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Showing posts from September, 2011

why soggy cereal reminds me of the cross

I am one of those people that lets their breakfast cereal sit for awhile before I eat it.  I like it soggy.  I like the milk to infiltrate the squares, circles, flakes, clusters, and sticks and change their texture.  I figure if I want it crunchy, I might as well eat it out of the box and drink a glass of milk as a chaser.  I like to know that the milk has truly met the cereal and there is no turning back from the encounter.

We spent Sunday morning walking through the Way of the Cross garden at St. Joseph's Oratory with our faith community.  I have done this walk many times before, but never at such a slow, meditative pace.  It was a lot different than just hiking along the path, sightseeing.  We took our time.  We stood and looked.  We were silent.  We gazed.  We let the scenes affect us.  We soaked up whatever each statue showed about Jesus' life.  We let it sink in.  It was not a quick dip in the way of the cross that left us unchanged.  The two substances (the journey of …

schedules

Things have been a bit hectic this last month as I dove head-first into doctoral studies.  The first few weeks were filled with so many meetings and events and orientations and administrative 'stuff'  that had to be completed that it left me feeling a bit tossed about and slightly nauseous.  In the midst of all that hurricane activity on the sea of learning, I was given 4 days to complete a huuuuuuge funding application.  I managed it, but I am not sure how brilliant and put-together it was.  Now I am in the middle of two more very large applications and have a flurry of parties to attend on the weekend.  This whirlwind of activity has brought me to face to face with the issue of schedules. 

With Dean's help (and the Holy Spirit), I have now put one in place that should better manage all the classes, teaching responsibilities, reading, writing, and surprise tasks that are part of my workload, as well as leave space for living life as a normal human being who is an engage…

the unbusy (fill in the blank)

The only really not-so-good thing that happened on my vacation at the end of August was that I left the book I was reading, Eugene Peterson's The Pastor, on the plane when we landed in Winnipeg.  I put in a claim with Air Canada as soon as I discovered my error, but when there was no word from them after a week, I realised that I might never see that particular book again.  So I hoped that whoever found the volume might enjoy it, and I ordered it again.  On Thursday, it appeared at  my door. 
Yesterday I finished the chapter I had just begun to read when I misplaced the book - chapter 35.  If I was the legislating kind, I would insist that all pastors read this chapter.  However, what Eugene says here about his own experience goes far beyond the pastor vocation.  I think it speaks to all of us who find ourselves running non-stop in this demanding, busy, over-scheduled lifestyle, always feeling like we are a bit behind while never quite getting where we want to go.

Below is an ada…

I lost something...

Somewhere around 4 pm today, I lost something important.

'Something' is not really the right word, though.
Grace should never be reduced to a 'something.'
Neither should patience.
Or joy.
Or contentment.
These are all staple foods that my soul needs to survive.
Air that my spirit needs to breathe.
Peaceful, rejuvenating rest that my heart relies on.

Somewhere between several unexpected setbacks,
a discouraging reality check about my writing ability,
a lot of negative chatter around me,
and one too many meetings that I need to attend this week,
I lost the wind in my sails. 
I lost my ability to be gracious.
I lost my equilibrium.
I lost my underlying sense of well-being.
I lost a thankful attitude.
I lost my trust in God's goodness.
I lost faith.
I lost my focus.
I became lost.

Jesus said: I came to find and restore the lost. (Luke 19:10)
Yes, please come and find me.

The photo:  a fire truck coming to someone's rescue on a Montreal street.

why are we here?

As someone who has been a faithful "church-goer" for all of her life, I realize that sometimes when I show up at a gathering of those who love and worship God, I have lost sight of why I am there.  It has simply become habit and I feel guilt if I don't include it.  I hesitate to even use the phrase "going to church" because it diminishes a vibrant, organic community into attendance at a meeting.  We no more "go to church" than we "go to family."  It is not a location nor an event - not even a classroom where attendance is taken, though I certainly hope we learn something when we come together.  I am a part of Church if I am a part of Christ.  It is that simple.  How I live that out is a whole other matter, however.  Here are a few thoughts on why we gather in regular meetings.  These ideas were first presented at a talk in a church in Manitoba this past Sunday.

1. To remember whom we belong to.  In a previous post about my reluctance to visi…

weak + strong

I am back at home after 8 days of vacation in Manitoba with family.  It was a great change of pace.  I wouldn't call it a time of rest, exactly, because there was a lot of activity happening (family events and outings almost every day) and I also spoke at church meetings twice.  It is always a privilege to address a group of people gathered together to engage with God and with each other, but it also requires a lot of thought and effort on my part.  And it should.  Being in the position of a teacher is one of the greatest burdens and highest joys I know.

Just over a week ago I spoke at a church in Ottawa.  I was still recovering from a bad case of food poisoning and due to this, considered cancelling the engagement or passing the task on to Dean.  But when I took the time to listen to God, it became clear that he loves my weakness - that place where I realize I must depend totally on him for strength.  Here are a few thoughts from that talk in Ottawa which I entitled:  Unscramblin…

No secret

Dean and I celebrated 25 years of marriage yesterday. We spent the day doing things that we love. I requested a trip to the zoo. Dean wanted to go to the planetarium. And we ended the evening with a ride in a limo to a nice Italian restaurant in the exchange district of Winnipeg. A great, fun day!

What is the secret of a good marriage? Let me offer a few ideas on the subject.

1. There is no secret. It is a lot of love, mutual submission, commitment, and honesty in the same direction. And there can be no secrets between you.

2. Be good friends. In fact, be great friends! Passion comes and goes (especially in stressful or busy times) but friends can always enjoy a good laugh or commiserate over a drink.

3. Don't expect a fairy tale. Dirty clothes will end up on the floor. Bodily emissions will happen (some don't smell all that great). These are all part of a shared life. Enjoy the intimacy they reveal.

4. Always honour the other person. When you find yourself complai…