Living the dream one moment at a time

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Another post? Two days in a row?

Ha! Even I’m surprised.

After a year or more of sporadic activity I wasn’t sure if I should even be posting at all.  I’ve been busy tutoring,  working on my learning specialist certificate and and keeping up with all things family.

Yeah, great excuses. 🙂

And, maybe it’s just common sense to focus on what is in front of me. I love tutoring, taking courses to learn new strategies, and, of course, I love interacting with my family as much as possible.

But, I have this thing about writing.

No it’s not creepy. More like euphoric. Or maybe it’s more like I have these moments when I feel so deeply, see what matters in life so clearly I just want to write it down. My head fills with words that shape and form to the hidden depth of everyday moments.

It’s my passion.

But, those words seldom get written down. Days and weeks and months go by without a letter formed because I’m waiting

  1. for the perfect moment when I have hours of nothing to do but write.
  2. for the perfect idea to come into my head so I can put it down on paper.
  3. for someone to encourage me and let me know that my writing is perfectly acceptable and I should do it.

Perfect.

As if I will ever be. That’s not me, not you, not anyone.

And that’s why I”m blogging two days in a row. I”m not perfect but I am passionate. And, I have to get capture the rhythm of everyday life in words.

I want to write. Imperfectly. Any time I can. No matter what other people think of me.

What about you? Maybe you’ve been hardwired to sing, dance, write computer code, run 5ks, paint, speak, garden, sketch, knit, landscape, build, tear down, listen deeply, cook creatively, or something I don’t know how to spell, pronounce or even wrap my head around.

Maybe you’ve done it before.

Maybe it’s something you’ve longed to do but never let your self even imagine what it would be like if you did.

I say that

  1. No matter what people think
  2. even if now is not the perfect time,
  3. or you feel you are not good enough

Do it.

The beauty is not just in the end result. It is in the process.

Today

  •  carve out
  • some time
  • even it’s just a moment or two

to begin to bring your dream to life.

 

In the words of the world’s most famous footwear-

Just do it 🙂

 

 

It’s time to get a grip- on eternal truth

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I’ve been working on a book for the last few months. Its about eternal truth and how what we believe effects how we live. Even though it’s been a slow go of writing (I’m a bit of a lazy butt when it comes to just sitting down and writing). And, yet, I find myself checking my thoughts and my words at the most random times.

This is new to me. I’d always figured my ranting about life in general was part of my “verbal processing” personality.

Maybe, maybe not.

Thing is, if what we say in our “processing” is not clarified within the boundaries of eternal truth, we may just be setting up ourselves and people around us to embrace a lie.

Now don’t get all pious on me. We all spout off now and again.

Take the U.S. election for example. I live in Canada but I was born and raised in the United States. I know how inflammatory election rhetoric can be – not just from the candidates but in everyday conversations of ordinary citizens.

Election 2016 election is like no other. The discussions are fierce and the dividing lines cut deep. People are frustrated, angry and scared.

And, sad to say, lies have made themselves at home in every corner of the debate.

“This election will determine wether America will be great or not.”

“If America ceases to be great, we will all suffer”

“If we suffer, what will become of us?”

Pretty scary stuff for adults, much more for kids.  They are just forming their view of the world. Imagine their takeaway from listening to the adults around them.

But the truth is….

God is sovereign. Not Democrat, Republican or independent. He is more concerned about the condition of our hearts than he is in party agenda. No matter what way the election goes God will use it to humble us, to draw us closer to Himself, to teach us to trust Him.

His existence is not threatened by the outcome of the election. Fact check- He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent.

This is what our kids need to hear.

God is in control. He will take care of us no matter what happens. No matter what.

And, this is what our kids need to see.

Mom and Dad and Pastors and teachers and babysitters and leaders seeking God, not for some political agenda but for God to heal our land and our leaders and our neighbours and our friends and strangers we see on the street.

Sorry Nationalists. Eternal truth is global. We are to love and to reach out to the world with the gospel of God’s love.

On the other hand, it is also national. The ties that strengthen this nation will not come through one leader, no matter how charactered, powerful or wise that leader may be. It will come through the moral courage and compassion of individuals, loving families and communities of faith that reach out and embrace to those who have no family, community or faith.

We may not be able to sway an election with one vote. But, we can change the world one honest and loving relationship at a time.

Yes, you can verbally process (if you are like me), but make sure your processing is based on truth, eternal truth.  The kind of truth that heals and transforms hearts and not just promotes a political view.

God’s not dead.

He is alive and well on planet earth. All the earth and every nation. Pretty heady stuff.

Eternal truth.

Talk like it, act like it. Live it in front of your kids.

Moms Just Wanna Have Fun

It’s true.

I know my mom does.

She’s 82 and still having fun. She’s been having fun as long as I can remember.

When I was a kid, camping was at the top of her fun list.

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Camping equipment -not so much. We couldn’t afford a tent much less a pop-up camper. But, like I said, my mom just wanted to have fun. Who cared if we didn’t have money or the latest camping gear?

One hot summer afternoon, she folded down the back passenger seats in our Pontiac station wagon. Then, she foraged several wooden panels from the recesses  of our cluttered garage. While six offspring chased each other around the yard, Mom shoved and hammered those panels into makeshift bunkbeds. Somehow she managed to tucked them into our station wagon as snuggly as a fresh diaper on a newly washed baby bottom. Under Mom’s direction us kids crammed

  • blankets,
  • swimming suits,
  • marshmallows,
  • hot dogs,
  • hamburgers patties
  • buns
  • cans of baked beans,
  • water
  • and a million packets of Kool-aid

into the spaces around our traveling beds. We climbed into the bunkbeds (pre-seatbelt era) and held on tight while mom drove the entire contraption to Dow Chemical where Dad worked. After we picked him up, we headed to the nearest campground.

All this so Mom could have her fun.

Sure, we all knew how she loved washing sticky faces, herding kids to the out-house potties in the middle of the night and then crawling out of a sleeping bag in the morning to rummage up breakfast on a picnic table layered with morning dew.

Not.

It was family that mom loved. We were her fun. Spending time with us

  • Laughing.
  • Telling stories.
  • Wiping tears
  • Taking care of cuts and bruises
  • Listening to our woes
  • Encouraging our hopes and dreams.

Even after Dad died and Mom had to take care of the youngest ones on her own, she kept on having fun. The deep kind that lasts through lots and lots of tears. Mom knew how to have fun. 

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Now, with kids, grandkids and great grandkids spread across the country and across the world, she still knows how to enjoy people for who they really are and love them unconditionally.

Guess that is one of greatest things I gleaned from my Mom- how to have fun. How to get off of the busy train of expectations and obligations and just enjoy spending time with the people around me.

And guess what?

It’s biblical.

Almighty God himself delights in his children. He finds great joy in every moment we spend with Him.

How can we do less?

So Mom, go out and enjoy your family today. Soak in the richness of just being together. Enjoy people. Delight in the wonder of connection with your kids and all the kids God brings your way.

Have fun!

 

Shepherd Love and Shattered Glass

“If God really knew me He would not love me,” someone said recently. I tossed out a few platitudes like “God loves everybody” and “God is love”. Yeah, I know, those tidbits of wisdom had as much satisfaction as sucking the salt off  of popcorn kernels at the bottom of the microwave bag.  I do love leftover popcorn. But this was not a time philosophical junk food.

This was a time for unrefined truth.

Fact is, God sees past our I’m-ok-you’re-ok social posturing crap into the deep yearnings of our soul. And, He’s not grossed out, disgusted, or demanding we just go away.

Au contraire, my friend. (always wanted to say that.)

Thing is, sometimes even the truth can seem like those greasy popcorn platitudes. We need more than words. That is why God shows us over and over in everyday life how much He loves us.

Example-tiny human beings.

God teaches us so much truth through little children, I’m surprised that they don’t  have ISBN numbers tattooed onto their bottoms.

Speaking of babies-it’s been over a month since my grandbaby Shepherd made his dramatic appearance.

Yes, I am a grandma. Just to blow your mind let me throw in this stick of dynamite- I have another grandbaby. His name is Ezekiel. He rules England with one little wiggle of his chubby finger. Even in our long distance relationship, he has my full attention.

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when Ezekiel was a tiny baby

Then, Shepherd came. Before his arrival I

  • hand stitched on a quilt- (and I can barely thread a needle)
  • bought ittsy-bitsy clothes and cutesy toys
  • got up before 5 am and flew all the way across the USA
  • barely got used to the midwest before I crawled out of bed before the sun and raced to the hospital

It was worth it all-I was so glad and excited  just to be there when he was born.

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baby Shepherd’s first day

Likewise with Shepherd?

Not so much.

No hello, ‘thanks for coming’. No ‘hey,I like the quilt’ or ‘wow, those clothes are really cool’.

Basically, he spits up, dirties his diaper and occasionally pees on his parents.

Not exactly a favored contender for the Nobel peace prize.

Shocker announcement- his parents cannot get enough of this kid. Neither can his grandparents. It’s the same as my first grandson- “Is he wet?” “Is he hungry?”Did he just smile?”

Facebook is like some kind of hall of fame- picture after picture of this kid. And I look at each and every one. Between gazing at Shepherd and Ezekiel’s pictures I barely have time  for anything else.  What do people do with more grandkids? Lock themselves in a room with two years of take-0ut and adult diapers so that they can gaze at grandkids 24 hours a day?

Seriously, I still have a job, a house full of people and other stuff in my life. But, I drop it all the minute I can be with/skype or look at a picture of one of my grandkids.

Why the love? The passion? The constant concern for a life form that needs total care all the time and has nothing to give?

It’s a God thing, left over from the Garden of Eden- bits and pieces of a connection once so deep there was nothing  but total trust, commitment and compassion. All that remains on this side of heaven is a reflected glory. We find it in the love of a father. A mother. That glimmer of God’s unfailing compassion and grace reflecting off the shattered glass of our souls.

When I see my grandsons on Skype, Facebook, Lifecake or Whatsapp I think about how much I love them and how much God loves me. He cares for each and every one of us  more than any loving parent or grandparent on earth.

Unfailing love.

God’s love.

Oh, and welcome to the world baby Shepherd boy!!!

Rusty cars, Awkward Obedience and God’s Grace

Sometimes, especially at the beginning of a new year, I get this lumpy-dumpy feeling. It’s not so much about fat handles or a rotunduous tummy. It’s more about my ineffectiveness as compared to other people.

Maybe comparing is the operative word.

You see, compared to most people I feel like I move at a snail’s space- with about as much fanfare. I mean how many snails have you seen with super dynamic personalities or exploding ministry?

(The fact that I’m actually considering relationships with snails may be part of the problem.)

To be honest, people scare me. That’s why I often wonder how God could use me to show his love to other people.

That all changed a few months ago.

I was taking my mom to the eye specialist. There was almost zero parking space around the office building.  Barely any place to drop her off.

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The very suggestion of slowing down could end your life. Death by pile-up. Yes, in Surrey, B. C. its a real thing.

So is frustration.

Mom had a two-hour appointment. What was I going to do in the meantime?

Then I noticed the Safeway parking lot across from the doctor’s office. It spread out farther than the dimensions of a Wal-mart Superstore.

So, why not park?

Then I saw the signs-

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and the men in green vests everywhere. They re-enforced the same  message as they circled the lot looking violators.

With the Skytrain and the Guildford Rec Center and Ice Rink across the street, a university satellite campus half a block away, parking spots were at a premium.

Obviously.

Fortunately, I spied a small square of Park and Pay signs to the side of Safeway.

That’s when a rusty tank of a car almost mowed me over.

I caught a quick look at the driver.  Her matted hair, tired eyes and sunken cheeks reminded me that this area was a dangerous place to be in the middle of the night.

Good thing it was in the middle of the day. Even more good news. I found a spot. It cost me all my change and then some. But, I parked.

I pulled out a paperback and tried to lose myself in some somebody else’s problems in some other place. That worked until I checked the time on my phone.

Dead battery.

Not good. How was I supposed to pick up mom? She’d never find me in this maze.I read a few more pages. Then, I sighed, shoved my book in my purse and got out of the car.

I walked across the parking lot and stood by a small bank on the corner.

Awkward.

I wasn’t used to being just “out there” standing around with nowhere to go, nothing to do. But I didn’t want my Mom to get lost or panic trying to find me.

So I let awkward be awkward. And actually kind of enjoyed it

The same rusty car that almost mowed me down earlier  pulled up. A woman in a bathroom and pajama bottoms got out. She opened the back door, unstrapped a toddler from a car seat and headed into the bank.

Dumpy  car, worn PJ’s, erratic driving. I should have felt concern and compassion, maybe even prayed for her. Instead, I waited for her to do her banking business and be gone so I could get on with my awkward wait.

It seemed to be working.

This woman came out of the bank almost as quickly as she entered.

But, she didn’t  get into the car. She plopped down on the curb beside her car and put her head in her hands. Her toddler danced around her while she sat motionless. Tragic. Sad.

I tried to put the entire scene out of my mind.

Not a chance.

God wanted more from me. And, I knew what He was saying even if I didn’t hear an audible voice.

This woman needs money.

She needs love.

Go talk to her.

I took a few hesitant  steps toward the woman. Almost got to her car where she had her back to me. Then, I got scared and circled back to the sidewalk and wrestled with my fears.

What if I was about to offend this woman? What if I made her mad?

When I gathered enough courage to start walking back to the woman again.

“Excuse me,” I said. The woman didn’t turn around.

Excuse me, ” I said so loudly I was sure everyone in Safeway heard me.

She turned around slowly.

“I’m sorry, but I had to talk to you. You seem to be having a hard time. And…I want to help you and your son.”

I held out some money. She shook her head.

“He’s my son, not my grandson,” she said, “And, this is not me. I’m the one who helps other people. This is not me…”

She looked about ready to cry. I told her how brave she was and how blessed her family was to have her.

I”ll take your money, but not for me. For my daughter. She needs medicine,” the woman finally said as she looked past me as if I was not even there. Suddenly, she grabbed me in a big hug and started to sob.

For a few moments, we stood as one. Two women, trying to get through the day.

Not sure what else to do, I asked if I could pray for her and her family.

After that, she got into the car with her grandson and drove away.

I don’t know if I will ever see her again. But, God sees her every day. And, he cares.He cares so much that he will use the most awkward of means to show his love.

Even people like me.

 We all we need to do is obey.

Baby Steps – exciting ways to change in the new year

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This week I’m starting three new adventures-

  1. I’m beginning the Learning Specialist program at Cambrian College in Ontario

No, I did not move to Ontario. This is an online adventure. My Learning Specialist program begins with an introduction to learning disabilities, ADHD and autism. Although I’ve worked with amazing people who struggle with these types of challenges, I want to learn more. This is one part of my life, facilitating growth in the talents and gifts of people with unique brain chemistry. They are brilliant, courageous and creative, so much so, that I need to up my game to keep up with them!!!

2. My second adventure is to finish a book that I began years ago. Now THIS is a messy and daunting prospect. Every time I start to work on it I just want to crawl in bed and take a nap, watch TV or even clean a bathroom. Yeah, that bad. I say I love to write but love is a funny thing. The idea is much more compeling sometimes than the living of it. Well, living here I come. It’s time. Yes, even though I feel like I’m getting ready to roll around in the dumpster. But, hey, got to start somewhere.adgong to viccmessy and scattered. Daunting in the sense that I have no idea how to  proceed.I know I will learn

3. My third and final adventure is embarking on the WordPress Blogging course 101. It’s time to clean up my blog. Watch out, livinginloserville!  You are about to get a make-over.

But, hey! Here is my first assignment. Answer-

Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?Why?

Oh, k…I feel like Dr. Suess with all the who and why and where stuff.

Right off the pages of Horton Hears a Who. Imagine me with wide eyes and straggly, raggly hair saying except..I’m the girl who grew up to be mommy and wife. I loved every minute of the stay-at-home life.

“I’m the girl who grew up to be mommy and wife. I loved every minute of the stay-at-home life.

But nobody told me that kids grow up so fast. Suddenly my job was a thing of the past.

This creature I’d become was a stranger to me, as dumpy and useless as a clunky TV.

I fussed and I pouted and raged till I cried, but aging and change is part of being alive.

lol, spoiler alert, I didn’t move to Whoville or become the Grinch. Instead, I grew up, looked around me and realized that everyone struggles with change. Most everyone feels, at some point, misshapen and weary in the wild storms of life. We lose sight of the  wonder of just being, the beauty of breathing and walking and moving, the miracle of connection even though it may be as minute as a “hey” or “how are you”. We forget that the greatest thing we can do is touch another life, exchange hope if we chose.

Yeah, I’d like to bring hope and  perspective to people who are bogged down with responsibility, expectations, and overwhelming circumstances. Nothing big as massive change but tiny steps to make lasting change in the way we see life.H maneuvering all the unexpected things that life throws at us. We all need to know They struggle with feeling

I’m not talking about massive change, but tiny steps that brings joy from everyday awareness of what we truly have and can have if we just stop and relax.

First, I am going to change my blog name (soon as I need to renew the rights to my old name soon).aThe

Secondly, I want to outline what I want to address and who I want to reach

Thirdly, I am counting on this course and my amazing course mates to inspire me and help me out so I can be practical as well as all airheaded.

I want to be in a new place with my blog by this time next year, with material to offer and short courses for people to take.

So, I know you didn’t ask, but that is what has been on my mind.

Growth.

Change.

And the ability to appreciate and draw upon the here and now.

 

 

Breathtakingly beautiful-I’m talking about you :)

I walk most every day. Take the dogs out and get moving. Usually my motivation though somewhat noble, is not so uplifting. “You gotta lose that double chin,  firm up and change your image,” whispers a self-righteous voice  in my head, “if you want to be valued, to be respected, to be loved”.

 

I’m just not buying it.

I figure I just need to be.

I need to be ok with the skin that I live in. I need to embrace the essence of being alive.That’s why I took up hiking.

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It sure beats counting every bite I eat and hating the very sight of myself when I look in the mirror. That’s no way to live. In fact, if you want to get down and dirty theologically it’s really screwed up.

According the ancient text Psalm 139:49 “we are fearfully and wonderfully made”.

Seriously.

Those bulges and skin flaws, slightly crooked teeth and crazy-like-a-scarecrow hair days  don’t spell out what you think they do.

It’s not the word Loser, Reject, or That Girl Who Just Isn’t Enough.

Newsflash- what you think is so ugly is actually beautiful, a message of God’s love, the wonder of his sacrifice for each and every one of us.

Each and every one of us are cherished in the eyes of God.

On that note, I took a hike. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about doing.Letting go of all the things I need to fix before embracing, well, being alive.

With my 82-year-old mom in tow, we headed for a trail a short drive away from our little trailer in the foothills of Mount Baker.

Maple Creek.

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I stumbled over rocks while Mom clumped behind me with her cane. As the dusk began to settle around us, I could hear the creek raging just beyond the treeline. IMG_0756

I took gulped in air so clean and fresh my lungs barely knew what to do with it.It was one of those moments when all the silly lies about body image, the pressure of other people’s expectations and the unfounded fears about my future fell away. I was up close and personal with truth.

 

God is good. His mercy is everlasting.

His creation is breathtaking.

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And I’m not just talking about the great outdoors.

I’m talking about me and you, and who we really are in the eyes of God.

End of story? Mom and I and the two dogs made it to the head of the trail before we even needed my flashlight. Good thing. Those dog treats wouldn’t have lasted too long between the four of us if we had gotten lost. I got into the car, refreshed and invigorated, ready to take on the challenges of life.

Now that’s beautiful.