Showing posts from July, 2011
Belinda Just a week ago,  Tyson Luke Fury , became the new British and Commonwealth   Heavyweight  boxing Champion, beating Dereck Chisora on July 23, 2011. Born on August 12, 1988, of an Irish father and English mother, he stands 6 foot 9 inches tall, but Rob wanted to tell me about this man's faith, which he is not afraid to own. On the back of his white smock, when he turns around, are the words, "I've Found God." Rob quoted this 23 year old married father of two daughters as saying, "Most people, when they're in trouble, even if they've got no beliefs, will pray to God. But have you thought about having a word with him even when you don't think you need it?" Rob added, "And he said it looking right into the camera." Fury prayed for his opponent, Dereck Chisora, for his safety in the fight. And when he won the championship he thanked Jesus, as well as his uncle, and said that Chisora was "A warrior in the ring."

Readiness is All

By Belinda Some weaving of threads as only God can: On one of our walks through the churchyard some time ago, I had mentioned to Rob that graves generally face east, towards the direction to which we look for Christ's return (see scripture below.) Matthew 24:27 English Standard Version (ESV) 27 ( A )  For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be ( B )  the coming of the Son of Man. Rob found this fascinating and told John, his neighbour, the one with the scooter and dog named B about it. John loves to hang out in churchyards reading headstones--something I love to do too.  John wasn't too sure it was right, but has been checking the graves out ever since! Rob chuckled this week as John finally conceded, "You know I think your sister is right, there are a few that don't, but most of them do." Then John mentioned a grave just behind Martha's in the churchyard. Rob said he told him, "Oh, Belinda knows abou
My friend Dave  posted this on his blog,  Rolling Around in My Head  this morning. I love it. Beautiful music, Justin Hines!

Simple Pleasures

By Belinda I left Mum's flat at 8.00 am, just before the Helping Hands ladies came to get her up. I always feel a little awkward intruding on their routine as they bustle around, so I decided on this vacation to use the half hour at the beginning and end of the day to go for a walk. I set out for the churchyard, intending to sit on the bench there and read from the books I carried with me: "The Valley of Vision," a collection of Puritan prayers; Handbook to Leadership--Leadership in the Image of God, by Kenneth Boa, Sid Buzzell and Bill Perkins, both books small black leather bound volumes with gold leaf pages-- and a small English Standard Version Bible, bound in soft brown leather and embossed with a crown of thorns that encircles the spine, showing half on the front and half on the back. I treasure all three books . I sat down in the warm morning sunshine on the bench that overlooks the newer part of the cemetery. The distant hum of traffic from the nearby

Is It Me Or...?

The sign stood at the top of the steep path leading into the churchyard. I couldn't help it--the poster on the right seemed at odds with the rendering of the service times on the left with its random missing letters! Okay, I suppose it is not strictly the church yard. Let's walk on. What has happened to the churchyard, I thought? Then I spotted a sign.  Ah, that explains it! :) More of the haven for wildlife! :) The other, newer part of the churchyard, where Dad's grave lies, is neatly mowed. This part would be spooky on a dark night! I don't know how they will fare in the Best Kept Churchyard Competition. But maybe they give points for nature in the wild. Rob hastened to the defence of the churchyard saying that it is maintained by faithful volunteers. I cast no disparagement on them. I just saw a little humour here.

Introducing B

Belinda I heard a voice through the open kitchen window. "Is Rob around?" asked the man with fine, whispy, white hair and a day or two's growth of whiskers. He was on a scooter and had a passenger: While waiting for Rob to appear I asked about the compact tri-colour dog perched on the foot platform of the scooter. "She's a rescue dog," said the man, whose name is John, Mum's neighbour from across the road. "Her name is B. I tried renaming her but she would have none of that." "What does she do?" I wanted to know, "Other than companionship." "Absolutely nothing," said John, "She can turn what should be a pleasant walk into a nightmare." It seems that she, like Bruce, has yet to come to terms with the fact that she is not the only dog in the village; she does not like other dogs. Post Script: Susan said in a comment that she was looking forward to Chapter 2 on B. I did finish rather abruptly, I

One Big Softy

By Belinda The famed singing cowboy, Roy Rogers , once joked that if there were no dogs in heaven, he wanted to go wherever they went! This is Bruce, and every morning he comes for a cuddle with Mum, proving that his fearsomeness is a well crafted facade. But don't tell the dogs on the street that.

Morning Thoughts

By Belinda For those who would like to share devotions with me this morning... Proverbs 3:6 English Standard Version (ESV) 6 In all your ways ( A )  acknowledge him,    and he ( B )  will make straight your paths.   Usually, this verse is inseparable from the one before it: verse 5:Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Together they go, and together they are beautiful, but this time, it is verse 6 that speaks to me: "In all  your ways acknowledge him." These words remind me to be true to God's Holy Spirit, who lives in me, wherever and with whomever I am. It seems to connect with these verses from the book of Matthew: Matthew 5:14-15 English Standard Version (ESV)   14 ( A )  "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.   15 ( B )  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In some circumstances and w

The View from Here

By Belinda This is the view from Mum's kitchen window at the end of the day. I am here! Rob and my nephew John met me, with hugs and smiles at Birmingham airport early this morning, and by 9.15 we were at the door of Mum's flat. "Leave the luggage to me, I'll open the door and you can go in," said Rob--and I needed no further encouragement. I walked through the door, down a short hallway and pushed open a door that was slightly ajar, to find Mum on the couch, wearing a sky blue top and with a colourful crocheted blanket covering her knees and legs. She looked at me with an expression of love mixed with stress giving way to relief, her eyes sunken with worry. "Oh, my dear friends," she said, "I had better not tell you what terrible things I was imagining." My mum is a catastrophizer. The gene skipped me but landed on Brenda and Tippy. Tippy, fortunately for her, is taught at school how to recognize when an innocent thought or comment i

Lost Things Found

By Belinda It has been driving me crazy for months--I lost my box of journals somewhere in the house. I remembered moving them to a safe place when we had a spate of visitors in all of our spare rooms last summer. But where oh where was the "safe place?" I found myself looking in the same places repeatedly as if I expected that although they weren't there the last time I looked, just maybe they migrated while I wasn't looking and were waiting to jump out and surprise me, "Ha ha--here we are!" Surely I couldn't have accidentally thrown the box away? Meanwhile, Brenda, also similarly crazed, was looking for a book I'd given her and which she was sure she had packed, ready for her last trip. When she looked for it in the case it wasn't there. She looked everywhere but couldn't find it. How could a book just vanish? I was determined to find the journals before leaving for England--a self imposed deadline. And so, although we are still in

The Looking Forward Time

By Belinda I am quiet here at the moment in direct proportion to the steady hum of busyness getting ready to leave for England on Monday afternoon. My hair and nails are freshly done! I talked to Mum and Rob on Saturday and we laughed with joy at the thought of tea together on Tuesday morning. I have a pile of books on my dresser and I know I can't take them all! I still have to: Pack Complete some work early tomorrow morning so that I can leave with a clear conscience Create some order in the loft room, which is a disaster Take a few deep breaths! I will write more again once I get to England--stay tuned for more Alvechurch chronicles.


By Belinda Earlier this week, a co-worker led us in devotions at a team meeting (Kare Bear--Karen) and she shared a quote that made us all gasp in horror at the thought: What if God only gave us tomorrow, what we thank him for today? Thank goodness his grace and mercy outstrips our expressions of gratitude! Tonight I am thanking him for an elderly man who is close to death and may not make it through this night, but who is dying at peace with God because my friend Jane shared an illustration with him from the book I wrote about here earlier this week, Game Plan for Life  by coach Joe Gibbs. he is an avid sports fan and knows everything there is to know about all the coaches.  He can no longer speak but he gave a thumbs up when, after sharing, she asked her friend if he was ready to meet his Maker. Lord, I thank you for the mystery of your ways; how you have woven that book into our lives in the past two weeks and used it to bless us. Thank you for your tender care for a soul o

People of Ready Laughter

By Belinda People of ready laughter--that's what we are. Well, maybe "we" is too sweeping--but I am a person of easy amusement, I got it from my mum, and sometimes it spills over to those in my vicinity. I was in the kitchen tonight, baking apple pies when Tippy came upstairs to borrow a dishwasher tablet so that they could turn on their dishwasher downstairs. Since Tori and Tippy hit 12 and 13 and are becoming increasingly cloaked in the great silence of teenage-hood, I take every opportunity to coax out information about what's going on in their lives and heads. A little at a time seems to work best, since adults are fast becoming an alien species, I can tell. Tippy, sun drenched golden brown and and leggy as a young colt, is at art camp this week, learning about film scripts and doing visual arts. Art is her grand passion. So I asked, "How's art camp going?" "Oh, it's great, I love it," she said. "It must be wonderful to
By Belinda I have shared a different version of this song before. It speaks to me on a deep level of the ongoing healing in our lives when we walk with God. I felt led to post it here again this morning as a thanksgiving to God for all that he is doing in me and all of his children. He doesn't abandon us but wants to give us a new name, "Confidence!" "Faithfulness" "Overcoming one." I chose this version of the song because the beautiful photographs are of imperfect faces by this world's standards, but they shine with his beauty. We all need to realize that we are beautiful---just as he made us. We are enough.

The Message of the Yellow Roses

By Belinda "Belinda, Belinda, Belinda, I am having a tough time not highlightening your book -- in yellow of course. It is an interesting read and one quote on p. 69 is really profound. To bad the book is upstairs and I am downstairs because I would have typed it in for you." My friend Jane who is a chaplain with the police, had spotted the study set of videos and book on my counter top at cell group the week before:  Game Plan for Life  by Joe Gibbs, the 20th and 26th head coach of the Washington Redskins ( 1981-1992, 2004-2007.) "Why don't you borrow it and watch it first?" I had said, thinking that it might be a great resource for her work. Besides, I had also bought the audio book to listen to. Now I was curious. What was on page 69? It's hard to look up a page on an audio book. Brenda had first noticed the book advertised in a magazine under our coffee table and thought it looked interesting for her fiancĂ© Kevin who coaches women's Unive

God's Chisel

By Belinda On Friday I promised to explain what's been going on in my life. I'm going to try! There is too much for one blog post, so this is part 1. Over the past 4 months it feels as though I have had a lifetime of inner crises. Each time there has been something that needed working on-- painfully--and in great  insecurity. It has felt like a crash course in correction and healing. It began with my realizing sometime in March that I had failed spectacularly in an aspect of leadership at work. I won't go into it all again because I wrote about it as I went through it but I learned humbling lessons and determined with all my heart to make amends. I've been working on that, with God's grace and that of the people I lead. Then, because I was under  pressure at work--putting in longer hours than usual during an emotionally intense period, I lacked time for intimacy with God. By June, I doubted that what I was writing had worth and had a confidence melt down a
"By Belinda It's Friday, I'm home alone, just quiet before God; door closed up tight against all else but HIM and my heart is overflowing. Tears of sheer joy and gratitude; words can't adequately express all that I have experienced of his gentle loving and healing over the past four weeks but I hope to try, with his help, over the next day or so, to put it into words, only because I know that what he gives me, he gives not just for me, but to share. Psalm 45:10-11 New International Version (NIV)   10  Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:    Forget your people and your father’s house. 11  Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;    honor him, for he is your lord. New International Version   God has taken me from my father's house in all of its brokenness, and into The Father's house, where I want nothing more than to stay, sit at his feet, grow, and flourish in his presence. Tonight this song comes close to expressing my heart.

The Nest

By Belinda The kitchen was fragrant with perking coffee when the doorbell chimed. It was Carolyn Morris, come early, and staying just long enough to sign Bonnie's card. She had a daughter at home with four holes where her wisdom teeth used to be. Carolyn's motherly mission for the evening was wrapping her daughter in tender loving care and getting ice packs for her face. Before she left though, she shared a surprise--her eyes sparkling with excitement. The first copy of her newly published children's novel, Mourning Dove, had arrived and she had it in her hands. It was beautiful, illustrated by another member of the Writers Nest (our writers group;) Anne Brolley. Carolyn vanished as suddenly as she had arrived and I was almost ready for the party about to happen when the rest of the writers who make up the Writers Nest, began to arrive. A few couldn't make it--we missed Melody, Sue and Vi, and Claire is in Montreal, but there were still 14 of us; lovers of word

A Divine Appointment

 By Belinda I arrived early at the writers conference, turning into the curving, tree shaded driveway, with a sense of anticipation. What lay ahead over the next three days was known only to God. I knew that there would be many connections made; networking opportunities; chance encounters—I  prefer to think of them as “Divine appointments,” connections in which God has a hand. After dropping off my luggage in my room, I reported to the volunteer coordinator’s post to pick up a bundle of signs. My first job of the day would be putting them up around the conference grounds. I found that I had a helper named Nikki Rosen. Soon we were busy with our assignment and chatting at the same time. It turned out that Nikki wasn’t attending the conference but lived nearby and had volunteered to come help set up. She was small and neatly built, with short, auburn hair and brightly intelligent brown eyes. Her conversation was as engaging as the person she projected and as parts o

On the Streets

By Belinda Our large house has emptied out this week with summer upon us, and it is just Paul and I; our family dog Molson (really Brenda's dog;) Disco and Sunny the cockatiels; and a chinchilla named Blossom (all belonging to Brenda and her girls.) I'm doing my best for Molson. Today he had two walks because he needs them and so do I. The other pets are pretty self reliant and I just go down and socialize with the birds a little each day. I love walking the streets of the village, taking in every scent in the breeze and noting the sounds; enjoying the sights on every hand. Come walk with me. This evening an ivory lace half moon hung in a sky dotted with puffy peachy silver cloud pillows. The ditches and fields were a riot of purple, yellow and speedwell blue wild flowers and elegant grasses and reeds, nodding their heads politely as we passed by. A mourning dove cooed softly against a backdrop of twittering and chirping and the distant drone of cottage country traffi

Saturday This and That

By Belinda Here in Bond Head, at 10.30 on a July Saturday evening it is still as steamily hot as I imagine a Turkish bath would be. I am inside where the air conditioning is valiantly fighting the battle to cool the house and only somewhat winning. But an hour ago I was walking around the village as late as I could so that it would be cooler. Because it was getting darker by the minute I was reminded that already the days are shortening. Is it ungrateful to want to type, "Boo!" to that? :) I was struck, as Molson and I walked past century homes, by the incongruity of big screen colour TVs flickering from windows all over the village.  We have one ourselves of course, and I had just watched a movie on it with Paul, but as we walked the deserted streets, Mo and I, I was trying to imagine another time, quieter, less hurried, and the TV's spoiled the illusion! Today Paul's mum had a day visit from the hospital to her own home. She has been in hospital since May 31

A Young Writer Friend

By Belinda It is Friday evening and the weekend lies before me like a luxurious bolt of cloth from which anything might yet be made. At this moment I am enjoying the thought of it to the full. I have been listening to the unabridged diary of Anne Frank on CD while walking the village with Molson. What a good writer Anne was, so full of potential. Her descriptions of the small world of the secret annex and those who populated it are so vivid and filled with wry humour, wit and poignancy. I felt, as I listened to her words--her "voice"-- as though I was there, listening to the creaking stairs, slamming doors, droning bombers and machine gun fire that frightened them so much.  I felt that I was watching the people and sharing the emotions she described. Her constrained surroundings, the tension and deprivation over the two years she and the seven others hid there were in stark contrast to the freedom I had to walk anywhere I wished without fear, to come home and find our c

A Little Henri

By Belinda On Tuesday evening, Susan sent me an email saying that this was just what she needed to read--and maybe I did too. I was busy--connecting with several people and following up on some things I had meant to do sooner, so I didn't take time to read it until this morning. What Susan sent was a link to a message by Henri Nouwen, one of my favourite authors; someone who has spoken into my life more times than I can count! Thinking about what I wrote yesterday; the longing to be something different than who God made me sometimes--well, this was the best tonic for that. I should have read it sooner. May it be a blessing to you today. I give you: A Little Henri

My Strengths Your Strengths

By Belinda I just started a leadership certificate course through the University of Waterloo in partnership with the agency I work for, and the first module, Understanding Human Behaviour, sent me into a bit of a tizzy. I hadn't been in a tizzy for at least a week or so. It was about time for another one. You see, it involved taking the DISC  personality profile. For an example of what a profile looks like and to figure out where you might fall,   click here .  I`d done the test before and I was secretly hoping that my profile had changed, but no, it had not. I am still a high ``C`` and almost as high an ``S.`` C`s predominant quality is Conscientiousness and S is for Steadiness. You get the picture. The rest of my team who have taken the test are I`s or D`s--that means Dominance and Influence! The quadrants for D`s and I`s are the ones where the person acts upon or changes the environment. The C`s and S`s--well, they adapt to the environment. I want to be a mover and shak

A Legacy

By Belinda Today I will attend a memorial gathering to honour a colleague in the field of developmental services:  Manuela Dalla Nora  the executive director of  Vita Community Services Manuela died suddenly on June 21 and it is still hard to believe that she is gone. In the 50 years she lived she was brave enough to challenge the status quo. Her life affected the lives of many others for good. Her life made a difference. What more could any of us ask? In her memory I share one of my favourite songs, by Nicole Nordeman: Legacy.

A Sabbath Day's Journey

By Belinda This is my sabbath day's journey--a summer sabbath day's journey. Come along and share it with me! At worship practice I noticed that Frances had her beloved Daily Light. "I haven't read it yet this morning," I said, "Was it good?" And as the words left my lips I thought, "How silly! It is always good." Frances immediately turned to the page for today and shared the verses that she felt led to share during the worship service. And here is my dear friend Frances. The friend who is rich buttercream icing. And if you wonder why I call her that, you can read about it in a previous post, The Very Busy Day . In the break between worship practice and the service, I chatted with Max, who was sitting in the pew waiting for church to begin. Max played his mouth organ for years as part of the worship team, but now, at 90, he doesn't always have the strength to make it up the steps to the platform. We could always depend on