Sunday, March 24, 2019

March 2019 - Week 13

On Monday at noon (and again on Tuesday at roughly the same time) I hosted lunch-time viewings of the recorded presentation made by Lysa Terkeurst that I pre-screened last week. (If you're good at math, you will have added it up and rightly know that I've watched it three times. Making me an expert on the topic.)

The topic?
Not wallowing in your current circumstances.
Not whining about life's unfairness.
Not thinking that everything is always all about you.

Her talk was based on Joseph of Genesis (he of The Coat of Many Colours fame) and how his life looked like shit when his brothers sold him as a slave. At this point in Joe's story, he was a pampered, favorite, youngest son, who blathered on about dreams of having the moon, stars and sheaves of wheat bow down to him. Which annoyed his older bros to no end. Ugh, babies of the family are so spoiled. 

God actually DID have grand leadership plans for the boy, but still. He needed some refining. Seventeen year olds just think they know everything about everything.

So the big bros sold him to some dodgy folks o camels headed east. He ended up in Egypt as a house slave in the Captain of the Guard's home, where God's hand was upon him. Young Joe worked hard, did well, was trustworthy, respectful and learned All the Life Lessons. Potiphar noticed, was impressed and gave Joseph more and more responsibilities until eventually, good ol Joe made it to the top of the ladder: 

So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, Potiphar didn’t worry about a thing.(Gen 39:6)

(I guess Joseph could've spent his time at Pot's house feeling sorry for himself. Complaining about his situation. Dragging his feet and shaking his fist at God about the unfairness of it all. HE WAS BORN FOR GREATNESS! HE HAD A ROBE! OF MANY COLOURS! HE HAD DREAMS! Why was he HERE? In EGYPT? As a house slave? It wasn't right. HE WAS TIRED OF THE INJUSTICE. He didn't deserve this.)

But he didn't. 

He carried on. Learning and serving and being thankful for three things every evening before falling asleep. God was building Joe's character, one day at a time. And even tho this isn't the greatest of circumstances, Joseph is doing OK for himself. He is leading the Captain of the Guard's household. Not bad for a kid who was sold as a slave. 

But then.
But then, (according to Rembrandt in 1634) a woman who looked a lot like me (Potiphar's hormonal, likely peri-menopausal wife) ...

... invited Joseph to come to her bed because he was hawt and she was horny. 
He, knowing God's rules re: pre-maritial and extra-marital sex, (thou shalt not do it) he ran away from the temptation, leaving a bit of his cloak in her hands. Which she used to cry "RAPE!" 

And next thing you know, our hero is in the dungeon, living out a life-sentence for something he didn't do. IT WASN'T FAIR. HE WAS INNOCENT. HE DIDN'T DESERVE THIS. 

He coulda spent his time moaning about the crap hand he'd been dealt, (and maybe he did, quietly, inside his head) but mostly he just got on with it. If God allowed this, well, then. OK. There weren't many places on earth as soul-sucking as a dungeon-prison during this time period. (I need to keep this in mind when I feel sorry for myself and my Spring Break in Surrey when everyone I know and love, and even those I don't (know and love) are someplace sunny and bright and vacationy. At least I'm not in jail. In 1700 BC) But if God allowed it to happen, (Joseph in jail) then Joseph didn't have to concern himself with the WHY of it. He could just live his best life, serving and learning. And before long: 

Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. 23 The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.

God's individualized unique leadership training plan for Joseph was taking a most unusually twisty route. But boy-howdy was it effective. Good ol Joe was learning delivery systems, and conflict resolution, and inventory control and management skills and public speaking and compassion, and forgiveness and justice and fairness and mercy and how to manage people and products during the most dire of circumstances. 

Erhhhmm. So many of my friends are living in their own version of The Dungeon Years. Bad things have happened (separation, divorce, addictions, suicides, financial stress, lack of career success, children in trouble, broken hearts, cancer, depression, anxiety, failed dreams...) and its HARD. So very challenging to remain open and agreeable to whatever God is doing during this season. So difficult to say, "Ok God. Have at 'er. Whatever it is that I'm supposed to be learning right now, help me to learn it quickly and thoroughly. Use this time to shape and mould me into the person You need me to become. Because this sucks and I need a change of scenery.

Anyway, y'all know how the story ends. His whole time in prison was one of those "For such a time as this" scenarios. In God's most perfect timing ever, Joseph has the opportunity to shine before the Pharaoh, who is impressed and made him the highest ruler in the land. His leadership training had divinely prepared him to be The Ruler of Egypt's right-hand man. 

And when the drought happened and his brothers showed up to beg from grain, Joe had this to say: 

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.(Gen 50:20)

That's the thing, isn't it? What someone intends for harm, God can use for good. 
But here's the kicker.
It's not: what God intended for your own personal good.
Its: what God intended for good to accomplish the saving of many lives.
God sees and cares about the bigger picture. The whole story. He loves MANY.
So when He uses your situation for good, it is to SAVE MANY LIVES. 
I am a bit-player in the grand scheme of things. My role is being a supporting actor in a screen-play that spans years and space. I am not the lead. It's not all about me. I am part of a bigger story where God's story concludes with the saving of many lives. 

God purpose for me is not to make sure that I am happy.
He wants me to be holy. He wants us to be holy.
And He will be at work, behind the scenes, doing more than we could ask for or imagine to bring about His purposes. Which is to save the lives of many.
We can be a part of that great story, or whine about how hard our role is. We can get all caught up in our current chapter, or let go in order to anticipate what the bigger story is.

Perspective: It's just a chapter. 
And you're not the writer.

Next month, I will be sharing a Ted Cunningham talk. And once again, by they time I blog, I will have listened to it three times. Haha. Just a head's up, I may be an expert on marriage by then. 

On Monday evening, Amy, Anne and Elisabeth came over to make macarons; as Wednesday was National Macaron Day and we needed to be ready. We were making them for everyone at work.

Ahhhh such a great evening.
Such amazing young women.
Love working with them.

The weather forecast for this week indicated that I would be smiling most days. I arranged to take both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons off to take advantage of the 22 degree temperatures.

22 degrees!

I got home from work at 1 to discover no sunlight on the back deck, and only a sliver of it in the front yard. OH SPRINGTIME SUNSHINE. You are not summer.

I followed the rays of sunshine around the property for a few hours then fell asleep on a lawnchair. Is there any better way to spend an afternoon off? I think not.

Maxine arrived at 5, and by 6 we walking the seawall in Stanley Park.

WHAT a beautiful evening.
Who woulda thought the last day of winter could be so stunning?
And so warm?

Nothing like an evening of walkin and talkin.


Spring sprung on Wednesday morning.
And it was glorious.

We celebrated at work with macarons!
Homemade ones. Made with love. And french hands.

It was also the day that the Spring edition of our Focus Famille, created by Amy, Elisabeth and Anne, was launched. I am so, so proud of this team and all they've accomplished.

We invited everyone to drop by the Creative Dept during their morning coffee break so they could grab a copy of the mag and help themselves to a macaron or two.

I zipped out at lunch time, again, for my second 1/2 day off, this time knowing full well, in advance, that my and my lawn chair would be roaming around the property in search of the moving sun.

At 5:30, Sandra picked me up ...

so we could spend the first evening of Spring, cheering on our Vancouver Canuck's.

(We were winning, 5-0 with 5 minutes left in the game.
Within 3 minutes, the Senators scored 4 answered goals and it was 5 - 4.
CRAZY end-of-game excitement.
Final score was 7 - 4. PERFECT WAY TO SAY GOOD BYE TO WINTER.)

It's now the weekend and I'm at the lake. With Jenn who is on a deadline to finish the edits for Scheme, the sequel to Sleight.

We both arrived (at different times, in separate cars) on Friday bringing up our own groceries, our own electronic devices, our own expectations, anticipating that we may or may not eat/sleep/work/play at the same time.

So far our meals have consisted of pizza, pasta (Kraft dinner and bacon for me. I HAD A CRAVING, OK? and frozen TV dinner for her.) She did make a salad, but ended up putting it back in the fridge. We both have blueberry bagels and oranges and popcorn and chocolate and basically the kitchen looks like two teenaged boys are camping out for a few days. Haha. (The bedrooms look that way too. After last weekend's carpet-cleaning-palooza, we've both dragged mattresses into separate bedrooms and are sleeping just a few inches off the floor. )

We mostly stick to our own business (she writes. I blog and read and answer emails and go for walks and catch Pokemon) and it's lovely sharing a living space with someone being alone but together.

Our evenings have been spent staying up til 4 am (we both have three sons, so this 'acting like a teen boy' thing comes easy for us) binge-watching shows on Amazon Prime and Netflix (The Bay, The Night Manager, Ripper Street). Yeah, mostly all English shows. We are smitten.

A new week is just hours away. I don't feel ready.

Three things I'm thankful for:

1.  Helpful people.
2. A creative God.
3. Rays of sunshine.


  • Proudest moment this week: So very proud of the work my team did to create such a beautiful, personal, relevant, timely, communication piece. Focus Famille is on it's way to families in Quebec and I'm excited to see how God will use it. 
  • Most embarrassing moment of the week:
  • Funniest moment of the week:
  • Biggest achievement of the week: THIS. This blog post. I will have it done by Sunday. Yay me. 
  • Best moment of the week: This is an easy one to answer. I had three separate people (not on my team) stop by my office this week, to say nice things about me and the job I'm doing. This should fall under the category, "unexpected surprise this week" because it was just that; totally unexpected. But more than that, those visits were my best moments. Thank you, co-workers/friends for the words of affirmation. Your words made an impact. 
  • Best holiday memory of the week: In case you missed it, I am NOT on a holiday with the rest of the world this week. I've been (mostly) working. 
  • Best advice I heard this week
  • Most grateful for this week: Two random text messages. One from a friend. One from a family member. Both, on separate days, but with perfect timing, letting me know they were praying for me. I felt so loved. 
  • Favorite family memory of the week: My fam is makin memories. I'm watching and feeling all the feels from a distance:

3/4 of my kids are with Mark and Sherry in Cali. A few days in Disneyland, then a week in Palm Springs. (Max is started his internship in Vancouver and couldn't join them.)
  • Biggest regret of this week: That I didn't make it to the gym at all. (In my defense, I DID walk. But not fast enough to prevent me from talking. Which is how I'm to measure my work out. If I can talk, I'm not trying hard enough.)
  • Best thing I learned this week: 
  • Biggest change I made this week: I moved into the big bedroom at the end of the hall. And I upgraded from a queen to a king mattress. OH MY GOODNESS. SO many things fit on that mattress with me. Laptop, books, notebooks, charging stations, phone, purse, 79 pillows, camera, lawn furniture and snacks. 
  • Best gift I received this week: Ahh, Jenn. You spoil me:

  • New friend this week:
  • Most inspiring person this week: Diana Gabaldon. She wrote a 'practice' novel, to see if she was any good, in 1991. It was Outlander. It did well enough in '91, so she wrote a few more sentences about Jamie and Claire. And then a few more. She's 67 years old now. And she's still writing one word after another about Jamie, Claire, their kids, their grandkids ... in the past few years, her books became the script for a successful TV series. And she just keeps on telling the tale of the Frasers. And this month?  She was in Scotland:

She was in Scotland to receive an International Contribution to Scottish Tourism award from VisitScotland. VisitScotland’s "Outlander Effect And Tourism" paper showed that attractions used in the television adaptation of the novels saw numbers rise by 67% (!!). To think. A novel she wrote to practice writing, has had, 30 years later, an impact of gargantuan proportions on tourism. What am I doing today that may have an impact somewhere in the world 30 years from now? 
  • Word to describe this week: Celebratory
  • Unexpected obstacles I faced this week: Emotions that ran amok. Hate that. 
  • Unexpected surprise this week: Well, there were those visits to my office by three fairy godprincesses that I wasn't expecting. But also, there was that unexpected win at the Canuck's game. Haha. I've been to a couple games a year, for the past decade, and they usually lose when I'm in attendance. SO THIS WIN? Was a delightful surprise. 
  • Best place I visited this week: English Bay. It really is lovely down that way. You should go. 
  • New skill I learned this week: How to set up the DVD player in the Boardroom. We have the most patient IT guy in the world, who never complains when I ask to tech/audio-visual support, so he happily sets equipment up for me whenever I host something. But on Tuesday, I FIGURED IT OUT. (Now if I could just figure out why my cursor won't zip between my two monitors on my computer at home...SIGH.)
  • Biggest obsession this week: Trying to find a spot of sunshine to sit in, in Surrey.
  • Best food I ate this week: Kraft dinner and bacon at 9 pm just before an evening of mindless TV watching. 
  • Best TV I watched this week: I've loved all three shows we watched this weekend. (The Bay, Night Manager, Ripper Street). I probs won't turn the TV on again til next weekend. 
  • Best viral video I watched this week:I may remove this category. I never think to save a favorite viral video. Do I even have one?
  • Best meme I saw this week: Ditto. I'm so not a meme person. 
  • Best movie I watched this week: Didn't watch one this week. 
  • Best song heard this week:
  • Most excited about this for NEXT YEAR:
  • New skill I want to learn NEXT YEAR:
  • Place I want to visit NEXT YEAR:
  • Something to try NEXT YEAR:
  • One thing to work harder on NEXT YEAR:

No comments: