Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My Prayer

I pray with appreciation
For things I do not know I need but have been given
I pray in fear today
Knowing the pain someone feels is overwhelming and desperate
I pray with the desire to change what I am not able to do alone
That what is overlooked will be visible and important
I pray with joy tonight
In regards to noticeable blessings that warm my heart and make me thankful I am alive
I pray with sadness right now
Because someone lost something they once had, and now is no more
I pray with humbleness in thought of who I am
And with a reminder, who I was supposed to be without Him
I pray with hope
That today will be one in thousands
That I chose to believe
He exists
I pray with disregard for lies
In assurance of what God is in me
I pray with sincerity and ask He hears my request
That not because of me, but Jesus
My heart will be answered
My soul will be fulfilled
And my life will be complete

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Lonely Swing


There is something incredibly lonely about a swing sitting patiently hanging on a tree branch. A splintered seat weathered by both the sun and rain, the good and bad, attached by a thick cord initiate powerful feeling of unwelcome solitude. Perhaps it is the fear of not wanting to let go of innocence even though barely any exists in this world. If you have some, holding on tight is the only way to preserve. Others will gladly take it out of your hands, throw it on the ground, and trample on it, all with a smile on their face. Because, this is in fact, what someone did to them. Or maybe the swing represents a sensation of isolation and abandonment. An uncertainty if anything will make sense in the end, or will we always be the blind leading the blind? It could be a reminder of something that once had life, brought joy, and provided entertainment. Yet, growing up chocked all availability of taking time to sit and ponder. I guess I would like to suppose it represents the past. Something intangible that we try to hold onto. Yet slowly memories become stories, and stories become available to be legends, or therein remain buried with those it all began with. In the end, we hold the power to make a difference in who we are and who we become. And maybe reminders such as a lonely swing can be a catalyst to appreciate even the solitary times and the dance of its script.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Chawennie-Tiger

Gracey is half tiger.
Didn’t you know?
She also has rare markings acting
as camouflage against predators.
See, I bet you can’t even spot her.




Jealous of the Moon

Nickel Creek is a great band to listen to when you want to reflect, think, or simply relax. Defined mostly as a contemporary blue grass band, their sound is upbeat and a little quirky, yet addictive. I can’t help but tap my foot along with the beat and I have even been caught bursting out into an all out jig across the room. And although all of their songs are talented, there is always that one song standing out amongst the others worth noting.

Recently I have been struggling with insomnia again. If you have ever read any past entries, I have spoken a lot on this subject because it is something I seem to deal with continually. I feel depressed when I can’t sleep. It is not merely a one night issue, it continues night after night after night, and soon enough the only thing that matters, is in fact sleeping. I know all the tricks and treats to help my sleep, but they either don’t work or not an option for me.

There are days when I understand all to well being jealous of the moon. I mean, besides astronomical wonders, the moon is something we see all the time. No biggie. So in my interpretation, being jealous of the moon is like being jealous of a shoelace. Maybe nothing is going right so much so, that you ARE in fact jealous of the moon. The words are as follows:

Jealous of the Moon

Trying on a brand new dress
But you haven't worn the old one yet.
You've come too far,
to turn around now.
Giving up a good fight.
You're as strong as anyone.
You're back when you started from,
I see you're back where you started from.
Staring down the stars,
jealous of the moon
You wish you could fly.
But you're staying where you are,
there's nothing you can do,
if you're too scared to try.
Drag your pretty head around
Swearing you're gonna drown
with a beautiful sigh
and a river of lies.
Staring down the stars,
jealous of the moon
You wish you could fly.
But you’re staying where you are
there's nothing you can do
if you're too scared to try.
Why don't you call me,
I could save you.
I hate to see a friend of mine,
Laughing out loud when she's crying inside,
but you've got your pride.
Staring down the stars,
jealous of the moon
You wish you could fly.
But you're staying where you are
There's nothing you could do,
if you're too scared to try.
You're staring down the stars,
You stay where you are,
You're jealous of the moon,
but there's nothing you could do
if you're too scared to try,
If you're too scared to try.

These words are a great way to explain that so much is going on inside of you. I have used this phrase to help other people understand where I am. I will tell them “I am jealous of the moon.” Which translates into, “I feel depressed today.” It is not easy to explain to someone you feel down. I feel embarrassed trying to, because I barely even know the reasons I feel the way I feel, so how am I to explain it to someone else? I know people want to help those who feel down. I would. But sometimes, it is too difficult to admit what is going on. It is too deep. And if you are anything like me, you need time to think through it and determine what is going on.

Friday, January 19, 2007

To Dance

I am blessed because of my husband. This is not some gooey love blog so don’t worry. I just feel overwhelmed at times of how much love can be something not earned and simply given. Love between us is not a battle to get what I need; our devotion is more like a dance. Swaying this way and that, we allow each other to be vulnerable. Trust is portrayed as we waltz around time and complete day after day of ups and downs. But every time I hit my head to my pillow I never, ever doubt that he loves me. And to think, this is only a reflection of Jesus’ love.



"The love we give away, is the only one we keep."

Elbert Hubbard

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Being Willing

“We must be willing to rid the life we’ve planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Joseph Campbell

Joseph’s quote sums up my last three years…well…mostly. I was not willing to rid the life I had planned; I was forced to give it up. Nothing about my tearing of dreams, hopes, and desires, were anything I would have considered “giving up.” They were innocent wants. Not ones like winning a millions dollars, or becoming successful in my career, or even inheriting fame. I desired the common things and circumstance we take for granted, like living and working. My disease robbed me of my dreams, which required starting over completely. Not just a little, not a mere smidgen, but one hundred percent back to the drawing board for me. I was bitter and angry. I didn’t feel like I was a bad person, but maybe I was. Did I do something wrong? It was very difficult to find who I was again. Maybe one of the hardest things I ever did in my whole life so far was recreate my personhood. I couldn’t be as active as I once used to be. Couldn’t pick children and babies up. I couldn’t stay out late with friends, or go on trips, or make last minute excursions. I had medicine to take three times a day and Chemotherapy infusions. With taking medicines I had to watch what I ate. I had to get enough rest, and live with the fact that I would never feel refreshed when I woke up ever again in my whole life. Who was I? I was no longer the girl in college that stayed up all night talking, laughing, and studying. I would have never made it through ACU if I had been diagnosed during that time. I am too weak right now even, to accomplish a degree. I wanted to get my masters and a good job to make a way for myself. I wanted to have a family and kids. But it was ripped away from me. And not only this, it was given to me first, and then ripped away from me. I felt teased and misled, tricked and forgotten.

This quote is not only a feel-good sentence; it symbolizes something different to me. A challenge. Not to simply rid our lives of the plans we have made physically, but internally as well. I did not have the choice to rid any of my plans. Not even the justified ones. But something did happen, when I chose to let it go without blaming myself. I had to do the choosing. I had to let it go. God allowed things to happen to me, but He never came into my heart and ripped these plans out, I had to surrender them. It felt horrible. I remember the song by Barlow Girl called “Surrender.” The lyrics are exactly my heart and say:

My hands hold safely to my dreams
Clutching tightly not one has fallen
So many years I've shaped each one
Reflecting my heart showing who I am
Now you're asking me to show
What I'm holding oh so tightly
Can't open my hands can't let go
Does it matter?
Should I show you?
Can't you let me go?
Surrender, surrender you whisper gently
You say I will be free
I know but can't you see?
My dreams are me.
My dreams are me
You say you have a plan for me
And that you want the best for my life
Told me the world had yet to see
What you can do with one
That's committed to Your calling
I know of course what I should do
That I can't hold these dreams forever
If I give them now to You
Will You take them away forever?
Or can I dream again?

I get chills hearing them sing this. It is a battle well understood by Joseph Campbell, by Barlow Girls, and by you and I. The battle against ourselves is the greatest battle there is. Once we get past what we think we deserve, we can hear God and the “life that is waiting for us.” I am not suggesting my life now is perfect, or the storms subside forever, but what I am saying is that, God’s way is better than ours. He is amazing and beautiful. I stand as a testimony to His works.

One more thought. My friend Julie who has been an amazing warrior for me wrote an e-mail to me the other week. I was so glad to hear from her especially her response to my frustration about my Lupus and ongoing symptoms. She wrote:

Don’t feel like you have to keep going to show something about God. Rather, he is showing people how good He is by keeping you going, not the other way around.”

This initially stunned me because I have always been the one who “keeps going.” I was always the “strong one.” And I can’t be anymore. What a great reminder from my friend that it is not up to me, even now, to have strength enough to be a witness. I am one simply by existing and loving Him. Thanks Jewels!!!

If you are not available for God to use you, then He cannot. He wont come down and hold you hostage until you agree. It has to be your choice. We must make the choice to “rid” ourselves of ourselves. And from there, it is a clean slate to be used in ways we never thought would be possible.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Confession

I have an official confession to make…I am addicted to Sudoku. It is not my fault really. I was forced to finish a puzzle or I would never get to see my husband and dog again. I mean think about how lonely they would be? And who would walk Bryan? Seriously, wouldn’t you have done the same?

Ok, another admission, it was my choice, but a good one! I am sure you have heard about the new puzzle sweeping the nation. In fact, several months ago while flying to California, I observed 2/3 of the plane’s passengers diligently unveiling the sequential order of the numbers to solve the 9 boxed wonder. When waddling to the bathroom on the plane, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of apology to those who nervously sought the answers. It all looked so Matrix to me, and I, whether alone in my endeavor, did not succumb to its venomous poison. I escaped! Then when we arrived at our destination, everyone was involved in it, competing and timing each other to see who could do the puzzle the fastest! I did not include myself. It was too risky. I had to be strong. And I was…until…recently.

Being the good wife I am, I noticed Bryan’s fascination with the game and decided a 200 paged Difficult Sudoku book would make his stocking look extra good. And it did. It sat in the pile of plunder after the holiday’s and I determined perhaps I needed to see what the commotion was all about. The game was described to me long ago. But who could understand it? Was there really a key to knowing and unlocking it’s secret? So I worked on it…and worked on it…and then worked on it some more…and I actually finished it. A sense of accomplishment swept over my body as if I had just solved a governmental mystery unlocking volumes of data asserting exclusive comprehension in conspicuous decisional amounts. Oh, I was good. I was REAL good! Then Bryan and I did one together and learned each other’s strategies and I became more and more excited about deciphering each dilemma. I enjoyed my mission! I was like Ralphy on “A Christmas Story.” And although it was not Little Orphan Annie’s breaker code message, I too felt urgency.

So pretty much everyday I get my fix of Sudoku. It keeps my mind sharp and ready for action…ya know, just in case the government decides they need an Olivia on the task force.



TRY IT!!! And you'll see what I mean.
www.sudoku.com





Monday, January 15, 2007

Inspired by Grace's New Website!!!

Hello. As Olivia’s husband, Bryan, it is my pleasure to have the opportunity to make the following announcement…

Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls! Children of all ages! Photo lovers of all shapes and sizes! Computer gurus! Pastors! Students! Friends! Families! In-laws! Out-laws! Web-savvy citizens of America and the World! In other words… YOU!

Announcing the latest advancement in photographic sites on the information super highway, the result of days of work, hours of editing, and years of study… the amazing, the wonderful, the original ibgphotography.com!

That’s right! Olivia M Brigham has published her website, www.ibgphotography.com, and you, the friend and supporter, are among the first to know. We want you to check it out and let us know what you think. Tell your friends! Tell your co-workers! Tell the guy who cut you off in traffic yesterday! (Ok, you don’t have to tell that guy.)

If you need a family photo shoot, engagement photos, pregnancy or baby pictures, or an original piece of art by one of the most talented, prize-winning photographers in Abilene, then this is the site for you. Visit ibgphotography.com and set up your photo shoot with Olivia, browse her award winning photos, sign her guest book, write her an email about your favorite picture or page, and select your favorite Inspired By Grace Photography original picture for purchase as your very own.

While you’re on the site, be sure to click on the “NEW” button to find out about Olivia’s next Inspired By Grace show. Then, make plans to attend that event as well. Explore all the links you can find, and be sure to read the About Olivia page as well, to hear about her story and how God has inspired Inspired By Grace Photography. (Some features may take a minute to upload, but they are worth the wait!)

We are so excited about this latest development in the ministry of Inspired By Grace Photography. We hope that ibgphotography.com will become one of your favorite sites to visit as we continue to see the Lord Jesus provide opportunities to tell stories, capture moments, and display the wonder of God’s creation.

Special Note: As an exclusive promotion to celebrate opening ibgphotography.com, Olivia has agreed to wave the initial sitting fee for the first 3 people who respond and set up appointments for photo shoots by using the www.ibgphotography.com web site!

Thank you for your support and feedback as we strive to make ibgphotgraphy.com a site worthy of the One who inspired it! May God continue to bless your New Year!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

So it is 2007.

A year has gone and one arrives to take its place. I am encouraged and aware of its expectation to be even better than the last. Is it an issue of hope? Or a plea of grace?

There is value in the unknown. It brings reminder of our fragility and temporary existence. It forces us to remember what is truly important in times of extreme. It catalysts unwavering attitudes not submitting to whatever pushes and shoves, but roots deep into a foundation perhaps unseen but nevertheless present.

I welcome this year with caution. Not skepticism or doubt, but with a need to trust in God. For I am nothing without Him. Let this year, as last, be a testimony of His faithfulnes.