Monday, October 31, 2011

To Autumn!!

It is not the summer heat that makes me feel frustrated with living in the valley of the sun, but the lack of a Rochester fall. A beautiful season with all my favorite colors and smells and we find ourselves debating whether we want to drive 2 or 4 hours to get to it. The farther we go it seems the more of a season it becomes with the number of colored trees matching the hours you spend driving. But I suppose the pros of home outweigh the cons and even the day trips to find pumpkins satisfy the longing of an officialized change in season. So really, I can't complain. Certainly not this year :)
Our adventure began with the decision to drive 2 hours to obtain view of a pumpkin patch :). I felt like my 8 year old self again, unable to choose just one pumpkin when they all looked like its purpose in life was to grace your front door and resemble the season we fight to obtain. It was the disney store all over again, only instead of homeless depressed Eeyore's lining the shelves it was funny looking pumpkins lining the patch (It's those darn pixar movies).  
Well so the weather was gorgeous and the orange speckling the desert dirt was a welcomed sight with the horizon lined with giant cottonwoods (are those cottonwoods?). Perfect spot for my mind to continue in its recent epiphony of letting God out of my tiny comfort box ("All cosmic power! Itty bitty living space"). It's good to have Him out of there and with me as we strolled past each pumpkin, marveling at its unique character. I really did enjoy all that that single day offered and the opportunity to accept His grace that covers all my mistakes, even the mistake of my attempt to shrink Him into a confined space.
I don't know how He does it but somehow, when you are seeking His best, He makes sure you don't miss it.

I only left this pumpkin because Leslie said it had plenty of friends.

On a side note:
I went to Walmart the other day to find contributions to my halloween costume and tried on some failures. Point is I was in the dressing room. As I was putting my pants back on (the same pair I had worn the previous day) I noticed a sock all rolled up lying on the floor, confused because I had worn that sock the previous day and came to Walmart in flip flops. 
Somehow that sucker had hitchhiked a ride all over town with me and decided to reveal itself at Walmart, like it was soooo hilariously clever. Thank you, considerate sock, for keeping your revealed location to an audience of one. Because of that, I was certainly able to enjoy your practical joke. 

itouch sucks for pictures... but those are my pumpkins :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Isn't it a wonder...

(I found this old entry of a few months in my computer journal and took comfort from past comfort. I hope it does the same for you)

"The Peter Pan syndrome is an interesting and potent one (as Jamie will attest to). No matter how many times I marvel at God's ability to give me more of a childlike joy than when I was an actual child, I still cannot pass an eve of my birthday without panicking ovver the situation of "growing up" and moving farther away from the years of adolesence. Each eve is a night to sit in view of the night sky and ask God for courage to brave the next year and all its discomforts, growing pains, change, seperation and estrangements. But the Lord knows me well. And instead of shaking His finger at me to dismiss my illusion of paradise of innocence in age, He speaks to that very part of me that is confused and ends up using that syndrome to show me how much of a real adventure it is to grow up. So as I sat in my usual birthday eve spot (on Toby's bed, bothering her :) ) I looked out at the stars on this clear winter night, 23 February 4ths later from when I first came into their view, and recalled the thoughts that I shared with God the night before when listening to John Williams.
Creation is an unbelievably fascinating and epic thing and each bit reflects something of God's fascinating character in a mind blowing and uncanny way. Because it is, I often wonder that if creation is so closely connected to God, and we are sharers in Christ's inheritance, then don't we also have a connection with that creation? Stewards, but also heirs. This song brought a thought to mind in relation about how God uses His creation as an avenue for His love.

I don't think we can see all the gestures He makes for us in love, and I can only imagine how many there are. What if there really was a star in the sky for me? One that had my name and story written all over it and put in the sky to shine out as a symbol of hope and true love from my own Creator. Wouldn't it be like Him to make such a gesture for every soul that He created whether we knew of its existance or not? If He sent His son for us then how tiny of a task would it be for Him to create a single star in the sky, lit for you? And if this would be true (for there are more than enough stars to go around) how many other gestures and gifts have I not seen, simply because I am too caught up in my own little world of boring dismay? The Lord knows. Oh, He knows. It's a fanciful thought, but one that allows me to see that even when I push my imagination about God it doesn't even come close to all that He does and how who He is is closer and dearer to my heart's existance than I could ever imagine.

I wasn't looking at the year of 23 as a very hopeful, promising or enticing one for everything in the last 3 months had changed my pending plans to a completely new and unfamiliar road (welcome to adulthood I suppose). Now, with my old plans no longer welcome, and my every day life at His complete mercy, I would expect this year to be one of true surprise."

Pleaides (my favorite)

Psalm 42:5

Fulfill Thy Will
Amy Carmichael

O my soul, why art thou vexed
And disquited in me?
Why cast down and sore perplexed,
Goest thou so heavily?
Hath the Lord thy God forgot?
Can it be He careth not?

Nay, He careth. Clouds of sadness
Quick dissolve in gracious rain.
God of all my joy and gladness,
I will tune my harp again:
I will sing Thy love long tried,
And Thy comforts multiplied.

I have proved the heavenly treasure
Sustenance in desert land;
I have tasted of the pleasure
Stored for us at Thy right hand.
Now right joyously I praise
Thee, the Succor of my days

Surely peace, like some fair river,
Reacheth even unto me;
And my leaf need never wither
For my root is hid in Thee
Ever let Thy love fulfill
In me, Lord, Thy welcome will.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dear Jesus,
I'd like to go soon.
Love, me.

One day, dear India, I will get my feet on your soil and my skin into your air. Perhaps very soon, perhaps not soon enough. Either way you can bet that my day dreams are frequently adventuring your streets, hills, jungles and shores (along with an accompanied and conveniently placed bollywood fan for those bollywood moments) alone with my God, hanging on His every word, but until then... Be patient with me. For I cannot wait until that moment I, from there, will write home and say, "Nothing could prepare you for this place in all its ancient complexities." All I'm waiting for is the way He's prepared.

It is so frustrating that we have such a propensity for fickleness. Not even a week ago I gladly and happily told my Lord that "Whatever is Your timing, I have no problem. I feel I have all the patience in the world. I could go now and I could go in 10 years. It's up to You." 
Then just TWO days later, "I really want to go now. Now? How about now?" Like a kid who was happy to just get on the train to get there but is suddenly overwhelmed with impatience at not having reached its destination. It just keeps going along the tracks at a nice easy pace.
Well when you're overwhelmed with a desire you often beg God to either satisfy it or take it away because its torture tends to be unbearable. But He is too good for He satisfies it with Himself.
In a moment of desperation I lamented that Amy Carmichael was not alive because I felt that writing to her and hearing her direct encouragement to my direct problem was the only thing that would help. In a way it was. Because God who works outside the limits of time, inspired her to write a piece of encouragement during her life that fell on that night's reading and into my empty hands.
Here is what it said.


"His thoughts said, 'The time of preparation for service is longer than I had imagined it would be, and this kind of preparation is difficult to understand.'

His Father said, 'Think of the quarry whence came the stone for My house in Jerusalem.'"


"His thoughts said, 'I wonder why these special tools are used?'

His Father said, 'The house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither; so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building.
'If thou knewest the disappointment it is to the builders when the stone cannot be used for the house, because it was not made ready before it was brought thither... then, if thou knewest My purpose for thee, thou wouldst welcome any tool, if only it prepared thee quietly and perfectly to fit into thy place in the house.'"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Love me, Love my dog."


She exists in the realm of eternity (like a Tolkien character) and knowing her, you'll know she allows you to be whoever you are. It doesn't matter. She'll stick by you because your likes, dislikes, pet peeves, annoying habits, lack of volume control or lack of words doesn't matter to her. She's just a dog, and she's here to love and be loved.

I thought that this semester of being confined in a room for hours and days with my mind emersed in homework would make this the most boring and lonely of semesters in a long time (accellerated classes are more time consuming than you expect). How would I find the motivation to study? My world would become "stuck" in monotony and seclusion when I really needed help to socialize and expand my little world. Here it would shrink. Things would just have to suffer for a while.
Turns out God doesn't bring you into a place without providing everything you need. You just have to be open to it.
Now Toby isn't a new blessing. She's always been my best friend (5th grade through college). But I guess God used her specifically, among other constant blessings, as a vessel these past 8 weeks to keep me more sane and content than I have been in a long time. Was it Toby? No, it was God. But that's why it worked. I needed a confidence boost and I needed simplicity and I got just that. Here was a predator sent to look out for my safety and prove that even though she could probably eat me, she was going to submit to the fact that I invade her personal bubble, give her baths, clip her nails and leave her outside longer than she'd like. Her choice and character to love reminded me of what a gift she is. I'm glad she doesn't mind that I can go days without saying a word and then days of constant talking (especially when I haven't left the house for half of the week).  I'm even happier that she has no idea what I'm saying because then I'm not paranoid about filtering. She's not going to tell anyone or get the wrong idea because she has no idea herself. But she is the best listener and she is concerned. Bad days? She sits right at my feet. Happy days? She is ready to share them. No guilt or expectancy between us. Just friendship.

She really is sunshine (with that golden blonde coat, no wonder! :)). I couldn't have asked for a better companion to vent my homework frustration on, work through thought processes with, make confessions to and most importantly, gab about H20: Just Add Water and Downton Abbey to. She couldn't care less. But she'll look at me anyways from her rudely awakened slumber as I tell her all about Branson and Sybil. I guess it's the little things.
I honestly think that Toby would have been the better candidate to share Christ's selfless and unfailing love to the world, goodness knows she has shared it with me. It is no wonder dogs are called man's best friend, and so it is no wonder that I have learned a lot from her selflessness.
She is, after all, only a dog, and she can't replace human companionship, but her simple faithful friendship has shown me more of Christ's love than I can explain. Isn't it amazing how God uses the simplest and most obedient of creatures to teach the most eternal concepts?
God knows how I love her and the comfort she engulfs of steadfast and constant simplicity. I wouldn't trade this semester for anything.