Monday, March 31, 2008

Just Call me Baby Water Buffalo

When G and I walked into Jacob's Well yesterday, we were greeted by the sight of dozens of visiting extended families and extravagant white dresses that will probably never be worn by their owners again.

No, our church was not holding a group wedding... it was baby dedication/baptism day!

For someone who is in NO hurry to have children of my own, I DO like to take a gander at the occasional baby. Especially when they are all dressed up for a special occasion and even more especially when they have a miniature ribbon-bow stuck to their bald head with a dab of honey. Pretty dang cute.

After the ceremony was finished and the families had returned to their seats, the guest speaker got up and began to talk about what the words of our prayers had actually meant. (The podcast of the sermon can be downloaded here.) What I really want to share with you is the YouTube video that he showed us to illustrate his point.

It is pretty long (8 whole minutes!) so for time's sake, I would advise that you fast forward to 4:25 in order to be able to see the most important part. The video has gotten almost 30 million hits on YouTube, and has also won the YouTube Best Eyewitness Award.

It is a home video taken by someone on an African safari, and the first part is pretty gory so I will just tell you what happens up until the 4 1/2 minute point.

There is a large herd of water buffaloes (easily over a hundred) walking along a river that is separating them from the safari group. As they move along, the person with the camera shows the viewers that they are unknowingly headed towards a pack of hungry lions. A baby water buffalo gets attacked by the lions and is dragged down to the edge of the water where they are presumably going to try to begin their feast. All of a sudden, an alligator (NO JOKE) comes up out of the water, grabs the baby WB, and tries to pull it down into the river. A game of tug'o'war ensues, but the lions win and the baby WB is dragged back up on to the shore. Thank GOD the speaker explained this part to us instead of showing it, because I can barely type it without my eyes welling up with tears.

*** Note to self: No African safaris for me. I think I love animals a little TOO much.***

So, now check out the rest of the video. (Mom, in order to get the video to the right spot, drag the little circle-button across the "time line" until the time read-out underneath the bottom right corner of the video screen says 4:25. I know you can do it.)


The WB herd encircles the pack of lions (who now have the WB baby) and begin closing in on them. When I first watched this, my thoughts were exactly that of one of the women behind the camera...

"It's too late!"

The WBs get closer and closer to the lions and sure enough, they chase the predators off one by one. One of the lions even appears to get impaled by the horns of an angry WB (probably the Mama). After most of the lions have run off and abandoned their dinner, the unthinkable happens... the baby water buffalo starts to move and is actually able to stand up and quickly make its way into the center of the herd where it becomes completely surrounded by the adults. The WB's don't stop until all of the lions are chased away, and only when they are sure that they have everyone, do they resume their travels.

As the video ended, I had tears streaming down my cheeks. I immediately realized the relevance of the video to the point that our speaker had been trying to make. He likened our church to the herd of water buffaloes, who were mercilessly intent on protecting their young at any cost... even if it meant putting themselves in danger. He explained that one of the main reasons we dedicate and baptize babies at Jacob's Well, is because we want to actively show our commitment to raising, praying for, and loving each of the children that are a part of our herd.

Think about it. If it had just been the Mama and Papa water buffalo, that little tyke would have been doomed. The adults had to rally together in order to save one who would be a part of their future herd.

The message made me think about my own water buffalo family. I mean, my parents are a couple of pretty tough cookies, but who knows where I would be without the rest of the gang... I am forever thankful for those who have impacted my life by loving, teaching, and guiding me through this world. I am SO fortunate to have been blessed with family and friends who have treated me like a child of their own, and even though I live far away from almost all of them now, I continue to be encouraged to know that I could call on them for love or prayer or help at any time.

By helping my parents to fight off my "lions," you have shown me how much you love me, and you have taught me an important lesson in what it means to be a part of a herd. I write all of this as a tribute and a thank you to all of my beloved water buffaloes. You know who you are, and for everything you've done, I'll love you forever.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Inaugural Blaug

Photo courtesy of WTL Photos on Flickr

Oh goodness, this is exciting... welcome one and all to my blog, The Lucky Stone.

I know this isn't really the first post that I have written, so technically it does not qualify as the "inaugural blaug," but I just really couldn't resist the rhyme. Besides, the first post is really more of an intro. Like a half-step on its way to the first post, which is this one.

As you have probably already seen, my intro post gives an explanation of why I named this site The Lucky Stone. Don't worry, I'm not going to explain it again, but I do feel like I should give a brief explanation of why I started this site and what you can expect, should you become a regular reader. (This means you, Mom.)

Over the last 6 months, I have become an avid blog reader. I suppose it was bound to happen since I am forced to sit in front of a computer for 40+ hours a week. Gotta have something to keep you sane, right?

Prior to this time, I never really understood the draw to the "blogging world", but let me tell you, there is ONE BIG world of it out there. I still find myself amazed at the amount of people who write and post pictures of their life to publicly accessible websites. Not only that, but the photos, fashion, art, recipes, and craft ideas that I have come across have been a truly amazing addition to my life (if you know me at all, you can imagine why I would be so excited over such a discovery)!

After several weeks of checking my favorite blogs (see the Brain Candy column to the right), I noticed a difference in myself. I wish I could say that I had become more gracious and mature, but those are things that I am still waiting for (thanks for your patience). The main part of me that had changed were my thoughts.

Instead of drifting in and out of my head on fluffy little clouds and flowering vines, I noticed that my thoughts and ideas and dreams were much more pronounced and even, dare I say, organized. I kid you not, my brain began to send its info out into my frame of mind (which looks a lot like a giant Broadway stage with a vintage gilt picture frame around it) in witty and quirky little blurbs that sounded like they couldn't possibly be anything that I had thought up. I would notice something terribly mundane as I was walking home from the bus stop (I'll take 'terribly mundane' over 'run for your life' any day) and it was almost as though my brain would just start writing a blog about TM (c'mon, figure it out) on its own.

This, I have carefully theorized, is due to the same phenomenon that occurs when you have played Tetris on your phone for too long or have done one too many Sudoku puzzles. You stop playing or doing, only to find that your brain continues on without you. All of a sudden empty squares appear and they are patiently waiting for numbers, or boxy shapes begin to fall from the sky and you can't figure out where to put them. (This is very disconcerting when you are trying to fall asleep.) Has this ever happened to you, reader? Am I the only one that experiences this???

**cricket... cricket***

Ok, I digress... The moment I realized what I needed to do was when my brain said to me, "Jessie, I think it's high time that you started a blog of your own... you may not be able to accurately communicate the wit and humor that I come up with, but if anything, you can share your life with family and friends. Who knows maybe you'll even touch a strangers life the way that other people's blogs have touched you. If you want to use my adorable snarky-ness and impeccable writing skills every now and again, I suppose that's ok, too."

Let me tell you, friends, when your brain comes right out and tells you something like that... you do what it says. (I promise I do not have multiple personalities... I think of it as more of an unmistakable inner dialogue.)

So here we are.

From here on out the posting topics will be chosen largely by my heart and my eyes, but if we're lucky, my brain will snap into action every once in a while, and we may get something worth reading.

Thanks for being here, and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


When I was little, I used to search for "lucky stones" with my grandpa in the woods. Looking back at these special moments, I smile on some of my most cherished childhood memories.

Walking along the trail next to the creek, we'd find pocketfuls of raw quartz, tucked under fallen tree branches or buried beneath the ponderosa needles. They were usually a cloudy, brownish-grey on the outside and had very stubborn dirt caked into the grooves. I always tried to brush the dirt off with the sleeve of my jacket or a little bit of spit, but Bompa would gently tell me to wait. No matter how many times we had done it before, I needed reminding that if I could just wait until we brought the stones back to his workshop, I'd be able to see their true beauty.

When we would arrive back at the house, we'd gently wash the grimy little stones in the kitchen sink, and then the excitement would build as we took them out into his shop. I'd wait with anticipation as he got out his tools and began to break those little plain-looking stones in half.

One by one, they'd fall open to reveal the most delicately glimmering pink insides. They would catch and reflect even the softest light in their shiny new surface that looked like pink lace, and I can still remember being able to admire them for what seemed like hours. These pieces of rose quartz became my treasures, and I filled many jewelry boxes and coin purses with my collection. They were valuable to me because my grandpa had treated them like magical gifts fit only for a princess, but they were also special because I felt as though I had been a part of helping them reach their true and glowing potential.

I picked the name "Lucky Stone" for my blog and my Etsy Store as a reminder that proverbially searching for lucky stones should be a part of our everyday lives. Whether it is a person, a home, or a vintage piece of furniture - believing that something old and tired can be seen as beautiful again is a quality that will truly make our lives brighter.

My grandpa is nolonger on this earth, but he is very much alive in my heart. He taught me to see things through a hopeful eye, and to always consider that the mystery of beauty is often lying just beneath the surface - in the end, all it took to make those little stones shine was a little bit of love.