Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What You Think May Be Mint

I'm going to tell on myself. I realize that I may be risking my gardening reputation entirely, but I'm going to tell the story anyway.  As you know, I lost my job in the Spring, and in an attempt to bring in a few dollars, I took on a few gardening jobs, helping people to prepare their flower beds for the summer.  I was cleaning out flower beds for this one particular lady who had mint plants coming up everywhere.  Anyone who has ever grown mint knows how easily and quickly it will spread.  They had jumped outside of the flower beds and were coming up in various places around her lawn, so I decided that I would bring home the ones that I pulled out of her lawn and plant them in my own little flower bed.

I carefully transplanted them into my flower bed and started to water them daily.  I was encouraged as I watched them take root and begin to grow taller every day.  Towards the end of the summer I noticed that they were beginning to sprout small yellow buds on the top, and I thought to myself, "I don't remember mint having yellow buds on it," but I didn't pay  much attention to it.  Until one day I looked around the back yard and I realized that the "mint" plants I had growing in my flower bed looked exactly like the weeds that were growing freely all around the yard...

The funny thing is that at various times over the summer I would break off a leaf and smell it and think, "Hmmm doesn't smell very minty."  So the moral of this story is:  Be careful what you bring home from someone else's garden - what you thought was mint may turn out to be just weeds.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Enter The Flow

O My child, My child, I love you.  I need you.  I need you because I love you.  I call you through the trees.  In the soughing of the pines, it is My voice speaking.  I call you in the wind. In the breaking of the waves, it is My voice you hear.  In the tumbling waters of the brook, it is I, calling, ever calling.
Go from your house with an open ear.  Do not walk in a garden with an inattentive soul.  Do not pluck a flower without feeling your heart throb.

Learning, knowing, working, these all have their place.  But these are not the core of life, for living at its centre is loving; anything else is not life.  Work becomes the fabric from which we weave life only when love holds the threads.  Knowledge enriches life to the degree that love controls the thinking.  Pleasure becomes the path to the far country if true love has been left behind in pursuit of false values.
Learn to love Me and to love Me well.  Let the voice within you answer the voice without.  Be at one with the trees, with the waves, with the flowing brook.  

Grow upward, as trees, and seek My face.  Dwell deep, as the lake, and know My fullness and quiet.  And move ever, always, determinedly onward as the brook does; and keep the outflow of your life ever in motion.

For in My speaking, you will gain insight.  In My stillness, you will gain poise; and joining with Me in the flow, you will experience the progressive life.  Yes, only as life is progressive is it life at all.  Movement indicates life.  Movement safeguards life.  Movement promulgates life.  Movement gives purpose to life - yes, beauty.
It is the flowing lines of the sculptor's work that spell success.  It is the flowing movement of the musical score that transforms mere notes to true song.  It is the ministries of mother to child, either physical or spiritual, that contribute to the formation of the new personality and character.  
It is love being and love doing.  Yes, it is love loving.  Otherwise love is concept, not reality.  It is the believer worshiping - otherwise it is empty religion, with all spiritual creativity lost, and if not found in time, destroyed.

So the trees would say to you, Speak.  Speak to Me, speak of Me - for I am always speaking.  And the lake would say to you, Be still.  Be still before Me in communion, and be still at times even in the company of others, so you may enjoy the lesson of the lake in mutual fellowship.

And Move.  Find the channel of creativity within your soul.  I have made no one without it.  Some have choked it with indifference; others have despised it in rebellion; others have ignored it in foolishness; others have twisted it in bitterness.  But I stand ready to come to the assistance of any man or woman who sincerely endeavors to find this channel, to remove debris, to repair damage or straighten the course, and most of all to enter the flow.
Frances J. Roberts
Come Away My Beloved

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Road Maps

I wanted to share one of the comments that I received from Kel xfacta.blogspot.com on my previous post "Scavenger Hunting."  I felt as if God spoke directly to me when I read what she wrote:

     "Road maps are great aren't they, showing the end destination, so we know exactly where we'll end up as we take each turn on the road.  When I saw these photos, this popped into my head, "follow the sound of the waves..."
     Isn't it true that when one sense is taken away from us, we gain extra strength in our others?   You may not be able to see the end of the beach, but if you follow the sound of the waves swooshing on the shoreline you will eventually reach the end of the stony section of your path."

I happened to glance through an old Artful Blogging magazine yesterday and I read these words by Kelly Letky (interesting that we all have the same name)  www.thebluemuse.com

     "It's hard to know if you are on the right path, moving in the right direction, doing the right thing.  I move in circles a lot, pondering this question, wondering.  Of course, there is no answer, you can't know the answer until you get where you are going, and then it is too late to ask the question.
     Along the way we make a million choices, each one a pebble in our path, some round and pretty, some jagged, sharp, occasionally painful.  But each one is ours, we claim them with every step we take, whether on tiptoes with trepidation, or running full steam ahead, hair streaming out behind us.  Choices, always, choices.  This or that, there or there, today or tomorrow.
     Nobody has a map of life.  No one knows exactly where they will end up.  But along the way, don't forget to watch where you are doing.  You might just see the most beautiful thing."

I think I'm getting a message here.  And I think I'd better listen...


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scavenger Hunting

I've been on a scavenger hunt since my life changed in an instant and I found myself looking for work.  My youngest sister and I were talking about the latest disappointment in the job search, and she wrote this:

"I can't help but wonder if God was just saying: "No way, this isn't the route I want for you right now."  It would be so nice if He could just say, 'No, I plan on this for you and you're going to have to get through these things, but in the end you will end up in this place doing this thing...'  Why can't it be more of a road map?..." 

My response and the insight of the week for me:
"He is definitely not into road maps, scavenger hunts maybe, with some very sketchy clues, but definitely not road maps." 

I took these photos at Lawrencetown Beach.  It was a sweltering hot day, but when I arrived at the beach the fog had rolled in.  Somehow though, the first picture suits where I'm at right now and I find it comforting.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Spring Has Arrived!

Yes, I know, it's the middle of June, but Spring has taken a long time to get here!  I went out to photograph some lupins that are growing nearby, and there was too much of a breeze to get any real clear close ups, but a couple of friends did drop by....

Luxury Train Ride

I read something this morning that made me smile, really smile.  It was an advertisement for a luxury train that travels through certain parts of Africa, and this was one of the lines from their luscious ad:  "We have designed this safari for travellers who wish to re-live true adventure in complete luxury, comfort and security."  And it struck me, isn't that so much of what our Christian life is about?  We long for God's power to be displayed, to take part in great exploits like the believers of old did, but we seem to gloss over the parts where people lost their heads, like John the Baptist, or the fact that almost every one of the disciples lost (gave) their lives in a most unpleasant way for the sake of the gospel.  We read of the great missionaries, like David Livingston, and great revivalists who had such an impact on the world, and we long for that kind of influence in our own lives, but we skim over the fine print that talks of the heartache, rejection, and outright suffering that they endured in order to carry out the call on their lives.  

This is a picture of some sleeping lions that my friend Wendy took on a recent trip to Zambia.  While they were not on a luxury train, they were in open vehicles, and were advised by the guide to take their pictures as quickly as possible so that they would not be attacked!  
And like the advertisement, so much of what is offered today by North American Christianity is like that train ride through Africa - the promise of real, genuine adventure, but all from the comfort of complete provision and security.  I hardly think that David Livingston would agree that the adventure is the same as what he experienced when viewed from the window of a luxury train.  Maybe that is why there is so much discontentment and disillusionment in the Christian church today.  Maybe we need to get off the train and be chased around by a lion for awhile, instead of touring the halls of past exploits from a position of comfort and security with little chance of failure or defeat, and calling it an authentic, genuine adventure.  Just something to think about, that's all.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Power Of An Instant

'Streams' Kellie Graham 2010
At any given moment, we are an instant away from cataclysmic change in our lives.  I was gripped by this thought after dropping in to check the blog of one of my favorite world and humanitarian photographers, David DuChemin www.pixelatedimage.com who made the decision earlier this year to give up his condo and sell his belonging in order to travel across the U.S. and Canada on a photographic expedition.  He began his journey in February, and has been writing about the various people he's met and the sights that he has seen.  

Imagine my surprise when I checked his blog after being away for a few weeks, and I see pictures of him lying in a hospital bed.  He shared the story of how he went to Italy to do a photography tour with a group of students.  They were in the city of Pisa, where he decided to lean over a 20 foot wall in order to get a better angle for a picture, and in an instant he slipped and fell from the wall, landing on the concrete below.  He had to be flown to Ottawa to be closer to his family, and will have to undergo several surgeries and a recovery time of up to six months.  All of his plans for a photographic journey over the next year were changed...in an instant.  

Pastor Russ recently shared a story with us about a lady named Cassandra who had been coming to our church for the last six months.  She sat in her wheelchair on the main level of the church each week, and was so excited to be there.  Pastor Russ said he spoke with her on Sunday after the service and she said that she wasn't feeling that well.  He spoke with her for a few minutes, and on her way out she said that she would see him next week.  She took the bus home and died that afternoon.  The power of an instant.

My own life changed in an instant a little over a month ago - I had participated in a missions trip to Mexico for one week and returned home on a Sunday afternoon.  I went in to work the next day, expecting another regular Monday at the office.  Instead, I was informed that my job no longer existed at the company I worked for, and within ten minutes I was unemployed.  My life took a very unexpected turn in an instant.

Lest I sound completely negative in the ways that our lives can change, I would say as well that I am also an instant away from meeting someone who has a connection in a company that is hiring.  I'm an instant away from hearing a word from the Lord, either through a book, someone on TV, or through the voice of a friend, that gives me direction as to what the next step should be.  I'm also an instant away from that phone call that says "we'd like you to come in for an interview" or better yet, the one that says "your hired!"

We do not know what is held in the next moment of our lives.  The trajectory of everything can change in an instant.  We think we have an idea of how things are going to go, but we really do not know.  All we have is this instant, we have no control over the next.  But thankfully I know Someone who does, and my life is in His hands.  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In The Pink!

Time flies!  I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since I got back from Mexico.  A lot has happened during that time.

The trip itself was amazing and I hope to write more about it in the weeks ahead.  

They talk about life serving you up lemons, well I've had a gigantic pink grapefruit dropped on me recently, non-the-less I'm in the pink!

More on that in the future too!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mexico Bound!

One more sleep and I'm ready to go!  

I can't believe that my trip to Mexico is already here!  We will be on our way on Saturday afternoon.  As always, I never feel quite prepared to go on one of these trips, but I am just praying that I will be able to "speak a word in season" to my wonderful friends down there, and just relax and enjoy this unique opportunity that the Lord has given to me again.  Not sure how many updates I'll be able to post, but I'll try!  

Looking forward to trying out my new camera lens.  
Adios amigos!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Way We See

I'm stealing some words from one of my favorite photographers today - I was just reading David duChemin's blog about his trip to Africa, and he said the following:

"I’m coming home inspired. After this time with these nomads, people who re-define the lower limits of poverty for me, it’ll be easier to take less on the road with me. It’ll be easier to live on less. It’ll be harder to withhold help where I can give it. These trips always change me.

I’m often asked if I get culture shock when I go away. My stock answer is that I get culture disappointment when I come home. When I get home people stop looking others in the eye and smiling. They stop shaking hands and asking who I am, how I am, and how my family is doing. They stop offering me tea. We’re either too busy chasing the trivial or we just don’t care. One of my guides during the safari workshop said to me: “Westerners all have watches, but we Africans have time”. It’s true. For people who believe time is money, we sure spend it in some strange ways and on things that will not last. There’s a pace in Kenya that I love, that I’m already beginning to miss, knowing I’m back to schedules and itineraries so soon."

If you substituted the word Mexico for Kenya, it would describe exactly how I feel about the trips I've taken there, and how it has changed my life.  The things that mattered to me before don't matter so much anymore.  I live in an apartment the size of a postage stamp, and I love it.  I have no desire to be anywhere else right now.  When I think about the way some of my friends in Mexico live, I realize I am blessed beyond measure.  And the quote the man made about time describes exactly the way it is in Mexico.  I remember thinking during the ten weeks that I spent there that I had never seen time go by so slowly in all my life.  Some days it felt never ending, and some days it was a gift.  One thing was for certain, everything in Mexico took time, and there was time for everything.  Some days when I am going about my frantic life I really, really miss that.    

This trip is coming up so fast, and most of the time I feel totally unprepared for it.  Sometimes I wonder if I will feel the same way when I return, because many times I forget about the fact that I am actually going back.  The busyness of our North American lives has a way of stealing those things away like that.  It's something that you have to be intentional about maintaining.  But whenever I take the time to look back at pictures, or things that I had written while I was in Mexico, or talk to someone about my experiences there, that same fire begins to burn again deep inside of me.  I think I know that the embers are always there, they just have to be fanned into life every once in a while.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

30 More Sleeps Til Mexico!

Can't wait!  Brilliant sunshine, azure blue skies...a little bit of heaven...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Props to my sister Brenda for this awesome background she designed - it's a picture that I took while in Mexico.  I was absolutely fascinated with the doors and windows there - maybe I'll do a book some time about the doors and windows in Mexico! 

Great job Bem, thanks!!!

Mexico Pics

I actually managed to find some pictures of my friends in Mexico! The last time I was there was in 2007 for 10 weeks, and we spent the last week doing a children's program with my friends Martha and Paco at their church.  They have been working tirelessly in a small community near them for years; cooking meals in their own home and distributing them to the children in the area, reaching out to the people in whatever way they can.  They have been trying to get their church built for the last ten years, and have suffered many setbacks in trying to do so.  It will be a thrill and an honor beyond belief to go and help them to reach this goal in whatever way we can. 

Sometimes the memories I have of Mexico begin to fade a little bit, but when I start to look at the pictures of my friends, I can feel the excitement starting to build all over again.   I can hardly wait to hear the rolling sounds of Spanish floating around me again, to hug the children with their beautiful brown eyes and shy smiles, to stand beneath the most brilliant, clear blue skies I have ever seen in my life, and the food, oh the food...mole, carne asada, and the delicious fresh salsa that the Mexican ladies make.  I remember just before I left Mexico in 2007 that Tim (the missionary I worked with) took me to say goodbye to this wonderful Mexican lady that we had met - when he told her I was leaving, she was expressed how disappointed she was to hear that, and Tim said to her "Oh, she'll be back, Mexico is in her blood."  And he was right. 

                                  My friends Martha, Paco and her beautiful sister Edith.

Paco & Martha's son Misael - he was 15 years old at the time and was already working with the fire department and training to be a paramedic.

Their church at the time consisted only of brick walls with no windows or doors, or roof.  The blazing hot Mexican sun was beating down on our heads, but we put up some tarps and used umbrellas and managed to make it work.  Maybe we can get a roof on that church while we are there...

Copyright Kellie Graham

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Zacatecas Here I Come!

I've been meaning to share my exciting news, I'm returning to Zacatecas, Mexico for another missions trip! I'm so looking forward to returning to a place I have come to love and it's people.  I leave mid-March and will be once again working with Martha & Paco.  My heart just soars at the thought.

Hope to find time to fill you all in a little more and share some other photos.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Xmas on the Farm
And a shiny New Year to all!

My Gracie
Bailey at rest...finally!