Getting to know me…

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One of the blogs I follow recently posted questions and answers designed to help the readers get to know her.  I admire her honesty and transparency in doing such an exercise – http://jennadee222.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/getting-to-know-you/, and thought I would follow in her footsteps by answering the same questions here.

What is your real name and where do you live?

My real name is Joy.  When I was born, I was given the name Alda Joy, with Alda being my maternal grandmothers first name.  I was called Joy from birth but, after 9/11, the province I was living in wanted everyone to officially use their first name, for security purposes.  Rather than be forced to start using my first name, I chose to legally drop it.  So, my birth certificate simply reads “Joy”.  As for where I live, I’m a Canadian who currently lives in Calgary, Alberta.

What makes you sad?

Insensitivity. Suffering. Unkindness.

What are your major mistakes?

I’ve made some epic mistakes in my life – enough to fill a book – but my major mistake in recent history was my last marriage. I knew it was a terrible mistake just two days in but I stuck with it for 11 years and 3 weeks, hoping it would change for the better.

But, the thing about mistakes is that we all make them.  I am a different person – much stronger and wiser – for having made my mistakes.  Instead of being defeated by them, I have chosen to use them as stepping stones.

When was the last time you cried?

Yesterday.  I am an emotional person, and things like kindness and happiness can bring tears as much as sadness and disappointment.  But, the saddest I’ve been in a very long time was Easter Monday 2012 when my beloved dog, Max, had to be put down just 3 days after getting terribly sick (the tests showed he had a massive intestinal tumor).  He was only 7 years old.  For a number of reasons, he was my guardian angel and will always have a very special place in my heart.

What makes you angry?

I’m more apt to get upset than angry.  But, something relatively simple like people driving erratically, impatiently, or dangerously in traffic has the ability to get to me like few other things.  I’m working on it though!

What is your most recent happiest memory?

It happened just last Friday when I was offered THE ultimate job.  It was the culmination of several years of job uncertainty interspersed with bouts of unemployment.  To say I am thankful is an understatement!!!

When were you most scared?

Many years ago, my youngest brother, my son, and I climbed Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine (U.S.) at 5,269 feet.  I have a strong fear of heights so it took an act of will to make this climb, which involved not only going up and down the mountain but across ‘Knife’s Edge’ at the top of the mountain.  Mount Katahdin has claimed 19 lives since 1963, with a number of those being from falls from ‘Knife’s  Edge’, which narrows to 3 feet wide for about 3/10 of a mile.

It’s worthwhile mentioning that the climb was done without ropes or any special gear, just using handholds and footholds, with blue paint strategically spattered on the rocks to guide us.  It’s also worthwhile mentioning that overcoming my fear of heights in such a dramatic fashion inspired elation afterward like no other.  It was a life changing accomplishment.

When were you most brave?

I could answer this by saying climbing Mount Katahdin but I think I was most brave the day I fled my marriage with only what I could fit in my small car, and drove 3 provinces to start a new life in a new city with no place to live, no job, and knowing only 2 people.  The journey from then to today has not been easy but I have never regretted taking that leap of faith.

What haven’t you done that you wished you had done?

My goal is to see more of the world.  I am relatively well travelled but the majority of my experiences are more than 20 years ago so I would like to pick up where I left off.

What makes you different from most people?

I have experienced the lowest of the lows in many aspects of my life, and my life has also not followed any kind of predictable course.  But, we all have a different story of our lives, and that’s what makes us unique and interesting.  I hope others will appreciate my differences as much as I try to appreciate theirs.

Who has influenced your life?

My relationship with Jesus Christ is the single greatest influence of my life since 1996.  My grandparents were also tremendous influences in my life… my maternal grandfather, in particular.  I learned invaluable lessons like kindness, giving, doing the right thing, humor, wisdom, staying young at heart, and being an inspiration to others just from watching how he lived his life.  I still miss him.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned?

I’ve learned that no mistake is an end, in and of itself, as long as you resolve not to let it be.  And, that doing the right thing, staying true to what you believe, and being a person of character and integrity is always, always, always worth it.  Even and especially when it means taking the tougher road (which it usually does…).

YES

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I think they meant it…

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I’ve been struggling lately with mean people.  One person pretends they’re my friend but then says and does things that are less than kind fairly often. Other people have been hostile or outright mean for seemingly no reason.

The problem with meanness is that you can’t always predict it, expect it, avoid it or reason with it.  That leaves having to deal with it… which, at least for me, is easier said than done.

When people are mean, I think our default reaction runs the gamut from surprised to defensive to hurt to angry.  Our instinctive feelings aren’t necessarily wrong – in and of themselves – but how we respond can be, if we’re not careful.

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One of my favorite books when I was growing up was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I really like what one of the characters had to say about mean people.  “Because they are mean is no reason why I should be. I hate such things, and though I think I’ve a right to be hurt, I don’t intend to show it.”

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When confronted with meanness, sometimes it’s best to just distance ourselves from the person or situation but sometimes that’s not possible or practical.  Sometimes it’s wisest to remain silent, or to be kind, or to be diplomatic.  Sometimes it’s necessary to be firm.

Every situation calls for a potentially different reaction but the one reaction that’s never right is meanness.  The Bible doesn’t say that it’s wrong to be angry but it does say, “in your anger, do not sin.”

The only thing worse than dealing with mean is being mean.  It says something about someone if they’re mean to us but it’s says volumes about us if we’re mean in return.

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I’m still working on handling mean people.  I would like to be wiser in the moment.  My current strategy is to do my best to be slow to respond or react.  I would much rather ask God for permission about what to say and when to say it than to have to ask for forgiveness for speaking in haste and regretting it.

I would rather be a Charlie Brown than a Lucy.

I mean that sincerely…

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One step at a time…

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I recently found myself in bumper to bumper traffic, something that is a semi-regular occurrence for me.  I was inching along when a full-sized pick-up truck squeezed in front of my relatively small car.  I instantly felt annoyed, a reaction that I recognized as not being completely rational.  After all, it’s not like I was going anywhere fast.  One vehicle cutting in front of me wasn’t exactly going to slow me down.

After a few minutes, I realized it wasn’t so much that a vehicle had pulled in front of me, it was that a big vehicle had pulled in front of me.  The truck was blocking my view.  I wanted to be able to see down the road, not just to the end of my bumper.  Hence my feelings of agitation…

It struck me how similar that scenario is to our perception of life.  We don’t want any obstacles blocking our view.  We want to be able to see down the road unobstructed.  And we expend a whole lot of energy being impatient with anything that stands between us and that view.

The truck eventually moved into a different lane, and I instantly felt relief.  Nothing had changed about the traffic except that I could see down the road again.  The irony is that I still didn’t know a single thing about what was ahead than I’d known when the truck was blocking my view.

Visibility doesn’t always bring clarity.

A short time later, the traffic cleared just as suddenly as it had gridlocked.  I’ll never know the reason for the delay but, even if I did, it wouldn’t have changed one inescapable fact…

I would have had to wait regardless.

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Life is like that.  You can think you have a clear enough view of the future to know what’s going to happen down the road but, once you get there, you realize it was just an illusion.  Things might turn out differently than you’d thought – either for better or for worse – and you may never know the reason why.  But, regardless, the journey will still most likely take the same amount of time.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it seems to me that we spend far too much energy living in the future.  I think it would be foolish not to give it any consideration.  But, it would be equally foolish to live there.

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As the Bible says, “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34b).

Huh?

Basically, every day has enough trouble of its own.  So, why not just take it one step at a time?

After all – like it or not – no one has ever been able to do anything but…

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20 questions…

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When I was growing up, I loved playing 20 questions.  After being recently nominated for the Liebster Award by francesgabriel75.wordpress.com (thank you!) – and seeing the questions that go along with it – I decided to expand the list to 20 questions, for old times sake.  I’ve always loved Q&A (as long as it’s not a test), and I’ve often thought it would be cool to be interviewed for that very reason.  So… game on…

  1. What are your reasons for writing a blog?  Self-expression is the short answer.  I’m not artistic or creative so words are what I have.
  2. What is the best thing (for you) about writing a blog?  The people that I’ve met who either stumbled on my blog or I stumbled onto theirs.
  3. What is your best quality?  Compassion.  I have the ability to put myself in other people’s shoes.
  4. What is the quality you want God to work on the most?  Oh goodness… it’s hard to narrow it down to one.  Patience is always on the list.  I think most of us could use more patience.  The main thing I pray for though is that God will make me better – whatever that is and however He sees fit for it to happen.
  5. What is your favourite place in the world and why?  My favorite place in the world is Paris, France – even though I’ve never been there.  It has history, architecture, romance, cuisine, fashion, the Eiffel Tower, and a temperate climate.  What’s not to love?
  6. How would you spend an ideal day?  For me, it’s more about who you spend it with than what you do.  Anything can be an ideal day if it’s with the right person/people.
  7. What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve ever been told?  That I’m the strongest person they know.
  8. What do you do to relax?  Take a walk, read, blog, watch TV/movies, spend time with friends/family, play word games.
  9. If you were able to meet one person (alive or dead, real or fictional) who would it be and what would you ask them?  I would like to meet Billy Graham.  I would ask him what lessons he’s learned and what, if anything, he would do differently if he had it to do over.
  10. What’s the first question you would like to ask God when you meet Him?  I’m pretty sure any questions I have will cease to matter the moment I first meet Him face to face.
  11. What makes you smile?  dogs; humour (particularly situational humour); kindness; the people I love.
  12. What makes you sad?  unkindness; tragedies; hatred; insensitivity.
  13. What motivates you?  a desire to live life to the fullest; a determination to persevere/overcome; my faith in God.
  14. How would you describe your personality?  I’m an introvert with extrovert qualities.  I can be funny and outgoing but I can also be shy and quiet.  Depends on the circumstances.  I’m loyal, caring, kind, giving, logical, smart, quirky, beat to my own drum, hard worker, peacemaker, unique, capable.  
  15. What do you least enjoy doing in life?  Dealing with conflict, doing things alone, and being late are the first 3 that came to mind.
  16. What is your favorite song?  My favorite song routinely changes but, for the past few months, I would have to say, “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave.  It has an amazing message of hope and redemption.  Lifts me up every time I hear it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDAGCow3dsg.  I also pretty much love any song of Toby Mac’s.  “Steal my Show” is a fav right now – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA_HoEC9ixc.
  17. What is your favorite quote and why?  My favorite quote routinely changes too but I think this one is epic… “If you found a man at the top of a mountain, he did not fall there”.  I know firsthand how true that is.  Love it!
  18. What is your favourite Bible verse and why?  The verse that speaks to me the most lately is “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” – Psalm 91:1.  It encourages me.
  19. What are some of your favourite things?  The people I love, books, good food, sushi (I’m hooked!), sunshine/heat/warmth, walking, cars, hockey, roller coasters, facts/trivia, words, humour, Snoopy, travel.
  20. What has life taught you?  I’ve learned that I can’t change the past so I shouldn’t live there.  Learn from the bad, embrace the good, be the change I want to see in the world, be an overcomer, persevere no matter what, love relentlessly, hope always, live life to the fullest, age is only a number, attitude is everything, life is hard but God is good.

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No excuses…

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This past week, I found an envelope in the mail with the return address of Calgary Police Services.  I had a hunch they weren’t sending me fan mail, and I was right.  It was a ‘violation ticket’, stating that on the 1st day of May, 2013, I was recorded driving 44 km/h in a 30 km/h zone.  I had been nabbed in one of the city’s playground zones which, along with school zones in the province of Alberta, have a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h.

My first reaction to seeing the ticket was denial, followed closely by excuses.

Some of the dialogue that ran through my head went like this…

  • there must be some mistake (even though photo radar caught not only the speed, location, and time but also a very good shot of the back of my car and rear license plate)
  • it couldn’t have been me (even though the driver was too short to be seen even a bit over the back of the seat.  So, unless the driver was 12… well… it had to be me)
  • there has to be some way out of it
  • maybe I can get the fine knocked down (since it was only my second speeding ticket in 30 years of driving)
  • my insurance (which is up for renewal next month) is going to go up
  • I always obey those zones… I just had an especially rough day that day

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What initially eluded me was this fundamental truth…

I was guilty…

no if’s, and’s or but’s about it.

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I had to come to grips with the fact that I had disobeyed the law, no matter how unintentionally, and that there was no excuse for it.

There might have been an explanation but it didn’t excuse me.

Once I accepted the cold, hard, facts, I knew I was just going to pay the ticket.  The consequences were mine, and trying to talk myself out of them – or into less of them – would only involve more excuses.  I needed to take full responsibility for my actions.

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There’s a saying that you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

Nowhere have I found a saying that you can’t change what you don’t excuse.

And for good reason.  The world is full of people who continually make excuses for their words, actions, behaviour, and reactions, and nothing ever changes.

What the world needs are people who will stand up, be accountable for their actions, accept the consequences, and learn from their mistakes.  The people who are willing to do that have the potential to change their world.

I want to be one of those people.

I’m not going to claim that I’ve always taken responsibility for my actions because that would be a ridiculous lie.  I can’t even claim that I took responsibility for my first speeding ticket four years ago because I made excuses to the officer who stopped me and got the fine knocked back, something I’m still not proud of.

But, I am going to say quite honestly that I have taken full responsibility for my actions behind the wheel on the 1st day of May, 2013.  The truth is…

I was wrong.

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The funny thing is that, since my mindset has changed, my thoughts have run more along the lines of…

  • thank goodness I was only going 44 km/h, and not 45 km/h or more, or the consequences would have been way more severe
  • I’m thankful the fine was only $87.00.  It could have easily been over $100.00
  • thank goodness it was only a speeding ticket, and not a way more serious infraction like hitting a child with my car because I was going too fast in a restricted zone
  • if my insurance goes up because of the ticket, it goes up… I earned it with my actions
  • the next time I have a rough day, I’m going to make sure I’m even more intentional about watching and obeying the road signs when I’m behind the wheel

So, how do I know I won’t have a change of heart and try to excuse away some or all of my ticket?

Well, as the saying goes… the cheque is in the mail.

Except the cheque really is in the mail.

And, now I’ll make a proper excuse, and excuse myself to go eat a little humble pie.

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Hear, hear…

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Several years ago, I had a hearing test done after noticing I needed to have things repeated a lot, and that I also wasn’t hearing much of what was being said on television.  It turned out that I had below normal hearing for lower tones.  Usually when someone’s hearing starts to go, it’s with women and children’s voices first but I was just the opposite.  Since I was working for four men at the time, it explained why I wasn’t hearing a whole lot.

My immediate response was that I wanted a hearing aid.  Fix the problem with modern science.  It seemed like the obvious solution.  But, to my surprise, the audiologist advised against it, saying a hearing aid was a double edged sword.  It was true it would help me hear men’s voices better but it would also magnify all the other sounds I could already hear without difficulty.  Since I’m sensitive to background noise at the best of times, it was enough rationale to give me pause.

I could never understand why my grandmother had the sometimes maddening habit of turning off her hearing aid, but now I knew.  And she was as deaf as a post.  I was only half that deaf.

I asked the audiologist what other options I had to improve my hearing, and her answer was that I needed to improve my listening.

Huh?!

That sounded like work.

Well, it was work.  I had to start paying attention way more than before just to hear the same things, and especially so if I wasn’t facing the other person so I could partially read their lips.  The more people and/or background noise, the harder it is for me to hear what one person is saying, so I’ve had to learn to listen better in those situations too.  But, as hard as it is in person, hearing and listening effectively on a cellphone are by far the most difficult.  At least with the television, I can use closed captioning.

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I wish I could say it’s gotten easier to listen better over time but it’s still hard work.  Hard enough that I had my hearing test repeated a couple years later in the hopes I had gotten deaf enough for a hearing aid.

I hadn’t.

I’m still not.

But, in some ways, I’m glad I have to work harder at listening because, if I didn’t find hearing to be such a challenge, I’d probably talk way more than I do now.  And, heaven only knows I still talk more than enough.

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The truth is…

  • When we talk, we’re only repeating what we already know.  But, if we listen, we’re apt to learn something new.
  • No one’s ears ever got them into trouble.
  • Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand but with the intent to reply.
  • The quieter we become, the more we can hear.
  • The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent.

If we want to be listened to, we really should put in more time listening.  The nicest thing we can do for others is to make them feel understood.  It’s what we hope for ourselves.

We’re always saying we want to be heard.  But virtually no one says they want to hear.  And, if we do say we want to hear, how many times do we actually follow through?  Speaking for myself, not nearly enough.

So, people…

Listen up!

Even I heard that…

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It’s all a matter of perspective…

blog 10Perspective fascinates me.  Two people can look at the very same thing, or hear the very same thing, and process it in two very different ways.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Perspective depends on the person, their age, their gender, their experiences, their beliefs, whether or not they’re teachable, where they are in life at that very moment, etc., etc.  There are infinite variables to perspective.

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Perspective is so powerful, it often becomes fact to the individual – whether or not it really is fact.  Perception is reality to the person involved.  That’s why it’s so important to try and keep a balanced perspective.  To make sure we’re not so tunnel visioned that we miss the forest for the trees.  That we’re teachable enough to stop and consider that our perspective may need to be adjusted.  To consider that our perspective may be unduly influenced by the wrong people or by our emotions (which are not always reliable) or by our circumstances, etc., etc.  Again, the variables are limitless.

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I’ve learned that it’s often very difficult to dissuade people from their perspectives.  Which comes back to one of the most basic of truths.  The only person I can change is me.

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I generally try to really consider perspectives that greatly differ from my own.  I’ll weigh all the options, and usually ask people I trust – who are often outside the situation or circumstance – for their perspective.  Sometimes the result is that I adjust my own perspective but sometimes the result is that I need to adjust my situation or circumstance.  If the rest of the people involved hold a differing perspective that I can’t live with, it’s up to me to remove myself – not to try and change their perspective.

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But, I’ve noticed that my perspective on many things has changed over time.  I think that’s natural.  We change.  Our circumstances change.  The people around us change.  Our world changes.

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Time is bound to change our perspective, although not all our perspectives should change.  The wisdom is knowing the difference.

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That’s just my perspective.

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Blast from the past…

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say they wish they could have lived in another era, with the 1800’s soundly winning the popularity vote.

I could not agree less.  I was born in 1961 and, if I had the opportunity to live it over – and choose when I was born – I would choose the same day of the same month of the same year.

We live in an ever changing world, and it always merits looking back on the pivotal and life changing events of any given year.  These are a few I found interesting about 1961.

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  • On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin – a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut – became the first human to orbit into outer space.
  • In January 1961, Yogi the Bear – who was the first break-out character created by Hanna Barbera – landed his own show.
  • On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy became the 35th President of the United States.
  • Andy Griffith and Ron Howard were featured on the cover of the first TV Guide of the Year.  The TV Guide sold for .15 cents an issue at the time.
  • On May 5, 1961, the United States launched its first man in space – Alan Shepard – on the Freedom 7.
  • On August 13, 1961, construction began of the Berlin Wall.  The wall started to come down on November 9, 1989.  Ironically, what took only 18 days to construct took a full 2 years to deconstruct.
  • Mister Ed was first broadcast in October 1961.
  • On October 1, 1961, Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hit his 61st home run in the last game of the season against the Boston Red Sox, beating the 34-year-old record held by Babe Ruth.
  • On October 30, 1961, The Soviet Union detonated a 58-megaton yield hydrogen bomb, known as Tsar Bomba over Novava Zemlya. It remains the largest ever man-made explosion.
  • On November 9, 1961 – Neil Armstrong – an American astronaut who would go on to become the first man on the moon before the end of the decade – recorded a world record speed in a rocket plane of 6,587 km/h flying an X-15.
  • On November 10, 1961 – Joseph Heller published Catch-22.

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Other notable firsts in 1961 include:

  • Ken was introduced as the boyfriend of Barbie, who had made her own debut two years earlier.
  • The first Six Flags theme park was opened in Arlington, Texas.
  • Pampers – the first disposable diaper – was introduced.
  • Amnesty International started in the United Kingdom.
  • The first inflight movie was shown on TWA.
  • The first electric toothbrush was produced by Squibb Co.
  • Niagara Falls, Canada, started producing hydroelectric power.

In other trivia of 1961:

  • John Diefenbaker was the Prime Minister of Canada.
  • Elvis, Chubby Checker, Lawrence Welk, and the Shirelles topped the music charts.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama, Michael J. Fox, Wayne Gretzky, and George Clooney were born.

And, on September 3, 1961, in the tiny town of Perth, New Brunswick, Canada, I made my official entrance into the world at 5:03 p.m.

All in all, I’d say 1961 was a pretty good year.

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Beautiful blogger award…

I’m very excited to have been nominated today for the Beautiful Blogger Award by Especially Made.  Thank you so much!!  In her blog, she talks about the challenges and joys of raising a child with special needs, and I never fail to be moved and humbled by her posts.  If you haven’t stumbled onto her blog yet, I would highly encourage you to do so!

To accept the Beautiful Blogger Award, the rules are as follows:

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1. Post the award on to your blog.
2. Remember to thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their site.
3. Post 7 random facts about yourself to help us to get to know you better.
4. Nominate 7 new bloggers you consider noteworthy.
5. Don’t forget to leave a message for those you nominate that you chose them.

In a recent post, I listed 13 random facts about myself – hi-my-name-is-joy – which you’re more than welcome to check out, if you haven’t done so already.  But, for today, in keeping with the theme of beauty, I’m posting 7 random things that I personally find beautiful.

1.  Canada – If you’ve never been to Canada, you’ve missed out!  I’m been from coast to coast and there is so much beauty everywhere.  But, since I’m originally from the East Coast, I’ll single out the province of New Brunswick.  When the leaves change in the fall, it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth.

2.  My son – My son Tim is in his mid-thirties but he is one of the most beautiful people I know.  I am proud of his accomplishments but I am proudest of who he is as a person.  If he wasn’t my son, I would still want to know him.

3.  Burmese people – I had the privilege of going on a 6 week missions trip to Myanmar (formerly Burma) in the summer of ’99, and I was so touched and moved by the people there.  They had literally nothing but they were so quick to give.  It was also rainy season and we witnessed widespread flooding.  Some of their huts (yes, they lived in huts…) had chest high water, forcing them to sleep in hammocks strung high between the trees, and yet they were always quick to say that it was worse in Bangladesh.  They were optimistic, giving, kind, gracious, beautiful people.

4.  My brother Brent and his wife Angie – For the past 11 years, my brother has been Executive Director of Cottage Cove Urban Ministries, a faith based inner-city ministry providing educational opportunities and training in the arts to at-risk children of Nashville, Tennessee.  The ministry, which operates solely on donations, is a daily program offered free to the children and their families, and currently serves upwards of 70 children per day, with many more on a waiting list.  To me, there is nothing more beautiful than investing in the lives of our future generations, and particularly in the lives of at-risk children.

5.  Giving – I know of countless individuals who selflessly give of their time, talents, and resources to help make a difference in people’s lives.  Many have made a difference in my own life.  Giving brings beauty to a world that often seems less than beautiful.

6.  Grace – I heard a story in church yesterday of how the speaker’s elderly mother attended the court proceedings of the boy who had robbed her because she wanted him to know she forgave him.  A beautiful example of grace, and a challenge to be more of a grace giver myself.

7.  Prayer – To me, prayer is beautiful because it’s a direct connection to my Maker and Saviour.  But, prayer is also beautiful because of it’s power to change.  It changes me.

Continuing on the theme of beauty, I nominate the following blogs for the Beautiful Blogger Award.  Each blog has inspired me, and helped me see beauty in the midst of the chaos of this world.  I hope you’ll find them as uplifting as I have.

1.  Giving 50 x 52

2.  Mustard Seed

3. Another Red Letter Day

4.  Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane

5. Jon Lilley

6.  The Cognitive Life

7.  Canadian Hiking Photography

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An analysis of the obvious…

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A man with an impossibly long name once said…

“The obvious is always least understood.”blog13

Prince Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar von Metternich

Keeping with that subject, a man with a fairly succinct name phrased it like this…

“To spell out the obvious is often to call it in question.”

Eric Hoffer

On the surface, both of these statements seem strange.  After all, isn’t the obvious… well… obvious???  The answer is both yes and no.  It all depends on the person.

blog6There are people who see the obvious and it makes perfect sense to them while there are others who see the obvious but don’t interpret it as such.  They tend to think there’s a hidden meaning of some sort and/or they question the validity of what they’re seeing.  It’s amazing how many people think that the obvious is too obvious.  That there has to be a catch of some sort.  They want things spelled out for them but, when they are, they never quite believe it.  They question it.  They dismiss it.  They outright reject it.

I think about this with Christianity.  The Bible says,  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9 (NLT)

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Confess and believe.  It doesn’t get more straightforward than that.  But, many people think it can’t be that easy.  They question it.  They add to it.  They discard it entirely.  Some churches and religious groups are even guilty of doing that.  Not all… but many.

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Sometimes I think people are more apt to believe something complicated over something obvious.

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This translates to virtually every aspect of life.  Spell something out or state the obvious, and there will always be those who refuse to believe it.  It’s too obvious.  I think nearly every person on the face of the earth has done this at one time or another, myself included.  We say we want the obvious but when we get it, we don’t like what we see.  So, we rationalize why we should circumvent it.  Or ignore it.  Or why it doesn’t apply to us.blog9

And therein, I think lies the key to how we interpret the obvious.  To accept it as the obvious, we have to be comfortable with it and it has to conform to our reality.  But, that doesn’t make the obvious any less obvious.  Or any less true.  Our perceptions are not always reality.

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So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that what’s obvious is obviously not obvious.

Disclaimer:  This analysis of the obvious is open to interpretation as it may not be obvious to everyone.

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