Search This Blog

Monday, August 30, 2010

Picking Apart the Picketers


I have some really interesting thoughts and a unique perspective on the picketers of Westoboro Baptist Church. Before I start, let's establish that yes I don't agree with what they are doing or the way they are going about things. But my job as a blogger is to give a unique angle on the subject and that's what I'm going to do today. Let's start by talking about the most hated woman in America....Shirley Phelps Roper.

The inspiration for the blog came from when I was reading an article that held an interview with Nate Phelps, Fred's estranged son. In the article, he talks about a childhood where he was brutally tortured by his father and made to learn the Bible.....or else. Being a child of Fred Phelps guaranteed a hellish childhood which included many brutal beatings and physical punishments.

And yes, when Shirley goes on TV with her family, the SEEM very angry and abusive. But I've watched enough documentaries of people who have talked with them and been in their home to know that they are actually really nice, respectful people. Even in their home when they debate with you, you can tell the children know how to talk in a respectful manner.

What amazes me is that this woman, who has had such a tortured childhood didn't take that rage and abuse onto her own children. After watching multiple documentaries, it seems like these kids have a really good relationship with their mother and there are no signs of child abuse. And trust me when I say that i know what child abuse looks like because I came from a home where me and my sibilings should have been removed by child services. The torture and horror of my childhood was unimaginable.

Putting aside the fact that many of us disagree with the doctrines of their home, other than that her kids are actually quite high functioning. None of them are showing signs of torture and that was obvious to all the documentary makers that came to visit their family. The world has been really judgmental and harsh but maybe we need to do our research abit.  What exactly are we supposed to expect of a woman that Fred Phelps tortured on a daily basis throughout her childhood?

One scene that sticks out in my mind was when comedian Keith Allen confronts Shirley and her son Sam and asked if he is the son born out of wedlock. It was very interesting to see her body language in the video. Keith was interrogating Sam and Shirley actually stood in front of him and said "Why don't you ask me instead of him?"  When she stood in front of him, that is a defensive body language.  It is a mother defending her son. And you know what? It shows that she has natural motherly instinct in her. She did the most natural thing in the world as a mother, she wanted to protect Sam. There have been other mothers who had a child born out of wedlock and actually abused them and said the child was of the devil and wanted nothing to do with them. There seems to be none of that in this case.

All of us are welcome to have our different opinions on the Phelps but I want to offer you this perspective. Fred Phelps offered next to nothing to his own kids when it came to giving them a loving home and showing them a great parenting role model. His kids ended up with alot of deep psychological issues. But when you see Shirley's kids, none of them have abuse issues.  She obviously did something right.  As unnatural as some of the behavior you've seen on TV is, it looks like all her natural parenting instincts kicked in when it came to raising her children. One things for certain, although there is much talk on hell, she's made sure her home is not a living hell for her kids.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

101 Ways to Wack the Wackos of Westoboro.....

Happy Sunday everyone! I'm having a great day sitting outside with my laptop finding new ways to entertain my fans and readers out there. Continuing on theme of my last video, I found so more videos that are too funny not to be shared. Have a good laugh at watching how others deal with these religious nuts and I'll be back soon with more news about my upcoming trip to Argentina. Ciao!

p.s. Quick survey! Which sin do you think I'd likely be going to hell for? Posting these blasphemous videos or being a woman who loves other women? LOL

p.s.s Don't forget that apparently also being Swedish guarantees you a front row seat experiencing fiery damnation in Dante's 7th level of hell...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

God Hates F@gs vs Brick Stone

Normally I would only share something like this through twitter or facebook but I absolutely cannot get over this video. This is just too funny. Now I know exactly what to say or do if I ever have to confront the protestors of Westboro Baptist Church LOL

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

From Father God to Mother Eagle

Bald EagleImage via Wikipedia

The last few days have just been incredible. I have been listening to a ton of sermons and podcasts and the ones that I found were exactly what I needed to hear. I've also tried some new speakers that I haven't heard before and was completely blown away. The speaker I have been listening to is the pastor of Abundant Life Church in Bradford, England and his name is Paul Scanlon. The message he has been giving is called "The Power of a Risk Taker".

What he has been speaking about is how the next generation of kids are being raised with a form of paranoid parenting. It's gone beyond just wanting to keep kids safe, it's gotten to the point of raising kids from a place of fear and phobias. He went on to cite examples in England where rulings have gotten to the point where they are thinking of banning all kinds of contact sports just in case someone might get hurt. And also banning games like "musical chairs" because it promotes aggression and it is teaching kids that there can only be one winner (seriously).

At one school, birthday cakes are not allowed to be brought to celebrate a birthday because there might be germs coming from the home of the child that is bringing it. In once incident, the parent drove behind the school bus just to make sure that the child would get there safely. Games like tag or doing handstands are slowly being discouraged or banned on the playground so that it is a 100% guarantee that nobody will get hurt.

Basically, the next generation is being raised in a cocoon and the pastor was preaching on how we are going to have an entire generation of individuals in North America and Europe who aren't going to cope with life simply because of paranoid parenting.There is so much good stuff that came from his preaching but there is one things that stood out in my mind. He preached on how Jesus, lived a life of risk. Our depictions of Jesus display him as passive but truthfully, there was nothing passive about the way that he lived. When his disciples signed on to stay with him, Jesus actually took them into situations that freaked them out totally. Let's review....

Jesus and them go out on boat into a deadly storm where he falls asleep while they battle for their lives until someone has to wake him up and ask him to do a miracle to calm the storm. They visit the territory of a demon possessed man who has 2000 demons and rushes at them screaming at them at the top of his lungs. Jesus walks into the temple and sees it being turned into a market place. He loses his temper and starts throwing things around, releasing livestock, overturning the money changer tables.

To add insult to injury, Jesus decides to break every single one of the sabbath rules and encourages his disciples to do the same in plain sight of the religious leaders. And when Jesus felt the need to relax, he thought that prostitutes and tax collectors make great company and would accept the invitation to any festival in town. He and his disciples one day arrived at the scene of what was meant to be a stoning and saved a woman caught in adultery just in the nick of time.  In short, the life of Jesus was not passive!

And the message talked about how when God loves us, he sometimes throws us into situations where we don't have our resource and comforts. Situations where there is uncertainty and we are forced to go into survival mode. Because he is developing us and forcing us to grow. It reminds me of how a mother eagle teaches her babies to fly. The sight of an eagle soaring may look majestic but the process that it took them to get there is not at all comfortable or pretty.

What the mother eagle does is that when her babies are old enough, she takes them and throws them right out of the nest so that their bodies go screaming towards the earth at a terrifying speed. Just when the ground is getting closer and closer and they think it is all over, they suddenly feel a thump as they land safely on the mother eagles back.  But their relief is short lived as the mother eagle flies them to the top of the nest and starts this process over again. This continues until the babies learn to fly and before long, they are able to soar into the air long before they get close to the ground.

To sum it up, this in a nutshell would be what this season in Canada has been like.  It would be a series of events where God allows me to have close calls and situations that freak me out completely. And just when I think that it's all over, help comes through at the last minute.  It all feels so uncomfortable and none of it looked or felt pretty.  There were many times where I was just so exhausted mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically that I thought that I was seriously not going to make it and the vision of what I am to do in Buenos Aires would never be realized.  But I actually see now that God had quite the opposite intention.  Every trial he put me through and made me survive was to ensure that the no matter what happens in Buenos Aires, the vision would be realized and I'm not going to quite half way through.

This time trying time that I have just been through has definitely given me loins of steel. I would never want to go through it again but at the end of the day, I am glad that he allowed me to go through so much hardship. And I know that my pain and troubles will be forgotten a few days from now when not only will I be soaring physically on an aircraft on my way to Argentina but my mind, soul, and spirit will be soaring like an eagle seamlessly through the air on magnificent wings  :)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Free Hugs - Love Your City

In British society, bodily contact or shows of affection are not encouraged. Hugs are somewhat of a rarity when it comes to social interactions. But one church decided that for one hour, they would take this rarity and turn it into a free commodity. Watch...

Abundant Life Ministries

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Boot Camp

Buenos AiresImage via Wikipedia

How are you all?  I am doing better these days. I am really eager to get going but I have had to take it slow and make sure that I am feeling mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically well enough to cope with going to teach in another country. The good news is that I am rapidly recovering and if all goes well, I should be able to make it out this week and get this whole project started.  God has been so good to me and hasn't let me go through more than I can bear. 

But for all of you out there who have been tuning it eagerly, I have a BIG spoiler for season 2.  This story really began about a year ago before my trip when I saw an ad for a company called "Viva Travel Guides"  They are a company that has guides both online and in print available.  Their focus is South and Central America. Not only that, they actually have a writers boot camp that takes place every single year where for one week, all these writers are put into a boot camp and given writing assignments and will be trained and taught on how to write for a guide book by some of Viva travel guide's best writers.

Every year, the boot camp happens in a different country of South and Central America. Last week I checked their website and found out that their bootcamp for 2011 is actually going to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina the week of January 3-7. I'm already going to be in the country so there was no way that I was going to pass up the opportunity to be able to attend the boot camp when I was already in the country.  Upon successful completion of the bootcamp, it is possible to be hired by the company to do writing assignments and reviews and actually get paid for each review that I do.

Not only that, I got in contact with someone at Viva Travel Guides and I told them my whole story about how I lived in Argentina before and that I am going back and that I have this massive website about Argentina that has exploded. She took a very keen interest with me and I just got word today from her that she would love to offer me a spot at the bootcamp.  And that they actually want me to be a guests speaker for the first day at the camp to give a talk about Buenos Aires.  This would be something that they would be paying me to do and they would be doing this by reducing my fee for the boot camp by $50. 

Normally the bootcamp is $350. She told me that because I am already in Argentina, they take $100 off and because I would be a guests speaker, they would be taking an additional $50 off so my fee for the boot camp would be $200. And I could actually get the rest of that fee refunded to me if I do enough paid writing assignments and reviews for them that are up to their standard.  Then after that, if I continue to write for them I will get to keep whatever I make. 

Boot camp is going to be an important step in stretching my muscles and launching my career as a writer. There are also other exciting opportunities, updates, and developments that have come across my path in the last little while. But I've decided to not give everything away all at once on this blogsite and for now I'll just leave something to the imagination of all my readers out there.....

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Butterflies in My Stomach

      Image by Te55♥ via FlickrWatch me fly away, give me life like a butterf...
The sound of the doorbell awoke me out of my stupor. Dazed for a moment, I stumbled towards the door to find out who was there. Right there in front of me stood my brother, with a BBQ roast chicken that he had just bought from the grocery for me upon request. I grabbed the chicken and thanked him profusely. Once inside again, I attacked the poor dead bird like a pack of hyenas. This is the first time I had anything to eat in two days.

I had been blessed enough in my life to be born into a well to do family. So many hardships my friends have had, I have not experienced those until now. I have never know what it is like to have to work 3 jobs to put yourself through school. But I deeply appreciate having my own education paid for and in being blessed with that, it past years I've tried to give my friends a break who weren't so fortunate as I was by helping them financially with their education, counselling services, or even buying things like a mattress (which I have always had but only later in life that I found out that for alot of people, a good mattress is a big luxury)

In my last blogpost, I talked about going through some really tough times but I want to balance it out and say that God has planned every day of my life and I wouldn't be going through something that he didn't allow. I think he really wanted me to know how it felt like to have very little, to go without food. To know what it is like to take bread from the back of the church and your only meal in several days is when someone takes you out for lunch or there is a church potluck.

Many of my friends went through a time where they did not have food. Literally, one girl I know joked about having a mayonnaise sandwich. In earlier blogposts I had written that sometimes God would come through with a gift certificate I could use at the grocery store. I always rejoiced when that happened but I also acknowledged that if there came a day that God did not come through in that way that I thought I needed, I had to be OK with that.

It was really tough initially, I felt kind of abandoned when things got thin. I know that there are many people out there upon reading this that would have loved to rescue me or do something but to do that would only be shortcutting a process that God is wanting to do in my life. When a butterfly comes out a chrysalid, it struggles for hours. An observer might be tempted to just rip open the chrysalid and let the butterfly out. But doing that would have only resulted in an early death for the creature. You see, during that struggle, that is the time that the wings are developing muscles, the very muscles that enable a butterfly to take flight.

In the past, when I would get a gift certificate for groceries, it definitely was a gift and a blessing from God. But this past month with being allowed to feel hunger and know what it is like to have little, I realize that I am being given a gift, the gift of compassion.  Sometimes the only way that compassion is developed in you is when you go through something that others are going through.  I really hated at the time when I was lying there feeling hunger pangs but it resulted in an incredible level of compassion being birthed within my heart. I feel for people who go hungry on a level that I have never experienced before. And I also have a new appreciation for the site of food!

One reason I now see that he did this is because he is blessing my blogsites incredibly. And now my blogsites (both of them) have very strong money making potential. The company I am dealing with pays well and treats their affiliates well. Even if I got to the level where I made 1 sale a day, I could pull in $25 000 a year. And that literally is just from purchases through my blogsite without me doing anything! God put me through what i went through to keep me from getting too spoiled and he wanted to humble me and make me realize that yes, I may be lacking right now in the financial area but he has given me so much in other areas.

There is a verse in the Bible that says to much he has been given, much is expected. I used to complain to God about my circumstances and how now I have so little. Now I don't because I realize that maybe I need to go through what I am going through because he has already given me much and he's about to give me even more. This experience is to keep me grounded when things start to get good.  You see, awhile ago when I was praying, the story of Joseph in the Bible came to me.

For those of you who are not familiar with this story, it is the story of Joseph in egypt. He got sold into slavery with his brothers. Went to work in Pharoah's court. He walked with full integrity but still ended up getting accused and thrown in jail. Eventually, things changed and gets out of prison and in fact gets elevated to having only 2nd in authority to Pharoah. God spoke to me and showed me that in the same way, things have happened that have thrown me in "prison". And God is allowing me to be humbled because there is coming a day where I'm gonna experience promotion and elevation and I'm going to have more than I could ever possibly dream of. He's putting me through so much because one day I'm going to have much. So don't feel too sorry for me :)

A new season where things will be good is right around the corner. I believe that the season where things will be good will be in Buenos Aires. All that has happened to me in Canada were experiences that were meant to keep me grounded and so that I don't lose site of what is important. It is also meant to toughen me up so that when challenges come along, though there might be food in my belly, there won't be butterflies in my stomach.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Silver Chair

Image via Wikipedia
Just finished reading a spectacular book that I am sure you would be familiar with called "The Silver Chair". It is one of the 7 books in "The Chronicles of Narnia" and it is definitely a favorite of mine. This time around when I read it, the story meant even more to me because of something I am going through. WIthout giving away too much, basically the story line is that there are these kids that are assigned by the great lion Aslan on a mission. Aslan gives thems some specific guidelines and directions to follow and long story short, they screw up. Eventually they complete the mission but they messed up when it came to following the signs. But at the end of the day, Aslan is not angry or upset with them, he is just happy that they completed the mission successfully.

This hits home with me because I think that God has taken me on a journey to deal with one of my worse fears......making mistakes. This may sound odd to you but if you understood my background, you will understand why I always feel that whether I am having financial dealings, or dealings in relationships or in everything in life, I feel I have to make the right choice or else. And I think God has been letting me go through this thing where I do my best to make the right decision with the knowledge I had at the time but then later stuff happens, things change and I found I made a mistake.

When I was growing up, I had an EXTREMELY tense home environment. I was the one and only support for my younger siblings and whenever they came to me for answer, I always had to have the right answer or give them the right direction. There was absolutely no room for mistakes. If I screwed up, there were severe consequences and someone could get very hurt if I didn't give the right advice. I always felt that I had to be the fearless leader who had all the answers.

The Israeli Defense Force has probably the best military training in the world. And there is a reason for this, because when they are training their soldiers they actually use REAL bullets. That is what my home environment felt like and it was not a pretty or happy or relaxed place to be. And I carried this behavior into my adulthood and have always felt that I have to be perfect in all my decision making or else.

And it doesn't help that I grew up with a theology in my head where I was told that when I pray for direction, I had better be hearing and sensing right. Because if I make a mistake and choose something wrong or by accident, it's over for me. Once I am off track, it is forever and there are no second chances. But I am beginning to see that this way of thinking isn't right and it actually is very damaging.

In my life, I have actually met people who were so afraid of falling out of God's will that they would rather depend on some kind of leader or guru to make decisions or tell them what they are hearing because they are afraid to be wrong. It's not a fun way to live nor is there freedom or liberation with that kind of belief system.

I am now starting to see that God knows all my mistakes before I make them. I used to beat myself up or get frustrated if I made a decision without knowing all the facts or if someone didn't come through for me like i expected or was needing them too. In the story of "The Silver Chair", the kids had 4 signs they were supposed to follow and screwed up 3 of them. But they did end up getting the job done and that was all that counted.

When I worked at call centres, there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't have to fix someone else's bill that had gotten screwed up. And I realize now that if a human being like me is capable of fixing up a bill, then an all powerful God is completely capable of fixing up areas where I have made wrong decisions or even got myself into sticky situations where I walked into them believing things would turn out a certain way only to have everything change. None of the mistakes in my life that I will ever make are a surprise to God and when I pray, I already feel a sweet and gentle whisper telling me "I got you covered, don't worry".

Having this revelation in my heart gives me a sense of peace and I can seriously take comfort in knowing that I can just do the best that I can do and if there are unseen contingencies, he's already got a plan to fix the problem even before I had the problem. There is nothing that I am going through that he hasn't allowed to happen and if he allows me to get into something, he already has a way planned to get me out of it.

In short.......this fearless leader fears no more!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, August 02, 2010

Joan of Arc

By now I'm sure that everyone has heard of the legend of Joan of Arc. The young peasant girl who received a vision from God that she was to lead the french army against the english. Which she did with success.  There are a few interesting points in the story, some of it may be only legend and some of it may be fact. I believe that it is a historical fact that at one point, Joan of Arc got hit by an arrow. But it stunned her for only a second before she proceeded to pull it right out of her shoulder. Unfortunately her life would come to a tragic end as she was burned at the stake but legend says that when all was said and done of her execution, her heart was left unburned amongst the ashes.

This story really inspires me because I've been having a real struggle during my time here on the island. All of you know that I keep delaying my trip and to some people I've told them that I've been sick. Well that is true but I never explained the reason why. But I want to maintain a good relationship with my audience so I want to be as honest as possible.

When I first got to the island in March, my landing was bittersweet. Having spent all my life savings,  knew already that this would be a hard time. But some events that happened to me in the early days here turned what was going to be a hard time into an excruciatingly painful time. I had a falling out with two friends in a matter of two weeks. And what made it worse is that in one of those cases, some really venemous words got spoken into my life.

Did you know that your body has pressure points on it and if someone knew how to hit you in the right place in the right time in the right sequence, they could kill you instantly?  It can be done but they would have to be so specific in their aim.  Unfortunately, I was in a situation where people knew exactly where to hit in order to cause massive destruction. They knew exactly what to say and exactly where all my weaknesses were. Kind of like Luke and the Deathstar in Star Wars.

The affect of those destructive words would not only break my heart but actually cause symptoms on my body. For months now, when I get up in the morning I feel sick, then I start to burst our crying and then sometimes I feel nauseated and can't move. I have also had a few times where I felt like I was going to faint. I have been unable to think or plan anything properly, basically I was trapped in my own body and I had to wait until all the symptoms subside. And while I am dealing with the physical reaction of my body, at the same time I am dealing with the emotions of the things that have happened.

But I don't want to keep focusing on that because things are going better and I want to put a positive spin on this whole situation. It's only in the last 3 weeks that I've started to feel semi-whole again. The church is Buenos Aires is very aware of what has happened and they want me to come when I am ready and they are praying actively. The point of me telling you this story about me is just like Joan of Arc, we are all going to get hit with arrows sometimes. And unfortunately, some of us may get hit with arrows by people who know how to hit us where it is going to hurt or even destroy us.

No matter what happens, there has to come a time when we pull that arrow out of our body and continue the battle. Yes, Joan of Arc was stunned for a second but that did not stop her from fighting. And there is a season for us to feel stunned and to rest and draw back, but for me that season is over as of today. I had a bad slump for several months now where I was totally out of it. But like Joan of Arc, I am pulling that arrow out of me and going back to Buenos Aires to finish what I started.  I don't what other challenges await me. But what I do know that just like Joan, even if the darkness seemingly triumphs against me and I get burnt to the ground, there in the ashes you would still find my heart untouched and unharmed :)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas