Yesterday, I went to see the movie Do You Believe? and I can honestly say that it is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time - and I saw Cinderella last weekend (which was great, but in a different way). The movie involves twelve different lives and proceeds to show how God weaves their lives together in a profound and amazing way. It starts with an old man (society would call him a vagrant - actually they would call him a crazy vagrant), who is carrying a huge cross throughout his town. He issues a challenge to man who is stopped in his car - "Do you believe?" The man answers, "I'm a Pastor, so of course I believe." The old man stares him down and continues, "So what are you going to do about it?" In other words, do your words match your faith?
Throughout the movie all the characters come to that defining moment in their lives - Do you believe? From a doctor with a God complex (played by Sean Astin) to a young man on the wrong side of the law, to a Pastor (Ted McGinley) questioning what he is going to do about his faith, to a homeless mother (Mira Sorvino) and her child, who wonder where God is, to an ex-con living out his faith, to an EMT worker who shared his faith with a dying man and was sued for it. All these stories (and more) in one way or another will move you. Why? Because they all speak to humanity and beg us to answer the questions - do you believe and if so what are you going to do about it?
I cried a lot during this movie, for a number of reasons. For those of you who know me, you know I used to have a singing ministry. It was my passion, my life - the one way I could go out and share God with the world. Then my world came crashing down and I lost my singing voice. Then I became partially disabled after falling down a flight of stairs and then I was diagnosed with an incurable disease and I was literally "stuck" behind a computer, in my house, unable to get out and sing for those people and I wondered what was God thinking? What am I supposed to do now? I won't go into it again, but suffice it to say, God lead me to write a book on the life of Christ called Come to Me.
Yesterday, as I saw how God weaved the lives of the characters in the movie together and then reflected on my own life and the "cast of characters" who have come through it, I looked back and asked myself, where is the one place in my life where God has constantly been placing me? What is the passion He created within me that I would say is my "calling"?
From the moment I realized what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I have always been drawn to my Bible. In the early days of my walk with God, I was always compelled to dig deep into Scripture. I would read my bible first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. But there came a time when I wasn't satisfied with the "basics". I knew all the stories - now I needed more. I felt compelled to "know" more, but I didn't know how to go about it. Then God brought a friend into my life who pointed me toward Kay Arthur of Precept Ministries and my life changed forever. Inductive study became a passion. But I was still singing at the time, and spending an hour or more on Bible Study, while caring for small children plus pursuing a singing career seemed impossible. How was I ever going to devote my time to it? Well . . . several years and a fall down a flight of stairs later . . . God had a plan. While waiting for me to grow in my faith, He encouraged that same friend (who introduced me to Kay), to send me for training to become a Precept Teacher. The tapestry God was weaving in my life was beginning to unfold.
Last week I started reading a new book by Jeff Goins called The Art of Work. It wasn't a coincidence that I heard about this book through a friend. It was just another part of the tapestry of my life God is still weaving. The book talked about finding your calling - your passion. This book, along with the movie, made me see two things: first - my calling is to write and teach in-depth Bible Studies (not to write fiction) and second, that teaching those studies is how God wants me to answer the questions - do you believe and if so what are you going to do about it?
After the movie a young fellow came down the aisle and said to me, "Sister, is that you I heard coughing throughout the movie?" My immediate thought was, "Oh, no! I hope I wasn't coughing that much, that I ruined the movie for him." I was so embarrassed! You see I've had this lingering cough for years and it has recently started getting worse. So I started to apologize for disturbing him and he put his hand on me and said, "No! No! You misunderstand. I want to pray for you and ask God to heal you." Well you could have knocked me over with a stick! I started blubbering like an idiot. I couldn't stop crying. He had no idea how much this cough bothered me and how worried I was about it. But God nudged him toward me. Another thread, another life added to the tapestry of my life. I know I won't forget yesterday anytime soon.
So now I find myself facing a new beginning (another part of the tapestry if you will) - teaching my Bible Studies in person. You see, that is the one part of my life that I've been purposely ignoring. Why? I've been too embarrassed about how people will react when they see me. For those who know, I have a disease that is making my legs so big I can barely lug them around anymore (hence the reason I use a scooter). Unfortunately, they have not just "handicapped" me in body, but they have given me a distorted view of myself and taken a normally extroverted person and created a reluctant introvert who was tucked safely away in her home where no one could see her, unless she had to go outside. Then the armour was put on and I would self-consciously prepare myself for the "barbs" about my size that all-too often come my way, through disgusted looks, people pointing and laughing, or people who get right in your face and tell you in the most unpleasant way possible, how ugly you look. But after yesterday, I'm thinking that my legs are my cross to bear and if I let them stop me from sharing what God is teaching me then I'm not doing what God called me to do. So today, I'm answering the question - do you believe? With YES - I DO! And if anyone is willing to take on a bible teacher who teaches from a red-hot scooter, then sign me up!
If you want a life-changing experience go see Do You Believe? You won't regret it.
As I was perusing the web today I came across a site that showed which businesses gave discounts to seniors. At first I was shocked to find out that according to some businesses senior citizenship started for them at the age of fifty! Ouch! Then I looked at it as the plus side to getting old. I could now get discounts! Sweet! Since I live in Canada the site was pretty much useless to me as half of the businesses, from restaurants to clothing stores, do not exist in Canada. So I wondered which businesses in Canada gave discounts and at what age they started. The following is what I found. It is not a detailed list, but you'll get a few ideas as to the savings you might now enjoy!
Golden Griddle - 10% off on all meals - 55+
A & W - 10% off all meals - 60+
McDonald's - prices a large coffee for seniors for less than a dollar every day - 60+
Imperial Buffet - 25% off buffet every day - 65+
Mandarin Chinese Buffet - 20% off buffet - 65+
Tim Hortons - 10% - 60+
I tried to find out if there was a discount to Swiss Chalet but sadly I could not find anything (not even from their website). So ask when you go in - it doesn't hurt!
Best Western - 10% senior discount on hotel room rates - 55+
Choice Hotels International (includes Clarion, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, MainStay Suites, Rodeway Inn) - 10% - 60+
Days Inn - 20% - 60+
Marriott - 15% - 62+
Travelodge - AARP/CARP members who make advance reservations are given a 15% discount off the regular room rate. 50+ can receive a 10% discount off the regular room rate. Additionally, seniors can also receive in-room coffee, no long distance access charges and free weekday lobby newspapers.
Silver City/ Cineplex - 20% - 65+
Odeon - 20% - 65+
Shopper's Drug Mart - 20% on last Thursday of the month for 55+
Value Village - offers 10% off on purchases every Tuesday for 55+
The Bay - takes 15% off purchases for seniors on the first Tuesday of the month - 60+
Bulk Barn - takes 10% off regularly priced items every Wednesday - 60+
M & M - 5% every Tuesday - 60+
Rexall PharmaPlus - 10% off last Tuesday of the month - 60+
Canadian Tire - 10% off first Wednesday of every month - 65+
1. I used to be a professional singer. I started out in the secular music industry and then in 1976 I had a spiritual awakening and shortly after that began singing for the Lord.
2. I Became a Christian Through a Dream. This actually started because when I was 17 I read the book The Omen. It had scripture from Revelation in it and it startled me to realize that one day Jesus was going to come back. So I read the entire book of Revelation (never a good thing to do when you have no clue about the Bible or God) and I was terrified. When I went to bed that night I had a dream where a voice asked me where I was going and I shouted back that I was going to hell. Next thing I knew - I was there! When I woke up I remembered a tract, called the Four Spiritual Laws, I had been given at school. I knew I had to make myself right with God, so I did everything the tract suggested, which involved a long night on my knees confessing and repenting. I followed that late night up by reading the entire Gospel of John (a much better choice when you want to find out about Jesus). When I went to bed that night I had another dream and in it I was stepping out of the darkness into heaven. Jesus came and took my hand and said, "Now everything is going to be all right." My life changed forever after that.
3. On My Street I'm Known as the Cat-Lady. Some people probably call me the Crazy-Cat Lady, they just never say it to my face. While I admit to loving cats, I have only had three at one time. Now I have two. The above picture on the left is of Jinx (he is licking Cagney). Jinx died many years ago from cancer. On the right is Hugo. He was a stray who was thrown into my neighbour's yard and whose dogs tried to eat him. She rushed him over to me and he's been with us ever since.
4. I went to three different high schools in three different cities. Growing up, my father was always having to move for his job. It was not fun because I was always "the new kid" and I never made any close friends. It was a very lonely time for me. However, it did force me to get to know people and I think that's why I'm an extrovert now.
5. I have a very loud laugh. I can't help it, when something strikes me as funny I laugh - loudly.
6. My family hates my laugh. Strangely my friends love it. I guess if you hear it all the time it starts to grate. Wish I could change but I'm 57, that's not likely to happen!
7. I'm shrinking. It's true what they say about growing old - you do shrink! As someone who has been short her whole life I will take any extra inches I can get. But when you start to lose those inches it is very frustrating. I used to be able to reach the back of my stove. Now I have to stand on my tip-toes to do it! For the record - I used to be all of 4'10, now I'm 4'9".
8. When I was seven I almost lost my eye. I used to take skating lessons when I was a kid and one of the things our instructor warned us about every week was to not get up on the boards with your skates. Well, suffice it to say one little boy did not listen and I got a skate blade to my head, which came dangerously close to my eye (got me in my eyebrow). To this day you can still see the scar.
9. I love rats! I got this love from my daughter who had them as pets while she was living at home. They are great pets! Have cute personalities, love to be loved, have tiny little kisses and love to play. Unfortunately, they do not live very long. This is Hobnob.
10. I came in 3rd runner-up in a high school beauty pageant. I did not want to be in the pageant because I was new to the school and I felt horribly uncomfortable parading myself before people. I only agreed because my cousin (who was in my homeroom class) kept telling everyone I could sing and since the rules were that every homeroom had to pick a contestant who had a talent, I was chosen. It would be the first time I sang in front of an audience of about 500 people. I was 15 years old.