Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Light Bulb Moment

I was in the 3rd grade and realized my mistake almost as soon as I made it

My class was doing a science experiment with mini light bulbs
and as we prepared for recess our teacher reminded us...

"Be careful with your light. 
If you break it, you will not get another"

I heard him loud and clear and was

determined to be responsible
focused on being responsible

(but then it was time to go outside and play
and just that quickly I forgot about responsibility)

I set the tiny bulb down onto my desk

and watched
as it rolled

(in slow motion)

off of the desk and
onto the floor

(shattering into pieces)

My heart sank and I looked around to see if anyone had noticed, but everyone
was already heading out of the classroom so I picked up my shattered pieces
and dropped them into the waste basket on my way out of the room

I was so distraught that I couldn't even enjoy the recess that I had so anticipated
and it must have been written all over my face because my best friend looked at me and asked

"What's wrong?"

I told her everything

(dramatically replaying the scene and expecting sympathy)

but she wasn't moved
and instead just looked at me

and said

"Tondra, it's Mr. Gagan... just ask for a new bulb"

And as her words began to sink in, my fears melted...

I remembered and

what I had been so worried about

After all

I had the best teacher
who held my best interest

and a best friend to remind me...

that he wouldn't get mad at me
he couldn't get mad at me

I was eight and had simply made a mistake

Once back in the classroom, I walked up to his desk taking a deep breath as I explained
"I'm sorry, I accidently dropped my light bulb"

He looked up at me, and in that defining moment, forever impacted

my life
my outlook
my future work with children

He simply handed me a new bulb with a smile and said "Be careful, okay?"

and that was it

no questions
no reprimands
no "I-told-you-so"

none of those things

Just a smile... and a provision

It was the perfect light bulb moment
and I have never really known how to express that moment until the other day

I had another light bulb moment
as I paused to reflect over

my childhood
my family
my work with children

and once again heard this admonition...

"Be careful with your light.  You will not get another"

So I ask for grace...

a smile and a provision

as I

slow down
stay focused
not rush

and hold onto my mini light bulb

appreciating it
and knowing...

I will not get another

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Beauty of Using What You Have

My daughter and I have been cleaning up over the past few weekends
(think "spring cleaning", only in the Fall)

because we've been on a mission

clearing out clutter

you know, fun stuff

We've been sorting items into piles

give away

and as I was going back through our donate pile last weekend
an old cd storage rack caught my attention

I pulled it out of the donation box and experienced another "I See More" moment

I flipped the rack up onto its side, and smiled as I realized that I could turn it into THIS...

 My "new" earring display rack!!!

I asked my daughter what she thought, and she agreed that it was pretty cool...
especially since it was something that we already had just laying around

It became the perfect conversation piece as it created an opportunity
to talk to her about learning to "use what you have"

and I think that I may have just sparked in her a newfound love for


because she's been rummaging through the house looking for items ever since!

And I'm discovering that...

"When you use what you HAVE
to do what you LOVE,
that my friends is TRUE ART"

Now that's gratitude and grace she can relate to!

(click here to see where all of the cd's went)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Love Shows Up

Two and a half years ago I recorded a song in my private studio
(okay, okay my bathroom)

and as I was singing ("Encourage Yourself" by Donald Lawrence)
my daughter came looking for me and interrupted the song

When I played it back I had to smile as I realized that she was
wearing a t-shirt with the word "LOVE" printed on the front

Well isn't that the way it works?

You start to encourage yourself and someone/something


As for me I am grateful that someone/something has been "LOVE"

and from that time until this

I have discovered that there are three main things to do when you're down...

look up
speak up
get up

And I've found that

once you believe
once you know
once you try

to encourage yourself...

that's when you'll find that love shows up

Click here to watch the video and be blessed today!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Panic or Praise... A Lesson for When Jesus Sleeps

The waves are crashing
The wind is blowing
Water is quickly filling the ship

and I can't help but wonder how much more of this storm is left

I quietly whisper...

What are you trying to teach me?


I pick up a bucket and begin trying to scoop out
the water that is gathering around my feet...

It's not working

I look around to see if there are any other options...
I don't see any

I look to Him, and I know for sure that He can handle this,
but there is a lesson here, and I don't want to wake Him until I get it

Until I understand (I'm trying to understand)

Why He would bring me out this far, and then fall asleep?

I read about how this happened once before

He slept
Rested peacefully

with His head on a pillow, during the storm

While those with Him

woke Him
were reprimanded

(but I'm trying to understand)

What else did He expect them to do?

There's a lesson here and I don't want to miss it
(I don't want to drown either)

but I have to believe that

we're in this ship together
in a storm
for a reason,

I mean...

Why He would bring me out this far, and then fall asleep?

and now I remember...

When I was a child sometimes my dad worked nights, and would make it home early morning and say  "I'm going to rest my eyes.  Wake me up when it's time for me to take you to school."  But he was always so tired that when it was time for me to wake him, I would have to practically scream to get his attention.  I always felt so bad for disturbing him, even though I knew he was my only way to school.

Until one day I learned to sing

and found that a happy sound
is better than a scream

So I started to sing...

from the next room,
and still singing,

moved into the hallway
and still singing,

moved closer toward the door to his room
and still singing,

finally stepped into my parent's room

allowing him to wake to the increase of my song

There's a lesson here and I don't want to miss it because

We're out here pretty far, and it appears that He has fallen asleep

And so I'll sing...

while continuing to draw closer to Him

resisting the urge

to scream
to shake
to wake

Him in a panic with my frantic requests for help

because I know that He won't let me drown


I have the advantage of having read their experience too

and now I know that
when Jesus sleeps...

He's not only sleeping

He's also


to see if I will panic... or praise

Mark 4:37-41

Click to read...A Lesson in Thanksgiving

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Between Jesus and Judas

It is the safest seat in the house...and the scariest

the seat between Jesus and Judas

the enemy who became a friend on one side
the friend who became an enemy on the other

It's very awkwardly comforting

But we find ourselves in this situation many times in life
and we've learned that if you want to sit and dine with the Master,
it means that you may very well have to sit next to a Judas

But Jesus is sitting right there too

"Please pass the bread" you ask Jesus, but instead Judas picks it up and hands it to you

and when you take hold of the basket

you look at Judas
you look at the bread
you look to Jesus questioningly

and He smiles and nods reassuringly

You smile back, grab a roll, and eat with confidence
knowing that if Jesus has

blessed it
broken it
given it

you can sit back and enjoy every bite...

even if it was handed to you by your enemy

Psalm 23:5