Thursday, January 30, 2014

Urgency and Importance

I haven't been writing much lately, but I was inspired to write this post today.

Back in college, I was given a little booklet of an article by Charles Hummel called Tyranny of the Urgent. Honestly, I never read it but the title frequently comes back to me. I know that the idea of the article is that the "urgent" often crowds out what is important.

Today, I had plans to clean my playroom/schoolroom. This has been a project long in the making. Sometimes, the room gets to usable condition, but it has never been fully organized and it always slips back to cluttered. I have made a couple of strides recently and want to keep going, so I was going to give it some attention and had set a goal to complete two aspects of the organizing.

Then, I was asked to host a group at the last minute. I was happy to be asked and to host.

The focus of our housekeeping changed for the day. Suddenly it became "urgent" to tidy up the downstairs and deep clean the bathrooms. Plans for the playroom went out the window -- and we won't be able to reschedule until next week. Oh, well.

Did the urgent overtake the important? In terms of housekeeping, yes. I really do want that playroom ready and need to prioritze the work on it. (Then again, hosting that meeting and helping out the group was important, too. Urgent vs. important is not always that clear cut I guess.)

I do wonder how often maybe I set aside important things, spiritually, emotionally, relationally in favor of the urgent. Something to keep in mind.

How has the "urgent" "tyrannized" you?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Song for Sunday: The Long Run

On Monday I posted that I had set a goal to run half a mile without stopping. Well, I did it!!

So to celebrate, today's "Song for Sunday" is The Long Run by the Eagles.

I know, I know. A half mile isn't a long run, but I feel like I have accomplished something … and onto one mile by the end of this week!!

Here's the song:

I used to hurry a lot, I used to worry a lot 
I used to stay out till the break of day 
Oh, that didn't get it, 
It was high time I quit it 
I just couldn't carry on that way 
Oh, I did some damage, I know it's true 
Didn't know I was so lonely , till I found you 
You can go the distance 
We'll find out in the long run 
(in the long run) 
We can handle some resistance 
If our love is a strong one (is a strong one) 
People talkin' about is 
they got nothin' else to do 
When it all comes down we will 
still come through 
In the long run 
Ooh, I want to tell you, it's a long run 
You know I don't understand why you don't 
treat yourself better 
do the crazy things that you do 
'Cause all the debutantes in Houston, baby, 
couldn't hold a candle to you 
Did you do it for love? 
Did you do it for money? 
Did you do it for spite? 
Did you think you had to, honey? 
Who is gonna make it? 
We'll find out in the long run 
(in the long run) 
I know we can take it 
if our love is a strong one 
(is a strong one) 
Well, we're scared, but we ain't shakin' 
Kinda bent, but we ain't breakin' 
in the long run 
Ooh, I want to tell you, it's a long run 
in the long run 
in the long run, [etc.]
                                                                                 ~Don Henley and Glen Frey

Blessings on your day!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I have set a fitness goal -- my first in years.

I have decided that by the end of this week I will be able to run a 1/2 mile without stopping and that by January 31st I will be able to go a mile.


The impetus is that I have decided to participate in a physically demanding weekend-long activity. I figure I should be in shape. Well, as far as I can get to that point between then and now.

So I'll run slightly further each day: made it two and a half blocks today! I'll do a little weight training, too. Hopefully, I'll be more fit and that will motivate me to get even more fit and so on. Then I'll have more energy, get more done, feel better generally.

How about you?

Have you tried any new fitness regimens lately?

 Or made a goal that you're working on step by step?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Song for Sunday: In His Time

As I was wondering what song to post today, my eye caught one of our mugs that quotes "He makes all things beautiful in His time." I thought "I could use that song" but I didn't have much enthusiasm for it at the time.
Today's sermon though talked about how God can bring glory to His name through any circumstance and how He can beautify even ashes. I  began to see a thread.

So today's Song for Sunday is "In His Time."

In His time, in His time
He makes all things beautiful in His time
Lord, please show me every day
As You're teaching me Your way
That You do just what You say

In Your time
In Your time, in Your time
You make all things beautiful in Your time
Lord, my life to You I bring
May each song I have to sing
Be to You a lovely thing, in Your time 

            ~Diane Ball

Monday, January 13, 2014

Birth Story

For my 50th birthday blog post, I thought I would tell my story. It's quite funny. Or rather, the way Mom got to the hospital was funny, not the birthing itself. I don't actually know to much about that, except that it happened at exactly 11:00 AM on a Monday.

My father was in the military. Just after my parents returned from their honeymoon, he went off to basic training and then they were stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri which is tucked in the Ozark Mountains. My father was a Lieutenant and his unit was responsible for the base post office. He worked 7:30-5:00 six days of week, a fairly short workweek for a soldier in war time. My parents shared a duplex with a couple who were friends from back home.

Dad was a jokester. As my Mom's due date neared, he started calling the neighbor very early every morning to say that she was in labor. The neighbor was an officer for a traditional combat unit, so he had to be out at the crack of dawn every morning. I suspect the joke got old pretty fast, but it kept up.

Finally, the big day came. It was snowing, a proper storm. It would be the only snowstorm my parents would experience in their two years on that base and it wasn't very big. Just a few inches clung to the ground. My father went out to start the car and found a flat tire. He started to change to the spare but that was flat, too.

With labor progressing, my father called the base hospital and requested the ambulance. He was told "no." The snowstorm was keeping the ambulance out of commission. This surprised my New England born and bred parents a bit. An ambulance won't come out in a bit of snow. Really? Just about anyone back home would drive in an inch or two.  There wasn't much they could do about it.

With options running out, my father called his neighbor, who was also from New England. This time my father actually  woke his friend up to ask for a ride. The neighbor, a bit annoyed at the early ringing of the telephone, didn't believe that this call was real, no matter how much my father insisted that it was. Finally, my mother spoke to the wife of the neighboring couple and convinced her. She was finally on the way to the hospital.

After my birth, our neighbor was one of the first to visit me at the hospital. The story was repeated and laughed over during many reunions over many years.

That was 50 years ago today.

My parents are gone now, but this story and  many other happy ones are remembered.

What is your birth story? Or maybe you have a "gotcha" story instead?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Song for Sunday: Another Year is Dawning

Today is my last day is a 49 year old. Tomorrow I will be a half-century old. 

This song has been on my mind. Our church sings it each year at our New Year's prayer meeting and it really is meant for that season. However, I find it -- or more of an impression of it, I suppose, rather than the specific words -- in my thoughts as I approach this "landmark" birthday. It does sum up my desire. I would like to do better about being "with God." I want to be more mindful that our time here is     "training for holier work above." I want to make progress in praise, rest, leaning on God and witnessing for his love. I want to be more intentional about these things. 

I didn't make New Year's resolutions this year, but those sound like a good list. I'll need to make them quantifiable if I want to track my progress. This is just a start.

Anyway, here's today's "Song for Sunday."

Another Year is Dawning

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.

Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face.

Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee.

                                                        ~Frances R. Havergal

So you can hear the tune, a video of it being sung in a church service:

What songs do you like at times of transition?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Song for Sunday: Happy Birthday, Jesus

I've mentioned my musical tastes are pretty varied. Today's selection comes from the world of country music, specifically the band Alabama. It reminds us of what we are celebrating in this Christmas season.

Happy Birthday, Jesus

Happy birthday, Jesus,
It's that time of year
All the lights on the trees
Say Christmas time is near
Another year's behind us,
You helped us make it through
So, happy birthday, Jesus,
This song is just for you

We all get so hung up
On material things
At times it seems like we forget
What Christmas really means
It should be thanks we're givin',
That's why I wrote this tune
Happy brithday, Jesus,
This song is just for you

There's a gift for everyone
But you underneath the tree
No, it's not much, but I hope you like
This song to you from me

Happy birthday Jesus,
That's why I wrote this tune
So, happy birthday, Jesus,
My song is just for you...

        ~J.P. Pennington & Todd Gentry

What's your favorite Christmas tune?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rushing the Season

I was at  a local grocery store on Christmas Eve. It wasn't too bad, actually. Not overcrowded or understocked or anything. I did notice, though, that there were employees taking down the Christmas decorations. On Christmas eve.

I realize that the store was not going to be open the next day, Christmas Day, which is a good thing in my book. But really, taking down the decorations? It's trite to complain about rushing the season these days. How many times do you here: "Christmas stuff in the stores? It's not even Hallowe'en!"
But what about rushing the season on the other end -- rushing through the season?

We seem to plan, prepare, purchase. We decorate, bake, wrap. We do all that for weeks, sometimes months. And then it's over in a few hours. The kids open the gifts from Santa, we have dinner with the family and we are done. Seems, too little for so much work.

It wasn't always this way. It's been a few decades since the anticipation got lengthened. It's been longer than that since we forgot that Christmas is really an extended celebration.

In our house, we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. From December 26 to January 6 we do a family activity every day. They vary -- a long game like Risk, an evening of traditional Christmas specials, a hike, a visit to the ice cream parlor.

Most years we also read a verse from Matthew 2: 1-12 each day. This year we'll just be reading the whole pericope on Epiphany.

OK, we like being countercultural. And w e enjoy our longer celebration. We invite you to join us. To leave the decorations up until "Little Christmas," to keep playing the carols,  to make each of these days a mini-celebration. It's fun and it reminds us of how important the incarnation is. Important enough for several days of festivities.

So Merry Christmas... today!

What are your Christmas traditions?