Monday, October 31, 2011

Messy Mondays - Reformation Day

Last year I posted about the history of Reformation Day and thought I would share that with you today.


What's that?  You don't know what Reformation Day is?  That's what I got from my own Pastor last Sunday.  In fact, she said that the only people of reformed background would probably know what that was.  I bet millions of Lutherans are jumping up and down in protest right now. (:P)  This is a day that is important to non- believers and believers alike as it changed the course of Western Civilization with a stroke of the hammer.

On October 31, 1517, Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints church in Wittenberg.  This Theses was his argument against the sale of the selling of indulgences.   This was quickly translated from Latin into German and printed for distribution.  In two weeks, it was distributed throughout Germany.  Within two months, throughout, Europe.  It was the beginning of the "Protest"ant Reformation.  Luther probably only wanted to "fix" what he saw was wrong within the Catholic Church, not thinking about what he started.  

Without Luther, there would be no Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans, Calvinists or Lutherans.  No King James Bible, as prior to Luther it was considered heresy to have a bible in one's own language.   Most importantly, there would be no teaching about the justification through faith or in other words, no teaching that we can never earn God's love or forgiveness, it is just freely given to ALL of us. 

If you're bored tonight (what with giving out candy), I would recommend watching Luther.  It is a great movie (does have many historical inaccuracies, but what historical movie doesn't), about the first years of Luther's ministry. 

So again I say to you - HAPPY REFORMATION DAY!
I hope you all have a great Halloween and Reformation Day.  I'm still left to wondering if Luther's actions started the first trick or treators and if the church considered his theses a trick or a treat. :)
Thursday, October 27, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - Different, but Same

Photobucket

This week I was talking to my evil twin about my blog post on Tuesday.  We had some great discussion about inclusion.  Then she posed this question to me:  "Why is it that we spend so much time saying we are different, yet when someone who really is different comes along we spurn them?"  Can you say hit me with a 2x4.  

We are raised to be independent people.  To have our own thoughts, beliefs, and sometimes ideals.  We are taught that not everyone is the same.  We are taught to embrace our differences.  I know as a mom, I want my children to be leaders.  I want them to be themselves.  I don't want them to do what the other kids are doing.  I love that my daughter is into dinosaurs rather than Hannah Montana, Selena Gomez or Justin What's His Name.  I love that Middleman is into Transformers and Rescue Heroes and loves to play with his sister.  I love that he loves to play with his friend Sarah by running up and down the hills.  Tormentinator is already forming his own personality.  He is my stocky little battle ax.  He is stubborn, yet so loving all at once.  He wants to play with his brother and sister and isn't really afraid of anything.  

Saying all this though, I worry that they don't fit in.  The Princess is struggling gaining friends out here.  She is struggling with being the only one who doesn't really have a best friend to play with daily.  She has had a great core group of friends to lean on and play with.  She was never alone.  Middleman has his own struggles with his disability and it makes it hard to communicate with his peers.  His friend Sarah is a little girl in grade 4 who had a disability as well and has no friends her own age.  Tormentinator doesn't have anyone his own age to play with and since he also does not communicate vocally, he struggles to play with others his own age.  The very thing I love about each of them and encourage, is also the very thing I worry about and wish that they would fit in.   Why?

What is it in each of us that we want to be different?  Yet we also don't like it when someone different comes around.  What is it that makes us really want to be sheep being lead down the path?  What is it that we have expectations and beliefs that make us want to put the square peg into the square hole and that A + B = C?  Why do we make fun of those who are different; who don't look or think or act as we do?  When does this start?  Is it nature or nurture?  I don't have the answers to these questions.  I don't even know if I want the answers.  

Just as each of us wants to be different and encourage this in our children.  Really, we just want to be the same.

Come join into the randomness and express your difference.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - Kazakhstan

Please pray for those suffering for their faith and for each other today.  If you have a prayer request, please add it below. 

New laws in Kazakhstan oppress Christians
(Source: Forum 18 News Service)

The president of Kazakhstan has ushered in two new laws that severely restrict freedom of religion. President Nursultan Nazarbaev signed the laws -- which have been adopted with what one observer called "unprecedented" speed -- in mid-October. The laws have attracted fierce criticism from local religious groups, human rights defenders and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). "The Law on Religious Activity and Religious Associations" imposes a very complicated registration system for faith groups, bans unregistered religious activity, promotes censorship and requires government approval to build or open new places of worship. The other new law includes amendments that may also have a far-reaching impact on religious freedom.

Pray for courage and wisdom for Christians and others who are raising a voice against these restrictive new laws.

Please pray believers would be protected from legal persecution.

Pray that President Nazarbaev's heart would be softened and that he would relent and repent (Acts 9).

Come.....

Yesterday I wrote about inclusion of children with special needs in education and community organizations.  Writing it made me think of Jesus and His simple call to us “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28).  Come.  Simple.  Honest.

We as believers, we have accepted this invitation.  To lay our old selves down and accept Christ's peace and grace into our lives.  We sit in our pews nicely each week, listen to the sermon and drive home.  Some of us may attend a weekly study.  Some may volunteer in other church groups.  We do this week in and week out and feel good about ourselves.  Then someone different  comes to our church.  Someone a bit gruff, a bit grungy, too ethnic, in a wheelchair, with a cane, etc...    We look away.  We don't engage.  We avoid this "tumor" that has entered into our presence.  Why? Because they are different.  They make us uncomfortable.  They make us look at ourselves and our own prejudices.  So we make them uncomfortable and they don't return.  Sound familiar?

I hate to admit that I have done this.  I have sat in judgment over someone without knowing their story.  Without knowing their struggles.  I have also been on the other end.  The person who was different.  Believe me if you could crawl under a pew, I would have done so.  Why do we do this?  As believers we are called to love each other.  We are called to care for the widows and orphans and poor.  My "evil twin" refers to this as loving the unloveables.  Instead of following His commands, we judge and in do so we are no better than the Pharisees.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9: 10-13 NIV 84)

Did you see that?  Jesus came for ALL.  God wants ALL of His children.  Not just those who have already believe, but also for His "messy, mixed up" children.  His imperfect, hurting children.

Jesus also admonishes the Pharisees for their judgment  when He says "go and learn what this means."   What are the implications for us as believers.  We are to love one another.  We are to go out on that limb of faith and help those who are sick in spirit.  Those who are hurting.  Those that God is still seeking.  We need to open the doors of our churches and "feed" those that need to be feed without judgments.

Church should be our starting point for all inclusion.  We should think of it as a place where ALL are welcome, instead of having a policy of "No shoes, No Shirt, No Service." 


I am linking up with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood today at Finding Heaven.



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Messy Mondays - Inclusion


Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.  


This weekend I went to a conference where they talked about inclusion in our school systems and community for people with special needs.  It was great to hear people speaking not just from a intellectual stand point, but also from personal experience.  The keynote speaker spoke on the new initiatives in our province's education system.  She headed up the program and helped write the legislation.  She is also a mom of two boys who are blind.  One was defined in the school system by his disabilities and the other was not.  She has noticed a difference in each of these young men on who has been able to deal with the transition from childhood to adulthood and firmly believes it started with how they were perceived in school.  Because of this, she is passionate to see all children viewed simply as children and encourages learning on a child by child basis and the evaluation process.  As a mom hearing this, I was so encouraged to see that they want to change not just the system but the culture.  To make sure that each child is viewed for themselves and not their disabilities. 

I have seen this change first hand as well.  One of our greatest fears in sending our middleman to school was how he would be perceived by the other students.  Last year in preschool he was viewed as an outsider by the children because he was different.  He struggled to make friends and be accepted by his peers.  This year has been a 180 degree difference.  Middleman is viewed just as everyone else.  He is the same, just different.  He is welcomed by many of peers each morning and he enjoys being in their company.  

It will take along time for our culture to change their attitudes regarding people with special needs.  I need to change my own perceptions as well.  I once spoke with a mother whose daughter had downs syndrome.  She asked us "What is normal?  For all we know, my daughter is normal and we're the ones with the problem."  I think she was right.  We tend as a society to view people with special needs in a negative connotation.  We look at their limitations and not their strengths.  I'm glad that my government is working on changing this attitude in our schools.  I would love to see these prejudices erased by the time middleman transitions into adulthood.

We are all the same, just different.  Simple truth. 



This is a song written by a Canadian singer/song writer/former educator Terry Kelly who is blind.  He wrote it hearing what our government was working on.  I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - I Apologize

Photobucket

Since earlier this year, it seems like I have been on a blogosphere hiatus.  It started with the Bible in 90 days and then there was the move.  I feel like I am still struggling to find either the time or just will to get to the blogosphere.  I try to read my reader and then become overwhelmed, when I stay away for a few days, at the number of new reads.  I think it has to do with my personality to do it all or not do it at all.  Therefore I usually just avoid, as it seems easier than having to try to wade through Google Reader.

But it is not just my reader I struggle with reading.  It is also some the weekly links to Caffeinated Randomness.  I admit it.  I make plans to read them and then things come up during the weekend and I forget.  I make plans to myself to read them by Monday morning, but then it is a new week and I am on to another week of blogging or just life.  

Why am I telling you this?  I want to apologize.  I have been struggling through many things this week.  I question why even though I write a blog and have 101 followers, why there are very few views on the blog.  I came to this realization.  That just as I have a relationship with God and have to work on that relationship, so too do I have to work on my bloggy relationships.  I have taken for granted that people would link up on Fridays.  I take for granted that people would read my blog.  But if I'm not also working on the relationship and reading others thoughts, dreams and struggles, how can I expect them to read about mine.  I can't.  I hope that none of you ever feel like you have done anything wrong.  I am willing to admit that this is my problem; that I have caused this situation myself.  

I have decided to get back and work on our relationships.  As a result I will be clearing out my reader daily.  If I don't get to read it one day, I will just clear it.  That way every day is fresh and I won't be overwhelmed.  Nor will I feel bad if I miss one day due to life of if I just want to take a break.  I also will be reading the link ups to Caffeinated Randomness during the day Friday and then Sunday evening.  These are times when I am home and am able to sit with my lap top. 

I want to thank all of you who have stuck with me through this year.  Believe me it has been a wild year.  I appreciate your continued support.  I look forward to seeing you here.  I love to see you here.  You brighten my day and cheer me up.  You have gotten me through some rough times. 

I know that this plan is a work in progress, just like me.  It may be a bumpy ride, but it's a ride that I wouldn't change.  I can't wait to catch up with you guys.

Come join in with the randomness today.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - Pakistan

Please pray for those suffering for their faith and for each other today.  If you have a prayer request, please add it below. 

Christian killed over land dispute in Pakistan
(Source: AsiaNews)

Safdar Masih, a Pakistani Christian, was shot to death on October 5 over a land dispute. When Safdar's church in Mian Channu, Khanewal District, purchased land to build an orphanage, their claim on the land was contested by an influential feudal lord. On October 3, church members filed a complaint with police but were pressured to withdraw their petition. Two days later, armed men attacked the village, murdering Safdar and injuring a dozen others, including children. The men also seized the land. The police have yet to file a report about the attack.

Pray the Lord will comfort Safdar's family and friends. Ask God to heal and restore those who were injured.

Ask the Lord to protect and provide for the orphaned children.

Pray the Lord will bring about justice in an unjust world (Psalm 140).
Monday, October 17, 2011

Thank You Toddlers & Tiaras



Last week I watched an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras with my 8 year.  I do not normally watch this show.  However, this time I did.  At the beginning of the show my daughter was excited and asked if we could do this.  I answered "NO!"  I asked her which is more important to God:  inside or outside beauty?  She replied inside.  I told her these people pay attention to only the outside beauty.  That they pay thousands of dollars on beauty treatments, wigs, fake teeth (flippers), spray tanning and clothes.  As I was telling her this, one of the girls was getting her new flipper.  I asked my daughter if she wanted one.  She replied "NO!"

Once the contestants arrived at the pageant, one of the moms started talking about spray tanning her 5 year old daughter.  She had been against it until she was told by the "tanner" that her daughter would not be competitive unless she did it.  She caved.  I asked my daughter if the little girl looked better before or after the tanning?  She answered before.  I asked her if she still wanted to do pageants.  She stated "NO!"  At that point I changed the channel and we watched Cake Wars.

This week Cindy at She Sparkles is calling a Fat Talk Free Week.  I feel that this is important  because I think as women we get caught up in how the world wants us to be versus what God wants us to be.  We buy into the lies and demean ourselves.  Many harm themselves striving to be what the world wants.  What we should be asking is what God wants.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3: 3-4 NIV84

God loves us just for us.  He longs for us and He only wants us to be humble.  To think of Him 1st and follow His commands.  To be completely surrendered to Him.  When we focus only on our outside appearances, we dishonour God by loving what the world loves and making our beauty our idols.  I am not saying you should not take care of yourself and let yourself go.  We also have to remember that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:19).  We just need to be aware when our taking care of those temples becomes an idol.

I am thankful for Toddlers and Tiaras because it has opened doors between my daughter and I regarding outward appearances and our hearts.  This is just the beginning but I know we have many battles yet to overcome.

I'm linking up with Jen at Finding Heaven with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood today.




Messy Monday - Where is Hope?

Messy Monday's where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.  


Lately I have felt defeated and worn out.  I have been in a battle for over two years that is beyond my control and I am tired.  I don't know if I can fight anymore.  I want to retreat and hide.

The image that resonates with me right now is the one at the end of the LOTR: Return of the King, in the final battle where it appears the battle is lost.  You can see the fear, sorrow and defeat in their eyes.  That is how I feel right now. 


Yet......

And there is a yet to those who know the story.  There is victory just as we think the "king" will be defeated.  The hero has completed his task and the evil one is defeated.  But this is not just a story and we know who won the war over Satan 2000 years ago.  That does not mean there will not be battles we need to face.  It is hard.  It is tiring.  But still I wait, because He asks me too.  

Wait for the LORD;
   be strong and take heart
   and wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:14 NIV84

Waiting is hard.  It requires perseverance and patience.  I pray that I can continue to persevere through this time.
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - The Cut

Photobucket


When you move, you not only move from your friends, but also another important person in your life:  your hairdresser.  A hairdresser, doesn't just cut your hair.  They are counselor, fashion assistant, confidant and friend.  I had a great hairdresser back in Saskatchewan - Mr. Gerald (the kids added the Mr.).  He was awesome.  I trusted him and was never let down.  I was always happy after getting my hair cut, whether he cut my hair short or highlighted it blond.  Gerald also worked with me in being able to cut middleman's hair.  After a horrible experience at a children's salon, Gerald patiently worked with Thomas for over a year to be able to get him to sit on the chair and allow his hair to be cut.  Gerald had a great personality and we could solve the world's problems in the two hours it took to highlight my hair.

Now I have moved and I no longer have Mr. Gerald.  I went to see another hairdresser this summer.  James had no personality and gave me a trim.  He did not layer my hair the way I liked it, even though that is what I asked for.  He didn't even really talk to me.  I was not really happy and didn't go back.  I checked out some of the other salons in town and couldn't believe that it was going to cost more than $40.00 for a wash and cut, let alone highlights starting at $90 before cut.  
Earlier this month I was so desperate I dyed my own hair (after quick research for the best at-home dye on my Blackberry) and then I cut my own bangs.  I didn't think I did such a bad job, but I have to admit that some of my gray didn't take to the colour as much as I would have liked it too.  

Today, I finally said enough was enough.  I was tired of my hair.  It was long and straight and needed to be layered badly.  It just fell flat and wouldn't keep up the volume no matter how much backcombing and hairspray I put in.  I went to one of those chop houses.  You know the cheap hairdressers.  I have lucked out a few times before and found great hairdressers through them, however, I have also had some crappy hair cuts thanks to them.  This time I lucked out.  Karlee was great.  I told her what I wanted and showed her some pictures.   In 20 minutes I had a great hair cut and had some great conversation.  

I love my new cut and will definitely be going back to see Karlee and the chop house even takes appointments, not just walk ins.  I finally think I'm starting to get the hang of this move.


My New Cut



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - Egypt

Please pray for those suffering for their faith and for each other today.  If you have a prayer request, please add it below.

Muslim extremists destroy church building, homes
Sources: Compass Direct

A group of hard-line Muslims attacked a church building in Upper Egypt on September 30, torching the structure and then looting and burning nearby Christian-owned homes and businesses. The 3,000-strong mob of Muslims gutted the Mar Gerges Church in the village of Elmarenab in Aswan province, then demolished much of its remains, multiple witnesses at the scene said. The mob also razed four homes near the church and two businesses, all Christian-owned. Looting was also reported.

The Mar Gerges burning is the third church in Egypt in seven months to be burned down by a mob. No casualties have yet been reported in the attack. The tension in Elmarenab started the last week of August, when Muslim extremists voiced anger over renovations taking place at the church. They also opposed any Christian symbols that could be seen from the outside. To force the Christians to acquiesce to their demands, the Muslim extremists blockaded the entrance to the church and threatened believers on the streets, in effect making them hostages in their own homes.

Please pray the government will do all they can to protect Christians from this kind of violence.

Pray the Christians will not lose heart but continue to take every opportunity to meet together to worship the Lord and provide encouragement to one another.

May the Lord use the conduct of Egyptian Christians to act as a witness for the gospel.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Messy Mondays - Perseverence

Messy Monday's where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.   

This past year I have been in a season of trial and perseverance.  I have been truly humbled and literally broken.  I still feel very broken.  I don't know what the future will be and it worries me.  I don't know how I can get through this time as a whole individual.  

I have heard the song "Before the Morning" by Josh Wilson before.  This weekend while driving home from a workshop this song came up on my iPod.  I listened.  I played it again singing as loud as I could.  I am trying to dare to believe.  It is hard.  I dislike the dark.  I always have (funny for a night owl to say this).  It's the unknown.  It's about fear.  But after the dark is the sunrise.  The light and hope.  I will press on, trusting in the one who has great plans for me.



Do you wonder why you have to
Feel the things that hurt you?
If there's a God who loves you
Where is He now?

Or maybe there are things you can't see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending
Someday, somehow you'll see, you'll see

Would you dare, would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing?
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It can't compare to the joy that's coming

So hold on, you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the dark before the morning

My friend, you know how this all ends
And you know where you're going
You just don't know how you'll get there
So say a prayer

And hold on
'Cause there's good for those who love God
But life is not a snapshot
It might take a little time, but you'll see the bigger picture

Would you dare, would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing?
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It can't compare to the joy that's coming

So hold on, you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the dark before the morning

Yeah, yeah, before the morning
Yeah, yeah

Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory
Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory, memory, memory, yeah

Would you dare, would you dare to believe
That you still got a reason to sing?
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It can't compare to the joy that's coming

Would you dare, would you dare to believe
That you still got a reason to sing?
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It can't compare to the joy that's coming

Come on, you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the hurt before the healing

Oh, the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the dark before the morning
Yeah, yeah, before the morning
Yeah, yeah, before the morning
My photo
Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

Mini Me

Mini Me

Middleman

Middleman

Tormentinator

Tormentinator

Friends and Neighbours

Where I travel