This captures my feelings about writing almost perfectly. In my case, I am inspired to write reviews and commentary on story in the same way. I’m primarily interested in critique and conversation over creation, though. This is just fantastically said.
Day 1 Assignment:Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.
I write because I think about things and I want to write them down. I write because putting something on paper is more significant that speaking it. I write because I want to say things that may or may not be new (mostly not) but speak to myself and people in different ways. I want a voice that matters and that makes someone think about something differently. Words make up sentences, sentences paragraphs, paragraphs chapters and so on. What do I write about? What do I say that matters? I have no idea. Maybe I’m taking myself way too seriously. Maybe I should just write whatever comes to mind and let it all go otherwise. This isn’t significant and doesn’t have to be. It’s a world of competitive words that makes…
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This year was incredible for movies. I decided to expand my usual Top 10 into a Top 15, but I could rave about at least 20 films this year (if not more). There was a great mix of critically fantastic art and big blockbuster fun. As always, feel free to share you own favorites and discuss your thoughts about my choices.
- Gone Girl
- The Fault in Our Stars
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
- The LEGO Movie
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Edge of Tomorrow
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- The Rover
- Into the Woods
- Blue Ruin
- Big Hero Six
Honorable Mentions: Under the Skin and Predestination
Each year there are always films that I don’t get around to watching before choosing my favorites. This year’s films that could potentially have a place in my Top 15 are: The Babadook, Jodorowsky’s Dune, The Imitation Game, Selma, Whiplash, and Only Lovers Left Alive.
This morning I noticed “Year in Review” photo montages popping up all over social media websites. As I considered creating one of my own, I got to thinking about what I would include and whether or not it would tell an accurate story. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words but when viewed out of context that isn’t always true. I also was nervous about going back through my pictures. Memories can be wonderful, but they can hurt as well.
My 2014 had it all. Excitement, new experiences, recognition, rejection, and loss; my year was full of big, impactful events.
I learned a new job, led my team to a number of successes, was repeatedly called “the best Boss I’ve ever had” (of which there is NO higher praise), and then made a mistake that unfortunately sent it all up in flames and left me searching for a new career direction.
I had a taste of the family life I want. I had hope that my dreams were possible. I smiled a lot more than normal and made memories I will always keep. I loved, bet on it, and lost. I had some incredible highs, but now sit in a valley with a long climb out staring me in the face.
As a Dad, I grew closer to my kids and shared one wonderful experience after another with them. Ashlyn and I attended our first Daddy/Daughter dance, memorably walking out afterward into an unexpected fresh snowfall. Tyler shined on the soccer field and I loved every second spent cheering him on. We had board games nights, played video games, and watched TV show competitions together while rooting for our favorites. We took trips to Disneyland and Canada, hiked all over Washington, enjoyed a lovely visit from Grandpa, and ran together through bubbles and colored chalk. We stayed up way past bedtime talking and playing on the weekend, knowing full well that Mom would scold us in the morning. I can truly say that my kids are my best friends in the world and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I’ve made new friends both local and afar, had one of my most fun years ever as a sports fan, discovered a love for exploring the Pacific Northwest outdoors, and enjoyed sharing and experiencing my numerous hobbies with others.
And, sadly, this year I lost my Mom. I’m thankful that I was able to be there, holding her hand and telling her how much I love her as she took her last breath. It’s a moment I will never forget, both for its incomparable pain and its incredible sense of relief. My Mom, the warrior who had battled Diabetes and illness since she was in grade school, had lived a full life of love and was now gloriously free in God’s presence. I miss her every single day, but am excited for when I’ll see her again.
It’s impossible to recap every meaningful moment in a year. Inevitably something will be forgotten or overlooked. If there’s one thing I’ve been learning about in 2014, it’s balance, and having balance means it’s okay to to leave it here. I’ve had some very high highs and some pretty low lows, but I’m still alive and still a reflection of my loving Creator. I still have ambition, desires, and a lot of smiles left inside. So bring on 2015, I’m anxious to see what it holds.
1. It’s okay to cry during worship. Whether it’s God’s presence coming over you or lyrics that trigger some emotion just waiting to explode, it’s okay to let that happen. I wasn’t even really praising today when my sadness overpowered me and brought me to tears. But you know what? In that moment of weakness, I silently was praying and asking for help. I was asking for comfort and this verse popped up on the screen:
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” – Psalms 40:1-2
Well played, God.
2. “For a follower of Jesus, the end game is to learn to love and be loved.” I starred this statement on my outline. It really resonated with me in relation to my current circumstances. We don’t just have to learn how to love, but how to be loved. Is our worth and value really wrapped up in the unconditional, sacrificial love that God has for us? Or does it hang on the validation from the humans we love and expect the same from? Something to seriously consider for sure.
3. It was suggested that when something resonates with us during a service or worship, maybe we should stop and focus on that. The idea that we are able to take in a message’s worth of ideas and fully integrate them during the next week so that we’re ready for more is just silly. As my pastor once said, we haven’t even worked on the things that were talked about four months ago. The last thing we need is more. So when the spirit moves and brings something to my attention, I hope that I’ll have the resolve to let that resonate and not worry so much about the rest.
There is a famous Russian proverb that urges us to “trust, but verify.” The intent behind this saying is that though a person may find a piece of information to be reasonably reliable, that person should do additional research to confirm the initial belief. The question this has raised for me is “Am I really trusting at all?” I think there is a thin line between what we consider trust and what we consider faith. According to Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (NLT)”
So when we break this verse down we have a couple of things going on:
1. Faith means we believe and have confidence that our best case scenario (what we hope for) will actually come true.
2. It gives us assurance/certainty about things we cannot see.
Now let’s look at this through the lens of a loving relationship. How do you approach trust? 1st Corinthians 13:7 offers us some pretty good advice: “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (NLT)” Wow… that’s some strong language! Love NEVER loses faith. It is ALWAYS hopeful. It ALWAYS endures. In other words, love always believes the best. Therefore if our claim to love another human being is true, shouldn’t it model this behavior? If we string these two verses together in everyday language we get something like this…
Love never stops believing that what we hope for will happen and it provides certainty even when we can’t verify that our fears are unfounded. In other words, it’s really not about what the other person does, says, or feels at all. It’s a personal choice. If I love then I should exhibit this behavior. I should make these choices. I should not lose hope and always endure. I should have faith, not just trust.
Something to think about it.
I would support children in need. It breaks my heart more than anything else to see kids who have been abused, abandoned, hungry, thirsty, unloved, and hurting. Honestly, though, it shouldn't take not having responsibilities for anyone to act. If something truly matters to us then we sacrifice where necessary to make that cause a priority. We only avoid helping because of inconvenience. It's always a choice.