Sunday, December 30, 2007

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodnight....2007

I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.

Well, kinda but not really. This Christmas has been wonderful, every year it grows less about presents and more about why Jesus was sent to earth in the first place, which is a beautiful thing. 2007 has been an amazing year for us but I look forward to the future even more because of it. And so the holidays are done and we bid au'voir to 2007 but here is one last holiday blog since there is still 34 hours until 2008.

It occured to me while watching my favorite Christmas movies this year (you know, Wizard of Oz, Anne of Green Gables, Sound of Music...hehe....traditional Christmas movies) that there was a lot to learn from these women. Some of the lessons maybe should have sunk in when I was younger but better late than never, right? So here are some things I've learned from these movies.

1. Fake it til you make it. These ladies knew they should have confidence they just weren't entirely sure how to get it. They put on a brave face and pretended they felt as confident as they acted, not allowing themselves to be bullied or walked all over. In the end they found confidence by standing up for what they believed in and succeeding.
2. You can't outrun your problems. All of these ladies ran for the hills when problems came up. problems they thought they could outrun. But the problems didn't go away, or got worse, or just seemed preferable to the problems they faced away from home. They all learned that home is where the heart is, life and all it's problems are a lot easier to face when you are with the ones you love to support you.
3. Play by your own rules. These ladies stood up for principles, they were not 'yes' women who bowed to authority just for authority's sake, they stood up for what was right, even if it meant having to break a few rules to do it. Fighting for what was important meant sometimes compromising society's 'norm' but also meant not compromising their integrity. In most cases people come to their senses and realize their unfairness, prejudice, control issues, etc. or a house falls on them.
4. Honesty is the best policy. These ladies were honest in the most blunt of ways, refusing to suck up, bow to pressure, or let other people go unchecked. But their honesty was also in their sincerity to see people just release themselves of all false pretense and just be themselves. Their honesty and sincerity won and changed the hearts of many.

I really miss movies that laid such great moral foundations and also appealed to children, but I am glad these movies are really quite timeless in their journeys and I know one day I will be sharing them with young ones who hopefully learn these lessons a lot earlier than I did.

And moving on, what's a holiday blog without some talk about presents and thankfulness. Here are my 10 Best Gifts of the 2007 Holiday Season (not in any particular order of priority)

10. The many nice comments about my homemade Christmas cards. I like to see that my effort is enjoyed and appreciated.
9. The very nice and helpful handymen who have had to do some fixit stuff around the house for little to no cost.
8. Tickets to see Big & Rich with my sweetie.
7. My sweetie dedicating an evening to watching Anne of Green Gables and Sound of Music with me.
6. Cabbage Roll leftovers.
5. The gifts that allowed me to create and fill my new crafting room, I call it my Scrappy Place (hehe, like Happy Place, lol).
4. 11 days off in a row.
3. My sister Jodi and her whole family living in Manitoba, not just for the holiday season, but most likely permanently.
2. Finding out I’m going to be an Auntie again, new little one is due in late August.
1. 30 years of a wonderful life! (which I don’t need Christmas movies to make me realize I have)

Monday, December 24, 2007

This and That

My mind and my time have been divided by so many things as of late, I don't have nearly enough of either to spread this thinly, lol. I kinda knew this would happen when I made such a large to do list (my 101 things to do in 1001 days list) because I am haunted by all the things I haven't done yet as opposed to being encouraged by how much I have accomplished. It's funny, because 99% of the time I'm an optomist, see the glass half full kinda gal, but when it comes to my goals, I see the glass as half empty. I've always been the kind of person who needs deadlines as a motivator, but when I do have a deadline I aim to finish as fast as I possibly can, always worried that if I don't then I won't make the deadline. So I work my butt off finishing my tasks and end up completing them way before I need to.
So, hear I am, only 5 months into my 32 month to do list, with 15 tasks (approx. 15%) completed and another 46 (roughly 46%) in progress and I am still madly trying to juggle my time and focus between all the different things I want to accomplish.
Organizing my home has been probably one of my highest priorities, because some of the other things I want to do (crafting, baking, hosting, etc.) hinge on having the space to do that. I'm still widdling away at those tasks but even then I'm still divided between 5 rooms that all need help. And money, which has been one of the major reasons for delay in this area. Organizing my computer has been another frustrating task as my computer is not co-operating. My burner isn't allowing me to burn so I can't back up all my information and so I don't want to add information to my hard drive (new pics, songs, scanning negatives, etc.) until the old stuff is backed up onto DVDs. Argh. Again, money is needed to get a new burner or I can transfer all the data to Sean's computer, one DVD worth at a time, but that means both computers are tied up and neither of us can use them for a large period of time.
I have also been wanting to spend more time becoming a better cook, and what I mean by that is not relying so much on microwavable, pre-processed, unhealthy, and expensive but EASY foods. I have loved the Once A Month Cooking my cousin Pam has introduced me too and it already has made cooking and eating much more enjoyable, even though I've only started to dabble in it. I wish I had more time to get into it, but I know I'm making progress and I know my tastebuds, waistline and wallet are thankful for it.
Then, there's the time I should be spending exercising. I really want to get into shape and I have the will but it's hard to dedicate time to it when I'm not seeing results. It feels like I could be much more productive doing something else on my to do list. Luckily, Tami is taking a course to become a personal trainer and I am her first client once she is done. I have always wanted to have a personal trainer but money and accessiblity have held me back, and having a sister who really cares about my success and not the money I'm paying her will be great. And I will give her permission to crack the whip so I can't talk myself out of using my time differently! I can't wait.
Then of course there are all the other things I want/need to spend time on, like; work on my photography skills, spend more time reading, relaxing and spending time with Sean, cooking and cleaning around the house, spending more time with family and friends, getting more involved at Church, spending more time with God, volunteer/charity work with Domestic Abuse victims, traveling, creative and crafting stuff, writing/blogging, and oh, ya, then there's work too. Yikes! And children haven't even been added to the mix yet. Of course, some of the reason I want to accomplish a lot of this so soon is because you never know when children will appear on the scene. Do I put to much pressure on myself? I don't know, but I do know that life is short and as long as I'm not sacrificing my health or my relationships then it's ok to be energizer-bunny-busy, when I have that much energy that is : )

Update on 101 things to do

I have updated my entry on my 101 things to do list. Slow and steady I go : ) Oops, forgot a few, added some more 01/01/08.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I was tagged by Pam (be sure and stop by and say hello!) to do this `hoopla`
Here are the rules:1. List 12 random things about yourself that has to do with Christmas 2. Please refer to it as a 'hoopla' and not the dreaded 'm'-word 3. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the blogosphere. 4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible. are my 12 Christmas Things About Me:
1. My immediate family doesn't exchange gifts, we instead use the money to spend a weekend together and enjoy each other's company. More time together, less time in malls, a win/win situation.
2. My extended family on my dad's side also does not exchange gifts, we pool money together for a donation on a decided cause. Last year we raised enough money to provide a poor community with a well for clean drinking water, through MCC. Again, what could be better, less time consumed with the consumerism of the holidays and more concerned with blessing those less fortunate.
3. The same extended family also has a tradition that has been continued since as early as I can remember, the children (children of my parents generation) sing a song, play an instrument, recite a poem or part of a story and then each adults would give us anywhere from $1 to $5 each. Now that my generation is older we instead summarize how our year has been and watch our children, neices and nephews do the performing.
4. I have a weak spot for Christmas cookies. Christmas cookies are the best cookies ever; shortbread, gingerbread, jam jams, mennonite peppernut cookies, Portzelkje, the kind with marichino cherries.....yum yum. Usually my sisters, mom and I pool our efforts and have one big day for baking, that way we can get a much bigger variety of cookies with not much more work than if we did it by ourselves. This is the first year in awhile that we are not doing it because it's become more about spending time together than having all those temptations on our kitchen counters, we forfeited the fat and will just find another way to enjoy each other's company.
5. I don't put up any Christmas decorations because my cats would most likely destroy it all while we're not home. They are not even that well behaved when we're home, and they are worse when we're not home, so I just don't bother.
6. I do however collect Christmas ornaments for the one day when I hope to be able to have a house that allows me to keep my cats out of the room with the Christmas tree. I only collect homemade ornaments, and I am trying to make one for every year of our marriage although I think I fell behind at 2006, I need to start catching up again.
7. I try to make my own Christmas cards every year because a) most of the ones in the stores I can afford don't thrill me, and b) I love an excuse to make cards, even if it can get to be a lot of work. Here are a few of my past Christmas cards.

8. I still have no clue how to cook a turkey.
9. I sang one of the verses to Silent Night as a solo in a Christmas pagent in grade 2. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I sang in a pagent/production of some kind for every Christmas until I was 17.
10. Christmas is my very favorite holiday of the year. I love that everyone makes time to spend time with friends and family, a great opportunity to see those you may not see very often during the year. I love GIVING gifts. Although receiving is nice too, I prefer to see people's faces light up when they receive something from me because I know I've brought someone else some happiness. I love food, and especially all the family favorites that come out during the holidays. I love the pretty lights and decorated Christmas trees, even if I can't have it in my own home just yet. I love the movies that come on t.v., like A Christmas Carol, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music (despite that some aren't really about Christmas, lol). I love singing Christmas carols (see #9) but the real carols, not ones about frosty or rudolf. I'd rather hear Carol of the Bells, Oh Holy Night, Handel's Messiah, or any of Boney M's or Amy Grant's. Most of all I love the celebration of the birth of our saviour.
11. Every year I struggle with what to get Sean, since he's got very few hobbies, one that costs next to no money and the other is Stephen King books, which don't come out often enough to give at every cause for a present. He's a picky dresser and doesn't really collect anything. The last few years I've barely managed with a leather jacket he knew he was getting because he had to pick it, and tools, which was fairly easy since he had none, so I just bought everything. Luckily the last two years there have been major concerts we've wanted to attend so we've just bought tickets for each other. It makes it easy for me, but I also don't get the wonderful presents Sean is so good at picking out. He always amazes me with the thoughtfulness of his gifts and that is something I've missed out on for the last two years.
12. Not one present I bought this year was from a mall (granted I only had to buy a few). My shopping locations this year were Toys R' Us, Staples Online, The Bomber Store, Starbucks, and the last one will either be from Princess Auto or The Fishing Hole. Yeah for avoiding malls!
And I can't really tag anyone because I honestly don't know anyone who reads my blog who has a blog, other than Pam, and I was tagged by her, so the hoopla ends with me.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Much ado about nothing/everything

My thoughts are a little random and all over the map so here are just a few things I’m muttering about lately.

How, in WINTERPEG, where it often feels like it is winter 7 months of the year, can people forget how to drive in snow? And I’m all for being cautious, but seriously, 40 kms per hour on Bishop Grandin, on a day where it was actually very clean and not icy (thanks to quick cleaning and high traffic). Yikes! And I am soooo thankful for our decision to get a 4X4, as well as a vehicle with ABS as I know I would have been in 3 fender benders already if we had been in the old Contour. One was my fault, was a little too confident and going a little too fast (even though I was under the speed limit), but the other two were people pulling too far in or not far enough out of a lane without enough time for me to stop. Seriously!

I’ve been only too happy to stay indoors recently, feeling quite like a couch potato this last week, so I’ve been watching more t.v. than normal. I noticed two newer shows that I hadn’t really paid much attention to before, the Reaper & the Collector, two shows about people collecting souls for the devil. At first this kinda disturbed me, I mean two shows prominently featuring satan. And The Collector’s portrayal of satan is that he’s omniscient, yeah right, don’t make me laugh. So, yeah, I wasn’t thrilled. Until. I was watching Criminal Minds and they were having a discussion about evil and it led to the statement (not a direct quote), ‘you can’t believe in the devil without believing in God, and vice versa. And if you have a weak belief in one then you most likely have a weak belief in the other.’ Not only did this discussion about God (as well as the plot including a lot about God lately) excite me tremendously, but it led me to the conclusion that the stronger the belief in satan the stronger the belief in God should also grow. Now there is a big difference between what people know and how they act, but if there is belief at least a seed has been planted.

It only occurred to me after I got my tattoo that I probably wouldn’t have much of a chance to display it except when it was hot out, and the summer was already half over. I’ve had a few chances here and there, but I’m very excited because I found this really beautiful top to wear for our semi-formal Christmas party for work, and its halter style so you can see my tattoo! I actually have my co-worker Tanyss to thank for that, I totally looked over the top because I’m not normally a lover of busy patterns, not to mention I didn’t think halter style would suite me, but I tried it on and it looked really good (if I do say so myself)! I can’t wait for next Saturday to wear it!

So, I finally had my doctor’s appointment, and it’s too bad the substitute is semi-retired because I really liked her. The important thing though is that I got the two referrals to specialists that I was hoping for, and she ran a few blood tests herself. She talked me through my concerns and took me seriously, even though she didn’t know my history or family history like my other doctor does. Now, I know you all aren’t the prying type so I don’t want you to worry, it’s nothing life endangering, it’s more about quality of life. Well, I might as well just spill the beans. First confession, I snore and I think it’s affecting my quality of sleep. Second confession, Sean and I have been off birth control for almost two years and obviously there is no baby yet so we’re checking into why. At first it was, hey lets just stop interrupting nature and release our ‘control’ of the situation to see what God has in store. We didn’t label ourselves as ‘trying’ so we kept this our little secret, not wanting to instigate the questions that would surely follow that knowledge going public. Now, faced with seeing specialists it’s kinda awkward telling everyone that this is where we’re at because no one even knew babies were on our mind. Sean doesn't have the same eagerness I have for children, but over the last 2 years we've both really learned it doesn't matter what we wanted or planned, it's all in God's hands, and whatever He has in store is meant to be.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Not everything that is Golden is Gold

Ok, this is a long entry today. I am all fired up! I have recently heard of the controversy regarding The Golden Compass and have been compelled to comment. Over the last few months I have seen snippets here and there of the previews and thought the movie looked quite good. Almost ‘Narnia-esc”. But through my cousin Pam’s blog I discovered a link to this blog which led me to search out the truth behind this movie and the books that inspired it. I believe this movie and the controversy around it is something every Christian needs to know about. I’d like to preface the rest of this blog by letting you know I am not a band-wagon Bible thumper who jumps at every opportunity to join a campaign against non-Christians. Every ‘campaign’ or ‘petition’ email I get is skeptically run through and before I give it any credence at all, and even then I find most of them are working harder to reject non-Christians than to reach out to them. I’m not out to stop non-Christian media, I do believe we have a choice in what we watch, read, hear. I just think people have the right to know what they are being exposed to, that the truth should not be hidden in order to get a bigger audience at the box office. This one has gotten under my skin for a few reasons though, which I will get to later. First I want to tell you about the movie, the book, and ultimately the author., a site that looks into popular email rumours in an effort to verify their authenticity, looked into the email rumor that the movie The Golden Compass had anti-religious themes. They summarized the plot of the movie and series of books as following “an adventure of a street-wise girl who travels through multiple worlds populated by witches, armor-plated bears, and sinister ecclesiastical assassins to defeat the oppressive forces of a senile God.” Other than the senile God part, you could think this movie and these books are very similar to the Narnia series, a well known Christian themed series. If you like Narnia, you would probably be very interested in seeing this movie just from seeing its previews alone. I was.

I am not aware of what instigated a deeper investigation into the intentions of the author but I am thankful someone decided to take a closer look at this seemingly innocent movie. Now, the movie doesn’t literally portray a senile God, and may not seem, on the surface, to be anti-religous, however the movie has been sanitized. According to Wikipedia the Director, Chris Weitz said "in the books the Magisterium is a version of the Catholic Church gone wildly astray from its roots" but that the organization portrayed in his film would not directly match that of Pullman's books. Instead, the Magisterium will represent all dogmatic organizations. Weitz said that New Line Cinema had feared the story's anti-religious themes would make the film financially unviable in the US, and so religion and God will not be referenced directly. Attempting to reassure fans of the novels, Weitz said that religion would instead appear in euphemistic terms”. However, how many people have become fanatics of a series of books because the movies have been an introduction to the author. And if you already are uncomfortable with the movie from that quote, the books are much more sinister.

If you read the blog I mentioned earlier, you’ll find that objective reviews such as the examination from, have researched the author and point out that Philip Pullman was very clear on his intentions with his writings, especially in the Dark Materials Trilogy, where The Golden Compass is from. Quoted from their article on The Golden Compass, “Although literary works are subject to a variety of interpretations, Pullman left little doubt about his books intended meanings when he said in a 2003 interview that ‘My books are about killing God’ and in a 2001 interview that he was ‘trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief’”. And (another email hoax/rumor research site), in their examination of the anti-religious claims shows a passage from one of Pullman’s novels where a character, a fallen angel says “The Authority, God, the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, El, Adonai, the King, the Father, the Almighty – those were all names he gave himself. He was never the creator. He was an angel like ourselves – the first angel, true, the most powerful, but he was formed of Dust as we are, and Dust is only a name for what happens when matter begins to understand itself.” Although I have yet to read the books, I trust the research from these non-religious sources, and the undermining of Christian beliefs can not be doubted.

Now, I really question Pullman’s public stance when he says “I don’t think it’s possible there is a God”. The reason is this. What is the one reason that after thousands of years of corruption in religion that a belief in God has not died? It’s because of our personal experiences with God, it’s because I have, and millions of other people have, heard God’s voice and felt God’s touch. Pullman knows that and so in order to ‘kill God’ you have to make people believe that personal experience they have had with God was a deception. Pullman’s angle is that, ok, Yahweh may have spoken to you, and told you He is I Am, He is your Father, He revealed himself to you but He is not God. He is a delusional angel who is deceiving you. But, if angels exist, powerful angels that have the ability to seem God-like in our minds, who created them? Pullman’s book says, “He was never the creator.” Who was? “he was formed of Dust as we are” Who formed him? Maybe it’s just me but this ‘powerful angel’ bit does not explain away God in the least. It seems to me he is a pretty bad atheist.

Now, to the heart of the matter, the controversy. So, he’s an atheist, trying to ‘kill God’, trying to ‘undermine the basis for Christian belief’, so what? Don’t go see the movie. Well, I don’t necessarily agree with avoiding the movie altogether. What I don’t agree with is the movie being sanitized to make it ‘financially viable’ and hiding the agenda of the author. Parents should have the choice whether they want their children exposed to beliefs that are contrary to their own, not have it coated in sugar to hide the pill Pullman wants our children to swallow. They need the opportunity to give their children perspective, if they are going to watch or read the story, not blindly believe their child is delving into something innocent. I think it would be fine to watch this movie as long as the parents are aware and have the chance to discuss philosophy with their children. I don’t think children should be excluded from hearing about other religions and beliefs, that they shouldn’t be given an opportunity to make up their own mind, however, how they are presented that information is a whole other story. So it really makes me mad that the media covers a story like this with headlines like “Libraries are banning The Golden Compass because the author is an atheist”. I know it’s a trick of the trade, flashy, partial truth headlines to gain an audience, but even in the full coverage I watched, they barely distinguished that it is ONLY libraries in Catholic schools (which due to separation of Church and State, ALL Catholic schools are private and parents are choosing to put them in a faith based institution). Throughout most of the news story they mostly eliminated that fact. That’s what gets me really upset. How dare we object to and attempt to eliminate material designed to 'undermine our faith' in our faith-based schools! Solely faith-based organizations are not even allowed to help their members take precautions to shield our children from doctrine opposite of ours. Public schools are allowed to throw out doctrine to ‘protect’ those students who may disagree with it due to their own doctrine, but when it’s a faith-based organization doing the exact same thing it’s discrimination. Personally, I’m not trying to discriminate against atheistic free speech, we should just be allowed to choose how that message is introduced to our children. In fact, I agree with anti-censorship groups who object to censorship of the movie, I wish they had left it just as it was for people to see the real message that Pullman is trying to convey. Pullman isn’t upset that the movie isn’t true to his intentions, but that’s because he knows that it being kid-friendly is how to draw us in. Kids have more power over what they read and see today than ever before, if he captivates them as an audience, he knows his message will spread like wild fire. It is up to us as a Christian community to not stay in the dark about his message and be prepared to bring clarity to the confusion that will arise in our kids because of it.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...