Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Friday, May 24, 2019

The Best Superpower Ever

Last week, I started telling you about a Toastmasters meeting where I was challenged to speak off-the-cuff for two minutes about which superpower I would choose and why. What would you pick?

X-ray vision? No thanks. I don’t need to know what goes on behind other people’s walls or under their clothes.

Superhuman intelligence? Got that one already and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Breathing under water? Nope. These days I have a big enough challenge breathing out of the water.

The ability to rise from the dead? Don’t need that one, either. I already know someone who has that power and he’s promised to do the same for me one day. (See John 11.)

I chose a power not yet bestowed upon any fictional hero I know of. This power could change the course of life on this planet. It could put an end to crime, addictions, poverty, injustice, obesity, poor self-esteem, gossip, and run-on sentences.

It’s this: the power to hear only truth.

Think about it. Now, I’m not talking about knowing all truth. That would make me God. Much of the truth in the world would only break my heart.

But imagine if every time you heard someone speak, whether aloud or your own thoughts, only what is true would register. Anything false would simply not be heard.
Oh, the possibilities.

You’re watching TV and an ad for a new vehicle comes on. Instead of receiving the message that owning this vehicle will make you deeply content and irresistible to the opposite sex, you hear that it will make you deeply in debt and irresistible to auto thieves. Truth.

You tell yourself “I need a smoke,” but your mind hears, “I can skip this one and it will be challenging, but I’ll be fine.” Truth.

You’re flipping through a fashion magazine. Instead of the gorgeous, air-brushed model no one will ever look like, you see a photo of yourself with the caption, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Truth.

You’re on coffee break when a co-worker says, “That jerk thinks he can waltz in here and demand service as though he’s the king and we have to do as he demands.” You hear, “That poor man was so mistreated as a child, he has no idea how to relate to others with consideration and kindness.” Truth.

Can you imagine the ramifications if such an empowered person were a judge? A counselor? A police officer? A medical doctor? A parent? A schoolteacher?

I happen to think this would be the best superpower of all. No lies penetrating your brain or heart. It could really set you free, couldn’t it? I guess I’m not the first to think of it, though. Jesus said, “… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (See John 8.)

And speaking of superpowers, don’t forget the superhero-themed Westpark Carnival this Saturday, 10:00-2:00 at Stride Place. I will be in the lobby signing and selling my books. Come say hi!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Meet Your Superhero!

Up in the sky, look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s your friendly neighborhood Wonder Woman!

Or maybe I’ve mixed up my superheroes. It can be tricky.

At a recent Toastmasters meeting, I was challenged to speak, extemporaneously, on what superpower I would choose and why. Fortunately for me, I had answered this question elsewhere and was able to fill the two-minute time slot without too much stumbling. I’m not always that lucky.

Without delving into my answer here, I do want to talk about superheroes because a whole bunch of them—along with a few princesses—are coming to Portage la Prairie! Make sure you and your children don’t miss out on meeting them.

Westpark Children’s Centre (a licensed, non-profit preschool) has already proven itself capable of throwing a superior carnival. Last year was the first time they took this excellent event to Stride Place, where they received nearly two thousand visitors! This year’s carnival promises to be even better, with improved traffic flow inside and out, and streamlined queues to help make your participation in all the activities even better.

For the price of admission, your kids will meet Superman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, Elsa, Anna, Ariel, Belle, and Captain America. They’ll enjoy professional face painting, animal balloons, three different bouncy castles, a petting zoo, and twelve carnival games—each with prizes to be won. They can explore a real fire truck and police car. In addition, upon entry each ticket holder will receive a draw slip for the grand prize—a themed package of summer outdoor toys worth a hundred dollars!

Optional for-purchase items include rainbow auction tickets for a chance to win some awesome prizes, fifty-fifty tickets for a chance to win up to five hundred dollars, princess and superhero-themed glitter tattoos and party favors, photo booth pictures with a character for five dollars (purchase also comes with one draw slip for a prize), hot dogs, chips, drinks, popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, and fancy coffee. The lobby will contain 35 craft and vendor tables.

Whew! Sounds to me like the ninety volunteers bringing us this event (under the leadership of super organizer Susan Hiebert, Director of the Westpark Children’s Centre), are all superheroes in their own right. You know what the best part is? All funds raised will go directly to creating more public daycare spaces in our community. You don’t need superpowers to know what a dire need this will meet. Last year’s carnival raised $26,000 toward the future daycare at Westpark, thanks to everyone who sponsored the event and who came to participate.

So, here’s your chance to be a real-life superhero to your kids and grandkids. Bring them to Stride Place on Saturday, May 25, from 10:00 – 2:00. Tickets cost $15 each (children under one year of age admitted free) and can be purchased at Westpark School, Byte Me Computers, and Stride Place.

As for me, I’ll be practicing my dubious superpowers in the main lobby, selling and signing my books. So please stop to say hello. I’d love to meet you!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

How to make a mother's day...

I’m eagerly anticipating spending Mother’s Day with my daughter in Calgary. The last time she and I spent Mother’s Day together was 2002. Seventeen years ago—nearly half her lifetime now—when she worked as a nanny in Switzerland.

There, it’s known as Muttertag and it’s still on record as my best Mother’s Day ever.

The day began with a bus ride through the breathtakingly beautiful Swiss countryside to Mindy’s church in Sursee where she had a big surprise for us. She was performing in a short drama with the church’s youth group! Though we couldn’t understand a word of Swiss German, it still melted this drama director’s heart.

The sermon that morning was lost on us, too, but it didn’t matter. If the drama hadn’t been enough, the music more than lifted my heart. Although the songs were unfamiliar, we tried to follow along with the German words on the overhead screen. As we joined in praise to God as best we could, I was struck with a brief glimpse of how it will look when we gather around the throne of God in heaven, every tribe and tongue worshiping together—but without stumbling over foreign words. I looked around and saw faces of people who clearly knew Jesus as an intimate friend, not the distant and lifeless icon portrayed in some of the historical churches we had toured. 

Then they sang a song we knew, first in German, then in English. The familiar tune and words brought tears to my eyes as we sang along wholeheartedly: “God will make a way, where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me. He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side. With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way.”

God had indeed made a way for Mindy to find Christian brothers and sisters thousands of miles from home. He had made a way for us to visit her and share this experience. He’d made a way to show me his children are family, regardless of language, customs, or geography. My heart was full.

After the service, all the mothers received little tin buckets with live roses in them. My bucket still sits on my dresser.

At McDonald’s for lunch, they were giving away free coffee and cookies to all the mothers—and if you know anything about European coffee, you know it got me through the rest of that busy day. We spent a delightful afternoon walking around looking at the abundant flowers. We laughed at a sign that said, “Do you like to know how your English is? Ask for Linguaskill and we will tell you!”

Hubby and I called our mothers, neither of whom had ever received a phone call from Switzerland.

We capped off the beautiful day with a delicious dinner at a lovely restaurant with a family Mindy had grown close to. The other mom and I enjoyed complementary dessert.

I don’t expect to experience such an exotic Mother’s Day this year, but I’ll have something far better. My girl is now a mother herself, and I’ll get to spend time with two little boys I haven’t seen for seventeen months. Thanks to modern technology, I hope they know me even if they’re shy at first. Shucks, I may just be a little shy myself at first.

When merely being together is a rare treat, it really takes nothing else to make a mother’s day. Have a good one!