June 30, 2008

Fantasy

I picked up a book at Chapters last week. It was going to be my vacation reading. But then I started it and now I'm finished it. It was supposed to be a light read, something that would just entertain me mindlessly. But I got a bit more than I bargained for, which is ok.

The book, Tathea, is the first foray into fantasy by the author of Victorian mysteries. It wasn't long before I realized that the book wasn't just trying to tell a story, but to prove a belief of some sort. And I started wondering if the author was a Christian.

So close, yet not quite. She's a member of the LDS church. I am trying to figure out the theology in the book and how it reflects a faith that is like mine but isn't. They're sooooo subtle, the differences.

Not gonna lie, I'm kind of sad. But I am feeling inclined towards fantasy, and after a great movie experience a few weeks back, I've decided to peruse The Chronicles of Narnia while on vacation next week. Cover to cover, all six of them.

June 27, 2008

The Aged




This is beauty. At nearly 91. This is my Grammie. I love her dearly. And I'm grateful every time I get another visit with her.






And this is my Grampie. Someone told me tonight that I look like him, and for the first time, I realized I do. I have his nose. And his smile lines around my mouth.

A Happy Coincidence


Grampie Celebrates
Originally uploaded by bethaf.
I discovered on the way out the door that my grandparents & parents were headed to the same restaurant as I - they to celebrate 62 years of wedded bliss, me to celebrate the end of my summer assignment. I managed to come by their table and take a few pictures, and couldn't help editing this cheeky one.

June 26, 2008

Need Help?

This site is willing to help.

And you don't want to know who Alessandro is.

June 25, 2008

William Fitzsimmons

Next week is the Brooke Fraser concert in Toronto, which everyone knows is going to be brilliant and fun. That's why I'm going. And of course, in building excitement for this event (I don't often go to concerts, and I don't always like concerts, but I have high hopes for the laid-back nature of this. I'm hoping it will feel less like crazy chaos and more like a really large coffee house performance...), anyway. In building excitement for this adventure with Nadine, we dutifully checked out her opening act on myspace.

And I have a new favourite artist.

I was predisposed to liking him because of his name - it is vaguely close to the incomparable Mr. Darcy's first name - and now I'm decidedly enjoying his music. So all of you should enjoy it too.

First Thought

I find it fascinating, the things I wake up thinking about. This morning it was a song from 1996. I don't even know the last time I heard it. I was going to link to the music video, but on second thought, it's not exactly a wholesome time. Thankfully, only this line was going through my head:

I like the way you work it.
No diggity,
I've got to bag it up.


Thank you, Blackstreet...

June 21, 2008

Am I Bovvered?

I recently discovered "Lauren," played by Catherine Tate.




She also excels in English.



And loves staying after class.



She even likes the Queen. (skip the first four minutes on this one.)

June 20, 2008

June 17, 2008

Like Broccoli in the Teeth

Last summer, a wise man said to my class, "If I have a conversation with you and five minutes later find out I have broccoli in my teeth, you are not my friend!"

I thought this was profound wisdom and have reflected on it often over the past year, sometimes quoting it to my friends as I point out broccoli or spices or sauce or other items in their teeth and on their face.

The principle, in case it isn't quite clear, is that a friend would risk the small awkwardness of pointing out your spinach-filled teeth to protect you from the larger awkwardness of having it there in front of those less forgiving.

In talking with one of my friends last night, I realized how much I appreciate this truth in things that are bigger than mere broccoli. Friends (and I mean close, trusted friends) are given to us to point out the specks in our eyes (or mouth) that we are blind to see.

John M. Gottman, PhD

As mentioned recently, I dislike vague questions. And I feel affirmed in this, as I've been reading The Relationship Cure. In a chapter on emotional communication skills, he writes:

Avoid questions that are too open-ended - questions like "What's new?" or "How's it going?" Too often, people give pat responses to such queries, perhaps because they're not sure you really want to now. But if you can ask the same type of question in a more tailored way, you're sure to get meatier answers.

There you have it, from an expert. And I recommend the whole book. It's an interesting study of human interaction and relationship-building.

June 16, 2008

Wowsers, iTunes!

Single of the Week is back. This week's free download from iTunes was a big UK hit, apparently. It's catchy, and its lyrics are surprisingly....well, they're surprising.

Here it is: (Black & Gold by Sam Sparro)

If the fish swam out of the ocean
and grew legs and they started walking
and the apes climbed down from the trees
and grew tall and they started talking

and the stars fell out of the sky
and my tears rolled into the ocean
now i'm looking for a reason why
you even set my world into motion

'cause if you're not really here
then the stars don't even matter
now i'm filled to the top with fear
that it's all just a bunch of matter
'cause if you're not really here
then i don't want to be either
i wanna be next to you
black and gold
black and gold
black and gold

i looked up into the grey sky
and see a thousand eyes staring back
and all around these golden beacons
i see nothing but black

i feel a way of something beyond them
i don't see what i can feel
if vision is the only validation
then most of my life isn't real

'cause if you're not really here
then the stars don't even matter
now i'm filled to the top with fear
that it's all just a bunch of matter
'cause if you're not really here
then i don't want to be either
i wanna be next to you
black and gold
black and gold
black and gold

June 13, 2008

I'm Learning to Drive Standard

This week has been one of those times where it's been so glaringly obvious what God is saying to me. It's almost laughable, in that, this-is-so-great-and-obvious, how can I doubt that You speak to me and that I know Your voice? sort of way.


Also, I never know how to respond to the question, "How's it going?" It's quite possibly the biggest question on earth. More difficult to answer than any other question, I think. Too vague for its own good, more personal than anything else, and yet decidedly impersonal at the exact same time.



(yes, the title and content of this post are entirely unrelated)

June 11, 2008

At Zellers

Coming home after a rather deep discussion, I stopped to return a purse (since I had found a much better purse) and while waiting in line, decided I would do some browsing after. I thought to myself, Beth, shopping is not a wise way to decompress. But then I thought, I kind of like the look of those clothes. And maybe I'll see something I need.

Thankfully, God is sovereign in situations like that, and as I turned around, I stopped. So did she, a girl I hadn't seen in nearly two years, a girl I have quite enjoyed. After two minutes of chatting, she asked, "Do you want to go grab a coffee?"

Well, coffee turned into ice cream, and as we sat on a rickety bench, we talked about our lives and what we've been learning. And while our lives are vastly different (she, at 29 is a mom of two boys), the lessons God is teaching us are nearly identical. And completely relevant to the very things I was wanting to decompress.

The moral of the story? God is good and knows precisely what I need. When we parted ways, we discovered that we were even parked next to each other! Also, shopping is not always bad. If I hadn't bought that purse, I wouldn't have been returning it just as she was coming in to do a little browsing herself...

June 10, 2008

New Swag

New purse! Selling feature: the lining!


New journals! Saving the bright one for those dreary winter months!


Both necessary purchases. Both tres exciting. Both ready to be broken in...

Nice & Meek

My coworkers & I have been reading and discussing Humility by Andrew Murray. It has been really thought-provoking, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. There has been some push-back (especially from the guys) on some of the language that Murray uses, especially his use of "meek" and "lowly." In our day and age, those words just don't fly. So the question is then - is it the biblical concept that we don't like, or just the language we use to describe it? (Oh, semantics! How I love my degree...) Because Jesus clearly referred to himself as meek and lowly. And commended others for their meekness.

What is meekness, exactly?

Well, that is a great question.

I really liked this explanation, from Barnes NT Notes:

Meekness is patience in the reception of injuries. It is neither meanness, nor a surrender of our rights, nor cowardice; but it is the opposite of sudden anger, of malice, of long-harboured vengeance.

Meekness produces peace. It is proof of true greatness of soul. It comes from a heart too great to be moved by little insults. It looks upon those who offer them with pity. He that is constantly ruffled, that suffers every little insult or injury to throw him off his guard, and to raise a storm of passion within, is at the mercy of every mortal that chooses to disturb him. He is like the troubled sea that cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.


And add this statement from Robertson's NT Word Pictures:

It [meekness] is the gentleness of strength, not mere effeminacy.

Hm. I like. It reminds me of what someone once said. "The greatest strength is power under restraint."

I like the concept, but don't really like calling it "meekness." Meek has too many negative connotations. So now the hunt for a new word has begun...

June 5, 2008

Summer in Ontario

The moon is barely a sliver,

high and golden in a deep sky.

Lightning flashes, illuminating the clouds, sending

silhouettes off

in rapid succession.

I drive

faster

on the highway and wish I could

catch them.

Wish I could drive

into the clouds and

under the rain and

between the flashes.

Wish I could fly

up to the moon

and sleep, cradled in its curve.

June 3, 2008

Books


Books
Originally uploaded by bethaf.
I love books. I love old things. I love old books. I also love photography and St. Jacob's, where I took this photo.

June 2, 2008

Life & Death

So Sarah is married, and I lost the bet, and she's off to the States. This weekend confirmed that I really love my family, that life is not static and that is ok, and that the good is always mingled with the sad. I think Sarah & Lalo should name their first daughter Zara, after Sarah. Then her child will be guaranteed to be at the end of the alphabet. Zamora is apparently a common last name, but not where I come from.

Next week, my dad's parents both have meetings with specialists, and I expect that the news will not be good. But this further confirms God's goodness in our lives as my parents were able to purchase a house with two suites (one of which is occupied by said grandparents, the other which is inhabited by my parents), before things started to go downhill. Now, we're merely a flight of stairs away.

I am slightly further away, but am significantly closer than the 4.5 hour flight from Vancouver. So I'm glad to be here, and grateful for the time, and feeling peaceful about the future. I don't feel the need to hold on forever, knowing that at 90 years, life has been full. And that is good. Since birth, we've been destined for this.

I am so glad that doesn't frighten me. And I feel for those it does.