Quitting for a While – Well Maybe Just Slowing Down

My summer vacation from my work as a school bus driver begins tomorrow and I am very aware that besides being exhausted and needing a good holiday, I also have some big things happening in my life which need my full attention.  My blog is not on the priority list.

I love that there are so many of my friends who faithfully read my blog and I thank you for that.  It is obvious though from the numbers on the blog site review that those numbers are dwindling.  Perhaps it’s because I’m tired and not very creative or you are tired and bored with my work but no matter the reason it’s time to give it a rest.

If anyone was paying me to do this, I could run around finding new material and topics that would interest both of us.  As it is, I have a business which requires some devoted attention.  To give it my best I need to take a couple of weeks to regroup and get past being exhausted all the time and then buckle down to fix the web site which has been sitting dormant for three months because of lack time.  I need to promote my work as a spiritual director and minister/officiant and make it work for me.  Heaven only knows how long I can keep up the bus driving thing.  I also have another business with essential oils which I had not intended to pursue quite so much but which I am discovering, has the potential to change not only my life but the lives of many.

After two weeks of R&R you may see me once a week but no promises.

Follow me on Facebook to keep up to date.

Thanks for your support and have a safe and happy summer.

With love Rev. Margaret “Peggy” Guiler

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Boycott the US

I started my own personal boycott on the United States in November of 2016 by vowing not travel in south of the Canadian border until Donald Trump is no longer in power but now it’s getting more intense after the Trump insult to our Prime Minister and ultimately to all Canadians.

Our countries are so tied together economically and emotionally this is not an option for many.  If your kids live in the US or you own a condo there I’m not suggesting you don’t go there but you might consider a few sanctions.  While I am not convinced that a trade war is the answer to the Canadian difficulties with Trump I can at least make a statement, and so can you buy making sure that you buy Canadian (at least not US) products, as much as possible.  In the season of produce that becomes even easier to do because we have so much food available without even leaving the market.

There are things that might be harder to boycott but some quick glances at labels on products will give you the information you need to make the choice.

I don’t drink orange juice or Coke so that isn’t a problem for me, but they may be non-negotiable for you.  That is fine.  For me Young Living Essential Oils are non-negotiable, and I won’t stop ordering them because of a flawed president.  I will not, however attend conventions in the US and I will put Canadian cranberry in my vodka which will also be Canadian.  (It’s easy to make your own cranberry juice by the way.)

If you decide not to use a product because it is from the US or some of it is from the US, then you might also consider writing letters to the manufacturer.  If you aren’t buying groceries made in the US, you should likely write to the store’s head office to let them know.  Writing letters increases the impact and lets businesses know the mindset of their customers.

It would be very unCanadian to be too radical, but this may be time to make a little more noise than usual.

For more information on how to discover if products are made or grown in Canada visit the Canadian Food Inspection Site.

Another blog on Anti-US Consumer Boycott

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News Weary vs. Responsible Citizen

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It happened after 911 and then again in November of 2016 and since then the disease of news weariness has almost overcome me but as a person who considers herself a responsibile citizen in need of an understanding of the facts about what is happening around me I cannot just turn it off.  Even more, as a journalist, who studied news writing and has a deep respect for those writers and broadcasters who seek out and report the truth I have cannot allow the waves of truly fake news and propoganda stand in the way of my responsibility to know and understand the real story.

I know how easy it is to turn the truth in a way that makes your own agenda appealing.  I know how to take a picture that will make someone look bad.  I know how to word things so that my own bias is hidden.  I know these things because as a journalist I had to learn how to avoid using these weapons of the Fifth Estate.

Now, as I watch the crumbling of the American Empire and see its Nero fiddling and redifining truth and national priorities I am sorely tempted to burry my head under the pillows so I don’t have to hear any more of the horror which is next door.  To make it even more difficult is the string of ignorance and complacency which comes from those who actually support what is happening and become the willing victims of the “real fake news” which is nothing more than facist propoganda and narcisistic ramblings.

Molly Ball, Time Magazine’s National Political Correspondent summed it up well.  She said of Donald Trump, “He thinks shock is a temporary condition, moral outrage is phoning posturing and that the American people can be numbed to just about anything.”

I cannot turn a blind eye.  God help us all.

 

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Bonfire and Dancing? How Do You Celebrate the Summer Solstice?

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Enjoy the sunshine today.  It’s the most you will see until next year at this time.

I’ve never been big on the sun and moon festivals but that is about the change.  Comes a time in life when almost any excuse for a party is good and this seems like a good one to me.  I think the sun and the moon and all of creation deserve a great deal of celebration.  Their rising and settings, waxing and waning are the measure of our existence.

On the longest day of the year on Keno Hill in the Yukon Territories everyone spends the day on the hill watching the sun go around them.  It must be fun though I had trouble sleeping last night with the light beginning around 3:30 in the window.  I can’t imagine how hard it must be to sleep in the far north during the summer.  Blackout curtains and those sleep masks would be a must.

It would be fun to be at Stonehenge doing yoga or just standing around watching the sun rise.  Global news had some reports on that party today.   I am always amazed at the ingenuity and genius of the ancients.  They lacked all the great tools and computers we have but they still had it figured out.  One article says the builders of Stonehenge knew the Pythagorean theory 2000 years before Pythagoras.    In Manhattan they watch the sun rise between tall buildings.

At my house I just got up and watched the sun peek over the horizon while I drank my coffee. I’d be game for a party with bonfire tonight, but I must work in the morning.

In the mean time one of my friends on the other side of the world in South Africa is spending the shortest day of her year.  I don’t know if they have light festivals there like we do but I hope they are having fun too.

Have a wonderful and safe summer.  Enjoy some of the articles in the Google Search on the day.

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Don’t Put Off Until Tomorrow…Ugh Paperwork

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Sometimes it takes a little push for me to get at things but I’m getting better at “just doing it” rather than waiting for the perfect moment.  Today I had to get to the one thing I put off the best.  Paperwork.  Now I’m feeling better and wondering why I waited so long to do it.

For some reason it has always been easier for me to think about doing things than to do them.  I wait for the right time. I consider all the options and downfalls.  I analyse and hypothesise.  I think of all the things I need to do the job properly and sometimes I even go out and buy them.  And boy do I ever work well to a deadline.

Learning to “Just Do It”, especially when it comes to paper work, is one of life’s harder lessons for me but it really does make life easier when I just get to the job rather than thinking about.  I read something recently (which I cannot find now) about it taking as much time to think about doing it as it takes to do it.  So true.  In fact, I likely spend more time thinking and worrying about doing paperwork than it takes to do it.

The result is my words are short today because the pile of papers on my desk is dwindled.  I found the stuff I need for a meeting tomorrow and now have a small but manageable pile of “To Do Paperwork” sitting under my journal for tomorrow.  I even got a few things done today that weren’t on my list.

What do you put off?  What is the price you pay?

 

 

 

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The Horror – How Can We Meet It?

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The absolute horror of what is happening in the United States makes my stomach turn and my heart ache.  I cannot say I am surprised by it, but I am sickened and even frightened, that things like this can happen in the so called free world.

To think that good men and women who run border control stations could take part in this travesty, believing they are doing the right thing confounds me.  Even more, that politicians, who claim to be serving the interest of humanity saying they support this action, strikes fear into my heart.  Have they forgotten about the Nazi’s, the Japanese internments, the Native American horrors?

I could rant about the demigod who is the author of all this, and I have, but to give him lines is to give him power.  What I really need to do is figure out how to stand against this in a way which is right and godly.

There is a strange power at work when we send out our energy with rage and anger toward a situation we don’t like.  A strange principle works in this world.  Hate increases hate.  Love increases love.  I can’t really explain it but Martin Luther King and others like him understood the principle.  The only way to win over horror is with love and peace.  Peaceful marches.  Peaceful statements.  Peaceful approaches are the only way to stand against this.

I don’t have to like the man or what he stands for, but I do have to recognize that hating him will only fuel the fire he has going.  I must dig deep not to spout furry and injury back at the people who claim to be in the right but that will not win them.  Somehow, I have to find a way to stand against what they are doing in a spirit of hope and peace.

I’ll keep you posted and let you know when I figure it out.

Recording of children crying for parents. 

 

 

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High School Graduation Day

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Do you remember your last day of high school?  What a thrill it was.  A day filled with mixed emotions about leaving life long friends and embarking on a whole new world of friendships and adventures. There was even some anticipation, perhaps worry, for those who still faced final exams and for those who didn’t know what the next steps would hold.

Today is the final day of classes for the grade 12 students who have been riding my bus all year.  Some of them I’ve had for two years since I started this run and I will miss them.  It has been fun watching them mature over two years.  We will have cold pop and cupcakes and each one will get a card and a balloon from me.  (I might even get a hug though I can’t tell the boss because we aren’t allowed to touch the children.)

I’m always surprised how much I come to love them and care for them.  I spend over 400 hours a year with these children and while some of them don’t have a clue where I live or anything about my life I eavesdrop on their lives every day.  They talk about things on the bus that they shouldn’t.  They think I’m deaf.  I hear about struggles at home, their sex lives, their drug habits.  I know the movies they like and the music they like and even though mine wear uniforms, I have a pretty good idea of their style of dress.  I know what makes them angry and the things they look forward to.  I know their fears and their fantasies.

Today is the beginning of a whole new life for the six grads I have.  They will wander off into the world and I will likely never hear from them again though I’d love to know where they go.  I will wish them the very best and send them off with the words of Dr. Seuss’s.  If I could buy each one a copy of this book I would but that’s just not in the bus driver budget.  So here it is for you Amanda, Hunter, Sam, Jason, Donald and Michael. “Oh the Places You Will Go“.  Love and blessings to you all.

 

 

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The Church Supper

church supperIt happens twice a year at my church.  Once in the spring (today) for the fish fry and then again in the fall for our annual roast beef dinner.  It takes weeks of ramp up and preparation for both and for an aging congregation it becomes more and more of challenge but something in me wishes it were an event that could continue for every generation.  Sadly, it won’t but in the mean time do we ever have fun.

The volunteer work that goes into church dinners includes everything from selling tickets to doing dishes and taking out the trash.  It is a time when people’s talents as sales agents, cooks, wait staff, organizers, and general labourers shine…or not.  Pie makers are the stars of the show but they are getting hard to find.  We get men doing things they never do at home.  They like mashing potatoes much better when they get to use their drill attached to a masher to do it.

The ticket sellers usually don’t have to work too hard to make it work because people look forward to a great meal at a church.  There is a sort of circuit of dinners and the same people show up at many of the church suppers in the area.  It becomes a great place to meet friends and it is also a place where the boundaries of beliefs vanish, and people just enjoy one another.

Most of the people who will show up today will be older folks but there will be a few kids in the crowd.  They always brighten the place up.  The workers are all from Mt. Zion United today but there are fringe folks who are related or friends of the congregation who will be enlisted for the event.  For some it is the closest they will ever get to going to church and that is OK.

If I get there soon enough I get to be the traffic cop and try to get people filling up the tables in an orderly fashion rather than all “higgilty piggilty”.  When that’s done I’ll get to do dishes.  The rules are like Grandma’s house.  Everyone works until the work is done.

I think the very best part of the event is when those of us who have worked all get to sit down and eat together after everyone else is gone home.  It’s family time and is filled with laughter and joking.

If you have never been to a church supper, it’s worth finding one and giving it a try.  Even better is joining the work crew.

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Blind Trust – Driving in a Tornado

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When I was driving students home on the bus yesterday I wasn’t really looking for a sermon illustration for Sunday but I got one.

I didn’t see a funnel cloud though I did recognize the colour and cloud formations were dangerous.  I’d seen them years ago when a tornado hit our area.  I turned the corner and saw before me a wall of cloud and suddenly I was blinded by leaves, branches, rain and hail blowing on the windshield at frightening speed.  I could barely see the pavement on the road for the debris, but the rain made it glisten enough that I could follow the trail over the bridge and around the corner.  I moved slowly but purposefully trying to get as far away from trees and power lines as I could.

The children were silent but for the one closest to me who said something about, “why are you all acting like this is normal.”  He could see what I saw and was frightened.  The others were cowering in their seats listening to music on their phones.  The one whose house I was closest too was worried about being let off in the rain and hail.  I was just worried we even get the half mile down the road to his driveway.

My mission was to get the children in my charge on the school bus home safely.  (That is my mission every day.)   In an instant I had to chose whether to stand still at the edge of the bridge and wait it out or drive through it.  I chose the later.  This morning I travelled that same route and, on the spot, where I would have been stopped to wait out the wind was a very large willow which had fallen across the road.  It would have crushed us.

In moments like that you follow your gut.  It’s not about right or wrong but just sheer gut.  I have great faith in God, but I have no understanding of God’s economy.  Some decisions I make with great prayer and consideration believing God is in it and it turns out to be a complete disaster.  Other decisions I make on the fly like I did yesterday in that storm and it turns out to be an absolute miracle.

If you decide to go to church this week, and I would encourage you to give it a try, you may find the person teaching lesson using these scriptures which are part of the Common Lectionary for the church this week.  Hmmm!  

  • “Some trust in chariots and some in horses but I will trust in the Lord. ” Psalm 20
  • “Walk by faith, not sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7

 

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Considering the Mustard Seed

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When I was little someone gave me a little charm bracelet.  The trinket hanging on it was a mustard seed encased in plastic.  As I prepare for Sunday I read and reread the parable of the mustard seed and try to “muster up” words to explain the story and its value in our day to day life.

It’s not always easy to believe in the things we cannot see.  Trusting that the seed buried beneath the earth will grow and bring forth fruit requires faith and some things beyond our control.  It needs rain and water, warmth and nutrients.

There have been times in my own life when I have been filled with great faith.  I’ve had knowing that the Divine would see me through the trouble.  I’ve also had long spells when I could not see the hand of the Creator even when it was right in front of me.

I know from the past that often the light is closest when the darkness is greatest.

When I look at the fields these days with their fresh growth of corn and beans, the green wheat waving in the wind like an ocean of life and the lush trees on the verge of summer I can be hopeful for a good harvest, but I know it is a delicate balance of warmth and water that will make it happen.

So, it is with life.  It is filled with potential and hope but sometimes things beyond our control happen.  I don’t control the water and the rain.  The only thing I can do is control my reaction to droughts and floods and stand believing there is something bigger beyond it all that holds my best interest.  Even when I cannot feel it I need to believe the love which is the great I AM.

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