Thursday, 27 March 2014

I'm Not Rude! I'm Dutch!

I found a website (well, actually my husband found it several months ago and shared it with me) which discusses many things that are unique to the Dutch (Netherlanders...Hollanders) people. It is humorous as well as factual, and I've discovered many things that are true about me which reveal a direct lineage to my heritage and ancestry.

Excerpt from one of the blog entries:

Dutch people don’t mince words. You certainly won’t find them biting their tongues, dying for the courage to finally speak freely. Don’t feel like hearing from your co-worker that she actually doesn’t think your new haircut is all that nice. Too bad. Don’t want to know that the speech you made and worried might have sucked, did in fact, suck, big time. Get used to it. In the Netherlands you are likely going to hear a lot of statements, that in other cultures politely fall into the category of “better left unsaid”.

Say what?

Whereas nationalities such as the British, Canadian and in some cases American, shy away from discussing “hot topics” such as religion, immigration, politics, money, etc. Dutch people revel in such lively and opinion-fueled debate.  Dutch people value honesty and sincerity. What we (non-Dutch peeps) might consider rude or blunt, the Dutch perceive as honesty and truth. In fact, they pride themselves in having and expressing an opinion.(Be sure to check out the comments for further "revelations" regarding the differences in cultures and dialogues, very interesting stuff!)

My opinionatedness has gotten me into plenty of trouble, and not just online, I'm talking about IRL (in real life-- for those people who say "no one would ever say that to a person IRL to their face....well, actually, I would say exactly that to their face... in real life to their face, because I'm Dutch, and I do value honesty as the best policy)

I do not go out of my way to try to be rude or mean to irritate people out of a desire to be aggressive or obnoxious, or what have you. I behave courtiously and when I do get into scrapes regarding my honesty, the Lord always comes to my rescue, and the situation always resolves itself into such a manner that the other "guilty" party admits that I didn't say anything "wrong". This had me bewildered for a long time and then my sweet husband shared this funny website with me, and it cleared up much of my bewilderment. 

I thank the Lord for honesty, regardless of how it is perceived or accepted/rejected.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Force Feeding a Cat

When I was first saved (a long, long time ago) I got the notion that it was my duty to now save EVERYONE. I talk about a dream that I had way back then on this blog post (toward the bottom of the post). About that time a young man told me that it was no good that I try to be the Holy Spirit for people, that I was trying to force people to "get it" and that doing so was like trying to force feed a cat.

Yeah, something like that, and I can get almost that determined too. But a kitty (even one that is a more common housecat variety) would have to be pretty near starving to death to require that kind of intervention, however, I had somehow decided people didn't realize they were headed to hell (rightly) and that spiritually speaking they truly are starving to death and that this required immediate action on my part. Yes, yes, and no.

Fast forward to today... I've accepted that your normal garden-variety hateful and hate-filled atheist is going to hell, period. Well, true that the Lord can supernaturally intervene in that person's life like He did with Saul/Paul, but anyway, I realize that for me it would be a hopeless cause. And I also understand that those who have a hunger to understand (like the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts ch 8) the Lord will make sure someone will help out. But what about those who are starving, and so near dying of starvation, and who think they are "just fine"??? I surely need to give them some immediate and direct intervenous assistance to save them from what they are just too happy to suffer, and because they are mere inches from a fate worse than death down their "road of life"??? Surely God requires due diligence of me; someone who clearly sees what is going on here???

Well....again that would presuppose that the Lord doesn't have a handle on each person's individual situation, and He does, no matter how much they hate Him, or insist that they know more about Him than the average stupid Christian does, or what have you, He knows everything, He knows IT ALL! The imagery about us being His hands and His feet on earth is a nice story, and He does use us to do His will from time to time, but He doesn't always require it. Besides, the best thing we can do for others in spiritual dire straights is pray. We see Moses doing it for those wayward Israelites time and time again, some of those Israelites were beyond that "point of no return" and some learned the lesson from what they see happen to them...

Yeah, the situation with Korah got him into alot of trouble with God, for sure, and even though Moses tried to intervene, well, the rest of the people were pretty shaken up about it but I think God got through...

To summarize this: I still struggle with trying to force feed a cat, when instead I just need to stay steady on the course to finish the race the Lord set before me. If I were in a race, and I tried dragging unwilling "would-be participants" who really don't want to be in that race, dragging them kicking and screaming, is that really accomplishing ANYTHING? And yet I continually try to do just that.

Heb 12:1-3 (ESV)

since we are surrounded
by so great a cloud of witnesses, 
let us also lay aside every weight
and sin 
which clings so closely, 
and let us run with endurance
the race that is set before us,   
looking to Jesus, 
the founder and perfecter of our faith, 
who for the joy that was set before him 
endured the cross, 
despising the shame, 
and is seated 
at the right hand of the throne of God.   
Consider him 
who endured from sinners

such hostility

against himself, 
so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

So true, and amen.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Another Confession

I love books; I always have. When I was a little girl I had a girlfriend whom I adored because she had lots of wonderful books. One day she lost her skate key, so I let her borrow mine... and then she lost mine as well. Then the ugly truth about my shallow friendship came out. I struggled with my anger with her because I knew that if I told her the truth, I would lose her as a friend, and would lose my relationship with her books. Yeah, pretty selfish, there it is, the real me in the flesh. I'm not giving up anything pretty by surrendering such gross selfishness to Jesus, let me tell you.

Anyways, fast forward several years to where the Lord has me today...

My darling husband recently made renovations to our lovely (and very old) house. One of the things he did was make a library/sitting room in a front room just off the main livingroom and diningroom area.

He (and my brother-in-law) did a beautiful job. It is so nice to sit here, the light of a beautiful bay window lending gentle light into the room. I often sit here with my laptop and get inspired by all these wonderful thinkers surrounding me. :) landing and moving to Canada also involved the transporting of boxes and boxes of books that still remained (and some still do) in the U.S.... sigh.

A few of my books made it onto the shelves, and the rest....well, not sure what to do with them just yet...and there are more of them than just these few little piles... three more boxes in the basement, and about ten more boxes (!!!) of books in storage in the states! Yikes! I hope my husband's ingenuity (truly a blessing of the Lord which I do not yet possess) will get me out of this predicament! 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Winter in March....

I was so glad/relieved when February ended because now it is March which means warmer weather with trees budding and tulips beginning to push out of the ground, and PERHAPS another snowstorm or two which would melt away in a day or two....well, not exactly....

Day before yesterday we had a blizzard, A BLIZZARD I TELL YA!...and this is what it looked like yesterday:

view from our diningroom window
yes, those are huge icicles, sigh
another view of the icicles

I think it is time for spring to start springing. Yesterday I had to leave the house (completely against my desire to stay in and just enjoy the picturesque views from my windows). I had to push a foot of snow off our van, and then travel over roads that were caked with icy patches, while people tailgated impatiently behind me. They can slow down a little bit and arrive safely to their destinations as well...and so did I. I took my time, got the errands taken care of, and got back to the safety of my home sweet home. It was nice to get out (I was developing a bit of cabin fever), but it was really nice to get home and back inside (yes I am a self-confessed homebody).

I hope all this snow and cold weather ends soon. Usually March has a light dusting of snow left over.

this (taken moments ago) shows there are heaps of snow
some heaps are as high as the surrounding homes...sigh

Oh well, when spring finally does come, it will be very much enjoyed indeed! Each season brings it's own particular beauty and blessings. This one is trying to teach me the virtue of patience... and of course contentment with all the blessings that I do have.

Monday, 3 March 2014

A New Chapter

 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: 
we spend our years as a tale that is told.  
 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; 
and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, 
yet is their strength labour and sorrow; 
for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.  
Who knoweth the power of thine anger?
 even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.   
So teach us to number our days, 
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. 
  Psalm 90:9-12 (KJV)

Last month was an ending of one chapter and the beginning of a new one for me. The difficulties I had to endure during the previous chapter prepared me for the life I now live, and at the time I was going through the greatest trials of that previous chapter, I was unable to see anything other than the trials. Now, in hindsight, I understand how the Lord used these things to strengthen me and shape me into the character that I am today.

A new beginning...a new year has just begun, winter is almost over and spring is just around the all feels so fresh and new and alive.

This situation has me pondering how our life today prepares us for the life after this life, a new beginning in a new land, and this life that I am living now will be "the previous chapter" in that new land and all that is right now will have disappeared from my consciousness, just as my previous 50+ years are just  memories which have laid a groundwork for where I am today.

In my Bible reading I am at the point in the book of Numbers where Joshua and Caleb were the 2 out of the 12 which gave a good report of the promised land which lay before them. The other 10 spoke of giants that would eat them alive. These 10 were successful in striking fear and doubts into the hearts of the rest of the Israelites, which then caused them to be stuck in their "chapter" of wandering in the wilderness for another 40 years before they could finally reach that land flowing with milk and honey, their next chapter.

Before coming to this point of where I am, I had doubts and fears about what will be expected of me, and how it all will turn out. I'm thankful that the Lord provides me with the strength to overcome the challenges which seem to threaten me and stand in my way. He helps me today, into this new chapter which will give me new challenges to overcome.