Monday, February 28, 2011

Waiting Room Toys...

Searching the giant pockets of my toggle coat, miraculously, and I mean miraculously, I found seven dollars. I never carry cash, and if I do it's like a ten or a twenty. But I didn't have time to recognize let alone thank the Lord for this mini miracle. Nope. I was late...
Running down Madison in my Hunters, frustrated at the two street parking meters that wouldn't read my debit card, my eyes anxiously glanced upward. 
I was running late; who knows how late my dermatologist was running... But thankfully someone, or something else was running late too... the snow. The last I'd heard, forecasters predicted "white death"'s (thanks Mike Harvey) e.t.a. would be at 2pm. It was now 2:31 with not a flake to be found. 
Walking down the hallway I entered the office, checked in at the front desk and surprise, surprise, the receptionist asked me to take a seat... it appeared they were at least one patient behind schedule. 
And right next to my chair sat this... Maybe you've seen it before - I believe they're quite popular with preschools and pediatric offices the world (or at least the U.S.) over.

According to a toddler toy website
"The Original Anatex wooden Rollercoaster bead maze was introduced in homes, doctor's offices, classrooms and daycare centers in 1982. Anatex bead mazes promote the development of fundamentals like hand eye coordination, color and shape recognition, sorting and counting."
Ha! Well I can't vouch for the "hand eye coordination" (at least on my part), but "1982" explains why this wooden wire rollercoaster's synonymous with my childhood doctor visits. 
According to my Momma I wasn't a sickly kid, but with my little brother being a) a boy and b) Mr. Accident Prone (seriously I think he's broken every finger at least once), he was in the doctor's office more often than my mom would like. And when Barret went so Jessika followed (and vise versa). 
I remember the giant fish tank that was in the middle of the room, and the mini fort-like jungle gym? I'm not even sure it was large enough to be called a "jungle gym," but I lack the vocabulary, and quite frankly the motivation to find a better word, so... I'm sure you know what I mean. But the not-a-jungle-gym isn't what this post is about... it's about the Anatex wooden Rollercoaster bead maze. 
Well I'd finished reading the testimonial posters on the wall, circa 1987, on hair loss repair and the pitfalls of suntanning (didn't know hair loss fell under the dermatology umbrella), and my attention turned back to the mess of wires on the floor that seemed so utterly out of place in a dermatologist office.
Looking down I remembered. And then I thought. 
I remembered playing with the beads on their perspective tracks. Most of the kids liked the orange or green track... you know the ones that swirled up high and dipped down low - generally the qualities that make any rollercoaster a good rollercoaster. And then I laughed to myself, because in typical Jessika fashion, even as a little girl I went against the grain. I defied the conventional orange-green favorites and opted for the milder red wire track. It wasn't the "lamest" by any means (that award goes to blue), but it was pretty even-keeled. Rising to a medium height it seemed to cruise between the different tracks, swerving to the right or the left but always on its same plane. I guess it kind of reminded me of the Monorail, riding smoothly and calmly through the city. Not a lot of highs, and not a lot of lows. 
And then I got to thinking... 
Life. There's a green track and an orange track. One minute you're riding high, looping and swirling above the rest only to slide down that wire all the way to the bottom. I think we've all been there. No explanation needed. 
But the thing I realized is that life isn't just a green track or an orange track. It's a green, and an orange, and a red track... shoot even that lame blue track's there. They're all those different components that make up our life: relationships, jobs, family and friends, health, faith. They're all different colored wires on the wooden frame that's you, that's me. 
Well my life, much like the weather we've been having has been quite unpredictable. One minute it's sunny blue skies and the next snow's about to wreak havoc on the icy roads. Okay that's a bit dramatic, but it's definitely been a rollercoaster. Particularly my "work" track. I can't decide if it's orange or green. 
But you know what? Praise the Lord I have a red track in my life. And what might that red track be? Well it's my faith track - my relationship my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And that wire isn't flimsy aluminum, but reinforced steel! It won't break. Sure it wavers to the left and right from time to time, but it's constant. It's steady. And when one track (or all tracks) are down low my faith, that's anchored in something stronger than myself, is there. Jesus is there. And life is good - come sunshine or snow. 
Life is great. 
And I am thankful. 

So what's you're red track? Is it strong enough to handle the ups and downs of all the others? You can trust Jesus, the Rock. He is steady and forever faithful. I hope you'll make Him you're red track too. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Well I think the title says it all, that is if you can decipher my made-up word.
I don't know if any of you have ever checked out the links on my sidebar titled "Friends and Favorites" (if you haven't you should). Well let's say, hypothetically, you went over and clicked on The inspiration (of course don't do this till after you've read the whole post)... You'd be instantly transported to a magical site- one where handmade and vintage goodness abound.
Basically an indie ebay, Etsy is a host site for individual "boutiques" if you will - people's personal stores that feature either handmade, homemade or vintage goods. And good they are!
You could spend hours (and by you I mean I) browsing "suggested shops" in search for the perfect cardigan, painting, headband... well, you name it. Etsy's sure to have it! And everything (for the most part) is quite reasonably priced. So in the click of a mouse you could have an outfit that might easily be mistaken for one that came from The addiction, but that cost considerably less coin.
And since recently I've been stuck at home, due in part to snow and injury (not my injury but my sweet Momma who broke her foot), without homework to do I've found myself browsing quite a bit. Here are the things I'm salivating over...

Well, a girl can dream right?

Thank you Etsy and all the amazing virtual "shop keepers" that find and create all these beautiful works of art... Okay the Pelican t-shirt is hardly a work of art, but the Tranquility Band... now that's true craftsmanship! To find these items and much much more click on the links below. And I hope Etsy inspires you too!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Flowers and Valentines Day

10, 11, 12, 13...
So what comes after 13? Well any kindergartner would tell you "14, stupid!" And so it is...
February 14th. Monday. First day of the week. First day of my week long break. I woke up, and other than the fact that I slept in a little, it seemed pretty ordinary. Nothing special, right?
I just needed to pick up some protein bars. That was it. But walking into Whole Foods I unknowingly entered an abyss of pink and red. Buckets and buckets of roses surrounded me. Boxes of chocolates, candies, plushy, heart-shaped everything abounded. Fortunately enough my gag-reflex was suppressed by, of all things, laughter. And why you ask? Because alongside this sea of roses was a sea of men
I'd recalled what Michael, my favorite Metropolitan Market barista, had said the day before regarding this day of days: 
"It makes women crazy, and the poor guys come in bewildered and just plop down their cash." 
And that's what I saw... men lined up to have their roses arranged, wearing an expression of part daze, part duty, and part delight. 

If you can't tell I'm really not a fan of Valentine's Day. 

I hate pink, I don't like hearts and if I'm going to be brutally honest P.D.A. makes me a little uncomfortable. It's really quite odd though because I'm pretty sure there's a hopeless romantic in there somewhere. If you could only see my DVD collection... But there've been times when I've seriously wondered if my heart were made of warm flesh or icy stone. And yet I know it must be, it is the former.
See my story is much like my little friend Much-Afraid, from Hinds Feet on High Places. Remember her? It's been a while... We're on this journey to the High Places - the Kingdom of Love where the Great Shepherd and his Father reign. However, in order to become a citizen of the Kingdom of Love the flower of Love must have blossomed in our heart. And it has to be the real deal! No carnation, no rose... but true Love. And yet imposter's abound. 
"I think what is growing there is a great longing to experience the joy of natural, human love and to learn to love supremely one person who will love me in return. But perhaps that desire, as natural as it seems, is not the Love of which you are speaking?" She paused and then added honestly and tremblingly, "I see the longing to be loved and admired growing in my heart, Shepherd, but I don't think I see the Love you are talking about, at least, nothing like the love which I see in you."
 True Love is not the kind you see in chick flicks, fairy tales or even (dare I say it) Valentines Day greeting cards. It requires risk - real risk where you're very vulnerable- vulnerable to hurt, heartache and pain. And pain is not so pleasant.
"But it is so happy to love," said the Shepherd quietly. "It is happy to love even if you are not loved in return. There is pain too, certainly, but Love does not think that very significant."
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay his life down for his friends." We have a Good Shepherd, and He has laid His life down for the sheep. His was the ultimate pain.
So did Much-Afraid and I risk the pain and heartache to have the seed of Love planted so the flower might blossom in our hearts? Well I'll share with you a little secret: He's promised to love me in return, with an everlasting love. And you know, "he who promised is faithful..."
So risk it we did! He has planted the seed of Love, true Love for Him, in my heart and it's scary and sometimes it hurts, but really "it is so happy to love."
And like the buckets of flowers that the sea of men were buying at Whole Foods today, the flower of Love is blossoming and blooming in my heart - even on Valentines Day.

But one question (of more importance than all else written above) remains: Is true Love planted in your heart? Are you blooming? Just ask the Good Shepherd. He'll plant it there.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day Off...

Today is my day off.
And since the past two weeks (really the past month) of my life have been utterly consumed by Cinderella it's left little time for me to be Cinderella... You know the song... "Cinderelly, Cinderelly night and day it's "Cinderelly." Make the fire, fix the breakfast, wash the dishes, do the moppin'... And the sweepin' and the distin' they always keep her hoppin'."
So day off = Cleaning day.
Ugghhh... Maybe if I whistle it would help. Maybe if I could whistle it would help.
Oh if only life were a Disney movie. Then I'd have cute little birdies, mice, chipmunks... even a deer or two to help me. And boy are they ever cute! Watch this clip and you'll see what I mean. I think the squirrels are my favorite. Ha... I think I clean like a squirrel.

But on second thought, this in real life would look more like the following clip (forgive the japanese subtitles...) than the one above. And I'm sorry but having pigeons flying around in my place would be so horrifically terrifying (not to mention absurd) that I think I'd rather used the magic wand of Clorox than animal labor. Bummer. Well looks like I'd better learn to whistle soon...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A dream is a wish your heart makes...

Do you know this tune?
A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you will lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true
Although this wasn't my favorite song in this animated classic, it was and is and will always be my favorite Disney movie. Any guesses? Maybe this will spark your memory:

Surprise, surprise! Cinderella of course! If only I were that chipper in the morning. Maybe if I lived in a sweet tower and had birds and mice attending me... Then again, the thought of real birds flying around in my room gives me a mini panic attack. Seriously.

But is a dream a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep? I don't know about you but I hardly ever remember my dreams. And yet I'm probably one of the biggest daydreamers I know - I mean I didn't get the nickname "Spacey" as a kid 'cause I wanted to be an astronaut... Nope. I dreamed that I'd be a ballerina. But in pursuing this dream, I didn't "lose [my] heartache," as the song says...
Year after year I'd audition for Nutcracker, and year after year I'd scan down the casting list, no "Anspach" to be found. But hope is strong in little hearts and dreams, persevering.
I was 9 and the year was 1994. My mom and I went to see my friends (and classmates) Kira Elste, Katie Lindstrom and Justine Sheedy perform in a ballet that once again I desperately wished I was a part of. Kira and Katie were Memory Children (Kira got to swing on a swing onstage - how cool is that?!!!) and Justine was a pumpkin. The ballet: Kent Stowell's Cinderella.
And as excited as I was to see my friends dance onstage, I was utterly mesmerized as the curtain rose to reveal the exquisite ballroom scene of the 2nd Act - the women dressed in these exquisite red tulle creations dancing with their handsome partners.
Just hours before I'd wanted to be a pumpkin, or even swing on a swing, but in that moment I dreamed of the day when I'd get to wear that red waltz dress and tiara and dance to that magical music.

Busted, bad-quality bathroom shot.
But at least you get the idea...
Well, today was the day. The dream that I wished did come true. It's been 17 years in the making but patience is a virtue, right? Well at the very least it's fruit the Lord's been cultivating in me.

So what happens when the dream comes true? Well you get a new one! And oh I have so many...
But this Cinderella ballet of "dreams-come-true"... well, it kind of inspires/perpetuates this habit of mine - dreaming that is.
So what's the wish my heart's making right now? It's a big wish. It's a big hope - almost as big as becoming a ballerina. But dare I speak it? Is Cinderella right? If I tell you will it not come true? Maybe if my faith is based on my dream and not on the One who gives it to me in the first place.
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still and wait patiently for him;" ~ Psalm 37:4-7.
So I delight myself in the Lord. My hope and trust are found in Him alone, and I have faith in the Author of my dreams. Cause after all, "nothing is impossible with God."
And lastly, (often the hardest part of all) I ask... I ask Him someday that I might get to trade in my red tutu for a white one, my plain pink pointe shoes for beautiful bedazzled ones and that His righteousness in me would shine like the dawn. But in the meantime, while I wait patiently for Him, I praise and thank Him for the dreams that have come true. And I waltz in red.

If you haven't bought your tickets yet for Cinderella do it now! They're going fast and the clock's already rung once... 9 more shows before the magic and the beauty vanish (but hopefully not forever!). To buy them click here.
And if you have a dream - you keep on dreaming, and don't be afraid to ask. Trust the Lord! He'll work it out for your good and His glory!