Monthly Archives: November 2014

A Lesson from a War Veteran

Hi there!

Yesterday, I had the privilege of talking to a WWII War Veteran.  He was on his way to a meeting, while I was going to meet with some friends for lunch.

He had this wonderful sense of humor and was filled with joy.  He told me about how he had come out of the war with two legs and two arms, but no brains.  That was alright though, since he didn’t have any brains going into the war.  (His words!!)

It was amazing to me that someone could come out of such a horrific and traumatic experience, and have such joy and abundant life in him.  My own grandfather suffered from nightmares, and I am not sure he ever fully recovered (and he was stationed here in Canada with the Air Force – apparently, when doing practicing particular manoeuvres in the air, some planes crashed into buildings.  People died in their own land, not even making it to the European battlefield.)

This “chance” meeting was inspirational to say the least.  It made me want to be better, to complain less, and give thanks more.

Some of you know that I struggle with chronic pain.  It felt like a divine meeting.  Before he was about to cross the street, he said to me, “Keep on smiling and God bless you.”

The Bible tells us to “[f]ix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8).

It is easy to focus on the negative, to complain about what is wrong in our lives, to focus on people who have done us wrong…the list continues…

It is much harder to focus on what is good and positive, to remember the people who helped us out along the way, a teacher, a friend, a co-worker…the list continues.

Norman Vincent Peale says, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

We don’t change the world around us.   It stays the same.  The negative, complaining people stay the same.

Our world changes!  Isn’t it worth it to begin to put away those negative feelings/self-talk, to be rid of the people who prefer to hold you back, who tell you you’re not good enough, smart enough, the people who don’t want you to change because they like you the way you are, just like them?

It is an act of the will to “Keep on smiling” even when we don’t feel like it.  I am not talking about being inauthentic, or not allowing yourself to feel.  We all need a good cry every now and then, and some circumstances are hard, really hard!

I am not downplaying anyone’s pain.  It is real.

What I am saying, (and this is probably very Joel Osteen influence rising up) is that we can always find something to be thankful for.  Not everything in life is terrible.

And, if you say, “Well, actually everything in my life is terrible,” then I would say, “Do one thing nice for yourself today.  Do something that you love to do!  Ask God to let you have divine encounters with the right people, who will encourage you and show you His love.”

The one thing I know, is that “God is love”, and that “[l]ove is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 John 4:8b,  1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Be encouraged today and “Keep on smiling!”

God Bless,

Ellie

 

Wonder

Hi there,

As winter approaches, I wonder what the point to it is.  Seriously, it’s just darn cold with no purpose whatsoever.  But, that’s just my opinion.

People who love to ski, ice fish, snowboard or skate are so happy winter has finally arrived. I think they may have a brain tumor; albeit, a shared brain tumor.

I like the Great Indoors.  What’s wrong with cozy-ing up on the sofa, with a good book and a cup of tea?

I suppose we are all different.  I will concede that when the sun or light hits the snow on the ground, it sparkles like diamonds.  It is quite beautiful.  But, that is as far as I will go in defense of winter.

Then, as I pondered the purpose of Winter, I thought of Sarah McLachlan’s song, Full of Grace.   (Link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d61Clgwi8d0)

If there was no Winter, poor old Sarah would not be able to use it metaphorically in this little ditty.

And, then there’s The Chronicles of Narnia.  What would C.S. Lewis have used in his tale to show what the rule of the White Witch looked like compared to Aslan’s?

I suppose this picture sums it up.

Everything has its opposite.  And, I have no idea why that is or why that needs to be.

I was listening to Pastor Joel Osteen on Youtube, and he was talking about how we need to have another compartment in our brain to slot the stuff that does not make sense.

I don’t know why one person is cured of incurable brain cancer, while another person loses the battle.  There is no rhyme or reason for it.

I think in the end, we need to trust that God is still in control, that He is in heaven, and that the terrible things that happen down here are not a surprise to Him.

(And, yes, I agree – I have no idea how God, who is holy and just allows these things to continue, i.e. wars, human trafficking, etc.  But, He does and so I choose to trust Him, while also praying for His speedy return.)

It is profound thing to say, “I don’t know.”

We don’t know.  We are only human.  Paul writes, “Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!  But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.  When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.  Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:9-12).

One time, I went to bed quite disturbed by some tragic news event.  I believe it was the Rwandan genocide. If memory serves me correctly, Roméo Dallaire was found in Ottawa, sleeping on a park bench.  The media wanted to now how this General could have fallen so far.  Then, the story began to unfold.

I was so distraught that I asked God what was going on in the world.

That night, I had a dream, and the words that came to me were, “Have hope and faith.” In Luke 18:8b, Jesus asks, “…But when the Son of Man[a] returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”

How many indeed?

In the cold of winter, it is sometimes difficult, but I am trying to keep my faith intact.   I would like to be counted as one, who Jesus will find “on earth who [has] faith” when he returns.

Blessings,

Ellie

 

 

Dogs are like dogs…

Hi,

Cats and dogs.  They go together like love and marriage…

Well, maybe not.

Friends of mine have a dog and a cat (along with other various animals). When the cat is quarantined with the dog, he is not a happy camper!

I was over there yesterday, and the dog was so happy to see me.  She was so excited when I came in.  She came downstairs, and so I naturally let her out, by removing the baby gate.  I sat down, and she put her giant paws on my lap, so I could pet her and give her some lovin’.

A little later on, she was doing the same thing, and trying to lick my face.  That part, I am not so excited about.

I can’t help but be reminded of the Prodigal Son.  With dogs, it doesn’t matter if you scold them, accidentally leave them outside for too long, accidentally step on their paw, or other such mishaps, they will forgive you quickly.

I have a hard time with forgiveness.  Of course, it is always the ones I am closest to that hurt me the most.  The ones I do not give two figs about, I can easily forgive and mostly forget.  But, with friends, family, parents, it is not so easy to forgive.

To forget, it’s darn near impossible, so I leave off the ending of “Forgive and…”

But, the Bible tells us that God has forgiven and he has forgotten.  Isaiah 43:25 says, ““I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (ESV).

The proof is in the pudding.  Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son.  I am going to copy and paste it here, to make my life easier!  🙂

11 “To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”  (Luke 15:11-32 NLT)

God cares deeply for those who do not know him, and he is not even holding a grudge on us for leaving him.  He welcomes us back with open arms, excited about our return to him.

That’s called Divine Grace and Mercy!  It is up to me to receive and accept!

I have found a church family, where I know I am loved and accepted.  That is a priceless gift.  When I left the church for awhile and came back to visit, I received big smiles and hugs!  It was wonderful!  It was kind of like how my friend’s dog welcomed me into their home, less someone trying to lick my face!

The moral of the story: ‘Tis best to let cats be cats, and dogs be dogs, and humans be humans.  Amen.

God Bless!

Ellie

P.S. I realize I skimmed over a lot of the story of the Prodigal Son.  So, if you have any questions about the Prodigal Son, please ask me.  I am not a “Professional”, (although, I have heard two sermons preached on it), but I would love to help in any way I can.

Cats are like humans…or are humans like cats?

Hi!

I cannot for the life of me decide which of the above statements is true…

Over the years I have had the pleasure of sharing my living space with several different cats, though not at the same time.  (The experts tell me that will come if I am still single in my sixties…)

We were dog people.  We had never owned a cat before until my Aunt asked us to take in her cat Total, an older tabby.  They were moving into the city and since Total was a country cat, used to roaming the great outdoors, they thought it would be best for him to remain in the country.  So, we adopted him.

For some reason, Total took a liking to me.  He was a good cat, not at all like the horror stories I had heard in the past.  He did not scratch or bite.  When he was annoyed, he gave a nice warning swipe.  If you continued tormenting him, then that was your own bloody fault.  He had given you fair warning…

Total was the reason why I felt confident that I could open my home to another cat.  This time, it was a kitten.  I named him Martin.  He looked like he was wearing a tuxedo, like Sylvester.

But, this cat was different than Total.  Much different.

I think this is where cats are like humans.  You know how the first born is so good that he or she tricks the parent into having another.  Yeah!  That was Total…

I think he tricked me into having another cat!  It was all a part of his ulterior motive in ‘pretending’ to need country air…

Martin would not give a warning swipe.  He would just pounce.

Total did not have a manipulative bone in his body. Martin on the other hand, invented manipulation.

Martin used to bring mice in from outside to ‘play’ with in the house.  When I realized he had brought a live mouse into the house, I would naturally yell at him.

So, to outsmart Martin, I would look at his mouth before letting him inside.  If I saw a tail hanging out of his mouth, I would say, “No way.”

One day, Martin came to the door and wanted in.  He was sitting there looking up at me with his big green eyes, so innocent and sweet. My little heart melted at the sight of him. But, I still checked his mouth.  No tail.    I opened the door and let him in.

The next thing I know, out pops a live mouse.

“MARTIN!”

Cats have these human-like personality traits?  Or, do humans have cat-like personality traits?

It is all very confusing…

We had good times, we had bad times.  It was like our story was lifted out of the pages of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, with little mice heads in our dining room as evidence of the horrid guillotine…chop!

Years later, after I had moved away from home, I returned for a visit.  (Sadly, Martin had feline leukemia and had to be put down – he was only 2!)

I arrived home, and was chatting with a next door neighbor when I saw this orange cat running towards us.  This was strange because barn cats do not run towards anyone.  When the cat grew closer, I realized it was my Total, running to come and see me.  I called out, “Total”, and moved toward him, leaning down, petting him.

There, now who says cats are selfish little beasts?  Total remembered me, loved me.

All I can say is that if cats make it to heaven, my little Martin had better come running to greet me.  I highly doubt it though.  I am sure Total would, and then he would lead me to Martin, who I imagine would be surrounded by a smattering of mice heads…

Blessings!

Ellie

Question – “Mice heads” or “Mouse heads” – how does one say that?  Or maybe it doesn’t matter when “Ugh” says it all…