P.A.P.A.

It is the most dangerous activity that many of us do on a regular basis.

Controlling a piece of complex machinery weighing over a ton is an awesome responsibility !

As a newly-licensed teenager, I had a car accident. I was innocently driving through a green light at an intersection, when a driver ran a red light and smashed into my car.

I was unhurt, but it was an early lesson teaching me that drivers do not always do what they are supposed to do ! The rule ‘never assume’ certainly applies to the skill of driving.

Over the years, I’ve created the P. A.P. A. guidelines for defensive driving.

P – I pray before driving. Jesus tells us that without Him we can do nothing. (John15:5). I always ask for the Lord to guide me as I drive. I bless myself with the sign of the cross before I start my car.

A – Anticipate areas where extra alertness and caution is required. Insurance studies show that intersections are risky areas. ( As I found out.) As well, increased risk occurs while making left-hand turns. I try to plan my route to avoid making this type of turn. Companies such as UPS and FedEx caution their drivers to avoid making left-hand turns whenever possible.

P- Prepare carefully to avoid distractions. I caution my passengers not to try to converse with me while I’m driving. I love conversations, but not when I’m behind the wheel ! I am notoriously bad at multitasking, and I suspect that many people are. I concentrate best in silence.

A- Always be receptive to new technology. I confess that I was apprehensive about the new vehicle we bought because it has many new features and gadgets that I’ve never used before, but as I gradually adjusted to them I see that these new features can increase driving safety.

Vehicles are constantly being upgraded, and it is likely that within our children’s lifetimes , self-driving cars may become the norm.

As we age, our brains lose neurons, and this can slow our reaction times. However, there is much we can do to maintain good reaction times. I play a variety of online brain-training games. Lumosity is the program I first used, but there are several other programs available. Being physically fit helps to maintain our reaction times as well.

So often we are told to drink lots of water and stay well-hydrated. This advice is worth repeating. As we age, our sense of thirst declines. Lack of proper hydration results in increased skin wrinkling, moodiness, and slower reaction times.

No one wants to be wrinkled and moody.

I wear driving gloves to remind me to pay close attention to my surroundings when I drive. When cars were first invented, all drivers wore gloves. That is why cars still have ‘glove compartments’.

Let us continue to pray for everyone entrusted with the responsibility of driving.

Photo by Sally

A Mystery

Is there something that you have been curious about for a long time ?

I’ve been researching why, and when women stopped wearing hats to church.

I thought it might have to do with Vatican II, which ended it 1965, but my research tells me that hats were not discussed there. Perhaps, with the ‘ Women’s Liberation Movement’ of the 1960s, women were glad to stop wearing hats to church. This matter remains a mystery.

God looks at the hearts, and not at the heads.

Nevertheless, I still enjoy wearing hats, because I was raised with them.

One of my fondest memories is when my mom and I would go shopping for new hats to match our Easter outfits for church on Easter Morning. It was fun to look at everyone’s new hats. We all wore dresses and gloves at that time too.

Frivolous? Perhaps, but enjoyable anyway.

One of the joys of being a septuagenarian like me is the feeling of being free to wear whatever we want.

Around Eastertime, people become increasingly sentimental, as they think of past Easter celebrations.

I will wear a new hat this Easter, and I will remember my mom, our hat shopping, and how special she made this celebration for our family.

Photo of Sally by Sally

Scent Memories

Have you noticed how certain smells can bring back happy memories for us?

Odors travel directly to the brain’s limbic system, which deals, in part, with memory and emotions.

Israel, in the Spring, is scented with the exquisite smell of orange blossoms, and other flowers. The country is a major producer of oranges, and is now also one of the world’s largest exporter of flowers.

I remember this scent with great gladness. It was particularly intense in Kafr Kanna (Cana), where Christ performed his first miracle. There is a little church there where couples like to travel to renew their wedding vows.

When we got home, I searched for a cologne that would replicate the smell of Israel in the Spring, as I remember it.

I found such a cologne; is is called ‘Orange Blossom’, by Jo Malone.

I don’t wear the fragrance in public, out of respect for people who are sensitive to scent, but within my home, l enjoy wearing it.

Christians all have a spiritual scent, which is described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 2: 15-17.

We are described as being ‘The aroma of Christ to God’. Believers often can recognize each other by the ‘spiritual smell’ that is created when we live lives of obedience, trust, and service.

On the other hand, non-believers also recognize our ‘spiritual smell’ , and they do not like it.

It brings them conviction of sin and awareness of disobedience. Paul says that they perceive this odor as the smell of ‘death’.

Nevertheless, no matter how unbelievers may perceive us, let us continue to share the Good News of Salvation, for we never know when someone’s heart might be receptive to accepting the Lord.

May we pray for the grace to live lives that spread the spiritual aroma of Christ to others around us.

Photo by Sally

Prayer Courtesy

Do you agree that life becomes more pleasant for all of us when people are courteous ?

This principle applies in the area of prayer as well.

I often receive prayer requests, as probably you do too.

It is a privilege and a pleasure to pray for others, and intercessory prayer is considered an act of spiritual mercy.

Here, sitting in my prayer chair, perched high above the North Atlantic, I spend much time in prayer. Often I receive requests for prayer through texts or e-mails.

I want to share with you, that it is discouraging when people who ask for prayer provide no updates on the person that prayer was requested for.

For example, last year someone asked me to pray for a baby named ‘Amy’. She had been born prematurely, and was facing some health complications.

And so , I began to pray for Amy, asking God to look after this precious tiny newborn. However, the person who requested the prayer never did provide any update on how Amy was progressing, even when I sent a message of inquiry to them.

Similarly, people may request prayer for various surgeries, and then provide no update on how patients are progressing. Intercessory prayer is a hidden ministry, and intercessors do not desire any recognition of any kind, as it is always the Holy Spirit who inspires prayers for others.

Nevertheless, we really appreciate updates on the people that we are praying for. It is an act of courtesy. I still think of Amy, and her family, often.

Happy Spring, and Greetings from the Eastern edge of North America !

Photo by Sally (our seagull, Scott is sunning himself in his favourite spot)

Rivers Are Persons Now

Canada’s Magpie River has been legally recognized as a person.

This was decided by the municipality of Minganie.

It joins a growing number of rivers around the world which have achieved legal personhood status.

In India, the Ganges River achieved recognition as a person in 2017. New Zealand’s Whanganui River is also legally a person.

In Bangladesh, all rivers have legal personhood status. Legal guardians are appointed for river ‘people’. They serve in the role of ‘in loco parentis’ ( in place of a parent).

Guardians, if they suspect that their rivers are being polluted, or damaged in any way, can bring a lawsuit to court claiming damages for their river.

Yes, we all agree that looking after the environment is important.

When we see, however, the growing demand for rivers to have personhood rights, we once again witness the diminishing of the dignity of human beings, who have been created in God’s image.

Psalm 8:5 describes how God has created humans a little lower than the angels.

When we see the bizarre trend of recognizing rivers as people, we become more aware of paganist beliefs that are increasing in society.

How should we react to this ?

We should expect the unexpected, and we should be be aware that as humanity strays further and further from God’s absolute truth, things are going to become increasingly weird.

Through it all, we will trust, and not be afraid.

God sees. God knows. God will act, in his perfect timing.

Photo of the Magpie River is courtesy of the National Observer.

Best Financial Guide

Are you a frugal person ?

I was recently astonished when I realized that the jacket and the scarf that I was wearing were both purchased in the 20th Century (1999) !

This is evidence that I am generally frugal, although I have made some unnecessary internet purchases from the comfort of my lounge chair overlooking the sea. There was the time I bought cinnamon sticks from Sri Lanka…

The Bible is the world’s most comprehensive financial guide.

It contains over 2,000 references to money, including the importance of saving, budgeting, preparing for retirement, and giving to the poor.

Jesus even talks about investing money, which was a new concept for his Jewish audience.

The Bible also warns about avoiding debt whenever possible, since the borrower is a slave to the lender.

It is folly to think that we ‘own’ anything. Everything belongs to God, and when He enables us to acquire money, He expects us to be good stewards of what we have received. He also expects us to serve Him, rather than to be focused on material acquisition.

We are told in the book of Malachi, that God expected the Jews to give a tithe, or ten percent of their income to God’s work.

I was looking at some recent statistics on how many Christians give a tenth of their income to their local church, and I found that between three and seventeen percent of people actually do this. This may explain, in part, why many churches are struggling to remain open. Technically, Christians are no longer expected to tithe, although some denominations still encourage this practise.

A quick examination of our bank records will reveal where our spending priorities lie.

In the pocket of my leather jacket I carry a sheckel, from Israel.

It reminds me to be careful with the money that God has entrusted to me.

Let us be thankful to the Lord for his care and provision for us.

Photo by Sally

Saved By A Cow

A cow saved my husband’s life.

He had been strong and healthy, a former football player.

Then, at the age of 60, it was discovered that he had been born with a heart defect which he had never suspected.

Normally, the aortic valve in the human heart has three flaps, which open and close. (this is called a tricuspid valve).

My husband’s valve was bicuspid (had only two flaps).

With time, bicuspid valves usually become narrowed, causing a life-threatening condition.

When we found out about this health development, we decided to move to a Newfoundland outport.

Rural Newfoundlanders are somewhat xenophobic ( afraid of strangers), and our new neighbours wondered why we had moved from Ontario to a remote fishing village established in 1497.

However, when we explained my husband’s health condition, they became wonderfully welcoming and supportive.

We felt that the lack of pollution, the relaxed pace of life, and the sound of the soothing ocean waves would strengthen my husband, and prepare him for surgery.

Thankfully, we were right.

He gradually became stronger, and was able to undergo heart surgery at the world-famous Heart Institute in Ottawa, Ontario.

His defective heart valve was replaced by a valve made from bovine (cow) tissue.

The valve is not directly transplanted, but rather the new valve is made from cow tissue.

My husband made a complete recovery, thanks to a world-renowned surgeon, and the cow tissue valve.

I thank God for the technology, and the cow, ( or cows) whose tissue saved my husband’s life.

(Cows used for bovine tissue transplants are raised under sterile conditions).

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

A dairy cow chewing grass in a field

A Little Knowledge…

Do you agree with Alexander Pope’s famous words : ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ ?

We can get ourselves into difficulty when we have a little learning about something, but not the complete facts..

I once counselled a lovely young woman who found herself pregnant and unmarried in her senior year of High School.

As we talked, and developed rapport, I asked her how she felt about her situation in becoming a mother.

Her answer surprised me.

She said that she was happy and proud, and she felt that God must be pleased with her.

She knew about Jesus, and his teenage, unwed mother , Mary.

She had concluded that since God had chosen Mary as Christ’s mother, then surely God was proud of her for becoming a single mother too.

Her beliefs made me aware of how parts of the Bible, and indeed the message of Christianity can be easily misunderstood.

In Western Society, which is becoming increasingly pagan, many people have misconceptions about the Bible and the good news of salvation.

Christians are too often seen as legalistic and judgmental. We are sometimes thought of as narrow-minded, and old-fashioned. This is obviously not the case. Jesus came so that we could enjoy an abundant life, and He opened the door for humans to develop a personal relationship with God.

At the time, I didn’t explain to the young woman that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps I should have.

I didn’t want to come across as judgmental and harsh, but I think I missed my chance to accurately explain the Good News of the Gospel.

I hope though, that other Christians came into her life to guide her, and mentor her in her growth as a follower of Christ.

God asks us to always ‘expect the unexpected’ and to be ready to share our faith with those who ask us for the reason for our hope. Opportunities to evangelize may arise when we least expect them.

Let us pray that God will give us increasing opportunities to share our faith and our trust in our Lord.

The young woman kept her precious baby, a daughter, and raised her with the support of her parents.

I continue my work with the Pro-life Movement, or, as I prefer to call it, the LIFE Movement.

The photo is courtesy of Peter Oslanec on Unsplash

For the Sensitive Boxer

These are happy days for boxers who have a sensitive side.

Boxing, also known as pugilism, is the ‘sport’ of fighting with the fists. The object of the competition is to deliver painful blows to one’s opponent.

Nevertheless, some boxers may have a sensitive side ; they may be upset by wearing boxing gloves which have been cruelly made from the hides of animals.

Luckily, a Mexico based company called ‘Desserto’ is now producing vegan leather from cactus plants.

They have joined with ‘Sanabul’, a manufacturer of boxing apparel, to produce cruelty free boxing gloves.

These should appeal to boxers who are eco-conscious.

Desserto, making cactus leather, is joining other vegan leather companies.

PINATEX is a type of vegan leather made from the leaves of the pineapple plant. It originates in the Philippines .

SAMARA is a company producing vegan leather from apple peels.

In British Columbia, cork leather is being manufactured from the leaves of cork oak trees, which grow mainly in Portugal.

Western Australia and Indonesia have begun producing mushroom leather, made from the roots of mushrooms.

While vegan leather may satisfy some of the needs of environmentalists and animal activists, the production of these textiles actually involves the use of harmful chemicals, which can negatively impact the earth.

Vegan leathers are much less durable than animal leathers. They tear and scratch easily, and need to be frequently replaced. Since the cost of these items is comparable to their animal leather counterparts, they are much less economical in the long run.

Environmentalism, and the Animal Liberation Movement are just two components of ‘The Great Reset’, and globalism. Humanity is being increasingly encouraged to be concerned with ‘protecting the environment and animals’, while slowly being conditioned to accept global socialism, the restriction of personal freedoms, and the deaths of millions of pre-born babies.

May the Lord continue to give us guidance, courage, and wisdom in these perilous times. Our hurting world needs to hear the good news of salvation more than ever before.

The pictured gloves are from Sanabul’s website.

Happy and the Law

The lawyers could not bring their client to court because she was too large.

The legal team, under the direction of Steven Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), brought an order of ‘habeas corpus’ (unlawful imprisonment) on behalf of their client, Happy the Elephant.

Happy, a 47 year old Asian elephant, had been captured as an infant, and was being held captive at the Bronx Zoo. She had been showing signs of depression since her mate, Grumpy, had passed away.

Lawyers were making the argument that Happy should be granted legal personhood. Writs of ‘habeas corpus’ generally apply to humans, but the legal team argued that Happy should be granted ‘personhood status’, which is the capacity to bear legal rights.

After a great deal of legal debate and appeals, Happy lost her case to be transferred to an animal sanctuary in December, 2020, and remains at the Bronx Zoo.

Judge Alison Tuitt stated that Congress, rather than the Bronx Supreme Court should be involved in deciding the personhood of Happy, and other non-human animals. And thus, we should not be surprised at ongoing political efforts, and lobbying, with the goal of granting personhood status to animals.

Animal Liberation activists maintain that humans and animals have equal moral worth.

We all know, however, that, pre-born human beings have no legal protection under the law.

We can be sure that God sees the sinful and bizarre developments which occur when people attempt to decide which living beings have legal rights, and which do not.

God sees. God knows. God will act, in His time.

Photo by Magda Ehlers