14 Days of Gratitude–Day 6

I am thankful for:
Day 1.  Jesus Christ
Day 2.  The Bible
Day 3.  My parents
Day 4.  My Grandmother
Day 5. God’s Holy Spirit

So, I had intended to be finished the 14 Days of Gratitude by Thanksgiving, but since Thanksgiving is today, I think I will have to rethink my plan.  Seeing as American Thanksgiving is a while off yet, I will continue until either I am done the 14 days or until Thanksgiving in the US.  Whew…bought myself a few more weeks!

Day 6.  My nephews, Caleb and Joshua.

Batman and Robin (Secret identities--Caleb and Josh)

Batman and Robin (Secret identities–Caleb and Josh)

The sixth thing I’m thankful for are my delightful, fabulous, hilarious, mischievous, crazy nephews!  Caleb is 7 and Josh is 4.  They are both very clever and fun.  They love superheroes and spies and Star Wars.  Yes, I have a Princess Leia costume…there was a Star Wars birthday party…anyway!

They bring love and fun to my life!  I get to imagine and run and wrestle and jump and sing and tell stories with them–such fun for an auntie who really is just a kid in an adult suit!!

I want to be their mentor.  I want them to learn to love Jesus and grow up to be like Him.  They are such precious little princes!

Thank-you, God, for my wonderful little nephews!

I could continue to praise You, God, all day for this precious gift of Yours to me!

Thank-you!

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14 Days of Gratitude–Day 5

I am thankful for:Every good and perfect gift 1
Day 1.  Jesus Christ
Day 2.  The Bible
Day 3.  My parents
Day 4.  My Grandmother

Day 5.  God’s Holy Spirit

The fifth thing I’m thankful for is God’s Holy Spirit.  I was reminded of this the other day as I was listening to the radio while driving to work.

The radio commentator recounted a story of a young girl at school.  She was being bullied one day in class because she always wore the same clothes.  Apparently her family was unable to afford more than one set of school clothes for her.  The bullies made her cry because of their mean and thoughtless comments.

During lunch, seven of her classmates went home.  They each went through their closets and returned to school with 15 new outfits for the little girl to take home for her own.  So that she wouldn’t be teased anymore.

What an amazing story!

This is God’s Spirit at work!  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. James 1:17a,b NIV  God’s Spirit leads us to act like Jesus: to love others, to help others.  He encourages us with the words of God, he shows us the good things that God has set out for us to do.  Even when we don’t know what to do or say, he guides us, always to do the will of our Father.

Thank-you, God, for Your Holy Spirit.

I could continue to praise You, God, all day for this precious gift of Yours to us!

Thank-you!

14 Days of Gratitude–Day 4

I am thankful for:
Day 1.  Jesus Christ
Day 2.  The Bible
Day 3.  My parents

Day 4.  My Grandmother, Lynden

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The fourth thing I’m thankful for is my wonderful Grandmother, Lynden.  I just went to her 90th Birthday party…and she had just finished harvesting her potatoes and tomatoes!  (with a little help!).  Yes, she says she’s slowing down a bit but she still lives on her own (for now) and looks after all her flowers.

She is so delighted any time I call!  She loves her family so much and is almost moved to tears just by a visit.  She poured so much of her life into her family and now she gets a simple enjoyment in joining in their victories and challenges, listening to their stories of adventure and looking at all the many pictures of their lives.

My Grandmother is one of my heros.  Regardless of the changing situations over the past 90 years she has always had calm and practical attitude which has kept her well throughout.  Someday I hope to be like her.

Thank-you, God, for my beautiful Grandmother!

I could continue to praise You, God, all day for this precious gift of Yours to me!

Thank-you!

14 Days of Gratitude–Day 3

I am thankful for:
Day 1.  Jesus Christ
Day 2.  The Bible

Day 3.  My parents

The third thing I’m thankful for are my parents.  God, thank-you for giving me one of the best gifts in the world! My mom and my dad have looked after me, have taught me, have loved me my whole life. I am so blessed with my parents!

My mom, even now, always tries to care for me so gently.  This past week she brought me some corn from her garden but she didn’t just plop it in a bag and give it to me.  She husked it, cleaned off the silk, washed it and put it in zip lock bags and brought it to me!  She has consistently given up things for herself for me and my brother and sister.  Especially her time.  I remember when I was a child I wanted the Barbie doll bed that I saw on TV.  I only had one Barbie and I wanted her to have a bed.  My parents didn’t have a lot of money so they couldn’t afford the expensive plastic bed so my mom gathered together left over bits and pieces and spent hours cutting, staining, sewing, crochetting and assembling a hand made wooden bed with real hand made sheets, pillow and afghan.  It was my prize possession for much of my childhood!

My dad has always been there for me. Even now if I call him in desperate need of help with my furnace or car or something he always takes the time to walk me through what I need to do.  When he comes to visit I always have a “Daddy-do list” for him and he never complains!  I specifically remember one time when I drove to my Grandmother’s from University for a celebration I noticed something funny with my car.  When I arrived at Grandma’s house I saw my dad resplendent in the only suit he owned, and yet when he heard that I was having car trouble he was down on his hands and knees checking under my car immediately! Only suit and all!

Thank-you, God, for the great blessing of my parents!

I could continue to praise You, God, all day for this precious gift of Yours to me!

Thank-you!

The Sound of Tears

This morning I got up and went for a run outside.  The weather here has been very snowy, cold and overcast so the blue sky and heavenly sunshine were a joyous sight for snow blind eyes.  Last night I hung out with The Nephews and we had a blast:  auntie got to snuggle with one and hold the hand of the other at various points during the night (for those who aren’t sure, these are the things that make aunties happy).

So, it was with great sorrow that I heard about the tragedy in Connecticut.  If you, like I, live under a rock, then here is a very quick break down of what happened:  a man entered an elementary school and killed twenty 6 and 7 year old children and six adults, after killing his mother at home.  He apparently ended his killing spree by taking his own life.

How can such evil exist in this world?  To take the lives of children?  Of those caring for the children?  Of his very own mother?

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.  Romans 1:28 – 32 NIV

Yes, to murder children one must have a depraved mind.  I cannot conceive of any other explanation.

But what is our response?  As a single person I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose a child.  In medical literature it is cited as being one of the single worst things for a family to experience.  But as an aunt I can imagine at least a little (I’m too much of a chicken to think about it too much) what it might be like to lose a nephew…

Please let us gather together and pray!

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  Ephesian 6:18 NIV

Firstly, for God’s strength and comfort for all of those involved.  Remember the parents, the siblings, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, the neighbours, the friends.  Remember the people who happened to be there or who came across this tragedy immediately after it happened.  Pray for the emergency workers (police, EMS, firemen) who had to wade in amongst the aftermath and rationally do there jobs.

Secondly, pray for the family of the young man who has committed these tragic actions.  Remember, he also killed his mother and she likely had parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and friends and co-workers and neighbours.  Pray especially for them as they have to deal with the pain of loss but also the stigma of their relative/neighbour/friend being the cause of such loss.

Thirdly, cry out to God that His Kingdom will come to this earth so that we no longer have to face such pain and terror but that His love would overcome.

Please, make a point of getting your friends and neighbours together to pray.  Pray that those who don’t know God and the mercy He has shown us through His Son would come to know Him (how could one go through this without Him?).  Pray that those who know Him will draw closer to Him.  Pray that those around these families will see God at work.

Remember, God knows what it’s like to lose His Son to madmen…

The World’s View of Singles

I could have called this post “the Media’s View of Singles”.  The media has a dual role in our world today, firstly as a reflection of the world’s viewpoint and secondly as an influence over the world’s viewpoint.  I wanted to make this more personal though:  we are part of this world so I have opted to entitle this post as I have.  For the purposes of this post, let’s consider the world’s view and the media’s view as one and the same, although this is not strictly true.

According to the eMarketer blog (post from 29 March 2011), in 2010 TV advertising spending in the US grew 9.7% to $59 billion (divide by 10 for the approximate Canadian figure).  Fifty-nine billion dollars…wow…Just from TV ads, not including magazines, on-line, etc.  Obviously somebody out there believes that the media has some influence over us.

If this is the case, we really should see what the media is saying about us singles.  Alas, to understand the world’s view on singles we need to start with their view on non-singles.  Yes, I know, this is supposed to be a blog for singles, about singles, by singles but sometimes we have to at least mention those marrieds out there.

If you are oldish like me you may have perhaps heard of some of the TV shows from the 50s, 60s and 70s, like Leave it to Beaver, the Partridge Family, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Addams Family, I Love Lucy, Green Acres, etc.  They all centred on family life and some of the trials and hilarity that comes to married couples.  Even some of the shows from the 80s, like the Bill Cosby Show, focused primarily on family life to entertain their fans.

Today’s TV shows, however, seem quite different.  There are a few that do centre around families (Everybody Loves Raymond, the Sopranos) but they are in the minority and don’t quite have the same message about the importance of family as the shows from the past. If you look carefully, what you will see instead of shows about family are a whole lot of cop shows and medical shows (and vampire shows…).  Instead of being married, most people in these shows are single, separated, divorced, or living together.  What does tie them together is that their main characters spend a considerable amount of time looking for love.  Unfortunately, they seem to be “looking for love in all the wrong places” to quote Johnny Lee.

“I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love.”
―    Marilyn Monroe

This leads us to a crucial point:  what is the world’s view of love?  From watching TV, listening to music and reading magazines we get the idea that love is a feeling that one gets about that special someone, and once that is gone, then there is no more love.  I think this is why we have so many disappointed, unfulfilled and searching people, both Christians and non-Christians, in our world.  Because this is not what love is.

First Corinthians 13:4 – 8, 13 says, 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. NIV

I see no mention there of particular feelings about a person, but what it does mention are characteristics of true commitment which is a choice, not a feeling. These are also characteristics of God–this is how He loves us.  How do we show love to God?  We obey Him (John 14:15, plus many other places).  There is no talk of a warm, fuzzy emotion that makes your heart race and your pupils dilate.

So, you see, if the world has an aberrant view of love, it will skew their view of relationships and, therefore, of singles AND marrieds.

They are correct in one aspect, though, and this is that our world is all about love.  Not eros, or sexual love, as our media would like us to believe, but agape, or Godly love.

I had a non-Christian friend of mine a few years ago tell me that she had finally figured me out–she said that I was ‘asexual’.  This surprised me somewhat and did make me giggle (I couldn’t help it!  She was comparing me to a plant or some forms of fungi–you have to laugh at that!).  But this really does show a lack of understanding about me.  I like guys.  I have had crushes on male movie actors, television actors and even some of the real people around me.  I am not asexual, rather a heterosexual female that chooses to not practice pre-marital sex.

Our world cannot understand us singles because they are so focused on love between people as being the ultimate fulfillment in their lives. We Christians should know better, but that $59 billion advertising budget has gone a long way to deceive us.

Colossians 2:8(NIV)

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, that depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Christians should focus on God’s love first, then on loving others.  Isn’t this how Christ answered the Pharisees in Matthew 22?

35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

We can’t expect the world to understand something they don’t believe, but by understanding what the world does believe about us and how it is thus reflected in the media today we can hopefully keep ourselves from being deceived by this world and to start living more fulfilled lives.  If enough of us lived the truth about love in this world (meaning that God IS love), this could bring about a revolution in the way the world thinks and then perhaps in the way the media displays.  It’s just a thought.