Slave or Child?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Well I got myself a T-shirt that says what I believe
I got letters on my bracelet to serve as my ID
I got the necklace and the key chain
And almost everything a good Christian needs, yeah
I got the little Bible magnets on my refrigerator door
And a welcome mat to bless you before you walk across my floor
I got a Jesus bumper sticker
And the outline of a fish stuck on my car
And even though this stuff's all well and good, yeah
I cannot help but ask myself--

What about the change?
What about the difference?
What about the grace?
What about forgiveness?
What about a life that's showing
I'm undergoing the change, yeah
I'm undergoing the change

Well I've got this way of thinking that comes so naturally
Where I believe the whole world is revolving around me
And I got this way of living that I have to die to every single day
'Cause if God's Spirit lives inside of me, yeah
I'm gonna live life differently

I'm gonna have the change
I'm gonna have the difference
I'm gonna have the grace
I'm gonna have forgiveness
I'm gonna live a life that's showing
I'm undergoing the change

--Steven Curtis Chapman, "The Change", 1999

You are all sons/daughters of God through faith in Jesus Christ....God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts and the Spirit calls out Abba, Father...since you are no longer a slave...God has made you an heir. [Don't turn back to those weak and miserable principles and be enslaved by them all over again!]
Galations 4: 1-9
[my paraphrase]

This one's winning so far....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I like night time.....


Monday, February 22, 2010

As I sit at my dining room table and (ahem) enjoy....the blizzard-like conditions descending on my city, I've decided that it's time to revisit the summer! I never did get the last of my Summer of Fun photo albums posted (I'm sure you've been impatiently hanging on that cliff wondering when the rest would come ;-)
Part of the problem was that our camera's both bit the dust and I had to start taking pics with my phone. Near the end of the summer I discovered that LG was no longer supporting the program I had been using to transfer my photos from phone to computer. I had to get a micro-sd card and then manually transfer all the photos from the phone memory to the sd Do you know how many photos I took last summer!?!!?
It became one of those projects I was never getting around to...until last night. So, finally, here they are!

This was a previously unplanned trip that our good friends Jenn and Troy invited us to on the spur of the moment. They have passes to all the parks around here and had a bonus of a day long canoe rental. So we headed out to Valens and enjoyed an afternoon paddling around the water.....

One of our originally planned trips was to the Hamilton Children's Museum and then to the Gage Park splash pad right next to it. Unfortunately we took our sweet time that day and didn't get out to the Museum until about 2:30 or 2:45. When we went to the front desk, we were sadly informed that they were only open until 3pm. So the kids only got about 15 minutes around the museum, but the bonus was that we didn't have to pay. We figured we'd come back another day, but we never did. They still liked it though and we snapped lots of pictures.
Then over to the splash pad which is alway a hit with my kids. I love a splash pad because it's so fun for them, and I don't have to get my suit on! (I never thought I'd be one of those mummies).

I'm pretty sure it was after Gage Park that we hopped on the QE and headed over to the beach. The kids had been whining about supper and a real water feature, so we got some supper at Hutch's and sat on a blanket on the beach to eat it. I love to go down to the beach and even with sand kicked on my food, spilled drinks because there was no hard place to set them down on, and James rapidly losing his cool because of all this....I still have a lovely peaceful feeling when I think of that trip.

And....I think this is the last one....on Labour Day weekend, we took our last Summer of fun trip. We went to Spencer Gorge. It was a half nice and half sucky trip. First of all, there was plenty-o-whining going on with the amount of hiking that it required. If the place hadn't been packed out, I very likely would have left Verity standing in the middle of one of the paths, shrieking her head off because "her legs hurt". We borrowed a hiking back-pack and James carried Afton in it...which she was not completely thrilled with. So that was a stressor. I had never been here before; I only picked it because of the pictures and description on the website, so I didn't realize that there was a tremendously steep, somewhat rickety, crumbling away in places stairway to get from the top where the falls start, down to the bottom where you'd get the amazing view. Jairus had a bit of a hard time with that climb and I have to admit, I was pretty nervous trying to coax them all down it.
And then came the event that Verity talks about even to this very day (this morning when she put the same Dora boots on she was wearing that day). We had gotten down to the bottom and were climbing around on the rocks trying to get closer to the waterfall. Like I said, the place was crawling with vacationers like ourselves. I left James and the kids on one large rock and hopped over a few until I was nearly in the middle of the creek that the falls drain into. It was a great view to get a picture of. Well, Verity, ever the brave and daring one, followed me before we could stop her. And to tell you the truth, I wasn't too worried because she's such a climber and very sure footed. Until she tried to hop one rock farther than me...and it was a slippery one. She fell hard and slipped right into the water. A number of people saw, and many more heard her yell. I had many eyes on me as I quickly grabbed her arm and hoisted her up with me....but not before I'm sure many of them had decided I was indeed an irresponsible mummy to have brought my wee little girl way out onto these rocks. Verity was pretty upset, a little bumped and bruised, but her pride was surprisingly the most damaged. She was mighty embarrassed at what had happened.
Anyways, in some ways it was still a nice trip. The park and falls are quite beautiful and I made some mental plans to come back on a day when there might not be so many throngs of people about. I think we stopped for ice cream on the way home and that covered a multitude of complaints. :-)


Friday, February 19, 2010

Sometimes I wonder if too much wandering down memory lane can be a not-so-good thing.

I think there are alot of things I'm quite nostalgic about. As you can see, I've changed my template again. I held the same one for quite a long time and really liked it, but then started having technical difficulties with it. I tried to get the designer, Isnaini, to help me, but I didn't hear back from him after numerous tries. So with great sadness, I found another--the red one. I liked it...but it didn't hit me the way my old one did. And for some reason, the last couple days, I've been surfing around looking at others. I found a completely beautiful one here but when I went to download it, I had to jump through hoops to get it for free. I started jumping, but was suddenly exasperated and decided not to. I kept looking here and found many really good ones, but with over 160 pages to look at, I cut things short.

This one's nice. Not sure if it's hitting me either though. I'm still kind of yearning for my beautiful girl template, but strangely when I looked back on Isnaini's site and saw it (The Future)....I didn't try downloading it again.

Timotei. There's another random thing I'm nostalgic for. I used Timotei shampoo for years, much of high school....well, the end of high school that is. Then they stopped making it. I have yet to find another shampoo that I like nearly as well as Timotei. I think it's a girl thing. Or a scent thing.
I don't know if everyone is like this, but my nose has this amazing memory. I can remember smells from way back, but it's not like I can conjure the scent up's more the way I felt when I smelt it. If I smell Safari cologne (I think it's Safari), I can immediately remember the nervous/excited way I felt when I sang with an opera and the maestro kept kissing me on both sides of my face whenever he saw me (he was from Europe). There's a couple other colognes that bring back memories; Drakar, polo and some blue sailboat stuff.

Music does a similar thing. The soundtrack to Stealing Home, a movie I've never seen, is a huge memory-unearther for me. Peter Cetera/Chicago. Sting. Phil Collins. Some wacky song about a pencil case.

I was reading some old journals earlier this week--maybe that's what started all this. Sometimes it's completely amazing to see stuff I wrote when I was 17--even hopes for having a family and career--and compare it to now. Sometimes the stuff I wrote was quite sweet. Sometimes it was really dorky.

And sometimes it's rather heartbreaking.

I have journals of each of my kids through their pregnancies and births and some after as well. I have journals of highschool plays and university classes, boyfriends and break-ups, engagements (....ok, just one of those). I have a journal of all my wedding plans. I have a journal with autographs of most of my camp co-workers from each year. I have journals that talk about my siblings, my parents, my friends, my failures, my dreams and expectations.

I was going to say that I don't really journal anymore, but then I realized I just got high-tech about it. You're reading it! Although, it's not quite the same. It might seem that I tell the whole world some rather in depth details about my life, [some say] but...really? You really think?

Uh-uh. Sorry if that's disappointing.

There are just some things you don't want to hear about.

The Frustrations of Life

Monday, February 15, 2010

It seems like the older I get, the more things I run across in life that just seem completely frustrating. Why is that?

Let's talk about events. I am involved in a few organizations/activities/whatever that have required me to be a part of the planning or execution of various events. My involvement has included pretty much everything from advertising all the way through to sweeping the floor after it was all done.
Tell me, when you see an event advertised, what makes you want to attend it?
  • It looks like fun?
  • It's cheap?
  • It's at a time you are available?
  • It's for a cause you feel strongly about?
  • Someone personally invited you and you felt good about that? You knew others were going that you know?
  • You knew the organizers and felt obligated?
That's just a few reasons that come to mind. Likewise, what reasons cause you to decide not to go?
  • It looks cheesy.
  • It's too expensive.
  • You're busy that night.
  • The reason for the event doesn't turn your crank.
  • You didn't know anyone else going to it.
I've never really thought of myself as a negative person. But...maybe I'm getting that way. I say this because throughout my involvement with these various events, I would often turn the tables and put myself in the shoes of the people we were trying to reach in order to advertise most effectively. And often my thoughts would be..."Would I go to this if I got an email about it? Would I be a part of this if I got a Facebook invite? Would I just plain go to this if I wasn't part of the leadership of it?".

And often my answer is no. And I think to myself, "Why do I feel this way? What would change that?".

Well, all the reasons I listed above. If I was available. If it wasn't too expensive. (Although these days my automatic answer to any 'extras' is usually no). If I knew I could get someone to watch my kids, if that was necessary. If it was a cause I felt strongly about. If someone personally invited me---I think that's a huge one. I can think of specific times that I've not planned to attend something, and then did when I was personally invited. That nice warm feeling that someone likes me and wants to see me at the event was a huge motivation. I think that's a better way to get people out to an event than any amount of glossy advertising.

But I digress. My point is the frustration. Recently, I was doing some advertising for an event through Facebook. Now, it's my understanding that generally there's a "rule" of 10%. Roughly 10% return on your investment. So, back when I was doing Creative Memories, they'd say that for every 10 people you asked to host a get-together, you'd get one yes. Pretty depressing.

Well, I invited about 250 people through Facebook. In the end, this resulted in about half the people turning it down, a little less than half not even responding and about 4 people rsvping positively.

But maybe that's what you can expect from free advertising? I'd say my success rate through email was about the same.

My point here is....why do we do these? Why do we even bother to create events, fundraisers, fun get-togethers when it seems like most people are just too busy? Time and time again, this is another extremely common reason for not being a part of something. We all just have so many other things we're involved in that someone asking us to give another evening out or whatever is just too much. And so, as an organizer, it's extremely frustrating...and depressing. And it makes you wonder why you're doing any of it to begin with. Why bother putting yourself through that?

Another frustration of life has become email and/or internet based communication.

For the most part, we have all become very technologically based when it comes to our communication. Sure, the old fashioned phone is still up there, but email, texting, facebook messaging, msning, going to a website for info and tweeting have become huge. But how effective is it really?
We're starting to see reports and studies coming out that talk about how much email we're all getting--and how much spam. I just discovered that I had over 1000 unread emails in some folder of Microsoft Outlook. Suddenly my email wasn't working and I was getting some 'capacity reached' message. Couldn't figure it out and then James helped me find this folder that I'd never noticed. It's RSS feeds from msnbc. I have NO idea how it got there....NO idea how I got signed up to receive them.....and NO interest in getting it at all. Over a thousand!!
I only go on Facebook about once a week---just too much info there for my brain to handle. I have a Tweet page (is that what you call it?) but I'm never on it, only made about half a dozen posts to it.
And I myself have a number of blogs and websites that I try to keep updated, especially the ones that are integral to the communication in some of my jobs. Time and time again though, I am terribly frustrated to find that people are:
  • Not reading my emails
  • Not reading my blog/website posts
  • Not thoroughly reading either of the above and only understanding half of what is going on.
And so, I again try to put myself in their shoes. Why is it so difficult for some people to make the best use of these forms of communication?
  • They're too busy--they just don't think of it.
  • They read the stuff and then forget about it.
  • They don't have time to read thoroughly.
  • They don't know/understand how to access the info--maybe their computer is dated or throwing up some firewall--this is a reason I've been given before.
And so I'm constantly wondering--is this really working? Is this really effective? Am I annoying the heck out of people?

Related to this is another phenomenon of the 21st century that I've been butting heads with.


I find it intensely frustrating that I see us as a society slowly turning so far inward that someday we'll surely be to the point of dressing all our children in head to toe veils and not allowing them outside the house.
Ok, maybe I'm going overboard.
But, lets take the example of posting pictures on the internet. Now, you can obviously see that I have no problem with that. I'm sure alot of people think I'm nuts that I don't have a problem with that, but really, I'm just not seeing it.
Everywhere I go, people see my face. I am not of some religion that requires me to cover up, so I am fully visible.
  • At school
  • At church
  • At work
  • At the grocery store
  • Through the front window of my house, on which there is no curtain
  • On TV when my choir concerts are taped
  • Driving on the highway
  • Walking in my neighbourhood
  • I could go on, ad nauseum!
So please, enlighten my poor dull brain, what is the sudden and tremendous difference if someone was to take my picture?!

I'm suddenly not moving. Ok......

And if said picture was then (gasp) put on a website or blog or something, what has now become the difference?
Maybe a few more people would see it? Yes, yes, I do realize that www stands for WORLD WIDE WEB. But really, who is looking at this or the other blogs/websites I upkeep? Perhaps a few other people might stumble across it, but mostly, it's people that know me, people that come visiting from another blog or facebook. People I've invited to come see, people who are a part of my organizations. Friends. Family.

And so what if someone who doesn't know me, and I don't know them, sees my picture?


Why is my face worthy of such privacy? No one's going to make any money off of it by selling it to People magazine. My children are not the offspring of two famous movie stars that I feel they needed to be shielded from papparazzi.

The whole issue of pedophiles has been mentioned to me. Maybe I'm REALLY naive but I'm just not figuring that one out. So some pedophile is scanning the internet and sees some picture of my four year old blowing out her birthday candles. How exactly is that endangering my kid? Really now, are the chances that this creep would read my entire blog and put together clues and figure out where I live and come kidnap my daughter and molest her REALLY all the more than if I didn't put her picture on my blog? I have a sneaky suspicion that if some statistician worked up some numbers, we'd find similar results as the chances of being killed in Afghanistan. (Higher if you are walking in downtown Toronto--especially these days). Or being killed by a handgun (greater chance of drowning in a backyard pool). Or dying in an airplane crash (greater chance driving on the 401). What do these have in common? People more likely believe the first of each example. Because they're scarier sounding.

I suppose some would say that ANY chance of that occurring is enough to keep their children's pictures off the internet. I say that in 10 years time we'll be living in a veil covered bubble if we keep thinking like that.

We are PEOPLE.
We need to CONNECT with other PEOPLE.
This is why we are LIVING on this EARTH.

And my kids are gorgeous. Look at them all you want.



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Summer, 2009

April, 2008

April, 2008