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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

Screen Shot 2018-08-21 at 8.39.50 AMWho do you think you are?

A question I remember being asked as a child and teen. I bet I am not the only one who, after making a stupid decision, speaking arrogantly, or treating someone in a hurtful manner.

This question doesn’t have to be one that comes from arrogance, stupidity or failure. I can also be a question that brings us to remember who we are … in spite of our arrogance, stupidity or failure.

So, who do you and I think we are?

I think that in the darkest moments, when we are are along with our thoughts, we focus on our failures, we hang our heads in shame.

Though I think we can most certainly learn by reflecting on our mistakes and failures, to perseverate on them does no one any good, ourselves included.

Here’s the thing, in John 8:36, Jesus is talking to Jewish leaders who were beginning to believe that he was, indeed, the Messiah (v. 31). He is explains to them that if they follow him and what he is is teaching, they will be free. But if they do not, they will be living lives of slavery.

“The Son has an established position,
the run of the house.
So if the Son sets you free,
you are free through and through.”

Though you and I may not think of ourselves as slaves, we are indeed slaves to our sin when we turn our backs on the truth that is Jesus. He our emancipator, leading us to the most valuable experience … freedom.

While singing a song in church last Sunday, I was struck by the question, “who do you think you are?” So many negative traits and behaviours ran through my head, as I sang “Who am I that the highest King would welcome me?”

Then came these lines:

“I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am”

Who do I think I am?

I am who You say I am …

The theme of the song is from John 8 which is you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Jesus says, ‘who the son sets free, is free indeed.’ It’s a real declaration of identity. When I introduced this song into our church I read John 8, the scripture this song is based on. It talks about how a slave has no place in the family, but once we’ve been brought into the family then we have this identity as part of God’s family and that identity is an identity of freedom.” – Hillsong Worship

Who You Say I Am
Who am I that the highest King

Would welcome me?
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me
Oh His love for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

Free at last, He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

 

 

 

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It’s a birthday for the nation of Canada and the nation will be singing it’s song all day long.

“God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”

Glorious and free …

What exactly does that mean?

Glorious …

Well, glorious could be substituted with wonderful, magnificent. And Canada is! It’s beauty, from coast to coast (sea to shining sea), not just in it’s vast and varied landscape, but in it’s citizens from every nation. All have come here, to this vast nation, seeking what those of us who call this our native land … home … a place to live and work and play. A place to call our own.

Free …

To be free is to not be hindered, by anything or anyone. It can be physical, but it can also be emotional, social, spiritual … freedom from the inside out. So many Canadians have sought to live here in the True North, for the strength and freedom that is absent elsewhere, that is here in abundance. From my perspective, our freedom of speech has been, is and should always be our greatest freedom (even when what is said is disagreeable to us), for from it every other freedom evolves.

I am thankful for this nation that I call home.

I pray that God would keep our land glorious and free.

“Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our Dominion in thy loving care”

 

 

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best-of-week-logo

Wow! The month of May is almost done!

The gift of summer is just around the corner!

And speaking of gifts, the most viewed post of this week was Diamonds or Days Together.

Also this week were :

Freedom
(spring reminds us of freedom, but do we get it?)

Joy When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
(can we have joy even when life is unfair?)

A Different Learning Environment
(how a field-trip made a learner of me)

Renovations of Summer Past-Part 2
(my pièce de résistance of this renovation)

Blessings on you this day,
Carole

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Sometimes ideas for blog posts simply cross my path … this time it ran out to greet me … wagging it’s tail.

On a dark and rainy night, I was heading home when something in the distance up the street caught my eye, and alerted me to proceed with caution.

As I got closer to the intersection, I saw clearly what had been in the shadows … a very happy dog.

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When I saw him on the sidewalk he was doing the canine equivalent of the happy dance, and I knew instinctively that he was a fugitive on the run.

As the cohabitator of a beast who has frequently been such a fugitive, I had seen the signs. Mouth wide open to fully taste freedom. Eyes wide opened so as to see previously unexplored places. Nose in the air filling his lungs with every scent he had previously only sniffed in passing, while out on leash. Tail raised like a monarchs sceptre, as if to say, “I’m the alpha dog.” And a body that could not stay still with the excitement of being free.

He appeared to be friendly, young, and a purebred Golden Retriever … not the sort of beast that normally lives on the streets of the burbs.

I was concerned that his joie de vivre was going to get him swiped, or wiped out by the next vehicle driven he decided to run out to sniff or chase.

As I looked into his big brown eyes I imagined that he might have a human pair of baby blues waiting at home for his return. So I turned the corner and parked on the side of the road, between a house in darkness, and one brightly lit.

“Now what?” I spoke into the air, as my furry stalker looked back at me … as if to say, “wanna play?”

Thankfully one of the two phone numbers I actually know is that of a family from that hood. I called, described the pup, and asked if it might sound like one they know. Through a series of questions we determined that I might actually be parked right in front of this dogs home.

I took a deep breath, and prayed quickly that this dog might be more beauty than beast.

The van door was barely shut when the freedom flier came soaring towards me. It sniffed my hand, my feet, my legs … all seemed to be going well! Then it jumped up, and I abruptly went into dog-owner mode and said in my ‘alpha’ voice

“SIT!”

… and he did.

All human concerns were gone … this dog knew his place (even if he had decided to vacate for awhile).

He followed me like a … puppy, to the door of the well lit house. To the door came two ladies, a two young children, and a mini-beast. When the door opened, one of the women said, “how did he get out?”

Apparently the beautiful beast truly was a fugitive, and by the looks of love on all faces, a deeply wanted one too. The beast seemed to smile, as affection was lavished upon him, from his human and canine pack.

sometimes the look of freedom comes from escaping

but sometimes …

it comes from returning

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I’d had it!20130725-082213.jpg

At the end of a busy, responsibility-laden week, all I wanted was to come home and go to bed, delighted in the fact that the following day was Saturday … no alarm clocks to set!

… but first, to let the beast out to relieve herself so that we could all sleep in peace.

Ah, good intentions …

Our beast is a bit of a … Houdini … she lives to get free. When she is free from the chains that we good, civilized humans have placed on her, she has the most joyful, wonder-filled look on her face, that radiates to the tip of her tail.

At eleven at night, though, her escaping from my hands before the chain got locked onto her collar was anything but joyful or wonder-filled for me.

Typically, when escape has been achieved, she runs herself ragged, and returns after a couple of hours on the lam. It seemed pointless to go hunt the fugitive down, as it was dark, foggy, and there was little concern that she might drive our sleeping neighbors crazy. It also seemed pointless to go to bed, knowing that she would be scratching at the door in a couple of hours.

Well, she did scratch on the prison door … about five in the morning, and less than an hour after I had fallen asleep! As soon as I stumbled, like the middle-aged warden I am, to the door, and she saw me … off she went for round number two!

If you had been in my kitchen you would have heard.

“I hate you!” coming from my pursed lips.

Her ‘game’ was repeated about a half hour later.

I was not impressed!

Finally, I decided to go search for her, in the fog of the dawn. Every time I got close, she sprinted off.

Around nine in the morning, I awoke our daughter, as she has ‘dog whisperer’ tendencies (and because I was just about in tears … not with sorrow, but anger).

I opted for a warm shower, while the dog whisperer did her thing (thanks, in part to the lab next door that she used as bait).

It was there, with the warmth of the water coursing that I had my pity party …

the rough week
the plans that were not going as planned
the struggles in the everyday of life

It was there, in the midst of my pity party, that I blubbered,

“God, you know I can stay positive if I get enough sleep, why did you allow me to lose what I needed most?”

No answer …

Dog found.

Just an hour and a half, after my pity party, I sat in a small church sanctuary, with family and mostly teen friends, of a good friend of my daughter. We were there to witness two young women make their public statement of faith, in following God, through the act of baptism.

To that point, it was the highlight of my twenty-nine hour day!

As the first girl read her testimony (her life story), I got my answer to that blubbery question.

She said, “I need to rely on Jesus more than anything … more than … (pause, as if she didn’t know what to say next) … sleep …”

… more than sleep …

It sort of changed my day, my week, my outlook, my anger. It sort of reminded me of that hymn that says :

“I love thee because
Thou first loved me
And purchased my pardon
On Calvary’s tree”

Maybe the dog should start listening to hymns!

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Summer’s End

End-of-Summer

Farewells are always a sad thing, and saying good-bye to summer is particularly sad.

For many it is back to school tomorrow, marking the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of fall.

On the Pacific Northwest, this summer has been quite perfect. The sun shone almost every single day, the temperature ranging from 24-27˚C (75-76˚F), and periodic breezes.

For myself, this summer has been one of cleaning, and re-organizing our house … really a summer of ‘nesting’.

First I sold or re-purposed the furniture in one of the bedrooms of our International students, who is not returning. Then I cleaned the room thoroughly, touched up the paint, and we moved hubby’s office into that small, but quiet space.

Then came bedroom number two, where we were planning to move our eldest daughter. With the help of the men in the house, the room was emptied of all contents, flooring and doors (bathroom cabinet door included). Then the walls and cabinets were patched, cleaned and painted. The walls papered, trim added, laminate installed, and the finishing will continue even into the fall (but she and all of her worldly belongings have been moved in, making it a very feminine space).

The final renovation was to our daughter’s ‘old’ bedroom, where our other International student would be moving into. More patching, washing, and painting of walls. The carpet ripped out, to be replaced with the better carpet from his previous bedroom. Then his furniture and belongings were set up in his new home.

There was furniture refinishing, ‘stuff’ thrown out, given away or taken to the thrift shop, organizing of closets, re-purposing of unused household items, elimination of dust bunnies and completion of previously uncompleted projects.

Now, as the calendar-full months have arrived, I am looking at re-organizing, re-purposing of another resource … time.

Somehow that seems much more daunting than painting, wallpapering and re-organizing ‘stuff.’

In the summer, we ‘get’ to share our time, but time in the busy winter months, when more responsibilities and more programming exist, it can get stolen out from under us.

I think that is the sorrow in saying farewell to summer … the freedom of time that exists in the summer, that does not exist the rest of the year.

In the summer we are more free to stop what we are doing and just chat with our kids, we are more free to put down that paint brush and meet a friend for coffee, we are more free to sit in the sun/the shade and read a book to it’s delightful end, we are more free to stand on a sandy shore and just … inhale.

For me, that is what summer is, a time of freedom, a time to inhale.

And now, as we exhale all of what summer offered up to us, may we carry the freedoms with us, and still find a way to steal from time so that we do not forget to inhale.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year … and I do not mean that it is Christmas (my hubby is known to sing this song the first day back to school … cruel man). I am, of course, referring to summer.

I am slowly (ever so slowly) getting parts of the house cleaned, renos. started, new recipes researched, and fun things underway with the family.

The beginning of the summer break can be ever so messy. I am simply so very excited to have a significant amount of free time that I try to do everything that I want to … all at once! Just last week I started to clean out the bedroom of an international student who is not returning, I also started to clean my bedroom closet, I also started pruning my grapevine, I also took one of my kids for lunch, took in a sale at a store, and cleaned out the cabinet where I house candles and their holders.

The result of my ADD (attention deficit disorder) behavior was a very messy house. Stuff from my closet ALL over the bedroom, and streaming from it into the kitchen and living room. Stuff from that student’s bedroom streaming all over the hallway outside of it. The can holding yard trimmings in the middle of the backyard. My coffee table full of candles and their holders. Bags of purchases from the sale on my bedroom floor. And dirty floors … how could I possibly have time to clean when I am out, or cleaning, or organizing?

I feel as though my actions mirror the excitement my beast experiences when the door is left ajar, and she runs with joyful abandon.

It is the freedom availed after being locked in to the busyness of the ten months prior that causes this crazed activity. Now that the initial excitement is over, I can truly relax, and enjoy … no, savor the freedom that summer brings.

That reminds me of our beast too. Once she has been out and running like a race horse, mouth hanging open like she is crazed with excitement, she returns home, chooses the most lush part of our front grass (moss), under the shade of the trees, and she simply lays their, with the appearance of the biggest dog smile across her face.

So, now that I am into week two of the summer break, I too am searching for an equally lush and shady place, to enjoy the freedom … the freedom of rest.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.””Matthew 11:28

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I have desired to view the movie, “The Lady” since I first heard of it’s making  in 2011. This movie tells of the the freedom fight of Aung San Suu Kyi and her British husband Michael Aris for the people of Burma (also known as Myanmar).

images-7It is not with any measure of pride that I have to admit how very little I knew/know of the plight of the Burmese people.

According to Human Rights Watch, “hundreds of political prisoners remain, ethnic civil war and inter-ethnic conflict has escalated, and Burmese security forces continue to use forced labor and commit extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, among other abuses.” And this is the case today, as it has been under military control since, in 1962, following a coup d’etat. In 2010 the country had elections that (from my understanding) eliminated military rule … but that does not mean that corruption, violence and human rights are not still problematic there.

Democracy for the Burmese people has been the dream of Aung San Suu Kyi, seemingly all of her life. She was just a young child when her father was killed.

The movie tells of how her visit back to her homeland, from Britain, when her mother was ill changed the course of her life, and that of her husband and children (and the people of Burma). It follows the numerous years of separation she and her family suffered from each other, even to the point when her husband, dying of cancer, and she were separated.

Through the struggles, through the trials, both she and her husband were committed to attaining democracy, freedom, for the Burmese.What they shared, beyond the bonds of marriage, and two sons, was a higher calling.

I do not understand all that they experienced and were focused on to be able to maintain their selfless focus. I am sure that I would have given in, hopped a plane, to go and see my dying husband. I know I would have caved after years (a total of over fifteen years) of house arrest.

What I also know, though, is that they shared in a higher calling. They both knew that their suffering was for the greater good for a nation, for fellow humans. They knew that their loss, however great, paled in comparison with the loss of freedom that generations were growing up without. They knew that their pain was dust in the face of the pain of those who were prisoners and slaves to evil men.

Their sacrifice was, and is divine … it is God-like. He who sacrificed His own Son, for the good of all mankind.

“A saint is only a sinner who keeps trying.”
From The Lady

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“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.
See that you are not alarmed,
for this must take place,
but the end is not yet.”
Matthew 24:6

I do not know all that is involved in the meaning behind the passage above. Wars and rumors of wars have been taking place almost since Adam and Eve first ate of the fruit that they were instructed not to eat.

Today is Remembrance Day (Veterans Day, Armistice Day) a day that brings a watery-eyed stare to the eyes of veterans, a day for those of us living in peace and freedom an opportunity, not to glorify war, but to thank those who sacrificed for the gift of peace and freedom.

There is nothing like hearing the stories of freedom attained during WWII as the Canadian soldiers (and others) marched into Holland, or the stories of Jews who survived the Holocaust, because of the freedom attained through the lives of others, to push me to a cenotaph on November 11 … it is the least I could do.

Soldiers are not warmongers, they are men and women who are called to give … give their time, their youth, their will, and even their lives. They are fulfilling not a desire to kill, but a desire to prevent others from being killed, abused, demeaned, disrespected. They are fulfilling their job, as instructed to do so.

But it does not mean that those with whom they are enemies in wartime, are enemies in times of peace.

My family and I are blessed to see the redeeming work of God every Sunday, just by going to church. You see, the make up of our church is something that only God could do, and He has done it so well. On any given Sunday our sanctuary is filled with individuals from all over the world. And, in the pews sit many veterans … Canadian, German, and (until recent years) Russian … wartime enemies, peacetime friends.

I struggled with locating a ‘guest post’ for today. I so wanted something that would be meaningful, respectful, honoring.

So, in light of my earlier words about freedom, I want to introduce you to Neil Wilkenson, a British Gunner during the Falkland War, and Argentinean fighter pilot Mariano Velasco. During this war Neil shot Mariano’s plane down, and has been dealing with post traumatic demons ever since. In an effort to find inner peace, Neil wanted to find out what happened to the fighter pilot he shot down. This is the story of their reunion, and the freedom that was found by these wartime enemies.

In the words of Neil, “the welcome was everything I had thought of, no thoughts of hatred, nothing but pure admiration for each other and as former professionals we both understood it was our duty to carry out what we had against each other back in 1982.”

Another, more intensive link is here.

 

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As the sun rises (later than back in June … another sign of the impending doom of tomorrow) on this last day before the start of the new school year, GO BACK TO BED! This is IT! The last chance to sleep in for a very long time. Start enjoying the last day, by sleeping in.

I am one of those people who preps and prepares for things rather early. For instance my school supplies were all purchased by the first week of August (I buy most things throughout the year, and stockpile them). Unfortunately, I also mentally prep and plan, and that results in me fretting and fearing for days before an event.

Not this year! Nope! After I have slept in (which sadly means some time after seven but before eight), I will have coffee, on the patio … because I can!

And that will be my motto for the day, because I can.

I man not make my bed, because I can.

I may not get dressed until noon, and it might be from my pj’s to my bathing suit. Maybe I will take a mid day dip, because I can!

I may not cook (okay, my family would say that is nothing new, for this summer, but hey, they say grazing is healthier, right?), but instead have “get it yourself meals” (I personally love this kind of meal).

I may crawl back in my bed in the afternoon and read a book, or write a blog post, or have a nap … because I can!

I may invite hubby to take me out to dinner, because I can.

I may take a walk, because I can.

I may make s’mores on the gas fire-pit, with the family, BEFORE the sun sets, because I can!

I may watch a comedy in the evening that brings me close to peeing my pants, because I can!

I may, I may, I may … because this is the last day of summer vacation, and I can!

Besides, tomorrow morning, when the kids and I drag out butts from our beds and get ready for school/work, my dear hubby will be dancing around the house singing with the guy in the commercial below, because it is his last day of vacation … and he can.

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