A friend of mine carved loons. Each knife stroke was purposeful. As he worked, slowly the loon emerged, exquisite in its detail, every feather distinct. Carving is an amazing craft. Our native people talk about releasing the image that is hidden in the wood, giving freedom to its soul. For the carver, there is peace and creativity; for the wood, or soap stone, etc. there is new life.
I received a story on the email one time about a monstrous stone laying on a young couple’s front lawn. In the beginning, the ugly stone was in the way. Too heavy to move, the young husband, a stone sculptor, began to chip away at this eyesore. Eventually, an exquisite elephant emerged, sleek and round, his trunk raised in victory. “How did you do it?” a passerby asked. The sculptor offered this simple answer. “I just chipped away everything that wasn’t elephant.”
Too often, we see others like that front yard stone, useless, ugly, unnecessary. “Let’s throw him away,” we say. “Put her behind bars, that’s what she deserves.” “Drugs and alcohol have ruined them. They’re useless.” Or “He’s so miserable, it’s impossible to love him.” God, the master carver, knows what is hidden within our being. God has created and loves us. God calls us to hold the vision of God’s beloved child in everyone we meet, including ourselves. Together with God, we can love away all that isn’t part of that vision. It takes time and skill. One person can never do it alone. But together, with each stroke of love, purposeful and caring, we will see emerge a person of beauty. It takes patience, determination, and trust in God. Remember Mary’s words, “Nothing will


I believe that the advertising industry has done us a great injustice when they branded us as consumers. To consume means to use up, eat, demolish. Branding people in general as consumers encourages us towards greed and carelessness. Why bother to build the best product possible when it will just be consumed, refuse, to be thrown into the mounting trash heap? Better to produce something that will wear out, so we consumers can satisfy our unending appetites with yet another new product.
Years ago, I read Marlo Morgan’s book, “Mutant Message From Down Under”, the story of a woman’s time spent in the Australian Outback with a group of aboriginals. At one point, the whole group is hungry. They have gone many days without food. Suddenly, an animal appears in the desert. After the animal is killed, one of the aboriginals says, “We must use all of this animal. We will waste nothing, for it has chosen to give its life that we might live.” As we pick up a roast at the supermarket, we feel no connection to the animal from which it came. Offshore manufacturing has removed us from the joy craftsmanship. We flock to the dollar stores and big box bargains. Buy it; use it; throw it away, has become our mantra.
Are we really just users with voracious appetites? We march like a lawn mower across our world, chopping up everything in our path. We spit out the waste, taking for granted new growth, next week, irrespective of what we have left.
I believe we human beings are co-creators with God. We know how to cherish, respect, and value our world. We are God’s chosen children, created to care for this beautiful world, not consume it. We don’t have to accept the role we have been inherited from society. Consider the creation story as presented in “The Message”, a new version of our ancient Bible. “God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image; make them reflecting our nature, so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of the Earth.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

“Off the Top”

One night not long ago, sleep eluded me. Frustrated, I made a cup of tea and sat down in my favourite chair. On the table beside me lay my Bible and my journal book. Might as well do my morning meditation now, I thought. At least that will be done.
The suggested reading for the new day was from Leviticus. “Do not reap to the edges of your field… Leave some for the poor.” (Leviticus 19:9-10) I mulled the words over. I’m not a farmer. What message does this scripture have for me? God spoke to me in the silence of the night.
First, I don’t have to claim every last drop of everything that is coming to me. Sharing is easiest when we do it off the top of the pile, not the bottom. Like the Biblical farmer who decided at the beginning that he would not harvest to the edges of his field, we too, can decide what percentage of our monthly or weekly income we will give to others through charity, church, or… I discovered years ago that giving off the top rather than leftovers will not leave me short. In fact, I never miss it, and I often end up with more.
The second message was make it easy for people to care for themselves. Leave the fruit growing at the edges of the field, so that those who are in need can harvest it themselves. Too often, we think about caring for others as giving to the poor. This passage says provide the resources, so that those who are in need can care for themselves.
I decided that I needed to miss some sleep that night. It gave me an opportunity to listen for God. I don’t recommend insomnia, but when you can’t sleep, try reading the Bible. Read a story or a few verses. Sit with them. Listen. God says some amazing things.

We’re Snowbirds Now

We’re on our way. This morning was interesting. When we finally climbed into the car, I said, “We’re an amazing team. We planned to leave at 9:00 a.m. It’s now 11:15. Still there’s been no stress, no grumpy words. Wow.”

Travelling for 7 weeks requires a tremendous amount of getting ready. Besides all the other stuff, we wanted to have our income tax ready for Alexis before we left. Sunday night I shouted triumphantly, “It’s done. We did it!”

At the same time, we needed to leave the house neat, tidy and extra clean. A few weeks ago, it seemed like a good idea when our son said, “Mom, if you have any thoughts about downsizing and moving, you should list the house before you leave. You’ll be able to avoid the hassle of keeping it spotless for people to see.”

In practice, this brilliant idea meant that we wanted everything neat and clean before we left. For us, the process of packing, usually leaves each room filled with prop wash. You’d think a speed boat had ripped through scattering stuff in all directions. This time peace reigns everywhere. Everything is in place, even in the closets. After all, people like to examine closets. No wonder we were two hours late leaving.

The drive to Missassauga was uneventful. Tom dropped me at Erin Mills Parkway to pick up a journal book. He slipped over to the nursing home to visit his mom. Errands done, I strolled the mall. Up ahead I saw an Oshawa friend.
“Hi Linda.”
“Jan, what are you doing here?”
We went to Zellers for tea and a chin wag until Tom returned. I’m glad I don’t walk with my head down staring at the floor.

We arrived at my sister, Anne’s in Blenheim by 5:45, right on schedule. A fabulous cook, she had a roast beef dinner complete with home made apple pie planned and nearly ready. A drink, some conversation, and the meal was served. Already, I’m aware, we’ll have to be careful, or we’ll both be blimps before we get home. The evening slipped by, as we caught up on news. We set up our bed in a box (Canadian Tire Special), in their living room and slept.