Sunday, May 31, 2009

An Anchor for the Soul

Hope. Can we live without it? Sure, we can breathe, eat and sleep without it. But can we live?

I was walking in the proverbial ditch, down there with the mud, rocks, and thistles. Everything looked bleak...for several days. I had let circumstances get to me -- circumstances I couldn't control -- and turned into a worry-warthog. Pretty.

Enough was enough. I needed something more solid than the news or a favorite song or my most recent thoughts. Let me share what I found:

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not bcause of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according the hope of eternal life." Titus 3.4-7

"Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love, that He may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine." Psalm 33.18-19

"But with You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope; ...O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities."
Psalm 130.4, 5, 7, 8
{emphasis added}

My favorite of all:

"So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." Hebrews 6.17-20

There is such refreshment in actually believing the words of God. My sieve brain may not always remember it, but my soul is anchored to a sure and steadfast hope. Jesus Christ, our only hope. Victorious. Certain. Accomplished.

Much too High a Price

Your love endured the cross
Despising all the shame
That afternoon when midnight fell
Your suffering cleared my name
And that sin-swept hill became
The open door to paradise
The cost was great yet you paid the price

You paid much too high a price for me
In tears and blood and pain
To have my soul just stirred at times
Yet never truly changed
You deserve a fiery love
That won't ignore your sacrifice
Because you paid much too high a price

You grace inspires my heart
To rise above the sin
Of all the earthly vanity
That seeks to draw me in
Then to tell a jaded world of love
That truly saved a life
A love that paid
Much too high a price

lyrics by Larnelle Harris

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Leave, Moth

There's an ugly moth in my room. It won't get out, and my ceiling is too high to reach him. So I'm getting out instead.

The dirty scoundrel.

Friday, May 29, 2009


You'll never believe it, but the speech wasn't as bad as I thought! It was almost fun...

The greatest coincidence of all was that I met the president of Pikes Peak Toastmasters (the public speaking group). I've secretly been debating the idea of joining the group for several weeks and recently decided it'd be a great idea. The president, Barry, is hilarious -- not intimidating -- and I can see how I'd actually look forward to the weekly meetings. Something strange is happening...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Little Engine that Could

I stumbled across this abandoned blog called "White Walls"... decided it was missing a writer.

This card arrived in the mail today, completely unexpected:

...which was so ironic, because just this morning I was telling Mom how much I loved that quote. My dad, the stop-at-nothing successful businessman, loves this idea and repeats it regularly. "Remember, everything that's worth something takes hard work." I agree. And it hits me in the face every morning when I wake up to a new challenge.

Here's a version of one of my favorite children's stories:

A little railroad engine was employed about a station yard for such work as it was built for, pulling a few cars on and off the switches. One morning it was waiting for the next call when a long train of freight-cars asked a large engine in the roundhouse to take it over the hill "I can't; that is too much a pull for me," said the great engine built for hard work. Then the train asked another engine, and another, only to hear excuses and be refused. In desperation, the train asked the little switch engine to draw it up the grade and down on the other side. "I think I can," puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."

As it neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, "I--think--I--can, I--think--I--can." It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, "I thought I could, I thought I could."

Did you know you can make a habit out of doing hard things? You can make a habit out of using fears to your advantage, too. I'm not there yet, but I have a secret: everyone has fears. every. single. person. Some people are better at fooling you. Or they've learned to use their fears as a runway instead of as a brick wall.

"They say the best way out is through." -- The Fray

Let's be honest here. I'm terrified -- yes, mortified -- of public speaking. I get up to introduce myself at a business group (even in Sunday school this happens), and ten minutes before and after my 12-second speech my thrashing heart can be physically seen from across the room. That is, if you can get past my face that looks startlingly more like a tomato than a face.

---- I was invited to a BNI lunch group that meets tomorrow. I was told I would only be introducing myself briefly and observing the group.

Sooo, what do you think I found in my inbox tonight? A sly request-that-was-really-an-assignment to sub in for a chiropractor that can't make it but is scheduled to give a speech. "Would you be willing to sub for our chiropractor? He is sending me a speech for you to present if that's alright? I will cover your lunch. Thanks." Can't back out of that, can you?

Truth. A speech! I'm only a child!!!! But I'm going to do it. Time to spread my wings...and fly.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dr. H

I met a lifelong optimist tonight, a rarity in the world of psychologists. Dr. H was in the next seat over at the Colorado Springs Entrepreneurs group, and he took immediate interest in the work I do as an organizer. In his 18 years of psychology, he has worked with over 5,000 children who struggle with ADD, autism, or some other form of mental handicap. 5,000!

Organization starts on the inside, in the mind and heart, not on a desk or inside a closet. Dr. H understood this and connected it with these kids. Apparently one of their biggest challenges to overcome is a severely disorganized mind. Being ADD himself, he could only help them so far and was thrilled at the thought of an organizer being able to reach them and equip them with what they need to push through their setbacks.

Talk about opening a can of worms. This could be an entire life's work! Whether it's the right niche for me is yet to be determined, but it certainly tugged on my heartstrings. Growing up with my mysterious, challenged sister has exposed me to a tiny piece of that world, and making a difference requires compassionate people who I'm convinced must be angels in disguise.

Time for a big cup of tea and a prayer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


An ice-cold thought snuck up on me the other day while I was reading blogs. "What if life passes me by and I'm just sitting at my computer? And that's my life? That's what I have to show for it! All the blood, sweat, and tears...none of that, only calloused fingers and glazed eyes." I had a moment of silence, followed by panic, and resolved that life ought never be defined by a screen -- any screen -- lest you gamers and sitcom-addicts think you're off the hook.

This thought escalated when I read what Adam Gopnik wrote in Paris to the Moon -- "We love Paris not out of 'nostalgia' but because we love the look of light on things, as opposed to the look of light from things, the world reduced to images radiating from screens." I was suddenly seeing everything through tunnel vision and made an immediate decision that I would no longer default to the Mac. Life is too beautiful for it.

An interesting life requires intentionality, or at the very least an adventurous spirit. Adventure almost certainly is not found sitting at a screen (correct me if I'm wrong). I think we/I sometimes use distractions (screens) to avoid facing up to the real stuff of life. We all have our trenches, our places we feel safe and escape to. Escaping isn't wrong, but timing is everything. Everything. Think about all we're missing out on when our heads are buried! Yikes -- shivers down the spine.

I'm obviously not condoning a screen-free life. That means this fun would be over. But like an old joke, we've gotta know when enough is enough.

p.s. 40 hours a week of screen-staring lulled me into a daze that I couldn't snap out of...even when I left the office. I no longer have a 9 to 5. Praises.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Home-made Brunch

This year, in honor of the starving economy, we celebrated Mom in-house. Jonny made the main course -- a Ginger Steak Salad. I made the Rosemary-Garlic Sweet Potato Fries and the Appetizer -- sausage, artichoke heart, sun-dried tomato, roasted red pepper and a basil leaf (all on a skewer!). Emiline made a delectable creme brulee. I'd like to meet the genius who made a match out of coffee and dessert...he must be hiding other great ideas up his sleeve.

I confess, it's far more engaging to put yourself on the line when you're trying to tell someone they're important to you. I liked cooking at home more than I've liked a fancy Mother's Day brunch! We all agreed it was one of our best ever. Grandma and Grandpa came over too.

Here are the lovelies:

My mom is on the left -- we get asked if we're sisters. Does that mean I look 50 or she looks 20?

My food pictures flopped (I told you -- photography is weak), so I'll only show this one:

I admire my mother -- and all women -- who have borne children. When my four great aunts + grandmother gather 'round I hear tales that make the whole thing seem that much more nightmarish. Egh.

I can't seem to muster up anything sappy or heartfelt at the present. It's midnight and my brain is fuzz. So much for my romantic weekend of posts about mom. I do wish you all could know her. She's an absolute delight.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother Dearest

This weekend's posts will be dedicated to mothers. No words could ever say exactly how we feel about our mothers, but this poem is certainly true of my wonderful Ma.

A Mother's Love

There are times when only a Mother's love
Can understand our tears,
Can soothe our disappoints
And calm all of our fears.

There are times when only a Mother's love
Can share the joy we feel
When something we've dreamed about
Quite suddenly is real.

There are times when only a Mother's faith
Can help us on life's way
And inspire in us the confidence
We need from day to day.

For a Mother's heart and a Mother's faith
And a Mother's steadfast love
Were fashioned by the Angels
And sent from God above...

- Author Unknown.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Round-trip to NYC?

Can anyone spare me a round-trip flight to New York for tomorrow morning? It's an emergency...domino (my favorite magazine -- no longer published *sniff*) is having a garage sale of stuff they used in their photo shoots. Too good to be true, right? Here's proof.

This magazine has inspired so many to beautify their spaces and use their homes and offices to tell their stories. The style editors had unfailingly good taste mixed with a slant toward the unconventional. Beautiful.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My childhood Bible

Being back home has led to the occasional rummaging through boxes of childhood belongings. I found my Bible the other day, and laughed out loud when I saw this:

Now I understand my aversion to chick flicks. It all started young.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Not Your Buddy

A friend just sent me an article that addresses an all-too-common problem: the buddy girl. You can read it here. Everything I would say about this is in the article, so all I can do is nod my head in affirmation. Let me know if you agree or disagree!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fire Away, Jerry

I'm in a book club of sorts. Our current selection is "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges. I've become the procrastinating black sheep of the group, but for good reason. So good, in fact, that I'm shocked I'm the only procrastinator out of five. I open the book to our assigned chapter and instead of seeing words I see the barrel of a gun. As soon as I start reading the bullets fire... and Jerry's got good aim.

Every chapter has nearly convinced me to go into hiding, but it was the impatience/irritability chapter that really did me in. I found myself talking to the book.

"Jerry, don't act like you know me. I absolutely have good reasons to get impatient."

Here's what he said: "The actual cause of our impatience lies within our own hearts, in our own attitude of insisting that others around us conform to our expectations."


"The nerve! You don't know the causes of my impatience. Nope, it's not me."

There I was, getting irritated at the irritability chapter. He then went on to clarify what exactly he meant by impatience. "Impatience is a strong sense of annoyance at the (usually) unintentional faults and failures of others." Key problem word: unintentional. What sort of mean-spirited person gets impatient with someone totally innocent? I do.

It's times like these I wish I was on one side of a crowded room while the other I was on the other side. I would pretend I didn't know the other one, the ugh-ly one.

So what do we do when we feel so helplessly insufficient? Quit? Tempting, but hardly satisfying. Our ancient brother Paul wrote this in 2 Corinthians 11: "I will boast of the things that show my weakness." He also wrote these incredible words to the Philippians: "For {Christ's} sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith -- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."

Righteousness never originated with me, so why am I shocked to find filth when Jerry pulls back the curtain? The beautiful Jesus Christ is the one with the solution. He can not only forgive my offense, but he can and will replace it with his righteousness. Okay, there's the strength to carry on.

I'm glaring at the book sitting next to me now, and you're reading live procrastination. Book club is tomorrow, still need to finish my chapters and questions. What a strange thing Christianity is -- we enjoy, yes welcome, severe and difficult changes to our nature. But thank God it's not in vain. The purest beauty and freedom are what we get in exchange. We get Jesus Christ Himself! I'd say that's a pretty good trade. Alright, I'll go read.