On and Off

There are some days, when the lyrics to a Relient K song paint me so well;

“On and off, the clouds have fought for control over the sky;
And lately, the weather has been so bipolar, and consequently so have I.”

There is not one sunny day lately, that isn’t eventually clouded over with rain. I went for a walk. Or attempted to, rather. Halfway down the block, the scheming breeze pulled at my sweater, and I clasped my hand over my collar to keep it out. The ominous clouds approaching from the south choked out the sun, and I soon lost all desire to walk the 30 minutes to Starbucks; instead, promptly turning on my heel back towards home.
So I sit here and dream of somewhere warmer; somewhere with real seasons, real spring and summer, real sunshine, and of course a really nice lake to dip into.
I try to be happy and grateful for whatever I have; for whatever circumstances life brings me to and through.
But sometimes, I just get so darn restless. I long for change. Change that I can see; that I can mold and make happen. Change that I can control.
I have so much freedom, but seem to know not how to retrieve it.  I have a life full of potential and possibilities, but I know not how to unleash it. I have community, but know not how to open up to it and appreciate it.
I have an abundance of blessings,
yet they lay trumped by my self-pitying party.

And yet, through the dark grey clouds, the sun still shines.
And it will set. Then rise again.
No matter how dark and rainy the days may get.

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Dear Spring, Don’t be Shy!

I guess I’ve been  a little uninspired lately. At least, in regards to writing. It has been a painfully long winter – as if Spring gathered up all her paint and coloring supplies, took one look at the dirty, dusty canvas that is currently this city, and hopped on the next bus to B.C. instead.
I can’t say I blame her. Sometimes I’m tempted to do the same.
After months of snow and snow, and snow and cold, sometimes I can’t help but feel a little flutter of something new – a little surge of excitement – when the sun finally, and graciously, shines its lovely face upon the land. I think of gardens, and flowers; walks and parks and holidays; I feel the ember of creativity within me glow brighter. I just want to grab a brush and paint the town!

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Today, it was a balmy +8 degrees Celsius. ( Yes, EIGHT) I could hardly contain the Spring within me. I wore a floral print dress to church; I painted  a sunrise, layering color after color – blue, purple, pink, orange, yellow, white! I went for a two-hour walk, snapping photos of my surroundings, while juggling mittens and a café vanilla frappuccino.
I looked to the trees and the water for signs of Spring. But not wanting to be discouraged by its still-lacking presence, I soon turned to architecture, admiring the bricks and stones and windows that made these houses some of the nicest in this city. I suppose I may have been a little bit of a neighborhood creeper, as I took photos of houses in a neighborhood I certainly didn’t belong to.  But I just love to look.

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Sometimes, I want to grab the sun and shine it in all areas of my life. Make my perspective brighter, the future brighter, relationships brighter. To rid myself of the browns and greys that have had me down, and saturate my world with colors and light.
I am grateful that with Christ, we can do exactly that. And then, pay it forward and brighten other lives. 🙂

 

Autumn; My Season of Reflection

I woke up this morning feeling…
Well…
Certainly not ‘glad’.
In fact, I was in quite the conflict with my body, as my abdomen throbbed, my head pounded, my nose ran, and my skin became ultra sensitive to every touch.
At least the sore throat is gone’, I thought to myself. But this did nothing to ease my other discomforts. I then became down and out about a couple other realizations;
1) This was the one weekend in which my husband had both Saturday and Sunday off; a rarity we won’t see again till school lets out around May; And
2) The Church BBQ kick off was today. Again, one of the few gatherings we could have gone to together this year, because our schedules actually worked out!
I shoved these bleak balloons from my mind, and then proceeded to procrastinate about waking up.
7:30…
10…
11…
Then I lazily dragged myself to the shower.
And over 20 minutes later, somehow more lazily, dragged myself back out.
And perhaps at this point, you might be thinking ‘ Good grief already! So you’re sick! It happens!‘ And at this point, I wouldn’t blame you for labelling me as a whiner, and moving onward to a more interesting read.
But I’m getting there.
After a day of laziness, French toast, Facebook perusing, ice cream, and more computer puttering, I was done. I looked over at my husband fast asleep on the couch ( Oh, to have that ability!), then I looked down at my journal with its bleak and unintelligent ramblings. And I thought to myself, ‘I gotta get out of this house.’
So I awkwardly wiggled into a pair of jeans, tossed my cellphone and camera into my purse, told my groggy husband I was going out for a bit, and then I was off.
I set forth on a long, curvy, paved pathway; Across the street, over a bridge, under a bridge, to the shiny metal door of Booster Juice, nearly an hour later. (Thank goodness it was open!)
P1050372editWhat I like most about walks, is the amount of (mostly) undisturbed thinking time. The fresh air seems to help clear my foggy mind. So I contemplated life. Life right now, not just the future. I thanked God for the sunshine and fresh air; for the luxury of free time in which I could unwind.
Sipping my drink, I thought about creation. And how I ought to surround myself with it more often. I think maybe that’s what helps to refresh the soul. Creation, trees, birds singing, green grass, fresh air… Perhaps creation stirs within us, a desire to create. Inspires us.
P1050375editI thought about how I had spent my day – on the recliner with my laptop – and how certainly wise men and philosophers did not come to the conclusions they did, in regards to life, while in such a state. I think they had to have been outside, or at least near nature; Looking to the stars, the birds of the air, the trees, the sands of the shore, etc.
I contemplated other things too; like, personality. That, perhaps I am not as introverted as I had always believed myself to be…
However, that’s a post for another day.

What boosts your spirit when you’re having a blah day?

Blessings and Lessons

In recently becoming aware of my joy in writing, I was asked if I would consider writing a piece for our church’s monthly newsletter called “The Chronicle”, highlighting a few things we, as Young Adults, have been studying and learning these past few weeks. Of course, I happily agreed to this, and here is what I came up with!

Blessings and Lessons: My Young Adult Journey So Far

I’ve been blessed and challenged throughout the past few years, while attending the Young Adults group.  The past year – now going onto year two – my husband and I have had the pleasure of hosting the group at our home. Besides the occasional frantic cleanup before 7pm, ( How did the girl on ‘Big Comfy Couch’ do this in 10 seconds??) we really enjoy being able to serve in this way. Bake some goodies, meet new people, but best of all, have a time of prayer and fellowship.
Anyone who has attended Church of Christ more than – say, twice – would have perhaps noticed some emphasis on ‘kingdom-first living’; A way of living that I had thought about previously in its general concept, but never at any length until recent years, when I finally heard it put in to words.
Kingdom-first living? What does that look like? How do I know I’m on the right path?
And as I asked big questions, I expected to find big answers.
This past summer, I felt I was ready to do something bigger. Something grande. Maybe I could change lives! I started praying and seeking out new opportunities to serve.  I don’t know why I suddenly felt I was the judge on what was “more important” or “bigger” when it came to serving, but after a few months, I started to see that I was thinking about it all wrong. The things I thought I should be diving into and trying out, were not necessarily areas in which God had gifted me.
The young adults group has played an important role in my walk with Christ. It reminds me that kingdom-first living is a daily process, and really comes to a blossom, out of the little seeds we sow each day. Each week, I feel encouraged and challenged to continue seeking and growing.
We have already in these past few weeks, covered quite the range of subjects in such a short time. I will attempt to give a quick summary of each week thus far!

Week 1: ‘Top reasons why Young Adults leave the Church’. Though we came up with quite a list; from relevance, to judgement, to lack of scripture knowledge, etc; the top reason – to my surprise – was that the church was viewed as too overprotective. A Barna group survey said that many Young adults’ experiences of Christianity felt stifling. In the survey, about 23% expressed that “Christians demonize everything outside the church”; another 22% felt that “church (ignores) the problems of the real world”.
Young adult or not; would you agree or disagree?

Week 2: ‘So many religions, can they all be right?’ We watched a short DVD clip, where several young people shared a little bit about what they believed in. The young man leading the discussion, ( Unfortunately I cannot recall his name) pointed out some similarities, but also differences that directly contradicted each other. For example, how one belief may claim there to be no God; another, many gods; and still another, only One true God. I was reminded how important it is to really know what exactly it is we believe in, but to also take a little time to understand other religions. Perhaps so that, when we speak truth, it does not come across as arrogant or close-minded.

Week 3: ‘Whose name do you wear?’ This was a time of study and prayer. Anxious? Stressed? Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Week 4: ‘Simply Enough’; we watched a DVD discussion between Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne. Are we living the life Jesus wants us to live?
Tony brought up 1 John 3:16-18 ~
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” ( NIV)

I was challenged by this topic. I am a penny-pincher. I have trouble spending money, and am not ashamed to use coupons at the grocery store. But I have come to notice that such habits have also influenced how I give. I am capable of being so much more generous than I am, and hopefully will learn this in time. I am grateful for a husband who has a naturally generous heart. Perhaps I can learn from him!
On the last sunday of October, ( After some heavy snowfall postponed our original plan for a service night) we took some time for prayer and worship. I think it is in these moments I become most aware of God’s presence. It is in these moments, my heart becomes light and vulnerable. There is one verse that pops up repeatedly in my head, from the song “Jesus all for Jesus”;
“All of my / ambitions, hopes and plans… I surrender these / into your hands…”
Do I?
Do You?
As I continue on this walk, I look forward to learning more about who God is, and how he might use this Young Adults group to bless my husband and I, as well our fellow group attendees.~


Time for a walk

I want to write another blog, but what should it be about?
The strikes, the victims, or a political log; or the teapot, short and stout?
Don’t want it to be boring, or come off as overly critical.
Don’t want to vent, or rant or rave, or paint me as hypocritical.
I could write about love and beauty, and dear things that warm a soul;
Or I could write embellished tales, like sleeping in the New Year’s cold.
But the sun is warm and bright, and in its rays I wish to lie,
If only for just 5 minutes, this stuffy nose would remain dry!
The lilies bloom, the birds are chirping; how I want to join such splendor!
Wispy clouds roll lazily, in a blue sky I’ll soon be  under.
From nothing, to God’s creation, this blog poem has evolved.
That’s it, I cannot sit idly by, I want to be involved!
To smell the lilacs, touch the trees, taste the berries so wild;
Forget I’m sick, and appreciate the blessing of being God’s child.