Monthly Archives: October 2014

Short-sighted

Hi there!

I hope you are all doing well today.  It is kind of overcast where I am…Oh for the sun!

I woke up this morning feeling a bit frustrated.  I think I discovered something though. Sometimes, or rather most times, I can give into the feeling that God owes me something, something good.

I had an experience where the Holy Spirit spoke to me, and said, “Everything is going to be alright.”  (Some of you may be doubtful of this, but it is the truth, and if it is not, then I need to be medicated…)

But, I believe it was of God, and so I wander around life asking, “So, when is it going to be alright? You promised, God.  You said so, and everything is clearly NOT alright.  When? When?  When?”

A scripture was read in church on Sunday.  We are working through the Book of Acts.  It’s the “fun” story where Ananias and Sapphira sell a field and only give part of the money to the Apostles, claiming it is the full sum.  I think it ‘s Peter that tells them they have lied to God.  Because of their lie, both of them die and are carried off to be buried.  (The pastor pointed out that their salvation was assured.  They did not lose everlasting life because of this sin.)

What I realized is that I am short-sighted.  I think about this life, but the Bible seems to want to point upward, beyond this life of sorrow, pain, grief, loss…

Luke 12:32-38 says,

32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. 33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming

35 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.

It’s kind of interesting that Jesus teaches about money and possessions, and then goes on to talk about his second coming, as well as the suffering he was about to endure (on the cross).

Like me, are you looking to earthly treasures (whatever that might look like in your life)? Or, are we seeking the Kingdom, seeking God?  (Note that we are not to sell off everything we have, leaving ourselves in need!)

In Psalm 27:8, David says, “You have said, “Seek my face.”/My heart says to you,/“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

And, God reminds us  in Isaiah 45:19, “I publicly proclaim bold promises./I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner./I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me/if I could not be found./I, the Lord, speak only what is true/and declare only what is right.”

I have glasses to help me see far away, and by far away, I mean my computer screen.  I  am quite literally short-sighted.  My good friends at the College of Optometrists tell me:

  • Normally, light is focused by the cornea and lens to form a sharp image on the retina.
  • Sometimes the eyeball is too long for the shape of the cornea
  • … so the light comes to a focus before it reaches the retina.
  • As a result, objects in the distance are blurred
  • … although close objects are usually clear.
  • Short-sightedness can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses
  • These lenses correct the vision so that distant objects are clear once again.

Both conditions can run in families and both are easily treated with glasses.

Maybe it is time for me to ask for God to give me “special glasses” to help me see even further beyond the horizon?

Human vision and correction can only go so far, after all.

Blessings,

Ellie

 

The Hill

Hi there,

Given Wednesday’s events in Ottawa, my blog on the squirrel seemed highly inappropriate.  I wrote it before I found out what had happened.

Generally, I try not to pay attention to the news.  It is all hopeless and depressing.  I get that bad things are happening.  This is sadly true, but the media spins things the way they want us to see them.

I remember many years ago, I was passing by a newspaper box, and they had a headline that made me instantly furious at the person they were ‘attacking’.  I really couldn’t care less about this particular individual’s motives.  He was a hockey player who withdrew support/funds from an Ottawa-based Centre.  Who cares?  I certainly did not, which is why I realized I had been manipulated by the media into having that strong reaction.

They wanted to paint him the villain!  Oh, to be loved and adored one day, and despised the next…Oh, the fickle media…

After this incident, I hardly trust a word the media says.

That said, I was tuning into the news on Wednesday, mostly to find out if the “lock-down” had been lifted.  I was one of those stuck inside, not knowing what was going on.  All they said was to avoid downtown.  Nobody knew what was going on…I am certain most of you know why – A man shot and killed the soldier standing guard at the War Memorial, and then stormed into Parliament…We later found out he had no accomplices.

As I listened to the Conference, the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, said, “I have a sad anger in my heart.”

When the news reported the Mayor’s speech later in the day, it said, “The Mayor said, “I have anger in my heart.”

NO! He said, “”Sad anger.” Get it right!”  Implied in his words is a sorrowful and heavy heart, which most of us probably share.

Nonetheless, it reminded me of why I despise the media.  They promote fear, anger, hopelessness…

This morning I wondered if I should start my own newspaper/media corporation.  I then wrote the idea off.  I mean, trying to tell the truth, writing with integrity, honesty, giving people hope and light, I’d be bankrupt by the third day.

Anyone interested in becoming an investor in the project?  Anyone?  Anyone?  That’s what I thought…

I also wondered that a person can go from complete obscurity to infamy by being killed in such a way, on Canadian soil.  No one will forget the name, Nathan Cirillo (Although, I had to Google to make sure I spelled it correctly…I just typed in “Nathan” and it popped right up – first entry – what does that tell you?)

Please hear me, I am not saying he should not be remembered or is undeserving.  He was serving his country, guarding the “Unknown Soldier”.  It just feels a bit ironic to me.

Also, I am still processing.  It hardly makes sense.

Regarding my own personal struggle with chronic pain, having a diagnosis of being returned to 60-70%, I am not comfortable with resignation.  I do not want to accept my “new reality”.  I want to be 100%.

It kind of feels like it is not only me that is entering a “new reality”, but my city and my country.  I don’t like it.

Most days, I would head up to Parliament Hill and walk around.  There’s this great view of the Quebec smokestacks, (just kidding, well kind of…), the river is behind, and it’s just nice looking out over the Ottawa River.

Sometimes, I would sit on a bench, basking in the noon day sun, or once, sitting in the gazebo, praying with a friend.  Memories of the Hill…

Things will likely change, given our new reality, as they should, but it saddens me that that privilege might be taken away from me.  I believe the government has to do something (it did feel a bit odd to me that I got to wander around Parliament Hill, as there would be no way I could ever get that close to the White House in Washington), but I wonder if we can strike a good ‘balance’ between responsibility and a healthy fear.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Kevin Vickers, who had to take a life.  Regardless of circumstance, I am sure that is not an easy thing to reconcile in one’s conscience.

I am feeling a bit ragged and torn, but I also feel proud to be Canadian.  We did not let the attack and the media stir up anger (and fear).  Rather, messages of “Love” seemed to pour out.

I think, I rather hope, we have chosen to forgive and love those who have hurt us last week.  Two very powerful weapons, indeed!

Blessings,

Ellie

Question:  Thoughts?  I would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

The Squirrel Edition of Random Acts of Love

Hi!

A very long title for what might be a very short post.

I hope you are all well.  I have almost recovered from an encounter I had with a squirrel. The nightmares have subsided and my doctors tell me the twitching will pass (in time).  No one can say for sure what “in time” means.

Okay, clearly being silly.  Sort of…

I was not in such a silly mood on Sunday when I literally was chased by a squirrel.  I am guessing it ate a rancid nut, making it as mad as King Saul.

Here are the events as related by the victim (me)(M) with random thoughts by the Interrogator (I):

M:  I woke up that morning feeling like my usual self – groggy and tired.  No amount of coffee could wake me from that state, so I had a cup of tea, as usual.

I: Tea, eh?  Well that’s interesting.

M:  How do you mean?  What are you implying?

I: Oh, nothing.  Continue…

M:  Well, I had barely any fruit in the house.  I washed an apple for later in the day, and had two pieces of toast (rye bread) with Kraft peanut butter (smooth – no sugar or salt added), and honey (brand of no great importance).   Do you think it was the peanut butter?  Do you think he could smell my breath?  I brushed my teeth… Or do you think he’s a Skippy squirrel?  Maybe that’s it…

I:  No.  Continue…

M:  Well, I showered, got dressed and went off to church.  As I was passing a park, I had the thought that I should stop and sit on the swing, and listen to music.  A song by Kathryn Scott was playing, and I was “in the Spirit” as Paul would say.

I:  And?

M:  I continued on…I turned up my usual street…my usual street….isn’t that how criminals know us…I mean we are creatures of habit, and….and so, they (the criminals) know exactly where to find us…

I:  It’s a squirrel…

M:  It wasn’t just any squirrel.  I am sure it is affiliated with some underground criminal movement that we have yet to uncover.

I:  Focus on the factual events, please Ms. Me …

M:  Right, so as I was walking up the street. I like to stay on the sunny side of the street. (I pause…I am weeping…barely able to maintain my composure…)

I:  Do you want a tissue?

M:  Oh – Okay…Thank you.  I feel better now.  It’s at this point where the squirrel darted out at me.  It chased me across the street, to the shady side, and up the sidewalk.  I stopped and faced him.  He was within less than a foot from me…I held my bag down in front of me, ready to smack the —- out of him if he pounced…

I:  And, did he?

M:  No…

I:  Interesting….

M:  So, then I was yelling at him to “Go”, and pointing for him to go back to the other side of the street where he came from, but he would not listen to me…

I:  Did you try speaking in French?

M:  I kept telling him to “Go”…  At one point, he was about to stand up on his hind legs, and put his terrible little arms in front of his chest, as an act of battle and aggression …Finally, a big truck came.  It slowed down, and then the squirrel ran to the other side of the road and buried itself under some leaves…

I:  And?

M:  That’s it.  I continued to walk on the shady side, quickly of course, and I kept looking back over my shoulder to make sure he wasn’t chasing after me.  I did this all the way to church, which caused the kink in my neck and shoulder, not to mention the nightmares and waking up in a cold sweat…

I:  Is this your sworn testimony of the events that took place?

M: Yes…

I:  Thank you, Ms. Me.

There you have it.   I don’t want to spiritualize the encounter, but I do think the squirrel was sent from the very pit of hell to stop me from going to church, where I received some very important and pertinent information that we will all find quite useful in the future.

St. Francis of Assisi is the Patron Saint of Animals.   So, if ever you run into a mad squirrel, you can call on St. Francis and he will smite the little b—er…

May your paths be squirrel free!

Blessings,

Ellie

 

 

 

Tree Rabbits

Hi there!

I recently went to visit a friend, who happens to be married to a pretty terrific guy, who happens to be Francophone.  While I was there, they were kind enough to speak English.

Even when my friend spoke to her husband in French, he would answer in English.  It dawned on me that it must hurt his brain just as much to attempt to speak English, as it hurts my brain to attempt to speak French.  And, yet he did it.

I confess I came back feeling heartily ashamed of myself.  I think it’s too easy to say that those who are French speak English much better than most of us, English speakers do of French.  I am also sadly aware that it is hard to attempt to speak French because when Francophones hear our terrible French accents, they automatically switch to English, for one, because it’s just easier to do so, and secondly, maybe our terrible accents offend their ears.  But, I don’t think this is a reason for us to fear…

One time, I was having a conversation with my grandfather, whose first language was French.   We were over at my uncle’s place and sitting in the backyard.  My grandfather mentioned the “tree rabbits”, and I remember looking up at a very large tree and thinking, ‘Tree rabbits?  What are tree rabbits?”  And, then the light bulb switched on, “Three rabbits…”

All this to say, is that I came home from my recent visit feeling thankful to the Francophones for coming over to our side, for being quite generous and kind to those of us, who feel intimidated or afraid to even attempt to speak French.

And, then God did a fun thing for me.  I got to practice speaking French.  I was walking over a particular bridge, where couples declare their devoted love for one another by placing a lock on the railing.  (I could rant all day long on this and how I think it’s an eye-sore, but I imagine I shouldn’t…)

A Francophone lady asked me, in French, what was up with all those locks attached to the railing.  I stumbled over my French words, and then figured out an ingenious explanation:  “L’amour!  L’amour!  C’est pour l’amour!”

She smiled and said, “Oh, je comprends maintenant.”  She then proceeded to thank me for my explanation and for my French.  It felt good.  It felt good to meet someone where they were at, instead of making someone meet me where I am at.

That said, I am so thankful to Jesus, who meets me where I am at, daily.  I wonder if it is time for me to step out in faith, and meet Jesus where he is at.

Meaning:  Jesus is about His Father’s business.  Maybe it is time for me to be about Jesus’ business?

Question:  Have you ever gone out of your comfort zone to help someone?

I would love to hear your stories.

Have a great day!

Ellie

Happy Monday

Hi there,

A happy long weekend to Canadians everywhere.  ‘Tis something to be thankful for…

I had no idea what I wanted to write about today.  Yesterday at church, it was said that some of the workers, who have died from Ebola were Christian.  It is Christians that go where no one else wants to go.

In these cases, it really is about laying down their lives for “Samaritans”.   As per Catholic.com, “Because of their imperfect adherence to Judaism and their partly pagan ancestry, the Samaritans were despised by ordinary Jews. Rather than contaminate themselves by passing through Samaritan territory, Jews who were traveling from Judea to Galilee or vice versa would cross over the river Jordan, bypass Samaria by going through Transjordan, and cross over the river again as they neared their destination…
(Lk 9:52-53)”.

Does this sound like me?  I was walking down the street recently, and noticed a man moving over to the side of the sidewalk, heading directly in my direction.  It took me a second to realize why he had moved over so far to the side.  There was a homeless man walking ahead of me.  The man was moving as far away from the homeless man as he possibly could.

Given that I live in the area, I am familiar with this homeless man.  He keeps pretty much to himself.  I have never heard him yelling or becoming aggressive with anyone.  He is harmless.

The one thing I did notice was his odor.  He smelled bad (I was downwind).  But, what could you expect when you do not have a shower available to you daily?

I confess I am quite sensitive to smells; however, this also goes for those really expensive flowery perfumes women wear, and strong cologne men wear.  I have had a bit of an allergic reaction to one man’s cologne, so to me, good smells, bad smells, they all affect me.

But, I couldn’t help but notice how this man went out of his way, so he would not meet the homeless man.

How often do we go out of our way not to meet a need because we are uncomfortable?  Or, not speak something that needs to be spoken because we are uncomfortable?

I do this too – I have found in the past when I have spoken up in church, I have received a bit of a hand-slap.  Eventually, you just give up.

But then I remember that God is greater!  I think I am realizing that when I feel like something should change, I need to pray.

Humans become defensive.  It’s our natural posture – if I criticize you for something, you feel like I am criticizing YOU!

Most times this isn’t the case for those of us on the “critique” side of things – it’s the behavior, or how we are feeling (which is completely unbeknownst to you), or it’s a system that needs updating/refreshing…

We could probably all use some updating and refreshing.  I know I could…

All that said, my prayer today is for Africa.  I feel like it’s a continent that has suffered enough!! God is greater than Ebola, than Colonialism, than corruption, etc.  God is greater.

Today’s verse of the day from Biblegateway.com says this:

“I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering” (Jeremiah 29:11 CEV)

May God pour out His Spirit upon Africa, and make these words from Jeremiah as well as Isaiah 55, below, prophetic:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

12 “For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Amen.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Ellie

…the corner…

Hi there,

Time seems to be flying!  It is already October, and as I was informed at Shopper’s Drug Mart today, the Hallowe’en merchandise will be moving out in a couple of weeks to make room for the Christmas merchandise.

I will not utter any complaints on that subject.

I don’t think it will matter too much this year anyway – regarding Christmas.  George Clooney got married, which is a sure sign world must be coming to an end.  Not to mention the hearts breaking all over the world, save mine.  I prefer blonde men.  They’re more fun. But, no matter ‘cos Jesus IS coming back soon.  Woo!  Hoo!

That said, sometimes I feel like life is at a standstill.  Things are happening around me. People are moving on, getting new jobs, having babies, getting married…Hopefully, not necessarily in that order, lest the Evangelicals come after me.

But, my life does not seem to be moving forward at all.  I am stuck.  I have a back injury that limits me, severely.  I am told it is going to take work to get myself out of it.  Well, at least it feels like I can do something about my back injury.  The other life stuff feels so beyond my grasp…

Then, I received an email this morning from a friend.  It was about a book she is reading: “Life Without Limits” by Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms and legs.  She writes this:   ” .. trust that there are possibilities for your life.  The key to moving forward, even in bad times, is to let your vision for your life be guided not by what you can see but by what you can IMAGINE!”.

 

It was a good reminder to me to stop complaining, although, it is mostly God who gets the brunt of it…maybe the gentle reminder was from Him…

The standard advice is that we are to focus on what we can do, not on what we cannot do. If we focus on the latter, we will become depressed and spiral downward.  Not good.  We have to look up. Look way up!

The quote from Vujivic reminded me of a quote from the Bible.  It speaks about faith in these terms.  Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (ESV).

My friend also said that, “According to him [Vujivic], hope, love, faith are keys to finding a better life, one without limits.”

A life without limits.  Can you imagine?  Imagine!

Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (ESV).  We must believe that God not only exists, but also that he rewards those who believe that he is able to do what he says he can and will do.

 Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer” (Romans 12:12, Translation: The Voice).

This makes me feel like yelling at the top of my voice:  “THE ROMANS ARE COMING!  THE ROMANS ARE COMING!”  Nope, that would be hope coming, just around the corner.

I could always shout that out at the top of my lungs, but I am afraid the little men in white suits will come and take me away…and, then what?

So, I will shout out it loud to you!  HOPE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!  HOPE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!

May you crash into hope as you round out the next corner of your journey.

 

Blessings,

Ellie