Sunday, November 22, 2009


Allow me to introduce to you Haji - Machupa's younger, very adventurous cousin.

He'll be my traveling buddy for the next couple weeks.  We'll bring back lots of stories.  I promise!

(Until then, allow me to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.  It's my favorite holiday.  Savor the day, and fill it with love!)

Monday, November 16, 2009


I have something I want to share.  But my brain is stuck.  I take that back.  My brain is working just fine.  But somewhere between the whirling gears in my head and the calloused pads of my fingers (thank you violin), I have a disconnect.  Does that ever happen to you?  *sigh*

But I'm trying to be a more consistent blogger.  It's a discipline I truly wish to nurture and pursue.  So...until I get to share the thought that has been mulling around my spirit for nearly a month, I will share something else with you.  Because it has to do with my state of mind right now. 

A little while I came across this quote:  "The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without the work." - Emily Zola

It was one of those quotes I immediately flagged and saved and wrote down to memorize.  Because it's both encouraging and convicting.  Also, because it jolted my mind back to a poem I started writing about a year ago (still unfinished).

It began with the thought: After a beautiful song has been played, it would be foolish for the piano to think it had done the work.  Somewhere in the middle is this phrase: I may not always understand / But I concede the right to play. And it might end with these lines: And when the last note has been aired / Let the song point straight to you / For art is not in the instrument / But in the one who plays the tune.

The past year or so has shown me that blogging is a gift of mine.  It's a gift that has given back to me as well. When I share something that has been on my mind, and the thought comes out just right, and I find out one way or another that I've encouraged someone...I don't feel as if I can take any credit.  While it's my crazy thought, in some ways I'm just an instrument.  Blogging is like playing violin for me.  I just play (or write), and works.  It's a gift.

But like Emily Zola says here, the gift is nothing without the work.  I can hit those moments, and blog those thoughts because I work at it.  I need to continue to push myself:  To fight through the mental apathy and write even when my 'muscles' are tired.  To keep up with my inspirations before they get stale and I have to try to recapture the truth I stumbled upon.  To be unafraid of sounding silly, because it's when you let go that truly magical moments happen.  To put in the practice time so that I'm ready for the moments when I'm standing next to a microphone....

So this is me.  Working at it.  Not to force it.  I don't ever want to do that.  But to develop.  To grow.

To give.

What's your gift?  Are you willing to put in the work?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

High Flight

High Flight
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

I read that poem at my grandfather’s funeral.  He was a pilot during WWII, and never left the world of aviation after that.  His son went on to be a marine, his daughter to be a soldier, his granddaughter to be a pilot, and his grandson to be a rocket scientist.  A legacy of patriotism and flight.  Today, I want to remember his service and sacrifice.  I also want to honor all the others who give of themselves for my sake.  To my family, friends, neighbors, and countrymen who serve…thank you.  Your sacrifice is not unnoticed, or unappreciated.  May God bless you and your families, and may he hold you safe in his arms until you come home again.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Love like that

Just a quick thought make good on a Bible Study promise.

How would you explain the difference between God’s love and human love, even at it’s best?

One is physically tangible, but the other one can change the soul. And perhaps, when we manage to touch each other’s hearts, that’s when we are loving each other the way God loves us.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Greatest Sacrifice

You laid down your life, the greatest sacrifice.

It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it line. Sung in the lower registry. Right before the big kick into the chorus. But when I last sang this song, it was like I hit a pothole in the road and my axel broke. There was no moving forward from this one thought.

Usually, when I think of the “greatest” sacrifice, I think of it in terms of the biggest scope. After all, Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all of humankind. That’s a pretty big requirement to fill.

But as my mental car was smoking in the aftermath of the musical pothole, a thought came to me. Maybe his was the biggest sacrifice because it was the biggest risk. After all, he made his sacrifice not knowing how we would react. All his cards are out there on the table. He’s given all he can. He’s paved the way. And now the ball is in our court, and there’s no guarantee that we’ll take him up on his offer.

I have a hard time giving up things when I know there’s a benefit on the other side. (Giving up carbs or sugar or extra portions of food to lose weight. Giving up going to the movies to save a few bucks. Giving up an extra hobby to make time for my family.)

And though things rarely turn out the way we expect them to, we know what we get out of the deal when we take Jesus up on the forgiveness and wholeness thing... and usually God surpasses our expectations. So while we do “sacrifice” for him…it’s a known risk. We have a history of faith to look back on and be confident in our decision.

But he had no idea.

Remember this line from Bruce Almighty? Bruce asks, “How do you make someone fall in love with you, without messing with their free will?” and God (as the super cool Morgan Freeman) answers, “If you figure that one out, you let me know.”

To sacrifice everything, without knowing if there’s going to be a return? That’s a pretty great sacrifice.

Here I am humbled by your Majesty
Covered by your grace so free
Here I am, knowing I'm a sinful man
Covered by the blood of the Lamb

Here I am humbled by the love that you give
Forgiven so that I can forgive
Here I stand, knowing that I'm your desire
Sanctified by glory and fire

Now I've found the greatest love of all is mine
Since you laid down your life
The greatest sacrifice

Majesty, Majesty
Your grace has found me just as I am
Empty handed, but alive in your hands
Majesty, Majesty
Forever I am changed by your love
In the presence of your Majesty

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I can turn almost anything into a song or a movie reference. Sometimes, songs just pop into my head when I hear a key word or phrase. For example, On my way to work one day I heard a radio commercial. The narrator started off: “What the world needs now is” ...and by this time the music has already cued and I’m finishing the phrase: “Love, sweet love.” Right? But just like comedically timed movie moment, the proverbial music screeches to a halt when she continues: “Energy.”

Ahhh….something I did not expect. So my head cocks to the side, much like a confused puppy, and I process her statement.

The more I pondered it, the more I agreed. After all, how does someone know you love them? You have to show it, right? How does someone know you respect them? By how you act and treat them. It’s in our speech, our body language, our choices. It’s in the way we prioritize our time and commitments.

Maybe what the world needs *is* energy. How would our relationships change if we were intentional about building and maintaining them? How much differently would our world look if we poured ourselves into the things we profess to care about?

And just like love, you seem to get more energy as you spend it. Have you ever spent the day sitting still? It’s likely that after all that non-energy you felt tired. Have you ever had a day when you kick in and get a bunch of things done? If you’re like me, you probably felt like you could just keep doing more.

Energy breeds energy. Love breeds love. It’s just one of those crazy things.

Now every time I hear this commercial, it's a reminder:  To be proactive.  To be loving.  To be kind.  To be kinetic ...To fill my world with energy.

Sweet!   *cue music*

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Dried out. Stuck. Barren. These are words I would use to describe my spirit the past few months. Nothing catastrophic has happened. But I still feel as if I’ve been slowly drying out. A light reprieve here at there, but you know what I’m saying.

Then I cracked. Not in a broken pot sort of way. In a volcano sort of way. A deep kind of cracking that reaches down beneath the surface layers where life is carried out.

And maybe the stripping and drying and breaking was for a point. It was so those things that are at my core can come to the surface and reshape the landscape. (Also, I think I needed some things burned and cauterized.)

What broke through in my life? Inspiration. Identity. Purpose. Determination. Joy.

Like fire shut up in my bones.

Be prepared for the lava flow.

(Complete and utter side note: Did you know “volcano”s were named after the Vulcano island off the coast of Sicily, which was named for Vulcan, the Roman god of fire? I’m totally having a Star Trek moment. Vulcans. Perhaps because for as calm as they appear, there’s a lot going on beneath the surface.)