Showing posts from 2017

Angels Don't Always Wear White

"Glad-eyes," that's what he has, Molson, this friend of mine with golden hair and lolling tongue. We run from the house into the evening air, his nails tap-tap-tap-tapping lightly on the pavement as my feet thud-thud beside him. He dances with exuberant joy at being "out." Jumping high, he catches his red leash in his mouth and tugs me along; pulling it as if he is playing a joke, pretending that it is he taking me for the walk, which is probably true. He is so HAPPY and he communicates that with every fibre of his being and glance of his glad eyes. The first rush of excitement settles and he trots forward with focus, pacing his trot perfectly to my stride. He is a gentleman of a dog, disciplined and well bred. He reads the ground with his nose, as avidly as my father used to read the newspaper, and leaves messages behind for others who will follow. He looks as if he is about very serious business. I don't hurry him; it seems a small thing to wait whe

Searching for Christmas

I wrote this seven years ago and Molson has aged since that long ago walk on a sweltering August day. This will be his last Christmas unless there is some special dispensation for the most faithful of dogs. It was so good to read this, and remember "then." And the message of the story still rings true. August was hot and steamy. Sweat trickled and tickled down spines and hair clung droopily to heads. I explained to some English guests with a craving for bracing “fresh air,” that flinging open the windows would not help at all. After a few days here they believed me. I got into the habit of taking late evening walks with Molson, our golden retriever. Normally he bolts from the house like an arrow from a bow, but even he moved slowly on those sweltering August evenings, with the fields surrounding our village buzzing and humming with the rhythmic pulse of insect life, and the intoxicating scent of summer blooms hanging in the still air. With my senses drenched in summer


Lord, your love is evident everywhere I look, When you were making this fair earth, What tender care you took! You could have made the birds talk, As plain as plain could be, But joyous cheerful melodies, Ring from tree to tree. The sky so blue above us, Your love did hang in place, Without earth's special atmosphere, We'd stare right into space. In every sight, in every sound-- Your love is there--outpoured. Oh, how I want to thank you, My great Creator, Lord. Belinda, 1980

Mercy Me

Our son Pete usually calls to chat during his long commute to and from work in the city and it was during one of these conversations recently that I mentioned having the gift of mercy. He loves to tease me about what he describes as my "random mercy," and says that I'm always able to "ferret out" the good in people. A particularly flattering choice of metaphor, I thought .   He launched into his "axe murderer" routine, saying he imagines me saying, "Well, on the good side, he always cleans up after himself. And he keeps his tools nice and sharp." He muttered something about not many people wanting me on a parole board--getting carried away now--he was o n a roll--I was laughing so hard I could hardly catch my breath--the fuel to his fire. Pete may have been exaggerating for dramatic and comedic effect, but  when I told my granddaughter Tori about his teasing, she said, "Omie, remember that terrible dream I had a few weeks ago?

Naturally Imperfect

It was midsummer when I drove for miles down roads that wound up hills and down, to buy some apples for my small pie business. As I was leaving, the woman behind the counter of the rural country market told me that they were the end of the line   and there would be no more until the new crop came in. The three large boxes I managed to get represented quite a few pies, but one by one they all found a home before the new crop was available from my supplier. When my freezer was finally empty, I went to my local No Frills, which is a little more expensive, but I looked for the apples in bags labelled, "Naturally Imperfect." These apples lack conformity in size or shape--they aren't quite "perfect," but are perfectly delicious in the pies. Recently as I was thinking about a fault that was obvious in an acquaintance, I thought of the "naturally imperfect" label, and how appropriately it could be applied to humans. In that moment, instead of persist

Moment of Decision...

It's been almost a week since we returned from Mishkeegogamang, a First Nation 2000 kilometers north of our home, and I feel as though I have a suitcase full of stories to unpack.  We went as a team of 23 diverse people, brought together by a common desire to bring encouragement, hope, practical help and spiritual support to the people of Mish. Ten of our team were teenagers, and this story is from Tippy, who was one of  them. It happened on our first full day there and is shared as she told it to me: Susan said that we needed to set up a buoy line, and I said, "Okay, I can do that," not thinking that the water was going to be as cold as it was. So me, Dylan, Tori, Jared and Max all went down to the water to set it up. We got everything ready and had anchored the two 50 foot sides and were taking out the 100 foot rope for the back of the buoy line. We anchored part of the 100 foot rope to one of the sides and were taking it across to the other side, when the

The Movers and the Moth

It was 2004 and I had gone back to England for two weeks to help my brother Robert move Mum from the two story home she was living in, to a perfect little ground floor flat in the same village. Robert and I had a lifetime of gathered belongings to sort through and condense into a much smaller space, while Mum, blissfully unconcerned with all of this, patiently waited for the move. I persuaded Robert that it might be a good idea, even though Mum's final quota of belongings was small, to get help in the form of a moving company. We settled on movers called Mike and Al .  Their advertisement in the phone book sounded so promising. "No job too large or too small," it boasted. From the moment I made contact with "Mike" though, something in his voice gave a different impression to the enthusiastic advertisement. In fact, I wasn't sure that he really wanted to do this job, although he didn't come right out and say so. When I pressed him for a quote, s

A Word Makes a Difference

Sometimes one word can make a profound difference, as I found through reading the book: “Understanding the difficult words of Jesus—New Insights from a Hebraic perspective.”  The authors, David Bivin and Roy Blizzard, Jr., believe that the first three gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke; also known as the Synoptic gospels ; were not originally written in Greek as was believed for centuries, but in Hebrew, which was then translated into Greek and then from Greek into English.  A triad of languages involved in translation, create issues obvious to anyone who has tried using Google Translate, which seems to focus on words alone as opposed to the idiom it is translating. For example, I translated “raining cats and dogs” into Dutch, and got the result: "hondenweer," which literally means “dog weather” or “dogs again.”  Bivin and Blizzard’s  theory that the first three gospels were originally written in Hebrew is based on relatively recent evidence revealed by the discover


I had the privilege of delivering the message at Green Valley Alliance Church today and because it was live-streamed I can post it here.


It was a season of “lasts:” the last budget preparation at year-end; the last 1.1 with each of her direct reports; the last meeting of each of the many groups and committees of which she had been part for so many years--the last this—the last that. She had loved her job these many years, and she had wanted to finish well, had worked hard at leaving everything in perfect shape for her successor. She was dutiful, committed, loyal and hardworking, no one could say otherwise, but now, as she sat at her desk one morning when the finish line was in sight, suddenly she felt an unfamiliar stirring  within her, a sort of reckless abandonment that was as intriguing as it was terrifying. She glanced at the clock hanging above her desk and realized that she had completely lost track of time while working to finish a project before leaving for another of those “last” meetings.   With a gasped, “Oh my goodness!” she quickly reigned in her thoughts, shut her laptop with a bang, and gathered her

The Air We Breathed

We know that each generation influences the next with its physical DNA, passing on predictors of appearance; health; gifts; interests and propensities. But there are other things less tangible that invisibly and strongly, guide the actions and attitudes of the next generation. It's almost as if it's the air we breathed. I considered this recently as I went through the clothes in my cluttered clothes closet. I thought about my mother's clothes closet, which stands in my mind as a symbol of something about her, and about me.  Firstly it was not a closet really, but a wardrobe. In England, where I grew up, we did not have bedroom closets but wooden wardrobes. My parents had a 1950's, shiny, walnut veneer wardrobe, from which wafted the faint smell of moth balls. It had two sides, each with a curved door, ornately patterned metal handles, and locks that held keys, but were never locked.  The top of the wardrobe held all sorts of things that had nowhere else to be sto

The Dairy Queen Debacle

I have discovered that the road to high drama or comedy often starts out as an innocuous trail of breadcrumbs. Such was the case recently, when in the middle of cleaning her kitchen cupboards my friend Susan texted me with the wry declaration that she was married to a condiments hoarder. “Dozens and dozens of packets of soy-sauce, ketchup, and sundry containers of salad dressing, vinegar, etc.,” she wrote. She thanked God for small mercies--at least Ron didn’t save the packets of salt and pepper, but she said that she could not suggest throwing any of the collection out. Ron had said defensively that the last time the kids were over, he had given them all little ketchup packs to put on their French fries.  “At that rate,” wrote Susan, “there’s no way we will be able to use them up before the end of the next decade! Then there are all the other little packets…And every time he gets takeout…there are MORE!” “Oh, dear,” I texted back, adding that I had used up my own