Thursday, April 12, 2012

for friends

Actually, this blog is more for me than anyone else, but today, and yesterday, and the day before that, and all the way back to the Easter weekend, I have been thankful and more aware of the tremendous blessing God has given me in my friends. Each one of them is unique, and brings a different perspective, and each one of them blesses me uniquely and deeply. I would list them, but then I would be afraid of leaving someone out, and those who know me know that the last thing I want to do is hurt someone's feelings. So... no lists of names, just the accounting of the blessings those names mean to me.

Thank you God for friends who stick close, who stay in the trench with me, or crawl down into it to keep me company, or offer a hand from above to let me know I won't always be there. Thank you God for the truth that even in this, You are Sovereign. Thank you that my worries and anxieties about whether or not I'll measure up or that my efforts will be wasted (yet again) cannot stand against the truth that Your hand will accomplish Your will in Your time, and that all You ask of me is obedience.

It's hard. But I am so thankful for friends who dream with me, laugh with me (or at me), and encourage me to not give up on the secrets in my heart. Friends that affirm that what I think, and feel, and hope for is important and valuable to me, to them, and to God. These are the people God has given me to cling to and to in turn encourage and lift up. What a privilege to go through life with such friends.

Since we can't have God completely here on earth, perhaps He gives us Himself through our brothers and sisters in Christ. Perhaps the reason why these meetings of the soul are so important to me, is that, in some way, the Spirit in me is touching the Spirit in them. Perhaps we experience the divine in such moments. And if that is true, then friendship is something sacred - of great worth and responsibility before God.


I am thankful for friends.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

one of those times

One of those times
when I feel myself curling inwards
and all that I can't say, express,
Settles in a pit inside

One of those times
when to manage becomes hiding
and to hide hurts just as much
as exploding, on the out

maybe not

One of those times
when my heart becomes as heavy
and as dull as something
Lifeless, smiling, lying

one of those times

How do I turn inside out?
Will the turning be better?

maybe not
maybe so

A more skillful hand than mine
can bring me out
help me breathe
lift me up

one of these times

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I need to be thankful

Okay, I need to count my blessings today, but I'm not very happy right now. That's why I started this blog: because I wasn't happy and needed to remind myself to fix my eyes on things unseen, not the crummy circumstances around me.

Current crummy circumstance: five car repairs in the last month and a half ... and counting. I'm feeling pretty down about it. Time to put my faith into action when the rubber hits the road, albeit, out of alignment.

So, pray for me to put into practice my Sunday school lesson from this week from James 4:7-8, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you."

For my battle against self-pity and defeat is not one against flesh and blood, or my car, but against the spiritual forces of evil in this dark world. Time to stand firm in the truth of the Gospel, with my shield of faith in front of me (faith that I serve a good God who sees exactly what is going on and knows my financial situation), with the Word of God in my grasp ready to do battle, and with continuous communication to my God who fights my battles for me and who has already won the victory.

I am thankful for I've had a car all these years to get me where I needed to go.

I am thankful I have a job that pays money so I can eat, have a whole bedroom to myself, and pay rent.

I am thankful for sympathetic friends and not having to worry if I'll be able to change a tire on my own.

I am thankful for men who make sure I get home safe.

I am thankful for my God who will supply all my needs in Christ Jesus; even if that doesn't involve Him fixing my car.

"For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

back to blogging

So, I haven't written in a while, a long while, as all you who follow me have realized (crickets, crickets). But a lot has happened, good and bad, and I have a lot to be thankful for, so I'm going to make a list and go from there.

I am thankful for disappointed hope - one specifically, that should it have panned out, I would have missed out on another grand blessing: one that was a source of joy amidst some darkness.

On that note, I am thankful for EMMA. I was so surprised that I should even be considered for the part, but I know the material well and had a sense of what was at her heart. All that contributed to a good audition, and ultimately, I think, God planned for me to play her. I hope that doesn't sound arrogant. I honestly doubted myself many, many times. But, I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to play her night after night, and what joy and satisfaction it brought me as an actor. It stired my passion for acting in a way that I have been missing for a while. By the end of the run I thought, "I can do this!" and not only that but "This is what I want to do." I feel like now, finally, I am at a place in my skill level as an actress that I am confident that I can be competitive. I haven't felt that way till now. EMMA gave me so many reasons to be thankful. I am thankful for every person who made that show what it was, and for each cast member who continued to work and grow with me throughout the run.

I am thankful for my Gramma Cooksey. She went to be with Jesus the morning of July 9th, the day after opening night of EMMA. I am thankful God took her when He did, not a moment too soon or too late. I am thankful I was able to go home and help my family and attend the funeral. I am thankful for all her prayers for me, the example she lived, and the love that she gave me and all her family members. I am thankful that I will see her again restored and whole in heaven. I am thankful for her.

I can think of several other immediate items I'm thankful for, but as I hope this post is the beginning of my blogging again, I will save them for another day.

Thank you for reading, whoever you are. I hope you are blessed today.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the promise of beauty

Okay, so this still isn't a weekly blog... Oh well.

I bought fresh mozzarella today for the first time! I've been intimidated by it before, but today, today, there was a coupon at HEB. I could buy cherry tomatoes, which I love and will eat anyway, and get the mozzarella free! So I did, and had the tomatoes and mozzarella tonight with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and cracked pepper. Yum!

This shopping trip was on my dinner break between office and rehearsal - somehow an extra day on a weekend doesn't mean more time. I started rehearsal tonight for Emma, which is very exciting and also a lot of pressure, since I'm supposed to play the heroine herself. I think the first rehearsal went well. At this point in my career at the Players, I know all the actors pretty well, having played with all of them before, and it's nice to have that level of comfort and commitment from fellow actors right from the start.

Rehearsal ended, and as Hannah and I were driving home on Westheimer, I took a closer look at a sign on a now empty building in Highland Village shopping center. There was a new classy construction barrier in black wrapped around the front. At first I wondered if it was somehow tied to Restoration Hardware going in just across the parking lot because of it's similar color and font style. And then I saw the lettering a little closer, BHLDN, and it clicked: Anthropologie's new wedding line! Yes! Their new wedding dress line that unveiled in February was going into Highland Village!

Hannah can bear witness to all the excitement and shrill noises that ensued as I grabbed her hand and shrieked. I'm not exactly sure why I'm so excited. I don't have a wedding coming up. I don't have a friend's wedding coming up. I'm not even exactly sure that the style of the dresses I've seen so far fit my style. But, they are beautiful. Really beautiful. The whole existing Anthropologie shop a few doors down is beautiful, and BHLDN is sure to be even more beautiful.

Beauty thrills my soul like few other things. I think God meant it that way. Those things that are beautiful draw us in and nourish a part of us that sometimes we didn't know was starving. I find beauty in many things: music, nature, children, the written word, a tender hearted woman, a strong protective man.

In all these things, we can see a reflection of God: who He is, what He loves, and what He intended this world to be. It also gives us a glimpse of our future with Him. The beauty here on earth must pale in comparison to being in His presence. I'm so glad to have His promise of someday being there with Him.

We've been going through a sermon series on death the past couple of Sundays, and the pastor said a phrase that has stuck with me this week. "Look for the promise after the storm." Like Noah, look for the rainbow, the beauty that is God's promise. He is with us. He will never leave us or forsake us.

I am thankful for the promises of God - for the beauty that speaks of His love for us, whether it be mozzarella, a wedding dress, or a rainbow.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

living the not now

Okay, so it's been far too long since my last post. I meant for this to be a once a week at least blog, but it's turned into a once a month and that just won't do.

I've had many things to be thankful for and several blog topics to post about, but I just haven't sat down to write. I've let intimidation get the best of me. I didn't feel that a short, three sentence paragraph was sufficient and haven't wanted to make myself write more than that.

The two posts I'm been ruminating on this week are "living the not now" and one on Mother's day and my mom, heretofore untitled. Hopefully I'll post that next week.

"Living the not now" came about as I was listening to a radio broadcast of a sermon on prayer, and crystallized when I read a devotional about thankfulness in prayer. I, as many others, am still waiting on answers to several specific long term prayers and am in the midst of some "not now" answers. What caught me about the devotional's response to unfulfilled prayer requests, was the idea of prayer becoming frustrating. We ask and ask and ask, and don't receive what we ask for, and so we lose heart, become frustrated and if we aren't careful, bitter.

Now, God doesn't promise to give us just anything we ask for. The Bible gives us some parameters on that which would take too long to go into here. But what do we do when we are praying Biblically, persistently, and are in the "not now?" How do we keep from being frustrated and bitter? Thankfulness.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thankfulness present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

I usually thank God for what He's already given me in prayer and for who He is, but I never thought before to thank Him supplying the answer. We have His promise that He hears and responds to His children, that He gives us good gifts, so we should thank Him in advance of our seeing the answer for His provision. Really, it's praying in faith.

Praying with thankfulness refocuses my attention where it should be, on God and His character. Then I am free to go about my day, knowing that God has heard me, and, in His good and perfect time, will supply the things I've asked for. My faith is put into action.

Thank you God for hearing and answering my prayers, each one. Help me to put my faith and trust in Your timing and be patient until their fulfillment. Amen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

thankful for time well spent

Last week I was able to go visit family in Oklahoma. The trip was rather unexpected and last minute, and I felt strange about it. I don't usually make major plans like that so quickly. But, while looking at my schedule for the next six months, it suddenly dawned on me that my current two week break between shows would likely be my only opportunity of visiting family till September. So I arranged things with work and family and bought my plane tickets on Thursday for a flight that Sunday, three days later.

Later that evening I was commenting to friends about how strange the trip seemed and asked for prayer that I would make the most of this time, whatever it was supposed to be. Then my phone rang. My dad was calling to tell me that my gramma had had a stroke and was on her way to the hospital. Suddenly my trip took on a whole new importance. I'm was and still am amazed by how God had arranged events. Before booking the flight, I briefly had a thought of canceling the whole thing - "It's too unplanned, too lastminute - I don't know what I'm doing." But I went ahead with the trip and asked God to help me make the most of it.

Now, praise God, my gramma has recovered, many would say, miraculously. When the stroke first happened, she couldn't speak and couldn't use her right side. On the day I left Oklahoma, she was being discharged from the hospital. She can hold a conversation, though she can't always think of how to say what she means. She can feed herself and has regained the use of her right side. I'm so so thankful that I got to spend good time with her while I was home. She'll be celebrating her 95 birthday later this month. I'm not sure I will have another opportunity to see her before she goes to be with Jesus. But I know I will see her again someday, when I leave this world as well, and that gives me great comfort.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. Psalm 103