Friday, May 1, 2015

Alberta Election 2015

The Alberta Election 2015 is mere days away.  In case you aren't familiar with it, here is Alberta's election history in a nutshell:

                   1971- present   Progressive Conservatives
                   1935-1971        Social Credit
                   1921-1935       United Farmers of Alberta
                   1905-1921        Liberals

We are a province of political dynasties. We are also a province of majority governments.  I think it is time to consider changing that. Let's shake up the status quo, try something new, stretch ourselves a bit, and vote in a minority government. 

Too radical? Too disturbing a thought? Certainly something different for this province. 

I  think that a minority government could be a good thing for Alberta. For one thing, it might help the political parties to learn a new skill: cooperation.  That is something that has been unnecessary in the past; majority governments feel, understandably, that they have been given a mandate to go ahead and do whatever they see fit. That can be useful but, as we have sometimes seen in Alberta, it can also get out of control. A minority government could, theoretically, help the political parties to learn to play nicely together: share their toys, take turns, listen to and hear each other out. I might be a bit on the optimistic side regarding this possibility, some might say naive.  After all, they might all just as likely have tantrums, take their toys and go home. Discouraging thought. After all, cooperation and the ability to compromise are reasonable  qualities to expect our politicians to cultivate. Aren't they? 

A minority government, formed by any of the parties in Alberta, would also send a strong message to the most recent dynasty, a message that Albertans are tired of being treated like  employees  instead of shareholders.  We govern, by proxy, through our elected representatives. It is time that we take hold of that right and responsibility, and it is time that our government becomes aware of that truth, in no uncertain terms. 

So, on May 5th, let's consider making a change, and a mark in the political history of Alberta.  Whatever your political views may be,  get out there and let your opinion be heard at the ballot box. At the risk of sounding cliché,  every vote really does count.





Friday, April 24, 2015

Violets



Violets are shy flowers. They hide beneath the detritus of last year's garden and can be completely overlooked. Some years, I have missed their bloom altogether. I am always disappointed when that happens for violets, beloved and simple flowers,  speak to my heart. For me, they are the true heralds  of spring.

This past Sunday, my neighbour Debbie and I went looking for our violets, and we found them. Thanks to an amiable wind, I suppose, they had spread from my flowerbed to hers, and as we pushed aside some dead grasses, we found these delicate purple flowers hidden beneath.

We have violets in God's garden, too. They spread God's love, in their own quiet way,  in their neighbourhoods, workplaces, schools, barely noticed, sometimes completely overlooked, even by those who benefit from their gifts of service.  But when  our eyes are opened before God's throne, we may be surprised at some of those who receive the heartfelt "Well done, good and faithful servant." Then, their once undetected brilliance will shine for all to see in the light of the Father's Presence. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday

Previously posted March 22, 2013

Easter Sunday

Darkness turned to light
A touch of hope
      And then
             Unadulterated JOY.

The unthinkable has been
                          Thought
The undoable has been 
                                 done
The unreasonable is now
                          Reality.

Darkness turned to light
          By truth

We are not imprisoned
           Any longer
In cells of our own making.

The light has broken through
         Releasing those
               held by Darkness.

A new world begins.

Hope, once scattered

     Is Now Firm

Truth, once uncertain

     Is Now Confirmed

   The Future, once Darkened

   Is now Filled with

       Light

Light that will guide us

     Into a new reality-

 Through the darkness

 Into what was always

      Meant to be.

No more holding back

     For we know what lies ahead.

No more fear of death

    For that blight has been conquered.

    Our hope
        Our truth
            Our future

         Joy-filled with Light.





             Katherine Kavanagh Hoffman                           

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday Reflections

First posted March 27,  2013


Crucifixion

The bread and cup
             were passed

Thus, the ordeal began.

    A furtive meeting
           A quiet garden
                  Filled with prayer and anguish

     Sleeping men.

            And, then

      The sounds of rushing men
              intent on duty.

          A kiss
              The strike of a sword

                                And healing.

        Fearful men.

                       Trial
                              Denial
                                       Mockery

A night filled with uncertainty
                  for many
    Though not for 
                          One.

    He is sure of the outcome.
            And the purpose

          Purple robes
                Crown of thorns

         Cross to bear.

Through the streets
             Jeering crowds

   A contrast to those
         crowds victorious,
                  worshipful,
                         mere days ago.

        And, then,

               Desolation.

           The pain of
                    flesh and spirit torn

            The torment of sin,
              though not His own
                           The agony of this labour.

                     Death brings completion.

               "It is finished."

        Katherine Kavanagh Hoffman  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wintertime Musings

I am not a big fan of winter these days.  For a woman who has spent the last 28 years in Edmonton, Alberta, that is saying a lot.  However, I can look at the bright side. It is February, a nice short winter month.  We are on the other side of the winter solstice, so it is getting lighter. Longer days, shorter month- that can only mean one thing- spring really will come, and sooner than later.

In Edmonton, that usually means sometime in April. We cannot really count on March- it never seems to be able to decide what kind of month it wants to be. And, to be honest, even April can be quite finicky. So, while others are finishing with spring, we are usually basking in it in May. Or June.

I can hardly wait!

I wish I could embrace winter as some people I know do. Maybe I am just a coward.  The winter cold here bites at my skin, all the more so because I have rosacea. I do honestly suffer after any time spent in the cold- not just because my skin gets red, but because it also gets so sore. This does not make me want to head out for a brisk morning walk, or a cross country ski venture in the River Valley.

For me, winter means staying in. Period. Trying to stay physically active within the confines of my home.  And failing quite miserably.

There are things that I do embrace about winter in Edmonton. Cozying up in my comfy armchair,  a vanilla chai close at hand, and a good book in my lap. Taking a snow day, watching movies on Netflix, cuddled in a warm throw on the couch in the den. And this year, I have found the long dark cold winter days much more tolerable thanks to this laptop and a desk in my office, where I am beginning to spend more and more time writing.

So, I salute those of you who are able to embrace the winter cold with determination and even pleasure!  I really wish I could!  Perhaps I do need to consider another nest for the winter, far away from all this cold.  In the meantime, I will cocoon in the best way I know how.  And while my body may not appreciate the long hibernation, I can at least use it as a time to get my brain into shape.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

New Year In Focus

So, how is 2015 working out for you so far?

Are your resolutions still holding? Are you satisfied with the way things are going?

We are now at the end of January. Perhaps 2015 does not look quite as shiny as it did just a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe your resolutions have already bitten the dust. It all seemed so easy on January 1st, but now we are back to the same old thing, and the same old dissatisfaction is rearing its head.

Could it be that we are looking in the wrong direction?  So often our resolutions are focussed on things we think will make our lives happier. But maybe that isn't what it is all about. Or maybe happiness does not come from looking within, but from looking outward.

This world is filled with the need for hope. What if we resolved to fill that need, even in some small way? In our own backyards, there are people who could use some encouragement- those who are living with illness or loss, those who are homeless, in prison or imprisoned in dead end jobs. And beyond our own neighbourhoods,  we see even greater needs. Around the world people are starving, dying in epidemics, living under the constraints of dictatorial regimes, political unrest, terrorism and war.

What can we do to make a difference? We may not be able to solve the world's problems, or  even our neighbourhood's, but we can have a positive influence on the world around us by giving away a little bit of ourselves. Something as simple as lending an ear to someone we know, or praying for those in crisis, writing a letter concerning an injustice, or writing a cheque for a good cause, can make more of a difference than we realize.

So, this year I am making a new resolution, even if it is the end of January. I am going to ask God to help me see the world through His eyes, whether I am looking down the street, or across the globe. And as I look around me,  I am going to ask the question- what can I do? I have no doubt that He will answer in a very concrete way. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Darkness and Light

Right now, we are approaching the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and here in Edmonton that is pretty noticeable. On Monday, the sky was clear and blue, and looking out of my  living room window, I could see the bright sun, hovering due south just above the houses across the street. It was about 12:30 PM, and I knew that the sun was as high as it would get. At this time of year, it skims across the sky quite close to the horizon, rising sleepily shortly before 9 AM  and falling back into slumber a little after 4 PM- a whopping 7 hours of daylight!  Of course, it doesn't feel quite that long.... the sun takes time to come up, and starts showing signs of setting as early as 3:30 so if you blink, or if you work inside all day, you can easily miss it.

I have lived in Edmonton, Alberta for the last 28 1/2 years, but the behaviour of the sun in this northern clime still amazes me. I know it is nothing compared to places much farther north, but compared to where I grew up (Montreal and Vancouver),  it quite astounds me. I remember how strange it felt, back in my early years here,  to leave for work in the dark and return home, feeling as if daylight had never happened.  And, in the summer, I am still surprised by the early morning birdsongs, and the glimmer of light I can see out of my north facing window well after midnight. 

So, I look forward to the winter solstice here. Not because I so enjoy the lack of light but because, as the shortest day of the year approaches, I know that each new day will be just a little bit lighter again, until the darkness of winter is banished and eventually replaced by the long days of summer.  Looking forward to it, watching each day grow a little bit longer, is almost as wonderful as sitting out in the brightness of a late summer evening. This gradual change of seasons also reminds me that there are cosmic changes afoot, too. It seems to be taking a long time,  but one day the  spiritual darkness that so often envelops this world will also be banished by the living Light that lasts forever. (Revelation 22:5)