I had a lot of different ideas for blog posts today.

I forgot them all.

So here is a haiku, with accompanying quote.

Flying
So simple it seems,
Yet impossible.
Could it be that hard?

“‘The Guide says there is an art to flying’, said Ford, ‘or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.’”

-Douglas Adams (Life, the Universe, and Everything)

I hope you all are doing splendidly this Sunday evening!  Daylight Saving Time is back to get us…  😦  Oh well; life goes on.

Well, here’s something neat: last week I traveled to the far-away city of Richmond for my diocese’s annual youth conference.  That, my dear readers, was amazing.  There is no way to describe how deep and inspiring it was.  Nor how fun.  😀  Being around that much joy and enthusiasm and love for God and so many other Catholic youth like myself… ’tis an experience like no other.  Probably the best one-sentence description of it we’ve come up with is “a reverent party”.  That about sums it up.

I may whip up a post/video about it, if I find the time.  Until then, here’s the recap video made by the official videography folks for the event.  (They must have stayed up crazy late making this because they showed it on Sunday morning and we didn’t get back to our rooms ’til after 11 on Saturday night.  Hats off to them.  Also, I know it’s probably more exciting if you were actually there, but here it is anyway.)

Look, it’s the bishop!  And Mike the seminarian!  And A Person Who Used to Go to My Church Until They Moved Upstate!  And Father Dan Who Always Carries The Monstrance During Adoration!  (My goodness, Adoration was so beautiful.  Wish it had been longer though.)

That’s all… 🙂  Be doing wonderfully, y’all.  And stay awesome.  I leave you with a song we end up singing every year at DYC (though… I think we sing it with more enthusiasm…), and something from my latest musical obsession.

The Lord bless you and keep you.

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One Year Later…

It was Christmas, a little over a year ago, when I wrote it with my finger on the car window, the frigid air outside providing a temporary canvas.  It was a quote that had caught my fancy in the days before.  I kept turning it over in my mind, and it still makes me stop and ponder.

Only in the darkness can you see the stars.

– Martin Luther King Jr.

My aunt, who was sitting next to me, remarked teasingly, “Well aren’t you just the window philosopher.”

A few weeks later I decided to start a blog.  I honestly don’t remember what made me think of it.  But I did.

I think my first post about summed it up:

In any case, I know it won’t really be about one particular thing. Articles, pictures, quotes, music, philosophical musings, etc. that I think people will find interesting, inspiring, or insightful, all these will eventually end up here to be seen by my most likely few, but hopefully dedicated followers.

Sometimes, I just want to voice my opinion. To give my point of view on some subject, a point of view that someone else might like. Of course, who am I to expect people to care about my opinions. It seems rather egotistical. But then again, I’m sure I am not the first to have a blog like this. I like other people’s thoughts on things. They are thoughts I may not have thought of otherwise.

If you have read through to the end of this much too long first post, thank you. I hope you’ll stick around. Maybe I’ll post something you find interesting.

I sincerely hope I’ve fulfilled that goal: to post something interesting.  Something unique.  Something you might not have thought of otherwise.

One thing is for sure: I never imagined how awesome the people in the rest of the blogosphere would be.  How you would support me with their readership and their lovely comments, and how much I would gain from you through your thoughts, musings, rants, poetry, writing, photography, etc.  I’m blessed to know y’all.

That I’m posting this today is due to a number of beautiful circumstances.  I’ve been here babbling away in my little corner of the universe for a year, as of yesterday.  A whole entire year!  525,600 minutes.  Craziness.  A year is not a long time in the grand scheme of things, and yet it can hold so much beauty, so much pain, so much joy, so much love… so much life.  I’m most certainly not who I was one year ago.

But some things don’t change.  I still enjoy blogging.  I’m stilll a fanboy, a music-aholic, and a Catholic Christian, and I’m still holding on to the skin of this here planet.  😀  And I still love that MLK quote.

Which brings us to Circumstance Number 2: it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day!  They played some snippets from his speeches on NPR today.  I feel like I don’t know much about him… history never stuck in my head too well.  But I feel like I want to find out more.

Circumstance Number 3 is a mathematical thing.  This is my 100th post.  *confetti*  Yay!  100 is a nice, big, round number.  Triple digits.  Imagine: nine years from now maybe I’ll have a thousand.  😀  It might sound egotistical, but I liked them all.  I enjoyed writing them.  I mean, they’re still there, but no one’s gonna read them again.  Oh well.  Move along.  To the future!

Some might call these circumstances crazy random happenstance, but I stopped believing in coincidence long ago.  ‘Tis a fairy tale meant to suck all the magic out of the marvelous occasions when God surprises us.

I don’t know how any of you put up with me, but I am so glad that you do.  I love you guys, and I wish you all the best in your blogging endeavors.  Stay awesome!

Anniversaries like this are a good time for stepping back and examining the big picture of things, so I might not post much in the next few weeks as I think about how this blog ought to be moving forward and possible future projects.  If you have any suggestions or anything you want to see here, let me know in the comments.  Thanks!

It is horribly late here in this house, in a small town in Virginia in a very large country on a good-sized planet in the unfashionable end of the west spiral arm of the galaxy, in this universe we call home, the tangible kingdom of Him to whom alone we kneel.  So I must get to bed.  But I want to leave you with something written by my dear friend Lilly.  It is the only blog post she’s ever written; I guess it just wasn’t her thing.  But it is a thing of beauty and worth every word, and she has granted permission for it to be reprinted here.  Beautiful Circumstance Number 4: she posted it a year ago today.

All I can say to it is… ditto.  To the next year of blogging!  May God bless you all, may peace reign in your homes and in your hearts, and hey, don’t forget to be awesome.  Nighty-night.  🙂

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when insecurity has you ripping yourself apart

Please don’t tell me you’re not worth anything. It’s a ridiculous lie. I mean, I guess there’s a lot of darkness out there that wants you to believe it, but only because it’s not true. You’re loved, you’re important, you matter, and if you only knew, you would be invincible.

Think about it.

You are separated from every other species because you’re here to live, not just exist; your purpose goes deeper than just reproducing and carrying on your races’ survival. You are an intricate mosaic of God’s majesty and power. His love for you is thrumming inside your heartbeat, the warmth of your skin, the rhythm of your lungs. You are your own artifact of everything you’ve been through. You are the reason that somebody out there smiles. Everyone who knows you has a little piece of their story in you. You’re here to feel the sun on your skin and the breeze through your hair, to get that awe when a baby holds onto your finger instead of your whole hand, to feel small when you stand beside the ocean, to have your breath taken away when you look up at a sunset, to laugh until you’ve forgotten why it’s funny, to cry when you need to, and stand up and go on. You began way before you were born, in the sparkle of your parents’ eyes when they said “I love you”. You’re special and individual. Your handwriting, the things you think are funny, the sound of your voice when you’re talking about something you’re passionate about, the way you write out your grocery list, the songs you identify with, the way you walk, everybody’s favorite thing about you—it’s all unique. You’re a 3D piece of art walking around, just waiting for some artist to capture part of you in a poem or story or song…but they won’t be able to capture all of you, because you’re deeper than words will go. You are an adventure story, still being written.

You are more than what people think of you. More than your history, more than your family. More than your imperfections. You are more than just another number to add to the statistics. You are not defined by your problems. You are not defined by what the media and the culture say you should be. You are everything you aspire to, everything you dream of, all your embarrassing secrets and 11:11 wishes. You are beautiful. Every bit of you. Even the parts you want to change. Even the scars and the mistakes, and the things you’re ashamed of, the things you try to hide…All of it, because it’s all a part of you. And the God of all creation sees behind the masks you put up, the person you try so hard to act out so people will think better of you…and He loves you. So incredibly much. He knows you better than anyone, and yet He loves you more than anyone could even try to—more than everyone’s love combined. He IS love. And here you are, living, breathing proof of His love. You’re here to learn to love Him back with every fiber of your being.

Hey, you know somethin’? Just stop for a second and listen to me:

You’re alive.

Don’t you dare give the darkness one more moment of you feeling worthless. Don’t let yourself believe you’re anything less than incredible. You are so loved, you have no idea. Thousands of people every day get struck with tragedy and trauma and loss and death, and today, you aren’t one of them. Tomorrow isn’t promised, so don’t waste today. Here you are, living. There are so many reasons to love being alive.

So live.

Soak it up.

Breathe it in, deeply, and then love it out.

Hug tight and sing loud.

Drive with the windows down and the music up.

Dance in the open spaces, and don’t you dare let the fact that you don’t know how to dance stop you.

Don’t ever skip a chance to laugh or make someone else laugh.

Share your happiness, make it contagious. And when you’re hurting, hold on, and let the people you love hold onto you.

Channel your pain into something constructive. Make it beautiful. Get it out of you and onto a page.

Make the world your canvas. Write your name on the hearts of everyone you know, and make it a beautiful autograph. Give them something to remember. Everyone is part of everyone else’s story. Make yours a good part.

Tell people your favorite things about them.

Make sure all the flowers know how pretty they are.

Spend your time making things beautiful, even if nobody thanks you.

Give a damn. Lots of damns. Don’t stop caring. Even if nobody sees it. Even if nobody even cares that you care.

Drop your agenda and go stand in the autumn wind.

Don’t hesitate to go underwater in the swimming pool, even if it’ll mess up your hair, and even when your mascara isn’t waterproof.

Write letters by hand, and call people every now and then, because that means a lot in a world of peeps who only email and text.

Pour yourself into everything you do, and absorb it—make amazing memories, and let your heart be the treasure box to store them in.

Hold onto everything that makes you feel alive. Embrace the feelings, and let them in, even when they hurt, because feeling is living, and the pain makes the beauty worth it.

Dearest, it’s going to be so worth it.

Be strong.

Live.

Quote: A Lack of Color

“And when I see you
I really see you upside down
But my brain knows better
It picks you up and turns you around
Turns you around
If you feel discouraged
When there’s a lack of color here
Please don’t worry lover
It’s really bursting at the seams
From absorbing everything
The spectrum’s A to Z”

“A Lack of Color”, Death Cab for Cutie

One Is Not Enough

“If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats.”

– Lemony Snicket

Besides being a good author, Lemony Snicket always has such quirky and truthful quotes.  I don’t think I can help myself from leaving you with multiple quotes this week, all from Lemony Snicket, refreshing and punctuated with relatable and apposite analogies.

Enjoy.

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”

“People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.”

“It is one of life’s bitterest truths that bedtime so often arrives just when things are really getting interesting.”

“Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear.”

“It is likely I will die next to a pile of things I was meaning to read.”

“Strange as it may seem, I still hope for the best, even though the best, like an interesting piece of mail, so rarely arrives, and even when it does it can be lost so easily.”

Happy Sunday.

Congratulatory Cookies and a Vocabulary Lesson

Today I have to begin by congratulating two sets of people I feel obliged to congratulate.

The first are the youth who were confirmed at my church yesterday.  May the Holy Spirit guide and inspire them always.

The second are the members of my Venturing Crew who were awarded the Pope Pius XII religious medal we have been working towards.  (Except, that includes congratulating myself, which sounds kind of egotistical, but never mind.)

There was a lot of congratulatory cake involved in these events, but let’s turn instead to cookies since I owe you all a quote of the week:

Sometimes me think what is love, and then me think love is what last cookie is for.  Me give up the last cookie for you.

– Cookie Monster

I couldn’t verify where this quote is from, but it definitely sounds like Cookie Monster.  He knows we give up things for people we love.

BUT, there is something else I have had on my mind ever since I saw it.  There are lots of word in the English language we hardly ever use any more.  However, there are some that I think should be used more often, frolic and erstwhile being the two I like to point out.  They’re both great words, but none of them made me want to laugh just speaking them as this word I found today:

Snollygoster

snol·ly·gos·ter (n.) – a clever, unscrupulous person.

Snollygoster.  Is it not an amazingly funny word?  It sounds like a made up insult.  “Ah, you’re just a low-down good-for-nothing snollygoster.”

But it’s not made up.  And I, for one, think it should be used more often.  Erstwhile it was forgotten, but now no snollygoster shall go un-hunted as we frolic throughout the land, hunting snollygosters and the mullock with which they would taint the starrified welkin of civilization.

God bless you all, and don’t forget to be awesome.

Quote of the Week – May 4

Maybe there’s something you’re afraid to say, or someone you’re afraid to love, or somewhere you’re afraid to go.  It’s gonna hurt.  It’s gonna hurt because it matters.

– John Green

From Will Grayson, Will Grayson (co-authored with David Levithan)

And to all my readers (all eight of you): May the Fourth be with you!!!!!!

(Can you tell, I have been waiting all year to say that.)

Enjoy the evening.