Vogue punctuation

There is a trend to be trendy, hipster, and cool; and if enough people try to be trendy, hipster, and cool, trendiness and its sidekicks, hip and cool, will no longer be popular; when what was once considered trendy is no longer trendy, it becomes common and something else takes its place. I don’t like this cycle, mostly because I don’t want to be like everybody else (now or when a trend has been recycled), and I consider it a matter of principle to show up late to the in-vogue party (or miss it altogether).

The trend that is currently crushing my soul is the way the general population and real-deal writers are chunking sentences into single words with periods between every word. When did this become okay?

We have all done it recently or we have been tempted to do it. I even did it once because I knew it would portray the right degree of emphasis. (I wish I hadn’t done it. I was instantly filled with regret and my heart still hurts because of it.)

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Burdensome gifts

The JOY FM, one of the many radio stations I button-whack while driving, is celebrating 30 years of ministry and granting 30 wishes.

Last week I heard the spot for the latest wish that was granted. The JOY FM provided an RV for ten days of travel, and gas money and Visa gift cards for a family to take a vacation. This family has at least two children who have life-threatening allergies and some other health problems. The RV was provided so that family could clean and disinfect it themselves to eliminate the known allergens.

This family was granted a wish because the father is a stay-at-home-daddy because of his kids’ health needs. This family doesn’t have much extra money. We can all relate to times when there hasn’t been a lot of play money. I love that The JOY FM is so generous; however, I couldn’t help but think if this gift is more of a burden than a blessing.

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A promise from Psalm 55

In my endeavor to know and cling to God’s promises this year, I have noticed that I am more prone to look for them when reading the Bible. I just read Psalm 55:22: “Cast your burden on the Lordand he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” God promises two things in this verse. First, he will sustain you when you cast your burdens on him; and second, he will never permit the righteous to be moved. 

It was the second promise that I took note of when I read Psalm 55 because as I was sorting through the stack of verse-inscribed index cards in my car, I found one of Psalm 16:8:”I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

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Musings and Rio 2016

The Olympics have been underway for three days now. Already there have been several stories of athletes who have been injured. There was the French gymnast who snapped his leg, the British gymnast who landed on her neck, and the Dutch cyclist who flew over the top of her handlebars when rounding a corner.

The Olympics are an amazing display of bodies that have been tested and tried and disciplined and pushed beyond what the average human is willing to endure in the name of physical fitness. But as the aforementioned examples illustrate, this fitness comes at a cost.

Now I love the Olympics. I love the competition and the way people band together to support their favorites. I love to see the camaraderie among athletes on the same team and the rivalries that sometimes surface. However, I don’t love to see people get hurt. I don’t like to see people push themselves so hard and far that they injure themselves, or even others.

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Blessed is the man

For those who have never been, Savannah is as charming as it is old. (It was founded in 1733.) Amid the standard city offerings, downtown is full of giant trees, beautiful churches, and a centuries-old cemetery—three things I love.

Last week I visited Savannah and the Bonaventure Cemetery and the Colonial Park Cemetery. I had been to the Colonial Park Cemetery once before but exploring the Bonaventure Cemetery was a first.

Bonaventure means “good fortune” and was first named for land purchased by the Mullryne family of South Carolina in the mid-to-late 1700s. Since its purchase by the Mullrynes, the specific 600-acre lot of Bonaventure was a plantation, a home of various local politicians through the years, and a makeshift hospital for French troops at one point. The land passed hands a few times, but with each passage a constant emerged: each family used the land as a burial ground. And so, with time, a cemetery was formed.

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Living quietly

There comes a point when the daily grind becomes so monotonous that only time away can truly refresh the perspective. My break came during my recent trip to South Carolina, a place I am growing to love. Being away from home and my daily routine gave me time to think about life—nothing earth-shattering, just reflections on the last year.

During my first trip to South Carolina last year, the pastor at Coie’s church preached from 1 Thessalonians 4:11 on the Sunday I joined them. Coie now has a picture hanging in her dining room of flowers in a mason jar with the words of 1 Thessalonians 4:11 written beside them: “and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands…” Yesterday, the day after I came home, my dad preached from 1 Thessalonians 4:11. The timing of these sermons, my trips to South Carolina, and the opportunities to reflect was not lost on me.

The truth of Scripture, combined with the idyllic backdrop of South Carolina and the reinforcement when I got home, gave a fresh focus to my musings.

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Minding my own business and working with my hands is not so much a struggle for me as aspiring to live quietly is. Discontentment, often cloaked as hopes and dreams, pushes this rebellious heart to be bold, make a statement, or do something wild. Living quietly seems too good, sounds too much like being a stick in the mud, and hints too much at becoming a wallflower.

But this is not true. Living quietly means I accept with joy and contentment the life the Lord has given me. I forsake visions of grandeur; I forsake all notions of self-importance; I forsake the world and its cares; I forsake frivolity.

Regrettably, I spend far too much time and concentration deliberating about the way my life looks—the job I have, the company I keep, the things I like. Truth is, I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and as a believer, my life is fundamentally and radically different from the world anyway and always. I can spend as much time as I want worrying how I look to the world, but I will never fit in. I can’t fit in. I should not seek to fit in.

God, in his love and grace, allowed this trip and the last to South Carolina to be woven with reminders to aspire to live quietly, to follow Christ and trust him. Whether it was the serenity of my surroundings or the break from the mundane, the Lord firmly impressed on me the importance of living quietly and being content. This is not the dedication of the rest of my life to the mundane or unexciting, but it is a matter of obedience. I must obey (and can do so boldly) because aspiring to live quietly is good and right and mandated by God.