Friday, December 12, 2008


As a joke, I emailed this message to a friend when she asked me to remind her again of my birth date. I hope you'll laugh as much as she did over this silly message. It went like this...

"Okay, here it is folks. Mark it with a big fat purple pen. My birthday which should have been declared a national holiday but unfortunately it was overlooked - apparently the government had other little things to attend to like the national budget, health, immigration - like those things couldn't wait. Now listen up. This is a very important date - in fact, I'll be having a conference with the calendar people next week to discuss having it marked on all calendars, at least, all North American calendars. My birthday is December 15. And for those interested, the year of jubilee was 1952.

I'll be expecting truck loads of birthday cards to arrive on time - late cards will be returned to sender. Before rushing to the stores to Christmas shop my birthday card is to be purchased before all your big bucks are blown on gifts for family and friends. If you wish to tuck some colourful Canadian paper money inside the card, please feel free to do so - several bills will not increase the postage. Of course, only the large denominational bills will be acknowledged with a thank you card - purchased from a dollar store. Please do remember what you send each year, as I do not wish to receive the same old tired card year after year - do try to be original. Create your own card and verse to show how much you really care about me. Good ones will be stuck to the refrigerator door and exceptional ones will be framed. Dust off your thesaurus to find many wonderful words to describe me and what I truly mean to you and to society on the whole. Now I'll just sit back and put my feet up as I patiently wait for the postal trucks to roll in."

Remember that message was meant as a joke. May God keep me from ever becoming that arrogant.

My birthday is important to me. It's a special day because that's the day God made for me - in fact, He made me. And years later, March 1990, my spirit was awakened. After I realized and acknowledged (confessed) that I had inherited Adam and Eve's original sin (violated God's law) and harboured many of my own self-made sins, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Immediately my spirit was connected to my Creator and I felt a joy deep within me that has never diminished - even through difficult times. It was like a homecoming. That's when I was truly born - born again. No longer was I a hollow being with a void that nothing, no matter what I tried - and I tried many things - could satisfy. Jesus filled that void. I'm more than satisfied.

Now I'll go celebrate another birthday because I am live - truly alive - alive in Christ Jesus!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Two Ribs and a Nose

The coffee shop was busy but I was able to find a vacant little table. As I sat enjoying my cappuccino, I overheard one of the three men at the next table.

The man's voice was loud and deep as he proclaimed to the two fellows sitting with him, "You don't have to be intimated by anyone!" He set his coffee cup down, leaned back in his chair and proudly told the men how he had broken two ribs and the nose of a man he thought needed to "learn a lesson". There was no way he'd "back off".

The man appeared to be in his early fifties. He was not a young boy describing a scrap in the school yard. The fight he described sounded like a western barroom brawl. Perhaps he had not been in his right mind at the time. Perhaps he had been on medication or was drunk - although, his ability to recall the details had not been impaired. He arrogantly declared that no one could intimidate him.

Although he conducted himself in an impetuous and dangerous manner, he had a point. We needn't feel intimated by anyone. It is possible to state our point in a calm voice with rational thoughts, showing respect and listening patiently to others. Forcing our thoughts and beliefs on others results in a stand-off also known as 'the cold shoulder' or an argument or a physical fight. Just look at all the past wars and ones that are in existence today. No one wins; no one learns. But there are times when our anger burns and, boy, oh boy, it sure would feel great to smack someone. Enemies are easier and quicker to make than friends.

World peace is most people's desire. But how can it be achieved when there are many different and strong points of view concerning politics, business and religion? Here's something that makes sense to me; if we "cease from anger and abandon wrath; don't fret, it leads only to evildoing." That's from Psalm 37:8. And here's something else; "the meek (the mild mannered people, gentle in nature, those in control of their tempers) shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Psalm 37:11

For some of us it is a difficult task to control our tempers. But that ugly monster can be controlled when we stop fighting God and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. Or we can choose our own stubborn painful way of simply biting our tongue.

Well, here's to you and world peace - I raise my cappuccino in a toast.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lend Me an Ear

In the coffee shop, one table over from me, a young pretty lady sat with a boy of about 10 years of age and a teenage girl - about 15. The young lady - I'm guessing she was the mother of the two children - was talking with the teenage girl, or so she said. I didn't hear her speaking. The boy was holding something that appeared to be an electronic game. He seemed very excited about it, perhaps how it worked or the great score he had obtained on the last game. With animated eagerness he told his mother something.

Quickly she turned to face him and snapped, "I don't want to hear about your xxxx all day long! I'm trying to talk!" Then she turned back to face the teenage girl.

The young boy glanced downwards then slowly raised his head and looked my way. The hurt in his blue eyes was obvious. I suppose he was also bewildered why his mother was angry and uninterested in what he thought was exciting or important.

Sometimes when we're tired or engrossed in something that interests us, we become angry with interruptions. We may even use foul language as this lady did when she snapped at her son. Some might even laughingly say, "The devil made me do it." And that may be true - it all depends on who we've decided to follow - the devil or Jesus.

If we're following the devil, then we'll live as we please, placing ourselves and our interests before others. But if we've chosen to follow Jesus, we'll want to please God by imitating His Son. Jesus didn't display anger when interrupted. Instead he took time to listen to people. Remember the woman with the bleeding disorder (Mark 5: 25-34)? Jesus listened to her and healed her. When children were brought to Jesus, His disciples rebuked them. But Jesus welcomed the little ones. (Matthew 19: 13-15)

With a little patience, we can lend an ear when someone needs or wants it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Got What I Needed

When John and I married, we waited a few years before sending our request to the stork. And waited. But alas, there was no sign of the phantom bird. After a few more years we couldn't wait any longer. We decided to adopt the first available baby.

January 7, 1996 we adopted a tiny helpless 7 week-old baby. But, I was baffled at what God was trying to tell us by sending this baby. She was a dog! Oh, I don't mean that she was ugly - she really was a dog - a Miniature Poodle! Not a Great Dane, a German shepherd, a Golden Retriever, a Boxer - no- a Poodle! Just what was God thinking!

Slowly our focus shifted from us to someone else - okay, something else. We learned many new things such as; how to read body language - the dog's as well as each others'; we learned when a hug is needed; a growl means space is needed, especially when "mommy" growls; sharing is a good thing - the couch, the arm-chair, sharing food but not from the same dish; we show great excitement when someone comes to the door and whimper when they leave; when "daddy" returns home from work he is smothered with kisses - well...mostly by the dog; playing tag and hid n' seek are fun ways of exercising; and it's nice to spend some quite time together watching a movie.

There are many things we will never experience as real parents, such as ; parent-teacher interviews; art work on the fridge door, sleepovers; school graduations; weddings and grandchildren. But none-the-less, it has been a joy and a learning experience to look after one of God's precious creatures.

God doesn't answer prayer like a genie in a lamp. He doesn't pop up and answer when we rub the Bible and say a quick prayer. He may not answer the way we expect Him or within our time schedule but He always does answer. God gives us exactly what we need, in the amount that we can handle, with usually a lesson to learn because He cares enough to see us grow.

Psalm 25:4

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Me! Me! Me!

At a spa in Switzerland, Jean and I watched people playing on the water tubing ride. Water flowed down levels like a fast flowing river and swirled in small pools where tubers bobbed about before being whisked down to another level and on and on it zigzagged to the bottom which wasn't visible from where we were standing. It appeared to be a fun easy activity; one I'd never tried but was curious about.

I handed my eye glasses to Jean, picked up a yellow tube, hopped onto it and away I went. Down the first level I floated and came almost to a halt in the first tiny pool. Yup! It was fun and easy!

Suddenly the current picked up the tube and carried me swiftly down to the next level. In desperation I grabbed the slippery tube's sides. A wave rose up, overturned the tube and I went under.

The thoughts that race through one's mind while in the mist of a crisis are startling. First I thought about my looks, particularly my hair. I had washed it that morning and didn't want to get it wet. Then I fretted about breaking my glasses. But I was comforted by the remembrance of leaving them in Jean's care.

The strong current pushed me to the bottom where I walloped my head. That's when I felt panicky as I feared the bump would knock me unconscious, water would fill my lungs, and I'd drown. My next thought was; 'I don't want to die on a tube ride! I don't want to go home in a box in cargo! I paid for a window seat!' I floundered in the current for some time before stumbling to the edge where a teenage boy helped me off the slide, over the railing and back onto the walkway.

Although I was relieved to be alive and well despite the bump on my head, I was dismayed to discover my true colours. Throughout the whole but short ordeal, my only thoughts were of me; not one thought about others. If I had met my end; would Jean be left with guilt about bringing me to the spa; how would my husband feel about receiving his wife in a casket; how would my family deal with the shock of my sudden demise? Shameful isn't it? I thought about my hair, my glasses, and my airplane seat.

It is human nature to focus on ourselves especially during a crisis. In fact, some news stories have reported how stronger passengers on a sinking ship literally run over the fallen weaker ones to reach the life boats.

As Jesus hung on the cross, He looked upon his accusers, some of whom were laughing and casting lots while dividing His garments among themselves, He said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." In His anguish, Jesus thought about us and remembered the sole purpose of His visit. He was and is the gentle Lamb who died in our stead for our inherited and self-made sins so that we won't languish in the eternal pit of hopelessness but be reconciled into God's loving presence. He thought of us. Jesus is the way home, if we accept this truth.

Luke 23:34 KJV

Thursday, September 4, 2008

No Big Scene

There was a long lineup, as usual, at the coffee shop yet many tables were vacant. Most customers were taking their coffee on the run.

After I received my coffee and tea biscuit, I scanned the room for a quiet spot. Aha! My eye caught the “bird’s eye view” table in the corner – perfect spot to write. I made a bee-line to it and got there safely without spilling my coffee. Carefully I set my coffee cup and tea biscuit down.

Just as I was about to lower my behind into the chair, a young boy about twelve years of age rushed over with his cold drink and straw and said, “I was sitting here!”

Apparently he had gotten up to get something when I honed into his territory. I mumbled, “Oh, you were sitting here?” I departed feeling a little embarrassed and put out. I wanted that table.

Can you image the scene if I had refused to leave? What if I had just plunked myself down and said, “Too bad, kid! You snooze, you lose!”

Then what would he have done? Perhaps thrown his drink at me? Aha! A food fight! I would have tossed my hot coffee into his face. He’d scream, then punch me, I’d kick him…the police would be summoned...we’d be charged for disturbing the peace and possible destruction of restaurant property.

But nothing like that happened. I quietly left and found another table to write at. I’ll take revenge with the pen! Not!

I wonder what others thought as I got up and left. Did they think, ‘Poor lady, ousted by a kid.’ or ‘What a nice lady to quietly leave and find another table.’ or ‘What a wimp! She should have stood up to that kid! Shame on that boy for treating his elders like that!’

You see how easy it is to avoid a big scene? Just walk away. Here is what I learned from that little incident; it doesn’t matter what others think as long as I’m doing what is right; arguing over a trivial matter is a waste of precious time; everyone deserves respect even children; holding a grudge, wallowing in feelings of offense, or allowing our minds to plot revenge only keeps us from maturing in our character and stifles grace from blossoming. A big scene can be avoided by turning the other cheek.

Matt 5:39