You. Shall not. Pass!

 

This has only happened to me one other time on my morning walk on the path. This morning the underpass to Williams Parkway was completely flooded. I am not surprised, as it rained hard for much of yesterday (and though you cannot tell from the picture, it was lightly snowing when I snapped this).

Sometimes the way you want to go is blocked. And you cannot pass. You have choices to make – go another way, turn around and go back home. But whatever you choose, it is clear that the way you thought you’d go just is not going to work. My walking partner and I turned around and went back home at this point in our walk. It shortened our walk by about 10 minutes, but since we walk for more than an hour, that’s not a big deal.

In ‘real life’, the choice isn’t always so easy. And I wonder if I should turn around and walk back home or whether another way will become clear. I don’t know at this point. I’d love to wrap up this post with some pithy and neat comment. But instead I think I must leave it hanging. Because I don’t have the answers. And I am not the saviour of the world.

(Don’t worry too much, dear readers, I am often given to a little too much melodrama when I am tired!)

Triumph!

This is the dumbest thing in the world to blog about, but I am just ridiculously pleased with myself. I managed to get the garbage out tonite. All of it: paper recycling, cans and plastic, green waste and regular waste. The kitty litter, too.

Some of the boxes that had been just kind of hanging around the house are now out at the curb and will be gone by tomorrow.

Yesterday, I wrote about small kindnesses. Today I am thinking about small triumphs. How something as silly as getting the garbage out on time (after weeks of forgetting), can make your day better.

So often, it’s the little things…

Tonight, I was given a gift. A new little something to decorate my Christmas tree. It was a gesture of friendship and kindness and I am blown away by how much it meant to me.

Sometimes we think the things we can do for others don’t amount to much. But I think so often, the small acts of kindness are able to accomplish more than we can ever know.

Mother Theresa said “There are no great things, only small things with great love. Happy are those.” And I think she knew what she was talking  about.

Here is the gift I was given tonight. I know it will make me smile every time I see it.

It is finished!

 

My second tree is up! This is the one with all the memories. In the picture above I’ve share a few of my favourites. The chickadee belonged to my Nanna and every year when I hang it, I think of her and remember Christmases spent with her. The red shoe is one of many shoe ornaments that have been given to me as gifts over the years. The pig angel dates back to my high school days and was a gift from my folks. The Elvis-Stitch was a gift from my friend Luke who loves Disney even more than I do, and knows that Stitch is my favourite Disney character.

This tree is full of memories – some of them even outside of the span of my lifetime. One of the last thing I hung on the tree was a series of glass balls that my parents bought on Boxing Day their first Christmas together. They are fragile and light and someday they may all be broken, but for now, every time I unpack and hang them I remember that I am just a part of a bigger story.

And that always reminds me that we are all part of God’s big story. And that is always a good thing to remember.

Shine on…

One of my favourite memories from my childhood has to do with walking home from school in the semi-darkness (Northern Ontario) and seeing the Christmas tree lit up in the window of the manse where we  lived. I am not sure if this is entirely accurate – but in my memory my brother and I stopped walking, marveled at the lights and then entered the house to discover that our father had baked fresh bread that day. The lights of the tree and the smell of fresh baked bread are the sights and smells of home, Christmas, safety and love to me.

So when I moved into my own manse (which reminds me of the manse of my childhood) at the beginning of 2011, I knew I would be decorating BIG for Christmas this year. In the summer, I happened upon a yardsale in which I found a pre-lighted Christmas tree and decorations for $10. It was too good to pass up. I handed over my $10 and grinned at the thought of having more than one Christmas tree this year.

So this is my designer-tree. All of the decorations match (admittedly the angel doesn’t, but the other one was too big for this little tree), it’s all done up in silver, and dark blue and turquoise. It’s lovely. And I bet it looks kind of awesome when you are driving by outside.

Tomorrow I will decorate my other tree. Nothing will match, the colours will be all over the map. I bet there wont’ be enough lights and the angel will be too big. But it will honour all my other Christmas memories. The decorations range from the glass balls my parents bought during their first Christmas together, to ones I was given last year as a gift.

Both of these trees are significant to me. Both call to mind precious memories. And both are completely different from each other. I feel blessed to have both of them.

I hope the one in the window will create memories for those who see it shining through the dark nights of December!

One month to go!

It is officially one month until Christmas. My trees are not up yet and my shopping hasn’t even begun. But that is ok. There is time for all of that.
This Christmas I want to be sure that it doesn’t all rush past. I want to take the time to breathe and the time to think deeply about all the things that the Season will bring. I want to remember that the world is a different and better place because God cared enough to step out of heaven and come as a defenseless baby. I want to remember that on my worst day, when it is clear that I am utterly, fallibly human, Jesus knows just what it is like.

And I want to focus on things like peace, joy, love, hope, and faith. Heavenly things. I want to share those things with others who need them. Normal, broken people.

I want to take time with friends and family. I want to bake cookies and sip peppermint mochas at Starbucks.

I want to wish you every joy that faith brings.

There’s something to that Bible stuff…

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably picked up on the stress I’ve been under. I am not interested in airing the details but let’s just say that it has to do with a conflict that I didn’t know how to resolve.

In the past days, some wise colleagues have pointed myself, and others involved in the conflict, to the Bible. Specifically to the Matthew 18 verses on how Christians are to resolve conflict. Basically – Jesus says – we are called to talk to each other face-to-face. If we are not able to resolve it ourselves, we are called to invite others into the conversation (not yelling match, mind you, but respectful conversation). And then, if necessary, we are to invite the church – the body of believers – to help discern how to resolve it.

The scriptures tell us how we are meant to deal with each other. We are called to be generous in our dealings with each other. We are called to remember that we are all children of God. Each of us bears the image of the Almighty and each of us is one that Christ found worthy of his sacrifice.

We are called to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. None of this is easy, but it IS the way of love. And when we have the courage to do what the Bible calls us to do – we find that there really is something to it. God’s way really IS the best way.

I would appreciate your prayers. Pray that I will have the grace to do what the Bible would have me do. Pray that others in my community of faith would have the same. Pray that this way of love would reach out into the community that surrounds us and mend the brokenness in our world.

Makin’ a change

If you look in the comments to last night’s cranky post about the garbage and freezing rain, you will find a lovely prayer written for me by a friend (Thanks JT!!). I read it first thing this morning, and I have been thinking about it all day.

It has been a tough week. Or a tough few weeks to be precise. There are a lot of things weighing heavily on me. But what JT’s prayer reminded me of, is that I don’t have to carry these things on my own. And that, though I may have moments when I am overwhelmed, upset, and plain-old cranky (I freely admit I am human, after all!), I do not have to live my life that way 24/7.

In fact, I am called of Christ NOT to live my life that way. There are going to be moments/hours/days that overwhelm me. There are going to be moments when I find it hard to think positively. But my calling is always to take a deep breath, get quiet and know that God is the saviour of this world, and I am not.

So today I’m making a change. I am putting my hand firmly back in His hand, and I am choosing to trust that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.

 

 

Freezing Rain

I have this frustrating, silly (stupid!!) and on-going battle with garbage day at my house. I always forget to put the garbage, recycling and green waste out the night before pickup. For the last couple of weeks, this has meant that I have been collecting garbage, recycling and green waste. Tonight I remembered. I gathered everything up, changed the kitty litter, and was about to take it all down to the curb.

But the second I put a foot on the top step of my porch, I realized my mission was doomed. It has been freezing raining here for a few hours now, and the stairs are slick. I stood there for a moment, trying to decide whether it was worth risking it. But even as I wondered, I knew it wasn’t. After a moment, my shoulders slumped in defeat, I took my foot back off that first stair and dragged the bags back into the house.

I guess we really are hovering on the brink of winter.

And yes, I did just blog about the weather. My life has come to this.

Cop out?

Tonight, I am tired. My heart is heavy. I am plagued with uncertainties. I am doing my best to put my faith squarely where I know that it belongs – in the One who died for me.

Tonight I am not able to write my own thoughts well. So – though it may be a cop-out, I share with you this quote from Steve Jobs. Regardless of the things he may have done poorly, in this I think he was an expert:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” –Steve Jobs