“We are not all born at once, but by bits. The body first, and the spirit later… Our mothers are racked with the pains of our physical birth; we ourselves suffer the longer pains of our spiritual growth.”
Here’s a fun and very easy way to bring some more meaning into your life- to help you stay focused throughout the day on things that matter to you. Here goes!
Let certain times throughout the day remind you of things you’d like to be reminded about.
Many of you may already know of a couple of these. 11:11 (when seen on the clock) is often a time to “make a wish.” I’ve changed it to: “say a prayer.”
1:43 means “I love you,” of course. So when you see 11:11 on the clock, say a quick prayer. When you see that it’s 1:43 think of someone that you love.
Here are some more to help you get started, but I do recommend making them your own, and making your own. It can serve as a great way to be reminded of important, fun, and even meaningful things throughout the day.
12:12 – you might feel blessed for seeing this meaningless time. 🙂
12:34 – …five, six, seven, eight – time to check what comes next (in your day).
1:01 – is my favorite number, so when I see it on the clock, I feel lucky. What’s your favorite number? How would you see yours on the clock?
1:11 – Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Remember your faith.
1:23 – seeing the sequence – what could it mean to you? The start of something, what have you yet to start today? What did you start but didn’t finish?
2:02 – twice as important as my favorite number… what about you?
2:46 – who do YOU appreciate? Think of that person and maybe say a prayer for them.
3:33 – Think of three things for which you are thankful.
3:57 – odds … what’s something odd about yourself that you are proud of (or that you’d like to change)?
4:41 – four people in your life with the same single purpose. What’s that purpose?
7:14 – my area code – what’s yours? Think of home and what you love about it.
11:11 – say a prayer.
Get the idea? Have fun with it, and be sure to stop back here and tell me some ways you’ve incorporated this into your day!
Last night, Monday, February 11th, I went to play ultimate Frisbee for only the second time since moving nine plus hours away. The first time I didn’t really play due to a bum knee that I injured (unbeknownst to me) while playing my last game at Elsie Allen. Last night, by God’s mercy, I was able to play at about 75% of my normal ability. And thankfully, today, my knee feels just fine (I had a fear that playing last night might aggravate the injury but it didn’t seem to have any negative effects). Yet, the experience was bitter sweet nonetheless.
Though the sport of Ultimate Frisbee is, for me, one of the most dynamic and enjoyable to play of all sports, I couldn’t help feeling the absence of my friends. I was playing with a group of people, though kind, generous, and fun, they were strangers. When I looked around the playing field, under spectacular lights no less, I saw faces that I had never known, and I didn’t see the faces of those people with whom I had shared so much over the past year. What’s more, it became clear very quickly that I was playing with people who did not share my faith in Christ. And this revelation weighed heavy upon my heart. For I saw immediately that the core of all relationships that can edify is the foundation of Christ’s love recognized in our lives.
How singular is the group of people I called friends up north rained down upon me in sadness. Up there is a group connected by a single, core bond- Christ (not religious affiliation)- and from there flow the spokes (as from a wheel) the loves of music, movies, madness, and yes, playing ultimate Frisbee in conditions of all sorts, and at all times. This is all not to mention playing capture the flag, and all the silly yet hilarious living room games and discussions- dinners and dances. I’ve been higher than the high Sierra- and certainly all communities from here on out will be mere valleys, if community can be built at all. I’ve experienced the best, and now I’ll make due with the rest.
I’m excited by the prospect of being able to play Ultimate (job permitting) at least three times a week. It appears there’s a Monday night group, a very reliable and active Wednesday night group, and a two different groups that meet on Saturdays. The idea and opportunity for playing on a club team has already been floated- and I pray that I might have the chance to do that. As are so many things in my life, I await the Lord. I await His answers in this life of questions I’m now (and for some time have been) living in. So much is out of my hands, yet I must hold to the trust that the Hands that I’m in are more sure and able than any other.
Help me to trust, O God. Help me to wait patiently for You. How long, O Lord- how long?
Throwing a plastic disc and running around chasing it can seem ridiculous. But so can a joy found in a make believe story. Such are the blessings of God. I just saw last night that blessings often come with lessons. I learned that not all groups are created equal, and that I miss my friends. I learned that, just like a story, it’s not always about the game itself, but sharing it with people you love.
Remember to love.
What had she not known?
He admitted his sins to her, and yet a detailed look anew suddenly changes who she thinks he is?
He thought she wanted a friend to turn to, he thought he had a friend to turn to.
He remembers all the conversations, all the shared thoughts and experiences; he remembers his friend.
She’ll always have a friend in him, if ever she wants it again.
He’s still there. The same man she knew and… loved.
All the laughs are real. All the smiles are real. All the connections are real. All the prayers and all the hopes and fears. All real.
His sins too. All fallen short of the glory of God.
He is human. Just a man. …once, just a friend.
Forgiveness, patience, hope, faith, and love. By God’s grace may he hold these in his heart.
Commercials for Disneyland always say something like, “where memories happen” or “come make memories that will last a lifetime.” I’ve always found those to be rather clichéd and even somewhat grandiose for a theme park to claim. And perhaps those sorts of things are clichéd, and perhaps it is grandiose on their part, but sometimes memories that will last a lifetime come and pull your feet out from under you even before you realized you were standing at all. And sometimes those things do happen at “The Happiest Place on Earth.” For me, the past few days have been exactly that.
In one way, the entire ‘adventure’ could almost be summed up in the following 20 tweets I sent over those days. (I left in all the typos…)
Wow- could sleep for another couple hrs I think…. But good morning
7:04 AM May 13th via txt
Matterhorn!!!!!!!!! Then space mountain, babies!!!
12:51 PM May 13th via txt
Spoace mountain was awesome!!!
1:23 PM May 13th via txt
Star tours!!!! C3-PO action!!
1:30 PM May 13th via txt
Star tours isn’t that great
1:52 PM May 13th via txt
Indiana jones ride. Where’s my whip???
1:54 PM May 13th via txt
Pirates of the C – time to introduice myself to johnnpy depp
2:37 PM May 13th via txt
Next to this screaming kid who must be driving his mom insane…
3:14 PM May 13th via txt
I want some soft serve
4:42 PM May 13th via txt
We’re ON grizzly watter ride and. We’re STUCK !!! HEEEEELP!!! (This is not a joke) 🙂
5:08 PM May 13th via txt
Soarin’ over california is awesome!!
6:04 PM May 13th via txt
Good night, lower lake. That was a blast day and night…
11:38 PM May 13th via txt
Geeze… Can feel “a whole new world” stuck in my head now for the rest of this trip!!!!! It won’t stop. Lol
1:25 PM May 14th via txt
Just saw Captain EO – talk about bringing back memories…
2:56 PM May 14th via txt
Juuuust rode california screamer!!!!!!!!!! Soooooooo amazing!!!!
5:20 PM May 14th via txt
Wwwooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They got me on tower of terror!!!!!!! I rode it!!!!!! Holy mama!!!!!!
6:48 PM May 14th via txt
@billiejolucille @nicollette_93 sssssssssssoooooooooooo intense!!!!!!!!! @EddiePinedaZ wooooooowzer!!!! you guys rock!!
6:50 PM May 14th via txt
Uhhhheechuummm… @nicollette_93 I’ve ALWAYS been a man… Now I just have less hair on my head 🙂
6:57 PM May 14th via txt
(My phone died about an hour before midnight. I wasn’t able to tweet anymore before bedtime.)
A text to the other van that accidentally was sent to twitter, but it does a great job of summing up much of the 9 hour drive:
about 9 hours ago via txt
That’s only 19 tweets, I know. I’m saving the 20th for last.
In between all those tweets are some of the most fun, wacky, thrilling, enchanting, and even frustrating times of recent memory. All of it thrown together creates an experience that I don’t want to let go.
From the moment we drove away from school, beginning our drive to southern California, there was an excitement in the air: that venture into the unknown, that openness to newness. We wrote messages on the cars using washable paint. We played music very loudly and danced in our seats. We jockeyed for position and playfully competed on the trek down I-5. In short, we made what could have been a very long and boring drive into a very long and not-so-boring drive filled with some laughs and many smiles even among the too-many miles.
We got sunburns. At least most of us did. We walked more than is common. We ate foods that normally we couldn’t. Lines long and chaotic filled in as pauses between rocket rides that left us voiceless. The masses of people served as but an almost faceless backdrop to our movie. We felt as if we were the only ones there, despite being surrounded at every curve by sweaty, stroller-toting tourists, and bow-legged babies. Disneyland was ours. And we took it into our arms.
I learned so much about the people I am paid to educate. The people who are genuine, and kind. I saw their generosity, their zeal for life, their creativity, their talents, their kindness, their ease of joy. I saw their smiles. I heard their laughs. We talked. I listened to their talk. I found a deep gratitude within my heart, and a true respect for their individuality.
I also found out how cunning and clever they can be when they set their mind to it. At the outset of the trip I made it very clear, with absolute seriousness, that I would not (repeat not) ride the free-fall, mega-monster ride of death called “Tower of Terror.” It was quite simple. I know from many years of experience that such rides truly and completely horrify me. I’m acutely afraid of heights to the point of sheer, mindless panic. The feeling of powerlessness to falling down a great distance is quite simply one of my most powerful and unavoidable phobias. The Tower of Terror combines these terrors of mine into one gigantically tall box of human torture. You are taken up, you’re dropped. You’re dropped again, and again, and taken up again and again. I cannot tell you how many times, nor how high are the falls. I only know that it seemed to be without end, and the depths were chasms.
I knew all this going in. That’s why I stated without equivocation to everyone who would listen that I was not going on that ride. I’d ride virtually anything else. Just not that one. Well, as you read in the tweets, I was not listened to. At all.
I’d love to be able to sit here and tell you that I conquered my fears; that I strode onto that platform of punishment and looked it right in the face. But I’d be lying. Lying like a dog.
I was dragged on. I was pressured, I was roused, I was even patronizingly chided with offers of dance performances, and who knows how many other promises that I cannot remember. I was apprehended in the midst of a getaway. In short, I was all but lifted up into their arms, an unwilling, but defeated person obeying with weak knees, walking with a pounding heart into the heart of the beast.
Much of the waiting in line was a blur. I honestly do not remember there even being a line. It was as if they had worked something out with Disney to just usher me right onto the torture rack and Disney obliged. I remember lots of people talking to me. I remember thinking that this couldn’t be happening. I remember estimating in my mind how far I’d be able to get if I were to just try running away. I remember sitting down and realizing the seat-belt was altogether an unsatisfactory, nearly useless, piece of comfort.
The ride began moving. I don’t even remember which direction. It just started moving. And I felt powerless. Panic eclipsed my mind and I clung for dear life onto dear Nikki’s soon to be crushed arm. I held on, and I held on with all my strength. As I did so I tried desperately to maintain mental stability. I did not maintain any mental stability. I quite simply freaked out. I don’t know what I said. I don’t know at what volume or to whom I spoke. I only knew two things at that moment. One, I knew that if I lost grip of Nikki’s arm, I would die. Two, I knew that the Tower of Terror was every bit as hideous as my wildest fear-born nightmares could have ever designed.
Then the ride ended. And I began, of all things, laughing. I remember so clearly that laugh. It was a laugh at … life. I was laughing at myself. I was laughing for relief. I was laughing for gratefulness at still being alive. I was laughing with everybody else (who were laughing at me).
I looked around at all the faces of the wonderful people who surrounded me. I saw their smiles. I heard their exclamations and laughter. And I had so much gratitude in my heart at that moment. So much life . . .
The next day, today, I was given a picture of us all as we rode that miserable box through hell. That picture means so much to me. Words will fail me here, but know that my heart is full…for the kindness and generosity that was shown to me. A shared experience that I will never forget.
About twenty minutes after the picture was given to me, as I thought and reflected on the experience and the picture, I sent this following tweet with watery eyes:
Choked up. But didn’t cry. But feel verrry warm inside. Thank you so much @nicollette_93 @billiejolucille @everyoneelse about 5 hours ago via txt
Ya know, nobody else could have gotten me on that ride. No one else would have been successful in getting me on there. Yet, you guys did.
Thank you for reading this.
We pine for that which we do not posses. In the pining there smolders crimson embers, beyond the quenching waters of imperfect fulfillment. Burning deep within, protected and nurtured by the sparks of connection, the combustion of common thought, the conflagration of shared experience, recline our untested hopes—our sanguine appraisals.
Such are the fantastic dreams of men that tumble them out of their warm beds each morning, the same that thrust them into their work, propelling their feet, and alighting their inspiration.
Such are the consuming hopes of women that imbue each with that fortitude to preen, that suggests a wistful refrain at the table, that very same hope that twinkles in her eye as she rounds each new corner.
He seeks to catch a glimpse of that twinkle, for it will further fuel the fire within- adding to his hope and resolve for another day.
She seeks that her sparkling eyes be found in all the sky as a singularity, a sole beacon that he alone finds… until that time when his flame, by her guidance, warms them both.
When it comes to love, rules spoil the game. You must understand, dear souls, love is not a game- but you see the point, I hope.
I’m standing in the dark
With my innocent hand on my heart
I’ve changed my plea
I’ve changed my plea to guilty
Because freedom is wasted on me
See how your rules spoil the game
Outside there is a pain
Emotional air raids exhausted my heart
And it’s safer to be inside
So, I’m changing my plea
And no one can dissuade me
Because freedom was wasted on me
See how your rules spoil the game
Something I have learned
If there is one thing in life I’ve observed
It’s that every body’s got somebody
Ooh no, not me
So I’ve changed my plea to guilty
And reason and freedom is a waste
It’s a lot like life