Mid-week Random Ramble011


 

first miner out

Image by papayatreelimited via Flickr

 

1. October 12, 2010…The Chilean miners are slowly being brought to the surface. The first miner, Florencio Avalos, emerged after a 22 minute trip, from the 28 inch wide capsule, named the Phoenix, at 12:12 a.m., Chilean time. Avalos was chosen to be first because he is in the best health and would be best able to identify any problems; so far, there appear to be none. Incredible technology involved. 33 miracles in the making after being underground for over two months. The world watches in wonder…

2. In the thick of things is a place I want to be. I don’t want to be on the sidelines, or standing by waiting for something to happen. I want to take the gifts that God has, in his incredible generosity, given me, and use them for something more than myself… something bigger.

I want that for my blog too.  And with only 15 more hits, I will have been graced with 4000 visits to Buddy Breathing. That makes me catch my breath… thank you one and all… thank you so much.

I hope that of the 4000, there are some that can say Buddy Breathing changed the trajectory of their day, came alongside with a voice of empathy or understanding, made a difference somehow.

3. We just discovered a new restaurant (well, 3 years old, but new to us) on the side of Gordon Drive at Clement (Sorry for those of you who don’t live in Kelowna!)… Jimmy Ho’s… great service, tasty food, fast, healthy, reasonably priced you can order online to pick up! We were treated exceptionally by the owner, and although we won’t disclose what happened, the experience of working through a small problem is what will take us back there again! Just to experience true customer service along with yummy food!!!

4. For me, ‘Quiet Time’ or ‘Solitude’ or ‘Meditation’ all conjure up pictures of alone, silent, introspective, meaningful moments. My desire for these moments is to focus my thoughts toward God. Sometimes I sit and read my bible. Sometimes I walk and breathe deeply. Sometimes I have my hands in the kitchen sink and wash and pray. Sometimes I can go for days without remembering to include this spiritual discipline into my day. But, when I remember, and when I intentionally set aside time along the way, God meets me in the silence. Yesterday I tried to reinstate a time of silence, and struggled as the dog bounced, chewed, and squirmed beside me. Yet, even with that distraction, my attention was drawn to a verse that spoke to my heart about my personal journey and the character of God. So, I posted the verse on my Facebook profile, and turns out it spoke to others as well.

This is verse 11 and 12, from Psalm 139;

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

As I began to read and re-read this verse, I saw something of God’s character that was new and refreshing to me. It says that God sees dark and light the same way. While I go through times of darkness, depression, doubt, despair, God sees into that place and sees light. He sees me in that light. I often lose sight of him when I’m in dark places, but he NEVER loses sight of me. What a beautiful thought to mediate on throughout my day. What a beautiful verse to bring to mind next time I am in a dark place.

5. Parents of grade 12 students in British Columbia are familiar with “Grad Transition Plans”, and the angst created by this B.C. Ministry of Education requirement. Creating a plan for the future is often complicated, especially for some 17 year olds who live and think in the now. So, while our Grad combs through University calendars, discusses and considers various options, wraps his head around financial aspects, considers future lifestyles, pros and cons, we will try to support him in putting together a firm plan for not one, but two options, for his future. I can’t help but recognize that I never truly knew what I was meant to do in life until I was 40!!! I guess this exercise is just that… an exercise that promotes planning and thinking and ensuring that the kids that graduate in B.C. have some life skills in addition to a solid education. But I wonder, how many Grads will actually follow their plan?

6. Made an apple pie on Thanksgiving with some ‘Jonagold’ apples, gleaned with thanksgiving from the orchard behind our home. Each year I ask to glean what is left behind. And each year the answer is ‘yes’, and than I bake a pie for the owner in return for his generosity to us.

The pie was lovely, Graeme used the food processor to slice the huge apples into perfectly thin slices.  Because Jonagolds are an older variety of apple, which stays together rather than turning to mush, (like Macs do) the pie looked more amazing sliced than it did whole. This pie was for our dessert after a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. The pastry I made was a butter pastry, from The Canadian Living Cookbook, 1987, pg. 227. The pie recipe was from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky ‘Apple Cherry Crumble Pie’… without the cherries. It was wonderful, even if I do say so myself!

7. More of Malcolm’s photographic experiments… very cool and creative, Malcolm!

Mid-week random ramble 007


Mission Hill Winery - Terrace Restaurant

Image via Wikipedia

1. As September is a time of ‘starts’, I’ve been thinking about how and what I’ll give myself to this fall and into the year. This process means setting priorities, considering how I can come alongside family related and church related opportunities. This is also about listening to what God would have me put my hand to based on who I am, how he made me.

I’ve been thinking on a couple of big ‘yes’ components, and as I came to a place of deciding on them, I began to sweat about having to say ‘no’ to other things. But, I know from experience that I can’t say ‘yes’ without ‘no’ as well… can’t do everything, right? I prayed that God would help me be strong and do things with right motives. Then I made my choices. Next day I was on the phone having a ‘no’ talk with my pastor, and she said she understood completely. Then she told me that two people had come forward the day before requesting to take on what I had considered doing. She was waiting for my answer before getting back to them. My ‘no’ became their opportunity for ‘yes’. How God is that!!!! Bible says He goes before us… I say yes, and He often waits for me to catch up!

2. I took my visiting parents wine tasting, and out for a lovely lunch on their last day with us. The rain stopped. The sun came out for a couple of hours. We stood in the courtyard of the Mission Hill Winery and experienced the bells ringing at 12 noon… brought a surge of emotions to the surface as I closed my eyes and listened to the clear resonating sound of the bells chiming out their song from the tower. I could have imagined myself anywhere in the world during those few moments.

We stopped for lunch at the Old Vines Restaurant at Quails Gate Winery… just down the road. Did some wine paring with our delicious food selections, and then indulged in dessert and coffee. Two hours flew by, and suddenly it was time to pick up the kids from school. It was a mini-vacation to remember.

3. I had an opportunity to talk to my Dad about something he did for me once… many years ago. It was during a tough time in our relationship, and I had run away from home over some conflict we’d had. He showed up at my summer job early one morning, and asked me (begged me with tears in his eyes) to come home. Looking back now I see that he was rescuing me from what could have been a bad trajectory in my life. He came for me. I thanked him for that and he just smiled and gave me a huge hug.

I think we all long to be rescued at many times in our lives. I experienced a rescue again early this spring after having the difficult responsibility of putting my beloved dog Buddy to sleep. I went alone… by my own choice. Laid on the ground with my big dog while the injection was given and he slipped away. It broke part of me. When I could pull myself together enough to leave the room and make my way outside, my husband Bob was there. Standing beside my car with open arms waiting to comfort me.  He came for me. And I thanked him over and over again.

I’ve been rescued in another way. Because once I was in dire danger of being lost… not because of a broken heart, nor because of a teenage life of rebellious independence, but I almost lost my life to sin and forever separation from God. But Jesus rescued me… He came for me. It says in the Bible, “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” (Gal. 4:4-5 NLT) And he’s come for me me over and over again, over the years when I wandered, gave up, got distracted by what I thought was good and exciting, and finally realized that his way was better, the only way to run my life. He’s always coming after me. Reminding me that he has more for me than anything I could imagine for myself.

So, I’ve been thanking him more and more lately, trying to line my life up with the way that he’d have me live it. It’s not easy… as a matter of fact it challenges me to the core… every day. I’m imperfect still, still stumbling about like a blind beggar. But I’m going to keep on keeping on.

4. You ever wonder about how things can be going on in the world… in this high tech, global, interconnected, news saturated society we live in… and how could we NOT know about big issues? I realize I choose to not watch the news on a regular basis. And I don’t necessarily devour the paper either. But still, you’d think that there would be some talk about things like Darfur and Dolphin slaughter and the like, that we might discuss in general conversation. Which makes me wonder what I talk about when I’m with my friends?

The other night we were searching our PPV on Shaw Cable to see what we might watch together as a family… something G or PG rated that we could all enjoy. We had trouble finding something. We came across this movie called, The Cove (click to watch official trailer) and because it was appropriately rated, and because it had won some awards, and because it had 4-1/2 stars, we watched it.

Have you watched it? Are you familiar with what’s going on with the Dolphins in Japan? Watch the trailer. Then, watch the movie. I felt sickened. I felt very out of touch. And I found it ironic that here in Canada we are so very careful to buy tuna that is labeled ‘Dolphin Friendly’ while things like this are going on.

And while we watch and judge (you know we all do ’cause it helps us feel better about ourselves), one has to ask why human beings have such a predisposition to cruelty? What other atrocities are committed in our own country in the name of food production and so forth. Is it better to remain naive? And once you know, what do you do with it?

5. Reading Remembering the Forgotten God, by Francis Chan. Challenging, good, God stuff. But, will I be brave enough to change? Check it out.

Food for thought, sorry to bug you… am I bugging you?

LAE

Hope in the face of hopelessness… thoughts on Haiti


So, I understand if you read about hope here and wonder if it’s real, or if it’s even relevant in the face of the overwhelming devastation in Haiti. One of my dear friends read yesterday’s post and could not respond or comment because of the “Why?” question in her mind regarding Haiti. I understand. I ask myself the same question every time something bad happens. “WHY???”   And, most times I might appear to be asking the person I’m with, but I’m really asking the question of God. I’m really saying, ‘Why God?”

That might seem arrogant, defiant, or even disrespectful… but that’s my usual and human response. When my mind cannot take in the extent of Haiti’s tragedy so far away, or when something happens in my own life that feels hugely unfair, painful, without cause or purpose, my immediate response is to question the leader. In this case, the leader of the universe. But, is that really my place or the position that I should be taking?

Reminds me of biblical Job, and his questions, complaints and protests directed at God. And God’s response was to put him in his place. Job, after the overwhelming sorrow of losing his children and his livelihood and his health, Job was told by God that he had no right to ask ‘Why?’ God proceeded to then ask Job a number of questions that helped Job to see that he couldn’t possibly understand the complex and divine nature and purpose behind the things that happen (not to mention that it wasn’t God that did these things to Job… but he gave permission for them to occur). God basically said that Job would never have an answer, nor did he have the capacity to understand the answer. It was for God to know and Job to trust.

If that sounds like a tough pill to swallow, it is. One that I choke on over and over again.

But, if needing to know “Why?” is stronger than being able to trust and hope… well, then I have a problem. And I will continue to knock up against the horror of things like Haiti without a foundation to sustain me. I’ll break.

Of the hundreds of stories that are pouring out of Haiti, one stands out to me. This is an excerpt of the miraculous story of Anna Zizi, taken from The Sydney Morning Herald;

Everybody is calling it a miracle: an elderly woman was pulled alive and singing from the rubble of Haiti’s  Catholic cathedral on Tuesday, one full week after a killer quake tore the building to the ground.

Rescue workers wept and hugged each other as the woman, caked in debris and dust, was placed on a makeshift stretcher, put on a drip, covered with a heat-conserving wrap and driven by truck to a hospital, witnesses said.

“It was an amazing thing to witness, no one could believe she was still alive,” said Sarah Wilson, of British charity Christian Aid.

Ms Zizi, 69, lies on a stretcher after being pulled from the rubble of the collapsed cathedral.

Ms Zizi, 69, lies on a stretcher after being pulled from the rubble of the collapsed cathedral. Photo: AP

“It seems rescuers were communicating with her and managing to get water to her through a tube. She was singing when she emerged (emphasis mine). Everyone clapped and cheered,” she added.

The woman, Anna Zizi, was rescued by Mexican firefighters about 3.30pm local time, two hours short of a full week after a 7.0-magnitude quake devastated the Haitian capital.

Her rescue gave hope to hundreds of rescue workers still digging for survivors in the ruins of the capital, where the stench of crushed and decomposing corpses filled the air.

Wow! She was singing… I’ve read she was singing a hymn! What kind of woman would do that? What kind of faith must she have? I don’t know if I could do that, or if I would allow my hope to sour and become bitter and resentful towards the one who I thought would take better care of me.

I have no answers to “Why?” I don’t know the reason or purpose, or if there is one? I don’t know if God caused or allowed this to happen or not? And it’s pretty easy to philosophize from the comfort of my ergonomically designed task chair in my warm house, clothed, fed, and relatively healthy.

What I’d like to do is be able to trust a little more. Trust in the outcome. Trust in the compassion of the world. Trust that God really does have a plan even in the midst of all of this turmoil. And like Anna Zizi, I’d like to be able to hang onto the hope that God has it all figured out, somehow, even though I might never understand.

Right there with you.

Lesley-Anne