Trust & Belief

Today as I sit in a coffee shop observing the chip on the bottom of my cup I realize that just a cup is chipped, we ourselves a chipped as humans living in an infected and imperfect Eden.

I was  talking to a dear friend, in fact family member who is terrified because the money has slowly seemed to fade and she is fearful that she will lose it all like she had one time before. Is that fear in the face of such humanly dire circumstances legitimate? Absolutely yes, does she, in the worlds eyes have reason to worry? Yes. However I have learned that fear like that, when not given to the Lord, sometimes continually, destroys us. Just like Eve and, yes Adam destroyed Eden because they feared, at the depth of it all like the Lord didn’t have their best, and that it the core of worry like that. It eats you up, makes you question things that the Lord has told you to do, because in that moment of panic you don’t see it as a legitimate, immediate option because you-think-you need it NOW.

I have debts and bills of my own, I know that fear, the urge to lash out, or bury your head in the sand, or even try to fix it yourself because in that moment the Lord doesn’t seem to be answering, but I’ve learned that all you have to do is move forward and truly trust, holding nothing back, that the Lord will follow through, even if that following through seems late or like your losing everything, or so on the wire you wonder what in the world our father is thinking. But think of John, of how he knew God would send him to Rome, he just wasn’t sure how, or with what means. Do you think he wanted to be sent their in chains? Mocked for his belief? Tortured and abused by most of his captors? But that’s how God sent him.

What will I say if I’m standing on the wire, in front of a firing squad? Will I renounce my faith? Sometime I wonder. It’s hard to imagine such things in a country as “safe” and “polished” as ours seems to be. But have we forgotten how much others have suffered so much that we lash out at such a simple thing as timing? Have we forgotten that our brother and sisters are being starved and killed? Have we grown so complacent? I see that in myself sometimes, that sluggish forgetfulness that is slowly killing me, more than any life threatening situation ever could. That’s why I have to remember, have to give and have to trust, because no matter what happens, no matter how fearful I am of the outcome I have to trust that he will want the best be it on the streets, homeless, or with barely enough money to provide my perceived needs. And yes, those things scare me, they sink in my chest at just the thought of them but I can’t let that hinder my trust because if I do, if I let my fear and want to “fix” things the way I think they should be fixed I deny that God is the  provider of ALL my needs. He may let my way work, for a while but in the end he’ll simply lead me back to where he wants me, even if it means letting me see what the messy outcome of my lack of faith and trust is.

The common Christian misconception in western culture is that if you’re not being blessed, if things are tight and hard that you’re doing something wrong, that the Lord is punishing you. But the scripture paint a very different picture;

Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword from me by your hand O Lord, from men by your hand whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children and they leave their abundance to their infants.  As for ME I shall  behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with YOUR likeness.  

(Psalms 17:13-15 ESV, emphasis added.)

David, wrote that having everything, but knowing that he came from nothing, and if he returned he would be satisfied, prayed he would be satisfied, in nothing but the Lord. It’s easy to look at that and forget, to scoff looking at the whole picture of his life, but David didn’t see his whole story the way we can, he only knew each day as it came. He knew what the Lord had promised him, but he waited years to see that promise of becoming king happen, where for us it is simply chapters in a book not hours and days of struggle. That, however, was what it was. Struggle, hunger, exhaustion, seeing no end to it in sight. God delivered David as king and he will deliver us as well, just maybe not how or when we expect it.

I’m not sure if this helps anyone besides me, but I felt the Lord asking, telling, me to write this, even if not a single soul heard it beyond myself. So I hope, pray, if you read this you are blessed dear brothers and sisters, if only to see me as broken and flawed as the rest of the human race, simply saved by God no more or less than anyone else.

Note: I’m not saying if you are being blessed with worldly things that you aren’t following the Lord, I’m simply saying if you’re on the other hand not, it doesn’t mean your not following, or where the Lord wants you.

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School and Other Rambilings

So if any of you out there are actually following me, you know I haven’t posted in quite a long time. There are several reasons for that, but I’ll skip the excuses and simply move on to whats happening now.

I’ve finished my first two terms back at school, and come the end of September I’ll be diving into my third. To be honest between school, life and my novel-which is steadily progressing I’ve been far to busy to think of my small little corner in cyberspace. August is the hottest month here in Oregon and though I’ll miss some parts of the summer months I can’t help being relieved their drawing to a close. My sister must think me a little odd to love the cold so dearly, but I welcome it like an old friend and crave it after the months its been gone. The Lord has been teaching me much about dilligence and steadfastness in theses percuois summer days, and I find myself feeling like I’ve been wrapped in a warm, firm hug just thinking about how far he’s brought me.

Do you see a man skillful in his work?
He will stand before kings;
he will not stand before obscure men. ~Proverbs 22:29

This verse was on my reading this morning, and it struck me in several ways. The first was that in order to be skillful you have to not only be hard working, but you have to have the ability-learned or otherwise-to ask for help and admit mistakes. Asking for help was not something that came naturally to me, I grew up in a family that taught-as a whole, not individual- you went to school to show off what you knew rather than learn it. It was twisted and there were exceptios but that was, at its core, the truth I was brought up to believe. My mother believed the oppisite, and when I grew older I wanted to have her attitide rather than the former, so I prayed and asked the Lord to show me how. I am amazed at just how far I’ve come from that girl so many years ago, I sometimes think I am a different person.

The second thing that this verse struck in me was that being well known and standing beore “kings” doesn’t come in our timing it come in the Lords. If we skipped past all the hard and messy bits, would life be any fun? How much would we miss if our Lord simply snapped and we had it all figured out, everything neatly done and tucked away. As humans we may crave a life without worry, but we thrive in the struggle and hardships, and I believe we are who we are because of those things. Would we even be ourselves anymore if we were to miss all the messy bits?

Also, does wealth have anything to do with being skillful. I mean, we’ve all seen the sucess Twilight has brought to Stepanie Myers, but is she really that skillful at her craft. I’m not saying that she’s a terrible writer, but is she honestly up there with C.S. Lewis or Tolkin? They were skillful in their wordcraft. I on’t think being perfect is being skillful either, after all we’re all a work in progress until were in the grave, or over the earth with our Lord. I’m making a point though, skillful isn’t always equal to well paid, or sudden weath either, sometimes the most skillful people don’t see the spotlight or true “fame” until long after their gone. I choose to do what I love with passion, regardless of the money I may or may not make from it. Everything, even art, has hard days, and sometimes may very much feel like work, but everything in life has an ebb and blow to it like the tides, so exspect it in everything you do, and try to take joy in it. Thats what I try to do anyways, and I’m always thankful for it in the end, I see the fruit of it in my attitude and joy at every corner.

Anyways, I just wanted to do a quick update and share about what the Lord has been teaching me. I hope y’all enjoy the remaining weeks of summer  and enjoy the upcoming hat n’ scarves weather.

Blessings,

Apartment Princess

~Shalom From the Hollow~

*Dress . Drive . Adventure*

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So for any of you who live in the Northwest, you know that it’s been a pretty dry {abet foggy} winter, so far. The rain is coming, according to this weeks forecast, and heaven knows we need it. Some of you {my mother} are already beginning to lament on the lack of sun with rain on hanging over the horizon. She has so far, tried to run off to Hawaii, drive to where the weather forecast predicted sun, such as the closet beach, and the most comical, contemplate creating a personalized miniature sun {an episode of Eureka comes to mind}. Anyway, before the massive rain hit, I decided to try and take advantage of the local hiking trails with my little dog Jonah.

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Fox Hollow is a area of Eugene that is inhabited by massive amounts of bikers {the human powered kind} and first, second and third generation hippies. Along with them are masses of heath food junkies and more solar panels than seem practical for a place that gets most if it’s sunshine only three months out of the year.

The plus side to all this is our hiking trails and other wildlife has been very well preserved {in comparison to other nameless places that come to mind}. So, we have hundreds of trails, and though some like the one I hiked yesterday have a fair amount of traffic and tourism coming through, others are undiscovered gems. Portland has a similar phenomenon, because the city {as a whole} is more into rebuilding {and building upwards} rather than spreading outwards, most Portlanders drive only thirty to forty-five minute in most directions and poof, their in the country.  This is a blessing many {I know I do} take for granted. Those of you who live in places like Texas or New Mexico {depending on your exact location} wonder what living so close to trails and mountains is like. It’s awesome, and though I sometimes forget I live smack in the middle of an outdoor buff’s dream, I try and take ample advantage of it.

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Like today yesterday when I drovthree states away only five minutes away and  viola,  I was in the middle of nowhere. The sun was shining, the air was wonderfully fringed with the biting cold, and I soaked it all up like a sponge, loving every minute of it.  The small parking lot was packed to the gills with people, but there are several trails that begin in the same area, so my favorite trail {so far} was surprisingly empty until we reached round towards the end.  The trail starts out uphill {like so many things in life} and tapers off to a steady incline and pleasant curves. Its nice not always being able to see whats ahead. No?DSC_0077_2 The whole area around us was lush with greens, heavy with rain soaked moss, and twisted branches hanging in varying lengths above like your walking through a woodland entrance to a Castle, or Legolas’s homeland {Not the twisted dark woods from The Hobbit, but all the beauty it was before darkness began to invade}.  For the avid hiker, this trail is a breeze, and even for the casual weekender this hike, though a nice challenge, won’t cause any wheezing along the way. Its amazing what nature offers as a playground in this area, and it makes me all the more blessed to be a part of it. Oh, and for those of you who have furry little friend, the trails are very pet friendly {with some practical rules posted on the info board} so feel free to bring fido along. Connecting trails wind all around eugene { maybe even Springfield} so the possibilities are endless for you to wander and explore.  DSC_0079If your passing through, I highly recommend this little gem and if you plan to stay awhile, take a day and pack {or buy} a lunch, it will be well worth it. U of O newbies, this is a place to remember! It’ll help you unwind {unless your one of those people that wear heels anywhere} and its a great place to go with a group of Friends. I saw a few students jogging along the smoother part of the trail {track town USA} and a group of neoteric Oregonian’s starting out just as we reached the lot. If you want to bike, there’s trails practically next door that allow bikes on them.  You can find out exactly which trails allow bikes and which don’t by going to the website here and finding the trail map PDF. There is no parking or day use fee {lets just hope it stays that way} but parking is limited, so if you decided to go with someone or as a group, carpooling might be a good option. The best nearby food is the Amazon Shopping center, where there’s Eugene restaurants such as; Laughing Planet {vegan and vegetarian options}, Market of Choice {with an amazing deli that boasts a wide variety of tasty selections} pizza and a frozen yogurt shop at the far corner. The shopping center address is located here. Don’t be fooled by the lack of official website, its a fun and friendly place to eat  with oodles of choices. I’ll be doing some posts on more hiking trails and other destination Eugene area attractions.

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So, if you like hiking, nature, or just simply want to de-stress from the rush of the city, pop out to Ridgeline and enjoy what this lovely little slice of Eden has to offer you.

Happy Hiking,

~The Apartment Princess

The Upside to Living amongst Fog.

As I sit here writing to y’all thinking of the numerous whine’s and complaints I’ve heard about the weather this week I can’t help but roll my eyes and smile ruefully. While the majority of north westerners are pulling their hair out in frustration more than tempted to book a one way flight to Hawaii, I would happily stay here with the fog and endless greens. I assure you, I’m not crazy {though my sister Margret does tend to wonder from her balmy house in the hills of Kona}. For me, the fog will always symbolize the moments leading up to when Darcy and Elizabeth find each other before he renews his vow of love {and other such things} to her in the romantically obscure field. Without the fog there would be no mystery, no anticipation for whats to come.  Wouldn’t it be boring if everything stayed the same? Or if you could see your life as a long line stretching out before you in endless tedium? Life is given to us to live, learn and grow. That’s why I hold these foggy  weeks {maybe months} so dear too me. They give me a chance to appreciate the fact that I don’t know whats to come and I’m more than grateful for that all on its own. I also recently used the fog as an excuse to revamp my room {the weather made it far harder to avoid}  and donate a huge pile of things to my local thrift store. I’m very happy with how the whole things turned out so far, but I’ve still got a long way to go. One of my other battles projects is  to find a loophole {or annoy beg my landlord enough that he relents} that will allow me to paint my stark white walls in {if nothing else}  warmer hues that won’t make spots appear in my eyes when I stare at them for any length of time. Some spaces do incredibly well with stark white walls, my small {half 70’s} apartment is not one of them. So the battle will continue on until I:

  • Die
  • Move
  • Or Wear down my {incredibly sweet} manger enough to relent.

Sometimes I feel sorry for the poor man, having to deal with me all the time, but then I remember that he actually likes doing his job {Shocker, I know} most days, so my guilt usually fades  away pretty fast after that. With any luck and lots of prayer I will {somehow} triumph over the indistinguishable white. So with a rapidly darkening sky I leave you, dear readers  to think of how much a blessing the fog is. After all, it’s better to find bits of joy and happiness in everything, even the “dreadfully” bad weather.

~ The Apartment Princess