Our lack of content on the blog is not for lack of thoughts, but difficulty putting the blog on a higher priority when balancing work and life. I can't tell you how many times in a day or week I think of something to write ... and have no access at that moment to a computer. I have a small notebook that I carry all the time in my purse. I use it to take notes during a good homily or balance it on my leg to write while driving when something inspires me. Unfortunately sitting in front of a computer usually takes place at work and then it's nearly impossible to carve out 20-30 minutes to compose something and make it sound "pretty."
Case in point - I am writing this as quickly as I can on a rare lunch break. I don't know that it will ever actually be published, but I'm giving it a shot. I wrote these notes in the style of 7 Quick Takes Friday created by Jennifer Fulwiler over at Conversion Diary.
Last week I was out every single night of the week and it was exhausting. Sunday nights are Life Teen, Monday my daughter had a cello lesson, Tuesday was the high school open house event, Wednesday we kicked off EDGE (middle school CCE), Thursday the middle school hosted their open house, and Friday we had tickets to our favorite local minor league baseball team for the end of the regular season. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday I went straight from the office to the event and the earliest I returned home was 8 p.m.
What I did right! I planned the meals. I did such a great job that Sunday I prepared two of the meals and put them in the freezer. All my daughters had to do was put the dinners in the oven at the appointed time (or microwave) and grab the plates. The biggest hit was a semi-made up chicken enchilada casserole in which I layered the ingredients instead of taking time to roll them up.
I'm volunteering on the Core Team for my daughter's Life Teen and EDGE nights. Some of you are shaking your heads right now saying ... and you wonder why you don't have time to write? But it's important to me to be part of their religious formation. And the teams need the volunteers. I walk away from those nights completely inspired, as my many handwritten notes would attest, but after we get home at 8:30, eat dinner, and get ready for tomorrow I'm really only good for 30 minutes of laying on the couch fast forwarding through the DVR before collapsing in bed.
Why do "kickoff" nights for Life Teen and Edge consist only of games? This one might get me in some hot water with our Faith Formation Coordinator (if she reads the blog, and I think she does) but I do wonder about the purpose and value of playing games all night instead of diving right into some of the big topics we have this semester. I really enjoy the small group discussions and leading the youth into what the church teaches. There are many times when I don't feel like I fit into the "normal" world and playing games those two nights were one of those times.
Facebook really opens the door people to share in short versions of "Bible Studies." Last week one of my friends began a journey through Romans. Each morning she posts the chapter and verse, then adds her thoughts. When I have the opportunity to check FB in the morning before work (ie: at a particularly long stop light) I find myself pondering the message. Consider just the way Paul opened this letter:
Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
How powerful. What a blessing to read even a few verses every morning.
In my notebook I wrote down 9-11 anniversary for number 6, but I don't remember what inspired me. The anniversary comes and goes and it seems that the slogan "Never Forget" has replaced what we are supposed to remember. We know we aren't supposed to forget that we were brutally attacked in a way that hasn't been seen in this country since Pearl Harbor. I wonder if anyone has done a study comparing where we are as a country at this moment -12 years since the 2001 attack with the America that existed in 1953 - twelve years post-Pearl Harbor. It's something I would love to study - perhaps in another lifetime.
Speaking of 9-11. I heard the most amazing piece on American Exceptionalism last week. The webpage with the transcript is very lengthy, so I'm cutting/pasting the amazing portion and you can follow the link back if you want to read the entire piece.
Read your Bible, read whatever historical account of humanity you hold dear, and what you'll read about is human tyranny. You'll read of bondage. You'll read of slavery. The vast majority of the people, the vast majority of the human beings who have lived and breathed and walked this planet have lived under the tyranny of despots, the vast majority.
For the first time in human history, a government and country was founded on the belief that leaders serve the population. This country was the first in history, the EXCEPTION -- e-x-c-e-p-t, except. The exception to the rule is what American exceptionalism is. It is because of this liberty and freedom that our country exists, because the founders recognized it comes from God. It's part of the natural yearning of the human spirit. It is not granted by a government.
We are created with the natural yearning to be free, and it is other men and leaders throughout human history who have suppressed that and imprisoned people for seeking it. The US is the first time in the history of the world where a government was organized with a Constitution laying out the rules, that the individual was supreme and dominant, and that is what led to the US becoming the greatest country ever because it unleashed people to be the best they could be. Nothing like it had ever happened. That's American exceptionalism.