travel notes

Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

My parent’s kitchen table; my longest blog post yet

In Faith, Food, Spokane, Traditions, WA on December 26, 2010 at 2:17 am

As is always the case on Christmas Day, I find myself taking time out to reflect on life…

After a chaotic, crisis morning at my parents house, I come back from a run in the snow just as they are leaving for a party at a friends’ house. I enter the house – peace on earth! – there is no shouting or screaming or put downs or crying or outbursts of frustration. I let out a loud and joyful “Hall-le-lujah!”

For some, to be alone on Christmas would be sad and lonely. For me, it is the best gift I received all day. The day turns from surviving, to really, really good.

I pull the turkey out of the oven, the aroma of rosemary and sage tantalizing my nostrils, I slice large, moist breast with whole wheat stuffing, carrots, and celery, I sauté a large plate of veggies (Brussels sprouts, onion, green beans – yum!), little piles of smoked gouda and cheddar cheeses, roasted red pepper crackers, and a salad of mixed greens with balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top.

“Carol of the bells” plays, I pour myself a glass of my merlot, a Christmas gift from one of our clients, entitled “Inspiration” and begin to unpack some of the thoughts coming.

Since God separated the light from dark, making hours belonging to the day, hours belonging to the night, and moon, stars and sun to mark the seasons, man has been charting out his days accordingly. I’m thankful to the Romans for inventing the calendar; I am obsessed with my large desk-size black and white 2010 day planner and picking out my new calendar for the new year is by far one of my favorite activities and no light matter. In general, I think seasons and traditions by which to mark our days is one of the best gifts of being alive.

I know that we ought to live each day of the year in light of the knowledge that God became flesh and dwelt among us. But I love that there is an allocated season during each year when we emphasize this truth emphatically; we let our lives be altered and illuminated by this significant event.

We light our homes, our trees, our hearts just as God lit the world 2,000 years ago with his very presence. He traded in his celestial dwelling for the colloquial. We, in turn, get to trade in our dusty abodes for the divine. Quite the trade off.

What does it mean that the Holy God came and lived among us? Tonight, I reflect on the power of the spoken word. By his word, light was created. Imagine: his word was powerful enough to make lightning flash across the expanse of the universe. By his word, the changing of tide and seasons exist. By his word, he dwelt among us. It was, in truth, the Word, that came and lived and breathed.

What Word do you need to speak today?

I speak the Truth of who I am: I am beloved, beautiful, and abundant.

Immanuel;

He is breathing life into me,

He is my very breath.

I speak financial stability for 2011. I speak career success. Not that I expect the perfect job, perfect co-workers, or perfect anything. I expect to be the absolute best that Leah Danielle Robin can be. I expect to show up, to be a light, to care deeply about people, to apply myself and create work, good work, to the best of my ability.

I celebrate this season with joy and laughter.

What words do you need to speak today?

I speak success. I speak wild dreams.

Being cooped up at my parents’ house, I want to scram in frustration. They are trapped inside small thinking. Their thoughts are occupied with their next meal, their childhood pasts, their immediate feelings.

Being the CEO of a company, or anything beyond blue-collar, are not thoughts that occupy their minds. They don’t understand my frustration with current circumstances nor ambition for the future.

A little beat starts playing in my head: push the envelope.  Push the envelope. How far can I go?

This is the girl who was not allowed to listen to anything by Christian music growing up. I’ve discovered pop culture on my own, as an adult. Technology was looked down upon (stereos were of the devil), an interference to simple living. I am still playing “catch up.”

Ambition for the New Year:

–          Become more technically savvy

–          Continue to develop my job in social media; make myself indispensible; become an expert in my field; be ready for the next wave!

I look at myself – going to a four year liberal arts college, getting a full-time job in my field, and dreaming of starting my own company and non-profits, and making a dramatic impact on hundreds of lives – yes, I have SO FAR TO GO! But the fact that I am dreaming like this is a testament to the fact that I am already on my way.

Immanuel.

God is breathing life into me,

God is my very breath.

Peace on earth; joy to the world.

If you managed to make it to the end of this, Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Miracle on Division Street; Spokane, Washington

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2010 at 5:16 am

I am driving home from Christmas shopping, down Division Street; even with snow tires I’m sliding in the slushy snow, a white rainbow of car headlights and store lights illuminate the night. And here is the miracle: everything about this scene caused hatred and resentment last winter, and the winter before, and the winter before…

Tonight, Adele christmas music is playing on the radio, I’m driving home to Christmas dinner  and plan on eating a bowlful of guacamole and drinking a fabulous Cab Sav wine (Irony, Napa Valley) around the fireplace, the football game is on (go Green Bay), and you know what? I have absolutely embraced this winter. And in doing so, I am absolutely loving this winter.

I love the white austere beauty of the trees and the mountains, I love the smell of fresh pine Christmas trees, I love  parties with co-workers and friends, I love Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas”, I love morning coffee by the fireplace, I love picking out fun white & silver gift wrap with gold bows at Target,  I love my red Navajo wool jacket that makes me feel like a modern day Pocahontas, and I love the sacred reflection of the season.

We scramble to buy gifts for the people we love that we probably can’t afford, and we eat too much and drink too much. And we grow solemn and contemplative as we light candles and read the story of Jesus’ birth. And we are delighted and renewed and grounded all at the same time by the fact that God himself became a baby. In this human flesh. In this messy world. The world that we inhabit. The world we struggle in, and cry in, and laugh in, and worry in, and rush in, and fuss in, and love in.

Tonight I am struck by the miracle of Jesus. How he redeems the big picture, the entire world, and the beauty of it seeps down to the tiny details, and catches me up in his story, here in Spokane. On Division Street. Among the ridiculous drivers and cheesy lights. I know I won’t be here forever. I know someday I will be in a town with culture and diversity and I’ll have this amazing flat where I can walk to the market  and WALK EVERYWHERE. But until then, I am absolutely embracing this winter in Spokane, for as long as it lasts. And the people and love and life surrounding me is thick and alive and rich and beautiful.

The fact that I am happy to be here, is the biggest miracle of all. The fact that my perspective is a complete 360 from last year – that is a witness to the truth that Jesus was born and is alive.

Glory to God in the highest! Joy to the World!

Stuck inside my head: purpose vs having it all figured out

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 5:16 pm

You know you’re in relationship trouble when you start looking to the universe for signs – when you listen to every love song and watch every love flick searching for clues (as if pre-adolescent Justin Bieber is an expert on love).

I have a tendency to see the world in symbolic ways, and not just in relation to relationships. I see weaving threads and connections throughout my life; I love it when the song that got me through 6th grade plays on the radio when I’m having a bad day, or when I stumble upon an old letter written on the same day from years ago. I loved LOST for this very reason; trying to “hack” the mystery and code, along with Jack and Hurley, through numbers and clues. Seeing the world in this way is a method of making sense of things.

There are various things people call this, the most common being:

“Having it all figured out.”

And while it sounds silly to say out loud that I’m trying to “have it all figured out” I still want to! That said, I know I never will.

The great theologians have said that the more they study God, the less they understand him. In the end, it all comes down to what you know –that God is love. The rest – the signs, the miracles – simply enhance the process. They let us know that God is with us. That God is leading. And ultimately, he is leading us to himself – not to having our life in this world all figured out.

So, here is my New Year’s Resolution (early, perhaps, but sincere):

I will…

STOP

Using signs to make sense of things.

I will

START

Seeing symbols as giving shape and meaning and rhythm to my life
A shape and rhythm that give me a unique lens from which to see the world,

rich, poetic and powerful.

To 2011 and drinking deeply of life!