A Rusty Pail

We have all been there: Too many things to do and not enough time, Commitments to your friends and family, or maybe the financial pressures of the world are weighing you down. I do not want to be a Debbie Downer, but sometimes life is just a full of crap gathering in a rusty pail. As you grow older, there are so many more responsibilities and challenges that come into your life. I think the biggest challenge is simply figuring out what to do with your life. This has been a big struggle for me and my husband lately. I believe we are blessed in many ways, but things just seem to be a big mess. I have no clue what type of career to have or what I should do for work. All my life I’ve really only wanted to be part of a family and have children of my own. I feel like that is what I have been called to.

Now, I’m sure there is someone out there reeling in shock that an educated woman would want to be a homemaker in this day and age. However, I cannot think of any greater joy than raising my own children. On top of that joyful thought, I think I could do well in many careers. I have a good education and have experience in many different fields. I have worked in ministry, worked in a library, worked as a copy-editor, and so many more areas. Despite this, I cannot help but feel lost in regards to where to go from here. Do I pursue the current masters degree I am in now? Do I pursue a different one? Do I start a family? Do I do nothing? All of these questions racing around make me question why God has yet to direct me. I have prayed for direction and yet I still feel lost. Does God always tell us what to do? Maybe that’s just it. Maybe God is open to all the ideas I have. Or maybe I am unwilling to listen.

A lot of these feelings come down to being lost and a sense of hopelessness. It is very difficult to choose the “right” path to take when the world has so many different ideas of what success is. It is difficult to have a feeling of success when you have very little money and you are told financial freedom is success. It is so difficult to save and to get your life on track especially after accumulating school debt. Let me tell you, debt is one of the worst things you could do to yourself. I do believe having some debt from school is an investment, but it is still a very stressful experience. Given the rant above, what is success? Should I feel successful? Should I feel successful even if I have no idea what to do with my life?

I want to say yes, but I have no idea why. A roof over my head, food to eat, and people who care are successes in some sense. However, where is God in all this despair? Maybe He is the calming force that is telling me everything will be okay while that rusty pail is filling up. Whatever it is, I will hold onto that small cry of yes until I have the means to say I am successful for… Yes.

What Not to do: Wedding Planning

Hi Everyone!

So maybe you are in the same boat as me and my fiancé and you are planning a wedding. If so then you will understand what I am about to say next: Weddings are STRESSFUL!

Don’t get me wrong, weddings are wonderful, beautiful and happy occasions. I am so happy to be marrying the love of my life in a few months time, but they are difficult to plan. In light of this, I thought I would make a list of all the things I have learned NOT to do during the process of planning. Perhaps it will save you some headaches.

  1. Don’t freak out. Yes there is a lot going on and lots to do, but don’t panic. It will get done. Freaking out only upsets you and your partner.
  2. Don’t plan it alone. You may be tempted to take the world upon your shoulders to make the day perfect. Don’t kill yourself through the stress. Instead choose some trusted people (parents, friends, bridesmaids, etc.) and ask them to help with certain tasks. Get the groom involved too! Maybe he is really into a certain portion of the wedding planning in which case, let him be the king of that area. For example, my guy loves music, so he is the boss of the wedding playlist.
  3. Don’t stress eat. Girl. You need to fit that dress! Don’t eat to relieve the stress of planning. Reduce the planning stress and eat healthy!
  4. Don’t go gym crazy! Girl. You don’t need to lift the groom over the threshold… Don’t exercise so much that it consumes your life and makes you look like someone your groom won’t recognize. Exercise enough to stay healthy and just choose a few areas to work on if you are concerned.
  5. Don’t chain yourself to planning. Do other things too. Your wedding is important, but so is your job, your school work, taking your dog on a walk…
  6. Don’t forget to enjoy it. God-willing, this will be your first and only wedding. Enjoy the experience of planning your special day and cherish the moments with your significant other. Make beautiful memories of this special time!

There you have it! 6 no-nos when planning your wedding. I’m sure there are tons more but I’m still learning as I go!

-Katie

Share your wedding planning No-Nos in a comment below!

The Apartment of Desire

We as humans are defined by many things. For some its our ability to reason, (some seem to be lacking in this though). For others they define it by the state of evolutionary cycle we are in (I’ll talk about that one after I finish Origin of a Species) and even some define it by having a soul (I honestly don’t know if All Dogs Go To Heaven). According to some philosophers and episode thirty eight of Avengers; Earths Mightiest Heroes, we as humans are defined by our capacity to strive for something more than basic needs. Most animals strive for survival and multiplying. Sounds like a nice simple life sometimes.

Today I am speaking on my favourite movie; The Apartment. It’s an old 1960 romantic comedy starring Jack Lemmon. In the movie Lemmon plays insurance accountant C.C. Baxter. A humble, hard worker who works alone, goes home alone and lives utterly alone in New York seemingly without a friend. He is respectful, kind to everyone, and giving to the point of harming of himself (I’m sure some can relate to this).

With his pursuit to make something of his life, and not being able to say no to anybody he is in the unusual predicament with his apartment of loaning it out to higher-up men in the company to have affairs in. He really doesn’t like doing it, but they are pushy and make promises of helping his career. Indeed his career is helped, but at what cost? In all this he strives for a higher position for some self-esteem. And maybe even to make a friend amoung those who use him and call him “buddy boy”.

The other main character of this movie is Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), an elevator girl (yup. It’s that old of a movie) who has made all the wrong mistakes in her life and is stuck living with her married sister and working a dead-end job. The only recent thing she enjoyed in her life was the affair with the company’s boss; Jeff D. Sheldrake (Played by Fred MacMurray). She loves him and tried to call it all off when his wife came back to the city after being away for the summer, but she could not get away. She wanted out, but he sucked her back in for his own pleasure. Now she is a torn-up soul feeling broken and ashamed of her life. The only hope she has is that Jeff will leave his wife for her, which he continues to promise without any intention of doing so.

The other characters of this film, including Jeff D. Sheldrake are the ones classified as “takers”. It seems that this entire building is overflowing with sexual escapades and affairs of people seeking pleasure and self-profit. The men take advantage of Baxter (Jack Lemmon) time and time again, preying on his timid-giving nature. Not to mention all of the women they keep taking emotional advantage of for their own physical pleasure. “Some people are takers, and others get taken”. “That’s just the way it crumbles… cookie wise that is”.

In the end after much drama and a suicide attempt; C.C. Baxter gets his big office and the status to match on the high up floor. Sheldrake gets divorced by his wife who discovered the affair. So Sheldrake and Fran can be together. So the two are together and Baxter can get his office. Win-win right? Wrong. Each one of these characters are seeking the wrong thing in the wrong place.

We are defined by what we seek. Whatever our primary drive is, whatever we work the hardest on, think the most on, spend the most time on; is master of our life. Luke 16:13 says “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despite the other. You cannot serve both God and money”. This verse is specific to money, but it applies in many other cases. Another is Romans 8:5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit”. Almost everyone in this movie is most focused on their own fleshly pleasure. So what could they succeed in other than pleasure? This is a pursuit many pursue in life and they find themselves empty after the high, and hopefully; ashamed. Baxter was only focused on business and financial success. This is the basis of which our entire economic structure is based on! So what can we accomplish other than that materialistic and statured success if that is what our life goal is? In the end, we will find that riches and success do not make us happy. They leave us longing for something more, and we can’t take it with us after this short life ends anyway. And Fran was looking for love. What else would she be able to find but love? She almost didn’t even find that. Yes, she did end up with Baxter and it’s a touching happy ending without being too sappy (PERFECT!). But love is fleeting. People toss around the world love like it’s nothing and then lose the love and get divorced. And it’s devastating.

But is that all we are meant to achieve in life? Hollywood makes it seem like all we can ever hope to obtain in life is love and self-achievement. These aren’t bad things. These are GREAT things. But there is some things even GREATER that nobody in this movie achieves. This is the pursuit of salvation and relationship with God. They are by-far the most joyful, long-lasting pleasurable, and most successful thing we can hope to have because they are things beyond the restraints of this crappy world. And even better is the promise in Mathew 6:33 said by Jesus himself; “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. “These things” refer to our needs. Our need to belong, to have love and purpose. God will provide when we focus on him. So what is best to strive for then?

Inside Lewyn Davis’ really really sad life (spoilers within)

An odd movie to be on Netflix, but a very good one. The story of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a folk singing New Yorker wanting to become a professional musician with a record deal is a very good one. But there is more than that. Unlike other movies that build up issues until the climaxed-resolution Inside Llewyn Davis, begins with Llewyn without a home, his best friend’s wife (Carey Mulligan) is impregnated with what may be his own baby instead of his friend’s (Justin Timberlake), Llewyn’s best friend has already committed suicide and he is stuck with his other friend’s cat. Oh, and his music career won’t pick up… and he’s almost broke. Enough conflict?

Still not enough apparently. That was just the opening of the movie, later we also discover he also has had a very difficult break up with another girl we never meet but he seemed very serious about. (SPOILER ALERT) And unkown to him, this woman is raising their child. Llewyn’s sister, a struggling single mother, doesn’t want to have anything to do with him and their Father… well he honestly doesn’t give a crap (… he literally poops himself when Llewyn stops by to visit him in the retirement home). And Llewyn has serious emotional issues.

Jeez, I wonder why.

Around and in between all of this happening Lewyn is trying to get his record “Inside Llewyn Davis” publish and become a famous musician. It is quite obvious throughout the film that his entire life revolves around this single goal.

It isn’t always a bad thing though, he preforms several songs throughout the movie that show he actually has some real talent. What hurts even more though is  everyone else he knows is successful and musical to the point where the watcher just doesn’t get why they have so much success and Llewyn doesn’t. Is it his anger issue? Other emotional issue? His like of enthusiasm? Lack of regard for others? Lack of manors? Lack of income? Lack of personal security?

This dream of his isn’t a bad thing, and he is struggling through life like the rest of us just with a slight rougher time but he is a normal guy. There is one big issue with this dream of his though… it fails.

Unlike every other movie where they come up with that one great song that brings her back to life to show everything is going to be okay, or the band gets back together, or they are discovered and live the rest of their lives happily ever after… musically; Llewyn fails to become a musician and goes back to his career in his merchant marine union. BUT EVEN THAT FAILS. His sister threw out his license papers and he can’t afford to replace them.

The movie ends with Llewyn being beaten outside the bar by the angry husband of the woman he heckled the night before in misdirected anger. At that same time he is being beaten Bob Dylan is playing inside the bar his first ever New York performance which is the beginning of his famous career as a folk musician. (SPOILER ALERT) The last moment of the film is Llewyn lying on the ground, beaten and bleeding and shouts out to the driving away attacker “Au Revoir”.

Now. I know what you are thinking and no this movie is not as depressing as it sounds. It’s worse. And the reason for all of Llewyn’s failure is this; he was never destined to be a famous folk singer. Bob Dylan was, and is in real life and in that is the mirrored reflection of what Llewyn wanted to be but was never meant to.

Llewyn missed the point of his life, whatever he was meant to do or be it was not a folk singer even though that was literally all he aspired to. He just never got the hint, and probably never will.

In his pursuit to get a record label and a music career he lost his friends, family, health, a child, and a loyal cat. That final scene of him broken, beaten and bleeding on the street is all he is now. All he has left.

He could have helped his struggling sister, reconnect with his Father, be a true friend to those who let him sleep on their couch the entire movie or even better; help raise the child he has out there and even had a good opportunity to go meet the kid and the mother.

Sometimes we all miss the point of life. Something distracts us and we don’t know which way to go. Llewyn thought his life was meant to revolve around his music and lifestyle as a musician but as it seems; it really wasn’t.

The point of our lives is to love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength. And to love our neighbours as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Anything other than this will leave us lost and confused seemingly without a purpose or direction. And even when we find our own path, who says it won’t end up as empty and unsuccessful as Llewyn’s? If it doesn’t, it’s thanks to God’s common grace to all man kind.

A trip to the Bathroom… and Time?

The hot tub time Machine series as stretched longer than I, and probably others thought it would. And personally, longer than it should. I enjoyed the first one as much as the next guy… and the handful of girls probably (note: no sexist intent here, just a simple observation that it was meant to be a guys-night movie by the movie corporation.)

I’m not even going to touch the second and third hot tub time machine movies. If you need to wonder why, you may watch them and then wish for that amount of your life back. (Sidenote: you can never get back the time you spend on anything, so make sure you choose wisely. That goes for everyone. Not just Christians)

In the first Hot tub Time Machine we meet the four main characters. Adam (John Cusack)who seems to be an average guy in his 30s in the midst of a depressing divorce. Jacob (Clark Duke), a 20-something year old who’s life is also depressing, but that is more because of his lack of living, and lack of proper child-raising. Nick (Craig Robinson), who is married, but has recently discovered his wife who definitely wears the pants in the relationship has been cheating on him. Not to mention he is filled with regret of wasted potential. And Lastly, AND LEAST; Lou (Rob Corddry), a real jerk-faced loser who has drank away his life, driven away his friends and tried to commit suicide (spoilers).

The theme of this movie is the mutual regret each character feels for their past. And through the help of a hot tub time machine they go on an adventure that betters their lives by fixing their past.

(This entire paragraph is spoilers)
Adam marries a different girl, Jacob grows up with a father and and lot of money (which shouldn’t really confirm happiness), Nick gets his music career going and scares his young wife into fearing adultery. And Lou becomes successful, gets and family and helps out his friends lives so to make up for his alternate pass. Everything ends happily.

But the truth is. None of these guys had to travel through time. Yes if we did things different in the past it may cause different results but the things that have happened to us, or we have done made us. God detailed and planned out our life and we either try to live by that plan or don’t. No middle ground.

TI reference a much better movie; Hakuta matata (copywright-lion king) no worries put your past behind you and to add: FOCUS ON THE NOW!

Each one of those guys could have changed their lives without changing their past. By the grace of God people do it everyday. Adam can find a different girl, maybe even the same one in the alternate universe. Jacob is still young and can live his life, and Adam could have been his father figure or somebody else. Nick could have solved these issues with his wife AND done his music career (Alice Cooper was a geography teacher for several years before a rock star and Johnny Cash didn’t produce a single album until his mid twenties). Lastly Lou’s lonely, empty drunken life can be turned around just like hundreds have. I personally know people who were in similar or worse shape before they found Christ and turned their lives around for the better.

So let your past be your past whatever it is, no matter how horrible or regreatful. Everyone has skeletons in their closet and a trunk-full of regrets… but we don’t have to.

God can heal more than imaginable and I assure you, despite the past, the best is to come; if you want it to.

Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One

This is a difficult topic to talk about. Over the past year or so, many friends and family members have passed away. As many of you can imagine, it is very difficult to process the death of anyone let alone when you have work to think of and  university papers to complete. It also makes things plenty more difficult when the death of a loved one is sudden and unexpected. I want to take the time to share my experience with this as it is something really hard to go through and some of you might be going through a similar experience.

Continue reading “Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One”

When that Mysterious Black Blob Falls From the Sky

Today I was thinking about what it means to have faith. I wonder sometimes how we are even able to put our faith in things when we so often have our faith in something broken. I don’t know how many times I have put my faith in someone or something only to have them not be what I put my trust in.

I see faith as an action with many layers. When we have faith so many other qualities are wrapped up into the action. When you have faith, you trust, you are loyal to what you put your faith in, you have respect for it, you are hopeful, you have peace, and you feel safe. I may be missing some aspects but I think that faith is a positive action. However, this doesn’t mean that faith can’t be put in something that is unworthy. There are somethings that aren’t able or ready to have someone put their faith in. Our other problem is that we sometimes too freely put faith in things or people. I feel like it is really important to have a reason for any faith you have in anything. A hopeless faith is not a good faith.

As I was pondering these thoughts and wondering how I could ever have proper faith, something strange happened. As I sat in my bed, I heard a weird, slimy peeling sound. The sound reminded me of when you throw silly putty slime at the wall and it slowly peels off. I quickly looked up only to see some black thing quickly drop to the ground. By this point, I am thinking what the heck is happening and a bit worried that I am going to be attacked by some crazy monster. Obviously, that is very unrealistic, but I still sat there too afraid to peer off the end of my bed to see what it was. I sat there thinking of what the mysterious black blob could have been and finally let curiosity get the better of me. I slowly approached the end of the bed and scanned the floor with my eyes. Nothing. I didn’t find a thing. As I chuckled a bit to myself, it was at this moment I realized something big. Without knowing, I put my faith in something and trusted that no mystery blob was going to attack me. If I can put my faith in that, putting my faith in bigger things should be easy. I really try to put my faith in God that He will take care of me. So far, I have yet to be let down. With family members in the hospital, my wisdom teeth removal, and all other aspects of life being at the forefront of my brain, if I put faith in God, I can easily go about my day and have the strength to get through situations like these. As for the blob thing, I still have yet to find it. I don’t remember throwing any silly putty on my ceiling so I doubt its that. I thought for a moment I imagined it all, but there are a few black streaks on the ceiling proving that something was there! Hopefully, it will leave with out saying goodbye and that I never discover what it was.

Here’s me and the blob, signing out!

Katie

What do you think the blob was? Have you had to put your faith in something tough working out?

Walking the Walk: Part 1

A few weeks ago I did a series called “Mind and Body”. This series was about taking care of your mental and physical health so that you are able to function well, and serve God and others to the best of your ability. I understand that not all of you reading are Christians, but feel free to read these posts anyway. If at the very least, those posts centred around having a healthy body and mind which everyone should strive to have. This new series, “Walking the Walk”, is about living a healthy spiritual life. Again, I understand that some of you do not believe in God and may think that Christians are hypocrites. I’m not going to give an argument for or against either of these ideas right now, but please do keep reading if you want. Even if you do not believe, the posts in this series could give you some insight into what I strive to do to have a healthy spiritual life or in other words, a healthy relationship with God. I also believe that the concepts discussed in this series are an important part of every Christian’s life. This does not mean that everyone does these things or doesn’t mess up once in awhile. I am not professing to be perfect and I mess up a lot. However, over the next few weeks I am hoping to share what I think “Walking the walk” looks like for Christians from a biblical perspective.

Have an awesome weekend!

Katie

How do you walk your walk? 

The Mind and Body: Part 6

Here is my last tip for having a healthy mind and body:

Talk to someone
I cannot even begin to tell you how important this one has been to me over the past years. I think A LOT. That quality in itself is not a bad thing. Generally, it has a been a good thing as it has helped me to be more creative and solve problems quicker. However, the blessing of a thinking mind is a curse if you have something pressing or not so nice on your mind. Sometimes, I can’t solve the problem I’m experiencing unless I talk to someone about. Now, you might say, what if you don’t have someone to talk to? Boy have I been there! I will list some suggestions below that will achieve the effect of talking to someone and that will help you deal with whatever comes your way in life.

1. Talk to Someone

Personally, I find that if there is a real person you can sit down with and pour your heart out to over a warm cup of tea, you should do that. Not everyone has a person like this in their life and thats okay too. This is a person that you will want to be trustworthy and open to listening. With that being said, if they are a friend or family member, be open to returning the favour one day and make sure they are okay with you discussing your problem. If they are a counsellor, then don’t worry. They are paid to listen to you, but do treat them with respect even if you disagree with something they say.

2. Pray 

If you need someone to talk to, God is always there to listen. It might make you feel better to silently pray or pray outloud. If you don’t believe in God, you could try just saying problem outloud or try praying anyway. He’ll still hear you! Sometimes, the comfort of telling someone is all you need to clear your head enough to find a solution. 

3. Journal

This one is a biggie! I am horrible at consistantly writing in a journal and if anyone finds my journal after I die, I bet they will think I lived a horribly depressing life. However, the reason so many troubling stories are recorded in my journal is that I use it as a tool to talk to someone when there is no real person available. That may sound a little weird, but it is sort of like talking to yourself. You begin by writing out the situation and then you can look back at what you wrote with a new perspective in a little while. By doing this, you may see a solution that you couldn’t think of before. As an added bonus, it is very therapeutic and helps calm you down. Many times, I write down prayers as well. By doing that, I can review the prayers at a later time and see how they were answered or if I need to keep praying about them. 

4. Blog

This one is a new thing for me, but it seems to be working out well. You may not know anyone who is actually reading your blog, but there is something really helpful about sharing your ideas in a network of people. Although the internet can be a cruel place, generally speaking, most people are good and want to interact with you and your ideas. Even if they disagree, thats okay because it will help you grow as a person and it will hopefully help them as well! Try it out and I think you will like what you experience.

There you have it! I hope these tips have been helpful and if you would like to hear some more tips on a particular topic, let me know in a comment below. Thanks for reading 🙂

– Katie