Lessons From a “Bubbler”

Do you have any ways of making the cold dark winters of the Northern Hemisphere a little more pleasant ?

This year we bought a little machine which we affectionately call ‘the Bubbler’, because when it runs , it makes a gentle bubbling sound like a little running stream, and it sounds super relaxing ! Cold winters can be stressful, and this reminds us of Spring.

It’s actual name is the Saje Om Diffuser. It can be used to diffuse aromatherapy oils into the air, but we just use it as a little humidifier, to make the indoor air less dry and more comfortable in the winter.

“The Bubbler” also creates a beautiful vapour, which is very soothing and comforting to watch. It reminds me of James 4:14 which reminds us that God compares our lives to mists or vapours. That verse reminds me to value every moment, for God has carefully planned our days, and he is delighted when we trust him completely.

I was having a wonderful moment last night. There was a beautiful sunset, the ‘Bubbler’ was making its gentle relaxing sound , and I thought of one of my favourite verses from St. Teresa of Avila:

‘Let nothing disturb you; let nothing frighten you.

All things are passing. God never changes.

He, or she who has God has everything.

God alone suffices.’

Compliments ?

Do you enjoy receiving compliments ?

Both receiving, and giving genuine compliments are pleasurable. And yes, most people, especially children, can tell whether or not compliments are genuine.

We should all be careful not not accidently give ‘uncompliments’. Let me give you two examples of such unfortunate comments.

Never say :’You look good, for your age’. Just say : ‘You look good’, but do not mention age, as this can be interpreted as being patronizing. ( What is someone my age supposed to look like ?)

Another uncompliment that makes me wince is : ‘You must have been attractive once.’ Yikes !

As we age, our souls tend to show on our faces. No amount of potions, lotions, make-up or surgery can disguise a bitter spirit. And, the greatest beauty booster is being in tune with the Holy Spirit who indwells us.

Let us pray for the grace to live in obedience to God’s will, and to follow his commandments, for this is the best healthy aging strategy of all.

Pictured is an outport home after the recent storm of the Century.

Secrets

Is there anyone who is unaware of the clergy abuse crisis within the Catholic Church today ?

It seems like almost every day more victims are coming forward, describing painful abuse at the hands of clergy.

26 civil suits remain unsettled on our island, while others are in the process of being filed. The island’s western Diocese declared bankruptcy due to clergy claims several years ago.

Newfoundland has one of the highest rates of clergy abuse anywhere in the world. Why has so much hurt on the part of clergy happened here ?

One of the reasons is that areas of the island are remote. Illiteracy rates are high; some adults have difficulty reading at a grade 5 level. Rural Newfoundland fisherman were oppressed by powerful merchants for centuries. This has resulted in a passive population which historically has not dared question authority, especially clerical authority.

Outports often attracted priests who could not be employed elsewhere. Parishioners were conditioned never to question priests ; they were taught to always ‘turn a blind eye, and a deaf ear’ to anything that seemed suspicious.

My friend ‘Betty’ was devastated when the priest who baptised her was later jailed for fathering a child with his 16-year-old housekeeper.

Years later, another priest , who married her, was arrested and jailed for abusing altar boys.

She was further shocked when the ‘charming’ priest who sang an impromptu solo at her son’s wedding, was dismissed without explanation by the local bishop, and went to Toronto to stack shelves at a grocery store. Betty still attends Mass regularly, although she dared not ask his Excellency, the bishop, why the musical priest suddenly chose to change careers.

Accountability is coming to the Catholic Church. It is long overdue, in many places, especially in Newfoundland.

When we moved to this spectacular scenic island, we were unaware of the secrets here. Thankfully, these are being exposed, one by one. Many Catholics, including me, have been wounded by the Catholic Church. It is good that the purification process is underway now.

Cabin Fever

Snowmaggedon struck NL a month ago. The army came to dig us out. Streets have been icy, and snowbanks

are high, so not much visiting has been going on.

We have cabin fever, that claustrophobic feeling of having been inside for too long!

This requires creativity to cope with. Yesterday I did a sociological study of our town’s telephone directory (phone book). Of approximately 3,200 residents, there are 36 main surnames listed. 72 listings are listed for the name Abbott, then come a bunch of Butlers, and the Waye clan comes near the end. Most residents are inter-related somehow.

Irish Catholic residents settled certain communities, while English Protestants formed other towns.

When we moved here we found only a handful of practising Catholics, but no matter, I have been church visiting.

Perhaps I will do a sociological study on that too.

Great creativity is required for sufferers of cabin fever.

The Battle

Have you ever felt discouraged, and considered stopping your blog ? Discouragement is one of the favourite tactics of ‘The Enemy’. We all need to be wary of discouragement, and consider its possible source.

I was naive when I started this blog. I thought that all Christians would be supportive of moving closer to Christian Unity. This is not the case ! The people who are most in opposition to Unity are certain Christians themselves, as I have discovered, while blogging.

This should not surprise us. The Lord tells us to always expect the unexpected.

Shaken by some of the nasty remarks against Christian Unity which I received, I temporarily stopped blogging.

There is a spiritual battle going on, as we are told in Ephesians 6, and sometimes we are reminded of this, so we can keep our spiritual armour on.

I have felt the Holy Spirit at a Pentecostal church which served red Kool-Aid and crackers for communion. He was just as present at a Mass I attended in St. Peter’s Square where a crowd of 60,000 worshippers from around the world gathered.

The photo is of the sleeve of my army jacket which I wear while walking around our rural outport. I bought it second-hand, but it originally belonged to a real Canadian soldier, about my size.

May the Lord strengthen all his soldiers.

Lessons From A Chicken Sandwich

Do you sometimes eat to comfort yourself when you are stressed ?

I found myself in the kitchen having a chicken sandwich this morning at 1:00 a.m. I was over-eating, because earlier in the day I had done something that I never thought I would do – I was arguing on WordPress!

What prompted this was a blog post I read that was ridiculing rosary beads. The post, of course, was designed with the purpose of ‘ Catholic Bashing ‘, something sinful, that grieves the heart of God deeply.

One fellow Christian called me his ‘enemy’ Yes, it was not nice.

I have spent a year blogging with the purpose of encouraging Christian Unity. Most Christian bloggers I have interacted with have been marvelously supportive. I, who have no church home at the moment, have received tremendous encouragement from reading your posts. Thank – you!

I will close this blog site now, with thanks to everyone who has read and commented on the posts.

May God richly bless you, and may we work together as brothers and sisters in the Lord.

When Music Hurts

Do you consider yourself to be an assertive person ? Being assertive means that we are confident in speaking up for our rights and needs, without trampling on the rights and needs of others.

I am usually assertive, but the following situation rendered me as passive as a mouse.

The little church where I was very happy , had no musical instruments except human voices, which God considers to be the most sacred of all instruments.

Our voices blended together beautifully, showing our unity in the Lord, until the day a gentleman in the church decided that we needed an organ. He purchased one at a garage sale for only twenty dollars ! It was a bargain, because the volume control was broken, and thus it made only very loud sounds. The ‘music man’ also decided to become our organist, although he could not read music, but had memorized a few hymns that he thought would suffice.

The first time the new musician played the organ I knew I was in trouble. It was loud !

I discreetly pulled my decibel meter, which is an app. on my telephone, from my purse , and found that the volume was at 78 decibels. ( hearing damage can occur at 80 decibels). I thought of leaving the church, but didn’t want to disrupt others. So I took out my custom made Bernafon hearing protectors, and put those in my ears, but the loudness was still irritating. Finally, in desperation , I leaned over the pew in front of me and covered my ears.

Mr. Music Man also played in a key that was too high for the singers, and thus our beautiful happy praises stopped.

If I had been assertive, I would have told our musician that the broken organ was irritating. I could also have gently , but firmly expressed my concern to the pastor.

Instead, I left the church.

The Lord is happy when we volunteer at our local churches, but he asks that we consider carefully if we are qualified for the positions we choose to fill.

I wish that I had spoken up, instead of leaving the little church. The musician continues to play the broken organ.