Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Am I a quitter?

I'm doing some massive organizing in my room. Because I'm living at home now, something I haven't done since I graduated high school, I have to fit a lot of stuff into one room. I decided to view this as an opportunity to get very organized with all of my things, instead of just my college things.

As I was going through past journals and old devotionals, I noticed how I never followed through with anything. The earliest diary I found was from July of 1996. My first entry says this:
Sunday, 7-7-96
I got this diary yesterday. I was glad I got a nice diary for my birthday. But my birthday is Wednesday July 10. I will be 10. Well I better go.
Your friend,
Emilee Shake
And that was the only time I wrote in it. That's it. I found about four different teen devotional books that had the first chapter completed and the rest blank.

This is really starting to bother me. Am I a quitter? Do I ever follow through with things?

I never read a book cover to cover. I read about the first 1/3 then put it down or skip around throughout the rest of it. I learned to play the guitar, but just good enough to lead worship. Then I stopped practicing or trying to get better. I decided I wanted to try to sell on eBay some of the photographs I've taken, so I bought the frames and enlarged the pictures. They're sitting in my room pictures in frames, where they have been for a few months. I don't even have an eBay account set up yet.

I am quite troubled by this. I really need to work on seeing things through to completion.

Monday, December 28, 2009

What I live for...

Two weeks ago I went to Terrazas, Mexico.

It wasn't for the first time. I've actually been several times; just not in the last three years. I must say, never again will I let that much time lapse before I return.

There are three churches in Mexico that participate in Christmas party. Individuals from the states go to Terrazas in the fall and take photographs of children in the area who plan to attend the party. They write down the clothing/shoe sizes of the children and an item they wants. The people who do that are typically from a church in the Phoenix area, though my mother has gone in previous years. They then send the photo and information to their church in Phoenix and my church in Plainville, Ind.

That may seem random — Arizona and Indiana, but there is a connection. The mission organization is called Cristo Vive (Christ Lives) and was started by two families in Phoenix, cousins of individuals in Plainville. That's how my church got involved many years ago.

The first time I went to Terrazas was July 2001, a week and a half after returning from a two-week mission trip in Haiti. Strangely, at the time, I thought I'd return to Haiti before Mexico. However, that hasn't been the case. Through several trips to Terrazas, I've built relationships with the individuals at the church there, and they've taught me so much. (I'll talk more about this in later posts: a true, genuine friendship that transcends a language barrier.)

But upon my return, I showed someone in the newsroom this video. Without thinking, I heard myself say,
"I love it. This, this is what I live for."
I paused after that and thought about what I'd just said. I live to worship the Lord. And what was going on was an act of worship, so I didn't find anything wrong about that statement. It just resounded in my heart because, like most people, I'm searching for my place, my calling, my spot in the world.

Christians are called to advance the Kingdom of God. I've had this vision in my head that I must do something huge. Something that would require some radical obedience, making everyone think I'm crazy.

But there I was, a Smalltown, Ind. newspaper journalist in Mexico doing something that I so freely said I live for. It was confirmed at that moment something God had been trying to tell me. My job doesn't have to be my calling. It could be the activities outside of the job that prove the most worthwhile. (Stay posted for more on this thought.)

My ultimate desire is to honor God with my life. That's what I live for, and I won't be mad if Terrazas continues to be a part of that. :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Random writing

At work tonight, I couldn't concentrate on the story I was writing. For some reason my mind kept wondering. I remembered an exercise a professor in college made the class do once: just type whatever comes to your mind. So that's what I did.

I just started typing every thought, and of course, it was crazy how one thought led to another. First I was typing about how I didn't know what to write about, then I was writing about a three hour long meeting I was in earlier that day, then I overheard someone mention free wifi. Eventually, I ended my 14-inch random writing with writing about the power of words.

All of that led me to thinking about how much I enjoy blogging, but I rarely do. So I injected my blog with some botox — gave it a little color to make it look younger, and I'm now ready to become a faithful blogger.

We'll see what happens.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Trusty Chucks

There is one thing and one thing only I love about fall: the clothes.

When the cool weather hits, there's nothing like putting on some old blue jeans and a nice, warm hoodie. And scarves. I love scarves. My scarf fetish was often the brunt of many jokes from my beloved college roommates. (And it only got worse when I got a job at Gap.) :)

But the best are my trusty pair of black, high-top Chuck Taylor shoes. There is something about fall that makes me want to wear them every day, regardless of my outfit.

I've had these shoes for about 3-4 years. But they've been worn longer than that. My little brother gave them to me when he outgrew them. I'd wanted some Chucks, but after trying them on, I decided new ones didn't have enough character—and I didn't want to pay for them. So when my brother asked me if I wanted his, of course, I said yes.

There was only one small problem. They were about two or three sizes too big. Though after several trips and stumbles, I mastered walking in them. (I was quite determined.) These shoes have it all: character, dirt, rips. And they're still kicking. (ba-dum--ching!)

Fall is now here, and guess what, I just removed my sweet Chucks. I'll probably wear them again tomorrow, even if I'm wearing brown....okay, maybe not. :)

I guess clothes aren't the only thing I love about fall. Trees changing and Thanksgiving are in the ranks too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It Just Is.

Mysterious. Beautiful. Confusing. Risky. Seductive. Worthy. Conservative. Comfortable. Complex. Free. Awkward. Mature. Giddy. Exotic. Childish. Annoying. Reserved. Colorful. Insensible. Playful. Classy. Chaotic. Spontaneous. Careless. Original. Reckless.

It's an inexperienced collaboration, a frightening connection, a scary commitment, an uneasy vulnerability.

It's what my parents have, what makes Hollywood money, what forms fairytales, what causes butterflies.

It's irrational and unreasonable.

It's overflowing, uncontrollable, can't-wipe-the-smile-off-your-face joy.
It's overpowering, unbearable, rather-be-dead-than-hurt-this-much pain.

It's the "no one else" and "never again," the "now and forever," the "let's grow old together," the "you take the remote," the "go out with the guys," the "I'll do the dishes," the "let's watch the game," the "forever's not long enough," the "you're all I need."

It's the "is this worth it" and "you don't get it," the "what were we thinking," the "why don't you listen," the "don't you even care," the "you're so selfish," the "I think I want out," the "you don't trust me," the "why didn't you tell me," the "do you still love me."

It's the good with the bad, the rights with the wrongs, the laughs with the tears.

It's the "I will if you will," the give and take, the meet in the middle.

It's all I am and all I'm not.
It's all I have and all I desire.
It's all I want and all I need.

It just is.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

With just a clap

In my tiny, cupped hands I held the power that controls the universe. 

I didn't realize it was even possible until that one moment when everything in the world was under my direction and command.

I was likely 8 or 9, and it was December 24, the night my dad's side always celebrates Christmas. I remember driving home late, or what seemed late, that frosty, winter night. Just after embarking on our twenty minute drive home, my mom sadly remembers we'd forgotten to turn on our Christmas lights.

Even as a child, I knew Christmas was a magical time of year. It was when special things happened. Extraordinary things. It started with the birth of Jesus, the most extraordinary of all, and carried through the centuries. This night, I wanted something extraordinary to happen. With everything in me, I believed that if I prayed, God would give me the power to turn on the Christmas lights at my house with a single, red-gloved clap.

I cupped my hands and recited this prayer until I was just two blocks from my house: Please give me the power to turn on the Christmas lights. Please give me the power to turn on the Christmas lights. Over and over I said it, truly believing I would receive the power to do this absurd, insignificant task.

Now, some 14 years later, I can't remember the last time I had that kind of faith in anything. Yes, I have faith in God, but do I pray like I prayed then, believing that God would answer anything? Yes, I have faith in myself, but do I believe I'll actually ever make my dreams come true and live a life that makes a difference? Yes, I have faith in my friendships, but do I honestly think they'll last through life's many seasons in this huge world?

That December night just two blocks away from my house having prayed the entire way home, I clapped my hands. As we turned onto our road nearing the house, we saw it lit up, illuminating the black, velvety sky around it. I just smiled as my mom said she guessed we did remember to turn on the lights. I knew the truth. I was the one who turned the Christmas lights on. It was my belief that made it happen. For that one instant God had given me the power to do something completely out of my control.

The following week I was out playing in the snow and decided I wanted to fly. I knew I could do it if I prayed for God to give me the power. So I did just that. I trampled through the snow in my back yard with cupped hands praying this: God, please give me the power to fly. God, please give me the power to fly.

After what I deemed a sufficient amount of time, I climbed up on a picnic table, clapped my nearly frostbitten hands, held my arms up like Superman and jumped fully expecting to soar through the chilly air.

I didn't. I jumped and fell to the ground. So I walked around and prayed the same prayer for even longer, thinking maybe I didn't give God enough time to put the power in my hands and being very careful to keep my fingers squeezed tightly together so no power could fall through.

I tried it again and the same thing happened. I fell. I didn't understand, but it didn't bother me. I just accepted I wasn't supposed to fly. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't do it. And I was okay with that.

After reminiscing on this incident in my life I've decided something: Lessons can always be learned from those who approach the world with a youthful mind and attitude.