Tuesday, October 27, 2009

cynicism for breakfast, flu for lunch?

I think it’s safe to say that we’re all paying a bit more attention to our health these days; how could we not? So as I sit here at my desk and eat my fries for breakfast, I can’t help but consider the overall picture of my health; especially because my co-worker pointed out to me this morning that, because of my age, I am more at risk for the current media-hyped-illness known as H1N1. I have a post in the works, for my own satisfaction, where I’m hoping to get some FACTS about H1N1 into the hands of my friend group, instead of the hype that permeates the day. But it’s taking a lot more research (and therefore a lot more energy) than I have time for. So for now I’ve chosen to gripe about the lack of clarity and the overabundance of sensation in today’s news reporting.

The news media reminds me a lot of a guy I went to school with. The guy was a hilarious flirt, and if you name a girl I went to school with, you’d more than likely be naming a girl that crushed on him at some point (whether they admitted it or not- my giftings from the Lord knew the truth), and you’d especially be naming a girl that had reasons X Y and Z why so-and-so liked her. But when it came to girls he actually liked, none of us could tell the difference. There was no range in his behaviour between his girlfriends and his girl friends and his girl aquaintances and girl strangers. When it was really important to him, it wasn’t obvious. And if I recall correctly, he confused a lot of people in the meantime – and lost their respect, too.

So, news media, as you dance around and play with fear and flail your arms about at every drop in the dollar, every disease or mosquito bite, you’re really just losing the attention of most of us. Oh, we notice you alright (as one would notice a giraffe splashing around in a kiddie pool full of pennies). But we certainly have stopped paying attention (or is it just me?). Coverage loses credibility when it turns out that it’s been sensationalized for the sake of higher ratings or a larger crowd. When something important comes along, how are we ever supposed to tell the difference between that and the latest money-making “scandal”?

A culture of confusion and apathy has been sparked by poor delivery of facts, especially in regards to H1N1. Nobody knows what to do, who to trust, or why it matters. And many of those who are getting The Vaccine are doing so because they are afraid, and not at all because they are educated.

I still can’t decide if I should get The Vaccine. On the one hand, I believe that God’s plan for my life won’t be thwarted by a disease. If I’m supposed to die next week I will, whether it is by flu pandemic or a gunshot wound or getting hit by a bus. But on the other hand, I don’t want to be stupid and make poor decisions that risk my life. I’ve never gotten the flu shot and I've never had the flu (that I know of) – what is so different about this one? That is the question that I can not find a common answer to.

I’m going to end off with a quote that was just given to me this morning, by my boss actually. I don't actually know who it's by, but it seems to sum up the idea in my head right now. It's an encouragement for the days ahead, no doubt.

Nothing ever stays the same.
You can't build fences around life.
It's an ongoing process.
All you've got to do is keep paddling.
There's always going to be another wave coming.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

the journey of a diamond

Listening a lot lately to Graham Cooke in his many facets. Here's one I found today that I found particularly cool. If you're going to listen make sure you actually listen - My blog can wait until he's finished :)

Suffering is always worth it in the end. Think about anything worthwhile, and you will hopefully begin to see the journey that it took to get to where it was. Think about freedom for slaves or equality for the poor or food for the hungry; the world over, it's a fight. But most certainly worth it. Think about the tired hands of a sculptor, halfway through his masterpiece. Or an Olympic athlete ten steps before the finish line. Silver and glass and gold are all held in the middle of fire until they're ready. Think about a diamond: one of the most sought after objects on earth, but formed only under intense pressure and immense heat at incredible depths.

I've spent the past few days doing a lot of thinking & prayerfully considering recent months, and especially thinking about last week (a culmination point, if you will). It has been a hard month for me, if you haven't picked up the cues already. Nothing externally difficult necessarily (no more than an average day on earth), but certainly a lot of inner turmoil. Definitely more than usual. Like so many of you I have felt a stirring in my heart lately to reject the brokenness of my past and present and just move on. To what? To the Truths about I AM, and the truths about who I am, and the life that comes with a life lived in the Spirit.

There's something to be said for saying Yes to the calling on your life. It's beautiful, yes. It's rewarding, for certain. But it is hard, isn't it? Especially because, often, it means difficult sacrifice and obvious opposition. We like our boxes, our cardboard crowns and ill fitted costumes. And even if we don't like them, they're all we know. To step out and say that something might exist outside this tiny world I've created for myself...why, that's largely unheard of. Especially when that "other world" is God breathed.

We were made to be alive in Christ, but so many of us are anything but alive (think: North America). Why is this? Perhaps it is because complacency becomes comfortable, numbness becomes normal, and ignorance becomes bliss. We love to live within our comfort zones and we like to do what we like to do because we like to do it. We construct our little boxes and live in them, never minding how small they make our days.Our faith is placed under the guise of pretense - we say what we believe, without ever having to believe it. We make decisions based on the gutlessness of pure emotion or the emptiness of strict logic. We make ourselves far too small...or far too big. We don't want to move, we are fine just the way we are. We pray sometimes and read our Bibles sometimes and we go to church sometimes. We think about the poor. Isn't this enough?

I'm sorry friends, but it isn't. There is a calling on your life to get up and MOVE, to be the Church instead of just going to one.

So these are the words I've heard lately. And a few weeks ago, a word was spoken over me that changed the direction of my heart - a few weeks ago: about the point where I began to feel the heat on me. In the moment of my hearing, I actually grew to want the things I had said all my life I had been wanting, I actually decided that I wanted to do what I believe, instead of just saying it halfheartedly. To be more specific, I don't want to waste my life. I want to live with Christ as my focus, with God's voice as the voice that I hear and the voice that I choose to listen to. And I want my steps to be directed by this very same God.

As I've walked through the past few weeks, I am getting the sense and a picture in my head that I am under immense pressure. I actually feel pressurized, in my spirit. There are things shifting and changing, and new seasons on their way, in my own life and in the life of so many in my community.  With this change comes...change. Opposition. Brand new and bigger steps of faith.

Understand, friend, that when you act on your word to love God with your life that things are going to change. It might even get really, really difficult to face a day. Friends, to stand up and live in a world full of dying people is GOING to get you some attention - and some of that attention may not be the kind that feels good. In fact it might get really difficult. And while complacency may be easier than feeling the heat of battle, our hope is in this: the battle is only for a time, and it will end. Our opposition is just that: opposition. They will not win, they have not won. The circumstances of our lives are merely circumstances that are in place to shape us (whether by chisel or by heat or by pressure) into the person that we are supposed to become.

I dare you, I suppose, to admit that your life might be meant for more than yourself. That you are meant for bigger things. Because you are, whether or not you admit it. As has been said, your playing small does not serve the world. (Mirianne Williamson).  Even if playing small means you'll be allowed to remain inside while the world is outside, fighting.

There's something to be said for saying Yes to the calling of God on your life.
Even if it's harder than complacency.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

what happens when we pray?

How can we help but believe the lies, unless there is someone there to speak truth to us? I am weak and can not stand against the armies on my own. They overtake me, with no care for my life. With sick grins on their faces, they seek their next victim, without even stopping to see the remains of flesh they’ve just marred. This army has no second glance for those of us they’ve trampled. It walks en mass, crippling and tearing what they can – always hungry, always moving, always brutalizing; never still.

The second wave of soldiers sweeps in; quieter, but just as bent on destruction. They stand beside their chosen prey, working as unnoticed as they can to bruise and bruise and bruise the hearts of the fallen. They seek not death but mediocrity. Their purpose is to numb the wounds, not heal them; to prod the heart enough so that it beats enough to feel the pain, but nothing more. They hate the truth and guard your wounded ears as best they can. All the while they whisper: lies they know will hurt. They’ve studied what they can of you; they work to hit your weak spots.

And so we lay, unmoving, knowing the intentionality of our attacker. Seeing the lies from truth, but believing the lies all the same. If only we would use our dried and dying lips to stake the claim in our inheritance instead. If only we would but whisper the word: Abba.

He is Victor over all, but he comes when we let him. All attempts to save ourselves, to be strong enough on our own, to bear down and withstand this pain for just a bit longer – these attempts are futile. But so long as we deny our need to be saved, salvation’s Captain can not enter. He waits for us, and comes before we know we’ve said his name.

I am victor. Not I, but Christ in me. We are in the land of the Beloved King, and although opposing armies may siege and advance for a time, it is only for a time.

There is no hand strong enough to break the Hand that comes to save us. There is no lie so big that Truth is overshadowed. There is no victory where Christ is not present. Speak the truth to eachother, and listen to the voice of One who knows where you are. So intent is He, on healing and on truth, that all the while you thought you were alone and dying, He was waging war and reigning in victory over your attackers.
You are not lost.

Come quickly to the King who saved you. Know that life without the life He gives you is not life at all.

Be still and know that I am God.
Be unmoved in this: you are mine.

Forgotten? No. You are not forgotten.

Oh how well I see you, says the King.
Oh how well I know the pain of your existence. Come child, sit and wait. Be healed.

And the armies dissipate.

Monday, October 19, 2009

SHOUT OUT - Photobooth Vancouver!

The term 'shout out', according to Wikipedia, is "a greeting or acknowledgment of a person, group, or organization of significance. It is often done as a sign of respect, synonymous with "giving props". I have decided that, as I think of it, I am going to post a SHOUT OUT! where I will highlight some of the sweet local talent in and around BC. Why only BC artists? One, because I live here. And two, because this province is loaded with artists of all kinds; so whether it's a painter, singer-songwriter, photographer, or ______: if you or someone you know wants to be featured in my weekly SHOUT OUT! let me know! Nominations can be sent to me

Well well well - not only is it a Monday, but I'm posting a SHOUTOUT. And for those of you that have followed this blog for awhile you will realize what a MASSIVE accomplishment this is for me! Yay for accomplishments! (hey, did I say I had high standards for myself?) Let's get on with it.
As it turns out, I have a plethora of talented, driven, life-of-the-party friends. This week's SHOUT OUT is no different! That's right, I'm pulling from my very own friend group (yet again...amazing!). Friends, meet my other friends: Angela and Domi, and their baby, PHOTOBOOTH VANCOUVER.

Ang & Domi, a husband and wife team of photographers, decided a few years ago to create something entirely new: Photobooth Vancouver. Photobooth Vancouver rents Photobooths to wedding receptions, parties, and events of all kinds (corporate, personal, youth events, etc). From Go, the company quickly gained popularity and a stellar reputation for delivering the best quality, the best customer service, and the most memorable experiences. Three years into it they find themselves maintaining this reputation: they're expanding the business, wowing their clients and guests alike, and booking like crazy. Example? They're already booking well into 2010 (and even 2011) - so if you want them, you'd better book soon!

A few months ago, much to my delight, Ang asked me to come and work alongside her at a Photobooth event. Obviously, I jumped at the chance! I've often wondered what it felt like to be the coolest kid in the room, and now that I'm with Photobooth, I know. You think I'm making this up, but I'm really, really not. Do people come running up to you at your job, adrenaline and enthusiasm spilling out, and giddily tell you they love you? No? Well, they do at this one; people love us. And that right there is the best testimony to the calibre of the experience you get with Photobooth Vancouver.

Photobooth Vancouver was at the Brockhouse Wedding Show this past Sunday, and I had the delight of being there with them! We got to set up right beside this guy, who deserves a SHOUT OUT of his own (and will get one, soon). Who says art had to be made of paint and canvas? Why not flowers?
Make sure to check out the Photobooth Vancouver website for more info and booking, and their blog for current updates on events they've been doing (look at pictures, check out examples of their work, see where they've been & where they're going, etc). They're also on Facebook and Twitter.

We'll be at the Lovestruck bridal show on November 16 - come check us out!

Friday, October 16, 2009

reminder! support your local artists

Tonight you get the grand opportunity to support a fabulous local artist - a SHOUT OUT of mine, in fact! Laurell, remember? Of course you do. Well friends, consider this your golden opportunity to come out for a night of fresh, live music, straight out of a lovely North Vancouverite.

The deets:

(free EP with entry, tickets available at the door)

See you there!!! Come visit me at the merch table after the concert, it's where I'll be.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

makes you wonder

On a recent evening, I spent at least an hour doing something I absolutely love to do: I wandered through Chapters. Only an hour, but somehow it felt like three. There are no clocks in the bookstore, and everyone moves at their own pace. Lots of slow moving, entirely absorbed individuals; I am one of them. With books you can be captured more by the world in your hands than the world in which you sit; I like this. But as I wandered, I was subconsciously counting covers, authors, pages. I was overwhelmed, as I often am at the bookstore, with the mass amounts of books there are in this world.

One of my favorite scenes in Beauty and the Beast is Belle's introduction to the library (although the Disney version doesn't quite do it justice); the Beast, in his enchantment, somehow has access to all of the books ever written - past, present, future. Name a language, name a topic, name a writer or a year of publication - he's got it. As much as I would love to spend a lifetime's worth of hours wandering around that library, there is a large part of me that fears it all the same.

Chapters alone has the ability to knock the wind out of my confidence as a writer. There are so many books. And this without paying homage to the millions of books that have been written the world over, the books that are being written right now as we speak, or the books that will be written next year...and every year until time stops.

While I don't expect to contribute anything of notable popularity to the expansive world of literature, I do expect that I will contribute...somehow. Mediocrity is something I won't settle for, but I also recognize that in a world filled with so much talent, my best might just be mediocre in comparison. I think I am okay with this reality.

Now to get past the first chapter.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

idyllic sunshine.

in Hand: one large, extra heavy mug of subtly flavored tea.
in Sight: sunshine, and the ocean. My messy room.
in the Air: melodies streaming from Laurell's new website.

Days like today and moments like this one are my absolute favorites. Well, they certainly top the list. Chilled air, cloudless sky, time to wander. It's quiet  and calm, and easy to pretend that everyone is doing what I'm doing: pausing, unbusied. After days and days of muddled non-clarity and foggy vision I am finally feeling slightly awoken. Not forgetting the shadows or how sleepy I have been - my hands are still outstretched and awaiting the same answers - but marveling in the Grace that change a heart in under a day.

To a bird's eye, my life will look the same as it did yesterday. The only trouble with a changing heart is that sometimes those changes can't be seen by others. How do you communicate the rhythms of Grace to the audience of your life? Sometimes, these changes don't have sentences that match. So we do our best, to put the grandiose lessons we are learning into words that make sense. They rarely make sense.

In the past few months, I have had so many opportunities to share my faith and my views on God and the world with people and I've realized...I sound crazy. So much of how I experience the Lord is mystical in nature; undefinable, uncatchable, and not entirely explainable. God doesn't fit into words.

So do I give up? Or do I keep trying to explain this irational Hope to the world?

I certainly won't give up, but I certainly don't want to become a person that talks too much and does too little. I don't want to leave people in the dark, but I also don't want to get so crazy that I think I can save people. So what do I do? I live, I suppose. I live. Eyes up, hands at work, heart in Love.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

i have the black lung, pop.

So I was visiting Dr. Healing Hands yesterday. During my wait in the waiting room, I started to hear a weird sound echoing up the staircase to my left; the staircase that leads the patients to the office. Like the loud smack of a baseball bat to water. I realized after a few seconds that the sound I was hearing was a cough. A succession of coughs. A myriad of wet, hacky, death-resembling coughs. For what felt like a long time. Eventually, a younger un-coughing woman walked in the office. *Phew* I thought. *It’s not the cougher*. Heaven knows I don’t want that person in close proximity.


*Our Father, who art in Heaven, she just walked in the door*

This old lady, germs-a-radiating, checks in at the counter and sits down. In the chair next to mine on the corner.

All the better to wheeze on you my pretty.

(sounds like: DEATH.  DEATH DEATH DEATH)

*Oh dear Lord* I thought to myself, as I tried to discreetly shift in my chair and let my hair fall over my face. Eyes widened slightly, lips set in a straight line, fervent prayers on their way up. I glanced at the girl to my left as she put her hand up over her mouth and nose and became increasingly interested in her magazine.

Puffs of air were hitting my face, and I realized that while this lady was covering her mouth with her wrinkled little hand, much of the air was still escaping. Onto my face.

I froze. I held my breath. I started to sweat in a flurry of nervous thought. I started to number my days aright.

After a few minutes she was called in by the doctor, and the collective feeling of relief in the waiting room was practically audible.

I think my lungs feel different today…I think….heavier. Definitely heavier. And if I’m not mistaken…was that muscle aching before? Ohmygosh I think all of my muscles are achier than before. Did my head feel like this? I feel sick. Well, not yet. But I think I feel as though I could feel sick. Maybe my body’s trying to tell me something.

Oh Gosh. I have the black lung.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

so, would you?

More on the retreat later, as I unpack all the wonderful analogies that come with pulling weeds on an apple orchard. For now, a thought to consider.

First, some context: Much of our weekend was spent learning about things like
-what it takes to grow an apple
-what it takes to grow an apple that will SELL (shockingly, a big difference...I'll explain later)

Then we expanded: global issues
-worldwide water shortage
-climate change and how it's effecting food markets the world over
-how many resources does it take to produce meat, veggies, wheat, rice etc
-what is it like to live in a country with no water/oil/natural resources? What do they eat?
-what it will mean for the countries (like ours) who outsource most of their food growth to other countries, once this water shortage/etc becomes more prevalent?
-eating local vs. outsourced food - does it really matter?

Okay so the jist: took a pretty close and heavy handed look at food, and how much we WASTE (financially and otherwise) just putting the elaborate meals we eat on our tables. Considering what it would be like to live without these unnecessary luxuries.

At one point in the weekend, while we were debriefing about what we had learned, Colin started laughing (out of nowhere, it was rather entertaining) and said, "I JUST HAD THE WORST IDEA!"

His idea? Eat beans and rice for a month. Give the rest of your grocery money away.

To be honest, the idea appeals to me. I like a challenge. I am seriously considering doing this, soon. My only adjustment (for the sake of my digestive system and overall health) is to add local veggies to the mix. I think it would be interesting, to say the least.

So. Beans, rice, and local veggies.*
For a month.

...definitely possible.

Could be.

What do you think? Is this something YOU would consider doing? Why or why not?

*canned beans aren't necessarily healthy in mass, either, what with their high salt content and preservatives.  SO thinking about buying raw beans and learning what to do with them.

Friday, October 2, 2009

things to do while I'm gone

Hello friends,

I have a few posts in the works! But alas, I am going away for the weekend. While I'm gone, here are a couple of things you can do.

1) Visit the following websites and be entertained.
(* =parental discretion advised. don't go here if you've got strict linguistic morals or if you are judgemental)

fmylife.com * (true stories, sometimes crude)
ruminations.com * (submitters swear on occasion)

postsecret.com * (true confessions: sometimes disturbing, but more often beautiful, sad, shocking, funny, etc)

2) If you've visited all of those websites and are still looking for more, write me a story and leave it in the comments section of this post.

have a fabulous weekend & see you when I return!