Merry Christmas from the Hanson cats!
I know, it's been awhile. I'm sorry. Life happens, and I haven't written much. Tonight there's a lot on my mind, and I'm going to try to muddle through it, so please be patient with me. I have been thinking a great deal this past week or so about faith, about my faith, about Christianity, and Christians, and about what it all means in this world. My last few days have been filled with mostly two different things that have completely taken over my mind. First of all, this past Thursday my brother-in-law was severely injured in a work accident. For the first two days, I was taking care of my sister's kids, and so I didn't have too much time to think about it, but when they went back to their home with my mother taking care of them, I was left on my own and the reality of it all just overwhelmed me. My sister and I are both members of very loving church communities. They are often reaching out to church members and helping when needed. So, of course in instances like this, they were the first ones we went to for prayer support. It was those around my sister's family, who are not part of the church community, though, who really stood out to me. People from her work rallied around and raised a lot of money for them. Others in their social circles dropped in with gifts, food, donations. People from the kids schools came by with gifts for the kids, and gas cards. Even today someone from the neighborhood came by with a very generous cash donation, that he had raised by going to people's homes in the neighborhood. I don't know why. I guess I always expect to see the good in Christians, I expect to see them giving, reaching out to people, giving what they can. For some reason, I've lived life with a (maybe very, very deeply hidden, because let's face it, no one wants to let thoughts like this leak out) idea that those who are not Christians are less kind, less generous, maybe even less loving. THIS IS NOT TRUE!!! People are good people.
We cannot judge someone's goodness, necessarily based on what they claim to be, a follower of Christ or an Athiest, or a Muslim, or a Jew. It does not matter. There are good people in the world, and there are bad people in the world. In the case of my brother in law, who is now home, with a broken neck, after spending only 4 nights in the hospital, I will choose to focus on the goodness of people. We have been so blessed, and I know my sister is very thankful for the love people are showing her family. Her husband is a well loved man in their community. The second thing that has been on my mind a lot is the whole Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty thing. I shouldn't even really say too much about it. I don't know enough to properly express how I feel. At first, I was on his side. I really felt as though people expect the world to listen to opinions and thoughts of so many, but when it comes to a strong Christian belief, then no one wants to accept it. But, then, I read a blog post asking us to consider the words that we use, and how they can affect people. Words are powerful. You can read this post here. We are reminded that opinions are just that, however, there are acceptable ways to present them, and then, there are those which are not. Mr. Robertson has every right to believe what he does. I don't necessarily believe he meant any harm, I think he really believes he's
right in saying these things, but it still doesn't make it right how he said them. ((Don't even get me started on the Justine Sacco thing that she mentions. After watching 'The Butler' yesterday, I'm just disgusted by the fact that someone would think such a statement is a funny in this day in age.))Then, today, my cousin who I've come to love and respect, finally voiced an opinion about the whole Phil Robertson thing, and her argument about why she doesn't feel as though she is over-reacting, in this situation. Like often happens when this cousin of mine states her opinion, I was just drawn to her words, and really moved by how strongly she feels for the rights of so many who are not being treated fairly. People are being persecuted, persecuted for being different, for being gay, for choosing not to be a believer in Christ. The things her friends posted in response, were the experiences they have had in life, one stating that the site of a cross making her physically sick, because of the many times she had them jammed into her forehead, another stating how her grandmother offered her brother $10,000 to "stop being gay." Disgust. This is what I feel. The things we do in the name of religion. The ignorance.
I read these comments to husband this evening and cried the whole time. It just makes me sad. Too many people are being mistreated, judged, and persecuted for the sake of this 'love' faith we claim to follow. We quote scriptures. John 3:16 - For God so LOVED the world, He gave His only begotten Son.... That verse does not tell us that God only loved Christians. It was actually the Jews that He sent Jesus to save, however, it became a mission for the whole world. No where does the Bible say, God so loved the world, except gay people. It does say that we have to believe in Jesus to have eternal life, and my goodness, can you ever imagine why people would choose not to, with the witness we've brought forth for Him? If we are jamming crosses into people, persecuting them for not believing,
denying people who are gay/lesbian the common courtesy of having the same rights as us, to be married and to acknowledge their love as the same as ours, how can we ever expect that any of these people will want to trust in a God we act as though who permits us, maybe even encourages, to behave this way? We cannot. If we did that then, we are denying everyone two basic things that Jesus came to offer us. First of all is LOVE. We must love everyone. It comes more easily for some than others, but just giving everyone the same amount of respect, not judging based on any criteria, since we are not the judge would be a good starting point. The second gift is a CHOICE. Jesus was not in the business of forcing people to believe in Him. Those around Him chose to be His followers of their own free will. We need to remember this. If we force faith on someone, they will grow to resent it, and will want nothing to do with it. If God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believed in Him should have everlasting life, they why are we filling the world with so much hatred and judgement, claiming to do so on His behalf? Where is the love that He came to give?
I really hope that I've not offended anyone. It's not my intention. These things have been going through my mind so much lately. My church care group is doing a study called, Not A Fan, and the verse I've been meditating on recently is "If you are going to follow me, you must take up your cross and follow me." It keeps going through my mind, and I want to become a follower of Christ, not just a fan. Sometimes, I suppose this means going out on a limb, maybe saying things that others will not agree with. I love to have polite, respectful discussions about world events, however, I do not, will not tolerate rudeness, and
I love fall. I love spring. Winter is quite lovely, up until about February 15th. Then I'm done with that. Summer, while I tend to look forward to it, by the time the heat comes along I'm ready for the cooler air of autumn. I think what I really love is the change! New seasons bring new beauty to this wonderful country we live in and so I usually end up looking forward to it before it gets here.
At this moment, though, I am enjoying the full splendor of autumn in Eastern Canada. It is just beautiful. I always noticed the season change in Korea and thought it was nice, but really, even wonderful Korea has nothing on my home province in Canada. Every day as I drive to work and see the ever changing colors of trees and leaves against the blue sky and the sprawling Saint John River, I praise God for bringing us home, for opening my eyes to see the works of His hands and for allowing me the opportunity to enjoy the sights with safety each day. To be honest, I'm a bit of a distracted driver. Not distracted by my phone, but rather the scenes around me.
Here are some photos I took this foggy Saturday morning. Thankfully, I was not driving.
Since I posted anything. We have been busy. With work, for the most part. A few highlights from the last month or so:
1. My team in the towns Biggest Loser challenge won! Most of the win could be attributed to my stubborn sisters need to win, and her drive to be the best. If we all had had the will power and strength that she had, it would have been amazing. But, she couldn't have pulled it off without us as well, so we do believe it was a team win!
2 We had another family get together with my aunt and her family. Good food, good people and lots of fun with the kids. We even started planning our Christmas get together.
3. Hubby went back to work and was getting lots of hours. This week has been very slow, though, due to the wet weather and because of that none of the farmers have started digging their potatoes yet. Here's hoping for some sunshine the next couple of weeks so the harvest can get done.
4. Although I'm trying to hold off until after November 11th, I have found myself listening to some Christmas music lately. I just love, love, love Christmas, and cannot wait to get the music going, the decorating started and the shopping done. For now, though, I'll be happy with my little efforts at fall decor and at just in trying to make our apartment feel more like a home in general.
That's about all of our news. What's new with you?
A cute display...
Caramel went for a drive.
My sister and father swinging at the playground where we had our family gathering. I also did some swinging. I never knew what a good workout it is.
My new favorite dessert place. Menchies in Fredericton. I cannot wait to go back!
I'm very excited to again join Vee's Note Card Party! It happens on the third Wednesday of each month, where you choose four photos from what you've previously posted on your blog that would make lovely note cards and you share them with everyone! Please enjoy my choices.You can check out more by clicking below, as well.
2 Corinthians 10:12
Last Sunday our town hosted a party. The party was to thank the many volunteers who gave their time, money and efforts to assist during the flood. The flood happened here in Perth-Andover, NB in March of 2012, and some are still recovering. Most of the clean up has been done, but there are people who are having their homes moved out of the flood zone now and and other changes are happening. There were so many who helped out this little town, and I suppose the town government just decided it was time to give back, or at least recognize them. We went to the celebration after church, where the festivities were just getting started, and mostly enjoyed checking the antique cars, and also the music of Acoustic Train. They're pretty great, and if you ever get a chance to hear them play, check them out.
The Northern Maine Fair in Presque Isle, ME to be more exact. It was a wet day, but there were some moments of sunshine. I think everyone had fun.
The kids going on their last ride of the day before the rain started pouring, and we went off to supper at Pizza Hut and to the movies to see The Smurfs 2. It was a fantastic day!
Since we will probably share a lot about the cats in our lives, I thought it would be nice to take some time to introduce to you all of the cats that have played a role in helping us become so fond of them. Actually, having these cats has helped me just become much more appreciative of all animals in general. We have no kids of our own, but our cats sure are like our babies. We only have two that actually live with us, but there are some more that we love as well.
She can be all at once cranky, and the biggest suck up you've ever seen. She loves to lay on top of either Derek or I when we are sleeping. She also seems to enjoy being held like a little baby to sleep. She's precious, but not very kind towards strange animals. She does not welcome newbies into the home, and half the time these days even takes swats at her own baby, Jingles. We both love her dearly, but we really say that she's Derek's cat, while Jingles is more mine. Caramel is also somewhat like a dog, in that whenever we are eating, she will sit and beg for us to share.
This cat. He is mine... and I am his. He is special. He craves attention, but then when it is given to him, he shies away from you. At night he whines and whines until we finally give in and go to bed. He likes it more when I go to bed on my own and he can curl up under the covers with me. He is not social with strangers. Only now, after being back home for so long, is he actually becoming accustomed to my sister's family. We all just enjoy him so much.
'Yeah, so?' Sometimes he finds the strangest places to lay.
Chums came to live with us via a co-worker. His family had gotten Chums for their little four year-old, but the little boy and his new kitty did not get along, and so Chums needed a new home. We felt bad for little Chums, and decided to take him in. He was precious, snugly, curious, a little bit crazy, and over all we just loved him dearly. Caramel and Jingles, on the other hand, did not. In the end, Chums has gone to live with my sister and her family, and he is happy there, since he loves being outside, and he has more of an opportunity to be outside at her home.
Isn't he precious?
He's my pastor's cat, but we love him. We sometimes have the pleasure of checking in on him while they are away, and it's always nice. He usually tries to suck up really well in the hopes that we will let him out. He used to be able to go out when they were away, until the time he did not come home for three weeks, and so now they're just more comfortable with him staying inside, awaiting their return. Compared to our cats, Kirby is HUGE! But, that just makes him all the more adorable.
Missy is another cat that we have the privilege of cat-sitting. She started out rather un-sociable, and un-interested in us, but warmed up to us and even spent her nights sleeping in the room with me.
The Landlord's Cat
This was the chattiest cat I've ever seen. She would plop down in the driveway and refuse to move until she was given some attention. My mother called her that demon cat, but I think she just wanted some lovin'. And, she's beautiful. She has since gone on to live in a different home.
She has assumed the 'belly rub' position.
A Few Honorable Mentions - The Dogs
Lady runs the home in which my parents live. She's precious, and although mother complains about her, I don't think she'd know what to do without her. Mom & Dad rescued her from a previous co-worker who was moving and was going to put her down. It was the best decision they could have made.
Miley is the dog that my niece, Keira, waited her entire life for. My sister says she's a great dog, her only downfall is her love of food, but once they learned to stop leaving food of any sort out on the table or counters, all was well. This is also where Chumley now resides, and the two, although not best friends, do get a long better than the Caramel and Jingles did with Chums.
Abby lives with our friends, Joan & Lionel, and she's just precious. We always enjoy her company when we go to visit.
One day last month I decided to go up to Grand Falls early to go check out the Market, and the Falls. Sadly, there was not a lot of water coming through the dam, so it was slightly less spectacular, but it's still just a beautiful spot.
The market is not bad. There is definitely much more happening than there is in my small little town, but still, there's not a whole lot. We find ourselves missing the bigger markets, like what exists in Moncton and Dieppe, or even KOREA! But, still, for a small city, this market isn't bad, really.
Yes, chocolate..... that melted in my purse on such a warm day. Duh... Bad purchase idea!
The Zip Line
That's right. There's a zip line over the base of the falls. I'm about 99% certain that it's not something that I'd ever do, but there sure are a lot of people who enjoy it.
I love the falls!! The sound of the water is just so relaxing. It is beautiful and frightening all at the same time.
It's a beautiful spot, and if you're in the area, you should stop and check it out. You can find more information here.