Monday, October 29, 2012

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Excerpt from the book 'Holes In My Gas Tank'

It’s funny how you know at a very young age what you should become when you grow up. Does God instill that passion, or is it part of our DNA make-up?
 I loved getting dressed up in costume and putting on plays or ‘Shows’ for my parents and their friends at dinner parties. The rest of the cast (kids) and I would arrange a story to tell; get dressed in mom and dads old clothes then act out our story on a make believe stage.
 Grade school was similar, my friends and classmates and I would write out plays, practice and then act them out in front of the class. I loved going to school because of this, until second grade.
 A horrible thing happened to me and the incident became the downfall of my acting career. I know, grade two may seem a little young to think about a career change, or a career for that matter, but in the course of a few months, a deep sense of shame was thrust upon me that second year of grade school, and my first reaction was to run. I ran and gave up on my dream.
 I portrayed the head of the household, a.k.a. father, in our little play at school and my friend was the family dog. Our Teacher loved the play so much that she asked us to perform it on the Big Stage for the rest of the school at the next assembly.
 Tensions were high among my fellow actors; nerves were drawn tight that fateful morning of our d├ębut.
 “What was my line again?” the dog asked.
 “You don’t have any, stupid! You’re the DOG!” my fellow patriot in the arts cried out. She was practicing and getting into ‘character’ for her maternal portrayal of the lady pack leader and mother.
 It was organized chaos behind the curtain before our first scene. A hush fell among the artists as the curtain slowly opened. There was a momentary pause and then the scene began. The first half of the show went well. We all knew it. A pride set in. Perhaps we got a little cocky? That’s why the second act went awry. We got sloppy.
 Scene 2, second act; the dog had to jump up onto the pack leader. That happened to be me. I wasn’t paying attention. I was looking out into the crowd. Looking for the familiar faces of my friends. Looking for approval.
I saw her, the dog, come at me from the corner of my eye. I saw her too late! She couldn’t slow down. I was supposed to catch her. She lost her footing. She was about to fall off the stage when she grabbed me. She took a hold of my stretchy 1972 polyester elasticized pants when she went down.  There was no belt to hold up my pants. There were no suspenders to keep them up. The dog fell, so did my pants, in front of the whole school. I never acted again, until recently, 30 years later.
 There’s a movie called ‘The Bucket List’. I made myself a list like that after my Uncle died a few years ago. On this list was to take an Acting class. I did and I LOVED IT. It felt as if I were finally doing what God created me to do.  This was who I was, what I was meant to do all along. Write and Act. It was a revelation. How does an accounts receivables technician for the past 13 years just drop everything and take up this passion? It’s illogical to drop all and hit the thespian road. I couldn’t do it. Not yet. Money Honey. It’s what pays the bills and puts food on the table.
 “Sometimes you need to leap,” Krista, my friend advised, “You need to show God You are willing to move towards being obedient to him.”
“I can’t,” I replied, “Don’t throw away the old pair of shoes before you buy a new pair.” My parents instilled this into my being.
“I can’t just quit my job and start writing.   It’s absurd!”
 “You’ve got to trust.”
 “I don’t even know for sure it’s what God wants. What if it’s just what I want?” I knew that statement wasn’t true. Deep in my heart I knew God wanted me to write and inspire other women and help children.
 I was at a Women of Faith Conference in Vancouver when God told me what he wanted of me. I gave my life, again, to Christ there. In the midst of these hundreds of women praying and loving, unconditionally, I found Him again. And as I watched Nicole Johnson, doing a skit on stage, Gods told me, “That is what I want you to do.”
 What I told my friend and sister in Christ was a lie, I did know what God wanted of me but I was stalling. Fear held me captive; she knew it too.
 “Jump Anuschka, He will catch you.”
 “I can’t.”

This was written a few years ago and although, I haven't jumped off the edge, I have put on a harness and I am now hanging off the edge, slowly belaying my way. I'm not a blind jumper. I've come to realize that this is the way I am. I'm a slow mover, researching every aspect of something before I ease my way into it. Since I wrote those words 4 years ago, I have acted in 2 Mary and Martha plays with my friend Krista at 2 woman's retreats and I have spoken a few times at Celebrate Recovery. Sometimes, it's a slow process and I've come to realize that this is OK. It's given me time to grow and learn and it's given me time to get to know the Dream Giver a little better.

I have stopped saying, "I can't." It's changed to words like, "Maybe not now, but soon." Or, "I still need to learn a few more things before God will open up that door." And I really do, still need to learn a lot, because just the other day I slipped a bit. I took a survey. A survey on Facebook that was based on the date of my birthday and it would tell me what jobs I would be good at and what I was born to do. 
- Housekeeper (LOL!)
- Nurse
- Caregiver
- Home Decorator/Interior Designer (LOL!)
- Healer
- Nanny
Although, some items on this list are not far off from what is instinctual for me and I could see myself doing this job, I am still shaking my head as to why I took that survey in the first place. Instead of trusting God, I looked to the world to tell me what my Creator had in mind for me to do, and for just a moment (actually a few moments), I second guessed the dream. I got confused again and I wondered, "is this really what God wants me to do? Because maybe... just maybe... He really wanted me to be a Interior Designer?" 

(You can stop laughing now, Krista, Betty and Tamara! - the D4N's ladies who have had coffee at my house - they know the truth). 

Sometimes change is fast and furious,
Sometimes change takes time.

Prepare your mind for action,
Prepare your will for self-control.
Set your hope on the grace been given to you,
and be holy in all you do. (Paraphrase 1 Peter 1:13-16)

“We have not yet been shown what we will be in the future…. But… we will be like Him.” (1John 3:2).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Joy Comes In The Morning

There's a song by Jesus Culture that goes, "there may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning."

A few nights ago I found myself alone and feeling a little sorry for myself. A little pity party for just me, myself and I. It didn't last long. The personal pity parties have been fewer and fewer these days because I am gently reminded to give the garbage I'm holding onto away. See video 'Trash' below.

In the morning, I felt better. I took the dog to the dyke and as I watched her run through the tall grass a thought stuck me. As thoughts often do, they come without warning sometimes, and I was unprepared, no pad or pencil. So, I'll relay those thoughts, from memory, as best as I can.

"Angel's happy!" She looked ecstatic. Joyfully running circles around me. I realized she was happy because I had brought her to the place she was born to be in. Tall grass, marshland, water, and the home to wild animals (I did see a bear there a couple of days ago with her cub and the salmon are spawning). She's part Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog mix with, Labrador and Australian Shepard. Catahoula's were breed to hunt wild boar in the bijou's, the marsh's and tall grass and although she wasn't hunting, that morning, she was herding and running circles around me just as an Australian Shepard might do. She was doing what she was born to do.
My daughter Alora had that same sparkle of joy when she was jumping a horse over 2'6 foot fences at the Pony Club games a few weeks ago. Rene has that spark in his eyes when he's on an adventure or needs to McGiver a solution to fix a problem. Kalina has it when she's working on an experiment or when she's explaining a good book she's read.
Each of us was born for a purpose and when that purpose is unclear we flounder through life confused listening to what other people think we should do. In the process, feeling discontent and disappointed.

God made each of us for a purpose. He gifted us with dreams and idea's to fill and accomplish, and he gave us the tools we need to make those dreams come true. Because we live in a fallen world, we don't always have the daily opportunity to follow that dream. There are bills to pay, children to feed, perhaps even a sickness to get through and we get side-tracked from the vision God gave us.  We have responsibilities and the side path you may be on is necessary because we do not live this adventure alone and there are others who rely on us. But, just as there are season's in a year, there are also season's in our lives. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

There are times when we wish the summer was here already, yet it's only 2 days into winter.
There are days when I wished I had more time to research and write.
There are days that I wish I had already written many books and a few screen plays and I wish that I was making an income from these things so I could have time to concentrate on writing more.

But, it's not my season yet and I must be honest here, I don't always know if it will ever come. Hence, the pity parties. In those clear times, when I am focused on God, I know He wants me to write people's stories. He wants me to write words to tell people that they are not alone. They are loved. If one of these stories equips someone with a seed of hope and gives them strength, then I've done the job God wants me to do. I feel that spark of joy. I feel it now as I write these words to you.

This give and take is a hard balance sometimes and there were times when I felt terribly confused. I may have given myself and my time to others too much, listening to them instead of to God. However, on the flip side, when I'm too self-focused I end up not seeing others, and I don't help them with their need. Tough to balance, and it probably takes a lifetime to fine tune. But, this is how life goes, it's a roller coaster ride of great lows and disappointments, great highs of joy and everything in-between.
Perhaps, those 'highs' we get to experience are extra special only because of the 'low' places we've walked. A roller coaster wouldn't be much fun if it only had highs and no lows. The same is true for our lives.

A last thought:
Maybe the 'high' times of joy come more often when our attitude through the 'low' times are full of integrity, peace, grace, mercy, forgiveness and love?

1 Thessalonians 5:16
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Maybe, that's what being 'free' means?

What do you think?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

35 PSI - Pressure, Seriously, Intense

"The car's tire needs air," said my husband as I was about to drive away. I was late and feeling a little rushed.
"HUH?" I asked, not knowing which tire, how much air and where do I do this. I don't think I've ever put air into a car tire before, bicycle yes, car no. I must have looked confused, because my husband rolled his eyes at me.
"If you don't do it tonight, that means I have to do it at 2:30am tomorrow morning."
"I'll do it," I said, "but where and how much air?" I looked at the clock on the dashboard of my little Toyota Corolla and sighed. I had 05 minutes to get to where I needed to be and it was a 15 minute drive to get there.
"Can I do it after? I'm late."
"Yes. Save-On-Gas, the air is free and 35 PSI."
"Okay, remember the number 35." I said out loud. My husband heard me and wrote a number 35 in the dust on the front hood of the car. This was last Tuesday, it may still be there?

All evening I was wondering what PSI stood for:
- Pretty, sound, information
- Possible, serious, impression
- Pretentious, state of impatience

Nothing I came up with had anything remotely to do with air and how it goes into a tire. Now, I was tired. It had been one of those long days, actually, long months truth be told and I was feeling a little run down. Perhaps, just as flat as my tire. I was running low and avoiding the place where I could fill up again.
I stopped reading the Bible, I stopped praying everyday, I stopped going to church and I avoided other Christians as best I could. Why? Perhaps, because I didn't want them to see why I was so down in the dumps. Maybe, because I didn't want to have to explain it and I didn't want to be known as a complainer and a constant whinnier. I just wanted it to go away.
I had a string of bad luck all summer long and I was not coping with it well. In fact I was a little angry with the big guy upstairs, too. Why was God doing this to me? I felt like an Egyptian in the time of Moses.
"It's supposed to come in 3's!" I yelled out. Were up to 8 or 9 now.
Does anyone have some  Lambs blood to put over my door before the 10th plague hits us?

For the last couple of months I have felt like I've been under some seriously intense pressure.

Hey... PSI (Pressure, Seriously, Intense), that's what PSI stands for! PSI was my malady. Now, what's the cure?

That evening after my appointment, I rolled into Save-On-Gas. I checked the pressure on the flat tire, it was at 20 PSI. Then, I placed the air hose thingy on the wheel thing-a-ma-bob to fill the tire. A few moments later I noticed the tire looked flatter. I checked the pressure again. It was down to 10 PSI. WHAT?
"Isn't it supposed to go up in pressure when filling it?"
"Mom, do you want me to ask the attendant?"
"No, no... I'll figure it out... give me a few moments." A few moments passed and it was now down to 5 PSI.
"What the heck is going on! The thingy and the thing-a-ma-bob were connected properly!" The PSI inside me was building. My daughter ignored her stubborn Mother and went in to ask the attendant about the air hose and why our tire was getting flatter instead of fuller.
"It should work now Mom, try again." It seemed the air hose generator was turned off for the night. In a few minutes the tire was up to 35 PSI and my PSI was released.

The cure for a high PSI level is not a stubbornness to fix it yourself. It's asking for help. And, if you can't ask for it yourself, to have someone in your life bold enough to ask for you.

May God fill you with strength to be able to let go and ask for help, and may he surround you with bold and loving people.

Thank-you God!


PS: PSI is a unit of pressure - pounds per square inch

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The 10th Commandment

Everyone knows them, even unbelievers I would suggest to say. So why did I as a Christian have difficulty with the 10th one?

My daughter started school last month in a neighbouring town. Being the manager of Mom's Taxi Service, I was recruited for the job of driving her to and from school. Within the first 2 weeks, I began to noticed the beautiful houses near the school and my mind wondered what it would be like to live in one of these luxurious homes.
Over the weeks I found myself desiring to live in one of them. I began to imagine all sorts of things on those drives to and from school, and I began to justify why it was a good idea to move.
Then I realized that these thoughts were my desires and that I did not have a thankful heart for what God had already given me. I was coveting material things.

Exodus 20:17 "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour's."

Smack dab in the middle of all this wanting, the Lord put a devotion in front of me about coveting. It was a light bulb moment for me, however, it did not take the desire out of my heart. At the end of that second week I went for a walk with my Christian Aunt and I poured out my heart, my desire, and sin to her.
The following week when I drove my daughter to school the desire was gone. By talking about it, out loud to a fellow Christian, it made me accountable and then, and only then, God could do his magic and help take that desire away.

Thank-you God!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cliche's and Pinky Finger Burnings

2 days after 
I burned my pinkie finger on a cast iron frying pan last Tuesday afternoon. It was a stupid move. Easily prevented, but I was in a bit of a rush and instead of taking the time to put on my oven mitt I used a tea towel to push the pan aside.
"This is a great topic for your blog," my husband looked at me as I sat there with my hand up in the air above my heart and a towel filled with ice wrapped around my pinkie finger not getting what he's trying to tell me, "The ice sooths your burn like God sooths your insides."I was trying to focus on what he was saying to me, but the thumping in my finger kept distracting me.
"A bit of a cliche, though." He continued. Ice soothing a burn like God soothing your soul was definitely cliche and I found myself a little irritated at his idea.
"It's all been done before!" I thought to myself, "I want to write about something more, not cliche's.

Yet here I am writing it. God certainly works in mysterious ways.

Yes, the ice soothed the burn, it died down the pounding in my little finger, but when I took it off the ice, YOW! Like my finger was still stuck to that red hot frying pan. From 5pm till 7:20pm Tuesday night my finger felt like it was stuck in hell. I have to be honest here, it was a little hard to multi-task that night and I was leading a Celebration Station meeting with 5 kids to keep busy.
At 7:10pm that evening I found I had a minute to myself, the kids were all playing, and I realized that I didn't pray about this burn yet. I was so busy that I forgot to talk to God about it. There I sat, on a little red pre-school chair, ice dripping onto a table made for a midget, and I closed my eyes and asked God if he could please remove the pain so I could focus on the kids. Very simple. No waving of the hands, speaking in tongues or bending of the knees, just a simple heart felt prayer. Within 10 minutes, the pain was gone. I was actually able to put pressure on the white blister... and there was no pain.

Some of you may be rolling your eyes right now, "Whatever! This lady's crazy." or, "The burn wasn't that bad, this lady's a whiner," or, for those New Ager's out there, "It was mind over matter," or how about, "It was the ice that did it... it was on her finger for over two hours," and I'll admit the ice did help, I have no doubt of that, but something more happened to me that evening. Never mind the burn, never mind the pain, never mind the 'healing'. All this physical stuff is insignificant. A tiny speck in the bigger picture. I trusted God and He was there, and I am a tiny step closer to him than I was before.

I have a better understanding of what James (half brother of Jesus), wrote when he said, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all he does." James 1:2-8 (NIV)

I used to be doubtful that any of this 'religious' stuff was real and useful. I was tossed and blown from idea to idea and became double minded and unstable. Don't get me wrong, I still have a long way to go, but I finally understand that God does want to give generously and we need to trust Him and not doubt. We need to make the first step towards Him.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and I will bring you back from captivity." Jeremiah 29:13-14 (NIV)

For those doubter's out there, maybe this picture will help?

In the movie the Matrix, it was all about our choices and the choice to hope, the choice to believe. Neo had a choice, to believe Morpheus or not. If he had chosen not to believe he would have gone back to his 'normal life' and nothing would have changed (it would have made for a very poor ending - not box office material). Neo chose to believe and he swallowed the red pill.

"The red pill and its opposite, the blue pill, are pop culture symbols representing the choice between the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue) and embracing the sometimes painful truth of reality (red)."

After he made his choice he was downloaded with programs to help him fight battles, he had strength to asked questions and patience and perseverance to find the answers, and in the end his effort helped him save the human race.

When we take the first step in believing in God, through reading the Bible and prayer, He can download programs into us that will help us to see things a little clearer, story by story. Before all this can happen we need to chose the red pill. It's our choice. It's not a fast download, like in the Matrix, it takes time. While we learn, fingers are burned, knees get scratched, ugly words are spoken, frustrations and irritations get the best of us and we get hurt.

When we're too busy doubting and too self focused, we don't do anyone any good, especially ourselves. Our thoughts keep us too busy and we don't see reality. We are stuck in a personal dream world of pains, wants and desires.

Love heals, love changes people, love changes circumstances, and love allows you to grow.

Have an Amazing Day!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I was so out of my comfort zone this past weekend. 
I performed two dramas at the Ladies retreat last Saturday and one of them was real... one of them was a little glimpse into my heart and I shared how I sometimes hide behind a mask or the wall I've built. 
You see, the 2nd sketch, the one with Mary and Martha, was easier for me because I was acting. I was playing someone else, and it's always easier to pretend to be someone else than to share the deep hurts of your heart. It's easy to act, because I could stay behind the mask. 
"I don't want to open up my heart to these strange ladies!" I argued with God. He and I wrestled for about a week before I even wrote the drama down. It was the first week of April... 2 weeks before the retreat. 
"I can't do it!" I've hidden behind the mask for far too long, I was quite used to it, and quite comfortable. But, that still small voice wouldn't leave me alone... and he just happened to make Anya call me that week... because this crazy idea he put into my head needed a piano player and I was procrastinating. Really, it shouldn't have surprised me...
"Hey, I was thinking of you Anuschka...just wanted to see how you were doing." With some hesitation, I told Anya the crazy idea...
She said yes. 
After I had hung up with her, God whispered, "Call Maureen," (One of the speakers and organizers for the retreat). 
"NO!" I replied. 
"Tell her... I need you to do this... It's going to be OK." An hour later, I gave in and called...even though I had nothing written down yet. 
"If it's too much bother Maureen, don't worry about it. Just a crazy idea I had." Actually, just a crazy idea God had, but I didn't tell her that, because I was secretly praying she would tell me no, "too late to add anything to the schedule." I imagined...  
She said yes, "we'll fit it in."  She sent me the schedule... my performance was scheduled for 11:45am, Saturday April 21st, 2012.
That night after the kids and Rene went to bed. I prayed. Then I wrote.

When Saturday morning arrived, I felt excited but also a little sick. I went in a little earlier to practise with Anya. You see, I hadn't memorized the lines for 'Behind the Mask'. The lines were all jumbled up with Mary's lines in 'Freedom and a Red Hat' the other drama scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
"I'm fine!....Every thing's Okay," I would begin the first sentence of 'Behind the Mask' then, it would turn into, "Bull...oney!...if your so fine then why did you tell Betty her grandchild was ugly this morning at coffee?" 
"I'm in trouble." I worriedly thought to myself as I whispered into the microphone that morning, before all the ladies showed up.
"You'll do fine... just hang on to me." That still small voice whispered back. It's hard to hear the voice when worry and fear have control, but God had everything under control. As He usually does. He made sure Christina Williams and Maureen Floris spoke before it was my turn.

My song needed to be sung... the problem was... I wasn't trusting Him.
Christina showed us a picture of a bird, who wasn't in the cage anymore, but who was still standing in the shadow of it's cage. I realized that morning, that although I was free, the shadow of fear still loomed over me.
"What things in your life has power and control over you?" Christina asked us. My fear of what other people think, leads me to try to please everyone or I'll walk away and not make contact with others.
Then Maureen spoke and read to us, John 6:26-36, but verse 35 stuck with me. Jesus replied, "I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty."  I realized I was thirsty and hungry, because I still stood in the shadow of fear. It was time to fly.
"We're running late." Roxanne, one of the organizers,  came and knelt beside my chair. It was 12:05pm and 20 minutes past my debut. I'd like to tell you that I answered her boldly, "No.... I must perform! It's what God wants me to do." Instead...
"It's okay... if you have to cancel me that's fine... if there's no time... well, we'll just drop it."
"That's very gracious of you Anuschka," little did she know what I was really up to, "but, we'll get you on right after lunch. Around 1pm."

"I prayed to the LORD, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces." Psalm 34:4-6

Behind the Mask

Here is the proof...
I did end up doing it...

The story I had written, touched upon how we say we're fine, when we're really not. Behind the lies is hurt, pain, fear, guilt or shame and we put on a mask or we hide behind a wall.
I went on to explain how Staci Eldridge in her book 'Captivating' says, “If you take everything else away and peel back to the heart of a woman these 2 questions are at the core. Every woman asks them, perhaps not out loud, but tucked hidden away in a safe dark corner of her heart. Do you love me? Am I beautiful?”
What if these core questions are never answered? What happens to our hearts, when we don't know the answers to these fundamental questions? I don't know about you... but I would like to know I am loved every day. 
I then shared a poem I had written in my travels through a very dark valley, a few years ago.

Deep into my heart
It hurts
Loneliness rips me open
I feel defeated
“I’m such a disappointment,”
Unspoken words of love
Broken promises
It’s numbing me
Death is here
Death of spirit
Judgments weigh me down
I falter
I fall
Who’s going to pick me up?
Who will pick me up?
I cry in the shadows
Then I build my wall
It’s safe
There’s no one else behind my wall 
I’m lonely
All alone

I ended it with these lines, "It’s been rainy for weeks now.... This dark cloud has been over my head for far too long.
But the sun came out today. Its rays warmed me. Ah, the light and the clarity.  (Hold up the Bible) The Son came to visit me today…  his unconditional love strengthened me, ah, the light and the clarity. (Taking off the mask) He told me to take off my mask and to come out from behind the wall I’ve built around my heart. 
Do you know why?
He loves me every day."

This is the song Anya sang in between my story. It's by Francesca Battistelli, 'Behind the Scenes'. Thank-you Anya for all your help! I did end up, really enjoying, doing this with you. I pray that God will allow us to work together again soon.

"You, LORD, are my shepherd,
I will never be in need.
You let me rest in fields
of green grass.
You lead me to streams 
of peaceful water,
and you refresh my life.
You are true to your name,
and you lead me along the right paths.
I may walk through valleys as dark as death,
but I won't be afraid.
You are with me,
and your shepherds rod makes me feel safe.
You treat me to a feast,
while my enemies watch.
You honour me as your guest,
and you fill my cup until it over flows.
Your kindness and love,
will always be with me,
each day of my life,
and I will live forever in your house, LORD."
Psalm 23 (CEV)

For those interested... here are a few pictures (Thanks Roxanne), of the 2nd drama with Krista as Martha, and me as Mary in 'Freedom and a Red Hat'. Thank you Krista, for being my friend and accountability partner, and allowing me to dress you up in purple, with feathers and a red hat. I had a lot of fun doing this with you.
Last year, at the ladies retreat, Mary and Martha showed up in valour exercise suits and ran around the Wii Resort with a virtual Jesus, this year the Red Hat Society... what will they be up to next year? Well... we'll see if they're invited back.

Hey Krista,
What do you think of going bungee jumping as Mary and Martha?... and getting someone to film it for us? Just a crazy thought... We could wear our valour exercise suits?
It would definitely get us out of our comfort zones. LOL!

Thanks to:
Christina Williams
Maureen Floris
Anya Brekkaas
Krista Fillmore
Roxanne for the pictures.
For the Psalm 28 image:
You tube 'Behind the Scenes' by Francesca Battistelli and Nixieadamina:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Every Day Random Acts of Kindness

D4N is about friends gathering together to fill a need with a deed. Most times, the deed is planned ahead when we need to cook for someone but other times it's a surprise like cleaning the school yard after the Halloween fireworks night. In March we were unable to meet for a few weeks due to family issues and other obligations and I found myself really missing those ladies.
This week, I've been thinking a lot about the times when we don't get to meet, to help fill a deed with a need. I really missed not doing something nice for someone else, together.
Then, I thought about the 'acts of kindness' that I've been trying to teaching my children and myself. Because really, we don't need to wait to do it just once a week. We can do it everyday.

I did a little google searching to see what's out there... where random acts of kindness are concerned... and I found this fellow blogger who back in December of 2011 began an adventure to do and write out each act of kindness for 366 days. In his own words, "There are a ton of people out there who have worries both big and small. I know I can't solve every problem for every person, but I am going to try to do my part. Starting tomorrow, I am embarking on a journey to make people's lives better. 2012 consists of 366 days (unless the Mayans are right, then this is all for naught). Each one of those 366 days, I will do a random act of kindness for a stranger, friend or family member."

      What about you and me? How can we make people's lives better each day?

I'm looking for stories to share about random acts of kindness. I know God doesn't want us to be boastful... because He does want us to do things in secret. But, this exercise isn't about boasting... it's about us sharing. Helping each other...  maybe with ideas on how to help... and who needs help in our community. I would love to hear your stories and ideas. Please comment below or email me.

"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land... You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11 NIV

FYI: D4N will be meeting Tuesday mornings now instead of Thursdays.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Taking off the Do Not Disturb Sign

I saw a Joyce Meyers podcast this morning called 'Don't Disturb Me!'  She said that everyone has, in some form, a 'do not disturb' sign on their lives. Rushing through life too concerned about themselves and what they need to do, rather than asking and seeking what God wants them to do. No time for interruptions... She went on to reveal that Jesus had time for interruptions. In fact, he was interrupted constantly,  he never once said,  "I don't have time to chat right now, but you're definitely in my prayers." Wow... talk about conviction... How many times have I prayed for others yet did nothing else? Now, I'm not saying we have to do everything... that's not realistic... but we should be listening to what God is urging us to do daily. Give what we can, when we can as we connect to that still small voice.

I'd like to share with you an excerpt from a story called 'Pollyanna doesn't live here anymore'. It's about a shy, co-dependant housewife who feels unloved. A faceless, unappreciated woman who's afraid of conflict; who avoids it like the plague. She is afflicted with resentments that run deep because she's suppressed them for so long having no one to talk to, no one to listen, no one who cares. Eventually her emotions peak to a boiling point, where she explodes and wants to take her own life. But God intervenes through Kay, who has taken off her 'Do Not Disturb' sign.

Attention: Restricted for adult eyes only - some insinuated swearing (I've blocked the words with wingdings). 

"What are you doing?" Jeff was concerned about his wife. She had just finished a round of chemo and instead of resting she was baking muffins. 
"God wants me to make some smiley face muffins for Polly."
"The neighbour can make her own muffins. God wants you to take a well deserved rest."
"No... that's what you want me to do." Kay was cold and tired, all she really wanted to do was snuggle on the couch with Jeff, but that still small voice wanted her to bake muffins for the neighbour. She didn't know why, but over the past ten years as a follower of Christ, she's learned that God always knows why and there is always a reason. 
"Besides, I've got to keep busy... takes my mind off of things and it doesn't give me a chance to feel sorry for myself." she slowly grabbed the measuring cup from the cupboard and looked down at the recipe.
"I love you." Jeff's heart ached but he swallowed back the tears and hugged his wife, "What can I do to help you?"

“He’s such an A@#!” Polly thought to herself as she slammed the casserole dish into the sink.
“He doesn’t care about me,” she fumed, "if Ron really cared, he would have called by now." Her husband was supposed to be home at five thirty and it was nearly nine now. 
"He doesn't respect me." That was the underlying issue, she's felt that way for years yet never told him. Resentment burning to her core. She's never been one to hold on to a grudge, or so she thought.
“@%$#!” she sliced the tip of her finger on a knife, hiding in the soapy suds underneath the dish she just threw.
It wasn’t the first time Polly worried about Ron, he'd done this kind of thing many times over the past 12 years of marriage. The first time was one month after they were married. He went to an AC DC concert with the boss and some guys from work. 
"I'll be home late," He gave her a peck on the cheek and hopped into a Limo the boss had rented for the night; filled with bachelor wannabes drunk on tequila shooters. Polly woke up in a frenzy when, at 2am, she woke up to find her husband still missing. 
"He said he was going to be late. Don't worry Polly. Just breath. He's Okay." She remembered having  to talk herself out of a panic attack, it was instinctual for Polly, her Mom was a worry wart too; a habit handed down to the next generation. 
"Just relax, he's fine." She couldn't help herself though, she loved him. She laid there for an hour trying not to picture the Limo in an accident on some rural road, or a knife fight in the alley of BC Place.
"How well do I really know these people?" Maybe drugs were involved and now her innocent husband was in the slammer? The dreaded list grew with each passing hour that Ron didn't call. It got to the point  where Polly, at 5am began to pace hysterically throughout the rooms of their small one bedroom apartment. There was no way of reaching him. He didn't own a cell phone and she had no idea how to contact his boss, Paul. 
"He better be in the hospital!" Anger consumed her at 7am. He called at 8am.
"I'm sorry honey. We had a lot to drink and it was late, so I just crashed at Paul's." She was irritated.
"Why didn't you call me?"she asked.
"Are you my mother?"
"No... but I was worried." 
"Don't be honey. I'm a big boy." he laughed sarcastically, making Polly feel silly, as if she was making a mountain out of a mole hill.
"Fine... just call next time. Okay?" she was tired. Defeated, she innocently accepted his apology, thinking it would never happen again. She was so naive back then. 
"I can't do this anymore. I'm so tired of waiting for him to grow up!" She felt her chest tighten up,   "Twelve years of waiting. Twelve years of making excuses for him. This isn't a partnership!"
Many times, Polly tried to calmly explain how she felt when he didn’t call, but  he would get defensive and say she didn't trust him. She didn't think he was having an affair, she just wanted to be sure he was okay. He never understood that. He didn't trust her. Ron never could let go of his independence, he didn't know how a partnership worked or to be accountable to another person. He had no understanding of what 'partnership' meant, and Polly was too shy to defend herself and tell him what she needed in this marriage. A part of it was her fault for not being bold enough to say anything. She hated 'rocking the boat'. 
"It was all his fault! He doesn't care about me. He's the one that's selfish!" Years of built up resentments  exploded around her. Her chest hurt. Her finger hurt. Her head hurt. Her heart hurt. She tried to wrap a Band-Aid around her finger with one hand, it was next to impossible. As tiresome as holding a toddler down to change it's diaper, while in a state of post partum depression. 
“@#$#@!” She threw the box of band aids across the room. 
"Good thing the kids were in bed," she thought, "they can't hear me swearing." she may have been good at keeping her voice down, but that didn't make the anger any less real. Polly rarely swore. 
"Why do I  let him get to me like this?" 
"This is not what I signed up for!" she screamed silently and slid to the floor crying. 
“Polly, you’re such a good girl,” her mother always told her. She never smoked, never drank, never did drugs and she waited till she was married before she had sex.
“She's such a good girl. I'm  so blessed with Polly,” her mother would tell everyone, “we never had to worry about her.” No. No one had to worry about Polly. She was always doing the right thing, helped when something needed to get done, never raised her voice when things went wrong and always with a smile on her face. Even when she didn't feel like it. Good old perfect and reliable Polly, who was so perfectly lonely with no one to talk to.
"No one notices me. I blend in too well." with a feeble smile she picked the band aids up off the floor and put them back in the box. She was able to close the first aid box with her elbow, then placed it back under the sink.
“I’m tired of worrying,” she grabbed the broom and swept the bathroom and hall vigorously, “I’m tired of picturing his dead bloody body somewhere on the side of the road and I’m tired of him not giving a $#$% about how I may be feeling.” Defeated she leaned onto the broom clinging onto the ordinary before her emotions dragged her somewhere she didn't want to go. 
"He doesn't love me." she sobbed. She was tired about everything. Even tired of living. 
“I don’t want to do this anymore. No one would notice if I was gone." a deep sadness swept over her leading her emotions to very dark places. As she reached into the knife drawer, the doorbell rang. 

Polly eventually finds healing. Through Kay, she realizes God has set her apart, she's not alone and faceless, He sees her. He loves her, and no matter how dark her life might seem, she is not hidden from the Lord. You see he sets captives free, he heals the sick and he calls the dead to come out of their graves. That's how much he loves her. 

This is what Jesus has to say, about why he came, "The Lord has put his Spirit in me, because he appointed me to tell the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to tell the captives they are free and the blind that they see again. God sent me to free those who have been treated unfairly..." Luke 4:18

We, who believe, are called to follow in Christ's footsteps. How can we do that when we have our 'do not disturb' sign on? How can we set captives free if we ourselves are captive, focused on our own problems? Everyone has problems. That's life, but what are you focused on?

This week I've been reading The Secret of Happiness by Pastor Barry James Buzza. He states that the Sea of Galilee, even 2000 years later is still known for it's abundant species of fish. 
"One hundred and fifty three species of fish are reported to flourish in the twelve mile by six mile fresh water lake." Barry Buzza
This lake flows into the Jordan River also known for it's abundant aquatic life, but life stops at the end of it when it flows into the Dead Sea. 
"Life flows in, sits there and does nothing and that's the end of the story." Barry Buzza
There is no life in the Dead Sea, because there is no outflow. 
There is no life in you if you receive and take instead of giving. We need outflow in our lives.

"The secret of happiness is revealed in the river that flows out of us, rather than the river that flows into us." Barry Buzza

My challenge for you this week is to take off the Do Not Disturb sign around your neck and notice the needs of those around you. I'd love to hear about your week and if you would like to share a story with us give us an email.

Love You 
Anuschka and the D4N Ladies