November 30, 2006

Missed Connections

Sickness Unto Death
The bus stop at 4th and MacDonald, 9:45am. You: cute blonde reading Kierkegaard. I: tall with curly hair. I ask if it's for class or pleasure. You glance up, smile thoughtfully and say, "Neither. For life." I ask what you think. You smile again and are about to answer when your bus comes. I want to know what thoughts lie behind that mysterious smile. Email me: kierkegaard4life@someemail.com.

Jostled Your Friend
You: small Asian girl with a blue toque, leaving UBC on the 99, with a white friend. Me: Asian guy with a faux-hawk and Burton jacket. You two were talking, but we made eye-contact over her head. Several times. When the bus stopped at Sasamat, your friend lost her balance and fell into me. She apologized, but it was you that blushed. I wish I had been gutsy enough to ask for your phone number. Here's mine: (604) 555-5555.

Rainbows
Me: hippie chick with short red hair on the 84. Friday, November 24th around 3pm. You: slightly preppy girl across from me. You kept glancing at the buttons on my bag. A rainbow, "til tibet is free," and Wonder Woman. When you looked at me, you smiled. If it was more than just politeness, let me know. 3buttongirl@someemail.com

Snack Attack
We were both waiting for shwarmas in the SUB today - the last day of classes. I glanced at you. You saw me. I leaned forward and said, "Bet you're a Christian." You looked confused, looked down at yourself as if there might be a sign. I told you it was the Bible verse on the card you had just opened. You said, "Guilty as charged," and smiled at me. We shared a few more sentences, but then my shwarma came (on brown, no pickles - we both leaned in to hear whose it was) and I had no excuse to stick around. But I'll be buying another shwarma at the same time on the first day of classes in January.

November 29, 2006

Hey

(subtitle: Obfuscated Meanderings Hoarded by a Literature Grad Over a Nebulous Span of Time)

So I've had some more thoughts on publishing a book. I want to. I think it's one of those things that I will dream about eternally but never do much about. If I did, I think it would fall somewhere between fiction and autobiography. Not like James Frey's Million Little Pieces, but I can't deny that my writing is in many ways influenced by my own experiences.

I think that a paperback blog would be an incredible thing. I'm imagining an entire series of novels, each one the paper equivalent of a single blog. Each novel is not just a collection of entries, but of comments and linked sites as well. Maybe even entries from a private journal at the same time. It would be like reading through someone's scrapbook. And each blog-novel would cover the same span of time as the others, so it would be like a narrative from many different perspectives. Only blogs aren't limited to only the shared experiences, as multi-perspective narratives tend to be. They overlap, but are so much more. I like the picture of it in my head. I'd like to think I could write this.

Now I have an itching to do some writing.

24 Kirkland

Last night I heard little steps pattering above me. Tonight, I hear a child playing piano.

If I close my eyes, it's as if I am back in my basement apartment...

November 27, 2006

Little Things

This morning I fixed a $10 watch that I bought last year and wore for a week before losing a pin. It's one of the few watches that I think fits my wrist. I am happy to have it back, and hope it lasts longer than a week.

I burnt my knuckle on the stove element, because it is a flat-top stove, and even though I took the pot off roughly 1 minute earlier, I couldn't tell by looking that it was hot.

My desk lamp light bulb burnt out. It is some sort of special bulb - halogen maybe? so it won't be super-convenient to replace. I am lazy.

I bought U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb for $10 today. CDs are going out of style, but MP3-less me is behind the times.

My U2 purchase made me wonder how much money people spend on themselves when they go Christmas shopping. I spent roughly $12, with tax.

The snow makes it feel like winter in Ontario. I thought I was escaping winter by moving here. Trick's on me.

I like being online when comments from my blog are emailed to me. For a second, I know that someone is reading about my life from their side of the country, and I feel loved.

The floor in my room doesn't seem as cozy as the laminate elsewhere in the condo. Could my vanity over my heated flooring have triggered a flawed connection somewhere and now I am doomed to cold toes forever?

For a brief moment today, I wondered if it would be possible to compile all my archived blogging over the past year (I started blogging Thanksgiving weekend of 2005) and get them published in a book. I couldn't think of an astute title, so I gave up.

Snow Day!

Take this you Ontario stinking warm people!

8:15am this morning, taken off my balcony:


Do you hear that?
It's silent.
That's right.
I don't hear anything. No cars. No people. Just snow.

November 26, 2006

Thank You, Parentals

Upon hearing that I grew up without a TV, my roommate's cousin asks me if I listened to the CBC.

"Yes. Definitely." I reply.

"Ahhhh. I feel like I know you better now!"

I look slightly puzzled, and he continues, "I know a lot of people who grew up without TVs and listened to the CBC. They are usually well-read, intelligent...(etc etc)"

I nod, smiling. "Well, I won't disagree with any of that!"


I just took a peek to see if Stuart Mclean is stopping by Guelph this Christmas. No such show, and I am bummed. I need to find the audio of his Christmas story with the 2 punch bowls at the party, and the alcohol going in the wrong egg nog...

Weather Woes

Talking to my mom this afternoon. It is 13 degrees in Guelph.

Yeah, right.


This is what my neighbourhood looks like today:

Tartans

I had another Skytrain thought to share.

In Chapters, I looked at a book of tartans, and came across Jesskah's clan. To be honest, I don't remember what the tartan looked like. But I like that her fam has a plaid all their own. As I was pondering this on the Skytrain, I thought about her. One of her skills that I covet is her great lyrical capability.


{It is snowing here in Vancouver. And staying. My potentially boring night in was transformed. But that is a story for another time. Except to say that I made meatloaf, and it was delicious.}

November 25, 2006

Skytrain Thoughts

I ventured out on my own today. All the way to Burnaby and the Metropolis at Metrotown. Apparently, Canada's second largest mall. (little known fact: I worked at Canada's largest mall for a summer) I had fun, even though I don't think I made it through half the place. I sung along with the loud Christmas music - in my head, although others sang out loud.

Coming out of the mall, there was snow in the air and I wanted to drink hot chocolate and listen to Christmas carols. I'll admit, I'm a little bit glad I'll be in Ontario where I had better have a white Christmas. The probability is much greater, at the very least.

I haven't used a subway-train system much since Montreal, and I was a little bit surprised to hear the announcements in English rather than French. Prochaine station: Lionel-Groulx. As I reflected on this, I realized that I want to go back to Quebec. I may not like 8 months of winter, but I have a deep desire to improve my French and to use my language skills for more than a fun party trick. [Ooooh, you speak French? - Oui. Un peu. Mais j'ai aucun avec qui j'peux parler.]

Christmas shopping: half done.
Me: feeling triumphant. And maybe a little homesick.

November 24, 2006

My Twin, Jenn

I have many friends (and one sister-in-law, who is having a baby) named Jennifer. This post, although I love all of them very much, is about my long-lost twin. I can't tell you her full name, because her father happens to be in an important position in his town, and just today the local paper found her blog, and now she has an interview with the media...

We met in May in an airport. I threw yogourt on her, and later that day, she made an inappropriate comment in a professional setting. True stories, both. So why do I think we're twins? Well, other then the fact that she is 4 inches shorter than me with straight dark brown hair and no freckles, we're pretty much the same person.

Examples:
- we have the same job
- we both do scandalous things (as noted in our first day of friendship)
- we like the same music: I introduced her to Plumb, and I'm pretty sure she secretly knows how to hip-hop
- we are touchy - not emotionally unstable, but affectionate
- we want the same tattoo (see previous post)
- we both solve boy problems by considering taking our vows/becoming nuns [don't worry, we haven't actually]
- we have the same sense of humour
- we both have a soft spot for the city of Guelph

I feel like there are many more similarities. I know that there are. But I'm forgetting them right now, and it's off Christmas shopping for me. I'm sure in about 20 minutes Jenn will post a comment with a list of 20 more things.

Oh! We were talking about Christmas shopping and are both in an I-don't-want-to-do-this stage. The only people we are buying gifts for are immediate family and close-close-almost-family friends.

[on a side note, please don't feel insulted if I don't buy you a gift. It's not that I don't care...it's just that I don't think I want to buy into the commercialism of this Christmas season when it's really not what it's about. Also, gift giving in obligatory type situations like this stresses me out. If I just saw something and wanted it for you for no reason, that is fun. When I feel that I must get you something...it's not as fun.]

November 21, 2006

Body Worlds 3

Once a semester, we staff leave the campus and do something exciting, just so we can enjoy one another. It is called "staff fun" and today, it took place at Science World. The main attraction was the Body Worlds exhibit - a combination of organs, partial and full human bodies. I was a bit tentative, knowing that I am, generally speaking, easily grossed out. And, when it comes to biological science, pretty close to uneducated.

Overall impression: I feel more educated, grown up, and appreciative of the complexity of the human body. I did have to make a concentrated effort not to think about where these people came from or how you would go about taking a corpse and ending up with a "plastinate." If you are ever in the same city as this exhibit, I say you go and see it.

One of the first specimens was entitled "Praying Skeleton." Posed leaning on a cross shape, with hands uplifted and holding a heart, it paid tribute to the fact that many of the body donors have been Christians, as well as the fact that the Christian faith made the study of anatomy possible (the Pope's allowance of autopsies brought human dissection out of the marketplace and into schools). I was impressed.

The thing that unnerved me the most was the semblance of facial expressions and lifelike-ness that the specimens had, as they had kept their eyeballs and many had eyebrows and lips as well.

Interestingly, most of the specimens were male. I wonder why males are more likely to donate their bodies than females.

Towards the end of the exhibit, there is a small sideroom/walkway that shows the stages of fetal development. It was amazing to see that by eight weeks a baby fully has ten tiny fingers and ten miniscule little toes. At first I wondered why this exhibit was off to the side, but then I realized it might be emotionally difficult for women who have had abortions. To see a tiny and perfectly formed child...

The craziest part of the exhibit had nothing to do with the bodies themselves. In the middle of the exhibition was a table, where two volunteers sat. They had a few plastinated organs that you could touch (I opted out) as well as books/info about the exhibits. I turned and looked, and recognized one of them immediately. I whispered to Wendy, "I know that guy. He went to my high school. His name is Matt Sibley, and I'm pretty sure he was valedictorian."

Sure enough, his nametag said Matt. I didn't tell him that I knew him - where would that conversation go: "Hi Matt. It's Matt, right? I thought so, cause we went to the same high school. You don't know me, cause you're older and cool, but I just know who you are. I know we've never actually talked before, but I recognize you." Is there any way for that not to sound weird and stalker-ish? It's not my fault I have amazing facial recognition/memory skills...

After lunch, Wendy and I return to get our money's worth. We've already wheelchair raced, explored optical illusions, tested our flexibility (I have average flexibility...for a 45 year old woman), done a few mind puzzles, and had a relaxing competition (you strap this EEG sensor band around your head, and it measures brainwaves, which then moves a ball toward your opponent). I must say though, that game is RIGGED. Seriously. The left hand chair won EVERY time. When we came back later, we switched seats, and Wendy purposefully thought about an awkward/stressful situation to change her brain waves. It did NOTHING.

Anyway, more interactive fun: I could list hours worth. There were:
robots you could make move by turning wheels or using wind generators or solar panels,
a garbage dump slide (didn't crawl up in that one),
a parachute machine,
an air cannon that suspends balls and you have to get them through a hoop by directing the air,
a fibre optics table,
a hologram apple and mirror where you can shake hands with yourself,
a circuit-making station,
a chair/pulley system where you can pull yourself up,
a laser beam harp (notes sound when you break the beam by "plucking" the strings),
many other machines I don't know how to explain,
a beaver's lodge and stuffed beavers. Beavers are unbelievably soft,
a gecko,
newts,
snakes,
tarantulas,
millipedes,
cockroaches,
and some other bugs (employee X asks if I want anything explained: I reply, "No thanks, I'm sufficiently grossed out just looking at them."),
a caribou foot,
some skulls,
a bunch of stones,
more fun stuff.

One last thought: a staff pointed out to someone that Dasani water (which has been selling like hotcakes since the boil water advisory) contains salt as the first three ingredients. She read them off, and sure enough...Ridiculous! Just to make us want to drink more of it. Oh, the cleverness of big companies who want to make a profit.

November 19, 2006

Emma

I watched Gwyneth Paltrow in Jane Austen's Emma tonight. So good. Favourite quote:

"What's the point of being almost twenty-two if there's still so much to learn?"

I like Jane's heroines because they are sweet and well-intentioned, but imperfect. Sometimes a bit naive, sometimes a bit too nosy. Loyal too and looking for a man of honour. And her men of honour...wonderful. I don't know who I'd pick as my favourite if I had to: Darcy, Mr. Knightley, Henry Tilney, or Wentworth. Ok. Not Henry Tilney. But the other three are all up there. Men of honour, wit, and (if the movies are accurate) good looks to boot.

November 17, 2006

Tattoo

My dad asked me tonight if I was serious about the tattoo I mentioned a few posts ago. I am, for the record, not considering getting a tattoo. Mainly because I don't know where on my body I would put a tattoo that I would not regret in 50 years.

That said, If I ever changed my mind or came up with an ideal location, this is what I would have inked into my flesh. (sounds great, doesn't it?)


This is the Chinese symbol for righteousness. Why would I get this? BECAUSE! It is actually a composite symbol of two symbols. On top is the symbol for "lamb" and underneath, "I."

That's right. Righteousness = Lamb [over] I

Somehow, this Judeo-Christian idea {in Judaism, a lamb must be sacrificed to make right those who have sinned, while in Christian faith, Jesus is likened to a lamb in the same way} is found in the Chinese characters that were created a couple thousand years before Jesus existed.

How is this possible? My best guess is...God. Revealing himself to people despite time or place, just like He has always done.

(for more thoughts on Christian concepts that show up in Chinese characters...ask me.)

Lost For Words, Not Vanity

The OED Online has this wonderful little button called "Lost for Words?" which takes you to a random entry. I got a good-er on my first try.

mho. n. The cgs unit of conductance, equal to the conductance of a body with a resistance of one ohm; a reciprocal ohm. (A resistance of R ohms is equivalent to a conductance of 1/R mhos.)

Just down the street lives the word mianserin:
n. te
tracyclic antidepressant with sedative effects, given orally as the hydrochloride; 1,2,3,4,10,14b-hexahydro-2-methyldibenzo[c,f]pyrazino[1,2a]azepine, C18H20N2.




The song You're So Vain has been in my head this evening as I contemplate getting a site counter and reread past entries that I had forgotten but find witty and wonderful.
I'm so vain
I probably think this blog is about me.
I'm so vain
I bet I think this blog is about me, 'bout me...

Missing It

Over the past month, I have had many spiritual conversations with people. One of the questions I often ask is, "What do you think Christianity is all about?"

girl from Turkey: "You don't believe in abortion or premarital sex, and you think family is important."

girl from China: "My landlords are Christians. I asked them, but they didn't really tell me what it is about."

girl from India: "I went to a Christian school for 11 years. I know the Lord's prayer, and I like to sing hymns."

blonde girl: "It's like other religions. It gives hope for when things are crappy."

church-going girl: "Well, I go to church and I pray. I try to know God."

other girl: "My friends who are Christians go to church and stuff...I don't think you have to believe [the Bible] to be a Christian."

Catholic girl: "I don't really know how to explain it." As we talked further, I shared with her what the Bible teaches about who Jesus is. When I explained how he affects our lives, making us right with God, she looked up at me and said, "That's the one thing that I want."

"I didn't think it could be this easy!" she commented later. This easy being the simplicity of admitting we can't do it on our own, and asking Jesus to stand between us and God.

My point?

Well. For those of you who don't know God or wouldn't consider yourself a "Christian," this is what the Bible teaches (and I fully believe) it means to be a Christian:

1. God exists and has a plan for our lives.
2. We as humans are imperfect - and that imperfection separates us from a perfect God.
3. God's solution for this separation was to send Jesus to live the life that we couldn't, to die for us and take the punishment that we deserve.
4. We each must choose to accept the gift that God offers: a right relationship with God, not out of our own efforts, good deeds, or religious rituals, but out of undeserved charity and love from God.

Maybe you've never heard this before, and you want it. Or maybe you disagree with me. Either way, I would love to dialogue on this subject. (There are many aspects to my faith, but what it comes down to is this: developing the relationship with God that began the moment I asked Jesus to stand before God as the perfect substitute for my imperfect self.)

And for those of you reading along and nodding - are you communicating these core truths to those around you? Or would others, based on their interactions with you, understand Christianity the way some of these other girls did? If so, they are missing the point. And that is largely because you and I are missing it. Or neglecting it. This needs to change.

November 16, 2006

2 Unfortunate Things

Our water is slightly off-coloured this morning. Perhaps due to yesterday's storm? I know I'm not going to die from brushing my teeth, but still...

My earring hole (not "hearing hole" as someone once thought I said) is still infected. I think it's been infected since mid-summer. If my body weren't so antagonizing towards foreign objects, I might re-pierce my nose. But this summer has solidified the fact that it will never happen.

Perhaps I'll follow my dad's sarcastic suggestion and get a tattoo instead.

Update: at 8:45pm I find out there is a boiled water advisory in effect today. This is after the women's social, where I clearly served apparently contaminated water/drinks. Whoops.

November 15, 2006

Poor, Sweet Brolly

My goodbye gift from the one and only Rebecks was a lovely faux-tartan umbrella. Handy and compact, it was unique and fun. He served me faithfully over the past month. I ventured out into today's deluge of wind and rain, and this is what's left of my umbrella:
I am sad to see him go. (Thanks again to Rebecks for such a lovely and practical gift). Fortunately, I am not without an umbrella. On my arrival here, the fantastic girls in the leadership Bible study blessed me with a wonderful array of gifts, including this sturdy and sunny looking wet-weather-protective gear. Notice especially the real wood handle. It is handmade here in Vancouver, and although I am scared I will break or lose it, I must admit, I'm excited to put it to use.

November 12, 2006

Back at the Beach

Looking out toward the Georgia Straight.
Love the colours on the sand.
That dark stream? Ducks. Hundreds of them. I wish I had a zoom and could have taken a close-up.
I like watching the tide come in and splash up on the rocks. The spray hit my camera.
This seawall is the backyard to a multi-million dollar house. I was going to take pictures of the house, but then I noticed the security cameras.

November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day

The amount of love I have for my grampie is immense. We just spoke briefly on the phone, and as always, he made me both smiley and teary-eyed. In honour of Remembrance Day, here is an article that I wrote for the UofG paper last year.

If I were a non-biased reporter, this article would be succint and simple:

In November of 1939, George Fisher and one of his friends transferred from the naval reserves to the Carleton-York Regiment, based in St. Stephen’s, NB. From there, they went to Woodstock, then Camp Aldershot for training. He landed in England before his 21st birthday, and spent the next two years in commando and defense training.

June of 1943 found Fisher and his regiment traveling to north Africa before their invasion of Sicily on July 5. From there, the young machine gunner fought north through Italy to France, up to Belgium, helped bring freedom to Holland, and fought on into Germany before the war ended.

He, unlike many, returned home to his family. He married, raised two boys, and now resides in Guelph with his wife of fifty-nine years, Althea.

All of that is true. But it is not the whole story.

My grampie is the youngest of fourteen children, born on February 28, 1919 and raised in New Brunswick. When he was young, he would ask his uncles, who fought in WWI, what it was like. “Don’t worry,” they’d say, “There’ll be no more wars with the Germans.”

He was working in the children’s ward of a hospital when he joined the Carleton-York Regiment, shortly after the start of WWII. Within four months, Private George Fisher was overseas. Thankfully, they didn’t leave England until two years after they arrived. But the following two years – the Italian Campaign, the freeing of Holland, and the final days in Germany –made military training in war-torn England look easy.

“We went for a bit of adventure,” he told me, “but the adventure ended right after we left England.”

“After a few weeks in the trenches, you can’t even stand yourself, you smell so bad. And all the field lice too.” Thankfully, he says, when there were breaks in the action, the Salvation Army was always there with a mobile unit, where they provided showers, drinks and fresh clothing for the soldiers.

A Bren machine-gunner, he controlled the gun, another soldier loaded it, and yet another acted as sniper, protecting them as they fired. “My life depended on the guy next to me and his life depended on me.”

Engrained in his memory is something his captain often said; “You’re fighting for freedom of speech; for your language and your way, and for freedom of religion – to worship your God in your own way. There is a God and he’ll be watching over us in battle.”

My grampie can’t remember all the places he fought, especially in Holland. They didn’t stop long enough to find out where they were, but kept moving forward, pushing the Germans back.

After one battle, there were an “awful lot of casualties.” Each platoon had only two stretcher bearers, so he and his buddy decided to stay at the front lines and help carry the wounded and dead. He told their officer to mark them as present on the roll call at the station, but the message was forgotten, and a telegraph was sent to his mother, reporting him MIA and presumed dead. She was already ill at the time, just holding out to see her baby boy again. She died shortly after receiving the telegram. The family sent a telegraph to him in Europe, but he never received it, and found out about her death on his arrival home.

“Just almost broke my heart. I was ready to pack up and go back in battle. That’s all I was living for; to get home and see Mom. A gracious woman who loved her Lord. But I’ll see her again – she’ll say, “He came back from the war and he did give his heart to Jesus after all!”

Shortly after his return to New Brunswick, he met my grammie, Althea Harris. One of his favourite stories to tell is of their first date; he fell asleep during the film, and she had to jab him awake with her hatpin. She stuck with him though (no pun intended), and they were married in 1946.

Post-war syndrome set in after they were married, and he would often wake in the middle of the night from horrible nightmares, thinking he was back in battle. His wife would strip the bedding, soaked from sweat.

“We just called it shell-shock…didn’t have no psychiatrists in those days… She stuck by my side; most women would have left.”

For years, he didn’t talk about his experiences in the war. It is only in the last ten years that he has been willing to share with his family some of what he has been through. With others, he still prefers not to say much.

A few years ago, Grampie gave me a pocket-sized New Testament that he had been given when he landed in England. Inside are newspaper clippings sent over and signed with love from his mom. Some verses are underlined, others starred. The pages are, to say the least, worn, and the cover held on with tape. I cried as I flipped through it. This book gave hope. It traveled to north Africa. To Italy. Belgium. France. The Netherlands. Germany. This is my heritage.

As we talked last weekend, I asked if I could write his story, then listened and scribbled as he shared. I verified details, and then asked if there was anything else he wanted to say. He paused before answering.

“When you go through that, you’re never the same person.”

But then he continued, “If I had to do it over again, I would, cause I’m proud of my country, proud to be a Canadian.”

Remembrance Day is a solemn event for him. “I lost a lot of my buddies…the Lord was with me; I don’t know why I deserved to live and all these lovely fellows with me die.”

I don’t know why others had to die either. But I’m grateful for his life, thankful that he survived the closest thing to hell on earth, and proud of him for loving freedom enough to be willing to go through it again. I’m saddened by the losses inflicted and the lives changed by war. I don’t ever want us to forget. And this is why I wear a poppy.

Redeeming Love

Tonight, I grabbed a book, a box of tissues (for my cold, not for crying purposes), curled up on the couch and read. The whole thing. This is one of my favourite novels of all time, and yes, I shed a couple of tears. But I didn't use the tissues to wipe them. Sometimes, I like the feeling of a single tear falling down the side of my face.

Redeeming Love is a powerful statement of love on two levels. It is the most striking portrayal that I have ever read of a man's sacrificial and committed love.- it is beautiful and realistic, and neither shies from sex nor sensationalizes it. Also, it is an allegory of how deeply God loves each one of us. It is a retelling of the prophet Hosea, whom God told to marry a prostitute. When I finished, I read the author's note, as I always do. She explains the significance of writing this book in her own life, and that is another exciting story.

I wish I could convey the intensity and the beauty of this book. I do not know a girl who has read it that wouldn't count it as a favourite (although perhaps they are out there). I wish I knew a guy who had read this book, to hear his thoughts. (Anyone up for a challenge? I'd recommend some sort of book-cover, as the front flap is definitely girly and unfortunately over-the-top.)

Sitting on the couch with the book on my lap, another Plumb song came into my mind. It fits both in the cry of Angel, Redeeming Love's main character, as she falls in love with her husband, and also my own heart, as I seek to fall more in love with the God who loves me with startling intensity.

November 10, 2006

Where Are They Now?

Watching TV...Home Improvement ex-star Zachary Ty Bryan is making a guest appearance on Shark. Can't wait to see how this turns out...he has aged well. A little bit chubbier than when he was 18, but still very much looks the same. (Turns out it's a bit-part and he's gone after two 30 second scenes).
.....

George Stro-something, formerly of Much/MTV/something like that and now a CBC employee (I think he's supposed to be the hip, sexy face for my generation to tune in). And it worked...I decided to check out his show The Hour. I'm not overwhelmingly impressed tonight...first thing: a song making fun of Ted Haggart, which on one hand I understand, but it also makes me sad. I forget what show I was watching earlier this week, but I quote: "You can't make fun of anyone these days!" "Christians. And black people." Also, my friend Alison has a stellar blog with thoughts stemming from this scandal.

Next up: Deepak Chopra, a new-age guru, who is introduced as a man who may have the answer to the question we all ask, "Why are we here?" I disagree with many things, most actually, that he believes (If you want me to go into this in great detail, send me an email). But what stands out to me as I watch, is that he is 60 years old, and dresses like a twenty-one year old. Black plastic frames on his glasses, red-toned striped shirt, dark jeans and flame red sneakers. I like stylish older people, but they shouldn't be so trendy. Also, there's no way his hair is naturally still black.

November 8, 2006

Cut

I wasn't going to post anything tonight. But I'm in love with this song by Plumb. Sad and beautiful and something I can understand.

November 6, 2006

Bus Ads, Bowling, and Balls of Exercise

Bus ads are usually of inferior quality. I find this one hilarious, although I have no inclination toward buying the product (Crest with Scope).

Lonely Existentialist Moose:

Moose seeks partner with fresh perspective to search for answers to the universal questions in life. (deep breath here) Primarily - what is the plural of me? Is it "meese?" - "Meeses?" "Mooses?" "Moosi?" Seriously! Hell is not knowing the plural of yourself. How can I find love if I can't put a label on "we?"

(sigh) Exploring the great truths...that's what counts.

.....

Who knew that 5-pin bowling is a strictly Canadian phenomenon? I went with Wendy and posse on Saturday night: Of the 16 of us, 4 were Canadians...Wendy topped the first game with 169! (I had a measly 82) But I had already topped my previous score by halfway through the next game, and ended off with something like 137. Props to us Canadians, for a fun variation on a universal game.

.....

I bought an exercise ball today as per my physiotherapist's recommendation. But once it is inflated, I don't know what on earth I am going to do with it. It would take up the entire free space in my bedroom, and I don't think my roommate wants it in the living room. My closet? Maybe with some drastic rearranging...or I'll chuck my desk chair and use the ball to sit on instead. Hmmmm.

I received a letter from a friend today. The envelope's Chinese characters apparently congratulate me on my recent wedding. Who knew? Also, I think I have a cavity.

My Day

2 churches and 3 sermons later, I've got some food for thought. [how is that possible? you ask...1 sermon was online!]

The two churches I went to today couldn't possibly have been more different:

evening church morning church

-98 years old -1.5 years old
-big 'ol building -meets in a theatre
-sang hymns -sang songs w/in the last 5 years
-congregation of 60(second service) -congregation of 250
-predominantly hippies -predominantly yuppies
-many community programs -focus on relational interactions

But you know what? They were worshipping the same God. In both churches, I felt both at home and out of place. I found both churches exciting and frustrating. Thankfully, it's not up to me to judge. Both have their strengths. Both have their drawbacks. I enjoyed taking part in communion with two very different communities.

I committed to the morning church (I was just visiting the evening church - it is too far to consider for a home church) after the service . Verbally, at least. I told the pastor, so I'd better follow through on my word. Even though I am intimidated by the people (who I'm sure are actually quite friendly), I think this is where God wants me. Not because it is a better church than others, or because it is so hip and cool that I have to be in with this crowd. But quite simply, because I want in on the pastor's vision for reaching this community. He cast vision through his message of his desire (and his belief that God is calling the church) to commit to, care for and pray for people in their lives, in order that they might come to know Jesus. And that they would then go on to bring others to know Jesus. So simple, so profound. He referred to it as "disciple-making" and "spiritually multiplying" and that was it. Sharing God with others in the hope that they might someday know Him and do the same is the underlying passion of my heart.

Today's third sermon (online) was on covetousness, and it was timely. It is so easy to look around me and want what God has said either "No" or "Not yet" to. I have been guilty of this many times in the last three weeks.
"I don't want the Promised Land unless I have the Promiser with me. Because the reward is not the Promised Land. It's the Promiser. He is the reward."
Overcoming Covetousness:
1. Cultivate a thankful heart.
2. Live a life of giving freely.
3. Pursue the presence of God. - it is impossible to overcome covetousness without God, because it is impossible to be content apart from His presence.

It was a good Sunday. I feel like I connected with someone, and would call us friends now. It is too bad she lives in Abbotsford.


I ate many white cheddar Crispy Minis (soy!) while writing this blog. Mmmmm. Bedtime now.

November 4, 2006

Sportsmanship

Turned on the telly while I ate my lunch. Saturday afternoon...the only thing on that's any good is some British football. So good. An attempt to play-by-play:

White player is down, play goes forward, he stays down.
Ref does nothing.
Blue player notices and kicks the ball out the sideline.
White player gets helped.
White's throw-in - thrown directly back to Blue's goalie.
Play resumes.

Now that is a gentlemanly moment.

November 3, 2006

Self-Analysis

Once again, an entry was started and then just about scrapped. It was to be replaced with:

(in whining voice) It's hard to be the new person!

End of pity-party.

Then I realized that would not replace, but actually completely negate the scrapped entry. So I unscrapped the scrapped entry and have included it here for your perusal. Because otherwise...I would be serving the very things I need to deny (thank you, Wendy, for yet more truth-speaking and spirit-convicting).
.....

I have been thinking and have come to some conclusions.

1. I am narcissistic. Far more than I would like to admit. I think about myself often. As someone said this evening, "I am my own greatest lover." I contemplate how I look, how I dress, how I am perceived by others, what I want to do next, what I will be like in 5 years, what I am good at, why people like me...I sometimes think about my plans for the next two days while others are praying. I look at myself in almost every store front, just to make sure I still look good. I want life to be easy for me. I expect to travel the path of least resistance, because I am me. I will not do things that may cause others to dislike or misunderstand me. Unless I think that by doing so, I will make some other people group like me more. My vanity prompts me to hide the unattractive parts of myself (physically and emotionally) so that I can seem most appealing to the largest number of people.

2. Blame it on a personality that highly values personal relationships, blame it on traumatic junior high years, my obsession with acceptance is unreasonable. I am abnormally concerned with being accepted. The possibility of rejection from someone stresses me out. I will walk through potentially awkward or difficult situations at least a hundred times in my mind so that I am prepared for every possible outcome. It took me a year to realize that one of my friends actually likes me, and even now, I have doubts. Sometimes, when people don't respond to emails, I wonder if they are angry at me or have decided they don't like me, even if there is no possible reason for that to have occurred. Knowing that someone finds me annoying, vain, loud, immature or petty crushes my spirit. There have been moments when I don't even know if I am being myself or not, because who I "really" am and who I think others like me as are so entangled that I can't pull them apart.

I don't think either of these things are healthy. And I'm not saying them to get pity. I'm honestly not wanting sympathy or assurance that people like me. When I stop and think about it, I know I am being unreasonable and extreme. And if there's one reason I've hesitated to post some serious thoughts (last serious post was the 15th), it's because I hate sounding like a whiner.

That, and I'm not so big on letting others see the mixture of narcissism and self-uncertainty that confuddle my mind sometimes.

November 2, 2006

The Un-blog

I wrote a post tonight about the serious thoughts about life in the big city that have been rolling around in my mind since the weekend. But then I deleted it, because I realized that - well, I'm not sure what I realized. Maybe that some things are better communicated not online? Or that some things are meant to be processed internally. Or maybe it means nothing at all.

And so this is a non-post.

November 1, 2006

Quotes

Here are some exerpts from things I've read in the last 48 hours:

(from Master Plan of Evangelism)
They [the disciples] were not hand-shaking emissaries maintaining the status-quo of complacency.

Evangelism is not an optional accessory to our life. It is the heartbeat of all that we are called to be and do. It is the commission of the church which gives meaning to all else that is undertaken in the name of Christ.

(from Christianity Today's interview with John Stott)
[on the recent boom in church growth]
The answer is "growth without depth." None of us wants to dispute the extraordinary growth of the church. But it has been largely numerical and statistical growth. And there has not been sufficient growth in discipleship that is comparable to the growth in numbers.

[on our secular western culture]
I think we need to say to one another that it's not so secular as it looks. I believe that these so-called secular people are engaged in a quest for at least three things. The first is transcendence...the second is significance...and third is their quest for community...These three things about our humanity are on our side in our evangelism, because people are looking for the very things we have to offer them.

[on where we, as the Church, are headed]
My immediate answer is that we need to go beyond evangelism...Now, I am totally committed to world evangelization. But we must look beyond evangelism to the transforming power of the gospel, both in individuals and in society. With regard to individuals, I'm noting in different expressions of the evangelical faith an absence of that quest for holiness that marked our forebears...and the quest for what they sometimes called scriptural holiness or practical holiness.