Category Archives: Acceptance

Messed Up Thinking

I used to have messed up thinking. Yes, folks, it’s true.

I used to think it mattered what other people thought about the way I looked or what I did or who I talked to. It doesn’t.

I used to think I had to reach some high level of corporate performance in order to be successful. I didn’t.

I used to think I’d have to be the person I thought others wanted me to be before they would accept me. Not true.

I used to think I was required to meet everyone’s expectations, even if I didn’t know what they were. How dumb.

I used to think I had failed miserably as a human being because I couldn’t do all of the above. A lie.

The thing is, there are countless messed up thinkers out there who are deceived, because this is the way the world measures success, acceptance, love. And the results are failed relationships. Depression. Self-esteem issues. Suicides. Loneliness. Fear. I could go on.

The bottom line is that who and what you are matters to God. You are precious to Him and He loves you – His own creation. He is the only one who will accept and love you unconditionally, regardless of what you’ve done or where you’ve been. He can straighten out your messed up thinking. He can put you on the straight path to real success.

Jesus said in John 10:10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (NKJV)

Stop listening to the enemy’s lies. Allow Jesus to give you life – and more abundantly!

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Dealing With A Difficult Person

There is a person I’ve known quite well for a long time and she can be difficult to deal with. Really difficult. I have to admit that occasionally I’d rather run in the other direction than have to be with her. Come on, be honest. All of you know people like that.

This woman and I are at about the same stage in our lives and we have a lot in common. We’ve both been married a long time, we have grandchildren, and we’ve done many of the same kinds of things along the way. You’d think this would be a recipe for a great friendship. You’d think. But the clashes between us are frequent and often have lasting effects. Of the negative kind. And that’s not good. Not for either of us.

She likes to have her own way. This irks me because guess what? So do I. And since we work together a lot, this causes friction. She’s also quite bossy. Wait, let me correct that. She’s very bossy. I’ve been known to exhibit the same tendencies, so you can use your imagination here.

I thought about making a list of this woman’s shortcomings, but it would be long and unflattering, so I won’t.

Because this woman is me.

Dealing with me is a work in progress.

I talk to God about this on a daily basis. He knows all about the difficult person I can tend to be and I am always gratefully amazed at how much He loves me anyway. He’s way more patient with me than I would be, that’s for sure. He is always ready to teach me to be a better person, especially when I am willing to let Him have the floor instead of trying to do it my own way. When I give Him the reins, I find it so much easier to get along with me.

And I’m so glad that His love never fails, it never runs out, and He never gives up on me.

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

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Acceptance or Persecution?

There are many things amiss in the world, but there is one particular issue that rises to the top of the contentious list. Our rights and freedoms as members of the human race.

We hear about it all the time, but what does that really mean? I don’t think anybody knows anymore. While I believe that the inherent meaning is noble and good and right, our rights and freedoms have become skewed along the way. So much so that much of what I hear and read in the media is just plain dumb.

You have to be politically correct, you know.

It’s to the point where you can’t even express an opinion without being called narrow-minded, racist, prejudiced, or worse.

But there’s a contradiction here. You must embrace same-sex marriage, accept the religious practices of other cultures, and say nothing that could be construed as offensive to any race, color, sect, or political party. Except, of course, when you are referring to Christians. Then anything goes.

Anything that sniffs of Christianity – church, the Bible, prayer, etc. – is fair game for the hounds who make it their purpose in life to be obnoxious. Seriously. It’s true.

Apparently, rights and freedoms do not apply to Christians. A Muslim can wear a turban to school, but a Christian cannot wear a T-shirt with a cross on it. Public buildings are being asked to establish non-gender specific restrooms to accommodate the LGBT population, but those same public buildings do not allow any form of Christian display or practice.

Why is it that Christians continue to bear the brunt of persecution while being forced to accept the beliefs of other groups?

It’s not fair. It’s not right. It doesn’t even make sense. But that’s the way it’s always been. And that’s the way it will continue until Jesus Christ comes again.

I have gay friends. I have friends of other faiths. I have friends who are completely against Christianity. We don’t fight. We don’t argue. We talk about why we believe what we believe and there are no hateful words or intolerance or offenses taken. We simply reach a point of acceptance – acceptance of each other’s fundamental rights and free will.

And I will exercise my right and obligation as a Christian to pray for them.


Filed under Acceptance, Blogging, Christ, Christian, God, Jesus Christ, Prayer, Writing

God Helps Those Who Cannot Help Themselves

You’ve heard the saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” You’ve probably even thought it was a Scripture quote, spoken from pulpits everywhere by well-meaning preachers. I hate to burst your theology bubble, but this isn’t in the Bible.

The truth is, God helps those who cannot help themselves. He helps those who cry out to Him.

He comes to the rescue of the broken, the hurting, the lame and the shattered. He raises to unbelievable heights those who know they could not possibly done it on their own. He resists the proud and the arrogant ones who are convinced they must do it their way. He simply lets them.

God will search for that one who knows their accomplishments will rely on Him and nothing of themselves.  He takes great pleasure in showing Himself strong to the simple, the humble, the needy and the powerless. And let’s face it. We have no power without Him.

God opens doors that have been locked up tight. He arranges strategies that cannot be maneuvered by man’s hands. He puts things into motion, giving opportunities to those who have been cast aside.

When you dare to call out to the Source of all true power, you have found the secret to your most profound and limitless destiny. Your weakness becomes your strength in Him.

We all get the opportunity to learn the same lessons. Forgiveness. Love. Judgment. Redemption. These are the very principles of the Gospel of Christ. When we learn them, we learn who God really is. He is not a God who demands our highest performance. He is not a God who insists we achieve impossible goals before we can be promoted. He made us. He knows our humanity and our inability to reach perfection. And in knowing this, He crafted the remedy that would bring healing, wholeness and power.

It is through understanding His redemption that we will find the key to unlocking our greatest purpose. He takes what’s broken and replaces it with a priceless jewel. We get to exchange everything the enemy dumped on us for a brand new life in Christ.

When we release our dreams and hopes and pursuits and future to Him, He begins a massive outpouring of His favor. We take one step at a time with complete trust in Him, and He makes our path straight.

God helps us because we cannot help ourselves.

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)


Filed under Acceptance, Bible, Blogging, Christ, Christian, Dreams, Faith, God, Hope, Jesus Christ, Life, Writing

In Him

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 1:3-14

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Customer Service in Reverse

I have been in the customer service business all of my adult life. Truth be told, we are all in the customer service business whether we realize it or not.

I was in the coffee shop yesterday morning, doing whatever it is that coffee shop managers do on Mondays. Business was brisk, despite the pouring rain outside, and there was a lot of conversation and laughter going on. Except for the grumpy customer. There’s always a grumpy customer.

Our staff did everything they could to please Mr. Grumpy, but he wasn’t having any of it. We could have served him a  gold-plated croissant and he wouldn’t have been happy. The thing is, he got all he asked for and then some. Our staff bent over backwards for this guy in an attempt to provide an excellent customer experience, but he wanted to have a bad day. And he wanted to make sure everybody else had a bad day too.

Hence, my thoughts about customer service in reverse.

What gives a person the right to treat other human beings the way Mr. Grumpy treated my coffee shop staff? Nothing. Nothing and no one. Ever.

Think about this the next time you buy your coffee, or when you’re at the Walmart checkout, or when you go into the bank. The employees who work in those places are real people with real lives. They have feelings just like you do. Why not make their day instead of expecting them to make yours.


Filed under Acceptance, Blogging, Coffee Shop, Writing

The Difference

My temporary bookstore is in a business complex that rents out offices to mediation firms. These mediators utilize neutral meeting places when there is a dispute with insurance companies. In most cases, this involves our provincially owned auto insurance corporation not wanting to pay out when somebody gets hurt in an accident. The mediators are there to keep the discussions on track and to ensure that a fair resolution is reached. No fisticuffs.

I watch three groups of people come and go past my store. There are obvious differences.

The mediators arrive in casual attire with file folders in hand and they look fairly relaxed. They aren’t the stakeholders so really, what do they care. They’re courteous and they smile.

The lawyers representing both sides pull up in their brand new BMW or Lexus SUV or the occasional Jag. They use two parking spots because they don’t want to take the chance that they might get a scratch on the paint job, and they don’t give a second thought to the fact that they are in a clearly marked handicapped stall. They don’t have to abide by the rules apparently. They are dressed in dark suits, white shirts and classy ties. They drag behind them big fat briefcases on wheels and they text or talk on their phones the whole time. They want everyone to see that they are Very Important People. Their facial expressions telegraph the message that they are really too busy for this so let’s get on with it so we can move on to another $400 per hour client. They’re rude and they never smile.

The clients get off the bus that stops just a few doors down. Or they drive an old beat up Ford Tempo that’s held together with duct tape. They are dressed in the best they have and without exception, every single one of them looks like they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. It’s not difficult to see the concern on their faces. They’re people who are afraid to smile.

These three groups don’t mix.

The mediators gather in little clusters, sipping their lattes, chatting and laughing about who knows what. They look like a fun bunch who enjoy their work. And why wouldn’t they?

The lawyers are pigs. They aren’t capable of speaking to their clients in anything but legal jargon, which is delivered in condescending top volume. As if the victim is deaf. Or stupid. I can hear every word as they stand outside my door before their meetings. The clients are too scared to say anything, so they just nod like they understand. No compassion at all from the legal beagles. I’d like to kick a few of them in the shins. With my pointy shoes on.

The clients stand alone, terrified, and so far out of their element that one wonders if they will be able to find their way back. I want to hug them. Pray for them. Show them that there are still people in the world who actually care.

Today I watched as a lovely Filipino woman, about my age, was completely ignored by three men who appeared to her attorneys. When she attempted to enter the conversation, the men literally turned their backs on her and continued their conversation as if she weren’t even there. She was a non-person, as far as they were concerned. Simply a means to an end – their salary.

I was disgusted.

I know there are good and kind lawyers. And I know that not every mediation taking place next door is the same as the situation I’ve described. I just want to make the point that nobody has the right to treat someone who is less fortunate with the kind of disdain I’ve seen over and over again, not only near my place of business, but everywhere. In the workplace. In schools. And even in the church.

Jesus said, in Matthew 25:40, “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me”.

Be the difference.

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What it’s like being a teen girl

This blog entry was posted yesterday and it’s worth sharing because almost every female over the age of 10, and even some younger, can relate. Thanks, Emma Woolley, for being brave enough to share this.

What it’s like being a teen girl

The violations started small. I was 12, fairly tall with brand new boobs. My mother wouldn’t let me buy “real bras” for a long time. It didn’t occur to me that was weird until boys in my class started advising me to “stop wearing sports bras” because I was looking a little “saggy.”

It was a boy who told me I had to start shaving my legs if I wanted anyone to ever like me. I said that wasn’t true. He laughed in my face and called me a dyke.

That night after shaving, my mother asked me why I was so vain.

They started finding reasons to touch me, pinching my butt, snapping my new “real bras,” (“They look a lot better. Did you stuff?”) or straight-up grabbing my breasts. Dropped pencils with awkward leanovers. Staged run-ins.

One time, a popular boy I knew who lived on my street forced his way into my living room while my parents were still working and fought with me over a remote control so that he could cop a feel. I didn’t say anything. Speaking up was not an option—rather, an easy road to being even more ostracized and labelled “crazy.” Besides, who would believe that he’d wanted to touch me?

They named girls one by one, by the flaws of our bodies. What they considered theirs. They would write them on chalkboards to taunt us. Draw crude pictures.

If we showed it hurt us, it only got worse. I would cry in the bathroom and hope for some serious illness to keep me out of school, if only for a day.

When I kissed one boy, he encouraged me to do the same with his friends. Not because he thought I might want to, but because I was a toy he wanted to share. An experience he wanted to give his less “successful” friends. For them, a celebration. For me, certain social suicide.

Even if I wanted it, there was never any winning.

I will never forget how excited I was to be invited to watch a movie with the popular boy I liked. I primped for hours. (I was, after all, a teenager grappling with my own new sexuality.) When I got there, he did not put on the movie we agreed to watch, but a porn film. I had never seen one before. He unzipped his pants, pushed and pulled at me. I cried the whole walk home.

They could pinpoint weaknesses. Worse, they knew they were wrong but there were just never any consequences. They knew this—treating us like objects there for them—was what was expected of them.

I want to say that they stop. But the truth is that some never do.

I have never stopped being reminded of my there-for-men status. I am reminded when I am violated in my sleep, or groped in a bar, or held down by a longtime friend. I am reminded when I refuse conversation with a strange man and he spits in my direction, or calls me a “bitch.” I am reminded when I am asked why I wore such a pretty dress if I wasn’t trying to “pick up.” I am reminded when I am told to be less angry and more agreeable. I am reminded when I talk about my lived experience and am told to “stop being so negative about everything.” I am reminded when young girls are bullied so severely by men who wanted to see their bodies that they commit suicide.

We don’t talk honestly enough about what it’s like being a teen girl. If we did talk about it, what it was like for us, perhaps we wouldn’t be so harsh on them. Perhaps we wouldn’t throw our hands up in the air and exclaim “oh, teen girls, they’re so difficult!” Perhaps they wouldn’t be so scary. Perhaps we’d see their lives for the small and large violations they’re often made up of; and what those violations do.

Perhaps we would have been less surprised today when we learned that a fifteen-year-old boy was arrested on the scene of a sexual assault, in connection with a series of sexual assaults occurring in the Bloor and Christie area of Toronto. Perhaps we would be less shocked by the fact that it’s 12-17 year old boys who are the most likely to commit sexual assault (Statistics Canada, pg. 13). That is, after all, what they were doing to me.

My stories are not uncommon. They’re more common than we want to think. As my friend Panic said: “Ask anyone who is or has been a teenaged girl. 15-yr-old boys assaulting women is common. It’s ‘normal.’” It’s so normal, in fact, that we don’t talk about it until we’re women and we know it doesn’t have to be.

Pretty much everything in North American culture tells men and boys that women and girls are there for them. So please, do us some favours. Stop telling us that we have to take self defence. Stop telling us we shouldn’t drink or go out at night or on dates. Stop telling us that we need to be prepared for whatever “boys-be-boys” violations come our ways, because it’s bullshit. We don’t have to accept this or carry it around in silence.

Start talking with men and boys about the messages they’re getting about women and girls. Tell them that they are not entitled to our bodies, no matter what. Talk to them honestly and comprehensively about sexualization and objectification. Stop being afraid to talk about boundaries, sex, and pleasure—leaving that to schools, the Internet, and peers is simply not cutting it. Show them what consent really looks like.

And this sounds basic, but remind them that we’re, you know, people? We deserve at least that much.

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To Bullies Everywhere

My thoughts continue to be drawn to Amanda Todd, the bullied 15 year old girl who committed suicide a few days ago. Amanda’s death is a tragedy, but the fact that it takes a wake-up call like this to get people’s attention makes it even more so.

My heart aches for children and teens who live in fear of cruelty from those who think they have a right to say and do whatever they want. I’ve had my share of attacks over the years. Not enough to cause me to consider suicide, but enough to make me dread going to school every day. So I know. And it’s not good.

The thing with bullying is that it doesn’t stop with kids. I’ve been bullied as an adult – by people who like to intimidate, manipulate, and humiliate. And I am not easily intimidated. But just as the schoolyard bullying tends to get swept under the carpet, so it is with adult bullying. Maybe even more so.

The last manager I had before I left my banking career was one such person. As a matter of fact, it was because of him that I didn’t even hesitate when the opportunity came to leave the company with my full severance package. It still puzzles me as to how someone as cold, insensitive, and downright mean ever made it as far up the corporate ranks as he did. Where I was concerned, this man went out of his way to sabotage my years of stellar performance with the bank. And he did it well. He wanted me out, so out I went.

Bully. That’s what he was.

Before I left the company, I scheduled a meeting with the vice president of human resources at our head office in Toronto. She was a woman I’d known quite well for several years, and she was very aware of my past accomplishments and experience. I felt that she was someone I could trust with my story. After relating to her everything that had happened in the ten months I’d worked on the Bully’s management team, she was silent. I mean, really silent. Then she told me frankly that she would do some discreet investigation, but she wasn’t hopeful anything would be done about it. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe me. I know she did. But her hands were tied.

That man is still in charge. He is still intimidating and manipulating and humiliating people. Who stops him? I went through the appropriate channels as outlined by the company’s harassment policy, but because he is who he is, the man is still in a position to continue bullying.

Nearly everyone I talk to has a similar story. Bullied by a co-worker or a boss or another parent on the PTA. It’s so wrong.

How does it stop? Speak out. Report your situation to the proper authorities. As many times as it takes. Stand up for yourself. Push back. In love, with respect and courtesy.

And remember these words from Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.


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Vancouver Teen Commits Suicide

A friend of mine, Pastor Chris Jordan, reposted an article from today’s Vancouver Sun. It’s a heart-wrenching story. Please take the time to watch the video and read Amanda’s story.

Vancouver area teen commits suicide after telling story of being cyberbullied (with video)

 #RIPAmanda is trending as people post condolences for Amanda Todd who died Wednesday night in Coquitlam


A Vancouver area teen who told a heart-breaking story in a YouTube video of cyberbullying that led to an all-out schoolyard attack has apparently committed suicide. In stories and posts flooding Vancouver’s social media networks, #RIPAmanda is trending as people post news and condolences for the teen identified as posting the video, Amanda Todd. Video courtesy: Skybrite,

After documenting a heart-breaking story about cyber-bullying on a video posted to YouTube last month, 15-year-old Amanda Todd was found dead Wednesday night in Coquitlam.

Her tragic death – a suspected suicide – has prompted many to speak out about the dangers of bullying, especially in the age of social media.

Premier Christy Clark posted a short video on YouTube today sending her sympathies to Amanda’s family.

“I just heard about Amanda. I want to say to everyone who loved her, to all her family and friends, how sorry I am about her loss,” Clark says on the video.

“No one deserves to be bullied. No one earns it. No one asks for it. It isn’t a rite of passage. Bullying has to stop.”

Click here to see more photos of Amanda Todd

Amanda was a Grade 10 student at an alternative high school in Coquitlam called CABE (Coquitlam Basic Alternative Education), which has approximately 200 students in Grades 10 to 12.

Principal Paul McNaughton said the students and staff at the school are grieving today. He said Amanda, who joined the school halfway through the last school year and came back to start Grade 10 in September, had friends at CABE.

“It is a very sad case,” he said. “I can tell you we feel we tried everything we could to help her when she came to us.

“She was quite connected here. The staff and the students here are very much impacted. She had some very strong ties in the school and to staff in the school.

“The whole thing has been pretty hard.”

In the YouTube video, Amanda does not speak but instead holds up to the camera white pieces of paper on which her story is told, one phrase at a time. She documented a painful story of being harassed online and being shunned at school, leaving her feeling alone in the world.

In a message accompanying the video post, she added: “I’m struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I’m not doing this for attention. I’m doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong. I did things to myself to make pain go away, because I’d rather hurt myself then someone else. Haters are haters but please don’t hate, although im sure I’ll get them. I hope I can show you guys that everyone has a story, and everyones future will be bright one day, you just gotta pull through. I’m still here aren’t I ?”

YouTube today pulled the video, posting a short explanation that is was removed because it violates YouTube’s terms of service.

The school district sent grief counsellors to CABE — which helps students who are having difficulty in other schools for a variety of reasons — to speak with students and staff.

District spokeswoman Cheryl Quinton said Coquitlam has many anti-bullying programs in its schools, and noted the issue is becoming even more challenging because of social media.

“Bullying . . . is an issue of prime concern for the school district,” she said.

Amanda had previously gone to school in Maple Ridge but had changed schools and was living in Coquitlam.

In the YouTube video, Todd told of living with her father, who she said rescued her when she was lying in a ditch after being beaten by a number of students. She said then moved to another school — it was CABE she was referring to — and was with her mom.

McNaughton said the family doesn’t want to talk to the media.

“We’re respecting their wishes,” he said.

Amanda joined YouTube on September 6 and posted her video Sept. 7.

On Sept. 7, Amanda also uploaded a presentation Cybre Bullying on Prezi in which she explains what cyberbullying is and gives advice on dealing with it.

In what could turn out to be her own very sad legacy, Amanda urged people to stand up to bullies and to help their victims:

“If you see that someone is being bullied, don’t be afraid to tell the bully to stop doing what they are doing. Make sure to tell them that it’s wrong and that they shouldn’t bully other kids.”

To parents, Amanda urged them “to always give your child emotional support” and help them if they are being bullied.

The Amanda Michelle Todd memorial Facebook page, posted early this morning, already has more than 4,000 people “liking” it.

Many people were also posting comments on the site.

“RIP. my thoughts and prayers go to her family, I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through. High school is supposed to be the best time of your life, not one where you fear for yourself every day. No one should have to feel the way she did. What is wrong with people, why do they feel the need to bully someone to their death? She was a beautiful young girl who went way too soon,” wrote Breanna Lockhart Collins.

In a post on its Facebook page, G Force Gym, Home of the Vancouver All Stars cheerleaders, wrote:

“Today we feel the loss of our former VAS family member Amanda . . . I ask that we all watch her video and share her story so that her loss is not in vain. Allow this to be her legacy . . . Allow us all to look around & find the next Amanda before another precious spunky teenager is lost.”

Amanda’s video echoed another similar online tale entitled My Story: Suicide and Bullying, which was uploaded by Mollydoyle18 on YouTube. It was clear from the comments that Amanda wanted to contact Molly in a private message and apparently had reached her.

Commenting on Amanda’s video, Molly wrote today:

“Rest in peace and fly high to Amanda Todd. I was just messaging her about almost a week ago, and I just found out that she has taken her life. She was asking me about how to be an inspiration to others and to get her video more views, and now I have found out that she has passed away . . . This is a terrible tragedy. I wish she could have had her happy ending.”

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