01 July 2016

Five Years and a Full Heart

The close of one season and the beginning of the next. It's a certain cycle of life. Most of the time there is stability on one area while we fade out and back into something new in another. Sometimes all the major pieces reshuffle all at once, causing a cyclone of thoughts and emotions, unable to be fully experienced because of the sheer number of to-dos on the list.

Today I am in the eye of this storm; it is hectic, it is scary, and it is beautiful.

Today was my last day at work, almost exactly on my five-year anniversary. This place, these people, it was just what I needed, when I needed it. When I needed them. By divine orchestration, and to my great surprise and delight, I think *I* was just what *they* needed, too. 
Editing a report at Hart Crowser's Edmonds office
At first, I did not see myself someplace like this. But then again, I didn't know what "like this" even was. Yes, it's an engineering firm. They do some environmental stuff. But I have come to know and love a team of people with passion, life, intelligence, a strong work ethic, great senses of humor, people who are sometimes aggravating but always likeable. They have shaped the person I am continuing to become, and know I have impacted them as well. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the relationships built here. I'm thankful for people who helped me see myself through THEIR eyes, and though that, have built me up. I hope I have done the same for them.

Today is just the beginning of a series of transitions and changes. It is the end of a season but not the end of the friendships I have made. They were carefully formed and will always be a permanent part of who I am. This version of "me" is better than who I might have been without them.

The END of something is often the time we can most truly appreciate it, so for that reason, I treasure this ending. I hope to carry the seeds of this chapter into the next, where every now and then I will remember what I had here, and I will smile.

23 February 2016

Pray AND Post a Guard (for Marriage)

In my first few years of fast.pray-ing, I rejoiced in seeing friend after friend meet wonderful men and disappear off my list. Why, I even had FIVE in ONE YEAR, even ones I didn’t know even WANTED to get married! God was truly, visibly at work. I was thankful; I praised His name.

And yet there I was, still alone, with no prospects. I believe in the power of prayer; I sincerely asked God to not only grant me a spouse but also to work on my heart. I felt I was at least as ready for marriage as the friends I’d prayed for. Was there more?

In all the conversations as to why not me, or at least not yet, I heard all the usual things: it would happen when I least expected it; I just need to follow Jesus wholeheartedly; I will “just happen” at the right time (like in my old age, it seemed). Implied in these and other statements, I’m sure you have heard, was the idea that we should not SEEK marriage, at least not in our actions.

But why not? Is that even scriptural? I think of what Nehemiah did when their adversaries plotted against them: “We prayed and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat” (Nehemiah 4:9, NIV). We all do this in various areas of our lives. We pray for a job AND send out resumes; we pray for help on a test AND study hard; we pray for God to comfort our friends AND we give them hugs and take them meals. And when we sense that God is calling us into something, we take steps to pursue it.

It struck me that we do this in every area of life, but for some reason we don’t put marriage in this category. Even childless couples are encouraged to pray AND to keep trying, seek fertility treatments, or begin the adoption process.

There is a scene in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where Susan and Lucy are attacked by wolves. Peter hears Susan’s horn, which he knows means help will come to her. Rather than just waiting to see what “help” would come, he takes off running in her direction, to BE part of that help. As it turns out, Aslan does show up, but Peter is given his own role in rescuing his sisters.

I would like to advocate the dating/marriage version of praying AND posting a guard! Pray and fast for marriage? YES! Take actions that could lead towards meeting a few more potential mates? YES!
Over the last few years, I have made various attempts to move towards this calling of marriage: talking to random people and learning to be more open, per Henry Cloud’s advice (see How to Get a Date Worth Keeping); going to every mixed event I get invited to; putting myself out there online.

SIDE NOTE: My first boyfriend at age 39 was the result of my tirelessly reading through hundreds of profiles on Match.com after determining to get to the end of a particular search that resulted in 700+ hits. This would be the exact opposite of finding a guy “when I least expected it.” (I’m not saying God does not surprise us; just that there is not one magical way that we meet someone special. And that maybe it will take some work on our part.)

But even at this point, I felt like there was a further step: to involve my community in the process.

Most marriages in the Bible happened because someone brought the couple together, or at least brought the woman to the man. While traditional (arranged) marriage is not the norm in our culture, its most useful principles can apply to us today: shared connections, values, and backgrounds (see First Comes Marriage by Reva Seth), and the whole third-party character validation thing, which also help with accountability and safety during/after the courtship. We don’t have to go back in time, but I think it would be great if more “introductions” could happen in this day where the number of singles seeking marriage without finding it is unsurpassed.

All of us can help these connections happen. Host a dinner party with equal numbers of men and women, like the French do. Introduce your cousin to your friend’s co-worker. Talk to people about how THEY can help their single friends. The online dating thing is not as great as it sounds—perhaps the Church can start something that will transform how people get together, and we can all be a part of it!

In a culture not too far removed from ours today, Paul wrote, “Because sexual immorality is so rampant, every man should have his own wife, and every woman should have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). There is so much more going on here than just a few single Christians who have a hard time getting married. There is a war against humanity, and marriages are one of the greatest defenses. Aside from the few who choose a life of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, for “Two are better than one,” (Ecclesiastes 4:9) and “A cord of three strands [man + woman + the person who introduced them, perhaps?] is not quickly broken” (v. 12). We can do this!

This article was posted on the fast.pray blog on February 21, 2016

07 April 2013

Beautiful Sacrifice

Easter Sunday in Seattle was a gorgeous spring day. It happened just when cherry blossoms were at their fullest, and barely starting to fall.

I had some quiet moments between our services at Ballard High School.  What a picture it was, the gorgeous blue sky, trees bursting with blossoms, and light breezes would gently shake the delicate petals from the branches.  The Japanese believe that cherry blossoms are most beautiful at the moment when they fall to the ground.

The metaphor for Jesus' sacrifice had escaped me in the past, but in that moment I sat it a moment of profound awe.

Later, I shared some wonderful fellowship with some brothers and sisters, where I ate my very first "little chick" deviled eggs! (Very appropriate for Easter, except for the name, ha!)

28 January 2013

Lovely website!

This is a beautiful website.

One of my design instructors once said, "A big part of design is just making a set of decisions."

This is a good example of seeing the layout decisions someone made. It mimics a print magazine, but still easy to navigate. The typeface choice seems fitting to the content. The lovely photos certainly help, too.

20 March 2012

“Hello Again,” and Creativity

Hello again, enjoythescenery.  I’ve missed you.

I have also missed being more creative. I am hoping to take a Typography Level 2 class at a local art school. Had to send some samples. Flipping through my portfolio, I found Vivienne, my second-ever project using Adobe Illustrator. I like her. And for someone who has had a very small number of drawing lessons (I think 3), I can sort of draw!
 You can see a few more things here.

I have also been researching digital pianos for months. Bought one, had second thoughts, researched further, and I think it is going to be the Yamaha P-155. Oh, Yamaha. How I love your pianos.

After that, I really must find the right expression for singing, playing, just making music!