Posts filed under ‘Life along the way’

Precious Snowflakes


It seems we’ve forgotten we serve the fellow who overturned tables when he disagreed with the way the religious folks were behaving in the temple.  (Matthew 21:12-13).  (Or that we come after Paul and Barnabas and Peter and all the others who preached the gospel of love and truth in the face of great opposition, never once demanding special protection.)

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Continue Reading July 15, 2017 at 9:32 pm Leave a comment

Not daring to be silent


silence-in-the-face-of-evil-is-itself-evil-god-6887308

LIFE ALONG THE WAY:

Well … this was unexpected

I thought I was done with this blog. Quilting slowed to a crawl as other things took precedence: knitting (projects for another post), a bit of garment sewing and baking for church and our own (over)consumption.  I kept telling myself that everything has a season, and the season for Bible Block Quilts had passed.

Then….

  • A pastor friend interjected in the middle of a Facebook  discussion about journalists’ adversarial relationship with the current US executive branch:
    • **is a leftist jerk. The worst reporter on the Clinton News Network.
  • The national leader of the denomination in which I hold lay minister credentials wrote a letter on behalf of the denomination arguing vehemently against a recent Bill before Canadian Parliament that made it illegal to say hateful things about Muslims.
  • I was chastised by a representative of my denomination for reacting to an email  sharing a putative “news report” that was neither news nor a report but was actually a hate-filled rant that made me physically ill at its sheer nastiness. Apparently my response (…don’t EVER send me anything like this again!)  wasn’t polite or tactful. “You can catch more flies with honey, Kim.”

So here I am. Back again.  If there’s anyone out there still reading this, be prepared: there will be precious little quilting, much less baking and sharing recipes.

I’m not likely to be posting sweet spiritual messages to accompany pretty patchwork. I’m not interested in catching flies (with honey or anything else). I am determined to proclaim truth, to speak out against the evil that has overtaken my precious church.

Some who claim Jesus would approve of xenophobic hatred point to his wrath overturning the tables in the temple (Matthew 21:12). I respectfully ask you to remember that it was those who claimed to worship His Father that incurred His anger, not followers of another religion.

You who profess to be followers of Christ yet twist the gospel to justify hatred ARE the moneychangers in God’s house today: you have sold your calling in exchange  for political coin.

This is not the Grace into which I fell when my soul was broken and mended. This is not my gospel. This is not my Jesus.

I will not be silent.


Comments on these posts are moderated: I will not tolerate personal attacks nor will I countenance incivility. You are welcome to disagree; you are not welcome to disrespect.

May 13, 2017 at 12:18 pm 1 comment

What I Did on My Summer Vacation


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I’ve been noticeably absent from my blog for the summer: too caught up in living intentionally to keep up with good intentions to post regularly. Here’s how life along the way has played out for the last few months: providence

I SHALL NOT BE IN WANT: 

Our little church blessed us by sending us to the beautiful Laurentian area of Quebec for three days of prayer, praise and preparation for moving forward together with the other churches in our fellowship. Blessed by the astounding young worship leaders who led us in familiar hymns and choruses in both languages: a favourite English hymn with a French cadence becomes uniquely meaningful all over again. Blessed by time spent sharing with fellow pastors: common struggles and shared joys.

God provided all we needed and then, for full measure, blessed us with three more days for laughter and splashing and getting wet and sunburned and very happy with our grandkids and their parents.

greenpastures

HE MAKES ME LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES:

A week cat-sitting for friends gave me the quiet restful time I needed after the hustle of travel and adventure. Right in the centre of  downtown Vancouver, July is a wonderful time to sit in the park people-watching and enjoying summer and sunshine in a beautiful city. Sunday, I wandered into the nearest service: a large [by our standards!] Baptist Church. There, my soul was refreshed by the clear streams of music sung full voice: I still smile thinking of the enthusiastic tenor behind me

Bless the Lord, oh my soul OH MY SOUL!   

righteousnessIN THE PATH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

When I first determined that this would be a year of living intentionally, I foolish thought that meant I’d make a plan and stick to it. Not so! Summer had its challenges too: a teenager refusing to accept responsibility; a precious daughter-of-my-heart facing health problems while trying to cope with a new baby; a friend navigating the shoals of family discord;  an apartment to clear and and a funeral to prepare. All were exercises in living intentionally!  

Turns out, intentional means being alert to God’s calling and following him on the path of righteousness: occasionally stretched almost to breaking, trusting in His leading, seeking to discern his direction. [Mostly] I curbed my sarcasm, kept my temper, focused on His goals and trusted that His goodness and hesed  is continuing to chase me down. 

As for MY plans…., not so much.

overflowsMY CUP OVERFLOWS

That’s been my intentional summer: trials and laughter and frustrations and sheer unadulterated joy.

Before the clouds sock in and the months of drizzle begin,  summer gave us one last Hurrah!

My friend and fellow pastor Don Weston asked me to “do the quilt thing” for the dear folks in his church. When we agreed on the 23rd Psalm message, I found the impetus I’ve been lacking for [ahem] EIGHT years while I claimed to be trying to figure out how to quilt the Shepherd’s Light  top. Determined to finish it before I preached, I put the last stitches in the binding on Saturday night and, after our own church service, headed down-Island through the pouring rain into a brief blaze of sunlight just as we began to set up.

We pinned the quilt to the wall and I stepped back to look  for the first time. The Shepherd’s Light glows against the darkness of the shadows: more powerful than I had ever imagined. So, I spoke about the Shepherd and His care and I talked to the people about ministering to one another out of the overflow of His love and mercy, feeling as though my own cup was running over…

Bless the Lord oh my soul, OH MY SOUL!

shepherd

Click on the photo and scroll down to order

SHEPHERD’S LIGHT
original mini-s
eries

Focus on the 23 Psalm in depth  through the seven lessons in this stunning quilt designed to finish approximately 62″ square.

BONUS: Includes a step-by-step guide to mastering set-in-points from Quilter’s Neighbourhood library of Basic blocks.

 $12 *        *US funds

October 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm Leave a comment

Life Along the Way: CURSES!


james and me

photo by Fred Barton

My mother was big on cursing.

Not the foul language kind [she was too ladylike for that!]  Tall, slender, athletic, auburn-haired former fashion model: nothing prepared her for parenting a short, opinionated, klutzy, argumentative bookworm. Faced with a daughter who was an alien in her household, poor Mom resorted to wishing dire consequences whereby I would grow up to understand exactly how awful it was for her to be my mom.

The most common curse:

  • I hope you have a kid just like you! 

Funny thing about word curses: sometimes they come true. And, sometimes they become the greatest blessings in our lives.

When he was an opinionated, klutzy, argumentative teenager, James and I  spent many a happy hour nose-to-nose yelling at one another. Even then, I knew I was blessed.

As an adult (especially as an adult adoptee),  when I look into his eyes and see my eyes looking back, I am blessed.

When he sends me a text from work with something sad,  funny or weird to share; or when we exchange books, recipes,  [and, I admit – sarcastic comments], I am blessed.

When he makes me laugh like no one else can, (even though everyone  is rolling their eyes),  I am so blessed.

My mom usually followed her curse with a prophesy:

  • Someday you’ll thank me.

So,  here it is, Mom:

Thanks for the curse Blessing!

Kim

On Kim’s Design Wall this week: a new baby quilt project in blues, greens and white. Stay tuned for more.

May 23, 2013 at 4:21 pm 1 comment

Life Along the Way: MOTHERS and DAUGHTERS and me


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When my boys were little and loud and so very boy-ish, my only request for Mother’s Day was “take them away and let me read my book in peace.” No breakfast-in-bed, no smarmy card, no overpriced candy, and, for goodness sake, no plants for me to feel guilty about as they die from inevitable neglect. Just . leave . me . alone . in . the . blessed. quiet… aaah! Image

So, thirty years later, it’s no surprise that yesterday didn’t look much like a Hallmark® celebration here. Frank was off being a rockstar for an acquaintance’s 50th anniversary. Our elder son JD lives in Montreal, three time zones away, and our younger son James was recovering from emceeing a wedding/brawl on the other side of the strait in Vancouver. Just me, alone in the blessed quiet, up at 7AM to bake for church: [Strawberry walnut muffin recipe to follow.]

Lest you start feeling sorry for me,”alone in the quiet” is still a good thing. Time to chop, pray, stir, pray, scoop, pray and bake while I reread  Amy Young’s brilliant “Open Letter to Pastors”. Amen, Amy – you preach it, girl! I know I was not the only pastor to include Amy’s eloquent words yesterday, though I may have been the only one to snap “Mother’s Day is NOT a liturgical celebration!” Amy’s words stirred something deep and left me mentally standing on tiptoe anticipating nudges from the Spirit throughout my non-traditional Mothers’ Day.

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Prom dress fitting for my friend Emily; lunch with her mom Lynette and sister Nina; driving my son James home from the ferry; listening to phone messages: none of the activities of my Sunday looked like a greeting card celebration of Motherhood.

So, I breathed a sigh of relief that the dress fit(!); advised on boutonniere selection; teased Nina about her disdain for cooked celery. And thought to myself: “I’m so glad this family has let me into their lives.”

Blessed are the moms who are wise enough to know when to step aside and make room for someone else to speak into their child’s life (even if it’s silliness like  “carnations are for when your date is your cousin and his mother made him take you.”)

Later, as I drove from Departure Bay Ferry Terminal,  James talked about the wedding celebration gone sideways when family dysfunctions erupted under the influence of alcohol and stress. I marvelled at his aplomb as he emceed the event, doing his best to smooth over the very rough spots. I was glad to lend him to another family to support their Mom and Grandma, brother and father through a tough couple of days. He didn’t give me a card or flowers: he gave me the gift of himself sharing life; and left me once again thinking “I must have done something right: he’s such a decent man.”

Blessed are the sons and daughters who understand that appreciating their mother is not about cards and gifts, it’s about living values learned from Mom who did the best she could.

And as we stopped by the house for James to pick up a vehicle [that’s a whole ‘nother story for Father’s day!], we listened to messages. A “Happy Mothers’ Day” from, JD celebrating  with Bre-Anne, the wonderful mother of our four grandchildren who still longs for the Mom she lost two years ago.

Blessed are the adult children who understand  their first priority is to love their spouses and to provide a sound foundation for their own children. Wise grandmas cheer from the sidelines and pray hard for those who are still in the midst of it all.

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Waiting for Everett James Fontaine’s arrival – it does my Mumma Graham heart good to see the little smocked outfit I made is hanging on the change table.

Finally — trembling lip and  tear in my eye — another Happy Mother’s Day message from Megan: James’ dear friend who was still in school when she lost her mom to cancer.

I have been “Mumma Graham” for more than a decade now – not trying to fill the shoes, but standing in the gap where Mom should be. With no daughters of my own, because Megan made room for me: I shopped for bridesmaids’ outfits; smocked a flower girl dress; helped pull together a backyard wedding reception; gave unsolicited advice and encouragement; delegated a huge amount of work for Frank’s retirement party; plotted a surprise birthday for James.  And now, [any day now!], I wait for the arrival of our “honorary” grandson.

Today, I’m cleaning the prom dress carnage from my sewing room and the deck where I left a mound of satin and lace shrapnel. As I’m thinking about yesterday, the lesson from the Spirit has come clear in Day-after-Mother’s-Day thankfulness for Miss B.and Doris, Rosemary and  Gwyneth, Shirley and Gaye who all cared for me when I needed someone to be “Mom”.  And, praise His Holy Name, there’s blessing for me too, with Allison, and Cindy and Megan.

Blessed are you who stand in the gap where Mom cannot or will not be. Blessed are you who come alongside: to walk through the valley and to dance in joy; to encourage and to pray. Blessed are you, the mother-who-is-not-her-mother, because I give you to each other as a sign of My unending Grace.

I am blessed. So very blessed. 

Kim

May 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm 2 comments

Life [and Death] Along the Way: FLO


Florence May Patterson

For those who may be wondering: the Celebration of Life for my friend Flo was beautiful. Flo would have loved the laughter as family members shared stories, memories and songs. She would have dissolved into giggles as her granddaughter Colleen hammed it up with kindergarten-style actions while practising Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam. She would have enjoyed the leprechaun jokes about her Irish background (and her diminutive size.) She would have been tickled to see her daughter-in-law’s flamingo scarf – a nod to grandson Brian’s nickname for his grandma: “Flossy Flamingo.”

It was especially wonderful to hear “thank you” again and again as each successive generation remembered their mom, grandma, great grandma. I spoke about Flo’s “attitude of gratitude,” and it was clear that her whole extended family (almost 50 of them!) had been well schooled in the fine art of thanks-giving.

Sunday at LaRosa, we gave over our church time to a more casual celebration. No basic black there: much ‘wearing of the green’ in honour of our little Irish lady. The family joined a crowded room full of staff and residents as we sang the old songs and laughed at stories of Flo in her Easter bonnet or her hockey jersey [go Canucks, go!]. We remembered the excitement of her excellent adventure at Christmas and smiled at her determination. We marvelled that she really lived right up to the very end: thinking about others, thankful for the care she was given.

The great-grandchildren served goodies and shook hands and smiled and said “thank you.” And her daughter Marg said “I’ll be thanking you a long time.” And her granddaughter said “We were worried about Gram when she came to LaRosa, but she loved it here and we knew you took care of her. And we all want to say ‘thank you for loving her’.”

You’re welcome, Colleen and Marg and all the others. Thankful people are easy to love. Over the course of a couple of days, we learned to love you too: what an extraordinary, unexpected gift from God!

Our church family will be missing one precious little lady, but He gave us her whole wonderful joyous family to take their own places in our hearts and our prayers. Thanks be to God.

Pastor Kim and all of Bridges at LaRosa

May 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm 2 comments

Life Along the Way: FLO


My friend Flo died last week. So, here I am sitting at my computer thinking about preaching at her funeral on Saturday. I want to get it right; and I want to tell her family how precious she was. And I want them to understand that she still is, only better, and stronger and purer. And I want to honour her memory here and celebrate her eternity there.

But, mostly, I want the real pastor to show up: the one who isn’t going to worry about bawling like a baby when the family sings “You are my Sunshine” because Grandma Flo always sang it to them. The one who doesn’t mumble and search for words to speak into the grief. The one who doesn’t have to worry about forgetting something important. That one: the man [and I’ll be honest, in my imagination, it’s a man] who looks authoritative, and fatherly, and comforting in his backwards collar and conservative suit.

But I’m the pastor they’ve got. So, I’m not going to try to be profound, or authoritative or even ‘pastoral.’ I’m going to tell a story, because Flo always liked it when I told the Bible stories. I’m going to talk about nine lepers who believed and were obedient and were physically healed.

Mostly, I’m going to talk about the tenth one who was more: he was grateful. I’m going to talk about how it was the ‘thank you’ that Jesus said made him well.

I’m going to tell that story because Flo was always thankful: she rubbed her aching arthritic hands and thanked Jesus for the life he gave her; she buried a son and thanked her church friends for praying her through; she visited a daughter-in-law devastated by Alzheimers and thanked Frank for taking her so she could go and pray and say “Hi sweetheart, it’s Mom. I love you.”

And in the last day of her life on this side of forever, she was thankful for the nurses who came to poke and prod and catheterize and measure.

She told the nurse “this is my friend, Kim.” Then she corrected herself and said “this is my Pastor Kim.” It was clear that she liked the friend Kim, but she loved the pastor. And, Glory be, she was thankful that God had brought me to keep her company on this last mile of the journey.

So I held the twisted little hand and we prayed that God would take away the pain and that Jesus would make her well. And she thanked me for praying and for sitting, and for being pastor and friend.

I’m going to stand up on Saturday and, even if my voice trembles a bit, I’m hoping I can help them understand that she’s thanking Jesus face-to-face now. No aching twisted fingers, no bent back: there are no walkers in Paradise.  I believe with all my heart that her faith in Jesus has made her well in every possible way that matters.

I still want to grow up to be Flo. Godspeed, my friend: I am so thankful for you.

Pastor Kim

May 2, 2013 at 10:14 am 6 comments

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