Check out my other blog: Arugula Addict! I'll be writing about my journey to becoming a healthier person.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What is Spirituality?

I talked to a friend on the phone yesterday and as she chatted about her life and what she was doing, I did some multi-tasking as I was at work and had some urgent projects that needed done. With my mind focusing on my task at hand and my ear half-listening to my friend talk away, it took me a few moments to realize that what she was talking about was exactly what I needed to hear.

"So you see, it's different, witnessing to friends down here, in this Adventist suburb. I have some friends who don't want to go to church, they see people being hypocrites and they have a hard time with that. So I told them, they need to decide for themselves if they believe in God; it can't be their parents' religion anymore. They need to realize that God loves them and would never do anything to hurt them."

As I listened to her simple words that I had heard over and over in my life, for the first time it started to sink in and really make sense. My friend was more than ten years my junior and yet God was using her to speak to my heart and remind me that He was a loving and caring God. Tears came to my eyes.

The world looks at people and judges them immediately based on appearance, silver tongue of speech, their connections or lack thereof, their monetary value, and their presentation of spirituality. Those who measure up to an unwritten code are held up as the standard for others to follow. I have found, however, that often the people who minister to me on a heart level are the ones who others may not consider stellar witnesses. The people most genuine in their spirituality are often not the ones you would expect.

I had a very good friend once. Her name was Melissa and she had a very generous heart. Devoted to her friends, she loved to spend time with her closest girlfriends, watching a fun movie, eating junk food, and staying up till odd hours of the night. When I think of Melissa, I think of someone who tried and kept on trying to live a genuine life. She didn't hide anything, even her struggles, and she was always ready to share her joys with others. If she passed a homeless person on the street, she would hand them a $20 bill without a second thought. She was ready to go out for a meal or hang out at the mall and readily offered to drive everyone there. I remember birthday parties, giggles and laughter, the guilty chocolate brownie, arguing over music to play in the car (she wanted Avril LaVigne, I wanted Celine Dion), talks about guys, and living life.

When I heard that Melissa passed away at only 28 years of age, I couldn't believe it was true. I still have her cell number in my address book, and I can't bring myself to delete it. I feel like one day she will show up and pop into my office, make herself comfortable on a chair, draw her feet up under her knees, and say, "So. . .what'cha been up to lately?" in her confident way. We would catch up on old friends, gossip about guys, and reminisce about college, laughing at our memories. But that won't happen now.

Melissa loved God. So does my friend who called me this morning. While they may not have known how to convey in polished tones and manner the precise method of how to walk the narrow way, both of them gave me the gift of their genuine friendship and love. Each of them, and others I have had the blessing of knowing, was able to share God in their own unique way. They did not present a perfect sermon neither did they attempt to pound me over the head with counsel. They did not sit in judgement or attempt to convey what they perceived God's will should be for my life. They just shared their love.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Far Far Away From Here

Had a bit of a headache today (probably because of the lack of sleep) and of course today would be the day that everyone decides to run on the treadmill upstairs. The first one was running for almost an hour and the second one has been on it for 10 minutes already. I'm hoping the sign that says the treadmill should be used until 9 pm at night will actually be read!!! Sounds like they've sped up. It's on nights like these that I see the wisdom in sleeping in a tent underneath the stars, on a lone piece of property out in the middle of a forest, where the only noises you will hear are nature's soft lullaby as the wind blows, the trees rustle, and the animals settle in for the night.

I need a huge chocolate brownie right about now!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Some Light Reading

Having a hard time getting to sleep and inspired by other's "Monday Favourites" here are a couple of links from my late-night reading.

I wish I could be as generous as this little girl who has fed thousands of homeless people from her vegetable gardens.

For a list of hysterical baby products, click here! Some are outrageous, others hysterical, but all seem rather unnecessary.

And isn't this just too cute? A picture of Princess Elizabeth (now the Queen of England).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Study in Futility

I think one of the reasons why conservative circles like the SOP so much is because it's clear cut, black and white. You can take a sentence "No line of manual training is of more value than agriculture." and thereby decree that everyone must participate in agriculture. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we shouldn't learn how to grow a garden. What I'm saying is, why are we so quick to pull the commanding sentences from the SOP and so slow to engage in a deep study of the Bible first? My theory? It's easier to enforce something that has already been stated than to study out principles which can then lead to conclusions based on those Biblical principles.

It's like learning to eat healthily. Recently, I've begun trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains (I'm still working on the whole grains part!). I love reading news articles on the latest discoveries about food and enjoy learning about how food can heal the body or help prevent disease. There's just one problem, though. There is so much information out there about the different things you need to have in your diet to ensure optimum health, that to eat everything every single day would require you to be munching 24/7. Now that wouldn't be very healthy, would it?

The same can be applied to statements found in the SOP. While there are excellent chapters written on many different topics, when you are trying to condense them down to what is the most important for the task at hand, it can become overwhelming. To try to incorporate every single admonition given would require us to walk around with huge tomes in our hands to refer to, as we make sure we aren't making any mistakes. I know, I'm being facetious, but there is some truth to my point.

I haven't got it all figured out yet, but one thing I do know. I wish we could hold the Bible up high as our standard and actually study from it first, before we march to the SOP to prove our points.

Friday, July 23, 2010

No Needles, Please!

I had a dental appointment today. I hate dental appointments. Of course I'm probably part of the general population who would rather spend an afternoon pulling stubborn weeds from parched earth in scorching 120-degree weather than sit in a chair with their mouth open wide as some stranger pokes and prods about inside. But unfortunately I was not presented with a choice, except the choice to have a filling or wait several months and pay 10x more for a crown once my tooth had rotted to the core. Needless to say, with my job going to half-time in 2 months, I opted for the cheaper filling.

I had already rescheduled once and knew I couldn't put it off any longer. When I reached the office, right on time, I was shown to the plastic blue automated lounge chair, a fuschia purple paper bib was clipped around my neck, and I sat and waited. And waited. And waited some more. They were a little backed-up that day. (Remind me not to make my next appointment on a Friday afternoon!)

I have a strange way of coping with dental appointments. I try to sleep as little as I can the night before so I will be really tired when I come. Then I can lie in that chair in a semi-comatose state and not be alert and aware of every single thing that's happening (and now she is scraping away at the root. . .). I had managed to get very little sleep all week long, so the 30 minutes I waited were a welcome time to almost doze as I listened to a dental assistant explain a rather complicated method of taking care of one's teeth to the patient next door.

Finally my dentist turned up. She is a very sweet Indian doctor who is always reassuring me. Being as petrified of anything to do with drills and crowns and fillings as I am, I rely on my added bonus of looking about 10 years younger than I really am, and try to look as scared as I can, so that everyone will have pity on me. At this office, everyone is very sympathetic, so while the procedures aren't pleasant, at least the people are.

The worst part about fillings and crowns is the numbing needle. I'm not exactly sure why it is necessary to do at least 2 injections (and often 3 or 4), but I suppose the dentist needs to numb all the necessary places. The second worst part is when they drill near a nerve. This was going to be a routine filling, though, so I didn't anticipate any painful drilling. Just that needle, though, was enough to make me nervous. I could handle the scraping, the drilling, the filling, and keeping my mouth open for 2 hours straight. What I couldn't handle was that needle.

First, my dentist poked around inside my mouth, probably to determine which tooth needed attention and to evaluate how she should proceed. Not only did she have a face mask over her mouth, she also had a plastic face guard (like the kind welders wear, only this one was see-through plastic), so when she mumbled something to me, I looked up hopefully and nodded in agreement. I had absolutely no idea what she had just said.

As she walked away, the thought suddenly hit me, "I think she said we won't need to do any numbing!" I was hesitantly excited but unsure whether I had interpreted her mumblings correctly. I didn't need to wait much longer to find out, for a minute or two later, she reappeared, I opened my mouth wide, the dental assistant sat on the other side of my head and held the suction tube in my mouth, and she began to drill away. No needles. No numbing. No pain.

In about 7 minutes the procedure was over. It was the most painless filling I had ever had.

Did your mother ever tell you, "Don't worry about it now, worry about it when it's over! It might not be half as bad as you think it will be."? Mine told me that, repeatedly, as I grew up. It was a lesson I needed to re-learn again today as the anticipation of the needle kept me from enjoying my day and being grateful that I have a dentist who works to save my teeth instead of wasting my money. Worry about unnecessary things kept me from being grateful that I have found a place to go where I feel comfortable and that I have the money to pay so that my teeth can be preserved as long as possible.

Isn't it neat to see how God works things out in our lives? I'm a firm believer that He works in even the little things and today was just one example of how He takes care of us and gives us little surprises, even when we forget to step back and recognize them. Unselfish love.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

3 Minutes Can Save You Two Dollars!

On our way to the airport this morning, we came upon the bridge toll. My sister and I were scanning the signs to see how much the toll was, when we noticed that it changed, depending on the time. From 4 am to 10 am it was $6 and after 10 am it changed to $4 per car. We looked up at the huge digital clock displayed across the toll booths. 9:58 am.

Glancing to the right, I suddenly noticed a line of cars parked on the shoulder. "Pull over!" I yelled. Our car swerved onto the shoulder, then we slowly backed up to reach the front of the line. Other commuters, also with a couple of minutes to spare, had decided to save a couple of dollars and hang out here until the clock turned 10. We turned on our emergency lights and waited.

Two minutes later, the shoulder began to clear rapidly as cars joined the constant rush to the city. We merged as well, smiled at the toll booth cashier, and handed him $4. Pretty neat!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fava Beans & Other Blessings

I am super exhausted. But I'm happy. Today has been long but rewarding. Asides from a slightly irritating fruit fly buzzing around in front of my monitor, I am content with life at this moment (don't ask me on Monday morning how I'm feeling!). I'm also grateful that this week flew by and I have two more full days left in my weekend! Here's a few of my fun blessings from today:

1. I have air conditioning. In sky-rocketing weather, I am grateful to have a/c at home and a/c in my car. I can't imagine having to rely on a fan to keep me cool!
2. My apartment is clean and tidy (more or less). I'm excited because I spent two evenings laboriously sorting through all my clothes and storing all the winter clothes and ones that don't fit. Now my closet is much neater and it is easier to keep the rest of my tiny apartment tidy.
3. We went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant with good friends. I loved the crispy eggplant and deep fried sesame tofu. I think I could live on Chinese food and be perfectly content. Not exactly sure that egg-flower soup was vegetarian, even though they assured us it was, but it was still delicious. And I had two wontons with sweet-and-sour sauce!
4. I found a red top for $5 at Walmart that perfectly matches a brown skirt with red flowers that my mom found for me in the free-room.
5. I had a lovely evening chatting with my mom and sister while I ate my supper at 10 pm. Leftover ful medames (Egyptian fava beans) with lemon juice and olive oil, scooped up with whole wheat pita bread. Yummmmm! I just hope my stomach doesn't rebel and that I can sleep well tonight!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

An Award

It works!
1. Sum up your blogging philosophy in 5 words. Emotion, laughter, genuine, creative, wordy!

2. Pass this award on to 5 others. Unfortunately I have very few followers, so I shall just thank LaVonne for her award.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On The Days When You Don't Feel Like It, Thank God

I love reading articles on Yahoo!, so here's a fun link about why diets fail.

Sprinkles of Blessings:
  • The airconditioning works in my office again
  • I bought a really cool flashlight at Walmart that is so bright, it's almost like a spotlight!
  • Someone bought the fridge that I bought and changed my mind about, yesterday
  • I cooked ful medames (Egyptian beans) for the first time today and it worked!
  • I have blueberries, grape tomatoes, and sweet baby grapes to enjoy
  • My best friend inspired me to make strawberry fruit sauce and it tastes absolutely delicious over granola for breakfast!
  • I had time to do laundry :)

Monday, July 5, 2010


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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Soraya M.

I just finished watching "The Stoning of Soraya M" on Netflix. This film is rated R for a reason, it gets quite graphic at one point when the actual stoning takes place, so I would recommend you fast-forward it if you need to. The film is one that I will add to my shortlist of films that bring social awareness of real-life issues and atrocities that are facing minorities today.

"The Stoning of Soraya M" is based on a true story. While I will not go into much detail here, I will say that the main plot involves a woman who is accused falsely of adultery because her husband wants to marry a young girl. The woman is pronounced guilty and then stoned. The film takes place in Iran in the 1980s.

Watching something like this made me both very sad and very angry. I see, over and over again, how certain cultures oppress women and treat them as worthless. I see how Satan uses people to ruin the lives of innocent women and children, then stands back and laughs. I see how terrified the woman caught in adultery must have been, and how relieved she must have been when Jesus said He did not condemn her and no stones were thrown.

As ever, I feel helpless. How can we, who live in such an affluent and influential country, make a tangible difference? I don't know.