Do you ever wonder why the Lord’s Prayer says : ‘lead us not into temptation’? God does not tempt anyone, as James 1:13 states.

However, God does allow us to get ourselves into certain tempting situations, to let us see how we will respond.

Our little town, like most small places, has a problem with people gossiping. Gossip, here, at the edge of the sea, is known as ‘Scuttlebutt’. There are two main Scuttlebutt centres, and they are divided along gender lines.

Men, wishing to hear the latest ‘scoop’, go to the garage/ auto body shop.

For women, Scuttlebutt is exchanged at the Beauty Salon.

It takes two to indulge in the sin of gossip: the gossiper and the listener.

Although the hair stylist is only a short walk from my house, I quickly learned that by going there, I would need to listen to gossip, while I sat captive in a chair with wet hair and a plastic cape draped around me.

So I made a decision to avoid this centre and drive an hour and a half to a salon in a larger centre.

God rewarded my decision to not be involved in other people’s business.

The salon he led me to is a fantastic place ! It is beautifully decorated, and has flattering lighting and soft music playing. The stylists are talented and highly trained. Clients are offered a warm towel for around the neck, refreshments are offered, and, importantly, conversation is pleasant, and neutral.

The scalp massage offered by my kind stylist is, in itself, worth the drive to this place of soothing pampering. I emerge from the salon happy, relaxed, and thankful that I have not been a victim of listening to business that does not concern me.

We are all unique, and our areas of weakness are known to God. Every time we willingly choose to be strong in a tempting situation, God smiles, and our relationship with the Lord grows closer.

In the Christmas season, many of us will visit a hair salon to prepare for the holidays. Let us pray for hair stylists in their work of helping to care for us.

And may God give us the grace to resist indulging in harmful ‘Scuttlebutt’.

The Truth and Exile

Do you agree that it is wrong for someone who is telling the truth to be arrested and sent into exile ?

This is what happened to Anaxagoras, the Greek Philosopher who announced, 2,500 years ago, that the moon had no light of its own, but reflected the light of the sun. People, up until then, had believed that the moon was a god.

It had been cloudy here for a few days, and I thought that I wouldn’t see this month’s full moon over the ocean. However, last night the clouds disappeared for awhile, and there it was, the last full moon of the decade !

Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, so Christians also reflect the light of “the Son”, Jesus.

Let us pray for the grace to continue to reflect his love to a hurting world.

Healthy Aging Tip

Do you smile easily and laugh a lot ? It is one of the ways to age gracefully. Laughter is good medicine, and I try to surround myself with people who also love to laugh. At my age, in retirement, I have the luxury of avoiding negative people.

Putting a smile on our faces makes us all look younger, but smiles are best when they are genuine.

My husband still works part-time at a medical clinic, and, as flu season has started, he is away more, and today I thought it would be good to walk uptown to replenish our supply of tea towels. I went to ‘Riffs’, a Department Store that carries everything from refrigerators to baby clothes.

The tea towels all looked very boring, but, being determined, I rummaged through the piles until I found some funny ones made of Indian cotton.

They made me smile, so I bought them. Why be cranky when you can choose to see the humour of life everywhere ?

Let us ask God for the grace to develop cheerful hearts. Joy is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Kintsugi and Trauma

Do you sometimes buy Christmas presents for yourself ?

I bought myself this mug, as it is a representation of Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art form that reminds us that there can be beauty in brokenness.

Originating in 15th Century Japan, broken pieces of precious pottery are repaired using gold dust and resin. The gold pattern results in the broken item becoming even more precious and beautiful.

Examples of Kintsugi art are on display at many museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in NYC. Numerous photos of this art form are found on the internet as well. My mug, however, has not been broken, it just has a “Kintsugi” pattern on it.

It reminds me that I am a survivor of clergy abuse and cover-up, that devastated my family and my parish. I have survived, and my scars remain, and it is best to try accept them as a part of the person I have become.

Christmas is a particularly tender time for survivors of clergy abuse, since we spend more time thinking about church, and the fact that we expect healing, and not hurt from our churches.

However, that is why Christ came; he came to heal a broken world and offer salvation to souls. He cares for us, and loves us all, and he, who was himself betrayed, understands the pain of betrayal.

She Said Yes

Do you remember the reasons why you started to blog ?

My reasons were to tell you about funny and fabulous Newfoundland, and to encourage greater unity amongst Christians.

When Christians insult each other, it grieves God, and it confuses unbelievers. Let us always show ourselves to be people of love.

It seems that at Christmas, we see greater unity, as Mary is mentioned more, even by groups that generally ignore her for the rest of the year. Many churches will have Christmas pageants, and ‘Mary’ will always be there.

Mary agreed to become the mother of our Lord, even though she knew that this would be socially very difficult for her.

She nurtured Jesus, comforted him throughout his childhood, and stood with him at the cross.

Mary became the Lord’s first disciple, and was in the upper room at Pentecost. She deserves our respect.

A friend, who is originally from China, asked me if I was Protestant or Catholic.

I told her that neither of those words appear in the Bible, but the word ‘Christian’ does. (Acts 11:26)

And so, I identify simply as ‘Christian’

I wish you a blessed Holy Season, and let us pray for the grace to become increasingly united in our love of Jesus.

The Cave

Have you ever felt nervous travelling in an area that you know can be volatile ?

We felt this way when we went to visit Christ’s birthplace, in Bethlehem. It is located in the West Bank, in Palestinian territory.

There had recently been an increase in tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, but the draw to see where Jesus was born was so strong, that we continued our travels anyway.

I was expecting to find a stable, since that is how the nativity scene is usually presented. Instead, we were surprised to see that Jesus was born in a cave, where animals were kept.

A huge church, the Church of the Nativity has been built over this holy cave. There are steps from the church leading into the cave, and the entrance is low, so everyone naturally must bow before they can visit the site where Christ entered the world.

Very near to where the manger stool is a beautiful icon, Mary of Bethlehem, which was brought to Bethlehem by Catherine the Great.

Because there were few visitors at this time, we were able to shop in a tourist store that was almost empty. The store owners brought us delicious refreshing lemonade, and invited us to browse amongst all the precious items.

I chose, as a remembrance, a small replica icon, a miniature of the large icon brought to Bethlehem from Russia.

O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord !

Yoga, Anyone ?

Have you ever wanted to find an answer to a question, and all of your research left you thoroughly frustrated ?

I was alarmed when I passed a large Catholic Church in the city with a billboard announcing

“Christian Yoga Classes” ! This perplexed me, since I thought that yoga was a Hindu spiritual practise.

My research revealed that ‘experts ‘ are divided into two groups. There are those who loudly proclaim that Christians should not practise yoga, since the poses, or asanas, are essentially designed to worship Hindu gods. For example, the ‘Sun Salutation’ is designed to show honour to the Hindu sun god.

The other group of experts maintain that, sure go ahead, practise yoga, as long as you are only doing it

‘for the exercise’ ! Is this confusing, or what ?

Here, by the sea, I practise ‘Un-Yoga’. I do use a yoga mat, and wear yoga pants for comfort, and I do a series of stretches in the evening. This exercise helps me to sleep well. In addition, regular moderate stretching helps to tone the muscles and assists in maintaining over-all fitness and well-being.

However, I have to be very careful not to contort my body into any poses named after cats, cobras, trees, etc., since I would not want want to be accidently worshipping any Hindu deities !

The Lord loves us unconditionally. He is not watching us to see when we might trip up, or make a mistake.

Nevertheless, because we love Him, we are careful not to do things to offend him.

I continue to practise Un-Yoga, and realize that the Yoga craze, which has gone viral for sure, is a source of confusion for many.