photo challenge #5: 10am

February 5, 2012

today’s photo challenge: photograph your 10am.

this morning was a bit more relaxed and easy. had a bit of a sleep in and woke up at 9:30, which was so lovely.

i was increasingly excited about this specific sunday morning, as i got to have my first coffee in 3 weeks. and what goes better with coffee than a spinach and capsicum egg-white omelette and gluten-free cranberry walnut muffins? :) okay…so that may be somewhat random, but it was so yummy.

after watching church online and enjoying 3 cups of coffee, i was ready to conquer the day…which included demolishing the church’s existing stage set and heading over to a super bowl party.

tomorrow’s challenge: dinner.

xx

 

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strangers

February 4, 2012

February 4th challenge:: photograph a stranger

#febphotoaday

any and every time i walk into Whole Foods, i immediately feel better about myself…and life in general. it’s everything from the outdoor patio area, exotic cheese samples, brightly coloured organic veggies, freshly rolled sushi, multi-recycle bins, make-your-own almond butter, paper (not plastic) bags, and aisles of gluten-free products that make my head spin in health food heaven.

for being a large franchised store, Whole Foods has the atmosphere of a small family-owned corner grocery store. it’s the kind of place where i stare into other people’s carts wanting to know what they plan on making with that conglomerate of seemingly-unrelated yet amazing ingredients.

the people who work at Whole Foods seem to enjoy life more than your average cashier at a grocery register. this girl in particular is always smiling when i see her, which makes me smile.

xx

 

day 3: hands.

February 3, 2012

day 3: hands.

there are one set of hands that remain the same across every nation, language, people, age, and gender…the hands of time.

we are each given the same amount in each day—no more, no less. our lives are governed by time. in the constant on-the-go culture of America, time itself has become the most precious commodity in our everyday self-proclaimed busy lives.

hands. these universal hands of time…ever ticking away.

and with the next 9 hours of my ticking time, i’m going to sleep.

happy weekend :)

xx

day 2: words

February 2, 2012

today’s Feb-photo-a-day challenge was “words”.

lately (like for the past 2 years) i’ve been fixated with the concept of slow. over those 2 years, i’ve become more and more passionate about the subject.

this is a particulate facet of the american culture and lifestyle that i truly despise. it’s not necessarily wrong…just empty and robotic. it’s a characteristic that i oppose with all of my being.

and when i saw this phrase in a book, i lit up, “that’s it!”

while i plan to dedicate a blog post (or 2) to thoroughly communicate my thoughts and beliefs on this matter, i will at least let you in on the phrase that has eloquently put language to one of the ongoing contradictions between myself and the world i live in.

“life is so urgent it necessitates living slow.”

have a selah moment…

xx

#febphotoaday day 1

February 1, 2012

with weather like the South experienced today, no one would have believed it was the first day of february. a humid 70 degrees with thunderstorms…this is the stuff spring is made of. but regardless of it’s disguise, or seasonal confusion, february has arrived.

today i came across a little photo challenge for february where you take a photo each day of the month that corresponds to a particular topic. part of the fun is that  you can interpret this topic to whatever your creative imagination comes up with.

today’s challenge was your view today.

this may be a  different interpretation of the challenge, but in celebration of the fact that i received a wedding invitation from my favourite aussie/canadian couple today, february first’s photo is dedicated to jeff and mika—love you both. wish i could be there!

here is the lovely invitation that i viewed today:

xx

tomorrow’s photo challenge: words 

the window.

January 30, 2012

wow.

so here it is…nearly a year of reflection and {much needed} silence…and i think i’m ready for this again.

in the past year, there has been a constant object that seems to filter and focus my thoughts. countless hours i have spent staring it down, gazing at the truths it seems to possess, and looking right through it, imagining the future that it holds.

no telling the stories, prayers, conversations, accusations, pleas, and songs it has witnessed…who would have thought that a bedroom window could be such a focal point for the soul?

the past few weeks, i’ve been comparing where i am now and where i was a year ago—which is so complex that it may require a couple more weeks to sincerely understand and appreciate the transformation. i’ve progressed past the acquaintance level and am currently descending the staircase into the depths of understanding.

this recollection, however, will only grant you an entry level view of the intricacies of this 100-feet-below-the-surface story.

delicately put…this time last year, i was a train-wreck. for someone who is used to having a grasp on “who she is”, this one threw me for a loop, completely off-balance and unstable. while these days were definitely not my most shining moments, i nevertheless handled them the only way i knew how.

i stormed a throne room, totally unannounced, yet overwhelmingly accepted.

i poured out everything. even on the days when all i could do was sit there and stare…gaze out that ever-present window, which ironically enough, made me feel transparent.

3 months into this pattern, i hit my lowest point. i wasn’t necessarily this gloomy being, maybe a little aggressive, but still a relatively pleasant person.

but He didn’t let me remain here long. once my feet planted on the bottom of that ocean floor, i pushed off the sandy depths with my arms stretched upward, desperate for a breath. before i knew it, i was ascending—eyes lowered, watching the ground beneath me fade while i was pulled up to the surface. 3 months later, i emerged as a direct result of the wondrous grace of God.

one thing i do know, my God is so so kind. this past year He:

  • held a Sydney friend around for a few months for my sanity {that’s how i selfishly see it}
  • gifted me with a car
  • provided a {insert all forms of “amazing” adjectives} place for me to live
  • opened an opportunity to be involved in NLC Creative
  • handed me a trip to East Africa to remember His promise and revive my dreams
  • allowed me to dance again
  • positioned people in my life to walk with me
  • introduced me to the beauty of writing
  • imparted patience in me to graduate uni {amen}
  • placed me in an environment to flourish
  • hand-crafted a job for me
  • restored my smile, my internal joy
  • squeezed my hand to assure me that He was there
i can’t even put words to the thankfulness in my spirit. i handle words all day, yet there are none that can even express the thankfulness. i feel like those words are not accessible in an earthly tongue, but are rather reserved for heaven.
i’m a direct product of God’s grace—a daughter living in the daily gift of resurrected life, continually gazing out a window of prayers, possibilities, and praise.
“for even if the mountains walk away and the hills fall to pieces, My love won’t walk away from you, My covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart”, says the God who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10 msg
here’s to a new adventure…
xx

holes of hope

March 3, 2011

i’ve been overwhelmed with this idea of hope lately.

i mean the definition of hope is: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or the events will turn out for the best; a person or thing in which expectations are centered; to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.

i can’t imagine going through a single day of life with no hope. how do people get from day to day without hope?  THE hope. there is One in whom hope is found. there is One from whom hope finds its very meaning.

two weeks ago i got a call that woke me up, it was my mom telling me that my uncle was in critical condition at the hospital due to a heart-attack. i packed up my things and drove home just as soon as i could. i could tell from the tone in my mom’s voice that this was a very serious situation…serious as in the doctors were “preparing” my aunt and family.  with salty tears carving their path down my cheeks, i quietly prayed, whispering my deep plea into God’s ear. “oh Lord, please heal him. let him overcome, just as You have overcome.”

it was a conversation of few words, not even a monologued script. just a simple prayer in the secret place.

that thursday’s air was warm and its sky overcast.  yet, every now and then a ray of light would pierce through a small opening between the clouds. i was so focused on this one beaming stream of light that it took me a few moments to realize that there were other streams of light just like this one i was observing. but just as soon as the rays had burst through the clouds, they were covered up again until another ray shone through a different cloud gap. it was constantly changing, but for a brief moment–there was light.

being the sky-facinated girl that i am, i was deep in thought over this mysterious cloud game…unaware that my reflections were now audible. i began to wonder, “what if every place where a ray is concentrating its light was God bringing a glimmer of hope into an overcast situation? what if the changing light was someone’s  fresh hope into a rough day?”

 the next three days were personified with tears,  unwelcomed voices of reason, and that horrible hospital smell. we prayed and we prayed. standing strong in the promise of the cross. stretching hands over lifeless conditions. the doctor told us, “i wish it was his heart. i could fix his heart. but it’s not…its his brain. we need him to wake up.” this is that point. that point where human hands stop. that point where the impossible sets in. that point where my God breathes life. i’ve seen it done before. the possibility of the impossible.

it’s now sunday. i headed up to the hospital to see my uncle one more time before i drove back east.  my dad and i entered his ICU room and prayed again. the only thing i could softly voice was, “please, let him wake up. God, wake him up.” 

—then the most beautiful thing happened. the room began to light up as a beam of light broke through a hole in the sky and shined straight through the hospital window and onto my sleeping uncle. it was so bright on him that when my uncle’s sister entered the room she pulled the curtains. i stood there speechless, with those oh-so-faithful tears expressing my awe and wonder at this moment. hope. shining hope. a moment of hope.

He who conquered death. He who gives grace. He who rides on the clouds. He who whispers to my heart. He who sees our pain. He who never fails. He who is kind. He who prepares a place where there are no tears. He is our hope. He is our hope. He is our hope!

whether we acknowledge the glimmer or not, there are holes of hope everywhere. everyday. God sees. even if it is for a moment…it is a breath that reminds us of who God is and who we are in Him.

monday. new mercies. my uncle woke up. he woke up. praise the Lord on high, he woke up! ……sunday was only a sparkle. monday was the miracle.

xx

For God, who said, ‘ Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 corinthians 4:6

holes of hope

 

 

 

contradiction

February 16, 2011

i’m lost at two ideals…kind of stuck between two worlds. the one in my bedroom and the one on the otherside of the door.

the first being, this place where i feel as if the world is so close.  anything is possible. my dreams grow and my vision expands. creativity breathes a heavy sigh of satisfaction and  imagination twirls a satin ribbon in the air. its whimsical and concrete. playful yet strong. a carnival with a cause, if you will?

but then there is this other place. one where “reality” feels the need to wreak havoc with my carnival and stomp on my fairy floss. qualifications. money. measurablility. the ‘means’ to accomplish your dreams, which is undoubtedly the american dream…because that’s the only dream to be thought up. “s.m.a.r.t.” goals…you know, the ones that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed.

its a good principle, but i’m so sick of  “s.m.a.r.t.” goals. what if i can’t measure my goals? what if they are in no way, shape, or form attainable? realistic, ha! i’ve always been told, “if people aren’t laughing at your dream, then it isn’t big enough.” i know the God i serve and that anything is possible…especially the impossible. the impossible is really possible with God. there is nothing wrong with preparation or with listing out specific things you want and mastering a way to make those things happen. i guess i’ve just been dipped into a distant concept that continues to re-surface itself. i’m searching for that balance between these 2 places, wishing i could dive straight into one without ever giving the other a second thought.

basically, this is me. a simple girl. a straight-forward battle with a complex strategy. a gentle whisper in the midst of booming fireworks. a rushing tide beating against un-assuming sand. it all seems complicated, in theory. but there is one theory that uncomplicates everything.  my life is based on a contradiction.

i want so much more. more that is to come. more that is displayed when a beam of light erases a dark patch.

there is heavenly in the lowly. there is beauty in the broken. there is wealth in the eyes of the poor.

xx

misty gloom

January 20, 2011

today is embodied in a reflective mood that seems to be taking the form of the misty gloom outside which matches my london fog tea at starbucks and dark purple nail polish. i’d imagine if someone was to journal my thoughts from just today alone, i reckon they could write a novel and its sequel. of course, they would have to throw in some lyrics from the Civil Wars, “Poison and Wine” while frantically scribbling down the chapters otherwise known as ‘Lydia’s thoughts.’

this past month seems to have been lived in a shadow of sadness. one of which an overwhelming dose of reality is not just presented but thrown straight into your face…quite an uncomfortable scenario. i liken it to when a car is travelling at a high speed, continually accelerating, only to encounter a traffic light switching from yellow to red, causing them to brake so hard that it literally flings them forward out of their seat only to catch on the seatbelt, reverse the momentum, and rip them backwards into seat.

no one prepares you for the heartache that is, moving home. it just happens. and somehow you have to figure out how to navigate that. the emotions. the confusion. the shock. the ‘finding your place’…again. somedays i have to stop, close my eyes and breathe deeply; remembering He who brought me back.  He made me a promise. but sometimes that promise becomes blurry and faded in my cluttered mind. funny how organized i am with my material things, yet when it comes to my mind i’m like a chaotic mess.

when He speaks, it cuts so deep into my sorrowed soul that i melt in utter inadequacy and awe. –inadequacy and awe, like 2 peas in a pod. 

 “Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.”  Psalm 37:3

trust, do, dwell, and cultivate. that’s heaps of action. daily action. but that’s what God does. He is always making all things new…within me, around me, for me.

one month. its only been one month. this month has been gray. gray and dull and lifeless. only tiny hints of colour seem to appear in life’s pallete before my eyes. a black and white picture of a girl staring out the window where the blue tear on her cheek is the only display of colour. surely this is not the picture that has been envisioned for me for this year? no one can make it through a year with a blue tear…also, for the record, smudged eyeliner and mascara stained cheeks are not the greatest trend.

the psalms are filled with a repetitive trend, one worth following. in spite of the crying out to God at the beginning of  these certain psalms, they end with a praise. like a “this really sucks God, but through it all You are faithful and kind”

and this is where i find myself. this is the war within myself…do you stay in the gloomy mist or choose to find the pockets of sunshine breaking through your overcast skies?  better yet, do you choose to be that ray of light that penetrates the thick darkness to carve its path?

“For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the fiels will clap their hands.”   Isaiah 55:12

Dear December,

January 3, 2011

Dear December,

I’m stuck in between thanking you, freezing you in time, or kicking you so hard that you limp.

You brought laughter and you brought tears. (Most importantly, you brought me a tan.)

Beautiful memories and moments captured in my heart. Beautiful friendships that even an ocean of distance cannot taint.

Speaking of oceans, thanks for the sunny beach time. warriewood baby! I can place the majority of my life-defining God-enounters at the beach. What a perfect way to wrap up my australian pressie by spending the last weeks basking in the warm sun and numbing my body in the freezing ice cold ocean. Wouldn’t be Australia without the shocking sudden difference in temperature.

I accessorized you with freckles and curly hair. (YES, my curly hair reappeared!!…sounds pathetic, but for real, I’m overjoyed.)

Your melody was one of Brooke and Bruno…we played only the good notes. :)

My eyes are still recovering from the month of puffy eyes. Seriously, was it neccesary for me to cry that much? With every goodbye, a bit of my heart ripped off. Give me a break. But then the grand finale of the official farewell was enough to stop the blood flowing.

Flowing…yes,  you, December, brought the wine. A girls’ trip to the Hunter and some other hahaha ‘quality’ nights of good conversation and glasses of red.

Bringing in my sister, now that was quite a surprise you had up your sleeve. What a special week that was! Years ago, she showed me her Costa Rica and now, I showed her my Australia. And I definitely appreciate the packing assistance. Well, she pretty much did all of it; I just threw it at her and she strategized how to fit it into the suitcase.  

You really did out-do yourself with the concerts. I mean, MUSE AND U2 in the same month….and bonus they were both FREE?!?!?!  Were you just trying to butter me up so I would feel better about leaving? Sneaky.

Sneaky reminds me of Sneezy which reminds me of  the Christmas Spectacular and how cute Allie was in her baker’s hat. I was such a proud mum that night…both nights. Spending that weekend with Megan was irreplaceable. She’s amazing, and so is Surry Hills.

But for all the joy you brought, sadness overshadowed. No one could have prepared me for the heartache that came with leaving. Goodbyes really do suck. It’s like I knew what God said and there was light in His words, but the actual follow through of that was like stepping blind; I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. pain in the offering.

Saying goodbye to Caiti and Allie, then stepping around the dreadful Corner in the Sydney airport, (if you’ve ever taken someone to the airport, you know what I mean), was like stabbing me in the chest…I was sobbing so I couldn’t really breathe anyway.

You, December, I congratulate you for the emotional roller coaster you put me on and the fact that I didn’t bail out along the ride…metaphorically, I threw up after we went on the upside-down loops, one after the other, and when the ride stopped, I got up and walked off in a  rather hypnotic state, over-whelmed at what just happened.

Watching Australia blend into the horizon of blue was a low moment. The sadness will leave. Joy will come again, as it faithfully does.

So, December, here I will leave you without a single regret. Just be a little more easy on the others who encounter you!

Sincerely,
A thankful and overwhelmed Lydia