Tag Archives: DPchallenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

One of my greatest passions is practicing the Martial Arts.  Soo Bahk Do, a Korean Martial Art founded by the late Hwang Kee, integrates the philosophy, culture, and language of Korea, creating both an academic and physical aspect to the practice.  We are located in all six of the inhabited continents. Come give us a try. It’s definitely addicting!!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/weekly-photo-challenge-foreign/

Thinking Outside the (Crayon) Box

Owen, my sweet-as-pie six year-old, loves to be creative so it never surprisesme to find him sitting on the floor surrounded by crayons and paper, sometimes adding scissors and glue to the mix. Recently he invited me to join him as he conceptualized his next great feat of artistic expression. Quite often I look for an out, deferring him to one of his older brothers as a potentially better partner in craft. On this particular day, however, I decided to color with him, elbow to elbow.

Owen: Mommy, want to color with me?

Me: Sure, Honey. Could you bring the paper and crayons to the table please?

[He arrived at the table with the paper and immediately left the room in search of the crayons. It took him longer than usual to return and I will admit, I was growing a bit impatient as I sat there pondering what to make for dinner, thinking about the homework I needed to tackle with his brother, and feeling somewhat dismayed at the depth of debris stuck to my sock from the unswept kitchen floor. After quite some time Owen returned to the table with the crayons and a proclamation.]

Owen: Here are the crayons, Mommy! I broke them all in half so we wouldn’t have to fight over them!

(Sigh. We each took our half-set and began to color, him a bit more contently than me.)

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The first thought to cross my mind as we bumped elbows and noses while we colored was that I would probably only fight to the death over the yellow and pink crayons, at least one color of which he would likely have no interest in using anyway!  The second thought to cross my mind was that we would soon be buying a new box of crayons. Fortunately this was just a small set that needed replacing.

Looking at Owen’s actions in hindsight, a few thoughts pop out beyond the fact that I happen to be bugged by the chaos created by broken crayons. Owen thinks much differently than I do. Given that there is a vast age difference, that doesn’t entirely shock me – but I also see a difference in how he thinks in comparison to how I thought at his age. Growing up in a small town in a one-income household, possessions were both few and treasured. To break something of value intentionally would have been far beyond my comprehension of sanity and respect for personal property!

In that regard, many children today show a lack of appreciation for the items they own. Elaborate gifts for birthdays and Christmas have become the new normal, the expectation rather than the exceptional blessing they should be. Because they happen to be part of the modern day culture, for example, many teens feel that iPhones, game consoles, and cars are inherent to who they are, essential for their happiness, and indispensable in their daily activities. As a result, the value of the expensive toys, iPhones, and game consoles is lost, as broken items are typically tossed rather than repaired. Even those broken crayons have value though. They just await an art project of new proportion and different dimension.

On the other hand, I absolutely applaud my six year-old for his ability to both anticipate a problem and create a solution before coming to the table! Owen saw his limited resources and realized immediately that product distribution might pose a challenge. That showed ingenuity beyond the capability of many adults who are no longer able to think outside the crayon box.

I held my tongue that day deciding instead to instill in his being a sense of harmony as we colored shades of scarlet and tints of teal, creating a masterpiece previously unparalleled in his short history.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/weekly-writing-challenge-a-splash-of-color/

Weekly Writing Challenge: Fishing on WordPress (or Why I Love WordPress.com)

I’m hooked.

While blogging became popular quite some time ago, I have only recently taken the bait and can readily admit that it’s gotten a hold of me – hook, line and proverbial sinker. Why?  Read on, please!

  1. Creative Expression – Sharing opinions, values, and beliefs have always come easy to me. WordPress allows for an expressive outlet where one can do just that, as a fisherman chooses where to fish, the type of boat, the lure, and the direction in which to cast the bait.
  2. Leisurely Preparation – Writing is a form of communication that does not require a prompt reply or a quick wit, affording the writer time in preparing a new blog entry. As with reeling in that big fish, time and patience  can often be advantageous.
  3. Publishing Aspiration – Me? Published? It’s a dream I’ve had. WordPress provides both practice and potential. And any skilled fisherman will explain that both are necessary for success.
  4. Subject Inspiration – The sea holds over two million species of fish! WordPress emulates that with the numerous and diversified challenges made available to their bloggers. Coming up with an empty net as one sits down to blog is nearly impossible.
  5. Pleasant Conversation – Encouragement abounds at WordPress! There is value to both readers and their friendly discourse, just as there is value in securing enjoyable fishing companions.
  6. Daily Anticipation – I admit it … I’m a stats-junkie! I check my stats daily and love seeing them go up as new entries are published, but there aren’t any fabricated BIG FISH stories when I report back to my family and friends.
  7. Knowledge Acquisition – Try catching a Lanternfish in a small, shallow lake. Without the knowledge that they don’t exist there, the experience will be disappointing. Just as an experienced fisherman would instruct you to pursue perch in a lake, WordPress provides the knowledge you need to launch a great blog site!
  8. Ongoing Transformation – Like having a chef prepare a fresh catch, meeting other aspiring writers on WordPress is conducive to transforming blog entries into something more pleasing and  palatable on the plate.
  9. Friendly Opposition – Respectful dialogue takes place even when obvious opposition occurs,  mimicking a taut line going momentarily slack only to be pulled taut again as both the fish and fisherman tug to determining the outcome.
  10. Faithful Devotion – There’s no question … I love my Great Big God and WordPress gives me an awesome avenue to proclaim Him to others! He tells us to be Fishers of men, so here I am fishing on WordPress.  Have I caught you yet, Dear Reader?  If you’ve at least considered the bait, please let me know! After all, I’d hate to leave you floundering.

If For Only a Moment ….

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I was driving to church to meet with a group of ladies for our study on significance as the sun was slowly setting, when suddenly and swiftly, it happened. The golden rays shone through the auburn leaves of the enormous Maple tree in front of a small, unpretentious white house in the middle of town, creating a beautifully appointed canopy overhead and an array of warmly scattered colors on the grass beneath. And if only for a moment, I was there – almost magically transported back to the innocent days of my childhood growing up in a neighborhood surrounded by the laughter of children and the innocence rooted in those young lives, just as the Maple tree was rooted to that very ground.

That fleeting passage back was not of a specific day, memory, or event. It was more generalized than that. Without hesitation though, I can state that it was a reflection of a time prior to my ninth year, a time when things were simpler, when I understood as much as I needed to, and life was not left with gaping holes, unanswered for the sake of protection. That momentary trek back in time … it brought me to a moment filled with perfect peace, purity, and an assumed protection of all things big and bad. After all, that’s why every little girl has a daddy, right?

The Fall of 1973 brought most of those days to a halt for me, a chapter in a book closed well before the ending. It called into question the very basis of my known peace, my perceived world of purity, and the existence of any possible protection that I imagined would always be there.

On October 31 of that year, my sweet, young, loving friend, Lisa, dressed as a hobo and went out into her neighborhood, armed only with a smile and a candy bag, never to return home again. I wasn’t with her that fateful night, but I can almost see her – still. Lisa had a charming smile that drew you in in an instant. She had an accepting manner that allowed for a great circle of friends, and at that very young age, she had a beautiful heart of gold, totally sold out for her Lord.

I remember November 1, 1973 as though it happened yesterday. It was a crisp, cool day. The sky was a bright azure canvas with very few clouds interrupting the flow of sunshine overhead. “Pray for Lisa. They can’t find her,” was the urgent plea that came from our family friends as I stood inside at the white counter of the bakery they owned.  “What? What do you mean they can’t find her?” I asked as I furrowed my brow. Life was much simpler in those days. At just nine years old myself, it was all I knew to ask. And I can guarantee that I didn’t understand the implications of that plea for prayer. “She went trick-or-treating last night and never returned home,” came the grave reply. Confusion would be an understatement. I could see it in their faces and sense it in the room. There were so many words left unspoken but the worry was thick.

I prayed … and prayed  . . .  and prayed. There were no answers that day, nor the following day. I honestly can’t remember the number of days that passed as we waited for some news. Since Lisa didn’t live in the same town, we waited anxiously for the ring of the phone … Days ambled by as hours grew longer and minutes more intense.  It was a time in my life filled with such a pregnant pause that doing anything other than awaiting a resolution was almost unthinkable. Finally the news came. Standing in the same spot in the same bakery, the dissemination of information was sparse and obscure. “They found her.”  “OH! Where?” I asked excitedly. As she knelt before me and looked me in the eye, the answer came softly, gently, cloaking the anger behind the words but not the tears brimming over the edges of her already swollen, red eyes. “They didn’t find her alive.”

Those five simple words rocked the foundation of my life as I knew it. The peace, purity, and protection of my days were all up for grabs. Hundreds of questions stormed through me, leaving me stunned and unsure which, if any, should be given voice. Who found her? Where was she? What do you mean, “not alive”? How can that even be? How can this happen to my FRIEND? I left the bakery that day in a manner previously unknown to me, shoulders slouched forward, tears streaming down my cheeks, confusion consuming my very core.  No one could answer my questions that day, for my protection. They knew in the years that ensued, I would eventually put the pieces of the puzzle together, but it wasn’t time for me to understand – not at nine years old.

To this very day, Halloween is a *holiday* shrouded in bleak memories. With my oldest children, I would bribe them into staying home by purchasing them a bag of their chosen candy and enticing them with a family movie. Together we would hunker down in the dark, ignoring the knocks at our front door, eat popcorn and candy, all while loosing ourselves in the adventure of the home cinema – played out on a television very small by today’s standards.

Now my youngest children are nearly six and nine years old. Nine. The age I was when I learned about my sweet friend; the age SHE was when she breathed her last breath; an age that no one should know about such atrocities, but certainly should never experience them. To my dire disappointment, my youngest boys so badly want to partake in trick or treating. Do I tell them about Lisa? No … they are far too young. I want to protect them … from the knowledge of this crime, yes, but also from bullies on the bus, from fights on the playground, from injury in a fall … from life. After living that impossible lesson at nine years old myself, I know that I am utterly incapable of protecting them in every sense. So I look skyward every day I release them to the bus, every time they go to play at the neighbor’s house, every moment I let go of them, and say to my great big God, “You’re up!”

Lisa never made it home that night. That was my *take* on the subject for so many years. After reconnecting with Lisa’s mom last year, sharing memories, tears, prayers, and long-distance hugs, I came to the realization that Lisa never made it back to her earthly home that night. Looking back with eternal eyes, however, Lisa really DID make it Home that night.

That moment in time that I mentioned earlier? Without a doubt, that was a God-moment. It was a moment of pure peace, serenity, and security. It was God’s reminder to me …. “I’ve got her. She’s OK.”

Below is a link to a newspaper article written over five years ago about my young friend. Reader, if you pray, could you please lift Lisa’s mom up to the Throne Room today?

If you don’t pray, why not try seeking Christ and inviting him into your life? It can only bode well for you … and one day you, too, may meet my wonderful friend, Lisa.