Middling

The fancies and reflections of a loquacious ninja

Category Archives: Videos

Let this day be seized

I’ve been struggling for the past week (longer?) to make the most of my time, to live each day fully. I still have such a long ways to go, in so many respects, but I’ve been encouraged recently by stumbling across these various tidbits. May they inspire and energize you the way they did me.

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Want to make the most of every day?

Then remember that it is a gift. You never owned it, it was graciously given to you. Use it. Even when other small forces thwart you, you can still make the most of your day and enjoy it.

~ from a friend, posted on Facebook

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Life is precious.
So I will not exist.
I will not get by.
I will not muddle my way through.
No.

I will Live.
I will cherish every sunrise.
Every heartbeat.
Every breath.
And I will prepare myself for countless more.
I will thank God for my health.
By embracing what is healthy.
I will nourish my future.
By nurturing my present.
And I will respect the gift that is my life
By inspiring others to do the same with theirs.
I will Live.

~ excerpt from Chick-fil-A’s Live. Love. Lead Anthem

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kB0oPgCexh0

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“Thou hast died for me
May I live to Thee
In every moment of my time
In every movement of my mind
In every pulse of my heart.”

~ Valley of Vision

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Friends, we’ve been given such a gift, and I know I’ve squandered enough of it as is. Let us waste nothing in forgotten gratitude or purposeless drifting. May we Live truly, abundantly, unto our King.

Carpe Diem,
~ Timothy

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I first heard this song last Christmas, but it seemed especially appropriate this year, in light of all that happened in Connecticut so terribly recently…

Based off of a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (the full poem can be found here), this song has been running through my head quite often of late. Whether or not you’re already familiar with the poem or song, please take a moment to listen. Whatever is filling your heart and mind this Christmastime, I pray that this song encourages and strengthens you.

“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

~ Hebrews 13:20-21

An exceptional (and very temporary) substitute

Videos make poor substitutes for substantial blog posts (especially on a long-term basis). But on occasion, I suppose, we can allow for exceptions.

My brother went to San Diego last week with his dance company! Seeing how much he’s grown as a dancer never fails to amaze me, and I know he enjoys what he does profusely. Let’s just say that I’m proud of him.

If you’re not familiar with urban dance and all its varieties (in this routine alone, they perform house, African, voguing, locking, straight-up choreography, and probably a plethora of other things I don’t even recognize), you may have a harder time appreciating what you see. However, the more exposure you gain, the more you may find yourself respecting, even savoring the pure artistry and dedication of many of these dancers, as well as their craft (at least that’s been my experience). Your preferred style of dance may ever belong on the opposite end of the spectrum from these, but I think learning to admire from afar is something all partakers of art experience at one time or another. At any rate, I think the unity executed in this piece is a quality any dancer can appreciate.

See for yourself:

I don’t celebrate Halloween, or consider myself a fan of the whole Haunted House business. I understand that other people may enjoy it, but frankly, I don’t see much of a point to it all.

But this I can appreciate:

Wishing you well,

~ Timothy

When profundity fails…

Today marks the beginning of my 18th year to walk this earth. It is also the day on which we celebrate our nation’s independence.

I knew that these occasions required I post something. Sadly, I could not for the life of me come up with anything profound to say, either about our country or my golden childhood years. Frankly, my mind has never been quite so blank.

I’m afraid my only solution is to be random instead:

Wishing you a happy, most random Independence Day!

~ Timothy

A surprise for a friend

No Great Proposal

From what I’ve heard, throughout the years
It’s been done in many ways.
Some with a sudden question,
Some with planning that takes days.
Some brave humiliation,
And act for all to see.
From on a raised up tabletop
Or down on bended knee.

Some ask a simple question,
Some hold an ornate sign;
Some draft their friends to spell their plea
While standing in a line.
Some write their invitation
Using paint or candle’s glow.
Some fashion songs or dance routines
Or make a video.

I have no flowers in my hand
No candles at my feet.
I have no guitar-led serenade
No flash mob on the street.
I have no great proposal,
No rose or plastic ring.
But as a friend I treasure, Ellen,
Will you go to Prom with me?

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Two years ago, this guy was invited to prom by a good friend of his, but being the guy, he decided to turn the tables and “ask” her in a special way (as seen in the link).

Incidentally, I am that guy’s younger brother and the friend I’m going to prom with is the girl that he went with’s younger sister. (They have a younger sister too, about the same age as my younger brother; but that might be a bit much.)

As depicted in my poem, multitudes of people have done prom proposals in a plethora of ways; sometimes publicly, sometimes indirectly (and sometimes both, such as through a video posted online). While public displays and indirect messages may be cute, in my opinion they either put way too much pressure on the one being asked (to make the crowd-pleasing decision), or can act as a cop-out for asking the person face-to-face. For those reasons, I personally think that prom proposals (or any other kind of proposal for that matter) are best done privately and in person — generally speaking.

But when the real asking has been done (as it had been in my brother’s case), I like the idea of doing something creative and thoughtful. So following my brother’s example somewhat (though I chose poetry over dance as my medium), this simple poem is what I came up with.

I hope it gives her something to smile about when she looks back on being asked to prom.

Cheers,

  ~ Timothy

P.S. By the way, in case you’re wondering if she’s seen it yet, I already sprung the surprise by asking her to “preview” this post before publishing it. So this post has been approved. I hope you enjoyed it too!

A new world… in dominoes

I will never look at dominoes the same way again.

This video puts the meaning of a few words into a whole new perspective: creativity, precision, steady hands, and patience for starters. Much respect to the domino-maestro here (I must say though, he must have a heck of a lot of spare time on his hands). Check it out:

WARNING: Likelihood of getting sucked into a Youtube black hole is pretty high here (if you’re anything like me that is). Do not watch if you need to be productive in the next hour or so. Do what you have to do and come back; it’ll still be here.

How He Loves

This song has been haunting the back of my mind for the past few days, like the ghost of a dear, long-forgotten friend. It’s doubtless been years since I last heard it, up until a few days ago, and it’s not left me alone since. If you’re not overly familiar with it, you’ve probably heard the chorus before at least.

Regardless, let this song fill you for a moment. Reflect on that everlasting, unshakable, deep, deep love… After all, it belongs to you, especially if you are in Christ. It is yours today. Do not make the mistake of forgetting how He loves you…

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

~ Ephesians 3:14-19

Birdsong, Dissonance, and Harmony

I’ve missed Spring. I don’t think I realized how much I missed it until I heard the birds singing the other day, and realized how long it had been since I’d last heard their music. It was good to hear it again; the elegant trilling and chirping, dancing from the treetops in a lofty jumble, floating from the throats of singers unseen.

Isn’t it interesting how birds seem to sing completely oblivious of each other, except when communicating directly to another of their kind? They fill their lungs and let their songs go bursting forth, not caring who else is singing beside or over them. And the songs, different as they are, all mix and mingle with no problem, no clashing, no conflict; one great big potpourri of melodious music.

Contrast that to human music. Play even just two CD’s at the same time, and regardless of how great the individual songs were, you’ll probably end up with a horrible, grating mess of noise and sound. Once sweet melodies and notes become worse than awful.

Birds don’t seem to have that problem. Their songs don’t seem to suffer from dissonance the way human music does.

Humans have an enormous capacity for creating dissonance, both within and without the realm of music. When they exercise that ability freely (as they often do), ears are better off deaf. And yet… human beings also seem to have the unique gift of creating the twin brother of Dissonance: Harmony. Animals have been taught to move to music, to vocalize along to music, and even to sing human melodies (I’ve heard that several birds can learn how to do this). And yet, as I believe Dr. Ken Robinson once said, animals “can sing, but they don’t produce musicals.”

Human music is like no other animal’s. I don’t want to downplay the music that animals make; they too, can sing well and sing beautifully. But to my knowledge, no animal has ever even attempted harmony, save mankind. And if there is such another species out there that has, I’m not sure they’ve honed it to the extent that humanity can boast.

Some humans seem to have the ability to discover harmony out of nowhere (if life were a musical…).

When people sing a cappella, they often imitate instruments with uncanny accuracy. I had the privilege of seeing this talented group from Taiwan a long time ago, and amazingly, I still remember them performing this number. If you’ve ever heard the Oriental instruments they imitate near the beginning, they sound just like them.

(Apologies for the poor quality video.)

With today’s technology, people can even sing harmony with themselves. That was impossible up until pretty recently, but now it’s been developed to some amazing results:

A friend of mine highly recommended this next group to me. She couldn’t give them enough praise; she was right.

(This one has talking at the beginning; music starts around the 2 1/2 minute mark.)

And finally, who can resist the King’s Singers? (not to mention the music of the master, Billy Joel!)

There are so many more examples I could share here, but you get the idea. Note that none of these used any instruments, save the one that is most versatile, most expressive, and perhaps most difficult to play: the human voice.

Humans are more than capable of creating Dissonance. And yet, perhaps through that very same ability, they can create music that far exceeds what any animal might do, through the beauty of Harmony. Some would say that even dissonance, when intentional and done correctly, is only another form of harmony; not every chord you hear is a “happy” one, but the conflict can actually benefit the overall sound.

Unison is powerful. Melodies are lovely. But in my opinion, Harmony — the blending of differences to create something that is greater than anything the individual parts could have made on their own– can’t be matched.

I’ve heard that Heaven is a place where music abounds. Where legions of songs will be sung all at once. Where not one of those songs will sound strident or piercing next to its neighbor. Where every song will be all the stronger, fuller, and more beautiful for its companions.

Dissonance, that which divides, will fade. Harmony, at long last, will reign.

You’re beautiful

I considered sharing this song through a video with more pictures, effects, and so on, but I wanted the focus to be on the song itself. On the words. On the truths behind those words.

Drink them in, regardless of if you’ve never heard this song before or heard it a million times. If you are a believer, if Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior — this song belongs to you.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

~ Romans 5:1-8

Concerning words

“Words — so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary;

how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” 

~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I’ve been thinking lately. About words.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is probably the main reason why.

Go watch the video in this link, then come back. I’ll wait.

Now we can get serious.

Words… so innocent and benign in their appearance, and yet… so potent.

It was through words that the universe was made.

It is largely with words that our ideas can be known, understood, and communicated. It is with words that the wisdom and folly of the ages is passed down from one generation to the next.

It is with words that the best books, poems, songs, and blog posts are written. (Need I add this is also true of the worst?)

Words are useful and versatile little creatures. They can be used for great good.

And sometimes, it seems, even greater evil…

It is with words that men curse one another and curse the One who gave and gives them breath. It is with words that hurtful rumors, vicious backtalk, and compliments of poison are exchanged. It is often with words that people — sometimes entire nations — are stirred up against one another in violence, hatred, and terror. Thus, it is often through words that thousands, if not millions, lose their lives, and suffer the cruelest injustices the world has ever known (remember the man only known to his people as the Führer ?). It is with words that lies are written and spoken. It is with words that the Father of Lies does his greatest, most glorious, work.

And yet.

It is with words that the unspeakable can be known. It is with words that the greatest and deepest truths in the world are declared and defended. It is often with words that beauty is caught from the heavens and by some miracle, made visible to man for a glance. It is with words the broken and hurting are comforted. It is often with words that the proud are brought low, the haughty silenced, and the wicked exposed. It is with words that we are told how we must be saved, and how the saved must live.

It is with words that our names are writ in the Book of Life.

It is through the Word that salvation came to a broken, hurting, dying, blaspheming world, and it is that same Word that shall set all things aright.

That Living Word was God’s fullest revelation of Himself to mankind. Second only to that Living Word is His written Word, the Scriptures. God chose to reveal Himself through prophecies, through poetry, through proverbs, through historical writings, through various accounts, through letters — through words. Words matter to God.

It is with words that we will be acquitted, or condemned.

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

Words have very real power in this world, a power that will echo beyond these earthly bounds, into eternity.

I have no way of knowing exactly what will take place on the day of judgement. But I do know that I shall stand before the Throne, before unspeakable Beauty and Strength, with the Living Word at His right hand, and I will have to give an account for everything I have ever spoken… And when I am summoned to do so, I may well hear this:

“What did you do with the words I gave you?”

What will be my defense? How can I justify the lies and the half-truths, the vain flatteries and empty self-praises, the judgmental and self-righteous comments, and the thousands of other words that I have spoken and thought and made my dwelling upon in my years of existence? How shall I acquit myself?

What words will I use then?

Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. I won’t have anything worth saying that could possibly acquit me of my crimes. All I will have is the Word Himself. My Lord and Savior, the One who gave me life. The Christ I pledged my life and allegiance to… with the simple, heartfelt words of a broken spirit.

Those will be the only words I will have, worthy to offer before the Throne of Judgement. My own will be insufficient.

I hope to have that answer ready. But in the meantime… what shall I do with the words I’ve been given? How shall I spend them? How shall I store them up?

I’ve only used 841 words in this post. Imagine how many I’ve spoken, written, or thought today alone. I’ll doubtless use at least as many tomorrow, if and when it comes.

How shall I use the words I’ve been given? How shall I steward them? How shall I give account for them?

How will you?