Thursday, June 18, 2009

new things ...

new earrings i've been working on:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

walking a mile ...

i've been thinking a lot lately about being transparent. its been really heavy on my heart for months now. there r several places in the bible where the idea of transparency comes forth -- although finding the word itself there, would most probably yield little if any results. especially not in the context that comes to my mind. but if u do a search for the word expose -- u will come up with quite a list of the places in the bible where someone's sin has been exposed to god or to others around them. i don't really care for the word expose because it has such a negative connotation, but i like the word transparent.

in james 5:16 it states: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." later in verse 19 it states that if one should wander from the truth, another should bring him back because its saving him from death. and this is the kind of transparency that has been brought to my mind.

a couple of weeks ago at church, i was amazed because in the middle of the service a gentleman in our church (who i must admit i don't really know), got up and exposed his "sin" to everybody in the congregation. i had been thinking about transparency for a while at that point and the fact that a lot of ppl in the church wear nice neat little masks that hide what is really going on in their lives. i'd even had a discussion with another church member because i felt as if more ppl in the body could be transparent about their flaws and not feel a need to hide them, that more ppl would come to christ. and of course, i could "feel" things when i'm around certain ppl and it made it apparent to me that stuff was being hidden to keep the appearance of perfection.

now here's where it gets messy, because basically, i'm a mess -- i have been all my life and i know where i fall very short of being what it is that papa god would like to see of me. i also know that only by his grace and the gift given of his son on the cross am i cleansed. that doesn't mean i'm free to sin again -- it means that if i fall, papa god still loves me, picks me up, dusts me off and sends me on my way again. its that simple. and i don't try to hide what is going on in my life -- i did that for 22 years and the only thing it got me was divorced and miserable.

when i was getting ready to file for divorce i went to my bible study group and said, "i think u all need to know that i'm filing for divorce" -- they sat there stunned -- not one of them knowing (except for the pastor) that that was even in the cards. and y -- because in the three years i'd been going there i hadn't once shared that i was having problems -- good christians rn't supposed to have marital problems -- r they?

well, here's a reality check -- good christians do have marital issues -- they probably have more than most because they feel they need to "hide" it and therefore don't seek out help in the form of counseling or prayer. but when thinking about transparency, i realize that if more ppl in the body would expose their "issues" it might be a gateway for those who see their imperfections as something they need to hide to bring them out in the open where others can pray for them or lead them to help. how can someone be praying for another when they don't know that the other even needs prayer?

of course, part of the problem here is that ppl r afraid to expose their sin for fear of being judged or ousted from the body. and that fear is justified in my view because christians can be extremely judgmental and self-righteous ppl. its unfortunate, because when i see ppl come into the church off the street and then compare themselves with these same said judgmental and self-righteous types, they fall very short and feel unworthy to even be in a house of god.

a few years ago, i counted myself among those who were not worthy to be there. i could see all my flaws -- they were so glaring -- and felt that god would never accept me as i was, that i wasn't worthy to be there and the feeling of judgment was high. it would have been easy to walk away from it and from god, but papa is amazing and he kept pulling me back and attaching ppl to me to pull me back. every time i would get close to that edge of the abyss, they would be there to remind me that i was the daughter of a king and there was nothing i could do to earn papa's love -- because it was a gift freely given. and for me, learning this has opened up my life for everybody to see my "ick", a chance for me to let down my mask and let others see my struggles so that they will know they r not alone, but that they r still immeasurably loved by papa god, regardless.

i worry about those who come to church and see all these "blameless" and "perfect" ppl and feel unworthy to be there. i know how it feels to be judged and found wanting and thinking i should just walk away now because i'll never "measure up" to that appearance of perfection (false perfection) that i see before me. and how can that be in any way comforting to someone who doesn't know about papa's unconditional agape love -- who sees us as his children and loves us through our flaws?

after this man at church revealed this, i went up to him and thanked him for being so open and willing to share -- because i had it on my heart that one of the great flaws of the church was that it wasn't willing to be transparent -- that it felt this need to set itself apart as something perfect or better than the rest of the population. we've been warned in romans 12 to not be proud but be willing to associate with all ppl and to not be conceited. to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

if we r to live in harmony with one another, to love and pray for each other, than we need to be "real" with each other -- flaws and all. as uncomfortable as that might make u, how can u be anything less than that. we're to help others come to know papa's love and that means understanding that papa loves us 'warts and all'. and that love is for everyone -- not just a few "elite" ppl who pretend "perfection".

the native americans have a saying about getting to know someone by walking a mile in their moccasins. its a great gift -- walking around in someone's life and seeing what they have gone through, what they r going through, beginning to understand them more and more, knowing how u can help them, pray for them -- and them doing the same for u. that can only happen when we share with each other, when we r open and transparent with one another. peaceful existence comes from knowing all the ick about someone and still loving them -- not putting urself above them or wishing to control or manipulate them -- but praying for them and guiding them -- its a back and forth exchange.

try being transparent -- christian or not -- and see how it opens up ur life.... u might discover than ur not alone in some of what ur going through -- that someone else has gone through that and come out the other side (encouraging) or has some solid advice for what they have been through that can guide u in ur struggle. its an amazingly freeing feeling ....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

new earrings ....

been working on new earrings -- here r some of the results -- some of which r already sold...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

minute details -- big picture

i admire ppl who know their bible history backwards and forwards -- who understand every aspect of what is written there and the time frame; ppl who can quote u scripture (book and verse) at the drop of a hat. frankly, most of the time i'm just lost and i tend to read the bible as if its a good story (some books better than others, obviously).

yesterday i had lunch with some friends. before we sat down we started talking about the current book of the bible that our church is reading (ezekiel). the woman who had graciously opened her home to us was talking about trying to figure out where this story falls in the grand scope of things (because if ur not aware, the books in the bible are not arranged chronologically). she was showing us all sorts of information and pulled out about 6 bibles. it was really fascinating. but see, she really studies the scripture and gets the whole picture. whereas, i never was very good at history and honestly, does it really matter what came first, the chicken or the egg.

to some ppl (probably this woman and my dad most likely), it really does matter. when i listen to my dad talk about different aspects in the bible, i'm just amazed. not that it really helps me to understand things anymore than i did before -- truly. i am looking at these books and saying, what lesson am i supposed to learn from this? i'm not saying, gee, where does this fall on the time scale and what was going on in the time period.

maybe this is naive of me. maybe i should be taking more of an interest in what was going on. i mean there is scripture to point out the fact that many will hear but some will not understand:
Luke 8:10 NIV
He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, " 'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'

so then it makes me wonder, am i meant to be one of those who doesn't understand. actually, what i really wonder is, does it matter if i don't understand the time frame that something happened or can't remember the sequence of events or all the names and the order of those names in a lineage or what the name of a particular king was at a particular time. will remembering or knowing any of that help me to get the true message behind what is written?? somehow, i doubt it, but maybe that's just my warped mind trying to make me think its ok not to know this stuff backwards and forwards like other ppl do.

here's my thing -- i can take a particular piece of scripture and i can find god's love there -- love for all of us. i can see god's heart in passages like isaiah 58 -- i can understand his sadness when he sees that his ppl will not obey his law and ignore what he has said, seeking only religiosity and nothing else. where does remembering lineage or time scale fit into that - where is the importance? idk

the best thing would be if i could remember everything, understand all the time frames, etc., along with getting the message -- but for some reason, my brain doesn't seem to be able to retain the minute details. i can't quote u scripture by book and verse. most of the time, if i haven't marked it in my bible, i can't tell u where it is, but most likely i'll be able to tell u the meaning. what's more important?? idk

being able to point something out or back something up with the actual place in the bible where that point is being made, is really an asset sometimes because it just solidifies the point ur trying to make. its like the bibliography at the end of an article citing all the places where u can go to check out the facts as they were presented in the article. its back up information. so for me, i can't provide that when i'm speaking to someone about the bible; so i have no way to prove that what i'm saying is true. from that aspect -- its not a good thing.

i can't say that my brain does much better in retaining all things in my own life either. i mean, i have crystal clear memories of certain things growing up -- but they r just snippets in time -- not full movie length versions of each year. some things i remember really well -- other things not at all. what was important to my head at the time seems to stick to me -- what wasn't, falls away. and i feel like that is true for reading the stories in the bible as well. what's important sticks and sticks really well. what doesn't add to the message's importance, seems to fall away.

idk, i'm still feeling my way through the bible. i haven't read every chapter -- but some chapters i've read multiple times (mostly in the new testament). being raised in a conventional church setting, we were never encouraged to read the bible on our own -- only listen to snippets on sundays -- whole stories during special times of the year (christmas, easter, pentecost). i remember my mom sitting and reading her bible every morning. i wish i could say i do the same. sometimes i feel like a bad christian because i don't have a set schedule in that regard -- not even for prayer. i read when i want and pray when the need is there and give thanks for all the blessings that papa god has bestowed upon me. maybe that does make me a bad sort. idk

i only know that papa god loves me and wants to love on all his ppl if they would just let him. that there is such a need in this world for ppl to start caring about one another. and my thoughts on how wondrous papa is rn't going to be amplified by remembering time frames or lineage names.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Stuff

I have been doing lots of experimenting with the jewelry lately. Lots of wire bending, etc. Here are some of the results.

Lots of swirls in the form of rings and bracelets. I've also been experimenting with making some wire wrapped beads. I love the rings and bracelets. But in the process, I've made a real mess of my work area:

Paradise Falls

ATTENTION: If you haven't seen the Disney/Pixar movie "Up" and plan on doing so -- STOP READING right now because there is major spoiler in this blog.



Sometimes things hit me at the oddest moments. Yesterday was one of those moments. My daughter and I went to see the movie "Up". It's a story that starts when this little boy (Carl Fredrickson) meets this little girl (Ellie)and they are in awe of this man named Charles Munz. Mr. Munz is an explorer -- who travels to South America in a blimp and collects exotic specimens of animals. Ellie shares her adventure book (scrapbook) with the Carl after he breaks his arm trying to rescue his balloon. She wants to travel to South America. She's written on one whole page the words, "Things I'm going to do."

Carl and Ellie grow up, get married, get jobs (Carl makes balloons and Ellie works in the South American exhibit at the zoo), discover they can't have children, and make plans to travel to South America. They start saving their coins in a jar for the trip, and even paint a picture of their house sitting on Paradise Falls. But as life has a way of doing, a series of bad "blows" mean taking money from the jar to fix a flat tire, help with medical expenses, etc. Pretty soon, time flies, Carl and Ellie are elderly and then -- well u can guess.... (and this is where I was crying during the movie) Ellie gives Carl her adventure book ....

Eventually, construction of a city starts to go up around Carl's house, and the court decides (because of something Carl does that makes him appear to be a harm to others) to ship Carl off to the old folks home. Carl figures what the heck -- he'll tie a lot of balloons to his house, float it away to South America and sit it on Paradise Falls for Ellie's last wish.

What happens next is exciting and thrilling, and scary, and funny -- one big adventure after another, as Carl discovers he has a stowaway on his porch (a Junior Wilderness Explorer named Russell who is trying to earn his last badge for assisting the elderly and has an absentee dad that he longs to see).

The story has a happy ending and there were laughs and oh mys and all the sorts of things you expect in a great movie. It's probably the best movie so far from Pixar -- not so much for the animation but for the storyline. But I couldn't help thinking about Ellie -- and how sad it was that she never got to fulfill her dream of going to Paradise Falls. She got to do lots of other things -- which are shown near the end of the movie -- but her one big dream was never fulfilled.

So where am I going with all this? Well, a verse in Proverbs says that "hope deferred makes a heart sick and that a dream fulfilled is a tree of life" (Pro. 13:12). I once heard Danny Silk (church leader at Bethel Church in Redding, CA) say that there is nothing more exciting than to spend your day working on your dreams, but most of us spend our days working on somebody else's dreams. I've written about all this before, but from the negative perspective of all the things I had planned for my life and how a great deal of them hadn't ever materialized.

After seeing this movie, I realize that a few of my dreams did materialize (having children, living different places, meeting new people) and that perhaps I wasn't looking at my life from the right perspective. Instead of looking at my life and seeing only what's wrong with it -- I ought to be looking at it from the angle of what's right with it. I know -- there is a LOT wrong with it -- but honestly -- I have a great deal for which to be thankful -- just like Ellie. I have two healthy children, I had a great mom who loved me dearly, I have wonderful friends and some very close brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, I don't always have money to pay the bills or make ends meet let alone tie a knot, and some days are filled with a great deal of physical pain -- but all in all -- what matters most is the people, the relationships -- and those are pretty solid.

So what am I complaining about -- and that's basically the message I took away from this movie. That I really have no business complaining because the things that matter most, I have. The other stuff -- and that's all it really is; stuff -- matters little. The real meaning of the title of this movie has very little to do with the house going up -- it has more to do with Carl's attitude looking up -- and that's major -- its all about our attitude!

You know that saying that today is the first day of the rest of your life. It's kind of cheesy really -- but I'm going to look at today as the first day of the rest of my life -- and I'll keep pursuing my dreams to travel and write -- but I won't be looking at them with disappointment and longing if they don't happen. I'll be grateful and happy with the things that do happen and the people that God brings into my life and the joy they give me. My Paradise Falls is right now, today, right here -- every day...