Friday, January 18, 2013

The Leaf has Turned 

Well, it finally happened. I did indeed graduate. The extreme case of senioritis (see previous post), which held complete grip over my system, has phased out.

It's time for new beginnings. New job(s). New music.
New  ...   EVERYTHING. 

It's an exciting time of transition and opportunities. I'm not sure what God has in store, but maybe that's supposed to be part of the fun. ;)

One of my new year's resolutions is to revive this blog. 
There will be more to come....

Listening to:

~ Italian Concerto BWV 971 by J. S. Bach  ~

Saturday, May 28, 2011

On Ants and Status

Last week I was babysitting at a neighbor's house and to my dismay I learned that they have an ant infestation. These little creepy crawlers were all over their counters, the trash bin, the kids toys and in the little bowl of raisins I set out for lunch. The three little boys of 4, 6, and 9 were entertained by seeing me almost jump out of my skin when I spotted them. Needless to say, I quickly swiped the bowl out from under their curious and hungry hands, while they shivered with suppressed giggles. 

Bugs are most definitely unwelcome visitors in one's home. Yet, I was reminded of this incident yesterday when confronted by my face-book profile page and the blank spot where you fill in your "status". What is my status? Who am I to be in this intimidatingly huge world God has placed me in? 

"Ahh", say you. "Senioritis. I can spot it a mile away". Yes, I'll admit it. I've succumbed to the contagious disease plaguing all college students during the year before they graduate. The world looks so big, the options seemingly endless, and the future so bright that it's blinding anything past my next few steps. 

There are a few supposed cures to this condition. One of the most tempting is to sit in your dorm room or home, and analyze every situation that has happened in the past that could affect your future, and weigh the good against the bad. Another is to sit in the same place, and imagine what the future could possibly hold. All scenarios are up for consideration, from every disheartening disaster to the greatest image of grandeur.  Yet another is to compare your achievements and shortcomings with other seniors, who are in the same boat you are.

There are several things all of these attractive solutions have in common. 

1. All three give a deceiving sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, which is quick to dissolve. 
2. All three are absolutely unproductive and a waste of precious time.

Analyzing the past may bring a feeling of fulfillment, saying  "Look at what I've done. Look where I've come from!" Or, on the other hand it might feel like honesty by facing up to reality when saying "Look at what you've done- pshaw, look at what they've done over there! There's no way you will ever be like them. How come their grass is greener than mine? Why can that nine year old play the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody #4 at sight when it took me over a year to learn it?" Both attitudes are filled with the gangrene of pride and envy, which soon eats at one's soul till you don't think you can bear any more. The deceiving veneer of satisfaction soon disappears to reveal inner insecurities, as raw and hurting as an open wound. 

All these attitudes generate is the pouring of salt into that very wound, and every such train of thought rubs it in deeper and deeper. I've seen and experienced it so many times that I've grown to recognize the symptoms. 

But, I've recently received an injection of the true cure for senioritis. Just thought I would share it with you, even though it's a little deviation from the true nature of this blog. 

"Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well." Luke 12:27-31

He will care for me. He loves us more than we could ever know! If He cares for such flowers as much as this, how great must be His care and planning for every little thing in our lives.  Earlier in the same chapter Jesus says: "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered"(Luke 12:7).

Let me just think about that for a quick sec.

All of my hairs are numbered (wouldn't that be a cool number to know? :). What on earth does it matter how many hairs I have on my head? What difference does it make? And yet He knows. He knows the most minute details of my life. If He has provided for me, and cared for me, how can I not trust Him with the unforeseeable future?

2. Back to ants. These supposed "cures", if you haven't noticed, all take up a considerable amount of time, and self-analyzation. But Proverbs, and Judy Rogers, tell me to 

Go to the Ant!  
Oh sluggard - see how she works all day
And she doesn't even have a captain to tell her what to do, but she works hard anyway
Go to the Ant! and listen
Tell me, does she complain?
God made her, now you imitate her - Go to the Ant!
© 1989 Judy Rogers

(for any who just sung along that song with me just then, I applaud you. :)

"Consider her ways and be wise" (Proverbs 6:6). 

She works all day, searching gathering food twice her size from distances sometimes yards away (like miles to us). No one even tells her what to do! How many times has my excuse for frittering away time worrying been: "Well, I don't have any deadlines from my teachers..." or "Well,  no one expects me to do anything. So I don't need to". How can that be true? There is a whole world of tasks to be done. One has only to take the blinders of self-centeredness off, and look around to see the uncountable needs of others, let alone the job that God has put straight in front of you! 

As a student I've realized that this is an amazing time of my life. God has given me these years to study and learn more about Him and the talents and gifts he has given to man. I will probably never have this much time again to think and study again. I need to take advantage of this time to hone and further the skills I have been blessed with! It reminds me of the parable in Luke 19 when Jesus tells of a master giving out money to several servants. Most invested what was given to them, but there was one who buried the money, and nothing came of it. When the master came back to see the results, the servants who had put the money to work were rewarded.  The servant who earned nothing had what he had taken away from Him. 

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?" Luke 16:10-12

So put your nose to the grindstone, Shannon, and get to work!

Haha, just kidding.  :D

But in all seriousness, I've come to the conclusion that I need to make everything of this precious time. I will be too busy in the future having to use these gifts in a practical way. 

Perspective is absolutely necessary. Not the kind of insecure perspective that asks "How will a little person like me ever make a difference in such a huge and overwhelming world?"and "Look at how much talent God's given that person over there",  but rather the meek spirit who says "Here am I Lord, send me".  What can I do to work His purpose out? What can I do to glorify and enjoy Him here on earth, day to day? That's all I need to think about. All else is wasted time, unnecessary emotional upheaval, and an amazing amount of energy, all of which could have been spent helping others, or furthering the task God has set before me. 

Who knows what the future will bring. I'm just going to live with the present. I'm not going to try and wrestle it out of God's hands anymore, I'm just going to leave it there. He's infinitely more capable of taking care of it than I am. 

"Now all has been heard;
   here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
   for this is the duty of all mankind." 
Ecclesiastes 12:13

Listening: Cortege et Litanie by Marcel Dupre 

Saturday, September 18, 2010


In high-school, math was my nemesis. I could not understand the attraction to memorizing formulas that have no immediate application to everyday life. However, as I grow older, I'm seeing the benefit of those formulas and that logical process of thinking in every area of my life. I was thinking about it the other day and realized that, wow, math is a glorious reflection of God. He is a God of order, not of chaos. The more I thought about it, the more the dots started connecting in my mind. Math is beautiful.

For instance, ferns are a great illustration of symmetry as seen in nature. Ferns are soft, lovely and make for really nice ground cover. Yet, look at them closely and what do you see?

Symmetry, proportionality, balance. Yet thriving with life and springing forth in verdant beauty.

Another nature example: ripples in a lake. You can't tell me that order is not beautiful.

And an example of God's creation in the hands of man: Music.

Music is simply math. Rhythm is created by allotting a certain number of time to each note/pitch. Harmony is created by symmetry of relationship between notes. Even phrasing and musical expression must be balanced and in good order. If a performer takes too much liberty with a song, slowing and speeding up so that the original rhythm is barely discernible, then it will not be pleasing to the ear, and the audience will get bored. An interpretation that is beautiful will consist of a balance between the written notes, and the expression of the performer. A balance between silence and sound. A balance between loud and soft. Music is ordered and centered around formulas, and yet it is one of God's most precious and beautiful gifts to mankind.

May math as beauty be recognized! Unfortunately, even though I am now aware of this relationship,  I am not any better at math. But I do appreciate it more. I no longer discount it as boring drills made use of to train our minds to think logically.  I now enjoy the process of organization and symmetry, as I see it with all it's wondrous every-day glory around me.

Listening: Loud Pipes ~ Ratatat

PS As I'm in the midst of a very heavy semester, posts may be quite infrequent. Just a heads up for any readers, if you're out there somewhere. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

"There is a bit of blue sky...Let us chase it!"

The sky is sorely unappreciated. Have you ever looked up at the sky and thought about it's amazing variety? It provides us with not only one, but two all-natural art displays every single day. The sun rises and sets, book-ending the blue-day, in an ever-morphing canvas of colors. Granted, in the country it is most easy to fully grasp these glories, but in the city and suburbs, they are just as accessible, if sought.

And it is not only the beginning and end of the day that are gorgeous. Those are just the well-known and oft depicted times of beauty. There is also the backdrop of a blanket of sparkles every night. And don't forget the irresistibility of a bright baby blue scattered with cotton puffs. Even the drab grey of rain can be attractive. And then there is the rare purpley-green of a tornado watch, that is both exhilarating and frightening.

It's almost as if it has a personality all it's own. It can be foreboding, oppressive, cheery, encouraging, breathtaking, calm, troubled, even pensive. These traits easily rub off. There have been many times when I wake up, get dressed etc., all in the same routine feeling somewhat off. But upon going outside and seeing a bright, sunny sky, I can't help but smile to myself as the clouds chase each other.  Similarly, if I walk out onto a rainy day and see the sky grey and dismal, I easily slip into a thoughtful reverie.

So let us chase the sky, just as Margaret and Marianne Dashwood in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Let's pause, and look out of the window for a second, and just think of God's infinite creativity. He not only made the sky functional (water cycle, atmospheric protection from outer space etc.), but he also made it a never-ending giver of beauty.

The every-day blue, pretty in every way.

The troubled look of rain yet to come.

The calm tranquillity of day's end.

The red stare of an intense setting sun.

Sunny with clouds. Perfect for cloud-gazing...almost looks like a map of the world.

Shot through with sunny rays.


Sublime sunrise.

How can you not smile?

Fighting to stay clear.

Almost edible.

Bright and pure blue.

A masterpiece of the Creator.

True Twilight. Forget vampires.

Golden effect.

Listening: The Wailin' Jennys ~ Long Time Traveller

"They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works"
Psalm 145:5

Friday, July 30, 2010

End of Summer: Leaves, Rain and a fresh new look.

When one is moving into a new apartment, new town and starting a new routine, it could be either the best or the worst time to start a blog. As of my first post, I prefer to think the former. After reading several blogs, and being both inspired and cheered by them, I decided to add to the cheer. Why not reflect on the glory of the world around us?

The purpose of this blog is to serve as an outlet for the writer's overflowing joy in creation that sometimes other people misunderstand. When surrounded by the somewhat annoying short-timed traffic lights of Brooklyn, it is quite enjoyable to cast a fleeting glance up at the sky and suddenly realize that within the past minute, the creator of the world decided the city's background should be made up of pink and golden hues, interspersed with one another. 

My mother has been a very good teacher on the subject of frugality. The question often asked upon a purchase will be: "But honey, do you need it?". This is often a very necessary question to ask, especially when one considers a sparkly Christmas snow-globe and yet already possesses three such items. But on the subject of beauty, it is my opinion that one can never appreciate enough. 

As one author so aptly puts it through the character of the Bishop of Digne:

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful. Perhaps more so."
~ Les Miserables Victor Hugo

So here's to all the little things that make life beautiful. Little things that most people will just rush by on their way to work, or when they're lost in their list of To-Dos and Must-Haves. 

I will leave you with three delicacies. The first two I attribute to the majestic creativity of our good Lord. The third is a quaint piece of art by Seraphine de Senlis. 

This is a poor imitation of one little moment I had one day last fall 
that I think I might remember all my life. 
I was jogging around the block one day on a dog-poop-laden sidewalk. 
I got tired of looking down. 
As I turned my head up and paused for breath, the glaring sun hid behind one tiny red leaf. 
The leaf was cherry red with pointy tips. 
The sun was now a 
red pom-pom cheering me on my run. 

It was late. 
I had missed the bus and had now waited for another in the pouring rain for half an hour.
As I cried in frustration from a very long day that was turning into a very long night, I looked down at my soaked shoes. It was not the shoes, but the puddle just off the corner that caught my eye. 
The fading lamplight cast a golden shimmer all over the swamped street. 
What made it all the more believable was the droplets that glittered and glimmered all they could.
I started to enjoy the rain as my mind happily played with the idea of the street being 
swamped in gold. 

Untitled-Seraphine de Senlis
Watching foreign movies can be very invigorating. 
French movies especially are refreshing, because they do not hand you everything on a silver platter. They don't explain every detail they want you to pick up on. Rather they let you figure some things out for yourself, and have your brain do a little exercise.
Another reason why I like foreign films is that one's sense of sight is somewhat heightened by the inability to comprehend what you hear. 
Thus, watching a french movie about an artist was ideal.
Who would've ever imagined a basket of fruit looking like this one?
The abundance reminds me of Thanksgiving.
The black basket seems to be trying to contain it, but failing utterly. 
Sometimes I feel like my brain is the fruit and my body the basket.
My brain wants to accomplish all these grand schemes, but I only have
a basket of a body. 

Listening to: Debussy~La Fille Aux Cheveux De Lin~Walter Gieseking