Category Archives: Tips for Grace-Filled Living

Stop Squabbling! Listen for Truth!

Wrote this blog first thing this morning. It surprised me when I read it. I told myself, “You can’t post anything that political.” Is this really the inspiration I asked for in my prayers this morning? Guess it must be. It sure flowed off my fingers unto the keyboard. So here it is. If you have comments, no matter how critical, I’d love to hear them.

Just One Source of Pollution

Listen to the Wisdom of Our Ancestors.

Today, I read the Broadview Magazine article “Listen to the Knowledge Keepers” by Dave Courchene, an Anishinabe Elder. Dave says:

            “What humanity needs most now is to learn the rules of conduct we must follow in defining a sustainable relationship with the Earth and each other. Some examples include: don’t take more than you need from the land to   survive, because if you take too much, your greed will increase;  treat all life with respect, and abundance will return to you; and show gratitude for whatever you receive from life, and life will return its blessings.

Simple principles: why can’t we follow them? Is it because our greed is already totally out of control? As I read this article, I thought, I’m one of the converted. That’s why I subscribe to and enjoy Broadview. I know already that our aboriginal peoples have wisdom. It’s not new. The same wisdom can be found in the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud and other sacred writings. The Book of Genesis 1:28 says, “Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.” For centuries we in North America have ignored the wisdom offered by our ancestors and our aboriginal brothers and sisters. Now, our children are offering us the same wisdom. It’s the young people that are rising up and pushing us to do something about climate change.

And still, I have conversations with people of my own generation who are denying that our greed is leading us into sure and certain annihilation of all life on our planet. This week I talked with a man who was convinced that our refugees arrive with the right to vote. He railed at their taking something that was rightfully his. He had no interest in checking his facts, or rather lack of them. We are so gullible when it comes to believing negative statements, and so slow at taking in wisdom for our lives. God must weep at our inability to help ourselves, to listen to the knowledge keepers of every tribe and nation. What will it take to wake us up?

There is an election coming this fall. Could we, just for once as a people, respond to the environmental crisis in our world and vote for those who would risk real action? Could we just for once forget the squabbling and name calling and look at policies? This time we need to listen carefully. What has our present government done to save the environment? How have we reacted? Who is willing to do even more?

Yes, action is tough. In the short run it might raise our taxes, cause job loss. We now have no choice. We have to stop talking about how awful it is that Nestle’s takes millions of gallons of our precious fresh water from the ground, pays next to nothing for it and sells it back to us for $1.75 and more for a pint plastic bottle. We have to stop ignoring the scientists. It’s good that we’ve made some little changes, but that’s not enough. We need leaders who are courageous in fighting this battle, whatever party they represent.

God gave us the job of caring for this beautiful earth. Let’s choose leaders who will help us.

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?

My brother-in-law, Bruce, spent thirty years restoring his “Vicky”, his Crown Victoria classic car. When he died, he was almost finished but not quite. Occasionally, over the years he would take “his Vicky” to a classic car show, but when questioned there was always something else that needed to be done. Her transformation wasn’t quite complete.

In some ways we are like Bruce’s beloved Vicky. God spends our lifetime working on our transformation. Sometimes, we may seem to be finished but not quite. We never attain perfection. The difference is that Bruce’s Vicky was passive, waiting for Bruce’s decision around what needed to be done next. As God’s beloved children, we are not created as passive beings. We are humans blessed with the gift of free will. God’s transformation for us is much more difficult for God. God has the power, the love, the wisdom to do anything God wishes, and yet God waits. God waits for us to understand, to willingly make the choices needed for our transformation. We are a team with God, whether or not we want to be.

The miracle of life lies in the fact that God is always ready and waiting for us. God will lovingly work with us to enable us to become the best that we can be, in life, in death, in life beyond death. We are not alone.

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. (Isaiah 29:11)

The Creek

I wrote this poem while attending the Keene United Church worship service held at Larryland in July. I didn’t take a picture of the creek/river at Larryland. I promise you it looks somewhat like this picture and is just as lovely. I’m not a poet, but my time at Larryland opened me to God’s inspiration. When I copied my poem into the blog program, the lines came out double spaced and I don’t know how to change it. Maybe this crazy format will enable you to read slowly, stopping to picture the scene. Enjoy!

The Invitation

Excitement

rushes by,

Ripples sparkle, dance

Carrying the invitation

Play with me.

Come!

Tree’s, tall grasses,

Even the rocks,

Are calling me.

God’s peace is here.

Enjoy

Breathe deeply

Receive God’s healing

For just this hour

Soak in beauty.

Know!

We’re one with God.

Stop, rest, smile,

Open your eyes

To truly see.

Give thanks!

For precious moments,

To hear, to touch,

To taste this place

To worship God.

An Unexpected Sanctuary

Last fall when we re-sodded the back yard, our garden swing was left leaning up against the side of the house. This spring I suggested, “Let’s give that old swing away. We never use it.”

Tom frowned, “Maybe.“

A few weeks later, I stood on our freshly painted deck and said, “Let’s try that old swing here. We could roll out the awning and enjoy the rain.”

Tom surveyed the width of our deck, shook his head and said, “Swings pretty big but let’s try it.”

Son Dave, helped carry the swing round to the deck. Once in place, I flopped down on it. “Yes,” I said. “This is good. It just needs a few flowers.”

Today our long-forgotten swing brings a patch of paradise to our home.  A colorful basket of geraniums and petunias hangs in one corner. Purple and white Lavatera and clemantis peek through the slats in the railing. Purple, white and yellow flowers spill from the mouth of our old chimenea, another one of those things we haven’t used in years. Bright red geraniums are growing from its chimney. Overhead, white fluffy clouds sail slowly by. In every direction God’s beauty shines radiantly in the summer sun.

August is just beginning and i already I’ve spent hours in that swing, meditating, writing, reading or visiting with friends and family. For the first time, since we moved to Peterborough five years ago, I feel as if I have truly come home.

I believe God knew what I needed and offered it. The deck, the swing, the chimenea, they had all been with us for many years. They have come together with my love of flowers to create my summer sanctuary. I didn’t plan it but I love it. My friends tell me I’ve slowed down a little and I have. Each day I step away from the world for a little while and rest in my summer sanctuary. When I return, life feels better, more peaceful, more precious. I give God thanks every day for this blessing.

Today I’m thinking about you. I wish for you a sanctuary tailored to your needs. I didn’t plan mine. It feels as if it just happened. But of course it didn’t. My suggestion to you is that you keep your heart open for a quiet place, inside or outside. In this crazy world we need our sanctuary places, our places where it feels easy to practice recognizing God’s presence. It doesn’t require a big expenditure. It might require some repurposing of things you already have. I suggest you join with God in creating your special place, your peaceful place, your summer sanctuary.

A Great Weekend – God’s blessing!

ThCobourg Harbour Front Festival

I’ve just finished bringing my books to two different events. At Cobourg festival, the members of Spirit of the Hills writer’s group had rented a booth together. We all took shifts in the booth. Working with other authors is always fun. I’ve not checked yet on my individual sales. That’s today’s job.

The second event was last Saturday. I was invited by Gayle Colman of a UC. resource centre near London, to join her at a United Church Women’s Conference in London, ON. I had a grand time. We sold seventy of my books. My hand was tired from signing my name. The affirmation of my work from those who had bought my books at the Westminster women’s event in May, was heart warming.

Shopping time for the women attending the conference was early morning during registration time, and at lunch. In total they had about an hour. Yet in this short time, I sold 70 books. My heart was overflowing. The day before I had received a message from a middle ages man looking for a third in my Catalpa Creek series. It seems as if my ministry is on track. So I give God thanks as I’m back at writing this morning. We all need affirmation once in a while. God is good. Just when I’m feeling like it’s time to quit, I receive a boost like this. So I wanted to share my good news with all of you.

Given Just for Loving!

The Joy of the Generations

My Thoughts As I greeted this beautiful day.

Love You Forever

When my children were young, of course, I loved them with my whole being. Like the Robert Munsch story, in my head I kept saying, “I’ll love you forever. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” Still, there was always my job as a parent to help them grow into responsible, loving people. I did my best to teach them about caring for others. I had values, I wanted them to learn especially when it came to respecting others. I believed it was my job to help them become the best they can be. For me that responsibility was precious, fulfilling, essential. Sometimes it meant that I was angry with the things they did. Sometimes it meant that I was overjoyed with their accomplishments. Through it all, deep down I loved them.

My relationship with my grandchildren is different.  I am no longer responsible for helping them grow into responsible adults. That’s their parents’ task. I have only two jobs with my grandchildren. The first is to love them, just love them unconditionally. That is pure pleasure. When they were two, together we stuck our fingers into the cake icing and experienced that yummy sweet stuff on our tongues as we licked our fingers. By the time they were five, we cuddled and read that just one more story making bedtime a little bit late. During their bath time we splashed water on the floor. As teenagers, I listened unconditionally to their stories. The pressure is off and it feels wonderful.

My second task with my grandchildren is to live what I believe, to make sure that my values shine through. I believe that all people are God’s beloved children. I believe that we are called to care for others and share our many blessings. As a senior, the busyness of life, the worries about tomorrow, the fears of what could happen, do not have to blind my heart to living as an example for my grandchildren. There is such a long list of things I wish I had done with my children. I can turn those wishes into reality with my grandchildren.

Best of all, I can hold in the forefront of my mind that these grandchildren are God’s precious blessings in my life. They are gifts given for me to love. I don’t have to have expectations of them. Once again that’s their parents’ jobs. I can relax and love them. Thank you God.

We Are Celebrating!!!

Happy Anniversary

Tom and I had a lovely day today celebrating our sixteenth anniversary. The actual date was June 21st. On that day our lives were full of grandchildren. We went to the matinee performance of Tuesday’s With Morrie which is playing at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope. The play was wonderful. The acting superb. Our hearts were touched. After the play we walked around Port Hope, even visited a book store. This picture was taken by our waitress during supper at the Waddell Pub – Trattoria Gusto patio. The food was amazing. The service fabulous. They even gave us a free dessert. The whole experience couldn’t have been better. Tom and I are truly blessed. Sixteen years of marriage and it feels like we’re just starting out. We wish for all that their relationships could be as happy as ours. Of course it’s not all as wonderful as today, and yet even in the difficult times, we know God has brought us together. We give thanks each and every day.

We Lead by Example: Intentional or Not.

We Lead By Example Intentional or Not

We had a wonderful time with our two youngest grandchildren, Alex age 5 and Lise age 3, when they were visiting from Vancouver. We went to the Indian River Reptile Zoo, the Fish and Wildlife Centre and the Peterborough Zoo. We played at the parks around the corner. We read books. We had a busy week.

At supper, their last night with us, Tom and I, lost in our sadness around saying good bye, rushed into the meal without giving God thanks as we usually do. About halfway through the meal, Alex said, “We didn’t ask the blessing.”

Feeling guilty I said, “Let’s say it right now. Thank you for the reminder. We joined hands and I gave thanks for the beautiful sunny day, our food, even the food already in our tummies, our family and more. When our meal was nearly over, Alex turned to his parents and asked, “Can we say a blessing when we get home to Vancouver?”

One week, of giving thanks at every meal whether we were picnicking, or gathered round the table, had grabbed Alex’s attention. There must have been something that touched his little heart for he wanted to continue the practice at home.

For me, it had taken courage and persistence to continue our mealtime prayers while our family was with us. We knew it wasn’t part of their meal ritual. There is always the fear that we will offend if we live our faith. Yet we did it, simply and regularly because that is what we do. I’m sure God smiled when Alex asked his questions. I know I did.

We led by example rather than lectures, or intentional teaching. We just continued our lives and our grandson felt God’s touch. I am truly grateful.

Cobourg Waterfront Festival

PLEASE JOIN ME

I had a grand time this morning with my author friends from our Spirit of the Hills Writer’s group. We set up our booth at the Cobourg Waterfront Festival. The Festival runs today, tomorrow and Monday. There are hundreds of vendors, as well as a carnival and of course the fabulous Cobourg Beach. Lake Ontario is still a little chilly. I will be taking my turn in our booth tomorrow from 3:20 to 6:00. If you are in the area, please come by to say Hi, and check out our books. There are about 40 local authors represented in the wide variety of books. If you buy one of mine I’ll be pleased to sign it when I’m there. I’m looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. Have a great day and give thanks for this fabulous sunshine and warmth.

Can We Continue to Agree (ENOUGH)?

Our five- year- old grandson crawled into our bed this morning for a cuddle before his little sister woke up. Once he was all snuggled down, he opened the conversation with “My Daddy said that people come from Serbia (his dad is Serbian) to Canada because they want a good life in Canada. In Serbia, people can’t agree and there was war. My friend at “Pooh Corner” (his daycare) came to Canada because there is war in her country. They couldn’t get along there.”

My automatic response was, “I’m glad people can agree enough in Canada.”

His answer, “Me, too.”

Some people describe Canadians as “passive,” and “pleasers.” I’m not so sure about that. I do know we can get upset about injustice. As Canadians, we value our health care system that ensures medical care for everyone. We value our educational system that gives all children the opportunity to learn. We value our freedom to worship, our freedom to be who we are. I don’t ever want to take the peace and freedom we enjoy in this wonderful country for granted.

I’m glad our grandson, at age five, already knows that we are truly blessed to be Canadian. Those of us who were born here, and those who have come to make Canada their home, can get along. Of course, it isn’t easy. God has exercised such variety in creation. It is a challenge.

In Canada, we have proven that it can be done. We can get along. We can hear each others stories when we’ve made mistakes. We can work together to do better.

July 1st is coming soon. As we celebrate our country’s birthday, let’s give thanks for this beautiful mosaic that is Canada. We know our mosaic can be a source of discord. Without work and intention, we could become one of those countries in which people don’t get along, in which there is war. Let’s commit ourselves to loving and accepting one another as unique and special, God’s precious gifts.