Friday, September 23, 2016

Inner Circle

When I was young I always strove to be the teachers pet.  I wanted to be on the inner circle of the people I admired.  I think everyone wants to be on the inner circle to one degree or another.  It's all a matter of whose inner circle you want to be in.

I was reading the parable of the sower today from the gospels and it struck me that I wanted to be on that inner circle.  Mark 4:10-11a says "When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.  He told them,..."
There were so many people around him when he told the parable he had to sit in a boat to keep all the people on the shore.  Later, when the crowds had left, He explained what he meant.  The thought popped into my head as I read this that I would be that person hanging around just to be on the fringes of the inner circle.  Just to catch the secret inner moments, the behind the scenes.  You see, I'm insecure but tenacious.  I serve and help and clean and just keep hanging around until everyone leaves.

Being a teachers pet usually has some negative connotations.  "Brown noser", "suck up";  I felt the stigma when I was young but I much preferred the company of my teachers and other adults.  I'm sure I enjoyed some preferential treatment but honestly I was just trying to survive by not having to interact with my peers.  As I got to high school my tried and true teachers pet role was no longer available.  Other people were already in the inner circle and there was no room for me.

As I read the parable it occurred to me that it is good and right to want to sit at the feet of Jesus.  To want to be a part of His inner circle.  To be where He is and listen.  I want to strive to be in His inner circle without questions of rank or importance.  The inner circle isn't a privileged class to fill our chests with pride.  It is a necessary place to be if we want to understand.  In this moment I feel like I am in the inner circle.  My earnest desire to be near Him has drawn me close.  I am sitting on the edge of the firelight and listening to my Savior explain, and it is a glorious feeling.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Forgotten Beauty

Have you ever had moments where you were certain God was trying to gently teach you something by making sure you hear the same things from completely random sources?  My friends and I have started a Bible Study called "Looking for Lovely" by Annie Downs.  The focus of this Study is learning to choose and seek out the good and lovely things.  We chose this study for two reasons.  This world is full of ugliness and we wanted to practice the discipline we worked on in 'Me, Myself and Lies'.  The lessons from this week and from the book I had been reading (Heaven by Randy Alcorn) have been focusing my mind on a specific area that it seems God wants me to learn.

As we were wrapping up our gathering, God brought my eye to the things I have in my house.  Paintings, pictures, knickknacks.  I have had such a strong desire to purge in the last few months but when I looked around last night, God prompted me with a question.  Why do you have all this stuff?  The answer He gave me is still affecting me this morning.

Most of what we surround ourselves with in our home reminds us of the people we love and the people who love us.  But routine, stress and life causes us to forget.  We walk past them without looking...without seeing.  It occurred to me then that we do the same thing with God.  The ever present gifts of God become almost invisible as we walk past them without seeing.  The mountain is always there, the trees always sway, the sky always swirls.  The beauty of them is often lost because I don't look. I forget what they mean and what they say.

No matter what is going on in my life, I can choose to pay attention to the hard and ugly things or the good and lovely things.

There have certainly been times when I knew I had to surround myself in God's beautiful creation because I had nothing else I felt I could praise Him for.  I sat in the mountains and, in various stages of bitterness and tears, thanked God for every little thing I could lay my eyes on.  It felt false and inadequate but I look back now and see it as the training I needed to persevere.  I see now that I had to train myself to see the wonder of what God has done.  It's so easy to forget, too easy to turn our eyes away from Him.

So today, my eyes are being drawn to those wonderful, beautiful, precious reminders of the people I love and who love me, past and present, and to my great, amazing and beautiful God who loves me!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hectic life

We realized fairly late we were running out of time very quickly.  The last week and some before the Con was a mad dash to get props and costumes done.  The collar is EVA foam and card stock.
We attached it to the cloth harness with velcro.

This did not last the day at the Con.  If I redo it, I will have to make a ridged harness.

 The chest armor I cut out of a template first and then cut it out of EVA foam.  The cones were made from craft foam.

I added the accents with craft foam, gap fill foam, pool noodles and craft gems.  I get delight out of using what I have at hand to "make it work" as Tim Gunn would say.

This was then coated with Plasti-dip.

The final product was painted with acrylic gold paint and we again attached it with velcro.  This had limited success during the rigors of con.  While my brazier never fell off, it came close.  I'll have to think of a better plan.

I bleed on this project to be sure but was once again pleased to play with found objects.  Shower curtain rings, dollar store ball, jewelry bail, pool noodles and paper.  My husband is a wiz with Pepekura.  I once again started with a base coat of Plasti-dip and then used a combo of acrylic paint, washi tape and paint pen.  

 It looked great and held up fairly well at the con but I got my head piece caught in the chain at least three times and the plastic ball expanded and contracted in the heat which caused the paint to crack on the drive home.

We got a lot of attention at the con.  We couldn't go more than a few steps without being stopped for pictures.  It was a unique experience to be sure.  In fact, Jason David Frank took our picture while we were getting our picture with him and posted it to his fan page.  It was a humbling experience.  My hubby's Lord Zedd had more problems at the con than we would have liked but we also had the least amount of time to figure things out.  Early failures and new materials/skill set made for a challenging deadline.  It still looked good in the pictures but if we do it again we're going to have to rethink quite a few things.  Almost all of our props and costume pieces need to be repaired or reworked.  My Gracie Law headdress didn't survive a second year either.  I'm going to have to redo all the feathers because of the fall out from this year.  We learned a lot this year and we stepped up our game.  We'll keep getting better.