Into the Blue

A Bold Start to the New Year

December 31st, 2014

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. If it’s important enough to change next year, it’s important enough to change immediately. However, this year, I feel compelled to use the new year to redouble efforts on the resolutions I’ve struggled — some I’ve even failed — to keep over the years.

In matters of faith, I intend to take up my daily scripture study again. Along with that, I will also be reading a daily devotional, attending church regularly, and working to keep a Sabbath as best I can. The latter is for my own sanity, as it will afford time for decompression from the rest of the week. I’ve been feeling adrift lately, and I know the erosion of this pillar in my life is at the root.

Another goal for the year is to establish a daily workout routine to get back into the shape I was in five years ago. If I can find a league that fits my schedule, I want to get back into indoor soccer. I’ll also be looking to get out hiking more often starting in the spring.

I have plans to build up my relationships this year. I’ll be working to strengthen my relationship with Barbara. I’ll be calling my parents and brother more frequently to keep in touch, and take back up my letter writing to my grandmother.

I’ve already started working through the Art of Manliness30 Days to a Better Man and working through its thought-provoking questions. I’m hoping to learn and grow from the experience and find better ways to live my life as I continue maturing out of my 20s.

Reading is also a habit I shall be rebuilding this year. I’ve read only three books in the last two years, and I feel rather shamed by the lists of my friends. I would like to get in the habit of reading at least three books a month. I’ve always enjoyed learning, thinking, and growing; whether from fiction or non-fiction.

It’s a tall order for myself, a bold start to the new year, but if I maintain even half of my goals, I’ll be proud. I only know I’ve seen little progress in my life over the last several years and I grow tired of seeing the same man at the end of each year. So here’s to 2015 and growing wiser than I’ve been.

This Vapor We Call Life

October 10th, 2011

Today, I attended the memorial service of a guy I graduated high-school with. While we were never all that close in school or after it, I still felt compelled to pay my respects. It was not that the man was unlikable that I was never close to him, but that we ran in different circles in high school. Such is the reality of public high school society; you identify people with their cliques and not with their attributes. After school, I didn’t keep contact with many. It saddens me a bit to realize I’ve failed to stay in touch with any of the people I went to school with.

Since his death, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my life; something that the death of those around me seems to always bring on. As when Jack died last year, I felt almost a sense of shame at the memorial. Both men have left a large impact on a great many people, and a great many people came to remember both. I fear that the same would not be said of me if I were to die today. Who could say the world lost anything in my passing? What mark would I leave? I’m afraid either list would be short.

For a brief moment; I felt as though such thoughts were selfish, but soon I realized God is using this shame to spur me on and take me out of this malaise I’ve been mired in for too long. Satan would be thrilled if I hold on to that feeling of selfishness and avert from doing anything of worth. I must be on guard, however, to not venture too far the other direction. It is possible to become prideful and boastful in one’s good works. No, any good works I do must be properly attributed to God’s work in me and through me. For I well know that it is only by his providence, guidance, and power that I am even where I am today.

I feel stirred to try and get into flight school again and finish what I started so many years ago. I should have finished five years ago, and be well on my way into my career. I could be doing something with my life, and doing something I love and enjoy. Mike is unable to finish his dream, so I feel I should finish mine in his honor.

I also feel shame that while his faith was growing, mine was waning. He was gaining strength from the Lord, and I was seeking strength in myself. I need to seek after the Lord again. I need to take hold of Him again. God used Mike in these short few months of his remaining life and it’s inspiring. It was clear at the memorial that he has already inspired several people. I pray that the testimony of his life reaches others yet.

Being the Body of Christ

October 28th, 2010

I was sitting at a red light downtown last night when I was struck with a thought. It was sparked by seeing a homeless woman holding a sign that read, “Anything helps”. As I sat there, I tried to avoid eye contact as I felt pity on her and knew I had no cash on me to offer — other than $35 in Canadian currency, which is of little use in Spokane. Driving away, the thought struck me; never in the Gospels is there mention of Jesus handing out money to the homeless. While it doesn’t expressly imply that he never assisted those in need with financial assistance, I believe it gives a stronger implication about how best to help those in need, one that is starting to take root.

Jesus came into contact with many who were homeless beggars throughout his earthly ministry, but his actions were markedly different from what his followers do today. It is easy and simple to hand out financial assistance, but it really doesn’t alleviate their condition. Yet it is exactly this method we, as Christians, often take. “Here’s five bucks. It’s all I can spare, but I hope it helps.” Five dollars can get you a few meals if you have means to cook. I can buy several cans of Campbell’s Soup on five dollars, but then I’m back to wondering how I’ll afford to buy more when the money runs out. Have you really addressed their need?

When Jesus came into contact with the man born lame, he did not just drop a few coins at his feet and say, “Here. Get something to eat.” Jesus addressed his real need, both physical and spiritual. He first says, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven,” (Matt. 9:2) then he addresses his physical need and commands him to get up and walk.

The people we encounter in our own daily lives may not be born lame, but their needs are no less requiring a long-term fix. The homeless are not in need of a simple hand out. They are in need of sustainable income. Granted, there are those that are homeless by choice and have made panhandling a vocation (and scripture addresses this as well); the majority do not want to be in their current circumstance. Are we willing to take the time to truly address their need. Are we willing to develop meaningful relationships with those in need? Are we willing to support and encourage these individuals until they are able to “stand on their own two feet” or do we leave them lying in their situation? If in the same circumstance, what would you be longing for most? A temporary handout or someone who helped you find long-term employment and a way off the street? Perhaps we should follow in Jesus’ footsteps and reach them, get to know them. Then, we can truly be the Body of Christ and let Jesus continue to heal the lost and broken.

My concealed carry permit finally arrived. From now on, I can legally carry a pistol in public in a concealed fashion. I suppose, it was the next logical step after purchasing my first pistol. So far, I have come to two conclusions already while carrying it: I feel really self-conscious, and I really need a holster. I’m considering Blackhawk’s Inside-the-Pants holster as it is cheap and seems to be highly recommended for my style of carry.

For those that may be wondering why I decided to apply for a concealed weapons permit, it’s simple — because I can. Not because I fear for my life, or have someone threatening harm against me; and god forbid that I ever will. It’s much for the same reason I wear a seat -belt when driving. I may never be in a collision and ever utilize the function a seat-belt serves, yet I’d rather not be wishing I wore my seat-belt when I see a car coming head-on in my lane. I feel the same about carrying a firearm. I’d rather have it and never need it than to find myself in a situation where I sorely wish I was armed. As Robert A. Heinlein said, “An armed society is a polite society.”

Let the Insanity Begin

October 22nd, 2010

After skipping the past two years, I’m again contemplating joining the insanity that is National Novel Writing Month (known affectionately by its participants as NaNoWriMo). The challenge is to write 50,000 words of prose within the thirty days of November. Nothing is ventured, nothing is gained. You merely have the inner satisfaction of knowing you were able to beat the deadline. I’ve participated twice in the past and the closest I believe I ever came was with 24,000 words. I have nine days to decide.

The contest is now international, but has still kept its moniker of NaNoWriMo (InNoWriMo just lacks the same ring). What started out as a friendly challenge between a small group in the San Fransisco Bay Area in 1999 has since taken off to become a promotion of creative writing. In addition to the competition, the Office of Letters and Light (as the organization administration calls themselves), also has developed the Young Writers Program to educate young writers and to assist educators in bringing the NaNoWriMo program to the classroom. If you’re an educator or a parent looking to encourage your children to write, I would highly recommend you look into the Young Writers Program.

Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright ©2009 Into the Blue. All rights reserved.