Tuesday, October 31, 2006

26 on 31

"it's a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life."

I think that is from a Michael Buble song, but I'm not sure. nevertheless, it has been in my head for the last few days.

today i am 26. and have decided to start my new life today. to make not only new life resolutions, but a whole new beginning.

This is cool. I don't quite know what this means, honestly, and I accept the fact that it may only last about 2 more hours. but i have decided to step forward starting today, to look at the past not as something to be continually longed for, but more as a guideline, a "lonely planet" as to how I want to live out my future. to be thankful for experiences which, though may have turned sour, were really really good at that moment and deserve to be cherished. to look back with fondness at my relationships with very good people, and to focus on that and not the sometimes devestating loss of these relationships and these people in my life. to go with the flow more, to practice experiencing joy, not take myself or life too seriously when life does not warrant it, and to take myself super seriously when the moment demands it - when there is injustice, when there is oppression, when things which are urgent but unimportant take precedence over things which are important but non-urgent. To see how much more important it is to appreciate a sunset, a game of puppet show, the beauty of a quiet moment, to see how much more important these things are than other urgent silly things such as work deadlines, car maintenance - to focus on my goals, to really prioritize what is truly important, to love and serve God with my entire life and to continue the dance that we have started so many years ago.

I realize this is very abstract. sorry about this.

I am committed to the following:
1. Being less dramatic. That is, not to heighten situations to points where they should not be heightened, and not looking for negative attention through unnecessary drama.
2. Simplifying my life. In terms of possessions, but mostly in terms of my schedule. I have no idea how I am going to fix my crazy schedule problem. But I am committed to a life ethos of focusing on the important, even though at the time there may be more urgent but unimportant tasks. Please help me figure this out.
3. To be myself, passionately and unashamedly. To see truth - to love myself as a true creation of God with wonderful gifts, abilities, and attributes. To find a balance between challenging myself to become more and to grow yet embrace the person who i am at that moment. To allow myself the grace to continue when i fall. To "go with the flow" a bit more (that one's for you, Odes).

I will fail at these, for sure. But that's ok - its a process and i think new lives take a bit of practice, so its all good. any help from my friends is greatly appreciated (I have the BEST friends, by the way. They are all stellar, and I am truly blessed).

Happy Birthday to me,

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

my hair is purple

once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a beautiful princess named bre. bre's kingdom was not extremely wealthy, so she did not have stores of gold, scads of bmw's, or rooms full of mac computers (she did, however, live in a great country and was among the wealthiest 25% of the entire world, so really she was pretty well off). Princess Bre always struggled with wanting things. Worse off, she struggled with being owned by her possessions. One day she realized that this was a major problem, and she tried hard to curb her expenditures, focus on paying off her debt, and try to realize a rich life without silly things like dvd sets, laptop computers, and a nice car (well, the car was a mistake).

She struggled and struggled and struggled with wanting lots and lots of things. And then she got to a point where she was able to let go of wanting bigger and better possessions. And this was great. And sometimes she was able to make it past an HMV without feeling like she NEEDED to go in. And it was literally 3 months since she logged onto Ebay. She was making headway. Yay for Princess Bre! She is conquering consumerism!

unfortunately, as in all fairy tales, bad things happened. Princess Bre was having a birthday. It is tradition that every year Princess Bre allows herself to buy something fun that she would not normally purchase. This year was different, though. "I honestly don't want anything," said Princess Bre. "There is nothing really that I desire that is under $100." This seemed curious to her, but she was happy about this, as it meant that her addiction to consumerism was getting better.

She did, however, walk past the music store. "That's it!" she said. "I would love to buy myself a new drum!" This she thought was useful as she could buy herself a smaller drum that could be brought along on camping trips or other places which it would be useful, but awkward to take her big drum.

A few days later she walked past the UM bookstore. "That's it!" she said. "I would love a UM sweatshirt!" Then she thought of how much she would like a UW sweatshirt. Then she thought about how sweet it would be to get a DVD recorder, some cool 80's cartoon paraphanalia (because she doesn't have enough), a star trek dvd set, a new vcr before they stop making them, a popcorn maker, a shelf unit, some cool books, a new bed tent (just kidding), a kicking new journal, a blender, a descent pot set, a kangaroo, more muppet figures, and a subsciption to Oprah magazine.

Suddenly Princess Bre was not so content with her life. There were so many things that she desired, and felt that she could NOT live without. she NEEDS all of these things to be a happy person.

And then Princess Bre realized that she messed up a pretty good thing, and fell right back into her problem of wanting and wanting and desiring so many things. "Stupid birthday," said Princess Bre. "It ruined my life." Princess Bre is a very dramatic individual. However, she is also highly attractive and very determined to always grow, and she was confident that she would be able to beat this returned desire for consumption. Someday.

The end.

p.s. Wednesday is election day. Please, please, please vote. i don't care who you vote for, just vote (well, i do care, but that's my problem).

p.p.s. Due to popular demand, there is now a "cool winnipeg-ness" section at the right of your screen. No, the right. Look over there --> Yes! There it is. This will be constantly updated. Fun.

p.p.p.s. don't forget the "take some sweet action" links under the cool winnipeg-ness and change the world with me and lots of other people who super care about justice, the earth, and the importance of giving everybody a fair chance.


Friday, October 20, 2006

High Efficiency Worship

Check out this article:

High Efficiency Worship

It appears in my favorite magazine, Geez. Info on Geez can be found on the webpage.

Let the world know what you think - leave a comment!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

whoa! two posts in one week!

I just want to make everybody aware of an event coming up this friday entitled

OPERATION BLESS OUR ENEMIES: A religious gathering to coincide with the opening of the Franklin Graham Festival.

Friday, October 20, at 5:15 p.m. at Knox United Church (400 Edmonton Street, 1 1/2 blocks north of Portage Place).

Background information on this can be found online at http://geezmagazine.org/blessourenemies.

I am not endorsing this event, as I haven't really gotten a real chance to research these issues. But I highly respect the organizers of this event, so will be researching myself as to what I think about all of this.

CNN does quote Franklin Graham as saying the following: (emphasis mine)

Graham: And this may sound rough, Judy, but we need to use every weapon in our arsenal that need be to defeat this enemy. And I don't think we should hold back. And we'll make a great mistake if we hold back our technology and hold back our weapons and put young men and women in there and sacrifice them because we're scared to use some of our major weapons. And I think we're going to have to use every -- and I hate to say it, hellish weapon in our inventory, if need be, to defeat these people.
WOODRUFF: Do you really believe that the American people are prepared now to have young Americans die?

GRAHAM: No. But I think they're prepared to stop this, and not to put our young men needlessly or our young women needlessly. And yes, there may be some young men and women whose lives may be lost, and I pray not. And that's why I think we need to use these weapons that we have, and not our young men and not our young women and just sacrifice them as (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But let's use the weapons we have, the weapons of mass destruction if need be and destroy the enemy.

This makes me sad, as I am (was?) a big fan of Franklin Graham and of Samaritan's Purse. I will be doing more research on this, but wanted to throw that out there.

Monday, October 16, 2006

the never-ending treasure hunt

Man, kids are cool.

This is my nephew. He is fun.

This is my other nephew. He is fun, too, but this story is not about him. But I want him to have his picture on the internet, ‘cause he’s cute.

Seth is 4 years old. Sometimes he is sweet, sometimes he is fun, sometimes he is a terror, and sometimes he whines. But mostly he is sweet and fun and I adore him.

I was sort of shamed to discover something this week. I often play with him – usually cars, or treasure hunt, or puppet show, or some other game that he likes that day or that is around. I have played with him unnumerable times during his short life, and especially now that I live downstairs from him.

Last week he came down to play, and instead of normally rushing through play time like I would normally do because there is something else I should be getting to, I really took time, sat down with him, and really played WITH him. For, I think, the first time in his young life. I came down to his level, gave him as much attention possible, and really tried to understand him and play and explore instead of rushing through things, or going through the motions of the treasure hunt without actually engaging him through it. OK. Treasure hunt time. I will just follow you and try to pretend to be surprised when we find the treasure though I know exactly where it is because you hid it in the same place the last 6 treasure hunts we went on in the last 30 minutes.

We sat down together. And we PLAYED. And it was cool. Though sometimes I thought I would go insane because we did the same puppet show about 18 times over and he would be upset at me if I would change the smallest part of the puppet show - innate repetition seems to be one of his favorite things in the world. But I really tried to focus on the joy in his eyes and really tried to be excited about spiderman saving Lightning McQueen from certain death over and over and over and over and over again. To play with him – to not just go through the required motions, to be there in that moment fully and completely, like there is NOTHING else in the world as important as saving Lightning McQueen even though he is dumb enough to drive himself into another dangerous situation. To really have that be the most important thing in the world, and not be thinking about what else I SHOULD be doing. That’s cool. And radical, even. And I am a bit ashamed that I was playing with him so often in ways that were not really meaningful.

He’s very smart. He knows when people are listening, when they are not, when they are engaged, and when their mind is somewhere else. So I am trying to really, whenever he comes downstairs to play, to put aside WHATEVER I am doing to really just BE with him. And this is cool. And it seems that he is coming downstairs more often, and simply the amount of eye contact we have, our smiles and giggles together, have increased. And I wonder why I was so dumb that I didn’t realize that I was robbing him of my complete and whole attention before.

Sorry, Monkey. Sorry for wasting so much time, and for disrespecting your need for real connection and real engagement when we play puppet show and treasure hunt. I look forward to many more puppet shows and treasure hunts in the future. Love you!

Auntie Tootsie

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fair Trade Manitoba

*****UPDATED OCTOBER 11th*****
I found the Fair Trade Manitoba Webpage! Info on becoming a member can be found here (click on "about us" and then scroll to the near bottom). Membership is FREE!

On October 17th at 7 pm in Eckhardt-Grammate Hall in the University of Winnipeg, there will be a film screening of Black Gold: Wake up and Smell the Coffee as well as the official public launch of Fair Trade Manitoba.

I am proud to say that I am a member of Fair Trade Manitoba - an action network promoting awareness of, and support for, fair trade issues among Manitobans. Issues of economic justice are very important to me and I am excited about this new organization. If you are at all interested in these issues, I encourage you to come out. The fee is $5 - $3 for students. I will definitly be there! Let me know if you are coming so we can hang out. Feel free to click the Black Gold link to see a preview of the movie.


Monday, October 02, 2006

a little break . . . mostly

my blog has been so serious lately. here's just some random thoughts and things which have been on my mind. not too serious today, which i think is needed, at least for myself.

First, the regal catalogue. i got this in the mail, and there are some fun things in there. First:

This is a cute picture, and it wouldn't be so bad, but the caption beneath it says: Now your dog can be warm AND stylish! Really, come on. Now I not only feel guilty for not being stylish myself, I feel guilty that my dog isn't stylish and will be made fun of by all of the other cooler dogs. Sick! Even worse, I don't have a dog to make stylish!

Way to go, Regal. This haircut guy is awesome. Lookit how happy he is!

On another note - i am truly and completly blessed. I was with a bunch of people, good people who i appreciate and enjoy muchly, and we were doing visualization exercises about when we really felt loved. I was thinking and was trying to pick from all of the times running around in my brain - when Janie sat with me in my tent, when ernie bought me a fringe pass, when odie makes me supper, when my mom tells me about her funny and fascinating life. I was astounded and floored when I realized that not everybody shares this experience, and that it is a struggle for some to think of one specific time which they felt completly loved. This has been such a part of my family and my friendships and of my college experience i think i have just taken it for granted. this re-kindles a passion in me, at least mildly, to love people as i have been loved, by Christ and by Christ through others. This used to be my passion, but has lately been taken over by a need for self-protection and basic fear of giving to people. i think i am on the way back . . . albeit slowly. There is such a need to share real, unconditional love to people that everybody needs. someday i will be able to do that again, i hope. i pray.

lastly, i found a great quote/passage which directly answers my question of my last post (a big thanks to all who commented on this post, by the way. Comments are awesome!). This passage has given me unspeakable peace. Problem is, some people consider this author to be pretty much a heretic. i don't, though. And since she is long gone, the text is public domain. Sweet! No danger of being sued! Here it is:

"The continual seeking of the soul pleaseth God full greatly: for it may do no more than seek, suffer and trust. And this is wrought in the soul that hath it, by the Holy Ghost; and the clearness of finding, it is of His special grace, when it is His will. The seeking, with faith, hope, and charity, pleaseth our Lord, adn the finding pleaseth the soul and fulfilleth it with joy. And thus I was learned, to mine understanding, that seeking is as good as beholding, for the time that He will suffer the soul to be in travail. It is God's will that we seek Him, to the beholding of Him, for by that He shall shew us Himself of His special grace when He will. And how a soul shall have Him in its beholding, He shall teach Himself, and that is most worship to Him and profit to thyself, an d(the soul thus) most receiveth of meekness and virtues with the grace and leading of the Holy Ghost. For a soul that only fasteneth itself on to God with very trust, either by seeking or in beholding, it is the most worship that it may do to Him."
- Julian of Norwich