Monday, October 31, 2011

Reformation Day


Outside my window...a mild fall day. Half the leaves are off the trees already.
I am is Hallowe'en, as well as Reformation Day. We don't celebrate Hallowe'en. I've noticed that some adults are as into Hallowe'en as much, if not more than kids. Kids like it for the candy and costumes, adults like it for the costumes and a reason to party. I've also noticed the costumes are becoming more 'trampy'. I know someone who dressed as a Playboy bunny. Really? You want to dress like a porn star? Very disappointing since this is a baptized, professing Christian. Or was, anyway.
I am thankful for...Martin Luther.I know he lived 500 years ago, but he's one of my heroes. On this date in 1517, he nailed 95 theses, or propositions to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. This was like posting something on a bulletin board in those days, to spark debate. And spark debate, it did! This was the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The motto of the Reformation was, "After Darkness, Light." It marked the end of the dark ages and the beginning of the middle ages. The printing press was also invented then, and the Bible was printed into the common languages. The Reformation was known for five foundational truths, known as the five Solas: Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), Sola Fide (Faith alone), Solus Christus (Christ alone), Sola Gratia (Grace alone), and Solo deo Gloria (for God's glory alone). Amen!
From the kitchen...frozen pizza. My daughter is at school this evening and my husband is eating a Jamaican soup his mom made him.
I am wearing...jeans, a t-shirt and a pull over.
I am reading...A Prisoner of Versailles by Golden Keyes Parsons. So cool because I can picture it since we were there this summer.
I am have enough energy to work tonight. Some days the sleep deprivation of shift work kills me.
I am hearing...the train. Still loving my commute.
Around the husband preached yesterday morning on the Paradox of the Cross. Pedro Rodriguez preached in the evening on why Christ spoke in parables. His preaching style is more teaching, and it always makes me think.
Our puppy has a kennel cough, which he probably picked up at the dog park. He's on antibiotics. We had to take him to the vet to remove a tic, too.
My eldest got herself a job at a bakery near to where she lives. I assume it's for the extra money rather than for the baked goods. We'll see if she starts to gain weight. :-)
My husband is working hard and has a course with homework on top of everything else.
I was pulled to another unit last Thursday night. Not a fan of that. It's stressful to be in a new place.
I thought my mom would come out to church yesterday since my husband was preaching, but she didn't. No explanation.
We're starting to use the hot tub again now that the weather is cooler.
One of my favourite things...good preaching.
Some plans for the three nights. Get together with friends on Friday night. Clean my house. Attend a housewarming party at my sister's condo on Saturday night. She kept her condo when she got married, and moved back now that she is widowed. Church on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Post by my Puppy, Kody

Hi, I'm Kody. Pia is my mom, well, not my real mom, but she and her family adopted me. I lived with Ashley before I came to live here. I didn't realize how much I missed her until she came to visit me.

I am almost 11 months old, still just a puppy. I am a Huntaway, or New Zealand sheepdog. I am a relatively new breed. I'm a mix of Beauceron, Bloodhound, German Shepherd, Rotweiler and Golden Retriever. Most people think I look like a small German Shepherd. I probably won't get much bigger than my 70 pounds. I am told I have nice colouring and markings.

I've been to obedience school. I even have the embarassing graduation photos to prove it. Some days you wouldn't know I've been to school, though. Dad calls me Bad Boy. Mom says it's because I'm part Finn, whatever that means. I need a lot of exercise and Mom walks me every morning after her night shift, either 20 or 40 minutes. Dad (who doesn't like to be called my Dad) takes me to the dog park in the evening. I see my friends there. I especially like Zira and Edie.

When I'm at the Dog Park playing off leash with my friends and we see the gate open, we all look over to see who is arriving. It's kind of like being in a bar. Then we go over and sniff the new dog and play Chase. Some dogs play too rough, so I steer clear of them. Usually I signal that I want to leave by heading toward the gate so we can walk the trails.

I also like to swim in the creek. I don't like baths (an understatement), but I learned I like to swim. It started by just going in after the ball. When I got into deeper water I discovered I could swim. It's starting to get colder now, and darker earlier, but I still try to go in if they let me.

I don't get car sick any more. I look around and see other dogs on the street. Sometimes Dad takes me with him when he goes to pick up Leah from the train station.

I like to eat people food. It tastes so much better than kibble. My favourites are cheese, peanut butter and apples. Sometimes I get to taste meat, like chicken or ham. I also squeeze between Mom and the counter when she's preparing food, hoping she'll drop something. Pia's mom lives downstairs and she gives me special things like milk and homemade gingersnaps.

I have a good life. I get exercise, discipline, love, food and family. I like to be with people. I sleep by the door to guard them. Some afternoons Mom lets me sleep under her bed when she naps.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Interview with Inspiration

By Pia Thompson

“And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work all manner of workmanship.” Exodus 31:3-5

“He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.” Exodus 35:35

Pia: Today I’ve invited Inspiration to my blog. Welcome.

Inspiration: Yeah, thanks.

Pia: Many people have some acquaintance with you, especially artsy types. Maybe you can tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do for a living?

Inspiration: A living? Yeah, right. Well, mostly I work behind the scenes. You know, I fancy myself a Muse, of sorts. I have ideas. All these ideas. Floating. And sometimes, someone will ‘catch’ one, you know?

Pia: So, you don’t do anything concrete? Nine to five?

Inspiration: No, no. I don’t keep banker’s hours. I can work anywhere, anytime. Sometimes I work best when most people are sleeping. The problem is most people won’t wake up and write my ideas down. They assume they’ll remember in the morning, but inevitably, they don’t.

Pia: So do you feel you serve as a useful member of society?

Inspiration: Oh, yeah, for sure. Life isn’t just about the corporate world or even a hard day’s work. I like to think I’m the colour in a drab world. I inspire great creative works; music, poetry, novels, paintings, sculptures, dance, handicrafts, decorating, cooking, advertising, preaching. There’s no part of life you don’t find me.

Pia: So tell me about a typical day. Do you have an office?

Inspiration: I can work in one, but usually you’d just see me standing by the window, deep in thought.

Pia: So when it would seem to an onlooker that you were doing nothing, you’d actually be having a productive day?

Inspiration: I think so. But I only inspire. I’m all about ‘possibilities’. I suggest maybe five different directions a plot can take, and then it’s up to the Creative to choose one and run with it. I’m not responsible for their action or non-action. I’m merely the Muse.

Pia: Creatives? Do you mean artsy people?

Inspiration: I think Creative is a more accurate term. A writer, for example, may not be able to decorate a room or knit a scarf or even draw a stick person; yet they can create a whole world, like Lewis’ Narnia or Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

Pia: So, do you claim credit for every work of art and every novel ever written?

Inspiration: No, I wouldn’t make such a bold claim. There are so many factors involved. But I do flatter myself that I am the spark that ignites the flame. For some people I must be the firewood that keeps the fire going. I have to hold the hand of so many Creatives. They claim they can’t work without their Muse, their Inspiration. They don’t understand that after I give them their idea, they have to put their B.I.C. (butt-in-chair) and do the actual hard work. I can’t stay with one person all the time.

Pia: Do you work better in certain settings?

Inspiration: Oh, like in a cabin by a lake or in a crowded coffee shop?

Pia: Yes.

Inspiration: I work in different ways for different people. I can inspire during the night, during a boring lecture, on a commuter train, in nature. I see possibilities everywhere. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the potential projects out there.

Pia: Do you ever help to see anything through to completion?

Inspiration: Occasionally, but I’m often available only at intervals. I find something bewitching about new projects. The ‘next thing’ is always more appealing than the hard work of actually finishing a project.

Pia: I know that! I have a shelf of unfinished stories. As soon as the ideas ran dry, or the story didn’t flow, or the work was too difficult, I’d think of a new project. Should I blame you for that?

Inspiration: I’d rather receive credit than blame. I have feelings, too. Sometimes I can be offended and leave for a long time.

Pia: What lures you back to a person?

Inspiration: Sometimes certain music will remind me of when I first shared the idea with the person. Kind of like being in love and going back to the old haunts. Mostly, though, I’m impressed to see the dedication to the original idea; to see how they work with it, and sit down every day to plod. When they perspire, I inspire.

Pia: So you have no part in plodding?

Inspiration: No, no! Plodding is much too mundane. I’m all about light bulb moments and plot twists and planting seeds of future projects. The Creatives plod, I show up once in a while to cheer them on. Then I leave them to their work.

Pia: Do you enjoy your work?

Inspiration: What’s not to love? I make the world a beautiful place.

Pia: Well, I’ve heard that some Creatives have a love/hate relationship with their Muse. They love it when you’re there, and they hate it when you’re gone.

Inspiration: That’s good. I must have suggested that to you.

Pia: Maybe. That makes me wonder; who gets the credit for creating great works of art, you or the artist?

Inspiration: I think of it as a symbiotic relationship, but I must admit that God is the Ultimate Creative and people create to a lesser degree only as much as He has gifted them.

Pia: Well said. Thank you for coming to visit my Blog today, Inspiration.

Inspiration: Good bye, Pia. I hope to see you with your B.I.C., finishing those great story ideas I gave you.

Pia: (hanging head in shame). Yes, you will.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Outside my window...dark. I should be asleep but I’m up with my daughter who is watching a Zombie show. Quite gross. Too graphic and violent for me. Apparently this is a big new genre. I don't get it, but then I didn't get thevampire thing either.
I am thinking...I’m worried about my friend’s health concerns.
I am thankful ...our dinner party went well. I was feeling stressed but managed to get done with five minutes to spare. I made an amuse-bouche of meatball in apple butter and maple syrup, an appetizer/soup course of homemade tomato basil soup and grilled cheese made with calabrese bread and herbed havarti cheese, a layered salad in a margarita glass, macaroni and cheese, individual pot pies with herbed dumpling crust and apple pie tartlets with hazelnut vanilla coffee. Then we talked using a conversation prompt game called The Ungame. Then we played virtual bowling on x-box. It was fun.
From the of the rainbow trout my husband caught, salad,hassleback potatoes.
I am wearing...p.j’s.
I am reading...The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. Who am I to criticize a New York Times bestselling author? But his first three chapters were all backstory, he tells instead of shows, and he uses the word had up to ten times in a paragraph.
I am find time to get my haircut this week.
I am hearing...The Walking Dead. Ewww.
Around the daughter and her boyfriend came over for dinner today and then they went to the dog park with my husband and Kody while I had my afternoon nap.
One of my favourite things...books. I went to find a new release by one of my favourite authors, and it wasn’t there, so I consoled myself with nine others. Shhh, don’t tell.
Some plans for the four nights. No other plans for the weekend, which is a nice change.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Interview with Compassion

By Pia Thompson

Pia: Today I’ve invited Compassion to my blog. Welcome.

Compassion: Thank you so much for inviting me. I appreciate the time you’re spending with me.

Pia: No problem. I just wanted to begin by talking about your name. Most people have a vague understanding about it. They think of mercy and acts of kindness, but they may not know that Compassion literally means “suffering together.”

Compassion: Yes, it does.

Pia: I think a person can feel sympathy for someone who is suffering, or even empathy, imagining themselves in the same situation. But to get to the point of compassion is the next step. It’s an action word. It’s the time you roll up your sleeves and get to work, or you reach out to help in a tangible way. It’s not just crying over a problem.

Compassion: That’s a good way to describe it.

Pia: I remember that in the early years of our marriage, we talked about supporting a child in a developing country. We felt sympathy. We had the desire to act. But for one reason or another, or one excuse or another, we didn’t do it for several years. Once our daughters were school age, we finally chose a girl in Haiti, and she was educated alongside our own.

Compassion: That’s just wonderful. Thank you for doing that.

Pia: I’m not saying it to boast, because it was no hardship for us, but rather I regret that it took so long. We saw a need, but didn’t act on it. All the sympathy in the world won’t feed and educate a child. It’s that leap over to compassion after we are stirred up about something, that makes a difference.

Compassion: I understand.

Pia: I think it’s easier to show surface compassion, if you know what I mean. Like my example, sending money every month was relatively painless. Yes, it made a difference in the life of a little girl, but it didn’t really cost me. I didn’t suffer together with her.

Compassion: It’s still an act of kindness, and it did require action.

Pia: Yes, perhaps it was more of a kindness. When I think of compassion, I think of being there with a person in their extremity, like working in a slum with street kids, feeling the fear of violence like they do.

Compassion: Do you not see yourself as a compassionate person? After all, you’re an Oncology Nurse. Nurses in general are considered to be compassionate individuals, and some would argue that Oncology Nurses are even more so. It can’t be an easy field in which to work. Surely the emotional investment you speak of is involved in your work?

Pia: Yes and no. I think there is a bigger emotional investment in my patients because they’re facing a life-threatening illness. I think most people, when they think of an Oncology unit, think it must be the saddest place. Usually when someone hears I’m an Oncology Nurse, the response is always the same. They tilt their head to the side and say, “Aww, that must be sad.” Really. Every. Time. That’s why it was refreshing to go to the Oncology Nursing Conference. There were 7,000 Oncology Nurses who all understood. They “got” me. And we all wanted to do this job, and if it’s not wrong to say this, we like our jobs. It’s good to be there for someone, teach them what to expect so they’re not so scared, listen to their “story”, and be there for them. There is conversation, humour and very rarely, tears. So yes, there is some compassion there. I think I felt more compassion after we dealt with it in our family. My husband’s cancer made me a better oncology nurse because I understood what the caregiver was going through and how cancer impacts the whole family and all areas of life. But before you start to think too highly of me, let me tell you that I do keep my emotional distance from patients. It would be too much for me if I didn’t. I leave my work at work. I don’t interact with patients outside of work in any way. I have never attended the funeral of a patient. I do this on purpose. Maybe I don’t even have the emotional strength to be truly compassionate. I wonder, sometimes.

Compassion: Now, I don’t believe that! Tell me about some other concerns close to your heart.

Pia: Well, I have my daughter, Leah to thank for making me aware of some of these things. Through her, I learned about the International Justice Mission, modern day slavery, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, child labour and fair trade products. Through Falling Whistles, I learned about child soldiers in the Congo. I also care about medical missions like Mercy Ships and Christian Blind Mission; general missions like Emmanuel International or To Every Tribe; or Bible missions like Wycliffe Bible Translators or The Bible League. But again, sending money or wearing a whistle around my neck doesn’t seem like much.

Compassion: Don’t underestimate the need for senders and supporters. Perhaps that’s your role at this stage in your life.

Pia: Maybe.
Compassion: Do you think you’d feel better if you physically went over there?
Pia: Perhaps a short-term missions project. It’s been on my mind for quite a few years now. But again, that leap from desire to action just hasn’t happened.

Compassion: Far be it from me to hold you back, but you also need to look to God for His timing, and then you’ll see all the pieces fall into place. When the time is right, you may go, but in the meantime, keep responding to those promptings to do what you can where you are. And also know that there are many ways to ‘suffer together’ with some here in your own country. Ask God to bring those situations into your life.

Pia: Thank you so much, Compassion. You always make me feel better. Sometimes I feel so useless as a Christian. I feel like the extent of my action is signing a cheque. I know I need to continue to be faithful in that, and ask God for new opportunities to serve. It’s a hurting world out there.

Compassion: It was a pleasure to be here. Let me give you a big, compassionate hug.

Monday, October 17, 2011

His and Hers Wedding

October 17, 2011.

Outside my window...cold and drizzling. It's supposed to rain a lot this week. I'm wearing my winter coat for the first time this fall. It's also getting dark earlier. Oh, Canada!
I am thinking...we attended a Muslim wedding of our former neighbours last night. We've been to one before, but this was different because they had men in one banquet room and women and children in another. So there were no common speeches or stuff like that. He joined her for some pictures, though. I was the only non-Indian, non-Muslim woman in the room. The only people we knew were the groom's family. It started two hours late. We were starting to feel welcome, but had to leave as we had an out of town guest. The food would have been good. We only had appetizers.
I am get a favourable response to a query I sent to the editor of a Christian magazine. It's my first one. It may be the first rejection letter I receive, but that's how I learn, I guess.
I am thankful husband's successful fishing trip. When he came home a day earlier than expected I thought it either went really well or really poorly. He came home with five rainbow trout, each about five pounds, and a pike. We gave away four already. We're eating one tomorrow and the other on Sunday when my daughter and her boyfriend are coming for dinner.
I am yoga pants, a pink t-shirt and a sweater.
From the kitchen...chicken breasts, hassleback potatoes and green beans.
I am hearing...conversations on the train.
I am reading...A Proper Wife by Winnie Griggs.
Around the house...I'm actually burning some fat by walking the dog for 45 minutes a day. The colder it gets, the faster we walk. My youngest daughter was on t.v. today, on Much Music Live, talking about a concert she attended last night. She looks very confident in front of the camera. My eldest was home for one day this week, to take her final driving test. She practiced parallel parking right before the test. Some random toothless guy came up to her and gave her a few pointers, which helped. We told her he must have been an angel in disguise. :)
One of my favourite things...when my puppy sleeps under my bed while I nap.
Some plans for the Monday, Wednesday and Thursday night. Prep for our dinner party on Saturday night. My theme is Autumn Comfort. I'm mostly organized. Church on Sunday. Host my daughter and her boyfriend for dinner.

Interview with Selfishness

By Pia Thompson

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Phil. 2: 3, 4

Pia: Today I’d like to welcome Selfishness to my blog. Thank you for coming.

Selfishness: Yes, well, I was rather busy. My time is valuable, you know.

Pia: Yes, I appreciate that. We all have the same 24 hours in a day.

Selfishness: True, but you don’t know everything I have to accomplish in a day! My To Do list is as long as your arm.

Pia: Out of curiosity, what does your list look like for today?

Selfishness: Well, first, I had to have my morning coffee. Everyone knows not to talk to me during my first cup of coffee. I need my space.

Pia: Sadly, I can relate to that. I basically have a no-fly zone around me until I’ve had two cups of coffee. If my husband calls from work, the first thing he asks is, “First cup or second?” If I say, “First,” he’ll say, “Okay, bye,” hang up and call back later. It’s sad to be such a slave to my addictions that people fear to approach. Even my kids know not to ask a favour until afterwards, or the answer is likely to be No.

Selfishness: There’s nothing wrong with a routine, or some ‘me’ time, is there? After my coffee I have a leisurely breakfast, often the same thing every day.

Pia: Me, too.

Selfishness: Again, it’s good to know what you want, and how you like things done. Less confusion that way. People learn what you expect of them and you can be expected to be consistent.

Pia: Or inflexible. What’s next on your plan?

Selfishness: I exercise for an hour.

Pia: Exercise is good. We need to be good stewards of the body we’ve been given.

Selfishness: I don’t know about that, but I do care about my appearance, and I want to live as long as possible. Speaking of appearance, I tend to take quite a while to get ready. I like to think I’m worth the wait, though. I have my favourite products; I must have them even though they cost more. They’re such good quality and they promise to keep me young looking. Make-up is so important for looking one’s best, don’t you think? I mean, to bring out your best features, camouflage any imperfections. And salon quality hair products make all the difference. That, and a person who knows what they’re doing. I go to Andre’s on Avenue Road, but I also took a course on makeup artistry and hair styling. I also try to keep up with the latest styles.

Pia: I see. Back to your list.

Selfishness: Well, then I had the interview here with you. How long will it take? I have an appointment with my nail-lady. I’m going to get a French manicure. I like that look on me. It’s very classy, like me! Ha, ha, just kidding!

Pia: It should only take a few more minutes. Where are you off to after you get your nails done?

Selfishness: Well, I was planning to shop. Retail therapy cures wait ails you. It’s already October and I haven’t even purchased my new fall wardrobe. All my sweaters are in last year’s colours! And there’s a new style of boots I must get.

Pia: Is there something wrong with last year’s clothes?

Selfishness: Pardon me?

Pia: Are they worn out?

Selfishness: No, of course not. But they’re unwearable.

Pia: What do you do with your old clothes?

Selfishness: Usually nothing. They stay in my ample walk in closet, colour coded and organized by type of clothing. I could stand in there all day and just admire my collection. And the shoes! I have shoes to match each outfit.

Pia: Do you ever give them away?

Selfishness: (blank look) To whom?

Pia: Oh, I don’t know. There are plenty of charities who accept gently used clothing.

Selfishness: Who would want to wear someone else’s old clothes? No, I wouldn’t do that.

Pia: After shopping, what’s next?

Selfishness: I’m meeting my girlfriends, Vanity and Epicurean for lunch. There’s a new restaurant uptown that has a famous chef. He makes delicious meals that are so pretty on the plate. There’s not much to the serving sizes, but we just solve that by ordering more courses. When we’re there we often see famous people. And they see us, too.

Pia: Sounds...interesting. What about your afternoon?

Selfishness: My friends and I are going to the new exhibit at the museum. Everyone else has already been to see it and I can’t not go! I love the arts! They’re so important to support.

Pia: Do you support any charities?

Selfishness: Do you mean, like giving to the museum fund?

Pia: No, I was thinking along the lines of supporting Christian organizations or social causes; helping those less fortunate than you.

Selfishness: Well, let me see. I did pass on some of my knowledge about makeup artistry to my friend’s sister. She really needed the help. Does that count?

Pia: It’s not really what I had in mind. They say you can tell what matters to a person by looking at their calendar and their chequebook. Do you do anything that costs you, either in time or money or convenience?

Selfishness: Oh, I see. That’s why you think I should give away some of my clothes. Well, I may get a few things together, if I find the time. Have I mentioned how busy I am?

Pia: Yes, I think you may have mentioned that. Where are you going after the museum?

Selfishness: Well, after exercising, and then all that walking from shopping and the museum, I’m sore all over. I’m going for a massage.

Pia: A massage?

Selfishness: Yes. It’s absolutely necessary or I’ll be too stiff to accomplish anything tomorrow. I have a big party to plan and I need to be ready for it. I have a regular masseuse who gives the most delicious massages. They use scented oils, aromatherapy, and the men who work there are my eye candy. (wink) It’s my little indulgence for the day.

Pia: That’s quite a full day.

Selfishness: I know! Didn’t I tell you I was busy? If the massage wasn’t so relaxing, I’d need an afternoon nap. Most days I do. Just 30 to 60 minutes with no distractions; on the deck in the summer, on the couch with a roaring fireplace in the winter. I love naps. I don’t know why toddlers fight them. They’re just the thing.

Pia: What’s for supper? Are you making your family’s favourite?

Selfishness: Oh, no, you must be joking. We either eat out, so we all get what we like, or it’s every man for himself. I like to think I’m teaching them independence. They’ll thank me when they’re older.

Pia: Do you need to help your kids with their homework or take them to music lessons or sports?

Selfishness: Oh, no! I’m much too busy for that.

Pia: So you said.

Selfishness: Yes, the computer is great for helping with homework. There’s that wiki-thing.

Pia: Wikipedia?

Selfishness: Yes, that, or they walk to the library and study with their friends. I don’t want a crowd around in the evening. I need to relax after a full day. They don’t want to hang out with me anyway. As for sports or lessons, I told them I don’t have time to be their chauffeur. I’m a busy woman. Have I mentioned that?

Pia: Maybe once or twice.

Selfishness: Besides, by the evening, I’m exhausted. What more can one woman do? I need to put my feet up, have a glass of wine and watch a romantic comedy.

Pia: Do you do anything to improve yourself?

Selfishness: Haven’t you been listening, my dear? Everything I’ve done is for me! To improve my health, my appearance, my cultural awareness, my social standing, my acquaintances, my perfect little family. What more could I possibly be doing? There are only so many hours in a day and I’m just one woman. I can’t be expected to change the world, can I?

Pia: You could try.

Selfishness: (looking at watch) Well, I really need to go. My nails are atrocious and I can’t be late for my appointment. This went longer than I expected.

Pia: I’m sorry. I know your time is valuable and you’re a very busy woman. This talk has been an eye-opener. I think just hearing you tell me about your plans today has made me see how much you’ve been an influence on my life and my thinking.

Selfishness: That’s very kind of you to say so, dear. I do hope we can get together again, soon, maybe for coffee or lunch at that new bistro. I heard their calamari is delectable. Oh, and will you send me a copy of this interview? I want to show it to my friends. They’ll never believe I found the time in my busy day to be interviewed. But you know me; I like to think of others.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thanksgiving, Big Time!


Outside my window...overcast, and beginning to rain. I don't mind, since I'm working, but my husband is on a fishing trip. It was a hot, sunny weekend, which was great for Thanksgiving because we were able to stay out on the deck most of the day.
I am thinking...I was asked to do a five minute report at the SGF Assembly in November, on the Pastors' and Elders' Wives conference, which I already summarized below. For those of you with no fear of public speaking, you probably think, "What's the big deal?" But my first response was, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" but then I thought I should take this opportunity to grow, after all, I'm a big girl!
I am husband has a good time. He wasn't able to find his bag of fishing lures even though we searched through every closet.
I am thankful smoothly the day went yesterday. 27 people for dinner, all the food turned out, there was more than enough, the dog was fine with the crowd, my husband shared a few passages of Scripture before he prayed, and it was fun. We fit so much better in this house. Such a blessing! But since it was Thanksgiving, I'll share a few more things I'm thankful for: my salvation, my church, my Pastor, the Scriptures, fellowship of other believers, my husband, my marriage, my children, my extended family, my health, my job, our vehicle, my commute, a full pantry, my freedom, my country, my hobbies, my computer, my friends. I saw this quote the other day:
"What if what you had today was only what you thanked God for yesterday? What would you still have?" Jeff Eastwood
I am wearing...jeans and a printed green top, a black windbreaker.
From the kitchen...turkey pot pie with herbed dumpling crust, a.k.a leftovers.
I am hearing...Cupcake Wars.
I am reading...Hook, Line and Sinker by Susan May Warren.
Around the house...all cleaned up from the party. We ate the whole barnyard; turkey, ham, roast beef, and curried goat. Plus appetizers of bacon-wrapped scallops, stuffed mushroom caps, oriental party pack, pumpernickel and spinach dip, veggie platter. Side dishes of mashed potatoes, rice and peas, candied yams, carrots, parsnips, corn, tabouleh, brussel sprouts with honey, cauliflower with cheese sauce. Desserts of northern blueberry pie, pumpkin pie, cherry cheesecake, cookies and cream, and caramel apple cheesecake. Plus pina colada punch, berry punch, beer, wine, coffee and tea. Delish!
My husband has left for his three night fishing trip. I'll miss him, but it's better that he's gone during the weekdays when I'm working. He kept talking about how much he'll miss me, which is nice to hear.
My mom hasn't been out to church for six weeks now. At first she said it was because of John's death, and she was crying so much, but I think she is under conviction from the gospel and she'd rather avoid church than feel uncomfortable. I hope she gets so uncomfortable she flees to Jesus for relief! Lord, please save my Mom!
It was nice to have both girls home for the weekend. They were a big help with the prep.
I am over my cold for the most part. I missed last week at work. My husband put away the picnic table for the winter. I think it's too early. It's depressing to look out at that ugly blue tarp over the swing.
One of my favourite things...when writing flows. My Interviews With...have been a pleasure to write. Within two hours each one is done, and with very little editing. I'll post my Interview with Selfishness and my Interview with Compassion later this week. I had good feedback about Fear, and Darkness. So far, though, Selfishness has been the most convicting, partly because it seemed so easy to write from that viewpoint, and because it's something I struggle with (but not enough). It was more a part of me than Fear or Darkness, which were external. I sometimes had trouble knowing which one I was; Pia or Selfishness.
Some plans for the three nights. Lazy Saturday. Sunday night we are attending a wedding reception for another one of our Muslim neighbours from our old neighbourhood. It's nice to keep in touch with them.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Interview with Darkness

By Pia Thompson

“Hello Darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to speak with you again.”
Simon and Garfunkel

Pia: Today I’ve invited darkness to my blog. You don’t mind if I keep the lights on, do you Darkness?
Darkness: Well, yes, but I’ll put my sunglasses on. The glare, you know.
Pia: It also hides your eyes. You like to keep things hidden, don’t you?
Darkness: I have that effect. But then, most people like me for that reason. I can keep their secrets. I enable them to sin without fear of discovery.
Pia: Yes, I can see how they would think that, if they didn’t know the God who sees all. Light and darkness are the same to Him. We can’t hide.
Darkness: Thankfully, I’ve convinced most people otherwise.
Pia: I suppose you wouldn’t get the dread or respect you do if people saw how easily you could be driven away.
Darkness: Yes, dread and respect. That’s a good way to put it. Most people don’t love me. They appreciate what I give them. A cover, a cloak. Others dread me not for my own sake, but for the sake of the things they imagine I’m concealing; Bogey men or violence.
Pia: Once, when I was young, a boy locked me and his sister in my closet. I remember the feelings I had in the darkness. It was the middle of the day, but it was so dark in there, there weren’t even any shadows and my eyes wouldn’t adjust to it. The darkness seemed to close in on me. I felt the clothes over my head and the toys on the floor. I was crying and begging him to let us out. His sister tried to command him, but he didn’t do it for a long time. I never thought I was claustrophobic, but I started to find it hard to breathe. When he finally opened the door, I felt such relief. I never looked at that closet in the same way. And I’ve always feared getting trapped, since then. Whenever I’d hear about someone being trapped in a walk-in freezer, or a mine, or children hiding in an old appliance and suffocating, I could remember that place and those feelings.
Darkness: It’s funny how that happens. I show up and all kinds of imaginary things join me. I’m not so malignant, you know. Just an absence of light.
Pia: You’re not so innocent, Darkness. You said yourself that you like to provide people with a covering for their evil deeds. Do you not feel any sense of responsibility for your part in it?
Darkness: If you’re asking if I enjoy it any sense, then yes, I do. I feel I bring out a person’s true self. I help lower their inhibitions. People do things in darkness they’d never do in the light.
Pia: Yes, I know that from personal experience, sadly.
Darkness: Care to elaborate?
Pia: Not really. Paul says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather, expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” Ephesians 5:8, 11-13
Darkness: Ahh, my arch-enemy, Light. You had to bring him into this, didn’t you?
Pia: Well, you know that just as you symbolize evil, so light is a symbol for the highest good, God Himself; Jesus Christ. He said He was the Light of the world, and Peter says we’ve been “called out of darkness into His marvellous light.” It’s when I think about Jesus, and His power to create Light by speaking into darkness, it chases away shadows and fears.
Darkness: Funny how even shadows can frighten. They are only hints of the deeper darkness to follow, yet people see in them all manner of things.
Pia: You’re right. My sister and I were often alone most evenings because our Mom worked in a restaurant. Sometimes we’d watch t.v. shows we shouldn’t have, like Night Gallery or Dracula. I’d have a hard time turning out the light. I’d check in my closets and under my bed, and then turn out the light and scan the corners of my attic bedroom with my flashlight. The problem was, as soon as I’d finish one side of the room, I’d have to start over because I feared “something” had moved into the darker corner. Checking under the bed was never reassuring. I thought as soon as I fell asleep, a trap door would open up under my bed, releasing the Bogey Man. I never let my hands or feet dangle over the bed. That was just inviting danger.
Darkness: (laughing) Oh, I love it! I don’t even have to do anything and I set people trembling.
Pia: You’re not always bad, though. Sometimes the darkness can give me a feeling of solitude. In the silence, it’s easier to pray, and easier to talk about difficult issues when no one can see our faces. It’s easier to confess and seek forgivenss.
Darkness: Finally, some positive feedback. You’d think I was personally responsible for every evil in the world.
Pia: No, but you symbolize it, and you are the ultimate end for those who don’t know Christ. Hell is a place described in terms of “outer darkness” and the “blackness of darkness forever”. Darkness also implies being alone and terrified. Hell is a fearful place, but “He has delivered us from the power of darkness, and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. “ Colossians 1:13
Darkness: I am what I am. Take it or leave it.
Pia: Well, you’re here to stay for now. In Heaven, there will be no Night. It’s the opposite of hell. There will be nothing to fear.
Darkness: I guess I’ll still be working then, in that other place.
Pia: Job security will be little comfort then. Let’s talk about threats and memories, and how they come back in the darkness.
Darkness: Some of my favourite topics. What about them?
Pia: I’ve noticed that you can use one fearful event, even one that didn’t take place in darkness, like a physical assault or a threat of violence, and it comes back magnified in the dark.
Darkness: (clapping his hands) Yes! Yes! I love that! I didn’t even instigate the original event. I just provide the setting, create the mood, add a few unexplained sounds around the house, suggest to your mind that maybe you didn’t lock the door, and suddenly those threatening phone calls you’ve been receiving make you jump when the phone rings. Or you have flashbacks about a real event. So much mileage just by one turn of the earth.
Pia: Well, thank you for visiting my blog tonight. Perhaps you should go before the sun comes to chase you and your shadows away.
Darkness: (rising to leave and removing his glasses to reveal coal black eyes) Yes, I’ll go, but remember it’s always night time somewhere in the world.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Change of Seasons Cold

October 3, 2011.

Outside my, grey, rainy. As the Carpenters sang, "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down."
I am thinking...I'm glad I went to the conference on Saturday even though I was sick. See the summary below. It was good to see friends. We're in a good fellowship of churches. I missed church yesterday though. That doesn't happen very often. I listened to some sermons online at
I am get over this cough and cold. I tend to get them when the seasons change. I'm missing work tonight. Immunosuppressed patients don't need me coughing on them. Last night my husband said, "If you're going to cough all night, go sleep in the guest room." I guess the honeymoon is over after 25 years. :)
I am thankful job; specifically my benefits. It's good to be able to take time off for bereavement or illness, and not have to worry about losing income.
I am wearing...jeans, a burgundy sweater and a black cardigan. Oh, and a new pair of wool socks my mom knit me.
From the kitchen...Jewish penicillin, a.k.a. homemade chicken soup, chicken salad sandwiches and raspberry pie.
I am hearing...a sermon by my husband, which I missed when I was at the Carey conference. He just quoted me. So funny.
I am reading...Pompeii, City on Fire by T.L.Higley. To say I love it is an understatement. It's especially cool because I can picture all the places since we were just there a few weeks ago. It was an exciting story and really showed what life was like for early Christians, patricians, slaves and gladiators.
Around the house...No energy to do anything. My house needs to be cleaned but the maid (me) is sick. We are having 26 people for dinner in a week and there is a lot to do. We're having the carpets steam cleaned on Friday. My youngest went apple picking. I'm anticipating good desserts from them. My aunt in Finland who is 57 is just from surgery to remove a 20 centimetre tumour from her abdomen. That's a huge tumour!
One of my favourite things...fresh honeycrisp apples.
Some plans for the week...hopefully work on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Buy our turkey and ham. Clean and decorate. Host a homey Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mentoring and Being Mentored

Yesterday at Trinity Baptist Church, the SGF Ladies who are wives of either Pastors or Elders met to discuss Mentoring and Being Mentored. Thirty five women attended, representing 18 churches.

The morning began with singing, led by Sonya Tomlinson. Then Eva Robinson, wife of Pastor David Robinson spoke about Life in the Fishbowl.Here is a summary.

-People are always watching us and making judgments about our decisions; how we school our children, how we parent them, how they behave, or don't, what purchases we make, like cars or homes.
-It's important that we make all of our decisions before an Audience of One.
-We need to realize we are very priveleged to be in this role. We can use our time to glorify God in every area of our lives.
-Our lives are wrapped up in the needs of those in the church. This leads to teaching moments for our children.
-Hospitality is a great privelege.
-Don't place expectations on your children just because they are Pastor's Kids, but because they are believers (if thy are).
-Don't be a people pleaser.
-Involve your kids in ministry so it becomes normal for them.
-Keep balance in your life. Learn to say No.
-Don't be a slave to people's expectations.
-Ministry can be exhausting. (Call Display is a blessing).
-Seek to be joyful.

Heather Muller, wife of Pastor Carl Muller spoke on Life in the Closet. Here is a summary.

-Prayer is a difficult challenge. When Heather taught on this previously for the ladies, she had sent out a questionnaire to many Pastors and Missionaries all over the world, asking what are the challenges and helps to prayer. She shares one from Geoffrey Thomas of Wales.
-Challenges? unbelief, laziness and love of ease.
-What helps? Nothing much. Hearing a sermon on preaching stirs me up for a while, then it's back to the struggle.

Why Read God's Word?
-We need it. We don't live by bread alone.
-We need to be reminded through Biblical history that God is faithful. He can be trusted.
-It strengthens our soul, storing up Scripture for our battles.
-To learn daily.
-The world is a dark place. Sad things have a cumulative, sobering effect on our lives.
-To be reminded of promises bcause we are forgetful.
-To be reminded that God loves us. Leadership can be lonely.
-He is powerful to save. Don't get discouraged.
-To remind us we won't be cast out.
-Sermon audio, headphones (to block distractions). Youversion. Bible reading apps (12 minutes/day).

Why should we Pray?
-We are commanded to pray.
-To thank God for blessings, and even difficult circumstances.
-It's wrong to be unthankful.
-We have sins to confess. Be specific (sins get between us and God).
-It helps us find strength, balance and persepective.
-We can pray for others. This is the best thing we can do for anyone.
-To be a fellow-labourer in the ministries of the church.
-Because we have an adversary; we need to arm ourselves.
-To pray for our husbands; for wisdom and strength.
"Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees."
-Keep a prayer journal. Lists. Note answered prayers.
-Pastor's moral strength: sexual temptation, computers, e-mail.
-Pray through the church Directory.
-Always pray, and not lose heart.
-The closet is the most important room in the house.

Pamela Fellows, wife of Roger Fellows spoke on being Lost in the Crowd. Here is a summary.
-Pastor Al Martin said the loneliest person in the church is the Pastor’s wife. We are not talking about isolation, but being lonely even though surrounded by others, and active in the church.

Causes of Loneliness
-Temperament—shy, lacking in confidence, sensitive as to how others see us, feel inadequate
-Discouragement—can result in feeling lonely; perhaps feeling misunderstood
-Can become introspective, may suffer depression.
-Dissatisfaction with the congregation.
-Criticism of the ministry.
-Criticism of the family.
-Perceived failure not to meet the expectations of congregation.
-Own poor spiritual state. We can wear a spiritual mask.
-Could include health, lack of sleep, time of month or even time of life.
-Concern over children not yet saved. Behaviour of our children. PK (Pastor’s kid) expectations.
-Can’t share personal problems with members of the congregation—feel isolated.
-Difficulty of having close friends within the church.
-Husband spends long hours in study, visitation, board meetings, personal counselling—may feel abandoned.
-New Situations—new church in new locality, motherhood, retirement, change of function in church, sensory changes with age.

Effects of Loneliness
If loneliness is not handled correctly it may lead to self pity, self absorption, blaming God for our situation, blaming others, often husband or family. Also the following could be included; bitterness, unable to accept help or friendship of others, spiritual coolness, distraction, unapproachable, withdrawn, low self-esteem.

Handling Loneliness
-Don’t deny the condition; rather accept it and work on it.
-Pray. Cultivate a thankful attitude.
-Remedy loneliness-Be activate in helping others. Don’t throw a pity party.
-Turn loneliness into being solitary. Be positive about being lonely. It allows us to reflect inwardly and better understand ourselves and recognize our worth in God’s sight.
-Pray for a close friend—someone to share and pray with. Prepare to be vulnerable. Don’t feel you have to be the one always ministering.
-Remember that God sets the lonely in families (Ps. 68:6). We are part of his family in the local church.
-Recommended books: Singing in the Fire by Faith Cook and Deserted by God by Sinclair Ferguson.

Our main speaker was Cathy Clemens, wife of Jim Clemens. She spoke on Mentoring and Being Mentored.
Read Titus 2:1,3-5

Mentoring: Developing more meaningful relationships with other women of God by giving away what you have received on your own journey as a woman of God.
-Everyone is younger or older than someone else. We can all mentor someone or benefit from being mentored.
-By example. A younger woman won’t be helped to live a godly life if she doesn’t see the example in you.
-One on one conversation. Meet for coffee. Learn to listen, not just talk.
-Ladies’ meetings.
-Study God’s Word.
-Seasons of life.
-Mentor our children. This is our first opportunity.