Thursday, 26 April 2012

And all things as they change 
proclaim the Lord eternally the same.
~Charles Wesley

transition is difficult.  
no matter how many times you have gone through it.  
no matter how old you are.  
no matter how long you have had a faith.  
no matter.

in this area of life, I find I have become a bit prideful.  I tend to think that since I have weathered a tremendous amount of change in the course of my adult life... moving houses, seeing friends get married and start families, moving towns, working various jobs (some at the same time), leaving people in multiple countries, changing jobs again, re-entering my native country, living in a sleepy mountain town after being in a city of millions that held my heart... 

the list goes on and on and will continue to do so.  
so easily I slip into being cocky about my skills in transitioning from one thing to another, rather than resting in the confidence that "I can do all this through Him who gives me strength". (phil.4.13)  

wait a minute.  
the first seventeen years of my life were spent with very little, very little, change at all.
then, I started my risk-taking journey into my adult life.  
I sort of think of these two portions of my life in a sort of a "the old has gone, the new has come" view, by way of practical, tangible steps.  
when the risks began, I realized faith is in my feet.  
I began to own my belief.
I began to learn "my name".
I began to need to lean into the Lord. 
so when I revert to my default, or my "old", I am reminded that life resides in the risking.  
that I prefer the battle to the comfort.  
I truly do.  because it takes me past myself.  WAY beyond myself.  thanks be to God.

here in lies the tension.

tis not about me, is it?  nope.  
are my feelings real and ok?  of course.
can I navigate it on my own?  maybe.
is it more difficult when I rely on my skills?  absolutely.

how quickly I forget.  

so, in actuality, reality can be quite the contrary... 
the more times I go through it, 
the older I get, 
and the longer I live with faith, 
the more I need help.  
I need help with the difficulty of change.  
perhaps I struggle a bit less with increase of frequency, number of years, and a deeper knowledge of the character of God, but 
never will I ever arrive.  
never will I not need help.
never will I not need to lean into the Peace.

today, I am grateful for this reminder.  
thanks be to God that all of this is not up to me.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

today, some snapshots that make me happy...

a cool building in boston.

nose in a book... me often.

rainy city.

snoopy on the side of mt. princeton, my current backyard view.
(can you spot him?)

me with my friend mindy on an arkansas leader retreat years ago.

claire modeling her tailor-made mickey ears.

david gray show from the 4th row.  best ever.

claire and dev icing their sore elbows.  
(for some reason, this always makes me laugh...
every day they had to ice after a game, I just kept asking them what their question was and if they would go ahead and ask it.  
oh, I crack myself up.)

asher johnston.  
oh. my. adorable.

vineyards in northern france on a trip to see my friend suz.

the nieces.  pure joy.

micaela making me and claire laugh.

alexis and dev being incredibly humble.

one of my all time faves, courtney.

a pub in nyc. 
(photo captured by my friend, c.j.)

happy last week of april.

Friday, 20 April 2012

loosen your grip.
I feel like this message keeps swirling about in my head, heart, and well... face in recent weeks.
my friend, michael, with whom I work, talks often about how he believes we are meant to have the goal of "replacing ourselves".  we ought to be training others and setting up systems that could enable our jobs to be done well regardless of whether we are present.
I like this idea.
I see the benefits.
I also see the challenges.
lately, the challenges have been much more in my view (or in my face).  with change running rampant in our midst at work, I seem to be led back often to a place of unclenching my fingers and taking a deep breath.  we are people of routine in my place of work.  we do not change our core schedules often, if ever.
I, of course, for those of you who know me well, find comfort in predictability, as those things I can expect help me have space to be ready to flex with the inevitable and vast chaos that is and people.  so, when the foreseen moves to the side of the "I'm not sure" column, my passionate side emerges all the more, and I try to bulk up the "I can count on this" side of the notebook paper.
I realize in my brain that these attempts to control are futile, of course.
but at these waffling times, my inner 6 year old decides to take the reigns.

eventually, I return to my adult self, and I process the whole list of "I know this" and "I have no idea" in all its crumply, torn college-ruled state and remember that this lesson I have learned time and time again (both foreign and domestic, actually)...
breathe and anchor to what you know.
you have a choice.
choose to sit and spin (throw a childlike fit) wondering "maybe" and "what if"
anchor to the things you do know and make progress in those areas.
choose to places that will provide opportunities for victory or choose to feel repeatedly defeated.
I remember that I am not the center of things, nor do I want to be.
so, set others up well, and get out of the way.

so after a time of inner fit throwing, I have moved to the place of loosening my grip.  it is amazing how every time I even let go of one finger hold, the Lord shows up to help me breathe a bit easier.
it is exercise to relax.
at least it is for me, at times.
and I wonder why He called me to live in a sleepy mountain time for awhile.  haha!
silly kiddo am I.
I was telling a friend today how I feel like two thousand and twelve has so far been a year of the Lord sweetly patting my head while chuckling easily, saying "oh, kymmy.  my sweet kiddo..."
(all my family and many of my close friends call me kymmy.)
He is not laughing at me.  he is lovingly putting his arm around me, pulling me in close, and in just those few words and slight chuckle expressing how in control He is of things in my life, and how much He longs to surprise me with "more than I can ask or imagine".
it makes me smile, shake my head, and return the chuckle.  "I know", I reply.  "thank you."

hope your weekend is lovely!
(the picture?  a favourite spot at the place where I get to work.  eager for this stream to begin to flow soon as the weather begins to warm.)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

a mews.
when I lived in england, I loved wandering about and dreaming of living one day on a mews.  centuries ago, these cobble-stoned streets which are now filled with cottages and flats, were service streets on the backside of people's homes for entry into their stables.  their horses had residence here alongside their carriages which were, of course, their form of transport.
it has already been repeatedly established in earlier musings, that I have a deep affection for cobble-stoned pathways and streets.  so, it can not be a surprise that I hold this longing to live on a cozy mews someday.
as I looked up the proper history of the mews, I found myself smiling at a memory from when I was younger...
my aunt and uncle have lived in the dallas area for the whole of my life.  when I was growing up, most of our vacations were spent in their company in what I believed to be the "big city".  I remember telling my mom and dad over and over that when I grew up I would live in dallas.  vivid memories dance in my head of trips to the west end to see fudge being made before my eyes, loads of buildings filled with character, and more people than I was accustomed to hustling to and fro.  I was drawn in by all the things to see and absorb in such a place.   my aunt charlotte and uncle jeff, who played host to us and called home this fantastical world of which I am speaking, also always had food in their fridge I had seen in no other house.  they had stories of travel and adventures in places I had never imagined getting to visit.
their house was a fabulous, safe window into the world beyond.  I always felt at home, and being with them is still one of my absolute dearest and most favoured settings.

my aunt and uncle met while they were both spending time overseas.  my aunt charlotte was doing mission work with the journeyman program, and my uncle jeff was in the military.  

is life not so interesting?  as a kid in my adventures to the exotic city of dallas (ha!), had I any idea that I would be travelling to spots beyond my own country?  that I would have the opportunity to taste some of those "different" foods from their fridge in the countries from whence they came?  that for a few days I would wander around the south of france with this aunt (along with another of my aunts and my mom) eating french bread, olives, and cheese taking in the quaint scenery where she and my uncle jeff once lived?
no way.  no way I could have known.

why did I start this story about my aunt and uncle in the metropolis of dallas, tx, and how does it have a thing to do with the mews with which I am so enraptured?
oh, yes.  I have it.
another of the novelties of life in a city such as dallas that for some reason I noticed and questioned my dad incessantly about was that of the secret network of alleyways that wound in and amidst the backside of houses in my aunt and uncle's neighbourhood.  I loved how they seemed like secret passages to places unknown.  
when I think back now, I chuckle at my childlike wonder at something so ordinary that literally only allowed people to get to their garages and put their rubbish out on the curb where it did not have to sit on the front path as an eyesore for all to see.
yet again, could I have predicted that one day I would be able to connect childlike fascination of alleyways and deep devotion of mews?  nope.

as I think of dozens and dozens of mews that are hidden amidst the main streets I frequented in my home city abroad, I do see them as lovely hidden pathways that add to the cozy factor and quaint history of the city.  a city can so often be thought of as a concrete jungle filled with impersonal high-storied structures full of anonymity and coldness.  and, yes, that is certainly a piece of the structure of any urban area.
however, if you look closely enough, oftentimes in the cities I have grown to love, you can find a bit of cozy amidst all the concrete.  I believe this is one of the reasons I absolutely adore a city such as london or a new fave, boston.  we visited charleston, s.c. this past autumn, and it held much of this intersection, as well.  old and new combine to allow for character and convenience.
ahhh...lovely.  thanks to the designers of historical cities for retaining the old while advancing toward the new.  aesthetic is important to this girl to engage the heart in the midst of such practicality and systematic leanings of the head.  surroundings definitely have an effect.

as the days pass, I continue to be blessed, humbled, comforted, and touched by how we do not become entirely different people in our affections, preferences, and tendencies.  I feel like we simply (and profoundly) have those desires and likings fanned, expanded, and revealed.
for me, it brings to life Scriptures that speak of each of us being knit together and being known down to each hair on our heads.  (psalm 139.13; matthew 10.30)  we were created on and with purpose.
how personal is our God.  

sadly, I could not find a brilliant photo of this favourite mews of mine called elgin mews south, but I wanted to show you at least a glimpse of a secret alley pathway I walked past so often in london.
this mews sits very near maida vale tube station on randolph road, just around the corner from where my dear friend, claire, lived.  (if you remember, I lived for a bit with claire's family.)
ok, enough reminiscing and daydreaming for now.

I hope your current aesthetic provides an environment of cozy character this week.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

what I love about this photo? 
mugs which can hold coffee or tea. 
stacks of books that have or have not been read, as I have many a stack such as this around my abode.  these particular mugs have been doodled upon with a porcelain pen that I am now in a quest for purchasing. 
I have little artistic ability in the way of drawing.  my brother is naturally gifted in this area and many others. as I like to create with words, I have often desired to add some visuals alongside.
I can doodle, though.
also I have a bit of a mug addiction.  (I think I get it from my mom.)
some days when I need something new and am trying not to spend dosh, I pop down to our local thrift store and buy a "new" mug for 50 cents.  delight. 
so, this kind of art above makes me happy as it personalizes these coffee containers and is abstract.
I got a postcard in the mail from my friend, abby, this morning when I arrived at work. 
her words... "I miss fighting with you over the best coffee mug." 
just made me happy and led me to this simple post. 
simple is good.  life is complicated.  small joys are key. 
drink a hot cup of coffee in a fun mug today.  it just might increase the size of your smile. 
I am toasting you from colorado, I assure you.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

last year during the season of Lent, a podcast I listen to used this graphic.
I saved it, as it reminds me of what this season is about and what to expect in a way, I suppose.
these past few months have been a bit chaotic in my immediate world of work and life, which quite frankly bleed into one another more often than not.
in some way, this above visual reminds me to not expect all to be easy, light, or understandable.
 it reminds me that this world is broken, and that we are being pruned and refined.
 it reminds me that I am ok and that I know Who wins.

it also reminds me of the curtain being torn giving us open access to conversation and connection with the Lord where it was not allowed prior to that friday.
(mark. 15.38.)
it reminds me that Jesus gets matter what "it"is in each of our worlds.
He gets it.  (hebrews 4.15)

my friend, jesse, posted a beautiful song this weekend on her blog.
 I, too, love the words, and how it paints a picture of how deep the love of Christ is for us.
(click here...)  beautiful scandalous night.

another song pops into my head...

how deep the Father's love for us,
how vast beyond all measure
that He should give His only Son
to make a wretch His treasure

how great the pain of searing loss,
the Father turns His face away
as wounds with mar he chosen One
bring many sons to glory

behold the Man upon a cross,
my sin upon His shoulders
ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
call out among the scoffers

it was my sin that held Him there,
until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
no gifts, no power, no wisdom 
but I will boast in Jesus Christ
his death and resurrection

why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
but this I know with all my heart
his wounds have paid my ransom.
{stuart townend}

thanks be to Jesus.

and then, tomorrow, after what quite literally must have been the longest weekend ever...
on that sunday...
He kept His promise.  (matthew 28.6)  
so, I think it appropriate to maybe sing a song such as this...
my word, this makes me joyful.  I love a choir.  goodness!

oh happy day! (one more...) oh happy day...aretha.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

many of my friends who live both abroad and domestically are here for the next week or so.  greece.
they are a part of the annual spring break service project that I was a part of for three years when I lived in london.  international school kids all gather for young life camp to serve for a week. 
the Lord literally boggles my brain with how small the world is.  boggles.
many of my friends from here, yes, buena vista, co, are there right now preparing to welcome those international kids to "the best week of their lives".  in my wildest imaginings, I would not have been able to predict that dear friends on international staff would now be sharing experiences with my bueni friends. 
what?!  if you need evidence of how BIG the Lord is and at the same time incredibly INTIMATE,
there you go. 

my role this time around is to be a sender.  I am honoured and blessed to be still a part of this team, just in a different role.  honoured and blessed.  thankful.  I cannot wait to hear story after story upon their return.
today, I found my friend, ben's, blog as he is chronicling their journey.  my word, he is funny! 
I think you  might enjoy... 1.
as you read, say a prayer for them, if you think about it.  a big piece of my heart is with them... 

Monday, 2 April 2012

the more days that I live, the more often I find myself in situations and conversations where words fail.
words lead me at times to a place of "fix-it".  people (myself included) need/desire more of a presence than a would-be "solution" so often.
what a difficulty to allow for space for the Spirit to do His work.
wow.  so difficult.

one of the places where I constantly feel "met" is in a loss of words.  as I love to sort out, analyse, and explain, when my head and heart cease to find a description, narrative, or conclusion, I move toward silent support.  I think the Lord may be most pleased when I choose this path...
to simply love through presence and fewer words like "I know." or "I am here for you."

I feel like when I get to the end of my understanding, I am more prone to simplify.
I am more apt to move toward acting on the what I DO know in the midst of all else I do not...
love is always a good choice.
so, the Lord leads me to a place of asking not for understanding of the situation so much as for a tangible way to express love to those involved.
funny how asking this second question frees my mind and heart, leading me nearer to peace...
"love never fails..."  (one corinthians 13.8).