Less for March

Feeling very lazy about posting these days. But I’ll just have to force myself, if only to keep up the ability.

This idea of choosing a “Less of… more of… ” is starting to feel old already. However, if you think that 90 of them have been charted so far, no wonder! Consequently, I sometimes have put down some very cliche-type ones, or some that seem, well, not that good. My goal has been to not spend too much time thinking about it, each day.

In spite of all that, it’s surprising that there are still favourites to pick out! For this month:

  • Less time, more forever. In other words, less worrying about the present, more looking to the hope we have in forever.
  • Less safety, more life. Again, about not worrying all the time–not worrying about every little detail of being safe, which frees you to enjoy life.
  • Less meaning, more fun. I believe this came out in my last post. Especially around Easter, some (like me) like to do things with meaning… but sometimes, you just have to have fun.

Each of those things could be detailed, and highlighted with personal examples, etc. But, that is probably not really needed.

 

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Less of this, more of that

This is late for February’s One Word post…

It seems I’ve latched on to the number ‘3’, for choosing the best “one words” of the week (and posted to Facebook), and for choosing the best of the month. Not sure why!

In January I commented to someone that it “should be easy” to think of 365 “Less” of this and “more” of that phrases, but almost 3 months in and I’m starting to have trouble! Probably because I’m trying to think of creative ones, and not just the usual phrases that you often hear. However, realizing that some of them can be statements of what has been happening in a particular time frame, has opened up more possibilities. And sometimes, the negative one comes first and the positive second (e.g. “Less bristle, more submission”), and sometimes it’s the other way around (e.g. “Less exercise, more sleeplessness”). Many of them are kind of ambiguous, like “Less blazee, more amazement”. What does that mean? I can’t even remember, HA!

Oh well, let’s see how much we can keep going with this!

This month’s “best”:

  • Less snowball, more snowflake – sometimes you have to intentionally look close, in order to see the beauty that is part of the whole. And it can be such a teeny, tiny part of it, while so breathtakingly beautiful!
  • Less busy-work, more value – so many things are able to keep you busy, but seem to have little value! That’s not to say that they don’t sometimes have value though… and often it’s hard to tell.
  • Less cleaning, more real – perhaps “cleaning” is one of those busy-work things that are not always valuable… and presenting yourself (including all those things in your “realm”) as spotless, can sometimes hinder people being “real”/honest.

These were all from one week, but they’re definitely favourites! Eventually though, I’ll have to give up trying to think of things with meaning. After all, does absolutely everything in life have to be deeply meaningful? :D

 

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And that is life!

If you’ve never read The Mitford Chronicles by Jan Karon, you should try them! I’m just finishing my third time through, and I love them even more than the first time! They’re all about an Episcopalian priest who loves everyone, but has a hard time finally deciding to marry at age 60. But he does, and then we enjoy the continuing story–with such memorable characters, in the North Carolina mountain town of Mitford, in other towns where Father Tim does temporary fill-in, and in the Mississippi town of Holly Springs, where he returns to his roots to discover all the family secrets.

Father Tim loves his books, and packs a huge load of them wherever he goes. There are often quotes from well-known authors, which of course he, and his friends/loved ones have memorized. I came across a really neat poem in this last one, and was ready to type it all out dicta-style (since this is an audio book), but decided to copy the first 2 lines in Google–and there it was! Along with this link about the author, Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was born to parents who had escaped from slavery. (I’m looking forward to reading his other poems!)

Life, by Paul Laurence Dunbar

A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in,
A minute to smile and an hour to weep in,
A pint of joy to a peck of trouble,
And never a laugh but the moans come double;
And that is life!

A crust and a corner that love makes precious,
With a smile to warm and the tears to refresh us;
And joy seems sweeter when cares come after,
And a moan is the finest of foils for laughter;
And that is life!

 

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good article re being a “firekeeper”

We still remember the interim pastor we had at Good Shepherd in Toronto, with fondness. When I have a question, I think of asking him–he always said we should investigate things for ourselves, but my wont was to trust his thinking, knowing how well he researched things.

Anyway, turns out his wife is pretty good at “pastoring” as well! I’ve subscribed to her blog, and this article is so good that I just want to keep it here, to read again.

She talks about “reclaiming” things in her life, and I suppose that’s what I’ve done, in going cross-country skiing here in Ottawa (at least I’ve been once this season!) Also, the camping thing really resonates with me, of course.

As she says, starting a fire might be hard enough, but even more difficult is keeping it going. That fits with part of what we were saying in our small group last night, how it’s important not only to convince someone to turn to Christ, but to keep following him (“discipleship”) as well.

 

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less explaining?

I’ve been complaining lately (for about the last year or more) about “talking” too much: “The older you get, the more quiet you become. Life humbles you so deeply as you age. You realize how much nonsense you’ve wasted time on.” Going through things from my hope chest a couple weeks ago, written many, many years ago (pages and pages of letters for example), has reiterated this. All that “non-silence” humbled (humiliated?) me!

Now this morning, I read this, from Psalm 71: “I’ll write the book on your righteousness, talk up your salvation the livelong day, never run out of good things to write or say… Now I’m telling the world your wonders; I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray.” Hmmmm…. “until I’m old and gray”? So that might confirm the previous quote, but… talking about God’s wonders is definitely a wonderful thing to do, and one could certainly “never run out of good things to say” along those lines!

Ah well, never mind. This is the promised blogging about my One Word (“Less”). Even though it seems quite possible to come up with 365 different pairs, I’m finding that many of them are similar (like–less schedule, more impromptu being similar to less planning, more trusting; and less whining, more music is similar to less complaining, more enjoying). Even in the ones I’ve chosen for the month, the “less luxury” is kind of a repetition of the “less comfort” one. But I suppose they’re slightly different. Anyway, here are the Three of the Month:

  • Less properness, more dancing: this is from New Year’s Day, when Glenda & I kept dancing to the great music Sam had going (Sam always has great music going!) in the midst of preparing dinner–not caring what Mom & Dad or Randy thought!
  • Less makeup, more smiling: the one I actually chose for Facebook that week was the “less primping” one, which came from Jesus’ discussion about the lilies of the field, but I like this one that is mainly to do with face. You do know that a smile makes your face so much prettier. And, even though I do use it sometimes, I’m not a fan of makeup.
  • Less luxury, more giving: even though this one is from last week, it makes me think of the presentation from Voice of the Martyrs I saw last night at church… although, it would be better to say (for that case), “less luxury, more joy“. It was all about the Persecuted Church, but part of the message was to not feel sorry for them–he said he experienced more joy in prison then there was in some of the western churches. He talked about joy and “dancing” in spite of suffering. How one experiences joy in suffering is not actually explained… it’s just a miracle. Even I (in all my luxury, lol) have some memories of knowing that miracle–of knowing God’s presence through the trial, sensing his love…

OK, enough “talk”… especially about things you can’t explain. ;)

 

 

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One Word 2018

If you don’t know about choosing “One Word” for the year, try this link. This is what I use instead of making New Year’s Resolutions.

Near the end of the year I begin to think and pray about what my word will be, and of course it always starts with having no idea. This year it came to me pretty early–before Christmas. It was the simple thing of thinking about putting less cream in my coffee that made me think of it: “less“. Yes indeed, that will be my One Word for 2018. (Very cool: among the articles I was reading to find info for you, I came across this one, after my own word had been chosen… so perfect!)

It came up in my devotions shortly after, but it was really confirmed on Christmas morning as Sam exclaimed about how much we really have. So this word will work in a corollary fashion. It should be easy to think of 365 pairs, for example: “less thinking, more doing”. In the spirit of “less”, I shall NOT post each one on Facebook! Maybe I’ll just choose the best 2 or 3 for the week, and then perhaps blog about the best one for the month.

Usually, thinking about my One Word for the year kind of peters out after a few months; although, I did use last year’s word (“love”) daily in my prayer app. It’s always fun to see how these things play out, in any case.

Some of my friends also do this “One Word” thing, and I’ve seen some pretty good ones; others seem to prefer to keep theirs private. Let me know yours, if you choose to do it!

 

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He is already there

It may be true that I hardly ever have enough to say in a post anymore, but that is not true of everywhere. For example, I certainly do enough talking at Small Group, and on Wednesday mornings with the 3 year olds. ;)

Now, I’ve also taken up letter-writing again! Not the reams and reams of pages that I used to write many years ago (and hand-written they were, amazing!) But I’ve volunteered for Prison Fellowship’s pen pal program, so at least a page gets written once a month, to someone who needs to know that life goes on, “on the outside”.

The lady who sends out the volunteer newsletter, always has such wonderful things to say. And now we come to the real inspiration for this post, a quote from the recent one (emphasis mine):

Many of us, as we go into prisons and jails or encounter ex-offenders in our communities, sense somehow that we are bringing holiness to the unholy… or at least into an unholy place.  We bring bibles where there are none. We bring light into the darkness. We bring hope to the hopeless.  We bring peace to the struggling.  And all of this is true.  Christ in us should indeed shine bright into the lives of others.  We must always pray that those we encounter see the Lord Jesus in us, rather than seeing us personally as their individual saviours.

But let’s explore a different reality together.  Those of us in prison ministry often talk about the fact that we do not bring Jesus into the jail/prison, but rather that Jesus is already there.  Jesus is already in the prisons.  He is already in our broken communities.  He is already walking with the prisoners and ex-offenders we encounter.  He already has a plan for the world!  Aren’t you tempted like me, at times, to think that it’s all up to you?  To save the lost? To heal the broken?  To ensure their success in life?  What a weight… what a burden to carry.

Jesus calls us to a different way — the way of dependence and rest in Him:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

I would like to add: He is already there in your life, even if you don’t believe in Him, waiting for the day when you might. <3

 

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No more dark night

Time to get this deeply moving poem here, written by a young missionary friend of mine (who I met through Perspectives). It gives you a glimpse of what she has suffered, through sharing Christ with those who so desperately need light in their dark world.

I have heard the gunshots at night

Exploding into the darkness 

Hidden in shame

No games 

Just cold killings

Cold cases left unsolved

I have seen the bodies at night

Faceless victims 

Facedown with yesterday's trash
Adam returning to ash

Blood stained star

Of a country left broken

I have screamed in the night

Into the void of powerlessness

Into hollow human rights 

Justice consumed by fright

Is waking up to indifference

Worse than the nightmare?

I have prayed in the night

Weeping with the widow

Compassion regains our humanity 

For dreams to come into reality

No more dark night

Rise with the sun

- Written by Innah G.

Shared by permission of the author. She wrote this and shared it (a little while ago) with a news article entitled: “Philippine Drug War Logs Deadliest Week Yet: 58 Killed in 3 Days”.

Oh my, how can I now switch to the other reason for posting today? Oh well… Note for Future Self, in case you care: you ran today (after not running at all this year, but doing walks and swimming with the guys) for two four-minute sprints, separated by only a minute! The walk back was the hardest. :D

 

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Finished, finally! Thank you for your patience!

(Title note is for those who are subscribed to receiving this blog by email.)

My, it feels good to make a post and not have to change the date to one in the past! Not that there were really that many posts to copy over from LJ, since we were only missing the ones since mid-April of 2015–and in the last couple of years I’ve gone from posting every day, to an average of twice a month… and recently there actually were NO posts for three whole months!

Every once in awhile there is something to go on about though, like making notes on things like sermons, or a long recapture of a special birthday party, or a longish memory that comes with a photo, etc. So I guess this blog will continue to live.

This exercise has served to make me think about making changes, with things like tags and categories, Pages, etc. A fun re-organizing job to look forward to. You know how I love to organize!

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technical difficulties

A quick note, since I just noticed that I actually have some followers! :)

We had a little “break” the other day, of a server where this website is, and hence discovered that the backups had stopped working a couple of years ago. Luckily, the cross-posting to LJ kept going, so I’m presently copying the missing posts back into WordPress from LJ.

The settings allow me to put the proper (old) date on them, and I have to be careful to remember to turn off all the other publishing things (like not going BACK to LJ again, and not posting to Facebook). However, it seems that I can’t turn off the email. Which means that my “faithful few” are getting/will be getting a bunch of old posts in their email!

Anyway, now you’ve been warned. Just delete, delete, delete! :)

 

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