Excosmopolitan Theme

Coloring in the lines

The other day I was talking to a friend who frequently spends time with my three and a half year old daughter in a group setting. She remarked that Clara “marches to her own beat,” and that she is a “free spirit.” Now, I know every mother has her own things that make her beam with pride, but hearing these observations was music to this mother’s ears.

Yesterday evening my husband was watching Clara color. He later asked me, “Do you think you should teach her how to color in the lines?”

This is a question I have asked myself more than once. I have even half-heartedly suggested to my Little Spark that maybe she should try staying in the lines. Those words tasted bitter as they escaped my lips, lips with a history of singing their own tunes.

I’m sure throughout her life my girl will be told, in one way or another, to stay in the lines. I know she will receive this message many times from many people. I hope I will never again be one to dissuade her from veering toward the beautifully unexpected.

I hope that what she will find in my guidance is courage to embrace the gifts given to her, hope that her gifts will be recognized and embraced, and patience with her own heart when she is neither recognized nor embraced.

Because why would I want to change something this amazing?

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Categories: Art, Excosmopolitan Theme, Family, Motherhood | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Full Circle

I have this theory that as children we are the  closest to our true selves that we will ever be and that the older we get- all  the experiences and trials we have- eventually(or hopefully) bring us back full  circle to the essence of who we were as young children. AND… My theory has  recently been amended to include, Motherhood is the ultimate catalyst for reminding us, for demonstrating to us, and for allowing (OK forcing) us to
embrace what it is to be a child again. God uses the gifts of our children to
RETEACH us how to become like children again!

I remember what I was like as a child. I was creative and thoughtful. I became easily engrossed in creating for hours on end and was singularly focused on my task.  I worked quickly seeking solutions for every obstacle I faced because I loved the process of creating. We had a craft room in my home growing up and I remember a beautiful Victorian trunk I made for one of my dolls out of the cardboard from the back of legal pads, beautiful scrap fabric, ribbon, hot glue, and a bit of hand sewing.

I was light hearted and confident. I sung constantly. I wrote poems and stories. I was silly and laughed. I read and read and read. I talked to God. I appreciated stillness and quiet. I not only didn’t care what people thought, but thoughts of their thoughts didn’t even occur to me- they had not entered the inner sanctum of my self- image. My heart was not easily wounded.

I was loyal to friends and family. I fiercely guarded their reputations. I chose loyalty over popularity many times. Until one fateful day in the freshman lunchroom when I capitalized on an invitation I had had been grooming, had been expecting- I walked away from two amazing friends and joined all life had to offer at the cool table.

Interesting how decisions like these mold us and begin transforming us into something other than what we truly are. How we hear new ideas and try them on. Sometimes after trying on so many new ideas we forget what our original thoughts once were. We forget how to just enjoy life and thank God in the moments He gives us. We second-guess our God-given instincts that would lead us toward embracing who He created us to be and on the path He created for us to walk on (hint it’s straight and narrow, but totally rockin’)!

The child who sang, “Jesus loves me this I know!” at the top her lungs while grinning ear to ear somehow begins singing other songs. Songs that don’t get right to it, you know? Songs about being stuck in traffic, or about your thighs not fitting into your jeans. Songs of fear and defeat and discontent. Songs that are lies and not the truth of God.

When asked by his disciples who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said children!, “I am telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.” (Matthew 18 1-5 The Message)

Today I colored with my girls at their little table and we listened to a kiddie CD of Bible songs. Let me share with you how I was blessed:

“Is anything to hard for the Lord?”

“God is SO good, He’s SO good to me.”

“This is the day the Lord has made.”

“The fruit of, the fruit of Spirit is, yes the fruit of the fruit of the Spirit is: love and joy, joy and peace, peace and patience and kindness too, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control and goodness for you! Cha-cha-cha!”

“God will take care of you.”

“God is my strength.”

“Wherever He leads I’ll go.”

“Everybody ought to know, everybody ought to know, everybody ought to know who Jesus is!”

I’m telling you THIS IS WHERE IT’S AT!

If it weren’t for God’s amazing plan for my life, which includes, messes and exhaustion, temper tantrums and blow outs, a one year old who stretches out her hand to be held for prayer before meal times and a three year old who loves the Word of God, it may have taken me a lot longer to understand the importance of becoming simple and elemental, like a child.

I praise God for the blessings He has given me:

I’d love to hear from you!

What did you enjoy as a child?

What has your child taught YOU recently?

Categories: Excosmopolitan Theme, Motherhood, So I have this theory...... | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Excuses

It has been nearly four months since I have written.

I have a list of excuses:

My computer broke. (It really did.)

I have been watching infomercials online searching for the perfect weight loss scheme.

I have purchased said weight loss schemes, realized they were crap, and wasted time emailing computerized customer service reps to get my money back.

I have wholly devoted myself to meal planning for my family. This pursuit has including reading many blogs written by awesome women who I’m sure don’t have it all together, but appear that they do. They can make a mountain of freezer meals in a three hour nap time and have the photos to “prove” it.

I have been cutting letters out of sand paper and gluing them to cardboard, printing pre-writing worksheets, and plastering giant calendars with moveable dates all over my walls!

I have been trying to shut off my computer and lay down to sleep at 10 pm so that I don’t yell at my beautiful children and loathe my amazing husband the next day.

I have been escaping my home in the evenings when the girls are in bed to shop at Banana Republic and eat chocolate mousse at Whole Foods.

I have been cursing the heat and basking in a wide array discontents.

I have been calling 911 when my 14 month old has seizures instigated by dropping a toy drum on her toes, getting her fingers pinched in a drawer, or stepping on a burr that somehow got onto the rug. She cannot cope with the pain it causes her to hold her breath and sends her into seizures. (Praise God she is unharmed by them!)

I have been trying to control EVERY LITTLE DETAIL to try to avoid these events.

I have been exhausted.

I have been in denial.

I have been looking for large freezers on Craig’s List to hold all those ridiculous freezer meals!

I have forgotten my own voice…… and thus have been helpless to write anything true.

But I hear it calling now. It’s still a bit distant and a bit loopy, but it says:

“Screw the freezer meals!”

“Run your ass off (sorry if this offends anyone, but if you only knew the self control I have used on this post=))!”

“Keep up your diligent efforts to organize your days and resources to bless your family.”

” Keep going to sleep at 10, 9 would be better. Embrace your mornings and love you life again!”

“Stop striving.”

“Sit down.”

“Trust people.”

“Trust God with that little seizing angel, after all He created her and His purposes for her life and your life are perfect.”

“Stop procrastinating and plan the flipping date night with your husband- you might actually enjoy it.”

So there’s my honesty in all its glory.

You’re welcome.

And THANK YOU!

For your prayers, your friendship, for reading………

Please keep reading. I’ll be posting weekly from here on out and if you haven’t joined my RSS feed please do! You can get my new posts directly to your inbox and comment on them from there. Super easy=).

Categories: Excosmopolitan Theme, Motherhood | Tags: | 9 Comments

Old Letter Two- On Icons

So this letter was written just after the one I shared with you in my last post and also written in response to my friend’s response to it. This one gets “a little out there,” my claim to fame=).

“Yes, you are right mysticism is definitely not the correct word for what we are talking about. I was thinking along the lines of intuition, gut feelings, and dreams. I think God gives you these things and people either don’t trust God or don’t trust themselves to acknowledge these things or they simply don’t hear them because they have their iPod in! I think I meant that the world is so deep, so rich, and that in some ways things are more than they seem. God or His angels are always about waiting, shining, watching, protecting, leading. There is more going on than we notice- like spiritual warfare. And it’s the difference between gasping for a single, predictable, breath, or taking long, deliberate inhales- breathing in richly every blessing and exhaling the demons.

 I’ve gone crazy! Finally! Maybe I’ll become a mad artist after all. Or a farmer. I have a great interest in farming and connecting with the land and purity and authenticity now. So maybe I’ll start with a garden and a brushstroke.

 I started reading a book on icons about two years ago. Never finished it, but what I read was interesting. It was talking about how to approach the icons and speak to them and let their painted eyes bore into your soul, er……..something like that. Orthodox mysticism is beautiful in its own right, the churches, the incense. But there is something trapped inside of those gilded, Greek-cross walls that is less than soothing to the soul. I’m not sure I believe it is evil but more of a great collective sadness. That somehow those mysteriously painted eyes, gold alters, and seductive smoke spirals that waft from swinging brass incense holders all seem like they have been trying to conceal some great secret for so long that the truth they once possibly protected has vaporized and traveled to a less severe environment. The icons want to cry out to the people and tell them that God is no longer there but they cannot shed a single tear because, they are, after all wood and resin and pigment.

 These elemental treasures remain, inanimate, brooding in their own splendor and wishing they could remember the only name that could bring them true redemption. If they could just recall the name of Jesus it would set their golden, jewel-studded cells into flames and bring them back to dust and ash. Maybe then their purged remains could float to Heaven on the breath of God that careens over, under, and through His mighty creation where His Spirit is today, as it has always been, unbound by polished rock and sculpted metal. Wild and essentially free. The Most High God is continually moving throughout time and place in pursuit of liberating His children from certain and eternal death.

 Sorry, you know I get caught up in expressing things sometimes. What I meant by the tangent was that maybe at sometime in history orthodoxy held some semblance of purity. But, knowing what I know about God, I don’t see Him abiding in a place of such secrecy or just plain confusion. I see Him as man-Jesus_ walking through fields and gardens-speaking to men-loving people. I see Him today in the world as an all- powerful force and being that is timeless enough and pertinent enough to reach you wherever you are. Whether he woos you into conversation with Him as you smell fresh cut grass on a morning jog or comforts you as you silently sing Him praises under fluorescent supermarket lights.

Okay- Have no idea what I as talking about or if it will still ring true tomorrow. Fun though.

Love.”

 I love finding this stuff! So, the reason I became interested in icons in the first place and even attempted reading a book on them was because of the brief experiences I had in Belarus seeing real people interact with these beautiful, strange, often solemn little paintings of Christ and various saints. I was fascinated by the familiarity I saw people approach these icons with and also saddened by the needful fervor with which they were addressed.  Add in the art history classes/interest and there’s your explanation.

Would love to hear some creative and inspired feedback on this one or the previous=)

Cheers.

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Old Letter

I am so amazed by the things God hides in my heart that I don’t let go of. Here is a letter written to a friend about four years ago mentioning “excosmopolitan!”  I was stoked (that one’s for you babe) to find it today! This letter also shows some of the struggles I had living in Mexico- don’t let it fool you- I loved the place, must have been having a rough time of it when this was written though.

“ So when we stay close to home I can imagine it’s exotic and beautiful, however go to where the cobblestone ends and the madness begins and Mexico is less than ideal. This is a huge city. We take busses to get everywhere and they are annoying, crowded, and smelly. The city is incredibly polluted, so Aaron struggles with his allergies especially now during the dry season when it is so dusty. In fact, it’s SO dusty that you must wear sunglasses all the time, even when it isn’t sunny (it’s almost always sunny though, which is something I really like) so the dust doesn’t blow into your eyes! The rainy season will begin in June and then it’s thunderstorms and torrential downpours every night. The streets flood when it rains and the water pools- sometimes to cross the street you have to walk way out of your way or through quite deep and yuck-o water.

 I struggle here because teaching is not my heart. Being a wife, a mom, an artist, and physical activity is what I love. So sometimes I feel like I am not doing my real purpose, but I do know that this is where God wants me now.

 I don’t paint much………… I wish I did. I am at a new point where for the first time in my life I am not confident in my artistic abilities at all. I feel a little lost. I don’t want to just paint pretty pictures. I want to create something real and meaningful.Sometimes I think the whole concept of being an artist is so egotistical and I need to get over myself and let it go and just work hard and enjoy the little things in life (Ecclesiastes on the mind). On the surface I want to be an artist to make at least some money so I can be “free” of a normal job, the have recognition, to be great, to be remembered. None of these are good reasons. The REAL reason I create is because I AM an artist whether I like it or not. I can chose not to paint but it will make me miserable. God created me to create for His glory and I want to do that, but fleshing that out is an enigma right now.

 I have moments of great inspiration frequently. Ideas are not the issue, it’s the manifestation of them. The look, the paint, the reality.  What will this “excosmopolitan” appear as? How can this idea appear in a show in Baghdad  or Jerusalem? Can it promote peace? Can it show human frailty and divine redemption? Can it ring true as a teacher in this modern age? What color? What symbol? What style? And the scariest question of all, Can I DO it?

 No. But God can. I feel I am not yet strong enough in Him for Him to trust me with such a thing………

N E ways. That’s where I am now. Tormented by my mind many waking hours and soothed by the shadows the sun casts as it trickles through bugambilia flowers. Comforted by warm, though dusty, breezes. Inspired by whispers I think I imagine riding into Las Fuentes on the colors of the evening sunset.

 So dear friend! Thank you for asking and for listening. Life really is to great and beautiful to bear on your own, is it not?

What place do you think mysticism has in Christianity? That’s a thinker. I was asked this recently and am thinking about it. I don’t think they meant “mysticism” as we think with the strong new-age connotations of the word. I think they just meant listening for God’s voice and seeing Him and His signs that are all around us. Not taking anything for granted, but as having come directly from the hand of God.

You know, His still small voice…………. At least it could make for an interesting writing topic.

 With Love.”

 So cool right??? I love to see, even better get a firm piece of evidence- for remembrance- that reminds me of how deliberately I have been led by the hand of God all along and that yes- He is working all things together for the good. Amen!

Categories: Art, Excosmopolitan Theme, Travel Writing | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Easter Means No Fear

I didn’t used to be afraid of flying on airplanes.

I didn’t used to fear the demands a day might hold or that I might not have enough.

I didn’t used to fear loss- the loss of things I hold too dear.

The presence of fear in my life robs me. It steals laughter and smiles from my dealings with my children. It undermines my efforts to build up my husband. It buries my desires to be truly honest with people I love.

I don’t want to live a life dictated by fear. A full and fearless life has already been purchased for me by Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. It’s already there, all I need to do is wear it!

“Because He Lives” was one of my Mamaw’s favorite songs:

God sent His son, They called Him Jesus. He came to love, heal and forgive. He lived and died, to buy my pardon. An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, I know, I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a new born baby, and feel the pride and joy he gives. But greater still is that assurance the child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, I know, I know He hold the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

And then one day, I’ll cross that river. I’ll fight life’s final war with pain. And then as death gives way to victory. I’ll see the light of glory and I’ll know that He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, I know, I know He hold the future.
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

What are your fears?

What do your fears steal from you?

Your full and fearless life is waiting for you!

As you read the following verses taken from The Message thank God for the beautiful and victorious life He has fashioned just for you. Ask Him to show you a fear you have. Release that fear to God and ask Him to show you new ways to replace that fear with faith and praise.

If you are reading this and you have not given your heart and soul to Jesus. If you cannot shout out, “God has set everything right between him and me!”  Please read the verses and understand this amazing gift being offered to you.

The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23

But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. Romans 6:22-23

6-8Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8

Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.” Romans 10:13

The word that saves is right here,
as near as the tongue in your mouth,
as close as the heart in your chest.
It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—”Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” Romans 10:9-10

This is the testimony in essence: God gave us eternal life; the life is in his Son. So, whoever has the Son, has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life.

1 John 5:11-12

You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

 

3-5What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.  1 Peter 1:3-4

May peace guard your heart this Easter.

Categories: Excosmopolitan Theme, Motherhood | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Called To Stay

I like to move, preferably slowly. Walking is bliss.

I’ve always had a wanderlust- a bit of a gypsy spirit.

An old Italian friend of mine used to call me his, “little gypsy head.” Whenever he called me this peculiar nickname he would always follow it with, “but not like these (gesturing rudely toward the street) beggars- no you are like the beautiful old gypsies full of life and mystery.” (These were his words and feelings- I am actually quite interested in the plight of the modern day Gitana- who are also just people who need Jesus.)

When I was in fifth grade my response to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was, “A wanderer.” I imagined myself on horseback wearing an ankle length leather trench coat riding slowly over mountainous terrain through heavy cool rain.

I broke up with my very first (elementary school) boyfriend after one day with a note that read as follows:

Dear Billy,

I have to break up with you. I can’t be tied down because my soul is as free as the wind that blows over the rolling prairie grasses.

Love,

Lori

I’m not joking- I really wrote that! (Too much Laura Ingalls Wilder)

In high school I built a friendship with a foreign exchange student from Austria (Shout out to Lisi- love you!) Almost twelve years later this amazing creative woman is still a dear friend. I have visited her twice at her home in Vienna, and she and her boyfriend were just with us in the Springs last summer.

When choosing colleges I wanted to leave Ohio and attend a university in California. My parents told me I couldn’t go any farther west than Texas. I went to Baylor and married a man from California! (This was a coincidence- not for spite=)).

In early college I traveled to Belarus on two occasions. Belarus is a beautiful country with a lively wit that resonates over the stillness left in the air from years of communist rule. A beautiful friend of mine there is possibly the most vibrant and alive person I have ever met.

I studied in Florence, Italy. I became obsessed with Italy after this experience- I’d wake up in the middle of the night and start searching the web for jobs in Italy. I even found jobs for Aaron in Italy. I’d go into a trance for 48 hours working out a plan on how we would get there and be there- the plans were never fleshed out- sad. Someday. But, I am happy to report I no longer go into to crazy Italy trances.

So it ended up I had to settle for Mexico. (If you asked me now though, I love Mexico right up there with Italy- and on some accounts much more.) I moved to Guadalajara, Mexico with my husband to teach- we lived there two years. Our first daughter, Clara, was born in water, in Mexico.  Mexico made me an adult and a mother.

I miss my days and the people I love there frequently. I often want to go back- two years was nothing! I have many friends still there in their 6th, 7th,8th ,and even 30 something years there! Sometimes I feel like a loser for leaving after only two years. I was just getting passed the new culture shocky-type stage. I wonder what I would have experienced and how much more deeply those experiences would have shaped who I am becoming had I stayed.

We returned to Colorado Springs and bought a house. You know what I thought about that, “great, now we’re stuck.” Which isn’t necessarily true, but for me it feels a bit cumbersome. I think about decorating and improving and creating a beautiful warm place and then I think, “well, it can be beautiful but not too comfortable because then I’ll become attached to it and when a cool opportunity comes I won’t want to seize it because I like my curtains too much.”

Sometimes I just want to go somewhere- anywhere new and foreign. Anywhere where I’d need to carry a map around and finding a place to pee could be considered an adventure.

This is my struggle- the desire to go- the pursuit of the unseen- the search for beauty- the quest for the unknown……………it has at times bordered on pathological (watching a House Hunters International Episode for the 6th time because I’ve seen them all multiple times!)

It isn’t only searching for what I don’t know, but also reaching out and reconnecting with what I do know. I love visiting places I have been before. Seeing the same faces and signs and breathing familiar foreign smells and walking familiar foreign paths is comforting. There is some continuity that is grasped, some whimsy-at-large that comes full circle when the foreign is established as familiar.

All these feelings aside my husband and I are growing some roots here. I think this is healthy and good for our family.

Just two months ago hubby and I were mobilizing for another international move. He was interviewing with international schools and I had begun reading the stack of books I had ordered on Amazon about raising kids in foreign countries and was packing boxes in my head.

Guess what happened? We were invited to stay.

We accepted to invitation. For now I am learning to quench my thirst for far-flung adventure with the challenge of seeing myself as an ex-cosmopolitan (mind games are fun=)). Even here in Colorado Springs, I am a foreigner a sojourner- life here can be strange and uncomfortable, lonely and frustrating, exhilarating and surprising, rich and alive!- just like it was abroad.

I am confident in God’s purposes for grounding me and growing me here- home.

For now, I have been called to stay.

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Excosmopolitan Explained

But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthly bodies into glorious bodies like His own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which He is putting everything as it should be, under and around Him. Philippians 3:20-21 The Message

The phrase “ex-cosmopolitan” is a term I came up with about ten years ago. (There may even be a few of you out there who know me personally that have heard me use this terminology in my speech from time to time.) While in college searching through photographs for an idea for a painting assignment I discovered this photo taken in Vatican City on a family vacation when I was seventeen.

This photo arrested my attention and while contemplating it the term “Ex-Cosmopolitan” popped into my head. I wasn’t really sure what that meant in the moment- but it sounded cool to me.

The figure in the foreground (myself) has an almost silhouette-like quality. I am a traveler standing strongly in, yet appearing separate from my surroundings. Even in one of the most beautiful and religious cities in the world there are barricades to control traffic and there are distractions (the white car to my right and white clothes figure to my left). The composition is divided in half horizontially by the union on the collonade and the blue sky and in half vertically by my figure (acknowldge implied line from top of head to top of photo). It is a strange composition and photo really, but there is something very pleasing in the many subtle contrasts it contains.

I later looked up the word “cosmopolitan.”  Cosmopolitan means belonging to all parts of the world, at home all over the world, a citizen of the world. Slap “ex” in front of “cosmopolitan” and there you have my favorite, no nonsense definition, ex- citizen of this world!

It dawned on me that having accepted the grace of God and being his eternal child that this world is not my home. For me this realization was the beginning of an ongoing experience that began to deeply root this essential truth in my soul. As I explored this concept in the Bible, I found excosmopolitan imagery quite a few times in the New Testament. We are citizens and fellow citizens of Heaven (Phil. 3:20-21, Eph. 2:19), Ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), Aliens, Pilgrims, Strangers, and Sojourners (1 Peter 2:11, Hebrews 11:13-16). What a cool and true perspective to have about our lives here on Earth!

I love this world. I love big cities and isolated hilltops. I love art- be it paint, song, or living well. I love humans who grasp and surrender and laugh. I love God, the Great Artist, who made this world, fashioned humanity’s sweet intracacy, and who inspires and redeems it in every moment.

From the soft, squishy, green grass of my humid southern Ohio childhood, over the stones, asphalt, and skies that carried me through far flung journeys as a young adult, to where I wait currently with Pike’s Peak views- this world has impressed much.

Yet with all the beauty and emotion this world holds, it too often leaves me undeniably unfulfilled. This crazy beautiful place does not contain everything! There is more!  When I experience these….I’ll call them “disconnects” I turn to my Comforter- God the Holy Spirit who flies in from Heaven- a visitor from Home and reminds me that Christ is the ultimate fulfillment for every ache that comes from living in a foreign land- and encourages me that soon enough I will be home. Then I try to see the source of the  “disconnect” as a  “cultural misunderstanding” and an opportunity for me to connect with my God and His plan for my life.

I never did use the photo or the excosmopolitan concept as a visual artistic expression but I have never forgotten it either. I have been saving it, mulling it around, attempting (often poorly, ok-very poorly) to flesh it out, all the while wondering how it would eventually manifest itself through me. There have been sketches, meditations, and conversations “ex-c”, as I call it for short, has become a theme for me, an anthem I try to sing with my life.

I hope the heart behind my much loved, albeit goofy, made-up phrase is becoming evident to you. My intention for this blog is to begin a conversation with you about beautiful things- everyday experiences, travel stories, helping our children appreciate and create beauty, critiques on art, discussion of whole body worship, and maybe even crazy out-there ideas that are just fun to play with.

I hope as I write and sift through my thoughts and share them with you that I will begin to cultivate a stable and godly perspective about my life as an excosmopolitan in this world. I hope that you find inspiration, connection, and amusement in my words and that in the end something you read or see here will provide a creative connection- a new note in your song of worship to an Almighty, Amazing, Crazy, Awesome, Creative God!

I hope my voice endears itself to you, like the company of an eccentric friend who breezes into your home with her hand dyed silk scarf trailing behind her. When she leaves you don’t know why you promise her that you will drink a tablespoon of olive oil and eat a bar of dark chocolate to cure your ailments, but you do and your heart is light and you know you will taste possibility in that chocolate bar tonight.

Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them. Hebrews 11: 13-16 The Message

I know where my true home is. That knowledge makes me feel empowered to live my life here with more love, more sacrifice, and more grit. I could go back, back to chasing fantasies, back to the quest for perfection, back to having my fighting hands up- protecting my earthly investments of resources, time, and heart, but I am looking for a better place. In my father’s land I am redeemed, immortal, Jesus has won every victory- my patriotism is for Heavenland shouting Glory to God on golden streets!

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