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By Jen Wallace When John proposed to me, I cried. It was an ugly cry. In this beautiful moment the woman he was proposing to was sobbing—“So, is that a yes?” he asked. My response to his first question, “Will you marry me?” and the subsequent one was a resounding, “Yes! Yes!” I am still not entirely sure what all my tears meant. Years and memory tend to colour the retelling of events. But I think a part of me knew that he would now have a chance to really know me. He would see it all: the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly and maybe that realization came spilling out. I have been thinking about beautiful ugly for some time. I didn’t realize it is an actual term used in modeling: jolie laide is someone unconventionally beautiful or who one might perceive as beautiful and another ugly.* Life is full of this paradox. Some of the most riveting stories and moments in history are beautiful ugly; in the midst of horror a…Read More
By Deanna Cook We all want good things to happen in our lives, but too often we want it now… not later. David was anointed king when he was a teenager and then he had to wait fourteen years. Abraham had to wait 25 years for the birth of his son Isaac. Noah had to wait 120 years from the time God told him to build the ark until the time of the flood actually occurred. They all had to wait on God’s timing and the time prepared them for the next phase in their lives. When God directs our paths, He sometimes leads us in ways that don’t make sense to us so we’re not always going to understand everything. When I was in grade twelve, my plan was to go and study Education and become a high school English teacher. But I didn’t get accepted into Education. Instead, I completed an Arts degree in Psychology and then was accepted four years later into elementary education. I trained as an Elementary teacher and even taught in grades five and six for…Read More
By Marilyn Muller I am waiting for a plane which will take me west after a ten days’ stay with my daughter Rachael, her partner Christian and Alexi, our 7-1/2-year-old grandson. The folks here are at least bilingual, two are at least trilingual, with some hints of at least two more languages being understood and spoken. Last year when I visited, Christian’s guideline was “English only used when Grandma’s present.” During this visit, the guidelines have been softened and I find myself listening to conversations in French, Russian, and a dash of English. Alexi, my grandson, has done his best to patiently explain any of the storyline (and words) of his favourite animated TV show “Ernest and Celestine” which has been recorded by PVR and we have watched together, over and over and over in the early morning hours to help me translate! Many people have come and gone throughout my holiday here in Quebec: speaking English, French, Ukrainian, Russian, Japanese, and so on. After listening for several days, to conversations I do not understand, it dawns on me that this is like the experience…Read More
A stuffy senior’s residence may seem like a strange place to find some direction for my life, but as many Bible characters could attest, God can use all kinds of people, places, and events to get our attention. I volunteer at our local nursing home. I quite enjoy visiting with my elderly friends and hearing their stories. Several of them are just longing to have someone show interest in what they have to say. Some residents are eager to share some of their memories – stories of their family members, their accomplishments or their former work. Other residents feel they are insignificant and have nothing to share. I think it is a huge blessing to have them give me a glimpse into the window of their souls. They tell me of family or friends of long ago that made an impact on them. Sometimes they tell me of their faith- or of their painful losses- and sometimes they share their regrets. Regardless, one thing they all seem to have in common is an awareness that…Read More
By Arlene Manson Last fall, I finally got a permanent job after six years of term positions. The goal I was working for – a permanent job – had been achieved. And this past spring, I turned 50. At this point, my life has kind of settled. So, what or where do I want to go next? This period of life has put me in a reflective mood. Lately, I have been reading books on spiritual disciplines and the like. I am trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I know that I want to continue to serve the Lord. I am just not sure where that is leading me to this point. The one thing I know for sure is that I want to remain faithful until the end. Lately, faithfulness has been a recurring theme in my life. The theme for the centennial celebration at the Regina Church of Christ was about God’s faithfulness. Our summer sermon series was on the fruit of the Spirit, of which…Read More
By Esther Dupperon After 45 minutes of twisting, stretching, and bending we were told to lay on our yoga mats and relax. How wonderful. The instructor put on some music, led us through a breathing practice, and then through a guided meditation. I fell asleep. Since that time, I have participated in many meditations, some simple breathing and some lasting hours. Sometimes I fall asleep, sometimes I am unable to focus my mind or relax my body. Other times, I have had a sense of peace, relaxation, and a closeness to God. Meditation can be prayerful, relaxing or mindful. It always has an effect on our bodies. It lowers blood pressure, lowers heart rate, and reduces the adrenalin build up caused by our day-to-day stress. The basis of meditation is breathing, deep belly breathing, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Give it a try. Go ahead. Keep going, about ten times should be good. You can do this anywhere, at any time. Many people use this between clients, before a stressful meeting, or at…Read More
By Ruth Pradzynski I remember several years ago at a Christian women’s meeting, the speaker challenged us: “If there was one thing that you could do that would make a difference in your spiritual life this year, what would it be? I challenge you to do that one thing.” I knew right away what my one thing would be: to have a daily quiet time with God. I had never done this consistently, and I thereupon set a goal, to have a quiet time with God, daily. And it truly transformed my life. I had always “not been good at” prayer. My mind wanders – I have trouble keeping focused. It seemed so boring, a vain repetition. But I’m a writer. Writing comes naturally to me, and I feel best when I write every day. So I began the spiritual practice of prayer journaling, writing my prayers. I got up every morning and spent the first hour in prayer journaling. My life changed. I began not only writing my own thoughts and prayers but waiting…Read More
By Trinda Jocelyn I find myself at a time in my life when things are really good. I mean it. I have a husband who loves me, and not the bare minimum kind of love. We live in a beautiful home, and we are surrounded by loads of fabulous family and friends who are there for us, and we are there for them. I have a good job, and freelancing has picked up, showing promise as a full-time gig working from home; a dream I hold onto as I brave up to leap into the entrepreneurial unknown. My husband has a good, stable job with the bonus of job security attached to it. My kids are out of this world amazing. Two of them have jobs and my biggest worry most days is whether they have done their homework, helped with chores, or made it work on time. It is at times unclear to me how I was so blessed. Please – don’t hear life is perfect. We struggle. I struggle. The kids struggle: they are all teenagers after all, and any parent…Read More
By May Thiessen I volunteer with a children’s program each week. Lately we’ve been looking at the teachings of Jesus, and specifically, we’ve been working at memorizing the Beatitudes. I was telling the children that in many ways, Jesus says things that seem to be backward compared to the way we’d normally do or say things. After all, the Beatitudes start, “Happy are the poor (Blessed are the poor in spirit)… Happy are the sad (Blessed are those that mourn)… Happy are you when people pick on you because you want to do what is right (Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness). Isn’t that contrary to what we’d normally think or believe? Jesus continually calls us to think counter to our culture. This makes me think further; in what other ways does Jesus call me to listen to Him instead of to the culture around me? Am I able to listen to His call to me? We were studying from Luke with the children. He has so many teachings there that challenge me: “Love…Read More
By Lisa Gillies Sisterhood, what a beautiful word: connecting, bonding, sharing, encouraging, and so much more. This past February was my first time at the Sister Triangle Retreat; what an honour it was. We learned or were reminded that we might not be okay, and that is, okay. We are enough. To be a light wherever we go, and we may never know what others may be going through, but we can stand together. I was amazed when listening to others share, yes, I understood, I have been there. And the songs that were chosen, how they ministered to so many. For some, it took courage to share, and for that I thank you. I want to thank everyone who helped make this happen. For those who could not make it, I hope next year you can come. Remember, when you are struggling, sometimes you just need to be held by our Loving Father. Your world may not be falling out of place, but falling into place. Through trials, we grow and sometimes there is…Read More