Sunday, 29 May 2011

What You Gain Here Stays Here

We can't take anything with us when we die. You've probably heard it way too many times. But has it become a reality to you?

I was at my bank last week looking into some savings options and as I'm trying to understand everything being explained to me, the lady suddenly asks, "If you die and go to heaven, who do you want all your money to go to?" I was taken back to say the least. That question didn't sit well with me and I it certainly wasn't something I wanted to answer. But I had to. I had to decide who I wanted to have my money when I died. I hated doing that.

Now, I know life is short. I've been reminded of that again this past month. I'm not guaranteed a long life, but I live like I am. I plan, I think, I save. But the truth is, when I die, everything I have accumulated in my lifetime I'll leave behind. What I gain here stays here.

I've been studying Ecclesiastes with some girls and this is one of the topics that came up.

Ecclesiastes 2: 18-21 (ESV)
I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it.

Basically, when we leave this world, everything we own and worked for goes to somebody who didn't work for it. And on top of that, you have no idea what they're going to do with it. How fair is that? But how does that affect the way we live? I don't go to work thinking my money's going to go to someone else. That's not the plan. But one day, it will.

Keeping this in mind, how does it can change the way you live? Because what you gain here, you have to leave here.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

For Such Moments as This

"I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad--as I am now. Laws and principles are not for times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth--so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane--quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot." --Jane Eyre (emphasis mine)

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Laura Story - Blessings

In times of loss and grief, life is difficult to understand. God is hard to understand. This song articulates our pain, but it also offers hope. In our trials, we must believe that God has a plan, and a good one at that.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Jane Eyre: Is Love Blind?

Love is blind. It' a common phrase. Is it true?

I did a little research on the phrase and found that it was first coined by Shakespeare. He used it in a few of his plays. The idea is that when a person falls in love, they become blind to the other person's faults. Emotions take over and they fail to see clearly. A research study has actually proven this to be true. The activity in areas of the brain that control critical thought are actually suppressed by love.

Some people think that before you get married, you should keep both eyes wide open and when you marry, keep one eye shut. That might not be such a bad idea.

This is one of the latest issues I've been thinking about in my study of Jane Eyre. When Jane first comes to Thornfield, she definitely takes notice of Rochester's faults, which in my opinion are many. He's honest with her that he has a past he regrets, although he normally doesn't explain them. And on top of that, Jane doesn't find him particularly attractive.

However, as the story progresses, her interest in the man, 20 years older than herself, grows. Interest turns to affection, and affection turns to love. By this time, she completely overlooks any of the faults she previously saw in him. Criticism has fled and love wins. Even when faced with the competition of another woman, Jane doesn't let it faze her. She's more in love with the man than ever. She's consumed by this and quickly begins to idolize the man.

The problem with Rochester is that he's a mysterious man and has a tendency to be deceptive. The reader can see the problem easily, but Jane is blinded to it. She disregards any questionable actions, motives or intentions. When Rochester proposes, she questions how long his love for her will last. He makes it clear that once they're married, she will be all his, attached to him like his watch and chain. He's going to control her. His flowery words and affection often quickly turn to rudeness. This still doesn't bother Jane. She seems to prefer insults to affection. It's almost as if she doesn't want to be or doesn't think she deserves to be properly loved.

Will her eyes be opened before she gets burned? You'll have to read the book for yourself to find out.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Calling All Fiction Lovers

Lately, I've had little time for reading or writing, and thus the content of my blog has been lacking. But, that doesn't mean I'm not discovering new things, books, sites, blogs, etc. I discover way more than I can keep up with. I know of enough to keep me busy for a lifetime.

One of the recent sites I've gotten excited about is Speculative Faith. It's a site for writers and readers who love Christian visionary fiction. There's new articles every day covering a host of subjects. I first discovered it through a link posted on Facebook by author Rachel Starr Thomson, author of the Seventh World Trilogy (which is really good by the way), among other things. She's just finished writing a review on Speculative Faith on the latest book in The Auralia Thread series by Jeffrey Overstreet, which I'm looking forward to reading.

I haven't had time to read articles on this site every day, but I love what I have found. It definitely caters to my interest in the fantasy genre. There's been reviews, discussions of the criticism Christian fiction receives, dialogues, interviews, discussions on entertainment or whether you or not you have to be "called" to write and a whole lot more I haven't read. On the top of the home page, there's always inspiring quotes by various writers. There's an author bio section where you can learn more about the writers. There's a lot on the sidebar, and one of my favourites there is the list of Recommended Authors.

I love that list because it allows you to browse new authors and link to their sites. I've worked in the book industry for over two years now, and although I'm familiar with a lot, there's a lot more I'm not familiar with. I've read books by several of the authors in that list including Chuck Black, L.B. Graham and Karen Hancock. I'm also familiar with/heard good things about half of the rest of the list and look forward to exploring a lot of those writers.

People may wonder at my choice of fiction. This may sound weird, since I work in the industry, but there's so much out there I have no clue about. I don't read Amish fiction and have never read a single Karen Kingsbury book, although there are titles I want to read by her. For some reason I reach for the fantasy genre, historical fiction or classics.

Speculative fiction carries you into a whole new mystical world, filled with noble men and women, unearthly creatures, and battles between good and evil. It's altogether exhilarating. A lot of what I have read has also had deep spiritual content weaved into the story, that have taught me great lessons and caused me to truly examine my spiritual life. Very often, they have led me to God's throne in prayer.

If you want a change in your reading, try some speculative fiction. Experience something new. Browse the site and be inspired to read and think. Happy reading!