Showing posts from October, 2009


I sit inside and listen to the boisterous wind out in the dark night, blowing with all its might, buffeting trees and the houses. Our house is snug, airtight and cosy; it feels more so as I listen to the peaceful ticking of the clock in between the gusts. The wind sounds as though it is racing across the fields to the stand of trees on the top of the hill, and back again. The crunch of leaves and the scent of their decay, mixing with that of woodsmoke; the vivid, gaudy colours; it is all so beautiful and sad at the same time. This weekend October ends and November begins. In my loft room this evening I found a lovely little poem from thr Ontario Reader's "Second Book." entitled: November The leaves are fading and falling, The winds are rough and wild, The birds have ceased their calling; But let me tell you my child, Though day by day, as it closes, Doth darker and colder grow, The roots of the bright red roses Will keep alive in the snow. And when the winter is over The

This Good Day

by Susan It was an incredibly busy day. One need piled on top of another duty plowed into by countless interrruptions which could not be filed this time under "p" for procrastination. It all ended with a satisfying sense of "it is finished", knowing that much was accomplished, even if there was still much more left to come back to tomorrow. As the flashing red lights of the fire truck faded into the distance (yes, a day like today HAD to be crowned with a false alarm and a visit from our local volunteer fire department!) I closed the door to my office, said goodnight to some of the wonderful people who had seasoned my day, and headed to Jane and Barb's where the cell group had agreed to meet for dinner this week at Jane's kind invitation. That was so that Belinda would be freed up to go to the shower of my newest grandson, William, instead of preparing dinner and leading the cell group as she would normally have done of a Thursday evening. It was wonder

A Place of Hospitality

Creating a place of hospitality can be such a gift to others. I love doing it, and when I am on the receiving end, I appreciate it so much too. There is much that I could write on this topic, but I am here late again tonight and don't want to face the world looking like a red eyed Hallowe'en monster, so I will just share another little snippet from my loft room. It is a "rune:" an Anglo Saxon word meaning a poem with a mysterious or magic significance. This rune happens to be a "Rune of Hospitality." I saw a stranger yestreen, I put food in the eating place Drink in the drinking place Music in the listening place And, in the sacred name of the Triune, He blessed myself and my house, My cattle and my dear ones, And the lark said in her song, Often, often, often, Goes the Christ in teh strangest guise, Often, often, often, Goes the Christ in the strangest guise. Hebrews, Chapter 13:2 Some have entertained angels unawares

Keeper of the Springs

The mystery of who wrote beautiful the words that I quoted in yesterday's post about letters, is solved. This evening after supper I went back into the loft room to continue the sorting and sifting, but not very much throwing out I'm afraid. I found one of my most treasured books, Keeper of the Springs, by Ingrid Trobisch with Marlee Alex. The quote is from that book, and is by Katrine Stewart, who is the author's daughter. The somewhat beaten up, poor book itself was given to me five years ago by Susan, my dear friend, who bought it for the princely sum of something like a dollar, because she believed I fit the author's definition of a "keeper of the springs." I believe that she is right! Ingrid writes: The things in my home are not collector's junk, the result of hoarding or cocooning: they are my lifeblood. "Just throw it away" people might say of certain objects, broken and mended. But because these things have been wounded in action, they ar


Inspired by my daughter-in-law Sue, who was here painting for us on the weekend, I spent time up in our loft room this evening, sorting through the mass of boxes, cards, letters and general mayhem that lurks up there in the dark. Sue is so focused. She works hard and gets a job finished. Oh, how I admire people like that. I dilly and dally, and stop along the way to read things. I have been sorting up there for several months now. I wouldn't want you to think I haven't, but really, I feel that I should have a lot more to show for the time I've spent up there. Sue is coming back next weekend to paint another room, which means I need to empty it of a lot of stuff. There is no putting it off. And some of it will be going upstairs, which means there has to be room up there. So, buoyed by Sue's example, I took myself off to the loft this evening. A leopard doesn't change its spots, so I think I read every piece of paper that passed through my hands, but I finished carefu

Congratulations are in Order!

One of our faithful readers: Dave Hingsburger, of Rolling Around in My Head is today being inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame in the Builder category for his work in the field of disabilities. Dave has been a colleague for 25 years. I treasure his friendship and admire him tremendously for the courage, integrity and humility he brings to his work. He has made a difference to more lives than can be imagined and continues to inspire, challenge and teach a whole new generation of staff and families. Congratulations Dave!

In the Spring of the Year

Our first winter in Canada was an intensely colourful crazy quilt of first experiences. We spent it waiting for the cold to come, but with our tough British blood, we never did feel as cold as we expected. I mean, we had been sent out into school playing fields in shorts throughout our childhood in the damp, cold winters of England, and were brought up to tough it out when we felt sick--even apologizing to doctors for "bothering" them if we should have need to seek out their services, which we rarely did. I don't think that was necessarily a good thing, but it was the way we were conditioned. The cold may not have arrived with the intensity we expected, but the snow came early and we slogged through it from our apartment to our places of work, on foot every day--me to the ski and clothing store, Ardills; and Paul to a factory on Edward Street in Aurora. As Christmas approached we were amazed and impressed by the Christmas lights that Canadians hung on their houses and tre

If We Don't Show Up...Who Will?

I just watched this video clip on one of my favourite blogs,written by a blog friend, Sharon Olson Olson Family It made me weep and made any challenges I experience seem very, very, small. What a powerful Sunday morning sermon.

A World of Our Own

By Belinda It was Friday; the last day of a busy work week. I got up early after another late night. I tried to insert contact lenses into my tired eyes, but my eyeballs rebelled and repelled. It felt as though there were little men on my eyeballs throwing the lenses back at me, so I took the hint and put on my black rimmed glasses instead. I am usually a compulsive listener: to radio, music or books on CD; but on Friday, as I drove in the gray early morning light to meet my friend and colleague, Irene, at a carpool, I chose not to break the peaceful silence inside my car. The roar of air flowing through the heat vents and the hum of snow tires on pavement were a soothing backdrop to my thoughts. It felt good to bask in silence and allow my mind to rest completely. It was a chilly, blustery morning, complete with a driving drizzle. I joined the other drivers circling the carpool like sharks in search of prey, but when I realized that Irene was not there yet, I tucked my car into a park

Change of Season - Change of Pace

by Meg I returned to Ontario to the signs of late fall and approaching winter. I got my snow tires put on and speculated about the days to come. I don't mind the rain, and the cozy feeling inside the house. It is home. All the time we were away in British Columbia I dreamed of home, our house by the river, our quieter pace. The hustle and bustle of so many places out there was a lot to contend with; I noticed how much it affected our friends. There were precious quiet moments - a walk on the beach, or by a rushing stream with salmon leaping and spawning. And most of our friends have quiet hearts in the midst of hectic lives. As I have, or seek to have. Yet the addictive tendency to busyness is inside of me despite my quiet home and town. My whirling brain often doesn't allow me to settle at night. My plans for the future collide with each other as each day's demands compete. Reality checks come in various ways. Such was what happened last week when I wasn't able to post


By Susan She’s a grown woman now with four children of her own, but she still remembers that snowy night when she was four. I remember it too, almost as well as she does... The snow had started to fall softly around suppertime, just a few flakes here and there. By the time we were getting the children ready for bed a couple of hours later, it was coming down like cotton balls, heavy and wet. It was the perfect kind of snow for making snowmen, but there was only the thinnest layer of white just beginning to hide the dark green grass underneath and not deep enough yet. Maybe by morning... I threw in a load of wash, picked up the toys, finished up the supper dishes, made lunches, and suddenly it was 10:30 and time for mommy to go to bed, too. I sat by the window in the pressback rocker that had rocked all four of my babies and would rock the ones yet to come, and I watched the snow fall. It’s lure was irresistible and I pulled my sweater tighter around me and stepped outside. I cherished


Hi Friends, It's Friday and you see no post! Susan is having technical difficulties--not sure if she'll be able to get her post out. It's ready to go but she had no internet. I'm on the fly but you are all in my mind and heart as I fly off into Friday. God bless each and every friend, even though we don't know many of your faces. You are precious to us and we are honoured that you choose to read here. Happy Friday, and may God carry you on his wings today. Love, Belinda

Finding the Balance

By Belinda Short post, dear readers, for reasons that will become obvious. I'm here at the end of a 12 hour day that's not done yet and I'm wondering how to fly straight and true. Last night our son called and when I told him I'd just got home and he began... He began repeating my own words back to me; the words I'd said to him just weeks ago, when worried about him and his work load, I had urged him to take care. He had said to me then, "But Mom, I come by it honestly. You and Dad both struggle with this." And I had said to him, "No Peter, I don't do that anymore. I have learned that I need to hold firm to the line, and you must too, because we love you and care." So Peter took delight last night in laughing at me, and teasing; catching me out, he thought. I said, "Oh, stop it, here's your dad, you called for him didn't you?" But it's not so easy to stem the tide. The tide of meetings and paper and deadlines and follow

Cool is That God Loves Me

Cool is that God Loves Me By Angcat (from the archives 4/1/09) Is God a man that He should lie? Is He a hero in the sky? Does He love me for my clothes, My style of hair or size of nose? Or am I cool because I'm made, In His own image, that won't fade? These thoughts came to me a few weeks ago after my 5 year old and I had a conversation that went something like this... "Hey buddy, it's time to pick your school clothes for tomorrow. How about these ones?" ('These ones' being a cool, blue, sporty set that kind of looked like a soccer warm up outfit). "No I don't want those ones, my friends don't like them", he said. "Why not", I asked, puzzled, "What's not to like, these are cool clothes?" "They don't have pictures or designs on the pants, so they're not cool" was his response, and he refused to wear them. Five years old and already the pressure to wear the "right" clothes. So I said gent

The Race

Drawing by Tiffany-Amber Adams (11 years old) By Belinda I love each of the six precious grandchildren that God has blessed us with, as well as our assorted Godchildren. It is so interesting watching their personalities and gifts develop and to have a part in affirming and celebrating the wonderful individual that each one of them is. They all march to the beat of their own drum, but none more than Tiffany-Amber. From earliest childhood, one of her preferred activities was imitating animals. Brenda used to be beside herself with this little girl who scampered around the house in monkey mode, and who almost seemed to morph into the animal she was imitating. She can make the sounds of animals and calls of birds and when she does so, she enters into it with her whole being. Although I was in awe at her abilities, I did wonder, how this skill could be used in the adult world! Tippy, now 11, has had some real struggles fitting into the world of school, and even with additional supports to c

First Quarter

By Belinda I left our family story last week at the end of 1967, happily connected at last with my true love and soul mate, Paul. I have written already about our engagement, in June of 1968, and marriage in August 1969, so I will continue the story now, by remembering the quarter year of our life in Canada. The photo below was taken on our honeymoon in Holland. I was just 19 and Paul 22 and we had only just begun. We arrived in Canada with our wedding presents and the modest contest of my "bottom drawer" (which is what we used in England instead of a Hope Chest) in an orange crate. We had less than two hundred dollars to keep us going until we found work. The second photo was taken a couple of months after our arrival in Canada, when some distant relatives of Paul's who had emigrated decades earlier, threw a wedding shower for us. The concept of a shower of gifts was foreign to us, but we felt truly lavished upon. I had discovered that I was pregnant withi

Holding the Line

By Belinda (Meg has not been able to post today, so I am posting Sunday's post early. Perhaps, God needed this message to be here for someone today. Blessings friends.) Hold the line "To maintain the existing position or state of affairs" I leaned over Paul, who sat in the window seat, and strained to see what he was pointing out to me--the C.N. Tower and Lake Ontario, then the streets with which we are so familiar. In other words: "home." It was a beautiful, bracingly crisp and sunny, when we flew into Toronto this past Tuesday afternoon. The sky was a cloudless, deep blue, and below us we could see that we had not missed the brilliant fall colours, as the tree tops blazed red, orange and gold. It had been so good to be totally relaxed and luxuriate in family and friend time in England, but now it felt wonderful to be back home. We both had work the next day, and I was up early, still running on British time. It was a good thing, because when I clicked on my au

A Message Without Words

by Susan Bongo, Uncle Owen's dog was a wire haired terrier. I was fourteen years old the summer I met him. And as you can imagine, it was love at first sight. He was cute and playful - full of energy. And back then, so was I. We were visiting at Uncle Owen's, my sister and I, and with Bongo on a red leather leash, we had walked down to the lake for a swim with a passel of younger cousins and their parents (our aunts and uncles). Uncle Owen didn't live quite on the lake. He was about a city block and a half away, but the subdivision he lived in cooperatively owned a lakefront lot, where he and his neighbours all had "beach rights". It was a beautiful spot and I exulted in every moment we got to spend there. We crossed the highway that stretched along the lakeshore from Kingston and then went through the iron gate in the post and wire fence before following the path through the trees and down the slope to the dock. There was a swimming raft, maybe a hundred feet of


By Belinda These photos are to accompany yesterday's post, "Kindred Spirits"

Kindred Spirits

By Belinda In his forties, the older man invested time in a small boy who didn't fit a typical mould. Their families lived on the same street in the town--one family gospel hall, the other pentecostal--a common faith, but expressed in very different ways. The little boy questioned authority and rules that made no sense to him. This resulted in anger, frustration and frequent punishment from an adult world in a generation that expected children to be respectfully obedient and meekly silent. He would not be silenced or broken; not an easy child to raise, but one in whom God had planted seeds of tenacity, leadership and determination. Mr. Atkinson had no axe to grind; made no demands of submission. He talked to the boy man to man, treating him with respect, offering friendship and companionship. Perhaps in the boy, Mr. Atkinson saw the boy he had been. He had a colourful past, growing up in poverty and in a rough neighbourhood. He and his friends had once broken into a shoe shop and d

Recipe for Shepherd's Pie

By Belinda Suz, one of our readers, asked me to share the recipe for Shepherd's Pie, so here it is. Thanks for asking Suz! To serve 4 1lb lean ground beef 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup of chopped onion 1/2 cup of chopped celery 2 tablespoons All Purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 tsp pepper 1 cup boiling water 1 beef boullion cube (or instead of the flour and boullion cube, use Bisto gravy powder) 3 cups mashed potatoes 2 cups grated cheddar cheese 2 sliced tomatoes Combine beef, oil, celery and onion in frying pan. Scramble fry until brown. Stir in flour, or Bisto gravy powder, salt and pepper Pour boiling water over boullion cube, or into the meat mixture if using Bisto. Stir into the meat until boiling and thickened. Spread in casserole. Cover with potatoes mashed with enough butter and milk to make them soft and fluffy. Sprinkle grated cheese over the potatoes, then cover with sliced tomatoes. Season tomatoes with fresh ground pepper and a sprinkle of salt. Add another sprin


On Monday afternoon, our last day in England, we had to pack. I wished that everything would hop into the case magically, so that it wouldn't be so obvious that we were leaving. I always find it stressful packing to go home. Paul had traveled very lightly on his way to England but when it came time to wrestle everything back into the two cases we had brought; my large one and his very small one, it soon became apparent that getting everything in was going to be hard. After supper on Monday evening Paul wondered if he should buy a carry-on case, but we didn't think we'd find any nearby stores open at that time of day. Robert decided to climb up into his loft to see what was up there and came down with a small tan leather overnight case that I recognized. Cases tend to circulate around our family and this one had belonged to me, years ago. It looked the perfect size for our overflow, and after Robert cleaned it up a bit on the outside we opened it and noticed a blackened chai

Friends and Flying Saucers

By Belinda You would think that having broken up with Mike at the end of June, 1967, and finding myself thinking of Paul on a regular basis, that I would have had a clue or two, but no... I mean, I did know that I had feelings for him that weren't going away, but he seemed to be oblivious to my existence. My life was a whirlwind of activity. There was so much going on with friends, singing in the gospel group at church, art, and helping out with the building of a new church on a piece of land that had been purchased by the small congregation. There was a lot of pressure involved with my job and there were tearful moments at work where it all just seemed overwhelming and impossible. Looking at what was expected of us, it was a huge amount of work and responsibility but we didn't question it--we just did our best to do what was expected. On October 12 th a diverting thing happened. I wrote, "I had the shock of my life--David phoned and asked me out. Dave's the last pers

A Harvest Montage

By Belinda (My usual Monday continuing family story will appear tomorrow) Today (Sunday)while our family in Canada was celebrating Thanksgiving, we celebrated Harvest Festival at Woodgreen Evangelical Church in Worcester. At home we imagined the church decorated with pumpkins, a wide variety of colourful squash and gourds, and red, gold and brilliant orange leaves. Here in England, the small children brought their offerings of food to decorate the front of the church. And we sang the hymns I remember from childhood Harvest Festivals, including All Things Bright and Beautiful Refrain: All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all. Each little flow’r that opens, Each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings. The purple-headed mountains, The river running by, The sunset and the morning That brightens up the sky. The cold wind in the winter, The pleasant summer sun, The ripe fr

An Encore!

By Belinda After cooking dinner one evening last week, my nephew John wanted to know, "When is Belinda cooking again?" Yeay! I thought of making Butter Chicken, a delicious Indian dish, which usually goes down well, but no, Robert just wanted another Shepherd's Pie. Well, no worries! I went back to kitchen, chopping, slicing and grating again, determined to make the very best Shepherd's Pie that anyone ever tasted. After 2003 when Mum had a stroke she never recovered any interest in preparing meals and hung up her apron for good. Never a lover of cooking for its own sake, her simple meals always tasted delicious to us because of the love she put into them. I was thinking this week about the fact that she never enters the kitchen anymore, leaving that room to other people now. So imagine how wonderful it was, as I chopped away at the carrots, to hear the rumble of Mum's walker approaching as she came to inspect the goings on! Although the photo below of Rob would b

Food for Thought and Pilgrimage

by Meg I knew this trip would be a pilgrimage...not just a visit with my daughter, old friends and a few relatives, seeing old and new places. I knew there would be lots of opportunities for reflection on life, ministry, calling, past, present and future. And there would be lots of food.. at chain restaurants in the middle of big cities,at Irish pubs with singers, at a bistro with a roaring fire in a rainstorm, in the modest homes of friends on missionary support, or in more elaborate homes with hillside or oceanfront views owned by friends very blessed financially. Each of them living out their Christian lives with many blessings and many trials, each of them with their own reflections on ministry, service, vocation, God's leadings, each of them with their own stories of moving around from one place to another or staying put for many many years. Take today for instance. We are experiencing gorgeous early fall weather on an island off Vancouver Island, the sun blazing in the wi


by Susan We stood at the end of our laneway and waved at the two rambunctious boys who had just boarded the school bus. It had been a rough morning and as much as I love them, I was relieved for their mom's sake, that they were now someone else's responsibility for the next seven hours or so. I breathed a quick prayer for them and for their teachers, and hoped their energy subsided a little by the time the bus deposited them in front of the doors of their school. As the bus roared into gear and began to pull away, their mom and I, turned to go back into her house for an anticipated cup of coffee and an opportunity to debrief. Just then the hideous sound of a car's horn split the morning air. I turned back to the road to see someone waving furiously from inside their car. I had no idea what this was about and wasn't quite sure how to respond. Was it someone who knew us and was just saying hello, or was it some stranger alerting us to danger? I waved back, just in case, a

Hey, from Mum & Belinda!


The Mop

We walked, hands deep in pockets, knecks snuggled into our collars against the crisp chill of the autumn evening. The streets of the village, normally quiet by this time of evening, are crowded with streams of families with excited small children, clutching inflated plastic hammers and bags of blue, pink and white, whispy, sticky candy floss. As we get closer to the parking lot behind the Red Lion pub, we hear the pounding, loud beat of music and the banging and grinding of the gears of the rides, mingled with the calls of the food vendors and games hawkers. The delicous smell of fried onions at the hamburger, hotdog and sausage stands, carries me back to my childhood, when, just as it has tonight, this fair came to our village each October. Hand in hand with our mum, Rob and I would walk down to the village from our home on Bear Hill, full of excitement and in anticipation of going on the wildest ride we could find. The rides were nothing in comparison the the rides at the theme parks

The Kitchen

A kitchen is more than just a kitchen; it can be the Jerusalem of a home--a hotly contested piece of real estate. I love to cook. There is nothing I love more than to produce a meal for other people. I love the chopping, peeling and stirring; the delicious aroma of a meal in the making. Most of my friends will at one time or another have joined me in the kitchen either to talk as I cook, or join me in said chopping, peeling or stirring. I would happily have been Brother Lawrence , the monk who worked in the kitchens of a Carmelite monastery several centuries ago, and who wrote a book The Practice of the Presence of God . Wikipedia writes of him: He was assigned to the monastery kitchen where, amidst the tedious chores of cooking and cleaning at the constant bidding of his superiors, he developed his rule of spirituality and work. In his Maxims, Lawrence writes, "Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that lo

Family, Flowers and Funny Moments

Uncle John's small but lovely garden in Worcester With Uncle John and Paul's cousin Stephen. After church in Worcester, we drove to nearby Alcester, where Stephen cooked us a delicious roast chicken dinner. Uncle John, who celebrated his 80th birthday on July 5th, is leaving for a trip to Nigeria in November to meet with other pastors there. His life is a great example of living, in the words of Oswald Chambers; his "utmost for God's highest." Susan was curious about what we feasted on with Eileen and Chris on Saturday. Well, from Prettys Bakery in the village, we bought an assortment of cakes that included custard tarts, jam donuts rolled in sugar, iced buns and macaroons. I made some ham and cheese, sesame seed rolls and salad. For supper we went down to the Tudor Rose Fish and Chip shop and got battered fish, fish cakes and chips, mushy peas and curry sauce. It was all enjoyed very much indeed! Fortunately we are walking miles and miles every day and are hoping

How Not to Be

Deep chagrin is what I feel as I read further in my journal of 1967. I feel as if I have to keep saying to myself, "I was only 17. I was only 17." I had not even sent the goodbye letter to Peter yet, although I had written it and made up my mind never to see him again. We were over as far as I was concerned. Curiously, I was finding myself day dreaming about Paul, but a chance remark overheard had led me to believe, erroneously, that he was seeing someone. Another young man though, was showing a lot of interest: Michael. He was a new Christian, full of passion for God and we had many things in common, including a love of art. We talked for hours the first few days we spent time together. I ended a journal entry that week with these words, which make me laugh and cringe at the same time: "I feel a faint regret (about Peter,) but it had to end. I could never live my whole life away in a fire station." Mike was polite and interesting. After only a couple of weeks he to