Refuse to be Passive

Archive for October, 2012|Monthly archive page

The List of Beneficial

In Food, Life in General, Movies with a bit of TV, Uncategorized on October 28, 2012 at 10:24 am

“Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” It’s a riff on 1 Corinthians 10:23, and it’s been running through my head for nearly two weeks now. Every few months I like to take a quiet morning on the weekend and sit down to consider this, to apply it to my own life. Where am I going on a tangent, sapping my energies with wasteful endeavours, when my true purpose lies elsewhere?

It’s been chilly this past week, and when I say chilly, I mean that a blanket of white has covered the town of Jasper and the mountains that surround it. Just looking outside makes me want to stay home. It’s kept me from the gym, the library, and even from the stitching club that started up last week. I’ve been coming up with creative excuses for not going out, and my fridge is starting to like pretty pathetic. I’ve done an excellent job of using up what I’ve got in the house.

Beyond that, the past couple of weeks my personal spiritual practices have fallen into a bit of a slump. I finished my book by Shane Claiborne on The New Monasticism—I highly recommend it, even if you’re not leaning towards the lifestyle. I’ve started sleeping in later instead of taking time to get up and read my Bible in the morning. I’m not sure what it is about the morning, but it’s just so much more darned productive for me than if I come home and try to do stuff after work. I much prefer mornings for almost everything.

Due to the fact that I tend to want to relax after work, I’ve gotten into this horrible habit of turning on the TV or booting up my laptop and finding a television show to watch. It can suck hours from my life, and it also means that I’ve fallen into the trap of eating in front of the TV or computer. This is highly detrimental considering my endeavours to lose weight.

Not everything is bad though. It’s easy to focus on the bad and forget about the good. After reading the book Forks Over Knives, I’ve decided to adopt a plant-based diet for a year. Basically I’m going vegan, reducing my sugar intake, and reducing my intake of processed foods. Many people hear this and give me a pitying look, but I look at it and see it as a step in the right direction. If it reduces my risk of heart disease, breast cancer, obesity, and diabetes, I’m in. If it means that less carbon dioxide, monoxide, and methane are being pumped into our atmosphere, I’m in. If it means that factory farming and the abuse of animals can be clear in my conscience, so much the better. After all, God gave us the earth to care for it, not abuse it to fit our whims and Westernized lifestyle.

For many Christians, it seems much easier to take a concept like that and justify it, essentially burying our heads in the sands. But look at how well that works out for the ostrich.

Back to the task at hand! Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Well, I’ve taken a look at areas in my life where what I’m doing isn’t beneficial. Now, it’s time to look for the change. Now, it’s time to make a list of beneficial. This is a list of things that are permissible, that will enhance life rather than make me lazy and suck the hours away. So here it is!


1)      Get involved in the community—volunteer with a cause you connect with

2)      Take part in local clubs and initiatives, ones that will allow you to network and build skills i.e. a stitching club, Toastmasters, or a swimming club

3)      Increase your vocabulary—start doing crossword puzzles. Not only will you learn new words, but you never know when useless facts will come in handy. Slumdog Millionaire anyone?

4)      Knowledge is power—If you’re like me and at the beginning of your career with some thirty years of work stretching in front of you, then now is a good time to recognize that our culture and economy is built on knowledge. While the adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” may hold true in many cases, if you change that adage to, “It’s what you know and who you know,” then you’re a shoe-in. Start reading, and not just in your area of expertise. YouTube also has some great instructional videos for things like the internet and social networking. And if you can’t get it for free, you might have to pay for it. Learn while you work—Google continuing education.

5)      Recognize the value of the spiritual—humans are more than just physical forms, they are also composed of the mental and the spiritual. Take time to develop your relationship with God. Learn to meditate, read, and write. Learn to converse with the master of the universe who loves his creation beyond what we can imagine. After all, who doesn’t want God on their side?

6)      Get fit!—This one doesn’t need much explanation in a culture that is obsessed with physical appearance. Just make sure that getting fit also means getting healthy. Remember, it doesn’t matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping the people on the couch.


That’s the list of beneficial for now. If you’ve got anything to add, feel free to comment!


A Creative Global Thinker’s Crazy Resume

In Life in General on October 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I adored my grade two teacher. Not only was she kind, she had an exotic life. In fact, just before becoming my homeroom teacher, she took a sabbatical and spent a year in Australia. In grade two, I was certain I wanted to grow up to be a teacher.

By the time I went to university, my desire to become a teacher was long gone. I enrolled in a business program at a liberal arts university halfway across the country. I was going to take my degree and then open my own wig shop. Yes, you heard that right, a wig shop.

Somewhere during that first semester of business classes I changed my major. My professor made the classes tiresome and tedious. I got decent grades, but my heart wasn’t in what I was studying.

So I did what any business major with good job prospects upon graduation would do, I switched to a degree in English Literature. And remember, I didn’t want to be a teacher. At this time, I decided that maybe editing and publication was the route for me.

Once I got out of university, I started working at a desk job. While it was a good job and I worked with nice people, I didn’t love my job. In fact, my days dragged by. It was around this time that I discovered that I am a global thinker and an ideas person. That didn’t combine well with a job that was primarily administrative.

Also at that time I fell in love with cooking. It was my main hobby when I was away from work. To that extent, I decided that maybe my true love was cooking. I wanted to be my own boss and start a business as a personal chef. Before that though, I thought formal training might be in order. So, once again I trekked halfway across the country to take a Culinary Arts Management Diploma. I love school and was certain that I was on the right track. But once I got out of school and into the workforce, I found the details of day-to-day work to be tedious and frustrating.

Now, I’m 27, and the future that seemed so assured when I was seven, had become as a dream. Just today I was at work—I’m back at an office job right now—I was hit with an “ahah!” moment. It was one of those moments when you wonder, “Why has it taken me so long to figure this out?” I had taken a test online over my lunch break to see how I compared to other entrepreneurs—to see if I really had what it took to be my own boss. You know what I discovered? I scored below average in the majority of areas, with a few making the median, and one aspect in particular skyrocketing above the rest. You know what that one aspect was? It was creativity.

Now, I’m not one to want to do graphic design. As I said, I’m a global thinker, the nitpicky doesn’t do it for me. I can do the details, but would prefer to be looking at the big picture, the meta-narrative as it is. I do not want to be my own boss. I don’t want to have to deal with the paperwork and red tape of the government, or the details that go into making a business a success. I am an ideas person. You need a grand concept? I can do that. You want me to order toner? Well, I can do that too, but you certainly won’t see the same level of enthusiasm. So that leaves me asking the same questions that I’ve asked for years: What do I do with my life? Is there actually a career out there where my strengths would allow me to thrive? And if so, what is it and how do I get there?

And no, none of my past training has been in vain. Of that I am certain. With everything I learn, I grow more as a person. There is a purpose to all this, and someday I will look back on this crazy journey and see the interlocking of seemingly unrelated pieces to create a whole—my meta-narrative.

How Your Facebook Profile Can Hurt Your Career

In Uncategorized on October 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm

My cousin is nineteen and finally moved out of her parents’ house a couple of month’s ago. Up to this point, her goal in life has been to get away from the perceived oppression her parents bestow on her. As a result, she’s in a bit of a skank stage right now. Her mother is worried because she knows her daughter is looking for an office job. The two don’t seem connected, do they? I mean, not unless she wears a too short, too tight, leopard skin dress into a professional business office. But my cousin isn’t stupid she’d never do that. So why all this worry on her mother’s part? Facebook. That’s right. Mom knows something that hasn’t dawned on her daughter yet. My cousin won’t even make it to the job interview to show that she can dress well and that full, intelligent, grammatically correct sentences can come out of her mouth.

These days, potential employers are sure to search you on the internet before they offer you an interview. So that slinky, leopard skin, body hugging dress, and those big pouty lips will end her career in a professional atmosphere before it starts. In fact, about the only job that will land her is one as an escort. But I think at heart she’s too much of a good girl to go in that direction. So, as I try to find a way to break the news gently to my cousin, that doesn’t give away her mother’s request for intervention, her job prospects continue to dwindle because her profile picture on Facebook makes it look like there’s only muddled darkness in her head.

Now, if you’re reading this, know that at one point, an employer had looked you up on Google, and checked out your Facebook page—particularly if you haven’t hidden your profile. And remember, employers don’t just judge you by what you wear, but by the company you keep. You don’t look like a good investment if you’re out at the bar with a bunch of people shot gunning beer or licking something off a girl’s stomach. And if you’re the girl, woe betide you.

You want a job? Give people a reason to take you seriously. No want wants to hire someone who won’t show up to work on Monday because they’re still drunk from Sunday night. In businesses, it’s all about making good investments. Are you a good investment? If you can truly answer that as a yes, I have one more question for you. Do you look like it?

Rules and Regimes– Life Control, I suck at it.

In Uncategorized on October 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm

People always stress the importance of creating routines for children. There a rules and guidelines that we enforce for them, to ensure they grow up to be responsible adults. Isn’t it funny then, that we allow ourselves to do things we would never let out children do? For example, any child who snuck half a box of cookies and then felt ill would be in trouble from his or her parents. However, if the parent does that, there are no ramifications. I remember getting annoyed at the little boy I used to live with who snuck six Oreos before breakfast one day. What a hypocrite! I can remember a time when I ate an entire package over the course of the evening! Why is it that it is so easy to justify certain things for ourselves that we would judge others harshly for? Why do children need routine and discipline, but adults feel that they can live life laissez faire? It simply doesn’t make much sense. After an entire evening of noshing, I am feeling a little ill this evening, and am starting to believe that I should be seeing a counsellor in regards to my relationship with food. It is seriously unhealthy. But at the same time, I’m starting to think that there may be value in routine for me, just as there is for children. I need to start a new routine. That’s never easy. I’m often good at a new routine for a couple of days, but then the old way of life sets back in again and I find myself back at square one. It is incredibly frustrating. I want to go see the dietician at the hospital, in hopes that she might help me get a solid start. The snag in this concept is that her office hours are always while I’m at work. I’m fairly new at my job, and I don’t feel I can start taking an hour off every week to go see the dietician. What to do, what to do?

Oh no, not again.

In Uncategorized on October 5, 2012 at 8:34 am

Do you ever have one of those times when God seems to be speaking to you and you get this overwhelming feeling of dread? I do. I have it right now and it scares me. It scares me to the point of tears. I can’t go back there. I can’t do it again. Is that really what God is calling me to? Is that really where he wants me? I just moved to Jasper five months ago. I just finally got all my furniture in place last month. I’ve secured a new job for the winter. And now I’m wondering if I’m in the wrong place. I know that God can use you wherever you may be, but I also know that he has plans for you, and choosing to follow his plans isn’t always easy. I’m scared. The thoughts running through my head include, “How about Edmonton? Edmonton is closer. I can do Edmonton.” But I don’t think that’s an option. I’m hoping what I feel as a call is more of a self-projection. I’m hoping that this concept will not dog me. But at the same time, in order for it to not dog me, I’ll have to stop reading, stop growing in faith, and stop developing in thought. That is simply not an option for me. Now the question becomes when and how? I want to do some Woofing, to get a feel for organic farming and gardening. I want the opportunity to get my hands dirty. I want the opportunity to learn. Do I do that here? I certainly can. Oh goodness, I’m scared. I’m petrified, really. Please no. I don’t want to go back. But even as I say that, a niggling part of me says, “You know that’s not true. You know that if you went back in different circumstance, it could all be different. Follow the call.” Oh no, oh no.