Thinking about you…

So, I have a crush on this guy. And it’s an Alicia-Keys-You-Don’t-Know-My-Name type of situation, except he does know my name and ain’t nobody singing. (If you don’t get the Alicia Keys reference, let Youtube be your friend.)

Anyway, the point is that I have this crush and I don’t know what to do about it, which is silly cause I’m a grown woman.(Any grown women out there got some advice for me?) I also don’t know what to do with my thoughts. I am a writer, friends. My brain never shuts off and there is an infinite supply of creativity in there. This, combined with my crush’s frequent appearance in my every day life is not a good combination. Why? Because thoughts have “no behavior” as Miss Paulette (one of the women who raised me) would say. Thoughts are like the 3-year-old shrieking and running up and down the aisles in Walmart. They don’t care about you. Meanwhile, I’m out here trying to chase them down and keep them under control. But just like that kid in Walmart, they’re having none of it.

I’ve really been on a mission to control my thoughts recently. Not just the ones about Mr Crush, but all of them. The ones about my fears about the future; the ones that have me worrying about my finances (remember the job thing?); the ones that have me assigning motives to my coworkers behavior. Thoughts. They can lead us down a dark road.

But they don’t have to. Focusing on things that are true, lovely, pure, worthy of respect has really helped me with this. Asking God to control them has also helped. So if my problem is your problem too, give it a try. You can also check out this great book by Crain Groeschel on Winning the War in Your Mind.

Okay, that’s all. I’m off to go NOT think about you know who. Good luck warriors!

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. – Philippians 4:8, The Message



Dealing with the damages

brokennessI spend most of my days with children. Some days I am with children who are functional. Other days I am with children who function differently. Society has lots of labels for this second set, labels that are mostly polite ways for saying they are damaged. We live in a world where broken-ness is not tolerated. Instead it is something to be defined, analysed and fixed. This is fairly easy to do when you wear your damage at a surface level – when the way you walk or talk or behave is clearly different from the way everyone else does. But what about when your malfunction is not on the surface? What about what your broken-ness is so deep inside that no one can see it? Or so deeply woven into who you are that you don’t realize it is broken-ness until you try to untangle the reasons you behave the way you do?

Continue reading

Higher Thoughts: Getting Unstuck

stuckI am an over-thinker. I get hung up on what people say and what they don’t say. I obsess about what I say and how I think people may have interpreted what I said. It may be a bit neurotic, but I know I am not the only one with hang ups. I have a co-worker who gets hung up on dirt, so as soon as she comes in to work she starts wiping down everything with Lysol. I know someone else who is obsessed with their food preparation, so they need to know who prepared what they’re going to eat before they eat it. Naturally, this person finds it difficult to eat out. A lot of people have quirky hang-ups. Continue reading

Higher Thoughts: Pre-Problem Solutions

Funny-Elephant-cartoon-9I have the memory of an elephant. An elephant with short term memory loss. So in order to ensure that I get things accomplished I have to make lists and use calendars and the like to remind myself of what I need to do. It doesn’t help that I usually have a million things going on from week to week. Between my ever-changing work schedule, my activities at church, appointments with my family, favors for friends, and the volunteering I manage to squeeze in, I can barely keep track. Continue reading

Masters of our domain

exercise-weight-lossThis week, after a long conversation with my best friend about our mutual unfitness, I decided to join the gym. Now if you have ever tried to join a gym, you know they try to upsell you on a whole bunch of extra stuff. In my case they insisted that I do a health assessment with a personal trainer. I did said assessment and turns out that I am overweight (no surprise) and also at risk for lifestyle related diseases (big surprise). Naturally I immediately set out on a mission to lose that extra weight and get my health right (more water, more exercise, more sleep). The problem with all of that however is that it requires a lot of self-discipline on my part – something I have always struggled with. Continue reading

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy BirthdayYes! That’s right, it’s my birthday!

Okay, so it’s not my birthday today. It was actually last Thursday that I officially increased a year in age. But I have to say this has been my best birthday in a while. Usually I spend my birthday super quietly, on my own. I don’t tell people about it, and I breathe in the ‘joy’ of getting older in solace. This year, it was still pretty low-key, however I did allow myself the company of close friends and family. There are a few things I have learned through this birthday however that I want to share:

1. It’s not the quantity of friends you have, but the quality
As I get older I realize that I don’t have the whole swath of friends I had in my high school, college and early adult days. In fact, my friend pool has condensed down to a few. But the few that I have are people I really love, people I want to be with, and people with whom I have a mutual understanding. That is more priceless than I ever realized.

2. Family rocks
Family have always been an essential part of my life. In fact, in terms of priorities, it has always been God first, family next and everything else after. However, as I get older the value of my family, who make me laugh, cry, scream and sometimes do all three at the same time, has sky rocketed. After all, when you’re old, they’re the difference between nurse-like care and nursing home.

3. Its easier to be honest
I have always admired the way elderly people say whatever they want without caring much what people think of them. I don’t think I am totally there yet, but I am learning that it is easier to be yourself, say what you want, and like what you want (and who you want) without apology than trying to fit into other people’s perception of who you should be. At the end of the day, the people in #1 & #2 will accept you regardless, and that’s all that matters.

And that’s my birthday wisdom for 2013. What have you learnt on your birthday?

Higher thoughts: Right word, wrong way…

I am a strong proponent of minding your own business. There is no quicker way to stir up some drama than by offering up your opinion where it wasn’t asked for. The problem comes however when someone directly asks for your opinion. I found myself in this precarious position some time ago while sitting with a friend in KFC. Continue reading

I survived Bangkok

This weekend Thailand celebrated the King’s birthday with fireworks, food and festivities. In honour of his birthday, I celebrated a day off from work and spent the weekend in Bangkok with friends.

Bangkok reminds me of Toronto in a way that all big cities remind you of other big cities. The bright lights, the traffic, the pollution, the glaring commercialism, it was all there in its boisterous glory.

And then there are the tourists. They are everywhere. Sometimes I think that is more bad than good. Especially when I see the young Thai girls with old white tourist men. The guidebooks warn you about it, and in the back of your mind you know that the sex trade exists in Thailand, and many men come to the country just for it. But in Bangkok it is more in your face than in your mind. I look at these girls and I wish I could shake them – ask them what they are doing; tell them that it’s not worth it; that they are worth more. Continue reading

Things your mother didn’t teach you

I love my mother dearly – but I have found there are a few things she neglected to teach me growing up. Like how to ride a bicycle in a skirt. I can’t fault her for this. Its not the kind of thing you find in a ‘Growing Up Baby’ book, but it is definitely a skill worth having here in Ubon, Thailand. Especially, if like me, your main mode of transport has two wheels, a chain and pedals.

It has taken quite a bit of trial and error to figure out how to get from my apartment to the school without flashing the Thai people along the way. There is bit of riding against the wind, pedalling gingerly and holding the skirt with one hand involved. Sounds complicated but so far it has been working.

Just riding a bicycle on a Thai road is an adventure in itself. Last week I bravely took my bicycle up Chiangun Road (think Eglinton Ave in Toronto) to Tesco Lotus (think Walmart anywhere). In the 40 minute bike ride there and back I nearly became road kill for several motorbikes and a SUV. Thankfully I got to my destination and home without major mishap (although I did almost fall off at one point. I would have been embarrassed but most Thai people probably think foreigners are a little crazy anyway.)

I am pretty impressed however at how fast I’ve been able to ride, seeing that I haven’t been on one of these things in at least ten years. It seems like the memory really does stay with you. It really is like…riding a bicycle.