Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guilty As Charged.

I am often accused of optimism. And while at a loss, most of the time, navigating how to respond to such a label, I can’t exactly disagree. I'm guilty. So shoot me. You see, in prime cliche fashion, my glass really is half full. I like it that way! While I acknowledge the pain and evil on this globe we call Earth is vast and deep, my experience proves that fixating on the problems never provided solutions. It doesn't really fix anything! What if we were to take a step back? One step out of the mire and eyes set on something more beautiful. Would that make a difference?

I am convinced that the objects you fix your eyes to, and the direction in which they are moving, makes all the difference. You can’t escape it. For where your eyes are fixed there too your feet will move. The promise of a fantastic view, will keep your feet moving upward-- past the shaky knees and screaming lungs one switchback after another. The promise of prestige will keep ones feet quick up the ladder of success. The intrigue of a connection will move sweaty palms and an awkward pick-up line across a crowded room. It’s simple. The things that captivate our affections and hold our attention will move us to tangible action-- in the direction of that object.

What about the bigger things in life? What about when life seems to be hard? What if we were to fix our eyes on beauty? On things that are most beautiful? Eyes lifted from the bad we find in this world, and fixed on the one thing that is most beautiful. Wouldn’t that change things? I have to argue, yes. Not only does it change things... it makes life just a bit sweeter!

You see, there is a beautiful Creator. One who has fashioned the world in which we live. One I have decided to fix my gaze on. One, who has captured my attention and wooed my affections. It is this Creator who has ordered and orchestrated the natural beauty I find in this world. The same Creator has also fashioned the people who fill it with capabilities and passions that reflect his grand beauty. Human hands, hearts, and minds capable of creating impressive beauty of their own!

Yes. People are hurting. Yes. People are hungry. Yes. People are dying. Starving. Suffering. I get that! I see it, and it settles deep in me. But, I have been created in the beauty of the Beautiful One, and live in a place surrounded by that same beauty. My hands have been empowered and I've been given a new heart motivated to create beauty of my own. So, with one foot in the mire, getting dirty for things that have caught my heart, I am steadfast. I am strengthened and excited! Beauty is present! It is transformative, increasingly so, in the most dire of situations in real, tangible ways. I am an agent of that! In the daily moments Beauty has the power to change things. It is on this I have chosen to set my gaze. As I do, it is changing me. As it does, the more I have to share. The more beauty in this world, the more it is changed for the better. How could it not? That is something worth getting fired up about!

In light of that, optimism is inevitable! Good things are happening and the promise of greater things is real, even when things look bleak! There is hope in that! Optimism, or maybe joy, is the fruit of that promise!

So, let my culprit be momentum, and beauty my charge-- not to positive naivety, but to action! Radical, joyful, awesome, powerful action with eyes set on that which is most beautiful! Life really is good! And Beauty really does change things!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Adventures at the 99Cent Store.

So I was at the the 99Cent Store yesterday. Exciting... yes, i know. But, you know what's even more exciting? I went to get envelopes. And a hairbrush. Oh, the life i lead. It's epic i tell you. Just epic.

Like all trips to the 99 Cent Store, though not too frequent, I decided to take a stroll around the store. Survey the goods. Because, let's be honest, things are a whole lot cooler when they cost less than a dollar. I rounded my first corner, to find the jackpot of of 4th of July awesomeness. I'm not having a BBQ, or really any party for that matter, however, i was drawn the the patriotic kitchenware. They were 2 for a dollar and super cute. Maybe i'll plan a party. Anyone need a glow necklace?

I continued my adventure, down the aisle to find another mother-load of kitchenware. And if i can continue in honesty, I'm a total sucker for any serving dish made of white ceramic. Coffee cups. Plates. Jars. Bowls. Little ramekins. They're just so cute. A little strange, this i know. But, hey, you chose to read this blog. So, here's where my story gets really good (Was it good in the first place?). As i'm about to pass over the rest of the section, remembering i have no kitchen of my own to put any of these trinkets, I stumble across this.

And by holy heck, it made my afternoon.

Casual Living Outdoor Kitchenware- with creepy Jesus pictures on them. Now, correct me if i'm wrong, but I feel that serving a plate of bbq ribs and potato salad on Jesus' face crosses a line. Just sayin'.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Few Thoughts on Fullness

I spent some time with a friend last week and we were talking about the Holy Spirit. Her and I both are in different Bible studies, with separate groups of women, from different churches, working through the very same book. A book on the Holy Spirit. Likewise, our churches, separate from each other, have honed in on the very same topic as well. As trend in my life, repetition means somethings up. And well, it’s all quite interesting if you ask me.

So, this book o’ choice is called Forgotten God, by Francis Chan. To say it is “good” hardly does even the cover justice. (And the cover is pretty rockin’.) This book is awesome! Not particularly because of who wrote it, or really what was written, but because of how God is using it in my life. It’s a simple book presenting truths evident in the Bible, yet it’s powerful. I’ve yet to finish, and have actually just made it through chapter three, but it has strategically, and at time frustratingly, challenged everything i’ve learned, believed, and than subsequently lived out of the Holy Spirit. How’s that for a holy shake? (It’s good for my head- don’t worry about it.)

The Holy Spirit was nothing more to me than a “fuzzy feeling” when i was about to screw up, and an ambiguous “i think this is what he said” voice when I needed a little direction, and a “get me outta here” feeling when it manifested itself a little outside my nice box. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen God work in my life, and in those around me, in really powerful ways. At times, I’ve felt the Spirit move and speak very powerfully, but it has never been fully. I’ve never related to the Spirit, or considered that I may grieve him with my actions. Years have been spent walking around chest puffed (can girls do that?) with a nose pointed at the “Spirit filled” as if my poised Christianity was somehow righteous. As if a life lacking God’s power could ever be masked for self-controlled. For all the folks whose “holy rollin’ antics I once questioned, I was wrong. You get it. You get that the Spirit is alive and active. And you understand that he is powerful and beautifully moving his Church to do big things.

How’s that for a lesson in pride? Yikes.

So, this is what i keep returning to: the concept of fullness.

The first chapter cautions us not to consider the dwelling of Spirit in terms of quantity. “He has more Spirit than I do.”, “They have more of the Spirit at that church.” Negatory. It’s all or nothing. On the day of Pentecost, it says that the people were, “filled with the Holy Spirit.” He dwells completely, in all of who he is, within us. Not a part of him, or portions of his character, but all of him-entirely- in my life.

Now, check this out. This Spirit, the one who fully lives within me, is the one who raised Jesus from the dead. I think that assumes a certain fullness of power and authority that we’ve gotta consider. And if i boldly venture on, I think i’ve got to ask what my life would look like if I actually got that?

OK. So here’s the deal. When I pray for peace or patience, or forgiveness, this is my thought process: “Dear Jesus, my life is chaotic. Fix _(fill in the blank) . Give me some(fill in the blank).” Ok, it’s usually not spoken quite as blunt as that, but my general thought is that God will come though and “bring a little peace” to a certain situation until it passes over. Until things smooth over.

Yea, there are some issues with that. Actually, there are a lot of issues with that.

See, the Word promises me differently. Romans prays, “May the God of hope FILL you with ALL joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Rom. 15:13) Not a little hope to get by, and a little joy to carry you through. He quantifies it. He says, ALL. Jesus says in the book of John that he came that I might have life and have it ABUNDANTLY. Not haphazardly, kinda cool when I’m doing well. He says full, abundant life. It’s pretty straightforward. Jesus also says that he instructed us with what he did so that his joy would be in me, and that it would be so FULLY. When Jesus is promising the Spirit to his followers just before he returns to the Father, he tells them that when the Spirit comes, “he will guide you into ALL truth.” He says that this Helper, the Holy Spirit, will teach me ALL things and help me remember ALL that Jesus said. He will guide me into ALL truth.

In regards to asking God for things, he says “Sweetheart, ask and receive-- that your joy may be FULL!” Ok, so maybe God doesn’t drop the sweetheart, but you know, he was thinking it, I’m sure. God says to ask him and trust him to come through for big things so that our joy may be FULL. The Word says that the Spirit strengthens and empowers me to comprehend the great love of God, that I might be FILLED with the FULLNESS of God. As the Spirit reveals, I can start to grasp the great love of God, and in that am filled with who he is.

These are the promises of the Word. What’s with this praying for “some” of anything? When God moves he moves. When he provides he does so fully. When I need peace, he gives it. Fully. When he promises joy, he delivers it. Fully. When I need to hear truth. The Spirit guides me into it all and will teach me. Fully.

I’m done with asking for little things. I’m done asking for parts of things, pieces of fruit, and expecting God to come though every now and again. No. He has asked me to ask him for big things and live out fully what he has given me. So I’m doing it and i’ll wait expectantly trusting that God’s word is trustworthy. He will do what he said he will and he will do so fully!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's been a while.

My followers, (are there any of you?) i must apologize. How long has it been since I've posted last? Wow. I have but one excuse: i suck. I really do. Not conclusively at life (most of the time), but at having a blog. If having a one makes me a "blogger", then consider me so because my consistency or relevancy sure don't. So, while categorically a "blogger", i'm of the least of these. (Which i guess makes me greatest? hmm...) OK, moving on.

So, here i sit, on a Thursday evening trying to pull something out of the air to write about. (Like how im not a blogger. So ingenious, I know.) And well, i've officially decided i really have nothing exciting to write about. So this blog will be ending shortly. But, before i go, how about a little awesome typography?

ok. seriously. not only am i far from being awesome- my image uploader has followed suit.

So, here's what we're going to do about that. "Publish Post". No awesome typography for you either. This post is literally about nothing for the sake of saying something. Awesome.

Blogger of the year, right here folks!

yea, this is the only way i knew how to end this blog.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oh, Happy Day!

When you ask? When i win a trip to Paris! (And well, a lot of other things would make me happy... but this would make me REALLY REALLY REALLY happy!) :)
See how im trying... here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


The past few years have been years of constant transitions. And i think the same is true for most college aged folks. Semesters at school and breaks at home. Temporary commitments and seasonal jobs. Time spent traveling, a year in Korea. You know, normal life stuff. While at times my wanderlust keeps me up at night searching flight tickets, there is a safety and solidity in settling in. Planting roots, if you will. While sounds like I've just secured a mortgage and am with child, I am not. And can i get an amen to that? The simple solidity of being planted, with the ability to fully invest, for a while is good for the soul!

What i've realized in all of this, both in season of transition and in season of settled-ness, is the value of the awesome people who've been deposited along the way. I have people in my life who have been there for almost a decade. Crazy to think about life with those whom you've been friends with for that long. They've seen me at every stage of life. That's a scary thought. It's those friendships that also offer a smattering of blackmail material. Yet, those are the very people i'd fly across the world for.

Then there are folks who come into your life for seasons. Friends who, in a very short time, draw near to your heart. People who will be near for a time until God moves you elsewhere. Friends who show you true friendship. Who will leave you Korean funnies on your desk just to encourage you. Friends who will help you pack for Thailand and send you home with the promise of a friendship. Friends who meet you for coffee until the wee hours of the night and make you movie DVDs so you don't get bored in the airport. Who will also send you random pictures of his motorcycle- just to keep in touch! Oppas who are just that- Korean big brothers. The deposit of those people, and their friendships in my life are rich. And i'm so thankful for them!

Then new people come into your life or you find yourself reconnecting with folks after a time apart. Though sometimes seemingly out of the blue, the deposit these people drop into your life is equally awesome and exciting. Folks who'll wander a vintage store for hours and spend an afternoon making Snickerdoodles with you! (You know who you are.) Friends who you will tell you how awful you are at making flower arrangements and send you to get coffe instead. Someone who will also sit and talk about Jesus and men, and the cursed blessings of being a strong women.

So, the prompt of this post. Today i get to see my college roommates-- though roommate hardly encompasses my love for them! Now friends, these two ladies are awesome. Let me tell you. Our friendships started in a convent we like to call Alpha on a ResLife staff we like to call dysfunctional! And it only got better from there! One is happily married now. Both of them are successful, loving, servant hearted nurses. Both are beautiful, and funny, and generous beyond belief. I am so thankful for these women. For reasons more personal than i care to divulge on this blog. But, trust me. They're awesome!

While this post is rather specific to the people in my life- let me broaden it for a minute. The value of community and doing life, well, with people is unmatched! God has created us for relationship. He created us to do life with people. It's in those relationships, we see more fully who God is, and who he has made us to be! And there is an awesomeness, and adventure and joy to life in the company of people you love! So love people! Rock life with them... and make it count!


love them.
so much.