Getting Things Done

After reading about Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity for well over a year on the internet, I broke down, bought the book…and now am about to join the cult. No, dear pious Christians, it’s not a cult like you think of one, but in the full sense of the word: a cult(ure) of work and productivity and organization.

You can find all (and more) you want to know about it all over the ‘net, but the fundamental premise is: get things out of your brain. Put everything on paper. Learn Latin? Write it down. Buy cat food? Write it down. Plan the next phase of your career? Write it down. Get all that stuff out of your brain so that you can process it, file it, trash it or do it. Allen suggests that doing so will make you less anxious, less prone to worry, less prone to those moments where you are trying to enjoy dinner and you think, “Where am I going to move the compost pile?” He says it frees the brain for higher-order, more creative thinking.

I’m on board.

Winding Down and Poll Question

Midweek is officially over now, and the choirs gave their Ascension Day Concert, which was absolutely lovely. To brag on my wife: the Jubilate Choir (children) are fantastic! That group of singers has blossomed under her direction. I’ve got a talented and beautiful bride, that’s for sure.

It’s hard to believe that as anxious as I am for all the activities to end, in a few short weeks I’ll be chomping at the bit to start again, looking forward to the beginning of the new school year, to the choirs and classes here and so forth.

One thing that I don’t intend to wind down on is blogging here, though at last check maybe it already has! I know I’ve been writing this for the last six months, but I hope to spend a little more time here to re-invigorate the blog.

But I want you to do me a favor: in the comments please tell me what kind of posts and contents you would like to see here most. Suggested categories are:

Devotional essays

Theological essays

Personal essays on home life and parenting and fatherhood

Journal-style entries about what is going on with me.

Writing and creativity

Those are the main topics I’ve written on here, but if you have another idea, let me know.

My Thoughts on a Funeral

Pastor Eric Brown attended a non-Lutheran funeral yesterday, and by coincidence, I attended a different non-Lutheran funeral. He posted his thoughts and beat me to the punch. First I’ll post mine, then quote his.

The funeral was led by a hospice chaplain. The majority of the service was his sermon, which I found to be well delivered and spot-on for the hearers and situation. I couldn’t have done a better job in addressing such a diverse crowd of believers and unbelievers–and probably would have done a worse job. While he addressed many things in the deceased life, he didn’t eulogize her, and the majority of his sermon was based on Psalm 23. He made some points about shepherding that I had never heard before, and frankly, found suspicious. But the most glaring error was that he did not preach Christ crucified and resurrected. He was missing from this funeral sermon and it was sad. Plenty of faith, plenty of God’s grace, plenty of images and allusions to Christ, but the preacher never really put it together and said Jesus is our Good Shepherd, that Christ has defeated the power of death.

Now here’s one of Pr. Brown’s impressions of the funeral he attended:

2. Losing the Liturgy means losing prayer. So the preacher told us before hand that the service wasn’t going to be “liturgical” — oh, there would be an order, but it would just sort of flow. And we entered, and there was a song, and then there was an ex-corde prayer (including the preacher wanting help to get through the service), and then a reading of the obituary that was interspliced [sic] with personal comment and reflections (and I guess life-celebrations), and then we looked at pictures while the Carpenters (the band) sang. Then there was – I guess it was a sermon (at least the hope of heavenly reunion although not a lot of focus on Christ) – then another prayer – then a hymn, then “Still the One” by Shania Twain. . . and that was it.

The big thing I noticed is that there was. . . so little prayer. Everything in the Liturgy is prayer – we are constantly calling upon God in prayer whenever we speak in Church. And that was. . . just not there. It just made me appreciate the impact of a liturgical life on my ability to pray.

You can read his other thoughts here.

Lifehacker’s Motivation Boosters

Were you the kid who listened to mom’s advice about sweets before dinner, or were you the kid who tried to reshape the frosting so it looked like nothing was missing? If you were the latter, or it feels like that’s still the case, see how kids resisted marshmallows in a famous test. The main connection between all the good little kids who could hold out for a better reward was that they distracted themselves when temptation came up. Distraction, of course, is what you’re trying to stop doing, so we’re talking about avoiding one kind of distraction (wandering into email, getting coffee, checking a favorite web site) by using a more benign form (checking a project status, tidy up your desk a bit, stand up and stretch). If you acknowledge your temptations to get away from your work, that’s half the battle of stopping them. (Original post)

Read the full article here.

Use the Library

Think of this as a Public Service Announcement.

I am learning Photoshop and HTML & CSS right now and have some good resources, but am also looking into some more. Amazon doesn’t always give a good idea of what the book is really like, apart from the reviews, and our local bookstore is good but it is no Barnes & Noble–which I would give a 6/10 for selection…I’m a demanding Bookstore guy.

So I found some ISBNs and titles and visited our Library. As far as Libraries go, I give a 2/10…probably the second-worst public library I’ve ever been in (The best libraries tend to be University Libraries). It’s not the employees–they are fantastic–it’s the selection, and that is a budget problem.

Anyway, they didn’t have any of the books I was wondering about, so I got them through interlibrary loan and within an hour was relieved I hadn’t ordered then through Amazon.

The moral of the story: use your public library, and if you have means, donate money or books to them. They need them!

Journal: May’s Beginning

Busy day today. Pre-marital counseling with a young couple. The groom lives out of town, so we are pulling a double session in order to accommodate his traveling back and forth. Then a funeral lunch at Zion Lutheran, Fairmont, followed by the funeral for Ron Miller at 2:00pm. I will be serving as lector, and am pleased to do it. After that, a soccer game at 5:30 and Elder’s meeting at 8:00.

But with travel to and fro and preparation, it’s Hammer Time. Now. I mean, why I am spending time writing here when I should start getting ready for the meetings?

And the above doesn’t include the Circuit Meeting this morning that I have to miss, and the shut-in visit I had tentatively scheduled for this afternoon…which makes just more for the rest of the week.

Thank God that I won’t have idle hands today. Or tomorrow. Or Thursday….