Pinterest worthy Prayer life

pinterest

I love my prayer journal. I love my bible study journals. Multiple, because, why not? Plus, I mean, multiple days for multiple topics, and there was so much pretty things and stationary and sense of purpose….

You see what I’m getting at?

I dunno when it happened, but it just dawned on me that so much of my journaling was – probably is to be honest – just about the action. having journals, making use of all those notebooks and  pretty journals I collected over the years, then having an excuse to buy more. It’s bible study after all. Improving prayer life. Learning  how to be a better Christian.

And yes, all those things are necessary. All those things are important in and of themselves. And having specific themes and topics studied and put down for later reference does come in handy. You are studying after all. Just like school, it’s good to have notes at your fingertips when it comes to learning, and being ready, and preparing to apply it.

Still, I have to admit Pinterest is a good source to start, but I think I’m getting a little too tied up in the presentation and potential of it all. I have my own method, and it’s working great for me. Still I’m looking for more, and how to be more creative, how to make my stuff more Pinterest worthy.

It cheapens the whole process. Almost falsifies it, I think. I dunno.

Presentation is important, true.

But life isn’t always perfect or presentable. There are ups and downs. Messes, perfect triumphs however big or small.

When I started my prayer journal, I knew it  wouldn’t be perfect. I knew there would be scratches and messy colouring, perfect handwriting, messy handwriting, lots of rewording because I never properly think through what i want to say and how I should say it. And in the beginning, remembering this, I was happy with it. I felt more…. purposeful. Now, looking at the posts and submissions on Pinterest, I’m getting a little less happy. Feeling like I could do better. Do more, make it prettier. Same with my bible study journals.

That’s a mistake on my part.

It’s a new day and a new chance to get back on track. First step is to admit my problems and mistakes. Next step is to do.

Maybe it’s time to close the tab.

 

We are all Edmund

Yes, I’m referencing a tumblr post, found on Facebook, on a WordPress blog, that links back to tumblr. Ain’t dissemination wonderful?

Everyone on tumblr who comes across any post have at least once used an Edmund gif as #relatable, #me, #tbhMe, etc. Also, he’s indeed sassmaster supreme. 

But he’s more relatable than we think. Sure he’d rather not spend his time outside. Yes, we all think his siblings insufferable sometimes. And yeah, we like to come off better than we feel to others. 

But I really think the description in the text post actually sums up my point. All of this is true. And a little on the nose for C.S. Lewis. Aslan as the model for the Christ figure. Yeah, it’s not a boop to the nose. It’s the full palm. 

His other siblings clearly show admirable characteristics- bravery, honour, wisdom and caution, truthfulness, kindness, responsibility. Edmund doesn’t. Not immediately. He’s childish, immature, a liar, even if for fear of being babyish as Lucy was perceived despite both of them experiencing Narnia. He sold out his family for sweets. 

One of the easiest things to do would be to sort them by the Hogwarts house systems. Sweet, innocent Lucy, who believes in the good of the beings around her, but who would fiercely oppose Evil – Hufflepuff. Susan, who looked at things with logic, caution,  and common sense could easily be Ravenclaw. Honour-bound Peter looked after his siblings, saw to it that he fulfilled his responsibilities, and rallied them no matter  what they did is clearly Gryffindor. Edmund knew the reality they faced. They were displaced because of war. His family is separated. He’s upset and makes it known, even if he can’t express what the problem is. He knows what he wants to be perceived as, and aims to portray it. He sold his siblings for sweets. Yeah he’s Slytherin. 

But it’s more than that. 

He was all those things. He did all those things. Those characteristics and his past experiences only helped make him “the Just”. He learned where he went wrong in Narnia. He wanted out. 

He wasn’t perfect. Far from it. I’m sure he had his faults even after the battle. ( Honestly, I’ve only ever read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

He faltered. He had his moments of doubt. But he looked to Aslan, and saw what Aslan did for him. He forgave Edmund. He allowed him Grace. He died for Edmund. Edmund found out, constantly, that he was worth it. And those are things you can’t come back from after the implications of that hit you. And you can’t help but love the person who would give his life for you without an second thought. 

As I said, Aslan as the Christ figure is well on the nose. 

You know when you’ve been just out all day, and you can’t really function, and you know you need to just wash everything off and change, but you’re so exhausted that you’re just tempted to drop on the floor and stay there forever? I’ve been there spiritually for a while. It had to take this exact text post for me to try harder at getting clean and refreshed.

I’ve tried to be Lucy. I’m too much like Edmund. But like Edmund I have that second chance. Way too much, but I’ll take it. 

Les Miserables -Javert

I haven’t posted anything in a while. At least not like this. I’m not entirely sure where or how this will be going, but I do know, I want it to be substantial.

Okay, yeah, Les Mis: The Movie came out like….. was it 2012? I didn’t get to see in on the bigscreen like I wanted, and I def wasn’t gonna stream it because tv shows to catch up on. Actually, no that’s a lie because I’ve streamed enough movies during that 4? year period. Haven’t I?

Beside the point.

What is my point?

Javert. My favourite character among a cast of endearing characters. As much as I’ve youtube’d enough Les mis performances and anniversary specials and movie clips, none has really stood out to me like Javert.

This is a man who knows right from wrong and is willing to uphold the pillars of the law to make sure the right thing is always done.

And yet, he’s faced with Jean Valjean, a man who committed a crime of necessity,  and is also a good man, a man who’s done right by a woman he fired, by ensuring her child’s provision and safety.  A man who saved another from under a cart. A man who’s done right by his adopted daughter by saving the boy she loved. A man who’s done right, by promising to give himself up to the law, to ensure that the boy he saved is given the proper medical care, after removing him from the barricades. A man who – here’s the kicker – released from custody, the very man who was after him for years. 

It’s not like Norrington from Pirates of the Caribbean  who knew his duty, but who adapted his strategy when facing Captain Jack Sparrow, because this man was branded and punished for being a pirate, despite saving the lives of 100 people from slavers – thus making said pirate the worst pirate. Jack did wrong, but he was still a good person at heart. So,Chaotic Good.

Where am I going with this? Well, Norrington seemed to understand the multifaceted character of people, and adjusted to suit. Javert on the other hand, had little understanding. It’s his fatal flaw. As God-fearing and law abiding as he is, his two dimensional view of good and evil tore at him, and tortured him when faced with Valjean. His love of God and his love of law and order in society – that’s not wrong. It was why I like him. And it broke my heart to see him throw himself to his death. 

But here’s the thing

Javert has been described as a legalist, in that his “moral foundation … is built strictly on legalism”

It’s true enough that Javert did pray, and swear to God (by the stars), and have enough biblical knowledge to have a pretty emotional song (I quite like it). But I wonder. Javert is legalist. And the musical turned movie summarized his character but the basic structure is the same as in the novel. So, across the board, this is him. He’s legalist –

So devoted is he to this choice that, Hugo writes, “[h]e would have arrested his own father if he escaped from prison and turned in his own mother for breaking parole. And he would have done it with that sort of interior satisfaction that springs from virtue.”

So,  I have to wonder, or conclude, or assume, that the God of the church in ~1877 may not be said to be Javert’s god. It was the law. It was his two dimensional view of right and wrong. His devotion to it dragged him around France persistently after a man who dodged him for ~10 years. It seemed right to do so. Prisoner 24601 Jean Valjean refused to go for Parole . This man who escaped the law and the punishment that Justice claimed he deserved, needed to be apprehended. At any cost.

When faced with the idea that everything he knew and had accepted before was wrong, Javert couldn’t handle it. How could God allow this? How could Javert, who  was righteous, and good, and dutiful, and law abiding, not be able to bring this chaotic, turbulent man to justice? And why is God showing Valjean as a good man, he did wrong, stealing from honest, hardworking people who put in the effort to earn a livelihood? Was it God? Or was it the devil in disguise sent to torture him?

AND one heartwrenching, stressful song later, He’s there, floating in the Seine.

I’m talking about Javert, and what I think about him. I like his tunnel-visioned need to see that justice was served to the people who needed it, however they deserved it. I like that he was dutiful to his people and his country. I like his intentions.

I like his name.

But I like him too, mainly because he’s very relatable to people like me, who try to do good. Who try to live the way God commanded. Who live closely to a set of morals, not only because it’s right, but also, because, it just helps society. It provides a sense of order, preventing chaos and trouble. It’s not perfect, but it helps.

But his flaws make him my favourite. This is a man, who unknowingly created a god out of his sense of duty to the laws of France. What the law said was right. Whatever the law deemed necessary for punishment for whatever crime needed to be exacted. It caused him to act the way he did, because the people deserved more than being taken advantage of by people who he saw as unwilling to make the effort to provide for themselves.

(I’m aware that these statements can be said by people about Christianity)

Aren’t we guilty of that though? We try to do the best we can, to be the Christians we’re supposed to be (ugh, Thenardiers echoed here), but we may unknowingly create gods from something else, even as we claim to want to serve God. I’m not innocent here, surely.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. We can’t hate on Javert, it’s really pointless. He was a broken man, left with nothing but despair. It broke my heart to see him jump though. I mean I know it was coming, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat for months and months. It was only so because, God.

I am not strong. I am weak. I actually am, it’s a running joke with my brother. But spiritually, I just  can’t some days. I won’t. Despair is a running theme, and self-hatred, among other self-harming things.

But I can’t bring myself to physically harm myself. Not- no. Never. I feel that despair, but I feel peace riding underneath, reminding me of something in a situation to overcome. I’m reminded of something, anything, that one thing that I need to be thankful for. And, God, I’m so grateful in those times.

And Javert didn’t have that.

 

 

 

 

 

On this day in history

I hate letting people know when my birthday is generally. There are a lot of reasons why I don’t, and it all stems from how awkward I feel about it.

Still, for the sake of this Post, that’s the context. Tonight’s my last night as a 25 year old.

So what have I learned?

Well, from tonight’s drinking game with my siblings ( at home, where I could easily wimp out and leave, as I did) I learned several things. One, that this would make an excellent blogpost.  Two, that as a Christian, these things have lessons, despite the obvious “drunkenness?!?!?”aspect. Three, that there are some things that I’m too old for, and I was right years ago when I decided that my one drink limit was enough.

And these are the three that I could think of at this point in the post.

Let’s start with the easiest to address – age and alcohol tolerance. I don’t like drinking tequila. I don’t like drinking generally because I hate the buzzed, then uncomfortable feeling afterwards. I prefer to take one alcoholic drink, if any at all, then compensate with bottles/glasses of water to clear my head.  It’s safer, and I don’t feel to throw up immediately after. Unlike tonight. Luckily, it was at home, with siblings and in a space where I could wimp out and get comfy before I sleep. At 25, hours away from being 26, I’m too old for drinking games. Also, I think I inherited my father’s tolerance for alcohol. (It’s hella low)

I’m an old lady, I shouldn’t be playing with these young’uns. Not with these fancy social activities of theirs. I’m lucky tho. I knew when my limit was coming up. I even told my siblings when that limit was coming, then breached. But because I’m either too scared or to vague to say anything outright, I still had to vomit, then walk around a few times before I officially admitted defeat.

So, age, preference, and tolerance level equal not qualified for being an alcoholic. So yay. Factor in the fact that I remember all my drunken adventures(“adventures”) yea, I’m not gonna become an alcoholic anytime soon.

Christianity. It’s not a black and white issue. Alcohol as an issue is extremely vague. Paul talks against it for people serving in the church(1 Tim 3:8), and those who are drunkards are described as people to not associate with(1 Cor 5:11). But alcohol can be useful in medicine (1 Tim 5:23).

Moderate use of anything is good. It’s excessive use that gets us in trouble. And, as low as my tolerance for alcohol is, I believe that I probably crossed my limit long ago. The nausea and throwing up proved it.

I’m just glad that I was in control of my senses to stop before it got worse than it did. Luckily it was comically bad instead of, “holy shit, I think she’s dead” bad.

Most people, being human, can’t control their urges, and they end up giving in to these urges, which quickly become addictions. Alcohol is addicting. It can be destructive when it gets to this point. Which is why I could understand why many Christian leaders tend to abhor it, and strongly advise against, and openly condemn it. The youth in me is saying, but, just know yourself and know your limit. Moderation is key. The old lady who strongly just wants to not regret her decisions say just ignore it altogether. You act as if you’re drunk anyway, just be aware of the crap you’d say and have more control over yourself. Because you could be aware, but still be reckless with your words under the influence of alcohol.

Which segues nicely into my next point. (Ad-libbing) A drunken mouth speaks a sober mind. Which happened tonight. Making everyone, including myself, aware of issues that I still need to sort of probably. Or address. To myself and with others. I’m not complaining. I’m not regretting saying it or revealing it. But don’t think me callous or cruel.  Regret for me tends to be forgetting it out ignoring it, pretending it didn’t happen. Since I’ve revealed it, I could now address it and try to fix things.

This goes back to Christianity. One, excess is bad, leading to sin. And for lack of a better word, self sabotage and disrepair.  But, I’m admitting where I went wrong. I went well past my personal limit, leading to excess and discomfort. Two I said things I would have been better off addressing or staying quiet about. That could have led to a fight, but luckily it didn’t. Thank God. Because two alcohol fueled parties fighting never leads to anything good. Three, well, since I’ve put it out there, bringing this up does make the problem real, more….. corporeal? More…. yes, real. It can be addressed. Which is good. If issues are made clear among people, things can be made new and whole. It puts it out there, ready for a solution to be made.

I’m sobering up pretty quickly given the time since I decided to write this post, coupled with the almost immediate throwing up I did. Which I don’t mind. Tequila is horrible.

So, in this moment of decided (spiritual) weakness, there can be strength. Remember, all have fallen short.

Sigh

I’m just happy that my method of drinking then sobering up means that I don’t get hangovers.

I’ll remember it though. I remember each and every one of these times….. 😳

Luke 23 – thoughts while reading for Tumblr bible study . I swear it’s related.

You know in the original Superbook  series where Christopher and  Joy go into the bible and experience it to understand it and apply it to their lives for whatever moral needs to be learned? I’m reading Luke 23 and I keep flashing back to the episode with the Fall of Man. Chris had tried to stop Adam and Eve from eating the Fruit of the Tree of Knowedgle of Good and Evil. The Serpent  hisses and scares them long enough for the original couple to eat.

All I’m thinking about now, is that if I was there at the events of the chapter, I’d have to stop the kids from trying to stop what’s going on because it’s necessary. It’s the only way that Humanity could be restored to God. Still, knowing why, and knowing what happens, or seeing  what happened as they did, it’ll be hard to do. And I’m picturing Chris and Joy’s faces looking up at me and it’s bad because, canonically, they’re now experiencing and properly learning what happened.

Also,  I imagine the guilt they probably feel because they didn’t stop Adam and Eve from eating the one fruit that started it all. If they didn’t, then, Jesus wouldn’t need to suffer as He did. I mean, Maybe. Because who knows what would have happened after they [potentially] stopped it.

But the story can’t change, because we’re not a part of it.  And the plan can’t change because God’s plan needs to come to fruition. For our sake.

I swear, Chris and Joy have to be the most convinced? certain? what’s the word I’m looking for? confirmed? Christians after literally experiencing the bible as they did.


So how is it related?

We all could attest to the fact that a good book draws you in and you’re attached. Experiencing things alongside the characters or you’re tuned to the feelings and experiences of the characters.  Yours and theirs contrast or complement each other as you go through the same experience in the moment.

That’s what I felt reading this.

I was made aware of the experiences of the people, of Pilate, of Herod, of Jesus too. You feel what He felt. You see what He went through, in a third-person  POV. I felt like Pilate’s decision was based on fear of this angry mob before him accusing an  innocent man. My feelings, and my apprehension, and recognition and awareness of what’s been described in the chapter- it all leads to an appreciation  of what was done for my sake, and your sake, and for all, despite none of us deserving a pardon. Despite all of us deserving punishment.

The same way that Chris and Joy felt and learned and experienced what was in the book -the Greatest Book – I was drawn in, felt, learned, experienced, and them proceeded to put myself into the circumstances in the chapter, as one of the crowd and it was scary. I mean, these people looked for the Messiah, learned about how he would come, have extensive knowledge of the sacred writings and prophecies, but were unable to recognize Him. That’s terrifying.

Progress!!! (Or -?!!??!?!-)

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Things are falling into place for me at a very rapid pace. After so long without, suddenly I’m getting so many opportunities and progress, and it’s amazing and overwhelming all at once.

A business venture and partnership is coming together. My friend and I are doing tutoring! Four out of five compulsory subjects, so that’s like, half of what people actually do for school. We both are putting in the effort for this, and as slow as we are in getting started, we haven’t been without possibility and certainty. We’re planning and organising as we go, and it seems to work. With God, (God willing), we’ll go far with it.

I’ve also been hired with a small company. It’s a tiny position, but I’m hoping and praying that I could stay for a while – longer than part-time, earning my way, and learning new skills.

Ministry seems to be progressing as well.

I’ve been doing bible study under beneath the tangles over on tumblr, and now I’ve been asked to lead it. So it’s a big step, and I – admittedly am feeling braggy about it, but mostly I’m just nervous about it. Am I now in a leadership position, holy- ?!

Also, I can’t quite remember if I had blogged about it before, but I did want to be a Spanish translator or interpreter for pastors ( I aimed for Missions) when I was little, and in a five – to seven year old mindset, I decided i would, and promptly forgot I had done so. Until years later. That was three years ago.

Today though, I intended to suggest the idea of it to my pastor, and tonight we discussed it. He seems for it, and I hope it happens, because…. We need to reach a wider audience in their native tongues.

Problem with that is, how am I going to effectively pitch that.

Can I just ask that you keep these things in prayer? The tumblr bible study ( and participate if you feel like it! All are welcome!) and the translation/interpretation. I’ll be praying on my side too, but it would be helpful and appreciated if you agreed with me.

Sign language classes have begun for me

We’re two weeks in so far, and it’s really interesting, because we learn both ASL and TTSL signs where applicable. We got a lot more of TTSL v ASL signs today and it’s actually pretty cool. I’m thinking I’ll be more comfortable with ASL signs though. Which isn’t a problem, since ASL is widely used here. Granted, the TTSL signs would be good to know, for vocab or general use. I dunno.

I’m just glad I have a forum to learn and practice. You learn stuff online, which is fine, but I mean, language is dynamic, and learning online and from books is way static. I just wanna get a place to practice it, even if it’s just once a week.

It’s one step closer to fully learning TTSL though. Like, officially. The interpreters learn it, the average Joe learns ASL.

I’ll want to learn TTSL.

But can I interpret? I get trouble interpreting got spoken languages. It’s a confidence/anxiety thing. I’ll get over it, but… Maybe not for some time.

Anyway, there’s always Deaf events to go and learn TTSL.

Oh interesting thing! For me at least. Maybe some linguists will find it cool. I dunno. I do.

There’s a parent of a Deaf child there. Her son attends the Cascade School of the Deaf, and he even taught us some signs. Some were intentional, others were not. He was playing, but I was watching. I mean, he’s the only native signer there tonight. So, I need to learn. As a polyglot and a linguist, I make it my point!

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With the signs for family members, I watched the tutor/coordinator sign, and it was what I learned on asluniversity, and I’m looking at the kid and I’m seeing what the Deaf naturally use here. So I’m following him, using his signs. The tutor didn’t correct me yet, so I’m fine (?)

What’s cool too, as a linguist, is seeing/hearing about language changes. Or possible ones anyway. Like for HEART we learned you trace the shape of a heart on your chest. The kid’s mother mentioned to the tutor that children at school signed it, like, using the hand to shape it rather than trace it  (?)

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Like that, I believe. The location is the same, but if I remember rightly, you do need movement. I wonder what the movement would be.

Hm…  I don’t wanna say you can use this just yet. So please don’t. Just trace the shape of it.

Last week, we  learned the history of TTSL and the Deaf community in Trinidad and Tobago, and some organisations. I was supposed to blog about that last week, but geez I was tired. I’ll get to it eventually. There is much research to get done. We learned about some, but much more info is needed I think.

Hm….

But yah! That’s like a very brief rant, very boring summary.

And we did a song that made the tutor cringe even as she had us sign  it. It was awkward! =D

But it did help us learn signs so, why not.

Should I do ASL v TTSL sign videos, just to show y’all the comparisons? Or should I hold off until I know a bit more and am more confident?

I’m thinking the latter.

Yeah.

That one.

I’m very sleepy.