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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.
I'm honored you stopped by to listen to my thoughts and ponderings - and if you have a minute sometime, let me know you dropped by!

You can also find me on Facebook at Grace Notes, Thoughts and Prayers.

I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Poetry for Christmas

This time of year I find myself looking for resources for Christmas events and services, and I have created some of my own.  It seems like a good time to share them!

Sometimes I just like to write about the weather!  :-)
Us Canadians are good at that, it is a common theme and topic for our conversations.  And right now, it is very very cold.

So I wrote this:

On a Cold December Morning

We wake in the dark
Early winter morning

As we stare out the windows
Christmas lights blinking
in the shadowed
vapoured mist.

Frost creeping
up those windows

and darkness fades
to muted light
through clouded panes
of glass.

A world of greys
   and shades of blue
with glimmering sparkles
of Christmas

It's cold.
We dress in layers
Wrapping up
Insulating against
 the bite
      of winter.

A snug inside day
Hot steamy drinks
And the warm glow
  of the fireplace
Cookies in the oven
 and the inviting smells
of Christmas.

these are the moments
  that make memories
warm and dry
  on a cold
Canadian December day.

- Grace Wulff 2016

I wrote this next short poem last year and it is part of my new little booklet: Poetry for the Heart, inspired by the Seasons.

Christmas Comes

In all the hurrying
In all the scurrying
For some even the worrying
   Christmas comes.

Right on time.

And as I let go
And shift
From the doing

To the being.

Enjoying the moments
cherishing each one
who enriches our lives.

May the love of Christmas
The hope of Christmas
Bring you peace and joy.

-Grace Wulff 2015

And the last poem I will share here is one I wrote for a Christmas Service:

A Not so Merry Christmas

They say “Merry Christmas”
but not all is so bright
somewhere there are soldiers in terrible plight
somewhere there is a child who is hungry and cold
And doesn’t know Christmas the way it is told.
There are those who are grieving someone who has died
And the empty space in their hearts cannot be denied
Oh they say “Merry Christmas”
but not all are well,
For those who are sick, in body and soul
Christmas can definitely take a great toll.
And yet, if you think to that first Christmas morn
Not all was that merry before Christ was born.
Mary and Joseph a long journey to take
A baby was coming, much was at stake
No room to be found, no comforts of home
The Christ child was born in the midst of a barn
The mystery of Christmas, that God would be man
Could Mary and Joseph really understand?
We look back to that Christmas with awe and with wonder
And like Mary, we stop and we ponder
Perhaps the true Christmas begins in the heart
Not always merry, but where hope finds its start
There is hope in the Christ child,
And faith, peace and love
May the true spirit of Christmas
Touch us from above.
  –Grace Wulff  December 24 2011

If you resonate with these poems you are welcome to use them.  I do appreciate that you acknowledge the author and let me know how you have used them.. 

I have blogged pretty regularly once a week, but will take a break now until the new year.  So if you receive these posts, I want to extend my warmest greetings through this Christmas Season, and may the warmth and light and love that God brings be very close to you this coming year!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Extravagant Gifts

I've been the recipient of a number of gifts lately - extravagant gifts!

Some of them have been for my workplace, the hospital where I serve as a chaplain.   Recently I was given a number of quilts, and I am always amazed at the women who quilt in our community.  Beautiful hand-crafted labors of love, and I am usually the one who hands them out!  There are no words for gifts like these, simply gratitude.  Others bring me shawls, prayerfully made, and the impact for those who receive these comfort gifts is precious.

A few weeks ago a parcel arrived at my door.  It was a big box, from my dear friend who lives on the island.  It was heavy!  And I wondered... what could it be?  And inside it was LOADED with her precious little books for children, and a pile of crayons and pencil crayons.  Her generosity filled me with delight!

It is such a pleasure to provide colouring books, crayons, and stuffed toys for children at the hospital.  These are all gifts, generous gifts.  Another group has created bags for me to put them in!

Other grandmothers lovingly put together bags of toiletries for those who need it in the ER.  The gifts are never-ending...

This Sunday (tomorrow as I write this) is the third Sunday of Advent.  And I've been thinking about Joy!  Joy often comes in the midst of challenges, and brightens our lives.

One of the bookmarks I made this year was a bookmark about Strength.  I've handed out many of these bookmarks, and spoken on this subject a couple of times this past summer.  The bookmark includes beautiful scripture verses, reminding us that even in our weakness God gives us perfect strength.

So it was a great surprise one day when I arrived at the hospital chapel to find a parcel with my name on it.  I love surprises!  And inside was this amazing little box... with the artwork from that bookmark etched on it.

I was moved to tears... that someone, who chose to remain anonymous, would give me such an extravagant gift.  I was encouraged and thrilled.  And grateful that this powerful word - strength - had also impacted another, and was inspiration for such a lovely art project.

The verse on the bottom right reads:  
"For my grace is sufficient for you... for my power is made perfect in weakness."  1 Cor 12:9  
I have experienced the truth of this, over and over again!

 ....and then I have to tell you about the boots.

We went to Banff recently for a conference.  Another dear friend was concerned about my footwear in the mountains.  So she generously offered to loan me her boots.  She thought they would be better than my options.  :-)

I was a little hesitant to accept.  Her boots, especially the RED ones were beautiful and funky and fun.  But I said yes, gratefully, and took them to Banff.  I wore them only once, and they were comfortable, and I felt, well quite fashionable!!

I returned them the following week... with gratefulness for her generosity.

A couple of weeks went by... and I was home recovering from a minor surgical procedure on my back.  To be honest, I had a mole removed, and I was feeling a little sore... but it also triggered a lot of memories... my first hubby died of melanoma... and in 2000 I had a melanoma removed as well.  I get a little edgy around suspicious spots.

And even as I tried to let it be, to rest in God's care for me, I felt fragile that day.

So I sat there... that afternoon and a delivery truck drove up.  "I didn't order anything" I told my hubby, but he said... it's for you!  And inside?  My very own pair of red boots.

Such an extravagant gift.  I knew immediately my dear friend had ordered them for me.  And again, I was moved to tears.

And I thought about God, who loves me so, who loves each one, how well God knew I needed some extra care that day.  The timing of such a lovely gift could not have been better.

So I wear my red boots... and laugh!  Because it is fun, because I have lovely extravagant friends, and a God who lavishes love on me when I need it most.

And I need to say... my spot was completely benign, as I found out ten days later, and I was so very grateful all over again.

This is rather personal... but I think we all need encouragement.  And I am again inspired to be generous, to give extravagantly, to live life with joy.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Peace in a Troubled World

I light the candle of Peace.
And I long for it to burn fiercely.

If I look at history, or current world affairs, peace seems illusive, a wonderful sentiment this time of year, and one I love to use on my Christmas cards.

For while we sit in our comfortable homes, and enjoy warmth and good food I am also more aware of those around the world who have so much less.  I think of the stories I've read this week about Allepo and other parts of the world.  My electronics bring the world into my living space and there are scenes I can't erase from my mind.

We've all endured the troubled times of the US election, and even us Canadians have felt the angst, the division, and the uncertainty of our future.  I think of Standing Rock today, where 500 faith leaders will join the peaceful protesters, and no matter what "side" you are on, there doesn't seem to be any peaceful solutions, but a war of wills.

And just the preceding paragraph will ignite passion no matter what side you are on.  People in families, sitting down to eat Christmas dinner and many deeply divided.

Peace on Earth? It seems a scarce commodity.

I love that Bible verse from Romans 12 which says: "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." 

Yes, peace begins with me.  I light my candle and join it to yours.

There are many glimmers of hope, and I am grateful for faith.

And so I sang with gusto this morning:

"He is our Peace... who has broken down every wall!
Cast all your Care on Him... for He cares for you!"

The song refers to Jesus, of course, also known as the Prince of Peace.  He came as a little baby, helpless, in an upside down world.  God's ways are not ours, and I'm grateful there is a greater picture, and a promise of Peace for all time.

That is where faith comes in.

And in the meantime, I light this candle.  I choose to live a life of peace.

Peace to you, in this special Advent Season.