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

© Erol Berberovic | Dreamstime Stock Photos

No Regrets

Eyes wide open.  A rude, unnatural awakening.  A bad fall, not out of sleep but into wakefulness. 

Mind racing desperately to grab hold of the finely-woven dream threads now quickly unraveling.  Please God, help me remember. 

A thin thread of a man’s voice reading a book, a really good book, a best-seller-kind of book.  A familiar voice, one similar to the voice of my own thoughts, yet not my thoughts, now gone.  Completely forgotten.

I remember only one thing … I am the protagonist of the forgotten book.

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Later, as I ponder this nighttime parable, I’m reminded of Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia.  Lucy reads a magic book and soon discovers that the right-hand pages, could be turned; the left-hand pages could not.  As much as Lucy tried, she could not remember all the wonderful things she had read, and she could not turn back the pages of the book to read it again.

When Aslan, the great Lion King of Narnia and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea appears, Lucy asks him,

“Shall I ever be able to read that story again; the one I couldn’t remember?  Will you tell it to me, Aslan?  Oh do, do, do,”

“Indeed, yes, I will tell it to you for years and years.”

Like Aslan, the great Lion King (the God-character in the storybook), there is One Above (or should I rather say within) who is the author of my life book.  One who has been telling me my story for years and years. 

As long as I have breath, I live page by page, unable to go back for there is no use in that.  I’m speaking of the regrets, the whys and the what-ifs.  For as Aslan explains, no one is ever told what would have happened.

So, I’m learning to live a life of no regrets. It takes trust, it takes faith, it takes loving myself. And that kind of love comes only from the Author of my book, who will be telling it to me for years and years.

I may never know what a different ending holds, and even if I did, it may not be what I expect, which is why it’s best I get rid of all regret.

Lois Stephens

Love & Peace,

“… looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, …”. Hebrews 12:2

Nests In Your Hair

My brothers and me, we got trust issues.  Here I am, my 6-year-old gullible self, once more the target of their good-natured, little-sister teasing.

A warm summer evening; the sound of the brothers laughing.  I go outside to investigate.  Big mistake.

The brothers are shooting bats.  Yes, bats—with BB guns.  Saturday night entertainment and I find myself the star of the show.

“Watch out!  Bats love to fly into little girls’ hair!” Brother 1 yells.

“What?!” My heart begins to race.

“Yeah,” Brother 2 joins in, “They’ll fly into your ratty hair and make a dirty old nest!”

“What?!!” My hand instinctively reaches up to my tangled, uncombed head.

“Duck!” screams Brother 3, and I hit the ground hard. 

To this day, I hate bats.  I know they are God’s creatures and all, but I still hate bats.

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I re-read the words of Martin Luther,

You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” 

I’m reminded of the bats. 

But, it’s not about bats or birds or any such thing.  It’s about negative thoughts. Fearful thoughts.  Lying thoughts that cause me to hit the ground hard.

I can’t always prevent a negative thought from entering my mind, but I don’t have to allow it to build a nest in my hair.  I have the power to choose what I believe and what I allow in my mind.  And that’s a powerful thought.

So when a negative thought flies over head, I count backwards from five.  Five, Four, Three, Two, One … and I shoot. Sometimes more than once, but eventually, the thought hits the ground hard, not me.

Love & Peace,

“… and we take captive every thought …” 2 Corinthians 10:5

See No Boundaries

The Pioneer Woman

There stands a statute in Ponca City, Oklahoma, of a Pioneer Woman with a young boy by her side.  Artfully cast in tons of bronze, standing 17 feet tall beneath the Oklahoma sky. 

She wears a bonnet upon her head and hidden within the brim, the words, “I see no boundaries”. A lasting tribute to those courageous women–the women homesteaders of the American West.

Imagination captured. Inspiration ascends. Yes, I am the pioneer woman! Pioneering through wilderness wanderings to crossing and conquering in unchartered lands of promise. 

Yet I am also the young boy, grabbing hold of the Pioneering Spirit. Led hand-in-hand towards my inheritance as a son.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.

And for a brief moment … no windows or doors, ceilings or floors. I see no boundaries. Only God.

In wide open spaces, in untamed places. It’s where I’m staking my claim.

Love & Peace,

The 1862 Homesteading Act guaranteed free farmland to heads of households with the stipulation that the applicant must stay on the land for five years and make noticeable improvements to the land before the deed was awarded. Women who were single, widowed, or divorced were eligible to apply for land as the head of their household and many headed west into Dakota Territory. 

Homesteading, http://www.ndstudies.org/

I Am Not Color Blind

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It’s been years now, but the memory-moment when I first saw her still runs deep.  Sitting cross-legged on the bed, with pink sponge curlers in her hair, she looks up as I enter our college dorm room.  Me, a middle-class white girl from the suburbs; she, a lower-class black girl born and raised in West Philadelphia.  Our eyes meet for a split second and then both our heads drop silent.

I grew up in white privilege; she grew up among the working poor.   We had a lot to discover about each other, and that we did.  A critical juncture; a defining year that gave me a new perspective beyond my own safe little world.

Amazing how God arranges life experiences to add in the missing pieces.  A divine appointment; a God set-up that added something needed, something of value, into the core of my identity.

My world got a whole lot bigger that year.  And I will be forever grateful to my West Philly roomie whom I grew to love, honor and respect.

Fast forward to last weekend…

We enter the retreat center where I am one of three invited speakers.  Seated beside the other speakers—all beautiful, strong and gifted African American women, I am feeling my “white-ness”.  I’ve heard these women speak before, with incredible power and passion.  They can raise the roof with their fiery-Pentecostal preaching.  An expectation to conform and perform begins to emerge from within me.

Conform and perform—I’ve done it before.  Not proud of it, but true.  Caved to my own internal pressure and took on another’s identity to be approved and accepted.  Yet in the process, I lost something invaluable—the gift of myself.

And then it hits me—my college roomie, this is the lesson we learned together.  I can honor and celebrate these African American women without pretending to be one of them.  By staying true to myself, I give room for others to stay true to themselves.

I quietly walk to the podium and begin sharing God’s love from my heart—in the way I do best, in the way I am designed.  People are moved by the gentle power of love—tears flow and healing comes.  I am a cool drink of water in the fiery heat of the day.  Different, yet the same.

I am not color blind.  God gave us color and the ability to distinguish between colors.  It’s a gift that I plan to celebrate more.  When we celebrate our differences by not pretending they do not exist, we celebrate the multi-faceted nature of God in whose image we all were created.  

Different, yet the same.  Hard to explain.  A divine mystery from the heart of God that I one day hope to understand better.

 

Nature’s Garment

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Nature is the living, visible garment of God.”  Johann von Goethe

Eye-gate opened to The High and Lifted Up

I reach for His garment in the dawn’s early light

The train of His robe fills this temple of mine

At the threshold of an Alaskan fjord.

 

*Writing for me becomes a dialogue with the Spirit of God.  My heart’s response to scriptures whispering through my spirit.  This dialogue flows from Isaiah 6:1: “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.”  May the dialogue continue in you… Love & Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It All Becomes Clear on the Mountain

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You are a prophet of caves, rocks and deserts”, she states wittingly—my poetic, thought-provoking teacher of all things spiritual.  The one who uses extraordinary words like “coruscate” and “obfuscate” and “mercurial” in our ordinary, every-day chats.

Standing still inside myself, I reckon, “It takes one to know one”.

Wilderness wanderers eating the locust and wild honey of life—the revelation of creation that declares the Majesty of God.  We give thanks and eat.  Our spirits strengthened with each taste.

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We reach the top of Maine’s Little Kineo Mountain.  Spectacular scene.  Bathed in the glorious sunlight above the treetops.  Free of a shadowed view.  We eat the vision.

And then…something happens.

Although the air is still, a thunderous roar comes from the sky.  An intense sound—like that of a jumbo jet engine.  Like the sound of a mighty rushing wind.  We stand motionless in holy fear as what can only be described as the very presence of God moves upon the mountaintop.  Both feel it.  Both experience it.  Both awe-struck.

Next morning, I search, and He reveals.  Kineo, a Greek word meaning to move; to set in motion.  Where we get our English word kinetics. 

“For in Him we live, and move (kineo) and have our being… “.  I recall the Apostle’s words.

Something moved upon us on Mount Kineo that day.   Someone moved upon us and within us, and we were moved.

A mountaintop experience–not meant to teach but to transform.

It all becomes clear on the mountain.

Standing still inside myself, I know who I am.  Yes, I am a prophet of caves, rocks and deserts.   And the mountains.  

My iPhone signals.   A text message awaits.  It’s her.  “Have you been to the mountains lately?”

The mountains call and I run.