Sunday, May 17, 2015

Slam Dunk

If there was one thing in the world that Joseph loved, it was basketball. If there was one thing he loved more, it was a girl named Rachael. Jospeh promised Rachael the moon and he believed he loved her enough to get it for her. Joseph always practiced basketball on his court out in the country. Surrounded by farm fields Joseph would practice as the sun would set and the moon was rising. He would often reach for the moon and pretend to slam dunk it. Rachael was always on his mind.

In the years that Joseph pursued Rachael, he had a part time job at Wendy's. He worked hard at his job, and on the court but he always worked overtime when it came to his promise to Rachael. Joseph's promises to Rachael included.

  1. He promised to one day build her a house on her Grandmother's property
  2. He promised to build her an ice castle every winter once they married
  3. He promised her the honeymoon of her dreams
  4. He promised to buy her a jet plane so they could travel the world
  5. He promised he would build their children a huge playground with underground tunnels and waterslides
  6. Of course he always promised her the moon

Rachael always turned Joseph away, telling him to be more realistic. She would get annoyed every time he offered her the moon. She called him a dreamer and told him he was trying to achieve the impossible. When it came to basketball she told him he wasn't even any good. Joseph was devastated!

Time passed and Joseph and Rachael parted ways. Joseph moved to Louisville where he got a scholarship playing basketball and eventually the made the Toronto Raptors. Rachael stayed home and started dating Joseph's arch rival, Calvin.

A year had passed and Calvin had secured a decent job. For their anniversary, he decided to take Rachael on a surprise date. There was a limo, roses, champagne, and of course game 7 tickets to the NBA finals in Toronto. Joseph did not see them during the game, but he ended up posting a 33 point night along with a 3 point buzzer beater that won them the NBA championship. For the first time, Rachael found Joseph attractive and appealing. She waved and tried to get his attention as he held the prize trophy over his head. Rachael hoped that maybe he still loved her.

After flexing for the cameras, Joseph did notice Rachael in the crowd, screaming his name. Joseph crossed the rose-petaled, Gatorade drenched floor, and said hello. With a big smile on his face he brought Rachael over and introduced her to his fiancee.... Jennifer Lopez :)

Of course in my version of this tale, Rachael and Joseph would end up together and J-Lo would not even feature, but compromises must be made in artistic collaberations.

Kahil Gibran on Love

Kahlil Gibran on Love 

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

This has to be my favourite poem right now. I don't know much about the poet, but I will be reading more of his work, you can be sure.

Mother Goose

Mother GOOSE

My Mom
thinks me perfection
only slightly marred
by my depression

She wants me to mind
My "P's and Q's"
but I can't give her
Any clues!

She has no guile
Only a smile,
I only wish
She would kiss

Away my heart
And make me some dessert
Lemon meriangue
or Chocolate mousse

If only...
she wasn't
Such a goose!

I wrote this poem after being angry with my mother for most of one night. I think I forgave her?

Teddy and the Moon Walka Walka's

Ok. I definitely contributed to this story. Co creators Frank (N Stein) and Jesse. A volunteer drafted it and I made one last edit. More stories to come involving time travel, super heroes, and cheaters.... stay tuned.

Deep in the wilderness of Croatia there lived a bear named Teddy and his friend Beyonce. From a young age all Teddy wanted to do was dance. Beyonce used to sit for hours and watch him practice. Beyonce taught him a few simple moves. She always believed in him. She gave confidence and inspired him very much.

Teddy was known as a prankster. He would often sneak up on unsuspecting campers and scare them, then quickly bust into a dance, leaving some campers feeling better and laughing, and some just getting more scared. He would then disappear into the woods.

One day some people from Barnum and Bailey's circus captured Teddy and forced him to wear disco clothes and dance in their circus. Teddy went from an exuberant prankster, who was always happy, to feeling depressed, and wishing he could once again hang out at the many dumps and garbage bins of his youth, where the food was, to be frank, much better. He was so mortified that he no longer wanted to dance. After a few months in captivity Teddy seized an opportunity to escape. With his huge paws he managed to break free from his cage. On his way to freedom, he grabbed the cash box and headed home.

As soon as Teddy reached home he jumped into the lake and took a bath. Feeling refreshed, and dripping wet, he danced on the beach. Performing each move to perfection, Teddy danced every one of Michael Jackson's famous moves, but without the white glove. He thrust his hips, threw his arms upwards, and moon walked the beach. The Jackson five and disco music filled the air.

Pretty soon wild animals appeared from everywhere to watch Teddy dance. First some coyotes, then a few deer, next some robins. Finally some escaped lions, tigers and zebras appeared. Last of all potato bugs and cockroaches watched the famous moves of the skilled dancer with something approaching awe.

And, yes, Beyonce, was also there. The hit song Single Ladies found Beyonce and Teddy dancing together, as Sleazy Bear watched from the sidelines. Sleazy was a slightly forward bear, and endlessly whipped her hair in an attempt to draw Teddy's attention. This hair whipping was slightly tempting to a bear of Teddy's sensibilities; however Beyonce had him in raptures, unknown to him until this point.

In the years that followed Teddy and Beyonce taught the other bears how to dance. They formed a group called "Teddy and the Moon Walka Walkas" and hit the bigtime. They held a show in Maple Leaf Gardens that sold out in one day. With their progeny, they relaxed together in Florida, Bora Bora, and Hawaii, with resplendent homes at each extensive property. Teddy still visited the dumps too, but they happily lived in the beauty of their world, dancing for the rest of their days.

Monday, May 04, 2015


Joshua Blowing His Trumpet....

And the walls falling down!

As Rahab hangs her Scarlett Thread......

Joshua Blowing His Horn


I Will Change Your Name
By D.J. Butler

I will change your name
You shall no longer by called
Wounded, out cast Lonely or afraid
I will change your name

Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness
Overcoming One

Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks My Face

Change is... important in life because without it you
          can't grow
... without it there would be no seaside castles
     nestled in the midst of gardens
... no secret hideaways bursting with life
... no glorious resurrections, no brightly coloured
     eggs hidden in secret
           dark corners
               beneath a sea shell...
            in some seaside resort
          as the sun rises
              on a beautiful new day....

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great & small
All things wise & wonderful
The LORD God Made Them All!

After a long barren winter I am a garden bursting
in bloom .... a lily of the Valley
     Suzanne Allison
           I will become myself

              As I really Am!

Some Ponderings

100 More Aprons?

Awhile ago I ran out of disposable one time use aprons for my foot care job I have been doing for over a year, extremely part-time. I wondered if I should order any more. Proper nursing standards would indicate you should have a fresh one for each client. I had ordered them more than a year ago online from a place that sold them for food industry purposes and they weren't individually packed like the ones I had split with the two other nurses who were doing the course of studies with me back in the summer of 2013. I think there were probably a hundred of them, but I couldn't be sure, as I had never counted them. So when they were all gone I wondered if that meant I had done over one hundred visits.

I really didn't want to order any more somehow. Maybe it was realizing how little I had made there in black and white on my T4 and how much energy I had poured into the job. It could have been the fact I was paying half what I made on gas and other car expenses, and spending twice what I made in tools and supplies, or so it seemed. There was so much prep time preparing documents and tools, phoning clients, rescheduling appointments, and then there was the half hour or more it took to clean your tools at the end of the day, all that travel time, the extra documentation you did at home for no pay, the insurance you had to fork out due to the high risk of something going terribly wrong. The inconvenient truth was I could make twice as much with my other home care job for six hour shift that involved far less driving and ended when the visit was over and you signed off on your phone, instead of so much later in the day. One day seeing three clients in one day as well as attending a CPR class kept me busy until
11 pm before all the work was done.  Far more than I would like I have had to decline last minute shift opportunities for my other job in order to keep my foot care appointments I was committed to completing.

 Foot care in the home is not a very profitable business, for any one, and you have to be willing to take a loss in order to build up any kind of business. Unfortunately it felt like I was taking the brunt of the losses while my company struggled to collect the bills and clients came and went. Sometimes I have had to wrestle for over an hour to get a client's neglected feet into some semblance of proper order. At times I haven't known if my clients even have a firm grasp on their personal history, let alone their health conditions. Sometimes as I am wearing my mask, knowing they probably can't hear a word I am saying, struggling to give them some advice about caring for their feet they can't even manage to rub cream on by themselves any more, I wonder if I am really helping them as much as I would like to. Somehow the sensation test seems a little pointless when you are not sure they even understand your instructions.  And there are the feet that haunt you a little, because you know something is a little off, but you can't diagnose what exactly is wrong... As a nurse it is not really your job to diagnose, but when should you tell them to see a doctor?

 So I had kind of decided to quit. I could get into something like palliative care or some other area. Some other nurse could take over my clients. Then a nagging thought came to me that there were very few nurses who were sticking with this rather demanding, financially unrewarding work. Sure I did joke with one client I should be paying him as he patiently showed me some helpful tips for dealing with his chronic ingrown toenail. But I felt a little taken advantage of, a lowly foot care nurse, making a different rate than the other nurses, and seeing my bank account slowly descend rather than grow.

But a couple of days I ago I had a realization. I actually would do this job without any remuneration. Please don't tell my company. I love it! I love the clients I have gradually gotten to know, being a visitor in their homes whether in a cluttered dingy place smelling of cigarette smoke or a beautiful well appointed apartment.  I even love the satisfaction of cutting really really long toenails and realizing you have just made a difference to your client's mobility and health. Some of my clients have been palliative; I get to care for their feet and maybe help a little by my kindness as they are facing death. I have grown so much in my confidence that I no longer even dread the first visit, the unknowns of what I will face. One client in
Oakville I often complained lived too far away for me to be earning anything at all with the one hour visit, I miss the most, and wonder whether she is okay after her fall. I know many of my clients have few other options when they are housebound, rejected by other companies due to liability issues since they are diabetic or on blood thinners, and completely unable to care for their own feet any longer, ashamed at how long their toe nails have grown.

Yesterday, I came to a definite decision and emailed the person who had hired me that I had decided to stay. That I would make a complete reversal within the same day and today be ready to write my resignation letter is another story. Thankfully a very capable administrator talked me down and made a couple of important phone calls to clarify some issues that had made continuing seem an utter impossibility. In this season of my life, it may be time to order another hundred aprons.

Friday, April 03, 2015


This Good Friday, I attended a beautiful, meaningful service at the church where I grew up, professed my faith, and spent part of my young adulthood. I sat with my friend from childhood, her husband, and her parents who have always been a special part of our lives. It was good to be given some time, however brief, to reflect on just how much Christ suffered out of a love that is unfathomable, in order to pay for my redemption, healing, and wholeness. He has opened a way so I can become like him, the most amazing person who has ever walked on this planet. And now he is there right beside me, walking me through the valleys and to the fearsome heights. And today I realised that being here with him is really the safest place I can be, whatever may come.

When I am afraid, he says "fear not" and "I am with you." When I say "I cannot do it" he tells me "try, I will help you." Many times he reminds of the beauty he created, both inner and outer, when I was woven together in my mother's womb. He tells me that he has good plans for my life, though he does not promise a pain-free life without suffering or loss. He does promise that one day he will wipe every tear from my eyes, and he demonstrates that he values my tears so much that he stores them in a bottle. Especially in my childhood and youth, tears were frequent, even for small things, so I figure that bottle is probably holding quite a large volume by now.

Thinking of Christ as the Good Shepherd has always been a way to find a sense of peace for me. I picture myself in his arms, being carried, or I relax beside the peaceful stream, knowing I am cared for and watched over. My professor in university made a good point that sometimes we think of all the things we should or must do for the kingdom of God, but sometimes we just have to "be." To be God's child, to be his beloved, to be the lamb of the Good Shepherd who was willing to lay down his life for the sheep. On a day like today, when we remember the high cost of our redemption, the stripes which bring our healing, and the love that kept Jesus on the cross through the agony of being separated from his Father and the excruciating  physical pain as he struggled for each breath, we should realise that we can trust him in this time and moment as well whatever we may face. On the cross, Christ was not a victim, but a victor who has bought us back from the kingdom of darkness, and proclaimed our release and freedom from bondage. When he rose again on the third day, he gave those from whom he died a new resurrected life, and his victory over death and hell became gloriously real and tangible. On Good Friday, we remember that Easter is coming!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


I know it is not officially here for a couple of days, but it is springtime! It was a little chilly today, but the sun is shining and the snow has almost disappeared completely.

[in Just-]

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and




balloonMan          whistles

Recalling the joys of analyzing poems like this. And thinking happy, springtime thoughts. "Lo the winter is over and past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come..." That quote from Song of Songs just came back to my memory, although I had to look it up to get the complete text. 

This spring I am hoping to begin to get fit, take some courses for my nursing career, and find that elusive full-time hours job or jobs. Also I want to figure how I should make use of what is in my hand. Moses had his staff and God used it for miraculous things. What is in my hand is a pen, I mean symbolically not literally, as of course at this moment I am typing. 

This spring will bring new things with work, friendships, and relationships. Things are in flux, but they are also blossoming, blooming, and full of life!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Plenty of Fish

The moment I decided to attend the Christian singles mixer party my friend was hosting, I hadn't pictured myself as the only female attendee for the first part of the evening. But there I was, the wall flower, sitting encircled by a half-dozen eligible men in a dimly lit bar inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's the Raven, awkwardly making conversation with help from an icebreaker game. Scarlett O'Hara surrounded by adoring beaus I was most definitely not. When the other two women showed up, they sat together at the bar and put their icebreaker games in their purses, meaning I won the door-prize for the women by default.

I tried not to think about how disappointing this event might turn out for every one, and focused on small talk and polite conversation about work, hobbies and interests. One man turned out to be not only a winter camping enthusiast but also a registered nurse who was an expert in foot care nursing, having run his own business for over ten years. I was able to glean some valuable information from him as I am also a foot care nurse.  Another man was a recent immigrant from Lebanon who was a scientist who worked in the food industry. Yet another was an outdoorsman who was a machinist. They all seemed like decent people. A couple men offered to buy me a drink, but I declined as I rarely have alcohol.

Gradually the small crowd dwindled to four people, counting the hostess of the event. We sat at the bar and discussed our work and cultural and family backgrounds. Since I had won a gift certificate for the bar, I attempted to buy a drink, but it is hard to order something that has no alcohol or sugar at a bar, and bars apparently don't charge for water garnished with a lemon. When I realised that this elementary fact should have been obvious to me, I was rather embarrassed to have offered payment. My next thought was to order a drink for some one else, as I didn't think it likely I would be returning to this venue, but the two people I asked had already imbibed their personal limit of one drink for the evening.

At ten the music was cranked up, but no one was dancing. Conversation became more difficult due to the noise level. My friend and I made plans to go back some time to use the gift certificate, and we exited the bar together along with the last man to leave the singles mixer party, who happened to be the registered nurse. He offered me contact information so I could ask him for professional advice regarding foot care. It wasn't the evening I had expected, especially since the last event my friend planned had had ten times as many people show up and more of a gender balance. Still it certainly was a stretching experience, and more of an adventurous Saturday night than I am used to having.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


There are two totally different ways to look at life. One is of a history of failures, setbacks, disappointments, and missed opportunities. The other is a story of lessons learned, challenges faced, holy encounters, and blessings in disguise.
 In the last little while I have had two disappointments. The one today I didn't handle very well, and in a moment I seemed to have lost all the progress I thought I had made. Negative things came from my mouth and they seemed very true and realistic, but in fact, they had the truth all twisted and distorted. 
This may be a challenge I have to overcome, but it is not the end of my journey. God does have a good plan for my life, but my life at times includes learning from failures, struggling through setbacks, dealing with disappointments of things I have wanted but are not God's will, and sometimes missing the mark. Through it all, God is working all things for my good and he is drawing me closer to himself. 
God knows the desires of my heart, and he created my heart. He is good, faithful, and true and as I delight myself in who he is and what he has done, he will fulfill the desires of my heart and also recreate my heart to be more in tune with him. Some of my desires may change in the process and as my life unfolds, I may understand better why God has said "no" or "not yet" or "wait" for petitions I have made to him. God wants me succeed at the things he has designed and purposed for me to do and he knows the end from the beginning. If I ask for his guidance, direction and wisdom, I can trust him to answer my prayer. He is able to do so much more than I would ever ask or imagine.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

How to Find One's Life By First Losing It

Being self-absorbed comes naturally. If there is a mirror in the room, chances are I am checking out my reflection, even as I am conversing with other people. When I get a hair-cut, I want people to notice and compliment me. Since I lost some weight, I weigh myself with even more frequency. Often in conversations, I catch myself bringing the discussion back to myself, which is my favourite topic though maybe not as fascinating as I think. Though I receive many spontaneous compliments, sometimes I am guilty of fishing for one. At times, I spend so much time looking inward, I fail to notice people with needs all around me.

Self-denial on the other hand, goes against my natural tendencies. How I can give of myself sacrificially to others is not immediately obvious to me in any given situation, More on my mind is how will this affect me and my plans or how does this person feel about me.

Selfishness is my default setting. If I don't try to put myself in another person's shoes or attempt to think of others, I won't consider their needs above mine.

It is all too often all about me. That's why I find Jesus' words so challenging as paraphrased by Eugene Peterson: "Any one who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I  am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?"

I guess if I am truly following Jesus, instead of just talking about following Jesus, he will lead me in this way of self-sacrifice and show me how it is done. He has already demonstrated a love that was willing to suffer, to empty himself, to give his life as a sacrifice. In his life, he was a servant, obedient to the Father. Even though he was God, he made himself nothing. My life has to become about him and about the people he has placed in my life. I need to radically change my focus and only then will I find my life as it was meant to be lived.

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