Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome to my blog! Of course if we were visiting in person, I'd have the teapot out and we could sit and chat.
I'm honored you stopped by to listen to my thoughts and ponderings - and if you have a minute sometime, let me know you dropped by!

You can also find me on Facebook at Grace Notes, Thoughts and Prayers.

I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A favourite time of year

There is something about this time of year where we embrace the magical, the lovely, the hopefulness of a new season.

As my pastor pointed out, this coming Sunday is really New Years Day in the Christian Calendar - so Happy New Year!  And the Christmas season is full of hope...

We hang on to hope, like light in the dark, given what is often grim and challenging.  At this time of year I want to throw away the balance of realistic and difficult, and ride on a wave of hope and love and optimism.  It is like a dose of happy, good medicine.

Advent is part of that, for me.  It is a slowing down, even in the midst of busy, to really pay attention.  And the Advent calendar calls us to do just that.

I've practiced Advent for many years, at first with my children, and now with my grandchildren.  It has become more of a devotional practice which I enjoy.  And in our technological age, there are many apps for that!  I love reading the devotional thoughts of Henri Nouwen, and there are many others...

Last year I came across a simple sheet of paper with shapes on it to form a very modern tree.  In each shape you could write a reflection... or doodle as I am apt to do... or perhaps write down a word for the day.  I found this a delightful Advent exercise and instead of opening a window and finding a chocolate, I filled the "paper windows" with my doodles and words.

With that in mind, I have created two sheets, one a tree and the other an angel.  You are welcome to connect with me at grace@gracewulff.com if you would like a .jpg of  either of them to create your own.  

Each of these images can fill a regular size piece of paper and there are 25 spaces, for Dec 1-25 to write a word or thought or perhaps draw a symbol, or doodle away... 

I'm sending them to grandchildren with stickers to use... a simple form of an advent calendar.

I think of reflection.  We are drawn to light at this time of year, we long for it to dispel the darkness.  And in the busyness of all that is commercial, in the struggle of all that is broken, in the disappointment of that is difficult, we can reflect, we look to hope.

I love the idea of Christmas Pause.  Would you pause with me to look for hope?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Something to Say

For months now, I've disciplined myself to write a blog, every week, with occasional hiccups, but usually on time.  :-)

I've been continually amazed at how the thoughts and ideas come, and flow from my head into my fingers which press onto the computer keys, and amazingly appear on the screen...

(And I must add, I pray to God for ideas, and have to give thanks where it is due!)

And then the magic of the "Publish" button which I point to with my mouse, and voila, my words are public.  It is a far cry from pounding out on my old typewriter (which still sits in my closet floor), and sending out hopeful ideas and articles, wondering how long they will sit on the desk of a busy editor, much less be read by anyone else.

This is the passion of a writer, but there is also a terrible fear that one will run out of things to say and renege on the commitment made, if to no one but myself.  And even if I have joy in writing, and sharing of the heart, will my words make a difference?  I think about that; I think most who love to write do.

Words matter.  They flow out of most of us, by the hundreds, every day.  We speak, we text, we send Facebook messages and post things about our lives.

Some words are ugly, and we've all been overexposed to volumes of ugly hateful words.  There are times I just wanted to shut it all out and go live in the woods.  Of course, that would have not worked very well, since I do like my warm bed and creature comforts.  And I'm rather scared of the dark. :-)

As much as I enjoy to write, I love to read.  I like to hear the ideas of others, to be inspired by deep thought, to learn from those who have struggled and overcome, and have shared their stories.  I love to hear tales of faith and courage and love.  There is much to learn from one another, and we all have stories to tell.

Two brief stories for today's blog, both of gratefulness.  Yesterday I had a tea party.  I used my mother's tea cups, with yellow roses.  Yellow roses have been important in my life, and I've written about them before.  When my mother died, over three years ago, I ended up with her beautiful china set.  It was her birthday this week, and it is a lovely time to use them.  I was grateful to all who came to our open house, who shared a cup of tea or coffee, and who supported my now annual art sale.  It was a lot of fun.

But I have to tell you... when I opened the door to greet some of my guests, on this November day, what was blooming in my very neglectful little garden?  A yellow tea rose.  Those roses had not bloomed in weeks...  what a lovely gift!

The second story is of New Hope, an organization for the widowed I helped to organize 20 years ago now, after the death of my first husband Andrew.  Last night was their fund-raiser, and as a little organization, they work hard to maintain their office and provide support for those who need it.  Fund-raising is never fun, but it seems rather necessary for any non-profit.

So my hubby Steve and I arrived to find a car lot full of cars... and a hall full of people... and it was a wonderful evening of entertainment, dance and song.  I was moved to tears... as I often am... to see people continuing to support this wonderful cause, which was once just a little dream... now 20 years old.

So dare to dream!  Write your stories!  Share the good, the positive, the encouragements.  We need to share what is lovely and good and bright in our lives.  I am thankful to God for continued encouragements, and pray that you would be encouraged as well!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Focusing on the Fruit

Today, November 12th, I cooked the last of my ripening tomatoes from my garden and made a lovely roasted sauce for some cabbage rolls I had in the freezer.  Last fruits of the season always seem particularly sweet, and bring a bit of sadness that we wait for the next season to taste that freshness again.

This last week has been tinged with sadness and joy... for many I believe.  The US election sparked many emotions and left me drained.  I know I am not alone, because choices made will affect not only our American friends and all of us around the world.

It was ironic that we found ourselves in a spectacular place this past week, in the Rocky Mountains for a retreat and conference, and I found myself in a prayer room ... praying for many things.  How appropriate!!

Life goes on.  Today there was much joy in attending a tea with my daughter and granddaughter, who was dressed to the nines as only a three year old can.  It is so fun to be with her, to view the world from a child's eyes.

And I want to model attributes in a troubled world, attributes that speak to my grandchildren.  The last address we heard on Thursday, before we traveled home, focused on one of my favourite passages from Galatians 5, in fact in was my special verse when I was baptized so many years ago, and publicly shared my love for Christ.

My hubby had already suggested I "doodle" this particular verse, and I became inspired to do that this weekend.  If you want a really good read, I would recommend you read these verses in "The Message", a brilliant paraphrase by Eugene Peterson.  Just look up Galatians 5:22-23, The Message, and you should find it.

 These verses sank into my soul this week, helping me to refocus.  What am I known by?  Can I ask God to fill me with these gifts, breathe into me the very spirit of the Creator? It is an awe-inspiring thought, to think that God desires to indwell us through the Holy Spirit.

And the fruit of the Spirit IS Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control!

 I don't always find these fruits on my news-feed on Facebook, or elsewhere.  I don't always see them demonstrated by those who call themselves Christians either. I too can be blamed for this, it is easy to enter the fray...and I need to keep coming back to love, to choosing my words and actions thoughtfully and prayerfully.

Can I choose to live life with this focus, to choose my words with these attributes?  There are some things we are powerless to do anything about.  But we can always choose our reactions, our words, our focus.  I believe we can ask God to fill us... and to give us these gifts of love, joy, peace...good fruits!

Thanks, always, for stopping by and reading my musings!

<3 Grace

Friday, November 4, 2016

Bright Moments in a month of November

The sun is shining as I write this, so welcome and bright, after dreary days of gray and rain.

It is November, after all, the the darkness always seems to descend like a cloud, reminding us that winter is coming.

Although November can be dreary, it has become a month of social gatherings and creativity.  Craft fairs abound.  Often these are important fund-raisers and wonderful people are working day and night to make it happen.  We love this, especially in our North American culture, and it is fun to create, and to admire other's creations.

Lately, there has been so much focus on what is sad, and what divides us, it is good to have these healthy distractions and places we can experience joy and community.

I want to share about a few events in our own community; and if you don't live in Vernon, I'm sure you have a few of your own!

I have chosen to keep this blog advertisement free, but today I'm doing some advertising of my own!  I hope you will forgive me... I don't do it often.

On Nov. 19, if you live in my area, you are welcome to come by to our second annual open house in our home, and enjoy a cup of tea in a china cup, and have a visit!  If you are not able to come, and are interested in some of these items suitable for gift-giving, please let me know, and I can send you all the particulars.

Items available will include new calendars for 2017 (both wall and desk), magnets for the fridge, Christmas cards, art cards, a new colouring book for children, the booklet "Gifts for the Journey", a guided journal, and a new poetry booklet will be available!

Money raised on that day will help to cover printing costs, and allow me to give away colouring books at the hospital, as well as some of the funds will go toward the Hospital Foundation where I work.

There are many other events in our own community, but I wanted to highlight two of them.  The first is a wonderful tea, bake sale and boutique sale, held at my church First Baptist Vernon, on November 12, 1406 32nd Ave, between 10 and 4 pm.  They are calling it A Winter Tea, and knowing my friend Mary who organizes it with many helpers, it will be a lovely event.

The last event I wanted to highlight is also a group that is dear to my heart.  New Hope will hold its Annual Benefit Concert and Silent Auction, also on Saturday November 19th, at Vernon Christian Fellowship Church.  Featuring entertainers Sally and Holly and Zirka Ukrainian dancers.  There is a $10 admission fee.

New Hope has been supporting widows and widowers for 20 years now, and this fundraiser is key to keeping their little office going and their programs running.  So after you have a tea at my house, head on over for an evening of entertainment, 7 pm!

If you want more information on any of these events, or would like to order materials and have me mail them to you, please contact me at grace@gracewulff.com

And enjoy what bright things November has to offer, while supporting many worthwhile causes, wherever you might live!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

There's a Spider in My House (and other Scary Tales)

I don't need
   to be scared.

I seem to manage
 without the chills
(and for some the thrills)
  that come this time of year.

Just this morning
A big black spider
  the size of a Truck
(we have a lot of toy trucks around here)
appeared out of
and attached itself
    on my ceiling.

Thankfully, my patient hubby
 rescued me
but I was shaken,
  none the less.

Why is it (on another subject)
  that my darling grandchildren
think it is the best game
  to SCARE me?
They become dinosaurs,
and ROAR!!!

I am flattened
  with apparent fright
which is greeted by
 uproarious laughter.

(Grandmothers ARE amusing, it seems).

There are many things
  that send a chill or shiver
Real things like
Politics for one,
   Germs this time of year
      Threats of violence
and our world doesn't feel safe at all.

I calm myself and remember the ancient words
"Be Not Afraid."

Good words for scary times.
Good words for every day!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Looking Up

It was one of those beautiful fall Saturdays, the sun shone blue, and many of the leaves on the trees hanging on, colouring the world around us.  

There are always many things calling my name, including garden clean up and laundry, but my hubby thought we shouldn't waste the beauty and suggested a ride in the country.  He is often right about things like that!  

So we went, enjoying the country side, pumpkin patches, trees in various stages of colour and loss, enjoying our conversation, and taking pictures.  We even took a little walk in our local cemetery where my mother is buried.  It is spectacular this time of year with huge trees towering over the grounds.

I've been thinking about beauty today, this gift of the Creator.

This, in the midst of weariness, for if you look for it, there is also heartache around.  I, for one, am election weary, and sense that many are stressed about many things happening in our world.

For many, that is the least of their worries, as they struggle through health challenges, deep grief and the troubles of life.

The seasons, and particularly the trees are good teachers on life.

My ponderings today:

The world is beautiful
This late in October day
And coloured trees dot my landscape

If I look down
rotting leaves abound
covering streets and allies
some mushed brown
sunk back into the earth.

I can choose where to look.

Can I turn off the screen
Shut off the noise
And drink in the beauty?

Can I look up into a canopy of leaves
drink in the beauty of the sky
take in ever-changing scenery
all around me?

At least it deserves equal time
really, much more
for it feeds a 
weary soul.  

This is the renewable
History marches by

but beauty remains
and the promise of
new seasons
springs hope within the heart.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Election Weariness

This is the year of the US Election.  In case you had not noticed.  :-)

Not particularly a topic I wanted to write on, however it has been very much on my mind.

On many minds, I think, judging from my Facebook feed, and the constant news updates we see on every channel.

We might be Canadian, but we are very affected by this US election.

I'm not going to spout my opinion or add more feed to tired minds, yet after we watched CNN yesterday for a bit, I could keep quiet no longer.

We first watched Trump give a speech in Florida, and then tuned in to hear Michelle Obama give her stirring speech.  We listened to Hillary Clinton as well.  I was especially surprised on how these speeches impacted deep emotions in me, and at one point I was moved to tears.

I think we in the North feel somewhat helpless, like we are watching a Soap Opera on the World stage gone terribly wrong.  And yesterday I felt violated as a woman, and wondered how many felt the same way...

Are we really helpless, I wondered?  And as I've been pondering about it all this week, some things came to mind....

As a Christ-follower, I often think.... how do I live?  I know Christ encouraged us to pray for our leaders, our governments... so I am compelled again to pray, to pray for wisdom, for discernment, for those making decisions in the countries in which we live, wisdom for those who vote.

Christ also called us to LOVE.  It is the part of the greatest commandment.  One of the aspects that appalls me is how divisive this US election is... Christians turning against Christians, and I sometimes wonder... where is the respect, the honour, the love that we should be known by?

We are also called to care for all:  the poor, the sick, the foreigner....  With Christ there is no respecter of persons.  We are all loved equally.  How do I live my life where I stand up for those who are bullied?  Is there a right time to speak out, to champion values that care for those who feel trampled on?

That being said, I believe we are also called to Peace.  Peace seems unattainable some days, but I love that verse in scripture which says: "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (Romans 12:18)

No, I was not going to write on this topic. My thoughts are few.  I am weary of it all.   But there needs to be voices that call for love, for justice, for peace, for compassion.  As much as we are able.  And I will continue to pray... for those who lead here in Canada, and for our neighbours in the USA and all over the world.