Grad-geeated

I don’t always spell things korrectly. Or punctuate! “in the right place”. or capitalize. But dammit, I’m a college graduate!!

I have 2 two-year degrees now from Metropolitan Community College. A very liberal arts degree from the 90s. LOL And I’m very proud of this most recent degree–graphic design, an applied science! (sounds so awesome, Imma scientist! lol)

It was hard to go back to school at 36. To be surrounded by people half my age. To relearn art. To move from Photoshop User to Artist. To embrace my creativity and hone my skills.

Everyone gambled on me. And I wanted to succeed.

I finally did.

I got sick just after finishing my classes. I never applied for graduation. I tried to follow up with the school about completion and transferring some classes from UMKC, but trying to find an actual job and getting very sick just left graduation simmering on the stove. For 6 years! UGH!

Embarrassing. But I knew I had my skills. I didn’t need a piece of paper.

Well. Yes. I did. LOL But when you’re sick? Just getting out of bed is an accomplishment.

Thank you to my prof who helped me grad-geeate. I was sick for so long and to have this is healing. It’s my cap and gown, it’s my walk down the aisle, it’s my handshake. Thank you.

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Me-rror

I catch my reflection
In the shiny laptop screen.
I threw away the girl I was
In being just a teen.

Skin gone slack.
Life off track.
Stark and dark.
Taken aback.

But the eyes.
She’s still there.
The care and thought of
My singe-tinged stare.

And my smile.
Still turned.
In spite of all
The bridges I’ve burned.

You can’t stop the fire
And stomp in the ashes.
When you’re the one
Playing with matches.

Burnt to the ground,
My youth is gone.
Rising from what remains
Is the sun on the dawn.

Exuberance escapes
And with it my verve.
But age brings wisdom
And strong-willed nerve.

Do I have enough guts
To follow a dream?
When life is pulling
Apart at the seam.

So what if my chin
Is sagging a bit?
It’s not a question of beauty
But taking a hit.

Is that jaw strong?
Enough for a blow?
Sticking my neck out–
The only way to know.

So. I’m older. But bolder.
And I’ll just say thank you.
Age is a privelege
Achieved by so few.

Am Found

Thrown down
Lost my crown

Body broken
Shame unspoken

Face in the dirt
Badly hurt

I’m wrong
I failed
Mercy, please
Grace unveiled

Foot of the cross
Feet of the Christ

Unworthy to touch
Owe too much

Can’t even stand
Quivering hand

Reach out for charity
Bittersweet disparity

Hard to swallow
Hard to follow

Honey for the healing
Grace feels like stealing

I stumbled
Am humbled

Belly on the ground
Forgiveness is found

And I stand on the power of Christ alone.

Pink Flamingos!

My featured pic–some clouds from the other day, building into a strong shower. It’s very cloudy here on the coast, but they are those big, puffy ones (cumulus?), so white and beautiful. And I love a good rainy day and shower here and there. Love the wind that whips down the coast and the air right before a downpour.

Before I show you the coolest thing on this post, a little fashion. A little. My daughter wore this outfit to church the other day.

beach bum.jpgSo cute. Beachy sandals and rolled up jeans. So sweet. Love living here. I want this look! She also wore her heart shirt found here.

tee

Find here!
Love spelled in binary. Geek Heart! She made it on Customized Girl! It’s on sale-super cheap at $11.97. 🙂

So. This is for my friend Carin! I told her I would post. We live near Flamingo Drive. So of course there is a pink, metal flamingo sculpture at the neighbor’s! LOL

flamingo.jpg

And we have a pink flamingo stepping stone near our apartment.

flamingo step stone.jpg

The theme from Miami Vice (go listen to it! you have to!) is playing over and over in my head now. Especially the sequence with the flamingos at the beginning.

Gotta go bust some Vice-doers now. Hasta mañana, baby!

Wait. Am I Crockett or Tubbs?

 

good stuff

I wrote this for church several years ago. I still agree with the sentiment. And I’m better now.

In terms of serving other people, I do what I can, for whom I can. I try to respond to the call of need of those immediately around me. Not just those who attend my church. I try to pay attention. And I do it because I want to. Because it brings me joy.

And if it doesn’t? Working on it.

We can start there. That’s a good start to good stuff. If everyone did that? We’d have a better world.


Altruism /æltru●ĭzǝm/ n. a concern for the welfare of others without any benefit to one’s self.

AKA-doing good stuff for other people and you don’t get nothin’ for it.

Many cultures and religions prioritize this concept of altruism. It is certainly a key tenet of Christ’s teachings (the words that came out of Christ’s mouth), even if some Christians don’t follow.

Interestingly though, many people are skeptical of completely selfless service. True altruism can in no way satisfy the giver. It must be an act of sacrifice in which the giver receives nothing. Educated opinions differ as to whether pure altruism even exists.

I believe that we are created with an innate sense of concern for others. I do. We are built for doing good. We are, after all, made in the image of God. But as with all divine design, we can pervert, mangle, void and totally destroy God’s gift with our own skewed perspective. We’re not perfect.

PLUS! We are imprinted with tons of distorted viewpoints by the age of reason. We are taught to be cautious, self-protecting, guarded, skeptical, closed. Instead of running naked (emotionally!), open, arms stretched out to total strangers embracing each other in love. Get outta here, Hippie!

Your life should bring you J-O-Y!


I was taught, from a very young age, that one could live life in an extremely simple, specific way and espouse this value above all others, JOY.
It’s easy, your priorities will fall into these categories:
1. Jesus
2. Others
3. You

I learned this lesson early and for the most part, I have lived my life this way. Sometimes, the letters got jumbled along the way. And sometimes the letters were missing, altogether.

Even so, I have usually put others’ feelings and welfare above my own, but the reasons were borne of fear and selfishness. There was no J-O-Y in it. My thoughts were these:
If I don’t put God first, He will be angry with me and punish me.
If I don’t put my family and friends first, they won’t love me.
If I don’t put myself last, I am selfish and lazy.

I didn’t do good for goodness sake, I was wrapped in negative motivations. I was simply trying to avoid the bad. Over the past decade, however, I have tried to put others first out of an idealistic will, to take the selfishness out of serving, to do good for God. I wanted that desire to fill me up and bring me joy. That desire has landed me in an unexpected place. I am still struggling with the same negative motivations.

Whenever I am asked to do something, I complain, out loud or in my heart. I am still wrapped in fear. My thoughts have developed to these:
If I don’t put God first, I’m not truly a Christian.
If I don’t put my family and friends first, I do not love or I’m not truly a friend.
If I don’t put myself last, I have failed.

In the past few months, I have come crashing down. I have staked my value in service and it has failed. I have tried to do more, serve more, give more than ever before and it has not brought me any closer to God. My marriage is suffering, my child is neglected, my heart is grumbling and dark. When you get to the root of it, I am an incredibly broken, screwed-up failure. My strategies for life are just as twisted as someone who only looks out for number 1. I am fooled and tricked by my own misunderstanding. I wish I truly cared for people the way Christ did. I wish that I could wrap my arms around the whole hurting world. I wish that my actions reflected a pure love for God.

I’ve been trying to define altruism for myself or letting others define it for me when I should look to God’s definition for my life and look at myself through His eyes.


For several years, my husband and I served at our local church, we were on the drama team, served in children’s church, wrote stories, scripts, essays and lesson plans. We unloaded fireworks, made movies, cooked, cleaned, listened, directed and an endless list of tasks. And others did even more than we did.

But. Our salvation. We were just as much in need of salvation on the last day of our time there as our first.

Salvation. It’s not a game. You try to put points up on that board, but somehow it never measures up to Jesus’ sacrifice, does it? I need to stop keeping score. Jesus zeros the board every single day. And that’s always in our favor. How many times do I screw up in a day? Let’s just say, I keep the statisticians busy.

Salvation is not about earning points on our way to heaven. It’s about letting heaven come down to take over the game, our will and desire: our heart, mind, body and soul. When we do that, the definition for altruism will simply read:
/æltru●ĭzǝm/ n. see God.

options

Spittin’ mad rhymes
Collectin’ those crimes
You gonna drop those dimes
Or do hard times
In prison.

Not much you can do
Get shot comin’ thru
Ain’t nothin’ new
Y’all wish it wasn’t true
Somebody listen.

Poor people
Everywhere
Dyin’ in the streets
Dyin’ for care
God Bless America.

Where’s God in this?
Is He at the bottom line?
Did they leave Him out?
The last thing on their mind.
Is Charity.

Broken homes
Thrown stones
Bloody bones
Dead-eye drones
Killin’ us.

When you die
Is less of the concern
How you die
Is the screw they turn
Twisted.

Poison the water
Poison the food
Poison the thinking
And attitude
Of the very people you’re killin’.

Don’t play this game
Don’t hang that frame
Don’t take that name
Recalibrate your aim
Get out.

I did.

World Turned Upside Down

Backwards planet.
Is this how God planned it?
No love.  No forgiveness.
We continue to live this
Screwed-up existence.

The Lord’s premise-
Turn cheek.

The Lord’s promise-
Reward meek.

The Lord’s command-
Love enemies.

The Lord’s demand-
Child-like faith.

Enter into this holy place as a kid.
Kingdom come.
The least of these is the greatest.
Last shall be first.

In order to gain your life, you must lose it.
Immediately elusive.

Gifts from giving,
Strength from strife,
Honor from oppression,
From death to life,

Upside down.

The Lord’s Lament-
Oceans of tears cried,
For my only son,
Surrendered and died.
But the greatest sorrow?
The greatest pain?
How many people will die in vain?

His love for me is upside down.

I deserve to bleed and He covers me with His blood.
The most powerful being in the universe came as a baby.

Upside down.

He uses the most cruel symbol of death, the cross, to communicate to the world,
“Here is eternal life!”

Upside down.

He takes this world…my world and turns it upside down.

Thank God.