Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Name That Flower

The Butterfly Circus

I am going to break with recent tradition and forego today's Wordsmith post.  I'm kinda partial to the tradition, so this is not a permanent abandonment.

A couple years ago, I gave an endorsement for the film, Bella, and its star, Eduardo Verastegui.  The stories of both the film and the actor are compelling.  May I suggest you pursue both?!  (The links I provided previously have expired, but you can Google his name and find loads of information.)

In the meantime, I was introduced last night to this short film, The Butterfly Circus, which also stars Verastegui and whose story beautifully conveys the power of The Gospel (thanks, Alicia!).  It's 20 minutes long, but I'm pretty sure you won't regret watching it.

Seeing this, prompted me to investigate what the actor is doing these days.  Seems he's the real deal...only accepting acting jobs that don't conflict with his beliefs, and doing good works in Darfur and Haiti, among other places.  I don't know about you, but I find it particularly uplifting to find someone in the public eye who chooses to boldly swim against the tide.  

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Do Not Fear

I climbed onto the first platform with only the slightest twinge of hesitation.  No fear...just a fleeting thought that maybe I was foolish not to be afraid, and a passing question whether I might be suddenly and unexpectedly stricken with panic.  Perhaps I'm not so bold as I used to be and am deceiving myself with a long-standing bravado which I no longer possess.

The native guide, whose only English seemed to consist of, "No brake", didn't allow much time for musing.  He quickly fastened me to the line and shoved me off the platform.  In spite of the fact that I obeyed his "No brake!" order, I cruised, rather than zipped, down the first line into the Costa Rican jungle.

I discovered, to my relief, that I really wasn't afraid afterall.  The fearless, risk-taking version of my younger self still lives! 

At the other end of the line, another native was waiting and wondering what I thought.  "Too slow!" I answered.  He was a bit surprised and offered me the option of taking the next run upside down.  He was even more surprised when I answered with a resounding "YES!"

The whole experience was delightful for me.  The zip lining, the rappelling, the climbing, the scenery...truly delightful.

Later that evening, alone with my thoughts (a scary place to be at times), I began to wonder, "Is there something wrong with me that an experience like this generates absolutely no fear in me?"

Sure, when I was 17 and rappelling in Chattanooga, I had entrusted my life to a couple of "responsible" 19-year-old males without much thought for my life.  But isn't that characteristic of youngsters who subconsciously view themselves as invincible?  But what about now?  I have children who, on some level, still need their Momma (don't they?).  I've also spent years nurturing my life-long tendency toward skepticism and cynicism, both of which normally leave me suspicious and untrusting of people.   So why in the world would I unhesitatingly trust my physical life to complete strangers with whom I can not even communicate on a basic level?  I can't answer that question!  Maybe I'm missing those brain cells that are designed to signal danger...I don't know.  Maybe I'm less frightened by physical death than the "living death" that sometimes results from trusting others with my heart and soul.

What I do know, is that I wish I could learn to be that trusting in other areas of my life!  Most of the time, I don't even trust the know, the Sovereign Faithful One who repeatedly declares, "Do not fear!"  He has proven Himself time after time to be thoroughly trustworthy.  Yet still, I find myself afraid of where He might lead me, where He might allow me to go, what trials He might send me (either by way of my own foolishness, or by His own omniscient hand).

Surely by now I should know, from His Word, from His ways with His people, and from my own observation and experience, that I need not be afraid!  That which seems frightening or insurmountable today may very well be the means by which He exalts Himself, or humbles me, or brings someone else to acknowledge His glory.   His intentions toward me are not ill and He can be trusted! 

I KNOW this.  But my self-absorbed, short-sighted vision blinds me to His inscrutable purposes and often leaves me fearful.  Yet how much more has He proven Himself worthy of being trusted than some young Costa Rican tour guide whose character is unknown to me, but into whose hands I readily placed my life...and death!

Do I not believe that:

He has graven me on the palm of His hand!

He gathers me to himself as a hen does her chicks!

He is my Shepherd who leads me on a level path!

He is with me when I pass through deep waters and flames!

He hides and covers me under the shadow of His wings!

He is a strong tower into which I can run and be safe!

I want to learn to trust Him as naturally and easily as I trusted Manuel to get me safely through the jungle!  I want to be able to boldly declare with the Psalmist:

"God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore, I will not fear...though the earth gives way and the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea; though the waters roar and foam; though the mountains tremble at their swelling." 

Those are some pretty drastic circumstances in which to proclaim, "I will not fear!"  But His promises to be with me, to lead me, to carry me, to deliver me, are many and sure!  I have no reason to fear and every inducement to be still and rest in Him. 

May it be so.  

Monday, June 28, 2010

Leisurely Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...the night's thunderstorms reduced the temperature by about 20 degrees, bringing some much needed relief to STL!

Around the house...the upstairs of this Cape Cod house we live in (and which I happen to love) is 8-12 degrees warmer than the main floor.  Are window units our only solution?  Anyone...?

From the kitchen...Walmart is now selling Thomas thin bagels and they are fantastic!  They are perfect for sandwiches and even better than perfect when toasted.  Much better than the full-size bagels.

A favorite thing...early morning walks when the world is still a-bed.

I am wearing...a loose gray frock...sort of a glorified "moo-moo."  Ya'll know what moo-moo's are?

I am hearing...the buzz of the overhead flourescent lights.

I am creating...still working on that OT timeline for my Sunday School classroom.

I am thinking...that this will be the final installment of the Leisurely Woman's Daybook (unless you talk me out of it).  I'm ready for something new and fresh.

I am thankful for..."Garfield's" grandma, Mary B., who has poured herself into him and is responsible for much of his character and knowledge.

Plans for my training...catching up with Alicia (I didn't forget...yet) planning with my CIB friend...gardening...Cardinals game.

A photo/video I am sharing:  "I wouldn't say I'm real good...but I'm pretty good."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Testosterone Required, Part 2

In light of Tuesday's post, I thought I'd share a little wisdom from G.K. Chesterton about men and competition:

"It may be said that in masculine sports and games, there is definite emulation and eclipse.  There is indeed emulation, but this is only an ardent sort of equality.  Games are competitive, because that is the only way of making them exciting.  If anyone doubts that men must forever return to the ideal of equality, it is only necessary to answer that there is such a thing as a handicap.  If men exulted in mere superiority, they would seek to see how far such superiority would go; they would be glad when one strong runner came in miles ahead of all the rest.  But what men like is not the triumph of superiors, but the struggle of equals; and therefore, they introduce even into their competitive sports an artificial equality."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordsmith Wednesday

Once again, I tried the synonyms of synonyms of synonyms experiment, taking it to the third degree this time. 

Orange = synonyms of "Relinquish"
Green = synonyms of the Orange
Yellow = synonyms of the Green

(disavow: abjure, disown, gainsay)
(desert: strand, maroon, vacate, jilt, reject: shun, veto, rebuff)
(repudiate: disclaim, spurn: disdain)
(capitulate: accede, relent:  soften, ease, mitigate, slacken, acquiesce: consent, defer, concur)
(yield: grant)
(submit, comply: assent, respect, adhere, conform)
(deny: controvert, refute, repudiate)

Another way of saying "RELINQUISH" is "LET IT GO"...and nobody says "LET IT GO" better than The Zac Brown Band!  So here's a little Wordsmith bonus for you today:  the quality of this clip isn't great, but it's the best I could find.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gen Y

It's been awhile since I posted a Generation Y song, but I have to share this one.  Usually, these come from my boys, but I was introduced to Death Cab by a young gal at church (DD).  Thanks, Mari. 

The video is a bit odd, but the song is beautiful.

Testosterone Required

I go to the pool to indulge my vain side, soak up a little vitamin D, and hopefully add some color to this Snow White skin of mine.  Sit.  Recline.  Read.  Sleep.  Chill.

Not so with the Shaffer boys.  Their first...and I might add, ONLY...agenda upon arriving at the pool is to beat each other at something.  They're gamers.  All 3 of 'em.

Son #1 relies on talent and instinct. (far right) 

Son #2 relies on agility and strength.  (far left) 

The Father relies on experience and intelligence.

Jumping, racing, diving...rings, golf tees, noodles...the method and means vary...but nearly any inanimate object can be transformed into an occasion for competition.  This is the way they occupied themselves this Father's Day:

Diving for Golf Tees

Experience and Intelligence
Trumps Skill & Strength

Who Can Catch the Most Rings at Once?

Even photos become an opportunity to one-up each other.  Whose bicep is biggest?  (mine, of course, but I didn't make it into the pic).  Whose six-pack is more pronounced?  Who's taller?  Oi-vay.  Wherever they go, whatever they do, the testosterone always prevails.

Can I take a nap now?  Just wonderin'.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Leisurely Woman's Daybook

In a word...

Outside my window...ninety-seven.

From the kitchen...limeade.

Around the house...quiet.

A favorite thing...brevity.

I am

I am hearing...air-conditioner.

I am thinking about...teaching.

I am creating...timeline.

I am thankful for...sunshine.

Plans for my week...tutoring.

A photo/video I am sharing:  Lola.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

You Know You're In Mid-Life When...

You know you're in mid-life when:

You can't find your reading glasses...which happen to be on top of your head.

You are on a walk 15 minutes from home/shelter, you hear the tornado siren begin to wail, and your first thought is, "Bring it."

Your 16-year-old son calls you from the driveway to tell you he's been waiting for you in the car for 15 minutes because you said you'd be "right out"...but you had completely forgotten.

Your self-image gets a significant boost because the twenty-something garbage truck driver honked at you on your walk.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Taking a Break

Sorry for my lack of discipline in blogging lately!  I am heading out of the country for a few days, but plan to pick up where I left off in a week or two.  Don't forget about me. ;-)