Finding Truth in Old Journals

I’ve been spending the past few months cleaning out my old room. I like to think I keep things simple an organized, but the truth is, I’m a pack rat who keeps just about everything.

Just before moving last year, I purged all my magazines. I had several that were more than 20 years old, and hundreds that I had from 5 to 15 years.

Anyway, magazines shouldn’t be a problem because I no longer buy them. The journals, on the other hand, are another story. I have at least 50, and many are either unused or half full. I recently found one from 2012 with ‘Brilliant Ideas’ on the cover. (I bought it specifically for that label)

I looked through it, and found something I wrote to myself, 4 years ago, about faith. After going through a difficult winter semester that included illness, anxiety, and stress, my faith was waning.
It’s one thing to know that God is at work in my life. It’s another to believe He is. I allowed my external circumstances to determine my spiritual condition, and I didn’t know what to do to change it.

I didn’t know that part of answer was in the journal. My past self, reaching out to my current self and telling her to stay the course.
The entry reads:

Last week, I decided that I am definitely not the type of person who wants just enough faith for the journey. I also want enough strength to take down anything that dares to get between me and my future. I don’t want to coast through a mediocre life. I want to live well. I want to fight passionately for the principles in which I believe. I want to fail miserably, and still keep trying. I want to be honest, vulnerable, and most of all, authentic.
I want to experience everything life has to offer me–even the difficulty –because going through trials is what teaches me the most.
I wasn’t born to be just average. I was born to be great. From today forward, I will work to achieve greatness in everything I do. I cannot be defeated, and I will not quit.

I don’t remember what was going on in my life when I wrote this, but I’m thankful I did because it was the kick in the butt I needed to move forward. There will be times in our lives when we feel uncertain, or alone, no matter how many people are there to offer us support.
I had to remind myself that these feelings aren’t new, and they will pass.

All it took was prayer and an old journal.



Read more

I’m Back…Kind of.

I’m not going to go into a long explanation as to why I was absent for so long. Instead, I’m going to sum it up in 5 words: School, flu, more flu.
This winter has not been kind to me, but it’s almost over, so that’s a plus.

Anyway, here are 6 random observations I’ve made about myself in the past 6 months.

1. My desire to do something exponentially increases when I’m told I shouldn’t. I shaved my head last may, partly because I wanted to, and partly because someone told me that men prefer long, chemically treated hair.

I prefer not going bald because of chemical burns, thanks.

2. I wear makeup because I like it. I haven’t dressed to impress anyone since my early 20s, which were nearly a decade ago. I reject the notion that all women who wear makeup are insecure. I’ve met plenty of insecure women who don’t wear a stitch of makeup, ever. I just happen to be one of those women who is equally adorable , with or without makeup, but I like the artistry of it, so I wear it often.

3. I’m a perfectionist.

What an awful revelation. In going back to school, I discovered that I’d rather pass in a great day essay, 2 weeks late, than a good one, on time. That’s a problem. Deadlines are there for a reason, and I’ve had to get over myself several times to get the work in on time. Adulthood is hard.

4. I value my parents more as an adult than I ever did as a child.

I think it has to do with everyone getting older, but my parents are awesome people, and I tell them often because I never want to leave anything unsaid. Life is short.

5. Good friends are invaluable.

Real talk, I didn’t think I’d make any friends in university because I’m either way older or way younger than many of my classmates. And then I started meeting people, some of whom were the same age as me, who liked me. So, I have friends. They invite me places, and bring me food, and give me great conversation. No one is more shocked by this than me.

6. I can’t save people.

I’m a Christian, so one of my main roles is to evangelize. I used to think that getting people to come to church was the aim. Now, I know that my gig is pointing people to Christ, without ever knowing if they receive him or not. I also can’t control how they choose to express their beliefs. And that’s okay. It’s not about me.

And that’s okay

If You Can Read This, Thank A Teacher

I was a fortunate child. I grew up in a home in which my parents both valued education and had the resources to ensure that my brother and I could succeed academically. There were always books in my house. We had two full sets of encyclopedias, both for children and adults, both my parents had leftover textbooks from their university days, and everyone had a library card.

I started reading at a young age, (4 years old) mostly due to my parent’s bedtime ritual of reading me a story before I went to sleep. In daycare, I could both read out loud and comprehend what the words meant. But the people who nurtured my lifelong love of reading the most were my teachers. I’ve already written about my 1st-grade teacher, Mrs. Kerr, who purchased a hard-to-get book for me at the end of the school year. But there was also Mr. Clyke, who taught me math by using hockey stats.

Going back to university two years ago has given me a greater appreciation for the teachers who helped me along the way. The junior high math teacher who helped me learn that, as a visual learner, geometry would be my strong-suit. The high school English teacher that made classics seem more interesting by making them relevant to the present; the University professor who made 4 hours of painting fun, and the African Canadian Studies teacher who taught me more about my heritage in a semester than I had learned in the four years prior.

Teachers do not often get the respect they deserve. They are often overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated. Today, I’d like to let all the teachers in my life know that their work is not in vain. You have the daunting task of shaping young minds, and if you make a lasting impact on one child, you have done your job.

A teacher’s influence doesn’t stop at one child. That child grows up and goes on to affect others. And the people that they inspire will pass what they’ve learned along. That is worth celebrating.

World Teacher Day

I Hate Hiatuses

As a longtime reader of blogs, I always hate it when a favourite blogger goes on hiatus. Selfishly, you want them to write all the time so you can read it. When you start blogging yourself, you realise that sometimes life gets in the way. Between school and other real life things, there’s been no time for me to do it. However, I’m starting to blog again for two reasons: 1. I need something to do with my free time, and 2. I’m starting to work out again, and I need someone to whom I am accountable. Even if it’s just the four people, who read this regularly. Since leaving a very physical full-time job to go to school, two years ago, I’ve slacked off considerably. I hate shopping, so the prospect of having to buy more (and bigger) clothes is extremely unappealing. So, starting Monday, I’ll start writing about getting back in shape. Make no mistake, this won’t be a fitness/lifestyle blog. I love when my friends choose healthy and active lifestyles, but as encouraging as it is, it’s boring to read about food and exercise all the time. (Even if you love them, which, I don’t) As a disclaimer, I’ll say that there’s going to be some complaining. I am not the raging fitness nut that I used to be, and it shows. I barely like exercising, and I love junk, so this will be a struggle all the way. In the end, it will be worth it. At least, I hope it will. I don’t want to carry on the family legacy of having high blood pressure and diabetes, so to counteract that, I need to stay fit, which means, no more lounging. I started with a light workout yesterday, and I actually felt better after I did it. I still hated it, but my body didn’t.

Since leaving a very physical full-time job to go to school, two years ago, I’ve slacked off considerably. I hate shopping, so the prospect of having to buy more (and bigger) clothes is extremely unappealing. So, starting Monday, I’ll start writing about getting back in shape. Make no mistake, this won’t be a fitness/lifestyle blog. I love when my friends choose healthy and active lifestyles, but as encouraging as it is, it’s boring to read about food and exercise all the time. (Even if you love them, which, I don’t)

As a disclaimer, I’ll say that there’s going to be some complaining. I am not the raging fitness nut that I used to be, and it shows. I barely like exercising, and I love junk, so this will be a struggle all the way. In the end, it will be worth it. At least, I hope it will. I don’t want to carry on the family legacy of having high blood pressure and diabetes, so to counteract that, I need to stay fit, which means, no more lounging. I started with a light workout yesterday, and I actually felt better after I did it. I still hated it, but my body didn’t. Sometimes, you have to do something you do not want to do to attain what you want.

Sometimes, you have to do something you do not want to do to attain what you want.

Story of my life.

Warm regards,

Eri 🙂

Sharing Sunday: 10 Things I’ve Asked Myself Since Moving

In no particular order:

  2. Who keeps putting plastic in the compost bin, and why don’t they know what ‘compost’ means?
  3. I can live without eating potatoes, right? Because I don’t want to buy a whole bag and then have them growing those weird sprouts in my cupboard.
  4. Is cleaning considered procrastinating if it needs to be done anyway?
  5. If a cupcake is the only thing you’ve eaten in the morning, is it considered breakfast or a snack?
  6. Do I have to shovel my designated parking space if I don’t have a car?
  7. Is it OK for me to play music if it’s not loud? It is my apartment, after all.
  8. I walked to the grocery store to buy nachos. Does that count as cardio?
  9. Why do I think all the makeup I brought with me is boring now that it’s not in my budget to buy more?
  10. Why didn’t I do this before?

Happy Sunday, y’all.

I Didn’t Know What To Call This, But I’m Back

This is usually the part where the blog writer explains his or her long absence with a list of reasons why they haven’t blogged since August of last year. However, my reasons for not blogging were kind of boring (Depression, school work, blah, blah, blah) What I’ll do instead is just move right along to the next topic.

In the past seven months, I have noticed a change in how I approach reading and writing. I’m a lifelong bookworm, and in 2012, I successfully completed 100 books. Since then, I’ve completed one year of university, and now, when I read anything, my inner editor automatically picks up the punctuation errors.

A few days ago, I was reading a response to a question on the Ask FM app (in which the people submit anonymous questions). My first thought was, “Dang, girl, ease up on the commas! No one takes that many pauses when they speak.” Then, I remembered that I was not reading an essay, so the person could put the commas wherever she wanted to, and her mark would still be the same. (Zero, because she’s answering questions about her life, not being graded for her writing.)

I also moved, and found out that I spent most of my time working acquiring stuff that depreciates in value. You know what’s mildly depressing? Having to fill out a form for renter’s insurance and realizing that you don’t have anything that would qualify as an “asset.” What I do have is a bunch of stuff that is valuable to me, and perhaps, my niece. (My makeup collection is enormous, and she loves it.)

A few weeks from now, I have to do a presentation about the “Desert Saints.” They were a group of Christians from the 4th century, who believed that struggle and self-sacrifice were an integral part of one’s spiritual development.

I have to say, that it’s something that I connected with right away. If I’m too comfortable, complacency sets in, so for me, some discomfort is necessary to keep me on track. Since I’m an introverted person, it’s easy to find things that make me uncomfortable.

I’ll be the first to tell you that my life as a Christian has been full of adversity. There are years of my life that I wonder how I got through them without completely losing my mind. I love being comfortable. In fact, I prefer comfort, but there’s something about going through a good battle and coming out alive that energizes me and reaffirms my faith in the God who got me through it all.

I always hate going through the tough times, but with each level I pass successfully, I learn something new. Life isn’t just about pursuing happiness, getting what you want, and making sure your people are well. It is about passing along what you’ve learned to others.

One interesting thing about Antony, one of the desert saints I read about, is that, while he lived in isolation for much of his life, he didn’t keep the blessings from God to himself.

He taught people and prayed with them, miraculous things happened, as a result. He wasn’t just eccentric for eccentricity’s sake. He used his years of struggle and sacrifice to allow God to work through him to help others.

I was initially attracted by the “away from people” aspect of his spiritual life, but I also know that I can never completely disengage because there is always someone who needs encouragement or support. A life in ministry is not one I would have chosen for myself, but now that I know “what”, I have to keep the “why” in perspective.

The first act of my life was all about me. My job; my feelings; my wants and needs, but the second act is all about what I can do to serve God best.
So far, I’ve got being kind and respectful to people with different belief systems, and being less hostile to fellow saints whom I believe are too exclusive and cliquey.
(It turns out, I’m much better at the former than I am at the latter. Oops)

Before I started school, a friend told me that the person I’ll be once I leave school will be different from the person who started. I didn’t know what she meant, at the time, but I’m already noticing a difference. Whatever happens along the way, whether it be a struggle or a peaceful journey, I pray that my experience will help someone else.

Flashback: Introvert Qualities

  • You can always tell when someone is authentic and when they’re insincere.
  • Sometimes you are totally unaware of your surroundings; your outer world can be in complete chaos, but you don’t notice until someone or something finally attracts your attention. (ex. a loud crash)
  • If there are feelings of sadness, anxiety, or anger in the room, you can immediately feel it—no matter how large the room. (or how great a number of people)
  • When talking to people, you can immediately see past what they’re saying, and discern what they mean.
  • Hidden agendas are rarely (or never) hidden from you.
  • Both praise and criticism affect you the same way; you become embarrassed by the unsought attention.
  • It’s easy for you to uncover the insecurities and weaknesses of other people, and you can play on them whenever you feel attacked or cornered.
  • When you like someone, you become attached instantly and scare them off. (This occurs more in romantic relationships than friendships)
  • When someone betrays you, you forgive easily but are perfectly fine with never speaking to them again. (And you usually don’t)
  • Sometimes you withhold your true feelings and opinions from someone because you want to ‘protect’ them.
  • You hate conflict, and avoid it at all costs.
  • You comfortably slip into the role of mediator when others are in conflict because you can easily empathize with both sides. (See previous)
  • Once you’ve identified someone as insincere, it is difficult for you to take anything they say seriously—and you usually avoid talking to them altogether because their superficiality is off-putting.
  • You’re an open book. If you like someone, they know it; if you don’t like someone, they know it.
  • It is difficult for you to hide your feelings, and you spend a lot of time biting your tongue when something or someone upsets you. (Thankfully, that changes as you get older and your less dominant functions develop; by then you’ve gotten over your need to please others and will speak up when something is wrong)
  • You’re overly concerned with how you appear to others and what they think of you. (Again, this changes when introverted thinking becomes more pronounced—you won’t care at all then.)
  • You’re more idealistic than realistic.
  • Silence is rarely uncomfortable to you.
  • You feel the need to “fix” every-one’s problems.
  • You place your needs aside to help others, and they are more than happy to take advantage of that.
  • If you are a spiritual person, you notice that your intuition becomes stronger as you grow spiritually.
  • You’re excellent at making observations about others that they didn’t think anyone else noticed. (The usual response is dead silence)
  • Complete strangers confide their deepest secrets to you because you ‘seem like a nice person’ and you listen without judgment.

Flashback Friday: Forgiveness

(Originally Posted June 16th, 2011)


I can hold a grudge like a champion. If harbouring malice were an Olympic event, I’d win the gold medal, easily. If I feel you’ve wronged me, I can live my entire life without ever acknowledging your existence. I can cut you off in a second, and not even lose any sleep over it.

It isn’t something that makes me proud. There’s no place of honour for being malicious and bitter. You don’t win any prizes for finding faults in people. There’s no medal awarded for having animosity towards someone. All I’ve ever gained from resentment is anxiety, wasted time, and heartache. So I choose forgiveness.

It wasn’t easy for me, being a champion grudge-holder, and all, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

A few years ago I made a request to God, “Help me to forgive as you do.” What I didn’t know at the time was that when you ask God for anything, rather than giving you exactly what you want, He places you in situations which test your capacity to do what you’ve requested.

Shortly after I made that prayer, I happened to overhear an acquaintance talking about me behind my back. My first instinct was to walk right up to her and tell her exactly what I thought. Fortunately, I chose better–at the time I was too angry to speak rationally. So for the sake of peace, I let it go.

A few days later, I heard her talking about me again. This time, not only did she mention me by name, but she went through a laundry list of everything she felt was wrong with me. She said I was two-faced (I’m not), and I wore too much make-up, my perfume stinks, I’m not that smart, I think I’m better than everyone else and I’m “unpleasant to be around.”

In her eyes, I was a rotten human being, and the world would be a much better place without me in it.

Or something like that.

My anger turned to rage. When she was around me, she was so full of compliments it was a little cloying, but behind my back she was totally opposite. What a phony. The entire situation disgusted me. She disgusted me. After much thought (and prayer) I decided I would confront her.

I can be brusque on a good day, but when I’m angry I’m vicious. I didn’t know how she would take me, so I tried my best to be jovial and said, “So I heard you have a few things to say to me?” She was full of questions; what did I mean? What things? Who were you talking to? Then she said, “I don’t know what you’ve heard, but I don’t have anything to tell you.”

Since that approach didn’t work, I tried something different, “If you have any problems with me or what I’m doing, you can tell me to my face.”

What she said next shocked me;

“I would never say anything about you behind your back.”

Then she proceeded to tell me what a wonderful person I was and how glad she is to have someone like me in her life. All I could think was, Liar. Liar. Pants on Fire.

A few days after she insisted she had no issues with me, I heard her tell someone that I was lazy and disorganized.

(She obviously had issues, but none of them had to do with me.)

Still, I spent a lot of time being angry with her. In my mind, I was justified because she talked about me and then lied about it to my face. Of course, she deserved my blatant disregard! She needed to be punished and treating her like she was the dirt beneath my shoes was my way of punishing her.

However, every time I picked up my bible to read, I always seemed to find scriptures about love and forgiveness. The one that spoke to me the most was Matthew 5:44-45;

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

In God’s eyes, we’re equals, and by showing forgiveness–especially when the person did nothing to earn it–I would be clearly defining my role as a follower of Christ.

I had been going about this the wrong way. I thought that by cutting off contact with her, I was preventing her from continuing to lie to me. In reality, I was nurturing my grudge against her. Even when she said something kind to me, I rejected it because I just couldn’t trust her anymore.

Then I thought about God and how much mercy he has shown me. There are many times when I’ve lied to him, made promises I didn’t keep, betrayed trust, and defamed His name by how I treated others. In spite of this, Gid forgave me and showed me mercy instead of wrath. Every single time.

In Colossians 3:13 Paul writes,

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

When God forgives, it’s unconditional. It means that the slate has been wiped clean. There’s a new record. God doesn’t hold your past against you.

In order to let this go once and for all, I had to forgive her genuinely–whether she was still talking about me or not.

I had to accept the fact that I am not the gossip police, and I will never be able to stop people from talking about me. It was her decision to make picking me apart her full time hobby, and it is one with which she will have to live. Even if what she said was 100% true, it didn’t change anything. I’m still me. I’m still living my life, and I’m still enjoying it.

I had to choose between my relationship with God, and holding on to the resentment. When I examined the situation closely, I realized that holding onto my resentment of her was like giving her squatters rights in my mind. 

I had to evict her.

God has already done more for me than I will ever deserve, and His approval is infinitely more important than hers. Besides, how could I feel anything other than pity for a person who: a) didn’t even have the good sense to whisper while talking about people in public, and b) was too much of a coward to own up to it when confronted.

I can honestly say I forgive her for what she did. I pray she has a wonderful life, and that people who are positive, loving, and supportive will surround her, and give her the encouragement she needs. Most of all, I pray that if she’s still holding a grudge against me, that she’ll let it go. For her sake.

Harbouring resentment clouds your judgment, it blocks blessings, delays promotions, impedes personal growth, distorts your sense of reality, and makes you bitter and insecure. It also creates an atmosphere that attracts unfavourable outcomes in ALL areas of your life. In other words, instead of destroying the target of your wrath, clinging to feelings of resentment will destroy you.

You will never be able to realize your full potential until you make a conscious choice to eliminate bitterness from your life.

There are few things more humiliating than finding out the person you’ve directed so much negative energy combating isn’t even paying attention to you. While you’re wasting time plotting and scheming, trying to find ways to discredit them and ruin their reputation, they’re leading happy and fulfilling lives. They aren’t thinking about you at all. You’ve spent all this time hating them, and you’re not even an afterthought. It stands to reason that trying to reduce someone else by your words and your actions only serves to emphasise your deficiencies. That is the opposite of what you want.

By choosing forgiveness, I choose a life filled with love, peace and contentment. I can sleep with a clear conscience because The chains of bitterness do not bind me. I’m confident because I’m becoming the person God created me to be. Because I’m confident, I don’t need to talk about anyone else to feel good about myself. The fact that I have a loving family, and a loving God is an excellent reason to be joyful.

As for my loose-lipped acquaintance? She probably still thinks I’m two-faced, and conceited, and stinky. And she might even be telling people about me at this very moment, but that’s okay. She’s allowed to think and say whatever she wants. I hope she’s prepared for the consequences.

1 Peter 3:10-12

“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

I’m not waiting for peace to find me; I am actively pursuing it. (With a club) I may have to bite my tongue at times, or perhaps take a vow of silence for the day, but I will not allow my words to be my undoing.

I’ll end with a quote from C.S. Lewis because I can’t say it any better:

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

I forgive because I know what it’s like to be forgiven.