December 31, 2010

O Antiphon

Over the past month or so, a few of us at the Gathering have written our own versions of the seven medieval chants. Traditionally they were sung in order in the seven days that precede Christmas.

Recently at church we have taken the same scripture verses and put them to song with an emphasis on the "O's". We also gave a loose translation on the scripture in order to fit into song form. The verses are all from the book of Isaiah and prophetically portray Jesus. Thematically each verse makes for a good basis to create a song of worship. The word Oh has no meaning but is rather an emotional expression that at least for me assisted in the worship wholistically.

Check them out. Pastor Phil wrote #1-3, Jonathan #5, myself #4, 6 and Jodi wrote #7 which unfortunately is not available just yet. The lyrics are as follows:

O SAPIENTIA (Is. 11:2-3; 28:29)
O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High.
You fill the universe and hold all things together
in a strong yet gentle way.
O Wisdom, now come to teach us the way of truth.

O ADONAI (Is. 11:4-5; 33:22)
O Adonai and leader of Israel,
you appeared to Moses in a burning bush
and you gave him the Law on the Holy Mount.
O come and save us with your mighty power.

O RADIX JESSE (Is. 11:1, 10)
O stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations;
kings fall silent before you whom the people acclaim.
O come to deliver us, and do not delay.

O CLAVIS DAVID (Is. 9:6; 22:22)
O key of David and scepter of Israel,
what you close or open no one can undo.
O come and lead us from shackles to freedom.
For too long we’ve dwelt in the dark shadow of death.

O ORIENS (Is. 9:1)
O Rising Sun, you are the splendor of eternal light
and the sun of justice.
O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death.

O REX GENTIUM (Is. 2:4; 9:5)
O King whom all the people desire,
you are the cornerstone that makes us one.
O come and save man whom you made from clay.

O EMMANUEL (Is. 7:14)
O Emmanuel, you’re our king and judge,
the One whom the peoples await and their Savior.
O come and save us, Lord, our God.





December 18, 2010

A Top 10 List of Christmas Albums

Here is my list of albums. Not songs. There are countless wonderful songs out there but here I'm concerned solely with craftwork of an album. A song has parts which makes a whole, so does an album. I like to think of an album as having just as much attention, or close to, given to it's completion as a song gets to have. In a world of random playlists and eternally streaming internet radio stations like pandora I want to give special tribute to the artistry of album compilations, Christmas style. So in partially particular order I give you these.


YoYo MaSongs of Joy & Peace
In this collaboration of artists brought together by YoYo Ma you will find an eclectic collage of classical, jazz, easy listening, folk, traditional and other musical traditions that span the globe. I had high expectations when I purchased the CD and was a little disappointed in my first couple of listens but sure enough it grew on me. Among my favorites are ‘My favorite things’ which features Chris Botti, ‘The Wassail Song’ performed by Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer and ‘The Wexford Carol’ sung by Alison Krauss.


JewelJoy: A Holiday Collection
Take caution, there is cheese located in certain parts of this album. Fortunately for her, she has a voice and style of playing that has a wide range and matches Christmas very well. The songs quickly become likable. Tracks to give special attention to are Winter Wonderland, Ave Maria and oh Holy Night.


Bela Fleck & the FlecktonesJingle all the way
Think of your genius musician friend. Now think of your genius musician friend who just had three cups of spiked egg nog at a yuletide party. This is what Jingle all the way sounds like. There is my all time favorite version of Sleigh Bells and on the 12 days of Christmas which is the easiest song to play they make it the most confusing by assigning each day with it’s own style of music, time signature and key. And on songs like Danse of the Sugar Plum Fairy (which sounds like the name of a Bela Fleck tune anyways) they give a solid performance. Perhaps the strangest part is in the beginning of the album where a tuvan throat singer leads Jingle Bells. Listen to this when you’re in a wacky mood only.


Third DayChristmas Offerings
This is one of my favorite holiday albums from the christian contemporary music scene. Third Day has always been one of my favorites and this is one of their best albums. It’s energetic without having that plastic pop component. Just like their other “Offering Albums”, there is an element of live worship mixed with studio tracks.


Steven PaseroChristmas Classics for Guitar
Obviously the most traditional of my top ten. Nothing can really replace the beauty of classical guitar playing christmas sounds.


SojournAdvent Songs
I recently came across this album. They’re a church band from Kentucky with excellent taste and superb artistry. Even though only eight songs, this shorter album is worth it. Advent Songs is split between originals and traditionals. My favorites include their arrangement of Joy to the World, and the originals, God is with us and Amen, Amen.


Johnny CashThe Christmas Spirit
You know the feeling when it’s late at night and all the lights in the house are off except the Christmas lights. You peak outside and hear nothing but a quiet stillness to suddenly notice the snow begin to fall. That’s what I feel when I listen to this album. There’s a calm and warm vintage vibe here. With baritone lullabies and storytelling, Johnny Cash is backed up by the sounds of a small reverberated choir ooing and aaing, an old electric organ with vibrato and of course his usual back-up band sound. If you never liked Johnny Cash, this piece might convert you.


Jars of ClayChristmas Songs
This is not for the hard core Christmas Carol traditionalist nor those of you who only enjoy the first album or two that Jars of Clay put out. They certainly mess around with beloved songs like O, little town of Bethlehem and make something that sounds completely different yet (and this is what I find fascinating) keep the song’s original vibe. There are also unexpected covers such as Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ and Charlie Brown’s ‘Christmastime is here’. There is a flow throughout all fifteen songs which is something I highly value. The pervading feeling is one that exudes a transcendent frostiness all the while hanging on to cheer.


Vince GuaraldiA Charlie Brown Christmas
Who doesn’t like this album? It’s timeless.


Over the RhineSnow Angels
Cram together a Christmas Gilmore Girls episode with Ray Lamontagne as a woman and you’ve got Snow Angels. Well kind of. Melissa and I saw these guys live last December so they played most of this album in their set list. They were phenomenal. In twelve songs, almost every emotion is touched upon and a wide range of music style is heard without losing a cohesive feel throughout. Also, even though this is fully Christmas in spirit I can get away with playing it all throughout the year.


HONORABLE MENTION


Sufjan Stevens
Songs for Christmas
42 songs of confusingly awesome uniqueness.. or was it 52 songs?









Loreena McKennit
A midwinter’s night dream
it sounds like it what it says.









Over the Rhine
The darkest night of the year
If they made two Christmas albums (this one is the first) you know they’re serious about Christmas. And seriously good at it too.

December 13, 2010

Thoughts for this Advent

This Christmas season I am a little more sane than usual. Despite being one of my favorite holidays, Christmas has been a time in which I was inevitably spread so thin and emotionally spent. It was always hard for me to complain about this out loud for fear of being seen as ungrateful for the blessing of having such a large and loving family between Melissa and myself.

Could I be closer to Christ while observing Advent? I suppose so. But that hurried, anxious spirit that makes God feel distant (even though he wasn't for the most part)is no longer around and I can see and sense the presence of Christ this Advent with a greater level of clarity than perhaps ever. If this is true then this I know will be my favorite present that I receive. On a side note I am also uber Christmasy this year.

My family loves me and I receive a ton of gifts both for my birthday and Christmas.
Every year it seems that by Thanksgiving I'm probably finishing opening the last of my Birthday gifts and I do so bloated with food because I have stuffed my face all day long only to find myself being asked by loved ones at the end of the day what stuff I want for Christmas. At moments like those I wish I could be like my Grandparents who in the twilight years of their lives tell everyone to not give them anything for Christmas but rather give to a charity of their choosing. Of course for them there is logic in not acquiring any more stuff and it's always sad to think about that fully. Me, I have no excuse. So for now I must indulge and this is the first year I don't feel so bad doing so.

I believe My challenge for this Advent and the coming new year is to creatively and exponentially multiply my blessings with cheerfulness and open hands. How that is supposed to look like I couldn't say right now. Lord help me.

September 24, 2009

New Home

My wife and I bought a house a couple months ago. Spent a few months looking for it. We get to sink our roots deep down. The fact that we are taking care of plants gives evidence to our intention of staying in one place for a very long time. Praise God.




















May 09, 2009

this is my new life

"Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

16-20Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you.

21How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God."


end of second corinthians, fifth chapter. the message.

April 30, 2009

Breaking the Silence

Inspiration seems to happen at the most inopportune of times. Whenever I come up with a melody or a line of lyrics that I like I'm right in the thick of some type of work or whatever. Is this creative frustration or is creativity just building up within until the right time? ...I hope it's the latter and I guess that could get frustrating so really it's both. Fortunately for me my brain works to where I forget something for a matter of months and then out of no where remember it again.

February 20, 2009

the resolve to recycle

January 1st was the first day in which the city of Salem enforced a new trash rule. Instead of unlimited trash, every household and business is now limited in their amount of waste. I will spare the mundane amounts but it is significant to mention that there is no limit to how much everyone can recycle. The newly enforced law became the city’s biggest complaint for the month of January. It’s February now and it took me this long but I have adapted from being a complainer to an avid recycler, even in the stamp shop that I work at we are stepping up and making a huge effort in sorting out the recycling. I’ve been busy modifying my wasteful behavior…and my attitude. Times are changing.

December 28, 2008

December 10, 2008

Glimpsing into Darkness, Chasing the Light

Darkness and Light come hand in hand. Neither is inherently evil, despite popular opinion which overwhelmingly would equate darkness with evil. I see light as close a symbol as possible to knowledge, revelation or sight.

Genesis 1:1-5
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.


According to scripture, darkness is neither good nor bad. It just is. Someone who has seen the light, or is shedding light, or is looking to have some light shed on something they are curious about may have good intentions. Soon enough, without true humility, deceit and pride sets in. In trying to become like God we divide light and darkness as we see fit, hiding what we don’t want others to see in the darkness of secrecy and parading noble things of ours in the light. God calls us to do the opposite; to hide our deeds of light in the dark and expose our deeds of darkness in the light. Though this is not always the case

Matthew 5:14-16
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.


Because this is not always true I would argue against the correctness of the yin-yang which claims everything is balanced, including darkness and light. Another reason is because once something is known personally it is always known and darkness cannot re-enter to bring balance. Light is most certainly stronger though it is not always predictable. God can see places that are illumined and places that are in darkness. Nothing is hidden from Him. Knowing this brings me comfort and helps me to relieve any fears I may have of darkness. This knowledge is a part of what I call salvation.

Light is a creation of God’s or a creative act of His that brings knowledge in a communicative way. This relational light of God’s is always there and cannot be uncreated though it can move and be elusive, almost fluid like. Try holding light in your hand. Once you close your fist the light is gone. Thus, the light shines upon those who are curious but not controlling, open not closed. Anyone who is willing to be passive while actively seeking the Light will accept and embrace the ebb and flow of darkness and light. This is what the path of salvation will look like. Night and day, summer and winter. The seasons of light and dark are put into place according to God’s wisdom and love.

December 06, 2008

If Coldplay could fly

I thought this was very interesting.

November 11, 2008

the auto bailout

This I read in the New York Times - “Emergency assistance to the automobile industry would be conditioned on executive compensation restrictions, a prohibition on golden parachutes, rigorous independent oversight, and other taxpayer protections to ensure that any companies that benefit from this assistance — and not the taxpayers — bear the full burden of repaying any costs that are incurred,” Ms. Pelosi said.

“It is essential for the domestic automobile manufacturing industry to re-emerge as a global, competitive leader in fuel efficiency and in new, path-breaking energy-efficient technologies that protect our environment. For the automobile industry to be truly viable, it must continue to move in this direction.”


If our tax money is going to bailout millions of hard working men and women (the good part) and the super rich(the not so good part) then the government should go all the way in stepping in and make it a law that from now on, all production and engineering be done with hybrid/green technology or atleast move towards it in fast-forward motion. No matter how much I dislike this economic bailout, this is a chance for the government to do a good deed. That's all assuming that part of the 700 billion bailout package goes towards the auto industry. We'll see I guess.

September 23, 2008

In Loving Memory

As the light of day grew shorter and dim,
so it was with you.
The cold came stronger with every visit and
the angst of the coming night was upon us all.
But when it came the scare was just a bluff
and death was swallowed up.

Even still, I miss you.



1918 - 2008

September 17, 2008

September 14, 2008

President?

I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not sure what I think. I'm paying as much attention as I can stand and I still don't fully understand. Who should I vote for? I've watched in part the conventions and considered them almost as mature and/or interesting as a high school pep rally. I learned the other day that our tax dollars pay for these worthless events. That made me mad.

Looking at the issues and each candidate's proposed plans I've come to the conclusion that to say one is better does not mean that the other is all wrong, they are just two different approaches. I know that I'm not wise in the way of politics and knowledgable about governmental things. When my intellect is not there (which in lofty circumstances like these it usually isn't) I then resort to using my vibe.

My vibe tells me that if there are two different philosophies/governing styles/political parties then it is a healthy thing to rotate back and forth between them both. Wait. Was that a decision? It all depends on what my vibe says about how long the rotations should be. Each one being different. Maybe I'll have an answer by November 4th. If not, no problem. I won't vote.

Along with my political ignorance I will propose these (not-so-serious) suggestions that I think would improve America.

1. Get rid of primary elections. There should only be a one time election with atleast twelve candidates.

2. Get rid of super delegates and all that stupid stuff. Make voting a plain and simple election where every vote is equal.

3. Get rid of Palin and Biden. The president will be who ever wins the election. The vice president would be the one in second place.

4. Get rid of national conventions.

5. The government should pay each person to vote.

6. The president is no longer required to of been born in America. Just a resident for twenty five years in a row. This rule can only apply if all the previous rules are in effect.

September 04, 2008

psalm for the unspiritual me or.. the summer blues

What’s the worst that can happen to me?
I am in Christ. I am alive. I am free.

Remind me. Shake me. Tear me from complacency.

I can hear eternity in the present sounds.
Noises that are whispering behind
the brokenness of this temporary state.
Love. Joy. Hope.
They always win at the end of the day.

Season’s shift and within their turning
a place that is thin appears.
A moment of change
and a reminder
of the changeless and sovereign One.

Come Holy Spirit. Give me to You.

July 31, 2008

A Masterpiece

This is such an excellent bedtime story narrated perfectly by jermaine.

July 23, 2008

Vacation Pictures

Last week we were celebrating our fifth anniversary! These are just a few pictures that show in part how awesome it was.











July 21, 2008

imagine being loved

I'm going back and forth. Lately I've been closer to the side of the opinion that certain songs are not appropriate during worship. Songs like "My Beloved" or "Crucified" have lyrics which proclaim that I am His beloved and that above all creation He died for me. These words can seem to be quite egocentric during a time when I should be steering my attention away from myself. Of course there are theological implications within the theme of these songs, especially "crucified". Is it OK to focus on the self and consider God's personal love towards us as individuals? Or should we rather consider God's love towards us as a community and that God favors a community of Christ like self-sacrifice over the individual and their personal needs? These are questions that I wrestle with. I've not been aware of this wrestling but it's been happening on a subconscious level.

The back and forth motion of this wrestling is not a concrete place to be but I think that's the point. It shouldn't be. I have found that the rythym of God's Spirit is one that goes through seasons. Or atleast seasons are what God uses in order to better reveal His Infinite Self to my tiny finite self. I've heard someone say the term "living in the tension of paradox". Jesus did this with perfection and beauty.

Could it be that this humility to not sing these songs at all is false? and if false humility is the problem, why? Where does it stem from? To avoid this I believe that it is important to focus on the self but only for a short "season". We should dare to imagine that we are loved, personally and passionately. After realizing this is true we should let that awareness seep into our spirits all the while reminding ourselves that we are but dust. If this is done the natural reaction would be one of praise, worship and adoration towards the Creator. The result and effect on the heart would be a healthy balance of self worth and humility.

July 07, 2008

imagination

The talk that N.T. Wright gave in the previous post resounded fully in my heart. I've been mulling over the topic of imagination on and off for the past year or two. Matthew 18 says At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. Children have an uncanny ability to be themselves, to say it like it is, to trust and to imagine or pretend. These attributes are some which belong to one who is great in the kingdom of heaven.

As Bishop Wright pointed out, when someone is exposed to mystery, beauty and possibility they are more likely to believe then before they were exposed (paraphrase). I believe in who God is dogmatically. It is a little harder for me to believe in what He could possibly do. It's not that I don't believe in the work of the Holy Spirit to bring about heaven on earth, I do. By because of my sinful nature I fall into a place of not actively believing. The first step in actively believing requires imagination. Can I imagine a need being filled? Can I imagine myself or someone else being healed? Can I imagine doing something that seems unlikely for me? Can I imagine being able to do something that I have not been able to do in a while? You get the idea.

Imagination does have it's limits. We should not entertain the thought that our own strength, will and imagination can bring about what we might think is utopia. Whatever we do that is not the will of God will fade. Expressed imagination can also amplify whether someone is seeking the Lord or being selfish, or worse. Prayerful imagination brings one to a place where faith is encouraged and courage is normal. Imagination along with a contrite spirit can warm the cold adult heart and clear the way in order to better hear the voice of God.

Lord give me the grace to even be able to imagine.

June 30, 2008

unity

I am a broken record. I've mentioned before that unity within the body of Christ is a burden/calling on my heart. It is my great hope and my great frustration. On the top of my head there are three major barriers that cause division in the Church. Institutional Denominations, Race, & theological doctrine (both in belief and in practice). They are not intrinsically evil in of themselves but rather a myriad of strengths within God's diverse family that have become weaknesses. The causes of this is the effect sin continues to have on earth and humanity. Chaos is breaking us down along with creation. We are prone to selfishness which divides. Another cause is the presence of a personal and active evil that seeks to divide what God seeks to bring together.

In my experience, unity within in the universal body of Christ has been able to happen in events that have certain characteristics to them. The first most common multi-faceted gathering would be that of the pentecostal or charismatic persuasion. This is perhaps the easiest these days because during a time of worship in which the power of the Holy Spirit is heavily sought after, doctrine is usually the first to get pushed aside. Methods and different expressions of the faith are temporarily put on hold but it's usually one style that refuses to compromise from the start. With just the gifts of the Spirit and no the fruit, what looks like a sudden large fire can go out just as fast.

The second would be the ceremonial gathering. A religious holiday like thanksgiving, christmas or holy week. You may see races or denominations coming together with a common liturgy. On a smaller scale, holidays are a time when estranged family members come together.

It is interesting to note that these two gatherings are at either end of the spectrum. One relies on liturgy, another on experience. A couple problems with this is that this is solely based on events. The other is that the practice of unity deals with relationships and neither temporary experiences nor liturgy can take it's place. Relationships require compromise, Compromise requires deconstruction in order to discern what can be thrown away for the sake of coming together. Reconstruction is always slow but it must follow. What does Reconstruction look like? Reconstruction happens in the presence of God during worship. I believe it is the marriage of ancient liturgy and pentecostal experience with the foundation of relationship. The key to relationship is service and self sacrifice. Letting go of pet peeves and pet doctrines etc.. It is the coming together to enjoy and share with each other. It is also the coming together to fulfill the biblical mandate of Matthew 25:34-36

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

I've wondered how I can do my part in bringing about unity in Christ? How can I bring people together when I'm not a people person? Where do I even start? All I have so far is this: do small things and pray. I have faith that unity can and will happen, I hope it will happen in my lifetime but even if it doesn't I will still love everyone no matter what.

part of John 17 (the message)

Jesus' Prayer for His Followers

Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:
Father, it's time.
Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.
I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I'm not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I'm no longer going to be visible in the world;
They'll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

Now I'm returning to you.
I'm saying these things in the world's hearing
So my people can experience
My joy completed in them.
I gave them your word;
The godless world hated them because of it,
Because they didn't join the world's ways,
Just as I didn't join the world's ways.
I'm not asking that you take them out of the world
But that you guard them from the Evil One.
They are no more defined by the world
Than I am defined by the world.
Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
Your word is consecrating truth.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
I give them a mission in the world.
I'm consecrating myself for their sakes
So they'll be truth-consecrated in their mission.

I'm praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they'll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they'll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you've sent me and loved them
In the same way you've loved me.

June 28, 2008

confession

Here is a gallery of a few musicians that I am slightly embarrassed to say that I like. I do not own any albums from these artists but I think they are very talented and have written some of the best songs that exist.


although one of his songs is involved in an event I slightly regret in High School I can't help but dig those signature melodies of his.


the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as prince... need I say more. Of all the decent songs of the eighties (which are few in number), he has written a good portion of them.


If you say you don't like any of his songs you are probably lying. Sing with me "it's the circle of life.. "

work ~ sing

The place that most of us find ourselves spending the most amount of our awake time is at work. At my place of work I could go through a full day and say only a handful of words (and that happens a lot). I am a quiet guy with a pretty hefty work ethic. I believe strongly that when I'm at work that's what I should be doing: work. I talk to God at work. I praise and thank him for who he is and what he's done. I ask him to give me strength, wisdom and joy as I toil the day away. I ask him to help me prioritize when I'm over my head in stuff to do. I ask for his presence to come into the work-shop and touch each one of us. I also intercede for those in need that come to mind. Sometimes my prayers are silent. Other times I find myself muttering my prayers out loud just by second nature. There have been times after realizing that I was muttering that there was someone else close by and I get all self-conscious that they heard me and thought I was weird talking to myself. Sometimes I sing my prayers or just sing praise. Not too loud but in a volume that's kind of under my breath. Whatever words and melody may come goes out of my mouth. This last way is probably the best in the work setting. If I'm too silent at work my co-workers might think that I've taken a vow of silence. If I'm muttering under my breath they might think I'm loony. If I sing they'll most likely think I'm happy and content.

You know what? who cares what other people think, right?

June 25, 2008

work ~ shade


For about eight years I was a troll that worked underground. Now that my place of employment has moved it's facility a year ago I have been enjoying large and numerous windows in every part of the workshop. I catch myself every now and then staring out these windows at the clouds, animals and trees when I'm in the middle of working. This spring has been especially beautiful compared to most and I have had the privilege to watch every step of it right from where I make the rubber stamps and engraved signs. In my gazing I have noticed that some buds grow so fast that you could almost watch it grow. Obviously this can't be done. It's kind of like the old saying "a watched pot never boils". But if I shake my head to stop staring out the window and finish my days work, when I look back out the window I then see a difference, even from morning to evening of the same day.

One of my favorite parts of this past spring was when walking home from work I felt a decent heat from the sunshine along with a cool wind. The evening sun would've been glaring right on me but I was pleased to notice for the first time leaves above me. Trees with young but full leaves all the way down the street. I was for the first time this year in the shade of the trees. The smell of flowers were blossoming and the cool wind blew through the leaves causing a familiar and relaxing sound.

It is common to think that contemplation can only be done in silence and in stillness. I disagree. Sometimes the exact opposite is needed in order to clear the head so that interactive praying and listening to the Holy Spirit can take place. This shouldn't be used as an excuse for those of us who are addicted to activity. Rather, it should be known that waiting on God is both active and passive.

June 22, 2008

There and Back Again


Tonight, I finally came to an end of a great book. I am probably the slowest and most distracted reader that you'll ever meet. Over the course of who knows how long I finished 'the Hobbit'. It became one of my favorites by the time I reached the middle and I went from being more than a little annoyed at Bilbo's character to a mild admiration. When Bilbo came home it was mentioned that it happened on June 22nd, which is today. !?.

June 08, 2008

Gesundheit


If you stop and think why we do some of the things we do you will undoubtebly come across some wacky scenarios. Take saying "God bless you" to someone after they sneeze for instance. A few years ago I put this habit of mine under some serious questioning. In hearing about the etymology of this phrase or word and the paranoia that seemed to breed this popular habit I came to the decision that I would not take part in this silliness. So everytime someone sneezed I remained silent refusing to give in to the paranoid superstition. After every sneeze there would be an awkward silence (maybe it was just awkward for me).

After a few months of maintaining this new habit of mine I came to the conclusion that I was just being stubborn for the sake of being stubborn. My new philosophy on the matter was that this weird phenemenon that I considered to be theologically and scientifically stupid was actually a great excuse to say a blessing without sounding overly religious.

A fews later here in the present with my new resolve still intact I am coming across another baffling realization. It seems like the traditional gesundheit after the sneeze is going out of style for whatever reason. Have you noticed this too? If so, why do you think this is so?