faith

Are you battling? Drop your sword…

“Hey, how’re you doing?” I asked a friend after church one day, anticipating her usual enthusiastic, “Just great!” Not that day. A big circumstance had her battling. She explained – for some time. As her story lengthened, I chafed. Someone stood near, trying to catch my eye. She seemed not to notice. That perturbed me. […]

Broken toilets and broken souls

During the days when the Preacher and I lived for several months in a medical facility, the toilet in his room developed a nasty case of hiccups. I reported the problem and a staff member called in Norm the plumber.  He came cheerfully, pushing a red metal cart heavy with dangling wrenches. It rattled like […]

Peace in God’s Arms

From the vault, one of my favourite columns…and memories: The wrapped-up-in-peace business started on one of my Friday afternoons with our grandbeans. After lunch, Dinah Jane, just two at the time, seemed tired and cranky. During a colouring session, she wanted to keep all the crayons. “No, honey,” I told her. “Your brother and sister […]

Christ’s love tosses fear

Christ’s love tosses fear

They work at the gas station where I fill up my faithful sedan. They head organizations for which I’ve spoken. Some are clients through my work. Others have attended my church. Sitting at their kitchen tables, I’ve shared their home-cooked food. Sitting at mine, they have bravely done the same. I have petted their dogs, […]

Farewell to a hero

Farewell to a hero

Nine days before Christmas, the Preacher and I sat in a hushed sanctuary paying respects to one of our heroes. We had met Isabel Barnsley nine years earlier, shortly after both she and the Preacher contracted West Nile Neurological Disease. She was 79, and not expected to live at first. Until the bite, she was […]

The most beautiful Christmas lights of all

The most beautiful Christmas lights of all

Mid-December. Thirty-seven degrees below zero, sunny and no wind. Chickadees chirping, woodpeckers pecking, snow making crisp gasps under my boots. And me, moseying along the row of spruce trees in our side yard, loppers in hand. Humming Christmas. Jesus. Light. I clip the lowest hanging boughs, the ones I know will interfere with the mower […]

Jesus – in bed WITH US

I had made the children rag dolls that year. Clown-faced Toby for our son, flaxen-haired Miranda for our daughter. In the very early eighties, the floppy toys became my hand-stitched rebellion against the creeping Cabbage Patch craze. The Patch kids cost thirty bucks to adopt. I’d used remnants and cut apart clothing to make my children’s […]

Dreams and Divine messages

Sleep upsets the baggage cart of our daytime thoughts and experiences, jumbling them in ways that often make no sense. The Preacher and I both dream. Some of those night journeys are nonsensical and entertaining, others are upsetting. Rarely have they been messages from God. In one of my dreams, the Preacher, with obvious sadness, […]

 Down and defeated doesn’t mean down and out

 Down and defeated doesn’t mean down and out

I will, perhaps, never forget my first glimpse of Earl. I met him on a bitter cold April afternoon. The friend who called to alert us said he’d arrived the evening before. Said he’d spotted him from his living room window; huddling motionless under a naked tree across the road. Wet. Bedraggled. Resigned. Not even minding curious […]

Bad news? God is still God

Bad news? God is still God

Checking texts, opening emails, answering the phone – some days I’d rather ignore those tasks.  The other day they carried to me three bits of negative news.  A beloved relative lay dying. A close friend didn’t get the job we’d hoped and prayed for. The birthday party for a dear friend is over – and […]