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 🙂

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.

I Like Lists (and talking about myself)

Every time I get new followers, I feel the need to reintroduce myself as if writing my personal, private thoughts in blog posts isn’t enough. That’s what this post is, only it will be in list form rather than paragraphs. The reason? If I use paragraphs, this post will be 10000 words long. (I take the advice, “Write what you know” literally.) In that spirit, here are 16 things about me.

  1. I’m good at picking up on a person’s strengths. There are few people about whom I can say, “He/she has no redeeming qualities.” Every person has something that makes them great, although some people make it a lot harder for me to see what it is. (I always figure it out in the end, however.)
  2. I am what some would call a “progressive Christian”.  (Whatever that means.) For example, I would not have an abortion, but I don’t want to deny any other woman that right.  I think that if I’m going to take a “pro-life” stance, it has to extend past the embryonic stage into adulthood, which means that women and children must be well taken care of if they decide to keep the pregnancy, and no one is cast aside because they do not fit what I think they should be.
  3. I am surprisingly okay with rejection. I get it. Some people do not like me. They probably never will. Whatever. This has made me a better, more accepting person than I was before. (If there is a misfit loner anywhere in my vicinity, I will find them and love them because those are my people.)The thing about facing rejection so much is that, when it happens to me, it’s more uninteresting than it is upsetting. (A case of, “Oh, this again? Lame.” as opposed to, “Why is this happening to me?”)
  4. I lied about not using paragraphs. Sue me.
  5. I like action movies better than I like romantic comedies. Jean-Claude Van Damme>Sandra Bullock. (Although, she does dramas, so she’s cool now.)
  6. I’m a theology major. I have no idea what I’m doing, but God does. Yay!
  7. My phone autocorrects ‘does’ to ‘Dostoyevsky’. I love Dostoyevsky because I am a nerd. (So is my phone, apparently.)
  8. I live-tweet my favourite shows. I do it mostly during Scandal and Big Brother. You’ve been warned.
  9. I had no idea that I didn’t know anything until I turned 30.  I don’t have to be brilliant? The pressure is off!
  10. I’m unusually confident for someone my size, and stature. I’m also stronger than I look. I blame/credit Jesus.
  11. One of my greatest sins is my snide sense of humour. I’m not funny often, but when I am it’s because I’ve said something mean at someone elses expense. (I know it’s wrong, but I’m trying to get better.)
  12. My family is a large one.  How large? I have blood relatives that I have never met.
  13. I am a pretty decent multitasker. Just ask anyone who has ever watched me read, listen to my iPod, and eavesdrop at the same time.
  14. I have excellent hearing. My nephew once whispered my name in another room, and I shouted back, “What do you want?”
  15. I like to observe people. I’ve written about this before, but I firmly believe that I find out more about a person by what they do, than I can by what they say. When a person does not know they are under surveillance, they are authentic. Once I know what they do when they’re unguarded, I can tell what they do when they’re pretending.
  16. I love to read. Between 2012 and 2013, I read 200 books. (I was too preoccupied in 2013 to keep track, but it was really fun. 
  17. I am not certain of anything in my life, and that is liberating.
  18. I write because I have to. I write to communicate with people because I can do it freely without interruptions.

Bonus. “I use Grammarly to check for plagiarism because, while imitation is flattery, flagrant copying is obnoxious.” 

Talking About God Sunday:Answering the Call

Last week, I had my first university classes in 14 years. I was nervous but excited about the challenges ahead. (I know there will be challenges. For sure.) I also know–within the depths of my soul–that I am doing the right thing. I know this because even when I was unsure of what was to come, I had an irrational sense of peace.

One of my first assignments was to write a 750 word essay about the call and the character of preachers and worship leaders. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that me writing 750 words is not difficult. (Limiting my writing to 750 words is an issue, however.) I knew that this essay is just one of many, but in the past four days it has felt like the most important essay in the history of the world. 

My latent perfectionist tendencies came back, and I went through 2 rough copies and 3 good copies before I decided it was good enough. True to form, it still wasn’t good enough for me, but it is done, and that’s the important thing. Writing the essay got me to thinking about why I, a) Decided to go back to college, and b) Decided to go to a seminary college from which I would become an ordained minister upon graduation.

I figured out quickly that I did not do it because the prominence and high profile of a worship leader attracts me. I did not as my mother puts it, “Sign up for a holler and a collar.” I do not have any agenda aside from encouraging people who feel insecure and alone, and explaining God and the bible in a way that a child will understand.  (Also, telling people that God is not some scary dude with a beard that does not want people to have any fun.)

For me, the calling of a preacher is something that I ran away from for 7 years. I did not want to do it. I did not think that I would be able to do the role of a pastor or the word of God any justice. In one of my textbooks (The Witness of Preaching by Thomas G. Long), the author wrote that some preachers take to the pulpit eagerly, and others take to it reluctantly. I would not say that I am reluctant; I am cautious, but not reluctant. I’m cautious in a way that a truck driver is when he is driving up a steep icy hill. One false move has the potential to be deadly. I feel the weight of that responsibility whenever I have to speak/write/read God’s word. 

As a member of the congregation, I like to hear the word of God preached in a way that is inclusive, accessible, and most importantly, true to the text. Some of the most powerful sermons I’ve heard incorporate biblical verses in ways that I can apply to my life. They also give me a glimpse of the preacher’s identity, whether through personal stories, testimonies about how they overcame struggles, and rhetorical questions that force me to think of the scripture in a new way. (I also like what my dad refers to as, “Hard words”. Sermons that offer messages of hope and redemption as well as warnings for people to set higher standards.)

At this early stage,  I do not know what area of ministry God plans for me, but I know it will either be immediately apparent at my first ministry opportunity, or the result of 3 more years of blood, sweat, and tears. Either way, I am here for it. I believe that life experience has enabled us to relate to people in a unique way. The past season of my life was about toughening me up so I’d be able to fulfill my assignment without caring what others think. This season will be about refining my edges, so they aren’t as uncultivated.

So what do I think about the character and call of a worship leader/preacher?

1.There’s more work involved than anyone can imagine. (My parents are worship leaders. It is not easy.)

2. it is all about God.

3. No one can “make” God do anything, through worship or otherwise.

4. A person’s value has to come from the fact that God loves him or her.

5. Worship must be accessible, but not compromised.

6. It is not entertainment.

7. Humility, grace, love, truth, and having the ability to serve others (with gladness!) are key leadership qualities.

8. If church leadership is a true calling it will cost something. (You name it–friends, a job, family members…and the list goes on)

9. The people are not there to hear from me.

10. Ministry is more effective if you know and genuinely care about the people to whom you are in service. (Make no mistake, if you are a leader, you are in service!)

I knew there was a call on my life when I started slipping bible verses (well, the ones I remember anyway) into daily conversation. When I overheard a careless remark made by a former coworker against another, I gave them a 5 minute lecture about the fact that the same measure she used to judge others would be used against her. I knew I was called to minister when I woke up at 4 in the morning, praying for a relative that I don’t speak to much, only to find out that someone attempted to kill them at the exact moment I was praying. (They’re fine, thank God.)  I knew I was called after 4 people confirmed my call, in either direct or indirect ways.

If I had chosen this, it would not have taken me 7 years to do it. The fact that God chose me was amusing. I can communicate well in writing, but I am always too short or too long-winded when I speak. I don’t like crowds. Public speaking gives me anxiety, and I am not good at remembering which bible verse is in what book. I don’t like to be the center of attention, and don’t think I’m outgoing enough.

In an interesting twist, my lack of outward qualifications is what qualifies me.

I can’t help but be thankful for that.

Peace,

Erie

What To Do When The Sign You’ve Been Praying For is a Punch in the Face

I am not one of those “spooky” people. I am more apt to base my feelings and opinions on the reality of a situation, rather than a “sign”. That said, in the month since I resigned from my job, I have doubts, and the overwhelming feeling that I made the wrong decision.

I did what I normally do; pretend that everything is fine. Finally, at my wit’s end, I prayed for a sign–any sign–that my choice was the right one. It was all well at first. It seemed as though everything was going my way.

Then the bottom dropped out, and things started to go wrong. Part of the problem was my complacency. I am not one to panic, so I didn’t move with any urgency until the eleventh hour. After that, all signs pointed in one glaring direction: I was wrong.

In asking for a sign, I thought that I would see something that was overwhelmingly positive. I asked for a sign to encourage me to move forward. Instead, every sign is telling me to give up. I was looking for something spectacular. I found something simple instead.

When I had my first setback, I felt like giving up. Then it occurred to me; I want this to work,  but not for my sake. I want it to work because people who feel misunderstood need someone to talk and listen to them. Someone like me.

I remembered that this is not a choice; it is a calling. If I decide to ignore it, I would not be restless until I changed my mind. I was looking for encouragement, but what I needed to do was get the passion back.

One of my favourite books in the Bible is the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a prophet, who was both disrespected because of his youth, and despised because of his role as an oracle of the God. In chapter 20, after speaking another corrective message to the people of Israel, he writes, “Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.” (Emphasis mine)

If I pay attention to how things look right now, I won’t move forward. But, in my experience, I always face the worst opposition when I am doing the right thing. (When I’m not, I’m pretty much ignored.) I don’t like anxiety, but in my case it helped me get perspective. If going to university was not the best decision, I wouldn’t care so much about the outcome.

My big “sign” was not a loud chorus, singing ‘Hallelujah’. It was not a talking fiery bush, or the stunning, come-from-behind victory.

It was a still, small voice, that said, “Keep moving ahead.”

Many times, when all signs point to, “no”, it means no, but sometimes all of the negatives are a “gut-check” to see how devoted one is to the completion of a task. Part of growing up is discerning which is which.

Ignoring obstacles does not end them. In order to solve them, I had to acknowledge them, and then do everything in my power to get over them.

It’s time for me to pick up my mantle and run with it.

Peace,

Erie

Pause For More Navel-Gazing

In spite of my hatred of the phrase,”navel-gazing”, I am going to use it because it is the only word that accurately describes what I’m doing here. As much as I’d like to think of myself as an “up with people” philanthropist, the truth is that I am quite self-absorbed of late. I didn’t start out this way. When I was a kid, I used to pretend not to know the answers to questions because I didn’t want the other kids to feel bad that they didn’t know. If I expressed an opinion that was unpopular, I changed it because I didn’t want my friends to be angry with me. I took sides in disputes, when in truth, I wasn’t invested either way. I said things I didn’t mean because I wanted to fit in. I kept my feelings to myself because I didn’t to be a burden to anyone, and I gossiped about people I didn’t know because everyone else was doing it.

When I turned 28, a shift happened. All at once, I went from a people-pleasing sycophant, to a God-pleasing loner. (With a small group of trusted friends.) During that time, I experienced a lot of personal turmoil. It was as though everything was stacked against both me, and everyone I was related to. The 4 years that followed were a mixture of sublime, ridiculous, and sad. I am grateful that I had the support of my family and friends through all of it. I found out how short life really was in those years, so I made up my mind to stop living for others, and start living the life God intended me to live.

The first thing I did was reconnect to my faith. I was raised in a Christian home (with two activist parents), but during my teens and early twenties I renounced my faith and adopted the beliefs of any creed that would allow me to do whatever I wanted.  However, I am not the type of person who can live without believing in someone. A few years ago, I read The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy. In it, she writes about te human need to fill the ‘God-shaped hole’ in their lives. That is, in the absence of God, people will inevitably find something or someone else to worship. I spent a lot of time worshipping my own misery. My prayers were complaints and criticism, and I had a small choir of equally miserable people to encourage my negativity. (I also had dysthymia, which did not help matters. At all.) After years of suffering in silence, I decided that I was not invincible, infallible, or untouchable and that I needed help. When I abandoned my pride and admitted my weakness, I was able to get the help that I needed, and start living my life.

The first casualty in my war against inefficiency was my need to please everyone. I’m not the type to try to make another person miserable on purpose, but, if a person is not happy with me as I am, it is not my job to make them happy with me. How people feel about me, is their business, not mine. Seeking comfort is normal, but growth always comes with discomfort, rather, my acceptance of times of challenge and inconvenience as a part of life instead of avoiding them because I feel I am entitled to something better. Learning how to like the person I am in spite of what other people think was not always comfortable. But once I realized that I didn’t need the approval of the crowd in order to live a good life, I didn’t want their approval anymore.

So now, I am all about me–with a twist. I am all about the plans God has for my life. I am all about being myself. I am all about nurturing my own gifts and talents instead of coveting the gifts and talents of other people. I am all about being comfortable in my own skin because, let’s face it–this is the only skin I have so I may as well accept it. Not everyone will like me for this. Not everyone should like me for this. I was not born to be validated by the crowd. Per my contrary nature, my being validated by the masses means that I’m doing something wrong. (My M.O.: If everyone is going left, go right because it’s less crowded.)

If history has taught me anything, it is that the pervading popular opinion is often incorrect. I made the decision not to allow what is commonly believed to sway my views. I read a quote that explained how we all see the people in our lives as extras, and we’re the stars, but we fail to recognize that they are the stars of their own story. All this navel-gazing, self-awareness, and unabashed confidence are just a byproduct of my realizing that, while I may be a mere extra in another person’s life, in my own life I am the key player. When I accepted myself as the key player in my life, I was able to live with the fact that everyone is a key player.

My confidence is not derived from the knowledge that I am somehow superior to anyone else. (I think you’ll find that any person who clings to the belief that he or she is superior is deeply insecure. Arrogance is just a cover.)  I can be confident because I don’t need anyone to tell me who I am. I already know. I can confidently admit that I do not know it all. I make a lot of mistakes. I am often rude, self-absorbed, and standoffish. I am intolerant of people who waste my time. I cannot abide gossips. Once a person betrays my trust, it will take years before I trust them again–that is–if I ever do. I cannot stand anyone who uses manipulation as a means to control other people, and I am relentlessly stubborn when I believe I am right.

I may be a navel-gazer, but hey, at least I’ve learned something from it.

Peace,

Erie

Sharing Saturday: And Jesus Spoke With A British Accent

A few weeks ago, I dreamt that I was putting merchandise away in the children’s department of my workplace. I have worked at my current place of employment for 13+ years. I haven’t worked in the children’s department since 2006. Yet for some reason, my subconscious decided to place me there, putting away books and toys. As soon as I got to work, my supervisor told me that, since there weren’t any shipments to process, I would be putting merchandise away in the children’s department. Score one for dreamland. I don’t always remember my dreams, but here are more examples of some odd ones.

I had a dream that Gerard Butler gave me $25,000 dollars. I don’t remember why, but I do recall that it was one of those, “Hey you, Here’s some money” type of deals. When I woke up without $25,000 dollars I was very disappointed. (Also? Random.)

In one of my dreams, I was a passenger in a taxi that, I later found out, was driven by Jesus. (Jesus take the wheel!) Since we were in London, Jesus had a British accent. Not a posh British accent, like the Queen, but rather, a Coronation Street British accent. (A.K.A. The cool kind) In the dream, British Jesus told me that as long as I stuck with him, I’d have everything I need. It was oddly comforting.

In my most recent odd dream, I was in a van with Ben Affleck. (Pause for effect.) We were drinking coffee and eating doughnuts, sort of like partners in a buddy-cop movie. (The vibe was distinctly platonic. Even my subconscious honours the fact that Ben Affleck is both married and not my type.) All of the sudden, a deranged psychopath, jumped out of nowhere, and started screaming that he was going to kill us. Since I was in the driver’s seat, I rolled down the window and said, nonchalantly, “Really? You need to go somewhere else. I don’t have time for your foolishness.” Ben mentioned something about having to go home to his wife and kids, and we were both treating a potential killer as though he were a minor inconvenience instead of a threat. I even taunted him as I put the window back up. (In real life I’d be less likely to say, “I’m putting the window up, you can’t get me!” and sticking my tongue out. That’s rude.)  I wasn’t scared at all. Probably because I knew I was under the protection of British Jesus.

Then there was the time my dream alter-ego smashed a person in the face and told her off for stealing my bench. In my defense, I paid for the bench, so it was technically my bench. The lady was a jerk for trying to steal it to begin with. Also, she cursed at me. Not cool.

In another dream, I stood up to one of my childhood bullies. (The message: Petty mean-girl intimidation tactics are not effective when dealing with a 32 year-old woman who, a) knows her worth, and b) isn’t above throwing a right hook.)

When I was 11 or 12, I used to have nightmares all the time. (They always involved demons, and those demons were always trying to kill me)  It got to the point where, not only was I sleeping on a cot in the parlour of my parent’s bedroom, I was also afraid of going to sleep. (Hello, Insomnia.)

Eventually, I stopped having the nightmares and returned to my own room. (Erie=1. Nightmare demons=0) Thank God for that because I really like to sleep.

I have a friend who is interested in dream interpretation. (She’s the same friend who is attending Bible College, in the U.S.) She told me that most dreams are meant to be discarded, but there are some that relevant to where a person is in their life. In the Bible, God often spoke to people through dreams. (These types of dreams got Joseph and his snazzy coat in big trouble with his brothers and saved Daniel’s life.) I guess, based on my dreams, God is telling me that I’m going to be given a lot of money. I am going to the UK again. I’m indifferent towards psychopaths and bullies. Jesus is always in the driver’s seat. I’m possessive over what is mine, and I can occasionally tell what is going to happen in the future.

Sounds legit.

Peace,

Erie

11 Reasons I’m Not As Smart As I Think I Am

  • I have twice accidentally stabbed myself. The first time I was popping plastic packing bubbles with my utility knife and stabbed my own finger. The second time I stabbed myself in the eye with a cardboard box.
  • I am horrible at mental math. If you give me a piece of paper to work out the equations, I’m pretty good.  However, when I’m forced to rely on my memory I am bad. My brain does not speak ‘math’.
  • If I’m not interested in a topic, I don’t pay much attention to it. If I don’t pay attention to it, I won’t learn about it.
  • Occasionally I forget my nouns. In the past couple of years, I have forgotten the following words: broom, pricing gun, chainsaw, and hovercraft. I wish I were making this up. (To be fair, once a person reaches 30, he/she starts to forget nouns anyway, but it’s still annoying.)
  • I still have to look up words in the dictionary. Last year when I was reading The Brothers Karamazov, I had to look up the word ‘vouchsafed’ because I had never seen it before. (For the record, has three meanings: to give a person something in either a gracious or condescending manner, or to reveal something.)
  • I have a horrible memory when it comes to movie dialogue. Not that the ability to recall movie dialogue is an important life skill, but it is one of the few instances in which my memory fails me completely.
  • I am not good at picking up hints. I don’t read subtle hints. I don’t read overt hints. If a person is not direct, I will not pay attention to what he or she is covertly trying to say. (Either be open or be quiet. Even if, what you’re hinting at is painfully obvious to you, I won’t get it.)
  • I think reality television is entertaining.  Reality television is entertaining if you watch it properly. I watch because it is interesting to see how different people relate to each other in a variety of settings. It is also interesting to see how delusion plays a big role in how reality starts behave when they know they are being watched. Also, the way a person is perceived on a show is largely dependent upon how he or she is edited. When others control the narrative, how am I supposed to know what is real and what is not? (Answer: by watching a lot of reality TV. Every show follows the same guide book.)
  • A good portion of my spare change is spent buying high end make up. There are 6 major companies who are responsible for most of the make up we buy, with a few notable (and pricey) exceptions. I know that the drugstore stuff is just as good, but the high end stuff has nicer packaging, better fragrances, and a wider variety of colours. It’s not smart, but I like it.
  • I don’t know everything. This one bears repeating. I don’t know everything. There is far too much to know for me even  to scale the surface of knowing everything. I’m just going to continue to learn all I can while being satisfied with what I already know. I will never know it all, but I’d sooner be content with knowing ‘some’.
  • Also, I once failed a driver’s licence exam because I second-guessed myself and changed the 4 (correct) answers that would have helped me pass into the wrong ones. (On the sign portion I got one wrong. One.)

While it’s cute to be a know-it all, it’s a lot easier to be the one who admits to being ignorant. It takes the pressure off.

Live well, everyone 🙂

Erie

Off The Cuff Thursday: Man Plans, God Laughs

It seems as though I was born to be a planner. As a kid, every moment of my day was meticulously thought out and executed. I’m much better than I was, but a few decades ago, any unexpected detours in my life (or my day, for that matter) were met with unrelenting hostility.

When I turned 30 a few years ago, I finally caught on. Life is full of unexpected detours. In 2008, I was planning to go back to university, but a family crisis put my plans on hold indefinitely. At the time, I was going to study English, but in the two years since, I was steered toward my true calling. I made my plans, but God was laughing as if to say, “Don’t trip. You know I’m the boss of you.”

Which brings me to my second revelatory thought: It isn’t my job to put anyone in their place. I am good at discerning when a person is trying to intimidate me. And just like my favourite literary heroine, Lizzie Bennet, I get  braver when anyone tries to back me into a corner than I would have been had they just left me alone. (For some reason, no one has caught on to this yet.) On the other hand, just as it isn’t anyone else’s responsibility to “put me in my place”, it isn’t my duty to put anyone else in their place either. First of all, who gets to decide who goes where?

I once read a quote that said, “I have good news, and better news. The good news is, there is a God. The better news is, it isn’t you.” The way I see it if someone is acting as though they’re the king of the universe, they’ll eventually be humbled because pride always comes before a downfall. The most pitiful kind of loser is the one who is too arrogant to see that his or her defeat is imminent. While it is my right not to allow anyone to bully, threaten, or manipulate me, it is not my right to make them feel small to fulfill a bizarre sense of justice.

In the moments of my life when I got a little too cocky (for lack of a better word), something else came along that reminded me that, not only was I, not as great as I thought I was, I wasn’t as smart either. (I also learned that I only have control over me. That’s it.) And then my giant bobble-head deflated, and I floated back down to earth with the rest of the plebeians. Like it or not, the same thing will happen to you if you get too caught up in your own hype. (Don’t be so proud, you’re not that great. You’re not terrible, but you are not that great.)

It reminded me of the passage in the book of Job, where God says, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation”, and then he goes on and lists all of the things he has done, until Job responds, “I am unworthy–how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but have no answer–twice, but I will say no more.”

God’s rebuttal:

“Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong?
Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint?
Do you have an arm like my arm?
Can you shout in thunder the way I can?
Go ahead, show your stuff.
Let’s see what you’re made of, what you can do.
Unleash your outrage.
Target the arrogant and lay them flat.
Target the arrogant and bring them to their knees.
Stop the wicked in their tracks—make mincemeat of them!
Dig a mass grave and dump them in it—
faceless corpses in an unmarked grave.
I’ll gladly step aside and hand things over to you—
you can surely save yourself with no help from me!”

When you know that there is someone higher than you, smarter than you, and more powerful than you, you are less likely to try control everything. (Note: I didn’t say it was impossible–somewhere in the world, there is a contingent of bossy Christians, wreaking havoc in their respective churches– it’s just less likely.)

In  your daily life, you may have a lot of pull, but God is the one holding all the strings.

Peace,

Erie

I’m An Old Lady

I’m not chronologically old. Well, at least, I don’t think so. My niece told me that while, 32 is old, I am still a little girl because I am not married and don’t have any babies. (Wonder whom she heard that from? I blame my Nana)  I am “old” in the sense that I tend to gravitate toward things that people twice my age really enjoy. For example, my favourite radio station is CBC radio Canada. It features  a lot of news, pop culture,  shows about books, and radio plays. I don’t whine much, but when I do, it’s about the music the kids are listening to these days, and the weather. I like few things better than a quiet night in, with a cup of tea, watching Masterpiece Theatre. I like documentaries, books about modern history, and classical music. I have the propensity to say whatever is on my mind, regardless of the consequences. I value a good night’s rest over a night on the town. I use phrases like, “night on the town”. I’m not easily offended, but when I am, I address it immediately (i.e. “Hey what’s with the back-handed compliment you just gave me? That’s some bull!”). I believe in God, and not in an ironic way. It takes me a while to adapt to new technology. I bought my first cell phone in 2006. I received my first mp3 player in 2007, and I didn’t start using it until after my Discman died. I didn’t upgrade my cell phone until 2010 and chose a slightly better talk and text phone because I didn’t see the point of  owning a smartphone.  I don’t abbreviate text messages. I have faith in humanity–no matter how rotten people behave, and I believe that children respected their elders more when I was young. I believe that prayer works. Hard work is always rewarded, even if it comes just by knowing you did a good job. Persistence is more valuable than raw talent, and making mistakes gives you character.

Love is the most powerful feeling on the planet because not only can it spur us into action, the presence of love can change our lives for the better. I read more than I watch T.V.. I have no idea how to make a gif. I don’t believe that anarchy is a viable political movement because, without order, our society would collapse. I like sensible shoes. (Mind you, my paternal grandmother wore stilettos until she wasn’t able to, but I digress) I don’t understand Pokemon. I love to read. Most of my pajamas are flannel. I don’t have much patience for foolishness. I am devoted to my family, and loyal to my friends but God more important to me than any of them. I don’t know any teenage slang. I use  “Carpe Diem” instead of “You Only Live Once”. (And I never use YOLO. Ew.) I like reading the book before I see the film adaptation. I’m frugal, except for the times when I want to treat my self. I mentioned reading twice in this paragraph and didn’t see a problem with that.  I like talking about theories and ideas more than I like talking about people. I sing to myself when I’m happy. I’m satisfied enough with my life to be content, but not too complacent to change it. I have a list for everything. I’m a kind of book snob.

I forgot what else I was going to write.

Have a great day 🙂

Erie