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Gratitude Fridays Archives

August 7, 2009

Gratitude Friday...where to begin?

I recently found out about a wonderful idea of Diana Strinati Baur's called Gratitude Fridays. I found out about her idea through Sandra's and Nancy's blogs and thought how fantastic and uplifting, I must be part of this club! Diana challenges fellow bloggers to take a moment each Friday to say what we are grateful for, and to link back to her blog, where she will host a list of all those participating in The Gratitude Friday Club.

So here is my first Gratitude Friday entry...although I have so much to be grateful for, I hardly know where to start!

I am grateful...

...for my awesome husband and soulmate, Dave. Our 22nd anniversary is tomorrow and, after all these years, I think he knows me better than I do...he even understands my inner child moments! He gives me space, he holds me close, his presence makes me feel grounded and safe and unconditionally loved. (And he's really good to snuggle with when watching scary movies!)
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...for my gorgeous, talented, amazing daughters, M and Sara. I am so proud of them both. ♥
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...for my mom and my sister (but I need some updated photos, so they will reappear another Friday)

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...where to begin?" »

August 14, 2009

Gratitude Friday...my mother and my sister

As I mentioned last week, Diana Strinati Baur had a wonderful idea to start a Gratitude Friday Club...she challenged fellow bloggers to take a moment each Friday to say what we are grateful for, and to link back to her blog, where she has a list of some of those participating in The Gratitude Friday Club.)


Today, and always, I am grateful for...


...my Mom, a strong, independent, beautiful, intelligent, warm and loving woman. My sister Lynn and I often marvel at Mom's unflappable patience and understanding...she never takes things personally and is always able to shed new light on any problems we share with her. And she is fun to be around, with her great sense of humour and openness to new experiences! We gather at her house after church most Sundays and engage in conversations ranging from serious to silly.
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...my sister Lynn, another strong, independent, beautiful, intelligent, warm and loving woman. What words can describe our connection? We have shared everything from friendship to fights (hey, what sisters haven't had a brawl or ten during the course of growing up together?!) She has come to my rescue when I found myself in awkward situations. She has provided a much needed shoulder in times of tears, and laughed with me after the tears subsided. She has, in turn, leaned on me when she needed support. We have a lifetime of inside jokes that provoke spontaneous giggle fits...we don't have to say anything to know that we are having the same foolish thought. Occasionally something strikes our funnybones at time when laughter would be untoward, and we have not dared make eye contact because we knew if we did so, we'd be unable to contain ourselves!
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August 21, 2009

Gratitude Friday...music

Each Friday, I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog. Diana is the founder of the Gratitude Friday Club, and has a list of the club members on her blog...check them out too, your heart will be lifted by the wonderful expressions of gratitude! And if you're inspired to do so, leave me a comment and let me know what you are grateful for today.

Today I am feeling grateful for music. As I commented to my blog friend Kathy recently, music has such power to lift our hearts. There are way too many songs that I could include in this entry, but just finished listening to Dobie Grey's amazing version of Drift Away, so that's what I've chosen.



I love the words to this song. I feel like a broken record saying that yet another song feels like a love song to God, but...I sing the words, that last verse especially, and my heart is filled with the power, the presence, the light of the Spirit...the light through the pouring rain.

I thank God for filling this world with music...the music of voices, of instruments, of nature...the rhythm and rhyme and harmony


Lyrics to Drift Away, written by Mentor Williams:

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...music" »

August 28, 2009

Gratitude Friday...flowers

Each Friday, I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog. Diana is the founder of the Gratitude Friday Club, and has a list of the club members on her blog...check them out too, your heart will be lifted by the wonderful expressions of gratitude!

(My apologies for being late this week...I'm backdating to Friday, but am really posting this on Saturday...oops!)

I am grateful for flowers (who isn't?!) Their beauty ranges from delicate pastel shades to bold splashes of brilliant colour. Doesn't it lift your heart to see the first blooms of spring after all the white and grey and brown of winter? Wildflowers are my favourites. Here in Nova Scotia, we are blessed with a wealth of wild flowers...Queen Anne's lace and buttercups and daisies spreading across fields, lady's slippers and trilliums hiding in the woods, water lilies floating in ponds, blue flag irises tucked into the edges of marshes, lupins run rampant along roadsides. Many of our wild flowers are considered weeds by many people, but I love them. Unfortunately, they are hard to capture on film...they end up looking scraggly in photos, instead of vibrantly full of life, or else I simply don't have my camera along when I come across these lovely jewels of nature.

Most of the following photos are of cultivated beauty, but still...aren't they glorious!? :)

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...flowers" »

September 4, 2009

Gratitude Friday...laughter

As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog. Diana is the founder of the Gratitude Friday Club, and has a list of the club members on her blog...check them out too, your heart will be lifted by the wonderful expressions of gratitude!

I have such a hard time choosing just one thing each Friday! Today I am feeling grateful for laughter. Grateful for those moments when the bubbles of joy in my heart erupt out loud in a roar of laughter, over something utterly foolish or silly, over a shared joke or a private amusement. Laughter shakes the body, rocks the soul, lifts the heart. The wonderfully healing moments when I suddenly see the humour in a situation that had been causing frustration. Laughter really is contagious...who can be around a laughing friend and not feel your own laughter bubbling up inside?

Rabindranath Tagore said: "the burden of the self is lightened with I laugh at myself." So true. How much lighter my self, my soul, feels when I am able to laugh at myself. The moment I can laugh at my insecurities is the moment they cease to have power...of course sometimes it is a long time before I can laugh at a particular feeling, but when I can, it brings such a lightness to my heart. When I voice aloud the insecurities of my inner child and in naming them, am able to see the absurdity in them and laugh them away...ah, what freedom that brings!

Laughter is such a wonderful reflection of joy, when something tickles our funny bone or utterly delights our soul in a way that cannot be expressed except in a wordless burst of laughter. Whatever the reason that prompts any particular outburst, I am grateful for laughter, without which life would be unbearable!

It's so rare to capture a burst of true laughter on film, we are usually holding on our faces a self-conscious smile while waiting for the photo to be taken. But, I scanned through my albums and happily came across a few wonderful images of laughter to share with you.

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
~e.e. cummings
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Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...laughter" »

September 11, 2009

Gratitude Friday...Faith

I am so grateful to have faith in God and feel the presence of the Spirit in my world. Grateful for the expansive sense of joy and uplifting power when my heart is singing with happiness and laughter, grateful for the embrace of comfort and strength when my heart feels laden with burdens too heavy to bear alone. I am grateful to have found a church family with whom I can celebrate this faith openly, grateful to have found a place in our choir so I can worship through song. (Although, truth be told, sometimes choir practice is an exercise in frustration and negativity as a few people, I think, lose sense of the reason we are singing in their quest for perfection. But I just keep reminding myself of the joy I feel when singing on Sunday mornings to a very appreciative congregation. They are not nearly as critical as we can be ourselves, and seem to love our performances, imperfections and all!)

But, back to the faith issue...I could write volumes, but will simply say that trusting in God, and opening my heart through prayer, has helped me through some painful experiences the past year or two, and has also led me to a deeper appreciation of my world and all its wonders. I take time more often to marvel at the glories of creation, to feel a sense of connectedness with everything around me, to embrace and celebrate diversity. I find it easier to deal with pain and sorrow...well maybe it's not exactly easier, but I do find that emotional healing comes faster when I allow myself to be strengthened by God's love.

I realize not everyone feels the same way, and that's fine. I recall fellow blogger Jill once saying that her father taught her that it was ok not to believe in God. Which I thought was interesting, since I had to find my way to a place where it is ok to believe in God. But regardless of anyone else's faith or beliefs (or lack thereof), I am incredibly grateful for my own!

I am also grateful for gifted poets like Tagore, who can capture such incredible wisdom in so few words...


The Grasp Of Your Hand


Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,

but to be fearless in facing them.


Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but

for the heart to conquer it.


Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,

but hope for the patience to win my freedom.


Grant me that I may not be a coward, feeling

Your mercy in my success alone; but let me find

the grasp of Your hand in my failure.


~ Rabindranath Tagore from The Heart of God


For some unknown reason, I always feel the presence of God very strongly when gazing at a sunset...all those radiant colours in the sky reminding me of the vast complexity and beauty of the universe. Here is the sunset I was blessed with a couple nights ago:

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And, as always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog. Diana is the founder of the Gratitude Friday Club, and has a list of the club members on her blog...check them out too, your heart will be lifted by the wonderful expressions of gratitude.

September 18, 2009

Gratitude Friday...community

It's been a long day and a long draining week...I am still grateful for so many things. The renewed light in my beautiful Sara's eye, the wondrous glories of Creation I see around me every day, the uplifting and soul-filling strains of music that fill my ears, the affectionate purr and "chatter" of my big boy cat Winston, the comfort of Dave's arms, the way the Spirit occasionally graces my writing so that it touches and lifts someone's heart, seeing my best friend's face light up when we meet, seeing my sister filled with laughter and contentment in the company of her new boyfriend, and the laughter on the lips of my daughter M, my niece and their friends this evening at Lynn's party.

I am also grateful for the amazing communities to which I belong.

The intimate community of my family, in whose arms I feel the strength, courage and power that comes from being unconditionally loved. The community of people who fill my life, my heart, my soul.

The caring and fun community of folks with whom I am blessed to spend my working days. It is wonderful being able to come in to work each morning looking forward to seeing these friends.

My larger faith community with whom I joyfully worship, and who come together to support one another in so many ways. I am grateful to be a part of this church family, to contribute in ways such as knitting prayer shawls and adding my voice to choir. I am especially grateful that I am often able to join the ecumenical choir for funeral services. It is a great honour and privilege to lift the hearts of grieving families through song.

My blogging community, through which I have made some wonderful connections. In spite of never having met my blog friends in person (except for dear Maria!), I feel like I know many of them quite well. I am grateful for their warmth and caring through some rough patches, and grateful that my own blog has bytimes given them strength in return. Links to my favourite blogs are on my sidebar, blogs through which I have been inspired, amused, entertained and enlightened. Thanks my friends!

Found this image online when I googled community...I love it:

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As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog. Diana is the founder of the Gratitude Friday Club, and has a list of the club members on her blog...check them out too, your heart will be lifted by the wonderful expressions of gratitude.

September 25, 2009

Gratitude Friday...hugs

I am infinitely grateful for that small but mighty act of love called HUG. What a rush of comfort, strength, and belonging floods through us when we are wrapped in the embrace of someone we love. I honestly can't say which is more wonderful, getting a hug or giving a hug! In moments when words just can't be found, what a blessing that our body language can come to the rescue with a hug. ♥


Millions and millions of years would still not give me half enough time to describe that tiny instant of all eternity when you put your arms around me and I put my arms around you.
~ Jacques Prévert


Hugs Graphics


Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism.
~ Leo Buscaglia

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...hugs" »

October 2, 2009

Gratitude Friday...tea

I read this quotation on my friend Barb's blog earlier in the week, and it inspired today's entry:

Find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things.
~ Saki

Well I'm not going to tell you hundreds of things, but I will tell you one story. The story of how my favourite tea came to be called "crappy tea"...

Once upon a time...I was picking up some produce at Avery's Farm Market and I noticed that they carried a few types of Just Us! tea. One in particular, called Organic Lemon & Honey, sounded very tasty, so I picked up a box to try. It was indeed tasty, so the next time I was at Avery's, I picked up a box for my friend Valerie, too.

Sometime later...I was at her house chatting with her husband Mark. (We have a running joke that he's my "real" friend, because of all the times I've ended up visiting him in her absence when she's been called away for some pastoral emergency or another. Valerie once said it was really a friendship test...if I could put up with her goofy husband, I must be a true friend! In truth, I enjoy his company very much and have grown enormously fond of him, especially after we all spent so much time together in Newfoundland.) Anyway this particular day, Mark asked if I wanted coffee or tea or anything. I said a cup of tea would be lovely, and followed him into the kitchen. He said, "do you want regular tea, or [picking up a box from the counter] this crappy tea?" It was, of course, the box of lemon & honey tea that I'd left at their house on a previous visit. I laughed and replied, "Hey, I brought that crappy tea! And yes, I will have a cup of that crappy tea, thank you very much!" So I had a lovely cup of crappy tea, and we carried on with our visit.

Naturally I had to share this story with Valerie when next I saw her and, as I knew she would, she found it just as funny as I did. And so Just Us! Lemon & Honey tea is now, and will forevermore be, referred to as "crappy tea" in our little world. The incident hadn't stuck in Mark's head at all though because a few months later, Valerie and I were talking about having crappy tea and he asked why do we always call it that. "Well (snicker, snicker), you started it", we replied...and reminded him of the story.

Just the other day, I read the back of the box...
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...and discovered that, lo these past many months, I've been using an improper technique - gasp - henceforth, I shall stop swishing the teabag about and instead patiently wait for the flavours to unfold as it steeps.

Today, I am grateful for the relaxing warmth of tea, for the many stories shared over cups of tea, (for inside jokes!), and for the wonderful metaphor tea provides for living: that it is best enjoyed when all its delicious flavours and aromas are allowed to unfold and mingle as they will...


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As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog, where you will find links to the other Gratitude Friday Club. Let your heart be warmed and lifted as their stories of gratitude unfold...

October 9, 2009

Gratitude Friday...cats

A short and sweet note of gratitude today...I am grateful for cats.

The dog may be wonderful prose, but only the cat is poetry.
~French Proverb

These wonderful little creatures bring such joy and comfort into our lives (along with furballs and clawed up furniture and constant demands to be let in-and-out and in-and-out!) There is something inexplicably soothing about the presence of a cat. Their individual personalities are a source of amusement (or should I say bemusement?!), wonder and delight.

Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience.
~Pam Brown

Here is our regal Winston, who has laid claim to my pretty butterfly rug:
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And when our feline friends lean into our arms and grace us with purring...ah, whose heart is not flooded with warmth and love?

Are we really sure the purring is coming from the kitty and not from our very own hearts?
~Emme Woodhull-Bäche, translated

If purring could be encapsulated, it'd be the most powerful anti-depressant on the pharmaceutical market.
~Alexis F. Hope

If we treated everyone we meet with the same affection we bestow upon our favorite cat, they, too, would purr.
~Martin Buxbaum

If there were to be a universal sound depicting peace, I would surely vote for the purr.
~Barbara L. Diamond


M and our tiny Polly, doing her best impersonation of a scarf:
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Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...cats" »

October 15, 2009

Gratitude Friday...silence

This week's entry wrote itself...and a day early at that!

It all began with my friend Valerie's weekly email to her church family. (For those who don't already know this, Valerie is the minister at my church, which is how we came to know each other and then grew into being best friends.)

Anyway, her email went like this (with the reminders of upcoming events edited out):

"Good morning

Welcome to those new families joining us this week in Thursday Thoughts! My list keeps growing which is absolutely wonderful! Last night, a friend of mine brought a book by Kahlil Gibran and dropped it off at the office. It was one that I saw at her house and really wanted to read. Gibran might be familiar to many or most of you and, while I knew of him for a long time, I had not really read anything until this past year or so. He has become one of my favourites. Most mornings I begin with a time of reflection and reading and so today I opened up Gibran and began to flip through my eyes fell on the chapter entitled From Beautiful and Rare Sayings – 1923, this is what I read:


“My soul counselled me and charged me to listen for voices that rise neither from the tongue nor the throat. Before that day I heard but dully, and naught save clamour and loud cries came to my ears;

But now I have learned to listen to silence, to hear its choirs singing the songs of the ages, chanting the hymns of space, and disclosing the secrets of eternity”


As I read I was drawn to the line from the psalms that says “Be still and know…” How often we get caught up in the clamour of day to day life and so surrounded by noise that we miss the beauty, wonder and peace that lies just beneath the surface in those moments of deep silence. My prayer for each of you this day is that somewhere in the midst of chaos you will take a moment to breathe deeply and listen to the silence and experience the possibilities that lie there."

Blessings
Valerie

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...silence" »

October 16, 2009

Gratitude Friday...silence (part 2)

I listened to Simon and Garfunkle's The Sound of Silence this morning, and am inspired to write a second gratitude entry this week!


I think there is much truth in the lyrics to this song...the metaphoric words of the prophets are most often written in places where we forget to look, and whispered in the silences we don't take time to listen to.

This song about the sound of silence kind of ties in with my previous entry, although a different way of listening to the silence. Not listening for your own sake, but listening for others. Listening for the voices of those who have grown silent, weary of having their words fall on deaf ears. Those of us living lives of wealth and privilege do too often bow and pray as lip service only. We go to church on Sunday morning, we hear the words about what we are called to do, but we do not always listen, and certainly we do not always act. In fact, we often simply return to our comfy lives and think no more about the ways in which we might help others, or the ways in which we might change the world. In fairness, it is hard to sustain a belief that one person can make a difference, so we get disheartened and feel helpless and overwhelmed at the size of the problems facing our world.

I am grateful for an employer who is engaged in charitable efforts, who offers us opportunities to respond with action. One such opportunity arose last week, when volunteers were requested to participate in the United Way Day of Caring. I, and several others from my department (I work for the provincial government) were allowed time off to volunteer and were assigned to a work team that would be painting sections of a men's shelter owned by the Metropolitan Immigration Settlement Association (MISA). A small act of helping, but every small act is a step in the right direction. Here is the story, and a couple photos of our team.

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...silence (part 2)" »

October 23, 2009

Gratitude Friday...rainbows

I am grateful for rainbows...

This morning, in particular, I am incredibly grateful for the rainbow that arched across the sky above my backyard. The graceful curve and brilliant colours brightened my cloudy heart.


I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
~ Genesis 9:13 (NIV)
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Leroy bet me I couldn't find a pot of gold at the end, and I told him that was a stupid bet because the rainbow was enough.
~ Rita Mae Brown
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Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.
~ Lord Byron
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What a privilege to be here on the planet to contribute your unique donation to humankind. Each face in the rainbow of colors that populate our world is precious and special.
~ Morris Dees
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Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail.
~ Navajo song


As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

October 30, 2009

Gratitude Friday...Dave's new toy :)

So my hubby, Dave, has been wanting one of those little fibreglass Boler trailers for years, decades even. They are not easy to come by, at least not ones that are in good condition AND a decent price. (Not to mention that over the years I've mostly just laughed and said yeah right, I'm not going camping in something that's barely bigger than a breadbox.) But, after all these years, the universe has finally smiled upon him. A guy in a neighbouring community was selling his 1972 Boler, and we happened along just at the right time to buy it.

Now you might wonder how Dave convinced me to go along with this purchase...well, he started threatening to build some kind of camper himself. Suddenly a factory made Boler, no matter how small, seemed like an attractive option! Therefore...

I am grateful that we now own a real camper, albeit tiny, and not a homemade contraption.

I think we'll enjoy camping in our new (old) Boler. It's actually pretty cute, although it would be nice to paint it something more exciting than off white (something less egg-like perhaps?) And if it turns out I hate it, we can always sell it in a year or two for the same or higher price - they are just that much in demand. Seriously, it's like some kind of cult or something...and now we're part it, oh dear!

These campers seem often to be referred to as an "egg on wheels" (you'll understand why after you check out the following photos.) I was just reading an article on the history of the Boler, and it said the creator Ray Olecko "was looking for an unusual name for the trailer, and thinking that it looked a little like a bowler hat, he decided on Boler!" (So Valerie, there is a connection to the hat after all!)


Here are some photos:

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...Dave's new toy :)" »

November 6, 2009

Gratitude Friday...peace

If we are peaceful,
if we are happy,
we can smile,
and everyone in our family,
our entire society,
will benefit from our peace.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh


I am incredibly grateful to live in a country, like Canada, where it is easy to feel peaceful, to be happy, to smile. O how I wish the same for everyone in this precious world of ours...


Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.
~ George Bernard Shaw


Let us not be afraid to walk the arduous path of peace...


If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
~ Mother Teresa


Let us be living reminders that we all belong to each other...



Let us join our voices and hearts and prayers together...Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.


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As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

November 14, 2009

Gratitude Friday...humour

A belated entry this week, since I haven't been able to access my blog for two days. And a short entry too because, well I'm feeling crappy right now and haven't the energy to write up anything meaningful. (Hoping I just have a cold and not the flu, but the fact that I have a fever does not exactly support that theory...will keep you posted.)

I am grateful for ... humour :) My friend Andrea sent me the following...definitely made me laugh out loud - enjoy!!


HELL EXPLAINED BY A CHEMISTRY STUDENT

The following is an actual question given on a University of Arizona Chemistry mid term exam.

The answer by one student was so 'profound' that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well :

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls
enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase
until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in
Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes
over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, 'It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,' and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.
The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct..... .leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting 'Oh my God.'

THIS STUDENT RECEIVED AN A+


As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

November 26, 2009

Gratitude Friday...wonder and mystery

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Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...wonder and mystery" »

December 4, 2009

Gratitude Friday...collages

Apologies to anyone who tuned in looking for deep thoughts today...cause you're going to be disappointed, I'm afraid! Oh well...too bad, so sad! lol

Today I am (frivolously) grateful for... Google's free downloadable photo application Picasa! I never used to do anything much with photos when I first started saving them in electronic format, but with Picasa, it is incredibly easy to resize or crop or adjust lighting and/or colour on those photos that are otherwise too dark to enjoy. And so simple to create wonderful collages, which make great desktop wallpaper backgrounds! I love this feature!! ♥


Here's a groovy cool collage of hanging out around Val's place in Newfoundland:

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And another of our daytrip to Twillingate:

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(And thanks again to Marta, who wrote up simple instructions that enabled me to show off my collages in larger pop up versions! Just click on either photo and it will pop in a much larger size.)

As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

December 11, 2009

Gratitude Friday...my daughters

I have posted before that I am grateful for my beautiful, wonderful, amazing daughters, but this day...

I am grateful that they have each other. I am so happy that they love to spend time together. It makes my heart overflow with joy to see them laughing and joking and teasing and showing all those almost imperceptible signs of affection one sees between loving sisters. Last weekend, Sara took M to a performance of The Nutcracker as her (early) Christmas present, and also invited M to stay overnight at her apartment. Well, M didn't know about the Nutcracker until the moment we dropped them off at the Cohn, but she was incredibly excited all week in anticipation of staying at Sara's for the night!! And Sara was, in turn, beside herself with excitement about the play and about spending time with her little sister. It was so much fun to share their excitement!! And so great that we saw M's happy dance when Sara finally told her they were going to the play. I don't have any photos of that evening, but here's a collage of my girls:


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As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

December 18, 2009

Gratitude Fridays...seasons

On this cold day, with a wind chill of -20C, I am happy to be inside and not entirely looking forward to walking up to the restaurant where we're having our staff lunch. However, the tasty food and shared laughter will tempt me out the door!

But days like this remind me of how much I love the changing seasons. I really don't think I would be happy living anywhere that did not have the full gamut of seasons! I appreciate the warmth of summer much more, having to endure the cold of winter. Spring and fall are absolutely wonderful, from the luminous delicate green of the new leaves to the blazing fire shades of the falling leaves. And winter too can be full of delights: the beauty of sun sparkles on pristine white snow, the amazing glitter of ice on the trees after a freezing rain storm, sitting in front of a roaring fire while the wind howls outside (ok, so I don't actually have a fireplace myself, but Valerie does, so close enough!)

A month or two ago Valerie shared this quotation in her Thursday Thoughts and it really resonated with me...

“The seasons can be so hard on us. They force us to face the world as it is – bitingly cold, swelteringly hot, unpredictable, subtle, devastating, life-threatening even. There is no hidden shame in the seasons – they are what they are and they stand upright, proud of their identity. As they roll through the year they reveal, diamond-like, the many sides to wonder and beauty. In one breath we struggle, despair, welcome back and marvel at the intricacy of the Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn symphony of creation. For in the end we know that in all creation the composing hand of God is at work – revealing, restoring and renewing God’s people, leading God’s people to, in turn, be glorified through the power and presence of God.”
~ Donal Harrington

Continue reading "Gratitude Fridays...seasons" »

January 2, 2010

Gratitude Friday...my inner child :o)

I am grateful for the gleeful abandon of my inner child!


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Sara snapped this photo on Christmas evening at my Mom's house...as you can see, my inner child was quite filled with piss and vinegar, as the saying goes. I don't really know why I was so filled with joy this whole holiday season, but I like it! And I'm a-gonna keep on revelling in this wonderful lightness of being :) Inner children of the world...UNITE!!!


As always, I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

(PS: yes, I know today is not Friday, but this is to make up for missing the last two Fridays!)

January 8, 2010

Gratitude Fridays...Miracles

I am grateful for miracles...


If there is anything that deserves to be called miraculous, is it not love? What other power, what other mysterious force is there which can invest life with such undeniable splendor? The miracle which everyone is permitted to experience sometime in his life, the miracle, which demands no intervention, no intercession, no supreme exertion of will, the miracle which is open to the fool and the coward as well as the hero and saint, is love – born of an instant, it lives eternally.
~ Henry Miller


There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
~ Albert Einstein


I want to live my life with a heart wide open to the endless stream of miracles that carries me through my daily life...rejoice in the wonder of feeling my heart lifted...

Continue reading "Gratitude Fridays...Miracles" »

January 14, 2010

Gratitude Friday..."warm, toasty gloves"

I sat in front of a blank screen, pondering this week's entry...finding it hard to focus on gratitude in the face of the crushing devastation in Haiti, which touches close to home as one of the Canadians killed, Sgt. Mark Gallagher, was from the Maritimes and I have friends who knew him. And in the face of struggles my darling Sara has with her ADD and mood disorders, and other things weighing on my heart right now.

And yet...it is in dark moments when we most need to be lifted, when we most need the light to shine in our souls. So I called to mind so many good things in my own life and in the world around me. My heart flooded with gratitude for family, friends, faith...poetry, prayer, peace. But, due to a complete lack of sleep last night, I am too tired to find words to adequately express my gratitude for such huge blessings. I need a Gratitude Friday equivalent of Sunday Small Bites!

Enter my younger daughter M, just home from visiting a friend. I asked her "what are you grateful for right now?" She paused for a thoughtful moment and then said "warm, toasty gloves...because my hands were really cold on the way to C's house earlier". And so...


I am grateful for warm, toasty gloves!


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Words of wisdom from my delightful girl. Gloves are indeed something for which to be grateful. Symbolic of the creature comforts with which we are blessed, that enable us to stay warm inside when it's cold outside!


As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

January 22, 2010

Gratitude Friday...Rise Again

As sure as the sunrise
As sure as the sea
As sure as the wind in the trees
We rise again...


I have long loved this song, but it really touched a chord deep in my heart as I listened to it today, while reading CBC news stories of Haiti, Afghanistan, and places closer to home like Antigonish. I thought of all the people rebuilding lives, homes, community, faith in the wake of unimaginable physical, emotional, spiritual devastation.

I am grateful for the awesome courage and hopefulness that enables people to rise from the ashes of earthquakes, of war and corruption, of decades of sex-abuse. The presence of God that strengthens us, the Spirit of hope that lifts us out of despair, the Light that enables us to shine in the darkness, never ceases to amaze me.

The stories of people singing in the streets of Haiti are especially moving...

Actor Jim Carrey tweeted: "watching Haitian ppl singing in the street together. destroyed me. we never get as close to each other as do in these terrible moments. ;^)"

Toronto Sun columnist Lisa Van Dusen wrote: "...desperation was being countered by the faith of Haitians singing in the streets..."

David L. Wilson of Weekly News Update on the Americas reported:

"Several hundred people had gathered to sing, clap, and pray in an intersection here by 9:00 last night, a little more than four hours after the earthquake had devastated much of the Haitian capital. Another group was singing a block away, on the other side of the Hotel Oloffson, where I was camping out.

I couldn't make out many of the words. "Alleluia" was the refrain for some of the hymns the group at the crossroads sang. A minister was preaching to the other group about Bondye ("God") and kretyen ("Christians"). The congregants replied with bursts of song.

There were frequent aftershocks. With each tremor, the singing stopped and the singers wailed; after several minutes the hymns would resume."


May my voice and yours join all those singing and praying in the midst of horror...we sing for those who have not yet found their way out of darkness, we pray for those struggling to rise again, we wrap our songs and our hearts around all in need of comfort.


And then we rise again....


As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

January 29, 2010

Gratitude Friday...my eye doctor!

Today I am grateful for my most excellent eye doctor. She's fairly young (early 30s maybe), and really seems to know her stuff. Along with being very friendly and pleasant, she is very thorough, and follows up on things to ensure my eyes are as healthy as they can be, and any problems are investigated sooner than later.

I went for my annual eye exam last evening. I get annual instead of the usual semi-annual exams because of my eye history. I have an abnormal left optic nerve (apparently abnormality is the story of my life! lol) Anyway, she likes to keep track of it and make sure nothing changes. As expected...as always...my prescription changed. She also took photos of my optic nerves...again, pretty standard. Apparently something wasn't sitting well with her, because at the last minute, she decided it would be best to dilate my pupils and take more photos with them dilated. Oh joy. Good thing though, as these photos revealed a hemorrhage in the aforementioned left optic nerve. (Ok, that would explain the headache!) Is not terribly serious in and of itself, but is a potential sign of glaucoma. And this is the second time such a hemorrhage has coincided with an eye exam, which makes me wonder how many other times it's happening!

I've already been through the whole gamut of glaucoma testing because of the first hemorrhage. I was referred to an eye specialist...who in turn referred me to a glaucoma specialist at the Eye Care Clinic in the hospital. And procedures from bright yellow drops to freeze the eyeball, followed by an occular device being placed right against it so the doc can really see what's going on in there...to blinding lights of optic nerve photography...to field of vision tests...and so on. (The field of vision test requires one to stare for 15 mins or so into a semi-darkened box and press a clicker each time you see randomly placed pinpoints of light, some of which are so dim as to be barely discernible, in fact the test is to check for false clicks too. As I recall, there are eye patches and/or goggles involved too.)

The good thing was that neither specialist thought I had glaucoma, but the glaucoma specialist recommended on-going monitoring by my own optometrist and the regular eye specialist just to be on the safe side. And now, 3-4 years later, it seems glaucoma is once again on the radar screen. I must say, I'm more unsettled about it this time because recurrences are always harder to shrug off. Also because there is a genetic factor to glaucoma, and an aunt of mine was diagnosed with it a few years ago, which fact I was not aware of during my last glaucoma scare.

Not that I actually want to have glaucoma, but...if turns out I do, I sure want to get it diagnosed and treated! My previous doctor didn't make note of, or follow up on, anything really. The eye specialist was not impressed that he'd never taken a baseline photo of my abnormal optic nerve. So I am very grateful I found the wonderful optometrist I have now!


As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

February 5, 2010

Gratitude Friday...daring

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.
~ Cynthia Heimel

I am grateful for the spirit of daring, the courage to risk failure and leap wildly into the unknown...to answer yes when asked: "are you up for a challenge?", without even waiting to hear what the challenge is. Which is what I found myself doing the other night, as a matter of fact. Although, as it turns out, this could well be one of those leaps which lands on the idiot side of the line! (In which case I'm blaming the idiot who got it in her head I can memorize a script!) I'm pretty sure I can dig up enough of an inner actor to play a role in an upcoming service, but...memorization??? That is so not one of my hidden talents...or is it? Apparently I'm about to find out! :)


Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
~ T. S. Eliot

What more expansive feeling is there than shaking off the fear that holds us back, and allowing ourselves to risk going too far, to ascend to new heights where our souls can soar, where our hearts are profoundly touched, where our lives may be forever changed.


To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.
~ Soren Kierkegaard

We may indeed lose our footing momentarily, but we need to trust that solid ground is just a footstep away. This reminds me of a story I told to a friend a little while ago, when sharing a glimpse into my own psyche...

"Just ran up to the library to get a book. The way there is uphill, I've got my new boots on, I'm pumped with happy thoughts, so stride up the hill full tilt, passing people as I go. Get the book, head back out...oops, little slip on the stairs, the sidewalks are greasy, I'm heading downhill now, my new boots aren't nearly as good going down as they were coming up. So I slow into baby steps, make my way tentatively down the slope to the bottom, where I find myself once again on solid ground when I hit Barrington Street...I immediately resume my confident strides and leap up the stairs into my building.

My security/insecurity is just like that...a slight slip can send me into that tentative space until I find my footing again, at which point I generally flip right back into a confident space. So when I start acting hesitantly or whatever, you can either step away and wait for me to find solid ground on my own...or take my hand for a second and speed me on my way. Either way, I WILL get back on solid ground, just a matter of how long it will take me. Not sure if that analogy helps you *get* me a bit better or not, but thought I'd pass it along..."

I can't say I would always want to be on solid ground though...it's often the journey through insecurity that shines a light of understanding for me, and helps me to get to the root of deeper issues in my heart. There is also something freeing and empowering in sharing my insecurities...scary though it is to open myself to vulnerability. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with another person is scary. But daring to let someone know our whole self - fears and flaws and all - is a profound statement of trust. Far easier to show only our brave side, our strong side, our in-control side...it takes a leap of faith and trust and love to show our vulnerable side. Making that leap is to allow those close to us to fully love us in return, to know and love and trust all of us, and not just the part of us with our best foot forward.

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...daring" »

February 12, 2010

Gratitude Friday...new beginnings

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be. ~ Douglas Adams

I am grateful for ending up at a place of new beginnings. As I wrote here earlier in the week, I am feeling drawn to ministry. Drawn in a way that feels impossible to ignore, drawn in a way that makes my heart beat with hope and wonder and amazement, drawn in a way that makes my soul sing and my spirit dance.

I must admit my heart is also full of butterflies because, let's face it, making such a huge leap at the age of 45, and from a comfortable and secure lifestyle, is a hell of a scary prospect! (A little piece of me is saying "yikes woman, what are you thinking??!") Of course, feeling drawn to ministry does not mean it will work out for me, but right now, I am filled with optimism and hope. And I am also floating along on a river of support and encouragement from family and friends...support that is, so far, unanimous.

Dave, as I mentioned, believes I can do anything. Sara said she feels I would be a good minister. When I told Moira yesterday that I was interested in ministry, her eyes widened, her face broke into smile and she said "REALLY? That would be so cool, you'd be good at that." My sister Lynn said she had already felt that I was considering this possibility, and she thinks it would be good for me and for any potential parishioners I might have. Friends like Jane (whose question prompted my voicing this feeling out loud), and Karl (who tells me I light up when talking of my church and faith journey) have offered encouragement as well. And my best friend Valerie (who of course, as I should have known, does not think it is a ridiculous idea after all), had something like this to say: "Well my dear friend, I have seen you travelling this road now and watched God leading you in a very particular direction but have been waiting to see if you also have had this sense. It is perhaps time to give consideration to asking for a discernment team to be set up. This is so exciting!!!"

She also gave me a brief outline of the United Church's discernment process which, as I told her, I had already looked up myself a while ago. More info is found on the UCC website if you're interested in the process...although if (when!) I do take that next step, I expect you'll learn all you ever wanted to know and more, since I'll be sharing my journey on my blog, I'm sure. And I am definitely feeling moved to take that next step and perhaps begin an amazing journey down a whole new path...


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God, why do I storm heaven for answers that are already in my heart? Every grace I need has already been given me. Oh, lead me to the Beyond within.
~ Macrina Wieherkehr


As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

February 18, 2010

Gratitude Friday...well timed messages


Like the message I felt this evening when listening to the song I Will Show You Love, by Kendall Payne. I first heard it a long time ago, but had forgotten about it until it I came across it again recently. Its haunting expressions of unconditional and all encompassing love and understanding resonate deep in my soul. Especially now as I stand on the edge of answering God's call, which I am hearing as a call to ordained ministry (although, as Valerie reminds me, discernment can lead in unexpected directions, so I am trying to keep my heart open to all possibilities!)

I was reading through the online academic calendar for the Atlantic School of Theology (AST) and suddenly had a "what the hell am I thinking" moment. My spirit's wild flight of joy and dreaming hit a wall of logistics and financial concerns. Thud. Ordination in the United Church requires a Masters of Divinity, so if ordained ministry truly is what I am called to do, I will have a lot of studying ahead of me. Which is actually really exciting to me!! Except I don't see how I can ever manage full time study since that will mean living on just Dave's salary for 3 years...and yet doing intense part time study for 5-7 years while working full time at my current job is, well, an ugly and unappealing prospect.

So...here I sat, pondering this dilemma around the educational requirements for ministry, thinking ok God, what's up with this? Whispering a call in my heart that feels impossible to ignore, and then throwing up logistical roadblocks that make me want to cry...

As I sat and pondered and felt my my heart tremble with doubt, I opened youtube and this song was on the top of my recommended videos...hmmm. Mysterious ways at work? :) One person left this comment on the song: "This makes me believe in everything a little bit more." Amen to that. So I take a deep breath...say a prayer...trust in my God that I am not called to an impossible journey, just a really challenging path full of bumps and potholes. And that I can handle, God being my helper. My heart stills and my spirit rises upward once again...

"When you call my name then I will answer, answer

I am on your side though the wind and waves beat against your faith
You were on my mind when the world was made
Trust in me my child, Trust in me my child..."


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Full lyrics:

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...well timed messages" »

February 26, 2010

Gratitude Friday...a rainy day of sunshiny goodness

I am grateful for unexpected girl's days out! Those wonderful days spent in the company of a best friend, days overflowing with laughter and conversation and friendship... ♥

I had hoped to sleep in this morning, since I had the day off, but many things conspired against me. First being Dave's alarm clock (he had to work today). Second being the torrential rains and incredibly noisy wind that prevented me from falling back asleep. Third being Winston, who came up the bed to *talk* to me as soon as he realized I was awake. And since he also likes to poke me with one claw if I ignore him, I gave him the attention he so loudly demanded. And finally, it occurred to me that I wasn't hearing any sounds from M's room, so had to crawl out of bed to wake her up and make sure she didn't miss her bus. (She is used to setting her own alarm and getting ready in our absence as her bus doesn't come until an hour after we leave for work, so I wasn't planning to get up on her account.) She got up on the wrong side of the bed, with her grumpy on, so I wasn't terribly sorry to see her out the door!

Just after M left, I heard an odd howl from Winston upstairs...oh no, that doesn't sound good, I thought, racing up the stairs. I snatched him up and ran down for the door, praying to put him out before he barfed inside the house...no such luck, although I did manage to get him as far as the hardwood floor, which is far easier to clean than carpet!

Shortly thereafter, Valerie called with a change of plans. She and I had originally planned to spend this afternoon together at the camper, with Dave and Mark and the girls joining us after work and school to (in Valerie's words) "celebrate Dave's passing and your new journey". I laughed and said that phrase would take on a whole other meaning to anyone who didn't know Dave just wrote an exam! He recently took a course and wrote an exam to become a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (which is an internationally recognized designation). The self study course took months, getting through the two massive binders of technical detail, plus a week long exam prep course in Toronto, followed by the exam itself. The exam has a 75% fail rate, and the passing grade is 78%...talk about pressure! He found out verbally on Tuesday that he'd passed, and got it in writing yesterday. Such a relief for him. I myself never had any doubt that he would pass - he's got both the brains and the work ethic, so I figured if he didn't pass, who on earth can? But still, knowing for sure that he passed this brutal exam is definitely a cause for celebration!! I am SO proud of him :)

However, the wind and rain made the camper a rather unattractive prospect. A bonfire was definitely out of the question, and we weren't even sure we could keep the generator running with the wind being so gusty. So, the camper plan scuttled, Valerie and I decided to go out for lunch and a movie.

We went to a restaurant in Halifax called Dofsky's. We had a very tasty appetizer - mushroom and goat cheese tart, with tomatoes and lettuce in a balsamic vinagrette. When it arrived, we were surprised to see only one tart on the plate (since I'd asked before ordering it and was told it would be two tarts.) The waitress explained that they used to put two on the plate, but then changed to one larger tart. Well if this was the larger tart, I hate to think how tiny the smaller ones were! But we split in two and enjoyed it anyway...it really was very tasty. And just as we finished, she brought over a second tart, saying basically Oops, there was a mistake and we should have gotten two tarts to begin with. So we split that one as well. For our entrees, we both decided that we've been in a rut of ordering pasta all the time, so decided to go for a burger. The Aussie burger, in fact. This was a concoction of burger, bacon, egg, beetroot, pineapple and possibly one other ingredient, I can't recall for certain. It was so big that we literally gave up trying to eat it with our hands as one normally eats a burger, and instead used knife and fork. It was a strange, but very tasty, burger experience!

After lunch, we had a couple hours before our movie started so headed over to the Sear's outlet store to see what was in stock. I'd never been there before, but will definitely be going back. I got myself 2 pairs of blue denim jeans, a pair of purple skinny jeans, and a pair of dress pants all for $39! The jeans were marked down about 75% to begin with, plus were on a buy one, get one free sale - who could resist such a sweet deal? Valerie also got a pair of the purple jeans and a really fantastic pair of black skinny jeans. I'm almost wishing I'd seen them first! :) (We wear the same size jeans, although are totally different shapes.) While in the outlet store, we beheld some truly hideous *fashion* statements, and wondered who on earth would wear such thing, never mind who thought it was a good idea to produce them in the first place!

After our uber-successful shopping excursion, we went to see the movie It's Complicated, with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, etc. Very funny, we laughed and snickered pretty much the whole way through. I can see myself getting it when it comes out on DVD, for those evenings I just want to settle in with a fluffy chick flick and a glass of wine. Meryl Streep was fantastic as always, but the actor playing her soon to be son in law nearly stole the show. He played his role perfectly, a role that required some talent to carry off, I think. Many would have overplayed it, but he kept just the right balance between playing it straight and hamming it up.

Then back to Val's place. I hung out for an hour or so, and then came along home to spend the rest of the evening with Dave and M. I modelled my new jeans for them, then took M up to Tim Horton's for an ice cappucino (a rather disgusting beverage in my opinion, but the girls like them!)

So...we had to leave the celebration of "Dave's passing" for another time, but Valerie and I sure had a marvellous day. I hope your Friday was delightful as well!


As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

March 5, 2010

Gratitude Friday...Dave ♥

In my very first Gratitude Friday entry, I shared a whole list of people and things for which I am grateful. First on the list was:

I am grateful...

...for my awesome husband and soulmate, Dave. Our 22nd anniversary is tomorrow* and, after all these years, I think he knows me better than I do...he even understands my inner child moments! He gives me space, he holds me close, his presence makes me feel grounded and safe and unconditionally loved. (And he's really good to snuggle with when watching scary movies!)

* (the entry was written in August...)

And I am feeling all the more grateful for him these days, as I step out onto an exciting - and also a bit scary! - new path that will hopefully lead to ministry.

We were watching CBC news the other night and there was a story about the Nova Scotia housing market...up 8.2% over last year. I joked and said hey, we should sell our house while the market's strong. Dave replied that, in fact, we should sell our house in the next year or two and move into one of the subdivisions in our community. (Our house sits just outside the area where municipal water and sewer services are available...and a dug well and septic are very unattractive to a certain percentage of home buyers.) His reason being that downsizing now would enable us to be better positioned for a quick move "when you get your own parish." I rushed over to give him a hug, thinking how amazingly supportive is that?? Matter of factly being prepared to move to wherever I might be called to be. Mind you, at present, we need to be within commuting distance of his downtown office, although by the time I've gone through discernment and (hopefully) go on to do my Masters and become ordained, perhaps he'll be able to relocate to one of the regional offices elsewhere in the province. With his brains, education and work ethic, he is such a valuable employee, that I am hoping his department will be as flexible as possible as far as his physical location. And he himself seems prepared to do whatever it takes for me to follow this call, including a lengthy daily commute, if necessary. I am truly blessed to be journeying through life with such an amazing partner! ♥


This photo is from many years ago, and Dave has his eyes closed (what else is new with Mr. Camera Shy??), but it's one of my favourites!

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As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

March 19, 2010

Gratitude Friday...perspective

I am grateful for...all the things named in this wonderful poem/prayer. And for those awesome moments when I too catch a glimpse of the whole mystery of the human story unfolding before me...


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As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

March 26, 2010

Gratitude Friday...blue jays!

I was going to write about art, but changed my mind after my eyes landed on the blue jay feather I found in the yard last Saturday and I read this on wikipedia:

In old African American folklore of the southern United States, the Blue Jay was held to be a servant of the Devil, and was not encountered on a Friday as he was fetching sticks down to Hell; furthermore, he was so happy and chirpy on a Saturday as he was relieved to return from Hell.

Well, folklore tales notwithstanding, the Blue Jay will be encountered this Friday...on my blog! I am grateful for blue jays.

Sometimes I get caught up in admiring the spectacularly plumed birds of southern climates, and forget about the wonderful birds surrounding me. I am especially fond of the delicate, intricately patterned beauty of the blue jay. I know blue jays can have harsh calls and a reputation as a bit of a bully, but...they really are a gorgeous and fascinating bird. And, I believe, one of the more intelligent birds. My mom has blue jays around the bird feeder just outside her kitchen window and I love being able to watch them from just a few feet away. Their colouring is so stunning, the sight of them lifts my spirits!

I found this photo online:

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As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

April 2, 2010

Gratitude Friday...Good Friday

A curious thing to be grateful for, I suppose. But in a way, I am grateful for the journey through Lent and Good Friday, because without the sorrow of that day, the joy of Easter would be meaningless. How can we emerge into the Light if we have not experienced the darkness?

If we come to church only for the celebrations, we are missing much of the truth and meaning contained in our faith story. I read this recently: "We live in a culture that wants to deny the hard realities. That wants to move from celebration to celebration and not name the darkness...the faith story, imho, makes absolutely no sense without the "gloomy bits". And it also seems to have less in common with real life if we only talk about the glory and not the gloom." It is during this time of the Christian year that I feel closest to the divine within me, when my faith is strengthened, when I am moved in ways I cannot articulate. This part of our story carries me through my own dark times, knowing that those times too will pass, and I will again be filled with hope and joy.

The poet Gibran writes: The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Words of wisdom and deep meaning.

On Joy and Sorrow
~ Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater thar sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.


As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

April 9, 2010

Gratitude Friday...nature's scenery

I am filled with enthusiastic, joyful, shout-from-the-rooftops gratitude for the amazingly beautiful wonders of nature!! I never tire of the scenes unfolding around me. Each and every sunrise and sunset seems to cover the world with ever changing patterns of light and shadow, shades of glowing colours. I have discovered that I truly love the quiet of early morning at the campground...when nobody else is up and I can sit alone at the lakeshore, listening to the water gently lapping at the shoreline, the wind rustling the marsh grasses, the chorus of birds all around...


A final set of photos from our Easter camping trip...

To my delight, there are red-winged blackbirds in the marshy area by the lake. (I have adored these birds since I was a child.) They were very shy and flew off each time I moved...then would gradually circle back. This was the best pic I managed to get, but the flash of red really stands out!
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A few crocuses (croci?) were poking up through the ground on a neighbouring campsite...
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Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...nature's scenery" »

April 23, 2010

Gratitude Friday...my cell phone camera :)

Just realized I missed last Friday (oops!) Retroactively, I am grateful for evenings out with my BFF. She and I (and another friend of hers) went to see a play at Neptune Theatre, called Bigger Than Jesus. (When Val told her daughter we were going to see this play, K said "don't you two Jesus freaks ever do anything else?!" Funny...she does have a point though! lol)

Personally, I thought it was worth the price of admission...mind you, we chose the cheap seats, so said admission only cost us fifteen bucks!), although I wasn't blown away like a local reviewer (you can read the review here if interested.) The play wasn't particularly thought provoking for me, but I can see that it might be rather shocking, and/or perhaps offensive, for those who read scripture literally. The author/actor opened by stating that he doesn't believe in Jesus as the literal son of God and explained that the play was a Mass. And then launched into Roman Catholic liturgy...followed by, among other things, a little skit using plastic figurines (including a Homer Simpson pez dispenser playing the part of Judas, which made me laugh!) He also did a spiel in the mode of a TV evangelist, which he played with great fervour and conviction! There was a scene in which he played Christ answering the prayers of folks on a flight to Jerusalem (on AirJesus or something like that), which I found tedious and afterward Valerie said pretty much the same thing, wondering what the point of it was...really could have been edited out of the play altogether. But, even though there was nothing eye opening for me, I found it refreshing to have this understanding of Christianity shouted from the rooftops because I don't hear it often in church (I gather from Valerie that there are still many people in our church who take scripture literally, so I guess she has to find a middle ground with her preaching.)


So that was last Friday...this week, I am grateful for my cell phone camera! So I can capture on the spot moments like these...

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...my cell phone camera :)" »

April 30, 2010

Gratitude Friday...my beautiful church

I am grateful for my beautiful church, in which I feel uplifted and at home. I joined almost eight years ago, when we moved to our current home. I fell in love instantly, with the people and with the space. The church is an amalgamation of three former area churches, and some folks are still struggling with old boundaries, I think. But there are growing pains in all families, aren't there? :) It truly is a wonderful community, and I'm overjoyed to be part of it!

Let me take you on a tour of our building...

The main entrance:
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On this end is the Fellowship Hall (below) and the children's space (upper level):
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Evidence of St. Patrick's day fun over March break:
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The amazing sanctuary, with our incredibly talented organist at the piano, warming up before a Thursday evening Lenten service:
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Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...my beautiful church" »

May 14, 2010

Gratitude Friday...EAP

I am deeply grateful for my employer's Employee Assistance Program.

Recently we have learned that, like her older sister, our younger daughter also suffers from clinical depression...at age 14...my heart aches for her. But I am immensely grateful to have a program like our EAP...I had called them a few months ago when I started feeling that M needed to talk with someone, I felt that she had more going on inside than the cliched "teenage angst". I gave the EAP rep some background (including cross reference to mine and Sara's files because we have sought help in the past through this program), and asked them to find someone for M. A day or two later, we were connected with a wonderful clinical therapist. M really clicked with her, which was such a relief since M hates sharing her feelings. Long story short...M appears to have moderate to severe clinical depression. We have a referral into a pyschiatrist, who has put her on a priority list, which is heartening. But even though things are moving with relatively rapid speed (given the state of our mental health system) it is a long and difficult wait...

But certainly one made easier with the help of EAP. It is so great to have this resource available. They are there 24/7 to provide support for almost everything under the sun. NS Gov EAP staff are available during working hours, plus evening, weekend, and holiday EAP coverage is provided through a partnership with Health Canada's Crisis Referral Center (CRC). And the program is for employees and families, so my girls could even call directly if they want.

From the website:

Here are just some of the issues EAP can assist you with:

- Family - relationships, couple issues, parenting, separation/divorce, etc.
- Psychological - grief/loss, stress, depression, anxiety, abuse, anger, etc.
- Work Related - conflict, environment, harassment, performance issues, etc.
- Addiction - alcohol, drugs, gambling, prescription medication, internet, etc.
- Other - critical incident, elder care, financial, legal, etc.

So...for this amazing program, I give thanks!

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...EAP" »

May 21, 2010

Gratitude Friday...long, sunshiny weekends!

After a couple weeks of being emotionally drained, plus this past week have been physically exhausted from lack of sleep and a stupid cold...I finally got a decent night's sleep and woke up this morning wonderfully refreshed and feeling my amazing self again!!

One of the first things I did was check the weather forecast and wooohooo, it is looking good! So I am grateful for the can't-be-beat combination of glorious sunshine and warm temps and a long weekend!!!

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It's Boler-time! (uh oh...I have that Hammer-time song stuck in my head now...sorry!)

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What I like about camping is you can get really dirty. Either you're all by yourself, so no one else sees you, or everyone you're with is just as dirty as you are, so nobody cares.
~ Anonymous former Boy Scout, quoted in Highs! Over 150 Ways to Feel Really, Really Good Without Alcohol or Other Drugs by Alex J. Packer


Can't wait to get off work this afternoon so I can head on down to the campground. No idea who else will be there tonight...might be just me, or me and Dave, or maybe Valerie and Mark and our collective offspring will all be there too - who knows?! Not sure what's going on tomorrow either. I'd mentioned to Valerie that we should do something, but that's as far as our plans went...the weekend will unfold as it will and no doubt will be wonderful whatever we do! Dave & I and Mark & Val are planning to spend Sunday night at the camper, just the four of us, so looking forward to that. Love having the girls around, but sometimes nice to have time to ourselves. :)


Happy Friday Everyone!!!


As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

May 25, 2010

No Gratitude Friday entry this week

Just a note to say I won't be able to post an entry this Friday because I'll be out of town...

I'm involved with Intermediates at Conference again this year and we're leaving in the morning to head up to Sackville NB. I don't have to be there until 5pm, and it's only a couple hours' drive straight through on the highway, but we are planning to take the scenic route and make a day of it. Val, me, Sara, M and K are all travelling together. Sara's coming as a facilitator this year - yay!!! I am looking forward to the IAC experience again this year, but I expect by Friday, I will be grateful if I can find a few moments of peace and quiet! :)


For anyone who read my last entry, I did indeed have a marvellous weekend of sunshine and smiles! I went alone to the camper Friday after work, but was happily surprised to find Mark and Val there, so we shared supper together, although they didn't stay the night. Valerie was going to, but her back was sore because she'd spent the day building a deck in front of her mansion-on-wheels. So she thought best to sleep in her home bed. But she came back Sat morning, and she and I hung out for a few hours. We drove up to the local general store - a real old fashioned general store. Cramped, narrow aisles full of everything you could imagine...groceries, dry goods, hardware, fishing equipment, motorcyles helmets, small appliances, games, and so on. Naturally we picked up a few things for the campers (who could resist?!) Then we went to a local cafe for lunch. The place isn't fully set up for eating in, they can only serve on disposable take out dishes because the kitchen isn't finished yet. But very tasty. I had a wicked western sandwich on multigrain bread, a bowl of homemade tomato soup, herbal tea, and a chocolate brownie (huge) with scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, all for $13.50. Such a lunch would easily cost double that in Halifax.

I went home Saturday afternoon, and joined Moira and Dave in progress of a Lord of the Rings marathon...yup, all three movies, nine+ hours! Gotta love it (although I did have to get up and move around a few times!)

Mark, Val, Dave and I had a little parental getaway overnight Sunday. We arrived late afternoon, watched the other campers whooping it up and playing their first long weekend of the season ring toss tournament. We didn't partake in those festivities...for one thing, we're not really into washer toss, for another, none of us was up for the heavy drinking that accompanied said washer toss playing! But they were finished by 8pm or thereabouts, so we were able to relax in relative quiet around the bonfire. Dave left Monday morning, still feeling super tired from the dragging cold or flu he's had the past 2-3 weeks. Val popped home to pick up M and K and bring them out for the day. We played a couple games of 45's (card game), sat around reading, nothing earth shattering - good times!

By the way...somewhere along the way, in one of our many conversations, I seem to have agreed to lead the service in my church on one of the Sundays of Valerie's vacation this summer. Eek. I'd already agreed to do a reflection in November, and somehow that has now morphed into doing one in July as well. I couldn't really say no, since is good practice for when I am myself a minister (barring some bizarre twist of fate that takes me in another direction, of course.) But I must confess, I am more than a little alarmed by the idea of preaching in front of my own church family. Feels like it would be easier to try this out in front of strangers. I pray I will be able to come up with something meaningful to say, as my mind whispers who am I to be preaching to anyone? Shouldn't I study a bit first, so I have at least a tiny clue as to what I'm talking about?? I think this could be one of those times when the line between genius and total idiocy becomes very, very blurry indeed! Scary...but exciting. Hopefully my church family will be kind and not too critical of my first attempts!

And now...off to bed, morning will be here before I know it. Have a great week/weekend and I'll be back soon!


As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

June 11, 2010

Gratitude Friday...a breath of patience

Earlier this week, I met with my Discernment Committee for the first time...as I wrote here a few weeks ago, I've been so impatient to get this process underway!! Has felt like forever since I wrote my letter back in February requesting a committee be set up, but finally we have taken our first step and held our first meeting. (The other committee members had an initial training session, which baffles me, since it appears to have been pretty much exactly the same content as the first meeting with me...why we didn't just all meet and review the process together the first time is beyond me. Process for process sake...urgh!)

(There is more detail around the content of these meetings in the UCC booklet "Discerning a Call to the Order of Ministry", if anyone is interested.) By the way, in case you're wondering what this process is even about, the booklet says this: "One way of describing discernment is “a faithful inquiry into understanding what God is doing and what we are to do in response to God.”2 This inquiry is an intentional process of reflection that takes place over a period of time."

Even though I myself feel God's call so strongly in my heart that I have reached the point where I cannot not answer, I can't just call up the UCC and say "hey, God's calling me to ministry, when do I start?". UCC (or any other denomination, for that matter) obviously needs to ensure prospects truly are called to ministry, and have the gifts for such a vocation, before accepting them.

The meetings are intended to be a time of mutual sharing, and "an opportunity for all to learn and grow in faith while keeping in mind that the focus is on the inquirer and his or her discernment." These are the areas covered:
Initial Training Session: for the other Committee members prior to meeting with the Inquirer
Meeting 1: Getting Started
Meeting 2: Faith and Spirituality
Meeting 3: Ministry and Call
Meeting 4: Leadership and Lifestyle
Meeting 5: Identifying the Future Path
Meeting 6: Concluding the Process

Alas...meeting 1 was a bit of a disappointment for me. All we needed to do was review the process and timelines, set some parameters around confidentiality, appropriate/inappropriate questions, discuss the role of the Inquirer and involvement of spouse, family, significant others, etc. Pretty basic stuff really, in my mind. But...between time wasted on preparing coffee, tea, refreshments (good grief, we met for two little hours, was food really necessary?), and all the off topic chatting, we didn't even manage to cover those basic housekeeping items. So there are a couple points "parked" until meeting 2. I have a growing feeling this process will drag on considerably longer than six meetings...I also fear one or two of my committee members have missed the part about "keeping in mind that the focus is on the inquirer [me] and his or her discernment" and are viewing this as an opportunity to explore their own personal growth and spirituality. Ok, to be fair, some opportunity does exist since "it is expected all will learn and grow in faith", but not in the sense of there being equal focus on everyone's journey. This committee was setup specifically in response to my request, and its purpose is to discern with me if I am called to ordered ministry or not.

And, unfortunately, it looks like our next meeting won't happen until October 5th...almost eight months since I requested a discernment committee be set up, and four months after our initial meeting. I knew the wheels of the church moved slowly, but wasn't expecting this kind of delay!! I am sincerely grateful to those who have agreed to be part of my committee, but the process itself has been straining my patience to the max. Not that it takes much to strain my patience around anything that excites me! At such times, my heart becomes a noisy place with my inner child jumping up and down, shouting things like: "Is it time?? Are we there yet?? When is it MY turn???!!!"

Ah but I came across a quotation this morning that shushed my inner child, and quieted my heart to feel God's calming presence wrap around me...as I contemplated the words, through me blew a reassuring sense that all will unfold as it should in due time...

So, on this marvellous sunny Friday in June, I am deeply grateful for a welcome breath of patience and for the wisdom of Rainer Maria Rilke:

"...to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."
(from Letters to a Young Poet, chapter 4)


As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

June 18, 2010

Gratitude Friday...My Life is Just a Journey

Sorry, no deep thoughts this week! I am grateful to my blog friend menehune for inspiring a post because I just realized I didn't have time to even think about Gratitude Friday! (That is, I am deeply grateful for so many blessings in my life...just hadn't found a moment to choose a specific one to write about.)

I was tagged by menehune to play the meme game My Life is Just a Journey. I love these little get to know me things, I should do them in person more often and not just in my virtual world! So here are my answers...

1. If I could live anywhere in the world it would be?
My own beautiful province, Nova Scotia! But I wouldn't say no to a second home in Italy :)

2. Who is your favourite band or singer?
Not to sidestep the question, but...I really don't have a favourite. Jesse Cook, Indigo Girls, Jewel, Amanda Marshall, U2, David Bowie...

3. If you could be anyone for the day who would it be?
Well...I really like being me!

4. Concert or a Broadway Show?
I've never seen a Broadway Show, but I love the theatre, so I'll go with Broadway!

5. Do you have theme song for life?
Hallelujah (Your Love Is Amazing) comes to mind.

6. Would you choose a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant or a picnic in the park?
picnic in the park (or more likely at the camper!)

7. Favourite place to shop:
A bookstore...any bookstore...

8. Favourite movie:
Dirty Dancing perhaps...Mamma Mia's way up there too!

(I think I'm supposed to tag four others, but am coming late to the game and suspect everyone I would tag has already been tagged...)

June 25, 2010

Gratitude Friday...vacations!!

I am grateful for paid vacations! My employer doesn't have the most progressive vacation policy going, but I reached the 4 wks/year level last year, so am happy for now.

And even happier right now since my vacation leave starts at 4:01 this afternoon...woohoooo!!! :D I'll be off for three wonderful weeks (except I have to work next Tuesday) and I cannot wait. Not that I hate my job or anything, but I think we all know where my passion lies and it's not accounting! ;) I'm trying hard to remain engaged and to continue putting in my best effort for the next year or so until (God willing), I can go back to school and start studying for my MDiv. But it's not easy - thank heavens I like the people I work with, that definitely helps me stay motivated.

In the meantime, I've agreed to be the Account Executive for my department's United Way campaign this year. Not something I would have volunteered for, but when asked, I agreed because well someone has to do it, and it will at least give me something different to do.

My involvement last year was limited to the Day of Caring, which I wrote about here. I don't have all the details on what being an Account Executive (AE) entails at this point, just a brief blurb outlining the basics. I met with last year's AE a couple weeks ago, plus have a formal training session coming up next week, the timing of which sucks since means I have to work during my vacation, but is only one day so not a big deal. I could have declined the appointment, I suppose, but if I'm going to be AE, I'd like to learn as much as I can about provincial campaign and what's expected of an AE. I also don't want to pass up the opportunity for networking since all the other departmental AEs will be there as well, some new like me and others returning from past years. There may be fundraising ideas that could be cross departmental, who knows...although each department sets their own goal and so I suspect some (hopefully friendly) rivalry exists!

Anyway...back to my VACATION!! I say "my" vacation because Dave isn't sure if he'll get any, although he's hoping to take the week of July 5th off, if nothing else. Mark and Valerie are on vacation starting next week too, so hopefully we'll all be able to spend at least a couple days together at some point. I am really looking forward to being at the camper...just relaxing, catching up on some reading, taking the odd daytrip here and there. Possibly pop over to Burntcoat Head, as it's really not far at all from the campground. Perhaps revisit the lovely waterfalls in Upper Burnside, since I haven't been there in a few years. Who knows where I'll end up really, there are so many unexpected delights in Nova Scotia! And many fabulous provincial parks, with hiking trails and look offs and gorgeous scenery. Although I think of all these great things to do, but don't necessarily ever get around to doing them, so don't be surprised if I return from vacation having done not much of anything at all!

One provincial park in particular intrigues me though, partly because I'd never heard of it before last year. So I really do hope to check this one out over the summer - here's the blurb from the gov website:

Taylor Head - Eastern Shore - Located southwest of Sheet Harbour, on Route 7(Marine Drive) Taylor Head Park occupies a rugged wind swept peninsula that juts 6 km into the Atlantic Ocean. The park's hiking trails and walks provide access to a variety of natural habitat, interesting geological features, and wildlife species, scenic look-offs, secluded beaches and 16 km (10 mi.) of unspoiled coastline. Civic address: 20140 Hwy # 7, Taylor Head. Download the brochure for this park. For images of this park see its Photo Gallery.


Not sure if I'll manage to post any entries while I'm on vacation or not. In case not...have a joyful few weeks and I'll *talk* to you later in the month! :)

August 27, 2010

Gratitude Fridays...Deer

I am grateful to share a corner of the world with deer. They are very common in Nova Scotia, but I still get a thrill whenever I see them, on the side of the road, or a field across the way, or especially in my very own backyard. They are such lovely and peaceful creatures, with their big liquid eyes and aura of stillness.

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Deer

their steps are liquid
through air, delicate
as Spring's first flowers

their shy gaze darts
here and there, a quick
knowing deeper
than sight

in a loose
weave they travel, giving space
to trees and sky

like you the valley
grows gentle around them

~ Elizabeth Reninger

September 10, 2010

Gratitude Friday...Words to live by

I sometimes share here the Thursday Thoughts my friend sends out to our congregation each week. Her thoughts are sometimes funny, sometimes serious...and almost always move me in one way or another, either leading me into reflection or into action...or both!

Her email this week contains particularly powerful and profound message:

Good morning,

As I sat in the living room this morning with my cup of coffee and listened to the news I felt a certain sense of shame. The main story was about the Christian community in the United States who have been planning a burn the Qu’ran event for this Saturday, the anniversary of 9/11. At that moment I could not help but wonder what this says to the world about Christianity and I felt like yelling that is not what Christ would want. Yet this is the picture of Christianity that gets front line news over and over again. While many of the world leaders, including Stephen Harper, have denounced this action I have yet to hear the voice of the many Christian communities who would find this appalling. An action such as the burning of the Qu’ran flies in the face of everything that we believe as followers of Christ. Such actions demean our faith and are not true to the gospel. Our sacred story is filled with images of acceptance, inclusion, love, compassion, justice and that is what we are to be about. It is our responsibility, as those who follow the Christ, to speak out against such acts of violence and until we do the only thing that is presented to the world is a very warped view of our faith. That anyone could use Christianity as a tool for hatred should cause us outrage! The Qu’ran is the sacred scripture of the Muslim people and within its pages there can be found amazing and wonderful teachings, not unlike what we read each week from our own. We are closely connected, although many do not want to admit it, through our shared story and the Power that makes us one. We are brothers and sisters.

My prayer this day is that the God who clothes creation in love might mend each rift and strengthen each seam, that threads of hope and strands of healing may be woven through our communities.

Blessings
Valerie


We are all brothers and sisters, regardless of religious or other beliefs...let us actively weave those "threads of hope and strands of healing" into our communities, and remember always to care for and support one another, and actively speak out against the actions of those who spew hate in the name of Christ and create deep rifts in the fabric of our world.

On a related note...I came across a UCCan document called "Mending the World: An Ecumenical Vision for Healing and Reconciliation" (there's a link to it on this page). The Prelude goes thus:

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel used to tell the story that when God, the Holy One, gets up in the morning, God gathers the angels of heaven around and asks this simple question: “Where does my creation need mending today?” And then Rabbi Heschel would continue, “Theology consists of worrying about what God worries about when God gets up in the morning.”

Margaret Atwood writes, “The facts of this world seen clearly are seen through tears; why tell me then there is something wrong with my eyes?”

“As [Jesus] came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!’” (Luke 19)

We hold the conviction that the world is at the centre of God’s concern. In the words of the Psalmist, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it, the world and they who dwell therein.” (24:1) The world is at risk because there are those who, refusing to see through tears, seek dominion and use the instruments of military, economic, political and cultural power to that end. God, who sees clearly through tears, is grieved by the estrangement of God’s children from one another and from the created order. God works, at the beginning of the day as at the end, for the mending of creation.

Life in the “whole inhabited earth” (oikoumene) is life in relationship. We are bound up with one another and with the world of nature—not just our kinfolk, or our kind.

We are thus led to speak of “whole world ecumenism,” naming the search for justice for God’s creatures and healing for God’s creation as the church’s first priority, and joining with other persons of good will in the search for justice, wholeness and love.

Our passion for the transformation of the world is rooted in our relationship to God in Jesus Christ. God, who is absolute love, mercy and justice, yearns for mending of creation, calling us to see the world through God’s tears, and to bend ourselves as church to the task of “worrying about what God worries about when God gets up in the morning.”


Today I am deeply grateful for those who speak out with love and compassion, who promote peace and justice and wholeness, who shine a blazing light amidst the darkness of those who use Christianity as a weapon.

September 24, 2010

Gratitude Friday...Wonder

Prayer of Wonder

To witness an ebony quilt of sky
stitched by beaming stars;
And awaken to ancient cedar's sway
dancing with the wind,
Is to glimpse God's scattering of grace.

To recognize an inner flutter and pulse
as new life's movements in the womb;
Or hear a tone so sweetly sung
that heaven opens within,
Is to stand at the threshold of everything holy.

To wonder at the sweep of a whale
breaching the air from concealed depths;
Or gaze at the ripples and curves formed above
by a cloud of wings on the move,
Is to be breathless with praise for the radiance of life.

from Keri Wehlander's "Circles of Grace: Worship and Prayer in the Everyday." Toronto: United Church Publishing House, 1998
(Thanks to Valerie for posting the first verse of this prayer on Facebook. It was so beautiful, I had to look for more!)


Following is a small scattering of the wonders that leave me "breathless with praise for the radiance of life"...

Continue reading "Gratitude Friday...Wonder" »

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