What’m I, Chopped Beef?

There’s an idiom people sometimes use in a lighthearted way to remind their friends they’re there. Years ago, I forgot the correct wording for it and said, “What am I? Chopped beef?”

I tilted my head and added, “Wait a second… That didn’t sound right.”

Then I remembered it’s actually the lesser-appreciated chopped liver in the idiom, and not the largely-beloved beef. (Here’s a bit about its meaning.) I still say it the silly way to this day, but nobody seems to notice. Either that, or they are being kind and don’t want to correct me.

In yesterday’s blog post (here), I mentioned how paranoid I’ve become concerning new friends, alluding to many having let me down. My sister read it, and, via our ensuing conversation, I was reminded that she is one I can trust.

That got me thinking about the handful of other trusted people in my life, so this is a post that acknowledges the fact that I do have friends, and for them I am grateful.

Maybe I myself have inadvertently let friends down. Maybe I could have done more for them. Maybe I still can. Who knows?

I do know, though, that Jesus is the friend of sinners (Luke 7:34), and I’m a sinner, as is everyone but Him.

And I know that Jesus will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5)

My prayer is that all who read these words also know Jesus as their friend who will never leave them nor forsake them.

On Living In Fear

When someone who is supposed to be trusted freaks out at you because they didn’t take the medication that makes them not become so crazy – not just once but two days in a row – what can you do but hide and pray and cry?

Some things I wish I could tell someone, but who to tell that can be trusted, and who to tell that can help?

All I can do is pray to God for peace, but does peace stand any chance in this ruined world?

PTSD locks me in fearful immobility.

If anyone reads this, please pray for me. I am not safe. I don’t know if I will survive the night.

This World Is Not My Home

Although Gonzo’s got a violin here and not a mandolin, they’re both strung the same way. I feel like I’m strung the same way as this strange character from The Muppets – not of this world.

“Oh, Lord, You know I have no Friend like You.
If heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?”

This world is so not my home.

I used to be too trusting of people. Over time, though, with bad experiences, the more people I met, the more I learned not to trust them.

It got to where I’d ask myself, when getting to know a new friend, “I wonder if this person will turn on me.”

That progressed to, “WHEN will this person turn on me?”

To whom can I turn who will not turn on me?

To whom can I tell the things that trouble me?

Why, to Jesus, of course!

I believe Jesus already knows my troubles, but at the same time, I take comfort in knowing He’s cool with me telling Him the same stories over and over again, as well as the ones that are new to me. He understands my situation of being human and “not all there”.

Without Jesus, I would surely feel alone in this shadowy valley of death through which I walk.

A thing about valleys, though, is that there are higher places around them. And it is to the ultimate higher place that I will one day ascend, far beyond this present darkness, where I will see the Light of God Himself.

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.  (Matthew 5:8)

That makes me ask, “Am I pure in heart?”

And my answer is, “I don’t think so.”

I did a little searching and found someone’s thoughts that help illuminate this situation: “Blessed Are The Pure In Heart” commentary

Well, I know I’m far from pure as a human. But the one in Whom my faith is established – the Lord Jesus Christ, who not only gave His life for me but also returned to life after all that – is pure. Pure and perfect and precious.

And so, with the purity of Christ covering me, I look forward to seeing the light of God.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

I welcome discussion on this topic, to know your thoughts on what the Lord has shown you in His Word. I surely don’t know it all.

But back to the first lines in this blog post, from the song “This World Is Not My Home”. A few days ago, I looked for it on YouTube. I had mostly only heard it while singing it with friends, back in the days when I used to meet with a local Christian assembly. Lo and behold, there it was being sung by a musician whose music I adore, AND he was also playing my favourite instrument – the mandolin, which I’m currently learning to play.

Here, have a listen to “This World Is Not My Home” as recorded by Ricky Skaggs. Maybe you can relate, too.



That’s Good News Indeed!

Good News
by Wes King, on the album A Room Full of Stories (1997)

Well, I don’t want to hear
The latest gossip in this town
And I refuse to let the things
I can’t change bring me down
Whatever is lovely, holy and pure
Well, I will think on these things

Give me the sunshine
A blue night
A blanket of shining stars
Tell me the Good News
Now, sing Hallelujah
Christ in me
That’s Good News indeed
Good News indeed

Well, I have had more
Than my share of petty quarrelling
And now I long to join
In peaceful, hopeful harmonies
Whatever is good, honest and true
I will think on these things

Give me the sunshine
A blue night
A blanket of shining stars
Well, tell me the Good News
Now, sing Hallelujah
Christ in me

Give me the sunshine
Now open the curtains
And let me see
Well, tell me the Good News
And I’ll sing Hallelujah
Christ in me
That’s Good News indeed

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8)

PS: Hey, is the commenting option shut off again? It’s awfully quiet on the blog again. If you don’t see a comment box when scrolling down below these words, click onto another of my past blog entries and let me know in another comment box. It’s been doing this to me a lot lately. I can fix it easily on my computer, but as I write this I am a few hours from home, typing on a phone.

Not having a good WordPress day

If you received an email saying I published a blog post called “Commenting Got Shut Off Again??”, and you went to click the link, you would have seen that the link actually went to somebody else’s blog.

Is today April 1? Is WordPress playing tricks on me?

Okay, I think I have fixed it now. I hope.

Here’s what I REALLY meant to write!…

I am so sorry to discover that yesterday’s post about my writing shed had commenting disabled. A fellow blogger pointed it out, for which I am grateful or I might never have known. It is fixed now, so if you were to leave a comment, that’d make my day better. 🙂 Here’s the link for it again: My Writing Shed

My Writing Shed

In the spring of 2015, the idea came to me that I should build a shed in which I could somewhat hide away, close enough to my house that my kids could find me if needed, yet far enough away that I wouldn’t have to hear them bickering.

For a few months, I observed my acre of land, watching where the sun and shadows landed, imagining what view I would have through windows.

I measured out some potential sites with rope, and asked the opinion of my husband and some of my kids. The feelings were not unanimous so I kept searching.

Finally, I decided upon a spot.

Me enjoying morning coffee on the site where my shed would be built

Here I sat at my chosen building site amidst cement pier blocks from the local building supplies store and the 3×7 timbers we purchased from a friend who milled them himself. We live in an area where forestry is what fuels the economy. Trees are life and there is no shortage of them.

I had it in my mind that we could build this shed over the course of a weekend. Haha! How naive I was. Maybe my carpenter dad and an assistant could perform such a miracle, but this was my first building project.

I grew up with carpenter’s tools all around, and used them in varying capacities, but at the age of 48, I bought my first very own tool: a square.I wrote my initials on it in Sharpie.

A cool thing about this building project was that it was funded by the money my dad left me. It wasn’t a fortune, but it covered the costs. I kept every receipt, intending to add them up someday, but as of the time of this writing, I still haven’t done so. I am not sure I want to. My guess is that it totals around $10,000. I could be way off.

Family and friends helped us get that first wall up.

It would take a lot of words to tell the story on constructing my shed, and someday I might write those details, but for the sake of brevity, I will show you some photos of how it looks.

This was before the bed and curtains went in, and there was different furnishing.

In keeping with the fine tradition of my carpenter father, the details remain unfinished. We still need to do the trim around the windows and where the floor meets the wall. The writing desk is very old. The chair, too. A local craftsman built the bookshelf.

The shed in a winter sunrise

The bed, not shown, is below this window. When one lies on it, they look out the French doors at the natural beauty of my yard.

There is a single bed we bought from a friend in the neighbourhood for $20. The walls are tongue and groove knotty pine. The floor is laminate.

The pictures on the wall my parents bought when I was a child. They bring me back to those years, right on down to that day in the early 1970s when we picked them up from a store on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver, around the corner from our home. My sister and I split them up when our dad died.

The windows were chosen from the “boneyard” at the local building supply shop. Those are windows customers ordered but decided not to buy, so we got them at a discounted price.

There is electricity, with a cable buried between the shed and our main house. We hired a guy my husband knows who is an electrician to do that part. We dug the trench by hand using pickaxes and shovels in our rocky ground.

The trench for electrical cable

A view in summer

A view in winter

The shed is 8’x12′. The lowest wall is 8′ high, and it slopes up to 12′. We hope to someday put a bunk in the high end, with a little hexagonal window, but for now it is sufficient for a peaceful hideaway. Everyone who has slept there raves about the peacefulness and beauty.

There is very little dust or dirt in this shed. I keep it that way and it is not difficult, due to the low traffic and absence of mess-making activities or substances. It is heated in winter by an electric free-standing oil-filled heater. The walls and floors have the highest R-value of Roxul insulation we could get locally.

I had never heard there was such a thing as a “tiny house” until after we built this shed. Now I know of that phenomenon and wonder if we might someday add on a little bathroom and plumbing. But as it stands, I am content with it, and I am grateful.

First Run vs First Edition of a Book

You are witnessing a rare occurrence when the photo has something to do with my blog entry.

This article from a new publishing house called Fairlight Books explains the difference between a “first edition” and a “first run”, and how to differentiate the two: Collecting First Editions.

Having read that, I now want to check my beloved first edition of L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne’s House Of Dreams” with the article’s instructions, to see if I can determine the book’s run.

And this has given me an idea: If and when I get my first set of Alaskan adventure books printed, I could keep several out of the market. In the event the title is desireable after my departure from this world, whoever ends up with the first run books (which I should state in my will) will be able to sell them to collectors for some financial assistance.

Writing To Be Understood

A photo that has nothing to do with the blog post. This is one of my cats, a 6-toed Maine Coon cross named Sertsa.

“Good writers have [at least] two things in common: they prefer to be understood rather than admired, and they do not write for knowing and over-acute readers.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

I saw the above quote as a sample text in a writing program called “Scrivener”. The author has a name I have oft heard but about whom I know nothing — typical of me, not paying much mind to famous people — but regardless of who he is, I agree with his words.

It has crossed my mind a few times that I want to be careful not to “write down” to people, avoiding airs of authority and tones of snobbery. On the other hand, I also don’t wish to oversimplify to the point that my readers feel insulted. I imagine there will be those who know more than I do about a subject as they scoff at my descriptions. But it is not to them that I write. It is to those who might not have been exposed to some of the things I experienced, and to them I wish to impart the scene in my memories, that they may understand.

In the wording of that quote, Mr. Nietzche did well: he made me understand. I don’t have to admire him or even know who he was. It is his wording that is important.

(And now I’m imagining someone reading THIS and searching for the comment box to fire off thoughts of “Well, let me tell you all about Nietzche. He did this and this, and he’s a this and a that, and…”

And I hold up my hand and say, “Save your fingertips. I can find out peripheral thoughts that arise on almost any given topic for myself on the internet if I am interested.”)