Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday's Voice - Pakistan


For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9 NIV84
Please be in prayer for all believers.  Please feel free to share any prayer requests or praise requests in the comment section of the post.  I would ask that if you read this blog on a Wednesday that you take time not just to pray for those who are persecuted, but also for each other.  We may not know each other, but we can take joy in praying for each other and the power that God has when we pray globally. Blessings to you all.
 
Pakistan  -Update: Blasphemy allegations continue in Pakistan (Sources: Asia News, The Christian Post)

The High Court in Islamabad has delayed the trial of Rimsha Masih, a mentally challenged Christian girl charged with blasphemy, while another young follower of Christ has been accused of the same offense.
The Court will take until November 14 to decide if the case against Rimsha will be dismissed. Three witnesses who had earlier testified that the mosque leader, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, had planted fabricated evidence on Rimsha have since recanted. The Muslim leader is now free on bail, and prosecutors have reportedly said they will not try him on blasphemy charges.

In Karachi, a16-year-old Christian boy and his family are in hiding following accusations the young man sent text messages denigrating the Prophet Muhammad. Protesters broke into the family's house and burned all their furniture and appliances. Ryan Stanten has been charged under the blasphemy law, although it has been reported the boy's friends are responsible for sending the messages.

Please pray that the case against Rimsha will be dropped. Pray this case will discourage others from making false accusations

Please pray for the safety and strength of Ryan and his family.

Please pray for a mighty flood of justice in Pakistan (Amos 5:24).



Friday, October 26, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - I thought I graduated....

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I was a high school nerd.

I was.

Really.

I was always on the outside watching the “cool” kids. Wishing secretly that somehow I could break into their clique. Wishing I was part of whatever fun they were having. But if you had asked me then,  I would have told you I didn't care. That they were just dumb jocks and self righteous girls. That they should really look at themselves before they said anything. I even antagonized them. I mocked them openly. I flaunted my grades to them. I let them know that I didn't need them. They made sure I was never included. It was a vicious circle.

Of course it probably didn't help that I was on the Health Team (we promoted healthy lifestyles). I was in the Library Club (self explanatory). I was a very minor lead in our high school musical, Grease (I played Ol' Lady Lynch). I was in the Cooks Training Program (we ran the cafeteria). During one of my spare blocks my senior year, I volunteered in the school office. I'm really just digging myself in further about my geekiness.

I hung out with the social misfits. The rockers, stoners, smokers. Ironic, when I was a complete nerd. They accepted me though for who I was and we had a lot of fun. They also were tormented by those alleged “cool kids.” Of course, not to their face but behind their backs (I'm pretty sure the cool kids were scared of the people I hung out with).

Even after high school my social scale never really flew. I hung out with people like myself. For a while I hung out with my ex-boyfriend's bag pipe band. I was also a member of the Society of Creative Anachronism (we pretended we were in the middle ages). It really was as bad as it sounds.

I've never fit in at places I worked at as well. I continued to feel like I was on the outside. I never really got along with some of the women I worked with. I wasn't invited out to lunches. I was invited to evening drinks. I made out like I didn't care. But I would go home and cry. I sometimes would even cry in my cubicle.

I have always made my own circle of friends. Friends who accept me for who I am. Friends who don't judge. I am a very brutally honest person. Sometimes I say things that others don't. Sometimes I shock people. I have lost friends because of this. I don't go against society norms, but I try to be honest. Maybe people don't like that. It's easier to not be honest I guess.

You may wonder why I am writing this. I feel on the outside again. I know some of this is just that a feeling. I am on Twitter. I am on Facebook. I obviously blog. There are many times I'll post something on Twitter or this blog and no one comments. I posted last week on Twitter, that 

“realizing more and more how much of an outsider I have become.”

No one commented, although supposedly I have 143 people following me. I'm not complaining. Just stating fact. I linked up to a fellow bloggers blog this week. She has on average approximately 60 people link up every week. Only one person commented on my blog and she is one of my regular followers. (Thank you Andi). Lately people on social media have posted or tagged about going to Allume. (Allume is a Christain Women's Conference inspired by Incourage). I am sure that the 400 ladies in attendance will be lifted spiritually. But there is a little of high school involved in it all. They go on and on for months about it. They all tweet about buying their tickets. They all ask who's going. They all tweet while they're there. I'm not saying that they shouldn't, but there is a little of the haves and haves not.

This isn't just about the social media world either. How many of us don't fit in with the clique at church? How many of us can stand during coffee time and nobody come and talk to us? How many times do people leave our churches because we haven't welcomed them in.

It's hard to put yourself out there. We wonder why we all walk around with masks on. We wonder why we can't be honest? Why are people so scared to put themselves out there? We are afraid of how people will perceive us. We are afraid we won't be accepted for ourselves. We are worried that people won't like us for who we are and not what we bring to the table.

Someone though does love us. Loves us for who we are, not what we are. Loves us even through all the scrapes, scabs, or bloody mess that we are. We are created just as He wanted us. Some of us are taller. Some shorter. Some thinner. Some not so thinner. Some quiet. Some loud and obnoxious (that's me!). God loves us just because we come. Nothing more. Nothing less. He doesn't love us because we fit in. He loves us because He fits us in. We are only made complete through Him. We need to remember this. We need to remember that we only need to find acceptance in Him and nothing else. We need to teach our children this truth. I believe that until we do, the vicious circle of the haves and haves not will continue. The masks will remain. We will never be truly authentic as it is.

This has been very painful to write. I have had to remember those times where I've broken down feeling unaccepted. It hurts as a child and cuts as an adult. The wounds are barely healed. But He is healing them. He is working in me to start this change. To open peoples minds. To tear off our masks. To be as authentic as I possibly can. I pray that this be a place not of judgement, but a place of authenticity. A place of peace and laughter. A place of belonging.

Have you ever felt like you didn't fit in? What masks are you wearing? Come link in with the Java Junkies this week and share your randomness.

 


Monday, October 22, 2012

Messy Mondays - The Speech

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life. It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow. It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy. It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us
This week I am sharing the speech I gave at Church on Sunday as the Disability Advocate for our church and a parent of two exceptional boys with autism.  I know if you read Caffeinated Randomness that some of this speech will seem familiar.  I gave another version at a fundraiser for our advocacy group a month ago.  
Hi, for those that don't know me, I'm Michelle Slomp. I have been married to Leroy Slomp for 12 years. I am a stay at home mom, blogger, organizer, reader, wanna be crafter and no I am not dutch.

I would like to introduce you to my 3 children. My daughter, Nicole, who is 9 years old. She is a social butterfly who is kind, compassionate and smart. My oldest son Thomas is 6. He is playful and loving. He loves puzzles and has been on the computer since he was 2 1/2. Finally we have the baby of the family, Samuel. He is 3 years old. He is a ball of activity who has more energy than the Energizer Bunny. From the outside all my kids look just like any other kids. We look like the any other family. But we won the statistical lottery. 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with autism (which some disagree would be more like 1 in 64 children). 15 to 20 percent of siblings will also receive the same diagnosis. Of 5 kids with autism, only 1 will be a girl. Both my sons have received this diagnosis within a year of each other.

Thomas was diagnosed with autism two weeks before his 5th birthday while we were living in Saskatchewan. We did have some signs. He was a bit fussy as a baby. He did not walk until he was 20 months and he spoke only about 3-5 words when he was 3. However, he was so cuddly and just “loved up” everyone within his reach that the thought of autism never crossed our minds. When we questioned our doctor he said not to worry, he'll catch up. Nicole was so far ahead of all the scales that we just had to realize Thomas was behind on them. We started speech therapy and our therapist at first thought he was deaf. After 3 hearing appointments we ruled that out. At his 4 year check up, he was crying and so was I. The doctor, Nicole and Sam watched us in shock and awe. We were immediately referred to a pediatrician who subsequently referred us to the Kinsmen Development Centre in Saskatoon. At no time was the word Autism ever used. After 6 months of waiting and doing research, we began to utter the word ourselves. We also began to search for help, but felt like we were getting the run around between agencies. We felt alone and helpless.

We obtained an assessment day almost 1 year from referral. This was obtained sooner due to calling our MLA's office. We were told that the assessment probably wouldn't happen until 18 months from referral date. Without this assessment any services we could access were out of reach. We researched a provincial advocacy group who recommended if you were able to leave the province to do so. We made the decision to move back to Alberta after having left 4 years before. Alberta had better services and programs to assist not just the children with autism, but also the families. We knew this was something we would not get in Saskatchewan. If we stayed we would be on our own emotionally and financially. Thomas received his diagnosis a few days after Sam's 2nd birthday and a few weeks prior to purchasing our new home in Okotoks.

Around this time we also began to see signs in Sam. The grabbing of the ears and the OCD behaviour. Unlike Thomas though, Sam has no speech at all. He is a great mimicker, but has no or very little comprehension of the words that he says. He is also a runner – meaning he has no sense of boundaries and will run away from us within seconds. Add that to 1 very inquisitive 3 year old and you have 2 extremely stressed and tired parents. Sam received his diagnosis this last May.

Both the boys require regular speech, physio, occupational and behavioural therapies. My calendar is filled with appointments for meetings or therapy times. I always say we are playing catch up with Thomas and being proactive with Sam. We also have an addition to our family. We have an aide, Deanna, who comes in daily and works with each of the boys.

We don't just worry about the boys regarding this new journey we have, we also worry about Nicole and how this will affect her. She also has to make sacrifices because of her brothers. We have to allow and acknowledge her feelings of jealousy and anger. We have to allow for time to herself with just Mom and Dad, as well as time alone. One of our biggest concerns is how this will affect her when we are no longer here. What responsibilities she'll have for the boys. We want her to be her own person, but also be their advocate when we can't. She's already doing this at her age. She is an amazing sister. She is their number one fan and interpreter. She is not just their older sister but their best friend. She thinks more of them than herself.

There are times when we've been lost in this journey. We have grieved for lost dreams for each of our children. We have cried out why? We have yelled in anger. We have fallen to our knees in desperation. But God has given me these truths to cling to:
  1. Each of my children were “fearfully and wonderfully made”. God didn't make the boys autistic because of sin or punishment. Each of my children were created exactly as God would have them created. God makes no mistakes. He has a big plan. Each of my children are part of this great plan. He tells us His plans are good and I trust in this promise.
  1. I do not have the strength to bear this, but God does. I've heard it too many times that God gave me these boys because he knew how strong I was. I'm not. We aren't. No parent of a special needs child is. We are imperfect people. |We have the same concerns and dreams for our children, just as everybody else does. We aren't superhuman beings (although sometimes I wish I was). I often say I'm holding on to the last thread and that thread is called Jesus. Only through Him have I made it this far. Only through Him have walls that seemed impenetrable fallen like the walls of Jericho. In picking Thomas' team, I was told it would take months. I had it organized within a few weeks. God provided us with an aide who shares our faith and teachers who see my kids as kids not as autism. They too see the potential and celebrate the highs just as much as we do. I know this has nothing to do with Leroy or I, it's a God thing.
  1. Finally, Romans 5 verses 3 and 4, tells us “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Everybody suffers from something. I don't consider my sons sufferers of autism. But they each face struggles that other parents take for granted. Ones, even we took for granted with Nicole. Just this week, we celebrated the fact that Sam could put his own boots on. We persevere through the web of agencies, funding, therapies and terms. We push through and see success. We embrace this success as it means hope. Autism is not curable. My boys will have autism for the rest of their lives, but we will not allow them to be defined by it.
Last year on Celebrity Apprentice they were doing an add for a special needs summer camp. The ad campaign that was suggested was to have some children playing on the floor with a wheelchair pushed to the side with the tag line “They don't see a difference, why do we.” I pray and I know that there will be a time that all are included. That everyone is truly welcomed for who they are no matter what.

I am linking up this week with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood at Finding Heaven
Friday, October 19, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Inside & Out

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I saw one of them again.  She looked perfect.  She had the nice shoes.  She had a great jacket.  She had perfect hair and make up.  She looked good.  She looked perfect.  Who am I talking about?  A woman without children.  

Ok I don't know if she has a child or not, but I needed a picture. 

You moms know what I am talking about.  Our shoes are comfortable.  Our shirts have stains.  We own jeans and maybe a few dress pants for church or special occasions.  The last time we wore a formal dress was either a bridesmaid dress or our husband's Christmas social.  We rarely get hair cuts.  We wear make up but to hide the dark circles under our eyes.  We don't have time to look perfect.   We want wash and wear.  It has to be comfortable.  It has to practicle.  I am sorry Stacy and Clinton, we don't want to wear high heels to the grocery store and we don't have time to put on nylons to drop the kids off in the mornings (I'm lucky if I have all my make up on).  

However, I understand what poor Stacy and Clinton on What Not To Wear are trying to do.  In fact, God spells it out for us.  
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. (1 Peter 3:3 NIV)
I know many people focus on this verse as telling us that we shouldn't have any adornment or any elaborate hairstyles.  That we don't need to focus on our outsides.  But I learned something from Tony Evans about this verse.  It doesn't say don't do it.  It doesn't say let yourself go so that you can glorify God.  It doesn't say don't keep yourself up, it just says don't make it your idol.  We should focus on our inner beauty.  Once we do that it will reflect out.  However, we don't need to look this while we work on it:


We should take care of ourselves.  We should look on the outside how we feel on the inside.  When we let our outside go, it is usually a reflection of what our inside looks like or how we are feeling.  When we take care of ourselves, we feel better about ourselves and can work on our insides.  It is hard to focus on what God calls us to do, when we hate ourselves or don't care about ourselves.  God wants so much more for us than we give ourselves or even allow ourselves to hope.  We don't need to look like a fashion model (those days are sadly gone), but we should look good.  We should allow ourselves times for manicures and/or pedicures.  We should allow ourselves times for good haircuts and colourings.  We don't need to let ourselves go - Mom or not.  

These past few weeks I have been reflecting on my own wardrobe.  I admit I have been slowly slipping into track pants, t-shirts and sweatshirts.  For those that know me personally, you know if I usually have jeans and a nice top or sweater on.  I don't leave the house without my hair down.  But admittedly I am tired.  I am frustrated in having many of tops ruined by stains from mucky fingers.  I frustrated by my weight and frustrated by my the greying hair.   It would be so easy to give up.  It would be easy to let myself go.   It would be easy to give up.  It would be easy to buy into the line that I shouldn't focus on my outside because it would be dishonouring God.  But God asks me to look after myself.  
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body,"  (1 Corinithians 6:19-20 NIV)

God paid a price for us.  Not just for our insides, but also for our outsides.  We are to care for both equally.  We should focus on our spiritual life.  We should focus on God's leading in our lives.  Just the same, we should look after our bodies.  Caring for the temple He gave each of us so that we may honour Him.  You wouldn't allow anyone to ransake your Church.  You wouldn't allow it to become run down.  So why do we allow ourselves to become run down?

Are you taking care of your temple?  Are you caring as much for your outside as your inside?  Come link up with the other java junkies this week. 




Friday, October 12, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - I just met you....

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``I just met you and this crazy, but here's my number so call me, maybe?`` 

If you haven`t heard this song playing on the radio than you must be living on a rock.  It`s been playing on the radio for a while now.  There have been many spoofs made about it:  Share it Maybe, Star Wars, etc. (just do a search on You Tube and you can view many more).  Now, this song has me thinking about pick up lines.   If you are young and single you know what I am talking about and if you are old and married like me (or even young and married), you remember some of them.  Most of the times they were cheesey and bad (ie.  Pinch me. [Why?] You're so fine I must be dreaming.).  It has me thinking how did people pick each other up in the Bible.

I know it sounds sacrilegious.  But think on it, where did these lines come from anyway?  There had to be a start.  I mean did Adam say to Eve:  Nice Rib?  Or did Ruth say to Boaz: "Oh, I didn't realize this was your mat? (batting her eyes).   Pick up lines have probably been around since time began.  We need something to break the ice when you don't know someone and you want to let them know you are interested.  

You may be wondering where this thought about biblical pick up lines came from.  It was a conversation I had with the Evil Twin about Leah, Jacob and Rachel (now that sounds like an entry to a joke).  There is a short story in Genesis 30, where by Rachel "sell's" a night with Jacob for some mandrake plants that Leah has. 
During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.”
 I did not write this stuff myself.  I wish, however, that I was a wall on the tent that night.  What did Leah say to Jacob?  "So, Jacob come here honey.  I just bought you for some mandrakes and you're mine."  How did he feel about that?  Was he shocked, honoured, appalled or delighted.   Well what I thought she would say is pretty close to reality.  
So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night.  God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son.
  Now that is pretty direct.  We never know how Jacob felt about being sold.  I doubt he was too upset about the whole arrangement anyway, since he had 2 wives and 2 concubines by this time.  And God blesses Leah with another son.  I do want to digress and let you know that every time I read about these 3 that I always cheer on Leah.  I get being the older sister.  

Ok, back to the pick up lines.  The Old Testament is filled with stories about men and women and relationships.  The highs and lows.   I choose to look at the highs of them and when there are lows, we can look at them in a light hearted way.  Think of David and Bathsheba.  His pick up line? "I just saw you.  And this Crazy, I'm the king.  Come here baby!"  LOL

What are some pick up lines you've heard?  What are some pick up lines that you think should have been in the Bible?  Come link up with the Java Junkies and share your crazy randomness. 



 
Friday, October 5, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Once Upon a Time

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I was very excited this weekend.  Once Upon a Time season two started.   I love this show.  For those who haven't watched it, it is a show created by the creators of Lost.  So basically think Lost in the Disney vaults.  I have to admit that I never watched Lost, but I know many people who did and loved it.  Once Upon a Time is like that for me.  I haven't missed an episode.  If you do, you miss something.  Something that opens up the story.  
 
I love all the characters, especially Regina the mayor/evil queen.  I love her tenacity and power.  I also like seeing those times she is vulnerable.  She is a complex character.   I recently did a on line quiz as to which character I was like.  I actually hoped I was like Regina, but was more like her nemisis, Emma.  Which was ok with me as she is a tough cookie.  I like that.  I like watching powerful female roles.  When you first meet, Mary Margaret/Snow White, you think typical meek character.  However, she is a fighter.  These are complex female characters.  They remind me of the women of the Old Testament, like Deborah, Jael, Ruth, Esther, Abigail.  Each with a past.  Each strong.  Each used by God.  Now I know that the characters of Once Upon a Time are not necessarily being used by God, but we can learn lots from them.

I know many people struggle with Disney Princesses and their daughters.  I never did.  The Princess had her room decorated for years with the princesses.  She dressed up as most of the princesses.  She was a princess.  She still is.  Just for fun and in celebration of Once Upon a Time, I thought I would do which Disney Princess I am most like and share it with you.
 



You Are Belle



You are independent and even a bit sassy. You speak your mind.

You are curious about the world, and you're always learning about something new.



You are stubborn and headstrong. Once you have made up your mind about something, it's difficult to convince you otherwise.

Deep down, you are warm hearted and compassionate. You are open to loving almost anyone.



Which Princess are you most like?  Have you watched Once Upon a Time?  Which character do you like?  What do you think of the Disney Princesses?  Come join up with the Java Junkies and share your randomness this week.



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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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