Too Fast

Do you ever stop and think – “Wait, how long ago was that?” and then find yourself astonished that it was years ago? That has happened to me more often than I care to admit. Time moves too fast.

Last week I was privileged to spend about 28 hours with four dear friends. I have known these women since we were infants – seriously, it has been that long. We know each other’s families. We know each other’s struggles. We know each other’s joys. Together we have welcomed spouses, kids and now grandkids, but we seldom share our time with them. We are a “Girl’s Only” kind of club and we get together twice a year to unwind and catch-up. Sometimes we drink wine and sometimes we just whine! I look forward to those days for the six months that pass between gatherings.

As I drove home I got to pondering how I can appreciate the moment before it is gone and if I ever truly realize how wonderful the moment is until I look back? My mind drifted to other special people and other special times. I found myself grieving the passing of the moment. I realized that I had looked forward to the time together with such anticipation that for the last two hours we had together I found myself feeling sad and regretful that the time was coming to an end.

Since then I have been considering why I have such a propensity to live either in the past or in the future. So often I spend time regretting or overthinking what happened or fretting and worrying about the future that the very moment I am living is overlooked. I wonder if this might have been what Jesus was getting at when he said, “Consider the lilies of the field – they neither toil nor spin.” I think Jesus was not talking about investments or savings or clothes or food but about being grateful for the moment – savouring the moment – living in the moment. But I know that is easier said than done.

I am a list-maker, a task-tender, a event-focused person. So, I have made a list for today, things I have to do today, and on the top of my list is, “Savour each moment”. Do you have any tips as to how I might do this?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Long summer evenings, with soft moist air, spirited chirping of cicadas, and the ppfftt of water sprinklers brings out the neighbours. Last night I went to the concert in the park where the musicians from our local churches were providing a hymn sing. I sat on my blanket and chatted away with a woman from the church catching up on bits and pieces of news from her. Then, as I returned home from the concert, my neighbour from across the street was just returning from his evening stroll with his dog. The dog immediately slumped onto the prickly dry grass, his tongue lolling out as he panted from the heat. I guess he knew enough to settle in for the visit for we neighbours are known to chat for a while. Yes, this kind of weather allows neighbours to chat about the weather, the dryness of the lawns, the dampness of the humidity, politics, movies, books we are reading, gardening tips, and on and on. Summer evenings in Canada open up community allowing folks to communicate and visit and update and connect.

I smiled as I walked to the door of my house feeling the warmth that comes from human connectivity. There was nothing profound in our visiting but it was comforting to know that the human element of chatting had opened up heart and soul and I left feeling better for it.

I have been thinking a lot about networks and connection over the last few weeks. Community has always been part of my life. I grew up in a rural community and we knew our neighbours and cared for one another. I can remember my dad, a dairy farmer, walking through the fields after his cows were milked to help the neighbour milk as his wife was ill with cancer. I can remember my mother spending hours on the phone listening to a neighbour who needed someone to talk to about her husband’s illness. There was nothing my mother could offer other than a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear but some days that was enough.

I am blessed with friends and family who connect, who listen, who support and who are always available for counsel or to commiserate with. It is so important in the human experience.

This weekend I urge you to connect with someone. Even if you don’t feel you need it, chances are the other person might.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Oh my goodness – this weekend we turn the calendar to August. Two things astound me about that fact. One, we turn the calendar to August. Two, I have only written two blogs so far in July. Could it be that I am just enjoying the relaxed pace that seems to come to some of us in the summer time? The early mornings to water the garden, the long evenings to watch baseball, the fact that no one in churchland wants to have a committee meeting in July all lead to a slow down in my productivity. Hence only, well counting this one, three blogs in the month.

But here it is Friday. Thank God It is Friday! On top of that it is a holiday weekend. Now, of course ministers don’t really get a holiday weekend. Not only do we work on Sunday but, given that my regular day off is Monday, I kind of get cheated out of that extra day unless I can find a way to catch it at another time.

I have been thinking a lot about leisure and the need to take time. In fact, this Sunday’s sermon is on that very topic. Time. Having time. Taking time. Spending time. Wasting time. Losing time. Making time. What does time mean to you? Is time a gift to be celebrated or a commodity to be measured? Has you feeling toward time altered as you have changed? As you have aged? Is time a friend or an enemy?

I read recently, “there is something sacred about the very nature of time. After all, the very first thing God created was not matter but time – the evening and the morning of the first day.”

So how are you going to spend your time this weekend, this LONG weekend? I hope you can take a few moments to be grateful that you indeed have a few moments to think about the wonder of time.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

High Fives

I am holidays for a couple of weeks and so have been able to relax and watch a few ball games. Actually I think I have watched a game almost every day of my holidays so far. Now that the All Star break is on I will get a break too! I don’t bother with it even though there are five of our Blue Jays playing in it. One of the things I enjoy in the watching is the camaraderie among the players. The team members are all very supportive of their team mates and it is also clear that as the players stand on bases they often enjoy chatting with their opposition. I sometimes wonder what they are talking about. I especially wonder what they say whenever there is a huddle on the pitchers mound and they talk with their mouth covered by hand or glove!
One of the things I have noticed that is a practice for the team is that whenever a player has made a run and returns to the dugout everyone is ready to offer a high five. Even when the run is not particularly remarkable the player gets a high five. The accomplishment is recognized and appreciated by the whole team making me believe that affirmation is an important part of baseball.
This has made me thing about the importance of affirmation generally and how we can affirm one another. Wouldn’t it be great if every time we did something, even something we are supposed to be doing, as baseball players are supposed to earn runs when they are playing a game, that we were given a high five? We do that with children. When little ones are trying to take their first step we are full of affirmation and encouragement. When children are trying to speak we often reward them with smiles, nods, handclapping and other forms of affirmation. We kids do anything that is a first, or even just do what they are supposed to do we give them encouragement and affirmation. At what point do we lose that habit? Adults need affirmation too.
Here is my challenge to you, dear reader, spend some time this week giving affirmation. You enjoy a great dinner? High five the cook. You read an email someone took the time to write you – tell them how much you appreciate that they took the time. Sure, you might get some funny reactions but affirmation is something we all need aeven when we are just doing what we are supposed to do.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Global Awareness

Over the last few weeks the world has been in our homes as the news brings us reports of the dreadful shooting in Orlando, the surprising vote for Brexit, but the global situation that always causes me to stop and listen is any report from Iraq. The Syrian refugee family that we have been matched with are now stuck in Iraq. They left Syrian and moved there seeking refuge. They heard that Canada was welcoming 25,000 refugees and they put in their application and we were matched with them. They, and we, expected that they would be arriving in the large number of refugees who came in the early part of the year as the government worked to meet its goal. However they did not make that cut. Now they wait. And so do we.
Hassan has excellent English and so we are able to communicate regularly by email and to talk on Skype. The waiting for the processing of the application is unbearable. Not for me although it is extremely frustrating and worrying at this end. But for them, they are feeling increasingly isolated and alone and let down by the Canadian promise of safety.
Despite this Hassan has been able to maintain his sense of humour. Our conversation the other day began with me asking about his safety. He told me some of their challenges. He said they do not feel safe leaving their apartment. He said their electrical power unpredictable and is off for hours most days. He said, “What can I say. We are in a country at war. It is horrible.” We lightened the subject and, in true Canadian fashion, I asked about the weather! He told me the temperature has been in the 40s. Then he laughed and said, “Yes, I say to Pirvan, those Canadians complain that it is hot when it is only 28 degrees. When we talked about our dinner plans I said I was planning to barbecue. He said, “We might do that. We will just hold our food out the window!”
The interaction with this brilliant young man is broadening my horizons. They are just concluding Ramadan, a time of fasting and prayer, and tomorrow they get to celebrate Eid. I worry constantly for their safety and pray daily for their peace of mind and continued hopefulness despite this unending wait to get called for an interview.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who You Were Meant To Be

I have shared with you that my life is transitioning as I look at part-time work and taking on more responsibilities at home. I was reflecting with my Spiritual Director the other day on what this has meant for my spiritual calling. I am still not sure, but I do know that reward and gratification come to me in different ways now.

I think we all want the best from life. The reality of what is ‘best’ varies from person to person. Sometimes ‘my best self’ focuses on accomplishment, sometimes on relationship and sometimes it is a blending of those. For some people interpreting “the best” means what they own and where they live but, in fact, that is the “good life” not necessarily living our best self. Living our best self often involves change and transition and brings us to places that we might not choose but where God’s unfolding grace is found. Those places are internal landscapes not the house we live in or the things we possess.

How do you source out the call to fulfill who you were meant to be? Where does the nudge or pull of the Spirit come from for you? I know for myself I often realize in looking back that where I have ended up is where I have been going all along I just couldn’t see it while I was on the journey. I also know that often others can see the path that I am bumbling along more clearly than I can. That is why it is helpful to have a Spiritual companion, a kindred spirit or a very good friend who can help us sift through the fog and give us some clarity. Finding moments of grace and openings to be our best self is truly a gift. For me it is a gift from God.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Oh, summer, how I love you. In the scripture, in the Song of Solomon, which is mostly known for its erotic suggestions of passion for one’s lover, has this beautiful line… “…the winter is over and gone and the song of the turtledove is heard …”

Today, at 6:34, marks the beginning summer solstice. Today is the longest day, the shift from spring to summer, the day we mark the slow turning of the earth to remind us of the passing of days. So my thoughts turn to summer. Here’s what I love …
sunsets over the lake
soggy afternoons when it is too hot to work
the hum of cicadas
open windows
the splashing sound when someone jumps into the lake
visitors on summer vacation
time to read
bird song at the break of day

How about you … what says summer to you?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wild Flowers

What a hard week. The shooting that happened in Orlando Saturday night is beyond comprehension and the pain and sorrow expressed through the week reinforced that so many suffer from the violent action of one. This came on top of the ongoing frustration that the Syrian family we are matched with is stuck in Iraq. As it is a country in conflict, Iraq is not safe enough to send in Canadian personnel to process their refugee applications. The family is feeling totally isolated and forgotten. Our Skype conversations this week have included lots of moments of painful silence as I have few words of encouragement to offer.

In the middle of the week a woman from the congregation brought me a bouquet of wild flowers she picked. They have sat on my desk these hot June days as a reminder of the beauty that awaits outside the doors. The buttercups have dropped a few golden petals and the forget-me-nots have faded to a paler shade of blue while the daisies smile happily.

One of the verses of scripture that always befuddles me in the one where Jesus says, “Consider the lilies of the field. They neither toil nor spin.” Well, sure Jesus they are plants. But, I think, hidden within that verse is a reminder that the moment’s pain, while deep and hard, will be eased and that there is beauty and comfort in the simplest of things.

Sometimes it is hard to see the beauty when we are overwhelmed with difficulties but the flowers do bloom and there is someone who picks a handful and offers them up. For this I am grateful.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Like most people I have a love – hate relationship with technology. I love it when it works and I feel like a complete loser when I can’t figure something out. Luckily for me I am surrounded by many people who can help out and we have a brilliant and readily available computer genius who is, as I say to him …sort of in jest … on “speed dial”. When we have a computer problem at the church we just call Laurie and he sorts us out in no time flat.

I tell you all this because at this time last week I was having computer problems. Turns out it was a defunct webcam that had to be replaced. I wanted it working so that I could connect through Skype to our Syrian family who are currently living in Iraq. We have developed a good friendship through emails and Hassan suggested we should Skype as it is easier to talk when we can see one another. He is right. I have now seen their apartment and I have been able to show them our house. I have introduced them to the other folks who work at the church and last Sunday morning the congregation at our early service got to meet the whole family. On Tuesday our ‘Refugee Team’ was able to spend and hour-and-a-half visiting over Skype and in that conversation we were able to hear their story and learn about their present living conditions.

Technology has been a great asset as we build relationship with this family who are half way around the world and separated in time zones by 7 hours. Through the magic of technology, we can sit and chat with them as if they were in the same room. Amazing.

In our conversations I am learning a great deal from them. The political circumstance and violence that has them fleeing their homeland, some of their favourite foods, what family life and culture is like in Syria, to name just a few things.

They are now observing Ramadan – the Muslim period of fasting and reflection. For this month they fast from eating during the day – from dawn to dusk. They spend time in prayer and reading the Koran. ‘Iftar’, the meal at sundown when they can break the fast, is one longed for during the day as hunger builds. Hassan even sent a couple of photos of some of their delicious looking Syrian food. Ramadan has some parallels to the Christian period of Lent in that it is a time to reflect on how to live a better life and be a better person with a focus on kindness and generosity.

Technology has certainly made the world a smaller place and it is an asset to building relationship and community. If only all people could use it for good and see it as a tool for strengthening who we are as a global community.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Decisions, Decisions … Are Sometimes Hard

Helloooo faithful readers. If you are still there. I know, I know it has been a long time since there was anything new to read but I am back now and eager to get back on to a schedule of writing.

I have been caught up in a difficult decision process. I have been in ministry since I was ordained at the tender age of 25. I seemed, to myself at least, so grown up then; I look at 25 year olds now and think, OMG – still so young! I have spent my entire work-life in ministry. It hasn’t felt so much like work, more a vocation or a life-style choice. I love the church – despite all its foibles and shortcomings. I, as clearly as the next person, know that the church is made up of saints and sinners, well intentioned and short-sighted people. But they are my tribe, my people, my kindred. So, the consideration as to whether to leave fulltime ministry has been wrenching. I have talked about it, reflected on it, considered it from every angle and always ended up in tears.

The reality of my life these days is that my life isn’t entirely my own. My husband, whom I love even more than I love my work and the church, is facing some limitations brought on by aging and he needs more support than I can give him if I am working fulltime. What to do, what to do? The obvious choice is to stop working. So why has that decision been so very difficult? I have talked to my Spiritual Director about it until I am sure she feels like saying “Just do it!” – but being a good Spiritual Director she would never say anything like that.

Part of the struggle for me was the notion that it had to be all or nothing. I could work full time or I could retire and neither option seemed the right one. How relieved I was when my Personnel Minister suggested to me that I look at part-time ministry if both the congregation and my team-mate Kevin were in agreement. I have approached them and they are. Hallelujah. Now we are trying to sort out what part-time ministry will look like for me and how it will be lived out beginning January 2017.

I tell you all this as prelude to reflecting on the difficulty of decisions. I recognize that for me a number of emotions have come into play. Fear – about making the wrong choice. Grief – about losing something that is so important. Anger – that I feel the decision is being forced on my (and yes, I am angry at God for this situation I find myself in and the tough decision I have to make). As well, when I allow myself to experience them, feelings of relief and even anticipation at having a bit more time to pursue other things.

Change is difficult and, even though we are changing everyday and events effect transition and decisions constantly it is still so hard sometimes to make a decision.

The scripture is filled with stories of people who struggled with decisions – Leah, Rebecca, Ruth, Naomi, Esther, Mary, Lydia, Rahab and on and on. I am in good company but that doesn’t make decision-making any easier. I am grateful for the many people who have hung in with me over these last few months as I have struggled my way to discerning God’s next adventure for me. Bring on part-time ministry I think I am ready … or I will be by January!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment