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Holding On

I don’t have an answer
For why you were hurt so
I don’t know
I do know
That I’m right here
The sun is down
But I’ll shine a light
I’ll make it clear
I know you fear
I see your fright
I see your heart
Seems so much easier than fight
So I’ll fight for you
I won’t ignore you
The truth of my words
Is what I implore you
To know
By what I say alone
To know
By the actions I plant
What comes from the seeds for you
To sow
To know
Even on nights I can’t hold your hand
I’m still holding on
Until the dawn
Not a love song
Filled with strife
Painful nights
Grounded kites
Yet they fly again
As you will rise again
Look me in my eyes
And smile
I don’t have an answer
But I do have a hand
This broken man
Will hold you
On nights you can’t stand
I know this truth too
An unbroken Father holds on tight
To you

Simplicity in Silence

For many of us, there is a fear that surrounds the idea of silence. It’s evidenced in the fact that you probably turn on your TV when you walk in the door, or turn on music. Even when we’re in the gym or office, there is rarely a time when there isn’t music playing over a speaker or in our headphones. And in the car we are either on our phones or again listening to music. We don’t like the sound of silence. You may even sleep with a fan on as white noise.

For most of us, it makes us uncomfortable to be in silence, especially when we are with other people. It probably takes a special person for you to be with them and for there be complete silence. Sometimes it may even just be the ticking of the clock or the traffic outside. There is always some kind of sound to prevent us from experiencing total silence.

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Redemption’s Reversal

God is my all
I can do it on my own
God is my strength
I can do this alone
God is my fortress
I can protect myself
God is my companion
I don’t need anyone’s help
God never fails
I can’t take the chance
God never bails
I don’t need two to dance
God is love
I can’t even love myself
God has forgiven
I don’t deserve anyone else
God sees my pain
I’m too far gone
God wants me back
I don’t belong
God is knocking
I will fail again
God believes in me
I will follow my trend

God believes in me
I will follow my trend
God is knocking
I won’t fail again
God wants me back
I know I belong
God sees my pain
I’m never too far gone
God has forgiven
I do deserve someone else
God is love
I can love myself
God never bails
I’ll join Him in a dance
God never fails
I know He’s worth the chance
God is my companion
I openly accept His help
God is my fortress
I can’t protect myself
God is my strength
I can’t do this alone
God is my all
I can’t do it on my own

I’m no longer the elephant in the room

Photo by Steve Rhodes

I was once voted Vice President of my high school’s “Students for Republican Ideals” club. Make no mistake, we were a Young Republicans Club, but I guess we didn’t care for traditional nomenclature. A few months after being elected, I got voted out of office because I didn’t make it to enough meetings. Remaining on the football team took precedent in my mind, but I wish I could have made it to more meetings where they declared support for out-of-state Senate candidates.

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Only the Seasons Change

The sun will shine and the rain will fall
And the temperature outside may change
But I don’t care what the weatherman may say
Because our love will stay
And only the seasons change

The leaves will turn and they will fall
As the daylight loses ground to night
But no matter how long the day
I know our love will stay
And only the seasons change

The cold will bring its snow in squall
While the earth cries out in groans
I’ll say bring on the skies of gray
For I know our love will stay
And only the seasons change

The rains return and cease the snowy drawl
And the birds’ songs start anew
But no matter how strong the flowers’ bouquet
I know our love will always stay
And only the seasons change

The sun still shines and the rain does fall
And the temperature outside has changed
I didn’t listen to the weatherman today
And kept believing that our love would stay
While only the seasons change

The ground has dried and the winds they gall
And the plants don’t grow and thrive
The birds have left, their songs flown away
And I see our love, it couldn’t stay
And left as the seasons change

DiCaprio’s Oscar: A reminder of the Academy’s past cruelty

On Sunday night, after a 22-year wait since his first nomination for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Leonardo DiCaprio was finally awarded the Oscar that so many, rightly, believed that he deserved. There is one problem though: He didn’t give the best performance of the year – that honor goes to Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl. Heck, The Revenant doesn’t even represent DiCaprio’s best personal acting performance.  Last Sunday, the Academy, as it has done many times in its history, gave a make-up Oscar to an actor who had given far better performances, but had lost in bad luck coincidences or got out hyped by another performance.

Leonardo DiCaprio had previously lost to Matthew McConaughey’s body-transforming, tour-de-force performance in Dallas Buyers Club; Forrest Whitaker’s great, but over-hyped and largely forgotten, turn in The Last King of Scotland as Idi Amin; and Jamie Foxx in Ray – which managed to be both great and timely as Ray Charles passed during production of the film.

The 2007 Oscars is where he should have gotten his due. Two things combined to ruin it: Runaway hype for Forrest Whittaker’s performance and Leonardo DiCaprio being nominated for the wrong movie.

Leonardo DiCaprio had two performances hyped prior to the 2007 Oscars: Blood Diamond and The Departed.  His performance in The Departed was better, but Blood Diamond found him trying on an accent and was much more gimmicky. The film generated all sorts of hype about blood diamonds. I specifically remember friends picking out engagement rings around the time of the film and asking where the jewelers sourced their diamonds. The cultural fad surrounding the weaker performance doomed DiCaprio.

My problem with his performance in The Revenant is that it is overwhelmingly physical and a total gimmick in that sense. If you throw tons of stunts and action at an actor it is easier, in my opinion, to craft a realistic performance. When you are given actual things to react to, I feel that doesn’t demand as much acting skill. Ask this question: If it wasn’t Leonardo DiCaprio and was instead an unknown or lesser actor, would this have even been nominated? I lean towards no – and while some would argue that is because DiCaprio is that good, I would respond it is because DiCaprio is that good and the Academy felt it owed him.

When I think of great performances, I typically lean toward occasions where actors or actresses are able to convey an extensive amount of emotion without as many physical things to react to.

F. Murray Abraham’s Oscar-winning turn in Amadeus is a fine example. Most critics concur that where he won the award was in his handling of Old Salieri. Sure, make-up helped him to achieve the performance, but he conveyed every emotion – and nearly all of it came by virtue of his line delivery. He was confined to a wheelchair and barely moved.

Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Chuck Noland in Cast Away is another performance that comes to mind. Hanks was so convincing that he created a living, breathing character that the audience actually cared about out of his inanimate companion, a  volleyball named Wilson. Hanks didn’t manage to take home the award because of the massive hype around Gladiator – much of it deserved – though, in my opinion Hanks bested Crowe in terms of Best Actor. In some ways, Crowe won in much the same way DiCaprio did – pulling off a physically demanding performance with more aplomb than what the audience is accustomed to.

Finally, in what is, to me, one of the great snubs in Oscar history, Bob Hoskins’s turn in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? didn’t even get nominated, which remains beyond me. Hoskins gave the hammiest of noir performances and managed to handle all the madcap antics going on around him with unquestioned seriousness. Even more impressive, Hoskins gave a physically skilled performance, but unlike Crowe and DiCaprio he was reacting to nothing. His costars were mostly animated, so he had to use his acting skill to react to the choices of an actor who hadn’t been drawn in yet, and he pulled it off seamlessly.

I’m happy for DiCaprio. He earned the Oscar he won, he just got it nine years late for a performance that was more about gimmick and physical stunts than it was about acting; and that is a shame, especially for Redmayne who should have won Best Actor back to back years.

Put a Praise on It!

You have to praise Him no matter what the circumstances.

I know that this is much easier said than done, but it’s the truth. No matter what, you have to thank Him and praise Him. It’s imperative to thank Him for what He has given you. There is such a blessing that comes back when you praise Him. We need to praise Him not only for what He has done for us, which is more than we could ever think or imagine, but we need to wholly praise Him just for the simple fact of who He is.

Praise can come in all forms and shapes. That is something that I have very much learned over the last year, specifically. As I continue to take the Lord out of the box that I had placed Him in, I have also learned to take worship and praise out of the box that I put them in.

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I Need New Shoes

The last pair of shoes I bought was in April of last year. They’re super comfy, too. They have memory foam bottoms that make me feel like I’m walking on little rubbery rainbows.  Or at least they did.

For the last month or two, they haven’t been as comfortable as I’d like. The upper that was once nice and white is a dull tan color. Those rubbery rainbows I mentioned in the last paragraph have turned instead to hard, uncomfortable cement blocks. They have been worn almost daily since the day of purchase, so it’s no shame for them. Let’s be honest, if three hundred(ish) pounds of pure sexiness walked on top of you for eight to twelve hours a day for months on end, you’d be a little worn out, too.

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Kanye’s unenviable path to Pablo

Kanye West at Lollapalooza 2011 in Chile Photo by Rodrigo Ferrari

If The Life of Pablo is a glimpse into the mind of Kanye West, he’s just as confused and unstable as everyone surmised. It’s uneven, sprawling, and will upset a lot of people who hear it: It’s a perfect symbol of the character of Kanye West. And while the album hits its sonic stride in its final four or five tracks (with a powerful assist from Kendrick Lamar), it’s the first two-thirds of the album’s content that’s most intriguing.

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Twitter’s “Infinite Hashtags” Aim to Revolutionize Written Word

Twitter's manager of journalism and news, Mark Luckie, discussed the introduction of "Infinite Hashtags" at NASA headquarters on Friday. Photo courtesy of NASA

Twitter’s manager of journalism and news, Mark Luckie, discussed the introduction of “Infinite Hashtags” at NASA headquarters on Friday. Photo courtesy of NASA

Hot off the controversial news that Twitter will be expanding its 140-character limit later on this year, the social media giant announced today that it would also be making significant improvements to its most famous contribution to the English language: The hashtag. Once also restricted to 140 characters, hashtag users were often forced to abbreviate words and phrases to convey complex ideas. For example, a user looking to confess his or her love of milkshakes may have to resort to posting #milkshakes4lyfe rather than expressing their true feelings about their favorite dairy beverage. Such restrictions will soon be a thing of the past, as Twitter has announced that hashtags will now have an infinite number of characters to work with.

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