Heroes & Monsters

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Heroes and Monsters: An honest look at what it means to be human.

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With tears in my eyes I finished the last pages of a really great book. I love sitting outside with a great book to read. This book is the beginning of an unrealistically long Summer reading list.

The book takes an honest look at how humanity is both a Hero & Monster and the continuing battle to fight the “monsters” within. Josh James Riebock gives a transparent look into his own life: dreams, fears, questions about his family & himself. I love the parallels he uses throughout the book and his imagery-filled writing style. He does ramble on in tangents in the book, but I thought it really showed the turmoil within and “the working through” he must of had writing this memoir.

One of my favourite lines in the book was:

sometimes, it’s only through wondering that we will find our way.

This sentence stuck with me and caused me to think deeply about how on life’s journey our wondering times and lost times are there to cause growth and place us firmly for the ” next step.”

I would highly recommend this book for those of us who find ourselves in dysfunction, depression, abandonment and grief – I really like the way the author deals with these heavy topics.

Most of all, I thoroughly enjoyed the creative writing & parallels throughout the book.
I hope you have a chance to read “Heroes & Monsters.”

All I need is for You to be the thing that I need

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I have been on my faith walk for 28 years now and I know that I trust Jesus, know Him, feel Him, and follow Him closer with each passing year. But, still (too often), I continue to grovel in the dark times of life, search elsewhere for happiness, struggle to be content and look elsewhere for growth, when all I really need is For Him to be the thing that I need.

I am increasingly frustrated with myself at the ways that I lack in my spiritual walk. Lately, I feel unsatisfied with where I am in Christ and who I should be as a follower of Jesus. I don’t feel satisfied and I guess that is a good thing because I do feel that with His help I could potentially be on my way to greater growth! Frustration is always a bad thing, right? A great response to it is a desire to change.

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A tree falls the way it leans

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I just finished watching the movie “The Lorax” a really great movie. Maybe it’s the big kid in me, or the fact that I work with children, but I really do like Dr. Seuss. The writing is awesome and the creativity even awesomer! This movie was powerful in the way it showed how we must take care of the trees and our need of them as human beings. What really struck me though was this quote from the movie:

“The Lorax: Which way does a tree fall?
The Once-ler: Uh, down?
The Lorax: A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean.”

― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Be careful, which way you lean. Wow! So simple and true. What way am I leaning I thought? There are so many ways in which we find ourselves “leaning:” on people, on things, our feelings, self-reliance, our addictions, our hurts, our fears etc. When we, like a tree, are falling down, what is holding us up? Will it truly hold us when we are being “cut down” by: sickness, relationship turmoil, unemployment, death, pressures etc what are we falling toward?

When I asked myself this “how am I leaning?” I found myself singing an old chorus:

Oh I’m leaning, leaning
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning, leaning
Leaning on the everlasting arms

Which way does your tree fall?

Seeking God in the Garden.

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The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.
~George Bernard Shaw, The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God

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I was working in the garden a lot this past week, hard work, but so rewarding! Gardening caused me to think of my faith walk, also hard work, but so rewarding. Like gardening it requires pulling out the dead stuff – unwanted things, that are not growing or preventing good growth. But, it takes time and a lot of effort and a deliberate feeding into what really matters and taking out what doesn’t.

My husband took the chainsaw to a tree that has disease, it needed to be cut back by half! I had a tough time realizing this was what it needed, it looks so much better! The tree looked fuller before, but on closer look the branches were dead without leaves or flowers like the healthy branches. I thought: that is like me, in need of constant pruning to allow new growth and survival of the healthy.
After hours of weeding and digging up old dying plants I had so much left over space in the garden. I knew my garden needed some new plants, so I got some new cuttings from a friend and the garden looks new, full of life again. It reminded me of the friend I have in Jesus, He is always there to fill me with new life too.

I love what happens working with my hands in the garden, the soil in my hands, the many colours, types of plants, it’s incredible. I am most thankful for the way it reminds me of who created this beauty for us to enjoy and how it teaches and reminds of His promises.

Blog Award

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I am new to the world of blogging and I have grown as a person, a writer, a reader, a Mom, and Christian because of writing and reading blogs. I am so glad I started this journey, it has truly enriched my life. I am thankful for Especially Made who nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award. Especially Made is a blog about a Mom who is raising a child with Special Needs. Her blog is well written, transparent and has been a challenge to my faith.

I began my blog estheroutloud out of tragedy when my Father was tragically taken from me 7 months ago when he was run down by a careless driver in a parking lot. Out of grief I began to write again, it has always been there (a desire to write), the desire came about out of a need to communicate desperate feelings of loss, pain & need of connecting in a deeper way to God. My first post is a Short Story Hope Forest which is a story based on my Father’s life; tragic from the beginning.

I have been following some amazing bloggers, I am passing on the Liebster Blog Award, an award that recognizes up-and-coming blogs, those that have a good following, but should get more, to the following nominees:

Pastor Randy Hounsell

iChristian

Fun girls live better

peanut butter in the keyboard

Morning Story and Dilbert

Eyes Wide Open

To my nominees, if you would like to post about this award and pass on the blogging love, here are the official rules:

1. Each blogger should post 11 facts about himself or herself.
2. Each blogger should answer the questions that are asked by the person doing the nominating.
3. Choose 11 bloggers to nominate for the Award and link to them in the post. (I’ve seen Liebsters requiring 3-5 nominations, so don’t feel confined to this number.)
4. Create new questions for your nominees.
5. Go back to their pages and tell them they’ve been nominated.

11 facts about me:

  • I am a Proud Mom
  • I have been happily married for almost 20 years
  • My husband and I have been in Pastoral ministry for our entire married life.
  • One of my greatest joys was being the Choir Director of 18 Children’s Musicals.
  • I had a ride in a Hot Air Balloon.
  • I have a job I love – Interpreter at a Children’s Museum.
  • I enjoy creating with my hands – cooking, crafting, gardening
  • I would love to travel more, just about anywhere
  • I once broke down the front door of my house – I was young & foolish
  • I enjoy skating & swimming, but I’m not sporty
  • I have swam in the Dead Sea, Israel

    1. Why did you start blogging? I started blogging out of a need to express deep sorrow after the tragic loss of my Father. I began writing a short story: Hope Forest a story about the tragic story of my dad and the how God brought life back to the diseased forest. My blog has grown into reflections of God’s goodness in the everyday.
    2. What book are you currently reading? Heroes and Monsters
    3. What is your favourite quote? Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live Christ lives in me.
    4. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go? I went to the Philippines 5 years ago to work with a missionary in an orphanage – I want to go back!
    5. What was the best gift you ever received? My wedding ring – so thankful, I got a great husband.
    6. If you could request your last meal, what would it be? Crab Legs & lots of chocolaty dessert.
    7. What is your favorite room in your home? The kitchen – I love to cook & eat.

    My questions for the nominees:

    1. Why did you start blogging?
    2. What book are you currently reading?
    3. What is your favorite quote?
    4. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go?
    5. What was the best gift you ever received?
    6. If you could request your last meal, what would it be?
    7. What is your favorite room in your home?

    Mom, can we do lunch?

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    When my girls were in the primary grades I would pick them up from school at least twice a week to have them home for lunch or when there were warmer temperatures I would walk up to the school and bring a picnic that we could eat together in the adjoining park. These are fond memories for them and me, connecting in the middle of the day, sharing stories and insuring too that they had eaten something good for themselves that would provide them sustenance for the afternoon. Back then I thought that I must treasure these times together when they were young.

    The neat thing is, now 10 years later and in their teen years they initiate times like these. My youngest has asked for a week now to go for lunch, just the two of us. Between my part-time job and other commitments with being a Pastors wife, we just haven’t done it. Her persistent personality results in that she has not given up asking me out for lunch. So this morning, knowing I wasn’t scheduled to go to work and there is no Pastors conference to attend she asks again…Mom can we go out just the two of us for lunch? I gave back my familiar line, ok, let me think about it. Well, I didn’t think about it at first at all, I thought: I have about a dozen loads of laundry, floors to mop, and a van in desperate cleaning. I soon did a head-shake and thought, come on seriously, all those chores will always be there and she won’t. In the few short years that I have her under the same roof I must take advantage of the time I have, especially when she is asking for it! So, I replied to her, yes let’s do lunch together. Which she replied with a huge smile that melted my guilty conscience.

    I feel very fortunate to have teens that want to spend time with me, alone, for lunch. They ask my advice, go see a movie with me or go shopping. Although not perfect – and who is?- they are truly awesome and the biggest blessing in my life,(next to my hubby of course)! I find so often that my kids are teaching and reminding me of life lessons like this all the time. It caused me to want to continue to make priorities for what really matters. I felt convicted about someone else who is wanting to spend quality time with me. The Lord asks, Esther can we do lunch, squeeze me in to your schedule before you run off to the grocery store or your next shift at work. When I feel His prompting for quality time do I have to think about it or make room for it when it suits me? I am accepting the challenge again to spending more quality time with God. There are many promises in the Bible about what happens when we do this that caught my attention today:

    1 Peter 3:15
    But in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

    Matthew 6:33
    But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

    My teenager reminded me of what is important. I challenge you to go spend time with someone who really matters today, the laundry and other tasks can wait.

    Most importantly spend time with the One who made you.

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