Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Matriarch

She bore little resemblance to the picture on the mantle of the radiant young bride. That picture was taken over sixty years ago. Today she sat in the corner at the family gathering with her white hair plastered tight against her head, wearing her pale blue blouse with the pink flower print, tucked into her polyester pants with the elastic waist. She had on her grey orthopedic shoes. Her hearing wasn’t what it used to be and there she sat, the matriarch of the family, unable to follow the conversations that were going on around her. Was it really worth the effort to bring her to these family gatherings? But look more closely. You will see the beauty of Christ reflected in her eyes as she gazes at her family gathered around her and if you listen carefully you will hear her say the same words to you that God said to His people thousands of years ago, “You are precious to me. I love you and give you honour.” When she is no longer able to attend these family get togethers it will feel like the fire has sputtered and died and no longer provides light and warmth for the family.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Which Lap

He said, “Come child, come sit on my lap.”
“Have you been a good girl?” he asked. “I don’t give toys to naughty children you know.”
I assured him that I had been good.
“Have you cried? I don’t like crying and pouting.”
“No I never cry. Sometimes I feel like it but I suck it up.”
“Good girl,” he said. “Now tell me what would you like for Christmas? I can have my elves make you whatever trinkets your heart desires.” (It wasn’t until later that I learned that his elves where really children working in sweat shops in third world countries.)

He said, “Come child. Come unto me.”
“Oh no I couldn’t.” I said. “I’m not good enough to come into your presence.”
“Nonsense! My love is not conditional on your goodness. I molded you in your mother’s womb. I have delighted in you since before you were born. Just come as you are.”
I came. He comforted me while I poured out my pent up tears.
He lavished me with like an exuberance for life, serenity, and the ability to love others freely.

I was left with a choice. What would I celebrate this winter..... Santamas or Christmas.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the kings horses and all the kings men Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
So there lay Humpty - broken, lonely and dejected until he looked to his Maker with tear stained eyes and a submissive heart.
His Maker picked Humpty up and meticulously transformed him into a stronger and more radiant egg than he had ever been before.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Way I See It

Hello! My name is Charlie. I spend a lot of time in quiet reflection. As a result I have acquired several pearls of wisdom. This is what I have learned:
  • You don't have to do anything. If you just sit and watch the world it will still continue to rotate.
  • You might as well just enjoy the moment.
  • It's wise to find pleasure in little things.
  • Play hard. It heals the body and refreshes the mind.
  • Be curious about the world. It's amazing what you can learn.
  • Choose your friends cautiously. Not everyone who goes gaga over you has your best interests at heart.
  • Don't let the mood of others dictate your mood. Sometimes when others are grumpy they just need someone like you to show them a little love.
  • Eat when you're hungry and stop eating when you're satisfied.
  • Time spent having a nice relaxing bath before going to bed will help you sleep.
  • Stretch your body and mind. It keeps them flexible.
  • Greet your loved ones warmly every time you see them.
  • There's nothing as satisfying as snuggling up with someone you love and having a nice nap and that's just what I'm going to do right now. I hope you've enjoyed my pearls of wisdom.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Set Free

The pain in my neck and back was excruciating and I was so weary I felt I couldn’t take another step but still I continued to trudge on under the weight of my heavy load. A man came up beside me and asked, “What are you carrying in such an enormous backpack?”

“I have many important things in here, things I can’t afford to give up,” I answered.

“Like what?”

“Well, I have my pride and my selfishness, all my bitterness and grudges, my loneliness and addictions. My broken relationships are all here. I have my guilt. Then there’s my greed with its competitiveness, consumption, and constant longing for more.........more money, more stuff, more power, more accolades, just more. And then there’s all the rules and conventions I must follow so God won’t look down on me and so my friends and neighbours won’t shun me and sneer at me behind my back. I have even more in here than that but I’m sure you’ve heard enough.”

“I’ll take your backpack and carry it for you,” he offered. “Then you’ll be free.”

It seemed like a lot to burden someone else with. I didn’t want to give it to him at first, but he looked so eager to relieve me of it that at last I relented and strapped it on his back. Before I skipped off I paused. “Hey wait a minute!” I said. “Free! Free to do what?”

“Free to absorb my love.” he said. “Free to show empathy, compassion and generosity to all you meet. Free to love unconditionally. Free to be at peace with God, your neighbour and all of creation. Free to celebrate.”

“Oh, by the way,” he warned. “People will try to saddle you with other backpacks. Don’t let them. Remember me.”

Monday, August 24, 2009

Unorthodox Teaching

Orthodox* religion is like snow in the spring. It is dull and gray and has no ability to instill joy or peace. It’s just there and everyone wishes the rains would come and wash it away.

What about orthodox teaching? When teachers base their teaching practices on traditions, refined agendas, programs and materials, carefully constructed curriculum or the desire to gain the approval of others, is their teaching like the dull, gray snow in spring? My goal as a teacher is to shed my orthodoxy and respond from my compassion for each child and from my desire to help that child reach his or her potential. I will value the child’s exploration and investigations. I will talk less while I watch and listen to the children more. I will reflect on what the children say and do, and use my refection as my barometer to guide me in stretching my students as they grow as learners. I will have high expectations of myself as a learner and a teacher and I will have high expectations of my students as members of a community of learners. I will ask thoughtful questions and anticipate thoughtful answers. I will make every effort to elevate each child in her own eyes and in the eyes of others. I will celebrate each child and his thinking rather than dismiss the child and his thinking. My teaching will be anchored in my knowledge of the curriculum and good pedagogy but this will not be my guiding force. At the helm of what I do as a teacher will be my goal to have a class that is like a shimmering blanket of new fallen snow that lies soft and white upon the ground instilling joy, peace and a love of learning in all who come through the door. This crowns my task. The degree to which my practices are aligned with my ideals will be the degree to which I will be successful as a teacher.

Orthodox* - adhering to:
1) traditions
2) what is accepted
3)what is customary
4)what is approved by authority
-conforming to established practices or standards
-being loyal to a system of rules and regulations at all costs

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Contemplate the Caterpillar

One day a man was strolling through life when he came to a tree, a magnificent tree with its branches stretching toward heaven. On the trunk of the tree his caterpillar was camouflaged against the bark slowly making its ascent up the trunk of the tree. The caterpillar was called Time.

The man contemplated his caterpillar for a while and then he continued his journey until he approached a fork in the road. He must choose which path he would follow. He chose to walk the path of submission rather than the path of self-will. As he continued to travel he was lavished with many fine gifts. He was given suffering and he became wise. He was given kindness and he was kind. He was granted mercy and he was merciful. He was given forgiveness and he forgave others. Love was bestowed upon him and he loved. He was filled with joy and he gave thanks. He was blessed with faith and he glorified his maker.

Meanwhile, his caterpillar reached the end of its journey at the top of the utmost branch of the tree. There it was transformed into a beautiful butterfly, took wing and soared above the clouds into eternity.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Prepare to Fly

I’m a nice person most of the time and most of the children I teach are decent people. Our classroom is usually a haven of rest for the little people who occupy it but it can be a scary world outside the walls of our classroom. Wolves abound. How can I prepare my little fledglings to leave the safety of my wings and soar like eagles far above the wolves that roam the earth? How can I teach them to walk tall and confidently but at the same time to be watchful for the dangers that may lurk around the next corner? How can I prepare them to be neither predator nor prey? With enough encouragement, exhortation and coercion will they grow to be responsible and safe citizens in our society?

Little Ashley gave me food for thought one day. “You know what?” she asked the class. “My daddy is kind of like the first little pig who built his house out of straw because Daddy drives everywhere instead of walking. He wants to get there fast and he doesn’t think about the bad things that could happen, like the air getting dirty. That’s like the first little pig. It just wanted to build its house fast and it didn’t think about the bad things that could happen later on, like getting eaten by a wolf.” Wow! This nugget of wisdom was presented by a moppet who wasn’t as old as the sweater I was wearing at the time. From there a huge discussion erupted about the importance of being responsible and working hard and the necessity of caring for the environment even when it is inconvenient.

The lights came on for me that day. I suddenly realized what my grandparents and great-grandparents knew all along. Fairy tales are an irreplaceable medium for character education. Fairy tales are a key that unlocks the child’s imagination allowing him or her to ruminate on how to live with dignity. Who can better teach a child that with freedom comes responsibility than the three little pigs or Goldilocks? The ugly duckling awakens ones empathy for others and teaches one to hope rather than despair. Little Red Riding Hood teaches us that one needs to have a healthy skepticism. Even dear old grandmothers can be deceiving.

Children have proven over and over again that they are capable of constructing their own learning through active and reflective thought. Take a fairy tale, plant it in their brains, ask a few “I wonder...” questions and wait. One fine day your seed will germinate, take roots and sprout. Your children will have a nugget of wisdom that they can carry with them for the rest of their days.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Great Escape

She never made it past midday. Every afternoon her head would start to nod and eventually it would slump forward onto her desk. It was just a matter of minutes until she was purring contentedly with drool drizzling from the corner of her mouth. As a child I attended a one room school with five other girls and thirty-five rowdy boys. Amidst all the chaos that this unreeled energy could produce our teacher dozed on. I was too timid to join in the revelry while our teacher slept so each afternoon I reached into my desk, pulled out a novel and was soon swept to some far off land, engaged in some adventure that made the tumult around me pale in comparison.

Our school was sparsely equipped; a pull down map, a globe and the occasional math textbook with yellowed pages - certainly nothing as frivolous as a novel. So each Saturday our family would make the weekly pilgrimage to the nearest town, reverently ascend the steps and pass through the double doors into the hallowed halls of the public library. I would tiptoe quietly on the creaky pine floors in search of my next week’s stash of diversion while I breathed in the aroma that can only be found in place steeped with books.

School was not the only place I abandoned myself to these books. In the evening the cows had to be milked, the pigs had to be slopped and lunches had to be made in preparation for the next day but when the chores were done our family huddled around the wood stove while our mother read to us. Soon we had lost all consciousness of life’s worries and were swept up in the perplexity of some fictional character’s life - characters like Heidi or Anne Shirley - characters who would give me hope that with courage and stamina I too could rise above the obstacles of life and emerge, a better person.

A friend recently said that she had made a decision not to waste any more of her time on fiction. Could I do the same? I don’t think so. As I age the art of fiction continues to hold me in its grip and I continue to become more than I am as I play out my life through the characters and go places I might never otherwise see through the pages of a well-written book.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Light

The shaft of sunlight struck through one of the windows, and I managed a bit of a smile as I watched it broaden, catching zillions of dust motes in its ray as it crept toward me and shrouded me in its warmth.

Excerpt from: "Kit's Law" by Donna Morrissey

When the sunlight illuminates the dust motes in ones life, only a fool will pull the shade.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Things That Make Us Say "Hmm!"

“My teacher made me stupider.” I read it on a bumper sticker. Is it true? As teachers* do we contribute to our children's intelligence or are we making them stupider? Creativity is the ability to produce original thought. Is there any higher level of thinking than creativity? At what age does our creativity soar? When my son was three, he constantly questioned, he explored, he delved and he burst forth with original thoughts. Some of his thoughts were not original to the world but they were all original to him. Now my son is thirty. He is an intelligent man but he does not have the same thirst for learning that he had when he was three. Why? Do we naturally lose our thirst for learning and our creativity as we mature and make sense of the world or is that creativity squelched by well-meaning adults? When we say to a child, “Sit down. Shut up. Now unscrew the lid on your head and stay still while I pour from the pitcher of knowledge.” are we making the child smarter or stupider? To what degree should our children be coddled and organized by adults and to what degree should they be free to explore and discover? At what point does it become counterproductive to instruct and guide a child? How can one be a teacher or responsible parent without extinguishing the flame that glows within a small child? Under what conditions could my son have grown up to be more creative at thirty than he was at three? Comments, anyone!

*Teachers = Anyone who instructs (i.e. parents, grandparents, school teachers )

Saturday, July 4, 2009

One More Reason To Be Thankful for Mugs

I’m a grade one teacher and you know what that means. I have a cupboard chucked full of mugs. No gift giving occasion would be complete without at least one bright eyed six year old bounding into my classroom and thrusting a mug full of candy into my hand. I barely have time to express my delight before one of my cherubs pleads, “Can we all share the candy?” So, as a result, I’ve never actually tasted the candy but I have a wide selection of mugs. What does one do with all those mugs when one does not drink tea or coffee? Pencils, erasers, paper clips can be stored in mugs. Plants can grow in them. And when one decides to launch out and open her own dollar store, it’s comforting to know that there is a ready supply of mugs to stock the shelves. Today I discovered one more use for the versatile mug. When the chocolate monster comes knocking on your door you can satisfy its cravings with a mug and little else. Here’s how.

In the mug put:
4 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 Egg
2.5 Tablespoons milk
3 Tablespoons oil
1 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt

Stir it well and pop it into the microwave for three minutes on high and there you have it - chocolate cake straight from a mug. Tastes great and guaranteed to put a little fat on your bones. Who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Sleep By Any Other Name…






































Monday, June 29, 2009

A Tribute to a Great Teacher

Every so often a wise old owl flies into your life and roosts there for a while. Such a person was Clara Manifest.* Several years ago I had the privilege of team teaching a class of students with academic, emotional and behavioural challenges with Clara. She had been teaching children with academic and behavioural challenges for thirty years and wisdom was oozing out of her pours. I was thrilled to be able to soak in as much of that wisdom as I could.
Clara knew that you can’t make a square peg fit through a round hole and when you try you only succeed in frustrating yourself and those around you. It is pointless to push your students if they are going through horrible experiences at home or if their medications aren’t working the way that they should,. You are wiser to give them the support and compassion that they need, tolerate the behaviour as best you can and somehow get through the day.
Clara believed that a gentle answer quiets anger. When the tempers flared and the behaviours got interesting Clara lowered her voice and talked very slowly. It usually calmed the situation.
Clara was a confident person who didn’t take peoples’ behaviours personally. When the children yelled, swore or threw things, she realized it was a reflection on them, not a reflection on her teaching.
No matter what a person said or did, Clara did not hold a grudge. When a student lashed out at her, Clara gave the student time to regain control, then she sat with the child and discussed where the child went wrong and then assured him or her of his worth as a person.
She was kind and firm at the same time. I never heard the children accuse Clara of being a mean or frightening teacher but they sensed that she meant business.
Clara knew that giving children responsibilities went a long way toward developing their sense of self-worth. In her class there were always fish to feed, hamster cages to clean, and other chores that had to be done for the good of the group.
Clara was emotionally involved with her students. Sometimes when we talked about the struggles that a child was going through her eyes became teary and her voice cracked. She also appreciated the therapeutic value of laughter. Many days we would get to the end of the day, the children all went home and we sat and had a hearty chuckle about the events of the day. When we saw the humour in a situation we had the strength to come back and start over again the next day.
While I worked with her nothing cleansed my soul more than pouring my heart out to Clara. She was one of the giants of the teaching profession and I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to sit at her feet and glean from her wisdom.

*Clara’s name has been changed out of respect for her humble spirit.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Modern Day Myths

There are two myths that need to be dissipated. One is that middle age exists and the other is that old age has a way of creeping up on you. These are mere myths that have no evidence to support them. To the contrary, one day you are young, gorgeous and bursting with energy and the next day, poof, old age hits you like a ton of bricks. One day you are bounding out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to dash out for your five km run and the next day it’s all you can do to get your creaking joints to contort, allowing you to pull yourself to the standing position. One day you are reading the ingredients on the side of every can. The next day you’re squinting to read the headlines in the Toronto Star. One day you’re tied down with kids. The next day you are trying to squeeze a holiday in between your medical appointments. One day your marriage is on solid ground. The next day you and hubby are engaged in a bitter dispute about who mumbles and who is deaf. One day you are the queen of trivia. The next day you walk to the fridge and for the life of you, you can’t remember why you are there. One day you peruse the birthday cards in your local drugstore and chuckle all the way home at their humour. The next day you go to the same drugstore and read the same cards and realize that they weren’t meant to be funny at all. They were written by some of the great prophets of our time. One day you gaze in the mirror and think, “Look at me. I’m stunningly beautiful.” The next day you look in the same mirror and you’re shocked. You look just like your mother and what’s worse, everything is sagging, even your eye lids. It’s on that day that you become a liberated woman. You dispense of your bra. “Why bother!” you say. “Nobody’s looking anymore, anyway. It’s a way easier just to tuck those puppies into my depends.” “When does this transformation take place?” you ask. Well, it varies between individuals but on average you should expect to be transformed some time between your fiftieth and your ninetieth birthday. Thanks to me, you’ll be prepared when it happens.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thank You Thomas

Self-cleaning windows, hybrid cars, robotic cats, YouTube, ipods to name a few. Technology has been advancing at a rapid rate and we in the 21st century are feeling quite smug about our level of sophistication but in this century there hasn’t been anything invented that has benefitted the human race quite like some of the technological marvels of the 19th century. Take the toilet for instance. In the 19th century Thomas Crapper invented the toilet. What has been invented in the 21st century that has contributed to our comfort more than the toilet? It is an unsurpassable luxury. I know! Although I didn’t live in the 19th century, I lived in Woodford, so it might as well have been the 19th century. I remember having to don my coat and boots to make my way to the outhouse on frosty winter evenings when I was just a wee little lass. No horror compares to sitting bare bottomed in a dark, spider-infested cavern with other people’s excrement beneath you and a stench around you that would take your breath away while you have your daily constitutional. No wonder constipation was a common disorder in those days. How our mothers ever toilet trained us is beyond me. Hmm! Wear a diaper and sit in my own excrement or go to the outhouse and sit on everyone else’s. What would you choose?
I shall always remember April 6, 1962. It was a most blessed day indeed. It was the day our first indoor toilet was installed. I awoke early that morning and hopped from one foot to the other in eager anticipation of using the new contraption and when I did it was sheer ecstasy. It was clean. It was warm and wonder of wonders, we no longer wiped our bottoms with toilet paper that was produced by Sears and had pictures of ladies in the latest fashion on it. We were going for the best - white single ply toilet paper that felt oh so soft. Life doesn’t get better than that. When I sit on the throne in the morning contemplating life I like to say a little prayer of thanksgiving for Thomas Crapper, the greatest inventor of all time.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Marital Bliss

Hubby and I have been deliriously happy together for over thirty-five years now. From day one we’ve been living in marital bliss. People ask, “What’s your secret?” Well we don’t know. We’re as baffled by our good fortune as you are. After all, Hubby is not stunningly handsome and he’s not rivetingly exciting. Actually, he’s a bit of a couch potato a lot of the time. And then there’s me. I’m certainly not a domestic goddess (unless peanut butter and jam sandwiches counts). I don’t swoon over the man and besides that I’m rather obnoxious most of the time. “Interests?” you say. “You must have interests in common.” No! Sorry! We’re not interested in the same things either. He plays golf while I roller blade. He watches hockey while I read. He sings. I croak. What is it then? What is the glue that binds you so tightly together? We’ve asked ourselves that same question on numerous occasions and the only plausible explanation that we can come up with is that we are not happy at all. We’re really quite miserable. We’re just too stupid to recognize it.
My advice to all of you young people contemplating marriage is this. If you’re smart, don’t get married. If you are contentedly stupid and your true love is as oblivious as you are, go for it. You, too, may have years of marital bliss ahead of you.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tea, Anyone!

Over the years I have become a fairly confident person in the kitchen except in one area. I break into a cold sweat when I think I might have to make tea. In my defense, neither hubby nor I know what tea is supposed to taste like. To our palates it tastes foul. So when we make it and do the taste test we have no way of knowing if what we are tasting is a good foul or a bad foul. We just know it is foul.
Hubby is part of a Celtic Choir. He invited the choir to our house last night after their performance. Everyone in the choir is of British descent and most of them are older than hubby. What would I do? I just had to serve tea. For this crowd it’s a staple. Well I asked a dear friend (you know, the kind of friend who never scoffs nor snickers) and she guided me through the process. She loaned me her tea pot and slowly recited her instructions .
“Just put three tea bags in the bottom of the pot. Fill the pot with boiling water. Leave it for five minutes and then scoop the tea bags out.”
“Do you want me to come and make it for you?” she asked.
I swallowed hard while building up my courage. “No I can do this. I’ve been on earth over fifty years and I do have a university degree.”
Being the organized person that I am, I knew I wouldn’t enjoy the concert if everything wasn’t in order before I left the house so I got out the tea pot and inserted three tea bags. Later fidgeting hubby walked past the tea pot. He paused and placed three tea bags in the pot. As soon as I arrived home I plugged in the kettle and did just what my friend had told me to do. I put three tea bags in the pot. Hubby heard the kettle whistle and being the helpful person that he is, he put three tea bags in the pot. I came back, poured the water in the pot and waited five minutes. When five minutes had past I took out the three tea bags but to my surprise there were still more tea bags in the pot. I kept fishing them out until I had twelve tea bags. Hubby came along and tipped the tea pot. I’d never noticed before how much tea looks like maple syrup.
Older British people are so charming. When I asked if they would like a second cup of tea they all had the same response. “Oh no, deary. I really must be going.”
Maybe you would like to stop by for a wee cup.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mighty to Save

This has become one of my favourite songs and my prayer.

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

My prayer is that I will be compassionate and will have unconditional love for others. I pray that mercy will flow to others through me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.

I think of all the broken relationships and people who are hurting. I think of Ephesians 4:32. When I’ve been wounded until my heart’s about to break, it’s impossible for me to forgive until I consciously extend kindness to the person who hurt me. That paves the way for empathy and compassion for that person which in turn enables me to forgive. We all have been gifted with the ability to enable others to see the Saviour when we extend forgiveness. I pray that God will open the hearts of people who are wounded too deeply to open them themselves and enable them to forgive.

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

I think of all the people I know and love who are indifferent toward God’s love or have turned their backs on Him. I pray that God will move the mountains in their lives.

Verse 2:
So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.

I think of Ephesians 1:19-20. The power in us is the same as the strength that God used when he raised Christ from death and he ascended to heaven. Wow! I pray that I will be humble enough get out of the way and surrender to Him.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lessons from my Father

1. A sound knowledge of theology is not a prerequisite for walking with God.
2. The prayer “We thank thee, O heavenly Father, for this food (rhymes with good) that thou has provided for us. We ask that thou be with us and ever help us to do thy will. We ask it in Jesus woody (worthy) name, Amen.” pretty much says it all, especially for those who accept Jesus as the bread of life.
3. It’s better to be humble and poor than arrogant and rich.
4. A submissive attitude can quench the flames of wrath.
5. People with mental health issues are worthy of my love and respect.
6. People with intellectual challenges are worthy of my love and respect.
7. People with addictions are worthy of my love and respect.
8. One’s perception of oneself often drives one’s behaviour.
9. Not everyone can wear the same size of shoes and we should never expect them to.
10. We were all created equal. It is never right to be condescending or judgmental.
11. Never let your gender define who you are.
12. On a wet and dreary day a small child or a baby animal is like a ray of sunshine flickering through the clouds.
13. “Dog gone it!” is a valid expression of frustration. The correct response is empathy.
14. If you feel like a boa constrictor who has just eaten a goat, it’s okay; have a nap. Life will still be waiting for you when you wake up.
15. The greatest gift you can give me is to delight in me; however, when you die it feels like a supporting pillar has been knocked out of my structure.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lessons from my Mother

There is just a short window of time between Mother's Day and the anniversary of my mother's death. I often find myself reflecting on her during that time. Here are some nuggets of wisdom that I gleaned from her.
1. Embrace your faith.
2. Think!
3. Say what you think.
4. Brains work best when given regular exercise.
5. Your most creative thoughts come to you in the still of the night.
6. For every point of view there is an alternative point of view. Know what you think, why you think it, what the alternative view is and the loop-holes in the alternative point of view.
7. There’s nothing like a good argument.
8. Don’t be defined by your gender.
9. Cleanliness is not next to godliness.
10. Good hygiene does not lead to good health.
11. Undergarments are highly over-rated.
12. Animals are animals.
13. Reduce. Be prudent in your use of water, electricity and gas. Only purchase what is necessary.
14. Reuse.
15. Don’t let sales people or the media dictate your wants.
16. Live in such a way that you could adapt to another depression.
17. No matter how bad things get, there are people worse off than you.
18. No matter what the scales may say, take heart, there are people more portly than you.
19. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.
20. Pride cometh before a fall.
21. Follow your dreams.
22. A job worth doing is not always worth doing well.
23. Bask in the bliss of self-indulgent.
24. A nice long chat on the phone, a good book, or a favourite t.v. show can be therapeutic.
25. Happiness is circumstantial.
26. Don’t be too quick to trust people. People are not always what they seem.
27. The term “nursing home” is a synonym for the phrase “living in the lap of luxury.”

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I did not write this. I am copying it here to remind myself to strive daily to follow it.

"Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering.

Knowing that words can create
happiness or suffering, I am determined to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope.

I will not spread news that I do not know to be certain
and will not criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure.

I will refrain from uttering
words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break.

I am determined to make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts,
however small."

( a version of one of The Five Precepts)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oblivious Bully Goats

Once upon a time there was a troll. He wasn’t just any troll. He was a very ugly troll. When he walked down the street the other trolls averted their eyes so they wouldn’t have to admit there was anything so ugly amongst them. The poor troll was not able to live in a respectable house in the village but was forced to take up residence under a bridge outside the town limits.
Well there were three little middle class goats who had stripped the land of the nourishment it once had on one side of that bridge. One day they spotted some very tasty looking grass indeed on the other sided of the bridge. There was nothing for it but what they have that grass. They knew that the bridge was home for a troll and they knew they would not get to greener pastures without impacting on his life, but after all, he was just a troll and an ugly troll at that. Who cares about a troll when there is luscious grass to be had. So off went the goats, impeding on the rights of the troll to ensure that their wants were met. You know the rest of the story. The poor troll tried to stand up for himself until he eventually died at the hands of the goats. The goats never gave the troll another thought, but went on their merry way gouging themselves with grass to their heart’s content.

We in the first class nations oppress the poor, weak, homeless, and strangers among us. Additionally, most of us are willfully ignorant to the oppression we cause overseas in poor nations with our consumeristic, capitalistic, and wealthy lifestyles. (Cited from

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Peace is a gift from God to the humble.

Peace is being interwoven with God.

Peace is being loved by God and loving others.

Peace is being forgiven by God and forgiving others.

Peace is trusting God.

Peace is being accounted righteous because of Christ’s righteousness.

Peace is being confident in ones’ hope.

May God grant you peace in times of joy and in times of sorrow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Was Hungry and You Fed Me
Matt. 25:31-46

I was hungry and you fed me.
While 15 million people a year die of hunger, my freezer is full mostly with pies, one of life’s luxuries.
I was thirsty and you gave me drink.
3000 children a day die because of lack of clean drinking water while I go about my business showering every day, washing my clothes before you even notice they are dirty and pouring water on my flowers.
I was a stranger and you received me into your home.
100 million people in the world are homeless while I ramble around in a big old house.
I was naked and you clothed me.
200 million children in the world go to work every day instead of school. Many of them not only don’t have adequate clothes but they work in sweat shops manufacturing the clothes that I wear and I am totally indifferent to their sacrifice.
I was sick and you took care of me.
Statistics indicate that poverty is a higher indicator of poor health than smoking, drinking or lack of exercise but I continue to look the other way.
I was in prison and you visited me.
In more than 40 nations around the world today Christians are being persecuted for their faith. In some of these nations it is illegal to own a Bible, to share your faith in Christ, or teach your children about Jesus. Those who boldly follow Christ face harassment, arrest, torture and even death.
Jesus lived a Spartan life with no indication of greed or selfishness. He dedicated his time to the care of the physical needs of others but he also meets our needs on a much deeper level.

I was hungry and you fed me.
Jesus is the bread of life. He promises that if we eat that bread we will never be spiritually hungry and we will live forever.
I was thirsty and you gave me drink.
Jesus promised, “Those who drink the water that I will give them will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give them will become in them a spring which will provide them with life-giving water and give them eternal life.” Jesus said; “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them to life on the last day. For my flesh is the real food and my blood is the real drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me and I live in them.
I was a stranger and you received me in your home.
Jesus promises, “I go to prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am.”
I was naked and you clothed me.
We are promised that when our bodies are torn down we will be clothed with new bodies in heaven.
I was sick and you took care of me.
When we were spiritually sick Jesus took care of us. He carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that we have been healed. We were like sheep that had lost their way, but now we have been brought back to follow the Shepherd and Keeper of our souls.
I was in prison and you visited me.
Jesus freed us from prison. He set us free from the bondage of sin and made us slaves of God. Our gain is a life fully dedicated to him, and the result is eternal life. God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus.
The righteous will have eternal life. Rom. 14:17 tells us that righteousness, peace and joy are all given to us by the Holy Spirit.
I am a goat but because I’m united with the lamb of God he says to me, “Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation.”