Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mmmm... Bliss.

"Clambering up the Cold Mountain path,

The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist-blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there's been no rain
The pine sings, but there's no wind.
Who can leap the world's ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?"


Friday, December 24, 2010


 I like taking an idea - a single, small idea - and stretching and testing it until its wings spread far enough to soar on its own.  I think our Lord loves the same thing.  I have been thinking lately about how very artful He is.  We praise painters for their landscapes.  We honor artists for their work, but what kind of art is anything more than a cheap imitation of the Lord's handiwork?  As Logan and I drove home to a Nashville sunset over the rolling hills the other night, we considered the fact that no one looks at a Monet or a Picasso and says, "I bet they spilled the paint and came up with this."  Of course, if I said this to an art buff or a kindergardener, they would look at me like I was missing a head.  Why, then, isn't it crazy to think that this Earth - the inspiration for our creativity - was an accident, sheer coincidence, the mere spilling of paint?  I'm not one for apologetics... but the idea of considering God's masterpiece a mistake makes me squirm.
I believe that the Lord has some very difficult jobs: watching His loved ones reject Him and hurt themselves, giving Love even when no one wants it, mending the wounds that evil inflicts, etc.  But He also gets to handcraft the snowflakes.  He paints the sunsets.  He walks on waves and runs with clouds, and He looks at His Beloved with pride and joy as Jesus places His righteousness on our brokenness.

Merry, Merry Christmas to you all.  I pray that you are more aware than ever of His Love and Holiness this year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Good friends & good coffee.

I'm currently sitting at Cuppies and Joe with my best friend, Kara.
People, trust me on this, everyone needs a friend like her.
Recently one of my good friends returned from a semester abroad on our PacRim program which travels to China, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. (I am planning and hoping to take this trip next fall (: ). He asked me what my favorite part about my semester has been. I could honestly answer, for the first time in my life, that my favorite part has been my friends. They are too wonderful. I am filled with so much JOY when I'm around them!  For me, it is very uncommon that someone comes along who I never get tired of.  Kara, though, is one such uncommon friend. She is one of the most gentle, loving, selfless spirits I've ever met, and I thank God for her on a regular basis.
Here's one of my favorite pictures of she and I:
Just kidding here's one for real....
Of course we have coffee. We always do. Here's an equally (ok... maybe a bit more) cute picture of her and her wonderful boyfriend, Jacob. 
To you, this may be creepy. It may even be creepy to Kara. I just love her and I'm proud to be her friend! Here's to good friends and good coffee. I leave you with a little poetry by none other than Han-shan (yes, Logan, he's Chinese). 
High, high from the summit of the peak,
Whatever way I look, no limit in sight!
No one knows I am sitting here alone.
A solitary moon shines in the cold spring.
Here in the spring--this is not the moon.
The moon is where it always is--in the sky above.
And though I sing this one little song,
In the song there is no Zen.

Ok, just for the heck of it, some Rumi, too.
What I most want 
is to spring out of this personality,
then to sit apart from that leaping.
I've lived too long where I can be reached. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Mmmm.. who doesn't love Christmas?
I want to share with you a story about a woman I met at a vintage store in OKC. Props to AliRae for introducing me to the store and its awesomeness. If you know Ali (or if you don't), you should check out her blog here. She's great.
So, last week Ali told me about a wonderful little vintage boutique called
Bohemian Spirit Vintage - clothing, costuming & homewares in Oklahoma City, OK, photo #1Bohemian Spirit Vintage. Bohemian Spirit Vintage - clothing, costuming & homewares in Oklahoma City, OK, photo #3
It is ADORABLE and affordable. She has stuff from every time period and practically every region of the world! I got a precious red hat for $12. :)
Anyways. So, while I was shopping around, I overheard her explaining her Jesus statue to a little girl who came in with her mom. The little girl asked, "Is that Jesus or God?" The shop owner explained that we can't see or know what God looks like, and she gave the example of Moses coming down from the mountain. She asked the girl's mother if she was a Christian, and the mother replied that she was agnostic. The shop owner, feeling no right to tell the little girl that she was right and her mother was wrong, explained to the girl that some people worship Jesus, some worship Buddha, some Mohammed, and some no one at all. She told her that she loved Jesus very much, and He was her way. (I'm not looking for any discussions about pluralism.. it's just a part of the story).
When we were checking out, I told the owner that I also loved Jesus very much, and that I thought her explanation of Him was wonderful. Well, we ended up talking for just short of 30 minutes about her store and why the Lord called her to own a vintage shop. She said that her shop would be a lighthouse for people. Somehow, we started talking about Christmas, and she said one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. I don't think I'll ever forget it. She said, "We have ruined Christmas, you guys. What is Christmas? It is a celebration of Jesus' birth. It's His birthday. Shouldn't we give to Jesus on His birthday? How do we give to Jesus? He said that whatever we have done for the least of these, we have done for Him. THAT is Christmas, girls. We've made it something horrible."
As tears welled in my eyes, I thanked her. And while I didn't tell her this, I knew that Jesus was using her to be a lighthouse for the people in Oklahoma City. She even said herself that something as little as owning a vintage shop seems insignificant to most. But she blessed me, and centered me, and showed me the Love of our Saviour.
I pray that the true Christmas Spirit will be with you, this season.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pride and Prejudice III - Loving until it hurts.

I have been reading a lot of Mother Teresa lately... If you are looking for someone to challenge your way of life and show you how to live out the Love of Jesus step by step, she is your woman.
Here are a few excerpts from a book based on her teachings, Where There is Love, There is God:

"All the suffering and humiliations and the pain is but the kiss of Jesus--a sign that you have come so close to Jesus on the cross that He can kiss you. So my child, do not be afraid. His Love to be true has to hurt and therefore you being in love with Jesus--His Love in you must hurt."

"Because the greater the love we have for Christ, the more we have to pay for it. The payment is sometimes big humiliations. When that humiliation comes, accept it and offer it, never hold on to it. Accept it and offer it."

"Help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go."

"To offer Him our free will, our reason, our whole life in pure faith, so that He may think His thoughts in our minds, do His work through our hands, and love with our hearts."

I'm sure I'll be back with more from her. What a pure vessel of Christ.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pride and Prejudice II

"And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. 
And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die." -Rev. 12

I'm taking a class right now called "Quest for Meaning: Christ and the Good Life." 
Christ and the Good Life. What does that even mean? 
In class, we were critiquing the all too popular view of Jesus as sweet, innocent, pitiful man holding a sheep and playing with puppies (alright... so I haven't seen too many portrayals of Jesus with puppies, but you get the picture). Our teacher then brought up the title of the class... do we really believe that a life with Jesus is "the good life"? One of my fellow classmates said, "How do we define good?" 
I have been considering this for a while. The Lord, while He works all things together for His good, does not call us to have the "good life." 
I realize this is a little scattered, so stick with me. 
I have found myself clinging to the world lately. I love my life, I love my friends, I love my family (I love my hair, I LOVE MY WHOLE HOUSE!), and I just simply love this world. For a while, I felt pretty guilty about that. I kept telling myself "Self... don't get too attached to this world. Your spirit is not of this world, and it's not your home!" I get particularly attached to the world around Christmastime. It really is the most wonderful time of the year and I have found myself becoming so in love with it. At one point in time, I was asking myself why I could love something that is so commercial, materialistic, and quite often, very selfish. This is what the Lord told me: "The message of Christmas is Mine. All good and perfect gifts come from Me, so when you love things about this life, if your heart is after my heart, they are often small indicators of My ever-present Love and my infusion in this world." At the same time, I know that I cannot love my life so much that I am unwilling to give it up. 
I don't believe that everyone is called to die for the cause of Christ. I do believe that we are all called to be willing to. And sometimes, that means that we are called to be willing to give up the materialism of our life. We are called to surrender our "right" to "the good life."
I'm still processing the concept of suffering in Christ and His followers, past and present. So there is likely more to come on that subject. But what greater pride is there? That we would be so wrapped up in our own lives that we are unwilling to surrender, to sacrifice. 

Merry Christmas.