Monthly Archives: April 2015

This Post Inspired By…

Hi there,

I was at the gym and saw an interview – post game – with Sidney Crosby.  I am guessing they lost the game because he said something like, “It matters what you do in the first and second period.”

It struck me how he said they should have played the same “desperation” game in the first and second periods, as they had in the third.

“It matters what you do in the first and second period.”  As in life.

I sometimes like to go and visit a place called, “Regret”.  Merriam-Webster tells me that the “Transitive Verb” of “Regret” is:

1 a :  to mourn the loss or death of

   b :  to miss very much

:  to be very sorry for <regrets his mistakes>
Sometimes, I feel like I do mourn the things I did or didn’t do.
Like this one – I thought I was homesick and transferred from Concordia University to the University of Ottawa.
Concordia had a much better French as a Second Language program than Ottawa U, and so I could have continued with my minor in French, and be fluently bilingual today.
But, it gets worse!
Way back in the day, when there was Grade 13 or Ontario Academic Credits (OAC’s), this extra year counted toward an Honours degree, so I would have gotten an Honours degree in 3 years, not 4.
My decision was actually made from depression, not homesickness, something I would never have admitted to having.
The good side of my decision was that Ottawa U had a much better English program than Concordia.
Of course, I have other regrets, also known as the “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” syndrome, but life is full of choices.  Mostly it’s when we look back that we realize or see the consequences of our choices, for good or for bad.
I can’t help but think about the ultimate bad choice –  Jesus’ betrayer, Judas.
In Matthew 27:3-5 (ESV), we find out that Judas later regretted what he had done.  It says, “Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”  And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.”
I can’t even begin to imagine the regret that Judas felt when he realized that the real aim of the leading Priests was to have Jesus killed.  He confesses his sin.  “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
I sometimes wondered about Judas.  I wondered if God’s love, if Jesus’ love would cover Judas’ sin.  He confessed it, but to the wrong people. He could not live with himself, the guilt was too much.  The thing I notice is that he died before Jesus rose.
I wonder what might have happened if he had waited for just three more days.  I wonder if Jesus would have appeared to him on the road to wherever he found himself wandering, miserably alone, and extended grace, mercy and forgiveness to Judas.
How much he might have accomplished for the sake of the Gospel.  If Paul believed himself to be the “the worst of all sinners”, spurring him on, how much more would Judas have been zealous to share Jesus’ infinite mercy and goodness (1 Timothy 1:15).
There’s a tale that says, “a long time after Judas’ death, he gradually came to consciousness and found himself in utter darkness, lying flat on his face on dank ground oozing with filth. He was exhausted. For a thousand years he lay there, agonizing over what he had done. Then with a groan he rolled over. He saw a tiny point of light away high above him, and he realized that he was in a deep, deep pit—a hole with sheer sides made of slime and mud. For three thousand years he contemplated that hole and the pinpoint of light high up. Then he dragged himself to his feet and began to try to climb out. For five thousand years he climbed, groping upward and sliding back down. At the end of the five thousand years his hand gripped the top edge of the hole, and he pulled himself out and lay gasping on the ground above. After a thousand years he had regained his strength and looked up. He saw Jesus and the Eleven, sitting at table, radiant with glory. There was one seat vacant. Jesus said, “What took you so long?””
The Bible says, “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8) and “God is love”
(1 John 4:8).    Only confess and BELIEVE you are forgiven because it matters what you do in the first and second period…and then you can be FREE in the third period …  🙂
Blessings,
Ellie

 

 

The Pen

“Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything” (Persuasion, Jane Austen).

Hi there!

Not sure why I am following up a “Feminism be Damned” post with a quote like this by Jane Austen.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged”…that men have had control over the “pen” (Pride and Prejudice).

I think I’m just feeling fed up with it all.  I wonder why men are afraid.  Why are they afraid of women?

It must have something to do with the fear of losing control.

Anxiety and stress come in trying to control the uncontrollable.  So, in order to control what you cannot control, you put “it” in shackles.

In the Western world, that time is over.  We can now be heard through books, through blogs, etc.

But, that begs the question.  “What is my story?”

I believe we all have a story to share, something that will make the world a little better for us having the courage to share it with others.

We have an individual story to share, but we also have a corporate story to share.

My story is influenced by my culture, by my country, Canada.  We tell stories in our own unique way.  Usually they’re kind of depressing.  I could absolutely not get through the film, The Sweet Hereafter.

I could not do it.

That said, there is a universality in our stories because we are all human. Deep down, we share the same desires, hopes, dreams, fears, weaknesses, vulnerabilities…humanity.

We all experience loss, love, heartbreak, disappointment…

I really liked the movie, The King’s Speech.  As I sat there in the movie theatre, it came to the point, where King George asserted his authority, not just as a King, but as a human being, “Because I have a right to be heard! I have a voice!”

I thought to myself, ‘I am King George.’

I think this is what we all desire.  To be heard.  To be listened to.  Really listened to.  To know that we matter, that we’re important, of value.

Not because of who we are, but because of who we are inside, our person, our being…

I trust in God.  He is the one who gave me a voice.  Even though I have felt, of late, that the world would try and silence me, I know God is the one who decides.  He is the one who makes “paths in the wilderness and streams in the desert”  for me (Isaiah 43:19).

I have a responsibility though.  I am not to use it in prideful vanity, but with humility.

Some may choose not to listen to what I have to say, but that is okay.  (It’s kind of “part-in-parcel” of speaking or writing publicly – you kind of make yourself vulnerable.)

My prayer is that we will begin to open up, to use our voices, to take a risk.  But more importantly, that we would know, wherever we find ourselves, that God loves us.

Be blessed today!

Ellie

Persuasion quote taken from: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jane_austen.html#Xxe9sYiYSdwLmXDg.99

Philosophy and Logic I Have Not

Hi,

I love C.S. Lewis.  This is no surprise to those who have been following my blog for some time.

He’s so humble!  He knows his strengths and he knows his weaknesses or limitations.

I look at C.S. Lewis’ life (obviously from an outsider point of view) and marvel.  Here was an atheist academic turned Christian.

Biography.com says that Lewis was, “Born on November 29, 1898, in Belfast Ireland, C.S. Lewis went on to teach at Oxford University and became a renowned apologist writer, using logic and philosophy to support the tenets of his Christian faith.”

He used, “philosophy and logic to support his Christian faith.”

Being a bit of a feeler, emotional kind of gal, I wonder how I could “support [my] Christian faith”.

Lewis used what he had available to him.  His brain.  This is problematic for me on many levels.  The obvious reason is that I have not the genius to go to Oxford, let alone teach at Oxford.

I do believe God has a sense of humor and all things are possible, but Oxford would be stretching it.  (I laugh as I think, “Even God couldn’t get me into Oxford.”)

But, that’s kind of beside the point.  God has gifted each of us, in our own unique way. Lewis had his portion – God had placed him in England in the 1920’s and in an academic setting.  I believe Lewis accomplished what God had set out for him.  I would argue that when Lewis got to heaven, He was greeted by Jesus, saying, “Well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Those are the words we Christians want to hear.

So, the question we have to ask ourselves is:  What is my portion?

Before we ask that question, I think we have to do some deep soul searching, figuring out who we are, and how God has made us.  And, then the tricky part – Joyful acceptance of who God has made us.  It is from this point, we can move confidently forward.

I am emotional.  If I don’t cry (or at least get teary-eyed) at least once during a church service, there’s a problem.  It means I have not connected with the Spirit, with God, with the Son.

That’s just who I am.  I can tell you, I spent my twenties denying myself the right to cry.  I came back to God at the age of thirty and have not stopped crying since!  (That makes me laugh too!!)

Seriously, I went to counseling and she gave me the freedom to cry, to show my feelings and emotions.

For an off the Myers-Briggs-charts’ “feeler” woman, I need to “feel”.  That is who I am.

The definition of the “Feeler” type is:

“I believe I can make the best decisions by weighing what people care about and the points-of-view of persons involved in a situation. I am concerned with values and what is the best for the people involved. I like to do whatever will establish or maintain harmony. In my relationships, I appear caring, warm, and tactful.

The following statements generally apply to me:

  • I have a people or communications orientation.
  • I am concerned with harmony and nervous when it is missing.
  • I look for what is important to others and express concern for others.
  • I make decisions with my heart and want to be compassionate.
  • I believe being tactful is more important than telling the “cold” truth.
  • Sometimes I miss seeing or communicating the “hard truth” of situations.
  • I am sometimes experienced by others as too idealistic, mushy, or indirect.”

Yep, mushy, weepy, emotional.  All of the above!

In a culture where logic and reason seem to be valued above all else, I seem to be at a disadvantage.

The C.S. Lewis’ of the world get to use their logic and reason, but those of us who are “feelers”, we have to use our hearts.

We cannot “win the race” by trying to be like the Lewis’ (1 Corinthians 9:24).  I am preaching to myself here!

I think the world needs us “Feelers”.

I look at modern houses, that represent “logic and reason”, sleek, contemporary, stainless steel, white walls…cold.

We feelers’ homes evoke wood-burning fireplaces, mom’s apple pie, cozy interiors and a relaxed atmosphere – peace, calm, tranquility.   Warmth…

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

I will share with you some advice my mom gave me as I was growing up.  She simply said, “Be yourself.”

I used to say to myself, ‘Well that’s great advice, but how can I “be myself” when I don’t know who “myself” is?’

Thankfully, I have finally begun to see “who myself is.”  ‘Twas good advice after all, Mom!  🙂

Let’s have the courage to be all who God created us to be and SHINE!

Blessings,

Ellie

(Myers & Briggs definition of “Feeler” taken from http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/thinking-or-feeling.htm)

Feminism be damned…

Hi there,

I realize that’s a pretty harsh statement, but it’s kind of how I feel.

I used to read feminist books.  It was really easy to get angry with men, given my family background.  (As some of you know, my biological father is an alcoholic.)

So, when I befriended someone whose father was also an alcoholic, we fed off of each other’s anger.

The problem with me, is that I knew in my twenties that I wanted to have children.  As I was walking in a park one day, I realized I was going to have to get rid of that anger.  If I
had a son, I would not want him to feel that he is somehow deserving of women’s wrath just because he happened to be born male.

It is not fair to put that on boys or men for that matter.

Now, I get that we have a problem.  I will not deny that being  a woman in a male-dominated culture, we can all  “hit the glass ceiling” at some point in our careers.

Take Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech this past February 2015.  (If you google “oscar speech” by the way, “oscar speech feminism” comes up in the top 5.)

But, I don’t really like her speech being dubbed, “feminism”.  I think that is part of the problem.  It isolates men.  It makes them feel like they’re to blame.

The problem is systemic and I wonder how many guys, good guys, would even know how to go about changing it even if they wanted too.  That’s the thing about systemic issues, those of us average people feel pretty hopeless that things will ever change – “That’s just the way it is” we placidly say.   And, so I believe it is for the average guy when it comes to that word, “feminism”, he’s at a loss!

We need both men and women working together to “solve our problem”.

I also think that we women need to take responsibility for our own actions.  I will confess something to you my brothers and sisters – I compare myself to other women.  Most times, I don’t fare so well.

I don’t fare so well because I know my blemishes, wrinkles on unmentionable places and imperfections.  I know them very well.  Very well indeed!

But, as a woman, I feel like I have been taught to look at other women – to judge them, but to judge them in comparison to myself.

It’s bloody awful!  And, makes me feel quite inferior, plain and downright ugly.  I usually try to avoid magazine covers…

And, I see women doing this to me.  I see you eyeing me up and down, checking out my painted toe-nails all the way to the top of my head, even my teeth…I know you do it.

We have to make a choice to stop doing this to one another and to ourselves.

Divide and conquer.  Wikipedia says to “divide and rule” as “in politics, sociology and economics, a strategy to gain or maintain power”.

My women, we have been divided and thus conquered!!!  (I am starting to sound like a feminist now…forgive me…)

Here’s the thing!

We need to put first things first Ladies:

The 30-Day Challenge

Compliment a woman.  And mean it.  

Compliment her shoes, her hair, the job she did on a project…

Compliment her and watch her reaction. 

Husbands, compliment your wife; Boyfriends, compliment your girlfriend; Fiances, compliment your fiancees.

Ladies, this applies to you too.  If you have a good guy, let him know!

If you don’t have a good guy, my friend, you need to have the courage to say, “Good-bye”.  I am standing with you, Sister!  Let him be someone else’s problem, not your’s because you just read this blog and she didn’t…

It starts simply.

And, then maybe we’ll start to see those political, sociological and economical walls come tumbling down!

“Bye-bye walls of Jericho!”   (Joshua 6:1-20)

Blessings!

Ellie

A Living House

Hi there,

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”     C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity  from: http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/801500-mere-christianity

I don’t know about you, but I for one am not comfortable with this house-building thing at all.

My grandfather was a carpenter.  I have many nice things he made.  But, I think one of my favorite things that I have of him is this:

a picture of him, smiling, as he is making another model of the Bluenose.   He took delight in the things that he made.  In some cases he started with a kit, like the Cutty Sark, but I think he knew how to make the Bluenose from scratch.  He knew the right amount of wood he would need, the pain colours, the fabric for the masts, the wood for the masts and for the deck.  It was instinctual.

Or, at least that’s the way it seems to me, looking back.  He may have started with a kit at first, but then memory, knowledge and wisdom eventually took over.  He also had a thing called joy.

The Bible tells us that God “will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT).

God also has infinite wisdom and knowledge…

I imagine that while we are being pulled and stretched beyond our liking, God is smiling. He is smiling because he knows what the finished product will be:

Glory.  His glory.

Through the prophet Isaiah, God says this:

“I’ll send orders north and south:
    ‘Send them back.
Return my sons from distant lands,
    my daughters from faraway places.
I want them back, every last one who bears my name,
    every man, woman, and child
Whom I created for my glory,
    yes, personally formed and made each one’”…
“Because I provided water in the desert,
   rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me.” (Isaiah 43:6-7;43:20b-21, The Message)

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis aptly writes:

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

That might be the key to all of our frustration, or at least my frustration in this life.  Deep down inside of me, I know I was “made for another world”.

So, if God is indwelling me, then it is no wonder that a nice, tiny practical cottage will not do…Going forward, I will try and remember that I am a palace in the making.  (I can’t wait for my turret to go up…I like turrets a lot, but I also like symmetry.)

I can’t decide which palace I would like to become…

I guess I will have to leave that up to God to decide.  🙂

Have a blessed day!

Ellie