Today I Stopped Writing “Morning Pages”

750 Words

Since June of this year I’ve been practicing Morning Pages. Morning Pages is a writing exercise. The practice goes like this: First thing in the morning write. Don’t worry about what you write, just write. Write 750 words. Every. Day.

If you do a search for “Morning Pages”, you will receive many results, almost all positive. Writer after writer offers glowing descriptions on how Morning Pages can transform your creativity and increase your productivity. After reading multiple articles, I was convinced and decided to dive into this practice. Continue reading “Today I Stopped Writing “Morning Pages””

Book Review: The Matheny Manifesto by Mike Matheny

NOTE: I was sent a pre-release review copy of The Matheny Manifesto with no expectation of review. However, I was so impressed with the book, I knew I would write a review in hope that more people would be exposed to his philosophy and principles of coaching and life.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Matheny Manifesto by Mike Matheny. I was sent a review copy, but the book is not of a genre I would usually read. However, since the publisher was kind enough to send me the book, I decided I would read it.

I assumed the book was a biography. While Matheny uses experience from his journey through baseball to illustrate how his coaching style has been formed and shaped, the book really isn’t a biography. The book outlines Matheny’s view on coaching, youth sports, parental involvement, and what it means to be successful in sports and life.

I have not followed baseball since around 1990 or so. Some of the names Matheny refers to were familiar, but many were not. Knowing more about the sport would have been helpful, but knowledge of current baseball players isn’t needed. So, do not think you need to be a baseball fan to enjoy this book.

I highly recommend this book to anybody who has kids or grand kids in sports, coaches who want to win with class, or anyone who is interested in how Matheny was able to incorporate his faith in his coaching. Matheny is spot on in his assessment of how we play sports, teach sports, and watch sports. We need more coaches and parents who embrace his “Manifesto” and the way he approaches coaching and sports.

The section concerning umpires had the greatest impact on me. I am not always quiet when I sit in the stands and if I believe the ref missed something, I will let him or her know. Matheny reminded me to look beyond the uniform and see the person who is not perfect and is probably doing the best they can. I appreciated his candor and his compassion.

I am so impressed with this book that I am planning on purchasing a copy as a gift for my son’s high school basketball coach. I experience first hand what Matheny is trying to combat. It is time to play the game with class and Mike Matheny is leading the way. I’m also going to recommend it to some of my friends who are St. Louis Cardinal fans.

The Fallacy of Finished

Nothing is ever really finished. Instead, everything is in process. This is why we can purchase “new and improved” products for our homes, a new “version” of a car, or updates for our phones. We want to believe we have a finished product, but really, everything is in process.

I find the temptation a finished product alluring. I don’t want anybody else to see what I’m working on until it is finally finished. That rarely happens.

The fallacy of finished means I have half finished projects; books, ideas, articles. Items that I have started, yet, unfinished, so they never saw the light of day.

Somewhere I read that one of the challenges of writing is being willing to get something down on paper no matter how bad it is. Once it is down on paper, you can revise it. That’s great for getting started, but what about finishing something?

Perhaps the best way forward is simply to show your project to someone. Let someone read your book, your article, or hear your idea. Is it finished? Probably not. There are edits that will need to be completed and thoughts to be incorporated. Perhaps a story line here or there will need to be changed or refined. It’s okay.

When I tell people we are “building the plane as we are flying it” I usually get an odd glance. That phrase describes how I feel. The project isn’t done, but we are moving forward with it. We are flying it as we are building it. Isn’t building the plane while you are flying it a bit dangerous? Yes. If it is an actual plane. If it is something else, like a discipleship program, bible study, book. etc. it is much less dangerous.

However, if we wait until we feel our project is really finished, it might never see the light of day. That is tragic. Perhaps God is leading you, but you need the input of others. What you create together will benefit. Remember, if most things are never really finished, waiting until it is finished means you will never move forward.

Open for Life

A basic disposition of life is whether we are open or closed off. When we are closed off, we fight for everything we can get. Subtle fear grips us because life might not happen the way we want. Stress surrounds us because we feel like we have to “make it happen.”

Those who are able to live with an open disposition take what comes. They know that life is messy and that God not only speaks through the mess, but uses the mess for his honor and purposes. They can move forward in life unafraid and confident that they can make it because God is with them.

Cultivating an open disposition takes time, reflection, and trust. Moving from being closed to open does not happen overnight. Transition takes time because we tend to gravitate toward what we know. The ability to reflect on our lives, daily events, and our response to those events helps us become more open.

God allows the events in our lives, even painful ones. This  “allowance” does not mean God “causes” these painful events. Ultimately sin is what brings pain and death. However, God uses all our events to help us find consonance (harmony, alignment, etc.) with him.

Jesus says in John 15 that he is the vine and we are the branches. In other words, Jesus is to be the source of our lives. If you look closely at that passage you discover that when we are not apart of the vine (him) we can do nothing. If his will and way are not flowing through our lives, we are not “part” of him. Openness to him through life events creates an atmosphere where God can draw us closer to him.

When we are closed off, we resist those events that are not what want or desire. This is especially true if we see the events as negative. Yet, God can and does work through negative events. Sometimes these events are instruments to draw us into him.

How can we cultivate an openness? 1) Recognize resistance to events (especially negative ones). 2) Spend time getting to know God through prayer and Scripture. 3) Determine to trust God even in negative events. 4) Don’t try to figure out why things happen! Simply place them in the hands of God. 5) Ask God to guide you as life unfolds. These are a few ways that may help cultivate an openness in our lives.

I am a pilgrim trying to find my way not an expert in openness. However, when cultivate an openness to the events in our lives, we discover God using them to form us in his will and way.

An Ordinary Life

Here’s a video (in Spanish, but subtitled) about God and ordinary life. All of us pretty much live lives marked by everyday-ness. Perhaps you feel like you live an ordinary life. Saint Josemaría speaks to ordinary life and how God is there leading us toward holiness.