Refuse to be Passive

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Urge to Purge

In Life in General on March 31, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Every once in a while I feel the need to purge my apartment of extra stuff. Sometimes this feeling comes and there’s actually very little for me to get rid of. That’s the place I currently find myself in. There are things I could get rid of, but the truth is that I still use them on a semi-regular basis, like the pillows I keep for the odd occasion when I have guests. Or how about that sleeping bag, tent, and mat I keep for camping, but never actually use? Wait, June. I’m going camping in June…maybe. At least that’s the current plan. Maybe I should plan ahead on an event like that, you know, invite some people along. Maybe someone who owns an axe.

Sidebar: Did you know that hot water with vanilla added tastes exactly like vanilla tea? Who needs tea?

What else can I get rid of? I don’t want to get rid of my cooking stuff, and yet, I feel like I own too much of it. Hmm…maybe I’ll pass along some of my cooling racks for baking to my sister. Then I can borrow them if I ever need extras. And then there are all those dribs and drabs of leftovers in my bathroom– shampoo, conditioner, etc, etc. I should focus on using those up. Every year at this time I’m also tempted to get rid of my Christmas decorations, but then I know I’ll need to go out and buy them again next year! So maybe that’s a bad idea.

I’m very tempted to get rid of all my old shorts and such from my days prior to weight loss, but I’m scared if I do that, I’ll gain the weight back and have to buy new clothes– something that is not in the budget right now. Not that I intend to gain the weight back, but what if?

Maybe tonight I’ll purge my receipts and paperwork again. That always feels good, right up until I recognize how much of it I still have to keep. That and the fact that my taxes are waiting…

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Noise

In Life in General on March 30, 2011 at 9:19 am

We live in a culture that surrounds us with noise. Both audio and visual noise bombard us constantly. How many of us don’t have a cell phone, TV, watch movies, listen to music in the car? How many of us barely even register the billboards we pass on our way into work each day? How many of us get caught up in the advertising of retail stores, and the pretty signs and mannequins in store windows? We are bombarded with messages to buy, songs of love and lament, joy and hate. And let’s not forget that Saturday comes after Friday– thank you Rebecca Black.

Do you count on white noise to fill your evenings? I was chatting with a friend, and both she and I either turn on music or the TV when we get home in the evenings, simply for the white noise. Visual noise. It’s not only advertising. What about that TV show fluff, that actually makes you feel worse about yourself. After sitting in front of the TV for an hour, you feel sluggish, and that bag of crisps you just downed without realizing it doesn’t help. The characters on TV seem to live fun and exciting lives, whereas yours is…normal. Or Facebook, Twitter, and every other social networking tool as a form of visual noise. Or how about those apps on your iPhone?

We are bombarded by noise. Has it come to the point that we can’t even handle silence? Are we scared of the silence? What does silence mean?

It’s not a wonder that people claim that God never talks to them these days. It’s not a wonder that people question God’s existence. Sometimes I think God plunks himself down right in front of us, going “Hey, let’s chat!” and he gets drowned out by all the noise and business in our lives. We’re so visually and audibly distracted by our fast paced life– exciting or no– that we fail to see opportunities for peace right in front of us. The Bible speaks again and again to encountering God in silence, calling Israel to be silent before God. Even the life of Jesus had central disciplines of silence and solitude.

This week, try to step back, and turn off you iPod when you go for a jog, or turn off the radio when you’re in your car. Opt out of checking your Facebook in the evening, or take a break from playing Angry Birds on your iPhone. Take time to encounter silence, even if you’re not aiming to encounter God. How does it effect you? Is it uncomfortable? Why? If it’s not uncomfortable for you, then why is it often avoided? Silence is a good and integral part of life. This week, make a point to practice silence.

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Information will not beget transformation without motivation.

Tired

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I’m exhausted and it’s only 9:18pm. I suppose it’s because I’m still a little bit sleep deprived from Friday evening when me, one other leader, and bunch of teens pulled an all-nighter. It was complete with food, games, movies, gaming, bowling, and even Tim Horton’s. The next afternoon I managed to snag a two hour nap, and hit the hay at 10pm. As far as I can tell, I’m still a good three or four hours behind in my sleep. I don’t do well on a lack of sleep. So, once this post– short, but sweet– is done, I think I’ll hop into my pj’s and head for bed. The question becomes, do I have enough energy to wash my face?

Slobishness

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2011 at 10:59 am

Slobishness. Not technically a word, but in some ways reminiscent of snobbishness– as in, it drives me nuts. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not the neatest person in the world. My apartment can be a mess, just like anybody else’. What bothers me is when messiness in one’s personal life spills over into their professional life.

The past few days at work have been driving me nuts. I walk into work and it’s a cluttered mess. There are dishes by the sink, some clean, some dirty. There are remnants from an even hosted a week ago still lying around because no one really wants to take care of cleaning it up (yes, I did clean it up). And our storage room smells like sour milk because someone has been neglecting to rinse our their chocolate milk containers before throwing them in the recycling. Disgusting. Our main meeting room table was piled high with papers, mugs, and pens, that, once again, I found myself neatening up. I put away the toaster that was out but hadn’t been used since the day before. I stopped myself from cleaning up a co-worker’s desk, as I think they’d be insulted. But it needs it, and it’s in a very visible location as well.

People in my office have been taking longer lunch breaks as my boss is at a conference, and I’m just becoming uncomfortable in the lack of professionalism within my office. Granted, I can’t claim to be perfect and I occasionally leave stuff lying around, but this week has just seemed bad.

And what about when you have a co-worker who is always saying how busy they are, and yet seem to manage to keep a running commentary on Facebook or always be discussing the latest app for their iPhone? I don’t understand (insert note of desperation and despair). Poor use of time is a form of slobishness all on it’s own. Don’t complain about being too busy if you’re not using your time well.

Maybe it’s just because my plate is fuller than usual, and it seems like everyone else has less to do, but I’m feeling like I work in a really slack office. That being said, I do like all the people I work with and don’t want to come across as the heavy. But really, how many YouTube videos can one justify in a day?

Obsidian Stout Ginger Torte

In Food on March 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

It was my brother-in-law’s birthday yesterday, and I wanted to make him a cake. In honour of St. Patty’s day, as well as the fact that he’s a bit of a beer aficionado and loves ginger, I settled on the Epicurious Guiness Stout Ginger Cake. Due to a missing ingredient or two– like molasses and Guinness, a bit of adaptation was necessary. I substituted part corn syrup and part brown sugar for the molasses and used an Obsidian Stout from Portland in place of the Guinness. The cake was dense, but lovely. Next time, I’ll make sure I have molasses on hand.

 

From there I topped it with ginger whipped cream and raspberries. Overall, a nice cake with a cup of coffee. And my brother-in-law? He loved it.

Sauteed Garlic and Onions

In Food on March 17, 2011 at 10:42 am

Have you noticed that there are few savory dishes in the world that don’t require sauteed garlic and onions? My question becomes, why do I saute garlic and onions so often, be it for brunch, lunch, dinner, or appetizers, that I don’t just do up a big batch once a week and keep them on hand? I know it’s not quite the same as having them done up fresh, but the sheer convenience of it just may be worth it. I also think I may be brilliant. It’s test week! I’m going to saute up a storm when I get home tonight.

What if…

In Uncategorized on March 14, 2011 at 8:51 am

If I started as many of my days with scripture as I do with coffee, what would life look like? Would I speak out against injustice and oppression with my wallet as well as my mouth? Would I finally yield fully to God, rather than trying to be my own authority and building my own idols to chase after?

Where does our selfishness– my selfishness– stop me from doing what is right for the sake of convenience and comfort? As with so many issues I consider, my thoughts turn to food. Buy local? Buy organic? Buy ethical? How does that tie in with being responsible with the monetary resources God has given me? Normally my thoughts on this tend towards, don’t spend = responsible, but is that true? Isn’t it more irresponsible to buy based on price, when things like sustainability, ethics, and health, are all integral parts of my faith and values? Does it come down to all things in moderation? Was Jesus moderate?

Just the answer, please

In Life in General on March 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm

People want facts. They don’t want knowledge. It’s the way our world is headed. People want to know the answers to questions without knowing the journey from question to answer.

What is the cost? Rather than looking into a company’s ethics and how they treat their employees and suppliers, consumers just seem to be worried about saving 50 cents on a product.

Sure, it’s cheaper to buy it some places, but are you then supporting action against others that you would never stand for against yourself?

Does this university give me a degree?
Does it do it for cheap?

Hate to say it, but in many cases you get what you pay for. An English degree may seem like a static concept, but have you looked into what the courses have to offer, the type of instructors, and the class sizes? These factors can all make a very real difference in how you view your post-secondary education. You want instructors and classes that engage you as a person, that pique your interest! What good is a university degree if you’re sleeping through it?

Is this food low in calories? Sure, trimming your waistline may be important, but remember that low calorie, low fat, and low sugar don’t necessarily mean healthy! Health is holistic. If you’re putting in synthetic junk, it will effect how you feel! Lower calorie is not always the better option. Look at the overall nutritional content of your food and your approach to food just might change.

I remember being frustrated in high school math because I couldn’t understand the process, and wasn’t content to simply look up the answer. I wanted to know how and why it worked. It’s the how and the why that really get you ahead in this world.

If knowledge is power, then we live in an ever weakening world, where answers are at our fingertips and thought process has been replaced by a search engine. Those who have true knowledge, who know the why and the how, those are the people who have the power to effect change. Those are the people who are leading us into the future.

I for one, am not content to sit back and simply take in answers. I hunger for the why, the how. I want to have the power to effect the world around me. Do you?

Morning vs Evening

In Life in General on March 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Every evening my brain starts to turn off at around 7pm. All I want to do after that point is sit down and watch TV or a movie. Alternately, all the things that sound like a drag in the evening, I’ve discovered that I like to do in the morning. I can get so much done if I have an extra half hour before work! As such, I decided to experiment. Last night I went to bed about an hour before I normally do, and got up about an hour before I normally do. I’ve never really thought of myself as a morning person, but I think this might just be brilliant! I managed to prep breakfast, lunch, and dinner, do a little cleaning, get in some devotion and meditation time. It’s quite impressive, really. I’m going to try this for a week and see if it makes a difference. I think I might just enjoy life better having an earlier evening and an earlier morning. By evening, the day is old and tired. But in the morning, everything is new and bright! Now, the only challenge will be to drag myself out of bed. Mornings may be easy, but waking up is hard.