Friday, August 19, 2016

ALASKA ....T - 14 DAYS

I don't know too many people who announce their plans to run away.  However, in exactly 14 days we are doing just that, running away to ALASKA....THE LAST FRONTIER  (at least for a little while).
As a couple, we have talked about and dreamed about this day for so long.  The reality of it coming to pass is really awe-inspiring.   We look forward to sharing bits and pieces of our journey with you (via this blog) in both pictures and writing.   We invite you to join in our adventure, follow along, and maybe, just maybe, be inspired too.                    
                                                                                                                  CRYSTAL


"To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world". John Muir

Friday, August 12, 2016

THE SUMMER I WROTE LETTERS


THE SUMMER I WROTE LETTERS 

              AT&T's famous slogan, "Reach out and touch someone"  first aired in the spring of 1979.

Now, almost 40 years later, with a new slogan, "mobilizing your world",  communication and connecting has become so constant, even instant, through social media and advancing technology that  "reaching out and touching someone" is often taken for granted.   Very rarely anymore does it involve a "telephone" (not to be confused with a "cell phone") and the decline in handwritten mail via the United States Postal Service is greatly measurable.  

So,  when my son took a wilderness living, summer camp job 2.5 hours away from home that promised  no cell phone use except on his 1 day off every 2 weeks (and sketchy reception & signal strength at best),  I settled into the discipline of writing letters. 
At first it was strange, and even challenging.  It required waiting!  Who waits anymore?  It required patience!  Patience hardly seems a virtue in 21st century America.   Each and every letter  required individual attention, quiet contemplation, creativity, information and most importantly..........

a sense of expression, a satisfaction, and even a surrender, that only gets tapped when convenience is stripped away.     
      

They say "receiving handwritten letters" (or typed in some cases)  is one of life's simple joys.  I find that to be true, and given Matt's feedback, I'm pretty sure he finds it to be true too.  

Interestingly, science has linked expressive (letter) writing to better moods, reduced stress and an overall improved sense of well being.  In as much as social media connects us and technology advances our potential for learning and communicating, so a summer of writing letters has become a great conduit to give me pause, not to let convenience overshadow some of the deeper, richer attributes and gifts that might  otherwise be missed in the clamor of the instant and the hurry. 

When I'd much prefer face to face or voice to voice conversation but realize it isn't an option, slowing down and taking time to connect in a way that says I really care becomes priority.  In the process of digging deep, I learn new things about myself,  I find a quiet inner strength and beauty that wasn't recognized before.  

I will always be a great utilizer of technology and am extremely grateful for its many benefits. But for today, I am thankful for the summer I wrote letters.  I hope for each one of you reading this, you too have a summer of "writing letters" somewhere along the way, that you too would be more intentional about reaching out and touching someone through the lines on a page and resourcing and rediscovering the potential of deep personal growth and satisfaction that comes,
for it isn't only in the receiving, but also in the writing of those letters that life's simple joys are rediscovered.  
crystal



  

Saturday, June 11, 2016

WALK IN LOVE

Being married to a pastor, often  means that daily conversation revolves around sermon series titles and prep and even on occasion lending inspiration to my writing.   As circumstance (or perhaps misfortune) would have it, I was unable to attend this past Sunday when Rick kicked off part one in a Summer Sermon Series:  LOVE IS....  (my added twist --  WALK IN LOVE)

The Team
Actually, I was anything but walking, and especially not in love.   The 5K run that I participated in just the night before (and finished) was memorable and fun!    But, what I would soon come to know as a stress fracture to my left ankle,  left me hobbling/crawling along in terrible pain and grumpy with impatience and  frustration.

1 Corinthians 14:1 paraphrased.   Desire the special abilities the Spirit gives, but let love be your highest goal!

All through the prior week, Rick and I were anticipating and brainstorming about fun ways, creative ways, simple ways, generous ways, obedient ways, and on and on and on ways, to admonish ourselves and others towards "walking in love".

Now, in a moment of helplessness that was threatening my focus inward to self and to self pity,  I had to make some adjustments.

1 Corinthians 13: 4  Love is patient and kind.

Ouch 
With mobility greatly challenged, and the recliner and ice pack quickly becoming my number 1 companion,  I went on line and listened to Rick's part one message on this great mandate, "walk in love."  His  delivery of biblical context and practical application left me both challenged and encouraged.

#1 Even in my compromised state there were countless ways I could walk in love.
Sending an "encouraging note" or a "thinking of you" message  by way of text or phone call.
Speaking kindness. Smiling. Being present and showing thankfulness (instead of taking for granted) EVERYTHING EXTRA Rick was doing to pick up the slack around the house.

#2 We have become so good at "giving" love but what about "receiving" love.  A little more than a week ago our conversation lend itself to how we would walk in love and be a demonstration of being and giving love---not for a minute thinking that God would reveal himself to us through amazing acts of love and kindness in return, as the recipient.

AND

#3 Perhaps today, wasn't about a "physical action" at all.
Perhaps,  it was first, about choosing  a good attitude, a pure thought, a right heart.
When this happens first, the outflow of true, genuine and tangible demonstrations of "walking in love" are unstoppable.

I am eager for complete healing.  I'm a get-er' done kind of gal.   I'm a giver.  I'm a doer.   But for today  I will be still.  I will choose a good attitude, a right heart, and  I will learn (all over again) how to be a good receiver.

No we never did complete our "fun, creative, how-to list of ideas" for "walking in love", rather you continued to write it for us, the amazing friends and family and community that we do life with.
Yes, as much as we teach you, you teach us.  Thank you for your beautiful, sacrificial and heartfelt demonstrations of "walking in love."  ( some are listed below).

Whether you are giving or receiving, take some time to add to it today, in context of your world and your circle of influence.
Because......1 Corinthians 13: 13  Three things that will endure----faith, hope, love.  And the greatest of these is love! 


my new hair color  :) 
  *Receiving countless kind thoughts and prayer messages, via texts, phone messages and mail. (Life is busy, time taken.....matters)
  *Fitness friends making house calls to color my hair
Arm bands and Lip Gloss 
    (a good hair day goes a LONG way)
  *Fitness friends providing  me with tools and disciplines to stay fit and active without using my feet.
  *Prepared meals (from a pastor's wife and busy mother of 3) that lift the burden and lighten the load.
My Mom's famous pie 
  *Your Mary Kay Consultant going out of her way to personally hand deliver your order.
(yes, even lip gloss spells love for some of us)                           *Fresh strawberry pie from mom (good for the soul) and even better, sharing it with a neighbor.
*Your co-workers going above and beyond to cover and be there for you.


Little acts of Kindness is all in the greater journey of Walking In Love.  

I can't wait for the rest of the series....I know it will change us.  ALL OF US!  

Walking (hobbling) in Love, 
Crystal