to the children

When I think of our little ones growing up in a world that is full of so much hatred and pride, chaos and confusion, at times I want to just put them in a bubble and protect them from the darkness and pain. I wish that I could bottle up their inquisitive and honest questions and thoughts, as a way perhaps to guard their hearts from becoming tainted by the world around them. I wish that I could promise them a future that would be free from evil and deception. But I know that those things are not in my control. I can nurture them in love and compassion, teaching them to be kind and caring to all people, encouraging them to be generous and joyful. I can help them discover who they are, their unique gifts and talents, the special purpose they have been created for. I can pray, crying out to God to bring peace to our world, asking that all children will have a loving home in which they receive a foundation for how to navigate this complicated life. At times I feel unprepared myself, as to how to think clearly and make wise choices - how can I really teach the little ones to do the same? So again I pray - give me wisdom, give me a heart that breaks with the things that break God's heart, give me eyes to see those things that in my own weakness I brush off as interruptions in my day. May our children know truth and believe that there is goodness and joy in this life - even when things may grow dark around them. This is my hope and prayer not just for own children, but for all the children in the world.

wasted time: taking time for inner renewal

From 'Dare to Journey with Henri Nouwen' by Charles Ringma

There is just so much that needs to be done. Extra demands at home and at work. More time with the family. Keeping up with our exercise program. Planning the next holiday. Time out for friends. Involvement in our children's school activities. Completing that new management course.

In these and many other ways, the busy round of life draws us into a myriad of activities, all important, but all demanding more of our time and energy. Even church activities jostle for our attention and commitment. And creative acts of service requiring long-term support and care often demand more than we are able to give.

So we try to do more while our energies ebb away and we become like uprooted trees with our roots wildly groping for the sky. Thus we anxiously throw our arms towards heaven, praying for extra
grace and enabling, when instead we should be planted again in nourishing soil. That soil is not meant to make us do less, but to change our priorities so that we take time to be still. And in the stillness, find new strength and hope.

Henri Nouwen reminds us that 'time given to inner renewal is never wasted.' In fact it is the fuel for the journey, and more importantly, it is the discipline that will shape the very fabric of our being.

A Prayer of St. Ignatius

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess you have given me: I surrender it all to you to be disposed of according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.


Do you ever feel that God’s voice is hard to hear amongst all the bustle and noise of our lives? This poem is meant to be read as a prayer, asking the LORD to give us grace to hear him in the midst of the fray. What influences do you need to turn off or walk away from this week, in order to hear God’s voice and follow where he leads?

From the moment when I wake, the distractions buffet me.
Clamoring for my attention, they assail relentlessly.
The voices of this busy world seem to fill my ears,
Drowning out your still small voice, the only voice I long to hear.
Lord, meet me in the moment in the quiet of this place.
Help me to hear your voice alone as I rest in your embrace.
Lord, drive the other voices from the temple of my heart,
And whisper words of wisdom which your Spirit can impart.
That I would hear no other voice,
O Master, draw me near.
May I incline my heart to you,
Speak, Lord, and help me hear.
by Frank Carpenter

to my kindred spirit

One of my dear friends is celebrating another year of life and it brought me to reflect on how much I value her friendship. It was 20 years ago (yikes!) that we met at Prairie Bible College. We were moving into the dorm and met in the elevator - and my dad in his wisdom said, 'Jen, that seems like a really nice girl. I think she'll be a good friend for you.' Well, he was certainly right! We quickly became friends along with other dear ones who continue to hold big 'parking spaces' in my heart.

My friend is, in the words of my hero Anne of Green Gables, a kindred spirit. We have shared many laughs, adventures, heart aches and joys. I have come to realize that such a kindred spirit is truly a gift. As you journey through life and meet many people along the way, there are some special relationships that you know will last the test of time, no matter how often you see each other. The kind of friend with whom you can connect, not worrying if you've caught up on all the stories, but feeling confident that whatever is shared will be cherished as a sacred gift.

My friend has come to the 38th year of life - an age that 20 years ago we predicted would most certainly be 'gross'. Nearing that scary age of 40, not even close to 30's any more, we were sure that it would be a terrible age. Well, having experienced that gross age for the last several months, I can say that it's not as bad as we'd anticipated. Still hard to believe we are actually nearing the big 4-0, but there is a good feeling of having grown up just a little bit :) That sense of having experienced enough of life to know that we certainly don't have it all figured out, and naive enough to still keep on dreaming big dreams.

So my dear friend, I celebrate you and give thanks for the years we've shared together. I look forward to becoming those crazy old ladies we always imagined we'd be, never giving up on the chance for a new adventure. You inspire my faith as you serve with such love and hope. May you continue to radiate the joy and peace of our Father. With love from your kindred spirit xo