So I got engaged!

Here is the full story:

Earlier in the week, my sister had been asking me to hang out on Friday.  I told her no.  I couldn’t because I had to work.  She got more adamant, I got frustrated with her.  Little did I know that was an attempt by my (future) fiancé to steal my time.

Plan B however turned out even better.  Instead of full-on surprising me, I got a surprise text early friday morning with a picture from the airport saying something like “I made it to the airport early, don’t worry I got a ride.  But I will see you later ;)”  At that point I already knew (we had talked about getting married soon so much) that it was coming.  Apparently then he went to Chapman to pick up my little sister (so she could be there later to take pictures) and a few hours later I got a text with a picture of guitar that said “What? A guitar? That’s random.  How does that relate? Maybe it will become clear in a few hours.”  Then an hour later I got texted a picture of the florist and it said “Just sort of found myself here…maybe it will become relevant later 😀 Also, I love you a lot!”  He knew I had a lunch appointment for work, so while I was there he went into my house and stole my camera.  Then he texted me a picture of a memorable landmark at the Botanical Gardens near my home and said, “When you are done with lunch, I think you might want to come to this familiar creature sculpture.  There’s some good things happening there 🙂 Also, I love you the most and you’re my favorite!”

I think you can figure out the rest from the photos:

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A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition

I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,

exalted for thee or laid aside for thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things

to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.

And the covenant which I have made on earth,

let it be ratified in heaven. Amen

–The United Methodist Hymnal

My prayer is that I would be able to trust God enough, trust His goodness enough, that really in any circumstance I would remain fully surrendered to His will.  To be able to freely and heartily yield all things to God’s divine pleasure and disposal–Ah, what a gift that would be.  Thank you God that you are patient with me as I learn how to surrender each and every day.

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Lead in a way that is expansive

We have all know the people who have led or managed us in ways that caused us to rise to a sharp mediocre, and we have all known the kinds of people who when they led us made us better. As a leader myself, I hope to fall into the second camp. What can be done to try and make sure one is getting the full potential out of one’s team? Well, this video has given me lots to chew on.

The Failure Bow

Yesterday I made myself a nice salad for lunch.  Mixed greens, honey roasted chicken, shredded cheese, bell peppers and a homemade balsamic dressing.  I was really excited to savor it, to taste its goodness.  I grabbed an empty glass to pour myself a glass of water and set it down next to my salad.  Then I took the britta filter and started to pour out the clear refreshing water… INTO MY SALAD.  Crap!  I can’t believe I did that!  I cringed internally.  Why am I so dumb?  I quickly corrected my mistake and poured into the right container, then I ate my soggy salad.

Have you ever beat yourself up over making a mistake?  Maybe it was a big one, maybe it was a little one…  Me too.  Frequently in fact, and I am just starting to get some sense that perhaps there is a better way to respond than my typical internal beat down.

I believe that Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead and because of that I am covered by His grace.  But that fact always seems to feel pretty hard to grasp right after I have made some kind of mistake.  There is new research that suggests how we respond with our bodies (a deep bow with a goofy grin vs. cringing or curling up into a ball) will affect how we feel in our minds.  Its called the failure bow.

So next time we make mistakes, lets celebrate them with a bow.

And for those of you who might wish to make a culture change in your organization. Consider this variation from Ted DesMaisons:

I invite my students to come up in front of the group one at a time, root themselves firmly on stage with a good, wide, athletic stance and a playful smile. Each movement from there will get its own bold assertion.

1) Extending the right arm out in a bold sweep: I took a risk!

2) Extending the left arm in similar fashion: I messed up!

3) Bringing their fingers to the chest: I’m still here!

4) Flinging both arms out and raising them triumphantly to the sky: Let’s learn!

And, of course, we’ll respond with wild applause.

For all of the mistakes you have learned from in the course of your life, I applaud you.

Lets try this again

Its been a while since I last blogged.  The past year has been one of the best in my life so far, but it has also been a pretty busy one… so given that it is the summer now, I thought I would give blogging another try.  I am also hoping to produce more art over the summer so perhaps I will post some of that as well.

Recently what I have been learning is that I have been trained (by several hard years of life) to expect the worst and that that is not actually what God wants for me.  It has been a thing that has, for lack of a better word, impeded my ability to receive the good things that God is giving me.  This year has been abut learning to give up that training and enjoy life to its fullest (without worrying that soon the other shoe will drop).  I want to fully enjoy everything that God has for me and celebrate the good in life.  I hope you learn what it looks like for you to do that too. Sometimes it starts with as simple a thing as appreciating the beauty around you.

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Perceiving is Believing

You know that saying, “seeing is believing”?  Well, I have decided that I think that is a false statement.  There are plenty of times that people see something and simply can’t believe it.  And there are plenty of other times where people have seen something and thought it was something else entirely (ex. UFOs). I would like to suggest that as a culture we amend the statement from “seeing is believing” to “perceiving is believing.”  After all its what we think about what we see that affects what we believe, right?  How we process our sight is what really matters.

I started thinking about this after I read some new insight into the passage in the Bible where Jesus has a two-part healing of the blind man.  The insight came from the book “Experience More of God by Bill & Booram.  Its a book about experiencing God with our senses and the particular part I read today was about sight.  

Anywho, let me summarize the Bible passage and then share with you the insight that followed.  So, some people bring a blind man to Jesus and ask him to heal him.  Jesus then spits on the guys eyes (eww) and puts his hands on him and asks if he can see anything.  The man responds, “I see people, they look like trees walking around.”  So Jesus puts his hand on him again and after that he is able to “see clearly.”  

When I first read this passage I thought, “how could Jesus make a mistake and not heal him properly the first time?”  But after observing the intentional nature of how Jesus did things I was forced to conclude it must not be a mistake but done on purpose.  So my next question became, why would Jesus not heal him fully the first time, why was this a two-part healing?

In seeking an answer to that question I came up with a couple of new insights.  Firstly, that healing (or perhaps I might venture to say perceiving) is indeed often a process and not something that comes in perfectly on our first try.  I think this healing was a mini-parable illustrating the things that are going on for Jesus’ disciples at the same point as this story in Mark. For example, they had to learn several times that Jesus could provide for them bread at will (feeding the 5000, then the 4000, then the bread on the boat).  What he says to them as they keep failing to get it is: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?”

Do you have eyes but fail to see?  In other words, “you see, but still you do not perceive.”  So the second insight of the 2-part healing of the blind man is that we can be healing physically, just as his eyes were able to see when he opened them, but it is often a separate healing that needs to adjust our perceptions.  How would them man even known to say I see people but they look like trees?  How would he know what people or trees look like?  Maybe he thought trees looked like people and just needed new isight into what was what.

All that to say, what we believe about what we see is important because it shapes our reality.  Its scary to think that I could be looking at things and seeing but not really perceiving what is going on.  Our perceptions affect the ways we behave.  If I perceive something as dangerous, I approach with caution, or don’t approach at all… but if its not really dangerous, if its a puppy lets say, and I have never interacted with a dog before… then I might miss out on the playful lick it offers as a hello.

Maybe take a second to think about areas where you operate out of your assumptions, and ask God for a healing of your perspective.

And just for fun… what do you see in the image below?

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Can you see both the old and young woman?

The throne room

I just got back from InterVarsity’s Orientation for New Staff (or ONS) and I miss it already.  It was super awesome being in community with over 100 new staff from all over the country who came from different backgrounds and cultures but who all shared the same hope and vision of renewal.  And as a cherry on top, the URBANA worship team was there so worship was off the hook!

What the experience reminds me of is the image in Revelation of people from every nation and tongue worshiping together at the throne of God.  When I was there worshiping with my fellow staff, I felt like I had been ushered into the throne room of God.  As you can imagine, I was loathe to leave.  We had our own little slice of heaven in community with each other and I still feel encouraged by that.  It also makes me long for heaven where it will be like that forever.  But I am back in the real world now, and I have decided that rather than feeling disappointed that its not perfect, I will feel energized by the brokenness and once again work toward bringing the Kingdom one step closer as often as I can.