Prayer at the A&W

Did your parents stress the importance of having good manners ?

Being polite makes life a little kinder for everyone.

It’s been swelteringly hot on our island this summer, so we travelled, in air conditioning , to a nearby town. We went to an A&W restaurant, and anticipated enjoying a root beer in an icy, frosted mug.

While we were sitting enjoying this refreshment, with some tasty sweet potato fries, four people came in, and sat at the next table.

They started talking….loudly.

It’s always polite to keep our conversation discreet in public places, for the consideration of others.

We also all know that it’s rude to eavesdrop, to purposely try to listen in to others’ conversations.

But, with my sensitive musician’s hearing, I was forced to hear what they were saying.

I was growing irritated, and looked around for another table to move to ( there were none), and then I fanticized about putting on my mask, going over to them, and assertively telling them to tone down their loud voices !

And then I realized what they were discussing. They were planning their mother’s funeral. Loudly, they were describing the flowers that they had just ordered from the florist’s. Red carnations…they had been their mom’s favourite.

One of the women was describing a photo she was going to display, the one at her mom’s birthday party.

Suddenly, my irritation shifted to compassion for my loud neighbours. They were mourning, and I re-experienced my feelings when I lost my own mom.

I began to pray silently for them, and, as I prayed, it seemed that their conversation quieted.

We know that our Lord places us exactly where he needs us, there are no co-incidences for Christ followers, only God-incidences.

I am continuing to pray for this family.

The Bible tells us to mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15)

Illegal Looking

Can it be considered illegal to stare at someone ?

Under the Criminal Code of Canada , leering, or ogling, can be considered an offense.

This type of purposely staring at someone is considered a form of harassment.

Anyone who has been leered at knows how upsetting this behaviour can be.

When I was working on my Doctorate in Sociology, I lived in Toronto, Canada’s largest city.

I needed to travel on the subway, which was always packed, and which made me feel trapped and vulnerable. Also, there were sometimes men who leered at me.

It is difficult to prove a case of purposeful leering, as it is a situation of : ‘He said, she said.’

Oops ! I should have written ‘ They said, they said’ . We must be politically correct these days !

I just wish that I would have had a phone with a camera in those days, to photograph the leerers.

I’ve been thinking of these leering incidents lately, because of the recent tragic events in Afghanistan.

Like you, I’m praying for everyone there, especially the girls and women.

Yes, there’s a difference in gravity between being leered at, and being told what to wear, but these are part of a spectrum of harassment.

As a Sociologist, my work, along with the lobbying of many others, helped bring Affirmative Action Programmes to Ontario.

Jesus is a feminist. Both his first disciple, (Mary), and the person to whom He appeared first after his resurrection, (Mary Magdalene) were women.

Let us be careful how we look at others, for they can tell much from our expressions and demeanour.

‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ’. Galatians 3:28

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

The Rainbow Village

What a colourful place !

With a house recently painted purple, our wooden houses are now painted in all the colours of the rainbow.

God loves colour, and so do we.

The purple house was originally built in 1896, and has been restored to its original beauty, along with a mandatory white picket fence. Most of us live in houses that are living pieces of Newfoundland history.

With the arrival of high-speed internet, and tourists from all over the world, the tone of our sleepy fishing village has changed.

Some of my neighbours also fly rainbow flags. We are a diverse community, with people of many differing beliefs and attitudes.

How do I feel about the rainbow flags ? I remain neutral, express no opinion, and I don’t judge , for that is never my position.

The message of Christianity is so simple. Jesus asks us to love God, and to love our neighbours as ourselves.

Who is my neighbour ? Everyone is my neighbour.

Another neighbourhood house is currently getting new spruce siding.

I am curious to see what the new cheerful colour will be !

Photo by Sally

Impostor

Have you ever felt like an impostor ?

I felt like one when I typed ‘Newfoundland Housewife’ into Google search the other day, and my photo appeared ! How presumptuous of me, I thought, as I blushed.

I became a housewife only in retirement, and I do not have the skills and strength to do even a tenth of the work that rural housewives historically did.

My neighbour, Gertie, over a cup of tea, used to tell me what her days were like in the summers.

She would get up at 4:30 a.m. to make breakfast for her husband Edgar, a fisherman, who left for sea in his small wooden boat while it was just getting light.

Gertie knew, each day, that his work was so dangerous that there was a chance that he would not return.

Then Gertie looked after her five children. She cooked and cleaned, and baked homemade bread in her oven.

She was responsible for fetching water from the well, and making sure that there was ample wood for her cook stove. She maintained her vegetable garden and her chickens, and picked blueberries.

When Edgar arrived home with a load of fish, Gertie’s job was to help unload the boat.

She was responsible for splitting, cleaning, and salting the fish.

Then she would place the salted cod on wooden platforms, called Fish Flakes made of Spruce wood. This was called Making the Fish. Her older son Jacob helped her, but she knew that at age 12 , he would head out to sea with her husband.

The dried fish were then traded to merchants, who shipped them, for great profits, to markets in Europe and the Caribbean.

What a surprise I had this morning when I walked over to Gertie’s Fish Flake and found it covered with pale blue gauzy fabric !

This was done by artist Robyn Love. Robin found the names of all the Newfoundland housewives listed in the 1935 census, and lovingly embroidered them on the blue cloth, as a remembrance to the housewives of rural Newfoundland, whose labour was significant in the development of this part of Canada.

Like much of women’s work globally, the full extent of housewives’ contributions to society was never adequately recognized.

Thanks to Robyn for her generous work.

Gertie and Edgar were honest, simple villagers. Their work was challenging, but they knew the value of honest labour, and they slept soundly, with a clear conscience, at night.

God gives us all different tasks and assignments, but, regarding work, Paul gives good guidance in Colossians 3: 23 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

Photo of Fish Flake by Sally

Julie,Curiosity, and Turkey

Do you have curious neighbours ?

We villagers deny being nosey !

We are just ‘interested in each other’.

Julie, my neighbour came over the other day when I was hanging out laundry. She wanted to know what those funny cloths with the tassels on my line were.

I told her that these were my turkish towels, also called peshtemals.

She asked me what was wrong with regular towels. I told her that terrycloth towels get rough when line-dried, but peshtemals are super soft, and highly absorbent.

This seem to satisfy her, and after telling me that she was making fish cakes for dinner, she went back to her own yard.

When I am using or drying my turkish towels, which are woven on a loom from organic cotton in Turkey, I also think of, and pray for the people of Turkey.

Paul was originally from Tarsus, which is in present day Turkey. Antioch, the missionary headquarters he established, is also in Turkey, as are the seven churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

Turkey was a booming centre of Christianity in the first Century A.D.

Today, however, only .04% of this country’s population is Christian.

Discrimination against Christians is happening everywhere, to varying degrees.

Christ told us that this would happen, so that we would not be discouraged when we see this occurring.

Let us remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in areas where discrimination is obvious.

Let us always support and encourage each other, for we are all members of the Body of Christ.

If God is for us, then who can be against us ?

Photo by Sally

The Village Pot Shop

I felt my cheeks turn red because I knew that I’d been caught in the act.

The rumour around here a while ago was that Janet, our florist, was selling marijuana ( pot, or weed) at her store.

So I went to talk to Janet about this.

I blushed when she said : ‘I see you’ve been listening to gossip, Sally’.

The Bible makes it clear that spreading gossip is a sin, but listening to gossip is equally harmful.

This sin takes two, the gossiper, and the hearer.

The rumour had seemed plausible, since sales and use of marijuana have been legal in Canada since October, 2018.

Janet explained that her store was for sale, and a marijuana producer had wanted to buy it, but the deal had fallen through, so the dealer was looking for another building.

She explained that many people had been asking her the same question I had !

It is difficult sometimes, to discipline ourselves not to listen to gossip. It’s part of our fallen nature, I suppose , to want to know what’s going on.

Last week we noticed that a beautiful historic building had been renovated across from our local Coffee Shop, so we asked Irene, the owner, what business was moving in there.

She confidently said : ‘The Village Pot Shop’.

Within only a few decades, marijuana selling and use has gone from a criminal offence to a legitimate occurrence. We are being asked to accept constantly changing standards of what is considered right or wrong.

The old fishing families of centuries ago would be shocked, I’m sure, with the changes in the village.

They might think that the rainbow benches we have on the main street look very colourful, without knowing what they represent.

However, we will not judge, for that is not our job.

We will observe, and know that all judgment will eventually come from God.

In the meantime, He asks us to avoid gossip.

Pixabay photo.

Marijuana is sold legally in Canada. Cash payment for legal marijuana.

No Berry Picking Allowed

Are people superstitious where you live ?

We learned when we moved here, that many rural Newfoundlanders are intensely superstitious.

This explains why people are rarely seen visiting cemeteries, most of which are poorly maintained. Many are adjacent to small wooden churches.

There was great excitement when, two Augusts ago, Mrs. Butler reported seeing lots of people in the cemetery , in a neighbouring village !

She did her duty and reported the suspicious activity to the Chair of the Parish Council, who promised to investigate.

In August, blueberries ripen throughout our rugged island, and people delight in picking and enjoying these highly nutritious berries.

Alas, some bountiful blueberries were discovered growing at the back of the cemetery, and now many people were coming to pick them.

This could not be !

A hasty meeting was called of all the parishioners, and it was unanimously decided that a fundraiser would be held to construct a fence around the cemetery to keep people out.

Yesterday, since blueberries are ripe now, we drove over to the little church yard to check it out .

Sure enough, a huge and expensive steel fence was constructed around the yard.

This was no ordinary wooden picket fence. This fence meant business. A sign was prominently posted : NO BERRY PICKING ALLOWED.

We noticed that the old church was peeling paint, and several sections were showing signs of wood rot.

What would Jesus say ?

We are told in the Bible that lives lived in Christ will produce spiritual fruit.(Galatians 5: 22-23).

May the Lord, in His mercy, allow us to remain close to Him, so that our lives will bear the spiritual fruits of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Pixabay photo.

Plastic Shirts ?

There was high excitement in the village !

A new business was coming to our outport. We all knew about it well before it arrived, since news, or ‘scuttlebutt’ , as we call it, travels quickly.

We were all eager to support any new venture coming here.

I remember the day I went to check it out.

The business sold shirts made of re-cycled plastic bottles, collected on our fair island.

They were somehow broken down into plastic yarn, and then woven into shirts, in South America.

The charming salesperson gave me a detailed description about how the shirts were good for the environment, and would help to save the planet !

The talk was so convincing at the time, that I was tempted to buy a shirt. However, as I held it against my skin, just as I suspected, it was itchy. I knew that plastic does not make a breathable fabric, and hence, the salesperson did not make a sale from me.

The plastic shirt business did not last long in our village.

The idea of clothing choices helping the environment is a good one, though.

We can all become more aware of the beauty and sustainability of clothes from natural fabrics that are ethically grown and manufactured by workers earning a fair living wage.

A simple white organically grown cotton t-shirt, for example, will provide a long time of wearing enjoyment, and will naturally decompose one day.

The challenge, of course, is to try to find organically grown cotton clothing at an affordable price.

Does God care about the clothing we choose ? I’d say that He certainly does, and He is appreciative of all of our efforts to make ethical clothing choices so that garment workers, and farmers growing cotton are not exploited.

Let us continue to pray to the Lord for wisdom and discernment. And let us consider and pray for all of the people involved in clothing production.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Then What Happened ?

Have you experienced, or witnessed sibling rivalry ?

It is a common, but unfortunate part of human experience.

The Bible contains examples of sibling rivals. Some animosity is obvious, (Cain and Abel), while other differences are more subtle.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, (Luke 15:11-32), Jesus describes how a son spent his share of his inheritance in wild living, and then returned, broke and starving, hoping to work as a slave for his dad.

However, we know how joyfully his father welcomed him back into full family fellowship, gave him a robe, and a ring, and a party !

His older brother, however, was not glad to see him, and refused to join in the festivities.

As a parent, I can imagine him saying to his father : ‘It’s not fair! , which is a common complaint when siblings disagree.

Of course, we are told not to add anything to scripture, but still I wonder, what happened to the brothers’ relationship afterwards ? Did they ever reconcile ?

I often ask myself, when reading scripture: Then what happened ?

The estate now belonged to the older brother, and after their father’s death, would he ask his younger brother to leave ?

We have a guarantee that God always grants forgiveness to anyone who repents and turns away from sin.

And yet, although we are forgiven, the consequences of sin remain. Often sin can result in a lifetime of regrets over bad decisions, or, sinful behaviour can can result in damaged relationships.

Let us pray that God, in his mercy, would keep us free from sin.

Let us also ask for guidance and wisdom in parenting, and grandparenting, so that we encourage our children to form loving, rather than overly competitive relationships with each other.

Pixabay photo

Watermelon and Twilight

‘That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest’.

Of course, this quote from Henry David Thoreau should have been written: ‘That human is richest…

I was sitting on the deck , eatling ripe watermelon slices , and watching the twilight last evening. Because of our northern latitude, the sky puts on a long twilight spectacle after sunny days. Some young friends came over to watch with me.

The stage of life after age 65 is often referred to as the twilight of one’s life. During this time one can look back over many satisfying years.

As we allow the Lord to lead us, He gently guides us through every obstacle and difficulty. Looking back over our lives we can see how often we have been blessed.

Christians are never guaranteed easy lives, but we are promised that God is with us through every challenge.

Erik Erikson, the Psychologist refers to the twilight of a happy life as the stage of ‘Integrity’.

He also describes that this stage of life can end up quite differently if it has been lived selfishly, without any thought of pleasing God and neighbour. A selfish life can result in what he calls a state of ‘Despair’

This stage is characterized by regret, anger and bitterness. We always reap what we sow, especially in spiritual matters.

Let us decide each day to allow the Lord to guide our lives. Then, the twilight of our lives will be a time of satisfaction and beauty. Thus we will enter the life stage of ‘Integrity’

‘Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come,

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home’ (Amazing Grace)

Photo by Sally