Sunday, November 10, 2013

Size matters



Infinitesimal stars and heavenly bodies in endless galaxies of an unmeasurable universe.

An infinite God who made them and undoubtedly continues to create.

Heaven and a dimension outside of the three dimensional and beyond gravity.

Grace and endless mercy from a loving Father. end.




My finite, my puny, yet oddly amazing brain.

My ideologies, my opinions, my biases, my theories that I consider intelligently formulated.

My life. Short as a vapor. Gone in a heartbeat.


Funerals always remind me to do some serious measuring.

I can be dyslexic and get size backwards.

I convince myself that life is large and long....that stuff matters...that doesn't at all.

I focus on the short-lived and finite.

I could even convince myself God's not listening....not responding....not there with me at all.


But the vapor quickly fades and Eternity arrives for us all.....larger than life.

The provider of temporary the Giver of life that never ends.

For tiny finite little me.


Pretty huge if you ask me.

And worth putting my short little life firmly in His large, strong hands.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stop by for a drink

Having a heater in the birdbath brings lots of visitors throughout the cold weather.

This one was by far my favorite the other day....

Here's a sample of some other of the many varied visitors. I missed a shot of a chipmunk having a drink as he was just too fast.

My very least favorite uninvited guest is at the end!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

February blues

 I wrote all glowingly about snow yesterday.....from the safety and warmth of the inside of my home.

At the same time, some of you were driving through it on sloppy roads and not seeing the 'beauty' in it. I get it.

One night a few weeks ago I was the passenger for a white-knuckle drive while traffic crawled along, cars fishtailing around us on black ice. Meanwhile, the other side of the highway was dark and empty as it had been shut down due to a serious accident. The journey was ominous and bleak and I wanted nothing more than to be home in safety.

Every season has its dangers, but somehow winter can seem the bleakest. All we seem to see and feel is the longer hours of darkness and bone chilling winds that hold us in their icy grasp. February is often the most difficult month for many to get through.


Maybe it's the gardener in me, but I try to look at winter as necessary..... a season of patience, preparation, rejuvenation, and learning. Don't forget what we can't see right now........below that snow and hard soil, green sprouts are beginning to emerge. Sap is running and buds are forming on those branches being bent by cold winds and ice. Bulbs are building their strength and pushing their way upwards to burst forth when it's their time to shine and provide us with the astounding beauty of spring, when warmth, colour, and light wipe away the affects of the long bleak months of winter.


Would we appreciate the warmth if we never felt the cold? The color, without the dark and grey? The life, without the death? We want to answer "Yes...let me try it please!!!!"...but life's just not like that.


I recognize that different areas of the world experience seasons in different ways. But life really is a seasonal thing. Whether the seasons we experience are each dramatically different from one another or more subtle in nature, we all go through the dark, bleak times when life slows to a crawl and our heart ices over. We wonder if we are ever going to experience a brighter, warmer time in our life again.

Springtime follows winter. Winter is never the end. Whether in this life or the next we always have hope for brighter days ahead, and strength for the journey. Hold onto hope and the One who provides it. 



Saturday, February 11, 2012

Take another look

 There's nothing quite like waking up to a Saturday morning with lots of snow and nowhere I have to go. My gardens were giggling with glee (yes they were) as their dry layers were craving the moisture and warmth provided by this glorious white wonderful white fluff. We have had precious little of it this year and I have missed it. A co-worker described to me how her adult friend visiting from Cuba had reacted when he saw snow for the first time. He ran outside more excited than a kid and reveled in the feel of this wonderful cold stuff. He couldn't get over it or leave it alone. Oh to experience fascination again about things that are just too familiar to excite us anymore!


 As I went about my chores today I was continually distracted. Pulling the sheets from the bed for the laundry, the window kept calling to me.












 Just as when my children were young, chores had to wait for time spent with must this empty nester now spend time while the opportunity is at hand to catch glimpses of what's amazing just outside my window.

May it never become so familiar that I lose the wonder!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Emulating Mr Bean

Our Pastor spoke this morning on new beginnings....of course this is often uppermost in people's minds in January. More than the typical New Years Resolutions though, it's important to set spiritual priorities and goals.

The cool thing that he emphasized was that God is the Creator. 'In the beginning God...' and God is quite capable of creating a new start from nothing in our lives.  (Do you know what God said to the scientists who were attempting to create life in their laboratories?  'Get your own dirt!').

At the end of the sermon we were asked to do something very Mr.Bean-like. We were given a page, an envelope, and some time to write a letter to ourselves. We wrote it, sealed it in an envelope with our name and address on it, and handed it back in.  It will be mailed to us without warning sometime in about 6 months. When we receive the letter from ourselves we can evaluate how far we have progressed from today.

Normally I don't advocate people emulating Mr Bean....but in this case, maybe Mr. Bean has a good thing going here....

Mr Bean - Birthday at a restaurant by mrbean

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gotta love old ladies!

The closer I get to becoming an old lady (definition of old lady kids think I'm already there), the more respect I have for them. They've already lived a lot of life and could teach me a thing or two, negative or otherwise.
I will not forget driving in busy Toronto and stopping at a busy intersection, waiting to turn right on a red light. All was clear, i pulled up and could have made my turn, but I noticed an old lady nearing the intersection on my right, cane in hand. With the best of intentions, rather than make my turn before she reached me, I chose to wait for her. I motioned for her to go ahead and expected a congenial, thankful response from a grateful old lady. Instead, she made her way through the intersection, obviously muttering in disgust at me, thrusting her cane in my direction because I was over the line from having pulled ahead earlier. (I really wasn't blocking her way). I'm glad I couldn't hear what she was saying. I felt profoundly sad for her in that moment and wondered what she has lived through in her life that she would be so miserable and miss the kind gesture.

There are miserable old ladies who complain at anything and everything.....and then there are the ones I love to sit near at church. 

I want their faith, grace, and humility to rub off on me.

I have watched a couple of them in particular. In many ways life has not always been kind to them and over the years their bodies have started to hunch over, and walking and standing has become painful and difficult. Their faces do not reflect misery, but a peaceful disposition. I've watched hands that can't reach far, but none the less turned upwards in their best response to worship they can give. They don't care that the music is not their style of hymns from their generation...they respond with eyes closed, basking in the presence of the One who has been faithful...and will be to the end. He's never changed and they know He won't. They will just never get over His love for them.

Each generation has its own set of stressors, each quite different than the next, and yet stress just the same. 

And each generation needs to know God for themselves...being encouraged by the old ladies and old men who have found His love all generations.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Your vacation destination!

If you've never considered North Korea as your vacation destination, perhaps you should plan a trip there soon, what with all the international attention this country has been getting recently.
Be sure to visit their high tech official website of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for all the information you need. I've provided a link to it at the bottom of this post. You really MUST check it out! 

Expand your understanding of the nation and it's leaders from the wealth of knowledge provided on the site. We have all seen the beauty of South Korea, but this website provides seldom seen glimpses of realistic-like photos of their northern neighbour. Read about their leaders. Here's a sample from the website:
"Leader Kim Jong Il of Korea is possessed of an unusual ideological and theoretical wisdom that is originated from his innate gifts.

Kim Jong Il is a man of keen observation and clairvoyance.

The ability to observe and see through is essential to a political leader who has assumed the mission to gain a scientific insight into the trends and demands of the times and laws governing historical development, and light the way the masses of the people should follow.

Kim Jong Il has attained great ideo-theoretical achievements, always gaining insight before anybody else into the pressing issues of the times by dint of his keen observance and clairvoyance and giving scientific solutions to them. For instance, he expounded original ideas and theories such as the theory of ideology that ideological consciousness decides everything and the theory of the motive force of the revolution that the masses of the people are the driving force of history and the leader, the Party and the masses comprise a socio-political organism.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, when socialism collapsed in succession in the former Soviet Union and other East European countries, he saw through the fact that maintain the Juche character and national identity in accomplishing the cause of independence of the masses is essential to the rise or fall of a nation, and clarified that this is a fundamental principle to be adhered to in carrying out the cause of socialism. In the mid-1990s Korea held aloft the banner of Songun-it was also attributable to his keen observation and clairvoyant power by which he quickly grasped the features of the development of the times and situation, which demanded strengthening of the military might ahead of others for defending sovereignty and dignity of the nation amidst the imperialists’ high-handedness and arbitrariness.

Accurate analysis and excellent judgment are also innate gifts of Kim Jong Il.
It is fundamental question decisive of success in an undertaking to compare, analyze, reason and colligate things and phenomena to make a correct judgment.

Kim Jong Il, who had acquired sharp judgment, irrefutable logic and deep theory from his childhood, gives a definite conclusion to whatever ideological and theoretical questions on the basis of scientific analysis, colligation and systematization of them.
In his days at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang from 1960 to 1964, he made an in-depth analysis of the scientific and importance of regional base in socialist construction, and presented a paper, The Position and Role of County in Socialist Construction. He scientifically proved in the paper that the country, a regional base in socialist rural construction, becomes a comprehensive unit that links town with village, imparts policies of the Party and the state to the countryside and directs and develops the political, economic, cultural and all other realms in rural areas, and that enhancing the role of country is of great significance in developing the socialist rural economy and pushing forward overall socialist construction.

There are many other examples for his brilliant analyzing ability and judgment. He reviewed way, and formulated the revolutionary ideas of President Kim Il Sung into an integrated system of ideology, theory and method of Juche, thus successfully fulfilling the task of the era, and published a series of works that indicate the road ahead of socialism on the basis of analysis and review of the historical lessons drawn in socialist construction.
Leader Kim Jong Il is endowed with scientific foresight.

Scientific foresight is an attribute due to a political leader who should provided people with ideology, strategy and tactics.

All his ideological and theoretical activities have been based on such a scientific foresight. He gave a definite scientific and theoretical solution to the historical necessity of socialism and the ways to build it up in his work Socialism Is a Science, in November 1994, proving that socialism as a science is sure to be victorious. In the end of the previous century, when Korea was undergoing the bitterest trials, he unfolded a grand blueprint for building a great, prosperous and powerful socialist country with his far-sighted unusual acumen, and clarified in detail the theoretical and practical problems arising in its implementation, inspiring the entire army and all the people to the great drive of building a thriving nation.
Eye-opening successes that are being made in Korea today in the efforts of breaking through the cutting edge, improving the people’s standard of living and building monumental structures showcase the scientific foresight intrinsic to leader Kim Jong Il."

Leaves you speechless eh?

Book your travel plans with them now to avoid disappointment as I'm sure the prearranged dates on which you are allowed to visit will be readily snatched up. A large group of 20 maximum is allowed for these planned tours. I'm sure there is much preparation required ahead of time on their part to accommodate 20 people for the scenic trip, so again, book early. They will of course accept credit card payment, however don't bother bringing your credit card with you as you will not be allowed to use it within their borders. Your cell phone will have to be left at your 'locker' before leaving for the tour. You of course can bring your camera. Your passport will remain with authorities for a while. For other tips for a more enjoyable trip, check out (very carefully) this wiki travel advice.

Now, if you are feeling badly that you are not able to take this trip of a lifetime, don't worry. You can bring North Korea right into the comfort of your own home. Click on 'Shop' on their Home Page and you will be electronically whisked to Cafe Press where souvenirs  can be yours in abundance ordered online or from the toll free phone number.  You REALLY need to see these. Who could resist a Tshirt, ball cap, water bottle, or mug with North Korean propaganda images on them, such as army soldiers with guns. I was particularly drawn to the iPhone and iPad covers with tasteful North Korean propaganda inscribed on them. They must be particularly popular with 'the masses of the people'.

So plan your getaway now. 

Just imagine if you were able to bring one or two North Korean citizens back home with you to your own country to live with you for a they could step outside all that they know, and learn about your culture. 

What a getaway THAT would be for a North Korean.

Here's your link to interesting reading about North Korea!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Making life easier

Have you seen this article on the Internet yet called "35 tips to make your life easier"?

It is a feature on the website  A cool website with some super cool ideas for your household! Check it out!  

This is my favorite idea...

Clever ideas: store bedlinen sets inside their pillowcases

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Live in the moment

I was somewhat taken back by this picture when I saw it. 

When Jack Layton passed away this year, I perused many pictures of him reviewing the influence his life has had. I found this one taken in 2005. I was struck again by the realization that nothing is certain in this world and things are always in a state of flux.

These men look rather bored - who knows what they were thinking. Imagine if you were the photographer in 2005, and immediately spoke to these gentlemen about what their future held in 2011. They would probably each call you crazy.

You would tell the man on the right...the Prime Minister of Canada, Paul Martin, that his strong ruling Liberal party would not only fall, but would sink to incredible lows by 2011 that the party would need to be reborn again from the bottom up.

You would have to break similar news to the very popular and influential man, leader of the Bloc party, Gilles Duceppe (second from the left), that he and his party would also go down to a crushing defeat in 2011.

 The best news would be for Stephen Harper, Conservative leader and the official opposition, (second from the right), that even though the Conservative party knew that same defeat in the past, Mr. Harper would not only soon be the Prime Minister of the country, but in 2011 would secure a majority. He might scarcely believe you, nor would most of the country.

 But most tragic of all would be to speak with Jack Layton, leader of the NDP party (far left). He had perhaps fought the hardest of all, yet his party had never managed to come anywhere near official opposition status. 2011 would be that year for the NDP to surge in the polls under Jack's leadership and finally his dream would be realized...only to lose the ability to enjoy it with his sudden sad and untimely death.

 So much can change in the course of a year and none of us can be certain of anything but change. Perhaps this Christmas season you have perused old photos for which the landscape has now changed. People in your life then, are now missing. Things just aren't the same. Though we sorrow for a season, we should have cause for hope, not gloom.

You are breathing. Every day is an opportunity. Anything is possible.

Let's seize each day while we can and live each day we are granted in 2012 with renewed purpose and hope. We don't know what tomorrow will bring.....but there are things we can change for the better today.

Live in the moment.... but live in wisdom....and peace.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Interesting that the sermon I heard today started out with a reference to Cornflakes.

The speaker pointed out the effective marketing ploy by the creator of Cornflakes....they urge us to 'try them again for the first time'.

Cornflakes had become such a familiar cereal that people had left them long ago and gone on to other more attractive flakes.  But many have returned and enjoy them with strange strawberry milk.

So why was Cornflakes interesting to me? Because for the last several weeks I have been replaying a song over and over, as is my custom with new songs I love, about 'trying' Someone again for the first time. The comparison is of course, ridiculous........the cereal can be boring no matter what you add to make it more palatable.

Jesus has been around for a long time as was pointed out the beginning. Those of us who have heard about Him for most of our lives may shelve Him as 'old' and move on to what we think is more interesting. I'm suggesting that it can't get more interesting than being connected to the One who knows you inside and out. There's no boring for the true follower of Christ.

What I know of Him is still so small compared to the vastness of who He is. I never want to stop rediscovering Him.....even over my bowl of Cornflakes in the morning.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Please God, turn this around

I am rediscovering a band I listened to years ago called Downhere. Their latest album is called On the Altar Of Love - with straight to the heart, back to basics lyrics.

(I'll admit I took another listen because one of their members, Marc Martel is making headlines around the world right now).

Have you ever reached a point in your life where you just give one knows what you struggle with inside but you feel helpless to ever change? Ever prayed 'I don't want to stay the same.... Save me from me'?

Monday, September 5, 2011


Mice! Who would have thought I'm okay with a mouse in my house now? After all the money we spent ensuring no more mice would get in our house, one was spotted last night in our kitchen. I think he's the same one that I freaked out over in the bathroom, (which you can read about here). I think he just hasn't travelled up to the attic to use the exit doors which are still there - after all, there must be enough crumbs and water in the kitchen to keep him happy.

Why am I okay with him being in the house?

Because he made me aware we have a problem.

If any mice we may have had in our attic had quietly stayed there....quietly multiplying......and never travelled to where we could see one.....we would never have dealt with the problem. Not until it was a HUGE problem.

So last night's mouse lets us know the problem's not over yet. There's more work to be done.

And now I actually am so very grateful for that mouse....that brown furry 'problem' that freaked me out. In spite of the anguish I went through just knowing he was 'somewhere'.....he's now been exposed. And now we can deal with the problem head on.

That mouse is a reminder that I needed right here....right I consider him a direct answer to prayer in an odd way that I  He's a picture - kinda like the elephant in the room thing - except we're talking mice.

So often we anguish over the pain and heartache and problems that arise in our lives. Our natural reaction is to freak out. God....why meeeeee? I didn't ask for this and I don't want it. I hate pain and I want life to go away. Other people seem to have life so easy.....why do I have to go through this? Why?????

I'm learning....very......very........very........slowly,  it is not as much the 'problem' that is the primary issue, but rather what God sees as 'what could be' if I'd let Him. He sees the future with my confidence and peace restored...encouraging others who are in the midst of their pain. He has a much more peaceful place for me if only I'd hand everything over to Him.

The exposure of a deep-seated problem is a blessing. Oh, it doesn't feel like it....but it is a strange way that God lovingly reveals a much deeper issue 'hidden in the attic' that needs addressing for us to find the peace we so desperately need in our lives. Yes, it's painful. But if I went to a doctor over a mysterious painful illness and he exposed it, named it, and helped me through the painful process to healing, would it not have been worth having the illness exposed?

God, help me abandon everything that I am to You....every second of every day that I live. I'm weak... I fail.... I hate pain....but please continue to expose that 'furry brown something' in my life that I need to see is still hanging around and needs to go for good. I don't know yet all the steps I must take....but I'll do whatever You ask of me to clean house so I can know Your incredible presence and love in my life.

(Thanks Rodney...or whatever your name is. There's some peanut butter waiting for you behind the water cooler. I appreciate your sacrifice more than you were right there when I needed you....and I will always, always remember you).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just waiting....

This has been an incredibly hot summer in these parts.....very little rain through most of the summer....dry as a bone.Being a gardener who planted a lot of new shrubs at the start of the season, I was longing for rain. I stood for hours with the garden hose watering thirsty plants in dry parched ground as I waited....and waited....and waited, along with many farmers....for rain.

On the hottest of days and evenings you could scarcely breathe from the humidity. I looked to the skies for rain clouds and imagined the scent and the glorious feel of a downpour.... a steady rain to cool, replenish, and refresh.

And being an introspective soul....I asked myself if I longed for God that much. I pondered and rehearsed in my heart the verse in the Psalms....."As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God."

We all go through very dry, parched times in our life spiritually. Our faith can all but dry up when we get battered by life, pulled and pushed from all directions, and discouraged by events that leave us barely breathing from pain. Some walk away from God, hoping they find refreshment and satisfaction elsewhere, assuming He just doesn't care that much....or that maybe He's not even there.

Perhaps it's my fascination with birds, flowers, animals, nature, and the galaxies, but I only have to study those things briefly before I am drawn with respect and humility to the Creator of inexplicable beauty and design. If He took that much care designing a meaningful, incredible matrix teaming with living, interdependent creatures and the universe to sustain them in every way imaginable, how much more thought does He give to me - enough to have lived among us here and laid down all that He had to win my love and devotion.

It's a paradox. He satisfies the longing heart, but you can never get enough of Him. Like a refreshing rain shower or a glass of cool water to parch that which so easily becomes distracted, dry, and detached from Him.

It's a paradox. He pursues us...but wants us to pursue long for Him and wait for Him as a bride for her groom, the farmer for the rain, and the deer for the stream of life-giving water.

 "Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,
"God has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me"?
Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening?
God doesn't come and go. God lasts.
   He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.
   And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
   gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
   young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
   They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don't get tired,
   they walk and don't lag behind."       [Isaiah 40:27-31]

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Critter Cottage Bed & Breakfast

Do you love nature, flowers, birds, butterflies, and wildlife?
Need a getaway vacation?
I am considering opening a Bed and Breakfast at our home called 'Critter Cottage' or perhaps, 'Rodent Retreat'. If you love wildlife it'll be just the place for you!

My husband and I spent a week away on vacation last week and although we live in the city, I swear the wildlife moved in while we were gone. When we returned home late in the evening the sidewalk leading up to the front porch was covered with a pile of dirt, obviously dug up from under the rose bush. After entering the house and looking back outside, we spotted a raccoon whom we had obviously caught in the act.


He ambled off down the sidewalk leaving his mess for us to clean up. Up to this point, raccoons have always lived across the street. I am hoping that extended family has not taken up residence on our property. That remains to be seen.

We spent one day errand running, and then we were off again for a one-night-away excursion to start our second week of vacation. Our return drive was a long one and we arrived home around midnight - tired, weary, and ready for bed. I was about to step out of the car when I caught a glimpse in the darkness of a white stripe and bushy tail - pretty kitty! He was busily digging in the lawn but approaching the car. Sigh. We felt trapped.  My husband finally started the car again and angled it to shine headlights at the skunk (and probably into neighbours' bedroom windows). It began to head away from us...only to reverse and work it's way into the garden next to the car. Finally, because this kitty didn't really seem interested in our presence, we decided to take a round about walk to the front porch. As I was carefully slinking towards the porch... my eye on the white stripe and the location of its tail......I heard my husband say, "There's two of them!".

A bird feeder lay collapsed on the ground (likely knocked down by the afore-mentioned raccoon) and the second skunk was oblivious to everything but the seed he was devouring. Meanwhile, Kitty #1 seemed confused whether to run from us or continue to scrounge. I slunk into the house while poor hubby made several trips carrying in stuff from the car. I wisely thought it best that only one person be sprayed than two....  We made it in safely without incident.

The next day we took a day trip which again landed us home late, close to midnight. The front yard appeared empty of wildlife - yes! We wearily settled into the house to get ready for sleep. I flipped on the bathroom light and immediately SHRIEKED! as --something--scooted across the floor. I knew it was a mouse. I half closed the door and watched the furry brown critter try to exit via the floor vent, but it was closed so he scooted back out and paused on the floor for a minute.  I got a good look at him before closing the door and.....freaking.   We have ONE bathroom. I needed that bathroom.  I needed it WITHOUT a mouse in it.
Cute Mouse

We had long known we've had mice at times in the attic, but it was recently insulated and the tradesmen assured us that mice hate that insulation and we would have no more problems. The possibility of mice now moving into the walls and the rest of the house was too much for me.  Since it was now midnight, my dutiful husband said he would hit the 24-hour grocery store for mouse traps. He knew I wasn't going to rest until something was done with that mouse. But he stood motionless, staring out the front door.  "The skunks are back..."  He waited until he could safely manoeuvre past the outdoor kitties and then he was gone.....for a very long time....without a cell phone.  I sat on the stairs and watched the bottom of the bathroom door where I had stuffed a rug to prevent any exit of a furry creature that only needs a hole the size of a dime to collapse its body through. Every once in a while I adjusted the rug....just to be sure. And I wondered how we could possibly use the bathroom tonight even with a mousetrap. What if the critter raced out into the rest of the house? How could I sleep?

After an eternity, my husband returned empty handed - grocery stores don't stock mice-traps anymore. He assured me I'd be fine to just use the bathroom and the mouse wouldn't bother me. I looked at him like he had two heads. "It's just a little mouse!!!", he insisted, obviously tired and wanting to sleep....but his eyes defied him. He put on his shoes and bravely entered the bathroom. And the mouse remained....somewhere.....out of sight. I braved it too with slippers on, but removed everything from the bathroom that I'd be needing in the morning, and I prayed that I would not have to pee in the night!!!!  We left the light on and shut the door of the loo, stuffing the rug back in place beneath the door. At least the mouse would not enter the rest of the house and I could rest.

The next day we contacted a pest control company who promised us that they are going to eliminate our mouse problems forever (and no one would be hurt in this exercise) - or at least they provide a 5 year guarantee. The young part owner of the company said he would grab his gloves and check the bathroom for us. He went in, shut the door behind him, and proceeded to bang around in there. When he exited he stated that there was no mouse anywhere in the bathroom. He did show us a tiny hole in the bathroom closet that the mouse must have used to both enter and exit. As the fellow inspected outside our house I told him that we have seen rabbits, skunks, raccoons, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, possums and a recently spotted groundhog, to which he seemed genuinely amused. He promised they would never be a problem in relation to our house when they are finished their work....and he said I could feed the birds all I want when they are done. I liked him instantly.

And so, on the hottest day of the year so far, men came and 'sealed' in our house of any entrance point that a mouse (or bat...shudder....lets not go there) could get in. However, they installed two exit points - little cages from which the mice can exit but cannot get back in. They allow 6 weeks for everyone to leave the building, and then they remove the cages and seal it up. They assure us the mice will leave because they need water...and of course I provide all the food they....and all the other wildlife....could want via the bird feeders. I do NOT want to know how many mice leave our home.

So although the little hole in the bathroom closet is sealed up, I tread lightly in the house. We see no other evidence of mice inside, so I'm trusting they are just packing their bags and leaving.

One problem though. We just might be welcoming another influx of animals to the neighbourhood who prey on mice if their numbers suddenly increase outside. Wiki says the following animals eat mice:

Dogs, wolves, ferrets, badgers, bears, opossums, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, herons, otters, bobcats, lynx, mountain lions, alligators, crocodiles, minks, and skunks.

The day I see a mountain lion or crocodile in our yard will be the day I move out. Someone else can run the Bed and Breakfast!! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wish the world would end

At the time of this writing, a gentleman is getting world wide press about his pronouncement that the world will end 5:59 pm (not 6:00 pm??).  I'll be interested to see his statements later this evening.

Speaking of being out of touch with reality.....

There's a woman in my life who always brings me back to the real world....the one where people struggle with poverty, sickness, disease, and at times despair. This week Sharon (not her real name) was at the lowest point I have seen her. This week, I think she'd be glad if the world ended.

I've known Sharon for many years now - she just turned 60 - and every time I have visited with her, I have gained more insight into the struggles she has had since her childhood, stories that would break your heart if you heard them. And yet these life experiences have fortified her, toughened her, and made her a feisty advocate for the downtrodden, a voice for social justice and against injustice. It was not unheard of for her to be seen standing somewhere alone outside of a government office holding a picket sign for a fact rumour has it she did it topless once because it was the only way to draw attention to her issue!  She has always lived well below the poverty line, but raised two sons alone, both of which to this day have serious medical disabilities that continue to require expensive surgeries. She has fought many battles which I will not go into here....but you name it....she's been through it.

She managed to go back to school, purchase a house, add a business to it and pay down what she owed by working hard. On top of her job she would cater, clean houses, and bake cookies to literally sell on the street - anything she could do for a few more dollars - not for herself - but to faithfully pay all of her bills. Yet she is always the first to give her last dime to help someone out who is worse off than her. Her stories amaze me.....and shame me.... as to how little I give out of what I have. I have offered at times to take her out for dinner only to have her insist on paying (this woman does not accept 'no' for an answer). I can't tell you how humbling it is to watch her count the money out of her wallet....knowing full well she can't afford pay for my meal when I have a job and good health. But everyone needs their dignity and I have learned that I must allow someone to be blessed by giving, even if it is out of their poverty. It's a fine line giving food and necessities to her and her family lest it be mistaken as 'charity', when she views others as much more needy than herself. Yet I know that for her, groceries are purchased only after the bills are paid....and there have been lean months when the bills were not paid.

Sharon battles a terrible cancer now. About 5 years ago she was given 2 years to live. Now her physical condition leaves her with nothing she can do to earn money. Having to go onto a Disability pension has been very humiliating for her and even if she could earn anything extra beyond the pension cheque, it is always clawed back by the government. Unfortunately, that means she has stopped taking her medications....partly because she has to choose at times between having food and bills paid, or paying for medical expenses....but I think she has given up the meds because they are just prolonging the inevitable and she's just too tired to fight anymore.She can't eat typical food provided by the city's food bank because her body can't handle processed foods. So I ensure she gets fresh vegetables and fruit and believe me, she knows how to stretch a few vegetables into many, many meals. She's done it all her life.

This week she told me she is selling her house - the one thing she has worked so hard to keep over the years - and has been a lovely place for her and one of her sons to enjoy. I asked her where she will go. She said she doesn't know and doesn't care anymore. She'll find a long as she can just pay off all her debts from the sale and be done with the financial stress that she can't handle anymore....and as she waits on a court case that she has fought for over a decade and just can't wait any longer.

So if the world doesn't end today, I plan on bringing her some more fresh vegetables. I'm sad that one day a part of my world will end when Sharon is no longer with us. Perhaps what I have written here will be a eulogy....or perhaps I will write another when the time comes. All I know is....the world needs more Sharons.....and we all need to truly know a Sharon in order to bring us back in touch with reality.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Little heartbeats

Here's a message for women...but men are welcome too.

Kids are so sweet....mostly when they are sleeping. Sometimes they leave you with memorable moments like these.....

Mother's Day can be a difficult day for many for various reasons. Some have lost their mother and miss them especially on this day. Many others have deeply painful memories of a mother who hurt them badly and scars remain to this day. To the latter, I would say....the dysfunctional stuff stops here, with you. You are a fresh beginning. Every day is a new clean page. You are not the reason your mother acted as she did, nor are you destined to repeat the same mistakes as she did. As long as you are alive and there is a God who loves you (and there is!), you have fresh hope each day to make a difference in the life of a child - whether your own, or a child within your influence. The world needs starts with us.....and little heartbeats.

Who could write and sing a song about it more beautifully than Steven Curtis Chapman?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

All Lovey Dovey

Spring is in the air...
 What are YOU looking at??   A little privacy please !!!!