Thursday, November 29, 2007

Held

It's at my doorstep, knocking gently but constantly, until I let it in. It refuses to relent, persisting despite the elements. Warmth. Sun. Cold. Rain. Even the wind won't drive it away. Nearly each day I pass by and something inside me pauses, frozen in some sort of fear, entirely unsure of what do about it. Why couldn't I face this long ago?

It's time.

It's in my living room, laughing and sipping a cup of tea. Was it always so familiar? It seems we are old friends. And every day it takes more space, spreading to the corners of my ceiling and the cracks in the mantle. Silently it envelops me, and I try to hold my breath.

I cannot prevent the inevitable.

It's in my lungs. My heart. My being. It seeps into my soul. With wide eyes and shaky hands, I reach out for more. I don't know what it looks like to truly be at home right now, but somehow I know I am drawing closer. Yes, I am drawn in. Held. And now I learn to return the embrace.

Is the chase really over? Or will I run again?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Tides Have Come...

Mysterious. Powerful. Ebbing. Flowing. Unstoppable. Constant. Fierce.

It seems change has been my constant companion these past six months.

My best friend and her husband are very, very close to welcoming their new daughter into the world (my cell phone is always close by, consequently). Several of my friends have gotten engaged and/or married. Many more have moved far and wide, to other cities, other states, other countries...maybe even other planets, so it seems. And even more are moving in just a few weeks. I have a feeling I'll join them soon enough. I graduated from college, and the very university that I know and love has undergone sweeping changes in the last few months, and especially the last few days. I'm honored to be a part of such a time as this.

And in the midst of all these changes, I find that I have gone headlong into my career and [finally] stepped out as a musician and let people hear my songs. I've begun to paint and learned how much I enjoy it. I've honed my skills as a photographer. In other words, I've embraced my inner artsy-fartsy-ness. There are a lot of "new" things in my life, as well. New car. New place. New look. New job. Even a new community of Christians that I hadn't quite connected with before.

And as much as I struggle to find this narrow path that God has called us to, I am far from hopeless. I get overwhelmed just as much as anyone by the tides, but I am also constantly reminded that I'm not alone. Community has been so key lately. I never knew it could be like this. And I cannot imagine my life being anything short of this adventure, because therein I've learned more of who Christ is and who I am in Him. There really aren't words to describe it.

El fin...or perhaps it is the beginning.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How sweet the sound...

After what seemed like 4 very long months, I returned home today. Well, home in the sense of, "Home is where the dog is." I was surrounded by almost every member of my immediate and extended family tonight and I have such a different perspective on how precious it is. I love seeing how they mingle and talk and laugh and tell stories with their hands as much as they do with their words. They're truly beautiful. It reminds me again of God's faithfulness in all this.

I got tears in my eyes as my flight descended today and I could see the snow-speckled landscape of my beloved home state. And soon enough, I was thrown into a flurry of an abundance of food and way too much pie for my own good. And now I'm sitting in my room with my dog sprawled out on the floor next to me and the sounds of my family downstairs. I think I'll go join them...and maybe get more than 4 hours of sleep tonight.

I'm bracing myself for the marathon of eating that is to come, since we're celebrating more traditionally tomorrow. It's always fun with three little kids running around nowadays. I adore my nieces and my nephew, even if they're stinkers and hit the panic button on the minivan. :)

Happy Thanksgiving, guys. I know I'm very thankful today. What a needed break it is.

Cheers.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The High and Low of it

Tomorrow's forecast: high of 81, low of 50
Wednesday's forecast: high of 49, low of 31

And they wonder why everyone is sick. Thank you, Oklahoma. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

When I was a kid, Christmas was actually legit...

As we all know by now, saying "Christmas" isn't politically correct. But this is just too much. At least it's in Australia, but it'll be no time until it circulates to America, I'm sure. And since when is Santa on a diet?

Not that the latter two things really help or hinder what Christmas is about (of course, including Christ in Christmas is vital), but cut Santa some slack! The jolly old fellow probably doesn't even have a day job aside from sitting in malls and standing on street corners. Far be it from us to stop him.

It's a good thing Rev. Billy is out to save Christmas and avert the Shopocalypse!




[HT: Chad...naturally.]

Monday, November 12, 2007

Finding rhythm

These have been my lessons as of late:

Close your ears. Close your mouth. And listen.

When noise seems to surround me on every side, I start to grow accustomed to it, allowing it to permeate me and become part of who I am. But when I come to the realization that I've allowed this to go on, I cut it off. Turn off the cell phone, the TV, the computer, the radio. I light some candles and sit on my living room floor and just regroup. I talk to God. Journal my thoughts and have a real conversation with Him. I pull out some acryllics and canvas and paint. I try to do whatever makes me focus best. And most of all, I have learned to take time to listen.

Don't get me wrong, I have not arrived by any means. In fact, I'm feeling pretty fed up with myself today, trying to cut the crap and get to where I need to be with God and with my life.

Cherish solitude.

Although community is something I believe to be vital to our existence both as humans and as Christians, there is such value in solitude. Something about solitude reminds me of how small I am, because when I'm alone I tend to look around at the world and remember that I am only a single part of a beautiul tapestry. But I also remember that I belong.


Embrace silence.

Silence used to make me uncomfortable, especially in the company of someone else. But now, I feel like I cannot live without times of silence in each day. Granted I am not a morning person, I greatly enjoy not having to speak for the first hour or so of my day. I can just quietly allow the day to begin and wait for the rest of me to catch up. It works well.

Another value of silence I've found is when an entire room full of people is perfectly quiet together in the presence of God. I've heard people recount stories time and time again of how some of the most potent times of corporate worship they've experience is when everyone and everything was still and quiet. I can tell similar stories, indeed.

Simplify.

I hate clutter, even though my mother may tell you otherwise when I lived under the same roof as them. Either way, at the core, I am something of a minimalist. Although I love decorating and coordinating colors and themes, I don't like to have a lot of unnecessary stuff. I'm not a pack rat. I organize often. Yet, somehow, I allow clutter into my life in the form of distractions.

Media can be a big downfall for me, considering I am a communicator by nature. I love hearing stories as much as I enjoy telling them. I love interacting with others as much as I love watching people interact with each other and with their surroundings. I enjoy watching people go about their time in an airport or at a coffee shop. I'm not easily bored, really. And I very much enjoy a well-scripted and strongly produced TV show.

All this to say, I have to keep myself in check with how much I allow media to be a part of my life. I find nothing wrong with enjoying a good episode of my favorite show or time spent skipping around Facebook. But it really is about balance and priority. It's a battle all of us fight, one way or another.

Don't get comfortable.

I was laying in my bed one night, overwhelmed at how faithful God has been. I feel like I'm finally on my own two feet. His perfect will has been so evident in my life lately (especially when I fight it), and it's undoubtedly taken me by surprise. But as I looked around me that night, I felt God speak to me.

None of this should make you happy. None of this should make feel secure. Only I can do that.

Wow. How true it is when I look at my recent striving for security and my bitter failure at finding it outside His arms. I fall to pieces every time I try to battle it out and find some sort of temporal security blanket. And then I come back to Him, laying the whole mess of me at His feet. He embraces me every time.

And here I am. I know that I am perfectly safe where I belong, even though I have had more than one nay-sayer about my disposition recently. And though it may seem strange (even to me) that I chose to come back to Tulsa when I could have gone almost anywhere, I am thoroughly enjoying this season of my life. I feel like I have grown more into who I am. I'm also learning about parts of me that I never realized existed and about things that make me come alive that I haven't done before. It's beautiful, and I'm grateful. So once again I say...

Here's to the journey.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wal-Mart and Macho Men

Allow me to preface this entry by saying that I hate Wal-Mart and avoid it at all costs. I only go when I need to. It's not my idea of a pleasant experience, especially after dark.

My good friend Eddie and I hopped in his truck last night and headed to Wal-Mart to buy a kitchen table + chairs set for my place. It was a 5-piece set, conveniently packed into a large box, and a little too heavy for Eddie to get off the shelf. He didn't want me to try to lift it because he was afraid I'd hurt my back, which has been a little touch and go lately. After wandering around and looking for an associate, we finally came across an official looking employee with a walky-talky. His name tag read "Doug." We asked Doug if he could help us get the table into a cart, and he and another guy came back with us.

Now Doug, mind you, seemed like a fairly fit guy. But he's no Vin Diesel.

Doug proceeded to squat down and pull the table off the shelf, balancing the entire box on himself. His coworker came around quickly to help him, but it seemed Doug intended to lift it all by himself. I was standing behind the cart (a regular sized shopping cart, which the box was clearly not going to fit into), watching from what I thought was a safe distance. I was wrong.

The box, of course, slipped away from Doug and landed on the edge of the cart, sending the cart careening toward me. It slammed into my forearm, and I can only imagine that the look on my face resembled something like a deer in the headlights. I was speechless for a few moments, reeling from the initial shock and the pain of the collision.

Here is the conversation that ensued:

"Oh, bugaboo, it got away from me!" Doug said, as he picked the box up and set it on top of the cart. Not, "I'm so sorry!" or "Are you okay?" or even "Are you pressing charges?"

Did that really just happen? What is he thinking? And did he just say bugaboo? Oklahomans are so strange sometimes.

"It's not that heavy, really," Doug said after the box was resting somewhat securely on the cart. "It's just hard to handle."

"So...it's not heavy, it's just awkward?" I said (according to me, that's what everybody says when they're lifting something that really is too heavy for them).

"Yeah, it's not heavy, just awkward," Doug repeated, unaware that I found the statement hilarious. I smiled, turned the cart around, looked at Eddie with wide eyes and a growing smile, and we rolled away with our obnoxiously large box on a small cart.

We burst into laughter once we were a safe distance from Macho Doug and his partner in crime. We were both in a bit of disbelief at what had just happened. I pushed my sleeve up to see a big red mark on my arm. I wondered if it would bruise.

We managed to get the table up the stairs to my apartment. Apparently it was easier to lift with two people than we thought. I take back my "it's not heavy, just awkward" statement. But I retain that Doug still should have had his buddy help him. We started to unpack the box and organize the parts.

Eddie had to leave for a meeting, so I set to work with 30+ pieces of an "easy to assemble" table laid out across my living room. 2 hours and a few four letter words later, I had assembled 1.5 chairs. I think Wal-Mart needs to take some assembly lessons from Ikea.

So here's to you, Wal-Mart, for your messy aisles, screaming children, macho associates and (I'll admit it) decently priced oak table sets.

[FYI, my arm is okay, just a little tender today.]

Monday, November 05, 2007

Shift Happens

This stopped me dead in my tracks this morning. Recommends.



HT: [Chad]