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Showing posts from November, 2007

end of november thoughts

Okay, I admit it, I am not sure whether I like Christmas or not. I like the Christ child and I have been to mass and found it quite meaningful, but there is so much more that has become attached to this celebration. The original Christ-mass has become a whirlwind of parties and consumerism and eating and a season of a thousand things to do and expectations to buy gifts and send cards and bake cookies and decorate your house and wear red sparkly things and be incredibly excited and happy in the middle of it all.
Every November I think...I will just give some money to poor people in Africa that need a goat or a chicken more than any of us need another electronic gadget or DVD and explain to my family that's the way it is this year. If I never sent out a Christmas card, would anyone cry over the lack? If I neglected to make a big feast or did not bake the famous sugar cookies, would any one's health suffer? If I never attended a single Christmas concert or party, would that be so …

story

Last night we were invited to see a play, The Syringa Tree, with friends of ours. It is a story told through the eyes of a young girl growing up in South Africa during apartheid and filled with moments of joy and laughter, pain and bewilderment, love and loss. Our friends, who originate from South Africa, wondered how accessible we found the play because it was filled with references to that country and and a culture and time that they knew we could not identify with. We reassured them that the profound story and powerful performance were quite accessible to a wider audience. . I read the playwright's notes (she was born and raised near Johannesburg, SA) in the playbill this morning over breakfast. "Thirty years later, in a class taught by my director, Larry Moss, I unsuspectingly did as he asked when he said 'Turn to the person next to you and tell them a story.' Without warning, the image of an attack on my grandparents' farm, Clova, came roaring into my mind. I h…

the furniture in my head

Do you ever feel like things are unclear? You try to think things through and make good decisions, but there are too many variables, or the resources do not match the needs, or the timing seems wrong or for some reason, you just have no clue what to do next or even worse, no idea what's happening right now! You ask questions, you pray, you research, you get advice from others, you even explore a few avenues but nothing has a "rightness" about it. So you sit there, stuck, in a holding pattern, waiting for the fog to clear, and until it does, hoping that a foghorn sounds or a lighthouse pierces the mist to give you some bearings or at least prevent you from doing something stupid.

My world has been quite fuzzy in the past few years, but beginning a few weeks ago, things have been getting clearer and clearer. I have to attribute it to 3 things:
1. being able to recognise that my perspective is skewed and not in line with truth and determining to do something about it;
2. askin…

excluding

I spent the morning at the garage getting some stuff done on my car and had the opportunity to finish the book, Sex God, by Rob Bell. Some really good stuff in there. One of the things he talks about is the power of exclusivity. He points out that the language of much of the Bible when it speaks of someone's relationship with God is the language of marriage. The ten commandments are set up as a marriage agreement, outlining what is expected from the participants to make the union last and be all it should be. Is it any surprise then that the first item is one that precludes taking other lovers or objects of affection? There is a power of exclusivity that I think we miss out on all too often because it is popular to be inclusive and tolerant. Through the media, we get the message that it is normal and healthy to pursue many relationships and to tell intimate details to friends and strangers alike. Reality TV lets us see more than we should about people's lives. The 100% giving …

question mark

The state of things this morning was quite different from the state of things last night. Last night it was cool and misty, typical fall weather. When I looked out the window this morning at 8 am there was snow on the ground and it was still coming down. I had an appointment downtown (across a bridge onto the island of Montreal and then another 30 minutes away with no traffic) and wondered if the weather would make me late. I hate being late, especially when other people are counting on me.
Fifteen minutes into my trip I was sitting in slow-moving traffic, and I began to whine, "I'm not even on the island yet and I'm already stuck in traffic!" I hate whining, almost as much as I hate being late, so I am not quite sure why I insist on indulging in both of these practises occasionally, but I do. Nevertheless, this morning I smartened up pretty quickly and chose to pray instead and trust God with the timing. The snow cleared up as soon as I hit the city and I arrived in…

rising

I was away this past weekend at a leadership retreat for our church. We rented a chalet on the top of a mountain (a big hill, really) and waited on God, cooked and ate food together, waited on God, enjoyed each others' company and waited on God. On the surface, it seemed like a pretty low-key event, but the change in us when we got back to the Sunday night meeting was dynamic. It was like we had all just grown ten feet taller and were so much more focused and had so much more love and grace and direction and encouragement to give.

On Sunday morning, the last day of the retreat, I awoke at 6 am which is really unusual for me as I am a late night person, but there was a reason for it. On Saturday night we deduced that the sun came up over the lake the chalet was facing (we had all lost our sense of direction driving up the twisting mountain roads) and I thought, wow, the sunrise must be cool to see, so I asked God to wake me up if there was a good sunrise to be seen. And he did. I pu…

creating for a living

Today I did it. I finally delved into the murky world where art and money meet. You see, I have been producing various thoughtful writings, photos, scripts, fiction, music and other creative works all my life and seldom seen anything but the smallest amount of remuneration for any of it. And I have not expected any, to be truthful, and that is part of the problem. I have recently discovered that I do not believe that my creative voice has much value and therefore has little or no earning potential. So the very thing I love doing, that oozes out of me on a regular basis, that I have spent years honing and developing skills in, that I have devoted so much of my time and my resources to...for some inexplicable reason, I expect nothing back from it. Until now, that is. I have had an epiphany, a revelation, a download of truth, a light turned on. Here it is: my voice and my way of seeing this world is important and needs to be heard. I also have some pretty well-developed skills that peopl…

which way?

Last night I saw the movie, "Gone Baby Gone." By myself. It is not a movie you just go see and forget; you want to talk about it, so I called a friend who had already seen the movie and we did just that. It provoked a good discussion about what one would do when faced with a moral dilemma. I maintained that you cannot wait until you are put into a situation to know what you would do - this is very passive and leaves you ill-prepared to make decisions that could affect people's lives. It is our responsibility to develop a consistent moral compass so that we have some concept of what we would do when faced with a dilemma, otherwise we are really putting ourselves at the mercy of whatever emotional state we are in: whether that is anger or fear or adrenaline or just the first thing that comes to mind because it seems like a good idea at the time. None of these are good reasons to base ones actions on, in my opinion, though I must admit I have reacted from all of them at one…

the mouse

I have a mouse in my house. I don't know how he got inside as we live in a fairly new and relatively air-tight dwelling, but he is there. A friend who was over this weekend saw him scampering behind the stove while I was out on an errand. He bravely poked his head out again when I came home and I promptly grabbed the cats and instructed them to do their job. They chased him all over the kitchen and living room, and Tea laid a little siege when the mouse camped inside the tv cabinet, but all too soon the felines lost interest in the new toy that hid in spaces they could not reach. They soon retired to sleep and snore on the bed for the remainder of the night. A rather sad impersonation of cats, I must say.This morning Tea was meowing for food for her fat belly and I thought perhaps I should refrain from feeding her so that she would be a little more interested in capturing the mouse, but I wasn't sure she would understand my strategy (much less embrace it), so I just tossed som…

the power of one

Do you have recurring numbers appear in your life? I do. The number one appears many times during my day. I usually happen to look at the digital clock when it reads 11:11 or 1:11 (yep, I stay up that late and no, I am not a clock-watcher by any means). People tell me I am good one-on-one. I have clothes that are size one. I am not very good at multi-tasking - I like to do one thing at a time. I have one husband (okay, that's hardly extraordinary, I admit). Several times a week I spend wondering what all these one's mean. Yesterday was another one of those times.

We just had someone move out of our house after a few months' stay and it is amazing how much one person's presence changes the dynamic in a household. And how one person's absence can affect you in a profound way. Yesterday I had a friend call me for directions and after I told her how to get there in a few easy steps, she told me that I have a gift for making things simple and it eases people's stress…

fall back (trying not to)

Spring ahead, fall back (the nifty phrase used to remember what to do during daylight saving time.) It is just past 5 pm and already dark dark dark! That's what messing with the time zone does (thank you, daylight saving time inventor Benjamin Franklin). Although popular in North America and Europe, most of the world does not adhere to this ritual. Interesting.
Phew! I helped someone move this weekend and though very exhilarating, it was exhausting as well. Change always requires a good amount of energy (unlike stasis which requires very little) and sometimes we are tempted to forgo the evolution of our lives just for a moment in order to rest for a bit, let things go by for a bit. Whenever I feel that sort of passivity creeping into my soul, I know it is a dangerous thing. Comfort cannot be my motivation - EVER! Rest is a good and godly thing, but it comes from trusting God in all circumstances instead of relying on my own efforts, not from saying 'no' to forward motion. …

keep it real, baby

I love taking pictures, but it is a rather limited medium. The most sophisticated camera lens falls far short of the human eye. Sometimes when I am out with my camera and I know that it cannot really capture what is in front of me, I just set the apparatus aside and take a picture with my eyes. Aaahhhhh!
The other thing about photos is that you can only capture one portion of time. You miss the before and after, the context, the journey, the story. Life was never meant to be static; all creation is made to change and grow and mature and multiply and morph. If a photo is blurry (which usually denotes the subject was moving or I was breathing - silly me), this is deemed a bad picture. How odd that movement is seen as the cause of a spoiled image. MOVEMENT IS A SIGN OF LIFE! Sometimes I catch myself trying to take the perfect picture, especially with people involved, setting everything up just right, adjusting my vantage point, removing unsightly objects, and then freezing it all (myself…