To Everything There Is A Season

In the past few years, I have come to love the Christian year. It was one of the things that Protestants decided to take or leave during the Reformation. If you are looking, you can still see traces of it in many Protestant churches today. Some are fairly obvious about it like Episcopalians and others just give you a glimpse of it through their celebrations of Christmas and Easter.

Instead of marking time by months or years, the Christian calendar marks time by important events in the life of Christ and the early Church. We already mentioned the examples of Christmas and Easter but another one that most people are familiar with is Pentecost, the day that the Holy Spirit was given to the Church.

On the one hand, I can understand why the reformers would reject being told when to celebrate and discuss certain things, even if they agreed with them. However, I can also see great wisdom in setting aside time in advance to reflect on the important aspects of our faith. Common advice given to young professionals today is to have a plan. If you don’t plan to do something, then it will never get done, one might say.

It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day that we can let life pass us by if we’re not careful. I know that it happens all the time in my life, and especially in my spiritual life. Complacency is so easy! It takes no work at all in fact. I need the reminder to draw near to God, to renew my focus on Christ, and seek the Lord’s will for my life. That is the reason that I love the Christian year. Certainly, I could go through the effort to develop my own calendar and liturgical year, but that seems very unnecessary. I mean, even the reformers didn’t move the dates of Christmas and Easter.

One practical application of this in my life is using Holy Week as a time of quieting my heart and turning back to God. Although I don’t like to admit it, I need to spend time asking God to reveal the areas where I’ve let sin creep in over the past year. I need to ask God, “What path would you have me take this year? Where did I stray from your path for me last year and how can I learn from those failures?” I need to journey with Christ to the cross and come out on the other side resurrected and victorious. I bet you do too. 

Christian Year

Just a simple donkey.

Today is Palm Sunday. The day that Christians celebrate Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem. I think that the way Christ came to Jerusalem is very instructive for us. Though he had the right to all power and authority in heaven and on earth, he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey colt, a humble pack animal. There was no traditional royal parade or military show of power, just a man on a simple animal. So simple but so powerful. Even in this humble entrance the crowds recognized Jesus for who he really is, the Son of David, the rightful King.

It has made me reflect on how I am entering into this week. Do I come to this journey through Jesus’ passion with pride or humility? Am I looking to show others how holy I am by the way I observe this week or am I looking for a humble but powerful encounter with my Savior? Will my eyes be open to see Jesus around me this week? Does my humility lead others to recognize Jesus as who he is?

What are you reflecting on this week?

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

[Matt 21:6-11]

 Palm Sunday 15

Blueberry Donuts with Ginger Glaze

Blueberry Donuts

Well we are at the end of the first week of the 2nd Annual Paleo February but as usual, we couldn’t let January go out without a bang. I didn’t realize it at the time, but we made almost the exact same thing as last year right before Paleo February. I guess knowing that you’re going to be eating healthy for a month just calls for donuts. So this past Saturday, we said goodbye to January with blueberry donuts. Which are actually just the Pioneer Woman’s Apple Fritters but with blueberries instead of apples and a slightly modified glaze (aka shake some ginger into it).  Continue reading

#5Faves: Entertainment Edition

If you’ve been paying attention, you might have noticed that the blog has come back to life this week. My last two posts have been serious topics so I thought it was time to post about something fun. I also had several things that I thought were so awesome that I just wanted to tweet incessantly about them which made me realize… 5 Favorites… it the perfect avenue for these things. So here I am linking up with Jenna. Apparently doing things in fives is a theme for me this week.

1. Adam4d.com

I rediscovered this comic again and I love it. Sometimes he’s sarcastic, sometimes he’s serious, and most of the time I think he’s right on target. It is kind of like a Christian hybrid between the Oatmeal and xkcd. Try to imagine that or just go to the website to check it out.

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2. O Happy Fault by Audrey Assad

Catch this one now, because it is only going to be online for a few more days. I can’t describe it better than they did, so here’s their description:

“O Happy Fault” is a visual meditation- story and song woven together into one beautiful short film. Live concert footage and narratives alternate in a prayerful rhythm.

After I watched it, I listened to her song “Humble” for a while on repeat. So true and convicting.

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3. Selma

I haven’t actually seen this one yet but I’ve read and heard so many good things about it that I definitely want to see it before it leaves theaters. I think it is especially pertinent to the conflict that is bubbling up in our culture today. One review that really resonated with me was this one.

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4. Agents of Shield/Agent Carter

If you’re like me and just can’t wait the 4 or 5 months between each new movie in the Marvel Cinematic universe, then you need to check out these two shows. Andy and I binge watched Agents of Shield over our Christmas break and loved it. Normally we’re too sensible to binge watch things but Agents of Shield sucked us right in. Our Agents of Shield spree set us up to get right on board when Agent Carter premiered and we’ve loved that as well. I linked to Hulu instead of the ABC page because I can never get the ABC website to work for me. Agents of Shield is up on Netflix now, so it is the perfect time to get caught up before the season resumes in March.

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5. The Big Bang Theory

I’m pretty sure there isn’t anyone in America who has a TV that hasn’t heard of this show but I’ve watched it since I was in college and Andy is so much like Sheldon that its ridiculous. I got a new season of it for Christmas and we’ve have had a great time watching it this month. (We don’t have cable so we don’t get to watch it on the regular anymore.) One night we were laughing so hard that we could barely breathe. There are not many things out there that will do that for me.

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college-students

5 Pieces of Advice for College Students

My favorite college campus. Recently, I started a new job at the university where I work. When we moved here, I was lucky enough to get a job in the IT department at the same school Andy is attending. Although my undergrad work is in Computer Science and I do love technology, long-term I wanted to do something that allowed me to work more directly with people.

Long story made short, I now work as a Student Success Advisor for the undergraduate students. My new position, in addition to teaching my first year studies class last semester inspired me to think about what is really important during a person’s time in college. So, here’s my two cents on the matter. 

1. Take school seriously.

If you take the traditional route and move out to go to college right after high school, it can be amazing how much freedom you now have. It can be easy to forget that what keeps you there is passing your classes. Taking courses is an essential part of college; without classes, you have to go home. If you pay a little attention, you’ll be surprised at how much you can learn and do.

2. Don’t take school too seriously.

Now that I’ve reminded you that the school part of college is important, I’m going to tell you that your test, it isn’t the end of the world. Should you work hard? Yes. Should you want to do well? Of course. However, it can be easy to think that your life is going to end RIGHT NOW if you mess ONE THING up. When campus starts closing in on you, and all you can see is tests and papers, take a step back and breathe. Get some ice cream or read the news. One glance at the global poverty statistics would remind me that there are much bigger things in the world than my term paper. It is good to remember that now and then.

3. Try new things. 

Most colleges work really hard to offer new and fun experiences to their students. Take advantage of them. You might find out that you love square dancing but hate sitting through musicals. Who knows? You won’t unless you actually give them a chance. Be spontaneous. For most traditional students, college is a time when your schedule is wide open. Take those opportunities to have fun. Decide to go to the beach Friday afternoon on a whim. You can. Go for it.

4. Learn how to be a leader.

College is the perfect environment to hone your leadership skills. Generally speaking, every four years the entire student population turns over which means that almost every student leadership position on campus is going to come open during your time as a student. In the wider world, leaders can get entrenched for years and years without ever giving you a chance to break in. That is rarely the case on a college campus. Even if leadership is new or scary to you, don’t let that stop you from giving it a try.

5. Figure out who you are.

This is probably the most important of all and it isn’t something that you will be over when they hand you a diploma. During my time in college, I learned that my faith is an integral part of who I am. I realized that I am a person that is going to be unsatisfied if I’m not actively working to make the world better in the lives of people around me. My journey in this area is far from over, but it would be a tragedy if I never took the first step. Thinking about who you are can be hard because you are forced to question your beliefs but it is so so worth it. I would not be the person I am today without taking the time to ask, “Why do I do/believe this?” Going away to college moves you away from home and family and allows you to reflect on the question with less bias than you would have before. It can be scary when you’re in the middle of it but keep pushing through.

What do you think?