Friday, October 31, 2008

The Holy Spirit

May the Spirit
Bless you with discomfort at easy answers,
half truths and superficial relationships
so that you will live deep in your heart

May the Spirit
Bless you with anger
at injustice and oppression,
and exploitation of people and the earth
so that you will work for justice, equality and peace.

May the Spirit
Bless you with tears to shed
for those who suffer
so that you will
reach out your hand
to comfort them.

And may the Spirit
Bless you with the foolishness
to think you can make a difference
in the world,
so you will do the things
which others say cannot be done.

-- source unknown --
(wherever this came from, its magic)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Passchendaele and a trip to the book store

A few months ago we saw the trailer for the movie "Passchendaele" and we both put it on our must see at the theatre list. Some movies are just meant for the big screen.

Rob mentioned the other day about going, I was definitely down with that.
When we got home from work yesterday, Rob went to the computer to check the movie listings. . . "Its playing at the Galaxy at 6:20". . .i thought that sounded great. "Oh, wait, its also playing at Empire at 6:50". This second bit of news perked me up. . I said, "How about we go to Empire, then i can make a quick trip to Chapters before the movie!!"

Rob indulges me every time I suggest going there. Its not his favourite place, but he knows i love it and I love him for that and a million other reasons. I had to reign myself in once we got there. . we didn't have too long to wait. I stayed just long enough to use my 'loyal member' extra discount coupon, which i got to use on top of my normal 10% member discount.. so sweet.

I bought a couple of books: "The White Rose, Munich 1942-1943" by Inge Scholl. . This one is a true story of two university students, a brother and sister, who were decapitated by court order for their involvement in the White Rose movement. This movement produced anti-Nazi propaganda and provided material assistance to victims of national socialism. It sounds intense. I suppose i will cry with this one, or feel a 60 years on rage, which i won't know what to do with.

I also bought "Seeing" by Nobel prize winning author Jose Saramago. . I've never heard of him, but the jacket praised him out of the stratosphere, so I thought i'd take a chance. Besides. . it was a hard cover for $7!!! I started into this one first. . and I'm going to have to stick it out -- maybe. He's got a really bizarre style, all run on and on sentences, over description to the point where I'm impatient for him to just cut the crap. get rid of the too numerous adjectives, clunky phrases and thoughts stretched into thoughtlessness and just get to the bloody point! He's strangely sparing with his punctuation. Everything runs together in a 'stream of consciousness' way. I'm not averse to that kind of storytelling, but this is almost dizzying, reading on and on, without anything stopping my eye or my brain. It feels almost appropriate to take a small breather after each megasentence.

The story sounded timely and interesting. . voting day in a democractic 'capital'. . voters aren't coming out because of severe weather - then turn out en mass when it clears. 70% of the ballots cast were blank. The citizens rebel, state of emergency is declared as a revolution erupts. When i read the liner note I'm told, "What begins as a satire on governments and the sometimes dubious efficacy of the democratic system turns into something far more sinister." So far reading this book has almost maddened me and set my teeth on edge. I don't want to 'see' the effort in a book. I don't want to be aware of flaws and be unable to get past them when i read a story. I want it to feel natural and seamless. I want to be transported, not derailed. "Another invaluable gift from a matchless writer." ? That's what Kirkus reviews had to say about this book. Geesh. Nobel Prize award? glowing reviews from every American newspaper? I'm wondering now if i kept my receipt. Do you think they refund on marked down items?

Passchendaele could almost be another post. . perhaps soon with remembrance day upon us. The movie was so good, if that's the right word to use for anything about war? We eat up war movies, which seems odd for peace loving Canadians. I think its just our age. We were raised by families whose lives were refined in the crucible of war. . and this affected us too. Every war movie we watch may be our attempt to identify with and try to understand our loved ones. I've seen a documentary entirely about the battle of Passchendale and was so wrenched by it and so proud of our Canadian soldiers. What a bloody mess it all was. What torture, what loss and what 'victory' (however temporary). Aggression, killing, fighting. . its just hard to stomach. I find it odd to think that in 'peace' time people are punished for killing, fighting and in 'war' time they are given medals and promotions. I know it doesn't boil down just like that. Courage, patriotism, bravery, unity of purpose all mix in with the horror and chaos. Freedom of the millions weighs on the tired shoulders of men. What a paradox is war.

Why is it that we never value anything unless we're in danger of losing it?

Why does it take danger, suffering and grief to birth gratitude in us?

And why does that gratitude so quickly dissipate into a sickly, anemic sense of entitlement?

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Been doing some reading.

"11" by Leonard Sweet (11 indispensible relationships you can't be without)

Almost done this one. Here is an excerpt taken from the jacket:

"We all need some friends for the journey. . friends like Barnabas, Nathan, Rhoda, Zacchaeus just to name a few. Eleven of them to be exact. Without these people in your life, you'll miss out on the person you could have been. And without you in their lives, they'll miss out as well."

This book takes people from the Bible and puts them forth as embodied examples of positive character traits. E.g., Jethro was a motivator, Jonathan a true friend, Timothy an heir, Deborah was someone who had your back, etc.

I have eaten this book up. Its really causing me to think about just what kind of friend i am/have been to others. . and conversely, what kind of friends i have. Of course I sadly see deficiencies on both sides. Len Sweet was one of the keynote speakers at a conference I had the privilege to attend last weekend. I like how he thinks, outside of the box, unconventional yet gracious and godly. I really recommend this one.

Another one i have begun:
"A New Earth - Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" by Eckhart Tolle

A friend loaned this to me. She wanted to see what i thought of it. We've been talking about 'purpose', etc. I'm not too sure about this guy. . he's a "spiritual teacher" who dips into various pools of 'spirituality'. hinduism, buddhism, Christianity, zen, etc. The result is a kind of quasispiritual smorgasboard. A little bit of this and a little taste of that.For me, it can never satisfy. I'm in the 'ego' chapters now and they're actually quite interesting. The author talks about the arising new consciousness, meditation, enlightenment and so on, none of which seems particularly 'new'. . but rather ancient.

I follow Jesus himself. He's very much alive. This distinction puts him in his own category, light years from all other contenders. Other 'teachings' are words left behind, dried up on parchment,stone, manuscript. They can be 'good' but they can never be God. Having THE spiritual master to live with and be in relationship with, I'm not particularly interested in any kind of inferior counsel, but I am interested in dialogue with my friends, so I keep reading. Mr. Tolle does extensively quote and reference Christ. I'm not sure if he does so to have higher sales or because he respects Christ. Regardless, I'll finish it and hopefully my friend and i can have some good discussion at the end. She's been teasing me, saying "I want a book report!"

Monday, October 20, 2008


i think Facebook has stolen my blogging time.
yep, that must be it.
After working on computers all day long at the hospital, checking email and Facebook when i come home . . . i'm pretty much tired of sitting, staring at a terminal and/or keyboarding.
poor excuses allfor not blogging,
yet legitimate.

i'm fighting off a cold and have been plagued with all of its yucky, attendant symptoms.
who doesn't hate catching a cold??

I fell right off the good nutrition wagon today.
it was ridiculous
and i had been doing so well.

i mean i was in such a mood after supper, i could have just kept shoving in all kinds of junk. I had 3 sqares of chocolate but that did nothing to stop me. I had pretzel sticks, (did i mention 2 cupcakes? i didn't? um, yeah i ate those too - they were small, but covered in twice their weight in ahem, buttercream) I didn't eat much at breakfast or lunch. . which i'm sure is what triggered this crazed feeling of binge-iness this evening. I even ate POTATO CHIPS and i NEVER eat those things!
I blame Rob for the chips.
He bought the stupid bag of "reduced fat" Cape Cods.
I think that was the first bag of those things we've had in this house in YEARS.
geesh. . . i ate some sour jujubes at work this afternoon because they were there. . pathetic.

i go to 'endless buffet land' in Mexico and LOSE weight, thank you, traveler's "indigestion" and now that i'm getting over that finally, i act like i've never seen food before. what is that about??

Deep breath. . .

Its done, and tomorrow's a new day, right?
the jujubes are gone
the cupcakes too
the chips? I'll leave the rest for Rob
the chocolate? maybe padlock the cupboard??
ask mom to stop buying us chocolate. . .

when i was a teenager i looked like a stick version of myself and ate Wunderbars, Harvey's burgers and fries at midnight, McDonald's hot apple pies, Laura Secord mint chocolate bars, banana splits - come to think of it though, i walked everywhere, rollerskated, swam and rode my bike. .

grrrr. . . i'm mad at myself. . I need to evaluate some things. .