Tag Archives: Transform

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/

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When the Written Word is Clearer

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We’ve all said it …

“E-mail is a tough way to communicate since we can’t read tone or intent.”

That’s true – in some cases.  However, in other instances, the written word stands in stark contrast to that statement. Given the time that an e-mail affords when responding to a discussion can often save us from the potential of arguments, embarrassment and frustration due to a quick and thoughtless response such as that required in an actual conversation. Additionally, the written word becomes both necessary and effective in areas such as the transfer of title when purchasing a car, writing statutes governing a locality, state, or nation, and recording historically significant events.

Of greatest importance, however, is THE Written Word. The Bible, one of the top selling books of all time, was written that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:30), that our joy might be complete (1 John 1:4), and that we might KNOW that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13). The Bible is clear in tone, intent, and transmission of the message of Good News of Christ.

God could have chosen to hand these significant events down to us orally, from generation to generation, but in His infinite wisdom, He chose to write it down, that we might carry it with us not only in our arms but in our hearts as well. It’s His very effective conversation with us, His love letter to us. He promises us that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart (Jer 29:13).

We all have the Written Word readily available to us. Are you reading it? Are you seeking Him?  If not, what stops you? Great rewards await you within the pages of the Greatest Book!

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.

Cognitive Recalibration

[In the recent blockbuster hit, Avengers, Clint Barton found himself strapped down after Natasha Romanoff had won a fight with him so he could shake off Loki’s mind control.]

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Romanoff: Clint, You’re gonna be alright.
Barton: You know that? Is that what you know? I got…I gotta go in though. I gotta flush him out.
Romanoff: We don’t have that long, it’s gonna take time.
Barton: I don’t understand. Have you ever had someone take your brain and play? Pull you out and send something else in? Do you know what it’s like to be unmade?
Romanoff: You know that I do.
Barton: Why am I back? How did you get him out?
Romanoff: Cognitive recalibration.  (pause on Barton’s part)  I hit you really hard in the head.

Cognitive Recalibration. Lofty words for a simple concept.

For nearly 10 years now, I’ve been studying the martial arts so it comes as no surprise to those that know me that an action-packed movie where the good guys win would draw my interest … repeatedly.

Hwang Kee, the founder of Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan, stated that a martial artist is also a scholar, so while I train in the physical aspects of the art, I train in the mental aspects of the art also. including the related history, tradition, and philosophy of Soo Bahk Do.  One component to my training includes the Korean terminology for both the techniques and concepts.

It isn’t unusual to hear my instructor, Sa Bom Nim Dan Ellenbecker, call out the Korean words Shi Sun as I train in the dojang with the rest of the class. The words carry the meaning of focus or line of sight.  It’s an important concept and serves as a precept for all we do prior to executing a technique. Why? Simply because our intent will follow our line of sight. Looking left before striking left will very likely be helpful! This is common sense and while I’m very aware of the emphasis in the dojang, I sometimes find I haven’t engaged my Shi Sun in other areas of my life.

It wasn’t long ago that I found myself experiencing some difficulties in life. My struggle ensued for many months before I finally found the strength and courage to reach out to a few trusted friend to help me navigate the turbulent waters. The guidance I was given was varied, yet consistent; loving, yet firm; understanding, yet uncompromising.  One conversation stood out and continues to come to mind when I’m confronted with challenging situations.

Friend: You’re allowing your negative thoughts to determine your emotion. Change your thinking.

Me: I’m really down today. I feel broken.

Friend: I know … but if you continue to think that way, you’ll have a tough time changing your emotion.

Me: Where do I begin?

Friend: Don’t dwell on your issues. Watch a movie. Cook dinner. Take your kids to the beach. Think of anything other than your temporary troubles, even if only for 15 minutes. The more often you do that, the easier it becomes.

I took that advice. It helped, even if only for 15 minutes at a shot. Eventually I was able to sustain that for longer time periods as minutes grew to hours, and hours to days. In the end, however, it came down to my personal Shi Sun, my line of sight, as I determined the difficulty of walking one way while looking the other – or in doing one thing while thinking another. While he was stating it in simpler terms, my friend was instructing me to do mentally what Romanoff had done for her friend physically. Change your thinking. Cognitive recalibration.

A Word A Week Challenge: Different

I’m different.

I’m not the same person I was 20 years ago.

Some changes are more than obvious. In that time, I’ve gone from single to married, city-dweller to country-lover, career-oriented to family-focused, liberal to conservative, medical intervention to holistic healing, carnivore to vegan, and civilian to martial artist. In general, I’ve gone from living the majority of my life in the mainstream to living the majority of my life in a manner more distinctive.

Quite often I find myself and my views running contrary to those surrounding me, sometimes embroiled in deliberate debate over a topic of immense meaning. Since I’m assertive and outspoken, I don’t find my divergence to be problematic, although others might argue that point as I consistently call out for deeper discussion other thoughts that run in opposition to mine. Personally, those discussions energize me. Understandably, the sometimes drain others. Assuredly, that is not my intent!

What calls a person to be different? In many senses, life experiences unknowingly change us. We live through an incident in life and come to understand it in a different way, a new light. We are faced with an issue where we are forced to assess the outcomes of our alternatives, often resulting in a changed mindset. We stumble upon new friends, sometimes allowing our slant to be altered by their opinions.

While these are some reasons that I stand a different person today, this is not an exhaustive list, nor are they the reasons that bear significance for my change. A change occurred in me thirteen years ago that made me completely different – eternally. With my head bowed in the dark of the night standing in my  messy kitchen, I invited Christ into my life. He changed me then. He still changes me now. And He has made all the difference in who I am today.  I am different; the old is gone and I am new.

2 CORINTHIANS 5:17

English Standard Version (ESV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Weekly Blog Challenge: Solitary

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Solitary: adjective \ˈsä-lə-ˌter-ē\  occurring singly and not as part of a group or cluster; singular.

One red leaf, in a sea of otherwise decaying leaves, stands out while drawing the eye in. Sometimes being different is a brilliant achievement to behold!

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.