Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain's VP Candidate Selection (From Parent's Eye View)



I know, I rarely discuss politics on this blog but had to post this informative link about Sarah Palin... gotta say, I like where she's coming from.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Unconventional Love


I continue to think of my friend en route to Ethiopia to meet her son. She has prayed – and asked her friend’s to pray – for over a year. I remember when she first told our Bible Study group what she had felt called to do, and the various stages it took to get where she is today. Family members were not exactly thrilled to hear her family was about to become inter-racial (is that the right word? Biracial doesn’t sound right). Then there was the extensive application process, not to mention costs – both financial and emotional. She knows she is in for a life of ignorance, cruelty, and just plain stupidity. Even I asked her why not adopt from the United States? We have so many unwanted children HERE, on our own soil. She explained how the U.S. takes much better care of children than Ethiopia. It didn’t take much to make me – and others – understand this is what God has called her and her husband to do. And she sacrificed for it… when we had burgers and fries at Animal Kingdom, she had a peanut butter sandwich tucked in her purse. Christmas gifts were handmade with love. She saved and scrimped and sacrificed. She has inspired so many people, including me. I am in awe of her determination and obedience to Christ as her webpage states, Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..."-James 1:27
I’m convinced that I am called to glorify God in my struggles and sacrifices (yet unlike my friend, I am not always a willing participant in my sacrifices!). We all have different callings on our lives, yet they all fall under the command to Love One Another As Christ Loves Us. The specifics in how to love is anything but conventional… then again, everything about Jesus is anything but conventional.

*Please keep my friend and her family in your prayers.
More information - Adoption Agency
NY Times Info on Ethiopia

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Loving to the Fullest

One of my friend's is leaving for Ethiopia tomorrow to meet & bring home her adopted son. I am so amazed at her selflessness and compassion! She is showing me how to love as Jesus loves (James 1:27) and I am so proud of her. I've been reading links from her site (which I will have get permission to share) and read this on another adoptive mother's site:

THE VOICE OF ADVENTURE


There is a rawness and a wonder to life. Pursue it. Hunt for it. Sell out to get it.

Jesus says the options are clear. On one side there is the voice of safety. You can build a fire in the hearth, stay inside, and stay warm and dry and safe.

Or you can hear the voice of adventure—God’s adventure.

Instead of building a fire in your hearth, build a fire in your heart. Follow God’s impulses. Adopt the child. Move overseas. Teach the class. Change careers. Run for office. Make a difference.

Don’t listen to the whines of those who have settled for a second-rate life and want you to do the same so they won’t feel guilty. Your goal is not to live long; it’s to live.

Sure it isn’t safe, but what is? (Max Lucado)

Luke 17:33 Whoever seeks to save his life loses it, but whoever loses his life preserves it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hey Shelly... It's Your Birthday!


Call me egotistical – I love August 24th! Maybe because I am uncomfortable receiving gifts/praise/outings on every other day, I thoroughly enjoy being treated to meals, gifts, ‘wherever you want to go’ on my birthday. And when friends give me something that obviously had me in mind, forget about it! Like Twyla gave me $50 to iTunes with a note “you can get the latest Def Leppard and Barenaked Ladies songs”. I love that she knows what music I like! And the card Amanda gave me had dolphins on it! Perfect! Bryn’s card was about buying a blank new journal… The thought meant so much to me. Michele and my landlord actually made me cards and Rob sang to me over the phone. It was all perfect. I feel incredibly loved. It was definitely a happy birthday. Thank you for celebrating my birth with me.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Life is Like a Big Apple


Thou hast willed it that through labour and pain I should walk the upward way; be Thou then my fellow traveler as I go… When Thou callest me to go through the dark valley, let me not persuade myself that I know a way round.
John Baillie – Diary of Private Prayer


One of my most proudest feats was going to New York City – for the first and only time – by myself. I had read about Soho for years in Danielle Steele novels and had to explore it myself. So I went by myself, never had I called a taxi, ridden a train, or been in a huge city. But I did it because I wanted to reach a destination. Problem was I couldn’t get a cab back to Penn Station so I walked all the way back. My feet were killing me. I wanted to stop, to say “I can’t do this anymore!”, but stopping was not an option. It would do no good for me to sit in the street and wish I was home, deciding I made a mistake. I had to keep going. Of course, I made it back to Penn Station, and when I laid my head on the pillow, my feet on ice, I was proud of myself. I was glad I went because I may never have gotten the chance to explore Soho again.

My current place in life is much like New York City. I don’t want to walk anymore, I just want to be safe and secure at home. I just want to be in my own bed, my own surroundings, instead of feeling lost in this unknown territory. I want a short cut to my destination, a cab to drive me to the end. I am tired and exhausted and lonely…

But I can’t sit. I must keep moving. If I have to slow my pace, that is okay as long as I keep moving. The way back is too far from my sight now, so I can’t turn back. I must keep walking.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Secrets


The secret to living right is have no secrets about how you are living.
When I compare my life today with how it was 5 years ago, there is one thing that has made all the difference: transparency. I pride myself in being an open book, what you see is what you get. I don’t tell other people’s secrets, but I don’t have any of my own. Sure, it makes for some awkward silences and people gradually float away from me when they are too uncomfortable, but these costs are worth the price of being accountable. I believe we get into trouble the moment we do something that we wouldn’t want anyone to know about. So I have formed close friendships where I am able to be open and honest without playing games. Not only am I able to be completely authentic while being held accountable, transparency is incredibly liberating!

Of course, this only works in the closest friendships… you don’t want the mailman knowing your latest crush. And those friendships have to be strong enough to carry the truth and nothing but the truth so help you… They have to have your best interests at heart.

If I were married, I suppose my husband would be the one who I confided everything to. But for now, I’ll keep sharing with my closest friends who are helping me become the person I was created to be.

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. – 1 Cor. 4:5

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just For The Record


” If you seek to live your life under the authority of Jesus Christ and show the world that He really does care through you, then when you meet your Maker, on the day your faith becomes sight, He will gladly meet you and welcome you with a word of resounding affirmation, “Well done.” And who knows? The books may be opened and you’ll be invited to review what you did across the span of your life to make a difference and hopefully, at the end of the narrative about what you did, you’ll read some concluding words that may go something like, “And God saw that it was good.” Sound likes Genesis 1 doesn’t it? What you do can be good. But it is up to you. It is up to you.

-from Wonderfully Made for the Journey (Baccalaureate) by Jim Gentry

Can you imagine standing beside God at the end of your life and reviewing how you used the life he gave you?

Let me tell you, that is not something I look forward to because I have excuses for every season of not bearing fruit.

That was during a depression- I was fighting to survive.
Oh, and that was when I was shaking from the medications and couldn’t write.
That time, I was preoccupied with finding money to pay bills.

Geez. I don’t have good track record.

My brother and his family sent me some ‘birthday money’ to use for something other than bills so I bought a new Moleskine planner. Just like starting a new journal, the beginning of a planner is ceremonious for me in that I am starting with a fresh slate. The past is behind in another book, and I have pages of days waiting to be filled. This planner, I will view as “How I Used What God Gave Me”, a record of my life lived for Him. I don’t want there to be empty spaces with “depressed” or “sick” as the only entry; those words will still be in my planner, but I will have an arrow pointing to how I used times of depression and sickness to glorify God.

Among my daily, weekly, monthly and long-term goals, my all-encompassing, eternal goal will be to hear Him say, “Well done!” as he scans what I did with my life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shaken

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

My hand is red from dumping hot coffee on it this morning.
I have mopped 3 times in the last 4 days.
My handwriting is unreadable, even to me.
I keep missing the toll basket when I put in my quarter.
And I have resolved to use my debit card instead of cash as I keep pinching cashier’s hands when they give me my change.

Outward indications are I am falling apart. I am on new medications for my lungs, heart, and stomach. Today, I start a new medication – an inhaler. I never considered myself “disabled” before… I do now. The medications have me shaking uncontrollably. It’s embarrassing and frustrating.

You think I would be depressed about losing my independence. I should be depressed, but I am not. If I wasn’t a Christian, I’d be hopeless and devastated. But God has me. He keeps reminding me I am solid with Him. I see the increase in limitations as frequent reminders that he is right by my side, a regular reminder of my security in Him.

Psalm 62:2 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

But let all beware of carnal security. Neither outward prosperity, nor inward peace, here, are sure and lasting. The Lord, in his favour, has fixed the believer's safety firm as the deep-rooted mountains, but he must expect to meet with temptations and afflictions. When we grow careless, we fall into sin, the Lord hides his face, our comforts droop, and troubles assail us. - Matthew Henry Commentary

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Naked Depression

The room was full of people – family, friends, strangers. I was running late for a concert. As I headed out the door, my mom yelled, “Be careful!” I heard someone ask where I was going, and my mom replied “She’s going to Hard Rock with a group of friends to see bare naked ladies.” The room was suddenly silent until mom explained ‘Barenaked Ladies” was the name of a rock group. Even outside the room, I heard heavy sighs of relief.
Yesterday, I thought of that incident from 10 years ago after I read how the lead singer recently got busted with cocaine and is now facing 15 years in prison! Fifteen years for cocaine possession? Geez . Further reading divulged his struggles with clinical depression, and things started to make sense…. the lyrics he wrote, the comments he made, the cocaine.
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“Every night after we were through recording,” he said, “I would walk across the Burrard Street Bridge , back to where we were staying. And every night I would hang on to the side for dear life until one night I realized I wasn’t frightened of falling, but rather I was frightened of jumping. And I lay down on the sidewalk for probably ten minutes, but it felt like an hour, until I gathered the strength to stand up and trust myself to cross to the other side of the bridge.”

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My heart goes out to him. Really, I thought about him all night, playing his songs and hearing the lyrics in a different way. Wow. Boy, I understand. Depression makes you consider things – even illegal drugs – that normally, you would never consider. You just want the pain to go away, and sometimes, the only options you see are drugs or death. It is a scary place.

I read the following from a fellow blogger who also suffers from depression, all while saying, “yes! Exactly! EXACTLY!” He hit the nail on the head. I wanted to send it to all my friends to share this wonderful description, but ended up only sending it to one… a close friend with depression himself. I knew he would understand.

I hope you do too and don’t think I am insane… this is a perfect portrayal of depression.
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Steve was picked up earlier this week at an apartment outside Syracuse and charged with cocaine and marijuana possession. I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked, but I am. The last time I saw him, he was happily married, with a couple of kids, and living in the suburbs of Toronto. He’d survived all that crap and carved himself out a nice little life. We should have all been so lucky. How it was he’s found himself dating someone a decade younger and (allegedly) doing rails off a kitchen table, will make for an interesting record in a year or two. I’ll certainly buy it.
But why? What in the heck was he thinking (allegedly)? My guess is he’s going through the same thing I am. Here we are in our late-30s. We’ve tasted a little success, but that stuff is in the past. We’ve checked a bunch of stuff off our respective bucket lists, but somehow it’s still not enough. What the heck else is out there?
It’s thoughts like these that lead men to leave their wives and start hanging out in places they really shouldn’t. Places like an apartment in Syracuse with two girls you met on Facebook.
Thinking about it today, I thought about my own struggles with mental health. The thing is, no matter how sunny things are in your life, and right now it’s nothing but blue skies and ocean breezes in mine, that little black cloud is always around. And you’re always aware of it. It could be over your shoulder. It could be way out on the horizon. But it’s there. It’s kind of comforting in a way, because you know you can always run to it and find refuge. You can hide inside it and shut out the rest of the world. Sometimes it’s a struggle to keep looking ahead, goodness knows I’ve had my moments. Page discusses the struggle at the end of “This is Where it Ends”.
I have loved and I have waited
Been picked up and been sedated
Mental health is overrated
I’m guessing he’s right back where he was in 1995. That’s not good. Life is meant to be lived in the sunshine. I thought that, like me, Steve had found his spot in the sun. Apparently he’s given it up for the ease of the moment.

Link

Monday, August 4, 2008

1 Peter 1:6-9

I think I have a new favorite Scripture passage, 1 Peter 1:6-9. I read this repeatedly yesterday and each time, it was like applying balm to my heart. For non-believers, trials and tribulations are only an inkling of what their destiny will be like without Jesus. But for Christians, trials and tribulations not only strengthen our character, making us more Christ-like, they are tests of our faith, which is worth more than gold.

I struggle with what to share with who regarding my hardships. We all have problems, I just seem to be going through a more challenging season right now (a season that doesn’t seem to end, I might add.) Never mind my health issues, I am behind on my rent, car payment, and my car insurance is scheduled to be cancelled next week. Needless to say, last week was not a productive week for me as I spiraled into desperation. Not once did my faith waver – I am just afraid God is going to send me where I don’t want to go… like living under a bridge with nothing but my cats. I will go wherever He sends me, but I don’t have to be happy about it.

Well, a busy friend needed some data entry done, which I agreed to do simply because she’s my friend and I want to help however I can. I was more than happy to help. She kept insisting she pay me, which I did not want. Finally, I told her I felt weird about her giving me more money. I asked her point blank: “Did God tell you to give me more money?” She said He told her to pay me for my work. Okay, I couldn’t argue with that. And pay me she did! I have enough to get my checking account out of the negative and pay my car insurance, plus gas for the month.

I wasted all last week worrying. All those hours I could have been serving others, writing about how wonderful my God is. Which brings me back to 1 Peter 1: 6-9: Though I have not seen him, I love him. And even though I do not see him now, I believe in him and am filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for I am receiving the goal of my faith, the salvation of my soul.