“I Want to Pass It On!”

cover0004

Some people pay big dollars for preference plates for their cars in order to advertise their business or to express their personalities. When my husband Tom worked as a sales rep for “Sexauer Plumbing Supplies”, his company paid for his preference plate. They thought “SEXAUER” on Tom’s license plate was great advertising. Tom thought it was a delightful pun. When Tom and I were first dating, my adult children looked at that license plate and asked, “who is this guy who has latched onto our mother?”

My license plate of many years is “BBLY 888”. For many people of Chinese origin the number 8 is considered very lucky. If I could sell my license plate to the highest bidder, I’m told it might go for $1000 or more. The government doesn’t allow us to sell our license plates, and that’s a good thing, because I might be tempted.

You see, I enjoy my license plate. First of all, it’s easy to remember. That helps. Second, the “bbly” feels good. It reminds me to relax and let my bubbly self be free to love life, because I do. I want the world to know that a life of faith brings joy and peace. I’m not superstitious,  but having the Chinese lucky 8 repeated three times brings to my mind the extravagance of God’s love that surrounds me. In my down times, God has blessed me with compassionate people who have cared for me and supported me. There has been, is and will always be so much to celebrate in my life. Yes, my license plate is superb advertising.

This morning my special license plate reminded me of the last line of a camp song,

“I’ll shout it from the mountaintop, I want my world to know the Lord of Love has come to me. I want to pass it on!”  (It Only Takes a Spark by Kurt Kaiser 1969)

“Come to the Mountaintop”

Yesterday, I had an incredible day. Almost two years ago, I was asked to be theme speaker for the Wednesday, United Church Women’s Day of Bay of Quinte Conference. What a fabulous honor. The theme for the day was, “Light One Candle”. I spent a great deal of time in prayer trying to decide the best way to deal with this theme. I believe God led me to speak about how Jesus ensured that his followers (disciples both men and women), felt energized and refreshed so that they could continue carrying God’s message of love and forgiveness to all the people they met.

As usual, God’s choice was on target. I flew on God’s Spirit as I talked. Afterward’s many of the 130+ women who were there told me that the talk had given them a “mountaintop experience.” Wow. This is my ministry. Today, I am so grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to speak and the words to say. As an added blessing, I sold $530 worth of books which included 18 of my “Can I Hold Him? Christmas Stories for All Ages” that is in it’s second printing. I am truly blessed. Thank you God.

A Key to a Happy Thanksgiving

 surrounded 8

This morning we were surrounded by spectacular beauty as we drove to church. In our area the fall colors are at their peak. Even though we were hurrying for choir practice, we would have needed to be totally blind to miss the “wonder” of God’s world. Jesus said, “Those who have eyes to see, let them see.” I saw and I gasped in awe. “Thank you God,” I breathed. Tom said, “We are truly blessed.”

As I soaked in the sunshine and the view, I thought about these trees resplendent in their autumn finery. Our extremely dry summer has left them crying out for water. Yet, still they are glowing on this Thanksgiving Day, bringing joy to all who can see. Scientist’s have warned us the colour will be dull, and won’t last as long as usual. They may be right. For today, I can only gasp in awe. 

The amazing courage of these trees brought memories of my friend Frances who was 102 when she died last year. Like these trees Frances had times of drought, grief, difficulty in her life. Both her sons died very young, one with cancer and one in a car accident. And these were only two of the tragedies she experienced. And like these trees Frances continued to glow with God’s Spirit. Nothing could destroy her strength and gratitude for life. Her inner beauty shone God’s love on all who met her. I was blessed to have Frances as my friend.  

Today, I too am grateful, not because my life is perfect, but because God has given me a heart that sees and accepts the blessings that surround me. Nature is the trigger this morning, as I begin a day filled with love. I am extravagantly blessed with family, friends, and a church home.

Regardless of the troubles that plague you, seek out beauty on this Thanksgiving Day. Take the time and have the courage to open your eyes to God’s blessings. Look out your window, and search carefully for one moment or thing of beauty. Take a walk if you can, check out a nature book and soak in God’s wondrous world. Open your heart to the wonder of God’s love through people, animals, art. Let God’s surprises ignite the fire of gratitude and love within you.

It is my hope that together we can glow so brightly we will light up at least our own corner of God’s world.

Plant a Tree? Why?

tree-1034150_1920

Buy a field – Plant a Tree

In both our front and back yards, we have trees – maples and cedars. They were planted by the first owners of our house ten years ago when the house was built. Already they are tall enough to provide a little shade for our lawn. Trees amaze me. They offer so many gifts beyond their cooling shade. They not only give back to the earth; they breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out life giving oxygen. As a child, I learned that trees were my friends, especially one with a big low-lying branch that served as a doorway to my leafy playhouse, up high above my world. Today I am grateful for our trees, even though none are big enough yet for climbing.

Planting trees is a sign of hope for the future. In today’s world, their slow growth means that the planter may not be around to enjoy the tree’s blessings. I think of education as a planting trees. High school youth can become impatient with school. What use is this? When will it be over? Do I really want to do this homework? Especially today when the world is so chaotic, job insecurity is an epidemic. Post- secondary education is a monumental expense, yet education is also a sign of hope for the future. 

Living a life of faith is a sign of hope for the future of our world. It’s easy to say, “Why bother? God doesn’t care.” I believe that God does care. In the Bible we read about the prophet, Jeremiah. War was raging around him. His own king had imprisoned him for speaking out about his own people’s behavior. Jeremiah had warned his king that linking up with Egypt would not save the country from the Babylonians.  From prison, Jeremiah listens to God’s message, “Buy land in your hometown. There is a future for you and your people. The day will come when you will prosper again.” And so Jeremiah makes the purchase. (paraphrase of Jeremiah 32:8-15)

Living a life of faith today means that we, too, are called to speak out about climate change, justice issues, and God’s promises. We too are called to take action, to make room for people different from ourselves, to feed the hungry, to get our education, to plant trees for the future. We are called to be like Jeremiah, and invest our lives for our future and the future of the world. We are called to trust in God’s promise for a new world filled with love and justice and joy.  

Yes, like our trees, the world’s growth towards goodness for all is slow. Still we can see growth happening. Already, there are small patches of shade here and there around the world. Already there is food for some who were hungry, freedom for some for some who were imprisoned unjustly, peace for some who were at war.

We can step out in faith and add goodness to God’s world. Each loving act, each step for justice, each gift of loving mercy for ourselves and others makes a difference. We can be God’s blessed trees, a breath of new life in this world. We can live God’s plan for us. We can be God’s hope.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11

bird-1558884_1920