Reflections Before Bedtime #88

By: Gabriela Yareliz

summer

We will be the ones to run around in warm summer rain, until we are soaked and our chests are heaving from so much laughter.

Our hair, stuck like wet yarn, on our faces and skin. Raindrops will run in paths paved by tears long ago. Sweet heat; and sweet healing.

We’ll shine, blinding, like the flashes of lightning; and we will chase the moon, hand-in-hand.

autumn

We will be the ones who waltz down an empty street, with twinkling string lights and autumn leaves as cover. Our hearts will soar, as the leaves bow in their beauty to rest.

As nature begins to fall asleep, our spirits will be nourished by the glow of autumn light and the smell of warm spices.

And in a world painted orange, we’ll decorate the home that is us, with soft grass, pumpkins, and glossy red apples where we can see our reflections. Cinnamon, our fairy dust.

winter

We will be the ones to count snowflakes on your car window. We’ll be the ones to adore the sparkling lights in cold darkness. We’ll acknowledge the magic of long nights. We’ll bake in our thick sweaters; our hearts and the sweat collecting in the pockets of our collarbones will remind us how sweet it is to be alive.

Gloved fingers will lock, and we’ll walk, seeing every subtle miracle that glitters in obscure corners. We’ll skate, even if we fall, for all good things have that risk. The cold will remind us to not let go.

spring

We will be the ones who buy the first flowers for spring. Our hearts, growing and swelling, with hopes renewed, energy and freedom. We’ll walk in abundance of light.

We’ll sit on park benches, ignoring that it’s too cold to be wearing short sleeves. We’ll guide each other through cherry blossom petal rains. We’ll explore like the timid nature, awakening.

seasons

It’s blooming, blossoming, running through cycles and seasons. It’s ready to withstand the next heat wave; torrential rain; autumn chill; blanket of snow; and a reawakening by soft spring light that reminds it that it’s alive.

This love is alive.

Monday Inspiration: July 25, 2016

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*Pulls out orange autumn leaf and grins*

“We have this one little life, and for a lot of it, we just blow around in the wind. But if we are lucky, and we believe that life knows what’s best for us– sometimes, we land on the right someone to talk to.” Riley Matthews (Girl Meets Ski Lodge, Part II)

The Hours: July 23, 2016

(G sent this song to A at 7:24 am because she was inspired by it)

Thoughts that floated around today (these were all brought up by different people):

AM

9:42: “You see Jesus did not tell the woman who had been caught in adultery a conditional promise of ‘go, be good, and then I will love you…’ No, he said first that he didn’t condemn her, and then he told her to go and be set free from the life that had her in chains…” (Mr. Zork)

10:30: “The teacher notes say, that Ephesians 2:10 states: ‘For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ The word ‘workmanship’ is translated from the word ‘poiēma’, from which we get the word for poem, art. We are God’s work of art and creation, created with the purpose to do good works…” (G quoting the Sabbath School quarterly)

11:15: “I don’t understand a word that man is saying.” (T)

11:20: “We need to get to know our neighbor; the person sitting next to us!” (R)

11:20: “Maybe I would if people weren’t such arrogant ********.” (T)

11:50: “I thought that chapter was over, but here I am, watching things work in direct opposition to what I thought would be.” (L)

11:51: “What if we aren’t meant to understand it all.” (G)

11:52: “Potiphar, jail– that didn’t make sense for Joseph, did it?” (N)

PM

12:00: “Be patient… There is still a lot I don’t understand…” (E)

12:10: “We are all growing.” (G)

12:15: “I was on this cycle thing, and then my colleague fainted! She passed out from heat stroke, and now, here I am drinking a ton of water. I had never seen that happen before!” (E)

5:42: “I am petrified! [Why are so many marriages struggling], and how do things get to that point…?” (G)

5:42: “God didn’t give you the spirit of fear fran. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Speak and believe the best and never stop working on your relationship.” (F)

6:00: “No matter what happens, He is constant; He is near.” (G in journal entry)

Tuesday Badinage: July 19, 2016

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By: Gabriela Yareliz

Yesterday, I got to go to the prettiest part of Long Island. It was gorgeous; one of those neighborhoods that makes you want to bake apple pies, wear an apron, and buy matching napkin rings for a long table.

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There was a large park with lots of green grass and a gorgeous giant gazebo in the middle with plenty of American flags hanging off of it. Brick sidewalks, and it was so quiet it inspired you to talk in hushed tones.

I loved it. There were a lot of plants, children, and adorable elderly people. Places like that kind of leave you dreaming.

I also wandered a bookstore as a break, during the day. I found some books I adored as a child. Who knew the children’s section at Barnes & Noble could be so nostalgic?

I leave you now with some things that have inspired me in the last couple of days. Unfortunately, I can’t give you, in words, the neighborhood I visited, but I can leave you with the following:

Life is short, yet love is infinite, and bountiful, and ever-present, and closer than the next breath. So do not look for love; do not wait for it; do not expect it on-demand. But know it. Know its presence, the intimacy of it. Feel it whispering in your ear.” Jeff Foster

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But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside of him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 63

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God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 216

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You never know when a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.” Zig Ziglar

As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal somebody else.” Maya Angelou

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Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” Maya Angelou

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Even if someone were to prove to me that truth lay outside Christ, I should choose to remain with Christ rather than with the truth.” Fydor Dostoyevsky

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“For broken dreams, the cure is, dream again and deeper.”

—   C.S. Lewis // Dymer, Canto 6.24
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“I make my body a living prayer whose force would shake the mountains.”

—   C.S. Lewis // Dymer, Canto 3.30

[Images from Tumblr]

Notes from “A Tale for the Time Being”

“Print is predictable and impersonal, conveying information in a mechanical transaction with the reader’s eye. Handwriting, by contrast, resists the eye, reveals its meaning slowly, and is as intimate as skin.”
Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

“That’s what it feels like when I write, like I have this beautiful world in my head, but when I try to remember it in order to write it down, I change it, and I can’t ever get it back.”
Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

“Sometimes you don’t need words to say what’s in your heart.”
Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

Sex (and the City)?

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The ladies from Sex and the City

By: Gabriela Yareliz

[All images from Tumblr]

Don’t worry– this is not a post about the ridiculously self-centered women of the HBO hit show. Nor is this a sex column, à la Carrie Bradshaw.

I was on the train this morning, and I saw so many advertisements and things that were so sexually suggestive. The city plagues you with images, suggestions, ideas. I was thinking, though, about this topic of sex a lot after my friend’s bridal shower, recently. It seemed like that was all certain people were talking about at the house that long weekend; virginity, lingerie and Victoria’s well-kept secret. Advice about “pleasing a husband” floated around, tension and excitement mingled in the air. I remember us sitting in the dinning room, with all the Latin aunts and grandmothers, in conference, each imparting her wisdom.

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People have a misunderstanding or wrong perception about Christian’s views on sex. Christians are perceived as prudes or people who believe that the human body and pleasure is flat out sinful. And while there may be people who really do agree with such sentiments, the truth is that scripture is clear– sexuality was created by God, and within its appropriate context, it is a beautiful, healthy mirror of God’s relational nature and love.

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Dating brings many of us Christian, aspiring-to-remain-pure young women into conversations about boundaries. Cue Jane the Virgin’s “I am a virgin, and I am saving myself until marriage” speech. Hard lines are drawn, and then many things are decided on principle. The principle of purity.

Some men are respectful and willing to wait; others get a look on their face that says it all; and some, say that it is fine and then later try to pressure you into doing what they want. If you are a woman who wants this and has made this commitment, it takes commitment and integrity (yeah, we could call it that– integrity). I also acknowledge that there are men who are committed to purity, like Tim Tebow, for example. But as this is coming from a woman’s perspective, I continue…

I once met a guy whose manipulation line and tactic started with: “In Spain, this is not how we do things–”

I was like, “Well, welcome to America, my friend! It’s not happening.”

Purity is an interesting concept in Christianity, given that it is an ideal that was seldom modeled by any biblical heroes. In fact, what one sees is a lot of broken people with messed up marriages, multiple simultaneous marriages, women of questionable reputation– lots of non-model like behavior. No one gets particularly lectured for anything in particular nor are there any strong object lessons in the stories of people like David and Solomon. David certainly gets some consequences after he kills a man to take his wife (the adultery situation), but nothing is mentioned or deemed as dreadfully wrong regarding all of his other wives and women around the palace. People’s sexual exploits and backgrounds are left usually in the faded background.

Thankfully, we don’t look to them for examples in these areas. Instead, we look to Christ, Creator of every aspect of our being. We look to the fact that we must offer ourselves to God as pure, knowing He is pure and holy.

Purity is a theme I would like to examine more closely, maybe not here right now, but on my own time. And I mean purity in the biblical sense, not in the exaggerated, hypocritical puritanical way, as reflected in books like the Scarlet Letter, where repressed societies wreak havoc on those who publicly make mistakes, while living in their own private messy entanglements that are no better.

It’s not hard to fall into puritanical ways of thinking. Extremes in any which way are bad. I recall at my friend’s wedding, I was helping her change into her “honeymoon getaway” dress. We were trying to slip her out of her 50 lbs. wedding dress, when the groom walked in to change into something more comfortable. We were in the reception hall’s small, private back room.

I kind of mentally freaked out. I kept trying to make sure the bride’s strapless bra didn’t fall, and I tried helping her change while
simultaneously covering her. It then struck me how ridiculous I was being. I was helping her change as if she was my four-year-old child. Instead, she was now a married woman, in front of her husband.

As Carrie Bradshaw later discovers, sex is not just some empty thing devoid of romance. You can act like
it so, but that didn’t work out so well for her. After all, she wanted Mr. Big, not Aiden or any of the others, right? I don’t know much about this show, having never watched a complete episode (can’t really stand the women and their antics), but through pop culture, a Wikipedia search and some YouTube clips, the storyline isn’t hard to gather. She wanted Mr. Big.

Love fills us, and we realize that things aren’t about hard facts or hard lines, they are about principles. Principles often will require hard lines to be drawn, naturally, but the motivation to carry it out and stay within such lines and keep such lines intact must be the principle, which is so much more profound. If not, is empty. Isn’t that legalism? Doing something just because a rule or line of text says so without seeing the beauty and the purpose behind it?

The hard lines and boundaries are like lines on a page. The principles and emotions that accompany are the poem that is written on top of the guiding lines.

Not anyone will do, as Carrie Bradshaw discovered. The Jane the Virgin speech is totally valid. And there are times to keep your shirt on and times where it’s okay if it comes off (especially, when it’s honeymoon time).

No one wants to drink bottled water with some soil or dirt sprinkled in. A lot of us like pure water. Purity in other aspects of life is also refreshing, and it goes a long way.

Purity goes beyond word or deed. It’s all about the heart. Actually, that is where it begins…

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