Tag Archives: funny

Art

21 Mar

My mum always told me how awful she was at art.

I’ve always told everyone how awful I am at art. 

I believed it too. When I grew up a little bit and knew what ‘art’ meant or what people meant by it, that is. And when I had to do it on a thin piece of paper with water colours.

The colours spilled outside my stubby pencil lines, and they were always too precise. The thing is no one taught me to find beauty and put it down. Inadequately but lovingly.

I tried to find the ‘beach scene’ and the ‘festival’ and everything else they assigned,

and I tried to find the beauty in the teacher’s eye.

You know what they say…

I wish I’d sat down and painted what was in my head, one evening outside of homework. But I knew by then I was no good at art.

I mean, I usually made just a couple of careless mistakes in maths. They loved my writing and published it. I knew what was in my head. I called it a picture once. And I could write it. I had learned to love the picture in my head. In the writing box, that is. But art class…

One afternoon, we all brought our art down to the recess area for class. I remember those colours now – I loved the grey and red shades I had managed to achieve. I can’t find them on my computer though 😦

The teacher had comments for books she liked. A select few. The others were tossed to the left of the class, as she ticked them off, in a correction frenzy pushing towards end-of-term.

I walked up to get it as the book gracefully flew out of the teacher’s hand and on to the floor. She wasn’t looking.

That wasn’t the only time my art book got thrown.

I’ve learnt to do pretty cupcake icing after three trials. It takes time. I’ve learnt to put crafty things together, stitch a bag, make a card better than the last one, calligraphy. I LOVE some of my photographs and I’ve made posters.

Maybe my mum’s not that awful at art.

One day, I want to find a friend, a large canvas and some paints…

Jana Sterbak’s Sisyphus Sport, 1997. Granite backpack. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Becoming Like

20 Mar

According to this thing, I’m kinda like Belle, Jasmine and/or Quasimodo. Hmmm, I can see some of that.

But who wouldn’t see themselves in Disney heroes and heroines? Plus it’s funny categorising people. I am a weird mix. I say the most boring things. Sometimes I get quite academic. Other times… well, I get involved in my students’ heated MBTI and Disney arguments. I mean this can all happen in the space of an hour. My blog, for instance, is a random collection of heart-moments.

And God keeps a track of it all. I’ve lost track.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how good God is to me in recovering the messes I make. And I make so many.

I sleep in when I should be working. I forget to say kind words. I complain about the things I ought to be grateful for.

And I don’t always stop to say thank you. I don’t always stop to ask him what he wants.

And God doesn’t complain. Not once.

I hope to be kinda like him instead.

Humour dissection

12 Mar

I read this today. And I’m taking it on.

You – who read my blog, wise tribe – may not be recipient of my frequent sarcasm. Usually it is directed at myself. And for people who can take it – they get some too. I suppose this is a place I’m pretty gendered in my categorisations. Read: I think boys can take it, girls can’t.

Someone close to me asked me once if that was my modus operandi for flirting – and shocked me. Me? Good little Christian girl, know how to flirt? He only barely got away with that one being a good friend… 🙂 But it made me examine myself – perhaps and I need to be accountable there. BUT if it were, it would be sweet and gentler? Haha, I don’t know.

Sarcasm is funny. It makes people laugh. I love making people laugh. I use sarcasm.

Logical? Mostly. Except sarcasm is not all funny.

The same friend also asked me if my humour was my defence mechanism. Why did I joke about something that could hurt me?

I told you he was a good friend… That was just it. It could hurt and so I diffused it with humour. But I end up diffusing every potentially vulnerable situation with humour.

And what is the problem with having a coping strategy that works every time, you ask? This.

I am my real-est, I am myself with nothing else when I am at my most vulnerable. This is the kernel of knowledge that I (or the other person or both of us) have allowed to survive, inside the contexts and interactions of any of my best relationships. At my most vulnerable, I am also welcoming to God. It is when I stand there, that I can open the door of my heart. I run away from vulnerability until there’s a ringing manufacturer recall.

And that is the other problem with some of my humour. Even when it is targeted towards myself, self-deprecatingly, it is because I fail to honour what God has put in me. I fail to have the courage to speak boldly. With modesty but no fear. With security in the identity and love that comes from a relationship with God.

I can’t stop!

8 Mar

I have so much.

There is quite a long list of things I want in my head. My mind is like a schoolgirl, easily distracted. Research article – reading – reading – God time – oooh, Facebook – I’d love some mango. There’s my ridiculously fragmented thinking ^.

But then I got to thinking. Actually – actually – there is more that I have than what I want. It’s not quite that I have more than I want – at least, that is not what I’m trying to say. But if I listed what I have that I am grateful for, and what I want that I would really like to have… do you know what? That first list would be longer! And not because I am gracious and content or anything like that.

Because He gives.

Because He gives, I have…

a relationship with Him, His love.

a course I am enjoying

the ability to read and study

a job I love and a possible extension of it for next year

Marmite, and peanut butter, and golden syrup, and definitely more chocolate than I ought to have

people who give me all of those things too

and then those people for themselves

a mother for a best friend

more best friends in my life in far away places, which means I get to dream about visiting!

resources to read my Bible and study it

the Holy Spirit to convict me of what it means to me

a bike to get home and save time!

several different kinds of perfume

and the smell of vanilla!

the cushions I wished for

a week in Paris 😉

love

TWO pairs of boots (two!)

THREE if you count the ankle ones

Skype dates for the weekend

dinner and photography date for tomorrow

FaceTime date tonight maybe? (no, they’re not all boys :P)

three friends getting married

more shoes and one red pair (I am so lucky :D)

someone who sends me flowers 🙂

parents who brag about me rather erroneously 🙂

two yummy, cuddly dogs

flu-lessness!

an apartment to myself

in a beautiful house

a camera I enjoy

friends who care to protect me, make sure I’m okay

friends who’ll rescue my hard drive for me when I’ve been an idiot about saving my data

someone who’ll meet me in another city when I announce I’m going to be there in one hour to run an errand

friends who’ll offer to pay for my hard drive if other friends can’t rescue it

a conversation in which I was literally asked to share the gospel

redemption for even such as I

everyone who preaches and teaches in this wonderful city

the debates, the freedom to question, to seek the truth

the freedom to know that God is above our seeking and we see darkly

longer hair 😉

salvation

gifts of the Spirit

slowly the fruit, in spite of me

forgiveness for failure

forgiveness for failure from my family

patience from God

patience from people, despite my lack

a toaster and kettle of my own

tea and toast.

I could go on but I think I’ll go get some of that last, because it has become so obvious my nose is in it tonight 🙂 – His love keeps on giving.

Hey, Littlest

11 Feb

My students – well, not mine. But it’s either that or calling them ‘the kids’ which is misinterpretable to the uninitiated, not the least of the reasons being that there are about forty of them!

Anyway… Start over. My students keep asking me if I have any nicknames. What is my favorite shortened version of my name? Did my family really call me by name…? My name is a three-syllabled thing. Shorter than Elisabeth. Longer than Charlotte. Not Anglo-Saxon. But it’s not hard to say and it always strikes me that people who complain about saying it, complain not so much because it’s ‘long’ which is what they think they’re complaint because 😉 but because it’s ‘foreign’ and when someone’s name is foreign AND long, I mean that’s just way too much trouble. Not only do you expect to learn something non-English, non-American – you want us to not even make it easier on ourselves…

And yet, no one complains about say, Giovanni, Madonna or even Angelina Jolie. Just something I suspect, but I daresay no one even notices as a prejudice in themselves. I am not unsuspect in this either. Me too!

But it is true. My family really always has bothered to call me by my whole name. All three short syllables of it. And the only other nicknames they gave me were terms of endearment.

And pretty unusual ones at that. Ever noticed some terms of endearment come more naturally to some people than others? I could never say ‘darling’. I don’t know why. I try – even to a puppy, I can’t manage it with a straight face.

😀

My mother often calls me ‘her baby girl’ or just her baby. I’m not baby anymore, that’s for sure. I’m definitely not any more the little, plump, curly-haired thing you hauled on to your lap that that phrase brings to mind! Lol.

But it’s the kind of protective, stepping-in-for-you surge of emotion that probably brings that phrase to her mind. And it’s the knowledge of that affection that can still make me clog up when she writes completely ridiculously sentimental stuff like:

xxx.xxx@gmail.com

I love you, my baby girl.

_____

I mean seriously – how can I ever read my email in a library?! Haha. But my eyes still well up, because I know she does love me. And I miss her.

So no. I got the whole three syllables plus a whole lotta love in eeeeven LONGER terms of endearment from that source. So still trying to find a response to my students, my mind tracked back to my dad.

The dad is pretty stoic in some ways. He’s the kind of dad who, when faced with the teary-eyed, trembling lip precursor to a good cry, will quickly and staunchly pat you awkwardly on the back and say ‘Now, now’. In as soothing a tone as he can manage. He gave pretty decent hugs though – if you managed to get one off him as his daughter, he’d grunt comfortably and give you a hug… Before, of course, patting you strongly and firmly on the back with a ‘Now, now’ equivalent.

Yet he’s also pretty emotional when he’s emotional.

And then my mind tracked again to the father who’s always been near. I must admit my father unashamedly hovers. Like he did at creation. Good habits die hard 🙂

I have so much love to be thankful for. The father, my mum and dad… Today I’m thinking about them. My dad’s nickname for me was a Tamil variant – Chinza – that simply meant ‘a little person’. I figure he didn’t lose out on the protective streak either. But it’s a diminutive (look that up, if you need to). In English, it would sound sorta like ‘Hey, Littlie’ but not in any demeaning way that that could imply. When the dad wanted a game or to pick me up or to go on a drive together, he’d often start with ‘Hey, Chinza!’

Hey, Littlest.

It is one of those words I’ve never heard without love. So last night, I pushed my bike up the hill considering my rather-unsharable nicknames. Considering proofs of love I knew. And I think my head became quite silent inside. God stopped me. My father stopped me.

Hey, Littlest.

I love you more than anyone else. More than you can ever know. 

Churched Christianity

24 Mar

This happened several days ago. She told me I was getting old. For certain things in life… Most of my friends in the workplace and at university were/are older than I. I am older than her by a year. Everyone in the course last year that I want to join next year was four years older than I, at least. I say these things not to defend myself. My first reaction – like yours – was to wince and nod. It was to accept the constraints. I do think I am getting old. And I know with another part of me that that is untrue. There is a difference between realism and this willingness to believe the least of yourself. But it hurt to hear it because most other people outside of church do not think so. Most of my friends don’t normally share this view either!

But I have a pretty convenient system of half-forgiving things and forgetting about them – I mean things interfere less with your to-do list that way. I don’t know if ‘forgiving’ is the right word or if there is such a thing as half-forgiveness either 😉 I mean, what I did was basically be ungracious in my own mind.

I simply decided to think this friend was perhaps not as mature as I was, had different definitions about culture and society than I did, had different constraints on what it was to be a woman and different ideas about “having life and having it to the full”. ← That’s all. All beautiful things to have, and all rather easy for me to think and not remember this little commandment.

Ah but look at the new NIV’s rendition of this, which sometimes – some very few times in my life – does make sense.

I think it does especially for people who are used to considering themselves below everyone else, less than average, less than ideal, not anyone’s idea of beautiful… So many women I know do this. I know some men do too, but I don’t know enough who will tell me to say ‘so many men’ 😉 We forget how much God has planned for us and we cut ourselves short. We imagine we’re incomplete without that house or that car or that husband.

We accept the constraints that people give us.

What is horrible about all this is that nowhere does it grow as much as it does in the church. We live in accordance with the church, not God.

We worry about how ‘churched’ we look and are. Our witness fails to be about God’s calling on our lives.

NO – I was not equating a husband, a car and a house but I am trying to point out that we do equate them. To often. As if everything in life is about planned acquisition, the next step, moving on, the natural stages.

Who gave us natural stages? Not God. Not really. Isaac was born well beyond natural, people laughed at Noah’s idea of building a home, Eli’s sons didn’t pick up on the whole dynastic paradigm of churches today… they went pretty wrong and God saw it, unlike our churches… Jonathan would rather have put his life in danger, let God’s purposes be fulfilled than be his father’s son. David chose to follow God out of the expected life of Jesse’s son, out of his sheep and his music, to building up a nation that needed it.

In my generally three-cornered conversations, this was one of the times I managed to stop and listen to God and to be honest with my friend. To be more gracious. Oh – that does not come naturally for yours truly as it does for her friends 🙂 ! Sigh. I told her we were only too old/frumpy/inadequate/whatever other excuse for some ‘Christians’ – it was the saddest thing I had to say. She agreed. Because, of course, it’s not ‘good’ to want more, it’s not ‘good’ to want to change the world, it’s not ‘good’ to be loud about poverty and homelessness and illiteracy and oppression, and it’s not ‘good’ to be discontent with wrong and injustice… Oh, discontent is sin… of course.

Think again. Pray. Again.

These ideas we have about a person’s possibility in the world – they come from a limited idea of what God can do.

You know that willingness to believe the least of yourself? It sounds to God like you’re believing the least of Him. And He’s fighting for you because he thinks

you

are

wonderful.

Stat.

Happy things

21 Mar

This is random. Not information you really need to know, but if it gives you a happy little cuddle as you think ‘me too!’ – why not? 😉

These are the things I remember that have made me or generally do tend to make me smile 🙂

1. Light from behind the clouds.

2. Rain, rain clouds, thick skies making everything a different colour. Yeah – don’t ask me to explain that!

3. Puppies, and wet noses, and grunting noises for belly rubs.

4. Poetry I ‘get’. But this also makes me cry.

5. Funny English! Bloopers, spoonerism, anything… Always has! [Disclaimer: Spoken. Grammar errors simply bother me. No, this is not just a teacher thing!]

6. Worship music, in the distance. It’s how I found my church in N Wales, and fell in love with it and made it home.

7. Chocolate. Totally. Gets me every time.

8. Old conversations – relived.

9. Someone I didn’t expect to miss me, saying they missed me. Like some of the people at OGCU, especially some of the guys (truly friends in Christ)… you don’t expect them to miss you.

10. Every time God speaks – to me. And I hear something unexpected, or old and true. This too can have the double-effect of making me cry. This isn’t even comparable…

11. Code words, in-jokes, harmless family puns. *giggles*

Sorry again, Francis Chan ;)

13 Feb

Unintentionally, I have had several of Francis Chan’s ideas. Maybe that’s why I loved the book! Unintentionally, I say because I just discovered this video which even shares the same name as my post ten days ago!!! It is a beautiful video, nonetheless.

God…

Expect love

4 Feb

I write as I learn, and as I hear. Like anybody else, I suppose.

I used to have a dog called Misty. I’ve written about her before. Ah, Misty was a beautiful German Shepherd, with the friendliest grin and mischievous eyes.

She was very loyal to my father, and she bullied me because, of course, I was Little Sister. Her name for me – and this is true! – was ‘Yawooooo’. A sharp yelp-like Ya with a howl, which I have transcribed here ‘wooooo’. Er – best I could do, peeps! But truly, she would stand outside the house and call for me whenever she wanted to go upstairs to play or when she wanted to be let out of her kennel and had been put in, in the first place, by the parents. She knew I’d take her side.

She was lovely, naughty, mean, generous, loyal, amusing and intelligent. All the things a good healthy, growing dog should be – right?

I love dogs. I have had so many in my life so far and they have each been an indispensable part of the family. But I also love them for the lessons I learned from them. God always uses examples. I mean, get a load of all those parables! 😀 But jokes apart, every time the Lord wanted to teach me something as a child and often now, he would point to something around me and teach me in baby steps. Hey, what can I say, I’m slow!

Misty, although pretty familiar with the house and the sofas too, had a leash and a collar that we tied to the gate on her kennel, as an alternative to shutting her up. We rarely ever did need to shut her up. This only occurred when (annoying-in-my-childhood-world) visitors screamed and ran at the sight of a dog. Yes, where I grew up, dogs weren’t common to most households and some people – er – flipped. Then, or when we needed to keep two or three dogs out of each other’s food bowls so we wouldn’t see any fur fly when they got catty.

When we did tie her to her leash, she wasn’t very miffed about it. She took it like a good dog. Still, what has always stayed with me, more than ten years after Misty went, is the way she reacted to being free.

When one of the family undid the clasp on her leash, Misty would still sit in her kennel. Patient in the area of her captivity. She had this quirk of having to sniff the end of the leash, as it hung from a particular spot on the gate. She knew the circumference of her bondage well. And she would sit there, as if she didn’t know she was free. The thing is no one ever tried to loose her surreptitiously like some prank we were playing on her. I distinctly remember afternoons when I, teasing this creature of habit as dogs are wont to be, would say to her ‘Go, Misty, go! I untied you, go!’ And she’d good-humouredly thump her huge, shaggy tail and sit on the edge of her kennel. Waiting. And look at me as if to say ‘Who’re you kidding, missy?’ She had to sniff the end of her rope every now and then to remind herself that freedom had come. She had to keep going back to the thing that kept her in captivity so she could tell herself she was free.

Like me. Sometimes. I keep having to remind myself that I am free. I forget that God has forgiven me, forgotten my sin. I rehash. Oh, I rehash. Over and over again, as if I have not taken his deliverance seriously. As if I am denying the sacrifice on the cross that gave me life. The sacrifice was sufficient. It has swallowed my sin, my shame. It is gone, it is finished! But I forget so often. I act more righteous than God, I wait to see proof of my deliverance, my redemption, I doubt myself and expect me to fall.

My dog now is called Tassi. Well, one of my dogs now! She is a little Dachshund – see a German pattern emerging here? Yeah, I don’t know what that is about. Our other dogs have been a Dobermann, an Alsatian-Great Dane mix (er, also German and, in fact, sometimes called German Mastiff), several other Dachshunds, and a Pomeranian-Cocker Spaniel mix (phew, we got one half of a different nationality in!) Definitely something there to investigate! The German dog inclinations of the Writeroo family. Although… I have always wanted a Bassett Hound…

But, I digress.

Tassi is short for Pocahontas, which means ‘playful girl’. She is a playful princess, indeed! She was, in many ways, a Writeroo dog. I carried her home, and she slept in my shirt sleeves and lost herself in my laundry and cried under my bed every night, as a puppy. She’ll eat the bread I give her without butter. She’s a spoilt miss though and won’t take unbuttered bread from anyone else. She is very loving, loves pampering, purrs like a cat, keeps imagining she’s preggers and plonks herself on your feet inconveniently. She’ll go to sleep the moment you pick her up in your arms. She sometimes snores.

puppy dog cute cute dog dachshund black dachshund

The thing that broke my heart – in a very good way – about the Tass when she was getting puppy-trained was this…

One afternoon, she bit me pretty hard. We were rolling about on the floor having a romp. She bit my fingers – not too painfully – and ran away, playfully daring me to get her. While I was encouraging her gnawing at the bone I held, and gripping my hand… she knew, by this time, that a hard nip through the skin was not in order. Having suffered this a couple of times, and needing to show the dog what she could and couldn’t do, I gave her a tiny rap with two fingers on her back. It must have hurt. It wasn’t more than what I would do to swat a mosquito away, but I was stern and she knew from my tone that I was not pleased.

Tassi squirmed from the gentle rebuke and came running back to burrow her head with its too-long ears in my waiting lap.

loyalty trust trust trust

Coming up for the cuddle she knows she's gonna get!

She made me cry. I picked her up and held her close and thought about what God wants from us. How do your children react when they are disciplined by you? Do they trust you to come back to you with the problem? That’s exactly what God’s father-heart longs for. For a repentant child to come back expecting grace. Expecting justice, but knowing the love that is constant already.

trust trust faith God is good lessons

Expect forgiveness. Expect redemption. Expect grace. Expect the God you know. Expect love – don’t you know it by now? He is your father.

Know his love. He knows you, he singled you out and loves you crazily. Trust him today. Remember your love for him. Remember your trust.

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