Consistency

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PC: Marion Michele

Consistency.

I’ve been meaning to write about this theme in my life since March, but I’ve been putting it off. Because to write about it is to claim it and to claim it is to live by it, and I haven’t been feeling strong enough to live consistently in most things.

I say I want to lose weight and a week later I’m binge eating on chips and margaritas. I say I want to read a book or two and except for the GRE haven’t picked up a book in months. I say I want to raise money for human trafficking victims and I’m too scared to keep asking the people who said they would donate.

Consistent in my work. Consistent in my friendships. Consistent in my training for triathlon this summer. Consistent with my relationship with God- I feel like I’ve been a roller coaster more than anything… Nothing consistent in my actions or attitude except this nagging thought that I have to get back on track to what is important and STAY TRUE to that course.

So I’m pushing and pulling. Trying to grasp at any semblance of order in my career, health, and attitude with changes in relationships, and especially with God.

Consistency is what I noticed brought me from running 11:00 min miles in snowy February, to 9:45 min miles in rainy April, to 8:50 min miles in humid June.

Consistency in prayer is what I know makes my emotional imbalance and fear sober and pure minded again.

Consistency in showing up at work, and doing the best that I can any given day is what I know got me a 3rd promotion in less than 2 years as a Sports Producer.

Consistency is what is getting me through relearning Math for the GRE that I haven’t thought about since 10th grade…

Consistency is key. It is key to success. It is key for getting through each day. It is key for proving I am capable, even when I “don’t feel like it.” And believe me, I don’t most days. But by remaining consistent to show up during the hard times, I know I’m succeeding, even if I don’t see the fruit right away.

I know it works. The reality is, though the process has been slow, I have seen the fruit of remaining consistent to the important things, letting go of that which distracts from my goals.

SO by FINALLY writing this blog post, I am claiming this word publicly to make it a habit and pattern in my actions and ultimately a part of my lifestyle in all areas of my life right now, not just when it is convenient.

Consistency to keep putting one foot in front of the other for this triathlon on days and nights I don’t want to work out, when I say the wrong thing in meetings, or when I want to go out with friends and instead know I should study.

In the end, I think that is what makes the fruit so beautiful. It is not that these goals are easy, or that I’ve done a good job at keeping them a priority- but that I can in action, word, and deed go back to remaining faithful and true to the important things.

The road is long, but I will reach the end by choosing to move forward. Consistently.

Love Like a Blanket

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PC: Ruthie Martin

You know what I love most about fall? Curling up in a blanket with a cup of tea in the evening. Don’t get me wrong, I love summertime. It’s sun-shiney, full of campfires, nights on the town with friends, traveling to beaches and cities… But now… the leaves are orange and red. The days are short. The the air is chilly. And fall lends to an increased number of quiet evenings at home. Some days.

With the chilly weather, nothing beats my flannel blanket, a new book, and hot cup of tea. Sigh. Down time.

That said, my job keeps me on the go most of the time this time of the year. I work in sports TV production for a Big Ten team: the Penn State Nittany Lions. The past two months have really been a blur of football games, booking shoots, edits, show builds, directing interns, and emails such as “where is the missing DVD file?” or “why is this video not posted to YouTube yet?”

I love what I do! But still…

As I push through this blur, most days with a smile and an underlying headache, I’ve really had to check myself… Where are my priorities? Who am I relying on?

Seriously. As work as taken over, I feel like I’ve been messing up BIG time in my relationships with both God and people – First, a misunderstanding with a friend of almost a decade led to a hurtful friend breakup. Then, missing Bible Study for the past month because of the heavy workload. And in between, disregarding texts and calls from girlfriends joking that “meh, I don’t need a social life right now.”

So, it was an evening to myself a couple of days ago, when I chose to curl up in that flannel, fall time blanket I mentioned earlier, with a hot cup of tea, when I realized pretty quickly that I’ve been running on spiritual fumes- smiling away the hurts and ignoring the bruises.

Sipping on my mug of tea and pulling the blanket tighter around myself, I finally opened up to the Lord… confessing my actions and questioning others’. Instead of a rebuke, my good, good Father draped His arms of love around me in a whisper and embrace warmer and thicker than any blanket on a chilly fall evening.

His love transcends the ups and downs of life and relationships. Mistakes big or small. Good-byes that don’t make sense. Loneliness despite the busyness. The whole spectrum of emotions that act as guides throughout our days. And the icing of joys and successes in the mix.

He knows all. Sees all. Understands all. And is just WAITING for you and I to fall back into His love and let Him wrap us up in peace and love.

Unlike people who sometimes sprint and other times mosey in and out of your life for a season, be it 1 year or 10 years, God will never leave you nor forsake you. And nothing can separate you from His love, despite what you might feel in any given moment.

So this fall season God is teaching me to stop, confess, and let Him love me as no one else can.

 And that is better than a flannel blanket or cup of tea, on a chilly fall night, could ever be.

Time

Time

There is always something on my mind to write about, but lately, after a campfire and a death, I’ve been thinking mostly of time.

The passing of time. The ebb and flow as time brings us new experiences and change. How time makes everything seem the same.

I sat out by my campfire last weekend. My mom is moving to a new town, selling her home, and as I live with her I am moving too. Not with her, I’m getting my own place once more, but it is new change in my life as we move from summer to fall shortly.

As I sat by the campfire crackling on the warm summer night, I listened to the cicadas in the trees all around me, and night owls hooting here and there. I looked up to the sky that was black and full of glimmering stars. And I relished the heat of the rocks on my bare feet that surrounded the fire, keeping my toes warm as a breeze passed by.

I’ve been doing this since I can remember my first summer campout. The stars, black sky, cicadas, crickets and grasshoppers, lightning bugs… I’m older now, sure but there is timelessness to campfires that make me feel small, young like a child, and old like I’m 60 with the weight of the world on my shoulders all at the same time.

Time passes from person to person. Generation to generation. And in that time we only have so many days and hours to laugh, dream, plan, go on vacation, work, study, read, and make friendships and relationships with the people around us.

Time is short when you’re old. Time is long when you’re young. Time is lonely when you’re sad. Time is so full that your chest bubbles and tears come out of your eyes in laughter when you’re with those you love most…

The campfire was a weekend ago but the death was a day ago.

The death of a beloved friend and coworker at my office at WPSU Sports. He was an encourager, leader, and hard worker. He laughed easily and worked swiftly. He was patient with me “the new girl” for a year, until the department started bringing in more people. He was a rock. I went to him for many things throughout the day. Advice on work, a break if I needed it, and help for any little issue that I wasn’t sure how to handle.

It’s hard to believe I will be walking into that office tomorrow, the next day, the day after, and even going to these fall Penn State Football games without him.

He reached out to me and made me feel included when I first joined the team last fall. He made my ideas seem relevant. We laughed at some of my questions. And even when he was stressed, he would hop over to my station and computer to help if I ever needed it.

Time is funny because though we’ve only worked together for a year he became a solid work friend in that time.

And he doesn’t even know it.

I never really told him how much he meant. Yes, a sincere word here and there, but nothing weird because I didn’t know how real to get with my co-workers and friends. Even after months I still felt like the new girl, which I haven’t been for quite some time.

This past Friday when I left the office he wasn’t around. (He had already left for a weekend wedding, which he told me about last spring! I remember that convo too… We were on a break in the lunchroom in April, talking about the weddings we were in this summer and friends getting married at our age. He told me he hoped the wedding that he was the best man wouldn’t be over a football weekend.)

Anyways, this Friday I was leaving for a triathlon, which he asked me all kinds of questions about the day before as he left for a wedding. I was going to text him, “Hey have fun at your friends wedding this weekend and good luck on your best man’s speech.” I honestly was excited to hear how it went come Monday. But I didn’t text him. Because I thought, “naw, I’ll see him Monday, I don’t want to bother him today.”

Time is short. Time changes things quickly. Because who knew that that Friday, one minute he would be breathing and the next gone.

And when did sending a positive note, thought, or word to someone ever become bothersome??

People need that. We need each other…

Moving from summer video shoots to plans for Football and Basketball season, I pictured him there… Helping me with the interns, offering advice when unknowns come up, and even after-work drinks as a team, which we never did.

And like sitting by a campfire at 25 years old instead of being 6 years old, though everything is different in life and work, everything is the same.

The shows and video shoots will go on. The first PSU Football game on September 3 will start without him. He won’t be there to edit, direct, or step in with our already short-staffed office, yet all those things remain the same.

Working in video seems glamorous, but for as much as I take behind the scenes photos of the lights, cameras, audio equipment, and fun sets, I sometimes forget the people around me. That time moves quickly and those people who run the sets are more important than the show we produce.

Time is final. Fatal. But also doesn’t end. Time moves on. And as it does, I hope to remember John… He’s one of the main reasons why I liked going to work so much. I love the content, sure, but I love the team I get to work with. Each person special. Each person with gifts, talents, and capabilities. But especially John who at such a young age did so much for the people around him and the office we worked at.

With the ebb and flow of time, the next days and weeks won’t be easy because John’s story, his life, will be missed. Is already missed. A death too soon. A life too short. And a friend of mine swept away in the current of time.

But he still matters. His soul is in God’s hands, mercy, and grace. And though “time will tell” it doesn’t have the last say.

God does.

Because Demons Are Real. And it’s Almost Halloween.

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I sat on the stone bench in front of the fireplace and I felt it first. Evil permeated the room, squeezing my heart like a fist, choking my neck. It was hard to breath as I looked around the room. I saw it. The luminescent green, shadowy figure crept to a halt on the stairs and turned toward me. Without eyes, it looked right through me; as if it knew things about the world that I didn’t. His long boney fingers wiggled in anticipation of what I might do. Run. Scream. Or just throw a blanket over my head praying it wasn’t real and would leave me alone. Its dark grey robes flowed and moved in the air as if there was a breeze shifting the shadowy folds. I closed my eyes and prayed quickly, willing God to make it leave. And it did. Just like that.

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