I’m Ready for Fall (Again)

It’s still summer, or as I prefer to call it, the sweaty stinky weather season. I think I started sweating profusely on June 21 and have not stopped since.

I’m ready for fall.

There will be people who say that summer weather is best, and that 95 degrees with 110% humidity makes for a perfect day. Do not trust these people.

Also don’t trust the people who wear sweaters or jackets when it’s over 85 outside. I sweat even more even being around these people. Don’t they know it’s hot? Don’t they know that I’m about to have a heat stroke?

I love fall not only for the cooler temperatures. For me, autumn has a way of conjuring so many happy memories from my past. It has a way of bringing up faces and places that I hadn’t thought of in years.

Plus, there’s the added benefit of all things pumpkin spice, bonfires, hot tea, hayrides, s’mores, crisp breezes, leaves changing colors, and flannel (which I’ve always felt was like wearing an extended hug).

Sometimes I think I’d like to reverse hibernate. I could take an extended nap during the hotter months and wake up when the cool weather and crispness returns.

For those who are curious, there are 33 days, 16 hours, and 2 minutes left until the official start of fall season. Not that I’m counting or anything.

Another Week in the Books

I read somewhere that the first five days of the week are always the hardest.

This week wasn’t necessarily bad or hard, just long. Each day felt a week long and the week itself felt like a month.

The good news is that I was able to accomplish a lot.

The bad news is that I am completely and utterly pooped.

The best news is that the weekend has arrived and I can hopefully rest a bit.

I still believe the best approach to living when the days get long is to take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time. Live the moment you’re in to the fullest and let the next one come when it comes.

Be thankful in all the moments and the miracle of being fully alive to God’s presence will come.

It helps to have a pet to come home to who will be a source of comfort and stress relief.

It helps to have at least one friend to whom you can be completely honest, who will ask the tough questions, and won’t settle for surface answers like “I’m fine” when he or she asks how you’re doing.

It helps to exercise and get in at least 30 minutes a day of brisk activity, especially if it’s out in nature. Losing yourself in the outdoors is one of the best kinds of therapy I know of.

It helps to do something you love once a day, like reading a good book or watching a favorite TV show or simply relaxing in a hammock. It gives you something to look forward to when the day seems unending.

Most of all, if helps if you remember that your identity and self-worth come not from your performance but in how God sees you. Once you can fully embrace that God calls you His Beloved and live out of that, you can better face the obstacles in your day knowing that the victory is already won.

 

Randomness on a Thursday

So I’ve been laying in bed with my laptop for what seems like forever (but has been more like 30 minutes or so). I’ve been thinking about writing something profound and lasting, but all I have going through my head are snatches of random songs (and if you know my musical tastes, you know that when I say random, I mean “they should make pills for this” kind of random”).

I’m thankful that it’s Friday Eve, known to most of the world as Thursday. For some reason, this week has felt a lot longer than five days. Not that it was overly stressful or physically taxing. It just seemed longer than normal. I personally blame the humidity.

Whatever the case, this time tomorrow, I’ll have looked at my retreating work week in the rear view mirror, both literally and metaphorically.

In the mean time, my brain is fried. Deep fried. So to all of you, have a good night and pleasant dreams and I will see you tomorrow.

 

A Good Mid-Week Prayer

“Lord
Enlighten what’s dark in me,
Strengthen what’s weak in me,
Mend what’s broken in me,
Bind what’s bruised in me
Heal what’s sick in me,
And lastly,
Revive whatever peace and love
Has died in me.
Amen.”

Many of us come to this point in the week and wonder how we can ever muster up enough energy and strength to make it through the second half of the weak.  We already feel so depleted and drained.

The hope expressed in this prayer is that when we feel completely inadequate, we find that God is truly enough. God is our strength in weakness, our joy in despair, our overcoming in defeat.

I found another prayer you can say when feeling weary and overburdened. I’m posting a link to the source so you can read the rest and subscribe if you like what you read.

http://www.motheringspirit.com/2015/08/the-theology-of-tired-and-a-prayer-for-the-sleep-deprived/?subscribe=success#blog_subscription-2

Anyway, here’s that prayer as promised:

“God, I am tired.
Give me rest. Give me peace when there is not enough rest.
Grant me patience. Grant me forgiveness when there is not enough patience.
Lend me clarity. Lend me charity when there is not enough clarity.
Help me love. Help me believe there is always enough love.
Amen.”

Last of all, I wanted to add a benediction I found on the inter-webs. It’s a fitting close to this blog post:

“May God the Father
prepare your journey,
Jesus the Son
guide your footsteps,
The Spirit of Life
strengthen your body,
The Three in One
watch over you,
on every road
that you may follow.”

Amen to that.

I Got Nothing (Again)

I’ve been sitting here, meaning to create something beautiful and meaningful to share with all of you via social media. Instead, I’ve been looking at pictures of cats on Facebook again. Oh, those crazy felines.

I’m a little sad that people still believe that they are superior to others based solely on the color of their skin. I would have thought that kind of thinking died out with the Jim Crow laws and segregation from the 50’s. It’s the height of ignorance to think that people who look different than you are somehow less.

Then again, I catch glimpses of what’s in my own heart from time to time. I see snatches of what I could have been apart from the grace of God, and it’s not a pretty picture. I know that I as a fallen human being am capable of the worst kind of cruelty and hatred imaginable.

I believe that Jesus died for all people. That includes the woman who died while protesting in Charlottesville. That includes the man who was driving the car that ran her over. No one is ever excluded from the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. No one.

You don’t fight hatred with more hatred. You fight it with love. Not the sentimental, sappy kind of love that’s vague and tolerates everything, but the kind that led Jesus to a cross. The kind that led Him to forgive those who were in the very act of murdering Him.

As the saying goes, always be kind because you never know what private battles people are facing. You never know when it will be you who is struggling and desperately longing for kindness from someone else.

And now back to those crazy cat videos. Those just never seem to get old, do they?

 

 

My Takeaways from the Wild and Wacky World of Politics

I normally don’t get into too much political speculation on these blog posts, but I feel like this one is just about dying to get out. Here are some of my takeaways from what I’ve seen of the political world lately:

  1. When it comes to the media, I follow the old X-Files mantra– “Trust no one.” I think these days, the media indoctrinates more than it informs and I feel like facts and the truth often lose out to biases, agendas, and spin. As an actor put it, if you don’t read (and watch) the news, you’re uninformed. If you do, then you’re misinformed.
  2. I still believe that if you’re not an Independent by now, you’re either 1) not paying close enough attention, 2) still drinking either the red or the blue kool aid, or 3) ignorant of the fact that both parties kowtow the knee to the interests of lobbyists and special interest groups and no longer represent the American people.
  3. We’re all in this boat together. Red and yellow, black, and white, as the song goes, are all precious in God’s sight. White supremacy is a doctrine straight from the pit of hell, and no one who claims to follow Jesus (who was not white) can in the same breath condemn anyone else on the basis of their gender or ethnicity or background.
  4. That love your enemies thing? Yeah, Jesus really meant that. It’s easy to love those who love you back, who are on your side politically. It’s easy to fall into self-righteousness when condemning the other side (anyone who disagrees with you) as imbecilic and evil. But those who follow Jesus heed His words to love your enemies and pray for those who actively persecute you (which meant those Romans who were pretty much bad guys on an epic scale).
  5. I’m still looking for kindness and grace from either side in the political arena and finding it way less common than arrogance, sanctimoniousness, and that self-righteous smugness that is convinced that anyone who has even the tiniest amount of heart and brains will be on your side. A smidge of humility would go a long way in this dialogue.
  6. Ultimately, I know that the problems of this nation aren’t political or social or racial or anything other than spiritual. As I heard it put once, it’s not a skin problem nearly as much as it is a sin problem, and we’re all sinners in need of the grace of God.

The Red Sled Lives On

Four years ago, I acquired this 1997 Jeep Cherokee, also affectionately known as the Red Sled. Said Red Sled now has over 323,000 miles and is still running like a champ (knock on the nearest wooden object I can find).

I don’t see any newer vehicles that I like quite as much as my beloved Jeep. Almost none of them has the style or personality. While the gas mileage isn’t the greatest, it gets me where I need to go with more than a little pizazz. That has to count for something.

I know it doesn’t look like a new car anymore. It has its share of dings and scratches and blemishes like any self-respecting 20 year old car should. I’ve seen a lot of cars not quite as old that look way more beat up and run down than mine.

I’m thankful for this Jeep, even if the KBB value is under $1000. It’s value to me is way more than monetary. There are lots of great memories (and a few sad ones, but the good ones far outweigh the bad) associated with this car. Lots of family and friends have ridden in it over the years, and lots of good conversations and laughter have taken place there.

I plan to keep driving the Red Sled for a while longer. It may not have the cool factor of a Wrangler or a CJ7, but it’s hip and trendy enough for me. Plus, the A/C still works great, which is always a bonus in the hot and sticky Tennessee weather we’re having (can fall please get here soon?).

I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about whether my car will get me where I need to go. It’s very dependable. And did I mention how cool I look driving it with my gnarly $20 shades?