Monday, October 27, 2014


Today Trevor brought home a notice from his teacher saying that his kindergarten class celebrated Diwali on Thursday last week. The notice says, "Diwali is a South Asian celebration, celebrated in India and many other parts of the world, including Canada. Diwali is the celebration of lights. It's a time for many to share love, success, and happiness."

During the class, they read a story, danced to Bhangra music, and painted divas. A diva, as I understand, is like a tiny bowl for lighting a home. I have plans to ask Trevor how exactly that's used for Diwali. I can only guess that it's meant to hold a candle.

Here's what I think is great about all this:

1.) Trevor learned something about another culture

2.) It gives me opportunity to talk with him about what the difference is between celebrating Diwali and celebrating life in Christ

3.) It gives me a starting point for talking with Indian parents at the school. When the opportunity arises I can ask them if they celebrate Diwali and I can mention the diva Trevor painted. I can talk about what I think is beautiful about Diwali and, if we're enjoying our conversation, I can talk about what our own family believes. When I have these kinds of conversations they usually go quite well. I tend to pay attention to nonverbal cues, so if the person appears receptive and the moment presents itself I can share the Gospel message. It's not about trying to control anyone. It's about sharing thoughts and loving another human being.

4.) It gets my curiosity going. Now I want to google Diwali. And I want to find answers to my new questions. Do people in India celebrate Christmas? What other traditions do they have besides Diwali? Is that a Sikh temple in Abbotsford or is that for Hinduism? I know that a Sikh man grows his hair long and wears a turban. Does a Hindu man do the same thing? Chances are I can even ask some of the parents these questions. Most people are happy to answer such questions and knowing these things is important to me because if my children and I are going to be in contact with Indian people on a regular basis, I want to be able to love them in a way that's meaningful to them.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

In the October mist...

In the October mist, eucharisteo opens the eyes, the heart, to the grace that falls upon us, a drop, a river, a waterfall of blessing filling our emptiness. It falls into the open hand and makes life a paradise again. We wonder: if eucharisteo had led us to let go and open the hand to receive all His shimmering river of gifts, how can we now close the hand?

If I close these fingers, try to hold, hoard the river—dam up the grace—won't the water grow stagnant?

... I think of this. That fullness grows foul. Grace is alive, living waters. If I dam up the grace, hold the blessings tight, joy within dies... waters that have no life.

I turn my hand over, spread my fingers open. I receive grace. And through me, grace could flow on. Like a cycle of water in continuous movement, grace is meant to fall, a rain... again, again, again. I could share the grace, multiply the joy, extend the table of the feast, enlarge the paradise of His presence. I am blessed. I can bless. A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.

 — Ann Voskamp

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Toys

Yesterday I took the kids to Walmart and agreed to buy them toys.

Trevor chose a remote control monster truck. Tamara chose a Littlest Pet Shop blind bag (you don't know what you're gonna get until you open it). She said she wanted two or three of them, but I said no. I was thinking, she has way more toys than Trevor, so one is enough.

She begged and begged. I thought, I'm the parent; I gotta be firm on this. "No," I said. "Just one." She wouldn't let it go. She cried and screamed and put up a big stink. I kept saying no.

A pregnant lady was nearby and she seemed the sensitive type, so I took the kids away from the aisle. Tamara's fussing got louder, tears streaming. She was genuinely upset.

"It's not fair!!" she wailed.

I bent down to her level and said, "Okay, let's talk about this. You gotta calm down, though, so we can talk."

She quieted.

"So you're upset because Trevor gets that nice, big toy and you only get one small blind bag?"

"Yes, I was trying to tell you!"

"You're right. That doesn't seem fair. Let's get one more blind bag."

"That's what I told you at the beginning and you kept saying no!"

"I know," I said. "Sometimes I get into a train of thought and it's hard to switch over to a better one."

The pregnant lady looked relieved when we returned to grab another blind bag, and Tamara was thankful I took the time to really listen and care about what she wanted.

Was this poor parenting? I don't know.

It happened the way it happened and that's okay.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mother Hen

She comes to me, her voice like a gentle brook, a tender smile. Long tendrils sway when she walks.
She likes the color blue. She's becoming a nurse.
She surprises me with notes and affection, spontaneous knocks on my door, calls and invites me to
come and join.
Praise is on her lips. And she draws attention to the ache that's inside all of us. This yearning.
This hope.
She bends low to pray, holds her hands open to receive the Highest Love.
She sifts lovingly through my speech and mannerisms, pierces holes through my melancholy. There's holiness in her laugh.

I'm like a sponge, collecting. Filling, squeezing out. Soaking it in again, relieved to leave the clunk and clamor of high school behind.
We gather often. All of us. We pour compassion, we teach one another, we love, we grow. We sing.

My tears fall now when I remember

dorm 2D
year: 2000
Trinity Western University

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Letter from a Teenage Fan

Dear Mrs. Mitchell,

It's that red food coloring. Auntie Gertrude keeps putting it into everything. Cupcakes, scrambled eggs, toothpaste, kale. It's like everything makes her bleed. I've been trying to tell her she needed a better color but when I say something she gives me a fifteen minute speech about the life-span of some stinky animal somewhere. Last time it was the ladybug. Well, boo hoo. I don't care about her stupid ladybugs.

It's because of her freakin' red that I can't even stop at a traffic light without getting ticked off about all the cars—especially those shitty volkswagens. Not to mention that stupid chinese guy on the bicycle who rides past my house every day. Yesterday he was belching. "Nice one," I said. He took it as a compliment. Can you believe that?! As if I'd be complimenting anyone on their burping abilities. What a dumb shit.

Then at Vikki's memorial the funeral director told me to stop spraying perfume into the open casket. But I got him back. I shoved him onto the cement steps outside when he was least suspecting it. His wife complained later. What a loser! Doesn't she know how to take a joke?

Bring a six-pack with you next time you come over.

Yours truly,

Sir Farts-a-lot