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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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Friday, December 29, 2017


It seems appropriate as we close the year of 2017 to reflect.

I always find it fascinating at this time of year when media, especially in television and newspapers, recap the past year's events, and we get a picture of what just was.  Weather events, names in the news, and this last year of celebrating our wonderful country Canada come to mind.  Even Face Book is willing to do that for us on a more personal note, taking our pictures, and presenting them in a kaleidoscope of memories. 

Reflection and even analyzing has it's place, as we might review our goals and dreams.  Were there things we hoped for?  How did the unexpected impact us?  Was it a good year?

For some, it was marked by loss, and we hold that tenderly, as there are empty spaces at the table in our celebrations this year, people we  could not buy that special gift for, or create memories with.

For others it will be great joy, the birth of a child, falling in love, beautiful moments of life to be cherished.

I've made it a practice to choose a word each year to reflect on.  My word for 2017 was JOY.  As I thought about this word, and set out to practice the meaning of it, I have come to recognize that JOY cannot be manufactured.  No, rather it needs to be lived, it is a choice in the midst of life's messiness. 

And sometimes there is the great feelings of joy, and other times there is a decision to choose to be thankful, and grateful for the many blessings we share.  I am deeply blessed, and I know many of you feel the same.

As I was thinking about this word "Reflections", it can have another meaning.  We can reflect on the past, on our life, but we also are "reflections" of what we spend time with, whether that is positive or negative.  These are reflections of who we are.

We can reflect Love, or Peace, Hope or Joy.  I often think of the amazing fact that we are made in the image of the Creator, and do I reflect that?  This morning I was reading a devotional by Rob deCotes, where he quoted Colossians 3:10, which says, "Put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of it's Creator."

That was a confirmation for me as I reflected on these thoughts, and gave me food for my soul today. 

I've been thinking about my new word for 2018, but first I wanted to spend time on what I've learned.  This is always a good meditative exercise, to honestly look at our strengths and weaknesses.

It is a gift to experience God's grace and mercy in the midst of it all, and do I reflect that grace and mercy in the way I live? 

These are my reflections for today, as we close this year.

May your New year be rich, with the gifts that last; with love and grace and joy.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas is all about LOVE

Our language does not do justice to the word LOVE.

I often say "I love something", but depending on what I'm speaking of that love can mean many different things.

By now, if you follow these posts (and thank you for reading them!), you'll know I love the season of Advent.  Because it draws me into the deeper longings of the heart, and the waiting for the coming...Advent means Coming.  It also means the "Arrival", or the "Appearance".

Because Christmas comes, as it came that first Christmas long ago....LOVE came down, the fulfillment of a promise, the answer to the longings of the people's cry for a Messiah, a Saviour.

And yes, we know the story well, and yet we long for a world that isn't broken, where people truly LOVE one another.  We are comforted by the miracle of this precious baby, whom we find out is the promised Messiah, the great fulfillment of years of longing and waiting.  And before He left this earth for heaven, He gives us this wonderful promise that He will come again.  With that coming will come a world without pain, without sorrow, without war, without trouble.  I rather long for that.

Just as that first Christmas, we cannot fully grasp what that all means.  There is mystery to it.  And yet I know that I can trust in a God who loves me, who has walked with me for many years, I can testify that I have experienced this love in so many amazing ways.

I heard an interesting story this week that relates to Solstice.  This is the darkest time of the year, in our hemisphere, where we long for light, we wait for that turning, for the days to stretch. 

I will admit to you right now I didn't research this well, but my understanding is that those who chose the date of Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus, saw symbolism in choosing a day, three days after the darkest night.  It reflects the Easter story of the earth dark as Jesus dies and his followers mourned... and then the resurrection three days later!  This is the promised fulfilled!

However the story goes, what is true is that Christmas is all about Light in the very darkest of times.  It gives us Hope, it promises Peace, and fills us with Joy.  And truly, it is all about Love, that God should choose to put on human flesh and be with us.  That is the miracle of Emmanuel, which means God with us.

That is a gift of LOVE that can't be put into words. 

I was looking for LOVE verses this week, and you will find a couple of them embedded in this week's Advent drawing, the last one of this series.

 For God so Loved the world... found in John 3:16, my favourite verse as a child.
And one of my favourite chapters, the last part of Romans 8, where we learn that nothing can separate us from the LOVE of God. 
And Jeremiah writes... "I have loved you with an everlasting love!"

If nothing else this Advent season, I want to sit with that thought... I am truly loved by God.  Not for what I do, or what I've accomplished, or my correct theology, or how people see me.  None of that...

No, I'm loved by the One who created me, who loves me just as I am. 

with love, and a blessed Christmas to all,

oh, an extra little tidbit, there is an excellent blog by this lady who takes the LOVE chapter (1 Corinthians 13) and translates it into a Christmas meditation.  Check it out here!  Posted tonight by a friend, and I thought it was great:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Songs and Poems of Christmas

It is snowing outside as I write this, and I hear the skiers and outdoor enthusiasts rejoicing along with the children, and children at heart, who are longing for a white Christmas.  I'm happy for you!

I'm never that enthusiastic about snow, it might date back to a car accident years ago, where we were hit by a car, head-on, sliding out of control in a blizzard.  We were grateful it was a slow slide and other than bruises we were fine, although the car needed extensive repairs.  So be careful out there, if you are driving!

A few years back I wrote a piece called "No to Snow", mostly for amusement, but most who know me, know I'd rather be safe indoors, with a book, by the fireplace.

One of the most favourite fun Christmas songs is "Let it Snow, let it snow, let it snow!"  As I've pondered life this Christmas Season, I have a new version.  I'm singing "Let it Go, let it go, let it go!"

And as I sing that in jest, I'm always drawn to pause through this Christmas season... to let go of expectations, mostly of myself, of "perfection", of that perfect picture Christmas where all the family gathers, we all get along, everyone is healthy, and no matter how much sugar or calories we consume, we are calm and joyful.

Most of us know this is a false picture, but we long for it anyway.  At least I know I do, for the image is sold to us everywhere.  These images come from the movies we watch, the Christmas cards we buy, and the advertisers who are convinced they have the perfect gift options. Many of us carry long to-do lists  with plans to decorate, bake, shop, and then find time to experience or participate in all the extra activities.   And some of them are quite wonderful!

It was my privilege yesterday to bring a group of people to sing at one of our Care facilities.  We had not practiced, but brought the old carols, and read the familiar Christmas story from Luke 2.  It was a wonderful half an hour with these precious folks.  They knew the words... many of them sang.  One precious lady who is very well in body, perhaps more clouded in mind, joined the singers with her beautiful voice.  I could tell she had sang in choirs, perhaps led them.  And the joy she exuded and I felt, along with others, was Christmas to me.

The words of the Christmas carols are so beautiful.  My favourite is O Holy Night... where the second chorus reads:
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King!  Before him lowly bend.  

I sing this and I often am moved to tears...yes, He knows our need, and came in human form to Be with us...

I'll leave you with this poem I wrote a couple of years ago, it still echos the sentiment of my heart, as we enter this Christmas week.  I pray you have time to pause and ponder, to enjoy the moments, to still your hearts, in this season of love.

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

O Holy Night lyricist is poet Placide Cappearu 1909-1877, Adolphe Adam put it to music in 1847.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rejoice, yes, rejoice!

The dark gloom of winter overtook me,
 the grey skies,
with cold slivers of wind that  threatened to shake the fabric of my soul. 

This is the voice of depression, and if the statistics are right, a great deal of us will taste it in one way or another.  Some will hold it in, and carry on, living in pretense.

Others will reach out for help.

Most will feel misunderstood and very alone.  "Shaking it off", or "focusing on the positive" doesn't always cut it.

For this is the happy time of year, right? 

Recently I read a very powerful interview by Parker Palmer who is known for his wise writing and speaking.   He openly talks about his own depression, and has had three clinical episodes which were very dark times for him.  His sharing helped me a great deal, to understand those I know, and those I work with, who battle the dark night of the soul.  (You can follow the link for this interview)

I too can suffer from depression, and I don't use the word lightly.  Too often we don't acknowledge each others suffering.  We gloss over it, looking for the happy, the light.  It is simply easier.  We don't want to see, we don't want to acknowledge.  It is too painful.

Writing these thoughts can be vulnerable, but I have to be honest about it.  I am prone to depression, aware of it, and sometimes even frustrated with my melancholy soul.  And yet, I realize that it gives me the deep gift of compassion, of being able to sit with another and truly "get it". 

I am not a fixer... none of us are.  But I can be a companion to others who hurt in this grieving world.

If you've read thus far, you might think I might have messed up the title. 

But when I was working through my advent devotionals, and faced with drawing about JOY, it was a challenge for me!  Depression certainly had been lurking at my door, and I could name various triggers. 

So I looked for another word, as I starting researching the word "JOY".  And the word "rejoice" came up, and then this beautiful verse from the ancient book of Habakkuk.  He writes "Yet I will rejoice"... the emphasis on yet is mine.

This was God speaking to me, and I soaked it in.  "Yet" implies whatever you are going through, whatever your situation, however you are feeling, whatever the state of our world... yet I will rejoice! 

This is not a denial of present circumstances, but a wonderful choice to make in the midst of it.  When we choose joy, choose to trust, choose to rest in the arms of a God Who loves us, our perspective can change. 

When you think of the circumstances of that first Christmas, the world then was in turmoil.  The people ached with waiting for a Messiah, for relief of their circumstances.  And then skies blew open and angels appeared and there was this triumphal glimpse of God revealing holy wonder and calling us to Rejoice! 

Rejoice, because Emmanuel, God is with us!  We are not alone.  This is an action verb, a call to action not based on feeling.  I can sing the carols and mean it.  This is not a denial of suffering.  No, it is a medicine for the soul, a lifting of the heart. 

I'm grateful for the gift of Advent... the yearning, the waiting, the conversations about peace.  And rejoicing that God our creator is a provider for all we need.  So, rejoice! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Not So Silent Night

The blog I wrote a few years (2012) ago has become a favourite of mine, and I re-read it each year and it still rings true.  So I offer it again tonight, as an extra blog post for this week, as we continue to think about peace in our broken world...

Silent Night

   I woke up to the sound of sirens.  It happens often; we live on a hill, and the sounds of sirens often echo in the valley below.  It seems to happen regularly in the wee hours of the morning; and I start the day with a prayer as I wonder who might be hurting, who might be frightened, for the paramedics who rush in to help.

  Sometimes I drift off, but usually I am half awake until the radio alarm jars my half-dreaming, and mercifully my hubby reaches to turn it off.  I'm not quite ready for the days news and love to nestle in and enjoy the quiet.

  Most of our lives are not quiet.  The TV blares, and sounds of cell phones, and chatter and traffic and machines of all descriptions color our days.

  And I think about that much loved Christmas Carol, Silent Night, and wonder - was it really so quiet?  If you listen in your head, you can hear the donkey's braying and the sheep bleating, and if your senses are really tuned, the barnyard smells drift in.  Perhaps a rooster crows in the distance.  The sound of large groups of people gathering, taxes to be paid and a bustling unsettled community there to do Caesar Augustus' bidding.

  And then you hear it, the mother's gasps of pain, the baby's cry.  A Saviour is born.  It is romantic to us, looking back from the twenty-first century, etched on ornaments, painted on cards, sold in a million varieties, the nativity how ever you want it!

  But I think it was far from romantic that night.  It was sweat and tears and noise and smells, and in the middle of all of it... unspeakable joy.  So full of joy that the heavens opened and angels sang!  Hardly silent, I think!!

  So where is the silence?  In this waiting for Christmas, this beginning of Advent Season, I long, more than ever for the stillness of my heart.  To stop, to listen, to rest.  I was reading a devotional this morning by Rob Descotes from Psalm 46:10, which says  "Be still... and know that I am God."  I've been thinking about that all day... Descotes suggests that these words were given as a command in the midst of chaos, of war... and God was reminding them that He was in control...

   And I thought... how appropriate.  In the middle of the chaos of the First Christmas there was a far greater plan... and in my life, in all of life, there is a bigger plan.  God says to me... Be still...there is holy silence in the midst of all the noise and distractions.

  So, "Silent Night"... as we enter into this which can be the busiest of seasons, full of noise and hustle and expectations and spending, and overindulging... I just want to stop.  To savor the silence, to be grateful for all the gifts life brings, to be thankful for a God who sends a little baby to be human, just like us, so that we can be known and loved by a God who cares.  I quiet my heart... and listen.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Peace Offerings


Unattainable in our world?

I'm still hanging on to hope, and with that hope
can I cultivate
the seed of peace?

I've been thinking about the gifts we bring, and I have always loved gift-giving.
When I was a young girl, one of my favourite Christmases was wrapping little gifts for everyone and hanging them on the Christmas tree. 

This gift giving and the hanging of gifts, even as a young teen, was symbolic of my faith... Jesus, who I loved, had given the gift of life, of love, and had "hung" on a tree... this ultimate gift-giving impacted my soul. 

Now, as a grown-up, I love that I can "give" the gift of words, or simple drawings to express my faith. 

I love the advent words, the words we focus on during this waiting season.  They too are gifts we can give to one another.

So many people need the gift of hope.  I know I do some days, when things seem hard.  And then someone gives me a loving hug, or a word of encouragement, and hope renews my soul, quickens my step.

We will enter the second week of advent with the gift of peace.  And yes, some days it seems unattainable.  But the choice to be a peacemaker, to live peaceably, to give the gift of peace is always mine to give. 

I've been drawing about peace, and ended up with two little pieces.  The first one depicts a globe, and the image of being held by God.  There is that hope of peace, peace that surpasses our understanding.  That is the kind of peace that produces calm in the storm, and brings quiet to the troubled heart.