s grace can’t be bought by money or “make-up good deeds,” and that Heaven and following Jesus Christ is more than just singing with a harp and getting a halo someday.

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Filed under Allegories, Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Music, Spiritual Application, State of the world, the Bible