You Are Blessed Today

Each day is a blessing.

If the virus has taught us anything it is to appreciate the fundamental things in life, the essential, like life itself.

If you’re breathing, that’s good. It’s great. Your lungs work as they should. You’re not on a respirator fighting to catch a tiny breath, feeling like your drowning without a drop a water around you.

You’re alive. Right now. You’re healthy (I hope). If you’re not, you’re still fighting and have a chance to recover, stay alive—live.

This day is a blessing. It’s a gift. You get to experience it. You get to wake up, walk, sip on coffee, taste a morsel of food, shower, read—hope.

We may not have all we want. But we have our lives.

We have today.


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This Is the Freedom You Can Hear

A choir of birds chirp outside my window each morning. And the melodies breathe a refreshing breeze into my soul that helps me face the day. It’s a simple sound, never ceasing to surprise and delight me, reminding me of something greater.

Taking pleasure in the every-day moments, common yet majestic, can bring mirth even in the darkest times. But first you need to hear them.

It’s easy not to notice them. Some mornings I don’t because I’m too distracted or worried or something.

Awareness is key. Take note of the world around you. When you do, it makes all the difference. Noticing those small details can have big effects on your life.

Hearing the chirps helps me reframe my mind. It reminds me that there’s a whole world out there that’s still chiming, dancing from branch to branch, living as it has for thousands of years.

And just because a pandemic has struck human life, some creatures go unperturbed, singing the song of life, as they eat worms and fly and soar, freely going about their lives.

And I’m reminded that someday we will be free too.


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Be More Unrealistic

“Let’s be realistic,” is a dream killing phrase, and I hate it. Don’t be realistic. Be foolish.

Do that thing everyone says don’t do. Try that crazy idea that everyone says will fail. Go to that place everyone tells you not to go to.

Failure is better than regret. With the former you learn. With the latter you only wallow.

In a “realistic” world we wouldn’t have personal computers, iPhones, Google, the internet, beautiful art, music, all of the things created by innovators, artists, and those unrealistic dreamers that we all love so much.

In this world where everything seems like it’s going to fall apart at any moment, where it’s unsafe to go out—dream. Create a new world inside of your mind.

Dream big. Dream small. Whatever you do cast your thoughts into a pool of possibilities and wade in it, bathe, swim, play. Submerge yourself in it. Emerge baptized and new.

And when you arise, attempt that “unrealistic” thing you dreamt. Try it. Make it.

You’ll likely fail, but keep at it, learning with each failure.

And who knows you may fly, create the next big thing, realize your dreams.

But whatever happens, you can be sure of this.

You won’t be the same.

You’ll be better.

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One Great Thing From Social Distancing

Strangers are waving at me, and I find myself waving back. They smile, and so do I. And you know what? It feels really good.

In all of this we’re learning to appreciate strangers.

There’s a longing for connection that we all have, especially when we’re as starved of it as we are these days.

Yes, Zoom is good but not enough. We were meant to grab beers and clink mugs together, shake hands, hug—be with each other. Zooming is great but it’s a bastardization of what we really want, need.

Maybe your living with family, which makes it a lot easier. But there’s still that desire to connect with other people who don’t have your surname.

Strangers are now those people. And it’s nice, you know.

It’s strange yet natural. It’s awkward, but refreshing. It makes us all feel better, somehow.

Yes, the Midwest, where I live, is a place where social norms do cultivate a higher amount of niceness from its people. But these days they’re even nicer than normal. The waves are bigger and smiles wider. It’s like we all got the message of “We are all that we’ve got left now, so let’s make the best of it.”

And I like it. You probably do, too.

You might be noticing the change, friendly greetings from those who aren’t friends. It likely makes you feel connected, loved even.

This pandemic is tragic, horrid, awful. But there is good that blossoms from shit.

And learning to love the people around us no matter who they are, is a flower I hope continues to bloom in our daily lives and never gets uprooted no matter what season of life we’re in.Social distancing has brought us closer to strangers. And it’s great. 

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How to Think When the Lockdowns Lift

The lockdowns will lift, likely soon. If they do, be patient. Don’t rush out to find normal. It’s not there.

The virus still roams free. That means you shouldn’t.

I won’t be seeing my mom, telling her it’s ok to go back to church. It’s not.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t be optimistic. We can. We should. Things will get better.

I might have a few meetings here or there. But I won’t be hugging, shaking hands, getting too close. No. But seeing my friends in person will be a welcomed change.

You probably will, too.

But be cautious, vigilant even.

Use your face masks, gloves, wash your hands like crazy, socially distance.

Even if everyone is screaming to tell you everything’s ok, know that it’s not.

There isn’t a vaccine in mass production. We can still spread this disease.

Practicing vigilance will protect our families, friends, neighbors, the world, ourselves.

But we needn’t live in fear just because the future is shrouded, unclear, like a foggy night.

One day we will look back and say, “Do you remember that pandemic…” while sipping on drinks with a loved one while we share a meal together at a favorite restaurant, sitting under the shining sun, laughing.


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Have hope

Everything is in flux. The future is unclear, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have hope.

Yes, a virus is ravaging our world, our countries, our neighborhoods, our lives. Fear is everywhere.

Last week, I saw a woman open the door with one hand and the other one looked like it was cupping something small like a baby hamster. And, when she crossed the threshold, she put her hands together and started to rub them. That’s when I realized she had hand sanitizer with her cupped hand.

Our world is changing. We now have to distrust everything we touch, thinking that it might be infected.

The world has changed. And we have no idea where it’s going.

But you can have hope.

You can know that the sun will rise again. You will feel the breeze on your cheek, watch the buds blossom, smell the sweet spring air. Summer is coming.

You don’t need to live in fear, believe the worst. You can still see that things can get better, will get better.

Humanity will learn. Humanity will grow.

So will you.

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Photo by Jordan Wozniak on Unsplash


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You can win at life by doing this

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Sometimes life is hard and feels impossible. But that’s when you should stop thinking about your life and focus on today.

Don’t try to tackle life, that’s too much to take on all at once. That’s how you get overwhelmed, depressed, worried.

Instead, just attack what you need to do at this moment: the tasks, the mico-goals, the wins (and loses). Do what you can do with what you know, right now.

Not tomorrow, next week, next year, next decade, don’t concentrate on those. That can kill you.

Don’t worry about the future unless you’re planning, dreaming, hoping. Set your big goals and big dreams.

But then, spend your time doing what needs to be done, now, to accomplish those goals.

To win in life, you need to fight today’s battles, win today’s fights.

And you’ll have a greater chance at winning in life.

You’re more than your social media

You’re not your social media account, the number of followers you have, or the likes your post received, or didn’t.

You’re not. You’re more—much more.

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

Don’t base your feelings about yourself on your social media stats.

They don’t make you inherently better or lesser than anyone else.

You’re a human—not just an avatar and collection of selfies and thoughts and words you hope people will like.

You have a body, a face, a will, a mind, a soul. You’re invaluable.

You’re a daughter, a son, a friend, a parent, a brother, a sister, a lover.

You’re more than a profile.

You’re a person.

True happiness can’t be bought

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The best things in life don’t come with a receipt.

But all of our lives we’ve been told—no, sold—that if we buy this or that thing we will be sexy, better, satisfied, happy. But it’s not true. We’ve been duped.

I remember going into stores and buying this or that article of clothing for my wardrobe, adding another sweater, button-down shirt, jeans, knowing full well that I would only be adding to piles of clothes that I already had and barely touched. But that didn’t matter.

What did matter was that I felt good after I bought it, for a bit. There was a buzz, a shot of happiness. But after a day or two, the buzzing ceased. I was just me again, with another shirt in my closet.

Then I stopped buying because I realized this.

Consumerism is a lie.

The truth is nothing you buy can fulfill you, make you whole, or delight you like the greater things in life.

Instead of purchasing things you don’t need, spend time practicing healthy habits, connecting with loved ones, doing meaningful work, learning, living relationally and spiritually rich lives.

Hug a loved one. Kiss your child. Laugh with a friend. Do missionary work. Read. Pray. Worship. Love.

No one lying on their deathbed regrets spending time with their family or living a life serving a mission greater than themselves or playing tag with their kid or seeking spiritual fulfillment.

Those moments can’t be purchased, but they are invaluable.

And anyone can have them.

It’s your choice.

For your enjoyment

Don’t rush. Take your time. Meander. Roam. Wander.

If you see others scurrying to and fro, don’t follow them. Don’t imitate. Go at you own pace.

Actually, slow down.

Notice what’s around you, the beauty, the aromas, the sky.

Breathe in deeply and soak the world into your body; absorb it.

Smile.

Venture inward and take note of your thoughts, worries, dreams, hopes. Look at the wounds, the victories, the feelings, the fear, the faith.

Too often we live without living and see without seeing.

So open your hearts and eyes, feel and be delighted.

Enjoy.