courage

Well, it’s only been three days since the closing ceremonies and I already miss the Olympics. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I love the Olympic games…summer, winter, it doesn’t matter to me. I love the patriotism and the fanfare. I love the beauty of skill and the adrenaline of competitive nature.

But most of all, I love watching a future dream turn to reality for the athletes. I love watching years of preparation materialize into a few precious minutes that take center stage.

I am always amazed.

From the comfort of my couch I sit in judgement, critiquing and applauding each performance. Certain exhibitions foster my own adrenaline and I tremble with excited nerves, as if my own physical alignment with a particular athlete will somehow affect the outcome. I honestly can’t imagine what it would feel like to be in their shoes (or skis, or skates, as it may be…).

That feeling was tenfold when I heard the story of Joannie Rochette.

If you don’t know the story, here it is: the Canadian figure skater had come to Vancouver several days before her events began. Her parents followed a few days later and her mother suffered a heart attack almost immediately upon arrival…before she ever got to see Joannie. Olympic officials and her father waited until morning to wake the skater, who was set to practice that day.

No one knew how Joannie would react. How would anyone react in that situation, honestly? But, after visiting the hospital where her mother’s body was being kept, Joannie headed back to the rink and went on with practice. Olympic officials were very clear that she did not have to continue, but many speculated that the ice was the only place she felt normal during those first few difficult days.

That was a Sunday. Joannie’s first event was on Tuesday. When she took the ice, cameras panned to the stands where her father, dressed in Canadian garb to show support for his daughter, was nearly hunched over weeping. As were many of the friends and family who surrounded him to cheer for Joannie.

Joannie herself was very composed as she took the ice and then proceeded to skate a nearly perfect routine that immediately placed her in the top three. With the flourish of her hand at the end of the routine it seemed a dam broke and all she had held back so carefully came rushing to the surface. She seemingly melted into a pool of emotion and was helped from the ice by her coach once she skated to the edge of the rink. As she sat sobbing and waiting for her scores to come in, she uttered something along the lines of: “this was for you Mama” in her native French.

I cried.

Joannie Rochette eventually placed third in women’s ice skating and took home the bronze medal. Had courage under fire been taken into consideration she should have taken home the gold, if you ask me.

Stories like Joannie’s are the reason I love the Olympics. That type of poise and determination inspire me, encourage me and motivate me. Not everyone could have stepped out onto the ice in front of millions after losing their mother, much less still excelled.

I want to be like that. I want to give a command performance in everything I do – whether it’s for an audience of millions or merely two – despite the circumstances that surround me. Most of the time I wonder if I have that kind of grace within myself. So often I’m reminded that I cannot do it on my own. I don’t think most of us could. Constantly I’m reminded that I, myself, am unable to “step onto the ice and perform well” without my own cheering section (family and friends) or my Coach (the Lord).

Personally, I don’t want to try.

iPhone love…

I don’t have much to say right now…

It’s been a rough couple of days actually, but I felt the need to write…to focus on something else. Anything else.

So I’m just going to say that the iPhone is amazing.

Seriously.

Who knew the my entire electronic life could be wrapped up in one tiny package so neatly? It’s like a clutter-hater’s dream!

Of course, there are so many iPhone apps that it’s hard to choose a favorite.

But for me, in these last couple of days especially, the “Holy Bible” app has been an easy go-to resource when I’m feeling low and need to seek God’s Word for myself…right then. If that’s the only reason I loved the iPhone, I think that would still make it one of the best investments of my life.

So, thank you Dad and Mom.

it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Ok, so I know that we haven’t even hit Thanksgiving yet, but since we go to Florida with my family for Christmas I like to get it done a little early. That way, our house is mostly “dressed and ready” for the holidays when we come back (Nov. 30 this year)!

I know that Christmas is becoming too commercialized. I realize that almost as soon as the summer ends most stores start sneaking out the tinsel in subtle (and not so subtle) ways. Some even set up a stray Christmas tree near the back…just to remind us, just to entice us, just to make sure we are ready to spend, spend, spend…

And we do.

And though I’m not completely immune to all of that consumerism, I never want to become ambivalent about what Christmas is truly about. I never want to drive past a nativity without remembering. I never want to be so caught up in the glitter that I forget where the true glory remains. I want the entire season to be about more than candy canes, hot chocolate and the scent of pine and cinnamon (although I adore all of those things!).

Ever since I can remember I loved watching those Christmas-y commercials. You know the ones…the ones where the entire family is gathered around the tree or the grandma is pulling a turkey from the oven, or the doorbell rings and the family runs to listen to carolers…those ones.

Something about them has always appealed to me. I was thinking about that the other day and I realized I love the “feeling” they projected more than whatever product they were selling.

I pray it always stays that way. I pray I can still hold onto the wonder of the season without resorting to cheap materialism. I pray the twinkle of lights, lights a flame in my spirit and not just my wallet.

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Holly and I in front of the Rockerfeller tree in 2006.

won’t relent

Sometimes I’m overwhelmed at how blessed I am.

That’s not to say there aren’t days when I feel disconnected or distant. Last night I lay awake thinking of all the “what ifs” for nearly two hours before Michael got up for work, at which point I decided sleep had completely illuded me and I should go ahead and get up.

A conversation last night with my brother-in-law, Anthony, about “breath” and “spirit” has me thinking of so many things.
The rabbit hole to where this conversation led my thinking isn’t necessarily along the lines of what we were talking about, but contemplating breath reminded me how short life is…we will only take so many breaths on this journey and then it’s over.¬†At least, our earthly journey is over, but the spirit goes on.

So what are we doing with this 80 or so years we’re given?

Don’t get me wrong, I want nice things, I want an orderly, comfortable home, I want a career I can be proud of, I want to leave something for the generations that come behind me. I’m sure Michael can get overwhelmed with all of the things “I want.”

But, when it comes down to it, what I really want, what I really need, is for the Lord to look at my spirit and say “well done.”

I’ve been stuck on a song that my brother, John-Paul, introduced me to recently. It helps put me in a spirit of worship and reminds me of Who gave me the breath I have here and now.

This is a process, but I won’t relent…