Thursday, March 31, 2005

More Reflections on "Being Selfish"

I recall an article I read years ago written for parents on volunteering in the school system. It stated that there are different levels of helping.

The first and most important way might seem too basic to even mention but realistically it is overlooked. This is to make sure their own children are getting their homework done. If this was done then, they suggested, that the parent volunteer in the classroom. After this the parent would be familiar with the school and could then advance to the next level which was involvement with the school council.

I was very impressed with the simplicity of this advice for the most important time would directly benefit the children. It would not be advantageous to jump levels and forego other responsibilities.

My point is that everybody has basic needs that need to be taken care of first. For instance, we can't disregard our health be it physical, mental,emotional,spiritual or even financial without hurting ourselves. I don't think that if we take care of ourselves in these ways that this is " being selfish." Although it is easy to overindulge at the expense of others which would legitimately qualify one as "being selfish."

Like the parent volunteer scenerio, if the needs of the family are also being met, then there can be a healthy progression to the community through the church, neighborhood, politics etc.

Sometimes there is a tendency to discount taking care of our own needs because it is seen as selfishness. If this happens, people will not be able to cope with their lives. There is a need for balance between self and others.

There is another analogy that helps me as I try to achieve this balance. If a mother is in an airplane with her baby and the oxygen mask drops, then it is imperative that she put the mask on herself first and then her child. We need to ensure that we are well if we really want to help others.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

All that is in the world...

I have been thinking about Moira's blog on altruism all day. Is it inherent in humans or is something we have learned as a way of survival? As a Christian, I believe mankind is made in the image of God, who is love. However, the sinful desires of flesh became a part of humanity. Love, no doubt, would have been easier before sin.

Sin creates a desire to obtain that for which it lusts for. These selfish desires can take preference over concern and love for others. Some people pretend it isn't there and are able to hide their selfishness, even from themselves. Others are overtly selfish and don't care if others know it or not. Some actually will use the appearance of selflessness as a means for satisfying other lusts for approval, power or money etc.

Alcoholics Anonymous redirects the alcoholic toward a higher power in order to free them from their desire for alcohol. The steps work on the principle of a life of service towards other alcoholics. Disasters, such as the tsunami, create a common need for benevolence towards the stricken. People involved with social injustices battle selflessly for their cause. Soldiers and law enforcers give their lives to protect others. Religions of various faiths enable people to reach beyond their selfish desires. All of these are beliefs which enable people to forget about their selves and focus on something bigger than themselves.

As a Christian, I believe God gave me a new spirit upon baptism. This new spirit gives me faith and hope that I am growing in the ability to love as I have been loved.

To see Moira's blog go to

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Handing Me Down

My children might be considered odd by their generation as we their parents have unintentionally handed down our old but classic taste to them.

My husband is a huge Beatles fan. So our three seem to naturally love Glass Onion,My Guitar Gently Weeps and Octupus Garden etc. They intricately know the albums and their covers. My son is learning to play guitar through the notes of Blackbird. Our old turntable gets alot of play from my husband's vintage LP's.

I on the other hand do not have to worry about my Partridge Family records being left out of the liners but I have passed on an enjoyment for my favorite comedienne. When I was inquiring about the latest I Love Lucy dvd set, the young cashier asked, "Who?" I didn't realize she was serious. My children and I, however, do know Lucy. We laugh as her life works out with mischievious humor and love.

There is honor in sharing with your children the music and humor of your life. These pieces of our history bind us together as a family.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Woman, why weepest thou?

Reality lightens my burdened soul
with the knowledge
of my tattered clothes.

To be happily shrouded
by the protection of secrets
does not hide existance.

There is no need to be afraid.
The morning sun reveals the naked form
under the linen.

I Caught the Cold, Finally

I am a wimp when I am sick but the good side to this is that I allow myself to goof off, big time. I can rest, read, get out of doing anything or going anywhere. Surprisingly, I sometimes even look forward to being "under the weather."

I feel a guilt though during these times of recuperative care for when I was a youngster,I was overly fond of missing school. My Mom worked full time and I was left under the guidance of a big sister and a lax grandfather. Both of these caregivers discovered they could not force this stubborn 6 year old to obey so I was often left alone. I remember the happiness of having the place to myself until I realized that soon my Mom would be home.I placed my forehead on the warmth of the old cast iron wood stove.
As I received my licking, I cried for her to touch my forehead for proof that the day off was required.

No wonder I doubt my sincerity even today as my husband and children take off to visit the in-laws and I plan my recuperation.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

"I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
John 6:51

Saturday, March 26, 2005

I Come to the Garden Alone

The whimpering woman
enters the ordered tranquility
to accuse and promise
offerings for the day.

I am startled to enjoy
the garden while she
warms the coolness
of the back of my hand by her breath.

Another hastens into our evening,
he helps me to listen again to her words.
With faithful recognition, he dispels
the lies and helps me

to return to the asylum
where words are gentle
and the created are loved.
Her words disappear for awhile.

Friday, March 25, 2005

It is always the same

My husband and I had planned to see a movie today. We had some movie coupons for Cineplex theaters so we began the day trying to decide which movie.

Miss Congeniality2?- Well the first one gave me a complex about my eyebrows. My hairdresser talked me out of the wax job though.

BeCool?-Besides its two star rating, I just don't trust John Travolta since Pulp Fiction.

Beauty Shop?-We just saw Queen Latifa with Steve Martin last weekend on video in "Bringing Down the House." That earned it the "no" vote as well.

Constantine?-I really do not want to know what hell might be like. This movie might function as an evangelical tool though. It might be worth hanging out at the theatre afterwards with the cards.

The Ring Two?-I am still afraid that I'll see an alien reflected in the television screen after seeing the movie "Signs." Horror movies are definately out!

Robots?-We saw this already as a family. It was fun but not even celebrity voices can entice me to pay to see a movie twice.

Guess Who?-Two star comedies are the worst, especially at $10.95 a head!

Hitch?- I like Will Smith but see above.

Million Dollar Baby?- I want to see this eventually but I would rather wait for the video. I don't care for big shot screens filled with beaten and bloody bodies.

The Pacifier?-I don't think P.L. Travers would agree with the comparisons to Mary Poppins. This one got a "no way" vote, too.

Hostage?-I just don't see Bruce Willis as a saviour type of guy, despite Armegeddon.

Ice Princess?-The papers said "this movie is just about perfect for teenagers..." but does this mean that maybe it's not so perfect for their mothers and fathers.

So we ended up going to see an independant film at a theater that didn't take coupons of course but the movie was great!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Examining the Reasons for the Seasons

I am a Christian yet I do not celebrate either of the "holiest of days", Easter or Christmas. The concept that a Christian does not celebrate the Lord's birthday or His death seems strange but there is actually no commandment given for Christians to do so. The only day specified as important in the Bible is the Lord's Day. A memorial was instituted by Jesus to remember His death every week, not just once a year. This is the Lord's Supper and it is celebrated with unleavened bread and fruit of the vine with solemnity and faith, not with Easter eggs and ham.

I am not against traditions. These holidays have been an integral part of society centuries before Christianity even began. The problem started when well meaning men gave religious merit to these celebrations. If only they would have recognized that it is natural for people to want to celebrate life and each other. Then they might not have felt compelled to change the intent of the festivities to match the Christian story.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

"He Who Overcomes"

My eleven year old son and I were having Bible Time before school this morning. I want him to understand spiritual concepts so we concluded our time discussing dependance on God. I asked him if he knew what it meant. He shook his head slightly.
"It is when you know that you can't do something and the only way you can do it is with God's help," I replied into his thoughtful brown eyes.
"I think I am beginning to feel that," he said.

I know that this is true. Recently, he had trouble in school. He was angry at his teacher for not being more lenient with him in class. He wanted to visit with his friends instead of doing his work and he was getting way behind in his schoolwork. He was angry and defiant at his teacher's insistence that he sit down and work. His desk was moved to the front of the class away from the other students and he felt humiliated. He passed notes to humiliate the teacher back.
After a meeting with the teacher, my son was in tears. He confided to me that he could not do any better. So we prayed for help and almost immediately there was a change to a determination to succeed. He apologized to his teacher and his desk was placed back with the others.
He was feeling discouraged at one point but I told my young child that he had succeeded already. He had changed his attitude.

He continued to work very hard to get caught up. He went to school early and eventually completed the checklist of homework on the fridge. Now he is willing to keep up with the current homework.

Yes, I am very pleased with this youngest of mine. He is learning the toughest lesson of all, depending on God to overcome.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Glass Eye

I watched an Alfred Hitchcock television show recently. It revolved around the concept of infatuation and its' eventual disappointment. I don't want to be a spoiler so I won't say anymore...

It made me think though, back to the days of teenage crushes. I was very boy crazy and loved cute faces. I believed the teen magazine impersonations of adolescent boys. It seems funny to me now that I did not find it odd that these teen idols all had the exact same personalities. I filled in the empty spaces with my own dreams and believed the signatures that said they loved me too.
I came to replace these paper idols with the boys next door, secretly watching and admiring. Still I believed that they had the same personalities assigned to them. I was too shy to learn the truth.
One day, I was forced to face the shattering reality that the person I loved was my own creation. He was not real. It brought me crashing into the adult world.

In a way, I am only starting to come to terms with the difference between perception and the inner reality. There is still a tendency to believe the projected image but I am learning that a strong sense of observation can prevent being defrauded by the confidant act of another. This outward attentiveness to what is really going on rather than the inner musings on what I want or feel I should see enables me to live more realistically with others.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Another Lesson from Physiotherapy

The pain of treatment doesn't last more than I can handle. It is intense but of short duration.
Equally, the pain of the day is contained and limited by God's mercy.

Forgive Me, Young Woman

Speaking disrupts
our relationship
of wood and earth

if the diamonds in our eyes
can believe in
fragility and strength

then we will move
into the spaces of harm
with no voices, only understanding

to forgive
the broken vessels
that do not know

Sunday, March 20, 2005

"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." Hebrews 11:6

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Be A Sport

I will be attending a continuing education session at work next month about being an effective team member. In preparation for this, I watched a power point presentation.
I am from the old school of the traditional hierarchy where the boss had all the say. I have noticed a change in the last 10 years towards the desire for more independance in the work place. After watching this presentation, I better understand the company's direction in regards to team work. We have progressed past the traditional and even the independant level to the "Interdependant-Level Work Group." This means that employees work independantly but also closely co-ordinated with each other. As well, there is more involvement in the job process.
I actually can see that this type of work group can be very effective. Our team members rotate to the different roles in our department weekly. As a result, we are able to view our job from the various angles which leads to efficient co-ordination of the parts. At monthly meetings, the leaders do listen and are open to suggestions.
This system relies on the working of all its' parts, though. Complainers and cynics will hinder the process but perhaps the dedicated workers can spur them on. Optimism is also an asset.

Friday, March 18, 2005

"Blessed Art Thou Among Women"

There is a meeting tonight for the women of our congregation. We will be discussing great women of the Bible.
As I wondered who I would include in the roster, Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to mind. She never gets mentioned though. I think everyone is too afraid of her deified Catholic position.
Mary found favor would God. I would think that this fact alone would create many a sermon, much like David who was a man after God's heart or John the apostle, whom Jesus loved. Mary found favor with God!
She was an obedient and humble handmaid. She accepted God's words that she would bear a son, although she was a virgin. Mary didn't laugh at God's plan as another great woman, Sarah, did in Genesis 18:12. She was a woman of faith who rejoiced in God's merciful plan of salvation.
Humility is also shown by her response to her cousin, Elizabeth's, proclamation of her blessedness. Mary immediately gave the praise back to God in a beautiful poem.
Besides her many righteous attributes, I personally admire the character trait shown in Luke 2:51. Scripture says that Jesus' mother " kept all these sayings in her heart." Mary treasured thoughts. She enjoyed thinking of life and God.
Mary is indeed a great woman in the Bible. There is plenty to learn from her godly example.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I'm Alright, Just Associating...

I saw physiotherapist today for a deep muscle massage. He kept on asking me whether this or that was the spot. "No... no... YES," I answered as he located the source of the pain.
As I lay there with my body contorted , I imagined the therapists that probe, with much more difficulty, the mind. There I would lie, on a couch of course, while the therapist tugged at my exposed heart to see which associations would cause a flashback that would reveal the past horror.
"Is this the one?"
I would cry, " be..." as my mind flickered with the remembrance of a disappearing dream.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Looking for a merry heart
to enjoy the sunlight with
Looking for a laughing soul
to live my lifetime with

Looking for a change of wind
to scatter the clouds within
Looking for an inner love
to heal the brood of self

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Regarding My Moose Haiku Tribute

Yesterday, I had written a haiku blog about my best girlfriend. It was my attempt at developing as a humorist. I had published it just before going to bed. I woke up this morning with the sickened realization that I had failed miserably with my comedic poem. Hurriedly, I deleted it and hoped that no nighthawks had passed through.
Being the pal I am, I also emailed this to my unsuspecting friend to see what her response was. I received a phonecall later that morning and she exclaimed with much glee, "That is the nicest thing anyone ever said about me." I was abit dumbfounded by that as I had extolled in my haiku the fact that she was NOT a moosehead.
After much laughter, I wondered if I should re-instate my poem after all but decided,"No!"
I received another phonecall from that same chum who said while she had the t.v. on as background noise, her attention was caught by a scene from "Kids in the Hall." This is a Canadian comedy troupe. In this skit, while soft Japanese music played, one of the guys attempted to write a haiku poem. It went like this:
" Ninety-nine bottles
of beer on the wall. Ninety
nine bottles of beer..."
I figure I must be on the right track with these humorous entries if top Canadian comedians are writing the same stuff.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

"And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness..." Isaiah 35:8

Saturday, March 12, 2005

There Are Qualifications for this Job

In my job, we have to carefully document procedures as well as exhibit exceptional quality control. The extent of our dedication is demonstrated by Petey, our department fish.
"Has anyone fed Petey?" someone asks during the course of the shift. Then we check Petey's schedule which is divided into a.m. and p.m. feedings.
There is also a Q.C. binder beside his bowl, in which the previous calendar months are filed. There are even the dates that the other Peteys have met their demise, but not for being underfed of course. Our Q.C. proves that.

Friday, March 11, 2005

This Love Surpasses Knowledge

Almost everyone is familiar with the two greatest commandments given in the Bible about love.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
See Matthew 22:36-40.

There is also another version of these commandments that Jesus gave in John 13:34.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." See also John 15:12.

Christians need to grow in the knowledge of Jesus love, for with that knowledge they themselves will be able to respond with love to God, His Son and His children. This takes a deeper commitment than the previous commandments as there is a need to reach beyond self-love to God's love as the standard.

There is story of a woman that washed Jesus feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. When the host protested because she was a sinner, Jesus replied,"Her sins, which are many have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." (found in Luke 7:37-48) It was the love Jesus had for her that prompted her tears The opposer was not aware of his own sinfulness, otherwise he too would have been on the floor with the her, weeping.

The first step to this love is to recognize the deep need for forgiveness.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I Need a Punchline!

After reading that there is a shortage of humorists, I decided I needed to write a humorous entry but my head hurt from the effort. A friend told me that maybe I don't have funny situations but his words failed to comfort me.
I thought of using Woody Allen's schtick but people always take me seriously when I am self depreciatory. I end up having to punctuate my sentences with "just kidding." Just the other day as I sat in the passenger seat with a speeding cabbie, I thought of Woody. He was being driven by Annie Hall's morose brother who only hours previously had told him that he contemplated driving into oncoming traffic. As I meditated on Woody's terror stricken face,we darted around another vehicle while the cabbie apologized for missing the turn. I knew Woody would have had some comedic reply but my knack for silent amusement will have to do for now.
Maybe it would be better if I used a comedienne's approach to life. I love Lucy, I do! I think of her every time I buy eggs. There is an episode where Lucy goes grocery shopping and ends up covered with eggs. I only open the container and examine them. I don't hold each egg to the light but if I was braver, I would. Then I might enjoy all the comedic situations I could get into.
So my impatience will have to learn to let Carol the humorist come to life naturally. This could be fun!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Difference...

Some people appear very confident. They usually are extroverted,friendly and well-liked.
Others are more self-conscious. These are the introverts who are studious but awkward and shy.They may lack confidence but not because they have less talents than the outgoing. Their introversion causes them to focus more on themselves and their flaws.This awareness of their weaknesses can leave them vulnerable to self doubt.
However even though the extroverts are more fun to be around they usually lack the depth which enables the introverts to explore their inner lives. This is a more torturous journey attested to by mental illnesses but the riches are found in the honesty and depth of its' art and literature.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Writing Assignment #1

Fellow blogger Cuz has given a writing assignment so I am going to see if I can write a half an hour story about Charlie...

Charlie's fears were growing stronger. There were knots in his mind continually. He was preoccupied that matters would go unfavorably for him always. He did not know that this was unusual for it was all he knew.
As he stared at the grocery list that his wife had prepared last night, he realized that she only wanted him to get outside. She wanted to excuse him from his daily grind of doing nothing. He grasped the piece of paper and turned to go but the tension in his forehead made him ask if should he take a pill to get him through this. He decided against it and resolutely opened the door. Still trying to convince himself that there was nothing to fear, he counted his breaths. As he rushed out the door,he stumbled on a rock. He held his throbbing toe and whined that something always happens. There is nothing but pain outside. His wife would not be back from work for another eight hours. She would find him on the lawn, a failure at getting out of the house.He should know by now the pattern.
As Charlie lay ruminating about his misfortune, he picked up the rock that was the cause. It was not large but was not a pebble either. It fit in his palm. The rock's coolness and smoothness soothed him as stroked its contours. His breathing was back to normal now.
Charlie got up with the red and black speckled rock still in his grasp. He continued to comfort himself by rubbing the stone and he surprized himself by walking to the store. He got the groceries and forgot all about himself because he held that which caused him the pain. This little piece of the earth both hurt him and healed him.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Stand Therefore...

I want my ears and eyes

to be open to understand
the experiences
the ideas
that have taught others
with a mind to
only one Spirit

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Have You Been PreDetermined?

The Bible message of study today was based on Calvinism. John Calvin, like other reformers before him, rejected the false teachings of Roman Catholicism but over reacted. He extolled God's saving grace but rejected the necessity for man's faithful responce to this grace, which is obedience. His premise that "faith only" saves is prevalent today in most denominations.Even baptism, which is commanded by God in the process of becoming a Christian is considered a work and rejected.

John Calvin taught that God predetermined who would be in heaven even before the world was created. There is no hope for those who did not make this early cut.

Roman 8:28-30 states "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he justified, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

I believe this is not referring to predestinated individuals but rather the church. This special group of believers, Christ's church, is what was predetermined to heed the gospel call and by it be justified and eventually glorified with Christ.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Maple Leaf Forever

Our red Maple Leaf flags were flying half mast for four mounties that were gunned down on Thursday in Alberta.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are an emblem of our country so to have the beautiful maple leaf, another symbol of our home, honoring these men is a sober reminder of the fragility of both man and nation.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Why am I out of focus?

the intents were well
but I did not really want to
after all.

a few moments taken to research and
an hour is lost,
familiar feeling?

the concentrated interest
makes time slip beyond
and out of control

while the rest of the hours
are lost by daydreams...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

What Moms Do

I was talking to a young mother who was fretting about her baby girl being left at her in-laws for the first time. I couldn't believe her exaggerated anxiety over such a trivial matter.I tried to console her that another child would cure her but she confided that she didn't think she could even handle another charge. Inwardly I recalled some sitcom that teased these anxious one-child Moms that they would still be checking their sleeping 10 year olds for breathing! This Mom was definately of that caliber.
Then I cringed as I remembered that I had checked my own sleeping angels even when I had three of them! Somehow it was reassuring at the end of the day. Perhaps we think that handling these trivial matters strengthens us or maybe this fear for our little ones turns us into control freaks!
After my Mother died, I was going through her scrapbook clippings and came across an advice column for mothers with wild,young daughters. It advised the Mother to let go and trust that their daughters will get through it. I can say that my Mother was an expert at letting go and she lived to see her all her daughters happily married with children of their own to worry about.
I do hope though, especially for the young mom and I, that we will learn to stop worrying and just start loving.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Naive or Paranoid

Do you have that advertisement where this great hulking beast of a man is talking on a kids' chat room about dolls? That is creepy but even outside computer land, there is no certainty about who you are dealing with.
Quietness is mistaken for arrogance while a smiling face disguises alot of maladies. No one really knows what is going on inside the "I'm fine's."
For some, blogging is the opportunity to both speak and hear the inside. I hope that these that do won't be shoved back into silence by hulking beasts.

Okay, it is late, but the risk of disclosure has been on my mind alot today along with the haunting melody of a fellow blogger's title tune. (And I don't mean Paranoia)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

For Now

Voices surround me while
I sit mimicking,
cynical until they pause and notice me writing.

I stand up slowly realizing
I cannot join these banterings.
Instead I fume with an envy

for the person I am not,
until I muse and whisper in my ear,
"Sit down and write!"

My son learned in science today that if the earth was a grape

then the sun would be as large as a house.

what does that make me?