But I want the pink Jeep.

The apostle Paul says, “I pray for what you most need.”

When I was younger, I could be found vehemently praying for a pink Jeep. And it seems looking back, all things pink and jeep were pretty foreign to good ol’ Paul. Today the equivalent prayer to my pink Jeep desire is perhaps still a pink Jeep in a sense. But if it’s not a Jeep, it’s definitely  to have my own place…or to attain some really expensive camera/artsy equipment…or really, just some nice boots. Nonetheless, I really wanted a pink Jeep and after two long and blustery winters of not receiving such a noble and honest request, I started to devise a plan on how I would enjoy my inevitable gift and also what I should start praying secondly for in the mean time, to kill time.  See, I knew I’d get it, but the waiting made me upset and truly had me obsessing over what car decals and stickers I would place on the shiny new hot pink paint, once them plastic keys were in my hands. The expectation of what I thought I deserved was donned with a crown of self-righteousness and I swear, arms have never been folded across the chest as often as they did when I was a youngin.

(Obvious) Disclaimer: I am an only child.

And I also  pray a lot.

And when I pray a lot I always end up thinking—moreso than actually verbalizing, “Lord when are you going to honor my decision to be faithful to you?!”

And since the expectation of what I most needed was ill-rooted when I was ten, I’ve easily  forgiven little Tracy. But as the Tracy today, I’m less accepting of my internal tantrums or subtle wishes. And seldom do I ever really deserve any type of plastic in my hand.

Disclaimer #2: It sucks not being ten.

And quickly, Jesus surely responds, “why do you let yourself grow weary?”

I grow tired, a lot.

It seems it’s taken His response to my non-response to truly see where my petitions are going and to hear which attitude they are declared in. Upon reflection, I’m embarrassed. With that, I am doing my best to answer questions such as, “What do you need?” with responses such as, “Nothing, for I have plenty.” To get there, there needs to be major re-evaluation. And I’m not talking about considering a different colored jeep. I may be even suggesting instead of asking for that jeep, asking for the desire for control over my life to be surrendered. Instead of asking for my debt to be vanquished, perhaps asking to rejoice in the bread on my plate daily and nightly. Instead of asking for a new or cooler job, maybe ask for the clear vision that there is true fruit in my labor.

To pray for not a change of circumstances but an understanding in what we have in Christ is what I need.

For gratitude is finding that what we have is surely enough.

If we have that, no matter how bad or difficult our life circumstances are or how blustery our sky appears, we can handle them as a woman or man of righteousness.


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He shook my hand and I couldn’t be with him

Many of us can be found judging a book by it’s cover or a fermented grape drink by it’s wine label, but I on the more complicated hand, judge (subjective) a person by their handshake.

This may or may not prove my not so gigantic circle of friends but aside from word of mouth about how so and so is a funny guy or super sweet girl, it’s almost always and discreetly preferred I get to shake the hand of the unknown to be known person before I can agree, yeah that guy is super funny and that girl super sweet. 

Granted a lot of my expectations stem from my bachelor’s degree-ridden influences and how communication is easily utilized yet often done poorly or ineffectively…did you know we should always wear our name tag on our right side (so that when we shake hands, the arm leads to the name)? I digress. In all seriousness, like a un-piped cup of coffee, a poor or weak handshake translates “I don’t really care about meeting you” and I just don’t want to be greeted with it.

Shake it like you mean it.

And because I’ve received a more than normal amount of hesitantly limp handshakes in my day, I’ve even asked my guy friends if they shake the hands of a woman with less intensity than they do with men (and vice versa). Their responses surprisingly came out to be about a 50/50 concerning catered gender handshakes. It’s just that I’m a girl, not a baby bird. All that to say, more firm isn’t necessarily a better handshake, but for me these marks ideally would like to be met:

  • It feels 50/50–that we are holding both the equal weight of intention, excitement and curiosity. And I’m not asking for a prolonged interest in me by way of handshake, just at least, momentarily.
  • There is eye contact. You are meeting me not that waitress behind my left shoulder.
  • Timing. Do not linger but do not shake and run.
  • A smile never hurts. Granted this advice I also bestow upon myself.  🙂

And when these are met, it simply translates to me positive factors about a person.

Confidence. Intentionality. And simply, presence.

Most women want to be swept off their feet. And I am most women–and also a woman who also wants a dang good handshake.

So like the art of hugging and other interactive activities that may last for a moment or two, I do not take them lightly and truly  hope for the best possible future encounter with you, a for now stranger and your really funny guy friend/super sweet girl friend.

Thanks, yo

I wake up to a mother who respects my adult-ness by knocking at my door for a good respectable :15. Once she followed it with a kiss on the forehead with a look i truly felt communicated, “you work hard, you are a good daughter, so sleep in as long as you need…and what do you want for lunch?”

I sip from porcelain mugs almost daily and the steam rises heavenly towards the perfect places creating the perfect emotions. Good morning, it greets me and the aroma pries my eyes open for the day ahead.

I crave blending ingredients and creating an appetite that stems from recipes that promise color, taste and texture. As everyone oooed and ahhhed, the pauses between each bite proved the true wonders of breaking bread with the ones you love.

I crack open my composition book to scribble meaningless words from meaningful thoughts. Today, I gathered a couple more as an elderly couple split a panini and apple with minimal conversation but an obvious history of love, and future of faithfulness. And it’s such a sight.

I bury myself often in piles of photo collections of past events and present occasions. In the albums recently developed I found a series of moments that are proof we do indeed all grow old, but amazingly closer. My brother, looks more of a man than yesterday though his boyish smile still resides. My mother is found various times staring of at her children as they compare their height and age differences in a couple of shots. And the kids of the family are no longer asking for barbies or hot wheels for Christmas, but iPods and make-up, or at least their grown faces say so anyways.

I depend on cheersing glasses with a best friend or two over conversations that stem from our individual uncertain paths alongside our mutual certainty that we are well taken care of and fought for, sought after. Even more often lately, we praised our problems through accountability, water-proof shoulders, and a reminder of a hope. Or more simply, a home-cooked dinner, laughter that deflected profound sadness and songs sung at the top of our lungs from the bottom of our souls.

But like every human, I am flawed beyond repair, though knowingly worthy of your concerns for me. And though time has bridled me and I have yet to externally become fully what I am wholly internally, know my attempts to shield such a progressively decreasing failure is coated with my coffee and conversations with you, my prayers and thoughts of you and my utter love for you.  All this is stowed away in my temple of gratefulness. The abundance causes it to overflow often. It is powerful and it flows and cranks the wheels of my blood flow. It keeps me grounded during lofty times and floating freely during the heavy ones. My growing spirit is not worthy of such reward received from you.

But sincere it is, boastful it is not. Peaceful it is, anxious it is not. Thankful it is, forgetful it is not.

Rest is Best | Sabbath

Most Sunday mornings I find myself extremely rushed with my hair half-combed and my stomach fully empty. Yet there lies a Peace that latches onto me that forewarns a day of spiritual contemplation, reflection and praise. The usual talkative, witty and charismatic (what’s low self-esteem?) Tracy succumbs to a spirit of retreat, of breath. I take my sabbath seriously and such seriousness has managed to dictate my agenda faithfully which leaves a lot of room for thankfulness and more importantly, stillness. 

I am still and I’m sitting at Starbucks feeling extremely lonely, but the kind of lonely that is required of me to really hear God. Not that people or conversation take me further from God, but solitude positions me right before Him. This loneliness I’m learning is a form of worship, rather than an indication of depression. This relieves me greatly (and certainly my closest friends and family). 

Though my sabbath isn’t as fully formulaic as I would hope for it to be, it’s inevitable, which settles well with me considering the plethora of infirmities I carry and bury Monday-Saturday 11:59 pm. And a time of rest I’m experiencing, involves more than surrender but acknowledgement that what we do surrender is carried and cared for, wholly. 

To go from heavy to light, cluttered to clear, and restless to rested requires the sabbath.

Though the routes we take to get on the road to rest will look quite differently for everyone, for me it’s this: just like being alone helps amplify my hearing of His voice, my complete and undivided surrender amplifies my trust that He does better with my stuff than I do.

I suppose that’s a formula. 

 

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord, 

May Your calm defeat the raging seas that is my rushing blood, my torrent thoughts. 

May Your solemnity infiltrate the twisting of want and bending of understanding. May Your strength carve out a place for me to rest–Your presence for me to boast in. An effusion I long to reside in. And where You are there I will live since You are where I insist on being.

And that my sight is on You, by You and solely for You

May my confidence be of godly wisdom, and Truth and patience my strength, satiating the holy depths I often flee from, excavating fullness my worries pile upon. 

May I receive Your spirit, for there is no lacking; there is completion and unrestricted joy–unrestrained praise. 

Doubt My Love

I got it so I flaunt it; my capability to love.

I’m temperamental, fickle and almost always moody, but swear I’m a catch (who’ll catch your arms and limbs) —-so [never] doubt my love.

Never doubt my love because my brows are furrowed. When I speak louder it is only because it is windy outside countered by your hard of hearing.

Never doubt my love because my fingers create stark white imprints across your arms, I just want you to feel near.

Never doubt my love because of the silence that often  evades from my mouth, my thirsty thoughts internally praise your name like a whisper touching an ear–may it sink into your bones.

Never doubt my love because I am sad often for sadness has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me.

Never doubt my love because I’m disappointed, but my fingers are pointed more at the enemy, than at you my friend.

Never doubt my love because I cannot stay later, but I can come over earlier.

Never doubt my love when your angry sun is out and my stubborn moon retreats.

Never doubt my love because i’m weak, and  I say yes when it should be no, or no when it should be yes.

Never doubt, my love.

Long Hair, Don’t Care

“Your hair is getting so long.”

“I know” I say in an affirming meets tired tone.

“I love it!”

“Oh, thanks..”

This is the essence of the many initial conversations that take place when meeting friends I haven’t spent longer than a hi with. My hair seems to be the main thing to stop people in their tracks when inquiring what has changed in my life as of late. I suppose it’s harder to notice my better erected back due to my increased self-confidence or my calloused fingers from the sharpening of my guitar skills, but my hair indeed serves decently as an indicator that I am indeed growing and changing. Whether it’s the length of my hair or the progression of my character, as long something is noticeable, it’s validated as real. And I’m not lost. Or something akin to feeling such a way.

I couldn’t swim deep enough. My ponytail had to stick out above the dark blue squiggly lines turned waves. Like a thumb that throbs, my head stuck out. Afraid of going too deep? Or afraid others will see me plugging my nose because I cannot dive eloquently for a woman of my stature? Even at twilight, I know anyone could catch me, nose in hand, if they wanted to.

I couldn’t make you believe I could swim deep enough. Towards the darker black that was a stagnate bottom. As we’d unknowingly race, my mind would pace the ways I could persuade anyone into believing I made it back so swiftly because simply, I was a good swimmer (even with all the long hair). If I could swim as good as I lie, the black would be no threat, the deep my  ebbing enemy. And you, a feeble competitor. You–heartache, distance, change, a loser. Me–heart broken, consistently yearning for others and routine-ridden, a winner.

I hate this ponytail, but it makes you search elsewhere for some shimmery fleck of impressive. And I wear it also to see the sea better, you see? The salt can burn, but at least the brown tendrils do not get in anyone’s way. In my way; I seem to get in my way often. On the way down, a glance is made at the girl descending delightfully. “She’s different” they all whisper in their heads.

I need to grasp the person I was a few moments ago and the person I will be in moments to come. One I find, meant for the ethereal gleam, beside her, behind her and above her. Some call it the moon, I call Spirit. The other, a beguiling blunder disguised and maneuvered by handsome temptation, or  a coy enchantress. It’s hard to think under water, but I can see both are fragile and fortunate and relevant.  And so I’m aware of the humanness and abundance that surrounds me. And also aware, maybe my improvement do not need to be seen, just claimed.

I don’t swim deep enough and I hate this ponytail, but I trace the steps before me and meander forward, slowly but more importantly, surely.  My breath become the tokens that create ripples towards you, towards better. My body the shore that keeps order and direction.  I can’t swim deep enough, but found when necessary the deep surely finds me. And for a breathe’s moment, I’m not lost.

New Year.

Today marked the proverbial clean plate, fresh start, veggies only please. So with ease and natural contemplation, I was additionally moved to make a new home for my writing. So if purchasing new shoes easily makes me feel like a new woman, I figured a new blog may make me feel like a new writer–as in one who is more intentional and careful when crafting her words.

SO…

The NEW year is upon us and older hands lie before us. How have you used them this last year? How will you use them this year?

I find myself battling what seems to be a 24hr trick question that asks of me essentially, “what can you do better this year that you epically failed at doing last year?” My answer comes quicker than it takes to compose such a trite yet common question but a thread a truth can be found in both the Q and the A and its the one prominent thing I’m thankful for. Jesus. And how his hands have a lot to do with my life today and tomorrow and how all my life’s recaps at the end of every year seems to be perfectly encompassed by a “sigh.” Of relief, of rest and of thankfulness.

Dear old self, put on the new, because you can and it is encouraged. Sacrifice that permeates from age to age, still vibrant, still applicable, still my resolution.