Which Kind of Hobbit Are You?

I’m still sick. Anyone out there who hasn’t yet fallen to the flu, the virus, the cold this year? Care to pass along your secret?

I went and saw the Hobbit last Saturday, that may be where I picked up this bug. I totally identified with Bilbo Baggins’ hesitation to leave the comforts of his home. I think I talk adventure way more than I seek it.

And I don’t want to hole myself up at home–that is after I’m feeling better. For those of you who know me, you know that I have been hobbit-shirish for quite awhile. And I don’t believe that God wants me to stay there any longer, which means change is on the horizon.

I started reading the book of Exodus this morning and I’m looking forward to the Israelites journey to freedom from the Egyptians. I know there will be resistance in both the hearts of the Egyptians and the Israelites. Will my heart likewise resist the changes on the horizon?

I’ve been feeling closed in, oppressed in this time of life, yet God wants me to be fruitful and spread abroad. But I must be willing to spread abroad. Like Bilbo Baggins I must gather my things and be willing to go where God’s journey takes me. And if I’m sitting at home in oppression, dreaming of and longing for adventure, but refuse to spread abroad in the land where God has me, then what I am?

I want to seek adventure, not just long for it, not just watch others’ adventures unfold before me, but embrace the one God has for me. I want to be a hobbit bound for adventure come what may.

What about you? Are you an adventure seeker or a hobbit holed in?

 

 

 

 

 

 

1rst Grade Memory

I’ve been re-visiting a first grade concept lately, saving it for a rainy blog day. Today was a sick on the couch watching movies day. My head’s a bit fuzzy but hopefully I can articulate my thought.

When I was in first grade we spent some time studying emotions by talking about warm fuzzies and cold pricklies. It should come to no surprise that we turned them into an art project. I kept mine, they’re stored in a scrapbook somewhere in an unpacked box.

The warm fuzzy was bright and cheery and happy and made you feel good. Cold pricklies of course did the opposite.

I’ve been wondering lately which I have and give off more of. I’d like to say I have way more warm fuzzies, but I don’t think that is necessarily the case. More often than not in the current cramped quarters of my life, I’m hurling out cold pricklies.

So how are warm fuzzies acquired?  Spiritually, turning my thoughts on God, on Christ, and digging into the Word more. And praise. Praising God can quadruple my warm fuzzies in no time.

Cold pricklies can multiply way faster than warm fuzzies, especially when things are not going quite the way you want them to. Cold pricklies remind me of frightened porcupines shooting their quills out at what gets too close. Okay, I may be making that up, but honestly I’m too tired to open a new tab and research porcupine quills at this moment.

So which do you have more of lately, warm fuzzies or cold pricklies?  Is there a relevant art project from your own childhood that addresses something in your current life?

Creative Viral Outbreak

I’m coming down with a virus and I would like you to get it too.

Okay, my throat is a bit scratchy and I’m drinking herbal tea, but that’s not what I’m referring to. No, I’m talking about an outbreak of creativity.

I had time tonight to play my guitar and sing songs, both mine and others’, really loud and to my heart’s content. And most of them were directed toward God. It felt great, it had been much too long since I had done that, and my heart needed to sing and praise and sing and praise some more.

I’m inviting you to be creative before the LORD in a viral kind of way, where it is infectious and spreads rapidly among the masses. I can hear some of you already, “But I’m not creative!” Baloney.

God gifted us all in unique ways and created us to create, and in that creating to give Him glorious praise back. Do I know what it looks like in you? No, but I bet that if you’d ask God, He would show you something you already do that is creative and that you can do before Him.

We were created by Elohim, the Creator, to create and give Him glory. So I’m passing along my virus to you and hoping that you become infected.

Questions (which usually means give an answer, AKA:  I would like to hear your response, please comment):

What does losing yourself creatively look like for you? How do you give it back to God? How can you spread the creative virus to others?

Way Back Machine

I have begun my 47, 329 job search, or so it seems. In reality, if I had to guess, probably about 45.

I am one of those lucky ones who never equipped themselves with a useful degree. My degree? English Literature, non-education. I read a book entitled something like 500 Ways to Screw Up Your Life. Number 18 or 20 (it’s been years since I’ve read it and I’m not even sure the title is correct) was get a degree in English Literature.

I’ve had far too many jobs and most of them not at all cool. (Is cool still a cool word to use, or am I revealing my age yet again?) I’ve dabbled in this and that and my work experience never fits in the space.

I sought professional advice on job searching and was told to make my resume specific for each job I applied for. This is fine if you have worked in and want to stay in the same field. This is a nightmare for a wandering journey girl who’s moved around the country looking for anything that sounded interesting or simply filled the gap, all dependent on circumstances.

Today I rooted through a room full of boxes to uncover the tattered chest of my employment history. I might as well have stepped into a way back machine. As I looked through the list of jobs, I was there, re-living each one. My brain’s having a hard time emerging back to the present and I’m wondering how I can shape the sprawling mass of paper and memories into current, relevant, efficient, effectively managed material that will help me pursue my dream job. . .

Well, not really, because my dream job is writing fiction and I’m already doing that on the side, for now, just until I make it big time, and then I can list published author as one of my accomplishments on a resume.

What job from your past seems totally ridiculous to you now and how is it relevant to where you are now? (Caution, the way back machine can get a little bumpy from time to time.)

Cafe Deja Vu

As soon as I stepped in the door, I knew I had been there before, even though I hadn’t.

Immediately warmth enveloped me. I felt at home. I chose where to sit amidst cozy, mismatched furniture and sipped my cappuccino, listening to singer songwriter music, my favorite.

And all the while I was reminded of a coffee shop I had been to before in Yellow Springs, OH. Or was it Indianapolis, IN? Bar Harbor, ME? Noblesville, IN?

The Village Idiot, a coffeeshop in a house somewhere around the north part of Indianapolis when I was in college. I thought, this is the type of place I would own if I owned a coffeeshop. But of course it would have to be tea.

What is it that called to me so much about the place? I’ve been socked in with fog for days. Damp gloom. But I felt it lift away from my spirit as I sat there journaling, dreaming, questioning.

It felt homey, more so than the rental I currently reside in. Maybe it was about escape, or perhaps just a break up of weary, oppressive routine. Either way my mind drifted easily to other chapters of my life, seemingly simpler times, although I know that each chapter had its own struggles and obstacles to persevere through and overcome. As does my current chapter, LORD help me.

Have you ever been somewhere new and found yourself swept away to a past chapter of your life? What was it about the place that whisked you off?

 

In Search Of . . . Part 3

If you could travel to any time in history where would you go?

I’ve always imagined myself a pioneer making my way across the frontier of the west. And I don’t know why I prefer that time. Maybe it has something to do with those wide, open spaces. Places where dreams have opportunities to flourish and spread.

I refuse to kid myself. I know that pioneer women had it rough and I honestly doubt I would have made it. I mean, I’ve played the Oregon Trail computer game numerous times and only made it all the way maybe twice.

The thing is, there’s just too many darn unpredictable problems that can and will arise. Just when the woman finally settled in her sod house then she encountered Indians or wildfire or cattle thieves or crop destruction or death or anything else to shake any sense of home she might have finally felt.

Okay, well I guess I am a pioneer woman. I’m in a place of wide, open spaces these days. I’m in a place to dust off some dreams and let them flourish and spread. But the thing is, there’s just too many darn unpredictable problems that can and will arise. What’s a pioneer to do?

They kept going. They moved again, rebuilt, re-planted, armed themselves and tried to be better prepared for next time, all the while hoping and working toward their goals.

I am slowly moving across these plains of life heading for heaven’s frontier. Challenges will continue to pop up. But I must keep hoping, keep working, keep moving forward in my faith. My Shepherd tells me to be in search of the Kingdom of God here and now. Who knows when and how it will reveal itself!

So I am a pioneer woman, in search of. . .  God country. The trail is calling again.

flowerroad

For discussion:  Which is more appealing to you, time travel or slipping into the world of a favorite fictional book? Where would you go?

 

In Search Of . . . Part 2

Overcome by beauty. I’m listening to David Nevue piano music as I write this. Soft, whispering notes lift my soul to sway in the breeze, refreshing and making me new.

Wanting to hold on to the moment of this song, despite the dog barking at the door to get in, the draft hitting my back in this century old house and the ongoing list of things I should and need to do. And like that it is gone.

But who’s to say it was never there? Trees hear trees falling in the forest. God hears my heart falling in the dark.

And He lifts me up in these little snippets of time where, for an instant, I tune in to Him.

But we have to search for Him. He’s not missing, just hiding. Or is it us hiding behind things that obstruct our view of Him?

Almighty God, You are so beautiful in each of our lives. Help us to see You. Help us to know You more.

How often do we stop ourselves from seeing Him, seeing His goodness? It overflows out of the endless fountain of abundance that is His love for me, for you.

And now the song Just As I Am is playing instrumentally and I thank God for the Presbyterian experience of singing this song as a child, so that as it plays now, the words sing silently in my mind.

He meets me right where I am. Failures exposed. Sins on the surface. He hurls our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19, NIV)

In my search for God’s goodness I continually find myself falling into His grace.

What overcomes you with its beauty? Can you see the invisible line that connects to the Father, to the Son, to the Spirit, and back to you?

I would love to hear about your own in search of experience.

 

 

 

In Search Of . . .

Remember the Leonard Nimoy show that ran from 1976-1982 called In Search Of? (I love google, so handy with all its quick information.) I remember watching it from time to time as a kid.

One of the episodes I will never forget is when he went to Pompeii. I think it was the first time I had ever seen the remains of the ash encrusted city. I can still see in my mind the tables laid out for a meal, the people statues who didn’t escape the volcano’s force.

I’m not really sure what brought that all to mind. Maybe it was the fact that I’ve been kind of searching for myself the last few days. Old photographs bringing to light chapters of my life long since passed.

My insignificant life is not all that much more significant than those entombed in Pompeii, except I have more stuff to cart around and less of a sense of community these days in this season of a moving transition.

Yesterday I traveled a distant path of my past to collage out my own in search of moment. Here goes. In Search of . . . Myself, Part 1.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

The words are:  Looking for maps, opening, platform, initiative, logic

Is a faster solution for this issue available, scalable

Big step for Laura in application

I could go into the long drawn out meaning behind these words but I’m not going to. Summarized, I am questioning where I am.

Lighter, ending questions:

  • Did you ever watch In Search of . . .?
  • Which episode do you remember?
  • When’s the last time you collaged for yourself and not for a school project?

 

 

Symphonic Praise

I’m writing a symphony of praise. I’m no composer, though I’ve been known to write a song or two, but that was just me and my guitar.

I work on it everyday, whether I acknowledge it or not. Some days it sounds out in a minor key. Other days it’s in a major key.

Staccato notes pop up short and sweet from time to time, crisp and rhythmic. These are the quick moments of praise sent up to my heavenly Father for little blessings and gifts. The beautiful sunset revealing His majesty. Praise for the finishing of a task. The encouragement of a friend.

Then there are the low, bassy, whole notes, the ongoing, underlying praise that comes from deep within me, often times overlooked. But when I’m listening for them, I can distinguish those notes of praise easily enough. God is good. He is love. He created me for His purpose.

And there are measures of silence called rests. Moments when the best praise to God I can give is to be silent, to rest in His presence.

I have trills where I quickly go back and forth on a couple of different praises. There are runs of consecutive notes of praise, tying together, and also repeating phrases of praise. Key changes and tempo changes are also at the ready depending on my day.

Today I wrote in several measures of rest as I sat in a sunbeam, dozing and praising God for His warmth and light in my life. Habakkuk 3:17-19 came to mind. I read it and praised God more.

Lord, You are so good to me.

What do you think about this concept of praise?

 

 

12 Foot Breaker

A 12′ breaker hit the shore of my life today. I was going along just fine, or so I thought, when out of the blue a huge breaker crashed in on my life.

And if that weren’t enough, it brought with it dozens of driftwood logs, forcing me to deal with big things I had long since pushed away from me in the ocean of my life.

I’d like to say I grabbed a surf board and cowabunga’ed my way over it. But I’d be lying.

Instead I was flooded with past memories amidst a constant downpour of tears. I was dazed. I was caught off guard and didn’t know which way to turn, so I turned to my old habit of running away from the pain.

I drove and prayed and cried. I stood silent on the edge of the water. I wanted to connect with the crane down shore from me. But we both kept our solitary distance. I had a few moments of peace. Fragmented lavendar pieces of shell lay all around my feet.

Even here, facing these things, God had given me gifts of beauty.

I must deal with the driftwood logs now, one at a time. Each log bears a deadened, crushing, water-logged weight in my life.

God help me.

Have you ever had a day like this? How did you get through it?