Monthly Archives: August 2014

Trust

Hi there!

I was reading a blog-spot by Penn Clark.

Here is what it said:

“He [Jesus] also said,“Do not let your heart be troubled…you trust in God, trust also in Me… if it were not so, I would have told you.” (John 14:1-5)

Sometimes we need to trust in what He doesn’t say as much as what He has said. If something is not true, He would tell us. If there is trouble up ahead, He would tell us. If we are in sin, He will tell us. What a place to find rest from being troubled within”  (http://pennclark7.blogspot.ca/2014/05/trusting-in-our-own-sovereignty.html).

I liked this – it resonated with me.  I can get myself caught up in worry and anxiety wondering if I am making the right decisions in life, wanting to make sure I am living within God’s will for me, etc.

But, as Clark said, God WOULD tell me.  I am okay.  Everything is going to be alright…

It makes a person kind of breath a sigh of relief.

Sometimes, we can make this Christian thing way too hard.  It gets complicated because life is complicated.

Maybe that’s where we start to go off-track?

Jesus told us to have child-like faith, and sometimes that can be hard.  It doesn’t quite fit into my adult frame of mind or experience.

It certainly sounds like something that comes naturally to children (they kind of have the advantage on us, since they are children).

A friend told me she remembers being a child, and feeling that God was so real, that he was standing right there beside her.  She would talk to Him, as though He were her best friend.  He was her best friend.  God spoke to her.  It was a real relationship.

She said she remembered that the conversations were two-way.

Here again is where I get myself into trouble.  Mostly I just talk ‘at’ God, not ‘to’ God. And, when I have finished talking ‘at’ God, I hardly give Him a chance to say anything back to me.  Dishes need to get done, and so I am “up-and-at-em”.

I feel like I am afraid to let God speak.  From experience, I know that He mostly says things like, “I love you, Elizabeth”, “I rejoice over you with singing”, “My banner over you is love”.

“Yes, yes,” I say, “But, what about this, this, this and that?”

Silence.

But, what if I did give Him a chance to speak?  He might say something I don’t like, or give me an answer to something that I don’t want to hear.

I think of the anti-rape slogan, “No means No”, and how with God, we sort of want “No to mean Yes”, or “Not yet” to mean “It will happen tomorrow.”

I don’t want to hear the word, “No”.   I only want to trust God in as much as it meaning He will answer my prayers, and tell me what I want to hear.

This does not sound too much like trusting God.  I have realized an idol in my life is control.  I guess I could have figured this one out  sooner, given my upbringing and all the uncertainty with my mom’s mental health issues and my biological dad’s alcoholism.  I needed to take control of whatever I could.

So much seemed entirely out of my control.  And, it was.  Therein lies the problem – to trust that God is not like my parents.  I was reminded of this truth by Penn Clark, as he and his team prayed for me.

He told me the type of environment I grew up in – that I had to be the responsible one.  (I had never met the man before…Oh, the wonders of the Holy Spirit!  Praise God!)  🙂

God is not like how I grew up.  And, He is not like how you grew up.

My prayer is that we will rest peacefully in this profound truth!

Blessings,

Ellie

 

 

 

 

 

Einstein and Ellie

Hi!

I just wanted to have my name beside “Einstein’s”.  I like it.  I think it has a Vaudeville ring to it, but we would not have been a cheesy act.  Oh no, we would have been classy!

Here’s what we would have looked like:

AntoinetteBeenders forms a short hair shape with curl

Okay, so maybe we might have been a little over the top Vaudeville…

Now, onto the show!

One teacher told Einstein that he would never amount to anything.   We geniuses are always misunderstood.  🙂

My good friend Einstein had “Three Rules of Work”.  Here they are:

1) Out of clutter find simplicity.
2) From discord make harmony.
3) In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

Sounds like those could be “Three Rules of Life”.

Whatever time you live in, clutter, discord and difficulty will always be a part of it.  I think that’s called life!  🙂

So, what do Ellie and Einstein really have in common?  Well, besides our wild and wacky hair (poor Einstein did not have the benefit of snazzy hair products. Now, y’all know my secret!), I think we both had/have the “I-don’t-fit-in-complex”.

According to the Washington Post, “Classmates regarded Albert as a freak because he showed no interest in sports..  Teachers thought him dull-witted because of his failure to learn by rote and his strange behavior” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/einstein.htm).

I think not fitting in isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The popular kids were usually the mean kids, and probably the ones, who most felt they didn’t fit in.  They were just scared they’d be found out.  Hence, the extra bit of mean…Not so comforting for those still carrying around the wounds they inflicted, but read on!

Truth be told, none of us probably fit in, anywhere…Does that sound hopeless?

I don’t think so.  We’re unique.  We have different life experiences, backgrounds, come from different cultures, some are country folk, others urban dwellers, and so on and so forth.  We’re SUPPOSED to look different because we ARE different.

Psalm 139 says, “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  We are our own person, an individual.  This truth should be celebrated!

I think this is why all of those studies drive me a bit mad.  We are all on the ‘statistical analysis’ band-wagon.  If a study says this, then it is true in all cases.  There is of course truth to these generalized tests and studies, do not get me wrong.  I just think we need to consider the individual.

God certainly did and does.

Luke 19 tells a story of a “man…by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Everybody hates Zacchaeus.  The only thing missing is the musical soundtrack.  (Where’s Prince when you need him?)

I can’t imagine Jesus going up to Zacchaeus, and saying, “Zacchaeus, statistically speaking, you are such a great swindler and sinner, there is no way you could ever change your ways. Come on righteous People, let’s move on over to the right side of the tracks…Conga line!”

But, I suppose Jesus knew what it felt like to be an outsider, to know what it felt like to not fit in.  He was from heaven, for Pete’s sake.   How could He ever possibly  have fit in here?

Einstein tried on religion for a short time, but it never really fit him.  I wonder if they had showed him the real Jesus, the one He could relate to, if he would have kept it on. (I do realize he was Jewish, but as per the Washington Post article, he was in a heavily populated Catholic area, and learned about Christianity.  Due to the laws, he later learned about Judaism.)

I think Einstein would have been able to relate to Jesus…  And, maybe he did meet Him after all…

“Recognized as TIME magazine’s “Person of the Century” in 1999, Einstein’s intellect, coupled his strong passion for social justice and dedication to pacifism, left the world with infinite knowledge and pioneering moral leadership”(http://einstein.biz/biography.php).

Blessings!

Ellie

Anchor

Hi there,

The World Health Organization (WHO) will be “releasing its first comprehensive report on suicide prevention in September” of this year.  According to their website (www.who.int), the report will include information on:

  • what is known about suicide across the world;
  • groups at particular risk of suicide;
  • what can be done at both societal and individual level to reduce the number of deaths from suicide.

I am looking forward to reading something current.  Last night I googled, “suicide” and found the WHO’s site.  Some statistics (and they may be quite old now) report that 800,000 people commit suicide yearly.  That means that every 40 seconds someone takes his/her own life.

These statistics do not reveal how many  attempted suicides there are per year.  I think those numbers, when added to those who do commit suicide, would be absolutely staggering and gut-wrenching!  800,000… + + + (Only God knows how high the number actually is.)

The WHO recognizes that it is going to take a  cooperative effort on the part of the health field, non-health fields, education, religion, communities, politics…

For me Robin William’s death is not just a sad new’s story.  It is personal.

My mom attempted suicide (a couple of times) but the one I vividly remember was when I was in high school.  My uncle came out of the barn to tell me my mom had attempted suicide and that my step-dad had taken her to the hospital.  Then, he turned around and went back to the barn to finish his chores.

I am guessing it was one of the most difficult moments in his life.  They were all waiting for me to come home from school – my dad’s boss, the boss’ son, my uncle – And it was my relative that had to break the awful news.

I then went into the house, by myself, not knowing if my mom were alive or dead.

To my recollection, I cannot remember if my uncle gave me a choice to go to his house, to be with my aunt or cousins.  In my mind there was no choice, everyone left me alone.   I turned inward.

Recently I realized that my mom was my anchor.  My mom would sacrifice herself for me, signing herself out of the hospital (as she battled depression from the time I was born (and maybe before)), to be with me when I needed her.

And then, in one foul swoop, she attempted to take her life.  She chose death.  I was no longer important enough for her to ‘sacrifice’ herself.  I guess I thought her attempted suicide was extremely selfish.  I needed her after all.

The reason?  My biological dad was an abusive/violent alcoholic.  By the time she finally left him, shortly after I turned a year old, we were both quite battered, bruised and scarred, my mom physically and emotionally, and I, emotionally.   Clearly, this was a man, who could not be depended on, was not reliable or stable, nor could he be trusted.

Also, I am an only child.  My mom was literally all I had, and I almost lost her one night in my father’s drunken rage…

So, after my mom’s attempted suicide, I shut myself off from people.  If my mom was willing to leave me, then why wouldn’t a complete stranger do the same?

I became my own anchor.

It seemed like a logical choice (in my unconscious mind).  I could not leave myself.  I am stuck in my own skin.  I have no where to go.  And, so I became even tougher and stronger- minded, vowing that I needed no one to take care of me, to rely on, or depend on.

I was getting by fairly well, ahem…and then along came God…Sorry to those non-religious folks who may be reading.   Like you, I would never have imagined that God would be IT, that he would bring peace and purpose.  In my story of survival and rescue, God is my Knight in shining armor.  🙂

When people began deserting Jesus because he was “hard to understand”, he asked the Twelve Disciples if they were going to leave him too.  Peter said, “”Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:60; 68-69).

It is how I feel.  It is very “hard to understand”.  Nothing in my circumstances changed when I decided to follow this Jesus of Nazareth.   My dad is still an alcoholic, my mom still battles depression.

And yet, “Where else would I go?”

I am trying to unlearn everything I have been holding onto since childhood, into my adolescence and beyond, into the present day.  It a bit daunting.  Okay, extremely daunting!

I am trying to let God be my anchor.  It’s a daily choice.

My thoughts and prayers are with the William’s family, and with all of those who have lost a loved one in this tragic way.

My mom’s life was spared, as are countless others, and I am grateful for this, but I also realize we have some work to do.

Baby steps.  We will get there…

May you feel the presence of God close to you today!

Ellie

 

What on earth has happened to the family sitcom?

Hi,

Awhile back  I was at the gym, and a comedy called The King of Queen’s was on TV.  I don’t mean to pick on them in particular, as I am sure they are lovely people, and probably better examples of ridiculousness out there today.

But, here’s the low-down:

The show ran for almost 10 years, from 1998 to 2007.   As I watched, I couldn’t help feeling that if they were a real life couple, they would be headed for divorce court.   The show would have been over, kaput, in probably less than a year.

The plot:

The husband gets duped out of $1000.00 by a neighbor selling, well, a crap product – in the vein of the old pyramid scheme. The wife is naturally annoyed and angry.  She basically calls him the “weaker” one out of the two, and makes him feel like he is stupid.  The show actually made all men look stupid because even her own father wanted in on the action. So, at the end, when he comes to his senses, confesses his inferiority to his all-knowing, wise and wonderful wife, she tells him the moral of the story is not to try anymore.

The battle of the sexes – played out – full-on – in all its ugliness.

Love and Respect.  A guy named Paul from Tarsus wrote about that.  He talked about how primarily women want to feel loved and men want to feel respected.  Ephesians 5:21-33 (NLT) says the following:

Spirit-Guided Relationships: Wives and Husbands

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body. 31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”[c] 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Love and Respect – I kind of wonder how Paul would react to the family sitcom.  If he were working out on the elliptical machine beside me, what would he do?

I imagine, in wanting to protect me from filling my brain with utter nonsense, he would get off the machine and change the channel.  In fact, he might just turn off all of the TV’s.   I would cry out, “Not HGTV, Paul!” And, Paul would say, “Yes, even HGTV has to go, Elizabeth”… Paul’s a hard case.

And, this is kind of what I like about Paul.  He’s not going to let anyone get away with anything.  I can’t imagine how frustrated and annoyed he would be to see how, in our current culture, men are being demeaned by women in mainstream TV.

He might also be quite annoyed that men subject themselves to this kind of demeaning and demoralizing treatment, as in the willing idiot played by the “King” in the “King of Queens”.

(King David would probably want to kick his ass, and tell him to “Be a man, dammit!”)

Paul is a hard case, which is probably why this particular passage in Ephesians makes some women cringe. But, try and let the truth of how men and women differ settle in, because we are different – Both made in God’s image, male and female, and yet different.

I believe there are aspects of God’s Being that are male and female.  I  have no clue as to what this looks like.  Maybe God’s brain is not only like a waffle but also like spaghetti? (Bill and Pam Farrel, Men are like Waffles – Women are like Spaghetti.)

Meaning, God can both compartmentalize and make connections.   i.e. In problem solving, men (generally speaking) solve one problem, then go onto the next problem, and so on and so forth, very systematic; whereas, women (generally speaking) are more relational, going through varying and seemingly complex detours to come up with a solution to a problem, or not – Sometimes we just need to be heard.

Did I lose the guys with my meandering sentence?  You get the idea, as did Paul, and he wasn’t even married, and never had the privilege of watching a family sitcom.

Paul of Tarsus, a man blessed by God!

Blessings!

Ellie

 

I am…

Hello!

Mother Teresa said:  “I am a Do it Anyways Kind of Person.”

 People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyways.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyways.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyways.

If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyways.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyways.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.                   

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyways.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyways.

I once heard a story about Mother Teresa – she asked an (East) Indian man to donate to the children.  He spat on her.  She wiped the spit off her hands, put them back out again in a receiving posture, and said, (something like), “That was for me, now what are you going to give the children?”

I think in this case Mother Teresa was practicing the, “People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered.  Forgive them anyways” part of her “mantra”.

I look at the success part, and I don’t know about you, but I find myself as afraid of success as I am of failure.

Failure is safe.  It means I get to stay right where I am, right now, no movement, no change, no risk.  And, I get the satisfaction of those around me saying, “Hey, at least you tried…”  It is something to feel good about.  And, isn’t that what we want?  To feel good about ourselves through our efforts?

Seneca said, “To wish to be well is a part of becoming well.”  I wonder if we, and by “we” I mean, “me”, are not diseased.  We are not well.  We feel that if we are successful, then people will stop liking us.

And, truth be told, some people will stop liking us (‘cos they’re mean spirited, or feel bad about themselves).

It really has nothing to do with them.  It has to do with us, living, exceeding our own expectations of ourselves, and pushing through the invisible line we have drawn for ourselves.

(Can you tell I’m preaching to myself here?)  🙂

A Turkish Proverb says, “No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.” There is always hope.  We are never too far gone down the wrong road to turn back.   Yes, it makes the journey a bit longer, but maybe we’ve met people we may never have met, experienced things we never would have experienced, and learned things we may never have learned.  Education is never wasted.  But, turn back…

 

And Norman Vincent Peale, a clergyman and “Champion of Positive Thinking” (according to  http://normanvincentpeale.wwwhubs.com/), says, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

No one is going to be able to do this for us.  We are responsible for changing our own thoughts, and when we do, we will see amazingly wonderful results.

The ending of Mother Teresa’s quote is,  “You see in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

Let’s do something different.  Let’s forgive, be kind, succeed, be honest and sincere, create, be joyful, do good, do our best – And, let God take care of the rest!

Have a blessed day!

Ellie

Question:  I would love to hear your stories of acts of kindness, love, success!

 

How To Look Like A Genius

Hello!

So, today I thought I would share a sure-fire way to make yourself look like a genius.  It is no-fail!  It’s like Rice Krispie Squares you make in the microwave.  You can’t lose!  It’s a win-win!

Ready?

Over-state the obvious.  This way you will NEVER be wrong.

Let me give you an example:

A headline in a local newspaper read:  RedBlacks Need Wins to Make the Playoffs

I have to be honest, at first my sarcastic side kicked in when I read those words in the news box.  Really?  I had no idea that sports teams needed to actually win games in order to make the playoffs.  I thought it all depended on who was sleeping with who, or who was not sleeping with whose wife, or how much money was paid to the officials to ‘fudge’ the calls in favor of the teams who could afford to bribe their way to the top if they lacked sexual prowess…

WINS?  Thank you S- Media for enlightening me on the matter.

Then, I actually began to wonder if maybe there was some stroke of genius written in between the lines of that headline.

No one will ever be able to accuse you of going out on a limb.  Your statements will all be correct.  No one will ever be able to contradict you.  No longer will you be the laughingstock of your office sport’s pools.

There is one note of caution you must take into consideration before you dive headlong into these shallow waters.  A sort of disclaimer, if you will.  On occasion, you may find that when you over-state the obvious, people like me will look at you like you’re a total moron, or blog about how moronic you are, but do not be discouraged.  Keep over-stating the obvious. Do not let smart-asses like me hold you back.  Get lots of practice in, so then one day, you too can have the prestige and honor of seeing your half-witted words in print. And, not only that, you will also earn some extra income for Christmas writing these moronic headlines for your local newspaper.

Feel free to send me a Christmas present.  I like presents. Happy in Bloom by Clinique is my favorite scent – just in case you were struggling, wondering what you might buy for me as a sign of your appreciation and gratitude…It is only available in the summer though, so you may want to go ahead and purchase that in advance.

Trust me, you’re going to make scads of money off of this “Over-stating the obvious” business.  Would Auntie Ellie steer you wrong?

Go REDBLACKS Go!!!  And, don’t forget to WIN!!!

The Ottawa Redblacks unveiled their new mascot at an Ottawa 67's pre-game ceremony.

Question:  What are your pet-peeves?  Please feel free to rant away!

Ellie

Blogistics

Greetings!

I hope all who are reading this are well, and I suppose I should wish the others not reading this well too.  🙂

I was watching a Ted Talk, and the speaker mentioned a friend of his, who blogged twice a week and was able to support his 8 kids.  And, they just got back from a trip to Europe.  All of them.

WHAT?  I don’t understand how it is possible to make so much money from this blogging. business.  I feel like this guy must have something I do not.

Like, sound technological advice, or Dr. Phil inspired life-advice.  It feels CRAZY that blogging can actually become your career., and unattainable for the majority of us.

Maybe I’m just stuck in the 90’s… “Come on, Vogue!”  You know you wanna!!!

Pindar said, “Learn what you are, and be such.”  I know what you’re thinking – ‘Who the heck is Pindar?’  Well, let me do the digging for you.  He was a Greek poet, who lived from 552-443 BC (as per Wikipedia).

I find that kind of interesting.  Even back in Pindar’s time, people needed to hear this advice.  We are all trying to figure out who we are, what we want to do with our lives, where we want to go.

We always seem to be in some sort of moving pattern, never static, but always moving.

Or, waiting to move into that next  phase in life.  Whether it is wanting to find a marriage partner, to become engaged, to have children, to move into a different career, to graduate, to find a job…there is always something that seems to be wanting.

I can see in myself a dissatisfaction with where things presently stand.  (Now don’t hear me wrong on this – I also love where I am – the friends, my church.

But, I feel as though I am standing on the brink of a chasm  that is waiting to catch all of my dreams and desires (one of these is having children).

And, then there’s this writing thing.  I know people try and make you feel better by telling you what is possible, but I think it has the opposite affect in just bringing me down.  Like the book, He’s Just Not That Into You, maybe the guy with 8 kids and a kick-ass blog, is the exception and not the rule.

Maybe I am the rule?

Hence, the great need to enjoy the scenic route.  (I thoroughly enjoy using words like “hence”.  It makes me feel as though the 20,000 + dollars I gave to the University for my English degree was not in vain…)

Moving on.

Imagination is key.  And, fun.  I am all about having fun.  None of this serious nonsense.  It is when I allow my adult-side to have more of a say in my life than my imaginative -kid side that I get myself into all sorts of trouble.

Enjoy the process of creating who you were meant to be in this life.

Let’s carve out our own path, dream, create, explore, fail, explore some more, succeed…

Try…

It couldn’t hurt after all.  And, let’s not forget to have fun.  It will make the journey all the more enjoyable!

Can I get an “Amen”?

Ellie

Question:  For those of you a little further along on the journey, please pass along any golden nuggets of advice you may have.  It would be greatly appreciated!