If imitation is the highest form of flattery for the mimiced party then it must be the highest manifestation of admiration from the one enacting the reproduction. Of course, not every form of copying is praise for the original producer. Claiming the work of others as your own without due credit being given can oftentimes be an outright criminal act. But somewhere on the scale of orginality, there lies a space for one individual to come in and take the work of another and make it his or her own work (without incurring criminal charges, of course.) And that space, my friends, is commonly referred to as the cover song.

Cover songs illict a wide range of reactions that run the gamut from cringing to absolute joy. Some make you realize just how good the original song is (because the cover is just that bad) while others make you wish the original had never existed. Then there are some cover songs that just make you pause and think. And then think some more. About the differences, the similarities, and how if a different perspective can really change one song so much, then maybe, just maybe, a different perspective can change the world.

When my favorite band, Disturbed, dropped their new album recently, they covered one famous song by the favorite band of many of my friends–U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for.” Below you will find first the original then the cover for your listening pleasure. Take a good listen and see the different perspectives. Then maybe today you can go out and change the world.

Life can be quite overwhelming. So much so that days blur into one another, memories become hazy, and everything barely makes a connection. I, for one, can fully attest to the fact that I often get caught up in the whirlwind. While studying for finals, I literally forgot what day of the week it was and missed an appointment I had to make. So lost was I in the task at hand that nothing else seemed to matter. If that’s how bad I got with the days of the week, you can then make the conjecture as to how I’d gotten with everything else including my spiritual welfare.

Things consume us and we get sidetracked from the path we must tread to reach Him. We all stray for one reason or another. I know I do. And because I do, I take great comfort in the following verse from Psalm 119: “I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.” It is a short admission–I have strayed like a lost sheep coupled with a prayer–Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands. It seems like such a counter-intuitive thing to ask of God. “I have strayed so come find me” as opposed to “I have strayed and shall return.” But God makes it easy for us… as long as we do not forget His commands, when we stray He will seek us out and encircle us in His loving arms. All we have to do is ask and remember. We must remember His commands and inscribe them on our hearts so that way when the world begins to spin at a pace that knocks us off the path, when we cry out “Seek your servant” He will come speedily. We all get sidetracked sometimes, but God is ever-faithful and hears the cries of His children.

I seem to have run into a small problem lately. Like the majority of girls and women out there, I have my arsenal of beauty products that I keep at the ready. Out of these products there are some that are used quite often and on a regular basis, like my facial lotion or my face wash. Within the past few months, I ventured out into the retail world at different times to restock on some of my basics, and each time I would come back empty-handed. The answer from the store clerk was the same each time I asked for something, “Sorry miss, it’s been discontinued.” I would go home, sorely disappointed and mourning the loss of my dependable product that has been a part of my life for a good amount of time.

I was telling a friend of my recent dilemma over lunch and she simply laughed out loud and said, “Your life has been discontinued.” I too had to laugh at that, because it was such an extreme statement. No, my life had not been discontinued, but calling the discontinuation of various products a “dilemma” was just as dramatic of a statement. My dilemma is no dilemma at all. I will simply find replacement products, which will most likely be even better than the ones I had been loyal to for so long.

And so the same can be said for all things in life. We have things that we deem to be essential and necessary to us and our lives and we are devastated when they’re taken away in one manner or another. We get angry and yell things out toward the heavens like “Why, oh God, why?” God must be punishing us for taking away the things we’ve deemed good. But that could not be farther from the truth.

When we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done,” and we truly mean it, then we trust that all things done in our lives and all things that happen are done for goodness. God may take away something seemingly good to us and it may hurt and the loss may be hard but He is only making room for what is even better. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

When faced with a hard decision, we all have our own ways of making the judgment call. Some make lists of pros and cons, others seek the advice of those they trust, others just flip a coin. But what about when the decision is something bigger than which school to go to, which car to buy, which job to take. All seemingly very imposing, life-altering decisions, but what about those bigger decisions? Those life or death decisions we all make on a daily basis. Don’t think you’re faced with life or death decisions on a daily basis? Well think again; you are. Your life constantly hangs in the air based on which way you decide to go.

“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)

The question often presents itself: Which way do I want go? Do I do the right thing or let it go this one time? And what happens when I let it go that one time? Will I let it go again? Will one lie lead to another? Will one angry comment produce rampant hatred?

We are given the answer… when we follow the path sin, we are led to death. Sin is a slippery slope where the decision to sin just once will numb the conscience just a bit so it’s easier to make the decision to sin the next time we are presented with it. Lie once, then lie again, then find yourself unable to tell the truth, and you have arrived at death’s door.

When conceptualized in this manner, sin and decision-making can be overwhelming and that’s why it must be broken down moment by moment. Every time we face a sin, we must face as if we were facing it for the first time. Each “no” must be emphatic and strong because every time we decide to sin we decide to die. Every time we resist sin, we choose to live. It is that simple and clear-cut.

Ever find yourself in a situation where all you can think is if you could somehow tell how things were going to turn out, then somehow everything would be ok? (Even though you know that finding out would only cause more worry and stress.) We all wish to secretly peek around the corner; the endless curiosity about what’s coming around the corner can’t be helped.

Then at one point or another we come across the verse, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about its own things; sufficient for the day is its own trouble” and we realize this worrying and speculating and wondering thing won’t do. So life goes on. There are liturgies and Bible studies and prayers and there’s lots of asking God to lead us and show us His will.

But there’s also little patience. If the answer doesn’t come soon then we start taping on the metaphorical prayer microphone and bellowing into it, “Hello!? Is this thing working? Can you hear me, God?”

Revelation # 2 comes: Of course God’s listening and He’s answering.. I’m just missing the signs… I have to pay attention.

And so the search for the signs and symbols begins and more “revelations” and “conclusions” follow. This search can best be illustrated in none other than a Simpsons episode. In this one particular episode, Mr. Burns, under pressure from government officials for running a power plant with no female workers, hires a woman named Mindy. Mindy and Homer hit it off, get sent on a business trip together, and win a dinner at a Chinese restaurant. This whole time Homer thinks that he’s doomed to cheat on his beloved wife Marge with Mindy, and his fear is confirmed at dinner when his fortune cookie tells him that he will find happiness with a new love. Homer takes this to be the biggest sign that he’s meant to be with Mindy. Then we pan to the kitchen of the restaurant where two workers are standing over barrels of fortune cookies. One tells the other that they’re out of the “You’ll find happiness with a new love” cookies to which the other replies, “Eh, open up the ‘Stick with your wife” barrel.” Homer’s biggest sign was also his most arbitrary (in the end he doesn’t cheat on Marge and all is well.)

Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re all a lot like Homer in this case. Our search for answers often leads us down convuluted path. We’re quick to fill in the blanks, make presumptions, draw conclusions and attribute it all to “signs from God” when we’re too busy making noise to actually hear His voice.

It has often been said that He speaks to us in a whisper and we hear Him best in silence.

it will not be simple, it will not be long
it will take little time, it will take all your thought
it will take all your heart, it will take all your breath
it will be short, it will not be simple

it will touch through your ribs, it will take all your heart
it will not be long, it will occupy your thought
as a city is occupied, as a bed is occupied
it will take all your flesh, it will not be simple

You are coming into us who cannot withstand you
you are coming into us who never wanted to withstand you
you are taking parts of us into places never planned
you are going far away with pieces of our lives

it will be short, it will take all your breath
it will not be simple, it will become your will

– “Final Notations” by Adrienne Rich


Life is nothing more than the blink of an eye. Therefore it must be lived in constant action and not in reaction. It is too short to be reactionary in nature. Just make sure your actions are guided by the principles that ring true. The Truth is what has set us free, and it shall keep us free. What we live is what we will reap in this life and the next.

Dear Fellow Human Beings,

Please start acting like what you are. You are people, given reason, logic, and grace, not wild, savage animals driven by primal instinct. Today a Walmart worker was trampled to death as he opened the doors for Black Friday shoppers who had been waiting on line to get their precious flat screen TV’s and digital cameras for a whole $10 less than they would normally pay on any other sale day. The man was pushed down as he opened the doors and screamed in pain and agony as 200 people trampled him underfoot to get to DVDs on sale for $9. When shoppers were told the store had to shut down because of the death, they yelled at officials and continued shopping.

At least wild animals have the viable excuse of survival instinct when stampeding, but what happened today is inexcusable. Have we become so blind to what truly matters in this world that human life is worth less than a stupid DVD player? As India still deals with the painful aftermath of a heinous terror attack, a whole new shape of terrorism was manifesting itself here right at home in the US. And this time the enemy isn’t some radical terrorist cell, it is our own greed and apathy.

Others were hurt in this crazed stampede at the Walmart including a woman who is 8-months pregnant. Thankfully, she and her child are both doing fine. I suggest you read up on this story here and internalize it.

It’s time to wake up America. There are plenty who which to destroy us from without, let’s not help them by destroying ourselves from within. If the free world crumbles, it will begin with the internal fall of each and every single one of us.


A Concerned Woman

… for all that’s been lost. A prayer for the aftermath…


Currently listening to: “All will be Forgotten” by Holly Brook

Everyone who gets to know me sooner or later comes to learn of one of my greatest shortcomings. I am forevermore perpetually late to almost everything. If I am only five minutes late that is a triumph. If I am on time, then it’s a miracle. Although I have actually gotten places on time before, it’s safe to say that it’s a rare occurrence. If my life were a Greek tragedy then my perpetual lateness would be my tragic flaw. When all would be said and done, at the end of the play the chorus would recite a monologue about how if I’d just been on time everything would have turned out just fine and the city wouldn’t have burned down and the country now wouldn’t be at war with the rest of the known world.

Thankfully my life is not a Greek tragedy and not much usually depends on my timeliness. (Although, I’m sure my friends would like me a lot more if I actually met them when I said I would instead of 45 minutes later.) So, with all that said you would think that I would be a great fan of the common platitude “Better late than never,” when in fact I actually really dislike it. I don’t like it because I think it’s highly misleading.

Yes, there are times when it is better to be late than to have never made the effort at all, like wishing a friend a happy belated birthday–the consolation is that you didn’t entirely forget his or her birthday. Or say you tell your friend that you will help her move and promise her you’ll get there at 10 am but something comes up and you arrive at 11 instead. Chances are the sixty minutes won’t make much of a difference to her since you arrived to help with the arduous task instead of cancelling on her.

But for every instance when tardiness is excusable and doesn’t make much of a difference there are several instances in which promptness is essential. The physician delivering a life-saving dosage of medicine to a patient must do so before time runs out for the patient. The attorney making sure his client’s claim is filed before time runs out. The credit card bill that must be paid by a certain date before exorbitant interest begins to accrue on the balance.

But I think the phrase “Better late than never” presents the most palpable danger to us in terms of our relationship with God. It is so easy to put Him off till later. We all do it without noticing. I’ll pray later today. I’ll read my Bible tomorrow. I’ll start fasting next week. I’ll confess before the next time I decide to take communion. I’ll take communion after I make it to confession… the cycle starts and soon we can’t get out of it. And we console ourselves into a stagnant complacency with phrases like “Better late than never.” Well, it’s better that I get around to God sometime someday in the future than not getting around to Him at all. We use words of scripture that tells us that God waits for our return to Him to bolster our complacency about now and place all our eggs in tomorrow’s basket.

But what if tomorrow never comes? What if today is all you have? You wouldn’t know it, and the suddenness of it all would be far too much. 

Perhaps this is why Saint Paul gives us the following advice in his epistle to the Ephesians: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (5:15-16).

He tells us to walk with caution, to use our time wisely because time itself is a magician’s trick. We are here today and with a simple sleight of hand gone tomorrow.