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Home2017-04-17T07:03:24-04:00

On funny ideas, stewardship, and the bambino’s Sweet 16th

By |June 8th, 2019|

It was a gift from Oma and Opa, an outfit for the little bambino, the newborn, and this is what it said: “Property of Mommy and Daddy.” The photo landed in this space. Sixteen years ago. It’s like clothing announcing that you’re “Property of the Toronto Raptors.” Everyone knows you’re not, just like everyone knows that parents don’t own their

Musing (and moodling) from the world of words

By |May 25th, 2019|

Today let’s talk about the liberal arts, and, in particular, words. This, because the Conference Board of Canada recently affirmed that the liberal arts are vital when it comes to preparing for the work world, if not life itself. Universities tracking these things are saying the same. It’s refreshing news because to have a degree in say, literature

The holiness of motherhood

By |May 11th, 2019|

There’s something holy about motherhood. My father’s tears remind me. My wife’s steadiness reminds me. Even my mother, in her long absence, reminds me.There we are sitting in a meadow in Berlin. A large book is on my lap. My mother is teaching me to read. We’re enjoying each other. She tickles me.My pant suspenders – I always laugh when

Life’s rich comedy and God in unexpected places

By |April 20th, 2019|

The comedy of life, the absolute comedy, is that the God of this weekend, the one who walked and slept and bled and cried and, sure, laughed among us, is still found in the most unexpected places. This comedy is different than the comedy of, say, Saturday Night Live.

If you die in space, are you alone?

By |April 6th, 2019|

It was a question after dinner. The kids asked me. “So, Dards, if it were possible, would you rather know exactly how you’ll die, or when you’ll die?”“Hmm,” I said. (Always a good response for such questions.) “I don’t know.” (Even better.) What I know is that, like many others, I’d rather not die alone. Imagine dying alone

Hey, let’s talk about sex!

By |March 23rd, 2019|

In a few days the children’s mother and I are at a marriage retreat. It’s our first since I can’t remember when. The invitation, by fluke, came a day after I was propositioned to have an affair. Now, in this space, I don’t talk much about it, sex and all. This is because Mennonites didn’t even know what sex was until 1985,

Now I lay me down to sleep …

By |March 9th, 2019|

The beauty of sleep is that you don’t need to think about it. Thinking just gummies it all up. No, you simply relax. You let go. You lay it down, all the cares of the day and all the cares of the world.You lay yourself down and surrender to what’s larger than yourself: the night. Even a child can do it.

The strange charm of Captain Amon and Hockey Uganda

By |March 2nd, 2019|

The charm, the absolute charm, of Captain Amon is that he’ll appear at your doorstep in East Africa at the most inopportune times.You’ll be having a bite to eat, or a nap, or a shower, and there it is, the knock on your guesthouse door. “Mr. Thom? Hello, Mr. Thom? Mr. Thom. Are you there?

The fragrance of (my) life

By |February 9th, 2019|

So I'm in the middle of Africa dining with a colleague and he declares, "That's great news about Jean. Congratulations!" Out comes his phone and all the details and I'm in the dark and feeling rather sheepish about it. My bride, the children's mother, in her natural humility, hadn't told me of her recent recognition as a Canadian

Learning at the school of life

By |February 2nd, 2019|

Andrew Thomas is the little boy who smiled and played with my hands the first time I met him outside the university guesthouse where, these days, I have my meals. There, from your side of the ocean, my own children, along with their mother, watched and said hello to Andrew through a video screen.

Seeing some things half clearly

By |January 19th, 2019|

"I see you're aging gracefully." This is what he, an old Canadian friend, now overseas, said after seeing my photo complete with beard and glasses. Oh, come on. Already? Now? So soon? Aging gracefully? Really? In truth, the beard comes and goes like pages of a calendar. I shave. I don't shave. My bride, that is my young

A story about a king. (And you.)

By |December 22nd, 2018|

Love, if it’s the real deal, can be an uneasy affair. Even for a king in a story like this one. It’s a story about his kingdom, and choice, and existentialism, even as it’s a story about these days. Yes, once there was this king who was in love: madly and deeply and hopelessly. His power was unrivaled, but his heart melted for a simple maiden in a poor village.

Yemen can’t wait (and other thoughts on peace)

By |December 8th, 2018|

Once I stopped riding my bike to work because I feared I’d be shot dead. It was an old blue Norco. I’d pedal it to the newsroom of the Yemen Times, in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital. This wasn’t long after the Twin Towers fell on 9/11. More so, it was just after three American medical missionaries, friends, were murdered in a hospital by

Once upon a time there was you, and me

By |December 23rd, 2019|

The thing about those wild once-upon-a-time stories is that the good ones are always more true than we imagine. They can touch us profoundly. So here’s one: Once upon a time there was a little girl. A lost girl. Before I share more, though, let me say, as if it needs saying, that being lost is no fun.

Waiting and living: an Advent reflection

By |December 7th, 2019|

Eat. Read. Pray. Fly out the door. School mornings this is the routine in our home. A recent reading was about waiting. Cereal went into empty stomachs. I closed the book and made a comment about slowness. The children’s mother said, “But remember, with God a day is like

So, about the lowly toilet

By |November 23rd, 2019|

There was a time when I wouldn’t think about the lowly toilet. Nor would I consider the lives that each of us are born into through no doing of our own. If anything, during these autumn days I’d think about John F. Kennedy, the former US president assassinated November 22, 1963. That was just before my time

Filling the house with the food of love

By |November 9th, 2019|

I live in a house filled with instruments. And not just instruments, but music. And while this may not be the most dramatic news of the day, it's the most reassuring news of my own day. I might live longer. I'll certainly live happier. Science confirms the truth that we sense.