Month: June 2014

Cinderella Story

Most of my friends believe that my favorite movie is Star Wars…all of them. Well, they are wrong. It is Cinderella, the version released by Disney in 1950. This is the only movie which I’ve watched hundreds of times and still cry at the same scenes. Yes, I just admitted this on the Internet. Disney’s Cinderella is deceptively simple. Looking at it as a kid, it was a simple fairy tale with the hero triumphant. As a teenage girl, I saw the story of the girl getting the guy. However, as an adult it became a different story. Below is what I consider the most emotional scene of the movie. It is not because we think Cinderella has lost the chance to go to the ball, meet the prince and change her circumstances.
All of this may have been what the writers wanted, yet there is more here.
Cinderella in the Garden

Leaning over a cement bench, she sobs the following through bitter and painful tears:
“It’s just no use…I can’t believe, not anymore…there’s nothing left to believe in…”

I imagine this is not the first time she has come to this garden in tears or pain. If you pay attention to the beginning of the movie, this is the same garden she and her father are shown in when he was alive. She may come here even when her stepmother and step sisters are asleep to feel a connection to her deceased father. What is clear is that this moment was her breaking point. Although she may not have been perfect, Cinderella is shown to be rational and reasonable up to this point. She has maintained her composure and dignity even in the face of humiliation and numerous daily set backs. Yet, it is the selfish, spiteful, and bitter tearing of her dress that finally breaks her down.
Does not life feel this way at times?
Of course many of us realize that tearing her dress is representative of all her hopes, dreams, goals, and beliefs being shattered and broken. How many of us have come to a breaking point when our world seems to come crashing around us? You, the person who has been optimistic and encouraging others, smiling through your own pain could not bear another set back. Yet, that set back came. The moment of crisis and the day of despair when what took years to build was stripped away in an instant were too much on your plate. In our darkest moments, how easy it is to say as Cinderella “There’s nothing left to believe in…”
I know it may be easier to quote James 1:2-3 than to believe it or to hear I Peter 1:5-9 than to take it to heart when in the middle of distressing circumstances. I know because darkness surrounds us all like a fog and the fog can be as thick as velvet. And the season can last longer than we would like leading us to pleading with the Father for the veil to lift from our life. Yet it is imperative and most urgent that you and I see beyond our present. Even as the Fairy Godmother said: “If you had lost all your faith, I could not be here. And here I am.” Your faith in its most honorable form is what God is after. He uses what we have, our heart, and our circumstances to get us where He needs us. The trying of your faith and the set backs, heart ache, heart-break, and pain on this side of life are the very things that can polish and perfect you, forcing you to stand out to our Prince of Peace.


Loose Dog? Don’t chase! Stop, Drop and Lie Down

Yes, my dog Lacey falls for nearly all of these everytime. Go read this if you have a dog!

No Dog About It Blog

StopDropLieDown Have you ever had a dog escape your arms or car or home? What is the first thing you do? If you’re like most people, you chase after them. They run and then you run. It seems almost instinctual, doesn’t it?

I’ve come to believe that it REALLY IS INSTINCT that takes over when we chase after our loose dog(s). It’s not just something we do when our own pets get loose, but something we do when a friend’s dog gets out of the house or when we see a stray dog running down the street or the highway. There is even a recent video showing police officers chasing after a dog on a highway in California. They never even had a chance of catching him. It was a losing proposition.

The problem with our first instinct (to chase) is that it rarely gets us closer to getting them. In fact, the…

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The Language of Life


I was once a decent musician. I played the piano and two types of saxophones. Okay, if you can play one type of saxophone, the key layout is the same…
My first college major was music. I wrote sheet music and helped local musicians write hooks. Yet, I eventually found my way to the biology department. Life became more science than music.
When I took my first music class, our teacher introduced music as a language. He called it the universal language. Just as years of Spanish allowed me to understand spoken and written expression, years of musical training allowed me to read and write in the language of music. Interestingly, just as my infrequent use of Spanish now limits my current understanding, so has gone the way of music. I began reading old sheet music for the piano and felt like a beginner again.
Then I thought about something: maybe music is not the universal language. Not everyone can read it and most people cannot understand it’s complexities. What of math, then? Music is a beautifully mathematical language. Could it not be that math is the universal language that binds us after all? Yet, there are many great musicians born blind and have never seen a math equation.
And there it is.
To live and experience all the sorrows and pains, joys and laughter under the sun binds humanity across all languages. It is expressed in the mathematical harmony of music we use as the soundtrack to our lives. Pain is not limited to ethnicity, country, or color. Joy is not preserved for American speakers of English. The same hormones are released in the stress response in our bodies when you and I see the hypothetical whatever that scares you/stresses you most. Life, lived full and wide, is not without pain and heartache. Pain is not limited to physical loss of another human or tangible material thing. Yet, this full life experience and range of emotional response we have is what knits humanity together as one. My pain may never be worn on my sleeve or written on my face, yet I can relate that emotion to the place that has caused you pain. The same goes for those times of great joy. In this, it is human emotion that is the universal language. You need not understand Spanish to interpret laughter. You do not have to read music to hear the song of tears. You only need an open heart.

The picture is one of the exercises from The Saxophonist’s Workbook by Larry Teal – as seen through my glasses.