Seeking Solace

Last week was an unusually stress filled week. I was dealing with negative things I could not control. It was so negative, I actually went to the dentist just to relax!

I am usually a glass half full/overflowing type of person. I can distract myself with blessings and gratitude.

Last week I tried, I faked it, I reached for crutches, but really my insides just churned, and my body rebelled.

Saturday I was engaged with my daughter and her disc dog. That was fun. A bit of distraction.

Two 2nd place wins, happy girls

Sunday the family headed for “my happy place”, Algonquin Park. Usually I can sit and reflect, and feel the love of God through the beauty of creation wash over me.

This week surrounded by nature I struggled to find that peace. In fact I was grasped by such depression as I haven’t felt in a long time. Hopelessness in fact!

How can one feel so negative when witnessing such stunning scenes?

My journal didn’t help. Despair came over me. It held me in it’s claws!

I know in my heart, “be anxious for nothing, give it to God in prayer, with thanksgiving.” Sometimes it’s really difficult to do. Even when your faith is strong, your circumstances on this earth can be trying.

The moment that finally broke through my misery was when God gave me a fish. The fight, the surge of adrenaline, the success. Wasn’t a huge fish, but it was a fun fish. My smile in that moment became genuine.

Kickin’ bass!

For awhile it felt good to be alive. The trouble disappeared from my mind, and I found myself firmly planted in the moment.

As we packed up to come home, we all agreed what a great day it had been. No one knew of my struggle.

Exhaustion set in, it was hard to stay awake on the trip back. Something I try to do, to watch out for the eyes of animals along or on the road. The moon guided our path.

I fell into bed, crashed for the night.

I woke up thankful for a bass, that for a while, brought my heart and soul back to the present moment and gave a little burst of joy, a moment of solace.

Seeking Authenticity

Which path, do they both lead to the same ending?

I have an anxious feeling in my soul today and I can’t explain why.

I feel like something is going to happen. I am uncomfortable.

Is it from a recent discussion? In my studies, and discussions I have been bombarded by a thought so foreign to me I can’t grasp it. I feel like it’s a rabbit hole.

Is it just a moment of stretching and growth?

Maybe it’s too much coffee, not enough sleep, the weather???

Whatever it is, I choose not too live in this state!

I know that God is good, and His love lasts forever. I know He cares for us even in our weakened state. So as uncomfortable as this moment is, I choose to face today with love, patience, kindness, goodness, and hopefully a bit of self control.

Who knows maybe this anxiety will lead to something new and authentically great! After all, I am seeking the “real thing”!

MONARCH SEASON

Tiny fluttering beauty

It started with a science experiment with the kids. We gathered a monarch caterpillar, some milkweed leaves and carefully placed it into the insect cage.

We watched and waited. We waited and watched.

A chrysalis formed.

Wait some more, and changes started. The colour of the chrysalis transformed.

Then one morning it immerged. Wings kinked up. Unable to fly.

As the day progressed, the butterfly stretched it’s wings a little more and a little more. Fluttering and strengthening.

It’s favourite place to rest was in the sun, stretching and fluttering.

By the end of the day it stretched one more time, then it fluttered away.

Every year now, I watch and wait till the butterflies return. I leave a few milkweed plants in the flower bed so they know they are welcome here.

To understand the amazing transformation from ‘worm’ to beautiful butterfly a miracle of grand proportion. I stand amazed!

Upon the waters

When I agreed a few months back to take on this little mission I am on, I expected to receive some good fellowship with my friend, and to see something new.

I found out last night about the icing on this cupcake, I was taken fishing!

We piled in the boat, and set off. Up the lake we went passing our cabin on the right.

We continued breathing the fresh moist air deeply into our lungs. Bouncing across the waves, at the speed of youth. Refreshing and invigorating after a hot day of gardening and landscaping.

Our guide slowed the boat and announced we were at the first good fishing hole. I jokingly asked him if it was the best one.

He showed me how to bait the jig with the frozen shiner, and I cast it out into the water. Started reelling back and bam there was a fish on my line. I pulled my first pickeral/walleye into the boat. The adrenaline corsed through me, I couldn’t believe it!

A couple minutes later, bam, the little lady fishing with us snagged a nice size pike on her Barbie rod.

We continued casting and reeling but not long after my rod quickly laid aside for this beautiful family appeared on the horizon. In awe I grabbed my camera and fired away.

We cast a few more times then moved up the water a bit more.

All of us in the boat pulled at least one fish, amazing. I ended up with three. This one was too little.

Too soon it was time to turn back. The sun was setting, the kids needed to be tucked in bed.

We headed back in, enjoying the ride, the speed and the setting sun.

Back at the dock, we admired our haul. As we dreamed of the sweet reward of the fish fry to come.

The Creator displayed His beautiful art display, and smiled upon our pleasure.

The journey part 1

The Master’s Painting

The journey is so very long.

The road is twisty and hilly, sheer drop, or rock cut rise up. Perils on every side.

The trees fly by, so fast they meld into a blur of shades of colour.

Pause for a moment on the shores of possibility, and breath deeply of the clean clear misty air. A re-centering of the spirit, the very breath of God filling your lungs. Peace, peace, peace.

Travel on.

The daylight guides the path, late into the night. The sun plays hide and seek with the hills.

Darkness falls. Traveling on.

The flashes in the distance. Unsure if they are of human hand. Far reaching, but from the height of the majestic hill perception can be unclear.

Zig zagging from the heavens, lighting to the ground, no mistaking now. Gasping in awe of the Creator’s mighty power over and over again. Spectacular and frightening! Sit, watch, wait.

The ground drinking deeply of the soaking rain. Needs provided from the heavens above. Rest, rest ,while the work is done.

As the rain slows, the weiry travellers continue onward through the dark.

Hazzards lurk in shadows, ready to make life altering dashes into the travelers paths. On guard and ready, shield of angels ever near. Sharpened focus, diligence, press on.

Finally the sky begins to brighten. The sun begins to play again.

Rising, rising, a new day. One destination, by faith, and perseverance.

The Master says “well done”. An arrival. Rest now weary travellers, your journey has just begun.

Thankful The Creator Sent Rain!

Clouds of promise

Yesterday was a beautiful hot sunny day, with a picture perfect sky, and not too many mosqitoes.

I was out working in my garden, weeding, watering and replanting my romaine lettuce that had failed to come up.

The reason I believe it had not grown was lack of water. I had been watering everyday but not nearly enough. The unseasonably hot and dry temperatures, and on somedays a steady wind, were not allowing the water to saturate into the ground.

When I started cultivating the surface and watering deeply, the ground sighed with relief. You could actually hear it drinking up the life giving liquid.

My heart could not help traveling to places of drought, where water is more precious than gold. Feeling thankful for our usual abundance, and asking the Lord for a little help to get fresh healthy food for my family and whomever He sends so that I can bless them with the excess.

Early this morning, before I was fully awake, I could hear the sound of a gentle rain tapping on my roof and splattering in my herb garden outside my window. All I could think was thank you Father, for sending a life giving drink, to this desperate earth.

The forecast calls for more rain tonight. We certainly need it. As the ground is turning to dust.

Sometimes my soul requires a little cleansing rain as well. My being becomes stagnant and starts to wilt. It becomes hard to shine and ‘be’ beautiful. (True beauty= kindness, gentleness, self control).

The world we live in seems to try to cultivate thistles. It is very good at growing thistles. It fertilizes with division and hate. It waters with government control and inadequacy. It seeds in destruction, jealousy, isolation and death. It is sometimes difficult to tell the weed from the flower.

Diligence and patience is required. We can’t rush through the watering and weeding process. We can not grow without drinking deeply of what is good, and carefully examining what is taking root, that we are allowing to grow within us.

May the Creator shower you with love and blessings, may He cultivate hope, peace, and joy in each of you.

What is a church anyway?

When we think of the word church how did we allow it (for some) to become this?

photos by: Barb Harwood-Gendron

Please don’t get me wrong. I think these buildings are beautiful, and absolutely useful and necessary for shelter, especially in Canada, where our climate in not very forgiving sometimes. ( We sometimes joke about the two main seasons in Canada: 1.”winter” and 2.”black fly/ mosquito” season.)

When I ask people what church is, especially “non-church” people, a lot of the time I get the response that church is the place down the street (Like above.). Alternatively it’s a service on Sunday were people gather. Sometimes very judgey people (but that is a discussion for another day). Others would say a place to go and meet with God.

So is a church just a place that you go to meet God? If that is all it is, then isn’t this the perfect church?

thanks Barb for this photo also from somewhere in Northern Ontario

In my opinion, I believe that we need to think much deeper about what church is and how we display it to others.

I do believe in the Creator God.

I believe that He loves us, He wants our acknowledgement, and praise and worship.

I also think that in His creation of us that He made us for community! “It is not good for the man to be alone!” Genesis 2:18 God intended us to live in families, tribes, communities.

What then do I believe that a church should be more than anything else?

A church should be a group of individuals that “love God, and love each other”, but NOT only on Sunday’s for an hour.

It is good to gather together to praise and worship together but it should not stop there. I believe as a church we need to be involved on a daily basis in each others lives. I believe we need to help each other up, and push each other forward. I believe we need to care on a much deeper level than “How was your week? Oh that’s nice!”

Our church should be a group of “family” (not necessarily blood related), that stretches us, sometimes tells us when we are off track or loosing site of the goal. They should be encouragers. If a member is in need they should be the first one on the scene to help. They should be there to celebrate with us and mourn with us.

Our church should always be open to welcoming others in. Just wait, I know, I know, what if people join into our church, that are “takers, users, or disruptive”. Everyone deserves a chance or a few chances, but a church should encourage each other to be the very best and not allow each other to be less than there best.

We need to become a living example to what it means to “love thy neighbour” and we need to begin within the confines of the buildings in which we meet, yes, BUT, we need to then explode out and build communities that people want to be a part of because of how we interact with each other.

I want to see a church built, a living expression of the love of God, by sharing the joy of a life worth living, a community of people that are divinely brought together to grow and stretch each other, and in so doing bring thanks and praise back to the Creator.

This is church.

thanks Janna for the use of this photo

I am seeing this church being built right before my eyes, where two have gathered together, in this case, to celebrate a birthday milestone. To dream and goal set, and power through together. Or in fact to lift up and support each other as was the case in how Barb got to take the church photos and the photo of the northern Ontario sky.

So instead of the church being a place to go to, to worship, what I am saying is, let us be the church, let our lives be the worship to our Lord and Creator, by how we relate to one another by word, by action and by deed!