Saturday, November 20, 2010

Centenarian wisdom...

If you know me, you probably know that I love quotes.

This one is a real treasure to me... 

I long to know the triumph of high achievement, even if it means that I fail while daring greatly.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt, April 1910

What if...?

What if you could change the world with just a thought?
What if life came easily to you?
What if accolades were all you ever heard?
What if everyone who ever met you thought that you hung the moon and stars?
What if you never knew pain, suffering, disappointment, rejection, or humiliation?

Would you?

If you could change the world with just a thought, would you bother?
If life came easily to you, would you value it more...or less?
If accolades were all you ever heard, would you pass them on and honour others?
If everyone who ever met you thought that you hung the moon and stars, would you start to believe the same?
If you never knew pain, suffering, disappointment, rejection, or humiliation, would you really know what it's like to be alive?

I don't know about you, but I do know about me...

If I could change the world with just a thought, I probably wouldn't give it a second thought.
If life came easily to me, I would probably value it less...since I always seem to value things more when I have to work for them.
If accolades were all I ever heard, I probably wouldn't learn or grow much, and it probably wouldn't occur to me to give credit where credit is due.
If everyone who ever met me thought that I hung the moon and stars, I probably would feel the same...and that might very well change everyone's mind!
If I never knew pain, suffering, disappointment, rejection, or humiliation, I probably would think I was happy, but be missing out on what it's like to truly prevail.

But I'm thankful, because between eternity and this place where I stand today, these things exist for a means to grow in knowledge, love, humility, honour, and passion.

That's exactly where I want to be.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Communicating my way to a degree...

I have a few weeks left of my Organizational Communication course, and I'm losing steam.

The material is fascinating, but not as fascinating as the TV shows I want to watch, or snuggling with my hubby, hence, my nightly battle to read and understand the material!

Is a degree between eternity and where I am now? If I have a say, I better make it happen...because they don't issue Bachelor's degrees in TV shows or snuggling!  Time to ante up and get 'er done!

Friday, October 22, 2010

my shack...

Have you read the book "The Shack" by William Young?  If not, I highly recommend it. I hardly think it's the modern day "Pilgrim's Progress" as some have billed it to be. But it's an interesting, easy read if what you're looking for is to have your ideas about God shaken to the core. They may or may not be true. They may or may not be accurate. And they may or may not offend. But the issue is not to claim truth or accuracy. The idea that I take from the book is to think differently about God, and to realize that He is so completely different from how we think!

I was reading it this week. It's my second or third read, and each time, I've had different thoughts come to mind.

A recent discussion with a girlfriend of mine was centred around the idea that all roads (in particular, all religions) lead to Christ. I don't think that this is true, however, I do see all religions as a search for the divine...a way to find that light that is missing in our lives. And this morning, "The Shack" threw out an interesting comment.

Let me qualify again by saying that I don't think that this book is the gospel of truth. It was the words of a man, but I think that Jesus may very well have used this man's hands to write this message. It's a message that we all need to hear:

Jesus: "Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don't cotre or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved."

Mack:"Does that mean that all roads will lead to you?"

Jesus: "Not at all...most roads don't lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you."

I'm so thankful to be in love with a God who would travel any road to find me. I hope you are too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


My faithful friend and reader, Perry, noticed that it's been a while since I have posted anything. Sounds kind of like me. I start most things with passion and then it wanes, and I find other things that are more captivating.

That's not possible with this blog. I need this blog. I need to write. And to do that, I needed a bit of a hand.

Note: I write that not to make an environmental statement - it's more of a statement of the way I was feeling in life!  I was the orangutan, needing someone to give me a lift!

One of the reasons I have been so silent is that I have felt unworthy to actually say anything. This last few months have been a tough - not in terms of anything bad happening to me, but in working out some issues within my own heart - mostly relating to my faith. I've been struggling to understand where I fit in a world that doesn't think that faith matters anymore, and to understand whether I think that faith matters.

So, how does a church-raised Christian girl become a mixed-up child? She stops thinking about what really matters to her. She stops caring about the things that Jesus cares about, and putting more stock in her own wisdom than that of anyone else. She takes her eyes off of the prize, and focuses only on the few inches in front of her feet. She stops using her gifts to encourage others, and she stops speaking words that will bring life to those around her. She just seems to be drifting along, with nothing to give her any kind of inspiration, or any kind of hope.

Thankfully, she also has someone in her life that will speak the truth to her. And that's where the transformations come. I am that girl, and my mom was that person. She's always been my encourager, but this last couple of weeks, she's been a huge part of my life changing. She was my hand.

My life is changed.

I know that the whole idea of being born again, in most people's opinions, is somewhat hokey. Maybe even a little bit creepy. But, there's also something totally spectacular about it. When I knew that something was missing and I was aching to change; when I was longing to be something more than I was, and to break free from the negative, frustrated, and unkind ways that had become my life, hearing that re-birth is possible was the healing that my soul needed. And I found it here:

"And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their hearts of stone, and give them tender hearts instead" (Ezekiel 11:19).

Don't worry if it doesn't say anything to doesn't have to. All I know is that these words changed my life and my gratitude to the one who spoke them to me is beyond words.

I knew that my heart was stone. I knew that I needed a new spirit. I knew that I wanted tenderness. And He gave it to me.

I'm not perfect, and I'm sure that anyone who knows me will want to wait and see. I don't blame you! All I know is that I was changed, and that my heart is no longer stone. The very best of me is being developed through a relationship that I've just rediscovered.  And if you think that God means nothing nowadays, I don't blame you - He's sure been taken out of everything in our everyday lives.

But He means something to me, and if you're interested in knowing what, please ask!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In many things a lesson is found...

I have to share something with you: I'm learning really interesting things!

On Saturdays, I'm learning to do yoga. Since most of my friends are yogis to some degree, I feel like I'm a late bloomer in this regard. But I decided to take a class, and I am learning to move slower, with more intention, and with more focus on my body, and what it can do. I like the opportunity to rest, to think, to breathe, and to de-stress. I also like the opportunity to think about the things that are important to me.

At work, I'm learning to appreciate the positive, and focus less on the negative. I'm not doing really well with this one, but it's a journey, and I'm trying! I'm also hoping that there is a potential for a major work learning opportunity in the next couple of weeks - but I'll keep you posted on that!

On Mondays, I'm learning what it means to be consistent. That's a strange thing to say, when I could learn it any day! But on Mondays, my mom and I, along with friends, are learning what it means to live like we belong to God. That means I'm learning how to align myself with what is intrinsically true in my life. And how to live that without pretension, with honour, integrity, and purity. 

At home, I'm learning to find a sense of peace by organizing and planning. My husband has been learning how to make our home more beautiful through renovations, and I am seeking to make it more beautiful by bringing peace and order to it.

On Thursdays, I think I'm going to learn how to cook with a new group of ladies. I'll have to fill you in more after this Thursday, because I'm not exactly sure how it works yet!

Through school, I'm learning how easy it is to work in a team of people that I respect and adore. Our class, Organizational Communication, is not simple material, but working with Alex and Lynette is about as good as life gets.

Learning is passion for me. So, between eternity and where I am now, I hope that there are many more opportunities like this, where my life is tinted by learning opportunities in all different shades and colours.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm singing in the rain...just singing in the rain!

I HAVE written something in each of the last two days - honest!  It just really sucked, and I didn't want to be on the record (or at least on my blog) talking about the Qur'an burning...I have nothing to contribute to the discussion, except for my pleasure that he won't do it.

Onto bigger and better things...!

I'm experiencing a peaceful state today, brought to me partly by a good sleep, a wonderful yoga class, and reading a particularly interesting text book. Oh, and that a team full of wonderful people who actually want me to join them to make organizational communications history!

This could only be a better Saturday afternoon if I was at Disney World on Splash Mountain with my favourite of all ride-partners... 

So, today in Calgary, we are experiencing the "previous-to-summer-2010-strange" phenomenon called "rain."

Now, to other provinces in this great nation, that's not a strange phenomenon. No, you enjoy this many times a year, often in lieu of the white stuff we welcome called "snow." You also tend to enjoy things called "flowers" at a time of year when us Calgarians are mired in brown gravel-muck. I'm jealous of the fact that you probably had better flowers in January than we had all summer.  But that's beside the point!

Calgary, with my 33 years of anecdotal evidence, has never had this much rain in a summer. I don't ever recall a summer where the grass wasn't dying in late August, and

Now, I am not a raving fan of any kind of precipitation. But today is such a beautiful day, and the rain is coming down in heavy sheets with some thunder, and a bit of sun hoping to poke through the clouds. It makes me wonder if there is anything more beautiful than the colour of things glistening with moisture and reflecting a hint of sunlight. Right now, the only thing I can think of is a bit of blue sky and a colourful rainbow. Those are the kind of moments that happen so infrequently, but when they come, bring me so much joy that I can hardly contain myself.

Side note: The most fantastical thing just happened...the blue sky came out. Still waiting for the rainbow, and I'm ready to jump out of my skin with anticipation about that!  Can you see why?  Here's how my street looks right now...

 Pretty, wet, and sunny. That's my kind of rain!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

in which karen learns the discipline of writing even when she doesn't feel like it...

The conviction: To desperately want to be a better writer.
The challenge: To just do it.
The benefit: Confidence and clarity.
The plan: Get my words out there.
The inspiration: Reading and hearing other words that have become immortal.
The mode: A new phone that lets me express my thoughts on the move.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reading my life in someone else's words...

"When I’m incredibly passionate about something, I tend to be stubborn. And when I recognize a problem, I’m not one to keep it inside. As a result, I have had some situations with teammates and clients in which I have been rather abrasive with my delivery of a no. 

Fearful that I won’t be heard or understood, I have overemphasized my position to the point that people don’t hear what I said but how how I said it.

Having been made aware of this issue and given the opportunity to fix it, I can freely admit now that it was getting in the way of my ultimate goal—helping people."

How did a random blogger describe so perfectly what my life was like this week? Maybe it's because it's a lesson I need to learn. Or maybe it's just about time that I learned it.

Or maybe a little of both.  Either way, I'm grateful. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

don't worry...

These posts won't stay lame for long!  I am just trying to finish up an Intercultural Communication project, and then I plan to thrill anyone who happens to be reading with my wonderful journey to become extremely logical using rhetorical argument.  But again, don't worry!  I'll make it exciting for you.  Promise.

when eternity doesn't seem so far away...

my husband blaine
makes my life very perfect
I live in a dream

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

I know that...

No matter how much time lies between eternity and where I am now, I will walk beside her the entire way.

Here's to the best of best friends...! 

(Sorry for stealing your photo, bestie!  Just had to share you with the world!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Packing tape and a starfish

It's Saturday, and I feel like hosting story-hour, so I thought I would tell a story about my husband, and the way that he wraps presents!

For the Christmas season of 2008, Blaine and I agreed that we wouldn't spend much on presents for each other. So, I was very surprised on Christmas morning when Blaine handed me a very large box, with beautiful, perfect wrapping paper and a bow. When I did, there was another box that was wrapped with the same painstaking care and beautiful decorations. 

(Oh wait, I need to mention that under the wrapping paper was tape - rolls and rolls of packing tape to seal up every box edge. I need a knife or pair of scissors just to get the tape off. Blaine thinks this is infinitely funny because it takes me so much longer to open gifts! On average, it probably took me an extra 5 minutes to take the tape off of each box!)

This continued with 5 or 6 more smaller boxes contained within, with interesting things added into the boxes to keep me guessing about its contents (this husband of mine - he's creative. He uses things like screws, weights, and soup cans to trick me about the contents of gifts!).

Finally, I came to a small box, about the size of a package of cream cheese. Again with the paper, again with the tape, but this time, when I finally managed to pry the box open, I saw this:

Now, this was not what we had agreed on. I bought him a DVD, for heaven's sake!

So, I opened it, and saw this:

A starfish! One of my favourite vacation experiences is  tide-pools, and my husband knew this. I love this bracelet, and I love him!

I don't tell this story to say, "Check it out - I have a Tiffany bracelet!" I want to say, "Check it out - my husband is an amazingly thoughtful gift-giver!"

Here's why:

1. He knows what I like and remembers it (we saw this starfish collection in Seattle a number of years ago).
2. He wants to make it special by creating an entire experience for me out of opening the gift (albeit, somewhat irritatingly so!).
3. At the end of the day, the gift doesn't matter as much as feeling adored does.

And so I wish today...for anyone that happens to be reading this...that you are adored. I'm so thankful that I am!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Time with a hero

Spending time with a "hero" is a really surreal experience. I had that experience today. I got to talk with Carla.

She's one of my heroes for a number of reasons, but one of the most meaningful is that her voice resonates in my mind whenever I write.  Her advice and teaching changed the way that I think and the way that I write. She helped me to appreciate the value of a semi-colon, the beauty of a serial comma, and using more verbs than nouns in my writing.  But her most important lesson was her 5 C's in writing: 
  • Clear – always aim for high level of clarity
  • Concise – use sharp phrases and sentences
  • Correct – follow rules of grammar, spelling, usage
  • Compelling – you must say something
  • Creative – always be interesting!
I might not always live up to those C's, but Carla made an impact on me, and I cherished the opportunity to reconnect with her again today...

Words not required...

if it's true that a picture speaks a thousand words, here are a thousand for you:

Hope you enjoy them!  More later...

Photo credit

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My new friend

It happens often to me. Normally, I'm speechless for a few minutes, although this time it was a few days.

I came across beautiful words put together by a beautiful artist who captivated millions with her stories.

She captivates me with the letters on a page that create sheer wonder in my soul...

Oh, that I could become a wordsmith of the calibre of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Her words will last forever...

These are the new ones that I re-discovered this week:

"Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds."

Not only am I captivated by the words, but by the life that is led by someone who lives them out...I see that person as someone who makes the most of opportunities ...someone who appreciates ...someone who enjoys ...someone who exudes.

Maybe a little bit like experiencing every moment between eternity and where I am now.


What am I about?

There has never been anything that has fuelled my passion like words. They make me laugh, make me cry, give me a sense of every emotion between eternity and where I am now.

I'm figuring this out a little later than the average person - I wasn't a bookworm, or someone who journalled intensively. In fact, I'm 33 and only just now figuring out how to complete a Bachelor's degree with my words. I've known that words make me feel things deeply, and words put together in specific ways have a special magical power to entice and enrapture me like nothing else.

I don't know how long that I'll have to describe what I am experiencing between eternity and where I am now, but the best I can do is try.

So, here goes!

As a fledgling writer studying under a master, the challenge went out that if I want to be a better writer, I need to just get to it and write; if I want to be a better storyteller, I need to listen to stories being told; if I want to be a better rhetorician, I need to ravenously intake all of the persuasive discourse that I can.

My other blog is about being grateful. It's terribly written, with all small caps, and probably terrible punctuation. It was saying something about me when I started it, but has since ceased speaking (that could be because I haven't updated it!). I think I might get rid of it, but haven't completely convinced myself yet that a blog focusing on gratitude should be removed from the blogosphere.

With that blog in mind, I wanted to take a deeper look at my life - not only to express my gratitude, but also my recognition of a life that is finite, and my need to appreciate every moment. I believe that my life will end with a new start in heaven, but until then, I have some work to do!

I want to be able to share my words and passions with you, my readers. It's a journey and a mission.

If you come along, I'd be thrilled, because I like nothing better than to share my love of words with others. If you stop by for a little while, I will consider myself fortunate that we shared this bit of time between eternity and where I am now. That's a phrase that you'll see a lot, because I have other plans too...

To copy one of my favourite professors, I will probably develop a slightly capricious side...some jokes, some fun, some videos, some words. All trying to appreciate the moments between eternity and where I am now.