August 31, 2006

Don't Look Back

I just dropped by camp, and I love the people, but it was kind of sad. It is hard to revisit a place that isn't yours anymore. It's awkward and lonely, even when people try not to let it be.

Which is why I'm worried about school starting again while I'm still here.

On a bright note, this is my first entry on my new Dell Inspiron6400 using Mozilla Firefox. And yes, my blog is lavender. But I think I like it...

August 29, 2006

Overcoming

I am motivated to be an overcomer because I know what is waiting for me on the other end. I read Revelation 2 and 3 this morning, and frankly, I think heaven is going to be a pretty amazing place. Specifically, I am looking forward to:
  • eating from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Just think! A fruit that gives eternal life! I wonder how juicy it will be...
  • escaping the second death. Thank God for that one.
  • receiving hidden manna. And finding out what the hidden manna is!
  • having a white stone with a new name that only I know. This, I think, is the most intimate and beautiful promise. A name entirely unkown to anyone other than myself and God.
  • having authority over the nations. I'll admit it - power is attractive. But when I have this power, I'll also have the wisdom to wield it well.
  • receiving the morning star. I'm not sure what this means, but I love anything related to stars.
  • dressing in white. Purity and holiness and simplicity. Mmmmm.
  • being acknowledged before God and his angels. Jesus will read my name from the book of life and say, Yup, she's mine.
  • being a pillar in the temple of God. A pillar is unmovable, steadfast, enduring.
  • having the name of God, the name of Jerusalem, and Jesus new name written on me. I wonder if it will be like a tattoo. The most beautiful tattoo imaginable.
  • having the right to sit on Jesus' throne. I almsot didn't believe this one at first! Can you even imagine?! Sitting on Jesus' throne with him. What a truly awesome thought.

Makes me want to overcome, that's for sure.

August 28, 2006

Skinny

I gently hug Shannon [not her real name], and I can feel each of her ribs. She is in the hospital because she has lost so much weight that her body is not properly functioning. We are not close friends, but I want to visit her. I have little to say, and I don't want to address the obvious (I'm sure it's the last thing she needs), so we (and another friend who has come) play Go Fish. At one point we get around to the fact that she's here for a reason. Then we return to the game. I look at her while we're playing. She looks tiny, but not skeletal. Granted, she is wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants. I think of another girl I've met - one who's been ravaged by this same disease for years. She is skeletal, consumed...I pray that Shannon does not end up there.

As I drive away, I can't pity Shannon. Compassion, yes. Pity, no. Because I am not that far removed from her. I have skipped meals and exercised more and eaten less and wished that I had a body that I don’t and won’t and can’t ever have. I’ve hated my hips and my thighs and the stretch marks and many other things that can’t be changed. I have responded to stress by eating more. Or less. I have thought that if I was skinnier or prettier than somehow the world would be a better place and I would be loved and that would make me happier. I’ve wished I could throw up because I’ve eaten "too much" and I might get fat. I’ve thought that if I had more self-control I could eat less and still be fine. I have seen girls as skinny as Shannon and been jealous of them.

I am not that different from Shannon.

I remember one night when I was still in high school. I was lying in bed, so angry with myself. I hated that I was a nerd. I thought I was ugly. And I was sure that who I was inside was a very different person than the me that everyone else saw. I can’t really explain how I felt. Torn is probably the closest word. Torn between who I was and who I wished I was. Knowing I was supposed to love myself, feeling guilty that I didn’t, angry that I couldn’t. God! Why? I hate who I am.

I won’t try to reconstruct the conversation I had with God. I don’t remember it. But this is the realization I came to: by hating myself, I am calling God a liar. He says, "I created your inmost being; I knit you together in your mother’s womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. My works are wonderful. You are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you."

I was saying, "I am not precious. I am unlovable. You’ve made a mistake in me." And if God has made a mistake in one thing, then how can I trust anything that God has said or done? The whole framework of God is that He is perfect and loving. All of a sudden, it came down to this: do I believe God? Or do I throw out everything I’ve thought and believed about who He is?

I wrestled with this, I remember. But in the end, I had to believe God. I had no other hope. And now, when I struggle with these issues, when my body is not my friend, I come back to this night and the same question. Do I believe God? Some days I don’t feel it, but I can’t just walk away.

There isn’t really an end to this story. Shannon struggles to get her weight over a hundred pounds so she can be admitted into an eating disorder program. Some mornings, I look in the mirror and think If only… But I’m learning to see things differently. I see myself with God’s eyes more than I used to. And I see Shannon with His eyes too. I see her and I wish I could hug her and love her until she truly understands how beautiful God has made her. If only it was that simple.

Betcha Didn't Know

Random Facts:

  1. SunnyD has vegetable oil in it. I don't know why. Maybe to make it have a "smooth" feel? It's gross.
  2. Blogger is owned by Google. I was all for Google when they were the underdog. Now that they are the top-dog, I'm not such a big fan. Makes me wish I'd gotten my blog on a different site. Ah well. I'm too lazy to change again. Another pet peeve about Google brilliance is how they customize ads to suit the emails in your Gmail account. They pick up on key words and make the ads relevant, or close to relevant, to your topics of discussion. I hereby REFUSE to EVER click on a link from my Gmail account.
  3. Some companies are dumb. Like the pizza place that delivered coupons today that expired on the 27th. Yes, that is yesterday.
  4. You can buy Double Decker chocolate bars at the Smoke and Gift store in the Willow West Mall for cheaper than at the Nutty Chocolatier. They have other British chocolate too. [The Cadbury's website has sent me on a hunt for other british-chocolatey good sites. Like the Nestle site. Mmmmmmmmm. Lion Bars are "aimed primarily at young men aged 16-24" and they say right on the packaging "NOT for girls." I eat them and they are delicious. Ha. Take that Nestle. Wait. This is probably brilliant reverse psychology and I fell into their trap. Dang.]
  5. PDF-formatting made simple! So simple I can do it. And such a light program that this old unreliable computer hasn't crashed since I installed it two hour ago! *thanks Jevin!
  6. Masses of people performing improv everywhere. What could be more exciting, more fun? I only wish they were in Canada!

August 27, 2006

Commenting

As I'm perusing some friends' blogs, I want to leave comments. No big deal...except that I want to comment on other comments. And I doubt that the original commenters will read my comments. Who regularly follows up their comments to see what others think? I know I don't usually. If I did, blog tracking would take over my life. It's already a close call. So instead, I am going to leave comments to my commenters here.

Vanessa re: Shelly's post: A hearty amen to your quote from a friend. I said something similar when it was suggested that I could/should date within an "unnamed Christian organization." (oh, and being happily married to your second boyfriend doesn't negate your comments...although the fact that his favourite comment in Whistler was, "I like Vanessa. Who do you like?" might shed a slight shadow on your otherwise astute words...)

Jevin re: Graydon's post: Graydon's not a girl...sorry to burst your bubble on that one. Also, I think you should find yourself a Masaai warrior.

Jamie re: the same post: You didn't wear your yellow shirt today. But it was good to see you anyway.

August 24, 2006

Dell

Last Friday I ordered a new laptop from Dell. I checked the status online today - it is in production (although the production date was 3 days ago). It's set to arrive on the 29th.

So why do I get a box today? A box 10 inches deep and nearly 2 feet square. What could it be? It isn't heavy enough to be a laptop...

Is it empty? There is a "packing slip" included. Maybe that's all that there is. Nope...there is lots of brown paper...a good six foot strip crumpled inside. And underneath...

*gasp* It is my notebook skin! A flat piece of adhesive plastic in a box that could carry 1000 of them.

Well, at least when my laptop gets here, it will get an instant goldfish facelift.

~On the phone, the salesperson had a lot of difficulty with my name. This surprised me, until I realized that they are probably in a different country. India perhaps, as their accent suggested. Which would explain why they called me Deth, until I clarified, "B as in Bunny."

August 23, 2006

Tidbits, Including One Tombit

Future Shop is the only store I've been in that seems to hire more men than women. In fact, I don't think I saw any female employees. Maybe they were just hiding. I think I got exceptional service because I am young and female. But that is ok with me. I would never have found the memory sticks without a bit of guidance.

Ever wonder why you sweat when you eat spicy foods? (or maybe all you scientist types already know the answer and just never told me) Well, thanks to the Naked Scientists I now know.
  • Chilli has got a molecule in it called capsaicin, and capsaicin locks onto a certain channel on the surface of nerve fibres in the mouth and all over the body that signal pain. When the capsaicin molecule from the chilli locks on to that nerve fibre, it activates the nerve. The same nerve fibres also signal temperature, so it fools the nervous system in to thinking that you're hotter than you are. This causes a heat reaction and is why you often get red and sweaty. The reason that water doesn't make it better is because capsicin dissolves in oil and doesn't mix with water. Putting water in doesn't make any difference as it stays locked onto the nerve cell. This is why you often get yogurt or yogurty drinks with spicy food, because they've got fat in them. If you want to get rid of it, you need something with some kind of fat in it. Alcohol will also dissolve capsaicin, so a slug of beer should help it to feel better.

Another recently uncovered fact: The Rascal Flatts "Life is a Highway" is a cover of a song originally sung by Canadian Tom Cochrane. Kirsten and Jess and I couldn't remember who it was. Here's what's playing on his iPod.

Random Remembrance

In high school, my friends and I went through a phase where the cool insult/"whatevs" comment was up your ziggy with a wa-wa brush.

I have no idea where it came from or what made us think it was cool. One more phase I'm glad I've outgrown...

August 20, 2006

Party Crashers

{Midway through my wedding season. Yesterday was another stellar time of celebrating marriage and dancing up a storm. I love that the weddings have both reflected the personalities and hearts of the couples - both quite different, both quite beautiful.}

ed note: a breakdown of characters, for the easily confused/Jevy:
I = me
Jess = my fellow party crasher
Sara = the friend who invited us to crash
Julia = her aunt that I know
Eric = Julia's husband, whom I also know
Ian = Sara's uncle, whom I sort of know
Peter = random British guy

Today marks the first time I've ever shown up at a friend's family gathering. You could call me a reunion crasher, I suppose. It was wonderful and awkward. My friend Sara was in town, she told Jess and I we could crash, and when I remembered that I also know her aunt and uncle and family (knowing 7 people at a party is much nicer than knowing 1), I decided to come.

Walking up the driveway, the first friendly face is 11 years-old. She doesn't remember me. This is not promising. But as we talk, the pieces fall into place, and I'm once again familiar. Phew. Inside, Sara is drying dishes with her aunt Julia (the one I know) and someone else. I'm introduced. I also meet her cousin, who announces that the dancing lesson is about to start in the backyard. Thankfully Jess is already there. We do not go outside when the music starts, but stand behind the glass door watching. Sara gets her camera, and we step outside for her to take a picture.

I must look the least stubborn (or most interested in dancing) because Julia pulls me into the circle of dancers. I resist, not because I don't want to dance (I love dancing), but because this is a group of complete strangers. Julia tells me not to worry. Her family will accept me. I am not worried about that. They are dancing and it is hilarious. I sneak out of the circle after one song. Julia comes after us again, and when Jess runs inside, she uses her mom voice. "Come out here and dance!" Jess doesn't mess with the mom voice, and we join the circle. I think this is a relief to both Jess and I. Last night at the wedding, we really cut the rug. Dancing is in our blood.

We show off our dance moves and laugh good-naturedly at the uncles who move with reckless abandon, little grace, and no talent. I respect them. I also find it humourous to see friends in a different setting. Who knew Eric likes to dance? Ok, likes is a strong word...is willing to, maybe. As the dancing dies, the three of us find ourselves in lawn chairs, talking about nothing and maybe something. Other family sit across the lawn.

Enter her other uncle, Ian. After he cha-chas and merengues with Heather, Sara grabs his attention and asks if he remembers me. We have not officially met before, but at a recent ultimate game, he was smack-talking me. When his team scored, he suggested it was because "billabong Beth isn't doing her job." We disagree about who won (we both think our own teams lost). Two minutes into our conversation, and he asks if I have met Peter. Peter, apparently, is a cousin's cousin from England, who is roughly our age and has a "Johnny Depp look" (according to Ian). I haven't met him. Neither has Jess. Sara has, briefly at midnight the night before (at the wedding that spawned this family gathering). Ian determines to introduce us, despite my reminders that we live in Canada, he in Britain.

Enter Peter and another cousin. Ian calls to them across the lawn (roughly 15 ft). They don't respond, as they are talking with someone else. Ian waits a moment, then calls again. The cousin looks toward us. Peter, seeing us, and most-likely not oblivious to Ian's motives, walks away. Purposefully. So we are introduced to the other cousin. Hi.

I think it is funny that Peter avoids us, but I'm also surprised. It isn't remotely subtle. Or mature. We couldjust say hello; it's not as if any of us are interested in him, which I suppose he doesn't know. Still.

We join the other group and somehow the conversation turns to babies of mixed heritage (it's noted that all babies are "mixed-racial" babies) and how beautiful it is when visibly different couples have children. Ian, who is sitting next to Jess, says, "I should marry a nice hot Jamaican girl and bring some chocolate into this family."

We laugh. Heartily.

Jess is Jamaican.

Sara tells her uncle this. He turns and asks, "Oh, really?" Jess, who is still laughing, manages to nod. There is a brief pause before he comments, "I liked this Jamaican girl in college. Her name was Nicole..." I think fleetingly, It could be fun to make this really awkward. But then I let that pass, and enjoy the conversation in all it's non-awkward glory.

Before long, it is time for Sara to leave, so Jess and I decide to go as well. On our way out, we are offered a place to stay in Cambridge (England), should we happen to cross the pond. I think this is directly related to our impressive dancing, especially the running man and the shampoo. They are my personal favourites.

As I drive away, with a new appreciation for Sara and her family, and having thoroughly enjoyed myself, I can't help wondering, what would it be like for my friends to crash my family reunions?

August 18, 2006

It's Late

All my best blogging ideas come late at night while I am lying in bed, slowly driting off to sleep. Then, at ten AM when I want to write something, my mind is filled with thoughts of other things. Like the work I would like to be doing, or the plans I'm trying to coordinate for the upcoming weekend, or what to pack first when I'm ready to move to Vancouver.

On Tuesday, Kirsten and I perused her new apartment, pretending to be various furniture pieces in our attempt to visualize where it should all go. Yesterday, the "day of Kirsten" continued with a moving party.Between the six of us, we effortlessly packed a 14ft U-Haul. We convoyed across town, Kirsten and I leading the way in a slow-accelerating monster-vehicle full of all her earthly possessions (minus her artwork, which was too fragile ). Lunch break: a fun time at Pizza Hut where group decisions were made with surprising ease, and Kirsten made me buy a pop.

Our party was growing, and with 3 new faces, unloading was a cinch. The hardest part was deciding what to do after we were done. Someone (Ben) suggested going to see Ben's new place. No one else was in. I suggestested we all visit my new place...once I have one. Aban was in. I like Aban, who I just met. Leaving new friends is almost as sad as leaving old friends, because you won't stay in touch or get to be really close friends. It will remain as unrealized potential.

[ed. note: at one point, my computer froze and I feared that all was lost. I managed to save the draft though, before leaving the computer to do other useful things. Like make phone calls, hang out with my family, eat supper, burn my fingers, and order a new laptop, which was an adventure in itself. I return at 11pm, when I should be in bed because I am leaving early in the morning for a wedding, and realize that I've lost momentum. I know the rest of the story, but not why I care to retell it. Beyond a good time had by all. Oh yes, and there was a slice of seriousness thrown into my evening. It will have to wait for another entry. ]

[ed. note 2: in keeping with the opening line of this blog, I've just gotten a brilliant idea for another entry. But I can't write it now. I really must sleep. Argh.]

August 16, 2006

Eventful Events

A small summary, if you please, of all the notable things I've done since returning from BC:

- gone to Rachel and Corey's lovely outdoor wedding
-celebrated Kevin's birthday with Jevin and Heather in Ottawa
-had cold drinks with Lydders and saw the U of T campus
-picked up Shelly at the airport - saw Lynsey W. get off the same flight
-lunch with Amber: congrats on going back to school!
-went to the drive-in and saw two dumb movies: the most exciting part of the night was the meteor shower we caught glimpses of
-visited with my uncle the English prof and read "The Haggis of Bobby McPhee," a poem that reminds me of all I love about the Scots
-hung out with Ruthie, who has dreads! Jealous.
-visited Kelly in the 'shwa and watched the stars
-saw Ad and Alison. Can't believe they've been married three years. I told them this and Adrian asked, "When are you getting married?" me: "uhhhh. Someday"
-lost at frisbee. This was disappointing. I was angry inside.
OH I almost forgot the most exciting one:
-found out my sister is dating Lalo. She might be unimpressed with me broadcasting it here, in which case this post will be edited.

And that, my friends, is as exciting as it gets around here.

August 12, 2006

My High School

We didn't have many very young and good-looking teachers when I was at GCVI. These days, all the good-lookers work at Ross.

And play ultimate.

August 10, 2006

For J-Farq

Things you may not have known about me.....

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. school library page
2. public library page
3. a camp councellatrice
4. housekeeper at a mental health facility

B) Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. Ever After
2. Zoolander
3. Life is Beautiful
4. Swing Kids

C) Four places I have lived:
1. Guelph
2. Edmonton
3. a tent in France (for 6 weeks)
4.Vancouver (ok, not yet. but soon.)

D) Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Whose Line is it Anyway?
2. So You Think You Can Dance
3. Numbers (who knew the guy from 10 Things would grow up to be a cool nerd?)
4. I'm out of shows...I never watch TV

E ) Four places you have been on vacation:
1. London, England
2. Tim's cottage
3. Lake Placid
4. Florida, when I was little

F) Websites you visit daily:
1. mail.google.com
2. www.blogger.com
3. webmail.uoguelph.ca
4. focus.crusade.org

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. chocolate
2. ice cream
3. fajitas
4. yogourt and fruit and granola

H) I would rather be right now:
1. in Vancouver
2. harder at work
3. more athletic
4. listening to music

August 9, 2006

Hannah

Nothing makes my day faster than a two-year-old who sees me, points, and walks toward me saying, "Auntie Beth!" [which sounds, in toddler-speak, more like "Annie Beh!"]

August 8, 2006

Poets

Who are today's poets?

You might be thinking that's an awfully book-nerdy question to ask. And it sort of is. But I don't mean just people who write sonnets and haikus and free verse abstract pieces. The Poet, rather, is someone who speaks for the common man. Someone who articulates the emotions we feel but don't know how to express.

In my life, poets are often musicians. Songs, both musically and lyrically, capture the thoughts of my heart and the state of our society.

If I were voting for today's Poet, I'd have to cast my vote for Greenday. Seriously. I think their American Idiot album is profound. Depressing? Possibly. Honest? Definitely. It's kind of like Lord of the Flies (a book, not an album) - I hate it, but I can't deny its brilliance or its accuracy.

Lines like:

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish some one out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

OR
He steals the image in her kiss
From her hearts apocalypse
From the one called whatsername

OR
Everyone is so full of ****
Born and raised by hypocrites
Hearts recycled but never saved
From the cradle to the grave
We are the kings of war and peace
From Aneheim to the Middle East
We are the People and disciples of
The Jesus of suburbia

These are hearts that are breaking. People who are growing callouses because that's all they've ever seen. They're painfully aware and unafraid to be opinionated. There's no veneer, no sugar-coating their life experiences. I'm contemplating buying the album.

I wish I knew of an equally poetic way to say that there is hope. That although Greenday only sees Jesus of Suburbia, there is a Jesus of Nazareth who is a vastly different person. Someone who is life changing, whose disciples are kings of peace, not war, whose hearts are saved, not recycled, who aren't hypocrites. I'd like to illustrate the spiritual realities that are invisible behind the experiences. But I wouldn't know where to start.

Collected Thoughts

I am finally back in Guelph and can sort through my thoughts and plan the rest of my month. Looking back at the last two weeks, here are the statements I'm pondering.
  • As a Christian, my faith is like a stream of living water: uncontainable. Faith that can be contained is no faith at all.
  • The "fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5) is singular. One fruit (Christ-likeness) with many facets (love, joy, peace, patience, etc).
  • The power of asking someone if they would like to invite Christ into their lives is that we are not assuming to know their heart, and don't preclude or force salvation.
  • Good listening involves: giving full attention, acknowledging the other's experience, inviting them to tell more, summarizing, and then asking good questions.
  • God is more concerned with who I am than what I do. [this is especially profound and difficult to believe. So I will say it again] God is more concerned with who I am than what I do.
  • The driving force behind spiritual disciplines like giving, fasting, prayer is to know God more, not to look like a better person.
  • The person that I'll be next year is the person that I'm choosing to be every day this year.
  • When I obey God, I am teaching others that God is good and that I trust him.
  • Secret to finishing well: humble walk with the Lord, strong relationships with others, and time management.
  • As a leader, my first priority is to guard my heart. If I'm not diligent in this, I will diqualify myself and lead others astray. (Like Solomon, whose wives pulled his heart from God - 1 Kings 11:1-6)
  • Good communication is more than having something important to say. It's how you say it that determines if and how the message will come across.
  • Goiong overtime on a presentation shows a lack of respect for the audience and the organizers.
  • "Say no at least once a day, just to stay in practice." ~ Howard Hendricks
  • If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute, even if it is ourselves.
  • When a leader says, "I'm so busy," their people often hear, "I am too busy for you."
  • #1 problem of Christian workers is that they expend too much of their energy on maintaining an image.
  • God is far more interested in changing our minds than He is our circumstances.
  • The culture we live in is not the enemy. Sin is the problem.
  • Community exists to serve missions. Missions doesn't exist to serve community.

August 4, 2006

Whistler Withdrawal

I left 18 hours ago, and I'm already suffering. A beautiful place! Definitely a bit too fake for my liking though.

So much processing going on. I have thoughts, but they're not formed into words yet. Back at it here in Ontario. Weddings and support-raising galore. Woot-woot. I'm so excited for it all though.

I know this is a pointless blog. I'm just saying that I'm alive. And that I will write something sometime. Just probably not before Tuesday.

Deep breath. Here we go.