Monday Inspiration…a little light for the start of the week.

I am working toward shutting of FaceBook through the Advent season, and yet something caught me today. I came across two videos that touched me. Two videos which were more than kittens or silliness…two videos that brought joy to me and a bit of stirring to make the day something more.

 

I am able to waste an amazing amount of time on the internet. We have all bemoaned the abundance of nonsense we can find on the great world-wide-web. We have all most likely been touched by stories we have come across as well. Like most everything in life, it takes a sense of discipline to weed out the good and ignore the bad.

 

I am not always the best about being disciplined.

 

I look forward to a season of some silence from what can be noise on FB and social media. I look forward to setting it aside for a bit and listening to quieter voices, and yet I also know that in this season some great things bounce around the internet. Some go viral, some just touch a handful of folks. Sometimes, especially on a Monday morning, it is nice to have some inspiration. Even some videos of kittens.

 

So, I thought through Advent I might take Mondays to cull a few things from the internet and offer them up as moments of laughter, of joy, of inspiration or of nudging.

 

God speaks to us in so many ways. Often through pain and through trial He gains our attention with more focus…and yet there is so much of Him in the laughter and the wonder and the rejoicing. So much as we ease into Advent of being caught by music and stories that remind us there is “more”. There are some wonderful things to see and hear that make their way across my FB feed…here are a few to start your week before Advent:

 

This was one of the first videos I saw this morning. Inspiration, yes?

 

Advent Season always means music to me…

And…

Because not all the music has to be about Christmas on these Monday posts…this one is just fun and, well, it has umbrellas. Lots of them:

 

Oh, one more! If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing…start at 5:30. Stuart Duncan, Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile:

 

Then there is this…in case you need to have your mind challenged a bit this morning and your imagination stirred.

 

 

I’ll leave you with this one. The nudge….oh to be like this woman, yes?

 

 

So, yes I am trimming down my time on FaceBook. Reading books that demand a slower pace. Listening more carefully and preparing my heart for that explosion of wonder that is Advent. Along the way, it is good to cull a few things that make us smile. Along the way it is good to remember that part of being Image Bearers is our creativity and our joy and our compassion. So thankful for those who live in a way that inspire and stir our hearts….hoping to be more that person every day.

The Restoring Power of Wonder

I don’t know about you, but the last week or so has been filled with some heaviness for me. Friends dealing with deep struggles. The things of life that make you deeply aware that we are walking in the midst of brokenness, and that can make us very weary.

I have spoken often on the pages of this blog of the need to seek out and nurture wonder in our lives. Sometimes when our brokenness is most raw, wonder is most vivid. Seeking out wonder is not just a polyanna attitude…it is not just trying to ignore the bad and focus on the good. It is what brings us life when we are most in need.

When I was in college there was a season I was overwhelmed. We were seeing some truly bizarre things happening spiritually, we were young and emotional and raw and we felt like no one was listening to us. My pastor came up to our campus and walked with me and listened. He read through pages of students who were contemplating suicide…kids who felt completely lost who were writing in the public journal in the prayer chapel. Finally he sat down with me and told me that his best advice was for us to stop fixating on all the issues and to begin to worship.

It sounded rather strange in the moment, I’ll be honest, but it was the best advice I’ve had. He was not asking me to ignore the issues, but he was teaching me to refocus. When we fixate on our brokenness and our problems, and the failures and the issues….oh my.

We can become downcast.

We can become overwhelmed, and as a parent especially, that can be a difficult place to be.

When we turn our attention instead to God, when we turn to wonder and to worship…something else happens. When we realize who our God is, when we turn our attention from our struggle instead to Who cares for us, to the God to Whom we belong…that changes things.

Even on the simplest level

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.  Ps 42:11

Sometimes wonder is difficult to find, I know. But I have to tell you…I am so thankful for the musicians around us who are not only gifted in their craft, but who are filled with joy in their craft. They lift us.

The infuse us with wonder.

Sometimes something online goes viral…a music video or a clip of an impromptu performance…and people not only want to watch it, but they want to share it. We want others to see it and be inspired as well.  And I love that. I have written before about the powerful influence of music in our lives, but for today I just wanted to focus on how it can stir wonder.

There are a hundred videos I could post, but this flash mob is one of my absolute favorites…and yes, it was orchestrated (!) by a bank in Spain. I don’t care…the musicians are obviously absolutely loving what they are doing and the crowd is delighted…

Another favorite of ours are The Piano Guys.  Go and check out their website. Take the time to look at their videos, and turn up your speakers. Grab your kids and watch the videos. These guys not only are fantastic musicians, but they bring in music the kids know and they make it fun and engaging…and then they bring in classical music. Still that is not what makes me watch them the most. What gets me the most and makes me come to them when I am overcome with brokenness is the absolute joy they have in the music.

It lifts my soul.

Watch this:

I’m thankful this morning…thankful for the glorious sunshine and a quiet stillness. Thankful for the change of the seasons and for the delight the kids have in seeing the leaves change and the feeling the coolness in the air. I’m thankful for the wonder around me. I am thankful for a God who created us with imagination and with color and with music and with wonder, so that on days when the brokenness is raw and clear the wonder reminds us that there is more. The wonder reminds us that we were made for something more…and that He will restore.

How amazing will that be? If these things are just a taste? Whew…that’s a whole different post.