Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hear My Prayer

There is so much on my mind right now. Part of it has never been this happy and encouraged, and the other portion is stuck in the reality that bad things happen to the most undeserving people. My friend’s baby went to be with the Lord this past week. She has Lupus as well and others and I have been praying for her as she was placed on bed rest early in the pregnancy. I don’t try to rationalize these events. They are too deep, too real, and honestly one of those things that the human language cannot do justice to express. Every entry and verbalization to honor these angels is a mere fraction of the emotion and response carried in the heart.

God gave me a gift of articulating passion, but every possible combination of terminology does not come close to the reality of loosing someone you love and believe in. This leads into the truth of how much faith is required daily. Some resort to explain a “peace that surpasses all understanding” as a worldly phenomenon of one comforting the heart with false hope and imaginary reassurance. To these people I ask, with the understanding of genuine pain, how is it possible to keep going? When all you have, including your health is taken away, what is there left to live for? To have peace when adversity threatens is unnatural, yet possible. Not overnight, not in a week, but somewhere between yelling at a God, who most certainly can take it, and falling on your knees in surrender, God slips His hand on your shoulder and begins to nudge the heart. Day after day, confront Him. Even if there is nothing to say but, “How could this be? How could You do this to me? Why, Lord? Why?” This pretty much testifies my habitual prayer for over a year. But I never stopped because had I to know. If it took everything I had and I died trying, at least I was trying and nothing could stop me.

Several days ago, I watched Forrest Gump. Not too many people would contribute this movie to an awakening theological notion, but as I was drifting in and out of sleep the movie came to the part of Lt. Dan at sea. Forrest in Vietnam unwillingly rescued him after a bomb exploded crippling Dan permanently. Now in a wheel chair he blames Forrest for not allowing him to fulfill his destiny of dying in battle. Gump and Dan execute a promise made to Bubba that shrimping would be accomplished. Taking “Jenny” to sea they are caught in a violent Hurricane. Lt. Dan is thrilled with furious excitement. He situates himself at the top of the pole and yells brutally as he is windblown and rained on. He shouts to God, “Bring it on! Is that all you can do? Smite me if You can!” He laughs crazily and continues to confront the Almighty.

Some may be uncomfortable with this type of argument. How dare one talk to God this way? But I tell you the truth, He rather have us talk and work out our disappointments than turn away and ignore Him. The heart always tells the truth. Someway or another, it will come out…it always does and God wants us to come to Him and ask why, and keep probing. Many faithful people cried to God and asked Him, “Why have you forgotten me?” Inquiring these profound circumstances bring knowledge and wisdom. And, if you have nothing to loose, why not go towards God with your questions than turn away and give Satan any glory.

After the storm subsides, Lt. Dan realizes God did meet him and slowly he recognizes he is alive for a reason. Things never go as we plan, but maybe somehow, someday if we allow it to, it can be better. God is not going to corner us and make us seek Him, He meets us halfway and it is our choice to allow Him to comfort us, even when it makes no sense.

Great lessons have been learned over these past two years. One of which is, some things are better left unexplained. Faith comes into play when words are unable to validate. I have given up on the word “fair” all together. I will never use this word unless I explain this concept. Life is not meant to be “fair.” The more time worrying and thinking about this, the more time wasted. My heart is sad today thinking of my friend and her family. But I’d like to propose a truth that does not console a mother’s heartache yet still offers accuracy, that the truth entirely not yet revealed is heaven is actual, the streets are gold and the sunshine radiates peace and joy to all. My daughter is there playing in the gardens with Jesus. Just beacuse we don't know exactly how it will be, does not mean anything. Just like we don't see air, we know it is there and we will die without it. So it is with heaven, with eternal life, it is there and we would be lost without it.

There is a longing inside us. It may be shoved deep down, but it is there almost impossible to notice. But for those who desire to see, close your eyes, listen real attentively and you will hear it. It is the sound of laughter, giggles, and footsteps of children playing.

My heart prays for you my friend today. It may not be much consolation, but I love you and I join with you in beseeching the Lord to give you a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Do Not Worry

God has shown me miracles this week. It may not be a burning bush, but it has caught my eye and I am completely humbled and changed. I always think of this passage throughout my week and meditate on the truth it holds. How much time we spend worrying about things we cannot change devastates me. I want to live in the freedom and peace that things may not always be easy, but there is something and someone who gives me comfort. Praise You God!

"For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -(Matthew 6:25-34)

Rooster Big

There are many wild and poisonous animals to fear here in the Lonestar state. Some of the most dreaded are the scorpion, snake, and spider. I have a saying that goes, “the bigger the insect the louder the scream.” It is used quiet often (but don’t worry not in my house!). Some bugs, I believe on a theologically explored level, are just not meant to be discovered. Let’s travel back in time to Noah. Imagine with me this old man about to board his boat with all the creatures gathering and coming “two by two.” Here it is my altered version:

Genesis 6
Vs: 19
You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every king of scorpion. The black ones, the tan ones, and the red ones. All must have pointy stingers and scary looking claws. Vs: 20 Two of ever kind of snake. Two of every Rattlesnake, Diamond back, Copperhead, Cottonmouth, Cobra, and Viper. Bring two of every species of deadly spider. Two of every black widow and brown recluse.

No, thankfully whenever we see visual expressions of Noah and the Ark, bunnies, cows, and giraffe’s float happily around the boat instead of these unwanted death traps! What child wants to see these pests in a book before they go to bed? Talk about nightmares! I once read a website that explained that, “these insects are often misunderstood.” Misunderstood! What is to not understand…you are the size of my thumb and can kill me! Sorry, you’re no friend of mine…I’m out of here!

All of this acts as an introduction to my saga. I went to the park with Gracey and felt a distinct eeriness as I got out of my car. What a premonition! We were near the duck pond and my experiences with these birds are mostly positive and inspiring so I begin to walk towards the crowd of white feathers and yellow beaks. Gracey chawennie’s about soaking in the sunlight and fresh air. I watch her run around a tree and that’s when I spot it. It was huge, two-legged and running around aimlessly looking for something to attack. I panicked and ran looking back often to see if it was following. It was…no way! Gracey climbed higher now officially blocking my vision. I have never been scared by a rooster before, but this thing was the mother of all roosters (although they’re men). It must have weighed at least 50 pounds, no lie! I got into my car and started to drive away, but had to go by the rooster. The thing was not happy I was leaving, he had a plan and I was destroying it. Maybe he was being brought to the slaughterhouse, ran away, and began his attack on the human race starting with me! It was most certainly possessed. I went by slowly as it advanced into the middle of the road nearly blocking my only exit. It ran forward, I’d hit the brake, then it would go back, I’d hit the gas, and this act alone infuriated Roster Big. Finally I saw there was only one solution. I closed my eyes, pressed the gas, and heard a big crunch sound. I couldn’t believe it! Did I just run him over? No, whoops, just a coke can.

Looking back in my rearview mirror, I saw Rooster Big untouched still in the middle of the road raging and ranting. I continued out of the park and saw another car pass me heading towards Rooster Big. I thought briefly if I should warn them, but decided to not look back. After all “out of sight, out of mind” right?
So, yes I have seen scorpions, snakes, and spiders, but one of the most terrifying experiences thus far would have to be the meeting of Rooster Big, great uncle and kin of Chicken Little. Good with mashed potatoes and some green beans. And definitely a cold Dr. Pepper.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Roses As Seen by IBG

My favorite color rose is yellow. I don’t care really for society’s romantic color red, peach, or even my all time favorite color of the rainbow, pink. Something about a crisp yellow rose smelling sweet enough to eat, instantly gives me joy. I know there is a universal standard code for colors and rose, but I have made up my own. I mean, why do we have to listen to one person and make this the common system of ethics for roses? Not one person’s opinion should take precedence over another’s. So here is mine.

These colors are given according to their corresponding situation:

Yellow: “I love you”
Pink: “I care about you and wish you peace and comfort”
White: “Couldn’t think of what color to get, so got white” a.k.a: a cop out
Peach: “Hope you have a happy day”
Red: “I did something really wrong, I’m a jerk and want to say sorry”

Now, to stop here would be too simple to render a blog. Us woman know these are not the only color roses available. Just like all good things, roses are even better mixed and with personality. There are several worth mentioning here.

Red with twirls of White: “I love you, but don’t know if you love me”
White with twirls of Red: “You love me, but I want to be friends, so stop bugging me”
Peachy-Yellow: (v. creative by the way!) Innocent love expecting nothing in return
Dyed colors (ex. black, purple): Personal motive and intentions based upon character and
personality.

The stem and presentation of roses are vital. One says more than realized with the way the flower appears besides the actual bud and petals. The longer the stem the more romance it conveys. Thorns are good as it captures the genuine roller-coaster ride love brings one on. Too many thorns and leaves, however, are a bad sign triggering the thought “this (the relationship) may be too much right now.”

Besides the actual flower and stem is the carrying method of the message. These are a list of the techniques and their consequent significance:

Bow: Simple and to the point. Not too much and not too little. Bow needs to be tight.
A round bouquet communicates wonder and freedom, loosely adding
surprise to a relationship.
Plastic Wrap with Baby’s Breathe and Bow: Formal suggesting “I understand and
know who you are and want to make you smile.”
Clear Vase: Easy and precise. Says, “I need to keep things where they are and not
proceed any faster.”
Nothing: A simple rose given by hand is an ultimate expression of admiration. It states,
“Hey, I’m in if you’re in, let’s see what we got.”

There are many things communicated through roses. Perhaps unknowingly a man buys a particular shade without the intention of saying what is said. This is understood and accepted. Not every color and appearance of the gift has to be scrutinized and examined. Sometimes, yet rarely, a rose is just a rose.

The last area worthy of notation is the way women communicate with roses. It may be subtle or obvious, but either mode a message is sent. I end with this short, yet significant list.

Communication from Women to Men:

Petals: “Romance” Someone clearly did something right.
Shredded Petals: “Come near me and die” Take this seriously; it could be your last
moments. (*A Tip: A solution to this is NOT to go buy roses.)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Gra...zy?

My mom has an accent. Both her and my father grew up and lived in Budapest Hungary for more than twenty years. Coming to the USA was difficult as the culture, language, and society provided many obstacles to overcome. Being a first generational American gives me great pride and honor as I recollect the sacrifices made for our small family.

During my last trip home in June, all four of us went out the last evening of my stay to an ice cream shop in town. My mom, dad, sister, Gracey, and I waited in line at the outside window trying desperately to figure out which one of the 40 flavors we wanted. Hey, it’s a hard decision! It was a beautifully clear day and as the sun set, a cool craved breeze added to our picture perfect summer night. The line was getting longer by the minute. Mom held Gracey as she sniffed the air filled with sugar! Now everywhere we go, Gracey becomes the center of attention. Sure it could be the cute and adorable outfits, but her personality is beyond a dog, but of a friend. Her petite face with fluffy ears and a waggley tail suggest companionship right away.

The people in back of us had kids. Children especially seem to enjoy Gracey thinking she might be a toy. They asked my mom what the dogs name was. Now imagine with me if you will, a beautiful Hungarian woman with an accent trying to say “Gracey.” She repeated herself over and over as the other mom and kids kept asking “what?” I looked back as I heard my moms voice elevate. “Gracey,” she said again. The other lady with the kids, looked perplexingly at my mom and says, “Her name is Crazy?” I start laughing immediately! It was extremely comical. They actually thought my dogs name was “Crazy.”

After a well needed regrouping, I explained to her the name was “Gracey.” We all laughed. It would be kind of funny though, to name a pet “Crazy.” Here crazy…here boy, good crazy…ok sit crazy! Every now and then when I call Gracey, (try it yourself), you can here the miscommunication especially with an accent of it sounding like “Crazy.” This event will be remembered forever. I picked mint chocolate chip by the way. It was well worth the wait!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rita

Here it comes, another storm threatens the USA and in direct path, Texas. I am in complete awe right now after watching the evening news. My heart aches for those who are stuck in traffic heading north of the coast. Cars, bumper to bumper, are literally running out of gas on the highways. An aerial view of a gas station shows more than one hundred cars waiting for gas. The lines twirl and circle around the parking lot like a bull’s eye.

Abilene is filling up with people. All hotels and motels are full. Salvation Arm is full. Abilene is using classrooms and other areas of such sort to house these families. The only place left right now is lots with hook-ups for people’s trailers.

I guess only time will tell the direction and damage of this hurricane. I have visited Refugio, Victoria, and Port Aransas many times over these last years and pray for safety and that residents will be able to come home after the mandatory evacuation and the hurricane has passed.

My prayer tonight as Rita strengthens or weakens, is for protection, comfort, and peace. I know many people have family and friends who are already affected by this. I join you and thousands of others tonight, waiting and praying.

Inspiration

Most people travel great distances to gain inspiration and motivation for life lessons and teachable points. The Grand Canyon, Eiffel Tower, ancient Egyptian ruins, and Jerusalem name a few. In a heartbeat I would fly to either or all of these locations and simply stare and soak in every visible object. Maybe I would walk a path Jesus did in Galilee. Perhaps I would venture in ghostly channels leading to an underground burial tomb of Kings and Queens living long ago. Sitting on a bench in Paris, people would amuse me for hours and hours simply by walking by and caring on with their day.

It is noble to seek growth and maturity. But it does not require a trip overseas. To me this place of development is a cancer center located off the highway near Abilene Regional Hospital. It is a waiting room filled with people subject and captive to the digression of the body from the mind. It is a waiting room full with bald headed patients who stumble in and out waiting for appointments, radiation, or Chemotherapy. It is an echoed filled space with an aquarium and a round table with a puzzle partially put together by those who know how precious time is. I know I wrote about an incident that took place here before, but I realize it is a place of insight and awakening. It is a place not far as Rome, but just as significant and authentic.

As one comes into the lobby from outside, a transformation occurs. A sense of urgency fills the air. I see the questioning on faces. I see the pain in their eyes. I see hope and passion of others as they wait for those they love. It is a difficult place to be if emotion causes uneasiness. But, it is a place that is necessary. A place that is real and true. A place that is hard to understand and confront. I invite you to sit there with me. Look into people’s hearts. Watch as the Lord comforts those He sees.

Do I need a pilgrimage around the world to find out who I am and deepen my understanding? It certainly sounds nice and would make a difference, but deep down the answer is no. Sometimes all it takes it sitting in a waiting room with people who know and agree that there is more to life than our bodies. There is more to life than pain and sorrow. There is more to life than this. Our bodies will fail. Yours will, mine has. But our minds can stay strong in what we know. When I was dying, literally lying in the ICU, I knew and chose to live even though I would struggle. My hope remains in the promise that the body may wither away, but hope is in the Lord. I understand this now. I don’t enjoy watching people suffer. In fact today at my appointment, I saw a lady in terrible shape. I wanted to hug her and tell her I love her and I do not even know who she is. I know I look young and otherwise healthy, but I do understand the fear and struggle of dying. I was there, no doubt. No questions. Ready and uneasily wondering what my last moments would bring. The truth is, however, if one is not afraid to die, one is not afraid to live. Those who are not afraid to live accomplish and learn amazing things that ultimately give God glory. I decided a long time ago I was not afraid to die or live. I only pray God will see my heart willing to listen, willing to hear, and willing to follow. Not held back by fear of the things I can no longer change or control. I am free in this. Free to live…and free to die.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Surprises

I am one for surprises. You know, the ones you don’t see coming. To surprise me, it is very hard. Almost everything I can remember that was supposed to be a surprise in fact was something I already knew. I am good at recognizing altered actions and decoding certain clues to discover what is going on. All except my sister planning a surprise birthday party for me when I turned 13 (thanks sis!). For that, I truly was caught off guard. Either way, I appreciate being surprised or the desire for one to offer excitement and spontaneity.

In addition to positive surprises there are also uncomfortable ones…like tonight. I was taken aback while visiting a friend of mine. It is probably the third or fourth time we ever talked, but I like her and think despite circumstances of the “event,” we are good buddies. The sun was setting and the air felt cool as we walk along the dirt path. I love when the sun goes down in Texas; beauty is evident in the colors as it shines from horizon to horizon. Romy, looks at me with the sun setting in her eyes and we talk. I know she understands. Then she starts to sniff me and it tickles. She has hair on her nose (shhh…don’t tell her, she may not know yet!). Then completely out of the blue, as she smells my pants…she opens her mouth and she bites me! It was hard and good, enough force that left a colorful bruise. Yes, she did! Completely in awe, I have no idea what to do. I have never been bit by a horse before, but understood this was a four month old who wanted to play and nip like a puppy. The problem was this “puppy” was nearly 200 pounds or more of muscle and wild energy that cannot be contained by me.

Surprise is accomplished. I did not see it coming and would have never thought this beautiful four-month old horse would bite in a playful manner. Kelli looked at me and decided it is a perfect time to announce my initiation of horse handling. I guess only the lucky and talented get bit! Maybe I’ll stick to pretending to be surprised. It’s safer this way! All I can say is my thigh is definitely more colorful than it was before!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Unknowningly Blessful

God uses people who do not even know Him, to bless those He loves.

Do you have to believe in God to be a part of His plan? No. Do you have to acknowledge Christ to be used by the Creator Himself to help someone? No. Do you have to go to church every Sunday and Wednesday and be a part of bible studies and small groups to have God use you and your abilities to aid and bring peace to someone else? No. It does not matter if someone acknowledges God, he could be an atheist for all I care, God can use him or her to fulfill His plans. God used Pharaoh to make His name known through Moses. Many people in the Bible exemplify God’s power through those who did not even know it.

God’s plans are beyond what I can comprehend. For so long I wanted to take things personally, but in the end, when all is said and done, I realize and am completely humbled that it had nothing to do with me. I am in awe God uses people to fulfill His purpose and bring me peace. Sadly it is safe to say; I wish more people would step up sometimes and learn from those who give freely, without condition, without concern and obligation, without expectation and requirements, without pride and the desire to make oneself look good. We can learn great lessons from those who do not do the things we do. One needs not to be caught up in the issues, the logistics, the boundaries and precautions per say, but having empathy and wisdom to be there for each other.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Fighter

I wrote this nearly six years ago on February 16, 2000. I kept a journal specifically for poetry and songs and recently opened it up and several entries completely shocked me. I never knew I contained so much insight back then! After every entry in this Poetry/Song journal, I wrote the circumstances of the writing. This is what I wrote for “the Fighter:"

One night I was alone and decided I wanted to write a poem about someone who is being attacked by Satan. For who, I did not know at the time- but found out later. It captures and represents how Satan tries to encircle and confuse us. God has all the power to destroy any holds of the devil. This battle, this spiritual battle is here- it is all around us whether we acknowledge it or not. It is important to know God’s spiritual authority over our souls. And with knowing this, we will always overcome.


The Fighter

She’s known as a fighter
Against what, she does not really know
But the lions prowl around her
They distort their faces longing to devour her
Mouths lather with the smell and taste of human soul
For this is what they desire
They know her weaknesses
She doesn’t seem aware of their presence
They become enraged and circle around her
Many come now with the scent of her failures
They capture her
Lurking
Prowling
Back and forth
She strains her eyes to view them
But is unsuccessful
They breathe hot hellish air down her neck
And torture her
They love it and rejoice in her cries of pain
It brings them pleasure to see tears
They think, “We will win this one for sure”
She is afraid
Afraid she is loosing
They scar her repeatedly
Overlapping the ones from her childhood
Re-stabbing the wounds of the fragile past
They know of these times
Because they were there too
Faithfully a part of the torment
The future is dim
The lurking predators like it this way
They bestow and inflict anguish
If she would know hope, she would not be here
They know she would break free
Back to the other side
They will do anything to keep her from feeling safe
She is pushed to the ground now
Weak
Hopeless
Barely hanging on
Life seems pointless
Hope, indeed seems lost
Not only lost- but it abandoned her as well
“You are nothing” they snicker
She believes them
The tears now come hard
She is scared of the dark
She has always been
There is no one to wipe her tears
No one to comfort her
Fear is all she’s known
Fear is a normal routine
To live a worthless life
But, the LIGHT waits for her
It IS there
It has always been through it all
All she has to do is stand and reach for it
She cannot see this
She does not want to
She can’t see past what she’s known her whole life
Hatred
To her this is all that exists
But, she wants more
More of what?
She does not know
They roar and lash to try and keep her down
It stings and cuts deep into her soul
She figures she needs to know what is beyond this
Even if it means death
For she knows death will come soon anyway
She is weak
As they gather for the kill
Now is her only chance
Every time she tries, they try twice as hard
Re-stabbing and lashing with teeth to consume
Trying to consume her
Wanting to sting death upon her
Wanting to grave her mortal body
And torment her soul infinitely
She stands regaining and remembering her strength
The slight dim light exposes the lions
Although not fully, she is aware
And now terrified
But she sees what was not there before
A sword
A belt
A breast plate
A pair of shoes
A FULL ARMOR of GOD
And a God stronger than all
Ready to fight
WITH her
She looks again to the ones who wait for her
The slither away looking back
Ready to fight again
She is now covered in the armor
In the feather's of God’s wings (Ps. 91:4)
Protected
Loved
Encouraged
Remembered
Lifted
Held...
and ultimately...
died for.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Going Up?

Something about an elevator sparks curiosity and perhaps trepidation of a fine mixture involving mechanics and faith. Quite the contrary words to have so much in common with this story, but nevertheless, they do.

So willing and trusting one is walking into a metal-framed box held by strong wires and cables transporting weight up and down tall buildings. It was not until today I realize how much faith is required to ride this motorized container. I stepped into the elevator all by myself and punched the circle button commanding to be brought to the third floor. As the metal doors slid closed an enormous bang followed by a jolt upward and then down caused me to grab the side of the shiny room with complete and utter concern. Not blinking I held on to the wall as if when I tumbled to my doom it would somehow save me. It makes me think about how every plane ride I go on I lean the opposite way of which the plane turns to somehow shift my weight so we won’t fall. It’s all in the head no doubt! As the doors sealed shut my heart began to beat and I am sure my blood pressure was elevated. I thought to myself this can’t be it, I’ve lived through so much just to die in an elevator accident!? It seemed years as the elevator cracked and banged all the way up to the third floor. I remembered how many times I came to this building and noticed repairs were being made to this actual elevator I was standing in, should I scream? This was not a good recollection to have at the time! Finally with a red face I released my breath as I arrived on the third floor and sat in the waiting room.

I don’t desire to create a phobia of modern transportation. But maybe one day we will finally get those cyber-packs that simply beam us where we need to go! Maybe this is what I should be working on?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Song in my Heart

Music is an enormous part of who I am. Ever since I was a child I remember singing or acting out songs on the radio or TV. In high school I sang with every group available as special music or within groups and choirs. It was fun, but more than this it felt like a ministry…a footstool to the throne of God! At Abilene Christian University I tried out for the traveling singing group The Light and made it without even callbacks. I was thrilled and used every moment whether on the road or around Texas to sing for God’s glory. During my senior year, after a difficult time, I decided to buy a guitar and learn to play to keep my mind busy and focused. I had no idea what I was doing, but years later I accomplished writing several songs. Today I take out my guitar almost everyday and sing and praise, or vent while making up dissonant tunes that are meant only for my ears. There’s something about music that inspires my heart and captures my soul. One phrase or key change into a deep melodic incline can draw tears or cause goose bumps on my arms. It’s powerful because it’s real. It is real, because it is powerful!

There are a handful of artists worth mentioning in regards to motivating music. For now I will mention the Christian genre (they are all linked to their homepages which are worth seeing...have fun!):

Watermark: All Things New, Constant, The Purest Place
Chris Rice: Run the earth, Watch the sky
Mark Schultz: Stories & Songs
Caedmon’s Call: In the Company of Angles
Ginny Owens: Without Condition
Joy Williams: Joy
Bebo Norman: Ten Thousand Days, Myself When I am Real, Big Blue Sky
(His site is v. v. funny...you can even see him dance , check it out...Go Bebo...Go Bebo! LOL!!!)

If you are looking for touching music that can relate to life, these will definitely fill the void. Watermark is a husband and wife team whose music has been a ministry to me through Natalie’s death. Their song, “Glory Baby” was played at Natalie’s funeral. They are amazing both in concert and on the CD. Ginny Owens is a blind musician whose voice is the pathway to God. Her song “If You Want Me To” is incredible and is definitely one that gives me chills. Bebo Norman is one of the best I have seen in person. I could listen to all of his CD’s for hours and hours. I actually spent some time on the road this weekend and had the opportunity to listen to all three that I have.

Everyone has a song in the heart and it is up to us to sing it. It may come out as a tiny whisper of lament, a shout of praise with a strumming guitar, or a cry honoring the One who creates harmony as an entire band plays in admiration to the Lord. But for me it is a small office room with a candle lit, watching the flickering flame reflect off the shiny gloss guitar, while I too reflect in my voice the prayers and petitions to my Lord.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Sna-sages On A Stick

What is it about a fair or a carnival that can instantly change a grown adult into a child once again? Perhaps it is the rides, or maybe games in which only the true talented win (not me by the way). After last night, I am convinced it is the food. Cotton candy, sausages on a stick (sna-sages!), and my all time favorite, funnel cake, transform the body through caloric euphoria into a youngster! Sugar and grease combine in an all out effort to put seriousness aside and giggle, laugh, and live as though there’s no tomorrow.

The West Texas Fair and Rodeo is in town and I have been recruited as an honorary Nu Gamma to sell Fredrick’s Berg sausages! I know, go ahead and laugh, but my expertise on selling this fine food contributes to my oh so exciting and unusual life. What would existence be without these kinds of encounters causing one to step out of the comfort zone into a hot booth serving fine Texan’s their sausage? Hey, I’m not arguing with that! I just need to find a cute cowboy to ride the Farris wheel with! See - it’s all a part of my plan!




Thanks Nu Gamma for a great night!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

"Road Not Taken"

I recently examined Robert Frost’s poetic analogy in the Road Not Taken. He states:

"TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference." ROBERT FROST

It is easy to read something as profound as Frost and disregard or get lost in it’s meaning. From someone who enjoys poetry such phrases as these three completely amaze me. More than this though, I am astounded by the talent such writer’s as he, have giving significance to something in one word. Skill is discovered in those who could easily describe an issue, emotion, or value with many terms, quotes, and explanations, but chose instead to capture all of it within a few lines. Each statement captures a deep thought; an innovative perspective allowing one to journey along with the author if one chooses so.

Words can merely be words, but when they are an outcome of the soul it provides a vulnerability to allow others the chance to express themselves as well. No one is without passion. It may be buried deep beneath pain, busyness, and expectations, but it is still there and waiting to be sought after, discovered, and released. No one is without a past, a story, or a testimony, which propels and acts as a catalyst to tell others there is hope. We all struggle, we all cry and laugh, we all have pain and heartache, no one is protected from these feelings.
We may not all be on the same road going the same direction, but we are nevertheless all walking. No one is better than any other, not through opinion, achievements, or awards. We all have something helpful to contribute to the world and those who we love and value as friends and family.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Happy Birthday Gracey

Happy first birthday to my favorite Chawennie dog!!!


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Ignorance

The only people guilty of ignorance are our countries so called “reporters.” I hold little esteem right now for those who simply look for a story at the cost of the nations unity. What in the world do they think they are doing? Do they think they can just announce every opinion and believe US citizens will stoop to their level? I watched a rather brainless lady this morning comment on an issue that she obviously did not even know anything about. She said, “President Bush made time and effort to visit those affected by the tsunami, but did not even stop by the superdome in his own country to speak encouragement.” How naive and personally unintelligent this statement is. Does she know what has been going on in Louisiana? I mean yeah, ok, let’s take our president and put him in the middle of an angry mob crowd who would probably take the first initiative to assassinate him. So why did he not visit the dome? Because he is smart. After all he is the president and meets some kind of intellectual requirement deeming him worthy of the title.

The difference between this and the tsunami is that the people affected by the tsunami did not resort necessarily to loot and hurt people for water and food. But in the US, yes, it is an angry gesture of pure selfishness and hate. A way to “get back at the government,” and “make others hurt because we are.” Maybe help would be more willing if the possibility of being hurt was not such a deep real concern. Do you know how much help will be given to these people? I bet we will never hear the end of it. Did anybody think about the fact there is also poverty and poor all over our country. People all over the world desire to aid them. Right here in Abilene there are 500 survivors who will be showered with love by a community of believers. I will even have the opportunity to use my talents to help them. I will try to post some of these photos if consent is given.

Yes, Katrina happened. It destroyed a city in the USA. It ripped apart not just rooftops and buildings, but families, hopes, and dreams. Again, no one is kept from harm. Assurance of safety is not with you or your family. One minute can change your life’s plan. I wrote not long ago about one having the power to decide what is an “end of the world issue.” Think about what we so often complain about. Does this compare to the pain experienced today? I do not demean the sorrow of these people, but life unfortunately goes on whether we like it or not. The sun does not listen to our cries at night when we hold a pillow and pray another day will not arrive. I’ve tried this. I’ve screamed this and yelled to my God that He would let the whole world mourn with me. But smiling people drove by my car and I thought, even though I did not know them, how dare they smile? Pain exists. Things that should never happen do. Beautiful people are taken for granted and dismissed. But as the sun rises, it pierces what was once unseen, and maybe one day as it brightens the morning, our hearts can remember our true home is in heaven.

Media takes the issue and uses it to manipulate our country and cause disruption. I seriously would not budge if I had a chance to share my mind with "Lady Reporter Knows-It-All." I would simply tell her she’s wrong and give her (and any other of her supporters) an airlift to the superdome and see how safe she feels to be there. Yeah, I did just say that.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hysteria

I am bothered, mad, and frankly angered by the actions of some fanatics affected by the hurricane. Social status does not matter. An excuse as this is not acceptable. People are being killed, beaten, and rapped. Jailed prisoners are free and unaccounted for. Those who need medicine have no access to them and are ill not just physically but mentally unstable. A bottle of water creates mass hysteria. Disease and illness is being spread. I watched the news this morning of a young girl being hit by a man right in front of her child. Someone chose to explain the seen to me as like on the movie War of the Worlds, when they are in a working car and everyone tries to get it, and eventually a gun is pulled out and people are hurt.

Although I am mad, I am definitely not surprised. We as Americans have been sheltered by such chaos. This may be a common day somewhere across the ocean. Have we prepared ourselves to understand what true hardship is? What would I do? First priority would be to help children. Did you know that several babies, one only 6 weeks old, were emergency evacuated without their moms and the mom did not even know where her child was going? They opened the helicopter, took the baby, and that is all she knows. What a sacrifice!

It is easy to shut our eyes and ears off to this situation. Who wants to see all this when there is really nothing we can do? These people are poor and needy. But it must be understood that everything possible is being done to help them. Like biting the hand that feeds you, the safety of our aid personnel is a concern. Troops are being called to enforce order armed for precaution. I don’t fully understand what these people are going through. It must be terrifying. It is not like they can get up and just drive. Most are poor thus explaining the reactions today. New Orleans definitely contributes to our crime rate, even before this tragedy.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina

Devastation has hit the US. I was just listening to President Bush address the nation on this serious affect of hurricane Katrina. The footage of New Orleans is horrifying. People are stranded; the sick and the wounded lay outside on stretchers resembling a war zone. Most shocking is the riots and looting going on. Houses are being set on fire, businesses are being burglarized, and the authorities not only have problems helping those in need, but effort and attention that should be used for aid is being spent on the stupidity of these selfish people. The egocentricity of them may stem from pure panic of not having access to shelter and food. Again I think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how when we don’t get our requirements met on the certain levels, people lash out.

I watched updates on Katrina throughout the beginning of the week and sorrowfully witnessed the storm strengthen before it hit the coast. 88,000 people have been tranfered to Texas. Just today it was announced Abilene will host over 50 people at the Salvation Army and red Cross. The city of New Orleans is still submerged under water. One issue that affects me, and will everyone, is the gas lines that had to be shut down. Bush announced several minutes ago that nearly 50% of the production has discontinued causing national alarm. Prices here in Abilene has sky rocketed leaving a major rush and scare to get to the gas pumps and fill up. In fact just the other day I went to get gas and thought as I was there early (around 8am) I would have beat the crowd. Unfortunately upon arrival I was placed in a line that took 45 minutes to reach the pump itself. Here is a photo of the lines here in Abilene, Texas.

Everyday is not promised with ease or comfort. We don’t know what tomorrow brings, but there is relief in that we as Americans are protected by an incredible President and military. Let’s not forget our exceptional relief aid workers and volunteers too. Remember those who have lost “possessions” in this catastrophe. Although we know things are not preserved forever, the difficulty still remains of starting over.

And I Will Live Forever

I have already confessed in a previous post of my fixation with commercials. No doubt our society and government exploits our human feelings as we watch TV, listen to the radio, or even shop. Advertisement agencies know exactly what they do, and take pride to manipulate people through emotions. It works, I’ve seen it and felt it. One particular commercial has really stood out to me over this past week. Being a photographer interest lies in new technology and such brilliant media production as Kodak’s newest marketing strategy, children. Here is the scene:

A group of kids are in a rather large white gallery with photos spaced evenly throughout the walls. A gentleman, their guide, walks around and whispers oh so quietly. He says to their small faces, “Do you hear it? “ The kids look at each other in confusion. “Shhhh, do you hear them? They’re saying something.” The boys and girls smile at one another and look up at the man waiting to see what he will say next. They all are quiet and listen to the photos. He looks at the paintings, then at the kids as though he heard the silent screams of all the historical photos. He says, “they are telling us” and he leans in and gets even quieter, and says:

“They are saying…

Keep me

Protect me

Share me

…and I will Live Forever”

Photos of past events like the depression and JFK flash before the screen and journey to climax in a sincere glimpse of the power of a moment frozen in time. How piercing and intense a photo can be? In truth they do speak to us in a calm whispers telling us of the past and pushing us forward to create a future that knows who we are and where we have come from. Kodak hit the nail on the head. Moments only live forever when we capture them. This is accomplished not only by media or film, but also within our heads and hearts. People who pass away only live on in the world with our memories and stories. Pictures enhance this and aid our efforts to rekindle appreciation for existence and this mission we are all on together called life.

Kodak’s commercial is talented. This, and the Chase Card Member Service commercials are rated exceptional in my opinion. Chase designs powerful images enhanced with music and video that could make any woman cry. Believe me I have actually been waiting to see their next one!