blue bird

Musical Mondays: “Little Bird” – Misty Edwards

I have a tendency to worry – a lot.

Last week I had a little epiphany. It was this simple little nugget of truth:

WORRY is the opposite of TRUST.

Do I really trust that God is in control, and that if I take care of His business, He’ll take care of mine?

This passage is recorded twice in the New Testament:

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matt. 6:26,33

[Read the whole passage]

I hope I’m getting there. Until then, it’s little songs like this that remind me that “His eye is on the sparrow.”
 

LYRICS: “Little Bird”
Little girl, little girl with the big round eyes
Little bird, little bird, one day you’ll fly
A breathtaking flight of life you’ll fly
Then little bird, little bird, you will die

Because life, life is a vapor
But the brevity is what makes it a treasure
So feel it all like a love letter
To the One you will live with forever
His eye is on the sparrow
His eye is on you

What then, what then when it’s all over?
Little bones, little bones the dust will cover
Little spirit, little spirit you’ll live on
With the soul of the bird that goes on and on
Then little bones, little bones
You will rise and little girl, little girl
You will fly
Fly

 

Photo Credit: Virginia State Parks, Creative Commons

2015martyanddoc

3 Life Lessons from the Back to the Future Trilogy

Unless you’re Rip Van Winkle and have just woken up from a 30-year nap, you’re probably aware that today is Back To The Future Day!

For those of you non-fans, it’s the day that Doc, Marty, and Jennifer, Marty’s girlfriend, travel to in the distant future to save the next generation of the McFlys in the second installment of the Back to the Future Trilogy.

Today is that day and this post is being published at the exact moment that they arrive in the future: 4:20pm on October 21, 2015.

 

I’ve seen several discussion threads on Facebook on which of the films in the series is the best or which one is somebody’s favorite.

Everyone loves the first film, its memorable lines, clever opening scene, especially the part when Marty totally overloads and blows up that giant speaker.

And oh, yeah, the part where Marty travels to the 1950s and accidentally meets his parents and almost erases his very existence! (Spoiler alert! He untwists the pretzel of time long enough to get his parents to meet and fall in love.)

We may not have a time machine or a mad scientist to take us on an amazing ride, but Robert Zemeckis’ fantastic tale of this time travelling duo brings us these truths:

1. My actions have consequences

While I’m not a fan of the dystopian twist in the second film, I see its importance in the overall story. It raises the stakes for Marty, the hero. He learns that his time-travelling can not only drastically change his present, but they also have a grave effect on the future.

The film ends with the classic question every hero faces from William Wallace to Tommy Boy – “Do I have what it takes?” Can Marty carve out his own path, or is he doomed to follow in his father’s failure?

2. I am strong enough to resist negative influences

This brings us to the third film, which is admittedly a little corny in some scenes, but it’s probably my favorite in the series. In this film that Marty must decide – is he a man, or is he, as Buford Tannen puts it, “a yellow-bellied chicken?”

There’s a scene near the end of the film when Marty has to choose whether he will be swayed by bullies and peer pressure or if he can resolve to make the right choice no matter what people think.

I won’t give away the ending if you haven’t seen the film, but I will say that once he makes his decision, he immediately sees how much his choices impact, not just his future, but that of his future children.

3. I have what it takes

There’s an author from the turn of the last century who’s been growing on me lately. He wrote:

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

In this tale Biff Tannen personified the dragon, but I think Marty’s real enemy was fear and the story wasn’t about the McFlys versus the Tannens. It was how Marty overcame fear and finally learned he had what it takes to forge his own path.

Even in this 1980’s cult classic, we learn that our quests can be won, and our dragons can be conquered.

What fairy tales inspire you to overcome the Biff Tannens in your life?

Let me know in the comments!

Also, check out my friend’s real-life encounter with a Biff Tannen.

http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/woman-hiking-in-the-rain-forest-high-res-stock-photography/540272877

Be Still: How I’m learning to hear His voice

I recently went on a retreat to a little island in the Florida Keys. My time there has had a profound effect on me, and in these next few weeks, I’d like to share a bit of what I’ve started putting in to practice as a result of my time there. 

I’ve just watched the sun kiss the edge of the sea and disappear beneath the horizon. I hear the waves crashing and bubbling agains the shore. I hear the wind brushing through the palm fronds and mangrove branches. I hear the soft chirp of crickets and the soft coo of pigeons far above me.

In this silence, that’s well, not really a external silence, but really an internal one, I feel that I can listen more clearly. Listen to hear what the Lord is saying to me.

In the Psalm 46 , the Lord tells us to be still and know that He is God. The psalmist also tells us:

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride”

There’s nothing quite like beholding the vastness, the beauty and the power of God’s creation. This is completely shifting my perspective. The majesty and awesome power of God is so palpable at this moment.

And it’s in that majesty and power, in the lush waves and the brushing leaves that I feel these words so clearly, so sweetly. “I love you.”

Even though in this moment I feel so tiny compared to the sea and the sky stretching to what seems like infinity – God. Loves. Me.

And what does He ask of me today?

To seek Him with my whole heart.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope… You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”   Jeremiah 29:11, 13-14a

 

The good news for those of us on the daily grind is that we don’t have to find ourselves on an island to find time for stillness. One of my favorite bloggers recently wrote a very practical guide which can help each of us find time and space for stillness every day. 

 

Musical Mondays: “It’s a Good Day” – Cyrille Aimée

Usually, Mondays feel like a drag, and you can’t wait for Friday again.

But!

Every once in a while, you just stumble upon a fun song like this. It’s upbeat and jazzy. And it perfectly matches the way the sun is shining through the clouds just now.

Musical Mondays: “You’re Not Alone” – Marie Miller

What better way to start off the week than with an inspirational jam for your commute? (Other than a cup of some strong coffee, that is!)

I’d never heard of Marie Miller before she performed for Pope Francis at the Festival of Families concert last Saturday. The hook got stuck in my head immediately. Now I’m a fan.

Here is her goose bump-inducing performance:

LYRICS: “You’re Not Alone”

I wanna save you,
I wanna save you from the pain.
I wanna help you,
I wanna help you feel the same again.
I wanna fix you,
I wanna fix your brokeness.
I wanna change it,
I wanna change it for the best.

So, listen to me now.
I’m not gonna stand here, when my friend’s down and out.
I’m not gonna run when, it’s hard to figure it all out.
If there’s anything I’d say,
I will tell you right now:

You’re not alone,
You’re not alone,
You’re not alone.

I wanna roll up,
I’m gonna roll up my sleeves.
I’m gonna fight for you,
I’m gonna fight till I bleed.
So, listen to me now.

I’m not gonna stand here, when my friend’s down and out.
I’m not gonna run when, it’s hard to figure it all out.
If there’s anything I’d say,
I will tell you right now:

You’re not alone,
You’re not alone,
You’re not alone.

Listen to me now,
Listen to me now.

Whoa,
Whoa,
Whoa.

You’re not alone,
You’re not alone,
You’re not alone.

Photo Credit: Ayank, Creative Commons

One is the loneliest number

Being a lone wolf is hard. It’s glamourized so much in films. The lone hero comes into town, saves the day and whisks the fair maiden off into the sunset. So many times I think I have to solve problems by myself. Like it’s my responsibility to somehow have all of the answers for the challenges and the obstacles I face in my daily life. Then I get frustrated and revert deeper in to my shell, hoping no one will notice I tried and failed.

But what has taken me the better part of five years to figure out is that I don’t have to go it alone. I don’t have to have all of the answers. I don’t have to solve every problem that comes across my path.

For the last 10 years I’ve been a part of a worship band. We became a true family and would not just play together, but also had a weekly bible study night and hung out every weekend. It was a really close-knit group, and I relished being a part of it. And as all things in life, things changed. They changed for the better, but they changed, nonetheless.

And soon my little tribe moved on, and I was left standing there wondering where I fit in. One moved away to pursue her dreams. Several got married, had children, and have focused, rightly so, on raising their children. And it took me awhile to realize that I couldn’t go it alone. I needed a tribe; I needed a community to balance out my introverted self.

So last Spring, when I heard about a retreat for young adults in the Florida Keys, I decided to go.

After researching the location, a Boy Scout camp, I was a little worried about how much we’d have to rough it. (Little did I know there would be a shower house with pull chain and all, but that’s another blog post entirely!)

By the end of the retreat, I had so much fun! I’d met so many amazing people that I wondered what on earth had been keeping me from doing this sooner?

Then I realized. It was me.

It was my fear of trying new things, of meeting new people, of trusting that God was truly guiding my path.

So what did I do?

I continued to resist His leading for a while, thinking my own plans were better. Then He reminded me again that maybe this really was my tribe after all. (More on that next week!)

“The mind of a man plans his ways, but the LORD directs his steps.” Psalm 16:9

 

Photo Credit: Ayank, Creative Commons

Discipline is a muscle

If discipline were a muscle, mine would be quite flabby. And do you know what happens when you have flabby discipline muscles? Ding, ding, ding! you have flabby muscle muscles.

So how do I exercise my flabby discipline? That discipline that is going to help me achieve the long list of goals that sits gathering dust on my bookshelf.

I exercise it by teaching it to say the word “no.”

“No” is such a simple little word, but it holds such power.

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Small Choices

It is in these small, seemingly inconsequential choices that the battle is won.

Like many of us, I am trying to make healthy choices in my diet and my finances. Many times, I think that the way to improve my life is to make sweeping, drastic changes. The trouble is that I seldom stick with these grandiose plans for more than a few weeks. Or worse, I never find the “right time” to begin them. Sometimes, it’s just saying “No!” to that one cookie calling your name.

The more I grow, the more I realize this:

Life isn’t made up of big, carefully planned events. It’s made up of a thousand thoughtless moments. Make the small choices count!

So what if, I take each moment as it comes. Instead of the overwhelming prospect of saving $1,000 all at once, what if I chose to limit my shopping trip to just one new blouse or pair of shoes, or put a reasonably strict cap on my spending for that month. That way I’m making a conscious choice, a step towards frugality.

The same can be said for developing healthy eating habits. If I am going to have lunch at a sub shop, what is a small way I can make a big difference in the long run? By choosing whole wheat, choosing water instead of diet soda, and perhaps, forgoing the cookie and chips altogether. Focus on filling up on quality calories, not empty ones.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Galatians 6:9 (NLT)