Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Twenty-Seven

Today is my twenty-seventh birthday. And so, I leave you with John Watson's encouraging reflection upon this age.

"She must be seven-and-twenty now,—a  sweet  age,  when  youth  has  lost  its  self-consciousness and become a little sobered by experience." -Dr. John Watson, reflecting on Mary Morstan (The Sign of Four).

Friday, November 4, 2016

Reflections on being a single during the holidays




Christmas and Birthdays can be hard. 

Birthdays were a day of celebration, now they can be a time of regret, a time where you remember that you’re still waiting for the big things in life, you’re still just as confused about life and love as last year…and you’re still celebrating this birthday alone. 
I try to forget about my age and I think of it as try to grasp the excitement of this being my own personal holiday to celebrate me. Yet, I still find myself blinking away tears.

Now for Christmas, I think there are many reasons
      1. The winter holidays don’t have the magic they used to have. Christmas is not as exciting when you can buy yourself what you want when you want (within reason.)
2. Times change. People change. People pass away. Those Christmases of the golden dawn of youth when your grandparents were still young and also still with you can never return. 
 3. You don’t have your own family. No children to train in decorating or making Christmas cookies. No little eyes to watch light up as they open they unload their stockings and open the presents you selected for them. No one other half to kiss under the mistletoe or buy presents for. Just a nomad. You don’t really fit in.
4. Like Birthdays, it’s another time of year where you wonder what you did wrong again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

When you end up crying in the arms of a stranger at the grocery store...Another Glimmer

Here's a glimmer from 2014. (See previous post for what a Glimmer is.)

It was a Sunday. I'd been in that lonesome Meijer all day, surrounded by people who didn't want to hear about whisks. I didn't want to be there. I wasn't near my quota but I was on the verge of tears. I'd been doing direct-marketing for several months now and occasionally I'd have a Sunday off and I'd go to church. On this particular day I was feeling guilty because I felt like I should have requested a Sunday off, just so I could go to church. I didn't think he was asking me to take all Sundays off, but I thought I should go to church more often. I let the fear of asking for time off stop me. I knew my priorities were out of line. So, that day I felt that I had "let God down."

But God didn't let go of me and here's how He showed me:

I had just done a show to a small crowd and no one wanted these whisks. I stepped behind my display booth and banner as I was no longer just on the verge of tears...

Then one of the people got my attention and had some questions about the product. Trying to stifle my tears I spoke with them. They stepped away, but this girl about my age came up to red-eyed me and said, "I can see you're experiencing a lot of turmoil."

She told me she was a Christian and I told her I was too. She wrapped her arms around me in a hug and as I cried in her arms, she said, "He's got you."

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, no angels, nor principalities, not things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

***Not related to the glimmer but just to save my professional dignity a little bit, I did go on to sell the most whisks in the nation for 4 days in a row.****

The Power of Exhoration...A Glimmer

What's a glimmer? It's what I call a moment in which a much larger law of the universe is represented. In these moments, that serve as a metaphor or a microcosm, a truth that has been accepted in the mind becomes known in the heart.

Here's the glimmer I had tonight...

I've known that two people are stronger than one, it's kind of obvious and there are a lot of verses pointing to this: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Proverbs 27:17. And in addition to the principle, we're told to support and exhort others : Galatians 6:2, Hebrews 10:24-25. But, tonight these truths sunk into my heart.

At Krav Maga class, we were holding plank position. My back hurt and my abs hurt and I arched my back which really isn't plank position. It hurt so much I was seething my breath in and out through my teeth, even emitting soft cries, and whimpering although I refused to drop a knee. Then I heard the matter-of-fact voice of a class mate (also holding plank, I might add.) "Put your butt down." I struggled to flatten my back. He continued to talk me through it, "That's better. Come on, you got this. Put your butt down. Better. More." I felt relief as he continued to talk to me, giving me something to focus on other than the pain, plus knowing that he and the others were experiencing the same thing helped too. Gratefully I listened. If I had been left with no exhortation, I very well may have caved and dropped a knee, or continued with an arched back instead of pushing myself to do the drill properly.  His words let me know I was not alone, and gave me the encouragement to try harder and push myself to the limits and to not give in.

Hardly a flattering moment for me, but still a moment of triumph and a new understanding of what these verses mean.

It even gave me a knew understanding of Christ and what He did for us!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

What does St. Patrick's Day mean to me?

I'm an Evangelical Christian. If you are too, then this post is for you.

What does St. Patrick's Day mean to me?

For me, it's not a day for drinking. Drunkenness is a sin (although drinking is not, and is a matter of personal conviction.) For more on drunkenness in The Bible: Ephesians 5:18, Romans 13:13, 1 Peter 4:3.

For me, it's a day to remember Patrick and his life. He was a Briton captured by the Irish and forced into slavery. Eventually he returned to Britain, became a Christian and then returned to Ireland to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ the Son of God. He was a missionary. I remember him for living out the words of Jesus, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-19, NASB)

He lived out his Faith, and in turn it inspires me. "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews  12:1-3 NASB)
 
One final thought: I said I was an Evangelical Christian. For me, St. Patrick's Day is not a day to pray to a Saint. I only pray to God as I don't see anywhere in The Bible that we are to pray to anyone but God.

Previous St. Patrick's Day posts:
Personal Reflections on St. Patrick's Day
Happy St. Patrick's Day - Bad situations with good results


Note:
NASB = New American Standard Bible

Monday, January 18, 2016

Where does poetry come from?

Poetry is formed in the human heart like diamonds are formed in the earth.

Diamonds are formed 90 miles deep in the earth in places where temperatures reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Poetry is formed in the depths of the heart, at times when passions blaze hot.
  
Diamonds are formed under great pressure with the weight of the earth pressing down on them. 

Poetry is often formed under the pressures of life and great mental duress.

Diamonds are expulsed from the depths of the earth by volcanic eruptions. 

Poetry spews forth when the pressure is too great, and can no longer be bottled-up but has been kept inside just long enough. Or the emotions well worth, like oozing lava,  and with them comes sometimes a poem or two. 

But  this is not the only way diamonds and poetry are made.

Diamonds are are also birthed when asteroids crash into the earth. Poetry is born when something touches your life with great impact.

Diamonds are formed when ocean meets earth.  Poetry is sometimes formed when a new thought takes hold in your mind and the realization is crystallized.

Diamonds and poems can appear clear and bright, like a star, distant and cold, yet burning white. The beauty of diamonds belie the extreme conditions under which they were formed while poetry captures them in a frozen moment. In a poem flashes facets of human passion, thought, and feeling crystallized into a drop of beauty. 

Diamond Formation Information




Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Acrobats



 Two long, sturdy strips of cloth hung from a fixed point above the stage. A broad-shouldered man and a lithe woman climbed these pieces of cloth with creative tricks and soon they were both high in the air while the polished wood floor of the stage was dangerously far below. Already, we were impressed, they did a few tricks and arranged themselves, and then…

They swung gracefully out over our heads, the long strands of cloth trailing. They flew, his larger frame behind hers, she leaning against him. They walked in the invisible air, side by side, stepping lightly and in synchronization, delicately pointing their toes. He took her in his arms, crossed her quickly over his body and in various dramatic skater’s poses, they continued to fly around and around above our heads. He let her go and caught her with his feet as our hearts jumped into our mouths.

I was struck with the thought, “I want to get married.”

To me, it was a beautiful picture of marriage, one that I wanted to imitate. 

It was beautiful, it was romantic. Yet, it was so dangerous. If he dropped her, if she fell…the results were unthinkable. 

If they fell, they would likely be killed, and if not, then grievously injured. Yet not only they were in danger, but those watching. The audience too could be injured: physically if they fell onto the audience, emotionally if they fell on the stage. Just like a failed marriage, not only would it hurt the couple, but all those near too. And think of the emotional guilt he would feel for having dropped his partner.

To fly like this required strength and trust. Both must possess these qualities, but the man especially the strength as he bore her weight and his own, and she the trust as he at times lifted or caught her as they swung through the air, almost touching the ceiling. 

In Ephesians 5:22-27, we learn, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless,” (Ephesians 5:22-27). The wife is to submit to her husband. If I’m to submit to someone, I want a man I can trust with my life, just as this woman trusted him to catch her. The husband is to help his wife heavenward, just as the male acrobat lifted her, and helped her stay high on the cloths. 

~August 2014. Beijing, China.