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Showing posts from October, 2011

Houston--We have a Problem

By Belinda

We started the book Holy Conversation by Richard Peace last Thursday at cell group. Well at least we read the introduction and are ready to begin, but there's a slight hitch. This is not just a theoretical study!

You see, the book is on "talking about God in everyday life." On the back cover it is described as "a useful guide to help Christians and secular people talk about the gospel in ways that are comfortable, easy, and mutually beneficial and enriching." And when we first took a look inside the covers two weeks ago, we discovered that we each had to find a "conversation partner!" 


By "conversation partner," Richard Peace had in mind someone who is "not yet a conscious follower of Christ."

We all thought the book sounded excellent when Jane suggested it. I mean we could all benefit from learning to express our faith without "Christian jargon," right? Of course! But each of the 12 sessions have homework--an …

Saturday Post Script

By Belinda

This is a post script to what I wrote on Monday, in my Confession post. So much more goes on behind the scenes of a "post" that doesn't get shared here, and you can probably be thankful for that! But in this case I have to let you what happened next...

First of all, I set my alarm for 5 the next morning.

In my blog post entitled Timely Counsel I wrote that I was listening to Stephen R. Covey's book, First Things First. In it, Covey defines "integrity"in a way I'd never considered before; as the keeping of the promises we make to ourselves. I guess the way I've defined integrity, "as a gap between what we say we believe and what we do," does fit with the making and keeping of promises to ourselves.

Covey illustrated the importance of following through on promises with the example of his counsel to a man who was always emotionally up and down. Covey challenged him to get up a little earlier every day for a week. At first the man r…

Sharing Good News

By Belinda

It was lunch time yesterday; a gray, drizzly October day. Paul was down at Jane and Finch with an elderly friend who was doing some shopping. For the friend shopping meant going from store to store in search of the cheapest possible toilet tissue, while Paul explained the finer points of comparison, such as the number of sheets and thickness. "This might cost 2 cents more but you won't have to use as many sheets!" It was exhausting, but being patient with the person you may one day bccome is always a good thing!

Our very thrifty friend needed a washroom break, so Paul waited while he used the facilities and the "free" toilet tissue. He wouldn't be moving fast, so he knew it would be a while before he returned.

On a nearby bench he noticed two men, one elderly and one young. He went over and sat beside them.

To make conversation, Paul commented on the wet weather.

"The weather is good," said the elderly man in a lilting Caribbean accent,…

Timely Counsel

By Belinda

Susan brought the slim volume back from a conference after standing before a book display and praying for God to show her the book that was meant for me. When her eyes fell on the book, Life by the Hour by Tim Schroeder, she knew that was the one.

I never give up trying to do better in stewarding the precious resource of time. Tim's book is in my bathroom, and I've been reading it in short snippets--more like "life in 5 minute increments" than the hour, but I have been enjoying the book and found so far that he has a refreshing perspective on  time.

Then yesterday I got to the end of a chapter and a sentence struck me--hard, as such a practical word of wisdom that I wrote it into my day-timer. It felt like rocket fuel for my life, with the power to invigorate the minutes and hours of my day.

It actually was the first in a list of points to think about, all of which were good.
This is the sentence:
"Is there anything in the activity of the next hour tha…

No Hollandaise?

By Belinda

A few weeks ago I wrote about winning a silent auction in which the prize was a breakfast each month at Cora's for a year. I decided to use these  breakfasts for precious time alone. For thinking/studying/writing--just solitude. This was after discovering accidentally, that a solitary restaurant breakfast was not the odd and lonely occasion that I had assumed it would be.

October was the first month on my little blue card with 12 golden suns. One day last week I realized that I was rapidly running out of October mornings and so I penciled breakfast into this day in my Day-timer and then forgot about it until yesterday when I checked my agenda for today.

I couldn't just abandon Paul entirely, so I had coffee with him and told him I was going to Cora's.

"Alone?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered, feeling suddenly awkward, as though eating alone was a guilty secret indulgence.

I arrived with a bag full of books, knowing in my heart how ridiculous it w…

Confession

By Belinda

The day was glorious with windswept blue skies filled with scudding puffy white clouds. The fields, some with rich earth freshly turned by plow, some with the stubble of recent harvest, stretched out like a patchwork quilt of gold, brown, and soft green hues flung out to air in the breeze. Late fall in Ontario: with the leaves mostly blown and beaten from the trees by autumn wind and rain; stands of orange pumpkins outside every grocery store and frosty mornings a promise of winter surely coming.

It was after lunch when I headed to my office, turning my back reluctantly on the beauty of the day. I checked the phone for messages, pen in hand. A friend's familiar voice played back from among several work messages.

"Hello dear," she said, "I don't usually leave messages but I must leave this one." And she went on to ask me to hold her true, as her "spiritual mother," to the importance of prayer.

I listened to the message, thoughtful. She w…

Freaky Friday

By Belinda

I'm starting the week with gratitude for "forgiveness." I'm grateful above all for God's forgiveness-- past and ongoing--that is a gift beyond comprehension. But right now I'm thinking of person to person forgiveness.

On Friday morning I woke up "out of sync." I should have been confined to the bedroom and not let out until after sunset because overnight my hands and feet seem to have sprouted hair and long nails and my eyes glowed an eerie red. Well, if the state of people's hearts were visible on the outside, that would have been my appearance--The Creature from the Blue Lagoon--on steroids! At least people would have had fair warning and stayed clear.

I was not fit for conversation and should have had my mouth firmly zippered shut.

But...I ventured from the bedroom, and into the unsuspecting world with mouth fully engaged and in gear. The universe must have shuddered and whispered, "Here she comes. Batten down the hatches.&quo…

Happy Sabbath Eve! ("Center" by Charlie Hall)

The Reforming Queen of Tarts

By Belinda

I wasn't worried when our friend Jamie missed cell group two weeks ago. Every two weeks he switches to the swing shift at Honda, and I sometimes get mixed up with which shift he's on, so that's where I thought he was.

He was at the book fair last week and when he casually dropped into the conversation the words, "I had a heart attack," I thought he was using a figure of speech. As in--he had a heart attack "about something." But he wasn't. In his own laid back style, he was giving serious information.

He'd been playing hockey on Thursday two weeks ago, when he felt unwell and nauseous. He left the game and drove home, by which time he had a pain in the side of his jaw. He called his kids and his son came and drove him to the hospital where he was quickly admitted and treated for a heart attack. He had a stint put in and was released after the weekend, but can't drive for a month and is off work for at least a month.

Jamie is in h…

Golden Boy Goes Missing

By Belinda

The morning was still dark at 6.45 am and I was out of the bathroom and into the kitchen already, stirring a robust pot of oatmeal . I anticipated the taste on my tongue of first coffee as I stirred, happy to be up in good time for an unrushed morning before work.

But just as work expands to fill the time available, "life" inevitably seems to fill up a void when there is one. And so it was this morning.

I was stirring the oatmeal, peaceful in the solitude of early morning when Brenda entered from stage left. Brenda usually leaves for work just before 7.00 am--even though she doesn't need to be at work until 8.00 and work is not an hour away. She is her father's daughter in this regard. But she was discombobulated. Worry was etched on her face and her dark blond hair and black coat were all awry.

"Molson ran off," she said, "And I've just driven around the block looking for him."

"Molson ran off?" I echoed inanely, because …

The Invitation

By Belinda

Jane started the conversation at cell group last Thursday evening. Our books for the next study had arrived; Holy Conversation by Richard Peace; but we weren't starting it that night, so Jane asked us, "Your spiritual awakening--coming to God--was it an event or a journey--a series of steps?"

Then she sank back beside me on the soft, amber leather couch, and picked someone to start. And one by one the seven of us there that night shared our stories.

We'd done this before, but it never gets old to hear how someone finds God, and every time it seems that some different part of the story is emphasized, or there is some important snippet that you never heard before.

As I recounted my own journey, a series of positive responses to God's calls over the years stretching back to childhood, I reflected on the impact of my late father-in-law's ministry in my life.

One of the things he did really well as a pastor, was teach us to respond to the promptings of …

The Gift Goes On

By Belinda

At the end of September I wrote about a breakfast date at Canada's best breakfast restaurant: Cora’s; with my young musician friend; Luisa.. The post was entitled Go to the Instrument, and in it, among other things, I described our comedy of errors in getting together--me missing my exit from the highway and getting delayed by construction as I tried to backtrack to the restaurant--and Luisa sleeping in.

In the process of all of the mix ups--before we actually did connect and have a wonderful four hour visit together, I had breakfast alone thinking that Luisa was not coming. Eating alone in a restaurant was something I had never done before and I found it unexpectedly wonderful; sitting with a book, some delicious oatmeal, and a coffee cup that was filled every time I emptied it. I wrote that God had given me a gift I hadn't expected that morning, the gift of solitude--and later I also got the gift I was looking forward to--a visit with Luisa.

Earlier that month tha…

Iran: After Trial on Apostasy Charge, Christian Pastor Nadarkhani Accused of Rape and Extortion

By Belinda

At breakfast this morning Brenda asked for news of Pastor Yousef, who had been sentenced to death for the crime of apostasy in Iran.

Brenda's question prompted an internet search for news. This is the most recent I could find. It speaks for itself and for the need for our continued prayer.

Iran: After Trial on Apostasy Charge, Christian Pastor Nadarkhani Accused of Rape and Extortion

North meets South!

By Belinda
They made the long journey by car; driving the almost 2,000 kilometers from Mishkeegogamang to Bradford; one principal and four teachers who face odds every day that most of us can't imagine. Daily they work to bring literacy, education and hope to the children of a people struggling to regain pride in their identity.

Paul worked hard, with our church missions committee; the agency we work for; Jack MacFadden and Coats for Kids in Bradford, as well as Holy Trinity High School, to organize a book fair. "Buy a Book--Share a Book" was the name of the book fair, intended to share the abundant blessings we enjoy, with a community who have much less by encouraging people to buy books for children they know here, and pair their purchases with a gift for a First Nations school.

Tori and Tippy were there with a friend from church, all of whom were permitted to miss a day from school to volunteer at the book fair.

There were readings, book signings by aboriginal author…

Testing Paradigms

By Belinda

If you never change your mind, why have one?Edward De Bono
I did a quick search, looking for a good quote on "making up one's mind," for this post, and found that almost all of them implied that making up the mind was a good thing to do; indicating action, as in the opposite of indecision.

But lately I've been trying to find my way out of that very thing, a bad habit of making up my mind about things! For the making up of the mind, I've discovered, can be unhelpful. I've come to think of it like making up a bed; all the corners tucked in tight, no room for too much movement there.

I found this post a perfect excuse for using the photo of the lacy leaves at Scanlon Creek this weekend. They are as full of tiny holes as some of the stories I construct in my mind, when I am in the process of making it up.

I don't think I'm alone in my tendency. We seem wired to try to make sense of the world around us by interpreting the data of the day; feedin…

Thanksgiving Misadventures

By Belinda

Happy Thanksgiving friends--a little late; it's been a wonderful, hectic weekend.

The weather here in Ontario was so beautiful. The sun shone bright and warm every day.

It was ordained after our children organized their other family festivities that we should have our Thanksgiving meal today and so this morning our house filled up with grandchildren and their parents and the scent of baking ham and scalloped potatoes wafted from the kitchen.

After the meal, with far too much food and lots of leftovers to be stowed away, William asked if we were going for a hike. To let the glorious day pass by with us all in doors was unthinkable, so once we loaded the dishwasher, and then 3 adults, 3 children and a dog piled into a van and a car, leaving some less energetic family members behind, and drove to Scanlon Creek Conservation area.

The late afternoon sun lit the leaves with molten gold; neon red and burnished bronze as we tumbled from our vehicles into the bright beauty of th…

When You're Tempted to Give Up

Note by Belinda: I hope that sharing Marilyn's post this way works! It inspired me, on our Thanksgiving weekend, to be thankful, for rest.
When You’re Tempted to Give Upby Marilyn IN 90-DEGREE HEAT of a late July afternoon I hit the 500-mile mark. Fighting the heat was nothing compared to fighting the desire to give up on the goal - 1,000 miles on the bike this year. * * * When I began in March I imagined seeing 500 on the odometer and being thrilled, but [...] Read more of this post Marilyn | October 8, 2011 at 8:53 am | Categories: commitmentgoalsrestSabbathvision | URL:http://wp.me/pmU9D-6q8 CommentSee all comments

Election Day

By Belinda

We sat around the supper table eating pork chops simmered in mushroom soup. Bowls of rice, and vegetables of orange, yellow and shades of green passed from hand to hand, and the cares of the day and a week almost done, fell from our shoulders as we caught up with one another's news.

Of course we wondered how the election results would pan out in Ontario where today was voting day. I had voted on my way home, and, as I entered the rural church building that was the voting site, I was seized with a sense of solemnity and privilege hard won; the right to choose.

Over supper we chatted about how the voting stations were changed from the norm in several places for this election. Brenda said that originally, the college where she works had been designated, but later there was a change of plans the votes had to be cast elsewhere.. Somehow the message didn't get through to everyone that the voting was to take place in a different location and all day people showed up at the…

Alvechurch News

By Belinda

Newsflash! Rob told me that Bruce has started on his new package of Liver Bites; the ones that arrived from his Auntie Belinda in Canada, recently.

"So they arrived just in time then!" I said.

"Belinda, if that package hadn't arrived, I'm sure he'd have had to go through a few weeks of counselling," said Rob.

Mum loves to listen and laugh with us. All three of us laughed at the thought of Bruce going through withdrawal symptoms.

 Rob has cleared up a fungal rash that Mum had just beneath her breasts by diligently treating it with cream. The carers who come in daily weren't successful in beating it. He had to overcome his sense of discomfort at "going there," though, but I teased him that he had "been there" before. :) As for Mum, she didn't mind who did it; she was just happy it was cared for.

Then, although our poor dad isn't here to defend himself, we had to have a  laugh at his expense. Rob said, "Mum s…

A Prayer Need

Susan had a message on her FB page about this Iranian pastor. I could hardly believe it was true as I had not heard anything about it on the news, but indeed, a quick search confirmed that it is. Canada and the US have made strong protests to the government of Iran. Praying for Pastor Yousef...

This Good Day

By Belinda

The first Sunday of the month is reserved in our family, for family. Not that we can't get together spontaneously at any other time as well, but this day for sure we plan on.

Last Saturday I had so much fun at the BBQ at our local conservation area that I asked a couple of our grandchildren what they thought about having a picnic and a walk in the woods instead of dinner at home. With shining eyes they said, "Yes!"

Their parents weren't quite as enthusiastic and had to adjust to the idea. I think they look forward to our family dinners as a sort of haven from the rush and tumble of the rest of their lives and you'd have thought by their response that I was planning a wilderness adventure and a Survivor meal of insects! :)

However as the weekend approached, the temperature dropped to chilly and clouds rolled in. On Saturday it was clear that I needed to pull Plan B from up my sleeve: Having dinner at home and then going to see the movie, Dolphin Tale to…