Sleep

As much as I love sleep, I find it hard to do.

My little girl sleeping so soundly.

When I finally lay down to go to sleep, I start to feel guilty.  I say to myself “it’s only 10:30 pm I could get a good hour’s worth of work done.” Or I want to stay up and play a few more rounds of Plants vs Zombies 2.  But I know the best thing for me to do is to settle my brain enough to fall peacefully asleep.

On the other end I know that if I wake up early enough I can complete my ideal morning routine which includes

1/2 hour Bible Reading/Journal

1/2 hour Social media purge (including catching up on the news)

1 hour Workout

45 min Help getting the kids ready for the day

But life rarely works out the way we want it too right?

I do know that sleep is important and I do know that it is best if I go to bed early enough that I can wake up feeling refreshed and that I give myself time to do the things I want/need to do in the morning.

Bible Story

Matthew 8: 23 – 27 (NRSV)

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24A gale arose on the lake, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25And they went and woke him up, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ 26And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you of little faith?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. 27 They were amazed, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’

Jesus was in a boat with his disciples.  Jesus fell asleep and a storm comes over  them.  The disciples are freaking out but Jesus stays asleep.  They woke him up and wondered why he was not afraid.  Jesus calms the storm and calms them.

I love this story because so many times, when the seas get rough in my life I go to Jesus with the same question.  I want Jesus to help me to reassure me that things are going to be okay.  So many times he does!! Other times I feel like I am left alone.  But even though I feel like I am left alone I know that Jesus will never leave my side.

When I realize this I know that I have experienced a God-Moment.  A moment in time when I feel God’s loving arms wrapped around me.

Invitation

Sleeping on the shores of Camp Calumet.

This week I would like to invite you to think about your sleep.  Take a photo of your bedtime rituals, your kids’ bedtime rituals, things you do before you go to sleep, how you like to sleep, where you sleep or even what you are doing instead of sleeping ……. anything related to resting your wary mind and body.  Also notice the things that are sleeping around you, your pets, animals in the world, people on park benches, or even a tree the looks like it’s sleeping.

Share a link of your picture in the comments below, on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #GM52

Daily

Many people begin their day by reading the news.  It could be a physical paper, or they may turn to their iPhones, iPads, Kindles, Android devices or computers.  But once someone wakes up in the morning, they grab a cup of coffee, a healthy breakfast and read about what is going on in the world.

Other people may get up and go for a run, lift weights at the gym or maybe they check out Facebook and see what is going on in their friends lives.

Whatever your daily routine is, chances are you stick with it every day.

What are some of the other daily activities that you participate in?

This may be a good week for you to evaluate your daily routines.

Instead of stopping by Starbucks everyday, you could make your coffee at home and then donate the money you stave to Lutheran World Relief.  Or if you are not exercising everyday maybe this is the week that you start?

I like to wake each day and focus on one area that I can excel or accomplish. Sometimes it is a personal goal and I start working on a goal that I want to accomplish, other times it is to spend more time with my wife or kids. Sometimes, it’s just stay quiet all day.

Some days I try and think of focus words to direct my day.  Some of these words are:

Pray, Sing, Be Silly, Listen, Love

Bible Story

In the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is a traveling rock star.  He is baptised by John and then he goes into the wilderness for fourty days.  Then he travels from town to town and people are flocking to see him.  He is casting out deamons and healing leapers.  One stop he makes is to see Simon’s mother-in-law.

Mark 1: 29-39

29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

32 That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ 38He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ 39And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

I believe from reading this passage that Jesus would commonly wake up in the morning and pray.  How else can you explain where he got the energy for all of the teaching preaching and healing that he was doing?

Invitation

Photo credit: Roger Price (Creative Commons)

This week think about what you do everyday.  Take a picture of something that you do everyday.  Or think about something you would like to add into your daily routine and take a picture of that to remind yourself to do it!!  Take a picture of a loving face that you see everyday, or a billboard that inspires you, or a beautiful sunrise or sunset.  Once you take the picture share it!!!!

Share a link of your picture in the comments below, on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #GM52

Begin

I am not sure which is harder — beginnings or endings.

 And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings. ~ Meister Eckhart

As we begin a new year, we may be starting on new journey’s — it may be a personal transformation, it may be a professional transition or there may be a commitment in our life that we want to make a priority in 2014. Beginnings or changes can be hard.  I know the one thing that makes it hard for me  is fear.

Every year to help with that I think of three words that lead me and guide me to accomplish my goals.  But the fear still seems to creep in.

However, focusing on what you want to do for the year, and with the love and support of family, friends, and God – anything is possible.  We need to remember that when we begin something, it may not always turn out the way we want.  Even if we mess up, we can always start again, right where we are.  That’s grace.

And where we are right now will not be where we will end up.

Bible Story

In Genesis we read “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”

That’s how God started.  When there was complete and utter darkness, when the world was a formless void God created light.

God did not end with the light.  God created the world and all that is in it.  God created you and me!!

Everything that exists has a beginning story. . . including you.  What is your story?

We were born, throughout our life we have many beginnings — school, work, relationships, experiences  and faith.

Faith has a starting point as well — where does your story begin?

Invitation

This week think about beginnings, think about a project you want to accomplish this week or this year and take a picture of it.  If you want to lose weight this year, take a picture of a scale, if you want to go paperless take a picture of the piles of paper you want to get rid of, if you need to do a bunch of laundry this week, take a picture of the pile of clothes.

Whatever beginning you are ready to embark upon, share it.

Share a link of your picture in the comments below, on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #GM52

Early

Thinking back to my college days, I would frequently stay up all night.  Sometimes I was out having a good time with my friends, other times it was finishing a paper or a project.  But by the time my head hit the pillow at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning, I would not see the light of day until noon.

Photo Credit: PeterY (Creative Commons)

Now I find myself getting to bed much earlier and starting my day at 5:00 am instead. “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” is a common phrase that was first found in the Poor Richard’s Almanack, around 1735.  There is good reason to believe that Ben Franklin coined the expression himself and used it in the Almanack under the pseudonym Poor Richard. I know when I get a good nights sleep, and I get up and get started with my daily routine I feel better. I am able to get more things done throughout the day and I just feel better.  My ideal morning would look something like this: 5:30 am – Wake up 5:40 am – Work out 7:00 am – Return home, clean up, help get the kids ready for school, have breakfast, catch up on email 8:30 am – Finish getting ready for the day 9:00 am – Leave for work Sometimes I am successful at keeping this schedule and other times I could be better.

Bible Story

When I am up early enough after my workout I sit at the computer.  I sit down I read these words:

Psalm 5

1 Give ear to my words, O Lord; give heed to my sighing. 2 Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray. 3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

At my computer I read the news, read scripture, journal in Evernote, check my Facebook page and reflect on the previous day and all that happened, then I focus on what to expect on the day ahead.   I also like to sit in quiet. Either during my run in the morning or during my drive to the gym I enjoy quiet.   In my quietness I listen to what God is saying to me and I pray.  I need to get everything out of my head to make room for God.

Invitation

Try getting up early one day this week, or more if you think you can.  Take a picture of what you see.  Do you see newly fallen snow that no one has disturbed yet?  Can you catch a sunrise?  Can you get up before your alarm clock?  Share in the comments your pictures and your thoughts about getting up so early. Share a link of your picture in the comments below, on Facebook, Instagram o Twitter using the hashtag #GM52