Of Rabbits and Rush Hour.

Well. It’s been awhile blogosphere.

For over  a month now, I have been rushing around helping plan parties and showers, and for the most part it all ended last weekend. I now have time to sit and write, craft, and run at my own schedule again.

Don’t get me wrong; weddings are fun and a joyful time. But, in this year alone I have mastered the “three times a bridesmaid, never a bride” art. (And my bank account could use a rest, too!)

Ever since I graduated college, I’ve tried to be more dedicated in my running schedule,as to not lose the distance and time I have accomplished. (which isn’t much) While a gym works great, one of my favorite things to do is run outside (that may change once the summer heat really kicks in. today is the first day of summer, after all).  I have to drive about 30 miles to work, so mornings don’t work that well for me, so I’ve grown to enjoy the coolness (is that possible?) of evening runs.

Running every day around the same time, you grow accustom to the scenery…The usual walkers and runners, people fishing in the pond, cows chewing their cud, and even a frog or two. (I’ve debated if they were my frog prince coming to find me or just some playful amphibians that want to play a real life game of Frogger) Though it’s different every night, it is always the same.

One constant, are the rabbits. My suburban neighborhood is filled with rabbits. There are even baby rabbits in my backyard! I do not consider my self a quick  or threatening runner, yet the rabbits still look at my with their frightful, empty, dead shark eyes, as Tina Fey calls them. When they see me rounding the bend, they either:

a)Start running as soon as I am in sight

or

b)Stay very, very still until I get about 2 feet away and then they take off like they’re competing in the 100 yard dash.

Why do they do that?

I’m not Elmer Fudd, nor am I out to get them.

Wait a second.

Isn’t that what we as humans do? We are placed in unfamiliar territory  or in new circumstances and instead of trusting The One who put us there, we get skiddish.

We run off.

We get nervous that we aren’t actually supposed to be in certain situations, when if we would just be still, we’d realize that it is alright. That it isn’t so scary, or lonely, or hard. That if we are living according to God’s plan, we are right where we are supposed to be. Why would you want to run from that?

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ “

Psalm 46:10 a

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Matters of the Heart: The Great Gatsby and other Cogitation.

“No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
― F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby

It’s mid April, which means that it is less than a month until the highly anticipated film, The Great Gatsby, hits the big screen. The first time I read this book, I was a sophomore at Garland High School. I recently re-read my high school copy, which was rather intriguing, as it had all my annotations from my analysis paper I wrote. If there’s one thing I learned in high school, it was how to write an analysis essay. (Thank you International Baccalaureate program!) I enjoyed the book the first time around, but reading it for pleasure made me appreciate it even more.

Re-reading it, I noticed this eloquent quote regarding Mr. Gatsby:

“His brown, hardening body lived naturally through the half fierce, half lazy work of the bracing days. He knew women early and since they spoiled him he became contemptuous of them, of young virgins because they were ignorant, of the others because they were hysterical about things which in his overwhelming self-absorption he took for granted.

But his heart was in a constant, turbulent riot. The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the washstand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangles clothes upon the floor, Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness closed upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination  they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing.”

If those paragraphs were food, they’d be a three course meal. Fitzgerald always has a way of making me want to drink in his words.

For those of you who have never read the Great Gatsby, pick up a copy; it’s an easy and enjoyable read. Gatsby is a man who has it all. Well, on the outside he has it all. It’s funny how Fitzgerald refers to Gatsby’s heart as being in a “constant and turbulent riot”, because most people of today’s world have that same issue.

You hear everyone say phrases like “go where your heart takes you”, “what does your heart say?”, “follow your heart”, but God doesn’t say that.

Look at Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

or Mark 7:21-23 “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

or even Ecclesiastes 9:3 “This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.”

Proverbs 27:19

Point being, don’t trust your heart, trust God. The heart will lead you astray, God will not. The heart is often connected to human dreams and desires, which at the end of the day are nothing in comparison to God’s plan for us. Gatsby let his heart grow wicked and sick and focused on worldly gain that eventually caused his demise. His body may have died, but his soul was dead long before he was killed.  (oops. sorry if you haven’t read the book…). Focus your mind and thoughts on heaven and you’ll keep on living even after you die.

“All I kept thinking about, over and over, was ‘You can’t live forever; you can’t live forever.”
― F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby

No Fear.

No, I’m not referring the once popular clothing brand  that launched in 1989.

I’ve found that I learn the most when I look for lessons from God in my regular, everyday life. I’m not Moses, therefore I don’t get burning bushes; I feel that this is His way of speaking to me.

This past November, I was driving home from Waco for Thanksgiving, when the unthinkable happened. I wrecked my car on I-75 only 30 minutes from home in Garland. The traffic was unpredictable, ( as it most of the time it is) and I was going the speed of traffic in the fast lane left lane. All of a sudden red brake lights came on (only in my lane as luck would have it) and I tried to bring my Saturn Vue to a halt. My brakes locked and I swerved into the center lane, back into my lane, then ended up straight into the concrete barrier, perpendicular to the oncoming traffic. My airbag imploded, my front left end was crumpled under the car, and there was a viscous black substance leaking from my engine. By the grace of God I was the only car involved in the accident and came out of it with some marks on my arms from the airbag and a little harry potter-esque scratch on my forehead.

I immediantly dialed 911 then hit END and called my dad instead. Dad> 911 any day. A nice man named Patrick got out of his car (amid multiple lanes of traffic mind you) and calmed me down. He then helped me get my car to the  right shoulder, right after the Colorado exit on Central Expressway. I graciously thanked him as he left; he said he had a younger sister and he couldn’t imagine her dealing with this on her own, so he knew he had to stop. My mom says he was my angel. By this time, someone had called 911 and there were about 5 patrol cars stopped, shortly followed by a firetruck and ambulance. Oh. And a radio announcement saying a wreck near the Dallas zoo had inhibited traffic flow. Not my idea of radio stardom. (but hey, I’ve been on 99.5 the wolf before at Susan G. Komen’s Race for the cure, so I don’t have to claim this wreck as my infamous start of stardom).  The policemen all had their dip in and were anything but sympathetic…they jokingly asked if I was texting (which I wasn’t) and laughed and said I was just trying to get a new car.  I had made it since I turned 16  without getting a wreck and now this had to ruin my squeaky clean record.

My Vue ended up being totaled and after a month of driving a rental car instead of an SUV, I’m got back to my soccermom self (my new Sorento seats 7!) .Not that I was careless before, but now when I drive, it’s different.  It sends shivers up my spine if I’m in someone’s blind spot. I cringe when I see a foolish driver swerving from lane to lane like a lunatic who thinks thinks it’s a good idea to be reckless in traffic more dense than your Grandma’s fruit cake. I can still hear my car crunching against the concrete and the pop of the airbag as I lost control. In a sense, my eyes have been opened.

Kind of like the first time you experience heartbreak and you realize people will let you down.

Kind of like when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and were exposed to sin.

You’re probably wondering what in tarnation my wreck story has to do with Adam and Eve. Don’t worry; I’ll connect the dots.

The thing about us as humans, is that  the world has caused us to feel immune to sin…that it really isn’t that bad…that we can be good later…when really we should be similar to how I feel about driving. I used to love the open road, but my experiences have made me realize the distressing amount of danger that is present. In the same way, we as Christians used to love sin, but through Jesus, our eyes were opened. We don’t have to be fearful, because through Jesus we have no fear in death or sin; however,  we should be cautious  of what we involve ourselves in and who we surround ourselves with.  We should shutter at the thought of drifting from where we once so proudly stood in Jesus.  Christians are given freedom from  our wicked ways and so often we meander back down the path of sin, and are enslaved once more.

Remember that as Christians:

We receive God’s abundant grace.

“…But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,  so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20-21

We must live in the world, but not be of it.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15

We must keep Christ at the center of our lives so we can carry out His plan.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

There’s no reason you shouldn’t be joyful today- you’re alive and FREE!

Peppermints and Cigarette Smoke.

Today marks a year since my granddaddy passed away. 365 days  may seem like a long time, but it feels like just yesterday that he was here on earth; however,  it’s so easy for crocodile tears to well up at the thought of events he would be at if he were still here.

This summer I lived in Little Rock, Arkansas,  with my Mimi. As I sang in FBCR Little Rock’s church choir that first Sunday I was in town, I glanced out into the audience, halfway expecting him to be there. It felt like I was swallowing a boll of cotton as I choked back sprigs of tears to sing How Great Thou Art.

My friend Molly and I always have talked about wanting to attend our own funeral. We thought it would be cool to see who would be there, what people said about us, and what kind of legacy we left. (A modern day George Bailey act, if you will.)  Perhaps we touched someone we hadn’t realized  or even hurt someone and didn’t think they’d show up, but they did.

My granddaddy, no doubt, left a legacy of laughter and hard work. He was a God-fearing man who was a wonderful example to all. My only hope is that I could leave just a tidbit of the legacy he left behind.  Remember to live and do so with purpose. I know tragedy is always around, but currently it seems like it is more than usual. For example, the Ledet family is proof that no matter your age,  you have a chance to touch people with what life you lived, no matter the length of years you were on this earth.

Live with purpose, and you won’t have to worry about whether or not you touch people or leave a legacy. Living for Christ automatically gives you a legacy to leave. If you show His unconditional love to others and strive to be like Him, you are bound to make an impact on another’s life.

Life is precious; Cherish it.

“The memory of the righteous is a blessing.”

Proverbs 10:7