Thursday, April 29, 2010

Through the eyes of others

In my creative writing classes the other day, I gave an assignment where everyone had to be in the same, small space - our school courtyard. They had five minutes to walk around and then we all sat in a circle to write about the one thing that inspired us. Each thought was different. It was astounding. Even though I knew the purpose of my lesson, I was still blown away at the variety of thought involved. I will share mine and then a few of the other thoughts.

My Mother

Yellow flowers
Sweet Kisses,
Pinches and caresses,
That's my mother.
Goofy smiles
Contagious laughs
Sandals and long dresses,
That's my mother.
Silly giggles
Excited shouts,
Cluttered, organized messes,
That's my mother,
And I love her.

And by the way, these little flowers whose name I do not know, are lovely paint holders! If you tear this plant at any part - leaves and all - it holds a lovely yellow shade of "juice". It's a fun activity for the kids to stamp, draw, and paint with the plethora of yellow juice from this fun plant!

Some of the other thoughts were these; I am summarizing the thoughts of my 4-5th graders.
- The brick grill by the wall reminded one student of the time he went picnicking with his family.


















- The lone dandelion next to the tall, strong tree reminded a girl of little David next to a strong giant Goliath.




- The mud splashes on the white brick in the form of a snowman were a reminder that winter passed and spring is here. ( I couldn't get the picture for this one to turn out to see the mud, sorry!)









- The white flowers fluttering down the blossoming tree remind us that the "snow" of spring is fresh and warm.










- The garden flowers of yellow and purple are reminders of a beloved mom and grandma.




And my personal favorite and these are basically verbatim from a 10-year-old:
- The thorns on the rose bush remind us of Jesus' crown of thorns. We are like the rose, we live and die because of his sacrifice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lest you fret...

I have shared my blog with a total of 6 people. Yup, 6 of you lovely ladies have the address to my "deepest thoughts" and yesterday was no exception! I was thinking about highlighting my hair. And then I had doubts. To highlight or not to highlight? Whom shall I ask? I know! My online friends... but wait... posting highlighting questions online, are you serious? What are you thinking? As if, Shelly! Who would even care, silly girl? And that is where my thoughts of highlighting basically came to a halt. I have formed this comfy cocoon in which I rest peacefully with the realization that most people could really care less, and if I don't stick my head out there in the big wide world, it has much less of a chance to get clobbered! So, there you have it. Nothing very deep, just hair woes, if you care to know! And I know you do, so thanks... remember baby steps for me. I'm getting more and more used to the thought that you really are out there! :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Nevermind

I was thinking of something today,
As if it mattered greatly.
Musings,
Thoughts,
Wonderings...
Just me and my mind,
As usual...
To share or not to share?
Not, the choice for me,
As usual.
I'm trying...
Getting there slowly.
Baby steps for me, folks.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Memories...


I took this picture when at The Museum of Computers and Technology in Paris. It was a run-through for me, practically. See, I'm thankful for all the computer technology of this day and age, really, but I am so NOT a computer geek. However, there is a man in my life who is. In 1983 my dad came home with a computer, okay the year may be a little off, but it was in the early 80's, nonetheless. We had Atari and Colecovision and whatever else was new and innovative back in the day. My dad was not only intrigued, I'd say he was a little obsessed. I guess OCD wasn't diagnosed as such way back when. Good thing I at least know the name of my ailments - my dad was oblivious, poor guy. So, as I sauntered through this museum to quickly make it to the next on my list, this computer caught my eye. I can almost guarantee you that one much like this one (if not exactly this one... my dad would be the type to not throw it out and donate it to some guy wanting to preserve such a rich piece of modern history) was sitting in my front room as a grade-schooler. Since it has been more years than I wish to recall that I have lived near my parents, anything that reminds me of them stops me dead in my tracks. The color yellow, the smell of brewing coffee, a computer that would fill half a room, an old book, and just a pair of eyeglasses can take me back to those memories of my sweet parents. I cherish each one. I live too far away not to live in the past a little... and look forward to the future, to the day I will embrace the ones I love so dear again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Growing



Spring is just in its beginning stages here where I live. I always enjoy the growth and the life that comes from a deadly winter, even if it means that I suffer with strained breathing, itchy eyes, and all the symptoms that go along with the budding beauty of this season. What I appreciate the most about spring is the color. I love color! I like many colors, but my favorite has to be the many hues of my beloved purple. These buds look bluer than in real life, but the periwinkle shade would in my mind lie under the classification of “the purples”. From the lilacs that permeate the air with their fragrance to the deep shades of irises that line spring gardens, I love it. I always seem to notice purple flowers wherever I go. I act as if God made each one especially for me. Yes, I am that self-absorbed! I love them. I just want God to know that if no one else noticed these buds today – I DID!!! And I love Him for it. You know what’s even cooler, though? My ugly sins didn’t make a difference in his loving me today, even though it took a purple bud to make me notice him. He always notices me! It is a humbling thought to know that he created me exactly as he wanted me, and that I can come to him just as I am… because it’s not a really pretty shade of purple, folks! I wonder what color I am in his eyes...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Michal, the Mother



I love my children. I love their kisses and sweet notes, their laughs and giggles, their silliness and even their mistakes. I love the fact that I am called "mom" by three amazing human beings. I love holding them close at times and at others watching them test their "wings". I love being a mother.

Though Michal was barren, we see her privileged to have the role of mother. This is the last time Michal is mentioned, 2 Samuel 21:8. I cry every time I read this passage. Let me give you the story, in short. At this point, there is a famine in the land and the Lord tells King David that it's because of Saul. Apparently, Israel dwelt peaceably amongst the Amorites but for some reason, Saul decided to break that peace. The Gibeonites mentioned in 2 Samuel 21 are the ancestors of the said Amorites. David goes to them and tells them that he realizes God is punishing the land because of the broken promise, and he seeks a way to appease this wrong-doing. What they demand is astonishing. 7 sons of Saul. They want revenge. 2 Samuel 21:7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD's oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. 8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:

Michal was mother to her sister's children. I don't know what happened to Merab and her husband, Adriel, but Michal became the mother of her 5 sons. Those sons became the sacrifice David gave to the Gibeonites for the wrong of their grandfather. Disturbing, puzzling, unfair, and gory as it may seem, it's how things were done. And Michal in one day had nothing. 2 Samuel 21:9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest. This always depresses me a little. How did Michal die? What did she ever do again? The only time she is mentioned again is in 1 Chronicles where they reference her reaction to David dancing in the street when she hated him for it. Is that all she was good for? A lesson in what not to do?

I imagine she was a strong, amazing woman with a big heart. A heart that would open her loving arms to the children of her sister and raise them. A woman who loved, was wronged, and chose to be stubbornly bitter and not forgive, but direct her love elsewhere... and that was taken away too. I can not say that I know what pain it would be to lose a child, or be betrayed by a husband, but I have felt wronged. I have been falsely accused and lied about. Every time, I have built a wall of defense and unfortunately even become bitter. But for all the good Michal must have done (remember she saved David's life, took in her orphaned nephews, and who knows how much more!) she held on to what she believed was her right, and lost it all. I hold on with gripping force so many times. It's hard not to. I wish there was a formula for an alternate ending mentioned in the Scriptures because that's what I'd mention now! But since there's not, I'll just say that this concludes the study I've done on Michal, a woman I feel I understand completely. I pray that I, Michal, will find that path leading to liberation from the nasty wrongs I face, and that you, Reader, would find your path of freedom as well.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Michal, the Queen


I'm not sure if it was custom for kings and queens back in Bible times to give masked balls, but it's what I think of when I think of the life of royalty. I guess it's due to an interest in the history of Marie Antoinette and other such figures. However, the wearing of "masks" is something we all do, isn't it? How many appearances must Michal have had to keep?! The next time Michal appears, her love has turned into disdain. Second Samuel chapter six shows us a Michal who instead of rejoicing over her husband's triumph, ridicules his dance of joy before the Lord. David was victorious in bringing the Arc of the Covenant back into its rightful home! What an amazing feat! Yet, Michal does not rejoice with David. She mocks him. Se wants him to feel the pain she does. It backfires, as it often does in life, doesn't it? She is punished. 2 Samuel 6:23Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death. This punishment seems severe at first glance. I would have been much like Michal, I think, and would have wanted to see David suffer. But, there was one problem. You see, David was a man after God's own heart. Was he perfect? No. Are any of us? But Michal not only mocked David, but she despised his offering of praise to the Lord. I personally believe that is why God chose to punish her as such. I think that God loves women and has given us a unique position and an extremely powerful influence in this life, so I can't bring myself to believe that God is being unjust here, even though my heart breaks for Michal. I think that God would have listened to a prayer of grief from her, even a complaint of the unjust way she had been treated, but instead, she took it out on her husband, and mocked his service to the Lord.

I wonder if there could have been a turning point here. I know myself and if you've read the previous posts you know that I am convinced my parents had it right when they called me Michal, because I have been outraged while reading this whole story at times. It's only when I began really searching for the meaning behind it all that I saw that Michal's sin was unto the Lord, as all sin is, really. And the rights that I think she had are really not her rights at all. I can't say I would've done any differently, but I can wonder at what would have become of her, and how the story would have changed had she found a way to cope without becoming bitter.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Michal, the Wife


Michal's choice was her husband. I Samuel 19:11Saul also sent messengers unto David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David's wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain. 12So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped. 13And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth. 14And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick. 15And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him. 16And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats' hair for his bolster. 17And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee?

Michal lied to her father about David threatening to kill her, and saved the life of the one she loved. We then do not see Michal appear until chapter 25 when we are told that she was given to Phalti to wife. As women in a society where we are emancipated, it is so hard to fathom this concept. However, she now found herself given to another man. I have often wondered what kind of man Phalti was. His name means "pillar", so I think he must have been a strong man. He must have been influential since the king saw fit to give him his daughter to marry. I wonder how long Michal was married to him. One thing I do know is that she is not mentioned again until II Samuel chapter 3 where we read that David has at least 6 wives by this point, and "there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David." It had been no short period of time. Theologians could probably tell you the number of years, but I won't venture a guess here.

So, here we are, years later, Michal is the wife of a man named Phalti, her father has died, her first husband was about to become King of all Israel, and he demands her return to him. I have often been puzzled by this. Michal must have been beautiful, sweet, and desirable for David to want her back. But there was a problem... 2 Samuel 3:15And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish. 16And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return. And he returned. Both men wanted her, and she had no choice but to follow orders as any woman in her day would have to do. The fact that Phalti followed her weeping must have been hard for her. I think she must have started to turn that love she once had for David into hate, as there can be a fine line between the two, and this must have been the point where she started to resent this man she once called her love. At least, that's what this Michal (yours truly) would have done. I'd start construction on a wall of protection so as not to get so hurt again, and let apathy have it's way in a relationship. We see this happen with our Michal, David's wife.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I am Michal

I have decided to open my blog with a recent study, and kind of an introduction to who I am. My name is Michal. It’s not a name I go by, unless on legal documents, but it is Michal nonetheless. Mary Michal, actually. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers were named Mary, so I was never intended to be called by that name, it was merely a formality, if you will. So, it was my middle name that was left. I was named after King Saul’s daughter and my brothers’ names are Jonathan and David. My mom and dad just love the story of King David and our names reflect it. I suppose they didn’t wish to name my sister Merab for obvious reasons, so she is the only sibling without a name that reflects this amazing story. For years, I hated my legal name. You see, everyone calls me “Shelly” as if you pronounce Michal as you would Michelle, and it’s just who I am… I always left Michal far behind until someone dared ask my middle name, and there would be a long story attached.

As the years passed, I began to like my quirky, unique name and would sign my legal name without the shame I would feel as a youth. But there was always something that bothered me. Every time I would hear the name Michal in a Bible study or read about her example in a book, hear of her in a sermon, or just have a discussion about her in Sunday School, she was always used as a bad example. I would cringe just a bit, knowing who I am, and I became determined to see who it is this woman really was. These are my findings. The further I delve into this woman’s life, the more I realize that my parents had it right. I am Michal. No, our circumstances aren’t the same, I am not experiencing the same life she did, but her actions show a sentimental, head-strong woman with whom I can completely relate.

My next few posts will show a bit of what I have learned from my own study. I pray it will be helpful to someone else along the way.

Michal, the Princess


Michal was part of a royal family. I Samuel 14:49 tells us who King Saul’s three children were. It is the first mention of Michal in the Scriptures. I can only use my vivid imagination to think of what it would have been like to grow up as a proper princess. Since my daddy always treated me like a princess, would call me that at times, and spoiled me as much as his finances and time would allow, I fancied myself a princess often, as I believe most little girls would. But this was for real – real riches, real kingdoms, real fame. She was the daughter of a King.
If you are interested in further study, read I Samuel 14 – 18.
Between the first time we see Michal in chapter 14, and the second time we see her in chapter 18, much has happened. King Saul, her father, has disobeyed God and the kingdom is going to switch family lines. A young shepherd boy, David, is chosen and anointed to become the next king, and that same shepherd boy was the only one brave enough to slay the giant Goliath. There is a covenant made between Jonathan, the rightful heir to the throne, and his best friend, David.
For the man who slew Goliath, the hand of the King’s daughter in marriage was promised. Merab was the older sister, so her hand was to be given before Michal’s, but now Saul’s jealousy of David had taken over his logic, he intended to kill David, and gave Merab to another. Saul then finds out that Michal loves David. I Samuel 18:20 “And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.” I have often wondered why Saul was pleased. Maybe it was because he knew that he could still save face, so to speak. He had promised Merab, but since she was now given to another, he still had another daughter to give. Surely he was thinking that his daughter’s loyalty to Daddy would out-weigh any love she had for David. It must be a strange feeling for a dad who has raised a little girl as his princess to see her transfer some of that love and respect to the man she wishes to marry. I am thankful that I have never had to choose between my father and husband, but Michal did and her choice was clear.

Inspiration and Introduction


Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

This picture inspires me. It is simplistic beauty, life amongst the cold and frozen “death” that surrounds it.

I remember being in a creative writing class in high-school and having my teacher tell me that I just needed a little inspiration. I have thought of him often throughout my life and the things that inspire me when I never thought they would. I have been inspired. My best friend encouraged me to start a blog and I have long considered myself too busy for one, but lately another friend of mine has inspired me to open my heart without reserve. I don’t know that it will ever be interesting to anyone, and that’s what’s kept me from it, to be completely honest, but right now I want to do it for my own good. Selfish I know, but true. I need to just see my thoughts in black and white sometimes. No suppression until explosion for me anymore… just freely expressed words and thoughts that make me who I am.

So, what this blog will become, I sincerely do not know. I suppose that at times it will be silly, superficial, and fun. At others it will most likely be deep and emotional. I will share pictures and activities sometimes, and at others be completely allusive, but that’s just because I am me – the happy-go-lucky teenager, turned into the confident, head-strong twenty-year-old, turned into that 30-something preoccupied mom who would rather close the door to her bedroom, cuddle up with the kids on her bed, and sip flavored coffee than be slapped in the face with that thing we call “real life”. But the door always opens… so why not be inspired by the things that wait to be discovered?