<![CDATA[Magical Musings - Magical Musings]]>Sun, 24 Jan 2016 00:28:45 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Breaking Enigma or Embracing It?]]>Tue, 10 Feb 2015 20:40:56 GMThttp://magicalmusings.weebly.com/magical-musings/breaking-enigma-or-embracing-itIt’s been one year.  It’s been a year of walking, talking, growing, sharing, laughing, crying and praying with three amazing women.  We call it a mentor group, but it’s so much more.  People use words like “awesome, great and amazing” so often, but these are understatements when describing the gift of this year.  It’s rare to find people you trust enough to lean into the mystery of faith and life and share your ugliest and brightest, and know with certainty they won’t run from either.  They won’t run from your darkness and they won’t be intimated by your light.  Instead they’ll embrace you and celebrate you and hold up your arms when you grow weary. 
 
Have I sold you on mentoring?  Great!  (Totally not my point.)  Instead, I make a case for mystery.  

Life is full of mystery – the fear of the unknown can hold us back so often.  However, Jesus embodies mystery.  This can be beautiful and let’s face it; this can be frustrating.  We like order, known-ness and clarity.  But can we freefall into mystery and become friends with ambiguity?  Do we have a choice?  Of course we do, but perhaps we’ll breathe a little easier when we shake hands with the enigmatic. 

Have you ever stood before a mountain range more powerful and more magnificent than you?  Do you seek to understand it’s greatness or do you embrace the climb?  Have you stood on a stretch of sand breathing in the salty breeze?  Do you dare to understand the ocean’s pull on your soul or do you marvel at the gentle calm and raging power of the sea? 

Is the mystery of Christ in me any different?  Mystery and victory go together, just ask Jesus.  There is no time for sleep in the ocean of mystery for transformation is but a wink away.  To resist mystery is a prison of our own making. 

Lean into the mystery
Jump in

In the depths of the unknown
We find ourselves intimately known
We are named
Again and again Grace calls out


Who am I to dance in delight and tinker with desire?
Beckoned into a vast sea stirring with power
Mercy on the surface and strength below  
Stillness covers a raging war

Mystery wreaks havoc within
It’s the kindest act of mercy
Lonely soul jolted with truth
Smooth out wrinkles in my twisted breath

Boundless tenderness and strength

Tug and pull this heart of mine
Awaken and jump, Dearest One

The mystery flirts and flits before you.

Soaked full             
I press deeper into the mystery

And then I asked Him, “Lord, what do you want me to learn about you and your mystery?”

My heart already knew the answer while my head was catching up.  He reminded me of truths I learned in a little prayer room warmed by the sun and by the love of a woman after God’s own heart. 

I can rest in His mystery and be at ease in the unknown.  I can rejoice in uncertainty because He holds my heart close.  I can delight and be delighted in – that is the measure of joy in embracing the risk of mystery.  There is no end to the unknown – it’s the only thing that’s certain.  When did we become obsessed with safety?  There is no celebration in risk-less living.  The call is to step out, to jump into the mystery of daring to be known in certain unknown-ness.  

When was the last time you jumped? 
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In Cambodia with beautiful people who taught me to love deeply and risk greatly - for there is great healing in love and risk. They know nothing but mystery, and that is a sweet and daring place to be.
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<![CDATA[Fifteen days into 2015]]>Thu, 15 Jan 2015 16:11:41 GMThttp://magicalmusings.weebly.com/magical-musings/fifteen-days-into-2015
The past few years I was inspired to choose a word or focus for the year.  Have you ever done that?  Last year, God took me on a journey of learning to be present in His presence.  I was also inspired by Shauna Niequist to “live freer, softer and braver”.  This was my prayer countless times throughout the year.  

This year my word is “abide”.   I want to learn to live with intention, grace and courage.  I chose these words, or more accurately these words chose me, after a painful, yet eye-opening moment.  I had forgotten how messy freefalls are.  Wouldn’t it be nice if waking up a little deeper were just clean and pretty?  
What I learned brought me into this year slightly bruised from sliding into home base, but exhilarated from the run.  (You’re welcome baseball fans.  And yes, I know it’s not baseball season.)  Being present in God’s presence looks a lot like resting, waiting, listening and being still.  Things I’m naturally quite terrible at doing.  I thought abiding would look the same.  I was wrong.  I think abiding – remaining connected and living deeply – looks much more like stepping out in faith.  Thanks to Andrew Murray’s beautiful little book, I’ve learned that God is even more invested in me abiding in Him than I am.  After all, he abides in me as well.  Crazy wonderful, yes?  

A year of being present (or doing my best) has prepped me for a season of stepping out with intention, living with grace and listening with courage.  Let’s call this “Game Day”, but in the quietest of ways.  There probably won’t be much shouting or face paint or butt slaps (well, maybe a little bit).  There will be a sense of purpose and poise in stepping out.  I will step out onto the field of writing bravely and daring to pursue my dreams, and I will step onto the court of leading with grace and loving deeply.  I’ll say yes to things that matter instead of staying paralyzed with fear and waiting so long for the right moment that it passes me right by.
So here are fifteen things I’ve learned on the fifteenth day of 2015 (because I’m sure you were dying to know):

1.  Bossypants by Tina Fey is a worthwhile read – don’t take yourself or the book too seriously, but don’t be surprised when you learn something.

2.  Moving in with your sister and brother-in-law and bonus roommate is surprisingly awesome, but don’t make a fire in the fireplace and close the vent too soon.  I’m now sporting a musty scent today at work.  It’s not my favorite.

3.  Eating clean makes you feel good inside and out.  It takes planning and budgeting, but it’s worth it and the buddy system helps.

4.  Make new friends and grow old friendships.  (I’m not saying I’m old).  Community is priceless and takes work.  Build community and be committed to it.  It’s a beautiful thing.

5.  Support other people’s dreams.  I love giving my brother books by comedians so he knows he is seen, loved and supported in dreaming big.

6.  Chase moments of whimsy and grace.  They go hand in hand more often than you think (or so I think.  Bob Goff does too).

7.  You are never too old for Disneyland, Harry Potter, the zoo and dance parties in the living room.  Enough said.

8.  Networking is really about friendship and wanting the best for others.  I’m so thankful to be surrounded by great examples of this.

9.  Sometimes you feel lonely.  Know that it’s okay.  Just sit with it for a moment or two.  Maybe cry and hug a dog.  Then get up and shake it off just like said dog. (Psychologists say this works).

10.  I’m convinced family is God’s greatest gift.  Friends that are family are just as wonderful.  Someday I’ll take them all to Disneyland.

11.  Embrace moments of “Carpe Diem”.  Remember those who have gone before whose shoulders we stand on and then look around for those who have grown weary and need someone to lift their arms for them until the battle is won.

12.  Learning what kind of eggs you like is liberating.  (In case you were wondering, I like them scrambled with lots of veggies cooked with curry, salt, pepper and a dash of cardamom).

13.  Be mentored.  My mentor embodies intention, grace and courage.  I have learned so much from her of the kind of life I want to live – find someone like that in your life.

14.  Read a lot. Read your favorites, read recommendations, and read something totally outside your norm. 

15.  Say yes, say no and let things go.  (Brilliant, I know).  I’m learning to say yes to what matters and to what takes me deeper, say no to what adds clutter and chaos, and know when it’s time to let something go. 

So there you have it.  Fifteen things that you didn’t ask for, but you got them anyway.  If you’re one of my tens of readers who made it through to fifteen, let’s be friends.  Chances are if you read this, you already are.  So here’s to a season of intention, grace and courage.

Wishing you a brave week friends!
Love, 
Esther 

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<![CDATA[Light Always Fights]]>Tue, 09 Dec 2014 20:31:30 GMThttp://magicalmusings.weebly.com/magical-musings/light-always-fightsMy words, His response.
A tug and pull of Spirit, Father and Friend.
A response to a gift that’s one of a kind
A painting, a story, a promise.

A canvas so innocent.  Truth so striking.

A gift of hope from a true friend
A gift of vision for what is to come
A gift of remembrance for battles past

A girl at a big grey wall once again. Oh how He loves her.
A gift to keep fighting, growing, loving, healing and thanking
To keep pressing forward in gentle days, rugged days and boring days
To maintain a posture of heaven and pause with the sacred

A battle fought, a battle won.  A battle wound surfaces again.

Hope is rising
Hope is waiting
Hope is multiplying
Hope is.

A hesitant brush on a canvas page.
Hope is me and hope is you
Relax into my Presence, He says
Soak your soul in my truth
Let me love you closer to me

I paint determined to break light out of dark.

An expectant gift, but one with no pressure, no strings attached
Just a wish and a promise to love as you find colors dancing in your soul

I paint desperate to see color rush through.
So, awake.
Awaken to color and beauty and rest
Your trust in God is sweet and deep
Trust in yourself is shaky and uncertain

Now.  Paint now.  Paint with your heart and soul until you bleed thanks.

Be brave dear heart and take a chance
Stumble, limp, dance and sing
Be not afraid of the strength in you
Be not afraid of the tenderness in you

Warmth.  Peace floods. 
Fear not the waves for they listen to His name
Waves of doubt crash around your soul threaten to pull you under
Peace, be still, He says, She is mine

Transformation, my good old friend.

Piece by piece the wall comes down
Peace by peace until light breaks through

To speak the tongue of heaven.  The language of life.
So dance my soul
Sing out with joy
Heart be brave and take flight

Soul piercing, mind captivating, heart transforming.

Oh to hear you beyond myself
There is a time to rest and a time to be brave
Now be brave in your rest and restful in your brave

Safe, wild and free.  Come to me.
So dare to hope
And may stone wall break
Color is waiting to come rushing through
Color and light dizzy with expectation for you

Come to me and breathe in wide open spaces.

Are you ready?
Be brave.
It’s time to let go

I am hereI am good.
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<![CDATA[Chasing Rainbows]]>Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:05:49 GMThttp://magicalmusings.weebly.com/magical-musings/chasing-rainbowsDriving home from work one evening, I was blown away by the incredible sky.  It was one of those slow, summer sunsets that fills the sky and takes its time to travel across the horizon.  I pulled over to snap a few pictures while it was still light enough.  My car was parked on a rocky outlet on a side street, I left the car running and the door open as I jumped out to capture the last light on my trusty smart phone.  I was literally pursuing the light and chasing the beauty.  When was the last time you chased beauty?  

This reminded me of when I was a young high school student and my sister was in middle school.  At the time, our family lived in a house that backed up to a field and beyond that was a golf course.  One summer, a brilliant rainbow stretched across the sky and looked as if it was actually touching the ground in the field.  Colorful light filled a grassy area that appeared just a short distance away from our house.  My sister and I threw on our shoes, rushed out the back door and ran to find that rainbow.  I was sure we could touch it. 

So we ran and ran.  We ran through the field and across the bridge that led to the golf course.  The farther we ran, the farther the rainbow went.  We ran on for a while pausing to catch our breath.  It’s not easy chasing rainbows in Colorado’s high altitude.  I put logic aside and was convinced I really could touch the rainbow if we ran faster.  We ran a little further, but alas, we didn’t touch the rainbow.  It was always just beyond our reach, and we knew that, yet we delightfully pursued anyway.  I love this little memory and I still hold in my heart a faith that says you can catch rainbows if you chase them hard enough. 

Sometimes in the chaos of life we forget to chase rainbows.  We forget to look up and notice a summer sunset claiming the sky.  I turn my eyes inward and get stuck.  I put the emphasis on myself, not on He who is greater.  Suddenly, I forget rainbows and chasing beauty because I get lost in myself.  When will I wake up from this toxic sleep of self-obsession?  When will I be brave enough to be free, unbound in endless salvation, resting in quiet hallelujahs? 

I hold dear a philosophy of chasing rainbows.  A little whimsy and faith can go a long way.  Maybe you can’t touch rainbows; maybe science says it’s impossible.  I don’t care.   I will keep chasing rainbows anyway.  

Alive and awake
Sky speak to me
I chase your brilliance
I catch sun’s last light

Quickly fading
My last glimpse is another’s first taste
Morphing color make your brilliance known to me
Great big sky encircle me like a warm embrace

Sweet kisses of pink, blue and gold
Heaven in the wisps of every cloud
Your vastness in miles of big open sky

Your creative canvas
Your most holy playground
A love letter of highest form
A kaleidoscope of light

Heaven softly calling from up above
Surrounded by love’s perfect touch
Clouds surrendered to their maker
Lighthearted they rest in splendid suspension

A place of fearless awe and wonder
Overwhelmed you would paint skies for me
In a world torn, hurting and afraid
You pause to create such beauty

Who am I to deserve such art?
A gift I’m most undeserving
But I’ll stand still and wait and watch 

A moment in time is mine for the taking
If only I’ll look up
Inward eyes I do despise
Yet I’m so easily swayed

Emphasis on you is joy
Roots of faith grow down deep
Taking hope from wondrous skies

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<![CDATA[Magic Eye]]>Sun, 24 Aug 2014 00:45:47 GMThttp://magicalmusings.weebly.com/magical-musings/magic-eye
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Image from magiceye.com
Having eyes to see and ears to hear is what I long for.  Jesus talked about it a lot.  Churches don't talk about it enough.  But what does that mean?  I believe it's seeing with faith.  It’s believing enough to hear through the noise.  It reminds me of the Magic Eye books.  Did you ever see one of those prints?  They were unusual pieces of art.  They were made of a colorful patterns repeated across the page, each line of the pattern slightly different than the next.  Curious and tricky in nature, you would focus on a two dimensional print in order to see a three dimensional picture.  You could look at it, walk right past it and miss it. 

The first Magic Eye print I saw was at a gallery in downtown Dallas, Texas when I was young.  My mom walked up to the print with me, explained the instructions and stood before the picture with her arm stretched out in front of her, pointer finger extended straight up.  The instructions were to study your finger until the background, the print, begins to move and form into a picture.  Wikipedia describes it this way: “The viewer must diverge his or her eyes in order to see a hidden three-dimensional image within the pattern.”  It sounds trippy, but it totally worked. Soon you could see the picture, so you could lower your arm.  Then you were able to get lost in the three dimensional picture before you of a castle or an animal or a ship.  Once you saw the picture you could even step to the right or to the left so the picture would move with you.  It was fascinating.  Later, we bought a book filled with these prints.  You could use your finger or you could use my technique, which was to hold the book right up against your face until the print got blurry from you starring at it a little cross-eyed, then you would very slowly pull it away from your face.  The picture would get clearer and clearer until you could move your eyes about the page looking at this pop up scene before you that had emerged from the pattern on the page.

Believe it or not I have a point with this story.  I propose that we must develop a magic eye.  In order to have eyes to see, we must relearn how to see not just with our eyes, but with our hearts.  Seeing into the kingdom is a multisensory experience that begins in the heart.  The eyes of our hearts must be open, that’s why it’s important to guard our hearts.  Learning to see into the kingdom and developing a magic eye is no trick.  We may or may not look as wonky as I did trying to see the Magic Eye prints in my book, but we must practice this sight over and over until it becomes second nature.  We must diverge our eyes in Christ so we can have kingdom eyes. 

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<![CDATA[Will you look up?]]>Thu, 07 Aug 2014 21:47:03 GMThttp://magicalmusings.weebly.com/magical-musings/will-you-look-upWhen my best friend and I were Juniors in high school we went on a school “field trip” to France.  The school required chaperones, which meant our moms got to come as well.  I call it a field trip, but calling a grand adventure such is nearly insulting.  I’ll call it our French Adventure instead. 

Back home at school our teacher had told us to blend in by wearing nice clothes.  Jeans and tennis shoes were to be left at home as this would make us stand out as Americans.  Walking in a row 18 people long down the streets of France with cameras out, however, was acceptable.  And so, my best friend and I brilliantly bought matching outfits to blend in.  Our favorite outfit was black and white printed capris with little knit berets.  Seriously.  We totally blended in. 
Picture
Yes, we walked down the Eiffel Tower barefoot. Is there any other way?
In the midst of this two week French Adventure, we found ourselves in the most perfectly charming city overlooking the water around every cobblestoned bend.  High stoned walled kept the ocean on one side and the town on the other.  I can’t remember the name of this most perfect French town, but I do remember what happened here. 

Picture this.  You are walking together, the four of you, breathing in the city’s evening sounds as the sun is slowly deciding to set.  It’s not crowded, so you’re not worried about hanging onto your purse or watching where you’re going.  You are simply meandering, winding down streets of cobblestone.  Small buildings line the quiet street, some are shops, some are restaurants and a few others are homes.

Suddenly, you see something on the ground just a short distance ahead of you and your little group.  In your excitement, you point to it and yell, “Look up!”

Because you’re still excitedly pointing down at this mysterious object, you don’t understand why everyone is looking up.  Now everyone is just paces away from this object.  So, again, you point to the ground and shout with fervor, “Look up!” 

Everyone continues to look up searching for what mystifying piece of historic scenery you are trying to point out.  It doesn’t occur to you that you meant to say “Look out” until your mom, who is focused on looking up, walks right into a pile of French doggie poo.

Oops. 

Years later, my friend would use this little story as a word of advice.  On a Christmas card to me she wrote,

“I was thinking about our trip to France, and I discovered something profound.  As we walked along the cobblestone streets filled with poo you cried “Look up!”  I think you had discovered a universal truth: The road of life is full of sh… poop, and the best thing to do is to look up and just enjoy the beauty around us.  My wish for you this year is that you ignore the shit and enjoy all the wonderful things.”
Picture
See how awesome we were?
I still have this Christmas card; it’s kind of a treasure.  

Then today, I thought of this story again.  I was driving home from work and was blown away by the sunset.  Not just the sunset, but the skies themselves.  It was like standing inside a snow globe of sunset surrounded by a sky so vast you had to turn in circles just to see it all.  I had to pull over and take a picture (or ten) it was that breathtaking.  I don’t know what your sunsets are like, but in my opinion Colorado has the biggest skies.  This means miles of sky for your viewing pleasure, and a perfect canvas for sunsets.  But you will only see it if you look up.
So often my eyes are glued to a computer screen, my phone, my desires, and my worries.  What if my eyes were more often drawn to the sky?  What if I sought His face over the bustling pace of life?  What if we all did?  What if we all trained ourselves to look up a little longer and a little more often?  What if we looked up?

What if … two little words charged with potential. 

Look up … two innocent words drenched with invitation.

Every day we’re given invitations to stop what we’re doing and look up.  Moments of beauty given just for us.  Take a moment to breathe in the moments of peace.  Feel the sun warm your skin and the breeze on your face, don’t just take note of it on the run.  It’s a calling. 

He will not force you to rest and look up.  But he’ll always be there waiting.  
Will you look up?

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<![CDATA[Sunflower Song]]>Sat, 02 Aug 2014 00:15:00 GMThttp://magicalmusings.weebly.com/magical-musings/1Usually I like running, but today was not that day. I squeaked out the miles in new shoes that were no bueno for my feet. But this sight stopped me in my tracks. 

We've had drizzling grey weather the past week, unusual for Colorado especially this time of year.  The stark contrast of the grey horizon and the bold sunflower reminded me of my own story. 

It was a long process of awakening from a world of grey, and I was and will always be so thankful for the sunflowers in my life that beckoned me to more.  Those sunflowers have names and faces.  My amazing mom who listened to me with profound patience and endlessly spoke life and vision into a weary soul, Joanie who sat on the floor before me in a little prayer room and held my feet to ground me while she prayed over me, even a favorite author, who at the time I hadn’t met before, whose writings spoke to me at a new and deep level.  God reached me through each of these people in ways unique and beautiful. 

I’m thankful for these people.  I’m even thankful for the grey.  For where there was no awareness of grey, there would have been no sight to see the color of freedom.  I am forever thankful for you, my sunflowers, my heroes.   

A drop of color in a world of tasteless grey
A burst of light to chase desperate gloom away

In your honor, you beseech me
And draw me toward worlds anew

Poison creeps in and suffocates the soul
But a power awaits beyond all control

I draw strength from your great beauty
Courage from wonder once lost

Poised to defeat by strength of light
Reckless in every act of love’s bold might

Little sunflower formed of gold
You were not made to fight alone

Your sense of self sways with every gust
With your face to sun you know to trust

Unpretentious little flower
What secrets you must know

Gentle petals of valiant hue
Seeps all that is good, wonderful and true

To the sun and wind, you may bend
Yet grow bright in tender strength

A poetic bloom of mystery
Captivating in raw honesty

A little hope of color
Most gracious dash of life

A priceless beauty to be sure
A warrior of freedom’s great valor

Striking passion in field of earth’s hot breath
You sing a different song

For you stand your ground
In a world tragically grey bound

A song of hallelujahs
Some broken but made whole

So simple and so true
You stand firm as true you

So stand your ground and sing your song
Driving twisted grey away

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<![CDATA[Friendly Shadow]]>Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:11:21 GMThttp://magicalmusings.weebly.com/magical-musings/friendly-shadowAs I was walking through Old Colorado City on this warm summer evening, I came across a mysteriously happy blue door.  Turns out this door had a friend.  ;)
Dear bouncing little shadow
Will you come with me?
Play in the brightest light
To chase away darkest day

Ever changing little shadow
Keep dancing all around
Follow the rhythm of radiance
To engage sun’s passion song

Little shadow with softly twisted edges
Skip through life’s worst roadblocks
Morph sweetly onto living canvas
To cast art across beaten paths

Shy and secret little shadow
Be bold in your gentle way.
No fear of desperate darkness
To catch the seeking rays

Dearest silhouette of hope
Capture sun’s last magic!
Play with eclipsed companion
To taste brilliance before it slips away

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<![CDATA[Pink Mountains]]>Sun, 06 Jul 2014 20:50:48 GMThttp://magicalmusings.weebly.com/magical-musings/pink-mountains
Took this picture and wrote this on a long early morning run.  Turns out 8 miles is rough on the knees, 
but easy on the heart.


Pink light bathes granite mountain top
Towering in strength
Beckoning with its intensity

A gentle call washed in early morning light
Come and live fully
A hard heart turned flesh
A song of true home

One step then another
Always climbing
Always seeking
Will I reach the top?

My name whispered in the breeze
Hope mingles with peace in a perfect pirouette
Chasing shadows to find smiling light
And tangle my fingers in its grateful glimmer

Gentleness splayed across strength in playful pink
Weightless in its wonder
I feel the impact full force
Stillness seeps deep into my soul

An inspired climb higher still
To touch the painted peak
And breathe in kiss of heaven so sweet

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<![CDATA[Love & Baseball]]>Sat, 05 Apr 2014 20:29:44 GMThttp://magicalmusings.weebly.com/magical-musings/love-baseballHannah & Matt ... Endless summer, forever love.
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