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Showing posts from July, 2019

The Sacred

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In the sunporch, I savour my first cup of morning coffee, wondering what magic there is in these first sips and why it never tastes quite as good later in the day. In the quiet, I am sensing the sacred, when my granddaughter Tori, and her dog, Kevin, come out of the house, she shuffling feet into outdoor shoes with her back turned to me when I gently say, “Hello." She turns, “Oh, I didn’t even know you were here,” she says.
I ask where they are going, thinking of joining them if going for a walk, but Tori’s boyfriend, Dylan, and his twin sister, Jordan are coming over with Gonzo, one of their family’s dogs—in fact, they are arriving as we speak, Jordan in shorts, and a long plaid shirt with sleeves rolled up, her dark hair cut short and artsy. Dylan, also dark-haired, is tall and angular. Both of them have the most beautiful, kind eyes.
I walk down the curving driveway to say hello to them, and Tori cautions me about little Gonzo, “Be careful, he can be unfriendly to people.” Jorda…

Vignette of Grief

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The Flower Merchant has a whimsical and welcoming back entrance. Green posts and an awning lead to a sign that says, "Come in--We're Open."

I'd come that day to place a particular order. A grocery store arrangement, no matter how lovely, just wouldn't do. This commission required a caring personal touch.

As I left the sunshine, I entered a shadowy hallway leading to the store proper, and a bright young voice with the hint of a northern English accent, called, "Hello! Can I help you?"

At this warm invitation, I felt emotions submerged deep in my heart begin to bob to the surface, but I contained them with the grit born of a stoic British upbringing. The flawless beauty of the face of the young woman behind the counter struck me as her blue eyes gazed into the stormy North Sea green of mine. A mane of soft golden reddish hair was swept back from her face, revealing perfect matching golden eyelashes and brows. She was a china doll--Ann of Green Gables in yo…

Taking Flight

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As long as I can remember, I have loved to sing. I must have been only 6 or 7 at Hagley Primary School in the U.K when a rotund, grey-haired teacher strolled up and down the rows of earnestly singing students. His head would tilt as he listened for the slightest hint of dissonance among our voices. He taught us to take a deep breath and exhale slowly, carrying sound on our breath. I still remember him, though not his name, across the long span of 63 years!

I loved singing hymns during morning assemblies throughout the rest of my school years, and later, as a teenager in a small evangelical church, sang with a gospel band. We were led by an excellent musician and singer who managed to muster the troops into some kind of order.

I often wondered, though, why God apparently didn't give me the voice to match my love of singing. People sometimes assured me it had a "nice" or even "beautiful" sound, but I just heard a soft, thin, reedy voice.

A few months ago, after …

Changemakers

Paul was on his way home at the end of a day working at church with our 5 hard-working summer students. He had almost cleared an intersection with a four-way stop when he felt the sudden jarring impact of metal on metal, shaking him so violently that his sunglasses broke. His trailer had been demolished, and the back of his car damaged enough to render it undrivable. A woman driving a truck filled with her family of children, and almost home, entered the familiar intersection too soon. She was utterly remorseful and took full responsibility, but Paul urged her to reassure her children and make sure that they were okay. Her husband came quickly and helped pull the wreckage of the trailer onto their property.

It was our weekly small group meeting when he came home late for dinner. Beth, a young woman at the table, without hesitating offered one of her family's vehicles for his use. An insurance company will provide a rental car, but the real gift was her heart. She was "with us.…

A Beautiful Balance

I followed my friends out to the sunporch to say goodnight, but before they stepped out into the summer evening, I remembered a funny story. One of them had called me the week before, disturbed by the message on a church sign. But when she told me what it said, I didn't interpret it in the way she did. When I told my husband, Paul, he saw it differently to either of us. Later on, I told my friend Susan about it, and she had yet another take on it the sign. As did her husband, Ron. That 's five different perspectives on an eleven-word sign, which said:
If you want holy water, boil the hell out of it The many interpretations of the meaning of the sign illustrate why communication is fraught with potential pitfalls. Our personal filters and many other factors influence what we "hear."

Then, the sun-porch became a confessional,  I said that I felt terrible about judging people's words and ideas when they're talking to me. Maybe "evaluating" is a kinder …

Resistance

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"Resistance is a measure of the opposition to current flow in an electrical circuit. Resistance is measured in ohms, symbolized by the Greek letter omega (Ω). Ohms are named after Georg Simon Ohm (1784-1854), a German physicist who studied the relationship between voltage, current and resistance." Fluke.com

The call to face down two areas of weakness and sinful overindulgence last week struck me with the force of a bolt of lightning. For anyone who missed my previous blog post about them, it was about overbuying clothes and books. I understand if some readers are uncomfortable about labelling these things "sinful." I was too, but that's how I came to see them if I'm honest, "sins" or "addictions."  It felt like time to recognize them as such.

So strong was the impression that I quickly wrote the phrase, "I Already Have Everything I need," and pinned it on my fridge. Then I posted a photo of it on Facebook, wishing afterwards th…

Everything I Need

"Everything I need." That phrase grabbed me this week. It started with a growing awareness that what I referred to as "a weakness," was actually, sin. The word "weakness" sounds almost endearing and harmless, while "sin," well that sounds so grim! But when it comes to a specific, consistent weakness, God chose this week to wake me up to what it really is.

I don't think that it was a coincidence that the very next day (July 3,) I read in Oswald J. Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest, that moving from a "vague sense of sin" to realizing "the concentration of sin in a particular feature of my life," is a sign of the presence of God.

Another Oswald Chambers quote that is is also encouraging--the changes are not mine to stress over, but God will take care of them:
If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He does not ask you to put it right; He asks you to accept the light, and He will put it right.Oswald …

Dear Tiffany-Amber

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Dear Tiffany-Amber,
I'm addressing you by your given name rather than nickname as doing so reminds me of your adulthood. I hope it doesn't sound too formal!

Happy Canada Day! You've been in my thoughts ever since your mom left for home and we spent a few enjoyable hours together yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday over supper at The Mandarin, you were so engaged in exploring ideas about politics, and at one point you looked at me and said, "What do you have to say, Omie? Any thoughts?"

You should probably know that when someone says that to me, I usually feel like a failure, as though I've been handed the conversational ball, but dropped it. I know that you love a meaty debate and long for substantial conversations with people. I hope you meet people to fulfill that hunger and respond to the challenge of your thoughts better than I did. Don't think that I'm hard on myself because I had nothing really thoughtful to add; well, maybe when it comes to politics…