Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year Resolutions

What a time the New Year brings for fresh beginnings, new challenges, and big changes. I've been thinking about mine, and I've decided that this year, I'd like to focus on three things internally, rather than on looks, or money, or jobs, or grades. And here they are.

1. I want to be happy with who I am every day of the year.
I'm tired of being unsatisfied with this part of me or that part of me. I'm going to just be happy with every part of me - The whole me that God created. So, my new year challenge is to look everyday in the mirror and say, "This is the me God created and I'm thankful for everything He's created me to be."

2. Everyday, to recognize that God is enough.
Sometimes I feel like I need something else to make my life complete, and more often than not, it is that I feel lonely. In other words, that I'd like a boyfriend. Not that I'm desperate - I'm really only looking for a guy that I could marry someday. It's just that, well, I'm sure we've all been in bed at night and wished that we were not quite so alone. But my challenge is that, whether or not God brings me that kind of someone, that I am fully content and satisfied with and in God. That I recognize that God is enough for me. His love is unconditional and awe-inspiring, and that I am fully His and He is mine.

3. To listen attentively to everyone around me without interjecting a comment. And then to respond with an answer that reflects that I've listened carefully to them.
I am a generally impatient person. I like to get to the point. But then again, it is so necessary to take the time to fully listen to someone before jumping in and interjecting comments, as I've learned many a time while looking quite foolish. So my last New Year's resolution is to listen actively to those around me. And respond only once I have done so.

And this brings me to the end of my three New Year's resolutions. If I accomplish these, well, what I change that would bring! :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Washed by Rain

I love the rain.

At the end of November, I had been doing a lot of reevaluating of my life and decisions, as well as straightening out my relationship with God. I'd been feeling as if I had been straying from my path with God, and had lost track of how far I'd gone. I needed renewal, to know that I was forgiven, and that God was willing to continue to be my Father.

On one of these days of contemplation, it was pouring rain outside. I looked out, saw the sheets of rain, and had a sudden urge to jump outdoors and dance. While I restrained my dance moves, I did go outside, and while my hood started up, I eventually just shoved it off and let the rain soak my hair through and through. I was completely and utterly drenched as I walked through the rain, but as I did, all I could do was smile.

Literally, I was beaming.

I felt better than I had in so long. The rain washed every bit of make-up off my face, it took any beauty out of the clothes I was wearing, and made my hair cling to my head, straightening all my curls with the weight of the water. In that moment, I was completely and totally real. I was plain. I was me.

It felt like God washing me of everything that people might perceive me to be on the outside, and leaving only the real me - whether that me was an attractive lady or a drenched rat. Those fifteen minutes walking in the rain were as pure and untainted as I'd ever experienced, and the joy that poured out of my heart after that walk was unquenchable.

Before a flower blooms, it needs both sun and rain. I think that's a good analogy for life. We go through periods of joy and we go through periods of struggle, but both allow us to grow into the people we are today. The periods of joy remind us of the blessings that God's given us, and the relationships we're so fortunate to have in our lives, whilst the periods of suffering allow us to work through difficult situations, improve our character, and face these same situations with confidence if they ever emerge again. We need both to "blossom", so to speak.

Sometimes, the best thing you can be is washed by rain.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Love

Today, I experienced a moment where I stopped, and said to myself, that is the kind of parent I want to be if God ever blesses me with a child.

I was at the Christmas Eve service at my church when the pastor called up all the kids to the front of the service to have them help the adults remember the verse Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again, Rejoice! (It worked.)

As all the kids filed onto stage, his little daughter of 3 or 4 also came up on stage, and started running over to her dad with her arms spread. It was a moment that made your heart melt.

The pastor's response, however, was what really hit me. Instead of pretending to be a head hauncho guy at the front of the congregation, he got down on his knees, spread his arms open wide, and told the entire audience that this was his little girl and he welcomed her with a big hug. And then after cuddling her, he asked her for a little kiss, and she came right over and pecked him on the lips. Not only that, but after finding out that no one was on stage to hold her hand, he continued by saying that she could "stay with daddy" while he was preaching!

It was a Jesus/a-ha! moment that touched me so immensely. The pastor did not pretend to be anything he was not - he is both a dad and a pastor, and he's both at the same time, and both are equally important. His daughter knows that her daddy loves her no matter the time or the place, and he's going to love her like no tomorrow whether he's in the middle of a sermon or at home tucking her into bed.

In that moment, the pastor was showing the humility of Christ. He didn't pretend to be someone above the attention of a child, but someone who valued that child above everything.

It was Christmas love, Christ-style. And I can only hope and pray I have the same for my own kids some day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To... Pro-crastinating... At least I'm a pro at something.

So I really should be researching for an essay. But here I am instead. My good, trusty old blog, that absolutely no one reads. Surprise, surprise.

Well... I guess I wanted to write about loneliness. Kind of how I'm feeling right now. A little bit like a hermit trapped in her apartment, trying to do an essay but wishing she could be talking to someone else. I guess this blog is getting all my chit-chat now. At least you can't talk back to me and tell me that I should be concentrating. And now I'm realizing how very bored my readers would be getting if there were actually people reading this. Sorry - here goes.

Loneliness is insightful. It's sad, and yet at the same time, it allows you to realize the dire need everyone has for human connection and interaction. When you're all by yourself, then there's this instant desire to check facebook, to call your family or friends, to write a letter, or to simply leave your lonely nook and find a friend. Or at least, this is how it is for me. And I think, judging by the immense number of university students on facebook right now, despite it being exam period, that I can safely assume this is the case for others.

It's comforting in a way, to know that we are programmed and wired this way. I like the fact that people need each other - rather than this economic or realist assumption that humans are "self-interested." There's this need in us to connect with someone else. For someone to listen, to understand, to engage in life with us. And that excites me! I am actually dependent on other people, whether or not I like it or want it or ever admit it. I am dependent on them for support, for an ear, for a hug, for a conversation. And that's a bit of a humbling thought.

We can't do things alone in the world. We are never independent. Every successful leader had a friend, a family, a partner, a teacher, a prof, a coach, who pushed them to go where they went, to be who they were, to serve how they served.

There is hope in loneliness. Reach out for the ones around you, and know that the best way to travel life's road is hand-in-hand with a friend.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Here's to Hope

The other day, I was sitting at the table, enjoying a lovely squash from a local farmer that I had cooked up with some curry and cinnamon, an started to think about one of my dearest friends. She's this lovely little spunky girl, who I'm still trying to figure out. I love her dearly, but most definitely, she's a cynic at heart. Anyways, I was sitting there and thinking to myself about how extremely different we are, and yet extremely similar. It's very strange.

We are both IR students. We are both passionate about human rights and environmental issues. We both say what we think. We are both pretty spunky - though in different ways. For me, I'm spunky in big crowds. In little crowds, I kind of clam up and have a much more difficult time getting my thoughts across. For her, she clams up in front of crowds, and in smaller settings, says EXACTLY what she thinks. I also express myself best through writing. She expresses herself best through speaking.

But here's the main difference: She's a cynic. I'm... hopeful. And I think that it really makes a difference, in a lot of ways.

If you didn't already notice, the world is terrible. Every day, thousands of people die from hunger, hundreds are killed in conflict, women are raped, children are kidnapped and forced to fight as soldiers, dictators oppress, and people are hurt. And you know what, all through history, there's been abuses. There's been slavery, there's been apartheid, there's been colonial imperialism, there's been the oppression of the media, the sub-human treatment of women, the torture chambers of the Medieval period, the wars of Christendom, the wars of Islam, and the list goes on and on and on. Let's just sum it up: the world is a great big disaster. Sometimes, it's enough to make you want to jump out a window. A really high window.

But here's the thing: You can look at those disasters in two different ways. The first is to say that they exist, will never change, and then jump out a window. I'll call this the depressing view of the world.

The second way is to say that the problems exist, that they are terrible and awful, and then try and do something about them. I'll call this the hopeful view of the world.

My world view has always been the second one. And to be honest, I think that... I think that it has to be.

Hope is believing that there's something better, that there's something beyond what is here and now, and that while it's going to take a long time to achieve, that you're going to believe it's possible and work towards it while you're still able to. It's seeing a world where love, peace, kindness, goodness, and where truth, honesty, and justice prevail.

And while right now, these do not seem possible, I have to believe that one day, we'll be a bit closer.

I think that Jesus never wanted us to just wait for heaven for everything to be perfect - I think that heaven starts right now, the moment you become a Christian. God works in your heart and takes over your hands, your heart, your mind, your feet, and you make heaven right here. Or at least, God does through you. But we have to HOPE. That is the key - nothing will or can happen without hope. We cannot simply accept what is. We've just to push for what could be.

Here's to Hope.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

To a love I'll never understand.

A lovely, kind and beautiful friend of mine was reading a bible passage with me the other day, and I read over one of my very favourite bible passages. And if you didn't already guess, I'm going to share this with you! Lucky you. ;)

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long;/ we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

That verse strikes me silent every time I read it.

I guess that I just, I can't really accept it. Because there's so many times I mess up. So many times when I feel like I don't deserve that love. I don't deserve someone to love me that way. Golly wolly, sometimes I won't even like a guy because I'm like, he'd be better off with someone else. I'm not good enough, or strong enough, for him. I can't even imagine that GOD, the almighty one who was so humble that he died for me when I hated and scorned him and rejected him, when I pierced his hands with nails and watched him die on the cross. He loved me through that. He was like, "One day, Rachel is going to lie, to hurt her parents, to fail her friends, to mess up and make some serious mistakes, she's going to be a failure in my eyes, but I'm going to love her. Because I know who she can be, and I know who she wants to be."

You know, they say it takes a lot of faith to believe in God.

I think it takes a lot more faith for God to believe in us.

And a lot more love. Although, I don't even think the word "love" can adequately represent Christ's passionate loyalty, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, parenthood, justice, and devotion towards those who choose to surrender themselves to him and ask him to enter their lives.

I appreciate the bible a lot. More or less, because everyone in it is a screw up. A complete and utter mess. Noah gets drunk and naked, Abraham decides tells God he doesn't believe him, Jonah chickens out, tries to run away, and then tells God to strike down a whole city dead, David sleeps with someone else's wife when he's already married and then kills her husband once he finds out she's pregnant, and Peter is just so darn obstinate that he tells Jesus to send down a fire ball on a city that doesn't accept them. And these were God's chosen leaders.

I guess it just amazes me every time to realize that maybe, although I screw up, God's going to love me anyways. Overwhelming - but I guess that's God for you. Can't really fit into my little human mind very well.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

To Realizing the Humanness of People

I've realized lately how very easy it is for people to generalize their 'enemies' as non-persons. They hurt me - therefore, they are evil minions. They have no reason behind their actions, they have no feelings, no heart, no emotion. They are simply pure evil.

And to be honest, I've done it too - ranted on about someone whose hurt me, been in a generally grumpy mood after being around someone difficult, breathed heavily and stormed across campus to get out for a walk after someone offends me.

It's absolutely selfish and ridiculous of me.

First of all, I'm not recognizing that, 1) This person probably has a reason for treating me as such - whether it's been the tipping point of an already bad day, the outward expression of some general inward pain, or perhaps payback for something I did earlier to hurt them, whether or not I know what this is. And 2) I'm just as guilty for speaking harshly, being opinionated and stubborn, and hurting people (although I admit, I can be really clueless about this - so tell me when I do!)

I guess that the most important thing that I can do is recognize that everyone, absolutely everyone, is human. We all mess up, we all make mistakes, we're all jerks at some point or another. Including me. If I don't forgive, then what kind of person am I? If I only love my friends, and not my enemies, then what makes me a better person than any other "schmo" - as my friend likes to call them? Even the meanest of people love the people who are nice to them. I'm no better than they are if I never give them a second chance. And I certainly hope others will do the same for me when I mess up - although I won't expect it.

Anyways, I'm going to confess that earlier in the semester, I'd been going through a really rough period and was taking it out by talking about the people who were hurting me/making life very difficult. But then I realized that I actually felt worse after doing that then I would have if I had just forgiven them.

And so, I ask for forgiveness for having not forgiven those people who I should have. And I'm trying hard to change that part of myself. No more complaining about life's difficulties - I'll start working on myself instead. And there's a lot of work to start on. Indeed.

Better start chipping away.

Friday, November 26, 2010

To... Thursday night. Or rather, the beginnings of Friday.

Every now and then,
I just sit and think.

And think some more.

And realize how very often I think
And how very little I know.

Kind of weird
How humanity has been around for...
well, I don't know. I'd have to think about that.

Let's say... a long time.
And hasn't really learned anything new.

We've learned about things.
Or rather, we think we have.
Until we find out something new.

Perhaps all we need to know
Is right in front of us
Waiting to be discovered
And yet forever ignored.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

To the man with the tomato

So I had two dreams recently that were both: 1) Completely frightening, and 2) Weird beyond belief.

First one, I'm dating this guy. We get married and have a little boy. I'm head over heels for him. Then I find out that he's as evil as evil gets. He's this funky blue colour with a white haze around him. He offers me this tomato - I have this vision of myself if I were to eat the tomato - Basically, it would turn me into his evil minion and I would have to kill my son. I run away. He finds me. Everywhere I run, he finds me and gives me this tomato. And it's weird, right? Like, I could totally just walk away and not take the tomato. He not putting it in my mouth. He's offering it to me. And yet, it's like... I don't know. So frightening though. I'm wondering if it means I'm afraid of getting too close to a guy. Very possible.

Second one, I'm with my friends. I leave and go to the washroom. This guy follows me and waits outside the stall. I'm freaking out. He goes into the stall next to me and I freak out. Some lady shows up in the middle of that stall and kicks him out (I'm peering over the side by this point). She locks the door whilst I call to my friends that I can see over the top of the stalls to call 9-1-1. They don't hear me and walk away. Randomly, people start showing up and grab this creeper. I suddenly have a cell phone, (what a dream), and call 911. The operator takes so long that he escapes. I freak out and run away. I just run and run and run until I'm in this farmers' field. I think I was supposed to be at some base or headquarters or something. I find out my brother and our friends are flying this helicopter, and they land and invite me in. As we take off, I see that everyone at this base camp has been brutally murdered. And I know this creeper from earlier is the killer and that he is nearby. I freak out again, the helicopter is taking off, and the last thing I remember is this big expanse of water that the helicopter is hovering over and my fear that we're going to be sucked into it.

Ah. What is wrong with me? My dreams are so disturbing sometimes. I seriously think there's something wrong with my head. For being a genuinely all-around happy person, I certainly can have some horrific dreams. :( Sigh.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mmmm... Singleness.

Not really sure why, but at the current moment, I am so happy to be single. It's just a lovely feeling of freedom and strength. Just little old me and big timeless God, working together to try to make my life worth something. He gives me a whack every now and then to keep me in line too. And it's quite dandy.

I realized something about myself the other day by the way. I think it was a really important realization too. I love being free. Sounds strange, and yet, I do. I think that's my biggest preoccupation in my thinking and the way I act. I hate being defined, I hate being caged, I hate being labelled, I hate being cooped up inside, I hate being controlled, I hate being told what I can and cannot do. I think that's why I sing and dance at random times in the day, and perhaps why I can care less when people laugh at my regularly embarassing moments or chaotic actions. I would never want to live my life defining myself in the rules of society.

God tells me what to do - and that's actually freeing for me! Sounds ironic, but no, it isn't. He loves me more than I could ever possibly imagine, and that's enough for me to just... trust Him. He's a pretty great guy. Perfect really. :) I'm free from sin in Him, I'm free from the sadness and depression of this world, and filled up with the incredible hope and joy He's given me. and that's enough to make me jump up and down and be freeeeee! Yay!

On a random note, aren't sparrows just the loveliest of birds? There the jewels of nature in my eyes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dear economics, I hate you. And you're completely blind stance on ethics too.

I was told today that my university would never consider an ethical investment or procurement policy. Their only obligation is to the lowest cost company. They also stated that their obligation is to the beneficiaries. Which I then asked them to define - they told me that these were the students. So I asked them, what if the students, these beneficiaries which they are advocating for, say that they don't want to do business with an unethical corporation. The response? "I don't care - we go for the lowest cost company."

I hate economics. And its little dog too.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

To the bipolar moments of a female's week:

I've never noticed, until recently, how very easy it is to go from extremely happy to extremely sad, all within the span of a day, or maybe two. Sometimes, within a minute or two. It seems to happen more than usual to me nowadays.

I know this guy who told me that every girl he's ever dated is completely bipolar - that they go from extremely happy and wonderful to completely depressed, and they're too unpredictable for him. He says it happens every time.

My advice - welcome to the world of women.

We're really not THAT bad though. You'll just need to get used to some mood swings. The extra estrogen makes us a little bit bipolar sometimes. Especially for about three or four days of the month - we're especially bipolar during that time. So be warned. You'll never meet a woman with a completely steady flow of emotion. We're just not designed that way. - that being said, at least we don't go punching holes in walls when we're angry (I've heard this was done by... 5 guys so far) - girls just tell you we're angry. so HA!

Relationship wise - I think it's pretty normal for all of us to have good days and bad days - for certain people to deal with stress better than others - while some of us are particularly bombarded with things one day, and completely free the next. I think girls are emotional creatures - and we don't hide it very well (most of us anyways). Guys are emotional too - but they bottle it up inside most of the time (though not all of them) and then punch a hole in the wall. So what's better? Maybe... neither. You just have to deal with those tough times in life, and love the person anyways. Best advice I can give on that topic.

Peace! xo

Monday, October 11, 2010

we all want to be loved.

we all want to be loved.

Love implies commitment
the decision to make tea
out of boiling water.
And then add some milk
and sugar to sweeten it up.

to empty ourselves
of ourself
and instead
to fill up another.

Love is perhaps
the closest to God
we can ever get.

Taking Chances

So I've decided.

Perhaps it is better
To take a chance
On something you really believe in
Or someone you really care about
And fail

Than to never take the chance
And find out that

It was worth the risk.

Friday, September 17, 2010


okay, I'm done. Phew, well that's off my chest.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I miss my friends, and family, and cousins. A lot. Can you guys stop being so nice to me?

I lovvvvvveeeeeee you all so much! Thanks for giving me a reason to smile every single day I'm home and every single day I'm away. The million little things that make up my day bring me constant reminders of how your friendship has been a part of my life. I wish I could give all of you a big hug and thank-you for making that part of my life so special. Wish I could bring you along in my suitcase. Guess I'll just have to wait for Christmas.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

may my heart always be open to little

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile
--E. E. Cummings

Saturday, August 14, 2010

To the Unfailing Love of My Ever Present Father

I was walking down a path the other day, thinking about life as usual. I thought about love, and about how much I desired to be loved, to have the attention of this guy... well, that's enough details on those thoughts for now. Anyways, I just suddenly sighed and was like, "God, this is so silly. I should be pursuing you alone. Show me how you love me."

Suddenly, I was filled with this inexplicable, tear-wrenching feeling of warmth, tenderness, and love that left me gasping for air. The sun shone even brighter than I remember and the wind blew through my hair, and my eyes just started to water out of the immensity of the feelings that were pulsing through my body. Never before have I felt such an intense feeling of love, I felt... complete. As if God was holding me in his hand, I felt so small, but so safe and so accepted. I knew that I was not perfect, that I was weak and little and so undeserving, but that God saw me and loved me with an intensity for which there are no words. It was... awe some. And I mean it just like that. I was filled with awe at this ever so strange but incredible moment in time, where God actually looked at me and smiled... wow.

And here comes my second confession. I've been struggling with nightmares lately. I've been getting them all the time, almost every night and they really scare me. I wake up with this feeling of fear and that there is some kind of evil presence in the room. Sometimes, I have to get up and leave the room. And I pray and read the bible until I sense it is gone. It's terrifying.

So last night, I prayed to God that he would protect me, that his angels would sleep beside me and that he would put me in a bubble of His love. I still had a bad dream, but the moment I woke up, I was only scared for one second. It was like fear poked me, then God grabbed me and said, "It's okay, go back to sleep." And I did!! God is amazing. And I don't put enough faith in Him. But I'm learning.

Friday, August 6, 2010

To conquer fear

It's really difficult for me to show a guy that I like them. I often avoid eye contact for longer than 2 seconds, avoid touching them, avoid any kind of physical touch that might end up with us holding hands or kissing. Maybe this is my way of guarding my heart. But I think that it's a little bit more than that.

I am afraid of rejection, of being vulnerable, and most of all, of being unwanted. This fear rules my every action, or reaction, and also frustrates me to death. Why is it that I put up these defenses against something that has never harmed me before? And yet there's nothing else I'm more fearful of than being unwanted. For someone to say that they don't want me because I'm not good enough. So I make sure it doesn't happen. simple, right?

Well, what if I really do like someone? What if all I want to do is tell him how I feel and see if it's possible he feels the same? Yet, I have an overwhelming fear that he's going to tell me that he doesn't feel the same, and then I left with that feeling that in whatever way, I am not good enough. I am unwanted. I selfishly want him to do all the work, but how could he know how I'm feeling when I'm so practised at blocking him out from getting too close? All I want to do is say how I feel. yet i have this fear to conquer first, and all i can hope and pray is that i am given the confidence to overcome it. But I'd rather just let him take the first step.

A Mirror is Harder to Hold - Jon Foreman

You could stay a while longer
We could stay up and talk about last summer
We could go down to the water
Watch the sunset going under
It's not that I'm a stranger to lonely moments
I've had my share of those
Please don't go
Please don't leave me alone
A mirror is so much harder to hold

I could try and point the finger
But the glass points in my direction
Sure you've got your sharp edges
But my wounds are for my own reflection
You've got nothing I could ever hold against you
I've got fatal flaws to call my own
Please don't go
Please don't leave me alone
A mirror is so much harder to hold

I met a man who's looking for perfection
Said he'd never met a girl who's good enough
His eyes are getting old like they'd love to love again
Such a lonely man
Such a lonely man

I see him in my reflection
Taking steps towards me these days
So I hold you that much closer
And pray we don't throw this away
It's not that I'm a man who couldn't love you
I know what these arms are for
Please don't go
Please don't leave me alone
A mirror is so much harder to hold
A mirror is so much harder to hold
Please don't go
Please don't leave me cold
A mirror is so much harder to hold

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What is said in the silence...

Beams bathe me in their orange fire
As we sit in silence
Your eyes draw mine to yours
Like moths to a flame

The words that bubble
In the warmth of my heart
Go unspoken
Fear rules me in this moment

Love is patient
But how long do I wait
Before silence overcomes
The chaos in my heart

Falling into your gaze
Whispering to the sun
Of the boiling overflow
Of a love forever pondered

and never spoken.


So I dream a lot. Like every night, I have a new adventure/comedy/horror to share with my friends the next morning after I wake up. And I occasionally wonder why I have these dreams, or dream about the specific things I do. Sometimes, I think it's the little combinations of thoughts from the previous day, all culminating into one chaotic and non-nonsensical fairytale. Other times, it might represent my desires, my fears, or my ambitions. And other times, I think it's very spiritual, and sometimes, very scary.

Example 1: I dream myself into the role of Ishmael in Moby Dick. As captain Ahab and I sail along the ocean in search of Moby Dick, the whale emerges from the water and is about to eat the ship when I hold up my hands and shout for everyone to stop and make peace. Apologies all around (including the whale, with his deep whaley voice). Dream then follows the whale back down to the ocean floor, which goes suddenly into cartoon, with underwater phone booths, and party hats celebrating the end of fear for the whale.

Example 2: I dream that I have been kidnapped and trapped in a room, that i can't escape from. All tunnels leading away from it lead back into it. I am trapped in a cage. Being caged is my biggest fear.

Example 3: I dream that I am at my cousins' and it is being invaded by demons who are ready to possess us. I run and find a small row boat and begin paddling. They find some massive slave trading ship, and follow behind me. I have some strange ability to paddle very quickly, and keep ahead of them. I see an island with a large cross, make shore and run up to it and hug it close. The demons land, and all the people who they have possessed fall on the ground at the sight of the cross and begin weeping. They are free, and I am safe.
Not all my spiritual dreams end so nicely though. Many are dark, and many are so creepy and frightening that I end up unable to go back to sleep for hours. And yet, I realized last night, after waking out of a horrible nightmare, that it is so ridiculous for me to be afraid of these demons that haunt those dreams. God is the only one I should fear, and he has complete and total control over me. I have already surrendered myself to him, and 'He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world.' So I realized that God loves me, and his angels are encamped around me if I recognize that I should fear God and God alone. For he is my Father, my ever present friend and lover, and I should never be afraid. Even of cages. uggggh.
Read Psalm 34 for more insight ;)

Peace, love, and happiness mes amis!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Funny One...

So today I experienced a very blonde moment, and thought you might enjoy a laugh. When asked whether the store I am working at is open 7 days a week, I responded, "Nope. It is open 8."


Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Will Stand and Love

"Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." - Ephesians 6:13

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." - Matthew 5:44

"Then I heard another voice from heaven say: "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues." - Revelation 18:4

I recently found myself in a discussion on obedience to governing authorities. The man to which I was addressing myself claimed that we have only have freedom under the law, for it is only under law that we have the methods to secure a safe and secure environment to live within. Although we are two different people, and perhaps I did not understand where his starting point was in the discussion, I have to say that yes. In the world, we are subject to law. But more importantly, as a Christian, I am subject to a much higher authority than law. I am subject to a moral call to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind, and to love my neighbour as myself. Upon this commandment, all the law hangs. So what is the law to me?

Human law is, in many ways, dead. It is something to which I submit myself to show love to those in authority, and the majority of the time, I will not go out of my way to disobey the laws in my country so long as they comply with the standards of other-centered love and morality that I know God desires. Once these two clash, I no longer follow man, but God, who guides my conscious and my heart.

At the point at which the law goes against the heart of Jesus, I will refuse to follow the laws and the declarations of man, and work for love, justice, and mercy for those being oppressed. Screw freedom. I want something better - I want Christ's kingdom on Earth. I'm not waiting for death to see heaven, I want to live it now. So tease me, curse me, beat me, kill me, do whatever you like if you think my chosen disobedience to the oppressive economies and laws of this world are strange. I'll take it. And love you in return.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Where's the Christian Today?

So many times in the church, in testimonies, in the regular sin sermons, I hear preached that, "I was leading a life of drugs, drinking, and sex, and then met God." Or the preacher models the life of sin by using examples of getting drunk and high. Those are wrong, most definitely, but there is a much greater, deeper sin that seems to pervade our humanity and most definitely has strong roots in our culture. It is perhaps so much a part of our lives that many people just accept it and continue on living, giving themselves a pat on the back for abstaining from alcohol and drugs, as if this is our only pursuit.

I believe that to follow Christ is to have a much higher calling than that. Or perhaps, a much lower calling, depending on your perspective. ;) Reading passages like Matthew 25, James 4: 17, James 5, Micah 6:8, Deuteronomy 24:17, Psalm 140:12, Isaiah 1:17, and so many others, I have to ponder, is the church - by which I am referring to the PEOPLE which makes up Christ's hands, feet, eyes, ears - really aware that in our pursuit of individual success, wealth, recognition, in our pursuit of a nice car, the three story house with four bathrooms, five bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a living room, a family room, and a who knows what room, that we have completely lost sight of God's objective?! WE'RE COMPLETELY NUTS! We're living, no - we are rolling around - no. we are BASKING in our sin, and loving it.

For the rich are blessed by the hands of God, and the money we are given should be used for His purposes alone. Christ said to take up our cross and follow him. The cross is not a crown, it is not a source of pride or success or renown. It is a source of servanthood, of denying the present life for a future one, and anxiously living through this life, in humble obedience to God's will, and patient anticipating a life much better to come. We are called to live below our means. We are called to make choices that reflect a humble reflection that God is working in our lives for a purpose far greater than this present life.

We are called to take home the homeless, to give an extra sweater to the street kid, to buy clothes that were not made with the bloody hands of an overworked five-year-old, to forgive and befriend those who hate us, ridicule us, hurt us. We are to live as and with the poor. To be the ones who imitate the homelessness of the Saviour we worship, to imitate the selflessness of the one who healed the lepers, to imitate the love and humility of the one who died for me while I was still mocking him.

Immense is the sin in which we deny our poor brothers and sisters the love of Christ, in which we turn away the mourners, the sick, the prostitutes, the gays, and claim that we did so in the name of God.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." -Hebrew 12:1

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Word to my Mother

To the spunky woman whose always ready for a chat and whose laugh can be heard 10 miles down the road:

Thank-you for holding my hand when I crossed the road and for teaching me to look both ways before I crossed the street.
Thank-you for putting up my pictures on the fridge (and not laughing), even when they were embarrassingly bad.
Thank-you for baking cookies with me as a child, letting me press my fork into the peanut butter ones, and lick the bowl after.
Thank-you for all the hugs and kisses.
Thank-you for nagging me to do my laundry and take the 'mess' out of my so-called "organized mess" of clothing heaps.
Thank-you for your sound advice, and letting me make mistakes anyways.
Thank-you for putting a reality check in my imaginative and day-dreaming mind.
Thank-you for teaching me the art of patience, which I have yet to perfect.
Thank-you for your smiles and laughs, and surprising me with your unexpected jokes.
Thank-you for never complaining about my university expenses, which I desperately hope to pay back to you someday.
Thank-you for the hug I can always count on when I come off the plane.
Thank-you for the long conversations when I call home crying about school, someone whose hurt me, stress, and worries, and gently reminding me that life goes on and it's not so bad.
Thank-you for loving me when I'm far less than perfect.
Thank-you for giving me my independence and letting me learn to be my own person.

Thank-you for being my mom, and a darn good one at that.
Love you lots - Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

On the Complex Infrastructure known as the Female Mind

Girls are so interesting.
I love them.
I AM one.

But sometimes we REALLY suck. Orrrrr.... we're just weird, and awkward, and mean. Yes, we are mean. Guys can be pretty mean too, but girls are mean to their own friends, and it sucks. And you want to know what 80% of fights, if not 90% of fights are over?? Boys. The male race is the source of cat fights everywhere. Thank-you boys.

Listen up females! Girls are your arm swinging, puddle jumping, shoulder crying, facial painting, song screaming, heart sharing friends, and we are hard to replace. Us women know how to have fun together - and we are pretty too. lol. I rarely laugh to the point of crying with a guy, but many a time have I fallen on the floor in pain from my abs scrunching up after laughing to the point of tears running down my face with a group of girls. We're just pretty awesome. I love girls.

But girls, sometimes we need to shape up a bit. We are no longer designated housewives whose sole purpose is to serve the husband and get pregnant. We have freedom! We can live our lives independent of husbands. We can support ourselves in whatever job we well please to do. We can become successful individuals all by ourselves! Woot woot! So why are we still living as if getting a boyfriend or husband is our sole purpose in life? (And if not SOLE purpose, at least it's up there in most peoples' lives.)

Girls, stop obsessing over guys and appreciate the gal friends you have. They're pretty awesome and they have super interesting lives too. And PLEASE, if you meet a guy, and then meet his sister, please treat her like a person, not like his sister. It's soooooo annoying. Pretty much, that's my greatest pet peeve. Seriously! I like to think that I have a pretty interesting life. My brother does too, and I'm proud as a goose of him, but when you meet me, please don't ask me about his life. When I'm talking to you, I'd like to meet you and you to meet me - not my brother thanks. Yep, so here's my challenge girls, and it's as much my problem as anyone else's: Try to keep your crushes out of the conversation when meeting someone for the first time. Just get to know who THEY are. I bet you'll think they have a pretty awesome story if you give it a chance. OH! And be sure to spend time with your own friends if you like a guy. It hurts to be a friend ditched for a guy you just met.

Coolio. Peace!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To Ecletic Music Tastes :)

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like a menopausal woman when it comes to music. Seriously. I used to like one type of music, or at the very least have a favourite type of music. Maybe I still do... But it seems like more and more, my playlists look like this (and yes, this is actually from one of my real playlists):

1. Good Morning Heartache - Billie Holiday
2. Handcuffs - Brand New
3. Hide and Seek - Imogen Heap
4. I Gotta Feelin' - Black Eyed Peas
5. Konstantine - Something Corporate
6. Landslide - Dixie Chicks
7. Nowhere With You - Joel Plaskett

I'm fairly sure I just covered about every genre out there in 7 songs - minus the screamo - although I've even started listening to some of that too. Yes, my music tastes have gone completely nuts. But I love it anyways, hahaha.

There's something to appreciate in each genre, or perhaps in each song, or each artist, or in each set of song lyrics. However you would like to distinguish one piece from another.

Example: Taylor Swift is probably one of the lamest music artists ever. Seriously girlfriend, get a life-you don't need a man. Be independent - and be happy because you are. ;) There's more to life than broken hearts. And if you really like that guy, just tell him, don't write a sappy song about it. ... Yet, I know every one of the lyrics to her songs and they are just sooo catchy. Plus, when I'm in a particularly romantic/love-sick mood, some Taylor Swift always ends up playing and I end up belting out the lyrics along to it.

Brand New. Not a particularly musically-talented band. In fact, the singer could use some voice lessons. BUT I love them. They're in my top three favourite music artists of all-time. Their lyrics are amazing and the tunes are just... I don't know, perfect. I like it!

Moving on. Black Eyed Peas. Pretty... sexist. I'd rather not hear about your stupid "good night" or that sexy chick you met drunk at the bar. But then again, I could dance like a wild woman to all of their songs, and love tossing my hair around as I jump up and down to Boom Boom Pow. lol. Plus, One Tribe and Where is the Love? are preeettttttyyyy great songs. (I know all the lyrics... yes. that's right. I rap in my car)

And of course, how could I forget the voice of one of the best singers of all time? Billie Holiday! The best jazz singer of her time, and a fighter nonetheless. I'll be Seeing You, April in Paris, and Dream a Little Dream of Me get me every time. What a singer.

Oh! What to do when your tastes run from country to indie to pop to jazz to rock. Well, embrace them all! It's much more fun that way. ;)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To the end of one more year of university, and the beginning of something New :)

The end of my second year is coming to an end, and all I have left now is to finish a paper and write two exams. Then all will be done, and I will officially be going into my third year of study. It's crazy to think about - that I'm actually this old. :S Wow. I suppose it has to come some time or another.

Well, to everyone who's been a part of this past year, thank-you for making it into one of the best ever. I've made some amazing friends, developed my past friendships even better, and done some pretty crazy things.

For Becca, you have been a superb friend and one of the sweetest girls ever. I'm so happy I got to know you!! Plus, I am PUMPED to live with you next winter!! We will have some killer adventures together, hehehe:D

For Jennie bunny, Mary bear, Magoo, Courtney, and Michael, you guys are the best friends ever!! I love you guys all to death and wish I could bring you all home for the summer with me. I guess a visit from Mary and Jennie boo will have to do!! WOOOHOOO!

TO my wonderful German friend Johannes, I am going to miss you terribly when you leave. You've been such a good friend to me, and I really appreciate our long walks in Waterfowl and down Bridge Street. I'll never forget Ratty. lol. Or the crazy adventure on the railway tracks, hahaha. You scared, you scared! lol. I certainly hope that I get the chance to see you again, whether it be in Germany, England, or Canada. :)

To all my other indescribable friends, Keleigh, Rebecca, Phil, Courtney, Ashley, Kristie, Melissa, Vanessa, gahhh... I'm going to miss so many names, and I'm soooo sorry if I didn't mention you and you read this, boy would I feel stupid, but each of you have really made my second year of Mount A beyond belief. I'm so pumped to come back next year and see all of you again!! Hurray!

Well, one things for sure. It's the people that make the experience, and everyone at Mount A has certainly made mine one I'll never ever forget. can't wait to see what's in store for next year!!! Here comes the summer sun! I'm ready and set for it, then once the fall comes, I'll press the go button again and speed off into a new adventure and see what happens. Hope you can all be part of it!! :)


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Amazing Grace

Yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead
Yesterday is a promise that you've broken
Don't close your eyes, don't close your eyes
This is your life and today is all you've got now
Yeah, and today is all you'll ever have
Don't close your eyes
Don't close your eyes
This is your life, are you who you want to be? - Switchfoot

Who am I?

I could answer this question in a number of ways. My name is Rachel Gardner. I am a second year university student studying International Relations. I am the organizer of blah blah blah. I am the daughter of so and so. I am the sister of so and so.

I could also answer this with the generic statement - I am a Christian. Kind of a blanket statement for my beliefs - God is my saviour (like actually-he saved me from myself), Jesus is my greatest love and redeemer. I believe that the Bible is God's love letter to me, that it's his story of how I'm a ruined person, but he came and loved me despite that.

All that sounds fantastic, and quite inspiring really. But I'm more than that. I am a person who makes some silly mistakes and quite often at that. I'm a big fat failure most of the time. And despite the fact that I claim to love God with all my heart, I seem to always fall short of getting my feet, my hands, my mouth, my thoughts to follow along with these claims. So I guess I'm a hypocrite too.

The song lyrics that I put up on this blog remind me constantly to question myself. -Am I who I want to be? God has some hefty standards for me to follow. The love ethic shown by Christ seems near impossible for me to follow, but I want to so badly. Why is it that I always feel as if I've fallen short? I'm reminded right now of Paul in Romans 7 where he... well, I'll just show you.

Romans 7:14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Gah! Paul, I understand now exactly how you feel. There is this part of me that desires so badly to be everything for God and I'm constantly depressed because I fall so short of it. I guess I can find hope in Paul's next verse. "25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Without Christ, I would be nothing. Indeed, his Grace is completed undeserved, and I thank God with all my heart for having given everything for someone so unworthy such as myself. It's so amazing that despite the fact that Jesus knows me, knows my heart, my mind, my strength, that he still loves me.

"Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see."

-Thank-you Lord for saving a hypocrite like me!

Friday, March 12, 2010


So I'm awake here at 4:45 am and as I was just dreaming about feminism (hahaha), I had a deep urge to come online and rant about it.

I am a feminist. And for all those women out there who I continually hear saying "I hate feminists", you can bite me. I'm frustrated by the fact that modern women have very little appreciation for the rights and freedoms we enjoy today, given to us by... FEMINISTS! Yes, it was the feminists who gave us the right to vote in the 1920s, and the feminists who allowed us to have greater rights outside of the home in the 1960s. If you want to thank someone for being accepted into university, thanks the feminists of the 1960s, who fought for women's rights to be recognized as more than a housewife or a mother - to be seen as an individual, capable of contributing to the society around her.

I might add that the definition of feminism is the belief that men and women should be equal. So if you aren't a feminist, I'm going to say that you are somewhat... chauvinistic, unless you're a women, in which case, you are just sad. I'm not finishing my argument here though, because some people when I mention this definition, will go on to say, "Oh. Well, I agree. But I don't agree with RADICAL feminism - We've gotten all the rights we need right now and can't go any farther."

HALT! Did you know that women earn 70% of men in CANADA?? Yes, right here! And not based on labour differences, this is 70% of men for the same job. We needn't look any further than our own homes (most of the time-mine's pretty radical, although I'm still trying to convince my dad he's a feminist. figures.) to see the entrenched gender roles of our own society. Did your mom do the cooking and cleaning for you (most likely, all the while also managing a job and picking up the kids) while Dad brought home the bacon? Normal, right. WHY? Why is that normal?? Why can't the Dad be the one cooking? Why can't Dad be the one cleaning? And don't you dare venture to say that men can't cook or clean. I have one of the finest fathers who does both. I could also mention that Emeril, Mario Battali, Michael Smith, and Jamie Oliver would be quite offended by that statement.

This past Valentine's Day, 5 000 people gathered in Vancouver (during the Olympics I might add, although I certainly don't remember hearing about this) for the 19th annual memorial of Canada's 3 000 missing Aboriginal women. Some lost due to targeted ethnic and gender violence, some to domestic violence, this day attempts to bring forward this unaccounted for issue to the government. Although perhaps it has finally heard their cries, for it was mentioned in the Throne Speech last Wednesday.

I could go on and on, telling you about women's issues all over the world, and the importance of feminism today, but I will stop here as I think I will attempt to sleep some more before my 8:30 class. Hahaha. In the end, all I want people to know is that there is nothing wrong with being a feminist, or admitting that you ARE one. I'm proud to be a feminist and defend my stance with great passion because I know that women's issues are important and I am grateful to those women who helped me achieve the things I was able to today.

So thank-you to my feminist predecessors. And good night.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I am a Spiteful Valentine's Day Hater

Hello there.

Just in case you're wondering, this particular blog is not going to be very uplifting. Unless I change my mind half way through. Which is unlikely. Since I am a spiteful little cynical Valentine's day Hater. HA! I LAUGH IN THE FACE OF THE WORRRRRRLLLDDD!!!

I. hate. Valentine's. Day. And I admit, it is probably 99% because I have been single for the past 19 years of my life, and 1% because I am against the commercialization of the day. Valentine's Day is... hmmm... how should I phrase this? One of the most ultimately depressing days of the year.

I wake up to my alarm clock playing the top 20 love songs with mushy love tips in between. I whip out of bed so that I can turn it off as quickly as is humanly possible before I start gagging in disgust.

Next, I walk downstairs only to be meet with red cupids, hanging balloon hearts, and Valentine's event reminders. I again feel the bile rising in my throat.

I go to church, and what do they talk about? LOVE. Marriage and love. Dating and love. Romeo and Juliet. Flowers. Chocolate. etc. (Although they do include God's love, so at least I know I am included in that! :P ) Kill me now.

So I come home and embrace the comforting silence of my room and a book of economics. There is no mention of love in economics, (except, i could add, a chapter on "Cash for Condoms", but even this only goes on to explain how the cost of a condom and the cost of a child are widely divergent, and thus, giving away FREE condoms should make no difference then selling them). It is a beautiful read.

I have to say that I did get myself into the next escapade by attending an Opera put on by the Music Department. At least in this opera, the two lovers secretly hated one another. HAHAHA. Not uplifting, but it fuelled my cynical spirit.

Yes, Valentine's does make me spiteful. What an awful day for all the singles in the world. All I'd like to do is scream some Tina Turner, "WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO, GOT TO DO WITH IT? WHAT'S LOVE BUT A SECOND-HAND EMOOOO-TION?"

I suppose that in the end, I'll say that I do secretly wish I had somebody to spend the day with, even if it is simply to sit near them and read my silly economics book near. And I should simply be happy for those wonderful couples who actually have somebody to spend Valentine's with, and who have found someone who makes life happier than it would be without them nearby. I am, in all reality, a romantic. Romantic comedies and Shakespeare make me cry and sigh in utter sadness when I think about how much I'd like to have someone to love too. (I'll admit, it's really QUITE pathetic.)So I suppose I could say that Valentine's Day isn't sooooo bad...

But I choose not to. So there. :P

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Finding Hope in the Devastation of the World

The world seems so messed up. There are so many problems out there that I often feel like I cannot do anything at all. I give up and want to go and hide. There's this distinction we put on the "public" world vs. the "private" world. The public world includes the corrupt politicians that decide to sit by while the environment is destroyed or prorogue government, the natural disasters like Haiti and the helplessness we feel while we try and figure out some way to make their lives better, the poverty that kills thousands every day. It's all a bit overwhelming, and it's so easy to lose hope.

And I was thinking the other day, whenever I feel down about the world, like I just can't do anything, I go to my family, to my friends, to the people closest to me. And I wondered why. Some might say it's because it seems easier. I say it's because we're trying to renew our hope. Because maybe the answers to those problems aren't in the huge policies or "development projects" out there, but in the people we meet everyday. Change comes through a dedicated group of individuals. It's in the people around us that we can find hope that maybe the world isn't so bad. There is still love, there is still compassion, there is still sincerity. And maybe that's why going to our "private" world is so much easier. Because it's in the individuals around us that we can see the things that give us the hope we need. In those people, we see that the world isn't so bad. They inspire us, uplift us, and build us into the change-makers that the world needs to get rid of the problems that seem to big.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some poetry from moi

My poetry is a bit... rough, but it's fun to write, so here's one dedicated to this very odd weather.

The sun slurps the ocean of milk
Poured over the hidden bed of green pastures
A drowned scarf
Beside a soggy pack of cigarettes
Only a few sips remain
Grey puddles
Invite rain boots and giggles

A January spring

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Truth

Sometimes I struggle to believe the truth.

Jesus is so evident in my life. He's given me exactly the words I need to hear at exactly the moment I need them while I read the Bible, he's brought people into my life at the exactly the right point I needed them around, he's spoken to me through nature. His fingerprint is evident in the choices and decisions I make and in my ability to withstand the temptations that many succumb to. And there's a part of me, if this is possible to understand, that innately knows there's more to my life than just being alive. That something else is with me when I am physically all by myself.

And yet I sometimes struggle with God. Because I get caught up in the world around me, in the cynics and people who think I am foolish for thinking there's something bigger than me. and so I often feel like perhaps I am in a wrestling match with God. I am confused and helpless and tiny and inept at understanding why the evidence can't be made more visible to me. But the crazy thing is that whenever I get to this point of wrestling with God, he doesn't fight back. He just gives me this enormous bear hug me, all the while I am crying and screaming for him to explain this mess to me.

There's real historical evidence that Jesus existed on Earth, more even than Julius Caesar ever existed, if that is imaginable. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all wrote about him, as did Paul in his many letters to the new churches of the age. And when I read what they wrote about him, I fall in love with Jesus every time. The immense love he pours into people, but not only love, but grace and forgiveness into the broken-spirited, into the cast aways. It's too much for me to even think about, that maybe he could love me in the same way.

Why can't I just accept his presence in my life? I feel like my spirit is broken into this part that longs for God, that loves him more than anything else, and another part that questions his very existence, and these two halves keep fighting with each other. I can only hope that God keeps hugging me while I fight and scream, because I need it.

Sometimes the hardest thing to believe is the truth.