Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Man of the Year Awards

Before you go any further, let me just assert that I am not into "Men-bashing." These are just pictures someone sent me a while back that I thought were hilarious. I hope you enjoy them too. :)

Man of the Year #1

Man of the year #2

Man of the Year #3

Friday, January 27, 2006

What a day!

Whew! Wednesday was quite a day. I am still recovering from it, though not as much as others.

Terrible road conditions, and a bit of carelessness caused me to do a full 180 with my car on the way to work. It freaked me out a bit, but wasn't a huge deal.

Another co-worker got their car stuck in a snowdrift and had to dig it out.

Then, at the end of the day, my friend Melanie and I decided that we would go to the mall straight from work. Since we live a distance apart, we were driving separately until we got to a more central location. She made a comment about being nervous driving in the current conditions, and we decided she would just follow me.

Well, a few kilometres along the way, I looked into my rearview mirror and on a particularly icy patch saw her lose control of the car as it veered into the oncoming traffic lane. She tried to correct it, but it swerved out of control, finally facing the direction it had come. I wasn't too worried until I saw her sail off the edge of the road, and I saw the underbelly of her car as it began to roll down an embankment, landing right side up.

It was one of the scariest things I've ever seen in my life! I quickly stopped and jumped out of my car, promptly slipping ont he ice and falling flat on my face. Getting up (and feeling like a cartoon character, my legs moving but my body staying in place) I ran to where the car was sitting in a snow bank with it's nose almost dipping into an unfrozen creek. It was such a relief to find her sitting there, conscious in her car. A few other cars stopped, and brought blankets, and I called 911 on my new cell phone.

PRAISE THE LORD she was ok. A concussion and lots of bruises, but she is recovering nicely now, and with a good attitude about it all. We are thankful for the little mercies that God provided that kept this from being so much worse. The emergency personnel who came (VERY quickly, I might add) emphasized how lucky she was.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm not a Strong Christian

I said this to some people recently, and I think I sounded kind of crazy. I think maybe they wondered why I was admitting such a thing.

Looking back to the days when I first "gave in" and offered God all of me, I realize that underneath it all I thought I had a lot to offer Him. I held mentors and Christian leaders up on pedestals, and made it my goal to be a strong Christian. I also became a judgmental person, but that seemed insignificant compared to the gains I was able to make using my willpower to become a moral and upright person, active in the ministry.

I have to say, I'm disillusioned with all of that now. Don't get me wrong, this is not to say that I am disillusioned with God. Indeed not. I'm disillusioned, you could say, with myself.

I can't change myself. I have a strong will-power, but that's no use to God. My will-power was never even remotely sucessful in changing anything but the outside. The only real changes have come when I have acknowledged my helplessness to God, allowing Him to work.

So now, I joyfully acknowledge that I am WEAK. With that acknowledgement, so many ridiculous burdens fall from my shoulders. The burden to be something. The burden to impress. The burden and pressure to be perfect.

It all goes back to that original lie in the Garden of Eden that we don't need God, and can do it ourselves. He never expected me to; so shrugging off that burden I skip happily along my way.

Anyone else want a bracelet that says "LIVE WEAK"? :)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Frantic pace

Be glad as you read this that you are not with me in person, because
1.) I would probably whine about being sick, and
2.) I can't pass on any germs over the internet

Last week I didn't post because life was going at a frantic pace. I worked my usual hours at PIONEERS, diving into my new responsibilities I have taken on there, and also did five shifts at Christian Horizons. It seemed like a good idea back in December when I agreed to do the relief shifts.

I have been so proud of myself over the last year or so for how I have slowed down my life, and limited my commitments, having learned some vital lessons about healthy boundaries. As someone who has regularly burned herself out since high school, I am learning to live a more healthy life, no longer suffering under the delusion that I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.

That said, I still make stupid choices sometimes, and then I pay for them. Donnie (my boss) called me on it today, and I appreciated the gentle rebuke. It was all the more humbling because we had just had a discussion about leadership and ministry, and how most leaders' identities are tied so closely to what they do (as opposed to who they are in Christ), that they take on so much more than is necessary, healthy, or even expected by God.

So, that is my humble confession on a Monday morning, still experiencing repercussions from bad decisions, but learning all the way through. :)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Yesterday I believed that summer is real

Yesterday I was driving to work, and it was a beautiful day. The sun was peeking out from behind the clouds, and the temperature was shockingingly warm for January in Southern Ontario.

I was car-pooling with my friend Melanie, and thinking of how summer usually feels like a mere dream when we are entrenched in the long dark coldness of winter, I remarked to her: "Today, I believe that summer is real."

She thought for a moment, and then said to me, "What do you think God is trying to tell you through that?"

"Uhhh... I don't know... what do you think?"

She smiled. "I think He's telling you that summer is real."

I rolled my eyes. "I thought you were going to come up with some deep truth from that."

"There is- I think He is reminding you that the 'spring' and 'summer' of life are real too, even when you are in the winter and don't feel like it's possible."

I ruminated on that for a while. I had been talking with her the evening before about how I feel like I am in a dark valley right now, and have been for a long time. There are many great things in my life that I am so thankful for- but underneath everything is a deep sadness. I told her that I have trouble believing that the valley will ever end.

The past 4 years have been tough ones, and through it all, God has taught me that He offers precious gifts in brokenness. I have found
Him in my brokenness, and I wouldn't trade anything for that. I'm in a painful valley, but I know that there is firm ground underneath my feet. I know that God is with me. Sometimes He feels far away, like right now, but there is something even deeper than feelings- a certainty that He is good and He loves me.

Yesterday though, He reminded me, through a warm day and a good friend, that the valley is not all there is- or ever will be.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Back to normal life

Here are some more pictures from the New Year, and my time in NB. I'm back in ON now, back to work and back to normal life. I was sad to leave my family, but it will be nice to get back into a bit of a schedule (oh no- I am one of those people!)

After a games night with the family, we went out to a restaurant in Moncton to celebrate the New Year: here are Deven and Heather.

Here I am with my sister, and our friend Melissa.

Making a gingerbread house with my cousins

We had some leftover frosting to have fun with...

The finished product.... ta-da!