Shades of Grey

I am a person of colour. By that, I don’t mean that I am black, red, or yellow skinned. I am actually a pale sallow colour which means that I am either a white, yellow person or a yellow, white person. Either way, I absolutely can not wear olive green without looking like I am suffering from a severe case of sea-sickness.

I call myself a person of colour because I love colour. Green is my favourite colour (except olive, of course). I think it is my favourite because it is fresh, cool, relaxing and refreshing – like walking through the woods on an early summer’s day. I also love red which I find passionate, envigorating, and cheerful. (Like me! LOL)

There is one colour that I absolutely hate with a capital “H” and that is grey! Grey is a colour that is not a colour because it is neither here nor there – it’s wishy-washy. Grey is the colour of my least favourite month “POOvember”. Grey is dull, dismal, depressing, lackluster and lifeless.

In case you think that I am colour prejudiced and misinformed, I include some information from Wikipedia that I found while doing research on the colour grey:

Grey or gray  is an intermediate color between black and white. It is a neutral or achromatic color, meaning literally that it is a color “without color.”

In Europe and the United States, surveys show that grey is the color most commonly associated with conformity, boredom, uncertainty, old age, indifference, and modesty. Only one percent of respondents chose it as their favorite color.

In antiquity and the Middle Ages, grey was the color of undyed wool, and thus was the color most commonly worn by peasants and the poor. 

In the Christian religion, grey is the color of ashes, and so a biblical symbol of mourning and repentance.

Grey is rarely used as a color by political parties, largely because of its common association with conformity, boredom and indecision.

In ethics, grey is either used pejoratively to describe situations that have no clear moral value; “the grey area”, or positively to balance an all-black or all-white view; for example, shades of grey represent magnitudes of good and bad.

In folklore, grey is often associated with goblins, elves and other legendary mischievous creatures

In an article in the Huffington Post, “10 Ways Color Affects Your Mood” written by Vanessa Van Edwards, she states, “Grey inspires people to be passive, uninvolved and have a lack of energy.”

The website “empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com” describes grey as: the color of detachment, indecision and compromise; an unemotional color; detached, neutral, impartial, and indecisive. It does not stimulate, energize, rejuvenate, or excite. 

See – I am not the only one who feels as I do about grey!

Unfortunately, I think that there are a lot of so-called Christians out there that I would describe as being “grey”; Christians whose spiritual life is boring, indecisive, uncertain, unemotional and indifferent. Just as Van Edwards describes the colour grey, there are a lot of Christians who are “passive, uninvolved and have a lack of energy.”

Grey “Christianity” is detached from the cares and needs of others. Grey “Christianity” is unmoved by the sorrow and burdens of this world. Grey “Christianity” is willing to compromise God’s Truth in order to be politically and socially acceptable. Grey “Christianity” is weak in faith and indecisive – blown about by “every wind of doctrine”. Grey “Christianity” does not stimulate, energize, rejuvinate or excite – it brings death, not life.

Grey “Christianity” is not Christianity at all! Christianity refers to the state of following Christ. Jesus Christ was anything but grey! Anybody who truly follows the way of Christ can never be grey!

God is pretty clear in His Word about how He views “Grey Christianity”. While He does not use the word “colour” or “grey” in the following scriptures, He does use temperature to convey the same meaning:

Rev 3:14 `And to the messenger of the assembly of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the witness–the faithful and true–the chief of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15 I have known thy works, that neither cold art thou nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So–because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit thee out of my mouth;
Rev 3:17 because thou sayest–I am rich, and have grown rich, and have need of nothing, and hast not known that thou art the wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, (YLT)

Wow! God describes “lukewarm” (I say ‘grey’) “Christians” as, ” wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked“!! Not how I want Him to describe me!

Not only that, God finds that type of person so distasteful, that He wants to vomit!! “Grey Christianity” leaves a real bad taste in God’s mouth!

My white-yellow or yellow-white skin may make me look a bit “peaked” at times, but I’ll take my skin colour over being a “pukey” Grey Christian any day!

I pray that your faith life is rich, full, and vibrant, just like a big bag of Skittles candies – come on and-  “taste the rainbow”.

BlessingsIMG_7869 (688x800)

Poovember Perspective

Since around 2003 the month of November has also been known as Movember. During this time, men are encouraged to grow extravagant moustaches to promote men’s health awareness, particularly prostate health. (As a woman, I think that it is an excuse to not have to shave for 30 days – just kidding)

Being concerned about one’s prostrate health (if you are of the male persuasion) is important. However, for my hubby and myself, this time of year is of concern for our mental health. We are both struggling with fatigue, lethargy and winter blahs brought on by the decreasing hours of daylight, and the day after day of grey, windy, raw, wet and cold weather. The fact that my hubby has been sneezing, sniffling, snorting and blowing for over three weeks has not done anything to improve his disposition (or our tissue supply).

Between the unpleasant weather and my unhealthy hubby, we have not been able to get outside for our customary nature walks. After yet another weekend of snotty weather, my hubby says to me “never mind about calling this month Movember – I think it should be called “Poovember” because the weather is always so crappy! I must confess – I giggled a little at that. OK – I laughed a lot.

Yup – it is Poovember outside my home and inside my body. This time of year can lead down the slippery slope to a self-induced pity party pretty quickly. I don’t like being the guest of honour at such parties so I uninvite myself by finding something worthwhile to occupy myself. Today, I volunteered to help out with the annual coat drive which collects and distributes winter clothing to people in need. I assisted in setting up shop and helping people find winter coats, hats. mitts and scarves.

As I help people, they often share a little bit about their lives and circumstances. Today, there was a gentleman about my age who told me that after working for 32 years, he lost his job due to some really serious health problems. He has survived several strokes as well as blood clots in his lungs and other areas. He is basically a ticking time bomb. He has had to move out of his home and into an apartment and for some reason he doesn’t have hardly any furniture. Despite the grave difficulty of his situation, he was very pleasant to talk to and he was very appreciative of any help that was given him.

Then I had a lady whose daughter is anorexic and too weak and bedridden to come look for a coat for herself at this time. This lady was also pleasant and appreciative.

There are many suffering people out there whose entire calendar may be made up of “Poovembers”. Listening to some of their stories, I realize that my own “Poovember” is often so insignificant in comparison. It is at these times, when I realize, once again, how truly blessed I am! I have a nice, warm, dry and safe apartment that is nicely furnished. I have nice clothes and warm winter wear. I enjoy (maybe too much) good food. And I have a wonderful hubby. Best of all, I have peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

If you are feeling like you are in the middle of one long month of “Poovember”, find ways to help someone else through their struggles, and count the blessings you do have. Then I think you will find that the sun (and The Son) will start to shine in your heart.

“Spread sunshine all over the place, and put on a happy face”

Luk 6:38 Give, and it shall be given to you, good measure pressed down and shaken together and running over, they shall give into your bosom.

Blessings

If You’re Happy & You Know It

Psa 146:5 O the happiness of him Who hath the God of Jacob for his help, His hope is on Jehovah his God,

This topic is a bit challenging for me to write about at this particular time. My body, and thus my mind, don’t do well during November’s grey, dark, damp, raw, chilly, windy, YUCKY weather. The challenge at this time is to look at my life, outside my grumbling body, and really pay attention to the many blessings I have. So here goes:

Do you remember the song from childhood, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”? Well, if you could hear me through cyber space, you would hear me clapping my hands – not all the time, and not always loudly, but still, I clap my hands.

In this day and age, it seems like it is uncool to confess that you are happy. Well, at the risk of being thought to be a total “square”, I confess that I am happy! Now, I am not happy ALL the time and I am not happy for the difficult circumstances which tend to show up, unexpectedly and unwanted, like a wet fart. But for the most part, I am happy. In fact, I feel happier now, at this time of my life, than I have been at any other time.

My state of happiness is a work in progress and has come after enduring many years of unhappiness. Through my most difficult times, I have learned that I have to look for and actively pursue those things which bring me happiness. When I have felt lonely and purposeless, I sought out opportunities to help others. Being kind, compassionate, understanding and helpful towards others, brings it’s own rewards of fulfilment and happiness. When you are a blessing to someone else, you are blessed in return. I always feel really good when I help others.

Pro 14:21 … he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Being open and aware of even the smallest blessings, can help you get through rough patches. I remember one dismal day when I was living alone and exercising on a ski-gliding machine. I was looking out the window and feeling isolated and lonely. All of a sudden, a beautiful male cardinal, in all his crimson glory, landed on a branch right outside my window. That wonderful flash of bright red against the white snow and evergreens did much to alleviate my spirits. That little bird brought a smile to my face.

Simple pleasures often seem the best at providing opportunities for happiness. I love sitting in a sunbeam reading a good book while my cat, Emma, snuggles on my lap, purring. A cup of creamy hot chocolate and a slice of toasted raisin bread dripping with melted butter is sure to bring a smile to my face – and my tummy!

I think that it is also VERY important to surround yourself with people who are also happy. I spent many years living with someone who oftentimes was not happy, peaceful, joyful or content. Someone like that tends to drag you down with them. That kind of relationship is TOXIC. The constant stress made me VERY unhappy.

While I know that we must have compassion for those who are hurting, and that we should be helpful whenever possible, I don’t think that it is healthy to invest a lot of time and energy on those people who are chronic “Sad Sacks”. I am not singling out people who suffer mental health issues, such as clinical depression and anxiety (of which I am one) but rather those people who seem to get some sort of perverse pleasure from being chronically negative and pessimistic. The people who refuse to see any good in any thing or any one. The kind of people who choose to remain wearing their “poopie diapers” (see Nov. 6th post).

I think that happiness is something that you must actively pursue. You can pursue it by choosing to think “happy thoughts”, by helping others, by participating in activities which you enjoy, and by surrounding yourself with people who make you happy.

All of the above have been a challenge to me at different points in my life, but I have found the effort to be well worth it. I think that the more you actively pursue happiness, the more happiness becomes an integral, in-dwelt part of you.

I pursue happiness by thinking about: all the blessings and the promises that God has given to me in His Word; what I am and what I have through His son, Jesus Christ; and all “my daily bread” that God provides for me.

Pro 16:20 … and whoever trusts in Jehovah, happy is he.

I pursue happiness by volunteering at a Senior’s Centre, and by facilitating a women’s fellowship. I also spend time in activities that I enjoy such as crafts, nature walks and photography.

And I spend time with people who bring me joy, primarily my wonderful hubby (of whom I can’t say enough good things).

I pray, that even in your grey and dismal days, you too will be able to pursue and attain happiness and that you will be able to sing that song and clap your hands with me.

Psa 128:1 A Song of degrees. Blessed is everyone who fears Jehovah, who walks in His ways.
Psa 128:2 For you shall surely eat the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and all is well with you.

Blessings

Poopie Diapers

I have changed a lot of poopie diapers in my life (other people’s, not mine). I started when I was about 14 years old and I took on babysitting jobs. At that time, a lot of people still used cloth diapers on their babies. Cloth diapers meant safety pins – a misnomer if ever there was one! I mean, who decided that trying to push a long,sharp, pointy metal pin through several layers of thick flannel while trying to hold said flannel in place on a squirming baby could possibly involve anything called “safety”? In desparately trying not to poke the writhing child, one often stabbed one’s own fingers with the aforementioned “safety pin”! My worst experience was when an exceptionally squirmy and determined child gave a great heave -ho at the worst possible moment and I ended up stabbing the poor child with the questionable “safety pin”. I still shudder at the memory!

Later on in life, I worked as a nurse, mainly in Chronic Care facilities. Thankfully, by that time, some clever person had invented disposable diapers for adults, ones that used adhesive tabs to secure the diapers rather than pins. Unfortunately, these institutions soon decided that disposable diapers were too hard on the profit margin (not to mention landfill sites) so I once again had to use cloth diapers – but at least they employed velcro fasterners or snaps rather than pins.

At the same time, I began having my own children. Since finances were tight at the time, I opted to use cloth diapers for my babies. I challenge you to try to snugly wrap a 5 pound infant in yards of flannel! My son looked liked Ghandi during his hunger strike! My husband was either cowardly or wise, but he absolutely refused to have anything to do with the cloth diapers so we always had to have a package of disposable ones on hand, just for him.

Whether it was diapering someone else’s child, my own children, or an infirm adult, the common denominators were that they usually could not control their bowels and most importantly, none of them wanted to stay in those poopie diapers. Aside from the awful smell, the skin on their tender tushies would react negatively by developing angry red rashes and even open sores.

I am sure that whether you admit to it or not, there has been at least one time in your adult life when you have  had an “oops” accident in your drawers. You know, such as the time when that little, innocuous fart ended up having wet substance to it rather than just being dry air?? However your little embarassing “oops” happened, you immediately did whatever was necessary to extricate yourself from that unpleasant and uncomfortable situation – right? I mean, nobody in their right mind would choose to remain wearing poopie diapers! Would they?

So I find it both baffling and frustrating when people find themselves in crappy situations yet they seem to do nothing to help themselves get out of those same situations! I have a tender heart, and I don’t like to see people suffering. It is my heart’s desire to help people whenever, wherever, and however I can. In the past, I have absolutely worn myself out physically, mentally and spiritually trying to help some people get out of those crappy situations. These people would seek my council, admit to seeing the wisdom of my advice (which was based on seeking God’s wisdom for that situation), thank me profusely for my help, and then they would continue to choose to remain in their crappy situations! ARRGH! I just don’t get it!

I completely understand that we are flawed humans who are prone to making mistakes. I understand that often we find ourselves in crappy situations because of choices that someone else has made but which have had serious repercussions upon us. And I even understand that our lack of understanding and/or wisdom can lead us into unpleasant circumstances. But when a way out of those crappy situations –  those “poopie diapers” –  has been provided, I believe that we have a personal responsibility to take whatever steps are needed to get ourselves out of those proverbial stinky diapers.

God and His son, Jesus, have merciful, tender, compassionate, understanding and loving hearts.

Rom 9:15 For He said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us …

God wants us to be happy, healthy and prosperous in all good things. He wants us to have an abundant life full of His blessings through Jesus Christ.

Joh 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

When we get into bad or “crappy” situations, God is ready, willing, able able to help us get out of them.

Psa 46:1  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

We just need to ask Him for help.

Mat 7:7 Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.

God is more than ready and willing to do His part and help us but we must also be willing to do our own part in stepping out of those poopie diapers by taking and acting upon the direction and advice God gives to us. God provides the wet wipes and the clean undies – we need to use them.

Read the following passages of scripture:

Joh 5:2 Now there is a pool at the Sheep Gate at Jerusalem, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porches.

Joh 5:5 And a certain man was there, who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.
Joh 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying, and knowing that he had spent much time, He said to him, Do you desire to be made whole?
Joh 5:7 The infirm man answered Him, Sir, when the water is troubled, I have no one to put me into the pool. But while I am coming, another steps down before me.
Joh 5:8 Jesus says to him, Rise, take up your bed and walk.
Joh 5:9 And immediately the man was made whole and took up his bed and walked. And it was a sabbath on that day.

The man in question was in a bad way – because of his infirmity, he may in fact have suffered the indiginity of soiling his undergarments. Jesus saw the man’s need and asked him what he wanted. The man told him his problem. Jesus told the man what he needed to do in order to get out of that bad situation – out of those “poopie diapers”. And what did the man do? He rose, took up his bed and walked right on out of that bad situation! In order for that man to get out of that bad situation, he had to actively take part – he had to take action in order to leave that situation behind.

When we find ourselves in crappy situations, we need to seek out God and then we need to act upon the wisdom and deliverance He gives. We need to “rise” and “walk” right on out of those poopie diapers!

Funny story: when my uncle was visitng from England, he told us a story about the time that he was waiting at a bus stop. There was a lady waiting in line, who was wearing a skirt and who had both her arms full of grocery bags. As she moved forward to get on the bus, the elastic in her knickers (undies to us) let go and the knickers fell down around her ankles. How terribly embarassing! What could she do?? Well, my uncle said that she just looked straight ahead, stepped right on out of those faulty knickers and climbed up into the bus! I think that there may be a lesson to us in that story.

Praying that your elastic waistbands never let go and that you never find yourself sitting in poopie diapers.

Blessings

 

 

 

As He Sees Me

When I look in the mirror, I am not really enamoured by what I see. There are sunspots on my face and my hubby has told me that I have enough brown spots on my back to create a new constellation. I really need to lose at least 20 lbs. and while my hubby says that I have an hour glass figure, I think that it looks more like a great big capital letter “H”. There are lumps and bumps where lumps and bumps have no business being. And various body parts are moving south, and I don’t mean Florida!

I sometimes feel like life has played a trick on me. When I was younger, I never felt particularly good about my looks, but now, when I look at past photos of myself, I think “Hey – I wasn’t all that bad lookin'”. I think that my past life was so filled with stress, that I never really got the chance to enjoy the fact that I was young, healthy, slim, and reasonably pleasant looking.

My life is soooooooo much better now and my inner being feels young and fun-loving. But when I look in the mirror, a stranger is looking back at me and I say to my reflection, “who are you and what have you done with my body???”.

I think that any middle-aged person who says that they are “aging gracefully” hasn’t had a good long look in a full-length mirror recently. Either that, or they have a magic mirror and I want to get me one of those!

However, in spite of all my insecurities, my wonderful hubby is always telling me that he thinks that I am beautiful, sexy and desirable. (TMI??) He insists that I have a wonderful hour-glass figure, that I have great legs, beautiful eyes and smile –  and hardly any wrinkles! I don’t understand it, but he thinks that I am BEAUTIFUL.

Because of hurtful things that were said and done to me by people in my past, I have had to work very hard at believing that my husband believes that what he tells me is true. I have slowly come to realize that he really means it when he tells me that he thinks that I am beautiful. He has told me that he sees me through the eyes of love. The love that he has for me filters out any visual “imperfections” that I may have. And because he freely showers me with his love, I in turn am able to reflect that love back to him. This outpouring of love flows over and completely covers one another so that the brown spots, lumps, bumps and jiggly bits get covered over – better than any mud bath, bleaching, exfoliating, or liposuction could ever do!

When you really love someone, your love should see past all the surface imperfections, and focus on the true inner being.

I am very blessed to have a husband who sees me this way. Even more importantly, I have a Heavenly Father who sees me this way. God sees me through His eyes of love. He knows that in this world, my life will have spots, lumps and bumps. He knows that not everything that I will say or do will be “beautiful”. But with His eyes of love, He looks through my flawed outer self and sees into the heart of the real me. The real me that is His precious daughter through the blood of Christ.

God, who is love, sees me through His son, Jesus Christ, who loved me and died for me. By acknowledging and accepting what Jesus did for me, I am clothed in that love. God sees me through the filter of that love. God sees me as beautiful.

Rom 1:7 to all those who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.

Rom 9:25 As He also says in Hosea, “I will call those not My people, My people; and those not beloved, Beloved.”

Rom 10:15 … As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!”

I can not always see what beauty my husband sees in me, and I have not always been able to believe that God thinks that I am beautiful. But just as I have had to learn to trust and believe in what my husband tells me, so too have I had to learn to trust and believe in what my Heavenly Father has said. I do this by reading His Word and by spending time with Him in prayer. And slowly, I am beginning to see myself “As He Sees Me”.

I pray that you are clothed with the love of God and Christ and that you begin to see yourself through their eyes of love -to see  that you are beautiful!

Blessings