Monthly Archives: December 2014

Today’s Post Brought to you by Ziploc

Happy Boxing Day, Canada!

I choose to stay away from the malls.  One year, I went out early.  It was quiet and calm.  I wondered what all the fuss was about, with busy, crowded shopping malls the day after Christmas.

As I rounded the corner, I saw a mass of people moving toward me – the Blob!  I was about to be completely consumed into a crowd of Boxing Day Shoppers – mad like the Hatter, looking for Boxing Day deals.

I immediately left the mall.

The Christmas season is a time of mixed blessings.  We all have things to be thankful for, and a lot of us have things we desire to happen.

In a game of Taboo and Logo (I cannot remember the last part of it, but it’s essentially a game made from our mad-consumeristic-obsessively-possessive-trade-marked-to-the-hilt-marketed-brands), I got to do one of my favorite things.  Laugh…

‘Twas great fun…I am most thankful for laughter and for fun.

Yet, I awake and there is still a longing.

Proverbs 18: 14 says, “The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?”

King Solomon said,  “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (NLT), while the English Standard Version says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”.

I think a lot of us have a “broken spirit” or a “crushed spirit” for many reasons.  Maybe someone told us we were ugly, or not good enough, to stop singing, that we were dumb, that we would never make it.

Sometimes, that person is a parent, which seems to make it even more crushing.

But, I think part of the cure, is laughter and fun.  It is an unstoppable force.

In a related scripture, Proverbs 16:24 says,  “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

So, laughter and fun mixed with “gracious words” are “sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”.

I think for 2015 I am going to try and find one reason to laugh every day, and speak gracious words over myself.  (After all, if I don’t do it, who will?)

I could certainly use some healing and I am sure it will not hurt me one bit to laugh, even at myself.

In last night’s game of that materialistic-consumeristic-overly-trade-marked-monstrosity-I was “strongly encouraged” to “do it”, meaning, “act out the word on the card”.  I had to BE the think I was trying to get my team mates to say.

The word:  Ziploc

The act:  Ellie is a stick of celery being “Ziplocked” into the Ziploc bag.

Afterward, when I was asked why I was “Ziplocking” myself into the bag, I had no other excuse except, I’m a bit odd.  I do not seem to think like everyone else.

I am beginning to wonder if it is true.  Writers ARE a strange people, which led me to the Bard himself, Mr. Shakespeare.

I once heard a story that William pretended to be a bunch of radish.  Yes, that’s right. He transformed himself into a bunch of radish in order to, uh, well, no one really knows actually, but it was genius.  People are still talking about it.

I mean, my attempt to be one stick of celery, compared to Shakespeare’s bunch of radish is simply pitiful and sad.  To help you get a better visual understanding of the Bard’s great feat, here are two images, with captions:

Sad
Genius

 

What my mocking friends did not know, was that I was simply drawing upon the acting technique pioneered by the legendary Michael Chekhov, who developed a psycho-physical approach to acting, focusing on mind, body, and a conscious awareness of the senses (8 Acting Techniques from Backstage.com).

Anyway, the good news is that one person actually got what I was trying to do.  So, I say, “HA!”  I am not the only unusual humanoid on the planet. It was comforting to me, while quite disturbing and unsettling for him.  Again, I say, “HA!”

Meanwhile, if you see a guy running around the city, pretending to be riding a horse, lassooing an invisible cow, with a big grin on his face, do not panic, it is just my friend, the Jolly Rancher.

Happy trails to you in 2015.

Ellie

 

 

 

Ghosts Alive

Greetings!

I have just finished reading The Shipping News.  ‘Tis an old book.  Well, published in 1993
(I think).

It is crazy for me to think that the 90’s happened 20 years ago.  Normally, I read old novels…I mean really old novels, usually from the 1800’s.  I like this century, just not to have lived in it.  I’ll take the 90’s with my badly teased hair any day…

One of my favorite writers is Charles Dickens.  He was born in 1812 (the year those rascally Americans invaded us, peace-loving, gentle, and wondefully kind Canadians (lest we’re carrying hockey sticks and then all bets and gloves are off))…

Right, back to Charles Dickens.  Born in 1812 in Landport (I assume that’s in England), and died in 1870 (in the United Kingdom).

One of my favorite Dickens’ novels is David Copperfield.  It may be an autobiographical novel, in that, like his character, David, Charles also spent time working in a warehouse as a child.  The 1800’s were rough times.  Although, I imagine there are plenty of children around the world today, who could relate to Charles’ and David’s plight.  (If they could read, that is…so much work to do…)

On that note, I am also quite fond of A Christmas Carol.  I think it is brilliant and ought to be a must-read at Christmas time.  It is so good.  Dickens imagines hell on earth in the form of spirits, who in life, did nothing to help those who were in desperate need and/or poverty. Enchained, the spirits can only look on those who are suffering, with absolutely no power to alleviate their pain and suffering.

The spirits are finally moved to compassion, with eyes to see, but it is too late…It’s an extremely interesting take on hell.

Dickens also raises the question of ghosts.

Okay, I am stretching it a bit.  But, the question of “Do ghosts exist?” crosses the mind. Someone was trying to get me to go and investigate a certain spot that was deemed haunted.  Why the person wanted to go at night, I have no idea…to me, it’s spooky.  I’m a chicken.  I will freely admit this to anyone!

Maybe, ghosts only come out at night…Who knows?  If you do happen to see a ghost, please ask whether ghosts have a preference for day or night, and let me know.  Maybe each one is unique…but I digress…

When Jesus came walking to the disciples on the water, they were afraid because they thought he was a ghost.  And, then when he appeared to them after he had died, he ate, to show them that he was made of “flesh” and not “spirit”. (Maybe they thought he was a ghost again?)

But, they clearly had a sense of ghosts, even 2000 years ago, so that must tell us something today, non?  (Translation into English, “Yes”.  Apparently, when the French say, “Non?”, that means, “Yes”, but maybe be a mite careful with that one…)

There are no ghosts in The Shipping News, only haunted memories of the past, the good and the bad.

I suppose we all carry around our own ghosts, lurking in the shadows, some good, some bad.  A little card I picked up says, “Keep your face turned towards the sunshine and you will not see the shadow.”

In life, it seems that decisions we made in years past affect where we find ourselves today, for better or for worse.  (That said, sometimes life is just unfair.)

Whatever the case may be, I think we can all do our best to keep our faces turned forward. For one, we do not have eyes in the back of our heads for a reason, and two, if we keep looking backwards, we’re going to get an awful kink in our necks.

Here is the trailer for The Shipping News.  It has quite the cast, and a little appearance by one of our most beloved Canadian actors, Gordon Pinsent.  Hoorah!

Blessings,

Ellie

PS – Do you believe in ghosts?  Have you ever seen a ghost?

The Grinch…

Hello there,

I hope you are all having a wonderful day!  It is overcast where I am, so I hope it is sunny wherever (some of) you may find yourselves…

I was having a conversation with someone this morning about Christmas – it is indeed commercial.  People get so stressed out because, like he said, if we felt that giving Christmas presents was not obligatory, we might find ourselves giving to others much more happily…

Unfortunately, it does not feel this way.  Christmas feels like it is being force-fed to us, and we keep on spitting it up, year after year after year…

Apparently, the Grinch has stolen Christmas. He has done a very good job of it.  So, I am going to try my darndest to reclaim Christmas, and infuse it with some joy!

Today I was reminded that Christmas is because “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son…” (John 3:16).

But, what if you do not believe that?  How can you reclaim Christmas?  (‘Tis hard for me to come up with something that leaves God out of the equation!)

Well, I know that Christmas is a difficult time for a lot of us.  I confess that even with Jesus, I still don’t really like Christmas very much.  It is the pressure.  It feels like too much.

For me, one of the reasons why I love God is because of his character.   The apostle John boldly says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Paul says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Sometimes, I like to put God’s name in there just to really remind myself of who he is …

God is patient and kind; Jesus does not envy or boast; the Holy Spirit is not arrogant or rude.  God does not insist on his own way; Jesus is not irritable or resentful; the Holy Spirit does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  God bears all things, God believes all things, God hopes all things, God endures all things…

The incessant marketing of Christmas until we are sick of it makes me think that the retail industry has become the Grinch who stole Christmas.

There, I have discovered the real Grinch.  The retailer!  Sometimes, if I just keep writing long enough, something in the form of intelligence comes out of it…  🙂

My parents used to give me pretty much whatever was on my list.  It was great when I was a kid, but I still had this sense that Christmas was about more than presents.  We used to bake the Baby Jesus a birthday cake every year.  It was a good reminder of “who” Christmas was about.  It was not about Baby Elizabeth getting lots of presents.

In church on Sunday, we were singing a Christmas song.  The lyrics spoke of the Wise Men bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The story is found in Matthew 2:11:

“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

Singing along, I smiled as I remembered that Joseph and Mary were poor.  They had just traveled a ridiculous number of miles, Mary pregnant riding on a donkey, and there was no room in the Inn for them.  They had to go into the stable (barn), where Mary gave birth to Jesus.

God provided for their needs.  Gold, frankincense and myrrh were worth a lot back in the day.  And, God knew that Joseph would have to take his family to Egypt to keep the Baby Jesus safe.

And, this is yet another reason why I love God:  He does not change.  As he provided for Joseph and Mary, He will provide for our needs as well.  

My prayer for you is that you would encounter God’s love, and know without a doubt, that He is providing for all your needs.

For those who do not believe, my hope for you is that you would find joy in simple pleasures.  Do something nice for yourself!

God Bless!

Ellie

 

 

 

SOS

Greetings!

While at the gym, I watched as a young-ish (well, younger than me) lady was checking her email/test messages, while managing to do some cool-down stretches in between checking and responding.  ‘Tis skillful, indeed.

I wonder if she knows that back in my day, I only had access to a telephone that was connected to an outlet in my house.  And, on many occasions, I actually left the house.  This bold action meant that I was no longer connected to those who might want to get in touch with me.  Shocking and scandalous.  However did they survive?  Didn’t their fingers get tired from having to redial the numbers?  How thoughtless and insensitive of me to LEAVE the house with the phone in it…

Let’s suppose that a friend was not able to get in touch with this young lady via the telephone, email, or text messaging, I fear an SOS call would be sent out.  A “Search and Rescue” mission would be a logical action to a missed text message.

After all, the friend could be in dire straits.  Perhaps constipated or suffering from the most awful opposite to constipation, trapped on the toilet with no food or water.  No, worse, without access to the mobile device, plugged into an outlet somewhere else in the house, the batteries being recharged, as the victim, still seated on the toilet, which is tragically located in another part of the house, wherein, the victim is unable to access.

Confused?  Me too!

The confusion begs the question:  Why did she not recharge the mobile device in the outlet located in the bathroom?  Would this not be the most logical thing to do in such instances as these?

What on earth was she thinking?  If I were less merciful, I would say she got her comeuppance.

Uh-oh, I feel a moment of conscience springing from me.

Confession:  Last Wednesday I turned on my computer to discover it had conveniently died.  Not to my convenience, mind you.   I had a moment of ‘panic’ at the thought of how I might live without my computer.

I am a writer, dammit!  I need to write!!  Calme-moi! Calme-moi!

My wonderful friend kindly took me to the store, so I could bring in my computer.  Thank goodness I have insurance coverage.  I am now conveniently writing to you, via a loaner.

The world is not ending.  Everything is going to be alright.

Is it?  How can we live without technology?  We are SO dependent on it, and addicted to it, that I wonder how we might do without it.  I cannot even imagine a world without technology…

Thankfully, my SOS cry for help was heard.  My friend took me to the store.  The gentleman at the store was very kind and easy going.  No problem at all.

Now, I am waiting for a call from the computer doctor letting me know my baby is all fixed, and that I can come and pick him or her up.  I have not yet determined the gender of my baby.  Boys are quite simple, so this must naturally mean that my computer is a girl… Oh dear… Sorry Ladies!!

For your information, I have since discovered that the letters “SOS” do not actually stand for anything.

Some suggest, “Save our Ship” or “Save our Souls”.

Perhaps we do need a little SOS down here…

God bless!

Ellie

 

The Canadian Dream

Hello Everyone!
I am pretty sure I have written a post on the difference between Americans and Canadians, but I think this is a slightly different twist from the original post.
Here it is:
The American Dream – The Great Gatsby – big houses, big cars, big money…
The Canadian Dream – The Great Gretzky – Stanley Cup back in Canada, nachos and beer…
We have simple needs, us Canadians.
I wrote these words to someone, and do you know what words came back to me?
“You are a natural born writer.”
I have no idea whether this person knows that I have a desire to write.  I also have no idea if this person understood what those words would mean to me, on a deeper level.
Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
God has gifted each of us.  Bishop T.D. Jakes reminded me of something.  Essentially, he said if something is easy for you, but hard for someone else, that is your gift.  i.e. If math is easy for you, that is your gift; If speaking  is easy for you, that is your gift, and so on.
I have received affirmation on my writing in the past, but thought nothing of it.  I shrugged it off, not understanding  that, “If writing is easy for me, then…”
I know that for some of you reading, people have told you, you don’t measure up, that you are not good enough, smart enough, fast enough, capable enough, don’t have enough money…  The list goes on and on …
But, the above list is a lie.
Maybe you’re like me?  You received positive affirmations growing up, were surrounded by loving parents, who encouraged you to live your dreams, but you got stuck for some reason, holding back, feeling inferior, afraid, intimidated by others who ‘looked’ bigger, smarter, more attractive than you…
Then one day, while sitting on a train on a visit to my cousin, I declared, “I am a writer.” Now, it took me several years to finally muster up the courage to act on those words, but I think I shifted something in my consciousness.
I have been receiving some teaching lately on the power of words and speaking things into existence.  Hebrews 11:1-2 says,  “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.”
Not only will we find ourselves stepping out of the shadows into the light, but we will also earn a “good reputation” by exercising our faith.  This means we will receive some sort of public recognition.
It is not about getting rich (although, I have never been fond of poverty), or needing to receive accolades from our peers, it is about being all who God created us to be.  (Please know, that receiving awards, etc., is not a bad thing!)
The potter delights in his works.  After all, He looked out over the world He created, and called it, “good”. God was well pleased with all He created, and He is well pleased with us, His special creation.
I feel this because He created us in His image!  Genesis 1:26 says, “”Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
God has also given us the ability to “rule” over our gifts and talents.  He is the potter, the one who has generously given us our gifts, talents and abilities; we are the clay, the ones who must choose to be the vessel He has made us to be.
On a national (Canadian) level, ‘T’would be nice if that ‘clay’ had a silver lining in the shape of a Cup…
Let our Cup runneth over, Lord!  Let all of Canada say, “Amen!”
Blessings,
Ellie