Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year Resolutions - Bah Hum Bug

Best I can tell, those who make them
Break them before the year is done,
Sometimes before the first month is past.

What we do and who we are begins with how we think.
If we want something to change,
we must first change the way we think,
about it and about ourselves.

I have discovered that old habits die hard;
they hang around in the corners of our lives
waiting for a weak moment in our resolve
to reclaim their spot.
Second time around
They dig their roots in deeper,
Being aware their status could be challenged.

The following are some comments from FB friends about the topic:
Gael: We take memories from the year we leave behind
           We make footprints in the year we enter.

Ken:   Do what you have always done if it seems to work fine.
           If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

(People who make NYR usually do so because something they are doing, or not doing, isn’t working to their liking. Something IS broken. But is NYR the answer?)

Robin: Hopes and goals are good.
            Some we can control;
            Many we cannot.

Min:    I often feel like a failure with NYR.

(I think she has hit bull’s eye. 
The problem with NYR is our inability to keep them which in turn brings on Failure syndrome. We need encouragement and success to keep moving forward.)

Gordon: We haven’t made NYR for many years, though once did.
                Instead, we adopt a theme for the year.

I really like this concept.
My theme for 2011 = downsizing and de cluttering

Ron & Grace:  planning with flexibility.

            Linda & Rosella shared the concept:
            Leave it in God’s hands and see what He has planned for you”.         
I’ve learned to write goals, in sand, coated with prayer.
At the end of each year I review them.
It’s exciting to check off those I’ve accomplished.
Unachieved goals are re-evaluated and usually moved forward to the New Year
Or replaced with new ones based on changed life circumstances.

I really like what Dawn Wilson said in her LOL Blog on this topic:

As an adult, I’ve come to realize it’s not about “New Year’s resolutions,” but rather the well-thought-out goals that we will strategize to achieve as we discipline our lives and listen for the whispers of God.

It’s about focus and faithfulness.

I’ve also realized that our New Year will be just about what we expect it to be. Oh, there will be unexpected challenges, but we will have the opportunity to face anything in life with the presence and power of God, and choose our attitudes. We will have the opportunity to make decisions that will take our lives down new avenues, perhaps. We will have the opportunity to put our hand in God’s and walk courageously with Him through each new day.

So, beyond midnight means “opportunity” ~ Are you ready for the opportunities God will bring into your life this year?

 “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Special Delivery

His first coming
for Mary
   for Joseph
for their parents
   for their friends

Such a message
   such a burden
      such an inconvenience
         such misunderstanding
such blind obedience

In time
   understanding came
A light came
from outer darkness
to earth's darkness
   to illuminate
      to make a way plain
to shine for all to see

Some see
   some remain blind
some choose to see
   some refuse to see

God still breaks through
   time and space
God still invites us
   to partner with Him
offering hope
   to the hopeless
offering love
   to the unlovely
offering bread at midnight
   to strangers
transforming lives
   making all things new

When He asks you
    it may be

Will you offer
   blind obedience
to deliver God's miracle
   for someone?

Friday, November 26, 2010

I am Grateful, I am Grateful,

"I am grateful"
"I am grateful".
"I am grateful for my alarm clock".

Remember when you had to write lines because of bad behaviour? It was meant to change your attitude and your behaviour, for the better.

This past week I have been rudely awakened by my alarm clock at 4:30 a.m. every day. In my stupor I shut it off but did not disengage it, so day after day, same wake up call.  Sometimes I wish for 'the good ole days' when turning clocks and televisions off and on was a simple task.  Modern technology is wonderful if you grasp it and very frustrating and annoying if you don't.

My alarm clock was only doing what I had asked it to, a few weeks ago.  I needed to be up at 4:30 in order to catch an early flight to a conference.  But now, back home, my mornings are to be relaxed, no alarm clocks, rising when I'm done sleeping.  Eventually I got the message that I needed to disengage the alarm setting in order to stop the torture.  I considered a hammer but thought better of it because I like the large illuminated numbers in the dark, reminding me I can turn over and sleep for another few hours.  Waking myself sufficiently to figure out how to disengage the alarm has finally allowed me the joy of a wake up on my terms, slow, relaxed, meditative.

I've been reminded that repetition, like writing those lines in grade school, can help to change our attitudes for the better if we focus on what we are grateful for in any good, bad, or indifferent circumstance. 

I am grateful my alarm clock is reliable.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Perpetual Winter? Narnia?

I don't recall finding a hidden door in a wardrobe?  Am I in Narnia's Kingdom of Perpetual Winter? If I am, then Aslan is nearby too.  I shall be on the lookout for him.

Knowing Calgary (my home) was the second coldest place on earth today makes it all worthwhile. I feel so special and privileged to live here.

I am grateful there were no other vehicles nearby when I lost control of my vehicle today while making a left hand turn. The ice took control and I just sat there wondering where I would end up. Pretty much did a 360. And I thought I was driving according to the road conditions, slow enough to execute my plans.   I felt a tad embarrassed. Wake up call acknowledged.  Did I mention I'm grateful no one else was near enough to be involved in this potential disaster?  Whew!

My son says, "Put winter tires on that car!" He insists winter tires make all the difference in controlling a vehicle on ice.
My husband reminded me that slipping a car into neutral gear takes the push off the drive thereby making it much easier to control.  I knew that! just forgot this technique over the intervening snow free months since last winter.

I am grateful for the promise of warmer temperatures coming to rescue us from despair.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I was surprised, and pleased, this morning to automatically receive an advent devotional in my email. I signed up for this last year and were it not for their automated efforts, advent would likely be half over before I engaged.

'The Christmas season is here'! message is difficult to ignore. Retailers happily sharing Christmas music and encouraging us to deposit money in their cash registers; promotions for Christmas concerts and Christmas plays or movies abound challenging us to attend their events; family members asking, "Are we doing Christmas at your house this year"? "When are we doing the family gathering? 24th? 25th? 26th"?  "Are we doing turkey or ham"?

I am grateful for the reminder to take a few moments for reflection about the reason for this season. Christ willingly left His home of glory and comfort to show us how to live in a world that has gone so very wrong. We celebrate His arrival.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I get easily distracted but today was the ultimate. I can hardly believe I allowed this to happen.

The plan was to scoot to the mall and purchase some needed garments, returning in time for a skype date with my husband.  I started the car and let it run for a while to warm up (temperature is hovering in the minus mid teens C.  Not one to ever just sit still, I started cleaning the snow and ice off the driveway. A half hour later, I'm on a roll, turn off the car, and keep scraping ice. 

By the time I was done, it was too late to do a quick shopping trip and be home in time for my date. I also fed the birds. They have scolded me this past week as the temperatures plunged, the snow piled up, and their natural food supply disappeared.

Did I really just clean my driveway instead of going shopping?
My sore back is already affirming my stupidity.  Ah, but the birds will be happy and reward me with their antics outside my front window.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wear Your Robe

My mornings are usually slow and meaningful.
Today I rise and prepare for a typical first-of-the-morning stint in the kitchen.

Mornings are often spent in my night clothes, without a robe to cover up. It's comfortable and sometimes I do my best thinking and writing during these casual mornings.  And yes, on occasion, I have been caught by a delivery person, early afternoon, still in night gear. I do throw on a coat before opening the door to receive my parcel.

This day, my husband and son are already gone but I hear Gabi, our border, still present. She has seen me in nightclothes before so I'm not concerned. A nudge from somewhere suggests I put on a cover up robe.  It's winter and cold, so I put on a heavy, warm terry robe before leaving the bedroom.

En route down stairs to the main floor I notice Gabi sitting by the front window waiting for her ride. And, I hear a noise in the kitchen.  Has my son not gone to work?  Then I see a stranger emerge.  He is young and handsome (even without my glasses).

I discover he is waiting for a ride too, a friend of Gabi's, sheltering from the very cold temperatures outside.

How grateful I am for that still small voice prompting me to 'wear a robe'. I am also grateful I chose to obey.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Distractions Prayer

Oh the distractions!
So many things not on my 'to do' list
hit my eyes and mind.
- sticking to my floor as I walk,
creating a need to wash the floor and the throw rug
...someone spilled a drink without cleaning it up
on their hurry out the door this morning.
Thank You they have a job.
Thank You I have time to clean up after them.

- a young neighbor mom with her two wee children, outside
...she needs to know about the dangerous offender
in our neighborhood yesterday.
Thank You I was aware of it and able
to reinforce our need to be vigilant.
Please protect our neighborhood against crime and violence.

- a radio talk show about human slavery
Thank You I could listen to this program, while washing my floor,
becoming better informed about crime in my neighborhood,
my city, my country, my world.

Thank You for reminding me the best way to combat crime
is getting to know my neighbors. 
Talking to people around us,
building relational bridges,
may create a bridge to someone else's freedom.

Keep me alert to the needs of others.
Show me ways to be Your hands, Your feet, Your light
to a world that so desperately needs Your touch.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Patchwork Sleep

black nighttime; sleep time

muted red light from my digital clock reminding that night's not over, helping me track the hours when I should be...want to be sleeping

light brown sheets and pillows, soft and cuddly warm fleece, to make sleeping easier, more comfortable

Joseph's coat of many colors afghan adding warmth and comfort

light blue nightlight shining from hubby's radio alarm clock, offering a soft glow sufficient to prevent stumbling during my nighttime yellow trip to the bathroom

off white soft carpet offering comfort and warmth during nighttime treks

pale green walls encouraging relaxation

soothing brown of antique furniture encircling the room
with rich heritage

Time to sew these patches together for some serious zzzzz's.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eating Elephants

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and conflicted.
I know God is with me
yet I struggle to find a sense of peace.

Lord, please gently squeeze my hand,
reassuring me of the road I walk.

Ah yes, the elephant. That's it!
I'm trying to eat an elephant.
You have taught me to eat it,
      one bite at a time.

Chomp. Chew. Chew. Chew.
It could use some seasoning.

Thank You for the sprinkle of sunshine today.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Lesson from Nature

Caterpillars, cocoons, butterflys - just like these creatures in nature, sometimes we struggle to be set free from a situation that seems to stifle our progress and muzzle our joy.

Sometimes we attract attention to our distress. Well meaning family and friends come to our aide, picking away at our encasement in order to help set us free.

If only we, and they, understood this process hinders our progress rather than helping it. The struggle is necessary to make us stronger for what lies ahead. The struggle strengthens our wings so we are able to fly higher and farther once we break free from what is holding us imprisoned now.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Memphis Musings

Mighty Mississippi - a nice evening walk along it's banks, being serenaded by Cicada's. It flows quite fast and is very wide past downtown Memphis. Memories of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn come to mind and I wonder if young lads still float down this river on home made rafts seeking adventure.

Vegetation - huge oak trees everywhere providing wonderful limbs for swings in a yard; vines everywhere...some look like attack vines from a scary movie; vegetation everywhere responding to the heat and humidity.

Bird Song - blue jays' loud call and stunningly beautiful serenade from a mysterious bird well hidden in a large tree.

Cicada - very loud noise, sounding like a million of these creatures sit just overhead, then their 'music' stops in an instant as if a maestro is conducting their choir.

Silk Worms - making messy homes in trees, destroying vegetation, and dangling from the trees while scouting for a new location to build yet another home....makes me wonder why some industrious entrepreneur hasn't started a business of harvesting them and putting them to good work creating American Silk.

Playground Equipment - reminding me of a playful octopus, with two bodies, green arms, and an elephant trunk nose, sitting in a puddle of water (recycled tires painted blue). I have a very active imagination which comes in handy when playing with grandchildren.

Grandchildren - living too far away; as I'm dropped off at the airport for my return home, 4 year old Maisie excitedly says, "Gramma, you can hop on a plane and come for a sleepover any time you want to."

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Here today
Gone tomorrow
Bringing joy
Bringing sorrow
A child's delight
An adult's plight

Sometimes I feel like a dandelion

Friday, June 4, 2010


I had made an error in identifying the daddy owl (the photographer corrected me).  This is the dad.

Here are some pics of the babies on the rooftop.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rewards of Applied Knowledge

Paying attention to knowledge gained over the years paid off recently while out for a long evening walk. It has become a near ritual to include a hunt for the owl family we have been following for the past few months. 

Walking past the tree we had seen them in most recently proved futile so we headed up the pathway where we saw them last year. After a short distance we heard some robins chirping a distress call.  "The owls may be nearby," said my husband,  having learned to recognize a bird's distressful chirping when a predator was threatening. Slowing our pace, we began looking more intently at the trees and rooftops around us.

"There it is," I said pointing to the evergreen tree ahead.  Stan didn't see it immediately because of the camouflaging branches.  "Just keep walking past the tree a distance and we'll stop further along to get a better look," he said. 

Daddy owl was facing across the pathway towards the houses on the other side. 

What a gorgeous site. 

But no owlets. "I'm sure the babies are nearby," I quietly commented. Stan immediately spotted them on the roof of a house. All three birds were intently watching us.

We were blessed to see the young owls hop around a bit, fly off out of site and quickly return to a very large, leafy tree a short distance away, causing considerable agitation to several small dogs in the yards around that tree. 

The wingspan of these birds is enormous in comparison to their short stubby bodies. Their flight is silent.  The landing in the leafy tree by the young birds seemed somewhat awkward revealing they are still in flight school.

We are so grateful to have recognized the distress call of the robins, alerting us to the likely presence of the owls. We were not disappointed.

These pictures of an owlet were captured the following evening. All the pictures were taken by my husband.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


What if Life really is simple?

What if an attitude of gratitude
   could totally change your life,
      for the better?

What if saying 'Thank You'
   for what you have
      is a pathway leading towards
         what you need and want?

What if 'Thank You' is the key
   to unlock doors
      for a happier, healthier,
        more satisfying, fulfilling life?

What if 'Thank You' is the tool
   to break chains
      that have bound you
         for too long?

What if?

What will you lose
   by saying 'Thank You'?

What if it doesn't work?
   doesn't change a thing?

What if it does work?
   and changes everything,
      for the better?

Can you afford the risk?

Can you afford not to take the risk?

"Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do."   I Thessalonians 5:18

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Homeless, Quilts, and Soccer Games

On my way to church this morning I saw a young lady and her family, very close to my home, carrying their bedding. "Homeless people in our neighborhood? Did they sleep in the pathway we often walk? I'm so sorry for them." I was not appalled by the homeless in my neighborhood; just the thought of a homeless person is sad and uncomfortable because they are meant for so much more than this.

We have housed a few homeless and/or destitute individuals over the years, and unknowingly (until the next day) sheltered a young man in our side yard. All a very interesting educational experience. One of the huge learning curves for me was, 'be careful what you pray for'. At one point I wept for young people who were torn and tossed by fractured families and broken relationships. I prayed that God would give me a house big enough to keep some of them in a loving, stable environment.

Years later, I lamented to God about the awfulness of the various young folks (not my children) living in our home, their lifestyles of free sex, drug and alcohol abuse, their lack of personal hygiene, and their disregard for jobs or education. The all too familiar 'little voice' quickly reminded me that it was I who had prayed to show them a loving home. I had neglected to mentally prepare for the lifestyle baggage that came with that prayer.

As I reached the top of the hill this morning I was relieved to know the questionable 'homeless family' was on their way to a soccer tournament. People wrap in quilts or sleeping bags and dress in winter clothing to watch their children play soccer in Calgary. Oh the sacrifices we make to cheer them on. I am very grateful this family was not homeless, and, I am grateful that my grandchildren are not currently playing soccer.