Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Survival of the Fittest!

Hello All,

This story came to me after a conversation I had with someone special. I love to be challenged and to think out of the box. If you like it... let me know and I might write a Chapter 2.


Survival of the Fittest!

Chapter One

"Only the strongest will survive." His hands gripped the steering wheel tightly as if to make a point. "Survival of the fittest!" He grinned. He was trying to get her goat. 
"He's trying to make me upset like he used to... Well, I'm not a little girl anymore." she made up her mind not to fight tonight.  
 She hadn't seen Spencer in 20 years. She had really been looking forward to this date... sort of date... perhaps more like a dinner and coffee to catch up on 20 years but now, she just wanted to go home. 
"What about compassion? What about us as human beings helping one and other to grow strong together?" she asked. She knew this was a one sided conversation. If he was anything like she remembered, Spencer was playing the devil's advocate. 
 She had been in love with Spencer 20 years ago, when they were in youth group together, and after seeing him again after all these years she realized she still loved him... Devil's advocate and all... She just wasn't in the mood to debate the meaning of life tonight.
"The compassionate are weak and will soon die out of society. The tough will survive." She could feel the hairs in the back of her neck start to prick up. 
"Grace!.... Maggie. Don't get yourself all riled up." she spoke to the little voice within. "Boy, is he good." she patted her skirt flat to delay her answer and collect herself.
"And yet, not even 2 hours ago... right after you picked me up... you stopped along the side of the road to help that lady change her flat tire?" she reminded him, "Your actions do not run parallel with the words coming out of your mouth!" Bugger, she was getting upset again... "deep breath Maggie."
"Being friendly and helpful, just makes life better and my clan or my family grows stronger." then he beat his fist against his chest, "UGGGG... me strong pack leader!" He laughed. Maggie shook her head.  
"It's not out of love or compassion that people... that I do this.... It's for the betterment of my clan... Homo sapiens have been doing this for millions of years. There is a time for war and a time for peace... it has nothing to do with God... it's for the survival of our species."
 "What the heck has happened to you?" She thought, as the wiper blades squeaked back and forth, the screech as irritating as mosquito's buzzing in her ear.
"Twenty years ago you were singing Hallelujah and Praising God... What changed Spence?" with a deep sigh she looked at him and watched the lights, of the on coming traffic, reflect off his romanesque face and his dark wavy hair. Gosh, he had grown into a very handsome man. How could she say good-bye to him again? 
There was an awkward silence, as he thought about her words, and searched his past for answers. She turned away and stared out the passenger window into the darkness.
"I'm attracted to his physical looks.... but....I can't live on looks alone... what happened to his inside beauty?" She thought, as the darkness past by. He was going to go to college and become a youth pastor and counsellor. Help kids who lived in abusive homes. He was going to change the world. Now, he wants to convert her to atheism. 
 During dinner, Maggie found out he did go to college and become a  youth counsellor. He worked in foster care, counseling kids from abusive homes. He'd seen so much. So many kids with out love.
 " You know what's happened to me Mags?" He remembered her nick name. Spence and Mags had known one and other since kindergarten. They lived in the same cul de sac, their mom's were best friends and they attended the same church sunday school. 
 His dog was named Maggie and one day he called her, as if she were his dog, she refused.
" I will only answer to princess of the world." she said in her 7 year old hoity-toity voice as she stood on top of his older brother's new tires for a 1982 Mustang.
" Oh mighty and honorable miss stinkcess. Will you cometh hither." He replied and bowed, then jumped on top of the tires to push her off. 
"Get off my new Mags, you two." Rick called out from the garage.  Since then, the nick name 'Mags' just kind of stuck. 
He stopped for a red light and looked at her. "I grew up Mags." he shook his head. "You're still so innocent.... after all these years.... you haven't been touched by the harsh reality's of life." He sighed deeply. " Three years ago I found my wife of five years in bed with another man."
"It wasn't the 1st time she cheated on me," the light turned green and Spencer continued," She had been cheating for two years... with different men." he murmured barely a whisper, "I was too naive to notice. Living in Lotus land." She felt his pain. Couldn't  believe that someone could do this to him.  He was a great guy, and she remembered him as being an amazing friend; open, honest, confident even as a tweenie. Maggie had dreams of marrying him when she was 17, but then he and his family moved away to Calgary when she was 12. 
" I was so disgusted with women... with life... that I did something.... " she was expecting him to say that he slept around.  A normal Male emotional physical response. She studied a little counseling herself  at Trinity University in Langley B.C, 12 years ago, but then decided to follow her heart and she became a writer.
"I got a vasectomy." she thought he was joking, then his eyes clouded over and she knew he was telling the truth. " I don't want innocent children to be brought up in this horrible world. I've worked with too many unwanted kids."
"As much as this world is a terrible place there is still good in it." she gently touched his hand. "Like you... for helping those kids.... You can't lose hope Spence." He looked intensely at her as if wanting to share more but didn't dare, wanting to trust her but couldn't.
"It's in the past," he shook his head as if to shake the painful memory away. "Anyway, why can't I be a good person for the sake of just wanting to do good? I don't need to rely on an illusion of an entity who lives up in heaven and is supposedly 'taking care' of me and loves me. It's crap."
"No it's not." she replied, the compassion she felt a moment ago, turned to irritation once more. Love and hope were worth fighting for.
"It is Maggie! You are so naive! In another 100 years, religion  will totally die off and the strongest will be alive.... We evolved as a species through our strengths... the weak die off... That's life...  those looking after their own clan... procreating more offspring... that's what life is about! The more I spread my seed.... the more my genes spread forward and become stronger."
"Hmmmmph" She replied, " I guess your life is meaningless now!" He glanced at her confused, not understanding where she was going with this argument. ".... because." she continued. "You're neutered!" He finally got to her.... he got her goat.... once those words were out of her mouth she knew she had said them in anger... where was that grace she was supposed to be filled with?... if only there was a way of going back into time. 
"You're right Mags. I should just throw myself in front of that bus right now." he sighed. 
"Oh! What have I gotten myself into?" Her heart beat pounded against her chest. "Thank goodness we were almost home." she thought as tears pricked her eyes.
"Have you ever seen the movie 'The world According to Garp'?" He asked her smiling again. The tension eased.
"I can't recall." she said dabbing a stray tear nonchalantly, "It's an old movie?"
"Robin Williams played Garp."
"Oh yeah, it was that weird movie he was in."
"Yeah," he recalled, "In one of Garp's lives he was a slave in a Roman's home..... this Roman official had to kill himself... it was his duty... I can't remember why.... but Garp was walking behind him with a piece of papyrus saying, 'Please sign this 1st sir... so I can be free.' The Roman was in such distress he didn't hear Garp.... focused only on doing what he had to do. Running around his home carrying a knife and repeated saying, 'I can't do it.... I can't kill myself.' He trips on the stairs and impales himself with the knife he was carrying and lay dead at the bottom...." another red stop light. Then he looked at her and said, " I am that Roman Mags. I know my life has no more use.... and I'm too afraid to kill myself." She was stunned. She couldn't speak.
"That's a pretty sad place to be." All throughout dinner he joked and laughed as if he had no cares in the world but now? Is this what he really thinks? or is he playing 'Devil's Advocate' again?
"His argument is with God... not me." She thought as they pulled up into the driveway of her apartment block. She didn't want to say good-by to him just yet. It didn't feel right to leave on this note. 
"Do you want to come up for coffee?" she listened to that little voice deep within her. He hesitated a moment and a frown passed over his face.
"Just a coffee and a talk." she reiterated. "It doesn't feel right to say good-bye like this."
"You're right... Okay.. I'll come up." 
 They left the car in the visitor parking lot an walked up to her building 'The Lilloet' in North Vancouver. It was a warm winter evening. The Christmas lights were still up around the pond and fountain, even in February, for the Vancouver Olympics. 
"Mags?" they stopped walking and were waiting for the elevator.
"Our discussion tonight?" He asked looking down at his shoes.
"Is it going to end up in one of your magazine articles?" He knew she wrote for a daily column in a local newspaper called 'Acts of Faith' and a few of her articles were in Christianity Today and the Faith Magazine.
"Yup." she looked slyly at him from the corner of her eye. He shook his head and blushed. 
"Figures." he laughed, "Can you do me a favour?"
"Can you not use my real name?" he pleaded.
"Done." she grinned. The elevator door opened, she felt a mischievous urge take over, "If that was what I believed.... I wouldn't want my name attached to it either." and she jumped in the elevator as Spence lashed out to punch her arm. He got in and she pressed for the 8th floor. They were in stitches, laughing the way they used to twenty years ago,  as the elevator door closed.

An email to Spencer from Maggie:

02 March, 2010

Dear Spence,

I believe in hope
I believe in love
I believe in grace
I believe in compassion
I believe in God
and I also believe that these are strengths and not weaknesses, and that I am a stronger human animal with them, then I am without them. 
 We are infants in our knowledge about everything. Our scientific knowledge has barely scraped the surface of the whole knowledge of the universe. Everything is still theories, we are still learning. Who can prove there is a spiritual realm? Who can prove there is not?No one. 
Don't let the darkness of world views prevent you from being the best human being you can be. The world covers our lives with obscurity and shadows, God fills our lives with light and clarity. This is a truth that I have experienced. It would be selfish of me to keep this truth to myself. 

1 Corinthians 13:13
So these three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

 I had a really great time while you were here in Vancouver. Next month, I'll be in Edmonton for a book signing and talk. Did you still want to meet?

Take Care,
 If you have your own questions about the meaning of life or just want to know what happens to Spencer and Maggie, leave a comment or email me at

Alpha Course - Maple Ridge - April 13th

Are you the friend you want to have?

Bonjour Amis,

This letter came in my Spam box this morning... (I check it every once in a while.... just in case). I really liked what it had to say about friends and wanted to share it with you my friends. 
 I checked out the web site as well and it's official and not a fake one. It's for woman's life coaching. 

Enjoy the read,
Mary.... (aka Anuschka)

Are You the Friend You Want You Have? 

The Life Coaching Letter #60The Integrated Woman 

March 31, 2010 

"Life is nothing without friendship." That’s what Cicero said many years ago, and I whole-heartedly agree. I don’t know where I’d be if not for my friends over the years. Friendship is one of life’s greatest treasures; and I often wonder if we pause long enough to think about this area of our lives. 

Friendships come in all shapes and sizes -- some last a lifetime and others just a season. There are social friendships -- supportive and enjoyable, but not deep. There are friends we’ve known since first grade, and others who are brand new, but make us feel like we’ve known them all of our lives. 

There are what I call "situational" friendships... people with whom we share life circumstances -- like moms in a play group, or colleagues, or classmates. And there are precious "kindred spirits" -- those who, no matter how much time or water under the bridge or distance, you can start right where you left off and always feel understood. 

Every kind of friendship is valuable, but certain things will strengthen and build it, while other things will cause it to weaken or even break. 

What kind of a friend are you? Do you do most of the giving or most of the taking? Do you keep in touch and take responsibility for regular communication and planning get-togethers? Do you let your friends know how much they mean to you? Are you the kind of friend you’d want to have? 

There are a few key elements to meaningful, lasting friendship... 

Trust is the first biggie. You have to be able to trust a friend -- at least to the degree you wish to relate. In other words, you don’t have to tell every friend your deepest, darkest secrets, but you should be able to trust the person with whatever you do share. 

Likewise, you must be trustworthy yourself. Which means keeping your friend’s confidences, protecting her reputation, being reliable. 

Communication is also key. Particularly in female friendships. (And let’s face it, male friendships do tend to be different.) Communication, first of all, means staying in touch -- calling, emailing, writing, spending time together. If one person is doing most or all of the work, resentment and hurt feelings can build. 

Sometimes we get into patterns where we’re used to playing a predictable role, but friendships must grow and change if they’re going to be satisfying. We should examine the habits we have with our friends and decide if we want to start showing up a little differently. 

Another part of communication is being a good listener, not just a talker. Naturally, our friends provide us shoulders to cry on and ears for venting, but if we’re always verbally dumping our stuff without being available in return, we’re just using people instead of engaging in mutually beneficial relationships. 

A third key element in any true friendship is compassion. All of us fight battles at times and we need friends who can be kind when life is cruel, who will be there for us when others leave, who will remind us of who we are and hold out hope when we’ve lost our way. 

There are many important aspects to friendship, but let’s now turn our attention for a moment to a few things that will weaken and destroy it... 

Jealousy and envy are high on the list. True friends rejoice in each others’ talents, successes, and strengths -- and they take no delight in each others’ faults and failures. If you find yourself jealous or envious of a friend, one way to deal with it is to simply ‘fess up. Being open about it can dissipate the thoughts and feelings and bring you closer together. 

Related to this is another harmful habit -- making comparisons. The beauty of friendship is that you share things in common, but you’re also wonderfully unique. When you compare yourself to a friend -- whether it’s in appearance, possessions, successes, whatever -- you step outside the bond you share and allow your insecurities to place a wedge. One way to handle this is to make your friend an ally in building up your confidence. If someone is consistently bringing you down or uninterested in your well-bring, it’s probably time to let that person go. 

Lack of mutuality is another obstacle. Friendships can go through seasons... when one person gives more than another. But generally speaking, it is by nature, mutual. Both people give and take. Both talk and listen. Both take responsibility for growth and change in the relationship. 

And what about all the tough stuff? There are certainly many challenges we can face: When a friend marries or has a baby and all but disappears; or you wake up and realize you’ve changed and no longer enjoy a friend the way you did; or you’re doing most of the work in a friendship and don’t know how to change it; or someone you considered close moves away and never calls or emails; or a friend betrays your trust... the list goes on. 

Dealing with these issues requires another e-letter, so I’ll be sure to do that soon. 

In the meantime, while Spring seems to be hiding its face here in the mid-Atlantic, I encourage you to be grateful for your friends, to express what they mean to you, and to examine how you can be the friend you would want to have. 

Until next time, peace to you and yours,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Focus Therapy

"Kalina... Log off the computer... it's time for dinner." I called out from the kitchen one day.
"One minute. I just.... got.... to ....." Nina, was drawn back into the games of Webkinz World and couldn't even focus on finishing her sentence.
"Log off, nina."
"Yup." she continued to play.
"NOW!" I raise my voice. I felt my blood pressure going up.
"Coming... just one more...." 
"Do you need a FOCUS THERAPY session?" I walk over with a scowl. She loged off immediately.
"Done." she called out and ran past me, and sat down at the dinner table as if nothing happened.
Focus Therapy is a phrase coined first by the Pack Leader of this family. 
"We don't spank.... we use Focus Therapy." Rene smiled as we sped along highway 1 towards New Westminster. We were enjoying a lively discussion on the benefits and draw backs of flogging. 
"To hit your child out of anger, to satisfy your own selfish need to dominate, is not what I agree with." Rene continued, " We don't tan our children's hides, but a smack to teach consequence is something else."
 There were times, once or twice in their 10 and 11 years, as our girls proceeded to touch a hot stove or poke something into the electric socket that we needed to smack their little fingers to prevent a health and safety complication and to live a little longer, our offspring urged us to cuff them. To comply with the latest trend of being politically correct we termed the phrase, 'Focus Therapy'.
I received an e-mail today and I was reminded at how easily we, as adults, lose our focus... It's not only the kids.... Read below:

Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. - 
Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. 

This is how it manifests: 

I decide to water my garden. 
As I turn on the hose in the driveway, 
I look over at my car and decide it needs washing. 

As I start toward the garage, 
I notice mail on the outdoor table that 
I brought up from the mail box earlier. 

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. 

I lay my car keys on the table, 
Put the junk mail in the bin which is on the back patio, 
And notice that the bin is full. 

So, I decide to put the bills back 
On the table and take out the rubbish first. 

But then I think, 
Since I'm going to be near the mailbox 
When I take out the rubbish anyway, 
I may as well pay the bills first. 

I take my cheque book off the table, 
And see that there is only one cheque left. 

My extra cheques are in my desk in the study, 
So I go inside the house to my desk where 
I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking. 

I'm going to look for my cheques, 
But first I need to push the Coke aside 
So that I don't accidentally knock it over.. 

The Coke is getting warm, 
And I decide to put it in the fridge to keep it cold. 

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, 
A vase of flowers on the counter 
Catches my eye--they need water. 

I put the Coke on the counter and 
Discover my reading glasses that 
I've been searching for all morning. 

I decide I better put them back on my desk, 
But first I'm going to water the flowers. 

I set the glasses back down on the counter, 
Fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. 
Someone left it on the kitchen table. 

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, 
I'll be looking for the remote, 
But I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, 
So I decide to put it back in the Family room where it belongs, 
But first I'll water the flowers. 

I pour some water in the flowers, 
But quite a bit of it spills on the floor. 

So, I set the remote back on the table, 
Get some towels and wipe up the spill. 

Then, I head down the hall trying to 
Remember what I was planning to do. 

At the end of the day: 
The car isn't washed 
The bills aren't paid 
There is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter 
The flowers don't have enough water, 
There is still only 1 cheque in my cheque book, 
I can't find the remote, 
I can't find my glasses, 
And I don't remember what I did with the car keys. 
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, 
I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all darn day, 
And I'm really tired. 

I realize this is a serious problem, 
And I'll try to get some help for it, 
But first I'll check my e-mail.... 

Is this you? It is definitely me......  
I have worked in the travel industry for 19 years... and for those 19 years, I had a supervisor. I had a list of things I needed to do... each day there would be different things on that list that I needed to accomplish before 5pm... I had a time frame and schedule in which to accomplish these tasks. I knew what I needed to do, I did it well, and I finished on time.
I have been laid off since last June and lately the email above describes my day to a T. I start off with good intentions to write.... I do believe this is what God wants me to do... But then, I get a little lost in the day to day of life...... Wake up, Feed the kids, drive them to school, walk the dog, load of laundry, sweep the floors, clean the breakfast dishes, unload the dishwasher, have coffee with my neighbour Martha, wash the floors, weed the garden, clean the bathrooms, bring the overdue library books back, walk the dog again, pick up kids,  fold the laundry, Piano lessons, Rock Wall, Riding lessons, Swimming lessons, have a coffee with husband, make dinner..... did I have lunch?.... clean up dinner dishes, put kids to bed, let dog out one last time, write? 
 Are you kidding! When do I have time to write? 2am that's when...... I need some Focus Therapy. Then, I second guess myself and my purpose, my assignment.... am I supposed to write?.... maybe I heard wrong.... maybe God doesn't want me to write?..... maybe that's not my talent/gift?.....maybe he wants me to do something else?.... I question His will for me... never mind that He's been quite clear in the past.... but..... He's not clear now....  
 Being a House Wife/Writer/Sanitation Worker/Zoo Keeper/Teacher/Chef/Mediator/ Accountant/Gardener/Taxi Driver.... (I'll stop here... the list is really long)... It's hard work.... I need organization... I need lists.....I need a supervisor..... So.....  I called up my old supervisor at Transat Holidays and ask her to move in with me. She's moving in,..... in May. 

Another area in which I lose a lot of focus in, is doing things I don't like to do. Like taxes, for instance or the bathrooms. Somewhere, in the back of my grey matter... I know taxes need to get done.... and that it won't go away if I ignore it. Bathrooms don't go away either... they get stinky and demand that I do something about it. 
Life is a formula you can follow x(love God)+y(love each other) = z(Peace and harmony).  We don't live in Utopia just yet and the world's formula looks more like x(God's love) + y(love each other) + {b(taxes)- a(job loss)} + {L(bills) x t(lawsuit)} + {h(children crying) - p(cat puking hair balls)} + r(lack of passion for job) + f(Be content in all things) - {s(argument  with spouse) x q(car broke down) - e(dog ate the remote) + g(addictions) - d(grace) divide by 365(days of the year) = Z(???? I'm not sure you lost me with the cat puke).
 So, once again Focus Therapy needs to be applied to do the things we need to do, so we can move on and get to the things God wants us to do, so we can live in our sweet spot and gain a small glimpse into paradise. It's challenging to hold on to those dreams in life, and it's important to focus on your vision and hold on. 
 My life's boulevard is steeped in fog most days, and my dream doesn't always go the way I had pictured it (by now, I should have had an offer on my children's story 'Opa's Garden' and my screenplay 'Celia' was supposed to be in production), instead I'm blogging. Many times my feelings tell me to quit writing, that's when I hold on to God's will and vision for my life and I write a blog and keep going. 

"Kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you." 2 Timothy 1:6

If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.
Jack Dixon