Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 7: Most treasured possession

It's a tie....
I adore my collection of journals over the years, especially my moleskine ones. :)

and all our photo albums.

The treasures they contain are vast and precious.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 6: Someone I'd like to trade places with for a day

Madeleine L’Engle Nov. 29, 1918 - Sept. 6, 2007

Madeline L'Engle has been a hero of mine for many years now.It was not till the age of 40 something that her now well-know book "A Wrinkle in Time" was published, and after many, many rejections. It seems to me that Ms. L'Engle was the kind of person that did not shy away from the difficulties in life, but that did not stop her from living it to the full or pursuing her dreams... In this regard epically, I wish I could have met or traded places with her for a day to gain greater insight and wisdom.

"If it can be verified, we don't need faith.... Faith is for that which lies on the other side of reason. Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies and ambiguities and sudden, startling joys." M. L'Engle

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 5: Photo of a favorite memory

It's hard to take a photo that holds the depth and breadth of a moment.
The light, the people, the feelings and atmosphere are too great to fit in the second of "SNAP" to collect all of it.
But there are times, like this, that the photographer catches the right angle, at the right moment, and the right place that not only communicates feeling for the viewer but for the subject as well.
It was a summer night, full of music, energy and life. This picture makes me think of a moment filled with freedom of expectations and boundaries. Life was as open as the multitude of city streets and a bucket of side walk chalk.

T.L. Eastman 2/11

(Photos taken by Relevant Ministries August of 2009)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Waiting for gratitude

"Wait for it..."

"Tonight is going to be...wait for it...legendary Dary." This clip from the TV show "How I met your Mother", made "wait for it" an instant catch phrase. Although it's been several years since this aired, (2006 I believe) - "Wait for it" has made it's way into our vocabularies.

Waiting for legendary moments isn't easy. So often there is a temptation to become "obsessed with more and more, continually seeking: seeking more knowledge, seeking a larger stockpile of material things, seeking a greater accumulation of exotic and stimulating experiences" (page 69 from The Seven Spiritual Gifts of waiting)

Seeking answers, direction, and purpose in and of themselves aren't particularly bad things to seek; but when excessive seeking blocks our ability to see the joys and blessings of what is immediately present - seeking becomes a problem.

In the book, The Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting, the practice of gratitude is explored and lifted us as a valuable asset in the many circumstances of waiting. Here are some practical means of practicing gratitude:
-List your sources of abundance...
-Think over the past year. Make a list of your answered prayers...
-Ask this question every night - "What do I want to give thanks for today?"
-Practice finding instead of seeking.

Meister Eckhart, a German Mystic, once said; " If the only prayer you say in your life is "Thank You", that would suffice."

Focusing on thanks and gratitude help people to find the bright spots in life. Think back to yesterday for a moment. Although there were challenges and trouble; I'll bet there was a moment or two that brought a smile to your face, warmed your heart, and helped make the day a little brighter. Give thanks for that moment. As you wait, as I wait those moments - and being grateful for them - will suffice.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for the righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Matthew 5:1-12

Day 4: Your night

Through a series of amazing circumstances and the generosity of the Chaffee group - my church had the honor of hosting a leg of Don Miller and Susan Issacs "Million Miles Tour" in the fall of 2009. I was so excited and blessed to be able to meet Don and Susan as well as have the chance to introduce their work to some new people. It was a wonderful night indeed!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Day 3: Favorite show

To be honest, I'd forgotten about this show but since we just got the streaming Netflix I've been catching up on it. Pushing daisies is a colorful, dreamy, mystery, quirky, almost science-fiction, romantic drama - well sort of. I guess you just have to watch it to figure out if it fits the entertainment slot for you.

Monday, February 07, 2011

SWB: Emergency Helicopter Reality Check

Least grateful/most grateful

Friday afternoon was rolling into Friday evening and I stopped what I was working on to see I had a missed call and a text message from my best friend on my cell. "CAN YOU CALL ME?" Flashed on the screen and suggested some intensity, since she usually won't text more than a word at a time. She hates texting.

I called and found out her husband had been rushed to the hospital and that she needed a ride to meet him there. I left my work, picked her up and we were to the hospital within an hour. Her husband was very ill, so ill that the doctor decided he needed to be transported immediately to a hospital in the area that specializes in dealing with what was wrong. In an hour of being at the local hospital, he was being moved by helicopter to receive appropriate care. Those few hours of phone calls to my BFF's family and friends, prayers said out loud and in our hearts, hand holding and saying 'I love you', rushed the reality check of life's fragility to the center of my attention.

The wonderful news is that my friend's husband is now stable, and almost unbelievably - will be coming home later today. I am ultimately most grateful for this blessing.

In moments like this, what is most important comes to the surface. In the midst of dire circumstances what matters most isn't how much money you have, what honors or accomplishments you've gained, or what kind of car you drive. What matters most is that you have a friend to be there for; and that your second-hand Stratus is just what's needed to get them where they need to be.

New perspective is lovely and challenging. This moment on Friday held some clarity for some things that had been getting me down.The things or people that I find myself frustrated with - and spend too much time fussing over - probably never give those circumstances a second thought. If they don't consider them important - why do I? Why should I? This is something that needs to change in me.

However, the things and people that are important - like my BFF, her husband and my family - are my comfort and bread. In that moment I knew the precious values of this friendship. In light of this friendship, all the other circumstances are dross.

What I am least grateful is the dross that discourages and distracts, but what I'm most grateful are the dear, precious ones that know we'll answer when they send the message we most need to hear... "You are my bread, too."

Day 2: A photo of me and someone I've been close to for a long time

This photo was taken around August of 1992. It's a photo of Ian and I a few months after we married in June but at an outdoor wedding of my friend and co-worker Tammie. I was in the bridal party and wore this dress because it was my favorite. (I'd slowly laid away this $50.00 dress at "Lerner" in the Chautuqua Mall for what seemed forever.) At this point, Ian and I had been together since September of 1988 and those five years seemed such a long time. Now we've been married for almost 19 years! What also makes this photo special to me, is that it includes someone else I've know for quite a while... my daughter Heather. I had just found out that I was expecting and we would have our first child the following March.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Day 1: Self-Portrait and 15 facts

Last weekend I watched several episodes of "30 Days" with Morgan S. He' the guy that did the movie "Super size me" a few years ago. While on Facebook, several friends have been posting "30 photos in 30 days". Since I've been a little busy, I've found it hard to be as consistent here at Uphill Idealist - so I thought I'd borrow this 30 day format to get "refocused" here. I think 30 days of photos and blogging might be just the muse I need.

So cheers to life in pictures and on to day one!

Day 1: Self Portrait and 15 facts...

1. When I was little I either wanted to be a ballerina or a card artist for Hallmark.

2. I am a youth and family minister (which requires some careful dancing) and have begun to reintegrate art into my life and vocation.

3. I love to read, but sometimes have a hard time finding time for it.

4. I hate matching socks.

5. I think my kids are fantastic, but are growing up TOO fast!

6. My household is more interested in science fiction than sports.

7. I have a way of getting to know lots of people, but those closest to me are my life.

8. I love to teach, write, sing and create.

9. Coffee shops that serve tea and breakfast are right up my alley.

10. I love to jog, but I'm not very fast.

11. I have two children, but my dog thinks she's my third child.

12. I have been with my husband (since we started dating) now for over half my life!

13. Madeline L'Engle is the person I most wish I'd met.

14. I can get lost in hardware stores imagining all what I could do with everything I find there.

15. I love the challenge of a big project, but have a hard time walking away from them once they are complete.