Sunday, 31 July 2016

This one is for a friend

There are a number of experiences that I would likely not have had if not for a friend that I have made here in Winnipeg.  It is with thanks to her that I even knew that Garth Brooks would be in the city and went to the concert.  This past Friday I get a message asking how late I can be out on a work night?  So she and I went off to Assiniboine Park to attend the Harry Potter Party and participate in the festivities with about 18,000 other people.  We had a fun evening and here are a few pictures to capture it.

 Apparently it is this simple to become a wizard!

Harry made an appearance

The clock from Mrs. Weasley's kitchen

Colleen at the clock in her Gryffindor Colors

 A game of Quidditch taking place

The birthday cake for Harry

Platform to Hogwarts

 Waiting for the next tournament challenge to take place

Some of the Participants

Dark Arts pavilion had a dragon outside 

A look at the crowd gathered 

Dare I say that while I have never seen the movies I have read all of the books it was not hard to enjoy the festivities.  There were lots of people in costume, wearing house colors, waving wands and a broom or two. The Potter Party in the Park was serious business, fun filled and a great way to spend a Saturday evening.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

A ship across the ocean

Ready for departure on the "WhiteCap"

Edmund was in charge for a bit to hold steady so the sails could be put up, he looks pretty happy to be in charge!

Yesterday was looked forward to with much excitement and expectation.  Our friend (a fellow Newfoundlander) has invested in a boat and offered to take us out for the day on the Prairie Ocean (a.k.a. Lake Winnipeg) and finally the day has arrived!  We headed out to Gimli to meet him and to spend the better part of the day on the water. So once the sails were up we were away and sailing across the lake

The day was beautiful, cloudless, and just enough wind to give it a good speed so that we were able to enjoy the time and learn how to hoist the sails, heave to and hold her steady.

We were not alone on the water, every now and then we saw another sailboat or other mariner. 

A little of the scenery along the shore line as we looked in at Gimli from the water.  A little wave but no white caps!

Looking in it all looks beautiful.

And once we were done for the day I held her steady for the sails to come down, and wind burned and sunburned we returned home to Winnipeg

The two amigos taking in the views from the water as we finish the cruise.  It was a lovely day well spent with a good friend.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Butterflies, Dragonflies and Daisies

Most people who know me know that I have a fascination for butterflies and a love of Shasta Daisies.  If I see daisies I stop and admire them and might even clip one off to enjoy indoors. Shastas are also a great enticer of butterflies to a garden.  Butterflies I thoroughly enjoy watching as they flit around the garden and if I am really lucky one will land on me.  They are marvelous to watch and are often used as reminders of miracles of life, new beginnings, hope and of course the strong belief that they are messengers from loved ones who have died.  Many people have a strong affiliation with butterflies. There is not a time that I see a butterfly that I will not stop to admire it and follow it in the garden to admire its beauty, gracefulness, and colours.

Today, I saw a myth associated with dragonflies.  I was fascinated as here in Winnipeg we see a lot of dragonflies (they are released to combat mosquitoes naturally).  Like the butterfly they are fascinating to watch as they zoom around eating up the pesky mosquitoes. They have a very welcome role in that regard!
Like the butterfly the myth suggests that the extra pair of wings that help propel the dragonfly are really there to carry angels from heaven to visit us.   Whatever we think or believe about butterflies and dragonflies I know this that whenever a person sees one it brings a smile and gives a reminder of hope in our lives and world.

So may I suggest that you spend a little more time in the beauty of the great outdoors. Enjoy the fresh air. Enjoy the beauty of nature.  Take time to notice the small things that bring you enjoyment.  Smell your favourite flower, watch a butterfly, a bumblebee, a dragonfly as it flies around and let the miracle of life and the beauty of the world touch your soul like a whisper.  In the beauty of creation you will find hope and strength and yes you will definitely smile!


Monday, 25 July 2016


I saw this posted on facebook today by a friend.  I was just about to log off and head out to the gym before a busy day started but I paused, read this and thought it is too good not to share.  The Pause is an inspiration because in allowing ourselves those few moments to not react we can find a calming effect, a new perspective and a reminder to pray.

Given that yesterday's sermon was about prayer and the fact that it need not be complicated, wordy or even well thought out I thought the ending of this quote was just a lovely reflection of that, in the pause, that brief moment just pray.  Pray for whatever it is that is needed in that moment, calm, patience, love, understanding, compassion, perspective...and so on and that deep breath, that pause changes everything.  Yesterday's sermon focused on the Lord's prayer and Jesus being asked by the disciples to teach them to pray.  Like the disciples many of us often feel that the prayers we say, think, feel are not adequate.  They should be fancier, worded better.  Prayer offered sincerely and simply, where we are and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves are often the best prayers, offered from our hearts and in all sincerity.

In the midst of a busy day, there might be frustrations... pause...pray
In the midst of relationships there might be misunderstandings... pause...pray
In the midst of life there might be exhaustion and worry...pause...pray
In the midst of darkness there might be hopelessness and sadness...pause...pray
In the midst of celebration and joy ... pause ...pray

Take a moment to matter the situation

This pause yielded a far different result, I checked the temperature outside and it was in the low twenties and much to the dismay of my Golden boy Gandalf the pause resulted in him having to go for a walk -- not his favourite thing to do and yes he paused many, many times in hope that we were turning around to go home and eventually it happened!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

In our endings….there are new beginnings

“Every moment spent in unhappiness is a moment of happiness lost.” 

It has been a week of difficult news about deaths of people we knew from previous parishes.  A number of their relatives became friends and as I sat with them via telephone, because of the distance, a part of me missed being there to participate in the celebration of these wonderful lives and a selfish part of me was very happy to be so far away from the difficult deaths. 

In the midst of the news of these deaths there were a few practical things that were in need of doing here, sorting books was high on the list.  Some stayed, some went to the office and some to a library but in the midst of the sorting I came across a little treasure that was suggested to me when I did my chaplaincy unit at the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax, many years ago.  This little book, a story for all ages, tells about the seasons of life from the perspective of a leaf.  It is a treasured book.  It has been loaned numerous times, lost once or twice and now never leaves home!   (I have a second one for loaning)  It was a timely find amongst the books on my shelves and I took a few minutes to read this metaphor for life once again and the end of the book, just like the first time I ever read it, still made me smile. 

The story tells the story of life from the perspective of a leaf and the seasons that one goes through in life.  The book reminded me that seasons can be long or short but despite the timeline that we use to measure the greatness of life, in terms of years, it is perhaps more fitting to look at how much of an impact the person made in the lives of others, how they touched people and the gift they bestowed when they shared of themselves with us for a short time.  The book also reminded me as it drew to a close the in the end is a new beginning for spring would come once again with new hope and new opportunities.   It reminds us that everyone must die, to not be afraid of death because in that end is a beginning.

When a death is fresh it is hard to sometimes see the beginning that is taking place in this end.  It is a new beginning for all who must learn to live without this person and it is not without pain or fear. So this book that brings me much comfort reminds me of a lesson learned long ago, death does not discriminate because of age, health, gender, nationality or faith tradition it is a part of life and living.  It is something that we need to accept so that we can continue to live and know that in the end there is a new beginning for everyone.