Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The great Ant invasion

So we have a little ant problem at my place. It seems like a little problem but maybe that is determined by your perspective of the problem. Our invasion into our house started about a month ago in the kitchen.

It all started with the smallest of crumbs on the counter and suddenly out of nowhere a parade of ants came visiting this little crumb. It seemed like they were coming from no place and really I think my roommate was too freaked out and just wiped them up without finding out where they were coming from that first time. She wrote me a note saying we had been invaded with lots of exclamation points.

Honestly, I smiled and didn't really take her note seriously. A stinker proud part of me was thinking "that's what happens when you guys leave your dirty dishes everywhere".  It wasn't until a week or so later when I had gone away for a couple of days and came back to my room that I took notice. I came home late at night to find a stream of ants climbing my wall right where I sleep heading a tiny bit left of a cup of tea I had left on my desk.

At first I wanted to because I was tired but, I didn't totally freak out and just wipe them up because I wanted to know where they were coming from to stop the problem at the source. So I followed this long trail and found that they were coming in through a broken seal in my window. I decided I could do one of two things. I could wipe them up and pray they didn't crawl on me at night or I could go to the store at 11pm and get some sealer and spray.

I chose to go to the store and take care of this problem at its root. So I came home and I sealed up that crack and went a bit over to make sure my room was sealed from those invaders.

Thinking back now I think I did the right thing because my roommates are still dealing with the ants in their spaces because they would not do as I did. I shared with them how my problem had been solved when I went to the source of it and took care of it right there sealing them out yet they still battle the every so often invaders.

Insecurity can happen when our boundaries are broken and it's good to seal them up so we are safe in our borders. When we have cracks in our lives that come from weaknesses in our outer fortress those things have room to come in and try to tear us down. Keeping watch and sealing out those things that would take us from our peace is important.

Rest for the weary, power for the weak. God's power is made perfect in our weaknesses and I believe He can be a light to those places where we have cracks in need of restoration and to be sealed so we are safe. His love never ceases to amaze me at how He cares even about even those little ants invading our lives.  Sometimes invaders are bigger but I know my God is stronger than all of them. I have confidence my God is bigger and can and will take care of them for me if they mess with His girl. Oh Yeah, My God loves me like that. He loves you too like that.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Feel the Rain on your face

Have you ever walked outside when it was raining without an umbrella on purpose just to feel the rain drops on your face? Try it. Sometimes it can seem like there are a million rain drops falling but the ones you catch in your mouth can be a little water for your soul.

Our umbrellas keep us dry for the most part but I think sometimes you just need to feel the rain on your face to know its there. Most Californian’s seem to think they are made of sugar and will melt. Honestly, I really used to be that way before I spent 10 years living in Washington state. I have a few umbrellas now yet I rarely use them unless its really pouring.

I think that when we do have just a little rain coming down in the form of trials in our lives we sometimes are too quick to put up the umbrella to shield us from them. We can miss the lesson in really seeing them. Those little lessons from those trials of everyday life can be annoying and tiresome. They can drain our energy and make us lose our hope. Yet I find if you take a moment to look up at that sky that’s falling you can find some peace in perspective of your situation in comparison to the ocean that is not falling on you.

God made those rain drops and even though he did not create the havoc that made them fall in your life. He can be a true umbrella that you can see through. You must have seen those see through umbrellas. They are clear plastic that lets you see the rain’s drops falling on them. When you have a God umbrella you can look up in any storm. Find yours.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Listening to wisdom

Sitting in Panera hiding all the way in back is a great hiding place to get away and find some quiet time to study for the most part. This is my usual stomping grounds on Tuesday's before I head to gather with a my womenfolk friends who never cease to amaze me.

However, today I had a kink in my usual plan of Tomato soup and reading. These two older gentlemen and a younger one foiled my grand plan in their undeniably awesome conversation that I couldn't help but overhear. Okay, yes I was ease dropping but I couldn't help but hear their passions shared that blessed me and gave me the outside a glimpse of wisdom.

The two older fellows entered first and sat at a table right next to mine. The opened some books and started talking about the person they were going to meet with shortly. My ears were alerted when I heard the words that this young man needed encouragement and direction. I got the idea that they were meeting with him to encourage him in some way for some major undertaking he was doing.

The young fellow walked in and sat down. The two older guys greeted him and one of the first things this humble guy did was say how he felt he knew nothing but somehow his undertaking had grown. He started sharing how some of his coworkers had had a rough start but were now accepted.

I don't know what made me keep listening as I now crocheted instead of trying to read but I think it was the picture it was for me. Two older guys coming along side a younger one to equip him and encourage him to keep on keeping on.

There was wisdom in the older fellows and wisdom in this humble younger fellow for wanting to take the good advice and seeking it out. It turned out that I gathered from the meeting that the two older fellows were authority figures in a local church and the younger one happened to be a new pastor.

I love older folks who give their lives away like that. Younger folks can do well to listen. I know I did. Inspired me to seek out my wisdom friends and spend some more time with them. There is so much to learn from them. Find a friend in someone who has more years on you and listen.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Seeing through the rain

Driving down the freeway the rains start pouring out a flood from the skies. It’s dark and gray and your windshield wipers can’t seem to catch up. The wakes from the cars in front of you create a blinding white fog of mist you can’t see through. Technically you are almost blind yet you can physically see, but just not through the cars wake in front.   

What do you do? What have you done in the past? Most likely you trusted the road you have traveled before. You keep driving and pushing forward because you know your exit is someplace down the road that you can’t see. Your GPS isn’t even working because of the weather but you think you know how long it will take to get there. You think.

Then you see some red and then a little more red. Lot’s of lights making you wonder what is up ahead with all the cars slowing down. Those same cars had been pushing you to move faster only a moment ago.

Now they are slowing down and waiting. You think “maybe an accident”.  So you wait, and you wait, and you wait. Finally the cars are moving a little more now. Then you pass by the “accident” and say a prayer for the tangled mess it looks like. Inside you secretly thank God it wasn’t you.

Eventually you do get to your destination and when you walk in the door you’re a little more thankful you got there because you know someone didn’t make it.

Life is like this sometimes. Sometimes your struggling to see your way through the rainstorms in life and just when you think your getting through it and finding that mysterious exit you have to stop. You hit a few thousand red lights telling you to slow down before you become the accident.

It’s hard to have faith to keep driving in the rainstorm. Sometimes your GPS isn’t telling you how long it will take to find your way through it to the place your not sure where your going to.

The thing I take comfort in is that I know my God is the ultimate GPS. No, He doesn’t always tell me how long my storm will take to get through, but I know I am not alone in the car.

He is there beside me keeping in His eye out and giving me a little head’s up as to where to swerve and not hit those pot holes I could see myself getting a flat tire from.  I can drive in and through with confidence trusting the road he has traveled before. He guides me on. I may not be able to fully see it but I know He does and that is enough to keep me on the road, though the rain, and into the sun.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lost and found in Mexico

We were lost, it was official. Somewhere south of the California boarder, near the ocean, on a street with no name connected to another street with no name, we stood looking for a sign. How did we find ourselves walking down an unpaved street in a little town in Mexico without kidnappers in sight?

We had a purpose when we started our little journey five hours earlier. We had left Tecate, Mexico with three English speakers and one Spanish speaker on a quest to pick up a large table just across a few towns or so and deliver it to the Spanish speakers new home.

We had all piled into the truck and took off without a map. We knew the general direction and had our smartphones from California so we thought we would find it easily and enjoy the adventure of a ride in the dangerous Mexico that we had heard all these crazy stories about.

What we found was that we were riding along in another country where the signs didn't read in our language or even make sense sometimes to even the Spanish native speaker. There were few signs at that and some pointing in the wrong direction, even toward a bridge that was not quite finished.  Thankfully we didn't totally follow that sign over.

Along the way we also encountered several kind Mexican people who would give us directions from stores and even out the window in a passing car.  It seemed they knew that there was not a clear way to find places in Mexico. Losing your way in a foreign land could have been a scary and tense thing but because of the awesome people in our big white truck we all just laughed and prayed.

So there we were when we ended up on that street that we were sure had to be THE street even though we couldn't find a name on it or a sign for it.  Our brave leader got out and decided to go house to house and ask.  I was walking along side the Spanish speaking native Mexican and I just smiled. I took a moment to stop and just watch him.

It was amazing to me how he just engaged these strangers who were obviously not the Mexico kidnappers we hear about in the USA. These were true Mexicans, just neighbors in a neighborhood helping out someone asking for directions. This is when we got to experience a true picture of Mexico. It is the people.

I think the face of Mexico for me isn't about the mafia or crazy kidnapping stories. It's is about the face of the elderly lady in a humble home that we visited in our search. She had a sweet smile and a heart to help us, even engaging her daughter to help us in our quest.

Mexico is about the hearts that live there. Yes, it is a poor country in comparison to ours, but a kinder one for it. Only in Mexico can I see a dog sleeping on a roof of a house or could I roll down my window and ask my neighbor car for directions.

We never did find our destination in Mexico that day. It was getting dark and we needed some good food from our temporary home base. Yet, this little adventure trip for me was not wasted.

I learned more about my friends in the car and that they could roll with it and not sweat the small stuff. I saw a picture of Mexico that I love. A picture of a humble everyday life Mexico you can't see on the news or in tourist zone. Real Mexicans who have a humble life that we can't imagine living in and yet they smile, love their kids, and live happily ever after.

Yes, we were lost in Mexico that day but truly we were found in a way. At least for me I saw how I can get caught up in the stuff of this life forgetting what really matters is people. God sees our hearts that beat to the same rhythm as the Mexican people. I will not be praying that they get the money to fix their country but that they find out God loves them right where they are at. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Running on empty

I almost ran out of gas today. I was busy this weekend with my to do list on fire and kept putting off getting gas thinking I would do it "when I had more time".

Then this morning I had a small but opportune window of time in which to get gas yet, I was driving someplace without a GPS to find gas in an area I did not know and had no gas stations in sight.

I looked at my little orange warning on the dashboard of my car and thought "It would be great if in every area of life I had a almost out of gas light pop on."

When is it time to stop and fill up the tank? Sometimes it is all about making those necessary endings happen. There may be bells, whistles and fire engine sounds before we get the drift that we need to end something in our to do list because we will eventually stop running on that empty tank.

Rest is productive. I just have to remember that.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Behind the ivy wall

There is a big beautiful ball of fire in our sky everyday. It’s gets stronger as you get closer to it. It has a million properties to its existence up so high in the sky. In our daily lives we tend to forget the mystery of it. We just know that the sun will always be there every morning to wake us up peeking through our blinds and shining on our noses making us feel its warmth.

In 3rd or 4th grade science class we learned about the planets. I don’t know about you but for me I left school amazed that day. I learned that I was just this one person living on a huge planet in a solar system larger than I could imagine.

I learned that I was so tiny in comparison to how big the world really was. It opened my world to see that this world wasn’t all about just me in it. There was more than I knew and it made me wonder what my place in it was in it.

Today I saw some ivy growing beautifully green and alive on an ugly wall that was covering its disgrace with something beautiful. The wall is serving it’s purpose to hold in what is inside behind it and keep out what is on the outside out of it. It also has something beautiful growing on it’s outside covering over it. The wall itself is very strong and it’s foundation looks like it has strength to endure. As an outsider I can see that from its appearance but I can know it because it is still here. It’s a wall that has not fallen down despite rains, earthquakes and the weight of the ivy on it.

You would have to conclude it must be strong. It is stronger than it looks from the looks of the worn out wall. It is made more beautiful because it has something alive growing on it. It makes you want to see what is on the other side. I couldn’t see a gate to go inside behind this wall today but maybe it is someplace around the corner of it. The thing is though if the owner of the place behind the wall doesn’t want any visitors they may have not made a gate.

It is like this with people sometimes. They are here in this huge world as a little piece of a huge world God made and they have something beautiful growing on their outside but they are afraid to make a gate that goes inside.

There is a risk in letting the gate be opened and a fear to get past. Seeing who you are in a huge world can make you feel smaller or it can make you feel significant in that you are a necessary part of this world. 

God who created the universe and the sun made you and everything in this world. You are significant and intricate part of a huge world. If there were no you then where would the ivy grow? Make a gate if you don’t have one. You have something beautiful people need to see and appreciate behind your wall.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Starbucks Living Room

Peace can come in room filled with strangers all doing the same thing. We sit inches apart not talking, working on laptops, getting lost in technology, daydreaming, reading a book, staring out the window, people watching and drinking coffee all while getting away to our own private island of Starbucks.

The homeless man who sits out front all the way to the right of the Starbucks with his cup on the corner of the table silently asking for help, the grey specked haired man who was laid off from his job and is still carrying his briefcase to Starbucks everyday in his job hunt, the little group of teenagers giggling about something one of them said, the woman with tears in her eyes as she reads in the darker corner without a window nearby, the creative college student with five books open and a pink bed head look going on, and the barista who has been working here for as long as I can remember still smiling but truly hiding here, the single woman whose dream is to write to help people and have a family, the single man who has lost his dream and just works long hours now. They are all here on the island.

It’s day one of hanging out in my Starbucks living room trying to figure it all out. There’s this huge pile of papers, drawers out of control, dishes to be done, laundry in the basket and I decided to run away and spend some time with my God trying to figure it out. I could stay home and face the music of the many “things” to do. Yet, all I want to do is go hang out in my Starbucks living room and make a plan, my grand plan. Its what I do when life change happens.

I run away to my little corner booth at my favorite anonymous Starbucks seeking that peace I need. I can’t find my peace in a house with roommates where my space is a room I rent filled with mirror’s of my internal mess I don’t want to look at.

I almost always change up the music that goes into my head when I go to Starbucks unless they are playing Beatles, 60’s or something sweet and jazzy. I get comfy with my poor girl version of a personalized coffee drink that I doctor up with my own flare and write out my next dream. I start making a plan so I can feel like I have some sense of control. I am all about organization and having everything all planned out into a calendar that tells me what to do.

Reality though is that my world is not in my control. I like to think I have it all planned out but it never seems to turn out how I think it will.  I can work like a dog on overdrive and miss really seeing people and their needs, miss out on feeling anything, miss out on being who I am, and miss out on giving or I can stop and take a look around so I don’t miss it.

I don’t want to look back on my life years from now and wish I had taken the time to get direction and listen to that good advice. I want to take it and live in the present not in this future I would hope to have for myself.

What amazes me is that when I get away for these little times of siesta is that I can find my feet beneath me again. I find that I have been running too fast and I need to stop and get some perspective. I get some perspective and I find some sense of direction as to where to put my next foot in front of the other.  I would encourage you to find your feet on your island wherever that is. My island is a Starbucks living room where I can stop and truly see.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I love you to the moon and back...

I was strolling down a lonely town's little downtown street with a friend a couple years back and we walked into a sweet little shop. It was one of those shops where you walk inside and your senses go wild. You smell something wonderful, hear some sweet music you can't quite identify and feel your eyes come into focus on a million little things all at once.

You find a little bar of local handmade soap carved into the shape of funky star. It's laying on this beautiful antique table with scented candles that make you wonder "who could have thought of that scent?". The table lamp in the shape of a crescent moon with twinkle lights inside. Then there is that scary handmade rag doll that is coming out of her seams. It's an eclectic world of everything.

My world was quite chaotic then as I walked haphazardly around the little tables trying not to bump things over. I am quite clumsy that way. I had gotten a divorce, lost my home, my aunt passed away, my father passed away, and I had been laid off from my dream job all in the span of a few years.

I made a crazy love kind of decision to move to a place where I could feel the sun shine on me again after I had lost my job. I had been cold living in Washington state for ten years missing California blue skies and needed some good old fashioned sunshine. I needed a reminder to look up.

It was crazy because I only knew one person and I was grieving many great losses in my life. Somewhere inside though I found the courage to move two states away. Then the courage to stay and fight out those run home blues.

On this day though I felt like I was in a tailspin hovering over those precious trinkets and odd things you really probably could live without. This is when I saw the sign that hangs on my purple bedroom wall now. It says "I love you to the moon and back".

I had been in the land of sunshine for 9 months and I had already had three contract jobs. Three times of the excitement of starting a new job, being the new girl, learning the ropes, just starting to really get it down and then... "that's all folks", "it's time to wrap it up", "job's over", "don't need you anymore", or "sorry no permanent jobs, the seasons over".

Even though I had known each job would end I still felt the sting of loss when my world would dramatically change overnight after each one. Suddenly I was to become the huntress hunting, hunting, hunting, for my prey of a new undertaking. I would work like a madwoman harder than I ever had in my life trying to prove myself only to be laid off once again.

 I didn't have much money that day after having finished my third contract job and I peeked in my wallet looking at the signs cost. Then I saw it. It was 50% off! How could it be? It was such a beautiful large wooden sign.

I fell in love and decided it was an opportunity cost. I needed the inspiration it gave me to believe I was valuable and that someone could love me so much that they would say "to the moon and back".

So in that small moment in the store I found a little hope looking up at that sign being a woman, unemployed, divorced and very tired.

Rejection in life is one of those things that can really bring people to the point of disaster. Its an endless loop of emotions, hardships that are real and imagined telling us we aren't worth a hill of beans.

In every season there is a time and a purpose in this world we live in. So I choose to walk forward with all my current uncertainties and walking in this life without a safety net.

I keep that sign posted high in my purple painted bedroom. It makes me smile because I do believe a love like that exists for me even if I never marry again. I have peace in knowing God loves me like that. He wraps me in His arms and holds me with every rejection I have in life.

He can hold you too, if you will just ask Him to. 
He just loves you.
You are that valuable!