Monthly Archives: August 2003

Kieran Baby Pictures

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A Gopher's Life

As I sit and work at the computer, I can look out on the riverbank of the North Saskatchewan River.  Right in front of our magnificant climbing tree is a gopher hole.  The little creature has caused significant damage to the grass around his hole and since it has been so dry, where there was green grass, there is now a small mound of dirt. 

Gophers are a bit of a plague in this part of the world.  I remember one time as we were travelling, we stopped at Horseshoe Canyon just outside of Drumheller – in our badlands.  A couple were there from Europe – feeding a gopher!  You wouldn’t find any respectable farmer doing that!

But I am admiring the adaptability of these rodents.  Here it is setting up house, so to speak, in a city, not out there on the open prarie where it belongs.  It seems to be getting along quite well although I wonder if some of the neighbors wouldn’t like to poison it.  I imagine another one would just move on in to the abandoned hole if that happened.

I guess their being so adaptable helps make them the plague that they are.

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Where do I fit?

Just finished reading Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christian.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed because I agree with most of the stuff he says but how to work it out?  Where do I fit ?  What to do next?  These are all questions I need to think about and talk over.  So for now I’m back to re-reading parts of this book.

There is a whole big world out there – loved by God – but mostly avoided by those of us who call ourselves Christians.  In fact we are so awkwardly out of our element that when we find ourselves in contact with the “world” – it’s needy people and their culture- we find that we can’t present Christ to them because we don’t even speak the same language.  If we isolate ourselves from the world and the culture around us, we will be failing to carry out Gods mission for us on this earth.  If we immerse ourselves into the culture around us then we have to be careful that it dosen’t overtake us. I guess we have to learn to walk a tightrope with God himself as our balancing pole.

We have to have ways of enriching our faith so that it grows into something strong – a light shining in the darkness – a beacon.  Yet beacons are never put on the safe shores – just in the dangerous spots.  Maybe there is a lesson for us there.  If we are going to be any use as a beacon we have to be in a spot where there is danger and that is not likely inside a church or Christian community.  On the other hand the community of faith needs to be there for us to support us in our faith and help us to keep those beacons glowing.

I find myself being more and more drawn to participate in the world around me – to be a fellow human being to my family and friends – to separate myself less rather than more.  If I don’t I will lose significant contact with some people who are very dear to me, as well as friends, staff and more casual acquaintances.  I need at the same time to remain true to my faith.  And more than ever I know I want to pass on the importance of my faith to those I love the most – my kids.  They will need God’s presence and a solid faith base as they head out into their culture using the gifts God has given them to make an impact on the world.

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Not just another day

Sometimes when I get up in the morning I know that what the day holds is going to ensure that this is not just another day.  A few months ago I know that the first thing I would do would be to start feeling sort of sorry for myself.  How could this be happenning to me?  What did I do to deserve this?  What am I going to do?   Worry, worry, worry…You probably know the sorts of questions I asked myself.  (mostly centered around me, I’m ashamed to say)

Life seems to throw some really tough stuff at me somedays.  I don’t think I can expect the tough things not to happen to me even if I am doing all the “right ” things.  But I know that whatever comes today, I don’t have to bear the burden of it all by myself.  So today as I go with my daughter to deal with the consequences of something she did, I go supported in the prayers of good friends with the God who created this marvellous child of mine at my side. 

I don’t know if I learn more from these things or if my children do.  I am learning not to be so concerned about my image and at the same time I think my kids are learning more about the value of respect and honor due to being tagged with a well known family name.  That is sort of a weird thing to see happening because I don’t think kids of today see the value of their roots until they are much older and beginning to see their place in the whole scheme of things.  They are too wrapped up in discovering who they are to see outside of themselves maybe.  I think kids acquire a fear of shaming the family name but the value of their family heritage is something they have to learn on their own.  Hopefully they have one they can value.  I hope they can see the place God has in ours.

Anyway, I think their most important rootedness is going to be in God.  I’m hoping to find ways to help them grow more deep solid roots in their faith.  I want it to be real and living for them.  I want them to be able to take it with them into any of the circumstances they will face in life.  I want to try and be active in this area of my kids lives this year.

God has given me some amazing kids.  I was just thinking about this last night and saying to Leo how excellent our kids are in their own special areas of expertise.  What talents they have!  One who is the top team in the provincial soccer league, one who is so talented in her dance that she could very well go on to do this for a living, my other kids who, in spite of some significant learning problems, have their own unique talents at which they excell besides doing well in school and sucessfully pursuing careers.  But to be really successful they need God to be present with them because great careers and exceptional talents just don’t measure up to sucess in “life”. 

It was in one of my more anquished moments that I wrote this:

A Mother’s Cry

I’m mad at you God.

I wanted it all to be perfect

A loving husband and good kids

That did what I expected

Now look at what You’ve done!

 

Did I not follow where You led?

Did I not listen?

What happened to the plans

That I concocted?

What are You doing?

 

It hurts to be a mother

With all my parent wishes.

I’ve tried to do Your will

I’ve tried to teach them

How can they banish You ?

 

I’ve still no answers

To my anguished pleas

When will they see?

When will they hear?

God please answer me!

 

I look up for Your face

Can’t see for tears

Feel nothing now but love

In my pain, You take me in Your arms

And say I love you. Isn’t that enough?”

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The God of Forever

I promised I would relate to you some of what God taught me during my too short stay up at Anglin Lake.  I think the quietness of it being the middle of the week with the abscence of weekend crowds gave me the space and privacy I needed for a real spiritual retreat.

 

 

I recorded this in my journal:

 

When I have time and a good book and lots of opportunity to sit and talk to God, I begin to feel at one with this earth.  The magnitude of all God has created coupled with the smallness of me make me more acutely aware of the greatness of his sacrifice and full of wonder that he did it for me.  And I am aware that God has been here caring for this part of the earth far longer than me or my immigrant ancestors have been present in this place.  God has been here forever, we didn’t bring him.  If our task is to introduce the people around us to the sacrifice and love of his son, Jesus, then we need to resee them through his eyes. 

 

God,

There are so many mysteries.

You have been here forever.

When the far distant ancestors of my children lived on this land,

Before my immigrant ancestors interrupted their ways of living,

Did they know you at all?

Are you the Creator God they revered

Since you were always here seeking them?

Did you accept their care for this land as hommage to you

As yet unknown?

Have we utterly failed to love these people as you require?

Open our eyes Lord and forgive us our sins.

Remove the stumbling block of our predjudice

And teach us your ways.

 

Oh God!  Hear my prayer!

Amen.

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Dust

Tossed aloft by

Winds that sweep the prairie soil

Blowing who knows where,

Clouding the air,

Till dark as night

It moves along.

 

And with it goes

The hearts of prairie men

Dried up and broken from too much

Tilling of the soil.

 

Dreams like the dust

Blow off into the sky

Obscured by reason

Till they fade away and hope is gone.

Still the dust

Blows on.

 

Our fathers feet were

Planted deeply here

Now ours are torn by wind and drought

And we move on.

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Untitled 2 The struggle

Hunched down under

The weight of all you are

You want to get out of this crowd of fools

It’s an upward struggle

And they’re pushing you  

Towards the edge of the abyss

And you want to run

 

You can’t leave it behind

Drag it like a ball and chain

The weight of your world,

All your generation,

You want to make them see

All that they could be

All that they are becoming.

 

But they’re moving blind

And they’re not moving up.

No ones moving towards the light.

 

The edge seems ever closer

As feet slip towards

The chasm of lost souls.

And you want to yell

But no one listens as you scream.

They’re moving on

 Like the scum on a stream.

 

Like a living nightmare

Like an unvoiced scream

You can watch it happen

Like on a muted screen

They keep moving, moving

You’re pushed aside by the crowd

And you’re trampled down

 

They’re moving on

But not moving up.

No ones even looking towards the light.

 

And you want to scream

But no sound comes out

You’re trapped inside

And you can’t get out

Till you grab ahold

Of his bleeding hands

And he lifts you up.

 

Now you’re moving on

On a brand new path

You’re moving steady towards the light.

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