May 25, 2015

-A Study in Yellow-

I studied hairbows and Barbie dolls encased in their boxes when I was five, never decisive. Pink or purple or yellow? I was the unconventional girl child who ended up selecting the color yellow. It wasn’t that I had an aversion to pink or purple- in fact, lavender is my favorite color- but if a child psychologist could see within my mind and chose to analyze me, it was mostly due to the fact that I associated yellow with sunshine and sunflowers, lemonade and car wash parties my uncle would throw for us to get all dressed in our swimsuits to wash his canary-yellow car at the time, though as I look back several years later I honestly wonder if all the hype was just to get his car washed.
            I painted my half of the bedroom yellow shortly after our seventh move in the first twelve years of my life in an effort to recapture the yellow shades I had recently recalled and mourned in my first bedroom, one my mother painted and allowed me to cover a whole wall with handprints, paintbrushes, anywhere and anytime. Big Bird from the children’s television show Sesame Street made his way on there more than a few times, along with sunflowers and fairies. Apple and lemon trees also appeared. This wall gave me my supposed artistic eye and joy in creating bold messes now; I’m almost positively sure of it. And it’s probably also the reason why my little self designed my future child’s bedroom with that golden color in mind- I still want to paint it that way.

            On my eighteenth birthday I asked for yellow flowers, and woke up to bouquets of them all over the house- daffodils, sunflowers, daisies, yellow roses. Even now, I associate yellow with joy, brought to me by soaking up the sun during a hike along with countless other out-of-door activities. There’s a certain sense of contentment that comes with that gratefulness surrounded by joy. If someone invented yellow lattes, I would undoubtedly partake- just so long as they didn’t taste of bananas. As I grew up, I needed those sparks of color in what could at times be a colorless world. I painted my yellow wall white a few years after painting it yellow, and didn’t miss it; because now I see myself as the yellow in what could be a fairly black-and-white kind of world swirled with uncertainty. If people can continue calling me a sunflower, I know it’s enough. 

May 20, 2015

22 Songs for Summer//Just Listen

It's nearing that season for summer..roadtrips, airplane trips, drives in general to get out of the heat (whatever that may look like in your neck of the woods). When planning our hopeful first roadtrip up the coast (happening either this summer or fall), these are the songs Alexandrea and I just happen to turn up a little bit louder on any occasion- upbeat, hipster, adventuresome, and just enjoyable ones in general. Hence, the list of songs for summer roadtrips.  What songs would you add? 

May 13, 2015

The Subject of Being You.

"'You,' he said, 'are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.'" --Emilie Autumn 

I stopped in the toy aisle recently with some time to kill, having accidentally left my current book at home. Curious to see what the girls in my Sunday School class were discussing a few weeks prior, I stopped in front of a fairly dark (let's be honest- hideous) display portraying the famous Monster High dolls, and sighed.
"Be yourself. Be a Monster." 


What happened to...being yourself, period? What do strangely somehow-attractive faces have to do with being yourself, and when did it become acceptable to want to embrace that monster inside us? That pride? That sin? Such a road leads only to destruction...
when did we forget that?
Or have we become so blinded that we choose not to see?

Polly Pockets were "my" toys as a youngster. I remember one day when I named them all after the fruits of the Spirit (to be fair, I changed a few of them three days later. Calling Polly Self-Control just didn't cut it anymore), and decided to keep one in my pocket in order to remember that fruit. But when we're giving other ideals to kids to be themselves, even as monsters...what do we expect but monsters? But shootings in movie theatres?
Why do parents complain about the dreaded teen years?
From a child's point, it's because all we were taught to ask was, "Why shouldn't I get everything my little heart desires, and raise havoc when I don't get it? Especially if I wasn't taught otherwise. 

I'm not telling you what toys you should and shouldn't be playing with. I'm not saying that it's not a psychological thing. But I've been with thirty or forty children every week, many of them one on on, for the last ten months, and I'm learning.

"Wow. Mom. Not everyone is like our family."
I came in and dumped by bags by my bedroom door, exhausted.
She laughed.
"I'm serious. I knew we had...issues. And sometimes, those are hard to hash out. Gosh, I always say we put the fun in dysfunctional. But honestly, I thought everyone had what we have."
I don't live in an inner-city.
And yet, it's plain as day, how the children are suffering, too. Either in families or circumstances.

I never was able to thoroughly jump on the "be you" bandwagon. I'm not certain as to the reason why, but something grated me logically when I thought about that. I came across a quote from my heroine, Corrie ten Boom recently, and something clicked. How I traced it back to be an interesting story.

"Self is a tight lock. I see many decent sinners who are in spiritual prison because their self is on the throne of their hearts, and Jesus is on the cross. What liberation comes when Jesus cleanses their hearts with His blood, and comes to the throne, and self goes on the cross!" 

I don't want to
When I was younger, my mom set me loose in the backyard, her voice saying "be free," carrying across the wind.
I ran and I ran and I ran.
She chased me.
I was Tinkerbell and she was Captain Hook. Or I was Tiger Lilly and she was Captain Hook. Or I was Wendy and she was...well, she was Captain Hook.
I always won, obviously.

But life isn't like that.
These days, I'm running away from me, because I don't like me.
I'm a sinner.
I'm full of myself.
I have no right nor reason to be anything otherwise.
However...I'm a slave to myself no longer.

There comes a point in time where "good" people are tired of being good, because it's simply not in our nature to do so. And so they do "bad" things.
But where did this definition of good and bad come from? When did "don't judge" become the most quoted, and yet most unresolved point in Scripture?

Jesus has set me free.
I can run freely.
Without worry.
But...because I'm a sinner...I tie myself up again. Nine times out of ten, I don't even realize it.

Being you isn't bad when Christ is your Master, and self is up on the cross.
But being you can become bad when you still play Jackyl and Hyde.
Being you can bring about pain and suffering when you are free in Jesus, and yet are concerned with others, because in reality that brings it back to self.

My encouragement today is to run freely. Run as if Captain Hook was after you. And run knowing you can beat him every single time.
Don't become so wrapped up in being you that you forget who are you, and more importantly, who He has made you to be and become.
Be you, because you are His. 
And until you are, don't lose yourself in the shadows of trying to figure out who you should be.
You're worth so much more than that.