Saturday, June 9, 2012

BEWARE: the PARK ranger's anger

I hate parking. 

(I'm not very good at it.)  (I'm also not overly motivated to change it.) (Don't be mad.)

I have a brilliant idea, though.  One day, I'm going to invent a parking stall with moving lines.  You just park where you want, get out, and marvel at the perfection. Ta-da.  Look mom, no hands!

Now that I mention it, I hate most things that I'm not good at. Is it just me?! Do I also avoid things I can't understand? Is it easy to make excuses instead of making sense of it? Does making excuses include transferring our shame to someone else instead of taking ownership of gaps in our inabilites...? back to parking. The lines don't move (for now). I can clearly see the lines, so that means my vision is perfectly fine. But even when I think I've done a really good job and open the door to "praise myself" for my success, I'm still over the line. Or close. Too close.

This can only mean two things; My mother passed on the "Inability-to-Park" genes from her late ancestors whose horses consistently wandered over the gravelled pathway and into the ditch (the most mutated form of this gene, of course). Or perhaps it means I need a smaller car...

Or else, I suppose, if I really wanted to, I could LOOK at my weakness, admit that although I keep trying, I'm still struggling and try to move on. Would I start a revolution?!!

I have no promises for tomorrow's parking. But today I'm really sorry that I crossed the line and blocked you in. But don't blow it out of proportion. (It's not like I stole your car.)

Practical application:  My mistakes and inherent weaknesses give me a lot of compassion for my kids, who are also in the processs of taking responsibility for their own actions and learning not. to. blame. others. It's not about closing our eyes, blaming someone else, or never parking again.  We are all human here. It's time someone admitted it.

"You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. 
They left me a little note on my windshield that said, 'Parking Fine.'" 
(Tommy Cooper)

Monday, May 28, 2012


Everybody wants to inspire somebody. But what does it take to be an inspiration?

An Inspiration is influential because they choose to stand out. They believe deeply and walk it out. Breathe deeply and sing it out. See something and point it out. They are fearless, confident, intentional.

We all want to be inspired, but few of us are willing to do the hard steps that it takes to be Inspirational. Being inspirational means doing something that others aren’t capable of or willing to do.
  • Sticking with it when it’s difficult. 
  • Choosing to lay bitterness aside in order to forgive the unforgivable.
  • Running when the weather is miserable.
  • Inviting someone you hate out for coffee.
  • Doing what it takes to admit you were wrong. 

“People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head;
it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion,
then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.”
[Anthony de Mello]

Saturday, February 18, 2012

[value of] words pressed into sand

If a word falls into a blogspot, but nobody reads it...
did it fully get expressed?

If a writer invests time, imagination, and sentiment into putting words on a page, is it enough to have them exist in silence like a new species of spider that nobody has discovered yet?  If this is the case, although writing is still therapy for the writer, it is only for the writer. 

Words written from the expression of the heart need to be shared and considered in much the same way as a good meal can be tasted and digested in the stomach of the reader.    But, like a feast, if there is no one to enjoy the meal, it will sit there and gather dust without ever being fully enjoyed.  That is why God created people...To enjoy the expression of His handiwork, share in its pleasures and tell Him what a good God He is for making it all.  He doesn't need to hear it; we need to say it.  

I am not saying that there is no value to speaking face to face, but there is also no record of these words exchanged.  Words on a page can be re-read, re-considered, and re-sponded to over and over again.  If there is someone willing to read.

Even if a word is written in the sand and enjoyed by one person until it is washed away by the waves, it is still enough.

"In good writing, words become one with things."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A writer doesn't solve problems. He allows them to emerge."

-Friedrich Dürrenmatt

"How do I know what I think until I see what I say?"

-E. M. Forster

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection."
-Anais Nin

Friday, January 27, 2012

make some NOISE!

Are you quiet or loud?
I was a very loud child.  But as I grew older...I became quiet. Convinced no one was interested in what I might have to say. 
...I used to be quiet

In many ways, I still am...I only speak when I have something to say.  I suppose that means I have more to say now than ever before.  I am convinced that, like me, you also have something to saySomeone needs to hear what is going on inside of you.  Someone needs to be encouraged by your struggle.  Someone needs to know that they are not alone.  Someone needs to know that you've been there, and you got through this.

If you have something to say and you're bursting at the seems with silence...the time to release what you've got is now.

When you have gone through your time of pondering, being hidden in your quiet place where ideas grow and formulate...find your footing and stand firm.  Then tell someone around you where you've been.  Encourage someone.  Talk about it.  Make yourself accountable.  And when you stumble, cry out for a's closer than you think.  Don't stay silent.  Call out for it.  We all need each other.  We need to hear your story.

Check that the foundation under your feet is secure.  When you see it, be amazed.  It's an extravagant gift.  He won't let you be put to shame.  When you choose to open your gift and stand, don't keep your mouth shut...MAKE SOME NOISE!!!

People need to know what you've found.  What you've discovered.  I want to see what is planted inside of you because it is precious, unique, and powerful.  Share it.  Breathe life into your progress by telling someone else.

"Preach it all...Preach the entire message to them...[let] the noise reverberate all over the earth; everyone everywhere hears it.'"

Jeremiah 25:30 (MSG)

Monday, December 19, 2011

The fight that's worth it.

“For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier...
I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.”
-Steven Wright

Last week, after school I was presented with a ticket to a very special hockey game that was about to commence in the Upstairs Loft, Row 1, Seat 1, in short order. The ticket was from my seven year old son, Isaac. He also made a separate ticket for Eden, and one for Roxy, the dog.

While he was waiting for us to “arrive” at the game (I needed time to make tea), the players practised on the “ice.” When we arrived, I realized that there was no one to sing the National Anthems (gasp), so I grabbed a nearby drumstick and stole the honour for myself.  Isaac waited patiently for the ridiculous part of the show to end, feigning interest. After I was done or mostly done (no...I don’t know all the words to the "Star Spankled Manner"), I took my spot in the seating area.

ã 2011 Isaac Bedwell, All Rights Reserved
As you can see from the ticket, the Montreal Canadiens were playing the Bruins. Or something like that. It gets complicated from there because there is only one player and he has 10 different names, and 6 different positions. At any point there could be a handful of players in the penalty box and no one ever knows where the referee really went.  I do try to pay attention.

But my biggest challenge is trying to figure out which team to cheer for because I can’t tell whose side my Isaac is actually on.

Isaac is a “fighter.” You see, he can be on anyone’s team at any time, and because he transfers his enthusiastic play-by-play to favour whomever is winning at the time, it is difficult to focus. On one hand, I suppose it makes for good entertainment because you never know who is going to win, but personally, I find that I really enjoy the intermission: This is the part of the game where Roxy is allowed on the ice to play (I make circus music while she chases the ball).

I’m getting to my point. You almost have to see it to believe it. It happens when the offense goes in for the score. The most impressive part is the interaction between the offensive player and goalie. Isaac will actually stand in net and chip the puck backwards towards himself with his stick and dive to save it with his body. 

My point is that on that day, Isaac was fighting against himself.

Some days we are not much different. We beat ourselves up over things that we can not possibly control and were not responsible for.

You see, although Isaac is always scoring, he is also always being scored on.

And every day you fight for something.

Some fight themselves.
  Some fight those around them.
     Some fight to stay alive.
        Some fight to believe again.
          ...And some fight to live with JOY.

I get it. We all do. It’s part of being human. You were born to fight for something.

But sometimes in our "fight or flight" spontaneous reaction, we can fight the wrong thing.
...Sometimes we forget, and save our punches for people who are on the same team. your energy for the battle that matters.

“My heart and kidneys are fighting each other; Call a truce to this civil war.”

-Psalm 25:17 (MSG)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I want change.

Routine is a cherished commodity in my day.  Peace and Joy dance alongside when it happens, and it welcomes my day with the kiss of predictability.  Uhhh...well, on the days that it exists, it does.  Admittedly, there are a few pressing times a year that the life of my routine becomes threatened like a goldfish cracker in a room of pre-schoolers: 
          Christmas and Summer.

This time of year is wonderful, don't get me wrong.  Every year my routine is challenged, I get better at rolling with the punches, but, I have to admit, this has taken practice.

Case in point:  A few nights ago I decided that I was going to challenge my routine:  Tonight, I am going to sleep on my back, I decided.  Why?  Simply because, I never sleep on my back.  I was stuck in a routine.  And, this one was harder than I thought to get out of.  It didn't feel natural.  I kept wanting to roll to my side.  I couldn't get sleepy.  All for the sake of challenging my routine, I refused to give in, and I am happy to announce that I have successfully fallen asleep on my back for three entire nights.  Just because.  And, no, I didn't stay that way (I'd need different tools if I were going to challenge my unconscious mind)...but I fell asleep that way, and thus, survived
Did I like it? 
Was it good for me? 
Let's say it was. 
I'm challenging my sense of control this intentionally losing it, one day at a time.

Some might say:  "Mayhem!  Anarchy!  Pointless challenge!" 
I say:  Baby steps, people, baby steps.

Yesterday my son's advent calendar was driving me CRAZY.  I think most, if not all of the little doors were open.  OPEN!!  We're talking 11 days of doors here.  Just to demonstrate to him how I felt, I opened all the cupboard doors in the kitchen and told him that what he was doing with his calendar was like if I left the kitchen like this

His reply:  "So, what's wrong with that?"  (Apparently he has missed the memo that says a kitchen with all the cupboard doors shut is a happy kitchen.) I had to explain that if doors were meant to be open all the time, they wouldn't be needed.  I'd like to say that he has had a revelation about the "why" in door-keeping duties, but after leaving the front door of the house wide open tonight for over an hour, I realized that I was the one being challenged here. 

So I...instead of trying to bring him over to my side (because who says my way is the only way?), have been faced with the reality that I must first change myself.

I guess you could say I have been inspired by the daily journey of the wisemen in our house.  They started their trek towards the star 11 days ago.  Every year, they travel around the house (at night of course, that's the only time they can see the star)...and it takes the poor lads the better part of the month to find the baby.  Already the journey has been treacherous:  there has been no semblance of routine for them.  They don't even know where they are getting their next meal from!  Already they've travelled aboard pirate ships and housesat at Barbie's house, and one of them keeps losing his head.  Twice.  But they're not dead yet (ie. the dog hasn't got them yet).  And, although they make the journey every year, not even the routing is predictable.  Each night they have no clue what to expect. 

And although I am far from a wooden wisemen, I am learning to let a little spontaneity fill my day a little bit more during this season.  It's my gift to myself.

"Later, a great many people from the Gerasene countryside got together
       and asked Jesus to leave—
             too much change, too fast, and they were scared.
So Jesus got back in the boat and set off." 
                                               (Luke 8:37 MSG)

I don't want you to miss out on what God has for you because you are afraid of change.  God help us.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Buh-Bye Ol' Buddy Ol' Pal

November 22nd was like any other day, except that it was my last day with glasses.  I sat down late that night to write a tribute in my journal that I would like to share with you, and ask you to join me in saying
                                                   farewell to a very, very old friend.

I can say that I will miss their sense of style - even waaay back in the 80s when they were larger than tennis balls and thicker than pop bottles, with a thick red chord tied behind my ears to keep them from slipping down my (then) tiny nose. 

They were always there for me, even when I couldn't see them.  It wasn't their fault they got lost when they were only inches away.  That would have been hard on anyone's ego...let alone a pair of glasses whose entire purpose of being noticed, seen, and assisting in sight was what they were created for.  There were quite a few misunderstandings about this over the years, but we always moved on without much of a fight.  After all, at the time, we were made for each other.

It was the day that the dog got them and chewed through the arms that I knew their life was limited.  Those ones were brand new.  I couldn't keep doing this.  It was a sign that their presence in my life, their importance, my total dependence, was somehow waning, and a new alternative option was becoming very evident. 

Two days post surgery I sit here on my computer and laugh because of all the things that seem to be the same, and all the things that have changed.  My house is dirtier.  The Christmas lights at night are prettier.  And when I see myself now, I've changed.  There is nothing in between me and the mirror anymore, it's just me.  No smudges, scratches, dirt.  I blink, and I'm still clear.  Well, I mean, there is dirt on the mirror that I never noticed before...

I'm soooo happy.  But an old friend of mine is sitting in front of me in a tiny black coffin, and I don't know what to do with them.  A life has been lived with them, like it or not.  They have held a place on my (growing) nose for over 27 years.  I have cleaned them, bent them (bad dream), broke them down the middle (cold day), replaced them, popped the lenses out of them (raking), scratched them, lost them, and found them again.  Many years of sight have been made possible because of them.  But now what?  Do I keep them?  Frame them (pun intended)?  Throw them away?  Give them to a poor blind soul who wouldn't mind the scratches, dog-chewed arms, or customized, one-of-a-kind very high prescription?  I don't know.  I hold loosely, yet I treasure the sight made possible once upon a time... 

Yet, too soon, I will forget a life spent with old limitations.  Now, the same.  But different.  Vulnerable in an entirely new way.  Possibility is now at my doorstep.  New things, great things, are on my bucket list that were never there before. Like running in the rain. And I can't wait to reach what was once very difficult before.

What is your old limitation...once a friend, now a reminder of the past?  How much does your new possibility have in store for you? 

First item on my list:  run in the rain.

"He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." 
-Phil. 1:16