Friday, June 09, 2006
What have I been thinking about lately? A lot, but a few of the things:
1. Beauty. What makes us beautiful? How do we determine who / what is beautiful? My friend Tracey invited me to share at her women's retreat on Vancouver Island, and the topic was 'Becoming a Woman of Beauty'. Most scary moment? Sharing one of my awkward / ugly decade photos. Took courage - or extreme humility. Most suprising moment? Apparently every woman in the room also felt that they had an 'ugly stage' of shame. My thoughts? What happens if God's daughters never recover from feeling less than, ugly and ashamed of how they are created? Big questions... looking for answers from our Father.
2. Life. God whispered, in the quiet still moment that was one Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago. He said to my heart "life". Sounds weird and mystical, but I do think it was a calling to me to be a person who brings life, speaks life, and is living fully alive. Most sad moment? At the youth conference I was at, I asked the kids (and their youth leaders) in my seminar who felt that they were truly, fully alive to raise their hands - and no one, not one, raised their hands. I could have wept. Are God's people, who have been raised from death to life and given the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead, walking around as dead people? May I live truly alive.
Okay, that's enough for now.
Phew. Time for a nap - or time to watch more 'What Not To Wear'. :)
Thursday, April 20, 2006
I’m just finishing Margaret Becker’s book Coming Up For Air and I have to admit that I’m jealous. Lately, with life situations totally crashing all around me, I have felt the unnerving sensation of drowning and desperately needing to come up for air. I have wanted to run away to clear my head and bring my blood pressure down to normal. After reading of Maggie’s decision to stop traveling, stop performing and simply check out of life for a little while, and that it is, in fact, possible to regain perspective, I’m actually hopeful that I might not drown in my circumstances. (I want to call her Maggie now, because after reading her book she feels more like a friend, and Margaret seems too formal - sorry if i've offended you, Maggie...*er* Margaret).
But there are so many books out there about slowing down and living above our circumstances, so why has this particular one resonated with me? (besides the gorgeous cover)
I think the answer is hope. She wouldn't have taken such a radical 'sabbath rest' if she thought that there wasn't hope for a more balanced and authentic full life. Hope is offered by her experience, and I want to grab onto it like a rope offered to a drowning person.
Although “Coming Up for Air” isn’t a biography or even necessarily a true memoir, as such, I was reminded last night of the power of our personal ‘story’ in the context of community. Is it possible that God’s working through our lives is not for us, but for the good of the people who share in the story? If we don’t share our story, are we cheating the people around us of the benefits of our struggles? Sharing our brokenness, our times of desperation, and our story of God’s working in and through our desperation gives so much hope. Is this what Paul might have meant when he said to always be ready to give a defense for our hope? If we hold back on all of our real life issues, do we default on our hope?
Just stuff I’m thinking about.
Monday, April 10, 2006
But today I feel like I have something to actually blog about! At a lunch meeting today I had the privilege of hearing Erwin McManus speak about his forthcoming book - "Soul Cravings" (November 2006). Now, I'm a bit of a reluctant postmodern and don't want to jump on the bandwagon too quickly, but it was encouraging and challenging and refreshingly real to hear him talk from his 'gut' passions.
There is no way I can recap what he said, but what struck me most was McManus' desire to make a very real face to face connection with people in their very humanness. McManus said that he so wants to understand those longings and needs that are simply a part of our being human, and having that as our jumping off point for encouraging people to become Christ followers.
What did I get out of it? (caveat - this isn't what Erwin said, but where my thoughts went as I listened)
I need to accept that I am human (sounds weird, but I know I'm not the only one who longs to be free of human foibles).
I want to understand how God meets me exactly in my need - my lack, my failing, those things about myself that grieve me.
I want to live fully as a spiritually-connected, God-enjoying Christ follower, and that this life would glorify God so that others would not hesitate to wait to jump on board and follow Him too.
Just some thoughts... but I have to say, this is one manuscript I'm really looking forward to getting because I don't want to wait for the book.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Some days you gotta dance
Live it up when you get the chance'
Cause when the world doesn't make no sense
And you're feeling just a little too tense
Gotta loosen up those chains and dance
- Dixie chicks
Today is Friday. A friend, who shall remain nameless, (LB) sent me one of those forwarded emails that are so annoying. However, this one was less annoying, because when I opened it, I was so startled by an image of two cats dancing that I laughed, very loudly, in astonishment. It was a good way to start my Friday. Perhaps I should have been prepared, as the subject line of the email read “Friday Dance” and it was from a friend (LB) with a quirky sense of humour. However, I was startled by the joy of ridiculous dancing on a Friday morning, before my first cup of coffee.
I am rediscovering my “happy dance”. Sometimes I startle myself with it – a dance only for myself, because I can’t help but express joy. And, as my little friend Sarah told me, when I shared the secret of having one’s own happy dance, “it really works. I really feel happy when I do it!”
Try it, right now, where you sit. Look silly. Laugh. Wiggle your arms a little, shake your hiney in your seat, and let out a little ‘woo hoo’. It works. Feel the joy, joy, joy, joy down in your heart. You, my friend, are a born dancer.
Friday, January 06, 2006
B. bragging about every trip and accomplishment their family has done in the last year (some over-achievers I know)
Hence, I was grumpy about writing my letter. I didn't want it to be about either.
Canada Post seems to have eaten some of my Christmas cards. Some people haven't received them yet, so for you, here is the letter...
Great little One! whose all-embracing birth
Lifts Earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to Earth.
Heaven is literally stooping to earth in Waterloo. The familiar strains of “May all your Christmases be white” never actually made a lot of sense to me before now! Looking out my window right now, snow is softly falling (really, it is!), my car is covered with the gentle sheen of salt and sand, and I’m realizing that yes – I am in Ontario! I have to say, it is still really weird to listen to Christmas songs and actually see snow on the ground instead of green trees and peering to see if there might be snow on the mountains!
Here’s a brief overview of the probability of a white Christmas (where I’ve been at Christmas for the past 8 years):
Waterloo, ON – 74%
Nanaimo, BC – 9%
Waynesboro, GA – 4%
San Salvador, El Salvador – less than 1%
This year I’m slightly more prepared for my second ever real Canadian winter:
· When temperatures sank to -10 Celcius yesterday, I just buttoned up my coat, thought “I’m so glad it’s not -27” and continued Christmas shopping at an outdoor shopping plaza. Last year, everyone laughed at me when it reached +6 and I stated ominously “Oooh… winter is definitely here!”
· Today I’m confidently (perhaps foolishly though) wearing boots with a 4” heel and haven’t fallen on the snow or ice (yet). Last year, I considered wearing my ice skates to get from my back door to the car.
· I now know what a snow brush is for. I also now own a snow brush. I also own a car seat warmer (odd, but true).
· I now know that wearing fur is a practical thing and not a glamour thing. (Sorry PETA members, but there really is a reason that you see fur on Eskimos)
· I now know that I won’t actually die if I go outside when it is below -20 C. I’ll just be really, really cold. (This was a concern I had last year)
All that to say, we really are given all that we need when we are where we are supposed to be – even when it is a place we never would have chosen on our own. The last couple of years have been a huge lesson for me. It is tough sometimes to believe that God really does have all the details worked out, and that if we’ll believe Him and wait for Him to act, He really will! I never cease to be amazed at how full my life here in Waterloo is. Despite a heavy travel schedule which takes me away half the year or more, friendships have flourished, I am part of a small group that I love, I feel like I really ‘live’ here, and I’m happy and satisfied.
I hope that wherever you’re at, you’re able to know that Heaven has come to Earth, whether you see snow or not… and that it shows how much you’re loved by God.
I pretty much feel the same still, but I'm seeing that blogs can be useful. I spend so much of my time talking about what I'm reading, and recommending books to other people, that I thought that if nothing else, this would be a good way to share more about what I'm currently reading, being challenged by, and thinking about. Okay, so some of it will be self-serving navel-gazing, but I hope that perhaps someone will be encouraged or challenged right alongside me.
So, to all those offended by my comments regarding blogs - I'm sorry to say, that like me or not, I've joined your ranks. Sigh. Crow tastes nasty.