Kindred Spirit

It’s been a year since I came to visit you.

It feels far too long,

but I can’t afford to fly to Saskatoon

every time I want to see you

(which is kinda always).

So thank God for the telephone

because speaking with you

gives my spirit wings.

Over my morning coffee,

and your morning tea,

(though several provinces apart)

we share, ponder and discuss

problems and triumphs,

and celebrate our awesome things.

God in all his wild and tender beauty,

feels closer to these little bits of his creation

–two busy moms laughing in their kitchens–

when we are together.

So bosom friend,

enriched by your wisdom and humour,

your sense of adventure and joyful openness to others,

I have treasure enough to fly around the world!

Do we live with reverence for creation?

What strikes me when I listen to Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si” (find it recorded here) is an attitude of reverence…both for nature as created by God, and for every human person as part of that same creation. The poor, the humble, the sorrowful sinner, the bird with the broken wing, the glorious sunset…are all beautiful manifestations of God’s infinite creativity. As such, all can be approached with a gentle reverence that inspires respect and care, rather than judgment and selfish dominion.

So what resonates deeply with me, is the Pope’s assertion that the way we treat nature is a sign of, and even affects, how we treat people. If we take all created things for granted, as items to be used for our own pleasure and financial benefit, it leads us to also objectify our fellow  human beings…to use and abuse them as well. We become disconnected from creation, and unable to relate to those who suffer because of our selfish actions; our vision becomes microscopic, and we only see things as they affect us. 

We forget that everything we receive is gift…air to breathe, the sunrise, fresh food to eat, laughter, joy. When we see such things as rights instead of blessings, we fail to appreciate them. We get caught up in trying to cram our souls full of new gadgets, acquisitions to fill the emptiness that should be filled with gratitude for all we already have. 

But what if we tried to live with more simplicity? What if we tried to make our money stretch a little further, so we could have more to share with those who really need it, for whom every dollar counts? We had a Lenten meal at our parish in Sunday, and ate a simple meal of soup and homemade pretzels. All the donations for the meal were given to help build a school for poor children in South America. We watched a little video of these beautiful kids with great big brown eyes, smiling and full of hope as they shared their ambitions. “Yo quiero soy un professor,” (I want to be a teacher) said one little girl. (Forgive me if I spell the Spanish wrong!)

That soup tasted like a million bucks. I wish I had a million to send to those kids. They are the little ones whose world we must take care of. The ones for whom we need to lift our eyes behind the screen of our iPhones to look into the future. Let’s tread gently, and live generously, so that as many of them as possible can grow up to fulfill those dreams, and in turn also make the world a better place. 

The Joy of Mercy: Sharing at Christmas

The only things we really possess are the things we give away; they are the things which truly enrich our souls.
Fr. Anthony

The other day my kids and I were lucky enough to be able to help a family with two kids who is really in need. They just moved here from the Philippines, with nothing but their suitcases. They didn’t have any of the things we take for granted: beds, coat hangers, pillows, shelves, can openers, toys, cups, etc.

We wanted to help, as we have so often been helped ourselves. Being a large family of modest means, we are very often the recipient of other people’s generosity, and never want for anything. Except perhaps, more clear space! 😉 It seems we have about three of everything, so we were so glad to be able to share with a family who could really use our help.

The best part of it was that when I told my kids the story of this immigrant family with nothing, not even beds or toys, they got really inspired to share their things and ran about finding things to give:

“I bet the little girl would like the big cat stuffie I made a Build-a-Bear.”
“And the little boy would like my Cars backpack.”
“Here, Mum, let’s give them my flower blanket and this Christmas pillow.”
“Do we have food to give them? They need that. Oh, hurrah, and candy canes, too, for their stockings.”
“Here, I’ll give the girl my old jewelry box to keep her little toys in.”

You get the idea. Because they got into it, and imagined the happiness they could bring to others, they were very happy, and we found 4 boxes and three bags of stuff to give them.


I was so glad to see it coming from their hearts; they can be attached to their things, but in this case I didn’t have to push them to let it go. They were so proud.


Even my little boy knew something great was happening! Oh, and we didn’t give away all his clothes, Grandma…he’s just loves scampering about in as little as possible!


In case you feel inspired to help a family this Christmas, too, I’ll give you the link to the story and fundraising site of another Filipino family, not lucky enough to be here, who are really struggling. My friend Christina’s lovely nanny Mercy supports her entire extended family on her small income, and recent health crises of her aging parents and baby niece have made this next to impossible. She would be so grateful for any help you can give, and time is short; just over ten days remain on her fundraiser at this point.

You Won’t Believe What a Little Mercy Can Do

Sharing with others brought my kids a lot of joy this year, and I hope it will bring you joy as well, however you are able, whether financially, through your prayers or by sharing this story with others. Christmas is truly a time to show that mercy and love know no borders.

Little Gift

Poetry gives my heart wings
so it can fly to you.

It takes this inexpressible spirit of mirth
and sprinkles it like petals in the wind
a frenzy of colour
a dance of joy.

You can’t believe how happy it makes me
to see my little inspirations
reflected in your eyes.

You’ve tasted something
I thought only I could,
seen this light coming through me
a simple lantern
now glowing
rejoiced with me in this little gift,
the poem that came to me today
like a butterfly
to one sitting quietly enough
to hear its wings.