Friday, March 29, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Broken

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." -John 10:10

I'm still learning what this means. All I know is I'm nothing without Jesus.

Friends, I pray your Easter weekend would be filled with hope. Hope that in Christ we are set free...

The best story of my life is always Jesus' story - the only story worth living for in this crazy, mixed up world. It's the one that tells me about a God who took on everything for people, like me, who once didn't want Him.
It doesn’t seem right sometimes. We get what we don’t deserve. I can't fathom this kind of love. Salvation in Christ comes because God made a way so that our brokeness didn't have the final say. It's not the end of the story.
It wasn't the end of the story the day Jesus died. It must have been a horrible day. He was and is hope. But He did not stay dead.
Hope lives.
I keep deleting and rewriting, and I know, that's not the point of the exercise at all. What I really want to say is I am thankful.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Foul Shots and Motivation

I may or may not have stayed up until late in the night last night re-filling out my basketball bracket. Okay, maybe I did. Somehow, I was able to think a bit more clearly then (night owl syndrome?!) and tried to spend a bit more time thinking about teams that might go far based on their scores and seedings rather than, well, how much do I like the teams: AKA, I still would like to think all my North Carolina teams will be in the final four :).

I love basketball. I've started to play again. How fun is it to play the sports you loved as a youth? The answer is so much fun. I've found it's a good connecting topic for youth because about 97.9 percent of all the upper middle and teens I come in contact with like it (sorry if that's an over generalization but I find my stats to be at least 98 percent fact).

So, I had a long-standing dream once of being a motivational speaker. Seriously, the kind that speaks to kids when they sit in the bleachers in the school auditorium and the kids sort of want to heckle the person because they think they are so lame, but deep down they like what they have to say. I'm not kidding.

It's funny how these days, when I start writing about different things it brings back to mind things that were once important to me. That's how it was when I started to think about basketball and failure and foul shots; that helped me think about how I once wanted to be a motivational speaker.

I still think motivational speakers are bold, and there is definitely a use for hearing a positive message, even if I feel differently about it than I once did.

If I was a motivational speaker, I would probably use this video.

It still amazes me that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and Dr. Seuss had his first book rejected by 27 publishers. Dr. Seuss, people!

Okay, I am not a motivational speaker, but I still really like this video.

When I think about real fears, I think about things that hold me back, it's not bugs or heights or public speaking, but it's been failing and trying to please people, and the need to "do the right thing." What does any of that even mean? What does it amount to?

"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God?" -Galatians 1:10

I knew a motivational speaker when I was young. He traveled around the country talking to sports teams, especially basketball teams, helping the players get focused and stop getting psyched out by themselves, and of course how to make foul shots, basically. Or that's what I took from it. 

I love how when people are playing sports, they are actually living the process, it's a dream in action. And I like that.

I'm not one of those 'just go for your dreams and never look back!' kind of people. I've had many dreams that have not come to fruition. And that's okay. Many dreams have morphed. This blog is a testiment to one of those, and it's still a work-in-progress. I probably wouldn't tell the best motivational speech if I was a motivational speaker today, because truthfully, sometimes when you fail or fall down, dreams die. But it's not the end of the story.

I'm tempted to go on a motivational ledge and just stay there sometimes. But then I continue to recognize that there's no easy catch all, with foul shots and dreams, and that's a good thing.

Friends, first of all, if you follow basketball, who do you want to win March Madness? 

And, are you a go for it without looking back kind of dreamer?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


"We look too much at museums. The sun coming up in the morning is enough."
-Romare Bearden

So I like doing art these days. It's taken me awhile to get there. Slowly, slowly, slowly says the sloth.

In the past, when I thought of art, I thought of it as an extension of Art class, and I hated Art class. When I was young, I used to think I only ever created one decent artwork in my whole life. It was this odd looking painted tower of wood blocks with letters and designs on them that for some reason my parents kept around the house. That made no sense to me as a kid because I was sure everyone knew I wasn't good at art. Even my art teacher in elementary school. I always wondered if I was the weird one because all the kids loved Art class, you know, it being an elective and all, but it was my least favorite class by far. Drawing and ceramics and painting and more drawing. Sign me up for fingerpainting but that was it.

Before I knew art could mean many things, Art to me meant 'you are no good' and 'look I can make a strange configeration out of blocks.'  Instead of ever giving it a shot, I would only ever draw stick people and avoided games like Pictionary unless I was forced.

Maybe not everyone has to like or do art, but I love creative things (hence the blog). So why not? I started to ask myself in the not too distant past.

You know what I found? Art (art) is relaxing to me. Even drawing can be (eek, did I say that?). It is fun when I do it with freedom and for the right reasons.
I haven't taken up drawing and painting and these things as a regular pasttime at the moment. I don't necessarily plan to get an easel, but I do get a tad bit excited everytime I buy more markers and colored pencils for the kids I work with, I've come to learn about art journaling and love it, I like to mess with paint, and I don't care anymore if I'm good or not. 

Drawing, like other forms of art for me (like writing), cause me to slow. Painting and writing and singing, these things do something to me on a soul level, I think, if I let them, that cause me to see better.

what does art do for you? what do you consider art?

"Sailing, like bicycle riding or music, demanded one live a moment at a time."
-Ridley Pearson

Saturday, March 16, 2013

dear miss buttons

it was a strange thing. in my sleep, i saw my youngen self. like five years old.

press rewind to fingerpainting and little, little tables and jumping rope and learning to count. carefree and rest and naps and singing songs all day long.

i woke up rested. it was a nice dream.

i remember kindergarten. i was miss buttons. we all got to be a letter person. i wore a dress with buttons all over it. i played the part. i never forgot the letter b.

do you remember kindergarten? some days i feel like i've never quite left it: i still visit kindergarten (and first grade, and second grade, and third grade..) from time to time for my job. times have changed but certain things remain when you're that young.

then you grow up. you forget what it's like to twirl and dance and rest. but miss buttons knew how to do these things.

if i could ask miss buttons some questions, i think i'd first ask her this: how was it, you live wire you, that somehow you could still rest even though you never seemed to need to sleep? wasn't there a difference between rest and sleep? could you pass that along in the next couple decades when life would get busy and your dresses don't have buttons on them any longer?

could you spare five minutes for writing, miss buttons?

will you still make time for rest, real rest, even if that means dancing and singing and looking at the stars?

will you still dance even when the rhythm changes?

*inspired by five minute friday: Rest

Thursday, March 14, 2013

On Basements and The Not So Glamorous

There's something that can be a little scary and risky and bold with blog posts. Perhaps I don't write enough of those the way I don't bring enough people 'into the mess' but I love how Shauna Niequest puts it with her new book Bread and Wine, the same way I loved what she said in Cold Tangerines, that sometimes you have to fully enter, you just have to let others in.

It might be hard sometimes because what people could find is there are things that are not so glamorous. And that's okay. Most of us aren't glamorous all the time but we might play the part. We forget about the fact that we all have what Shauna points out are those 'basements' in our lives that we don't want anyone to come up too close to get a good look at. We're talking real ones, mind you, mucky old basements with stored up boxes whose items make no sense.

But, also, basements are the underbelly of who we are, the parts that get uncomfortable, stressed out or embarrassed. They might just be small parts of who you are that you didn't even know were there until you let people get real close. She says that when you let people see the basements of your life and they like you anyway, then yes, those are "really and truly from Jesus, your friends."

This sticks with me because life is not always so glamorous. Neither are basements.

I actually really liked basements when I was little (the real life kind). We didn't have a basement in the houses we lived in for many years and so then it was always a little bit of a foreign place to me. As in, I didn't go down there much. Even though it was a bit more interesting than the rest of the house, parts were unfinished, parts were messy, and, let's be honest: it was Ohio, it was a basement, so it was very cold to me. 

It's good to have basement friends. And friends with their own kind of basement places, too.

Funny thing is I don't have a true-to-life basement these days but I still have plenty of 'basements' to name... a well-worn (out) closet, a (not so clean) car I practically live out of, a storage unit outgrowing itself with too many odd objects, socks that can't find their mate, walls with no artwork. The unglamorous.

Basements aren't glamorous, and sometimes neither are we am I.

There might be times we are glamorous, but that's for a different post all together. :)

*And a plug for Bread and Wine, Shauna's new book! Check, check, check it out...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday Reads

It takes me longer to dish out a blog post today. My thoughts roll around and it feels like there's not enough time to write them down. I want to set the timer, you know, that way there might be a plan and a structure. But, writing doesn't seem to fit well into a box sometimes. 

So, instead, I look to some posts that have caught my eye recently. The ones I've learned from or laughed from or that have spoken to me.

There are days to speak and days to let other people speak..

Have a happy Tuesday, Friends. :)

- An interesting and challenging read: Meals Matter to the Mission

- An encouraging read: I hear burnout is a thing

- Just a good read: Will You Follow Jesus Even If Your Life Doesn't Get Any Better?

- A fun read: Honey Boo Boo and Compassion and Decide Already