Archive for May, 2015

This week began busy, is ending busier.

This week began with a head full of plans for a fun day for two of the students I get to work with. Days like this are much more enjoyable, and more work … crossing i’s, dotting t’s …

They, the two young men, who live with challenging Special needs, are in their final year of high school.

In just two weeks, when they cross the stage to receive their diplomas, their lives will change. Change can be more challenging when one’s life started out with challenges.

They spent the beginning of their day, together, like many of their days in high school. They shared breakfast with the rest of the graduates, then drove around the school parking lot, beeping horns, disturbing the staff and students who were in the midst of classroom learning. Then off to a movie, joined by three who wanted to share the experience as they had shared many days of high school … together.

It was a holy ground, it was a sacred, moment.

How, you might ask, could teenage boys, diner-style breakfast, beeping your car horns and popcorn be sacred? Not one of those things is sacred in itself, but with the intervention and participation of God, the breakfast is like communal meal, beeping car horns like the singing of angelic chorus’, watching a movie with friends like sharing in fellowship with the saints. When God is involved in the lives of the participants, the sacred absorbs the secular, the mundane becomes the miraculous.

This dear pair of young men, and their faithful friends, shared moments and memories that day, that made one realize where they are, and recollections of where they have been.

God’s grace was on them at conception, God’s grace is on them now, and by the grace of God, they will be under His care for every day allotted to them.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with them both (2 Corinthians 13:14).







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 I recently re-read a favorite child’s story, and it got me to thinking.

 What it is to be real.

The Velveteen Rabbit (I strongly recommend it … for any adult!) is the story of a perfectly stuffed and decorated bunny, received with joy, by a boy, who heaped complete attention and dedication …

for a few short hours.

The Rabbit then gets put away in a toy cupboard, where he lives an awkward existenance with the other, more expensive, toys. There in the cupboard, he is befriended by the Skin Horse, an older and wiser toy, who teaches the Rabbit the most important lesson that any rabbit (or person) could ever learn …

what it is to be real.

Not long after, the Rabbit gets to experience what it is to be real, despite having the shine, the softness rubbed away. He was made real by the love of the little boy.

Due to unfortunate events, the Rabbit is tossed to the fire pile, and the rest … well now, if I tell you, you will never be motivated to read it ( http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/williams/rabbit/rabbit.html ).

At one point, the Rabbit is offered the ability to become, really real. His response was:

wasn’t I Real before?”

And the response to his question was:
“You were Real to the boy, because he loved you …”

To be loved is know that you have value, worth, that you exist. To be loved is to be known, and to be needed, wanted. To be loved is to know purpose for life, for you have someone who makes life worth living.

 “Dear friends,
let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”
1 John 4:7


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As I sat in the grimy public washroom, with tears streaming (I mean streaming like a waterfall) down my face, I really was not sure why it was that I was crying. All that came to my mind was the verse from childhood, about sticks and stones, but not one person said one word to me.

All I can say is that my heart felt like it was broken, heavy, grieving by what I had heard.

lets go to the beginning …

It had been a chaotic week for hubby and I and our kids had all gone in different directions, so we decided to check out a restaurant that we had never tried before.

It was nice to have uninterrupted conversation, though my attention was constantly diverted to another table, where four people sat, one of whom spoke quite loudly. Eventually my attention was fully pulled from hubby’s words, when I heard,

“those Christians. Who do they think they are?”

The words felt like a jab to my heart.

The man continued, for what seemed like a painful amount of time, sharing stories of ministers, priests, and people of many faiths who were hypocrites, not practicing what they preach. Though he was equal in his disdain for people of any faith, he seemed to be particularly hateful to those who called themselves Christian.

I sat there, the blood seeping from my face, the pain of a death by a thousand verbal cuts touching every part of my being. The tears welling in my eyes.

It was then that I excused myself to the washroom, to try to pull myself together.

I really was not sure why I was crying.

That man didn’t know me, I didn’t know him, yet we were both part of his bitterness, of my sin.

I have no idea how he has been hurt by faith, or, more likely, people of faith, but I know his vile attitude, and I know that his problem is not faith, not even Christ, but Christians.

I was aching, mourning, because the words of that man in the restaurant were the weight of our sins … how we destroy the name of Christ in how we treat others.

We, who share the name of Christ, also bear the pain of Christ …

Because it is the pain and burden of carrying our sin that Christ bore, that Christ bears.

But, when it is finished, this life we live,

when He is finished,

He will wipe every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4),

and it will all be worth it.

In the meantime,

lets strive to do all that we do, in love (1 Corinthians 16:14),

so that we can be instruments that drive out darkness and hate.





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 It started in the beginning …


Now the Earth was formless and empty,
darkness was over the surface of the deep …”
Genesis 1:2a

A Bible teacher at our school ensures that each student understands this formless, empty, darkness as Bohu and Tohu, Hebrew for wild and waste. Before creation there was wild and waste … chaos, disorder.

A week ago, we Canadians were excitedly counting the minutes until the start of the Victoria Day holiday weekend, aka. the unofficial start of summer. What it really was, was a teaser! A taste of summer’s repose … and then back at it all again on Tuesday! Now, we are left with the sweet taste of warm evenings, BBQ’s, and sunshine … and yet we still have weeks to go until the season’s name changes from spring to summer, and our vocation to vacation.

At this time of the school year, Bohu and Tohu (wild and waste) might adequately describe my house, my kids homework habits, our eating, sleeping, home maintenance habits (just to name a few).

Although I am a confirmed believer in the concept of finishing strong, the reality of my life would tell you that I do not practice what I preach as the dust bunnies in my house (quickly swept under the bed), the daydreaming in my eyes, the school books (of my kids) gathering dust, the pizza delivery guy (Jaz) who knows that my hubby’s voice on his phone means “bacon, bacon, bacon” Hawaiian, and Greek (because three cheap pizzas mean not having to make school lunches for days), and the dog begging for at least one walk a week, tell of the chaos in my life.

So, what follows Bohu and Tohu? What follows chaos?

God created …

light and darkness, day and night


land and seas, plants and trees

sun, moon and stars

creatures of the water and the air

creatures of the Earth, man and woman

And, what follows the Bohu and Tohu of this point of the year for me (and you)?

Well, concerning summer, it is a coming. The light is shining in the darkness. The prize is just around the corner.

And we will re-create! And we will call it summer,

and it is good.

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What is your energy source? Do you go to people or within to charge your battery.

I once heard that the best way to figure out if you are an introvert or an extrovert, is to look at where you go to refuel. If you prefer to be with people, you are exhibiting a preference of extroverts, and if you prefer to be solitary to refuel, you are exhibiting the preference of introverts.

I am an introvert, and there are times when being apart from other humans (even ones that I love) can be likened to having Energizer batteries added to the bunny.

2015/01/img_1841.jpgSometimes, introverts get confused with shy, antisocial, sad or un-fun individuals. Believe me, I like people, I love to have fun with others, and shy … I am not.

Often, in society, introverts are overlooked as leaders, because introverts are not outwardly ‘selling’ their leadership, in three-point form. An introvert, with natural leadership abilities, will encourage, empower and push others to do their best. They will be good listeners or others, and will be able to solve problems effectively, because they generally take the time to look at problems from all angles. Introverts tend to lead by example, and others follow them.

There is no down-side to an individual needing down-time. That is not an example of weakness, but an example of one who knows how to maintain strength.


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When I was a child, I thought that to be brave was to go in my room and night, and actually look under my bed to see if there were monsters there.

When I was a teen, I thought that to be brave was walking home alone, in the quiet dark, after a night of babysitting.

When I was a young adult, I thought that to be brave was to stay home alone when my hubby went out of town.

Brave has many faces, but on each face a fear of something, known or unknown, is written. The fears of childhood are the foundation for the fears of the rest of our lives. If I re-read my own expressions of what it was to be brave when I was younger, they are all centered on two fears; fear of the dark, and fear of being alone.

I believe that they are universal fears, I believe they are innate fears. I believe the
two fears are really one fear, for to be afraid of the dark is always diminished by
being in the presence of another.

From when we are born, we experience times alone. From our earliest beginnings in our mother’s womb, we experience dark. Yet those two fears go with us, and in some, intensify as we get older.

There is something about nighttime that can cause doubts, discomfort and fears to arise more easily. Add to that being alone, and the night can seem endless and hopeless.

For a child, being taken to bed, being tucked in, being reassured by a loving person that they are safe and that the nighttime will not last forever, can lessen their fear of the dark. If that does not work, having someone to accompany them in the dark, until they fall off to sleep will eliminate any further cries of fear.

For myself, as an adult, I hear far fewer noises, I sleep far easier, when hubby is in the house with me. His presence assures me that I am not alone, and the dark no longer has power over me.

If we are to be brave, we need to understand that the presence of another can be the light that takes away our fear of the dark, because their presence itself is like a light.

God’s message to us all in Isaiah 42:16 is “I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Whenever we think that we are alone, we need to remember that the One who never breaks His promises to us, is with us. Him in our lives means we are never fully alone, and the darkness is eliminated by the light of his presence.

Plato said, “we can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” The light of the world has come to illuminate our steps, he is like that parent by the bed of a fearful child, the friend walking you home in the dark, the person on the other side of the bed (snoring like a band saw), but He never leaves those who choose to brave and trust the presence of his light.

“Fear is the path to the dark side.”

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“You’re made to do hard and holy things
— because there’s no other way to get to the happy and holy things.”
Ann Voskamp

This week my mind has been swaying back and forth, between the quote above, and a line in a song. Both quotes have a common thread … tough stuff.

Can we really experience, can we really understand happiness, if we have not experienced tough stuff?

For me, to answer that I just need to look at our three kids. Three miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy, and the sorrow that accompanied each, make the life I get to share with my three kids so much sweeter. I know how hard and holy those times were … and make me understand the happy and holy times today.

“Earth has no sorrow,
that heaven can’t heal.”

Every one of us knows what sorrow is, knows what it feels like, knows the darkness that accompanies it, as though the goal of the sorrow were to envelope us, like a dark cloak. John 16:33 reminds us that sorrow is to be expected, but …

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

There is rest for the weary, for those who are in the midst of tough stuff, that shakes us to the core. But even the tough stuff is holy, and can bring us to the healing of heaven.

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Sometimes, being the mom of PKs (Pastor’s Kids) can be comical, such as when our kids nonchalantly speak of having ‘funeral food’ for dinner when their school friends are over. Sometimes it can be heartwarming, such as when individuals (usually retired pastors) tell us that they pray for our kids. Sometimes it can be disheartening, such as when they get told that, as a pastor’s kid, they should or should not do a certain thing.

Sometimes I fear, in the depth of my soul, that their view of God will be jaded by their negative experiences in such a way that they will never feel that they can be good enough for His love, acceptance and forgiveness. 
The other day I was reminded that they get it, and by ‘it’ I mean, what really matters.
This past weekend has been heartbreaking for our church, and community. Pastor-hubby-dad has been pre-occupied with death, grieving and really just being shepherd to a heartbroken flock, a heartbroken community. He was a bit of a shell, with little left to bring home.
The kids did not seem to mind, but just took him as he was.
Throughout Monday, as each child came home, they each asked their dad how he was, if his day went okay, if he was tired.
With each ‘child’s’ words of concern and compassion, I realized that they got ‘it’. They showed that they understood the weight that was resting on their dad’s shoulders, and they realized that what he does matters in the lives of others. They also showed respectful understanding of his job, his role, his responsibilities. They showed their dad love and compassion.
It that was not enough to bless my mamma/wife-heart, hubby-dad then shared the most beautiful part of his day, as we sat down to dinner.
As his work day was just beginning, his phone rang. On the other end was a woman in her eighties, calling from another province, thousands of miles away. She said something along the lines of,
“you don’t know me, pastor, but I searched for you, after hearing your name, and the tragic events that have touched your church. I want to let you know that I know these days will be difficult ones for you, and I will be praying for you.”
Looking around the table, I saw that they ‘got it’ again … that the hands and feet of God are His people, His church, near and far.
“Now you are the body of Christ,
and each one of you is a part of it.”
1 Corinthians 12:27

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” … and you laugh so hard you hope they always remember”
Ann Voskamp


Although Mother’s Day is now past, I am still in a maternally reflective mood.

I figure the day after Mother’s Day is the day when I get to start over again. The slate is clean, and I can once again vie for the Mother of the Year Award … of course I will lose it again by nightfall, but here’s dreaming.

Pondering motherhood is different at different stages of life.

When you are not yet a mother, it might scare you to bits, or excite you crazily.

When you are trying to achieve motherhood, it can be all consuming.

When you are pregnant … well, it may scare you to bits, or excite you crazily. Either way, everything looks differently to you.

When your child is born (or placed in your life by adoption), your world is turned up-side-down, and has spun off its axis. The magnitude of responsibility you hold in your arms becomes reality. You think you can never love anyone this much (until you have another child). Every other thing you do in live is less important. You are immediately less important.

Over time, the weight of the responsibility of motherhood can diminish other parts of us. We can get so concerned that they are clean, do their homework, eat their veggies, be kind to all people, and wear clean underwear (everyday), that we become goal focused, and lost out on one of the most important facets of parenting …

laughing together.

When I am cold with the emptiness of life’s breath, I do not want (nor do I expect) my kids to say,

“wasn’t it great that she cooked a variety of vegetables, so that we could each have something we liked?”


I want them to remember deep, belly laughs. I want them to remember joy. I want them to remember that I could forget my adulthood long enough to giggle in the quiet of church, to joke about putting a full dog poo bag in people’s mailboxes, to have tears of silliness falling from my face, when recalling the ridiculous events of our days.

I want them to remember that I laughed, and that they can remember laughing with me … that they always remember that.


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Good Mother

Mother’s Day is so … daunting, if you are a child.

Mother’s Day is so … stressful, if you are a husband of a mother (so my hubby says).

Mother’s Day is so … lonely, if you are a mom, whose child is not longer on this earth.

Mother’s Day is so … full of hurt, if motherhood has not happened for you.

Mother’s Day is so … beautiful, if you are blessed to be a mom (so, I say … no gifts required, but time together is always appreciated).

But for this blog, I write, not as a mom (as if that is possible), but as a daughter. And, this is a daunting thing to do.

When I think of my mom, I think of the words of a Jane Arden song, “Good Mother”:

“I’ve got money in my pocket,

I like the color of my hair 😉 ,

I’ve got a friend who loves me,

I’ve got a house, got a car,

I’ve got a good mother,

and her voice is what keeps me here”

But, what does ‘good mother’ mean to me, as I think about my mom?

She didn’t do it all right. She didn’t wear pearls, like June Cleaver. She didn’t have warm baked cookies for us when we came home from school. She didn’t read to us at bedtime every night. She didn’t keep her cool at all times. She didn’t drop what she was doing, every time I wanted her attention. She doesn’t always have wisdom to share (advice, though, … always). She didn’t work into the night sewing, and cleaning and whatever else that Proverbs 31 chick was supposed to do.

She is not perfect! Which is okay to me, because I am a mother, and I am so aware that ‘perfect’ and ‘mother’ do not go together (and surely, I was not perfect, as a daughter either).

But here is what she did right, in my mind:

She, despite being single and poor, chose to give birth to me.

She chose to marry, not just a man who would love her, but one who would be the best father to me, and to my brothers, that they would have in the years that followed.

She chose to do what she could, by caring for others children, to contribute financially to our family during the years when interest rates soared to near 20%.

She encouraged relationships with the parents of herself and our dad.

She celebrated … everything! If there was reason, there was cake!

She made birthdays special for my brothers and I.

She worked hard, with our dad, to maintain a marriage that has survived just over 40 years.

She loves us, all.

It would be so easy, too easy, to pick apart the problems, the mistakes, the weaknesses … the sins of our mother. But that does nothing to benefit anyone … that does nothing for her, that does nothing for us, for me.

She taught me to be honest, trustworthy, kind, sensitive and good to others, to be myself, and that it is a good thing to love God. I am, flaws and all, who I am because of my upbringing, because of my good mother. I believe my own children will only love me, in proportion to how I have modeled my love for my own mother. The jury is still out on how that is going to go.

But I know that I love her. I know that I respect her. I know that I could never know what it was to walk in her shoes, because I have been blessed to have grown up in a different time, with different parents, and different circumstances.

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she did the best she could, with the resources that were available to her. And I know that, one thing is for sure, she has loved me from my earliest beginnings and will until we part on this earth.

“I’ve got a good mother, and her voice is what keeps me here,

Feet on ground, heart in hand, facing forward,

Be yourself”

* this is a re-post from four years ago … but still so true.


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