Author: Justin Meckes

Faith

If faith is as simple as having confidence in God, then it’s fair to say that my confidence has been shaken. In other words, my faith has been strained. I’d like to change that, but I’m afraid it will require working through numerous issues from the past as well as a few from the present. For me, it comes down to some of the finer points of faith. Can I really trust God with everything? What about my personal well-being? My financial well-being? Health or money? The answer is no because these things fail. It seems the only expectation a Christian should have is assurance in salvation, which is a painful lesson. My mistake may have been a belief that the gifts of God would include purpose and, perhaps, meaning. Both of these things may very well be gifts from God, but I’ve found that purpose is often separate and apart from one’s ambition, and the derivation of meaning is usually less than comfortable. Of course, this is the natural course of the Christian journey. …

Snooze

The snooze button is a definite weakness of mine. I don’t have a typical alarm clock. I have a smart device that I turn off verbally, which may be worse. (Maybe because the alarm is soothing rather than a little bit jarring.) I’m typically asleep again before my alarm goes off the second time. Sometimes without missing a beat in my dream cycle. I know snoozing’s not good for me, but I only snooze once per morning so it’s been a pretty low priority as far as making a change is concerned. However, my wife is the one who encouraged me to get up after the first alarm after I started disrupting her sleep. I was convinced it wouldn’t make me feel less lethargic. And I was reluctant to give it a try. My thinking was that everyone needs an Achilles’ heel. Snoozing would be mine. Okay, I’m kidding. My wife wanted me to stop snoozing, so I had to try. But I was more than a little skeptical about a lack of snoozing, decreasing …

Shoes

To cut down on clutter and to keep things simple, I chose some time ago to limit myself to shoes that were (predominantly) one color. My choice was black since black shoes were what I already wore most often. Despite these efforts, I still have nine pairs of shoes. This may not seem excessive for one person, but here’s how it breaks down: Casual Sneakers – I wear my casual sneakers with jeans and khakis. Sometimes to work or while lifting weights. Running Shoes – My running shoes are on my feet on cardio days (in the gym or otherwise). Casual Oxfords – I wear these shoes to work during the spring and summer. Leather Boots – Boots go to work during the winter and fall. Dress Shoes – I also have a pair of dress shoes for the rare occasion when I need to wear a suit or want to wear something more formal than my oxfords. Sandals – I was a bit of a river rat in my youth, so rafting sandals keep …

Full-time

I can vividly recall the moment I decided I wanted to become a writer. I was sitting in a tan corduroy chair inside a cramped college dorm room. I was rereading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It was at that moment that I realized I saw the world just as Huxley did. And I thought this might mean I should write novels, too. Of course, at the time, I was also very interested in photography and film and understanding that a degree in Creative Writing might not pay any bills, I ultimately decided to study Mass Communications. It took me some time to come back around to writing books, but ever since then, I’ve wanted to write full time. Even then, I understood writing novels would most likely mean writing other things in support of that endeavor. But the reality is I’m not entirely sure I want to write articles for a magazine like Cat Fancy just to say that I’m a full-time writer. (I’m allergic to cats.) At times, I fear this means …

Christmas in July

Christmas in July seems to have experienced a bit of an uptick as a commercial gimmick in the past few years and has become a stalwart of the Hallmark Channel for at least that many. But it’s not a new idea. There’s a 1940 film with the title Christmas in July. It may only be referring to unexpected prize money, but the concept is there. We’re talking about a windfall outside of the holiday season. That being said, I’m just now starting to take Christmas in July seriously. According to my wife, the reason is our daughter. She was born in April, and I couldn’t wait to celebrate Christmas with her, so I started a few months early. It must’ve been subconscious because I don’t recall making that decision, but it makes sense. I never thought twice about Christmas in July before she was born. Therefore, I hope it’s obvious that my celebration is not centered on conning folks into giving me presents. The first thing I did was try to find out where I …

The Lesson of the Replacement Flip Flops

Last summer, my flip flops were stolen, and it made me think it might be best if I kept a loose grip on my possessions (and my dreams). I still think that might be a good idea, but this summer, I realized the thought needed to be expanded upon after I bought myself a pair of replacement flip flops. I went the entire year without replacing my flip flops, which was a mistake because I bought some new ones at the last minute—waiting until the last minute meant that the ones that I ordered were designed for someone with a foot like a Sasquatch, not mine. There wasn’t enough time to return them. Granted, they worked in a pinch, but they were generally uncomfortable, and there were numerous times when I chose to walk over asphalt in bare feet rather than wear my new flip flops. The sand under the loose-fitting strap was more painful than a sharp rock on the ball of my foot or heel. They were a bad purchase and a poor …

Surfing

I might be interested in learning to surf because it’s one of the few outdoor sports I’ve yet to engage with fully. I’ve kayaked, rock climbed, spelunked, mountain biked, and more, but I live just a bit too far inland to take up surfing. Surfing, like most other sports, has its own culture. But the culture displayed in, say, rock climbing doesn’t have quite the same allure to me. I mean, there’s no Beach Boys for rock jocks. The closest thing I can think of is maybe John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High,” which isn’t exactly on point. Don’t misunderstand. There are elements of surf culture that don’t interest me. Supercharged testosterone can be annoying in any arena, but the truth is that I typically imagine myself surfing all by myself. I’m alone on the glassy water—rising and falling with the swells and riding the wave break into shore. I’ve heard the ocean described as a temple in a surfing flick before, and I can relate to standing before the sea and experiencing something spiritual. And …