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Welcome to my blog! Of course if we were visiting in person, I'd have the teapot out and we could sit and chat.
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Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Little Kindness

  I am grateful for kindness.  We have experienced it in many ways in the last days as friends brought food, sent cards, gave hugs, and just listened.  To be at the receiving end of such love is humbling, and a beautiful thing.

  As I pondered these acts of kindness, I've been also saddened lately by many posts on Facebook... enough to make me wonder why I hang out there anyway.

  And perhaps it is because I am addicted (I hope not!), but mostly I know it is because I love connections... and although I will pick up the phone and I love to hear your voice, sometimes just seeing someone on Facebook can remind us of our friendship, give us cause to respond to, be happy with, cheer on, or even sorrow with...  Social media is a powerful thing, and part of our contemporary world.

  But what makes me sad, and even angry, is the unkind posts, the judgments, the opinions that are demeaning and rude.

  I know I come from another era than the youth of today, (yes, here it goes!), but I remember as a young child in school having utmost respect for teachers and leaders.  Oh I knew, even then that I might not agree with them all, or follow them in lifestyle or whatever, but by nature of their position, I treated them with respect.  That was ingrained in me by my parents, and by our culture at the time.

  How things have changed....

  I cringe every time I see a post of our Prime Minister that is degrading and rude. Or any other leader.   Saying this does NOT make me a conservative.

  What saddens me even more is the mud-flinging and nasty comments that some Christians throw at one another. Or demeaning pictures or derogatory posts.   I've always believed we who call ourselves Christian (and I prefer to be identified as a Christ-follower), should be known for our love.  In fact, that is pretty biblical.

  In fact, I heard the other day that one of the main reasons people are leaving the "church" or are disillusioned with Christianity is the inability of Christians to get along.  How very sad.

  Instead we seem to often polarize ourselves into camps, and surely, I am in the right one.  For example, as Tony Compolo once jested about baptism..... you can do it your way, but we do it "God's way!".  That always makes me smile... because with a zillion denominations out there, there are many ways to interpret what God says... and I think there will be a few surprises when we get to heaven.

  Bottom line for Christians... we are to love God, and love one another...words from Jesus.  No room for unkindness there...

  And Paul's words from Ephesians say it well too:  "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." 

  So yeah, this is a bit of a rant, and I'll close with one of my very favourite sayings.... "If you can't say anything nice... don't say it at all!!"  And don't post it either!!

  And that being said... most of my friends who will read this are very kind...and I appreciate you!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

In the Midst Of

  I don't care for roller-coasters.  Mostly for the fact that you can't excuse yourself when you please.  No... you are there for the enduring, terrifying, breath-taking ride.

  Now my braver friends might disagree, but I will remain firm on that one.  No roller-coasters for me.  The last time I went on a hair-raising ride was at the West Edmonton Mall, and I believe my children, most of them tweens at the time, got more entertainment watching me turn green.

  I was thinking about roller-coasters today, because sometimes life is just that... a roller-coaster, and we don't have an excuse me card... no, one goes with the dips and curves and never knows what is around the corner...and there are times I say to God, I could use a little bit of "boring", please...

  And perhaps I am meant to learn something... and I am.  Lately the phrase "in the midst of" has struck a chord in my brain.  Because when life is chaotic, and full, and demanding, and precious, and there is more to do than there is energy for... where do I go?

  I saw a good book review the other day called "Sacred Pauses - Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal" by April Yamasaki, and I put it on my wish list.  This idea of "Sacred Pauses", is similar to what I have been trying to practice lately... and I am inspired to pursue taking these moments to create pauses "in the midst of" life.

  Because slowing down, even for a few moments.... and I'm talking about brain activity here, as well as physical... is so good for my soul.

  Sometimes it is about breathing... to willingly slow down my breath, to take deep breaths and let them exhale.  Sometimes I practice this with patients at the hospital, especially when they are anxious or afraid.  Breath in God's love... God's peace... let it permeate you... soak it in, and breath out the fear.  I find this kind of breath prayer so very helpful.  And it takes my focus from fear to faith.

  Another area in which I struggle (and I may as well be honest), is just to take time for a daily walk.  When life is full, it is often the first thing to go... and yet, how I need it.  For physical well-being, for fresh-air, for a change of pace.  It is my goal to walk every day.  You might want to check up on me!

  Art and music, I believe are gifts God gave us that help us pause... Lately I've been doodling again.  This calms my mind.  Fifteen minutes is all I need, a good art pen and a piece of paper.  It brings a calm to my brain.  We are all created differently... but creating time for art, for music, for a puzzle, all are very practical ways to still the active mind.

  We listen each day to a devotional called "Pray as You Go".  I believe it is designed for people on the move, those who are commuting, on the train, walking, whatever.  It is simple... just access the web-site and play.  Or I find I can pray prayers or recite the psalms or something uplifting when I am on the move... walking or driving, or working...a spiritual pause in the midst of....

  So this writing was my pause today... as I prepare for a busy weekend, and work down my "to-do" list... because it is good to share how God wants to be daily presence, every day...in the midst of our lives.



Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Simplest of Prayers

  I have been ruminating about this blog post all week... and then praying became more important than the writing...

  And sometimes the praying is of the simplest of kinds... a cry for help.  I had remembered a lovely message from an elderly Lutheran preacher I heard years ago at a conference for widows and widowers, he a widower himself.  And he said, the simplest of prayers can be "HELP!".

  That stayed with me, and sometimes when I am without words, this too is the cry of my heart.  And sometimes it is that in-between time, when there are more questions than answers, where there is more dark than light, where we wonder how we are going to make it through.... and we cry for help!

  Perhaps it is appropriate that I write it today, this Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the dark of night Jesus' friends and disciples must have felt after his death.  Surely this wasn't how it was to turn out!!!!  And of course we know, but they didn't then... that Sunday was coming...

  Last Sunday, as we sang our Hosannas, we sang with weary and sad hearts... my hubby's brother just in heaven, and though we rejoiced for his freedom from pain, we were sad.  And our pastor told us that the cry of Hosanna actually means... "Help me, Rescue Me!".

  And I thought how appropriate, for those were the words I had heard earlier in the week... "Help Me!"... and my heart was moved...and God in his mercy reached down and took him home...

  This week another family crisis... a little grandson ill, and I sick at heart, so far away.  Sometimes you just want to wrap your family in your arms and hold them close... and my prayers all week have been cries for mercy.  Hosanna prayers...

  And I truly think God is fine with this... yes, there is many thankful prayers, and grateful prayers, and prayers of praise.  But as a child runs to their parent and cries out "Help Me!", I believe God is full of compassion and wants to comfort us in our weakness.

  The simplest of prayers, often just a breath.  "Help Me!"  "Lord, have mercy!", "Hosanna!"

And we are grateful.... that Sunday is coming!