Monday, January 31, 2011

Pssst, your personality is showing.

I took a personality test last week and was kind of afraid that after I answered question 256, the computer would stall out and say, "Error. Invalid Combination."
It didn't, phew, but the sheer relief at having this odd personality I possess lumped neatly into various boxes was enlightening. It was like somebody outside of me was saying, "No, you're not defective. The ways you respond? That happens for a reason."

No matter who we are--no matter how generic we may seem from the outside, no heed to how we wedge ourselves into the common mold , no credence to the ease with which we slip into uniformity--there is a piece of all of us that seems untouched. Even if it's only a sliver, there is some aspect of each life that diverges from those pressed around it.
It's uncomfortable. Outstanding in it's uniqueness, to the point where it feels as if everyone identifies us as only that slice of ourselves. And worse yet, we draw the conclusion that we're alone in our variety and if they only knew, they'd change their minds about us. Reject us.
There are two things about this odd phenomenon that have come to the forefront of my musings as of late.
First, it is not a flaw. It is a facet. The very rarity of that angle of each of us makes it valuable. Because it means we--you, I--we are uniquely qualified for something. While we may be subdivided into personality components, we each get a different sized dollop of those components. And that's not on accident. I heard someone in the church recently say that God's will for us is to glorify Him.
No argument here. But I think it goes a step farther than that. I think God forms us each with his artist's fingers, adding streaks of crimson, sunshine, cobalt, in the exact quantities needed to reflect Himself in the exact location that He places us. And not just "My Family," but in the relationships and situations and moments. He is way too brilliant to just whip out a fingerpainting and jam it on the fridge. He specializes.
The second thing is this. Those slivers of individuality in each of us, they are not repellent. They are often the most mesmerizing piece of us. When they catch the light people stop to look. And not like a car wreck, more like a prism. I have been blessed with some dear friends and it is not the fact that we like The Loft or Needtobreathe that has brought us past the acquaintance phase so quickly. No, these dear hearts have radiant individuality that runs like a ribbon of silver through who they are. They haven't tried to hide it or excuse it, they let it reflect their Lord. And it draws people to them. To Him.
The second aspect of this is how isolating it can feel. By definition, the uniqueness means no one else feels or experiences this life exactly as we do. By and large, we get the same broad sweeps. We all have fear, hope, longing, joy. But not necessarily for the same reasons or to the same degrees. Definitely not at the same time. So there are those moments where everyone else may as well be on the sun for how understood we feel.
Here's the thing though. At risk of sounding like a scratched CD, God made us that way. Which means....
He gets it. All of it. He knows what this moment feels like to me. With me.
Simple, yes. But when I feel like I'm watching the world from the other side of an impassible membrane, it is this huge comfort.
Thank you, Lord, that you are an artist. Thank you that you shimmer through your people. Even those who don't know it. Thank you for hand-crafting each one into an original and stunning silhouette. Please give us the grace to see your work for it's beauty and when we're in those moments that are untouchable by this world, that you are right there in it with us.
All my love.

Friday, January 28, 2011


I would love to be one of those orderly people who, when first back from a long trip, unpacks and puts all things in their places, then empties the dishwasher, etc.
But I'm not.
So, I'm grateful that my apartment is about the size of a bread box. When I finally buckle down and clean, it won't take that long.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hats off to God

God and I did something big together recently. Well, big for me. I will not say what because its fun having a secret with the Almighty and also because I don't want to risk my heavenly reward...just being honest.
But, it was seriously cool. I feel like we bonded over the experience.
And today, we celebrated.
I supplied a frozen yogurt that was way too big and God brought the gifts.
Namely, he supplied killer weather. Since I was outside for a good portion of the afternoon, the fifty degrees he set up and cerulean sky were a total blessing. He also supplied extra free time to spend on pursuits he's given me. And if that weren't enough, he sent me a sweet lady with words of encouragement that were a fire to my spirit.
Here's the thing about living for God. When I actually do it, it's more addictive than cheese dip. And it doesn't make my tummy hurt. Nay, living for God--living this life as I was created to--is like breathing fresh air after burning the rubber belt on the vacuum. It's so sweet you actually feel it flow through your bloodstream.
I want to always live like this. Free. Whole. Right.
Thank you, God, for enabling us, your children, to live for you. I know as twisted as I am that without your help I couldn't please you. So thank you for your help. And thank you for big things you call us to do and the absolute thrill when we get to experience your life running through our veins. Guard my heart, mind, soul, and body that I may dwell in your presence more tomorrow than today, and ever more after that. All my love!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I have said before that while I love being new places, I don't so much like getting there. Last week I left Monday at an ungodly hour and flew to Chicago for the week. Much as I love that city, I wasn't about to walk around in six degree weather to enjoy it. I got back late Friday (this is my lame excuse for not keeping up with my blog) and left early Saturday for OKC.
Being in Chicago wasn't bad, aside from the fact that my ears, fingers, toes, and nose just defrosted yesterday, and OKC was great because I got to celebrate my niece's birthday.
But, this little tour has made me so grateful for airplane travel. I flew to Chicago in about the same time I drove to OKC. My traveler spirit would be hard-pressed to endure car trips everywhere, or, God forbid, horse buggies.
Thank you, Lord, for physics and technology and the Wright brothers, and Delta. Thank you for places to go and fast ways to get there.
All my love.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Happy Martin Luther King Day.
I have been blessed with amazing friends, some of whom have already come to visit me during the four months I've called Little Rock home. During one of these weekends, I carted my friends to the "visitor" places that most residents wouldn't consider an outing. Among them was Central High School, one of the first integrated schools.
I'm blessed to be in a generation that missed out on that violence and brutality, and though I've heard the stories and been to the MLK memorial in Atlanta, this visit was jarring.
A park ranger explained how one little girl, little girl, didn't get the message to meet up with the other nine students and local ministers. She got off the bus in a pretty white dress she'd sewn, and was immediately pressed by hatred. She walked alone down the middle of a very narrow road. On her left, men and women her parents' age, boys and girls her own age, spit until her dress was drenched. They shouted vile threats as she clutched her books, kept her gaze ahead and walked. On her right, between her and the strikingly pretty high school, stood her own National Guard troops. Men in uniform armed with guns. Their sole purpose was to prevent her and her nine black classmates from getting to school.
She sat alone on a bench at a bus stop until it came. The jeering never waned. The hate never thought twice.
When the bus came, she rode to her mother's work.
The next day, she went back to school. And she stayed. And she graduated.
In a culture obsessed with comfort, I'm awed by the willingness of those who have the spine to really believe in something. Even when it costs them.
I'm so glad the Little Rock Nine were able to see the fruit of their labor. But even if they hadn't, they would have taken their stand anyway.
There's a verse in Esther that says we're put where we are "For such a time as this." I'm so thankful that God does that. He plants us where He wants us, where the world needs us, and He gives us inhuman fortitude to stand.
Thank you, God, for your people who stood courageously in the face of unthinkable foes. Who would not bend from what is right for the sake of what is easy. Please may I be like that. All my love.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Little Rock sits at longitude 34 degrees North and the temperature is right at forty today. And yet, I'm enjoying a fresh-chopped avocado from Mexico. This little fruit (yes, technically it is a fruit) has travelled farther than many of my neighbors have ever ventured. And boy am I glad.

I love fruit and have a modest affection for some vegetables, and have recently developed a habit of strolling the produce section of the fancy Kroger. It amazes me that you can get kumquats, blood oranges, kiwis, purple cauliflower, fresh cilantro, dried seaweed, and crabapples right here in Little Rock.

So, here's to the farmers in Mexico and Chile and the good ol' US of A who work so hard. Here's to the pilots who fly them in and the truckers pullin' the long haul. And to the stockboys. Can't forget the stockboys, who line them up in pretty rows.

Last but not least, here's to a God who wasn't content with just apples and bananas.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


It snowed in Little Rock this week which brought all of us to a skidding halt.
Thus, I've had snow on the brain for a few days, and here's what I've come up with.
On Monday, I was thankful for a snow day, essentially a day where doing the right thing means watching DVR'd movies and reading novels in turn. I thought about using that time wisely to critique and write...and then the commercial ended.
On Tuesday, I left at six thirty in the dark, cold morning to drive South. Or rather, God and I headed South, with a blanket in the back seat, a lot of water, an emergency banana, and two cell phones. Just in case.
My primary concern was no longer snow. I worried about ice. Ice is what gets you. One minute, you're rolling along toward your destination. Eyes on the horizon, or the ipod, you never see it coming. Then you slip, slide, and frantically try to remember if you're supposed to steer into the slide or in the direction you really want to go, and than BAM. Hello, guardrail. I was reminded that sometimes it's the things you don't see that get you. If I try to see too far ahead, or if I get too focused on what's going on inside, I'll miss the danger sparkling in front of me. The cold, abandoned cars along the road bore testament to destinations never reached. (Shiver.)
On Wednesday, after a safe and slip-free trip, most of town started rolling again, but the snow still lingers in the grass. Which brought to mind that old saying that no two snowflakes are alike. I wondered when I stopped believing that, and why.
The sheer number of flakes seems to overwhelm the permutations available for ice crystal formation. So I asked God. He didn't so much give me an answer, but did bring to mind two important things. First, the size of flakes varies, so that adds to the potential configurations exponentially. And, more importantly, HE IS GOD. So if he wants to make each and every snowflake unique, He will. My pea brain doesn't have to get it. (He didn't call me a pea brain. That's personal commentary.)
And last night, in a new women's study, He brought up a topic He's been easing into my days as of late. Uniqueness. Ephesians 2:10 is going up on my mirror in a minute. God has made us each individuals.
And on purpose.
He has done that because we each have a unique role to fill in His plan.
We're like snowflakes in that regard. He made us individual because HE IS GOD. Instead of trying to change my crystals around to look like another flake, I should revel in my own flakeness and exactly where it lands on the earth.
I'm not supposed to be my sister or my favorite author or Mother Teresa. Those are wonderful women, but part of the reason is because they are living what God has told them to live. If I want to have an exceptional life, I must go where God calls me. Even when nobody else does. When it's not popular. Or when it is popular. Easy or hard, foreign or familiar. There is no three-step program to living in God's will because God's will is unique. Like a snowflake.
So, today, although my brain is still trying to assimilate the way God works, I'm thankful for his ways and that they aren't mine. I'm thankful that my weirdness--er, uniqueness--is on purpose and not intended to be snuffed. I'm thankful that when my path seems to veer from those around me, it is not a warning, it is in fact a blessing.
And I'm thankful for snow plows.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I went to target today and the Christmas stuff was 90% off. I doubled the ornaments for my tree for less than twenty bucks!

I love end of season sales.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Just plain good.

I was in South Arkansas today to meet with an account and agent. We ate lunch at this little country hole-in-the-wall buffet--pronounced BUF-fay, here in the South--because it was chicken-fried steak day and the agent was pretty excited about that.
The pretty little greeter knew my lunch companions and told us that, although she didn't manage to shoot any deer over the weekend, her two boys did, so it was a good weekend. I share this so you understand that we're talking real and true Southern country food.
For dessert you could pick from the requisite banana pudding, a square of yellow cake with chocolate icing, or cherry cobbler.
It was no contest. I reached for the dish holding a mashed pile of artificially brilliant red goo and the uniform thumb-sized cherries.
You see, even in the best holes-in-the-wall, they know better than to compete with canned cherry pie filling. That stuff will be at the Feast of the Lamb when we get to heaven.
Some things are just plain good. Like God and cherry pie filling. Being perfect, they don't change. And for that I'm very thankful.
Thank you, God, for cherries, and for red #40 and the folks who make it, and for the marvel of canned cherry pie filling. Thank you for that tart-sweet taste that will always be the same no matter how foreign an environment might seem. And thank you that, much like this gem among desserts, you are sweet and you do not change.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Give the rose to the widow from Charlotte!

So, today I'm grateful for new beginnings. I love that God's theme song is New Beginnings.
It is 10 pm on the first Monday of the new year and I'm squandering it with The Bachelor (coincidentally it's Brad Womack's new beginning...)

Here's to tomorrow and a chance to put this behind me.