As my first accomplishment in 2014, I completed a small home improvement project. No applause necessary. Really. I painted my coffee table to match the rest of my room and the furniture. That's right. I've lived here two years and I finally got off my butt and took care of that little project.
After spending four days in Arizona painting, cleaning and improving a house I'll never live in again, I decided to do something about the home in which I currently reside.
And it was tough! I first had to walk across the street to buy a can of paint (because I forgot I'd purchased the paint for this project two years ago). It took a good ten minutes to complete the process. And then there was the waiting for the paint to dry. Insufferable. But I made the best of it and used the time to get a pedicure.
Now both my coffee table and toes are painted (different colors) and thus begins a new era in taking small steps toward improvement.
And now to overanalyze...
I really can't help myself. How can I not spend some time reflecting on what would keep me from doing such a simple task? I saw this coffee table every day. Every day I noticed how it didn't really match. And, every day I chose to do nothing about it. Eventually I stopped thinking about it. I became numb to the discomfort of my avoidance. But the longer I avoided, the larger the task seemed.
And then I picked up a paint brush again and I remembered how easy it is and how much I love transforming something with a fresh coat of color. How the color of a room or an object can impact our emotions and the 'feel' of a space. And I remembered the joy of making something beautiful.
Some thoughts to ponder...
As I begin this new year I think some more reflection is in order. Are there areas in my life where I've grown numb to the nagging pain of avoidance? Have I grown too comfortable with ugliness in my midst? Is there more beauty to be experienced with a simple step of obedience? Where could I be experiencing the joy of creativity and fresh color in my life?
I'll have to sit with those for a bit, but first for something more practical. Time to dust the mounds of dust from my fan blades.
Whales leave a trail of chaos. And... It. Is. Awesome!
Today when Richard and I arrived at the beach so our old and stubborn dog could chase a ball, we were greeted by hundreds and hundreds of birds in the water. It was a little unsettling. I felt like the odds of getting pooped on were very high.
Both of us wondered what all the commotion was about, but only Richard was willing to stop another spectator and ask what was going on. I don't know why I have such an averse reaction to his inquisitiveness--it was a perfectly acceptable response, but I hate bothering strangers. I prefer to stand quietly behind a group of bystanders, hoping they're talking about the thing I'm questioning so I can gather the necessary information without having to speak to anyone. That's not creepy at all.
Anyway...thankfully Richard asked the right person and we got a short marine biology lesson in the process. First of all,--there were whales in the bay. Jackpot! I was going to see whales today. More on that later. Apparently when whales travel through the bay this near the shore, they disturb the kelp beds in a rather violent fashion. This brings all sorts of debris, fish, bugs, crustaceans (a.k.a food) to the surface, creating a feeding frenzy. Yum! And it wasn't just birds. There were seals everywhere. One so near the shore that our aforementioned old and stupid, er...stubborn, dog tried to swim after it. Very sad to watch her swim in circles after the seal disappeared under the surface.
But back to the kelp beds. Just yesterday I had been out stand up paddle boarding with Caleb and commented on the smoothness of the water in the middle of large kelp beds. As soon as we navigated through one of these areas, the water became less choppy and the current seemed less forceful. Perfect for a calm day of paddle boarding. But today, not so much. Today the kelp beds were teeming with life. What was not good for a recreational cruise was a huge celebration for marine life.
And, sure enough, within minutes there were whales. A couple of them straight ahead. Their long, shimmering backs cresting just above the water line, then gracefully disappearing before the final show of power--the tail rising and descending like a conductor's baton eliciting a dramatic crescendo.
Over and over. More chaos. More beauty. More awe.
I really like a calm kelp bed. I usually prefer to sit on the beach and watch when there are disturbances of this size occurring. But today I found myself drawn in. Wishing I were closer. Less afraid of turbulent waters and more open to the new life that follows in its wake. Because, while it is terrifying and messy and more than I can control, the beauty it displays and the transformation it produces are not to be missed.
Here's to more beautiful disturbances!
Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. I Peter 4:12,13 (MSG)
Kelli is a writer, speaker and consultant equipping leaders for a deepening intimacy with Christ, greater impact in ministry and more effective intentionality in all of life.
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