Thursday, May 31, 2007

Current Read

I'm only a little way in and have already decided that every church leader, perhaps every person who's been in the church for any length of time, should read this book. Beware. Only read it if you're willing to open minded about what we (aka the church) convey to the world around us and look through the eyes of those who don't regularly attend church. It'll be good for you...and for the Kingdom!

Surprise! The traffic report says slow going on the Deerfoot!

There are a lot of things I love about living in the south. I love the area. I love my cute little place. I especially love my roommate. I love that my friends and my church are all relatively close. Most days I don't even mind the drive to work.

Most days.

And then there's days like today. I don't understand why the Deerfoot is such a troublesome stretch of road. The city and province just finished pitching tons of money into a traffic safety audit to be told that people drive too fast and that they should put photo radar cameras up on the overpasses. Let's be honest. That's not going to fix the problem. People are still going to drive fast. Personally, I don't even think that driving 110 is the least not all of it but, before I start calling people names or post something that Jesus would be disappointed with, let me get back to my story.

Where was I?

Oh yes...most days.

Today wasn't one of those days that I enjoyed the drive. Typically it's 30 - 45 minutes, I listen to some good music or something on my iPod and I'm home. Not today.

Two hours from start to finish.

Sometimes standing still.

Hot, hot, hot (which I normally love) + no air condition = sticky and grumpy for 2 hours.


More unfortunate was finding out that south bound Deerfoot was closed because of a gas spill AFTER I was already stuck in the traffic ON the Deerfoot.
Thanks for the warning guys.

It was so bad that in some places, people had pulled their cars off the road and were lounging in the grass, I can only presume, until traffic started to move again.

All in all, I think I stayed pretty calm. I read. Yes, I read in my car. I listened to the radio announcers who, I must admit, were quit witty for the drive home. I prayed. I tried to shift around so I didn't stick to my seat. I even wrote a poem. Let me share it with you.

Sitting on the Deerfoot
Reading a leadership book
"Who reads a book on the Deerfoot?"
I think as my car overheats and I cook
All around me no one is moving
Traffic report says that there's been a spill
While it's not fun to sit on the Deerfoot,
I'm glad I'm not the one footin' the bill
I drive this road every day
The trip should be rather short
Does someone need to remind Calgarians
That driving isn't a full contact sport?

Okay, so it's not very good but it kept me from doing something stupid or getting overly grumpy. When you're sitting in a car, roasting your brain with 110 degree temperatures (that's was my momma's first language and I picked it up too), you can't expect genius.
Anyway, it's a good thing that traffic being that crappy is an unusual thing!
"The greatest moments of the human spirit may be deduced from the greatest moments in music."

Aaron Copland

Monday, May 28, 2007

Run for the Cup

This is a tough call for me. You've got Anaheim and Ottawa, neither team a favorite but Anaheim has Pronger and if they win it's likely he'll get all kinds of awards and recognition, not to mention the Conn Smythe Trophy and we can't let that happen but then Ottawa has Comrie and, well, arg, but then Ottawa is Canadian and have been shafted so many times so you just sort of feel for them but then Anaheim has 19 Canadian players, the most in the NHL this year and so it would be good for them but then....arg...

Let's be honest, I'm still stinging from the fact that last year this team we were cheering on my boys in blue and gold and now, well, we're not.

All in all, I think I pick 6...

Music Makes the World Go Round

"Music is the best means we have of digesting time."

W. H. Auden

I've found that lately. Music reflects so much of who I am. It's a way for me to absorb what's going on. It's also a way for me to release what's going on. Odd, isn't it? I find the more emotional I am, whether that is up or down, the more I crave music in my life.

Lately, that's meant buying a lot of music. I am so thankful for iTunes gift cards and gift certificates for Best Buy!

Here's a bit of a list of what I've picked up in the last couple months:

Peter Bjorn and John, Writer's Block
Sam Roberts, We Were Born In Flame
Dierks Bentley, Modern Day Drifter
Paulo Nutini, These Streets
Vicki Beeching (great worship stuff...and it's nice for me to find a GIRL doing it well!I feel a little inspired...)
The Killers, Sam's Town
John Mayer, The Village Sessions
Pirates of the Caribbean: At Word's End Soundtrack
Catch and Release Soundtrack (so good!)

...and then some random singles courtesy of iTunes...Future of Forestry, MIKA, Blue Rodeo, Plain White T's, Jeremy Riddle...

A friend of mine passed the "Off the Clock, Vol. 1" disc from Starbucks on to me a while back and caught me up on some up and coming artists. Much appreciated!

I borrowed my brother's John Mayer, Room For Squares...sooo good...and Dave Berard's new Hillsong United CD...

Then at YC this past weekend, I got to enjoy some of the main stage performers: David Crowder (most unique!), Lincoln Brewster (Most surprising!), United Live (always a fav), and Toby Mac (just plain fun. He puts on a pretty good show for an "older" white guy!).

It's great to have an outlet but I think I'm in need of a little less splurging...or a little more self control! The thing is there's always more music coming that I could add to the collection! I've got a list of music that I still want, not need, but want. Where's the balance between a hobby and an addiction? Between an appreciation for music and outright materialism? Yikes.

To give you an idea of what kind of potential trouble I'm talking about, let me show you "The list" in no particular order...
Tim Hughes, Holding Nothing Back
Josh Radin, We Were Here
Maroon 5, It Won't Be Soon Before Long
Last Kiss Soundtrack
Painted Veil Soundtrack
Micheal Buble, Call Me Irresponsible
Hawksley Workman
Spiderman 3 Soundtrack
Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere
John Mayer Trio, Try
Jeremy Fisher, Goodbye Blue Monday
Joss Stone, Introducing Joss Stone
Snow Patrol, Final Straw
Keith Urban, In the Ranch
Memoirs of a Geisha sountrack

then there's all the random stuff like Death Cab For Cutie, Fratellis, Muse, Dustin Kensrue, Tegan and Sarah, Yellow Card, Feist...pretty much anything from Grey's Anatomy 'cause they know how to pick it...

See what I mean?!

It's ridiculous.

It probably needs to stop.


I don't really want it to.

Perhaps some of that can be "explained" by losing all the stuff off my old computer but not really since not much of what's on "this list" is replacing any of that so probably not.

Excuses are for losers, call a spade a spade, I'm addicted to music.

It could be worse, right?

The real question is, how long do I actually listen to it once I get it. Perhaps it's time to "recycle" some of the old stuff. least I've found a couple good radio stations now. Calgary's new extreme (92.9 fm) is playing right into what I've been craving lately.

Surprise, surprise!

You Belong in Summer

Energetic, creative, and very curious about the world...
You're not going to let anything hold you back, especially a cold day.
Whether you're chilling out at the beach or partying all night, you live for the warm weather.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Stolen Moment...

...or quote...that will only take a moment to read...okay so it was a shamless grab for a title. Deal with it. The quote is better. I stole it from my friend Tim's blog. It is the way I feel about church. Perhaps it's just me being stubborn. I have watched people all around me give up on the church (especially the institution of it) because of all of the politics, pride, misinterpretation, judgement and just plain sin that they see there...and, in many ways, I see their point. Leaving is one way of handling it. I just can't give up though. I don't feel that God gives up on us. I don't know what I can accomplish as one person but I know it's something. I truly believe that God is raising up a generation who is feeling enough discontent with the way things are in the institution of the church and are searching for a better way, a more authentic, godly way, and will begin change by His power and His Spirit.

So that was a big leadup to a stolen quote. Here it is:

"We're going to stop complaining about the church that we've experienced and try to become the church that we dream of."

Shane Clairborne
The Simple Way

I am excited about what we can accomplish when we make that our focus. Stop complaining and get to work.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Current Read

From "Sex God"

When we're not at peace, when we aren't content, when we aren't in a good place, our radar gets turned on. We're looking. Searching. And we're sensory creatures, so it won't be long before something, or somebody, catches our attention.

And it always revolves around the "if," doesn't it?

If I just...

The idea creeps into our head and heart that we are lacking, that we are incomplete, that this craving in front of us is the answer.

The "if" means we have become attached to the idea that we are missing something and that we can b e satisfied by whatever it is we have in our sights. There's a hole, a space, a gap, and we're on the search. And we may not even realize it. When we are in the right place, the right space - content and at peace - we aren't on the search, and our radar gets turned off.

Adam and Eve fixate on this one piece of fruit from this one tree when God has given them endless trees with infinite varieties of fruit to enjoy. Which is our problem. There's so much to enjoy, and yet we fixate on something we don't have.

This is why gratitude is so central to the life God made us for. Until we can center ourselves on what we do have, on what God has given us, on the life we do get to live, we'll contantly be looking for another life. That is why the word remember occurs again and again in the Bible. God commands his people to remember who they are, where they've been, what they've seen, what's been done for them. If we stop remembering, we may forget. And that's when the trouble comes...

...freedom is going without whatever we crave and being fine with it.

Rob Bell
Sex God, pg 73-75

Current Read

It's a quick read - I just finished it - but beware, it made me cry...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

Check this out...Shauna has been around the ABC community from time to time and makes the coolest shoes. You can go to John Close's blog (link on left 'cause I'm too lazy to link it for you today) and find her website to see all of her designs. They're pretty Shauna!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My sister posted this on her facebook...I wanted to put it up here so anyone who wants can join us in prayer:

Tara Sparshu (no network) wroteat 12:10pm on May 16th, 2007

To anyone who is reading this I am requesting lots of prayers today. A friend of mine is missing!!!! I know that sounds weird but she is classed as a missing person. She started her deaf studies classes at the university on May 7. She is living with a family in the city for the first two semester (until September)....anyways she was at class the first day and a half and since tuesday nobody has seen her..she hasn't been to class....she hasn't been home...she isn't returning phone calls....isn't checking her machine as her inbox is full....she isn't answering email. They are tracing her bank activity trying to get some clues and they found activity in Winnipeg this weekend. We are all very concerned....her dad is a mess...please pray for her dad and forLeanne that she is okay and that she will come home soon. Thanks

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Encouragement from a Coworker

This was in an email from a coworker to a couple of us this morning. Wise, isn't it!?

What God wants for us and from us has something central to do with
what we most deeply and truly want for ourselves.

James Fowler

I really believe this is true for the spiritually mature while completely honest with introspection. In our quest to find out what God wants from us, we must first find out what we “most deeply and truly want for ourselves.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Debunking the Myth

We find a comic like this funny, if you did, because it's just so darn stereotypical.
Lately there seems to be a lot of conversation about singleness, both mine and just in general. I have to confess that, at the risk of sounding bitter, I'm pretty tired of the stereotypes. I'm coming to realize that there's a lot of misunderstanding about what it means and what it looks like to be single, to be older and single more specifically, especially in the church. So I'm going to tell some things that I'm learning. I'm going to talk about "me" but for the most part, I suspect, I can safely speak for many of my fellow "singles."

First of all, let me talk about the 'old maid' thing. Sure, in church circles we tend to see couples getting married young, around 20 or 21 (it's funny how the older I get, the younger that sounds!) but the reality is that the national average is much higher. Here's some recent stats I found. In 2003, in Canada (excluding Ontario), the average age of persons marrying for the first time (to someone of the opposite sex) was 30.6 years for men and 28.5 years for women.
In 2002, in Canada (excluding Ontario), it was 30.4 years for men and 28.3 years for women.
The data for Canada (including Ontario) from 1973 to 2002 indicate that the average age at first marriage of newlyweds, who married someone of the opposite sex, gradually rose among men and women. In 1973, the average age at which men (25.2 years) and women (22.8 years) married for the first time was about five years lower than in 2003. This gradual rise in the average age at first marriage is largely due to couples cohabiting and delaying marriage. We're just talking about averages. I'm not that old. I'm under the average.

Last week the Calgary Herald wrote an article titled "Single and Happy." The basic premise was that, surprisingly enough, not all single people are sad, lonely, desperate, depressed people. It's true!!! I will never for one minute deny that I have times where I'm lonely or I wish that there was someone to share my life with. I can't say that I've never spent an evening with some of my married friends and gone home wishing that I had what they have. I can't say that I'm never frustrated with singleness in general, particularly the lack of other single people around me. This is where I point out that I recognize that I don't have to be ashamed for those moments where I do long for that kind of relationship. I don't. I'm not. Genesis talks about how God saw man - Adam - alone and said it wasn't good. He creates Eve from his side to be a helpmate, a partner or a companion to Adam. And then it was good. I've been blessed to see that lived out. My mom and dad along with many of their friends have been an amazing model of that in the midst of a world that doesn't do it all so well. My grandparents have blessed me with an image that makes me desire to have what they have instead of running away screaming. It is good. All of that said, I've learned, and it's been a process, that I live in today. That I don't have to be happy with being single forever - I don't have to look that far ahead - but I can trust that God knows what I desire and what I need and I can make the choice to be content for today. I've realized too, that sometimes I will deal with loneliness. It's because we're wired for community.

Here's a myth I need to address because I'm a little tired of smiling and nodding while reminding myself of the individuals good intentions every time it comes up. Ever heard this one: "When you're right with God, he'll provide for you." You know what? I believe in God's timing and I'm trusting in it. I believe that God is able to provide. I believe that my relationship with Him is the most important relationship I'll ever have and that it's critical for me to have it right. BUT to imply that I'm single because my relationship with God isn't right isn't right, fair, kind or loving and if it's meant to be encouraging, let me tell you, it isn't. Okay, so I might be bitter about that one. I'll work on my attitude about that.
While we often recognize that it's God bringing two people together, I think we have a hard time balancing that with doing our part. What I mean is, no one's going to find you if you're hiding in your room. I understand that. Most of us do. We can't just be waiting for someone to sweep us off our feet. So I get out. I do the things I love to do and represent the things I value and I do them with a variety of people. On the other hand, you don't just go out and "find someone." It's just not that easy. There are some people who have the fairy tale, love at first sight, met their true love story. Some of them were young when it happened. For others that's not the case, at least not yet.
I was hanging out with my 14 year old cousin not that long ago. At one point, she looked at me and said, "you'd be a great mom. you should have kids." I appreciate that. I would love to have kids and I really do desire, when that happens, to be a good mom to those God should bless me with. That people see that in me now is affirming. What followed next was a little more difficult: "why don't you?" At that moment I stumbled over how to explain it all. "Well, um, to be a mom, I'd need to have someone to be the dad." Even at the most physical level that's true, right? She looks up at me and innocently says, "well, then what are you waiting for?" Oh dear cousin, if only it were that easy. She's not the only one to have that sort of conversation with me. Is it fair to say that I live today conscious of where I am AND of where I hope to be? That I live in an awareness of who and what is going on around me but that I also cannot force the issue? That I recognize that there IS a balance between the work of God and the work of man (yes, pun intended)?

I do not need to be pitied. Please don't feel sorry for me. Just treat me as a friend and I'm okay. Being single isn't a curse. The only time that I feel like I'm somehow complete or insignificant compared to my married peers is when that is put on me, when someone "tells" me that I should be. It's not all that odd be single, I mean. I read this morning that 44% of adults in Canada are single as of the most recent census. I am not my aloneness...interesting, isn't it? There are many types of intimacy and care. As a single woman, I need good friends around. All I'm saying is love me, don't feel sorry for me. There's a fine line between pity and care...please care.

To go along with that one, can I ask that if you're thinking of match making for me or any other single people you know, consider the individuals involved. Here's another myth: that if someone is older and single (read over 25), then their standards must be too high. While that may be a factor, I'm not willing to swing the pendulum so far as to simply look for someone male, single and breathing. Do you see where I'm going with this? Just because two people are single, doesn't make them a match made in heaven. Maybe. Not necessarily. Consider the individuals. Values. Interests. Character. Things like that. That's all I'm saying. Single people are exactly that, people. If you're married, consider the things you were looking for in a spouse and check your matchmaking requirements with that in mind. If you're single and looking out for a friend, consider what you would like. Most of all, consider what you know of your friend.
There are people I would trust to "help" me find someone. They are the people that know who to look for and how to go about it in a way that's edifying to me...and that "special someone." They see my strengths that will be enhanced by a partner and know my weaknesses that will be balanced. They get it. And I trust them.

I came into contact with a couple that I know. We haven't spoke in almost a year. Before even asking me how I was doing, they announced that while they knew it was awkward, they wanted to have me over for dinner because they have a whole lineup of guys for me to meet. Yes. That is awkward. Now, I don't mean to sound completely ungrateful because I know that in their own way, they were doing what they thought was a good thing. I just would have preferred that they ask me how I am...that I could trust that they knew me well enough to find someone for me...that I felt that they would want to spend time with me because of me and not because I was a project.

That's not the only story like that have.
On the other hand, I have a couple of friends that rarely speak of me being single. We hang out all the time and I don't feel like a third wheel. They occasionally joke about someone they think would be great for me but they don't really "match make." Funny thing is, I know that if they should ever bring someone around for me to meet, it would be well though out and done with care and tact. It makes all the difference.

Like I said, I don't mean to sound ungrateful. Often it's with some rant about how great I am and how sad it is that I'm single or how some guy is missing out because he's not with me or how all the guys around must be stupid to not have snagged me up earlier or......I know they meant to encourage and to build me up, especially because, for the most part, they've got a great marriage and want the same for me, but somehow it only makes me feel like I've got a third eye or am missing a body part or something. I'm not a failure because I'm single. Yes, I know that I'm pretty terrific and that some guy is missing out...but if he's good enough for me than I'm missing out too...but then God knows all of that so really, no one is missing out! Funny how that all works, huh?

Moreover, and this is the most important of all for me, I choose to not be defined by my single status. I think that all of us are defined by much more than whether we're married or single. That is a factor but not the whole picture.

So how do I want to be defined?

By my Kingdom heritage...I'm a child of the King.

By my character.

By how I show Jesus.

By how I love.

By how I listen.

By joy and contentedness in the midst of the mess.

By my desire to learn and grow.

By my love for activity and people and reading and life.

By my smile, even if I don't always like my teeth.

By my ability to just hang out with the little people - I mean the children - in my life.

By how I love my family and friends.

By how I contribute to the kingdom.

One of the most kind things said to me recently was from a good friend of mine. She told me that her and her husband don't see me as "Stacey our single friend" but as "Stacey our friend." That's important to me. That's how I want to be defined.

This is a journey for me and, as long as I'm single, it will be a journey for me. I know that I have single brothers and sisters in different places in the journey and my prayer is that as I learn and grow in confidence in who God has made me, I pray that I can be an example to them. For any single friends reading this, please know that you do not have to be defined by your singleness either. You don't have to be depressed, lonely, desperate or "on a hunt" least not as a state of being. If there's seasons of those emotions, it's okay and it's natural. Just don't live there. You're worth more than that. Know you're not alone even when it feels that way. You are not less. You are not insignificant. You are not odd. It's not your fault. You can contribute in very valuable ways. God will use you and he certainly has not forgotten about you.

Current Read

I'm just a Big Geek

It's one of my favorite times of year: time for the Calgary Herald Book drive. It's like an adventure...of literary proportions. Oh dear. Stop now. See, I'm just a big geek. On that note, no one has to comment about that fact. I know already. Oh boy!'s an article from the Herald to tell you a bit about it...

Rare gems among deluge of donations

Graeme Morton, Calgary HeraldPublished: Saturday, May 12, 2007

Inese Clark must feel like a pirate searching for hidden literary treasure in an ocean of books.
Clark, a retired teacher/librarian, has been co-ordinating the special books section of the Calgary Book Drive and Sale, supported by the Herald, for the past four years.
She's responsible for locating books with unique monetary or nostalgic value out of the estimated half million volumes volunteers will sort through during the next four weeks. They are offered for sale in a designated area of the event tent at the Crossroads Market, located at the junction of Blackfoot Trail and Ogden Road S.E.

"I've had a keen interest in collectible books for a long time," says Clark. She has combined that passion with her librarian's background and the expertise of Cameron Treleaven, owner of Calgary's Aquila Books, who acts as a consultant on rare volumes for the book drive.

Clark says a first-edition copy of Charles Dickens' epic Bleak House is one of the most unique literary treasures that's surfaced during the donation process.

"We also get quite a few local, Alberta and military unit histories printed in limited editions that are quite attractive to collectors," says Clark.

She says some of the rare books come from families cleaning out grandma's attic, but other people intentionally donate valuable volumes as a way of supporting the beneficiaries of the book sale, the Servants Anonymous Society and Herald literacy programs.

"Not all the books we get are necessarily high-priced, but they might be just what someone has been looking for," says Clark.

"The year (Alberta conservationist) Andy Russell died, we had a great run on his books. Or it may be someone who is especially nostalgic for a favourite book from their childhood like the Hardy Boys, Tom Swift or the Bobbsey Twins."

The fifth annual Calgary Herald Book Drive and Sale raises money to support the Servants Anonymous Society and Calgary Herald literacy programs.

Used books in good condition will be collected at Calgary's 33 fire halls starting today. The sale will take place June 8 to 10 and June 15 to 17 at the Crossroads Market.

The book drive still requires volunteers to help with the sorting of the hundreds of thousands of books. Those interested are asked to call 205-5540.

Current Read

So much fun and quick to read. The only "problem" is that it's part of a trilogy and I don't have #3!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure. Never forget your Personal Legend. Never forget your dreams. Your silent heart will guide you. Be silent now. It is the possibility of a dream that makes life interesting. You can choose between being a victim of destiny or an adventurer who is fighting for something important.

-- Paulo Coelho
Novelist. His works include The Alchemist, The Zahir and The Devil and Miss Prym.
In reality hell is not such an intention of God as it is an invention of man. God is love and people are precious. Authentic truth is not so much taught or learned as it is remembered. Somewhere in your pre-incarnate consciousness you were loved absolutely because you were. Loved absolutely, and in reality, you still are! Remember who you are!

-- Bishop Carlton Pearson

Current Read

Truckers, Terry Pratchett

Thursday, May 10, 2007

All Preachers Beware

It's pretty old but, if you haven't seen this before, take a look.

Trunk Monkies

This is for anyone that played softball with me this past Tuesday! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Winds of Change

"Everybody has to change, or they expire. Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons."

- Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

I just wish I knew what that meant for me right now!

*Thanks for posting it, Katie! I know it means something to you too!

If you've got a minute today...

please pray for the staff of the college today. we've got some interesting meetings of some pretty significant importance. Pray for wisdom, discernment, understanding and unity!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Current Read

The funny thing is that I'm only partly kidding about these being my current, or at least most recent, reads.

I had the privilege of spending most of my weekend with some great little people. On Saturday I helped my friend, Reinette, host a spa party for her daughter's birthday. We had a living room full of 9 year olds being spoiled. It was so fun and, truthfully, a little funny to watch as these girls became little ladies, if even just for the afternoon. Facials, manicures and pedicures for all! I looked over at one point and there were 3 little girls with their feet resting in the foot spa, reading their magazine, drinking orange juice from champagne flutes and chatting just like grown ups. I guess some of that is just instinctual for us ladies! It struck me how when we're young, we long to be grown up, idealizing and romanticizing the adult world...then we get there and look back and long for the days of our childhood. What I wouldn't give for someone to tell me that it's time for an afternoon nap!!
Sunday I got to hang out with Fred and Tasha's little darlings, Samantha and Nathan, while they went out to celebrate their anniversary (Happy Anniversary, guys! Hope you had a great time). This is where the Dr. Suess books came in. Sammy and I read all three of them several times during the day! Anyway, that's how I spent my Sunday and I have to admit that I think those two are seriously two of the cutest kids alive. I love hanging out with them! Nathan is such a content little guy with a killer smile. I wish I could be more like that! Samantha amazes me, really. Perhaps this is all little kids, but I was reminded again of the innocence of childhood and to take joy in the little things. We were outside enjoying the sun and she spent most of our time fascinated with bugs, not quite ready to touch them mind you, and splashing in the water in her little water table. That's joy...for both of us, although I think mine was because of her.
There certainly is a reason that we are told to approach God as a little child. There really is something to it.
Hang out with a little kid or two for even a couple hours. You'll see what I mean. They are pretty good teachers, too. And, if nothing else, you get to read some Dr. Seuss without anyone questioning your reading level...or maturity. It's great!!