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Showing posts from August, 2007

things gone wrong...and right

1. I left the house at 7:00 am and forgot to account for traffic so missed the train I meant to take downtown to keep a 9:00 am appointment and had to wait for the next one. 2. While waiting, I realised I had neglected to get exact change so could not buy a ticket for the train from the machine and had to approach a kind fellow commuter to buy a ticket from them. 3. After I got off the train and made my connection to the subway, I realised I was heading the wrong way so I got off at the next stop and retraced my steps. 4. I exited one stop early in the hopes that it would save me time because I reasoned I would be walking towards my destination instead of passing it in the subway and backtracking. Alas, the walk was just longer that way and actually cost me time. NEVERTHELESS, I arrived at my appointment at 8:58 am much to my amazement! It appeared that God had surely bent time in order to accommodate me, or at least it felt like it, as I had been asking him to get me there on time the wh…

Quebec = P W G P

I just returned from a brief trip to visit friends in New Brunswick. It was too short and involved too much driving and I am too short on sleep right now, but it was a great trip and I am glad I went.When I crossed back into Quebec yesterday afternoon, I started thinking about what living in Quebec means to me. Immediately a phrase ran through my head and it was, "This is a place where God provides." And I know that to be true. It has not been easy for us to live here as anglophones; the politics and bureaucracy and taxation get to you sometimes and living in a secular society takes some getting used to. I used to warn people about some of the challenges they would face when coming to live here, but I now realise that I was seeing things from an inadequate and decidedly negative perspective. This is a place where God provides. It is a place where you are invited to get to know God as your provider. That means that all the things you are used to relying on to provide stabilit…

freedom is not

One of my good friends, Awa, spoke at church last week and made a point that I have been thinking about quite a bit. It is about confusing freedom and sovereignty. We are, yes, supposed to be free, but this does not mean we are sovereign. There are still consequences and rules of nature and the reactions of other people and a whole bunch of other stuff. Being a free person does not mean that you can do whatever you want whenever you want because you have the power and ability to do so. It simply means that you are not tethered to anything that pulls you down. You are truly yourself. God is sovereign. He offers us freedom. Don't get the two confused. Thanks for the wisdom, Awa.This is a close-up of my hammock.

the fruit

These are some of the tomatoes from my garden. I use the term "garden" loosely as I only have flowers and shrubs around my house, but since Dean loves fresh tomatoes, this spring I put 6 tomato plants in the bald parts of my flowerbeds - those spaces that always gape between plants when a garden is still young. The tomatoes have basically taken over the west side of my house. The plants became so large that they toppled all the supports I put up. They overshadowed my waist-high burning bushes and drowned out the yellow stellad'oras. The large, grapefruit sized fruit is ripening faster than we can eat it, and despite giving many away and making a large batch of salsa (best ever, by the way), there are still 11 tomatoes on my counter today and I am sure a few more have ripened since yesterday.Fruit is a funny thing - it is seasonal. Sometimes I wish that it would be more spread out, or on a timed release schedule. That way one could enjoy tomatoes all year round, one produ…

correct me if I'm wrong...

A few days ago I received something interesting in the mail (other than a wonderful newsy letter and cool photos from my mom!). It was a yellow envelope with a few writings from someone who felt we needed to hear his perspective on what has gone wrong with the particular flavour of church that we are part of. I am never quite sure how to respond to criticism of this sort (from strangers whom I have no relationship with). Sometimes it merits no response at all, but in this case I think it does. No doubt the man is sincere and has obviously been through some less than pleasant experiences and seen some less than perfect people and situations in church (haven't we all? welcome to humanity!) but I wonder what he hopes his action will accomplish? Change, obviously, but I can tell you from experience that criticism seldom brings about the desired change. Some thoughts on responding to criticism in general: Should I fall on my face and repent for my shortcomings and errors? Of course. I…

have mercy

There is a mosquito in the room and she wants to take my blood. Shall I show mercy and not kill her?Sunday night at church God talked to me about mercy. Something did not go according to plan and He breathed a simple phrase to me: It is a mercy. And I believe it was. It put us in a position that we would not have chosen to put ourselves in, and that turned out to be a good thing. As I thought about what mercy looks like in real life, God challenged me to extend an act of mercy to one of my friends. Again, it was something I would not have naturally put myself in a position to do as too often I am obsessed with responsibility and maturing and learning and challenging others to do the same: to always be consistent and faithful in everything. And yet, God shows mercy; kindness and a gentle smile when we are the least worthy of meriting them. I forgave someone's debt and became richer for it. Mercy is free. Let me also give it freely.The mosquito has disappeared to live ano…

hell no?

I am reading through the Old Testament again and it is interesting to note that the modern concept of a future utopia (a.k.a. heaven) is hardly to be found. Modern religion seems to have swung the other way and favours much talk about future reward as a motivator while underplaying possible punishment in some suitably horrible place because they say (whoever they are) that hell smacks of cruelty and a lack of love and is not an effective tool for changing behaviour nor, in all likelihood, a real place.Some say we have progressed in our knowledge and behaviour since those barbaric times before Jesus. I highly doubt that; in fact, I would say that while we have simply replaced and renamed sins and cruelties and idolatries, God has been the faithful One in progressing: telling a progressive story of his character to humankind that is there for anyone to read if they have the desire, tenacity, and are willing to submit their self righteousness to a genuine love for Truth.I don't know …

things I do every day

This week someone challenged me on the amount of time and energy I spend on my immediate family, all of whom live quite a distance from me. Yes, they are right, I should have more consistent contact with them. It is important. One can often tell what is important in one's life by the frequency of it.

Here are the things I do every day:
1. sleep
2. eat
3. breathe
4. laugh
5. pray
6. clean something
7. talk to Dean
8. write

And here are things I do almost every day:
1. exercise
2. buy food
3. talk to my friends
4. play with my cats
5. read my Bible
6. dream
7. go outside
8. read a book
9. office work
10. do something nice for someone

And here are things I would like to do more often:
1. have meaningful and generous contact with my family and friends
2. travel
3. spend time with Dean
4. be content
5. learn important lessons
6. love consistently
7. be fearless
8. enjoy God

This is a picture of the remarkable French Onion Soup prepared by Greg for last night's supper.

well done (no buts)

Last night I spoke at church - well, anyone can speak up, but I was the one guiding the discussion. It turned out to be an exercise in encouragement for me. You see, I tend to see where I (and others) fall short and I can be too quick to point it out. When I asked God what he wanted to say to this particular group of people that night, two words very plainly rang in my head, "Well done." And I had to fight to keep the talk from becoming a lesson in how to do better and correct our mistakes and try harder and use our talents more effectively, for I knew all God really wanted to do was encourage and let people feel his pleasure. So I tried to do that and at the end of the evening sang this song that I had jotted down just before the meeting: Well done, my friendGood and faithful and trueWell done, well doneThe servant of God is alive in you, yes the servant of God is alive and well in you.For every time you wanted to give up and didn't - well doneFor leaving the past behin…

bad words

I was reading Psalm 50 this morning and one of the things that stood out to me was the notion that God likes it when we cry out for help to him. In contrast to wonderful acts of sacrifice, shows of piety, and righteous religious rituals (yes, even reading your Bible and going to church and praying can be rituals), he prefers an honest, "HEEELP ME! I really screwed up!"

I have friends who use swear words. When I first got to know them, the words bothered me and I could not hear anything else they were saying because those four-lettered expletives were blaring sirens blocking out everything else they were trying to tell me. And that was an error on my part. They were passionately telling me something in their own words, often vexed at some injustice, and I failed to hear their meaning because of a few letters like f and u and, well, you get my drift.

There are no right or wrong words in communicating, in talking to God, in expressing your heart, in making yourself heard. There …

power: less or more

I have some questions:1. How do I access the authority in my life? What should I be using this authority for?2. Why do I cry when I feel powerless?3. What is the proper outlet for my sometimes overwhelming emotions?4. What do I do when people don't listen to me? Or does it really matter?We all have those Achilles heels, those places and times where we feel powerless. It is nothing to be ashamed about for it is all part of the human condition, but what we do in our moments of weakness when we are stripped of our power is a very telling thing. I realised this week that while some admirable people will rise up and do something about their situation when they feel backed into a corner, I often retreat and cry. Not all that productive nor attractive, I have to admit. So what do I do about that tendency? I am not sure yet. I am not an aggressive Type A personality who must take charge of every situation they are in, and I have no desire to maintain an impeccable reputation nor develop a…