Monday, May 13, 2013

Where is the fun?

Recently, I was talking to someone about all the work I do. The conversation pretty much boiled down to him saying, "Dude, everything you talk about is heavy. Where is the fun?" In a lot of ways, what he said is true. The kind of work I do requires me to talk about various difficult subjects with youth and young adults. Moreover, no one really asks me what I do for fun, so it's not something I talk about on a regular basis. Does this happen to anyone else?

Nevertheless, let me just say I am a pro at goofing off. I do a lot of things for fun, so I'll talk about some of them in this post. However, before I continue, I want to add that I still think there is a lesson in all this. Last week, I talked about balance being an essential part of life. I emphatically believe that it is important to do things that are fun. Life can't be all work, right? Every part of life requires balance: life can't be all work, and life can't be all fun. I think when you can find the right balance between the two, and maintain that balance consistently, that is when you are really living. Alright, enough with the lesson before someone reminds me that I haven't talked about anything fun yet.

The first thing that has to go in, whether it sounds like work or not, is that I enjoy writing. Writing is still something I do for fun. Writing is not my main source of income, so it is still something I do when I am not working. I released my first novel "Beyond Heights and Depths" in January, and I am currently in the process of writing the sequel. In addition to the sequel, I love to work on poetry, sermons, and other creative projects. I also like to draw, practice graffiti, and work on designs on my computer. I love all things art, although I still consider myself a pretty poor artist, so I still have lot's of room to grow.

I don't watch a lot of television, but my two favorite shows right now are Duck Dynasty and Castle.

I love to watch Duck Dynasty because it is hilarious. The cool thing is that it is not all comedy. Every episode ends with a little life lesson at the end that ties it all together. The show is also pretty wholesome compared to other things on television. One of the other reasons I watch it is that the show is on all the time. I don't know when shows are regularly on, so I tend to just watch whatever is on. In case any other fans are reading this, my favorite character is Si--hey.

The other show I watch is Castle. Like Duck Dynasty, Castle is on a few times a day, almost every day. I do enjoy the fact that the male lead character is a writer too, but that is not the reason I watch. I really enjoy the fact that it is a crime drama that is much different from the other crime dramas on television. It's funny and dramatic, but not as messed up as some of the current crime dramas on television. I used to be a Law & Order and CSI fan years ago, and I don't watch any of those shows anymore.

Like a lot of people, I spend my fair share of time on social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, a pretty large amount of that time is still considered work, especially when I am working on book promotions. I do really enjoy catching up with friends I haven't seen in a long time. I like to see all the cool finds people are posting, not to mention visiting the Castle page. Interacting with people on Twitter is totally different than Facebook, but I like talking with all the different people on there, nevertheless.

Above all else, I love spending time with my family. There is nothing more fun or rewarding than being a parent. No matter where we are, or what we are doing, I am always having the best time with them. Whether I am out at the beach, or pretending to be a Ninja Turtle with my son, I treasure every moment. So, that's a little bit about me. As you can see, I do make time for fun, maybe even more than I should. Like I said before, I'm still learning to find the right balance in life myself.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Balance is essential

The lesson for me this week has been about balance. Like many people, I often get so caught up in all the day-to-day things in life that I fail to notice how these little things--that I feel are so important at the time--are actually taking me away from the things that really are important. I like to believe I am a pretty darn good multitasker, but I'm also learning to know when I have reached the point where I need to step back and re-prioritize. Of course, this is still an ongoing process for me, since I forget so often.

It's easy to to fall into the trap of busyness. A busy person makes a better impression than a not busy person. People who are not busy appear to be lazy. Keeping ourselves busy gives us the illusion of accomplishing a lot. Accomplishing a lot increases our sense of importance, and we all want to feel important. However, life goes by pretty fast, and before you know it, you've missed out on a lot of things because you were too busy keeping yourself busy. Life has to have balance.

In writing this, a certain quote has been stuck in my head. It comes from a movie most of us are familiar with: The Karate Kid (the 80's one, not the one that had no karate in it at all). In the movie, Mr. Miyagi says, "Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home. Understand?"

Simple right? When your life has balance, everything is good. When life is not balanced, it's time to pack it up and regroup. For me, everyday I juggle ministry, work, being a proud parent to two boys, counseling others, working with multiple groups, making time to write, and finding any time I can to promote the book that is already published. Like a juggler, when everything is flowing correctly, the performance is good. The minute something goes wrong, everything comes crashing down.

So, like Daniel-san in the movie, I have to be reminded to keep working on balance. Hard work is good, but we also have to take the time to enjoy the things in life that are most important. In my opinion, the people who have good balance are the ones who make the best impression. Spend time with family and friends. Write because you enjoy writing, not because you have a deadline. Read a good book. See that new movie everyone is talking about. Whatever it is you do, make the most of it. Work is important, but don't get so caught up in being busy that you let life pass you by.