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Showing posts from April, 2007

L*O*N*E

This photo was taken by my friend, Greg Beaudoin, on his trip across the Namib desert. I have obtained his permission to share a few of his pictures on my blog because I think they are striking photos and I would have taken them myself, had I been there (at least I hope I would have).I need people. Dean has been working a lot this past week and weekend so I have spent a fair bit of time alone. I don't mind that, usually, but I realise that I need other people to motivate me, to challenge me, to spark ideas and conversations and laughter and love, and to generally be a productive person. What good are wisdom and knowledge and kindness and generosity and beauty and faithfulness (all those things I try to cultivate in my life) if there are no people to share these things with or learn them from? But on the other hand, if I cannot stand by myself when I need to, be strong when everyone around me is heading in the wrong direction, or make it through a dry, dusty and barren spot in my l…

on the subject of HELL

This is a visitor that camped out on our deck last summer. A pregnant praying mantis, I think. She moved awfully slowly which is why we were able to get quite a few good pictures. I don't like bugs, I don't like worms, I really don't like snakes. I don't like frogs or fish much either. I suppose being tossed in a pit filled with all those animals would be a pit of a "hellish" experience for me, to use a hyberbolic, colloquial term. I have nearly finished my book on hell (a rather weak segue, I know, but it's all I got) and while I still don't know exactly what I believe about it (the Bible is not that clear, so I don't think we can be that dogmatic about it), I believe that hell, just like heaven, might be a slightly different experience for everyone. I do think one can conclusively say that heaven is where God is and hell is where he is not, but even the terms, heaven and hell, are relatively ambiguous in this day and age as so much myth and folkl…

can you see it?

Wednesday night at home group, we were assigned a square of a dingy dirty back city alley and were told to find beauty and take a picture of it. These are the photos I came up with. This first picture is of the back of a car driving down the alley.

The second photo is of the inside of a temporary carport . The third is the shadow of a circular staircase on a wall. Truly, beauty and life and wonder are to be found anywhere, you just have to look. Where is the beauty in YOUR world today? Look past the garbage and you will find it...



sompthings not right

I have not been feeling quite right for a few days. I don't know what it is, but my chests feels like Tea is standing on it and I am hit with unexplainable fatigue at about 5 in the afternoon. Yesterday it was pretty bad and I was afraid it was pneumonia again (no no no don't want to do that over), but I realised I was missing the key symptom of fever, so I resisted the urge to let the fear become the sickness, and decided a bit of rest and good eats should get me over whatever it is. In other areas of life, things are just a bit off and I can't put my finger on exactly what it is. That makes it really hard to do anything about it. In our little church, something seems to be lacking or changed or not done with the same intensity or focus. I talked to someone recently who had the same feeling about their work. Last night I watched an episode of "House" while waiting for Dean to get home and as always, the doctors were confronted with a mystifying case - unrelated s…

mystics

This is a church in Point Claire right on the St. Laurence River.

mystic - n. a follower or an expounder of a mystical way of life.mystical - adj. 1. having a spiritual meaning or reality that is neither appparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence. 2. of, relating to, or resulting from an individual's direct communion with God or ultimate reality.Dean said, "You are such a mystic," to me this weekend. I took it as a compliment, as I try to take most things that people say to me, even phrases like, "You are odd," and "Did you mean to do that?" But then I looked at the last few listings under the definition of "mystic" and they are: "unintelligible or cryptic." Hmmm. I don't like to be unintelligible. I suppose one of the most frustrating things is to be misunderstood. I said something to a friend last night and they totally misunderstood my intention and were offended by it. Oops. Fortunately, we know each other well …

fire from heaven

I have been thinking about how to teach people to be leaders, to think for themselves, to be independent and dependable and forerunners in their own way. There is no foolproof formula for growing people from those who are needy and insecure and primarily followers into those who mentor and mature others and contribute significantly to their community. In the past few months I have begun to realise that my main method of doing this (being an example and role model) is not that effective. Simply seeing something does not transfer ability. You can watch talented dancers all you want, but that will not make you a dancer, no matter how inspired you are. On the other hand, talking about something is not the best way of imparting ability either. After listening to hundreds and thousands of messages and sermons, how much have people really changed and matured?I was thinking about the ultimate teacher, Jesus, and noted that though he was the best role model and spoke with great authority, usin…

the green

This picture I took 5 minutes ago of the bottom of my wheelbarrow outside is pretty much the greenest thing out there right now. The weather has finally turned warm but the brownness remains - one warm day does not qualify as a turnaround in seasons, it seems, or at least the plants don't see it that way. I talked to one of my friends today who is just finishing up a degree that he started way too long ago. This afternoon I finished a book by a friend of mine that has taken me months to get through. Last night I got a letter from the government that finally opened up an avenue for sending funds to Africa which has been a process we began to pursue oh probably a year ago only to encounter many deadends. This morning I had a dream that Dean showed up with all the furniture pieces we needed to complete our house and guest rooms. I do try to pay attention to the lessons that I believe God is trying to teach me, so here are the ones I am getting today: 1. Finish the things you ha…

sans visual

For some reason, blogger won't let me load pictures right now, so while you are reading this, you might want to gaze out the window occasionally (ah... the beautiful sky) or spy the colour orange in your room (is it red? is it yellow? NO, it's orange! how cool!) or look at your hands and wonder, "Who ever thought 5 fleshy sticks coming out at the end of a spindly arm could do things like play concertos and make bread and hold things tightly?" Or you can just stare at the computer screen and read - your choice.

I feel like I am holding my breath or waiting for a bus. There are many places to go (in real life and in becoming myself) and much to accomplish, but here I sit - in some sort of limbo - with time resting in my hands and no urgency in my spirit for any specific thing and not clearly being able to answer the question...what's going on? Perhaps I am waiting for something to happen in order to begin a series of events. Perhaps the time is just not yet. Perhaps…

my desk

Here are all the essential ingredients for spending countless hours writing and reading words, sorting pictures and numbers, gathering somewhat relevant information, and staying in touch with friends and strangers all over the world: 1. a keyboard (attached to my trusty 6400 of course) to tap out all those encoded messages, some of which actually mean something. 2. LAYS salt and vinegar. Need I say more? 3. Water to keep the creative mind hydrated and also give you time to think when you need to head to the bathroom. 4. Various writing utensils because I still love to put things on actual paper and have mounds of stray bits and scraps of scribbled notes all over my desk which fortunately, I managed to cut out of this photo. 5. The telephone which occasionally rings when people who are not on msn or facebook or are not using one of my email addresses or not on neoseeker want to contact me. Um, usually that is just Dean! Or, wait, it might be an actual business or church-related call - those…

inside my winter house

1. It is snowing and/or raining again - I can't decide. We got hit with a nasty storm called a Nor'easter last night and this morning Dean almost got stuck in our driveway because there are 6 inches of wet slick white muck on it and the city snowplow had made that more like 18 inches of solid vanilla slurpee sludge at the end of our driveway. Today I am thankful for a house that keeps out cold wind and wet falling things. I am tempted not to venture outside, but I do have to mail something. By the way, this is not a picture of my house (though it feels like it today), it is a tent on the ice of Baie de Vaudreuil, taken February 28, 2007.

2. My ideas of hell are being challenged (not that I actually had really firm beliefs regarding this topic, I just avoid it mostly and try to focus on God). Interestingly enough, I wrote my thesis on this topic back when I graduated with my B.Th. and was commended for my good research but did not receive top marks because I failed to come to…

horrible...

We just returned from a wonderful supper at Philinos and a horrible movie called "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" about the beginnings of the IRA. I mean horrible in the sense that though the movie received awards for its craftsmanship, the horrors on the screen totally undid me and it was all I could do to stop my weeping after it ended and compose myself enough to get out of the theatre and walk back to the car. I don't know exactly what in this movie affected me so much, and frankly at this point, I don't want to think about it right now, but it was all just wrong, wrong wrong followed by more wrong. I still feel incredibly sad, no not sad - there is this cry of NO NO NO NO in my heart and there is nothing to make it right. A good sleep, lots of hugs from Dean, and talking to Jesus are needed: that always puts things in better perspective for me.This picture is of a GOOD thing: the entrance to the North Brooklyn Vineyard Down Under Room where we joined them for a…

who are we?

I just had the most interesting phone conversation. A lady from the Gideons called me to ask whether they could come to speak at our church. Somehow the conversation turned into her trying to define who I was and exactly what type of church we were. She wanted to know if we were apostolic, baptist, charismatic, believed in the five-fold ministry, in the fullness of the gifts, in prophecy, in healing, and whether I spoke in tongues. I said of course we believe in Jesus and the Bible and that God speaks to us today and wants to heal us. And I told her that I didn't know why this last bit of information about whether or not I spoke in tongues was relevant. Then she said it was obvious that I didn't and I said, hold on, you have just made an assumption that is not true, so she said...Oh, you do speak in tongues, so I again reiterated that she was assuming things and I still did not think that the question was relevant to our conversation. I explained that I don't like to defin…

food to grow

I think I chose this picture for today because I am hungry, so let's make this blog a quick one so I can go eat lunch. This was taken at a New York Deli just off Times Square on April 7, 2007.I have been thinking a lot about what exactly church is. I have many friends and online discussion acquaintances who admit they are disappointed at the state of the church today and have chosen not to be there anymore. They say they find fellowship in other places, like having dinner or coffee with good friends, being honest and real with each other about their states in life, and finding support and acceptance there that the church sadly does not offer. While it is great to have friends like that, is it church?Last night I came up with a definition of church that so far seems to work when I look at the Scriptures and the words of Jesus: It is a community where I am being challenged to be a more mature disciple of Jesus and where I am making other people disciples of him as well. I think the …

inside : out

I just returned from a weekend in New York. It was a rather quick trip but we managed to squeeze in most of the essential experiences: getting lost in Brooklyn, being honked at by impatient New York drivers, eating fresh bagels (and having a lady tell me Montreal bagels were not real bagels in comparison to the New York variety), gawking at Times Square, getting serenaded on the subway, taking the elevator to the 45th floor of the Marriott, and haggling for bargains on Canal Street. By far the most important thing we did (I went with 3 other females) was hang out with our friends, the pastors of the Brooklyn Vineyard, and their co-horts during their weekend church meetings and in their home. They most generously let us stay in their basement apartment and fed us a brilliant meal on Saturday night complete with several bottles of wine and after-dinner cigars. I have not been a city-dweller for most of my life and have always said that cities are isolating places. Not so. This time in N…

while I was yet...

A group of eleven people that I didn't know came to my house last night. They were young (a youth group from Saint John) and just needed a place to spend the night. I thought, sure, how bad can that be? As I was praying for them that morning, I started envisioning our house being wrecked so I reminded myself that this place is really God's gift to us and it is for people to use, and asked him to take care of the details. I spent most of the afternoon cleaning and preparing the basement for their arrival.
The group arrived just after 9 pm and I went outside to direct them as to where they could park. They didn't really seem to be paying attention, so one car just drove up beside the garage and kept going. Oops!! I walked around the garage in order to ask them not to park on the lawn but it was too late. Normally, this would not have been a big deal, but it had been raining all day and the ground was very soft. This is also a new lawn that we had just seeded last fall so it i…

those other people

This is a photo I took on the street in New York City a few years ago. Yesterday I was standing in line at the movie theatre to buy my $10 popcorn when a young guy just stepped right in front of me. I wondered if he had not known I was in line, or perhaps did not see me (I do have a certain invisibility factor), but in all honesty, I think he did it deliberately. He chatted with the people in front of him so I thought, oh he's just waiting with them, but after their order was filled, he stepped up and placed his own order. I was dumbfounded by his rudeness (he never acknowledged me or said excuse me or nothing!) and was starting to get a bit annoyed at him, huffing and sighing and shaking my head, when I remembered I once did the exact same thing and joined my friends in line, ignoring the person I was cutting in front of and got an earful from her - how embarrassing! So I let the frustration go and hoped that I had indeed learned something about letting others go first in all the…

T R U S T

I spoke at church last night about TRUST. It is not an easy or instant thing to trust someone, especially God. You have to get to know them, and as you do, you can trust them more.Last week I felt God challenge me on trusting Him with my time. There are many things I like to do with my time and when someone or something threatens to take those away from me...well, I get protective of my time. And I know that whenever I get frustrated or annoyed or anxious about something being taken away from me, it is probably because I am in some way using it to fill some need instead of going to God - it is an area I have not given over to Him. The bottom line is, whose time is it anyway? Who has given me this life and every breath and every moment on earth? My time truly is His and the more I realise it, the more I will do the right things with my time instead of just the things I selfishly desire to do. Here are a few notes from my talk last night...What happens when I don’t trust God?
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