Friday, October 14, 2011

May It Be So For Me

This fall has been particularly spectacular.

I've been watching leaves swirl through the air in a gust of wind.

It is so beautiful, isn't it?

 The little herds of reds, oranges and yellows floating slowly and sometimes very quickly to the ground.

Sometimes it is just one loan leaf fluttering through the sky riding the wind.



You know, it occurred to me as I watched this, that this is the end of the leaf's life. It has spent its entire existence budding, growing and sticking to one singular branch of one singular tree.

This final "ride" is it for them.

Why then does it look like so much fun?



It seems as if they are riding a roller coaster with loopy-loops and ups and downs.

Fast and slow.

I think if I had supernatural hearing I could make out their "Wheeeeees!"

Then to the ground they go where they will be raked up and sent to the curb to be sucked up by a truck.



It could be viewed as a sad event. But I still can't help but be transfixed every time I see a bunch go sailing through the sky.

It is like they were made for this ride.

This is their shining glory.

Their swan song. 

Their chance to be a butterfly who after all was made to look like them. 

Doesn't it look like this butterfly is posing for me? I think he is saying "Cheese!"


I imagine they tremble in excitement as their stems loosen from the branch and they realize it is (finally) their turn to fly.

Do you think they look back? Are they sad to leave (pun intended) behind their leaf families and friends?

This one got stuck in a spider web on my garage. Hmmmm…


Not from what I can see. 

If a leaf can smile--they are grinning from one point to the next as they feel the wind in a much different way.

They don't have to brace themselves against it anymore.

Hang on for dear life anymore.

They can finally--just


                                      let
                                                                                      go.

And enjoy the ride.



Dear Lord, may it be so for me. May I be as eager to let go of my will for my life to ride Your will with You. And may that ride be as joyful and transfixing to watch to someone else. So that they may ask of You, Lord:  may it be so for me.

Amen.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Keep on Pedaling

It was foggy this morning.

And I do mean FOGGY.

It also happened to be walk/ride to school day. As my daughter, Ellie, scootered and I rode my bike, we could only see a few houses in front of us. Ellie commented on how if felt like we were riding into the unknown. It was spooky to her.

It was so cool for me.

It was neat how you rode on and looked back and couldn't see where you had come from while still only seeing just a little bit ahead. Every half-block we went was the only half-block we could see. The fog was so thick you could feel it.

Breathe it.                                 
                                                Smell it.

It was so amazing!

This was taken in Maine. Where we first fell in love with fog. 


All around us I could hear kids talking about the fog. Making spooky ghost noises. Cars crept along cautiously trying to navigate their way.

I couldn't help but think as I rode home alone that riding through fog is faith. Going forward when you can not only NOT see the destination, but couldn't really see much at all.

Or where you came from to turn around and run back.

But you keep on pedaling.

Wouldn't the temptation be to wait it out?

Not go out at all?

Wait until it was safer? 
More predictable?

I was struck by the beauty of it all. No spooky Halloween images for me. The leaves on the ground seemed more yellow, red and orange.

The cool air on my face, more refreshing.

The trees seemed taller because I couldn't see their tops.

The streets l o n g e r. 

It was exhilarating because I felt completely safe.

Not lost.

God wants us right there, doesn't He?

In the middle of the fog, not able to see ahead or behind us

but willing to keep pedaling,
                                                         
                                     trusting He knows the way.

He is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path.

And He has a plan. Not to harm. But one that gives us hope and a future.

Amen.

And may I always be willing to 

keep 
           on 
                              pedaling.

Monday, October 03, 2011

New Experience

I was raised in a small town. There is a sweet predictability of the goings on in a small town and familiarity of the people that live there. There was a wonderful protective shelter to small town living. This has always made me incredibly curious about the goings on of new places and other people. It was the solid comfort of security in my small town that gave me the wings to fly in exploration of other places. I have now lived longer away from my small town than I ever stomped around in it as a resident, although I feel its markings in me daily. I am now a city dweller, but I am no less curious about different experiences and new people.

Which leads me to what I did on Saturday.

I went to a bodybuilding competition. Not as a competitor (snort). As a supporting fan of my awesome 44-year-old friend, Beth, who was approached in the early days of summer by someone willing to sponsor her for this event. If she'd consider it. Turns out Beth is willing to try new experiences too.

She had to work out (which is nothing new or no big deal for her). Beth was in awesome shape to start.

She had to follow a strict diet (which involved cutting out all carbs and sugar and eating predominantly protein).

She had to practice. Practice posing. Practice flexing certain muscles at certain times and then practice flexing all her muscles at other times.

She had to practice doing all this wearing high heels and a bathing suit and glittery eye shadow. And a smile.

She had to step FAR outside her comfort level to participate in the whole pageantry portion of showing off exactly what she had been working on.

She was nervous. I was intrigued.

The whole thing was fascinating! As members of the audience, my friend and I (also named Beth) had incredible seats to some of the best people watching ever. Better than the airport (and I do love airport people watching).

The people in the audience seemed to know a lot about what the people on stage should be doing. They called it out as if at a basketball game. Instead of, "Shoot it!" or "Rebound!" the fans yelled, "Flex it!" or "Squeeze it!" They would offer up specific advice like, "Watch your arms!" or just a quick, "Legs! Your legs!"

Fascinating.

I had questions. The other Beth and I decided we needed a program explaining each of the divisions and what the judges were looking for. We wanted to look for it too. On a break, we got to see Beth and I told her I'd yell "Squeeze it!"the next time she was on stage,  but it looked like she already was. Expertly.

The women were beautiful and toned. I had prepared myself for some grotesque muscle heads but the women were feminine and would still look amazing with normal clothes on. That was my "test" when I watched each person (male or female) in this competition. That is why we were there, to judge their  muscular physique, so I don't feel bad about what I was doing (so don't go and try to make me feel bad.)

I would look at each bulging bicep or toned thigh and think:  but would they look good in jeans? Could they pull off a tight weave non stretch cotton dress shirt? For most of the women, the answers were astoundingly yes. For a good majority of the men, the answers were absolutely no. For a select few of the men, I worried if they could EVER find a sport coat that wouldn't split every time they reached out to shake someone's hand.

Even Superman's Clark Kent looked good in a suit for work. I'm just saying.

Some of the men looked chiseled out of smooth marble--a testament of what the body is capable of in its highest, truest form. Art. Flat-out-statue-of-David art.  Some looked clunked together out of rock:  lumpy and large where even their jaw muscles were pumped up and flexed. Almost comic book villianesque. You know, extreme.

The people in the crowd were an interesting mix. Family, fellow physically fit friends, little kids, and then us: two chicks who looked like they got lost on their way to find a crafts bizarre.

I have to say, I liked watching the women the best. Not just because I could cheer on my friend, but because they were soft on the eyes, natural, not "I just got dropped in a vat of toxic waste and now my arms look like this" (fyi:  she was sitting across the aisle about 10 chairs over from us). Extreme.

There was one division that didn't seem to involve any physical flexing of muscles but more of a bikini-clad "oh, wait, is this NOT the tryouts for the new Poison video?"

Yes, sadly, there was an entire division of girls that didn't flex but felt compelled to "pose" in every overtly non-athletic way that left me feeling as if I needed to pray for them right then and there after singing "Jesus Loves Me" really loud first. While standing on top of my chair. I didn't (do the singing part at least).

Overall, I was so glad I went. I didn't walk away feeling bad about myself or with a bad case of the "gimmies".  I'm not allowed to go to house or garden tours anymore because of the "gimmies" I bring home every time. (Gimmie that kitchen island, gimmie that mudroom, gimmie that open floor plan). Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to have the abs of some of those women, but I didn't obsessively think about it. That's showing growth for me. (Yeah, me!)

This time I walked away thinking what a luxury it is to live in a time and place that a select group of people can get sponsored to work out and get muscular. And people like me will come and watch the results of their hard work. Beth ended up with two fourth place trophies for the novice and masters divisions. Get this, a master is anyone 35 years old and up. Ouch.

Beth let me play with her trophies.


What is wrong with this trophy? She looks in pain.





















I am so proud of her. For doing the hard work. Stepping outside her comfort level. Being open to a new experience.

Rock star!


That caused the other Beth and I to think about other shows and how they get their own sponsorships and followings like craft shows, antique/flea markets and then that went right into Comic Con. The ultimate in new experiences from what I hear.

Maybe next year?

What about you? What recent event have you witnessed that was a brand new experience for you?