Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mesopotamia and Memories

I noticed signs recently when I was in downtown Toronto, for the Mesopotamia exhibition at the ROM. I wanted to go! 

So that week I said to Tori when she came upstairs to help me prepare for dinner guests, "I would love to take a day off work and take you and Tippy somewhere during the holidays; would you like that?"

Excited eyes, and a big smile answered louder than words.

"But where?" 

"Well," I said casually, "There is the ROM. They have an exhibit on Mesopotamia, which is known as "the cradle of civilization," at the moment--or," I added; because part of me felt that I was offering them a frog on a plate for lunch; "we could go anywhere else, if you prefer;" .

I suggested that she and her sister Tippy, Google, "Places to go in Ontario," and said that I would take them anywhere they wanted--the main thing was to go somewhere together.

To my delight and surprise, a few days later they said, "We would like to go to the ROM!"

So on Friday morning, my granddaughters came upstairs at 9.30, right on time, and peeked around the corner; Tippy in jeans and a red plaid shirt over a tee shirt, and Tori in shorts and tie dyed tee shirt, both with light brown hair, long and shiny, and ipods and ear buds at the ready. 

"When did they get so tall?" I thought; their height matches, and will soon outstrip, mine.

I shut the laptop on which I had been finishing last minute work, and focused on heading out into the sunny day; feeling like I was playing hookey from school! We headed down highway 400 and then the 401 to Yorkdale, where we would park and get the subway.

There was a tangible frisson of anticipation in the vehicle. We live not far north of the city, but our home is in a hamlet in the country. I said what Mum would have said at such a moment: "Isn't this exciting?"  The girls agreed that it was.

"There's a restaurant at the ROM named Druxy's," I said, making conversation.

Tori, laughed, "That's the name of a restaurant? Drugsies?" 

Giggles filled the car at my, "DruXy's!" setting the tone for a day of fun.

Walking towards the subway station through the crowded mall, the girls stuck as close to me as a double shadow.

"I remember when we were here before, there was a man playing a cello," said Tippy, "I love the cello."

"We may see someone else busking today," I said, and already we heard strains of jazz from a keyboard in the tunnel leading to the subway. As we dropped some coins to show our appreciation, the black musician nodded his thanks, and murmured a smiling benediction on our day.

We boarded the train that drew into the station almost immediately, and sat down. The long corridor of connected carriages snaked this way and that, following the curve of the tracks, people lining each side deep into the distance; people bending over phones; tapping with their thumbs; scrolling through pages of kobo readers; ear-buds in, listening to music. 

There are as many ways of creating privacy in a public place as there are people it seems. In spite of that I watched them, the woman in black absorbed in her book, the beautiful black woman with a voluptuous lower lip and prominent cheekbones, hair drawn back into a black, taut, bun; shiny, and rippling in spite of the tightness, she looked like a Nubian princess. So many people, so many stories that we would never know.

At St. George Station we swayed to our feet and exited onto the platform. I gave myself a few seconds to get oriented and then we were on our way, up the steps and through the turnstiles, out into the bustle of the streets of Toronto.
File:ROM Crystal.jpg

The tang of mustard filled our nostrils as we passed a street vendor, as well as exhaust as we headed towards Bloor Street West.

We rounded a corner and Tippy spotted the beautiful and controversial Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the ROM not too far down the road.

Our first stop inside the museum, was Mesopotamia, and we wondered at the beauty of artifacts such as an exquisite rearing goat with flowering plant

We watched a  big screen virtual tour of Babylon, fascinated to think that this was the city to which the captive Israelites were brought and where the book of Daniel was written. As I reminded the girls of the pride and downfall of king of Babylon named Nebuchadnezzar, we came face to face with a tablet that proclaimed in cuniform script, his many accomplishments.

But the girls really lit up with interest when we left Mesopotamia and found the natural history floor. Tippy has a great affinity for nature and Tori wants to be a vet. They knew far more than I did about the birds, insects and strange, exotic creatures we saw.

We wandered through the halls devoted to various civilizations and I was able to connect the marble bust of the Roman emperor Augustus with the birth of Christ during his reign. It was fascinating to look at the face of the very man that ordered the census that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.

In Druxy's for lunch, the man taking our order from behind the deli counter, flummoxed the girls with his flirtatious reference to me as their sister and for once Tori was lost for a quick enough comeback. Tippy laughed loudly and I just told him that he had earned many points with his flattery. I ignored my best intentions for a healthy lunch, and instead joined the girls in ordering poutine, my favourite guilty pleasure.

Revived for a couple more hours we finally ended our tour in the gift shop, probably the best part of the day for Tippy and Tori. We  happily browsed there for what seemed like a very long time, and they carefully chose gifts with money given to them to spend by Paul. Tippy bought a small brass dragon for her new room, which has black, gold and red as a colour scheme, while Tori (a girl after my own heart,) bought a beautiful journal bound in chestnut leather.

Then, all three spent of money and energy, we decided to begin our journey home.

The sun blazed and the heat hit us as we emerged from the cool of the museum. We had only gone a few yards along Bloor Street when Tori said, "Ice cream!" at the sight of an ice cream truck that was parked at the curbside.

I ordered two chocolate shakes for the girls; I personally had not a smidgen of space left for even ice cream! We sat on a wall, people watching, while the girls enjoyed their shakes and all of us enjoyed resting our tired feet.

I had bought a copy of The Book of General Ignorance at the gift shop; intrigued by the statement on the cover that "everything you think you know is wrong." I pulled it out and had fun asking questions such as, "How many nostrils have you got?" The answer is not what you think!

Tippy began to flip through the book, laughing at the unexpected answers. When she got to the question, "What do bananas grow on?" she gasped as she read out the answer, which surprised us all. Not on trees as we thought--but the banana plant is actually a giant herb.

"My whole life has been based on a lie!" said Tippy, "The banana is my favourite--berry?"

We slid from the wall and headed towards the subway again, past the street vendor we'd passed in the morning. The same tang of mustard filled the air.

This time the subway cars were full with commuters heading home. There was standing room only and we had to hold on tight to the poles to steady ourselves against the lurching as the train stopped and started again at each stop.

But we were soon back at Yorkdale and on the rooftop of the parking garage my little black Honda Fit waited to carry us home.

The girls plugged into their ipods and I listened to my latest gripping Tess Gerritsen murder mystery on CD from the library. We would be home in no time, but there was no rush to end this wonderful day--a day of priceless memories.

Monday, July 22, 2013

From Techo-Phobe to Techno-Phile

I have in my possession the latest item in a string of things resisted only to love them eventually. I speak of things technical.

I am like a jungle dweller who finds on the leafy jungle floor some item from the modern world that has fallen from the sky. He picks it up; turns it around in his hand; sniffs it; shakes it; bites it, and deciding that it is of no use whatever, tosses it far into the depths of the undergrowth.

Paul, adventurous soul that he is, has suggested over the years that I get various labour saving devices. I could not see why I needed a dishwasher (and this was when I was caring for a household of 16.) What use would it be? I couldn't see how it would beat doing the dishes by hand as I went along. I smile now at my silliness.

Then he thought that I needed a microwave. I did not trust those things one bit and was convinced that we would mutate and grow extra limbs. But he prevailed and dragged me with him into the modern world. What would I do without a microwave now for reheating and thawing? And I still have the same number of limbs I started out with!


The pace of it all is breathtaking though. I was talking to a friend at the writers conference I attended last month. I remember only a few years ago that she came to the conference with a keyboard called an Alphasmart and it seemed like the most amazing thing since the rest of us were all taking notes with pen and paper. By that time I did have a computer at work, but it was a big desktop thing that took up most of my desk. Now, the lounge at the conference centre is filled with people with laptops, connecting with people who are not at the conference in between sessions.

And "cell phones?" They looked like walkie talkies and had telescopic aerials that had to be pulled out. This wasn't that long ago!

I have friends with a technological bent, one of them being Irene, from whom I have inherited various pieces of equipment--otherwise I would never in a million years seek them out. One was a Palm Pilot that I was initially quite intimidated by. But soon I was convincing my friend Dave, who at the time was even more techno-phobic than me, that this gadget would revolutionize his life. I can't remember if I did convince him (I don't think so,) or what was so fabulous about it! 

Irene passed on a laptop to me and said, "What will you do with your computer now?"

"Do with it?" I had thought I'd still need it for something! Her question helped me wean myself off it and I gave it to someone who needed a newer one at work as we all seemed to have ancient equipment at the time. I have never looked back since when it comes to laptops. I can't imagine using anything else--but of course, eventually, I will!

Now I'm wondering if the latest piece of technology that my boss handed to me is going to have the same wondrous effect. It took me several days to charge it up. And I am still thinking, "Yes, but what does it do?"  

I am embarrassed at my lack of technical imagination and curiosity. It seems that purpose has to be the driver for me and yet I don't easily see it. Is it lost on me or will I get with the program? Am I a hopeless case?

That remains to be seen! :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

In Bill Fledderus's continuing class at Write! Canada: Finding Your Way Deeper Into Writing, we learned about the power of metaphor and how to use an object from nature that calls to us. Comparing a thing with a person can be a metaphor generator!

I decided to use a pine cone and write about...well, here is what I wrote.

Brown, light, life bringer, the pine cone whispers a message of rebirth.

To be born anew it separates from parent bough and sister cones, to be buried in the earth.

My mother's death was like that.

She, separating from her family tree like fruit that was finally ripe and ready to fall.

Separating as gently and easily as the pine cone. As naturally too.

No fighting against it.

Each created thing has its time

to be born anew

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A silvery cream moon heralds the night while the day blazes out in glorious pink over bluest blue in the west.

On the counter, lemon loaves glisten with a sweet and tangy glaze and cool on black wire racks; fruit of a Saturday hour or two in the kitchen.

The clock ticks away this July evening, cooler since yesterday's storm; measuring with its beat the passing moments.

Packed boxes line the walls downstairs and there are accessories of teal blue for Tori's room in their new home, and artsy black and red for Tippy's. 

In the air there is anticipation; excitement; expectancy. But also something else; we miss them already.

The family downstairs, with their caboodle of pets is readying to leave and with them they will take part of our hearts.

And yet we know it is good that they go. We are with them in it and celebrate with them, the beautiful home of their own they go to.

Still this is a time of measuring the days. A time of sighing over what has been so precious and will be no more. We have only one more Saturday such as this before month's end. One more Saturday when a lemon loaf from upstairs makes its way downstairs and a granddaughter discovers it with delight. One more Saturday when Brenda makes her way upstairs with early morning coffee in hand to "chat." One more Thursday cell group evening when Tori arrives upstairs with the welcome words, "D'you need help?" and I laugh and say, as I always do, "I always need help!"

This is a moment of completely self indulgent mourning. There is no holding back change or time. This is when I remember the gift of unselfish love my own mum gave to me...and pass it on.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Soul Restoration Complete

An interaction yesterday went horribly. I had needed help. The help was given with impatience and abrupt instructions that had the effect of freezing my brain into deeper incompetence. By the end I felt like a nuisance; too slow; and devalued.

It affected me for more than a few hours afterwards. I needed time to process it and eventually managed to separate myself  from it personally, enough to know that it wasn't so much about me as the other person and I am pretty sure that they were oblivious to their effect. 

This morning as I sat down with a cup of coffee in our sunny back room, and tried to shake off the last vestiges of the depressed mood that had descended afterwards, and the words, "He restores my soul," from Psalm 23, came to mind, like a soothing ointment on a wound.

Just then Brenda poked her head into the room, a large red mug of coffee in her hand. She glanced at the book I was opening and said, "Oh, is this not a good time?" 

"Yes, it is," I said, "Come in." And I told her all about it. God had sent the "Soul Restorer" in the person of my dear daughter. 

I thought of the times when I too have been abrupt and impatient with people because I was too focused on something other than the person in front  of me--the vulnerable human being with sensitive feelings that can be hurt, as mine had been. God just gave me an opportunity to experience sitting "in the other chair." 

What a blessing that soon after coffee with Brenda, I had an appointment with Jamie, my hairdresser. I knew that sitting in her chair for a couple of hours would complete the soul restoration, as well as making me feel beautiful. She never fails to have that effect.

On the way, I stopped at the post office and found a brown envelope addressed to me, from Alberta. Inside was a card from a friend. We had been working on something and there had been a few tries before getting it right. She wrote, "At an earlier stage in my life I'd have been mortified to have the goof-ups we had. Thank God, truly, that I'm more humble and less of a perfectionist than I used to be. I can laugh about it in a way, and you were always patient." I was "always patient?" How I needed to hear that this morning! 

As usual Jamie and I talked non stop throughout the hair appointment. My hair was almost done as she was telling me about her love of teaching and public speaking; a part of her work that she would like to expand into even more. She mentioned that she had asked for advice from Charles Marcus, an inspirational speaker that Goldwell often uses for their staff events.

When she mentioned his name, I remembered her talking about him before--in fact I wrote a blog post about it last year: All The Time in the World. I was reminded about the story Marcus tells about an experience as a young apprentice in the salon of the legendary hairstylist Vidal Sassoon. Marcus, who had a severe stuttering disability was asked his name by Sassoon. The direct question paralysed Marcus into speechlessness, but Sassoon had taken him by the hand and gently said, "Take your time; I've got all the time in the world."

I was thankful to be reminded of that story, such a contrast to yesterday's experience, and such a great reminder of an example that I aspire to emulate more consistently.

I left Jamie's chair with soul restoration complete. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Ben & Jerry Come to Writers Nest

"Hi Belinda," it was my friend Carolyn on the phone. "Be honest, okay? Is it okay if I bring the ducklings to writers group tonight?"

The ducklings? She had said it as though she was saying, "The kids." Like it was normal to bring ducklings to a writers group meeting. Like I knew them or something! She had apparently been writing about them on FB but I had not been getting her posts.


The Rouen ducklings are named Ben and Jerry and Carolyn said she is imprinted on them and that they follow her everywhere. She hoped they wouldn't poop on my rug though.

"Bring them on over," I said, laughing, and promptly went downstairs to tell Bren, Tippy and Tori that they were coming.

Brenda looked up from a box she was packing and said, "Ducklings? What kind of a person brings ducklings?" but added, "That's just jealousy talking."


As 7 o'clock approached, writer friends arrived in groups of two or three. I hope they didn't feel like second best as I rushed to the door each time I heard it open, only to find the ducklings weren't here yet!

Carolyn arrived last and gently put down a cage wrapped in a blue and white checkered blanket, opened a door and let Ben and Jerry out. 

Tippy came upstairs to see them and was smitten immediately. Just one week old, they walked about, staying close each other and to Carolyn, while cheeping at a high pitch.

They were adorable in the way that freshly born creatures are: fluffy, and wide eyed, brand new to the world.

Carolyn explained that they are going with her on a speaking engagement at World Vision tomorrow. They are her object lesson.

Since Carolyn is a teacher as well as a writer, and grew up on a farm, she said that she gets ducklings every year for the children. "They need to be in water every day. I put them in a see through pool," she said," because kids just need to see them paddling."

"Sometimes they're so busy paddling, and then other times they're like, oh yeah, I can just float."

I thought that sounded familiar!

Ironically, Carolyn said she gets them at one week old, but "ducklings just never get ugly."

As we carried on with the purpose of the evening--sharing and discussing writing, Ben and Jerry chirped contentedly nearby in their cage. It was a very soothing background noise.

I learned much about ducks that I didn't know before, including the fact that mother ducks call from the ground to the ducklings, to jump from the nest, before they can fly. I found a You Tube video (posted below) of them doing this. What trust these little birds must have in their 

Matthew 18:1-3

Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Who Is the Greatest?

18 About that time the followers came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in God’s kingdom?”
Jesus called a little child to come to him. He stood the child in front of the followers. Then he said, “The truth is, you must change your thinking and become like little children. If you don’t do this, you will never enter God’s kingdom.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)!

The official theme of the evening was "Vacation," (I never did finish my vacation memoir,) but the unofficial thread that wove through the evening was  becoming childlike again and all that implies. As we laughed at the antics of Ben and Jerry and some of us even dared to pick them up, we were children, if only for an evening.

Thank you Ben and Jerry--and Carolyn!





Sunday, July 07, 2013

Childhood Holidays

Our writers group topic for this month is "Vacation," and this started me thinking of my happiest vacations, spent in Holland as a child.

I grew up in Worcestershire, a county in the middle of England and our journeys to Holland began by train. It was just Mum, my brother Rob and I who left from Birmingham, Snow Hill Station.,where we would wave goodbye to Dad who had come to see us off. Our first destination was Paddington Station in London. Inside the train we maneuvered our luggage down the passageway that ran alongside the carriage's compartments until we found ourselves seats inside one of them.

Like a living creature, the steam engine would chuff its way out of the station, whistle blowing, then panting and puffing as it started off, slowly gaining speed as we passed through dark, soot encrusted tunnels on our way out of the station and then past the streets of Birmingham and out into the countryside.

The train would fall into a soothing rhythm rocking us gently as we left Birmingham behind us, beginning the exciting journey to London that would take several hours-- I think it may have been four back then--and pass through miles of countryside and many villages along the way.

I found this video on You Tube, of the entire journey in reverse, if you have 5 minutes to watch it! Although it is not on a steam train, the diesel train does pass several along the way--at 960 miles an hour. :)


That's all I have time for tonight. I'll be back with more about the journey tomorrow!

Samson Beaver and his Family

I first posted this in 2009, a little show and tell about one of my favourite photographs. Back then it hung on a wall, but now it's in my bathroom where I see it every morning! I'd forgotten the history behind the story, researched when I first posted this and thought that current readers might enjoy it--a story from a time when this land was still being discovered, not so very long ago.


This photograph was taken by Mary Schaffer; artist, photographer, writer and naturalist, in 1907. It is of a Stoney Indian named Samson Beaver, with his wife Leah and daughter, Frances Louise. I bought the photo on a postcard, on a trip to British Columbia and it hangs framed, on the wall I face when sitting at my laptop. I love it.

Don't you just feel as if you could gather Frances Louise up in your arms and cuddle her?

I get a deep sense of peace and happiness when I look at this family, sitting in the grass of a long ago fall. They are dressed in their best, beautiful clothes, but it is their eyes and smiles that capture me; and the leafy twig in Frances Louise's hand.

I imagine the photographer, Mary, lying on her stomach in the grass to take the photograph. It is so hard to imagine that this moment was over one hundred years ago. The people in it seem so vibrantly alive.

When Mary, a native of Pennsylvania, met Samson at the horse ranch of Elliot Barnes in the Saskatchewan Valley, she was looking for an elusive lake called Chaba Imne (Beaver Lake) by the Indians. Samson remembered going there 20 years previously, when he was just 14. From memory he drew a map for Mary.

The following summer (1908,) Mary and her equally adventurous friend Molly, set out on an expedition to find the lake, with the help of guides Billy Warren and Sid Unwin. They had almost given up hope and were beginning to doubt the accuracy of the map, when Sid decided that he was going to climb to the top of the highest peak he could find, to see once and for all if the lake was within 20 miles of where they were. He returned later that night and to their great excitement he had spotted it.

The group spent three days exploring the lake, and during the two weeks spent on or near it, they found no sign of man, "just masses of flowers, the lap-lap of the waters on the shore, the occasional reverberating roar of an avalanche and our own voices stilled by a nameless Presence."

I just wanted to share something that I love and enjoyed learning more about.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

The Dangerous Path

"Doing Christianity is a lot harder than being Christian. We admire the good Samaritan but think him slightly odd," said my friend Dave, in a comment on yesterday's post. 

This morning I turned to a sermon in a collection of Dietrich Boenhoeffer's sermons. There was a prophet in Berlin in 1932 and his name was Boenhoeffer. 

Boenhoeffer wrote in a certain historical context that is explained in interesting detail in this treasure of a book. It had great significance to what he said, but he could also be speaking to any church and anyone who calls themselves a Christian today.

His text was Colossians 3: 1-4, and he spoke about what those disturbing words might mean to his congregation; about the dangerous God, who disturbs our lives and and challenges our worldview; the "cup of nothingness" that is chosen when we think that any government or other system is the answer to the problems, brokenness and disillusionment of the world.

Compellingly he spoke of the path of "religion"--those who say, "In God's name Amen," but who refuse to allow their lives to be disturbed by him; those more lost than even those who "drink the cup of nothingness," because they think that they are on the right path.

I read this sermon after the Holy Spirit had already pricked my heart and disturbed my inner "Feng shui." After I blurted out an ill considered opinion over dinner. Had I read it before that conversation, I might not have thought that Bonhoeffer was speaking to me but just to a group of self satisfied, deluded, secure "Christians" more than half a century ago.

Today I read the sermon with more humility, as a warning; to today's Church; to all of us we say we follow Christ. Suddenly I wonder, could Jesus be talking to me in Matthew 15:8-9 and not just to those "religious" Pharisees we are so fond of seeing as "them" and not "us?"

Matthew 15:8-9

New International Version (NIV)
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.[a]
I thank God for Dietrich Bonhoeffer, that dissident German pastor, who from a sermon preached 81 years ago, speaks to me, and for a group of Puritan dissidents who in their prayers of even longer ago, in another treasured book, The Valley of Vision; challenge and inspire me. Interesting that those who do were considered "dissident" by the Church of their day.

Vain Service
(The Valley of Vision p. 330)

O MY LORD

Forgive me for serving thee in sinful ways--
by glorying in my own strength,
by forcing myself to minister through
necessity,
by accepting the applause of others,
by trusting in assumed grace
and spiritual affection,
by a faith that rests upon my hold on Christ,
not on him alone,
by having another foundation to stand upon
beside thee;
for thus I make flesh my arm...

Friday, July 05, 2013

Crooked Pictures

Urgh! I felt ashamed of the words I had just blurted out and even more, the heart they revealed.

It was cell group night and, as usual, a group of friends were at our place for dinner before the Bible study.

The pot roast, steaming bowls of mashed potatoes and sweet carrots, and the gravy, were being passed around, when some friends who share their lives and home said that they had just bought a second car.

The large car they own is a gas guzzler; just filling the tank costs enough to feed a family for several days; they had bought a second, smaller car that was already delighting them with its economy.

 "We'd like to ask your opinion," they then said to the rest of us. One of their friends had asked to borrow one of their cars for a week. The friend had the opportunity of a week's work; badly needed financially; but no way to get there.

On the one hand, they said, "There was a reason we got the second car--we need it;" but on the other hand they struggled with whether they should say no; they just wondered what we thought.

Without thinking, or asking God what he thought, or even pausing to listen to what others might say; partly out of protectiveness and concern that our friends might be taken advantage of, I went on about the insurance risk and said, "Oh, I would be uncomfortable with doing that."

A moment later I regretted being so definitive in the expression of my opinion and said so, but when you spill your guts there is no putting them back easily. 

Then, from the end of the table came my daughter's quiet comment to no one in particular, I don't even know if anyone else heard her, "I've just always thought that nothing belongs to us."

Yes, that was what we have tried to teach our children, and live out, so what was that coming from my lips now?

Major cognitive dissonnance was the result. No matter how many times I said that I didn't necessarily mean what I had said, I felt as though every picture frame on the wall of my soul was hanging crookedly and until I straightened them I would have no peace.

I was wrong; so wrong. My daughter was right. When did my heart shrink so small and my eyes grow so blind that I lost sight of a desperate person with the hope of a week's work in need of a helping hand?

So this is my confessional, and my picture frames are hanging straight again.

And as though God wanted to make sure I got it, the devotions read at work this morning was from the online reading from My Utmost for His Highest for today, July 5: Don't Plan Without God with these words almost at the end:
Don’t plan with a rainy day in mind. You cannot hoard things for a rainy day if you are truly trusting Christ. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:1). 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Hanging Out With Molson

This past weekend we hung out, Molson and me, deserted by all but the cat and chinchilla. 

I love that dog so much. He is good "soul medicine!" So much about him reminds me of the kind of relationship God must want to have with us, if we weren't so desperately "human."

It can be a little disconcerting at times, the way Molson's eyes are always on his beloved one--that's me when his other loved ones are away. I love watching those little bumps in his forehead, just above his eyes, and how, no matter how sleepy he is, the bumps turn in my direction. It makes me laugh out loud with joy, watching him.

It makes me think of Psalm 123, which says:

Psalm 123:1-4

The Message (MSG)A Pilgrim Song
1-4 
        We look up to you for help.
Like servants, alert to their master’s commands,
    like a maiden attending her lady,
We’re watching and waiting, holding our breath,
    awaiting your word of mercy.
Mercy, God, mercy!
    We’ve been kicked around long enough,
Kicked in the teeth by complacent rich men,
    kicked when we’re down by arrogant brutes.

 And I don't mean to say that he is perfect at this all the time, but he's a pretty good fella really. He waits for me and is really happiest when he and I are going places together.

Psalm 130:5-6

The Message (MSG)5-6 
I pray to God—my life a prayer—
    and wait for what he’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
    waiting and watching till morning,
    waiting and watching till morning.
The Message (MSG)

And there is no peace like just being, in God's presence, quiet, soaking in him.

Psalm 131:2

The Message (MSG)
I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
    I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
    my soul is a baby content.
The Message (MSG)

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Empty Boxes

(I haven't been writing much this week, but friends, I am reading about writing; isn't that a good thing?--So tonight I'm publishing a post from the past--from April 2010. Some of those nuggets in the back drawer bear repeating!) 

I arrived at a home that I had not been to before for a meeting last week. Even as I approached the front door, there was a sense of neatness, order and beauty. Inside, the warm welcome of the inhabitants was echoed by the home, as it wrapped itself around me with the warmth of the colours on the walls, and the atmosphere of comfort and hosptitality.

Before the four of us started our discussion on the topic of the meeting, the two other women mentioned being regular readers of this blog. I felt humbled and a little embarrassed. It is a great honour that anyone chooses to read here but I was caught off guard when I thought about how "off the cuff" some of my writing can be.

This was further reinforced when one of the women referred to my post of a couple of weeks ago about the church business meeting, and my (backfiring) attempt at humour. In my determination not to be stereotyped as a lover of Gaither music just because I am over 50, I had managed to do the thing that I was resisting for myself--I stereotyped lovers of the Gaithers!

The woman sitting across from me laughed as she mentioned that her dear late husband had been a "Gaitherite" and that his final revenge on a younger member of their family, had been to have her sing, I’m Free at his funeral.

Her words fell like a gentle rebuke, although she did not intend them to. How little I had considered the reach of my words. She promised to send me a relevant poem that her Aunt Erma Davision had written, which was published in To a World, with Love by the Bible Christian Union (79.) With her permission, I share it here as the message is so true and one that I need reminding of (occasionally! :)) Thank you Paula!


Empty Boxes

Father
help me to not
put people
in boxes
labelled
*"worldly"
"unspiritual"
"liberal"
"gaitherite"

What's the use?

they keep escaping
my self-made cubicles

and I'm stuck
with all these

empty boxes!

*Please insert your own labels

Blessings to you on this good day of empty boxes. :) 

WRITE! CANADA 2013 COMMISSIONS WRITERS TO STAY INSPIRED

WRITE! CANADA 2013 COMMISSIONS WRITERS TO STAY INSPIRED

This article on Write! Canada, sums up the excitement, inspiration and motivation that was generated. If you have a hint in your soul that you may be a writer; plan to go next year. You will not be disappointed; it only gets better! :)

Monday, July 01, 2013

Happy Canada Day

It's Canada Day, the day we celebrate our wonderful country by having a day off and with fireworks displays.


A couple of years ago I wrote a story for Canada.com on How I Came to be Here. I will always be grateful for the privilege of living in Canada, our adopted land.

It will be 44 years in September, since we left England for Canada--I only 19, and Paul 22 years old. It seems like a moment ago and yet so much has happened in those 44 years.

Last week we attended the third grade 8 graduation of a grandchild. This time it was Tori graduating. She loves learning, works hard and was on the honour roll.

Her older sister Tippy (below,) who also graduated last year from Sir William Osler Public School, was asked to design the bulletin for this year's graduation and did a wonderful job, working on it for six hours. Here she is being thanked. 

During the graduation ceremony, every one of the 21 graduates was affirmed in some way for progress and effort. The staff of Sir William Osler are a wonderful team of educators. I am grateful for their influence in the lives of our girls.

The very next morning, Tippy and Tori were up early, because they were leaving with Paul, three other adults and our two God daughters Eden (12) and Summer (18), for Mishkeegogamang Ojibway Nation. They will be delivering donated food from the Daily Bread Food Bank and helping to deliver a week of program activities to the children on the reserve.
While there they will stay in the teacher's residence.

Tippy went with Paul and another team last year and loved it. It is over 2000 kilometers north, and she loved the peace and beauty of the reserve, as well as the people.

 Betty Maddock, who was driving the vehicle that picked them up, is a retired teacher and attends Victory Baptist Church in Newmarket. Two churches are praying for this team while they are away.

These are just some of the blessings I am grateful for in this land of ours: freedom of education; being valued for who you are as an individual; and opportunities to give back--to contribute.

Thank you God for the fair land of Canada.