Boring Moments at My Church!

I feel bored at church sometimes… sure! Sunday mornings are the tail end of my work week, I have spent a long couple days and nights at the bar (managing/not drinking!) and I can be exhausted tired during worship. My mind wanders just like anyone’s can, and last week it settled upon a 20 foot long piece of golden oak colored wooden trim.

The trim piece hangs horizontally above the choir area, there are two, but one is larger. I caught myself staring at it.

It is not the feature piece of woodwork hanging at the front of our sanctuary, that would be the Cross itself. No, this is just a decorative board that probably covers a sheetrock edging underneath the pipe organ pipes…


The trim piece is quite long. I noticed myself looking for a seam, for a joint, for the place where two or more planks were expertly connected together. I found it. At least one of them was visible from my seat in the pews.

That one long clear rectangle of oak was made up of different parts. Maybe they were from the same tree, but probably not. They were two nice clear sections of those trees. They were not all knotty and blemished, but I’d bet other parts of their original trunks were. Those segments of wooden cellulose were planed down, made smooth and shaped. They were sawn and sanded. They were hand rubbed and brushed with the perfect lacquer.

An oak tree is inherently strong and beautiful, but the final look was achieved not by slapping a raw branch on the wall. It was crafted by the hand of a finish carpenter. Making custom trim is a fine art, one we see every day and hardly notice.

Did you know that there is a carpenter who’s hand can shape our souls. He can use the gnarliest knotted and twisted trunks to craft masterpieces. His touch slices away the brittle and ugly outer bark. His words restore and heal even the biggest cracks in our inner grain. When we have asked him to make us His project, He uses all the best pieces of us. He deftly joins together the past with it’s mistakes and regrets and the present moment with inner peace and our future with loving possibility.

The seams in the many sections of our lives can be noticed up close. He leaves them, so that others know we are not one perfect individual from start to finish. He allows the joints to remain, so that we can show others that all of our varied parts together can help make one continuous beauty.

There are pieces left on the woodshop floor. There are chunks and remnants and thin curled shavings that he removes for us. Thank God. We can want to hold on to all of our natural wildness sometimes, defending its earthy handsomeness. There are parts that we don’t need. There are extra appendages and growths of baggage that we are better off without.

The master carpenter is willing and absolutely able to sculpt with love, if we will let him…

So I guess that, is what the boring moments at church teach me.

Until next week, Be well my friends.


Aaron Nichols


Massking the Truth

“Name something that doesn’t have mass.” Was a deceptively tough question posed by my middle school science teacher. I can remember thinking how simple and easy the answer must be, but I just couldn’t come up with anything to quickly throw out there. My seventh (or eighth) grade mind was stuck on the material, and everything material has mass.

I wanted to name super light things like air or wind, but those are still things. They can inflate or move other items of mass, so they must have it too.

For some reason that one question has stuck with me over the years. I am now more aware than ever, of the spiritual vs. the physical world. The real things in this life that are completely powerful and yet free of any measurable mass are ideas, emotions, addictions, purposes or spiritual gifts. Our world is full of ‘things’ that can’t be defined with scientific measurements, yet have shaped all that we see and know as life in earth.

The spiritual effect is our motivation. The physical object or energy is our tool to access it… if we spiritually choose to do so.

I started this story today, wanting to speak about buying a CD. When I was young kid, we had cassette tapes, and tape players. We rewound and fast forwarded and could ‘tape over’ an old recording, with a new one from the radio, or a plugged-in microphone. I, of course, know that other people grew up with previous versions of music archiving technology, like 8-tracks and vinyl records. When I was in middle school, the shiny silver disc called a CD was introduced.

The music industry began to sell the ‘cool’ new way to buy it’s songs… right? Well, now we have digital media and again we have yet another option for an item of mass that holds a three minute pop song tune.

I am not going argue about whether or not an MP3 has a measurable gram of mass, but it does take up space on a hard drive, right? Too many and your drive is full. BUT, the songs themselves don’t have mass at all. The actual moment of listening is a spiritual experience. The bright emotions that spring up with the beat, or the rage that can be strummed out from darkness with a powerful base line are intangible, but real.

I missed an opportunity to see my favorite band this week. I would have paid for a physical ticket to be in their presence, but what I would have bought was a completely ethereal experience. The ticket itself has no value as a piece of paper with the band name printed upon it.  The moment where I could sit in their presence and relive memories and make new ones and support the guys who’s souls have composed songs I love, is worth waay more than the purchase price.

Just like the ticket, our slices of greenish paper called money, have no real value. They could maybe start a fire for you in an emergency, but their mass actually means very little in the whole scheme of things. The spiritual value of money is everything. This creation of God called money is power and security and danger and whimsy. The potential for the holiest of good or horrific bad is all in the spirit of the person who is using it. You could say that one of the world’s most powerful objects, isn’t an object at all.

That is why money still has meaning when we don’t have the paper to prove it.  The paper vehicle of money is under attack, and rightly so, it is anonymous and that means everything. The enemy wants to be like God, tracking you at all times, with power over all your earthly value. We need to hold on to our physical green paper cash, while we can.

God knows the value of our spirit, much beyond this physical world we inhabit. The enemy wants us to believe that our ‘stuff’ defines us. It don’t.

The enemy wants to sell you a new vehicle for your music, when the music hasn’t changed. God’s promises are the same today, yesterday and tomorrow, but the Enemy says this new way, is better, just buy into it. When we can start to see the difference, the contrast and open our eyes to the spiritual world, we see that the emperor (of the world) has no clothes. There is no way to sell or steal or even shake the spiritual steadfast called God. There is a torrent however of physical plastic junk that attempts to replace Him.  We cannot buy our way to heaven, when the price of admittance is free.

That, my friends, angers and torments the king of demons himself.

Know that the real you has no mass, no body and no stuff. All our investments that matter are in relation to our spirit.

Thank You ALL, for reading these words. I wish true immeasurable and intangible blessings upon you this day.


Your Friend

Aaron Nichols



Life’s single-most important moment!

I’m glad to know that this blog post is the very most important thing in the world to you. Really, it warms my heart. I can’t believe that there isn’t something that is rating higher on your list. I do appreciate it though.

I often find myself at mini-mental crossroads, or mega ones, wondering about what is most important in life. I struggle with that question as I navigate each day. The scales of inner justice tip one way, then the other, while I quickly ponder issues at work, in my spiritual life and in relationships with other people. I often find certain value on both sides of the coin and get caught in the middle, trying to straddle two options at once. Commitment to a decision can be tough.

You are committed to reading this post right now. Of course, maybe you are simultaneously watching a YouTube video, or playing background music. Maybe you are supposed to be working and reading this instead. I really hope you aren’t checking out these words while driving! If so, put the phone down!

Ha, anyway I often am wondering about what is the true importance to the bigger picture of life. I want to really know if any small action, or big one is worthy of effort, or not… It bugs me that I can’t be sure of the whole picture ahead of time. I have noticed one thing however…

Whatever it is that I am physically doing, at any given moment, is the most important thing in my world. By default, it has to be. Although I may have a whole laundry list of items I find more critical or meaningful or significant, than my current action in the present moment, those other things have taken a back seat, to what I’m doing right now.

In fact, at this very instant, writing this blog post to you, is the most important thing in my life. I have a super cute sleeping daughter in the other room. I could just sit and watch her peaceful breathing, instead of this. I have a kitchen with dirty dishes that could be washed. I have a garden needing planted, and a lawn needing mowed. I have weak spiritual muscles that could use a healthy dose of the Good Book, to strengthen them. I have vacation plans to make for the summer. I have lots of work that could be done at our restaurant too. I am putting off so many important things, like even getting a few more minutes of sleep before a long day at work, to type out these very words.

(as another reinforcement to this idea, my phone just rang. It was a call that I had requested be made. I took the call, and then returned to the blog. For a moment, that call was the most important thing in my world, and it was about our Friday lunch special, that’s all…)

I don’t’ have to wonder and agonize about what are the most necessary and crucial moments of my life. I just have to look at what I am choosing to do, right now. There is a level playing field that we all share. 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week, 12 months in year. None of us live outside the confines of those precious few minutes that I know of. However we are choosing to invest our snippets of time, is the vote we are casting as most important to us, period.

I would love to keep believing that I can be doing one thing, just passing the time till something more monumental comes along… Just like when  I am choosing to watch a silly facebook video, instead of seeing my daughter really learning to crawl… Hmm… I can’t defend that one.

Recently, Rabbi Daniel Lapin spoke about the secret to life. His words were about creating a wonderful life for yourself and the quote was near to these words, “A successful person does what he must do, when he must do it.”

I am really preaching to myself here, but maybe the message is for more than just me. I hope to realize and act upon the ideas God gives me to write about here. I want to walk this walk, instead of just talking this talk.

Until next week, be well my friends.


Aaron Nichols

Playing like a Girl… A Baby Girl…

To our baby, everything is a puzzle. She has several toys designed as puzzles and some that aren’t. It’s fun to watch her curiosity at work especially since she has become so mobile lately. She can explore the room. She scoots around and squeals as she grabs and swats at any object she can reach.

Right now in fact, the wheels of the office chair have her attention. Usually though, she plays with something out of her pink fabric box of treasures. She has several puzzle style toys that she attempts to figure out. A stack of translucent plastic stars fit over a central peg, and she bangs them around, wanting them to slide on. There is a cartoony zebra with a channel built in to accept square plastic blocks, and she can sometimes make them ride all the way down.

Basically, she is constantly unceasingly learning to unlock the systems and mechanics of the world around her. For now, it may be just how a hard cardboard book opens and closes, or how the beads slide along a spiral metal rod. These are simple things but important to her. She wants to make them do, what she can get them to do. And taste every one of them too.

What is different about our 8 month old, than of me, or of you? Don’t we all just want to know the solutions to the puzzles we see around us in life? I sure do. I am racked with curiosity about how our world really works. I spend almost all of my free time playing with that question. It really is the same at my jobs as well.

I want to find out how a restaurant works best. I want to explore the possible options of managing our menu, our inventory, our systems and our people too. Working to design tee shirts, which I have done for 20 years, I still start with a blank page almost every time, working with the puzzle pieces provided to create something ‘cool.’ There is so much to learn everyday, and just like JoJo, I am banging around clumsily, just seeing what happens when I try.

There is nothing special about our baby, that isn’t inborn into each child on earth. I am positive that we all have innate curiosity woven into our very core being.

There are times of exhaustion or of frustration, where maybe we all just want to space out and veg. Playing hard and solving puzzles all day can tire us out, and we will want warm milk and a nap. It is interesting though, that our daughter can be so naïve about the bigger world around her, and yet completely content playing in the small space she occupies.

That is how I operate as well. I have a realm that I have crawled around. I have grabbed at it and pulled toys off the shelves that I could reach. In the bigger picture however, it is but the 5 x 7 living room rug. The wide universe of possibilities is much larger. Back and forth around the room, day in and out, I try to solve what I can see in front of me.  Rarely though, do I try to get out of the room itself.

There is a creator God watching me, knowing my little routines, my smallness. God is aware of my curiosities too. Every once in a while He provides an opening.  I’ll notice a new doorway as I pass by again. These opportunities if taken, are monumental shifts of the mind, some good and fun, but some challenging. Crossing new thresholds into the unknown can unnerve.

The curiosity though, of finding out more, about the depth and breadth and the keys to the puzzle of life itself are too tantalizing to pass up. Just like JoJo, I usually must explore, what I can explore, for my own good or not.

Joella may want to go back someday to the simplicity of playing contently with a small box of plastic toys on a sunny Friday morning at home with her Daddy. She may someday find herself far away from the peacefulness of a moment like this. I may want to return here too. It’s so awesome to watch her little mind at work. I pray that both our curiosities don’t take us too far away from here, but I think they will.

We’re all just trying to figure this ‘life’ thing out. We all can just see what we can see.  We can’t see the wider context that our observer can see us inhabiting. I am trying, and finding out by failing and failing again to whet the unquenchable thirst for knowledge that our Creator ignited within.

Until next week, be curious my friends.


Aaron Nichols

Telling of Fortune

Because, I can’t perfectly predict the future… well… lots of things…

I noticed today, that I was looking at a stockroom and freezers that were cashed, almost emptied out. It was a heckuva busy Friday evening, the night before. I needed to scramble and work hard on replacing our supplies, just in case that same wave of customers arrived again tonight…

Because I can’t perfectly predict the future…

I had run down my grocery stock, because of it. I had to guess again to reload our shelves, because of it.

Almost all the management I do with our restaurant inventory has to do with not being able to accurately predict the future.

Overall, our evening went well. We had enough of almost everything to serve our guests with no hiccups.

Sometimes, it seems that I would really like to be able to predict the future… perfectly.

I could avoid a lot of headache and hassle. I could let anxiety and worry go, as I would be absolutely confident in the events to come. I would precisely plan, and execute efficiency on astronomical levels, if I knew ahead of time… everything.

Then again, where would any sense of accomplishment come from? What kind of skill or courage does it take to act, when there is no risk of failure?

I think that not knowing must be the gasoline, the fuel that explodes and turns the cranks of our internal motors.  Maybe the mystery that exists just beyond the hairline edge of the present moment, is all that drives us forward?

I don’t know what makes my mind want to dissect and examine a simple thought, like ‘I can’t predict the future,’ I just know it does want to do that.

Working to supply our restaurant with perishable items  to maybe sell to hungry guests, is just one simple task that ignites my personal passion for challenge. I take great pleasure in watching our plans unfold somewhat like we had hoped. I like seeing our customers happy.

All of life is more interesting, since we can’t perfectly predict the future. Usually though, ‘interesting’ can be a four-letter word. Today, I want to express my appreciation for this construct, built into the universe created by God Almighty. Even when I don’t understand, it must be good.


Aaron Nichols