abundance

{dear tuesday}

hello. {who am I? Adele?}

when I was little, I used to make friends on the playground, and I would invite them to eat lunch with my family. I actually didn’t remember this about myself, until one day, while looking at old photos, I asked my Mom who was at our picnic shown in a certain photo.  She replied, “I don’t know, probably a friend you made while playing. You were always inviting people to join us.” Reflecting back, I know that I invited people to join us because I had complete confidence in the abundant provision of my parents – it would never have entered my mind that my parents – who always had more than enough for me – would somehow not have enough for the entire world, as well.

as I grew up, this confidence ebbed, though I can’t point to exactly why or when this happened.

this year, I hope this begins to change.  I want to develop and renew the faith I had as a child, faith in the abundance of the one who provides for me, so much so that I boldly invite others to join me at this table of abundance. I am no longer a child {though you would be hard pressed to get me to admit that I’m a grown up} I no longer rely on my parents’ abundance and provision {not nearly as much, anyway} But all my life and all that I have are gifts from God – I find he is extravagant and abundant in his love for me and why should I doubt he has enough for the entire world too.

come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come buy and eat.  Come buy wine and buy milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money on that which is not bread, and your labor on that which does not satisfy.  Listen diligently to me and eat what is good and delight yourselves in rich food. 

Isaiah 55: 1-2

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

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Hope Please

I’m sitting at a coffee shop enjoying people watching (perhaps most especially the barista who looks like Joseph Gordon Levitt – with a wit that won’t quit).  This has nothing to do with my post today, I just felt like you should know what kind of distractions I’m working with.
Recently, one of the loveliest souls to ever walk this earth and one of my dearest friends was able to hook me up with buddy pass – and so I prepared to go on a trip, not knowing which plane at what time, but feeling hopeful.  It was not an ideal time to be on a wait list, a Sunday during Spring Break Season, however, no one seemed to think it would take more than a day of waiting.  So I set off before the sun to embark on this journey – feeling hopeful, albeit a little sleepy.
Window of Hope
The first flight I was number 15 on the waitlist and the second flight I was number 9, so I was feeling pretty encouraged by this, thinking by the end of the day I will definitely get a flight at this rate.  But the third flight I was number 25 out of 30! What happened!? Who were these people?! And how dare they!?  But still feeling optimistic that there had been some mistake I could reconcile or that I could at least sweet talk my way up the list, I approached the service counter.  The lady was obviously annoyed by my presence and after a bit of prodding and persistence on my end, told me that my guest pass was low priority.
Things only became worse as the day wore on, and my expectant hope with which I began the day, dwindled till it was barely perceptible by the last flight of the day.  But I am nothing if not determined, and I held to my faith that I serve a God who is able to do what seems impossible for man, so I decided to try again the next day; which meant I had to decide if I wanted to find a ride home that night as well as a ride back to the airport, with little sleep (in my glorious bed) in between, or if I should crash at the airport.  I went with the latter.  Are you surprised?
I brushed my teeth and put on a few more layers of clothes, found a spot that was out of the way of traffic or obvious notice, with an outlet to charge my phone, and hunkered down for the night.  The other airline was still making flights out and I began to wonder if the announcements would run all night long.  And despite my cozy corner, two girls managed to hit me square in the butt with their roller suitcase as they passed by; causing me to shoot up wondering if I should fight or take flight (ironic) before realizing what had happened.  (I still feel very confused as to how they managed to hit me at all).  But eventually the other flights left and they announcements ended and I think I did get several stints of actual sleep before awaking to face a brand new day of waiting.
After hour 12
I was the first person in line for coffee – thank you Jesus – and hope burned a bit brighter than it had the night preceding. I slept through the boarding of the first flight, where none of the people on the waitlist made it on the flight.  For that first flight, one finds oneself hoping people would miss their alarm – but apparently the world was on their a-game that day.  By the fourth flight on Monday I was number 39 out of 60, and having already lived through a day of this I decided to admit defeat, and after thirty (30) hours at the airport, I boarded a bus and headed home.  At this point I just felt relief, to be out of the airport, to smell fresh air, and to not be at the airport (airports are not designed to host people for such a long stretch).  That night, I played tennis and got out some good aggression before sleeping for ten glorious hours in my dream of a bed.
But the moment my eyes opened the next morning sadness washed over me in waves.  Later that morning, as I sat writing in my journal at my favorite café, the words were often blurred before me as I could not hold back tears as I retold the saga and processed all that had happened.  I was also pretty angry with God for not coming through and doing what had seemed impossible.  Let me just say, I signed up to be on a waitlist, I don’t feel wronged or jilted or entitled.  And many people I spoke with on the waitlist with me were trying to get home to children, jobs, etc.  One woman I spoke with was actually trying to make a job interview.  My one claim – I waited more hours than any of them.
Are you waiting for a point – something deep and meaningful I learned in the midst of all this?  Were you hoping this story ended with me on a plane somewhere and we could all praise God together for being so cool?  (or if it ended that way, you would maybe feel a little embittered because God didn’t show up in your life like that) (am I the only one who does that?)  The point, my friends, is that you don’t always get what you want… the point is that hope does not keep for long, it must be renewed, AND IT IS WORTH IT! even when it has failed you. The point is life is beautiful and hard.  And the hardness of life can act like a blinder to the beauty, but you mustn’t let it.  The point is, mostly I don’t know what the point is – there’s not really an answer to my why.
After I spent the morning feeling sad and crying a little bit, I made some lunch, did the dishes and drove a couple hours to go visit my family in my hometown.  I had a beautiful week, I went to the zoo, I went to the beach (got a little sunburned), saw several people I love, ate good food, drank good drinks.  And if I ever have a chance to fly on a waitlist again I will take it, because it’s cheaper and there’s a beautiful rush in entering the unknown and hoping at the end of the day you’ll fly.

Kindness > Being Right

In the movie, Harvey (which I highly recommend), starring Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd, there is a line that goes:

“Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

Usually, my morning routine includes enjoying a latte while I read Scripture and then spending time journaling. I love my routine!

Tangent – I used to go to a coffee shop every morning for my latte, but this turned out to be detrimental to my finances. Serendipitously, I received an espresso machine for my birthday, and so now, I am becoming an expert barista of delicious lattes and saving money!

Merci Latte

One morning I overslept (I kept snoozing because I was dreaming of BABY GOATS!) cutting into this routine. So, I just got ready and headed to work, and decided I had enough time, so I popped by a popular chain coffee shop to pick up a latte.

I made a request of the barista as she made my drink and she did not seem happy with me. This offended me and as I finished walking to work, I felt that I was in the right and she had been rude, and I considered seeking vindication and justification in my feelings. What better way to do this than a blast on a popular social networking site?

In the week preceding this incident, I heard a sermon on “turning the other cheek” and “loving your enemy” (Matthew 5:38-48), I went to a Memorial Service for a young lady, where we were encouraged to choose love — and in a million other ways I have been reminded that being kind is better than being right.  As I walked, I thought about these things and I took a minute to look at what kind of person I was choosing to be.

You may say, as I said to myself, “Katie, how are you being unkind by seeking justification? You told her to have a good day.. you weren’t rude to her or anything.”  Seeking justification (aka Complaining) is a form of unkindness, my friends. When you choose to turn the other cheek, you don’t get to tell all your friends later, how unfair that was, because by offering your other cheek you are essentially offering forgiveness.  And loving your enemies, does not mean talking smack about them behind their back.  Additionally, complaining is obnoxious — true it is what I wanted to do, but that is not who I want to be!

My gut reaction was to be right; I really love being right.  But that makes me an obnoxious complainer, so I am working on rearranging my priorities, so that if I am confronted again between rightness and kindness, that my soul would veer toward kindness.  Hopefully one day I can say, “Well, for years I was right. I recommend kind.”

A Lovely Rainy Afternoon

Dear Friend,

I’m sure you will appreciate this; I am sitting by a window at one of my favorite cafés people-watching. This spot, nestled in an alcove by the door, affords a great view of both the passersby and those within. As an added delight – it is raining today.

A delight distinguished by the fact that rain is so rare here in Southern California. And the rain has produced great people-watching subjects. Here in the café, a particularly heavy downpour cascades down and all eyes are toward the windows, mouths all agape mesmerized by the phenomenon — myself included. I love that I have a front row seat for the show!

We are quite a bunch, but I must say those outside are the best! Some of my favorites are:

  • A man with an umbrella, a beard, punk rock boots, and… a kilt.
  • A woman, glamorous in a gold, flowing trench coat and a sleek black umbrella. (I hope I will be like her when I grow up.)
  • A man walking through the rain with an umbrella. His umbrella was closed. (I just had to smile at this.)
  • A man looking a bit out of his element, shoes inappropriate for rain and as he walked he was trying to hold up the cuff of his pants to avoid getting them in puddles. (Poor fellow.)

Even without these fascinating, beautiful people I would be completely content to just watch the rain fall. I love how it makes everything glossy, reflective and shimmering, and yet at the same time makes everything smoky and hazy. It has a way of giving one new eyes , to be able to see anew that which has been seen a million times before.

I hope this week whether in rain or shine you will be able to see your world with new eyes and when you look there will be breathtaking beauty there.

Joy and Peace,

Katie