Friday, 30 March 2012

last week:  laura and me.

so last week I went skiing.  why is this noteworthy, you might think, as I live in colorado (and have done for almost 2 years now)?  well, those two days I spent on the slopes happen to be the first two I have experienced since my move to the rocky mountain region.  actually, those two days were the first venture onto skis in some 8 or 9 years.  and, this trip was the first time I have been with friends and not with young life kids.  I went down more runs in the first morning than I did in the whole of the three day trips I took back then, I am certain.  I spent more time then trying to find my girls or standing in the line at the ski rental to rent an additional pair of skis for one of my girls who somehow only got ONE of her skis on the bus when told to load up at camp for the slopes.  how is it possible to not notice you got two poles and only one ski?
oh, megan...  makes me laugh remembering.

  my girls and I on my that last yl ski trip I took, years ago...
(from left to right- therese, MEGAN, me, sara, and ellen.)

I would not have traded a minute of those yl trips, from bus ride to colorado to bus ride home to arkansas, sweetness abounded.

skiing with focus on my surroundings and my skill (elementary, as it may be) was a nice experience, though.  spring is the time to ski, in my opinion.  I would have like to have a bit more powder and less icy conditions, to be sure.  but, my word, the weather was gorgeous.  (and no worries of icy roads to navigate to get to the mountain...a major bonus!)

I felt like I was in a picture that a small child had drawn...
the sky was the bluest, truest blue.
the evergreens were ever so green.
the clouds puffy and simpson-like.
the sun illuminating the snow to make it pristinely white.
crisp, cool air that only the mountains can provide.

a lovely time, all in all.

so, the first picture shows another encounter of delight I happened upon while on the mountain.
my friend, laura, who I used to work with years ago at an advertising agency in arkansas, happened to be at monarch with her kids' youth group for spring break.
laura is one of those friends who is simply fun.  she is full of joy and life.  she and I can sit and chat about real things and nothing at all for hours.
she makes me laugh.  oh, how she makes me laugh.
we always pick up right where we left off regardless of how much time has past.

hope your weekend is joyful with fun friends and laughter.  I know I can never get enough.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

one of the gifts I have been given is the ability to connect with people.  I am endlessly intrigued by people and their stories.  people can never be completely understood or predicted which, on the flip side, also frustrates me at times. 
therein lies the beauty.  what I love the most I can never understand entirely.  
my eyes smile just thinking about this complexity. 

as seems to be a pattern, our greatest gifts can quickly become our greatest weaknesses.  in my desire to learn about people, I have been known to step into an ocean and lose sight of the land where I have a firm foundation. (see above plea.)  
I find this predicament of swimming with no clear direction to be helped along both by the person who invited me into the water and myself who clearly chose to become immersed.  
as I can only speak for myself, I see myself having control of how far I get away from shore.  
I always have a choice.  
I could  roll up my jeans and wade in to get a glimpse into the person's narrative, all the time being aware of the ground beneath my feet, knowing when I need to retreat to keep from being pulled in by the tide. I could also jump in with reckless abandon and flail about becoming saturated, looking like an exhausted, drenched, mess of my self.  

much of my life, I have chosen the latter option thinking that anything less that immersion communicated less than a loving friend.  where I got that notion I know not, but after a few near drownings, I have learned to be a bit more emotionally shore-based.  
the thing is, when I jump in with both feet with utter disregard of my own personal caution flags that say "beware of sharks!" or "high tide!", I get lost.  how can I discern where that person ends and I begin?  if I am not anchored in some way, I will float away.
ok, enough with the metaphor...
I do not have a natural sense of direction.  I have to study, get lost, and find my way again in order to remember the way.  but once I have been lost there, I am deeply aware of the correct path when I find myself in that same locale. (wow, it is difficult to avoid metaphor, isn't it?) 
thanks be to God.
many a relationship with a friend has found me overly attached and therefore lost, my actions being rationalized and defended under the umbrella of being a loving friend.  I like feeling needed.  plain and simple.  

while I have been in buena vista during this season, the Lord clearly has had truths he wants to root within me as an anchor.  
love is a very complex entity.  to do it properly, I must know who I am. 
I must stay clear on that fact above all knowledge of people. 
the only way for me to know who I am is to "bind my wandering heart to Thee".  
(first commandment for a reason.)  
I have spoken before about the word "impression" (see earlier post).  I need to be spending the majority of my time with those people who know themselves in this afore mentioned way, so that I might do the same.  I get lost too easily to be in the midst of any other community.  

I actually have a running list of things that constitute me "knowing my name".  I highly recommend it.  when I find myself drifting, which I believe will always be a struggle to some degree in my life, as my gifting is "knit together" within me, I read my list.  
I list silly things and serious things.  
you want examples?  ok. 
              I have a sincere devotion for t-shirts and jeans.  
              I emulate more than I innovate.
              I find it difficult to answer a question with a simple 'yes' or 'no'.
              I feel empowered by information.
              I love rain and cities...and rain in cities.
              I connect and am enlivened by kiddos.
it makes me smile, as I am reminded that I am both simple and complex.
ever thought about making a list?  

a side effect for me of keeping a firmer footing has been less people in my day-to-day life.  perhaps this state of being is for a season, but I have a feeling it is more of a permanent reality.  it has turned out to be healthier to scale down the number of "deep" encounters to ensure I do not drown.  
and, yes, loneliness can be present with this choice.  
another side effect?  clearheadedness.  I have to read my list less, as I am in tune with myself a bit more, and I have more to give and receive when encounters with people occur.  
said interactions appear to be on purpose rather than created by my own doing.  

as a woman who has been taught/encouraged to lead and pursue in a full time ministry context for most of my adult life, it can be difficult to switch off and allow any connection to happen naturally.  
I am thankful for my leadership skills.  I am also thankful for my gifts.  
more and more, I am thankful for the Lord's prompting for me to give both of these things over to Him to utilize as He sees fit, asking me to breathe and allow Him to go before, waiting for the sign to engage and connect.  
don't believe the random. (see earlier post for clarity of my passion for this phrase.)
buena vista, colorado is exactly the locale where I have needed (and currently need) to be to see this proper order of action in regard to this gifting He has given me. 

thanks be to God for both the gift of grace (ephesians 3.7) and the pursuit of peace (psalm 34.14). 

jason mraz and james morrison are two of my favourite artists. jason possesses a deep talent for turn of phrase and note, as well as an incredible voice... talk about using your gifts well.  james is a brit with loads of soul.  the fact that they combined their talents to sing a poignant song delights me.

this week I was chatting with my friend, beth, about cheese.  not the tasty dairy product that goes with nearly every food well but the word used in reference to corny, sentimental, schmaltzy things.  my friend mentioned Christian cheesy the music sounds at times but how much the words speak to her heart. as she explained, it occurred to me that within the "cheesy", I can also find truth, safety, purity, and ease.  michael w. smith takes me back to my years in junior high when my faith was beginning to be formed.  I remember listening to this song in college when I found myself in a time of potential drifting.

ephesians 3.16-19...
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.


Sunday, 11 March 2012

have you ever seen the show "Outnumbered" by chance?
oddly enough, I did not happen upon it until I had returned to the States from the UK.  truly, these kids (writers of the show) are ridiculously hilarious.
watch these clips below.
then, watch a few more that pop up on the side of its youtube page.
I hope these clips makes you laugh as much as they do me.
I literally cannot breathe while watching these kids at times.
awkward questions about Jesus...
girls can't throw.

happy laughing sunday!