Sunday, October 11, 2015

#PraiseRant/LifeStories - Blonde Hair, Laughter, and Singing

- 1 -

          Saturday night birthday party. I'm getting here VERY late. Completely new environment. Don't know what to expect. Starting to wonder if maybe.....I....shouldn't just.......sneak in and hide in the corner? Just to keep from bothering people with my........tardiness.......I suppose. Actually.... I'm not quite sure what I'm thinking, but I'm a little nervous.

          Haven't even reached the front door yet. Looking inside from the porch, I see a little blonde-haired friend of mine from camp last summer. Her eyes catch mine, and I see them light up like fireworks. She darts toward me through the crowded living room and throws her arms up around my waist in a fierce hug.

"Hi! Wow! What are you doing here?!? I'm so happy! I forget your name!!!"

          Heh. Scratch the "sneak in and hide" idea. No idea why I thought that would work. Her shrill, happy little voice brings with it a rush of people and hugs and laughter. 

Why on earth was I nervous?! 


- 2 -
 
"Hey, Talia?"

"Yeah, what's up?" 

"I'm sorry I teased you yesterday."

"What? You teased me yesterday? I don't remember that......"

"Yeah, when you cut your finger on the bread machine, I shook my finger at you and went 'tsk tsk'. But then later I felt bad about it. So I'm sorry."

*surprised silence and then laughter* "Aw man, you're fine! I knew you were kidding, it's all good!! Thanks though, that was sweet of you."

"Mmmmkay."

~thirty seconds later~

"Hey, Talia?"

"Yes?"

"Were you singing earlier?"

"Yeeeeaaaahhhhh.........why?"

"On a scale of one to ten, it was maybe a 5.5"



...I guess there's only so many things you can feel bad about in one day. XD
      


- 3 -

For joy awakes as dawning light
When Christ’s disciples lift their eyes.

        The lights are on dimly in the audience, so the spotlight isn't fully on the stage. This is worship, not a performance. I listen as she sings the verse, waiting excitedly for the choir to step in behind her. She stands with confidence and joy, but also with a profound depth of humility. What a beautiful heart.

Alive He stands, their Friend and King;
Christ, Christ He is risen! ♪

          The thrill that comes with those words! Oh my goodness, I am so, so, excited. I grip my folder with sweaty hands, looking to the audience to see if they are catching this joy......
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!
Oh, sing hallelujah.
Join the chorus, sing with the redeemed;
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. ♪

The smile will not leave my face as I feel the music rush to my heart.
Here comes my King! Look! The tomb is empty! What great thing has He done?

♪ He is Risen! He's Alive!
He's alive!

He's Alive!
He's alive!

Heaven's gates are open wide! He's Alive!
He's alive!

He's Alive!
He's alive!

Now in heaven glorified! ♪

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!" - Psalm 95:1-6
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are" - 1 John 3:1


Sunday, September 06, 2015

#PraiseRant/LifeStories - Grace, Swing, and Vanilla Lattes

 - 1 -

"Oh, gracious, THANK YOU."  I break into a huge grin as I push my chair back from the computer in relief, throwing my hands in the air staring at the passing score smiling back at me from the middle of the screen. The frustration of a moment before, as I had sat there, hurriedly reviewing my answers, (to the sound of jubilant twenty-somethings out in the hallway yodeling "Happy Birthday" at the top of their lungs), melts away. 

          Ten minutes later, I walk outside, and it is pouring. The world is fresh, the air is clear, and there is no way I'm making it to the car with my hair still looking nice. My favorite weather. I run through the rain, and laugh happily to myself. Inside the car waits my oh-so-wonderfully-patient and beautiful mother, and Silas, who is ready to take me for either a "victory coffee" or a "drown-your-sorrows session". :)

Victory coffee it is! Thank God!

- 2 -

"Hey, you know what would be fun to do with this place?" 

          I hand her her coffee; an americano with a little bit of caramel, just like always. Looking up from the table, she tilts her head forward to peer at me over the rims of her glasses, fingering the large yellow ring on her finger. Bright red lipstick, platinum blonde hair, and the most fabulous accent you could ask for; her seemingly stern countenance is overridden by a twinkle in her eyes.

"Hm? What would that be Missy?"

"Swing dancing. Some Sunday when you're closed, we could push all the tables and chairs against the walls, and have a swing dance party! You've got the perfect setting; smooth wood floor, chandeliers, working sound system, Paris theme...... It would be awesome! You could even rent the place out and make some extra cash or something.... I don't know. I think that would be fun."

          Her expression is one of uncertainty. As the idea turns in her head, I can picture her thinking of all the hassle that one more extra project would do to an already crammed schedule. I'm not overly concerned though. I was just thinking out loud really.

          A new twinkle suddenly glints in her eye, and she catches me with one of her unexpected, brilliant, beautiful smiles. She laughs slightly then turns back to her work. Without looking back at me again, she says,...

"For your wedding."
- 3 -

          From across the table, I watch as he tears the paper wrapper off of a straw, and slides it through the hole on the lid to his coffee. With a straight face, he looks at me, and cautiously sips the hot beverage. A couple seconds go by as I watch him, unimpressed, and he pretends that drinking coffee with a straw is normal. 

          Then suddenly he giggles, and we are both laughing. I clap my hand over my mouth as his head hits the table in a facedesk maneuver, looking around to make sure we aren't disturbing the other coffee shop customers. When I look back, he is grinning out the window. The sunlight catches his eyes, and I can't believe how grown up he has become. Craziness and all, a heart of gold shines through his smile, and I feel a pang of sadness and pride in my heart.

My brother is a man.

- 4 -
     
     
           The cool, moist air blows across my face as we head home through the rain-scented town. A rainbow arches brilliantly across the sky, and from the passenger seat I hear a whisper:

"God has not forgotten us."

Truly, truly, He has not. Oh how blessed we are. 
"Praise the Lord, oh my soul, all my inmost being, praise His holy name!"
We are not forgotten.
Amen.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Life Lesson Repeat: Story Version


          Someone is tickling my foot. My face, (I'm assuming once peaceful and angelic, although maybe just distorted and covered with pillow creases), melts to a grouchy, glare-like expression. (eyes still shut of course, so not exactly a glare). I am not pleased. Not pleased at all. Yes, I love you, but no, I am not excited to see you right now. Waking up never gets easier......

I look at my phone. 5:30. *groan*

Oh? We're going hiking? Now?! WHAT?! At this ungodly hour?!

grump, grumble, gripe

          I get up and walk out of the room. Oh look at that. My comforter is tangled around my ankle and I've dragged it out into the hall. I go to put it back and promptly walk into the wall.

          The family is mostly cheery and awake, and I haven't the foggiest (ha ha) idea of why they can even think at this time of day. Only my brother gives me the Glare of the "Oppressed", his hair tousled and sticking out in odd directions. I glare back at him. We understand each other. It's what makes us such good friends.

Yay. A car ride. It's dark outside. I forgot to eat breakfast.

There's a mountain. Oh that's what we're climbing? ..................................

          It's COLD. Isn't it supposed to be summer? Yes, ok, it is lovely out here, I admit. But at the moment, I'm not sure I have the energy to look at anything but my shoes and the back of my eyelids. (The eyelids are a little more challenging to look at while walking, but I can manage on the flat sections of the path. I've only tripped once so far.........)

Gracious, it's such a steep trail...... I want wings sooo badly right now. Wings that can see where they are going so that the rest of me can sleep while I'm flying.........

* * *

           I look up and see the top of the mountain; there is gold shooting up into the sky, blocked slightly by the trees. Silas makes it first, and stops dead in his tracks. I drag myself up the last slope, and then freeze.

Oh....... Oh.

          I am very much awake now. I want to cry with awe. The glory of the morning lights up the world around me, and the birds break into song. Only the tips of the mountain, including this rise, break through the ocean of clouds; white as the snow, and bright as liquid light, churning and splashing across the sky. It's all too bright to look at, but I can't look away. The clouds below me mist their way up through the tree tops, offering glimpses of the beautiful greenery even further down below.....

The city can't see this. The city is so dark. But what glory is above it!


          I scramble up to the highest rock, and feel the world spread around me. It makes me feel small, very small. But at the moment it is the best feeling in the whole world. I am small, and my God is BIG! And he gave this all to me for my joy, despite my selfishness and lack of gratitude. Grinning, He spread it all out, and painted it with light, and then brought me up at the perfect time to see it. He took delight in showing me. ME. Of all people......Wow.

          It's so beautiful. Powerful. Gentle. Awesome. The breeze rumples the boys' hair. EdenJoy sits silhouetted against the dawn-lit sky, looking down at the birds and mist. Creation sings to it's Creator, and carries my heart with it. What did I ever do to deserve this awe and delight? Nothing. Nothing at all.

Gracious. I need to get over myself. Ha!

It's 7:00. A beautiful hour. A new day. And the grace of God is mine for the taking.


Wednesday, April 01, 2015

It's April!

Happy April Fools everybody. Don't let anyone put salad dressing in your shampoo bottle.  -_-

#totallynotspeakingfromexperience
#brotherisgoingtodie
#needgoodideas

Monday, March 16, 2015

Eyes to See

You can learn a lot about a person from their eyes that goes far beyond words.

"I'm fine" doesn't always mean "I'm fine." Sometimes you look up and find that the joy is missing; lost in deep wells of pain that hurt your heart to see.

"I love you." You see the laughter, and your heart catches the sparkle. It grows and branches, and fills your whole body with a dancing happiness, that shines then from your own eyes as well.

"How are you?" Sometimes, when spoken, this is simply a filler; a solution to awkward silences. But sometimes, the warmth of the question unspoken is overwhelming; the kindness and concern reaching through as a balm to the soul, and the kindling of friendship.

     Every emotion and story under the sun can be found encircled by frames of blue, green, brown, and grey.

     Even in strangers, you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the heart, just by smiling and looking them in the eyes. Honestly, try this sometime. Look at the eyes of the people you pass on the street, or at the store, or in a home. Look at the eyes of a child playing with her stuffed animals. Or an elderly man sitting in the back row at church. It adds a life to that person; a depth of humanity that you miss when you don't take time to see. It can be both joyful and sorrowful, but it is always beautiful.

     Think about it. Every. single. human being you ever see or meet is known by God, inside and out, through and through. That person is His masterpiece. Loved. Cherished. Wanted.

     We walk by these people everyday, and rarely notice them. We take the presence of a friend for granted. But each one is a miracle. How can we not love them? That is our call as believers. Jesus saw people for who they were, loved them, felt their pain, and shared their joys. And he wants us to follow in His footsteps. Isn't that beautiful? I want to see that. I want to know that beauty.

Look around and see the glory of this creation. Step out and see what God sees.

Take it to heart and give thanks.