Monday, January 10, 2011

Bus Pants

I've never thought I had a whole lot to say ... or perhaps more accurately, I've never believed I had anything to say that was worth hearing. Two very different things. I've never considered myself a "talker" or a "chatty-cathy". I've more often been labelled as being too quiet than too opinionated.

But I do have opinions. And what I believe is worth hearing. I hope. I'm still working on mustering up that self-confidence.

Every once in awhile I sit at the keyboard and "pen" another entry here. Just about every day on the bus ride home from work I weave beautiful stories and narratives in my head, but then it all vanishes as soon as I face a blank screen. Stage fright?? Maybe.

For instance, today. I was on the bus ride home and noticed an older lady who had at least 2 pairs of pants on. Mind you, it's mid-January and cold out, so I take it the purpose of the extra pair of pants was to provide some added warmth. But all I could think of was last week's episode of "The Big Bang Theory" when Sheldon was anticipating having to use public transportation and so needed to put on his "bus pants". Because bus pants, you see, will provide protection for his regular pants so his regular pants don't come in contact with the nasty germs left behind from others.

So I saw this older lady, with her "bus pants" on, and I began getting somewhat philosophical there on the bus and wondering what kind of "bus pants" I put on to protect myself from my environment and from those around me. What do I use to hide behind? Am I willing to step out from my safe cocoon to take any kind of risk? And if Jesus would ask me to take that risk, would I be willing?

I'm afraid I don't have answers right now. Just questions. But it's something to think about. Bus pants.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I have been struggling lately with seeing the truth of who I am, and not liking what I see. I wish I could somehow wipe the slate of my life clean and start over. I know that’s what God’s forgiveness and the power of His redemption are supposed to accomplish, but I can’t say I feel very redeemed. I am still my sinful self.

My son BJ and I worked at cleaning up the back yard today. We have one corner of the yard where we have dumped branches and old pieces of wood and garbage that need to be bagged up and set out at the street to be picked up. The easiest (and most fun) way to clean up this corner was to get a fire going in the fire pit and just start adding to it until we ran out of fuel. At some points it was tough going because the branches and wood were a bit wet, but then when other pieces were added to the fire, they caught quickly and the fire burned bright and hot. And then there were the coals. I found a good stick to poke around at the fire and as I poked at the coals, my stick started to burn. It looked like the fire had mostly gone out, but the coals remained hot enough to ignite the stick. Even setting the stick in close proximity of the coals would re-ignite it again.

As I sat enjoying the warmth of the coals and watching my stick catch on fire again … I was reminded of the verse in Revelation 3:

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

And as I reflected on my life, I would have to say that I am lukewarm. And as I read those verses in Revelation, I have to admit that I am wretched, miserable, poor and blind (and naked in the sense that I am feeling quite vulnerable writing this.) I might be like the bright fire when fresh kindling is added – it burns brightly and intensely for a time, but then ebbs quickly. What I want to be is like the coals that stay hot for a long time and when other “combustibles” are in proximity of the coals, they begin to ignite as well.

I don’t quite know how to accomplish that, but I think it starts with a humble heart, a desire to know the Father and be used by Him, and a willingness to follow wherever and however He leads.

Friday, April 02, 2010


These are days of PC – I don’t mean Progressive Conservatives, or President’s Choice, or Personal Computers, or even Physically Challenged – but rather the dreaded Political Correctness. Hand in hand with Political Correctness (“PC”) goes tolerance. We are told that we need to be tolerant of others and their choices of faith, lifestyle and culture.

What I’ve been thinking about lately is the degree to which I am tolerant of others. How tolerant am I of people who choose to follow a different faith, or for that matter, no faith at all? How tolerant am I of people who choose to live by a different set of lifestyle rules? How tolerant am I, in general, of other people?

I wonder what tolerance means and what it looks like. For me, I think it means being a friend and trying to show love, even while I may not agree with viewpoints or choices.

I would describe myself as a conservative and a Christ-follower. I work with someone who is liberal and refers to certain Christians as “born-agains”. This person is quite opinionated and is firm in her belief that she is right and anyone who disagrees is misguided and wrong. Some days it’s challenging to like this person, and most often I try not to engage in any kind of political or faith-based discussion with her. I’d like to think that I am being tolerant of her and her views.

It seems to me there is becoming less and less of a tolerance for people of faith. Recently there was an effort in a US town to change the name of “Good Friday” to “Spring Celebration” or something silly like that. The effort didn’t get off the ground, thank goodness, but I’m sure someone will try again next year. How many years has it been now that retail employees have been told they can’t wish a customer “Merry Christmas” but to say “Season’s Greetings”? And our schools no longer have Christmas Concerts but “Winter Concerts” to celebrate the season. But what season is being celebrated?

So while we’re being called to be tolerant in the name of Political Correctness, is seems to be acceptable to be intolerant of people of faith. Perhaps PC should stand for Persecuted Christians.

It's Friday. But Sunday's coming.

It’s Good Friday today. Friday is when we remember Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross. We look forward to Sunday, when we celebrate His resurrection.

I was reminded early this morning of a popular old sermon of Tony Campolo’s … “It's Friday’s. But Sunday’s coming”. Friday is here. For our family, the last year or so with Eric’s illness and recovery, has been one long Friday. It has been scary, challenging and definitely faith-building.

But what a wonderful hope and a promise that Sunday is coming; that through all of the challenges the past year has presented to us, Jesus Christ, because He is alive, enabled us to walk through it with Him. I honestly don’t know how I would have survived the past year without faith in Him who is able to do all things.

It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming.

To check out Tony Campolo's sermon, go to

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hi. My name is Lisa ...

Hi. My name is Lisa. And I enjoy sports.

I've not been blessed with much athletic ability - bad knees have plagued me ever since I ran cross country and track in junior high. But I do enjoy being a spectator ever since I was a young girl and watched the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nascar with my Dad.

We recently celebrated the Winter Olympics; the boys and I and got wrapped up in the excitement of following the athletes and the competitions and we bouyed up our Canadian spirit. March Madness starts this week (Go Duke!) and at our house we already have the brackets for the first round picked.

This June the World Cup tournament will start. Since our boys were little, soccer has been the game of choice in our house. All four of the boys have played, to varying levels and with varying degrees of success, and Eric has played and coached. Even I played indoor soccer in a women's league for 5 seasons, before finally giving it up because of my knees. It is labelled as the "beautiful game" and when played with skill and heart, it can indeed be a beautiful game (not so much when I played though).

But I think the sport I enjoy watching the most has become volleyball. Gone are the days of "side out"; these days each serve garners a point for the side that wins it. To be honest, I don't understand half of what my son talks about - running "X's" and hitting 53's - and I couldn't tell you if a team is out of rotation. What attracts me the most is that each side must play with skill in order to earn their points. Certainly you can win capitalizing off of the other team's mistakes, but you need to be quick on your feet and able to move forward point by point. Teamwork is a must.

I think that's really the key - teamwork. Not just on the volleyball court or on the soccer field, but even in the every day happenings of life and home. How well are we able to work together with each other, with family, with friends, with co-workers?

Hi. My name is Lisa. And I want to be a team player.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Motherhood ...

So I was on the bus coming home from work today and couldn't help but overhear two young women talking - I'm not that nosy ... they were speaking that loudly. If I had to guess at their ages, they looked to be in their early 20's. I gathered from their conversation that the one already had at least 2 kids. What caught my attention was when this young mother told her friend "When my baby was little I could hardly wait until she said "Mommy". Now when she says it, it's like nails on a chalkboard."

Wow. How sad that this young woman's experience of motherhood is such that the sound of her child calling her grates on her nerves like that. I can only hope she was exaggerating.

I love being a mom. It's not always easy and sure, sometimes I'd love to have a break from the realities of life as a mother. But I enjoy my boys.

I love standing in the kitchen with one or more of them and yakking about their day, or about the soccer or volleyball practice they came from, or about what piece they're working on in jazz band;
I love to sit at the supper table and just watch the boys interact with each other and see where the conversation takes us;
I love that when I bring home a new t-shirt for BJ (that he actually likes), he tells me that I'm his favorite mom;
I love that every once in awhile Zackery still needs to snuggle and give/get a "grizzly hug";
I love that when I text Corey during the day and tell him that I love him, I can count on him to text me back and tell me he loves me too;
I love that Nathan and I share a favourite TV show (NCIS) and we both can hardly wait for Tuesday nights to watch it together.

I'm so thankful for my boys and for the young men they are becoming ... despite my many mothering mistakes. How wonderful it is to love and to be loved in this way.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Can you hear me now??

I have a voice ... but is that what's really important? Is it more important to be heard or to hear? And not just to hear, but really listen?

I wonder if the skill of listening is becoming lost to us. It's a bit of a dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest kind of world out there; the reality is that we all want to be heard and sometimes we just hear whoever can speak up the loudest and longest.

My husband Eric has always been a skilled listener; I have always been amazed at his ability to hear beneath the words and to hear someone's heart; to be able to parse and then enunciate even more succinctly what that person was saying and experiencing than that person themselves! After being married to him for over 20 years, I hope I have learned a thing or two and am becoming a better listener.

I wonder if listening is a way of loving? I think it might be. When we are able to really listen to a person's heart, then we're able to love them better (but sometimes it's just to like them more).

Sunday, March 07, 2010

I have a voice

I have wanted to get back into writing some posts, and often discover great subject matter while I'm riding the bus to or from work, or doing the dishes, but then when I sit down at the computer and face the screen, my mind seems to turn to mush and I have nothing to say. It's hugely disappointing. Why? I think it's because I want to have a voice and to be heard. I have thoughts rumbling around in my head, but have difficulty being courageous enough to get them "out there".

I used to sing in a lot of groups and actually did a fair bit of "vocalizing" in my younger days. Not so much any more. In all my years of singing, the one comment that always came to the forefront was "You're too quiet". Even when it came to singing, I think maybe I was scared to be heard then too.

It's a big thing for me to believe that I have something to say that someone else might want to hear. For a long time I have believed that what I think really doesn't matter. I'm not sure exactly when that changed for me - perhaps when the kids came along and all of a sudden what I had to say was important to someone. Or perhaps it was the constant affirmation of my husband. Of course now some of my kids are teenagers ... but I still am able to believe that what I have to say to them has value. They might not always believe that or want to hear it, but that doesn't negate the truth of the matter.

And the truth is, I have a voice. I have value.