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Cloudy Skies

There is something truly beautiful about a cloudy day

Especially in a place that is mostly sunny

The clouds don’t fully block out the rays of light

It does, however, give us us the opportunity to enjoy the shadows

When the shadows get to be too much

The sun breaks through and warms us with it’s light

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Day 12, 13, 14, & 15

This week has gotten away from me.

Over the last week or so, I’ve really been reflecting on parenthood and my son.

Below will be poems or brief free-form pieces based on that.

My Son: Grow

I remember the long days and nights where all you did was lay on my chest

Feeling the rhythm of your breath while you’d rest

Time moved so slow back then

Now, I long for those days once more

Those memories I’ll always cherish

Don’t stop growing on account of me

Instead, grow into who you are called to be

My Son: Fear

You’ve always been a brave little soul

Hold onto that bravery and never let go

Fear will try to hold you back

It’ll try to remind you of all which you lack

Don’t be fooled by the tricks up it’s sleeves

But focus on the bravery that dwells within thee

My Son: Emotions

If there’s one thing I hope to teach you, it’d be to understand your emotions

Take time and reflect on your feelings and how they come to be

Instead of burying them like I have,

Identify and examine them

In doing so, may you learn to express and accept them

Parenting Thoughts: Doubt

Bombarded by doubts in this insecure state

Wondering if all parents can relate

Am I doing enough?

Will they grow up okay?

Can I provide for them without any kind of delay?

All I really want is for them to know I tried and I gave it my all

To know that I love them without having to recall

Day 10 & Day 11

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Wind

No matter where I am or what I am doing

If I feel a breeze of wind, I know you are with me

You are Welcome

In a world that is constantly divided

It’s important to be reminded of the unity we are capable of

No matter your age

You are welcome at this table

No matter how you identify when it comes to your gender

You are welcome at this table

No matter your ethnicity

You are welcome at this table

No matter your sexual orientation

You are welcome at this table

No matter your political, religious, or philosophical beliefs

You are welcome at this table

If you have faith, or if you have doubt

You are welcome at this table

No matter if you are a citizen or an immigrant

You are welcome at this table

No matter what

You are welcome at this table

At this table, may we be unified in the supper

May we be encouraged to show love, mercy, and grace as we enjoy each other’s presence along with the presence that binds us all together

You are Welcome

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Day 6 & Day 7

Comfort in the Noise

Unable to sleep while I lay on the ground

My head on the rocks while I’m staring at the stars

I’m finding comfort in the sound of the wind

as it blows through the trees

Listening to the wolves howl at the moon and the flowing waters of a nearby creek

What Now?

The Mid-Terms are done

We’re burnt out on politics

But we now have newly elected officials

What now?

Do we go on about our lives while they start their work,

Or do we continue to pay attention to their words, actions, and influence

What now?

We long for unity, we long for freedom, we long for things to be set right,

but they continue to pit us against each other with fears, lies, and manipulation

What now?

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Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5 (Catching Up)

The weekend got away from me.

As a result, I’m playing catch up today.

What’s funny is, I was actually tempted to give up after missing a few days.

Here are 3 poems/free form writing projects to make up for those days.

 

Healthier Me

I want to be able to speak my mind

To open up and reveal what is inside

To admit my weaknesses in hopes to grow

Instead of letting it all fester below

 

Perspective

From the ground, my problems seem overwhelming

but from the mountains they fail to phase me

 

Desert

At a young age, I despised you

You lacked variety

The consistency of your landscape bored me

As I grow, so does your beauty

I was blinded by ignorance

Your beauty was waiting to be seen by matured eyes

In awe I stand and stare at your towering mountains

Your calm and cool nights bring me peace

Your unexpected storms entertain me

Personal Writing Challenge, All Saints Day, and a Desire for Connection

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This post is going to be a long one as I quickly discuss a personal goal I’m setting for the next month, briefly cover All Saints Day, and sharing a poem about our innate need to connect.

Personal Writing Challenge

A couple weeks ago, I came across an Instagram post from NYC Artist Rukmini Poddar.

Rukmini was doing a series on lessons she had learned while doing a 100 Days of Art challenge.

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Quantity over Quality. Yes, read that twice. I've gotten a lot of confusion about this, but I firmly believe it. • Quantity is so underrated sometimes that I want to take a moment to celebrate the power of just MAKING stuff. We are so paralyzed by the quality of our work that often we don't make anything. We are afraid of our own imperfections. But really, all kinds of opportunities and insights will open up if we allow ourselves to temporarily forget the quality and do the quantity. . Simply show up, create, and repeat. And eventually the quality will show up too. 🙌🏽 . . . . . . . #obscuremotions #honesty #quantityoverquality #vulnerability #growth #emotions #honest #perfectionisoverrated #illustration #obscureemotions #instartist #instart #illustrationgram #the100dayproject #dailydrawing #sketchaday #drawing #sketch #art #typography #lettering #poetry #motivation #motivationalquotes #100livingwords #quoteoftheday @emilymcdowell_ @thebookgrp @normajeanlovesdoodles @shettyjay @projecthappiness_org @elizabeth_gilbert_writer

A post shared by rukmini poddar (@rockinruksi) on

I stumbled across Lesson 6/10 which said, “I believe in quantity over quality.  If there’s something that I’ve learnt to value, it’s the practice of creating quantity.  We live in a culture that puts so much importance on perfection.  On creating the best quality things.  Focusing on creating a large quantity of artwork has taught me the power of doing something every day.  Tenacity is a powerful thing.”

The phrase she uses, “Quantity over Quality”, really hit home for me.  If you’re familiar with the Enneagram, I identify most as an Enneagram 3 which is also known as “The Achiever”.  As a 3, I’m driven to set goals and accomplish them on a regular, if not daily, basis.

Being the “Achiever” I am,  I set a goal to spend more time reading and writing this year.  I have never been much of a reader, but that goal has been easier for me to accomplish.

On the other hand, I have been struck with a fear of writing and sharing what I’m writing.  This fear is perfectly stated in Rukmini’s post when she says, “We live in a culture that puts so much importance on perfection.  On creating the best quality things.”

In the writing community, November is known as “National Novel Writing Month”.  Writers set out to write a 50,000 word manuscript over the course of 30 days.

I do not plan on writing a manuscript, but motivated by “Quantity over Quality”, I plan on writing and posting something everyday over the course of the next 30 days.  My main goal is to write poetry (National Poetry Month tends to be in April, but I’m making a change for my personal goals), but I may throw in a short story and some written prayers as well.

I appreciate you taking the time to join me and I hope you enjoy my attempt at “Quantity over Quality”.

All Saints Day

I don’t plan on breaking down All Saints Day in great detail because there are plenty of resources that do it better than I could. A very brief explanation is it is the day when the Church intentionally takes the time to remember all the saints, known and unknown, who have passed away.

We reflect on their stories/life experiences, pray prayers that they may have written, and ultimately just spend time remembering them and the influence they had on the world, the church, and the lives around them.

Within this, we also acknowledge a connectedness of all believers whether they are living or dead. We are all connected.

A Desire to Connect

One of my favorite things about All Saints Day is the reminder that we are all connected. We are connected to God, we are connected to the Church, we are connected to the saints who have gone before us, but most importantly, we are connected to one another.

We live in a time where, through technology, we can connect with almost anyone from around the world.

In the midst of that, there is still this need, this hunger, this desire for true connection. I try to capture the struggle in the poem below.

I desire true connection

to be heard and to be seen

From all of my gifts and all of my flaws

And all that falls between

I want to be open and vulnerable

to express beliefs and doubts

And rest full well knowing

That love will still abound

Rest

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It’s been quite a bit of time since I last had the opportunity to post.

It’d be better to admit, or confess, that I haven’t posted in a while, not because I haven’t had the opportunity, but because I haven’t really had the energy.

I’ve found myself in a busy season of life.  (If you know me well, you’re probably thinking, “That’s nothing new.  Haven’t you always been a glutton for punishment?”)

I’ve decided to double-down on classes for my degree, as well as, classes for ordination.

My wife and I are also learning that life with an almost 2 year old is beautiful and fun, but also absolutely exhausting.

Lastly, we our juggling various transitions in our lives in regards to our careers and the responsibilities that come with those transitions. (My beautiful and hard-working wife is crushing it in her new position as an instructional coach and I’m finding myself being asked to partake in various projects and committees at work.)

As a result of this busyness, my wife and I have worked hard to forge out time for one another to pause and get some rest.  Our hope is that this rest and break from the craziness of life will allow us to regroup, focus on ourselves briefly, and ultimately allow us to come back as better spouses and parents.  To quote my wife, “You are a better husband, father, and friend when you take time to yourself to rest.”

My traditional idea of rest is sitting in my favorite coffee shop and possibly reading or writing.  However, as I sit in said coffee shop on this beautiful overcast Arizona day, I realize that I SUCK AT RESTING.  Setting aside time to rest is a great step in the right direction, but partaking in restful activities would help a great deal.

With that said, I know we all have our own definitions of rest.  I know some people need to seclude themselves and binge Netflix or Hulu.  Others find rest in playing sports or doing yard work.  We all find rest through various means.

This morning, during my time of rest, I decided it’d be a great opportunity to do homework.  After I finished it, I realized that I did not feel rested.  Had I simply taken the time to do my homework earlier this week, I would have found this time to be a little more beneficial.

Because of all this, I’m determined to make my time of rest more beneficial than it is.

Below is a prayer to prepare my heart and mind for those times.

Feel free to use it if you struggle with rest just as much as I do.

God of rest,

After you created the world and all that it inhabits, 

You paused and took time to rest

When your son, Jesus, needed time to himself,

He found places of seclusion to rest and spend time with You

Give me the desire to learn from these examples

May I take the time needed to rest and relax from the stresses and demands of everyday life

May this time of rest be fruitful and life giving

May I resist the temptation, even in times of rest, to work and produce

As a result, may I come back from these times of rest filled with energy to move forward, With a passion to continue on with all that I do, And may I come back from this time a better husband, father, and friend

I pray all of these things in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God, 

Amen

 

Lent, Fear, and New Habits

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It’s Tuesday, February 13th, and I’ve decided to take a step out of my comfort zone and start writing a blog.

To be honest, I’ve felt a desire to do this for over a year or so now, but never got around to it.  If you know me, or we’ve talked recently, I’ve used the phrase “textbook over-thinker” to describe myself and that’s because, as context clues would show, I am indeed an over-thinker.  I over-think choices that I make on a regular basis, creative ideas that come to my mind, and conversations I have with people.  If you and I have had a conversation recently, there is a good chance that I’ve spent time over-thinking that conversation quite a bit.  To be clear, my over-thinking is all self centered and has nothing really to do with the people I interact with, but rather my own insecurities.

In regards to a blog, my over-thinking has stemmed from fear.  Fear that what I write will be mocked or scrutinized.  Fear that, in my attempts to be open and vulnerable, I’ll be met with harsh words.  I have no real reason to believe that will happen, but I’m to a point now where I’d be fine if it did happen.

Which leads me to Lent.  Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and Valentine’s Day ironically enough, which will kick off our Lenten Season.  Lent is a season of 40 days and nights where we, in the church, prepare our hearts, minds, and lives for the coming of Easter.  It is a great time to partake in self examination and personal reflection by asking yourself questions like, “How am I really doing?” & “How is my soul?” (Queue “It is Well with my Soul).  Lastly, it is also a great opportunity to remind ourselves of our dependence on God.

A popular practice during this time is the spiritual discipline of fasting.  This fast is done in an attempt to remove distractions from our lives and realign that attention to God.  Those of us in the church have a lot of things that distract us from God.  I’d be more than happy to create a list of things that blatantly distract us from God whom, if I may add, deserves our complete and undivided attention, but that would require a completely separate blog post.

This Lenten Season, I’ve decided to do a few things:

First, I want to give up Fear.  I understand that sentence may sound funny, but let me explain a little further.  I want to give up the power I’ve let Fear have on me throughout my life.  I’ve allowed the power of Fear to assist me in making choices and not making choices.  I’ve allowed the power of Fear to keep me from growing and to keep me from trying new things.  For the longest time, I have bought into the lie of Fear, so, this Lenten Season, I’ll realign my focus that has been entrapped to Fear and realign it on God.

Second, in an attempt to overcome my Fear of expressing myself through creative means, I’ll be making an effort to blog at least once a week in order to develop a new habit of consistent writing.  With that, I’ve promised myself to be open to a variety of different writing styles.  Recently, I’ve gotten into reading and writing Poetry.  In an attempt to fight Fear, I will, eventually, be posting some of those poems.  Also, as someone who is interested in different types of prayer, writing out prayers has become a hobby of mine, so, just like the poems, I’ll be posting my written prayers as well.  Other pieces may include general reflections on life and faith, book reviews, and photos I’ve taken.

To wrap up, I can honestly say that I’m not quite sure what to expect from this blog. My main goal is to overcome my personal fears and to become a better writer in the process.

I can’t promise this blog will always look clean and tidy, it may consist of me expressing my frustrations, it may include some swear words, and it may also contain a bunch of typos and gibberish that will only make sense in my mind.  I can promise that I’ll be as authentic as someone can be behind a keyboard and a computer screen.

– Corey

Casual Conversation with a Colleague

I had a weird week at work.  One where I had little motivation and I was just showing up and doing what I needed to do in order to get through. These type of weeks tend to produce these types of thoughts.  I address it in the poem/short story (I’m still having trouble defining what it is I’m creating here), but I almost didn’t want to post this with since there are hundreds of thousands of people out of work because of our government shutdown.  I decided to post it in order to get a break from a reflection paper I have to type for a history class.

Enjoy and feel free to let me know what you think.

Thanks in advance.

 

 

It happens often

We cross paths as we each walk across campus

Small talk is our way of catching up

I’m asked, “how are you doing?”

All too often I answer with, “living the dream.”

I don’t mean it though

I hope that is apparent by my smirk and subtle sarcasm

It’s not that I’m unappreciative of my job,

but I’d be lying if I said it was fulfilling

I have yet to figure out what is fulfilling about completing mundane tasks on a computer

I have yet to find comfort in a cube

I can’t find solace in useless metrics that dictate whether I’m a good enough employee or not

And yet, here I am

Day in and day out

I understand this comes off poorly

Especially since there are hundreds of thousands of people out of work

But if I continue to let these feelings fester

They’ll inevitably consume me

Honestly, who says they haven’t already

So that’s how I’m doing

How are you?

 

Sunny & 40º

Something from my journal a few weeks ago.

It’s funny how our senses can transport us

They have the ability to transport us to a specific time and place

I usually take a walk down by the lake during my morning break 

The past few weeks have been especially cold for Arizona

As I walked down the sidewalk, I came across a patch of ice that formed from sprinkler water run off

I stopped and looked at it almost instinctively

Without skipping a beat, I started to run towards it

Once my feet hit the ice, I let my momentum carry me as I continued to glide over it

That’s when the senses kicked in

That feeling took me back to grade school

On mornings similar to this, my classmates and I would slide down the frost dusted hills around our school

Our jeans, damp and covered in grass stains, would serve as a reminder of our adolescent fun as we made our way to class at the sound of the bell

Although the grass stains probably drove our parents crazy come laundry time,

We would be filled with an authentic joy that becomes harder to manifest with age

 

 

Day 8 & Day 9

Moving Waters

Staring out at the lake as the wind dances gently over the water

The waves ripple all around

Hoping the moving waters within me never settle

Under the Weather

It’s 3 in the morning and I’m feeling miserable

My body doing what it can to fight off this cold

Irritated throat and a stuffed up nose

Lying here wondering if this will come to a close