Saturday, January 28, 2012

creative outlets

Sometimes I feel like my creative outlets are extremely limited here. Now, truth be told, I think this is more just my feeling than it is an actual reality. There are plenty of "crafty" materials available. They just are not stocked in the neat aisles to which I am accustomed. And, I may have to do some significant "shopping around" to find all the things I want to do a particular project.
All this said, I am determined to be more crafty and creative with the things I have already and those I am able to locate somewhat easily. Another one of those seizing the day things...

Example A:
I have several t-shirts that have seen better days, and so I found this and was inspired. I think it turned out pretty cute, and it cost me nothing but a little bit of time.

Hooray for creative outlets! I am hopeful that I will come up with some other fun, simple projects...or I may have more headbands than t-shirts!

Friday, January 27, 2012

zack morris

Yes, I am going there. Who remembers Saved by the Bell? You know, when you wake up in the morning and the alarm gives off a warning, and you don't think you'll ever make it on time?
Saved by the Bell was part of the Saturday morning line-up when I was young. I wager that I have seen nearly every episode from saving the duck from the oil on the football field to summers working at the beach. But, this post isn't about any of that.
The other day I had this deep desire to be Zack Morris. Why? Because Zack Morris had this amazing ability to freeze time. He could freeze everything around him for an indefinite amount of time while he processed through a situation and determined what his appropriate course of action would be.
I have been trying to process through various situations. I have been trying to determine my course of action. I have been praying for wisdom and guidance and a clear path. But, sometimes it sure would be nice to freeze time for a few moments while I figured it all out.
It might be kind of cool to have high-tops and a giant cellular phone, too...

Maybe I'll just stick with the freezing time thing...

Friday, January 20, 2012

carpe diem

I have had this blog post on my list of things to do for nearly a week, and I just kept failing to actually do it. So, carpe diem! Seize the day! This may be part of the reason I have not made this blog post earlier. The last week has been busy, but not a bad kind of busy. And, it is all part of what I am realizing more and more each day.
Carpe diem! Seize the day!
For some time now God has been impressing upon me the importance of living where I am and enjoying the moment. Wherever I am, be all there. That is what I want to do. I want to enjoy life, every moment of it. I do not want to dwell on the past. I do not want to be anxious for the future. I want to get all that I can out of where I am right now. Where I am right now is good, very good. There are difficulties. There are uncertainties. There are yet-to-be-fulfilled dreams. There are unspeakable joys. There are life lessons in abundance.
So, as part of my endeavor to seize the day, every day, I am seeking to do and to experience things that another season of life may not afford me to do. I am determined to read more. I have scads of books that I want to read. I love reading and learning and experiencing. I am also studying (as an official student) again, and I am loving it! Granted, I have only started classes a couple weeks ago, but it is such a privilege to be a student, and I want to maintain that attitude. I want to expand my "culinary" skills. I love cooking and baking, and I am challenging myself to try new things and enjoy the process. I want to be better about investing quality time in my relationships with friends and family. They are worth it. I want to slow down and enjoy what is before me. I don't want to be in a hurry to get through life. I want to enjoy this time with the Lover of my soul. I want to earnestly seek Him every day.
I am aware that at this point in my life I have the time to do many of these things, but I may not have this time in the future. Someday I may not be able to sit down on a Saturday afternoon and read classic literature. Someday I may not have the opportunity to spontaneously go out for coffee with a friend. Someday I will not have the hours to invest in studying theories or watching documentaries. Someday I will be thankful that making my own pita bread is "no sweat." Someday I want to look back and know that I truly lived every moment of this season, learning well, loving well.

"What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God." Ecclesiastes 3: 9-13

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

something false and finite

One of the great blessings of writing and journaling is being able to look back over life and remember and reflect. I just spent a little bit of time looking through some of my past blog posts, and I was reminded of some things. I was reminded of joys and sorrows and hopes and fears and experiences and thoughts. It was a good reminder. We tend to forget a lot. At least I do. I mean, I have a stellar (almost freakish) memory most of the time. But, I heard someone, somewhere say that our problem is that we remember the things we should forget and forget the things we should remember. We remember how many times we have failed or others have failed us, but we forget God's forever faithfulness.
I will be completely honest in admitting that I have been in a state of forgetting. I have been forgetting how good God is. I have been forgetting the unbelievable things He has done in and through me. I have been forgetting about where He has taken me from and where He is bringing me to. I have been forgetting about the joy that waits anew each morning.
But, after taking a few moments to look back, I am remembering again. I am remembering those darn Israelites. Talk about forgetful. God delivered them from the Egyptians, and even gave them all the Egyptian's gold and valuables. God parted a SEA(!) for them to walk across on dry land. He gave them manna from Heaven. He made pure water come forth from a rock. He brought quail to them (both low to the ground and out of season). He provided them with indestructible tunics and sandals. He promised them a land flowing with milk and honey. But, they forgot. They grumbled and complained and cashed in their promised future for something false and finite.
Oh, how sometimes I want to cash in for something false and finite.
The problem is that I know it is false and finite, and so I can't do it. I have searched for ways to justify it. I have argued every possible angle. I have painted elaborate pictures of Egypt, leaving out all the things it lacked. I have wanted to settle, to flop down right where I am at and say, "this is good enough." I have seen what appears to be greener grass on the other side of the fence and caught myself trying to swing my leg over to that side.
Sometimes false and finite things are so pretty and shiny and easy-looking.
And so, it is good for me to remember that things aren't always what they seem, that "good enough" is never enough, that God's faithfulness has no measure, that love covers a multitude of sins, that I cannot go back but can go forward, that pain is hard and real and does not need to be excused, that the future is bright and hopeful and true, that joy is chosen and embraced. I am thankful for writing and remembering because while I live in the false and finite, I live for the True and Infinite.

Friday, January 6, 2012

saying good-bye

Typically, I am not a fan of saying good-bye. I prefer "see ya later"s or "talk to you soon"s. And, in leaving America a few days ago, I was certainly feeling the heartache of saying good-bye to so many people that I love, so many people that I miss terribly. Such a bittersweet feeling.

But, this is about a different good-bye. Six days ago I, along with the rest of the world, said good-bye to 2011. While I will admit that it was quite a whirlwind that I can hardly believe went so quickly, I was not sad to say good-bye. I would consider myself to be quite a positive, optimistic, joyful person, and thus, I acknowledge that the goods of 2011 outweighed the bads. However, 2011 was not the best year I have ever had by any means. There was much chaos and confusion and frustration and transition and grief and unknown. But, I am confident that I came out of it with a lot more character than I went into it with.

2011, thanks for the lessons, and I happily bid you farewell.
2012, I am welcoming you with open arms and an open heart. I am confident that you are going to be good in ways I cannot yet see.

Here's to saying good-bye and moving forward with hope!

Monday, January 2, 2012

every minute

I am long on staying. I am slow to leave, especially when it comes to you, my friend. You have taught me to slow down and to prop up my feet. It's the fine art of being who I am. And I can't figure out why you want me around. I'm not the smartest person I have ever met, but somehow that doesn't matter, no, it never really mattered to you at all. And at the risk of wearing out my welcome, at the risk of self discovery, I'll take every moment and every minute that you'll give me.

I like relationships. Deep ones. In the past couple months, I have been incredibly thankful for the amazing people in my life. I am thankful for friends with whom I can kick off my shoes and stay awhile, friends with whom I can be completely me, friends with whom I can cry both tears of joy and tears of pain, friends with whom I know the welcome will never wear out, friends with whom I can further discover myself.

And I can think of a time when families all lived together, four generations in one house, and the table was full of good food and friends and neighbors. That's not how we like it now. 'Cause if you sit at home you're a loser. Couldn't you find anything better to do? Well, no, I couldn't think of one thing I would rather waste my time on that sitting here with you. And at the risk of wearing out my welcome, at the risk of self discovery, I'll take every moment and every minute that you'll give me.

I am confident that I would qualify as a "loser" if the requirements were that you sit at home without anything better to do. Fortunately for me, I quite enjoy being that "loser." I am incredibly thankful for my family, for my friends, for tables full of good food and rooms filled with laughter and joy. No, there is nothing I would rather waste my time on.

And I wish all the people I love the most could gather in one place and know each other and love each other well. And I wish we could all go camping and lay beneath the stars and have nothing to do and stories to tell. We'd sit around the campfire and we'd make each other laugh remembering when. You're the first one I'm inviting, always know that you're invited, my friend. And at the risk of wearing out my welcome, at the risk of self discovery, I'll take every moment and every minute that you'll give me...

There are people I love from all corners of the globe, and I earnestly desire that all the people I love would be able to gather in one place. No matter where I am, I am always missing someone. However, I think this has made me appreciate, cherish even, every minute that I am able to spend with people. I am thankful for whatever time I am given with them. Sometimes it just isn't enough, but I am thankful just the same and hopeful that there will be more cherished moments. You're always invited, my friend...

"Every Minute" by Sara Groves