Monthly Archives: December 2011

Find new page, Winter Wonders, at the link below

Knowing One’s Place/ Dibbing A Seat At The Table

This is a picture of my little dog wearing his Christmas bandana and ensconced comfortably on my couch. It is on that last little part that the two of us part opinions. The living room furniture in my house is mine. Unclear on this,however, Coda seems to think that since he often sits there that has made it his. Fans of Big bang theory will be familiar with Sheldon and his permanent dibs on a certain seat on their couch. People who don’t know better often sit on his spot and are quickly told, “that’s my spot!”

In churches, staff rooms, and many other places I’m sure, there are invisible “seat markers.” That is our pew, Sally sits at that spot, etc. We have all heard it. In reality, of course, unless there are officially assigned seats, as in a classroom, chairs and pews do not have names attached and are available to all.

On the rare occasion that I sit in the congregation, rather than the choir, I mainly aim for front seats because they are generally less popular. The important thing to note is that regardless of assignment, placing dibbs, or leaving your coat or purse to save your seat, a place has already been reserved for us at the Lord’s table. We may not know which one, but that is not our concern, rather the concern of our host. We need only to wait patiently to be seated.

Check Out My New Page

I started a new page of winter wonders today, beginning with snud kicking. Check it out!

The Holiday Begins/ Cheers To Those Who Work The Holidays

Today is the first day of the Christmas break for many people in North America. As our principal said Merry Christmas to us this morning you could see on people’s faces that their spirits were lifting with every step they were taking on the way out the door.  This morning I had blood work done at the hospital and that got me thinking about all the people who will be working this weekend while the rest of us will be celebrating.

Give thanks with me for;

The nurses, doctors, orderlies, cooks, and cleaners at our hospitals

The police officers

The firefighters

People who work in hotels and restaurants

       People who keep our roads

                                                             clear and safe


People who cook and serve our homeless and hungry

The Candle of Love: Conflict and Love

This past Sunday we lit the fourth Advent candle, the candle of love.  As we did so I got thinking about what we know of love.  Church goers will be familiar with the scriptural quote from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  That is a love that would be hard to emulate wouldn’t it?  And then there are the words from 1 Corinthians 13, 

1If I speak in the tonguesa of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,b but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

On reading these sections of the Bible I think we risk getting a very romanticized idea of perfect, comfortable love which will always meet our needs and never be challenging.  So what about all those conflicts in our families?  I believe we miss out on a rather significant point from God’s love letter to his people, as the Bible is often called, we have often been in conflict with God.

In my classes lately we have been looking at Dr. John Gray’s love letter technique for dealing with conflict within relationships.  One of the things that is so powerful about this technique is that it focuses not on everything that is wrong with the other person, but on our own feelings.  The idea is that by going systematically through all the feelings and writing them out we will find ourselves back at love.  There is a section for each of; Anger, Sadness, Fear, Regret, and Love.  My students often start out rejecting the idea out of hand because it starts out with such negative feelings.  After all, we aren’t supposed to get angry, jealous, etc. 

Let’s look at those again.  We have read about the wrath of God, and out of anger Jesus destroyed the fig tree.  Every time humans have turned their backs on God and strayed it must have saddened God, as it would any parent when rejected by their children.  Jesus is moved to sadness over the troubles of others, and he cries in sadness and some degree of fear over the challenge in facing the cross.  It seems clear that God has felt regret if only by looking at the number of times we were cast out, sent into exile or in other ways punished, only to be taken up again in God’s arms. 

If things in your relationships are not all rosy and exciting as we head into Christmas, do not feel that the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love are not for you!  It is because of God’s love (anger, sadness, fear, regret and all) that we were sent the awesome gift of Jesus.  It is out of God’s love that we are offered grace.  It may take us years to unwrap it, but the gift remains there for those who believe. 

To find out more about the Love Letter Technique read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by Dr. John Gray

Publisher HarperCollins
Released 1992
ISBN ISBN 0007152590

Part 2 – Come As The Real You: Dressing to reflect what we stand for

The coming week at our school is Anti-Bullying Week.  Our Humankind group has put together a week of themes and activities to shed a light on, and encourage a change in the bullying situation in our school and society.  On Wednesday we are asking people to come to school as the “Real You.”  

I bought a blank t-shirt to decorate.  What did I decide to put on it?  On the front there is an happy face surrounded by things for which I stand up; peace, justice, love, equality, freedom, etc.  On the back I put a big check mark with the words, “Do What’s” above it.

Come As The Real You: Dressing to reflect what we stand for

The coming week at our school is Anti-Bullying Week.  Our Humankind group has put together a week of themes and activities to shed a light on, and encourage a change in the bullying situation in our school and society.  One day we are wearing our pyjamas to reflect that the school should be a safe and comfortable place for everyone within the walls.  One day we are looking for our Anti-Bullying superheros.  Friday will be Blue Shirt Day which is a national campaign to eliminate bullying.

Our other main theme day reflects the power of peer pressure and bullying to make people hide themselves, whether literally in corners hoping not to be seen, or less directly by changing how they dress, changing their hair, or not taking part in activities they enjoy.  On Wednesday we are asking people to come to school as the “Real You.”  I have explained it as showing the inner you, or the things for which you stand.  For instance, if you come off to others as a tough and scary person but really have a soft heart and care for people you might come dressed as a teddy bear, a marshmallow, with a big heart on your t-shirt or something like that.  You might put what people see on the front of the shirt and what people may not know on the back.

I have been trying to decide what to wear.  First I will wear jeans and a t-shirt because I am really an informal person.  I bought a blank t-shirt to decorate and now I am trying to decide what to draw or write.  There is some inherent danger in putting inner feelings and thoughts out there for other people to see.  If they were ever inclined to bully you, this would give them excellent ammunition.

I am thinking of putting a stick person type head representing me with a cross around my neck.  Above my head in thought bubbles I would have the words Peace, Love and Justice.  Filtered through my faith, those are the three things for which I am willing to stand up.  Above that I will put words or symbols to represent the various “causes” that I work for.  I could put organizations names, problems we fight against, people who need our help or other things.  Should I have the causes wrap around to include my back?  I am still quite undecided.

My minister had a couple interesting suggestions.  She first said a big check mark.  I immediately thought about my role as a teacher and how much I dislike having to grade student work.  That was not her thought.  For her it would represent that I always try to do what is right.  I suspect this idea will find its way into a campaign for Humankind another year.  Her other idea was just to draw a straight horizontal line to represent wanting to make everyone equal.  (As I typed that it made me think of the scripture saying the valleys will be exulted and the mountains made low.)  These ideas are far less wordy and would require explanation for people to get the point, but maybe that is the point.  It is easy to skim over a bunch of words isn’t it?

I’ll let you know later what I end up doing with my t-shirt.  As we begin the third week of Advent lets all focus on showing for what we stand, and work to bring joy to those in our communities who are the least joyful.

A Recipe For Christmas Spirit

The past week or so I have been in a rather  down mood.  Sitting on the couch after work one day recently I was giving serious consideration to cancelling our annual carol sing event etc.  Today I remembered that I had ground beef in the fridge that would be wasted if I didn’t use it up.   I fried it up and added the fruit and spices that my husband had picked up for me.  As it started to cook up, I found myself tapping my toe and whistling a Christmas carol.  This is the recipe I was cooking! 

Mince Meat

1 ½ lbs ground beef  (fried and drained)                                       1 can apple sauce
4 grated apples                                                                                         1 pkg currants
1 pkg raisins                                                                                               8 oz citron
8 oz mixed fruit                                                                                          ½ c butter
1 c brown sugar                                                                                        ¾ c cider vinegar
cloves                                                                                                            cinnamon
nutmeg                                                                                                         ginger
all-spice                                                                                                       salt
1 c molasses

The Christmas Dress

We know of the Christmas tree, the Christmas pageant, the Christmas gift, and for many parents of little girls, the Christmas dress.  The little boy equivalent I guess is the little dress shirt with a tie or bow tie.  From their very first special Christmas sleeper parents head out to the stores, or look in catalogues, early in December or even earlier if they want photos done, to get that special item.  If you are having photos done they get to wear them that day (or for an hour or so) and otherwise they have to wait until Christmas Eve, Christmas day or some special party.

My husband and I were walking through the stores the other day and saw a display of fancy dresses for young girls.  It brought back a lot of memories.  This is one of the few occasions for which we are willing to buy completely impractical clothing items for our kids.  Why is that?  I think it reflects back to a time when people would only have two or three dresses.  At this time a the gift of a new dress would be very special.  Now most of us have so many clothes that we   end up getting more fancy to remain special.

Think about the other named dresses.  There are baptism dresses, wedding dresses, prom dresses, dresses for first communions and more.  What do they have in common?  They are all dresses to mark special occasions in the lives of the wearers, many of them rights of passage in our society.   Christmas is just such an occasion as we celebrate the birth of our saviour, born anew into our hearts each year.    

A Must-Watch Video

The Christmas Story