Dim the Lights

I dim the lights, and try to steal a few minutes for myself.

Around my house, it’s a daily…process?  struggle?  battle?  game?…to get the kids into go-to-sleep mode.  Tonight is a little better — as a steal a few minutes to write this piece, just after 9:00pm, everyone is ready for bed (already).  Lot’s of times that’s not the case around this time.

I dimmed the lights, settled in for a five minute blog post, and in the back-ground, my four-year-old is dancing and singing, a made-up song in a made-up language.  Shortly, the other two kids come down the hall to see what’s going on.   They don’t really just “come down the hall…”, they sprint down the way, bare feet thumping on the hardwood.

It’s time for bed, but in these few seconds, the energy level is swiftly rising well beyond where it should be.  The dimmed lights are losing their effect.  Or maybe, like my wife says, dimming the lights doesn’t make a difference.  It does for me, but maybe not so much for the kids.

Ok, time for the kids’ dance party to end.  Time to parade down the hall to bed.

Time to turn the lights down, dim lights to…OFF.

GOOD NIGHT.

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Honor Labor

[Image courtesy of Santa Clara University Alumni Association]

Thoughts today, being thankful for an extra day off work.

Thoughts today of my own list of things to do, things to squeeze into a holiday Monday.

Thoughts of gratitude for spending more time with my kids, seeing my mom, yummy dinner my wife made and we enjoyed with the neighbors.

Thoughts of those who worked, WORKED, on this Labor Day holiday.; Those who labor for us everyday; Those who keep our society and comforts and conveniences going day in and day out.

Those who provide the sweat and muscle and raw hours of raw effort and toil and tedious attention to those things that demand attention to be put together and organized and proper.

Thoughts to those who labor. Thoughts of respect and gratitude.

The day is done. What remains?

GRATITUDE.

Auto-Pilot for GOOD

“Turning auto-pilot on for GOOD today. I’ll let you know how it goes.”

You know what you should do.

Don’t Lament past short-coming. Make your list. Do each thing on that list. If you get sidetracked, realign and continue with the list.

Focus.

Perseverance.

Resolve.

Toward the GOOD. It’s out there. Find it.

At Capacity

Lots of context for this concept. You might be “at capacity” in any of a variety of ways.

At capacity in learning, a sort of plateau of absorbing new things;

At capacity with activities, not able to fit another event on your schedule on a given day;

At capacity in repetitions, not able to do another pull up or arm curl or plank;

At capacity with projects, every day already full with no room for another thing;

At capacity eating your vegetables at dinner; this affliction happens on nearly a nightly basis at my house.

You get the idea. But here’s the thing.

Capacity is a dynamic quality. It’s a parameter that must always be considered. Capacity might be limiting in the immediate, in the short term.

But in the aggregate, it’s just another variable that must be considered in striving for optimal outcome.

You should always consider capacity, and you should also test its limits. Carefully, thoughtfully, but for sure, test, push, strive to expand the limit.

The outcome?

It will make you better. It will help you reach your goals. It will make things GOOD.

Grace

A simple word, “grace”.

It carries so much varied meaning.

It was my paternal grandmother’s first name.  It is my first daughter’s middle name.

The dictionary refers to it this way, in part:

elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action; or, 

the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.”

Why do I bring it up today?  There’s been a lot of grace in my life.  I might say in fact, the whole of my life has been marked by grace; then again, that wouldn’t be a surprise, given that I’m a believer and my general attitude toward life.

But…these last few days, I feel like lots of grace has been bestowed on me…like,

at work, some break-through insights on basic operations that help me to keep the train rolling in the right direction…like,

confidence and respect expressed toward me to get the job done…like,

time with my extended family, connecting and understanding their situations, their challenges, their joys…like,

time with my wife that’s been nothing special,  except that it’s felt founded on love, and simple appreciation, and a reminder over and over that it’s a massive, daily blessing that we are together…like,

time with our three kids, soaking up their personalities, their realities, their joy…like,

appreciation shared with old co-workers, love shared, really, and good times, and happiness…like,

gratitude for sage mentors and peer colleagues that together provide foundation and lessons and guidance and insight more valuable than I can put to words…like,

the sense that it’s all going to work out.

It carries much varied meaning, the word “grace”; and my life is full of it.  AMEN.

Ignatius Celebration Week: Prayer for Detachment

I beg of you, my Lord,

to remove anything which separates

me from you, and you from me.

Remove anything that makes me unworthy

of your sight, your control, your reprehension;

of your speech and conversation,

of your benevolence and love.

Cast from me every evil

that stands in the way of my seeing you,

hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you;

fearing and being mindful of you;

knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you;

being conscious of your presence

and, as far as may be, enjoying you.

This is what I ask for myself

and earnestly desire from you. Amen.

—Saint Peter Faber, SJ

From Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits