Monday, December 20, 2010

Smile Someone Loves You

"With the loving mercy of our God, a new day from heaven will dawn upon us. It will shine on those who live in darkness, in the shadow of death. It will guide us into the path of peace." Luke 1:78-79 NCV

"This was the worst dress rehearsal I have ever seen in all my years of teaching." said a lady I met at the dog park last Monday. She was also a part time teacher at the school my children attend. "It's going to be a bad pageant." It was also my 8th School's Christmas Pageant and the last one for my eldest who will be in High school next year (Insert deep sigh here). I hoped the wrinkles would be ironed out by Wednesday.
 The place was packed. It was the last show of the season. The kids performed exactly as expected. Some bee bopped to the music, almost falling off the bleachers. Other's sang loudly, right in front of the microphone, totally off key. Some sang shyly with their heads down looking at their feet. There were even a couple of grade 6/7 boys, their arms crossed not singing at all because, "This was totally NOT COOL!" It was an amazing show. I laughed so was great!
It came time for my daughter's Kalina's class to sing. I saw her walk in, beside her BFF, Zaria.
"I don't recall her phoning your daughter to colour coordinate their outfits." I laughed at Deb (BFF's Mom) who sat just behind me.
"Wonder when they arranged that?" she replied.
There they stood, two brightly coloured twins, standing in the first row. Zaria found her Mom first and for the whole performance never took her eyes off her Mom. Her eyes bright, she sang the song for no one else. Deb touched my shoulder.
"Look she's searching for you." Kalina was singing half heartily, looking for her Waldo in the sea of humans. Then she found me and her face lit up and she smiled, a smile that would light up the darkest place. A smile that washed away all the gloom in my heart and I blinked back a tear because it felt so good to be loved that much; for a moment I caught a glimpse of how much it means to God for me to find Him in amidst the chaotic world we live in.
Working, driving, shopping, fixing, baking, tiling, studying, writing, volunteering and just being human takes a lot of time. When we focus too much on the things we need to do, we can't find what's really important. If I was too busy doing things...I would have missed that moment with Kalina. Sometimes it's really hard not to focus on what the rest of the world says you need to do and just focus on what God needs you to do. He wants you to smile and enjoy the gift he gave you.
I recently saw parts of the movie Patch Adams, where 'Patch' had to hold up his hand and say what he saw.
"Four fingers." was his reply.
"Look beyond the fingers." his friend replied. As Patch's vision went beyond the fingers, the digits blurred and he now saw eight fingers.
"If you focus on the problem, you will never find the solution."
To see scene
Time and time again, and I do this myself...I focus on the four fingers of life instead of looking beyond. Seeing things anew, seeing the world through the eyes of a creator who loves me. It's so hard to see Him sometimes, I look, but I only see the crowd; War, Hate, Frustrations, Irritations, Worry, Sadness and Loneliness overwhelm my life, my heart fills with darkness, and I can't find Peace, Love, Grace, Hope, Gentleness, Forgiveness and Self-Control.
Four Hundred years before the birth of Christ, there were prophets who saw through the crowd and focused beyond the fingers and found something amazing.

"But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are too small to be among the army groups from Judah, from you will come one who will rule .....His greatness will reach all the earth. He will bring peace."
Micah 5:2, 4-5 NCV

"Shout and be glad, Jerusalem. I am coming, and I will live among you," Says the Lord.
Zechariah 2:10 NCV

It's hard to see God in the crowd of Christmas shoppers. I'd like to challenge you this Christmas to see beyond the Rudolph's and the Frosty's and see what Christ Mas is about.
It's hard to see Christ in the crowd of Santa's, there again, I'd like to challenge you to see beyond religion and take time to get to know the man Jesus.

My wish and prayer for you this Christmas and New Year is to see your Father within the crowd, to find love that has no end, to find peace deep within and joy overflowing. May you be a light in the dark places of the world and of hearts.

Smile, someone loves you.

"She will have a son, and they will name him Immanuel," which means 'God is with us.'
Matthew 1:23

Light a Candle

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Christmas Pagent

Thought I would share this e-mail from an anonymous writer... I received it in an email today and just had to share it... For those who are Mom's, enjoy!


My husband and I had been happily 
married (most of the time) 
for five years
but hadn't been blessed with a baby.

I decided to do some serious
praying and promised God
that if he would give us a
I would be a perfect mother,
love it with  all my heart
and raise it with His word 
as my guide.

God answered my prayers
and blessed us with a son.

The next year God blessed us 
with another son.

The following year,
He blessed us with
yet another son. 

The year after that we
were blessed with a daughter.

My husband thought we'd
been blessed right into poverty.
We now had four children,
and the oldest was only

four years old.
I learned never to ask God 
for anything unless I meant it
As a minister once told me,
"If you pray for rain,
make sure you carry an umbrella."

I began reading a few verses
of the Bible to the children
each day as they lay in their cribs.. 

I was off to a good start.
God had entrusted me
with four children and
I didn't want to disappoint Him.

I tried to be patient the day
the children smashed
two dozen eggs on
the kitchen floor searching 
for baby chicks.

I tried to be understanding...
when they started a hotel for
homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours
to catch all twenty-three frogs

When my daughter poured
ketchup all over herself and 
rolled up in a blanket to see
how it felt to be a hot dog,
I tried to see the humor
rather than the mess.. 

In spite of changing over
twenty-five thousand diapers,
never eating a hot meal 
and never sleeping for more
than thirty minutes at a time,
I still thank God daily for my children.

While I couldn't keep my promise 
to be a perfect mother -
I didn't even come close...
I did keep my promise
to raise them in the Word of God. 

I knew I was missing the mark
just a little when I told
my daughter we were going 
to church to worship God,
and she wanted to bring
a bar of soap along to
"wash up" Jesus, too.

Something was lost
in the translation when
I explained that
God gave us everlasting life, 
and my son thought it was
generous of God to give
us his "last wife."

My proudest moment came
during the children's
Christmas pageant.

My daughter was playing Mary,
two of my sons were shepherds 
and my youngest son was a wise man.
This was their moment to shine.

My five-year-old shepherd
had practiced his line,
"We found the babe wrapped
in swaddling clothes." 

But he was nervous and said, 
"The baby was wrapped
in wrinkled clothes." 

My four-year-old "Mary" said,
"That's not 'wrinkled clothes,' silly.
That's dirty, rotten clothes."
A wrestling match broke out
between Mary and the shepherd
and was stopped by an angel,
who bent her halo and lost 
her left wing. 

I slouched a little lower
in my seat when Mary
dropped the doll representing
Baby Jesus, and it bounced
down the aisle crying, 
Mary grabbed the doll,
wrapped it back up
and held it tightly as
the wise men arrived.
My other son stepped forward
wearing a bathrobe 
and a paper crown,
knelt at the manger 
and announced,
"We are the three wise men,
and we are bringing gifts
of gold, 
common sense
  and fur."

The congregation
dissolved into laughter,
and the pageant
got a standing ovation. 

"I've never enjoyed a Christmas 
program as much as this one,"
laughed the pastor, 
wiping tears from his eyes 
"For the rest of my life,
I'll never hear the
Christmas story without
thinking of 
common sense 
and fur."

"My children are my pride 
and my joy and my greatest
blessing," I said as I dug
through my purse for an aspirin.

Jesus had no servants,
yet they called Him Master.

Had no degree,
yet they called Him Teacher 
Had no medicines,
yet they called Him Healer.

Had no army,
yet kings feared Him.

He won no military battles,
yet He conquered the world.
He committed no crime,
yet they crucified Him.

He was buried in a tomb,
yet He lives today.

Feel honored
to serve such a Leader
who loves us.


Monday, November 15, 2010

When Sparks Fly

"He brought me to the banquet room, and his banner over me is love." Song of Songs 2:4 NCV

Solomon did 2 things for the woman he loved. He brought her into a banquet hall,  gave her an amazing feast and he put a banner of love over her as protection. He physically and emotionally provided for her. This is the way God loves us and I began to question if I showed this kind of love to the people I love...especially my spouse.

" You are like a garden fountain - a well of fresh water flowing down from the mountains of Lebanon." Song of Songs 4:15

Am I a well of fresh water for my spouse? Are You? Do you mostly whine and complain at them or do you give them the silent treatment and turn away when they do something you don't like? Do you grunt one syllable answers to their questions because your too irritated to talk? I don't always feel like I can be a well of fresh water for my spouse, and he is not always there to be that well for me, that's why I need help. I go to the one who can provide it.

"Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty. The water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside that person, giving eternal life." John 4 13-14

I always thought the Old Testament book Song of Songs was a bit weird. I never really understood why it's in the Bible. Recently, I have been pushed into reading it for my class. It's a part of my homework reading and I see it in a new light these days. Not only does it show the passion God has for his creation, but also the passion a Man and Wife must have for each other.

"How is your lover better than other lovers?" Song of Songs 5:9

What makes you different from all the other spouse's around? When you're having coffee with your friends what do you say about your spouse.
"Wellllllll, You won't believe what my spouse did this week...." Do you insert something positive or negative here? Do you gripe and complain or share the wonderful things they've done?
I know I do stupid things to irritate my husband each week. I'm human. It's a fact that he has done things, that have disappointed me. We are human, we make mistakes.
It is our reactions that make us better than other lovers. We all handle disappointments differently. Do you scream and yell speaking unkindly to your spouse and bringing him/her to a all time low? Do you gossip about the irritation to your neighbours and friends making your spouse look like the most horrible partner a person can have whom your neighbour's and friends now disrespect? Do you keep it all to yourself and build a wall around your heart, removing yourself emotionally from your spouse?
What would happen if you love, accepted and forgave your spouse? Don't pretend the incident didn't happen. Talk to your spouse, tell them the irritation and why it bothered you. Love them anyways and move on.
My husband did that recently a few weeks ago. I'm a little conservative and I don't do a lot of things because I hang on to fear. I know this about myself and I am working on it with God's help, step by step. Rene wants me to be more outgoing, to take the initiative and get out there..."Get dirty and make mistakes." as Miss Frizzle says on the Magic School bus.
"You want me to what?" It was our 20th wedding anniversary recently and we went camping. Just the 2 of us, up a logging road, in the middle of nowhere. Mountains , streams and waterfalls surrounding us, it was the proverbial Garden of Eden and my husband was Adam and he wanted me to play Eve (before she ate the fruit).
"There's no body here." He reported and waved his arms about in melodramatic fashion. I laughed, thinking about that imaginary hiker on top of that nearest mountain who was sitting there eating a granola bar with a set of high powered binoculars that happened to be aimed right at our camp site.
"Oh, me be brave. I'm tired of letting my fear always get in the way. My husband needs a bold wife right now. Help me." I thought, as I pushed thoughts of the google earth satellite that would be aimed right at the precise coordinates of this particular camp spot in the middle of no where. It took a moment of coaxing and inner dialogue, but I finally did release the fears of 'Big Brother is Watching' and became the Eve to my Adam (before the fruit).
"You could relax a little?" Adam was chopping firewood and laughing at His Eve who sat in the camp chair, arms and legs crossed 2 feet from the fire.
"I'm cold." Although no one knows exactly where the Garden of Eden was, I was pretty sure it was closer to the equator than I was presently.
"Would you like a blanket?" Adam was so thoughtful, "I'll put some more wood on the fire." How gentlemanly, I thought, and became more relaxed. I leaned over to slice some brie to go with our baguette and that's when the sparks started to fly....

...These were not romantic sparks as some of you may be thinking...remember Adam was adding wet wood to the fire and Eve was sitting 2 feet away....

Ladies, I just want to say, that things don't always go as planned. Stepping out of your comfort zone is what God wants us to do, sometimes we are going to get burned and we will need the first aid kit, but God always makes good. He has our back.

Eve stepped out of her fear box a little, she was scorched, but her relationship with Adam got a little closer that weekend because she stepped out.

Ask your husband what you could do to make your relationship a little closer....This week, try to step out of your comfort zone and enjoy time with your Adam.

Well, I'm off to buy some Aloe Vera Cream...Have a great week!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pink + Pink + Pink = Too Much Estrogen

"I don't want to sleep on pink sheets!" Rene and I were putting clean sheets on our bed.
"I don't like pink sheets." We inherited the sheets from my parents who had change to a King bed. Since I was the only family member left with a Queen, the sheets came to me.
"It's just a fitted sheet on the bottom, "I whined and questioned my husbands need for a different coloured sheet, "The duvet is wont even see the pink."
"I don't want to sleep ON PINK!" I couldn't understand my husbands vehemence to the rose coloured material, "I'm putting my foot down...No PINK sheets!" then he grabbed the sheet, rolled it into a ball, and threw it into the corner of the room.
"What is wrong with you?"I asked irritated, not yet cluing into the fact that something bigger than sleeping on pink sheets was bugging him here, "What if I like to sleep on Pink? Huh?" Feeling an immediate surge of 'poor me' syndrome and 'why does it always have to be about him?' attitude I glared at him then rolled my eyes in disrespect.

"It is hard to find a good wife, because she is worth more than rubies. Her husband trusts her completely. With her, he has everything he needs. She does him good and not harm for as long as she lives." Proverbs 31:10-12

"There's just too much estrogen everywhere I go." My husband came up behind me and hugged me, as I was doing the dishes later on that evening. "Between the ladies at work, my daughters, my wife...I....I just need to put on my leather jacket, sit on a motorcycle and smoke a cigar." It wasn't about the pink sheet. Well, don't I feel a little sheepish.

"A husband can hurt your feelings, be inconsiderate, uncaring, abusive, irritating, or negligent. He can say or do things that pierce your heart like a sliver. And every time you start to pray for him, you find the sliver festering. It's obvious you can't give yourself to praying the way God wants you to until you are rid of it." Stormie Omartian 'The power of a praying wife'

Sometimes we are not going to understand everything our husband says or does. Many times we will feel defensive about his reactions and or statements. But we do have the free will and authority to choose how we are going to react. With love, acceptance and forgiveness or with selfish anger, poor me attitude and disrespect. I don't mean you have to agree with everything he does... and I don't mean for you to be a door mat for an abusive attitude.

"Our love for others must never be confused as a license for their destructive behavior towards us, towards others or towards themselves. Love commits itself to their "highest good" and stands stubbornly and relentlessly against their destruction from any quarter." Jerry Cook "Love,Acceptance and Forgiveness"

God so loved the world that he gave. (John 3:16) A commitment to another being motivates us to act on his or her behalf. A shallow sensation that inspires us to respond to someone in love isn't the love that is needed to build a relationship with someone. It takes work. Agape Love. Love in action.

"Agape involves the kind of giving that can not be compensated. That concept of love is quite foreign to our culture. The mentality of this world leads us to love and give only when there is reason to assume that our love will be reciprocated." Jerry Cook "Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness"

 I wasn't acting out as the Good Wife from Proverbs 31 initially,  it took a little bit before I was gently reminded and an attitude adjustment was made. I love my husband, when I married him I made a commitment to him...for better and for's not always been sunny, but God does not want my marriage to fall apart. As a Mom, it's so easy to fight for my children. I would fight to the death for them. But do we do the same as a wife?

"I will not allow anything to destroy my marriage. I will not stand by and watch my husband wearied, beaten, or destroyed. I will not sit idle while an invisible wall goes up between us. I will not allow confusion, miscommunication, wrong attitudes, and bad choices to erode what we are trying to build together. I will not tolerate hurt and unforgiveness leading us to divorce." We can take a stand against any negative influences in our marriage relationship and know that God has given us authority in His name to back it up." Stormie Omartian 'The power of a praying wife'

Love is a commitment and operates independently of what we feel or don't feel. Jerry Cook goes on to say, We need to extend this love to everyone....I'm saying...even your hard as it may be sometimes...

"I want you to know that I'm committed to you. You'll never knowingly suffer at my hands. I'll never say or do anything, knowingly, to hurt you. I'll always in every circumstance seek to help you and support you. If you're down and I can lift you up, I'll do that. Anything I have that you need, I'll share with you; and if need be, I'll give it to you. No matter what I find out about you and no matter what happens in the future, either good or bad, my commitment to you will never change. And there's nothing you can do about it. I love you." 

This is how God loves us. Do we love our spouse like this?

Well Ladies, I'm off to to a little shopping for sheets at Cabala's. I found the perfect 'Camo' sheets.


Friday, October 15, 2010

God Has a Pocket Full of Poop Bags

I was walking my dog, Angel, on the dyke this morning and as I bent down to pick up the mess, she left behind...I had a prolific moment....

All week long I have felt mostly irritated. I can try to explain it away by blaming Aunte Flow, or my family, my husband leaving the gate open and the dog escaping, the children's pig sty of a room, the weather, the fluorescent light that keeps blinking in the kitchen and needs to be replaced, the neighbour smoking Pot. Just 'insert irritation here' and blame my sour mood on that. So now I have a valid excuse for my bad temperament...or do I?

God calls us to be Holy. What does that mean? Holy means separate, set apart, different.

Romans 5:3-4
"We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope."

My reactions to the above irritations did not set me aside. I allowed life to bother me and I hung on to the irritation and because of turned me into a person my family didn't want to hang out with. I thank God it only took a few days and not weeks or years or decades for Him to set me straight.

 We are not supposed to hang on to the mess of this world....the mess that surrounds us.

Walking on the dyke is my time to cry out to God with all  my messes and Thank Him for my Blessings. It's a time of reflection and quiet so God can speak back...Then I noticed the dog. I noticed how freely she ran between the tall grass after she dropped the heavy load she was carrying around. She didn't look back....she didn't hang onto it....she didn't circle the excrement or try to clean it up on her own...Drop and go...that's what she did... and she looked free and happy.
Are you hanging onto any crap? Are you in a sour mood because things just haven't gone the way you expected?....May I suggest something?
 DROP AND GO BABY....don't look back..... because God has a pocket full of poop bags.

Tiptoeing gently into Raw Food

My good friend Nadyne, recently took a Raw Food Cooking class...although technically you don't cook the looks kind of neat and I asked her to write a little something about it....if you enjoy it and wish to learn more...let me know, because she has another class soon....

In a nutshell, RAW (vegan) food is all about nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies (no cooking!) in order to be able to absorb all or a majority of the enzymes, proteins, vitamins and minerals nutrients contained in those food as a healthier alternative and wellbeing in general. (And also an energy saver...).

This cuisine does require some "soaking and sprouting" times... but when accomplishing that at night, then the rest is as easy as any other meal preparation on a daily basis.
[And the presence of a garden and the assistance of a good blender - Ex.: VITAMIX, and a good dehydrator - Ex.: EXCALIBUR + other little food slicer, cutter, etc. = bonuses].

Here are 2 "snacks" recipes for beginners (& tested by myself at my UBC class last night... yummy!!):  

1.  Green peach smoothie (2 servings)
- 2 cups of water;
- 1 banana, chopped;
- 3 peaches, chopped;
- 2 cups of baby spinach;
- 1 cup of green leafy lettuce, chopped;
- 1/4 bunch of fresh mint

* you can certainly experiment with berries instead and/or any of your favourite fruits and leafy greens!

In a high speed blender, mix all the ingredients until smooth. Voila!  Enjoy immediately... or can be refrigerated in a glass container for up to 48hrs.

2. Chai banana almond milk smoothie (4 servings)

- 1 cup of almonds, soaked for 8hrs, rinsed and drained;
- 2 cups of water;
- 1/4 cup of dates (soaked for 30min. if they are too firm);
- 1/2 tsp of nutmeg powder;
- 1/8 tsp of clove powder;
- 1/8 tsp of cardamone powder;
- 1/8 tsp of Himalayan salt;
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla powder (or 1 tsp of vanilla extract - alcohol free);
- 3 frozen bananas, peeled and chopped (frozen brings more sweetness flavour to the banana!)

* there too you can play with the spices quantities to adjust to your own taste!

Mix the almonds with the water in a blender until homogeneous and filter with a nut milk bag (easier and renewable!) or a cheese cloth.
Ex.: at (based in N.Van.) 
Freeze or refrigerate the pulp for making cookies, breads or croutons... (for a later lessons!?).
Poor into the milk all of the other ingredients, except for the bananas, into the blender and when homogeneous again, then add the bananas until smooth.
Enjoy immediately or can be refrigerated up to 3 days.

Do not forget to try to buy organic and local when ever possible, but to also first use what you have on hand! 

Nadyne.  :-)

PS.: I might do a nice RAW potluck at the end of my class... interested!? (There should be some soups, pastas, snacks, cakes, etc.!!).

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Virtual Reality Jesus

This morning I was jogging around the Wii Resort Island. Who should pass me on my right? Jesus Christ. I mean....I'm pretty sure it was him. I didn't stop and ask. It did look like him....the Hollywood version...You know...long dark hair, beard, kind eyes. Was it really him in Wii world? It did peek my curiosity.
"How did he get there? How fast does he run? Will he pass me again?" I began looking for him as I jogged around the Island. I saw my husband Rene, my kids, my mother, sister, niece, nephew, Betty, Nadyne, my dad....all these familiar characters either cheering me on or passing me, but no Jesus.
Then I saw the familiar white shirt and long dark hair up in front of me. I was 3/4 through my lap and there he was just up ahead. I was tired, sweat misted off me, my legs were burning....but I had to find out if it was really him....I jogged faster....almost there....if my virtual arm could just reach out I could touch his shoulder. We were neck and neck, 10 meters from the finish line. Then I passed him. My Wii me couldn't turn around and I couldn't see him. I slowed down. There was his shadow on the left of me. We were running side by side towards the finish line. We did it!
 Afterwards, he walked up in front of me, faced me and clapped, as if to say,"Well done."
I took a good look at him...It was him. I don't know anyone that looks like Jesus....and I'm pretty sure my kids don't have friends that look like him either....How did he get there? Did the software people at Nintendo make him?
Later on, he was chucking hula hoops at me and kicking soccor balls at my face.  I checked the Mii Wii Plaza and there he was Jesus....God. One of my daughters had made the character.
A Virtual Jesus
"Why did you make Jesus into a Wii character?" I asked her.
"You ask us to walk with him and talk with him....why can't we play with him?"
Why not indeed! I'll have to go tell Roger.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
2Timothy 4:7

Monday, September 13, 2010


Funny thing happened on the way to Rolley Lake last  Sunday.....I got Baptized. I had put it off for about 7 years....When I finally did decide a rained....and not just drizzle. I guess because God had  waited so long....He wanted to make sure I was Immersed.

Why did I do it at this stage in my life?
For most of my life fear was in control of me, not love. I conformed to the wishes of others....too afraid to choose what I wanted for fear of a confrontation. I've been mostly shy and afraid for most of my 44 years.

I didn't choose to be baptized because I fear salvation - God loves me - I am already saved.
I didn't choose to be baptized because it's some weird ritual to becoming a member of a church - Christ loves me so much he died for me - I'm already a member of His church.
I chose to be baptized because it's a gift God wants each and every one of us to experience.
I chose to follow Christ and I am choosing to make changes in my life that will allow me to fulfill God's purpose for my life.
Doesn't mean I'm purified and holy now... it means I'm willing to make changes in my life so the fruits of the Spirit will become more prominent in my life Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Goodness and Self-Control.
On our own we see only in bits and pieces, but with Christ we see the fullness of Gods love.
It's not the truth about somebody else that sets me free, it's the truth about me that sets me free. and if I let God do a deep enough work in me then no matter what someone else is or is not doing; I can be happy and enjoy life.

Jesus wants to make a great exchange - You give Him everything - He gives you Himself. Took me a long time to understand this concept. The world and it's weird idea's get in the way to confuse. Many people have some weird idea's of who Jesus was/is...

I leave you with an excerpt from 'So you don't want to go to church anymore' by Jake Colsen

“You really have no idea what Jesus was like, do you?”  
The words slipped off the man’s lips as gently as the breeze wafted through the trees overhead and were in stark contrast to the heated argument that swirled around him.  They were so softly spoken that I read them on his lips more than heard them.  But their impact was not lost on the crowd.  The noisy clamor subsided quickly as tension-filled faces gave way to puzzled expressions.  “Who said that?” was the unspoken question that filled the eyes of their surprised faces as they scanned the others around them.   
I chuckled under my breath because no one was looking at the man who had just spoken.  For one thing, he was so short that it was easy to pass over him.  But I had been watching him and the crowd for the last few moments intrigued by his demeanor. 
As people were glancing around he spoke again into the stunned silence.  “Do you have any idea what he was like?” 
This time all eyes turned downward toward the voice and were surprised to see the man who’d spoken.   
“What do you know about it, old man?”  One of them finally spoke up, his mockery dripping off of each word until the disapproving gaze of the crowd silenced him.  He laughed it off and looked away embarrassed, grateful that their eyes had swung back to the stranger.  But he was in no hurry to speak.  The resulting silence hung in the air, far beyond the point of awkwardness.  A few nervous glances and shrugs shot throughout the crowd, but no one spoke and no one left.  During this time the man scanned the crowd pausing to hold each person’s gaze for a brief second.  When he caught my eye, everything inside seemed to melt.  I looked away instantly.  After a few moments I glanced back, hoping he was no longer looking in my direction.   
After what seemed an insufferably long time he spoke again.  His first words were whispered directly at the man who had threatened the others with hell.  “You really have no idea what motivates you, do you?”  His tone was one of sorrow, and his words sounded like an invitation. There was not a trace of anger in it.  
Embarrassed, the man threw his hands up and twisted his lips as if he didn’t understand the question. The stranger let him twist in the gaze of the crowd briefly, then looking around the circle he began to speak again, his words flowing softly.  “He was nothing special to look at.  He could walk down this street today and not one of you would even notice him.  In fact he had the kind of face you would shy away from, certain he wouldn’t fit in with your crowd. 
“But he was as gentle a man as one would ever know.  He could silence detractors without ever raising his voice.  He never bullied his way; never drew attention to himself nor did he ever pretend to like what vexed his soul.  He was real, to the very core.   
“And at the core of that being was love.”  The stranger paused and shook his head.  “Wow! Did he love!”  His eyes looked far past the crowd now, seeming to peer across the depths of time and space.  “We didn’t even know what love was, until we saw it in him.  It was everyone, too, even those who hated him.  He still cared among them. 
“And with all that love, he was completely honest.  Yet even when his actions or words exposed people’s darkest motives, they didn’t feel shamed.  They felt safe, really safe with him.  His words conveyed not even a hint of judgment, simply an entreaty to come to God.  There was no one you would trust more quickly with your deepest secrets.  If someone were going to catch you at your worst moment you’d want it to be him. 
“He wasted no time mocking others, nor their religious trappings.”  He glanced at those who had just done so.  “If he had something to say to them, he’d say it and move on and you would know you’d been loved more than anyone had ever loved you before.”  Here the man stopped, his eyes closed and mouth clenched as if choking back tears that would melt him in an instant if he gave in to them. 
“I’m not talking about mamby-pamby sentimentalism either.  He loved, really loved.  It didn’t matter if you were Pharisee or prostitute, disciple or blind beggar, Jew, Samaritan or Gentile.  His love held itself out for any to embrace.  Most did, too, when they saw him.  Though so few ended up following him, for the few moments his presence passed by them, they tasted a freshness and power they could never deny even years later.  Somehow he seemed to know everything about them, but loved them deeply all the same.  ” 
He paused and scanned the crowd.  In the last couple of moments perhaps as many as 30 people had stopped to listen, their gaze firmly on the man and their mouths agape in bewilderment.  I can record his words here, but am bereft of an adequate description of their impact.  No one within earshot could deny their power or their authenticity.  They rang from the very depths of his soul.   
“And when he hung there from that filthy cross,” the man’s eyes looked up into the trees that towered over us, “that love still poured down--on mocker and disillusioned friend alike.  As he approached the dark chamber of death, wearied of the torture and feeling separated from his Father, he continued to drink from the cup that would finally consume our self-will and shame.  There was no finer moment in all of human history.  His anguish became the conduit for his life to be shared with us.  This was no madman.  This was 
God’s Son, poured out to the last breath, to open full and free access for you to his Father.” 
As he spoke further, I was struck by the intimacy of his words.  He talked like someone who had been with him.  In fact, I remember thinking, “This man is exactly how I would picture John the Disciple to be.”  
No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than he stopped in mid-sentence.  Turning toward his right, his eyes seemed to seek something in the crowd.  Suddenly his eyes locked on mine.  The hair on the back of my neck stood at attention and my body quivered with a wave of chills.  He held my gaze for a moment, then a brief but certain smile spread over his lips as he winked and nodded at me.   
At least that’s the way I remember it now.  I was shocked at the time.  Was he acknowledging my thought?  That would be silly.  Even if he were John, he wouldn’t be a mind reader.  What am I thinking?  How could he be a 2000-year-old disciple?  It’s just not possible. 
As he turned away, I glanced behind me to see if anyone else could have been the target of his gaze.  It didn’t look that way, and no one around me seemed to take notice of his wink and smile.  I was stunned, like I’d just been hit in the head with an errant football.  Electricity raked over my body as questions raced through my mind.  I had to find out more about this stranger. The crowd was swelling in size as more and more people poked their heads in trying to figure out what was going on.  Even the stranger seemed to grow increasingly uncomfortable with the spectacle the scene was quickly becoming.   
“If I were you,” he said with a wink and a smile as his eyes swept over those who’d started the discussion, “I would waste far less time ragging on religion and find out just how much Jesus wants to be your friend without any strings attached.  He will care for you and if given a chance will become more real to you than your best friend and you will cherish him more than anything else you desire.  He will give you a purpose and a fullness of life that  will carry you through every stress and pain and will change you from the inside to show 
you what true freedom and joy really are.”  With that he turned and made his way through the crowd in the opposite direction from where I was standing.  No one moved or said anything for a moment, unsure just how to end the confrontation and break up. 

If you would like to read further... follow this link for a PDF file:

I was very honoured to have shared this day with Janette (from deeds for needs and North Ridge Church) and my Mother Elly.
A very big thank-you to Krista and Trevor who came on that cold wet rainy day to baptize us. Blessings to you....AAAAHHHHHCHoooooooo....:)

Here is a link to see a 4 minute video clip of the baptism. (The reason why we are laughing at the beginning is.... Um... I said, "The water is so cold...I guess we don't have to worry about leeches). :)

Krista and I decided on Christmas colours for the baptism.
"You looked like Christmas elves coming out of the trees." my husband said to me later. Christmas Elves in rubber boots.

"So you didn't know you were all getting baptized with me.".....It came down in cats and dogs.....

Thank you to all who came to stand out in the rain...God's Son did shine...
Love You!