Sunday, October 24, 2010

Minnesota Bike Ride

           Every time it's sunny, I am strangely reminded how much happier I am. I hate to admit that I am deeply affected by the amount of sunshine that we get, but I am. At this moment I am looking out my office window at the golden grass swaying in the fall breeze the often sings across the flats. The sky is finally blue and the ever present clouds are puffy white hanging around the tops of the now snowcapped mountains. I could hardly ask for a more beautiful sight.
            For some reason it reminds me of the year I spent a fall in Minnesota with my family many, many years ago. On that particular day, we had decided that it was perfect for a bike ride. We rented some bikes and got our gear together. There was a delightful little trail that followed the train tracks close to our motel. This was our route of choice. Everyone gathered, we swung our legs over the middle bar and started peddling. My poor mother! Immediately she started wobbling all over the trail. She hadn't been on a bike for years and it was obvious. After a couple more tries, she decided that she would not hold us back any longer. My dad, two older siblings, and I continued on spending the afternoon crunching leaves with our bike tires. There's nothing better in the fall than crunching leaves on Minnesota bike ride!

Monday, October 11, 2010


     The story I am going to relate is probably one of the most personal that I've ever written on a blog. You might get to the end of it and think, what's so personal about this? Well, admitting to a crowd that you have weaknesses and prejudices is not the easiest thing to propagate. The person that portray to others very well might not be the person that we really are. We all have insecurities. However, I have found that as we face our insecurities and weaknesses, we grow leaps and bounds. Therefore, this is a story of me growing. It is one of my many true manifestations.

     No, not me.....please, not me.

     But I knew I needed to go. I had never thought myself to be racist, but at that moment I knew that I had fallen. My predicament-- I had just been presented with the "opportunity" to work as a teacher's aid once a week on a First Nation's Reserve in British Columbia, Canada, but I didn't want to go! I didn't want to work with them! I had come to go to Bible school, not work with kids (wow, that just sounds bad now, but that is where my heart was at the time- judge me if you want).

     I couldn't believe my own thoughts. Prejudice was staring me straight in the face. I wrestled with idea for a day trying to ease my conscience, trying to find out some way to side step this "opportunity." But I couldn't run away. I knew I had to do it. It wasn't just a, Oh, I need to do this, sort of thought. I was a sort of God-compelling thought that I was not able to walk away from.

     We had to take a BC ferry to get to the reserve. We were five in total. I think I was the only one who really didn't want to be on the ferry that first Wednesday morning, but I was there nevertheless. As the ramp came down onto the ferry's deck, I prayed for strength and that God would somehow change my hard heart. Then we began the walk to the school.

     We were greeted by two mangy dogs that were so elated to see us I thought they would break in half from wagging their tails. Up the hill we went, over the random logs, and through the woods via gravel trail. It only took 10 minutes from ferry to the front door of the school, an eternity in my book. There I was standing in the entryway.

     "Would you like to meet your class?" said the principle.

     "Yes." was all I could get out.

     I walked into a room filled with squealing children ranging from ages three to five. All of them had beautiful dark skin and brown eyes, but they were all so different. Some were built of tiny frames. They looked more like toddlers than school children. Others smiled at me with toothless grins having already lost their two front teeth. I was surrounded by the Preschool and Kindergarten class of the Penelakut Tribe of Kuper Island.

     My interactions with the children were a bit awkward at first, but for some reason children like me. We warmed up to each other much faster than I was expecting. As we sat in a circle learning their mother tongue, they were climbing all over me trying to sit on my lap and hang on my back. I tried to be extremely careful with any physical contact because of all the laws that the province had in dealing with child abuse. Children aren't even allowed to sit on an adult's lap, but these kids didn't care! They were starving for love!

     It didn't take long before my heart was won. Years of prejudice were swept away in just a couple weeks. It was the love of these children that started melting my icy heart. I began to see these tribes in a different light. Soon, compassion, respect and even pride started to well up deep within me. I don't have an ounce of First Nation's Blood in me, but I began to feel like I was accepted by them as I was of them.

     I am so glad that I made the decision that I did and went to volunteer at that school. Those children loved me like none have since. I still have their pictures on my wall in my room and when I look at their little eyes peering back at me, I smile and wonder how they are getting along today.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

wascally wabbits

            Rabbits. My dad used to raise them before I was born. Apparently, they were rather tasty creatures. But that's his story not mine.
            My story begins on a cloudy day late in the fall. I was tromping around my back yard when I spotted a black rabbit. This would normally not be a big deal, but black rabbits are not native to my area, therefore, this meant it was tame and I set out to be its master. Over the next couple of weeks I tried my very hardest to sweet talk that rabbit into the vacated chicken yard. After much patience, my efforts paid off and I captured my prize. She was gorgeous!
            Snow soon set in, but I made sure that my new little charge had plenty of food, water, and shelter. One morning when I came out to check on her, I was shocked to find a bloody pile in the snow. My first thought was, I didn't know rabbits were carnivorous. Then I saw them. The bloody mangled bodies of two little bunnies. Their mother had slaughtered them. I was horrified with her. How could she have killed her own young? I did some research and found out that it is very common for young rabbits to kill their first litter of young especially if they know they can't take care of them. Since she had just been taken into captivity, she probably thought it was better just to put her little babies out of their misery. I don't think I even buried them. The ground was too hard beneath the snow.
            `The rest of the winter was uneventful. There were no other unexpected pregnancies and my little charge grew to like her new home. Come spring I had a new adventure waiting for me. I spotted another rabbit. To my surprise, this rabbit was also tame. I began to wonder who was letting all these rabbits go. I didn't ponder too much on the question however. At twelve, catching and raising rabbits was a fine task for me. I soon captured the new rabbit and placed it in the newly acquired rabbit hutch that I had gotten from some friends.
            I began to notice strange behavior between my rabbits. I was not unaware of sex and there was definitely some sparks flying between my love bunnies. I quickly separated them into different pens, but the damage had already been done. About a month later, two others were added to my growing family of rabbits. This was my first experience with actually raising baby animals. After they had grown their fur and opened their eyes, I had great fun bringing the little ones into the house and letting them bounce around. One was black like its mother and the other a sunshine brown. They were little beauties.
            Rabbits grow quickly and I was soon left with four adult rabbits. I began to realize that I needed to get rid of some of them or they would continue to multiply. I then decided that my rabbit days were over. It was time to move on to other adventures. I put my bunnies up for sale and soon they had a home. I'm hoping they didn't turn up in someone's stew.
            For years afterwards, I would have nightmares that I hadn't fed or watered my rabbits in days. In my dreams I would run out to the back yard, and find my rabbits either dead from neglect or crazed from malnutrition. I never realized how stressed I was about their care. It was a good experience, but I don't wish to repeat it again......

unless I have children of my own.

Then perhaps........