Mirror

Source: http://hitechanalogy.com/wp-content/uploads/Bbo-Robot-Mirror.png

I just finished a mega cuppa and “The Help”, and with the new year 63 minutes away, I have a little time to set the stage for the new year ahead. Whether or not others are blogging about the same thing is of little consequence to me; I write for myself and not for them, but I welcome you along for the ride–if you don’t mind the scratches on the hood and the duct tape on the seats. Emily Dickinson wrote that “the soul must always stand ajar”, so if you’re okay with both the manicured lawns and the wild tumbleweed within this writer, read on.

59 minutes. The fireworks are already going off around my neighborhood. The clock in my kitchen ticks down every fading second while my cat sleeps away, oblivious. 58 minutes.

I recently read about a young man who took Psalm 90:12 quite literally, calculating his estimation of how long he’d live and then marking off each day in succession. He’d wake up every morning to a new number, each one smaller than the one before. With our days being numbered, why in the world would we be content to wade in the kiddie pool when the wild ocean is right around the corner? Julien Smith, in his book, The Flinch, says that people who live the same way their whole lives might as well be replaced with robots.

Look in the mirror. Do it right now.

 

 

If you didn’t look in a mirror, quit reading until you have.

 

Now, what do you see? Do you see R2D2? C3PO? Millenium Man? Rosey?

I didn’t think so. You see yourself, extra wrinkles, double chins, acne, smile lines, freckles, and all. You see the image of God in you. You were not born to walk around, repeating and then following commands at the behest of your owner. You were born to be the reflection of God Almighty on this earth–the living, breathing, loving, giving, creating God–and you were born to bodysurf the crazy waves, be knocked down sometimes, get your  mouth so full of salt water that you nearly choke, and then get back up, yelling, “LET’S DO IT AGAIN!”

I pulled out my keyboard today for the first time in over a year, and I began to play again. Playing the piano had been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, but we moved around so much that it was difficult to find a steady teacher. I finally found one when I was 12, and she let me borrow her keyboard to practice. That Christmas, God sent someone to our door with a brand new Casio, saying that he was moving to Mexico and couldn’t fit the keyboard in his trailer. That keyboard was a thing of beauty, and I played my heart out on it until it was stolen just over a year later. A friend found out about it and gave me hers. While I lived in Honduras, I took lessons again and was given a my favorite Christmas song, “O, Holy Night”, to accompany the choir for Christmas. I practiced hard, excited to play in public for the first time and anxious to honor God with that gift. When I stumbled a bit during practice, however, my teacher told me I wouldn’t be allowed to accompany.

I quit playing for four years. When I picked it back up again in college, my teacher all but told me that I was a rhythmic idiot and derided me constantly about my playing. (While I found out later that this was the same teacher who’d written my piano textbook as his thesis and failed to received his doctorate for failing to include a table of contents, I felt a little better, but at the time, it was no encouragement to play.) Even still, I’d find the piano in the WTAMU student center and play between classes or join Jayme at Chi Alpha and play duets as often as I could. But that was the last year I played…until today. My friend Daisy had given me a keyboard over a year ago, and I had hardly touched it until another friend, Melissa, dared me to get the keyboard out and play until I remembered a song.

I played my favorite Dvorak piece tonight, “Largo” from “New World Symphony”.

34 minutes.

What are you going to do with the time you’ve been given, both in the new year and beyond? What if tonight is all you have? What will you have to show for the last night of your life? Will you have reflected your Creator by using what He’s given you and creating? Or will you put it off until tomorrow, until it becomes next week, next month, next semester, next year, …never?

If I can pick up playing the piano again, with God’s help, you can awaken the dormant gifts within you, as well. 31 minutes. What’s your move?

Look back into that mirror. If you see anything but a robot, you have no excuse.

Advertisements

Twenty Things I’ve Learned from My Father

It’s my dad’s 50th birthday today, so this post is dedicated to him.

My dad on Christmas day (Photo courtesy of Amanda Kuykendall)

Some of the things my dad has taught me:

  1. How to ride a bike without training wheels
  2. How to check the oil in my car and how to take care of my tires
  3. To appreciate James Taylor, CCR, The Doobie Brothers, Kansas, The Eagles, and even Kenny Rogers
  4. NOT to Armor-All my car 🙂
  5. How to make a cup of coffee (This one is of paramount importance in my life!)
  6. How to handle people who are mean to me: In third grade, some of the girls in my class were being catty and had hurt my feelings. Dad told me about how when he was little, he would give a candybar to people who were mean to him. I gave the girls M&Ms as a gesture of kindness, a turning of the other cheek. Now, I don’t give candy to the meanies anymore, but I learned through this that sometimes, the quickest way to knock an enemy off his feet is to show him the love of Christ through kindness.
  7. How to do doughnuts on the ice in a parking lot…when I was ten (I’ve NEVER tried this, though!) 🙂
  8. To walk away from a fight in order to avoid saying or doing something I’d regret later
  9. How to do the airplane dance (inside joke)
  10. How to make do and make merry with whatever I have, wherever I am
  11. That little girls deserve roses, too
  12. What to do when I get the dreadful blue screen on a PC
  13. How to use a hammer and screwdriver
  14. How to work hard and keep working
  15. That while the Army gets the beans, the Army is still the best (HOOAH!)
  16. That the best way to annoy a little brother and to stop him from bugging me is to ignore his teasing (I love you, bud!)
  17. That when God calls, no matter where it is, you obey, no matter the cost
  18. When you are taking your vehicle, full of your entire family’s possessions, through customs in Puerto Cortes, Honduras, the best day to do it is during the World Cup, and the best way to get around their “one box” policy is to duct tape cardboard around the entire inside of the truck to make it all one box.
  19. That finishing what you start brings honor to God (He finishes his degree this coming summer!!!!)
  20. That roots are what you make of them, be they family or places

I could go on for hours, really. I’ve been truly blessed with a Godly man as a father, one who has shown me a glimpse of what the heart of my heavenly Father looks like.

I love you, Dad. Happy birthday!

~Your princess

City of Arts

The Spartanburg Skyline

Since today was absolutely beautiful outside, I decided to drive around and take pictures of some of the art that abounds in Sparkle City. Thanks to Hub-Bub, a local nonprofit dedicated to cultivating community in Spartanburg through the Arts, the city has blossomed into the incredible arts ganglion it is now.

Here’s a little of what I discovered today.

___________________________________________

A church founded by bikers

  

 ___________________________________________

    Graffiti Wall on the East End 

___________________________________________

Graffiti on River Road 

___________________________________________

Hub-Bub Parking Lot

___________________________________________

Hub City Art Park near downtown

___________________________________________

Tree Shadows

(Come on, you knew I had to put trees in here somewhere!) 🙂

___________________________________________

I dare you to go outside one day this week and hunt for something to photograph. You’ll find incredible treasures if you take the time–I just know it! If you do, blog about it and comment below with the link so we can all see. Have fun!

Drums

I’ve disliked “The Little Drummer Boy” for as long as I can remember. I know, I know, that’s almost sacrilege when it comes to Yuletide tunes, but I can’t help it. I think it has to do with the repetitive “Pa rum pum pum pum” or something. But for some reason, rather than turning the song off when it came up on my playlist on Christmas Eve of this year, I kept it playing. And then I got it. I really got it.

As the story goes, this little boy found out about the arrival of God incarnate, born in a cave in Bethlehem because nowhere else in town had room. Knowing that anyone going to see a king simply must have a gift, the little boy considered his belongings and realized that while others were bringing money, spices, and earthly treasures, he had no physical possessions to offer the King of Kings. He did, however, know how to play his drum. “I’ll play my best for You”, he told Jesus, and he did.

Much of our world seems to have little room for Christ, and even His followers relegate Him to a cave of darkness within their hearts at times, leaving the mansions and Holiday Inns of our souls for those less worthy. Then we realize our mistake and try to bring Him costly things to make up for the damage we’ve done. Meanwhile, the true gifts He has placed within us lie dormant, sinking into the quicksand of passivity and ambivalence.

In Matthew 5, Jesus tells those who’d just heard His sermon on the mount, ” You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”

In her book, Faery Tale, Signe Pike writes, “When you have a gift and you stifle it, it will consume you.” The prophet Jeremiah said, “But if I say, ‘I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,’ then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it.” (20:9)

What if the very way that God has given you to be the light to the world is the very thing you’ve hidden under a basket out of fear, laziness, passivity, or ambivalence? What if that figurative drum He’s given you to play is the very thing that will bring another wretch like you (and me) to a redeeming knowledge of Christ and to freedom? Will you be found playing your best for Him or sitting on a tree stump outside the cave, pouting over not having a gift to bring, wasting away on your rear end while others enjoy the company of the King?

Who says we need a new year to begin before we make the decision to play our drums for the King so that others will see the light in us and glorify Him?

So, what do you say? Will you join me? Let this be the day that you put on those ballet slippers, pick up that pen, take that guitar down off the wall, pull out that sewing machine from the attic, warm up those rusty vocal chords, dig out that 35mm, or unearth the language learning materials, and speak life and breath into the dry bones within you so that, together, we can become an army of light-bearers to an ever-darkening world. It’s time to play our drums.