Monday, March 21, 2011

Movie Monday

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see," (Heb. 11:1).

On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas--a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realizes he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself--the men of The Adjustment Bureau--who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together.

But why? Why don't they want them to be together? And when you find out why, is that a good enough reason? This movie seems to make you want to ask yourself if we control our destiny or do unforeseen "forces" manipulate us.

Before I say anything more, I will tell you that I liked the movie. It's definitely more romantically inclined and less action than they lead you to believe in the trailer, but I did like it. I don't want to give anything away or taint your thoughts before seeing it, but this movie could really mess with your mind. If you're unsure of what you believe and who you believe in, I can see that this movie would bring about a lot of questions, which it did for me at first. On my drive home my mind was going a mile a minute and I started questioning God ... and then the verse I opened with popped into my mind.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see,"
(Heb. 11:1).

Oh yeah. I don't NEED to know what's going on because God's got it under control. I will NEVER be fully in "the know" and that's ok because that's what faith is. And besides ...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
I went and saw the movie with a co-worker and she obviously had some thoughts about the movie as well because as soon as she walked through the door the next morning, before she even took her coat off or turned her computer on, we were talking about faith, God and free will. It was pretty cool. I don't know if we came to any hard conclusions, but I told her about the 2 verses that I've mentioned here and that I don't worry because I really do believe that God's got it all under control. All I can do is think about today and see how God wants it to play out.

I mentioned that this movie seems to make you want to ask yourself if we control our destiny or do unforeseen "forces" manipulate us. I believe they left out one option. That there's a loving God who allows us to have free will and won't manipulate us but will be there with open arms if we decide to choose Him. No, it doesn't mean that life will be a piece of cake if we do choose Him, but He'll be with us every step of the way to help us through it ... and that's enough for me.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Red Eye Flashes Twice

This cracked me up on a couple of levels. One - don't you have one or two friends/family members/co-workers who ALWAYS ruin a picture by having their eyes closed or walking away before the picture finishes? Two - if you listen until the very end, it's kinda what I was talking about last Saturday in my post about wanting to be famous. I realize it's cutting off half the video, but you'll get the gist of it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Today is my parents 51st wedding anniversary. These pictures are from last year when I went with them on a trip down memory lane to some of their hot spots when they were dating and early married. Here we were at White Spot eating at the drive in/up ... whatever it's called. They honestly giggled like school kids almost the whole time we were eating in the car. It was quite funny.

And then they took me out to UBC where they used to watch "the submarine races." Yeah, right!

Happy Anniversary you crazy kids!

Love you lots!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pay it forward

The other day a friend of mine who I hadn't seen in a long while sent me an email after hanging out for the weekend and wrote in it (and I quote):

If I didn’t say it to your face, you look great. Slim and great. Healthy, and frankly, you sound happy.
As nice as it is to hear that I'm looking "slim," I actually was more touched by the compliment that I sound happy ... because I am. I have a great life. I really have nothing to complain about. Well, other than this long winter, not having much money right now, the gas prices going up and thinking I may have a gallbladder problem - but other than those silly things, I've really got NOTHING to complain about! haha - No, but really. I take that as a compliment because I do feel the blessings of God in my life on a daily basis and if I come across as happy, it's because He's in my life and that means I'm somehow paying tribute to Him ... and that makes me happy. I do want my life to be a testimony to His goodness.

So, thank you to my friend for paying me that compliment. It was honestly one of the nicest things anyone's said to me in a long time.

I'm going to look for a way to pay that compliment forward. How about you? Have you received a compliment lately that was unexpected and made your day ... or paid a compliment to someone and shocked them?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another Happy birthday!

This little girl turns 18 today. WHAT? How can that be? Sydney is my first niece. I remember when she was born because I was out in Alberta for a friends wedding (in April) so I got to see her when she was a month old ... and it snowed. I think that clinched me ever wanting to live in the Prairies ... snow in April!? Uh uh.

Anyway, back to Syd. This girl makes me happy. She is SUCH a good kid (I'm sure at 18 she hates to be called a kid, but when you're "old" like me, she's still a kid). Sydney is a nice person. She always has been. She's a loving sister and friend. I've witnessed it. She LOVES to read! I think she read the Lord of the Rings trilogy when she was 12 ... I didn't read those until I was in my 30s! If you give her a new book, don't expect to see/talk to her for a couple of days because she's engaged in reading said book. And she's super smart, too! I mean, she's graduating this year so the fact that she's passing means she's smart, right? :)

This is a pic of me and Syd a couple of years ago. I think she was 14 then. Yeah, my little niece!

I can't wait to go see her walk across the stage and matriculate (big word, hey? I like reading, too, you know. It really has helped me with my vocabulary.). I hope that no matter where my nieces or nephews live when they graduate that I will be able to go and see it.

Now Sydney has a boyfriend. I can't wait to meet him. I haven't heard what their plans are for next year, so I'm excited to sit down and have a good chat with her about all her plans for the future ... or at least for the next year.

Isn't she beautiful? Seriously. I think she should apply for America's Next Top Model.

Love you, Syd! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and an amazing year. It will be full of changes but I know you're strong and you'll make it through with excitement and lots and lots of vigor.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Movie Monday

Maybe I've got babies on my brain because Jennie's about to have hers any day now and I'm SUPER excited slash nervous to be in the delivery room, but this is also just an awesome movie that you really should see. I believe I've admitted that I'm not sure if I want to have kids. That doesn't mean that I don't like kids, but I guess what I'm trying to show here is that even someone like me, without kids, liked ... no LOVED this movie. I watched it with my cousins one night and then I had Jennie over the next day and asked her if I could show her a few minutes of it (knowing that she'd be suckered in to watching the whole thing) and watched it again the very next day.

The remarkable thing about this movie is that there's no talking. The movie angle is from the baby's perspective, so you rarely even see adults. Well, you see their calves and sometimes when they bend down or are sitting, you actually see the full human that birthed this child, but most of the time, it's just a year in the life of one of 4 babies.

One of the babies is named Bayar who lives with his family in Bayanchandmani, Mongolia.
I don't want to ruin it for you, so I won't tell you specifics, but this kid gets into some interesting situations. The lone male of this movie, he's battered by his brother and left to play amoungst the cattle at times.
Oh, and he's super cute!
The next baby is named Ponijao and she lives with her family in Opuwo, Namibia. This little girl (who I thought was a boy the whole movie) is absolutely ADORABLE!

Some of the things that happened in the Namibia sequences made me gag and some made me cry. Seriously. Amazing.

Again, I don't want to tell you too much, but pretty much their only toys are rocks ... and they seem content with that!
The 3rd baby is named Mari and she lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan.
Mari has more "things" at her disposal so this sequence isn't as jaw dropping as with the other 2, but she's still super cute, so she's fun to watch.

The last baby is named Hattie who lives with her family in San Francisco, California. This rolly polly little girl lives a life that we are used to.
Playing with cell phones and trips to the beach are regular activities for us, but when watching it in contrast to what the other ones are doing in their perspective homes, it's really very interesting.

I think everyone should watch this movie. Even kids. Like I said, there are very few spoken words in this movie, but it grabbed my attention right from the get go. It will blow your mind to realize how spoiled we North American's are. I thought I knew that lesson ... yeah, this will reopen your eyes to that subject. The more we have around us, the less content we are, it seems.

Anyway, I highly recommend this movie. It's awesome. It obviously took a year to film and then a couple of years to edit and get into theatres, so they do a little follow up on them at the end a couple of years later, but I'd love to see another follow up on them maybe at age 10 and then 15 ... you know ... every 5 years to see how they're doing and to see what they think of themselves as babies. So great! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy birthday(s)!

I know 3 people who have birthdays today ... and if you know anything about me, that makes me happy ... because of the number 3 being involved, duh! I don't know why, ok. It just does. :P As far as I know, none of them read my blog, but I want to pay tribute to them anyway.

First, I'll tell you about my nephew, Jackson.
He's my youngest nephew and he turns 11 today. He's such a sweet guy. I haven't seen him since my trip to Malaysia back in 2007 when this picture was taken.
I can't wait to see him again in May. He's just a barrel of fun. When we skyped with them at Christmas, I could totally see a change in him and although I'm sure he'll be taller than me in no time, he'll always be my little nephew.
I don't know if he'll let me put him in a trance by tickling his face anymore, but as an Auntie, I think I'll always have to try, right? It's my duty!
Happy birthday, Jackeroo! Can't wait to see you in 54 days!!!

The 2nd person I know with a birthday today I've known since I was 10 years old. It literally makes my heart happy that we're still friends after all this time. My friend, Lee and I have been friends since we met in Grade 5. We went to different schools for Grade 8 and 9 but still kept in touch and then were BFs again in Grade 10, 11 and 12 when we were reunited at the same school again.
After we graduated, we lost touch a little bit, but never for long. We definitely went our separate ways and did different things and I think we might have gone a couple of years without being in touch, but you can't kept true friends away from each other. Last summer I had the privilege of going to Lee's wedding. It was such an honour to be there. This was a picture of us from last month when we went out for supper, had some great laughs, looked through old High School pictures (and of course had more laughs about that) and just generally chatted about our hopes and dreams. Honestly. That may sound corny, but we did. Lee's got 2 beautiful little girls now and it's wonderful to see her as a wife and mother. We also talked about our shared love of Sixteen Candles (we can recite almost the whole movie), Ricky Gervais (have you seen the new show An Idiot Abroad? HILARIOUS!) and Hoarders (gross, but you can't look away!). I love you, Lee, Lee the Dancing Bee!
The 3rd person I know who has a today is my friend, Colleen. I put Colleen 3rd because, like me, she's got this weird thing about the number 3. Neither of us can explain it. It just makes us happy to know that there's someone out there who gets it. So, there's that that makes us great friends, but Colleen's also one of the nicest people I know. We became friends because I was friends with her brother and slowly over time, I started hanging out more with her than I did with him. I don't think I know anyone who doesn't like her when they meet her.
When I was living in the States, Colleen was one of the people who would write me letters (remember those days when we actually still put pen to paper?) and send me little things in the mail to make me feel not so far from home. She's one of those people who does those extra little things to let you know that you're special to her. I am blessed to call you my friend, Colleen.
Happy birthday to you all! I hope you all have a WONDERFUL day because you all deserve it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thank You for making me average

I was going to call this post, "Thank You for making me normal" but then the opposite is abnormal and I don't like that word. Here's what I mean.

The other day I was watching TV and I came across a show where a guy had a 12 pound tumor on his face. It was awful. I felt so bad for him. Luckily the show was about an amazing doctor in Chicago that said he would remove the tumor for him. When this man would walk down the street, people would stare at him. After the surgery, he did look a million times better, but people will still stare at him. On average, most people don't have 12 pound tumors on their faces.

A couple of weeks ago I saw another show where a 7 year old girl was kept BY HER PARENTS in a dog cage in the basement. Awful. Awful. Who does that to their child? On average, most people didn't grow up with horrible parents.

Then there's the show Hoarders. I realize that this show has opened our eyes to the fact that more people have this problem then we may have thought before the show aired, but on average, most people don't live like that.

I've always been attracted to fame. I used to watch Entertainment Tonight religiously. I used to buy People Magazine as often as possible. One of the things on my Bucket List is to see myself on the big screen. Not as the star. Just walking by in the background in a movie. Or when someone invents something that makes millions or goes from obscurity to fame, I'm honestly happy for them, but there's a twinge of jealousy in me as well. It's not about the money. There's this weird desire in me to be known. I don't know why. It's not one of my finer points, but it's not something that controls my life, either. I don't crave it so much that I'm actively doing anything to BE known. It's just kinda always in the back of my mind like when I hear how Stephenie Meyer has a dream, wakes up and starts writing down this dream and it turns into the Twilight series. My first thought is, "How cool is that for her?!" and my second thought is, "Why couldn't that have happened to me? I love writing and I have TONS of crazy dreams!" I know, it's weird. I don't seek the spotlight, but if it's put on me, I don't shy away from it, either (although I probably should because my face goes ALL SHADES of red! Not because I'm embarrassed, but because attention is drawn to me and I know that people are looking at me and then inevitably, someone will yell out, "Man your face is red!" Thanks for that.).

Anyway, the reason I'm telling you that is because this week after I'd watched those first programs I mentioned, I realized that I'd rather be average than to be known for something horrible that happened to me that was out of my control. I'm happy that God made me who I am. I could've been born with a condition that caused a tumor to grow on my face, but I wasn't. I could've been born to horrible parents, but I wasn't. I could have a mental condition that causes me to be a hoarder, but I wasn't (ok, some of my friends do think I keep WAY too many things, but it's not to THAT extent). On the flip side, I could've been born with the acting ability of Halle Berry, but I wasn't. I could've been born with the creative talent of Vera Wang, but I wasn't. God made me Fiona Borne for a reason.

I just wanted to publicly thank God for making me average. And I'm really ok with that.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Compliment ... followed by a diss ... followed by another diss ... followed by a compliment!

Have you seen this site?

If you type in your blog name, it'll give you an analysis about your blog. Here's what it said about mine a week ago.

Text analysis is probably written by a female somewhere between 18-25 years old.
(Nice!) The writing style is personal and upset most of the time. (What? Wait a second! Am I upset most of the time?)

Then, a week later, after I've blogged about JB, it said this:

All of a sudden I'm 13 - 17 years old and I'm happy most of the time! Yup, must've been the post about JB. I wonder how it rates your blog so quickly? It must look at most commonly used words or something like that. Oh well. I'm not putting too much stock in it. I thought it was kinda funny.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Heavenly crepes

Ok, I realize that "heavenly" may be an overstatement, but in my mind, they were heavenly ... because I made them with my own 2 hands. I'm sure you know by now, but cooking really isn't my thang, but it was Fat Tuesday, after all and I had just gotten a recipe from my fellow blogger, Jill, so I thought, why not try it?

I realize they're lumpy and my eggs yolks were really orangey so that's why they look so yellow, but you know what ...they tasted good and that's what mattered to me.

There's gotta be a life lesson here ... Don't judge a book by it's cover ... We all have a few lumps but are still essentially good ... or maybe it's as simple as ... Stop being so scared of cooking, Fiona, and just DO it every once in awhile and you'll see it's not so scary!

Sprinkle on a little sugar and cinnamon and everything turns out all right.

I remember one time I was all excited because at school we were going to learn how to make something called crepes and it sounded so exotic. I came home at the end of the day and said to my Mom, "Those things weren't so great. They were German pancakes! We eat those all the time." It wasn't that I didn't like them when my Mom made them. I just thought I was going to see something new at school that day, but it was something I'd known all along, just with another name ... hmmm, there's probably a life lesson somewhere in there, too.

This is how I used to eat them as a kid ... rolled up with sugar inside. Mmmm, mmm, mmmmm

That was fun for me. I wonder what I should tackle next!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Lent update

I know today is usually Wordless Wednesday, but today is the first day of Lent, so I thought I should write an update.

I’ve obviously decided not to give up blogging, and I’m happy about that. I’ve been enjoying blogging lately in a way that I haven’t before and I believe it’s in a healthy way, so I’m glad God didn’t ask me to give this up. I love connecting with you all on a different level.

So, what AM I giving up this year? Well, Facebook for one. I just don’t NEEEEEED to be on it as much as I am. There are other things I can do with my time that are more productive. I’m going to finish reading Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi - thanks to Keri for lending it to me). Since I started Jenny Craig last summer, I vowed I didn’t want to become a calorie counting, food obsessed person. I think I’ve done pretty good in that area and have become more equipped with the tools to help me stay balanced. I wanted to read this book to see if I see myself in it at all. She was anorexic and bulimic. I really do believe that physical appearance is something that the majority of women struggle with, so although I think it’ll always somewhat be an issue in my mind, I would like to get as much in control of it as possible and have it be an issue in the BACK of my mind, not in the forefront. I’ll admit that I did see myself in parts of the book, but then she’d go completely off and in my mind I’d think, “Whoa. That’s crazy!” so I think this book was good for me to read to confirm that I’m not over the edge .. although, I fully give any of you permission to ever tell me if you think I HAVE got an issue. Please do. So, once I finish reading that book, I’m going to start reading Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen. I’ve heard it’s hilarious and even some of my non Mennonite friends said that, so I can’t wait to see what it’s all about. I’ll let you know what I think when I’m done.

Here’s another weird thing that I’ve been feeling I have to stop doing ... I’m not going to run yellow lights anymore. No, this has nothing to do with Lent, but have you ever been at a light waiting to turn left and finally the light turns yellow so you’ll get to go and then one (and sometimes even two or three) more people go through the yellow so by the time you get to turn, the light’s already green for the people going the OTHER way and you get dirty looks? Yeah. Sucks, doesn’t it? Well, I’ve often been that person going straight through the light, forcing my left turning friend to get the bad looks that I deserve. No more of that. The same goes for when I’m a pedestrian and I don’t have a walk signal. Ok, yes, I do agree that it turns to “the hand” too quickly most of the time, but again, there are driver’s waiting to turn left and if I’m taking my sweet time walking through the crosswalk, they are going to be forced to hold up traffic waiting for me. No more of that, either.

You’re probably thinking, "What does this have to do with Lent? This doesn’t seem so hard." I’ve been thinking the same thing. This year I haven’t felt compelled as in previous years to really struggle and give something up for 40 days ... but instead, been challenged to give a few things up for good. Things that I think will only be good for me (and other drivers, evidently). You may wonder how my giving up “malicious talk” is going. Mostly good. It’s a daily struggle. I wish I could say that it isn’t, but it is. I do love that I’m hearing the Holy Spirit’s conviction, though. It makes me feel closer to God. Sometimes I’m strong and sometimes I’m not ... but I’m working on it. I’m not giving up. I don’t know if you remember or not, but I had originally said something about it being worth the risk and then not being sure if “risk” was the right word to use. Well, I’ve learned there is risk involved. If I’m in a room where I feel people are bad mouthing other people, I’ve chosen to walk out. Most of those people know that I’m working on this area in my life and while I don't expect anyone to change their ways because I've decided to work on this, I also don’t want them to think that I think I’m better than them because I’m taking the high road and choosing not to partake in the bad mouthing. I've learned hard lessons in the past not to judge. It's not my job to convict other people and what they do is between them and God, so I don't want to force anyone into anything, but there’s risk of losing some friendships, actually, if people think that I think I'm better than them. How do I make them realize that I don't think that way? I can see how it seems a little self righteous to leave a room when you don't agree with something, doesn't it? How do you get it across that I don't think any less of you, but I'm just going to do what's right for me. Does that make sense? I'm still processing that one and it's been weird, but again, a risk that I think is worth taking.

So there you have it. Lent is very different for me this year. I think I’ll have to find another way to prepare myself for Easter than I have in past years, but I’m up for the challenge. I know a lot of people who are taking on the Lent challenge for the first time this year. I think that's awesome, but I've said the same thing to each one of them, so I thought I'd put it here as well, in case you're thinking of doing it for the first time. Don't pressure yourself. Lent is an experience between you and God. Everyone does it a bit differently. There really are not a set of right/wrong rules. Don't tell yourself that you have to sit and pray and read your Bible instead of whatever you're giving up. For me, that was a recipe for failure. Just let God direct you and show you what He wants you to do/learn/see. There were years where I felt like a failure because I filled whatever I'd given up with something equally as time consuming, but I believe the main thing was that I tried and when I felt like cheating and going back to whatever it was that I'd given up, I'd be reminded of the sacrifice that Jesus had made for me and it made me think, "Ok, what I'm giving up is NOTHING compared to that, so I can handle it for 40 days." I believe that Lent is to prepare us for Easter and get us to really think about the sacrifice Jesus made for us. It's not to guilt you into doing something else. Yes, if reading your Bible more or praying more are a by product of your experience, that's awesome. But don't put that pressure on yourself. Just start by letting it be a reminder throughout the day of Jesus' sacrifice ... and go from there. That's just my opinion.

Oh, after I wrote my other post about what I felt God was asking me to give up, Marni sent me this video. I’m not proud of this, but I’ll be honest and say that at first, this lady’s voice sounded condescending to me and I almost didn’t watch it, but I knew Marni wouldn’t have sent it to me if it didn’t have something good to say, so I watched it. And I’m glad I did. She talks about using our words in a positive way and not allowing the enemy to use them against us ... and that’s exactly what I was talking about! I love having you girlfriends looking out for me ... knowing you’re out there and you’ve got my back and are such an encouragement to me!

A couple of you mentioned that you're struggling with this same issue. First of all, thank you for admitting it and for making me feel like I'm not alone. Second, let's all pray for each other and have our own support group! I think we should start with this verse:

Psalm 19:14
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Movie Monday

Never Say Never

That really is a good saying to have in your life. I didn't learn that lesson until I was in my 20s. I used to say "I'll never do _____!" and I obviously hung out with people with really good memories because they'd often remember me saying that and then point and laugh and say, "Aaaahahaha! You said you'd NEVER do ______ and look at you now!" That honestly cured me of saying never ... although, I really never thought I'd be reviewing this movie on my blog.

Justin Bieber's Never Say Never

There's going to be a lot of confessions in this post and yes, they'll have to do with either boy bands, pop music or sometimes just random facts. You can choose now whether you want to read further or not ... I'll give you a minute ...

Still with me? Ok, here we go. When I first heard about Justin Bieber, I thought he was manufactured ... like that boy band ... oh, what was their name ... let me google it really quick ... oh yeah ... O-Town. Remember them? Confession #1 - I watched most of that "Making the Band" show. What? That was more than 10 years ago. I was much younger then. I wonder where those guys are now? Oh wait, when I googled them, it says that as of January 2011, 4 of the 5 are back together recording in the studio. Uh oh. Anyway, back to the movie. I thought Justin was like that. I thought someone had found this cute kid, given him an image and put him on stage. I knew he was a good Canadian kid and supposedly had a Christian upbringing but that's really all I knew about him or cared to know about him.

Well, I have a 12 year old Little Sister now and guess who she loves? Yup. The Biebster. I thought she'd for sure be going with her friends to see the movie but when I asked her, she kinda hung her head and said that no, she wouldn't be going with her friends. Well, her and I do go see a lot of movies together, so I said, "Do you want me to take you?" I don't know why I didn't think she'd want to go with me (maybe I was just thinking about myself at that age and that I might be all squeally and wouldn't want an adult seeing me like that - I guess that was Confession #2), but she said yes, so off we went.

I'll just get Confession #3 out of the way right now. I liked the movie. Judge away. I honestly don't care. I really don't, because (here comes Confession #4), I've always liked pop music. I remember when I was in either Grade 5 or 6, I LOVED Michael Jackson. I did. I had a button on my jean jacket with his face on it. My friends all mocked me. I didn't get it. How could they not like him? I got bugged every day about it, but I didn't take off my button. No way. Come to think of it, I'm surprised my Dad didn't make me take it off, but maybe I didn't wear that jacket around him a lot. I can't remember. What I do remember is that when Michael Jackson came to Vancouver in concert, ALL my friends went ... and I didn't. I was crushed. I thought they didn't like him? I honestly remember that like it was yesterday. I think it was my first run in with hypocrisy. Anyway, that's a bit of background on me. I've liked pop music ever since I can remember. Loved watching Video Hits when I got home from school ... until my Dad came home and would say, "Turn that garbage off." Don't worry, he's lightened up significantly since then. I don't remember being all squeally about MJ, but who knows what I would've been like at his concert. I guess we'll never know now, will we?

Back to the Biebs. Did you know that JB is actually talented? There was video of him in this movie of him playing the guitar and the kid could barely walk! Then he was playing the drums. The neighbour kids had a drum set and JB would go and just stare at him and watch him play. The kids heard him drumming on the steps and thought it would be fun to get him a little kid set of his own and he was good! When he was 8, they had him play in a jazz competition with them. Apparently jazz music is pretty hard to drum to when you're that age, but they ended up winning and made enough money to buy him a regular size set of drums. He also played the piano. All when he was under 10 years old! He really does have talent. When you watch the videos of him as a little kid, you can just see that he loves performing. He was a ham for the camera and had natural talent. His mom put a couple of videos of him singing on YouTube so their family from other parts of the country could see him ... a marketing executive saw these videos and the rest is history. Good for you, Justin.

I will admit that I still feel that since he's only 17, him singing about love ... really? How much does he know about love ... other than the mom/grandma/grandpa type of love? Not a whole lot. So, that's the only part I still kind of roll my eyes at, but I get that that's what sells and all teenagers think they really understand and know what love is ... heck, I'm 39 and I'm not sure if I even know what that kind of love is like, so I guess, who am I to judge, right? All I know is that I cannot judge these little girls. Confession #5 - if I met Bono today, I'd probably cry. I really do think that I would. I don't know if I'd cry while I was meeting him (hopefully I'd be able to hold it together), but I really do think that afterwards I'd have a bit of a meltdown ... and I'm an adult, so how can these young girls be expected to know how to control their emotions? They can't. So to them I say:

I get it. Squeal away. Have fun with it. Daydream if you must. Just don't take it too seriously. He's a cutie and seems like a really nice guy, but you probably won't marry him. You probably won't ever be his "Baby, baby, baby, oh!" You most likely won't even get to ever be within 100 feet of him ... although I've been within 10 feet of U2, so I know that last one can happen, so don't give up on it ... just don't base whether your life is worth something or not on it. You know what I'm saying? Yeah, just have fun with it. You'll look back on it in years with fond memories and maybe even still get a little weak in the knees if one day in your 30s you actually meet him. And that's ok. Don't let anyone tell you it's not ... as long as you don't take it too seriously. No one likes a stalker.

Oh, and now I think he was robbed of the Best New Artist Grammy. Confession #6

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Jealousy update

Thank you to all of you who prayed (are praying) for me. I'm happy to announce that this jealousy has really subsided. It's not completely gone, but it's not right THERE like it was when I wrote my original post. Your comments were very helpful and a friend of mine who I go on walks with (I love these walks for 2 reasons ... 1 - we get into some great, deep issues on our walks and it's SO great to talk these things out and get someone else's perspective and 2 - we get some exercise while doing it!) said the same thing that most of you said to me ... it's what you do with this jealousy that counts. She also said that it was obvious that what I was jealous about was something I was also passionate about, so maybe God was bringing it to the forefront of my mind to spur me on to take further steps to becoming more of that kind of person. I don't know if that makes sense, but I've actually noticed changes in my life already ... and that's exciting to me! I guess it scared me at first because I'm not generally a jealous person. I'm pretty content with my life, so when these issues came up, I didn't like not feeling content on this level, but I really do believe it was because God is doing a work in me and I'm slowly going through the motions with Him to help me figure out these changes He wants me to make and work through. It's been exciting!

The day after I wrote my original post, I found this next paragraph somewhere, saved it as a new post because it was so in line with what you'd all said and what God was teaching me, but now, for the life of me, I can't remember where I saw it! Is it the memory or the eyesight that's supposed to be the first to go? Whichever one it is, I'm losing both of them lately. Sheesh! Anyway, here's the paragraph I found that I saved but can't give credit to anyone because it's completely slipped my mind where I found it ... or if someone sent it to me. Sorry!

This kind of jealousy begs for a change in direction. God is jealous for us to turn away from the distractions of this world and turn toward Him. He’s jealous for us to let go of the false identities we hold onto so tightly, and to align ourselves with Him. He’s jealous for us to relinquish the things we allow to define our worth, and grab tightly to our value in Him.

Change of direction. - When I was in my early 20s, I remember saying to someone that change scared the crap out of me. Now, I love it. Life would be boring without change. I want to constantly be changing into more of the person that God wants me to be.

Value in Him - Over the last few years, finding my value in God has completely changed my perspective on life. That's how I feel I've been able to become content. Finding my value in God rather than worldly things (I'm definitely not saying I'm perfect in this area by ANY means - always a long way to go!) has given me so much freedom to not worry as much about what people think of me. Freedom rocks!

From jealousy to freedom. Thanks, God, for never giving up on me and for continually teaching me lessons. Help my eyes to be open and not to miss what You're trying to show me. And thanks for giving me great friends to help me along the way.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Grace Over Karma - An interview with Bono

I wish this was an interview that I had done with the man himself, but alas, I'll leave that privilege to Michka Assayas.

Bono Interview: Grace Over Karma
(Excerpt from the book Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas)

Bono: My understanding of the Scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ. Christ teaches that God is love. What does that mean? What it means for me: a study of the life of Christ. Love here describes itself as a child born in straw poverty, the most vulnerable situation of all, without honor. I don't let my religious world get too complicated. I just kind of go: Well, I think I know what God is. God is love, and as much as I respond [sighs] in allowing myself to be transformed by that love and acting in that love, that's my religion. Where things get complicated for me, is when I try to live this love. Now that's not so easy.

Assayas: What about the God of the Old Testament? He wasn't so "peace and love"?

Bono: There's nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that's why they're so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you're a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.

Assayas: Speaking of bloody action movies, we were talking about South and Central America last time. The Jesuit priests arrived there with the gospel in one hand and a rifle in the other.

Bono: I know, I know. Religion can be the enemy of God. It's often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. [laughs] A list of instructions where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship. Why are you chuckling?

Assayas: I was wondering if you said all of that to the Pope the day you met him.

Bono: Let's not get too hard on the Holy Roman Church here. The Church has its problems, but the older I get, the more comfort I find there. The physical experience of being in a crowd of largely humble people, heads bowed, murmuring prayers, stories told in stained-glass windows

Assayas: So you won't be critical.

Bono: No, I can be critical, especially on the topic of contraception. But when I meet someone like Sister Benedicta and see her work with AIDS orphans in Addis Ababa, or Sister Ann doing the same in Malawi, or Father Jack Fenukan and his group Concern all over Africa, when I meet priests and nuns tending to the sick and the poor and giving up much easier lives to do so, I surrender a little easier.

Assayas: But you met the man himself. Was it a great experience?

Bono: [W]e all knew why we were there. The Pontiff was about to make an important statement about the inhumanity and injustice of poor countries spending so much of their national income paying back old loans to rich countries. Serious business. He was fighting hard against his Parkinson's. It was clearly an act of will for him to be there. I was oddly moved by his humility, and then by the incredible speech he made, even if it was in whispers. During the preamble, he seemed to be staring at me. I wondered. Was it the fact that I was wearing my blue fly-shades? So I took them off in case I was causing some offense. When I was introduced to him, he was still staring at them. He kept looking at them in my hand, so I offered them to him as a gift in return for the rosary he had just given me.

Assayas: Didn't he put them on?

Bono: Not only did he put them on, he smiled the wickedest grin you could ever imagine. He was a comedian. His sense of humor was completely intact. Flashbulbs popped, and I thought: "Wow! The Drop the Debt campaign will have the Pope in my glasses on the front page of every newspaper."

Assayas: I don't remember seeing that photograph anywhere, though.

Bono: Nor did we. It seems his courtiers did not have the same sense of humor. Fair enough. I guess they could see the T-shirts.
(I found this picture myself on the world wide web so I thought I'd include it ... :)

Later in the conversation:
Assayas: I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

Bono: Yes, I think that's normal. It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

Assayas: I haven't heard you talk about that.

Bono: I really believe we've moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

Assayas: Well, that doesn't make it clearer for me.

Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I'd be interested to hear that.

Bono: That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.

Assayas: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled . It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.

Assayas: That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?

Bono: No, it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: "I'm the Messiah." I'm saying: "I am God incarnate." And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the "M" word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was the Messiah or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we've been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had "King of the Jews" on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I'm not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched

Bono later says it all comes down to how we regard Jesus:

Bono: If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s--- and everybody else's. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that's the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011