Monday, July 9, 2012

A wise woman said, "Sometimes you are able to give more because of what you don't have."  Mr. Miyagi said it another way, "Best way to avoid punch, no be there," the mantra of the famous Drum Technique.
Since my last post I've been pondering, on one level or another, my life vision and the major paradigm shift that I've experienced in recent months.  In a quiet time of prayer I saw my Before dreams and my After dreams side by side - what a polar distinction!  On one hand is the glamourous NYC power picture.  Amazing apartment, artsy friends, entrepreneurial prowess, pavement pounding in Tod's heels and gypsy-chic jewels.  On the other hand is the simple adventure. A huge estate on acres of land...and a river runs through it.  Artsy friends, homeschooling and dyeing wool shorn from my very own sheep.  Two separate lives on two separate planes.  How can I possibly have both?  What man out there could possibly carry on this double life with me? As much as I hate the grey areas that lead to the maturity of strengthened faith, I desperately desire to be able to live in the worm hole between two universes. 

But a wormhole is destined to collapse on itself. The pendulum that remains dead center stops the clock.  Ayurveda teaches that the body is never in perfect health. We are always balancing between the elements.  So, the question is (bare with me as I wax philosophical), is balance the absence of inequality or is balance the equal distribution of time, weight, thought, etc.?

Depending on the circumstance, it could be both. Let's use fire and water as an example. If you have too much fire, you need water. But if you put the fire out, then water over abounds. So we must have equal amounts of fire and water to be in balance. Correct? Unless, it is necessary to have more fire than water. In the movie, The Grey, I don't think Liam Neeson and his buddies would have been able to stay warm if they dug a pond, nor would they have been able to fend of the monstrous wolves with buckets of water. No, they needed fire, contained and controlled fire, but fire and fire in abundance. An element out of balance, kept the stranded men alive and spurred them to keep going.

Could it be the same in life?  Balancing an equation is the same as cancelling out the equation.  I don't want my life to be nothing with no forward movement.  If I can do all things through Christ, somewhere in the "all" something is going to be equal and opposite to something else, which inevitably renders both things void.  But if I can do all things through Christ at different times, in different seasons, with varying degrees of intensity, then something or many things will be out of balance before the pendulum swings back the other way.  The thought is freeing and maddening at the same time.  So, let's not think about it. 

I jest.  But seriously, perhaps the best way to live life not focused on the click of the clock as the pendulum swings, but to live knowing that the next swing is a new opportunity to give, to share, to sacrifice and to gain.  For whatever is missing on one side shall surely be found on the other.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Don't Rush Me

It's funny how after receiving an amazing revelation, the Enemy can come at you with a powerful blow of condemnation. Last week was really tough.  I'm aching to make a move in my life and am in a seemingly interminable holding pattern. I've been exercising diligently, but don't feel any stronger.  I'm tired and can't get any sleep.  I believe that I am victorious, but I feel utterly defeated.  An amazing story of a young man's perseverance both inspired and convicted me.  At breakfast, I turned to the Word for solace. Psalm 95 calls us to worship the great God and wonderous maker of the earth, but I felt lumped in with the rebellious nation whose hearts went astray from Him.  I felt like Samson, shaven head hanging low, unable to tap into my supernatural strength.

I choked on my bagel, now soggy with tears.  Why, God, make me like Samson when the world obviously needs David?  Why make my eyes to see only the gilded edges of the frame and the grand picture it encompasses, when the world needs people who can recognize each stroke, identify each color, deconstruct the masterpiece bit by bit, rather than swallowing it's beauty whole? I was devastated looking at my life in mid-renovation.

Before:  My foundation was solid, but not level, so my house leaned, and no wonder, since it was settled on clay studded with rocks.  My yard was filled with flowering weeds and commanding trees that bore no fruit.Then I asked to see God, to be face to face with Him. I began to dream with Him and to picture His heaven here on earth. I asked Him for a special outpouring of Holy Spirit and an undeniable touch of His Fatherly love.  I asked for curses to be broken, lies to be uncovered, walls to be torn down and ungodly thoughts and imaginations to be brought low. I asked God to excavate my life. 

He did. 

Now what?
Now, I'm surveying the damage.  There is rubble everywhere. The ground is turned inside out, rocks piled in monstrous formations surrounded by tangles of overgrown weeds and gnarly roots that trail along the scarred earth.  In the words of my college choir director, "It's a mess!  A wreck mess...a train wreck mess!" This is why people want to buy move-in ready homes.  Was what I had so bad?  Was the way it used to be so very bad?  Because living the aftermath of a hurricane is maddening!

What I loved most about doing hair and makeup was "transformations", taking an ugly duckling and coloring, cutting, buffing, polishing, painting and styling her into a swan.  But, it wasn't just the final reveal that I lived for, it was the whole process in between.  I was the only stylist in the salon taking pictures before, during and after.  But the During is why I kept the clients' backs to the mirror. 

During: the controlled (or rampant) chaos that ensues after the client is draped; the part of the design and landscape shows that gets edited out. But I can't edit this out!  I can't turn my back and not see.  I can't fade to black or return after a commercial break.  I have to go through it, step by step, when every fiber in my body wants to just pull the pillars down on it all. 

After:  My assignment today is write the vision and make it plain.  I've written many a plan, goal and vision before.  I've even gone through a 50 some odd page handbook on how to do it right (very awesome exercise, by the way  But something happened.  My goals changed. My purpose, no longer shrouded behind shame and fear presented itself like a wailing baby, dato alla luce.  What is beautiful about my After is that the gilded frame remains, an effulgent casing, for the obra del Maestro, that is tantamount to what has been in my heart since my freshman year in college.  It's all there, but the details are entirely different.  There is a new pattern of strokes and new approach to the work that requires patience more than skill and consistency more than resources. 

It would be easy to end my story buried under a pile of rubble, lying inches away from my felled enemies, my last emotions, vengeance and desparation.  Afterall, my enemies would be dead and I would be a hero.  Samson (Shimshon in the Hebrew) means "like the sun".  I dare to deduce his parents named him thus because of the brilliant light that exploded from the angel of the Lord ascending to heaven in the flame of their burnt offering. Even more interesting, Shimshon's father, Manoah is rest personified.  In Psalm 95 the rebellious nation could not enter into the Lord's rest.  They were cursed to wander in the wilderness, doomed to die in the During, when they could have walked in the glorious light of the Son.

I know that I am called to shine, but my ministry must be born from rest.  It is okay, even necessary for me to not rush through the transformation, but rest through it. As God has shaken my world, He will also remake it, and it will be better than before.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I've never understood people who enjoy going to amusement parks to ride the teacups. The interminable rotation of the teacups is nauseating and exhausting.  The person responsible for inventing them was probably thinking of some cruel revenge to exact on grade school bullies.  Proponents of this torture tell me they actually like the dizzy, woozy feeling it gives them.  I smile weakly, then furtively roll my eyes thinking that this is probably the type of person who would attend an ugly dog beauty contest.

You see, I prefer the rollercoasters that climb celestially high and then plummet at warp speed toward the ground. There is the excited anticipation during the ascent and then comes the moment of the drop.  The butterflies trapped in my belly suddenly go wild as the past is left behind and the carriage rumbles into another universe.  I love the feeling, bracing against the inertia, then completely releasing myself to gravity. It is an exquisite release of energy.  Over too soon, I disembark the carriage fighting the urge to stand in line for another ride.   

I'm a little dizzy and exhausted beacuse my mind's been swirling on a nonstop 360 degree ride. And I am not amused. 

I'm not angry, not discouraged, not even disappointed. 
But I find that I have to remind myself that soon this crazy spinning will come to a halt.  Soon I will get my bearings and my insides will settle down.  Soon I will regain my balance and walk away from the teacup ride never ever to return.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Sometimes you need a little reminder.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writers are like those good thieves. They take something that is real…and by a trick of magic they transform it into something totally fresh. That is the best part of writing: finding the hidden treasures, giving sparkle to worn out events, invigorating the tired soul with imagination, creating some kind of truth with many lies.
                                                                                                                                        - Isabel Allende

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Stacey's Top Ten May Favorites

10. Volunteering with World Vision at the Night of Hope.
9.  The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival - I dream of sheep grazing on acres of verdant hills on our estate, El Refugio.
8.  Tied for this spot : Rediscovering Korean food and feeding my ice cream habit - Thank you to The Kimchi Chronicles, Razzle Ice Cream Shop, Maggie Moo's, Breyer's and Pinkberry (even though you're yogurt) and to my mother, who made it all possible.
7.  Finding out that I am "grat" and "nise" - Nothin' like lovin' from a first grader with a stapler and a No.2 pencil.
6.  Getting a Nook.
5.  Reading All that is Bitter and Sweet on said Nook- Ashley Judd's frighteningly beautiful memoir is engaging beyond expression.  It is definitely one to be read over and over.
4.  Getting a flood of new ideas for my book.
3.  Actually writing them down.
2.  Releasing my grip on the past to receive the gift of my future.
1. Finding "Oliver!" on Demand. -  "Oom pah pah!! Oom pah pah!! That's how it goes!" I absolutely cannot wait to read this and other classics to my bambini.
I recently announced to family and friends that I'm moving abroad - in 3months!  I don't even know all the details of how this is going to happen, but I know it will happen.  Only a couple of weeks ago, my "path" was totally college for a semester, dual degree in two years, government job with lots of travel.  One of my good friends, let's call her Nena, posted to Facebook, "I am seriously out of the loop or you change my mind that much." 

Well, you're in the loop, Nena. And that's just it. I changed my mind. Expressed more accurately, my mind has changed. Or even better, my mind is no longer the same.  This "new" path has been predetermined for me since before I was born, yet, until a couple of weeks ago I had never been determined to walk it. walk this path.  I chuckle to myself at how odd those words sound in my head, so rarely have I used them. 

My previous mind was mutable, because it was not determined to follow the destiny God predestined for me. Just that simple. It's funny how the things I thought I had to do, that I promised I would do and never did, like writing, painting, playing my violin, etc. never seemed to become a part of my daily life, as I so desperately intended.  Instead, like a depressed person, I felt empty, unaffected.  There were no words - no music - no color.  

But I wasn't depressed. I was compressed by the lies I've tried in every way I knew how to stop believing.  I asked over and over, "Lord, how many more layers are there to this onion?  When will we ever get to the center?" 
So, with each new revelation, each new encounter with God's lovingkindess and tender mercies, I tried a new tactic, a new approach, a new direction, thinking, hoping, "This is it!" only to find myself right back where I started, making the same mistakes, drawing the same faulty conclusions.  The onion, it seemed was planetary. 

At one point in my life I would have said, "I wish I knew the exact moment that it all began to change."  You see, I liked that - being able to know everything. But now, I am content to say, I can't really put a finger on the when the "real change" was catalyzed. You see, it's not like walking into a dark room and switching on a light.  Oh, no. God is way too clever for that.  It's more like being asleep in a dark room and slowly being awakened by the dawn.  You rise from the deepest levels of sleep, drawn by the burgeoning sun that doesn't pierce your eyes, but gently glows all around.  

By the time your brain reaches consciousness, your eyes are still closed and you have no idea how long the sun has been up.  And slowly, involuntarily your eyes open wide taking in the soft illumination, not squinting at an overbearing brightness. This is the love of God.  He doesn't peel you naked like an onion, leaving you stripped and exposed under and interrogators lamp.  He shifts, adjusts, arranges, tweaking the light here and there. An empyrean Vermeer, a supernal Vivaldi, He coaxes the light to always shine on us in the most flattering way, our seasons to respond to it's vitality. 

So, this is the last time that I will "change my mind" about what I will do with my life. I am not compressed by the lies anymore. I am no longer concerned with knowing the end before I begin.  I am free from the paralysis that comes from seeking man's approval.  I've buried the onion and trust God to nurture it until it puts down roots and sprouts, it's stem seeking the Son to feed the expanding bulb hidden in the earth, hidden - flavor, color, texture and all until the time is right to dig it up. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It's been almost a year since my last post.  Indescribable changes have occurred in my mind and heart and my life is soon to follow suit.  2011 was a year of upheaval.  Imbalance and disorder were sweeping all over the world in the weather, in governments and economies. They swept over my very own world like a drought.

Everything seemed to just be drying up. No job.  No car.  No apartment. And no return on a pretty hefty business investment. Worst of all, my relationship with my mother had become stale as week old bread.

2012, the year of authority, washed onto the scene bringing a newness of life, a new church family, a new perspective on abundance and most amazingly a new encounter with God as my beloved Father, or rather me as His beloved daughter. I've learned scads about love and acceptance and how utterly, shamefully crappy it is when you try to find them in people, places and things where they do not reside.

Thus, I'm still on my journey to the Promised Land. I thought, by now, I would have arrived. Unfortunately, unwittingly, I have settled for what's on the "this side of Jordan."  Why? Daddy issues? Nope.  Fear? Not really.  Mommy issues? Kinda, but not totally. Not dreaming big enough? Nah, I have big, BIG dreams.  The problem, as I recently discovered, is that I didn't believe they could or should be any more than dreams.  Here's a lesson on mountain climbing that I wish I had learned long ago.  

It doesn't matter how many tools you have, how good your gear may be, how many lessons you've taken or how many people want to climb the mountain with you if you don't believe that getting to the top is better than being at the bottom. 

I believe that my purpose for being here includes bringing healing to broken hearts and broken families, helping to build a global community that does not tolerate injustice and living in loving dominion over the physical earth and the gift of nature.  But I was ignorant of the fact that my two biggest jobs, my two primary prerogatives are these: To BELIEVE and to RECEIVE.  Nothing else - and I mean nothing - will be accomplished with any victory or glory if I do not first believe God's love for me is real and receive, in covenant exchange from Christ, all that He deserves.  All those big dreams I have, well, I heard a preacher say, "It's not your job to pay for it.  It's your job to believe for it."  (He's from Loosiana so he said it like "bleeve").

Jeremiah 17:7,8

I now have fresh understanding and revelation that spurs me on to get out of the wilderness once and for all: to trust in the Lord, my hope, to follow Him into my promised land, to plant myself firmly by the river and draw from it daily,  to grow, to bare fruit, to be evergreen.