Tuesday, December 25, 2007

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

It's the evening of Dec 24. It's been quite some time since I've written. Not because I haven't been blessed...rather, I've had difficulty seeing it. Tonight God gave me new eyes. I saw the rejuvenated, angelic smile of Grama Letniak, 24 hours after we rushed her to the hospital, fearing pneumonia or worse. Fear of losing her sweet soul was swept away today. For precious minutes, I basked in the light of love. There's an eagerness in her eyes, an urgency in her soft, wrinkled hands, reaching to touch and kiss me. And the smile...when her lips pull back, her teeth glow, I can feel love. It's like an unseen light, mystical and warm, latches onto my heart, pulsing truer and purer love than all the poets and musicians could ever convey.
It's the love of God.

I received another gift tonight. It too is warm, supple in love and mystical. It's a Steps to Christ, World War II Army & Navy edition, bound by staples and glue, covered in a velvety, leather-like paper they don't make anymore. It's the most perfectly created book I've ever held. Thin and soft, it begs to be held, opened and read. The yellowed pages flip effortlessly; it's like a book of formed air, transcendent love of a Savior pressed into soft pages.

I held it a month ago, when it was my Grampa Bell's. Today I held it a second time; and this time it's mine. This book that my Grampa carried from the beginning of his walk with Christ, through missions to the mountains of BC and the wilds of East Africa, to staff morning worship at Branson Hospital, till faithful, daily devotions before he rises each day...this book brings me the strength, warmth and love of a God that has shone through F. Lloyd Bell like a lighthouse of joy, not a rotating light with shafts of brilliance in darkness, but a beacon aglow in all directions, beckoning and embracing anyone who can see it.

It's Christmas day in 30 minutes, but I've already received my best presents.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


So I was reading about Creation today, trying to better understand why God would even bother to create us. Some say He's a tyrant who just wanted some pawns to play with, others say He didn't do it at all...and then there's what I believe.

Everyone who is called by My name,
Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him.
~Isaiah 43:7

This entire chapter is a very intimate portrayal of God's love for Israel and mankind. However, the phrase "for My glory" caught me off guard. Initially I thought, "Hmm, sounds like an artist who creates solely for accolades and compliments".
But in prayer, I thought about it more.

Why do we "glorify" anyone? If we uphold a politician, celebrity, writer, family member, friend...anyone up for glory, it's because they have enriched our lives or inspired us to reach beyond our present state. You may disagree on the value of their contribution, but the fundamental principle is that we admire what they've got and believe it could benefit us too.

So here's how I look at it. God knows all and is all. He understands the greatest joy and the most satisfying fulfillment. If you were in His position, would you keep that to yourself? If you have joy in your life, you can't help but share it. So that's what He did. He created a world of perfection, so that Adam and Eve might experience His joy with Him. So when He says that "I created for My glory", He's speaking of the inevitable thankfulness that anyone who experiences that same joy will "glorify" Him with. It's thankfulness for His risk, thankfulness for His generosity.

Does our current state negate what He did at Creation? Not in my mind. For we still have glimpses of the supreme joy that He promises. A baby's smile, true true true love, friends that stick closer than a brother, vistas that rob you of your breath...and ultimately we're promised the fullness of His joy in heaven.
I think God deserves a little glory for that.

artwork copyright Joe Tucciarone

Sunday, October 14, 2007


So this is my new favourite picture. It's from the Plitvice Waterfalls in Plitvicka Jezera National Park, Croatia.
It's photos like this that just take your breath away, allow you to see God's handiwork and a little glimpse of what heaven will be like.
A favourite site of mine right now is Prettiest Images. It's got this picture and so many others that just blow your mind as to the beauty on this world. You can check out the photographer's site (John Brauer) here

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


At times I'm overwhelmed by the blessings in my life. If I can say this without being misunderstood, it doesn't seem fair. When I spend a weekend with my entire extended family and realize how much we truly love and enjoy each other...it's staggering and humbling. I know this is the exception, not the rule. And part of me is almost embarrassed at my good fortune, which I've done nothing to warrant.
So that's why I do this.
How else can I deal with the blessings I receive, other than sharing them with others? I share because I can't help it. As David said, "My cup runneth over".
I don't claim to understand why I'm blessed, I only know that to not praise God for the reality of my blessings, would be like damming a waterfall.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


This picture captures much of the blessings of my childhood that continue today.

A beautiful, wonderful sister with whom I've shared the most soul-shaking cackles.
A home where I'm safe and happy and encouraged to be me.
My favourite Canadian past time, the blessed "savage ballet" of hockey.
Exquisite fashion sense : )

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Justin is a buddy I met through Choices, which is a whole other blog post. He's the one on the left. All of these boys got tight (and a wee bit foolish ; ), but Justin and I have remained close and I thank God for that. Justin's raw, honest, smart and seeking. And his questions and his honesty constantly challenge me. Recently I've been challenged to ask & answer some questions I've had all my life, and didn't realize it till Justin asked it. Thanks fella.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

PleaZant Surprise

I have a friend, a good friend. His name is Isheanesu Charumbira. In greeting I often revel in his strong surname with a hearty "Mr. CharumBIRa". I enjoy his last name because it embodies the strength of a man raised by strong, Godly parents in the ravaged country of Zimbabwe. I have shared laughs, sorrows and true Godly fellowship with my Zim brother.
He recently moved to Ontario. It was in a rush, so I never really spent much time thinking about it. Then, a week later, he walked into my workplace unannounced. I'll never forget the joy I felt at seeing my friend again. I realized at that moment how great a friend he is and how much I'll miss him. It was a fleeting experience (I was in the middle of a staff meeting, and he was on his way to the airport having flown in for the day to clear up unfinished business), but it was a powerful one. Epiphanies usually don't last long. But this one lasted long enough for me to cherish it. Cherish yours.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


For me, this past weekend was a blessing because I could reflect on the strength and love of a mother. In particular mine... and hers. My mum got an award for the best school administrator in Canada and her mum's sporting a cute short hairdo and her angelic smile, despite recovering from a nasty fall.
But deeper than that, I believe that if we didn't have mothers, we'd never quite understand the love of Christ. It's a determined love, a tenacious love. It doesn't matter how much we reject, berate or hurt them. They'll always return; tenacious, scarred and bleeding, with arms open wide.
To Grama and Mom...Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.....

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Friend of Wit and Whimsy

Hilary inspires me. For two reasons. First, she's set a big goal and is currently smack-dab in the centre of achieving it. She's a historian, doing original research on the effects of the atom bomb... in Japan. That's her above (on the right ; ) under the world-famous cherry blossoms.

Hilary also inspires with her stories and staggering use of the English language. All the stories she tells should be posted somewhere online so that everyone can listen to them. Her ability to draw hilarious details out of mundane occurences is a constant source of joy and cackles for me and her friends.

Soldier on Hil, thanks for sharing your pictures, your laughs...And your inspiration.

More inspiration from Hilary's lens.

This picture is here simply because I like the older man's face. I'd love to look like that in old age.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

True Canadian Home

Yes it's true, Canadian's DO live in igloos. My Pops and I recently built one using a handy contraption pictured above. After many hours of packing sugar-like snow (the most difficult to use), this 8-ft beauty was ready to be slept in. I did that very night (we fashioned a door "flap" from an old rug) and nicely endured -15 C temperatures. Pops is starting on a second one soon, this one will be larger and have a deeper base so that we can build a trench in the centre which will have the door at the end. This way, you'll sleep above the trench on either side inside and all the cold air will escape out the door and the hot air will be trapped inside the dome itself. It was truly a blessing to awake that frigid morning knowing that I was probably one of the only white men in all the world who slept in an igloo that night!

Monday, January 15, 2007


If all the men in this world had a father like mine, here's how it would be different.

Boys would grow up secure, knowing that Pops will teach him, praise him, never leave him.
Young men would venture out confident, knowing that Pops will cheer him, coach him, always enlighten him.
Men would wrap a wife and children in love, pledging that he will comfort them, entertain them, always sustain them.

And the world would be blessed, as am I.