Monday, July 28, 2008


I just don't feel like myself these days. I hesitate to suggest this, as I'm part scared and part hopeful that there might be something hormonally off-balance. If I could have something legitimate to pin all of my symptoms on, that would certainly help. My job has settled into predictability, and often I am bored by the long hours quarantined in the office. I'm quite unmotivated; I'm senselessly tired. I've spent a tad too much time alone. Plain and simply, I just haven't feel like ME. My prayer is that the Lord would pull me though this, again showing Himself faithful to the faithless.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Handle with Care

I am ignorant of the fragility of life. I stake down roots and spread out where I am, gathering the material goods I deem necessary for existence. I make choices dependent on the course I intend to take in the future. I live for myself. I live for my tomorrow.

Yesterday, I was faced with the harsh reality that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Thurman, the ever-smiling wiry black man at work who emptied our trash cans on a daily basis passed away this week. We thought he was on vacation when he didn't come to work for a few days. Our trash started to pile up and day-old apple cores started emit their stale stench. While we wondered if Thurman had been affected by the rearranging of staff, we lugged our own trash down the stairs and out to the dumpster.

When I heard the real story, I gasped and clutched my chest. He was just 59 years old, a picture of health. He fell in his kitchen one morning a few days later, into a coma that took him quietly into death. It just doesn't seem feasible that a man could be in this world one day and gone the very next. I knew little of the kind fellow, save that he loved to road-trip on the weekends, sometimes going as far as Philadelphia (Mississippi, that is) to play the slots. He had knowing eyes and a chuckle that communicated wisdom and joy.

I've seen Thurman's face in my mind countless times since I heard the news. I'll be in the middle of some task, and he'll show up in my thoughts, reminding me that none of us is promised tomorrow. For those that trust Jesus, leaving this terrestrial place is a major upgrade. It's those that remain that are left to take out the trash and try and discern what it all means to be here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. 1 Peter 1:18
To my fault, I have a tendency toward what a dear friend calls "ingrown eyeballs." I've neglected to be sensitive to the needs of others, and I've allowed my circumstances to dictate my contentedness. I seem to have misplaced my JOY.
I think about my sweet friend Sarah, who eminates a do-dah-day attitude. Despite life's crud, she radiates peace. She sings and dances through her days. She embodies the joy of the Lord. While I recognize the obvious differences in our personalities, I can't help but wonder why I don't transmit the same rays of everlasting joy. We were saved by the same God. We are both loved by Him.
I'm thankful that I recognize a need for change in myself. I pray that a change in attitude will be the first step...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Get Art

For months, I've been reading Samantha Kira's blog about art journaling - a multi-media art form. I'm intrigued and inspired by her ingenious use of old materials. She creates the most beautiful backdrops for her words. Every page is a masterpiece.
So, I went out and bought a blank book yesterday. I have the raw materials. I bought her instructions on how to get started. And yet, I'm paralyzed by the blankness. The minute I put something on paper, I will inevitably fail to represent what I see in my head. Therein those white pages lies great potential. The instant I try and create, I will marr it.
I'm really in love with the idea, however. I like to think of my journal being my own personal art exhibit where I'll make/write/express for no one's eyes but my own. I think so often, I alter what I write or make because I know that others will see it. Something is lost when I start thinking about how I will be perceived. If I'm really doing what I love, not because of the praise or affirmation I'm getting from it, the sheer act of creating should be my JOY.
So, I have great hopes that my art journal will be my freedom from needing a pat on the back from anyone. Seeing my name in print has become my drug. I need to revisit the reasons why I do what I do. I really am excited. My pen, paintbrush, glue gun, camera are all poised and ready.... may my first mark unleash my uninhibited creative muse.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Adventures in Self Tanning

A recent trip to the beach left me greedy for the tan that my desk job simply doesn't afford me the chance to maintain. I came back from a few days in the sun with a golden glow, and I just didn't want to return to my former pallid self. So I marched right over to the neighborhood CVS, where I proceeded to purchase the knock-off brand of the above product (mistake number one).

My first attempt was conducted while I talked on the phone (mistake number two). The result? Ankles that looked like they'd spent some serious time in a pit of mire. Even after several showers, I just looked dirty.

For my second try, I hung up the phone and focused on an even application. I even allowed for a longer drying time, staying in my room until I was good and dry (mistake number three). When I finally did emerge from my room, I realized that I had missed the short window of opportunity to wash the residue off of my hands. The dark spots in the webbed region of each finger lasted several days. Not to mention the unfortunate stripes on my arms.

Will I ever get it right? I'm not so sure. Will I ever fool the masses into believing that my color was actually earned and not just painted on? I doubt it. But, I'm party to blame for that. Every time I get a comment on my "tan," I'm quick to reveal my secret, flipping my hands over in surrender, unveiling my shortcomings. I can't not. I'd just feel like a cheating liar to simply let a smile spread across my streak-tanned face and accept the compliment.

I have noticed lately that I'm pretty up-front with my flaws, my faults, my vulnerabilities. As I throw my splotchy hands up in the air, I admit that I don't have much to hide.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day of (Much Needed) Rest

"I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. I'm thirsty for God-alive." (Psalm 42, msg)

Camp Greystone specializes in the Sabbath. Among the many things I learned from my one summer as a counselor there was the true meaning of slowing down and enjoying the day of rest as it was intended. Sundays at camp are truly days set apart.

For those that didn't want to get up for an early run, Sundays meant sleeping in late, milling around the cabin before a warm breakfast, followed by a leisurely in-cabin morning. Church and Sunday school preceded lunch, after which everyone in camp returned to their quarters to dress in "whites." An extra-long rest hour set the tone for an extended free period and a dinner of leftovers.

Sundays were indeed the most glorious of days. I didn't have to teach any classes. I could catch up on my much-needed rest. I could read. I could sit by the lake and gaze into the twinkling diamonds of light reflected off of it's glassy surface. I could think, journal, breathe.

The Lord's Day was not for making to-do lists, thinking about all that awaited me on the other side of night. I think Sundays were purposed to force us to stop planning and just enjoy today for all that it is, to remind us that God is a well of water from which we can drink... slowly and deeply.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A God Thing

So, maybe I'm rereading this old-favorite book series. I zipped through all 15 books for the first time when I was in 10th grade. No time like the present to revisit the Escondido gang in honor of Robin Jones Gunn's recent addition to the series. Years after everyone thought she had closed the book on Christy and Todd, she emerged this past March with Peculiar Treasures. You better believe I'm going to read it. Nevermind the fact that I'm about ten years older than her target audience.

Based on the above cover image, anyone could reasonably deduce that the books are chocked-full with cheese. They tell the story of a young believer who struggles through her teen years, discovering what it means to follow Christ and how her identity in Him transforms view on relationships. It's not Pulitzer-winning stuff, but when I was 16, it contained powerful truths. Even now, I find myself suprisingly challenged by Gunn's words.

Yesterday I was reading book number 5 (Island Dreamer. Please hold all of your inevitable snickering until the end, thank you), and I came across the chapter in which Christy realizes that loving people doesn't mean wanting to transform them into your likeness. A visit with her former best friend, Paula, has Christy re-assessing their friendship. Since Christy's life-changing summer, she and Paula began travelling down two different paths, with very different views. Instead of sweetly, gently and respectfully showing and telling Paula about her new life, Christy turns jealous and protective. She is far from nice.

I don't know why, but I literally had to put the book down and think. I find myself in similar situations often. I want to be displaying Christ, but all too often, my efforts are overturned by my brat-nature. Praying for our enemies can include praying for those people that really challenge us relationally. Thanks Christy. Maybe I'm not too old to learn from you after all.