Legacies, Greek Mythology, and Your Dreams

3 Sep

There are many topics that I could talk about today. However, the only that has been on my mind the most has been this- that is, to write.

Writing is a double-edged sword for me, as my greatest talent and greatest fear are intertwined as the threads of a rope. This is my soul personified, my comfort as only the blanket from your childhood bed can touch your hidden places of insecurity and soothe them as well as a mothers touch. Yet in this, my insecurities take root and sprout into the forest of doubt that plagues my sanity and the haunts of the very dreams of which I pen.

One of my favorite short stories, The Lady and the Tiger by Frank Stockton, embodies the legacy that I fear. Frank Stockton was little known before crafting this masterpiece, his Mona Lisa. However, his rise to fame was also his downfall, as he would never again achieve the level of excellence that he set for himself, and the expectation of his adoring public went unanswered. He would never top himself after The Lady and the Tiger.

I came across this story in middle school, and while it helped to shape my imaginative process Stockton’s legacy has haunted me more.

It is a strange conundrum to be sure, that the very thing that I take the most pleasure in, for which I have been called to and would like to be known is exactly what would keep me from striving to achieve said dream in the first place.

To fear ones own self- how peculiar.

Or rather, to fear the applause of others could be my greatest weakness, my own Achilles heel. I use Greek mythology as their gods were said to be capricious and fickle in nature, ruining the lives of mortals out of thoughtlessness while trying to satisfy their narcissistic ever-changing desires.

This is the plague of the public eye. This modern day idol places the happiness and success of any particular life and places it in the hands of those who exist to consume, captivated by their own beauty and selfish wants and too far gone to appreciate true art or craftsmanship for more than half of a minute.

This is why I am thankful for a God who crafted me. Were it not for God’s presence in my life I would be offering myself, my soul encompassed in my writing, to a gluttonous audience that screams for the blood of the next trend. More, more, more, they demand- more Ice Bucket Challenges, Let It Go covers, more asinine commentary on Taylor Swift’s new music video- this jungle is hard to navigate for anyone.

However My God has declared for me a purpose, a destiny if you will, and sings over me the words of love carved out of his hands that speak the identity of my soul. I long for the overflow of his love and creativity pouring out through my life, the ink of my pen, and the keys under my fingertips.

If God has called you to a glorious purpose, and I believe that he does for all of his children, then be encouraged. The fear of being enough haunts us all, yet God has proven himself to be not only enough, but far beyond that that we need not worry. Do what he has crafted you for, to the best that you can, and he will take care of the rest. Don’t let the idol of pleasing others keep you from or inspire you to your part. Let God inspire you, lovelies. He is capable of so much more than you or I.

Dear Reader, I can explain…

31 Jan

So, *peeks out from behind corner* it’s been awhile… I miss writing, but haven’t had any epic inspiration rivaling Rowling in…well I have no idea how long (See what I mean? I don’t even remember). So to make up for the fact that I have given you nothing fabulous, I will go ahead and embarrass myself for your sake (And for the sake of our relationship, as sacrifices must be made). So this is a story of me, being me, and getting into the mess that I typically do.

I’m currently in the middle of a move. Why? Money, commuting, and Jesus. (That’s right, Jesus told me to move. We talk like that.) Luckily, I’m able to move in with some friends, so hopefully the problems that come with roommates with be able to be taken care of easily. (However, it also means that I will be teased. Relentlessly, as I’m always doing something worthy of the teasing. For instance, the rest of this post.)

My new roommate Yas and I were moving some of my things into my car, when we decided to attempt to transport this BEASTY of a mirror. (Beasty. I like it. That’s it’s new name.) We had tried to defeat this thing earlier, but it was stubborn and outright refused to be put into my car atop the dresser…rude. So this time we tried again but with less stuff, hoping that this time it would be less prissy.

So there was a large storage bin that we had already moved in to the back of my car (I say car, but this thing is bigger than it looks on the outside which makes it more of a TARDIS…I mean SUV), and we were trying to manuever this thing in as well. Yas and I quickly discovered that we would need to open more of the doors in order to accomplish our task. But the doors were still locked. So Yas was stuck holding this gigantic object that was halfway into my car, while I ran inside trying to find the keys.

After two more trips inside, to no avail, I ran back outside and climbed into the car, under the mirror, and on top of the storage bin to attempt to reach the inside lock on the driver’s side to avoid triggering the alarm. I was succesful. (My inner “Legends of the Hidden Temple”-watching child was quite pleased.)

Now, I was pinned with the task of moving the storage bin on top of the already-folded down seats( probably should have mentioned that earlier….whoops), but this thing was HEAVY. Heavier even than the Beasty itself.  So needless to say it gave me quite a bit of trouble…to Yas’ amusement I’m sure, but seeing as she was STILL holding the prissy awkwardly-shaped mirror I gave her plently of leave to be amused at my troubles. Finally I did it, and then was able to crawl out the side door in order to start moving the Beasty further into the car, but then it still wouldnt budge. So I had to climb back into the car to move the Beasty.

Now at this point, I’m slightly pleased with myself(again, “Legends of the Hidden Temple” was my thing) and slighty exasperated with the stubbornness of the monster of a mirror. So when Yas tells me to get back out of the car, I didn’t. I just wanted to get this thing into the car. So that left me on my knees, not paying attention to the fact that I’m now pulling this thing on top of me. To get the leverage and space that I needed in order for Yas to shut the door (which I insisted that she do, so that we will have conquered this prissy, oddly shaped, gigantic beast of a mirror, which i was DETERMINED to do) left me in a very stuck  interesting situation. Hanging out of the side door with the Beasty pinning me down.

Yas just looked at me and shook her head, because as I hung upside down, out the car door with no way to move, she’d found the keys-still hanging from the trunk door. It took a good 2-3 minutes for her to pull me out of the car because we were both laughing our butts off at the fact that while we DID beat the Beasty mirror, this thing was determined not to go without a fight or apparently, with help from my stubborn one-track mind, taking me with it.

BEASTY: 1, Cierra: 1 (…We should be even for this one, right?)

This is one ridiculous situation that I will never live down, but hopefully some good will come from this. Maybe just maybe, you dear reader, have had a laugh or two at my expense and will forgive my unexplained absence (for while I wish it was something as glamorous as “The Doctor showed up” or “I lived a long and happy life in Narnia”, I’ve got nothing).

So tell me, what’s the most ridiculous situation that you’ve found yourself in?

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Travel: The Things Nobody Warns You About

30 Jan

Fabulous.

C.S Lewis

28 Jan

The Guys

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
C.S. Lewis

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“The Hero Who Was Afraid To Apply For A Job”

28 Jan

This is so sad.

Street Art Around Dublin

28 Jan

Gorgeous. Can I just go??

Portrait of a mixed woman

6 Dec

Portrait of a mixed woman
The things I see:
1. The contents of your room or scattered much like your thoughts. A never ending kaleidoscope collected over the years of journeying through this world. The beauty I’m surrounded by would be too overwhelming if everything had a place, intimidation alone would show me how much I still needed to experience let alone learn from observing you.

2. The dark Night cap you wear tries to contain the army of curls on your head, reminding me all too much of your dark eyes- holding the secrets and answers of all you have been privy to. The nasty underbelly of this world drug you through the streets of terror, your eyes- dark as they are- smile at me, a warmth that cannot be held back by your glasses.

3. The set of your shoulders relays the weight of the world’s loud opinions of you, the sneers of loved ones ringing in your ears. You carry not only your own worries, but you take the worries of others and add them to yours. Using the strength of your heart to be gracious despite the patronizing side glances of others.

4. The world’s harsh realities- of which you are well aware- have not been successful in stripping you of your natural beauty. The outside pressure causing your carbon-based form to harden, and underneath the soft ample curves that this world both mocks and envies, is the diamond sold every person who knows you admires.

5. Your kitchen is as well used as your topics of conversation. A marriage of creativity and conviction, whether someone is dining or debating with you, they will not leave unsatisfied of that I am sure. Your cultured taste for accounts for everything in your life, your record selection, your jewelry collection, your eclectic library and multicolored Afghan, you love quality and diversity, you almost love practicality as much. Your ability to barter for a bargain is as impressive as your resilience to come back swinging, despite the times that life has tried to beat you down like a cage fight in which tears were involved, and the point is to make your opponent bleed. You definitely bleed, more so in the form of tears for your friends and for yourself.

6. The beams of Heavenlight that reflect off your smile remind me of the person you truly are. Royalty, of the rarest kind, you hold a promise of more than this world can offer, and you wear it on your head as if it were a crown that belonged there. You live your life caring for others, the people you live with, the ones you haven’t met, and the African orphans who stole your heart, the generosity ingrained your very being proves to me that you are the daughter of the king. You know what is important in this life, living it with others and enjoying all that you possibly can. And whether you’re providing for a house or sleeping on the street you dig your heels in and push forward.

How do I know? I’m just telling you what I see. Because almost a year ago, I met you and we were friends and minutes, and ever since this is who you proved yourself to be. I love you is only a little sister can, but whether a sister, a coworker, a fellow church member or stranger, I can say with absolute certainty, you have always been beautiful, my friend.

To Float or To Swim?

27 Nov

There are days  that I feel like I’m floating. Just going through the motions of everyday life, always wanting more. Feeling guilty about not doing more. In the effort to find the passion or feeling of completeness that allows me to feel like I’m contributing something to this life, I typically find myself distracted. By a story in my head, a song that I can’t remember the words to, or a quote that I can’t seem to place…so by the time that I look at the time I no longer have any time left.

In the search for meaning is where we all find ourselves. In the searching we typically end up waiting for something. Waiting until we have enough money to do what we want to do. Waiting to find the person that we think will end our searching. Waiting until we figure out just what it is exactly that we’ve spent all this time searching for in the first place. When you pick your head up, and look around you’ll see something.

Whether it’s the fact that you’re tired of waiting, or in the middle of waiting you’ve built something for yourself, or that your subconscious decided that ‘waiting’ actually meant pushing the pause button, when you pick your head up that is the moment when you have to decide.

And the decision is this: will you continue letting the distractions carry you through the sea of life like a life preserver-aimlessly floating- or will you decide that you’ve had enough of them and swim towards the shore that you see in the distance- your determination finally bringing you towards the future instead of waiting for it to come to you.

So that’s my question. Are you content to float, or will you swim?

The Return

25 Nov

The room has His creation in it- like a garden sanctuary… He wants to be surrounded by His handiwork. He is not satisfied with just one plant, one creature, one place, for He desires it all. Yet one would have been enough. All peace, no indecision, for He is always intentional. 

He walks around the room appreciating each creature, each plant, taking His time. His eyes spark with fire as they catch mine as I enter, both my footsteps and the music played by the angels announcing my presence. As an ambassador of the king I am well known here, respected, as His daughter I am welcomed with open arms.

I can feel the warmth of His smile across the room. He announces that we shall have a feast in honor of my return as He ever waves me closer. He embraces me as only my father can, wrapping even my very soul up in His abundant love. “My beloved”, he whispers in my ear, and for my ears alone. He kisses my forehead and tells me how proud He is of me. “But I haven’t even told you what I accomplished in my travels”, I protest. “It doesn’t matter”, He says. “You are mine, and that’s all that matters.”

“Now tell me of your adventures at dinner, but first I want to dance with you.” He snaps his fingers and the angels’ song drops to a lower tune, slow and rejoicing. “I just want to hold you for awhile”, He smiles. As we step closer, I place my hand in His, the rough carpenter’s callouses a striking contrast to the softness of His face. As I look in his eyes I can feel the scars in my palm from the day He decided my life was worth more than His own.

As He takes the first step, I look down at His feet to mimic His movement, yet He stops me- with the hand not holding mine He tilts my face up, forcing my eyes back to His. “Let me worry about the steps, just keep your eyes on me. It’s easy. I promise I won’t let you fall.” “Okay,” I reply, my answering smile lighting my face.

Again He steps and my feet naturally follow. “Just let me lead”, He whispers in my ear.  His embrace tightens as he pulls me closer, refusing to let me go or move even an inch further away. And we dance. Mesmerized, I cannot look away from the look in His eyes. And we dance.

A New Hope (real life version)

20 Nov

I’ve been getting complaints about me at work. It seems a certain number of people like to tell my boss that they don’t like my attitude.

At first, it made me mad. “I’m not doing anything to you people. I’m simply here to work and get paid to do so, and putting up with your attitude is an added bonus, so why should I care if you like mine?” My boss is on my side, so I didn’t think anything of it, and moved on with the day.

In the kitchen yesterday morning, I was going over a conversation that I had with one of my roommates the night before. She had asked me to teach her how to cook, and her semester abroad was briefly mentioned. As I was remembering, and seemingly out of nowhere, the thought came to me, “You should do that.”

Now that is simply insanity. I’m a senior, set to graduate next semester, I’ve lived 2 places in my life and I’ve never left the US soil. I’m working two minimum wage jobs to pay for life while in school, and I have no other monetary support to turn to. My student loans will come due in the next year or so, and I’m fairly certain I owe the government the equivalent of a house. I’m supposed to go into traveling conferences career-wise, but God shut that dream down about 4 months ago. (He told me to wait, and I wasn’t exactly happy about it.)

Then the strangest thing happened- I started to hope.

Did God hear the request that I never was brave enough to mention out loud? Could he make this happen? The more I talked to people that I trusted, the more I got the response “There’s better ways than delaying your schooling.”

I was shocked by the response, especially from my dad. (For those of you who don’t know, he’s about the intensity level of Liam Neeson in Taken, a movie that still scares me, and that’s pretty much his opinion about every other country…’MURICA.)

Verbatim: “If you want to go, it would be cheaper to buy a ticket and just go.” Just go. JUST GO.

The rest of the day I was thinking about it. The options, the details, the possibilities. Could God really give me a paid internship in Italy for a year? (The most ideal situation, I’ve decided)

I was happy the whole day. Even when customers were rude, even when 60 billion children came up to get change for the arcade from the register, even though my boss was picking on me all day (tough love, I’m told, is a Jersey specialty). I even got a compliment on my personality saying that it was great, and when I responded with “Not everyone would agree with you,” she said “Well I don’t know why.” (or something along those lines)

At the end of the day, I was exhausted(I think I’m getting sick), and I was looking at my Bible app, out of curiosity, and to get some kind if answer for this crazy idea. The verse of the day was (one of my FAVORITE chapters) Ephesians 3:20-21,
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

Now this passage, really the whole chapter, is stuffed with meaning, but yesterday what I took away was “able to do FAR more abundantly BEYOND ALL that we ASK or THINK…” And it was almost a complete confirmation of what he wants for the next phase of my life.

Hope changed me. The whole day was different. All because I was focused on that hope. As my pastor said last Sunday, “Hope gives your faith space to grow.”

I think a few more people need to find some hope today, and they need to find it in the person who has the power to make even complete insanity a reality.

What is it that you haven’t dared to hope for?