Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oliver Ostrich - Get your head out of the sand!

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

Hebrews 10:23-25 

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Todays episode link of the Cinnamon Bear

"There is nothing more totally dark than the inside of a crocodile"~ Snapper Stick

Snapper Stick is able to swallow written things and then digest them. 
Ha - he has a literary apatite. 

So the instructions he digests and tells them now send them off to the wishing well - but how will they fix the broken star? On the way the meet Oliver Ostrich. He has his head stuck in the ground. He just ate a alarm clock. His head is in the ground because he was engaging in a bit of meditation. 

So we have Snapper Stick who digests the written word and Oliver Ostrich who eats alarm clocks and meditates with his head in the ground. Oh and Cinnamon bear falls in the wishing well. What a day!

We can spend a lot of time wishing for things in our lives to get fixed. There is a time for waiting on God but it is easy to get stuck there. We find our self sitting and waiting for some great revelation or open door or amazing answers to our prayer.  At some point we have to decide to take a step of faith and head in a direction. 

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
-- John Lennon

So for the last month I have been seeking the Lord about whats next? Where am I heading?
So I have done a lot of soul searching and hoped that some doors would open or some would close to help me figure it out. I have thought about the things that I love doing and the things that are more of a bother. I've thought about skills that need developed and things I want to work on. I realized yesterday that while there are a lot of things in my life that I would like to improve. There is a lot about my life that I like. I realize that it is a process. I make my best guess about what might work to improve some area of my life. I think about why making that change is important to me. I set out and experiment and test my best ideas. When it gets hard I remember why I'm bothering to do this. Then I evaluate how that worked. I celebrate what worked and adjust what didn't. I have to realize that it is a circle that repeats again and again. In the process I have hope that the Lord is leading and guiding me as I seek him and then take steps of faith to move in a direction towards solving or improving things. 

I love this quote from the movie Mr. Hollands Opus.  "Mr. Holland had a profound influence on my life and on a lot of lives I know. But I have a feeling that he considers a great part of his own life misspent. Rumor had it he was always working on this symphony of his. And this was going to make him famous, rich, probably both. But Mr. Holland isn't rich and he isn't famous, at least not outside of our little town. So it might be easy for him to think himself a failure. But he would be wrong, because I think that he's achieved a success far beyond riches and fame. Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life."

I can get myself into a Mr. Holland kind of mindset thinking I'm not very successful because. I have no great accomplishments or much money to show for my time and effort. But then I stop and look around at the lives I currently have the opportunity to touch and influence and the lives I have had a chance to encourage in the past. In those kinds of things my life is incredibly rich. 

I had so much fun yesterday playing Christmas music with my students. I've grown and they have grown. I want to work on some two part duets for guitar or maybe guitar and recorder. I played my piano duet with my son during rehearsal yesterday and for the first time I feel good about going into a recital tonight. I was able this week, to sit down at the piano and take a guitar cord sheet and play it and then I was able to take it into musescore and actually write out an arrangement of the melody and chords to take with me to my lesson. My teacher was impressed. I am getting closer to my original goal of being able to write and arrange the music in my head and to be able to play reasonably well. 

Five years ago I was at a big Christian woman's conference and the Lord spoke to me and gave me specific instructions to start taking piano lessons. Honestly I thought that the Lord would down load a gift to be able to quickly learn and I'd be some sort of instant prodigy. It has not worked like that at all. I have had to stick with it, and work hard at it. None of it has come particularly easily. I still don't know why the Lord wanted me take piano lessons. I can say that it has helped my ability to focus. It has helped my music theory knowledge get un muddled. It has helped me be a better guitar teacher. It has kept me in contact with my teacher and prayer partner even though we no longer attend the same church. It has made it possible for both of my sons to also take lessons. It is something we are all working on together. It has enriched my life in so many ways.

I'm not likely to take the world by storm with my piano playing but I can look back at the direction the Lord gave me five years ago and see the many good things that it has added to my life. Its a journey that I am glad that I have taken and one I am glad to continue on. There are weeks and months where my practice time is almost non existant because life is so busy. Having a lesson each week keeps me moving towards the goal even during busy seasons. I sometimes feel like I work on the same stuff for the longest time before I make some developmental leap or a light bulb turns on in my head - and ta da I get it suddenly. 

I can be very hard on myself. Much harder than I am on anyone else. I am often prone to extend grace to everyone but myself. I too often measure myself by the success or failures of others and then feel like I'm not getting anywhere. 

I told the Lord a long time ago that I wanted to be a guiding light not a shooting star. I want to leave a legacy of faith that others will be able to follow, long after my time here has ended. So I write, and paint, and make mosaic, I do music things, I teach, I encourage I love my family and friends and the people who's paths I cross. I pour myself into the things I believe God has given me to do. Sometimes I need to take my head out of the sand and look around and see the effect my life is having on those around me.  

I hear from some of you that you are encouraged by these devotionals, that things I have said or written have challenged you to take some step of faith. It means so much to me when you take the time to let me know. Thank you. Thank you also to the few of you who have used the donate button believing that this is good ground to plant your financial seeds of faith. We should support the things that feed and encourage us.

My friend Mark Kenney posted this on my facebook wall the other day. "You my friend are a DELIGHT!!! Thank you for everything you do, every word you type, just being you... your faithfulness is an example and a blessing!" His words meant so much to me. They still make me tear up when I read them.  I was having a couple of very dark days and trying measure myself with the wrong yard stick and those words helped me take my head out of the sand pit I was stuck in. 

I hope you are not sitting around waiting for "someday" to land in your lap, delivering all the things you are dreaming about. Someday doesn't happen by dreaming about it. Someday happens as we take one little step of faith and then the next. When we are faithful to carry on even when the journey is difficult. Even when it seem that there is no fruit on the tree. (duh it might be winter - Spring and fruit will come - don't give up.)

I leave you today with the words of the Serenity Prayer. There is a reason it has become so well loved. I pray you will have the peace of the Lord, as you go about the things that make up your life. May you be a blessing to every life you have a chance to touch today. Thanks for being part of mine.

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr


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