Thursday, August 25, 2011

I looked down at the cement covering my feet...

I looked down at the cement covering my feet and crawling it's way up my calves. My eyes followed the rocky basin across the ocean that howled loudly against the sound of a thousand seagulls. I could see it in the distance. As it had always been. The island of my dreams just above the horizon, fuzzy edges rippling across the skyline. I lifted my knee to find that my foot was unable to follow. Trapped, I contemplated how on Earth I had gotten myself into this situation, and more importantly, what if everyone else was right...

The cement dug deeply into the cracks of my dry skin and itched along it's broken edges touching my bare legs. I lifted my eyes to the sandy shore that was only feet away from my cement prison. There, bobbing slightly in the harbor, was a red paddle boat. Now I knew what I must do. The only way to get to the island of my dreams would be to rid myself of the cement and paddle out to sea. But cement does not melt in the intense sun light or break off in the frozen nights. I would need help. I began to scream.

Screaming for help, to only be echoed by silence, is a very depressing predicament. The buildings and houses several feet behind me were buzzing with people, but no one could hear me or acknowledged my existence. Maybe it's because people who venture out into the sand are considered crazy. Maybe I was being shunned. I was told this would happen... but I had also seen people make it across the sands that stick as cement, brave the tossing waves in the paddle boats, and arrive at the island of their dreams. I had seen it and I knew in my heart I could and would make it.

I sat in the sand and buried my face in my legs. The tears and sobs came quickly and I choked back the insistent cries of agony boiling in the back of my throat. I began to do what I knew would get me through. Something everyone else I had left on the mainland had told me was a myth. I believed.

And I believed. The harder I fought, the harder I believed. I believed in a life outside of the world I lived in. I believed in myself and my ability to make it to the island of my dreams. And I believed that even though I would have to fight my way there, I would find paradise waiting for me. As I changed my heart and my mind, the sand began to slowly crumble off of my toes and fall like silk. I picked myself up and raced for the paddle boat, kicking sand about as I finally dug my fingers into it's wooden body. The paint chips flaked off into the underbellies of my nails as I pushed the boat into the water. I threw myself into the hollow shell and onto the plank that served as a seat. Grabbing the much too large oars, I began pushing and pulling my way to paradise.

I had made it this far, realizing that all I needed to do was believe that the island of my dreams was real and worth fighting to get too. And I needed to believe that even though the world turned away from me, my belief in myself and the power of God to get me there melted away my circumstances and freed me. The journey across the ocean will be choppy and smooth, dangerous and relaxing...but no matter what the storms of this life...pushing and pulling our way to God is worth it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Never Drink Dr.Pepper Before Bed...

11:11 make a wish...I wish that my taste buds would start to like fish. Why? Because fish is supposedly really good for you and I HATE IT.

I have a lot on my mind tonight and I can't sleep so we are in for quite an adventure together. I have been assigned with the task of bringing 6 objects to my sculpture class tomorrow and one of those objects I must make an unbreakable vow with. For you see, the one selected I will be expanding into a 3-4 foot tall paper mache project. So far I have..
-A Hippo
-A Giraffe
-A T-Rex
-A Teddy Bear
-A Luck Joy Cat
-A mini fabric ninja
-An assortment of rubber sea creatures (shark, fish, and dolphin)
-A Stuffed Totoro

As you can see I have quite a few things to chose from but I am unhappy with all of them. I would choose my Totoro hands down but his fluffy exterior would be rather difficult to shape. I want to create something that no other student has done before as well. Decisions, Decisions.

I don't know why I'm telling you this....

Tonight at youth group we talked about identifying lies that we are bombarded with everyday and seeking God who is truth and the only truth. I created a dragon fetus out of clay and put him in a jar filled with diluted Dr.Pepper for an illustration to use tonight during my lesson and I unfortunately left him at home :( I was so upset because I wanted to take a poll to see how many of the teens fell for my trick. Oh well, maybe next time.

Is it weird that I made a Dragon fetus and put it in a jar for the sake of teaching God's word? It probably is but whatever.

We talked about Orson Wells 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast that sent millions of people into a panic. I played a clip from the broadcast in which wells described the Martians getting out of their spaceship and melting people with heat rays. If so many people were gullible enough to believe in something as outlandish as this, how many more people are gullible enough to believe in the everyday lies Satan tells us? He tells us that we aren't good enough or that we only have limited choices (all of them being wrong) and so on. Taking the blinders off and seeking truth is the first step towards opening our eyes and breaking free from his chains. Be mindful of what you hear and see. Seek truth first.

    • John 14:6- I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.
I hope you all have a good week seeing as this is the first week of school. Whether you're in high school, junior high, or college, it doesn't matter, we face lies everyday. God is the way the truth and the life. When all others seem to be lying, we can find comfort in knowing that God is truth no matter what.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Take the Weather with You...

When I was younger all I wanted to do was live in California with my awesome Aunt on the coast of San Diego. I'll never forget the first time I realized that I need to be there.

We were walking along the beach dodging bike riders and dancing with children weaving in and out of the swing sets. The sun was beating down but it wasn't was warm and bright like a perfect scene from a movie. My Uncle put me on his surf board and I tried...and failed at surfing for the first time. I didn't care when the under-toe caught me and scrapped by bare legs with the grainy sand below the surface. I was in my paradise.

Everyone was happy and time seemed to stop out there. People took long breaks at work and got off early to catch the last bit of surf before the tide slowed and the evening brought out the romantic night walkers and glow of bonfires.

I decided that I wouldn't be happy unless I was chasing the sun. I had my life planned out from that point on. Move somewhere sunny for college and stay there. At 15 I started listening to Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley to give me a mind escape to the ocean and I became a water baby with swim team and lake days. I changed my entire life to bring the sunshine with me everywhere I go and I still carry it around with me to this day.

Obviously I didn't move to California, Florida, or Jamaica, and those of you who know me very well know that I still sparkle with a California beam even though I live in Missouri. When you long for something so much, you begin to make up for not having it with your lifestyle. Then before you know it, you've taken the weather with you.

How many times do we leave our perfect situation and become miserable with our circumstance instead of harnessing what we can to keep the sunshine in our lives? Just because I don't live in Hermosa Beach, doesn't mean I have to live a miserable life of wishing I was there! Why can't I bring a little Hermosa to my life in Kansas City and to the people around me? I love my life in KC and I love my family and friends. I wouldn't want to leave them because they are part of my all encompassing sunshine as well. So what do you do?

I guess what this rambling is about is taking the weather, taking the moment, taking the purpose with you no matter where you end up. If you love something enough, make it a part of you.
I hope whatever your sunshine is, you take it with you :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sinking Ships and Sinking Feelings

I can't exactly describe how it is I am feeling right now. I'm not sure how my fingers are moving around the keyboard effortlessly whilst the rest of my body feels like jello or pudding. I took the big orange pill my doctor gave me this morning and let my muscles melt off of me so that all that is left is a puddle of JoAnna. I had no idea back pain could be this bad. I also had no idea that I could lose almost total control of my body from something so incredibly small. I'm supposed to be at work right now.... and I have VBS tonight.... where I'm supposed to be jumping up and down and shouting at children... but right now I can't even will myself to get off the couch to go get some gold fish. And I am really really am craving gold fish...

So I thought to my self....Self, you forgot to blog this Monday do it now. I had this crazy thought that went spinning out of control and manifested itself into a post. And now I am sharing that brain-juice with you.

If I were in a pool right now, I would sink. How come? Because of the power of a tiny insignificant looking pill. It's a horrible feeling to be helpless. It's a scary feeling to know something so small can affect me in such a large way.

But how many times in life do we over look even the smallest things? We don't realize that even the small things affect us in major ways leading to our lives down to the deepest parts of our life ocean. And other times it's the small things that rise us out of the darkness and keep us afloat. It can go both ways.

You may feel like the Captain of a sinking ship at times. Like everything you do is poking holes into your underbelly. But maybe it's time to stop taking drastic measures and start taking small but meaningful steps in the right direction?

Everything happens for a reason and every step you take has a purpose. Whether you think it is significant or not is not the issue. The first step on a dance floor can become a waltz or the first step, if done incorrectly, can become utter humiliation.

What small things are you overlooking? Just a thought.