Sunday, July 31, 2005

Ramble Ramble Ramble...

Don't specifically have one topic to discuss tonight, so thought I would just keep things short this time and write on a couple things that came to mind.

1. Today at church, we had a letter written from one of our young adults who went over to Lintz, Austria at the end of May to do some mission work. He is working with the youth at that particular church, and is there until the end of August. Things are going well by the sounds of it, and he has even preached two sermons in German! He is a biblical studies major who just graduatied this past May.

At the end of August, he will go to the Czech Republic to work for at least a year (might turn into two years) as a youth pastor. He's excited, but nervous no doubt. He will have to learn some Czech he said, but I'm sure the Lord will use Him greatly.

This fellow loves God with his whole heart. He has been on a few short term mission trips in the past, and enjoys serving the Lord in this capacity. I know he will do great in the Czech Republic, and the Lord will definately use him!

His name is Jeremy, and I'm sure he'd love your prayers!

2. I finally finished reading through the writing magazine I bought the other day, looking for hints, tips, help, etc. Mind you, I didn't read everything because I'm not interested in certain genres such as horror, fantasy, poetry. I am interested right now in fiction.

I sat down at my laptop tonight, and started my novel. Well, admittedly, I didn't start the actual novel (this actually scares me a little) but I started a character list. I have two main characters and two minor characters so far. With the minor characters, I believe they will only be mentioned and not real characters in the story, unless I decide to do some short flashbacks that involve these characters. Anyway, I was trying to get down ages, descriptions of looks as well as how they act, etc. To be honest, I am not sure what all I need in a character to make him/her "lifelike" and not fake and two-dimensional. The magazines had some hints for this, but it seemed more catered to characters in a novel that has alreay been written. I suppose I can use that, however, to create my characters properly from the start...

I will also have lots of research to do for this, though I can start the novel without much. Certain situations that I want to happen, maybe pieces of history...little things that make a story "real" will have to be researched for sure. Most parts of it will not require any...at least I don't think it will. I can judge this as I go and research what I am unsure of.

Well, I guess this has turned out longer than I had planned. Oh well, I guess I need to learn to say things with less words and not be so...well, wordy...lol

Friday, July 29, 2005

I Am Going To Take The Plunge

No, I am not going to swim across the Northumberland Strait like the woman of my previous post did. I'm not that athletic, or adventurous...

I have decided that I will give writing a try again. I have to wonder if God planted the seed in my mind or not. Is He wanting me to reach someone with it? Is He wanting me to 'discover' myself through writing? Or, maybe it is just me wanting to do it. Whatever the reason is, I am going to take the plunge again.

I have some ideas floating around in my head. They have popped in there since I began thinking about writing once again. One of my big problems is that I will get ideas, descriptions of places and people, story lines, etc. in my mind, but then when it comes to getting these on paper, I get stuck. My mind works faster than my fingers, and I end up missing what I want to say as I try to catch up to my racing mind.

Anther thing I have trouble with, and this is weird, is coming up with names for the characters. I have a harder time with last names, but even first names can be a challenge. I need to go through the phone book to come up with some last names, or a baby book for first names...like I said, it's weird.

Well, I am going to end here, and go do some research and maybe begin. Now, where do I start? Oh, I know! I will start with "It was a dark and stormy night." Hmm...on second thought, I think Snoopy owns the patent on that or something. How about "To be or not to be, that is the question."? No, Shakespear used that one. What about "Are You there God, it's me, Margaret"? Nope, my name is not Margaret, and that was the title of a book I read in grade 6.

Well, even though I don't have a good opening yet, it will come. I will need to work at this and develop characters, plot, and all that goes with a good story. I will pray and ask that the Lord will guide me on this and give me the words to say, the words that He wants me to say. I want Him to be in this with me all the way.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Persevere Until the End

This afternoon, a young woman stepped onto shore out of the waters of the Northumberland Strait (between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) after she had been immersed for nearly eight hours. She had been in the water on her own accord. It was something she seemed determined to do. This woman swam from the shore of New Brunswick, across the roughly 14 km stretch of water to the shore of PEI.

This woman, Kristin Roe, started out with a delay (due to weather) in her journey. After finally getting started, the conditions were more favourable the majority of the way. However, once she got closer to her destination the tide began to work against her, causing her to veer somewhat off her course. She was also complaining of a swollen tongue and felt sick from the waves (this I heard on the news this afternoon) toward then end of her journey. View the story here: http://nb.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=nb-swim20050728

As I was reading the story at the above link, it made me think of our walk with Jesus Christ. We need to persevere, or endure, in our walk as it says in Hebrews 12:1-2 "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus...". Our walk is not one that we can give up on when the going gets tough. Like the swimmer who fixed her sights on the distant shore to reach her goal, we need to fix our sight on Jesus. Then and only then can we overcome the obstacles that appear along our path. We also read in Hebrews 10:36 "For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised." In order to receive our rewards, we can not give up! Jesus is our example, and not once does He give up in doing anything for God.

The Bible never says that our walk with Jesus will be an easy one. In fact, it says the exact opposite. Jesus says, in John 15:20, "...If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you". Our persecution might not come in the form of having our head cut off or being killed in some other way (though it can happen in certain parts of the world), but in my opinion there are varying degrees of persecution that can happen to us. Again, our walk will not be easy.

The point of the matter is that no matter what we face in our walk, we need to persevere and endure what comes our way. How do we do this? By fixing our eyes upon Jesus, and turning to Him in all situations, good and bad. We need to put on the armour that God has provided for us (Ephesians 6:10-18), we need to pray, read our Bibles and meditate on the scriptures, memorize verses to help in our battles and daily lives. We also need to become His servants and do the work He has set aside for us to accomplish for His kingdom. Jesus needs to be at the center of everything in our lives. It is only from Him that we obtain our strength, our comfort, and our rest. He is the only one who can help us reach that distant shore!

I want to encourage everyone to persevere in his or her walk with Christ. Do not let temptations or trials stop you from reaching your goal. Do not let Satan cause you to doubt and/or fear. I am reminded at this time of a hymn, well actually the chorus, which I encourage us all to follow:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful
face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely
dim,
In the light of His glory and grace

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

To Write Or Not To Write...That Is the Question

I guess ever since I started this blog, I have been thinking about writing. Back in my high school days, I used to write. I was working on a novel that, looking back now was written in a very unprofessional-highschool girl talk sort of way. It contained the typical teenage lingo and was written from a teenage viewpoint. The problem was (well at least one of them), that my characters were at least ten years older than I was at the time. How could I write about experiences from a 26 year old perspective, when I was only 16? It was also not researched well, since I didn't know what to research or how to go about doing that. I basically kept to situations that I would not have to research. I have also long since destroyed that awful piece of fiction, as well as other stories that I had worked on.

Not too long ago, I came across three or four typed pages of a story I had started at one time. I laughed so hard at that! The story was crazy, the characters again were in their 20's though I was writing as a teen, they even spoke like teenagers...I tossed that into the trash very quickly, and hope that no one saw it before the trash got taken out!

From time to time, I get in the mood to start writing again. I attempted it about 12 years ago, this time trying my hand at children's stories. I do not recall what I wrote about, except for one short story about a little girl and her cat. Again, I do not think it was very well written because I had not research children's books to see how to write, etc. However, I suppose I can use all of this as a learning experience in what not to do...

One of my online IM chat buddies, Jessica (who describes herself as spastic but sweet) is also a writer. I have read some of her short stories, and she is great! She has had three stories published in an online magazine, and one in a newsletter. She is also working on some other Christian/Biblical type stories. I know she will do well with writing because I think she is gifted in this area! She has encouraged me to write, and she also inspires me as well. She told me that she has seen the writer in me and that I should pursue this. I have had a few others say that I should do this too.

I feel that I want to pursue this, however I lack the confidence I think. I also think that there is some fear at work...fear of rejection (which I know is pretty much a given), fear of failure, fear of what people will think of my work, etc. I guess this is something that the Lord will have to help with. I know some areas in my writing that definately need to be worked on and developed. I just need to be persistant and not quite when I get writer's block.

I sat at work today mulling this thought over. I wondered what I would write, what kind of genre, thinking up some characters and situations. I wondered if this is something I can do, or if it is something I should do. I suppose I can at least try and see where it leads me, see how it works out, do some research on subjects/ideas for future endeavours in this. I feel stories deep down inside that desire to be born, characters waiting to be developed...they say that everyone has a story to tell, but I wonder...do I? Do I have what it takes to be a writer? I guess I will never know unless I try.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Adoption

I have a place in my heart for adoption. It might be because my older brother is adopted, but none the less, I am all for adoption. I think it is the best alternative (rather than abortion) for someone who does not want their child. This post is NOT on abortion though, so if you want to comment, please refrain from commenting on that.

I can remember reading an article in the Reader's Digest in the early '90's about a single woman wanting to adopt a child. I believe she was American, though I don't recall for sure, and she was having a difficult time adopting in her own country. She had read about the little baby girls in China who were not wanted by their parents for various reasons, and was intrigued by this.

Apparently in Chinese custom, it is the man who is responsible for looking after his aging parents, and if a couple had a daughter, she would not be responsible for helping to look after her parents, but rather her husband's. So if a man and his wife wanted to ensure they would be taken care of in old age, they would keep a boy baby over a girl. Also, I beleive because of the factor of such mass population, families were only supposed to have once child (I do not know if it is still that way today or not). These reasons would lead to women "disposing" of any baby girls who were born. Sometimes the child would have a note pinned to her that might tell of her name and when she was born, but most often not. The article said that there are baby girls left on the steps to the police station, in allies, the side of the road, and other place...most often left to die. Women will annonymously leave their daughters anywhere so they will not be found out as to having been pregnant.

After reading this article, I felt a deep desire to adopt a baby girl from China. Since the country is no longer under British rule, I do not know if this is a harder task to do or not. I do know there is a great cost factor in this (the last I heard it costs between $10,000 and $20,000), and takes about two years for everything to be complete (paper work, lawyers, etc.). I remember the woman in this article also saying that she had to provide the orphanage with diapers, clothes, baby items, etc. as well as a certain amount of money. All of this was to basically pay them back for taking care of the child before she was adopted.

As I said, this has been a great desire of mine for some time now. It is something that I pray about from time to time. Admittedly, I don't pray often for this but I do when I think of it. I know that if God desires for me to adopt one of these little girls, everything will fall into place. However, I want to be married first. I don't think I could handle being a single mom (my hat goes off to single moms). God will definatley have to move His hands in order for this to happen, because I don't have that kind of money to adopt a child...especially since I am still a student. It is something I can still look into though, and see if the Chinese government still allows the little girls to be adopted abroad, and well, everything involved in this.

I don't know if I will ever be able to do this, but I know with God all things are possible. If He wants this to happen, it will. If not, then it won't...simple as that. Mind you, I still want to have my own children, but at my age, let's face it...I'm nearing 40 and if I want to have several children I need to start now. But, in the words of my friend's daughter, I need to get married first!

God has another daughter!

I guess this can kind of piggy back on the post I made yesterday regarding Darlene's son. Well, tonight a good friend of mine called to pass on some excitingly wonderful news. Her five year old daughter prayed tonight and asked Jesus into her heart! How fabulous is that!! The angels are rejoicing over this!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Pale Male Update

For those of you who can recall a previous entry I made a couple of weeks ago regarding the hawk called Pale Male in New Your City, I just went to the site and there are some new pictures posted with updates. The pictures are amazing and beautiful. If you are into nature or birds in any way, definately check it out. Or, if you are interested in what all the fuss is about Pale Male, check it out too!

Here again is the link http://www.palemale.com

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

I was just listening to the interview between Darlene and her five year old son. Her blog is over at http://wwjblog.blogspot.com (What Would Jesus Blog). I was almost in tears (good tears) by the end of this little interview because of the innocence and obedience this little boy had in telling his friends how to have Jesus in their hearts. I am very sure that Darlene and her husband are very proud of this little boy (and their other children). I believe they are truely raising their children in a good solid Christian home.

Two verses came to me while I listened. The first one is Matthew 19:14 which says:

"Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (NASB)

Children should not be hindered in their own search for Jesus, nor in telling others. One of the greatest things we can do for children is to introduce them to Him and allow Him to work in their lives. Hopefully early on in their lives they will accept Jesus as their Lord and personal Saviour. Children thirst for knowledge that needs to be filled. They need the Living Water! Children have as much right to this as adults.

The second verse I thought of is found in Matthew 18:3-6:

"Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." (NASB)

Why is it that adults, including myself, seem to have such a hard time to tell others about Jesus and how to obtain eternal salvation? Why are we so 'afraid'? Children speak their minds in innocence and truth. They are not hindered by the world or mankind. We, as adults tend to worry far too often about what others will think or say about the way we worship, or what we believe.

We need to, as Jesus says, become like little children. We need to humble ourselves and trust that God will work through us. We should not worry about what we will say when we witness, because the Lord will give us the words we will need. We need to trust and obey the Lord and be meek, not allowing our pride to stop us from witnessing. I know, for myself, it is something I need to work on (with the help of the Lord). I need to become like a little child.

I would like to give a big thank you to Graham (Darlene's son) for telling his friends about Jesus and for being a lesson to me in being obedient. God can and does use anyone and everyone to get His message across. In this case, He used a five year old boy!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Making Cards

If you are looking for a good way to encourage someone, why not send a card! There are a wide variety of cards on the shelves today for every type of occasion under the sun, in many styles, shapes and colours. Many people enjoy receiving a card, whether it is for a birthday, anniversary, graduation, sympathy over the loss of a loved one, etc.

Cards have been sent, seemingly, from the beginning of time, though the Bible does not give any indication of Adam ever sending Eve a "Congratulations on Your Creation Day" card...so, I decided to do a little bit of investigating for this post.

According to http://www.netogram.com/history.htm, greeting cards became popular in the mid 1800's, with the oldest known greeting card in existence being a Valentine's Day card made in the 1400's. This card is on display at the British Museum in London.

Another site I visited was http://www.emotionscards.com/museum/history.html, where it made mentioned of New Year's cards dating back to the 1400's, though they gained popularity in the late 1700's. Greeting cards were typically sent by the elite and wealthy of the time, as it was rather expensive. This particular site also listed many men and women who were pioneers in the 'invention' of greeting cards. You can visit this site to read about them.


Within the past couple of years, I have discovered the art of rubber stamping and making cards. I find it enjoyable, but my main problem is lack of creativity. Therefore, I turn to the pages of various scrapbooking and card making magazines to get ideas for my cards. It is rather interesting that one can make a card in a particular pattern and colour, and then change the look of the card simply by changing colour combinations and types of papers used! Same pattern, different look!

A lot of work goes into making a card, and once you begin making them yourself, you tend to have a greater appreciation for any handmade cards you may receive. Many people who do not make their own cards will often dismiss a homemade card they receive as being "cheap". But let me tell you, they are NOT cheap! Not only can it take hours to make (depending on how many you make), but the cost of supplies needed can be expensive.

However, if you have not tried making your own greeting cards, I encourage you to do so (even if you only make one or two). Get together with your friends and have a 'card making day' where everyone shares their supplies and everyone makes some cards. This is a great way to fellowship with others who enjoy the same craft (or are interested in learning it). Home made cards are fun to make, and fun to send!

I have included pictures of the two cards I made today, and I intend to use them as a way to encourage others, and let them know they are being thought about and prayed for.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Refuge From the Storm

"For You have been...a refuge from the storm" Isaiah 25:4

The day had mostly been one of sun and heat with a few clouds in the sky. However, after I stepped out into the humid, sticky air to go home from work, the sky had changed. Now, it contained low, dark clouds. The sky was somewhat dark, though off in the distance you could see the sun trying to break through the clouds. The sky was that particular shade of blue and grey that comes with a storm that is about to take place.

For about five minutes, until we turned onto the highway, chain lightning was visible. It was bright and sharp against the dark background. It made me hold my breath as the fear began to well up inside. I really dislike storms. Pretty well anyone who knows me will back me up on that fact. This storm seemed 'different' though.

I began reciting Psalm 91, which I had read quite a number of years ago as being a prayer of protection. While I don't believe that it is a "magic formula" to read and pray that will make everything alright, I do believe that the Lord uses this to give me comfort. I say this prayer often, especially while in a car and before I go to sleep. I find comfort it it, and I use that.

On the way home tonight, I prayed this a couple of times and felt comforted. I watched the lightning and instead of feeling the fear that had been welling up inside, I now felt a sense of awe over God's power in the storm.

Soon, I found myself closing my eyes and praying Psalm 91 several times again. We had hit the rain by now. It started out as a light rain, but as we drove we could see the wind had picked up and was blowing dust and dirt around. This dust and dirt was thick and it was hard to see. We drove a little further and hit a fast, steady pelting of rain now. I was somewhat afraid again, but sought the Lord's comfort in Psalm 91. The rain was so bad that there were at least a dozen vehicles that had pulled over to the side of the road to wait out the rain. As for us, my father drove very slow and I was wishing at times that he would pull over.

We made it home safe and sound, thank the Good Lord above! I put my trust in Him and He was my refuge from the storm. Thank You Father that You are my refuge, not only during storms, but always.

I would like to add that my fear when riding/driving in the car stems from February 2002, when I was driving (alone) during a bad snow storm and trying to get home from work (we were sent home early). I had hit some ice and a little pot hole and my car began to fish-tail and I ended up rolling it. Thankfully it was only me involved, but I now have a fear when driving in the car (regardless of if I am the driver or someone else) and have to occupy myself looking out the side window or doing some crocheting (when someone else drives). If I have to drive, I tend to try not to do it at night (especially if it is a rainy night), during rain or snow...I am trying to remember to trust the Lord through this though and remember that He is in control. The Lord was my refuge during that storm as well, and I do believe that He protected me through this. I am lucky to be here, because it could have been a LOT worse!

Praying the Psalms

This past semester, I took a course on the book of Psalms. I really enjoyed it and learned a great deal from it.

One of our assignments was to read the entire book of Psalms (50 a month for 3 months). We were not to simply read them, but to pray and/or read them aloud. I had never done this, so I did not really know what to expect or if I was doing it correctly. Then, we had to keep track of this in a 'journal'. In other words, we had to write down what our feelings were on what we prayed or read aloud. The exercise was not to read through commentaries and books to find out meanings. We had to write about how a particular pslam or verse spoke to us.

What an amazing exercise this is! I highly recommend it to everyone! When something spoke to me, I would highlight it in my bible, and then write about it after I was finished praying or reading it aloud. What I found (and from talking to others found they had similar experiences), was that there seemed to be common themes that I felt the Lord was trying to get my attention regarding. We all might not have the same themes pop up in our readings, but the Lord speaks to us about the things that we need to hear, about situations in our lives or maybe attitudes that we need to change.

One of the things I felt the Lord telling me at that time, for example, was that I needed to praise Him in all situations. Not only do I need to praise Him when things are going right and there are no problems, but I need also to praise Him even for the rough and tough situations, for sad times, etc. God is definately worthy of all praise and honour and glory and thanksgiving! I am still learning to give praise to the Lord in all situations. I don't always remember to do this, but I do try and I am working on it (though I do need His helpful reminders).

So, if you have not tried this exercise of reading aloud and/or praying the Psalms, give it a try and see what the Lord is trying to teach you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bloomin' Flowers...

I was just looking out the window at the flower gardens my mom and dad planted. They both love to grow flowers, Mom moreso than Dad I think. They have created a huge round bed in the backyard where they plant daliahs with marigolds around the outter edges (I think the reasoning behind this is the scent from the marigolds keeps certain bugs away, but I don't know if it is that or not). Along the back edge of the backyard, that gives way to a small 'hill' and progresses into the neighbour's backyard, are two long beds with a rose arbour in the middle (a little pathway). Here is where they plant some gladiolas, tulips, roses to climb the arbour, and many other flowers that I have no idea as to what kind they are. Along the side of the house runs another bed with more glads, lilies, and other kinds. Out in front under the living room window and the bedroom windows are two more flower beds. Here there are more lilies, snap dragons, geraniums, peonies, rhodadendron, and others.

Though there are not a lot of flowers out in bloom just yet, there are several that are. Some of the flowers bloom in spring, some in the summer and some into the fall. Myself, I am not a gardener though I do envy their love of this hobby. I do wish I could get into this as I find a house just doesn't look like a home unless there are flowers planted around the yard (and a cat in the window too). I do not know if I will ever seriously get into this or not, but maybe if I had my own house it might be different and I would find myself out in the garden planting flowers.

When I think of flowers, I think of just how detailed the Lord God is. There are thousands of varieties of flowers, hybrids, colours, patterns, etc., all created by Him. It is amazing to think that you can have a lily and it can be any number of colours, you can have different varieties of lilies, single colours, single blooms, multiple colours with multiple blooms. It just amazes me at how detailed God is.

He is like that with all of His creations. Each is detailed. Each is unique, even if it looks the same as another (such as in the case of twins). How boring the world would be if each person were exactly the same, if they looked the same, talked the same, dressed the same, had the same thoughts and ideas. What if there were only one kind of flower? No variety of colour, no hybrids, no different types of flowers, etc.

God cares about each of us. He knew us from the beginning of time, from before we were even in the womb. The Bible tells us that God knows the number of hairs on the top of our heads! How amazing is that?

I need to remind myself to be thankful for the way that God created me. Why should I care if others think I might talk too much at times? God has gifted me with speech. Why should I care if I don't look like the models on the cover of the magazines? God loves me the way I look. Why should I care if my hair isn't curly or thick? God gave me my straight fine hair because that is what He wanted me to have. God created me the way I am because that is what He wanted me to look like. I should be greatful for that, and not wish that I look or act like someone else. God loves me, and that is what counts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Restlessness

I've been feeling somewhat restless in my life. I don't know what is causing it, but it is there. It has been on my mind off and on recently, and I go in fits and spurts of having this bother me and then not even giving it a second thought.

Lately, I am feeling like I need an area of expertise in my life such as being an "expert" in a particular hobby or craft as well as in a particular area of study. The question is, though, what area or what hobby?

So many people around me seem to be so knowledgeable or wise in something. They have a particular thing that they are so interested in they seem to absorb any and all information on that subject/matter that they can, and they hold on to it like a sponge. I am interested in many things, be it a hobby or something from my studies or a general interest but I am by no means well knowledgeable in any one particular thing.

I guess I feel like I want people to say "Hey, let's go ask Shelley about "such and such", because she knows all about this and she could help us." Maybe that is the same as wanting praise or glory for myself in something, but to tell the truth, it isn't all about that. I just feel as though I need to have at least one area in my life that I am well versed, well knowledged and well read in.

People will say to pick a subject/topic that I am interested in and study up on that. The problem is, I have a wide variety of subjects/topics that I am interested in. I do not know how to narrow it down or pick one. I do not know if this is something I should pray about (though I do realize that I can pray about it and take the matter to God), or if I should just blindly pick something of interest and jump right in. For example, I am quite interested in Biblical archaeology, but I don't know if I am interested in it enough to study any and everything about it. I enjoy seeing pictures of the excavation sites, the articles they find, etc. I am interested in the history of the area during the biblical times and how it is portrayed in the Bible, etc.

Maybe I do not need to be an 'expert' in anything, but just be well knowledged in a variety of topics. I just do not know. I am probably letting this get to me too much, spending to much time worrying and fretting about it that I need be doing. I just do not know.

So, where do I go from here?

Postcards

Once again, I was listening to the CBC this morning at work. There was an interview with a fellow who is doing research for a book regarding postcards (he thinks it will be ready to be published or sold in about two years time), and I suppose the history and whatnot regarding them.

He has set ups a site where he is collecting information on postcards as well as stories that people have of collecting them, sending them, etc. His site is www.postcard.blog.com so I recommend if you have any stories or comments you might want to add (or if you just want to see what it is all about) that you might want to help him out. If you go to the CBC radio one website (www.cbc.ca), they might have something there that explains what he is doing regarding this, much better than I have explained it.

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Stitch in Time

I figured that since I have named this blog "Confirm The Work of Our Hands", that I should discuss something relating to this. I try not to discuss it in a way that would seem like bragging, or to get praise and glory for myself. All glory and praise is to go to the Lord.

I have been working on a little crocheted sweater (though the pattern refers to it as a jacket) for a baby, which I plan to donate to the local crisis pregnancy center along with some other items. I have most of the sweater done, all of one sleeve and a few more rows to go for the second sleeve. However, I am stuck. I have a problem with it.

I chained the right number of chains for the pattern and crocheted up as far as I was to go. I was then to work on a certain number of stitches for one of the front sides, which I did. Then, I had to fasten off and rejoin at the bottom of that part and crochet across a certain amount of stitches again for the back (the space between the front part and the back would be where the sleeve is sewed onto. Then, I had to fasten off and rejoin and stitch the required number of stitches once more to complete the other part that would be the second front side. This is where my problem comes into play.

I followed the directions exactly and I am going to end up with about 5 or 6 stitches left over in which there is nothing crochet. It is not going to match up! There is a trim around it, but from what I could understand in reading it, there is nothing that says to work this trim on any left over stitches. The pattern book that this appears in also has a picture of a finished sweater/jacket, and that looks fine. I am thinking that the problem lies in a missprint in the instructions, or I had started to make the sweater using the instructions for the 6 month size and then followed the 3 month size, but I honestly do not think it is that. I am rather upset that this happened.

I think what I might do is add a few stitches to the part that was worked for the back and then sew the little "seam" that would be between it so there isn't a hole, and then work the other front side and finishd the pattern according to the directions. I am also going to make a notation in it that it didn't work out quite right, and put the adjustments in so that I can follow those. I will try to remember to take a picture of it when it is done and post it on here so that people can see it.

I am not letting this deter me from using my hands for the Lord. I will continue doing things like this because it is one of my callings...whether it is a gift or talent (see post below this one) the Lord has equipped me with, I will use it for Him.

I thank the Lord that He has given this talent/gift to me and that I can serve Him with it. I give all glory, praise and thanks for any compliments I receive to Him!

Spiritual Attack?

I think I'm under a spiritual attack. Though, it might not be. I have been redoing my spiritual gifts inventory (taking one of those 'quizes' again) to see if they have changed.

Lately I have been feeling as though I have not been equipped with any. I know this is a lie, because all of God's children are given at least one gift to use for the Kingdom of God.

I have been talking with a friend of mine who was hired on to work in the summer student ministry program, and we were discussing the gifts. She said her and the other three students had met with one of the pastors and they were attempting to see where each of them was gifted. The others agreed that she is gifted creatively, one of the others was a natural leader, another is gifted with organization and dealing with others...so I began wondering where I am gifted, if my gifts have changed since I last took the 'quiz' some time back.

My three main gifts, according to this inventory quiz are: 1. Craftsmanship, 2. Pastor/Shepherd, 3. Encouragement. So far they seem to be about the same as last time. Lately I have been having issues with the craftsmanship being a spiritual gift or a talent that God can use. This is something I've heard debates on for both sides of the story, and I am mulling it over as to what I think (and praying about it too). Regardless of the fact, I can still use this gift/talent for the Lord's kingdom, and don't plan on stopping.

I took another 'quiz' online for a comparison, and my gifts showed up very differently. Mind you, it didn't have some of the gifts on the one I took from the church. I can only recall the top two gifts according to the online inventory, and they are 1. Teaching and 2. Mercy.

Anyway, I have been comparing myself with my friend and others in regard to gifts. I know I am not supposed to do this, and that God made us all unique and individual for a reason. This is where I don't know if Satan is sticking his nose where it doesn't belong or not. I feel as though others have gifts that get noticed by others, that is others can observe them and tell where they are gifted, but no one seems to bother telling me if they see where my gifts lie. I don't know if part of me is jealous or if it is pride or a combination. I guess I just want to feel part of the body. I know I am, but at the same time I want a little confirmation from others as to what they see...that is by observation and seeing what I do can tell me that I am gifted in a particular area.

I've been praying to the Lord for confirmation and guidance and wisdom in this. But I don't know if I have received this yet or not. Maybe I am putting too much emphasis on this and not enough emphasis on the Lord...at any rate it's something that I've been dealing with lately and welcome any prayers about the matter as well.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Advanced Hebrew

I've been meaning to post about this but keep forgetting to, so I will do it now while I remember.

The other day I received an email from one of the higher ups at school (think he is vice president of the school or something like that). He said that they are kicking around the idea of having an advanced Hebrew class this next year. It has been offered in the past, however, the professor that usually does it is going on sabaticle for a year and will not be there to teach it. They have hired a new professor to take over (though I don't know if he was only hired for the year, or if he will stay on after the other professor gets back), and he is willing to teach the advanced Hebrew class. Apparently, he has as much education in Hebrew as the prof that is taking the year off and is on par with him in "smartness" I guess. Dr. D (the prof leaving) is extremely intelligent and knows five different languages (including Hebrew) fluently. I don't think Dr. B (the new prof) has that many languages, but he is as fluent in Hebrew as Dr. D.

To make a long story short, the email stated that they are polling some students to see if they would like to take an advanced Hebrew class (I assume it would be for both semesters like the beginner language classes are), and they are wondering if I would be interested in it. I was told (in this email) that I am one of the students that Dr. D recommended as being one who should take the course. That made my day!

In my first semester of beginning Hebrew (it's actually Biblical Hebrew) I received an A, and in my second semester I got B+. My mark dropped because I was very stressed out and suffered some depression. However, Dr. D would definately not recommend someone he did not think could handle the course or do well in it. I admire and respect Dr. D a great deal and it makes me feel good that he consideres me smart enough for the course.

I'm looking forward to taking this, though I might kick myself once I get into it. I will have to get my books out and refresh myself with vocabulary and such that we learned so that I wont forget everything by September. I'll have to get my Hebrew Bible (only the OT) out and work at translations as well. I want to do well in this course and not have them think Dr. D was nuts for recommending me...

A Day At The Cottage

Today I went to a cottage belonging to an "older" couple at the church. Actually, it wasn't just me. The lady who owns the cottage (with her hubby of course) co-teaches a ladies Sunday school class at the church, and they were invited along with a few of us "extras" that she knows. I used to be in that class, but last year I went to help teach a childrens Sunday school class.

We had a great time. The temperature was perfect, and there was a wind off the water though it wasn't a cold one. In the shade and inside the cottage it did feel chilly at times though. There were people swimming in the water (I didn't go in), some were walking down the beach, there were some sailboats/motor boats further out, kids flying kites, etc. This area of the beach, from my understanding, is pretty well only used by the people who have cottages in the area and people they know. I think, in total, there were about 20 of us at this cottage, including the six year old daughter of one of the ladies that is a little younger than me.

The couple who owns the cottage are into "brain teaser" sort of games, and we played one in which there are nine books lying on the floor (to form a square) and one person holds a pointer while another goes out of the room. Someone who doesn't know how this game works picks one of the books. The person who went out of the room does not know which book was picked and comes back after it has been decided which book is the "key" book. The person with the pointer points to various books, asking "Is this the book that was picked?" and then a yes or no answer is given. If they guess no, the other person points to another book. When the one guessing says "yes, that is the book" and they are right, they let them know that their guess is right. See, there is a trick to it but we couldn't figure it out. Someone thought it was in the way they asked the question "is this the book?", some thought it was a certain number of books pointed to first before saying "yes" (such as the yes book was the fifth book pointed to)..but none of those are right. We are still trying to figure it out...

The only thing that kind of disappointed me was that there was no BBQ. When we got together last year for the same sort of get together, we had a BBQ, and I just assumed that there was one this year as well (I wasn't the only one who thought this). So, this year we just had some rolls, ham, various salads, pickles, coleslaw as well as fudge and cake and ice cream for dessert (one of the older ladies that was there had her birthday today or tomorrow so the cake and ice cream was for that). I am not overly fond of salads. I guess it depends on what kind they are, and what was there I wasn't particularly fond of. I took a roll, some ham, coleslaw, garden salad, and a bit of 3-bean salad (which I didn't really care for much). So, even though I was disappointed that there wasn't a BBQ, I still enjoyed the food and the day.

Friday, July 15, 2005

It's Friday!

Well, another week has entered the annals of time. Friday has finally arrived! It hasn't been a particularly long week, time did not seem to drag by (except for yesterday at work when my legs were feeling restless for some reason), nothing out of the ordinary happened. I am just glad it is Friday, and I get two days off from work, which is great.

I guess I am already feeling as though I need a break from work. I will finish working for the summer on August 19 so that I can have a couple of weeks of vacation before starting back for my fourth year at university.

I do not think that this has anything to do with being lazy, it is more of just needing a break. I had three or four days off after fininshing my exams the end of August before I started work. I think another factor is that I really do not enjoy doing this type of work any longer (data entry) as it is monotonous. Thankfully I can listen to cd's, books on tape/cd, or the radio to help pass the time. Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful that I am able to go back to this job every summer and it does provide me with some money for school. This type of job just isn't exciting to me.

This upcoming school year will be my last year of working on my Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies, and I would imagine it will be hectic. I am going to need to be rested going into this. I would like to be able to not have to worry about having money for school, and just be able to finish work for the rest of the summer, however, I cannot do that. So, I will be thankful for this opportunity and praise God that He will help me get through this, and that He is with me each and every day.

One thing that I find I need to pray and remember each and every day, is that I am doing this job as though I am working for Him and not my boss. I pray that I do well, do my best, and glorify Him with the work that I do. Sometimes it is the prayer that I remember to work as though working for Him that gets me through the day. I find that I also have to put on my full armour of God each morning, especially when going to work, because there is so much negativity in the office...lots of back biting, gossip, two-faced people, etc. This sort of thing can really affect a person, and if you are not prepared with the armour then it is so easy to fall into it. With the armour and the help of the Lord, I am protected and can get through the day much easier than if I start out without putting on my armour and letting the Lord help me.

So, I am glad it is Friday. I can sleep in in the morning, I do not have to worry about productivity or typing speed, I can crochet or knit as long as I want to (without worrying about making it back on time from break). Yes, Friday is great, for the simple reason that I can relax now for a couple of days.

Gotta love the relaxation!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Getting Your Feathers Riled Up

Yesterday, I was listening to the CBC's (radio one) afternoon program called, "The Roundup" (www.cbc.ca and follow the links to The Roundup). They mentioned an article in Vanity Fair regarding some red tailed hawks that had set up nest (for the last few years) on a ledge of a building in New York. The thing is, this building is a co-op condo (I believe that's what it is) for billionaires, and they don't want these hawks nesting on their building.

The nest is not on top of the building, but rather on a side "ledge". I checked out the website that has been set up for this hawk, who is called, for some reason, Pale Male. I saw the pictures that are posted of where this nest is located, and it is not in front of anybody's window so it is not like the nest (and the birds) are blocking anyone's view of Central Park...

The residents of this building are stirring up a fuss and wanting this nest removed, and of course there are those who are in opposition, claiming the nest should remain where it is. After briefly viewing the pictures on the site (link below), it is of my opinion that the nest and its occupants should remain where they are. As I stated, they do not block the view from any window and they really aren't in anybody's way. There are far more important and urgent matters in this world to be dealt with. Why not put the focus and attention on those matters, rather than these birds who are minding their own business.

Pale Male, his mate, and their babies can be seen at www.palemale.com where those in charge of the site post pictures of the babies progress.

Anyway, I just thought this was an interesting story that I heard and wanted to comment briefly on. I haven't read the article in Vanity Fair though, to be fair. I think I might like to though as it sounds interesting.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Out And About

Today, after I got home from church, I went with my parents and my nephew up to visit my dad's sister and brother-in-law. They live in the country and it is so beautiful and peaceful where they are. This used to be where they had their cottage when they lived here in the city, but over the years they have gradually converted it and winterized it so that it has become their home. They live very close to a small river and are surrounded by trees. Mind you, there are three or four other homes (or cottages) near them.

Generally, I suppose depending on the time of year, there are lots of birds and chipmunks and squirrels around. My aunt and uncle have several bird feeders in the back yard area. The "porch" which is actually enclosed with windows and a door to go in and out (maybe more like a little solarium only there are no windows on the roof part) is where they do a lot of their relaxing, so they can watch the birds from there. It is so very peaceful and relaxing just watching the birds.

Today, there didn't seem to be as many birds around, but I did see some humming birds, a blue jay, some gold finches and a king fisher. The king fisher sits on the hydro line that crosses the river to the other side and watches for fish and will swoop down to catch his prey and then come back up on the line. He was there for about five or ten minutes I think.

There was also a chipmunk and big bushy tailed grey squirrel. The chipmunk was gathering some birdseed that had fallen on the ground below one of the feeders and stuffing his face full to take back to his home for storage. I didn't see the squirrel for long, but assume he was doing the same thing. My nephew (who is only 2) got a kick out of them and was consummed watching them for some time.

The main reason we had gone to my aunt and uncle's place was so that I could give her some of the information that I have collected on the family tree. She is interested in this as well, and was thankful for what I gave her. She showed me a picture of who we believe is my great great grandmother. She also has pictures of my grandparents (her parents) from before they were married, as well as other old pictures that I would love to have one day. However, I imagine she will be passing them on to her own children, or grand children.

All in all, it wasn't a terribly exciting day but I enjoyed it and I guess that is what counts. It was a nice drive with pretty scenery (looks even prettier in the fall when the leaves are turning colours), and I spent time with family, which to me is important...and that is what counts.

You Cannot Do It Alone

"You cannot do it alone." Exodus 18:18

In this passage, we read about Jethro (father-in-law to Moses) telling Moses that he is doing too much. Moses has told Jethro that he sits and listens to the people as they inquire about God. Moses in turn judges between "a man and his neighbour and makes known the statutes of God and His laws." (vs. 16) Jethro tells Moses that he is doing too much, and proceeds to explain how Moses needs to delegate, that he (Moses) cannot do it alone!

So often in our own lives we take on a great deal of responsibility and attempt to go at it alone. For some reason we think that we need to prove something to others - that we can do all that we take on. This is not true. When we take on too much, we find there just isn't enough time in the day to accomplish all of our tasks. We, too, need to learn to delegate things in our lives. We need to learn to say 'no' in some areas and not take on more than we can handle. We also need to realize that we need God to be in control of every situation in our lives.

We cannot do anything alone. We need God's help. He is the one who can (and does) give us the strength to get through the stressful times. He is the one who can nudge us along in the right direction, and can give us the courage to say no when we are already over-burdened. I, myself, am learning that when I try to accomplish anything on my own, it never works out well. I get too stressed, too worried...I can't seem to accomplish on my own all that I need to. Though at times it may seem that I am doing things well on my own pwer, that feeling never lasts long. God always manages to tap me on the shoulder and say, "Psst...don't forget about Me."

It is hard to include Him in everything. It is hard to make sure that I don't venture out on my own into unknown territory (or even known territory). But, I believe it is a conscious decision that each and every person must make. I am finding that I need to make the time for God. I need to spend more time in prayer. These things help draw us closer to Him and we will learn to depend and trust Him.

Society tells us that we are weak if we need to ask for help or if we can not do something on our own. It tells us there is weakness in being dependent - especially if we are dependent upon God. This is one of Satan's big lies. He wants us to be totally independent and not rely on God at all. He is wrong! Only when we learn to depend on God and allow Him to help us, do we become strong. We need God. We cannot do it alone!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Gas

Ok...what's up with gas? No, I'm not referring to the kind expelled from one's body. I'm talking about the kind that one pumps into one's vehicle.

Yesterday, I noticed the price of gas here has gone up...a lot. It had increased a lot since the beginning of the new year, but yesterday the price became even moreso ridiculous than before. It is now selling at $1.02 a litre!

I don't really know what is causing this increase, and from what I have been told, prices for petrol have gone up drastically all over...and not just in my own country. I'm sure all that is going on in the Middle East is playing a factor. And I wonder if yesterday's bombing in London, England has anything to do with it. I mean, the news was reporting at one point that the stock market had been affected, so it makes me wonder if that didn't help raise the price of gas. I am going to make myself sound old with this next saying, but..."I remember when" the price of gas was around 50 cents a litre.

This price hike makes me somewhat glad that I'm not driving anymore. I don't have to worry about spending at least $40 a week or so to fill up the tank. This is just simply crazy. With the way prices are now, maybe the scientists should work at figuring out how to make a car run on the gas caused by beans...might be a cheaper alternative.

Ideas

Ideas...mainly I am thinking of ideas of what to write on this blog. I have been searching through blogs that others have done to see what sort of ideas they have come up with, and what they are talking about. There are definately a lot of unique ideas (and people!) out there.

While at work today, I came up with some ideas that I would like to post. Some things, however, I need to do some sort of research on to make sure what I say is correct. Other ideas will just be random thoughts I think...much like this post.

I enjoy the creative blogs, the funny ones and the ones with pictures. I am very new to this, so I haven't mastered the tips and techniques of the trade yet. I have seen some great blogs that have 'character' which seems to reflect the person's character. I admit, my blog is boring, it has no pictures, my words and thoughts don't flow smoothly (or at least the way I want them to), but I'm sure with practice and jazzing up the blog in some way things will improve.

So, ideas. I need some. I need lots. I need to just sit down and make an entry. Lots of great topics and situations, etc. to discuss or voice my thoughts and opinions on. I just need to pick one and sit down and write.

Ideas. Hmmm....

Work...

Well, I have now been back to work for two months now. I only work during the summer since I have gone back to university, and don't work while at school. I'm not the type of person who can work and go to school at the same time. I know for sure that my studies would suffer greatly if I were to work.

My job is data entry, which is basically sitting in front of a computer for about eight hours a day inputting data. It is a monotonous job, as we type in the same type of information all day. However, I am thankful that I have a job.

I was working at this job for roughly twelve years, when I quit to go to university. I felt led by the Lord to do this, so I put my trust and faith in Him and He has carried me through all of the way. One of the reasons that helped me even think of pursing university, was due to the fact that I developed carpal tunnel syndrome from all those years of constant typing day in and day out. I am thankful that the manager allows me to come back every summer so that I can save up money for school. It is definately a big help because I am making the same wage (well, actually it has increased each year some) as when I left. If I were not able to work this job, more than likely I would be "stuck" doing a minimum wage job (not that there is anything wrong with that), and not make enough money to help out with school.

As I said, I am thankful that I have this opportunity. Though it may not be the perfect job, and it may not be one that I greatly enjoy, I am greatful that I have it. Things could definately be worse...