Monthly Archives: October 2016

Bread of Life

Here is another one of the meditations I recently had published.

Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. John 6: 35

Author Nadia Bolz-Weber, the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado calls Jesus’ declaration that he is the bread of life one of the hardest of his teachings to accept and act on. She says we receive the bread of life when we eat it at a table that is open to all.

Christ of the Breadlines by Fritz Eichenberg

Christ of the Breadlines by Fritz Eichenberg

If we look at how Jesus shared bread or meals with people in his lifetime it can help us figure out how to respond to his statement in John 6:35. Jesus ate with people others hated like the tax collector Levi (Luke 5:29). He ate with people society had labeled sinners. (Matthew 9:10) He ate with a Pharisee, someone with whom he had significant theological differences. (Luke 7:36) He provided wine for a big wedding celebration (John 2: 1-11) and a picnic for a crowd of five thousand people. (Mark 6: 30-44) He had an intimate meal with his closest friends even though he knew one of them would soon deny knowing him and another would betray him. (Luke 22)

Kentucky Flood by Margaret Bourke White

Kentucky Flood by Margaret Bourke White- 1937

I did an online search and found dozens of non-profit organizations in cities across North America called Bread of Life. Whether they were in Halifax, or Brooklyn, Wichita or Sacramento, Boston or Houston all these groups had dedicated themselves to providing food for the hungry people in their cities. Like Jesus who shared bread without regard for social or religious conventions these Bread of Life organizations extend God’s mercy and love to those who need it most.

Other posts…….

What did Jesus Look Like? 

A Maori Jesus

Spacious Places in Hong Kong

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Filed under Food, Religion

When They Look Back

You know how we look back now at how we treated aboriginal children by sending them to residental schools and think, “How could people of faith do that?”  

You know how we look back now at how African Americans were brought as slaves to North America and think, “How could people of faith do that?”

You know how we look back at the Holocaust and think, “How could people of faith let that happen?”

You know how we look at ourselves now and think about all the hungry and homeless in our world and think, “How are we people of faith allowing this to still happen?”

Sometimes I think future generations will look back and say, “How could people of faith not recognize the souls of all created things?”

Some Questions You Might Ask

by Mary Oliver

Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?

Other posts……….


Trillums Food For the Soul

The Dawn Chorus

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Filed under Nature, Reflections

Maggie’s Story

An actress tells Maggie's story at The Rooms museum in St. John's

Actress telling Maggie’s story at The Rooms 

Her son was probably wearing a pair of socks she had knitted when he died.  At The Rooms museum in St. John’s Newfoundland I was intrigued by Maggie Osmond’s story. knitting-bagMaggie was just one of thousands of Canadians who knit socks for the soldiers overseas during World War I.  Conditions in the trenches were terrible. It was cold and wet and muddy and a lack of  soap meant a fungal infection called trench foot could develop that sometimes led to gangrene.  The only way to prevent this from happening was for soldiers to have extra socks with them.  So civilians at home knit socks for the troops. red-cross-knitting-instructionsWomen, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and school children learned to knit socks from patterns provided by the Red Cross.  These knitters sometimes tucked a message into the finished socks for the soldier who would receive it. A typical note might read: “Into this sock I weave a prayer, That God keep you in His love and care.”

maggie-osmondMaggie Osmond of Moreton’s Harbour Newfoundland  was one of the faithful knitters on the homefront. She had a personal stake in her knitting since her son Douglas had enlisted in the Newfoundland regiment in 1914 and was serving in France. In 1915 socks Maggie had knitted were given to a Canadian soldier in France. She had put her name on a paper in the toe of the socks. That soldier happened to meet up with the Newfoundland regiment and asked if anyone knew the Maggie Osmond from Newfoundland who had knit his socks. Her son Douglas introduced himself and the two soldiers traded socks so Douglas was wearing the ones knit by his mom.

Newfoundland Regiment in 1915

Newfoundland Regiment in 1915

Unfortunately Douglas died at the Battle of the Somme where almost the entire Newfoundland regiment was killed or wounded.

Maggie’s story was a moving reminder of the tragic cost of World War I and how it impacted so many Canadian families in ways big and small.

The Rooms

Wars- Dread of Mothers

From Pale and Weak to Platoon Commander

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Filed under History, Newfoundland

The Finished Product

shine-materialI spent many months of 2015 writing two units of a faith education curriculum published by Menno Media.  The first one was being used this fall and the second will be used beginning in December.  I received my writer’s copy of the winter curriculum in the mail this week.  It is neat to see how all that brainstorming, writing, editing and arranging looks in this final form with illustrations and posters and attractively designed booklets.  

Other posts………


I’m in KIT

A Week in Rejoice

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Filed under Religion, Writing

Autumn is the Perfect Time for Writing

Autumn is the perfect season for writers because………..


Photo taken in Cox’s Cove Newfoundland

Nature is putting on an inspirational show that prompts us to color our writing with vibrant images

The chill in the air drives us inside to our writing desks


Photo taken in Steve Juba Park Winnipeg

Trees are transforming. We can transform our writing habits from the lazy patterns of summer to the disciplined practice of fall

Autumn is the season of thanksgiving. We can be thankful for writing friends and mentors, writing successes and writing lessons learned

Version 2

Photo taken in Quebec City

Autumn is a time of harvest. We can take the storehouse of ideas we’ve harvested and begin turning them into stories and poems and memoirs

Leaves die and trees rest in autumn. Perhaps it is time to let a part of a manuscript we are working on die too, or put a particular project to rest and start another one


Photo taken in Leamington Ontario

Autumn is a time for hot cider, roasted potatoes, tangy apples and spice cookies. It can also be a time to nourish our writing selves with a book about writing, a writing class or a podcast from our favorite author.

Autumn is a time for Halloween, a scary night. Can we conquer our fears and send a manuscript off to a publisher, share our writing with others and open ourselves to criticism and suggestion?


Photo taken in Gros Morne National Park Newfoundland

We can look at the way some great writers have described autumn and be inspired by their skill and talent.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. – Albert Camus

Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.- William Bryant

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns. George Eliot

Autumn is the perfect time for writing.

Other posts………


Writer or Palaeontologist ?

Why Do You Keep on Doing This?


Jane Heinrichs is a writer and illustrator from London who penned a beautiful reflection about why autumn is a great time for writers on her blog. My post was inspired by her thoughts.


Filed under Nature, Writing

Getting to Know John Cabot

hello-john-cabotDave waves from behind a statue of John Cabot in Bonavista Newfoundland where the Italian explorer is said to have landed in 1497 and claimed North America for the British King Henry VII who had given Cabot money to seek out new lands for England. up-to-john-cabot

The plaque at the statue gave us some more information about John Cabot. He was born in Genoa in 1450 and named Giovanni Caboto by his father who was a spice merchant. John grew up in Venice, married a woman named Mattea and had three sons. One of them Sebastian followed in his explorer father’s footsteps. John thought he was on his way to Asia when he landed in Newfoundland with his crew of 18 men on a fast and able 50 ton ship named The Matthew. (There is some discussion about whether the ship was actually named The Mattea after John Cabot’s wife.)

Dave looks out over the spot where Cabot is thought to have landed.

Dave looks out over the spot where Cabot is thought to have landed.

Some historians say Cabot may have explored the eastern Canadian coast, and that a priest accompanying Cabot might have established a settlement in Newfoundland. John Cabot claimed North America for England, setting the course for England’s rise to power in the 1500s and 1600s. 

john-cabotWhen Cabot returned to England the king gave him a reward and support for another voyage. To celebrate the 500th anniversary of Cabot’s voyage in 1997 a replica was built of his ship and sailed from Bristol England to Bonavista, Newfoundland. 

Other posts……..

Discovering Sakagawea

Blown Away in South Dakota

A Bone Rattling Introduction


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Filed under History, Newfoundland

Love My Job

highschool-group-of-seven-4Had a great day at the Winnipeg Art Gallery last week with a grade nine class from the high school in Steinbach where I used to teach. I had a group of interested and thoughtful young women on my tour of the galleries. None of them had every been to an art gallery before and they loved it! “Could we come back?” they wondered. highschool-group-of-seven-3 They were very impressed by the Group of Seven paintings. They were intrigued by one of Esther Warkov’s whimsical landscapes. They came up with some really original ideas when I asked them to use our trays of manipulatives to create a personal Inuit wall hanging in the Our Land exhibit.highschool-group-of-seven-2They had definite preferences about what they had enjoyed in the galleries and told me which of the works they’d seen they would like to take home and hang in their bedroom and why.
highschool-group-of-seven-5In the afternoon I guided a different group from the same school as they created their own landscapes in the style of the Group of Seven. highschool-group-of-seven-6They were attentive and engaged. highschool-group-of-seven-1Their work illustrates this blog post.
I had such a good time with this group it almost made me sorry I’m not still teaching.

I Love Art

Olympus Inspired Art

The Exquiste Corpse

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Filed under Art, Education, winnipeg art gallery

Spacious Places in Hong Kong

During October a set of seven reflections I wrote were featured in Rejoice magazine. The theme of the issue was Faith in the City.  Here is one of my reflections.

rejoiceO God you have tested us. . . . Yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.

Psalm 66: 10-12

Read: Psalm 66: 1-12

Reflect: We moved to Hong Kong when the city was still reeling from the SARS epidemic. People had become virtual prisoners in their homes. Medical professionals who had risked their lives caring for SARS patients remained isolated from their own families. Businesses were recording millions in losses. Real estate prices had plummeted. Tourism had ground to a halt.

Students at teachers at our school during SARS

Students and teachers at our school during SARS

Schools, places of worship, restaurants, and concert halls had shut their doors. People in our Hong Kong church said SARS was a time when the faith of many was severely tested.   

Hong Kong street sweeper

Hong Kong street sweeper

Yet during the six years we lived in Hong Kong, we watched the city make a remarkable recovery. Expanded sanitation and security departments quickly restored its reputation as a clean, safe place. Slowly the tourism industry blossomed and the economy improved.


Chestnut vendors in Hong Kong

Schools, temples, churches and cultural venues reopened and people confidently returned to the routines of daily life.  

Verses 10-12 of Psalm 66 describe a time of severe testing for the community of God’s people. They have been through fire and water. They have been forced to bear heavy burdens. They have felt trapped. the many faces of hong kongPsalm 66 is a prayer of thanksgiving because God has delivered the people from their time of testing and led them to a place of spaciousness and calm.  

Cities, like the community of God’s people in Psalm 66, often go through times of testing. It may be a natural disaster, political unrest, or a medical emergency. The psalmist encourages people to remember to draw close to God as they go through hard times. God can lead them to a more peaceful place.

Other posts…….

Hong Kong Inspiration

Chestnuts Roasting in Hong Kong


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Filed under Health, Hong Kong, Religion

A Story Told in Different Ways

wso-daphnis-and-chloeI went to see the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra perform Daphnis and Chloe with the Canadian Mennonite University choir last night. They were presenting a ballet score composed by Ravel. The ballet tells a story written by a Greek novelist named Longus in the second century. Longus spins the tale of two young people whose path to finding love with one another follows a twisted course. Daphnis and Chloe was also the title of an exhibit of prints by Chagall that ran all summer at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. I had learned to tell the Daphnis and Chloe story so I could share it with my tour groups.

Daphnes trudging through deep snow to the home of his love Chloé takes refugee under a tree filled with birds

As I listened to the music last night I thought of the various Chagall prints that could have accompanied each movement of the Ravel score. It made the concert a richer experience for me.

One of Daphnis' rivals tramples his flower garden and kidnaps Chloé

I kept wishing the Winnipeg Symphony could have arranged to have the Chagall prints flashing on the screen as they played. 
Other posts………

An Legendary Love Story Told By An Artistic Legend

A Musical Walk in a Bamboo Forest

A Musical Evening in Toronto

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Filed under Art, Music, winnipeg art gallery

Mars Survival Lessons in Newfoundland

dave-checking-out-tablelandsLast night the CBC program Ideas began a series called Generation Mars about the possibility of exploring and colonizing the red planet.  Last Tuesday President Obama said we will be sending people to Mars by  2030. On our trip to Newfoundland we went for a hike in a place that is helping scientists figure out just how people might survive on Mars. tableland-marylouWe hiked the Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park. dave-tablelandThe rocks which make up this desolate place originated in the earth’s mantle. They were forced up during a plate collision several hundred million years ago. boulder-tablelandsThere is methane in these rocks from deep in the earth and since methane is also produced on Mars, there’s the possibility that deep down in the crust of Mars, there could also be life. dave-rod-tablelandsThat makes the Tablelands a great place to test technology and equipment that will be needed for space missions to Mars. stream-tablelandScientists have discovered that the water flowing through The Tableland rocks while low in oxygen and high in pH is actually teeming with life. That gives them hope that there may also be life on Mars.  plant-on-tablelandI think its pretty cool that the Tablelands of Newfoundland are helping us discover how we might explore and even live on Mars in the future.

Other posts about Newfoundland


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Filed under Nature, Newfoundland