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Passion

 

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We all have it.

It just depends on how you choose to expand your potential.

At some point, I realized that I didn’t have a detailed plan in my head when I answered the Lord’s call to follow Him. I thought it meant completely giving up any and all writing. I believed I needed to give up everything I thought that was important to me. Wrong, wrong, wrong. All the attempts to not write, only seem to intensify my desire to write. I didn’t think I had a single thread of talent when it came to writing. I didn’t even think in my wildest dreams that He would want me to write. I assumed that God, in the beginning, was a punishing God, so that anything that I wanted would be something that He would probably take away from me.

Yes, I am speaking about that hidden talent or gifting that you think is stupid or someone else years ago made fun of. So you tuck it away and pretend that it doesn’t matter.

But you know it does

It comes out when you don’t want it to. That hidden desire that streaks across your eyes and ignites a firestorm in your heart. A burn that you can’t make up even if you wanted to. It’s different for each of, and unfortunately, most of us aren’t aware of what were fervent about. How can you tell what it is that you’re passionate about, well for the one you don’t talk about it.

Let’s say you love animals, and as a child, you spent more time with them than humans. It wasn’t just interesting, it was your ability to connect with them, and understand them. People could see how awesome you were with animals. It just happens that one of your friend’s parents was a veterinarian, and she let you volunteer at the animal hospital where she worked. It was what helped you decide that you wanted to be a vet. It made so much sense to you, and it brought a joy and peace to your entire being.

Passion isn’t enough

No one told me how it would feel to be an adult, mostly because there are no instructions on how to grow up. It’s a hit and miss. Largely made up of what I like to call experience. Sometimes we use our experiences well, and sometimes we stay stuck in our mistakes. Our mistakes can convince us that our passion isn’t worth it, and what we felt wasn’t real or had no substance to it. In general, everyday living gets in the way, and you don’t take the route you always intended. You had a plan, and it’s not the unfolding way it did in your head. So what’s the point of spending time with what you’re passionate about? Doubt strips away courage that you built up before you were hit with the reality that the choices you make do have consequences in your life. You can’t bottle up your passions, or they’ll disappear if you don’t fight for what remains in your heart.

I believe more people would walk into the unknown parts of their hearts if fear didn’t hold them back.

 

 

 

 

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2

Parts of a Whole

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I saw my doctor earlier in the week for an unrelated situation, but he always likes to read what we discussed when I last in, by way of the notes, he has made. He asks all these questions that he knows the answers to, but he’s like that. Yep, I just want to zip in and zip out.

Questions

It’s the questions about being social that has me fidgeting, and it’s because well, I’m not big on the socializing thing, and there’s good reason, I’m an introvert. But instead of calling me an introvert, he called me a loner. There’s just something about the word loner that has me squirming on the inside of me. I feel as if he thinks I should be more social, but that’s not me. My doctor asks how often I socialize during the month, and to be honest being at work, really is my social hour five days a week. Then at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is socialize again.

The loner really gets a bad rap because it’s the loner who ends up killing innocent bystanders as  the crazed gunman who opens fire on unsuspecting victims riding the bus home. It turns out the gunman didn’t have many friends, in fact, he spent a lot of time by himself. Most of his neighbours would go for months without seeing, but when they did, he would yell obscenities at them. He was estranged from his family, and that’s when everyone starts judging why he went on this rampage of terror…

Sounding familiar

Sure I know other people who are introverts, but in no way would they or I become violent. I can’t even watch movies with a lot of violence, and even if I’m forced I close my eyes. I want the HEA, and feel that good feeling that goes with it. Yes, most people who kill others in disregard aren’t healthy, and obviously, these individuals probably have serious emotional and/or mental health concerns. But that’s one of the reasons I don’t like the word loner.

It’s hard to get to know me and people don’t come running up to get to know me, I’ll admit it here that I  would rather observe you and the situation before I really open myself up to anyone I haven’t met before. Yes, I spend a lot of time alone, and yes I love it! But I also enjoy spending time with people, and enjoy being around other people and a small amount of socializing hasn’t yet harmed me! For most people, being around other people is something that is fun to do. Being by myself has really helped me to get to know myself, but it has also has helped me to know when I need others and step out into my community and seek others out.

When my Doctor used the word ‘loner’ I realize now that he didn’t mean to put me off. Yes, introverts are part of a minority, so yes I am to a point misunderstood, but sometimes extroverts need to try to understand what the minority is all about. I know growing up before I really knew what introversion was all about, I tried being like everyone else which, if you read this blog on any kind of regularity – you’ll know it didn’t work for me. I just knew that I couldn’t fit the shape of who I was through anyone else’s cookie cutter.

And that is exactly what my direction is.

It is the labeling of names, words that somehow start to define how we and others see us. We become part of this mold, and we try to live up to that impression or appearance. There are certain words and labels that would definitely show others who I am, but I believe that there are all parts of the whole and that unless they are shown just the parts they will never know the whole of who I am. I am convinced that people are only seeing parts of my whole, but maybe they are able to see the whole of who I am. It’s not all about being an introvert to know who I am. It’s in the knowing, in the confidence that I have from staying true to my beliefs, expressing myself in ways that attest to this belief. It’s a mixture of a lot of things, but in the end, my parts are essential to my whole. So I’ll continue to go along with this label annoyance!

A challenge to all extroverts!

Calling all extroverts I encourage you to go up to someone you know is for sure an introvert, and befriend them.  Make the extra effort to talk to them on a regular basis if this possible. If you preserve in attempting to speak to them, I promise you great things will happen! Let me know in the comments if do take the challenge and how it goes.

1

Pruning the Branches

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Beginnings.

That’s what spring feels like to me. When you can see the ugly brown snow melting away, and the mottled grass starts to show. It used to be as a little girl  – I knew that spring was here when my Mom would get the axe out, and start chopping the ice that lined our front sidewalk. Even the air seem to smell like spring, and no I don’t think they’ll ever bottle it, though no doubt they’ll keep trying. The birds chirp, crocuses push their heads up through the snow, and thoughts and sights of tulips and daffodils are everywhere.

Spring is a time of gift giving.

A time when everything is new and increasing. Just thinking about it, it’s this great metaphor to signify that I am indeed growing! I am idling in spring, picking wildflowers in one hand, and somehow I’m holding burrs in the other. I can’t do one without the other. I may be showing wholeness, but it also reminds me of the hard trek it has taken me to get where I am going. It has been a prickly journey thus far…

I’ve spoken about how it good to be in the valley, but sometimes it’s nice to take a holiday, and travel up to the hill country. The weather is warmer, the breezes are ample and easy, and the sweet fragrances of life are generous.

In the last week, I’ve had three people after hearing everything that God has done, remark that he’s been doing a lot in my life. He has. Though most of what he has been working on probably has been a work in progress for the last 10-15 years( and longer!), and whatever has been healed in the vineyard of my life is going to have a really good year. All the branches that have has been pruned has allowed and cleared the way for a new area of branches to finally gain strength to break out on their own.

My sister is similar to my Mom in many ways, and I used to say jokingly, I was a fluke because I don’t have those same qualities. While I have remained in the same area/city as my Mom, my sister left around the same time that I entered the Catholic Church, probably a little earlier. Over a month ago, I wrote a post about my Mom, and wrote about her simplicity, well my sister isn’t quite a carbon copy, but so much of what they do usually makes me think of either one. It was having this knowledge that led me to an understanding of how my sister had probably been able to forgive my Dad in his inability to father her when she was growing up a lot earlier than I was.

I tend to process ‘events’ in my life longer and deeper depending on the emotional impact it had on me. While there were parts of me that understood, that forgave him for the reasons he was not able to meet my needs as little girl and adult. Still, there were emotions that I held onto because one I knew what I needed but I was unable to give them to the Lord. There was an ache that had punctured my heart so deeply that it needed to heal before I could breathe in the Holy Spirit, and know without doubt that I am whole.

I want truth and I want beauty, and it is hard to come by those two things. Beauty is truth and the truth from that is beautiful, but in reality, it is easy to mimic what is real. Truth and confusion often sit on the same shelf in our lives and in the world. I have struggled to separate from the past, and allowed it to integrate itself into what is now my present, and indeed, it is truly a gift that I have been given.photo-1447958374760-1ce70cf11ee3

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Cultivating Poverty

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A staff member from Madonna House asked me how I thought about having a mother whose poverty was so deep. No one had ever asked me this question, so I had no ready answers. How do you live and love someone who in many ways is opposite of you.

My Mom is simple.

For over forty years, she had run a home day care out of her home. She plans on working until – the Lord tells her otherwise. Once she turned 60, she made the decision, one child for each hand, as she often says to anyone who will listen. She teaches the children who are in her care about the birds sitting in the trees; and they listen and know each bird’s song, the many wondrous shapes of the clouds. They stop to smell flowers and, she discusses what colour is on the city bus or the school bus. She knows most of the employees who work at Herb and Spice Shop, where my mom does her groceries. She grew tired of the big groceries stores and just being another customer. She knows the name of each employee, and if there is a new one, give her time because she will learn their name, and use it every chance she gets. If they don’t know her name, they know her by her familiar face.

The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them. ~Gilbert K. Chesterton

Growing up I thought she had the greatest job because she got to work from home. She loves to take photographs of nature, she stops to smell the flowers especially the wild pink roses, the ones that are full of bees humming and buzzing around. She sees the world very differently than I see it. What I see or notice months before, takes her months to see, and in it she sees its simplicity. Each morning after the parent(s) of each child arrive, my mom insists on a hug to start the day. She’s big on letting both the boys currently in her care having lots of time to play. They visit the library and sing songs with Jennifer on Tuesdays, and on Thursday there’s playgroup. The other days there’s grocery shopping, and sometimes they go riding on the city bus.

My mom has always maintained she would never want a big house because then she would have to clean it. But I always point out to her, if she had a big house, she would probably have money to hire a cleaner. She is generous to a fault, and I find as time goes on, she is always trying to find ways in which to give. She doesn’t mind stopping to give money to those asking on the streets. But she keeps her toonies because they pay for her bills.

How is she simple? She just is. In her knowledge of the world, herself, her God, and to those around her. Her poverty comes from a purity of heart that she cultivates the entire day. She delights in His creation. Whether she has her eyes closed seated with her bible underneath her fingers; or as she goes for her morning walk. Smiling to those who pass by her. Even though she doesn’t realize it, she is surrounded by people who live in poverty. Sure, monetarily she makes less than them, but she is abundant in what really matters, and what really and truly turns the world round. She is on a personal mission to learn everything she can from God and without knowing it, she shares it with those who he brings into her life.

However mean your life is, meet it and live it:  do not shun it and call it hard names.  Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage.  Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends.  Things do not change, we change.  Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.  ~Henry David Thoreau

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Joy of the Journey

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A friend asked me what I was doing for Advent, and the short answer is nothing. Some people are really organized in a way that reminds them to choose some kind of area that they want to work on during Advent. I know this doesn’t mean I’m a bad person for not choosing an area I want to work on,

Lately, or rather the last few years I have stop actively planning, and it’s starting to show because normally I am on top of my family’s birthdays. My Dad’s birthday is in November and my sisters is in December, and for both of them it was a struggle to get their cards out on time. I could blame it on the fact that I had no money to go the Dollarama store and buy them that special $1 card plus the applicable taxes. I have tons of blank cards so I thought this was the perfect time to use them, and to be able to put a more personal touch. I don’t know if the cards were more personal, or it just showed my lack of – yep, you guessed it – Planning!

There’s a bit of perfectionism lurking in me, and shove in some depression, loose obsessive thoughts, and that’s enough for me to stop all together. I love sending out cards, but in the last few years, I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but store-bought cards are NOT cheap. I could save the ten dollars that I am saving for one card and spend it on a bag of produce from the local food co-op.

Before you start protesting that planning can be good thing, I’m going say right here that I am all for planning. In fact, I start my Christmas shopping around the end of March, the beginning of April. It’s for many reasons but one of the reasons is because I don’t want to be in rush, I want to think beforehand and get gifts that show that I love them, which is why I sent my sister and her boyfriend a VISA prepaid card, but to my defense I did think about it. I planned on saving on mailing costs because they live in the Maritimes.

Often my complaint is I can’t see the wonder and awe of this special time, and that could be blamed on my past experiences, the current culture over exposure of what Christmas is not. We are all on a journey with little stops here and there, looking for hope, encouragement in a month filled with dark nights and lack of sunlight’s warmth. I am in the process of having new experiences to replace the old, broken, dusty memories that harm more than anything.

I’m all for getting to the destination, but sometimes it can be a letdown. Sometimes I think back and yearn for the journey because it meant more than the final stop. All I can hope for in this journey of mishaps, misunderstanding and all the rest that I will see, is a sense of wonder in the unexpected moments during this special season.

 

 

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Surprise!

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Yep, it was surprise all right.

September 11th was my 40th birthday, the birthday I did not want to come. I had moaned and groaned all about it in my head to the Lord. I  was worried about turning 40, like maybe I would turn into a pumpkin?

Nah, it didn’t happen.

So I had my birthday party all planned for my two guests. My Mom ordered this chocolate cake – icing, drizzle and cake – all chocolate! For dinner I had thin crust pizza at a restaurant called Za’s Za’s Pizza, and I ordered Cajun Cowboy – it was delicious. I have this thing for chocolate, so much so that my supervisor made the comment to her two placement students that she’s never met anyone so obsessed with chocolate. This was after I had offered to bring in the brownies I had made the night before. I had cut myself a whole row of brownies that morning about 5 a.m., and it was about three hours later I was still very wired. Caffeine does wonders for some but not for me.

I could post a article on caffeine, but I would rather talk about my big surprise.

I was enjoying my very chocolate cake, when I guess someone knocked on the door. I didn’t hear it but Jolene did, and she got up to answer it. She called me over because it seem that there was someone at the door for me. I had no idea who could be at the door, despite the fact that it was my birthday. So I walked to the door, and lo and behold, my sister Serena stood on the other side. I think she said, “Surprise,” I gave her a hug, and well the rest of the evening kind of blurred from there on. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great evening, but it was so unexpected and the rest of the weekend just kind of swirled into one revolving door of memories. What I couldn’t get over was how good she looked. She had her hair in a short bob, and it looked fantastic on her. I was just wowed by how good she looked.

I remember when I made plans to visit my sister when she lived in Calgary, AB and how bad things turned out, as opposed to the way we had hoped. At least they didn’t turn out well for me, and I literally was counting the days until I went back home. I don’t know what happened because I thought it was a foot in the right direction. We fought and when we didn’t, we didn’t speak to one another. It was just a bad scene. I wanted a relationship with my sister and I had no idea how to go about it. Well fast forward about 15 years, and voila! My mom always reminds me of when I started sending Serena a card of encouragement, or one of love every month. I then had the nerve to suggest to my Mom she do the same. I knew she didn’t like the idea at first, but the Holy Spirit warmed her up to the idea, and before I knew it, she was sending my sister cards too. It didn’t happen overnight, but the relationship that I shared collectively with my sister and Mom has gained a strong foundation once  again.

When I go looking for a picture for the post, I usually have something in mind, but finding the right one for this post was tricky. I wanted to find something that not only said surprise, but also expressed the different turns a surprise can take. The coals look cool, but they’re not. I wanted to acknowledge that even though my sister’s visit was a huge blessing to me. I had a hard time trusting my sister because she unlike me, she expressed herself quite well.

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Beggars of His Heart

 

There was this guy named Peter in High School, who would consistently end the majority of his conversations with, “You know … beggars can’t be choosers.” Somehow, he would or could always link it with what was said and it was annoying. I didn’t want to be or think of myself as a beggar. In reality, it would put me alongside the homeless who beg for money on the street. At that point, I firmly believed that there was no way that I could stand beside the homeless who beg, and have anything in common with them.

We are dust, and without a Creator, we are nothing. (Genesis 2:7 – paraphrased)photo-1414637104192-f9ab9a0ee249

Somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten our roots, our very foundation. We have become a society of puppets believing we are entitled. We will lie, cheat, brag, be prideful just to garner what we believe is rightfully ours, but most of  us don’t remember that Adam and Eve had everything they needed, but it took a snake – a talking snake – to convince them to take a bite of the apple.

Poverty is a gift that most shun because it seen as degrading. The one with the most money always wins. What if I told you that God sees the beauty in poverty – not in the materialistic sense – but a poverty that begins and ends  with him. The person lives with knowledge of providence, and because of that he/she lives simply. They are not possessed by their things, and they would willingly give everything away if it meant they could be closer to their Lord. They long to be who they are in Him. Beauty isn’t the diamond ring on a finger, though, yes it is beautiful, or the house where those who you love most reside. It’s something profound inside of you that He has personally placed in these individuals. They delight in their Lord and the life that He represents to them. A reality of a personal relationship with the Lord God of the Universe is so palatable and their enthusiasm for life and God is contagious.

Most of us think poverty is something that we can get rid of, but the poor, as Jesus reminds us, will always be with us. Trying to eliminate the materially poor population is like trying to get rid of mildew. Jesus lived in poverty while on earth. In simple obscurity in Nazareth, He learned the trade of carpentry from his foster father Joseph. For 30 years, we don’t have any records of what exactly Jesus was doing in that period, but we can be certain he was learning what it meant to live and be in poverty. His heart was and still [is] poor, but he was, and is open and full of the Spirits leading. Our attachments to the stuff in our life hold us back to receive. The more we let Him in, the more we can and will experience to live in His poverty, which is all of His magnificence.