Analogies, Poetry, Thoughts

Learning to Dance

A few years ago I took a dance class at a gym that I quickly fell in love with.  Normally, if I’m on a dance floor or really anywhere that would require freestyle dancing, I totally chicken out.  But when I was in this class, I became free to dance because someone else was showing me exactly what to do.  So I got to experience the fun of dancing without the pressure to come up with my own moves!  So great!  Anyway… since then, dance classes have become my very favorite.  

During most of the class, I have to keep my eyes on our instructor to make sure I’m doing the right moves.  Don’t want to keep doing the monkey while everyone else has moved onto the kick, ball, change right?! So I keep my eyes on my teacher.  I feel like there are 3 major stages in learning new dances.  The first stage, I just try to learn the basic movements.  “Ok, four steps to the right, four steps to the left, now jump three times.”  Once I’m comfortable with the basic moves, the second stage is paying attention to the little details.  “Oh! She actually turns her hips to the left there.  Ok left foot goes behind my right not the other way around.  See the way her arms are held strong and not flimsy on that part?” and so on and so on.  This stage can last forever as most good teachers have so many moves and nuances to learn from.  However, this next and final stage is pretty darn critical to move onto.  It’s called the “looking in the mirror to make sure you really look like what you think you look like” stage.  The tendency exists to watch the teacher the whole time without looking in the mirror – similar to singing to the radio with the volume up so loud you can never hear yourself.  This can be super fun because it’s easier this way to pretend I’m the next reigning champion on “So You Think You Can Dance”. But, the mirror has a great way of bringing things back to reality.  This is where I get to see where I really am and make adjustments as needed.  

As I’ve been dancing the last few years, I’ve often thought about how similar this process of dancing is to the process of seeking to know and follow God.  And each step in the process is just as important as the next.  If I don’t show up to class or look at my “Teacher”, I miss the opportunity to learn from Him.  I miss the opportunity to dance in freedom while He shows me the next step.  If I stop there and don’t pay attention to the details of His movements,  I may miss the subtlety of His graceful ways.  And finally, if I don’t turn to look in the mirror, I’ll miss the chance to take an accurate account of where I am to make needed adjustments to my moves.  

And just when I think I’ve got the moves perfected, a new song comes on and I start learning to dance all over again.  

   

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Analogies, Poetry

As I’m Walking

Didi lived down the street from me when I was a kid and she had honeysuckle vines in her backyard.  I loved the smell and loved getting to eat the flowers.  It was a really nice childhood memory.  30 plus years later, I came across a beautiful smell in the air when taking an evening stroll and I thought “there must be a honeysuckle vine nearby!”  It had been so long since those days of honeysuckle in the backyard I couldn’t even remember for sure what they looked like but because I had no other frame of reference for the strong yet sweet fragrance, I had undoubtedly decided this was honeysuckle I was smelling.  And for awhile all of my walks were filled with the smell of sweet honeysuckle.

Until one day someone I was walking with corrected me and explained the flower I was smelling wasn’t honeysuckle at all.  It was jasmine.  All this time!  They have some similarities and both emit a stronger fragrance at night but they are actually two different species.  And while the petals of the honeysuckle are edible, jasmine can be quite toxic to humans if ingested.  And I wondered… in how many other areas of my life am I believing I am enjoying the sweet nectar of honeysuckle all the while I am ingesting toxic jasmine petals?

Have I mistaken lust for love? Acceptance from others as self worth?  Have I misinterpreted setbacks as failure?  And looked at my emotions as a compass?   The smell of honeysuckle tends to pop up in areas filled with immaturity or painful past experiences.  It may be where there is incomplete information or in areas that are in need of the most growth.  And this is where it’s important that on my evening strolls, I’m walking with Someone who knows the difference.    

I thought I knew what was around me

I thought I recognized the smell

But truly I was mistaken

All this time I couldn’t tell

But the One right beside me

Began pointing out the truth

He corrected me and taught me

All the things I’d misconstrued

So now as I am walking

I make sure He’s close by

To teach in each new fragrance

What is truth and what’s a lie

John 16:13  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

Analogies

Life Races

Last weekend I ran a 5k and this weekend was our Sprint Tri. The 5k was rough for me. I didn’t feel strong, had a few moments of feeling nauseous and had to stop and walk a minute or two. That’s never a good feeling because we all want to do our best all the time, right? I would’ve loved to have flown through the course, beating all personal records. But that didn’t happen.  
So I looked at all my choices surrounding the race. Why did I eat that morning? What did I drink? How was my sleep? And I decided on a few things I needed to change for this upcoming Tri and it made a huge difference! I still didn’t run my fastest but I felt much better and stronger through each portion of the race.  
While I was running and thinking about this, I realized that if it weren’t for having a “less than great” run last weekend, I wouldn’t have had the great experience I had today. The best outcome for the 5k wasn’t winning that day but was in learning for tomorrow.  
Ecclesiastes 3:1
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Analogies

Paddle boarding – Be Still

We rented a paddle board. I put my 4 year old in front, my 7 year old on the back and I stood in the middle paddling us out into the deeper water. Just around the side of the mountain the water opens up to a larger part of the lake and it’s beautiful and serene and most importantly (for a home full of 3 boys) quiet. The boys had never been on a paddle board before. They had been playing with their friends close to shore most of the day and I really wanted to get a chance and show them what it was like to go out deeper and see the calmer, even more beautiful parts of the lake on the other side. So off we went. Noah, my youngest, is scared of anything that’s not a perfectly solid ground. So he was hanging on for dear life to the roping on the board. Caleb who is rambunctious and cannot sit still was turning around, sticking his feet in the water and dipping his water gun in the lake to fill it up. My main goal was not to fall. But every time Caleb moved, he’d rock the board. So I finally said “look, I want to show y’all something really beautiful and the only way we’re going to get there is if you sit still and let me paddle.” And they did! And it was such a wonderful time with my boys. Of course as soon as I said it, I thought I bet God has asked me to do the same thing but I keep squirming and rocking the board. And if I would just sit still and be patient and let Him do the paddling, I could experience a blessed ride and see the beauty on the other side of the mountain. 
“Be still, my soul,

The Lord is on your side.

Bear patiently, the cross of grief or pain.

Leave to your God, to order and provide.

In every change He faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul,

Your best your heavenly friend, 

Through thorny waves leads to a joyful end.”
-Be still my soul song lyrics 

(This version by Ginny Owens)

Analogies

Race of Life

It’s official, I think and analyze too much. But I love it! I ran a 5k this morning and of course could not live through it without turning it into a metaphor on life. 

I just found that while running, little adjustments to my focus made a big difference to how I felt and how I ran. And isn’t that so true in our daily walk as well? I can think about how much longer I have to go or how my legs are tired and just try to accept where I am (which is sometimes needed and good for sure). But when I looked ahead to where I wanted and needed to be, my running improved. So here is my poem, ‘Ode to Running’? Or maybe ‘Look Ahead’ 😊

Look ahead!

It’ll make your feet move faster

Look ahead

There are goals to keep in sight

Look ahead

As the past moves further behind you

Look ahead

Keep your gaze set right
When you win

Celebrate your victories

When you are steady

Accept your pace

When you slow down

Keep on pushing

When you are done, rest

Then get ready for the next race

Analogies

Pets and Price Tags

My childhood experiences with pets is not what I would call positive ones.  One fish jumped out of the bowl and died.  Another fish was found frozen to death after my brothers put him outside in the 20 degree weather to “cool off”.   And another fish that maybe died of natural causes??  Not too sure, I think I was already too scarred from the prior two fish experiences.  Besides the fish, we had some rabbits that we kept in a large cage in the back yard.  I was very young when we had the rabbits and the two things I remember about them was 1) I loved going outside to look at them and occasionally hold them.  2) One day they were gone and my parents said they got out of the cage and must have gotten eaten by the neighborhood cats.  Speaking of cats, we finally convinced my dad to let us get one.  He is terribly allergic to most animals, especially cats.  However, some family friends had just got a beautiful Persian Himalayan cat and they are supposed to be somewhat hypoallergenic.  So after a lot of begging and pleading, we got a cat!  Sedrick Fitzgerald Satterfield.  We loved him.  I held him in my lap and sang songs to him, which I’m sure he loved wink wink, while my boring ol’ brothers played basketball.  We got to love on him for about a week or two and then my parents decided it wasn’t working.  He was the only cat in the history of cats who had trouble finding the litter box so they found him a new home.  And that was it.  That was my upbringing and history with pets.  So while I like them and enjoy them, I’ve not considered myself a pet person and never had experience with things like house training.  

After our middle son was born, my husband and I decided it was time to get our first dog.  What better time for an inexperienced pet owner to get a new puppy than shortly after having a new baby, right? We chose an adorable little Jack Russel since “Frasier” taught me how smart they can be.  Long story short is we decided we were not ready and it was not the right time for us to manage a new puppy in the house.  Fortunately a co-worker and very excellent doggy momma had a lot of land with 2 other Jack Russells so Zoe went to a very good home.

Fast forward 3 years…. We inherited a Shih Tzu from my grandmother who had moved into a nursing home and couldn’t take Mopsi with her.  We had Mopsi for about a year, during which time we also had 2 cats, a new baby and some major postpartum depression.  Needless to say, having a dog once again did not work out for us.  Our babysitter at the time loved Mopsi so we were grateful that she went to a very good home as well.

So our dog experience as a family has been more of a foster system than a forever home. Since then, we’ve been looking for the right time and the right dog.  Our middle son has been begging for a puppy for the past year but he’s also allergic to dogs so with our history and his allergies, we’ve learned that we need a dog who is:

  1. Hypoallergenic
  2. Not too big, not too small
  3. Adorable and playful
  4. Doesn’t have high energy needs
  5. Female
  6. Good with kids

I’ve continually checked adoption sites and breeder sites over the past year or two but haven’t found the perfect fit.  Then several weeks ago, it happened. I fell in love with a puppy and she met all of our criteria.  Well, all except one.  Her price.  We never saw ourselves spending a lot of money for a dog, especially when there are a million puppies you can get for free or a small fee.  But based on our past mis-matchings, we didn’t want to lose the chance to get this doggy that seemed so perfect for our family.  So we took the plunge and we got her – Myah Scarlett Princess Fluffy Turtle, Myah for short.

As I was reflecting on how much money we spent on her, I was thinking about what that says about her value to us.  Please don’t get me wrong here, she is just as valuable with or without the price tag attached but the money signifies the tangible investment we’ve made.  I then realized if I can more clearly see her value and our commitment to her because of money we paid, how much more value must Jesus see in me since He paid his life.  Myah’s price tag has dollars on it, my price tag has Jesus’ life.  What does that say about my worth to Him?  It is almost impossible to comprehend but I can say with certainty that is not the kind of payment you walk away from.  He’s in it for the long run and we are beyond valuable and precious to Him.

Analogies

Hidden Treasures

I have a table, a side coffee table, that’s been in my living room about a month or two.  I see it every day.  We use it to hold a basket of books on top and a basket of toys on the bottom.  It’s useful and it looks nice.  But today I looked over and saw it has a drawer!  Somehow I had never noticed it before.  It’s a small, discreet drawer – perfect for maybe some pens and a notepad.  The table just increased in usefulness and value to me.  Actually, it was always that way, with that extra value.  I just hadn’t noticed.

What secret treasures do you possess that the Lord hasn’t revealed to you yet?  What hidden drawers of usefulness have always been there that you just haven’t seen?

Isaiah 45:3

I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.