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Archive for the ‘thoughts on people’ Category

day 93 – you don’t have to be miss america to be like the proverbs 31 woman (but it’s okay if you are)

In thoughts on God, thoughts on people on November 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm

i love proverbs 31.  timeless beauty, heart, and a phenomenal example of a woman who loves the Lord.

notice, seamless conversational skills, unbeatable charm, a teensy waistline and perfect skin, pinterest-worthy outfits, a million dollars and super-success not included. (but not excluded, either, ya know?)

her husbands heart trusts in her.

she is wise

she sows seeds for the future

she goes the extra mile to care for the people around her, even her helpers,

she opens her hands to the poor and reaches out to the needy!

she dresses herself in anthropologie….

oh wait, woops!  she dresses herself in strength and dignity.

when she speaks, it is wisdom and kindness.

isn’t that beautiful?

she takes the beauty in her heart and puts it on all the things and people around her.

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day 21 – fame & the church

In thoughts on me, thoughts on people, thoughts on things on September 6, 2011 at 12:00 am

this is a subject that has been building in my heart and mind for a while, and i’m sure i will span my thoughts over a few installments.  this is based on prayerful observation, and i want to be sure to accurately portray the context of american culture and human nature.  i’m not even sure i know the extent of my own thoughts and opinions on the matter, as i see positives and negatives, good intentions and noble goals in this subject of the western church and “fame.”

movements of God naturally result in crowds, people talking about what happened, and monuments going up in remembrance of the great things God did there.  this is all over the Old and New Testaments.  i am so glad that as the Holy Spirit moves more in the western church, more and more people are hearing about it.  now, more than ever, this news is able to travel to anyone, anywhere in the same instant that it happens.  people are able to talk not only about what He has done in different places, but what He’s doing right now.  news is traveling fast.

also, i see that God is calling out His creatives.  we are receiving new songs, new visions, new words and are able to present them in a way that is beautiful, culturally relevant, and cutting-edge in art.  we have fantastic websites with appealing graphics, 5D music videos for worship songs, and just really beautifully presented media to spread the news of the gospel in a neat way.  i see the benefits in using culturally relevant means to 1) reclaim the believer’s place in the arts, 2)reclaim the arts to the Kingdom,  3) attract all kinds of people to the gospel instead of boring them to tears or turning them away,  and 4)utilizing our gifts within the church (to name a few).  i am a firm believer of letting talents thrive within the church building and making a place for them, calling out what people are gifted in and letting it grow and flourish in the Spirit and within the body of believers.

but i also see this perfect storm of good intentions and what it can turn into if we are not keeping our hearts in line with Spirit and Truth.  it is not my job to discern the motives of individual’s hearts or experiences, praise the Lord.  only He sees and knows that.  with that said, i see a trend of movements of God in the western church and a kind of church culture that thrives on a fame element.  our culture thrives on the celebrity.  i speak from experience.  CNN or People Magazine?  duh! i love looking at beautiful outfits, lavish lifestyles, hearing about who is doing what and what’s new in celebrity world.  i wish i didn’t, but it is ingrained in me.  there is something in me that likes it.  there are some things in the church that make me feel similarly to celebrity.  we have celebrities.  we have personality pastors, pastors on tv, super-relevant pastors, and hip church leaders.  i am not saying that any of this in inherently wrong, but that we place our celebrity mentality on these people that seem so together and cool.  in our nature, we place them on pedestals. i feel the same way about some worship movements, too.  we have super-teams that hear and create genuine, beautiful songs to the Lord and are hearing His voice and present it in a culturally relevant way.  we place the celebrity mentality on them.  what album will they come out with next?  how quickly can i learn their new worship songs and how soon can i see them in concert?  i see it in mega-churches, mini-mega-churches, international worship movements, conferences, international movements of a pouring out of God’s Spirit accompanied with signs and wonders, local trendy churches, the local church pastor or worship leader. when we make these things, yes, even these good things, the Thing itself, we can quickly get derailed from seeking first our First Love.

 

i suppose the point i’m getting at here is that we are looking to the movement instead of to the Christ.  we are looking so intently to the bearers of His movements – in pastors, teachers, authors, songwriters, speakers, prophets – instead of Him who gives them the words to say.  if you are in Christ there is no middle man between you and the voice of God.  corporate movements of the Holy Spirit, worship, teachings, et al are important and valuable and wonderful, but we must prioritize our own prayer and worship closets.  i say this to myself first and foremost.  nothing is as important as me getting alone with God, spending time in His presence and meditating on the Scriptures, and making a habit to do this daily, not to be able to check off my really together christian check-list, but because HE IS REAL and spending time with Him changes me!

scattered thoughts to start out, but i hope to address more on this again, soon.  what do you think?

day 14 – femme

In thoughts on me, thoughts on people on August 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm

i am your basic mid-twenties girl.

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i like bath and body works, home goods, and whole foods.  i love all things beautiful and want to grow a garden.  i want to be married and have children and make a home.  my love for pinterest is growing and i feel the need to lose approximately 5 pounds.

i was in the shower today thinking about all the things i like, do, or am that make me so like other girls my age.  my hair do, my interests, my ability to look at other ladies in my life and think that i want something that they have that i don’t.

and i realized, this “you have it, i don’t” thinking is never, ever beneficial, but our culture kind of thrives on it.  it’s so funny how the message is “be so different and so beautiful,” but only by being exactly like so-and-so.

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i must celebrate that which is different about me, even (and especially) if it’s something i wish was like someone else’s.

this small change in the momentum of my thinking can allow me to honestly enjoy all the ways in which i am different, set apart, and made special in God’s eyes.

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my skin’s expertise in producing intermittent moles instead of freckles.

sitting down at the piano, closing my eyes, playing a beautiful song, and knowing i’ll never be able to remember it, record it, and share it.  and that i kind of really like that.

my 135-lb curvy frame that’s good for dresses.

my quiet, quippy sense of humor that sometimes seems really awkward but is actually really funny.

this time in my life that only by comparison seems directionless, but when celebrated, is intentional, trusting, blessing-filled, and preparing me for something i can’t imagine.  i literally can’t imagine.  something to prosper me, to give me a hope and a future.

my classically crowder nose and gigantic lulu brown eyes.

my best intentions made in lists in journals, notecards, stickies, and white boards.  sometimes followed through, and sometimes not.

my secret desire to write rhymes and also be really good at dancing.

the dream in my head of traveling the world, seeing miracles, foreign sunsets, and adventures, maybe for a long time.  and knowing, God willing, that it won’t just stay in my head.

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what will you celebrate about you?  because there’s no one else like you!

day 3 – the branded life

In thoughts on God, thoughts on me, thoughts on people on August 17, 2011 at 4:46 am

i’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of branding.  in particular, a branded life.

i heard this concept in a sermon a couple of weeks ago, and it really stuck with me, mainly because it stung a little (the good kind of healthy sting, you know).  think about our society – with all of our social networking and entrepreneurial tendencies (ie: everyone’s a photographer!  everyone’s a musician! everyone’s a blogger!  get on top and stay on top! be business savvy! etc.) and all of our umpteen-zillion ways to reach one another.  it has lent itself to this interesting pressure to brand ourselves.  we must be likable!  get people to read what you write, listen to your music, follow you!  take the cutest photos of yourself, be the most interesting, the most different and exciting, & be sure download suchandsuch app.  we fill out profiles so people may know us at a glance, and feel they know about our lives.  and i don’t know about you, but i make sure that i really pack a witty-awesome-adorable-understated punch into that profile!  because i want you to like me and believe my life is together and somewhat enviable!

and what a pressure that is, don’t you think?  of course this concept has stuck with me – i’ve felt the pressure to brand me and have pressed into my own desires to be known, read, heard, and liked (as a writer, musician, overall creator of stuff, and human being).  and we don’t just do it online, we do it in real life, face to face with each other!

i was talking to my friend the other day about this. she expressed that she decided to delete however many friends from her facebook profile, and had to stop following certain people on twitter, because she didn’t want to feel like she knew about their lives without ever seeing them and having a real relationship with them.  some of these are people she knows and loves dearly.  sometimes i think this “branded life” may do great things for our businesses and causes while simultaneously pushing ourselves away from real relationships.

branding and expanding our businesses or causes is not inherently bad, i don’t think.  but in this sermon, the point made about our “brand culture” was made in light of a bigger, more beautiful point – getting alone with God, listening to His voice, and believing and obeying what He says.  that this is the thing that really, really matters.  in this we build into a more real reality, more real than waking up in the morning and walking around doing our jobs, more real than what we do or who we know or what we have.  in the sweet, unknown, mysterious relationship we have between only us and God, we deny the brand of ourselves, we see the smallness of what other people think and believe about us, and we grow into a trusting relationship with the Father through Christ’s righteousness and righteous act of love towards us when we didn’t even deserve it.

and this is the point i’ve come to about all this in my own thoughts at least – it is a challenge to desire less of the branded life and more of the quieter, lower, less glamourous-seeming daily life of really getting to know who God is.  much more, to choose that life, to execute it.  not that i will no longer write or sing or share any of those things, because i think those are good!  but in getting to know God i get to know who i am, and when i know that, peace is present all over my life.  i am free to do without pressure, because i know who i am.  and i know who i am because i learn to believe God – who He is and who He says i am.

and THAT life is not boring.  it is not bland.  it is certainly the road less traveled, and perhaps subsequently less seen.  but it is exciting, blessed, full to the brim with life – the kind of life that is bubbling over and onto other people, blessing them, too.  it is full of joy and peace.  it is pure, lovely, and honorable – not because it’s perfect and without mess up or difficulty, but that it trusts in God, and then God can entrust.  to do incredible things with us, to do miracles.

don’t miracles sound really good to you?  they do to me.  it’s very hard to believe things you don’t see, and not as much the things you do.

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xo,

sam

abbreviated thoughts on Godly womanhood

In thoughts on God, thoughts on me, thoughts on people on November 30, 2010 at 2:45 am



I’ve been doing this Bible study once a week, with women of all ages.   I started in January, unaware that I’d still be sticking with it, happily.  Earlier this summer we finished the book of John, and this fall we’ve been studying the beautiful and challenging book of Isaiah.

It had been quite some time since being in presence of so many ladies, especially those older than me, and it has been so refreshing.  It is my steady, my once a week time that is consistent, encouraging, and enlightening.

On a personal level, I have been ministered to just being around women who have had years growing in their relationships with the Lord.  When they speak, I listen.  They’ve cooked countless meals, juggled jobs and families and encountered many years of joy and trials.  In it all, they have learned to trust their God.  It’s better just to listen to them.

There have also been these sweet moments when I’ve realized something lovely and difficult to pinpoint into words about Godly, beautiful womanhood.

It is in the way the room smells when we gather together as a group, the subtle sweetness of perfumes, morning coffee, and years of stories each woman brings with her.  It is in the way an older woman flips her hair as she walks, and I realize she has had years in marriage and it started in the romance of her youth.  It is in wrinkles and a soft heart that treasures the Lord in its secret places.  It is teary eyes at a Scripture that resonates deeply.  It is in knowing that God made women in His image and likeness.  We create, love, serve, and adorn ourselves in the truest beauty and glory of the Holy Spirit of God.  We are emotion and warm arms to hold and care and nurture.  There is God in us, and He redeems those parts of Himself in us, refines unto beautiful perfection.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

1 peter 3

personality mentality

In thoughts on God, thoughts on people on April 25, 2010 at 6:33 pm

aims to describe aspects of a person’s character that remain stable throughout that person’s lifetime, the individual’s character pattern of behavior, thoughts, and feelings.

my mom gave me this book about personalities.  at the beginning of the book is a simple test with lists of words, and you check the words that describe you best.  you find out your 2 main personality types, then read on through the book to understand yourself and others better.  i don’t know if i believe that there are specific categories of personalities which every person who has existed could fit into and that a book could explain that.

however, i think hippocrates and galen and all those other guys were onto something.  we as humans love boxes and formulas, because we can then have understanding, and from understanding, order.  and i think the Lord understands that and reveals truth in that way, too.

so, these guys and a whole bunch of other historic and genius people divide personalities into 4 main temperaments.  the temperaments have funny names but i’ve listed their basic explanations, which for copyright and legitimacy’s sake i will tell you is straight off of wikipedia.

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Sanguine

The Sanguine temperament personality is fairly extroverted. People of a sanguine temperament tend to enjoy social gatherings and making new friends. They tend to be creative and often day dream. However, some alone time is crucial for those of this temperament. Sanguine can also mean very sensitive, compassionate and thoughtful. Sanguine personalities generally struggle with following tasks all the way through, are chronically late, and tend to be forgetful and sometimes a little sarcastic. Often, when pursuing a new hobby, interest is lost quickly–when it ceases to be engaging or fun.

Choleric

A person who is choleric is a doer. They have a lot of ambition, energy, and passion, and try to instill it in others. They can dominate people of other temperaments, especially phlegmatic types. Many great charismatic military and political figures were cholerics.

Melancholic

A person who is a thoughtful ponderer has a melancholic disposition. Often very kind and considerate, melancholics can be highly creative – as in poetry and art- and can become occupied with the tragedy and cruelty in the world. A melancholic is also often a perfectionist. They are often self-reliant and independent.

Phlegmatic

Phlegmatics tend to be self-content and kind. They can be very accepting and affectionate. They may be very receptive and shy and often prefer stability to uncertainty and change. They are very consistent, relaxed, rational, curious, and observant, making them good administrators and diplomats. Unlike the Sanguine personality, they may be more dependable.

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most people are high on one temperament in particular, and then have a secondary strong temperament.  the blending of temperaments create these secondary categories of personality types.

this book in particular, entitled Personality Plus by Florence Littauer (1981), includes Biblical references to support strengths and sharpen weaknesses with each personality type.  sometimes those strengths and weaknesses are the same trait, just in different contexts.

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like with any good book, i will read and internalize and then for the duration of my reading, i will see the whole world and the encounters i have through the lens of that book (and for that reason, i know what i’m letting myself read and watch and listen to is pretty important in a non-christianese-brainwashing sort of way).

i think for the small window of time i was reading the book, it was really beneficial to come from a place of understanding myself, my specific areas of weakness, which the enemy will happily oblige to use as a foothold at any chance.  and then, understanding my specific strengths, unique to my personality type, and  unique and crafted to me personally.  one line in the chapter “Let’s Cheer Up Perfect Melancholy” stuck out and hit me like a ton of bricks between the eyes:

“If you are a perfect melancholy, are you doing the very best you can to develop your innate abilities?”

that means, all those things that i know i’m good at but don’t see their intrinsic value because i see value in what everyone else is good at.  oh my gosh, am i in eighth grade??  Lord, take my singing, writing, and music back.  teach me how to be a good steward, because i do not know how.

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it was also so beneficial for me to come from a place of relating to and understanding others.  i could see picks in the lines of relationships, and view them a little bit more objectively, not in terms of faults but in terms of how i work and how they work. the world tells us that if we give and do not receive something back in relationships, friendship, family, love, service, or otherwise, we should abandon ship to protect ourselves.  Jesus says we should give ourselves away, that He will honor tilling at a relationship like tilling a garden, picking out the weeds and doing all we can do maintain life, even if we can’t see the blooms.

the rbc – character sketch

In thoughts on people, thoughts on things on April 4, 2010 at 5:18 pm

of the raleigh boys club –

a very real live version of barrie’s lost boys.  the modern group of “wanderers who are not lost” as tolkien says, but are living with a particular kind of abandonment enviable to many, frowned upon by others i suppose.

these boys have collectively known heartbreak.  this, more than most other factors, drive them in their abandonment.

i heard once that women have the gift of influence.  i think this is true.  a woman can influence a man, because a boy listens to the heart of a girl he trusts – a mother, a sister, a love.  the gift of men then, i am deducing, is power.  a leadership of doing.  the raleigh boys have trusted influential women, i’d guess, to be let down in a crushing, devastating sort of way.  so, here they lead, powerfully in a direction where women should not be trusted.  so they go ahead of the curve and, like a game, have relationships only until the point of themselves having to change.

the raleigh boys are equipped with such strength in talents of many kinds.  some of them play music.  music is the modern boy’s war cry.  the gumption with which they’d go into battle, they have in the way they write and play music.  we really don’t have much to fight with our bare hands for these days, so all of that God-instilled power comes out in songs.  for this reason i’ve found the modern boy is not able-bodied for wars of flesh and fist but wars of a different variety.  wars using the sharp edges of cleverness and wit, the lure of words so subconsciously driven in a sort of manipulation and social dominance that it’s no wonder why so many of us are confused at this age.  peoples hearts are broken and we’re not fighting for our lives.  perhaps we should seek to be healed, and believe in something with such absolution and solidarity as to fight for our lives for it.  i think we’re afraid to believe in the things that matter.

i really like these boys.  they are open books, and those are my favorite kinds of books.  they live together in community, empowering each other in different ways, some positive and some negative i think, just like boys.  sometimes they drink good coffee and sit with their legs crossed and speak in dignified ways.  then they start to conspire and plan, what they’re doing that night or what trip they’re taking in a month.

i like to watch them and listen. maybe it’s because they are so honest and accepting.  very little pretense.  more, these boys are such characters and they have stories to tell, and i’m in the business of characters and stories.  their stories may be trivial at first, at the forefront, but are tapping into a greater, deeper pool of stories about things, events, and people which have changed them.

these are the stories that truly matter, the stories which should be told, the stories i’d like to hear.

merritt – character sketch

In thoughts on people on February 19, 2010 at 3:51 am

merritt is one of those rare individuals who decides to live the life she dreams of despite her surroundings.

the thing i love about her most is that, though she lives a life of perceived fabulosity, i have never seen her meet a person she couldn’t connect with.  she has the extraordinary gift of meeting people where they are, and can almost always say “i understand.”  she gives people second, third, and fourth chances.  it is as if she chooses rose-colored (brand name) glasses to see people, opportunities, and life.  the uneven sidewalk at the university is her runway, her mere mortal friends are her posh celebrity posse.  what’s best in that regard is that her infectious and inspiring positivity is not limited to herself or her own life.  she spreads it on those around her, like a seasoned artist with a paint-covered brush in hand.

her well manicured blonde bob hits right at her chin at an angle, accenting the smile that cuts wide across her face, flashing big white rows of perfect teeth.  she is well built and proportioned, keeping a healthy physique through reasonable exercise and diet (which, in the fashion & styling business of today is a feat deserving a standing ovation!)  she’ll down a burger and a beer, or she’ll sit and eat a fruit salad and green tea.  she will take a day to veg and take the next to hit her to-do list with the reckless abandon of a true new york CEO.  merritt, though she pendulums back and forth between the extremes, eventually strikes this phenomenal balance, all while drawing people to herself with light and love and inspiration.

she talks the talk of a manhattan native, an LA socialite, a parisian stylist, and a well-educated celebrity heiress.  but it’s not intimidating or nauseating, it’s inviting, so warm as if you could jump in with her and pretend you have a thousand dollar bill burning a hole in your pocket.  merritt is the barbie i always wished would come to real life so we could talk make-up and outfits and boys.  she was made for big things and the most beautiful part is she believes it about herself.