Meet the spermophilus—you may already know it

I met a spermophilus in our backyard the other day; literally, “seed eater.” A thirteen-striped ground squirrel, also called a thirteen-liner, among other names. The tiny mammal scampered back and forth between a hiding spot beside three ceramic frogs and the seed-strewn area under the birdfeeder. I wandered over as …

Photographs of my father

He’s ninety-six now, living in a residential care facility in B.C. I can’t call him on the phone anymore. He hears very little and struggles with dementia. My sister tells me that until she mentions me, he doesn’t speak of me. Then our father remembers the daughter two provinces away. …

Don’t let your praise die

If people don’t praise God, scripture says, the rocks will cry out. I’d like to hear that. I wonder what a rock would sound like, cracking praise from its sharp granite edges. But rocks haven’t had a chance to practice praise, because in kitchens and cathedrals, in song and dance, …

Simple words for a complicated world

One day, God willing and should the earth last so long, our grandchildren will tell their children that they lived through COVID-19, just as elderly survivors of other pandemics and deadly diseases, have spoken of it to their children and grandchildren. Stories of hardship, of fear and faith and frailty. …

Good Friday’s story still reaches across the ages

Riding high on his Harley, Dwayne had no reason to think about how his life would end or what would come after. Suddenly plastered against the side of a semi-cab, Dwayne had no time to think about how his life would end or what would come after.  Weeks later, now …

Ancient words for a new crisis

 An embarrassing truth confronts us all. We first-world emperors have no clothes after all. Reassurances of our own lordship, the thoughts that have clothed most of us for most of our lives (we are what we make of ourselves, unconquerable, masters of our own destiny, no God necessary) have toppled …

There will always be a change – and someone to walk us through it

Whatever the circumstances, sings Canadian musician Big Dave McLean, in his gravelly, Louis Armstrong-ish voice, “there will always be a change.”  A friend didn’t expect her perfect grandchild to be stillborn. An acquaintance didn’t realize that following her simple biopsy procedure, she’d get a call to go directly to emergency. …

Jesus took our punishment – but sin’s consequences are our own

“Nana,” my youngest grandbean started, as he, his sister and I sat enjoying lunch together. He followed that with a question that stopped my fork mid-air. My mind flew back to the day before, to a matter I thought finished. But clearly, the little chap had a cog blocking one …

Here, there and everywhere – life between homes

A few more months, the Preacher and I hope, and we’ll have completed our move. Meanwhile, it feels strange, living in two houses. No matter which house I’m in, I feel at home. The two places feel connected, albeit with a long, paved hall. Sometimes, when I’m standing in one …