Thursday, May 21, 2015

Changes . . .

I've enjoy the last three months off . . . I can't believe people are still reading the "From Labor To Refreshment" blog considering I haven't posted anything new since the end of February--but you are!

A lot has happened since I've gone on break--I've written some great pieces on the Midnight Freemasons blog.  I've done a little traveling.  Got a puppy.  Was asked to officiate a wedding.  I've started a new writing project.  I was made a Fellow in the Missouri Lodge of Research.  I was even interviewed in a film!  And that's not all of it--those are just the highlights.  Part of the reason I took this break was because there was so much on my calendar I just couldn't keep up with everything. 

Now that I'm caught up, I'm going to be making a decision about this blog.  I'm either going to scrap it (in which case it will vanish), or I'm going to rework it into something very, very different (no longer a Masonic blog).  I do my Masonic writing on the Midnight Freemasons now and in my other published articles, so I'm not sure I really need this blog anymore.  Either way, that decision and those changes will take place over the Memorial Day 2015 weekend.

I case this vanishes, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for your continued support since about 2006, and I hope you'll continue to visit me on the Midnight Freemasons.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

Todd E. Creason

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Freemason Wisdom: Benjamin Franklin On Immortality

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing." 

~ Benjamin Franklin
St. Johns Lodge

Our time on earth is finite, and at some point or another, just about everyone wonders about the legacy they leave behind.  Franklin was known as a man who was seldom idle.  He worked, he wrote, he read, he studied, he explored ideas, he spent a great deal of time in thought.  People confuse work and play, but Franklin seemed to see them as one and the same--everything he did, he did with great passion, and great energy.  He enjoyed his work and his interests just as much as he enjoyed an evening of entertainment.  

He wasn't alone in that philosophy.  Another Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, once said, "It is amazing what can be done when we are always doing."  Both Franklin and Jefferson are examples of what can be accomplished in a lifetime when you value time enough not to waste it.

~Todd E. Creason

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Daily Reminder To Work On The Internal

Masonic ring collectors often get this same look on their face when they find a good one . . .
So I was looking for that one thing I could give up during Lent that would help remind me daily of what it was I wished to accomplish during that time.  I figured out on Tuesday night what I was going to do without over the next six weeks, and was I ever reminded yesterday.  Several times!  I decided not to wear any rings until after Easter.  That's a pretty tough challenge for a Mason--especially one like me that's worn a ring every day since I joined the Fraternity.  I'm without question a bling addict especially when it comes to antique rings.  I've written numerous articles about Masonic rings, including one with Brian Schimian on the Midnight Freemasons that went everywhere-- you can read that one here.  The only thing I enjoy more than running across that rare find in an antique store or flea market, is wearing it.  My wife claims there are two things you rarely see on this Earth--a truthful politician, and me without a Mason ring.

I was reminded when I automatically went to put one on yesterday morning.  I was reminded a dozen times yesterday when suddenly, in a panic, I'd realize my ring was gone.  I feel naked without them, and I'm sure that will be compounded over the next six weeks or so when I attend Masonic events on my calendar without wearing that "uniform" of a Mason that includes the ring--and one of those events is my Valley's Spring Scottish Rite Reunion (and that's one of those events when you pull out all the bling).

But I think it was a good choice--a daily reminder for me to work on the internal rather than what is displayed on the external.  I was thinking about doing without lapel pins as well, but after breaking out in a cold sweat as I contemplated it, I realized that might be a bridge too far.  Baby steps, right?


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fat Tuesday

"We have all the light we need, we just need to put it into practice."

~Albert Pike

I've always liked the idea of Lent.  Lent is not observed in my religious practice the same as it is in others, although I've observed it in my own way.  I believe it's good practice to set a certain time aside each year to work on yourself and your relationship with God.  It's a time of the year when I work on replacing bad habits with good ones, spend a little more time reading and reflecting on the Bible (I usually buy a devotional to study), and I spend more time appreciating the things I have, and giving back to those who have less.  One thing I've found particularly useful is keeping a notebook.  Each night before I go to sleep I record in that little notebook all the things I received that day, all the things I gave to others that day, and all the things I was appreciative of that day. 

I keep it positive, because I find when I spend time beating myself up over the things I've done wrong, I don't see the things I did right as clearly.  And when I do focus on the positive, I find it changes my expectation for the day ahead--I wake each morning looking to receive, looking to give, and looking for things to appreciate around me.  And that's a pretty good way to go through life.  I find as Easter approaches my lists get longer--I record more things I receive, more things I give, and more things I appreciate and am thankful for.  That's because I'm looking for them.  I find them, because I expect to.

As Freemasons we're always supposed to be working on that rough ashlar, and if your a Christian, this is a very good time of the year for self-reflection and improvement. 

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