• green mountain surrounded by body of water photo

    Burden Bearing

    A man prepares for a hike.  Typically, he packs along the basic necessities for the day, such as water and food, in an amount that is easy to carry.  His backpack isn’t a hindrance as its weight is just right for his build and strength. Then something happens.  He must also carry the load of another.  The extra weight seems manageable at first but soon causes his steps to slow and his back to ache.  What starts out as a doable hike with an appropriate backpack now becomes a burden as he struggles under the demands of the extra load. How we bear the burdens of the day impacts our…

  • brown pendant lamp hanging on tree near river

    The “In” Crowd

    Making connections – it is usually considered the way to success.  We are told to get out there and find ways to meet people who are influential in our chosen profession, sport, or interest.  Get to know them, find out what makes them tick, read what they read, attend events they attend – these are all strategies supposedly to lead to the goal we desire.   Most really successful people are able to use their connections to their own advantage.  This “in” opens up doors to new opportunities and avenues for growth.   There are many days when I would like to have that magical “in” – that special connection…

  • children playing on swing

    Fair and Faithful

    Playground supervision – definitely not one of my favourite teaching tasks.  While I love being outdoors with students and watching their games and playful activities, it can be draining as inevitably there are squabbles between students that require me to intervene. Frequently children accuse others of not playing fair.  They are quick to point fingers at others who are not following the rules or playing in an honourable way.  Trying to sort out who did what is usually a challenging task, especially if I didn’t personally observe the altercation. Kids, in general, talk lots about fairness.  Just try dividing up treats between a few of them.  They are quick to…

  • A New Thing

    A highlight in my school day are my video chats with my students.  My young students always have some intriguing comments to make, no matter what the subject.  I never quite know what paths our conversations will take each day.  They typically are quite frank and honest in their responses, easily sharing what matters most to them in their world. As is typical on a Monday morning, I ask them what they did with their weekend.  In recent months, their answers are rarely exciting.  Sometimes I hear about snow forts built or places visited but usually I get lists of movies watched and board games played as my students try…

  • Stress Reliever

    The trees glisten with remnants of newly fallen snow.  The air is crisp and clear.  As I set out for my daily walk, all is still.  My pristine setting is a treasure.  There is beauty everywhere I turn.  It is restorative to walk amidst the tall spruce and stately birch trees.   As I move about I see signs of life.  A squirrel has found remnants of last year’s chokecherries and is rattling the bush to gain more.  A chickadee sings its happy song as another one answers.  The farther I walk the more I see tracks of moose, deer, and rabbits.  I stir up a prairie chicken as I…

  • Baseball Hit

    Mary Dobkin was an unlikely baseball hero.  Born in the early 1900s, she suffered severe frostbite as a child which resulted in long term complications.  She endured multiple hospital stays and surgeries and spent her adult life in poverty, living on disability benefits. While hospitalized, Mary came to love the sport of baseball.  As an adult, she realized that baseball could be an encouragement to the poor children of her neighbourhood.  Mary raised funds for equipment and uniforms and started a team.  Even though having to use a wheelchair or crutches, she was able to coach thousands of children over the years.   Volunteering her time, Mary was instrumental in…

  • Taking Flight

    What’s your typical reaction when you see a storm coming?  Do you dance around in the midst of the hailstones or do you run for cover?  Do you relish in getting soaked from the rain or do you find the nearest dry shelter?  Most of us want to seek some kind of protection from stormy outbreaks.  We desire a reprieve from any adverse conditions rather than search them out.  Avoiding the stresses of turbulent events is typically high on our list.  The bird kingdom is no different.  When a storm approaches, all but one breed of bird goes to find shelter.  Who is the anomaly?  It is the eagle.  While…

  • Perfection

    If you listen to the media there are always numerous new suggestions about how to make your life better:  10 steps to an organized home, 8 ways to improve your concentration, etc.  We are bombarded with diet and exercise plans that supposedly will turn our bodies into the perfect specimen.  Ads promote the ideal supplements or products that will solve our health or beauty woes.  The list of potential products and procedures is endless and somewhat daunting. Christians are not immune to such suggestions.  There are numerous Christian websites, books, and guides out there that promise us spiritual renewal, healing, or a better life if we just follow certain steps…

  • Cabin Fever

    I pace up and down my hallway for the umpteenth time today.  Some days I feel like I am wearing permanent grooves in the laminate flooring.  I’m sure I make a comical picture as I trot back and forth. The length of my home allows me to make only a few strides before I must turn around and go back.  It gets old pretty fast but on brutal cold days it is my best form of exercise.  Cold winter days on the prairies generally do lead to more indoor time.  This year is worse.   With pandemic restrictions my world is very narrow.  I work from home.  I worship via…

  • Emergency SOS

    The text message comes in the middle of my workday: “Emergency SOS, ____ has made an emergency call from this approximate location.”   These are not the words a mother likes to hear about her son.  My throat constricts and my heart beats faster as I wonder what the message means.  Is my son in trouble?  How would I help him if he actually is?  I definitely have a few moments of panic but then I remember that my Heavenly Father is with my son right at this very moment.  There is nothing that can happen to him where God won’t be there.  As I wait to learn more, my…