Saturday, September 29, 2007

Current Read

Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing RoadGhost Rider: Travels On the Healing Road, Neil Peart

Gridblog is back

So thanks to John, the gridblog has returned. For those of you wondering what the heck I'm talking about, I'll steal John's definition of the beast. "A Grid Blog is where we all write on the same topic with the same deadline." So here we go. This topic is what is the best book you've read in the last year (and I think there was a "why" in there but sometimes I just can't tell you why) and the deadline is this week. There you have it. So, if you have a blog, write about it there. If not, I give you the freedom to a) start one now 'cause we won't stop with just one topic or b)post your favorites as comments on mine. I'll let you piggy back if you must.

Okay, here goes. My favorite books of the year.


Okay, let me start with Harry Potter. Yes, I've been LOVING Harry Potter. In fact, this summer I pushed through a little bit so that I could be caught up in time to see Order of the Phoenix in theatre, which meant I had to read Goblet of Fire (my absolute favorite of the far) and Order of the Phoenix and see all the movies that came before. I dove into Rowling's creative world of magic and intrigue and found myself wishing to be a kid again, free to explore and find adventures in kind with Harry, Harmione and Ron. Truthfully, I kindof want to play Quidditch too. That would be cool.

Now for all out there who are appalled at my reading choice, don't worry. I've not given up my faith or walked away from Jesus. I believe that Christians can ready Harry Potter (gasp!) although I'm okay if you disagree. Here's what I love: the creativity, the conversation, the narrative that sweeps you into a whole new world, the realities of the struggle of coming of age while being different (I sympathize, Harry!), the belief portrayed that one can make a difference, the adventure and the intensity of the battle between good and evil. I think it's this last one that endears me to it the most. As much as Potter's battle is fiction, it is very much the reality that we are living in: good vs evil, light vs darkness, in a battle that is often played in realities beyond what we see in flesh and blood and often ignored by those around us. So there you go. Harry Potter makes the list.

If you like those, try Inkheart and Inkspell on for size. My cousin recommended them to me and they were exactly what I needed. And Artemis Fowl. They're fun too. I love kids' books!

French Women Don't Get Fat. For anyone who is rethinking our cultural ideals, especially around food, it's a great read. What does it mean to truly enjoy what's around us? To be satisfied? I think the French might be on to something!

Two that have to go togther are The Dip (Seth Godin) and Holy Discontent (Bill Hybels). I think they've found a place in my heart and mind more because of timing than anything else. As I was thinking and praying through my own holy discontent at work, these two came my way and helped me really think through who I am and what I want to do with that. Both gifts. Thank you.

An incredible journey through the meaning of sabbath came from Mark Buchanan as I read The Rest of God. I love Buchanan and have read everything he's written so I feel like I can say with some sort of authority that I think this is one of the best he's written. Plus, I just don't think we teach well about the sabbath anymore let alone live it well. I want to try.

I don't know where to stop. That's going to be my problem. I love to read. It's like each book becomes a friend. Sounds so cheesy, hey!? Oh well. Let me just list a few more:

Jim and Casper go to Church (Henderson)
Children of Hurin (Tolkien)
SexGod (Bell)
The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Albom)
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (Haddon)
Truckers and Diggers (Terry Pratchett)

Okay, the list could go on...I didn't even add guys like Willard and McManus...just be glad I'm not giving you the list of what I want to read!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dare to Dream

Live to Laugh, Laugh to Live

I'm loving this book I'm reading, "French Women Don't Get Fat." While in many ways it's written to look at food and the how what (and how!) we eat affects our bodies, it's much more than that. Healthy, holistic lifestyle. Attitudes. Enjoyment of life. Quality over quantity.

One of my favorite chapters so far is on the virtues of laughter. I love to laugh. I love to make people laugh, which sometimes causes me to do stupid things for the sake of a laugh...such is life. It's something I've learned to value for the sheer pleasure of it (laughter, not doing something stupid). Guiliano talks about the natural benefits of laughter and how, as we grow up, we lose the sheer pleasure of it. She finishes said chapter by saying this:

"Tout est une question d'attitude" (Everything's a matter of attitude). The great Provencal writer marcel Pagnol believed that God gave laughter to human beings as consolation for being intelligent. I prefer to believe He made us intelligent so we could appreciate a good laugh." (Guiliano, 242).

I like that. Laughter is a gift and I'm going to choose to open it often. You can hold me to it. Better yet, join me! Laughter truly is the best medicine!

Current Read

French Women Don't Get Fat, Mireille GuilanoFrench Women Don't Get Fat

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Things that make me happy...

...this is one of them.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
Helen Keller
US blind & deaf educator (1880 - 1968)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Let the Games Begin!

So my boys, the Edmonton Oilers, opened up their pre-season today with a win over the Panthers...a feat the flames couldn't accomplish, I might add. With a whole lot of nothing accomplished by McTavish and the management staff, I will admit that I've been concerned about this season. Perhaps this , however, is a sign of things to come!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Winds of Change

Yes, the winds of change are gusting through my world and I can confidently say that rather than chilling me to the core, I'm finding a comforting sort of peace within the gale.

This is the last week of my time of employment at the college. Friday is my last day as Admissions Coordinator and Assistant Marketing Coordinator at Alberta Bible College. I'll have a couple of weeks off and then I'll hit the road one last time (I think) as the Assistant Director/Pro-D Provider for the CCUFairs.

While this is a big change for me, I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is merely an outward sign of even more significant change happening within me. I'm not even sure that I can put it all into words but I'm going to try.

The most obvious question people have asked upon hearing of my resignation at ABC (after "so, what's next?" to which I typically respond, "I have no idea.") has been some form of my own personal favorite: "why?" In the 2 months, I've had a lot of different answers to that. One of my favorites is my answer to my students. I keep telling them that it's time for me to put into practice all the things that I've been telling them about seeking out God and His plans for their futures, about being a good steward of who He has made them to be and about not being afraid of the journey of life. It's true and it makes sense to them. What sort of hypocrite would I be if, knowing where I was six months ago, I hadn't made this decision?

Most importantly, though, is that it's about obedience. I know this is the right decision, even if I don't know the full story. It's here that Abraham's story has been influential in my life. Abraham is known for being a friend of God. Lifted up as a hero of faithfulness in the book of Hebrews. God and Abraham.They were friends because they both chose to be present with the other, putting themselves in the position of friends with each other and because of that, Abraham could trust God even when he didn't see the fulfillment of God's promises right away. Abraham lived in the gap, sometimes full of faith and sometimes stumbling. Take Ishmael for example. Abraham took things into his own hands. It was acceptable cultural practice. Probably didn't seem out of the norm to most of the people surrounding them. Thing is, it wasn't the way that God had it lined up. He talked about moving from the known to the unknown, becoming a stranger and how that usually happens in times of crisis. When my pastor preached through Abraham's story a couple months ago he asked this question: "how do you respond when living in the gap between the promise or what you want and the fulfillment of God?" Talk about hitting me to the core! How have I lived these last couple years "in the gap?" I feel as though I've been on a rollercoaster ride between wholeness and disaster. True highs and lows but hopefully always returning to the Father, my friend, who I can trust. Similar to Abraham, I suppose.

I feel as though there is so much in Abraham's story I'm bringing into my world. I trust God because I know God. This is my leap of faith much like Abraham leaving what he knew and what was safe (even if it wasn't always fun...see some parallels!?) for what God was offering. I feel like God has been asking me, "do you trust me?" All I want is to be able to say yes to that question in my life. Who better to trust my comings and my goings to?!

Isaiah 40:31 reads: "The one who waits on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall soar on wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not be faint." I've gained a whole new understanding about this. I truly feel like I finally get what it means to wait on the Lord. My every action in all of this is in waiting on His leading. I'm leaning in, longing to hear His voice and see His plans. I feel consistently stronger and more alive than I have in a long, long time.

It's been fun to get glimpses of who God is making me through all this. I love working with people, especially young people and kids. I was reminded of my time in Vulcan and the opportunities there and how all through my time at ABC it's been investing in students' lives that has kept me feeling like I'm using what it is that God has put in me as a part of his image. It's in those contexts that I feel like me, that I actually have energy, creativity and confidence. But it's not all about me. I've been blessed with moments this summer through which I've been able to see clearly the impact that I've had on some of the students that have been in my sphere of influence. It's a humbling thought to realize that I can have an impact on someone's life, a kingdom impact. It's something I never want to stop being a part of! I love to write, to teach and to talk. I love opportunities to have those one on one conversations with people that matter, whether it's theology or the day to day happenings of life. I love fun and laughter. Variety. Adventure. Activity. I love when people see that they have value. I love learning and information, sometimes even just for the sake of new information. Weird, I know. I am passionate and stubborn and feisty...and am okay, really okay, with that. I love cooking and share that as an act of care. I am at home when I can be hospitable, both with my home and with my self. I love to be creative, seeing the big picture and finding ways to make the details match, finding new and innovative ways to accomplish old things. I need to achieve goals, big and small. I need freedom but within the safety of healthy community. I am unique and need to be able to give freely of who I am for the sake of the Kingdom.

I have no idea what comes next. I have some thoughts on what I want to be doing next. I want to be working with people, especially young people. I want to be able to invest in lives and share what God has been teaching me. I got to speak (surprise!) at DVM teen camp the week that I was out there and was able to share much of my story. I was humbled to see the reaction of the campers and realize how much of what God has brought me through he is continuing to redeem as I share it with others. I want to be able to take care of myself, both physically and emotionally. I want to do my part to live in a place of wholeness, physically, spiritually and emotionally. I want to be challenged. I want to be creative. I want more...and I think it's coming.

I know, too, that my time with the fairs will give me a chance to test some things about myself. Teaching. Public Speaking. Leading. I'm looking forward to it. The thing that's exciting me the most is the chance to be on the fairs without the responsibility of representing a school. I am there for the recruiters - to encourage, lift up and share what I've learned with my peers. That makes me excited.

God has surprised me in the way he works. First, I feel completely content, if not excited. I tend to analyze a lot. I'm not a big fan of big decisions...I sometimes deal with buyers remorse...but not here. I feel really excited about what God is going to do. There's things I'll miss. I know I'm going to miss my students, my kids, like crazy. As much as I have impacted them, they have impacted me ten-fold. They have been my friends and my teachers. I trust God to take care of this, too, and anticipate how He will.

I'm finding contentment.

I know my personality. I know that I'm a bit of a control freak. I understand that. I also understand, with that in mind, that a big change like this without a full plan in place (read, 5 year plan!) would normally freak me right out. Normally. In this, however, I have found peace. I can't say there's not moments of fear but my state of being has, and I pray will continue to be, one of peace, rest and anticipation.

Last thing: I've been reading Jeremiah. Not the most uplifting book through the whole thing but there's nuggets, for sure. Anyway, back to Jeremiah 29:11 "for I know the plans I have for you..." What's been exciting for me is putting that oft quoted verse in context. Here's a group of people that did anything but seek God and got lost into exile for it but God's still got plans for them. He says "seek me and you will find me when you seem me with your whole heart." That's what God wants from me, from us. Seek him. His plan is to be friends with us. He wants me to choose Him too. That's when he promises to restore the Israelites from captivity. That's when He plans to restore and prosper. And so I choose to seek him, not for the rewards of prosperity but for the reward of being a friend of God.

A friend of mine keeps reminding me to enjoy the process...I'm starting to...and trying to.

As transition comes, I'm trying to embrace it. I want to stand strong as the winds of change blow. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, I choose to trust that my foundation is sure and move forward with confidence that the God who has been faithful all through Scripture, all through history, and who knit me together in my mother's womb will continue to be faithful yesterday, today and forever. I'm in good hands.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I'm trying...

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
~Herm Albright~

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mother Angelica

“[God] expects me to operate on a faith level, not a knowledge level. He expects me to operate—if I don’t have the money, if I don’t have the brains, if I don’t have the talent—in faith. You know what faith is? Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air and a queasy feeling in the stomach.”

*From her biography, Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles, as written by Raymond Arroyo.