Showing posts from 2015

Morning Popcorn

Hey, when God is making something clear, it is exciting how his Word pops, like kernels of popcorn blasting from hard nuggets to delicious edible morsels. 

I read one of my favourite Bible chapters this morning: the book of Colossians, chapter 3, and some of the verses, when I read them in the light of what I shared in my last blog post, The Heavy Weight of Words, had deeper significance than ever.

Think about the agency of the Enemy of God to divide, and his propensity for the use of words to do so, perverting the gift that sets us apart from all the other wonderfully created beings on this planet. See how some of the verses from the passage in Colossians emphasize that fact in describing his influence, to which humans are all too receptive. Look at the contrast with the character of God, with which Paul the apostle, admonishes us to "clothe" ourselves.
Colossians 3:8-12New International Version (NIV)8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, ra…

The Heavy Weight of Words

I was reading Life of the Beloved by Henri J.M. Nouwen recently, and in a chapter titled "Living as the Beloved," he wrote these lines, which I thought about for days afterwards, and am still pondering:
"The forces of darkness are the forces that split, divide and set in opposition. The forces of light unite. Literally, the word 'diabolic' means dividing. The demon divides; the Spirit unites."

I was telling a friend about this over lunch one day this week, someone who is also a lover of words. We sat in the front window of a cafe, overlooking the main street of a town decorated for Christmas, and I pulled out my e-reader to look up the gospel of John, chapter 17, verses 20-23 , the prayer of Jesus, which suddenly hit me as the antithesis of "diabolic" in the way it focuses on "being one."

Yesterday, curious to learn more, I looked up the word "diabolic" for myself and found this, under the heading "etymology of devil." 

The Power of a Plaque

A small crowd of people stood beneath an ominous grey sky, hugging their coats close, and holding tight to elegant green Beechwood Cemetery umbrellas, bracing against sudden gusts of wind that caught and swirled golden yellow leaves in the air. A CBC camera person in a warm, red jacket, recorded an event as significant as it was small; a correction of a slice of Canadian history in the form of a plaque.

It was Sunday, November 1, the beginning of a month associated with remembrance and Paul and I had just driven five hours to Ottawa to witness a ceremony that shone truth on a part of history that was remembered until now, through the blindfold of prejudice.

Ever since September and an earlier trip to Ottawa, when we had lunch with Cindy Blackstock; a Canadian born Gitxsan activist for child welfare, and the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society; I had been captivated by Cindy's revelations about two Canadian historical figures: Dr. Peter Henderson B…

Haarlem, Heroes and a Hope

Sunshine and shadows dance on the boxes overflowing with fragrant red and green apples in our sun porch. They need to be peeled and stored away for winter pies, but I need to pick up again with our travel stories. The apples will have to wait a while...

Our trip to the Netherlands and England had always been about more than seeing the sights in the two countries we visited. 

The art galleries; museums; music; theatre--they moved me deeply, and I celebrated sharing their soul shaping beauty with our three young granddaughters. But there was also a history that shaped my parents, and their histories shaped me, just as the whole generation of children born to parents just after World War 11 was shaped by its shadow. Being in the Netherlands I wanted to share that history in a redemptive way and weave threads of hope and faith into Tippy's, Tori's and Katherine's hearts. 

And so before we left for Europe, the process began by watching DVD's about two important people. One was…

Lessons from the Past

My agenda for our trip to Amsterdam was deeply personal and born of a desire to share family roots, culture and history with our grandchildren. I had thought that I might share some of the history I have already written about, but in the end I chose instead to stay "in the moment" during the precious time we had with them and let them learn through the experiences to which we exposed them.

I had been talking to Tippy, Katherine and Tori about this trip for a couple of years. Our excitement and anticipation grew as we planned details. One highlight on my agenda was the Anne Frank House. Anne was someone whose life I wanted to speak into theirs. Two of them had read her diary earlier in their teens, and, like many teenagers they had read the heartrending romance by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars. in which the Anne Frank House plays a significant part. 

On a weekend in early August, in preparation for the trip, we watched two movies together. One of them was a DVD of the 2009…

Waffles and Waterways

I'm afraid it might sound as though I planned our vacation to the Netherlands and England around my own agenda. We did plan together, listen to each other's wishes and try to fit them all in! 

We left the visual feast of the Van Gogh Museum for a feast of a different kind. A friend had told Katherine about a waffle shop across from the museum, which we "had" to visit. She'd spotted it on our walk to the museum and we headed for it afterwards with an appetite ready to experience the waffles. However we stood before such an array of waffles (or "wafels") such as we had never seen before. We can buy "stroop wafels" in Canadian grocery stores, but these were, just made. Agonizing over having to choose, we opted to experience these--fresh--and were not disappointed. The delectable crispy parts and gooey, warm, sweet parts melted into our mouths deliciously. Katherine texted her friend to report, "Mission accomplished," only to be told, &qu…

Life Force

Did you know that every year the Van Gogh Museum has 1.5 million visitors, who come to Amsterdam from all over the world? That is an average of over 4,000 visitors a day! 

On our third morning in Amsterdam, we walked from our little apartment, down pretty streets lined with tall, gabled houses; over flower lined bridges that spanned canals; all the while dodging the bikes which seemed to approach precariously from every direction. We arrived at the museum early, to find a line already well formed, of people waiting for the museum to open.  We joined and waited with them, with a sense of approaching something sacred. Well, that's my version. Paul waited impatiently because he hates to wait for anything.

As soon as we entered the doors, Paul announced wearily  that he was going to the cafe, mumbling with a pained expression, about not being able to take another museum! We have mostly figured out how to "be" quite happily, in spite of, and sometimes because of, our different …


If I had imagined any granddaughter in particular as an enthusiastic partner in my epic plan to visit the Rijksmuseum, it would have been Tippy. She who eats, sleeps and breathes art! 

But at some point in our journey to the Netherlands, she said to me, "I have to let you know that I'm more interested in doing art than looking at it; I hope that doesn't disappoint you." And her gentle brown eyes peered into mine searchingly. (That talk I gave the girls on "authentic self representation" seemed to have "taken" with Tippy too.) I just smiled into the honest face I love and said, "Of course it doesn't." 

I, on the other hand had enough excitement to cover the five of us if necessary. I even loved the name: "Rijks" museum. "Rijk" is a Dutch word that means "riches," and "abundance," and I could not wait to see this place of aesthetic beauty, filled with works of the Dutch Masters, displayed in a way …