It’s the end of another beautiful week.

Just a couple of days ago, I realized I just have a month left with my classes this semester.  It’s hard to believe we are looking ahead to finals already.  I’m sending my students’ artwork around the city for exhibitions, and my wife and I are starting to hoard Christmas gifts (we plan to skip black Friday.)

It’s definitely been a good week for reading blogs.  Here’s a few entries that fueled me this week:

The Gift of Helping

I feel like I’m kind of like Sarah Markley when it comes to accepting help.  I don’t like to do it.  I like to go it alone, be independent.  I guess I believe that accepting help makes me look less capable.  That’s why I really appreciated how she is rethinking the gift of helping.

A Public Exhibition

As a creative person, there really are few things I can think of that are more nerve-wracking than showing off your work.  It opens you up to judgment and scrutiny.  But it’s a necessary part of the creative process – the big reveal.  Kelly O’Dell Stanley really struck me with her words on publicly sharing our creative work.

The Worst Reviews

And when we share ourselves, make ourselves vulnerable, there are bound to be critics.  Some people won’t understand.  Others will understand; they’ll just hate what you’ve done.  Mary DeMuth shared some of the most scathing Amazon reviews of her books, and we were all a little bit better for it.  Let’s be honest, when someone gives a microphone to their biggest critics, the rest of us don’t think any less of them.  Our respect for them only increases.

How Feminism Hurts Men

By far, the most enjoyable, subversive, redemptive thing I read this week came from Micah Murray, about all the ways feminism hurts men.  I won’t spoil it.  Just read it.

Yes, there were lots of things that fueled me this week, like fall leaves and cold air, but you know about those already, right?  What fueled you this week?

What do we talk about when we talk about “non-negotiables?”6a00d834515f9b69e201310fc671c7970c-800wi

When it comes to our faith, what is not up for debate?

What are the hills we are willing to die on?  The lines we are willing to draw in the sand?

It seems we have a lot of those lines and hills.  Thou shalt not cross this line, or thou shalt be thrown out of the gates, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  The more complex our society becomes, the more choices we have, the more divided we can be.

A few weeks ago, a blog friend asked on Facebook if Christian unity were possible, without compromising “non-negotiable” tenants of our faith.  Those non-negotiables are important.  So I’m wondering if, in our sea of dividing lines, our nearly infinite “non-negotiables,” could we do it?

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It’s good to be amazed every once in a while.

It’s good to be in awe of something big or grand.  It’s good to feel a sense of mystery and wonder.

It also gets harder to feel those things the older we get.  At least it seems that way to me.

It’s gets easier to think we’ve seen it all.  There is nothing new under the sun.

I also think the older we get, the harder it becomes to surprise ourselves.  It’s easy to think we’ve reached our peak, there is nothing new we can do, there is no more mystery left in us.

That’s too bad.  Because I look at my wife and she is still a mystery to me (in a good way.)  She still impresses, even amazes me at times.  But I look at myself and what do I see?  Someone amazing?  No.  I just see plain old me.

What if we worked, really worked on surprising ourselves, on defying our own low expectations, on doing something new that even we don’t expect?  What if we actually did what we were capable of doing?

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How are you going to surprise yourself this week?

Hey everyone!

It’s the end of another week.  I’m already excited about the weekend, to be honest.  Tomorrow, I’m taking a few students out on a Saturday activity around the city.  (Every teacher at our school donates an item or activity to our fundraising auction.)  I’m taking a few students to see the best view, high above Kansas City in our Liberty Memorial.

I’ve got a great list of writers who really encouraged me this week.  Here are the highlights.

In My Inbox

First, I am so very thankful for so many messages I received in regards to my post on Wednesday.  They came in emails and social media.  I know what happened to me really isn’t that big of a deal (probably), but it always feels good when something happens to know that people care.  Thank you all so very much.

On that note, I saw my doctor yesterday, and I’m having a couple more tests which should clear everything up.

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This last weekend, Sunday afternoon, I had a medical emergency.images

I was home alone, my wife out on a walk with the dogs at the park.

When suddenly, I could not see.

Now, I wasn’t stricken blind like Paul.  I could see…sort of.  But my eyesight was suddenly obscured with blind spots and auras.  The world looked like a broken mirror.  As I struggled to read WebMD (obviously, the first and most reliable course of action in any medical emergency), I realized just how severe the problem was.  I could not make out more than fragments of words and I was beginning to be overtaken by a headache.

I called my brother, a nurse, who told me that I should immediately call 911.  Now, I’ve never called 911 for myself, so this understandably made me more panicked.

The afternoon was filled with my first ambulance ride, my first CT scan, and the first time I have ever been scared that I was having a stroke.  The episode lasted a couple of hours and then went away, as inexplicably as it had arrived.

The doctor had no answer, other than that I did not have a stroke.  I chalk it up to stress, a “quasi-stroke.”  In talking with others, I learned that I’m not the first person to experience something like this.

While being transported by ambulance and laying in my first ER bed, and contemplating the possibility that I might be having a catastrophic event happening to me, I thought about these few things: about life, about suffering and about what I think of God.

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Last weekend, my wife and I went searching…

We ditched town and ventured into unknown places across the Flint Hills of Kansas.  If you have never actually been in Kansas, I assure you it is unfairly represented.  It’s solitude and peacefulness can be stunning.  We woke up to catch the sun rise.  We drove through nature reserves on long gravel roads.  We stopped at lonely cemeteries and long forgotten schoolhouses.

Our little adventure reminded me of a search that so many people seem to be going on.  It is that search to find ourselves.  I suppose the quest to find ourselves means something different to everyone.

But something struck me as we sped along endless roads and stared at faraway horizons.  No matter how far I traveled or how hard I searched, I would never be able to “find” myself.”  Our selves are not some treasure, locked in some treasure chest.

If we are going to find the selves we are meant to be, we have to be even more active than the intrepid explorer…

We have to create ourselves.

Creating ourselves does not require a long journey away from home.  But it is a lifelong quest.  We do it every day, bit by bit.  Some of us do it quite on accident.  Others spend their whole lives looking when they ought to be making.  

Me?  I’m not nearly done.  I have a long way to go.  I’m still a half lumpy wad of clay that’s being formed.

findyourself

Yep, that picture is my wife, just last weekend.

What are you doing?  Searching…or making?