The Benedictine Disciples

5 01 2011

A habit that I have is walking across the campus where I work during my lunch or break times especially when the weather is beautiful and warm enough to get outdoors in the winter. Yesterday, I decided to go for a walk since the sun was shining and so I set out on my usual path for my late lunch walk. As I headed toward the library I decided to run in and do a quick search for a book I needed for a project for school and believe it or not I was in and out in less than 5 minutes and successfully found the book I was looking for! So far, my day is going great! Again, I set out on my walk and am headed toward the divinity school enjoying the absolutely beautiful day when I spot 3 young gentlemen that are walking around with a video camera and a tripod. I spot them. They spot me. And before I know it we are headed straight for each other.

They introduced themselves as being seniors at the Benedictine College in Kansas and they were traveling around the south looking for people to interview on what the meaning of life is. Wow! The meaning of life?! They went straight for the tough question….there was no slowly breaking me in on that one! So, I agreed to be videotaped and to answer their questions so once the video was rolling the interview began. I answered their first question and my answer was a “religious one” because I mentioned that my faith in God was what brought me meaning and believing that I am on this earth to serve a purpose, designated by God, and to complete that purpose was my answer. They all kind of looked at each other as I was talking with a somewhat surprised look but they seemed to be pleasantly surprised. I was hoping with a name like Benedictine College that it would mean they were Christians, too. I answered a few more questions that touched on some deep issues but I felt at ease talking to them because they did not appear to be threatened by my talking about God so much. The interview ended and they thanked me for my honesty and one of them told me that they were all Christians, too, and that they were excited about the interviews that they were getting. Only about 5 or 6 people had declined the interview so it seems that they were blessed in their travels.

They were talking about starting out in St. Louis, maybe somewhere else before Nashville, and then they were headed on to Atlanta yesterday afternoon to end up in New Orleans before heading back home. The project will be completed in April and then they will graduate. We said a quick goodbye and then we parted.

As I walked away these three young men made me think of the disciples. It says in Luke’s account of the last supper that Jesus sent Peter and John into the city to make preparations to eat the Passover. It was like seeing some of Jesus’ disciples sent out to complete a task and they were willingly doing what was asked of them. Hopefully they will be blessed in their journey, blessed by the people that they meet and bless some people along the way. I know I felt blessed after meeting them and getting to spend a few minutes talking about the 1 man in my life that I love more than life itself…Jesus.

I have had more encounters with other believers during my lunch walks (you will have to check out my earlier blog titled “Jake and the Yellow Balloon”) and it always happens on a day when I really want some Godly joy to just drop in and visit, even if it is for just a few minutes. I am thankful that God takes moments like these to assure me that I am not alone in this world when it comes to having brothers and sisters in Christ!

Maybe it is time for you to take a walk soon and expect the unexpected!

Be blessed in your travels,
Carolyn

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Can you do this?

5 07 2010

I am taking a drawing and composition class this summer and my instructor is great at letting us listen to Pandora Radio during class while we are drawing indoors. He showed up to class one day and was telling us about this incredible dance scene that you can find on YouTube. It is the Nicholas Brothers and he said this was the most amazing dance scene he had ever witnessed! We all stood around the Apple on the counter and everyone in the class was amazed at what we were seeing! I have never in my life been able to do the splits much less imagine coming up off the floor from the split position with absolutely NO hands! Once the 3 minute video was finished a woman in the class asked “Did they have cups back then?” I sure hope so!!

Some things you’ve just got to see for yourself so I leave the link below for you to discover a world that makes me wish I could dance like this! Well…..almost like this!
Here’s to the playful side living in all of us!





Jake and the Yellow Balloon

11 06 2010

Today was a very busy day and for a Friday I was just really, really ready to get it over with so I could go home and relax. My job has kept me very busy this past week and although it has been fine and I was doing great plowing through the piles on my desk, it just so happens that I hit the wall today. Finally, the busyness caught up with me and I mentally was on E…empty. All it took was one little thing to trigger me and I was a goner. One more thing got added to the long list and piles of things to do that doesn’t seem to get that much shorter before it starts quickly growing again. It was enough that I felt the tension inside of me growing, the tears started to surface and I felt some anger welling up in me. I decided it was time to take a walk outdoors even if it was 90 degrees and just get out of the 4 walls that I had been sitting between for way too many hours! So, I fought the tears and I went for a walk.

I love walking on Vanderbilt campus because it is just so beautiful. There are so many meandering sidewalks and paths that I can take that each time it can be a new adventure. It was rather warm but there was a nice breeze stirring so I finally ended up coming to rest on a bench below some very beautiful, tall and old majestic trees and was facing the library lawn. As I sat there, I just enjoyed the wonderful feeling of the breeze against my skin, loved watching the chipmunk scurry around into the monkey grass and I just watched people as they walked by. Some were families who were obviously visiting with their children who were possibly interested in attending Vanderbilt and others were students, professors, faculty or staff and the world was just at a relaxed pace underneath those old trees. It was nice! It suddenly hit me that not only had my week been really busy but I have some friends in my life who are really struggling with some things right now and I have been reminded of some of my past hurts as I watch and hear about what they are going through right now. That helped add to the way I was feeling today. At that moment, I had a private conversation with God and just decided that I would share with Him what I was feeling. As I informed God that I had some hard stuff I was focusing on because of pain that others are experiencing I knew that I needed to turn these things and these people back over to God where they belonged anyway. No sooner had the words crossed my mind, “God, I guess I need to give these things back to you because I cannot handle them and I just need You to take over and have control of the situation”, I happened to look up and to my left only to see something out of the ordinary.

A guy. A tall, very slender guy in a navy pullover shirt with baby blue trim on the sleeves and collar, dark shorts and tennis shoes. With a backpack on and no less than 20 balloons tied to thus said backpack floating about 4-6 feet above his head! I looked at him with wide amazement on my eyes and my lips cracking a smile and we made eye contact. He looked at me and started to smile and then he turned right down the sidewalk and headed straight for my bench! My smile only grew wider and as he got closer he asked me if I wanted a balloon? I said, sure! He sat down beside me after he took off his backpack and sat it in his lap with the mass of balloons now floating only a few feet away from me. He introduced himself as Jake and we shook hands and he said “what color would you like”? I said any color would do and then I asked him if he had been handing out balloons all day today? He said he was out “spreading some joy” and that he had seen a lot of smiles today! I told him that I could understand why! So, he chose a yellow balloon on a yellow string and said that yellow was the color of joy. I told Jake that I could use some joy today so he cut the string and handed me the yellow balloon and I now had 1 lone balloon floating above my head and he still had the many! I’m sure we looked pretty funny sitting together on that bench! Jake attends Lipscomb University and is in the Divinity program so I felt led to ask him if that meant he was a Christian. He said yes and asked me the same to which I said yes and we carried on about a 2-3 minute conversation about Christianity and I just sat there thinking that this has got to be God himself sitting next to me with a HUGE bunch of balloons! The very timing of it all, the very way he approached me was with purpose but a calm and peaceful purpose. Jake had a message to deliver to me and it was JOY! I gave something that was bringing me anything but joy back over to God and instantly He brought me JOY. Literally! Joy was handed to me, it was spoken to me and it sat right next to me! JOY literally landed on the bench next to me. As we ended our conversation, Jake walked down the sidewalk to the next bench and started to spread more JOY to 2 other people sitting on that bench. I got up, walked with a JOYful purpose back to my office, carrying my 1 yellow balloon and finished my day with JOY in my heart!

God, thanks for being the guy with the balloons today that sat down next to me and thank You for literally handing me a JOYful yellow ballon today! It was You, I just know it!

Love and much JOY to you!
Carolyn





Dreams. Is God talking to me?

27 05 2010

So many people seem to be fascinated with dreams and what their dreams symbolize. I must say that I am curious and sometimes wonder why I dream the things I do but it has never really been an obsession of mine. This past Thanksgiving I sat down and talked briefly to a person who has studied dreams and what I heard him say was pretty interesting. He explained to me that he believes that God uses our dreams to reveal certain truths and even our future to us. He told me that when he wakes up from a dream he jots down a few words in a notebook that he keeps by his bed to help him remember what he dreamed about. He said later on he would look back over the notes and some of his dreams had come true or events had happened that were very similar to what he had dreamed about. He encouraged me to do the same when I had dreams.

Not too long ago I asked God to speak to me in my dreams and I believe that He has. I have had a series of dreams sporadically about a certain individual and I feel that God is talking to me through my dreams. The only problem is that I am not certain what He is trying to say. Some of the dreams have been good and some have been bad. Mostly I would wake up and be sad or upset by the dream even if it was good because I felt like I was being haunted by my dreams. One morning I was sobbing in a dream and was so upset at what was happening. When I woke up it was not just in my dream. I literally was crying and having a hard time catching my breath. It was such a sad and overwhelming feeling to be crying over something that happened in a dream. I was so tired and sad that all I could do was lay there waiting for my sobs to subside and I soon drifted back into a peaceful sleep.

This morning I had another dream and it startled me awake. Instead of being sad about the dream when I woke up, I instead accepted it for what it was. A dream that may have a message but right now I am not meant to know what that message is. God, if you are trying to tell me something, teach me something or reveal part of my future to me then please be patient with me because I do not fully understand what is happening or what it all means. It’s as if my dreams do not coincide together but are “here and there” events that are being plucked out along the way and revealed to me. These are things that have not happened to me before but I feel that they are intertwining with my present and becoming a part of me and my memories. It is strange to have these feelings. How can I have “memories” of things that have not happened? Will it one day be one of those moments when something happens, something clicks and I flash back to a memory from a dream and say “I’ve been here before or seen this before”? Sometimes I wonder if the person I am dreaming about is having dreams about me or if we could possibly be having the same dreams?! I chuckle at this thought sometimes because I know God moves in mysterious ways but that would just be crazy if it were true! Could it be?

What I do know is that God’s thoughts are greater than my thoughts so I am learning to be content in not trying to figure out what the message is. I hope I’ll simply just accept that things are exactly the way they are supposed to be for now. Maybe someday He will reveal the “bigger picture” to me.

Sweet dreams everybody and good night!

Carolyn





The White Hat

8 04 2010

She sat at the table next to mine in McDonald’s. Her hat is what caught my attention. It was a white toboggan and it stood out among the other patrons in the restaurant because it was a warm, sunny day outside so a hat was not needed on this day. I decided to steal a few more glances so I could try to determine if this little girl was sick. Her mom had stepped away to go find napkins so the little girl was left alone at the table.

Her face was forlorn and she sat with a downward stare as though it took all of the strength she had in her to sit there. She had walked rather slowly to the table like she was being careful to not overexert herself too much. She simply sat with her hands in her lap and she was very still. Her eyelids appeared to be closed like she was trying to get in a quick nap but her head was tilted so low that she may have just been staring downward or just lost in thought. That white hat, which looked so soft and unlike most toboggans and was an off-white color, is what I kept noticing when I glanced her way. It stood out especially with what she was wearing. A cute pink turtleneck that had the neck folded over as a normal turtleneck does but in the front it was flipped up instead of down, probably by accident. Her shirt was tucked in cute purple pants and her belt was pink with a line of pale green leaves or flowers down the center of the entire length of the belt. Her socks were pink and she had on black Mary Janes. Her appearance was neat and very cute for a little girl. Of course, the white hat topped off the wardrobe! I do not know why her hat kept drawing me to look her way but there was just something about her hat being white and so unlike the other colors she had on that I could not help but glance at it occasionally. A part of me wanted to walk over there and touch her hat to see if it was as soft as it looked but that would have made for a rather awkward moment! “Excuse me may I feel of your hat because it looks so soft?”

She appeared to be around 10 or 11 years old, maybe a little younger. So young to be dealing with whatever it was that ailed her. Her face was pale but not sickly looking, just pale skin and she appeared to have a few red bumps on her face. The bumps were not of the appearance of chicken pox but just a few red bumps scattered around her face. Her cheeks looked a little swollen like a baby’s that you want to squeeze and the sides of her nose appeared a little swollen as well. I saw short brown hair sticking out from underneath her hat in the back. At first I had thought that maybe she had no hair but she at least had a little, maybe even a head full of it but I’m not sure because the hat covered all but what little that stuck out in the back. Her body was of slender frame but not tiny. She looked just like a normal girl for her age. Not skinny, not fat, just right.

As she ate her meal with her parents, I noticed that she ate slowly and she seemed to enjoy every bite but yet she showed no excitement about the situation. The food seemed to give her some much needed strength but she was unable to eat all of her sandwich. Her fingers were long and slender and she held the sandwich in both hands. With the wipe of her mouth after a few bites she then started wiping each finger carefully and slowly to make sure she had each finger clean. This action was not like most children I know who could care less if they had ketchup, mustard and crumbs all around their mouth. She took the time to eat slowly and to make sure she kept her mouth and hands clean. All in all, she was a very well behaved little girl and very neat. I heard her speak to her parents although I could not understand what she said. Her words were not as soft as I thought they’d be but not loud either. She spoke so few of them that her parents seem to revel in the fact that they had an opportunity to chat with her over something she had brought up.

She got up from the table after she had finished what she could of her meal and asked to go to the bathroom. Her parents were concerned that she might not know where it was located but she said she knew and she turned around and walked off with more quickness and strength in her steps. As she walked away, I thought she almost looked like a tomboy when she walked and it was apparent that this child probably had been taught to play outdoors because she was so slender and not at all chunky from sitting in front of the television or video games. Her steps had purpose as she headed for obviously a much needed break and she seemed to have a bounce in her steps instead of walking so smooth and slowly as she had when she first arrived and sat down at the table. At this, she and the white hat disappeared from my sight and I was left with only her parents sitting at the table next to me.