Toothpaste Caps are Useful Tools

So I need to vent a little bit. Please bear with me. A woman in (midlife) crisis is allowed to blow off a little steam once and awhile! Can anyone please, please tell me why on earth my smart and darling children cannot figure out how to put the cap back on the toothpaste tube?! I am forever finding toothbrushes back in their container, towels on the rack, but always the toothpaste cap sitting next to the tube. Really?! And before you flood the comments saying that I can get those tubes with caps attached… yeah, tried that…cap attached but left open!

It always seems to be those little things that keep coming back to bug me. The toothpaste cap, the shower curtain left open, the lights forever on in completely empty rooms, the cupboard doors left open, the pile of shoes at the front door, the … well, you get my point. We always seem to have some little quirk, some little thing that just drives us crazy. And it is usually something that someone else does. Our quirks. No. Not me. Why do we notice them? Why do those seemingly innocent things urk us to the point we are tempted to declare toothpaste cap war in the bathroom? I mean, does it really matter if the cap is on or off?! (Besides the fact that the caps get lost and then the minty gel is dry and sticky and exposed to who knows what sitting on the bathroom sink…)

Come on, I know I am not alone in this quandering. What’s that thing that drives you batty? The way your beloved folds socks? The way your toddler insists on hiding snacks on the shelf for later? That annoying pen flick ? Or maybe it’s someone at work… or worse, a friend at church? And, no, it’s not going to ruin your lifelong friendship, or cause holy war… but it is just that constant dripping faucet that eventually leads to a complete flood.

Recently, our Bible study group was learning about just such little things. The Devil is devious and uses a variety of ways to deceive us… both big and small. In Canada, Satan uses tiny nuggets of temptation to move us ever so slightly off the path of our journeys with Christ. It’s such a subtle thing. We waiver, or compromise, just a bit, and then a bit more, and soon we are heading in an entirely different direction then we intended. I’m sure you’ve heard countless stories of people who got caught in a “little white lie” that soon snowballed into a deep pit of deception. We don’t intend to blatantly disobey… it “just happens”.

I am sure you would agree with me that those other-people-quirks-that-drive-you-crazy habits are ones that are simply not priorities — to them. Toothpaste caps are obviously not forefront in my children’s minds. Which is why we have practices and disciplines that help us stay on the path. Soldiers and first responders practice drills over and over again, so that when a crisis does come, they simply react automatically. Tiny muscle memory procedures that prevent bigger issues later on.

I guess we all have to learn to be a bit more aware. We all need to focus and question and examine our day to day. Is there something I do that is causing grief? Is there something that is a subtle step sideways that just might lead me down the wrong path? Do we need to establish more practice and disciplines that will help eliminate the subtle deviations? Maybe I should just be thankful that the kids brush their teeth… and put up a big sign on the bathroom door: DON’T FORGET THE CAP!

How to Predict the Future

A few years back, our oldest son was learning magic. We bought kits and trick books and studied the “art of illusion”. He was pretty good at it too. As he was mastering his tricks, we would watch the professionals on YouTube and predicted this or that, or marvel at how good their distraction was as they turned their tricks and slight of hand into entertaining shows. Sometimes we knew how the trick was done, other times we were awestruck along with the audience. The fun was in the allure of the unknown.

Recently, I have been praying along with others, for things unknown. Two friends asked me to pray for upcoming medical appointments. Tests and procedures where the outcomes could be life changing. I pray. But these are the kinds of unknowns that are not so entertaining. These are the kinds of unknowns where we wish we knew the tricks. Where we wish we knew what the future will hold and how the situation will all play out. Will it be good news? News we can handle, and process, and eventually plan for? Or will it be the kind of news that leaves us questioning: “What do we do now?”

Just because we are Jesus followers, doesn’t mean our lives will be easy. We face the same bumps in the road as everyone else does on this journey. We live in a fallen world with unpredictable futures. But. (And I like big butts, I cannot lie…pause for musical interlude to break the tension…) But. We serve a powerful God who does know the future!! How comforting is that?!

My personal readings have led me to the book of Daniel recently. The story begins with one of those life changing situations. King Nebuchadnezzar had trouble sleeping and was bothered by his dreams. None of his wise men could interpret them, and therefore ease his anxiety… so he issues a decree to kill them all off. (Nice, eh?) However, Daniel, through God’s mercy, is able to interpret the dream, and thus save his companions from their untimely deaths:

19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
    You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
    you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel 2: 19-23 (NIV)

Isn’t that so encouraging?! God knows the future! We simpletons cannot predict how things are going to play out. And so we pray, along with our friends, to help guide us in the paths unknown. To face those unpredictable turns and trials and twists in the journey. My beloveds, if you are facing one of those life changing moments right now, may you be restored in the knowledge that there is One who knows. There is One who loves you so much, that He wants the best for you. He will make it work out according to His plan for you… and we will (eventually) delight in how the mystery is revealed!

Why I Don’t Give to Charity Anymore

Okay, okay… it’s not that I don’t give to charities anymore, it’s just that I am getting slightly overwhelmed with the amount of options now! Halloween is over and boom… the holiday blitz kicks in, and my mailbox is full of charitable gift giving catalogues urging me to give great aunt Lucy a dozen chickens! Forget great aunt Lucy… I want a dozen chickens! (But that’s a different story.)

We attended three charity events last week. Three. We also turned down two more invitations for the same week! Is it just me, or does everybody seem to be raising money for something now? And believe me, we are not being targeted because of our large paycheques. In fact, I work for a charity… so I can give a portion of my paycheck away right from the start! My local cashier has been trained to bequest my donation upon every check out… and my name gets written on the wall for all to see. Sometimes you get more than a token name calling… perhaps you get a free water bottle, or balloon, or keychain or… well, you get my point.

And so I muse… how do we choose? How do I know that my hard earned funds are going to really help people, or the environment, or fight injustices? Do I use my givings simply as a tax break, or an excuse to be greener, or flaunt it in my social media calendar invites to prove I am just so loving? Have we become too accepting of donations that we simply don’t give till it hurts anymore? Or have the bombardments made us callous, so that we are wary of scams and frauds. Or we simply don’t give anymore for fear of having our mailboxes overloaded with letters. Afterall, if they used that mailing budget to fund the charity, more money could be used to help rather than advertise… am I right?

How do you choose your Charity?

My usual quick google search of “charity” leads me to see that it is the “voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need” (Oxford dictionary). Biblical research sends me to 1 Corinthians 13…The “love” chapter. We tend to equate charity with love… especially love towards our fellow humans as a result of our understanding of God’s love and ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross. I get it. But that doesn’t really make it easier to decipher who, why and when and how. Or does it?

Have you ever met someone who exudes Christ’s love? That aura, that persona, that embodiment that just oozes kindness and sincere “charity”? Not because they need to. Not because they have to. Not because they got a catalogue in the mail. They just naturally love the cause, and want to see it flourish and grow. I think that is an example of true charity. Passion. What stirs your heart, my friend? I’m asking myself the same question right now. Hmmmn.

Perhaps I will have to rethink my Christmas gift giving. Perhaps I will need to be more frugal with my wishes. My lines are not drawn on this one quite yet. How do I choose? I’d love to hear your thoughts… drop me a note in the comments below or connect with us on social media!


I’ve mused about this topic before! Check out these posts: Charity on the Refrigerator The Green Debate and Legacies