Sunday, November 23, 2014

An UnBELIZEable Adventure Part I



"Traveling - it leaves you speechless then turns you into a storyteller." - Ibn Battuta
This quote perfectly describes the adventure my husband and I just went on over the last few weeks. This was my first visit out of the country so you can TOTALLY believe me when I say never before have I felt such a rush of adventure, relaxed beyond belief, feared for my life, and been more & more grateful with each new day for the many blessings the God Lord has given me than on our trip to Belize. Come enjoy the story with me!

Day 1: Walking off the plane instantly I knew that life here would NOT be the same.  We were greeted by our driver Ruben who escorted us to the van, gave us cold water, and these AMAZING frigid and glorious smelling towels to put around our necks to combat the heat.  As we sat and waited for the last couple to join us we chatted with another honeymooning couple about their life in Las Vegas in contrast with ours in good 'ol Wyoming.  Once the other couple from San Diego arrived we were off cruising along the Hummingbird Highway of Belize with eyes wide open to see ALL the things! One of the first things I saw were these children playing football (aka soccer in the USA).  Coming from a family of soccer fanatics it was new to me to see the children playing without shin guards and shoes on their feet. The next item that caught my attention was the brightly painted police station.  Looking at the size of it caught me by surprise and it made me wonder how large of an area the policemen had to look after... then we came across the prison. 










 Ruben, the driver, must have seen the wonder in my eyes when I read the words on the sign... Prison GIFT SHOP?!  He told us that is was the only Prison in Belize and it was a huge tourist attraction.  Edwin (one of the guests) made the joke, "I went to Prison in Belize and I'll I have to show is this stupid T-shirt."  We all laughed... but then in my mind I began to ask - is the prison so small and the only one because Belize safe or should we have brought our gun?!

View from our tree house.
 Pushing past that fear we continued on our way to  THIS fabulous place! (Hint...That's a link - you should click it.)  & our room... yeah THIS!!!!!  Of all the things in the room - the soaking tub on top of the roof (perfect for star gazing to the sweet tunes of Howler Monkeys) and the outside shower with the most incredible views & birds singing sweetly all around. (More awesome photos will be uploaded to Facebook shortly here.)  & the food guys... the 3 course meal of awesome that awaited us is undesirable with homemade cheeses to fresh fruits *wipes drool* there are no words but my thoughts were "I MUST EAT ALL THE THINGS!"

Day 2: It began with the sound of monkeys waking us up and what seemed like a hundred birds to sip our coffee with on the porch.  Seriously thought I was still dreaming when I woke up!  We went down to eat our breakfast again with all things tasting more than magnificent.  Then we were off on our first adventure...Jungle & Cave Hike PLUS Waterfall Jumping! 

BEFORE PHOTOS


Inside the cave is stunning, incredible, and as Julio our head tour guide says "UNBELIZEABLE!"  He took us into a portion of the cave that not many people get to see any more because it is up a steep clay wall.  Once we reached the top it was like a tsunami of history hit us with a raging force of AMAZING!  There were numerous fully intact fire spots where the Mayans came to burn their sacrifices.  On the stalactites we could see the black hue being covered by the new minerals.  Shattered pottery scatter the floor and they had piles of artifacts dating back to 950 A.D. some of the craziest being blood-letting needles used to pierce tongues and male genitalia.




Stalagmite forming on piece of pottery.
Snakes were thought to be sacrificed because of this finding.
Mayan blood-letting needles.






 There was only one piece of pottery in the entire cave that was completely intact.  It was amazing to see the detail the Mayans could put into their work from the indents in the beads to the designs on the pottery.  To stand before these historical pieces gave me chills to know how far we've come as humans.  I wonder what they would say if they saw the world this way.  Grateful to have had this brush with history & to see all the beautiful sights, even if just with my headlamp!
Jellyfish looking & they sparkled so beautifully! 






 After walking through & swimming at some points this phenomenally gorgeous cave we came to the part that is only for the very brave.  Climbing up the waterfalls and jumping back in - praying to God that we hit the hula-hooped sized hole exactly so we would not be maimed.  Our GoPro quit working & I so wish I could show you us jumping but here is a video of what it is like leaping into a pitch black uncertainty over the waterfalls - the highest being about 15 feet.   WHAT A RUSH - LITERALLY!!!  Seriously highly suggest this to any travel adventure enthusiast!




On our way out we met this little guy,
a scorpion-spider that Julio told be gets
up to 8 feet... then began counting each
leg laughing at my reaction. They are harmless.

AFTER PHOTOS


The bus ride home took us through a river (insert Chitty Chitty Bang Bang scene from Ace Ventura When Nature Calls Movie.)

That's all for now but I promise you more!  Stay tuned for the rest of our adventure... you won't want to miss the rest!  One final thought... all of the formations from the cave to everything that decorated to the history that was held in it reminded me of this verse Eccelsiates 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Grace Filled Journey

     Change is going to happen in life and opportunities will arise that set your soul on fire - but the blaze at which you sit gets you comfortable with it. The author H.P Lovecraft says it best “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” I believe that fear is actually F.E.A.R. an acronym of False Evidence Appearing Real.  I also believe some of your greatest dreams lie on the other side of facing fear... after all the only way to find out if the "false evidence" is true is to take that leap and follow through.  

    With that said I am taking the leap and jumping in - a new direction of life with my soul on fire!  Tomorrow is my last day at  92.9 FM The Boss and 1240 AM KFBC. I have absolutely loved working with Montgomery Broadcasting and  I appreciate all of the time that I have had there. I am thankful for all the knowledge I have gained and the awesome relationships made from this adventure with meeting new people and helping companies promote their superb business locations on the airwaves.  Every ounce of me LOVES the radio industry BUT....


 I have been offered a position that my soul buzzes all sorts of happy about that it's been pretty difficult to not shout it out! It's with...




& when they first told me what was happening for a moment life was like "Here's why"... 







 Genesis 50:20 says, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

  This is one of my favorite verses to meditate on when the past comes creeping back because I know that I can choose to take that dark place and let light and love replace it.  I have struggled with the lowest of low moments and I know what it feels like to want to forget the pain of life completely.  My heart and soul are in letting others know that they are not alone.  I will be helping spread awareness about the educational aspects and all of the help a person can receive when they cannot seem to find their happiness or peace.  I will also be lead by the board members of Grace for 2 Brother's in the direction of how to help those in need within our Wyoming community.   I am praying that throughout this new journey this can be nothing but a blessing for those that need it and that are living, breathing, soul sunshiningly beaming (yet potentially unaware of the awesome they hold) people will realize the light within themselves to go from the darkness to a full on light that is aglow - ablaze with a radiance to help others in need.  I am a spark (lit with the help of many others) here to start a blaze of love - a moment of change in the lives that may be screaming with a silent pain... 
  
Something that makes them think it's better no to breathe again.  The only think I can account for this moment of despair is knowing the feeling sinking and slinking deep within me that it's okay not to be there.  The focus on this moment - right here and right now-  is in it... this change I am making to fully support something I believe in.  Present ... THE PRESENT - life a gift to unwrap the good and the bad equally a lesson to be had.  Gratefulness -  a breath in and a release out - a flow of love and blessings throughout.

   I have no idea what the future brings in this beautifully placed opportunity but I am whole-heartedly in all the way - every fiber of me is hoping to help those that are hurting and having troubles with  believing there is a reason for existence.  I am not a person who saves a life - but a beacon of a light to represent a movement to love beyond all measure during any and all strife.  I am here to continue the work laid before me of reaching everyone that has been hit with a thought or loss from suicide.  From this issue I hope to no longer hide that reaching out is more than okay - it is what softens the blow from being blown away.  People to surround you and remind you during the storm of your shelter because, after all, we are in this together.

If this one move of my life can make a ripple let it tidal wave to all you brave... especially the ones that care more than you should and never giving up on dreaming as if it will someday be your livelihood.  The ones that live and give and sing for joy of each and every day... keep on inspiring and being that way - NEVER give up on anything if it supports and leads toward the path of following your dreams... life is here and now - it is YOUR present for the taking.
   
I leave you with this... never go a through moment in life without thanking it. 

 Forever grateful & always here - Rhianna 
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” 

― Robert F. Kennedy
(www.facebook.com/rhianna.pinther)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Authentically Heart-wrenching

Suicide.
  I AM SO SICK OF THIS WORD & MY SOUL ACHES EVERY TIME IT IS MENTIONED!

Do to recent events in my life -  a friend with the most contagious smile that you could actually FEEL the warmth radiating from him no matter how many years it had been since you had seen him...  the cruel and horrible pain that this world sometimes brings grabbed hold of him and made him sub-come to the suffering. Just like Robin Williams, these two souls painted on the happy and made others feel that way too, when they were actually suffering in a way that it was hard to see through to.

  This leads me to the word genuine or authenticity... why is it so hard for us to just BE?!

IT IS OKAY TO SAY I'M NOT OKAY!  IT IS OKAY TO BREAK DOWN AND CRY!  IT IS OKAY TO SCREAM, SHOUT, AND FREAK OUT ... if you need help let someone know and REACH OUT!  You are NOT crazy and in these heart wrenching moments I believe we are the most sane, because we have reached the point that we realize that we are really just human in the middle of a raging storm of pain.

I know people will wonder why I am so passionate about this... I have been there.  I have felt in the very depth of my soul the darkness that was begging to take hold, the pain that I desperately tried to numb... to put on a fake smile and face the world when I just wanted to turn around and run.  


In 2006 I had just turned 20 years old and the previous two weeks my world had received a mighty hurricane of pain that made me believe my light would never shine again.  As a child I had unspeakable things happen to me, my innocence stolen too soon, and this left me feeling worthless, broken, and unworthy of ever being loved.  I kept this a secret my entire life because this person was really close.  When I decided to open up to someone I trust, that person went and said something which was followed by denial from the culprit and further guilt that maybe I had deserved it.  After a night of heavy drinking my emotions spilled out and my boyfriend wanted nothing to do with the pain I felt – locking himself in the room leaving me all alone in my pit of doom.  The tormenting thoughts took hold and the world around me was dark and cold.  All I wanted for was the pain to end – for maybe another chance to begin my life again.  I vaguely remember reaching up for the pain killers and swallowing every pill in the over sized bottles. I don’t really remember a lot of what happened next but I was told that I called my Dad for help and told him, "Daddy, I don't want to die."   


If I hadn't reached out – my light would no longer shine and all of the beautiful memories I've had from that point on and to this day would not have been made.  Those two beautiful baby boys that bring this world so much joy, their light would not be here and the rippling effect of the pain caused would have brought others into the darkness I felt and left them wondering why I chose to keep the pain all to myself. 

Maybe some of you feel that way today and I am here to say that there is ALWAYS a way to counter act the darkness.  In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  WE ARE HERE TO SHINE WHEN OTHERS FEEL THE DARKNESS OVERCOMING THEM & THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE THAT WILL SHARE THEIR OWN LIGHT WHEN YOU CANNOT FIND YOUR OWN. We are here to show every person that we meet that everyone goes through dark moments but the sun and YOUR LIGHT will ALWAYS shine again.  

      
    I know it hurts… this life sometimes.  There are things that happen to each of us that cause us to question the why and the gut wrenching feeling of HOW we are going to move past this hardship & the answer to the how are three words HOPE, GRACE, & LOVE.  I’ve learned to love imperfection a lot because it shines such a big light on God’s grace.  If someone has grace for you that’s when you feel their love the most and they see you for who you are and love you anyway.  Holding onto that hope that there is a better day tomorrow will help subside the sorrow. 
We are here to shine our lights on those that lost their way extending hope, love, and GRACE.  We are alive and we are here to shine. Nelson Mandela and Marianne Williamson state, “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presences actually liberates others.”  SHINE & LET US SHARE OUR LIGHT WITH OTHERS WHO CANNOT FIND THEIR OWN.  
Brave faces are overrated.  You know what takes true courage?  Showing others the pain, the struggle, the heartache, and taking life for the truth that it is and really being authentic.

If YOU or someone you know needs help - please reach out. Call 1-800-273-8255 at anytime and someone will be there on the other end of the line.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Landslide Love

Every once in a while the subject of a movie hits you so hard that your cheeks streak with waterfalls of tears that feel like they are coming from the very pit of your soul... this moment just happened a few weeks ago. Before I tell you what movie I must prelude to the events that created this painful yet healing experience caused by a simple story in film form.

Many of you know that my ex-husband left in June of 2012 - I won't go into details as there are previous blogs on this - but it still is one of the most painful times in my life that I've ever gone through.  Moving through the emotions of abandonment and trying to get my mind right from the abuse that occurred left me with a very fragile heart and to counter act that I built up walls, boarded up the windows, turned every lock, threw away the keys, built a barbwire/steel fence around the walls, and outside of that I dug a moat... Trust no one and never get hurt.  Only God could shine His glorious love filled light into my heart and soul.  

I am a firm believer in music speaking the words our soul could never find the words for ... this song best fits that moment in my life.


I spent my whole teenage and young adult life loving this man with every ounce of my being I tried to keep our family together for 11 years - this you can ask anyone.  The idea of changing, of letting go, of moving on just seemed so wrong.  Not to mention the stigma of being a divorced woman in society ... especially being a Christian woman.  I hate to admit this but I received some of the greatest judgement from my family in faith.  In the very beginning of deciding to file for divorce many months after he left I was told by a pastor that divorce was wrong... I felt guilty, like I was letting my ex's family, church family, my little mini men, and my Heavenly Father down.  I was treated differently by women in the church and to be completely honest there were moments I felt they looked at me like I carried some sort of divorced disease - like I would pass on divorce to them and their family in a sneeze if they got too close to me.

On the other end of the spectrum I did receive some of my greatest support from my church family too.  Women in my Bible Study in Texas (shout out to all you Hill Country Bible Round Rock ladies - I love you!) took my boys and me in - they even set up a care calendar to watch my mini men while I figured out how to pay for the ridiculously over priced childcare there and I am forever thankful for each and every one of them.  Then I met my Kingdom Heights Christian School family who went above and beyond to care for us, always there to lend a helping hand. (Thank you for all that you did and I miss you all so much!)

Then there are all the silly little forms in doctors offices, at the DMV, EVERY WHERE seemingly ... Single, Married, Widowed, or Divorced - check one.  Another place to put down my D label leading me to feel like I was a failure.    

Okay so fast forward to two weeks ago.  As a newly re-married woman to the sweetest most amazing man, I'm going to let you in on a secret... I was scared even at that point to fully let him in.  To be honest I kept waiting for a moment that he would say "I'm done" and just walk away.  He may have helped me fill in that moat, take down the fences, some how found and even made copies of the keys to unlock my heart, but I have to admit I kept the walls up. As an excuse I kept telling myself it was because I was being "smart", after all God does say to guard your heart right? (Proverbs 4:23)  

We had a brief and highly unusual moment to to watch a movie during the day because both boys went down for a mid-afternoon nap. I found a movie that I wanted to watch forever ago but my ex refused to go and now I totally know why.  It was waiting to be watched at this exact moment because it was what my heart needed to hear be spoken.  Here are a few pictures from the movie maybe it will jog your memory...


I know I'm not divorced any more but I am remarried and to be honest it hasn't been easy.  As I watched this movie I sat on the couch and cried my walled up heart out - one of the few times my husband has seen me be weak but not that last time for sure. I talked about my ex and how I had yet to hear that ... that it was okay to love again.  Instead of criticizing me and looking at me like I was crazy - he pulled me in and held me.*

So here is where this blog is leading to... beautiful women and men too.... some of YOU need to hear this.  

I want you to know that the word divorced is a dumb word - it's not you and it doesn't need to be used to define you.  

Take all the time you need to grieve but don't ever give up on love and not believe for it is the most beautiful thing.

*Thank you Jesus and Jesse - you really do mean the world to me.  Thank you for loving me unconditionally!  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Follow Your Heart & You Will Find Home


I'm sure that some of you noticed a very important name missing from the list on the previous blog of people I was excited to see  when I move back to Cheyenne, but I assure you it was on purpose as this person deserves a blog all of his own. 



 My love Jesse Brand is quite possibly the best man I have ever met.  His heart loves in a way I never thought I would find... a heightened sense of safeness is felt whenever he crosses my mind. I know he really loves me and that brings so much confidence into the relationship, so much peace. The way he constantly tells me how beautiful I am, how he prays for us every night, how proud of Aydn and Kayl he is, how he loves us all so much, and most importantly how much he loves God.   Yes, he is physically attractive with his brilliant smile, his rich deep chocolate eyes, his chiseled jaw bone, and his beastly body - but that is not what makes him hot.  His caring spirit, his nurturing soul, his intellectual mind, and his extraordinary abundantly loving heart that belongs to God *fans hand over face* now THAT is hot! 


We have not had a chance to spend a lot of time physically together, but over the past year we've grown to know one another in the deepest kind of way you can.  The beautifully innocent intimacy has fused our spirits so intricately and it can be described as nothing less than heavenly.  One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that a right relationship will not distract you from God, but bring you closer to Him. *wipes tear from eye* I am so extremely thankful to have this.  Nothing can break our relationship because God supports it... not even deployment!


Home is where the heart is and he has mine and I could never have dreamt of a better man to be with for all of time.  I am so excited to see what the future holds with this wonderful man of mine - ONE DAY CLOSER!





Friday, March 7, 2014

Bloom Where You Are Planted: A New Journey With Familiarity



So life....  this beautifully, amazing, one of a kind experience that I am so thankful for .... like the weather, one day you're batten down the hatches prepping for a storm and the next you're sweating through the swelter of the radiant sun, both are so unpredictable yet in every moment there is joy to be found if one stops to count their blessings as they look around. 

This last year has been nothing less than amazing.  I've learned so much about the things I love (Jesus, speaking & preaching, music, web design, writing, art, teaching, etc.) and myself.  Before coming to Austin I talked about chasing dreams, but never had the doors of opportunity open to capture some of my own.  After looking over the thousands of photos in the past year (yes, I admit I am a picture-aholic) I am in complete awe of all the living that has been! 

-BUT-
(that's a big but, you can like it and you don't have to lie - ha!)

I believe George Moore stated it best, "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."  Truth be told, while I LOVE my Spirit family, my Kingdom Heights Christian School family, my Hill Country Bible Church family, my Bible Baptist Church family, and some of the best friends my boys and I could ever find,especially in such a short time, (insert big but here) I miss home.  I know some of you are reading this thinking I am out of my mind (you are probably right but not on this subject - ha!) but believe me I have weighed this decision heavily.

 Jeremiah 42:3 Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do


 Remember that job I told you all about a few weeks ago, well it is solving my hearts desire to be close to my family... my Dad, Little Brother, Sister-in-law, hopefully my little niece or nephew sometime in the near future (hint hint Cam and Kelsey), my Mom, my forever former family always will be family my ex-in-laws, my WOW Women, my Element Church fam, and my family in friend form (psst - if you're from Wyoming and reading this that's YOU!)

So what is this job you ask?


Any of these look familiar?  I'm going to work for Montgomery Broadcasting!  Some of you may recall I applied for this very same position about three years ago, but got beat out by one person.  Now I'm ready to ROCK this new position AND I get to be back where my roots are planted - in good ol' Cheyenne, Wyoming!

Here's why behind it all ... I'm looking out for two precious mini men that mean the WORLD to me and the support we receive in Wyoming is something that I will never be able to find anywhere else being a single Momma.  We've had wonderful people here help us out, but it is a handful compared to a village in Cheyenne.  Aydn and Kayl are my first priority in life and I would give my right arm (or my whole body for that matter) for them to be happy.  They are doing well here in Texas, but working 3 jobs is taking a toll on all of our sanity (All I have to say is thank goodness I am done with school!) At this point in their lives - these fleeting moments are slipping through my hands faster than I can even comprehend.  They are only tiny humans for so long and some day they will have their own dreams to chase after, their own lives to live without full dependence on me. Sometimes in life we have to take a step back to see what is really important and to get that extra room in order to get a running start forward. I'm super excited for this new opportunity and to be back with ALLLLL of my Wyomingites!!!!  PREPARE FOR ALLL THE HUGS!

I'll leave you all with this beautiful quote that a friend posted last week:

   Thank you Austin, or Awesome, Texas as Switchfoot says - you've been the definition of awesome & this last little bit we have together will be just as amazing!  You'll always have a piece of my heart and it is not a good-bye it's a see ya later.  Wyoming fam & friends - start storing up the hugs I MISS YOUR LOVE! But not for long!  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Find the Light, Be a Light, and Shine it Bright... A Vincent van Gogh Final


So I thought I would share my final final as it was my favorite one to write - this is what the assignment entailed...


Choose a work of visual art, in this same spirit, that was created between 1870 and 1930, anywhere in the world, which resonates with you personally.

Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word paper discussing how you would transform this image to make a strong personal statement using one of the following contemporary visual arts media:

·        Photography
·        Film
·        Video
·        Computer-based media

Include the following information about the original work of art:

·        Explain the influence of new technologies (above) on the visual arts.
·        The name and nationality of the artist
·        The media that was used
·        Title of the original art work
·        The date it was created
·        A full verbal description and visual analysis of the work
·        The aesthetic movement it represents
·        The message it was intended to communicate

Include the following: 

·        Describe in detail the work you would create
·        How you would create it
·        The media, process, and materials you would use
·        What your work would look like
·        The message it would communicate
·        Where it would be displayed
·        Who would see it
·        Explain fully how the message you intend relates to the message that was intended by the original artist. 

& this is what I wrote...
              




 Creating Conceptual Art Paper
Rhianna Canak
February 14, 2014
ARTS/230




Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most famous neo-impressionistic painters known worldwide with his masterpieces including Starry Night, Sunflowers, Starry Night over Rhone, Irises Saint-Remy, and Undergrowth with Two Figures.   In 1888 Vincent van Gogh painted another amazing piece of art to add to his collection of 21,000 total created works titled The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum.  He used an array of colorful pigments like orange, blue, yellow, green, and white with oil paints that seems to dance across the canvas to create this beautiful masterpiece.  Light and religion place a pivotal role in this piece, which to Van Gogh can mean the same thing. 
Vincent van Gogh was of Dutch nationality and grew up in the church, another source of light to his life and influence to his paintings, as his father was a preacher (Van Gogh Gallery, 2013).  Like many of his paintings he included the stars in the night sky, which seemed to mesmerize him with the thoughts of the infinite space relating to the God he grew up learning about.  In the painting only one person, the servant, is dressed in white and upon observation seems to bear resemblance to Jesus, the son of God.  Because of the influence of his religious upbringing a person cannot help but wonder if a Bible verse like Luke 22:26 which states “But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant” has lead Van Gogh to purposely place this servant, resembling the Savior of the world Jesus, the only person dressed in white, as the center focal point in the painting.  
In today’s world of quick paced technology and short attention spans, to alter the art piece and portray the message personally interpreted a short film, a minute or less, should be created.  All colors should remain the same and the Cafe Terrace, now fittingly titled Café van Gogh will be used as the setting to shoot the short film (Yelp, 2014).  A camera will start the shot as a close-up on the cobble stone roadway and slowly pan up widening the view.  The pace of the shot will increase, as if someone were fast-forwarding the scene.  It will show the men and women off to the right of the original painting going in and out of the store fronts and the lights turning on in the buildings as the sun is setting.
 All in a matter of 20 to 30 seconds, many people will be seen going about their lives in the scene. During this time transfer, there will also be a wardrobe transfer. They actresses and actors will start off in the attire fitting for 1888 and transform through the decades as time goes on.  The shot will expand further as a person heads to the Café van Gogh to sit on the terrace and enjoy a meal with a friend.  At this point the era in which the setting will describe will be present times with cell phones in the hands of all who are eating at the café.  A male servant dressed in white will come out of the door from the café onto the terrace and as the door swings open the time will return to a normal speed.  Busy chattering of all of the cafes guests, with random “selfies” being snapped, and laughter erupting all around will be the scene at this point as the male servant begins to serve the people who are fully unaware of his presence.  The camera will zoom in on just the terrace as the server, whose face has yet to be focused on in the shot, grabs a person’s glass to pour water from the pitcher, yet when the water hits the bottom of the clear glass cup it is miraculously turned into wine.  As he places the miracle filled cup onto the table there is a close-up shot of his pierced hand.  A quick flash to Jesus’s face with his heavenly gaze is held for just a moment and then the camera zooms out to the full shot of the Café Van Gogh setting showing the hustle and bustle of people all around not even giving a glance to the heavenly servant.  The scene fades into Vincent van Gogh’s The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum and the final touch is a shooting star in the sky resembling van Gogh’s and the post-impressionist style of painting.
The message this short film would display is the same message that Van Gogh was portraying according to my interpretation, that though no one notices Jesus, the servant, he reigns as the ruler and creator of everything.  Many people who are not Christ followers would not love the message, but art lovers of all religious backgrounds may appreciate the painting to film transfer.  It could be shown at art galleries as well as church organizations to prove points on the distractions of life pulling people’s attention away from Jesus.  Van Gogh dedicated his life and artistic creations to God and serving his purpose and this is evident in his statement, "...to try to understand the real significance of what the great artists, the serious masters, tell us in their masterpieces, that leads to God; one man wrote or told it in a book; another in a picture" (Van Gogh Museum, 2014, para. 1). 
Vincent van Gogh was a phenomenal artist who was passionately dedicated to his work.  Though people of his time viewed him as mad and out of his mind, what he added to the art world is genius defined.  He is and will always be my favorite artist because I relate to his seemingly crazy to the rest of the world but feels so right to my soul love for God.  He sold one painting before he left this world, but he left a forever impact which serves as a beacon of light to shine for God and his glory.    Whether it be the stars in the night sky, an electric bulb burning bright, or the artist behind a magnificent masterpiece, it all leads back to one thing… to find the light, be a light, and shine it bright.


References
Encyclopedia Britannica. 2014. Incandescent Lamp. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/284597/incandescent-lamp.
Van Gogh Gallery. (2013). Vincent van Gogh Biography. Retrieved from http://www.vangoghgallery.com/misc/biography.html.
Van Gogh Museum. (2014). Art and Faith. Van Gogh’s Life. Retrieved from https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/index.jsp?page=12261&lang=en.
Yelp. (2014). Café van Gogh. Retrieved from http://www.yelp.com/biz/caf%C3%A9-van-gogh-montpellier-2.









Grade for final... 100% and for the class 94%!!!!  So thankful to be finished with school & I promise to write something on here soon!  SOOOOOO MUCH HAPPENING & I CAN'T WAIT TO SHARE... but I have to let a few more people know before I open it up to the world!  Thanks for reading & A SUPER AWESOME CYBER HIGH FIVE to all of you who helped me through <3  You're support means the world and I am forever grateful to have each and every one of you in my life!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Focus On The Miracle

""Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart walking around on the outside of your body." - Elizabeth Stone


On January 15th my first mini man Aydn and I went into the eye doctor to get our eyes checked.  He had been complaining of a headache every time he read and with my eyes at nearly three times the legal blind limit, I chalked it up to him becoming a four eyed wonder boy.  As you can see from the picture above we were all smiles and sillies to start our day, like always.  I'm a picture-a-holic wanting to cherish and document every sweet moment that my children go through so that when they hit the years of independence from me no longer wanting to play & when I'm sitting in my rocking chair all old and gray, I can pull out the pictures a moment in time just as it was - a still frame of the memories we have made - look through them and share with others the beauty that was & is my life.  I began my usual game of making things fun & exciting for my little man even though they are not usually in the category of awesome things to do in a normal day of life. When he put on his glasses to take the depth test - Aydn pretended he was Clark Kent and stated that they were just his disguise because he was really a Superhero inside. (Totally agree!)  The "poof" of the air in the eyeball made us giggle - like a jack-in-the-box for any person who has to endure this machine... an element of surprise that you know is coming the entire time yet you cannot help but jump when it hits! 




& then the dilation of the eyes came.  Before his sunk in - we picked out his new reading glasses frames -boy does he look like a little smarty all debonair with his gray spectacles that fit his cute face so perfectly! We wondered around Wal-Mart as it was next door- giggling like lunatics because we could barely see anything.  We picked up cards trying to read them - looking at each other cracking up because the words started dancing a blurry jig with each one we picked.  After 15 minutes of people looking at us like we were on something & our pupils looking as if it their thoughts were correct - we walked back over to the Optometrists office.  He peeked inside Aydn's eyes... peeked again... & again.  With a look of concern on his face he stated that he needed to take some pictures of Aydn's eyes.  Like a fun-house full of mirrors crashing down all at once - my focus turned from being my silly self to full blown Momma Bear mode.  Animal instinct at it's finest - nothing would hurt my baby.

Suddenly the whirl wind of something no parent ever wants to experience began.
After the pictures were taken - the doctor pulled me into a room and stated to the nurses to give Aydn something fun to do while we talked.  He began showing me the reality of what was happening inside my Angel Aydn - my first born Awesome - my heart in child shaped form.  The photos showed an elevated optic nerve with indistinct arteries in his eye... my response - uhhhh what does that mean?
  Without going into scientific explanations he stated that when this occurs in rare case people can have the elevated nerve as a normal but the obscured view of the artery was cause for concern - that there was pressure on the brain somewhere.  This could be from the fluid around the brain not draining correctly or possibly even a tumor.

(insert silent breakdown here)

I sucked it up and stepped out into the lobby where my amazing little man - the sweetest boy in all the land stood without a clue of what may be happening inside of him and grabbed him up in the deepest hug I could ever give.  If I could have sunk him into myself in that moment I would've.  With a few phone calls from the doctor I was given the list to a few specialists in the area with specific instructions to get in as soon as possible.  So like a solider marching into battle numb to the pain that they may endure I began the process of calling to see who could get my little love in while fighting the thoughts of what the results of all this could be.  
8:30 am Ophthalmologist appointment made for the following day... now to pretend like nothing was wrong and stay strong in front of Aydn.  Here's how the day went - sure you can have ice cream at 1:00 in the afternoon, sure we can play whatever game you want to play including tackle football all throughout the house, sure I'll give you the world right now because I may not be able to for much longer. At bedtime I read what seemed like a billion books, an hour later of course because at this point every moment is suddenly worth so much more, I laid with Aydn and whispered to him how wonderful he is - how truly thankful I am to have him - and prayed with all of my might that his light be with this world far longer than mine ever be.  

That night I made phone calls, texted, and messaged just about every person I could to send prayers to my little man - that this abnormality be just another way to show what a special edition Aydn is to this world.  I went to bed with a heavy heart to say the least.  I picked up my book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp and began reading ALLLLL the things I need to read...

In reference to Matthew 14:19 "He looked up to heaven, to see where this moment comes from. Always first the eyes, the focus."

"Give thanks (in), give thanks (out). The eyes focus, in apertures capturing Beauty in ugliness."

"Why do I reduce The Greatest to the lesser instead of seeing the lesser, this mess, as reflecting The Greatest?"

"The practice of giving thanks...eucharisteo...this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always the practice of the eyes."

"You can't positive think your way out of negative feelings.  Feelings work faster than thoughts; blood runs faster than synapses.  The only way to fight a feeling is with a feeling."

"The Lord has to break us down to the strongest part of our self-life before He can have His own way of blessings with us."

& then to the bible I flipped open the living word - the guide to my life and Genesis 32:22-30
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone,and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[b] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”


& so began my wrestling match.  All I kept saying with tears streaming down my face was I KNOW he will be okay. God I WANT my blessing. GOD GIVE ME MY BLESSING.  I KNOW my Aydn will be okay. YOU PROMISE BLESSINGS & HE IS MINE, MY BLESSING SINCE DAY ONE - I KNOW HE WILL BE OKAY.

----------------------

The next morning I heard my alarm though I felt as if I had yet to fall asleep.  Going through the motions of the day to come felt daunting - I took my shower & as the water fell around me, so did the tears because I knew this was the only time during the day that I could show my weakness.  With a few moments to get ready myself after prepping my two little angels Aydn and Kayl for the day - I grabbed my Jesus Calling daily devotional & turned to this... 


Peace.  His peace I choose for the day even though the sea had raging waves.
Even the band Kye Kye that I was fully introduced to Tuesday night had a beautiful song for my soul... 



The lyrics "There is no weeping, there is no sorrow,
you're holding me now there's no rules to follow
I know who you are now, I'm running in a different way
so overwhelmed by you Jesus."

The Ophthalmologist ran a ton of different tests and some of the same... with the results the same.  Her instructions were to go to an Emergency Room - an MRI was in order and hopefully after that answers were in store.  She suggested going to the ER in Temple, TX, about an hour away, to see the best Neuro-ophthalmologist in Central Texas Dr. Smith.  So after a treat of Aydn's favorite burger at Freddy's and a stop to grab his blankey from the house and tell Poppa to pick up Kayl from school we were on our way to get some answers.  At this point between the family I had contacted (church families included) hundreds of prayers were going up and I know that our Heavenly Father was listening.

We arrived at the ER and more testing began.  Soooooo many tests. Hours and hours of testing and wondering - yet finding laughter in the moments between & of course allllll the extra snuggles that could ever be. 
Poor baby so sick of the dialation of the eyes, look at this, read that, what does that say, can you do this...

All results showed normal movement of the eyes, no blind spots, proper drainage of the fluid in his brain, and no tumors (PRAISE GOD!)

Soooooo.... the Neuro-ophthalmologist looked inside his eyes again & the miracle began.

THE ARTERIES WERE THERE - SEEN IN FULL FOCUS - PUMPING ALONG

I saw the blurred elements to his eye, two doctors viewed the obstruction of view to his arteries... so much so they had us go to the Emergency Room because of the urgency 
BUT   

 

The optic nerve is still elevated which is not considered "normal" but who wants to be normal right?  The haze that was over the arteries was lifted... somehow... some way... the only explanation from the first photos of Aydn's eyes and the findings of the last is answered prayers.

A witnessed miracle with my own two eyes on my son's eyes...
A true testament to prayers going up and blessings coming down. 

So with this story I leave an eternity of thankfulness to God first for giving me the blessing of my son - my amazing Aydn that I love beyond what words could ever begin to describe - and second to all of you who prayed, who sent me loving words, who care so much for us that you know that you are in tune to the requests for prayers that you give them more then willingly but whole-heartedly.

I've experienced a miracle and my heart has never been so full!  THANK - FULL!