Domesticity · Family · FFF · Life · Sunday

A year for refinement

Yes, the first month of the year is done, so it won’t be a full year project, but let’s not quibble.

Now is the time for me to embark upon a large-scale self-improvement project. I normally don’t like the term ‘self improvement’ because it reminds me of self-help books, but it’s correct for what I intend.

If I were brutal with myself, I would describe myself as a semi-organized, prickly, uncultured, unstylish blob. I know where most things in my house are, but we often scramble to get things done/scheduled around here. I choose to be polite, but that’s just it — it’s a choice, not a natural state. I do not feed my mind in a healthy way. I have no fashion sense; in my opinion, I still dress like I’m in college, despite nearly being 37 years old. As for my physical state, I have curves, but they all go out.

Therefore, I will use the rest of this year to refine myself. I say refine because I do not want to change who I am at the core, but to present myself better to the world, and to improve what God has given me. The remaining 11 months will each have a focus. They are:

February: Discipline

March: GIGO

April: Manners

May: Kindness

June: Patience

July: Exploring

August: Learning

September: Peace

October: Elegance

November: Creativity

December: Charity

February is discipline because without discipline, none of this will work. Areas I think I need to improve my discipline are in my diet, exercise, getting up in the morning (I tend to snooze), and frankly my work ethic. Keying surveys is very repetitive work, and it’s easy to get bored and daydream. I need to remember to work for God first. With Him as my supervisor, that should hopefully improve my productivity! 🙂

I will keep everyone posted! Wish me luck!

Faith · Sunday

James 3:1-12

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies.

Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire.

The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

Faith · Family · Life · Sunday

Cool news

Peter Mayer, the lead guitarist for Jimmy Buffett, came to our church service this morning. He is/was in Lawrence for a concert to benefit efforts to combat malaria, and came to Trinity Lutheran to perform two songs, Changed by Love and Waterfall. They were both lovely, and Mr. Mayer’s singing and guitar playing were excellent.

Azrael drew him a picture during service, and gave it to him on our way out of the sanctuary.

A very cool way to start the day, and the week.

Faith · Getting Hammered · Life · Sunday · Writing

Writing and real life

When I get any free time, a precious commodity, do I write? No.

I do housework — laundry, dishes, etc — play with Jordan and Azrael, and spend quality time with Chris.

But I do not write.

Why is this?

Let’s see, what are my current excuses… Ah, here’s one!

1) I am very busy.

And I am. I work 32 hours a week, and when I get home, Az and Jordan have needs to be met, such as dinner, bedtime, and playing and talking. The house needs to be kept in order — dishes need to be washed, laundry needs to be done, various things need to be swept and wiped and put where they go — and when all that is done, I’m fairly tired, and I just want to relax. I don’t want to think.

2) Somewhere, writing has turned into work.

Granted, this feeling can very likely be attributed to the fact that I am presently going through one of my periodic battles with depression. Depression colors everything, and nothing seems fun, or good, or worthwhile. At this moment, my depression is a chicken-and-egg question: Did this bout start before my external stresses (finances in poor shape, afraid of being laid off, etc.) kicked in, or after?

Either way, I haven’t wanted to write for a while. I’ve done a little bit on Hunger, but not much, and frankly, Adrian is not that good of company when I’m already feeling down. (It’s not Adrian’s fault. He’s going through an incredibly bad patch in his life, and he hasn’t gotten through to, or even glimpsed, the other side of it yet.)

Writing, especially the kind/s of writing I want to do, should be a labor of love. Especially Getting Hammered! The story of my walk with God, the joy He brings to my life, my observations and struggles, written to reach out to others! GH should reach for me, call to me, invite me to write it; I should long for it; I should be waiting for when I can pick up pen (or touch keys) again.

But I don’t. Not lately, anyway.

This morning in church, the sermon was about rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. My thoughts these last several weeks have centered around the first part, and how exactly we were going to do it. I haven’t thought about the second part.

Getting Hammered is God’s. It is a labor of love; it’s my literary baby. Hunger, Red Sand and apocalypse are also important to me, but GH is special. It was inspired by an elf, amongst other things, so the strange pedigree alone makes it at least a little special.

I need to make time, and care. For those of you who think I’m dismissing depression as something that can be just brushed aside with positive thoughts, you’re mistaken. I’m not; I know that often that not only doesn’t work, but it can make the sufferer feel worse (like this: Depressed person tries to think positive. Depression prevents the sufferer from believing the thought, so the person winds up thinking “Yeah, right,” in response, which deepens the depression.). The external stresses are not going to just go away with positive thinking. We still need to get ahead on our finances; I still need a permanent job.

But while I’m working on those, I can at least try to think better, and to pray.

And to write.