February 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

My 6 year old is playing with his stuffies on the floor, offering a snack to the homeless one and speaking emphatically to the others about helping people who need help.

Flash back a few hours, when I received a BBM from a friend that she saw a wolf in the countryside near our home, compassionately making me aware of the potential danger it might pose.

As I sit down with my tea to begin my Facebook review for the morning, I see a post from another friend about how How Wolves Save Rivers. Having recently received a BBM on wolves in my neighborhood, I click on it. Unveiled to me, is the most beautiful impact the introduction of wolves has had on Yellowstone National Park.  This video was done by a YouTube channel called Sustainable Man.

I enjoyed the video, so I click on some of the others they have created and posted. As I am watching the video  Reimagining Investment for the Whole Human, also by Sustainable Man, my 6 year old son wanders up and is watching the screen, listening to the words. He asks me why I watch videos that are boring. Realizing he doesn’t understand many of the words that are being used, I begin to translate into a 6-year-old dialect.

I explain that there is a portion of the world’s people that have a lot (a lot of money, a lot of toys, a lot of food, a lot of clothes) and there is another portion of the world that doesn’t (doesn’t eat enough, isn’t clothed, has no money, no toys). He responds to all of this with his observation that the “donation” box I put in our hallway for my children to contribute to as they are cleaning their rooms, is almost empty still.

Marveling at the connection he has just made I affirm the link, suggesting “perhaps we should change that?”. Without comment he leaves my side to return to his game, and I continue watching the video. A few minutes later he draws my attention to him putting two toys in the donation box. I share my gratitude with him for his action and we both return to what we are doing, me, watching these wonderful messages suggesting we take action for the betterment of all people, and he to his toys. And that’s when I realize it.

My 6 year old is playing with his stuffies on the floor, offering a snack to the homeless one and speaking emphatically to the others about helping people who need help. 


The Glow.

April 30, 2013 § 1 Comment

Raise your hand if you have ever watched a sunrise?

Not seen, but watched.

I have seen many sunrises but it was only until recently that I watched what actually happened as the sun’s light slowly edged its way across the earth. As the sun gradually peeks over the tops of the trees on the horizon, each part of the earth that it meets starts to glow. As each tree, rock, and blade of grass receives the sun’s radiance, it transforms from the dull shade of early morning to an awe-inspiring golden glow, and continues to bask in it until the sun eventually gets high enough in the sky to become daylight. I was mesmerized, watching the glow unhurriedly inch across the grass towards me, lighting up each thing in its path, including me! As I looked down at my dark coloured jacket, even it was glowing! Breathtaking.

Reminiscencing throughout the day afterwards, recalling how beautiful an experience it all was, it occurred to me that we are capable of doing the same for others.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the unpleasant experience of being “triggered”. When someone or something hits a button inside you that sets you off in the direction of anger, frustration, sadness, or whatever – it can be difficult to come out of that tailspin. But what if we triggered others, back to themselves?

I read a story recently of a woman whose washing machine had broken and so, deciding to create a teachable moment for her children, she decided to bring them along to the Laundromat to experience a coin-operated, out-of-the-comfort-of-home, laundry adventure. While there they watched as an older woman started swearing and grouching at the dryer when she realized she had put the coins in the wrong machine and her clothes had been sitting wet for the entire time. The mother watched as her daughter approached the older woman and offered her some of her own coins. Instantly, the face of the older woman fell, realizing how badly she had behaved, swearing and grouching in front of young children, and apologized immediately, thanking the young girl for her generosity. She had been triggered by the dryer, but then triggered right back by the generosity and kindness of the young girl!

How powerful! To trigger someone back to their true selves, back to their joyful, peaceful being, much in the same way that the sun coaxes a glow out of all it touches each morning. As if to strengthen this realization, I was offered an example in my own life shortly after.

In one of my typical Saturday morning rants, I was grouching at my kids for making such a mess, preaching to them about cleaning up after themselves and laying on a thick layer of guilt, asking why they would expect someone else to clean up all the messes they make. Sound familiar anyone? In the middle of my tirade, I suddenly felt a warm hug around my legs and a small voice say “I love you, Mommy”. With one small, brave gesture, my five year old had dissolved my frustration and triggered me back to myself, reminding me how blessed I am to be a mother.

And there was the glow.

Everything we need is within us. The next time you see someone who has been triggered into a tailspin, resist the temptation to judge or react. Respond with love. Choose kindness. Then be prepared to bask in the glow.


April 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

“Sorry, I’ve just been so busy. “

I was on my knees praying in church this morning when I had remembered something I forgot. Not a mission critical item, but a nice-to-do item that I had wanted to do, and meant to do, but didn’t.  I had forgotten.

As I was beginning to think up the usual response (I’ve been busy), God interrupted and suggested to me that really, I haven’t.  I haven’t been busy at all. I have been distracted.  


So I started to think about the difference between busy and distracted. And like an unravelling tapestry, thoughts came to me of how quick we are to respond with “I’ve been so busy”, like it is an appropriate excuse for our behaviour.  I started thinking about all the times I have heard the words: ” I’ve been busy”.  Perhaps as an explanation for why we haven’t called a friend who we intuitively knew could use our support, but we got busy with our own life. Or when we say that we wish we could spend more time with loved ones, but we don’t make the effort because we are too busy. Or our response to someone who has used their time to do something unnecessary but kind : “they must have a lot of time on their hands!”  Or when we say to our kids “I just gotta do this and then I can listen to what you’re saying”, as if they’ll still be in the excitement of that moment five minutes later when you are finished with your email.

We are not busy. We are distracted. Distracted from the moment we are in because we are thinking about the next hundred moments to come.  Distracted by the guilt we would feel if we actually relaxed and enjoyed our family instead of evaluating the items on our to-do list that could fit into our Sunday afternoon at home.  Distracted by the need to feel like we are doing, instead of being.

We are human beings, not human doings.

Yet when given the opportunity in a free moment, we pick up our smart phone, we sit down at the computer, or we flick on the TV.  We make choices to fill our time. We are always doing, which feels like busyness, but really its distraction.

I don’t know how we got to the point where we need to feel busy all the time, nor do I think it matters. What matters is that we become aware of it, and decide that what is important is to enjoy the moment we are in.

Choose to call the friend who could use the support, and enjoy the feeling of connectedness that results.

Choose to spend time with loved ones, savoring all the unique personalities and strengths of who they truly are.

Choose to make time for those unnecessary, but kind acts, because they actually are necessary.  

And choose to listen to our children in the moment that they are compelled to share with us. Because that excitement is fleeting, and they need an example that shows them that if we don’t live in our current moments, we won’t have any moments to cherish later.


Be brave enough to surrender to the moment.

Be still enough to hear that voice leading you to what is truly important

Just Be.




My Blessed Life Miracle

April 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

“Why can’t you kids be more grateful” I heard myself say. “Don’t you know there are kids in the world who don’t have enough to eat, or clothes to wear or homes to live in? Don’t you know there are kids who don’t get birthday presents or Christmas presents, kids that don’t get vacations or trips to Florida?” I ranted, on a roll now…” Do you realize how blessed you are that God has given us good health and given Daddy a job that can pay for our home and our food and our clothes and our family vacation?”

Then my six-year old daughter looks at me with the gears of her inquisitive mind rolling and asks:

“But Mommy, if we are so blessed, why hasn’t God blessed other people?”.

Good question. Rant officially stopped in its tracks.

In recent years, I began to get afraid. I looked all around me and saw God’s many blessings. I am married to a wonderful man, we have a mercifully strong marriage, we have four amazing and healthy children (two boys, two girls), my husband and I both enjoy good health, we are financially stable, we have terrific friends and family, we live in a peaceful country that isn’t torn apart by war or natural disaster, we have a beautiful spacious home.  It seems too good to be true. Something bad has got to happen – nobody has it this good, and if they do, it isn’t for very long.  We must have some terrible tragedy planned for us later if we have it this good now. I started to get really nervous. I started worrying about it far more often than I should have. Anxiety would grip me when my husband travelled or my kids stayed with someone else. I would run through scenarios in my head of what I would do if an accident befell one of them, how I would react, steps I would take.  I was constantly in emergency preparedness training. It was exhausting, for me and I’m sure, for those around me.

So I started to share my concerns, and look for reassurance.  I prayed, a lot. I started sharing it with a few people I felt comfortable discussing it with. I got various opinions and insights. And then one day, while driving, it came to me. I was enjoying a quiet moment for my mind to wander as the children had fallen asleep from the warm afternoon sunshine embracing our vehicle.  I had just left my women’s Bible Coffee group so my mind was open and permeated with scripture and thoughts of God’s work.  The group had discussed how miracles are often seen better through the experience of tragedy, crisis or extreme difficulty – how people come closer to God or can see His work with more clarity once they have experienced an astounding recovery from an unfortunate circumstance. As I drove, I thought to myself, “why does God need to hit us over the head with a tragedy or crisis in order for us to see His miracles? Why can’t we see the miracles He creates for us every day, for example, like this beautiful sunshiny day?” And that was God hitting me over the head. 

My blessed life is the miracle.

Miracles don’t have to be preceded by tragedy if we open our eyes and minds enough to see the ones He creates right in front of us. My family’s good circumstances are a series of blessings that have formed one glorious and rolling miracle.  I feel so dense to have not seen it sooner. And now, instead of fear, I have gratitude. Instead of guilt, I have humility.  Thanks be to God.

So next question…why have I been given this miracle?

The quick answer, I thought, is that it is part of my ongoing faith journey, building my relationship with God.  But I have come to realize that there is more to it than that (of course there is more to it than that, this is God, after all!). 

At the conclusion of my women’s Bible Coffee sessions, we always leave time to collect prayer intentions for the week. We give praise for answered prayers and God’s work in our lives and the lives of those we love, and we learn news of those who are experiencing difficult times and need the extra help that only prayer can provide.  It is sometimes difficult to listen to the many hardships brought up week-over-week, as I often wish there was something I could do in addition to praying, something let’s say, more “earthly”;  some way that I can be a vessel of God’s love and assistance to these people. Graciously, every so often, I can. God provides me with opportunities to support others: tokens, gestures, favours, ideas or financial help I can provide. Sometimes it’s easy for me to do, and sometimes it takes great strides and effort. And sometimes, when I feel like I’ve reached a threshold myself, like I can’t mentally absorb any more demands and I just need to unload, someone comes to me with a need for support, and I am still able to give more, because despite what I am experiencing, their need is still more dire than my own.  God has granted me this Blessed Life Miracle, so that I can focus my energy on helping others, without being distracted by my own issues. 

Thank you Lord, for this insight. I have found purpose.  And if at anytime I feel doubt, fear or guilt creeping in, I just go find someone who needs help – it is rare that I have to search very hard.


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