Monday, May 31, 2010

I'm here

Twenty six years in to this life, I still find myself asking what I'm here for. What if it's not what I'm here for, but that I'm here?

I know God has an individual plan for each of our lives, a wonderful awesome relationship with him carried out in an adventure, the future of which only he yet knows. When we try to plan for and predict this adventure I think we sometimes get too caught up in the details. Or at least I know I do. It becomes a question of what about me? instead of what about God? I'm not quite sure what to do with this situation, but I do know we need to stand up and say I'm here, God. We need to act in this adventure right now, not just hoping to act in the future.

This is the song that got me thinking.

Something reflective

I felt like I could write for a home decor magazine when yesterday I realized the design need in my apartment was something reflective.

This is the something reflective and below is the story.

Matt left for Alabama yesterday around Noon. I cried and sobbed and then I pursued retail therapy at Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and Ikea. I didn't buy anything yet, well except for when I later went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (and bought a beautiful bed set, which turned out to only be partially as pictured...will be returning). I don't regret going though because I also finally found a grill skillet thing for veggies and fruit, which I've been looking for for a long time. Anyway, all that online window shopping led to room rearranging and massive cleaning (which was desperately needed)! After an hour of that, I put the room back together to its original state, except for a few accessories changing location, function, or being brought out from storage. As Matt said recently when we tried this in the dining room, we already have it the best possible way. It's like we've tried this before or something...

After much more cleaning and a good night's sleep, the place now looks quite nice. Not too far off from all those websites with catalog-like images I was coveting. In the forefront, is the something reflective. I guess it makes everything feel a bit more summery. The previous center piece was nearly the same: the round placemat, pottery, and candle. I just added the glass hurricane, ribbon-strung kukui nuts from Hawaii, and put the candle up higher. I like this new layered look.

A few weeks ago, I attempted a small baby-proofing project (for friends' babies). The place where this red and brown basket now sits use to hold about 12 wine glasses at just the right height for little hands. I wanted to move them so that our friends would not feel such severe anxiety brining their kids to our place. The solution was to rearrange (of course!). The glasses went up high and in their place is a basket of table linens. Perfect!

Several weeks ago we moved some things in the bedroom to make it more spacious and less cluttered. We took the baskets from under a bench in there and moved them to under the bench in here for his and hers shoe storage. I love how much cleaner it looks.

It makes me so happy to use stuff we already have to redecorate. I was absolutely inspired in this by a friend of a friend's blog. Warning, you will easily use an hour of your life clicking away.

The redeocrating brought up a good question: to keep this couch wrapped in its cocoa-colored cover or reveal its true red (as pictured)? We've had it covered for at least two years. Mid-moving, I took the cover off to wash it. What do you think?

I could move the quilt, too...maybe to the bedroom. The bedroom is on my list for this morning. We have been looking at new bedding for a while; just haven't decided on anything. We normally have a giant green comforter on there that Matt got when he graduated college. I took it off to wash and replaced it with this white down comforter from my sisters. I love this comforter. I just don't like getting poked by it. I've tried a duvet, but it never really fit right and I was always trying to readjust the comforter inside. Any ideas?

I think I want something red, white, and chocolate brown. I'm partly doing that because I don't want to get new curtains. The curtains, however, cost about $15, so I really shouldn't be so attached. I think I just like them because they fit our unusually-sized square windows, and we won't have these windows for much longer, so why get some more unusually-sized curtains? Wow, I AM RAMBLING! Thank you for entertaining my wandering thoughts! :)

Enough already. I'm off to Target. Ciao!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Stumbling stone solution

(Photo from Rocky Mountain National Park, hike to Something [Bear?...Long?...Pretty?..Whatchamacallit?] Lake)

I have been reading Romans for the past few weeks, and it has been wonderful. Romans is such an amazing part of the Bible. I can't believe I've never read the whole thing before. It's not just encouraging (which it is very much), but it's also challenging. It's telling just how things are. It basically says "This is how it is. Take it or leave it, but you'll never be the same now that you know the truth." I've been reading a chapter from NIV and then the same chapter in The Message. The language of the message really does help me to understand more and relate the Word to my life. Here's chapter 9:30-33:

All those people who didn't seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened our their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their "God projects" that they didn't notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together: Careful! I've put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion, a stone you can't get around. But the stone is me! If you're looking for me, you'll find me on the way, not in the way.

I've heard this passage before, but I never realized the stone is Jesus! Whoa, how true is that? It really shows how much God desires relationship with us. He's trying to make it so plain. He's standing in the middle of our path, like a massive stone. He's basically telling us it's easier to see him and choose him, than to muddle some strange path around him, avoiding him, rejecting his knock on our hearts. And I have still gone around the stone! It seemed easier somehow. What in the world is that? The gentiles saw the stone and embraced it! Jesus, I pray for a pure heart, an untainted, unhardened heart that can see the stone for what it is, and embrace it for its truth, Your Truth, with joy.

(This is me "embracing the stone" on a hike by Palmer Lake, Colorado. I was actually not so much embracing the stone as trying to climb on top of it! luck there, but Beth and I got this great, classy photo to remember it by.)

After I read Romans 9 this morning, God put this image in my head. It happened so quickly and naturally that it's hard to put words to. The image was basically me meandering around the stone these last several years. Sure, there have been other ways I've embraced the stone. Nonetheless, in terms of career/job/what-to-do-stuff, I have muddled my way through mostly.
This is how it began. Yesterday a friend and colleague mentioned to me that she was thinking about becoming a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, and she thought I might really be into it as well. I have thought about joining CASA before, ever since babysitting for a woman in CO who volunteered for them. I also happen to know the director of this program in WF. Anyway (I guess making this a short story is out of the question now), I thought about it (Bible in hand) and decided it wasn't quite the "specialty" I want to pursue. I want something that includes the environment and education. Wow, I thought to myself, you just made a decision! Not a I'm-choosing-this-decision necessarily, but a narrowing-down decision. Just as good.

And here's where the imagery started. God reminded me of a time seven (wow, I'm getting old) years ago when I had "narrowed-down" my career interests to environmental education. This was before I changed my major, mind you. At the time I thought that was too narrow; there was no way I was going to find a job that narrow moving around with Matt (which I was pretty sure was going to happen). So I switched to Human Development and Family Studies and a career "idea" so broad surely no one would hire me for that either! I look back at that "narrowing-down" and hear God saying he was a part of that. That was good, that was Him. I was too young a Christian to recognize that, for sure. I went on MY way trying things that seemed good and interesting and safe, careful not to step into a potential failure. What I got was a fraction of the picture, a fraction of the joy set out for me. And here I am again looking at this huge stone in the path.

Is the stone on my way or in my way? I pray, Dear Father, that my thoughts, words, and actions will come from a heart that knows you are always ON my way, never in my way. I pray I can recognize you, your voice, your truth, and embrace You with my whole heart.

When we go around the stone, are we just "getting through" something, getting past it, getting it over with? The imagery would suggest that embracing the stone equates to rising above that get-it-done-mentality. What do you think about that? What if the path is not so much through, ahead, or onward, but up?
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