Friday, August 24, 2012

Chuck Taylor

When I was a freshman in high school I purchased a brand new pair of Chuck Taylor peach high tops. 

I loved them. I rolled down the edges and folded over the 'tongue' of the shoe.  I loved wearing my 'chucks' with my favorite jeans and my button down shirts that were left untucked (which my parents hated).  The reality was that there were not very many kids at my high school wearing jeans and Chuck Taylors back in the day and unfortunately that ended up making a difference for me.

I am confident in a lot of things but my sense of style is not one of them.   I was very consequence of my height from the time I was in the 5th grade because it was then that I had  growth spirt and became the tallest girl in the class.  Actually I was very close to the height I am now when I was in the 5th grade. While the world caught up with me over the years that sense of standing out stuck with me.  As a freshman I ate lunch with sophomores and juniors and I remember distinctly the group of guys razing me about my wasn't just once but happened several times and eventually I stopped wearing my favorite Chuck Taylor high top converse to school.  I wasn't confident enough to just be myself.

Yesterday I literally had tears in my eyes because my sweet Emma did something that I wish I had had all those years ago....I will tell you in just a second about the tears and awe that I had for her but I have to back up.

This year for the first time ever Emma is attending a school that does not require a full school uniform.  That means that for the first time ever she is choosing her own clothes and developing her own style.  Even yesterday she commented that her style is a fashion tomboy; cowboy-ish style.  As school began she really wanted a certain kind of converse but we couldn't find one that she wanted.  I knew that you could go online and design your own.  I asked if she wanted to spend some of her money to do that  and she jumped at the opportunity.  

I watched her design every single part of her shoe.  She began with a white (literally blank) Chuck Taylor hightop.  She chose the color of each side of the shoe...the back stripe....the inside pattern....the color of the tongue...the stitching around the entire shoe....the color of ringlets for the laces...what color laces...what the stripe on the bottom rubber would be and what 'tag' she wanted stitched on the bottom outside part of the shoe.  I was holding my breath the entire time....I couldn't imagine all the different things that she was putting on her shoe.  I only said, be careful not to put too many different things on the shoe.  I watched her as she grew excited.  We pressed order and I have been hoping that her shoes would be all that she wanted them to be.

For 3 weeks she has talked about how cool her shoes were going to be. She had assurance that they were going to be awesome and 'totally rock'.  Yesterday when they arrived I was holding my breath...she opened the box and they were stunning!  I'm bragging I know but they were so cool.  She could not wait to put them on.  I got tears in my eyes because my sweet Emma has a confidence that I never want to go away.

She was bold in her decisions.
She believed in her choices.
She longed to see her 'dreams' come true.
She was willing to step outside the box.
She was unafraid to be creative.
She wore them with pride and conviction that they are the best shoes ever.
She is one of a kind just like her shoes.
She is unique and wonderful...full of color and life.

She made me cry yesterday when I saw the confidence deep within her.  I told her the story of my shoes and told her to never let someone else take her confidence away.  I told her she was one of a kind; more unique than the shoes she was wearing.

Her self confidence...her creativity speaks volumes.

It simply reminds me that God creates each of us with a sense of boldness and assurance.  He loves us with a deep pride and conviction that we are the best ever.  We are wonderfully made and created; full of boldness.  Are you confident in who you are?  Do you have the assurance that you add a sense of color and drama to this world?  Do you realize that you are one of a kind and that you are wonderful just the way you are?

Today I am reminded to be be all that God created me to be.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


     Today we spent time in East Nashville at the Annual Tomato Festival. We started going several years ago but unfortunately we haven't been able to go in the past couple of years. Today was one of those days that remind you of what it means to be a community.

Community comes in a variety of forms to which we often miss.  This morning the first community began as we walked through KidsFest at East End UMC. It's a truly a community church that welcomes families of all forms.  There was something powerful and magical to see all the strollers literally lined up on the iron fence (I wish I had thought to take a picture of the beauty of all the strollers together).  It was as if the empty/unattended strollers lined along the way sidewalk represented a deep love and joy.  Parents and children playing together and a community embracing them with a love so pure that it couldn't be missed.

Local artist bottle caps
There was a community of local artist.  Local artist who so bravely put their creations out for the 'world' to see.  By displaying their art they were displaying a piece of their soul. They were trusting that the passerby'ers would embrace them into their world. The artisan community reached out to us today as they shared their passion, their gifts and their views of the world.  It is a community of passion and dedication.

Check it out in East Nashville
or Berry Hill area
              Then there was the community of restauranteurs who were sharing their passion of locally grown items transformed into amazing food that would sustain us.  The East Nashville community has one of my favorite people/family.  The Piper' friend Jenny owns Pied Piper Creamery.  It's a community that feeds the hungry not just physically but socially and emotionally.  They provide places where kids can come to read and share in the joy of ice cream.  It is a community that understands hunger of all varieties and is willing to respond.

Yes, my friend Jenny makes tomato ice cream
and sorbet

Of course there was those of us who were joined together as a community as we shared in the local treats that have come together around a little red vegetable/fruit that we call a tomato.

Do we see the communities that embrace you everyday?  Do you notice the community that surrounds you?  Who is a part of your community?  What do you do that draws you together?  Who do you need to reach out and draw into a community?

Thankful for the reminder that I am part of something larger than myself!