Monthly Archives: September 2014

Matters of the Heart

“Never trust a crab in matters of the heart.”

Hi!

I have been rereading a biography on Jane Austen by Canadian author, Carol Shields.  She says that it is hard to write a biography on Austen because once you get into “Jane-mode” (my bad paraphrasing), you want to start writing like her.

Obviously, this is not a good thing when you’re trying to capture the Life of Jane Austen, remaining distant and observant of facts, the stuff real life is made of, not fantasy.

Austen has this rhythm that is all at once captivating and spellbinding.  It is lyrical and magical.  It really is something to behold.

I am blending the new and the old, via The Little Mermaid.  Sebastian the Crab is teaching Ariel how to get the prince’s affection and heart.

This little snippet proves that matters of the heart are a difficult thing, regardless of species.

One time, I was sitting by a lake and watched as two birds, a male and a female, sat on the water, casually floating along.  Another male bird came along.  He began to strut his stuff for the girl bird.  He then spread his wings, scaring off the other male bird.  It worked. The ‘weaker’ male bird flew away, dejected.

I wonder if he went off and purposely flung himself against a wall in despair…I wonder if all the other birds laughed and made fun of him…I wonder if he finally found love…

It also made me wonder why we women do all sorts of things to attract a man.  I think we need to pay attention to the animal kingdom, and take our cue from the female bird.

We need to let men strut their stuff for us, and prove themselves a worthy partner.  Not the other way around.

Okay, well maybe both sides need to see the other as a worthy partner, but I think women go a little overboard worrying about whether, “He likes me.”  Better questions are:  “Is he a good guy?  Is he worthy of me?”

I think the things we do border on insanity.  I have all too often ignored the signs – blatant, obvious signs in hopes that he would “like me.”  Let’s not do this anymore, Ladies!  (I am preaching to myself, here!)

Being a fiction writer, I find it difficult to not fall into the “Happily ever after” pit, but let’s face it, that’s pretty much what we want.  We want things to end tidily, not messily.  Jane Austen did it.  The Victorians did it.  Pretty much all fiction does it…The messiness comes in the beginning and in the middle, and then miraculously, and by the magic of Hollywood, ends well.

Here’s the Hollywood scoop:  Girl meets boy.  Boy is a jerk.  Girl gets annoyed with boy.  Girl dumps boy.  Boy changes to get girl back (picture the male bird strutting his stuff here!)… It works.  Boy and Girl live happily ever after…sigh…

Here’s the Reality scoop:  Girl meets boy.  Boy is a jerk.  Girl gets annoyed with boy’s ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Maybe’, ‘Not yet, soon’ game.  Boy comes sniveling back.  Girl takes him back.  Repeat cycle.  Repeat cycle.  Repeat cycle until girl has really had enough.  Boy walks away, unscathed. Girl is scarred.

Here’s how it ought to go:  Girl meets boy.  Boy is a jerk.  Girl does not like boy.  Boy tries to get girl in the sack.  Girl does not want to have sex with boy.  Boy does not change.  Girl is under no illusions.  Boy still thinks he can get girl in the sack.  Girl laughs heartily.  Boy walks away dejected.  Hooray Girl!

Back to The Little Mermaid.  With no significant help from Sebastian the Crab, Ariel gets the prince (who is conveniently not a jerk, only moderately dense).

The moral of the blog:  Never trust a crab in matters of the heart…Trust only in God!

Blessings!

Ellie

Coffee

Hi!

My apologies for not writing this past week.  I think I was in need of coffee or something to get me going.

I am a tea drinker.  I like tea so much, I will go to a Five-Star hotel and have Afternoon Tea, just ‘cos. (I have not done this recently, but you need only say, “Afternoon Tea” and I am IN! – The spa and chocolate have a similar effect on my delicate sensibilities.)

I have been reading Jesus – CEO.  It is about leadership and how Jesus led his disciples.
We are to learn from his leadership style.  The book reads a bit like a blog, which feels strange to me.  The author, Laurie-Beth Jones then asks questions at the end of each short chapter.

I am hating and liking it all at the same time.  It makes me have to think about where I am at, where I am going, and where I would like to be.  It is pushing me and challenging me. I guess that makes it a good book.

But, the process of change is a painful one, isn’t it?  I am comfortable.  But, I feel like if something doesn’t happen soon, I am going to crawl right out of my skin.

Puerto Rico.  I could crawl out of my skin and go to Puerto Rico.

Herein lies the problem with those Austen-esque ‘romance’ novels.  Characters leave their comfortable surroundings behind for adventure and pleasure seeking isles like Puerto Rico, where they inevitably find love waiting for them on the other side.  Maybe it’s the sandy beach?  Maybe it’s the ocean air?  ‘Tis a bit salty.  Maybe it’s the salt? Maybe it’s the alcohol?  Now, I’m just being cynical.

This phenomenon has never happened to me personally.  (I would be curious to know if it has ever happened to you.  ???)

Anyway, part of my sudden fascination and interest in Puerto Rico is that it stays relatively warm all year round.  25 lovely Celsius degrees.   What could be better?

We have four seasons – A lot of people appreciate four seasons, but I am not one of them.  I don’t like that things are dying all around me.  Okay, the colours of the leaves are pretty amazing, but the chill in the air makes me long for warm summer breezes…

Have you ever tried sitting out by a pool in the middle of winter, sipping a nice frozen Daiquiri?  And, then realize that the Daiquiri wasn’t even frozen to begin with?  So sad!

Okay, I confess I have never spent time by a pool in my bathing suit underneath my snow suit, sipping girl-drinks in the middle of winter.

Well now.  I am not sure this blog could be any more random if I tried.  What else should I talk about? I think I am feeling antsy…like a change is coming.  I can feel it, but I can’t see it.  That’s the problem.

I want to be able to know what is going to happen in my future.  How does a person get excited about a future that is not guaranteed?  Can our thoughts and imaginations really create the future we want?

Some would argue, “Yes, they can, so get imagining, Ellie!”

I am feeling inspired by that happy voice, that positive voice that shuts out the others, telling them to “Get Stuffed!”  (Royal Canadian Air Farce)

Negative voices – “GET STUFFED!”

Enjoy your day, Everybody!

Ellie

 

“How Long O Lord”

Hi there!

I hope you are well.

I have been quite heartbroken over the news in Iraq over the last few weeks.  Like, really heartbroken!  I am not sure when this all began.  I tend to ignore the news.  I believe that it has been going on for at least a month, or close to it.

I also feel for the Muslim community.  It is only 15% of Muslims, who subscribe to these extreme beliefs.  Yet, the 85% who do not, have an equal share in the degradation and discrimination.   I recall hearing of one Muslim lady who said, “We will never recover.”  This comment causes me great sadness. There is a lack of hope.

At church, we  have just finished a sermon series about the Psalms, and how they can be used today, in our own lives.

The sermon I preached was on Psalm 27.  It spoke to me personally, many years ago, because King David said, “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me in.”

Given my past, this news was the best I had heard in a really, really long time…God, Himself, had taken me in!

And yet there is still something unsettling.  There is still something about this life that is not right, even when we choose to follow God.

I think we can all come to the same conclusion, regardless of faith, beliefs, etc.  It is self-evident given wars, hatred, racial divisiveness, etc.

In a lecture by N.T. Wright, he said that we are living in a time of “then, now, not yet”.

Waiting for the Messiah to come, the Israelites prayed, “How long O Lord?”  It was a cry in their hearts, coming deep from their wounded souls, tired of being oppressed, enslaved, killed, “Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (Psalm 44:22).

Christians can relate.  In Romans 8:36, Paul reminds the Church, “As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

For the sake of Jesus “we face death all day long”.   In the Middle East, Christians today can relate.

It has caused me to pray more lately.  We are called to do this – to pray for those who are persecuted in the Church.  I confess living over here in relative peace and security, I forget. But, I have had a strong reminder to remember my Christian brothers and sisters in prayer, to cover them with Psalm 91 and the Whole Armor of God (Ephesians).

It also puts me in remembrance to pray for those who do not know God, and for those who persecute us.  “And Jesus said, “Fatherforgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). 

Please also join me in praying for the Muslim community, for we know that God is a “God of hope!”

As we live out this tension of “then, now, not yet”, Revelation 22:20 reminds us, “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”  Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

As Israel waits for their Messiah to come, we as Christians are also waiting for the Messiah to come.  I believe the Muslims are waiting for Allah’s return… We are all waiting …

We long for His return, when “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Question:  “Are you thirsty?” (Revelation 22:17)

A little positive reminder from Third Day – “Your Love Oh Lord”   🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OBRvxrzhqs

Blessings,

Ellie

 

Happy September 1st

Hi!

I was just emailing someone and ‘complaining’ that winter is on its way.

I grumbled as I thought about snow storms, icy snow-covered sidewalks that make it difficult to walk.

I stopped and reminded myself to enjoy what is “now” and not what is “coming”.   I find myself doing this in life too.  I think about all the bad things that might come my way.

I know winter is coming – this is a certainty.   What I don’t know is what my personal future holds.  But,why do I automatically assume and think the worst?  Why do I assume that God is going to bring snowstorms and icy weather to my life?

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”  Norman Vincent Peale said this.

He also said, ” Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ ll land among the stars.”

We tend to value mediocrity is our culture.  We don’t want to fail, yet we don’t want to succeed either.  So, we stick ourselves in the middle.  I wonder if this is partly why we also drag ourselves down with our thoughts…

I just watched  a movie my mom lent me called, “What a Girl Wants”.  I wouldn’t put it up there with my Top 10 movies , but the cheesy one-liner the love interest gives to get the kiss was pretty good.  He said, “Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?”

Aww, shucks!  Not sure that would make me pucker up, but it’s getting close…The other good thing about this movie (for us girls at least ) is Colin Firth.  🙂

Now, back to Norman…

Peale was a minister, professional speaker and author.  He wrote the book, The Power of Positive Thinking, which I confess I have not read.

I do need to be reminded that my thoughts really do shape reality.   I know I believe this – I believe this so much that I even preached a sermon on it.  It can be found at:  (http://archives.sunnysidechurchottawa.com/sermons/20130818_d.mp3)

(I think this is it.  I don’t really like listening to the sound of my own voice.)  🙂

In Romans 12, Paul reminds us to be a “Living Sacrifice”  He writes, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

I would like my mind to be transformed.  There are many days when I would like a brain transplant.   Can I get an, “Amen”?

The world wants to keep us stuck on the ground, in the muck, but God has better ideas. He wants our heads in the clouds.  He wants us to dream, imagine, laugh, play, give…to become like little children, who seem to be able to take each moment and live it to the fullest, with innocence and wonder.

Speaking of wonder, there was an amazing rain storm yesterday.  The thing I first noticed was that I couldn’t see past the street just South of me.  I put my glasses on, knowing that the rain was pouring down, and opened up the screen door to get a better look.

The rain was coming down, and sideways, and every which way.  Then, after a little while, as I was watching the movie, a rainbow appeared.  I stopped the movie to look at the rainbow. The colours seemed unusually vibrant and beautiful.  I love rainbows.

To me, a rainbow is a sign of hope, which naturally led me to think about God’s promise to Noah.

In Genesis 9 God says, 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. …16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” 17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

This covenant is also for us as God says, “all life on the earth”.

Bible.org reminded me that this covenant means a “new beginning”.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can begin anew.  “Change your thoughts and you change your world,” and don’t forget to “Shoot for the moon”.    🙂

Blessings,

Ellie