is none of my business.
The other day, my counselor Bonnie shared this gem:
WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF ME
is none of my business.
The old saying goes, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." It's supposed to indicate that the older someone becomes, the more set in their ways they are, and the harder it is for them to learn new things.
I beg to differ. Below, I have pasted part of a list of amazing accomplishments seniors have achieved. You can find the full list from age 1 to 100 at this link):
In the words of good old Winston Churchill, no matter what your age, "Never give up. Never give in. Never surrender!"
I've been busy. Building a business, teaching workshops, learning new programs, taking courses, doing social media, maintaining a home, communicating with others, and so on. BUSY. So busy that I haven't taken the time to write.
I love to write. The act of putting pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard and letting the creative juices flow, thinking through issues and formulating an opinion and expressing MY thoughts in MY own way makes my heart sing and my spirit rejoice. This is what I was born to do. I'm a writer.
So, I'm back. Again. Even if nobody reads this, I plan to comment on anything from gardening to Hurricane Irma, or politics to how cute my dog is.
Read it and weep. Or not.
This is something I wrote a few years ago. It still stands.
The most important things you should teach your children are the three G's: who God is; what God has done; what God requires of us. Living a life of faith before our children is of utmost importance. Our responses to trials, what delights our hearts, our service to others - these are the most important things on the curriculum.
Bible - read it, memorize it, talk about it, study it. Understand the history of the Bible and the chronological events of the Old and New Testaments. Even adults don't know about the wanderings in the wilderness, the conquering of the Land, the Judges, the kings, the divided kingdom, the political climate when Israel was caught in the crossfire between Egypt and Assyria, the exile, the return. Without a basic knowledge of Biblical History, it is impossible for the children to understand theology.
Dictionary - use it, refer to it often. Look up words you don't understand and find their derivatives.
A good atlas. Learn the geography of this world. Learn about the lands and the peoples. Follow some missionaries and pray for them. Trevor Johnson has a good blog with links to learn about missions.
Poetry. Start when they are young, reading nursery rhymes. Get them to memorize poetry after they understand the poem thoroughly. Talk about why the poet chose that particular word or phrase. Think of contrast, similes, metaphors, etc. "Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings!"
Read- biographies of great men and women, stories of courage, laughter, joy, sorrow. Get the children to talk about what they are reading. They can do a book report, or draw a picture of their favourite scene or character. They can write a comparison of two characters in a book or from two different books. They can do a diorama or a sculpture, or colour a map of the setting of the story, marking important locations.
Provide pencils, crayons, markers, paint, scissors. Encourage your children to keep a journal and illustrate the events they describe.
Language - Latin, French, Spanish. Latin is intriguing because of the structure and the fact that so many of our English words have Latin roots.
Music. Sing, learn an instrument, do hymn studies. Sing in church. Do special music together.
My goal has always been to instill a sense of awe and gratefulness into our children, and a love of learning, and a willingness to work hard. Teaching good character is important, especially when such teaching equips them to be humble and to rule their own spirits.
Love your children. Pray for them. Spend time with them. Encourage them. Discipline them. Expect the best from them, but don't be too shocked when they stumble. Demonstrate humility of spirit as you acknowledge that you, too, are a sinner in need of grace.
I'm in the middle of 10 days of Productivity with Tim Challies, who wrote a book called "Do More Better", and started a Facebook group in order to encourage others to be productive.
Over the years I've made many lists of resolutions, and once in a while I actually accomplish things on those lists. However, I think Tim has hit the nail on the head. It's really not about writing lists. Productivity is about knowing your purpose (to glorify God and do good works in order to bless others), defining your responsibilities, figuring out your roles, tasks and projects, then writing a mission statement for each of your areas of responsibility. That may sound complicated, but it really isn't.
One of the things I have realized is that in my VERY busy life, I have not made time to write on this blog. This is my creative and spiritual outlet, designed to share my life in a vulnerable way, for the purpose of encouragement. I want to point others to Christ, to the sufficiency of Scripture, and the good news of the gospel. It is my desire to finish well, and now that I'm in my sixties, I don't have as many years ahead as I have behind. So, I press on.
I encourage you to click the links, buy the book, and join in the 10 days of Productivity. I'll share more about it later.
I broke three metatarsals in my foot in October, 2012. Because of a previous shoulder/neck injury, I was unable to use crutches and ended up sitting in a wheelchair for a couple of months. During that time I gained over 35 lbs. My body is designed to move, and I simply stopped moving... and gained weight.
I'd been hearing a lot about Trim Healthy Mama. A friend gave me the book, and I decided to try it. I lost about nine pounds, then stayed at the same weight for weeks. It was so disheartening to read all of the success stories, and come to the conclusion that it worked for THEM, but it wasn't going to work for ME.
I tried regular dieting, cutting back, choosing good food. The scale didn't budge. A year went by.
Finally, in June 2014, I took a look at myself and decided to just do it.
My THM journey started out exactly the same way as it h ad the previous year. I lost nine pounds rather quickly, then stuck. The scale didn't budge. I was following the plan, but the plan wasn't working for me.
Instead of giving up, I pleaded for help from the THM Facebook community. They were so helpful! After reviewing my menu, they told me that I wasn't eating enough - that I was "dieting" rather than eating to feed my body and meet my nutritional needs.
I added in a snack, and made sure to eat every 3 hours or so, and the weight kept coming off. From the beginning of June until the end of August, I went from 210 to 194. That was 16 lbs in three months. From September to December, I took off a further 12 lbs, ending up at 182 on my birthday. That was 12 lbs in three months. A bit slower, but still coming off.
By the end of March, I weighed 167. That's 15 lbs in almost four months.
Since then, I've been stuck at 167, but the amazing thing is that my clothes are looser. I've lost inches. I've firmed up a bit. I still have loose skin, but I am now comfortable in size 11 clothing, which is so much better than the XL size 18 I was wearing a year ago.
Next post, I'll tell you how I did it. Definitely, you should buy the book. Trim Healthy Mama.
I've been busy. And that is an understatement.
I rise at 5:30, make coffee, shower and get my breakfast. I sit at the computer, checking email and Facebook while I nibble my eggs and sip my coffee. I read or listen to the Bible, and jot a few notes down, then head outside by 6:45 to do my circle check of my bus. That only takes a few minutes, so I zip back inside and do up the dishes and make my Shrinker Oolong Tea before heading out at 7:15.
I love my bus run. My route takes me north through a beautiful countryside, with farmer's fields and little forested areas where I see coyotes. The sunrises are incredible, and I'm sad to think that the sun is rising higher in the sky much earlier in the morning. I'll have to wait until fall to experience the beauty of the sun peeking over the horizon, painting the sky with pink and orange and red. I pick up my first family at 7:35 am, and constantly watch the clock to make sure I'm on time at every stop. If a mom takes a minute or two to kiss her little girl goodbye, I need to step on the gas a bit to get to the next stop on time. If, on the other hand, a child is sick and is staying home that day, I must drive a bit slower to accommodate the fact that I didn't stop and pick up that child.
When I took over this run, the kids were loud, obnoxious, disobedient and disruptive. I had to write a few incident reports, and give them many a talking to. I've built a rapport with these kids, and they understand that all of my rules are about their safety. I want to transport them safely to school, and safely home again at the end of the day. That means that throwing things is not permitted, for it distracts the driver and can injure another student. Eating on the bus is not allowed, because someone could choke on a bit of food. They all must stay seated, for standing and moving from seat to seat could result in a student taking a tumble if I have to suddenly put the brakes on. There are a lot of rules, but they all make sense.
The kids are getting it! I am so pleased with my bus kids. It makes heading out the door twice a day into a mission rather than forced labour. I think I have the best run, the best kids, and the best route. I am truly blessed.
I get home around 9:10 each morning, unless I have to fuel up the bus, which takes another 10 minutes. After checking my FB messages briefly, I've been gardening or doing yard work. I planted my seedlings and they came up beautifully, but I now have joined the ranks of gardeners who have experienced the dreaded "damping off". Most of my cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage have simply died. This, I found out, is due to not using sterilized potting soil. I used topsoil, reasoning to myself that it would be fine, and although the seedlings sprouted beautifully, a week or two later I noticed they were not looking so good. They seemed to have been pinched off right at the surface of the soil. The internet told me about "damping off", and I think that's my problem. I'm thankful that the tomatoes seem to have survived, and that's because I mixed old soil in with the topsoil. Live and learn, eh?
Okay, so there's gardening and yard work and raking up stuff left from the winter and burning garbage. Lots of outside stuff. Not only that, but I plan on raising chickens for meat and a dozen more for eggs, so I have to get the brooder and some chicken tractors ready.
On top of that, my dear husband has been renovating the kitchen since last summer. It's been a long haul, but the kitchen is nearly done. It will be so nice to move the table and chairs and the buffet back into the kitchen, and to be able to sit around the table at meal-times, laughing and chatting and sharing our lives. I do what I can to help with the renovation, but my husband does the vast majority of the work. He's done a beautiful job, and I am very thankful.
My friend Jane has opened a store, Behind the Painted Door, and I have been setting up and updating her website. That took quite a bit of time in the beginning. I love what she does with paint, and I'm glad to be a help to her in her business.
About three months ago, my friend Jane and I spent three days in Paris, and three days in Rome. It was the trip of a lifetime for me. A spur-of-the-moment decision, a Groupon deal, and two women who'd never traveled far were suddenly winging their way over the Atlantic.
In my spare time I'm writing about our experiences. I don't want to forget one second of the trip, the sights, the sounds, the people, the culture, the food, the wine, and the cities. I long to go again, but for more than three days, for it simply wasn't enough time to take in even a small portion of what there was to enjoy.
One of my favourite hours in Paris was spent in an artists' square atop Montmartre. We'd just visited the oldest church in Paris, then sipped some vin chaud while listening to an amazing French woman belting out some beautiful songs while cranking on a music machine. That was a delight.
Just kitty corner from the singer we noticed a square filled with artists and art and canvases and paint. We wandered from artist to artist, admiring their work and chatting with a few of them. We overheard some people haggling with an artist for one of his paintings. He considered 300 Euros to be an insult. He'd been painting for over 30 years.
After wandering around the square, kicking ourselves for not having enough money to buy a painting (or three), we headed towards a little Café that had been recommended to us. On the way, we browsed the shops, and were drawn into one that advertised a great discount on their art.
Jane bought a huge painting of the Eiffel Tower. I bought a painting of the artist's square at the top of Montmartre. I'll post these pictures later, when I figure out where they are stored. :D
Every time I walk by and glance at that piece of art, my mind goes back to Paris. I am so thankful for the memories.
To prove I was actually there, here's a picture of me as we arrived in Paris, with very little sleep, after flying all night:
Three days of violence in Paris. People under siege. People taken hostage. Employees of a satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, gunned down at work. Twelve dead that first day.
Yesterday, it was a policewoman, killed in cold blood.
Today, a kosher market was invaded and people died. I just heard that the original terrorists were gunned down as they burst out of the building near the Charles de Gaulle airport, where they’d been holed up.
Jane and I were steps away from Charlie Hebdo a month ago. On the sixth of December, we explored the Marais District with a Discovery Tours guide called Lucie.
As we began the tour, a huge contingent of bicyclists went by, making a racket, attracting attention. Lucie explained that this was typical of the area – there was always some sort of protest going on there. She told us that the people of Paris value their right to free speech and their right to protest what they considered to be injustice. She talked about the storming of the Bastilles, that occurred right down the road from where we were standing. (Did you know that there were only 6 prisoners there, and they lived in relative comfort, due to the fact that they were aristocrats, and although imprisoned, they were still entitled to many luxuries?)
Certain Muslims are up in arms. They do not agree with “free speech” if it means Muhammad is mocked. Stéphane Charbonnier, editor and cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo, was among those killed on Wednesday. When the paper was hit with a firebomb in 2011, he stood defiantly among the debris and called the terrorists “idiots” who betrayed their own religion. He defended crude caricatures of Muhammad. "Muhammad isn't sacred to me," he said. "I don't blame Muslims for not laughing at our drawings. I live under French law. I don't live under Qur'anic law."
There’s a debate raging around the world. Are these attacks based on the cartoons, which are crude and designed to be funny, mocking Muhammad whom the Muslims consider to be their prophet? Some pundits and ordinary folk are furious that anyone would do such a thing. Don’t they value their life?
Charbonnier valued the freedom to write and draw what he wanted. "I don't have kids, no wife, no car, no credit," he told Le Monde. "Maybe it's a little pompous to say, but I'd rather die standing than live on my knees."
Others believe the attacks are designed to provoke retaliation against ordinary Muslims. There are millions of Muslims in France, and less than 2% are radicalized. That’s still a lot of angry people who believe they have a cause, and want to recruit others to join their jihad. Could it be that the cartoons are just an excuse, and that the real intention of the radicals is to heighten suspicion against all Muslims?
Quebec Newspapers Take a Stand
Yesterday, Canada's French-language newspapers published a cartoon of Muslim prophet Mohammed on Thursday in solidarity with Paris's Charlie Hebdo, which originally published the cartoon in 2006. The caption read: "Attacking someone simply for their ideas and opinions is an unacceptable obstacle to democracy."
Oppressors have always sought to gag those who disagree with them. In 399BC, Socrates told the jury, “If you offered to let me off this time on condition I am not any longer to speak my mind... I should say to you, "Men of Athens, I shall obey the Gods rather than you."
In 1215 Magna Carta, was signed. It is now regarded as the cornerstone of liberty in England, and had a great effect on the signers of the Declaration of Independence in the USA. Erasmus later wrote “ The Education of a Christian Prince,”and emphatically stated 'In a free state, tongues too should be free.'
Galileo fought for the right to claim the sun does not revolve around the earth. John Milton, the poet, argued against restrictions of the freedom of the press. “He who destroys a good book, kills reason itself.”
The French Have Fought Hard for Free Speech
In 1770 Voltaire wrote in a letter: 'Monsieur l'Abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.' 'The Declaration of the Rights of Man', a fundamental document of the French Revolution written in 1789, provides for freedom of speech .
Freedom of speech means we tolerate those whose ideas we shun. For speech to truly be free, it must include things we disagree with.
In 1929 Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, of the US Supreme Court, outlined his belief in free speech: 'The principle of free thought is not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate.'
Goebbels was in favour of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. Go ahead, say anything you want, as long as you agree with me.
That is not free speech. That is not freedom of expression. In a free society, people must be granted the right to say what THEY think.
Having said all that, I have to say this: for the Christian, there is no Free Speech.
Whatsoever you do, in word or deed, do all to the glory of God. That’s the subject of another post.
Meanwhile, I admire the Quebecers who stood in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo. I admire the courage of Sun News and Ezra Levant and Brian Lilley, who are willing to stand up and be counted as men who shun terrorism and defend the right of anyone to express their own opinion.
I also admire the gumption of those who survived the deadly attack at Charlie Hebdo. They’re planning on publishing another newspaper next Wednesday. They posted this on their website:
PARCE QUE LE CRAYON SERA TOUJOURS AU DESSUS DE LA BARBARIE…
PARCE QUE LA LIBERTÉ EST UN DROIT UNIVERSEL…
PARCE QUE VOUS NOUS SOUTENEZ…
Because the pencil will always be mightier than the sword…
Because liberty is a universal right…
Because you support us…
I'm thankful for a bunch of things today:
Janet Matthews loves words. Her favourite words are found in the Holy Scriptures; she also loves dictionaries, etymology, Romance languages, poetry, and literature.