Mother

What emotions do you experience when you hear the word ‘mother’ ?

Many of us experience feelings of warmth, admiration and gratitude as we think of our moms, yet, for others, this word brings with it many mixed and ambiguous feelings.

Some mothers who experience addictions, mental health issues, or those who are selfish may be unable to consistently provide the love, nurturing and care that their child needs and deserves.

Whatever type of mothering we have experienced, Mary, mother of Jesus epitomizes the perfect mother.

She was the chosen spouse of the Holy Spirit and gave birth to the Saviour of the World. She stood by him while he was on the cross, and was his first disciple.

Christians vary considerably in their views regarding Mary. Some denomination mention her only at Christmas time, when the story of the nativity is told.

Other Christians revere and honour Mary continually, although they do not worship her. She is considered blessed among women, a nurturer to everyone, and the Mother of the Church.

There is one well-known Christian who maintained a devotion to Mary throughout his whole life. He was Martin Luther.

On ‘Mothers Day’ , let us pray for women who desire children but cannot conceive, for mothers who choose not to give birth to the children in their wombs, and who suffer ongoing feelings of guilt as a result, for women who find motherhood difficult, and for moms who sacrificially choose to raise their children, and who find great fulfillment in nurturing.

I pray too, through an act of God, that Mary, Mother of Christ could intercede to help unite Christ’s followers throughout the world.

Photo by Sally

No Explanation

Are you amazed at constantly evolving technology ?

Since much work can done from home now, our government has started an advertising campaign hoping to attract more permanent residents to our part of the world.

The air is pure here, people are super friendly, and compared to large cities, housing costs are relatively low.

Admirably, our government also enacted extreme measures to protect us from Covid. We decided to protect each other by following guidelines carefully, and through God’s mercy, few of our residents have been sick with the virus.

It is a mystery to me how I can tap on my little iPad with my right index finger, and my words can reach the rest of the world ! Reading other bloggers’ posts is a highlight of my day.

I don’t know how the internet works, and many forms of technology are way too complex for me to understand.

Similarly, we cannot understand all of God’s mysteries, because He chooses not to reveal many things to us. And so, we accept many things on faith alone. Our faith is God’s gift to us.

In his 1941 novel ‘The Song of Bernadette’, Franz Werfel wrote some words that I often ponder. He wrote:

‘ For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible’.

Photo courtesy of CBC NL

Guilty or Not ?

Seals swim by our house sometimes after the ice floes come down from the Arctic.

There are over 7.6 million harp seals off the coast of Newfoundland this year, and their numbers are increasing rapidly .They give birth to their pups on the ice, and leave them there after only a few days of care. Then they head back out to sea to mate again.

Fishermen dislike seals, since they claim that seals are eating up all the fish, and small crabs too.

The fishing industry is threatened, livelihoods are at risk, and some small communities are in danger of being shut down.

However, frequent government studies maintain that seals are not responsible for the decline in fish. They blame the lack of marine life on pollution, overfishing, and climate change.

The debate rages on.

We remain neutral in the discussion, since we are newcomers to the island. We enjoy watching the adult seals as their glistening bodies glide through the water.

What is clear, however, from numerous research studies, is that saltwater fish are slowly becoming extinct.

A recent comprehensive study released by Dalhousie University reported that the oceans may be empty of fish by 2048, only 27 years away.

What should people think about this?

Collectively, I’m sure that we feel a sense of remorse for the damage that humanity has done to God’s creation.

However, we should not blame the seals for the disappearance of fish.

The blame for the slow death of the oceans rests on humanity.

Seals only do what seals do – they eat fish.

Photo of harp seal pup by Karen Su.

Incorrect ?

Do you think it’s important to be ‘politically correct’ these days ?

We may be considered to be ‘politically incorrect’ out here in our little outport, but we don’t care.

I was shocked when we first arrived, and a lovely young waitress brought my husband his dinner at a charming restaurant.

She said : ‘Here you are, my love’, as she set his plate down.

I glared at her ! I thought that she was being flirtatious with my husband, as he is very handsome, but this was not the case.

Everyone here calls each other words of endearment like : ‘my love, my darling, my dear, my honey, or occasionally, ‘sugar’.

Sometimes I am also called ‘my angel’.

This is the rural Newfoundland way, and it often surprises visitors that we speak to each other , and to strangers using these terms.

This is part of the genuine kindness and friendliness of rural Newfoundlanders.

However, I also warn our community members who are visiting mainland Canada never to call a stranger ‘my darling’. This would be considered seriously politically incorrect, and could cause trouble for sure.

As I researched this post, I found that, sure enough, a growing number of people live in a state of being ‘chronically offended’. When surveyed, people reported feeling demeaned and patronized if a stranger called them ‘my dear’. However, the endearments we regularly use around here are not influenced by whether or not they are politically correct. These terms are a longstanding part of our culture.

Life is slow-moving out here, and gentle. And yes, it’s true, many of us are not quite sure what ‘politically correct’ means, anyway.

I am happy to live in a place where people so kind. Our island’s official motto is Matthew 6:33 – ‘Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God’.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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