As I write this, we just had a our first good dump of snow up here. Although September was super nice with a lot of warm, sunny days, things can change quickly. This snow won’t last, but it’s a good reminder that we’re facing longer nights, colder weather, and the extra stresses of the unexpected (because, unlike rain, snow requires you do something about it).
When I start to think of how long it will be before I see green things growing again, I have to square my shoulders and preach to myself. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of winter, I try to focus on the good things. The holiday season. Special food and drink. Coming into a warm house on a cold day. And I try to adopt an attitude of rest.
My wife reminded me recently of the Danish concept of hygge. It doesn’t translate to English, but simply put:
the word evokes both coziness and togetherness.
Anyway, you may not have the same struggle as me. Or you live in a place where snow, cold, and the dark are not an issue. Or maybe you’re just heading into the warmer months in the southern hemisphere. Whatever the case, adopting this mentality of embracing a season of rest, comfort, and friendship & community sounds like a good idea. Are you with me?
I’ve been focused on enhancing my reading over the past couple of years (not to as much success as I would like). It’s a desire to ensure what I read truly impacts me, to put effort into my reading. Or, as Adler puts it:
And that is why there is all the difference in the world between the demanding and the undemanding reader. The latter asks no questions — and gets no answers.
But of late, I’ve rediscovered another area this is of great benefit: deep listening.
One recent evening, an evening designated as “free night” where everyone in our family chooses to engage in whatever activity they feel like (rather than a time where we all engage in the same activity together), I chose to simply sit and listen to music. And I came to a realization: it’s been far too long since I listened to music without doing anything else at the same time.
When I was in grade school, I participated in band for several years. Our teacher insisted on the importance of daily practice, but he didn’t want us only playing our instruments in this time. He frequently encouraged us to participate in active listening. To sit and do nothing my engage our minds in following every ebb and flow, each crescendo and descendo, in a piece of classic orchestral music. When our minds wandered, we were to bring them back to the present and do our best to pick out all the different things happening.
I learned to love this kind of music over time. Brahms, most especially. And so this recent evening, I put on some Brahms, lay on my couch for a good 45 minutes, and just … listened. And it was amazing.
(Rian, I see you nodding and muttering, “What have I been telling you, man?”)
Anyway, I’ll be doing more of this. I wish I didn’t need to be reminded that focusing on one activity at a time is beneficial to the soul. But there it is…
Even as a Canadian living north of the border, I feel the importance of the upcoming US election. I will be affected, because people I care about deeply will be affected.
So grateful the leadership @Wildbit made this a priority early on. We’ve been working for a couple of weeks of how to best support our team in the weeks to come.
Christian Ross is one my favorite people, period! He’s a good chap with a charming Texan accent. He doesn’t often post to his blog, but when he does, what he writes is either thought provoking or good for a belly laugh.
As this year was his 20th anniversary, he and (his wife) Melissa had planned a nice trip to Italy. But 2020 being what it is, plans had to change. But that didn’t stop Christian from writing about how the trip would have gone. Nice pics included!
This place was the perfect place to eat (that’s probably why we ate there four times). I say we buy it. And eat there every day.
And put burgers and pizza on the menu cause squid isn’t very good. Maybe the people in Italy just don’t know that burgers are better because nobody has ever told them. But I’m fine if we do. I know they would agree to stop eating squid if somebody would just let them try a burger.
What a guy!
Gosh, I still clearly remember this album’s release. Like grunge in the early 90’s, I came to appreciate Radiohead later than a lot of folks. Ok Computer had been out for a while before I grew to love their music. I eagerly picked up all their albums and have been a fan ever since.
And I, like many others, eagerly awaited the release of Kid A for months. And when it arrived … it was not what any of us expected. I wasn’t one of those to cry foul and complain that the band was not faithful to their own music and their fans. But it did take me a bit to truly appreciate both the music itself, and their courage to change so much as artists.
This article is a nice summary of the album and its effects:
In so many ways, Radiohead’s fourth studio album was a prophecy. Eschewing guitars for modular synths and Cubase, the accidental rock gods forged a daring path. __Kid A__was tough to digest and not universally loved by critics, but its apocalyptic themes of heartbreak, desolation, global warming, and empty escape in consumerism struck true for fans and carries weight two decades on. As a soundscape, it’s incredibly visionary. Compositional changes almost broke the band, but it made them legends instead.
It’s funny how music so well captures moments for us. Kid A came out when I was in college, and I can remember sitting in a friend’s dingy apartment, drinking beer and arguing about the album’s merits. Good memories!
As a community leader, you don’t want to build spaces where people react calmly to getting their foot stepped on for the millionth time. You want to build spaces where people can trust that they are safe from being stepped on. To do that, you need to address the system of behavior that makes marginalized people feel unwelcome, rather than treating each instance of that behavior as a personal conflict that has occurred in isolation.
Watching: I saw so many folks praising Ted Lasso, I finally gave it a try. It has enough language and innuendos that it’s not an option for our family viewings. But I’ve enjoyed the spirit of it for the first several episodes.
Listening: Along with Brahms (as mentioned above), Lecrae’s new album has been getting a lot of plays. And Andy Mineo has been releasing some singles in recent weeks.
Drinking: My attempt to embrace the season means I’ve started looking for beers that are not in the hefeweizen, ISA, or hazy pale ale categories. I’ve been enjoying a couple of nice stouts.
Oddly enough, I could not find a pumpkin beer this fall. Usually, they’d start to flood the shelves around September in these parts. I asked a knowledgeable fellow at one of my favourite places to get craft beer and he said he stopped ordering them. He would usually sell a few, but not enough to justify an order. Because no one buys dusty bottles of pumpkin beer in March.
Could this be the beginning of the end of the pumpkin spice craze? If that’s the case, I won’t be shedding a tear over it 😢