Adventures AWAKE

A pithy little blog encouraging creative adventures of the Christian spirit

Smudged souls March 13, 2010

I saw a lot of beautiful people in India. Physically, just beautiful. Dark-eyed, exotic, bright-smiled beauty. But I couldn’t help noticing all the babies with — what looked like — big birthmarks on their sweet faces. At last it occured to me that I might ask.

One of my gracious hosts explained to me that parents often smudge their children so the gods will not think they’re beautiful and want to steal them.

Don’t all parents think their children are beautiful? Certainly, Father God does. Shouldn’t we all walk around with smudges on our faces?

What saddens me is that most of us don’t walk around with an awareness of our beauty — the glory of Christ — but, instead, a profound awareness of the ugliness within. We spend days reflecting upon the smudges (scars, really) on our souls; the tax of sin waged by the enemy of our Father. We want to hide the mark Christ has made on us before the world.

Want an adventure? Look in the mirror of God’s word for your beauty today. (Check out Psalm 149:4, Ephesians 2:10, 2 Corinthians 4:18). Get lost in His love for you. Stare his beauty in the face. Get the image of your face smudged with His unconditional love and Fatherly pride. Think of how He wants to empower your pretty soul to attract others. We are marked by Him for His glory.

 

Look. See? August 22, 2009

Filed under: Creative Christian Adventures & Encouragement,love,Nature — Amy Pierson @ 8:14 am

Yesterday was a banner day in the “I am loved” category…or maybe I should say it was a note in the margin. No big banners, really, just a lot of sweet reminders. Like when I was doing the dishes after sending my kids scrambling out the door for Friday night fun, I look over and right there in the dish soap bubbles was a perfectly formed little heart. I blasted the pot with the sprayer mere seconds before thinking, “I should have taken a picture of that.” Sweet.

A little later, Bill and I took our wanna-be rugged Labrador out for a sunset hike on the bluffs not far from our home. It was a perfect, end-of-summer evening; not too hot, not too cold and the sky was glorious with striking values of  purple mountain-y haze set off by the fiery peach glow of sunset. As we climbed up the back of the ridge, I looked down and just to the side of the trail was a little heart-shaped rock about the size of my palm. For a split second, I thought about picking it up and then pressed past the stone, not even mentioning it.

Sometimes, saying something out loud ruins the moment.

I was pondering the sweet touch from God;  solid symbol of what I walk by daily — too often without noticing.  And in this instant, I remembered the soap bubble too. My heart was full. My eyes were alert. I was present to the fondness of God.

 

heart rock

 

Want an adventure? Look. See? (Ponder).

At times like these, Jesus seems to crack my consciousness — pry open my eyes — just enough that I am able to pay attention to the big message in these little things. How can you be more present to God today? Matthew 9:27-31.

 

Nothing is really something July 31, 2009

statue_of_liberty needle artNeedle-eye sculpture

 

My friend, Ellen, sent me this link. Talk about individual creativity!

Abraham was promised his descendants would number more than every one in the sea… (Genesis 32:12)

God’s precious thoughts toward each of us outnumber them… (Psalm 139:17-18)

…and this incredibly focused artist, Willard Wigan, sculpts them. Get this: We’re talking about grains of sand!

 

Follow the link above (the one under the picture) and watch the ABC News story of what this talented man has taught himself to do. It is incredible. It is painstaking. And, it is worth a LOT of money because of its uniqueness. (Did you hear the part about painting with a hair plucked from the back of a housefly?) Recounting how he started doing this form of sculpture, Wigan explains how his teachers made him “feel small…like nothing,” so his goal became to prove “that nothing doesn’t exist”.

In watching this footage a few thoughts gnawed at me:

  • How inestimably precious each of us is to God — our Creator. 
  • It is hard to get my brain around Willard’s work let alone God’s! He shapes us on an even more intricate, quantum level — involving body, spirit and experience).
  • How painstakingly He designed every detail of my form and experience. (Rarely do I consider what God is going through as I struggle to be His vision of who he created me to be.)
  • The driving force behind Willard Wigan seems to be a woundedness yet — by sharing from this place — his wounds have created great earthly gain.

I pray Mr. Wigans has embraced his extraordinary value and purpose in the eyes and at the hands of his Creator. What an amazing gift!

 

Want an adventure? Read Psalm 139:14-18. Meditate on God’s perfect plan in your unique design. Looking at your life, how do you notice Him gently scraping and sculpting you? Dwell on the Truth that you are precious, prized and loved with purpose. Bask in that today. You are really something!

 

 

 

At the heart of a cupcake July 21, 2009

Life is sweet and so are my children! So sweet, in fact, that they look out for their mama buying her sweet treats whenever possible. Yesterday, this was proved by the fun presentation of a Cinnamon Buttercream Chocolate cupcake (gluten-free, no less!) with my name on it. They picked it up while site-seeing with a visiting friend (we need to have more company, I think). The light, fluffy buttercream frosting combined with the moist, dark chocolaty cake to make the day for my taste buds. What great girls I have! Let me humbly relay some tips (or nutritional failures) on their upbringing.

I guess it all began early-on when we let Santa leave a trail of candy from outside each daughters’ door to their stockings on Christmas morning, or maybe it was the message sent when we prioritized a stop by Magnolia Bakery on our first family trip to New York City. Somewhere along the way they figured out that the occasional sweet is a treat. If there was any doubt, when my oldest hit the age of 9 her culinary gene kicked in. She asked for a creme brulee torch for Christmas and later took her first job at a bakery. (Guess who gets enlisted for dessert duty when we have a dinner party?) Does that make me a good mother? cupcakes

Oh, I know the evils of sugar and — let me be clear — I am not a sugar addict. In fact, I’ve been accused of being a little too health-concious in my pantry provisions around here. I don’t go much for grocery store candy or the over-priced movie counter collection of snacks. If I’m succumbing to sugar, I want the good stuff! I like an occasional fix of 60% cacao dark chocolate (as in boutique) or a little something at the end of a special meal. Apparently, I’ve raised my kids well — they look out for me on this score.

All that to say, God’s heart must have a cupcake-filled core. Especially when life seems heavy, I think He delights in delighting us in little ways; a child-like joy in bringing joy to His children. And, this day all it took was a cupcake to remind me. Cupcakes make me feel blessed — not in and of themselves but because of the lightness of their being. Especially with all the creative variations out there (I tried a Chocolate Maple Bacon cupcake in Boulder a couple of weeks ago, just for the adventure of it), they are fun.

I venture to say, no one ever took a cupcake too seriously. Whoever made the first cupcake had to be thinking either 1) “well, as long as I have this much batter left over, I might as well put it to good use,” or 2) “I don’t want to make too big a deal about this event so I think I’ll make an itty bitty cake.” Either way, a cupcake is a little taste of blessing…especially in their new, over-the-top translations. Even though cupcakes have become big, hip business — a blend of artistic, epicurean style and sophisticated taste — in my book, they are a recipe for two sweet girls to love-on their mama and a simple gesture of God’s sweet heart.

 

Want an adventure? Look for sweet things in everyday and share them. Find a great cupcake place where you live and splurge — either on yourself or for someone who needs to know your heart is for them. In Denver try, Lovely Confections, DBar, Happy Cakes (Martha Stewart’s favorite cupcake, the Cosmo, is here), or Big Fat Cupcake. What you will find is an artform — and a little bit of joy for your palate. Straight from heaven! Lighten up and be blessed by sweet little things.

 

Who died TODAY June 26, 2009

Ed McMahon. Neda Agha-Soltan. Farrah Fawcett. Michael Jackson.

mcmahon

 

   Neda

   farrah_fawcett2

 

 

   michael

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier this week, I was attending a conference and hadn’t been keeping up with the news when another attendee breezed by me casually mentioning, “Did you hear Ed McMahon died today?” Sad, I thought, but I’d heard the former Johnny Carson Tonight Show sidekick had been ill for a while. Hope he knew Jesus. After a few more days of media isolation, I “re-entered” to an ongoing stream of worldwide reports from Iran about the post-election protests there and the death of Neda Agha-Soltan. Tragic — and how many more are we unaware of, I reflected. The stories about this young woman reeled and re-reeled for hours with people from all political points of view positioning about her death until at last I thought, OK…enough. Then, yesterday, Farrah Fawcett lost her fight with cancer only to be overshadowed by the death of Michael Jackson. The woman whose look guided my 70s hair choices and whose posters sprawled my brothers’ walls had about 6 hours of media attention before the “King of Pop’s”  heart broke for the last time. Coverage of Michael Jackson’s death is pre-empting programming still — a full day after his passing. Today I’m wondering, whose grandparent, parent, sister, brother, friend has also died in relative obscurity. Famous or not, all of us are a blip on the radar of time. Which brings me to my point:

Who will die TODAY? — And, who will really live?

 

Want an adventure? Let me know what you think: Who do you know who is truly grieving for someone right now? How can you enter in to support them in this process? Why do people care about the “big names” mentioned here? What can we honestly learn from their lives? What does the media focus on each say about the health of our culture? — our world? Is the collective grieving process helpful or obsessive? How long will people talk about him or her? Really think: What what is the substance of his or her legacy? In light of that, are you really living?  Pray for God’s compassionate perspective to come into focus through these lives and deaths, as well as your own. Romans 6

 

burger king? June 16, 2009

Sea of Burger Kings

Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce 

Special orders don’t upset us

All we ask is that you let us have it your way…

Can you imagine the Trinity singing this catchy, old marketing jingle to us as we drive through for our daily blessing? Yet, honestly-speaking, all too often this captures the essence of my attitude in the time I spend with God. He’s more like plastic fast-food royalty (and one of many, at that) than He is my Creator King of the Universe.

I want. I want. I want. Now give it. (But, I’m not spoiled or anything). Truth be told, in our over-indulged western Christian culture, we’re running around giving off the entitled-nouveau-royalty vibe way too much; caring way too little about what The King-of-kings wants for us and for the World.

Truly, how often does my heart burn for what HE wants? How often in my day do I take HIS order? (You know they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Does my heart break when His needs are not met? Do I care to feed His heavenly soul by feeding those around me who are hungry for His love?

 

Want an adventure? Let God “have it (His) way” today. Ask Him what that would mean for the day ahead. And, when the day is done evaluate your service. (Hopefully, now even driving past a Burger King will remind you of Him). Watch for the sign.

“…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ~ Matthew 20:28

 

Blood on my shirt June 1, 2009

OK it’s Monday…and I’m diving right into it.

 

Jerry Seinfeld has a very funny shtick on laundry detergent. In it he talks about how laundry commercials confuse him. Like when they say “EVEN GETS OUT BLOOD STAINS!” He goes on to quip, “if you’ve got blood stains on your shirt, don’t you have bigger problems to worry about?”gain

 

As people who love God, I’d say the same thing to us.

 

Sadly, yesterday one of the country’s few late-term abortion providers was gunned down in Wichita, Kansas. While attending church, no less. Now, while I can’t on any level agree with his decision to practice what I would call barbaric medicine, it struck me not as a blow to “his side” of the ethical and political argument, but to the cause of Christ. The Christ who loved the most unlovely (of whom I include myself even on my best days), who willingly gave up his life when he could have called down heaven to take many in his own defense, would have played “human shield” for Dr. Tiller before allowing the man to be shot. Remember, this is the same Jesus who stopped a sword-wielding Peter and played reconstructive surgeon for the soldier who came to the Garden to escort him to the pharisaic clown court. He knew the injustice – heck, he knew the end before the beginning – but he didn’t “live by the sword.”

 

How sad he is when even one sheep is lost. I believe that includes the doctor, the man accused of his murder, and the billions of babies never known outside of heaven. Whatever your belief about abortion, your experience with it, don’t you think God’s heart is broken with yours on the topic? Anger results from pain.

 

My goal here: To stir up your heart to love, NOT to choose a side. I think side-choosing is unproductive. The priority of love must rule over all. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” (I Cor.13:6). And, who holds the Truth? You? Me?

 

Want an adventure? Do what I did. Look at I Corinthians 13:4-7 from the Message translation (parentheses mine). Really meditate on it in light of the blood on the shirt of the Kingdom. Put that in perspective…it’s not just on your shirt or mine! Our loving, right and compassionate response can change the heartbroken and the heartbreaking to the mysteriously redeemed. Remember: God works all things to His gain.

 

 

 Love never gives up. (think of the cause)
   Love cares more for others than for self. (consider their desperation)
   Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. (what exactly am I feeling entitled to? – even righteously entitled to?)
   Love doesn’t strut, (how have I been “strutting” my agenda?)
   Doesn’t have a swelled head, (what don’t I know in the situation?)
   Doesn’t force itself on others, (look through their eyes)
   Isn’t always “me first,” (put Jesus in that place)
   Doesn’t fly off the handle, (humble emotions for a minute)
   Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, (have I been doing that?)
   Doesn’t revel when others grovel, (try groveling with them. feel the pain of  the family and friends)
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, (gaze upon God’s flourishing Truth)
   Puts up with anything, (anything?!)
   Trusts God always, (always?!)
   Always looks for the best, (what is best here…now?)
   Never looks back, (am I bitter with what’s behind? what needs to shift in my own heart about that?)
   But keeps going to the end. (what does that mean for me, in light of this tragic episode and my life purpose?)