Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

PS - You might find tumbleweeds rolling through my sorely neglected blog during the early part of 2013, but…stay tuned for travel stories and photos in April and May, as my Mom and I head off on a month long exploration of London, Paris, Provence and Barcelona!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Time to Act...A Time to Lament

As the news unfolded yesterday about the elementary school shootings in Connecticut, my heart was swollen with can this happen? Expressions of shock and pain rolled across the pages of my facebook newsfeed...every media outlet carried the was inescapable. As it should have been...inescapable. Change doesn't come in those moments when we are able to turn a blind eye. Maybe this horrific event will be a catalyst for change.

One friend posted this: "I'm sorry, people, but posting on FB about how sad we are, raging at the "machine" and having some breakfast, will not make the children any safer. It's time for action. Anyone up for it????"

I pray people answer the growing call to action. Positive, fruitful action, that is. I am starting to see a lot of polarization around tangents and side issues that serve only to deflect our attention and prevent real change from happening.

But as important as it is to bring about change in the coming weeks, months, years...we also must be mindful of our very human need to grieve. Time to come together in community and lament. To weep in the darkness, waiting for the light to shine again in our hearts.

I read the Book of Lamentations yesterday and my eyes kept stopping at verse 16:
For these things I weep;
   my eyes flow with tears;
for a comforter is far from me,
   one to revive my courage;
my children are desolate,
   for the enemy has prevailed. 
I thought, yes, sometimes that is how we feel. Discouraged, if the enemy has prevailed. Almost. But not quite. I also recalled the words of the Psalmist. Psalm 147, which President Obama quoted: "God heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds." And Psalm 23, that source of great comfort in our times of grief: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.

And I saw my facebook newsfeed fill with an outpouring of prayers for all those affected, even from those who are normally (and often vehemently) non-religious. We wrap each other in the arms of comfort, setting aside our differences. And in the face of such love, the enemy cannot prevail. Now I pray that the anger and pain in our hearts gives way to justice seeking, and not vengeance or apathy.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." (John 1:5)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Grateful for Living Waters

I'm sitting here feeling so incredibly grateful for the amazingly beautiful and wondrous world that surrounds me...for the loves of my life...for the path I am walking (leaping, crawling) toward ordered ministry...for the movement of the Spirit and the mystery of life. The following words by David Steindl-Rast, shared in a video by Louie Schwartzberg called Gratitude, really resonate in my soul.

“It's not 'just another day', it's the one day that was given to you today. It's given to's a gift. It's the only day that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.”

“If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is…if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.”

“And on this day all the people you meet, all that life from generations and from so many places all over the world flows together and meets you here, like a life-giving water if you only open your heart and drink.”

“And so I wish you will open your heart to all these blessings and let them flow through you...that everyone you will meet on this day will be blessed by you...just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch...just by your presence.”

“Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then it will really be a good day.”

Amen, brother. Amen.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Saturday Photohunt: Seasonal

It's been a long while since I've posted an entry...but I was meandering around my yard the other day taking pictures in the rain and thought I would share a glimpse of what the season looks like in Nova Scotia right now...what a blessing to be surrounded by such beauty!

Check out Sandi's Photohunt page to enjoy more seasonal offerings!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Saturday Photohunt: Oooooo

I say "Oooooo" when I stumble upon quirky corners of the this street in Citta' della Pieve, Umbria:

Vicolo Baciadonne, which is Italian for (I believe) Kiss the Woman Street. I have heard a couple explanations for this name:
  • It is so narrow a person can lean out a window on one side and kiss a woman in the window on the opposite side.
  • It is so narrow two people have to kiss in order to squeeze past each other.
Either way, it was fun wandering through, if a shade disconcerting because you cannot see the other end when you start, and the street is longer than you'd think! Plus when you turn the corner, it seems to get reaaaaaaally narrow and you wonder if you are going to fit! Sadly, I did not meet George Clooney coming through from the other side...

Check out more "Oooooo"-y posts at Sandi's Saturday Photohunt !!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ABC Wednesday: Z is for...


From A View on Cities: "The Zattere was built in 1519 and first used as a landing dock for the delivery of timber used to construct ships and buildings, which gave the quay the name Zattere, Italian for raft.
The timber gone, the Zattere today is a spacious promenade that runs along the entire southern shore of Venice's Dorsoduro District, from the Marittima and San Basilio all the way to the Punta della Dogana

My mother and I spent two nights in Venice in was our first visit to Venice, to Italy, to Europe! We both fell under the spell of La Serenissima. We were there in March, when there were (relatively) few tourists. The mornings and evenings were misty and mysterious...strolling through the hushed calles, it really felt like we'd been cast way back to a distant time past. One afternoon we wandered around the Dorsoduro sestiere and came to the Zattere. The buildings glowed in the sun and we couldn't resist sitting on this bench by Ponte Longo and gaze across to the island of Giudecca. Here is Mom on the Zattere, basking in the wonder of being in Venice...

And that's all for Round 10!
Zip over to ABCW for the last word in Zzzzz...and an update on what Round 11 might bring!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday Photohunt: Zany

Sandy on the Photohunt page posted a pic of a zany display outside a shop in Montepulciano...I can't resist posting my own photo of that very shop! Mine is from last summer, when their theme was yellow shoe planters...

But my own zany choice is a photo of a big painted egg Mom and I stumbled across while wandering around Ferrara. The egg was displayed in the courtyard of the Centro Cinema E Audiovisivi building on via Gaetano Previata. The place was closed that day so we were not able to find out what the egg display was all about, but we found it fascinating and...ZANY!

Here is the egg from a couple of different angles...

Here is a close up of one of the scenes...the detail was amazing!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

ABC Wednesday: Y is for...

Yummy in my tummy!!

Like this yum-elicious pizza...

Mom and I had lunch in the funky little Bar Brera after our visit to the amazing Brera Art Gallery in Milan. (No clue who the dude in the pic is...he just happened to be sitting at the table next to us and it was impossible to get a photo of the place without getting him in the shot!)

Yahoo, I've nearly made it through Round 10 (my 1st round) of ABCW!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ABC Wednesday: X is for...


The Greek Christos, the annointed...which is a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, the Messiah.

I'm taking an intensive course in liberation and post colonial theology, taught by a passionate and brilliant scholar/theologian from Guatamala. The past couple days we've been talking about queer theology, and how the theology expressed in many churches and denominations can be deeply damaging and oppressive for those in the LGBTQ community. Far too often, hate and rejection is preached and practiced by those who name themselves "Christian", instead of living out Jesus' Gospel message of love. Jesus was present with the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized. Jesus did not walk among the wealthy and powerful saying "By jove, you've got it, well done, give yourselves a pat on the back!" was more like "Oh My God people! 'Love God, love each other.' It's so simple, why can't you get it?? Sigh...let me try to get it through your thick heads and hard hearts one more time..."

Granted we humans, including those of us who walk a path with Jesus, are far from perfect! But we must keep trying to love one another, to speak out for those who have no voice, to actively seek justice, to risk standing up for what is right. We have a loooong, long way to go before the light of the risen Christ shines fully in our hearts and in our world. June is, of course, Pride Month and so, as always, I stand in loving solidarity with my LGBTQ brothers and sisters...and I plan to join or at least cheer from the sidelines of Halifax's upcoming Pride parade. In the meantime, I will continue exploring the theology of the Queer Christ...and hoping homophobia will soon be but a distant memory in the dust of our earth...

I have no photos of the risen Christ depicted in art, but here are a couple pics of Jesus, living and crucified.

I encountered this piece of art in the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena in Castiglione del Lago, Umbria (Italy) It is a stone carving of a scene from the Gospel named for Luke (Lk 7:26-50), the woman anointing Jesus' feet with oil.

The Baptism of Christ by Pietro Vannucci, known as Il Perugino in the cathedral in Citta della Pieve, Umbria

Glazed terra cotta crucificion by Andrea della Robbia in the early Christian church (built in 996) Santa Maria Primerana in Fiesole (near Florence, Italy). Della Robbia was a Renaissance sculptor, specializing in ceramics, so obviously his work is a later addition to the church!

X marks the spot over on the ABCW website this week...check it out and see what treasures you uncover on the other participants' blogs!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ABC Wednesday: W is for...

Well...source of potable Water, which is itself source of life. All over Italy one encounters courtyards with a well in the middle...or the equivalent of a village square (piazza, campo, corte) with a communal well. Here are a few I encountered last summer...

 A well in the courtyard of Abbazia di Spineto, a former abbey, now private retreat centre in Southern Tuscany...

A well on the ground of an old home (Casa Romei, I think), now a museum, in Ferrara

Well in a beautiful cloister just off Piazzetta Sant'Anna, Ferrara.

Well in the cloister of what is now Museo della Cattedrale, in Ferrara

A well that appears to have been moved from its original location and used here for decorative purposes. This is beside the castle walls in the little Umbrian town of Parrano.

And finally, a well with a very ornate hook! I came across this in the inner courtyard of the castle in Sarteano, Southern Tuscany.

Enjoy the rest of the Wonderful entries this week on the ABCW website!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturday Photohunt: Ripples

For this week's theme RIPPLE, I decided to share a couple of photos of the Exploits River in Newfoundland. I took these a couple years ago when we visited our friends in Newfoundland. Valerie's house is right on the river bank...a real slice of heaven on earth. I was so amazed at the size of the Exploits...I think it is bigger than all the rivers in Nova Scotia put together! Some days the water was rough and churned up, but others it was so calm and peaceful...with barely a ripple on its surface. The first pic is from Norris Arm, a bit upriver from Val's...the second pic was taken standing on the bank right in front of her house. I can't wait to go back again one of these summers...what a wonderful time we all had together!

Thanks to Sandi for hosting the weekly Saturday Photohunt...check it out here!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ABC Wednesday: V is for...

Votive candle...
Votive candles are often lit to symbolize a prayer being offered for someone. This particular one was lit by me as I prayed for a fellow student. At the start of our school year last September,we had a retreat day and during one of the spiritual practices, we each took a rock and wrote our name on it. Then we put our rock back in the basket and withdrew a different rock (i.e. a rock with someone else's name on it.) The intention being that we would hold that particular person in our prayers all the following week. I personally continued holding "my" person in my prayers throughout the year. The candle itself, the prayer cloth and the other rock in the photo were given to me by someone else during an entirely separate spiritual practice...and remind me of my connection to my wider faith family...

There is a Veritable treasure trove of Very creative posts on the ABCW website this week - check it out here!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Photohunt: Clean

This week's photohunt theme is CLEAN...but I have missed the past month, so will do a catch up post to get back on track! :)


There is something very magical about fire...I am enthralled and enchanted by it. My daughter jokes that I am a pyromaniac! But I don't love destructive fires, I just love watching the flames in our firepit at the camper. It provides hours of entertainment...doesn't take much to amuse me!



 One of my favourite bands is The Message, who create the most gorgeous contemporary Christian music. Here they are sharing one of their songs during worship time at the United Church of Canada Maritime Conference's annual general meeting last weekend. Love, love them!!


When in Cetona (Southern Tuscany) stop by Cantina La Frasca for a taste of the many delicious products from their farm. Wine, cheese, cured meats, bread, honey, other condiments. Sample to your heart's content and then buy whatever suits your fancy! The shop is just up the hill from Piazza Garibaldi.


Does anything beat the fresh clean scent of the air just after it rains? This was our view every day when we spent two weeks in Cetona. And every day was a wonderful new surprise. We didn't get much rain, but this one day it rained briefly and I loved the smell of the air, and the look of the wet stone and the misty landscape beyond...sheer bliss!!

As a bonus photo for this week's theme...the streets of Cetona were so clean!! I loved it there! I want to be there right now! Did I mention I loved it there?!? lol

Check out Sandi's Saturday Photohunt page for more good CLEAN fun!!

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