30 August 2006

Credit where credit is due

I need to come clean. Again. I love pictures. I especially love pictures of things I've seen with my very own eyes, or of places where I've traveled, or of people that I love. But I don't take many pictures. In fact, I don't even know where I last put my camera. (I suppose it might turn up when I clean my bedroom).

Many explanations, or likely excuses spring to mind about the picture thing. The best I can offer is that I hang out with really excellent photographers. Really. My friend Beth is one of the best I know, AND she has really good cameras. My sister Hildred also possesses a great eye and captures incredible moments through her cameral lens. Cindy, another fabulous photographer, is also a great friend. I just discovered how good a co-worker of mine is behind the camera. (Way to go Tom. I'm impressed.) A new friend, Julia, also contributes to my appreciation for good photographers because of some fun and stunning photographs she's shared. And Karla, despite her busy life, often impresses me with her eye and the things she finds time to capture on film. And then there's John's photographic art. And Karen, And Juanito. See, the list just grows.

Which leads me to my point: credit. Thus far, all the photos on my blog are from other people. Those named above. And likely, that's where my pictures will continue to come from. So it's best I admit it now. And offer them necessary credit. You guys are great. Your photos rock. So, thanks. You deserve credit and honor and respect and fame. Yes. When u're famous, perhaps people will remember that they saw your work on my lil blog. Ya think? Well. I'll at very least give u credit. We'll start with that!!!
(For the record, today's pix is one of my sister Hildred's offerings, from our parents yard in Seattle last summer. Glorious!)

28 August 2006

Ten inches in Five Hours

Dear reader, today's post might be enhanced by the following blog reading suggestion:
hum the melody of Jars of Clay Flood...better yet, load it in your I-tunes, or some such computer music player, blast it...and then envision the scenario of six adults and six children trapped in 8 person, 13 x 13 Coleman tent for five + hours while the rain thoroughly trounced every square inch of "our" camping area. In fact, as we sat in our tent, entertaining the 6 wee ones, aged four and under, thunder nearly trampled us with crashing force, and the lightning more than illuminated our faces for brief, bright seconds.

But what I started to describe was the impact of the water. While Hurricane Katrina victims experienced utter devastation, perhaps for one minute we understood some of magnificent force of the water as the rain created a raging river (or at very least a furious stream) beneath our tent where it felt like we were sitting on puddles, and then more clearly on shifting waterbeds. I'm sorry my words can't do justice to the affect. But it was amazing. And truly unforgettable. Certainly, for my second camping experience, this weekend tops my list of memorable moments. Check out my friend's account ,(I'm actually not sure if that link will even work...but if it doesn't take you there, u should paste the link http://jkmoore.ath.cx/weblog/pivot/entry.php?id=914#comm, b/c it's worth the read.)

Aside from the storm, the delight of sharing life encircling a campfire, in the raw and not always hospitable elements, around a picnic table, and even confined in a conjested tent captivates me and invigorates my heart and soul. Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? Well, life definitely plays out in surprising and wonderful ways. Grace resides there too. Thank God!

24 August 2006

graceless conversation

i remembered today, that the first day of my blog, (is that pathetic that I'm tracking time by when I started my blog?) I had this crazy conversation at work. Someone had misinterpreted an email I had sent. With great intentions they quickly invited someone into a conference call. And my first reaction was pathetic and nearly over the top. I'm recalling I said something like this, "What? She invited her into the conference call???? That's not what I wanted. I think she's ruining my life!"

Now, I'm banking that someone else out there exhibits some ridiculous overreactions like the above. (Why do we rejoice when others are as complicated and/or depraved as we are??) But I wonder, will the day arrive when I respond in patience and grace instead of in panic and judgment? Oh please give me hope. I don't think "calgon, take me away" can solve this one.

22 August 2006

rattle and hum

Confessions: my car has been rattling so loudly and consistently that I've been embarassed to drive it. How pathetic is that? There were moments I had my music up so loud in my denial that my car needed repair. Of course I couldn't ignore the stares from my other drivers, pedestrians, not to mention my passengers. But I tried. I attempted to pretend that I didn't notice the stares OR the relentless rattle.

What drives my pattern of pretense and denial? It isn't the grace and knowledge that I'm a precious child of God, with an eternal identity. It's the obsession with pride and some arrogrant and ignorant belief that what my car sounds like really matters, or what people think of me matters. Yuck. Anyone else interested in shedding some of that rubbish? (Or am I the only who struggles with this?)

Lord, may we have the grace to live and view ourselves through your eyes and your truth.

20 August 2006

grace in recreation

So today I returned from my very first camping weekend. How does one get into their 30's without experiencing camping??? Well, okay, for the record, i have camped with family hosted by my uncle and aunt and cousins. but that consisted of camping in a big ol, comfy as all get out camper. this weekend we were in tents. with "pit pots" as my friend Julia says. And no showers. So, yes, camping.

Do you know how much God's glorioius creation invites us to interact? Friday night we soaked up both the fantastic sunset, but also simply reveled in the awe of a massive, starlight sky. It was sooooo amazing. Really. And then Saturday morning the birds' calls and songs welcomed us to step into the day, the dunes called us to sink into and explore their warmth, and the water beckoned our play in the waves and the "surf." The invitations were too loud and too lovely to ignore.

Here's what a wise scholar once said: "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand maked off the heavens? ...Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host and calls them each by name..."

Something in the simplicity of play, breathing forest air, bathing in fresh water, laughing and eating with great community, worshipping the Lord with guitars and jimbaye in the firelight, and the utter beauty of creation showered me with grace this weekend. I'm delighting in it still.

Bless the Lord oh my soul. And all that is with in me, bless His holy name.

15 August 2006

unexpected grace

There are planned moments; necessary, satisfying, productive, obligatory. Other moments develop unexpectedly. It's not that one is better than the other. They just are. So last weekend I spent helping my sister with final packing before she moved out of Illinois to begin her internship in Fargo, North Dakota. (Please, I know all the Fargo jokes. And if u know me at all, you know another sister, and my nieces, live in Fargo. That's enuf of a reason to live in Fargo, not that I'm moving there anytime soon.)

That was the expected part of the weekend. What surprised me was the community experienced while with my sister and the family she's living with. I don't often get the privilege of "living" with a family. So the dynamics of sibling interactions provoke laughter and at moments complete shock. Here's the thing, I grew up with three sisters, in a family of four girls. This family had four boys. Our activities include sports, at school, but also practicing for violin, piano, etc. This house, of mostly boys, if this weekend was any indication, included all four boys wrestling, (and literally wrestling b/c they all competed in wrestling in high school), breaking through the screen in a screened porch, and eventually landing one of the four boys (the youngest, i'm sad to say) in the pool
Is it me, or is that just one of the beauties of how boys are different than girls???

Fantastic family, though. The love of God is in them for each other and for the world. What a great environment to dwell in for a few days. As soon as I figure out how to post pix, i'll upload one or two from the weekend...but now I need to catch up with some other things.
Grace and peace to you!!

13 August 2006

grace filled beginnings

If first impressions dictate future interactions, the pressure for a first blog posting may prove a stranglehold on creativity, (self imposed pressure, naturally). Part of me resists blogging altogether...but mostly the rebellious, don't-really-want-to-conform, part of me. I feel privileged to read several intriguing blogs, some of good friends, and some of perfect strangers. But that's what I've observed, reading someone's blog exposes one to the intimate thoughts and details of the bloggers life. The person who seems unknown, a stranger bizarrely becomes "unstrange" in a surreal virtual way. And so contemplating such realities begins to weird me out. The other element to consider, as serious consideration, is the writing. So many post such great thoughts, from poetry to philosophy, and everything in between. It tends to intimidate, honestly. (Although, one might point out that blogging is not a competitive activity. Hmm. yes. right.)

At the end of the day, the decision exists. Yet i'm here. A decision made. A direction plotted. But the need for grace also exists. See, I want to be a faithful blogger. And I want to offer significance, and not careless blether. My life experience likely points to something in between. For at moments life's significance appears identifiable, much less understandable. At other moments, it's simply about getting through a day or a week and hoping to see God's hand at work and offer Him the necessary honor. It may seem ordinary and insignificant. Those are the moments of life. And grace. I hope I do them justice!