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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, September 21, 2015


The components of my breakfast slowly accumulate in my bowl; cereal grains, seeds, nuts, fruit, some milk and honey, then I sit down to eat.  I am conscious that for many, a step was missed.  I did not stop, fold my hands and bow my head in prayer.  And yet I am grateful, profoundly so, for this privilege and abundance I have access to.  

As I slowly eat, I reflect on this divergence of approach.  I think of friends and partners in ministry, for whom not pausing to say a blessing on the food is unthinkable.  I ponder the deep reverence for life in all its forms that this act conveys, the humble gratitude it expresses, along with the desire and need to connect deeply with God.  It is my desire and need as well.  

Oh God, the source of all that is, thank you for my friends and their deep relationship with life and with all that is Holy.  May the blessing of peace found in divine connection be within their thoughts and hearts today.  Some struggle with deep sorrow and the pain of loss. May they know themselves blessed in the midst of these trials.  There are those who do not have enough.  May those of us who do be reminded to offer the blessing of bread in your stead.  May we not be complacent in our gratitude, but disturbed in our blessings and thereby be a blessing to others…in Jesus name.  

Note:  Illustration is a 1918 photo by Eric Enstrom entitled "Grace."  It is in the public domain.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pray Them Home

She was perhaps, 15 months old. I can’t be sure. I didn’t ask.
Her big brown eyes were framed by a mass of very fine, very black, very curly hair. There was a certain cuteness about her that made me smile.
    C48 began to fill as everyone waited to board the plane.  In an instant, quiet innocence turned into loud inconsolable wailing.  The young mother patiently walked her, rocked her, tenderly bounced her and sang to her.  All efforts to comfort or distract her were in vain. The little one was having, as they say, “a moment”.   Knowing how the  cabin of an aircraft in flight can feel confining, I admittedly thought, “This could be a long flight home”!
    In our seats now, the mother and child are one row across and one forward. The child has cried herself into a deep sleep.  Her soft black curls are cradled in the comfort of her mother’s arms.  As we begin to taxi away from the terminal, a tender moment captures my attention. The young mother, bows her head and closes her eyes.  Her lips move silently. 
    The plane now takes its final pause on the runway.  I notice the mother’s head down, her chin embedded in the soft, mass of black curls.  Again, I notice her lips as they move in silent rhythm. I am supposing that she is praying for a safe flight for both herself and her precious child. 
    I don’t know her name.  I don’t know her story.  Strange, it would seem, that I feel compelled to join in prayer ‘for’ them.  This happens at various times during the flight. I offer a brief prayer when I see the patience needed by the mother to receive assistance from the (not so helpful) flight crew. I pray as I sense the resources of energy that are required from the mother to meet the needs of a small child.
    With a sense of wonder in my heart, I feel that prayers must surely be heard even at 35,000 feet.  I smile in warm delight as, along with intermittent moments of struggle,  they rest together, play together, blow kisses and giggle together.
    We are now one hour from landing.  I take the opportunity to move forward and place a tender touch of caring on the mother’s shoulder.  I tell her she is a wonderful mother, she is doing a great job and her little girl has handled the flight well. 
    It was only a brief moment but it was a moment of true connection.  I learn now that they came to Canada for 3 months so that she could study English.  They are now on their way back home to Brazil. I gasped upon realizing that they still had many more hours of travel ahead of them. 
     It was a brief exchange in the noisy cabin of an airplane but the young mother’s beautiful bright smile spoke clearly of how grateful she was for a stranger’s caring touch and words of praise and encouragement. The few simple words she spoke assured me of her inner strength and faith that would carry her through.  
    Walking off the plane together, I felt so privileged to have been, even in a small way, a part of helping to pray them home.

Ruth Black,
September, 2015    

Friday, September 11, 2015

World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. I am sharing a blog I had written a couple years ago that relates to the theme of Mental Health Awareness that has impacted life in our family.

If I close my eyes momentarily and envision the many many people I know who unwantingly face the rigors of mental health fluctuations in their lives, I am overcome by their courage and fortitude. Their lives are hard to live. At a funeral I attended yesterday, the speaker said, "Life is good until it isn't." Perhaps a simple statement, but it describes so well the experience of a person encountering the unpredictable winds and waves of what you might call "mind storms". It is like the weather patterns that all are so familiar with. Even the experienced weatherperson can't seem to predict the ebb and flow of sun and cloud or precipitation or temperatures. The severity of storms are beyond knowing, until they shake and pound and cause you to run for cover. The person with mental health storms likewise, are pummeled by the unpredictable trauma of inner torment or anxiety or depression or fear or sounds and sights and grief and despair that overwhelm the circuitry of their operational control panel. Naturally occurring chemical imbalances temporarily stabilized by medications hold back the tides until their bodily chemistry like our immune systems evolve to reduce the benefit of their treatment. The quest to start again with new dosages or new medications interact differently with each patient, some good, some bad. In the meantime those dear folk try to live and function with their lives in turmoil and upheaval in expected normalcy. Most of us barely function with a cold or flu that hits us with short term symptoms for a few days once in a while. The contagious nature of these known ailments are cause or us to take time off from work with the sympathy and thankfulness of our fellow staff. Those with emerging mental health storms that outwardly are pretty much invisible to others are at a disadvantage in being understood by their peers and colleagues. They simply are misunderstood. They are marginalized because society as a whole is far from empathetic; operating on efficiency, productivity and expectations of normalcy.

Compassion, empathy, love and acceptance of different ways of life expressions in people we meet, live and work with is what we need to build awareness of. We all live in the bounties of grace whether we acknowledge its presence in our lives or not. Relating to others as we want to experience acceptance, love and understanding is the golden rule of compassion. Let us remember the imagery of storms as the unpredictable reality of mental heath fluctuations. May we become one measure of peaceful  loving stability in the lives of those who encounter these extended unknown periods of breakdown in the circuitry of their lives.

submitted by Kerry