Showing posts from November, 2010

Christmas Past

By Belinda This weekend it felt like time to begin the transformation of our home to Pre-Christmas. The stook on our front steps looked more out of season with every day, as did the wicker cornucopia. I listened to the inner nudge and packed them away for another year. Then began the pulling of boxes out of the loft room cupboard and unwrapping familiar ornaments from layers of tissue paper. I have a whole closet full of boxes of ornaments gathered over the years. I no longer feel compelled to take them all out, but choose which ones to grace our home with each year. Strains of a Christmas tune wobbled wonkily from a musical globe with revolving Christmas figures telling the old, old story; and our nativity scene, that loses more fake brownish green grass with every year, emerged from it's bag looking decidely well worn. When Pete dropped by on Sunday evening and saw it set up on the hall table, he went into his annual theological protest at the sight of Wise Men at the manger,

The Inimitable Mrs. Francis

By Belinda I spotted her at a nearby table; my dear friend Frances. We and many of our other friends were at a gala to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the agency we work for. When I went over to say hello, she was shimmering--her hair and face dusted with sparkles. And she was bathed in the fragrance of her Christmas perfume, Cinnabar; a floral blend of incense, spice and amber . At her place was a white folded place card that read, "Mrs. Francis." None of us even had a place card, let alone one on which our name was so uniquely enscribed. The evening was a very special celebration, with an appearance by His Honour, David C. Onley Lieutenant Governor, the Queen's representative in Ontario; to bring greetings and congratulations. The Delta Meadowvale Conference Centre banquet hall was filled with an ocean of white clothed round tables as far as you could see. There must have been 300 people or more, present. Part of the program involved the master of ceremo

Someday I'll

“SOMEDAY I’LL” by Belinda Burston “SOMEDAY I’LL…” These words can either be weak or dynamic, depending on how and why they are used. “SOMEDAY I’LL…” is powerful when the words are used to confidently express an imagined future state by someone daring to dream big. Such thoughts have the power to shape reality when backed up by an action plan. But too often I’ve used them myself wistfully , in reference to a hope that never seems to transition from dream to reality. I say one thing and yet do another. In that case I think I’m describing “Someday Isle,” a day dream with no substance or power; for example, losing the 10 pounds that stand between me being what I consider my perfect weight....Read more of this guest post on As Good a Day as Any here

"American" Thanksgiving

Fridays with Susan... Today, across the border to the south, it's the day after Thanksgiving and known as "Black Friday", the biggest shopping day of the year.  No-one knows for sure if the use of the word "black" is to denote the awful crowds and traffic tie-ups, or whether it's the day in the year that merchants finally cross over the line in their ledgers from red ink to black, but it's there.  Happy shopping today to our American friends, those of you who will wade into the fray in search of bargains galore.  And I hope you enjoyed your turkey dinners with all the trimmings yesterday.  And the football!  Who could forget the football?  I think our American friends have a really good idea in terms of having one holiday weekend a year that is actually four days long.  Though I'm not an American, this weekend for me is fraught with memories too.  For most of my life, and up until three years before she died, my mom crossed either the tunnel or t
There are days when you just have to knuckle down and make a stew for cell group and balance the family budget. Well tonight that's what I needed to do. So friends, I am missing in action today, but tomorrow, when it is Friday with Susan, I think that you will also find a post by me on my dear friend Marilyn Yocum's blog As Good a Day as Any ; a contribution to her "Someday" project. In fact, today, since I have nothing to say worth writing down :) why don't you pop over for a visit the day before my post is up? I recommend it for a few minutes happily spent. Happy Thursday!

North Star

By Belinda I bundle myself up the way I once bundled up our children in their winter snowsuits, and go out into the cold, dark night. It is 3 degrees Celcius but it feels like -2 because of the gusty wind. I am determined to face this Canadian winter that has barely started. So far, so good. The wind roars around the treetops like a fierce army running at a foe, but all that flee before it are dry leaves making weak tinny sounds as they scuttle and scamper across the dark village streets. Molson trots along obediently by my side, but tonight we meet not one other soul, human or dog. We pass Molson's friend Sidney's house, but even he's not there on his lawn where he usually sits. I'm glad that he's warm inside tonight. I'm thinking of this morning when Paul and I sat in our warm kitchen and read from Ephesians 6. Ephesians 6:10-17 (New International Version, ©2010) The Armor of God 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on

Miss Jones

By Belinda Miss Jones passed by the house of my childhood so often that she became a part of my memories of that time. Our house was situated on the top of Bear Hill, but it was really two roads at that point, separated by a steep bank of grass. The lower road ran along our row of council houses, which were filled with families with young children. The upper road carried traffic to the lower village from Station Road, which led to the railway station. Miss Jones lived in Lewkner Cottages, on Station Road. In earlier, more ancient times these had been almshouses, but by the time I write of, they were merely accommodation for the elderly. I had a large collection of big copper pennies at that time, when 12 of them made a shilling and 20 shillings made a pound. I had lots of pennies with images of Queen Victoria, from the young, girl queen, to the old, stout, and stern looking matron she became, with double chin and veil. And I remember thinking, as I watched Miss Jones's unhu

Not Just in My Heart

By Belinda: Note-- this is a repost from November 2008 but it is something I have been learning all over again. It seems the gravitational pull is always away from the simple truth that, as Jesus said, "It is finished." His yoke is easy and burden is light because he has done the work. When I wrote this two years ago I knew it in my head. Now I think I finally really have it in my soul!!! Jesus: please be, not just in my heart, but in my mind, my hands and my lips; even in the least obviously significant corners of my being. Baptise me; fill me, full of you Lord. I need Christ; not me and my ways, wisdom, or effort. I need his love to flow from the pores of my skin, and through my tongue and fingertips. The fruit of the Spirit is a natural result of him in me. I realize that I cannot afford to go one day without being before him and inviting him; begging him, to come and fill me up with his dear self. I am tempted to use the word "suddenly" and say that I su

Breakfast at Ginger's- golden retriever dog eats with hands

This dog could be Molson's sister! I'm posting it for Paul's mum who laughed so hard at it alone in her room when she saw it on Facebook that she was worried about the rest of her family hearing her howling with laughter!

The Weekend Yay!

By Belinda We were in for the night. It was Friday and we landed happily on the shores of the weekend. Friday evenings always feel like the start of something good. Relaxation seeped into body and soul as I heated our supper in the microwave--lasagne left over from cell group the night before--no work at all. "I got some movies," called Paul from the den. "Perfect!" I shouted back above the whir of the microwave. We settled down in from of the tv with our suppers on trays and watched Letters to Juliet  with the beautiful Lynn Redgrave. It was the perfect Friday night movie--so romantic! Brenda was out so we brought Molson upstairs, and he curled up between us, content to be with part of his "pack." When the movie ended at about 9.00, though, he was unusually restless. We'd all had a busy day and he hadn't had a walk, but now we took pity on him. We had bought reflective vests for walking at night a while ago, but hadn't tried them

Lightening Up

Fridays with Susan... I take myself way-y-y-y too seriously.  If you don't believe me, just refer to my Friday posts of the last few months.  Granted, there have been some stressors which have been pretty intense this past year.  But after being away on vacation, and then a marriage renewal weekend with Ron, I've found something has changed .  It's not the circumstances themselves so much, but my attitude to them.  (I know this is a no-brainer for most of you, but please bear with this slo-o-ow learner.) None of the following was adopted in a very intentional way.  It's just kind of happened.  But there are a bunch of things I've been doing lately which have allowed me to lighten up and to enjoy life a LOT more.  (Some of you will be most happy to hear that!) 1.  Look for the humour in EVERYTHING (especially in myself).  I was deeply involved in a software program this week which I could not "get" and for which the deadline for submission of data wa

Handsome is as Handsome Does

By Belinda "Handsome is as handsome does" is an old proverb that I grew up with in England. It means that actions, which speak to inner character, are far more telling than outer beauty... I love nice clothes and have always rationalized my overspending in that area of our budget as a "small weakness." I can trace my passion for shopping back to my childhood where there was no money for frills, including pretty clothes. We had our school uniforms and good shoes but other new items of clothing were so rare that I can remember every item of clothing in my wardrobe between the ages of 12 and 16, when I started work. But that is all so long ago! On my trips back to England to visit Mum and Rob, I always looked forward to spending time in Marks and Spencers, Next and Dorothy Perkins and always came home with several new items of clothing. In October I was back in Alvechurch again and this time was different. I focused on Mum and being everything to Rob that he ne
By Belinda Last week, in my post entitled, The Defining Characteristic  , I wrote about an article in The Mail on Sunday, by Lauren Booth, on her conversion to Islam. Another part of the article, which was entitled, "Why I love Islam (...and so do my daughters,)" intrigued and disturbed me, and that was where she described her two daughters' reaction to her conversion. I quote from the October 31 article in The Mail on Sunday: I sat in the kitchen and called them in. 'Girls I have some news for you,' I began, 'I am now a Muslim.' They went into a huddle, with the eldest, Alex, saying: 'We have some questions, we'll be right back.'  They made a list and returned. Alex cleared her thoat. 'Will you drink alcohol any more?'  Answer: No. The response--a rather worrying 'Yay!'  'Will you smoke cigarettes any more?' Smoking isn't haram (forbidden) but it is harmful, so I answered: 'No.'  Again, this was me

Heaven Sent in Suits of Fur

By Belinda Chatting with my brother Rob, and my mum in England, is part of every Saturday morning. As well as catching up on our human family's news, we always talk about our dogs: Bruce, his Staffordshire bull terrier and Molson our golden retriever. Bruce is still suffering with shattered nerves from Bonfire week in England. He hides under Mum's settee when he is downstairs in her flat, in the far corner, where he manages to find a tiny space to wedge into. Rob has to work hard to pull him out. When he is upstairs in Rob's flat, his chosen hiding place is in the storage cupboard. He still only ventures out when he's sure it's safe, in the wee hours of the morning. Rob said he will probably just be getting over it when the fireworks start again around Christmas. Both of us believe that our dogs are gifts sent by God. Rob doesn't talk much about God except when it comes to Bruce coming into his life. Years ago Rob had a Staffordshire bull terrier named B

The Bridal Registry

By Belinda It was a bright, fall Saturday afternoon when I set out to do some errands, including buying a wedding shower gift for a friend. It wasn't the first stop on my list of places to touch down, and as I pulled into the Sears parking lot I had a sense of accomplishment so far. I had found a dress that I could afford for an upcoming gala, and Christmas presents for two out of six grandchildren. I felt encouraged and cheery. As I entered the front doors of Sears, it was evident that the store was in full Christmas swing. A few minutes earlier I had felt one step ahead, but the Christmas trees, fully decorated and lit, and the Christmas carols playing over the P.A. system, served to inject me with low level panic and I bought another Christmas gift on the way to my destination, to stave off the anxiety. I found the escalator and mounted it, clutching my wrapped Christmas gift and got off at the housewares floor. It was crowded up there and I felt mildly claustrophobic as

By Way of Explanation

By Belinda My dear mother-in-law just called to check in on her need for a ride to church this morning and after chatting about my mum, with whom she is dear friends; she said, "So, you've had pressure this week?" I stopped for only a second to think of how she would know that, but quickly realized that my missing blog posts was her clue. It made me realize that being "incommunicado" without explanation was not good. So I apologize to faithful readers who I know are out there, and hereby announce that I am back! I treasure every one who honours this blog with a few minutes of reading time most days and never take lightly the fact that in a busy world, you choose to visit here. I had a very intense work week, that spilled over into the evenings, resulting in my being too tired to write. The busy week is past and I am so happy to have time to write again. I will start catching up with all that is stored up in my heart, brain and fingers, over the next few da

The Lesson According to Geese

Fridays with Susan... I love how God weaves all kinds of life lessons for us into his creation. Like Paula expressed a week or so ago, in her post   Perspective , I have always loved geese.  It's not unusual to catch me running outside of a fall or spring morning in my sock feet on damp cold ground to answer the call of a passing, honking "V".  When geese are flying south for the winter in their V formations, each "follower" goose derives the benefit of the one flying just ahead of it. Aerodynamics work to form a bit of a slipstream behind each successive goose flapping its wings that makes it easier for the one behind it. The leader has the hardest job. With no-one to follow they have to flap all the harder than those geese who get to be the followers. When the lead goose begins to tire, it will fall back in the formation and let one of the followers take the lead for a while. To be able to make it for the long haul, the leader has to have the wisdom to

We Honour The Memory of Those who Served Then and Now

Alpha and Omega

Note from Belinda I have had some pressures that prevented a written post today but wanted to share this beautiful song by Israel and New Breed, which I have posted before. It never fails to call me to a deep place of worship of ALMIGHTY GOD. Worship Him with me today dear friends. Whatever your need today--He is Alpha and Omega--the beginning and the end. Blessings, Belinda

The Defining Characteristic

By Belinda I recently read about the conversion to Islam of English broadcaster Lauren Booth . This isn't a commentary on the propoganda frenzy that has ensued, or a critique of her conversion, but I was struck by a couple of aspects of her story and wanted to write here about them here, today and tomorrow. It was October 31st and I was on my way back home from England again, feeling, as I often do, that my heart straddles two continents. One of my rituals en route is to pick up a Daily Mail for Paul. He loves to catch up on some fresh English news. It was Sunday, so it was The Mail on Sunday that I picked up this time and reading the paper made the three hours of my bus ride from Birmingham to Manchester airport, pass quickly. The paper had an  article  by Lauren Booth, entitled, Why I Love Islam (...and so do my daughters.) It was the "why" part of the title that grabbed my interest. Why would a contemporary western woman gravitate to Islam? While I am sure L

Nights of Fear

By Belinda Although he has a marshmallow soft heart with the people he loves, my brother's dog Bruce puts on a fierce show with other dogs. The last week and a half though, have reduced him to a trembling bundle of terror after sundown. November 5th is   Bonfire Night  in Britain, a night when the capture of Guy Fawkes; who hatched the gunpowder plot of 1605; is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks. The fireworks were going off in the village after dusk for several nights before I left on October 31st and the loud banging that sounded like gunfire, continued nightly until November 5th. Bruce took to hiding in a cupboard. Rob had to pull him out by the collar with his tail looking like it was glued around his bottom and between his legs, so that he could put his yellow bed in the cupboard for him to lie on. This past Saturday, on our weekly phone call, Rob said that Bruce had a proper little camp in the cupboard, where he would cower, a ball of jelly, until about 1.00 a.m.

Invitation Accepted

By Belinda Years ago, just before going to England for one of my visits to be with Mum, and Dad, prior to his death in 2003, I asked him if we could read a chapter of the book of John every day while I was there. I must have been going for 3 weeks, because John has 21 chapters. I so love God's Word--it speaks to me so profoundly; and we were kindred spirits on so many levels, that I thought, "If only he would sit with me and allow the words to speak to him, how could he not 'see?'" But Dad said, "No," politely but firmly. I was so disappointed, but of course, in hindsight, I can see that Dad would have been scared to death of that kind of pressure. This year, while I was in England I thought of how wonderful it would be to study the Bible with budding young adults the age of my older grandchildren (pre-teens,) so that they could absorb the truths of the Bible in more detail and depth than is possible during an hour in Sunday School. I longed also to

Two Women on a Plane

Fridays with Susan... When I first saw her, she was standing in one of the airport shops at Heathrow.  She was obviously part of a religious order.  Sturdy black shoes poked out from under an ankle length grey/blue skirt.  Her head was covered with a fringed shawl and she wore a large cross around her neck.  I immediately felt sorry for her, tied up in all that "religion".  I wondered if she could know Jesus at all...  I wasn't three steps past her before I realized how silly was that initial response and my judgmental attitude.  I repented right then and there and hoped, naively, that I would have some kind of a second chance. I saw her again when we boarded the plane.  Our seats were in the very back and hers in the very front.  I had to walk right by her, passing next to her aisle seat.  I was too shy to say anything as I shuffled past, pulling my carry-on along with me.  Others queing up behind me meant I had to keep moving down the aisle.  I barely had time to ca


Another wonderful guest post this morning, from Paula Walker. Thank you, Paula! For as many of my 69 yrs as I can remember, I have loved the Fall in Southern Ontario. Everything about it: Crisp mornings, rustling leaves, harvest moons, clear night skies, and the profusion of colour : reds, maroons, oranges, yellows, tangerines and everything in between. But most of all, I love the geese. My Mum taught me to follow the geese. Everything stopped at our house when a flock flew over. We would we dash outside, always trailing behind Mum, just to get a better look. One of the huge bonuses of my current home, is its location directly under a geese 'flyway'. In the spring, we welcome their return and all summer, we watch them training the babies, preparing them for the long trek south. They are a pretty straggly bunch until late September. When suddenly, this year's 'recruits' seem to get it and learn to fly in formation. For all of October, they fly in ever bet

Can You Thank Them?

 By Belinda (Written Oct. 31) It's my last day here in England, and from that precious day, 2 hours stolen for lunch with Uncle John and cousin Stephen, at The Coach and Horses  in Weatheroak. There, I entrusted the 200 pounds sterling from Whatever He Says readers , into Uncle John's care. He will send it to a pastor in a province close to Orissa in India. Uncle John held the fat white envelope containing 10, 20 pound notes, in his hands and said, "Can you thank them?" So that is what I am doing! He is going to send me a photo of the pastor, which I will post when I get it. I know a little more of what has been going on with this man since I told the story of "The Bird in the Window" (see sidebar for link.) He used to be a businessman and realtor before entering the ministry. While in real estate he helped a doctor find the perfect house. The doctor later went to Dubai to work but has since returned. When the doctor heard that the man who had

Welcome Home

Susan sent this to welcome me back to Canada. I loved it so much I had to share it. I send it out back to Susan, who arrives back in the wee hours of Wednesday, and Jamie, who comes back on Thursday!

Missing You

Note of explanation by Belinda; post by permission of my friend, Dave Hingsburger, whose blog, Rolling Around in My Head , is one of my daily reads. God had me and five of my friends on the British Isles yesterday: Jamie in Ireland with his daughter Candace; Ron and Susan were on Skye and are now in northern England; I was in Alvechurch, close to Birmingham, in the West Midlands--and Dave and Joe flew into Birmingham where Dave will be starting a three week speaking tour, arriving so tantalizingly close to my departure that there was no way to meet. It was so hard to know that they were so close, yet unreachable, that I sent Dave an email with the subject line: Missing You, Literally! When I arrived home in Bond Head last night, there was an email from Dave and it was so beautifully written, and such a fitting farewell to Alvechurch for me this time, that I asked if I could publish it and he said, Yes! Here it is: Belinda You know, years ago when I was a child, I liked to snea