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Showing posts from February, 2014

With Gratitude!

Thank you to everyone who voted in the Canadian Blog awards. Whatever He Says won Best Religion and Philosophy Blog!

Congratulations too, to two other members of our writer's group--Julie Bowles, who won 2nd place with her blog, Devoted to the Lamb, and Susan Starrett, who tied for 3rd place with her blog God and the Black River--what a celebration for Writers Nest!

And dear Dave Hingsburger, my friend, won Best Personal Blog and Best Health Blog with his always challenging and thought provoking blog, Rolling Around in My Head. Congratulations Dave, and thank you for your continual encouragement and mentorship in writing.

Belonging...and Not

I thought I should explain that I'm filling in at the start of each week for a couple of months for my boss, Dwayne Milley, who writes Monday Morning emails to our work team; usually on the themes of leadership or belonging. 

So my first post of each week lately has centred on these themes. Meanwhile, Dwayne is doing something much more exciting than work. You can read about his journey in parenthood and adoption on his blog: Everyone Plays.

Last week I mentioned our agency's vision statement that has to do with belonging.

I was thinking about "belonging" as Paul and I chatted over breakfast on Saturday. We spoke about a friend who lived in an institution--a place he felt he didn't belong--for 25 years. 

I've known this friend since 1974, when Paul and I moved in with our two pre-school children to be house parents at the home in the community that this man had moved to one year earlier. 

He was just 41 when I first met him. With a feisty nature to match his Brylc…

Thirty Years Later, Part 2

This is an addendum to the blog post I wrote last Monday: "Thirty Years Later," in which I reflected on a battle Paul fought long ago, for changes within the institution he worked at.

One morning this week I asked him if he had read it. He smiled and said that he had, then a faraway look came into his eyes and he began to share other changes that he had worked for.

"The men would be lined up for showers naked, often by young female staff."

He told me how he managed to get housecoats for the men. They all were ordered in blue, but at least theyhad the dignity of being clothed while waiting in the hallway. 

In order to find office space for the Occupational Therapy department, the plan was to order bunk beds for the people on the ward where the offices were to be built. Paul successfully fought to block this plan, saying that the bunk beds would not only be a safety hazard, but that it would be wrong to take precious space from people that had so little.  The offices wer…

Two Booster Rockets for Life

Two books are currently having the impact of booster rockets in my life.
Wikipedia defines a booster rocket as: "a strap-on rocket used to augment the core launch vehicle's takeoff thrust and payload capability. Boosters are generally necessary to launch spacecraft into Earth's orbit or beyond." A great description of the impact of these books on me.
Theologian and writer, Dallas Willard died in 2013. Ever since reading an article about him by John Ortberg, written after his death and published in Christianity Today, I have wanted to read his books. You can read the article for yourself here.
In Willard's book, The Spirit of the Disciplines, he opens up the difference between trying to follow Christ by responding to life's circumstances in a "godly way," and actually becoming godly in character by following Christ's pattern of life--the spiritual disciplines he practiced. Willard the describes those disciplines and how their practice is the secret …

Thirty Years Later

I sat across from Paul recently at a meeting at work. He was challenging us to think differently about supports to people with disabilities. 

My mind went back thirty years to when he was in his last months at Pine Ridge, the institution he had worked at for almost 13 years and was then helping to close.

During his time working there, he was always in a battle for improvements, always a visionary who drove change. He petitioned for a "village area" on the institution property, where several portables gave people an opportunity to live in a more homelike environment and get ready for the next step--living in the outside world--the community. 

He fought for breakfast to be cooked on the large wards on the weekends, so that the men who lived there would have the pleasure of smelling bacon and eggs cooking. It also meant that they could sleep in later on those days and not miss breakfast--simple things that most people take for granted. 

Before this, some people did stay up later on…

Father I Want to...

We relaxed, some of us in the wingback recliners, with feet up; others sinking into the welcoming, cushiony golden leather of the couch. Lamps softly lit the big room at the back of our house where a small group of our friends gets together weekly for dinner and a chat. 
We call it "cell group," because in our faith, the analogy of "the body" is used for a church community. So we are a small part of a body, a "cell;" in other words we're just a group of friends who love one another and enjoy getting together. And we encourage each other in life and faith.
Last night we were on our second week of studying a book by Royal Hamel. The book is called, Unmuzzle Your Inner Sheep. It's about freeing yourself to share faith--not about putting yourself out to graze! 
We're enjoying the conversation the book has prompted. We talked about the struggle between obeying the "Great Commission" to share the good news of Jesus' life and purpose, and …

The Canadian Blog Awards

Hello Friends,
The Canadian Blog Awards are in full swing again. Whatever He Says has been nominated for Best Religion and Philosophy blog. Also nominated in that category is the blog of my friend Susan Starret who writes at God and the Black River.

The blog of another dear friend; Rolling Around in My Head, by Dave Hingsburger; is nominated in the categories of Best Personal Blog and Best Health Blog. I never miss reading Rolling Around in My Head. Dave writes daily and generously, sharing ideas, his journey of disability and perspectives that provoke and challenge.

I hope that you will consider voting. It only takes seconds; you don't have to be Canadian to vote, and voting in this round ends on February 22nd.

Just Joy!

Our family has a standing date for Sunday dinner on the first Sunday of every month. Not that we don't see each other at any other time, but we all know that particular Sunday is pretty much for sure--and I look forward to it so much--the front door bursting open and our house being filled once more with the voices and vibrancy of six grandchildren and their parents. 

This week Spero, Brenda's new Australian Shepherd puppy came too, and met his extended family, leaving Molson at home to have a rest! He was duly adored by all of us.


He came with a dazzling array of toys and is proving a fast learner, already sitting on command and responding to Tori's training. I was so impressed at her technique of quickly rewarding a turnaround from any slight naughtiness with praise for "good sitting," or "good" any other desirable behaviour! 

Tippy had her hair cut stunningly and bravely short the day before; making a statement about who she is as a unique individual, o…

Handle with Care

A couple of weeks ago I started writing now and then, about a few of the life lessons I've learned. I'm still an avid student in the classroom of life, so this is not intended to come from a platform of Yoda-like wisdom--just, for what it's worth what I've learned so far. 

Life lesson number 4--since this is Valentine's month: Handle important relationships with care.

This probably seems obvious, but  there's a reason for that old saying, "You always hurt the one you love." We relax into a relationship and we feel that we can "let it all hang out." Letting it all hang out is a recipe for damage and pain.

I grew up in a family that laid a foundation of some strengths that I'm grateful for, but also some counterproductive patterns that I've spent a lifetime trying to un-learn!

A book that helped me with that was Scream Free Marriage by Hal Edward Runkel. Runkel writes about 5 ways that we "scream" in relationships and I think I h…

All on Fire

It's Monday morning, a good time to share a few thoughts about being "all on fire."

I've been on fire since November for the needs of the people in South Sudan, using the simple gift of baking pies to raise funds. The freezer compartments of our two fridges are filled with pies. A cupboard in our basement is filled with flour, sugar, shortening, cookie sheets and cooling racks; and baking pie is never far from my mind. Other people have joined with me in numerous ways, from donating time and supplies to buying pies.One pie at a time, almost $3000 has been raised so far. 

I am energized by a vision of the need and an awareness that I live a life of privilege in the wealthy west. When I'm rolling out pastry in my spare time, that's what drives me; the passion that burns in my heart; the energy that turns what could feel like hard work into a joy.

Yesterday morning at church, a young woman announced that she'll be working with the children on an Easter program.…