"A peace movement is an incredible thing, people coming together, mobilizing like an army, and in this case armed not with guns but with songs and something more powerful than than any bullet; compassion, the strength of human will, and determination.
For over two decades war has ravaged Northern Uganda. It is Africa’s longest running conflict and it has spread to Southern Sudan and Eastern Congo. Joseph Kony’s LRA has made abducting children and forcing them to fight his chief weapon of war, even making them kill their friends and family members. Many abductees and former soldiers escape but hide in the bush, afraid to return home because of reprisals for the atrocities they were forced to commit.
The women of Northern Uganda - widows, rape survivors, and former abductees have been banding together in groups to support each other and those orphaned by the war and diseases so prevalent in the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps. And they are singing songs. The lyrics let the former soldiers know that they are forgiven and that they should come home. The songs are passed by radio and word of mouth out into the bush, as far as the Sudan and DR Congo. And it’s working. Former LRA are returning and for the first time 24 years the region has a chance at real peace.
The Voice Project is an attempt to support these incredible women and the peace movement in Uganda, and an effort to see how far a voice can carry. "
Yesterday, elizabeth and I were flappers and went to a speakeasy.
Gadsden Arts Center (where I intern) had a gala and their theme was a 1920s Speakeasy. There were (chocolate) cigars, bathtub gin(sprite for use) , charleston dancing, warrants and arrests of 4 most wanted criminals (some wanted for promoting the arts, others for fraternizing with the artists), and lots of other fun stuff.
We did our best to look the part.
Some costumes were better...
And the Gala was held at the home of my future wedding reception. I LOVE this place.
Recently we've been talking about "margins" at church. Margins... that extra time everyone has...oh wait. My blog addresses it a little also. Taking time out of your busy schedule to spend by yourself, or with famliy, or with God. Our society tells us that if you have free time, fill it with something "productive". But isn't quiet time productive? Isn't famliy valueble? If you get too busy, you miss out on what God's trying to show you in everyday moments. Sometimes (maybe a lot of times) that stuff gets squished to the back and IF there's time, we'll get to it. But in doing that, we miss out on so much.
Here's a section from my FAVORITE book (Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire) that goes along with that idea. It's pretty long, but very powerful.
"Today…has its own whirl of responsibilities, and if we get caught up in the spin, the windows of the soul will blur by us. To keep that from happening, Anne Morrow Lindbergh suggests we strive “to be the still axis within the revolving wheel of relationships, obligations, and activities.”
The still axis.
It is able to maintain its center no matter how fast the wheel is turning. It is, in fact, what keeps the wheel turning. Without the axis being still, the wheel would wobble off or else bind up and bring everything lurching to a stop. Stillness is what gives stability. And it is what keeps the wheels from falling off our lives.
The problem is not indigenous to our times, however fast-paced and frenetic those times may seem. The problem is as old as humanity and as ingrained as human nature. Paging back two thousand years and peering through the window of another culture, we see the same problem in the home of two sisters. One is a still axis; the other is caught in a revolving wheel.
The disciples are with Jesus initially, but they don’t appear to be with Him now. Why? Is the house too small? Do they all need a break from each other after being on the road for so long?
Is Jesus tired, is that why He comes to this house?
Is He hungry? If so, for what? For food? Or is He hungry for something else, something that maybe the crowds and disciples can’t give Him?
Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem, on the way to His death. A few miles before He gets there, He stops here, at the home of these two women. He stops here, I think, because He is hungry for someone who will listen, someone who will understand, someone who will feel something of the heaviness He carries with Him on that uphill road to Jerusalem. Yes, He is hungry. But not for food.
Which of these hungers does Martha see when she greets Him at the door? Does she see a window into what is going on inside Him, a window into what He is thinking, feeling, needing? Or does she see just the leanness in His face and the angle of the sun, telling her it’s nearly time for dinner?
Martha goes to the kitchen to prepare that dinner, leaving Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet. What words is He aching to say, not just to Mary but to both of them? What words is He aching to hear, not just from Mary but from both of them?
Only one of them, though, pauses at that window. Only one of them sees the hunger in His soul. And it’s not Martha.
Martha’s in the kitchen. She works faster to make up for Mary’s absence, but the faster she works the more steamed-up she gets. Finally she wipes the sweat from her face and storms out of the kitchen with a frying-pan-of-a-question waving in her hand. But why does she shake it at Jesus and not at Mary? And why does she refer to her as “my sister” instead of by name? The answers to those questions reveal something not only of her frustration but her anger.
Can you hear in her questions not just the irritation but the indictment? “Lord, don’t you care?” Instead of waiting for an answer, Martha issues an order. What does that tell you about the nature of her questions and about the tone of voice she used in asking it?
But her wrath is met with a gentle answer. There is great tenderness in Jesus’ reply. Can you hear it?
In the past, I have more or less identified with Mary. But over the years I have had the opportunity to look deeper into my life, the more I see of Martha. The truth, I think, is that there is something of both sisters in all of us. And that is why so many of us so much of the time find ourselves in the middle of an inner tug-of-war, pulled one way by our duties and another by our devotion.
The words spoken to Martha are words spoken also to the Martha in me. But what were those words correcting? It was her worry, not her work. It was her being upset, not her being under pressure. The issue wasn’t her preparations; it was her distractions. It wasn’t the many things; it was that the many things didn’t revolve around the one thing that was needed.
There was not quite center that Martha was working from, no solitude of heart, no still axis around which her activities revolved. That’s why the wheel fell off her attitude. And that’s why, with some regularity, they fall off of mine.
When my attitude starts to wobble, I know it’s because I’m distracted. I don’t realize how much I’m distracted, though, until the axis starts grinding and heating up. Like Martha, I get frustrated, irritated, and sometimes stomping-mad-tell-somebody-off angry.
I know a wheel is starting to fall off when the meal I’m preparing becomes more important than the people I’m preparing it for. When my work becomes more important than the family I’m working for. When a point I’m making becomes more important than the person I’m making it to. That’s how I can tell I’ve lost the still axis. When I lose sight of what’s more important. When I lose a sense of the sacredness of another human being, especially the human beings closest to me, the ones in my family.
I don’t want to live in the kitchen of religious activity, distracted with all my preparations. I don’t want to live slumped over some steamed-up stove, worried and upset about so many things. I want to live at the Savior’s feet, gazing into His eyes, listening to His words, and seeing as many windows as He’ll show me.
At His feet is where we learn to pause at those windows. It starts by loving Him and longing to hear His voice. When we’re slaving away in some kitchen where the pots and pans are cleaning, it’s hard to hear that voice. But when we’re at His feet and our heart is still, we can hear Him even when He whispers."
One of the highlights from my Christmas vacation was spending time with the Cornish family for Brianna's 5th birthday party. :) I was so excited to meet Aleksa and Wesley! And of course the rest of the famliy is equally as wonderful. Here are some pictures!
Well, I'm officially an intern...2 actually! One at Gadsden Art Center and one at Crossbridge Christian Church. And I love it. Love. Love. Love. I've been journaling in my super cute Nancy Drew notebook which is good but now I don't want to write anything here. Maybe I'll get some pictures to post.
Tomorrow I'm heading back to Tally. I'm sad because the break's over and I'm leaving my family. But excited to start my internship and be back with friends.
The break has been really nice. And pretty busy. I'll post pictures soon, here are some of the things I did:
worked at Studio Plus
went to the Christmas Eve chili party
spent time with my very favorite grandma
pet a one-eyed horse
got a margarita with my mom
played, played, played with Anna Rose
went on our annual Christmas shopping outing with the Jordan family
had dinner and made gingerbread cookies with the Jordans
watched Tangled with the siblings (April, Charis, and Jacob:)
ate breakfast with an old friend
had a campfire with friends
went thrifting with Anna Renee
had family movie and game nights
went to Brianna Cornish's 5th bday party
p.s. Hopefully, writing about what goes on in my life doesn't bore you, but honestly, I mostly blog for me. I love being able to look back through the past couple years of my life and see what I was up to. Yes, I'd like to have comments and followers, but it's the process of writing, thinking, and remembering that is the best. :)
1. to contra dance.
2. that you can’t make instant pudding with soy milk.
3. that Everything is already okay.
4. to find joy.*
5. About beekeeping.
6. That I love Haiti.
7. To trust God.*
8. How to be a better art teacher.
9. To see God’s beauty everywhere.*
10. To let go.*
*Although, I know I will have to continually re-learn.
11 Things to do in 2011:
1. Be Jesus to others.
2. Learn to oil paint.
3. Memorize Bible verses.
4. Keep a good sketch book and journal.
5. Be a better daughter, sister, granddaughter, and friend
6. Listen to God and look for him in everyday moments.
7. Love more.
8. Be content with Jesus.
9. Worry less.
10. Trust Him.