Vacay [Part 6/6]: Back to Life, Back to Reality

This blog series comes from a recent vacation that my wife and I took. Had time to clear the old noggin and here’s the “bloggy goodness” that has come as a result. Enjoy!

“Back to life, back to reality, back to the here and now, yeah” -Soul II Soul

Coming back from vacation has to be the hardest part of vacation. To return to the rat race that you thought you’d never get away from is sobering (to say the least), but a good vacation is worth it’s weight in gold. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you don’t schedule time off for yourself, no one else is going to do it for you. However, you also have to consider the health benefits of just getting away from it all (even for a little while).

Don’t believe me? Well, check out this article from About.com on the subject:

http://stress.about.com/od/workplacestress/a/vacations.htm

Vacation. If you don’t do it, you NEED to do it. Don’t delay. Book it today.

(sound advice that I have to constantly give to myself)

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Vacay [Part 5/6]: Family Is Everything

This blog series comes from a recent vacation that my wife and I took. Had time to clear the old noggin and here’s the “bloggy goodness” that has come as a result. Enjoy!

When I got married, I inherited the following: another set of parents (the state calls them “in-laws”, but I consider them another set of parents), one additional brother, two additional sisters, three nieces, and one nephew. I’ve been married to my wife for 7+ years meaning that I’ve been around my “familial inheritance” for at least that long (but definitely longer than that). In a nutshell, room and board for our vacation was covered by my wife’s brother and his family–a part of the immediate family we don’t get to see very often because they live a good distance away from us.

That wasn’t the case this time… and it was pretty awesome!

You never feel older than when you go to visit two neices and one nephew that used to be “knee-high to a duck” and can now “look you square in your eyes” because they’re so tall. On top of that, just catching up with everybody was fun. Seeing where everybody is in their lives, goals, dreams, aspirations, achievements, progress, and everything else in-between. So you can imagine that when it was time to go how difficult it was to say goodbye. I mentioned in the last blog about “tearful goodbyes”, but the great thing about a “goodbye” is that the next “hello” will be that much sweeter.

There’s nothing like family and I love mine dearly. Doesn’t mean that everything is great all the time, but it also doesn’t mean that everything is bad all the time either. Family are the people who love you enough to love you through it all.

So to all my readers out there, you should take a minute to send a little neighborly “Hi!” to your family today.

Vacay [Part 4/6]: A Million Minds, A Million Directions

This blog series comes from a recent vacation that my wife and I took. Had time to clear the old noggin and here’s the “bloggy goodness” that has come as a result. Enjoy!

Have you ever sat in a busy airport and just observe the people? People walking. People running. A little passenger vehicle carrying people who can neither walk or run anymore. People saying their most jubilant “Hello’s” or their most tearful “Goodbye’s”. People here. People there. People everywhere. Needless to say that a million minds moving in a million different directions makes for good people watching.

As my wife and I were waiting for our return flight home to arrive, I sat and took a look at the people all around me. Amongst all the activity, I couldn’t help but wonder what these people were thinking as they moved towards “the next thing”. There’s always a “next thing”, but what about the “right now”?

In an article from PsychologyToday.com titled “The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment”, writer Jay Dixit states the following:

“Here’s the most fundamental paradox of all: Mindfulness isn’t a goal, because goals are about the future, but you do have to set the intention of paying attention to what’s happening at the present moment. As you read the words printed on this page, as your eyes distinguish the black squiggles on white paper, as you feel gravity anchoring you to the planet, wake up. Become aware of being alive. And breathe. As you draw your next breath, focus on the rise of your abdomen on the in-breath, the stream of heat through your nostrils on the out-breath. If you’re aware of that feeling right now, as you’re reading this, you’re living in the moment. Nothing happens next. It’s not a destination. This is it. You’re already there.”

Even though this may sound redundant, I urge you to “live in this moment”. Life is too short to whisk it away consumed with the next thing.

To read the full article, please visit: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200810/the-art-now-six-steps-living-in-the-moment

Vacay [Part 3/6]: Airplanes and Sinuses Don’t Mix

This blog series comes from a recent vacation that my wife and I took. Had time to clear the old noggin and here’s the “bloggy goodness” that has come as a result. Enjoy!

Unfortunately, my sinuses went haywire right before vacation time. I was concerned during the week leading up to vacation time, BUT on the day before we left, my sinuses cleared up. No more “night time sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-head, or fever” for me.

Or so I thought…

The plane left from my home town and everything was good. In the air for three hours and everything was good. On the decent down to our lay-over airport, everything went haywire again. In fact, it went haywire so much so that my hearing was reduced significantly in my right ear. The way I found out is that I started talking to my wife (which sounded like I was yelling) and my wife responds with:

“Why are you talking so low? I can’t hear you. Speak up.”

So I had to do a little bit of research to find out what was going on. If you’ve ever been on an airplane, then you already know how your ears “pop” due to the air pressure changing inside the plane. Well, this was definitely different. If you’ve never heard of “airplane ear” (also known by it’s technical name as “barotrauma”) then you owe it to yourself to check it out (especially if you’re sick and plan on flying anytime soon). Here’s a helpful article:

http://www.wisegeekhealth.com/what-is-airplane-ear.htm

Turns out that due to my unresolved sinus issues before flight, I ran into complications when I finally landed. It is one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever experienced and it took me a day or two to actually get over it, BUT I finally got over it.

Therefore I say to you with all assurance and resolve, airplanes and sinuses don’t mix.

Vacay [Part 2/6]: The Miracle (and Monotony) of Flight

This blog series comes from a recent vacation that my wife and I took. Had time to clear the old noggin and here’s the “bloggy goodness” that has come as a result. Enjoy!

Let me start here. I ALWAYS find airplane rides so fascinating. As a result, I always take the window seat (which means that sometimes I have to trade seats with my wife, but I know she doesn’t mind). Here’s the thing, I look out of the window and I see God painting pictures just for me and everybody else on the plane… but then I look into the airplane cabin and see the following:

A person reading a book/magazine…

A parent trying to console a fussy child…

A person sleeping…

A person on their laptop doing their daily business duties…

A couple engaged in conversation about what they’re going to do when they land…

…so on and so forth…

Now you might say to yourself, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what people usually do on a plane.” I wholeheartedly agree with that, but this is what NASA has to say about flight from the article “How Do Planes Fly”:

“Four forces keep an airplane in the sky. They are lift, weight, thrust and drag. Lift pushes the airplane up. The way air moves around the wings gives the airplane lift. The shape of the wings helps with lift, too. Weight is the force that pulls the airplane toward Earth. Airplanes are built so that their weight is spread from front to back. This keeps the airplane balanced. Thrust is the force that moves the airplane forward. Engines give thrust to airplanes. Sometimes an engine turns a propeller. Sometimes it is a jet engine. It doesn’t matter as long as air keeps going over the wings. Drag slows the airplane. You can feel drag when you walk against a strong wind. Airplanes are designed to let air pass around them with less drag.”

So everytime we fly, all four of these physical forces are in play. It keeps the plane in the air and, assuming none of these four items falls out of balance, gets you to your destination safely.

Isn’t that amazing? Shouldn’t it BE amazing???

Well, call me a nerd, but I think that is quite amazing, and although modern society sees an airplane ride as a monotonous thing, to me, it’s still a miracle (which is why I took so many pictures).

Sidenote: NASA didn’t mention the 5th force that I use on an airplane ride: PRAYER (I do it every time)

Vacay [Part 1/6]: God Paints

This blog series comes from a recent vacation that my wife and I took. Had time to clear the old noggin and here’s the “bloggy goodness” that has come as a result. Enjoy!

On a blue background, God paints. He paints with clouds against sky, sun against shadow, length, width, depth, emptiness, and essence. There’s something about taking an airplane ride that gives you a different perspective on land, sea, and sky because it all looks different from 20,000 feet in the air. Being that I ALWAYS find airplane rides so fascinating, I just had to take a few pictures to commemorate the occassion. Take a look at how God paints:

What I Did Over My Summer Vacation

I am thoroughly convinced that every teacher who ever assigned that writing assignment on the first day of school was stalling for time while they got the rest of their REAL curriculum together.

…but I digress…

With the summer coming to a close in just a few days, I thought I would use this “What I Did Over My Summer Vacation” premise to recap all of my ooey gooey blogging goodness over the summer months. Therefore, I shalt take the title of all my blogs (with the exception of the “Time To Learn” series) and give you a three word synopsis (aka “3WS”) describing my thoughts/feelings. Of course if you’re interesting in reading any of these blogs (and I definitely encourage you to), feel free to click the links on the vertical toolbar to the right and help yourself. Check it out:

JUNE 2014

The Dark Room (Parts 1 and 2)
3WS = Unprofessional Church Musicians

Purpose By God’s Design
3WS = Charles Stanley Devotional

The Faithful Few
3WS = Less Is More

The Real Gospel Challenge: WHO and WHY
3WS = Sing For God

Working In The Shop
3WS = Workshops Do Work

JULY 2014

Double Booked
3WS = Schedule A Break

The Inbox (Parts 1 through 9)
3WS = Funny And Interesting

AUGUST 2014

Challenge Is Inevitable (Parts 1 and 2)
3WS = Don’t Be Complacent

Church Is NOT A Hospital (Parts 1 through 3)
3WS = Church Is Church

The Paomnnehal Pweor Of The Hmuan Mnid
3WS = Fearfully, Wonderfully Made

What I Did Over My Summer Vacation
3WS = Clip Show Equivalent

CONCLUSION

I think the conclusion here is that for as much as I love music, there is a whole wide world of subject matter to explore both musical and non-musical. The main thing to remember is that regardless of what you’re reading or studying, just make sure that you never get complacent in your learning. A laugh, an “Ah Ha!”, an “I’m going to use that”, or even a “Really?!?!?!?” are the very things that help us to grow.

That’s what I did (on WordPress) this Summer. What about you?