Form Follows Function

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Our choicest plans have fallen through, our airiest castles tumbled over, because of lines we neatly drew and later neatly stumbled over.

Piet Hein, poet and scientist

Our daughter has followed the path of her God-formed interior design into a career in interior design.  “Form follows function”, Amanda says, “always.”…“The way a space looks is not as important as how the space functions.”  Her words throw light; I am intrigued, HGTV- binger me.

Form follows function… yet, how often do I do just the opposite—elevating outward form at the cost of diminishing function? Form-chasing.  Neatly drawn lines that look good but later cause me to stumble for lack of the more important heart-function.

Could it be that my function in life is what is most important—not the form it takes?  Form follows function… if true, wouldn’t the God-created interior design of heart-function be what matters most?

In a moment of clarity, mind-eye opens. Forms are designed to change; we are movable designs, fluid, ever-changing with the ever-changing seasons of life.  Function remains constant, foremost; the unique heart-function design within each of us—a design first rendered in the heart of the Master Designer Himself.

We begin living the words, form follows function… elevating our inward heart-function above outward form; the becoming, more important than the doing.  And life’s airiest castles tumble; the lines we neatly drew now gone.  And we find ourselves living, moving and breathing the words, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”.

Love & Peace,

Make mistakes, take chances, be silly, be imperfect, trust yourself and follow your heart.Anonymous

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Flexible Boundaries

A new box of crayons—the smell, the colors—pure joy.  Each one perfectly wrapped and marked with glorious names like forest green, aquamarine and azure blue.  With coloring books spread out in front of me, I sigh.  Yes, a perfect sigh of contentment and bliss.  It doesn’t get any better than this, UNTIL …

Out of the corner of my eye, I see her.  Sister number 1.  The perfect one who can do no wrong.  I can’t help myself; I have to look.  Her picture doesn’t look like mine.  I avert my eyes but like a bad train wreck, I can’t help but take a look back.  I sigh.  Not the earlier sigh of contentment and bliss … for my 5-year old ego was deflating fast.

Her coloring page—magnificent beyond compare.  Every color selected with care, complementary hues harmonizing throughout. But here’s the thing that really stood out:  She outlined every color with a solid black line in a way that made her picture look, well … like beautiful stained glass.  Sigh.  (Do I hear the angels sing?)

So, what can I do but try it, too?  I dig deep for the lonely black crayon (unused and still perfectly sharpened) and carefully, I trace a solid black line around every color on the page.  After way too long, I sit back on my knees to admire my “stained glass”. And, sigh. No contentment–no bliss; and definitely no angels to be heard.

******

Give me flexible boundaries—no hard, black-lines for me, please.  Joy, freedom and creativity flow best when I’m free from the opinions of men.  It’s not easy—especially as a person of faith (everyone has an opinion when it comes to religion).  But I choose not to hide behind a stained-glass life when it comes to living my faith.   

“Come now, and let us reason together”, says the LORD to me (as good and as bad as the next).  And we talk together outside of man’s stained-glass (so easily shattered by stones).  You see, it’s easy to manage sinful behavior safely hidden behind religion’s confines.  But what if instead we learn to manage our freedom outside of those safe black lines?

Love & Peace,

“Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

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The Poetry of Life

“You need the strength of endurance to reveal the poetry of God’s will.”  Hebrews 10:36 TPT

The poetry of life.  A framework of poetic structure: rhythmic qualities, imaginative awareness; brimming with aesthetic-beauty moments (if only I’d stop long enough to notice). 

A life arranged by the Creator-Master Poet.  Composed to call forth a human-heart response through meaning, sound and the rhythms of a faith-enlarging life.

It takes a strength beyond self to reveal the poetry of life.  Its ambiguity, irony and metaphorical connections have left my life open to myriad interpretations (and people can be so cruel).

It takes connecting serendipitous dots with hopeful imagination and the strength of endurance for the perfection of The Poet’s passion to be revealed. A glorious unveiling of unrequited love that has power to turn even my tears into poetry.

Love & Peace,

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3 Dimensional Thoughts

My thoughts are 3 dimensional.  I take a hard look, flip them over, turn them upside down and then do it all over again.  It’s not easy living a life of 3 dimensional thought and translating those thoughts onto 2 dimensional paper.  I mean, what happens to the missing dimension? 

I can only suspect it lives in spirit—in the writing’s heart and soul.  That, to me is the challenge—to go beyond the visible, the recognizable and the momentary, to somehow express the invisible qualities of the spirit of thought into mere words on paper.  To fill paper with the breathings of the heart, as Wordsworth would say.

The beloved Apostle penned his chronicles of the Christ.  He describes him as logos, the Word made visible, giving his audience a new, unique view of the Invisible Spirit of God through a powerful divine self-expression:  Jesus Christ, the living Word of God.

The Word clothed in skin and fleshed out among us.

If the Invisible God expressed His thoughts perfectly through logos, is it possible for me to experience logos in such a way that my words could somehow express the invisible, the sometimes unrecognizable, Spirit-thoughts of God?

I’m reminded of how the Apostle ends his narrative—the Aramaic is especially poetic, “The world itself would be emptied out into the books that would be written”.  John is speaking of logos, the Living Expression of the Invisible God, wrapped in a multitude of good thoughts towards mankind.  

There is always a word, wrapped in a thought.  Followed by another.  Followed by another.  An unending ballad published among the heavenly seas, its verses written far into eternity.

To travel in thought beyond the visible, the recognizable, the momentary into the beauty realm of Spirit … into the beauty realm of prose, I suppose … for me is heaven.

A mind forever Voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone.

William Wordsworth

Where are your thoughts traveling today? Perhaps you’ll find God waiting for you there. For no one is ever really alone and He makes for a marvelous traveling companion.

Love & Peace,

In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19

Sawubona: I See You

In the blink of an eye, I see it.  I mean, I see her.  Lying there in the nursing home bed, a slip of a woman, a mere shadow of what once was … sadly alone.  And I take notice.  Is this why I’ve come here today? 

A wellspring within me stirs and the words of my mouth are deep waters as I hear myself say, “Friend, you are not alone, you are not forgotten, you are not invisible … I see you.

And she weeps.

Sawubona.  An ancient greeting that means “I see you” in the Zulu community in South Africa.

Sawubona.  All my attention is on you.  I see you, you are important to me and I value you.  I see your hopes, your dreams, your failures and your fears.  You are right in front of my face.  Face-to-Face. 

I am present.

The ancient Prophet and Deliverer of Israel understood sawubona.  “The Lord would speak with Moses face-to-face, as one speaks to a friend”, the Torah reveals. There is no Hebrew word for presence (as in the Presence of G-d), but only the word face.  Yahweh, the great I AM, and Moses spoke to one another face-to-face.

I AM present.

Who do I know that doesn’t desire sawubona?  To be seen; to be heard without judgment; fully known–the good, the bad and the ugly–and accepted. Yet, is sawubona even possible in today’s digital world where face-to-face is replaced by FaceBook and FaceTime?

I believe there is a God whose thoughts towards me—and you—are good.  The music of His thoughts plays throughout the earth … in the gentle breeze, the bubbling brook, the chirping birds, the twinkling stars … “You are not alone, you are not forgotten, you are not invisible. I see you.

You are right in front of my face, friend.

And with that, I enter into the sacred space of spiritual sawubona:  Face-to-Face with the One who knows me best—and loves me anyway—free to join the conversation, as one speaks to a friend.

Love & Peace,

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, …”. John 15:15 KJV

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The Silent Oak Speaks

Folding chair hard beneath me, I gaze at the silent oak before me.  A strong and steady display, with limbs reaching out in comforting embrace.  His cremated remains lie between me and tree. 

The bitter sweet sound of taps heard in the autumn air.  A dichotomy of heart-emotions, both sorrow and pride.  And one silent tear falls before the silent oak.

He must have done something real special in the war.

What do you mean?

A Colonel presented the flag at the graveside ceremony.  That’s not done for just anyone.

We checked the records; we didn’t know.

And the silent oak finally speaks the unspeakable from far beyond the grave.

* * * *

My father passed in October 2017.  He was a decorated Korean War veteran, being one of very few who survived the infamous Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea in 1950.  He never spoke of it to his family.  He did admit he hated having cold feet.  When asked why, he simply said, “My feet were frostbit in the war.”

Thanking God that my father lived, that I might live, that my children might live, that my grandchildren might live. Remembering and honoring those who did not.

Nightmare at the Chosin Reservoir

Remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for justice and freedom.

The Meaning Behind the 13 Flag Folds

Open air therapy

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Lost in the woods.  Not lost as in, “Where am I?”  Rather, lost in self.  Blessed to lose myself for half an hour spending mindful time in the woods.  Refreshed, renewed and reawakened in body, soul and spirit.  The Japanese have known of it for years:  Shinrin-Yoku; literally, forest bathing (being in the presence of trees).  I like that. 

Studies show that those who spend just two hours a week outdoors report substantially better health and psychological well-being.  I believe it.  In times of despair, the still small voice within me often whispers, “Daughter, go outside”; and I go. 

Open-air therapy—it costs nothing and has no ill side effects. 

Gazing over the countryside, I day-dream of the little writer’s studio, perfectly situated along the little creek bordering our property.  It’s a dream I’ve had for quite some time—one yet to manifest.  When suddenly ,,, shhh, quiet; it’s the whisper once again.  “Daughter, look around you.  This is your writer’s studio, perfectly designed with you in mind”.    Blessed speechless.

I believe in the woods, and in the beaches, and in the fields and mountains.  God’s sanctuary of healing, rest and peace.  A place of absolute freedom, where creativity flows.  A place perfectly designed with mankind in mind.

So, whether practicing social distancing, or in a Covid-19 self-quarantine, I’m spending time outside, wrapped securely in the loving arms of my Creator God.  Surrounded by the Heavenly Cure. 

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.  Henry David Thoreau.

Hope Springs Eternal

Bluebells speak to me in my heart language–a prophetic sign of better days ahead. My husband has given me a bouquet of first blooms every Spring since we were teenagers. We came across these little beauties on our walk yesterday. Hope springs eternal.

Love & Peace,

And, who would have known that …

In the United KingdomH. non-scripta is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Landowners are prohibited from removing common bluebells on their land for sale and it is a criminal offence to remove the bulbs of wild common bluebells.[26] This legislation was strengthened in 1998 under Schedule 8 of the Act making any trade in wild common bluebell bulbs or seeds an offence, punishable by fines of up to £5,000 per bulb.[10][27]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyacinthoides_non-scripta

Our True Colors?

Looking for the beauty in every season of life. Thank you, Mitch, for this beautiful reminder. Love & Peace.

Mitch Teemley

tumblr_static_autumn_leaves_on_road-2560x1600

love to see the leaves change color in autumn, don’t you?

Except that it’s a myth. Leaves don’t change color.

My wife and I often walk in the woods. We’re blessed to live near Mount Airy Forest in Cincinnati, the oldest “urban forest” in the U.S., and what we’ve learned (as transplants from Southern California) is that those shimmery yellows, oranger-than-a-pumpkin oranges, and sunset reds are actually the leaves’ true colors.

And, oh, how beautiful they make the world!

All that green?  It’s just a cheery chlorophyll veneer. But when the cold “snaps,” the chlorophyll rushes down to hide amongst the roots, and the leaves’ true colors become visible. It’s then that we see how beautiful—and unique—each leaf truly is. Though, sadly, some are burnt by the sun, or turn bitter-brittle when the chlorophyll abandons them.

I pray that as we reach the apex, the…

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