Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Things That Are Impossible...

The other day I let some circumstances in my life totally bum me out. Then it hit me: I serve the God of the impossible. Of course things are going to look like garbage when I'm focused on the floor - it's when I lift my eyes to His face that I see the potential for success in my life! The thought gave me peace and humbled me. It was humbling because I hadn't even been seeking His provision, I hadn't chosen to lay my burden on Him and trust His direction. And yet He chose to nudge me anyway and remind me gently that He's in control. O, how He loves us! Of course things are going to look like big scary blank walls to us. They ARE impossible to climb on our own. "And He said, 'The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.'" -Luke 18:27

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I wrote this poem in college several years ago. It was featured in Kudzu, a collection of literary works written by students in the Kentucky Community and Technical College system. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Red ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Life surges along/ Beating a path up and down through my veins/ A bleeding, ripped-open wound/ Alerts me to life, and life is/ Dripping from its damaged lip/ Life is red, and blue sometimes/ Surging in rivulets out of pain/ A crimson blur of glistening jewels/ Is life/ To some the sight/ Of life brings a light head/ And cold, clammy hands/ Comforted by The Red Cross nurse/ Who will gladly/ Pierce you, piercing the glowing skin/ To touch the rivers of life inside/ And draw from them/ A bit of cardinal-colored dew/ An ounce of raw life that is eagerly awaited/ By another pulse, thirsty and parched for life/ Glad to drink deeply of your heart’s pride and joy/ Life is red, and fluid/ And flowed out/ From two feet and/ Two hands/ And a hole in the side/ Of a Man. Life/ Poured from his body onto my heart/ Life/ Sometimes painful, horrifying/ But always/ Inconceivably beautiful

Monday, February 22, 2010


Yesterday was such a lovely Spring-like day! After church I was out and about for a little while and couldn't help walking through the sunshine with a smile on my face. I stopped in the local Hallmark store (love that place). I think the Spring weather (combined with my weakness for greeting cards and all things stationary) urged me to splurge a little on some cards to send out to friends. I only spent about six dollars; those of you who know the prices of those things can attest to the fact that I did amazingly well! I successfully reigned myself in even while looking over the new selection of really, really cute stationary sets. *sigh*. I'll save those for another day!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Challenge, Day 30: I Made It!

As I wrap up this blogging journey, I'm trying to think of something really profound to say about it. It's not happening! I'd like to try to blog more often than previously (pre-challenge), though perhaps not every day. As each blogging day came to a close, inspiration sometimes hid her face and frustration over "perfection at first keystroke" syndrome struck now and then. My favorite posts were those that sprung rather spontaneously from my brain, like a few of the poems. But truly, it was more fun than anything else. I hope I grew and I'm sure it was beneficial to be writing every day. I did miss two days out of the 30. One from sheer forgetfulness and the other from a cram-packed schedule. But 28 days is pretty good I think. And it's not like it has to end. I may do another post tomorrow, and the next day, and the next! The horizon is broad and the keyboard is ready. Bring it on.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Challenge: Day 29

Send me please/ To life's highest beauty/ To love and to happiness/ To unmatchable glory/ Send me please/ I want to be cloudless/ To soar the blue skies/ Fasten stars to the dusk/ Send me please/ To bliss and to floating/ On seas of high dreams/ And winks of moon's lighting/ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sweep me away/ To past my own dreams/ To live in a heaven/ Exceeding air castles/ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Whisk me above/ Beyond, Outside and Over/ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Send me please

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Challenge, Day 28: Harping on That Again

Pre-editing your thoughts can really stunt your writing. In the initial stages of a writing piece I will often try to get the information from my brain and into words and make it sound like a polished, finished piece as soon as it hits my word processor screen. It does not work like that! Trying for perfection at the first crack results in frustration and an incomplete piece of writing. Think about it. When you do a jigsaw puzzle, you don't pull the pieces out in sequence, fitting each new one to the last one until you've got the finished puzzle. Nor do you dump them out all at once and expect them to miraculously find their mates and assemble themselves. No, you have to dump all the pieces out first in one messy pile. Then you spread them out, turn them over, pick them up, put them down, pick them up again and try to find the place where each belongs. With writing, you won't write half of what you meant to if you don't let all your ideas tumble out onto the page first - you might be missing some key pieces if you don't empty the box (your brain!) before you start the final assembly. It probably won't come out pretty as a whole, but dump out a big pan of gravel first. Later you can pick through and find the nuggets worth polishing. There's plenty of time for editing later. Initially do not try to make it sound finished, just write it exactly as you think it as each thought pops into your head. Let it out, and you'll have much more to work with!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Challenge, Day 27: Flashing Back

Today I parted the curtains at my employer's house (I nanny, in case you missed the memo :-) and got a look straight across into the neighbor's window. Well OK, I just got to see about 6 inches into the room through the window. I saw what looked like an antique wood table, an antique lamp, and an antique wood chair against a darkened room. The lamp was ugly. The whole window view seemed somber, cold, uninviting, dusty, boring, and lifeless. I looked at another window in the house and saw some unattractive curtains barring the room, which cemented my opinion that the neighbors need a home design makeover. The antiqueish room flashed me back to when I was ten and traipsed through dusty, musty, disorganized rooms of antique stores with relatives. In truth those "stores" were basically an old house or series of rooms filled with old things. Some of which was interesting, some of which was downright boring and dusty and just EVERYWHERE. Those places were so full of STUFF it was almost claustrophobic-feeling. The strange thing is, I don't remember feeling a strong dislike for the stores when I was in them, yet the trigger to the memory (the room through the next-door window) put a bad taste in my mouth. I don't think I could abide living there. I'd have to change it. Partly it's because I despise living spaces that show no evidence of being lived in. And partly it's because certain styles of decorating just bug me, whether subtly or overtly. Some styles I don't care for but can live with, some styles irritate me at the very sight. This is one of those styles. Don't ask me why because I don't know. Do you ever feel that way? And it's not like I hate antiques or a decorating style that keeps with a bygone time. I've seen very well done decorating which keeps with the age of a house and incorporates antiques and a particular period's look (case in point: my employer's home), but it does so without feeling stuffy, uninviting, or un-lived in. I know: "let it go Beck, just let it go..." *Deep breath*. OK I think I can move on now. ;-) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I know this is random and pretty much useless information. But I'm privileged: this is my blog and I get to write what I want! :-) Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Challenge, Day 26: Afternoon in the Snow

Afternoon In The Snow --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ice is floating pushed by wind/ In my eyes, on my eyelashes/ In my boots/ Deep and sandy drifted crests/ By the road where the it's dirty/ Following the muted tracks/ Just like dimples in the blue shadows/ Beating heart/ Fingers still warm/ Firm boot stamps/ And inside again.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Challenge, Day 25

I missed yesterday because I had a packed day! It's OK though, because it was a good day. On Friday night I hung out with my sweet friends Abby and Crystal. Slept in on Saturday (yesterday) and then headed straight out to Middletown (Louisville area) for some shopping. I ended up only getting one of a list of things I needed, but I got to share the trip with another friend which made it fun anyway. After our errands were finished it was straight to Mary (my errand friend)'s house to help her prep for another friend's birthday party. A little while spent in prep, a dash home for some church clothes (the party was a good old fashioned sleep-over!), and back into the action at Mary's house. We spent a really fun evening hanging out, laughing, and eating pizza and ice cream. Up bright and early this morning for french toast, then off to church! After such a full (but fun) Saturday, I was happy to nestle down into my little living room for some relaxation. Now that you know the story, do forgive me for my lapse in daily posts - I did think of it and was hoping to catch a few minutes for a hasty post...but alas, not a minute to spare! This evening is our church's Old Testament Bible study, very interesting so far. And then tomorrow - is Monday already! What a quick weekend it was!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Challenge, Day 24

I'm reminded that Satan is always ready. One after the other, he hurls bundles of things at us that must be dealt with. I must keep at the feet of Jesus if I hope to be spared! I've come to have a little bit of thankfulness for the hard things that come up in my life. It's during those hard times that I am pressed for wisdom and peace, and come to my heavenly Father for "...grace to help in time of need." (Heb 4:14). Sweet fellowship can spring up from spending time with Jesus through the rocky places, but I don't want to let that fellowship fade or lose value when the storm abates. I need Him all the time - for every breath. My creator, who knows every detail of my existence! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Psalm 139:13-18 Please read the whole chapter when you get a moment :-)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Challenge, Day 23: Better Than This Morning

My afternoon, that is. I thought I would treat myself to sleeping in since I had gotten up at normal times two days in a row (normal for most people, but not for a night owl like myself). My body didn't like that so well. Even though I stayed up till it was today before I went to bed, sleeping until nearly 11am was too much. When I woke up there was a little black rain cloud instantly over my head, ready to give a steady drizzle for the rest of the day. A steady drizzle is not so bad, you say? I'd prefer a flash and storm, and then clear skies. Little did I know that they were coming! After quite a not motivated morning filled with little pleading prayers for a brighter outlook, I got myself ready and headed to work. After a brief bit of grumbling, the day turned out fantastic. I was able to get more than usual done in just the right amount of time. It might not seem like a big deal, but it was to me. While I was working I began to sing "God is good, all the time - He put a song of praise in this heart of mine!" which is just what I was feeling. Thank you God for being present even in the little things.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Challenge, Day 22: Eh, Whatever...

Brutal honesty: I don't even care about today's post. I'm hungry, tired, cranky. But that'll pass, and thankfully I have a stock of things previously written saved on my handy jump drive. So here's to Spring... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Clasped in two small white hands, a frog/ With imperial bearing - captive/ Not hopeless/ A pair of legs dangle below/ He in reposing readiness/ Keeps a hold on the hands that hold him/ If by chance he sees the way/ The better to wrest his freedom --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Um, I thought I didn't care about today's post, but apparently I do as I could not resist tweaking the poem here and there...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Challenge, Day 21: Again, Snow

When the alarm went off this morning at 7am, it might as well have been 4am. I was pulled out of a sound sleep and had to struggle (after three pushes of the snooze button) to grasp full consciousness and get my day started. A peek out the window showed what I expected: a fluffy snow accumulating on the yard. I had an appointment to have my hair cut at 9am, but I knew it would probably end up being canceled, and thus I had a dilemma. Do the responsible thing and continue on with a shower and breakfast, thus shaking off the remnants of cozy sleep? Or creep back into the still-warm blankets and drift off to delicious oblivion? I chose responsible since I hadn't gotten a call to cancel yet. I got a call to cancel later. Oh well. The snow is lovely and since it has been in the 30's I assume it's perfectly pack-able and full of potential. I need snow pants!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Challenge, Day 20: venting and musing

I just finished filling out one of those annoying long forms. You know the type - you begin with simple information like your name and address and you think "this will be quick and easy, I know all this stuff", and then things start to get hairy. It asks for the telephone number of your employer from eight years ago, the one that moved twelve times, changed its name twice, and then went bankrupt. Then it wants to know the exact date you began to shave your armpits, your father's uncle's social security number, how many kittens the family cat had in the last litter and the eye color of each, and a whole bunch of other questions that require you to spring up from your seat every five minutes in search of some new particle of information on some obscure piece of paper tucked into some forgotten filing cabinet in your closet. You caught me: I'm exaggerating. But isn't that how it feels sometimes? Instead of sitting down, concentrating, and banging it out, one silly form turns into 45 minutes that you could have spent doing something useful, or wasteful, or just something ELSE! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So, how was your day? Actually, long boring form aside, I had a great day! I got up and got to work out which always makes me feel good. I also had a productive and very low-stress afternoon at work. I'm blessed by my good Father in heaven! He has answered so many little prayers sent up each day. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On a completely different vein, is anyone else out there a fan of audiobooks? I love them! I've got several loaded on my mp3 player right now, including: "Agnes Grey" (Anne Bronte), "Sense and Sensibility" (Jane Austen), "An Old-Fashioned Girl" (Louisa M. Alcott), and "Persuasion" (Jane Austen). Of those I'd say "Persuasion" and "An Old-Fashioned Girl" are my two favorites.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 19: Santa Fe, Part 2

***This is the continuation of part one which I posted quite a while ago. It makes more sense if you read the two in sequence. I have been sporadically chronicling the trip a friend and I took to Colorado/New Mexico back in October of last year. I hope you enjoy my reminiscences.*** ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On to Chama! This is the town we made a pit stop in, filling up the gas tank and poking our heads into the visitor’s center for some more enlightenment about what to expect in Santa Fe. I snapped a couple photos of a tourist trap across the street from the gas station called “Curtis and Kathryn Green’s Blacksmithing and Chain Saw Art”. Close to Santa Fe, the scenery changed again. Small houses and buildings were dotted about, surrounded by low trees and scrubby bushes. Some areas were shabby. I wondered what it would be like to try to make a life in the area. Was poverty a generational blight? Despite those sober thoughts, I couldn’t help the anticipation of seeing Santa Fe, and passing through places with names like Tierra Amarilla, Abiquiu (pronounced by locals as “aa-bik-ay”), and Santa Cruz set the mood. I wish I had taken pictures of the outskirts of New Mexico. We took a highway, on each side of which there was a density of trees carpeting low hills, with buildings nestled among them. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Santa Fe – tan, orange, butter, azure, white wisps, green, red, turquoise, silver, silver, silver, silver! Santa Fe was unforgettable. It was a little hard to navigate for us newbies. Reminded me of a town near where I grew up, filled with tourists and one-way streets. I’m sure the locals navigate with ease, but I was overwhelmed. We pulled into a gravel lot and were greeted at once by a security guard with a thick accent. We thought perhaps New York mixed with New Orleans. He was very cordial and concerned for our correct navigation. He and Mary conversed for at least ten minutes. At one point he commented to her, “You look tired, ma-dahm.” I kept teasing Mary about her gregariousness because she can strike up a conversation with anyone (according to her, they do some of the striking, and she merely offers conversation in return). Imagine a burly Jordanian shop owner leaning over a glass case filled with silver jewelry as he tells you about the culture and customs of his family. Get the idea? At any rate, the courteous security guard gave us directions to where we should park, and warned us about the high level of spiritual activity that is visible in Santa Fe. People who had seen human sacrifices had walked through this town in the old days, he told us. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- After a minor pit stop to change drivers (I like to be in the driver’s seat in some situations…Mary was a trooper to put up with me when I turned bossy) we finally landed a parking spot and set off on foot. We were in a tourist Mecca – the old town of Santa Fe. The buildings were adobe with thick wooden beams, some with vines creeping up. There were chapels and missions, restaurants, and stores everywhere. And people – EVERYWHERE! Outdoor vendors were underfoot in every place we went, and stores and restaurants lined the streets. We were hemmed in, with an endless ceiling of bright blue sky. We browsed until everything started looking alike. Silver and turquoise were star and prominent in every glance we took. Mary must have worn her millionaire’s outfit that day because one shop employee was all set to haggle with her over a multi-thousand dollar turquoise vase. We made several purchases at a market in a small park. Sellers had tables and racks loaded with sterling, turquoise, wood, and beadwork. We lingered especially long at one silver-seller. The man was friendly and helpful, and ended up giving us directions to the San Miguel. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We got off the streets and paid $3 each to visit the “Miraculous Staircase” at the Loretto Chapel. The story is that a group of nuns needed a staircase to get to the choir loft (chapels at that time didn’t need the stairs because monks, who could navigate ladders up to the loft, were the primary occupants). A German carpenter showed up one day and with only a few tools he constructs a beautiful spiral staircase – sans a center support column! It was used and revered, and now stands with a plaque before it and ribbons cutting off access. Speakers were rigged so that visitors crowding through the sanctuary could listen to the history of the chapel told between selections of solemn music. For me that cheapened the whole effect; was this a church or a side show? No one was allowed out they way they came in. The only way to get out was to walk through a gift shop. A gift shop. At last we emptied out onto a cobble sidewalk and there, under the shelter of a beamed overhang, were Native American jewelry-sellers. A blanket spread across the cobble was covered with rows of beautiful jewelry. Behind the blanket was an old woman and two middle aged ladies. The old woman communicated more by smiles and nods than speaking, and the group seemed genuinely pleased to be there. I did not resent them as I did the Loretto gift shop. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Later we got to see the San Miguel Mission, the oldest mission in the United States. Now that was something like! I don’t know if they don’t allow organized tourism at all, or if we were just after hours, but no one was lining up to pay 3 bucks to get into that place. No one was paying much attention to it at all, actually, which made me like it all the more. It was on a corner lot at least 3 feet higher than the sidewalk, with a small courtyard in front and a semi-circle of benches. The mission was swathed in red clay. A sparse white cross rose from the modest bell tower into the azure sky. A lone woman sat on one of the benches, ignoring us, paging through a notebook and looking delightfully mundane. It was nearing the end of the day, and the sky was strikingly blue. Mary got some gorgeous shots there. We ventured down and shady walkway between the San Miguel and an impressive two-story modern building, wandering into a parking area. We were searching for the “oldest house” by following an ambiguous sign propped against the San Miguel’s fence, but did not find it. Behind the parking lot we did find a large butter-yellow building that reminded me of the yellow, vine-clad building from the Madeleine Stories. It was out of place to me, but I accepted it in stride; this was Santa Fe after all, and I was learning that in Santa Fe being unconventional is not a crime. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We tried to do Santa Fe in 6 or 7 hours, when we should have given it a full couple of days to really get into the nooks and crannies. When the day wrapped up and the sun began subtly to drop into the distant mountains, we ate dinner in a little hometown pizza joint called the Upper Crust (which happened to be next door to the San Miguel Mission). This was the real deal – you could tell the locals loved the place, and the employees were real guys. We sat on the gray wood front porch, and I could hear the kitchen guys talking about hockey through the open kitchen door. I peered across the street down a perfect little side street lined with modest homes and green plants, looking as though it basked in the calm of the evening. It was the kind of street I live on in my dreams. The sun dipped lower and we got a little chilly, and I was anxious to get going back to Pagosa before full-on dark set in. It was beautiful. This was no Rodeo Drive; I can’t put my finger on it, but people just seemed more easy-going, more ready to accept you no matter your walk of life, appearance, or beliefs. As I left I carried more than just a street map and a bag of sterling silver; I took with me the riches of an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Challenge, Day 18

I pray that this becomes my reality as Jesus works to rid me of my foolish pride... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Instead of feeling I’ve been hurt/ I’ll keep on just as planned/ And pray that love from Christ Himself/ Will stay my vengeful hand/ And flow out of my quaking heart/ That, had it not been rent/ Would likely not have let love out/ Without this new-made vent!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Challenge, Day 17: Walmart

I went to Walmart after work today...along with every else from town. Actually to be fair, while it was somewhat crowded, it wasn't obnoxiously so and checkout was actually fast! I thought I might have to stand in line behind a guy with a neon yellow jacket for a little while, but thankfully the line right beside us opened up and I whipped through in record time. I'm thankful for little blessings like that! Walmart (or rather, Super Walmart) often overwhelms me because they have so many different types of things. I can buy yogurt, socks, an mp3 player, and hand lotion all in the same place. While this is very convenient, it is also intimidating! I've gone into Walmart and entered "duhhhh" mode - having a loose list of things I need to buy, and constantly having to think "what else did I need?". I have to make sure I already have a clear idea of what I need to buy, rather than having to constantly think, "what else have I been needing that I could get while I'm here?" There's so much power, and so much risk! Power, because I can potentially buy all the miscellaneous things that have been accumulating on my "need" list, and risk, because I could overspend if I don't shop with sagacity. Do I over think this? What is your Walmart experience?-------------------------------------------------------------------------- I will also praise God for a good day at work - everything went smoothly, and I had several prayers answered. Thank you Lord!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Challenge, Day 16: I for-GOT yesterday's!

How could I forget? Did I really forget? I thought I did it, or am I thinking of Tuesday's post? No, no, no! This can't be true! I can't believe I forgot! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Moving on..... ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Last night I got eight hours of sleep. I have figured out that that is the amount my body runs best on. So why am I dragging right now? My eyes are droopy, and I either want to slug down a cup of black coffee, or go back to my bed and curl up in the deliciously warm cocoon of my down blanket and drift off. I had better not think too hard about the latter option. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What will today be like? I was wondering that (actually I was worrying :-() last night at church during worship time. And then the song leader began singing, "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone..." What a spot-on song for me at that moment! Of course God holds my tomorrows in His hands, and He goes before me through my days. I am thankful because these days God is gently teaching me about His care. I'm learning to love Him first and best, and realizing (not just "knowing", but really getting it) that when I live to please Him, He is pleased to be my champion and be ever there as my rescuer and the lifter of my head. What has He been showing you recently?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Challenge, Day 15 (half-way there!): Impetus Within

Every day the feeling comes/ That I’ve got unfinished business/ I’m waiting on my circumstances/ Till then I’ll stand, just listless/ Hey now!/ Something’s not quite right/ It’s supposed to be within:/ My impetus, my victorious fight:/ Indwelling Christ - I win!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Challenge, Day 14: Spur-of-the-Moment Poem

"My friend"---------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The keyboard/ (My friend)/ Docilely receives my heart/ Rhythmically buffeted/ To the tune of my thoughts