Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a “Love is patient, love is kind... bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails...”

The saying “Love is never having to say I’m sorry” is a little amiss... perhaps even a LOT amiss. It seems fairly straightforward to say love is kind. Most people would agree with that definition. So when you do end up hurting someone you love, you should WANT to apologize. If you don’t, the other person will eventual believe that you are taking them for granted, or that you really do mean to hurt them. Matthew 5:23-24 says "if you... remember that your brother has something against you... go... first be reconciled to your brother, and then present your offering.”

But very often we do not even realize we have hurt someone. Very often, it is unintentional, or due to miscommunication. And there’s only so much a person can take. So how much should one person try to take? And are we just supposed to ‘take it quietly.’ I would say ‘no.’ Matthew 18:15 tells us to reprove a brother in private IF they have sinned. In other words – work it out! Why not?

And if that person continues doing the same things, realize that it is there problem. They are obviously dealing or struggling with something. Jesus tells Peter, in Matthew 18, that we should forgive our ‘brothers’ 70x7 times. In other words, you should never stop forgiving. It is really something that helps us – so we don’t end up being bitter – which then causes us to become the things that we hate. And if you struggle to forgive – ask God to forgive them for you. Through experience, I know this to work.

To summarize: the saying “You can dish it out but you can’t take it” should really be “You don’t dish it out - and you can take a lot.” This really embodies love – which only demonstrates an unnatural strength – which can only come from God.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Ps.19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight.”

Proverbs 17:7 “Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool, much less are lying lips to a prince.”

As a writer, I understand the importance of words and knowing their definitions. If I’m going to use them, I better know what they all mean. A few times I have used a word incorrectly and either embarrassed myself and/or offended someone. And, I wonder, how many times have I offended God?

So as I’ve worked at cleaning up my personal speech, I have realized that merely dropping or changing a few letters doesn’t necessarily make it “better.” Would you be okay if someone you cared about - called you a “frigging b-otch”? Even though they changed or dropped a few letters, you still know what they meant.

Using the same principle, these are found in the dictionary:
GOSH — euphemism for God
GOLLY – euphemism for God
JEEZ/GEEZ – euphemism for Jesus
GEE – euphemism for Jesus
OMG/omg – “oh my God”

Do these fool the world? Does this fool God? Something to consider... "Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” Here, the Hebrew word for “vain” is “Shav.” Part of its definition and application is: emptiness, nothingness, vanity – the frivolous use of God’s name. Part of the dictionary’s definition for “in vain” – “in an irreverent or blasphemous manner [you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain — Deuteronomy 5:11 (RSV)].”

Even Hollywood knows what it means. In “Indian Jones: The Last Crusade” - when Indy exclaims, “Jesus Christ!” - his father whacks him across the head and says, “Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain!” In another movie, as well as in a popular sitcom, the main character reacts to something with a loud, “Oh my God!” Upon receiving some odd looks, the character quickly bows their head and continues with a softer, “we thank You for…” as a quick cover-up.

So when you really think about it, even throwing around words like “Holy” or “Almighty” tends to mock the Lord we pray to. Very often we end our prayers with “in Your Holy and precious name...” If we truly honor God and His name, why would we even want to sound CLOSE to how the world mocks and scorns our Lord and Savior? “When they see among them their children, the work of My hands, they will keep My name holy, they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.” Isaiah 29:23

1 John 2:3 “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” I have been trying to practice – to say what I actually mean, like - “THAT was awesome!” “THAT is tragic, I’ll be in prayer.” “That is so cute, where did you get it?” “That is surprising!” It would also be so refreshing if we were able to step out of the exclamation-rut that we find ourselves in - and be creative and original. Brilliant!

Monday, August 30, 2010


2 Corinthians 10:7 “You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ's, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ's, so also are we.”

There are definitely some physical traits that I struggled to accept for many, many years. It didn’t help that other people would point these things out to me and joke about them. And my own mother told me once, “We will always see to it that you have what you need, but for things like nose jobs, you have to pay for that, yourself.” I never pursued such things, but I did save up my money for contact lenses. I figured God created me this way; I need to be content with that.

Over the years, I have grown to completely accept these God-given traits and even be confident - in Him. Oh, and ladies, don’t hate your butt. Here’s my theory, I appreciate the form of husband, and he really appreciates the curves of my form. It would most certainly look weird if I had a man’s butt... for what? So I can enjoy looking at myself? Case closed. This almost negates the necessity to ever ask the question, “Does this make my butt look big?”

Why I think about all of this NOW is because we just came home from vacation. During such times, many pictures are taken. And my husband insists that we should have people in the shots so we can prove that we were actually there. I insist, “Why would I want to ruin the shot with me in it?” So while I have the pleasure of editing the photos, I keep coming across ghastly shots of myself. I’m not being vain, here, but I do this weird “eye-thing” which makes me look completely insane. And the more a camera is pointed at me, the more insecure I become, thinking, “Oh no, I’m probably going to do that eye-thing again.” So being self-absorbed in my efforts to look good for the camera - I USUALLY wind up looking worse! Can one even practice humility in front of a camera?

Meanwhile, I was given yet another opportunity to reflect and meditate on what was truly important in life... to get over myself, and focus on what really is important – the inner beauty that God will create as we allow Him to work in us.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Isaiah 10:15 “Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.”

1 Corinthians 14:12 “So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.”

The first thing we like to figure out for ourselves is, “What is life” and “What are we supposed to be doing with it?” I am comforted by the fact that we are all given purpose in our lives, complete with unique talents. As well, it gives me greater confidence to know that God is the one providing and equipping us, and that it is God who is in control...

The world is so big and confusing. There isn’t a hope for us to figure it all out. Most days, I can’t figure out what I want to wear. But the Creator of the universe loves and cares about us, and designed each one of us as very unique individuals. He also designed us as social creatures... to hopefully all work together to accomplish great things. And as social creatures, God has a vested interest in each one of us as individuals and desires a personal relationship with us. Wow!

Once we understand and accept this, the next question usually is, “So what ARE our individual spiritual gifts (talents)” and “How do we fit into this whole grand scheme?” This is actually pretty simple! What are you good at? I think we tend to look too deeply and miss the obvious. Our spiritual gifts are not going to look “mystical” or “spiritually deep.” God has given us practical talents. When we use these - to God’s glory and in God’s strength – these talents become Spirit-centered... Serving God by serving others with our talents become spiritual gifts.

God, in His infinite wisdom, also blessed us with a variety of gifts that differ from other people, so we’d have to work together as a team. Ever notice while working on a project with other people, you really develop close and meaningful friendships? As well, every single talent is significant. If I wrote a drama, and there wasn’t a director, actors, stagehands, lighting and sound experts... there would be nothing. There would be an untold story. But only because of God, was I able to write anything in the first place.

Our finally question needs to be, “How user-friendly are we?” Do we graciously work together with our brothers and sisters in Christ? And most importantly, do we allow God to use us and work through us? God does a much better job than any of us could ever do. This will determine the “success” of any project or effort.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Psalm 36:7 “How priceless is Your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” (NIV)
Colossians 3:14 “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (NAS)

Being the artistic-type that I am, I feel things very deeply - sometimes maybe too deeply. This makes for some interesting “discussions”... (Okay, this can also lead to some very heated debates – ARGUMENTS! Yes, it’s true.)

So is real love – that “love at first sight”, tingly all over, passionate, romantic-movie-type feeling??? Even though I had logically thought through who I was dating and why, so I would KNOW I was choosing a really good Christian guy, I still felt some of that. So when we became engaged, I was determined to never lose those feelings.

Well, just as soon as the honeymoon was over, those feelings were gone. Unable to analyze this properly, I put this concern in the back of my mind to assess at a later date. Meanwhile, the feelings had been replaced with a kind of peaceful contentment... like we had already been together forever and this is how it would - should always be.

About a year later, I started singing solos again on Sunday mornings. As I waited to go up, I became very nervous – and then realized that these were the very same tingling feelings that we like to call “chemistry.” Well, in that case, I do not want those feelings in my marriage. Why in the world would I want to be nervous around my spouse? Does my hair look okay? Do my jeans make me look slim? What does he think about me now? Forget that! We have moved on.

Love, especially in marriage, should be a commitment. You cannot fall out of that – you would have to decide that - because real love is a choice. It is a conscious, selfless action towards someone. Your thinking shouldn’t be “What is that person doing for me so I will love them?” – your thinking should be “How am I loving that person?”

Most importantly is our walk with God. Imagine a bicycle wheel. The hub represents God, and each of us is on a different spoke. The closer we get to God, the closer we get to each other. When we make God our hub, our pillar of strength, our foundation of love – marriage will last. We make mistakes and fail each other, but God never fails. This is security. This is love.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,”

Definitely we need to be striving for spiritual maturity in our walk with God, having a solid foundation on the basic doctrines and with sound confidence in His strength and guidance... but this all requires discipline and consistent dedication. It’s interesting how my devotional life will parallel my housecleaning tasks – the most basic chores of life - can very well expose one’s internal struggles.

Growing up, one of my daily chores was to wash the dishes. This expectation was very clear and up front in my mind, but after every supper, without fail, Mom would exclaim, “Well, I’m going to go do the books now, Tanis, you can do the dishes!” Grr! I knew that, and I certainly did not want to be TOLD to do that. It didn’t matter how sing-songy she made her voice, I hated that so much. This just made the chore even more detestable.

So in married life, it was ironic that when my husband and I split up the housework, the dishes fell to me. Even more ironic, after one of our first suppers as a couple, Len exclaimed, “Well, I’m going to hit the books now, you can do the dishes.” At first I did not know why I was so hurt and furious at him, but within hours the memories flooded back. After my tearful story and explanative request, he gained some understanding toward my aversion and compliantly abstained from making this well-worn statement.

Eventually, my freedom as the one in charge of the household allowed me the flexibility to rebel. For at least 22 years, I would let the dishes pile up as high as they could until I either needed something or I ran out of counter space. My husband bared it patiently, so I’m not sure what finally compelled me to eventually “grow up.” Perhaps the logic of, “why not!” and the spurring new cliché “Just do it!” And the realization that it actually felt good - coupled with the benefit of being organized...

So it would appear, no matter how tedious and seemingly insignificant, the basic chores of life are necessary to a healthy and happy life.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

It is interesting how Easter, with its element of evoking people to purge, coincides with spring-cleaning. I could very well introduce myself as a recovering horde-a-holic. This has been something I have struggled with all my life. Not ever wanting to be buried alive, I have always fought to “stay on top of it.”

There are usually a few signals that tell me when it is time to do some maintenance. When I was a child, it was my mother saying, “Tanis, you really need to clean up your room.” Now it is my husband saying, “Tanis, what is all this?” Or it is when I houseclean and I start getting irritated with the amounts of items I must move and dust. The state of the physical room is usually indicative of the state of my brain. It is either swimming with ideas, or eventually, it is feeling very overwhelmed. I also find that if I keep a tidy house, my brain feels much more organized.

In the past, I learned how to let go of sentimental stuff, as well as to not collect exorbitant amounts of stuff in the first place. These lessons were due to making many moves, and living on some very tight budgets. But I still wrestle with letting go of knowledge... and things to do with knowledge. Now, this might all sound very noble, but I must ask myself this question: is all the knowledge that I have gathered over the years useful? Not all of it is, yet why can’t I bear to toss it or give it away? Do I perhaps think this will reflect the amount of knowledge that I contain in my brain? Or that I am losing bits of my mind?

With the advent of the Internet, it is easy enough to google masses of information. But I still feel the urge to collect and save what I want. So I now “horde” information on my computer - like typing out all my college notes into a file of documents (this project is still ongoing). If I can’t get rid of something because maybe someday I will want to show someone that I actually had this unique piece – I take a picture, file that, then give the item away. I just need to make sure I have lots of computer memory. It beats buying another house in which to store all these papers, books and things.

Or am I cheating? Have I really let go? I still have stacks of bits of papers and books to go through to enter into the computers. Am I disciplined enough to do this? Will I miss something if I don’t? Is it really that vital? A lot of it isn’t. At least I have a goal, and a system, and at least I am trying to work on it, but I still need to assess wisely and then, “just do it.”

Monday, March 1, 2010


1 Peter 2: 19-20 “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.”

Aside from my dad, who is the epitome of “patience”, I always considered myself a fairly patient person. It usually takes quite a lot for me to get riled up... except, when I am driving. Behind the wheel, I become a different person. I can so easily become that road-rage fiend. Knowing this tendency, I started taking the back roads whenever possible and giving myself lots of travel-time. Avoiding the “race” is removing myself from the temptation to “compete” and is far more relaxing. Still, there are many opportunities to cross paths with “stupid drivers.” My immediate suspicion is that they are either on drugs or on their cell phones, and from there I continue to seethe and boil beneath the skin – and commentate – of course.

So just the other day I asked myself, “How is this helping?” “What is the point?” These other drivers are not out to “get me,” they are merely trying to make their way from point A to B. At the same time, they also are struggling through their own issues and problems, with other things on their minds, feeling lost because their GPS isn’t working, feeling tired and irritated, et cetera. (Et cetera including things like addictions to drugs and cell phones, and being “stupid-drivers”...) BUT, and THEREFORE, I am not a victim in this – THIS is merely the circumstance. My impatience is only hurting myself, and annoying any passengers I may have with me. AND if my anger would ever reach a boiling point where I would not be thinking clearly, this could cause an accident – which could hurt a lot of other people. Sobering thought!

The virtue of patience is not something one necessarily inherits. I’m sure for some people it may come more naturally than others depending on their personalities, but it is certainly something to work at. Patience requires a strength, not only to rein back the anger, but to be forgiving and considerate of others so you don’t even reach that point.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I have done the weirdest things under the obsession-compulsion-umbrella. Like when I was fifteen years old, after retiring for the day, I would not let myself go to sleep until I had won seven different solitaire games. There were many nights I would only get an hour or two of sleep. A few times, I actually won them all within 30 minutes and I’d say to myself, “Well, that was way too easy, and unfulfilling, I need to do this all over again.”

These days, if I’m not careful, I will be sucked into certain computer games. Four hours will seem like five minutes. So I will either give myself a time limit (if I can hold to that), or avoid playing - and best yet – don’t even try it out – even if everyone is saying, “This is the best game ever.”

It probably begins as a way to escape, but then it becomes the trap. After finding the coping method that works, I will eventually gain control over that area of my life, so I can continue feeling and acting like a normal person. Naturally, most of the OCD vortexes have been complete time wasters – time which I will never get back. I can only think of a few that have had any benefits. Like developing a spreadsheet to learn four different languages at once. (Ah, I’m still working on that one. It’s one of my life-projects. I guess that one is just too beneficial.)

These OCD tendencies probably began in grade seven with the messy-school-note-syndrome. Instead of “studying”, I would rewrite. It served as a great review, especially for the first page or so, because I’d start over, and over, and over... No matter how hard I tried, I could not write neatly. And as my hand got tired, the handwriting would become messier much sooner each time, like – the first sentence. Oops, start over!

By the time I got to college, I had developed my own shorthand, and developed the talent of taking notes in my sleep – these I would rewrite later in my “neater” shorthand while I could still remember what we had just learned. Even my “neat” notes were only legible to myself, which actually served me well.

Kids who skipped class would ask to borrow notes – which you would never ever see ever again. When you’d ask for them back and they’d only hand you some kind of lie – this would develop into a fight and they’d hate you forever. And if you’d say “no” – they’d hate you forever. It’s no-win-situation. So when they’d make their way over to me, I could show them my notes and say, “Sure, but you probably can’t read this.” LOL! They’d just grunt and move on. Of course if laptops would have existed back then, this may have changed a lot of things. Although, chances are I might have dropped it as I attempted to type notes in my sleep!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


2 Chronicles 15:7 "But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.”

Hearing these words as a child: “Work first, play later,” I very quickly learned to appreciate them. And they have served me well, as this is a great motivator: “Do all your housework first, Tanis, and THEN you can play your stupid computer games.” And this is what I tell myself now as an adult - but if it works, why not? I get my housework done and out of the way, so I can enjoy myself, free of guilt.

Probably the first area that I incorporated this philosophy was with food. In those earlier years, I absolutely hated peas. Maybe it was because back then they came from a can and Mom would overcook them, I don’t know. Nonetheless, I found myself alone a few times, still sitting at the table hours after supper was done, and gagging at each tiny bite. But if I didn’t finish my peas, I would not get any dessert. I love dessert. I very quickly figured out that Mom was unrelenting on this rule, so why not just eat the peas very first thing. Then the more pleasurable foods would override anything that tasted bad.

Even though I love peas now, not only do I still do this, but I will taste-test a bit of each item on my plate to determine the order of indulgence. As well, I will analyze something like a pork chop to find the pieces that will have the very-best-probable-lingering-taste-factor, and push those to the side for later. So, for example: I will eat the peas first, sweet potatoes next, pork chop last, and the best pork chop pieces the very last. Only once did my husband make the mistake of assuming that I was NOT going to eat those.

Oh, and eating sandwiches, of course I hated the crust. And naturally, Mom insisted we eat that as well, as Dad would exclaim to us kids, “But that’s the best part!” Putting my reward system to work, I would eat the crusted-circumference first, and then enjoy the center. Once I moved out of the house, and was my own boss, I decided I didn’t have to eat the crust at all. As I get older, I have matured... I now try to disguise my quirk. I will eat the crust, but I will alternate: some crust, some center, some crust – but always – save the best for last.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Proverbs 7:4 "Say to wisdom, 'You are my sister,' and call understanding your intimate friend."

Lists are my favorite and very necessary pals... They have saved me from so many over-sight issues, faux pas, and brain-wracking efforts. And still, I get myself into trouble. I tried making bread in the fool-proof breadmaker and messed up twice in a row. Back in High School, I was ALWAYS redoing my science experiments. They never once worked. And I should have failed Home Ec. I realized that I needed to check each list item more than Santa. At the very least, 3 times.

But without a list, I would be extra-doomed. I can so easily become distracted. If there isn’t something to distract me, I make something up. Or, my brain will take off all on its own, and I completely “go away.” When I “come back”, I KNOW I was thinking, but I have no idea about what.

To cope, I find myself hyper-thinking – going into the zone – deep, deep into the heart of the issue. This is when I have to start making my notes and lists. I have made lists for just about everything. I have lists for groupings of lists. I should really have a master list, but I figure, “Eh, I’ve made it pretty obvious, OR some things will just be a surprise when I stumble onto them later.”

Some of the lists are just crazy! Like logging all the movies I’ve ever seen (which is currently well over 3,000). And now that I’ve tracked these for this long, it is a compulsion that I cannot give up. I got rid of my binder at around the one thousand mark and entered all the recorded data into a spreadsheet. I am so thankful for the computer. I can effectively file all lists without any paper-clutter. Still, when my husband comes across a piece of paper with odd scribbling, he leaves it alone. He knows full well that it is probably something important – something that I have yet to add to my computer-list-collection.

I must say, some of my list ideas are pretty awesome. Some are extremely quirky. Below, I’m going to add some of them to the comment boxes. I look forward to seeing some of your ideas, not that I need to be encouraged.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Proverbs 1:5-6 “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles.”

I couldn’t just have normal problems or interests – people might just start to take me seriously!

But seriously, being painfully shy, I had been considered either aloof or mysterious by people who didn’t really know me. Naturally I didn’t know too many people because I was too shy. Tired of being misunderstood and mislabeled, it was during my third year of university that I decided I was just NOT going to be shy anymore. This unleashed a monster that I am still trying to figure out.

My biggest pet quIRK through it all is feeling like I’m still misunderstood, even though I am now very open and wear my heart on my sleeve. Of course, this presents a problem in itself. The possibility is always there to either:
a) overwhelm people
b) annoy people
c) offend people
d) scare people away
e) a varied selection of all the above

Part of this quIRK is thinking that “to NOT be shy” I HAVE to speak. And when I speak, I should be entertaining, especially if the other person doesn’t hold up their end of the conversation. It’s like, “Okay, if you don’t talk – I will – I’m not shy! - BLAAAAH!” SOME people get me and appreciate me for this, but this does not seem to be the norm. So to avoid a) through e), I do TRY to ask questions. Maybe I’m asking the wrong questions?

Does anybody else (out there) struggle with holding normal conversations? What do normal people talk about? What are some good conversation-starter-questions with normal people?

Friday, January 1, 2010


Romans 14:5 “One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.”

I find it amusing that I decided to begin a blog today, of all days. Finding the act of making New Year’s resolutions pointless, I LOVE the fact that every day can be a new beginning. Where would I be without that? Because pretty much everyday I ask myself, “Why did I do (or say) that?” “What is my problem?” “How do I keep doing the same things over and over again?” Of course, there are those days where I surprise myself and come up with totally new issues to obsess about, dwell on, and over-analyze, which induce compulsions to seek out solutions or coping methods. I know doing SOME of that is a good thing. So the dichotomy arises: to self-assess or stop being self-centered? Just maybe the last part of that question is the answer to the first part.