Showing posts from June, 2012

He Giveth and Giveth and Giveth Again

Note by Belinda: My friend Magda shared a story in response to  my post of a few days  ago: Point Taken . She agreed that I could post it here! When God gives, he gives so lavishly. And the song that Magda mentioned is a hymn that I love. Oh Belinda - how amazing to read how God giveth and giveth to you. Do you know the hymn  He Giveth More Grace ? You can find it on u tube.I first heard it in the Salvation Army at a time when I really needed to hear this confirmation. The last line of the chorus is: He giveth and giveth and giveth again. Your story reminds me of the North American Christian social workers' conference we hosted in Toronto in 1998 when we prayed for a conference that would make our peers feel special.  Registration fees for the annual conference are kept low to reflect the reality that social workers generally do not have the money to pay for a luxurious event. The week of the conference the loonie dropped to its lowest and since the Americans paid t

What to do With that Second

Belinda This week has been an emotional roller coaster on many levels, including the grade 8 graduation of two granddaughters from two distinct school systems; one Christian, the other public. Our family is a patchwork quilt of colours that sometimes clash, but always belong together, no matter what. We have had painful differences, broken relationships, different paths chosen, but in the end we hang together because our individual relationships matter above all else.  I have done a lot of thinking this week about my mum's response to my announcement 44 years ago, at 18, that we were marrying a year later and leaving for a life 3,000 miles away.  Did it hurt her? Did it cost her? Did she lose years of intimate time together with us? The answer to all of those questions is obvious. And yet she never once focused on any of those things. It is only just now, when I am experiencing some of those feelings myself, that I'm thinking of how she must have felt.  Mum looked at

Point Taken!

By Belinda Last year I went to Write! Canada in the midst of a writerly identity crisis, some friends might remember! I wrote about it here: A Writer in Need of Direction June 22/2012 I had gone to the The Word Guild Writing Awards Gala which I attended with some friends and one of my granddaughters, Tori; a young writer in her own right. When all of the writers and editors in the room were asked to stand, I couldn't get up from my chair!  Afterwards I felt like such a failure. In front of Tori I had lacked the confidence to stand up. I told her later that I had been wrong to deny the call God has given me to write, and wrong to take it upon myself to judge the worth of what I write. I'm sure she'll have moments of self doubt if she continues to write and I hope that if she does, she'll remember her Omie's apology that night. I wrote how God answered my prayers for clarification and affirmation in this post:  Markers June 23/2012 . Write! Canada 2011 ended

Coming Home--Henri Nouwen

By Belinda  I watched this video clip of one of my favourite authors and mentors, Henri Nouwen. I had book-marked it to watch when I had a moment and tonight was the night I had that moment. It is just the beginning of a 30 minute video, which you can view in its entirety at . It made me want to watch the rest and I hope it whets your appetite too. It was so good to hear his rich Dutch-accented voice and his honest heart, challenging the listener towards God.

Yesterday Continued!

Two friends, Magda Wills and Marilyn Yocum , shared their responses to yesterday's post:  All the Time in the World . Marilyn wrote in the comments and Magda in an email. I am sharing Marilyn's comment so that no one misses it and  Magda  gave me  permission to share her story.  Often the responses to something I've written reinforce or expand on a point, and I love to "carry the conversation" further. Marilyn wrote: I never wore a watch while visiting my mother the last few years of her life. I would try to arrange my visits with no hard stop, running all my errands beforehand.   At times when I was there I'd recall some little errand I meant to do and still had time for, if I hurried off. I'd be tempted, then decide it could wait.   There isn't much you can give a 90+-year-old except your time.   What a gift to visit someone and leave your watch at home. I loved the thought of a "visit with no hard stop."  Magda wrote: Th

All the Time in the World

By Belinda I sat in Jamie's chair as she worked magic on my hair. I am so blessed to have found her as a hairdresser and have followed her through stints at several salons, to her current happily settled spot at  Gravity Salon  in Barrie. I not only love what Jamie does with my hair, but I love her. I love to connect and catch up on her life and she with mine. She is a sweetheart and a joy.  A young girl, about 14 years old and with pink hair had just left the chair of another stylist. As her dad stood at the cash register she told him about something she had noticed and asked him to come look at it, but he paid, and they left without him coming back to the thing she wanted to show him.  "That little girl is begging for attention," she said as she scooped up a swathe of hair with her big round brush and aimed the hairdryer at it.  "I observe people," she went on, "no wonder women grow up doing anything to get noticed. It makes me so mad!" T

Church as a Rain-forest!

By Belinda Last Sunday was steamy and Ontario was officially in the middle of a heatwave.  As I mounted the brow of a country hill on my way to church, I saw people sitting on either side of the road on lawn chairs. Wearing t-shirts, shorts and hats, and holding flags limply at their sides, they were waiting for the swarm of serious cyclists in spandex, labouring their way up the other side of the hill. As I drove past them I gave thanks for the air-conditioned comfort inside my car. I had slept in that morning, my first at home after several busy days away, and I arrived at church late but not rushed. After so much activity, I needed to slow down; take things gently and recover a little.  The parking lot was full and had the hush that parking lots have when everyone has already arrived and gone inside. I parked in the row farthest away from the church. Across the road, gravel crunched as a car pulled into a driveway while a dog barked a staccato greeting or warning. Like t
By Belinda Last week at Write! Canada , I had the great joy of singing on the worship team with a group of amazing women and one young man from Peterborough named, John Austin. It turns out that he works for the same organization I do-- Christian Horizons . Here we are, being whipped into shape by our fearless leader - - AdeleSimmons . She told us all that she was pleased (relieved) by how good we sounded--none of us had sung together before and she had never heard any of us when we responded to the call for singers, "You might have sucked," she said. :) John Austin is a gifted song writer and singer. He serenaded us all in the dining room  on Saturday with his song, Ode to Tim Hortons. Here it is being performed, not by John, but by Scott Pietrangelo.  

Checking In

By Belinda I have so much to write about that I hardly know where to start, and at this moment I seem to have no available time! But if you will grant grace dear readers, I will be back over the next few days, with some of what God is doing in my life and saying to me. I am relaxing into knowing that he will give me the time to say what he wants me to say, so I'm not stressing over it. Just wanted to pop in and explain, because I so appreciate you, and the fact that you would even check in here is such an honour.

Jesus Calling

By Belinda  We had not been able to get together to celebrate our birthdays, which fall close together; hers at the end of May and mine at the beginning of June.  But on Sunday at church, she pressed into my hand an opaque plastic gift bag, with a colourful spray of flowers in one corner, signifying to me my special name for this friend: "Poppy." And inside, wrapped in palest blue paper covered in geese taking flight, was a book in soft brown leather cover, "Jesus Calling." Poppy gave me the highest commendation possible. "This book is like on the level of The Daily Light or Valley of Vision," she said. I knew that she wouldn't give that degree of praise lightly, since, next to the Bible, we each treasure our Daily Light and Valley of Vision as prompts to hear God's heartbeat. I took it home in anticipation! As I drove I thought with a smile that this spiritual daughter of mine is taking up my torch of sharing books that lead people to Go


By Belinda Today I invite you to join in celebrating Juneteenth by raising a cup of unsweetened tea and reading  Cuppa Tea on June 19th  a post by our friend Dave over at  Rolling Around in My Head . My tea will be the finest Yorkshire Tea, it arrived today and is on my counter top waiting. I will celebrate the difference that making a deliberate conscientious choice, can make. Read all about it on Dave's Blog! :)

Father's Day

By Belinda It is Father's Day in many countries today, so it made me laugh when  at breakfast, Paul said, "I've got to borrow my chain saw back from Peter."  Because isn't that a father's heart; to "borrow" back, something that you actually own?  At church our pastor shared this video clip from God Tube, entitled My Dream Father's Day from andrewmanzano on GodTube . Watch it and laugh with us. Personally I don't have to work as hard as the parents in this video to drive our kids crazy. It comes quite naturally. :) Happy Father's Day!

Jean Little

  By Belinda I have been away a lot recently, and busy when at home. And now I am home again but needing to go to bed and sleeeeeep. Although too tired to write much tonight, I am posting some photos taken where I was for the past three days; at   Write! Canada 2012 . The photos are of Canadian children's author,  Jean Little , her sister Pat, and guide dog Honey (yes, I realize I have given preferential treatment to Honey. That dog was so well behaved. Jean Little, as well as being a gifted writer, also has the ability to cut through pretentiousness.  A few quotes from the conference, by Jean: She doesn't read books that tell you have to be okay. "I'm already okay," says Jean. There's nothing better than doing a hard job and doing it well. Read a lot: Poetry; chapter books. Writers are the ones who know how you should do; teachers do not. Eavesdrop! And now dear friends, goodnight!

First Birthday Without Her

By Belinda My birthday just over a week ago, made me feel very grateful for the people I love and who love me back. I've noticed as I've grown older that the  quantity of cards gradually goes down over the years; but each one: each phone call; each special yearly ritual observed, is more precious, because of those with whom they are shared. Old friends; shared memories; forgiven wounds; promises to love forever held true to; faith kept; these are things that only increase in value with every year. On my birthday I felt lavishly loved and spoiled from beginning to end, so it took me by surprise, the wave of grief at missing her; the one who has shared every one of my 61 birthdays up to this one, in a way more intimate than anyone else. We were the only two who were actually there on the inaugural birthday after all. It was the day we separated for the first time physically, and I loved to hear her tell how all through the labour she focused on what lay at the end of it

In Honour of Abe

By Belinda During the almost ten years of our lives in which we lived together with a large (by the standards of what would be thought acceptable today) group of people with developmental disabilities; their personalities, quirks, strengths, foibles and sheer uniqueness, affected my life forever. I remember each one with deep affection and respect, for each one, by virtue of the fact that they came to us having been institutionalized, had lived with emotional pain, degradation, humiliation, lack of privacy and freedom. Abe died in the nineties, some ten years after the ten years we lived together, but our lives had continued together until then, and he is one of my life teachers.  He was a Jew, a short, intense and wiry man, with a sallow skin and piercing brown eyes that were usually serious in expression. He was prone to conversations with himself and long walks during which he could be spotted rubbing the palms of his hands together in excitement over some private thought. H

The Butterfly Circus [Short Film HD]


Birthday Blessings

By Belinda I get to celebrate a birthday today, and on the blog of one of my friends, Dave, is the first gift of this day, his post:  DB I am fabulously rich in the dear friends and family God has blessed me with. They grow more precious with every year. How grateful I am for them. Last night at cell group, Paul was the master of dessert; so justifiably proud of the huge sponge cake with fresh cream frosting and strawberry and cream filling, made to order at one of the Portuguese bakeries in Bradford. He outdid himself in the ordering! :) Susan sat with me for a "second cup" of decaff, after our other friends had gone home, and we sat and talked and celebrated a long friendship that runs deep and strong. When I came into the kitchen from bidding Susan goodbye, on the table lay an envelope with the word, "Mom." The words on the card inside made me want to hug my daughter. Relationships are so unspeakably precious. Pain; tears; forgiveness; love; joy; endle