Monday, July 12, 2010

Nautical Farewell

Yesterday, I became Gilligan. With a sad smile, I watched as my sweet, old boat pulled out of my driveway for its last time. Yet, it would not be going to the reservoir for a day on the water, and it would not be responsible for pulling a "Big Bertha" inner tube or an inexperienced skier. No, yesterday its destination was a new driveway, a new family, a new home, and a new future of memories and experiences. I have never been fond of the boat's color, and to be quite honest, it is not the most handsome boat on the waters. Yet, as I watched it slip away from view yesterday afternoon, it had never looked so beautiful. However, the boat did not experience a Cinderella story where a nautical-fairy godmother came along and transformed it into a beautiful and royal voyager of the seas- it was the people and the memories that were linked to the boat that made it so beautiful.
As the boat drove away, I saw myself learning to ski and finally standing up successfully for the first time (which took thousands of times- so BIG DEAL). I heard Allison singing every single song that came to her mind while we were tubing- if you know Allison, you understand why this is humorous). I saw Allison rolling and flopping on top of Maidee and me as we tried to tube and Maidee always being in the center so she could hold down and keep Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee from flying off the inner tube. I saw the day Allison got the bright idea to try to catch the fish with her mouth while we were tubing. I saw us running off the back of the boat trying to escape the angry bee. I remembered sitting on the dock for thirty minutes as my dad searched the entire boat for the key to finally remember he left it at home. I saw the friends who once filled the now empty seats and heard the laughter and priceless conversations that once permeated the now silent boat. I saw a part of my childhood. That is what I saw as the boat was riding away.
Yet, I won't be sad for long, for there will be other boats. There will be new memories- new experiences. That is the beauty in life- there will always be another "boat." There will always be a new season- a new joyful time in life- a new opportunity for peace and escape- a chance to be pulled out of the water and to stand on your feet- people who will not let you fall when the "boat" speeds up- people who make you laugh with their "songs"- and new days of sunshine.
Therefore, I suppose that in fact, this is not a nautical farewell after all. It is only a see you later. Until then, I will be like Gilligan, and anxiously await my new "boat."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Huff and Puff and Blow Your House Down!"

Two completely different stories that I vividly remember hearing a thousand times growing up- The Three Little Pigs and the the Biblical story about the two men who build their houses on rock and sand- are on my mind before I fall asleep tonight. Thanks to my current read, "Love Beyond Reason" by John Ortberg, which is absolutely amazing so far, I have been introduced to the connection of the two stories. Isn't it funny how moral lessons and themes are so intricately tied into childish stories like The Three Little Pigs, but we are oblivious to them as children? Anyways, in his book, Ortberg uses The Three Little Pigs to compliment the Biblical story of the house built on rock and the house built on sand. As Ortberg states, "Only the house that is built on wisdom will endure." Like the man who built his house upon the sand, two of the little pigs did not build their house upon a "rock." They did not stop to think, "Will my house stand up against the Wolf?" You and I both know how the two stories ended. The house on sand was washed away and destroyed, and two of the little pigs were left homeless due to the "huff and puff" of the Big, Bad Wolf.
But what about you and me?
Are we not the little pigs that have to decide what we use to build our foundations or our "home." Ortberg gives an alternative for the word "home" and says we can substitute "character" or "soul." That is what we are building, and every commitment, friendship, skill, promise, action we possess or make becomes part of our house. And the wolf comes to the door of every little pig. The storm hits every house. However, as the book says, "it is in the storm that the soundness of the house is revealed."
What will you build your house on? What will it be made of? And when life tries to huff and puff and blow your house down, will you have the strong foundation of a rock or the grains of sand?
I prefer the rock.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Count Your Cupcakes

So, in a way, this is a continuation of my last post, for I am still on the childhood tangent- I mean look at the title. Cupcakes. What little kid's life is not marked by thousands of cupcakes, birthday parties, and licking cake batter off the spoon while his or her mother is not watching? Anyways, although this word and object is immediately and commonly associated with children, I have been blessed by this object in the past two weeks, and it has served as the "icing on the cake" for me as I have grown from the experience. I know what you're thinking; what in the world can you learn from a cupcake? Just go with me. Nothing is too small in life to take a piece of wisdom from.

Two weeks ago, I had this random thought that I needed to make cupcakes. Now, if you know me, you know that I am the farthest thing from Paula Dean, so this was an extremely random thought. I tried to shake it off, but it kept coming back. I pondered why I should make them? Who would I even give them to? It wasn't a friend's birthday, and I certainly did not want tempting cupcakes just sitting around my house. However, I finally decided I would make them anyways. Little did I know, there was indeed a purpose for my creations.

The next day, a friend of mine was having a bittersweet weekend, and she became the perfect candidate for my attempt at cupcakes. Although it took two attempts due to an extremely old bottle of cooking oil, I finally produced my cupcakes and took them to my sweet friend.

I do not think that my cupcake idea was just another random thought that passed through my mind that day with no purpose or direction. I believe that it was a sweet reminder and gift of God's that we so easily miss on a daily basis. On most days, I would have quickly disregarded the thought and told myself that I do not have time to make cupcakes, don't have the ingredients, don't need to make them and wind up eating all of them, and just chalked it up to me daydreaming of the new Gigi's cupcakes that just opened in Flowood. But, for some reason, when the idea did not easily drift away, I accepted the idea. I experienced my "cupcake" moment. I let God's gift of timing take control and was able to serve someone else.

How many times in our lives do we miss out on the "cupcake" moments? We are too busy, too tied down, too distracted, too oblivious to the silent ideas and thoughts that enter our daily lives and never wonder what they might lead to or mean. We can't make the "cupcakes" because we don't have the right "ingredients." Excuse after excuse pours out until we have justified our cause. Yet, just as a literal cupcake is sweet, so is God's timing and love. He gives us the "cupcake" moments in life to be reminded of His grace and His love and to serve others, and when we just need a sweet moment in the midst of our sour times, he sends someone into our lives that gives us our own cupcake- whatever that may be. He knows that you don't always have all the ingredients, but that is the beauty of His work. He provides you with the "ingredients" to create your "cupcakes." Although my friend received literal cupcakes, that could quite possibly be horribly unsweet due to my cooking skills, I received the eternally sweet cupcake that only a Father can bake.

So this week, don't just count your blessings, count your "cupcakes."