Sunday, June 4, 2017

My Own Face {Reflections of Hate & Love}

Laura William's Photography

I looked in the mirror and saw my own face
And I thought to myself, "What a solemn disgrace,"
What a solemn disgrace - all these social constructs
That demand me to hate me with violent misconduct.
What a pity! because when I look at my shell
I see beauty and wisdom; in my eyes, the seas dwell.
It's the me that's been with me from birth until now
And the me that will be, until death's fulfilled vow.
I see mystery and magic in memories fair,
I see heartache and sadness deep inside my own stare.
Yet despite all that's happened and all that will come, 
I am happy to live here
--- every piece the perfect (sum).

I've been with me for forever and I will be to the end,
It's a marriage of my soul-flesh...some may try to transcend
- they will pour out all their money to confect a pretty mask
So they won't see all their true self - and they'll call it just a task. 
But I don't see such a hardship in the loving of your skin
For it's held you tight together to explore the world, within. 
Think with me, just a moment - child, think with me if you dare -
Can you love your lowly body, can you cherish it with flare? 
Will you promise to protect it from the force inside your mind?
Can you give its only lifetime simple blessings of a kind? 
I think, indeed, if you care.. it will show upon your face
As attributes of kindly years, of happiness and grace.
And when our time has reached an end & we must leave this sphere
We'll look upon our mortal span with joy from tender years.

Signed with wildflowers, 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Out of Control - When Things Are Chaos

I haven't really planned out this post (not that I normally do) - so if it comes across as messy and hard to read, just know that I'm trying only to get my thoughts out on a page so I can free up the space in my mind and reduce how much I'm worrying about everything lately. It is for you to read and maybe learn from, but it's more so for me to just vent and get myself under control.

This week has been crazy - perhaps not everyone would agree, but for me it's been challenging. At the start of the week, the power went off for quite some time. I found myself freaking out about all the little things that are so insignificant. No hot water, no internet, no power to charge the phones, no alarm clock, no heater, no fans. Who cares? I do apparently. It made me panic; I still don't fully understand why disruption to my daily routine bothers me so much, but it does. When things aren't under control, I feel anxious and worried and want to fix it right away. Heavens, I would do terrible back in the 18th century with my beloved Victorian characters from Austen or Bronte, etc.

Happily enough for me, the power came back on a few hours later (not the expected 3 days like we were told by Hydro). I had a few days of ok-ness, and then yesterday I came home from work to find that the flooding in our area had blown out our water main, flooded parts of the driveway, and was threatening to take out our two bridges.

Additionally, our dam that we use for irrigation purposes ... our concrete dam... it blew apart from the water. I literally watched massive chunks of concrete get catapulted down our normally adorable, tiny little creek as if they were angry weapons on their way to destroy the world. The sound was deafening and surreal - this grinding, crunching, terrifying noise coming from somewhere far beneath the turbid, muddy depths. I thought I'd be able to take a dip in the creek to serve as a shower/bath (because the water to the house is gone) but when I saw that I was like, "Nope nope nope nope ALL THE NOPES." I mean, who wants to get flayed alive by a creek? I swear, if someone dips in that water, massive rocks will break their bones. It's insanely dangerous. 

Thankfully, my dad was able to get in touch with a guy who has a big excavator. We were able to remove trees that were swept down the creek and blocking up the flow - and I guess they also dug out a safety area to protect whatever is left of our cistern for water (I haven't heard the update about whether it's salvageable). I also believe they were working on the area where the dam used to be, to try and prevent further damage to the irrigation pipes. 

Anyway, so last night I was freaking out about all of this damage and how we have no water at all in the house (other than what we can bring over from town). A friend of mine was telling me not to freak out because God has it in control - my mom was mad at me for being irrational and so forth - and I was in bed hyperventilating because everything was out of control. I fell asleep praying and hoping things would be better in the morning. 

When I woke up, at first I didn't remember what had happened, but then I felt how sticky and smelly I was from not having a shower the night before (ew - I know, I'm cringing with you too) and I started panicking again, wishing I had never woken up in the first place. Being clean is something very important to me. I can go without pretty much anything at all, so long as I have a guaranteed warm shower every night. If I have everything but that shower, I spiral into an irrational mess. There's something soothing and healing about warm water on skin - it's cleansing to me and it's very important (and I honestly don't really know when this became something necessary for me to function properly but it did... oops - this is why I hate camping so much ... lol).

Anyway, I am doing a bit better now. I'm reminding myself that it isn't going to be like this always and that part of the problem with my freaking out is due to the medication I'm on for a recent flare I've had with rheumatoid arthritis - it puts my emotions out of whack. I need to start thinking of it like an adventure - a rather morbid adventure, but an adventure nonetheless. And our house hasn't flooded and my family are all safe and ok. Plus, we have LOTS of water around us;  hopefully this means we won't have a massive drought again this summer. Apparently the snowpack was 122% this year, and with the ridiculous weather we've been having, it all melted super fast and led to flash flooding. 

We're really blessed to have caught it before it destroyed more than our water main and dam. Others haven't been so lucky - I've seen news reports of people's businesses under a meter of water, basements flooding out, sewage systems backing up, and one town 30min away is under a state of emergency because almost the whole town is under several inches of water. It's ridiculous. It's never been this bad before. 

So, that being said - with so many other people dealing with much worse situations that I am, I can manage. I have so much to be thankful for - it's just my irrational brain bypassing states of logic to jump to conclusions and freak me out. I'm taking the time to focus on being calm, rational, and understanding. Sometimes things get out of control and chaotic - in those moments, the best we can do is quiet our raging emotions and trust in God to provide and take care of what we can't control. I can't control the weather - I can't control the damage water can do to things, but I can trust in God to provide and take care of us. Yes, I have to move outside my comfort zone and recognize that things simply can't be done the way they've always been done because of the changes this situation has made, but things can be done a different way. I just need to be open minded and not so stingy. 

*breathes out* That was a messy rant. I hope you guys understand (if you've bothered to read the whole thing). I don't want to make excuses for the way I feel and think, but (I know - you hate but's, they always mean someone is about to contradict themselves *throws hands in air*).. but I can't help that it is a reality and something I'm just trying to deal with. 

I guess the moral of this story is - yes, sometimes we have feelings that get out of control. Yes, we can do some things to manage those feelings, although it doesn't guarantee they'll go away. In the end, God is in control and we need to trust Him. In the midst of chaos, He is our resting place. 

Signed with a muddy branch, 


Monday, April 17, 2017

A Mind That Cannot Be Stilled

It's been an interesting week - I'm somewhat stuck between several columns of thought and being.
Mount Fitz Roy, Argentina | Dmitry Pichugin

  • Part of me is clearly a scientist. I have this work I have to do and it requires my complete attention, but I don't really want to give it my full attention. The whole let's-all-be-logical-down-to-earth-thinkers-here-and-get-some-good-data is starting to grate on my nerves. I really just want to have it all done, but all the paper work keeps piling up endlessly and that bothers me so much. 
  • Part of me wants to be some chic, artistic, mellow lady who sips tea, reads books, and writes all about my adventures in a thick, expensive journal. I want to sequester myself in a little nook far away at some sea-side villa where no one will ever find me. I want to write, I want to dream, I want to create. I want to walk into an antique store and splurge on silly little nick-nacks that no one cares for, just because. 
  • Part of me wants to never be around people ever again. Turn up the music really loud, paint violently, and scream into my pillow. 
  • And part of me wants to drop everything, go be a missionary in some exotic location, tell people the Gospel, learn a new language, and give up everything I have for the possibility of leading others to Christ. 

I am a whirlwind of the unknown. I am as inconsistent as the lines I try to sketch (and let's be real, I can't sketch worth anything). Sometimes it feels like all this stuff I'm doing now is just to pass the time so I can do what really needs doing later. Like I'm stuck in a waiting room, anxious and tired, but the train will pull up soon enough and I'll get on and be whisked away to some distant, melodious adventure. 

Of course, all this line of thought will disappear tomorrow, when I'm back in the lab quarreling with the software that runs my experiments. But it's always kind of there - rustling in its own little frustrated way beneath the surface. It's probably one of the reasons I get this overwhelming desire to wander at times, and because I have no where to wander I simply devour book after book until part of me is a little bit more okay with my current lot in life. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Christ in Me: 7 Scriptures & A Challenge

My devotions took me to Luke 4 today, where Jesus begins His ministry in Galilee and the surrounding regions. This occurred immediately after His time in the wilderness, where He was tempted. As I was reading, I was struck by how often Luke has mentioned the role of the Holy Spirit - and in this chapter, Luke records how Christ was led into the wilderness under the compulsion of the Spirit, and how He operated in the power of the Spirit when He left the wilderness and began His ministry among the Israelites. 

This then had me start thinking about our lives as Christians and how we are sealed with the Spirit of God (Eph 1:13, 4:30, 2 Tim 1:14). Are we our own or are we claimed by another? Here are 7 Scriptures that give us the answer...

"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love Him and will disclose myself to Him." Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him." -- Jn 14:16-23
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. -- Rom 8:9-13 
For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. -- Gal 2:19-21
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. -- Eph 3:14-19
...that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. -- Col 1:26-28
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. -- 1 Jn 9-14
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. -- Rev 3:19-20

My comments on this topic are as follows: if you are a Christian and have accepted Christ as your Savior, He has promised that He will give His Spirit. Why then are we still living according to the old self? Why do we struggle with depression and pride and self-esteem? Why are we seeking after the affirmation of other people? Why this need for acceptance and understanding from those in a world that do not live by the same standard or by the same Spirit? We can't expect to be understood or praised by those of this world. Paul clearly tells us,
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. -- 1 Cor 1:18
So why do we submit to the decisions of the world, which continually condemns us for what we believe? Why do we seek the approval of men and women who are on the fast track to hell? Why do their words mean anything to us and why are we giving them the power to hurt us? Why are we not going out and speaking life into their lives and sharing the gospel of Christ which has saved us from an eternal death? I desire the courage that Paul had, which enabled him to truthfully say,
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. Rom 1:16
Followers of Christ, we need to renew our minds and boldly proclaim the salvation of God which is for all people. Jesus commanded it of us,
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. -- Mt 28: 19-20 
We have His Spirit, we have His command, and we have no reason to be afraid of the people or principalities of this world, so why are we living like we haven't been saved? Why are we living as though we haven't been given the power of His Name and His Spirit?

Here's my challenge, to myself and to you, my fellow believers in Christ - let's work on living daily for Christ. Let's be free in allowing our faith to permeate our relationships and our workplaces. Let's be unafraid of what people will say about us. Take your encouragement from Scripture and from other believers who are walking in truth and love. Spend more time in the Word of God and spend more time talking to Him and listening to His Spirit. "For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you throuh the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." (2 Tim 1:6-7) Be bold in Christ, be humble in spirit, be compassionate and kind, and above all - press in to the deepening and strengthening of your relationship with Jesus. He wants to hear from you right now. I guarantee it. Start living like you're actually saved. Live a life that is faithful to Christ and He will reveal Himself to be abounding in grace and mercy and faithfulness to you.


{Jesus died for you in public, don't just live for Him in private}

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Boston 2 - In Which I Recap on Day 1

So I'm in Boston, Massachusetts with my dad for a thingamabob (science stuff, guys) and I figured why not blog a little about my experience, assuming I have time later on in the week to discuss what's been happening.

Unfortunately, I have zero pictures at this point of my journey. However, I can still explain a couple fun/not-so-fun things :)

Yesterday we got up at 2:30am PT (Pacific Time) - to which I was terribly monsterous about. The last time I woke up at such an ungodly hour I downed a German energy drink, which had me bubbling pixie dust out of my nose (practically...), but this time I was bereft of any caffeine until we reached the airport. Needless to say, looking back on the whole matter I feel slightly ashamed at how boorish I was.

The flight over was nothing adventurous. It was long and cramped, and apparently more cramped for my dad, who had a tiny lady elbowing him the entire time. Getting off would have been pure relief, except that we stepped straight in to 75% humidity (oh eastcoast how I've missed you - not!).

From above, Boston looked a little like the Canadian maritime coastline, but (at least from what I've seen) it appears to be a slight knock-off of true Canadian beauty.
[[side note: I have nothing against the rugged masculinity of the American cityscape here, but it just strikes me as being less elegant and more squat-ish whenever I compare it to my homeland - still, it is wonderful and fascinating in its own unique way]]

Pinterest: Green Dragon Tavern (apparently a place in Boston)
After procuring a rental car, dad and I realized a moment too late that the map we had been given was utterly, and indisputably, useless. We asked the lady at the exit booth if she could direct us in the general direction of our hotel. After watching her interpretive dance techniques in an attempt to explain the path that was clearly emblazoned in her mind, we set off and promptly got lost.

It took us about an hour of navigating the less-prosperous side of Boston (at least, this is what I'm assuming is the less prosperous side), 5 near-collisions (la, the drivers here are insane!), and 3 cases of I-feel-like-I'm-being-watched-in-a-really-scary-way we made it to a hotel (but not ours). Thankfully, a fellow there gave us a print-off from Google Maps and we were able to find our hotel within 10 additional minutes.

I fell asleep quite swiftly (somewhere around 7:30pm PT) and woke up thoroughly rested at 3:30am PT. Yay me! I now feel quite rejuvenated and content, ready to explore Boston with my dad and hopefully survive any further harrowing navigational mishaps.

My labmate (I should come up with a nickname for both of them - there's two now! and they're amazingly wonderful people), let's call her LabMateT for now, and our supervisor are flying down today. Tomorrow we'll meet up and have at this scientific learning experience!
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