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How to improve your mood

18 Mar

What’s your dilemma?

If you feel down and want to laugh at silly and inappropriate things:

  • Zach Galifianakis as talk show host on Between Two Ferns. His interview with Steve Carell is my favorite.

If you feel sorry for yourself and overwhelmed by your troubles:

  • The Real Full House : a blog written by a dad and uncle, raising three girls after the death of their mother. By that description you’d think it would worsen your mood, but personally, it warms my heart and they are quite hilarious writers. Talk about a good paradigm shift to stop being woe-is-me.

If you feel hopeless about romance and like you might give up on love:

  • 271 letters of correspondence between a husband and wife while he was overseas during WWII. Possibly the most real-life, lovey things ever written.

If you are feeling confused and bitter about faith and Christianity:

  • CS Lewis on Twitter
  • Sojourners – A progressive Christian organization all about social justice
  • Lord, Save Us From Your Followers – A documentary. It’s on Netflix instant play, or there are clips on the website.
  • The Broken Bread, my friend Troy’s blog, will help restore you, give you food for thought, and might spur some interesting questions and/or comments that you can outlet
  • Go straight to the source. Read and study the Bible.

If you are a guy feeling bad about your lack of DIY skills:

You feel like you should be more philanthropic with your money:

  • Look for a charity or nonprofit on GuideStar or Charity Navigator to help out with your cash. Find a cause you care about, or explore to find one.

You feel like a dunce:

More to come later. Send your suggestions.

Words that resonate daily

15 Mar

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be.
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Care about human trafficking?

1 Mar

The human trafficking and child sex slave industry is huge, and unfortunately it ain’t going anywhere soon. Especially when the demand, the culture, the similar industries, and the excuses keep supporting it.

I don’t claim to be any sort of an expert. I’m just sharing a few awesome resources for anyone else who wants to know more about this problem.

The A21 Campaign, the International Justice Mission, and Love 146 are a few organizations dedicated to combating human trafficking. They are inspired by the Christian call to social justice.

New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof wrote several investigative pieces on the problem. (Just enter search terms such as “sex slavery” or “Cambodia”  into the search of all his columns at the bottom of his link.)

Here is the Department of State’s Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, for more info and reports and such.

GEMS in New York is a rehabilitation-type program for girls who are coerced, brutalized, and/or threatened  into “the life” on the streets. Featured on their website is a documentary called Very Young Girls, about young teens in New York City who were forced into prostitution by those very means. The site also lists resources in other states.

There are tons and tons of other resources and organizations! It’s a big issue. Here is an AWESOME video that helps bring it all down to bite-size. Watch the video, then go check out the Laboratory’s website. They have even more links listed.

Rice and Ropes – Lessons on Pushing Through

15 Jan

Today I was transferring a large number of packing peanuts from a box to a garbage bag. You know when you’re doing something, and part of you wonders if it will actually come to an end? There were so many peanuts – I started to feel like I was gathering grains of rice. It’s silly, but I had to tell myself, “Just keep going.”

This phrase, concept, and motivation is one that I treasure as a lesson I learned on my 40-day, 40-night backcountry expedition last summer. I and my teammates went with instructors from Solid Rock Outdoor Ministries into the wilderness of the Wind River Range. We were mountaineering with technical tools, like crampons and ice axes, in technical conditions like crevasse and bergschrund areas. (See mountaineering vocabulary.)

As a member of a five-person rope team traveling over glaciers, I, for the first time in my life, learned what it feels like to have to keep going. I have this habit in life where I stop. Let’s say a  pursuit or a task is like a journey with a start and a finish. Historically, more often than not, I have found an obliging roadside rock upon which I take a load off. I do this under the “pretext” of needing to think things over, compose myself, assess the situation, etc. I then get off my rock, and give up on my journey to mosey down a path of lesser resistance, or a road more traveled.

On glaciers I had an instructor and two teammates ahead of me, one teammate behind me, and we were all connected by the common vein of a rope. I had to make each step balance between walking fast enough to not be pulled by Andy ahead of me, and in step enough to not pull Tommy, who was behind me. To stop walking altogether simply wasn’t an option. We were one unit, moving together, pushing through the discomfort of heavy packs and fatigued muscles.

Back in the frontcountry, I don’t have teammates depending on me, and I’m not racing the clock to set camp before dark, cold, and bad weather set in. Here, though I’m sitting on a couch instead of rappelling or teeter-tottering on talus, I continue to be changed by what I learned in the backcountry. “Just keep going.”

I'm closest in the foreground

 

Mothers and Daughters

24 May

Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too   >
John Mayer, “Daughters”
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A few months ago I experienced death for the first time. I watched it.

Tender Care, Hyatt Moore

I was near the bedside of my only living great-grandparent, a lady named Vera, all night. Morning came and I woke surprised that she had made it through the night.

Before my mom had left for the night, she and I had prayed over her and I repeatedly sung her the only hymn I fully know, Come Thou Fount.

It had been around midnight when nurses had wheeled Vera from a three-bed room to a private one with a couch and chairs for my grandma Delores and I to rest in. Vera had been getting pain meds every two hours. Even though she hadn’t opened her eyes in two days, we could tell she was still feeling pain. But that night she was still. She breathed through a gaping open mouth.

Up until this point my grandma Delores had been quite emotionally stable. After grandma Vera passed, surrounded by her family, Delores was really hit with the loss of her mother. I saw her cry and go through waves of regret and sadness over their strained mother-daughter relationship.

She could honestly and calmly say that Vera was never a great mother. That reality didn’t change her regret, though.

I realized that next, I might be there to see my own mother say goodbye to my grandma. It will be the end of another mother-daughter relationship. I don’t look forward to that day. Harder still is my trying to imagine myself, likely in old age, at my mom’s side. It’s far in the future, but seeing Vera and Delores at the end of their story together made me realize how strong that bond is over a daughter’s lifetime, however weathered the mother-daughter cord becomes.