12/23/11

I just got this letter...

Rena, have you learned nothing?

How can you expect yourself to feel an instinctual, passionate, abandoned loyalty and love towards the One that you don't spend time with?

If it were a man in your life and you just kept reading things about him, talking about him with friends, listening to what his best friends have to say about him and what kind of guy he is, but never actually spend intimate time with him yourself, you know your level of affection would have a limit... one that is very low... too low to sustain a healthy, interactive relationship.

Furthermore, if you finally really started to spend some time with him, but only talked about yourself, your needs, and your interest in getting to know him, rather than hearing his voice and allowing yourself to experience his heart by listening to him, you would stop caring about him and grow bored. You will grow bored of listening to your own voice complaining and requesting when you already know that he is the one for you.

Stop trying to gain Him, Rena.

Stop trying to experience Him by playing the part that you've learned you should play, reading the instructions on how to live in relationship with Him, but never actually throwing yourself into His arms and letting His embrace warm you from head to toe and change you from the inside out. It's the difference between trying to pick off all of the burnt bits seemingly cemented to the inside of a casserole dish with your fingernails rather than allowing hot water and soap do all of that work overnight while you sleep.

In His own perfect power, and in His own perfect way, it's His love that does the work - not you and your struggle to change.

Love,

Rena

12/21/11

gluten, i'm sorry but we are so done.


yes, you're delicious, but you're ruining everything. i'm not going to miss you at all. i'm moving on...

12/19/11

if my heart was a compass, You'd be north

the themes of my Christmas break, aside from trying to remind myself the reason we celebrate, are to be simple; to stop & think; to dream and set goals; to try to listen, both to others and myself but more importantly, to god; & just... to really know. i want to pay more attention to the page than the screen, more the pen than the keyboard, more the wind than the radio, more the Him than the me...
throughout some of this quiet time & attempts at reflection, i've finally kind of had an awakening about the path i'm on in my education - specifically, why the program i'm currently in isn't leaving me with the warm fuzzies i was expecting. since i started the BEd program at UBC in early september, i knew there was something missing. i know i love kids, and i know i'm stinking good with them. i know i can be stinking good at teaching them & this is what i've been planning on doing with myself for 6 years now. so why don't i have that same fervency my peers all seem to embody? i know that this isn't about them and that i shouldn't compare, but it stirs concern in me because i've been watching their eager engagement with the curriculum, extracurricular workshops, projects, reflections, class disscussion, etc., and i can't help but feel like i'm just not there. & i know i should be.
this is true for me full stop: i'm not a sport for complacency & i don't take it lightly i've been blessed and fortunate enough to be born in a country and circumstance of opportunity. i believe in finding true joy everyday in something outside of yourself everyday. & if you can get paid for it, that's just an added bonus. & if that something is rejected by society, well... even better:). although i don't always understand them, i admire in the "happy radical" who just relishes in his/her detachment from people-pleasing or fear of rejection.
i don't remember the last time i've felt this estranged: suddenly the career i've had my heart set on since 2006 no longer seems like my happily-ever-after. i knew this for a while but i kind of just compartmentalized it until i had time to sift through a little bit. it's not that i don't love my program. ubc is a great school and they've developed an incredible program for my cohort centered around ethical issues, social justice, diversity, inclusion, and genuine love for our students.
it's not that i don't love my placement. i'm placed with an awesome group of grade 5/6 kids whose teacher (my mentor) is phenomenal at what she does. & she gives the best feedback and guidance i could ever ask for.
it's not that i've discovered i don't love kids. in case anything is unclear: i love love looooove children. of all shapes and sizes. i love their imagination, their joy, their simple, tenderhearted, untainted sense of justice, and their excitement for learning and complete dependance on, and love for, the models in their lives. i love their energy and fragility & they are the pb to my celery. just to be clear.
it's just that my heart is not in teaching. & it was finally my honesty with mom this morning during our typical coffee-chat (that i've missed oh-so-much) that brought about the truth: i just don't love teaching. as i thought back to being a camp counselor, it became so obvious: my least favorite part of the days were teaching instructional activities. why? because it usually gave me little chance to get to know the hearts of the kids. my heart is in hearts - stories, feelings, passions, love, difficulty, social-learning and development. my heart isn't in educating minds; it's in enriching, inspiring, and encouraging hearts. although we are being trained to be involved with our students on an individual basis, our primary responsibilities are to educate, train, and build-up and to meet irp's to ensure that our students are being adequately equipped for the next grade. although i feel this is of incredible worth and value to children's lives, i know it would break my heart to be in front of a classroom teaching to the children and meeting this standards, because i'd want so badly, but simply wouldn't have time, to be sitting in with them, listening to their hearts, & guiding them socially.
when rubber hits the road, i'm not stressed about it because i know who is in control. & though ironic, His plan is also entirely loving. i'm not going to quit this program. i think that i am right where i'm suppose to be because even if being an elementary school teacher isn't exactly the dream job for me, i don't know what is. i believe in my whole heart this will simply be used as another vessel in steering me where i know God wants me. After all, my steps are directed by Him. how then can i understand my own way? (Proverbs 20:24). i believe in His purpose in where i am right now. beyond that, i have no idea, i have no control, & i'm excited to see His purpose in my life unfold.

12/16/11

christmastime: it's good.

things about home that are awesome:

- mom's warm sock collection
- fleece sheets
- bath salts & bubble bath
- baking ingredients!!
- HOOKAH
- deep-clean-everything
- 3 murray gals under one roof (this is a double-edge sword)
- celeb status everywhere you go
- 5 minutes to get anywhere you could possibly think of going
- the landing (running trail)
- fresh coffee, in the pot, ready to go, e'ry morning.
- real christmas trees
- christmas lights enthusiasm all over town
- piano and guitar
- my own escort
- tripple-ply-toilet-paper
- surround sound
- spring water
- CHEESE
- personal alarm service
- bright bathroom lights (i can see my pores!)
- memories all over the walls
- smell of cinnamon and evergreen
- guilt-free heat
- groceries with mom
- devo partner

12/8/11

the fruit of obedience.

Living modestly is something that I can't really boast about doing. I sometimes try to because I don't own that new coat, or that new gadget, or I don't buy real leather. But the truth is, if I was good with my money, I probably would buy those things. I don't own a car, I use an LG Rumor, & the only time I buy articles of clothing unthrifted, they are almost always a really good sale. But I still never have money for anything it seems and there are always things that I am coveting that other people have that I just simply can't afford. So I use this cop-out that I just like to "live more modestly"... so here is my confession.
& the time has come. I knew this day would come ever since I heard that another camp counsellor at Sandy Hill, Lizzie, was doing a fashion-fast - she was going one entire year without purchasing any articles of clothing. When I first heard about that, I thought it was something I could never do. But it was the same thought that gave me the inkling that someday I would be convicted to do the same. You're always convicted to do things that are hard... relatively difficult for you. It reminds me of my catholic friends growing up who would be like "for Lent this year, I'm giving up... BROCCOLI." Like... Joke's. On. You, Jesus.

But today was the day that conviction took a strong hold on my heart. I borrowed Blue Like Jazz (get it!) from my awesome possum Community Group leaders, Scott&Jo-Lee, and the author, Donald Miller, is so much like me it kinda blows my mind. Not in every sense, but in so many, do I feel like he is revealing more layers of me than I've had revealed in so long. It kind stings but in some ways, it is so relieving just because at least now I know someone else understands... that I'm not totally crazy. Today I wrapped up the chapter on Community, and started reading the chapter about Money. I predicted it would be a bad one.
& I was right.
A few weeks ago I took the members class at Westside and of course, on the topic of becoming a member of a church, you have to talk about the T-word... tithing. [insert collar-tugging-tongue-sticking-out-face]. I raised my hand as a challenge to Pastor Chad: "I feel like I'm not really a part of this conversation. As a student, all the money I have is the governments... if I'm not technically making money, how am I suppose to reasonably tithe off of what I'm not making?"
His response was really similar to the response that Donald Miller's pastor had for him when he was struggling with the same thing: "When we do what God wants us to do, we are blessed, we are spiritually healthy. God wants us to give a portion of our money to His work on earth. By setting aside money, you are trusting God to provide."
Essentially, it's not about the amount. It's about the sacrificial attitude. The way Chad said it made my heart sink a little. He brought up the fact that you might buy a few lattes or meals-out throughout the week... you might splurge on yourself a little with a glass of wine with a friend. If you can do that with this money, then you can give to God. If I truly believed that everything I have is ultimately God's anyways, how can I spend another dime on something I don't need?

I know that my $10/week isn't going to make much of any substantial difference in Westside's ministry. Not on the surface anyways. But that $10/week (& I'm just using $10 because it's probably about how much I spend on my extra-hot-no-foam-soy-sugar-free-cinnamon-dolce-americano-misto's... YAP, that's my drink) is going to make so much of a difference in God's kingdom both by how my heart is changed in the process of giving with a thankful heart, and in the way that God's provision can be displayed in our acts of faith towards things like money.
Miller talks about his friend, Penny, who did the year long fashion-fast and it clicked that it was something I needed to do. And I am not posting this for a pat on the back or something. I don't want that at all because I realize that will completely cancel out the purpose behind it - it's for His glory, not mine. It's not some kind of martyrdom... & even if it was, I don't think the martyr wants glory to be given to anyone but the person they are being martyrd for. But, excuse me... I digress. The reason I write this on my public blog is because I want to be held accountable. If I keep it to myself or only a few people, it seems less likely that I will stick to it.

I've learned about discipline in the last 6 weeks giving up gluten and [almost] dairy (okay I cheated on gluten like twice). It's so hard to say no to those wonderful and delicious looking things you're so use to eating. It takes discipline to say no. But I've learned something about discipline - it actually feels really great. It's inspired me to try discipline in other areas.

My point is, I am crap with money. I am on a student loan, and budgeting to the best of my abilities, but my money goes "down the drain" on things I don't need, and they are always things for myself. My giving ability is incredibly limited and I'll be the first to admit it. I feel like I am constantly receiving and never giving and how is this any benefit to the kingdom?
So I am taking this conviction as an opportunity to do something. Starting January 1st (and NO, it's not a new years resolution... it's just a First of the month thing...) I will:
- not buy any article of clothing, including socks, hats, wallets, shoes, jewelry, for SIX-MONTHS (I could try a year but I feel like if my goal is more realistic, I'll be more successful)
- not buy any more espresso drinks for SIX-MONTHS (drip or tea is okay & that's simply because "coffee dates" are important for community and friendship and those drinks are cheaper alternatives)
- give more. to the church, to others, and to the needy. I haven't decided what that will look numerically like but it's in the works.

So here is my declaration. My mom is in complete disbelief. Just to show how reluctant I am to actually do this, after I read this chapter, I went out and bought a pair of pants... haha like in such panic that I am not going to be able to get them after January 1st. I texted mom to tell her about my idea and her exact response: "Hmmm... okai... whateva"
Clearly she's not buying it. And I don't blame her. My past has shown how terrible I am at money. Money, more notably, sacrifice, giving, commitment, and discipline.
So here goes nothing...

12/1/11

CS Lewis, you get me.

As the Ruin Falls

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love --a scholar's parrot may talk Greek--
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

CS Lewis

11/21/11

quality time

i've discovered that i have a lot of time on my hands since i've gone off facebook & found many other great and useless things you can do other than go on facebook.

here is a list I've compiled entitled "Things You Can Do Other Than Facebook" (it turns out there are a whole buncha things but i narrowed it down to these favorites)

take naps & enjoy REM: you know that awkward moment when you go to take an awesome nap and find yourself still living vicariously through other people's facebook lives half an hour later...
get out there and... go shopping!: spending money takes your mind off of problems you may be facing such as lack of friends or... being poor, for example
skype your long distance friends and lovers: & discover that you actually have no idea what they've been up to (i.e., getting pregnant, getting jobs, winning the lottery, etc)
reconnect with your ex's: seriously. brilliant thinking. it's good for stimulating your intellect as well as your emotions.
think of and find even more amazing/hilarious things to tweet about:

get into shape: this isn't useless at all actually... if you actually do more than simply consider doing it
make guacamole (&other high-rated recipes you stumbleupon): & then eat it
stumble your life away: "just one more stumble... ohmyeyesareshutting[&yup,ijusthadadreamithink]... just ONE more stumble..."
look at pictures of bridal gowns & weddings: while listening to joshua radin and bright eyes. gross.
go out on coffee dates with friends & talk about life:
this tends to lead to caffeine overdoses so i would suggest opting for decafe
make lists: case in point.
text more: it's way more personal than posting on people's walls because it's just between you and that one person
paint a picture: it's a good way to express yourself. it's like therapy you can look at after.
look through flyers to find the discounts: this could also include groupon, socialshopper, or virtually anything you can look at things you don't need but think you should get because they are on sale
do homework: or not
post inspiring blogs: again, case in point...
get really into something and start a collection: this could be anything from teas, to corks, to thrifted framed pictures of dogs

so yeah. i've been doing so many great things since i deactivated my account a few days ago. lemme know if you have other great ideas.

11/11/11

the constant is change

i know i usually write more from my heart in my blog but i literally have nothing else to say. this song sums everything up perfectly.

Switchfoot - Restless



i am the sea on a moonless night,
calling, falling, slipping tides
i am the leaky, dripping pipes
the endless aching drops of light
i am the raindrop falling down,
always longing for the deeper ground

i am the broken, breaking seas
even my blood finds ways to bleed

even the rivers ways to run
even the rain to reach the sun
even my thirsty streams,
even in my dreams

i am restless, i am restless
i am restless, looking for you
i am restless, i run like the ocean to find your shore
i'm looking for you


i am the thorn stuck in your side
i am the one that you left behind,
i am the dried up doubting eyes
looking for the well that wont run dry

running hard for the other side
the world that i've always been denied
running hard for the infinite
with the tears of the saints and hypocrites

oh blood of black and white and gray
death and life and night and day
one by one by one
we let our rivers run

i am restless, i am restless
i am restless, i'm looking for you
i am restless, i run like the ocean to find your shore
i'm looking for you


yea, i can feel you breathing
i can feel you leaving
more then just a feeling, more then just a feeling
i can feel you reaching
pushing through the ceiling
until the final healing
i'm looking for you

until the sea of glass we meet
at last completed and complete
the tide of tear and pain subside
laughter drinks them dry

i'll be waiting
anticipating
all that i aim for
what I was made for
with every heartbeat

all of my blood bleeds
running inside me
looking for you
looking for you

i am restless, i am restless
i am restless, looking for you
i am restless, i run like the ocean to find your shore
i'm looking for you

11/3/11

temper tantrum

It's kind of bizzare how often, when I'm dealing with a little bruise on my heart or anxiousness, I get bursts of insight from various places that I feel are speaking directly to me. Maybe it's just my mindset that I start to think everything is so relevant and meant just for me to hear, but more likely I'd say, God is using my surroundings to show me new things. Sometimes I'm more open to hearing from Him than other times; right now would probably be a good example of a time I'm just paying more attention. But I'm sure if I really stopped and quieted my busy mind more often, I would find myself hearing the still, small voice that just reaches out, loves, and more importantly, guides my thoughts and actions.
Yesterday, my devotional was about choosing peace as an answer to a situation where you may butt heads with someone in your life. Okay... accepted as true but... ehhh - not ready.
Then today, I read Courtney's blog (which I haven't really ever) & it was about letting go of hurt. & this picture was on it.
First of all, I love Lemony Snickets. Second, that is me right now. Thanks for that.

Right now the lesson I am learning is how to put down my pride, chose peace, & let go of anger & resentment. I'm not talking about one of those situations where someone has really, truly, intentionally wronged you but one where you just don't see eye-to-eye with someone or they have hurt you out of ignorance and now feel sorry for doing so.
Resentment is a nasty thing, and it can cause you to act completely out of character & say things that you don't deep-down believe or feel - they are just temporary feelings that erupt out of a reaction. I think it's important to get those temporary feelings out. But that is maybe better done on a piece of paper that you subsequently burn because it's really not meant for anyone to see - it's just meant to make sure it's not rotting away inside your heart. Resentment can be one of those things that we hold on to because it's either too painful for us to look at or it's too humbling for us to forgive. I am not a grudgeful person, but I do think that my approach to dealing with someone who I feel has wronged me is unhealthy. I kind of just throw a fit when my pride has been hurt. It actually looks shockingly similar to a child who throws a tantrum after he/she feels silly for doing something embarrassing or wrong. It's just sometimes easier to blame than to possibly think you may have some ownership.
Eventually, though, I need to repent of that tantrum & chose to be at peace with my world & the people in it. The truth is, these things usually aren't happening for some arbitrary reason. They are usually happening because we have some growing to do. So today, I chose to look at my circumstance not as some sort of cruel harrasment from the world, but as a chance to show love, peace, humility, & from it, grow.
I think the world really misleads us into thinking the answer is to look out for #1. I do think that it's important we guard our hearts against things that will hurt us, but when we guard our hearts just so we don't look bad, it leads to a lot of unproductivity. Instead of moving forward, it's like we are choosing to remain as a stubborn child. I must chose to love my neighbor as myself. I already knew this deep down, but that truth has been reinforced in many ways over the past few days & I accept its importance.

10/29/11

abandoning ship


in the [highly unlikely] event of an emergency, where passengers must abandon ship, life-saving floatation devices will be available to all members on deck.

i'm wondering what the purpose of those life-saving floatation devices would be, or what they would mean to us, if there was no possibility of an emergency, if we were ignorant to that possibility, or, you know, if we built our ships in such a way that we thought they were invincible to that threat

10/28/11

ben harper was onto something...

i just read a great, wonderful thing. &i just can't not share.

"So if the Son sets you free, you'll be free indeed." John 8:36
... sometimes the pain of our past comes calling. many people, particularly women, have an emotional disposition or personality type that lends itself to dwelling on bitter memories. our adversary often misuses this sensitivity to accuse and discourage us. he tempts our thoughts with guilt over past deeds. he calls into question the penalty of our past as if it is somehow unpaid - an outstanding debt he convinces us we must pay ourselves. we respond to his perverse persuasion by feeling as if we don't deserve the love of family or friends, much less God's love. after what you've done? who are you kidding? this is the language of lies-a familiar tongue to anyone who longs to be free from a shameful past.

he tries to slip the chains of guilt back on our shoulders. And sometimes we again pick up those old familiar chains - our guilt feels so comfortable that we revert to it out of habit. but Christ has set us free.
He paid the full penalty for our wrong. every wrong thought, word or action - all paid for.
don't believe the lie. God set you free; the Jesus, the Christ, died that you would be free - but you must choose to live that way.

"His call on our lives is a call to liberty. freedom is the cornerstone of christianity."

[paraphrased from biblegateway.]

10/24/11

her name is sydney gillian macintyre

there is this girl that blesses me.
so much.
sydney gillian macintyre is her name;
it means bona fide, passionate, charming;
it's like the color of the ocean when the sun is at it's best;
it's hearing that relient k song you forgot about but always use to pull you out of a bad mood;
it's the memory of your favorite uncle that could always make you smile;
it's your go-to snack that's always in the cupboard;
she teaches me about dedication to the things that are worth it & appreciation for the small things
when she tells me about the things that make her happy & gives me advice;
her name is sydney gillian macintyre;
which means a lifetime more to me now than it did the day i first heard it.

10/20/11

letting go of the familiar.

I'm super glad that God doesn't turn me into a pillar of salt when, in my processes of transformation, I look back and long for my old ways. He actually did that to someone once upon a time. It was this girl in the bible who was married to a guy named Lot. You can read about it in Genesis 19 if you are interested.
This e-devo came at a pivotal moment for me. It talked about how hard it is to let go of the familiar - to toss away those blankets of comfort because we know what's good for us; we know that we must be disciplined & a little bit uncomfortable in order to grow. We make these decisions all the time, every day. Even if you think that you're living only for the very present moment you're in, you're probably not as much as you think you are. We do it in the seemingly inconsequential decisions of everyday life because it's a part of how we've been taught. If you don't do things you don't want to do, then you don't get to experience other greater things that matter more. You get out of bed when you don't want to sometimes, right? Because you know that the comfort of staying in your bed for another hour, like you want to, isn't as great as getting up when you should and negating the consequences that would take place if you didn't (late for work and get in trouble or late for school and feel like a dummy). You get up and leave the comfort of your bed because it's the head-over-heart choice to make. We're all trained, to some extent, about the importance of doing things even if you don't really feel like it, because of the greater good. This e-devo came the day after my last blog entry and it was just an extension of that entry. Not only do we need to run with endurance towards those long-term and deeper rewards in life, but we need to not look back.
Lot's wife left behind a familiar place... a comfortable place. Even though she knew it was destructive and dark and not a place she should stay or would want to stay, it was still a place that she had come to know as home. In more lament terms, it's the bed that you don't want to get out of but know you need to. Have you ever gotten out of bed in the morning fully intending to start your day and then sadly look back at it wishing you were still in it? Haha. I do that all the time! I've even gotten out of bed, put the coffee on, and then crawl back in desperately for one more cozy minute. How pathetic...
But the point is, it doesn't help me move on and start my day. Yearning to be back in my bed is just distracting me from the tasks of the day that I need to begin.
I don't want to stay the same, guys. I want to grow and I want to move on from those things that are holding me back from doing so. This passage urges us to do that. It's hard to leave the familiar behind but it's so worth it. The devotion said "... we all struggle with the difficulties of letting go of the old in order to grasp the new. Take heart. God understands that letting go of the familiar is hard. Yet he has called us to move on to new life in Jesus Christ by letting go of our old worldly lives, our old habits, our old dreams-to boldly move forward without looking back." Why? Because he has something much better waiting for me.
I want to shed my layers, actualize my potential, and instead of looking back, yearning for the old, & therefore, making it harder on myself, I want to step out in faith & see, as I always do, the reward.

10/15/11

oh, inconsistently crying out for consistency.

i don't wanna jinx it but i have an inkling that maybe, possibly, sorta, kinda i feel like i might actually be getting better at life. okay, don't quote me. i can't handle that kind of accountability. claire is my most trusted partner in crime in my life. why? because she actually has experienced first hand how much of a roller-coaster i am and how much i seem to contradict myself following a real life-lesson.
this is usually how it plays out: i do dumb things, i feel stupid for doing dumb things, i repent, i feel empowered to not do that dumb thing again, spill to claire how i'm really ready to put it behind me and learn from that mistake, & then, well, i repeat. the entire thing.
& claire is the one that has seen me through that process, and still high-fives me when i go to her about how ready i am to be "better at life" (& no one should ever view life as i do like thinking that there is some sort of ultimate goal to reach in perfecting yourself as a human being. there isn't. i don't think we're ever going to get there. i think that's part of my problem.) even though she probably has a sneaking suspicion that i won't actually follow through with it. like my mom says, we try our best to weed out the crap we can, but like a dog goes back to it's vomit, we may forget just how bad the consequences were last time, or we may think we're invincible for some reason, & go back to our shameful ways.
i kinda use the "work-in-progress" line as a cop-out because it's such a forgiving way to explain my stated above state of being. the raw version is: "i'm brutal at learning from my mistakes, doing the right thing, and living for the greater, long-term, & deeper rewards in life." i'm just bad at it. maybe it's because i have a terrible memory or maybe behavior modification doesn't work on me as well as it does on other people.
maybe right now, things are going to get better. maybe i don't know why. maybe because it's my first time genuinely trying to be single. & it's just me, my mistakes, & that guilt... & no one to forgivingly hold me through my messiness. please don't get me wrong: i don't think it's healthy to hold on to guilt so that you avoid your worst habits like the plague. but i do think it's good to use that feeling of guilt as a memory to guide your future choices. although i do enjoy indulging in satisfying my appetite today, i value long-term reward far more. i think it's going to be about keeping that desire in the forefront of my mind that will help me take the next right step each time i'm faced with a choice between the greater good & the right-now-good.

10/5/11

profile-picture perfect.

Today I came home from school to a message from a girl that I once became facebook friends with because we had mutual friends. Back in '07 when facebook was still a relatively new concept in my life, I would accept friend requests from, and send them to, anyone and everyone that seemed like a nice person. Since becoming her facebook friend, I have received lovely little uplifting messages from her every now and again expressing her great interest in [her perception of] my life from what she knew of me based on my facebook profile pictures, status updates, and my blog. It was never creepy whatsoever. It came right from her heart and I knew what she meant because I feel that same way about others in my life!
Today, part of her message read:

hello!
so, still your biggest fan...
i love to think i live vicariously through your adventures out west, in the states, really... all around the world! i love reading your blog & learning from it, soaking in advice and adventures....
i just want to let you know how admired you are and i know not just by me but by MANY. it's not hard to tell you are an incredible friend to many many loving people, its not hard to see that you are real, honest & open - it reminds me to check myself for fake and then to be rid of it. your adventures remind me that there is more to life then just going through the motions.
i think more people should have your outgoing and positive additude, because you truly get the most out of this life our creator has so thoughtfully and carefully designed for us.
anyways, just a little random note to let you know even though someone has never met you in person - your character truly shines even via the internet and bloggingggg & your character is wholesome, refreshing and good.
<3 your biggest fan


It gives me warm fuzzies when I hear people saying anything like that to me or to know someone has said something sweet like that about me to someone else. It's nice to think that the person I project myself as is a loveable person if not to everyone than at least to a handful of really special people.

I have to be real though, blog-readers and facebook friends, because I can't read that message and pretend like it's all true - like I really am this wonderful person I often can make myself out to be.
I am so far from the carefully tailored and monitored facebook version of myself. I am thousands of miles away from the scriptural and lyrical captions on my profile pictures and far from what inspirational rambling I may come up with for my blogs and far from the girl with the uplifting and positive attitude.
I mean, I try to be that person. & I think the reason I include all of those types of inspirational-type of things on my cyber-self-portrait is because, in so many ways, it's the person I long to become. But sometimes it's simply motivated by the importance I place on being a loveable person. How's that for honest? Someone in my BEd cohort on Saturday night said "You're just always so happy and nice!" and then the next day after church someone else told me almost the exact same thing. My response was a simple, "but I'm really not though..."
It's interesting to me when people say things like this and I can't help but just tell them the truth because to me, I am not always happy and friendly. Sometimes I'm a fierce, rotten, little bitch. I find myself often apologizing that I haven't made time for the people that matter, and feeling bad that I mentally lost my patience with someone because they did something marginally irritating like interrupted my thoughts. I can be a very self-centered person and often you just won't get to see that person because of my history of being hated and, therefore, incessant need to maintain a perception of myself as a nice and friendship-worthy girl.
I am aware when I meet people who think I'm fake. I can't even be mad at them or blame them for pegging me like that because I can be fake. I'm fake happy sometimes. I'm fake nice sometimes. That's the worst kind of fake there is.
So here is me being not fake. I know it's not going to make up for all the times I ever have been fake towards you. But I would like to apologize for all the times I have... which is countless. I don't want to be that person. And for those of you in my life afraid that I'm being fake with you and don't actually like you, don't worry. The truth is, amidst the fact that I care what people think of me, is a deep and genuine love for people. I actually do love you. If I didn't love slash like you, you would know cause I can't fake that well. I actually do want you in my life. But am I always happy and always friendly? Hell-to-the-no. Please don't put me on that pedestal.
I am just such a work in progress & that's the conclusion I hope to someday reach with a "-& I've been making a lot lately!" tagline. I look at women in my church and long to be where they are in their lives - humble, sacrificial, loving, self-giving, disciplined, and holy. I am not holy although it might come across that way on my honest blog-marathons when I'm just stoked about how awesome God is and how much he loves me. The reason I get so enthralled by his awesome love isn't because I am a great christian with my life pretty much how I want it to be, but rather because I am a total mess behind this profile-picture perfect me and am completely undeserving of it.

9/22/11

this is the sun, these are your lungs, this is the day you were born.

So many updates to be had, so many stories to share, so many twists and turns I feel my life has taken... I've said it before about a thousand times on this blog but I have to say it again, I'm constantly facing halts and 180's. Even now, reading my last post (which I'm sorry was terribly long ago), things didn't even end up going that way. I did end up going to Sandy Hill but only to turn around two weeks later and fly back to Portland, OR, so I could spend a month living on the lovely Jessie Matanky's couch, and experiencing all that Portland had to offer me - mainly, my life-enhancing friendships with Claire & all the other beautiful people I met through her.
For better or for worse, my life is constantly pulling me in new directions I didn't even remotely see coming. Last night me and Red Love, my good & toterrrrly awesome new friend here in Vancouver, were chatting about what our life theme is. He was saying he feels like his life is like a really sweet movie and every person in his life plays an interesting character that complicates, but adds color to, his plot. [as a side note, I was really excited when he said I'm like his Polly from Along Came Polly because I'm quirky and weird in the best of ways. :) V. good compliment.] I had to think a bit about it but I realized my life is more like those books that you read in junior high that let you chose what's going to happen. I feel like someone *cough*GOD*cough* is flipping through the pages and just chosing life for me - as though I have no say in it at all. Take, for example, the fact that Claire just happened to be looking to use her Aeroplan points because they were about to expire, and they just so happened to be the exact amount I would need to fly from Baltimore back to PDX. It's just kinda one of those things where someone is conducting, and I'm just going floating in my little raft down the current. I could blog about countless examples of this happening but it's so evident to me, because of what I see in my life, that I don't feel it's necessary. It's plain and simple: God making me into who he wants me to be - His.
It's no secret to anyone by now that even the path I was on with Riley was brought to a halt in June when I got real with my heart and made the difficult decision to be alone.Call it 'just life' if you wish but I know it's much more than that. I am in the palm of a very big hand, and "he who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion" (Phil 1:6). I am deeply, and intimately, and completely loved and it blows my mind daily.
So here I am. New chapter: new house in new area of Vancouver, new school, new program, new friends, new mentors, new routine, new objectives, new passions, new perspective, and new hope. I am clearly marked & adored... and that's quite the testimony.
I'll try to keep my life more up to date on my bloggy mc'bloggertonnn. I forgot how good it feels to spill a little.

6/13/11

home is where the heart is

It's a fact: I've got ants... in my pants. I'm a nomad. I have no "home." My friends and lovers exist all over the world and I cannot stay in one place for any period of time. My 1.5 months in Whistler that turned into 8 months has now turned into 6. About two weeks ago I had terrible insomnia and by the time 6am rolled around mind really started wandering. It really started hitting me that as wonderful as my life in Whistler has been, and as much as I feel I never want to leave, there is something significantly missing from my life. I wrote an e-mail that's turning my summer around a little bit.
In 2007 I went on a website called campstaff.com and filled out an application to become a camp counselor and that small act led to others that landed me by myself in Maryland, USA unpacking two suitcases in a cabin at an unfamiliar camp that I knew no one at. It was one of those things in life that you really feel like you had no part in. I filled out the application, wrote the e-mails, had the phone interview, and booked my flight, but it still felt like there was something outside of me leading me to this place where I would begin a very important journey. I left there feeling like that chapter was over but sure enough I found myself there again one year later - this time with a handful of returning staff that I could call my friends. Two summers as a camp counsellor, I thought, was enough. I got my fill of "being a kid," not really making a whole lot of money, and acting like an insane person day after day (because at camp, it's encouraged).
Since my last summer at Sandy Hill, I haven't had significant experience working with kids. I definitely had a few small volunteering opportunities here and there, but nothing like the 24/7 type of hours I had with camp. There is something so incredibly fulfilling about waking up at 5:30am, getting as much coffee and adult/alone time as I can before reluctantly dragging myself to staff meeting, listening to the incredible camp director say "Be AMAZING Today," and then waking up a cabin full of sleepy-headed 12-year old girls and then continuing your day by dressing up, playing games, being enthusiastic, and trying to stay sane. The Friday they leave is probably the most fulfilling when those same girls share with you how much you mean to them and how they will never forget you (despite how annoyed they were when you obnoxiously woke them up every day at 7:15am).
After three years with the idea in my head that I'd never be returning, I am going back to Sandy Hill for weeks 5-8 in 2011. I am sadly leaving the free and good life in Whistler, BC and flying 4000km because I am obsessed with kids. It just really hit me that these opportunities are far and few in between these days. Here's to taking advantage of any that come my way.
This is camp.
This is camp.
This is camp.
This is camp.
This is camp.

5/28/11

wake up & throw this mug of hot coffee on your face

It's been so long since my last entry. I'm lacking in inspiration. Getting settled, comfortable, numb.
This one is for my die-hard romance fans. For those of us relentlessly and futilely chasing a feeling we know of only from the movies. For when we are feeling skinny, sexy, and on top of the world, and for the days that we are feeling fat, ordinary, and extremely empty. This is for girls, like me, that find good intentions just don't go far enough. For the single, taken, swept-up-off-your-feet, and heart-broken. For girls who would rather fix their make-up than try and fix what's going on. For the ones who have hardened their hearts to the possibility of love. For the ones in the dreaming stages at 12 and 13, and for those who have pursued but have no pursuit left in them.
I'm looking forward to the day when I can wise-up, give Him the pen, & let him write.
For all my works-in-progress...

"The One who knows you better than you know yourself, and who loves you more than you can comprehend, wants to take you on a journey.
This journey is for anyone who is searching for the beauty of true and lasting love, for romance in its purest form, and who is willing to do what ever it takes in order to find it. This journey is for anyone who has made mistakes, whether small or big, and said, "It's too late for me to discover that kind of love."
It's a journey for anyone who is tired of the same old scene of physically intense relationships, devoid of meaning and purpose.
This journey is for anyone who will dare to dream beyond the cheap and diluted romance our culture offers and hold out for an infinitely better way. This journey is for the skeptic, who doubts that such a way exists.
No matter where you are or where you have been, this invitation is for you. The very One who is the Author of all true love and romance is standing before you, asking you gently, Will you let Me write your love story?"
Leslie Ludy

4/7/11

call me up if you are gangsta'

I was going to make this blog attached to the last one but I decided these people are way too special to not get their own spotlight (I know right? I'm so frigging nice). So I'll introduce my life for the next 8 months. This is the first thing I see when I leave the house to go to work in the village. Not too shabby. I live in a house which is known by some locals as The Art Barn. It's got a whole lot of history and actually looks like a barn. Annnnd here is my corny break-down of my roommates who I can't go without noting as the most significant reason I chose to stay for as long as I am. Meet Cori. Again. Obviously the cutest little muffin ever? But don't let her cuteness decieve you. This girl blows my mind away with her maturity and wisdom sometimes. She admits when she's wrong. She's a lover, not a fighter (and if those words were ever true about someone it's Cori), she knows how to take life's punches in stride, and her pieces of art will make your jaw drop (mainly her writing, clothing design, and vision). She is a heart-stealer at first glance & choses to not be obvious and generic about basically everything. That's Cori. Oh yeah - the reason we even found this house (Kudos to her incredible networking skills). Then there is the other Lassie in the house, Brittany. Clearly Whistler's biggest goof-ball. She always knows how to lighten the mood and never fails to keep things entertaining and interesting. She may be the easiest target in the house but she is definitely the most loved. It's easy to love a girl who brightens the room just by walking in it but what separates Brittany from the handful of other girls I know who can do that is how endearing she is about virtually everything. Whether it's nutrition, boys, school applications, or money, she's always looking for advice. And who doesn't like being asked for advice? It makes you feel helpful. She's got the greatest attitude and an amazing sense of humor. She never fails to make the house laugh. Ah-mazing. Then you've got Chris Rasman. Need I say more? Just google him. Hahahaaa. no but seriously. This guy is the man. He was the first person in the house to make an effort to welcome Cori and I to the house. He's this insane ball of ADHD energy who will physically just dart off mid-conversation to never return. The house always seems quiet when he goes off to Japan or wherever for his snowboarding career, and we don't wake up to his stomp-run up and down the stairs in the morning. I can sense the same energy when I see films of him doing what he loves to do (and getting paid for it). And while Chris has talent up the ying-yang, I mean it when I say, you would never know if you didn't already know. He's incredibly humble and one of the most genuinely friendly people. Every time we go anywhere together, it never fails to amaze me how many people he knows, but more importantly, how good he is at making sure he's introduced me to everyone of them. Yay for breaking stereo-types. Then we have our token Aussie of the house, Drew, best known in the Art Barn as Drewpie, who is sadly leaving at the end of May. Drew keeps to himself probably the most in the house because he is out working and riding more than any of us and he probably finds us annoying most of the time when he is here and just wants peace. But my favorite thing about Drew, other than the Tim-Tam's he so willingly shares with me, is that when he is there, I can always count on getting a good laugh. His Aussie sense of humor is exactly what the house needs when one of the girls comes home all filled with estrogen complaining about X and freaking out about Y, and it feels like the world is coming down around them. One time, when we were having a [very serious] argument about who uses the most amount of toilet paper, Drew pipes in with "well I don't even shit at home. I get paid to do that." Brilliant. Drew never judges, never complains, is never too serious, and always does his dishes. What more could you ask for in a roommate? Every house needs a Jon-Frye. Every house. Seriously, if you don't have a Jon-Frye, I feel sorry for you. He is the glue that holds this house together literally and figuratively. Okay I'll admit, he may come across as an ass on first impression (Example: the first e-mail I got from him that almost ripped my heart out of my chest). But give Jon a chance and he'll fix anything, do anything, and go to great lengths to keep everyone in the house happy. We don't call him Auntie-Jon for no reason- he takes care of all the admin stuff for the house and is a true Art-Barn and Whistler veteran. Jon may have the final say in the house decisions but he is always the man to lean on when you've had a bad day or the one to lend you milk when you've run out. He goes out of his way to take care of his kids (us) and does an amazing job.
I love this house. But not because it's old, artistic, in an amazing location, and affordable. I love this house because of the way every member of it brings something so great to the table. I have someone to turn to for every need, and from the bottom of my heart, I feel like I've been blessed to live with the best 5 people in Whistler. If I just told you all about them, there really is nothing else to say (unless of course you would like me to go into full detail with how amazing it is to be a cashier at shoppers drug mart).
Ciao for now.

"it's like high-school for 25-year-olds"

So yesterday I had a big catch-up chat with Seymour (much-needed) & realized not only am I terrible at staying in touch with my good friends and keeping up even with basic monthly Skype dates, but I'm also terrible at keeping my acquaintances* in the loop (*not to sound like I think I'm so popular but I'm talking about all the people I met through camp, traveling California, and through St. FX that I wouldn't exactly call my best buds but are definitely still on the "Awesome People I Know" list). Sarah is still in the Maritimes and since I'm not, she told me she's run into some people who ask about how I am doing. Good thing all I ever talk about on this blog is the deepest emo part of my soul. Never just your regular, everyday, normal blog stuff. No wonder no one reads it? It's a gorgeous day outside but alas, I've finished all the things I need to do for the day and am settling to enjoy the sun comfortably in my room via the window. So here goes my little update for all of you out there who may be wondering:
I am awesome. I am comfortable, I am happy, & I'm at peace. I just found out where I'll be in September (UBC for education - woop) and for now, I am enjoying my 8 months of school/stress/reality-free state. What do I mean by reality-free? I mean exactly what it sounds like. Anyone who has ever moved to a resort destination can attest to the feeling that you live in an escape... a snow-globe. This is where people come for vacation to put their feet by the fire, to get a buzz off red wine, and to spend their days ripping through the mountains and forget about the worries they left at home. Doctor's and lawyers who are worn down and tired of the day-to-day drag and stresses of their careers come to Whistler for longer periods to work in dish-pits at minimum wage because it's nicer to leave their work at work, or better yet, some rich people may come here for a year or two and not work at all. People in their twenties come after high school for a season and stay for 10. While I don't have the love for skiing or snowboarding like most people, I came and am staying for many of these other reasons. It's the same reason I got a job as a cashier at a drugstore and not a serving job at a fancy restaurant. This is my break from reality and it's really nice for the change but definitely not forever.
What I love about living in Whistler is walking 25 minutes down a gorgeous trail to work, living beside a beautiful lake, and the fact that everyone seems to be in such good cheer all the time. Being able to see familiar faces, and stop and talk to people, everywhere I go reminds me of the library at X during exam time (but minus the stress and exam part). Everyone is welcome to everyone else's house and people that you may see at the bar at night might be the same people you pass on the trail (or the mountain if you prefer) during the day.
What I don't love about Whistler? Other than the ridiculous prices for basic necessities, such as food, only one thing: my great lack of growth. Sorry to get all negative-Nancy but this is the major flaw with trying to settle in a place that's an escape from reality. It's like my 9 weeks at camp. It's fun and wonderful and amazing and makes you feel all warm inside but there is a strange lack of purpose and growth when you wake up every day feeling so comfortable. In my most uncomfortable states in life, I was learning the most about myself. Hence why this is so temporary. It was only suppose to be a few months but it ended up being the full 8 that I'll be here. I think that'll be just perfect before I go back to face the books (and the classroom) and start my next chapter.
Read my next blog for my break down on my day-to-day life here in Whis, and the people that make it as sweet as it tends to be.

3/15/11

just to clarify:


I've had more than one person tell me that my little comment about being over the honeymoon stage in relationships in my blog entry, "fighting pride," bothered them.
I just want to say to all of my fans friends that came out the wrong way! I still LOVE all those "over-the-honeymoon-stage" people just the same as I always have. It's just that when I get too close to people, I become more comfortable and less selfless... I try less to be humble with them and think more about how they can be of benefit to me. It in no way implies that I am sick or bored of them or don't feel they are important to me anymore. The opposite is true. It's the after-the-honeymoon-comfort phase that brings my feelings of affection to a new and different pique - one that's more challenging, but in a good way.
Just to clarify...

3/14/11

new directions

So one time in about 2008, I constructed a bucket-list. I heard that writing your goals down, as opposed to just thinking about them, make them much more likely to happen. They say that to make your life what you want it, it's important, once in a while, to write down short-term and long-term goals or aspirations. I think it's also important, as I'm currently learning, to revise and edit the ones you may have made. Three years have passed since I made this list and those three years have blessed me with people and experiences alike that have inspired me beyond this petty list of self-glorifying "treats" that I wish to attain. A few incredible people in particular have unintentionally caused me to re-evaluate my goals and aspirations.
I realized how my direction has shifted the other day when I asked a girl where she got her beautiful scarf. I was expecting your typical response but what I got was a nose-in-the-air-"it's Louis Vuitton."
Hrm. Well exxxxxcuuuuseee me, my frand. You think just because I am wearing this Shoppers Drug Mart cashier uniform, that I wouldn't be able to afford something from that store... anything for that matter? Pff.
Truth be told, it was in that moment I realized I would never want anything of the sort. I truly am not saying that because it's out of my budget. It's on my bucket list to "own something genuinely Louis Vuitton"... why? When I watch shows like Real Housewives or Keeping up with the Kardashian's or even worse, Sweet 16 (because they happen to be playing in the room next door *cough* not because I actually like them), I actually feel sick to my stomach. It somehow use to be out of jealousy that I know I will never live in such luxury as the people in these shows do. Now, I watch out of complete pity in the fact that they will never really understand where true joy comes from because their lives are incredibly cluttered with want-need-must-have and the very fixtures that light their rooms are worth more than what could sustain a poor family in a poverty-stricken country.
As much as I can't help but feel sick when I watch these people literally wiping their asses with $100 bills, I once was in a place where I genuinely thought money was cool.Thanks to this one man in particular, my focus has completely shifted and I no longer see money as cool - I see it as something that should be used to sustain our basic human needs. Every day Riley teaches me how little we need to survive. He lives more modestly than most people I've met in my life and surprisingly I think it's worked in his advantage because he tends to get a lot of free things. His lucky horse-shoe, which I have yet to find, is another story though. Thanks, Riley, for showing me what true "value" looks like. I know I have a long way to go. Especially when I take little trips into Vancouver and remember how undesirable my wardrobe looks most days or how convenient it would be to have an iPhone in my purse. I say that in hopes you realize I am not being completely self-righteous by posting this. I truly am very thankful for my ever-evolving state and the fact that spiritual wisdom can be transformed in part by the wonderful influences in my life. Hoping it may spark something in you too, no matter where you may be. So, with this shift in direction comes an edited bucket list. If you're interested, you can have a peek.
Cheers.

. Have a window seat in my future house .
. See a National Park in Utah (preferably Bryce) .
. Go to the Philippines to meet my sponsor child, Laarne .
. Sky-Dive and/or Bungee Jump .
. Pierce something other than my earlobe . [check]
. Learn Sign Language .
. Get a tattoo . [check]
. Take a pottery class .
. Own a pug .
. Do missions .
. Make a scrap-book about my life journey (all the big moments) .
. Make a play-list where each song stands for a pivotal moment in my life .
. Write and record one good song .
. Send an anonymous care package to someone who needs it .
. Get and STAY in shape .
. Make a vow and keep it forever .
. Meet Mikey Mouse . [check]
. See RK in concert again . i think that phase has had it's time. rk will always hold a special place in my heart but this is an unnecessary goal
. See Hillsong in Australia United . [don't have to travel to Australia to see them]
. See Paris . [i was over this before i even finished writing it down. pff paris. you can come to me if you want.]
. Own a genuinely vintage dress . [check]
. Go back to Sandy Hill camp .
. Use "Xavier" as a middle name for one of my children .
. Get an X-ring . [check. woop.]
. Learn how to solve a Rubix Cube . [for pure bragging rights really. now realizing by the time i actually do this, i'll probably have a husband and kids to brag about.]
. Get a grad degree .
. Stay in the South for an all-inclusive vacation at a resort (+add) if i'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity . [hey, if my children someday wanna take me on one, i'm not gunna complain.]
. Go on a cruise . [it's just okay if these things don't happen.]
. Share a kiss in a hot-air balloon .
. Build a tree-house .
. Get a flip-flop tan .
. Have a breakfast nook in my future house .
. Get a motorcycle license and own a motorcycle .
. Learn how to whistle through my fingers . [check. haven't perfected it but it's a process.]
. Perform a random act of kindness for a homeless person .
. Volunteer at a homeless youth shelter .
. Have confetti fall on my head
. Own a (+add) new (as opposed to used and crappy) espresso machine .
. Own a black leather coat . [pleather will do just fine.]
. Practice meditation .
. Be HOLY .
. Own a cottage . [and if that happens to be a cabin beside the water, it's a cottage.]
. Volunteer at L'arshe a home for special needs . [special needs is special needs.]
. Volunteer at a nursing home .
. Own something that is real Louis Vuitton . [point in case.]
. Learn how to Ski/Snowboard and live in the mountains . [living part, check. learning part, half-check.]
. Sleep on flower pedals . [you gotta try that one]
. Change someone's life . [someone checked this off in my room so... check? don't know who it was but its all relative. apparently i changed someone's life.]
. Learn how to BBQ . [getting there...]
. Wear bright red lipstick . [check]
. See a(n)penguin elephant up-close (touchride it!) .
. Go to a talk-show (like Tyra) .
. Go black-water rafting in New Zealand .
ADD:
. When an opportunity arises for me to genuinely make a difference in someone's life through monetary giving, be genuinely uncomfortable to help them (aka. give money to someone who needs it no matter how "poor" I may feel at the time) .
. Live and work in an underdeveloped country sacrificing comforts like running water and electricity .
. Learn how to live humbly in all areas and phases of my life .
. Befriend someone that initially does not interest me; find the positive .
. Create Christmas traditions that truly revolve around giving and thanksgiving when I have children one day .
. Become a teacher .
. Read the entire bible .

3/8/11

fighting pride

I was at work yesterday and after having done all of my spectacular cashier duties including "facing" (such a thrilling task if you haven't tried it) and cleaning, I picked up a copy of this months Fitness , mainly because I was intrigued by one headline in particular: It definitely caught my attention especially because of this particular phase in my life (living in Whistler, where everyone skis or snowboards ~4 days a week, working 3 part-time jobs) I've been feeling a bit under-motivated. What do I fill my time with before my 4:15 start on a Tuesday? Beats me but I always seem to somehow feel rushed. It's one of those times, again, where I have to dig a little deeper and find something to wake up for in the morning. For example, this morning I asked Cori to wake me up at 9 before she left for work. She came in and said "Rena. It's 9. But I wouldn't get up if I were you... you're not missing much." Haha she later told me she woke me up right after she realized she had to clean the snow off her car (AGAIN) and was feeling a bit bitter at the time. It's like you have about 20 thing you could think of doing but none of them are life-defining in any way. I really wanted to read that book. I really want to send my mom this care-package. I really need to do some laundry. I really should go for a jog. Maybe I'll go to that free yoga on Tuesdays... youuuuuu get the idea...
So I picked up this mag thinking it couldn't hurt. In it, I found the secret of "Mantra's." It's derived from Buddhism but its idea is simple: just repeat a phrase in your head to make yourself do something, overcome something, or feel something, that might not come as naturally as sleeping-in. Really, not that special. But it got me thinking.
The examples the article used were mostly pertaining to working out or relieving stress such as "I am strong" or "I embrace life," but it made me think about areas in my life I'm finding hard to change direction - the parts that really bother me. How I treat people on a day-to-day basis is something I would like to change; I tend to get exasperated with people regularly and very easily. It's not easy to admit but once I've gotten past the honeymoon stage in a friendship with someone, I will ultimately become a bitch. It's a terrible thing to say, I know, but I struggle with putting others feelings and needs ahead of my own. I have this sense of a right of entitlement or worth and it can dramatically effect the way that I treat the people I love the most in my life. I wrote in my journal one day "I feel like the uptight mom who can't even deal with crumbs on the counter. Like, it's crumbs... get over it." This is something that has to change.
So I made a "mantra" per-say. I was thinking of mantra's about humility, and then I was thinking about one's about staying calm. But I realized the most amazing commandment that I have been given in the Bible (which is also one of the two most important) and that's "Love others as well as you love yourself" (The Message version). I remember in Shane Claiborne's book, "The Irresistible Revolution," when he said we don't take this commandment seriously enough. It doesn't just mean giving small parts when we can and when it's convenient for us or whenever we feel good about it. It actually means giving up everything, whether that be money, valuables, or even, yes, our pride, so that we are lowering ourselves in the chance we may lift up someone else. Something I have no concept of doing. So readers, if you pray and talk to God, please help me by praying that I can do that - that I can fight and overcome this deep-seeded pride in me that was planted somewhere along the way. In the mean-time, my Mantra will be "I will Love others as much as I Love myself. God made us equal and I have no superiority. I am a flawed human responsible for serving God's children."

3/4/11

yowwch

I can't complain - I haven't had hardly any injuries. Even Riley was surprised when I admitted to never having broken a bone or having stitches in my life. So no injuries significant enough to blog about... none much different than this one. This is an unblogworthy injury but I've already read through 4 pages of C.S. Lewis quotes plus made a full batch of homemade soup plus painted my fingernails and toenails (X2) plus whined about it as much as I could. Today should be my last "useless" day now.

It's my first back "injury" and it happened during shoveling snow. I enjoy getting out there and acting like a tough girl shoveling snow and all (give me a break - it's a good start, alright?!) but I guess I didn't realize how harmful shoveling snow could be. As my roommate, Jon, put it, I am now a part of a statistic. I guess it happens to a lot of people. I just never really thought about it because I never really had to. For one, I've never had to shovel snow and second, I never had any reason to consider my back to be a vulnerable place of injury. I am not an old and frail woman nor do I subject myself to any crazy activities that could put me at risk (for example, 99% of the people I hang out with in the run of a week who spend 5 days a week skiing or snowboarding... I'm not one of them).
So where did the bruises arise from? Well, that's the point of this blog I guess. As a heed, a warning, a caution. It's the same question that Dr. Demarko asked out loud when he looked at my back: "In my 27 years of practice, never have I seen bruising occur without impact. I guess we'll have to run an x-ray although I don't know how you could have broken a bone... and I'd also like to have you tested for easy bruising." At this point I'm basically laughing only because I would break a bone doing something stupid like shoveling snow... am I that much of a sloth? Geeze.
Well I come up from the X-ray and Dr. Demarko now has a Medical Student looking at the bruise and she pokes it asking how tender it is. Then some other Doctor with ski gear on comes in dripping in snow, has a look, and says "this is strange... did you have snow down your pants?"
It suddenly all comes together. I had iced my back after I came inside and it hurt like hell. Well I guess I iced it too much because I gave myself frost-bite trying to get rid of my pain. We're all feeling a bit like idiots at this point. "So umm you pulled a muscle... go take some robaxacet and chill for a few days"
Typical.
So typical.
So lesson number 1: warm up before shoveling and be careful with your posture and what muscles you use to lift snow.
Lesson number 2: it is possible to over-ice injuries.
News to me.

3/3/11

c.s. lewis quotes = smile; drool; sob; repeat.

Ex.:
"[Repentance] means unlearning all the self-conceit and self -will that we have been training ourselves into... It means killing part of yourself, under-going a kind of death."
— C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)

May 31 is my birthday. I want this book and Screwtape Letters. Just sayin'.

2/4/11

daisy

i've been struggling with this small, seemingly simple step in my walk (which often feels more like a slugging drag than it does a gallop): surrender. what is it, first of all, and how do i successfully execute it? what is it in my heart that is intercepting this plunge forward? how can i let go of that thing if "letting go" is my challenge at hand? it's really problematic when you think of it like that.
i don't have much to say other than: this is the wall i'm facing. it's my road block, my barrier, my obstacle. my heart is deeply entangled with a few things i know will be hard to cut. possessions, relationships, activities, thoughts... i don't even know if some of them will ever be "cut" but i trust that, with time, they can gradually be loosened and not hold such a firm vise on the way that i conduct myself.
this song just yells at me now as i think about all of this. it makes me feel like it is so simple, and He is so good. i am simply a Daisy.
i plan on just letting these lyrics and this idea filling up my brain and heart.
Daisy, give yourself away,
Look up at the rain
The beautiful display,
of power and surrender
Giving us today,
when she gives herself away

Rain, another rainy day,
It comes up from the ocean
To give herself away,
She comes down easy
Oh rich and debt, the same,
When she gives herself away,

Let it go,
Daisy let it go
Open up your fists
This fallen world,
Doesn't hold your interest,
Doesn't hold your soul,
Daisy let it go

Pain, give yourself a name,
Call yourself contrition,
Avarice or blame
Giving isn't easy,
And neither is the rain,
when she gives herself away

Daisy, why another day?
Why another sunrise?
Who's will take the blame,
For all redemptive motion?
And every rainy day,
when he gives himself away

1/29/11

praise.

At Sandy Hill we use to do "Praises and Prayer Requests" at the end of our meetings every morning. This was an especially important part of staff bonding because if someone was dealing with something difficult, we could pray, as a team, for that person; if someone did something of particular worth, we'd take a moment of recognition for that person. It could get really annoying at times, I'll admit, when people became so unnecessary about it (mind you this is usually taking place around 6:30am) but for the most part, I really liked it. The few times that I was recognized for something, it helped me continue to go above and beyond in my job as a camp counsellor every day.
Today, I would just like to praise Cori Poole - the girl that I moved to Whistler with. There are so many things that stand out about her that make her so special to me and close to my heart and I feel like I could list off a hundred. For starters, the first sign that I knew Cori had to become my new best friend (I forced her), was the way that she viewed people. It is definitely one of the more outstanding aspects of her person that made me, and so many other people, fall in love with her. When I was in a dark time of my life, finding it difficult to love the people and the world around me, and see the good in it, Cori gave me a new notion of love - she really redefined how to love others. She notices detail that no one else does. She takes careful attention to the beauty in everyone, which is something that I use to pride myself in but seem to have lost it just months before I met her. She always seemed to find a way to love everyone and not in a "I love you way" but in a "you are an important and truly valuable person" way. She doesn't just accept people with their flaws and uglies; she sees right past them and straight into their beauty and gifts no matter how different they may be from hers or misunderstood they may normally be to others. It's a gift that sets Cori apart from many people I know.
Today in particular, however, I have to praise and recognize Cori for her ability to keep faith and stand so strong throughout the tough stuff. Not only do I see her going above and beyond her calls of duty with her job on a day-to-day basis, but I see her lifting me out of my little ruts when I get discouraged. Her faith is what made me move to Whistler and it is what keeps me here. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, I find it difficult to just be without much direction or purpose so I often face doubts as to whether or not this is where I should be right now.
I want to publicly praise Cori for keeping so much faith for me when I lose it, and for believing in, what she likes to call, fate (what I like to call God but our difference of personal spirituality is a whole other story) for doing its job that everything will work out in the end. I see how that faith carries her through the difficult moments she may have with her job and it's the same faith in her that doesn't expect any recognition for what she is doing - she just does it selflessly because it's the right thing to do.
Cors, I wouldn't have wanted to move into this disorganized and scattered temporary life with anyone else in the entire world - not even Riley. You came at the right moment (like always cause God is really rad) and somedays, it's only the faith that you have in me that gets me out of bed in the morning. I wish I could say I have that strength all on my own but I think God is giving it to me... through non-other but you. ♥