Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Early Spring Awakens (Week 39 of Fireflies at Dusk: A 52-Week Project)

Winter is about to leave us and spring is just barely starting to awaken here in the Pacific Northwest.
This week I decided to photograph it.

Looking at the tiny buds on the branches almost ready to open and the hiding flowers almost ready to bloom reminds me that we should never give up because a million tiny miracles surround us every day ready to unfold before us.

This week I have seen a morning when snowflakes mixed with rain, and I have seen a morning when an unexpected moment of sun brought the promise of warmer and brighter days.

Early spring awakens us.  Anything is possible.  Everything is possible.

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Fiber Optic Light (Week 38 of Fireflies at Dusk: A 52-Week Project)

Sometimes as a child I'd get up extra early on weekend mornings while the sun was just barely starting to come up.  In that time, I'd sit in the glow of my Lite Brite or, even better, by the glow of the very 80s rotating fiber optic light in the living room.  Being the introvert I am, I've always very much needed a quiet space of solitude to sort out my thoughts.  I would wrap myself in a warm blanket and contentedly watch the lights change color as if there was not a whole world out there with all of its constant rushing and noise.  I realize now what I did not consciously realize then - when I would intentionally seek out a peaceful quiet space and feel an enormous comfort, I was sensing the presence of God.  Those fiber optics were like stained glass windows to me - light coming through color, streaming into my eyes, lifting my heart up toward something better.

I recently found a fiber optic light online and had it shipped to my house - this week, my little one and I have watched the light together as it glowed and changed colors.  Seeing the colors as they reflect on her smiling little face is the best.  If you had a place you took solace in as a child - a sacred little space - where you  felt completely peaceful, where you could shut out the world with all of its demands and expectations, is there anything to keep you from creating that and having that now?

If there is one thing that I believe Gen X should know, it is this: God reached out to us where we were and extended His light to us.  If there is one thing He has done throughout the centuries, it has been to reach people within their generation, within their culture, within their context.   My context was an early weekend morning in the glow of fiber optic light, while the day was new at sunrise, while all of life was still ahead of me.

I need it as much now as I needed it then -  the glow, the warmth, the peace, the light.

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe Koffas - all rights reserved

Monday, February 13, 2012

Construction Paper Valentines (Week 37 of Fireflies at Dusk: A 52-Week Journey)

This week my little on and I made construction paper valentines....

One of the best things about early elementary school were Friday afternoons.  When the teachers knew all of us kids had mentally checked out for the weekend, they'd let us do seasonal art projects to celebrate whatever holiday was around the corner.  Before getting started with the scissors and glue, I always loved taking a moment to enjoy the scent of construction paper coming from the fiber and the dye.  I also loved running my small hands over the texture.  Years have passed and the work of life has made my fingers calloused so I can't feel the subtle texture of the paper quite the way I used to, but it was still nice to enjoy this simple piece of my Gen X childhood memory.  It was fun to watch my little one enjoying what I used to enjoy and to watch her small hands - busy and embracing the moment. 

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe Koffas - all rights reserved

Thursday, February 9, 2012

God's Algorithm (Week 36 of Fireflies at Dusk: A 52-Week Project)

This week, I introduced my little one to an important piece of Gen X history...the Rubik's Cube.  This has been one of the best, if not the best selling toy of all time which means that this had a place in the childhood of most Gen Xers all over the world.  Whether you kept one on your book shelf or used it on your desk as a paperweight, you probably remember owning one of these.   I told my daughter what a special piece of Gen X history it is, and she seemed to understand because she makes a special request for "the squares" and then cradles it carefully in her arms.

When I was in kindergarten, I was the youngest of all the school kids each day at my babysitter's house.   One day after school, all these older-cooler kids were playing with a Rubik's Cube and couldn't solve it even with several of them trying.  "Let me try,"  I shyly said as I stood there with my corduroy pants and blond pigtails.  They scoffed and handed it to me only because they weren't sure what else to do.  I looked at it from every angle until a mathematical equation appeared in my mind showing me the solution that I used to solve the cube.  All the older-cooler kids stood there with their mouths gaping open, and  I handed it back with a huge smile.  I stood in the faux wood paneled living room of my babysitter's house and shone in my Gen X moment of glory.

Have you ever heard of God's Algorithm?  It is an algorithm that produces a solution having the fewest number of moves in solving a puzzle.  It is called God's Algorithm because it is believed that only an omniscient being would know an optimal step from any configuration (the solution is optimal in that there is no shorter solution). After research done by brilliant people over three decades along with about 35 CPU years of idle computer time donated by Google, it was finally discovered in July of 2010 that God's number for the Rubik's Cube is 20 - which means it can be solved in 20 moves or less.  So from any configuration of the Rubik's Cube (no matter how mixed around the squares are) the optimal number of moves in a solution is no more than 20.

Here is God's Algorithm for your life: when people scoff at you because they do not believe you are capable, close your eyes and find the solution from within you. When all your colors are so mixed together that you don't know which way to turn to get yourself straight, trust in the algorithm created for you.  To those not omniscient, it may appear that you are scattered, but you are just finding your equation.  Maybe 20 moves from now, all your colors will match up.  Maybe everything in your life - even the unfair things, even the unspeakable things, will begin to make sense.

I spent all my growing up years in a colossal struggle with math that only got worse as I got older.  I became more and more stressed about it as my grades continued to go down.  I was told that I would not amount to anything in life because I was no good at math.  Now I realize how ridiculous all that was, especially because  it came from my lack of self-confidence.  On the outside, when it appeared that I didn't have all my squares in order, I was carrying around extraordinary equations in my head.

God's Algorithm for my life was this: all the things that I have done and experienced, all the things I have struggled with or embraced, all the things I have walked away from, made it so I could become exactly what He meant for me to be.  When we are busy judging someone because they are unable to solve something as inconsequential as a simple calculation, what we do not know is that they may have an algorithm in their mind, or even in their heart,  that they cannot express. The less we judge others, the more room it gives us to see the potential they hold.  The more we can believe in ourselves and the algorithm within, the more we allow ourselves to be extraordinary.

Go find your algorithm.

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What Would be the Symbol of Your Gen X Teenage Years? (Week 35 of Fireflies at Dusk: A 52-Week Project)

Mine Would Be A Mix Tape.

This old random tape with something unknown recorded onto it has floated around our house for years.  Every time I see it, I get curious about what is on it, because it looks exactly like tapes I played when I was much younger.  This week I finally decided to find out what this little time capsule was holding inside, so I dusted off my old tape player.

It has been so long since I put a tape in a cassette player I sort of fumbled around trying to figure it out - just like the first time I ever played a tape.  Does it go upside down or right side up?  Which way is fast forward?  If the tape goes in upside down, is the button that looks like fast forward really rewind?

It turned out the tape was warped - maybe from the heat from the inside of a car it had once been in, or maybe just time.  I was hoping for a time capsule that would be some songs I had recorded from long ago, but instead, it was another kind of time capsule - I unexpectedly got to re-live a very important Gen X rite of passage - playing a cassette tape for the first time.

There were maybe a million times you put tapes in to listen to them, but the very first time you put a tape into a tape player and hit play, especially if it was a tape you earned with your allowance money, or babysitting money, or lawn-mowing money, may have been the moment you officially became Gen X.

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved